Sunday, July 30, 2006
Building Bridges

THIS article confirms two things I've suspected for a long time...1) Vodka is awesome and 2) Hillary isn't as stuffy as she seems.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Save ROE
My lovely sister-in-law sent me this disturbing alert....

So-called "crisis pregnancy centers" are proliferating across the nation — a deceitful new tactic of the anti-choice movement to keep women from getting the accurate education and health services they seek. These fake "clinics" often masquerade as health centers offering the full range of reproductive health services, when their only real purpose is to keep women from exercising their right to choice and family planning. The worst part? Your tax dollars are funding "crisis pregnancy centers" to the tune of $30 million. A new bill in Congress, the "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act" (H.R.5052), would stop "crisis pregnancy centers" from deceiving women. Urge your representative to support this important bill.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The Cycle Continues

The Dixie Chicks' new album contains a great song called "I Hope."

Sunday morning, I heard the preacher say Thou shall not kill. I don't wanna hear nothing else about killing. And that it's God's will' Cause our children are watching us. They put their trust in us. They're gonna be like us. So let's learn from our history And do it differently.

How right they are....
Israeli children are signing the shells which will be fired into Lebanon. Hate is not a good lesson.

The Delightful and Dogmatic Library
Drew and I cleaned out our guest bedroom/office today. It gave us a great excuse to play with our books. We re-organized them by category, size, author. It was fun! It has been a while since I looked at all the books I read in (and out of) college. I've composed a short list of the books that made me as delightful and dogmatic that I am today. These books were eye opening and influencial to a young and impressionable Kristen. If I wrote letters, I would write to all these authors and tell them that they changed my life. Well, except for the people who are dead. . . .that would be difficult.

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison Jeffey Reiman
The Prince Machiavelli
Lies My Teacher Told Me James Loewen
Essays on Sex Equality John Steward Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill
Rules for Radicals Sal Alinsky

Special Mention (but I read them when I was older and wiser so the impact was smaller)
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston
Bird By Bird Anne Lamott
Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think George Lakoff

For the sake of full disclosure
I recently read The Zen and Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. And it is official--I'm the only intelligent person who doesn't just EAT UP that book. I don't get it. I mean, there are some great lines and I appreciate some of the conflicts and tension that Pirsig discusses. Buuut, I found myself quite bored with most of the book. I was chatting with my friend about it and she told me she wasn't suprised. She suggested that perhaps I am "too pragmatic" for the book. Perhaps.

*Edit: If you like books as much as I do....I would advocate the Library Thing service (see my sidebar). It allows you to create your own library catalog and receive recommendations based on your library.

Sunday, July 23, 2006
W is busy
President Bush is a busy man. Too busy to help out in Lebanon/Isreal-much too busy to chat with Syria (even though they've requested a chit chat). Too busy to pay much attention to North Korea.

Yep. He's busy protecting embryos and entertaining American Idols.

Phew. Glad I don't have his job.

Baby Steps

Well, he can't get married but he can be an ambassador.

President Bush has nominated an openly gay physician to be the United States Global AIDS coordinator.

Thursday, July 20, 2006
Close Talker

You guys. It is official. Bush is going C.R.A.Z.Y.

First, he gives the German Chancellor a back rub

THEN, he slaps Rep. Al Green at the NCAAP convention.

I am baffled. Stunned.

Maybe he should put some of that affection toward Middle Eastern diplomacy. I can see him giving Olmert a biiiig hug.

Lip Service
With the 06 election year fast approaching the 08 election not too far behind, W decided to end his five year boycott of the NAACP. Interesting.

Bush calls the African American distrust of the "party of Lincoln" a "tragedy." Hmmm. I wonder what could be causing this distrust?

Could it be the delay in approving the Voting Right's Act? Could it be their response to Hurricane Katrina? Could it be their treatment of the poor and middle class?

Tragedy is right. . . .

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Lebanon- Another case of American Exceptionalism?
I am uncomfortable with exceptionalism. American exceptionalism specifically. I am horrified by the idea (that permeates the Bush Administration) that Americans are God's "chosen people." I am perplexed by the notion that aquired wealth signifies some sort of superior identity. Especially given that most acquired wealth comes at a pretty significant price. In the case of the United States, most of our wealth implies a sub par identity at best--one that we shouldn't be proud of.

Perhaps this discomfort with exceptionalism is what unnerved me last night watching NBC news. The broadcast interviewed some of the American citizens trying to leave Lebanon. The Americans were mad that they were just now leaving...mad that they were being "treated worse than animals." One pissed off woman in particular had lived in Lebanon for over 10 years--choosing to move there after a marriage. Another was a missionary (presumably bringing the christian message to all those heathen muslims) who was now being called to get the hell out of dodge. At first I agreed..."get these women home. what is our government doing? why is it taking so long?!" But then "wait a minute. why do these people get a free pass? these are americans who chose to go lebanon. why should we leave all the Lebanese citizens there to be *treated like animals*? how is that fair? only americans deserve to be helped? only americans deserve to be protected from the (american supported) Israeli military? "

I'm not sure where I come down...yes, American citizens deserve to be protected by the American government. They do have a certain amount of privilege awarded to them just by being American. However, why should tax money go to rescuing only Americans? Why shouldn't the government be engaged in diplomacy to save the entire region instead of sending a cruise ship to save the Americans?

Perhaps these feelings are a result of my anger over the lack of diplomacy. Perhaps these feelings are unreasonable. Drew told me so last night. He reminded me of the students, the peace activists, the people who are over there doing things that I would support that deserve to escape the conflict. I agree. *sigh* Who knows....

Monday, July 17, 2006
Inconvenient Truth
You may remember my fondness for Al Gore. I love him. Believe in him. Still get teared up thinking about 2000. We went to see his movie, Inconvenient Truth, the other night. We weren't expecting too much. Drew and I know a fair amount about global warming. We believe it is happening and that humans are the primary cause. We try to live a fairly balanced life and are somewhat conscious consumers. However, we were hoping that the documentary would inspire us even more AND (more importantly) give us a new way of talking about environmental responsibility. How, Al, do we reach the people who don't think about global warming? How, Al, do we counter the media's claim that there is no scientific consensus?

The Good

The movie was interesting. Great research. Very up to date statistics. He does a great job explaining some complex scientific data and dispelling some common myths. Nothing groundbreaking, just interesting.

It also isn't very partisan. He is honest about how Washington has screwed up and put off action but he doesn't finger point. He is disappointed in both parties. I don't think this movie would be offensive to the average Republican. It is an environmental documentary, not a political commentary. I was glad for that.

The Bad

In an attempt to break up the very long documentary and provide some humanity, they splice the science with these heartfelt portraits of Gore. He is reflecting on how he came to think of the world and resources as fragile. He talks about his time as a child "working the land" and his son's accident. While I have no doubt that these incidents have shaped Gore, it just seems political and contrived in this medium. It was awkward. Just show us the science.

The Ugly

Toward the end of the film, he says that we need to get out and educate people about global warming. I was like "YES!" Here it is. Here is where he is going to give us some advice on how to re-frame this issue and make it accessible to the average American. But no. Nothing. He alludes to his strategy (going city to city and doing his lecture) but he doesn't really provide any new insight into the problem. At the end of the film some solutions are listed (buy better light bulbs, drive slower, etc). The thing is, Al, that if a person is choosing to spend $7 on a documentary about the environment, they are probably already doing those things. How do we reach the people who just think that the climate increase is part of a natural cycle? How do we educate those people? The people who would never set foot into your lecture? How do we mobilize people to take action?

Bottom line: Go see the film b/c it is important and informative. But don't expect it to provide a lot of insight.

We received the book Let My People Go Surfing as a wedding gift. Hopefully we'll get more ideas about environmental responsibility from it.

Make Believe Grown Up
Even though Drew and I moved to a new town together and purchased a condo, it took getting married to make me feel "adult." We only had to fill out one immigration form during our honeymoon, we are now a "household" and each other's emergency contact. WOW. The magnitude of insurance, beneficiary and accountability has hit me. Marriage is EXCITING...but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. So, my body is responding to the stress. Last night I had a horrible dream that Drew had an undiagnosed staph infection. The infection led to a mental disability.


I woke up totally terrified*. Now, I don't even know if that is a realistic medical scenario. I don't care. Scary.

I'm sure this is totally normal...right?!

* It should be known that I almost never remember my dreams. But I remember this one b/c it was THAT scary.

PublicRelations 101

I know that I study speech communication and not public relations BUUUUT even I know that you shouldn't say crazy things around a microphone. W should know, too. Remember THIS? Well, he's had another little mishap. HEHE. The good little born again says the "S" word.
If only he would have paid a *little* more attention at Yale.