Saturday, November 29, 2008

Corner Bait

I've been only barely entertaining myself over the weekend, and I kind of randomly decided to rent The Golden Compass to keep me amused while I wait around for Andy to finish up some schoolwork.

I would love to be in the room with a time-traveling Republican from 2005 who turned this disc on. Not only is this a children's movie at the beginning of a book series where the progtagonists kill God, but nestled amongst the previews was an advertisement for the World Wildlife Fund's advocacy for the polar bear in the face of global warming.

I have a hard time believing that this double-affront on Republican orthodoxies was an accident.

Even if the WWF wasn't consciously trying to get the goat of Republicans (hopefully) past, they couldn't pass up the PR opportunity that a neat-looking armored polar bear in a hugely-hyped and expensive children's movie presented.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Winning Thanksgiving

I think I'm about to do it with chili-garlic sweet potato latkes that I made my husband do most of the prep work for. We've never really worked out the exact recipe, but it's a combination of grated sweet potatoes, chili garlic sauce, sliced green onions and egg and AP flour, made into little thin patties and fried in peanut oil.

Take that, turkey!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The GOP has finally convinced us of its uselessness

"Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse."

- Sarah Palin

Via DailyKos, Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute is arguing that if Obama proves the conservative idea that government doesn't do anything of value wrong, then people are going to quit paying Republicans to go to congress and complain about congress' existence.

Sucks to be on the wrong side of reality, but that's how it goes when you're a Republican in 2008.

Cannon gets all of this right, except he tries to hide this argument about principle in one about optics, by calling Obama's approach to health care "socialized," and insisting that the word magically means we need to avoid it. This doesn't make sense after he admits that a good health program would drive current Republicans away from the right by actually helping them access medical care.

It gets weird when Cannon worries that a single-payer system would trap people into liberalism by "making citizens dependent on the government for their medical care."

Like when conservatives panic about care being rationed under a socialized system, he forgets that this is already the status quo: healthcare is rationed according to income rather than need. Access to health care doesn't create the need for it. Millions of Americans already do not get the care they need, and they won't be any more needy when they've had a taste of access to care through the government. Those without insurance don't have anything to depend on currently. Need for health care is a constant, regardless of ease of access. Many Americans are currently dependent on luck to stay alive and healthy, but augmenting it with real health care doesn't mean that people will not have needed the luck in the beginning. It's not like people haven't figured out that their needs are not being met and that they'll only realize they need to treat their diabetes once they realize how much better they feel when their condition is treated.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bigots can't handle democracy

Let's get something straight: people across the country registering their displeasure with the passage of Proposition 8 in California are not acting against democracy. If I think that something a majority of people have voted for is unkind and unnecessary, I'm entitled to let them know, just as millions across our country did today by rallying against the passage of Prop 8. According to Bryan Fisher of the Idaho Values Alliance, this means that I "actually hate democracy," because it "keeps getting in the way of [my] radical agenda."

Puh-leaze. Accepting but protesting majority rule is about as in-line with democracy as I can imagine people acting. Fisher is free to whine about people thinking he's a creepy dinosaur, and we're free to say that he is one. As it stands, I have to let Californians keep (or possibly break) families apart, but I don't have to like it.

Sounds like democracy all around to me.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I've been getting an inordinate amount of friend requests on Facebook from middle-aged men I've never heard of lately. I'm usually a somewhat promiscuous with my befriending habits on Facebook, but when a strange guy who graduated from college the year I was born wants to be my "friend," I'm pretty turned off. I have only ever gotten a handful of these, because I think my relationshp status of "married" is actually a pretty good filter. But as it turns out a bad profile picture isn't - I just changed mine from the one at right to a more recent one that is out of focus and depicts me and my now crazy hair absent-mindedly nomming on a cocktail straw.

Maybe it's time that I admit that I absolutely love Facebook and want to be your friend! It's been my primary social outlet since March, so I'm happily hooked.

So if these requests are coming from readers, be aware that a woman in her twenties looks askance at social networking connections from men who are old enough to be her father and have no discernable reason for contacting me. So let me know in the request if you'd just like to get in contact because you like reading my blog, and I won't heartlessly ignore your request.

Friday, November 07, 2008

When I grow up

I keep saying I want a PhD in biochemistry, and it's actually true. I like science and am perfectly functional in it, despite the fact it's not really where my talents lie.* I always assumed I wasn't interested in medicine, but now that I have some fascinating medical problems, I may have changed my mind. I've been thinking lately about how I would probably enjoy epidemiology.

If I'm going to play to my strengths, I really am interested in quantitative aspects of political science, in the same way that I'm interested in how "Wash your hands!" posters actually affect virus transmission rates.

*I'm good at writing and passionate about politics, neither of which dispose one to being really good at titrating things.

Blogging Anonymously

I've always felt proud that I put my full name next to my blog posts, but I kind of have a built-in dodge in that my name is so common that I could be any of a number of Sara E Andersons that live in my town or work at the institution where I do. Friends and relatives read my blog, so I'm not exactly hiding under what functionally amounts to a pseudonym. The Portly Dyke, AKA Carol Steinel, recently wrote about how covering up her real identity had been an obstacle to some good blogging, and I thought, "It's pretty nice that I never had to deal with that." I don't think I'd be able to keep up a long-term, elaborate cover for my identity, but I had a friend once, who'd known me for a year, to whom I tried to explain that I am a bad liar, and she said, "You never lie!" So I thought I must be a pretty good liar if she thinks that.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

No man is an island

I really liked digby's post about how it is in the self-interest of even rich people to help foot the bill for creating a stable and comfortable society. I'd really be taking it in the shorts if I started out with enough wealth to think health insurance wasn't necessary.

I've been thinking a lot about the value of spreading costs around, given how much I've had to rely on insurance this year, and how much better an investment health insurance turned out to be for me than just keeping/saving/investing my money. I was an unusually risk-averse 21-year-old. I'd be absolutely buried under debt now if I didn't buy health and disability insurance years ago. You really don't want the kind of return on your investment in health and disability insurance that I got, but I knew that beforehand.

I'm an exception (one in thirty million is the incidence of the condition I ended up with), but I'm sure glad that I've got 29,999,999 others to help pay for a freak health incident. Looking back, it's nice to know that my insurance premiums during my years of perfectly good health were helping defray these kinds of costs for others.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Culture Wars' Diminishing Returns

If gay marriage and insane impositions on women's rights don't have the coattails to get Republicans into office, I just don't see how they'll even be brought up anymore. If you're not going to turn a profit by pushing social issues, you might as well put your funds into an actual campaign for office.

For some reason, when it was brought up, I never imagined that Prop 8 would even come close to passing. I didn't count on the Mormon Church flying their hate flag so high and expensively. One can only hope that those who are currently married will be grandfathered in and not lose the rights they already had.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I admit it

I haven't done a damn thing today except drink the coffee Starbucks gave me, and I don't think I'm gonna.

Idaho Democratic Uncoordinated Campaign

I just got two calls at the same time from the Idaho Democratic Coordinated campaign urging me to vote today - one caller left a message while the other one was speaking to me. I still haven't gotten my act together to do anything useful today, but I've decided against my original plan to check out the Dem headquarters, since this doesn't speak very well for their effectiveness.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Watch closely

I was positive I'd be back at work by now when I was asked to help keep an eye on polling places in Moscow in case there's Republican voter suppression in the works. Turns out I'm free tomorrow, so I think I'll go check out the dome and the fairgrounds in case I can be of any help. From what I hear, UI college Republicans are going to be "verifying" voters tomorrow, so I might be using my time wisely.

If Republicans are going to have such fits about voter registration, they're going to be able to see very clearly how much they lost by this year. No accusations of your victory being stolen when you're out there disenfranchising people, please.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Whore to Madonna in just four weeks

I just saw an ad for a reality show called "My Bare Lady," which is a fish-out-of-water reality show where four female "adult stars"* are given a go at careers in business, the central point being that they take their dishonorable jobs that they would only have taken because they're constitutionally drawn to them, and shove them so that they may try, and fail hilariously, to live like normal, honorable people. I see that this is a sequel to a previous iteration of the show. You can already hear the "Whaaaa?" record scratch in the opening sequence of the show.

I know I'd have a hard time setting up a whole new career in four weeks, and if my resume were mostly full of jobs about which there are lots of unflattering stereotypes, I'd resent being set up for failure in this whore-to-madonna contest. I'm not on the show, but I already resent the tone in its setup.

*It seems to me that the bar for stardom is set pretty low when it comes to pornography. Perform in an adult film, and you're a "porn star." I think of the "star" of a film to be an actor playing one of the main roles, one of the people whose name is included on the trailer as an enticement to see the movie.


I just watched the show, and I think my inexperience with reality TV is showing because I was surprised at how many lame double entendres there were, not only referencing sex, but also referencing the supposed uselessness of these women as people.

Pleasantly, the business coach has a monologue where he discusses the idiotic preconceptions that drive the premise of the show.

The objectification doesn't just hinge on sexism, but also racism, with nonwhite participants being exoticized constantly.