Thursday, September 29, 2005

Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster

This very very FUNNY Website provides an alternative theory of Intelligent Design.

Continuing to bring you the very best in web humor...

Thanks to Steve Caldwell for bringing this to our attention.

Pink Girlie Men visiting U. Iowa

Made Ya Look!!

Continuing today's theme of Only Funny Things,

Here's a patently ridiculous silly moment.

Cheers and Jeers Thursday via Bill in Portland ME

Over at the Daily Kos. This made me laugh.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Focus on the Family is promoting the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable"

Join me at the Love Won Out conference in Boston on October 29th.

If you want to understand, really understand, what the Religious Right thinks, there's not much of a better way than to attend an anti-gay/ex-gay/"pro-family" conference like this one.

In my work as a researcher, I've attended bunches of these religious right events, and I strongly encourage you to go if you're in New England. Love Won Out is the cornerstone of the anti-gay/ex-gay organizing, and it rarely is held in the Northeast. Given the current anti-gay marriage political campaigning in Massachusetts, it's a rare opportunity to see these committed concerned conservatives in action.

If that's not enough reason, Anne Heche's mom is one of the speakers.

I also encourage you to attend only if you can do so to learn how their world-view makes sense to them. ..and to be polite and respectful.

HEADLINES: Focus on the Family is focusing on mine.

Again. ...or still.

MailScanner finds possible Fraud!
see below for details! lol.

Protect Marriage in Massachusetts - Sign the Petition
Dear Friend,

The threat to traditional - one-man, one-woman - marriage has never been greater.
Now is the time to take action and defend traditional marriage in Massachusetts.

So far, 18 states have acted to protect marriage by enshrining traditional marriage in their state constitution. The people of Massachusetts deserve the opportunity to make their own decision on the definition of marriage. It is time to stand up to your activist Supreme Judicial Court and reclaim marriage.

Our friends at MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be - a coalition of pro-family, pro-marriage groups - have been diligently working to see that marriage is reclaimed in your state. In order to place this issue before the Legislature, the state requires at least 65,825 registered voters to sign a petition in favor of traditional marriage within a 60-day period. Because each signature must be certified, the committee is hoping to gather 120,000 signatures before the November 23 deadline.

But MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be can’t do it without you! There is much work to be done in
a very short amount of time. I’d like to ask you to prayerfully consider becoming involved in this vital effort.

First, sign a petition you can download from MailScanner
has detected a possible fraud attempt ...
. Then, sign up on the same Web site to become a signature gatherer and carefully follow the instructions for gathering signatures if you're able to commit to additional involvement. You can either make copies of the petition prior to collecting signatures or download additional copies. Once you have gathered the signatures, please return the petitions to the address listed at the bottom of the petition.

Please join with MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt ... in the critical effort to restore the traditional definition of marriage in Massachusetts. Thank you for standing in defense of marriage and family in your state.

Sincerely,Tom Minnery
Vice President,
Government and Public Policy
Focus on the Family
P.S. - To learn the latest on the petition efforts, visit our CitizenLink Web site.

It's really them, not a circumstance of fiscal internet fraud, but the assignment of the term is, I think, appropriate.

This site is certified 39% evil

by the gematriculator . This is the funniest I've seen in a while. Let's hear it for invented numerology.

The Gematriculator's reasoning?
  • Amount of letters
    25053 25053=7x3579
  • Amount of different words
    1603 1603=7x229
  • Amount of words beginning with vowel
    1507 1+5+0+7=13
  • Amount of words beginning with consonant
    4207 4207=7x601 4+2+0+7=13
  • Value of all words
    2089465 2089465=7x298495

I especially like "Amount of words." Even my poor gramar and speling knows that's knot rite.

The kicker that it's a joke site? It then recommends that you go kill everyone here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Each Christmas it kidnaps the baby Jesus"

This phrase sent someone to my blog. Thanks to statcounter, I can see that someone searched for "Each Christmas it kidnaps the baby Jesus", and Yahoo sent them to crankycindy.

This may be better than submissive wives.

"Economic liberal" for corporate economics?


Someone who understands economics better than I please go take that test. In retrospect, I'm wondering what my answers that were percieved as indicators of economic liberalism were asking about. Personal freedom of economic choice in buying low-cost? Personal access to jobs that pay a decent wage? Corporations have the "right" to do whatever they want if it's in their corporate best interest?

someone please ponder this, yes?

what is my political stripe

i'm using taking a politics test online to find out.

Right now. I'm taking it in another tab and writing about it as I go along. when i'm done i'm not going to edit my comments, even if it makes me look idiotic. It's full of binary type statements with teeny tiny variables thrown in...

Tradition is a reliable guide in deciding what's right
Well, I think tradition is A touchstone, of many, in deciding what is right. They've asked me if it is a reliable guide, not the reliable guide. If I answer agree, does that make me conservative? I respect my elders, and it's important to know what tradition says, did, and why. I'm going with Agree.

The separation of church and state has demoralized our society.

Demoralized? De-MORAL-ized? Well, I believe in the absolute separation of the institutions, but I don't believe in the separation of religious beliefs and politics/political beliefs, which is where the MORAL bit comes in. I'm going for strongly disagree.

So far this is my favorite:
It should be legal for two consenting adults to challenge each other to a duel and fight a Death Match.
Sometimes I wish certain consenting adults would duel to the death, but, alas, I don't actually think it should be legal.
The life of one American is worth the lives of several foreigners.
There was that great episode on The West Wing (the government we should have), where they were discussing this. i think it was Leo who said, "I don't know [why] sir, but it is."

well, let's see, here it comes: on my dial up, it's still coming
and coming.

not quite, just a couple more things...

Damn, I'm a Socialist!
Well it says cut and paste here, so here goes.

And yes, the SATs and GREs made me nuts! I took the Miller's Analogies too b/c it was nice and flexible. Turns out if you go by the Millers, I'm really smart.

You are a

Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(11% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

An amazing poem that is appropros




um.... relevant.

04/09: definitely not calm (through audre's work)

Race as Meme and white privelege

Another blog recently sent me scurrying to wikipedia to read about memes. (a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution)
Karl Popper advocated [meme resistance] in the strongest possible terms: "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us."
I agree with others that the concept of race has become a powerful meme, a powerful idea that may exist separately from observable testable reality. I also believe the concept of race, the meme of race, has become part of how people identify themselves as part of a group, a very human need, consciously or not, and how people judge others, consciously or not.

Personally, (and at the risk of over simplifying the argument) I think we can't end a meme by ignoring it, or simply saying that it's an unscientific concept. It's become a social concept that is imbued with all kinds of complicated power structures, utilized by people who either don't agree that race is a logically meaningless category, or who believe that race doesn't matter and therefore don't examine how race/identity/racism influences them unconsciously.

I was listening to talk radio the other night on my way home, and a caller, who identified himself as a hard working trucker, stated that you can watch "these people" outside the superdome and know what they're about, that giving $2000 cash cards to "these people" was wrong headed, and that 3/4 of the people displaced from New Orleans were on welfare anyway, so we're just still just paying for them one way or the other.

The (articulate and educated) talk show host didn't contradict the premise that 3/4 of New Orleans was on welfare.

He didn't ask who the caller identified as "these people" or who the caller identified as "we."

So who was the caller referring to? What kind of power to shape public opinion and the very perception of reality does this meme have? I think tremendous, and ignoring it isn't going to make it go away.

My family history of our lives as french/scottish/irish is full of stories of oppression, assault, sub-human indenturedness, and poverty. "Irish need not apply" was a real discrimination that had real consequences. But today when I hail a cab, or a policeman, that Scotch/Irishness hasn't "memed" into something that will interfere with what I'm trying to do. I'm hailing the cab as someone who is perceived as a white person. I'll never be mistaken for Danny Glover. (hell, when hailing a cab, Danny Glover isn't mistaken for Danny Glover.)

The history of slavery in America has turned into something very specific for African Americans in ways the history of Irish oppression didn't.

Personally, I'm with Noel Ignatiev and believe that one of the most powerful things that people identified as white can do to end the meme, or concept of race, is to refuse to use the privelege that comes from whiteness.

The cops that pulled me out of the car did so because they privileged whiteness and assumed that a white person wouldn't choose to ride in a car with 5 black people. They thought they needed to protect me, and, I would suggest, my whiteness.

Several years ago I was in Provincetown with my extended family which is multi-racial, multi-ethnic. The large imposing woman staffing the rest room leaned over like we were friends and asked me, loudly, in front of my two African American god-daughters,

"Are these your foster children?"

I was appalled. I had a foster child at one time, and I loved him, but these weren't him. What, the only reason a white woman would have black children is if their own mother couldn't care for them?

The girls froze, faces full of fear.

I did better than the time the police pulled us over in the car.

I looked the woman straight in the eye and said, "What? No, this is my family. Oh, I see what happened, you thought I was white. Yea, that happens all the time. Have a nice day."

I believe actions like that help to extinguish a bad idea. Refusing those moments when our whiteness priveleges us, or seems to make some kind of special bond between two otherwise anonymous people, that's the best meme-buster.

peace,crankycindy who is pretty happycindy that this conversation is happening.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Rubix Cube of Racism and Classism

I've been reading posts all over the uublogosphere about GA, racism, and classism. It has been fascinating, and sometimes frustrating to read statements made out of opinion, belief, and what people imagined might have happened at GA that would mean it wasn't about racism. I didn't post anything in reply: first because of that whole distracting wedding thing, then because it's time to open the RE program and that means bzillions of hours over 4 weeks.

But this morning I decided to not go into the office till later, to give my eyes a break from the computer, and my hands a break from collating, but, just for a sec, I thought I'd pop online and see what was up.

I read a few blogs, followed some commenters and links, and now, here I am, not cleaning the bathroom or making bread, but responding, writ large, to these conversations that seem to say classism and privelege, not racism, is the problem, and people are being distracted by a focus on racism.

I start, like any good feminist, with my own experience.

When I grew up, a white fundamentalist, working-class farmer kid in the mountains of NY just south of Canada, my whiteness seemed irrelevant.

What was relevant was that we didn't have any money.

I wore other people's used clothes (sometime I'll blog about the first day of 7th grade when Janine, the nastiest girl in class, pointed out loudly that my carefully pressed new shirt said "to Janine from Gramma" on the collar tag,) I ate what we grew, which meant a lot of canned green beans and tomatoes, stir fried in a thousand different ways with eggs or hot dogs. I was the kid in the lunch room who begged other kids for their Tunaboats. "Are you going to eat that?"

My dad was a farmer and a pharmacist. The first, and only, member of his family to go to college, he became a pharmacist because they couldn't afford to send him to medical school which was what he wanted to do. He worked his way through college and was in the Reserve. The little money a pharmacist made at a prison in the 60's- 70's went into the farm; land and self-sustenance being the fall-back safety net for both of my parents families, generations of Nova Scotia, Maine and Massachusetts dirt farmer people. My one grandfather sold shoes door to door and raised chickens, the other was a PartsMan at a Ford Dealership working than less than minimum wage, who tended an amazing and giant backyard garden that fed them.

My dad got up at 5 every morning to feed and water cows and chickens, then worked 7-3 at the prison, then came home to work the farm. Most of his vacation each year was taken in early spring so we could pick rocks that had risen in the fields over the winter, and then later in summer so we could get the hay in. When we did go on vacation, it was camping at a state site, bringing with us our green beans and tomatoes, eggs, and hot dogs. Once, he saved up forever to take us on a week long trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. In one year he bought a used pickup-bed camper, and a couple of years later he'd saved up enough for us to take the week and drive there.

My understanding of racism was theoretical and far away. For my middle-school years my favorite imaginary game was "raise an army and go rescue South Africa" for g-d's sake.

My experience of class and classism in America has been a journey - I left that mountain home; went to college; lived in a collective while being an activist and working at the 7-11; went to seminary; made the ethical decision to make it clear by the work/volunteer experience I left on my resume that I was a lesbian, and oops! didn't get a professional job out of Seminary. Of 75 resumes I sent out in response to job ads for which I was qualified, I got one interview, and got this 1/2 time live-in job at a college. Couldn't pay college/grad school loans, couldn't get those root canals (thanks Will for that great touchstone), defaulted on the loans. After a year, they hired me full-time, but still, it wasn't a job that payed enough. I loved working with college students, and I was good at it. I taught january term classes in fundamentalisms and liberation theologies and such, and generally tried to keep my head above the water that was filling in the financial rut I was in.

After several years, I found a 3/4 time job working at an agency as a staff educator and foster parent trainer. It was for less money but I was actually learning something I knew would be useful in the future. I wanted to learn how to be a great stand-up trainer on someone elses' dime.

Finally I fell into this job at the UU. I was at an Exodus International conference doing research about the ex-gays when my friend Karen called me there and told me that the UU was hiring, but that I'd have to move fast. It was the first time that knowing someone had benefitted me. I applied, competed, and got hired as an acting DRE. A year later they hired me permanently, and after a few years moved up to the UUA's mid-level salary for a congregaton my size. Of course, I'm still 100,000 in default (are you "in debt" if you're in default?)

I'm the epitome of class confusion in the US. Am I middle class because of my education and that fact that I finally have some semblance of job security? Was I working poor as a child even though my father had a professional job? I'm a 43 year old woman who will probably always be a renter, w/ a 5 year old Subaru my parents gave me last year when they downsized from 2 vehicles to 1. I'm working on a Soyo computer running Win 98 on a dial-up connection, and I got my wedding suit at a tagsale. But I own 1,500 books, and two hundred videos, (which sucks, as a renter, because I'm constantly having to pack them again.) Last year I did have a root canal instead of having it pulled because I have dental insurance now. What class am I?

Class is something I can't escape. I don't come from the social world that my upper middle class congregation resides in, I don't have the clothes or social skills that would enable me to blend in, and my personal politics are to the left of most of them. I don't answer the phone b/c it might be a bill collector. Whatever class I am, I cannot escape having to deal with it, I cannot escape the ways my lack of access to money or privelege limits my choices.

So. There might be some who would think that this post is about how challenging classism is. It's not.

It's about how I can never choose whether or not to deal w/ classism in my personal life, b/c it's just the way my life is. People of color have the same experience around racism. If they're poor, it's more difficult, not instead of difficult.

Another story: It's summer and hot. I'm in a car with 5 friends on the way to a picnic. We rock/paper/scissors for the hump in the back seat and I lose. After a while, a police cruiser follows us, we watch with nervousness in the mirror as they talk on the radio, and we compulsively watch our speed, travelling at exactly 55 mph. No more, no less. Then, after a few miles, they pull us over. They tell the women in the front seat to put their hands on the dash, and the three of us in the backseat to get out.

One puts the two men spreadeagled on the front hood of the car, and the other walks me to the back of the car and says, "Are you ok, miss?"

I'm confused. I say, "Yea, what's the problem officer?" not getting it.

He says that the car was suspicious, and he wants to make sure I'm ok.
I still don't get it. "Why are you asking me instead of them?"
As the words come out of my mouth I realize that I'm the only white person. My black friends are suspect.

I wish I could tell you that I hollered at him and reamed him a new one, but I can't, because all I said was "These are my friends."

He says, "I'm just trying to help you here, Miss."

I say, shaking my head incredulously, "I don't need any help, I'm going to a picnic with my friends, what's the deal?"

He calls to his partner to let the guys up, and as they walk back to the car I hear one say, "fuckin' fags."

So how do we pull this apart? Classism, Racism, and Homophobia all had a place in this story, but the core reality is that we weren't pulled over because we were (mostly) poor, or activists, or gay. We were pulled over because one white woman in a car with 5 African American people was a danger signal to these police officers.

Class didn't identify a car as dangerous. Sexual identity didn't identify a car as dangerous. Race did.

Most of the time, racism doesn't go to the gut of my experience like that. I'm a white woman, and my whiteness is what people see first, leaving me something of a blank slate until I open my mouth and my class falls out, or until they watch me walk and my dykeness leaks.

I can never ignore the complexities of classism in my life. Those people we could call "owners," those with privelege and power, do indeed make huge sweeping corporate and governmental decisions that benefit them and hurt poor people. The bankrupcy law changes of the last decade have completely screwed me. I'll be in debt forever and I'll never own a home, lacking a rich relative with an estate.

I could choose to ignore the complexities of racism, because except for occasional circumstances like the above, racism doesn't effect me in the same way as classism does. But people of color can't ignore it.

When I tell this story to white people, they often find it hard to believe -- they often say the types of things I've heard about the incident at GA -- well, it must have been a bad looking car, or maybe you were being loud with the radio and hollering, or maybe it was because you were a woman in between two men. Domestic people of color, particularly African American people, are rarely surprised by this story.

I could choose to ignore the complexities of racism, but I choose not to.

These bankrupcy laws disproportionately effect poor black people because there is a disproportionate percentage of black poor people in our country. It's not as simple as saying their problem is classism and privelege, not racism.

Racism, classism, homophobia -- these aren't different sides of the same coin, they're a freakin rubix cube.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Respectful of Otters

Everyone should be reading this Blog right now.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

THIS is the best explanation for why I place responsibility on Rumsfeld and Rice and others...

from REspectful of Otters, go there to read the rest:

CNN Quote: Displaced survivors in the Houston Astrodome can choose from counterfeit and abandoned clothing, toys, and even dog food.

More than 100,000 items were quickly taken from warehouses and more will follow, said Kristi Clemens, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection division.

The agency has some 1 million items stored, and Customs officials are going through their inventory to see what else would be useful. While the initial shipment went to Texas, officials are looking toward a wider distribution, Clemens said.

Respectful: At first that story made me smile. I could picture some frustrated worker at Customs, someone whose responsibilities had nothing at all to do with disaster relief, watching hour after hour of CNN until it hit them: we've got things those people could use. Disaster relief isn't supposed to be our mission, but it could be.

No, Seriously. Go there now.

Take me out to the Ball Game

Donald Rumsfeld was at a baseball game while the Mayor of New Orleans and the LA governor were begging for assistance.

Shoes, Baseball, Broadway, Texas Ranch, Montana:
Why are people harshing on the Pres and his Posse?

Our federal government were totally representing our nation during the Hurricane and immediate aftermath:

Labor and Manufacturing
Sport Jocks and Loafer Lifters
Red States- Blue States
Rural - Citified
Conservative Christian - New York Jews

Really, people. The President and his advisors were simply enjoying the broad diversity this nation has to offer.

Except of course New Orleans Jazz and the rich culture created by descendants of slaves and French Canadian immigrants.

picky picky.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Kanye West Rocks

How people couldn't have been pained by the turmoil he expressed, I don't understand.

The coverage at Democracy Now! was good.
The clip is here

There are bloggers who think that class, not race, is the problem in terms of the government's response to this crisis. I think this must come from a sense of really really wanting for racism to not be a problem anymore.

Google gives me this for a single blond haired blue eyed beauty.

Web Results 1 - 10 of about 521,000 for "natalee holloway" aruba.

If there were 25,000 Natalee Holloways' in the SuperDome everyone would have sent helicopters.

We can't get people moved, fed or housed, but

...we sure can take good pictures.

The New York Times has this great interactive.

This page from Spiegel is great.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blaming the Victims

choice n.
  1. The act of choosing; selection.
  2. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.
  3. One that is chosen.
  4. A number or variety from which to choose
  5. The best or most preferable part.
  6. Care in choosing.
  7. An alternative.

The news story is from

A Conversation at FEMA:

"What's another way to say, 'It's not our fault?'"
"We didn't know?"
"No good, we kinda did see it coming."
"It's the locals fault?"
"Yea, that's it-- it's local government and local individuals' fault. Plus, that message is consistent with fundamentalist republicanism and a lot of our base will buy into it."
"I know, let's talk about the CHOICE people had to leave, and how their CHOICE "not to heed warnings" led to their deaths."
"That's awesome, with the added benefit of fitting into our use of the word choice as a code word for death, so it's consistent."

(CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.
"Let's bury it by making it clear that the local folks said that bad news first."
"We're going to have to get around to saying the true death toll soon anyway, let's use this opportunity to bury the first pronouncement that changes the likely number from hundred[s] to thousands."

Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

"Slam hard on the idea that people could have saved themselves if only they'd listened (like the children they are)."

"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.

"Make sure not to suggest that poverty, physical and mental illness, hospitalizations, mobility challenges, and not having a car weren't the cause of staying in these areas. Leave room for the assumption that this CHOICE people made was one that involved ACTUAL OPTIONS."
"Yea, let's not mention that drug addicts are going to become desperate quickly without a supply of drugs, or that when people run out of their prescription drugs for blood pressure, mental illness, or diabetes, their thinking will become disordered."
"Oh crap, that disordered thinking happens when people get dehydrated too, doesn't it? Yea, best keep the subject to their individual choices. That's a nice American image--individuality, bootstraps, and cowboyism."

I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, " he said.

"But make sure to show that you feel bad for these poor people. Don't let it seem like you don't care."
"Make sure to emphasize that the hurricane and the evacuation was a local issue, not a federal one until after the catastrophe itself."
"Don't suggest that having 4 days to prepare meant that the federal government could have, say, started that hospital ship going in the general direction of, um, south."
"Yea, and give the appearance of sticking up for the Mayor while you distance the federal govt from responsibility."

"And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.
"Hit again the idea that poor people have options that they choose not to exercise."
"It's got to be spun like welfare reform... If we're going to have to be helping these people for months, which no way we'll pay for, then we've got to start blaming them for their plight now."
"But end on a nice strong note of helping out, looking like a good guy."

"So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."

I just imagined this conversation, right?

Where is our leadership?


Dick Cheney is still on vacation in Wyoming,
Condelezza Rice is watching a Broadway show and buying shoes ($1000's),
Karl Rove went to Texas to hang out with 6 bush supporters at Crawford,
and Bush is, I guess, in the rose garden smelling them.

Although Thursday evening he admitted that there were hungry and thirsty people in the Superdome, by the morning of Sept 2, Michael Brown, the head of FEMA was once again swearing on tv that people in New Orleans at the Superdome had adequate food and water.