Archive for November, 2012

29
Nov
12

Wildly Low-cost Solution to Clearing Afghan Landmines

Wildly Low-cost Solution to Clearing Afghan Landmines.

Found this on “Quieter Elephant.” (One of my favorite Canadians, which isn’t a worthless distinction, given that I’m married to one.)

Beauty born of necessity. Just hoping it gets done, and that it works.

In a almost-but-maybe-not-quite-related story, we watched Blood Diamond last night. A little Spielbergian-sanctimonious at times, but it really changes the way you think about that particular gemstone. Was wondering if it would help anyone in Africa if I took the tiny diamonds out of my ears.

 

27
Nov
12

but what about. . .?

This in my email inbox today:

Stop the House from blocking abortion access for raped soldiers.

This is shocking, even for our U.S. Congress.

If a female employee of the U.S. State Department is raped while serving abroad in Afghanistan, her federal health plan will pay for an abortion should she become pregnant. However if a woman serving abroad as a member of the U.S. military is raped, her military health plan will NOT provide for an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of that violent and reprehensible act.

According to a report earlier this year from Mother Jones,1 the Pentagon has an even more drastic policy on access to abortion than the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds for abortion care unless a woman has been the victim of rape, incest or she could literally die unless she her pregnancy is terminated.

This disparity is so unsettling that the Senate passed out of committee the “Shaheen Amendment” to give women in the military the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as the civilians they protect. But if passed by the full Senate, the extremists in Congress will try to block this proposal from the National Defense Authorization Act when it comes up for a vote in the House. The only way we can hope to stop it is with massive public pushback.

Tell Republicans and anti-choice Democrats in the House: Don’t block abortion access for raped soldiers. Click here to sign this petition automatically.

According to Kate Sheppard’s report in Mother Jones,2 there are 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military and in 2011 alone there were 471 reported instances of rape. But with the Pentagon itself estimating that only 13.5% of rapes are officially reported, that means around 3,500 service members are raped per year.

Women who are serving on military bases abroad can’t simply go to their local Planned Parenthood should they seek an abortion after finding themselves pregnant as a result of rape. And if there hasn’t been a formal finding of rape, a rape survivor in the military can’t even pay to have the procedure done in the medical facility on base. Many women serving in our armed forces are stationed in foreign countries where safe abortion care is not easily obtained outside our military bases. And it may not be possible or affordable for a raped woman soldier to travel to the United States in order to receive the care she needs. Our policies need to be reformed to ensure that women in the military who have been raped have access to the medical care they need.

As Senator Jean Shaheen who introduced the change to this heinous policy explained to Mother Jones, “Most of the women affected here are enlisted women who are making about $18,000 a year. They’re young, they don’t have access to a lot of resources. Many of them are overseas.”

Tell Republicans and anti-choice Democrats in the House: Don’t block abortion access for raped soldiers. Click here to sign this petition automatically.

A handful of Republicans in the Senate realized that protecting rape survivors is not a partisan issue and joined Democrats to pass this bill out of committee and work to provide relief to women in our armed services. But their colleagues in the House will not join them in helping to pass this much needed bill unless we force them to take action. We need to tell Republicans as well as anti-choice Democrats in the House (including the so-called Stupak Democrats who voted against women’s reproductive health in the Affordable Care Act)3 that we cannot let this policy stand.

CREDO is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose and we will continue to work for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. But until then, even in our polarized Congress which is packed with anti-choice zealots, there are some lines that Republicans and anti-choice Democrats should be very afraid to cross. This is one of them. We cannot stand by and let women serving in the U.S. military be subjected to a stricter standard for abortion access than the already horribly restrictive Hyde Amendment.

Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6900213&p=military_choice&id=51136-3378633-EUGcOEx&t=10

This is one we can win if enough of us speak out. Thank you for taking action.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers, Mother Jones, June 13, 2012.
2. ibid.
3. Many Previously Pro-Choice Dems Voted for Stupak Amendment, FiveThirtyEight.com, November 9, 2009
You can click here if you’d like to sign the petition. I think it would be a great thing if you did.

But what I really want to know, is why are so many women soldiers being raped? And why aren’t we doing anything about THAT?????

27
Nov
12

Not usually a flower-art person, but these are absolutely stunning; and that’s even before you think about the time and detail involved in the creation!

ArtStormer

I’m placing my spring bulb order today.  It is one big exercise in delayed gratification.

Anne Ten Donkelaar finds other ways to enjoy the garden.  Her meticulous cutouts are pinned to paper so that they cast gorgeous shadows below.  Fantasy arrangements.  Sumptuous!

Artists website: Anne Ten Donkelaar

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27
Nov
12

russian novella

russian novella.

 

That’s all.

22
Nov
12

cliché thanksgiving thanks

Oldest Son tells me that calling your mom on Mother’s Day to tell her thank you and that you love her is pathetic. That you should thank your mom and tell her you love her just because.

I agree, but I still like it when he calls me on Mother’s Day.

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving is also kind of pathetic — every day should be greeted with thankfulness. As I used to tell my dad when he would complain about getting old:  it beats the alternative.

So in yoga we thank our feet for carrying us through our days, and we thank our hamstrings (Hello, hamstrings!) and our aching backs and our hands for what they carry, and our hearts, for what they carry too.

And when we clean our floors we try to remember to thank the floors and the walls and the roof for keeping us from having to live in the dirt, in the rain.

And when we burn the pumpkin soup (just a little), we try to be thankful for all of the delicious ingredients in that pumpkin soup, and that we have good Calphalon pans so we know they’ll get clean again.

And when our children tease and spar and take 45 minutes to do the dishes we are thankful for their health and spirit, and that they are doing the dishes.

On the day after Thanksgiving 7 years ago I drove with my family to my brother’s for an extended family meal, not having yet told our children that their father and I were going to be divorcing.

Six years ago I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my children and my almost-ex-husband in some kind of weird (pathetic?) attempt to manufacture for my children some weird version of family, which felt to me more like a completely phony and unsatisfying version of “family”; and a few hours after they left I was curled up on the bed in a fetal position, mourning all of the mistakes I had made and how, despite my best efforts, I did not have the relationship I wanted with my children, much less with myself.

So now what am I thankful for?

Well, that the dark days are over.

That we’ve crossed over to the other side.

That everyone’s fine.

That my back hurts, again, but seems to be getting better, and in a little more than a week we’ll have a new hot tub on our back deck (thanks, mom), and that will hopefully help my back problems, and Husband’s knee problems, besides being a wonderful addition to a life that’s being fully and gratefully lived.

For a life that’s being fully and gratefully lived.

For the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional health of my friends and family.

For jobs that support us, working for and with people who respect our contributions, for food and shelter and kindness.

For a marriage with a man who is thoughtful, and sensitive, and supportive, and who likes, and loves, me as I do him.

He’s going to be embarrassed that I wrote this. But he is the thing I am most grateful for. And, for whatever weird (pathetic?) reason, I want you all to know.

I have it all.

I am the luckiest person I know.

Thank you.

 

21
Nov
12

why not take advantage of every possible opportunity

to raise our children to think in a “sexist” way.

Today’s opportunity, listed in my neighborhood’s “Community Enrichment Classes” brochure, for youth and their “favorite significant adult.” (INMTU*)

For girls: Sweetheart swirl.

For boys: Competitive Game Fest.

Guess the girls don’t like to play games and is it any wonder men won’t dance.

She looks like she’d like to play.

(Click on the picture to see a sampling of what Bing thinks someone looking for a picture of a “Girl in a Football Uniform” is most likely to be looking for. Wonder if the one has anything to do with the other.)

Sheesh.

*I’m Not Making This Up

20
Nov
12

now isn’t that special

As if it’s not bad enough that adjuncts are bearing half of the teaching load at most community colleges, at ~ 1/4 of the pay.

Good thing they have unions so that their voices can be heard and they can at least exert SOME kind of power over the. . .

Oh, yeah.

Nvm.

(All of the adjuncts in this country should quit. Or we should at least declare a day of protest, or a week. Let’s see how many colleges and universities are unable to meet their obligations to their tuition-paying students. Let’s see whether THAT collective voice can be heard.)

15
Nov
12

today’s pinterest

Ok, first, can I just tell you how HONORED I am to be a member of this exclusive club. (gush)

And secondly, so sorry I haven’t had time to visit in a while.

Seriously? Who has the time?

This is kind of “cool.”

Now we’re talkin’.

 

Nobody NEEDS a hammock bed.
This is just the sort of thing that makes me feel more than a little shallow.
I’m going to copy down that recipe for Asian noodles and then I’m leaving. So there.

14
Nov
12

oh, THAT’s why


Paul Ryan claims that he (?) didn’t lose the vote because of the “issues” but because of the “urban vote.”

The first question might be something along the lines of what does he mean by that, exactly?

And isn’t it possible that people in “urban” areas are, perchance, voting with at least a wee bit of regard of the “issues”?

But really, no matter how you parse it, it’s not a good thing to say.

Why won’t the Republicans wake up and smell the hummus?

Besides, I’m a middle-class, highly educated white woman living in a midwestern “city” of around 225,000 people. Hardly “urban.” And trust me, vote for him I did not.

He has, however, earned a place in the “Palinschmerz” category. Lucky boy.

13
Nov
12

Who knew?

20121113-224242.jpg

13
Nov
12

there but for the grace of music lessons go

Only Daughter had her first “orchestra concert” tonight. She actually asked me not to go. She took some violin lessons as younger youngster, and feels that the exertions of the 6th grade ensemble are, in a way, beneath her.

I went anyway.

(As a pointed aside, they’re not. Beneath her, that is. She had 5 teachers in 4 years because they kept moving away or graduating from college or taking so many out-of-town gigs she would have one lesson a month so she learned 1/4 what she should have, and absolutely nothing about how to read music much less how to understand what she was hearing.)

The orchestra did a fine job, all things considered. It was noted that there were approximately 75 musicians “on stage” and approximately 65 versions of any given note at any given time, but what’s a person to do?

One of the directors stood up at the end to thank all of the parents for going that extra mile (really? it’s “extra” now? shouldn’t it just be part of what everyone should be expected to do if they want to be a living, breathing, feeling member of the universe?) to support their children’s efforts to learn to play a musical instrument.

Okay, fine. Thanks are good. I’m fine. Really, I am.

Then he talks about the benefits — to the brain, to the person, to society, to the importance of students learning to communicate that which cannot be said in words; I start to think, okay, so he’s not a total doofus. But no, I “forgave” him too soon.

Wait for it. . .

“Maybe if more children learn to be thinking, feeling members of society, fewer of them would be flying airplanes into buildings.”

Oh. I had no idea. If only the terrorists had had music lessons.

=

 

Idiot.

 

13
Nov
12

dumb as a . . . of . . . .?

Husband sent the link to this article to me today because we have been discussing over the past few days whether Petraeus should have resigned or not.

I say that the author might be kind of almost maybe sort of just by a hair missing the point.

I agree that there are some indications that the two “culprits,” Mr. Petraeus and his paramour, Ms. Broadwell, are not, shall we say, the sharpest knives in the drawer.

BUT, no security was breached, no CIA secrets stolen. Mr. P. sent his lascivious emails to Ms. Broadwell from a non-CIA account, and Ms. B. sent emails to Mr. P from an account shared by her husband. But HE had no reason to believe that his non-CIA account would be investigated, and, clearly, Ms. B. had no concerns that her husband would wile away empty hours scrolling through the “Sent” folder. Do any of you ever look in your Sent folder?

Here. Give me a sec.

Yup. Just as I thought. 8708 messages in the sent folder, the most distant from 2009, which is when I bought this laptop. Haven’t looked at 8703 of them since I sent them.

Ms. B’s husband wasn’t the person who caught on to the affair — the FBI was, because Ms. B was so caught up in the weird and untenable position she found herself in that she was jealous of another woman and thought it was a good idea to threaten her in a way that would be absolutely traceable and serve easily as evidence against her.

So yes, kind of stupid. Is it also ironic? Maybe not. First Son claims I attribute irony to coincidence too often, but I do believe that irony includes when one act, taken in the hope of a particular result, results in the opposite.

Anyway. The author points out that Clinton did the right thing by lying through his teeth, and that Patraeus should have followed suit.

I disagree.

Clinton shouldn’t have lied, Broadwell shouldn’t have exposed her own vulnerable position by sending threatening emails, and Patraeus shouldn’t have resigned over some over-developed Puritanical sense of guilt.

IMHO, of course.

 

13
Nov
12

post-election woes

No, I don’t miss the constant bickering (as if!) or persistent phone calls; I don’t miss the extremist messages or political infighting.

Nope, I don’t miss them because first of all, who would, and second of all, who says it’s stopped? (Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, JUST IGNORE THEM AND THEY’LL GO AWAY)

But I just finally listened to my voice mail from the past two weeks (If you called, Deb, Only Daughter, sorry; I can’t seem to remember to actually check my voice mail. My one personality flaw. Glad you each had my cell phone number).

11 voice mail messages, 2 from actual people, 1 a robo call recorded by Bill Clinton (that’s right, Bill Clinton’s voice on my voicemail) and 8 from some version of the Republican Party.

Is it a result of the if-I’m-really-really-irritatingly-persistent-I-might-just-get-my-way tactic tried by 4-year olds everywhere?

And I must be missing something. . .Patraeus having an affair makes him unfit to head the CIA because. . . ? At first we thought there must have been some kind of security breach, but apparently the problem is that his mistress was jealous of some other woman. (Is THAT ironic?)

Whatever. I just don’t get it. We’re living in what is purported to be the “freest” country on the planet, but actually live in the the most puritanical, provincial one. God bless us, every one.

12
Nov
12

free speech violation? or finally marginalizing those who should be marginalized

It has been reported that Fordham University has canceled an event at which Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak. You can read the whole article here.

There is a great deal of debate over whether it is better, (and “more” legal), to allow such voices to be heard so that the rest of us can protest or argue or speak back. Or whether such people should be marginalized and ignored. In this case, I’m with the 2nd — her statements aren’t helpful in raising difficult questions or shaping important debates. She is merely hateful, racist, prejudiced, and extreme.

I’m curious, though, what YOU think? Go.

08
Nov
12

he’s a good man, charlie brown; UPDATED

President Obama’s Victory Speech

What he said.

(I do wish we could skip the “God Bless America” part, since the implication always seems to be “and f@#$ everyone else.” Like praying that your football team will win, because they deserve it so much better than that other team over there in different-colored shirts.)

And then there’s this.

*****

In a related story, Only Daughter was being harassed a bit yesterday in school by fellow students whose parents voted differently than I did. She pointed out that they were only parroting what their parents said, and didn’t know enough about anything to have any ideas of their own. (I asked her later what SHE thought, and she said she didn’t really think anything yet, although, from what she could tell our guy was more sympathetic than the other guy. I was very proud.) (This is the girl who worries for hours, and feels guilty eating her dinner, if she even SEES a homeless person or someone begging on the exit ramps.)

Her teacher caught wind of some of these arguments, and started to have a nice talk about how American democracy works and how likely it is that in any given election just <50% of people will be unhappy and just >50% of people will be happy. I was thinking, as O.D. reported this, that this was such a wonderful opportunity to talk about differences of opinion and our responsibility to respect them, about reasonable discourse and discussion, about what a privilege it was to vote for our leaders and to be able to talk freely about that vote before and after. Rather, she went right from her first, reasonable point, to this: We are so lucky to live in the best country on the planet.

Yeah, that should help.

05
Nov
12

never again

Bought a hooded tunic from what I believed to be a high-quality catalogue, made from what I believed to be a high-quality fabric. Wore it for 10 minutes, found a hole in the shoulder.

Here is me, working with someone in customer service at Blue Canoe, trying to get an exchange: (Warning: Don’t start down this road unless you have a lot of time.)

 

10-17

Dear Customer Service–

 I have a problem with my order. One of the items – the V-Neck Hooded Tunic (Item #M526-LEA) has a hole in the shoulder.

I would like an exchange, but am more than a little concerned about the quality of this item, especially considering its cost.

Can you advise me on whether this is an anomaly, or if I should just return it?

 

10-19

Hello —

I asked the owner Yes, it’s an anomaly.  We do have quality control and try to catch flaws, please send back the item.

Thank you,

Blue Canoe

 

Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 11:49 AM

To: Blue Canoe
Subject: Re: Order #1—
It’s on its way. I do love the garment — can you reserve a replacement for it?
Thank you.

 

On Oct 19, 2012, at 5:04 PM, Blue Canoe wrote:

Currently, we have M526-LEA Small (1), Medium(1),  Large (1), & XL 3). But, we are suppose to re-stock today, but I don’t see new number in the system yet. No, Blue Canoe can not guarantee that the next V-neck Hooded Tunic will not have a hole.  Here at Customer Service, we do not have access to the Warehouse to eye-ball and check items before they ship. Quality Control does its best to check by batch.  But, you are welcome to return the item if you find another flaw.  Hopefully, if you do re-order there will be no flaw when you receive and view the V-Neck Hooded Tunic
Blue Canoe

 

Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 2:55 PM
To: Blue Canoe
Subject: Re: Order #1—
I had the Large in the green.
Can you automatically generate an exchange when you receive it from me, or do I need to do something else?

 

On Oct 19, 2012, at 6:00 PM, Blue Canoe wrote:

I can include an exchange when I receive your M526-LEA-L in the mail.
What Size in the exchange do you want?  Another M526-LEA-L?   or a different size?

 

Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 3:04 PM
To: Blue Canoe
Subject: Re: Order #1—
Large please. 
Thank you.

 

On Oct 19, 2012, at 6:25 PM, Blue Canoe wrote:

Okay,  I’ll make a note M526-LEA-L. when I get your return order in the mail.

Blue Canoe Customer Service

 

Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:00 PM

To: Blue Canoe

Subject: Re: Order #1—

Hi there-

Just checking to see if you have received my return and/or processed the exchange. (I was hoping to have the top for a trip I’m leaving on tomorrow. . . No sign of it yet.)

 

On Oct 30, 2012, at 2:13 PM, Blue Canoe wrote:

It looks like your CC was credited $99.11 (which includes $4.16 Refund Shipping Cost for Return Flawed Hole In Shoulder of V-Neck Hood) on Oct. 24th 2012.  [it wasn’t] But, I don’t see a order put in for another M526-LEA-L.  I don’t think any delivery package will get to you (even in RUSH order) because of remenance [sic] of Superstorm Sandy.

Inventory shows M526-LEA-L  (3 in-stock). Do you still want that order item put in?

Blue Canoe Customer Service

 

Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:19 PM

To: Blue Canoe

Subject: Re: Order #1—

I do — from your previous email (cited below) I thought you were going to process an exchange right away.

On Oct 30, 2012, at 3:28 PM, Blue Canoe wrote:

I can explain how it was overlooked.  I did check your order profile and a exchange order was not entered. If you still want the V-Neck Hoody, let me know.

Blue Canoe Customer Service

 [Does this explain anything? It doesn’t seem so , but maybe it’s just me.]

 

Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:34 PM

To: Blue Canoe

Subject: Re: Order #1— 

I do.

 

On October 31, 2012, Blue Canoe wrote:

I will add M526-LEA-L  as soon as our system is up. Currently, it’s down.  I will let you know when it is reserved.

Blue Canoe Customer Service

 

Sent: Friday, November 02, 2012 3:15 PM

To: Blue Canoe

Subject: Re: Order #1—

I am not seeing this credit on my account. Was it cancelled out by the exchange? Or am I missing something?

On Nov 5, 2012, at 11:09 AM, Blue Canoe wrote:

Hello ,

I have sent an email to the person who does the charging out & refund crediting. I see in out order system that it has already credited $99.11 on Oct 24th including your $4.16 for Return Shipping Cost.  Transactions sometimes take time in entering into our payment system depending on who’s charging & crediting (is in the order of) but I have sent the email to the person who handles this and hopeful will her from soon.

Your credit of $99.11 – I see no notes on the credit being applied to your exchange order for the M526-LEA-L V-Neck Hoody.   Did you want it the credit to be applied to your exchange order?   I don’t recall you specifying for it to be applied to your exchange order.  Otherwise, I would have noted.  Please let me know.  Otherwise, my co-worker will credit the $99.11 & $4.16. to your current card and your exchange order will be charged for the exchange order.

Thanks,

Blue Canoe

Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 8:31 AM

To: Blue Canoe

Subject: Re: Order #1—

I would prefer an exchange. I just want to be sure what I get credited equals what I get charged.

 

 

Sent: November 5, 2012

$94.95  Is your order Amount for the M526-LEA-M  –  V-Neck Hoody

Our company usually takes the return credit and apply it to the exchange order.

Your Credit is    $99.11  (Credit)

$94.95  (Order Amount)

$ 4.16   (Remaining Credit)   You Don’t have to Use Your Credit Card To Purchase Your Exchange.

Is that okay with you. Or, do you still want us to credit your credit card $94.95 + $4.16(Return Ship Cost) separately from your exchange order. Meaning will we charge your card (without using return credit) for the exchange order. Applying the credit is usually customary.  But, if you want to see the actual credit return to your credit card I can ask for that.  That charge your card for the exchange order.

Blue Canoe Customer Service

 

 

SERIOUSLY? Clearly this “customer service” person is in another country — the grammar misusages sound like somewhere Asian.  This doesn’t seem like something that should be this difficult.

Sheesh. And never again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05
Nov
12

But it’s not just that one thing

“I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, ‘My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.’”

It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you “disagree” with your candidate on these issues.”

from Dough Wright, found on “Raising My Rainbow

05
Nov
12

Really stunning animal photography. And I want to know who got close enough to get that picture of the sleeping wolf.

Quieter Elephant

”     “. Yup – that’s me speechless again!

25 Most Beautiful Animals Photography on StumbleUpon | Beautiful Animals.

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