Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Blogger vs. Wordpress
As it is my 3 year bloggiversary today, I am taking this opportunity to let you know that I am thinking of a little change. I am seriously considering moving to WordPress. I love WordPress and have been using it for another project I'm working on but I've not moved a blog from one to the other.

Any comments? Suggestions? Horror stories? I'd love to hear them.

By the way, xo y'all for sticking with me!


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Monday, June 23, 2008
Consistency watch 2008
In my hypothetical list of turn-ons and turn-offs, such as they are, hypocrisy is a major turn-off. Also, proof = MAJOR turn-on.

I like to know things. I like to fact check. I like research. (Duh.)

I like when rules are consistent (family dynamics for the win!) even when they are rules I don't agree with.

For instance, the right claims that gay marriage is wrong because:
  • marriage is for procreation
  • same-sex couples can't reproduce on their own
  • Therefore marriage is not for people who cannot reproduce
Fine. I'll agree to disagree on that one.

Though I disagree, I require that the logical extension of the argument include anyone who is infertile, post-menopausal, vasectomized, or just doesn't want children.

One who believes that marriage is the sole purpose for marriage should ostensibly be arguing for a signature on documents that Party A and Party B promise to reproduce at some future point. However no one on the right seemed to be calling for these measures which kind of pissed me off because at least if you're going to have an idiotic argument, don' t leave it so full of holes!

While it may seem like reductio ad absurdum, I point you to the Catholic church which seems to have at least one of it's proverbial ducks in its own special row.

ROME - An Italian bishop has told a young paraplegic he cannot have a church wedding because he is impotent, despite his fiancée being aware of the problem. Salvatore de Ciuco, spokesman for Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo in central Italy, explained that: "No bishop, no priest can celebrate a wedding when he knows of admitted impotence as it is a motive for annulment" of the marriage. The 26-year-old groom, who took part in a civil marriage ceremony Saturday in Viterbo, has been paraplegic since he was involved in a car accident. The curate of the parish who was banned from marrying the couple was present at the ceremony. Their pastor, having been refused permission to witness the union in a Catholic ceremony, attended the civil event.

Canon 1084.1 of the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that "antecedent and perpetual impotence to have sexual intercourse, whether on the part of the man or on that of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very nature invalidates marriage."

Now that is some awesome consistency. I'd like to see the evangelicals match this one.


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Thursday, June 19, 2008
Rape as a weapon of war
Major General Patrick Cammart, Former Division Commander of MONUC:
"It had, therefore, probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in an armed conflict."

Rape is being used as a weapon of war. It is not new and it is always disgusting. And it has exploded. The UN Security Council today demanded an end to persistent sexual violence during armed conflict, calling it a war crime and a component of genocide.

Approved by all 15 members, Council Resolution 1820 "demands the immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians with immediate effect."

It also urged that "all parties to armed conflict immediately take appropriate measures to protect civilians, including women and girls, from all forms of sexual violence."

Rape is used to instill terror in the civilian population, humiliate and degrade them, destroy group bonds and further agendas of cultural and ethnic destruction. Children of rape survivors often are abandoned and shunned by their families.

This isn't just occurring in one or two places. It is happening in:

I wish I could name every country in which a woman was subjected to rape as a weapon of war. I wish I could type each of their names so they wouldn't be forgotten.

No one is doing enough though. Except Stephen Lewis (who is my hero). According to the New York Times, every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at Panzi hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair.

This is a direct quote from CNN.com

With U.N. officials calling for more female officers to better educate women against rape and women saying they won't feel safe until the under-equipped and undermanned United Nations force is strong enough to protect them, the situation shows little sign of improving.

I want to know, how, exactly, women are supposed to be educated against rape. I tend to respect Nic Robertson's reporting but this may have been the stupidest statement I have ever heard. This is Robertson repeating a press release, not reporting!

I haven't read the U.N. resolution (I can't find it on the internet and if someone can - please email me I'm reading it now I haven't found anything yet...), but if they actually say something about educating women against rape when armed gunmen hunt them down while collecting firewood or escaping their burning homes I have little hope.

Honorata Barinjibanwa, 18, said she was kidnapped from a village during a raid in April and kept as a sex slave until August. Most of that time she was tied to a tree, and she still has rope marks ringing her neck. Her kidnappers would untie her for a few hours each day to gang-rape her. Here is one face. One face of thousands.

She was being treated at Panzi Hospital, which has 350 beds, and though a new ward is being built specifically for rape survivors, the hospital sends women back to their villages before they have fully recovered because it needs space for the never-ending stream of new arrivals.

Eve Ensler, founder of the V Day Project and author of the Vagina Monologues is building a center for survivors who have been left without family, community or the capacity to have children in collaboration with UNICEF and Panzi Hospital. City of Joy will give them a safe place to live while providing an education, leadership training and a chance to earn income. To donate or learn more, go to V-Day.

I close with another quote from Major General Patrick Cammart. Putting the responsibility in the hands of the UN, he testified that:

"You [the United Nations] have the responsibility to protect them
and to take real and effective measures to put an end to this."

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Attack of the meme!
It is possibly the best meme evah.

All your internet traditions are belong to us.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Made of stupid.

Does this mean that they think that wizardry was part of the reason?
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Tying the knot in California
I am so happy for all of the couples that are finally allowed to get hitched in California. I also look forward to the hordes of New Yorkers that are not-so-slowly making their way to our state to legalize their unions.

Last year I celebrated one of the most beautiful weddings in Banff. My dear friends, Mick and Jim were married at Banff Springs.

Here's one of too many fabulous wedding shots! It may look photoshopped, but it's not.
It was the most gorgeous ceremony and I was honored to be invited. Most of the time I'm a terribly jaded hag but call me crazy, I love a good wedding where two people who really love each other share it with a room of 200 people.

In addition to the sharing of the love, blah, blah, I am a party planning enthusiast and Mick and Jim's wedding was not to be outdone. In fact, their wedding planner won awards for their wedding!!!

What's even more exciting is that I am able to perform marriage ceremonies!!! So let the bells ring, brides and grooms-to-be!

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Monday, June 16, 2008
It is better to look good than to feel good (or not have syphilis)
According to CDC data, Alabama’s Jefferson county’s 2006 syphilis rate was the highest in the nation.

Despite that rather sobering statistic, Birmingham’s mayor, Larry Langford, along with a number of other elected officials, wanted the county Board of Health to suspend their anti-syphilis campaign and find a new way of reaching people at risk, stating that the messages were “too prominent.”

he ads on buses, they feared, would give visitors to Birmingham a “bad impression”.

"It's hard enough to compete for business without having people to walk in and have that shock value added to it," Langford said. "We have a lot of issues, but you don't destroy your city. You find other ways to address those problems."

Meanwhile, Alabama ranks in the top five nationally for the highest rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The Centers for Disease Control's 2006 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report ranked Alabama with the second highest in the rate of syphilis, fourth in gonorrhea and fifth in chlamydia. Despite being removed from the buses, the ads will still appear on billboards and will still run on radio.

Dr. Elizabeth Turnipseed, director of disease control for the Jefferson County Department of Health noted that the effort has been highly effective. In the first three months of 2008, 900 more people came in for free syphilis screening than in the last three months of 2007, Turnipseed said. Billboards and radio spots warning of a syphilis outbreak started in October, and bus banners went on 10 buses in November.

While all elected officials were notified of the media blitz before it occurred, no one had any objections at the time.


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Friday, June 06, 2008
In Hebrew "dai" (pronounced die) means enough.

Judaism is a beautiful tradition. I am an atheist, but I still identify as a Jew because I love the tradition in which I was born.

At its heart, Judaism encourages and even demands questioning. It talks of integrity, respect, caring for others. It is a tradition of wonderful and horrible stories, all of which can be used to learn how to better care for ourselves, our families and the people of the world or to hate, divide and to indulge our personal agendas.

Once again, the tradition that I love is being twisted by a few into justification for violence against women. This week, a 14 year old girl was attacked by members of the ad hoc modesty patrol in Beitar Illit because she was wearing pants and a t-shirt. After confirming her identity, the young man poured a bottle of acid on her. According to YNET, the family has been threatened previously and the focus of these threats has been the 18 year old sister of the victim.


The Jewish legal tradition is embodied in a corpus of law and mechanisms for making legal decisions known as Halacha.

While Judaism is not a pacifist tradition, allowing self-defense, it does not permit the harassment of others. It does not permit a gang of vigilantes to judge, determine sentencing and punish those who are not following Halacha. Some would argue that this is, in fact, self-defense, some would argue that they are preventing a sin from being committed. I would argue that is justification for behavior that advances a personal and selfish agenda.

Chazal (Sanhedrin 72a): "If someone comes to kill you, act first and kill him." This rule applies not only to self-defense but also to defending the lives of others. Moreover, it also applies to someone who engages in sexual assault (Sanhedrin 73a). Thus, one must kill (if no other alternative is available) someone who is attempting to murder or rape. But a 14 year old girl in a Charedi neighborhood was doing none of those things but dressing contrary to the norm in her community. Wearing a t-shirt and slacks is not a punishable offense. Under any halacha.

Standards of modesty (tznua) are becoming increasingly stringent not only in Israel, but in Charedi communities worldwide.

Women must include a seam in their stockings so it is clear they are not bare-legged. Schoolgirls cannot wear shiny shoes that could reflect their underwear. Clothing in pink, red, orange or otherwise bright colors are not only not to be worn, they are not to be sold in stores within Charedi communities else the store may be burned to the ground. Recently a sheitel (wig) store in New York was boycotted because the windows exhibited advertisements for wigs that included pictures of women. Separate shopping hours for men and women, separate buses for men and women are becoming more common in certain Israeli cities.

Devoid of contact with members of the opposite sex from an early age (other than immediate family), are Charedi men becoming hypersensitive sex maniacs? Does Judaism really believe that men are nothing but walking libidos? Isn't this all Bittul Torah (wasting time that could be spent on Torah study)?

This is not the Judaism I know. This is not the tradition I love. Judaism is full of laws and traditions that I may not agree with, but laws, for believers, with which I sympathize. This trend is a distortion of these rules into unrecognizable restrictions on women, judgment by mob rule.

For a believer, G-d alone can judge. I cannot imagine how, other than the greed and arrogance of knowing that you are right and all others are wrong, can justify this behavior.


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Thursday, June 05, 2008
Merchandising the rapture!
Whether she is lounging around the house, going to practice, or doing her chores. These soft athletic style crop pants will keep her comfy. Perfect for wearing with her favorite sweatshirt or tee. These athletic pants boldly proclaim just where she stands by pointing out that "True Love Waits" in a large screen print on the front and back of these pants.
  • Drawstring waist
  • Bold abstinence screen print
  • Elastic cuffs. Cotton/Polyester blend
  • Machine washable
  • Imported
It's all about the "Bold abstinence screen print". All about it. Because frankly, it's not about the grammar. Comma, maybe?

Despite the fact that abstinence education has been shown to be fairly useless, KMart does believe they're going to make some cha-ching off of keeping our daughters pure. Unfortunately, they might be right. There is a catalog of products directed toward primarily young, unmarried women reminding them to keep others out of their chaste pants (paste chance?) including this appropriately designed t-shirt. Just in case you were curious, it only applies to those driving on the heterosexual interstate...

I've written about the abstinence marketing in the past here, here, here and here. Oh, and this is a good one too.

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