Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An alternative to working out marital disagreements

TheCSO and I weren't as nice to each other last night as we like to be. This morning, he wrote me a snuggly make-up email. I wrote him one right back.

The google ad my "No, Sweetie *I* was a jerk, I'm trying to do better and I love you lots and lots"-themed email generated was:

Get a purpose driven Life - - as a monk, nun, or priest. Free Online Test to see if you're called
Sponsored Link

Goodness, it was just a little argument. Let's not be drastic here!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Pout. CC feels yucky.

I'm having a weird allergy thing. It's been bugging me for a couple of days. I cough a lot, sneeze some and feel exhausted and cranky. Whatever productivity I have today is solely the result of spicy pad thai* and sugar-free Red Bull.

Oh, and the murder mystery dinner theater rocked mightily and raised big money for those kids in El Salvador. I will have a more complete account later.

I'm going to take another slurp of Red Bull and go back to drafting the complaint I was working on. But before I do, shall we practice the traditional Chalicechick self-care exercise and watch the "Alan Rickman 'I'm too Sexy" YouTube video?

Ah. Feeling better already.


*Spicy pad thai cleans out my sinuses. LinguistFriend told me last night that his father, a veteran of many 1950s-era civil rights marches, reported much the same effect from tear gas. The Chalicerelative, a veteran of many protest marches of the same sort, gave me strict orders as a kid to walk calmly and directly away from any police officers and/or violence I ever saw at a protest march. So far so good, I've never been gassed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

CC discovers a new kind of sleaze on the internets

I'm making props for the murder mystery play tomorrow night, and I needed a fake paycheck stub.

So I blithely googled "Sample paycheck stub," not once considering that 99.99 percent of the people who want that are commiting fraud. Boy, there are some skeezy websites offering this.

I know, duh.


Clinton derangement syndrome

I've been interested in Hillary Clinton and the seemingly irrational hatred people have toward her for a long time.

It has been interesting to watch the Democratic claws come out this election season. Given the actual evidence, I don't really understand the whole "eight years of Hillary would be like eight more years of Bill, and that would be a terrible thing" argument coming from liberals. But I've read it over and over.

I owe y'all some more issue breakdowns, but one thing that has struck me in preparing for them is how truly similar Obama's ideas are to Clinton's. I don't really get where his claims of "new ideas" are coming from. My impression is that his supporters don't know either. In fact, every time an Obama supporter tells me in a breathless tone that Hillary believes in some awful thing, I've checked Obama's website. So far Obama supporters have a perfect record of being against Hillary for supporting things Obama also supports. (There's a small sample size here, but still...)

That said, I may well vote for Obama myself. But I don't get Democrats who hate Hillary, and I wonder if sexism is behind it.

Now with Repulicans who wear Citizens United Not Timid shirts, I don't have to wonder.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

This is where even I concede that Clinton had a point with "Welfare-to-Work"

Fans of "News of the Weird" got to read recently about the girl who got kicked off a bus because her boyfriend had her on a leash.

She's 19, her owner is 25. I can assure you that a 25-year-old* guy who thinks keeping a female "pet" is the thing to do is not MY idea of great dating material. And I'm channelling Ogden Nash+ a bit and wondering what will happen in 15 years or so when this 19-year-old kitten has become a 34-year-old cat with no job skills and an owner who decides he wants a kitten.

But what mostly cheeses me off is the lede buried in the following paragraphs:

Maltby -- who lives on state benefits and got engaged in November -- said her choice of lifestyle might seem unusual but was harmless.

"I am a pet," she told the Daily Mail. "I generally act animal-like and I lead a really easy life. I don't cook or clean and I don't go anywhere without Dani. It might seem strange but it makes us both happy. It's my culture and my choice. It isn't hurting anyone."

Yep. She's a pet on state benefits, a.k.a. welfare.

But don't worry, it's not hurting anyone.


*When will teenage girls learn that when a guy in his twenties/thirties wants to date them, it's because the women that are his age won't have anything to do with him?

+"The trouble with a kitten is THAT Eventually it becomes a CAT" -Ogden Nash

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2007 Chaliceblog Restrospective

Ahem, The UU Blog Awards Nominations are up.


I do my best to write about my own church as rarely as humanly possible. But sometimes my YRUUers are so awesome I do it anyway. That was the case with When a YRUU overnight and a meeting of the region transgender group happen on the same night at the same church

Again, I don’t like to write posts about my church, but I’m really glad I wrote that one. In fact, I liked it so much that I read it at the blogging workshop at GA.

Also, I really liked this picture Weird Stuff You See at the Post Office


Ms. Kitty seemed depressed one day in February, so I decided to cheer her up by telling her about how my friend’s kid was married to a skunk. That kid is ZombieKid, btw, I just hadn’t started calling him that at that point.

And I don’t know that The most beautiful words in the English language was all that well-written per se, but I have to say it’s a sentimental favorite of my own.

I served up some well-earned snarkage in Oooh Crappy Starr King Youtube Ad, but otherwise March wasn’t such a great month.

The Don Imus controversy had me writing about offensive humor, and where we should draw the lines in CC’s Complex feelings on Don Imus

Throughout April, I participated extensively in UU-blogosphere-wide discussions of little kids in church, Michael Moore’s trip to Cuba and the Brown-Bag-lunch issue.

I did a little series that began with the Founding Fathers as Asshat Humanists and went on from there.

RevSparker and I decided to talk to rather than at each other over the Brown Bag lunch issue CC and RevSparker say a quick ‘hello'

I wrote about GA 2007 quite a bit of course, both snarkily and thoughtfully.
I like to think I did both with: Things that didn’t speak to me, things that did.

This was a good month. I also wrote my favorite narrative post of the year Lunchtime.

A massage of words found me rethinking my own introversion and the benefits of having dinner with an extrovert every now and again.

I like this short post: All people should be like this

And I also liveblogged Harry Potter and the Dealthly Hallows over two days and wrote a little something after every chapter.

I also wrote a lot about swinging and polyamory. It was a sexy month.


Even cat pee couldn’t keep me from talking to Jana-who-creates in Lying in Cat Pee Friendship


The fall brought a big slowdown in blogging as I started law school. But I still took time to write about the Independent Affiliates situation. I also commented on the the New UUA Commercial.


I wrote Symbolic Outrage as an answer to the question “Well CC, if you don’t approve of protest marches, what sort of political action DO you like?”


Much snarkage about the movie Across the Universe can be found here.

I haven’t written many really personal posts this year. But I wrote A Response to Peacebag’s depression thread and it was pretty good.

And I wrote a silly post about my love of MyCokeRewards points called CC the Coke Fiend.

Most of my better posts aren’t about law school, but So, CC, how’s law school going? was pretty good.

And I finished out the year with If you simply must protest a look at why I think the gay marriage issue is far more worthy of protest than the
checking-IDs-at-the-door-of-GA issue.

"God hates Fags" people to protest Heath Ledger's funeral


Protesters who are delusional enough to think that their protests make people care about their causes are plenty annoying enough. Protesters who KNOW they are just doing it to be hurtful really get me.

The one tiny bright spot is that I was reading the comments on an article about the Westboro Church's actions
and somebody linked to this.

I should clarify that people who dedicate large chunks of time to maintaining parody Christian sites mostly scare me and remind me very much of the people they are parodying. But this one is small enough and silly enough to not bug me.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best picture of W ever.

By Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.



This bar/cinema/restaurant I like but never quite go to is having an event where a band I like is opening for the movie Office Space.

Naturally this will occur while I'm sitting in Torts class. (Actually, I could probably make the movie, but I'd miss the band.)

Luckily, the same establishment is having a "Fiddler on the Roof Singalong" on a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks later. It sounds like major fun and it's a benefit for a women's shelter. But that's a different kind of awesome.

Ah well.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

UUA Politics


Someone I know from church knows a guy who knows a guy who says that there is a secret coterie of older UU ministers who more or less handpick the UUA president and they've handpicked Laurel Hallman.

Is this true? To what degree is it true?


The worst pies in London

"So what are you doing with a weekend all to yourself, Miss Sue?" TheChalicerelative asked, a reference to theCSO being out of town until Tuesday.
"Dunno. I'll help you pack some, and I'll spend some time at work, I expect," I said into the phone, keeping my eyes carefully on the road.
"What about this evening? If I'd thought about it, we could have gone out to supper."
"It's OK," I said. "I have class anyway, and afterwards I thought I might see Sweeney Todd."
Damn. I'd already told her I'd seen it. "I like it," I said lamely. The Chalicerelative is the sort of person who might well draw negative conclusions about the mental health of someone who willingly saw Sweeney Todd multiple times.
Instead, she sighed. "Your father loved that show."

While it's not accurate in the strictest biological sense to talk about my father in the past tense, for all intents and purposes, one might as well. Still, the Chalicerelative's words set off a chain of memories.

I don't know how young I was. Young enough to be comfortably held. And my father was saying, his voice that of someone delighting in telling a dreadful secret,
"Do you know what happens next? His friend Mrs. Lovett makes MEAT PIES!" I can remember my own childish squeal, then my father would roll out the words with Hestonesque vigor, "Meat pies made of PEOPLE."

When theCSO says that all my snuggly childhood memories sound like child abuse to him, this is probably what he's talking about.

Something in that movie really reaches out to me. Tim Burton often does. I saw the Corpse Bride three times and I love how his adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory really evoked the spirit of the book*.

My father doesn't leave his house when he can avoid it. But I'm still tempted to call up my parents and see if they'd like to catch a matinee.

So that's what I'm thinking about tonight.


*Yes, I know you love the 1971 version. Roald Dahl and I disagree.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Bummer. This place looks like so much fun...



I normally portray my childhood in the suburbs of DC as having been fairly multicultural. That's the way I remember it. I hung out with the daughter of the ambassador to Nigeria. Being Jewish was, if anything, more normal than being Catholic. There was a Muslim girl from Iraq who wore a headscarf in the sixth grade and I recall thinking she must wear a headscarf because she's from Iraq and thinking of it like a French girl wearing a beret.

But now there's a Muslim girl who has special uniform requirements and the National Federation of State High School Associations won't let her compete.

So I guess the rest of the nation still has some catching up to do.


World shrinks a tad

9:21: CC gets an email from the office administrator at her firm who has e-mailed the entire firm to ask if anybody knows somebody who speaks Ukranian.

9:23: CC emails LinguistFriend.

9:33: CC emails office manager, saying "I know someone who probably speaks Ukranian. Lemme check"

9:35: CC calls LinguistFriend at home. LF says his Ukranian speech isn't that great, though he can read it when he has to. CC says "Ok" and rings off.

9:37: LinguistFriend calls CC back to point out that every Ukranian LF has ever met is bilingual in Russian*. CC thanks LF, rings off again.

9:41: CC calls office manager, explains about the Russian. Office manager says she has just heard from another attorney who used to work with a guy who speaks Ukranian. She thanks CC, but says she will probably go with the other translator, who is an attorney.

An email to a medium-sized law firm yields two Ukranian translators in twenty minutes.

I heart globalization.


*Russian is LF's favorite language. LF is AWESOME in Russian.

CC so has friends like this



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CC is all about the peacemaking

I really approve of the Democratic candidates making nice at the Nevada debate last night. I don't understand why we have to spend so much time tearing the candidates that we don't like up at the PRIMARIES. It seems like the definition of counterproductive.

Romney's win in Michigan leaves the Republican race more wide open than ever. I hope we can pick a candidate and get behind them.

This very moment, I'm leaning toward Obama. But at the same time, I'm really appalled by the sexism in the way people are treating Clinton. That Edwards has in the past painted himself as a "woman's candidate" seems pretty laughable at this point.

TheCSO and I were talking about this the other night, and I brought up the incident a few months ago where somebody asked McCain "How do we beat the bitch?" and he launched right into his response without even mentioning that he didn't see her that way or that "bitch" was not a proper way to describe one's female opponents.

At that time, I was making the point that if the supporter had been talking about Obama and asked "How do we beat the (insert racial invective here)," I'm quite certain McCain would have commented on the terminology.

TheCSO pointed out that the right has had sixteen years to paint Clinton as a bitch, so at this point lots of right-wing people are used to thinking of her this way.

I'm still confused on that one. Don't bitches leave cheating husbands and embarrass them rather than sticking by them? Do bitches raise daughters like Chelsea, who is easily the most well-adjusted and successful presidential child in decades?

And besides, if for sixteen years, the Republican party had been painting Obama as a "lazy (insert racial invective here)" then I would think somebody would have called racism on it and made them cool it.


Ps. I'm rethinking the "Midlife Crisis" issue. I don't think I expressed what I meant well, and what I meant might have been wrong, too. Thanks for keeping me honest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another thing CC doesn't get: Midlife Crises

Maybe this is just because I'm still pretty young, but I don't get the whole "Mid-Life Crisis" thing.

First off, it just seems like such a lame middle-class-American thing to have. Nobody cool has a mid-life crisis. Imagine, say, Patrick Stewart having a midlife crisis. Hard to do, huh? How about Emma Thompson? Don't see it. Now try imagining, say, Donny Osmond having a midlife crisis. Easy, huh? Hell, the last few decades of Donald Trumps life are arguably one big midlfe crisis.

Why do people mourn the fact that they aren't cool anymore by suffering the least-cool malady ever?

Secondly, why do men have mid-life crises at not women? Women are the ones who are expected to do everything men do, and be sexy.

Anway, a psychiatry professor is with me on this one and has written an article about it in the NYTimes.


Ps. Oh, and Diane Keaton? No mid-life crisis around here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Six word stories.

A friend of mine just joined a facebook group called "Six word stories" that challenges people to write true stories in six words.

Hemingway was asked to write a story in six words (though I don't think the truth requirement was there) and came up with: "For sale: Baby shoes. Never used."

Margaret Atwood's response was "Longed for him. Got him. Shit."

So far this A.M. the stories I've come up with are:

True of me:

"Incompetant as secretary; lawyer results pending."
"How 'bout it?" + "ok" = Gen-X Engagement
Junior High Memories make Universalism difficult.
ChaliceMom's accident sees life as lagniappe.
Kindergartner campaigns for younger siblings; regrets.
Functional adulthood is the best revenge.

Six word challenge reveals latent OCD.

Fictional, but interesting:
In Case of Emergency, contact: Nobody

I will add more as think of them.

who got
"Jump into the bathtub,"


Dumb kid.

Down to seven words, but no fewer.

Ps. More on the candidates tonight.

Pps. Please see the comments, where Jeff W. compares what I wrote to what Margaret Atwood and Ernest Hemingway wrote. True, I come up lacking, but that's still the nicest compliment my writing has gotten in awhile.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

CC picks a Candidate Chapter Two: Education

TheCSO thought I shouldn't bother with Paul, so I decided to compare Romney and McCain instead.

I am using the candidates' websites and only their websites to write this. Also, I'm going to tell you how easy it is to find each topic on the website as I assume there's a rough correlation between the percieved importance of the issue by the campaign and how easy to find it is.

Lots of the below is word-for-word, sometimes I've paraphrased for space.

I'm going to throw in a bonus question for each subject. For education, it's "What do they think about No Child Left Behind?"

Edwards on Education:

How easy is it to find on the website: Not very. Go to issues and it is in the third group of issues over halfway down the page.

Ideas:-Fund Universal pre-school
-$5,000+ bonuses for teachers that teach in “bad” schools
-A teachers university “West Point for teachers,” that will train high-quality teachers for “bad” schools

On “No child left behind”: Edwards will radically overhaul No Child Left Behind to live up to its goal of helping all children learn at high levels. The law today judges children based on cheap standardized tests, forces schools to narrow the curriculum, fails to accurately identify struggling schools, and imposes unproven cookie-cutter reforms. Edwards supports better tests, broader measures of school success such as measuring students' progress, and giving states more resources and flexibility to identify and reform underperforming schools.

Obama on Education:

How easy is it to find on the website: Very easy. It’s third on a drop-down menu on the front page leads to a page with a bunch of interesting but somewhat vague ideas. From there you can get a PDF with a 15-page education plan

-Create Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts.
-Quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both. Barack Obama will provide $250
million in dedicated funds to create or expand regional training centers designed to help Head Start centers implement successful models.
-Provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families. The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program provides critical support to low-income families to pay for child care. However, the Bush administration has funded this program at a constant level, while costs per child have increased...Barack Obama will
reverse this policy and ensure that CCDBG remains adequately funded every year.
-Create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels. (I’d be amazed if something like this doesn’t already exist. -CC)
-Encourage All States to Adopt Voluntary, Universal Pre-School
-Teacher scholarships
-A national teacher assessment that is much more holistic than the current exams that are used for licensure. (I’m not sure about this goal, even if it were possible.)
- Barack Obama will provide $100 million to stimulate teacher education reforms built on school-university partnerships. (Sort of a teaching-hospitals model.)
- Obama will provide $1 billion in funding for grants to create mentoring programs and reward veteran teaches for becoming mentors.
-A bunch of stuff about science education, how important it is and how the above-mentioned plans will be good for it.
-Obama believes that the secret to lowering the dropout rate is to improve Jr. High.
To wit,
-Requiring states to develop a detailed plan to improve middle school student achievement.
-Developing and utilizing early identification data systems to identify those students most atrisk of dropping out.
-Investing in proven strategies such as: (1) providing professional development and coaching to school leaders, teachers and other school personnel in addressing the needs of diverse learners and in using challenging and relevant research-based best practices and curriculum; and (2) developing and implementing comprehensive, school-wide improvement efforts and implementing student supports such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction and extended learning time that enables all students to stay on the path to graduation.
-Double the amount of money used for research into what actually works and actually helps students learn.

On No Child Left Behind: Obama will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Clinton on Education

How easy is it to find on the website: It’s not intuitive. It's mixed in with daycare, senior care and a bunch of other "family" type issues.


-Hillary Clinton is proposing a national Pre-K initiative that would provide funding to states to establish high-quality pre-K programs. States would have to devise a plan for making voluntary pre-K services universally available for all four year olds in the state in order to participate. In addition, they would provide pre-K at no cost to children from low-income children and/or limited English homes. As states increase participation and growth their programs, the federal government will be their partner, scaling up its investment in concert with states. Hillary Clinton is committed to achieving big goals while maintaining a commitment to fiscal discipline. She will invest in providing pre-k for all children without increasing the deficit by ending the abuse of no-bid contracts and cutting the number of contractors working for the federal government by 500,000 over the next ten years through an Executive Order, saving $10 to $18 billion a year

-Early College High Schools - As President, Hillary will support early college high schools, which are small schools designed to give students - especially those who are under-represented in higher education today - the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree or up to two years of credit toward a bachelor's degree. Early college high school creates a smooth transition from high school to college by integrating students' high school and college experiences. When students complete early college high school, they not only have a diploma but also have enough college credits - or even an associate's degree – to go to a two- or four-year college or university, making higher education more accessible and affordable.

There’s also a bunch of stuff aimed at at-risk youth that isn’t exactly education.

No Child Left Behind: Doesn’t mention it in any obvious place.


Currently no position paper on education

Romney on Education:

How easy is it to find on the website: Not bad. Go to “on the issues” It’s at the bottom.

-Lots of support for vouchers
-Homeschooling tax credit.

On No Child Left Behind: Governor Romney Will Improve Upon And Enhance No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He believes that No Child Left Behind has played an important role in stressing the role of accountability and high standards in improving our schools. Governor Romney will improve NCLB by giving states that meet or exceed testing requirements additional flexibility in measuring student performance. He will also improve the law by focusing more attention on individual student progress, rather than the overall progress of schools.

Analysis: Obama absolutely has the most ideas, but Clinton's seem a litter better thought out in places and she seems to have considered how she would pay for things, which is always a plus. I like Obama's idea that preventing dropouts starts in Junior High. I'm not sure about the "teaching hospitals" model of teacher training. But it's interesting.

Advantage: Obama
Honorable mention: Clinton

* The rules: I’m looking for ideas, not ideals. “Recruit more math and science professionals to be teachers” is a nice goal, but unless there is a method for doing so, I’m not adding it to the list. If something seems like a newish idea, I might still include it. Don’t like the way I’m making this distinction? Start your own list.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A very bad picture of a very good jazz band

TheCSO and I are having an evening out.

So, can I park here or not?

There once was a guy who ran for president

who was very physically attractive, with a deep, compelling voice. He talked about getting American life back to normal after a war and inspired the people. He won his election handily. He was presidential in appearance, popular and...

...a complete failure as a president, because I'm talking about Warren G. Harding, who ran possibly the most corrupt administration ever, had a girlfriend who extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the Republicans and probably him, and didn't do much else. He died in office and historians still argue about whether he was murdered because his possibly imminent impeachment would have done lots of damage to the Republican party.

Sorry, I'm a little tired of "I *like* this guy. I don't know what he stands for, and he doesn't have much experience, but I *like* him."

Seems to me that's what got us President Bush. (OK, maybe you didn't like him. But a lot of people did.)

So that's why I'm doing the side-by-side issue comparision. Because a candidate's ideas are supposed to matter more than his/her soundbites.

Anyway, will look at the candidates stands on education in a bit. Am also planning to do foreign policy and the economy. If there's a comparision you'd like to see, please feel free to comment about it.


How to narrowly avoid looking like a dumbass at Georgetown law.

1. Be talking about Hillary Clinton with a professor at a party.

2. Find out mid-conversation that said professor worked for the Office of the Independent Counsel investigating the Rose Law Firm during the Whitewater scandal.

Luckily, I hadn't said anything I wouldn't have said if I'd known this information at the beginning of the coversation. But I've vowed to keep closer tabs on my professors' backgrounds.


Friday, January 11, 2008

CC Picks a Candidate, Chapter One: Images and First Impressions

First off, Sniffle.
Goodbye, Richardson, candidate that I loved, Candidate who thought globally, Candidate who wanted to scrap "No Child Left Behind*," four-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, the man who had SAT ACROSS A NEGOTIATION TABLE FROM SADDAM HUSSEIN AND GOTTEN THE RELEASE OF TWO AMERICAN PRISONERS FOR CRYIN'OUT LOUD, not that anybody cared.**

Anyway, I am candidateless for the moment, so I'm going to start a series where I compare where the candidates stand on the issues. If I help myself figure out where I stand, great. If I help you, that's even better.

But first, my initial impressions of the candidates going in:

Honestly, I've never liked the man. His understanding of economics doesn't impress me. His assholishness about Hillary's crying (particularly given his own frequent use of his wife's cancer and his son's death) was a helpful reminder that sexism still does very much exist on the campaign trail. Seriously, he may not want an emotional woman's hand on the nuclear button, but I don't want the hand of a guy who proves his masculinity by being a bully either.

For the record, I do NOT think that an Edwards supporter should refrain from voting for him because he's not black and he's not a woman. But I think there are a lot of better reasons not to. And in fairness, I also don't believe in voting FOR Edwards because you think that Americans are too sexist and racist for a Democrat to win the white house any other way.

I get an asshole vibe from the guy. At the same time, I don't know that I want a man whose wife is dying running the country. Maybe I'm a bitch for that, but I'd rather not be speculating which role is getting short shrift, president or husband/father. And I'm going to be speculating that everytime there's a fuckup in the Edwards presidency while his first lady is dying. Again, maybe I'm a bitch for that.

He's really young. My inclination right now is to say "Go home, dude. Take care of your wife and get some experience and some class and I'll reconsider my position in four years."

But I still basically think he'd do a good job.

I'm not sure that Morgan Freeman has done the world a service by playing seemingly a billion "mystical and wise African-American man" roles. I think Obama has both profited and suffered from that stereotype. But at least people aren't making fun of him for crying and making a fuss over the fact that he has wrinkles and calling his laugh a "cackle"***.

I don't know about this guy, y'all. He has vision, but so did a Clinton circa 1996 and while Clinton did a good job, none of his visions came true and his experience sure came in handy. And honestly, Richardson's foreign policy creditials make Obama look like a Junior High School math club president by comparison. ((I know, I know, I need to let it go. But give me a freaking break, Obama cast some (admittedly) good votes on Darfur, while Richardson went to Darfur to negotiate for peace. He WENT TO DARFUR and got them talking. Didn't work that time, but still... I know, I know. Let it go.))

What I know about Obama seems fine, but that I know so much less about the substance of his views than I know the other candidates bugs me.

But I still basically think he'd do a good job.

I do think LBJ doesn't get the credit he deserves for the good he did. But that was still a stupid thing to say.

Moving on, the Clinton years were awesome ones in many respects. Again, people, largest peacetime economic expansion in the nation's history. I'm pretty sure we would STILL be electing Bill if it weren't for term limits.

My impression is that she's the only remaining candidate to have a truly global foreign policy, but I hate that much of her domestic policy has a populist "there oughta be a law" ring and I think she's way wrong on criminal justice issues.

As a former aspiring First Woman President candidate myself (age 4-8), I have to say that having the first Woman president be someone who more or less got the job because of her marriage annoys me. Because if she wins, she will have.

But I still basically think she'd do a good job.

Yep, the racist articles in his newsletter really sucked and show poor judgment. It was awesome to have someone out there getting people excited about the constitution. I hated some of his views, but I really liked other ones.

For the record, I don't think Paul was a racist and I still think the argument "Well, a guy whose probably lying said something bad about someone I don't like, so it must be true" is bizarre and crappy coming from liberals who are quick to accuse Republicans of believing in "truthiness."

Paul and I have similar taste in political enemies.

And I get that the man doesn't have a chance in hell. I'm going to look into his ideas anyway, if only to emphasize how similar the other three candidates really are.

And I don't know if he would have done a good job. But he would have been fun to watch.


I will continue the candidate comparison later/tomorrow with my first four-way examination of the issues.


*The remaining candidates want to overhaul it in similar-sounding ways. A comparison will probably be Chapter two in this series.

** I'm still mad at the American public for not watching Veronica Mars, and now they pull this?

***Having the most annoying laugh of anyone in history hasn't held George W. Bush back much.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Winter blahs

We have a week-long winter term here at GULC, and I'm in the middle of a superspeedy class on international law that is focused on deportation/rendition/extradition and related issues. For the last few days, we've been doing a simulation exercise and I played a judge in the European Court of Human Rights. It was fun, but exhausting. My questioning was hard enough on my peers that my TAs didn't think I was a wuss, but nobody hates me either as far as I know. I also emailed my Con law professor from last semester and asked him if he wanted to submit an amicus brief. (He didn't.)

It's weird to hear the professor referring to people from other countries as "aliens." As a Chick who was raised on ET and Star Trek, I've never had the negative connotations some people have for the word. But I'm not used to hearing it at this point as UUs tend to regard it as non-PC.

It's raining a lot here, which is a good thing as it follows the drought from this fall. I hate to drive in the snow, and I'm not very good at it, so I'm pleased that at least we haven't had snow.

I'm looking forward to seeing the YRUUs put on the play I've been writing. Admission is $20 a head and the profits go for University Education in El Salvador. I'm humbled by the idea that I'm writing something that will help even a few folks in El Salvador go to school and live better lives. Kim wrote in the comments that I should let other churches perform it. I had been kicking around something like that for awhile. I'm going to look into the proper language to license it so that YRUU groups may perform it as long as at least 50 percent of the profits go to a non-political charity.

But yeah, if you have a charitably-oriented youth group, shoot me an email and we can talk about it.

I'm also working on an RE curriculum on Christianity in the Culture, though I haven't field tested that one as much as I wanted to this year. I don't suppose anybody reading this knows the proper person in the UUA to send those when I finish them?

Anyway, life is actually pretty good. Probably the reason I'm so bummed is that the ChaliceRelative is moving to the Presbyterian Home in a month. (No, smartass, not Scotland, it's an old folks home in DC that is run by the Presbyterian church.)

When I was a child, the Chalicerelative lived in our basement. She was the RE person at a large Presby church in DC. Once, her car was broken into while it was parked in front of our house, but all that was stolen was a volume of The Interpreter's Bible.

Upon hearing of the crime, my five-year-old self, a Nancy Drew devotee, ran to her room, grabbed her notepad and started looking for clues. After a bit, I came into the house and proudly announced

"Well, we know one thing. The thief loves God, but he hates Justice!"

This is probably the most told-and-retold family story about CC, especially since I got into law school.

Some years ago, the Chalicerelative asked me what I wanted in her will. The first (and really only) thing I asked for was the remaining volumes of that Interpreter's bible.

Now the Chalicerelative's Interpreter's bible is boxed and in the backseat of my car. When I was helping her pack on Sunday, the Chalicerelative reported that the Presbyterian home has an excellent library and she gave it to me. She won't need it and she knows I want it.

Well, I thought I did.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Ummm...Actually, this is for us

When I talk about how I feel like UUs don't do as much charitable work as they should, I am NEVER talking about my youth group.

My YRUU kids collect canned food and sort it at the All Souls Food Drive, they recycle printer cartridges, they assemble medical kits for migrant workers. They pretty regularly serve at soup kitchens and leftovers from our events invariably go to a food bank. A dozen of them go to El Salvador every year to do community development projects.

And they hold fundraisers.

Ye gods do they hold fundraisers. They do a coffeehouse for "Save the Music," they sponsor kids in developing countries, last year's Monopoly Tournament was for La ClĂ­nica del Pueblo and they did a Murder Mystery Dinner for Beacon house. They went on a help-the-homeless walkathon. They do Unicef Boxes.

On the 26th, they are having this year's "Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre," which will be for secondary education in El Salvador. Or something like that.

Naturally, we're broke. Our youth director announced this on Sunday.

"Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." One of the youth said, then went back to talking about doing some sort of environmental project.

"No, seriously. We're at the bridge. We don't get much from the congregation and the re-usable shopping bags we were selling didn't sell well. We need money."

Yep, the fundraising-est youth group I've ever seen needs to do some fundraising for itself.

And it is really odd for us/them/me.

We have a plan to fix it, of course.

We're going to have a "Parents' night out" when we will offer babysitting services at the church for several hours on a Friday or Saturday night. Parents can park their kids with us, then go have dinner and a movie. The nice thing is, our youth will probably be willing to repeat the trick as many times as is necessary to ease our budget crunch.

But as the youth are selling tickets for it, I wonder how it will be for them to be asked "what's it for?"

I'm hoping that instead of worrying that they aren't answering "homeless kids," they will confidently look the questioner in the eye and say "We're going on a retreat."

While I'm talking about it, if anybody in the DC area would like to come to a murder mystery dinner, it is coming up. I'm writing the script. It should be awesome.

And it's for a good cause...


Betcha didn't know that

The head of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture is a UU.

Note that I said "National Campaign" not "UU Campaign." It's an awesome, inclusive organization that helped put together "Evangelicals for Human Rights" and is reaching out to religious people of lots of creeds and trying work for human rights together.

It's interfaith and awesome and it received an award from NYU's Program for Survivors of Torture for NRCAT’s “extraordinary work” in seeking to abolish torture. In making the award, the NYU noted that NRCAT’s “moral leadership brings the light of hope to this dark time in our nation’s history.”

This is doing it right, kids. I'm so proud of this woman, and to our faith for supporting her.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

The saddest blog post ever

This guy was just killed in Iraq.


Whoa, that's awesome

Ironically, we had a sermon about the Parable of the Talents in my church last week.

It wasn't like this.


Are we talking about the same "Bill Clinton" here?

I'm going to pick on Iminister here, though she's only the most recent person I've seen make this argument*.

Iminister writes about Hillary Clinton: Her husband's behavior in the White House was not her fault, and I honor her for apparently forgiving him for it and continuing with the marriage, but in making him such a prominent part of her campaign she's forgotten something that nobody else has, which is what a miserable episode that was and how it laid an important part of the goundwork for the even more miserable time we're having now.

Maybe, in order to forgive Bill she had to tell herself it was all no big deal, but it was a big deal. So while I admire Hillary the wife, Hillary the politician has made a terrible mistake.

The man was a tremendously popular president. Clinton presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history and left office with the highest approval rating of any president leaving office in modern history. They have a five-story mural of him in Kosovo.

He's also a brilliant campaigner.

Hell, even I like the guy. I was furious at him for welfare reform, but that welfare reform has been so successful that it is being copied all over Europe. Even the CHALICEMOM likes welfare reform now**. My bad.

IMHO, Gore's fussy refusal to use Clinton on the campaign trail (again, despite Clinton's huge popularity rating and Gore's lack of charisma) only made Clinton's actions seem more unforgivable. Given how close Gore came to winning and how the people who were truly anti-Clinton weren't going to vote for Gore anyway, I'd say Gore made a huge mistake in not getting Clinton to campaign to moderates, who love him. Clinton reaching out to moderates would have allowed Gore to shore up his base and keep more of it from going to Nader. Need I remind you how a tiny amount of energizing of the base could have changed that election?

THAT laid the groundwork for where we are now, not Clinton's personal weaknesses.

Good for Hillary for not repeating Gore's mistake. (Though Hillary is a moderate like Bill, so he can't do quite as much for her. Gore's liberal credentials were better.)

who has the weirdest urge to go watch "Primary Colors" again.

*The fastest way to get criticized on the Chaliceblog is write on your UU blog about something that has bugged CC when she has seen it other places.

**The Chalicemom works in low-income housing and has for decades. She deals with poor people on a daily basis and knows a lot about this stuff, both in theory and how it has effected the people she's around all the time.

Friday, January 04, 2008

CC on

CC witnessed a bad customer service experience on her Jetblue flight back to DC from Vegas, and sent The a copy of the letter she wrote to Jet Blue.

They posted it.

As of this writing, 95,649 people have read the letter, 1462 have "digged" it and 108have left comments.

So anyway, I'm hoping this means JetBlue will have a talk with their stewardesses about only using warning cards for people who are actually being disruptive.


We need more cops

like this guy.

But it's pretty clear he's getting punished for not perjuring himself.


In happier news, this prosecutor has given CC someone new to admire.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Response to PG

PG asked: CC, as a Virginian you should know better than to think it's totally wild that a prominent politician would meet with white supremacists. That said, I agree that the NYTimes made a huge mistake here, and one that they made only because Paul is a fairly marginal candidate -- this sort of thing would not happen with any of the top 8 or so candidates.

Meet with white Supremacists once or twice? Sure. It's stupid given that White Supremacists at this point pretty much have negative political influence*, but people do it.

That said, there's a difference between meeting once or twice and "Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays"

Meeting a few times is believeable. What I don't get is why people reading the story about him meeting REGULARLY with white supremacists while RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT don't find it fishy.

You really don't think the press would catch on to that? Really?

Also, I don't get why people keep talking about the evolution debate and abstinance-only sex ed, in both cases assuming that Paul plans to impose his views on both when he's been pretty straightforward in saying that the Federal Government has no business doing so.

If these are examples of the reality-based critical thinking I keep hearing about, color me unimpressed.

But don't worry, even though Paul is beating Giuliani and tied with Fred Thompson in Iowa. Fox News isn't going to let him debate the other Republican candidates in their New Hampshire debate.

So the liberals are lying about him and the conservatives are keeping him out of the debate.

If this man is so awful, why is everyone so afraid to hear him talk?

who is, again, a Richardson supporter.

*When addressing my concerns about the fact that the New York Times had corrected the story before she was even spreading it, the lady who wrote the blog post I was sent said:

Of course I'll admit Bill White was probably lying through his teeth. In fact, I admitted it right there in the piece. Remember that bit about how "Bill White is hardly the most reliable reporter on any subject"? That's a nice way of saying he's probably lying.

Which, as others have pointed out, is beside the point anyway. The point, of course, was that the white nationalist crowd recognizes Paul as one of their own -- and, as I've noted here quite recently, there are times when we do well to take right-wingers at their word on stuff like this.

So, yeah, the sheer fact that the Nazi likes him discounts him completely.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

And the recovery begins...

Someone smarter/less hungover than I am could probably come up with several apt metaphors for my party last night.

At the height of the party, ZombieKid and theGnome watched a movie upstairs, the engineer contingent (four of them, including theCSO) watched a different movie in a different room, while Big Gorilla played his guitar downstairs next to the bar and everybody else talked and drank. We had over a dozen people and everybody seemed to have a good time. We polished off lots of gin and champagne.

My brother Jason had showed up and made a drunken ass of himself in front of our friends and theCSO and I had to devote lots of energy at 2am to trying to figure out how to get him home while he insisted that nobody should drive him.

Finally, we disabled his vehicle and locked him out. That sounds really harsh, but he only lives a mile or so away, so we figured he'd find his way home or call himself the cab we'd been trying to get him to let us call for him.

So my past was evident enough. That said, even as a kid, I dreamed about throwing parties where smart people came to hang out with me and talk about important things. And brother or no, smart people do hang out at my parties and discuss important things. (And watch movies, and talk politics, play geeky card games and in Big Gorilla's case explain how Warren Zevon was a misunderstood genius.)

May we all spend 2008 getting closer to becoming the people we want to be.


Pick Chick