Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas card 2010

A very doggy Christmas to you...

We had mostly peace on earth at our house this year (well, a fair bit of chaos too).

Click on our chihuahua in her Christmas dress (designed and created by Roz) to see more photos.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Roll Call on Dream Act

Here's the link to find out who voted for and against the DREAM Act.

3 Republicans who voted YES--thank you!

Bob Bennett, Utah
Richard Lugar, Indiana
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska (who was a write-in, defeating the Tea Party candidate who got the Republican nomination)

Independent and YES:
Joe Lieberman, Connecticut (a sponsor of the bill)
Bernie Sanders, Vermont

5 Democrats who voted NO:
Hagan, North Carolina
Pryor, Arkansas
Nelson, Nebraska
Baucus, Montana
Tester, Montana

Okay, folks: let's bombard them with letters and emails. And let's make sure they don't get re-elected.

One from the South, two from the Midwest, and two from Montana! I guess the Montanans just don't have much understanding or sympathy for Mexicans and other immigrants. Perhaps the economy threatening jobs causes Democrats from North Carolina, Nebraska, and Arkansas to vote against the young immigrants.

Anyway, hooray for Bob Bennett of Utah and for the senators from New Mexico, who voted yes, and the two from Colorado, who voted yes.

And the two New York senators.

The two women from Maine voted no--I guess they had to vote with the Republicans on something because they were about to vote to go against their party in repealing DADT.

It's fascinating to see how the senators voted today on each of these important issues.

Dianne Feinstein's speech on the Senate floor was so moving and contained great statistics, including the $ 1 billion or more that could be saved by passing the DREAM Act.

Charles Schumer vowed to work for the DREAM Act in the next Congress... He said there's hope for two reasons:
1) The justice of the issue.
2) The voting power of Latinos. He noted that in three states (CA, CO, NV), the Latino vote went to the Democrats by a higher margin in 2010 than in 2008, even though Democrats suffered overall. Republicans will need to work for immigration reform if they want to get elected.

All in all, an amazing Saturday, Dec. 18.

The Senate was working hard and produced a big Christmas present for GLBT citizens.

Only the threat of filibuster prevented the Senate from helping young immigrant students.
There were enough votes--55--to pass the bill, but 60 votes were needed to prevent debate from being halted by a filibuster.

As it turned out, 5 Democrats and 36 Republicans voted not to let young people raised in the US, graduates of our high schools and colleges, enter a path toward citizenship.

That's a crime.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

One Small Step for Justice

What a powerful, moving day.

I watched C-SPAN most of the day while doing dishes, cooking, wrapping gifts.

First it was the votes on the DREAM Act and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, along with the debate on the Senate floor. Then it was the press conferences given by senators afterward.

I'm so proud of all those who worked for repeal of DADT and for passage of the DREAM Act. I feel as if I got to know many of these senators today--they changed from names to faces I can recognize, persons with stories they shared.

My heroes and sheroes:
Senator Harry Reid for managing the technical details of cloture, tabling etc. so well and for talking with those who became swing votes.

Joe Lieberman and Olympia Snow, sponsors of the repeal legislation (I think).

The eight Republicans including Snow who voted to repeal:
Susan Collins, Maine;
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska (elected by a hairsbreadth--the write-in candidate);
Scott Brown, Massachusetts;
Mark Kirk, Illinois;
George Voinovich, Ohio;
John Ensign, Nevada, and
Richard Burr, North Carolina.

And the three Republicans who voted yes for moving to a vote on the DREAM Act, making the total 55 to 41:
Bob Bennett, Utah;
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska;
Richard Lugar, Indiana.,0,2953777.story

Hooray for all these leaders.

Fates of Millions Decided Today

It's a grey, gloomy morning in Los Angeles. Steady rain is falling.

The US Senate just voted not to bring the DREAM Act to a vote, 55 in favor, 41 against it.,0,5635931.story

Many of them had previously favored the Dream Act, but in the economic downturn anti-immigrant sentiment has increased.

Students I know will remain in limbo, required to go to Mexico for ten years and then apply to immigrate to the US.

Some of them were brought to the US as infants. They have no idea how to make a life in Mexico. They have degrees from US colleges, honors from US high schools.

I and thousands of others will write/email/call each one of the Senators who voted no. They will be held accountable.

At least the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will probably pass. The Senate just voted to bring it to a vote, so within hours or days, one of the last legal forms of discrimination in the US will be history--not present reality.

Of course, the Equal Rights Amendment--the ERA--still has not been ratified. US legislators still fear to add that key sentence to the Constitution: "P.S. All of the above applies to women."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Marijuana and Bipolar, Schizophrenia

Devastating news: smoking marijuana can unlock latent mental illnesses such as bipolar I & II and schizophrenia in young brains.

Not news, really. I've suspected it since hearing the bipolar diagnosis from doctors in regard to some of my kids.

On the Airtalk show on KPCC today, Larry Mantle interviewed Gil Kerlikowske, the "drug czar" of this administration, as well as interviewing a researcher and a psychiatrist specializing in addiction.

Listen to it at:

Other facts from the study just released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Use of marijuana on a daily basis causes cognitive loss, especially in the ability to memorize and learn.
9% of marijuana users become addicted.
When it becomes a gateway drug, the most common drugs chosen are cocaine and methamphetamine--because they increase attention and focus.

Larry recommends seeing the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Next to Normal, which shows two teens, one who can use mj recreationally without too many side effects and his girlfriend, for whom mj immediately becomes addicting and destructive to her life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Tribute to Holbrooke

CSPAN played a half-hour video of Richard Holbrooke being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour this morning.

What a dueling of great minds! No better way to learn about the situation in Afghanistan, and so moving to see what a great man he was... while watching Christiane arm-wrestle him to get him to say more than he wants to.

Watch this... make time for it!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Left Out

Even as we celebrate the passing of a version of the Dream Act in the House of Representatives and work/pray/hope for it to pass in the Senate, some are left out.

The version of the bill passed by the House changes the upper age limit of those to whom it would apply from 35 years to 29 years.

That means there are thousands of people aged 30-35 who are left out. Some of them have been working for this bill since it was conceived seven years ago--but if it is approved by both houses of Congress only for this more restricted age group, these people brought to the US by their parents at a young age will be excluded.,0,566750.story

Exile in Mexico

What happens when an American citizen wants to marry a person living in the US without proper papers?

Maybe they get a good lawyer and try to do whatever is required to attain legal residency.

But that process is risky, and one possible outcome is that the "alien" (who may have been living in the US since infancy) may be deported and required to spend ten years in a country he or she doesn't really know before then applying to emigrate to the US.

In some cases, the American goes with his/her fiance to live abroad until the would-be spouse can legally enter the US and they can legally marry (which then can lead to the spouse gaining citizenship).

One woman who knows this scenario intimately is Giselle Stern Hernandez. Look at her website and learn about her story.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hooray for Harry!

Thank you to Harry Reid and the US senators who voted to table the Dream Act today rather than kill it.

Now we have a week to contact all the 43 senators who want to kill it and the one who didn't vote.

Start your phone calls, emails, tweets, personal conversations, etc. with senators and their staffs !

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Four Old Men

Hooray for the House of Representatives, voting tonight to approve the Dream Act 216 to 198.

The Senate is expected to vote 56 in favor, 44 against--but 60 votes are needed to win approval.

Can four old men deny a path to citizenship to thousands of young people brought to the US as infants or children without proper immigration papers? Yes, that's what may happen.

Email or call your senator and all those who may vote against it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good-bye, Elizabeth

I feel relieved that Elizabeth Edwards has died, as if her suffering weighed me down too. (I read her book Resilience.)

She has endured so much pain--losing her 16-yr-old, facing JE's flagrant infidelity, saying goodbye to this world at age 61, and realizing that she would leave behind a 10- and 12-yr-old.

I'm one year older than she--what she has had to bear would sink my ship.

She has a Facebook page, and she had a life before all that pain. The MSN link below calls her "a shrewd lawyer."

Good-bye, "God be with ye", Elizabeth. You took the cards you were dealt and lived with courage. You even wrote about your life, twice, with ruthless honesty.

May each of us follow your example.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Remembering Violence against Women

The Gender and Women's Studies Dept. at CSU Northridge sent out the announcement below for today.

Today, December 6, is National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.

Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women attending a university; a mentally ill man perceived them as potential feminists and a threat.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians (and women around the world) to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

We must never forget...

Louise Malette writes in The Montreal Massacred (gynergy, 1991):

"I can't help but think about the morning of Wednesday, December 6, 1989: young women getting out of bed as if it were any other day, appearing mildly distracted at breakfast, their heads full of details for the next exam, or vacation plans for Christmas. Dreaming. Thinking about life. At that very moment, elsewhere in the city, someone who probably hasn't slept all night is writing his hate letter, preparing his weapon and his ammunition, going over each step leading him to his death mission. He's found scapegoats for his failures: women, who deny the existence of the old father who commands, gives orders, excludes, dominates, punishes, beats, who holds the right to life or death over women and their children. The killer-to-be knows that the Almighty father can never exist again, and he would do anything rather than accept the challenge his own life represents: to deserve, not overpower, the love which is no longer his privilege simply because he was born male. His reasoning is superficial, one-dimensional: women today are out of line; all feminists want to be like men, so there's only one solution, to put them in their place before it's too late, before women become human beings like everybody else. No more, no less."(excerpt from "A Matter of Life or Death: Second Installment" by Élaine Audet, The Montreal Massacre (gynergy books 1991)"When I think of that poor young girl who, lying on her stretcher, said that she wasn't even a feminist, I feel like crying. When I think of that girl in the classroom, the only one who tried to reason with the killer, crying out: "We're not feminists. We're only women who want an education,"I feel like screaming."

(excerpt from "Letter to the Media" by Louise Malette, The Montreal Massacred (gynergy books 1991).*

More information about local events and the University of Toronto December 6th candlelight vigil (Philosopher's Walk)**On" target=_blank>>**On

December 6th and every day please take some time to remember....

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)140 Holland St. West, PO Box 13022Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Greetings

In today's Wall Street Journal, there's a story about a 14-yr-old boy employed by a Mexican drug cartel to kill and even behead people.

We need Emanuel ("God with us") so much in our world today.

Therefore, I send you peace as we commemorate the birth that brought and still brings change to our world.

I also offer you the link below. It will take you to a few ads but maybe also to a few photos to bring a smile to your face.