Thursday, September 29, 2005

Reboot

Sunday: Migraine starts. Proceeds to last for 30 hours.

Tuesday: Wake up at noon. Stay awake for 25 hours.

Wednesday: Fall asleep at 1 pm.

Thursday: Wake up at 3 pm.

Um. I'm feeling disoriented. And yeah, very rested.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More little boxes

Quiz du jour is What's your theological worldview?

Hmm...not sure how well this one fits. Especially the evangelism part. (Sounds too much like Amway to me.)

But they got one thing right: I am definitely 0% Fundamentalist. Heh.


You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern


93%

Classical Liberal


79%

Modern Liberal


64%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


50%

Roman Catholic


39%

Neo orthodox


29%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


29%

Reformed Evangelical


18%

Fundamentalist


0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Via Thudfactor.
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Flick-'n-Spell

Check out the new Spell with Flickr:

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DOne Letter / ZuR-is-forE
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Via NewsGrist.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Offered without comment

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I'm just wondering

FEMA has denied federal aid to hurricane victims in Wisconsin. During the month of August, 27 tornadoes touched down in the state, damaging or destroying about 380 homes, and causing an estimated $47 million in damage.

Wisconsin's Governor Jim Doyle is, coincidentally, a Democrat.

I'm wondering how important that fact is. And I'm wondering if FEMA is making the political decision to transfer the financial burden for disaster recovery from the federal level to the state level in order to burden the Wisconsin state budget. And I'm wondering if, when Doyle is up for re-election in 2006, Wisconsin Republicans are going to complain about "mis-management of the hurricane" and "financial irrepsonibility" when they blame Doyle for FEMA's partisan shenanigans.

I'm just wondering.
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An immodest proposal

According to WaPo, the Virginia Democrats are looking at running Ben Affleck for Senate next year. For real.


I know. That's a bad joke by itself. But keep reading.


I've heard crazy rumours that, in some countries, elected officials are chosen based on their ability to do the job, rather than in high-school style popularity contests.

But in America, high name recognition and good teeth seem to be all you need. (Cf, Reagan, Schwartzenegger, et al.)

So, why not go one better? Why run movie stars for elected office, when we could take a lesson from Italy and run porn stars?


You think I'm kidding, right? But think about it:

Women Dems beat Republican candidates hands down, and the Republicans know it.

Red state America and white males would finally be interested in Democratic candidates.

Republican pundits like O'Reilly and Limbaugh would have a aneurisms due to blood-flow redirection.

Our candidates could do televised wrestling bouts with Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter.

Plus, it is the only way we're ever going to get any number of women and diversity candidates on the ticket.


Granted, name recognition might not be as high as...visual recognition. But maybe we could replace names on the ballots with...pictures...of some sort. Which would also decisively resolve the issue of illiteracy at the ballot box. Replace the poll tax with a pole dance, I say!

Come on, patriots. Propose this to your state steering committee and we can take back the government in '06.

...or we can just sit back and watch Virginia run Ben Affleck for Senate. Make up your own mind about which is more ridiculous.
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7 Things Indeed!

Okay, Dru just tagged me with this, so I'm getting it out of the way before it slips my sieve-like mind. (And Zeeb, I know you hit me with the book thing, oh, about a million years ago. I haven't forgotten. Your patience will be rewarded -- one day.)

Seven things I plan to do before I die

Okay, this list is hard for me, because I'm not in a good place for making plans right now. (Illness and insomnia conspire to preclude making commitments much more than 15 minutes ahead of time.) So many of my goals right now are about picking up parts of my life that my health have put on hold. *sigh* But here goes...

1. Take my husband to Japan and France.
2. Live at one address long enough to unpack.
3. Finally introduce my family to my husband's family in South Carolina.
4. Get back into singing.
5. Get back into acting/theatre sports/improv/dinner theatre.
6. Just once, have a job in an organization that I believe in; which, in return, pays me market rate for my contribution; and which gives me a long enough leash that I can work at my full potential; in a job, that doesn't work me to the point I fall ill.
7. Visit Newfoundland and the Territories.

Seven things I can do
1. Sing the Queen of the Night Aria from The Magic Flute and hit the F above high C.
2. Play piano with my feet.
3. Speak French and Japanese (very, very rusty right now).
4. Touch type - 120 wpm/English; 90 wpm/French.
5. Re-load my .36 caliber Allen Hopkins underhammer black powder rifle in under 45 seconds.
6. Write speeches that make people stand up and cheer.
7. Cross-country ski.

Seven things I can't do
There's all kinds of things that I can do but choose not to do. Trying to come up with things that I just absolutely can't do was a little harder.

1. Vote. (I work in American politics but I'm not a citizen and can't vote here. Drives me nuts.)
2. Maintain normal sleep patterns. (Note the timestamp on this posting.)
3. Follow incompetent leaders.
4. Rollerblade.
5. Tolerate tobacco smoke
6. Hear what's so funny about how I prounounce "out and about"
7. Sit through cheesey Hollywood rip-offs of international films

Seven things that attract me to people of the opposite (and same) sex
1. Compassion
2. Humour
3. Brilliance
4. Passion (for anything)
5. Awareness of interdependence
6. Open-mindedness
7. Spirit/Sass/Spunk/Courage
8. Bonus! - intellectual curiosity/desire to learn

Seven things I say the most
1. It's very serious.
2. Excellent!
3. Sou desu ka? (Japanese for "Oh, really?" or, "Is that so?" It can be neutral or sarcastic, as in English.)
4. Hooray!
5. Ocha o kudasai/houjicha o kudasai (Japanese for "could you get me some (green) tea/could you get me a cup of hoji tea?")
6. You are a bug! (to my husband, of course)
7. references to grinding up poor people to make into sausages

Seven celebrity crushes
1. Jon Stewart
2. Andre Braugher
3. Roberto Bennini
4. Hugo Chavez
5. Aung San Suu Kyi
6. Paul Krugman
7. Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce

Seven crush-worthy bloggers
1. Dru
2. Ian
3. Terrance
4. Kenton
5. Ellen
6. Jeanne
7. Zeebah

So, do consider yourselves tagged, and pass this one on. :)
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

What have I done...

I find any kind of random generator infinitely amusing. Thanks to Spit Noodle & Joey, I just came across this fabulous Alanis Morissette lyric generator.

I think my first try came out rather catchy.
"Why"

Bad drivers, "support our troops" stickers, gas guzzlers
Why God, Why?
"support our troops" stickers, suburban assault vehicles, vanity license plates
Why God, Why?

What have I done to deserve this red horror?
Surrounded on all sides with the Hell of vanity license plates
Like a Graham Green character, I'm wordy and alone
Why God, Why?

High-speed sheep, bad drivers, Republicans on wheels
Why God, Why?
Vanity license plates, Republicans on wheels, gas guzzlers
Why God, Why?

What have I done to deserve this red disaster that is my life?
Surrounded on all sides with the Hell of vanity license plates
Like a Graham Green character, I'm wordy and alone
Why God, Why?

What have I done to deserve this red misery?
Surrounded on all sides with the Hell of vanity license plates
Like a Graham Green character, I'm wordy and alone
Why God, Why?

Why God, Why?
Why God, Why?
Why God, Why?
Why God, Why?
The generator entitled it "Why," but I'm inclined to re-title it "Ode to Texas."
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Stop me if you've heard this one

Q How does the Vatican observe the death of Simon Wiesenthal?

A By obstructing the UN War Crimes Tribunal's hunt for a Croatian war criminal!

Ba dum ching!

*sigh*
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What's wrong with this (moving) picture?

Disclaimer: it is 3:00 a.m., so this definitely qualifies as insomnia blogging. The following news article is creeping me out, but I am not wide awake enough to articulate why. I'm hoping you'll take a stab at it, while I do my best to sleep on it.
Hollywood Marketing Films Through Churches

(...)The Walt Disney Co. is marketing "The Greatest Game Ever Played" to faith-based groups even though the film, about Francis Ouimet's improbable win in the 1913 U.S. Open, isn't overtly religious.

(...)Other major studios have undertaken similar marketing for films that aren't about God, including the recent father-son story "The Thing About My Folks" and even the dark drama "The Exorcism of Emily Rose."

(...)Twentieth Century Fox, which distributed the video of "The Passion," recently launched a Web site http://www.foxfaith.com to target Christian and family-based films directly to a religious audience.

The site includes a "church resources" link, which lists several movies and includes written guidance suggesting Bible verses to discuss in conjunction with scenes from the films.

Great. Now, if I get to sleep at all, I'm going to have nightmares about Mickey Mouse and the Pope holding hands and singing advertising jingles.

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Continuing Edumacation I

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Continuing Edumacation II

Okay, seriously now, I came across the Emergency Preparedness Training for Leaders (in British Columbia) while following some links on Canadian websites about the pending Avian Flu Pandemic. (Yes, Melanie, some of us are listening to you.)

And, my wanders brought me to the Canadian Federal Government's Emergency Preparedness & Response Training Catalogue.

I am completely jealous. I wish I was back home in BC and I could start working through these courses.

I'm one of those people who is calm in a crisis that everyone else turns to when things go haywire. It is probably safer for all of us if I know what I'm doing.

So, now that I'm down in the States, where do I start? Realistically, I'm not looking at classes in the immediate future: for one thing, I'm too sick; and for another, I don't want to bump someone who is taking training that they intend to apply immediately during the storm season. I realize that the Red Cross offers some classes. Who else does down here?
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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bin ich denn nicht schnell

We watched Wings of Desire via Netflix tonight. I saw it on its original release in France in 1987--with a French audio track. (In my mind/heart, the film is neither "Wings of Desire," nor "Der Himmel über Berlin", but rather as "Les Ailes du désir.")

I remember being rivetted by the film the first time around, the etherial sound track, the striking visuals, the luminous quality of the black and white scenes. I was excited to see it again 18 (!) years later (where did those years go?), and share it with The Husband--now with original German/English audio.

The unexpected treasure of watching the film on DVD this time was the added feature about the making of the film, with interview footage of Wim Wenders, Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Peter Handke, and Jürgen Knieper. I hadn't already known that the movie was such a huge collaborative effort, nor that it came together in such an unconventional fashion. (In the cosmology of leash-less film productions, this is surely the yin that balances the yang of Apocolypse Now.) I wish in some ways we had watched this feature first; even if it contains spoilers, I think it would have added a greater depth of interest in the film for my husband, particularly watching it as an actor.

Because the feature was created by MGM, it included some gratuitous clips with Brad Silberling, the director of the cheap Hollywood knockoff/Meg Ryan vehicle, City of Angels. Sorry, but Ryan is no Solveig Dommartin. (I wish I could get my hands on more of Dommartin's work. My eyes are peeled.) I would have been just as happy to be spared Silberling's "insights."

When I was singing in Montreal in the late 80's/early 90's, I belonged to a number of small groups that performed the world debut of new compositions by Montreal performers. Kneiper's score reminded me of some of those works--at the same time that he made them look structured and formal.

Watching the movie tonight, I fell in love all over again with Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander. I wasn't suprised to learn that Wenders cast them because they were friends, and had come up through theatre together. Their screen chemistry is spectacular. They come across, in the film and in the off-screen interviews, like the kind of people that are a joy to perform with (as long as you can keep up with the pace).

So after the movie I was thinking, "Bruno Ganz...Bruno Ganz...where has his name come up recently...?"

Ach. I can be so nicht schnell.

Ganz, of course, brilliantly portrays Hitler in Der Untergang/Downfall. There is not a mantlepiece in the universe big enough to support the awards that this film deserves to win, firstly but not exclusively for Ganz's performance.

I suppose I can be forgiven for not connecting Ganz's angelic Damiel of 1987 with his portrayal of Hitler almost 20 years later.

Still, one does hope to be a little more schnell.
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Monday, September 19, 2005

No blogging here folks, move right along

I went to bed last night with great intentions of writing dancing in my head (I think it was a rhumba), but woke up this morning (eventually) to the lassitude that accompanies blood pressure of 90/60. (The doc got out his spygmomamoter and checked it for me today.)

So the day transpired in a fashion more horizontal than vertical (with elevated legs), but not a lot of writing, thinking, or anything else that presupposes bloodflow to the brain.

We'll try again tomorrow.
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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sickening Beyond Belief Redux

In Sickening Beyond Belief, Ian explores the first-hand reports of Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter, who was ordered to leave a woman to die by a federal official who wouldn't let him help.

Dr. Perlmutter's account is not an isolated incident. It is, however, a microcosm of the systematic problems with the government's performance in the hurricane areas.

I've read numerous similar account by other individuals, especially by doctors, and also by undertakers who volunteered to help identify bodies (for free, naturally)--but the feds prefer to spend budget dollars to hand out inflated porkbarrel contracts to Republican supporters than accept the free services of Americans who just want to help. I didn't keep track of all the links at the time, but here are a sample of other articles I bookmarked that reflect the same kind of attitudes at a macro level:
Bush Rejects Venezuelan Aid

US Stalls, Delays, Rejects foreign Aid Offers

US Customs Tells Workers to Stop Helping FEMA

Navy Pilots Who Rescue People Are Reprimanded

FEMA Deploys 1000 Firefighters -- to Pass Out PR Flyers
Note, incidentally, that none of these reports come from tinfoilhat.com -- this is all from established corporate media sources. There are too many similar news reports of volunteers being blocked, food and goods being rejected, human resources being squandered, offers of aid and assistance being ignored. These links are a few days old, but the stories keep coming out day after day after day.

The Republican's philosophy is to exploit government for their own personal profit--and to hell with the rest of us. It doesn't matter who drowns, who dies, who's displaced--as long as, at the end of the day, a Republican can make a buck out of the tragedy.

The problem right now isn't individual incidents: it is a pattern of strategic incompetence, deliberate neglect, and exploitation that enters the realm of necrophilia. That there are Americans today who support George Bush, trust the GOP, or are prepared to call this debacle anything other than a deliberate genocide campaign...baffles me, saddens me, and sickens me beyond belief.
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Red Cross Whitewashes for Bush

On Friday night, I went to the Richmond debut of Cry Wolf, a surprisingly good, independent horror/suspense movie that was filmed here in Richmond. (Thanks to my Virginia blogging colleague Waldo Jaquith for the heads up on the film.) The trailers for the film included an ad that showed warm and fuzzy pictures of people, in a strategically-chosen range of skin-tones and ages, with the following voiceover:
There is a place where a total stranger will give you their blood.
A place where someone you never knew, will save your child from drowning.
Where a person, who doesn't look like you, talk like you, or dress like you, will give you shelter, after a flood.
That place is called America
...where we look out for each other.
When you help the American Red Cross, you help America.
It is a nice fairy tale where everyone in America holds hands and lives happily ever after. It is also a pack of lies.

I am DISGUSTED that the Red Cross is using donor-dollars to aid and abet the White House's whitewash job on the death and destruction the government has perpetuated in New Orleans and the rest of Katrina's target zone.

Because there is a place, where a corrupt Republican government will cut the Army Corps of Engineer's budget so they can't repair the levees in advance and keep a city safe; where a corrupt Republican government will fill critical emergency management positions with inept political hacks and frat boy buddies who can't do their jobs in a crisis when real people are depending on them; where RED CROSS can't even get in to help because because a corrupt Republican government's broke-back version of FEMA announces a Red Cross presence will make people "want to stay" in the toxic flood waters, without electricity, food, potable water, or safe shelter; where if you're poor and especially if you're poor and African American you can watch your child drown, or your baby starve, or your grandma die from a lack of medical attention, because a corrupt Republican government is blocking aid workers and supplies from entering the disaster area, while failing to evacuate car-less residents, and preventing at gun-point you and your family from walking out. THIS is America.

When you swallow and regurgitate the lies, you help Bush and his Republican cronies propagate the same corruption of the government, destruction of the country, and assault on American citizens.

Shame on the Red Cross for doing Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie's dirty work.


You can view the ad yourself here. Scroll down to the 30-second version of the ad entitled: "There is a Place."
If you watch the ad, you'll notice that the juxtaposition of the images with the voiceover are worthy of their own deconstruction (people of colour = "others," white children = "the kind of children that we save", African-American children = "need looking out for," middle-class/affluent Caucasian = "people who do the saving"). Time permitting, I'm planning on a scene-by-scene image analysis later in the week.
I hope you'll also send your feedback on the Red Cross joining the propaganda arm of the RNC:

Red Cross Advertising Department
Marin Graney - (202) 303-4426; GraneyM@usa.redcross.org
Andrea Bigner - (202) 303-4220; BignerA@usa.redcross.org

American Red Cross National Headquarters
Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO
Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman
2025 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 303-4498
online contact form
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Friday, September 16, 2005

National False Worship Day

Last week Bush declared today to be national Katrina prayer day.

I have to admit, I was surprised. Not that he'd done it (it smacks of Rove), but that he *could.* I didn't know that "by virtue of the authority vested in the president by the Constitution and laws of the United States," that he had the ability to create new national religious holidays. Or lead state religious services.

Robert Parham's EthicsDaily.com article goes back to that old texutal authority, the Bible, to compare Bush's thoughts on national prayer with the prophet Amos (via Jesus Politics).
"What then would Amos say about a national day of prayer?

The text about feasts and solemn assemblies in the context of a message about social injustice gives us a straightforward answer. Amos would condemn a national day of prayer, if it is severed from a commitment to do justice.

He would likely see a nationalistic piety as false worship, offering comfort but not justice. For Amos, justice today would mean a transformative faith in a sinful world. Justice means practicing fairness in the market place, working for an equitable society, empowering the poor, protecting for the powerless and pushing rich Christians to adjust downward their lifestyles."
Translation: it's not "christian" if you talk the talk but don't walk the walk. And "comfort without justice" sums up the Bush "shop for the sake of the nation" Administration in a nutshell.

The prophet Amos lived, coincidentally, during a time when the gulf between rich and poor was widening. The major themes of the Book of Amos include crazy, radical, unamerican ideas like: social justice and concern for the disadvantaged; the idea that Israel's covenant with Yahweh did not exempt them from his standards of morality; and Yahweh as god and judge of all nations--instead of a pompom-wielding god cheering for one nation over another.

I wonder if Bush has ever read the Book of Amos? But hey, he's a busy guy--after all, being president is hard work. He probably treats religious texts the way he treats the news--gets the people around him to read it, filter it, and explain it to him. Because the man can certainly quote scripture when it serves his purposes--or Karl Rove's. Maybe it is just that his version of the Bible seems different than mine.

Maybe the clue lies when Bush describes the "greatest compassion" as "to love your neighbor as yourself." Because, can Bush truly love himself? In his heart of hearts, does the man even like himself? He's been a failure, all his life, at everything he does. He bullies and belittles those closest to him. He may have cronies but I can't imagine he has many friends--in the sense of people he trusts, and isn't afraid of on some level. He has an oddly, Oedipally, competitive relationship with his father. He knows that all of his public accomplishments have been stolen, not earned--engineered by his father, or his family friend, or the Supreme court. On Maslow's scale, he seems to be somewhere in the sub-basement. And, he knows that his cynical abuse of scripture, according the tenets of his publically professed religion, condemn him to some mighty retribution.

Substance abusers often have a death wish, although it may be subliminal (a fact that advertisers exploit in targeting alcohol advertisements to alcoholics). Perhaps the same self-loathing that fueled his track record of substance abuse is now playing out on a larger scale, where the nation is conflated with the self he is destructing--the lingering death of the "royal we." Perhaps his criminal negligence of hundreds of thousands of people in New Orleans is a demonstration of the same kind of 'love' that he does show himself--loathing, and violence, and destruction.

Or, to quote Sidney Blumenthal, "In Bush's own evangelical language, he [has] revealed his heart."

Am I the only one whom Bush reminds of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or tax collector) (Luke 18:9-14)?
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

12
I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

13
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

14
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Granted, the Pharisee doesn't actually say "God Bless America," but nonetheless, I still find the passage somehow evocative.

Have a nice National False Worship Day.

And please get some publicans to pray for George and the rest of us.

Amen.
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Jim Moran calls for Special Investigation of Bush Lies

VA Congressman Jim Moran is part of a Congressional Coalition calling out Bush on his lies.

Forty-One Members Of Congress Ask Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald To Examine Bush Administration's False Uranium Claims That Led To Disclosure Of CIA Operative's Identity To Determine If Additional Federal Laws Were Broken

The Coalition has asked U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the Special Prosecutor of the leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame's identity to see if additional laws were broken when Bush lied to Congress about Iraq obtaining uranium ("yellow cake") from Niger to make weapons of mass destruction.

When Ambassador Joseph Wilson publicly exposed Bush's lies about the Iraq-Niger connection, the White House retaliated to discredit him by exposing the identity of Wilson's wife, CIA Agent Valerie Plame. Essentially, the Coalition is asking Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald to expand the scope of his investigation to include examining the causes behind the exposure of Plame's identity.

Federal law prohibits making false and fraudulent statements to Congress. When Bush mentioned the false Iraq-Niger connection during his 2003 State of the Union Address before Congress, it is possible that he violated Federal law.

This link goes to the Coalition's press release, as well as their letter to Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald (scroll down), which details the laws that Bush Administration officials possibly violated.




1. In political terms, the timing of this request couldn't be better.

2. I don't know enough about the mechanics of Special Investigations to speculate on the likelihood of the Coalition's request being granted. I'm guessing that the more public pressue that is brought to bear, the higher the chances that the scope of the investigation will be expanded. So, please contact your Congressional Representative to support this request. And, thank your Rep if he or she was part of the coalition:
Congressmen Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01)
John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14)
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-04)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Michael M. Honda (CA-15)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10)
Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Jim McDermott (WA-07)
James P. McGovern (MA-03)
Cynthia McKinney (GA-04)
Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14)
Doris Matsui (CA-05)
George Miller (CA-07)
James P. Moran (VA-08)
Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Richard E. Neal (MA-02)
Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06)
Donald M. Payne (NJ-10)
Charles B. Rangel (NY-15)
Martin Olav Sabo (MN-05)
Bernard Sanders (VT-AL)
Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
José E. Serrano (NY-16)
Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Hilda L. Solis (CA-32)
Fortney Pete Stark (CA-13)
Edolphus Towns (NY-10)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)
David Wu (OR-01)
Albert R. Wynn (MD-04)
I'll certainly be thanking Congressman Moran, and following up with my new Congressman, Bobby Scott, to ask him to support the request. (I have a feeling that the 42nd "unrecognizable signature" on the letter might just be Scott.)

3. NY Representative Maurice Hinchey is the leader of the Coalition and his office seems to be coordinating press on this. To stay up to day, keep an eye on Hinchey's Newsroom.

So, will this be the fatal crack in the levee for the Bush administration that sets their downfall in motion?

Again, I wish I knew much more about how Special Investigations operate. But I am very, very interested in this story. It reminds me of the famous mob investigations--to take the laws you have, and you wield them like a hammer.

It is good to see Democrats fight back.
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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Personal Soundtrack

Now, first of all, I don't want a personal soundtrack. Or rather, not again.

One Christmas, when I was home for the holidays from McGill, my younger brother offered (threatened) to "be" my personal soundtrack as my present. He's an incredibly talented musician (and graphic designer, not that it's relevant--I'm just hugely proud of him), so I thought it sounded like a good deal.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

He followed me around with a guitar, improvising music, starting first thing in the morning. I think we started with some Faure-esque "waking up music" (note: I'm not a morning person), followed by some very dramatic, Spanish Flameco-style "tooth-brushing music". I also got my very own theme motif, for my "entrance music", also very dramatic of course, for EVERY TIME I walked into a new room in the house. Including the hallways.

I think we lasted about 30 minutes, and got as far as "pouring milk on cereal music," before it got waaaaaaaaaaay too annoying. More than that, it was impossible to function when we were all laughing.

I may have the chronology wrong, but this may have been the year *after* I bruised up like a car-wreck from having my wisdom teeth out over the holidays, and he wrote me my own song called "I am a Panda."

At any rate, the moral of the story is: Personal Soundtracks are a BAD idea.

However, IF I were in the market for a personal soundtrack, and my fabulously talented brother wasn't available, my next choice would clearly be The Liberal Avenger. TLA has some music up on his site that has been blowing my mind.

(I haven't been around the blogosphere for a while, so the music and the new site design are delightful surprises.)

At any rate, if you'd like to here some hypnotic Algerian pop or a new (to me) Anglo/Arab/Belge chanteuse, get thee over to his site. I've had Au Fond De La Nuit on repeat for a few days, and I find it mezmerizing.
What about songs that sum you up? Do you have a theme song or a song you identify with?

I don't know what *other* people might pick for me (er, other than dramatic tooth-brushing Flameco music, obviously), but I've always identified with Cat Steven's "Hard Headed Woman" (which is sort of the yang flip side to Stan Roger's "Witch of the Westmoreland", or, for that matter, Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne", both songs that I love, especially Nina Simone's cover of "Suzanne"). And, I would like to live up to Diamanda Galas's rendition of "I'm gonna live the life (I sing about in my songs)"...even if that is more a goal than a reality too much of the time.

Leaving your cornflake music out of the equation, what's "your" song?

And now, back to blissing out on Gnawa Diffusion....
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How America Fails the Poor at the Polls

In a discussion of the American Underclass, BOP Reader Ralph Slate commented:
"I agree with everything you say is true. I do not like living in a society where something you did, or failed to do, 2, 3, 5, 10, or even 20 years ago is a barrier to your success. However, there is one tool that poor people consistently fail to use. It's the voting booth."
I don't know that they "fail" to use this tool so much as they fail to surmount the obstacles deliberately created to prevent them from voting.

Ian Welsh tangentially touched on this in his original article, actually: incarceration.

I live right now in one of the half-dozen states of the union where felons have their voting rights permanently revoked. In states where ex-felons may appeal for restoration of their voting rights, the appeal process is often Byzantine, as well as under-publicized: many people do not know the restoration of their voting rights is even possible. Consider at the colour bias in the judicial system, and the class bias, and you will see that these practices disproportionately disenfranchise the poor, African Americans, and Hispanics.

Another factor outside of Ian's article that strongly contributes to low electoral participation by the poor is deliberate vote suppression--a perennial tactic of the Republican party.

For example:
  • telling Republicans to vote on Tuesday (election day) and Democrats to vote on Wednesday;

  • telling voters that immigration officials will be at the polls and will deport on the spot their *family* members if they don't have proper ID;

  • telling voters that if they have a criminal record of any kind or are behind on child support payments they will be barred from voting and/or arrested.

    These tactics are generally accomplished through fliers or sound trucks. Voter intimidation can be as simple as large numbers of uniformed law enforcement personnel at the polls--in a community where a police offer is regarded as an adversary rather than an ally.

    Funny thing is...Republicans hold their vote suppression campaigns in neighborhoods that are poor and colored. You don't see this stuff for some reason in Martha's Vineyard.

    And if you find it all implausible, think about the quality of your education...and compare it to the kind of neglected, under-funded public education systems that Ian wrote about. Look at the demographic and geographic breakdown of American's national 20% illiteracy rate while you're at it, too. One of the strongest "lessons" of the current American education system seems to be "don't question authority." Why should poor voters "know" to vote when authority figures tell them to stay home?

    I have to be honest: if I couldn't read well enough to understand a newspaper; if I was working part-time jobs at Wal-mart and the Waffle House to try to feed my family; if I couldn't afford the time away from work to go and vote and expected to lose the job that pays my rent if I tried it; and I was facing the prospect of being arrested or having my parents deported in exchange for the honor of choosing at the polls between two rich white guys whose track records showed they didn't know or care that I existed and didn't have a clue of how I lived...I don't know how hard I'd try to vote. I don't know how pumped up I'd feel about my civic duty. I don't know that I would feel like a valuable part of the democratic process. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that facing a choice between casting a vote and feeding my children, I'd put my children first--and keep trying to tread water, and hope they catch a break that I never will.

    In fact, the other "funny thing," is that the states with the strongest policies of disenfranchising felons...are Republican dominated states.

    It is the poll tax all over again, my friend.

    Republicans want the only votes in this country to be cast by fat, comfortable, snow-white Americans who can be convinced that rocking the boat might threaten their status quo of getting and spending in the guilt-free bliss of willful ignorance.

    The low election turnout by the poor is the direct result of deliberate Republican disenfranchisement policies (and politics). Please don't believe for a minute it's because the poor are "failing" to make things better for themselves.

    We are failing the poor.



  • Update: cross-posted, with excellent contributions in the comments, at BOP News
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    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Spatial Profiling

    The husband and I went to Costco together for the first time on the weekend. (Saturday was a big day, my first full day out of the house in months. I'm still tired. But, it was a good day.)

    The "greeter" at the doorway asked to see our membership card before granting us entry, but didn't seem to be stopping anyone else.

    When we got inside, I noticed that we were individually (and for that matter, collectively), several hundred pounds lighter than almost every other patron in the establishment.

    I suspect the guard thought we were too puny to be members. I don't know.
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    I blog from...isolation

    Always slow on the uptake when it comes to myself, it only just occurred to me that part of how and why I blog is out of isolation and loneliness.

    In the past 4 1/2 years, I have spent 8 months working outside the house, and the rest of the time I have either been working from home, or at home too sick to work. (Quantifying things is clearly dangerous--it all looks much more serious and frightening reading those numbers than just living it.)

    Right now, I go for months at a time where the only people I see are my husband and my doctor. Quite often the only time I leave the house is to go to the doctor. (Think "house arrest," sans the rebel glamour.)

    I've always been solitary by nature, and a book worm...but I guess 4 1/2 years of this is catching up even with me.

    At different points in my past, healthier points in my life obviously, I've had the pleasure to be a part of really vibrant, dynamic communities: my music friends in Montreal, my theater friends in Kelowna, the expat professional network in Japan and the international gang in Fukuyama, the great regulars at Vancouver Opera, the academic/singing/orchestra/opera crowd in Victoria, the grassroots activists in Northern Virginia. They were all literate, passionate, talented people--and a helluva lot of fun to spend time with. A foundation of our friendships was that we all created together.

    And now, all of you recreate that community for me.

    I'm afraid I don't have the physical strength to underpin the emotional resources to deal with people face to face very much these days--my outer shell is to friable to bear the weight of someone else's bad mood, layoff, divorce, lab results. It is like chronic illness strips away the carapace.

    Instead, I enjoy so many people that I "know" online. I've had the chance to meet a handful of "blog people" in person, but most of you I only know through your writing.

    And you know what? I adore you. :) I feel like I know you. You make me laugh and you make me think--often harder than my brain wants to right now. Which is good for me.

    If I were ever to be stranded in the Himalayas or on a desert island, or trapped on a cross-country greyhound bus trip, I'd cross my fingers and hope, "Let it be with Ellen! or Zeebah! or Dru or Umair or Terrance or Doug!" Or any one of a host of the other people I read regularly (when I'm reading regularly) and so greatly enjoy.

    Just an epiphany of appreciation, that I wanted to share.


    Why do you blog? Do you know?

    It took me over a year to figure it out for myself....

    The received wisdom seems to be that bloggers blog out of arrogance or self-importance. I rather doubt that is true in many cases, especially with the bloggers I especially like.

    I wonder if you even know why you blog. I'd be curious to hear your reasons, if you'd care to share. And if you know.


    I wandered of on this philosophical bent this morning after reading a post by Zataod at ZenDreaming where he writes his impressions of another blogger.
    Zataod's list:

    1. I'll respond with a random thought I have about you.

    2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.

    3. I'll pick a flavor of jello (i may go with a dessert) to wrestle with you in.

    4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me (or so we think).

    5. I'll tell you my first memory of you.

    6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
    The post made me realize that, while I don't necessarily think of all of you in these particular terms (I don't eat jello), that I do have strong impressions of you, based on what and how you write.

    So, if anyone wants to play, I'm game. Leave a note in the comments and I'll jello you. ;) Very gracious, of course, if you return the favor.

    Isn't part of blogging, after all, a big game of "pay attention to me?" So let me lavish you with attention already. :)
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    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    The Techs Are On Our Side

    I love technical people. I just lov'em. I was a tech recruiter for years and I married a world-class programmer/hacker.

    Why do I love techs so much?

    Check out the CNN page on Bush's "big" apology. It's not about the page content, it's about the URL:

    http://www.cnn.com/#hellfrezesover%3Cbr%20/%3E.

    [Update. Apparently, the CNN has already changed the page content. Click on the Link before changes the URL too. You know they will. Any bets on how long it lasts?]

    Many thanks to maurinsky at Laughing Wild for the heads up.
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    Getting Real About Impeachment

    There are great cries to impeach Bush appearing all over blogs and even in the press.


    How The Impeachment Process Works:

    1. The House of Representatives must first pass "articles of impeachment" by a simple majority.


    2. The Senate tries the accused. In order to convict the accused, a two-thirds majority of the Senators present is required.

    Bush could fornicate with Satan live on Fox and the Republican party, as things stand, would not impeach Bush. Once again, America, this is not about "high crimes and misdemeanors"--it is about partisan politics.
    So, to get rid of Bush before 2008, the task is twofold:

    1. Take back Congress -- or, at least enough seats to make an impeachment possible. (Half of the House. Two thirds of the Senate.)


    This isn't easy. I don't know if it is possible. But if you want to make it happen, start TODAY. Don't wait for election day in 2006--get involved with your upcoming

    House and Senate races NOW--donate, volunteer, get involved in any way you can.
    2. Dilute Brand GOP.

    Right now, the Republican party embraces Bush. Don't let the Katrina debacle be pinned on Bush alone. Tar the entire Republican party with the same brush. Hang the criminal negligence on all of them.

    In other words, make it worth their while to choose to divorce themselves from Bush.


    The most obvious way they can announce that divorce to their constituents, to the country and to the world is to support a Bush impeachment.

    Short version: wishful thinking isn't going to give you an impeachment. If you want to get rid of Bush, roll up your sleeves and work for it.
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    To cure Shaula Evans, successfully take over the free world.

    What can I say? I love all thinks absurd:

    What kind of disease are you?

    via
    Brutal Women
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    FEMA Org Chart Adventures

    I got very curious, when I read in RJ Eskow's article at The Broad View that The West Coast FEMA Director position is vacant.

    I did some digging on the FEMA website to investigate further, and found that out of the 10 FEMA regional offices, only two are headed by women...

    ...and both women are in temporary positions.

    That's right--since January 3, 2003, http://www.fema.gov/about/bios/arcuri.shtm">Patricia G. Arcuri has been Acting Regional Director in Region III (which serves DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia). The lady must be good, because she is also her own Deputy Regional Director.

    Plus, since April 2004, Karen E. Armes has been Action Regional Director of Region IX (Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada; in addition to, as a Broad View reader from Yap points out, the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia--no conflict of priorities there at all).

    I have to say I find this more than a little alarming, on several counts:

    1. Gee, it's not like California or DC are at risk for any kind of events that would require action on the part of FEMA. (Hint: think earthquake. Think terrorist attack). And yet, these two post have been officially vacant for over 8 months and 16 months respectively. Plus it looks as though Arcuri is doing double-duty in the top *2* jobs in Region III.

    2. If the women are qualified to hold the jobs, they should have the jobs, full-out. If they aren't qualified, they shouldn't be holding them at all. Is there a glass-ceiling at FEMA? (On top, of course, of the flunkocracy.)

    3. Are the Regional Directors positions symptomatic of a lack of urgency in hiring for other areas of FEMA?

    No answers here, only questions, I'm afraid. The more light we shine on FEMA, the scarier it gets.
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    Belated MultiBlogging News

    Ellen Dana Nagler, whom I know originally from BOP and whom I had the great pleasure of finally meeting in New York last fall at the Morning After Conference, has kindly invited me to join the contributors at The Broad View.

    I haven't forgotten, Ellen! I'm not all that bloggy right now, althought I seem to be gaining steam. I'm working on some Broad-View-Worthy pieces on the back burner.

    In the meantime, I hope Tsuredzuregusa readers will join me over at The Broad View as well. It is a great blog, and I'm honored to be joining.
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    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    Kaine for Gov signs are ready!

    You can order yours right now:
  • Big Signs (i.e., the mega 4'x8'signs--great for corner lots!)

  • Yard Signs

  • Bumper Stickers
  • Thanks to kathy at MyOwnBackyard for the links.
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    Virginia Blog Carnival

    Brian Patton is hosting the Virginia Blog Carnival, to expose the quality writing produced by our fine Virginia bloggers to a wider readership (and, I hope, to encourage more cross-blog dialog amongst us as well).

    Get all the details at BrianPatton.org--and be sure to send him your submission by 6pm Sunday.
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    Annual Repost

    Here is a repost of something I wrote this time last year (i.e., September 11). I appreciate any suggestions or additions to the list.

    Saturday, September 11, 2004

    Three Things to Do Today

    1. Turn off your tv. And your radio.
    Treat yourself to a régime de jingoisme for one day. Today is a really good day for it.

    2. Go to your public library...
    ...and find out if your local branch is part of the September Project, an international campaign to bring people into public libraries on September 11 to share and discuss about democracy, citizenship, and patriotism through public talks, roundtables, and performances--and register to vote. (And if your library isn't participating this year, you have a whole year to persuade them in time for 2005.)

    Progressives often yearn for a way to raise the level of public discourse. Now's our chance.

    3. Vote with your wallet...
    ...for respect, communication, and support. Go and patronize a locally-owned mom and pop business--run by people of middle eastern descent. There is still massive racial profiling against "arab looking" people (whatever that means), there is violence and discrimination against Muslims, and today is an extra scary day for too many people. Show your neighbors that not everyone is a fascist. I'm off for lunch to a Lebanese restaurant I just found on the edge of my neighborhood. It's just a small, compassionate way to say the whole country isn't built on hate.

    And the bonus round, for the truly brave among us:

    4. Take a book out of the library...
    ...on learning Arabic, or Middle Eastern history, or Islam. Does the thought send a chill down your spine? Because let's be honest: we know that all those books are likely flagged on the FBI's watchlists through the Patriot Act. In discussions on civil liberties and public surveillance, the common defence of the Patriot Act is "but I have nothing to hide...." If you believe that, then go to your library or book store and bring home a book that will put John Ashcroft's knickers in a knot, knowing that your name (and address, and if you buy the book, your credit card number) is winding up on an FBI list or in a file. And if the idea makes you uncomfortable, you may want to rethink your position on civil liberties...and at the same time, go back to that mom and pop business and spend a little extra money.
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    Friday, September 09, 2005

    French Film Festival at our house

    We are possibly the last household on earth to sign up for an account with Netflix.

    I didn't grow up watching a lot of movies, and now to justify the time, I feel compelled to watch foreign films (both because I generally prefer them, and also as an opportunity for language study).

    When I was in college, a group of friends got in the habit of holding our own private film festivals. We'd get together every week and rent films with Bogart, or Fellini Films, or French-language films (three different "festivals" that stick out in my mind.)

    So, our first batch of films up are French language films. Vive le cinema!

    So far, I've queued up some old favourites I am looking forward to sharing with my husband, such as Diva and La Cage aux Folles, as well as some Quebecois films I've wanted to see for some time but haven't found down here, including Black Robe and Les Boys. (And yes, I snuck in all of SCTV, too.)

    [As a side note, why do I love Breathless/A Bout De Souffle? I haven't requested it, because I can't imagine anyone else enjoying it--I do make an effort not to purosely strain the limits of marital indulgence. But I just adore it.]

    I'd love to hear your recommendations on foreign-language films, especially French and Japanese (round 2 will likely be Japanese films).

    A ny other foreign film afficianados out there?
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    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    The Word of the Day is Detainment Camp

    Thanks to the Internet, Eye-Witness Reports are now coming out from the FEMA relocation camps--which are being described as Detainment Camps and Concentration Camps. Please read this photo-documented first-person report in full, from the FEMA Detainment Camp in Falls Creek, Oklahoma:
    The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and "a sum of money" and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months.
    What crimes did the detainees commit to deserve incarceration? They were born poor in America. And they trusted their government.

    What is happening, America? What is happening here on American soil?

    Please keep documenting what is happening. Remember to take a camera, a video camera, or a tape recorder. Shine a light on what is happening.
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    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Best All Time Love Song

    Sharon Cobb at Tangled Up In Blue is asking what is your all time favorite love song?

    Her pick?--The Beatles' "In My Life" (Rubber Soul album).

    My pick?--Stan Rogers' "Fourty Five Years" (Fogerty's Cove album).

    I don't expect many of the readers here, with the exception of a handful of Canadians, have even heard of Stan Rogers. You're missing out.

    And, if you find someone who can sing Fourty Five Years to you/about you sincerely, from the bottom of their heart, marry them on the spot.

    I do/I did...and we couldn't be happier.
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    Somehow I missed this in the local news...

    Virginia Nurses Again Demand Medical Cannabis

    Of course, Nurses are experts in *medicine*...not in getting people (re)elected.

    I won't be holding my breath to see Virginia legislators jump onto this bandwagon.

    Via Last One Speaks
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    For Virginians who want to help

    Gov Warner has set up anexcellent resource page, for volunteering, contributing, and news updates.
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    Keyword Games

    I am amazed at the search engine strings that occasionally bring people to blogs.

    Lately, the googlers and yahoo searchers seem to have outdown themselves.

    From my recent keyword activity logs:

    - "minnesota exorcism" - which goes back to this post

    - god of lottery

    - "parvenu golf bags" (???) - perhaps to be used with johnny-come-lately golf tees and nouveau riche golf clubs

    (Plus a few more disturbing strings that I won't share, but ultimately linked to an article on episiotomies.)

    Also, someone's been googling my name, here in Richmond, VA, plus in Vancouver. Yes, I'm pretty sure I'm the Shaula Evans you're looking for. If you're trying to get in touch, drop me a note in the comments here with how I can contact you (and I'll delete it right away.)
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    Real Help Does Make a Difference

    Outrage isn't enough. Preaching to the choir isn't enough. Blogging isn't going to help evacuees rebuild their lives. If you don't have money to give, you can still help.

    Here is what you can do:

    Open Your Home
    KatrinaShelter.com is a grassroots website using GoogleMaps to hook up individuals and organizations offering shelter with people who need it. Includes info on whether food is included and whether site is FEMA or Red Cross approved.
    [Via Los Blogueros]

    Roll Up Your Sleeves
    Habitat for Humanity is making an emergency appeal for donations to help Habitat partner families affected by Katrina, and has begun planning the long-term recovery and the building of permanent recovery homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Are you as thrilled as I am that Halliburton already has a no-bid contract to pillage New Orleans? Then help with the real reconstruction by helping Habitat build decent, safe, affordable housing.

    Share Your Time
    Volunteer through USA Freedom Corps.

    Give Customer Loyalty Points
    From First Pulse Projects via NewsGrist:

    "Ask the hotel you frequent, such as the Marriott or Holiday Inn, to give your hotel points to an individual or family in need of a stay for a night, a few nights, or longer, depending on how many points you have. Be sure to get confirmation that your points have been applied in that way. Encourage others to do the same. Also inquire if your airline Frequent Flyer mileage can be used for hotel stays as well."
    Make Your Dollars Count
    Charity Navigator has a list of tips to make sure your donations go to a relief organization that is legitimate and effective.
    NetworkforGood has a list of creditable organizations working on the ground in the disaster relief effort can put your donations to work right now.
    If you are planning on donating to the Red Cross, please consider making your contribution through The Liberal Blogs for Hurricane Relief campaign, and post the ad on your own site.

    Don't Forget
    Katrina will fade away from the focus of the attention-deficit media as the latest newsporn fad usurps the spotlight (i.e., as soon as a white woman victim makes the headlines), but the reconstruction efforts will take months if not years, and will require a huge amount of money, supplies, and volunteers. Find a way to make sure that you aren't duped into forgetting the people that the Bush administration abandoned: commit to a planned giving program; promise yourself right now that over the winter holidays, your present-budget will go to a relief charity organization; give your time to evacuees in your area who will be rebuilding their lives away from their communities, families, and support networks.

    Don't buy a bumpersticker. Don't fall for a feel-good panacea. These people desperately need help. Do what you can--and make it count.

    Please share in the comments any other good resources, methods, or organizations to help people make a real difference. Thank you.


    Cross-posted
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    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    The Hottest Thing in Back to School Wear



    T-shirt courtesy of Surrender Martha, Truth courtesy of Kanye West.

    Via Liberal Rage
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    Bush displaces Democrats at his own peril

    Stirling Newberry writes on BOP how Bush ignored FEMA warnings on natural disasters to focus on Iraq--possibly motivated, in part, because FEMA's concerns were about coincidentally Democratic political strongholds.

    Well, I've been thinking about the "breaking up democratic strongholds" too.

    And in Texas in 2006, the GOP may rue Bush's decision to destroy New Orleans through willful ignorance/negligence/politicking.

    One of the consequences of Katrina will be a big wave of African American migration-- the historic exodus of 500,000 people. The question remains of how many refugees will permanently resettle, and how many, eventually, will return home.

    Given the number of people who have been evacuated from Louisiana to Texas (250,000 and counting), it will be interesting to see what the implications are for the Texas electorate--especially since Texas Republicans have been working so hard at gerrymandering the redistricting to ensure that the only Democrats who can get elected, if at all, are African Americans and Hispanics. Even putting aside the issue of traditional Democratic constituencies, regardless of how the displaced of New Orleans may have voted in the past, they have no reason to love the GOP right now.

    I am hoping against hope that Bush's criminal negligence will serve to hamstring the Republican Party in Texas as well as many of the other 12 states were Katrina/Bush refugees have landed so far. And oh look--Texas has a gubernatorial election in 2006. Interesting.

    I'm hoping Glenn Smith will weigh in on this. And Rudy Teixeira as well.
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    Timely Topic: Disaster Recovery Plans

    On BOP News, Stirling Newberry has brought up the topic of Disaster Recovery policies for organizations. Timely topic indeed.

    I wrote this in response:
    I've been on an evangelical campaign similar to [the article you link] on disaster recovery policies in the mundane world of campaign politics.

    I was working a state race in [state removed] in [a few years back] when [a significant natural disaster] took out electricity, phones, and internet connectivity. We moved the office temporarily to an alternate site outside the district, and spent a few days doing clean-up and catch-up projects while our field operations were suspended.

    BUT, that was in a state where the Democratic party uses a server-based, internet-access database for the state Registered Voter List (RVL). Client-server/thin-client/web log-in RVL's are popular in many states across the country, with both parties. Likewise, in Democratic circles, one of the most popular campaign database software packages (think donor and volunteer information) is largely used in vendor-hosted server format.

    Translation: internet goes down locally, and you lose your entire campaign records.

    We were lucky. It was a busy part of the campaign, but not the very end. Any lists that were needed immanently by phone vendors or mail firms, etc., had already been cut and sent off. All in all, the blackout was a temporary inconvenience for us.

    It was even less inconvenient because our IT Director had backed up all of our critical web-based data on a local machine. Daily. At my request.

    The exercise was time-consuming, not a lot of fun, regarded as redundant paranoia by many of my colleagues, and required some level of technical expertise to whip the data into a form that was usable on the local level.

    But, if the blackout had happened on GOTV (Get out the Vote) weekend--the last weekend before election Tuesday when the field operations of an election campaign go into overdrive--we would have been *sunk* without that data. Turned out we didn't need it GOTV weekend, and during that earlier blackout, we had all the data we needed.

    In disaster recovery and data management, redundancy is your friend.

    - Basing political campaigns on data hosted on a remote server without a disaster recovery plan is a big risk.

    - Most campaigns I've ever worked with had no local data back-up procedures at all (unless I was in a position to implement the procecure myself). This is a stupid risk--fry a server, and your whole campaign is gone.

    - Keep in mind that the people we're working hard to elect in those campaigns are the people who make disaster recovery policies as part of their jobs as *elected officials* at the local, state, and national level.

    Frightening.

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