Thursday, November 09, 2006

Patriotic Verklempt Cindy

Yesterday was such an emotional day. Deval Patrick, whom I've been excited about since I first heard him speak in a little house up the street two years ago, won here in Massachusetts. We (yellow dog Democrats and Progressives together) took back the House, and likely the Senate. Previously out of reach government measures (by the people and for the people) like meaningful health care reform, wage support, and appropriate social services for citizens, are once again possible.

At the same time, citizens of seven of these states voted to ban gay marriage(or uh-hem, "affirm traditional marriage,") by sometimes overwhelming majorities, rejecting the extension of for the people to include me in a meaningful way. (Except Arizona. Thank you Arizona)

President Bush proved his narcisicissm, again, when he changed the subject of the national discussion half-way through the day from the Democratic sweep to his firing of Rumsfeld. Like a child or addict/alcoholic, bad attention is better than no attention. In a move that had Rove's fingerprints all over it, the President manipulated all the pundits and talking heads away from focusing on the democratic sweep state by state, Representative by Representative, Senator by Senator, and the various progressive (or reactionary) ballot initiatives that passed/failed to a HUGE piece of the pie discussion about Rumsfeld and the President and what's next for the Secretary of State, with a mere powdered sugar sprinkling of how it was the democratic sweep that led to this (except the Pres. says it didn't). They managed to have very little discussion about the actual races, or the platforms that were attached to them.

I attended a meeting of DREs (fabulous people) halfway across the state, and so listened to the radio for nearly 3 hours, switching between Rush Limbaugh and Air America's Al Franken. Something of a silly decision. Rush bellowed, "It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better folks," and Al didn't. He made noises about crowing, but didn't really crow.

When I got home, I checked out the television news networks. NECN, our local northeast cable news, stayed with the politics of the races, as did CNN. MSNBC and FOX switched their pundit focus and spent the majority of the time discussing the Rumsfeld resignation, er, firing, er, leaving.

John Hall won again in New York. ( Orleans' Jon Hall) At the end of this long and politically emotional day, last night's Colbert Report turned incredibly touching after the interview (wherein John Hall and Stephen bantered about Democrats and Republicans crossing the aisle) when John and Stephen did an Amazing duet of the Star Spangled Banner. Not Carnegie Hall amazing, but contextually amazing. (update at noon: the clip from YouTube is now below.)

And here's the funny thing, one might even say the illogical, unscientific, irrational thing that crankycindy finds irritating. Even though it was fake united-across-the-aisle-ness, the symbology of it totally got to me and I choked up and actual tears ran down my face.

As of now, 8 am EST, last night's clips aren't up yet at the above link, but I hope that they will put it up. Otherwise dear readers, check your tv listings, Comedy Central repeats Colbert a couple of times throughout the day. (I know at least at 8:30 pm EST.) It's worth turning away from Survivor while they count the votes to catch it there at the end of the show.

Let me know if it was the singing that was honestly touching and patriotic, or if I was just overwrought and overtired and therefore suseptible to silly sentimentality.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Repulsive and Dark Take 2

Bill let me know I wasn't clear. Thanks.

"Repulsive" is a word they reserve for the Really Big Sexual Sins. It is how they talk about homosexuality. The use of language in Haggard's apology indicates that he is talking about something more than cheating on his wife. It isn't about generic cheating or compulsive behavior, it is specifically about the fact that this behavior involved another man not a woman.

Haggard is a deceiver and a liar, and I give him credit for admitting his failing - but I am saddened for his internalized shame, which isn't about cheating per se. So I'm sad personally for Haggard, because this isn't just about being unfaithful, it's about the repulsive sexual immorality of homosexuality.

In the religious world Haggard inhabits "cheating" isn't described as repulsive. It's described as wrong, as sin, as immoral. Repulsive is in some fashion a code word, the worst word you can use, generally held back for homosexuality, pedophilia, and pornography, the trifecta of loathsome sexual practices.

Dobson's opening statement on his radio program yesterday wasn't to talk about cheating but to identify Haggard's behavior as "a 3 year homosexual relationship."

What Dobson's response indicates is that his religious world will focus on the gender of his cheating rather than the lack of integrity, or the internalized conflict and shame that likely drove Haggard to feel he had no other options.

Let's be honest. A massage with a sexual component for money isn't a relationship, it's prostitution. Several popular Christian leaders have resigned because of being caught with prostitutes over the last couple of decades, but their peers don't say that these men who visit female prostitutes have "relationships" with them.

By saying that this prostitution was a "relationship," Dobson paints the current anti gay marriage initiative on the Colorado ballot (and others) with a nice big repulsive brush. If they want to stop these relationships, all they have to do is make sure that people vote their way.
This is the same thing as the libelous The Gay Agenda video that was put out in 1992. Paint a vile picture of gays, then say that that is what they have to vote against. And the best part is that Dobson can do it while expressing compassion for his dear friend the fallen.

Here are some examples of what I mean, provided here for those who don't necessarily listen to or read the religious right folks.

"...persecution of Christians and state-sponsored persecution of people who are moral enough to find prancing homosexuals repulsive. This is what the homosexual lobby wants, folks. They not only desire the end of free speech, they want their views forced upon everyone else." Alpha and Omega Ministries

"Finding homosexuality repulsive is a natural human instinct to protect oneself, and is common to most humans, not just a few conservatives"
MissionAmerica quoted at

"Perhaps it is not very “Christian” of me but I find homosexuality as repulsive as God does from a mere human perspective. There’s something DIFFERENT about homosexuality. Male to male, female to female utterly denies what God designed us for and to whom." comment on

Principles which guide AFA's opposition to the Homosexual Agenda
"1. The scripture declares that homosexuality is unnatural and sinful. It is a sin grievous to God and repulsive to Chrisitians because it rejects God's design for mankind as heterosexual beings." American Family Association

Could you surf the web and find the word used elsewhere? Sure. a quick Google search found, within the first 8 pages or so -- christians who say that lesbians find sex with a man repulsive, christian anti-divorce website talking about wives who suddenly find sex with their husband repulsive. 9/11 is described as repulsive, and often they'll describe pornography as repulsive.

But cheating on your wife with another woman? Not repulsive, just sin.

And all the talk about one sin being just like another sin? Baloney.

And Haggard believes this and must be in some kind of special hell.

Shameless Plug Alert: I have a lovely 90 minute multimedia presentation/lecture called "The X-Gay Agenda: The Political Science Fiction of Reparative Therapy." It's simultaneously fun and appalling in a CrankyCindy kind of way. That said, in real life, I'm a relatively friendly combination of cranky and happy cindy.
Hire me for your congregation today!

Monday, November 06, 2006

FOX news gets their own dedicated post.

With this story about Ted Haggard that contains some of the worst writing I've seen on tv in years. I can't write good either, but then, I'm not on tv.

"Repulsive and dark" The bit that makes me sad, but cranky comes back after a couple of paragraphs

Rev. Ted Haggard, in his letter to his congregation, stated
“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem,” ... “I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life.”
It breaks my heart that as he accepts responsibility for behavior that is shameful, cheating, and likely compulsive, but his focus is likely not the cheating or the compulsiveness of his behavior that he sees as repulsive, but that it was homo-sexual behavior. Internalized homophobia is a biatch.

I'm sad for him personally. I'm angry because his behavior, his choices, and his response to those choices have, for some people, simply proved how evil and repulsive homosexuality is.

James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, for example, who shares Haggard's political opinions, changed his website a day or two ago. An upgrade was "due this fall" (promo for it)
and they put up the new site design and decided to go with MARRIAGE just in time for this thunderbolt to hit evangelical politics.

Google's cached version from October 31 (Parents, Pastors, Halloween, and Homosexuals were pretty prominent) is quite different from the new and improved you'll see today.
It includes quick links to
God's Design for Marriage.
Biblical Perspective on Marriage.
Complete Guide to the first Five Years of Marriage. (oh wait, that's not advice, it's for sale)

James Dobson discusses this situation on his radio program here. If you haven't listened to the leaders of the Religous Right discuss such things recently - if you mostly spend time with others who like and agree with you, I highly recommend that you listen to this 30 minutes with hand picked evangelical leaders known for their anti-gay opinions and political work.
OPENING AD: America, you span a great continent, whose strength reflects... America, your history rises up off thelives and sacrifices of ordinary citizens... America, your future waits to be written. will freedom continue to echo in the corridors of education on noisy factory lines, and on white steeple churches? Will enough people care about freedom enough to sacrifice, or to sacrifice the time needed to cast a vote? America, it's up to you.
DOBSON: sigh. I'm sure that many of our listeners are aware that one of the most influential...leaders... has experienced a moral failure. He has now admitted having a homosexual relationship that goes back for several years.
It's not a relationship. It's a call girl, er, male escort, er, massage...
Whatever it was, it was definitely not a relationship.

They offer a Toll-free Pastoral Hotline: 877-233-4455.
If you're heart sick about this and need pastoral care over the telephone, then you should call it.

I'm just saying.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Religious Professional Tip #43. If you're so exhausted you consider buying Crystal Meth

it might just be time to hire more staff.

I am, of course, referring to the admission of Rev. Ted Haggard, that he purchased methamphetamine from the gay escort, (once the convincing voicemail was released he admitted this) but says he didn't use it, or him.

I don't know if the gay-sex bit is true or not, but here's my question. Why would a man go to a gay escort/prostitute for methamphetamine and a massage but not sex??? Would one of the most significant evangelical leaders really go to a hotel to have a massage (only?) from a gay escort/prostitute? Perhaps this is simply a case of

There is a wonderful clip from, see it below or open an external link atYoutube here.
how do you have a good family? you find a person of the opposite sex and make a lifelong committment to them..

More at YouTube
Ted Haggard from Jesus Camp the Movie
The Church lady responds, sort of.
Good Morning America plays voicemails that (sure as heck sound like) Rev. Haggard calling the prostitute for meth.
Clip of him saying No, I do not Know Mike Jones. (also, includes a Rumsfeldian "There are 14,000 men and women in my church, I might know men I know that i don't know if I know they're gay)
Clip, in case you haven't seen it yet, of his meth buying admission. "I went there for a massage"

This is just fun, 'cause wait, there's more!!

Mike Jones, the escort in question, is pretty believable on MSNBC.

Oral Roberts University has already erased Haggard from their website, but in a fashion that means they could bring him back very easily. This is slow, but enjoyable.

OR, see Jimmy Kimmel wrap it all up in 5 minutes.

I'm sure that i'll soon get tired of my new dsl inspired video toy, but for now, here's to YouTube!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why do adults trick or treat?

Really. Inquiring minds want to know. Last night we had about 65 kids and 6 adults. The kids were cute and adorable. Even the teenagers who decided at the last minute to go out with a streak of lipstick doubling as a costume were cute, but not so much cuteness from the adults.

None mumbled "this is for my other kid who is sick at home," or even stated, "I only look grownup." They proudly held their bags open for me to give them candy.

Is it just me? Do any of you trick or treat for yourself, and if so, why?????

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Death of Habeus Corpus

In the 1980's I was occasionally afraid that those calling for the internment of HIV+ people and LGBT folk might actually get their wish. SON of COINTEL PRO was functioning alive and well in my life.
... by 1983, FBI agents and private security specialists had launched broad intrusions into the lives of ordinary citizens engaged in otherwise legal activities. (from the brilliant political-social-analytic website Public Eye)
My activities and those of many of my colleagues and friends - social justice activities - all proactive, creative, and legal - were curiously interesting to hunkered down men who sat outside my home in parked cars, to tall men who stood at ease in the back of my church during communion, to the "insurance agent" who, for "insurance reasons" had to read the titles of our books into a tape recorder after being let in by our landlord.

Might you wonder what type of activities?
Perhaps you surmise, dear reader, that we deserved to be snooped upon without warrant.

I was part of a drama troupe that educated various public servants, (educators, police, etc.) about HIV/AIDS and LGBT folks.
I taught 5th grade.
I was active in MCC, a "Gay Church" that met in the Unitarian Church, the same building that housed the anti-nuke people.
I was involved in an attempt to provide an education for the children of MOVE members that would be acceptable both to the mothers and the State. (Such a compromise was not possible.)
I protested to oppose the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork.
I lived in an intentionally diverse house of African Americans and white folks, gay men and lesbians during a decade and in a city that preferred to keep everyone as separate as possible.

Jesse Jackson spoke from our front steps on the eve of the Pennsylvania Primary in 1986. Maybe that was the dangerous activity that required surveillance.

We were never identified as "enemy combatants," picked up for questioning, or carted away to another country to be not-tortured. It was clear that there were those in "law enforcement," in "the government," who believed there was something about our activities that constituted a threat, but their interference in our lives didn't go beyond an intimidating quasi-public survelliance.

What of activists now? How chilling must it be to have a law that completely eradicates Habeus Corpus. Why bother with intimidation and scare tactics? We used to be afraid that someone would cart us off, drop us somewhere without defense. But it would have been illegal, and we held on to the shred of hope that the feds who were watching us would follow the law and would not physically interfere with us.

No hope of that now. It is now legal for someone to be identified as an enemy combatant, and carted off to G-d knows where, where G-d knows what to happen, where even the Geneva Conventions - that last bulwark of ethical instruction - aren't attended to, and, since there is no right to a lawyer, no one will even know where they are should they want to report them missing.

Maybe it can be an episode of Without A Trace. The FBI looking for someone the FBI has taken.

And what does this mean for Ministers, DREs, and other religious professionals who act as if the Reign of G-d is among us and we are to do justice? I think it can't be good. The chilling effect of this legislation, of this constitutionally unsupported square of rotting spam on a board, can't be good. It means that we may begin to second guess our public statements. And that's the cruelest censorship.

Keith Olbermann has something to say as well. First, the special report on Habeus Corpus.

And his Special Comment on Habeus Corpus is available at Crooks and Liars.
It's got a great last paragraph. It's worth waiting for though, so go read or watch the commentary from the beginning.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Heart Keith Olbermann

for so many reasons. Reason #334A is because he's on "news network" programming at the same time as Bill O'Reilly, which just seems fair. Here's reason number 334B--

Olbermann named Paul Weyrich the Worst Person in the World Award winner for Thursday Oct. 6, 2006 for making this statement as taken from Olbermann's Countdown page:

“Here’s the real problem,” [Weyrich] said, “it has been known for many years that Congressman Foley was a homosexual. Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex.” When the host suggested that that was just an opinion and many would take exception to it, Mr. Weyrich explained “I don’t care whether they take exception to it; it happens to be true.”

Olbermann responds (two days after Chris Matthews didn't respond to a similar statement on Hardball):

No, actually. But let me repeat this, brainiac. This isn’t about Foley being gay. It’s not about what the kids did, it’s an adult, male or female, straight or gay — taking sexual advantage of children and other adults protecting that adult. Commentator Paul Weyrich, today’s Worst Person in the World.

Media Matters has done a very efficient job of exploring the gay-pedophile libel.

A related set of statements/libels that has James Dobson and Matt Savage saying the Mark Foley scandal boils down to "pranks" by pages can be found dissected here.

It's so so nice to have the Right on popular television again, isn't it?

In case you're wanting a 360 degree view of other media outlets perspectives, here's Fox's:

Fox's Hannity and Colmes misleads their viewers about the actions of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington, here, and a report on Special Report with Brit Hume, two days after CREW clarified their position, repeated these statements without including the clarification.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What Concerned Women for America are reading

Beneath links to discussion of such concerns as Walmarts promotion of homosexuality (who knew?!,) the unborn child pain awareness act, and the criminalization of thought in America, the Concerned Women for America homepage has a section toward the bottom of the page labled

What CWA Staff are Reading

It's empty.

I couldn't make this stuff up.

Aww Mom but Peace Bang Started It (2)

This one works! Posted by Picasa

finally got the image to load. It only required that I download two programs and completely change my picture management plan.

Awww Mom, but PeaceBang started it

I've always wanted to do this. PB's Beauty Tips found the easy way, and given I don't have my mom's visual artistic nature to create one from scratch, I just went for it...

except i keep reposting this and I can't get the image to load... arrg aarrggggg talking like a pirate and that day's long over.

ok, any minute now, worth the wait, I swear.

There it is!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keith Olbermann Calls the President to Repentance and so should we

Good Golly Miss Molly, this statement has more power and clarity than any speechifying I've seen on television all year. If you haven't seen or read Keith Olbermann's Bush Owes Us An Apology yet, you must do it now. You can view the clip on his blog site linked above, or at Crooks and Liars in WMV or QT. [9/21 Note: since Michelle instructs me below as to the challenges of Crooks andLiars links, and then went to the effort of posting the video herself, please watch it there.]

Read it to yourself or watch the original, then come back here to read the rest of this entry.

[No really, click a link above and read or watch the essay first then read on for my take.]

I think that the President is so out of bounds in general and in particular with his statement that "it is unacceptable to think there is any kind of comparison between [actions of the US and of terrorists]..." that it deserves not only the apology Olbermann demands, but a gianormous turning away from sin repentance experience. What America should do with this speech/editorial/statement, over and above reading it quietly or watching Mr. Olbermanns' excellent delivery and then talking about it on blogs, at watercoolers or in grocery stores, is to do an All-American Dramatic Reading. Outloud. In public.

In fact, I think that all of America could do a simultaneous reading of this statement, in unison, church style. Our President continues to believe, being surrounded by sycophants as he is, that he not only knows best, but that he's speaking on behalf of the country.

Therefore, I call for Americans everywhere to organize and read this essay in unison as a National Call for the President to Repent and Turn from his Ways, this Sunday, September 24, at noon Eastern Time.

And since very few people read this sporadic blog, you're in charge of passing it on.

Monday, September 18, 2006

John Danforth blasts Bush, Bill [Frist] and Bashing [gay]

"If the kingdom of God is spacious, how dare church leaders take it upon themselves to rope off these large rooms and establish crannies for some while booting out the others?"

Faith and Values: How the "Moral Values" Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together.

He's taken on the Republican Religious Right before, as in "Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers," but now there's a whole book of his theological, social, and political musings. (You all know he's an ordained Episcopalian minister, right?)

In a book excerpt available online from Newsweek, he says of moderates:

It is time for a clear statement of what we believe, a statement we repeat relentlessly and a statement that expresses the strength of our convictions:
  • We believe in a large God, a transcendent God, a God who cannot be shrunken by political activists and stuffed into their own agendas.
  • We believe that no one should presume to embody God’s truth, including ourselves. We acknowledge that our political programs, however prayerfully inspired, are no more than our best efforts to be faithful to God, and that we should pursue them with humility.
  • We believe that God’s truth is expansive enough to embrace conflicting opinions, even on hot-button issues, even of people with whom we vehemently disagree.
More from this lovely excerpt can be found here, from Newsweek.

I' ll point you to an excerpt about the Schiavo debacle at The Raw Story

Also according to The RAW Story, the book says of the "Marriage Amendment":

"I think that the only purpose served by the campaign for the amendment is the humiliation of gay Americans, advocated by the Christian right and eagerly supported by its suitors in the Republican Party. "In reality, it is gay bashing."

Danforth then goes even further, saying supporters' assertions that the amendment would protect marriage is ludicrous.

"America's divorce rate is now over 50 percent, and marriage is under attack from a number of quarters: finances, promiscuity, alcohol and drugs, the pressures of work, cultural acceptance of divorce, et cetera," he pens. "But it is incomprehensible that one of these threats is when someone else, whom we have never seen, in a place where we may have never been, has done something we don't like."

Alas, it's coming out now in hard cover. When it's out in soft cover, or available in my local library, I'll actually read the whole thing.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

ICE AGE 2:Christian Meltdown

The Funniest Thing at the Wittenburg Door in months.

ICE AGE 2:Christian Meltdown is a sneakily acquired, er, found copy of an upcoming article in Don Wildmon's American Family Association Journal.
We are in a culture war of incredible proportions. We soldiers of Christ must take up our Biblical bayonets and stab the heart of the beast. We must hold high our crosses to repel the vampiric media which brainwash our children. We must rain down fire and outrage on the demons that attack impressionable minds through video games, television, movies, and "rap" music.
It is not that we need to simply encourage our children to take up a hobby that inspires creativity. It is not that we need to interrupt our busy schedules to read to our daughters and play catch with our sons. It is not that we need to encourage excellence in sports, theatre, music or other activities that pull them away from watching these things. It is not that we need to monitor what our children watch and listen to.
No! What we really need to do is organize nationwide bans. read the rest here

The Wittenburg Door is an evangelical Christian Parody and humor magazine. No, really, they're evangelicals. The above quote is parody. It's been on my sidebar for years as my favorite humor magazine, but alas, who looks at side bars anyway?

I've just noticed that they've got this new logo.

Here are some actual, non-parody press releases about the anti-Christian Media.

and here is the Full Tilt Campaign they're promoting.
The FullTilt Media Challenge is simple. Make a stand against negative entertainment for the next 30 days and listen exclusively to Christian music. Just for 30 days! We believe this simple exercise will help you see life from a godly perspective.
And my favorite -- CURVES exercise tapes.

So, Cranky Cindy is back for some saturday fun.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cranky Cindy has DSL!

Happy Cindy Go DSL Fast.
Go Internet, Go.
Go Cindy, Go.

Post Cindy Post.

yea well, we'll see.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Supporting the Troops Over a Cliff

If you didn't read this Frank Rich column on Sunday, read it here. It says it all, and I need not comment.

Nod to CrankyMom for the link.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Thinking outside the box doesn't help if you're still in the hole

Twice in two days I was stuck in a hole. This morning's blog entry is about two of my own illogical unscientifically stupid moments. Feel free to use them as sermon illustrations.

Last summer my partner and I bought a pop-up pool. You've seen them, the kind that's just a big round piece of plastic that you fill up with water with a blow-up donut on top magically holding it all together. Turns out, our lawn didn't care for having bzillions of pounds of water on it in one spot. The entire right side of the pool sank 6 or 7 inches. We made it through the year with a lopsided, partially filled pool; but this summer we really want to be able to fill it completely and not worry about it spouting off to one side and washing us off in a sudden waterfall. The grandchildren would love it. Us... not so much.

What could we use to prop up the area that would be easy to move later, or would just contribute to turning it back into lawn if we move?

Not sand, our first choice for shiftiness. Shiftiness is very important to CrankyCindy. It'd never turn into lawn right. Because of the positioning of the lawn, fences, and giant rhododendronish plant matter, dirt would have to be carried from our car 50 feet, one 40-lb bag at a time. The farm girl in me hates the idea of paying for dirt. So we tried mightily to think outside of the box.

Perhaps rotten old sci fi books, destined for tag sale. But no, they would be gross to move later. Pillows was my honey's idea, which idea was finally rejected after long discussion about the compressionability of pillows under bzillions of pounds of water. I thought maybe big bags of feed corn, because like sand, it would shift under the weight, and then it'd just compost. But no, we decided, it would mould before it composted, there'd be no air there. There was no substance that didn't get pondered. Lawn Clippings piled high, wood with a little dirt on top to blunt the sharp edges, compost. We couldn't come up with a solution that didn't involve heavy lifting and paying for dirt. 45 minutes we thought about it.

Then I called my dad for the Sunday afternoon chat.

"This is what you do," he said, very gently, "you take a shovel and lower the other side, spreading the dirt around until it's level."


You'd think that'd do it, and my brain function would return, but no, there's another story.

I haven't been able to get online from home for the last 4 days, and hardly at work. They say it's something about "the lines." I don't know.

Yesterday was the Coming of Age Service in our congregation (Fabulous, thanks for asking) so I'm taking today off except for finalizing the agenda with my RE Council Chair for tomorrow's meeting. She phoned earlier this morning and told me she emailed it to me.

Aarg, my working style is not ears-only, I really need to see things in order to work on them. So I told her I'd call her back after I checked my email to see if it was up yet.

I still couldn't get on line. So I called work and yes, email was working there. So I put some on going out of the house but not really going to work clothes, and got in my car to drive to work so I could get my email there and go over the agenda with her by phone.

As I drove by her house, 4 blocks down from mine, I saw her and stopped momentarily to tell her that I'd call her in a few minutes when I got the agenda and could see my online calendar.

She looked at me like I had two heads.

"Come in," she said, (again, very gently,) "We can do that here. I have the agenda here, on my computer. We can look it over together."


So my online friends, I have, perhaps, learned that it does no good to think outside the box if you're still inside the hole. We'll wait a few days and see if I am able to extrapolate from these two situations to future ones. Time will tell.

... addendum: Now it's Monday night and I'm finally online again. I guess if Verizon owns all the phonelines,There's no market pressure to fix problems. Oh wait, that'd be another post...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

BOOK ENDS. Left and Right

How far does CSPAN go to prove they cover both the left and right? As far as this afternoon.
Today on Book TV, Angela Davis and David Horowitz.

2:30 Angela Davis, Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture
4:05 David Horowitz, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America

Angela Davis, is, of course, one of the most dangerous academics.

If C-SPAN really wanted to do fair coverage, they would have followed it up with something with Robert Jensen
(Dangerous" Academics: Right-wing Distortions About Leftist Professors)
or someone from Free Exchange on Campus, where you can fact check Horowitz at Facts Count: an analysis of David Horowitz's "The Professors."

Regnery Press, Horowitz's publisher, is the same publisher that brought us early works of conservatism like William Buckley's
God and Man at Yale, and Phyllis Schlafly's The End of an Era.

Then they dove down into the pits of hell and brought us
The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS in 1990 by Michael Fumento &
Inventing the AIDS Virus in 1996 by Peter H. Duesberg

They publish pot-shot books about Democratic leaders,
"Swift Boat Veterans" Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,
In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror, (Michelle Malkin gets on C-Span quite frequently),
Madame Hillary, The Real Jimmy Carter, Legacy, and Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.

and most recently,
Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy To Redefine Marriage, Peter Sprigg

Anyway, I started talking about this afternoon's Book TV and David Horowitz.
Now my stomach hurts. Maybe I'll just tape it and watch it when I feel stronger.

Friday, May 26, 2006

My priorities changed without my noticing

Six years ago I was at a conference researching a book on the X-gay movement and the Religious Right when a friend called me and said that the UU was hiring a DRE. I started immediately and fell into the black hole that is everything that needs to be done to do this job right, and the book went on the back burner.

Actually, it came off the stove completely. I didn't even realize so much time had gone by until I had to do the math when thinking about a blog entry over at

6 years have gone by. Three years since I lectured on the subject, four since I did any primary research, and one and 1/2 since I agreed to do a research based blog at Talk 2 Action that hasn't gone up yet. So many of my research activities have been put on hold they're mouldery now.

It's curious that my priorities changed not by choice so much as by the pressures of immediacy, and that makes me go hmmm. My writing has been driven by the curricular needs of my RE program and the challenges of serving a congregation in transition.

And I'm not sure if I'm cranky about it so much as surprised.

"ENRON" The conspiracy is complicated - how to comprehend the Beast

The deregulation of the energy industry, nay, decriminalization of evildoing by the energy industry; the Bush family connection to Enron goes all the way to Uzbekistan, and is involved in the energy crisis in California 6 years ago and more..

Democracy Now! did a great show this morning, with commentaries by investigative journalists Robert Bryce and Greg Palast and excerpts from Enron, Smartest Guys In The Room.

My favorite thing about Democracy Now! is that you can listen or watch the show in any number of formats here. (This page changes daily, if you click the link after today, you'll want to search or browse the archives for Fri. May 26, 2006)

Check in throughout the day as they add transcripts and links.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Not simply a flip of the bird - a whole hand F-U

Supreme Court Justice Scalia put his hand under his chin and flicked it at the lens of the camera and said,
"‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’ "... The Italian phrase means "(expletive) you."

Read the article and see the picture at Boston Herald.Com

Thanks to crankymom for pointing me to the article.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wednesday Driving'Bloggin' - Turn Signals

One can never say enough about Turn Signals.

These handy devices are meant to be used to indicate I'm going to slow down in a second and then slow down more and then turn in this direction. Unfortunately, these little simple switches have become the sorry I slammed on my brakes without warning, but look, it's because I'm turning now.

Turn Signals are to keep the person behind you from Plowing Into Your Ass. It's in your own best interest to use them as warning devices.

So please humans, put your turn signal on before you start to slow your car.

Next Week. Merging: Taking Turns for Grownups.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Flipping the bird- Justice Scalia is truly a man of integrity

Boy oh boy. Or, perhaps more accurately, old man old man. A Justice of the Supreme Court, a man who sits at the highest location of juris PRUDENCE in the land, flipped the bird at citizens like myself who support separation of church and state.

According to the Boston Herald:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.

A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."

The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.

"Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.

It's now unclear if it was the traditional middle finger, or a Sicilian version. Irrelevant.

We already know he doesn't support separation of corporation and state, that he supports the execution of mentally retarded people who kill someone, that he considers it legal for guards in Alabama to chain prisoners to outdoor ‘’hitching posts'’ and leave them alone for hours without food, water, or bathroom access, and that having the crap beaten out of you and face mashed and teeth out is not considered "cruel and inhumane" punishment. (You can read a nifty list at American Progress. Ten Things President Bush Doesn't Want you to Know about Scalia and Thomas)

We just found out that he believes that the prisoners held at Guantanamo have no right to a jury trial.

According to Newsweek, and as quoted in Think Progress, (and a bzillion other blogs who picked this up before me,)
“War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts,” he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. “Give me a break.” Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don’t have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: “If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I’m not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it’s crazy.” Scalia was apparently referring to his son Matthew, who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

My favorite bit is if he was captured by an army on a battlefield.

Doesn't the army define what the battlefield is? Wasn't most of the entire coutnry of Afganistan considered a battlefield? Nifty. Let's define Easthampton as a battlefield and start arresting people. Hey, wait a minute, where does Scalia live?

So he flipped the bird at me - at all of us who believe the Constitution is a living document and that the churches and the government should operate in different spheres and not control the others. The million dollar question is "What is Pat Robertson going to say about it?"

My bet is $5 that Robertson, who loves quoting his boy Scalia, won't comment.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

where have I been? let me just say this...

Grownups should not throw up. It's just wrong.

Message to anyone who lives in Massachusetts-- wash your hands wash your hands wash your hands when you're out in public because you SOOOO don't want this bug.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gene Robinson: Bishop, Gay Bishop, or Gay Alcoholic Bishop or (my personal favorite) Divisive Anglican Bishop

Let’s hear it for unbiased news.
I searched for the news about Gene Robinson’s alcoholism treatment. Turns out what makes it newsworthy is that he's, um, GAY.

The AP, New York Times, Portsmouth Herald, ABC and MSNBC, GayToday and PlanetOut, headlines are variations on
Gay Episcopalian Bishop treated for alcoholism

The Church of England ‘s newspaper headline sez,
Bishop Gene Robinson treated for alcoholism
They cordially managed to point out that “A letter from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New Hampshire said that the Episcopal Church had “long recognised alcoholism as a treatable human disease, not a failure of character or will.” The Standing Committee said this week that they fully supported the Bishop and commended him “for his courageous example to us all”." This message is missed in most press reports in the states.

But this is my favorite:

Christianity Today says,
“Divisive Anglican Bishop in New Alcohol Controversy."
The first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire has this week admitted that he is participating in treatment for alcoholism.

“The troubled bishop, who is also divorced with two daughters and a granddaughter, had also previously admitted to undergoing unsuccessful therapy to rid himself of his homosexual thoughts.

This week the bishop has issued an optimistic statement, describing his alcoholism as a disease and not a sign of a weak will. He also compared his period of rehabilitation to the resurrection, in a statement that is likely to provoke his critics even more”
First of all, this divisive, openly gay, troubled bishop in an alcohol controversy who admitted that he is participating in alcohol treatment... previously admitted to undergoing unsuccessful therapy to rid himself of homo thoughts? Wow, they're so encouraging of his recovery, aren't they?

It's not a sign of a weak will.
It's not a sign of a weak will.
It's not a sign of a weak will.
It's not a sign of a weak will.

Which are you going to remember, that alcoholism is a disease or weak will?

And he damn well did not compare his period of rehabilitation to the resurrection, he said, "God is proving His desire and ability to bring an Easter out of Good Friday." It's an analogy stupid.

(Analogy :
resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike.
Comparison: the representing of one thing or person as similar to or like another.
And even if you want to use the word comparision, the comparison isn't the rehabilitation to resurrection, it's rehabilitation to Good Friday)

But how did this information become public and where did they get this particular take on things? Why we can thank David Virtue. (Not to be confused with David P. Virtue who almost made my wedding rings, which instead we got a pool and two low cost gold bands.)

Mr. Virtue (the most unfortunate and inaccurate name), who if you recall, was the individual who walked up to the microphone at the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop and asked,
"Do you know that Gene Robinson’s website is linked by one click to 5,000 pornographic websites?" No, responded both bishops. Virtue followed up, "Well, now that you do know this, will this change your vote on his election?" Gibbs replied, "I would doubt the veracity of such information at this moment. It seems like a last-minute ploy." Virtue walked back to his seat shaking his head.

It was in fact a last minute ploy, and proved untrue.

Now he says lovely things like these:

Here we have a man who was married to a woman with whom he had two children, divorces her, meets a man he shacks up with while he is an Episcopal priest, and then gets consecrated as a bishop, Two years later announces he has an alcohol problem, which the Episcopal Church Left is already spinning to make him look like a victim of his own drinking.

It is one more example of the Left trumpeting sin as a noble cause. The Global South bishops will not be happy, and they will see it as one more nail in the coffin of ECUSA.

There is, of course, a standing joke among Episcopalians, that wherever three or four are gathered together there you will find a fifth, (and it is our good friend Jack Daniels).

Alcoholism is not exactly new, and there is little shame admitting the fact that one has a drinking problem. Many people find Christ for the first time in an AA program, though it is no longer specifically a Christian organization, even though its founders were. I have a number of friends who are recovering alcoholics. (One is on my board).

There would be more shame in declaring you were an alcoholic if you were a Baptist than an Episcopalian. Baptists have a 'no drinking' policy, which for the most part holds up pretty well. Episcopalians, by comparison, drink like fish.

"During my first week here, I have learned so much," said Robinson. "The extraordinary experience of community here will inform my ministry for years to come. I eagerly look forward to continuing my recovery in your midst. Once again, God is proving His desire and ability to bring an Easter out of Good Friday. Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in mine."

So there is no admission that it is personal failure, just a "disease". It's the same argument that homosexuals use for practicing anal sex. "It is hard wired, I can't help myself." Then the person gets AIDS and dies, cutting 40 years off of his life. Blame it on the disease. Never admit to personal responsibility.

The truth is Bishop Robinson is a fraud. See, I told you so.”

The text of Bishop Robinson's emailed message can be found here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I have been working 12 straight days and I'm, um, CRANKY

I love my job,
don't get me wrong.
But if one more person tells me there should be special rules just for them and a special one-on-one meeting or orientation just because they didn't read the yearly calendar they got in September, the special RE Newsletter in early January, the announcements in the Sunday Times, or the letter I mailed out a month ago, my head will pop off. It takes a great deal of effort to respond gently and respectfully and thoughtfully to these individuals who invariably approach me in the middle of the sunday morning chaos, a day or two before the deadline or event in question. So I've got a little resentment stored up.

This poem is best imagined as delivered from a soapbox on the subway platform, perhaps under Boston Common.

Ladies and gentlemen,
if your DRE sends you a letter in the mail,
please consider reading it when it arrives.
Consider the possibility that
perhaps, just perhaps,
your DRE worked for hours carefully crafting the information
so you would be fully informed and
able to make thoughtful decisions for the benefit of your children and family,
perhaps, just perhaps,
if it wasn't complicated or important s/he would have just written a note in the Sunday Times or left it as a brief comment in the monthly newsletter,
s/he wouldn't have sent a personal letter
with a list of check-box rsvp options to your house unless it

Thank you for your attention to my poem. I welcome your donation of nickles and quarters in this tin can before you get on the train or into the UUA. In fairness to your ability to make informed decisions, let me note that if I don't get enough change, I may share another "poem."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Congressional staff actions prompt Wikipedia investigation

Seems staffers of House and Senate members have been re-writing articles on Wikipedia when they dont' like the way their boss is represented.
Congressional Staff Actions Prompt Wikipedia Investigation at
Articles changed included Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Norm Coleman, Conrad Burns, Tom Harkin and Tom Coburn.

The Lowell Sun (in my lovely state of Massachusetts) broke this story.
"Rewriting History under the Dome"

The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on a Web site that bills itself as the "world's largest encyclopedia," The Sun has learned.

The Meehan alterations on represent just two of more than 1,000 changes made by congressional staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives in the past six month. Wikipedia is a global reference that relies on its Internet users to add credible information to entries on millions of topics.

Nod to my LessCrankyButAlwaysLookingOutForMeBrother for this one.

Inquiring Minds want to know, "What's a pissy snook?"

I made it up. Perhaps you can help me. I suspect that each of you regular, oh so gentle and uncranky readers, had some sort of understanding of what a pissy snook was when you read my last post.

I wonder if what you percieved was what I was trying to communicate. Such is the great challenge of communication - most especially of online communication where most of you don't even know me in real life.

It's my dad's inquiring mind that's inquiring, and so I open it up to you to define for him. And for me. What is a pissy snook?

Please comment below.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wednesday Drivin'Bloggin' -- gas mileage

It seems so simple to me. and yet I'm a hypocrite, or at least not as thorough as I might seem.

Slow and easy acceleration uses less gas than punching it.
Braking is a waste of gas and brake pads. If I coast to a nice and easy roll then brake I've used gas to propel my car and not had to waste the energy by braking it away.

Speed -- each 5 mph over 60 mph increases the wind drag so much on the car the cost in gas is about 10 cents per gallon.

Other basics, decrease the amount of weight your car is hauling, decrease the wind resistance in any way posible, and paying attention to the road conditions so you aren't surprised by stop and go traffic all help immensely.

That said, this (250 Tips for improving gas mileage) is my new favorite webpage. It makes me look positively lazy about saving gas.

Of course, the fact that I drive a 4WD Subaru and not a hybrid or bio-deisel makes me look like a pissy snook about saving gas.
Yea sure, opinionated cardrivin'chick drives the next largest thing to a SUV, which ridiculously unnecessary size she complains about constantly.

oh well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test. "

Simultaneously funny and pathetic; What if George Bush gave a State of the Union written out of statements he's already said?
It would look like this according to Jamie O'Neill, George Bush in his own write at

Friday, January 27, 2006

What's the difference between kidnapping and detainment?

This June 10,2004 document outlines the detainment of a nursing mother in an attempt to get her husband, the "primary target." The document is available here.

Another is an email exchange regarding the detainment of Kurdish women who are "ladies" who "fought back extremely hard during the original detention." Yea, so would I. My paradigm for this is the 1984 film Red Dawn (watch the trailer here) where high school students fought Russian, Cuban and Nicaraguan communists in the Northwest of the U.S. Yup, tanks roll into my town and people who speak a language I can't understand "detain me," I'm going to fight back extremely hard.

So if US forces can kidnap nursing mothers, and assume that fighting back is a sign of guilt and knowledge of terrorist activities, can someone please tell me how are any Iraqis going to see kidnapping of, say, US women reporters as anything different?

Excuse me for a second,


ok, better now.

On the flip side, the story is breaking, the ACLU got the government to release the documents, which the gov't did so in compliance w/ court orders, and these are results that might not be available in other countries. So the glass is, perhaps, partially full.

For us, if not for them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday Drivin'Bloggin' - nice people

The woman was clearly having a challenging life.
It was 4 degrees outside, as I stopped my car on the way to work. The line was formed at the new light in town that everyone hates, (you know, every town has a location where you used to just yield, er, slow and go, and now you have to stop and not turn right on red). This is the light that people are pushy and honky about.

Anyway, there was this woman who was clearly having a challenging life. She wore a pink puffy coat that was open, and under it hung an old paisley button down shirt which was only buttoned at the top four buttons or so. Her belly hung out from under it. She was carrying a plastic bag of stuff in one hand, and the other was balled up in a fist against the cold. I watched as she walked on the sidewalk with her eyes firmly fixed on the other side of the street.

As I sat at that red light, third in line, she approached the intersection and crosswalk. It didn't look like she was going to make it before the light changed. She didn't look as if she were going to wait for cars before entering the crosswalk.

The light turned green. The red Ford pickup in the front of the line didn't move.
The Gremlinish car in front of me sat patiently.
No one honked in front of or behind me.
She crossed the street safely, if slowly.
The light turned red again.

We all waited, knowing that no one ever died from having to wait a minute at a light.
Except maybe poorly dressed people in freezing weather.

It felt good, and I was both grateful to not be having that hard of a life, and grateful that at that moment nothing mattered more to any of us than to see that she crossed the street and got herself indoors.

So although I've not had time to post anything in weeks (except these Norwegian drivin'bloggin' posts) because of my crazy busy work and home life, I'm so grateful for that life I'm posting this at Cranky Cindy.

So there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wednesday Drivin'Bloggin' Headlights on for safety

Today's tip is very simple and not at all cranky. Your headlights aren't only so you can see, it's so others can see you. Twilight and dawn are dangerous times on the road for people.

Car A without headlights can see good enought not to drive into a telephone pole, but might get slammed at an intersection or corner by Car B which never saw the darkened A.

This would be bad.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wednesday Drivin'Bloggin' -- It's not how fast you can drive

it's how fast you can stop.

I remember my first fast car. Well, my only fast car. A '72 Cougar I acquired in 1985. It handled like a charm. Zinging around corners. If I drove 85 on the highway it got 29 mph. (around town was only 8 mph, but I looked good in it.)

SUV's, big cars, big trucks, these are vehicles designed to go fast. But they don't stop fast.

"Braking distances" advertised by manufacturers don't factor in the amount of time it takes your brain to think about what's coming up, instruct your foot to move to the brake and push it, and start pushing it. On dry roads, "thinking distance" adds about 25% more time to stopping. So if braking distance in circumstance A is 100 feet, and you're actually looking right at the car ahead of you when it slams on it's brakes, so you see right away that you need to stop too, you've got to be 125 feet back from it to stop in time. Of course, if you're on your cell, or flicking ashes, or combing your hair, or swatting at your kid in the backseat the thinking time goes up exponentially until you notice there's a problem.

On wet roads, the stopping distance is just less than double what it is on dry roads.

So Why, oh Why, do big vehicles drive 65-80 mph 1 car length off the rear end of the car in front of them?

You have to have the thinking time distance, at a minimum, in order to stop without rear ending the car in front of you.

I say you, and I could also mean me.

But I don't.

Safe following distances used to be the 2 second-rule, or the 3 car length rule. Now it's this:
Dry, clear road you need a two- or three second gap.

If you are on a wet road then you need to have at least a four-second gap.

And if it's icy or you are driving on compacted snow or somewhere you know that something slippery (such as diesel fuel) has been spilled, then it is wise to create at least a ten-second gap.

Three car lengths is the closest I'll get on the highway, and people are constantly cutting in front of me around town because I leave more than one car length between me and the car in front and so, I guess, what, people think I was just saving them a place?

I'm pretty big into getting there in one piece, ("it's better to test your patience than to test the resilience of your head as your car slams into the vehicle ahead") even if it means I get there a couple of minutes late. And I learn to leave earlier next time.

Are you a big car driver who cuts me off and tailgates? Can you explain to me the rationale?
Really, I'm sure it must make sense to you, so please, hit comment and let me know.