Saturday, March 01, 2008

Work Off Some Aggression

with this silly website; not once, not twice, but three times:

Punch Chimpee Here

hat tip to user Asinus Asinum Fricat at dailykos.

20 Years Before the Shit Hits the Fan

wikipedia: The Scream, Edvard Munch (1893)

This is a depressing view from climate scientist (and doomsdayer) James Lovelock:

The Guardian (uk):
'Enjoy life while you can'
Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do?

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem - the bigger challenge will be food. "Maybe they'll synthesise food. I don't know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco's, in the form of Quorn. It's not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it." But he fears we won't invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects "about 80%" of the world's population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. "But this is the real thing."


What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

Answered Prayers

There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.
St. Theresa of Jesus

Well, I got my New York Times obituary of Barbara Seaman. I don't like it. It's pretty nasty, and they go out of their way to acknowledge her critics.

NYTImes: Barbara Seaman, 72, Dies; Cited Risks of the Pill

There's more criticism of Barbara Seaman in one page than is contained in all three pages of the obituary for the loathesome William F. Buckley, which is headlined: "He elevated conservatism to the center of American political discourse." Elevated? He wanted people with AIDS to be tattooed. Please. Multisyllabic does not equal smart or revolutionary, both of which are apt descriptions for Barbara Seaman.

Here are the passages in the Times obituary I object to; my comments are italicized.

Ms. Seaman’s first book, “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” (P. H. Wyden), was considered groundbreaking when it was published in 1969. [emphasis added]

It wasn't just "considered" groundbreaking; it WAS groundbreaking.
Though the publication of “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” made Ms. Seaman an enduring heroine of the women’s movement, her work did not find favor everywhere. As some reviewers saw it, Ms. Seaman’s passionate polemic sometimes got the better of scientific argument.

Writing in The Washington Post in 2003, Liza Mundy reviewed “The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women,” about the potential risks of hormone-replacement therapy:

“Seaman is a conspiracy theorist by temperament and training,” Ms. Mundy wrote. “In her presentation, every drug company is working against the interests of its patients, and every journalist who fails to question this or that bad study has probably been bought off; she uses the phrase ‘organized medicine’ in what seems a direct echo of ‘organized crime.’ ”

While it may be true that Ms. Mundy wrote that, it is irrelevant. As usual, Barbara Seaman was right. Drug companies are not nonprofits; they are concerned with sales and spreadsheets, not with health. Many doctors today are glorified pill-pushers who do what they have to do to get paid by insurance companies. The press HAS been bought off; the giant media conglomerates are concerned with their bottom lines, and one of their greatest advertisers is the pharmaceutical industry. That's why Barbara Seaman kept getting fired from magazines for speaking the truth.

The truth about HRT, the subject of Seaman's book in Mundy's review, is that HRT raises the incidence of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and dementia in women taking this dangerous cocktail. The Times obituary does not address the health risks of HRT or the fact that research has borne out Ms. Seaman's criticisms of HRT.

In the 1990s, Ms. Seaman also began to speak out publicly against domestic violence, from which she said she had suffered during her marriage to Mr. Forman. Though she did not identify Mr. Forman by name in the news media, court records show that in 1988 he was arrested and charged with assault after Ms. Seaman accused him of punching her in the face. The criminal case against Mr. Forman was later thrown out, Dudley Gaffin, his lawyer at the time, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Reached by telephone on Thursday, Mr. Forman denied having assaulted Ms. Seaman, calling the accusation of assault “a divorce tactic” on her part.

What could better demonstrate society's attitude towards domestic violence than the New York Times seeking out the batterer for a denial quote? Because even in death, Barbara Seaman, feminist pioneer, cannot be believed. And you can't get a fresh quote from her, now can you. But you can smear her a little in her own obituary. This is really disgusting.

Final thought: The obituary from the site Dog Flu Diet & Diseases is better.

Dog Flu Diet & Diseases: Female Reproductive Health Advocate Dies At 72

Wall St. Journal: REMEMBRANCES
Barbara Seaman (1935 – 2008)
Advocate for Women's Health Care, She Agitated to Make the Pill Safer

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH): Barbara Seaman, Oberlin grad, women's health pioneer

Classic SPAM

hat tip to Shakesville

War of Words

Yesterday Hillary Clinton's campaign released this ad:

It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep, But there's a phone in the White House, and it's ringing — something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.

Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. It’s 3 AM and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?

Barack Obama's campaign responded with this ad just a few hours later:

Text (my transcription):
It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep, But there's a phone ringing in the White House. Something's happening in the world.

When that call gets answered, shouldn't the President be the one, the only one, who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq War from the start? Who understood the real threat to America was Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, not Iraq? Who led the effort to secure loose nuclear weapons around the globe? In a dangerous world, it's judgment that matters.

I'm an Obamite, for sure, but I have to give that exchange to him on points. As someone said on dailykos, he "Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee." If John Kerry had been this agile in parrying terror fearmongering, he'd be President today.

And yes, Clinton's ad is straight out of the Republican playbook. I mean straight out, as in she apparently lifted her ad concept from an ad submitted by a McCain supporter to McCain's website in January:

Or as one wag put it, "Fear you can Xerox".

Here's what Bill Clinton had to say about using fear to get votes, in 2004:

Friday, February 29, 2008

Teddy Sheringham to Announce Retirement

Coach Mom & I were fortunate to see him play for West Ham in October of 2006, and he scored -- at the age of 40! It was a thrill to see the old lion looking young again. West Ham won 2-1 and the crowd jubilantly chanted "There's only one Alan Pardew" at the end of the game; the manager was fired six weeks later. It was Sheringham's final season in the English Premier League. This year he's been riding the pine at Colchester in the Championship and I guess he's had enough. Farewell, happy warrior.

Times (uk): Teddy Sheringham reaches end of the road - but what a ride
Tony Cascarino raises a glass to his former Millwall teammate, who is in his final season at Colchester United

One of the longest and most spectacular careers in the modern era will come to a close in May. Teddy Sheringham will announce tomorrow that he will retire at the end of the season. A playing life that began in 1982 when he was signed by Millwall as an apprentice will finish on May 4 when Colchester United face Scunthorpe United at Glandford Park — when he will be aged 42 years and one month.

The announcement will come on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme and Teddy will deserve all the plaudits he’s going to get because he has been one of the finest forwards in decades. You have only to look at his 51 England caps and the managers who have signed him and played him for proof of his excellence — Brian Clough, Terry Venables and Sir Alex Ferguson, to name a few.

They appreciated Teddy’s value and what he could bring to a game. He’s had that rare combination of intense hunger and calm intelligence. In an era when pace is so crucial up front, he survived and flourished even though he was never quick. If he had been blessed with speed, he would have been as good as Marco van Basten because he has so many natural gifts.

wikipedia: Teddy Sheringham

Edward Paul 'Teddy' Sheringham MBE (born 2 April 1966 in Highams Park, London) is a veteran English professional footballer currently playing for Colchester United and the father of footballer Charlie Sheringham. Sheringham plays as a striker, and has had a successful career at club level, winning almost every domestic honour available with his clubs, most notably the treble with Manchester United. Sheringham has also represented England at international level. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in June 2007.[1]

Another Obama Video by

Thursday, February 28, 2008

RIP Barbara Seaman (Updated)

Power Surge: Interview with Barbara Seaman
Exploding The Estrogen Myth

Barbara Seaman's book The Doctor's Case Against the Pill, and her later book about hormone replacement therapy, Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones, her later books about DES, Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones, and hormone replacement therapy, The Menopause Industry: How the Medical Establishment Exploits Women, were seminal feminist tracts. My copies were dog-eared because I was always lending them to friends who were considering the pill or HRT. She was right on about both: huge experiments by the male medical community, where healthy women were given untested and experimental drugs for perfectly natural conditions that were not illnesses. A woman who needs birth control is not sick. A woman experiencing the symptoms of menopause is not "ill"; she is experiencing part of life.

Barbara Seaman was fired from almost every magazine she ever wrote for, when the pharmaceutical companies threatened to pull advertising if her work was published. She was a real feminist pioneer. Not surprisingly, the corporate media is ignoring the death of this influential feminist. As of the time of the post, only 8 media outlets have published the AP an obituary of Seaman.

She will be missed.

HuffPo: Leora Tanenbaum
Your Pill is Safer Because of Her

HuffPo: Jennifer Baumgardner
Remembering Barbara Seaman

TPM Cafe: Let us remember Barbara Seaman, crusading pioneer of the women's health movement

Chesler Chronicles: An Elegy For My Friend "Babz," aka Barbara Seaman (1935-2008) (a tribute by another feminist writer, Phyllis Chesler, the author of Women and Madness)

Newsday: Barbara Seaman, women's health advocate, dead at 72

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Remembering Barbara Seaman

Women'sSpace: “Dear Injurious Physician” — In Memorium: Barbara Seaman, Sept. 11, 1935-Feb. 27, 2008

UPDATE: As of 10:00 a.m. on Friday, only two additional corporate media outlets have published an obituary of Barbara Seaman: the Washington Post (and not just the AP obit, they wrote their own) and the Philadelphia Daily News. Is the corporate media ignoring the death of this feminist pioneer to keep their pharmaceutical advertisers happy? I emailed the NYTimes last night lamenting their lack of an obit, and got a form email in response, but neither the Times, the Boston Globe, nor the LATimes reports on Seaman's death today. Shame.

UPDATE 2: Updated to correct my mistake in confusing Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones with The Menopause Industry: How the Medical Establishment Exploits Women.

Chief Justice Roberts Ready To Rule For Exxon

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Victim
Alaska. Dead Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) dead in the snow died of toxic pollution from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Not only have 20% of the people who sued Exxon for the Valdez oil spill 19 years ago died in the meantime, it looks like our Rethug-dominated Supreme Court will rule against the Alaskans. Because what can what one of the richest corporations in the world do to prevent oil spills? (Double-hulled ships, anyone?) The lawyer who argued the case before the Court had some ideas, but they didn't go over well:

Chief Justice John Roberts was pained.

Exxon Mobil, the giant oil corporation appearing before the Supreme Court yesterday, had earned a profit of nearly $40 billion in 2006, the largest ever reported by a U.S. company -- but that's not what bothered Roberts. What bothered the chief justice was that Exxon was being ordered to pay $2.5 billion -- roughly three weeks' worth of profits -- for destroying a long swath of the Alaska coastline in the largest oil spill in American history.

"So what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive-damages awards such as this?" Roberts asked in court.

The lawyer arguing for the Alaska fishermen affected by the spill, Jeffrey Fisher, had an idea. "Well," he said, "it can hire fit and competent people."

The rare sound of laughter rippled through the august chamber. The chief justice did not look amused.

Moral of this story: Not only do we need more Democrats, we need better Democrats. Here are the 22 supposed "Democrats" who voted to put the archconservative Roberts on the Court for the rest of my life:

* Max Baucus (D - MT)
* Jeff Bingaman (D - NM)
* Robert Byrd (D - WV)
* Thomas Carper (D - DE)
* Kent Conrad (D - ND)
* Christopher Dodd (D - CT)
* Byron Dorgan (D - ND)
* Russell Feingold (D - WI)
* Tim Johnson (D - SD)
* Herb Kohl (D - WI)
* Mary Landrieu (D - LA)
* Patrick Leahy (D - VT)
* Carl Levin (D - MI)
* Joseph Lieberman (D - CT)
* Blanche Lincoln (D - AR)
* Patty Murray (D - WA)
* Bill Nelson (D - FL)
* Ben Nelson (D - NE)
* Mark Pryor (D - AR)
* Jay Rockefeller (D - WV)
* Ken Salazar (D - CO)
* Ron Wyden (D - OR)

Thanks a lot, DINOs. I'll give money to any progressive who challenges any of you.

Reject and Denounce

I watched the Democratic debate on MSNBC in fits and starts this week, but I missed the part where Tim Russert asked Obama to disavow Louis Farrakhan. (Russert and Williams are so shallow and empty, and there was women's basketball on. Does Williams think speaking ponderously makes him sound smart? I still know he listens to Rush Limbaugh and doesn't think Limbaugh gets the credit he deserves -- yes, he said this -- so I know he's a moron.) The video of the Farrakhan exchange, from TPM, is above.

Obama has no relationship with Farrakhan. It was a complete and total Pumpkinhead bullshit gotcha moment. But Russert apparently thinks this is a legitimate questioning device. So let the denouncing and rejecting begin! Let's start with Pumpkinhead. He never denounced and rejected his good pal Don Imus when he used hateful racist and sexist language about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Russert: When are you going to disavow the hateful statements of Don Imus?

Today John McCain was endorsed by a hate-spewing preacher, John Hagee. And McCain embraces this endorsement. Shouldn't he have to denounce and reject Hagee who hates Jews, Muslims, Catholics, gays, women, Hurricane Katrina victims, well, pretty much anyone who isn't in his church. John McCain: When are you going to disavow the hateful statements of John Hagee?

As others have said, it's foolish for our political press to be making mountains of such shit and ignoring the issues, but if that's what they're going to do, could they at least do it to both parties?

Attytood: Questions for Tim Russert: When will you denounce your supporter Don Imus?


MediaMatters: Will MSNBC devote as much coverage to McCain's embrace of Hagee's support as it did to Obama's rejection of Farrakhan?

Glenn Greenwald: Some hateful, radical ministers -- white evangelicals -- are acceptable

Glenn Greenwald: Interview with Bill Donohue: Catholic League denounces McCain

Maya Moore Could Be the Best Ever

So good that even the New York Times, which generally ignores women's sports, writes about her:

NYTimes: In Freshman Season, Moore Shows UConn What May Come

Music to Drive You Crazy

Mother Jones: The Torture Playlist

NEWS: Music has been used in American military prisons and on bases to induce sleep deprivation, "prolong capture shock," disorient detainees during interrogations—and also drown out screams. Based on a leaked interrogation log, news reports, and the accounts of soldiers and detainees, here are some of the songs that guards and interrogators chose.

I actually like three of the songs:

Don MacLean, American Pie

Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.

David Gray, Babylon

You can listen to all 20 songs at the Mother Jones link. For all young parents, yes, the Barney theme song made the list.

Bush's Bubble

Smirky just answered a question in his press conference by saying that he hasn't heard the reports that gasoline prices will be $4.00 a gallon this summer.

That didn't make the daily brief? Mr. Oilman didn't hear about $4 gas? He is completely out of touch.

I immediately thought of his father, flummoxed by the grocery scanner in 1992. They don't live in the real world with the rest of us.

January 20, 2009 can't come soon enough.

Take Your Own Grocery Bag, Save a Whale

Sickening sight: Wildlife experts examine the dead whale which washed ashore on the Isle of Mull

DailyMail (uk): Banish the bags: This whale washed up on a British beach. In its stomach....the remains of 23 plastic bags

Democrats Close to Taking NYS Senate

News10Now: Aubertine sworn in Wednesday.

Thanks to a dairy farmer! Darrel Aubertine is anti-choice, but for a seat that hasn't been held by a Democrat since 1880, we'll take him. And anything to remove power from the loathesome Joe Bruno.

Aubertine had some awesome ads. Watch them:

A River Runs Through It

"I'm Running For State Senate"

Darrel Aubertine - One Of Us, For A Change

Aubertine for State Senate

Albany Times-Union: Aubertine upsets Barclay in Senate special election
Aubertine's victory by more than 2,000 votes moves Democrats closer to control of Senate

Why Colleges Are Offering Free Tuition

Colleges don't want to spend their huge endowments. To guard their coffers, they offer free tuition to a tiny percentage of applicants: families making less than $60,000 per year. It's not altruism. They have built their huge reserves by raising tuition every year, then taking all the state and federal loan and grant money and putting it in their private bank accounts. It's all about the Benjamins, as usual.

Boston Globe: Colleges guard soaring endowments
Many resist congressional pressure to curb tuition hikes, offer more aid

Under growing pressure from Congress, the country's wealthiest colleges and universities are sharply resisting calls to spend more of their soaring endowments to expand financial aid and curb tuition hikes that critics say are putting college beyond the reach of ordinary families.

The pattern of deep-pocketed universities regularly raising tuition while amassing fast-growing fortunes has drawn unusual scrutiny from government leaders and higher education advocates over the past few months. They say elite colleges are hoarding wealth that could help open their doors to more poor and working-class families.

In Massachusetts, 13 institutions boast endowments of more than $500 million. The Boston area's eight wealthiest schools hold a combined fortune approaching $50 billion.

Through lobbyists and national education associations, colleges are fighting a handful of proposals rippling through Congress. Among the most controversial ideas: a requirement that schools spend 5 percent of their endowments each year to help defray costs for students and families.


...76 institutions surpass[] the $1 billion mark, up from 39 in 2003.

Nowhere are colleges amassing more wealth than in the Boston area. Harvard University's $34 billion endowment is bigger than the gross domestic product of Montana. MIT's $10 billion cache could buy Facebook. Together, Boston College and Boston University could bankroll the entire city budget, with $500 million to spare.