Thursday, January 31, 2008

A million+ dead

According to a survey done by a major polling group in Britain, over 1 million Iraqis have died as a result of the 2003 invasion by the US. The survey was done by Opinion Research Business (ORB) This was reported in the NYT yesterday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I really need to move to Vermont. Kurt Daims, a resident in Brattleboro, VT started a petition to have Bush and Cheney arrested for crimes against the Constitution. The petition received enough signatures to have the Select Board of Brattleboro consider it and they voted in favor of allowing it on the March 4th ballot.
It reads:

"Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?"

Unfortunately, even if it passes it will have no legal standing as the town's attorney and police have no authority to write an indictment against, or arrest the President or Vice President.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

California Clean Car Discount Act

I know this will never happen in Texas but California is considering a bill called the California Clean Car Discount Act that will impose charges and grant rebates based on a car's carbon dioxide emisions. "One-time registration fees of up to $2,500 would be levied on new gas guzzlers, such as Hummers, Dodge Vipers and Chevy Tahoes. Some cleaner sport utility vehicles, pickups and minivans would be exempt from any charge, while the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and other fuel-efficient cars would get hefty rebates."
Similiar laws have been enacted in Canada, Finland and France.
Maybe a tax like this would discourage these idiots from buying these stupid gas guzzling polluters. If not, I'll be happy to take my rebate check.

Monday, January 28, 2008


The British newspaper the Guardian reported today that 800 people have been killed in Kenya and 225,000+ displaced since the disputed presidential election. What started out as a political dispute between the incumbent Kibaki and his rival Odinga has turned into a battle between rival ethnic groups. The violence is so widespread that some feel that if something isn't done soon there will be a civil war and Kenya will lose everything they have worked so hard to achieve. The economy is down, as well as tourism, and Kenya, is no longer seen as the role model for economic stability and peace by other African nations. As is usually the case in these types of conflicts, the one who are suffering the most are the poor and defenseless, although violence is spreading to the wealthier areas.
I have been to Kenya and met some wonderful people there. It's hard to imagine what they are going through because of this. Lets hope there will be some resolution soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Michael Moore's Sicko has been nominated for this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary. There may not be an Oscar show this year because of the writer's strike which will be a disappointment to those of us hoping to hear another acceptance speech like the one he gave in 2003 when he won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine.
Three of the other films nominated for Best Documentary are Taxi To the Dark Side, Operation Homecoming, and No End in Sight. These three are about the Iraq war. The 5th nomination is War/Dance which is about children in a refugee camp in Uganda who enter a dance competition.
I love documentaries and am so glad that they are getting the attention they deserve. Thanks Michael!

Friday, January 25, 2008

African Penguins

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do when my 4 dogs are gone and I can sell my house, and have been looking into volunteering in Africa. I've been to Kenya and Tanzania and want to see more of the continent. Earlier this week I found an organization that has several opportunities for working with wildlife including working at the Penguin Conservation Centre in Cape Town. The center rescues African Penguins (aka Jackass Penguins) and other birds that have been injured or have become victims of oil spills. Volunteers work for a minimum of 6 weeks and learn how to handle, wash, and hand-raise all types of birds. I love penguins and have been in the water with them in the Galapagos and sat on the beach with them in Antarctica so this seems like the perfect opportunity for me.

I also want to to tour South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia and could do this before or after the volunteer experience. I want to see the painted houses of the Ndebele of South Africa and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Both of these deserve a separate post.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

935 LIES

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, but Bush and his administration lied about the threat to our security posed by Iraq after 9/11. A study conducted by two non profit groups, The Center For Public Integrity and The Fund For Independence in Journalism concluded that 935 lies were told that "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." The liars include Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, and Bush, who led the bunch with 259 false statements about WMD's and Iraq's links to al-Qaida.
With a few exceptions these lies were never challenged by the press or by many members of the congress.
I don't see any way our country will ever recover from this. Worse than that is the destruction of Iraq and the killing or maiming of hundreds of thousand of innocent civilians.
Why is nothing is being done about this? Why aren't they all on trial for war crimes? Why does Bush have any approval rating?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Here's a new picture of the puppies I blogged about earlier. They are about ready for homes if anyone is interested. See for more information on these adorable puppies.


Almost 7 years ago the Organic Consumers Association launched a campaign against Starbucks over their use of milk with rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. rGBH is a genetically engineered variant of a natural hormone and is used to increase milk production in cows. It has been banned in most countries for a number of reasons including it's link to cancer, especially in children. On January 1st, 2008 Starbucks announced that it will no longer be using products with rBGH. Then on January 16th they announced that they will no longer be offering organic milk. Organic milk is rBGH free but also requires cows to eat pesticide-free food and have access to pastures for grazing. One step forward and one step back for Starbucks. The OCA is still continuing to pressure Starbucks to use more fair trade products. Only 3.7% of their coffee is fair trade. Starbucks is losing customers in the US. I hope this is because people are finally beginning to realize what a huge waste of money it is.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sexy Ferrets Plagiarism Scandal

Paul Tolme, a wildlife writer and the author of a story about black-footed ferrets called "Toughing it Out in the Badlands" has had his work plagiarized by the best-selling romance writer Cassie Edwards. In her book "Shadow Bear" the characters (after doing what characters in romance books do best) are surprised by a family of ferrets. They start a conversation about the ferrets which comes straight out of a story by Tolme which you can find on his website The dialogue is hilarious for a romance novel. One example: "I discovered they are related to minks and otters. It is said their closest relations are European ferrets and Siberian polecats. Researchers theorize that polecats crossed the land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska, to establish the New World population." Not typical dialogue in a romance novel which may be why it was noticed by someone at, a romance novel blog. When Tolme received an email with a link to this website and discovered that he had been copied word for word he was a little angry. The plagiarism is less upsetting to him now though. He had this to say on the romance blog: "This crazy saga of plagiarism and hot romance has done more to highlight the plight of black-footed ferrets than any event in recent history. "
You can read the article here:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Give a Hand to Wildlife

This very clever picture is part of an ad campaign by the World Wildlife Fund and is captioned "Give a Hand to Wildlife"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Clorox goes green

Last year Clorox purchased Burt's Bees, an earth friendly personal care product company. Today they are beginning a national campaign for their new green cleaners called Green Works. The line includes 5 different cleaners which are made from ingredients that are "naturally derived" and unlike their conventional products, the ingredients are listed on the labels. The Sierra Club is endorsing their products and will have a logo on the label. They will be sold at major stores nationwide including Wal-Mart and Safeway.
I probably won't switch to Green Works because I would rather support the companies like Seventh Generation, that have been selling earth friendly products before it was trendy to do so, but it is good news that some of the major companies are finally getting into the green movement.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Health, diet, and exercise

This is the first day of my 1,000 calorie/10 grams of fat a day diet. I started my diet at the 1st of the month but wanted to ease into the really strict caloric restriction. I'm also trying to be 100% vegan. I bought some SoySation brand soy cheese at Whole Foods on Sunday which tastes pretty good. One slice has 2 grams of fat. My soy ham has 1 gram of fat and the bread has 1 so I can have a nice sandwich for only 4 grams of fat total. I'm also having oatmeal for breakfast everyday and green tea as a beverage. I decided to quit buying Honest Tea in bottles which is expensive and just make my own with tea bags.
Sparky, my old dog is doing much better with walking now that he's taking Dr. Frank's Joint Pain Relief LibraryLioness8 who [hearts] Sparky told me about this product which is a homeopathic formula that you spray in the dog's water. Before he started taking this he was in pain and had a hard time walking even a short distance. Now he is going on 2 walks a day. Sparky says thank you LL8. Walking is also part of my diet and get healthy program so I take each of my dogs on 2 walks a day. I've been getting up early (5:15) so I can walk them before work.


After a 10 day search, the Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza was finally able to find the Japanese whaling ship they had been looking for. Greenpeace radioed this message to them "Our vessel and crew are here in the Southern Ocean to condemn your hunt, which includes endangered species, and to insist that you leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and return to port immediately" The Greenpeace ship then proceeded to chase them out of the sanctuary. Greenpeace uses peaceful activities to stop whaling including using high powered water pumps to spray water and obscure the harpooner's view of the whales.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Toyota Prius

According to U.S. vehicle sales data for 2007, more Americans bought the Toyota Prius hybrid last year than the Ford Explorer SUV. The Ford Explorer SUV has been the top selling SUV for over 10 years. The demand for the Prius was up 69% last year probably because of the high price of gas. I've heard predictions of $4.00 a gallon gas by spring which should increase the demand even more for these and other hybrids. Good news for the air we breathe.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More bad Republicans

More trouble for the District Attorney's office. I heard on the news this morning that Kelly Siegler refused to put a black man on the jury, not because he was black and a member of the NAACP but in her words: "He's a member of Lakewood Church. And we have had a running agreement — my partner Luci Davidson and I have, since we started — that people who go to Lakewood are screwballs and nuts," Siegler told the judge. "I'm very familiar with that church. We try our hardest not to put anybody who goes to Lakewood regularly on any jury, ... That's one reason that scared me about the man."
Siegler is one of the Republican candidates running for Harris County District Attorney. The current DA, Chuck Rosenthal is being investigated by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott after racist, off-color jokes, and pornographic videos were found on his work computer. The biggest issue being investigated however is his use of Harris County computers for campaign related activities.

This picture of Siegler was taken during the trial of Susan Wright. Siegler had the bed and bloody mattress brought into the courtroom and tied prosecutor Paul Doyle to the bed. She then straddled him to demonstrate how Wright could have bound and stabbed her husband 200 times. She won the case.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

National Library of the Czech Republic

A London's architectural firm called Future Systems has won an international competition to design the National Library of the Czech Republic and here are pictures of their proposal. One critic who named it the eyesore of the month said this about it: "depicted at ground level, the Czech National Library Organism is systematically grazing on smaller protozoans lulled by the music of Antonin Dvorak into ascending the purple pseudo-tongue at center."
The mayor of Prague doesn't like it but 12,000 people in Prague have signed a petition to have it built.
There is an interesting article by Steven Bayley in Sunday's Guardian about this building and the future of libraries in general. Here is the link:,,2235896,00.html

Monday, January 7, 2008

China's bloggers

I just read this and found it interesting. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, at the end of November, 2007, there were 47 million bloggers in China which is up almost 30 million from last year. That's 1 out of every 30 Chinese citizens, or 1 out every 138 human beings on the planet. While the gender ratio in China is 55 male to 45 female, women make up 57% of the bloggers.
You can read the entire report here:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The return of Stewart and Colbert

After 9 weeks off the air (with new shows, that is) I am happy to report that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are returning to The Comedy Channel on Monday night. Stewart and Colbert said this about their return: "We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence."

The beginning of the Mardi Gras season

Today is the Epiphany, or, in Louisiana, the beginning of the Mardi Gras season. It is also the day you can start having King Cakes and King Cake parties. I was upset to see that Whole Foods Market had King Cakes for sale on Friday. Is nothing sacred? King Cakes are traditionally decorated with the colors of Mardi Gras which are purple, green and gold. Purple is for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. They also have a plastic baby Jesus or a bean baked in them. The person who gets the baby or bean is obligated to buy the next King Cake and have the next party. When I was growing up in New Orleans, my favorite place to get King Cakes was Lawrence's Bakery on Elysian Fields. They also had amazing Italian desserts and the very best Red Velvet Cake. I just looked them up and apparently they are still in business although they were in an area that was flooded by Katrina.
Mardi Gras is on February 5th this year.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Another reason to like Obama


What a great night for Barack Obama and for America. Iowa, a state that is very white and very Republican, voted for an African American to be our next president. Also interesting is the turnout. More than twice as many Democratics (239,000) voted as did Republicans (115,000). I have supported Obama since the beginning, but, like most Democratics I talk to, will be happy with any of the candidates. Of the three top contenders, Obama is the only one who never supported the illegal invasion of Iraq, which is the most important issue for me. Edward's, who admitted his mistake in voting for the invasion came in second. Clinton, who voted for the invasion, but will not admit that the vote was a mistake, came in third. That speaks volumes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Maybe if I write these down I will have better luck, so here goes:

1. Lose weight.

2. Continue to do my 2-6 walks a day with the dogs, especially the early morning ones.

3. Become more vegan by having cheese and other dairy products only when I eat out and not at home.

4. Eat simple homemade foods like beans and rice instead of buying Amy's frozen dinners.

5. Gradually replace all the incandescent bulbs in my house with CFLs.

6. Buy less stuff/junk I don't need and get rid of or organize the stuff I have, especially the photographs.

7. Use credit cards for emergencies only.

8. Don't get any more pets.

A prayer for animals by Albert Schweitzer

Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering; for animals that are overworked, underfed and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put death. We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals, and so to share the blessings of the merciful.
Albert Schweitzer


Some friends of mine found these 4 abandoned puppies last Saturday and they will be needing forever homes soon. If you are interested in one or more of these beautiful puppies you can respond to this post and I will put you in touch with their rescuers.


"What happens to the 705 people of Crawford, Texas when George W. Bush moves to town?"

That is the question David Modigliani, who produced and directed this movie, attempts to answer in a new documentary which will make it's debut this Spring at the SXSW film festival in Austin. It has many supporters including Ted Danson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mary Steenburgen and is being represented by Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment who also represented Super Size Me, Spellbound, and Control Room.

The really exciting thing for us here at HCPL is that John Egan, one of the processors in Technical Services, is doing some of the music for the film.

For more on this movie and to see a clip go to