Friday, February 25, 2005
DUBYA: Mary is with us. Mary Mornin. How are you, Mary?
MS. MORNIN: I'm fine. DUBYA: Good. Okay, Mary, tell us about yourself.
MS. MORNIN: Okay, I'm a divorced, single mother with three grown, adult children. I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two daughters. . . .
DUBYA: There's a certain comfort to know that the promises made will be kept by the government.
MS. MORNIN: Yes.
DUBYA: And so thank you for asking that. You don't have to worry.
MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
DUBYA: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
DUBYA: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. Get any sleep?
-- Dubya takes pride in the fact that in America, this woman has to work three jobs to stay afloat, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005
Our President shows his down-home tendencies yet again. He has no idea what it's like to work three jobs.
Jamaican judiciary powerless for no-pay
Not even Jamaica's Supreme Court and central police facilities can escape paying electricity bills, the Daily Gleaner said. When outstanding bills from the courts and police facilities surpassed $1.1 million Tuesday, the newspaper said the Jamaica Public Service did what it does to any other customer who hasn't paid and ignored warning letters -- it cut power to the Kingston government block.
Ministry of National Security sprang into action, and hours later, power was restored when the agencies found a way to come up with three quarters of the arrears. More embarrassing for the judiciary, a new backup generator system refused to generate, the report said. Meanwhile,the utility company warned of another potential crisis --shutting off power to three key traffic lights in the capital that have outstanding bills of $800,000, the newspaper said.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Sunday, February 20, 2005
So in honor of school vacation week, I've decided to share my list here. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to catch up on some reading while I'm off. I'm recovering (I hope) from a really nasty cold so I might as well read while I rest.
Here's my list:
First, anything by Neil Gaiman (1602 just came out in graphic novel form actually) or Alice Munro. Also a nod to Alice Hoffman.
Sati by Christopher Pike- I read this whenever life gets overwhelming. I read everything else by him as well even though he's a young adult author, but that's another story for another time....
The Lovley Bones by Sebold- It deserved every bit of acclaim. It's not for the light of heart. Her memoir (yellow book, the name escapes me) is also amazing but very triggery if you've ever been a victim of a sexual crime.
The Girl In the Box by Ouida Sebestyen- Another YA book but a chilling one.
While I'm on a YA kick, The Giver and Gathering Blue the follow-up. I imagine most of you read them for school. Read them again.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.- The others never did it for me, but I love this one.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry- Another school title.
Back to the grown-up stuff:
Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. Beautiful.
Jane Eyre- A family favorite. I've read it 8,000 times at least.
I Know This Much Is True and She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb- the latter I read in a day because it was so amazing.
Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen. My favorite poem in the book is Every Pebble. Try to google it at least.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard- theater of the absurd; the characters are from Hamlet
The Strangest King of Romance by Tennessee Williams -man vs. the machine
And in the non-fiction column:
Orphans of the Living by Jennifer Toth- about kids in the system
Drawing the Line and The Death of Common Sense by Phillip Howard
The Kid by Dan Savage- awesome, awesome book about two gay men who adopt a baby
Transforming Trauma by Salter and Too Scared to Cry by ?- child abuse
The Family of Adoption- by Joyce Maguire Pavao- a must-read for anyone who knows anyone connected to adoption
The Spirit of Open Adoption by Jim Gritter- If you are not convinced about the merits of open vs. closed, read this.
Pregnancy and Marriage:
Navel-Gazing by Jennifer Matesa- get it for your
pregnant liberal pal
The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine- best pregnancy book out there
The Anti-Bride Guide- great wedding planning book for the enlightened female
All the President's Spin by the Spinsanity guys- great book about the media and talking points
My geekiness reveals itself:
Math: Facing an American Phobia by Marilyn Burns. If you teach, read everything else by Marilyn Burns.
Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos- I like all his stuff, too and you don't have to be a math geek to like him
The Arithmetic of Life and Death- the guy wrote essays for his teenage son about tailgaiting, smoking, working, debt, death etc.. and made all his points with the help of some basic math and a ton of humor- makes a great graduation gift.
Conned Again, Dr. Watson- I can't find my copy or remember the guy's name but he has two of these books- one math, one science where he writes a bunch of Sherlock Holmes stories and all the mysteries get solved using math (or science) concepts. The stories stay true to the form of the original Sherlock Holmes Stories and you don't have to care about the math at all to enjoy the stories.
Okay, I've listed enough books. If it's a topic I'm even remotely interested, I've probably read at least five books on it and scanned about 100 looking for the good ones. Believe it or not, these really are my favorites (they even get their own bookshelf- except the non-fiction which gets categorized like a bookstore- one shelf per category.)
What are your favorites?
Friday, February 18, 2005
This poor couple actually experienced that:
Thursday, February 17, 2005
DUBLIN, Ireland - An ambulance received a boot while waiting to take a seriously injured man to the hospital. The the police there used the boot, known as a clamp in Ireland, to enforce the no-parking policy outside the airport's arrivals entrance. The ambulance was parked in a section that is clearly reserved for emergency vehicles. To make matters worse, the paramedics had to pay for the boot's removal with their own money because police wouldn't accept the ambulance company's credit card. According to aspokeswoman for the Dublin Airport authority the situation was "deeply regrettable," but the vehicle was parked in the reserved space for over 30 minutes when it's for "life or death cases." Hello, it's an ambulance!
Monday, February 14, 2005
Zimbabwe's top female athlete is a man
The troubled southern African country of Zimbabwe has been shaken by a sports scandal: its top female athlete is really a man. Samukaliso Sithole was one of Zimbabwe's rising stars in the tough world of international women's athletics. A multiple medal winner, the 17-year-old won junior triple jump, javelin, shot-putt and running events. The teenage athlete won thousands of dollars in prize money from regional competitions, investing in land and cattle and stoking the envy of residents in the sleepy mining town of Kwekwe in central Zimbabwe. But, an angry acqaintance blew the whistle on Sithole and after the athlete was arrested, a police doctor confimed the gender, the Scotsman reported. Sithole claimed he considered himself a woman and had begun a sex change when money for the switch ran out. He said he hopes to complete the process. He faces a possible ban from further track competition.
I can't believe this is real:
Couple steals hotel shower
Hotels are used to guests stealing towels, but a British couple apparently liked the shower in their room so much they took the entire unit home. A man in his 50s and his companion in her 20s turned the water off in their room at the Globe Hotel in Topsham, before ripping the shower right out of the bathroom wall, Sky News reported Thursday.Hotel owner Liz Hodges said the couple paid for their room with cash and left her with a huge repair bill. "I have never experienced anything on this scale before," she said."I just cannot believe someone would do this." Police Sgt. Alan Mobbs also called the theft unusual. "Particularly when you consider the efforts needed to physically take a shower from the wall," he said.
That must have been an awfully nice shower.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
I don't know enough about any of the programs to comment, but I do think it's telling that the greatest cuts are in education. Just today in our local paper, there was an article about cutting after school programs at the middle school for lack of funding- and the funding was already being supplemented by a $75 fee per student. When are we going to realize that education is the foundation of our society?
Oh wait, the Bush administration doesn't want educated citizens. (BTW, this article is a must-read.)
Officer who beat boy gets $1.6m
A US policeman who was filmed punching a black youth and slamming him against a car has been awarded $1.6m (£890,000) in a race discrimination case.
Jeremy Morse, who was sacked by the Los Angeles police over the incident, said he had been treated more harshly than a black officer who was also there.
A second white officer was awarded $811,000 (£450,000) damages.
Inglewood Police Chief Ronald Banks, who had disciplined the officers, called the awards "ridiculous". Mr Morse was caught on camera in July 2002 as he arrested 16-year-old Donovan Jackson at a petrol station in Inglewood. He claimed Mr Jackson had grabbed his testicles - though that was not visible on the videotape. The tape was repeatedly played on US TV stations and caused an uproar.
Mr Morse was sacked and his partner, Bijan Darvish, who is also white, was suspended for 10 days for filing a police report that failed to mention his partner's conduct. Mr Morse was twice tried for assault but the case was dismissed after juries failed to reach a verdict. Mr Darvish was acquitted of filing a false report.
The men filed "reverse discrimination" lawsuits, claiming a third officer, Willie Crook, who also allegedly hit Mr Jackson with a torch and failed to report the incident, received only four days' suspension because he is black. "This is not the first time police officers have been trapped in race situations where they suffered unfairly," said Mr Morse's lawyer, Gregory Smith. "This will have an impact in police departments across the country."
Police Chief Banks, who is black, denied race was a factor. "I based my decision on their actions and what I thought their responsibility was. It was based purely on the facts," he said after hearing news of the award.
"I was shocked at not only the verdict but the size of the awards. It was somewhat ridiculous."
DUBYA: Because he's hiding.
-- Dubya offers a ludicrous answer to a serious question, interview with Michael A. Fletcher and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post aboard Air Force One, Jan. 14, 2005
WASHINGTON POST: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?
DUBYA: You mean, the personal savings accounts?
WASHINGTON POST: Yes, exactly. Scott has been --
DUBYA: We don't want to be editorializing, at least in the questions.
WASHINGTON POST: You used partial privatization yourself last year, sir.
WASHINGTON POST: Yes, three times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because we're in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee] about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.
DUBYA: Allen did what now?
WASHINGTON POST: You used partial privatization.
DUBYA: I did, personally?
WASHINGTON POST: Right.
WASHINGTON POST: To describe it.
DUBYA: When, when was it?
WASHINGTON POST: Mike said it was right around the election.
WASHINGTON POST: It was right around the election. We'll send it over.
DUBYA: I'm surprised. Maybe I did. It's amazing what happens when you're tired.
-- Dubya employs the "being tired" defense in order to get out of calling his privatization plan a privitization plan, Air Force One, Jan. 14, 2005
sigh...at least this isn't quite as bad as the press conference I saw the other day....it was a good 45 seconds of um, um, um, and a blank stare. Why hold a press conference if you're not prepared to speak?
Lt. Gen. James Mattis, a career infantry officer who is now in charge of developing better ways to train and equip Marines, made the comments Tuesday while speaking to a forum in San Diego.
According to an audio recording, he said, "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling."
He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Worse is that his comments were greeted by laughter.
He's been told to choose his words more carefully.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Some top Bush priorities would still find more funding despite the belt-tightening. The president earmarked $3.2 billion for fighting AIDS around the world and increased foreign operations and development aid by 17 percent. Bush hopes to spend $304 million to build more community health centers, particularly in rural areas. And the Defense Department would receive an extra $19 billion to reach $419.3 billion, not including special appropriations for the war.
Emphasis mine. That would be $19,000,000,000. For some perspective, each billion contains $1000 million.
Now for the cuts. Most of these cuts are the entire budgets for that program:
On the domestic side, the budget would consolidate 18 community development block grant programs into one Commerce Department program for a savings of $1.8 billion. It would slice law enforcement grants to states from $2.8 billion to $1.5 billion. And it would cut 48 education programs totaling $4.3 billion, including $2.2 billion for high school programs, mostly state grants for vocational education.
The budget would cut $440 million in Safe and Drug-Free School grants, $500 million in education technology state grants, $225 million for the Even Start literacy program, $280 million for Upward Bound programs for inner-city youths and a $150 million talent research program.
Emphasis mine. Yes, just over $2 billion would cover the current funding for these educational programs. So we could still increase the defense budget by $17 billion and we wouldn't have to cut any of these programs.
As a slightly different comparison, take just the Even Start literacy program. For every $9 that was cut for the literacy program, $760 was added to the defense budget. You mean to tell me that we can't spare a lousy $9 from that $760?
This budget is a disgrace.
Another note, the budget doesn't account for any spending for Iraq, Afghanistan, or Social Security. Funny how the biggest things going on in our country were convieniently left out.
Source: The Washington Post (subscription only)
Related article: The War Times
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Besides all the censorship issues, Poor Statue's heart physically aches at the thought of books being burned- donated, sold maybe, but burned!?! What year is this anyway?
Burning books. I'm speechless.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Anyway, this diary on daily kos echoes this quite nicely and offers a convincing argument about hate.