Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Small Fish, Big Pond

I finally made it down to the local Planned Parenthood today- it feels weird to go from someone who was a board member and spent a few nights a week volunteering or in meetings back down to an entry level volunteer. Just another effect of big change, I guess.

Best. Commercial. Ever.

It may be fake commercial, yes, but how many people would actually realize that???

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sure it's pretty, but...

A lot of the streets in our part of Champaign look something like this:

It's lovely, really. You don't imagine this part of the midwest being quite this tree lined. And paved with bricks no less!

Another quite popular thing in the city is bicycling- you see a lot of students and townies biking from one place to the other (which makes perfect sense- from one end of Champaign to the other end of Urbana is only a couple of miles). And after finally getting my front tube replaced on my bike and taking it out for its first ride today, I can say one thing for sure:

I'm glad I'm not trying to ride a road bike around here!

The bricks, while lovely, are uneven, to be kind. There aren't many that stick up, but there are quite a few small gaps, and some areas where the bricks have started to sink, and even more areas on the side of the road where grass is poking through. You definitely don't want a skinny tire and no suspension in the brick parts of town, this is for sure.

On a similar biking note, I've been looking at the idea of converting my 24 speed down to a single speed . There are some good tutorials on the subject, and it seems to make pretty good sense for an urban area like this- no hills to climb, more nimble for avoiding 18 year old idiot drivers, that sort of thing... And weirdly, single speed bikes are just as expensive if not more so than their billion geared cousins. Definitely calls for some DIY investigation...

Friday, August 17, 2007

There is no humane meat.

I often stumble during arguments, not always sure of what I'm saying. And arguments about animal rights are no different. So I tend to refer people to books and articles that do a far better job of making a case.

The argument against "humane meat" is no exception. The term itself I find fairly stunning and contradictory- how can one have humane slaughter? Because inevitably, those happy little animals you see running around the "humane farm" are going to be sent to a slaughterhouse and be murdered.

Josh from Herbivore deals with this issue in his latest editor's note (thanks to vegan chai for pointing it out). At a recent conference sponsored by HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), the "Animal Welfare Institute", an organization that advocates, among other things, "humane meat" and "humane animal research", paid their money and was able to sponsor a "panel discussion" (where they hand picked their supporters for the panel).

Take a look at the article- I'm curious to know where you stand?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Defend Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller is one of my heroes, and just an amazing human being. I'll have more to say about this later, but I wanted to get this up- excellently worded:

Defend Dr. Tiller

Blog post by Peter Rothberg in The Nation, Tue Aug 7, 6:50 PM ET

Dr. George Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US, pleaded not guilty last Friday to 19 misdemeanor charges brought against him by the state of Kansas. The charges revolve around a state law which requires that two legally and financially uninvolved physicians sign off on any late-term abortion procedure--a law that seems to have no other purpose than to make life difficult for abortion providers.

The charges against Tiller brought by Attorney General Paul Morrison allege that in 19 procedures from July to November 2003, the Wichita doctor consulted with Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus. The attorney general has said they had a financial relationship, although he hasn't been more specific. As a result, he faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each of the nineteen charges.

As a comprehensive cross-post by Cara at and details, Tiller has a long history of being harassed for his work and these allegations are just the latest chapter. He has faced regular protests at his clinic, other trumped-up criminal charges, physical threats, severe vandalism and constant intimidation. He has also been shot.

This new law under which he's been charged is harassment, pure and simple. That's why Tiller's attorneys are challenging the constitutionality of the statute. (A hearing was set for Aug. 10.) Moreover, as Cara rightly insists, "Requiring written approval of any late-term abortion procedure from two independent physicians is not only requiring the abortion provider to seek permission to practice medicine, it's also essentially requiring that the woman get permission to successfully request medical care. Her choice, along with the medical advice of her doctor, is not enough. Late-term abortions, contrary to what anti-abortion activists constantly profess, are not undertaken lightly. The women who receive medical care at Dr. Tiller's facility come from all over the country; Dr. Tiller is hardly going to be their first medical consultation. They seek their abortions either due to health risks to themselves or severe fetal deformity. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who likes late-term abortion, and that includes the women who need them."

Tiller has been operating bravely for years doing thankless work in the face of constant efforts to drive him away from his practice. The latest charges against him are meant to distract as much as punish and make it financially prohibitive for him to continue his services. So now he needs our help. Please send donations and words of support by mail to the address below:

Women's Health Care Services
5107 East Kellogg
Wichita, Kansas USA 67218

Sharing a Birthday.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always been curious as to what's happened historically on this, my birthday, who was born then, what holidays there are, that sort of thing. Well, I've had 33 years to compile a list, and here it is:

-Fidel Castro
-Alan Shearer
-Don Ho
-Alfred Hitchcock
-Jocelyn Elders

-1961- the GDR closes the border between East and West Berlin, prompting the construction of the Berlin Wall
-1987- Ronald Reagan owns up to his role in Iran-Contra

- International Lefthander's Day! (a holiday that is, of course, near and dear to my heart!)

So, once I get done with this pesky work thing, I plan on sitting back and honoring the day with a rum in one hand, champagne in the other, kicking a soccer ball, watching a horror movie and doing that which Jocelyn Elders always so heartily endorsed. Should be quite a scene!

Monday, August 06, 2007

A question for the masses:

Help me figure this out. Are lolcats a sign of societal progression or regression? I know I've got at least one armchair philosopher reading this who must have an opinion: