Drop-Outs? Palin’s Corresponding Spins

alaska-palin15_08-15-2008_dre1fm8.thumbnail.jpgFour days have passed since the birth of her first grandchild, and Gov GILF has yet to issue a formal statement about the blessed event or casually comment on the arrival of Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. Yet she jumps up and calls People Magazine, leaving a phone message about Bristol and Levi’s educational standing:

You need to know that both Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time.They are certainly not high school dropouts.

People further reports that the Frost Lady of Alaska:

wanted to be clear about their continuing work toward high school degrees because any suggestion otherwise "harms Bristol’s reputation and Levi’s reputation and their chances for good work opportunities." 

Kinda veiled threaty, dotcha think? And so weirdly illogical, jobwise, since either a job requires a a certain degree or it doesn’t. Maybe Palin is concerned about her own reputation and "chances for good work opportunities."

Levi–who told the AP in October he had left high school (that would be "dropped out" in the vernacular) to apprentice as an oil field electrician–is now attending high school via correspondence courses,  according to what his potential future mother-in-law told the Associated Press today.  She also explained that Bristol is enrolled in regular high school and has taken correspondence courses in the past.

And no mention of  her feelings about the birth of her grandchild. Which sorta explains how she’s feeling.

The Griffin Footbullet: Rocket Science at Its Finest

retro_rocket_2.thumbnail.JPGWow, talk about emasculating and meddlesome! This wife makes Dagwood‘s Blondie and Bewitched‘s Samantha Stevens look laudenum-dosed by their husbands’ work.  On Christmas Eve, Rebecca Griffin sent out an email asking friends to sign a petition going asking that her husband keep his job now that a new boss was coming in:

Folks,
Yes, once again I am embarrassing my husband by reaching out to our friends and "imposing" upon them. Sigh, what’s new? The number 1 fan is a role I have earned, because I know how hard my husband works…
If you are not interested, please delete this email and accept my apologies for bothering you. If you are interested, just log in to the web site shown below. And, if this is inappropriate, I’m sorry.
Merry Christmas, Becky.

Um, eeeuwww, on just so many levels: The faux self-abnigation, the pseudo-sympathy seeking, the manipulation, the utter wrongness on so many levels. Now maybe if her boss was named Ebeneezer and they had a Tiny Tim at home—naw, the three ghosts didn’t need no stinkin’ email or petition.

But Rebecca’s husband’s new boss is PEBO, President-Elect Barack Obama and her husband is NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. The good wife says she

couldn’t think of an easier or better way to let you know about this true "grass roots" endeavor that was set up by former astronauts to encourage the incoming Obama administration to consider keeping Mike Griffin on as NASA Administrator. 

The petition drive was organized by Scott "Doc" Horowitz who has been maintaining the online campaign and eliminating negative comments about Mike that have appeared on the Keep Mike petition. Once a petition like that hits the interwebs, well scientists are very passionate. "Keep Mike" has several hundred people’s signatures, including that of astronaut Mike Fincke who e-mailed his signature from the international space station. 

Horowitz’s petition calls Griffin:

one of the most technically and managerially competent administrators in NASA’s history…true rocket scientist and systems engineer and gifted administrator—is uniquely qualified to take NASA into the next era of space exploration.

Mike has been working hard to keep his GWB appointed gig. He had NASA print and bind at the agency’s expense 2,500 copies of his speeches at a cost of $57,000 and then used priority mail to make sure PEBO got one. No other past adminstrator has done that, and considering NASA, and the country, is sorta cash strapped right now, maybe that wasn’t the best move to impress the P-E.

A few people don’t seem to share Rebecca, Scott and Mike’s view that Mike should keep his job.   The vocal ones  started their their own Remove Mike petition, pointing out that he’s cost the agency and tax papers a lot more than just his vanity press book. The anti-Mike petition has just a few dozen signatures, mostly anonymous with some nasty comments, some criticizing the new space vehicle design.

But most damning are the reports in the Orlando Sentinel of  Griffin’s non-coopertation with Obama’s transition team. He reportedly told Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator, that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program and then:

a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to four witnesses.

Maybe Former NASA Deputy Administrator Hans Mark, who recommended Griffin to the Bush administration, said Griffin and his friends are handling this wrong:

"Mike ought to play it the way (retained Defense Secretary) Bob Gates is playing it, which is to shut up," Mark said.

Someone Tripped Up: So Far No Pics of Tripp 4 $ale

crying-baby.thumbnail.jpgTell Bristol the fame lottery is on hold and it’s time to stop dream-life shopping: People Magazine says they’re not paying $300,000 for pictures of Gov GILF’s grandson Tripp.

Two days after Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnson’s birth MSNBC reported:

According to one source, bidding for the baby photos began at $100,000. People won out in the end, but In Touch was the only other weekly to make serious bids, according to several sources involved in the process.

"The bidding started well before the baby was born, but once Levi’s mom was arrested — well, then you had a story,” says one editor.

But People managing editor Larry Hackett told the Anchorage Daily News that:

the magazine has had "conversations" about photos with a Palin representative but no deal has been made and no money has been given to the Palins.

"Would I like the pictures? I would love the pictures but I don’t have them," he said.

People was the only media source to have the time and place of Tripp’s birth, provided by Colleen Jones the sister of Bristol’s grandmother Sally Heath.

Without Granny Sarah in a posed family portrait, perhaps with a stuffed moose on the wall, photos of Bristol and bambino won’t be worth $300K, said Paul Harris with Pacific Coast News, an entertainment photo agency based in Los Angeles. And unless Palin runs for president in 2012, paparazzi pics aren’t going to be worth much either, he added.

Don’t expect Alaska’s Frost Lady to help out Bristol with a posed shot. So far the only comment from the Tripp’s maternal grandma has been via a spokesman for who said:

This office will not be issuing any statements on [Bristol's baby]. We’re here to talk about state government and that matter falls outside of that.

 Ouch.

Fry the Friendly Skies: Veggie Oil Fuels Commercial Jet

airplane.thumbnail.JPGYesterday an Air New Zealand passenger jet partly fueled by vegetable oil made a successful two hour test flight, including a full power take-off and a cruise to 35,000 feet. One of the engines of the Boeing 747-400 was powered by a 50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel.

Native to Central America, jatropha–grown for fuel in the Philippines, India, parts of the African continent and Mali–shows promise in bio-diesel development. The seeds are the source of oil, and the waste matter can also be processed used as biomass feedstock to power electricity plants or used as fertilizer.

Unlike ethanol from corn or the bio-fuel mixture of palm and coconut oil used in February for a similar Boeing -Virgin Atlantic test flight, the source of jatropha, jatropha curcas, does not appear to compete with food or other commercial crops for arable land. The majority of bio-diesel is made from feed grains, like corn and soy, ostensibly impacting food costs.  Jatropha can grow on land that would make poor farmland and needs little water, and its only use is for fuel.

The plant is highly toxic when eaten, and it is unclear whether the vast amounts needed to fuel commercial jet liners would be viable. However, in India, the railway line between Mumbai and Delhi is planted with jatropha and the train itself runs on 15-20% biodiesel.   Jatropha fuel can be used in diesel vehicles as well. 

Currently, the drop in oil prices has made plant-derived fuel significantly more expensive to produce than the fossil fuel.   But plants, unlike oil, are a renewable resource and absorb about 50% of the carbon dioxide emitted during the burning of bio-diesel.  In early 2009 Continental Airlines plans to fly a two-hour flight out of Houston with an engine burning a 50-50 blend of petroleum-based jet fuel and bio-fuel from algae and jatropha, while Japan Airlines plans a test flight on a biofuel made primarily from another oild seed plant, camelina.

The Buzz: Diamond Studded Purity Ring Holder

purity11.thumbnail.jpgComposer/pop star Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics has devised a wonderful device to help girls keep their abstinence pledges.

 Called  "Little Steel Tonight," this purity ring holder, set with a band of black diamonds–signifying the pure, yet imperfect stage a woman is in before she is united in holy, monogamous marriage, the kind that has existed for 5,000 years in all religions–comes with a leather cord so that virtuous maidens can wear this $2000 symbol of chastity with pride as a reminder of their sacred commitment to their virginity.

 The 5.25 inch long, 0.67 inch diameter purity ring holder is inscribed with the lyrics to Dave’s song "Let’s Do It Again," a stirring ballad about reinforcing one’s pledge to stay chaste until marriage.

More Than 6 Degrees: Madoff Separates Kevin Bacon From His Money

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick may never know where the truth lies when it comes to financier kbacon.thumbnail.jpgBernie Madoff who played footloose with the acting couple’s investments. Hollow man Madoff seemed the picture perfect hero at large for much of Hollywood–including screenwriter Eric Roth, dozens of behind the scenes "niche"  entertainment industry folks, a charity linked to Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and numerous non-celeb charities.

But the former NASDAQ head was just telling lies in America.

 Bacon’s publicist, Allen Eichhorn, declined to say how much money the couple lost.

Christian Extremism: Witchcraft, Murder and Child Abuse

 (WARNING:  EXTREMELY DISTURBING IMAGES)

Christian religious extremism hits the American psyche when a fundamentalist church– Assemblies of God, which thinks Harry Potter is the gateway to Satanism, while facing charges of child abuse requests a $500,000 earmark from the federal government.  Or when Sarah Palin is cleansed of witchcraft by a Kenyan Assemblies of God minister

This form of religious extremism when exported to Africa is killing people and causing rampant child abuse.

For decades, fundamentalist evangelical churches have sprung up throughout Africa. Some are affiliated with American congregations, while others are a bit more free form; all claim belief in Jesus. Many of them of share a common hysterical belief in "witchcraft."

"Witch" gets misinterpreted as anyone who is different, weaker, who can be scapegoated for one’s troubles. Heck Sarah Palin and her pals "prayed a witch" out of Alaska. And the prayer group gleefully recounted the results.

In Akwa Ibom State, the center of the Nigerian child witch hysteria, the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, lamented:

The church will torture children and some of the churches will pretend to use oil to try and remove witchcraft from a child. So far we have we have 165 children some of them are not up to 9 months old who have been thrown away by their parents because the church said those children will bring them misfortune.

The Governor  has taken a firm stance, declaring

The churches are busy deceiving people in many aspects including avoiding deaths. We have to do something to re-strengthen the Child Right Law. We must fight against the abuse of children and ensure proper education for them.

AllAfrica news service reports:

Analysts trace the phenomenon to poverty which drags parents to Churches and other spiritual centres to seek prosperity…Further investigations show that such parents are usually ready to pay anything to the spiritualists to "deliver" their children from the "grip of the devil."…In some cases, all that is needed for parents to begin to suspect their children of witchcraft, is a manifestation of certain "strange" behaviour. Others are "identified" any the presence of an "inexplicable" illness afflicting them.

Strange behaviors for the Assemblies of God?

Smoking
Drinking
Drugs
Homosexual behavior
Staying in room alone
Dressing in black (fingernails, lipstick)
Body piercings
Demonic symbols on jewelry & clothes
Music (Marilyn Manson, Godsmack, Korn)
Books (Majick, Harry Potter)
Unusual scars and burns on right hand

 Time to send Trey or Tiffie to Teen Boot Camp.

Or time to crack down on religious abuse of children at home and abroad.

I Can See Sarah Palin From my Kitchen Window

527062966_cc0f58daa3.thumbnail.jpgWhy did Sarah Palin top the poll of most desirable celebrity neighbors, beating out Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears and the Beckhams among both the men and women surveyed?

1) She might let her kids babysit for you

2) She might share her moose kills

3) She might walk outside wrapped in a towel

 4) Clothes-swap parties

5) "Coffee" klatches with Gram Johnston

Civil Marriage Rights: Opponents are Wrong About Polygamy, Part 1

0d134b75d9225df7d61170c2381198de.thumbnail.jpgPart 1: Polygamy in the Past

For months now, those opposed to marriage equality have spouted off about how for thousands of years marriage has been "one man, one woman."  They’re wrong, and anyone with an encyclopedia and twenty minutes can find the holes in that argument.

Rick Warren is big on repeating a historical lie that has been seized upon by conservatives:

For 5,000 years, marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion–this is not a Christian issue. Buddhist, Muslims, Jew–historically, marriage is a man and a woman.

"5000 years" in fundamentalist terms means heterosexual monogamous marriages were in place around the time the dinosaurs walked the earth man. Flunk!

In the Old Testament, men had multiple wives, a practice that seems to have dissipated by the New Testament times, due in part to changing economies (multiple wives are expensive!) and Roman Imperial law and influence.

The Romans were greatly influenced by the Greeks, though the Hellenistic and Macedonian practice of polygamy consider contrary to the Roman state, was banned. However, as divorce was also illegal in Rome, multiple families often arose.

Wile Romans had single spouse marriages, the wealthy took lovers of both sexes on the side, attended orgies and generally frolicked licentiously with courtesans and slaves, like their Grecian role models. Depending on their class, "marriage" could be simply cohabiting, or a legal contract, with no religious ceremony involved. In Rome, living together for a year constituted afectus maritalis, with rights and privileges of civil wedlock.

Founded in 622 CE, Islam allows for multiple wives, carrying on a tradition of the pre-Islamic tribes in that region. The Prophet had plural wives, as did many other historically important Islamic figures.

Polygamy, practiced in the United States the ancestors of the same church that gave millions of dollars to Prop 8 was only outlawed in the US in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln.  Mormons based their practice on the Old Testament fathers, and believe that there is no prhobition against polygamy in the New Testament.

 Recently, New Mexico state senator Bill Sharer

said his opposition to a domestic-partnership bill is based on the fact that through most of recorded history — "from the days of Confucius and Aristotle," he said — marriage has been considered a union of one man and one woman. "It’s not just a Christian thing," he said. "It predates Christianity."

He’s wrong. Aristotle taught during approximately the same time as the polygamous Greeks, and Confucius’ teachings actually spread and codified the practice of plural marriages.

Rick Warren claims Buddhism is one-man one woman marriage religions.

Marriage is a secular issue in Buddhism. Theraveda "discourages" polygamy, while in Vajrayana  a consort of either gender may be brought into the marriage to assist in spiritual practices.

India banned polygamy in 1860 while the country was under colonial rule. Polygamy was officially ended in Thailand under the Westernizing influence of King Rama VI, invalidating Warren’s claims of 5,000 years of Buddhist monogamy.

So what we have here is a bunch of historically ignorant guys trying to use a flawed apples and oranges argument about polygamy to ban marriage between two consenting adults.

Could Lincoln Have Joined Saddleback Church?

alincoln.thumbnail.gifHonestly, when I first heard the phrase "Log Cabin Republicans" decades ago, I though they were called that because they met at the Log Cabin in West Hollywood, a real log cabin built originally by the Boy Scouts and used as a meeting hall by numerous  groups. It made sense: West Hollywood=gay; log cabin=Log Cabin. 

Or maybe the name had to do with lumber jack chic–beard, flannel shirt, tight jeans, boots–that made the local 24 hour coffee shop Yukon Mining Co a hot spot for hot men.

Well facepalm.jpg me! I eventually learned the origin of that stalwart bunch of Republicans’ name: Abraham Lincoln had special bed-sharing friendships with men. WWPRD? (What would Pastor Rick do?)  Well, for one thing, he wouldn’t have let Honest Abe join Saddleback Church, since–although homosexuals are allowed to attend services–they cannot be members if they are practicing a gay life style. And by several accounts  Lincoln did practice quite a bit, even while married.

Reams of deep correspondence, some signed "Yours forever" exist between Lincoln and Joshua Speed, a Springfield shopkeeper with whom Lincoln roomed and shared a bed. Yes, those Illinois nights can get chilly, and haven’t we all slept in a bed with someone at least once and not played tickle and slap, but Lincoln’s stepmom says he:

never took much interest in the girls

and Lincoln’s biographer Carl Sandburg wrote that Lincoln and his close friend Speed possessed

a streak of lavender, and spots soft as May violets

which is discreetly poetic code for gay as Oscar Wilde. Previously Lincoln had shared a bed with a local fellow Billy Greene who commented about Abe:

His thighs were as perfect as a human being could be.

Mmm, dishy!

And then when Lincoln was president, Capt. David Derickson regiment’s history records that Derickson, who led the brigade that guarded Lincoln at the Presidential retreat:

advanced so far in the president’s confidence and esteem that in Mrs. Lincoln’s absence he frequently spent the night at his cottage, sleeping in the same bed with him, and — it is said — making use of his Excellency’s night shirt

Sexuality can be fluid, not written in stone, and Lincoln and his male friends seem have enjoyed each others’ intimate company, while still having marriages that produced children. That’s part of the mystery of eroticism and emotions.

It’s deeply symbolic on many levels that Lincoln’s Bible is being used for Obama’s swearing in. And for the LGBT community, there may be a certain extra frisson that the Bible was given to Lincoln by Speed, the man with whom he shared a bed for several years. And while we’ll never know for sure what happened between Lincoln and his men friends, there’s enough belief in "something" that gay Republicans have embraced Abe as one of their own.

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