Friday, October 28, 2005


Read Fitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby here.


This investigation will be fascinating, but all fingers, ultimately, point to Dick Cheney.


Phyllis Schlafly: Shut Up

I've had it with the religious right and their zealous attempts to install activist judges on the bench of the Supreme Court.

Conservatives look past Miers: Leaders say they want justice with clear conservative views

"I think [conservative groups] will swing into action again" if they disagree with his next pick, said Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum. "The judicial issue was a major issue in the 2004 elections, and it was a reason why many people voted for Bush even though they might have been unhappy [with him] for other reasons."

Schlafly said Bush has "a dozen" possible people that conservative activists would accept, while she singled out U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a nominee they could not embrace.

And yes, for as much as they bitch about "liberal" judges being "judicial activists," the religious right is praying for a conservative who will legislate from the bench. Their ultimate goal? To extinguish a woman's right to choose, and, dare I say, to ban the use of contraception.

It's all about the white Jesus.

How did a vast minority like the Christian right gain so much power over the White House? Time to muzzle them. They have far too much to say about how we should live our lives in this country.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Recipe for a Chilly Fall Day

Here in Michigan, it's overcast and chilly. Anyone care to join me for a steamy pasty? (No, not that kind...I'm talking about the Cornish meat pies!) Anyway, I thought I'd share this delicious recipe today:

Upper Peninsula Pasties
2 # ground sirloin
2 # chopped potatoes
½ # chopped onion
¼ # diced carrots
¼ # chopped turnips and/or rutabaga
1 T salt
¼ t pepper
1 stick melted butter
6 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 T salt
1 t sugar (heaping)
1-7/8 C shortening
1-7/8 C milk
  1. Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  3. For pastry: sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in shortening and add milk to make a dough.
  4. Divide into 12 balls (I usually make a baker’s dozen…).
  5. Roll out dough; place 1/12th of filling on half; fold the dough over and prick the edges with a fork. Prick the tops.
  6. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes and then at 275 degrees for 60 minutes.

These are delicious, and freeze very well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rape Victim in Arizona Denied "Morning After" Pill

This is outrageous. A 20 year old rape victim was denied access to the "Morning After" Pill in Arizona. The pharmacist on duty refused to fill the prescription because of moral and religious objections.

victim: 'Morning after' pill denied

After a sexual assault one recent weekend, a young Tucson woman spent three frantic days trying to obtain the drug to prevent a pregnancy, knowing that each passing day lowered the chance the drug would work.

When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections.

"I was so shocked," said the 20-year-old woman, who, as a victim of sexual assault, is not being named by the Star. "I just did not understand how they could legally refuse to do this."

Women who report sexual assaults to police receive treatment, examination and the immediate offer of emergency contraception at a local emergency room, according to the policy of most Tucson hospitals.

But, like many sexual assault victims, the 20-year-old woman did not report the assault because she felt traumatized and guilty she had put herself in a situation that left her vulnerable. She was mistakenly locked outside a gathering at a friend's house and accepted the offer of a neighbor to stay at his place.

"This (sex) was with someone I did not even know and did not want to have intercourse with, and I am in no place now to have children," she said. "I just don't think this should be the pharmacist's decision."

So nice to know that the pharmacist is pursuing his own moral high ground here. However, what about the rape victim? As a human being on equal footing with other human beings, and especially as a human being who has been sexually violated by another human being, she deserves the relief that she needs to move on with her life. She has been traumatized enough! Her dignity and values are being compromised because of the male pharmacist’s "moral" superiority complex. In effect, the pharmacist is denying a victim of rape the right to life ~ that is, the right to live a fulfilling life without the burden of an unwanted child conceived during a violent crime. Why does the pharmacist have power over this woman's life?

I am acquainted with a Catholic woman who was raped. The rape resulted in the birth of a daughter, and she chose to raise the child. She does the best she can in light of the circumstances, but I can tell you that I feel an overwhelming sense of resentment and anger at life from the core of her being each time I’ve been around her. It makes me sad for her. She has allowed her guilt and shame about the rape to control every aspect of her life. She’s lonely, never been married, and controlling beyond the level of a control freak. Tightly wound. Maybe severely wounded is a better description.

I vividly recall the photo on Thursday, November 6, 2003, of 6 men smiling, huddling around George W. Bush as he signed the bill banning late term abortions into law. Bush signs late term abortion bill into law To this day, that photo of shiny, happy, "morally superior" men standing around Bush’s desk assuming a victory pose over women’s rights gives me the chills.

Abortion, for whatever reason, should be between a woman and her doctor. It’s about the right to privacy. I realize this is a "hot button" issue, but the argument is a values argument. Personally, having had two miscarriages, one of which was at five months, I don’t easily buy into the "abortion is murder" argument. I view the fetus as a potential person, just as an apple blossom is a potential apple. Not all blossoms mature. The fetus is fully dependent upon the mother for its existence. Sometimes things beyond our control happen to the fetus; and sometimes they happen to the mother. The physically dependent fetus does not have a conscience. Additionally, I view it as a quality of life issue. It’s a timing issue. It’s also a health (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) issue. At any rate, pitting one set of values and beliefs based on faiths born from mythology against another set of values and beliefs based on a different set of circumstances isn’t the business of government.

The consequences for this rape victim are the result of the actions of men who believe that they’re morally superior and as such deserve to have power over women.

Women need to seize control of this issue to assure that the right to abortion is private, safe, and legal for all sisters.

And one final note, I bet that on that night in Tucson when the rape victim was frantically attempting to fill her prescription (to no avail), thousands of men in that city were able to pick up their prescriptions for Viagra, Cialis and all of the other "woody" drugs. Because boner pills are abundant. (They’re symbolic for power over women, dontcha know?) I wonder how much seed has spilled to the ground in the form of monkey spanking (and yes, there is an obscure reference to our Commander in Chimp in that phrase) because of those wonder drugs? Isn’t that just as "evil" as an abortion?

Wednesday Read Aloud Poetry Blogging

I love the following poem by Sylvia Plath. The five syllable lines, coupled with strong assonance, establish a cadence as infectious as, well, the infiltration of mushrooms! I'm posting this as a "Read Aloud" poem today because I don't have the time at the moment to delve into a superficial, let alone detailed, analysis. I have studied a bit of Sylvia Plath, though, so I hope to offer insight in the future. However, if you're in the mood to exercise your vocal chords and follow the rhythm, I promise it'll be a delightful exercise!

by Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Documenting the Lies on Fitzmas Eve

Arianna Huffington has a great post this evening outlining the lies of Plamegate. It's a must read.

Plamegate: Worse Than Watergate

The reason why Cheney, Rove, and Libby were so aggressive in attacking anyone who questioned their rationale for war is because, by the summer of 2003, it was becoming embarrassingly clear how wrong they had been about Iraq -- wrong about WMD, wrong about flowers thrown at our feet, wrong about the cost of the war.

Had their incompetence not been so grotesquely manifest, there would have been no need for the attack on Wilson -- and the resulting coverup -- that has now landed them all in such legal hot water.

If Rove and Libby are indeed indicted (adding Cheney to our Merry Fitz-mas gift list would just be getting greedy), I believe it will shake up our government in a way we haven't seen since Watergate...

After getting a fumbling cipher like George W. Bush elected president, the powers-behind-the-throne must have believed they were untouchable and could get away with anything -- including lying about WMD, outing a CIA agent, and, perhaps, lying to a special prosecutor.

Like Nixon, their mindset was "if you try to get in our way we'll destroy you." (See how quickly those keep-us-safe national security guys were willing to jeopardize an intelligence asset in the name of covering their asses.) And their hubris caused them to over-reach.

You really have to read this whole article. It's Fitzmas Eve, and I've just given you a gift to lick your lips over. Go read.

Tuesday Poetry Blogging, Part Deux

Thought I'd share one of my own poems.

Your Recovery
by Vicki Stein, 2002

You are water, smooth evening glass
Mirroring my heart, my soul
Me, I’m the tide in uncharted seas
And you ebb as the moon pulls my flow.

We are kaleidoscope, endlessly changing
In radiance, colors, geometry
Your heart, mirrors reflecting light
The rubble of bright glass, me.

I am meadow, summertime flowers
Sun-kissed, reaching toward you, Sky
Craving your light, baptized by rain
Waiting for clouds to pass by.

We are crystal, finely crafted
From sand, fire, air and jewel
I am the magic of each facet
The brilliant light shines through you.

You are water, fast river running
Free flowing, cresting in recovery
As your journey hastens, spills into ocean
Will the mouth of your waters be me?


Halt. Stop. Run! Flee!!
Love in ascension terrifies me like a
Fall from Everest to the depths of the sea!
If I let my heart go will I plunge into "we?"
(Happy with you for eternity!) ~
Or drown in my version of reality
Failing to view honestly
The reconstruction of Zachary?

2,000 Americans Died Fighting on a Lie

The White House Iraq Group (WHIG) sought lies to get us into a war with Iraq. Repeat the mantra with me: The Bush Administration lied to the US citizens to wage a war for oil based on greed. Anyone else smell the nasty whiff of treason in the air? The odor that couples oil and blood with a war based on lies?


Their Lies Sold The War.

Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure

Says Frank Rich:

But based on what we know about Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's hysterical over-response to Mr. Wilson's accusation, he scared them silly. He did so because they had something to hide. Should Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove have lied to investigators or a grand jury in their panic, Mr. Fitzgerald will bring charges. But that crime would seem a misdemeanor next to the fables that they and their bosses fed the nation and the world as the whys for invading Iraq.
And now, because of those lies, we have 2,000 American soldiers who have died in Iraq, and no end of the feckless war in sight.

There are no words to describe how much this sickens me.

Tuesday Poetry Blogging

Mark Strand was born in 1934 ~ the same year as my father. Let's highlight a poem of his today, in keeping with my underpinnings of honoring men who were born in 1934. It's been at least 25 years since I stumbled across Strand's poetry. I appreciate his clarity with words, and the surrealism in his poetry. I read the following piece as a brilliant illumination of that moment at which our intuition hits us, only to be comprehended and explored more fully at a later point in time. What's your take on this poem?

A Piece of the Storm
Excerpted from Blizzard of One
by Mark Strand
(For Sharon Horvath)
From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That's all There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
"It's time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening."


Today’s a bittersweet day for me. Glad (tentatively), yet sad. Two people in my life are struggling for their lives, and my heart is breaking for both of them. This is a post that embraces both hope and fear.

For those who know me, you know that my father has been in the hospital for the last three weeks. He is receiving treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). We shouldn’t have been terribly surprised when the diagnosis came down, because he has been living with Myeloproliferative Disease (a chronic form of leukemia occurring in older folks, treatable with medication) for the last year and a half. In fact, his doctor told him he could live for years with this disease, and that, "Something else will kill you first, Mr. O."

However, I was surprised and shocked when I learned that he has AML. He had been feeling well, but because his white blood cell counts were climbing, the doctor ordered a bone marrow test on Wednesday, September 28, 2005. After the test, dad headed north to pick up a pontoon he’d purchased the day before. He figured it’d be weeks before the results of his bone marrow test came back, since it took, literally, months for the initial diagnosis of Myeloproliferative Disease. Instead, he receives a phone call on Monday, October 4th, from his doctor telling him he has a serious condition and needs to check into the hospital the next day. So he does, and the doctor tells him that, without extensive chemotherapy, he has maybe three to six months to live. And at that, the chance of AML remission is 50%.

In general, the prognosis for AML is not encouraging. From what I’ve read, at best, approximately 4% of AML patients survive 5 years. Prognosis is also based on the nine FAB subtypes of AML, and each responds differently to treatment. My father does not know his subtype. All I know is that, if they can push this into remission, he buys a little bit of time. A year or two, maybe? Maybe more, with some luck and a strong will to live? Liberals like to say that we live in the reality based community. Well, I’m being realistic about this, and I’m not going to deny that he has a serious medical condition, and that he will face, for the remainder of his life, the mother of all struggles. All I can say, hope, and pray for is that he climbs this cliff with dignity and courage, and that he has the strength to fight this disease. And most importantly, that he may face the end of his life with grace and comfort, at peace in knowing that he did the best he could do within the circumstances that wove his life story.

So dad (who has told me that he isn’t ready to die yet), anchored in courage, decides that chemotherapy is his only option, and plows through with the 24/7 treatment, the strongest dose of chemotherapy anyone can endure. It made him extremely weak, tearing down his bone marrow so that it can be rebuilt to, hopefully, force the AML into remission. So today, three weeks to the day he was admitted, they will test his bone marrow again to see if his AML is in remission. If it is in remission, he will continue on a course of outpatient chemotherapy ~ 12 hours a day for three days a week. If it isn’t in remission, he endures another megablast of chemo in the hospital.

Regardless, at this point, he is banking all of his hope on the fact that he may be released from the hospital today. He is feeling better, and his blood counts are moving in the right direction. He wants to go home, sleep in his own bed, eat "real" food ~ my mom’s meatloaf, broccoli, an iceberg lettuce salad (actually, I think she made beef stew for him in anticipation of his homecoming). And so, today, I am glad for him that he has something to hope for ~ even if it is the simple pleasure of his own bed. Of watching cars zoom around a track in "his" chair in "his" room. Of sitting on the deck, watching the ducks gracefully play and swim on Spring Lake. Of using his worn and tattered NY Times Crossword Puzzle Dictionary as he fiddles with word games. And I’m grateful that he is still alive, so that I can tell him things that I hope will be of comfort to him.

And at the same time, I am saddened and troubled by some news I learned today. A friend, a soft-spoken woman with a kind heart who is in her early fifties, has been battling another form of cancer: follicular lymphoma. She’d been in remission for a year, but she learned, yesterday, that the cancer is back. She couldn’t speak about it this morning because she is very upset, but I know that she is devastated. My heart breaks for her. I wish there was something I could do to comfort her, but all I can do is listen when she is ready to talk.

Even if it does help to put the beauty and frailty of life into perspective for those who are not terribly introspective, I hate cancer with the white hot passion of ten thousand blazing suns. It’s painful, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There is a deeper understanding, though, in the struggle, which singes with an acute awareness that life is precious and meaningful. I am humbled to acknowledge that it is incumbent upon me to redirect those aspects of my life which are spoiled and going nowhere and to strive to be the best that I am capable of being in all my endeavors. To embrace life, and those I love, with passion.

But yeah, it's a bittersweet day. Hugs all around.

For more information on leukemia or lymphoma, please visit:

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Monday, October 24, 2005

51% of Americans Say Man over Ape!

I just saw this article from CBS News over at AOL:

Majority of Americans Reject Theory of Evolution

The same "majority" that gave Bush his political capital in 2004, no doubt?! (Some majority! 1%!)

From the article:
Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form, and another three in 10 say that while humans evolved, God guided the process. Just 15 percent say humans evolved, and that God was not involved.

These views are similar to what they were in November 2004 shortly after the presidential election.

Oh, those evil liberals...

Americans most likely to believe in only evolution are liberals (36 percent), those who rarely or never attend religious services (25 percent), and those with a college degree or higher (24 percent).

Oh, those "perfect" evangelicals and conservatives...

White evangelicals (77 percent), weekly churchgoers (74 percent) and conservatives (64 percent), are mostly likely to say God created humans in their present form.
Although I no longer pray to Jesus, I do pray to the universe for a day when critical thinking skills are unclouded by the religious rhetoric of snake oil salesmen peddling Jesus for dollars. I'm with John Lennon, paraphrasing here, "what Jesus said was all right, it's just the people who screwed it up."

Give science a chance, folks, and your faith will follow as guided by your own inner light!