KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

New Equal Rights Amendment Proposed

You may not know that on March 15, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York and U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts introduced versions of an amendment to the Constitution that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex.

You can read the text of Senate Resolution 7 here and
the text of House Resolution 37 here. Another source of information is here.

Please blanket your senator and representatives with letters and faxes in support of these resolutions. The women's rights movement didn't erase all discrimination against women. Let's not let this important amendment fail as it did in 1982.

Don't know who your senator is? Go here. Go here to find out who your representatives are.

3/30/05 update: For updates, see the web sites of the National Organization for Women and the ERA Campaign Network.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Republican Emperors Have No Clothes

How can any American anywhere believe anything said by any Republican?

Perpetual hypocrite and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who led Congress's efforts to keep Terry Schiavo's shell alive, once decided to let a comatose man die—his own father.

But that was back in 1988, before the new Bush "morality," so I suppose the 65-year-old man's life wasn't worth legal grandstanding. DeLay had just been elected to his third term in Congress when his father sustained a serious injury in an accident. He wasn't yet in a position to drag Congress along with him, so perhaps that was why he decided, along with the rest of his family, not to prolong his dying father's life.

E-mail DeLay, call his Washington office at 212-225-5951, or fax him there at 212-225-2541 about his self-serving politicization of a private matter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An Easter Message

How Jesus might really have looked
Illustration by BBC Photo Library
Cover of the December 17, 2002, issue of Popular Mechanics,
illustrating the cover story, "The Real Face of Jesus"

And God said, "Thou shalt not kill," not "Thou shalt not kill, unless thou art George Bush and believest that thou hast the ear of God."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Living in a Rogue State

On September 11, 2001, I was in my obstetrician’s office, waiting to find out what day my third child would be born by cesarean section. I was 42 and it was a high-risk pregnancy, so my son wouldn’t be allowed to enter the world whenever he got around to it.

The physicians in the practice had a heavy patient load that day, so there was a long a period between the ultrasound examination and the consultation about scheduling when I sat in the waiting room. At one point, the nurses and receptionists stopped what they were doing and listened intently to a radio behind the reception desk. Then they began whispering furiously to each other, looks of shock on their faces. I and the other patients in the waiting room began asking one another what was up. The staff members didn’t want to scare anyone, so they were giving no explanations about the radio reports. I didn’t find out that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center had been rammed until I went back into an office for the consultation. When one nurse finally explained in my doctor’s office, my heart sank. I wasn’t sure why the towers had been hit—I wouldn’t learn all the details until I got home and could watch TV—but I dreaded what George Bush would do in retaliation. I was afraid he’d start World War III.

On March 21, 2003, I was nursing my 18-month-old son, and my heart sank again as I watched TV news footage of the beginning of the “shock and awe” campaign against Iraq. Bush had convinced enough people that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and had connections to al-Qaeda. He had not been swayed by the huge protests in America and around the world. It was too late; he was in the grip of war fever.

Today, it’s March 21, 2005, two years later. My youngest son is 3½ years old. My heart sinks now at the thought of all the Iraqi civilians and American soldiers who have died or been wounded, their families’ lives forever changed. And for what reason? So that Bush could find nonexistent WMD? So that he could satisfy his megalomaniacal need to make Iraq over into his version of a democracy? So that he could give his Halliburton buddies lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq? So that he could play at (read: bumble) being a statesman?

It’s been a long, depressing road. But I’m not about to stop protesting this illegal war. I don’t want my youngest son—or his older brother and sister—growing up in a country that believes it knows best for the world and can do whatever it wants. I don’t want my children growing up in a rogue state.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Let Me Count the Days

Here's a timeline of events in the Iraq war.

And this is from my friend Bill Blinn*:

3 years 8 months 8 days (1,347 days).

That's the number of days between September 11, 2001, and May 20, 2005.

It's also the number of days between December 7, 1941, and August 15, 1945.

In the 1,347 days between December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and August 15, 1945, when Japan ended World War II by signing an unconditional surrender, the United States

  • Worked together with the rest of the world
  • Helped defeat Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria
  • Provided unprecedented aid
  • Built strong alliances
  • Earned the trust and the respect of what would later be known as the "free world"
In the 1,347 days between September 11, 2001, when New York and Washington were attacked by terrorists, and May 20, 2005, what will the Bush administration have achieved? So far, the United States has
  • Invaded Afghanistan (population: 24,800,000 in 245,000 square miles of land mass; by comparison, California has 33,800,000 inhabitants in 158,700 square miles of land mass)
  • Invaded Iraq (population: 21,400,000 in 168,000 square miles of land mass)
  • Lied about completing a mission
  • Lied about weapons of mass destruction
  • Misplaced millions of dollars flowing into Iraq despite predictions that oil from Iraq would finance the country's own reconstruction
  • Earned the distrust of most of the rest of the world
But maybe I'm criticizing too early. After all, the Bush administration still has 62 days to actually end the war in Iraq, complete the mission, find the missing WMDs, find the missing money, find a way for Iraq's oil to pay for reconstruction, and earn the trust and respect of the world.

Think the neo
cons will be able to pull it off?
*Bill says this is based on a statement made by Ed Schultz on March 18, 2005.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Great Reason to Drink Green Tea

Both fans of green tea and proponents of alternative medicine have long said that green tea has cancer-fighting effects. A news report today explains that mainstream science has discovered how it does so:

Researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain and the John Innes Center in Norwich, England have shown that a compound called EGCG [epigallocatechin gallate, a potent antioxidant] in green tea prevents cancer cells from growing by binding to a specific enzyme.

“We have shown for the first time that EGCG, which is present in green tea at relatively high concentrations, inhibits the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, which is a recognized, established target for anti-cancer drugs," Professor Roger Thorneley, of JIC, told Reuters.

“This is the first time, to our knowledge, a known target for an anti-cancer drug has been identified as being inhibited by EGCG,” he added. . . .

The scientists decided to look at ECGC after they realized its structure was similar to a cancer drug called methotrexate.

I've been drinking green tea for years, because of both its good taste and what was then its unproven ability to stop cancer. I also savor white tea, which is less processed than green tea (which in turn is less processed than black tea). It has a very delicate flavor and very likely has even higher concentrations of beneficial compounds such as EGCG. This article by researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute (named a Center of Excellence for Research On Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine) of Oregon State University explains.

I've not ever found white tea sold by the tea bag—only as whole tea leaves. Once I started drinking whole-leaf tea, both green and white, I didn't want to use tea bags anymore. Whole-leaf tea tastes fresher because it hasn't been crushed the way tea for tea bags is. My favorite place to order tea online is SpecialTeas—and no one there asked me to say so, either.

Another reason

Monday, March 14, 2005

Can Federal Officers Kill Arab Americans at Will?

On Saturday, February 6, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer Douglas Bates, off duty and outside his own home in Orange County, California, allegedly shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Arab American Bassim Chmait—and only now is a grand jury hearing testimony about it. You can bet that if Chmait were white, the legal system would have pounced on Bates immediately.

Eyewitnesses have said that Chmait, a college student, and three friends were walking from a car to a party on Los Alisos Boulevard in Orange County. One of the four picked up a soda can that someone had thrown at the group and tossed it into the street. Bates apparently heard the noise and came out of his apartment wearing a bathrobe and carrying a badge and a gun. The witnesses said that Bates said he was a cop and then pistol-whipped the head of one of Chmait’s friends. Chmait, trying to protect his friend, asked Bates to put down the gun and stood between the officer and the wounded friend. Bates then fatally shot Chmait in the head, said the witnesses.

Bates was not arrested, because the local sheriff’s department said it didn’t see any evidence that he committed a crime. But Chmait’s family has been
pushing for legal action, hiring an attorney and holding vigils in his memory.

The hysteria created by the Bush administration over national security has created an atmosphere in which anyone of Arab descent—and anyone who is assumed to be of Arab descent—is seen as a terrorist, a thug, or at least a threat. Arab Americans are the new blacks in America, guilty until proven innocent. This is outrageous. Legal protection in this country isn’t supposed to be only for whites.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Update: Suzanne, Full of Grace

Suzanne came through her surgery with flying colors! I'm sure it's due in no small part to the many people praying for her, and for that, I thank you. The doctors found much less cancerous tissue than they expected to and will be able to treat the few nodes left with chemo. Suzanne's excited because today she'll be able to get out of bed and sit in a chair. Knowing her as well as I do, I'm sure she won't just stick with the chair. She'll be walking laps around the ward shortly. And Tom, her husband, sounded so cheerful on the phone. I could hear in his voice how much he loves and needs Suzanne.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Why I Hate April, or Why America Needs Health Care Reform Now, Take 2

Read Take 1 here.

I've written the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, New York's Governor Pataki, and my U.S. senators and U.S. representative. Just a few minutes ago, I heard from the executive secretary of the New York State Board of Pharmacy, and he's referring my complaint about the drug mail-order company to the state Office of Professional Discipline for investigation. Some pharmacist may be in deep quicksand soon.

But the really good news for those of you who, like me, live in New York State, is this: The state assembly is currently considering bill A02766, which will, if it becomes law, prohibit insurers from requiring subscribers to get their meds through mail-order companies. Please
contact your assemblyperson and ask him or her to vote for the bill.

If you think there should be a national law about this, go here to
contact your U.S. senators and here to contact your U.S. representatives.

Don't just get mad—start writing!

U.S. Military Fictionalizing Saddam's Capture?

If this news story is true, a U.S. military production team "fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well."

Former U.S. Marine Sergeant Nadim Abou Rabeh, who is of Lebanese descent, has been quoted in a Saudi newspaper as saying that Saddam Hussein was really captured on Friday, December 12, 2003, not on Saturday, December 13, 2003, as the U.S. Army said. Abou Rabeh said that his 20-person unit found Hussein in a small village home, not in a hole in the ground.

Why in the world would anybody want to fake the details of the capture? To make it a better story? Very, very odd.

Why I Hate April, or Why America Needs Health Care Reform Now

I just have to share the joy.

I just got the monthly bill for my health-insurance premium: It's jumped from $802.29 to $920.80! This is the bill for April's coverage; April is the month when a lot of policies increase their rates. Increases used to be $30 a year, $50 a year. I guess now it's time to hit the double digits. If the increases keep getting bigger and bigger, what will I give up? Insurance coverage? Home ownership? Food?

As a self-employed person, I pay the full premium for coverage for my entire family. In the United States, this is a tax write-off, but only at the end of the tax year. Meanwhile, I have to come up with that money each month.

And this is the insurance company that insists that its subscribers get their "maintenance" meds through a mail-order company—and that company just "lost" my older son's prescription for Ritalin, a controlled substance! Lost?! I sent it by express air courier, recipient signature required, rather than through the postal service. How in *#$(% can a pharmacy lose a prescription? Maybe some pharmacist is intending to fill it and sell the Ritalin on the black market. And I'm paying for it.

#*$(%~*! I was having a nice Friday.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Is the Sun Setting on Rummy?

Old-guard military matinee idol Donald Rumsfeld may soon have to pay at least some small price for his contempt for human life. He's being sued and he's being subtly edged out of the limelight in Bush administration—by Bush, who now wants to morph from the "war president" to the "diplomacy president." Can it be that he'll be gone by the end of this year? Don't just sit there and hope—tell your senators and representatives that you want him out, too.

On March 1, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights First did what Congress refused to do and took action against the arrogant warmonger. They filed suit against Rummy in a Chicago federal court on behalf of eight men who say they were beaten, sexually humiliated, and threatened with dogs and mock firing squads by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. The ACLU says that Rummy's responsible because he authorized the illegal interrogation techniques and knew there was widespread torture but did nothing to stop it. As we would expect, the Defense Department said he did no such thing.

And now, two retired military lawyers—retired Army General James Cullen and retired Rear Admiral John Hutson—have joined the legal team. According to the Executive Intelligence Review, Cullen said, "Mr. Rumsfeld's policies have stained our military. . . . We want to remove that stain." Cullen and Hutson told the Review that both active-duty and retired military personnel have expressed their support for what the two men are doing.

At the end of last month, 10 labor unions representing 300,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense filed a federal lawsuit in a U.S. district court in D.C. against Rummy, charging that the department is violating labor laws in refusing to negotiate changes in its labor management system. Apparently the department cites national security threats whenever the unions want to advocate on behalf of the workers. And—is this a surprise, coming from a department run by Rummy?—"secret working groups" put together changes in the department's labor relations system and didn't give unions concrete proposals, though any changes are legally supposed to be worked out with the input of employees. I guess if Iraqis aren't worth being treated like human beings, then federal employees aren't either.

Remember all those reports of Rummy steamrolling Condi Rice? It seems those days are over. As secretary of state, she's getting all the attention, especially as she hops from country to country, painting boss Bush as eager to build alliances. And Rummy's old foe, Richard Armitage, is said to be eyeing Rummy's job. Armitage, recently retired as deputy secretary of state, is letting it be known that he wouldn't be averse to a stint as secretary of defense.

I'll accept the absence of Rummy by any means—lawsuit, congressional investigation, outright firing by his boss. Just get the sleazeball out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Suzanne, Full of Grace

My friend Suzanne is one of the few people I know who exudes God's grace—if you look closely, you just might see a halo of light surrounding her. If you're a praying person, she needs your prayers at noon on Wednesday, March 9. She's about to undergo surgery again to remove more cancer from her body.

Suzanne has taught preschool for years. Though she's just a few years away from retirement age, she's childlike herself: buoyantly happy, confident that God will see her triumphantly through every problem, kind to everyone she meets. No matter what obstacles she encounters in life, she just knows she'll come out all right. The only person I've ever heard her say anything bad about is President George Bush.

She's been married to Tom, a serious, steady man, for many years. They have three grown children and a few grandchildren. They need her as much as all her friends need her.

Suzanne has always had a reputation as an incredibly fast healer. She's physically active, often getting in a few sled runs down the snowy hills of the local golf course before heading off to work. She's broken bones before, healing so fast that her doctors were amazed.

A few months ago, doctors found that Suzanne has ovarian cancer. Suzanne with cancer? Not possible. She's too healthy. But no, the diagnosis was correct. The doctors removed her ovaries and uterus, and cancerous tissues from her intestines. Then she began chemo. Through all that, she was cheerful and determined to pray herself back to complete health. Her hair fell out, but it grew back beautifully thick and curly. She looked good.

Then she began to lose weight. Always thin, she really didn't need to lose any more weight. She found it hard to eat because of the mouth sores caused by chemo.

And now she's back in the hospital, scheduled to undergo surgery once more. Please pray. The world can't afford to be without good people like Suzanne. Sadly, they're far too rare.
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