Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Friday!

We now take you to the Death Star Canteen:

Happy Friday post delayed :-(

So I forgot to do a "Happy Friday" video post before I left for work this morning, and they've put the hammer down on looking at video at work, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait until I go home on my lunch break for your Friday video fix.

On the bright side, my lovely husband bought us both matching video Ipods last night. He's so good to me. :-D

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Small marriage equality victory in New York

Governor Paterson has said that he will instruct state government to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Right on. The wheel keeps rolling. Society moves toward equality, not away from it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Support me to go to Netroots Nation!

Click the link to nominate me for a Democracy for America scholarship to attend Netroots Nation in Austin this July. I think I would get a lot out of it, which would only make this blog better. And we all want that, right?

It's the end of the weekend as we know it

and I feel...oy.

Well, the good news is, it's only a 4 day week. Then I have a 3 day week, and then I'm taking a road trip to see possibly the funniest comedian and "executive transvestite" alive, Eddie Izzard.

So, what's going on in the world today?

More severe storms with possible tornadoes in Oklahoma. None of them hit me, but we did have a nice little thunderstorm last night.

The number of people taking advantage of Tulsa's meager public transportation options is increasing. It doesn't make sense for me to ride the bus yet - I calculated my commute and based on current gas prices it costs me about $1.50 round trip, and the bus would cost $2.00. It's getting close, though.

Sales of scooters are expected to skyrocket. Yep, and I might just buy one.

The state's Medicaid program is trying to get people to stop going to the ER excessively. Yet another reason we need national health care. Stupid people keep saying that "everyone's covered - just go to the emergency room." Yes, well, try going to the emergency room with cancer, or for some needed medication, or for other routine health care. The more people use the emergency room for routine or other non-emergency care, the more it costs us in the long run. A national health care system where everyone is covered will save money, because people will go to the doctor before their problems become severe enough to warrant an emergency room visit.

Monday, May 26, 2008

And now, because this Tuesday is secretly a Monday

Here's a cute video of beagle puppies. Kind of like a loldog, but moreso. Have I mentioned that I have a thing about beagles?

In other "meta" news

It looks like this blogger is going to be the Oklahoma editor for BlogNetNews. Should be interesting.

Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, I'm going to re-post three poems I wrote last year and read during a Poets for Peace event in Tulsa.

1. So I was asked

to read a poem about
peace
honestly I don't know
if I have it in me
or what possible insight
I could give
I'm no soldier
and I haven't lost anyone
My only connection
is my humanity
burying its head in the sand
because it can't believe
where these kidnappers in chief
have taken this country
strapping us all to a chair
in their dank basement
forcing us to watch them
smear our best intentions
with their own special brand of bullshit.


2. Mission Accomplished

A fool
whose misrule
misconstrued the miscreants

attacked the facts
erasing the shame
of unjust war

but still the rifle
in white gloved hand
stands at attention

and the tense handkerchief
trembles, soaked
in unnecessary grief

as the mute draped boxes
silently march
one by one

hurrah, hurrah


3. exhausted


tired of lies
tired of seeing
good people buy them

compromising principle
we think we're invincible
while the invisible truth looms like teeth
sharp, inevitable

tired of numbers
body counts discounted
by the apathetic demographic

and it seems distance of death matters
massacres at home shock us and awe us
but massacres over there
well, we can change the channel

tired of timetables
fables of benchmarks
we're all marked

our outrage redacted
with the black marker
of unfair
and unbalanced news

I'm tired
exhausted
because every day the lies become heavier
and America's back
can't hold the weight much longer.

Sinister added to BlogNetNews!

Thanks to the good folks at BlogNetNews.com for adding this humble blog to their feed. Check out BlogNetNews for a good sampling of both liberal and conservative blogs sorted by state.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Monday loldog

even though it's a holiday, here's a loldog. In honor of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, which is a pretty good movie:

pet
see more dog pictures

Friday, May 23, 2008

Attention Sinister readers

I've noticed that since I've been promoting Sinister far and wide lately that I've got a lot of new readers. Also, since Google finds this blog important enough to include on the first page or two of search results for any number of things (though I have no idea why), I'm getting a lot of readers that way as well. However, not a lot of you are commenting, so I'm not sure what you're looking at or what you think of it.

Therefore, I would like to make a request of you. Whether you're from Tulsa, and you know me locally, or you're a small furry creature from Alpha Centauri, and whether you agree with me or disagree vehemently with me, I'd like to hear from you. Yes, I do have to moderate comments, but I will not censor anyone simply for disagreeing with me. In fact, I want those of you who disagree to comment, tell me why, find flaws in my arguments. You might actually change my mind. Also, I want to know what issues you want this blog to address.

Consider this an "open thread" - ready for your thoughts on anything in the world.

Happy Friday Part 2

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Light rail in Tulsa?

Mayor Kathy Taylor's urban planning adviser told the City Council this week that he's working on a concept for a light-rail system that would circulate through downtown and connect to the Arkansas River.


Great news. Let's get it going. We need decent public transit in this city. Light rail would be a great way to do it.

A system could connect the BOK Center, the Tulsa Convention Center, the Performing Arts Center, the Blue Dome District, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Tulsa Community College campuses, a potential ballpark and the numerous downtown office and residential buildings, as well as travel south for a link to the river.


I think a rail line running right down Harvard Avenue would be perfect- straight down the middle of the city, connected to downtown and the river, right between the two main north-south highways (75 and 169).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For the record, this working class white Jew is voting for Obama.

As a white, working class voter, I've been pigeonholed like crazy in this election. Yes, I voted for Clinton during the primary, but my objections to Obama were certainly not racial. Rather, they were based on a few things. First of all, I was pissed at Obama for the whole Donnie McClurkin fiasco last year. I was infuriated that Obama would stand on the same stage as a vicious homophobe, and then not apologize and fire McClurkin from his "gospel tour" when McClurkin's hateful views were uncovered.

Beyond that, though, I didn't think Obama had enough gravitas to go with his charisma. I, like a lot of folks, first thought of Obama as an "empty suit" with little to offer but inspiring rhetoric not backed up by the experience necessary to make stuff happen.

And it's not like Clinton was my first choice either. My first choice was Edwards. Then Edwards pissed me off about something. My second choice was Kucinich. Then Kucinich dropped out. My third choice was Edwards again, after I met him when he came to a campaign event in Tulsa. Then he dropped out (the next day). My fourth choice, by process of elimination, was Clinton.

But over the past few months, as Clinton has run a real asshat of a campaign, and Obama has proven he has more than enough gravitas to go with his veritas, I've been more and more convinced that Obama will make a fantastic candidate, not to mention a darned good President. And I will vote for him in November.

Now, I'm not only a white, working-class voter. I'm also a Jewish voter. And I've been pigeonholed against Obama on that front as well, with the wingnuts throwing up scare tactics about Hamas and Farrakhan at me, trying to get me to run screaming into the arms of their man McCain. The truth is that no mainstream American candidate, on either side, will ever say or do anything to imply anything less than full support of the state of Israel, and so voting based on the minute differences in rhetoric between the candidates on that issue is pointless and silly. I would argue that most Jewish voters understand this, and they won't be swayed by Hillary's stupid hawkish "nuke Iran" comments or McCain's "Hamas wants Obama" canard. The Jewish community will vote how it always votes - about 85% Democratic, no matter who the nominee is.

So to you Hillary supporters (and you McCain supporters as well) who want to scream FIRE about Obama's inability to connect with white, working class voters, and Jewish voters, I demand to be counted as one who can see through your shenanigans.

Today I gave my first $18 contribution to the Obama campaign. $18 (and multiples thereof) is a traditionally Jewish amount to donate, because the number 18 is Chai, or Life, in Hebrew. I'm sure I'll give more before November.

Yes we can.

(posted to the Randi Rhodes Show message board)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ted Kennedy has a brain tumor

Please send Senator Kennedy your thoughts and prayers. This has to be devastating news for him and his family.

Sulu's getting married

George Takei and his partner, Brad Altman, are getting married following the California marriage equality ruling.

I love this line:

Takei, 71, told Reuters on Monday that he and Brad Altman, his 54-year-old business manager, are going through the ”delicious process” of planning their nuptials.


How delicious.

Congratulations to the happy couple. George Takei is a wonderfully eccentric and funny actor, and I wish him and his partner all the best.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ellen announces wedding plans on show

On the heels of yesterday's Supreme Court victory for marriage equality, Ellen Degeneres is going to announce on today's show that she and her girlfriend, Portia de Rossi, are going to get married. Congratulations to the happy couple. I've always respected and admired Ellen for being the first to be out and proud on network television.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Early happy Friday post

Not safe for work.

For no good reason

except that Edith Piaf is a goddess, and this is her greatest song...

California legalizes marriage equality

California's highest court today struck down the state ban on same sex marriage, making it the second state in the union to do so. A victory for marriage equality.

A little out of sorts

My uncle died yesterday, so I'm going to be a little out of pocket for the next couple of days. I'll try to post when I can.

A few things that have come to my attention:

Governor Henry needs to veto the "Religious Viewpoints Anti-discrimination Act."

John Edwards has endorsed Barack Obama. Good for him. A little late, a little like jumping on the train after it has left the station, but still.

Bush is in the Middle East doing nothing useful, and implies it'll take another 60 years before we see peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

What's on your mind today?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sacre Bleu!

Mitch McConnell, Republican leader, has warned of the dire consequence of electing Democrats. Apparently,

It's pretty clear to me that the Democratic agenda is to turn us into France,"


Sacre bleu! Now, this article is written like a scare piece, because this is, of course, the newspaper owned by the far-right cult leader Sun Young Moon, but to be honest, this makes me want to vote for Democrats more.

The Senate's top Republican says Democrats' sights are set on European-style socialism,


Let me tell you about European-style socialism. French health care is the best in the world. Sweden's standard of living is one of the highest in the world. A 2005 study found that America's educational system ranked below that of several European countries, notably Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

If that's where the Democrats want to take us, then I'm all for it.

But I happen to know for a fact that no Democrat would ever propose French style government-based health care. And we could never get to the kind of consensus-based society that helps Sweden thrive. And our public school system is far too complex to be transformed into something resembling that of most European nations.

Democrats, and Republicans too, are stuck with what we have now, and can only really make small tweaks to it without wreaking major havoc. It would be great to have a single-payer healthcare system, but to transition from what we have now to a single-payer system would require a huge upheaval in a lot of different areas of the economy. That's why neither major Democratic contender has proposed it. They are proposing putting bandages on the holes in the current system - they can't tear down the system and build something new.

So, to summarize: One, I would LOVE for European-style socialism to rear its head here. Two, that's never going to happen.

Alors, Monsieur McConnell, je vous souhaite un bonne journee, plein des revelations idiotiques que vous aimez.

Alternatives to driving?

With gas prices becoming a real strain on our budget, my partner and I have discussed alternatives to driving. Last night we talked about selling my car and buying two scooters. Scooters get about 100 mpg, compared to about 22 mpg for my car (a shitty number for a compact car, I know). I think we calculated that the gas savings would pay off the scooters in 2 years per scooter - plus, we could buy at least one of them outright with the proceeds from selling my car. We may end up doing that at some point.

Meanwhile, our trip to Dallas, which we're taking at the beginning of June, continues to go up in price as gas prices increase. We're driving down there because we're going to Ikea while we're there to pick up a chest of drawers. We actually did the calculations to determine whether it would be cheaper to fly down, rent a car, and check the dresser as baggage on the way home. I should point out that we have travel privileges because my dad worked for American Airlines, so we can fly standby to Dallas pretty cheaply. When we did the calculations a few weeks ago, flying and renting a car was still more expensive. I'm not so sure anymore. But there are still intangible advantages to driving to Dallas which put it above flying, even if the hard dollars eventually favor flying. We also have come to the conclusion that had gas prices been this high when we bought the tickets to the concert we're attending that is the reason for the trip, we probably wouldn't have bought the tickets. We've already canceled one road trip to Hot Springs because of gas prices.

Just a few examples of how this "double income no kids" family is dealing with rising gas prices. Our money is going to Quiktrip, and we're not buying big ticket items or going out to eat as much or taking trips or doing the other things that inject money into the economy. I can't imagine how people with kids on a really tight budget are handling the increased cost.

Wow

The tragedies in China and Myanmar are stunning on their own, but happening one after the other like this it's hard to process. One thing that will be interesting is seeing the contrast between how two totalitarian but very different governments, China and Myanmar, handle the crises.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Storms whip through OK and MO, kill 18

Oklahoma and neighboring states got slammed by massive storms & tornadoes again yesterday. Thankfully for me, they started to the east of where I am and kept going east. Still, 18 people were killed and a lot of buildings were damaged. It was a major storm.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bonus Happy Friday video

Just cause it's that kind of day:

One rebate received - what are we spending it on?

My partner just got his stimulus rebate. How are we going to use it to stimulate the economy? We're paying vet bills for the dog's heartworm treatment.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have the money, but we're not going to stimulate anyone's economy, except the vet's office.

What are you spending your rebate on?

I almost forgot - Happy Friday!

Repugs not set on McCain - Okie conservative to leave ballot blank in November

...there remain Republicans, mainly conservatives, who have problems with McCain's past positions, including advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform and restrictions on campaign spending by independent groups.

Charlie Meadows, chairman of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, is among them.

"If I lived in a battleground state, I would buy a No. 10 clothespin, clip it on my nose, go into the voting booth and pull the McCain lever," said Meadows, a leader of a Paul faction that unsuccessfully challenged a party-sanctioned slate at the state GOP convention last weekend in Tulsa. "But in Oklahoma, where McCain will win with a 200,000-vote surplus, he does not need my vote, and I will leave my ballot blank."


That's fine with me - hey, I wouldn't mind it if all the conservatives in Oklahoma stayed home, and we turned this state blue. But I don't see it happening. The point is that if there are enough conservatives who feel like this guy, then we're in damned good shape against McSame in November.

The article also discusses the Ron Paul "Revolution" disrupting Republican conventions across the country and demanding a voice at the convention. I just think that's funny. Ron Paul is a racist pig, but libertarianism in itself isn't a terrible thing - just very wrong on economic issues. I wouldn't mind seeing pure libertarianism become more mainstream in the Repugnant party - at least then they'd stop crowing about same sex marriage.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My letter to the Tulsa World re: Grey's Anatomy

Dear Editor,

I would like to commend ABC Television. Tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy dealt with a sensitive and controversial issue in a very real and uncompromising manner. The storyline revolved around a gay soldier whose boyfriend, also a soldier, comes to visit him in the hospital where he is awaiting experimental brain surgery. They have to hide their affection from their commanding officer, and from the patient's father. However, the nature of their love for one another is made abundantly clear when they are left alone in the room, and they share a very passionate kiss. It is rare to see such an authentic portrayal of a gay relationship on network television, and for such a relationship also to intertwine the insanity of the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in such a frank manner is very impressive. Our military is stretched so thin in Iraq and Afghanistan that criminal waivers are being granted on a daily basis allowing convicted felons to serve openly in combat, while competent and badly needed Arab interpreters are discharged simply for being gay. This television episode will no doubt bring a lot of hate mail and angry phone calls from homophobic people both within and outside of the military community. I for one want to make sure that above the din of hate there is heard a sincere round of applause and a hearty "Bravo!"

Grey's Anatomy

For those who missed tonight's episode, you missed a truly groundbreaking piece of television.

There was a plotline about a gay soldier whose boyfriend comes to see him in the hospital where he is waiting to have experimental brain surgery. The two have a very real, very intense kiss, at which point the patient's father comes in and throws the boyfriend out. The patient accepts this in an attempt to protect the boyfriend's military career, and in the process, sacrifices his own last moment with his boyfriend. It's poignant, it's real, and it deals with the pain, the heartache, and the utter insanity of DADT.

Bravo to Grey's Anatomy for addressing this issue in such a blunt and real manner. I'm sure they'll be getting a lot of complaints from military homophobes, but I'm going to give them a huge round of applause. It was such a departure from the sanitized, family-friendly, asexual portrayal of gay life seen in Will & Grace, and I'm happy to see it on network television.

The next step, of course, is for the show to feature a regular gay character and/or relationship. I don't know - something might be brewing between Callie and that one doctor...

Registering voters in Tulsa?

Excuse me for being a little bit cynical, but what, exactly, does the Obama campaign hope to accomplish by registering voters in Tulsa, Oklahoma? This state will go for McCain in November unless hell not only freezes over but melts again and then re-freezes into an ice sculpture in the shape of the words "not bloody likely."

Then again, this is the embodiment of the 50 state strategy championed by Howard Dean, and in that respect, it's a good thing. It could also help candidates like Andrew Rice, who would benefit from registering new Democrats. I just hope nobody has any illusions about winning this state.

Color me cautiously skeptical. I'm still debating whether to show up and help out myself.

5 Myths about being "Pro-Israel"

Article by the executive director of JStreet, the progressive Israel advocacy group formed as a counterpoint to AIPAC. I agree with a lot of this, especially the strong statement against Hagee and his apocalyptic cronies, though I'm still very resistant to having direct talks with Hamas. Read the article and make up your own mind.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring in Oklahoma

Tornado sirens aren't even disrupting our evening. Nowhere near us. Just have the TV on. I was on the phone with my cell phone carrier when the sirens went off.

All in a day...

Happy 60th, Israel

Click the link at the top of the blog to find out what your local Jewish community is doing to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday. The quote above the logo is by Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Here's the text of Hatikvah, Israel's national anthem (in Hebrew, then transliterated, then translated):


כל עוד בלבב פנימה
נפש יהודי הומיה,
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה,
עין לציון צופיה,

עוד לא אבדה תקוותנו,
התקווה בת שנות אלפים,
להיות עם חופשי בארצנו,
ארץ ציון וירושלים.

Kol od baleivav p'nimah
Nefesh y'hudi homiyah
Ulfa'atei mizrach kadimah
Ayin l'tziyon tzofiyah

Od lo avdah tikvateinu
Hatikvah bat sh'not alpayim
Lihyot am chofshi b'artzeinu
Eretz tziyon viyrushalayim

As long as in the heart, within,
A soul of a Jew is yearning,
And to the edges of the East, forward,
An eye gazes towards Zion,

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

The state of the race

New York Times article lays out the case that CW is hardening against Clinton, and many pundits are declaring the race "over." I think last night was pretty definitive in that regard.

Obama has been through a lot of hell recently, a preview of what's to come in the general election. He's been grilled over stupid stuff, flag pins, patriotism, and the statements of his former pastor (incidentally, I'm of the opinion that Rev. Wright was largely correct in his criticism of US policy as it related to 9/11). Meanwhile, McCain has been given a free ride by the media. Despite the scrutiny on Obama, and the lack thereof on McCain, the polls are still very close, with some polls showing Obama ahead in key states. Obama has proven himself quite capable of weathering harsh criticism and coming out ahead. I think that bodes very well for the general. If all of Obama's dirty laundry has been aired already, and he's gotten past it, then what does McCain have left to attack? Plus, what happens when the spotlight shines on McCain and his numerous skeletons?

I think we're going to do very well in November.

Welcome, LeftyBlog readers

I'm glad to see Sinister on the blogwire. I've been trying to feature more local content in the past few months, and I plan to continue that trend. As you'll no doubt notice by visiting the archives, I'm also very interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Presidential race, the war, and a whole host of other issues.

You will also want to tune in on Fridays and Mondays. Fridays I feature a "Happy Friday" post with a funny video. These videos have recently featured Eddie Izzard and Monty Python, but I'm planning to expand that repertoire. Mondays I feature a loldog, a cute picture of a dog with a funny caption. Just the thing to brighten up a dismal Monday morning.

I've experimented with doing a podcast, and I'll probably try that again at some point.

Comments are moderated here, but that's only because I've gotten a lot of spam, and I want to avoid that. I won't censor you because you disagree with me, as long as you do so respectfully.

Anyway, many thanks to the good folks at LeftyBlogs for including me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Army of Dude

Interesting, well-written blog by a soldier who has returned from Iraq. Scroll down to some of the posts he wrote about his comrades who died and the experiences he had while he was over there. This is reality, folks. This war, these deaths, this carnage, this utter waste of young lives, is all real, and none of it should be happening.

Fight war, not wars.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I just spoke to Ed Schultz

Wow. That was a trip. Ed Schultz is a major voice in Progressive radio nationally. He's on XM 167 during the lunch hour, and I listen to him regularly. He was talking about Hillary's "obliterate Iran" comment and made the claim that the Jewish vote "wants a hawkish view" on Israel. I had to call in and correct him on that. The Jewish vote is not monolithic, and Hillary's "obliterate Iran" comment shows a shocking ignorance about the realities in the Middle East. I don't think Jewish voters will be swayed by such arrogant bombasity from Hillary.

Disturbing trend in Tulsa area leaves pets behind

A local news station reports on a disturbing trend in Green Country: owners who leave their houses behind to foreclosure are also leaving their pets behind - sometimes inside, in cages, to starve to death. That's just awful.

Here are some local animal rescue organizations. Go donate, volunteer, or rescue a pet. You'll be rewarded.

Animal Rescue Foundation of Tulsa
Small Paws Rescue
Pet Adoption League
Tulsa SPCA
Humane Society of Tulsa

You can also find pets that need to be rescued here.

Monday loldog

funny dog pictures
see more dog pictures

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah is Holocaust Rememberance Day. It begins this evening at sundown. The American Jewish World Service would like you to do something about the holocaust in Darfur. Take action by clicking the link above.

Mission Accomplished

5 years later, are major combat operations still ended?

Tulsa County gets an F in Air Quality

Tulsa County has received an F in air quality by the American Lung Association in its "State of the Air" report for this year. That doesn't surprise me. I know we're up there in the number of asthma cases we have.

A large part of the problem in Tulsa is the complete lack of decent public transporation options, so everyone has a car, and everyone drives everywhere. If we had, say, light rail, or even a reliable bus system that worked all the time, that would certainly help.

Kossack has a story about a McCain supporter's ties to Hezbollah

Of course, since this isn't Obama, it isn't being plastered all over the mainstream media. The linked diary has phone numbers of journalists - if you think this story merits mention, please call them.