Saturday, April 21, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

Don't have much to say at the moment, but it looked like we needed a new thread. So Happy Earth Day!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Open Thread

Photo courtesy of I can has cheezburger?

Some new posts at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, by the way.


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The Pet Food Nightmare Just Keeps Getting Worse!

Royal Canin USA Announces The Voluntary Nationwide Recall of its Dry Pet Food Products Containing Rice Protein Concentrate

Rice Protein Concentrate from China Tainted With Melamine DerivativePrompts Recall Announcement

ST CHARLES, Mo., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Royal Canin USA is announcing today that the company has determined there is a melamine derivative in the rice protein concentrate in some of its dry pet food products.

Although Royal Canin USA has no confirmed cases of illness in pets, we have decided to voluntarily remove all of our dry pet food products containing rice protein concentrate. We are taking this proactive stance to avoid any confusion for our customers about which Royal Canin USA products are safe and which products may be affected.

See also the ASPCA Pet Food Recall Resource Center. There have been other recalls and developments this week.

On a related note, the lead story in this week's ASPCA newsletter is on homemade pet food.

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Thursday's Broadcast of "Crossroads"

Crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy

America At A Crossroads

Tonight's Films:

I can't praise Crossroads enough. It's a fascinating series. Its discussions of Islamic fundamentalists and radicals, as well as of Islamicism, which is an ideology not a faith, reinforces my long held belief that *all* fundamentalists are the same, regardless of what faith (or secular belief) first gave rise to them. I can't tell you how many times tonight I nodded and said, "Yup. Just like American Christian fundamentalists."

The first of tonight's films, Faith Without Fear, dealing with a young Muslem-Canadian woman's quest for an authentic yet inclusive and ever-growing Islam, reminded me a good deal of the history of Medieval and Modern Catholicism. The film maker spoke of the Islamic tradition of scholarship, inquiry and logic, much like the similar Catholic tradition. However, when confronted with change and attack, Islam withdrew into restrictive, "traditional" interpretations of the faith, much as some Catholics retreated and still retreat.

The second film, Struggle For The Soul Of Islam, picked up some of the themes of Faith Without Fear, while also looking back to earlier films dealing with Islamicism and the radicalization of some Muslems.

The series has also reinforced my deep conviction that the United States, especially though not exclusively under Fearless Leader, itself causes and/or fuels a great deal of the hatred aimed at it. Through our foreign policy, our often thoroughly revolting masse "culture" with its worship of violence and obscenity, our economic imperialism, and our nursery-level conviction that, naturally, the entire world wants to be just like us, we quite naturally turn a very great many people elsewhere in the world off in a *big* way. Even at the time of September Eleventh, I said that I understood why the highjackers did what they did. I abhorred it, but I understood it. I have been inveighing against America's excesses and stupidity since early adolescence. These things can't possibly be so bloody hard to see!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Markos, you're fired

Originally posted at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance.

I guess it all depends on what you consider to be "obscene". I'm not overly fond of "f-bombs", and tend to use them sparingly, if at all.

But I'm less fond of hypocrisy, double standards, and community rules that are applied idiosyncratically.

Today, Maryscott O'Connor posted a response to the Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on so-called "Partial Birth Abortions". It was filled with righteous outrage, and, yes, there was that f-word in the title. As discussed in the post I just linked, and in this follow-up, there is no stated *rule* at Daily Kos that profanity in diary titles is forbidden, only that it is "strongly discouraged". Markos changed the title of Maryscott's diary and removed it from the recommended list, even though well over 200 community members had recommended it.

Just enforcing the rules he's set for his blog? Hardly. Or at least, hardly in any sort of consistent, unbiased manner. Stormbear found plenty of evidence of diaries with that same offending word that were posted in the past year.

But I don't need to delve into all of that, as a number of people already have that covered. I will say that, in my humble opinion, this is a pretty clear example of some misplaced priorities. "Naughty words" in diary titles are a big deal, but death and rape threats against a female tech blogger can be dismissed as not worthy of your serious consideration? Not worthy of *any* effort on your part to discuss what positive steps you *would* be willing to support? Now, to me, *that* is pretty darn obscene.

This all came on the heels of Don Imus being fired for his racist, sexist remarks, and somebody (sorry, I can't remember who, or where) said it was too bad we couldn't fire Markos.

Guess that *would* be hard to do, since we never actually "hired" him. But, be that as it may, I've seen him and his site quoted by lazy reporters as "the view from the left". So, even though I never consented to "hiring" him as our spokesperson, I hereby announce that I am (symbolically) firing him.

Representatives of the media, and Democrats seeking to do legitimate "netroots outreach", kindly take notice.

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Lots of serious stuff in the news today. As usual, feel free to post links to the stories that interest you--I've added a few links to my shared items here. And there are some new posts at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance as well.

But for the front page here, I decided I'd much prefer to end the day with this adorable picture of Knut the polar bear, via Cute Overload.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Open Thread

Earth Day is just around the corner. Have anything special planned?

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A lot of kids need their REAL daddies and mommies to come home

I just saw this at Crooks and Liars: The troops want to “finish the job”?

Apparently that's what Bush said in a speech today. Steve at C&L adds:

...last week, once soldiers started hearing about Bush extending their tours, there were “outbursts of anger and frustration laced with dark humor.” Specialist Rodney Lawson, to no one in particular, said, “If I get malaria, I get to leave, right?”
Earlier today, I saw an essay in the Columbus Dispatch (originally from the New York Times News Service) entitled Flat Daddy leaves mommy deflated. Alison Buckholtz, the wife of a Navy pilot and mother of two small children shared her thoughts on having a "Flat Daddy"--a life-size cutout of her husband's likeness--in her home.
...He was a fake husband whose frozen cheerful expression -- the same dimpled grin I'd fallen for on a steamy August evening at a cafe in Washington -- gave me no comfort. He only reminded me of what I was missing.

But Ethan and Esther loved hanging out with Flat Daddy, so I couldn't take him out of their lives. Instead, whenever I needed a reprieve, I'd put him in the upstairs office, where they never went, and then I'd feel guilty and immediately return him to the family room.

One morning, we headed off to my son's preschool, where that day another 4-year-old was giving a presentation about his dad, who was stationed in Iraq for the year.

But Ethan refused to enter the room, crying hysterically and clinging to me as I tried to leave. When the teacher explained to him that the little boy was going to talk about his daddy because he missed him, Ethan started screaming, "But I miss my daddy!"

I offered to go home to get Flat Daddy. My son looked at me as if I had lost my mind, then burst into a fresh round of crying: "Flat Daddy's not real" was all he could say.

Flat Daddy was no substitute for an ongoing conversation about how real Daddy's absences were affecting us. Watching my son come unglued forced me to see that Flat Daddy wasn't fooling anyone.
Ms. Buckholtz goes on to say that she admires the creativity and generosity of the people who are offering Flat Daddies (and Mommies) to the families of those serving in the military overseas, but "it's all in how it works for each family". She came to realize that, for her own family, a better solution was to tuck Flat Daddy away in a corner of the guest room, and spend more time talking with the kids about how real Daddy's absences were affecting them.

I can't help but think that I'd like to see Flat Daddies and Mommies sent to the people who are pushing to continue this war. I want them to have to look at those faces every day, and be reminded that they are actual human beings who are being kept from their families, and who are missing important milestones as their children grow up.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Take back the blog! blogswarm

Click the graphic to read about the upcoming blogswarm.

This is an open thread.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007


A post by Subway. I changed the text color to something in the same color "family", but which hopefully won't give people migraines when they try to read it.

Well, of all the time I've had my gizmo up and functioning, I've spent about 3 dedicated hours with the electrodes on and looking at the screens. The most important of which is the "Internal Coherence" measurement that powers the 'Butterfly Game.'

The game is based on the premise that the harmonics of the heart tend to rest in one of three emotional ratios. The Ratio in the area of .6hz on the scale indicates touch receptiveness. This is the frequency that one gets when experiencing a hug, for example.

At the other end of the emotional scale is 1.6hz. When your harmonics are rested here you are said to be more 'concept inclusive' and less 'touchy-feely.'

In the center of these is .8hz. Resting your harmonics here is said to indicate a 'peaceful balence' between the others.

The first object of the game is to find out where your harmonics naturally on the graph, and after a few moments mine rested at about .7hz, with the peak moving up and down to indicate the overall strength of the signal. The first thing that I learned from this is that if you see a subtle emotional peak coming on you can try to catch and increase the peak in virtually real time. This was quite a revelation.

The second part of the game is where the wellness training starts. I was amazed that my .6hz peaks were almost off the scale, and I feel really good about that. But the second point of the game is not only to learn to move the butterfly up and down at your favorite resting place, but also how to move the the butterfly from left (.6hz) to right (1.6hz). The ability to move left/right is what the medical community calls Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and is widely recognized as a remarkable indicator of overall health.

So it seems as I begin my studies in earnest, as I learn HRV I will also be learning to turn Compassion into Concept.

Finally, as you can see in the picture, two people can play this game at the same time, and when the their butterflies touch, their hearts are singing in unison.

I find this all fascinating.

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