Wednesday, February 28, 2007

College Republicans are HILARIOUS, aren't they?

When I was in college and a musical theater major, we played a lot of games. We played tons of lame acting games and we also routinely snuck into the theater at night to play hide and seek in the darkness of the main stage. Sometimes, we had a scavenger hunt. Many times, these games were played after we drank alcohol. Silly, yes; stupid, probably; harmless, absolutely. We all do things like the above when we are young and reckless.

But lately, College Republicans around the country have just gone off the deep end with their "humor" and playtime. In fact, they are offending members of both the Republican and the Democratic party with their antics. They certainly aren't making any friends; no, instead it looks like they have a whole new group of enemies. Additionally, there "games" have forced a few of their members to resign their leadership positions or be kicked out of the group altogether. Unfortunately, that's what you get for being a hateful bigot with a small brain.
It's almost enough to make us nostalgic for streaking and sitting on flagpoles. College students from Michigan to Florida have found a new way to get attention, offend others and make a right-wing statement all at once. It's a game with a name that says it all: “Catch the Illegal Immigrant.”

The game is a variation on hide and seek: one player poses as the immigrant, and everyone else tries to find that person. There's a prize, usually $200 or less, which is not much, but enough to celebrate the cheap exploitation of a fellow human.

“Catch the Immigrant” is the brainchild of an intern with the College Republican National Committee, who lost her post after coming up with this and other campus recruitment gimmicks. Another game, called “Fun With Guns,” invited young Republicans to fire BB guns or paint balls at cardboard cutouts of Democratic leaders. Republican Party leaders have tried to distance themselves from the games, but seem to have done little to stop them.

The right-wing organizers of the immigrant games — particularly Young Americans for Freedom and Young Republicans — have declared piously that they're just trying to spark debate. At that, they have succeeded. Protesters defending immigration and human dignity have outnumbered the game's players at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Pennsylvania State and other campuses, including, most recently, at New York University.

The reaction from schools has been mostly tepid. Administrators are in a tough spot, trying to balance free speech with offensive behavior. More speech is the answer, including voices of authority pointing out the nastiness of this game as well as the inherent cruelty of hunting people for sport.

“Catch the Immigrant” also reflects a larger misunderstanding of the immigration issue. The more than 11 million illegal immigrants cannot be caught. Even if they could be, rounding them up and deporting them would be disastrous, economically and socially. Educators should teach the game players about the real world.
So, there you have it. They want their "freedom of speech", well fine; they can have it. They won't have many friends though, I can guarantee you that.

It wasn't George Allen's fault, it's YOUR fault for watching

I mean, duh. Since when has Karl Rove been wrong, right?
At a forum today marking Communication Week at Texas State University, Karl Rove stepped clear of current events and withstood hecklers while tracing the history of White House communications from President Washington to the George W. Bush administration.

Presidents once communicated with Americans solely in writing, Rove said, with no president leaving Washington to give speeches until the mid-1800s. Today, he said, demand for information from the White House prevails around the clock, and the Internet has touched off an explosion of information sources — some questionable.

Referring to YouTube, the video site that's a must-see for many, Rove said: "That can disrupt anything. Just ask former Sen. George Allen."

fAllen, a Virginia Republican, lost his re-election last year in the wake of an amateur videotaper catching him calling an audience member a name that few judged charitably.
So remember this; according to Karl Rove, it is perfectly fine to call people racial slurs in public. It is NOT ok if you get caught and someone has the nerve to call you out on it. All this from the man who bugged his own office and then accused someone else of doing it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hasn't Condi learned anything about making Jim Webb mad?

Go Jim Webb. Condi, you're an idiot.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said yesterday that he is not satisfied with the Bush administration’s response to his inquiries on whether the White House believes its signing statement accompanying the 2002 Iraq war authorization gives the president authority to attack Iran.

Webb first wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and newly confirmed deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte last month after a Rice appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During questioning by Webb, Rice did not clearly state whether President Bush believes he can pursue action against Iran under his 2002 signing statement, which interprets the war authorization as a broad mandate to defend “threats to national interests.”

Webb said yesterday that he has heard from Rice and Negroponte, but that their responses were “lengthy and not to the point,” adding that he intends to pursue a clarification of presidential authority to use force in Iran in the near future.

8 years old, 218 pounds - is this child abuse?

Britain Lets Mother Keep 218 Pound 8-Year-Old Son

(AP) LONDON A mother who feared she might lose custody of her obese 8-year-old son unless he lost weight was allowed to keep the boy after striking a deal Tuesday with social workers to safeguard his welfare.

The case has set off a debate over child obesity and raised questions about whether genetics, junk food or bad parenting is to blame.

Connor McCreaddie, of Wallsend in northeastern England, weighs 218 pounds, four times the weight of a healthy child his age.

Connor and his mother, Nicola McKeown, 35, both attended a child protection meeting Tuesday with North Tyneside Council officials.

Before it began, McKeown, a single mother of two, said she hoped she would not lose custody of her son.

"I'm not too good, and I'm very nervous about the meeting. I'm hoping for the best," she said.

Afterward, the Local Safeguarding Children Board issued a statement saying it "was able to confirm that its hope and ambition is to enable this child to remain with his family. In order to move this matter forward, we have made a formal agreement with the family to safeguard and promote the child's welfare."

The agency provided no details about what Connor or his mother would have to do to fight his obesity.

The hearing was held under the Children Act, which places a duty on the local authority to conduct an inquiry if it has "reasonable cause to suspect that a child ... in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm."

The boy's case attracted national attention after his mother allowed an ITV News crew to film his day-to-day life for a month.

When he was 2 1/2, Connor was too heavy for his mother to pick him up, and at 5, he weighed more than 126 pounds, said The Journal, a regional newspaper. Now the boy, who is tall for his age at 5 feet, wears adult clothes and size eight shoes, the newspaper said.

Sky TV showed footage of Connor's mother serving him meals of french fries, meat and buttered bread.

"He'll hover around the kitchen for food. He'll continually go in the fridge," McKeown said of her son. "I just keep telling him to get out of the fridge, wait until meal times and stuff. But at the end of the day, he was born hungry. He has always been hungry."

"Bacon. Mmmm... That's my favorite. Um ... chicken , steak, sausage," the boy told the camera.

Obesity is essentially caused by eating more calories than you burn. Obese people are sometimes thought to have lower metabolic rates than normal, meaning they need less food to maintain their weight.

Childhood obesity is of particular concern because it greatly increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skeletal disorders and strokes. Certain cancers are also associated with obesity, and obese children have a higher chance of premature death.
"Obesity and diabetes used to be seen as middle-age problems, but now we're seeing more and more children with both problems," Rigby said.

"But remember, in this era of nonstop advertising about low-nutrient, high-calorie foods, many parents find it difficult to tear their children from sweets and persuade them to eat fruit and vegetables."

He said he hoped social workers would find out what has caused Connor's obesity.

This is ridiculous. Sad, yes, but also ridiculous. Personally, I feel that the "parenting" this woman is exhibiting is more than enough to charge her with endangerment to her child, or even child abuse. Essentially, she is slowly killing her son. She is his MOTHER, and therefore, she is responsible for keeping her child healthy and out of danger. She says she has "done all she can" and others involved are now pleading with professionals for help.


You know, I have dieted before too. In fact, I am watching what I eat right now. I call it the "Don't eat crap" diet, and to make it work, I don't bring crap food into my house. It makes things a lot easier. Perhaps this family, as well as the millions of others out there who suffer from obesity, would benefit from trying that eating plan.

Oh, but don't forget, heavy people cannot run for President.

Al Gore is too fat to run

Yeah, that's basically what Pat Buchanan said last night on Scarborough Country. He also said, and everyone agreed, that if he were to run, he would beat Hilary and gain the nomination from the party. I agree. But, for now, he's too much of a fatass, according to Patty Patty Buke Buke. What's next, he has too much hair? Not enough? Manboobs?

Gimme a break, Pat.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, Al Gore obviously absolutely beloved by these Hollywood stars. Does it translate to Middle America, though? I mean, this guy is becoming a rock star out there when you talk about the environment.

BUCHANAN: Well, he doesn’t have to translate right now to Middle America. But, Joe, he’s got two tremendous aces. He’s Mr. Environment. He was right on the war. Like Teddy Kennedy, he’s much better when he’s not an active candidate, you know, when he’s no longer running for something.

I think you all are exactly right. His problem, however, is one person. That is Obama, because Obama has something he doesn’t have: He’s got freshness; he’s got charisma.

SCARBOROUGH: But the same people that are supporting Obama would support Al Gore, would they not, Pat? I mean, Gore is the smart anti-war vote.

BUCHANAN: What I’m saying is that Obama has got to fade for Gore to move. He’s got to be knocked down. And if he is knocked down, Gore should drive right in there, because then I think he could win.

But you take a risk, because Iowa is not—is a state where it’s caucuses. If you line up supporters who can get out votes early, you’ve got a tremendous advantage. And it’s tough to overcome that, and Iowa would be crucial.

Another thing. Al Gore came in 40 pounds overweight for spring training, Joe. He has got to—look, you went out for football, Joe. You when a coach sees some guy waddling onto the field, he’s been eating all winter, it’s hellish. And he’s got to lose that, and he’s got to—then I think he can do it.

SCARBOROUGH: You know, my coach always told me that I’d been cheating on my wind sprints over the summer. And it was very obvious.

The President must be so proud

Both Jenna and Barbara Bush have made it onto the 20 Most Eligible Bachelorettes list for FHM magazine. And you know how classy THAT magazine is. In fact, its so classy, its actually NSFW. So, I warned you, now proceed with caution.

Here's the full list:
1. Kimberly Stewart
2. Carmen Electra
3. Princess Beatrice
4. Sarah Harding
5. Scarlett Johansson
6. Lindsay Lohan
7. Maria Sharapova
8. Paris Hilton
9. Keeley Hazell
10. Keira Knightley
11. Ivanka Turmp
12. Nicky Hilton
13. Lydia Hearst-Shaw
14. Amanda Hearst
15. Gisele Bundchen
16. Holly Branson
17. Jenna Bush
18. Barbara Bush

19. Britney Spears
20. Kate Moss
They are so classy.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Virgil Goode makes Thelma Drake look reasonable

As most of us already know, Thelma Drake had a man arrested in front of her office last week. A google news search proves that the media has indeed picked up on this atrocity and the story is getting out to constituents and voters.

Guess what? Virgil Goode had 3 people arrested, and not a word has been spoken about it.

I just got the email below. I knew that a protest of Goode's office had been planned, but I assumed that he had a heart and didn't actually arrest anyone since I never heard nor read a word about it. Instead, he had THREE citizens arrested for speaking their minds and disagreeing with his failed policy.
Thursday, March 1, 9:30 AM.

Please come out and support the three protestors who were arrested on Feb. 21 at Rep. Virgil Goode's Charlottesville office. The Charlottsville General Circuit Court will hear the case of Susan Frankel-Streit, Shelly Stern, and Jeff Winder on Thursday, March 1. THE RALLY WILL BE HELD OUTSIDE THE COURT AT 9:30 AM, 606 Market St. Court session begins at 10:00 AM. The three were arrested at Rep. Virgil Goode's office on Wed. Feb. 21. They are charged with criminal trespass as they remained after hours to demand Goode's signature to pledge not to support more funds for warmaking in Iraq.
If we are going to go after Thelma Drake for arresting one person, I see no reason why we aren't lambasting Virgil Goode for doing the same thing times three.

President-elect Al Gore wins the Oscar

From last night's speech:
"My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That is a renewable resource. Let's renew it."
Prediction: he'll announce within the next 3 weeks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Am I the only one who LIKES the new Britney Spears?

Honestly, every time a guy I am trying to fight with doesn't answer their door to the house I pay for ignores me, I also behave like this.

Personally, I say "RIGHT ON" to Britney Spears. It must have finally sunk in to her head that being a personal bank account to anyone she has ever come in contact with is not only unfair, but it is downright disgusting. In my opinion, the girl is completely losing it, and perhaps her "mother" is now having very belated second thoughts over her decision to turn her daughter into America's legal hooker at the ripe age of 15. Hopefully, she will get the mental help she desperately needs and deserves.


Senator/Governor/President Charles Barkley?

Does this mean we will have to solve all of our problems with a sweaty game of one-on-one?
NBA Hall of Fame player, Charles Barkley announced his intentions last July to run for Governor of Alabama, perhaps in 2010. "I was a Republican until they lost their minds," said Barkley at the time.

In a talk with Wolf Blitzer on CNN this afternoon, Barkley may have begun to sketch out a platform on which to launch his political career.

"I want to be a politician," Barkley said. "I think I understand how the system works, I think a lot of politicians are corrupt, and it's about time we put some people in there who are going to look out for the majority of the people instead of the rich people."
OK, um, I think Barkley IS rich, so I don't know why he is mentioning economics at this point. Also, UNTIL they lost their minds? Um, where have you been, sir? That certainly isn't a new wordly development in my opinion.

Video available here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hahahahaha! I totally agree! Nascar DOES suck...

I give you nothing but the article; its hilarious enough.
The electronic sign on the side of Interstate 4 is supposed to warn motorists of an upcoming exit.

This weekend, someone reprogrammed it with a slightly different message: "NASCAR sucks. Go home."

Florida Department of Transportation officials said a prankster with the right kind of keyboard and a password changed the sign this weekend as hundreds of thousands of race fans poured into the area.

The sign -- a 7-by-10-foot movable message board -- was posted near the Saxon Boulevard exit by the eastbound lanes, DOT spokesman Steve Homan said. An employee noticed the unauthorized message late Saturday night. By Sunday morning, the sign was switched off.

Homan said employees checked to see whether the locked box that houses the sign's electronic guts was pried open. It turned out to be unlocked, but someone still needed the correct keyboard and password, which is available to highway contractors, consultants and DOT employees.

"It was clearly someone that was familiar with that operation," Homan said, though he said DOT would not try to find the culprit. "There are just people that are inclined to use our means of communicating, I guess."

It's the first time Homan has encountered such a prank but not the first time the DOT used one of its signs to send a non-transportation message.

Several years ago, alarmed motorists called highway officials to report that cows grazing in a marshy area near the I-4 bridge were drowning.

The cattle were just sinking a little in the soft pasture, so DOT workers programmed a sign to read: "The cow is OK."
OK, first of all, the cow sign is hilarious, and secondly, the fact that they aren't even going to find out who publicly trashed Nascar to its own FANS just leads me to believe that pretty much everyone agrees that the "sport" of Nascar is just crap. Honestly, the only good thing to come out of Nascar is Talladega Nights.

Arrests at Vrigil Goode's office!!!!!!

Have they happened yet?


Apparently, some citizens conducted a sit-in at Goode's office today. The story is they are demanding that he sign a pledge to stop funding the Iraq War, and when the Representative's office closes at 4:30, three of the occupiers will refuse to leave and they all fully expect to be arrested.

From an emailed press release:


3:45 P.M. TODAY a group of concerned citizens are sitting in at Representative Virgil Goode's office, 104 S. 1st in Downtown Charlottesville demanding that he sign a pledge to stop funding the Iraq War. When the Representative's office closes at 4:30 three occupiers will refuse to leave and expect to be arrested.

BACKGROUD: Earlier this week, constituents submitted a document to Rep. Virgil Goode, requesting his signature on a pledge to vote AGAINST the Bush war budget. Today, the group arrived at his office to find that he had not given his commitment to vote "NO." At this point, the group symbolically occupied the office, stating their intention to remain until he gives his pledge.

On February 5, President Bush submitted his war budget for 2007 and 2008 to Congress. He is seeking an additional $93 billion in funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the period that ends on September 30 of this year, as well as another $142 billion for the coming year which runs from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008.

"The vast majority of Goode's constituents are opposed to continued funding for this war and want the troops home now. He can no longer count on us sitting quietly by while he does nothing to stop it," said Jeff Winder, one of the event's organizers.

This action is in conjunction with dozens of similar events in cities across the country. For more information visit, Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
So, I ask; have the arrests happened yet? Inquiring minds want to know...

My late JJ Recap

First of all, thanks to all for your kind words and our advice re: my car situation. I've met with my insurance adjuster, the auto body guys, and the police again (they might have a lead) so it looks like things will work out after all. So, thanks again.

I thought the JJ Dinner was great, and I had an awesome time. Like Vivian Paige, woman of the amazing skin and vibrant personality, I too mostly enjoy events like the JJ because it gives me a chance to catch up with all of my blogging buddies I rarely get to see. I also love the excitement one feels by simply being in a room with the likes of Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Jim Webb, Obama, Leslie Byrne, etc., etc., etc. I assume most boggers agree with that sentiment; I mean you certainly don't go for the food or incredibly overpriced drinks, right? Right. And of course, I too like to check out what other people are wearing, whose shoes will undoubtedly make people cry in the morning after wearing them, and who spent more time then necessary on their hair.

We arrived pretty late for people who live only 6 blocks away, but I haven't been on time for anything in a long time (perhaps NEVER) so I wasn't distressed. We figured Jim Webb would have to cancel his reception since the vote went on until after 3:30pm, so we took our time and didn't make it until almost 6pm. We immediately caught up with Kathy Gerber, Reen, Eric from RK, and TeacherKen and chatted with them before we made our way down the very long hallway to the reception. I saw some more familiar faces along the way and before we went in to the enormous bar area, we took a look at the 08 contenders tables filled with signs, stickers, bumper stickers, sign up sheets, and much more. We chose not to wear any stickers, and we didn't grab any material. Like I have said before, neither of us have made up our minds for 08 yet, but it certainly seems that a lot of other Virginians have; the area was packed throughout the evening.

So we chatted and hung out and later sat down for dinner and speeches. Personally, I was most impressed by Tim Kaine. He was eloquent, entertaining, and just plain excellent. I thought everyone did well, but he struck me the most, so kudos, Governor Kaine.

I have to say, and I know this sounds strange, but the highlight of my evening was hanging out in the bar area by a garbage can with Andy Hurst and a bunch of other active bloggers (though Creigh Deeds coming back after we said hello to ask me if I cut my hair and then telling me it looked great is a pretty close second). It's so refreshing to be able to chat with someone like Andy, a man I really hoped would win in 06 and whom I hope runs again in the future. I think throughout the election cycle and politics in general, it is really easy to forget that people are people, and even though someone may be an elected official or in a higher position than you, when you get right down to it there is a lot more than politics to discuss and probably a lot more things you have in common than you would think. And talking to Andy, chatting with my fellow bloggers (some of whom were far more influential to the 06 election than anyone could have imagined), and taking in all of the speeches and the ceremony on a whole, I was struck by something and mildly disappointed...
Two very important groups of people were not mentioned and were not thanked. Those groups were a) the netroots, and b) the people who ran as Democratic candidates in the state of Virginia and did not win their election.
Now, yes; there were thank you shout-outs to volunteers and there were grassroots awards given to individuals and groups of people. That's awesome, and as it should be. I don't think we need to go so far as to award bloggers with trophies or their name on a program, but I do think that it is important to continually remind others who may not know what we do that yes, we are out here, and yes, this is the new age of politics in which we are all actively participating. A simple mention, especially in the case of online contributions raised for candidates by local and national blogs would have been appreciated. Of course, this is just my personal opinion, and anyone and everyone is free to disagree.

I find the silence towards our unsuccessful candidates a little more disappointing. People put their blood, sweat and tears into their candidacy and whether or not they won did not change that. We had brave men and women run for seats we never thought we could win, and they all deserve a big thanks. So, every one of them will get it here.

Thank you Harris Miller (total class act, btw, and yes; I owe you a recipe, sir, and I promise to deliver), Shawn O'Donnell, Phil Kellam, Al Weed, Jim Nachman, Judy Feder, Andy Hurst, and Jeanette Rishell. As a Virginia Democrat, I am thankful you all ran for office, and I think you played an important role in democracy. Thanks.

If I missed anyone, please let me know and I will edit.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tony Blair hates America, freedom

Go ahead and fill in the blanks of whatever else Tony Blair hates now that he has decided to exercise common sense and good judgment by announcing plans to pull out of Iraq.
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 20, 2007; 5:23 PM

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce on Wednesday a new timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, with 1,500 to return home in several weeks, the BBC reported.

Blair will also tell the House of Commons during his regular weekly appearance before it that a total of about 3,000 British soldiers will have left southern Iraq by the end of 2007, if the security there is sufficient, the British Broadcasting Corp. said, quoting government officials who weren't further identified.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Did you hit my car?

Hey all. I am working on a full JJ recap post, but unfortunately I am a bit busy with the insurance company and the police right now since some WONDERFUL person decided to smash up my car and leave the scene on Saturday night. Thadd and I were at the JJ all night, and once the fire department decided that no one else was allowed into the hospitality suites due to code regulations, we left to meet a group of people at Penny Lane Pub on 5th street and Franklin. We drank, talked, laughed, and had a great time. At 1:41am, I paid my tab and Thadd and I left the establishment. We were shocked to see that my car had been hit very hard on the passenger side, and the weight of the other car actually pushed my car ONTO THE CURB. Of course, they left the scene, most likely because they were hammered drunk.

Nice, huh?

I am using my blog as an additional resource and as a way to try to get any other information possible so I can get my car fixed on the dime of the offending party. If I do not find out who did this, it is likely that my car will be considered totalled by the insurance company and the bank I am still paying since I do not yet own the car, and I will be, in a word, SCREWED. If anyone who was with us that evening at Penny Lane (we all left within moments of one another) has any information or saw or heard anything that may have anything to do with this accident, please let me know here in the comments section. I really appreciate it.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lambert still in the hot seat

It looks like the Lambert situation is far from being solved. Today, the Free Press has a front page story about a group of 10 Richmond party members who have signed and filed an appeal to challenge the Richmond City Democratic Committee's vote on January 25, 2007. The heated discussion and the subsequent vote allowed Benjaimin Lambert III to remain a committee member even though he endorsed George Allen over Jim Webb for Virginia's Senate seat.

The paper isn't online, so here are some bits from the article:
Margorie Clark, chairwoman of the 7th Congressional District Democratic Committee confirmed on Monday, 2/12/07, that she did indeed receive the appeal by the deadline.

The appeal will require a hearing on Sen. Lambert's status and discussions with party leaders are under way to decide on an appropriate process; Lambert will receive notice of any such hearning in advance.

Some of the people who signed the appeal are Richmond City Councilman E. Martin "Marty" Jewell, architect Bill Laffoon, Michael Brown, chairman of the State Board of Elections (and an awesome and hilarious guy who is a pleaseure to work with and spend time with), and an unnamed former city School Board member.

Micheal Brown quote (me in parentheses): "We feel the rule should be followed (the party rule requires the expulsion of any member for supporting someone other than the party's nominee). There's no need to have the rule if that is not going to happen."
So, like I said; it looks like this is far from over for the Richmond City Democratic Committee and Benjamin Lambert.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A touching story for Valentine's Day

Disclaimer: this post is not to be taken as an "I, PhriendlyJaime, hate this war and anyone who doesn't is WRONG" type of post. I am posting this in the hopes that war bickering does not ensue, and I am hoping that we can all take a look at the photo below and the story behind it and simply celebrate love, no matter what side of the aisle upon which you sit.

I should also warn you that the photo and the story are a bit hard to take. If you can handle it, please continue reading. If not, go kiss someone you love.

On Friday, the winners of the World Press Photos were announced. I highly suggest you take a look at all of the winners, as these are truly some of the best photos ever taken. You won't be disappointed.

The winner of the Portraits section was taken by Nina Berman, a very well known photographer who hails from New York City. The picture here was her submission to the contest, however, it has been asked that the picture not be used without permission, so you will have to click the link to view.

The picture is so moving, but the following story will cut you to your core.
When Marine Sergeant Ty Ziegel woke up from his coma, he was still in a fog of drugs. He knew his fiancée, Renee, was there and sensed her love for him. She had been playing with his feet because there was so little of him she could touch. He was told of his injuries but was so out of it, he thought: “Whatever.”

As the scale of his injuries sank in, his heart tightened. One arm was a stump and his remaining hand had only two fingers. Later, his big toe was grafted on in place of a thumb. One eye was blind and milky, as if melted, and his ears had been burnt away. The top of his skull had been removed and inserted by doctors into the fatty tissue inside his torso to keep it viable and moist for future use. He was a mess.

Renee received the news that he had been blown up from his mother and father, who asked her to come over. They didn’t dare tell her until she reached their house. The next morning, on Christmas Eve, they flew together to the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and set up a vigil at his bedside. “He was a strange charcoal colour, but Ty still looked like himself,” says his mother, Becky. By the time his burnt flesh had been removed, he didn’t.

“I don’t remember saying it to Renee, but I’d have understood if she’d said, ‘Yeah, I’m out of here,’” Ty says.

He had seen other badly wounded soldiers and marines get dumped by their girlfriends in hospital. Sometimes they would be cruel to their girlfriends and chuck them pre-emptively to spare themselves hurt. But quietly and with little fuss, Ty, 24, and Renee, 21, resolved to stick it out.

They were married in October, in their home town of Metamora, Illinois, a small farming community in the Midwest. Friends, family and marines were present: it was as if the whole town had turned out. The wedding was planned to the last exquisite detail by Renee and her mother, Donna, who spoke regularly on the phone because Ty was still undergoing operations in Texas.

“I did the male part of the wedding planning,” says Ty. “They’d ask me questions, but I always gave the wrong answer, so eventually they stopped asking me about it.”

Renee felt sick with nerves before going up the aisle, but she had no second thoughts. She looked radiant in a white dress. “You’re beautiful,” Ty told her. He wore his combat medals and a Purple Heart for being wounded in action.

Donna had been shocked when she found out the extent of Ty’s injuries, but she told her daughter she simply had to “follow her heart, and that we’d make it work, if she wanted it”. Today she is convinced that they will never part.

Ty was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and had been patrolling the streets in a truck with six marines around al-Qaim, an entry point for foreign fighters on the Syrian border. He had been there for five months, and the mission had become routine. “Mostly we just rode around and came back. The atmosphere was not particularly menacing. They weren’t shooting guns at us any more.”

Suddenly a suicide bomber blew himself up by his truck. “It felt like somebody just blasted me in the face really hard,” Ty recalls. “I was rolling around on the bed of a truck, yelling the whole time I was conscious. The guy next to me kept putting me out – I guess I kept relighting.”

He was put in a helicopter and his clothes were cut off.

“I kept saying I was cold, and they put a poncho liner on me.” He continued to shiver under the flimsy covering.

“I remember saying, ‘Oh, thanks, a poncho liner!’ before passing out.” Ty had taken the full force of the blast. The marines travelling with him mostly escaped injury, though one had to have a foot amputated when it failed to heal.

Ty’s sense of humour kept his spirits up through the long months of recovery. His deadpan wit was one of the reasons Renee had fallen for him. She was just 15 when Ty, an athletic, handsome 18-year-old, began working as a mechanic at her dad’s garage. They were barely more than children then, and kept their relationship a secret from Renee’s family. It was more of a flirtation. They would mess around at the garage, both in their greasy overalls and T-shirts. It changed when Ty, a reservist, invited Renee to the Marine Corps ball in nearby Peoria. He looked dashing in his dress uniform; she stepped out of a green pick-up truck in a beautiful long, red gown. “He wouldn’t let me leave his side,” Renee remembers. “I never said, ‘Do you want to go out with me?’” Ty chips in, “but it was clear I wasn’t going to be hanging out with any other girls.”

When Ty was sent to Iraq for the first time, they had just started dating. Renee avoided watching the news and carried on with life as a schoolgirl, while Ty experienced the excitement of the Iraq invasion, storming through the desert to Baghdad. It was thrilling to be part of such a successful operation. Three weeks after Ty returned home from his first tour, Renee’s father died in a freak quad-bike accident. She was devastated. “I made Ty stay with me, whether he wanted to or not,” she says. “I was sure he’d get sick of me.”

On her 18th birthday, Ty arranged for a single rose to be sent to Renee every hour for four hours. The first note said: “Happy birthday.” The second: “I love you.” The third: “Renee Nicole Kline, will you?” By then, she guessed what was coming. The last words were: “marry me”. And then he walked in with more roses. “They are hopeless romantics,” says Becky, who tended her son with Renee and grew to know her future daughter-in-law inside out.

Becky recalled that on Valentine’s Day in hospital in 2005, Ty was so wounded he could hardly speak. She and Renee taped a pen to the splint on his hand and he wrote as best he could on a dry erase board: “Ty and Renee”.

“Well, we think it said ‘Ty and Renee’,” Becky laughs. “Then doctors removed his ‘trake’ – the tracheostomy tube in his neck that had been feeding him when his lips were too burnt – and he said, ‘Renee, will you be my valentine?’ I cried.” His next words were: “Do you want to make out?” Months passed before they could, but at that moment she knew that he hadn’t really changed.

Renee had feared that while Ty was in a coma, he would emerge brain-damaged. In addition to his burns, shrapnel had entered his brain. “The only thing that might have changed my mind or made me leave him was if the brain injury had made him into some sort of psycho.”

Ty gets headaches sometimes, but he just takes an aspirin and gets on with it. In hospital he saw soldiers and marines with fewer injuries than him behave more self-pityingly. “Anger has a lot to do with the person,” he says. “I’ve seen guys who had no complaints, really, act pretty pissed off.”

Ty has a plastic skull now, and the old one is still stuck in his insides. He taps the side of his waist, where there is a slight bulge. The lump of bone will be removed one day but he is in no hurry to undergo another operation. There will be plenty of those ahead: he hopes the sight in his blind eye can be restored, though he doubts he is going to rebuild his nose – it involves too many awkward skin grafts.

In Metamora, people know him well enough not to stare a lot, but he gets plenty of looks elsewhere. Mostly he shrugs it off. “I give people the benefit of the doubt. If you were me, I might look at you.” If they are particularly rude, he will turn and say: “So what were you going to ask me?”

On the plus side, Ty claims: “I can be a lot more of an ass and get away with it.” It is also a long time since he has bought dinner. “I tried to take Renee out on her birthday and somebody paid for it. People know you are in the military and they want to thank you.”

He did not join the marines to get thanks and he does not feel strongly about the war one way or the other.

“I’m not political and I don’t complain.” His younger brother is also in the marines and may be deployed in Iraq. Sometimes it bothers Ty, but they both signed up, so that’s that, he says stoically. At one stage he hoped to remain in the marines, but when he thought seriously about it for 10 minutes, he decided to quit. He is living on his pension now while Renee works part-time in a bar. In the spring, he hopes to build a house on a plot of land near his family: “When that’s done, it will be the last house I’ll live in.”

Renee and Ty are thinking about having children soon. “We want to be young, cool parents,” says Rene.
I have no idea what type of parents they will make, but they are certainly two of the coolest people I have never met.

Now go kiss someone you love, and be thankful for what you have.


Awesome video from SNL

Bush on Iraq - "I think we'll succeed"

This morning I was able to watch part of President Bush's exclusive interview with Steve Scully of C-Span. The interview was conducted yesterday, and it is a very interesting piece. You can view the info for interview here, and if you cannot watch it online (I can't), I am sure it will be replayed again and undoubtedly, bits and pieces will be on every news show throughout the week (if we can get off the Anna Nicole blitz, that is). Not many people are reporting on it yet, but I did find this article, and I have highlighted an interesting bit for you.
Q: Some your strongest supporters -- Laura Ingraham on radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- have said that part of the problem is that the media haven't covered the full story in Iraq. If things go badly in Iraq, are the media responsible?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, I think I -- you know, if that's -- that's a -- a pretty interesting trick question -- you know, if things go badly. I think they're going to go well. Otherwise, I wouldn't have made the decision I made.The question is what -- the definition of "go well." If -- if the definition of success is -- is that there will be no suicide bombers, then we've really placed our fate in the hands of those who are willing to kill themselves. If the definition of success is the emergence of a stable society that's beginning to reconcile and do the political work necessary, then I -- I -- I think we'll succeed.
He THINKS that things will go well. THINKS.

Well, good. I am sure the troops are thrilled beyond belief that their commander in chief THINKS their time in Iraq will be well worth it.

What a way to support the troops, huh?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fox hires crazy people

Watch this still employed weatherman go insane on TV. ALOT.

Sunday Funnies - Joe Stanley is hilarious edition

In 2000, after working in some New York City campaigns, Stanley volunteered for Hillary Clinton's campaign for the U.S. Senate. He used his experience acting at the dinner theater and improvising on stage as a stand-up comedian to infiltrate private Republican fundraisers.

"I'd put on a sweater vest and bow tie and go to Republican events and tape them," Stanley said. "I'd have to improv my way in. I'd go to the ticket table and tell them I was there to pick up my tickets that someone left for me. The key is to pick someone on the radar but not very well-known. I'd pick an ambassador.

"They'd say, 'Well, we don't have the tickets.' I'd argue and make some fake calls on my cellphone, and finally say, 'Well, you'll have to call the ambassador, and he will not be happy.' These people are just volunteers and usually you can bluff your way in."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

E.R.I.C. Cantor spends a LOT of dough on coffee

E.R.I.C. Cantor
, who doesn't understand the United States Constitution and who is still demanding that the world focus on the now defunct Pelosi Plane-Gate scandal that WASN'T, certainly does enjoy abnormal and ridiculous donations from lobbyists and political action committees. No wonder he hates the Democratic majority so much; their quest for ethics reform is going to ruin his lavish coffee breaks with his lobbyist buddies. From the NY Times:
Representative Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican famous on K Street for his annual fund-raising weekends in Beverly Hills and South Beach, has recently invited lobbyists to join him for some expensive cups of coffee. A $2,500 contribution from a corporate political action committee entitles the company’s lobbyist to join Mr. Cantor at a Starbucks near his Capitol Hill office four times this spring.
You read that correctly, folks. $2,500 for STARBUCKS COFFEE. STARBUCKS COFFEE. Now I personally don't go to Starbucks; I don't see the point in paying more money for two cups of coffee than their employees make per hour. But that's just me. It CERTAINLY isn't Eric Cantor's opinion, as we can see.

Exactly what is he buying from Starbucks that could possibly merit $2,500? How much coffee are he and his lobbyist friends drinking? How many over sized cookies are they eating? Does he have 18 cappuccino makers from Starbucks sitting in his office? Are they in his home? With all that caffeine from the amount of coffee it would take to ring up a $2,500 bill, does he ever sleep?

Or does he just buy everyone on his holiday list a set of Cranium (a Starbucks board game)?

I think we can all safely say that E.R.I.C. Cantor is an embarrassment and an utter DISGRACE to the state of Virginia and to the entire country.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cantor Craziness is quickly circulating throughout the blogosphere...

Crooks and Liars has the video and a blurb...
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the former Chief Deputy Majority Whip (the highest appointed position in the House of Representatives), thinks Congress has no role to play in war and Bush only needed to check with his lawyers to take us into Iraq. I kid you not…
Matthews: …why did the president ask for approval of Congress before he went to Iraq?

Cantor: Well, you know, I certainly think that his counsel gave him guidance as to why he needed to do that, but at the end of the day the Constitution gives the commander and chief the right to send our troops into battle.
Matthews was flabbergasted. This, my friends, is—the Republic Party.
And a quick google news search on blogs shows a whole lotta people dumbfounded by the idiocy of the Deputy Chief Minority Whip.

I didn't see Kenton's piece last night, so go check it out as well.

Video and trancsript now available - Cantor/Iran/Stupidity

I will be sure to post the transcript and video as soon as they are available, but here is the rundown of what happened on Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight with "special" guest, Rep. Eric Cantor.

Update: Video
Update II: Transcript
Update III: Kos link
Cantor's "performance" last night is now getting more play on Daily Kos. Please rec and comment; we need to get this out in the MSM. Thanks.

Here's the "best" of Cantor, courtesy of the transcript now available from last evenings episode of Hardball:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this war is—war, this word is being used like it‘s a regular war with an army against another army with the other side, you try to get them to capitulate. When we got to Berlin, we knew we won the war because the allied forces reached that city and overtook the capital of Nazi Germany and won. Hitler was dead, the top guys were hanged. And that was it, we know we won, because the bad guys gave up, they lost. We know the same thing happened in Japan because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Who has to surrender in Iraq for this war to end? Congressman Cantor, be specific. Who is the person who has to sign a surrender document? Who is this person?

CANTOR: I think your point is a good one. We‘re in a new wage war against an enemy unlike that which we‘ve had before. The enemy—you‘re right. There‘s a lot of enemies out there. We‘re in a long-term war with an irreconcilable wing of Islam, number one. We‘re at war certainly with the Sunni insurgents. We‘re at war with some of the Shias. Muqtada al-Sadr. And certainly, ultimately, the drivers, the funders. Those providing help and resources in rogue regimes such as that in Tehran. That‘s who we‘re at war with.

MATTHEWS: How many wars are we going to have to fight in our lifetime? You want to go to war with Iran now?

CANTOR: I‘m not saying we should take anything off the table.

MATTHEWS: Do you think we should go to war with Iran?

CANTOR: I don‘t think that‘s responsible for to us take that option off the table right now.

MATTHEWS: I‘m asking you, do you think we should go to war? Yes or no?

CANTOR: I think all options including the military option should be left on the table.

MATTHEWS: This isn‘t an option question. This isn‘t multiple choice. Right now, February 8, 2007, do you believe we should go to war with Iran?

CANTOR: I‘ll leave that decision up to the commanders on the ground and those in our military ...

MATTHEWS: Commanders on the ground whether we go to war with another country?

CANTOR: I will leave the decisions in the military arena to—this is exactly the point.

MATTHEWS: This is Barry Goldwater taking. He used to say that. Regional commanders can decide whether we want it use nuclear weapons. You‘re obviously saying soldiers should decide which country to go to war with.

CANTOR: I‘m here to say the military experts are those which might come up with the recommendation to the commander in chief that makes the decision. It is silly for us to expect.

MATTHEWS: I‘m not talking - I just asked you a very simple question.

CANTOR: We‘re going 535 commanders in chief.

MATTHEWS: I‘ve never heard of anything like this in my life. Never in my life.

ISRAEL: Congress has a constitutional responsibility to decide whether we‘re going to war or not. That‘s what we‘re elected to do. Those are the debates we should have.

CANTOR: Every president since.

MATTHEWS: The idea of declaring war as a soldier is unimaginable.

We‘ll be right back to talk HARDBALL with the two congressmen.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re back with Republican Congressman Eric Cantor to of Virginia and Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York.

Let me ask you Congressman Cantor, very clearly, to clear up our discussion, if the U.S. Congress were to discuss tomorrow morning whether to declare war on Iran, would you vote yay?

CANTOR: This congress is not going to do that because it‘s the commander in chief‘s role, Chris, and Steve knows that as well. It‘s not Congress that will ask for that. It is the commander in chief that will make that decision. Every president whether republican or Republican or Democrat since the War Powers Act was in place has interpreted it as being the commander in chief‘s role to do that.

MATTHEWS: Would you support the president if he declared war in Iran tomorrow morning? As things are right now.

CANTOR: I will support what is in the best interest of securing this homeland and providing our troops with what they need and if there is a threat on the ground in Iraq and in the region that our troops need us, I will support them and that‘s exactly the point on this Iraqi resolution because the Democrats want to have their cake and eat it, too. This is a nonbinding resolution. It‘s a sense of Congress. It doesn‘t mean anything. In fact it pollutes the message and sends the wrong message to our troops.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Israel, what‘s the role of Congress in war and peace?

ISRAEL: Congress under the Constitution of the United States authorizes war. The War Powers Act requires Congress to vote on whether we should insert troops into hostile situations. The law is clear.

CANTOR: Absolutely not.

ISRAEL: Come on, Eric.

CANTOR: As a commander in chief the constitution gives.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Cantor, why did the president ask for approval of Congress before he went to Iraq?

CANTOR: I certainly think his counsel gave him guidance why he need to do that but the Constitution gives the commander in chief the right to send our troops into battle.

MATTHEWS: Maybe when it comes to war we don‘t need a Congress according to that. Thank you very much Congressman Cantor, thank you Congressman Israel.
I think we can all agree that E.R.I.C. "Every Republican Is Crucial" Cantor is a fool who doesn't understand the Constitution of the United States of America. He desreves to lose his seat, and if he continues along with this kind of "intelligence", he probably will.

End Updates

The following, as we all know, is the law:
"The Congress shall have Power. . .To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water. . ."

--United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8
Rep. Cantor doesn't seem to know that rule, as he declared that a. only the President can declare war, and that he thinks that no option, INCLUDING WAR WITH IRAN, should be left off the table, and b. the soldiers in the field and on the ground should be the only ones to help the President determine whether or not the U.S. Army could invade Iran...

So, he doesn't know the law, he doesn't understand government, and he has no grasp of his own job as minority whip. He also apparently thinks that our brave troops have time to sit down with President Doofus to discuss Iran, while they take a break from what they are doing in Iraq, I presume.

Another embarrassment by the Virginia Republicans...

Hahahahahaha-"Every Republican is Crucial"

I was under the impression that Eric Cantor wanted to aid in creating a more bipartisan Congress, since he uses the word as much as possible lately. I mean, I get it; Cantor is worried about his job, as well he should be, since he is Bush's latest super-ally and lapdog since former Senator George Allen.

But it appears I was wrong. Cantor has named his pac after himself, with a "nifty" little acronym:
About 215 returning lawmakers reported having leadership PACs in the 2006 election cycle. The 298 leadership PACs that were active in 2006 raised about $156 million and doled out roughly $53 million to other federal candidates, two thirds of which went to Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor's "Every Republican is Crucial" (or ERIC) PAC contributed the most to other lawmakers that cycle, giving about $1.2 million. In addition to being a mechanism for donating to other candidates, leadership PACs can fund their controlling member's travel-often to raise money-and boost the politician's profile beyond his or her district or state.
Ha, what a joke. It is certainly not as funny as this, but still pretty hilarious. He really loves himself, doesn't he? In my opinion, he probably should have saved some of that money. If things continue the way they are going, Cantor's approval ratings will be in the toilet, right next to Bush's approval ratings.

Read about Eric Cantor's best buddy, millionaire Republican ally Wayne Allyn Root here.

You're a complete idiot if you are buying into/pushing the Pelosi smear.

Seriously, sorry to be harsh, but you are just uninformed and pretty pathetic. You should probably learn how to do research, and maybe you should even listen to the WH press secretary, who declares the Pelosi smear is "silly".
"This is a silly story and I think it's been unfair to the speaker," White House spokesman Tony Snow said....(he) said the negotiations over Pelosi's transport have been conducted solely by the House sergeant-at-arms and the Pentagon, with no direct involvement by the speaker or her office — or the White House.
Go here, here, and here for an excellent breakdown of why all Pelosi smearers are flat out wrong and should cease and desist before they make even bigger asses of themselves than they already have (if that is in any way possible).

UPDATE: VAGINA-GATE continues with a twist!

UPDATE: Some people in Florida have shown some balls regarding the VAGINA controversy!!! Thanks to PM for the link.

"We got a complaint about this play The Vagina Monologues. I'm on the phone and asked 'What did you tell her?' She's like, 'I'm offended I had to answer the question,'" said Bryce Pfanenstiel, of the Atlantic Theater. "We decided we would just use child slang for it. That's how we decided on Hoohaa Monologues."

Two days later, The Hoohaa Monologues was restored to its original title -- The Vagina Monologues -- after the play's organizers demanded it be changed back.

The organizers are a group of Florida Coastal School of Law students who said the sign had to read the play's original title because they have rights to the well-known play only if they do not allow any censorship of its content.

"We are not allowed to censor anything because the whole play is about being a woman, about telling certain women's stories. Vagina is the essence of a woman, and if you're going to suppress the name, then you're suppressing us as women," said play organizer Elissa Saavedra.
I really hope the offended woman is ashamed of herself. I also hope someone from the Daily Show goes out and interviews her so we can get a good look at one of America's most brilliant citizens. And by brilliant, I mean bat shit crazy.

In case you didn't see it, Keith Olbermann had this scandal on his worst people in the world list last night. Pretty funny.

End Update

Before I became a political blogger and policy wonk, my interests were pretty much vested in theatre and music. I went to college for musical theatre, and I have performed in numerous shows and theatre companies throughout the country. After residing in Northern NJ and NYC for about a year after college graduation, I decided to make the move to Virginia and basically put my theatre career on the back burner to focus on "real life" for a while. I have since decided to make theatre a fun hobby to participate in when and if I have the time; a decision I am totally comfortable and happy with. I guess I no longer have stars in my eyes and dreams of my name in lights on Broadway, but that tends to happen when one realizes that a life spent waitressing, temping, and auditioning each and every day may very well take you nowhere. So, why end up hating the craft because you can't make a living doing it? I definitely took the road MOST traveled, and again; I am happy with my decision.

The first show I did in Richmond was a production of the Vagina Monologues at the Firehouse Theatre on Broad Street. The work was unpaid, but that was fine with me, considering the proceeds went to help fund the VDay Project, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. If you have not yet seen the Vagina Monologues, I highly suggest attending a performance. The show is entertaining and educational, and all performance proceeds go to charity. The production I was in helped provide additional funds to the Richmond Women's Shelter. In fact, the Firehouse Theatre presents the show every year, so if you get a chance and are in Richmond next February, check it out!

However, if you happen to be in Florida, you will have to see the show with a new title. Apparently, some Floridians were so insulted by the medical term used to describe a woman's most popular private part, they decided to change the name used in the title of the play. A woman was "offended" when she drove by the theatre and had to explain to her niece (yes, a FEMALE) what a vagina was.

I'm not kidding you. A WOMAN was OFFENDED that she had to explain to a YOUNGER WOMAN what was in her own underwear.

THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So the theatre, to "avoid controversy", has come up with a new title, which is in no way offensive at all.

::snark and sarcasm galore coming up::

The theatre has renamed the title of the show "The Hoohaa Monologues".

The HOOHAAA Monologues.

My own body part has become a comical little joke in the state of Florida because a woman didn't want to explain to another woman what her private parts are called. You know, you really can't make this shit up, folks. This is one of those times I sincerely wish that this was a joke, but sadly, it isn't.
No vaginas please, we're Floridian
Thursday, February 8, 2007

What a load of hoohaa. A theatre in Florida has had to change the title of a charity production of The Vagina Monologues on its marquee, after a woman complained that it was offensive.

The new name? They've decided on 'The Hoohaa Monologues'.

Atlantic Theatres in Atlantic Beach, Florida, received a complaint from a woman who'd seen the advertised title as she drove past with her niece. She said that it had made her niece ask her what a vagina was.

The theatre's Bryce Pfanenstiel commented: 'I'm on the phone and asked “What did you tell her?” She's like, “I'm offended I had to answer the question.”'

So the theatre, anxious to avoid controversy, decided that the childish slang word 'hoohaa' was the most appropriate thing to replace 'vagina'.

Some have welcomed the change to 'The Hoohaa Monologues', while others have expressed some confusion. 'It sounds like a country band,' one passer by commented to local TV station WJXT.

The production was being staged by a group of law students, with all proceeds going to charity. The director of the play has asked that the title be changed back.

The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler's award-winning international hit play, is an attempt to celebrate the vagina as an object of empowerment, rather than of shame. There's some way to go with that one, clearly.
So there we have it, everyone. Women, please stop referring to your vagina as a vagina, because someone might hear you and take offense at having to admit to herself that she has....GULP...

Monday, February 05, 2007

In honor of the RPV's BRILLIANT decision re: abortion...

I am reposting something from a few weeks ago.

The following is a great piece for which I cannot take credit. I cried when I read this, and I immediately called my mom for a heart to heart. I thanked her for raising me to be a strong woman; I thanked her for teaching me to think AND speak for myself instead of "my man" or for "society norms" and I thanked her for showing me the right CORRECT way (isn't it a damn shame that the word "right" now has to have a bad connotation? UGH...) or as I like to call it, the Real American Woman way. I hope you read it in its entirety, and I hope you take note of all of the links which point people towards FACTS; much different than the ANTI-CHOICE AND FREEDOM blogs, which are all emotion, no smarts. From Feministe, I bring you the words of Jill:
I am pro-choice because I believe women’s lives matter.

I am pro-choice because I think women themselves are the best people to decide when and if they get pregnant, give birth, and raise children.

I am pro-choice because I believe that the right to control your own reproduction is a fundamental right, and is protected both under our Constitution and basic human rights ideals — and I believe that fundamental right includes the right to prevent pregnancy, the right to get pregnant, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, and the right to terminate a pregnancy.

I am pro-choice because I believe that if we outlaw a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, there is no legal argument against forcing a woman to terminate a pregnancy, or disallowing certain people from reproducing.

I am pro-choice because I do not believe that anyone should be subject to totalitarian laws which impose unwanted occupations on certain classes of people.

I am pro-choice because I don’t believe that women should be legally compelled to maintain another life at the expense of her own wishes, her body, her health, or even her life.

I am pro-choice because I don’t believe that women’s bodies should be used against our will.

I am pro-choice because I believe that compulsory pregnancy and childbirth is immoral, cruel, and flies in the face of basic notions of freedom, liberty, and human rights.

I am pro-choice because I believe that forcing women to carry pregnancies against their will is involuntary servitude.

I am pro-choice because I believe that children should be wanted, their entrances into the world joyous occasions — that they should never be considered punishment.

I am pro-choice because I want women to be physically and emotionally healthy.

I am pro-choice because I don’t believe that pregnancy should be a punishment (or, as anti-choicers say, a “consequence”) of sex.

I am pro-choice because I realize that my rights to birth control, to have children, to make my own decisions, to be a fully autonomous human being all hinge on my very basic ability to decide when and if I reproduce.

I am pro-choice because I trust women.

I am pro-choice because reproductive rights are far more than abortion, and because I want to see us live in a true culture of life — one where men, women and children are truly valued, and where pregnancy doesn’t turn a woman into a second-class citizen.

I am pro-choice because those who attack abortion rights don’t plan on stopping there — they’re also going after contraception, science and even sex itself. And they’ve got a whole lot of political capital.
I am pro-choice because I see what places look like when “pro-life” policies are the rule of law. I see it again and again and again.

I am pro-choice because I see what places look like when abortion is safe, legal and available, contraception is accessible, and sex is considered natural, normal, and something we should take responsibility for, not be ashamed of.

I am pro-choice because “pro-life” policies kill and maim women. I am pro-choice because abortion rates are no higher in countries where abortion is legal than in countries where it is outlawed — but countries where abortion is legal see lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, greater economic prosperity, and greater gender equality.

I am pro-choice because women who live in the developing world account for 95 percent of the world’s illegal abortions, and I believe that access to safe health care should not be contingent on where you happened to be born. I am pro-choice because the countries with the lowest abortion rates — Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland — have liberal abortion laws, good health care, comprehensive sex education, and accessible and affordable contraception.

I am pro-choice because many countries where abortion is illegal or highly restricted have significantly higher abortion rates than we have in the United States, and astronomically higher rates than we see in Western Europe. Some of those countries include Brazil, Chile, Bangladesh, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and the Philippines.

I am pro-choice because of the number of women hospitalized after unsafe illegal abortions in these countries:
Bangladesh: 71,800
Brazil: 288,700
Chile: 31,900
Colombia: 57,700
Dominican Republic: 16,500
Egypt: 216,000
Mexico: 106,500
Nigeria: 142,200
Peru: 54,200
The Philippines: 80,100

I am pro-choice because 80,000 women die every year from complications from illegal abortion, and hundreds of thousands more are injured.

I am pro-choice because the risk of dying from abortion is far higher in countries where abortion is illegal than where it’s legal.

I am pro-choice because illegal abortion is the cause of 25% of all maternal deaths in Latin America, 12% in Asia, and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa.

I am pro-choice because I will not go back.

I am pro-choice because if Roe is overturned, abortion will be illegal in many states. Even with Roe in place, states like Georgia are considering legislation which would impose life in prison or the death penalty as punishment for women who have abortions and doctors who perform the procedures.

I am pro-choice because I don’t believe we should criminalize women and doctors for exercising reproductive freedom.

I am pro-choice because seeing the impact of abortion rights on a country’s prosperity, gender equality and overall well-being is apparent simply by looking at a map.

I am pro-choice because it’s the pro-choice movement that has advocated for policies which actually decrease the need for abortion, and which make it easier for women to have children: comprehensive sexual health education, affordable and accessible contraception (including emergency contraception), pre-natal and well-baby care, social support for pregnant women and women with children, affordable child care, fair pay for working women, supporting pregnant girls, and gender equality. Comparatively, the “pro-life” movement* has no interest in actually lowering the abortion rate; their ultimate goal is sexual control of women, evidenced by their opposition to contraception and their belief that there is only one singular way to live: abstain from sex until heterosexual marriage, and then have as many children as God gives you.

I am pro-choice because I see the positive impact that the pro-choice movement has had in the United States. Women go to college at the same rates as men. We can define ourselves as something other than mothers, or as mothers and something else. Poverty has been cut in half since Roe gave women the right to control their own reproduction. Men can be nurturing too, and are expected to take part in raising their children. Families can be planned. Men have greater choices in their occupations since they aren’t required to be the sole bread-winner. More people have access to education. Women have more power to escape abusive relationships or bad jobs. Parents of both sexes spend more time with their kids than ever before.

I am pro-choice because I care about children — and according to the Children’s Defense Fund, 100% of the worst legislators for children in this country are pro-life.

I am pro-choice because I believe that my body is mine. I want women, girls, men, and children to be healthy, valued, and cared for. I want families to be healthy.
I want to live in a country that values the lives and well-being of all of its citizens

I am pro-choice because it is life-affirming. I am pro-choice because it is fundamentally just. I am pro-choice because to be anything else is to devalue and harm women, children, families, and my country.

I am pro-choice because my life is worth something.

Happy Roe day.

*By which I mean the fanatical leaders of anti-choice organizations, not the individual people who identify as “pro-life” to mean that they dislike abortion and want to see the abortion rate decreased, but also support common-sense policies like sex education and contraception.

Fan-fucking-tastic. Awesome job, Jill, and I must say; I am quite proud to be a woman tonight. :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Urgent: Oppose Bill 951 if you love your pets!

I am an animal lover; always have been, always will be. If you are also an animal lover, you already know how important it is to sterilize rescued animals before they are released for adoption. Without mandatory spaying and neutering of our four-legged furry friends (that come into and hopefully leave shelters), we will only contribute to the ever growing population of homeless pets. We will contribute to the euthanization of animals that have done no wrong, but live(d) with people who couldn't be bothered to properly care for an animal. We will, in effect, cause the wonderful work done by animal advocates to backslide and regress, and the animals do not deserve it. So, please; I urge you to contact your representatives and oppose bill 951.
Virginia Senate Bill 951, which carries a proposed amendment that would permit pet adoptions outside of jurisdiction or adjacent jurisdiction without the requirement to sterilize before releasing to the adopter, has been referred back to the Senate Agriculture Committee and is scheduled to be heard on Monday, February 5 at 9 a.m. in Senate Room B.

I urge you to contact committee members and let them know that you oppose this bill as it would present a setback in progress made to reduce our state's homeless pet population through spaying and neutering.

The Senator for District 10 (Counties of Amelia, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Goochland, Henrico, and Powhatan, and Richmond City) who is on the Agriculture Committee is:

Senator John Watkins
(804) 698-7510

Please contact him immediately to let him know that you oppose Bill 951. Other commitee members that you may also contact are listed below. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of homeless pets.

Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer

Senator Harry B. Blevins
(804) 698-7514

Senator John H. Chichester
(804) 698-7528

Senator Ken Cuccinelli II
(804) 698-7537

Senator R. Creigh Deeds
(804) 698-7525

Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr.
(804) 698-7524

Senator Charles R. Hawkins
(804) 698-7519

Senator Mamie E. Locke
(804) 698-7502

Senator Ryan T. McDougle (Caroline, Essex, Hanover, King and Queen, King William, Middlesex, Spotsylvania)
(804) 698-7504

Senator Mark D. Obenshain
(804) 698-7526

Senator Phillip P. Puckett
(804) 698-7538

Senator Wm. Roscoe Reynolds
(804) 698-7524

Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr.
(804) 698-7515

Senator Patricia S. Ticer
(804) 698-7530

Senator Mary Margaret Whipple
(804) 698-7531

Click here to find out which Senator represents your county or city
Thanks to all who choose to oppose this bill. It doesn't matter which side of the aisle you sit on; cats and dogs don't care about politics, but they deserve help from those of us who can help protect them. Thanks.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Best commercial I have seen in a long time

Absolutely OUTSTANDING work. Drives the point home, doesn't it?

Another one bites the dust...

Well, no; just moving on to bigger and better things. Richmond's only admittedly bald blogger (hahahahaha, sorry; couldn't help myself!), JC Wilmore of the Richmond Democrat, is leaving Richmond for a rockin' new job and a nicer climate. You'll be missed my friend! Make sure you come back next summer for the beer festival so we can take more pictures like this.

Note: Not all of you may know this, but JC is the person who set up West of Shockoe and convinced me to blog. So, make sure you thank him for it (or tell him what a bad idea that was) before he leaves.

George Allen finally has something to do

Former Senator George Allen has been pretty quiet since losing the 2006 Senate election in Virginia, but it looks like he finally has something to wake up for.
Chamber to honor local teachers

Several high school teachers from western Fairfax County will be honored at the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce gala this Saturday with the Educators of the Year awards.

Recipients include Kurt Waters of Centreville High School, Betty Weese from Chantilly Academy, Maureen Truncale from Chantilly High School, Barbara Wiley from Westfield High School and Anne Hoffman from Mountain View Alternative High School.

Three former Virginia governors, James Gilmore, George Allen and L. Douglas Wilder will speak at the event to be held at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport.
Well, thats good. Honoring teachers is definitely something that should be done on a regular basis, and its nice to see that 3 of Virginia's former governors are making time to do so. However, I have to ask; 1 self described independent, and 2 failed Republicans? Where are the Democratic presenters?

What, was Mark Warner busy? And isn't Jim running for President? I find it hard to believe Gilmore will be locking up the teacher vote...