Monthly Archives: May 2008

Indigenous tribe found near Brazil/Peru border

In an attempt to slow the decimation of the Amazonian rainforest, the Brazilian government found and photographed one of the last remaining indigenous tribes that has not yet been in contact with the outside world.

Amazonian tribe

It does make me wonder what they could possibly have thought of the helicopter and the person inside taking pictures…

The world fails to come to an end.

All across California, couples are preparing to marry. The only thing new and different about this is the fact that both participants in these weddings are of the same gender.

And yet….the streets have not run red with blood, the four horsemen of the apocalypse have not appeared, two headed goats have not been born, and Godzilla is notable in his absence. People who have celebrated their fifth or fiftieth wedding anniversaries are still just as married and committed, and their unions are no more or less strong than they were before the decision was handed down by the state’s (Republican) Supreme Court; a decision as ground-breaking and ethically and morally right as the banner decision to allow inter-racial couples the right to marry, on which this decision was based.

That said; the fight is not over. Religious and conservative groups have promised to take this to a Vote in November. But the tide is turning. A majority of California voters now support gay marriage, and Attorney General Jerry Brown has refused to ask for a stay on the decision til the voters go to the polls in November, saying that

“Such an action would be tantamount to putting the (ballot) initiative into temporary effect more than five months before it is even submitted to the electorate,” he wrote. “The court would … set a dangerous and highly questionable precedent were it to manipulate its own processes to accommodate a political interest.”

We are living in momentous times. We are watching history take place. Let the conservative groups howl and whine and try their scare tactics. The culture of hate and fear is finally being rejected. I have yet to hear a reasonable response to the question “How will your marriage be made less because of someone else’s?” The challenge still stands. How can your marriage be made less secure, less meaningful, less real because of what two other people do within theirs? And if your marriage is truly so frail that it cannot withstand the love and commitment made by two other people you’ve never even met and who don’t even know you exist….then maybe you shouldn’t be married to that person anyway.

Inevitable Scott McLellan book tells us what we already knew

Although it’s difficult to imagine anyone disputing the facts at this point, it is nice to have confirmation.

“The president had promised himself that he would accomplish what his father had failed to do by winning a second term in office,” he writes. “And that meant operating continually in campaign mode: never explaining, never apologizing, never retreating. Unfortunately, that strategy also had less justifiable repercussions: never reflecting, never reconsidering, never compromising. Especially not where Iraq was concerned.”

I doubt the 341 pages of salacious tell all from the ex-Press Secretary really hold many surprises. The excerpts read as an attempt by Mr. McLellan to exonerate himself for the years he faced the press every day and lied on the administration’s behalf. Color me unimpressed. He has a point; the White House press corps took the words they were spoon fed at face value and never once pushed the envelope (with the continual exception of Helen Thomas, who frankly deserves a medal after everything she’s done to try to keep this administration honest). But he’s far from blameless. He has not and likely will not apologize for those lies, although they obviously took their toll. By the end of his tenure, he had gone from forceful and confident to looking haggard and hunted.

In another totally expected response, Karl Rove sniffingly dismissed Mclellan, saying he “sounded like a left wing blogger.” As a left wing blogger, Mr. Rove, I would just like to say “It’s about damn time.” The only thing that infuriates me more than how much this country was lied to is that not one person in that administration who eventually left had the fortitude to actually admit “I am leaving because I cannot in good principle continue to support this administration.” The only thing more predictable than Rove’s response is the fact that once again, the current POTUS will be insulated by handlers, and the issue will be no more than a blip on his radar, explained away as a “bitter ex-employee.” It’s interesting that none of these employees who were “in over their heads” and “unable to take the stresses of the job” were ever considered such until after they left and came forward criticizing the administration.

Fortunately for the rest of the country, Rep. Robert Wexler is insisting that McLellan appear before the Judiciary committee to answer for assertions made in his book.

This does not bode well for Republicans in an election year on the ramp up to the campaign trail; especially with Dems painting John McCain as the next chapter of the Bush administration.

Get your tinfoil hats! New tinfoil hats for sale!

Every time I get so cynical as to believe I’ve seen the depths to which US politics can sink, I assure myself that shortly, a new low will be coming along.

Apparently, things we do not now know but soon will about Sen. Barack Obama include:

· That he was mentored in high school by a member of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party.

· That he launched his Illinois state Senate campaign in the home of a terrorist and a killer.

· That while serving as a state senator, he was a member of a socialist front group.

· That his affiliations are so dodgy that he would have trouble getting a government security clearance.

· That there is reason to doubt his “loyalty to the United States.”

And where do these clue challenged people come from? In this case, “somebody’s basement” is an accurate response. America’s Survival, Inc. (just think! a group dedicated to the country’s survival! they must be legit!) meets in the basement of Ebenezer Coffee House in Washington, DC in order to ferret out every ephemeral connection to Sen. Obama they can find.

How, you may reasonably ask, do they go about doing this? I am hesitant to posit a guess because frankly, it hurts to try to force my mind through the mental gymnastics these people must employ in order to reach their frothing, fear fueled conclusions, but here is my take: they reach their conclusions and then find a connection, no matter how tenuous, to make that conclusion possible. It doesn’t have to be true. “Maybe” is good enough for these people. And before you know it, Barack Obama is a Marxist fascist Islamoterrorist. I love that new last word, by the way. Islamoterrorist. Because “terrorist” just isn’t good enough; we have to pound home that Muslims are a special brand of terrorists, far worse than those wussies in the IRA or the KKK or any other group that thinks attaining political goals through terrorist tactics is simply the best way to get things done.

My eyes are already rolling at the prospect of how much muck will be thrown this election cycle. Wear your slickers, kids. It’s going to get a lot uglier before it gets better.

I’ll take “Made up religions for fifty, Alex”

A tenet of atheism is that no religion is sillier than any other. But atheist though I am… I have to disagree with that statement. Let’s take, for example, Scientology.

Maybe this is how all religions start. Who am I to say? Maybe back before there were publishers, there were out of work story tellers who thought “y’know what? I need a paying gig. I think I’ll start a religion!” And BOOM! Athena was born. Or Odin. Insert god[dess] of your choice here. But you have to admit, there’s something rather….okay, I’ll say it…snarkworthy… in the fact that Scientologists founded their religion on the works of a failed Science Fiction writer.

I used to laugh every time Dianetics was advertised. Every year there was a new version. Every year, I’d snicker to myself “Are they high? The guy’s DEAD! Are they getting this new improved edition from beyond the grave?” Which was not nearly as sad as the people who would buy new copies every year. Names have been withheld to protect the gullible. And me.

And what is their obsession with entertainers? Okay, granted, the rest of us are fascinated by entertainers as well, but really! They seem to hone right in on franchise entertainers, using other A listers to do their recruiting. And don’t even get me started on Tom Cruise. Finding out he’s the CoS’ “chosen one” must’ve sent him right over the edge from massive ego trip to unchecked megalomania faster than you can say “thetan.”

And now Will Smith, who I used to quite like, is starting a school based on their teachings. It is to sigh. And roll one’s eyes. And generally think “holy crap, what’s next? Jesus Camp wasn’t bad enough?”

Hospitals releasing private information.

First, let it be said that as a nurse, I can see both sides of the issue. Hospitals in the United States are constantly operating about one month ahead of closure. One nasty malpractice suit, workers’ strike or cancellation of insurance company contract is all it takes to shut a hospital down for good. Equipment is in need of repair, salaries and rents drain available resources…and patients suffer.

That said; there is simply no excuse for releasing HIPAA & Privacy Act protected information on this kind of technicality. The patients are allowed to “opt out,” but only after the fact.

Bad enough so many insurance companies have sent their call centers offshore, often to countries with little to no laws regarding private information of patients. We in health care are in a privileged position; our patients trust us to care for them. Confidentiality is part of that trust.

Eurgh, where to start?

After subscribing to various fora, arguing politics, religion, philosophy and (of all things) food…I miss having a blog. Self indulgent and narcissistic it may be, but what can I say? I’m just that shallow.