Monday, January 31, 2005

Embryos United for Taxpayer Relief

Billboard sighted on Saturday as GHIW and I headed to a local ski area:
Stop Abortion
(picture of embryo)
40 million
NOT paying into
Social Security

Friday, January 28, 2005

Milwaukee Postcard

I snapped this picture of our house yesterday morning on my way to work. Hooray! We have lovely winter weather. GHIW is skiing his racer-guy heart out, while I snuggle with my knitting, piles of books and magazines, and some writing. We have a reprieve on the kitchen construction project (delayed until late February) so we can concentrate on our most favorite winter pasttimes, and that surely beats packing and moving half of the house.

A special "hello" to all our Norwegian friends. We miss you and long for a reunion.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Retirement Planning

I am going to die at 83. When are you? Click here to find out! Yes, folks, here's the ultimate retirement planning tool. I scored 83. Not bad, but . . . a week ago my score on a similar test was 89. I lost six years in one week! The good news? According to the latest government statistics, Social Security will remain fully solvent throughout my expected lifetime. The bad news? I'll still have to work for another twenty years in order to finance the last thirteen years of my life and lifestyle which, no surprise, carries a fairly high requirement for travel and yarn funds. Then, there's that dream of having a llama farm with a few sheep and goats thrown in for good company. Did I say another twenty years?

The Senate's Vice for Rice

No surprise, Condy Rice was confirmed by the Senate this afternoon as Secretary of State, just as news arrived that 31 marines had died in a helicopter crash in Iraq. Yessirree folks, the USA is bringing freedom and liberty to the WORLD, one dead body at a time. A big "blog de la resistance" award to the thirteen senators who voted against the confirmation. I especially liked this quote: "We cannot get the truth from this administration. ... It's wrong, it's immoral, it's un-American, and it has to stop. It stops by not promoting top administration officials who engaged in the practice, who have been instrumental in deceiving Congress and the American people, and regrettably that includes Dr. Rice." — Sen. Mark Dayton D-Minn Unfortunately, our Wisconsin bench of "Team Senators" did not carry through on our Blue State values, voting to confirm the Rice nomination. Shame on you, Senators Kohl and Feingold. You'll be receiving "thinkBLUE" wristbands from me as a reminder of your missing spines.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Tap Your Toes for Freedom

This is dedicated to the celebrant in Washington I heard interviewed on the radio last night; the one who was bubbling over with joy to have a Christian president in the White House protecting and standing up for "family values and the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves, the pre-born."

I hope he enjoyed his night of dancing in Gomorrah because I can't help but believe that he, like the rest of us, will soon pay the price for our government's skewed sense of morality in ways that will surely wipe away the smug smiles of those defending the rights of zygotes.

Here is an excerpt from an op-ed piece in today's New York Times, written by Bob Herbert:

As the well-heeled Bush crowd was laughing and dancing in tuxedos and designer gowns, the situation in Iraq was deteriorating to new levels of horror. The Black Tie and Boots Ball was held on the same day that 26 people were killed in five powerful car and truck bombs in Baghdad. With the elections just a week and a half away, American commanders, according to John F. Burns of The Times, are seeking "to prepare public opinion in Iraq and abroad for one of the bloodiest chapters in the war so far."

A photo at the end of Mr. Burns's article showed an Iraqi National Guard member carrying the remains of a suicide bomber in a garbage bag.

The disconnect between the over-the-top celebrations in Washington and the hideous reality of Iraq does not in any way surprise me. It's exactly what we should expect from the president and his supporters, who seem always to exist in a fantasy realm far removed from such ugly realities as war and suffering. In that realm you can start wars without having to deal with the consequences of them. You don't even have to pay for them. You can put them on a credit card.

People traveling in the real world may see Iraq as a place where bombings, kidnappings and assassinations are an integral part of daily life; where police officers are blown to pieces as they line up for their pay; where innocent men, women and children are slain by the thousands for no good reason; where cities like Falluja are leveled in order to save them; where America's overwhelming superiority in firepower has not been enough to win the war; and where the upcoming elections seem very much like a joke since many of the candidates have to keep their identities secret and the locations of many polling places remain undisclosed.

People traveling in the real world may see Iraq that way. But in the fantasy-laden Bush realm, Iraq is a place where freedom is on the march.

So why not raise a toast to freedom, and dance the night away.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Color of Resistance

Code Pink - ThinkBLUE2008- Not One Damn Dime, no matter what hue or shade you choose, turn your back on Bush today. We're strong. We can take it. Resist.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Oh Condy, Condy

(Reuters News Service Photo) "Mistakes? Hmmmm . . . I'm thinking . . . thinking, no. Can't think of any mistakes, no." American military deaths in Iraq: 1,369 American military wounded in Iraq: 10,252 Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths since US invasion: 15,365 to 17,582

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cheep-cheep, said the birdie

For any readers who took issue with my comments about the sanctimonious largesse of the Bush administration's response to the tsunami disaster, I would ask you to read this short comparison of how the US stacks up against other countries in aid money pledged. I was particularly amused by one anonymous (funny how they always seem to be "anonymous") dissenter's open question about how many of my readers have donated to the relief effort - inferring, naturally, that my readers have not done their fair share - since it was just this type of pissing match that embarrassed the Bush administration into increasing their original pledge from $35 million to $350 million. Private contributions are vital to the relief effort, and let's remember that citizens in countries that are outspending us in per-capita contributions are also making significant private contributions to supplement government aid money. I stand by my opinion that the US CAN do more, we SHOULD do more and it continues to be an embarrassment that we have not taken the lead in relief efforts in this region of the world. If you disagree, I guess you'll be able to sit back and enjoy the $40 million-plus spectacle show that we will be putting on for the world come Inauguration Day. I will have no stomach for it.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Meet the Sockers

Meet our Milwaukee group of "sock it to me" knit-a-long participants; Judy, Shannon & Kris. I hope everyone is snuggly warm today and cruising along happily on their sock projects. Brrrr . . . it's nasty cold outside today! How's everyone doing?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Oh, baby

I was about to post a rant that has been simmering here at threadingwater - one about Armstrong Williams and Bush administration payola for promoting the No Child Left Behind policy initiative - when I happened upon this recent picture of baby Lidia, and was totally undone. This is her official "wearing the Norwegian handknit sweater" portrait while being held by the handknitter and her GHIW. OK, give me some credit for the cropping. I know what you really want to see and it isn't the gooney, smiley faces of grownups. Happy weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

This is Rich

In the midst of a war in Iraq and the tsunami devastation in Asia, big business and the Republican Party are continuing with lavish plans for W's second inauguration. The theme, "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service" would be bad enough as a disingenuous and tasteless tag line for heartless spectacle. Then again, W's entourage of corporate donors may indeed be "celebrating freedom," - freedom from any sort of checks on their behavior or their quest to rack up larger and larger profits at the expense of workers, the economy and the environment. Current estimates indicate that the inaugural activities will cost in excess of $40 million - that's ELEVEN percent of what the US has pledged in tsunami aid dollars - for a PARTY. Yesterday, W implored the American people not to "shortchange" the poor at home and abroad by shifting their charitable contributions exclusively to tsunami aid organizations. It's a message that should have been directed to his own corporate toadies and party planners.

Monday, January 10, 2005

It's a Vest, It's a Wrap, It's a Wreck

With GHIW off on a western ski trip, yours truly settled-in for a long weekend of knitting, reading, movie-watching and high intensity organizing. The photo above shows the Sectional Vest comfortably blocking upstairs, far from the furious downstairs sweep of holiday pine, presents and pernicious glitz and glitter. The Christmas tree is curbside, the wreaths are serving up juniper berry treats for the birds, while ornaments and lights are nestled into their attic sleep chamber for the next eleven months. Whew! And did I mention the eight loads of laundry? With the vest near completion, I dove into my stash supply to plan two new knitting projects - a silk/cotton sweater for me and a baby sweater for the daughter of a friend. During the mindless process of swatching these two projects, my television wand landed on the "People's Choice Awards" show. Question 1: Am I the only person in the world who missed the episode where the Fab 5 make over Michael Moore? Question 2: Was someone holding a gun to Sheryl Crowe forcing her to attend? Question 3: Who are the "people" making these award choices? They scare me. Mel Gibson scares me. Question 4: Jason Alexander: Tasteless or Crude? Crude or Tasteless? Question 5: Why couldn't I bring myself to turn off this train wreck?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Random Notes & Tinsel Down

Well, it's over folks. Christmas, New Year's, the holiday ski vacation, the visit from my son and daughter-in-law . . . it all seems like it was months ago. The Christmas cookies are still around, though. In fact, I'm carrying them wherever I go, if you get my drift. This weekend, I'll be taking down the tree and packing away the holiday paraphernalia for next year, clearing off my desk at home and making a clean sweep of 2004 detritus. Here then, is my last chance to express some random rants and observations that were sidelined by the holiday season.
  • After writing large parts of the new Medicare law, (a law that forbids price controls and regulation of prescription drug prices) Rep. Billy Tauzin announced that he will become president of the pharmaceutical industry's trade organization. Drug makers insisted the job was not a reward for Mr. Tauzin's work on the Medicare bill. Bite Me! scum-bags.
  • He's not gone yet, people . . . Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced in early December that the government will dip into a $220 million grant program intended to help provide routine vaccinations to children who are not poor enough to be eligible under state Medicaid programs, in order to finance experimental flu vaccines for adults. Yessirree, this guy is real CEO material for some lucky "really big company" that he's expressed an interest in running. Watch this guy when he enters the private sector. You are going to want to dump your stock if he comes anywhere near one of your investments.
  • And how about that Colin Powell? Am I the only one who found his statements that U.S. tsunami relief money will prove to muslims that the US is a friend of Islam more than a little offensive? The entire history of our government's response to this disaster is shameful; "W" waiting three days before making a public statement, being (rightfully) accused of stinginess by the U.N., and then the additional aid coming with a political agenda attached to it. Is there no one with a heart at this level of our national leadership? OK, someone hit me for asking such a stupid question.
  • If you're still reading, send me a sign, a comment, anything! I'm feeling lonely out here in cyberspace.