Category: politics


THANK YOU JON STEWART! I laughed so hard I’m crying.

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http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=224276&title=tea-party-tyranny

Catnip Snow

(Gilmore Girls episode “Love and War and Snow”, Season 1)

Lorelai: It was the snow. You know how I get, it’s like catnip.

Snow Angel

Snow Angel, photo by Jen Gray (www.jengray.com)

Lorelai: Wait, close your eyes and breathe. I smell snow.
Rory: Ah, it’s that time of year.
Lorelai: Can’t you smell it?
Rory: You know, it’s like dogs and high-pitched noises. I think it’s something only you can smell.
(Rory sits down next to Lorelai and pulls a blanket over the both of them)
Lorelai: I love snow.
Rory: Really, I had no idea.
Lorelai: Everything’s magical when it snows, everything looks pretty. The clothes are great. Coats, scarves, gloves, hats.
Rory: Thermal underwear, wool socks, ear flaps.

It’s a perfect snow today.  Fable snow.  Perfectly pretty, easy to clear off the car, the roads were fine.  I saw Jen’s photo that I posted above over the weekend – after a week of bitter cold and ice that was impossible to get rid of, this photo reminded me of the joy of snow.  And today, I’m lucky enough to experience it first hand.  Makes me wish I could go take photos rather than sit in the office!

The snow had me in a wonderful mood today.

I’m trying to stay in that happy moment, but cold harsh reality is pissing me off.  I want to rant about it, but it’s at the point where I can’t even form words to describe how I feel sick in the stomach.  If you are in a good mood and don’t want to read this entry further, I don’t blame you one bit.  So the rest is behind the cut.

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Inauguration

I’ve been trying to figure out how to put this past week in words, and I’ve been at a loss.  Definitely a week for change, for inspiration, for optimism, for doing more than our share.

The trip to DC started Monday afternoon.  On the drive down, an amazing interview on NPR with Congressman John Lewis. I had never heard of him before, but was inspired by his story.  Amazed that within his lifetime things would change so much, and that yet there would still be work left to do.  He earned even more of my respect when he supported same sex marriage, because opponents are showing the same fear and discrimation as racism.

So, on Martin Luther King day, the day before we watched the first black president take his oath of office (kinda), this piece moved me to realize just how little I have done for any cause.   Random and I both felt we need to do more.  However, wherever, for whatever cause or injustice we believe in.  It changed me in little and large ways that I can’t explain because I haven’t even said some of them out loud.  I only hope I can keep the momentum and follow through with those desires, not getting bogged down in the daily grind.

The next day, the message would be reinforced even further.

Monday evening lead us to the Rock and Roll Hotel for a Burner meet and greet.  A few familiar faces, and met a few new ones (forgot half their names), we enjoyed some beers and some of our favorite DJ’s before heading back, staying with a college friend of Random’s on the outskirts of DC.

We had wavered on the decision to head out to the mall, and while we decided to go, events kept us up much later than anticipated and that 5:30 am alarm was quite unwelcome.  By the time we were all vertical, the news reported that the areas in front of the jumbo-trons were completely full to capacity.  So, we bought champagne and watched the inauguration on an HDTV, with our host and one of his friends in Maryland.  While we do miss that we weren’t out in the crowd for it, really we didn’t miss standing in the cold for hours.

I probably don’t need to share the details of what was shown – we laughed over the flub of the oath.  We were moved by the musical performance – I love Yo-Yo Ma, and it doesn’t matter to me that they didn’t risk a poor performance and played a recording.  You could see the joy in his face when the tempo of the piece picked up, and nothing was more thrilling than hearing an amazing piece and seeing their joy at doing what they love at such a momentous event.

We didn’t watch the parade.  Eh, it was just a parade… Besides, we had bigger things to do.  Or littler.  Um, ok.  So we played Little Big Planet.  That game is awesome!

Back in DC at night, we attended the Art for Change Ball.  This ball was thrown by artists and Burners in the DC area, including some that we knew from our regional burn event, Playa Del Fuego.  Several DJs and dance floors, art, fire performances and a variety stage filled two buildings and one tent.  Getting past the security checkpoint made us go the entire way around the block, but as soon as we came around a corner and heard the music from the tent, a smile came across our faces.

Speaking of security, as I was showing my ticket and passing through the checkpoint, in my red wig and monstrous green fake fur coat, carrying my travel hoop, the guard called me an artist.  I was not there to perform.  My costume was among the plainer ones, the fur coat chosen for it’s warmth, and the wig just because it wouldn’t have been special enough for a “ball” without it.  His simple statement made me smile, and realize that the things I do CAN make me an artist.  Just maybe – despite my feelings of inadequate action that began the day before – I do change things around me in little ways.  I don’t mean this to be an egotistical thing, but just an awareness of how we can affect those around us, even if it just means looking (to some) a little silly.

We caught pieces of some performances: one singer on the variety stage in a red boa, two dance pieces in the main room (one was a powerful piece about how some in our country respect the flag much more than their fellow human beings, as they danced on and poured dirt/water on an American flag), fire performers, and again, some excellent DJ’s.

Towards the end of the night, I sat resting and watched other ball attendees walking past in their tuxedos and gowns.  Every once in a while, people would hear the beats of DJ Everyday, look up and see our group dancing in the windows, and cheer and dance as they walked.  I liked to imagine that they were bored at the stuffy ball they were coming from, and wished fervently that they had known about OUR ball.  Maybe that’s just my imagination.  In any case, we gave and received some smiles and waves, perhaps reminding us of what we have in common rather than our differences.

An interactive art project involved temporary tattoos and asked us to share photos - see http://www.flickr.com/photos/hope2009

DJ Everyday never fails to move us, even if it’s only emotionally once our dancing shoes came off, and we stayed past the close of the metro… a move we soon learned we’d regret.  We hit the frigid streets and kept walking, as everywhere we were behind other people trying to hail cabs as well.  Eventually, we got away from the crowds and began seeing available cabs once again.  Saved! Or not.  We needed to go to the very edge of DC, and every cab we hailed either said “no” or just took off without saying a word.  This went on, and on, and on.  I really don’t know how long we were out there.  At least an hour, probably more like one and a half… It felt like a year.  By the time a cabbie agreed to take us, I had been long past my breaking point.  Even when we were home, I sat curled up under a blanket for an hour shivering.

With time, hot tea, and advil, I was eventually able to feel warm and fall asleep.  We slept in the next morning, and went for an expensive but always worth it meal at Eggspectations, and goofed off before heading home just in time for traffic.

While I didn’t witness the inauguration in person, the trip was more than worth it.  And it was a kick ass party as well.

So, after this inaugural week, I feel blessed for the community which inspires me and surrounds me with creative people.  I feel lucky to be able to bring a part of that into the “mundane” world and inspire, shock, or keep people on their toes.  I am so thankful to be alive and in love at a time where – in most of the country, at least – I don’t have to worry about physical harm or danger because of who I love.  I feel responsible and inspired for doing more, for doing everything that I can do – because it still won’t measure up to the sacrifices of so many, but we can’t let that stop us from trying.

Change is the word of the week.  But the quote of the week for me is not something that John Lewis or President Obama said.  It was a little line in a little blog.  A little blog about knitting, which has inspired it’s readers to donate a total of $590,768 (to date) to Doctors without Borders, and just raised the goal amount to an even $1 million.

Andy said “As we head off into a year of uncertainty, there is one thing I know is true. Things will be better if we all take care of each other than they will be if we don’t take care of each other.”

There’s change around us that is beyond our control, but we always can control who we are and what we do – and when times are rough, that’s when what we do matters most.

So, I raise my glass to President Obama.  I don’t look upon him blindly as someone to save us and solve all our problems, but he has better answers than anyone I’ve heard in a long time.  I admire him, congratulate him on having the courage to take such a historical step, and I look forward to witnessing him create a legacy of lasting, beneficial change.

Let us all be the change we seek, for we are not one person called President, not even just one country, but residents of a planet which cries out for freedom, justice, peace, and love for each and every one of us.

(Aside – Burning Man tickets go on sale tomorrow Wednesday January 14th!!! Didn’t want that info to get buried.)

You may not have heard about this, but chances are, you will.

I heard something in passing but never paid attention.  Today, I read about a hooper selling her hoops in Oregon who was told she can no longer sell them by shop owners.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) came about as a result of the toy recall in 2007 where some items produced in China containing high lead content, unsafe parts, and dangerous chemicals.

But they got a little carried away.   All manufacturers of items for children under 12 are now facing tight restrictions, prohibitively expensive testing fees, and enough legal hoops to close thousands of small businesses.

One poster on the Etsy forums for the CPSIA owns a small bookstore where 2,000 children’s books have been pulled from the shelves and must be destroyed, not even given away for free.  Any uncertified items are “contraband” and it will be illegal to sell or give away items to charity - even perfectly functional items must be destroyed or thrown in our landfills.

Thrift stores won’t be able to sell any children’s items.  The children’s consignment shop that only came to my town recently may have closed it’s doors already, I don’t know.   (ETA: I hear that used clothing is excluded, but new clothing is not… But I have not confirmed this.)

There is speculation over how this will affect taxes for schools (since educational supplies and textbooks are currently included) and even the simple availability of parts to repair a child’s bicycle.  This does not only affect the small businesses run out of homes, and parents of children under 12, but really affects us all.  The price to test items can run up to $4,000 PER ITEM – which most one-of-a-kind, small production companies or crafters cannot afford.

Even if you are an adult, purchasing something as simple as a hula hoop for yourself, this law can impact you.  As the nation is facing an economic crisis, costs of toys and clothing will increase and selection will decrease.

This really will affect all of us - please take a moment to read up on the act and take action.  Here are several resources and recommended ways to voice your opinion!  Also please write to your Congress Person and Senator to request changes to save handmade children’s products – a sample letter is here, and you can find your Congress Person and Senator here.

CPSIA Government site – The act is open for public comment on the latest exemptions to the Act until January 30.  (See PDF file for full information here)

Comments must be received by the Office of the Secretary no later than January 30, 2009.  Comments may be filed by email to Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov. Comments may also be filed by facsimile to (301) 504-0127 or by mail or delivery to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814. Comments should be captioned “Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts.” Interested persons will also have additional opportunities to comment following publication of any notices of rulemaking proceedings in the Federal Register which are commenced under this section.

Buy Handmade blog

Save Handmade! BuyHandmade.org
(Get this tag on the buyhandmade blog!)

A blogging crafter’s personal story about public apathy regarding this act

Handmade Toy Alliancepetition here

National Bankruptcy Day

Change.org – vote, and this issue may be one of 10 the site brings to a Washington DC seminar

Another petition

Reform CPSIA – information on a class action lawsuit for consumers and businesses

We all want children to be safe and protected from harmful items, but this act is a totally inappropriate reaction to the events in 2007 and innocent people are the victims.  Please speak up and let your voice be heard.  Thank you.

I haven’t gotten political yet.  Meaning, I’ve barely talked, researched, done much except keep one eye on political news (and not watching much TV news or debates at all)

I’m about to.  I mean no offense to anyone with differing views, and respect all opinions that are made with SOUND judgement, and not just blind reactions to smear campaigns.  One reason I DON’T get involved in political discussions is that most of the time, I don’t know enough to back up my side.  But I know enough for me, personally, to be comfortable and I’m content with that for the most part.

More under the cut!

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