Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bringing a slimebag to justice, after 30 years

Roman Polanski. That slimebag. Please please please extradite him, and bring him to the US, so he can pay for what he did to that child. And he can pay for the resulting crimes as well - running away, and being allowed to stay free in France (how disgusting is it that the French govt won't extradite this sorry excuse for a human being - one of the lowest slimebags I have had the misfortune to actually hear of).

And shame on you, Whoopi Goldberg and the rest of Hollywood! You who think the "poor widdle thing has already been punished by having to stay away from his dear country all these years" - DO YOU GET IT? This piece of slime DRUGGED AND RAPED a child, barely 13 years old. DO YOU GET IT? This pedophile DRUGGED AND RAPED A 13 YEAR OLD CHILD. So what if he makes good movies? I'd happily, joyously live without good movies than see this piece of slime go free.

Given my druthers, I'd much rather see this child-rapist behind bars, where I know he will be treated as he deserves. Evil, I know, given the state of prisons in the US, but oh so apt for Polanski.

You would be within your rights to ask why I haven't done anything about this until today. Because I didn't know he had drugged her first, before raping her. Because I had only heard his side of the story. No excuse, I know. I did know that his victim was young, but I didn't know she was literally a child. I didn't know what I could do about it.

Here's something I can do about this - I can at least try to publicize this petition to extradite Polanski and bring him to the US to face his crimes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blue Dogs - bite the hand that feeds you at your own peril

H/T Tula Connell of FireDogLake:

Blue Dogs Bite, Unions Bite Back!:
Sheet Metal Workers (SMWIA) General President Mike Sullivan:

The Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA), has decided to suspend all financial and intangible campaign activity in support of every political candidate until real health care reform is passed.

Not just "suspend all financial and intangible campaign activity" - but they are using the money well-saved to air a series of radio ads in in Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, and Arkansas. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! The ads focus on Senators Chuck Grassley (IA), Max Baucus (MT), Kent Conrad (ND), and Blanche Lincoln (AR) - the last three supposedly allied to the Democratic Party.

And what cools my heart even more is to hear, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka has also warned the likes of Max Baucus and Kent Conrad (the Senate version of the Blue Dogs), and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Rick Boucher (D-VA) (both of them Blue Dogs) among others, that they are not going to get re-elected to Congress if they keep up their douche-baggery.

From Sam Stein at the Huffington Post:
Trumka's warning shots come at a time that the AFL-CIO is charting out a more aggressive campaign to target lawmakers who, as one official put it, "take labor's help but don't vote for labor's interests." Part of that process is to hold out the prospect of electoral consequences.

I am so happy to see progressives all over this country at last showing up the turds in Congress who are so happy to take our money at election time, but think we will forever put up with being sidelined when push comes to shove. And now that push has come to shove, if you do not vote for the progressive agenda, you will face your toughest ever re-election campaign, and that's a promise from this long-time (LEGAL) resident and soon-to-be citizen of these United States.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fantasy Dinner Party

Here's a tag my sis invited me to steal: Fantasy Dinner Party and so I am stealing (her dinner service idea, among other things - read on to find out what else I am stealing). All the following is assuming I will be allowed to be present in the room --> I don't need to eat with all these people, I just want to be free to interact with them, and listen and follow all the cross talk and everything.

The rules are:- you can invite anyone, living or dead- you have a table that seats eight, but as you are one, you can invite seven people- you have to explain why you'd invite them. And for bonus points:- what would you serve them for dinner?

The Guests:
Guest #1: Hypatia of Alexandria: A Greek scholar from Alexandria in Egypt, considered the first notable woman in mathematics, who also taught philosophy and astronomy. A woman who cultivated her mind, the first famous feminist (at least, as far as I am concerned), a mathematical genius. Murdered by a Christian mob, while defending the famous Library of Alexandria.

Guest #2:
Dr. Richard Dawkins: A contemporary scholar, quietly but VERY firmly atheist (*heh*), he is a British Ethologist, evolutionary biologist, popular science author, and was was formerly Professor for Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. Dawkins is an atheist, secular humanist, sceptic, scientific rationalist, (all like me) and supporter of the Brights movement (UNlike me). Although mischaracterized as "Darwin's Rottweiler," he is actually a very gentle and polite person - I love the way he can give someone such a hard time, and do it all poitely, without raising his voice. My hero for the current decade :)

Guest #3: Subrahmanya Chandrasekhar: One of my favorite Indian scientists and Nobel Laureates - Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. He was a Nobel laureate in physics along with William Alfred Fowler for their work in the theoretical structure and evolution of stars. I LOVES me some astronomy, at the dinner table or otherwise!

Guest #4:
Sir Terence David John Pratchett: My very very very very favoritest (if there is such a word) author, is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels. I love him even more for mixing in real science with his usual witty comments about Discworld's magic, in the "Science of Discworld" series. I have Part 1, and am looking for the rest of the series (hint, hint - brother and sister! *wink*).

Guest #5:
Sri K. V. Guruswami: My mother's oldest brother, an absolutely fascinating man. I managed to get him to write a bit about his childhood, growing up with so many younger siblings - he obliged, but then got busy planning my brother's marriage ceremony, and has not updated his blog at all. Mama, I may not have bugged you about that, but I am plenty bugged, I tell you. This is a very public plea from me to PLEASE re-start your entertaining and well-written vignettes. I think I would be absolutely fascinated to follow his conversations with my other guests, and his musical discussions, in particular, with my next guest.

Guest #6:
Smt M. S. Subbulakshmi: The golden voice. She needs no more introduction. The goddess of Carnatic music. She might be used to people being overawed in her presence, but I am sure my mama would get over the awe toot-sweet - there's no way he would pass up a chance to talk music with the woman who simply blew through the glass ceiling for Carnatic concert performances (amazingly enough, when she was young, only men could perform in public...can you believe it!).

Guest #7: My father (another guest I have stolen from sis), Sri S. Ramanathan. For the same reasons as
sis states.

Guest #8: My father's brother, Sri S Tarakesan. For the same reasons that my
cuz states :-)

And what the hell, as long as we are cheating, why not make this a table that seats 10?!

Guest #9: My mother, Mrs. Kalpagam Ramanathan. A very thoughtfully different person under all that humility and shrinking-violet-ishness. It would be lovely watching her hold her own against all my other illustrious guests, although MS might just make her tongue-tied with awe :-) I watch her make instant friends here with, literally, strangers off the street, that she meets while on her daily up to an hour-long walks, and wonder where in the world this person was hiding all these years. Maybe her siblings might know.

And finally, to round it all off,

Guest #10: My mother's sister, Gomathi Natarajan
. I have heard so much about her from my mother, about how feisty, no-nonsense she was, intelligent and not hiding it, keenly interested in the arts, wanting, but unable to follow her academic interests, but finding other ways of learning than traditional schooling... Wish I could have known her better before she died. But this is my fantasy, so everything I want, goes!

The Menu:
Each person's top two favorite dishes from their favorite cuisines - and a third dish to be a choice presented to the table at large, per person. Most certainly not cooked by me - and because Amma cooks everyday, she will get a chance to relax this time.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

More about this later... but I found this most thoughtful!

Teesu, "hint, hint!" *heheheh*

Inevitable Conflict

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chiropractic is DANGEROUS nonsense -- edited to add lines apparently sanitized by his lawyers

(Note: this is the infamous article on chiropractic that got Simon Singh sued. It is being reposted all over the web today by multiple blogs and online magazines.)

Why should I be left out of the fun? :-)
h/t: Pharyngula

Edited to add the sentences from the original article (removed in the lawyer-sanitized version that I had originally posted. Corrections/Additions are in this font. Where you see odd stretches of no text, you will see the original text if you select it.

h/t: En Tequila Es Verdad

Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all, but the research suggests chiropractic therapy has mixed results - and can even be lethal, says Simon Singh.

This is Chiropractic Awareness Week. So let's be aware. How about some awareness that may prevent harm and help you make truly informed choices? First, you might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that "99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae". In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.

In fact, Palmer's first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything. And even the more moderate chiropractors have ideas above their station. The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying - even though there is not a jot of evidence.

I can confidently label these assertions as bogus utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world's first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.

In 2001, a systematic review of five studies revealed that roughly half of all chiropractic patients experience temporary adverse effects, such as pain, numbness, stiffness, dizziness and headaches. These are relatively minor effects, but the frequency is very high, and this has to be weighed against the limited benefit offered by chiropractors.

More worryingly, the hallmark technique of the chiropractor, known as high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, carries much more significant risks. This involves pushing joints beyond their natural range of motion by applying a short, sharp force. Although this is a safe procedure for most patients, others can suffer dislocations and fractures.

Worse still, manipulation of the neck can damage the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. So-called vertebral dissection can ultimately cut off the blood supply, which in turn can lead to a stroke and even death. Because there is usually a delay between the vertebral dissection and the blockage of blood to the brain, the link between chiropractic and strokes went unnoticed for many years. Recently, however, it has been possible to identify cases where spinal manipulation has certainly been the cause of vertebral dissection.

Laurie Mathiason was a 20-year-old Canadian waitress who visited a chiropractor 21 times between 1997 and 1998 to relieve her low-back pain. On her penultimate visit she complained of stiffness in her neck. That evening she began dropping plates at the restaurant, so she returned to the chiropractor. As the chiropractor manipulated her neck, Mathiason began to cry, her eyes started to roll, she foamed at the mouth and her body began to convulse. She was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died three days later. At the inquest, the coroner declared: "Laurie died of a ruptured vertebral artery, which occurred in association with a chiropractic manipulation of the neck."

This case is not unique. In Canada alone there have been several other women who have died after receiving chiropractic therapy, and Edzard Ernst has identified about 700 cases of serious complications among the medical literature. This should be a major concern for health officials, particularly as under-reporting will mean that the actual number of cases is much higher.

Bearing all of this in mind, I will leave you with one message for Chiropractic Awareness Week - if spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market.

Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Free Iran!

An update - found this video on Pharyngula:

Image lifted from this post on Hullabaloo

A well written article on MidEast Analysis.com

And from Hullabaloo itself

And from Bitch, PhD .

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And this is not terrorism.... just how?

free debate

Update 2: Another post by Sara at Orcinus: Jesus Jihadis

Update (from one of the comments on this post at Feministe):

GallingGalla says: May
31st, 2009 at 9:22 pm
- Edit several
forced-birthers (o excuse me, so-called “pro-lifers”) have posted comments
purporting to be expressing grief, shock, etc.

your words ring hollow. you had better think about the responsibility that you and your fellow
forced-birthers have in creating the environment that encouraged and abetted an act of terrorism. when you demonise and dehumanize doctors and abortion providers; when you spread lies about the women who are getting these abortions and hide the fact that the vast majority are getting abortions because the fetuses are so deformed that they CANNOT SURVIVE; when you slut-shame women and imply that they got pregnant because they did not “keep their pants on”, you are setting the ground work for these acts of terrorism.

“pro-life feminist”? give me a break, angry lifer. being a forced-birther is incompatible with
feminism. you advocate state control and male control over women’s bodies and women’s choices. you demonise and dehumanize women and seek to punish women who do not meet your definitions of what a “proper, chaste” woman is supposed to be. you demonise and dehumanize their health care providers. you harass and terrorize women trying to use those health care services, including those who are just trying to get a Pap smear or attend prenatal health classes.

there is no middle ground here. you are all hypocrites. you should be ashamed of yourselves.

I agree with this comment with all my heart, and wish I could express my rage and sorrow as clearly as she has.

From the Seattle-PI: Kansas abortion doctor gunned down in church

The only doctor in Kansas who provided the FULL range of women's health services (including perfectly legal abortions, early or late) has been gunned down in the foyer of his church. The cowardly murderous slime that did it then "bravely" ran away. Leave behind the obvious fact that abortions were only a very small part of his offered services, and the fact that the major part of his practice involved providing basic gynecological care for girls and women of all ages - all those anti-abortion terrorists could think about was the fact that he helped girls and women end pregnancies that they were not ready for.

For the most part, in Kansas and other bible-belt states, a girl or woman who cannot afford his services outright has to go through so many kinds of hell to get to him in time that by the time he sees them, they are well into their second semester. And so the doc would have to do a late-term abortion, because of all the obstacles and harassment put in the way of women who are in no position to raise a child - either because they are too young to have jobs, or because they already have other children and cannot afford this one, or for WHATEVER reason the girl or woman may have, because I know that this is never an easy decision. EVER. For ANY woman.

Anyway, here are a few snippets from the story that really got my blood boiling:

Police did not release a motive for the shooting. But the doctor's violent death was the latest in a string of shootings and bombings over two decades directed against abortion clinics, doctors and staff.

Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991, Tiller was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church. Tiller's attorney, Dan Monnat, said Tiller's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time.

And this:

The family said its loss "is also a loss for the city of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality health care despite frequent threats and
violence." Stolz said all indications were that the gunman acted alone, although authorities were investigating whether he had any connection to anti-abortion groups.

Tiller's Women's Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy. The clinic was heavily fortified and Tiller often traveled with a bodyguard, but Stolz said there was no indication of security at the church Sunday.

And then this precious bit of smoke and mirrors - of course they are "shocked", why would they not be? After all, these are the people who constantly portray women health service providers as murderous scum that should be taken down any way possible. Of course I believe you, Operation Forced-Pregnancy, of course... NOT!!

"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down," Troy Newman, Operation Rescue's president, said in a statement. "Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce
vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning."

Bah, these people make me sick. And then this:

The movement's leaders fear the killing could create a backlash just as they are scrutinizing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, whose views on abortion rights are not publicly known.
A backlash against what? Them? Who in the world would ever care what a few fundie god-bothering forced-pregnancy fools think, except that they provide havens for terrorists like the cowardly murderous slime that killed Dr. Tiller? And why in the world would Judge Sotomayer's opinions about ANYTHING need to be public? She has already made it clear by her history on the appellate courts that she follows the LAW. End of story.

And anyway, why in the world would the confirmation of a judge even be a matter in any way remotely related to this conscientious and compassionate doctor's murder?

Hilarious (but occasionally NSFW) cartoon site

Urf -- by Phil Selby

(click to embiggen either pic)

or this:

(h/t) Bay of Fundie

Sunday, May 03, 2009


I'm perhaps about the last person in the world who hadn't heard Susan Boyle sing, either live or on this YouTube recording. But better late than never!

This is the first chance I've had, since I heard about Susan Boyle, to find the link and hear the voice that has captivated the world -- and now that I've heard her, I'm almost too ashamed to leave my own puny offerings up on my blog. THAT is pure VOICE! Oh to have that voice...... Ms. Boyle, I wish you all the very best, and am waiting for your first album to come out. Any recording company that has heard you sing, and NOT signed you up immediately is the dumbest ever!

I can't find the embed code I need to display the video on my blog... So here is the URL - for those who haven't heard her, I urge you to click on the link and listen to that sublime voice...

Without more ado, here's Susan Boyle

Friday, May 01, 2009

A very useful site - especially for frequent travelers

I ran across this site today - One Bag - The art and science of traveling light - and have been reading it - you never know what you'll come across while idly browsing the internets, in an effort to find something to do while waiting for traffic to ease (thus keeping your sanity out and temper in during the daily commute drudgery).

The author has almost made a science of packing the minimum necessary for travel. I think this is a wonderful site - if you like doing things systematically, and tend to build up by-rote habits that allow you to get things done with your hands while your head is busy working out other problems. I can't travel much, so this is just fascination for me, but others, who do travel often for business or pleasure, will find this has at least a few good tips, if nothing else.

Thinking of my brother, whose new job involves criss-crossing the country from his base in Boston...

An oddly addictive blog

This one reviews pens, and their writability and balance and a whole bunch of other characteristics... The author has a run-of-the-mill interesting style of writing - and I mean the way he puts words together to describe things, not how his handwritten words LOOK. He also maintains a blog about notebooks and notepads.

These are both odd things to be an addict of, for sure, but I think I know at least one someone (hi Shyamali :-)) who'll find this brilliant. I am enjoying reading reviews of pens, notebooks and notepads (all of the non-electronic variety), but haven't written anything on paper for the most part of 15 years, other than hurriedly scribbled notes at meetings, etc. Otherwise, all my "writing" is done with a keyboard, so much so that I seem to have lost my neat handwriting altogether.

Anyway, thought this was a cute site, so here it is :)

(edited title to be grammatically correct)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New writer I have come across - B C Woods

BC Woods is a Pacific Northwest local resident, which for some reason it took me this long to "get", considering where I live :P

Anyway, I have his blog bookmarked just for his writing style - humor, passion, cynicism, reality, sadness, anger, everything, all mixed up in blog posts that somehow really resonate with me. A lot of his autobiographical posts are more than a bit shocking, in their language and dark, gallows humor, especially to someone like me, who's had a sheltered childhood, and a sheltered adult life (this by choice)...

But I do think BC has a real talent for writing, and I'm happy I found his blog (don't even remember how I got to it the first time), all I know is I read the top post of his blog at the time, was simultaneously horrified and hooked, read everything else on his web site, and bookmarked it as one of my favorites. He isn't quite as prolific as I would like him to be (not least because he has a day life as a student), but it is always thrilling to see his posts that don't have to do with live-blogging Battlestar Galactica :)

Here're a few links from BC's blog - cutely called "Dunce upon a time." Read them and then read all his posts... This is someone I would love to have as a friend. If I weren't too distracted from everything by the constant pain in the feet and the neverending work. And too lazy to set up and maintain correspondence even as a first step.

Without more ado - here's B C Woods:

The Value of Maintaining Homeostasis: A Rant Against Over-Sensitivity Autobiographical, and definitely not child-safe. But still funny as hell. He's one of the few people who can keep me in side-splitting laughter while still being totally horrified by what I'm reading, and further horrified by the fact that I am laughing helplessly.

The writing on the wall is one of his science fiction shorts. Not a very representative sample of his writing, but no matter what, most of his stories really resonate with me.

Smiling sick is a sickly kind of fantasy story. Didn't totally "get" it, but still.

Autobiographical - funny how the man can make you laugh hysterically while he describes his less than 20-20 vision :D

This one is also autobiographical. And funny, as always.

Read and enjoy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Absolutely GORGEOUS - geography in action

What does the island nation of Tonga bring to mind? To me, it evokes gorgeous little green jewels of islands dotted in an azure ocean under blue sunny skies...

But see what's been happening around there - an undersea volcanic eruption that this throwing out a plume of steam, ash and debris a 100 feet into the air!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ignorexia Verbosa

The perfect term to describe the affliction of your typical TV talk show host and/or news reader (doesn't matter daily, weekly, daytime, nighttime, political, doesn't matter which TV/radio channel, etc).

I LOVE this term! :D

Picked it up from Ed Brayton's "
Dispatches from the Culture Wars"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

CEOs of Indian companies - maybe they actually HAVE self-respect and integrity (contrast any fat cat on Wall Street or in Detroit)

The scandal broke in India last week - the CEO of Satyam Computer Services Ltd, India, had announced that the company had been reporting vastly inflated monetary profits and reserves for the past several years, which had been artificially keeping their stock prices up. Satyam Computer Services is the largest software services company in India and a major global player.

Then on Monday, this letter from the CEO (B. Ramalinga Raju) was widely reported in newspapers all around India (addressed to the Board of Directors, copies to the various stock exchanges and the SEBI (I think that's the Bombay Stock Exchange?):

The highlight of this letter is that last line:

“I am now prepared to subject myself to the laws of the land and face the consequences thereof”
B. Ramalinga Raju (ex-CEO of Satyam Computer Services, LTD)

Anyone care to bet on the odds of this happening in the US or Europe?

Compare and contrast that ex-CEO of Washington Mutual. Walking away with his $20 million without the slightest hint of shame or anxiety about prosecution. Ditto the Wall Street fat cats and the Big 3.

Satyam CEO - Letter to Board of Directors