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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

November 04, 2005

For those following the employment, or unemployment, saga, today was my last day on the job.

Except...not exactly.

To make a long story short, my boss came in today and announced that he can't do without my help and it looks like I'll be working part-time for him and maybe also part-time for a sister company for the next couple of months while I wait for the job market to break free.

I will be job-hunting and with a bit of luck I'll find something, so I don't want to lead anyone on to expect I'll be here for them for months, but I think they both understand it. At the same time, I'm glad to have an income while I get a day or two free each week to job hunt.

Thank goodness it's Friday.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:51 PM | Comments (2)
Sheesh

Reading this, I thought, "there has to be more to this...they can't have done anything that despicable" so I went to go read the article.

Some Republican moderates are balking at cuts to anti-poverty programs, especially in light of a $70 billion tax cut that could come to a vote soon after the budget bill, more than wiping out the first bill's deficit reduction.

So, it's true. A few more billions in tax cuts for the "have" while the poor "have-nots" may be faced with premiums for their Medicare insurance?

I'd scream and cuss and throw things...but I'm preaching to the choir here and I know it. Unless this story winds up on the front page of half or more of the daily newspapers in the country and/or is covered on the nightly news broadcasts, most people will never know.

The Alaska drilling program (something I am adamantly against) will get more publicity.

The House passed its own version, equally or more distasteful.

What should be done is to roll back the unequal tax cuts and stop spending a billion dollars a month to kill people in Iraq, but we all know how likely those are to happen.

Makes me tired.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)
The country. Has gone mad.

Mayor: Cut thumbs off graffiti 'punks'

"In the old days in France, they had beheadings of people who commit heinous crimes," [Las Vegas] Mayor Oscar Goodman said Wednesday on the TV show "Nevada Newsmakers."

The heinous crime, you understand, being defacing highway signs.

Another panelist on the show, state university system regent Howard Rosenberg, said cutting off the thumbs of taggers won't solve the problem and Goodman should "use his head for something other than a hat rack."

Indeed.

[Not]Goodman also said that bad children should be whipped.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:05 PM | Comments (4)
November 03, 2005
So Surprising

The moment for the implementation of the Medicare Drug Benefit approaches. What's happening in the pharmaceutical industry?

US Brand-Name Prescription Drug Prices Rise -- AARP

Prices for brand name prescription drugs most commonly used by older patients rose at nearly twice the rate of inflation during the second quarter, AARP said in a report released on Wednesday.

Manufacturer prices on 193 medicines most commonly prescribed to seniors climbed 0.9% from March 31 to June 30, the U.S. lobbying group for the elderly said. The general inflation rate was 0.5% during the same period.

That second quarter increase in the price of drugs frequently used by the elderly slowed sharply from the 3.3% increase seen in the first quarter of the year.

"Average price increases for the second quarter of any given year tend to be lower than first quarter increases, and this trend continued in 2005," AARP said in a statement.

Prices on 75 widely used generic drugs were flat in the second quarter, the group said.

AARP tracks drug prices quarterly and has been urging manufacturers to lower the costs for seniors. The group also is encouraging elderly Americans to sign up for the prescription drug coverage that will start in January under the Medicare federal health insurance plan for the elderly.

AARP measured the prices drug makers charge wholesale distributors for medicines to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis pain and osteoporosis.

I guess it's good to know they're getting ready.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)
Weird

Iran's solution to the widening poverty gap is to give poor people stock options?

Posted by AnneZook at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
Huh

I'm not impressed by the credentials of the guy the Bush Administration picked to lead the disaster recovery effort in the Gulf Coast.

I mean, as chairman of the F.D.I.C., he may have been a gem, I don't know, but why can't they find someone with, oh, I don't know, relevant experience?

(Besides, I'm not likely to favor anyone whose history seems to be a long line of being appointed to things by Bush.)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)
Wal-Mart, Movie Pirate

If this is true, it's very stupid.

I, and I'm sure a million other people, got an e-mail inviting me to buy a copy of the movie for about fifteen bucks. If Wal-Mart wants to see it so badly, they could just buy a print.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
On the other hand

Some stories just make me too sick not to comment on them.

"The chemistry out here is perfect for more and more racism...."

This was not a concerned law enforcement official or a public figure. It was a gloat from a man whose only claim to fame is his extreme bigotry. And I'm not going to reprint his name, no. I wouldn't soil my fingers that way.

There's some good stuff in the comments, including information about methamphetamine use in the area and the links between meth and increased aggression.

And it's true that drug use exacerbates the problem but we can't lose sight of the fact that there are adults actively recruiting and indoctrinating these kids. The adults are a large part of the problem.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
News-free Zone

Well, I could talk about the crisis in Ethiopia or how stupid it is to try to dictate how a Swiss pharmaceutical company does business (and over a drug that's likely to be useless) or ponder why none of the blogs I read seem to be discussing the Paris riots but the truth is that all of my attention is for me today.

My official date of unemployment was stretched from 10/31 to 11/4. In the meantime, a sister company has offered me a 10-hour a week "filler" position for a month or two (one that could grow into a full-time position) which would enable me to have at least a little income while I intensify my job search. My current company is also waffling about whether or not a new project might come through in time to keep me on. And the job I was hoping to get, the one a friend has opening up at her company still isn't materializing until January. By the time all of these people decide whether or not to hire me, I'll need an extended stretch of unemployment to recover from the roller-coaster of stress.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)
November 02, 2005
What I Read This Morning - 9

We torture people.

You know what I noticed about this? The thing that jumped off the page at me was that the CIA set up secret torture interrogation compounds after the Bush Administration came to power.

Also, I noticed this:

Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.

Everyone who voted for the Bush Administration should be feeling pretty sick to their stomachs at this moment.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:06 AM | Comments (2)
What I Read This Morning - 8

P.S. I'm not gonna blog the "bird flu pandemic" until there's actually something to panic about.

Anyone who has been paying a spoonful of attention in the last five years knows that the only reason Bush got up and made a big speech about how we're all gonna die was to try and distract the media from the criminal investigations into the behavior of his Administration and the rapidly increasing body count in Iraq.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)
What I Read This Morning - 7

If you ever find yourself wondering why people don't read books any more, consider this review:

By writing a novel about a conventional novelist writing about a conventional man, J.M. Coetzee's latest work illuminates the role of the novel and cuts through typical and tired theories on fiction.

I'm not certain I've ever read a blurb that made me less interested in a novel. That gave me more of a desire to never read another book.

And I'm a person who normally reads 200 or more new books a year.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:51 AM | Comments (1)
What I Read This Morning - 5

Polarizing the world around a pro-versus-anti Muslim position has consequences.

Sensible people of moderate views who want to create a world where we can all live in peace lose out.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)
What I Read This Morning - 4

Voting. A lot of people don't. If you're wondering why not, consider the idea that it's because their votes don't really matter.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:31 AM | Comments (2)
What I Read This Morning - 3

Sometimes I find myself wondering just what flavor of Kool-Aid the Right uses that makes it so popular to drink.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)
What I Read This Morning - 2

Here's a follow-up story on those mercenaries hired to "help with security" in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I don't want anyone to forget that the Federal government hired mercenaries to patrol the streets of a USofA city.

(I make no remarks concerning anything that might have happened in New Orleans because I have not seen any stories. This is just my sneaky way of making sure you know at least one factor in the "why don't they like us" situation in Iraq)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)
What I Read This Morning - 1
Forget, for a carefree and frivolous moment, the manifold failings of the only president we've got. Instead, let's see if we can figure out how to get out of this pickle. More than one pickle, I grant you -- this administration is a pickle factory. Thinking helmets on, team.

I disagree with Molly Ivins' suggestion of forgetting that we're currently under the so-called "leadership" of a group o'nuts but I agree that we (the Left) need to start focusing on how to fix the mess we're in. Winning elections is only part of it. When we're back in power, we need to have a plan.

And it should surprise no one that I staunchly support her first suggestion. We should spend more on education than we do on killing people and it would have a multitude of positive side-effects on all parts of our society.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:15 AM | Comments (4)
November 01, 2005
Put To Shame

Once again, I should have waited until I read more of other people's posts on the Alito nomination.

Hugo Schwyzer has an excellent post saying, in calmer, more temperate language, much of what I was trying to say.

There's a lively discussion going on in the comments, as usual. I haven't had a chance to read them all yet and I suppose this point is made there, but it's one that I think is worth posting here as well.

My primary objection to Alito's "women have to notify their husbands before they're allowed to have an abortion" stance is that it's anti-woman-as-equal. There's just no other way to read it.

I know twenty married women and their marriages range from the passionate to the indifferently tolerant, but they are married. They are in committed relationships. It is inconceivable to me that any of these women, upon discovering that they're pregnant, would make the decision to have an abortion and carry it through with no discussion or input from their husbands. (What kind of mind...what kind of relationship would someone have to accept as "normal" to think otherwise?)

The only reason to have such legislation would be to codify, in whatever small way, the legal fact that a married woman is not a fully equal human being but is subject to a man's wishes. Because, one assumes, there would have to be some kind of signed document from the man, acknowledging that he'd been informed of the planned abortion. That he, in effect, was "giving his permission" for it. And that's just wrong. My body. My choice.

Also? Laws don't only exist to protect the majority. They sometimes exist, or don't exist, to protect the minority.

In this case, the lack of Alito's preferred "notification" position means that women who are in abusive relationships will not be legally forced to endanger their lives and their health by attempting to get an abusive spouse to "give permission" for an abortion. Yes, the "unless she thinks he might kill her" exemption would have done the same thing, but by leaving the notification clause out entirely, the burden is not on the abused woman to prove she faces bodily harm or possible death.

But do read the comments in Hugo's post. Especially the first one from, "evil fizz" which saves me writing 500 words to make a simple, but important point.

There's a tendency on the part of some commenters to approve "notification" because it could be used as a tool to make certain the husband was aware of the abortion, because these people seem to think it's the government's responsibility to inform a man that there's a fundamental and serious problem with his relationship.

I'm out of time to address the headspin that gave me, or the sublimely ignorant (in the "knowledge of what you're talking about" sense) commenter who said it was easy enough for a woman to avoid abortion, she just had to give birth and then walk off and never see the child again.

Hugo's blog almost always has great discussions.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)
Ugh

Alito sort of encapsulates much of what I think is wrong with all of those sitting on the extreme Rightwing.

Guns should be plentiful, corporations should be unfettered, and marriage grants a man rights over the body of his wife. (This last is absolutely the case. Between the "spousal notification" issue on abortion and his position that a warrant to search and man and his "home" entitles the police to search his wife and child, you simply cannot argue that he does not view a wife and/or a child as the "property" of a man.)

(Okay, you could argue it. But since, as far as I know, he was never faced with a case where a search warrant was issued for a woman and the police used it to search her husband, we don't know how he would have ruled.) (And had he ruled the same way, I think we'd have heard a lot of rightwing outrage and there would have been backlash, not so much against Alito, but against...wait for it...feminism! REducing a Man to simple property!)

(Either way, a spouse is not property.)

(It might be educational to know how he would have ruled had the woman not been the man's wife, but a live-in lover or something, donít you think?) (Or even just a roommate or a tenant?)

He seems to be both intelligent and qualified, as to knowledge and experience. He's perfectly "in step" with the "constituency" that Bush wants to placate and enlist. He's just completely out of sync with Mainstream America. He represents a small but vocal minority.

(The problem is that the Bush Administration (and the MSM) tend to think Bush's support is stronger than it is because the wingnuts are so loud.)

(If recent GAO reports about voting "irregularities" in Ohio are what they seem, Bush has likely failed to be elected to the Presidency twice now. His only moment of public "popularity" came after 9/11, and anyone holding the office would have been given a similar, or much stronger, "bounce.") (His "bounce" was less than Giuliani's, too, but that's largely because Giuliani was the face of coping with disaster after 9/11. Bush was, predictably, AWOL for 24 hours.)

Sigh. Don't mind me. I was going to talk about Alito and apologize for yesterday's vulgarity, but the minute I start contemplating the Bush Administration, I get all ranty.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)
Imagine

Is the future of New Orleans the future of the USofA? Should we make a decision that this is the time, this is the 'cause' and this is where we'll draw our line in the sand?

As the New Orleans disaster recedes from the headlines, citizen activists face a choice. We can focus exclusively on other newer issues. Or we can work to make the disaster one of those key turning points with the potential to transform American politics. For this to happen, we need to consciously create new dialogue, reaching well beyond the core converted.

In New Orleans, we have a situation that encapsulates much of what the Left holds dear. The rights 0f the individual, not the least of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the ignored. There's an obligation to balance the needs of the people against the needs of the planet. A necessity to balance the desires of people against the desires of corporations.

We can rebuild this coast of Louisiana as a model of ecological-economic cooperation or we can...just let it slip from our minds as we hopscotch across the latest crisis, the latest Bush Administration idiocy, or the latest body count from Iraq. And the people of New Orleans can remain scattered, unwanted, and alienated in hundreds of communities across the country. Slipping back into silent poverty.

Washington's Democrats will be doing...what Washington politicians do. But the rest of us....

They don't seem to know where we want them to lead us. So we could lead ourselves and let those who feel they can share and support our passion join us.

There's plenty to be done and at least as much work needed in considering future policies.

Just imagine what we could do if we stood up publicly and acted together. With the people of New Orleans.

_____________

(P.S. I think it's important to stress that when I say, "we," I'm not including the Bush Administration. They're not invited because they don't play fair.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
Being Liberal

Thanks to Biomes Blog, via Ahistoricality. (With a few personal alterations.)

Yes, I am a liberal.

Iím not a moderate, Iím not a progressive. Iím a liberal. A label I am more proud of every day.

I do not hate America, I love my country.

I believe in everything that is good about it and I oppose everything that is not.

I support the right of a woman to control her own body.
I believe that every person should be afforded the best health care regardless of their income.
I favor fiscal responsibility and fairness in government.
I want energy independence and the emergence of alternative energy sources.
I believe it is our duty to protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
I believe every child should have access to the best education we can give them.
I believe every adult should have access to jobs that provide a living wage.
I believe in free speech and the right to criticize the government when it is acting against our peopleís interests.
I believe, as our founding fathers did, in the separation of church and state.

I oppose wars based on profit, greed and lies.
I oppose hatred based on gender, skin color, or sexual preference.

I am anti-torture.

I am a liberal. Live with it and learn from it. You vote against your own interests. I vote for the interests of everyone.


Posted by AnneZook at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
Vote

One vote counts. And money talks.

Today's Colorado's voting day, for all of you living inside the boundaries of this Rocky Mountain State. Don't forget to vote. There will be prizes!

Posted by AnneZook at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
October 31, 2005
10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

From Ratboy's Anvil, because marriage and family should be about love.

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Re-post this if you believe love makes a marriage.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:05 PM | Comments (3)
No Defense

You suppose this is an example of what we'll be getting in the future?

His lawyer, W.C. Melcher, said in court papers that jail authorities defied repeated orders from the trial judge handling the case to provide law library access.

But the Constitution, you see, doesn't actually say that someone's legal right to defend themselves has to include access to information about the law.

Seems like "strict constructionism" has a firmer hold on the Federal judiciary than some of us suspected.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5....

Counting the Iraqi dead.

26,000. Per the DoD.

...with an estimated 26 casualties a day between January and March of last year, rising to 64 a day in the run up to the referendum on the new constitution.
Posted by AnneZook at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)
Grrrr

(Note: Vulgar language.)


Serious (potentially life-threatening) bodily reactions to pregnancy include:

Anemia
Antepartum Haemorrhage
Cervical Dysplasia
Gestational Diabetes
Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure
Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Kidney Disease
Placenta Previa
Placental Abruption
Pre-Eclampsia
Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension
Pulmonary And Leg Embolism
Uterine Rupture


Common bodily reactions to pregnancy include:

Back pain
Bleeding
Digestive problems, such as heartburn
Dizziness
Emotional upset
Excessive body warmth
Fibromyalgia
Gas, constipation
General aches
Headaches
Hemorrhoids
Increased urination
Leg cramps
Shortness of breath
Unsteady balance
Nausea and vomiting
Sleeping problems
Sore nipples and breasts
Stuffy nose
Swollen ankles and feet
Swollen or bleeding gums
Varicose veins

A man's "procreational autonomy" stops at the end of his dick. If you don't think you're gonna like what a woman does with your sperm, wear a condom. (We won't tell you what to do with your penis and you don't tell us what to do with our wombs.)

I'm sorry, and normally when I talk about "equality" I really do mean real equality in everything. But in this one area, there can never be absolute "equality" because men take none of the personal risks.

I guess it's interesting to get a glimpse of how the radical Right might spin Alito's anti-abortion (anti-feminist) position to get it past the 60% or 70% of the public who support R. v. W. but I'm too mad right now to be "interested."

Posted by AnneZook at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)
Ouch

Yeah, they lied to us, but before we go getting all morally superior, we need to clean up our own act.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:49 AM | Comments (2)
Boo

Well, the Bush Administration has succeeded in frightening a substantial portion of the USofA population on this Halloween holiday with the nomination of Alito to the Supreme Court.

I cannot conceive, under any circumstances, that any Democrat would or should support the nomination of a man who ruled that a woman's right to control over her own body was eliminated by marriage.

Add to that a dozen other far-right rulings and you have a candidate who is simply far too extreme to represent the majority of the USofA people.

Also? Toldyouso. The Bush Administration nominated a woman who was clearly unfit to sit on the SCOTUS Bench but they figure that absolved them of any need to throw a sop to diversity.

Jeralyn at TalkLeft has a good round-up.

This is going to be a tough battle. Unlike Meirs, Alito is very experienced and has (on paper) the qualifications for the job. The fact that he's representative of an radical right-wing political movement is going to be a problem because so many of the Bush Administration top dogs are also sitting out on that limb.

And Republicans, watching in despair as their Party's political status plummets toward record lows, are probably going to be desperate for a "win" to give the illusion that they're still powerful and relevant.

(See also: Majikthise.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)