Archive for the 'politics' Category

I enjoyed this so much, I had to repost it

April 14, 2011

The Colbert Report

Thanks Norma

I am going to resort to stealing

July 8, 2010

blog content for the next few days while I’m really busy with work. I’ll be offering some choice tidbits from some of the blogs I follow.

First, I have been following this blog for a while. I love KnitBuddies textured shawls based upon A Textured Shawl Recipe on Ravelry.

Second, I realized today, after watching this video link, I had to send people off to view this video. It’s too good to miss.

Please, watch it, and as you are knitting, spinning, or engaging in whatever handcraft you enjoy, think about your connection to the planet and healing the planet. We so much need to heal our planet!

http://knitbuddies.blogspot.com/2010/07/kitty-moving-video-on-why-we-knit-found.html

Finally, in closing for today’s thievery, be sure to sign up for the drawing here on the Little Knits blog.

Gotta go! Catch you later this week with more inspired content from my favorite bloggers.

I thought suggesting a random give-away

June 23, 2010

of yarn or yarn gift cards would inspire some of you to let me know that I’m on the right track here. Maybe the association between yarn and the oil spill and the sad state of politics in this country was just too freaky to make such an idea work.

Oh well. The RNK tells me that most people are just not as passionate as I am when it comes to being upset about how things like Miranda Rights are being eroded.

Most people don’t care that the “organic” milk, butter and cheese they buy in the U.S. will probably eventually come from cows who were fed GMO alfalfa based on yesterday’s newest court actions. I don’t see how it will be any other way. GMO and non-GMO alfalfa fields will cross pollinate. There’s no way, short of geographic isolation, to keep that from happening, is there? (Sorry Canada. Did you really want a voice in what happens on your continent?)

Maybe I’m a bit extreme when it comes to my understanding of the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the recent Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project case. You can download the court decision on that one here. Just look for the 6/21/10 Holder v link in the “Recent Decisions” bar on the right-hand side of the page. I’ve seen some news reports saying that the right to negotiate for peace has been eliminated with this ruling. I don’t know if I would go that far. As I’ve said before, I’m not a legal expert; but, I didn’t like what I read.

The bottom line, if we all don’t care and we all feel helpless and we all don’t act, it will never stop. When people abdicate the right to make decisions for themselves, it’s clear that others will step in to make decisions for them. Not speaking up in a democracy equates to giving others control — doesn’t it?

Here I am, being just as bad about my political proselytizing as all the religious folks are about their religious proselytizing. Which I hate. I think an adult human being in this day and age can make up their own mind about religion, thank you.

However, politics are different than religion. People know where to find out about religion if they are interested. They know when they walk into a Catholic church, they will hear the Catholic take on religion; if they walk into a Jewish synagogue they will hear the Jewish take on religion. Or whatever. It’s posted over the door. The sign says, “Enter here, and we’ll tell you our version of truth. It’s a good one; join us.”

Not so with the news and politics. Not always anyway. Most media outlets claim to be unbiased. Yet, mainstream media is pretty much owned by a very few individuals in this country. We do not have the diversity in our press that we had 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. We don’t have the luxury of turning the dial to hear a totally different view on the news. We hear the “take” that the news company who owns the newspapers and radio stations and television stations wants us to hear. We must seek other versions to make our own decisions.

So my political ramblings feel different to me. Maybe they aren’t. What choice do I have though — being an apparently passionate individual — except to just keep plugging away, doing what I think is right? It’s not like I’m knocking on your front door or anything. You don’t have to read this blog if it pains you.

It pains me to see this country become a country that isn’t the one I learned about in grade school. And I’m going to speak up as loudly as I can.

That damn Citron of mine.

June 21, 2010

Or perhaps I should be calling it Kelp. Because of the colors and the bubbles. It’s a cute little free pattern from Knitty. Should be quite easy. I took it on our vacation as mindless knitting.

I got about three and a half of the body repeats done on the trip. Have been slowly working on it here at home. I was on the 14th row of the 5th, and last, repeat when I found myself idly wondering yet again, “I wonder why the yarn overs don’t show up in the pictures on the pattern.” Idle wondering, knitting, more picture looking, knitting. And then it hit me. After completing 13 of the 14 increase rows in this pattern.

There are no yarn overs in Citron. The pattern quite clearly calls for “m1.” Oh well. Mine has bubbles. Kelp. It was, after all, a vacation by the sea.

It all goes to show, it’s pretty easy to delude ourselves. Here it was, right in black and white in front of me, clear as day. I read “m1” and “yo” not once, not twice, but dozens and dozens of times.

Is this human nature? Are we unable to see the world through the fog of our minds? How many other things in the world don’t I “see” because my brain is programed for a different reality? We share a lot with the ostrich in this regard, the ability to put our head in the sand and pretend the tough, scary things aren’t really out there. Not that m1 are so tough and scary. It seems fair to extrapolate though, if what’s going on in this country is any indication.

Curious, isn’t it?

I read a financial newsletter

June 18, 2010

called The Daily Pfennig. It’s all about currencies and financial markets. Today, Chuck Butler, President of EverBank World Markets, the gentleman who writes the newsletter, said this:

Then there was this… This is going to make you want to go yell at the walls, or go outside and yell at the trees… Are you ready? A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia’s Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

Interesting to note in this report is Sagalevich stating that he and the other Russian scientists were required by the United States to sign documents forbidding them to report their findings to either the American public or media, and which they had to do in order to legally operate in US territorial waters. However, Sagalevich says that he and the other scientists gave nearly hourly updates to both US government and BP officials about what they were seeing on the sea floor.

Why did we have to hear about this from the Russians?

The RNK, who listens to XM station 167 and hears news reports that fall outside the mainstream, brought this same information home the other night. The Daily Pfennig only confirms.

Additionally, consider this (from NPR): there are millions of cubic feet of natural gas being emitted along with the oil. That’s hydrocarbons going straight into the atmosphere — well not straight — they are poisoning the ocean first. Global warming?

Although the NPR report didn’t delve into this topic, it sure sounds like a recipe for increased global warming. And, if my grade school science classes serve correctly, the oceans are one of the primary oxygen-generating machines on the planet. Put a thin film of oil over the top of the 11th largest one and that O2 thing is not going to work. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Chuck was right-on with the part about “make you want to go yell at the walls, or go outside and yell at the trees.” However, is that happening?

Stephanie commented on my previous post that most of us feel helpless about the situation and “ordinary people” feel awful things are happening that we can’t do much about. An astute observation to be sure. For example, save Stephanie and two loyal readers, I have received no comments on these angry political posts. There are more readers than that. The blog stats tell me so. Have I not raised a hackle anywhere? No voices of agreement? Nothing? Really?

Are people trying to stick their heads in the sand and pretend/assume “scientists” or “experts” will figure out a way to bail our asses out of this predicament? Is “that” gonna’ happen? I don’t think so.

It’s up to you and me and every other person on this planet to raise our voices against this outrage. We need to do whatever we can to work together on this. Step number one — get angry. We all need to get very, very angry.

Step two — make that anger heard. We need to snap out of complacency and get some action going. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with:

1. Drive less. Use as little oil as possible in your life. I know, it’s really tough because our society is oil-based. But, can you carpool? Could you combine trips? Do you really need to go “there?”

2. Contribute to Sea Shepherd. At least they are doing something to fight for Bluefin Tuna and other endangered species. Maybe you know of other organizations who are fighting against the Corporatocracy of the U.S. Give them money to further the fight.

3. Call your Congressional representatives. You can find phone numbers and email addresses for Senators here and for Representatives here.

4. Shop less in general. Even those on-line purchases require trucks for deliveries. Avoid plastics. Say no to “oil” when ever and where ever you can.

5. Incite others to action along with you. I hijacked my own blog to express my rage at what these corporate bastards have done to our planet. If you have a blog, I encourage you to do the same. If you don’t have a blog — even if you do — I encourage you to express your anger through letters to the editor, calls and emails to call-in shows, discussions with friends and letters/phone calls to politicians. How about a message to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar? (That’s next for me.)

I’m kicking myself all over for having taken a vacation recently that involved driving and flying. I should have never done that. How selfish. The best thing to come of the trip was this: the anger at myself has compounded my anger at BP and our government for allowing a catastrophe of this magnitude to occur. Small consolation.

What next? Perhaps a contest with yarn from my stash as a prize to be randomly selected among commenters who post stories about things they are doing to help take back the planet and make their voice heard. The idea seems a bit contradictory. On one hand I’m asking people to shop less because it contributes to oil use. On the other hand, I’m offering to mail something which is pretty much the same thing. Maybe I could make an on-line payment to your local yarn shop on your behalf; but only if you can ride your bike or walk there. (this last bit said in jest — seriously, I’m not totally deranged. Yet.) Your thoughts please.

I’m off to ponder this impending contest idea. Perhaps I should just get on with it. If you’re not a yarnie and different motivator, one more ecologically sound, would help you get into action, tell me about it. I’m open to suggestions.

The Supreme Court

June 11, 2010

is at it again. This time, they have placed an injunction against the implementation of an Arizona law designed to combat election corruption via campaign finance legislation. Under the contested law, the state would offer matching funds to publicly-funded candidates who face privately-funded rivals.

“State officials and advocates of public campaign finance systems say the matching funds help combat contributions-for-favors corruption and encourage more people to run for office,” reported Paul Davenport, Associated Press Writer. Implementation of the Arizona law will be delayed — or completely derailed — until this fall when the Supreme Court will revisit the case. You can read the complete AP article here.

The injunction is a reversal of a ruling from the Ninth Circuit court. You can read more about the Ninth Ciruit decision here, and the injunction here.

I’m no legal beagle; but, what I’m reading in this case suggests that the law Arizonans passed made great sense and led the way in campaign finance reform legislation.

Although the ruling will affect dozens of candidates at many levels in Arizona, it is interesting to note that the Supreme Court injunction favors a privately-funded candidate in the upcoming governor’s election, Buz Mills. Mills describes himself as a “a true Republican conservative.” Is the Supreme Court offering Americans an impartial decision? Was their injunction a way to help Mills? Perhaps not. But perhaps yes.

And speaking of “Yes” you may find it interesting to read about another Supreme Court ruling that will, according to many, weaken Miranda rights. You can read one take on that ruling here:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/7043243.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/us/02scotus.html

And some editorials on the subject here:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/letters/2010-06-07-letters07_ST_N.htm

I will probably, at some point, show some photos of finished knitting projects. However, my knitting doesn’t seem very important in the face of these two Supreme Court decisions. If you agree, might not hurt to pick up a phone and give your Congressmen a jingle to let them know what you think about what the Supreme Court is up to. I don’t know what good it would do; but, I don’t think it would do any harm. If you need some phone numbers, you can find them here.

Community

June 9, 2010

We just got back from a two-week vacation to the northeastern part of the North American Continent. Not quite as far northeast as you can go, but towards that side of the map anyway.

We spent a few days in Maine, a few days in New Brunswick, several days in Nova Scotia and a few days in Newfoundland. Being in Canada — actually anywhere outside the U.S. — is great. I get sad when I come back to the U.S.

I see a total destruction of community in this country. One town looks like the next with the same strip malls, the same franchises, the same architecture. That’s not what I see in Canada or Australia, the other nations in which I have recently traveled.

Many Americans have no connection to the earth on which we live. Without this connection to earth, to place, to community, we loose the ability to see what is really important. We loose the ability to treat each other and the planet with respect. That’s not what I see in Canada or Australia.

I also get sad when I see the news on television. That’s one of reasons why we don’t have television home. We only see national news shows when we are traveling. Part of the reason I’m sad, angry and depressed about coming back to the U.S. after our trip has to do with what we saw on the news over the last two weeks regarding the disaster in the Gulf.

This country got derailed. We are on the wrong path. We have allowed corporations to take over our country (and, they are not stopping with the U.S.). In my heart, I believe that many, if not most, politicians aren’t elected; they are bought. I respect that many of you don’t believe that. I respect that many of you think that the U.S. still has fair elections. I just don’t believe it for one minute.

How else can you explain the fact that our government allowed a corporation to drill in the Gulf with inadequate protection for our natural resources? How else can you explain the need for “clean-up” of the regulatory agencies who were responsible for the lack of oversight that led to this global disaster? How else can you explain the banking crisis and lack of regulation of the financial institutions in this country?

Greed, corruption, self-importance, power. Are these our values? Unfortunately, it appears that the answer is “yes” for many of the people who shape our government’s policies.

I recognize that there are good, decent politicians out there. For example, Bernie Sanders, Senator for Vermont might be one. There just aren’t enough of them. We need another political party. We need campaign finance reform. We need it now so we can get down to the business of taking care of this planet ASAP. It won’t wait until tomorrow. It may be too late right now; but, we have to try.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know how I hate a pictureless post. Well, here are some pictures for you:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/photogalleries/100608-gulf-oil-spill-environment-birds-animals-pictures/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/03/gulf-oil-spill-photos-ani_n_560813.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/02/2010-06-02_the_hidden_death_in_the_gulf.html

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/bp-bans-workers-sharing-photos-animals-killed-by-oil-spill.php

I hope these photos disturb you as much as they have disturbed me. Something has to goad Americans into action, NOW! I am angry. I am very angry. I will not sit back and let corporate assholes ruin our planet.

Need more proof that it’s happening:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html We need to act now to reverse this sickening trend. Write letters to your Congressmen. You can find email addresses here: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

It feels a little stupid, writing to the very guys I believe are corrupt. On the other hand, writing will let them know you know that they can’t pull the wool over the eyes of the American people any longer. It will let them know that it’s time to straighten up and fly right. We need to seek real political candidates who will actually do the will of the American people instead of try to subvert it in order to make money for an elite few.

Meanwhile, I encourage each and every one of you to take a look at your lives and to see what you can do right now, today, this instant, to help repair your relationship with the earth. Can you use less plastic? Can you consume less? Can you do things that help to lighten your footprint on the planet? I can, I am and I will continue to do so.

What to do? There are a bazillion resources out there. Here’s a good one to start with: http://noimpactman.typepad.com/ Check out that link now — No Impact Man has a video explaining the immediate need for a phone call to your state Senator in the June 8 post. Read about it, then CALL!

I’m sorry if my straying into politics feels wrong to you. It feels right to me. I am going to do everything in my power to stand up for this planet.

What I told VougeKnitting

February 27, 2009

I recently learned, via Annie Modesitt’s blog, Modekint / Knitting Heretic, that VougeKnitting isn’t exactly treating designers fairly (see her post dated Friday, February 06, 2009, “Valuing Our Work”). This distressed me.

It distressed me because I am a graphic designer / freelance writer and I live by the wits of my brain just like a knitting designer does. Well, perhaps not quite “just like” because there is something truly magical about envisioning a 3-D wearable item — or not-wearable item as the case may be — making it, and then describing it in a 2-D format in sufficient detail for someone else to make it too. But, I digress.

A few months ago I received a great offer from VougeKnitting, or so it seemed. Four issues for $15. Wow. That’s good. So I subscribed. The first issue of the subscription came and even though I was somewhat bored with the vast majority of designs in that issue (it’s OK Jared, I liked the gloves) I figured every magazine has a dud now and then. No big deal. Then, I learned of Annie M’s post.

What to do? Well, this is what I did. I didn’t tear off the “letter” from the invoice. This gave me a whole bunch of room to write on the back. Then, I made a note on the invoice saying “Please see reverse side.” And this is what I wrote:

Dear Soho Publishing,
I recently learned that you are only offering designers 10 percent of online pattern sales. I understand that your original contract with these designers did not include any discussion of online sales; although, it did give you rights to resell patterns. In light of the changes the internet has made in the knitting world, your refusal to renegotiate fair terms (I do not see 10 percent as fair) has caused me to reconsider my subscription to your publication. I am a graphic designer / freelance writer and I understand the situation far better than these hastily jotted words may convey. Please cancel my subscription!
Sincerely,
Ruth

In this case, feel free to use any part of my message to VougeKnitting without any compensation.

Three in a row

October 28, 2008

Theoretically, it’s not. Three in a row that is. There was this weekend-thingy that got in the way. However, as far as I’m concerned, a post on Thursday, Monday and Tuesday counts as three in a row.

What has prompted my sudden urge to communicate — frantically, I might add — with the world? I’m in a mess over this election. The resident non-knitter just called to tell me that he spoke with another customer today who is voting McCain-Palin. Why? He doesn’t want that Muslim in office. “But,” the resident non-knitter pointed out, “Obama is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. Besides, what would be wrong with having a Muslim in office?” “Never mind,” the old buzzard grumbled. “I wouldn’t consider a non-American as president.”

“But,” the RNK pointed out, “he is an American citizen. In fact, he must be an American citizen to run for such an office. It is confirmed at the highest level. Obama is American.”

Where do these people get these ideas!? RKN pondered the same thing. So he asked, “Did you hear these things on Fox News?” “Nope,” the man replied, “I don’t watch that stuff.” What does he watch? Or read? Or does he?

Are we a nation of dimwits? Is the unspoken message here that this old geezer does not trust an educated black man over an aging white man? I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

On one hand we have a candidate offering more of the same. I don’t know how all of you out there in cyberspace feel about our economy; but, I for one, shudder when I check my 401K.

WAKE UP AMERICA! What’s good for corporate USA may not be good for all us average people who like to have a little extra cash on hand for a good yarn sale now and then. Please, someone tell me it’s going to be OK!

Edited this afternoon to add the following:
I went out to get the mail, and there were two political flyers from the Colorado Republican Committee. I’ve been throwing these lying garbage sheets out; but, it occurred to me that this might be the source of the untruths people are spouting this election season.

Indeed. I picked one item from one flyer at random and researched it on the web. Here’s the quote from the flyer:

Against tougher penalties for street Gangs. Obama voted against making gang members eligible for the death penalty if they kill someone to help their gang. (H.B. 1812, 2/15/01)

I looked into that. It is true, Obama voted against H.B. 1812. That bill “up-ed” the penalty for any crime committed by gang members. In other words, in a description of the bill offered by the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, that bill “Enhances the sentence for murder, assault, and battery, using the status of the defendant – i.e. that he is a gang member or commits the crime by reason of his allegiance to a gang.”

Hmm. To me that doesn’t sound right. Let’s say I am a member of a knitting gang and I commit a crime. Should I really get a harsher sentence in the courts, possibly even the death penalty, just because I belong to that gang? Is my affiliation with the gang more important than the nature of the crime?

You may scoff at my knitting gang reference; but, who defines gang? In fact the Illinois Republican Governor George Ryan vetoed this very bill. The State Journal-Register editorialized that the Governor’s veto was warranted. Among other comments, they said:

“[H.B. 1812] adds a fuzzy extension of the most serious punishment — a punishment that cannot be reversed. Exactly what is ‘furtherance of gang activity?’ Chances are it will vary from case to case, jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Illinois is in the process of trying to clean up its capital punishment system. That task must be completed before any more laws are passed adding people to death row — especially laws as ambiguous as this one. We urge the General Assembly not to override the governor’s veto on this bill.”

Tough on crime? Here’s a quote from Obama regarding capital punishment from “The Audacity of Hope.”

“While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes — mass murder, the rape and murder of a child — so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.”

Gosh, doesn’t that sound reasonable?

I know this isn’t the most exciting blog reading. I appreciate those of you who have hung in here to this — and I promise it will be — final paragraph. I am just so OUTRAGED by these political manipulations and lies!!!