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The Tally Ho

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Listen to me, NPR!

Did anyone else catch Dr. Ruth's interview on NPR's Morning Edition today? It was priceless. The first time I heard it I cried, and the second time it made me chuckle--particularly the bit where she addresses "NPR" as if it were a singular person, as in, "Can you hear me, NPR?" Yes, Dr. Ruth, we can hear you.

At one point I would tell you that I want to be her, except for the sharpshooter training.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

news around Chi-town

The giant snake died.
I didn't know much about the man or his politics, and mean that "giant snake" thing affectionately; Stephens was the only mayor that Rosemont has ever had, and he reminded of us of Mayor Wilkins on Buffy, who ruled the town for a century and change before turning into a giant snake monster and eating a bunch of students at graduation. As it turns out, this guy was mortal after all. I'm disappointed.

I'm also disappointed with the Cubs, who once again managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on Wednesday. But Buehrle threw a no-hitter and proved that Chicago really CAN support good pitchers, and keep them healthy, despite what my boys claim.

Also, transit chief Frank Kruesi is out, which everyone is thrilled about because anger at him ran so deeply. However, I predict that this will not make the Red Line run any faster or get me a bus back home from knitting if my car is again stolen.

Finally, and most exciting for the two of you who may still have this blog on your RSS feed, I got cleared to fly to DC for Tony's wedding next month, barring any unexpected medical events. Yay! Perhaps the news in your town looks much like the news in mine, but it's nice to have a little variety.


SCOTUS roundup

After a long period of dragging my feet, I succumbed to the New Blogger. I think I'm the last person. Let's see how it goes.

On the SCOTUS' upholding of the federal abortion ban, my panic is outweighing my anger at the moment. So I'll quote folks.

Bitch Ph.D catalogues some of the consequences of banning intact D&X, if that is indeed what this "partial-birth abortion ban" is banning. She also delivers stories on late-term problems that make me shudder a little this month, so I'll leave 'em alone.

Ema (quoting ACOG and The Blog That Ate Manhattan) also quotes nicely.

Adri says:
Even more frightening [than endless talk of this week's shooter] is today's Supreme Court ruling about late-stage abortions. Even more chilling is the language of sanctimonious pro-lifers, politicians and Bible-thumpers. It sends a very real chill down my spine to read their words about protecting the life inside the woman and other such bullshit. What about protecting the *woman* and her rights? The idea of politicians controlling women's bodies is so much more frightening to me. What was Sandra thinking when she retired?

I think the reason it got upheld is because this issue isn't about well-written law. It's about politics and exerting control over women. And to think that the same crazy people who support this law probably also think it's a great idea for anyone and everyone to buy as many guns as they want. Today's ruling frightens me so much because in this case, it's clear that these men are in control of our country. I can only hope and pray that there will be physicians and other medical practitioners who will stand up to this.

And while I wish I could quote some medical practitioners of my own on this, that's pretty firmly against my personal blog rules. And they're all out actually practicing medicine, anyway.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

I heart NY

I think this story, from "The Blog That Ate Manhattan" (smart lady), is a hoot.

Only in New York.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

a sad week

Yes, besides the Bears' loss, there were lots of things to mourn. There was Molly Ivins, for one. Our friend Carl, for another, who passed away last week at 93, was a thoughtful and funny man who ground and polished his own lenses for telescopes. A Stage III trial for an HIV microbicide was closed due to safety concerns, which is baffling since it showed no adverse affects in Stage I or II (safety) trials. This leaves just three microbicides which have made it to the final stage, and while I have high hopes that one of them may prove effective, I'm unencumbered by any actual science knowledge or a full depth of understanding on how rarely these drugs work out. All these things leave us set a little farther back than we were last week.

The Chicago climate, ever innovative, found a way to make it snow even at 2 or 3 degrees F, causing much snarling of people and traffic and running me right into a fender bender. (Me, the the spawn, and the bumper-car opponent all are fine.) If there was ever a week when I needed some chocolate, this might be it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

delicate sensibilities

Last night, Elwood got the TV to himself and was watching some hideous-looking movie called "Monster Man" on the SciFi channel. I walked past it to find a screaming zombie creature on screen, writhing on the floor with the bottom half of its torso chopped off and a very fuzzy looking hand.

"You won't want to watch this," says Elwood, referring to the bloodified zombie torso which was continuing to scream.
"What's the matter with his hand?" I asked.

After peering at the screen for entirely too long, I figured out that the zombie torso was holding his hand up towards the camera to flick off his attacker. (Despite the obvious blood loss and wandering intestines, Zombie Man was still not dead. I guess sometimes it's good to be a monster man.) The film cut away to the attacker a couple times, then back to the zombie, who (as indicated by the censored and blurred-out hand) continued to give us all the finger while wailing incoherently. The SciFi channel has no problems with showing us monsters chopped messily in half, but shies away from an upraised middle finger. We can't be teaching the kids bad habits, you know.

In other news, this morning I heard on NPR clips of a "60 Minutes" interview with President Bush. It was a short, well-cut little report, with the president saying in his own words (and without the speechwriters) that he wasn't going to follow Congress' advice on the war, and he was disturbed by the video he saw of Hussein's execution. When the interviewer pressed him, he admitted he hadn't watched the whole tape because he hadn't wanted to see Hussein go through the trap door. I guess he has delicate sensibilities too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The long dark teatime of the soul.

(This is a guest post by the lovely and talented janeorben.)

I'm sick. As sick as I've been since I lived in Korea! That's what I get for teaching. :-) But who cares about such small things as my personal health - North Korea just tested a nuke!

Yup, NK finally did it. And now they're offering nukes to any nutjob with enough money to buy one. If this problem isn't nipped in the bud soon, I'm pretty much resigned to having a nuclear attack on some Western, probably American, city in the next 10 years. And as the analysts keep shouting, and our administration keeps plugging its ears, military force only increases terrorism.

And, yes, I do put part of the blame on President George W. Bush's shoulders. Clinton had worked hard to diplomatically deal with North Korea (not an easy thing to do), and in those negotiations had promised them a powerplant to help with their energy crisis. But then Bush got into office, refused to fullfill Clinton's offer, and then started shooting his mouth off about an "axis of evil". Then he launched a pre-emptive war with Iraq.

So of course North Korea pulled out of the nonproliferation nuclear treaty. Of course North Korea got fast and furious about finishing up their nukes. Of course North Korea has been beating its chest and talking smack about America. They will do everything in their power to avoid being next on the USA's hit list, and also to keep their own economy afloat so their government doesn't collapse. Now that they have nukes, nobody will risk attacking them. And now that the legit powers in the world won't aid them, they will turn back to selling arms to less scrupulous powers. Why should they care where they get the money?

Gee, Mr. Bush, now on top of a healthcare crisis, skyrocketing college tuition prices, an insane amount of national debt, and fear of corporations taking over the Internet and thereby limiting the ability of grassroots organization and independent media circulation, I get to feel a lot less safe from foreign attack too - thanks!

Now step in the other regional powers, and they perhaps say; the enemy of my enemy is my friend? http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/HJ10Dg03.html

This grand idiocy on the part of NK seems to be inspiring China (NK's longtime friend), South Korea (who has been working at reconcilliation with NK for 10 years) and Japan (longtime enemy of both China and both Koreas) to work together against NK. This could be a good or bad thing, the question is will the three use sanctions against NK (it's not like the aid ever reaches the starving people anyway) or whether this will start an arms race in the region where Japan and possibly even SK attempt to develop their own nukes.

*sigh* I'm going back to bed now.

(read janeorben's other posts here: http://janeorben.livejournal.com/ Thanks for letting me re-post!)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

On Foley

The best things I've read on the Foley scandal are Bitch PhD's analysis of the conservatives' attempt to invert the public and private spheres, and Hanne Blank's social critique putting Foley's bad behavior into perspective as a stinkpot being led by his dick, while recognizing our society's penchant for panic around anything which smacks of Teh Gay or Teh Teen Sex.

In public, everyone wants to talk about this man, from the NPR gurus commenting over and over on how ugly this political race and every other has gotten in the past month* to the knitters recalling their own young-professional ordeals trying to outrun the smarmy lech at the office. I get it, I really do. Foley is a dirty old man. If we're smart, we can examine this national obsession critically to learn something about our own culture. If we're even smarter, we'll stop giving Foley air time and start talking about the Military Commissions Act already.
*I heard this same report three days running on Morning Edition. "Local X race turns to mudslinging!" Is this really still news?

Monday, September 25, 2006

"Birth control or abortion: which one do you support?"

--one of my colleagues put it that way today, and I thought it was a fairly succinct way to put the current challenge in our culture. (For those of you playing along on the LJ blog, this was the Nemesis. She's actually pretty smart, when she's not fussing over her wardrobe.)

But not everyone has gotten her memo yet. Just this weekend, in the 'burbs of my fair city, we had a fairly major anti-contraception conference. The Chicago Tribune covered it on the front page of the Sunday paper. Please read the article, as it makes the main points pretty accurately. (Bonus points: find the dig against sex education!) It also points out, correctly, that a full-scale assault on contraception isn't feasible at this point, but that activists might begin by stripping government funding for contraceptive services (in progress) or expanding "conscience" clauses to allow pharmacists and doctors to refuse contraceptives to patients (also in progress). The article's only weakness is that it presents both those strategies as hypothetical, when they're actually going on as we speak.

I was really pleased to read lots of quotes from the anti-contraception activists, which seem to make a sturdy case against their own arguments. Let's recap...

* Contraception devalues children? No, but having kids that you don't want and can't feed would definitely do so.
* Contraception harms relationships between men and women and causes divorce? No, the patriarchy and consumer culture do that just fine.
* Contraception promotes sexual promiscuity? If promiscuity wasn't a problem before reliable contraceptives existed, then how did sexually transmitted diseases ever get spread? They're actually speaking here of female promiscuity, since boys will be boys, you know. And saying women should be responsible for curbing men's promiscuity is pretty ludicrous.
* Contraception leads to falling birth rates? Check. But since I'm all about responsible population growth, I fail to see that as a social ill. Again, this argument is somewhat in code; it's not that there are not enough people in the world, but some groups tend to feel that there aren't enough white people in the world.

While "a stunning 98 percent of women 15 to 44 who have had sex report using at least one method of contraception," affluent women are more likely to use birth control successfully. Not surprisingly, we have fewer kids. We're more likely to have the free time to rail against the patriarchy and blog about it. Something really must be done. (/snark)

By the way? When I ask students about birth control without artificial means, I'm hoping to elicit the responses "abstinence" and "natural family planning". However, they generally come up with "oral sex" and "gay relationships" in the same conversation. Contraception foes should be warned: even if they do get their way, middle schoolers can come up with contraception hacks without batting an eye.