It’s been awhile

Don’t be fooled by the last post, I actually had been blogging for some time, but since my hosting company made some massive errors on my domain, I lost a lot of posts. So, I’m going to try something new for a bit and see how it works for me. The links above are specific topics and whatever you’re interested in seeing, should be there. I’m mostly going to see if I can maintain this and some social media sites as a short run test. Let’s see how long it lasts and how effective it will be.

Call Bill Water



Call Bill Water

Originally uploaded by Anika Malone

My husband loves Koreatown. He says that it’s the closet he can come to Blade Runner within the city’s confines. I don’t know about that. I hated Blade Runner, but love K-Town. One thing I will agree is the quick adoption of futuristic devices.

Out of all the little enclaves on LA, I think Koreatown has a lock on nifty gadgets for use and these buttons in the restaurants are just one. Most other places, the buttons are just a one-touch deal and look rather old. This one at Haus Dessert Boutique is the first I’ve seen with individual buttons for specific actions. I love it.

Now, they just need to get touchscreen ordering.

Looking at koi



Looking at koi

Originally uploaded by Anika Malone

The kids checking out the koi in the courtyard of the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. It was our first time there, taking advantage of the free entrance for ArtNight Pasadena. Definitely must go back. It’ much bigger than I thought and there was a lot to see in just that one museum.

Sen. Clinton WH schedules released today

The National Archives have released Sen. Clinton’s schedules from when she was First Lady.  You can go to the National Archives and view them or you can view that at the Clinton Presidential Library’s website.

I’ve been scanning them and in haven’t looked at all the years.  The one thing that stands out is how much information has been redacted because it has been deemed “too personal and and invasion of privacy”.  The phone numbers, I understand.  But names of who she met with have been blocked out, reasons for the meeting have been blocked out, places for the meetings have been blocked out…you get the drift.  And most of the meetings were closed to the press anyway.  So you’ll see a lot of:

Private Meeting
Map Room
CLOSED PRESS 

A.  Lot.

Another thing I noticed is that there’s a lot more redaction in their first term, than in the second term.  The second term seemed like Clinton was just getting interviewed and being given gifts, whereas the first term there’s a lot of policy stuff going on.  Clinton also did a grip of interviews, some of them even promoting her book.  The one biggest surprise for me is seeing names I had forgotten, remembering old scandals and drama and getting that yuck-feeling of not again, if Clinton becomes president.  On the upside, we eventually get the weather forecast for D.C.

So, that’s that for now.

Obama’s speech on race and Rev. Wright

There’s a lot of analysis out there in the blogosphere and on the MSM sites.  For what it’s worth, the speech Sen. Obama gave in Philadelphia this morning is one of those historical making types.  People will discuss this speech in the future.

The speech, entitled “A More Perfect Union” focused not only on the racism that has played out in this presidential campaign, but also on the racism that permeates American society.  Sen. Obama, relayed history and context to make his points concisely and precisely.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

At this point in the speech, he’s hanging in the balance.  The question:  Will he throw Rev. Wright under the bus is unanswered.  No matter how much the Clinton’s supporters want to whine and blame the Obama campaign for racism, there is no doubt that the Clinton’s are the ones who spent December and January injecting race into the campaign.  After spending the summer and fall of 2007 stating that Sen. Obama wasn’t black enough for their black supporters, they decided to tell their white supporters that he’s too black.  For many people, South Carolina was the turning point. They either weren’t paying attention or willing to give the Clinton’s the benefit of the doubt.

On one hand, it’s a shame that Sen. Obama even needed to give a speech addressing Rev. Wright’s comments. On February 26th during a Democratic debate, we saw Tim Russert shamelessly press Sen. Obama on Louis Farrakhan’s support.You’ll remember that Louis Farrakhan gave a speech where he said that he liked Obama.  Russert, during a debate then pressed (and pressed and pressed) Obama to denounce Farrakhan.  The very next day, Sen. John McCain was receive the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee.  A right-wing pastor who’s endorsement, John McCain actively sought.  As Glenn Greenwald points out, Sen. McCain was never initially pressed to distance himself from Hagee and his comments:

Yesterday, though, the equally fringe, radical and hateful (at least) Rev. John Hagee — a white evangelical who is the pastor of a sprawling “mega-church” in Texas — enthusiastically endorsed John McCain. Did McCain have to jump through the same hoops which Russert and others set up for Obama and “denounce” Hagee’s extremism and “reject” his support? No; quite the opposite. McCain said he was “very honored” to receive this endorsement and, when asked about some of Hagee’s more twisted views, responded: “all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.”

In fact, the following Sunday on Meet the Press, Tim Russert all but ignored the fact that Hagee had endorsed McCain. On Bill Bennett’s radio show, Sen. McCain did eventually wind up repudiating Hagee’s remarks saying that “they were taken out of context”.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.[snip]

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

There.  For the umpteenth millionth time in a week Sen. Obama has condemned the 2 minutes of speech snippets being used to define Rev. Wright’s career.  Of course, there are intellectually lazy people who’ll hold on to their chewed up bone of hate and stupidity and repeat, “But why didn’t he leave the church?  How can we trust his judgment?”.  I’m sorry, but for those people who say that and are Clinton supporters I have to laugh.  Loudly.  You have a woman married to a man who has consistently cheated on her and we’re supposed to trust her judgment?  You have a woman who didn’t bother to read the NIE report, but still went ahead an authorized use of force in Iraq, while trying to deny that thought she was authorizing use of force, despite the fact that the bill was called Authorization for Use of Military Force…and we’re supposed to trust her judgment?  You have a woman who then went ahead and voted for more of the same in regards to Iran…and we’re supposed to trust her judgment.

Okay.

One of the best things about Obama’s speech is the fact that he did not throw Wright under the bus.  Instead of dumping on the guy like most politicians would have, Obama instead explained him…made him human.  Remember, that Rev. Wright not only married the Obama’s, but baptized his children.  If the guy were a complete nutjob, do you really think that Sen. Obama would really be running for President of the United States?

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

On the internet, it’s easy to read a line, get outrage and demand heads to roll.  I try to wait for context–especially if Fox is pushing a story like they did with this one.  I want to see video, read a speech.  But for anyone to see a few lines from a person they didn’t know existed yesterday and determine his or her entire career based on that, marks them as mentally stunted.  One of the reasons I didn’t initially blog on Ferraro’s “he’s lucky he’s black” statements was because of this.  I was assuming it was said in a joking way.  I didn’t know that Ferraro said the same thing back in ’88 in reference to Jesse Jackson.  But it came right on the heels of her “it sucks to be a rich, middle-aged, white woman in America” op-ed and her subsequent TV appearances didn’t help.

But you’ll see the double standard there too.  Samantha Power, while interviewing overseas about her upcoming book, states that Sen. Clinton is a monster.  The Clinton’s campaign immediately calls for Power to be fired from the Obama campaign.  Power tendered her resignation immediately.  Geraldine Ferraro, who sat on the Clinton’s finance committee, says that Sen. Obama is basically an affirmative action candidate, then says, “I was only speaking for myself, not the campaign.” You know…like Powers was.  The Clinton’s campaign first reaction was to blame the Obama campaign “for playing the race card”.  Ferraro resigned 3 days later.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

Old people.  What are you gonna do?

My grandfather (maternal), a preacher, was a bigot–and not a good man.  Scratch that…he made bigots look reasonable.  He used every racist term in the book for everyone.  Even talking to him right before he died, I remember he asked me about, “That little honkey girl with the gook friend.”  Ugh.  There was no changing him.  When I was little, there wasn’t a black man in my life who didn’t use a slur for white people.  I was raised knowing white people as “crackers” and “peckerwoods”.   I had no idea those were bad words.  When after we moved off base into my grandpa’s (paternal) house. I remember one morning looking out the 3rd story window and seeing white people moving into our black middle-class neighborhood.  My father was outside washing his car.  I screamed, “Daddy, the peckerwoods are here!”  I think I repeated it like 5 times at the top of my voice.  My daddy ran up those stairs so fast…he told me that he never wanted to hear me say anything like that again.  He didn’t say, “in front of white people”, he said, “ever”.  I was 4 years old and after that, I had never heard him use a derogatory term to describe white people.

Then, Obama’s speech did a beautiful thing.  It proved that his is about unity.  It proved that he understood the way America works.  In fact, the next part I’m going to quote, I guarantee will be stolen and woven into Clinton’s upcoming speeches:

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

This is where you realized that anyone who dismisses this speech as empty rhetoric has a lot riding on their own hatred of Obama and their inherent bigotry.  There is nothing to refute in this passage.  It’s America, right or wrong…and we know it.  I’ve been saying it, lots of others have been saying it.  The people in the media pretend that it’s really not that bad unless it really, really affects the working class white voter.  But there’s something important here:  We have never had a leader say it.

I’m 35.  I’ve never been particularly in awe of this country as an operational organization.  As a piece of geography, I love this place, but in theory…meh.  It’s hard.  It’s hard to pretend that as a woman everything is hunky-dory.  It’s hard to pretend that as a black person everything is hunky-dory.  It’s hard to pretend as a liberal, as a Muslim, as one-half of an interacial relationship, as a parent…get what I’m saying.   The true-believers, those “America:  Love it or Leave it” types don’t get it.  They see my skin, my sex and immediately blame me for any problems I have even if they mirror their problems.  But that’s okay, because they have their preachers telling them that it is my fault.  Not a breakdown in government or leadership, because of “them”.

Those people are waiting for some talking head or preacher to tell them that it’s okay…”Give in into your hate.”  They don’t have to listen to Obama because they’ll make up pretend instances of “codewords” despite the fact that this speech wasn’t given to black America, it was given to America.  Sen. Obama drew the line.  He said, “Here’s where were are.  Now you can cross the line and move into the future or you can stay over there and dwell in the past.”

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This is where the spin, the media’s filter comes into play.  You saw that on the faces of the chatterboxes after the speech.  The white pundits looked morose.  They didn’t know how to spin it.  The black pundits were thrilled.  Impressed.  Without expressly pointing out the media, he did call them to task over their gossipy ways and their involvement in talking about nothing, while the important issues that truly affect our lives are ignored:

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

 

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

 

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

 

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

It’s a beautiful speech.  I always mention how Sen. Obama’s speech always have me ready to hang a 50′ flag in my front yard and salute it every morning.  This speech is so over and beyond that.  This speech has me loving all of mankind.  Even the cootie-fied haters.

The Big Read

On Saturday, Los Angeles County Public Library chose Rudolfo Anaya’s book Bless Me, Ultima for their The Big Read book. Saturday was the big kickoff day for the book.

For those unaware, The Big Read in basically a nation-wide book club put on by the National Endowments for the Arts in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. This is the 3rd year (I think it started in ’06) for The Big Read and it seems to be catching on. I looked at the map of communities participating and there are a lot more than last year. I’ll definitely have to get the book since I’ve never read this one.

There’s quite a few books on the list, but LA picked Anaya’s book. That’s works for me, since I’ve read all the other books on the list save this one and The Shawl, which I’ve never even heard of before. At any rate, for Los Angeles, there are several events happening at Cal State LA tied into this book:

CSULA Display of Anaya Materials
A collection of author Rudolfo Anaya’s materials, including books and photographs, will be displayed. (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”)
Kick-off event at East Los Angeles Library: (Sat., Mar. 15, 1-5 p.m.) Roberto Cantu to discuss “La Santa Tierra: Land, History, and The Sacred in Bless Me, Ultima by Rodulfo A. Anaya.”
JFK Memorial Library
Call JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Saturday, March 15, 2008 – Saturday, April 19, 2008 – Exhibit opens during Library hours

Theatrical Adaptation of “Bless Me, Ultima”
Adapted and directed by Professor Theresa Larkin with Alejandra Flores playing the role of Ultima. (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”)
Music Hall
Call the Cal State L.A. Box Office at (323) 343-4118 for more information.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:00PM

Book Discussion Group
Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”
Library North B530
Call JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 12:00PM – 1:00PM

The Big Read Finale Lecture
Roberto Cantu, professor of English and Chicano Studies at Cal State L.A., will present a lecture, “Narrative Cycles in Rudolfo A. Anaya’s novels, from Bless Me, Ultima (1972), to The Curse of the ChupaCabra (2006).” (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations.)
King Hall Lecture Hall 2
Call the JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Thursday, April 17, 2008 6:00PM – 8:00PM

Yeah, I know the hours and they’re not very worker bee-friendly.  I hope there are some night-time book discussion events also happening.

Cultivating Livable Communities: Environment, Economy, and Equity

One more email I got, this one is really short notice:

Los Angeles Marriott Downtown
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 8:30AM – 10:30AM

Under the umbrella of our Safe and Healthy Communities initiative, the Pat Brown Institute once again examines livable communities, bringing together a panel of experts to discuss a concept that is intrinsically related to democracy, prosperity and quality of life. From gridlock, absence of jobs, and environmental problems to inadequate access to cultural venues for exhibitions and performing arts, livability of a community can be diminished by its inadequate access to resources and services. This panel will assess the notion of ‘livable communities’ and offer roadmaps for achieving them.

This facility is accessible to people with disabilities. Please contact Tarren Alicia Lopez (tlopez@cslanet.calstatela.edu 323.343.3770) no later than Friday, March 14, 2008 to request a sign language interpreter.

For public transportation CLICK HERE

For driving directions CLICK HERE

Register Online Now!

Poverty Matters presents Jim Hightower

I got another email:

Poverty Matters

Presents

An Evening with Jim Hightower

 

Best Selling Author, Fiery and Funny Public Speaker and

National Radio Commentator

Speaking and

Signing his new book

“Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow”

RSVP by clicking here

 

Monday March 24, 2008

7:30 pm

$10 Admission to benefit Poverty Matters

Location:

Immanuel Presbyterian Church

3300 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA  90010  (at Berendo – 2 blocks west of Vermont)

Metro Red Line Subway Stop: Wilshire/Vermont

$5 Parking available across the street at UTLA – 3303 Wilshire Blvd.

Media Sponsor 90.7 KPFK Radio

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim Hightower is the author of seven books including:

  “Theives in High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country and It’s time to Take It Back”; 

 “If the Gods Had Wanted Us to Vote: They Would Have Given Us Candidates”               

There is Nothing in the Middle of the Road Except Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos

For More information or to volunteer, please e-mail us at povertymatters@yahoo.com

If you cannot attend the event, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Poverty Matters by clicking here

Lost Madness

Today, we hit the Sweet 16 in Lost Madness. Don’t forget to make your picks!

I have some things to do (read my newspaper and have coffee), but when I come back I’ll flesh this out…I’ve gotta say some of those matchups were hard!

******

Okay…so it took a day.

I should probably capture some screen shots, but this bracketing system really made no sense.  When we started out, it was in groups:  The Oceanic 815 Survivors, “Rescuers” and Deceased Oceanic Survivors*, The Others/Dharma and Other Crucial Players**

So we got matchups like:  Sun vs. Jin, Ethan vs. Goodwin or Aaron vs. Vincent.

That’s right.  The Washington Post pitted the baby against the damn dog.  Now, I’m not a kid person or a dog person, but at least the dog has be integral to the story.  The baby…whatever.

Bleech.

It was hard..I mean how the hell do you choose between Sawyer and Hurley?  Why didn’t they do match ups like Patchy vs. Libby or Miles vs. Paolo?

At any rate, after the March 11th matchups, there were cries of foul.  People in the comment section were mad that some characters were getting more votes.

Im done here it’s clear that somebody is cheating a bigg time on the Jack vs Sayid and Kate vs Sawyer poll, Jack got like 700 votes in 20 minutes and Kate like 2000 votes in a two hours.
3/16/2008 4:38 AM EDT
 

I don’t think there’s “cheating” going on.  We tried to do the brackets and when we chose our characters, nothing happened.  Usually, there’s a total after each to let you know percentage-wise how many votes that character received.  So, we’d vote and nothing would happen.  If we went back later, we could vote again.  I don’t know if that means our votes counted twice, but that’s my view on this completely unimportant topic.

We learn the Final Four tomorrow (March 19th).  It looks like our match ups will be: Sayid vs. Charlie and Ben vs. Desmond.  Which is funny since there was a comment posted yesterday:

gadolfo wrote:
I predict the final two will be Sahid and Desmond. Cool, the ones who are together on the boat!!
3/17/2008 4:57 PM EDT
That is what it’s looking like, though I’m going to vote for Sayid and Ben.
******

*Does that even make sense? 

**This last group was bullshit since they added in “Kevin Johnson” before we knew who he was.

Frustration

Okay…it’s more like anger.

The running thing.

GRRRRRR.

The man sucks.

It’s nearly impossible to get out of the house because of him.  Why?  Because there are two toddlers here and he’s only awake between 1pm and 4am and most of that time he’s eating, working or dicking around.  And dicking around and eating are very important to getting the working part done.

This morning, I got up to go running.  The little boy felt a bit hot, so I was going to leave him here.  Asked the Mr. if he’d stay up so that I can do this, I’d take the little girl with me.  8:30 rolls around and the man is on the sofa sleeping with baby boy cuddled up.  Great.  Only problem is that he was really and truly sleeping.  I wasn’t going to leave baby boy with sleeping dad, so I got the kid ready and we left.

Got to the park and started walking, so far so good…started running, oh wait…the kids want to look at the swimming pool.  Then they wanted to look at the baseball kids, the playground, the ducks, they lake…baby boy started picking friggin’ flowers.  Not to mention the entire time Miss Diva whined and begged for stuff.  45 minutes later, I had run a total of 57 seconds.  57 seconds?    We spent another 20 minutes at one of the playgrounds and then we came home.

I told him,”Dude, this is not going to work.”

Mumble-grumble, “What? I told you you could leave the boy with me.”

Pfffft.  I asked him to get up so that I can go back to the park.  “No.”

No.

He won’t even get up for 20 minutes.

Now…remember back when I say I’m surrounded by non-encouraging people?  He’s their ringleader.  I know this about him.  I’ve always known this about him.  I’m not asking for a “Good job, honey!” or even daily inquiries on what’s going on.  I don’t need, nor want that–in fact, it would probably bug the crap out of me.  What I need is for him to be helpful.  What I need is for him to get out of my way.

About 6 or 7 years ago, unless it affected him directly, I pretty much stopped telling him my plans because of this, what I dramatically call, sabotage.   He’s a perennial roadblock.  You’d be amazed at how stuff he had been talking about for years all of a sudden gets Really Important To Get Done NOW when I’m in the middle of something.   Actually, you probably have someone in your life like that.  I’m lucky in that I can count 9 people I know in my life like that.  It sucks when it’s a friend, it’s hard when it’s a relative, it super blows when you’re married to that person.
Well, I’m off to run the “track” I didn’t want in my tiny backyard.  I love the part where I try to avoid poking my eye out on the lemon tree, running into the fence, and stepping my plants.  I figured that 16 times around equals ~1/4 mile.  Hey, he wanted the track for his cars and has used it maybe 9 times in the past year.  It’s about time it gets some use.

Why being ‘green’ ain’t that easy

I have to admit that I’ve been a bit distressed over the trendiness of being green. Visit any progressive-leaning blog/forum and people are laying out their green creds as if that’ll make them cooler on the intertubes. Some blogs even have people listing all the stuff they do to be green. On one hand, it is getting new information out there to wasteful polluters and may even change a few habits. On the other, it reeks of look-at-me-ness that borders on tacky. The one thing these new greenies fail to realize is that a lot of the stuff they do by choice, poor people around the world by necessity.  I’m not knocking those people who have changed their habits to be friendlier to this sphere. I just hope there is more thinking involved instead of the bandwagon-hopping I’m witnessing. I always urge people to read the labels, make sure what they’re buying really is “organic” or “natural”.  Which is why, when saw the headline: Popular ‘green’ products test positive for toxicant (registration needed) in the newspaper this morning, I called 6 of the products would be listed before I even read the article.

New tests of 100 “natural” and “organic” soaps, shampoos and other consumer products show that nearly half of them contained a cancer-causing chemical that is a byproduct of petrochemicals used in manufacturing.

Many items that tested positive for the carcinogen are well-known brands, including Kiss My Face, Alba, Seventh Generation and Nature’s Gate products, sold in retail stores across the nation.

It amuses me that after all the recalls we’ve had people still believe that the FDA and USDA are on the job keeping us safe. Maybe they don’t realized that back in ’02 the Bush Administration relaxed the rules for what is “organic” at the behest of multinationals like Phillip-Morris, creating the USDA National Organic Program. (This goes along with rule relaxing for air polluters, dairy farmers and miners in 2001). The NOP even created a “seal of approval”. Personally, I try to stay away from those items unless I can verify. When I look to buy organic, I look for the OCIA seal or the CCOF seal, even though the USDA rules are making those labels go away. Otherwise, I do my research, both have search engines on their websites where you can check out a product to see if it’s “super-certified”. Or, I buy locally from growers and makers I trust.

Some organic company owners said it is deceptive for many products to be called natural when the carcinogenic compound indicates that petrochemicals are used in their manufacture.

No standards govern the words natural or organic for personal care products. But a few companies, including TerrEssentials, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Sensibility Soaps Inc., which makes the Nourish brand, have certified their products as organic under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food standards.

“It makes it really difficult for us to communicate real organic when our little voice gets lost in this sea of products that are all claiming to meet the [USDA organic] standard when, in fact, they don’t,” said Diana Kaye, co-founder of TerrEssentials, a small Maryland company. All six TerrEssentials soaps and other products tested were free of 1,4-dioxane.

A mere glance at the labels of these products show that they’re not a green as they claim to be, but green enough for that USDA seal.  For example, Seventh Generation lists all their ingredients on their website and that was enough to make me never by their products.  In my mind, it’s impossible to have a cleaning agent that is purely organic unless it’s a lemon.  I use method products.  While they’re not organic (certified or otherwise), their products are derived from nature (check the ingredient lists) and the bonus is that their packaging is 100% biodegradable.  I like the fact that most of the stuff in a method product is growing in my garden.

Most traditional soaps and shampoos contain 1,4-dioxane. But the discovery that the chemical is present in many housecleaning and personal care products, including some for babies, that are advertised as being natural, organic or “green” comes as somewhat of a surprise.

“For companies to knowingly or even carelessly put a carcinogen into commerce in this day and age is barbaric, I think, particularly products that have the moniker of natural or self-proclaimed ‘organic,’ ” said consumer advocate and author David Steinberg, who directed the study.

Now, this isn’t to be alarmist.  Carcinogens have always been in a lot of stuff women use, especially in makeup and hygiene products.  That’s old news and one of the main reasons I never got into wearing makeup (the other being that makeup application is a time sucker for me).  Still, the past few decades have seen a decrease in these carcinogens and many companies have been making a concerted effort to move away from them, especially once it hits the news that they’re killing their customers.  Luckily, there are a lot of natural skin care companies out there that aren’t owned by multinationals and sold at your local big box discounter.  You’ll have to order online or go to your local farmer’s market or organic store, but they’re out there.  Being a woman of color makes it a little harder, but luckily there are a lot of sisters out there who not only make organic makeup and skin care products, but they blend with skin tones from Nordic to Gobi to Sahara.   This holds moreso for those of us in Los Angeles.

But while the article focuses on skin care and household cleaning products, please remember that the food you eat has also been “organic certified” with those relaxed standards.  Horizon Organic immediately comes to mind.  Horizon used to be a truly organic dairy farm.  That is until it was bought by Dean Foods.  Since then, the Horizon Organic brand that many people loved and trusted so many years ago, bears no resemblance to what is being sold in stores.

All I’m asking is that you take the time to educate yourself on what you’re putting in and on your body.  Sure, it’s easier to watch TV or hope that someone tells you something, but even that’s asking for trouble.  Look at all the misguided hoax emails that get passed around daily.   Be wary that just because something says “natural” or “organic”, especially if it’s from a multinational, it most likely isn’t.  It’s like those Lite and Low-fat labels.  Most of those products have more sugars and/or sodium than the regular brand.  It’s a balancing act.  I don’t think it’s paramount to use organic products to clean your tub, hell some of tubs need to be nuked, but if you do, just make sure you’re getting what you pay for.  The companies know that people have been conditioned to believe that using natural products means you have to pay more than if they dump a bunch of man-made chemicals in your stuff.  If you’re gonna pay that $1 – $4 more, shouldn’t you get no chemicals?

It’s the Hillary Healthcare Hour!

As The Commenter Formerly Known as NCSteve over at TPM said:

 Damn, are they running out of money again?

That’s right…the Clinton’s hate you so much they begged for another debate.  The Obama campaign, not be outdone said, “I see your Pennsylvania and raise you North Carolina.”

Two more debates.

22 debates total.

That’s ear-bleeding, zombie-turning dullness right there.  If Clinton hijacks the debate with her healthcare plan again, I hope someone gongs her ass.

Okay, the only thing that can make this sadder is that the Pennsylvania debate will be brought to us by:

And the CBS debates will be moderated by…are you sitting down?

katie-couric-getty-images.jpg

That’s right,”never trust a fake tan and a smile” is going moderate.

Can you say, “shoot me now” boys and girls?  I knew you could.