Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Sad, Strange Case of Akmal Shaikh

In about 6 hours, a man is going to be put to death in China. His name is Akmal Shaikh. He’s not a hero. He wasn’t jailed for civil unrest or condemned for speaking out against China’s humanitarian transgressions. He is, quite simply, a British national whose mind has betrayed him and led him through a fantasy life as people are sometimes led through a fun house hall of mirrors.

Shaikh left his wife and children for a life on the streets in Poland trying to become alternately an airline magnate and a pop star. He criss crossed the country, sometimes staying in homeless shelters writing hundreds of emails to Tony Blair, Paul McCartney and George W Bush. In his madness, he met a man named ‘Carlos’ who promised to help him become famous. At some point in 2007, while convinced he was on his way to meet music executives, he boarded a plane with a suitcase carrying £250,000.00 worth of heroin from Tajikistan into China. This was seized by customs officials. Shaikh insisted he knew nothing of the drugs, that his friend, due on the next plane, would help explain everything. The friend never showed.

Though mental illness is usually taken into account for severe crimes, the Chinese government takes a very dim view toward drug trafficking. Shaikh was sentenced to death. The British Foreign Office was not even informed of his sentencing until late in 2008, and Shaikh himself was not told of his sentence until 24 hours prior to the scheduled execution.

And so the tale of this very ill man will come to an abrupt end far from his children and family in a little less than six hours. His family, ill from anxiety from the coming execution, can do nothing. Appeals have been put through at the highest level. All that can be done is to wait.

My own governor as recently as 5 years ago denied clemency to a mentally ill inmate for a crime far more heinous (IMO) than drug trafficking. Where do we draw the line? Shaikh, for his deluded fantasies, seems a harmless character. My support for the death penalty waivers when faced with such cases.

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In Which Lefty Gets a Hobby.

Y’know what? I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong, I love being here on teh intarwebs with all you lovely people, but after a year of living in Texas, I am seriously needing some outside stimulation.  How can I tell, you ask? Well, mostly it was the SO ever so kindly saying ‘if you don’t find something to do, you are going to drive me crazy.’ Ha. He asked for it. I found something to do. After several months of running into their stuff on foodgawker, I have signed up for the Daring Cooks’ challenge. These are the same people who present the Daring Bakers’ challenge every month, but while I love love LOVE pastry, I am abysmal at baking. No, really. I suck at it. Plus the SO won’t eat sweets, so I’m stuck gaining weight all on my own. Cooking on the other hand…. well let’s just say a friend recently told him he’s ‘looking married.’ *snicker*

The Daring Cooks’ challenge. In which, along with my usual political and atheistic observations, I’ll also be posting recipes and pictures of my epicurean ventures. AND HE HAS TO EAT THEM! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! My evil plan is working. So just a heads up. This space will occasionally be sprinkled with my newest hobby.

I Wonder If Dorothy Parker Ever Felt This Way…

Well, likely not. It’s one in the afternoon, I’m awake and sober. All due respect to Mrs. Parker, I don’t believe the woman believed in mornings. Or sobriety. But I do wonder if she ever felt frustrated, restless, scared and breathless all at the same time…waiting for something to happen, worrying that it will…

There is a rhythm and flow to writing; a natural progression in which all the words just spew themselves from fingers to keyboard, bypassing the brain. Which explains why the ramblings are so damn disconnected. But the flow’s been interrupted the past week or so. Lately it feels like work, which is most distressing. Maybe if I drink alot and sleep in. I’m already acerbic and bad tempered. I could start insulting politicians. Oh, wait. I already do that.

I think what is really needed is a reset. Something unpleasant and soul destroying that will make me appreciate what I have and embrace life more fully. Maybe I’ll attend a Republican Ladies’ lunch. They’re lobbying to get ex-President Bush to speak at one of their fundraisers here in Dallas. My god, I think I’ve sufficiently horrified myself just with the thought. I’ll find inspiration. Just please do not make me spend time with those soulless stepford women.

Okay. Up and out of bed, laptop off. I will be back later, hopefully with something interesting to say.

It’s 19° F Outside. Don’t WANNA Go to Work.

I am fully prepared to admit that, being born and raised in Central California, I am somewhat spoiled when it comes to road conditions and weather. It rarely gets below freezing in the SF Bay area, and snow is something on the hills that you look at and say “ooo, how pretty.” This is my first winter in Dallas.

So. That said….I have just one question: How in hell do people here get anything done in the winter?! I mean, really! It is 19° outside, there is ice on EVERYTHING, the schools are closed, none of the businesses are opening til around 10am because of the ice storm last night…I’m sitting here with a mug of hot chocolate watching the news, and the idiots who ARE out on the road are only going about 30mph because of the half inch of ice on the roads.

I don’ get it. There have been more than 40 accidents since 5am. Every local station is advising that if it’s at all possible, people should remain home and wait for the ice to melt. The darling man, of course, is having none of it. “They always say that,” he shrugs as he bundles into his coat. “But…there have been a ton of accidents!” “I’ll be fine. The problem is other drivers, not me.” “Okay, did you actually hear what you just said?” He went anyway, of course. I told him he’d need a crowbar to get my ass out from under the electric blanket. He called me about five minutes ago. “Guess who made it to work alive and well?” “Great. And I was going to buy a Jag with the life insurance.” “You think we have life insurance?” Idiot. At least I know what to do in this kind of weather. I’m getting some more marshmallows for my hot chocolate and going back to bed with my book.

BLOWFISH TESTICLES POISON SEVEN!

Best. Headline. EVAR. No, I am not even kidding. Story here.

Apparently, 44 people were sickened and 3 people died from fugu poisoning in Japan last year, usually from preparing puffer fish at home. This particular incident took place in a restaurant in which the sushi chef was not licensed to prepare the dish. Fortunately, all the diners survived, or I’d feel horrible about the mocking headline.

Okay, honestly, I was giggling before I even found out they were all still alive. My mind kept visualising the funerals…. “It’s how he would’ve wanted to go…” Can you see it? I mean, I grant you, you wouldn’t care once you were dead, but can you see YOUR significant other explaining to people that you died eating fish testicles? I can actually see my friends’ faces as the darling man delivered the news; all of them nodding and trying not to smile, thinking “yup, that sounds about right…”

First: Do No Harm. Unless You Disagree With Their Morals.

On December 19th, the Bush administration very quietly approved provisions to put the final nail in the coffin of American healthcare. Effective Jan 19th (one day, you will note, before President-elect Obama takes office), all entities tied to healthcare…including insurance companies…will be able to deny care or coverage for any service they feel disagrees with their moral code.

As a woman, I am furious. How dare you, Mr. Bush, tell any insurance company or doctor that I may not obtain reproductive health without risking my life? As a bisexual woman, I am seething. How dare you open the door to anyone to question me on my sexuality and deny me care because they don’t approve? As a nurse, I am so livid I am nearly speechless. We do not question the morality of our patients. It is not for us to judge. If someone comes to me because they are injured, in pain, or just have questions, I am here to do my best to help them. Their personal life is not for ME to judge. How dare ANYONE decide such a thing?

So now I can deny care based on my moral outrage? Fine. How would it be, then, if I, as an atheist, were to refuse care to fundamentalist Christians because I morally disagree with their warped perceptions of reality? How would it be if I were to refuse care to some redneck idiot who had broken his neck on his motorcycle because I’m morally opposed to treating morons who refuse to wear a helmet? How would it be were I to refuse to assist in delivering a baby because I think the world is overpopulated enough and it’s against my ethics?

Mr. Bush, you do not know the damage you have done. You think you are merely putting down rights for gays and women. I assure you, sir, you have no idea the death blow you have dealt my profession. I am saddened. But more, I am enraged that anyone would dare do such a thing as risk the lives of the people of this country all so that a few backward, self righteous, judgmental overbearing jerks can look down their noses and deny care to people they consider inferior to themselves.

I am sickened by the very thought of what this will do to a profession of which I have always been proud to be a part. There are simply no words for how disgusted I am by this ruling.

What I Want For Christmas: A Very Palin Wish

If I were suddenly confronted with the ghost of Christmas Present (always loved the implicit pun) and granted three wishes….wait, is that just for genies?… as soon as I convinced myself that I was not hallucinating, I’d tell him that I have only one wish: MAKE SARAH PALIN GO AWAY!!!

The only thing more distressing than putting up with Caribou Barbie is putting up with her frothing racist homophobe fundie fans. The Huff has a story up today about the new website erected in her honor. It isn’t just worrisome, it’s downright disgusting. This is the new face of conservativism? Some choice quotes from posters include:

When a blogger named James asks if anybody has bought the new Obama coins, SavantNoir responds: “[Y]es James, and i melted it down to see the look of agnoy on his face, made it a BB pellet and shot it into a pile of shit.”On one blog Heather describes Election Day as the “most terrible” in history and asks “how long until obama is shot??????” Josie responds: “There are plenty of people that would like to see Obama end that way.”

And about our new first lady?

Ava M: I have never actually HATED anyone in politics before now….She is stupid, mean, power hungry, manipulative, corrupt, essentially ignorant–a poster girl for Institutionalized Black Racism and Agression, a take-no-prisoners warrior for Political Correctnes aka Socialist Realism and a racially driven Communist fellow traveller. Let her go run an African country. She doesn’t fit in here with the American People.

I’m speechless. These are Christians, then? Christian sentiments? Michelle Obama IS American. She was born and raised here. She worked hard to get where she is. What is WRONG with you people? If anything, Michelle Obama has exhibited every trait Republicans insist Americans SHOULD exhibit: Hard work, dedication to her family and support of her husband. But because there’s a D after that husband’s name, she must be a “racially driven Communist”?

Conservatives, moderates, Fiscal Republicans, I have said it before, and I will say it again: It is time you took your party back. The nation needs the conservative party like a car needs a good set of brakes, to rein in the excesses of Dems. If you do not do this and do it soon, your party is doomed to be no longer the Grand Old Party, but God’s Own Party, fueled by hate and ignorance and directed by extremists like Sarah Palin. For the sake of all you hold dear… drop her and drop her now.