Archive for November, 2006

Blogroll Housekeeping

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Jennifer, formerly of Intous, has moved to Redd Turtles & Blue Ducks. Love the name!

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I wasn’t terribly surprised with my result, given I spend most of my time reading, writing, or running my mouth. Although there is a musical intelligence category, and that one might fit too. What about you? Given the consistently high quality of comments, I’d expect lots of linguistic intelligence among my readers.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

via Deborah at Property of a Lady

Iraqi Prime Minister Disses Bush

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Oops.  al-Maliki decided he didn’t really want to meet with Bush in Jordan after all.  Could that be because of neocon National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley’s memo questioning al-Maliki’s ability to stop sectarian violence?  A pretty funny assessment, coming from an administration that launched a preemptive attack on a sovereign nation and then totally mismanaged the aftermath.

AMMAN, Jordan – President Bush‘s high-profile meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday was canceled in a stunning turn of events after disclosure of U.S. doubts about the Iraqi leader’s capabilities and a political boycott in Baghdad protesting his attendance.

Instead of two days of talks, Bush and al-Maliki will have breakfast and a single meeting followed by a news conference on Thursday morning, the White House said.

The abrupt cancellation was an almost unheard-of development in the high-level diplomatic circles of a U.S. president, a king and a prime minister. There was confusion — and conflicting explanations — about what happened.

Bush had been scheduled to meet in a three-way session with al-Maliki and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Wednesday night, and had rearranged his schedule to be in Amman for both days for talks aimed at reducing the spiral of violence in Iraq.

The last-minute cancellation was not announced until Bush had already come to Raghadan Palace and posed for photographs alone with the king.

There are clearly some other factors at work; al-Maliki was reportedly not interested in King Abdullah’s desire to broaden the talks to include the Israel-Palestine conflict.  He’s also facing pressure from anti-American factions at home — I can’t imagine why.  But it sounds like the Bush administration’s habit of blaming the victim is finally coming home to roost.  Unfortunately, the ones who suffer for it will be our troops and the Iraqi people. 

Judge Tells FEMA To Resume Housing Payments for Katrina Victims

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006


U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon’s ruling sharply criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency for illegally cutting housing funding and subjecting storm victims to a convoluted application process he called “Kafkaesque.”

…FEMA, criticized for responding too slowly to the storm, said in a statement Wednesday that it sent letters outlining the program changes, explaining why some people were ineligible and describing the appeals process.

Leon, however, said those letters contained only program codes and agency jargon and did not explain anything. Some evacuees got multiple letters with conflicting information, he said, leaving families unable to understand why their aid was being cut.

Until FEMA explains itself and allows victims to appeal, Leon said the government must keep making housing payments.

We have a gentleman attending our church right now who is a Katrina refugee.  He was a bank trust officer on the Gulf Coast, but he lost everything to the hurricane.  And you can’t buy a banking job in Birmingham right now — two big mergers in the past couple of years have resulted in huge layoffs.  His aid was cut off, and he’s been spending fourteen days a month at the Salvation Army and the rest of the time living in his car.  Till someone stole the car last week.  Which not only takes away his shelter but also his ability to get around the city and look for work (no public transit worth speaking of here).  Something is wrong with this picture.

“It is unfortunate, if not incredible, that FEMA and its counsel could not devise a sufficient notice system to spare these beleaguered evacuees the added burden of federal litigation to vindicate their constitutional rights,” Leon wrote.

That may be the understatement of the week. 

Totally Clueless or Just an Asshole?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

We report; you decide.  At a reception for incoming congressional members, newly elected Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) tried to avoid George W. Bush, but Georgie just couldn’t take the hint:

“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

This is where a decent human being who isn’t on the power trip from hell would say, “I understand completely, and I hope the situation will allow us to bring home the troops soon,” or something like that.  Not our George.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Oh, by the way, the Bush twins are still partying in Argentina.

Belated Happy Birthday…

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

…to Jeff at Politics In Alabama!

All We Are Saying…

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

…is give peace a chance.

DENVER, Nov. 28 — Peace is fighting back in Pagosa Springs.

Last week, a couple were threatened with fines of $25 a day by their homeowners’ association unless they removed a four-foot wreath shaped like a peace symbol from the front of their house.

The fines have been dropped, and the three-member board of the association has resigned, according to an e-mail message sent to residents on Monday.

And there are peace signs springing up everywhere, including this one:

Town Manager Mark Garcia said Pagosa Springs was building its own peace wreath, too. Mr. Garcia said it would be finished by late Tuesday and installed on a bell tower in the center of town.


How Many More Will Lose Their Homes…

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

because of what we started in Iraq?

I left my home Monday.

As my family fled the fighting that’s engulfed our neighborhood in Baghdad, I gazed out the car window, thinking that I might never again see the fruit stand off our street, the shops where my sisters and I bought soft drinks, the turquoise-domed mosque where we prayed in the holy month of Ramadan.

And to think I’d spent Sunday in my garden, using the forced free time of a curfew to plant geraniums for spring. Later that night, Shiite militiamen encroached on our Sunni enclave; the reverse had happened in so many other neighborhoods, and now it was our turn. Any thoughts of the future were overshadowed by the need to survive the night.

I stood in my home, remembering how my husband and I had told everyone that we’d never leave. I looked at my paintings, the century-old chest, all the antiques that we’d spent days picking out so carefully in Baghdad’s ancient markets. They weren’t just things, they were memories.

I had two suitcases. What to take? I stuffed one with my daughter’s clothes and diapers, along with all our personal documents. Into the other went my smallest painting, a cherished Indian bedspread and warm sweaters for winter.

As we began loading the car, I realized that there was no space for the second bag. With a broken heart, I left it behind.

I told myself they were just material things. There’s nothing we can’t buy except our lives. Nothing was as important as my daughter, and I was just grateful that we’d made it to morning.

These are people, just like us, who are losing their homes — sometimes their lives.  But at the same time I’m reading stories like this, Steve M. points out that readers at the Free Republic say we should do “whatever it takes” to win, and those at Red State want to know, “Can we can unleash hell yet?”  That elusive moral high ground seems to be slipping away.  We haven’t just lost it; we’ve deliberately trashed it. 

World AIDS Day — Local Events

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

ADDENDUM:  For Montgomery residents, there will be a World AIDS Day Interfaith Service at Immanuel Presbyterian Church – 8790 Vaughn Road at 6PM on Friday December 1st.  Contact the church for more info at (334)260-0567 OR Montgomery AIDS Outreach at (334) 280-3349.  (Thanks, brother-in-law!) 

Okay, clearly this post should have gone up yesterday, but I’m going to operate on the “better late than never” principle.  World AIDS Day is Friday, December 1.

World AIDS Day Events – 2006

Monday, November 27th, 11:00 am*
Chapel at Miles College
HIV Discussion Panel
Open to Miles College Students, Staff and Public
Contact: Neonta Williams, 324-9822
*Free HIV Testing following event.
*Clinical Vaccine Trials Information 

Monday, November 27th – Thursday November 30th
UAB HIV Global Health Week – School of Medicine
Lunch Series at Volker Hall at Noon
Tuesday – The Facts, The Faces, The Ways You Can Make a Difference
Wednesday –
Thursday -
Contact: Rebecca Wylie

Tuesday, November 28th, 6:00pm*
Town Hall Meeting
Greater Shiloh Baptist Church
Sponsored by: AIDS Alabama & Boehringer Ingelheim
Contact:  Reshaunda White, 324-9822
*Free HIV Testing

Thursday, November 30, 4:00 -7:00 pm
Open House at Birmingham AIDS Outreach
Contact:  BAO, 322-4197

Thursday, November 30th, 7:00pm
HIV Workshop led by SHAPE
Sponsored by: UAB GSSA (Gay Straight Student Alliance)
Contact: Paige Morrison,

Thursday, November 30th,
The Facts, The Faces, The Ways You Can Make a Difference
Sponsored by: Samford University Social Justice Committee
Contact: Jessie

Friday, December 1st, 11 – 1 NEW
SHAPE/Safe Zone Outreach Table at the HUC
UAB Hill University Center
Contact: Debbie Morgette,
UAB Hill University CenterContact: Debbie Morgette, Contact:  BAO, 322-4197

And click here to light a candle, and share stories if you like, that will support AIDS research.

National Christian Coalition President-Elect Resigns…

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

…because the organization isn’t really interested in doing Christian things.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The president-elect of the Christian Coalition of America has declined the job, saying the organization wouldn’t let him expand its agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative group in January from Roberta Combs, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.

“These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about,” said Hunter, a senior pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.

Good for him.  What will it take to get his compatriots to pull their heads out of the sand (or some other location) and realize that it’s not all about imposing their own personal morality on the masses?  Or, given recent scandals, the morality they claim to have but don’t actually practice?  Holy texts are full of admonishments to care for the poor and speak for the powerless.  When Jesus speaks of the final judgment, he says those who did these things will sit on his right hand.  Nothing about forced childbirth or stopping the homos.

Maybe it’s time for the “Christian” Coalition to change its mission — or maybe change its name and stop pretending to speak for all followers of Christ.  Should I hold my breath?