Friday, November 10, 2006

Watchful Kitties

Zora and Gramsci, interrupted in their serious task of guarding the house.


Sleepy Kitties

...and Zora seems to be thinking "Yeah, that's right, go ahead and admire my toes."


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Living Theatre

Absolutely amazing (and mesmerizing, to geeks such as myself--speaking of: Hey Burkhart, where y'at?):
There is no wedding, no romantic interest and no plot to speak of. Instead the reader of Karl Marx's epic work, Das Kapital, is treated to a lengthy treatise on the division of labour and capitalist modes of production, offered up in long, convoluted sentences.

Yet none of this has deterred a German theatre group from achieving the seemingly impossible: bringing the huge classic on economic theory to the stage.

Not since Proust was serialised has a dramatist faced such a gargantuan task - turning catchy topics such as "the production of absolute surplus value" into a crowd puller.

To that purpose, the stage of the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus is bedecked with bookcases and a bust of Marx. Eight people - selected from among the few who have read the book from cover to cover - tell their own stories, creating a theatrical collage where Marx forms the common thread.

The play, Kapital: Volume One, is the brainchild of Rimini Protokoll, a collective of young German directors who have made a name for themselves in "documentary theatre".

In Kapital, the participants make up a diverse bunch. There is a staunch Marxist who rails against Coca-Cola and the evils of consumer society, a socialist singer from the former communist east Germany, and a blind call-centre worker who dreams of going on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

In an unusual take on audience participation, every theatregoer gets a bound book - Volume 23 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels.

Reading the complete volume aloud, with analysis to work out what is being said, would mean a theatre audience having to sit and watch for an entire year. But the Rimini Protokoll directors have kept their version to the more manageable length of one evening.

The collective says, however, that every performance is different, reflecting the spontaneity of a play that was rehearsed for only three weeks.


Key Word: Openly

Listen up, o ye Haggards and Foleys. You needn't twist your psyches into wild distortion. You can in fact just live and live fabulously:
The wave that swept Democrats to victory on Tuesday led to unprecedented success in electing openly gay candidates.

Sixty-seven candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that helps LGBT candidates gain office, were elected in national, state and local races.

Some of the victories were historic said Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe.

"This is the tipping point election for openly gay candidates," said Wolfe.

"We're proving that qualified, well-prepared candidates matched with committed donors means gays and lesbians can move from having a stake in policy to actually making policy. There's no reason to sit on the sidelines with our fingers crossed anymore.”

The 67 winners were among 88 Victory Fund endorsed candidates - the most the organization has ever fielded. Thirty-seven of them were running as openly LGBT for the first time.

Among the winners was Patricia Todd, who will represent District 54 in the Alabama State House. Todd is the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in the state.

Kathy Webb will represent District 37 in the Arkansas State House. She is the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in the state.

Al McAffrey, who will represent District 88 in the Oklahoma State House, is the first openly gay person ever elected to the Oklahoma state legislature.

Jamie Pedersen became the third consecutive openly gay person to be elected to represent District 43 in the Washington State House

Ed Murray, who will represent District 43 in the Washington State Senate, is a former state representative and becomes the first openly gay state senator in Washington history.

Jolie Justus becomes the first openly gay state senator in Missouri history.

Matt McCoy, who becomes the first openly gay candidate ever elected to the Iowa legislature. McCoy, a sitting state senator, came out during his last term.

Henry Fernandez won a seat on the Lawrence Township School Board, making him the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in Indiana.

Ken Keechl won a seat on the Broward County Commission in Florida, beating an appointee of Gov. Jeb Bush.

In Hawaii, Kim Coco Iwamoto won a seat on Hawaii's statewide Board of Education making her the country's highest-elected transgender official.

And, Judge Virginia Linder will join Rives Kistler on the Oregon Supreme Court, making it the first state ever to have two openly gay Supreme Court Justices.

In Minnesota, state Sen. Paul Koering, who did not seek Victory Fund endorsement, won re-election. Koering announced he is gay after voting against a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent gay marriage in the state.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We've Got It

Yeah, baby, we've got it.
Democrat Jim Webb won Virginia's pivotal Senate race Wednesday, unseating Republican George Allen and giving the Democrats total control of Congress for the first time in 12 years.

After GOP Sen. Conrad Burns' loss in Montana, the Virginia contest was the last undecided Senate race in the country. Webb's victory gave the Democrats 51 Senate seats and majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time since 1994.
There was supposed to be a whole big cheesy youTube Bananarama thing going on down here, but that site's being very testy about signing in and such. Feh.



Um, this sounds as though he's still into the same fetish to me:
There will be prayer, and perhaps the laying on of hands. There will be counseling and a confession. And there will be advice, confrontation and rebuke from "godly men" appointed to oversee the spiritual "restoration" of the Rev. Ted Haggard.


Criminally. Negligent. Homicide.

That's all there is to it. Fuck Bush and the assholes who run the CDC by his rules.
Regardless on your views of abortion—in favor or against legalization—new and disturbing research should unite all of us. According to the current issue of the medical journal The Lancet, illegal abortions are as common as legal ones worldwide.

Some 20 million women seek illegal abortions each year, a number that is surely underreported given the sensitivity of the topic. This implies that if you are serious about reducing abortions, banning them is the wrong approach.

Banning, it seems, is also the more deadly approach, according to The Lancet. Illegal abortions lead to 70,000 unintended deaths of women each year and millions of injuries, many permanent. The death rate from legal abortions is less than 0.001 percent.

It's not clear whether the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares this opinion. The agency has barred its own scientists from participating in The Lancet special issue, the latest example of the CDC censoring sex topics that run counter to the Bush administration's emphasis on abstinence.


Shocking News! Ratzi Doesn't Like Gay Jews!

Who'd've thunk it?

The Vatican has condemned a gay pride parade due to be held in Jerusalem on Friday as offensive to religious believers and urged Israeli authorities to stop it taking place.

"It is with bitterness that we have learned that the day after tomorrow, November 10, 2006, there is scheduled in Jerusalem a so-called 'gay pride parade'," the Vatican said in a statement issued on Wednesday.


Good Lord Willing, Good Hair Will Go

You have to admire a man of such commitment that he will run for an office, win it, and then imply that he'll be quitting soon:
Savoring his re-election victory, Republican Gov. Rick Perry pledged today to work with lawmakers from both political parties as he pushes to secure the border, create jobs and improve schools.

And although he said he's proud to be governor and that it's "the best job in the world," he wouldn't commit to completing the four-year term he just won.

"That's kind of up to the good Lord. He may decide he wants me doing something different and I'm out of here tomorrow. Who knows?" Perry said.


Bye, Bye

Rumsfeld is stepping down!



Navajo Nation Re-Elects Shirley

Since we've been following the Navajo Nation election and politics for a while, and since NN politics aren't exactly given lots of coverage on, say, CNN, I thought I'd post an update on election results there:

Navajo Nation voters made tribal history Tuesday night by re-electing the nation's sitting president, Joe Shirley, Jr., who won the general election by nearly 4,000 votes.
Shirley easily took the lead in votes early in the evening Tuesday and held steady through the night. The final vote was 34,813 for Shirley and his vice president candidate Bennie Shellie and 30,214 for Linda Lovejoy and Walter Phelps.
Shirley's re-election marks the first time a Navajo Nation incumbent was re-elected president since the tribal government was overhauled in the early 1980s. The position was previously referred to as chairman.
The London Telegraph also posted an article a while back on why voter turnout on the Navajo Nation may have a big impact on U.S. elections as well - though the article has some very irritatingly patronizing language ("Navajo maidens"?? "Ten-gallon hats, cowboy boots and a swagger remain de rigeur for the Navajo male"!? - perhaps someone should tell the Telegraph that we're not living in a James Fenimore Cooper novel over here?), and now that tribal elections are held on the same day as U.S. elections, we will hopefully see more and more Navajos voting in U.S. elections.



He's back, indeed:
The Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega today called for reconciliation, stability and a renewed effort to pull Nicaragua out of poverty after being confirmed as the new president.

The former Marxist revolutionary who fought a US-backed insurgency in the 1980s had his victory confirmed by officials yesterday, adding another nation to Latin America's leftist bloc.

Venezuela's anti-US leader Hugo Chávez immediately said the two countries would be "uniting as never before" to construct a socialist future.


Haredi Seem Rather... Obsessed with Gay Sex

And we all know what that means:
Police had to form a cordon around Jerusalem's mayor and lead him to safety Tuesday night as dozens of Haredi sect members pelted him with stones.

The ultra Orthodox sect has been rioting nightly to protest this Friday's gay pride parade in the city.


Well Done, Arizona!

They chose not to disfigure their constitution with bigotry, unlike so many other states:

Democrats swept the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and Arizona became the first state where voters rejected a bid to ban same same-sex marriage in its constitution.


Twenty-sex states have passed amendments to their constitutions to block same-sex couples from marrying. On Tuesday proposed amendments were on the ballot in eight states.

The victory in Arizona comes after a tough fight by Arizona Together, a group formed to oppose the amendment.

"This outcome speaks volumes about Arizona’s commitment to families,” said Kyrsten Sinema, chair of Arizona Together.

"Arizona voters saw through Prop 107’s rhetoric and knew that the intent of 107 was to take away domestic partner benefits from thousands of Arizona families."


It's Called "Metaphor," People

An important concept:

A southeastern Kentucky woman was bitten by a snake during a church service and later died, a law enforcement officer said. Linda Long, 48, of London died Sunday at University of Kentucky Medical Center, said Brad Mitchell, a detective with the Laurel County Sheriff's Office.

Long died about four hours after the bite was reported, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Officials said Long attended East London Holiness Church. Neighbors of the church told the newspaper the church practices serpent handling.


We're Getting the Six!

Crazy optimism talking, but if indeed the Dems have the House and the Senate, let the subpeonas flow, I beg you!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All Together Now!

Speaker Pelosi!



Monday, November 06, 2006

Colorado Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative Committee Markets Well

They are not ones to bogart the snark


Scarlet Tee

A Delaware judge on Friday ordered a man who twice exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl at his workplace to wear a T-shirt with the words: "I am a registered sex offender" in bold letters, a prosecutor said.

Roberts said Teeter had at least 10 prior convictions dating back to 1976 for exposing himself to children and had been diagnosed as a compulsive exhibitionist.

Teeter, who has 30 days to appeal the sentence, will have to wear the T-shirt at work for 22 months after he gets out of jail.


Go, Mums!

Take a lesson, America:
The mothers of British soldiers killed in Iraq yesterday challenged the government's refusal to hold a public inquiry into what they say was an illegal invasion.

Rose Gentle and Beverley Clarke said they were "proud of their sons, who died with honour serving their country". Fusilier Gordon Gentle and Trooper David Clarke were 19 when they were killed.

But the two women were "grieving parents in whose minds there are real questions about the legality of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003", their counsel, Rabinder Singh QC, told the court of appeal.


Death to Saddam! Long Live Saddam!

Rather mixed signals, I would say:

A day after Saddam Hussein was sentenced to hang, the Shiite-dominated government offered a major concession Monday to his Sunni backers that could see thousands of members of the ousted dictator's Baath party reinstated in their jobs.


Here's Hoping Common Sense Wins

A Navajo woman running, who believes that being gay is a birth defect. Or a choice. Or something like that.

The Navajo nation will elect a new president on Tuesday and the argument of nurture versus nature has become an issue in the campaign.

Two candidates are seeking the presidency: Joe Shirley who is hoping for re-election and Linda Lovejoy the first woman to run for the presidency.

At a forum in Albuquerque Lovejoy called homosexuality a birth defect.

“Some of our children are born with physical impairments, and it’s not the baby’s fault. … That person is special, that individual is special,” she said at the forum. “I feel the same way about sexual orientation: everyone is special.”

Later, when pressed by a local television station she suggested sexuality was a matter of choice.

“I respect everyone and that’s their choice, that’s their lifestyle they choose,” she said.


I Was Going to Vote for Perry, but...

(Kidding, of course):

Gov. Rick Perry, after a God and country sermon attended by dozens of political candidates Sunday, said that he agreed with the minister that non-Christians will be condemned to hell.

"In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer of that," the governor said.

What an asshole.



Ah, the power of association. Picture of Bush. "One Party with a Solid Lead."



George W.: The Worst of All the Bushes

His father and grandfather, whatever else they may have done, actually took risks and used political capital to fight for smart family planning, rather than pandering to fundamentalist jackasses:

Bush family members were pioneers in supporting the family planning services that can reduce abortion rates. President Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, lost an election for U.S. senator in Connecticut in 1950 partly because he was denounced for his ties to Planned Parenthood.

Later, George H. W. Bush was, as a young congressman, a prime sponsor of the 1970 public health program that provides family planning services in the U.S. He was so enthusiastic that his nickname then was Rubbers.

If Mr. Bush revived that legacy, he could lead a bipartisan campaign to promote sex education and increase access to contraceptives. Some experts estimate that this could cut the number of abortions in the U.S. by half a million annually. So Mr. Bush, step down from the pulpit, roll up your sleeves — and go back to your family roots!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Snuff Politics

Just in time for Tuesday's elections:
Saddam Hussein's death sentence was celebrated by some on Sunday as justice deserved or even divine, but denounced by others as a political ploy two days before critical U.S. midterm congressional elections.


Military Wants Rummy Out

Will Bush listen? When has he ever listened to the actual troops rather than his neocon buddies?
A group of military-targeted trade publications is calling on President George W. Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, citing a lack of support from military leaders over the Iraq war.

``The time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth,'' said an editorial appearing in the Nov. 13 issues of Gannett Co.'s weekly Military Times newspapers, which include the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times. ``Donald Rumsfeld must go.''


Dust Off Your Old "Clash" Album

He's back:
Former Marxist guerrilla Daniel Ortega could win a return to power in Nicaragua on Sunday in a presidential election closely watched by the United States, his Cold War enemy.

Sixteen years after he was thrown out of office by voters tired of a civil war with U.S.-backed Contra rebels, the mustachioed Sandinista leads conservative rivals in opinion polls in his third comeback attempt.

Although Ortega has toned down his leftist rhetoric since the 1980s, Washington is worried he will team up with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as part of the anti-U.S. bloc of Latin American leaders if he wins.

Disenchanted with the failure of often corrupt pro-market governments to fight poverty, about a third of Nicaraguans support the 60-year-old Ortega.

A beautiful land of tropical rain forests, volcanoes and lakes, Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and many are nostalgic for Sandinista agriculture, health care and education programs that alleviated poverty.


FBI Versus Congressional Corruption

Things could get real messy if the FBI does try this. Not that that's a bad thing:
The new chief of the FBI's Criminal Division, which is swamped with public corruption cases, says the bureau is ramping up its ability to catch crooked politicians and might run an undercover sting on Congress.

Assistant FBI Director James Burrus called the bureau's public corruption program "a sleeping giant that we've awoken," and predicted the nation will see continued emphasis in that area "for many, many, many years to come."

So much evidence of wrongdoing is surfacing in the nation's capital that Burrus recently committed to adding a fourth 15- to 20-member public corruption squad to the FBI's Washington field office.