2007
09.29

RedStaterusa.blogspot.com: Don’t Get “Robbed” Oklahoma

It is amazing to see Redstater argue why he opposes multi-party democracy in Oklahoma, being that his argument that the ballot access reform movement is a secret strategy by DEMOCRATS(!) to keep the Republicans from gaining power, and that Democrats are supposedly supporting now only because they have lost their majority.

That is interesting to me because Republicans in the past were the ones who have introduced bills to open the ballot access rules, and well-known democrats like Frosty Troy are opposed to ballot access reform.

So, given the weakness of Redstater’s hypothesis, I asked him one simple question on his blog comments, “Do you believe the people of Oklahoma are too stupid to chose from more than 2 choices? Just curious…”

His answer (which you can read by scrolling down to the comments section of this post, doesn’t in fact answer my question. He instead engages in some of the classical logical fallacies (also see Wikipedia’s list of logical fallacies) to attack the idea of letting voters decide for themselves between more than 2 “approved choices.”

I won’t fall into the trap of saying that all conservatives believe like he does (in fact, I know this is not the case because some of my conservative friends in law school were supporters of OBAR), but RedStater definitely does not represent his own chosen causes well.

2007
09.28

CNN: Letting kids drink early reduces binging

It makes sense to me.

2007
09.25

NewOK.com/News 9: Hotline setup for Oklahoma G.I.’s (video)

This video includes interview segments with myself and Rena (fellow Okie blog author). We also covered by Fox 25 this week (which did 2 great stories on us), but unfortunately their stories aren’t online.

The press coverage was generally pretty positive. News 9 gave more time for the interviews than 25 did, but I felt like that 9 played up the controversial aspect of our work a bit too much. I also really appreciated the fact that Fox 25 gave our hotline phone on the air which was very helpful.

2007
09.24

What’s up with Atkins?

As some of y’all know I am a big fan of the Atkins diet. To the extent I stick with it, it has worked better for me than any other weight loss program. I know my health is better and I feel 100% better the longer I stick with it.

That said, I’ve really been disappointed by the new ad campaign that they’ve been doing online through that stupid ediets outfit. So many of the little website/email adverts I’ve seen play on the insecurity that so many folks have with body issues.

I think the worst one is that stupid that shows a woman’s butt zoomed in real close and then has dashed marks showing the reduction in size that Atkins will supposedly bring. What I find amusing is that the “before” butt looks pretty slim to me. Not to be crass, but it is certainly nothing to be ashamed about at all.

Or here is another goofy thing on the ediet’s site where the author says that it is ok to want to have a j-lo butt instead of a Jennifer Anniston butt, and how much she enjoys have strangers yell things like “Girl got herself a ghetto bootie!”

I’m not making this up!

Or on banner advert on the site is says, “Lose your tummy in 5 weeks!”

This is ignorant!!! Ediets has no idea how big your tummy is to begin with! It might take a year to lose the gut, it might take two weeks… the idea though that they can promise a certain outcome like this when our bodies are all so different is incredibly goofy.

I personally hope that the ghost of Dr. Atkins comes back and pulls his company out of this partnership with ediets. Ediets, IMHO, is a mysogenist company that exploits folks’ lack of self-worth. I think it’s a sorry way to make a buck and I’m sad that the Atkins company has gone along with this.

I plan to keep following the good doctor’s advice but I’ll think twice about buying any “Atkins” brand products as long as they keep doing stuff with ediets.

— And one more thing… what in the heck is Dr. Phil doing with these folks? I thought he was shrink. Have you completely sold out? Did Oprah not teach you anything? Why are you doing stuff with this stupid company? I can’t believe you would go along with the exploitation of women like this being a psych-type person and all.

2007
09.24

MSNBC/AP: Monks lead 100,000-strong Myanmar protest — Military regime shows restraint apparently due to pressure from China

YANGON, Myanmar – As many as 100,000 anti-government protesters led by a phalanx of Buddhist monks marched Monday through Yangon, the largest crowd to demonstrate in Myanmar’s biggest city since a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was brutally crushed by the military.

Marching for more than five hours and over at least 12 miles, a last hard-core group of more than 1,000 monks and 400 sympathizers finished by walking up to an intersection where police blocked access to the street where democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest.

Making no effort to push past, the marchers chanted a Buddhist prayer with the words “May there be peace,” and then dispersed. About 500 onlookers cheered their act of defiance, as 100 riot police with helmets and shield stared stonily ahead. . .

2007
09.22

I’m a di-ti-yo-hi-hi

Here’s something I learned today in the Cherokee language article on Wikipedia:

Due to the polysynthetic nature of the Cherokee language, new and descriptive words in Cherokee are easily constructed to reflect or express modern concepts. Some good examples are di-ti-yo-hi-hi (Cherokee:?????) which means “he argues repeatedly and on purpose with a purpose”. This is the Cherokee word for attorney. Another example is di-da-ni-yi-s-gi (Cherokee:??????) which means the final catcher or “he catches them finally and conclusively”. This is the Cherokee word for policeman.

Also, I found out that Windows Vista and Mac OS X comes pre-installed with a Cherokee language font. Isn’t that cool?!

2007
09.13

I keep meaning to blog more but just haven’t had the time. Work has been way crazy busy lately, with lots of calls coming in from soldiers needing help. I’ve also been on the road a lot, mostly to Ft. Sill but also to other places (county jails and other military bases).

About half of the calls are soldiers going AWOL from Basic training or AIT (because of mental illness, physical health issues, family hardship, or just misreable that they were lied to so badly by their recruiters). The other half are soldiers who have been in longer. Some are Iraq and Afghan war veterans home on leave who don’t want to go back, some are being deployed for the second time and they don’t want to go because they know the war is bogus and they don’t want to kill innocent people, some have countless other problems.

The one commonality between almost all of the cases is that the Army has treated these soldiers horribly. They have been through hell and these soldiers know that the Army doesn’t care about them and that the hype is all lies. Not only do they see through the war (btw, these soldiers tell me that most soldiers, even those who are still obeying orders, don’t believe the war is just anymore) but they see through the whole Army. In fact, most of my clients are folks that I would say were too smart to believe the B.S. The Army tried to break their spirit and reprogram them but the Army failed (Thank God!) and these soldiers have decided to take control of their own lives.

It is frustrating though. I can only do so much. I can’t tell soldiers to break the law (even if it more moral to break the law than to do kill) and I can only do so much to help these soldiers navigate an institution that seems so bent on doing evil. — I should add that while the institution of the Army is about death and killing and evil (I’m sorry but that is how I see it), many of the people of the Army are good folks who are trying to do the best they can in a bad situation.

So anyway all I can do is keep pushing on. So anyway that’s why the blog has been taking a backseat lately. I’m sure I’ll find time to post more in the future but if I can’t that’s why.

2007
09.04

CNN.com: Jerry Lewis apologizes for saying gay slur

MSNBC: Jerry Lewis drops anti-gay slur during telethon — Showman apologizes for ?bad choice of words,? says ?there are no excuses?

It was stunning to hear this in this news because this week had already been reading about many of Jerry’s previous offensive statements towards people with disabilities…

“Lord knows nothing’s less dignified than sitting in a wheelchair.” and “…sitting in a steel prison….” -Jerry Lewis

“My kids cannot go in the workplace. There’s nothing they can do.” -Jerry Lewis

“If you found out you had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you might as well put a gun in your mouth.” -Jerry Lewis

“…Pity. You don’t want to be pitied because you’re a cripple in a wheelchair, stay in your house.” -Jerry Lewis

– Thanks to Kara’s World for these stunning quotes.

I don’t care how much money this guy has raised, his words are poisonous. His gay slur was horrible but what said previously about the disabled is equally bad or even worse. There has to be some better way to raise money for medical research than to let a bigoted celebrity use the disabled as objects of pity to get folks to give.

Here’s some more links discussing Jerry Lewis’s bigotry towards the disabled…

KaraSheridan.com: Protest Pity – a blogswarm that is bringing attention to this issue

Crip-Power.com: From a place of love

The Kids are all right – “a half-hour documentary about a renegade Jerry’s Kid named Mike Ervin. A Muscular Dystrophy Association poster child in the 1960s, today Mike is an outspoken disability rights activist who challenges the MDA’s representation of people with disabilities in its Labor Day telethon through his activist group, Jerry’s Orphans.”

2007
09.01

CNN: Craig to announce resignation Saturday

NY Times: Senator to Quit Over Sex Sting, Officials Say

. . . Officials at the Republican National Committee readied a news release calling for Mr. Craig to resign but withheld it after learning that there were independent efforts under way to persuade Mr. Craig to quit.

Those actions came after the Republican leadership called for an ethics inquiry and stripped Mr. Craig of his leadership posts on three committees after his guilty plea at the beginning of August to what an undercover officer described as a sexual advance in a men?s restroom in the airport terminal.

Despite such unusual steps against a Senate colleague, Republicans took no punitive action against Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, after his acknowledgment this summer of involvement with an escort service that the police described as a prostitution front. . .

I have mixed feelings about this case. In the context of past incidents, the situation looks pretty damning, but after listening to the tape of the police interrogation of Senator Craig, I have to say that the cop’s case against Craig seemed pretty shaky to me. It was a no-win situation for Craig. Not pleading guilty would have meant an arrest and a big media blowup for sure, but the facts as they stood would certainly have provided ample reasonable doubt to acquit him. This is part of the reason I don’t like the fact that the police have so much power in America (at least in some ways), because the public sees an arrest as equivalent to a conviction and the bar is so, so low to arrest someone.

Certainly Craig’s conduct in the restroom was suspicious, but I don’t think that suspicious behavior alone was enough to make an arrest. If Craig had verbally offered to perform a sex act in a public place then fine arrest him (I guess… I don’t see the cops going after straight folks like this) but the mere fact that he did non-verbal things that could be interpreted ambiguously to me is not enough to ruin this man’s reputation.

On the other hand, to me Craig’s conduct after the fact was more troubling. He should have told his wife what went down and I think it would have been best for him to plead not guilty if he did not in fact commit the crime (or at least call an attorney first). He definitely showed poor judgment in not getting an attorney and in covering up the arrest, but can you blame him either?

Honestly, this whole thing seems way blown out of proportion. I think Craig is guilty of being too quick to plead guilty to a crime that he may have not committed, but I’m not sure if that is enough to get him thrown out of politics.

I’m also concerned that this story will be used as yet another example of how “those homosexuals” are deviant perverts. My gay friends are just as moral and just as ethical as my straight friends. I know people do things like seek anonymous sex in bathrooms, but none of my friends (gay or straight) do so. And for that matter, why is having heterosexual sex with prostitutes relatively forgivable (as in the Vitter case), but seeking out gay sex is unforgivable? Maybe it is just me, but this seems like a double-standard.

And even if folks do engage in deviant behavior (and I would say that having anonymous sex in a public place is deviant behavior), they should shown compassion and love. Setting up sting operations to try to ensnare folks doesn’t seem to serve any purpose except provide a societal scapegoat to keep us all riled up about “those perverts” instead of addressing more serious issues like the war in Iraq and the poor and hungry in this country. The front page news should be screaming “PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS ON THE STREETS OF EVERY MAJOR CITY IN THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD,” but instead we get more sex scandals.

Lastly, while it is tempting to go for the jugular and attack yet another hypocritical “family values” politician being brought down, I just can’t find any joy in it. It’s hard to get all hopped up on seeing a man’s life be ruined.

2007
09.01

CNN/AP: Famed ‘beer hunter’ dies

LONDON, England (AP) — Michael Jackson, a leading world beer critic who praised the brews of Belgium and acknowledged he would never be as famous as “that Michael Jackson,” has died. He was 65.

Jackson, known as “the beer hunter,” died Thursday of a heart attack at his home in west London. His body was found by his house cleaner, Paddy Gunningham, his long-term partner, said Friday.

She said he had kept writing and traveling, despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and that he planned to write a book about the ailment.

“He was simply the best beer writer we’ve ever known,” said Tim Hampson, chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers.

“He told wonderful stories about beer, breweries and far away places. He told the story of beer through people, and he was humorous and erudite at the same time,” Hampson told The Associated Press.

Jackson especially loved Belgian brews. His books “The Great Beers of Belgium” and “World Guide to Beer” introduced them to many export markets, including the United States.

By identifying beers by their flavors and styles, and by pairing them with particular foods and dishes, Jackson helped give birth to a renaissance of interest in beer and breweries worldwide that began in the 1970s, including the North American microbrewery movement.

His TV documentary series, “The Beer Hunter” — which popularized his nickname — was filmed around the world and shown in 15 countries.

He worked as a beer critic for more than 30 years, writing in newspapers and gastronomic magazines, holding seminars and giving speeches, appearing on U.S. talk shows and writing books about beer and whiskeys published in 18 languages.

Jackson knew he would never be as famous as Michael Jackson the rock star, and that was reflected on the beer critic’s Web site. “Hello, my name is Michael Jackson. No, not that Michael Jackson, but I am on a world tour. My tour is in pursuit of exceptional beer. That’s why they call me the Beer Hunter,” it says.

Very sad to hear. Michael Jackson helped me to learn most of what I know about beer, thanks to his Pocket Field Guide to Beer and The Great Beers of Belguim. I would definitely add though that the AP story understanded his renown and knowledge. He knew oodles about not only Belgian beers, but also could write in delectable detail about the many, many beers of Germany (particularly Bavaria), Britain, and the US. The man was nothing short of a virtuoso of the art of writing about beer. He made beer come alive, and set an example for beer lovers to embrace not only the glorious flavors of good beer but also the story behind good beers.

He will definitely be missed. I hope he’s enjoying a good beer right now in the hereafter (I reckon if Jesus could turn water into wine, then he could get Mr. Jackson a chalice of Chimay Blue or something equally good. — and for you heretics who think there won’t be beer in heaven, I say rubbish! Who would want to go to heaven if there wasn’t beer to drink? Ben Franklin said it best — “Beer is the proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”)

Here’s a toast to you Mr. Jackson! You will be missed and you will be remembered!