Saturday, December 15, 2007

The War on Christmas BS Continues

I just returned from Eastern Kentucky, that bastion of liberality and diversity-mindedness. While there, I visited one of the small churches that dot the rolling land. No, I did not burst into flames, despite being both Pagan and lesbian (surely one of those should have gotten God's attention).

The church play for Christmas focused on those nasty retailers who say 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas'. Naturally, the correct conclusion was to remind everyone of 'the reason for the season'. If one looks at history, one sees that the reason was actually tacked onto the season, but that's not what really bothers me about what the church play is teaching these kids.

What I find most troubling is the subtle message being conveyed below the radar: Christians do not have to share, or respect other people.

Forget 'framing' or those other buzzwords being thrown around by the policy wonks. Ask yourself: since when did acknowledging that other people have winter holidays equate attacking Christians? If one of your children claimed that you were attacking him every time you mentioned his brother, or used the phrase 'my children', you'd think he had a serious ego problem. Is this really that different?

In order to get respect, one needs to give it. Yelling and screaming unless everyone else pretends that no other religions, or other winter holidays, exist should be swiftly slapped down for the solipsistic selfishness it is.

By the way, Merry Christmas. I am perfectly fine with everyone enjoying their holidays.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time to Change Your Insurance

When the Lexington City Council was debating its Fairness Ordinance some years back, a man representing himself as being from KY Farm Bureau urged them not to pass it, adding that they would go to hell if they did. I hoped he was speaking only for himself, but it appears to be policy!

Time to look for insurance someplace else, Kentucky...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Video: Athena rises from the ashes

Earlier this year, an arsonist torched a 100-year-old tree in Woodland Park. A local artist was inspired to preserve at least part of it as a protectress of the "Athens of the West".

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Okay, what is this thing?

We found this on Honeymoon Island, which is close to Dunedin, Florida. Is it a bug? A tiny crab? Anyone out there want to guess?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why Going On a Diet Could Save Your Life

Forget esthetics! Forget being able to fit into the teeny-weeny clothes at Old Navy. Controlling and limiting your intake could prevent kidney failure.

You probably remember the pet food recall last month, after several dogs and cats died suddenly. This was due to the addition of the industrial chemical melamine to their food. Multiple Chinese manufacturers have been adding it to the wheat, corn and rice gluten they sell us to boost the protein count and enable them to sell an otherwise inferior (cheaper) product. They've learned from Westerners that it's all about the bottom line.

Well, it’s not just pet food that’s been contaminated. It’s human food, too.

In "FDA: the Faith-Based Dining Association", Goldy from HorsesAss reports:
First we were told that none of the adulterated wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate had made its way into the human food supply, and then we were informed that a mere 6,000 hogs had eaten feed contaminated by "salvaged" pet food. Next it was chickens. 3 million of them. Slaughtered, butchered and eaten by unsuspecting Americans.

Then 20 million more chickens, and today another 50,000 hogs... not to mention the God-knows-how-many fish in the US and Canada raised on farms now known to have received Canadian fish meal manufactured from contaminated Chinese flours.
Today, CNN gave more details on the crap-fed fish. They also reported that the manager of one of the Chinese suppliers has been detained, and he claims he doesn't even know what melamine is, much less anyone who would use it. I suggest that they only provide pet food for his meals, and see how quickly his memory comes back.

I’m sure these events will help convert more people to veganism, which should make PETA happy. Unfortunately, there’s this little problem of E.coli popping up in spinach and other lettuces. Just ask Taco Bell about the grief E. coli has given them over the last year.

Me, I'm thinking about spending more money at my local farmer's market, where one knows the provenance of the food. That, and praying that the chocolate supply is safe.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

For Big Pharma, Business as Usual

In "How Many “Free Trade” Senators Can PhRMA Turn Into Corporate Protectionists?", David Sirota kvetches:
How many self-described “free” trade lawmakers in Congress can the drug industry make head to the floor of the Senate and bare their corporate protectionist corruption for all to see? Based on a key vote yesterday, the answer appears to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 49 (including 14 Democrats) - well over what’s necessary to control the federal government.

That’s right, as the Associated Press reports, “In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings from domestic prices.” The legislation to allow imports of FDA-approved medicines from other industrialized nations (a practice used by other industrialized nations themselves) was sponsored by North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) and has long been supported by the vast majority of the American public in opinion polls. Yet right there on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday afternoon, 49 senators voted through a poison pill amendment, invalidating Dorgan’s legislation and protecting drug industry profiteering. The sheer disregard for the truth and for consistency when it came to both the policy and politics of this vote was, in a word, stunning.
Why would our congressmen and senators vote for a plan like this? Because Big Pharma promoted it under the radar with "stealth PACs", and rewarded supporters by paying for campaign commercials.

You may have also seen the commercials claiming that seniors are doing better and seeing 'real savings' under the current Medicaid structure. Those commercials are sponsored by PhRMA, a major funder of the stealth PACs.

What they don't tell you is that the most inexpensive plan puts a strict cap on how much Medicaid will pay for medicine each year. Naturally, the people who take the plan are the ones with the lowest incomes, and thus are the least able to pay if they have real health problems. Since lower income people are less able to afford good health care, their conditions tend to worsen more quickly, yada yada yada.

At least one friend's family hit this ceiling in about March or April last year, and the rest of the cost went on their credit cards. Credit cards charge interest, so... let's just say that those 'real savings' get swallowed up quickly by interest charges.

What can you do? Find your senators, and learn how they voted. Then, most importantly, do something about it. Contact them to offer thanks or criticism, phone their offices, and write letters to your newspaper. Tell your friends. Finally, work for their re-election or defeat. Your personal time and effort is worth more than ten commercials.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Merry Month of May

I hope everyone had a happy Beltane. I spent it at a cousin's wedding in North Carolina. At the right, you can see the pole they set up for the post-nuptial celebration.
The rest of the month promises to be a busy one: it's primary season in Kentucky, and I'll be calling and canvassing for the Jonathan Miller campaign.

That may sound like a boring thing to do when the weather is finally improving, but I would rarely leave my library or my precious air conditioning otherwise. See, politics can bring you closer to nature!

Sarah G

Monday, April 9, 2007

I wish to register a complaint...

...with the city of Punxsutawney, PA. Their groundhog either needs new glasses or he was lying through his front two teeth. I suspect he was paid off by the Fashion Consortium so they could push their spring wardrobes early.

Two weeks of warm weather followed by April snow is not spring, folks. Time for rodent stew!

Sarah G

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring is Here

You may remember that, back on Groundhog Day (aka Imbolc), Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. For a while, it even seemed like he might be right. It got warmer, our crocuses broke ground, and our maple tree began putting out leaves. A week or so later, the temperatures plummeted again and snow covered everything.

I’ve wanted to kick that groundhog ever since.

Today, though, on the first official day of spring, it is finally getting warm again. The flowering trees near my workplace are blooming, our crocuses are back in force, and the daffodils have opened up. New birds are visiting our feeder, and the squirrels are frolicking in our back yard.

Happy Ostara, everyone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Falwell's Double Standard

Jerry Falwell recently visited our (sometimes) fair state. From his interview in The Winchester Sun:

Patrick: One of the social conservative issues that has gotten a lot of attention this week is homosexuality, because Dr. (Albert) Mohler at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville has said that Christians should accept that there probably is a biological basis for homosexuality.

Falwell: That's what the article said, but today, if you go to his Web site, he denies all of that.

Patrick: What is your thought on that?

Falwell: I don't think anybody is born a bank robber or an adulterer or a homosexual or you name it. I think we are all born sinners in need of a new birth experience, but I think our behavior is all a matter of choice.

Patrick: There's a lot of science recently that contradicts. (Here Falwell interrupted the question.)

Falwell: Half of those are gay scientists. It's hogwash. I believe that when you're born, you have a clean slate, but you have a fallen nature because of Adam and Eve. Everyone needs to be born again, to come to know Christ personally.

Isn't it nice to be put in the same category as bank robbers? I get really tired of all the implications fundamentalists make about the character of gays, and not just our sexual habits. That, though, could be an entire separate post.

Falwell's finger pointing, however, did not extend to Newt Gingrich:
Patrick: Do you think Gingrich should run for president after his recent revelations to you (about his marital infidelity at the same time he was leading the charge against Clinton over having an affair in the White House)?

Falwell: I think that Newt Gingrich is, without question, the brightest politician in America today. He has forgotten more than most of them know. He is speaking to our commencement exercise in May at Liberty University. John McCain spoke last year. We have not endorsed anyone. But my opinion is that if Newt Gingrich announces, he will immediately be among the top runners.
He sidesteps the question about Gingrich completely, which I find ironic since he'd just likened gay people to adulterers, like Gingrich. Hypocrisy and sexual sins don't seem to be so bad when they're done by your people instead of those people.

The saddest part is that no one in Falwell's camp, nor any of his supporters, is likely to call him on this obvious double standard. This is why I think fundamentalist leaders are more interested in playing 'gotcha', 'mine's better than yours', and getting to treat others badly than in actually doing anything to help people or 'the family', their most cherished words. I think I know who is really demonstrating flawed character here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Calling All Candidates...

Recently, I attended a Democratic Party function honoring the volunteers from the 2006 election. It was a high-level event, held in a historical building. The food was catered, and all the important local politicos were there. Naturally, several speeches were made by said politicos.

During one of the speeches, a cell phone began ringing. No modest chirp here, or clip of classical music. No, this phone blared “Sexyback” from Justin Timberlake! It lay on a table filled with middle-aged women, who all began looking at one another. No one claimed the phone, so it continued its mating call, provoking giggles from around the room.

Finally, one of the women was brave enough to pick it up. “Hello? Who are you calling for?” She then handed to another woman at the table, saying, “It’s for you.”

The phone was in plain view of everyone at the table, including the owner, but she was too embarrassed to pick it up. I’m certain that she was worried that other people would think that she had no taste, was pretending to be young, was actually immature, or even had loose morals. I suppose it’s also possible that a teenage offspring downloaded the tone, but I was rooting for a secret naughty streak. Life doesn’t end at 40, as I well know.

Democratic politicians act the same way about gays sometimes. Less than two weeks ago, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was saying that her door would always be open to us. Yesterday, though, after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff referred to homosexuality as ‘immoral’, she ducked the question when asked to agree or disagree with the statement. Barack Obama also sidestepped the question. Both issued statements later through their spokespeople, stating they disagreed with General Peter Pace. Since Hillary’s husband was the original institutor of the ‘Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell’ doctrine, she’s getting more press than Obama did.

Like the woman who didn’t want to admit the phone was hers, the Democratic Party is very good at wooing gays privately when it comes to volunteers and donations, then pretending like they don’t know us when the public is watching. I’m sure that both candidates went to check the polls before releasing politic statements through third parties. When will it occur to Democrats that the religious fundamentalists they want to draw in are more faithful to the Republican Party than their own wives? Furthermore, when will it occur to Hillary that both gays and fundamentalists have long memories?

Edwards was the only one that’s picked up the phone so far. From CNN:

BLITZER: First of all, in your opinion, is homosexuality immoral?

EDWARDS: I don't -- don't share that view. And I would go -- go further than that, Wolf. I think the don't ask, don't tell is not working. And as president of the United States I would change that policy.

Edwards is still balking on the marriage issue, but at least he was able to answer the ‘immoral’ question directly. He also said he wanted to end discrimination in this country, in general terms. Guess he’s not afraid of that ring tone.

Me, I favor the Addams Family theme. And I don’t get embarrassed when people laugh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No Pagan sports fans?

I find it interesting how many Pagans snub sports. Many of us seem to have adopted the ‘intellectuals have more important things to think about’ attitude. If you look at history, however, ancient Pagans were very interested in sports. Many games, races, and gladiatorial battles were dedicated to the gods of Greece and Rome, for example. The most famous world-wide series of athletic competitions today, the Olympics, was originally held in honor of the god Zeus. The victors glorified the god, and their cities of origin basked in the glow.

“We know that, Miss Obvious,” you might say. “We’ve studied the ancient origins of many things. Did you know there were artistic and intellectual competitions as well?”

Hey, where do you think Jeopardy and American Idol got their start? Okay, maybe that's a stretch.

I am an intellectual, or so I am told. I am not an athlete. This is not because I think athletics are ‘beneath’ me, but because I am as athletic as a turnip and always have been. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching certain competitions, like ice skating (okay, NOT Greek in origin) or backing certain athletic teams. I must confess, though, that I have never watched the Superbowl. Why should I, when there’s a Jessica Fletcher marathon going on somewhere?

Go Cats!


Friday, March 9, 2007

Welcome to the new Rainbow Wind blog!

This is the new home of the Rainbow Wind blog. With so much going on at the national and state levels, I'm sure we'll find a lot to talk about.

If you had a link to the old Rainbow Wind blog, please change it to this page.