Friday, September 29, 2006

Shame on our government

Sometimes I just have to get away from the news saturation that's the norm for me. Things get too depressing or too frightening and I just have to take a few days to ready myself for the reality that's developing. So, suffice it to say that I'm disgusted with the torture bill, and deeply ashamed of our leadership in this country. I feel the same way now as I did the last time the torture "compromise" came around. Here are some reposted thoughts, in lieu of real blogging. May we begin the path to redemption this November.

From an old post on the interrogator contemplating torturing a prisoner:
When a person goes ahead and tortures a detainee, it is never a morally correct decision. The practical issues feed directly into the moral ones here, because the cruelty of torture is not worth the risk of it being fruitless. If I could be assured that my subject of interrogation would tell me how to defuse the ticking nuclear bomb planted in a daycare for the children of nice-smelling nobel prizewinners if I were to commit some horrible act on him or her, I see no problem going ahead and doing it. The point of interrogation, however, is that the interrogator does not know what the detainee knows. There really is no way to know what is going to be accomplished by practicing waterboarding on a detainee. I am not at all comfortable with the idea of torturing another human being just in case I find out something important. It may happen that good, useful information that saves many lives will be obtained through torture. In that case, retroactively, I think that torture could be considered "justified." Its potential utility, however, does not make it acceptable, and the fact that it is more likely to be useless than not, makes it evil.
From another, on leadership needing the ability to act outside the law:
In the unlikely event that a person knows that torturing a detainee will bring vitally important information to our country, they may decide to do it, but they should always be held accountable for breaking the law. If it is ultimately found that torture or wiretaps brought enough benefit to Americans to outweigh the detrimental effects of breaking the laws, we have presidential pardons for that.

I shouldn't have to point out that the laws we have exist to preserve the safety of this country. Much more often than not, breaking the law is a danger to our society. Unless the circumstances of these wiretaps are extremely dire, I think it much more likely that Bush has endangered our contry by breaking the law than he has preserved our safety. This is why we impeach Presidents who break the law.
To continue this thought, it rings so hollow that the argument is that the President needs lattitude so that he will be unrestricted. If there is a very unusual exception and the rules need to be broken, the rules need to be broken, but that doesn't mean we don't need rules. If any fellow American - let alone the President - won't face jail time so as to prevent a catastrophic terrorist attack, they're not fit for any kind of responsibility in the security of our nation. A man who will ignore laws about drinking and driving, but would say his hands were tied in the mythical ticking time bomb situation and blame Congress or Democrats or whoever was handy, lacks the most basic understanding of the rule of law and personal responsibility. This attitude is poisonous to the spirit of our country, and cannot be tolerated.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I predict that this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Breaking: FEC complaint against backers of Bill Sali

Via Grassroots for Grant:

A Washington lobby that funneled more than $1 million into Republican Tim Walberg's primary-winning congressional campaign landed in more potential hot water Monday.

The campaign of Walberg's opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Battle Creek, filed a second complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the conservative Club for Growth.

The nine-point document obtained by the Citizen Patriot goes far beyond the contentious Schwarz-Walberg race, alleging the group broke the law in three other 2006 federal primary campaigns.

"This is an indication of a pattern of behavior by Club for Growth, which flies in the face of federal election law," said Schwarz, reached by telephone this morning in Washington.

The FEC has already sued Club for Growth for failing to register its activities as a Political Action Committee. The case awaits a judge's ruling.

Schwarz's campaign manager, Matt Marsden, repeated this allegation in Monday's complaint. He further alleged Club for Growth illegally shared pollsters and media consultants in four federal races.

The other candidates implicated in the document are Steve Laffey of Rhode Island; Bill Sali of Idaho; and Sharon Angle of Nevada.

See the rest here. More later.

Carnival of the Feminists 24: Call for submissions

I'm going to be hosting the next Carnival of the Feminists here on October 8, so I'd like to invite anyone who's lately written anything particularly interesting on issues relating to feminism to submit their pieces for inclusion. You can use the Blog Carnival submission form (which is easiest for me) or email a submission with "Carnival 24" in the subject line to saraeanderson (at) gmail (dot) com. I haven't come up with any kind of theme, so consider Carnival 24 to be a feminist free-for-all.

If you're not familiar with blog carnivals, check out the currently running Carnival of the Feminists 23 at Lingual Tremors. The basic idea is to gather together some of the most interesting and current writing in the feminist blogosphere, and get a picture of the body of feminist thought being produced by feminists themselves. It's a great opportunity for newer or previously unseen bloggers to get some exposure and make a place in the feminist movement for their ideas. I'm setting the deadline for Friday, October 6th at midnight. That's a ways away, so if you don't have anything written yet, this is the perfect reason to write that long post you keep meaning to.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hey, Pro-Life, whatcha doing on Saturday night?

Three words: only in Idaho. From Eye on Boise:

Marvin “Pro-Life” Richardson has now officially changed his name – to just “Pro-Life.” Richardson went to court yesterday in Gem County and got the change approved. Now, he said, he has no first name – just the last name of “Pro-Life.” It won’t change how he appears on the ballot in his Constitution Party candidacy for governor this year, however. Richardson already is certified for the ballot as Marvin Richardson, and ballots already are being printed.

“We’ve made it clear to him since March we were not going to put ‘pro-life’ on the ballot, and that’s still our position,” said Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. “The ballot is not supposed to be a forum for political expression – it’s supposed to be as neutral as it can be.”

Richardson, or Pro-Life, said, “I’m not going back to anything else. I’ll just go the rest of my life as Pro-Life.” An ardent anti-abortion activist who spends his Sundays holding anti-abortion protest signs on busy roadsides, Richardson said he believes abortion is equivalent to murder and he hopes his name change will save a life. “We know that there’s women that pray, ‘What should I do with this crisis pregnancy?’” the 6-foot-5 organic farmer said. “And they see us out on the street holding a sign, or they see my name on a ballot, or a political ad in the newspaper or something, and they take that as a sign from God … and it saves a life.”

The 65-year-old candidate and activist said his 10-year-old son’s middle name is Pro-Life. He also said he hopes to run for statewide office again in 2008 and list his new name on the ballot, adding, “I don’t care how many votes I get.”

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bummed about the spinach recall?

The current E. coli contamination problem with spinach couldn't have happened at a better time of the year, because this is just when we begin to see the best of the dark leafy greens. Skip the spinach salad and try a bok choy salad, or replace the spinach in a soup with kale (which holds up its shape to cooking much better than spinach). If you'd like some inspiration, here's the soup I made today to help in my battle with a cold I've caught. It comes from the book Soup: Superb ways with a classic dish by Debra Mayhew.

Beef Noodle Soup

1/4 counce dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup boiling water
6 scallions
4 ounces carrots
12 ounces sirloin steak
about 2 tablespoons oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 1/4 quarts beef stock
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons dry sherry
3 ounces thin egg noodles
1 cup shredded spinach
salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

1. Break the mushrooms into small pieces. Place in a bowl and pour the boiling water over, and leave to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Shred tge scallions and carrots into 2-inch long, fine strips. Trim any fat off the meat and slice into thin strips.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the beef in batches until brown, adding a little more oil if necessary. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
4. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions and carrots to the pan and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
5. Add the beef, beeft stock, the mushrooms and their soaking kiquid, soy sauce, and sherry. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
6. Break up the noodles and add to the pan with the shredded spinach. Simer for 5 minutes, until the beef is tender. Adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

My modifications: replaced spinach with bok choy, and omitted sherry (since I don't have it). Also, if you live in/around Moscow, you may want to know that dried mushrooms are currently on sale at the Moscow Food Co-op. They have porcinis and morels and chanterelles, so this might be a good time to stock up.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

LSD > Women Scientists

Oh great. An article on the subject of the influences of James Watson, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA, is centered around a rumor that he was tripping when he first thought of it, but doesn't even mention Rosalind Franklin.

Food news you can use..and some you can't

I'm planning a trip to the San Juan Islands next month, so I headed over to the trusty Chowhound website to find that it's been drastically revamped and is much, much, much easier to use. No more Ctrl+F searches through gobs of text, some fancy photos, and even ways of tracking good threads and users. I have used Chowhounds primarily to research restaurants in areas to which I'm going to be traveling, but with this new incarnation, I'm sure I'll be spending a lot more time there.

And by the way, we plan on staying in a cabin with a kitchen so we can cook some dinners, and making sure to hit the Duck Soup Inn on San Juan and Christine's on Orcas. Let me know if there's anything else I need to look out for.

As for the food news you can't use, I have four words: foie gras cotton candy.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

In which I demonstrate my lack of understanding of religion

I just don't understand the Muslim outcry over the Pope's recent remarks wherein he pretty much slammed everyone who's not Catholic. I mean, he is the Pope, after all. He wasn't about to say, "And Islam - that's a pretty awesome religion. They're probably right, and I'm probably wrong, but whatever." What did they expect?

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Good God

From the NYT:
Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, will block Dr. von Eschenbach’s nomination unless the F.D.A. takes steps to remove the abortion drug RU-486 from the market, said Wesley M. Denton, Mr. DeMint’s press secretary.

“Senator DeMint believes that a qualified F.D.A. nominee would publicly discourage RU-486’s use and take immediate steps to remove it from the market,” he said. “We’ve reached a breaking point here, and the senator’s not going to budge until they wake up over at F.D.A.”

Mr. DeMint, are you a doctor? No? Then on what authority can you say that RU-486 ought to be pulled from the market?

Yeah, I thought so.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A third way

In today's Dear Prudence column, there was this question:
Dear Prudence,
My husband and I have been married for just over a year, but have been in a loving and monogamous relationship for 16 years. We're in our mid-30s. We don't want kids. We work a lot, enjoy traveling often, and don't like kids (although he is very good with them). All these years, I have been in charge of birth control (pill for 16 years and almost always one or two other forms—condom, spermicide—just to be sure). I think the pill could be responsible for my lack of sex drive. Recently, I brought up the idea of a vasectomy. To me, it seemed like the most logical thing to do: It's an in-office procedure, I could get off the pill, maybe I'll get my sex drive back, surgery for the woman is much more complicated, and it's a lifetime free of birth control. But my normally understanding, intelligent, fact-oriented husband freaked out. He accused me of wanting to "cut off his balls," and continues to do so every time I try to (gently) revisit the subject. I am very hurt because it seems like it's his turn to be in charge of birth control and a permanent solution makes so much more sense. Also, it has lowered my sex drive even more—after all, why should I risk getting pregnant if he won't even discuss alternate birth control options with me? Am I being unrealistic? Is this just machismo? Can he be talked into it?

—Sick of the Pill
Typical of the new Dear Prudence (Emily Yoffe) fashion, it was suggested that sthe writer acquiesce to her husband's fears despite the disproportionate burden it would require her to take on in service of a goal both of them wish to achieve.

Aside from being characteristically insensitive to the burdens of womanhood, I think Prudence is not thinking big enough.

So that her husband doesn't have to rule out his chances of procreation in the future, he could simply take several sperm samples before having a vasectomy, and keep them frozen until the moment he finds himself in need of them. He keeps his ability to impregnate, and she doesn't have to take the pill to keep from getting pregnant. Seems pretty win-win to me.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NYT Linkies

At Washington State University, students (and staff who happen to be there) are provided with free copies of the New York Times every day, and I take full advantage of the offer. It's the only paper that I usually sit down and read on paper, and I have to say that I really enjoy it. In the past couple of days, there have been a couple of must-see* bits that I would never have noticed had I been reading the online version.

Ever heard of "molecular gastronomy?"
And the techniques behind at least half the 20 or 30 dishes that guests are currently served, from a repertory of thousands, remain mystifying. I’m talking about trompe l’oeil like an elliptical olive that is actually pure liquid, or golden beads of caviar made from olive oil, or stark white pine cone mousse, or Parmesan snow.
And from the obituaries, the woman I want to be when I grow up. An endocrinologist who had heard one too many times that women were too hormonal to be competent, Estelle R. Ramey.
In a letter published in The Washington Star, she wrote, “As an endocrinologist in good standing, I was startled to learn that ovarian hormones are toxic to brain cells.”

She went on to remind the public that during the Cuban missile crisis, the nation had a president who suffered from a severe hormonal imbalance: John F. Kennedy, who had Addison’s disease, an endocrine disorder.
* "Must-see" relative to the interestests of a feminist molecular biologist who loves cooking and innovation in the kitchen.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My 9/11 thought

I have always liked the proposal that 9/11 be marked as a national day of community service. I like the idea that the day on which we remember such a terrible attack on our country, when many of us recall the horrifying realization that such an irrational and ridiculous hatred can't be ignored or pushed away, that we would use our national character and strength to reinforce our communities and work to strengthen the faith in humanity that always redeems our often misguided culture. A national day of service would serve to help strengthen the spirit of our country so that it may survive when our military and police are not enough to keep us safe. Protecting our nation from terrorism is of the utmost importance, but we need to work just as hard to ensure that America is a place worth saving.

You know, I hadn't thought of that...

...but then I generally don't go around thinking batshit crazy-ass stuff. Local(ish) wingnut extraordinaire, Clayton Cramer:
What this may come down to is this: Osama bin Laden and his fellow jihadis may well have figured out that the only way that they can continue to feel good about their place in the world is by reducing the West to the same level of desperate impoverishment as the Arab world. This also explains the left's alliance with bin Laden almost from the beginning--they also share this resentment that the West isn't desperately poor (but not enough to give up their private jets and Ferraris).
Oh, the pleasures of nutpicking. Read the whole thing for a bonus racist insight into why money Arabs make isn't as good as the money white people do.

The D-word

On the subject of the name recognition problem for the Webb gubernatorial campaign in Virginia, Chris Bowers at MyDD has some interesting food for Idaho Democratic thought:
My point is this: while all candidates need bio ads in order to raise their name ID and present a warm, fuzzy side to the electorate, in order to knock off incumbents this year, challengers are going to need large numbers of voters to be willing to vote for the Democratic Party itself. The incumbent rule is weakening primarily because people do not even know who incumbents are anymore, much less the people who are challenging incumbents. News programs spend less time devoted to actual news, DVR's are quickly on the rise in American homes, and when it comes to local political news we have experienced a nearly complete market failure nationwide. In order to win, Democratic candidates must not just brand themselves as viable alternatives to incumbents in an anti-incumbent year, but they also must brand the Democratic Party as a viable alternative to the Republican trifecta. Failure to do otherwise will result in a very disappointing 2006 for Democrats around the nation.
Yes, yes, and hell yes. I think we can see this very well in the recent poll that shows Larry Grant beating Bill Sali with a plurality of supporters, but with a simple majority of those surveyed calling themselves "undecided." We all know that Idaho voters in general are skittish about the D-word, but I'd wager they're a lot more likely to know (or think they know) what a Democrat is and what the party stands for than they are to know exactly who Larry Grant is and what he stands for.

This is yet another challenge for the Idaho Democrats, but it's an important one and not an impossible one. I sat through a voter identification training recently where the speaker noted that if you ask a person whether they consider themself a Democrat, a Republican, or an Indepenent, the majority of people will call themselves Independents. I can understand - it seems short-sighted to box yourself in to one side or the other, and no one likes to think of themself as a straight-ticket zombie. Interestingly, the speaker said that if you only give people two choices - Republican or Democrat - they'll usually pick one or the other.

You can see in their campaigns that Sali and Grant are capitalizing on these phenomena. Sali is trying to keep voters corralled into either party with a bright line between them, while Grant trying to use the current GOP identity crisis (Hello, tax-and-spend Republicans!) to help people reimagine their concepts of Idaho Democrats and Idaho Republicans. Right now is the time for Idaho Democrats - all Democrats, and not just Grant or Brady - unify and find a message that alienated Idaho Republicans can get behind. We're moving in the right direction, but we've got to keep the momentum if we're going to make "Idaho Democrat" into something other than a dirty word.

Litmus tests II

In the comments to my most recent post rationalizing marriage (I've got a few of them, see here and here as well), I was needled a little by commenter brooke about why, exactly, I got married. I gave some explanation for my desire to play out the social ritual, but brooke was also curious about why I went ahead and tied the knot legally. She even brought up the sentiment that many have expressed (most recently, Brad Pitt) that straight people can't ethically get married until everyone has the right to get married.

I've heard the sentiment before, though I didn't until after I'd gotten married. I think it's nice and an honorable thing to do, but there are a lot of legal benefits/safeguards to marriage that are hard to pass up. When we got engaged, my husband had just graduated from college and was looking for a job (2003 was not a good year for new job seekers) and we weren't sure when we'd see employment or any kind of health insurance. As it turns out, we're both employed now, but at that time we were pretty pessimistic about our future. And, in retrospect, given the health problems we've both had in the past, I don't feel like making a probably not well-noted political statement would have been worth putting our health on the line. Is that selfish? Certainly, though we all make our selfish decisions. I work in local politics and talk to people and hope that I can help change the world around me, just like I throw away pounds of plastic every day at work but commute by bus or bike.

As I wrote in my previous post entitled "Litmus tests," we all choose what stands we'll take and what ones we won't, but using one or two of them as the definition of what makes a person liberal, conservative, or in this case a conspirator with patriarchy and heteronormativity - it doesn't work. Perhaps to brooke, my getting married signals my capitulation to everything that is not feminist and not equality-seeking, but for the reasons I've written in earlier posts, I don't think that's true.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The torture prez

Andrew Sullivan:
Next week, I'm informed via troubled White House sources, will see the full unveiling of Karl Rove's fall election strategy. He's intending to line up 9/11 families to accuse McCain, Warner and Graham of delaying justice for the perpetrators of that atrocity, because they want to uphold the ancient judicial traditions of the U.S. military and abide by the Constitution. He will use the families as an argument for legalizing torture, setting up kangaroo courts for military prisoners, and giving war crime impunity for his own aides and cronies. This is his "Hail Mary" move for November; it's brutally exploitative of 9/11; it's pure partisanship; and it's designed to enable an untrammeled executive. Decent Republicans, Independents and Democrats must do all they can to expose and resist this latest descent into political thuggery. If you need proof that this administration's first priority is not a humane and effective counter-terror strategy, but a brutal, exploitative path to retaining power at any price, you just got it.
For now, I have enough faith in the American people to believe this will never work. The idea that it would is just too chilling.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Deserting a sinking ship

Via kos, Bill Sali has lost 27 points in a poll of 300 Idahoans asked whether they would vote for Larry Grant or Bill Sali. While the poll shows Grant with more support than Sali, by far the majority of those surveyed said they were undecided.

This, of course, is only good news for Grant, who is still wrestling with the problem of name recognition, let alone gaining ground amongst undecided voters. Of course, turning people off to Bill Sali isn't a huge challenge, so there's real work left to be done. If these numbers are indicative of anything, surely it is that heavy concentration on turnout amongst Democratic Idahoans paired with a charm offensive to pick up points from the undecideds could be a recipe for a Democratic win in Idaho. Yes - Idaho.

Two of my favorite things!

Today's action at is to donate food to volunteers and staff for a local campaign. Not only do I think this is a great idea, I have a few suggested menu items. For instance, bok choy salad and cranberry pesto tortellini salad are served cold and easy to make. And spicy chicken and cashew salad wrapped with lettuce in a tortilla is another easy, delicious and portable campaign fuel.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Who belongs to that 50%

You hear about studies that say that a majority of Americans can't find England on a map or tell you who the Vice President is or use velcro properly, and you always wonder who, exactly, these people are. I wouldn't count any of my friends amongst them, and don't even suspect any of my acquaintences as being that dumb.

I had similar thoughts when I heard this summer that 50% of Americans then believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when we invaded. Who are these bozos?

Well, I've found one here in my own state of Idaho. Who is it? None other than Republican nominee for the 1st congressional district congress seat, Bill Sali. From today's Lewiston Morning Tribune: (Sorry, no link)
But, Sali insisted weapons were recently discovered and that early in the war weapons were spirited away to Syria. "I know that I saw it on the TV station," Sali said. "It might have only been on FOX, come to think of it."
So that's one - where are the other 149,999,999?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Don't be silly

Problem: fat women suffer higher health, financial, and social consequences than men. Obese women suffer more discrimination based on their size than men do, and therefore have fewer resources with which to address health problems.

Solution: Lose some weight, fatties.

That was my interpretation of the article, anyway. Of course, we could try and overcome fat hatred and biases against fat people - maybe even address the institutional problems that contribute to higher obesity amongst those living in poverty - but that would break with the proud tradition of making women responsible for the problems that discrimination brings them.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Reducing risk is reducing risk, even for sluts

An article in Slate discusses the rise in teenagers engaging in oral sex, and while it's a passable argument - kids are having oral sex so they don't get pregnant - it seems to ignore some other important factors. Specifically, check out this stat:
National statistics on teen fellatio have only recently been collected, but the trend seems to be real. Johns Hopkins University Professor Jonathan Zenilman, an expert in sexually transmitted infections (and father of former Slate intern Avi Zenilman), reports that both the adults and the teenagers who come to his clinic are engaging in much more oral sex than in 1990. For men and boys as recipients it's up from about half to 75 to 80 percent; for women and girls, it's risen from about 25 percent to 75 to 80 percent.
That's a three-fold increase in oral sex recieved by teenaged girls, whereas teenaged boys have seen only a 50% increase. I would submit that popularized attitudes about female sexual empowerment (Cosmo does occasionally run some form of its' "have multiple orgasms" article, after all) as well as a general demystification and destigmatization of oral sex might be having something to do with this trend.

And for the record, these stats also show that Caitlin Flanagan's hand-wringing about her little girls giving just any random guy a blow job mischaracterize things just a little bit. Yes, her daughter is more likely to give head in high school than she was - but she's also much much more likely to recieve it. Things have changed, but I don't think that what's happened is that our little girls have turned into self-hating sluts.

I have heard on more than one occasion that liberals turn conservatives off by not wishing to put forth a unified sexual ethic that (for example) encourages monogamy and discourages casual sexual encounters. I think this is a completely backwards assessment of the difference between conservatives and liberals on sexual morality. Liberals refuse to let the possibility of being physically, emotionally or financially maimed (through unplanned pregnancy, slut-shaming or disease) stand in for an ethical framework through which sexual behavior can be negotiated. Between opposition to contraception, to the HPV vaccine, or any kind of public display of female sexual pleasure, conservatives have not argued for any kind of decision-making apparatus to be passed on to our children. If nothing else, take a look at the ever-raging blow job wars, and you'll see that liberals do engage in heated debate over what behavior in regard to sex is ethical.

Even more simply, without the somewhat random attachment of physical and financial harm to sex (which randomly affects women more than men), many with a more liberal attitude toward sex have come to realize that a sexual ethic works the way as all ethics do - treat the opinions and self-determinism of others with respect, and don't ask for special treatment. Any new advancement in sexual health - emergency contraception or the HPV vaccine, for example - is met with hand-wringing that kids will think sex is safer, and therefore have more of it. Well, duh, it is safer with these things. A reduced risk is a reduced risk, even when it comes to sexual behavior.

What is unethical is standing in the way of the reduction of human suffering so that parents and all sexually active people in general don't have to examine their beliefs about sexual morality. There is no honor in sacrificing the flesh and blood of others so that you don't have to say the word "ejaculation" in front of your kid, or drive them to the family planning clinic to pick up birth control. I would ask any opponent to Plan B, to the HPV vaccine, or to the distribution of condoms in Africa to compare the pain of blushing when saying "penis" to what a mother dying of AIDS thinks of when she imagines her impoverished children's orphaned future.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I'm a little disappointed

I should have been prepared for this, but I am honestly surprised at how easily the media has forgotten the Katrina anniversary in favor of covering Bush's attempts at reconstructing the bridges he's burned on the Iraq war.

Then again, starting out the week with rememberance of the most disastrous event of the Bush administration and ending the week with attention to the second-most disastrous...
His approval ratings have never rebounded from their post-hurricane plummet. A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted this month found that 51 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way Mr. Bush had responded to the needs of hurricane victims, a figure statistically no different from last September, when 48 percent disapproved.
A series of polls taken over the last few weeks of August show that support for the war in Iraq among Americans is at an all-time low. Almost two-thirds of Americans in each of three major polls say that they oppose the war, the highest totals since pollsters starting asking Americans the question three years ago. Many of the polls were conducted in advance of the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.
Well, if that's all they've got - bring it on.

I sure hope so

Randy Stapilus:
Visits by Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert to pump up Sali’s candidacy - not just to raise money, which would be the norm, but to call for Republican unity. Unity was the text and the subtext.
That’s what didn’t happen in the races Leroy and Mansfield cite as past examples of the party coming together after a contested primary, in 2000 after C.L. “Butch” Otter won a contested Republican primary, or after Helen Chenoweth did it in 1994. In those races, the party did coalesce around the winner, and it was no big deal. It was simply assumed, and no national leaders or op-eds seemed to be needed to press the point home.

Which raises the question: Are these Republican leaders seeing something going on out there that hasn’t surfaced yet?
Read the whole thing for the signals that are perking up Stapilus' intra-party strife antenna. As someone who's followed this race since before the primary, I think Stapilus is pretty on the mark. This fear of a fractured Republican party has been permeating Idaho political common wisdom for quite some time now. In a state where one party has such unidirectional control, however, I think this is bound to happen. Even if Idaho is majority Republican, as those ranks grow there are bound to be divisions.

This is a year where the Idaho Republican party will have to do some soul-searching, and its members will be forced to do the same. I can only imagine that with a new face on Idaho Democrats and Western Democrats in general, some of those soul-searching Republicans will find their goals and values better aligned with their state Democratic party's than with what their unchecked Republican party has become. With the assumption of an electorate behind everything they do, the Idaho Republicans (a bit like Joe Lieberman) have lost the ability to take their voters for granted.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

More drive-by blogging

No comment. This is just cool.

Good read

Check out Sara Robinson's writing about energizing the rural and red-state progressives who have been here all along.

Oh that's not creepy, not at all

Playboy will launch a line of menswear in 2007 called "On the Prowl."

Saturday Food Blogging: Bok Choy Salad

Lately, I've had the magic touch with all things electronic. I pulled the pin out of the AC jack in my laptop, thus rendering it useless. My video camera's editing and download software is nowhere to be found, thus making it difficult to download anything onto my new-old (thanks, Kyle!) laptop. (Sony, in its brilliance, will only sell me the crappy software for $60, instead of letting me download it for free like a company that serves human beings would.)

It's a shame because until I get the software, I've created about $1000 in doorstops over the past couple of weeks.

It's also a shame because this is a gorgeous salad and if I could get the pictures from my camera to my computer, this post would be a lot more compelling. After all, it's hard to draw people in with something that is, essentially, two-cabbage salad. Stay with me, though, because you won't be disappointed. This recipe comes from the Moscow Food Co-op deli, and after "kale slaw," is its most popular item. I've eaten it for lunch every day this week and am not yet sick of it.

Imagine, if you will, the dark leafy greens from the bok choy, mixed in with diced bright red bell pepper and shredded purple cabbage. If you can't conjure up a lovely mental picture of this, then you'll just have to make it yourself. If you're at all cabbage-phobic, you may be comforted by the fact that the dressing mellows the cabbagey-ness of the cabbage.

Moscow Co-op Bok Choy Salad
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 head bok choy, chopped
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup brown sugar

Toast almonds on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for dressing in large bowl and whisk until brown sugar dissolves. Combine all prepared ingredients in a bowl, toss, and serve.