Apr 30, 2007

Spotlight on Fred Thompson

The GOP base isn't satisified with the current candidates, by most accounts. Rudy Giuliani is too liberal, John McCain is a maverick republican who can't be trusted to support the party, and Mitt Romney doesn't have a consistent record on hot-button issues (and he's Mormon.)

Fred Thompson is a hot topic right now.

He's most known for his involvement in the unearthing of the Watergate scandal, and his performance in several movies and TV shows as a person in various positions of governmental authority. Republicans like him because he's a true conservative, he's a loyal party member, and he's a movie star. They're looking for a Reagan, maybe he's it.

Why I like him: he has experience with governmental corruption. He's varied in his approach to welfare and immigration-- he's not a hard-nosed "let's slash welfare" or "keep 'em out" type republican, he's more like, "let's reform weflare and keep food stamps" and "let's allow more people visas to work in the united states", kind of republican. I'm all for moderation. I also like him because he was against the impeachment of Bill.

Why I don't like him: His stance on the war is just about the opposite of mine. He supports the original occupation on the grounds that "even if there weren't WMD, Saddam could have started on some." Etcetera. But at least he admits that the war has been botched a bit.

I also don't like him because I just can't stomach the thought of an actor being president. Particularly because his roles have sometimes BEEN president, secretary of whatever, and even himself in the watergate scandal. Are republicans that desperate? Is America really that Shallow? Maybe hollywood really is the god that we worship.

Added note: James Dobson says that Fred isn't Christian enough, which I find ironic because he supported Newt Gingrich, whose moral history is less than stellar. This is a sore point to me, actually-- why does the president have to be christian? Where did that get us with George W? It's easy to say that you are a Christian. What do your actions portray? That's the real question.

Here are some good links about him.

Fred on the war
Fred's stardom
Fred on the issues
Fred's Wikipedia

By the way,despite what Dobson may think, (sorry, feeling a little ticked right now) Mitt Romney IS a Christian. And so am I. So there, all you Evangelicals. By the way, "the Mormons" is airing on PBS tonight, 9:00 eastern time. I'm excited and curious and also dreading it a little. I want to know what you guys think, so don't miss it!

SRM-- The African Aids Crisis

"Sub-Saharan Africa... has been more severely affected by AIDS than any other part of the world. In 2006, the United Nations reports, there were in the range of 24.7 million HIV-positive persons in the region, which has just over 11% of the world's population but about 64% of the worldwide total of infected persons. The overall adult rate of infection in Africa in late 2005 was 6.1%, compared with 1% worldwide. By the end of 2005, an emstimated 28.9 million or more Africans had died of AIDS since 1982, including 2.1 million in 2006, which comprised about 72% of global AIDS death in 2006. AIDS has surpassed malaria as the leading cause of death in AFrica, and it kills many times more Africans than war. In Africa, about 59% of infected adults are women."

That's from this link.

The WHO and UN and all those other organizations responsible for the oversight of potential crises on a national scale, predicted this several years ago.

Here's the sad part: because of patent protection on the medications that were developed to combat the virus and its opportunistic morbidity, very few in Africa had access to the help that they needed. It was only in 2005, when the protection period for the patents ended, that generic versions of the drugs could be produced and distributed on a large scale. Before the period ended, it was about $100,000 per year per person for AIDS medication. Now we're running int he hundreds of dollars.

There are people who would say that this is a necessary evil, in order to promote research and free economy etcetera. But here's the deal-- when a necessary evil results in millions of deaths, I think it goes from being necessary to just plain evil.

Nelson Mandella initiated a program to produce generic drugs to help the afflicted in South Africa, and the pharmaceutical companies attempted to sue him. In the words of the (now famous) aphorism, "It's a bad idea to try to sue Nelson Mandela."

Now, thank goodness, Aids medicines are not prohibitively expensive. The Gates foundation, among others, actively campaigns for AIDS relief.

Apr 23, 2007

SRM-- how to save water.

Guess what the world's most sought-after-resource is right now? If you said oil, you were like me but you got it wrong.

It's water. If some of you listened to the link I put up last week, you'll know one of the many reasons why water may fast become a rare resource (it is already a precious resource.)

There are people who walk several miles and then dig for their water, and then carry it on their backs those same miles home, just so that they can cook and have water for drinking, to say nothing of hygiene or other essentials. I read a book once, I wish I could remember the name of it, that was an exchange of letters between two women. One of them lived in NY in an apartment, and the other went on a peace corps mission to Africa with her husband. It was a difficult experience for her. I vividly remember one passage in the book that described her reaction to coming home. She walked into the airport and saw a decorative fountain, and the cool, running water used merely as decoration made her break down right there in the middle of the airport.

For the most part, we don't worry about water in America. We don't really even think about it. What is cheaper than water? We flush the toilet, we take a long, hot shower, we leave the water running when we step away from the sink while doing dishes. Those gallons of clear, potable water are worth lives somewhere else.

There are many simple, convenient ways that we can save water in our own households. If you would like to take a moment, here's a nice link.

Apr 20, 2007

I've joined the dark side

We are now a MacFamily. I don't mean that we have decided to cast off our vegetarian philosophies and start eating big macs on a daily basis, I mean that I am now the proud user of a Mac Book Pro. Skywalker got his 17-incher when he started working for the startup company almost a year ago, and now that he has his new job, he's been given a 15-incher to use. Strange, because his current employer tends to favor Dell, but apparently the previous person who held his position was a Mac Lover.

Even though my dad works for Intel and I've had to defend the PC, I must say that my first loyalty is to the software and hardware that does so much to support myself and my mad writing endeavors. And so, farewell, dear Microsoft. I have found another.

And I must say, I'm quite enamored.

Side note-- Skywalker now has his blog up. I will only post it once, though, because I don't want too many people to know our real names ;)

Apr 18, 2007

Amazing picture

This is a picture of a certain grove of pine in Michoacan, Mexico, where millions of Monarch butterflies overwinter every year.

The orange in the picture is not due to tree foliage.

what an amazing world we live in.

Apr 16, 2007

the perfect vegetarian sandwich

The perfect vegetarian sandwich consists of the following items, in descending order of importance:

1) Good bread. We like Aspen Mills, which is whole wheat with very little else. We buy it at Sam's for a cheap price. Any whole wheat or stone-ground-wheat bread (check the ingredients, if it says simply "wheat flour" it doesn't count, and color is no indication,) it will work.

2) Avacado. A nice, ripe avacado will yeild slightly upon pressure. Hard ones will not taste good, and rotten ones are gross. Sometimes you can buy hard ones and put them in a dark paper bag or other container with a banana and they'll ripen up nicely. You smear this in lieu of mayo or other spreads.

3) sprouts. Sprouts MAKE a veggie sandwich. If you don't like sprouts, try them again in a sandwich-- you might like them this time. Don't get hot sprouts. Alfalfa and broccoli taste the best, IMO.

4) Onion. Very thinly shaved. If you don't like onion, you're allowed to forego this, but you might need to add some seasoning like lemon pepper, a light sprinkle of garlic salt or onion powder to your avacado in order to enhance the flavor.

5) A nice, ripe tomato, sliced thin.

6) Nice, crisp romaine lettuce leaves (or spinach, if you prefer).

7) If you don't mind being un-vegan, I'm noticed that a couple of pinches of parmesan cheese over the avocado is very nice.
8) olives, sliced thin, are a favorite with us.
9) We also like to shave off the green part of a broccoli floret so that all the little green things fall over the avocado. This lends nice flavor and crunch, but not too much because you aren't getting the woody stems.

Voila, the perfect vegetarian sandwich, with no unhealthy ingredients, and a nice amount of fat and calories to stave off those mac attacks. They taste verrrry nice, too.

Apr 15, 2007

SRM-- Global Warming: it really is.

This is for those of you out there who still don't believe that Global Warming is a real, scientifically-verified fact that has already begun affecting the lives of people on this earth drastically.

It is also for those of you who just want to listen and take a moment of social responsibility. Also for you to pass along to those who are still in need of conversion.

Apr 12, 2007

Spotlight-- Senator McCain

You know what? Senator McCain, when he speaks, sounds remarkeably similar to president Bush. And I don't just mean his use of sibilants and dipthongs. Today, he spoke out in favor of the troop surge, comparing the situation in Iraq to the situation in Rwanda, saying that if we just pull out of iraq, the same thing will happen, only worse.

Some people said it was McCain's finest moment.

Others are afraid that it's a sign of his caving, to please the conservative republican base.

Still others say that it's a sign that McCain has decided to eschew politics in favor of just speaking his mind; he wants to make a splash saying what he really believes, because he has nothing to lose-- he's old, he's had his political career, and this presidency is not necessarily the highest priority for him anymore.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. The stories I've heard about Senator McCain-- him taunting from the back row as republican senators meet to decide on how to vote, considering running on Kerry's ticket as VP and seriously considering switching parties, the whole campaign finance reform thing, make me like him.

And while I'm pro troop-surge, I'm not sure that this latest has made me like him. I really hope that McCain doesn't become a party pleaser. Because his lack of party-pleasing is what makes him most attractive to me.

My chief objection to him as president is that I'm worried it might be more of the same-- he's an outspoken, not-too-fond-of-oversight republican. I think America has had enough of that, don't you? Let's find someone who is willing to listen to other people. That's my opinion.

Apr 9, 2007

SRM-- James Nachtwey, winner of 2007 ted prize

James Nachtwey has been photographing since 1981. He won a prize this year from TED. This talk has some disturbing images (war, famine), but his message is powerful. I hope you get a chance to get over there and take a moment.

Apr 7, 2007


You scored as Brownie Sundae. You are the center of attention. People are drawn to you because you are both hot and cool. You are also rather messy and you give some people a stomach ache.

Brownie Sundae


Moldy Brownie


Gourmet Brownie


Crumbly Brownie


Oily Brownie


Nut Brownie


Surreal Brownie


Magic Brownie


Healthy Brownie


Plain Old Brownie


Diet Brownie


Microwave Brownie


Trendy Brownie


What kind of brownie are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Apr 6, 2007

what color red

You Are Apple Red

You're never one to take life too seriously, and because of it, you're a ton of fun.

And although you have a great sense of humor, you are never superficial.

Deep and caring, you do like to get to the core of people - to understand them well.

However, any probing you do is light hearted and fun, sometimes causing people to misjudge you.

Apr 4, 2007

Seriously divided

I'm actually not sure. I'm totally against Barbie, but I'm all for negating blond stereotypes.

Mostly, I think this is hilarious.

Apr 2, 2007

SRM-- responsible clothing

As a follow up on last Monday's post, here is the research that I have been doing about socially responsible products. I focus on clothing this time. If you go look at these catalogues, you'll see that some of the clothing (shoes, esp) are a little more pricey than one would normally pay, I don't know if this is because it's more socially responsible, or because they're marketing to a certain audience. But other clothing is quite affordable, if you look.

My only beef-- I like to look cool.


An article with links to all the most known stores: Clothes for change