Friday, January 30, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

Who knew when I got involved in Doberman rescue that it would consume my life? Not me, that's for sure. And that's where I've been.

It's hard to write with dogs all over you. Right now there are our four and two rescues here. That's a lotta dawg.

I'll write more and more about what being a dog rescuer means, and why it's important, and what fostering involves. But for now, I need a brief dog break!

Sarah Palin has a future in the GOP, says Squeakie Matthews. Yeah. Sarah Palin, Queen of the Bottom Feeders, that lowest 20% of Americans who still think George Bush is a genius and Obama is a secret IslamoTerrorist cell of one.

Michael Steele, the new BLACK chair of the Republican part, is a BLACK chair. Did I mention that he's a BLACK BLACK? A BLACK, AFRICAN AMERICAN-type BLACK AFRICAN AMERICAN? Just like Sarah Palin was a WOMAN. See, for the GOP, it's any old b*tch, any old N-word. We're all interchangeable tokens.

And how about the patriotism of the GOP? Have you noticed? There's just no there there. Any hope we may have had for enough bipartisanship to get the country out of the maelstrom has utterly dissipated, thanks to men like the two Arizona senators, Kyle and the back-stabber McCain. I don't know where they get their values, but not from any place I recognize.

I agree with Senators Collins and Nelson: There's too much in the big budget package that isn't obviously related to job creation. Mind you, I like what's in there. I just think--not for the first time--that the Congressional Leadership is composed of idiots. Reid and Pelosi ought to have had the sense to unpack the funding for other projects from this bill. Anybody could see this GOP attack coming. That they didn't says to me that they aren't worth their paychecks. It's about strategy. It's about rolling out a bill that the GOP doesn't dare oppose without obviously showing its true colors.

Monday, January 26, 2009

NEVER Get a GE DECT Digit 6.0 Cordless Phone

Model 27909 EE1 just sucks. That's $80.00 worth of suck, too.

Item: It weighs, looks, and feels like the high-tech equivalent of a tin can.

Item: The manual says to install the battery pack in the back of the handset. Fine. Only there's no way to get the back of the handset open. Ignore the main photo here. It looks as if there's a split at the halfway mark, which might suggest that the top or bottom half slides down to reveal the battery casket. Not. Look instead at the photo on the right. No line. And what you can't see is the fact that the "call-me-stainless" back has four sides that fit tightly over the front part of the phone, making a slide movement impossible in any direction. Nor can it be lifted up, or popped up, or pried up.

Item: The 1-800 service number has been disconnected. Now you get to pay to talk to these morons about the garbage they've just sold you. Nice, eh?

Item: You guessed it: When they answer, they answer in a distinct East Indian accent. I'm teeth-gritted, white-knuckled OK with that, but I do at least expect them to know what the hell they're attempting to talk to me about in English.

Item: They don't.

"Slide the back of the handset. It will open."
"No, it won't. Because it can't slide. Do you know why it can't slide? Because it fits on the front of the handset like a box top. It has four sides. Something can't slide unless there's at least one open side to slide out of. Do you see?"
"I believe I understand you. Will you please hold a moment?"
"Do I have any choice?"
"I will be back in just a moment."
(Pause, pause, pause, pause, pause. Pause, pause, pause, pause, pause, pause.)
"Thank you for your patience.[!] Now, if you will slide the back of the handset, it will open."
"What did you say to me?"
"Ma'am, I said, 'If you will slide the back of the handset, it will open.'"
"Did you hear me when I told you that IT WILL NOT SLIDE OPEN BECAUSE IT CANNOT SLIDE?"
"Perhaps you can get someone to help you. . . . "

Repeat four times.

Item: After 10 minutes on the help line, this woman actually had the 'nads to suggest that I "get someone to help me."

"Um, what are they paying YOU for! I didn't call to ask about your mother-in-law. I called because ostensibly you can help me. That is what you are here for, is it not? However, it is all too evident that you don't have the foggiest idea what you're talking about, that you've never seen this model in your life, that you wouldn't know 'slide' from 'chinchilla,' and that helping me is the very LAST thing you can do!"

Just. Do. Not. Get. This. Phone. This "phone" is a bait-and-switch phone. It pretends to be a phone when actually it is a paperweight. This "phone" in my view was manufactured for the sole purpose of driving people insane. It probably comes with a coupon for psychotherapy.

It is sold by Home Depot. If you must go there for a phone, DO. NOT. GET. THIS. PHONE.

It is better by far just to go outside and yell.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In My Dreams

Do they teach this in obedience? Agility? Utility? Anywhere???
Thanks to my pal Sally for this LOL!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nurse Removes Woman's IUD "on Conscience"

So you go in to have the IUD adjusted, and the nurse arbitrarily and unilaterally decides you shouldn't have an IUD at all and yanks it. See George Bush's "provider conscience" regulation. It's real, it's here, it's horrible, and it's happening in the US of A. Unbelievable, outrageous, and true. Get on the phone to your Senators and to the White House.

Reprinted in full from Salon:

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 03:00 PST
Oops, I accidentally pulled out your IUD!

Let me tell you a true story: A woman in Albuquerque, N.M., went to a local health clinic to have the long string of her IUD shortened. No big deal -- all it takes is a simple snip. The nurse prodded her with a speculum and then, inexplicably, began pulling on the IUD, causing her sudden, intense pain. Then the nurse said one thing you never want someone to say when they have their hand in your vagina: "Uh-oh!"

"Everyone in the office always laughs and tells me I pull [IUDs] out on purpose because I am against them"

Surely, the patient must have been terrified -- but then the nurse offered an explanation: "I accidentally pulled out your IUD. I gently tugged and out it came ... I cut the string than went back and gently pulled and out it came. It must have not been in properly." That might have been somewhat reassuring -- oh well, accidents happen -- only, the nurse continued to explain that "having the IUD come out was a good thing" and then offered, "I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion. I don't know how you feel about abortion, but I am against them."

Hmm. The nurse continued: "Everyone in the office always laughs and tells me I pull these out on purpose because I am against them, but it's not true, they accidentally come out when I tug." Kidding about removing patients' birth control against their will? Hilarious -- sign me up for a visit to your office! Also: It's happened enough times that you have a reputation for it? Despite this being her "mistake," the nurse refused to insert a new IUD.

This is all according to court documents filed by the patient in a suit against nurse practitioner Sylvia Olona and Presbyterian Health Services Rio Rancho Family Health Center. The patient suspects, for good reason, it seems, that the nurse intentionally pulled out the IUD because of her personal belief that they cause abortions. Not that it matters in this case, but that is factually incorrect. (Also, as Miriam Axel-Lute writes on Babble, "So the way she's against abortion is to screw up people's birth control, making it more likely they need an abortion? Swift one there.")

This story seems a good, although frightening, reminder that the "provider conscience" rule went into effect on Tuesday and isn't affected by Obama's immediate order to halt Bush's pending federal regulations. Until the rule is reversed by the Obama administration, religiously or morally guided medical professionals -- like nurse Olona, assuming the allegations are true -- will find it much easier to get away with denying women the medical treatment they want and need.
― Tracy Clark-Flory

In My Real World . . .

Woke up this morning musing about the events in my personal life over the last couple of weeks.

Whatever I did for Floozie, Floozie did for me. I've gotten really interested in dog rescue, to the point that I hope to play at least a small role in getting something reputable going for Dobies in my part of the state. To that end, I've been on the phone or in a book or doing dog rescue ever since Miss Flooze moved to her forever home.

There's a lot to a good rescue op, and IMHO, "good" starts with the dogs' needs and a clear and adequate code of ethics. The dogs need a reputable operation, not just in the obvious ways that have to do with decent, experienced, loving people committed to meeting the dogs' best physical, emotional, and mental interests, but also in ways having to do with public expectations and public perceptions.

If the people involved are perceived to be sloppy, slipshod, uninformed, or careless operators--or worse--the dogs suffer. No one will support the organization, or contribute to it, or align him- or herself with it. Without those pillars, there's no organization, and the dogs pay the consequent high price.

So, imagine my shock when one highly placed official (who absolutely should know better) told me bluntly this weekend that anybody who doesn't have a 501(c)3 (non-profit tax status) is "free to run his business as he sees fit." And mind, this was in the context of my exploring the possibility of filing a formal complaint.

Well, ah, no. There are so many things wrong with that absurd statement. One, it's not true; legal requirements don't begin with getting a c3. Neither do ethical requirements. Two, regardless how you or I "see fit," there are objective standards for determining what constitutes a "good" rescue operation. We may find this or that minor departure to be tolerable temporarily, and perhaps even disagree about that, but we will agree that a few things are minimal requirements, and integrity is one of them.

Nobody who genuinely cares about the dogs could or would minimize either the importance of clean, transparent business practices or the importance of clean housing and wholesome fresh food and water in appropriate quantities. All these are non-negotiables for ensuring the quality of an animal rescue.

So. Now you know why I like dogs more than I like people.

Flooze Update: Floozie, whose name is now Venus--far, far more fitting for a Dobie princess--is delighted and so are her people and her animal family. Everybody's getting on fine. Floozie is learning about doggy doors and cats, and her two- and four-legged family are coming to know what a smart, sweet, playful, and pleasing little gal she is. I'm so happy. She's going to be fine for the whole entire rest of her life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And Oh, Wasn't it Wonderful?

OK, I cried from 10:30 a.m. on.

I never, ever, even in my wildest hopes and dreams in the late 1960s, imagined this day. My soul is stirred in greater hope and faith in my country than at any time since Lyndon B. Johnson sadly assumed the responsibilities of his fallen President, John F. Kennedy. I've never been prouder of the United States of America than I am at this moment. I'm even thinking of hanging the flag from my own home, secure now that at last it represents the Bill of Rights the Constitution and the great, great values of liberty and justice for all.

Snapshots from my memory: The inimitable, the unique, the unforgettable Aretha Franklin and the intimation all people of good will must have had of the meaning of this moment to the First Lady of Soul. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts' sorry muffing of the oath of office, unique (at least in my memory of presidential inagurations dating back to Ike), and Obama's gracious effort to give the lad a do-over. My first glimpse of our new First Lady in a fabulous muted chartreuse suit. The pleasure of seeing the First Kids and the First Grandma made a natural part of the day's great events, naturally. My President's powerful speech, the heavy repudiation of the policies and values of the previous administration so richly deserved. My own response to the call to meet the challenges ahead, my own small "Yes I can." The joy when I heard the stirringly beautiful instrumental motif from Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett's "Simple Gifts" (1848) the lyrics of which are so appropriate for this new President and this new moment in a new America:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

The beloved Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery's wonderful benediction and how perfect it was for him to have delivered it. Now that's a Christian minister, my friends a man with his eyes on God. He made me remember, at last what I love about Christianity.

The mass of people, there in joy and hope and not in protest. The little children seeing a Black man take the presidential oath. The grown men weeping.

And by contrast, the huge crowd's very, very funny impromptu send-off to W and Mrs. Bush: "Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, Good Bye!"

More later. Hallelujah, Praise God. America's come home.

President Barack Hussein Obama

"Thank God Almighty, Free at last!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One Question, Maybe Two

How is it that with eight years of Bush flim-flams, lies, and theft, the US Congress didn't get it that the Wall Street "bail out" was just another raid on our tax dollars to enrich Bush's already super-rich cronies?

Where's the FBI?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

As you can see from the overlap of the video onto Pico's official portrait, we are experiencing technical difficulties. The main one is that I can't edit the right-side widgets at all--a problem numerous Blogger bloggers are experiencing, and one that Blogger isn't rushing to help us with.

If you notice a number of fluctuations in layout in the next few days, it'll be me, trying to reload the template and update the links and stuff. I hope you will bear with me. There's no point in blogging without you!

Thanks. I'll try to get 'er done and quickly and painlessly as possible.

If They Can Do It, What's Our Excuse?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Floozie's Where I've Been!

Did ya miss me?

This is Floozie, my first-ever rescue/foster, and that's my hand disappearing into her mouth as she's taking a treat.

Floozie's where I've been.
After a bumpy start, I was able to pull Floozie from Death Row at the Phoenix Westside animal shelter on Jan. 6, 2009. She had been found as a stray, and was sentenced to die in less than 24 hours because she was "aggressive with other animals."


A quick visit to Run No, 197 satisfied me that this little gal was not aggressive, certainly not with humans, and if with other animals, there would be a good reason. She was, rather, frightened, dazed, and reticent. She gently sniffed my hand and sadly turned away.

After the paperwork was finished and she had her rabies shot, I loaded Floozie into the crate in the back of my 4-Runner. We drove directly to the groomer. She was filthy. Her dirty, greasy coat was stiff to the touch, and she was sure not coming into this house in that condition!

Two hours later, the glistening dog you see here followed me docilely into the house and went directly into her crate. After a big meal of top-of-the-line kibble and a cool drink, she conked out and slept for four hours.

The fact is that Floozie is dog aggressive when food is around. Know why? Because she was a starving stray, that's why.

When I saw her first, her "collar" was a greasy, filthy paper-and-wire vegetable tie. This is not an indication of love and devotion on the part of an owner. No. My sense after several days is that Ms. Flooze lived in the back yard and ate--well, not enough. And then she escaped and ate even less. If that were my history, I'd be "food aggressive," too, wouldn't you?

Happily, Floozie isn't at all aggressive with humans over food. I can take her chews right out of her mouth, and remove her food and water bowl at will. This is very good, because Floozie needs to know that food is earned, and that her human giveth and taketh it away. She gets that. She's quite clear about who's the pack leader. That's wonderful, because it means she can look forward to a long, promising life.

With each passing day, Floozie--I named her that because she was a loose woman--has made progress in giant strides. First, she learned to sit, and then to come, and now she's learning the down command. She is also housebroken. Today, she is able to race offlead with our pack in the back yard without any grumbles from anybody, and this morning, she sat quietly out of her crate and just 4 feet away when I served Arwen and Bey their breakfasts, awaiting her turn.

The point of that is that she knew that she would have a turn. Trust is building, and as it does, just as I suspected, the "food aggression" is dissipating. It's still there--especially when she's in her crate (that's HER private space) with a chew or some chow. She makes it very clear that no dog is to come near her then. But things are getting ever so much better.

Floozie's next big stop will be the spay and microchip. I hope to have these safeguards taken care of in the next week. After that, and a decent post-op recovery time, she'll be ready for her new forever home. And the good news is that she has two prospective owners already lined up!

When I say "my first-ever rescue/foster," I mean that Floozie is the first dog I've ever personally pulled from a shelter to foster until an approved permanent placement can be found.
All four of our own dogs are rescues. We believe in rehoming good dogsters, and have found that a rescued dog makes the greatest companion there is. He or she knows the downside of dog life and is eternally grateful for having access to the upside. It's a wonderful relationship.

As to being actively involved in rescuing dogs otherwise doomed to be killed, it's maybe the most gratifying thing I've ever done. Through it--already--I've learned new skills, stretched my boundaries, made great new friends and contacts, and watched a filthy little urchin blossom into a lovely little princess.

When Floozie has her new home, she'll also get a new name befitting her new status. After all, no sweet, well-mannered, Dober girl deserves a name like "Floozie"!

Will keep you posted.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Samson's Baby Picture

All I can say is "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!" This arrived via e-mail this morning. It's a good thing, too. The said Samson, now 11 months older, chewed a Chi-size hole in the center back cushion of the leather sofa, and shredded my new magazine before I could read it. Don't say there's no such thing as angels. Somebody is watching out for his scrawny little hiney.

Reagan on Bush: Yeeecht

In case you know people who still labor under the illusion that George W. Bush was in any sense a manifestation of Ronnie, read this. And while you're at it, bookmark this site. It's got a lot of good resource-type stuff. Hat tip to my buddy Pam for this duo.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Family Values

Nicholas Kristoff writes in the NYT today about sex slavery and the vicious torture of girl slaves in the trade in Cambodia. Read it, if you dare. This grisly, filthy business actually isn't a world away. To the extent that it caters to them, it begins in the consciousness of Western men. It exists because they like it and because Cambodian men and women slave-traders and brothel owners can profit from it.

Kristoff concludes:

"Sex trafficking is truly the 21st century’s version of slavery. One of the differences from 19th-century slavery is that many of these modern slaves will die of AIDS by their late 20s. . . .

"I hope that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will recognize slavery as unfinished business on the foreign policy agenda. The abolitionist cause simply hasn’t been completed as long as 14-year-old girls are being jolted with electric shocks — right now, as you read this — to make them smile before oblivious tourists."
Everything Kristoff says is true and urgent. And yet. . .

Is Kristoff really unaware of the slavery that underpins much of US business? Florida's and Texas' citrus and vegetable industries are equally brutal, routinely practicing beatings, starvations, and murders--not to mention gross wage theft. Growers know it, local residents and authorities know it, state officials know it, ICE knows it, and so does Congress. Everyone winks.

Is it somehow easier to focus on Cambodia's sex trafficking than on the domestic variety? Ask any big city US mayor whether there's a thriving underground economy in trafficking and torturing girls (and boys)--whether Cambodian, Vietnamese, Russian, Texan, or New Yorker. Ask the Attorneys General in Utah, Texas, and Arizona whether sex slavery exists in remote fundamentalist Mormon enclaves, protected by whole townships. Ask them whether torture is involved. If they don't mention re-assigning wives, dumping boys too young to fend for themselves and without any means of support, and handing over pre-teen girls for the sexual pleasure of men old enough to be their grandfathers, point out that these things, too, constitute torture.

I don't knock Kristoff's service in publicizing the horror of the Cambodian sex slave trade. Good for him. But it's breathlessly naive to assert that sex slavery (abroad) "is truly the 21st century’s version of slavery." (It's this kind of thing that makes me think of Kristoff as such a lightweight.)

"Truly the 21st century's version of slavery"? Well, no.

Sex slavery is merely ONE of 21st century America's versions of slavery. We have several.

Wherever wage theft occurs, there is some degree of forced labor, one criterion for defining slavery. This includes the legions of mostly foreign domestics brought here and then imprisoned in the blight of a million McMansions.

There are legions of undocumented workers lured and brought here and sold off by "coyotes" to complicit managers in construction, agriculture, meat processing, landscaping, and entertainment.

There are legions of girls and boys bought and sold as sex slaves for guys we see in suits every day. There are legions of children who are being circulated among pedophiles, and raped by their fathers and uncles and brothers and cousins. These, too, are forms of sex slavery.

So you might wish that Kristoff would place the Cambodian sex slave trade in its larger global context, and that he would also illuminate the myriad forms of slavery happening right here, right now. The home-grown variety.

And you might think that, in addition to challenging Obama and Clinton, Kristoff would challenge, oh, say, the "religious" Right.

You might think that it's a far, far worthier cause to target slavery in any of its loathesome manifestations than it is to target the right of GLBT persons to marry, adopt, and serve openly in the US military.