Thursday, April 28, 2005

My Mistake

The recent reader reaction that resulted in yesterday's blog entry was not, as I reported, entered as a response to my Earth Day posting. It was a response to my musings about the ironic nature of those "Support Our Troops" magnetic ribbons being affixed to our gas guzzling automobiles. Re-examining the argument in this new light is making my head hurt. I mean, this reader would appear to accept as truth that our reason for invading Iraq was to secure (read, gain access to) the country's vast oil resources. Soooo . . . let's just set aside all pretense of invading because Saddam Hussein was connected to the 9-11 attacks, or that he was harboring WMD's, i.e., the collected lies of the Bush administration, and agree to agree that our reason for being in Iraq is oil. Does anyone believe that the American people would have found this an acceptable reason for going to war? For taking pre-emptive military action? The American people are being kept in a suspended state of unreality in order to make the mounting loss of life in Iraq palatable. Meanwhile, we get to keep consuming natural resources like there's no tomorrow. I have an idea. How about this for a car magnet? "(fill in name of dead soldier) died so I could drive this (car, pickup truck, Hummer, SUV)" The current US military death toll stands at 1,573.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Glass House or Green House?

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In response to my Earth Day entry, a reader questioned my authority to lament the sorry state of our planet’s health. “Do you drive?” she asks. “Do you live in the city or in a nice house in the suburbs? ye who is without sin cast the first stone.” I don’t have the right to criticize because I’m part of the problem? Is that it? Better yet, is that all you’ve got? Yes, I’m part of the problem. We all are. (I take it you breathe?) And yes, I have a right to be critical of individuals who make grotesquely wasteful decisions about the use of natural resources and the long-term effect on our planet. I especially claim my right to be critical of the current administration in Washington – one that continues to promote a series of lies including the one in which they claim global warming is a theory currently under debate within the scientific community. It is not. Global warming and its threat to the planet is no longer theoretical. It hasn’t been since the late 70’s. For the record, I live in a city. I drive to work because my town’s public transportation system is so inefficient it would not allow me to do my job if I relied on it entirely. Some directives from the federal government for my community to improve mass transportation, rather than the construction of more highways might help. I’m not going to hold my breath. Then again, maybe I will have to.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Big "C" Cred

Got spanked by an anonymous reader over the weekend for being disrespectful towards the Catholic faith in my entry on the coronation of the new pope. Well, Anonymous, I'm happy to fill you in on my Catholic pedigree:

  • Eight years of Catholic grade school education both pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II
  • High school catechism classes
  • Post high school theology classes
  • Four year undergraduate degree from a women's Catholic college

I would also point out that I contributed money and significant campaign support in an effort to install a Catholic as president of our country in the most recent election cycle.

If you take offense at my ridicule of last week's scene in Rome, so be it. However, the pageantry and politics of the Cardinals' secret conclave have nothing to do with the Catholic faith or the Catholic values that I know well.

The church leaders in Rome deserve the same amount of respect they demonstrate towards women everywhere in the world. None.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Kiss the Earth - Goodbye?

Happy Earth Day from Threadingwater
Thirty-five years ago on the very first Earth Day, I skipped out of my high school classes to celebrate what my friends and I thought was the beginning of the environmental movement. We wore "Save the Earth" buttons and painted flowers on our faces. We collected trash from a local park. We dreamed of a time when recycling would be a viable community-sanctioned activity. We were enthusiastic. Hopeful.
We never dreamed the clock could be turned back to the pillaging ways of our ancestors. Strip mining. Clear cutting forests. Unchecked urban sprawl. The wholesale theft of the planet's natural resources by business and corporate interests.
We never imagined the Bush family of political special interests. We never dreamed our fellow citizens would choose selfish isolation over the best interests of a world-wide community. Hummers, SUV's and McMansions for households of two dotting every horizon were beyond any science fiction scenario we may have imagined in our future.
Yesterday, I listened to a radio report from Broward County, Florida. The county officials there are promoting the importance of establishing micro-environments to help struggling species of insects, birds and mammals by encouraging residents to provide small natural green spaces.
Is this what Earth Day has become? We calculate our achievements by counting up the number of backyard gardens while we drill for oil in the Arctic National Refuge? The polar ice caps are melting, but Rosie's Diner has a concrete planter of native grasses in the parking lot.
Save the Earth. Indeed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ratz Crowned in Rome

Dateline - Rome: After winning the swimsuit competition, front-runner Cardinal Josef Ratzinger wowed the secret conclave of Cardinals with a moving rendition of "Feelings," sung in his native German, to become the Roman Catholic Church's newest pope. As the anxious crowds in St. Peter's Square watched and waited, Ratzinger, who immediately renamed himself Benedict Ex-Vee-Eye, waved from a balcony still clad in his crimson evening gown. "This is just fantastic," said American tourist Heather Hofnagel, "the world really needs a hard-line leader right now what with all the wars and stuff going on." "Ben Ex-Vee-Eye's the MAN!" echoed her husband Eric. "We're not really practicing Catholics," Hofnagel added, "I mean, all that stuff about eating the real blood and body of Christ is pretty weird, but being present at this historic moment kinda rocks. "

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Irony on Sticky Support for Troops

On December 9th, I sent the following letter and an accompanying yellow ribbon magnet to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Dear Secretary Rumsfeld: I hope the enclosed car magnet will serve to remind you that “the Army you get,” as you so succinctly put it to our troops in Iraq, is the Army YOU provide. In response I received the following reply from the Department of the Army last week: The office of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld shared with me the letter and car magnet you sent to the Secretary. Thank you for sending your reminder. Troops stationed around the world need reminders, too, that devoted Americans like you are behind them and will not forget the sacrifices they continue to make on our behalf. They are out on the front lines fighting for our freedoms, and we owe them our support. These car-and-truck magnets are a great way for us to show our continued support for them and their families. Thank you again for writing to your military. Sincerely, Mark Heeter Public Affairs Specialist Nice letter, but am I the only one who thinks our troops are in big trouble when the Army advocates sticking magnets on our oil-dependent cars and trucks - the very reason our troops are in Iraq - as "a great way for us to show our continued support" ? Help me, please.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Shadow of the Blackbird

On a late autumn day in 2003, I spent an afternoon at the Ravensbrueck concentration camp outside Berlin with 75 Norwegian teens and their adult guides. It was part of a week-long tour through Poland and Germany in which we visited four camps. One of the adult guides was a survivor of Ravensbrueck - a camp used by the Nazis primarily for incarcerating, torturing and murdering women and children. Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. The words of the women who lived and died here resonate movingly in this on-line art project by Pat Binder. Go there and remember.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Two Karens

Thanks to "good" Karen in Plymouth, Wisconsin for bestowing this bit of praise by referring to my blog entries as, "elegant writing about stupid people." Funny, there never seems to be a shortage of inspiration. Like this other Karen . . . Karen Brauer of Pharmacists for Life. In a Washington Post article about pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, she posed this "stupid people" argument: "(she) defends the right of pharmacists not only to decline to fill prescriptions themselves but also to refuse to refer customers elsewhere or transfer prescriptions. "That's like saying, 'I don't kill people myself but let me tell you about the guy down the street who does.' What's that saying? 'I will not off your husband, but I know a buddy who will?' It's the same thing." Presumably, by virtue of her pharmacist credentials, Ms. Brauer knows the difference between an unimplanted zygote and an adult male - husband or not. Taking oral contraceptives is NOT the same thing as hiring a contract killer to off your mate. Isn't it about time reporters started challenging the false rhetoric of Christian fundamentalism?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sorry We Missed You

Cat Fight

Blog de la resistance rarely dips its pen into local issues, but a recent proposal by Wisconsin's Conservation Congress to declassify stray and feral cats as protected species has my cat-loving attention. While it is unlikely that Wisconsin will ever allow cat hunting, measures to capture and euthanize these animals will probably be put into practice if the proposal advances. Cat lovers who object should be focusing their efforts on educating themselves and other cat owners about the importance of keeping pet cats indoors. Stray and feral cats are a menace to the environment and, as a non-native species to North America, their very existence in the wild is entirely due to irresponsible pet ownership practices. Please, if you care about preserving native species of birds and other forms of wildlife, if you care about the health and longevity of your cat, keep it indoors.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Monday Maelstrom

That's shorthand for immediate, unrelated bursts of scatting from my cerebral region. First, the pope. Listening to a short radio broadcast from last week's funeral, the latent Catholic girl in me was moved to tears - that is, until I realized what a wasted opportunity his term of leadership had been. Imagine how possible it would have been for a charismatic, intelligent, poet/playwright/religious leader to have moved the Catholic Church into a position of relevancy in the 21st Century had he chosen to do so. A bit of messing about in the yard yesterday resulted in this addition to the neighborhood. Check out updates at threadingwater on the construction and knit pages. And finally, an article today about women in Afghanistan learning to drive reminded me of the scientific experiment I performed on our long driving trip to Texas. I can now prove that is physically imposible to sing along with Janis Joplin on "Me and Bobby McGee" while maintaining the posted speed limit. To all my Afghani sisters, remember that great lyrical line, "freedom is just another word for nuthin' left to lose," and get out there with the big boys drivin' fast and braking hard. You've earned the right.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Geezer, My Love

Just in case you're wondering, the magazine defines their "geezer" audience as age 40 and older. He's still GHIW to me, with or without a modeling portfolio.