Monday, June 29, 2009

Pride can be a virtue

Had a great time at OKC Pride this past weekend. Rode bike. Survived heat. Saw fine performance by Zone 18 at the festival. Had marvelous time at Herland picnic and at Grace's birthday party afterward. Had fun reading poetry and riding with Herland in the parade. Lots of folks did lots of hard work to put on this fine event. Good time seemed to have been tired by all. Still too tired to write in complete sentences. Will try to post something soon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran Online Newroom

The Iran Online Newroom looks very interesting.

They had a democracy until we crushed it

Stephen Kinzer has an excellent post over at guardian.co.uk about the sordid history of US intervention in Iran. Kinzer describes the 1953 US overthrow of democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq. The US coup resulted in the re-installation of the despotic Shah Reza Pahlavi. The shah's tyranny--with the complete support of the US government--resulted in the 1979 revolution that brought the current tyrants to power.

The demonstrators in Iran who are protesting the possibly fraudulent results of the recent elections are carrying pictures of Mossadeq. Their message is that they want freedom without foreign intervention.

As Kinzer points out:
The US sowed the seeds of repression in Iran by deposing Mossadeq in 1953, and then helped bathe Iran in blood by giving Saddam Hussein generous military aid during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Militants in Washington who now want the US to intervene on behalf of Iranian protesters either are unaware of this history or delude themselves into thinking that Iranians have forgotten it. Some of them, in fact, are the same people who were demanding just last year that the US bomb Iran – an act which would have killed many of the brave young protesters they now hold up as heroes.

America's moral authority in Iran is all but non-existent. To the idea that the US should jump into the Tehran fray and help bring democracy to Iran, many Iranians would roll their eyes and say: "We had a democracy here until you came in and crushed it!
For more information, see Wikipedia's biography of Mossadeq. A New York Times history of the C.I.A. in Iran is here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rep. Lee sponsors single-payer health plan bill

I'm still too busy to blog, but I wanted to mention this great post on Feminist Peace Network about Rep. Lee’s Universal Health Service Act and why women need a single-payer plan.

Here is the link FPN provided to Rep. Lee's own description of House Bill 3000.

The FPN post (it's a beautiful thing, please go and read all of it) also includes a link to an endorsement of single-payer by Our Bodies Ourselves. Here's part of the Our Bodies Ourselves post that I found particularly interesting. They are quoting Judy Norsigian, OBOS executive director:
Advocating for single payer is an uphill battle, but not a losing cause, said Norsigian, citing the current organizing efforts around single payer that are drawing congressional and media attention.

"Our efforts could also assist those now seeking to strengthen so-called public health insurance options designed to compete with private insurance companies," said Norsigian. "Though such government-sponsored health care plans are likely doomed to fail, they may ultimately be the only compromise solutions that could succeed in Congress."

The American Medical Association, which President Obama addressed on Monday, objects to a shift away from private insurance coverage, but Norsigian said that's to be expected.

"The AMA now represents fewer than 25 percent of all doctors, about 250,000. Although some doctors, mostly specialists, will have greater income under a private insurance system, most doctors view a single-payer solution as the best approach to health care reform. In fact, the second largest physician group, the American College of Physicians, which represents about 126,000 doctors, is on record in support of single payer," said Norsigian.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Low-down on domestic terrorism

AngryBlackBitch tells it like it is.

No hole in her head

Just found this YouTube clip of the incomparable Malvina Reynolds:



Of course, Malvina also has her own Wikipedia entry. Plus, her daughter Nancy Schimmel is writing a biography and blogging about the process. If you'd like to know more, or to find more music videos or tidbits of  information, you can do the Google search yourself.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A trashy post

 
I've still got to put primer around the edges, windows and doorframes, but I've tested my blue samples, and I think my color scheme is going to work. Meanwhile, I decided that it's getting hot fast and I'd better get going on putting a working air conditioner into my main room. First, I had to get rid of the dead one. With a little help from one of the friendly folks at the collective household up the street, I got the old monster out of the wall and dragged it to the curb.


Within an hour, metal scavengers had taken away the guts of the thing:

 

Shortly thereafter, the outer shell also disappeared. But I had other stuff to put out for Big Trash Day. I'm clearing away overgrown sumacs and birches from along my fence line, and getting rid of the remains of an old sidewalk along the east side of the house so that I can add a much needed French drain.


Not that Paul Bunyan or John Henry will be worried about the competition (yet), but I thought it was pretty good evening's work for a middle-aged woman armed only with a bow saw, some loppers, a shovel, a sledge hammer and a pick.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Prime time

If I don't post a lot in the next little while, it's because I've got a lot of house projects that I'm working on.

I'm painting my front bedroom before I move my bed and dresser in there. It's the one room in the house that has an air conditioner at the moment, and the Oklahoma summer is starting to get warm. I'm priming the walls while I decide what color to paint them. I think I've forgotten everything my painting friends taught me back in January, but it's my house, and I get to learn by making mistakes. Whatever I end up with will at least hide the crappy paneling. If I decide I don't like it, I can repaint it another time.


I'm still not sure exactly what color I'm painting it. Probably some shade of blue, to help me feel cooler. Maybe I'll paint each wall a slightly different shade. I thought about stripes, but that would probably drive me nuts. People always say, "It's your house, you can paint the walls black if you want." Um, well, I think it won't do that. If y'all want to paint your walls black, I hope you enjoy the experience and the results. For me, what it's all about is the freedom not to worry about a less than perfect result, and the freedom to try again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Web discoveries

I would like to thank Angry Black Bitch for the webroll link to Brown Sugar & Cinnamon, and I would like to thank Brown Sugar & Cinnamon for the webroll link to Alternative Tulsa, and I would like to thank Alternative Tulsa for the link to Colbert Takes on 'Old White Men' Who Call SCOTUS Nominee a Racist.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The fatal flaw in President Obama's health care plan

President Obama's health care plan has a fatal flaw, and ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES points this out in a beautifully written post.

Meanwhile, Mybarackobama.com is asking us to sign a pledge of support for the president's three health care principles, which are, as follows:
* Reduce Costs — Rising health care costs are crushing the budgets of governments, businesses, individuals and families and they must be brought under control
* Guarantee Choice — Americans must have the freedom to keep whatever doctor and health care plan they have, or to select a new doctor or health care plan if they choose
* Ensure Quality Care for All — All Americans must have quality and affordable health care
This all sounds perfectly lovely, except that it is entirely lacking in specifics. As Echidne puts it,
And pigs would float if they were born with parachutes. I'm getting tired of a list of desires when combined with a plan which will do nothing to fulfill them. Sure, we need affordable insurance. But how are we going to get that?

Note that the reason other countries have lower health care costs is largely because they have one dominant source of public health care funding, perhaps combined with a small private insurance market. It is this which keeps the costs low. One large buyer can negotiate low prices and take advantage of huge quantity discounts and the public sector has the power to make new rules and regulations to limit the high rate of price increases in health care.

But we are not going to have that. We might not even get a public insurance option! So what is it exactly that we would get in the most recent Obama plan?
I agree with Echidne that we need to fight for the public insurance option. As for myself, if there is not a public insurance option included -- and at least a fair discussion of the merits of a single-payer plan--I am not going to be able to support Obama on this one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some good news that didn't make the malestream media

Thanks to The Angry Black Woman for this story about how a black woman, Rear Admiral Michelle Howard, commanded the ship that rescued Captain Richard Phillips after he was kidnapped by Somalian pirates,

A thought-provoking post on the Tiller murder...

... from Bitch Ph.D.

Thoughts on the death of Dr. George Tiller

I found this out by accident Monday night while reading a friend's comments on Facebook about an unrelated subject. Abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered Sunday morning while serving as an usher at his Lutheran church in Wichita, Kansas.

Dr. Tiller and his clinic were controversial in part because he was a provider of late-term abortions--abortions performed after the fetus is supposed to be able to survive outside of its mother's body. These are the abortions that the Christian Right uses as "proof" that the right to choose is the same as "baby killing." Even Frank Schaeffer, a former Christian Right leader who has recanted many of his former positions, claims that the availability of late-term abortions is partly to blame for Dr. Tiller's murder:
Contributing to an extreme and sometimes violent climate has not only been the fault of the antiabortion crusaders. The Roe v. Wade decision went to far, too fast and was too sweeping. I believe that abortion should be legal. But I also believe that it should be re-regulated according to fetal development. It's the late term abortions that horrify most people...(T)he Roe ruling was an over broad court decision that makes abortion legal even in the last weeks of pregnancy. Take away the pictures of all those dead late term fetuses and everything changes emotionally. Democracy and civil debate is messy but if abortion had been argued state-by-state abortion would be legal in almost all our states today and probably the laws would be written more like those of Europe, where late-term abortions (of the kind Dr. Tiller specialized in performing) are illegal and/or highly discouraged.
Schaeffer is seriously oversimplifying Roe v. Wade, the 1972 Supreme Court decision that affirmed--with some serious qualifications--a woman's right to choose. Writing for the court, Justice Harry Blackmun summarized his opinion as follows:
1. A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.

(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.

(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
In other words, under Roe v. Wade, once the stage of viability has been reached, abortion is legal only to protect the pregnant woman's life or health. According to Wikipedia, the law in Kansas, where Dr. Tiller's clinic is located, "prohibits aborting viable fetuses, which is generally midway through the second trimester, unless two doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy would cause the woman `substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.'[25]"

Opponents of abortion rights often argue that late-term abortions are often performed for trivial reasons, such as "temporary depression" on the part of the pregnant woman. Barack Obama, during the recent presidential campaign, famously said that pregnant women should not be allowed to obtain late-term abortions for reasons of "mental distress." But as one woman described eloquently on RHRealityCheck.org, this mental distress is most often caused by the discovery by the mother that she is carrying a fetus that has such serious problems that it will never be able to survive outside her body.

RHRealityCheck.org has many excellent posts on Dr. Tiller and his murder, including a forum on which women are sharing their personal experience of late term abortion, and also this report that Tiller's colleague Leroy Carhart is working to ensure that Tiller's practice continues.