I really don't know what this is or what the point of it is, but it's something they're doing at the Feedster site, so I decided to do it...
Basically, in order to oust Dubya, I support the Democratic candidate, which has turned out to be Kerry, but I have no real love for Kerry. Kucinich is who I'd want if I could have chosen the Democratic candidate, with Clark next, and then Dean. If I could choose the party to run the country of course it would be the Green Party!
Colin Powell got something right anyway
It sucks that such a great man in so many ways has chosen to be a sucky, murderous, pro-war, lying Republican. I hope he repents of his evil ways some day. But he said a very cool thing about Affirmative Action. At least he's not Ward Connerly, but then maybe he's done equally as much bad for the world in his work for the Bush Administration, I don't know... Anyway, here's the cool thing he said:
"There are those who say we can stop now, America is a color-blind society. But it isn't there yet. There are those who say we have a level playing field, but we don't yet. There are those who say that all you need is to climb up on your bootstraps, but there are too many Americans who don't have boots, much less bootstraps."
UULM Office Opens
The UULM office in Sacramento officially opened for business, thanks, in large part, to a gracious invitation from Jericho for Justice to share their office space at a low cost. Jericho for Justice is an interfaith ministry focusing on public polices affecting low-income children and families.
The other neighbors in the building include organizations familiar to many UULM supporters:
...and many more.
UULM 2004 Legislative Priorities
The UU Legislative Ministry Board of Directors, at its meeting on February 9 and 10, determined three short-term issue priorities between now and November 2004.
As we have covenanted to affirm and promote:
In making these selections, the Board considered preliminary input received from issue ballots, visits to congregations, last year's District Assemblies, this year's ministers' retreats, and input from the California Interfaith Council that highlighted immediate opportunities for interfaith collaboration.
Many other issues also received strong support. We will address those as opportunities arise and resources permit. For example: At both Pacific Central and Pacific Southwest District Assemblies, we will be hosting educational workshops on "The Health Care Crisis: How Do We Respond as Faith Communities?"
UULM is committed to making social justice more worshipful, joyful, creative and fun, as part of our overall UU religious practice. We would love to be invited to lead a worship service or workshop at your congregation, and to engage you in this fall's "Listening Campaign."
Amish in the City? (or Reality TV is Truly Terrible Trash Television!)
As spiritual cousins to the Amish, Mennonites feel a particular distaste at the prospect of an Amish-based "reality" TV show proposed to air this summer on UPN.
After plans for Amish in the City emerged in late January, we thought such a preposterous concept would soon vanish on the shifting tides of taste. Unfortunately, we misjudged the network's determination to make Amish in the City its latest prism of comedic distortion, this one directed at an already misunderstood, and often exploited, faith group.
The premise of the show calls for a group of Amish young people to move in with city-dwelling Gen Y'ers, with the resulting disjunction generating millions of dollars in laughs for UPN. The expectation, apparently, is that the Amish youths will "freak out," as network honcho Les Moonves said, when they see the debauchery available in the combustion-driven world.
Whether this will make "interesting television," as Moonves also asserted, we leave to the masses already gorged on The Osbournes and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance.
But that such a show is an insult to the Amish, or even to Christians in general, stands without a doubt. [I'm not sure how such a show would be an insult to garden-variety Christians more so than to anyone else, but OK...] In fact, a lot of "reality" TV is insulting - to the people involved and even to the viewers who bask like radishes in its headache-inducing glow. It is also an insult to those whose insurrection scuttled CBS's proposed New Beverly Hillbillies series, which was just Amish in the City with a cee-ment pond.
[As someone who pays very little attention to 99% of anything having to do with TV, I hadn't heard about the protest that arose from this proposed show, but the group that ran a newspaper ad against it made some excellent points. A lot of things confuse me in life, but there's one thing I'm pretty sure about: we don't have much chance of evolving beyond our current human condition if our most popular forms of humor stay confinded to those that ridicule and degrade the different and the disempowered. I'm a big fan of political/social satire that highlights foolishness and faulty thinking on the part of the famous and powerful, but capitalizing on ignorance and prejudice to make fun of people like the Amish and the rural poor is a very different thing—and a very tasteless, unenlightened one a that!]
We encourage anyone who opposes such programming to complain not only to UPN, but to its sponsors. If UPN can't see the emptiness of such a show, perhaps a threat to their advertising coffers will prove more enlightening. And if this fails, just boycott the show, or take a lesson from the Amish themselves and throw your TV on the brush pile behind the barn.
After all, an unwatched show is almost like no show at all.
I did not know until I was educated by a Judging Amy episode (besides Gilmore Girls, my favorite currently-airing shows are CBS dramas, although I don't get to see them that often) about the fact that Amish young people who are coming of age are encouraged to spend a year in the "real world" before deciding of their own free will whether or not to join the church themselves and live out their lives in the Amish way. That in and of itself is pretty darn enlightened and speaks profoundly to the wisdom of the Amish culture.
Even an editorial on the CBS website speaks out against the UPN show idea! (Not that CBS itself would have any right to decry stupid reality shows, but I guess this guy is allowed to have his own opinion, which is reassuring!)
This guy, who does have a name, which is Lloyd Garver, has another great opinion piece on the political distraction value of the anti-same-sex-marriage hysteria of Bush and his right-wing friends. He starts out on a comic note: "When I first heard the term 'same-sex marriages,' I was against them. I figured just because a couple is married, why should sex always have to be the same? All right, I didn't really think that about same-sex marriages, but I also didn't think they would become such a big deal. I guess my fingers slipped when I was taking the pulse of America, because boy, was I wrong."
He goes on to ask some of the questions I myself have asked: "In the past two weeks, thousands of gay couples were married in San Francisco. Is your respect for marriage smaller than it was two weeks ago? Is your marriage less important to you now? Do you love your spouse any less than you did before the 'Valentine's Day weddings?' If your marriage is affected by the marriages of some strangers, don't blame the bride and groom. Blame your marriage." Indeed. "What about all those celebrity weddings — like Britney Spears' — that seem to make a mockery of marriage? Should we pass a constitutional amendment forbidding flighty famous folks from tying the knot? What about that cousin of yours who married that guy that everybody knew would treat her horribly and eventually leave her? Should there be a constitutional amendment to prohibit that kind of unfortunate marriage?" How about a law requiring pre-marital counseling? Maybe even one requiring pre-divorce counseling! Sounds much more reasonable to me that a right-wing, anti-gay, anti-family, anti-marriage Constitutional amendment!
And here's the most important question: "If you're against gay marriages for legal, ethical, or emotional reasons, you're certainly entitled to these feelings. But do you believe it's such an important issue that things like national security, the economy, and foreign policy should be pushed aside so time and money can be spent on passing a constitutional amendment to prohibit them?"
Garver's article isn't just about SSM but more generally about the way hysteria over "threats to our nation" caused by "sexal immorality" serves to keep us from focusing on important issues. Another recent example is the whole Janet Jackson breast silliness. Garver writes: "Faster than you could say 'Lewinsky,' Congressional committees were formed to investigate 'Nipplegate' and other offensive fare being foisted on us by machines with an 'off' button. But how long did it take for a committee to be formed to investigate why we received such poor intelligence on Iraq before sending over American soldiers to risk their lives?" And perhaps more importantly: what real power does this commission have, and will we actually know the outcome of its investigation any time in the next decade? I keep asking: where's the moral outrage in this country over real threats and atrocities like the Dubya regime's new "pre-emptive" war policy and its incarceration of hundreds of people, including children, in an illegal prison in Cuba?! As George Carlin said, our priorities are seriously screwed up. Really, truly warped.
Ode to the Goddess of Spring
You visit the earth and water it, making it abundantly fertile; your river is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its young sprouts. You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain. The pastures of the wilderness overflow; the hills are robed with joy, the meadows clothed with flocks, the valleys decked with grain; they shout and sing together for joy.
AKA Psalm 65
P.S.—One place on the web I found this Psalm is on a really useful Mennonite site discussing environmental/health issues inside our homes and suggesting actions we can take to reduce the negative effects of indoor pollution on our health and wellbeing.
P.P.S.—I've never looked at them before, but the Mennonites seem to be interesting folks, who, from what I can tell, have a fair range of Christian theological perspectives, united by a committment to peace and social justice. I thought they were the ones that made women wear funny hats, but it seems that there are different branches of Mennonites, so maybe only some of them have the hat thing, I don't know... But the Mennonite Church USA, which seems to be the most prominent group, has a page of Mennonite responses to Gibson's Passion film and they are diverse and thoughtful...
I recently joined an online community called The WELL. I made a profile for it. It's rather nice...
Madeline is a radical, progressive, socialist, internationalist, ecofeminist, anti-racist, white, 27-year-old, student, francophone, writer, bisexual, polyamorous, Pagan, Unitarian Universalist who lives in San Jose, California.
She aspires to be a Witch in the Reclaiming tradition.
She advocates for personal liberty, communal responsibility, peace, economic justice, ecological sustainability, civil rights, sexpositivity, nudity, queer rights, women's rights, and international cooperation.
She believes in ultimate unity.
She values diversity, communication, self-expression, compassion, creativity, passion, play, laughter, pleasure, harmony, and the natural world.
She believes in education, integration, reform, reconciliation, restitution, rehabilitation, re-creation, transformation, re-visioning, and growth.
She decries marginalization, disempowerment, violence, punishment, division, ignorance, narrow-mindedness, zenophobia, and vindictiveness.
She loves animals, babies, music, drumming, crafts, earrings, chocolate, games, jigsaw puzzles, reading, writing, discussions, roller coasters, pizza, crossword puzzles, hiking, camping, singing, downhill skiing, guinea pigs, gardening, and the Internet.
DEMS SHOCK AS KERRY'S HAIR SPLITS! - 01/23/2004 - The Democratic Party is in turmoil tonight after the shock announcement that Presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry's hair has split from the party and is to run as an independent ...
So I'm not the only one who thinks there is soemthing odd about that man's hair!
President George W. Bush is said to be 'troubled' by the rash of gay marriages currently taking place in San Francisco, California. As a result he made a declaration today that the 'City of Love', as it came to be known in the sixties, is now a part of his 'Axis of Evil'. ...
Vice President Dick Cheney also stated "I firmly believe that the streets of San Francisco are paved with many natural resources and we will be able to arrange mutually beneficial trade agreements with them. I also look forward to sampling their fruits, of which I have heard the city has many different varieties. I love fruits of all kinds."
"The core of our American democracy, members, is the right to vote. And implicit in that right is the notion that that vote be private, that vote be secure, and that vote be counted as it was intended when it was cast by the voter. I think what we're encountering is a pivotal moment in our democracy where all that is being called into question [^] the privacy of the vote, the security of the vote, and the accuracy of the vote. It troubles me, and it should trouble you." —Kevin Shelley, CA Secretary of State, December 2003
My heartfelt congratulations, gentlemen! Perhaps you'd like an adopted granddaughter? :o)
Thank the Goddess for Canada. Canadians rock. I spent almost two weeks in Canada last summer, so I'm not just saying this based on their politics: they are truly great folks. (And their politics rock!!)
Conservative vs. Liberal Patriotism
"You see, they [conservatives] love America the way a four-year-old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes mommy is bad. Grown-up love means understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow." —Al Franken
How can age not be a factor??! We are violating international law! You can't hold a 12 or 13-year-old boy at a military prison facility—it's barbaric! It's mind-boggling! Thank the Goddess that we did not mistreat them (although apparently the one boy was abused at least early on in his ordeal), but that hardly makes it all OK! Is it not absusive to kidnap these children from their country, steal them away from their families and friends, and imprision them in a foreign country half way around the world?! Is that not a human rights violation? A war crime? I don't care if they had been made into fighters by the Taliban (which they all deny!)—would that have been their fault?! Most Americans don't think kids their age have the maturity to decide whether to have sex; we don't allow them to drink or vote (or drive, at least for the youngest one!); and yet somehow they're mature enough to be held as "enemy combatants" in a military prison?!!
It is no wonder they world despises us! We are delusional—at least our leaders are, along with those Americans who support their activities! Thankfully they were treated reasonably well and educated and allowed to play. I am so very grateful to the Universe for any amount of sanity on the part of our military and our leaders. But that doesn't make the absurd injustice of their kidnapping and year-long imprisonment in any way less appalling! And it's still going on: there are still juveniles imprisoned right now by our military. Where is the public outcry?! The public goes into immediate action when an American child Asadullah's age is kidnapped! Is an Afghan child not as valuable and precious as an American one?! Are we a nation of zombies made blind and braindead by the deceptive war propoganda of the current Administration?! What the hell is going on?!
SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) — Tears of sorrow flowed at San Francisco City Hall Thursday as word spread that the state's top court had ended, at least for now, the city's month-old policy of allowing same-sex couples to marry.
Ross Ladouceur, left, weeps after learning he and his partner, Stuart Sanders, arrived too late to be wed Thursday.
It just breaks my heart. Fucking conservatives. It makes me want to hate the world. I probably just need sleep. I just want to give this man the biggest hug in the world! We have to keep up hope though. At least no one is being killed or beaten up. Images of the Civil Rights Movement come to mind. The bigotry and fear of change on the part of the conservative forces is the same, even if the struggle is less physically violent. We shall overcome. I hope. It just breaks my heart. They are so handsome in their tuxedos with their beautiful purple wedding garlands. It's hard to remind myself that most of the anti-gay forces are well-meaning at heart and believe that what they're doing is right. Logically I know that they are motivated by fear, ignorance, misconception, and irrational belief, not by a desire to be cruel and ugly, but when I think of them I see un-human beasts filled with hate and bigotry spitting in the faces of loving couples.
And yet they know they're on the losing end of this battle in the long run (well, in the earthly, pre-apocolyptic long run anyway). (Gods, I wish for the Rapture more than they do: please someone take them all away! Let them all go to their happy heaven! Let them believe what they want! Why do they have to be here? Why do the rest of us have to suffer their idiocy? Sigh.) They know that time is not in their favor; they can feel it; it's what's motivating them to push so hard right now. I must have faith that the time will come when their pious belief in their future "Godly paradise" will be all they will have to cling to, because human rationality and fairness will win out over backwards religiosity and illogical moralism, and the freedom to marry will be a reality instead of a tenuous dream. Let all people of compassion and reason keep up the struggle to hasten the coming of that happy day! So mote it be. (And "So Vote It Be!")
On Marriage, Culture Wars, and the Human Race
As human beings, we are more than the means to reproduce our species: both basic common sense and deeper philosophical inquiry affirm that marriage is, has been, can be, and should be about so very much more than procreation! The traditional Christian God (the one worshipped by the RR) is a violent, chauvinistic, moralistic, vengeful, selfish, angry lout, and the ideas of marriage they promote are patriarchal, narrow-minded, anti-feminist, uncreative, and ultimately STUPID and BORING!
Instead marriage should be about relationship, committment, love, and family, in the deepest and most inclusive sense of those terms—about building a life together—about creating, declaring, and upholding a bond that is at once personal, intimate, communal, civil, legal, and social—a consentual and intentional covenant between equal human individuals that establishes them as a nurturing, nourishing family unit. It is a union of persons, not genders, and thus, obviously, the gender configuration of the persons involved is entirely irrelevant to the legitimacy and/or sanctity of the union.
To value marriage is to affirm its validity and insist upon its accessibility for all who desire it. To champion marriage is to fight against the imposition of irrational limitations upon it by ill-informed, misguided, anxiety-driven "traditionalists". To uphold the dignity of marriage is to reject attempts to essentialize it, to caricaturize it as no more than—as I once said—a union for the facilitation of penile/vaginal intercourse (which sounds to me more like a marriage between a man and his bottle of Viagra!). To defend marriage is to protect it from the absurd illogic that would deny it to those who seek it, all the while pressuring it upon others who do not. To proclaim marriage as a basic human and civil right of all who mindfully choose it is to raise it to the most enlightened standard of human potential.
Indeed it is not the loving same-sex couples who are a threat to the "meaning" of marriage, but in fact it is the fearful, backward, small-minded forces of the RR that pose a threat to the growth and development of the human race.
...I'm just about (being) anti-United States. I don't like the way this country operates. I think we've ruined this place. And I think it's largely because of businessmen... I go out there to show the rest of the Americans how badly they're doing. This country has been, for about 180 years now, badly mishandled. And it's been in the wrong hands. It's been in the hands of the business interests.
And a lot of the beauty of this country has been shattered by them. The physical beauty and the kind of institutional beauty that was originally built into this place - this experiment, this magnificent experiment in democracy is just being shredded to pieces by these right-wing Christians, the Ashcroft branch of Republicanism...
Q: Do you feel like this country has progressed any way, shape or form in the past 20 years?
A: Everybody's got more jet skis and Dustbusters now and sneakers with lights in them. They've got more cheese on their thing that they buy. They get double helpings. See, Americans measure all their progress in the wrong way. They measure by quantity and by gizmos and toys. And not by quality and by things that are important.
The most interesting thing to me is that the things that people would seem to have the most right to have - that is to say health, food, shelter and a job are the things that are last on the list. To me, that is fundamental. Those are the things humans most need to function, and we have placed them at the bottom of the list. So I think that says a lot about national character and priorities.
My comments: Amen, George. As I've always said, it's all about priorities, and ours are very much in the wrong places.
What's worse, screwing an intern or screwing the country?!
What I want to know is when the Democrats are going to start taking some of this information seriously and going after Bush in a big way. Information comes to light every day about how Bush has lied, about sinister neo-con plans to build a military empire and squash all dissent, about the myriad ways in which in three short years the Bush administration has made us less secure, less free, less healthy, and less well-off, but the Dems just don't seem to take it to heart. There's far more serious a case for impeaching Bush than their ever was for impeaching Clinton, but the Democratic party seems unwilling to take any definitive action against Bush, despite many calls from the American populous, and many of us would sure like to know why!
The truth about 9-11?
I've seen some sites on the web that have presented some elaborate challenges to the official story of what happened on 9-11-2001. I don't know if I should take them seriously or not. But a group called the "Family Steering Committee" has put forth some tough questions for GW Bush, and this is a serious group, made of substantial, accomplished individuals who ought to be taken seriously. So I wrote e-mails to the government's 9-11 commission as well as to Bush and to my Senators and Congressional Rep.
Principles from Israel's Constitution:
"...to foster the development of the country for the benefit of all the inhabitants, based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: to ensure complete quality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race, and sex: to guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; to guard the holy places of all religions: and to be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the UN."
Wow. Sure would be nice if Israel's government paid attention to Israel's founding document. (Of course the same is true for the government of Israel's chief ally.)
I found a neat Israeli organization, Rabbis for Human Rights. Here is an excerpt from their Principles of Faith, affirming the dignity of human life:
"...and with our concern for human dignity and the preservation of life, be they Jews or Arabs, we are deeply disturbed by and seek to remove excesses and abuses such as:
The organization has an affiliate in North America to which donations can be made.
From the book: The Case for Same-Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment by William N. Eskridge, Jr.
(The Case for Same-Sex Marriage begins with an historical overview of same-sex unions, which shows that only in the modern West have gays and lesbians been denied full acceptance. Eskridge believes that until same-sex marriages receive the civil and legal benefits of heterosexual marriages America is erecting unnecessary barriers to social cohesion. Without full access to the institutions of civic life, gays and lesbians cannot be full participants in the American experience. As Eskridge points out the legitimacy of same-sex marriage would have profound implications for gay behavior, by reinforcing stability and commitment. In the end, Eskridge believes that the acceptance of same-sex marriage would help to civilize both gays and straights.)
In the early Middle Ages the Church developed institutions, memorialized in liturgies included in its formal collections, that combined the Church's spiritual commitment to companionate relationships with its members' desire to bond with people of the same sex. The existence of Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox rituals of "brother-making" or "enfraternization" has been known in the academic literature for decades and was brought to my attention by the Reverend Alexei Michalenko.' Ceremonies creating these brotherhoods were performed for same-sex couples (often male missionary pairs) from the fifth century onward. According to Church archives, these early liturgies were typically structured as follows:
Significantly, this early brotherhood liturgy was acted out in formal terms very similar to the liturgy later developed by the Church for the purpose of performing different-sex marriages.
Or, More Proof that Dubya and Right-Wingers are Full of Shit
Statement on Marriage and the Family from the American Anthropological Association
Arlington, Virginia The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, the world's largest organization of anthropologists, the people who study culture, releases the following statement in response to President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to civilization.
The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.
The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples."
A really cute little animation. :)
Greenpeace has a detailed article about the theats of climate change, both ecologically and eventually politically as people fight for access to fresh water for drinking and crop irrigation. The scenarios are apolcalyptic, and they are coming from two of the most conservative institutions on Earth! "But", as Greenpeace's article puts it, "so far, George Bush is sticking to the line that the Kyoto treaty was 'unscientific,' that 'the jury is still out' on global warming, and that everyone 'misunderestimates' him." And Americans aren't concerned, because American "experts" have told them not to be. Funny how the rest of the world's experts have a radically different view of reality.
Take Action! Tell the World Bank to follow the recommendations made by its own panel of independent consultants in a report following a two-year study to consider the Bank's future role in the oil, gas and mining industries. It commissioned the report, but now its management proposes rejecting all but the weakest of the panel's recommendations!
If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet. —Niels BohrEverything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish; every sweet word will fade, But do not be disheartened, The source they come from is eternal, growing, Branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you And this whole world is springing up from it. —Jelauddin RumiThe truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would be blind. —Emily DickinsonOur scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —Martin Luther King, Jr.
A full-spectrum approach to human consciousness and behavior means that men and women have available to them a spectrum of knowing—a spectrum that includes, at the very least, the eye of flesh, the eye of mind, and the eye of spirit. —Ken WilberI do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. —Galileo GalileiSometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. —Lewis CarrollDo you remember how electrical currents and 'unseen waves' were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy. —Albert EinsteinYou cannot see anything that you do not first contemplate as a reality. —RamthaThe spirit down here in man and the spirit up there in the sun, in reality are only one spirit, and there is no other one. —The Upanishads
While the evangelical Christians revel in Gibson's gorefest (and in their twisted interpretation of the significance of the life and teachings of the executed Jewish radical Jesus of Nazareth), those of us interested in the present and the future of life on Earth and in increasing our understanding of the nature of the Universe and of humanity and of the human mind, as studied by physicists, doctors, and mystics (rather than as dictated in the writings of some patriarchal, anti-Goddess, war-obsessed, primitive, desert nomads!), a mind-altering film has just been released that I am excited about seeing—that is if it makes it to the Bay Area! I can only hope and assume that eventually it will!
As Radical as Einstein
Thanks for visiting Madeline's Weblog
—> All of this rambling is © 2004 Madeline Althoff <—