Saturday, May 28, 2005

WriterGirl Rears Her OverSized Head

Novel status report: 50 pages, as of yesterday. Right on schedule. I didn't write on Thursday, but I got some good thinking done, which enabled me to write 13 pages yesterday in about 6 hours. Today, it's find a book on life in a medieval city, and maybe read a little on viruses, plagues, and history, because God knows I can't just write a simple romance, which was the plan: Girl meets boy. Girl marries boy. Girl maybe falls in love with boy.

Noooooooo, I have to put politics, and a siege, and maybe some epidemiology in there, too. Damn it!

Basically, I have two more weeks to write fiction, and then I have to put my Lawyer Hat back on. That's why I'm running so fast and trying to average 10 pages a day.

It's fun. Writing is work, even the kind of writing where all you do is "make shit up".

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Autism, Mercury, and Fish

The Age of Autism: Mercury and the Amish

"Environmental mercury is horrible...people with autism are the canaries in the coal mine."

Mercury Contamination of Fish
Mercury Fast Facts
Consumer Reports asks, Is the government too lax in advice on tuna consumption?

FDA Mercury Fish Warnings to Get 5 Times Stricter, Says Spokesperson: Physicians and Advocates Applaud New Standard To Reduce Mercury Exposure

Last July, FDA's food safety committee recommended that the agency publicize a scientific rational for continuing to use its action level, resume fish testing, add other high mercury fish to its "do not consume" list and warn pregnant women and young children to limit consumption of canned tuna, one of the most consumed fish in the U.S.

I'm curious as to whether we'll see a rise of autism in different types of communities, not necessarily geographic ones but perhaps class-based, due to the rising levels of mercury in certain fish. I used to eat canned tuna almost daily - it's my cheapest source of animal protein - but not anymore. Will other people on limited incomes make the same decision I made? Will folks who eat swordfish at swanky restaurants even realize their danger?

Blatantly Unconstitutional Assault on Religious Education

A judge in Indiana has ordered divorced parents, who are both Wiccan, not to teach their son their religion, as part of their divorce decree.

Parents can't teach pagan beliefs

Is this unConstitutional? You bet your bippy it is.

First, this is religious discrimination, against the family's practice of their faith, by the state's judiciary (which means it's a state "action"), which violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Where's the compelling state interest that's being served by a narrowly tailored means?

The fact that the judge did this at all is highly questionable. The religious upbringing of the child was not in question - both parents are of the same faith. There was no religious dispute as part of the divorce decree. So, what, the possiblity of little Junior coming home one day and asking why his classmates go to Christmas Mass is supposed to be a big deal? The awareness of other faiths is somehow so damaging to this kid's psyche as to represent a compelling interest for the state? Well, howdy-do, let's just bundle those kids up in bubblewrap and put them on a shelf their whole lives.

Second, this is the state interfering with the parental rights regarding the upbringing of a child, which violates their substantive due process right to privacy.

What was this judge thinking? That's what I'd know.

Crosses Burned in Durham, North Carolina

Crosses burned in Durham, NC

This sh*t shouldn't happen here: crosses burned in Durham, NC, at Big Brass Blog.

Biggest Disappointment in Human Rights Arena? U.S.

Amnesty International urged Washington to shut down the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay

In its annual report, Amnesty accused governments around the world of abandoning human rights protections, but it stressed the biggest disappointments in the human rights arena was with the United States.

American treatment of prisoners assailed Conduct weakens rights around world, group says.

The group's annual report, "The State of the World's Human Rights,'' provides a harshly worded critique of U.S. conduct toward its prisoners alongside accounts of oppression in China and genocide in Sudan, saying the U. S. behavior "grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity.''

And what are they doing at GTMO right now? Building death chambers. Oh, Jesus must be very proud of us. Very proud.

It's All Just Marketing

Audio of George Bush admitting to spreading propaganda

"If you've retired, you don't have anything to worry about — third time I've said that. (Laughter.) I'll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

National River Clean-Up Day (May 21)

Kim writes about her experience this year at Cinnamon Swirl.

There's nothing stopping any of us from letting any day be a River Clean-up Day. There are plenty of volunteer groups that clean along highways and waterways. Call your local Jaycees, or Boy Scouts, or whatever. Your kids can get community service points for participating, and we all get a cleaner environment. It's a win-win.

Fascinating Remarks on "Open Relationships"

by Bitch. Ph.D. (When I graduate law school, I'm tempted to change the name of my blog to Bitch, J.D.)

One of Dr. B's friends or colleagues asked "what is it you are getting out of this boy that you are not getting from Mr. B.?"

"The truth," she answers, "...[I]s that it is impossible for one person to be 'everything' to someone else. Impossible and, I think, cruel: setting the other person (and, incidentally, yourself) up to fail. In part, this is the answer to the 'why open marriage?' question in a nutshell: because I think it is loving to deal with your fear in order not to limit the other person's growth."

I this is remarkable, and, am, thus, remarking upon it. We expect, culturally, as Americans, our spouse to be our be-all and end-all.


I think it's connected to the increased mobility of Americans and the subsequent partial demise of multi-generational households and neighborhood support networks for the raising of children, in conjunction with a rise in the expectation of "romantic love" as the basis for a good marriage.

I've written about this before, though I can't of course find the damn entry right now, but the American ideal of marriage is a loving husband and wife and their children, and no one else, and that puts a real strain on the relationship because of the expectations placed on that husband and wife. They have no one but each other, yet we're a deeply social species, and I think we simply need more than just one person to connect with. To depend on. To love and be loved by.

Worldwide Knit in Public Day - June 11

Knit in Public Day. Do it by yourself, or with a group.

Monday, May 23, 2005

GTMO Not Scary Enough, Must Build Gas Chamber!

Camp Delta death chamber plan

I am quite possibly at a complete loss for a response to this.

No, no, wait, I feel a rant coming...

Can America be any more wasteful? I mean, really. We are so god damned MARRIED to our technology that we have to build a special room just to kill people with, just in case these military tribunals come up guilty and the verdict is a sentence of death. Did you catch that? In case. So they're not working from scratch.

My god. Whatever happened to the firing squad? Whatever happened to lining up a bunch of guys and having them shoot a man to death? It's a skill all of our military personnel study to acquire in basic training. So, what, is it deemed too traumatic for the guys doing the firing, to kill a defenseless chap who has been imprisoned by US forces for however many years now for possibly no reason whatsoever, as if that is dramatically different from killing a defenseless chap on the street of Bagdhad who has been imprisoned in his own country by US forces for however many years now for possibly no reason whatsoever?

Maybe, if we - that's the American "we" - don't have the cojones to look a man in the face when we kill, maybe we're in the wrong damned business and shouldn't be killing them at all.

Here's What's Wrong. Right Here.

Americans Who Torture Innocents

US Hypocrisy

"I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is - I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it."

The quote fails to make an important distinction between this life here, which our President is "against" destroying:

and this life here,

which our President doesn't care about.

It appears that the Culture of Life really should change their name, since they only care about "life" before its born. After that, all bets are off. Perhaps, "Culture of Fetal Life" would be more appropriate.

Thanks, Medley and Digby. Normally I wouldn't just blindly copy from these, two, I'd link, but I think the world should get a full dose.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Conspiracy to Deny NH Citizens Their Right to Vote

Josh Marshall hits it on the nose. "Tobin conspires to deny New Hampshirites the right to vote, according to the new indictment brought today. And he did this while working for Bill Frist." [Emphases added.]

New indictment revises conspiracy charge in phone jamming case

The new indictment charges Tobin with conspiring to deny New Hampshire residents their constitutional right to vote through a phone-jamming operation on Election Day 2002.

You Know It's News Because It's Got a Cute Name: Koran-gate

I don't care about the cute name, as long as the US media maybe does some fucking REPORTING about it. Sometime soon would be nice.

Here's a start:

Dozens Have Alleged Koran's Mishandling

Pentagon Caught In Fib about Koran-gate?

Red Cross confirms abuse of Koran at Guantanamo

Red Cross Spokesperson: Guantanamo Detainees Make Complaints in 2002, 2003

Desecration of Quran at US detention centres not rare

An examination of hearing transcripts, court records and government documents, as well as interviews with former detainees, their lawyers, civil liberties groups and US military personnel, reveals dozens of accusations involving the Quran, not only at Guantanamo, but also at American-run detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Do you get how when it's happening all over the place you can't blame just a couple of "bad apples"? If it's endemic, that means it's policy. Official or unofficial, written or oral, it's policy.

Well, One Year Down, Two To Go

That was year one of Law School.

Pretty good experience, over all, and I'm salivating over my next set of classes, both in Galway and at the start of Year Two.

But, it's been, what, a day and a half now of vacation? I'm already bored. Thank god for libraries.

So, since I'm bored, I'm embarking on my very own book project, rather like NaNoWriMo, only not in November, and, alas, not a full month. I expect to fail miserably, but at least I'll be kept out of trouble, and have more than 3 chapters and an outline when I'm done.

And now, perhaps, a nap. Later, no doubt, will be snarky commentary on the White House bringing out their Big Guns (Laura) to try and charm the Middle East. I think it may be too late for charm. Not invading in the first place might have worked a little bit better. Less expensive, too.