Tax dollars paying for dancer for the marines. Great.

August 27, 2006

I know that since the war in Iraq costs about $1.1 billion every day, I should not be fretting about the relatively low cost of bringing dancers to entertain marines, but I still really don’t like it. I read about it in this article in The New York Times. I am all for doing things to keep the troops entertained and morale up. I’m not even against sexy female dancers in general, although I can’t say I love the idea either. But I am against the government paying for sexy female dancers to go to Iraq to entertain the troops and “keep morale up.” As if the military doesn’t already have enough problems with women being seen as equal, treated fairly, etc. If you read the article in the times alongside the case of Suzanne Swift eventually went AWOL from the military after being sexually harassed and treated just horrible clearly because she was a woman, then the whole having dancers flown in for the Marines seems even more problematic. Of course, it is a small blip on the screen of horrors related to Iraq and I don’t mean to minimize all the other much more tragic things that have happened. But still. I don’t like it one bit.

Killing the Buddha Does It Again: Jam for the Lamb, Rock for the Flock

August 24, 2006

As I may have mentioned before, and certainly for those who know me, I am not a laugher. I am not against it of course, it just takes a lot to make me really laugh. Like spontaneously. But the article God and Guitars at Killing the Buddha just cracked me up. The author is writing about a Christian rock concert he was at as a 15 year old…

Beside us, a middle-aged man wearing a moustache, a leather jacket, and a green mohawk shouted, “Rock for the Flock!” He raised his fist. “Jam for the Lamb!

Whoever picks the Christian articles for ktb HAS to have been involved in evangelical Christianity at one point or another. They just hit it right on the nose so often (one of my other favorite articles ever is Jesus and I Broke Up). So, now go read God and Guitars at Killing the Buddha.

Check Out Well-Soul

August 23, 2006

I know some folks who read this are interested in holistic health and healing. I stumbled across a few days ago and it seems like a really neat place to check out. It is written by a UU woman who struggled with chronic pain for years. She writes that

My healing came through some complementary medicine and a realization that I had to take the lead in healing myself. The doctors were never going to do it for me.

Her other blog is


More on Chronic Illness

August 22, 2006

I just read this article in the New York Times which is just soooo not what someone who has been sick on and off for years wants to read. It is an article about somatization syndrome. I’ve never heard of it before now, but it seems to be a situation where someone has aches, pains, fatigue, dizziness, or other various symptoms for which doctors cannot find a medical explanation. So you know what? Then it becomes a psychiatric disorder. I googled this and there apparently are actually people who really do have this. That is, physical problems are caused very directly by psychiatric issues and the people need psychotherapy. All well and good. But for those of us who do not have a psychiatric disorder and something actually is causing our fatigue, stomach aches, head aches, decreased immune system functioning, or whatever symptoms there are, this gives doctors such an easy way to say it is all in the head and just get some therapy. Can’t figure it out? Just chalk it up to somatization syndrome.

This reminds me of my most recent doctor who suggested I meditate as a response to my health concerns. Maybe she secretly thought I had this. Ugg. Luckily, the first site that comes up when you google this is a site that helps reassure those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromalgia (two very difficult to diagnose disorders that often interfere quite a bit with one’s every day life) that a doctor who is familiar with the various disorders will know how to differentiate between them. Of course, the problem is that many many doctors don’t know how to recognize or treat either CFS or Fibromalgia, along with 100s of other rare or complex problems that people live with for years because they are not correctly identified. Sigh. Sigh sigh.

While I’m certainly glad that people with somatization syndrome are able to be well-diagnosed and get treatment, I just hate to think about all the people who actually do have a non-psychiatric medical issue that are put in the “somatization syndrome” box. It is just so frustrating and sad that so many people suffer for years with medical issues that doctors cannot adequately recognize or treat because medical training and practice is so scientistic and regimented – so unholistic and so inattentive to the complexity of medical problems that don’t fit into any of the pre-established boxes.

Progressive Strategy: Mitigating Harm or Changing the System?

August 17, 2006

George Lakoff became sort of a progressive/liberal rock star with his idea of framing which I found helpful. But his new book Whose Freedom? raises conundrums like this one pointed out by Robert Jensen in The Limits of Lakoff’s Politics: Outside the Frame:

Lakoff’s “frame,” simply stated is:

(1) Right-wing Republicans are the cause of our problems, and

(2) progressives working through the Democratic Party will deliver the solutions.

So, out the window must go any facts or analyses that suggest

(1) the problems of an unjust and unsustainable world may be rooted in fundamental systems, such as corporate capitalism and the imperialism of powerful nation-states, no matter who is in power, and

(2) the Democratic Party is not only not a meaningful vehicle for progressive politics but, as a subsidiary of that corporate system with its own history and contemporary practice of empire-building, is part of the problem.

Geesh, I wish solutions/approaches to some sort of solution were easier. Do we try to dismantle the whole system of oppression that is just HUGE and rich and mean and ruthless, or do we make do and try to reduce the amount of harm done by such a system? I always shake my head at revolutionary types that (it seems naively) think we can sort of undo capitalism-as-we-know-it. Yet, it also feels sort of like selling out if we resign ourselves to just try to mitigate the harm done by the system, which is really all that can be done if the capitalism-U.S.-military-corporation-materialism-WTO-IMF complex remains intact. And I know that we could try to do both, but there are limited resources for what we do and so if we split them between making-do and dismantling-the-system, we may make little progress on either. What would “revolution” even look like, I wonder? I will try to look into that and see. In the meantime, over at the progressive strategy blog, they are thinking about this is much more sophisticated ways. Read a more in-depth discussion of things over there.

Megachurch talk over at LoFi Tribe

August 15, 2006

Lots of great church talk out there… and two posts in two days saying that liberal religious traditions might want to take a look at what conservative religious traditions are doing. Not in the sense of indoctrination (of course) but in terms of how megachurches and evangelical and fundamentalist Christian communities in general are growing because (I think) they are meeting people’s needs in some ways. Some of these ways religious liberals will never be able to match (we just can’t give you absolute, for certain answers about the nature of the universe), but some things we might be able to do. But that is another post. Or a past post, really.

The first “church talk” going on out there was over at The Journey on testimonies from yesterday, and today the post on megachurches over at LoFi Tribe where Shawn Anthony offers a few notes re: mega Churches and the philosophy of ministry so characteristic of them. He points out the the only reason for their success is not because it leads believers (attenders) to have an emotional experience. Agreed, this is not the only reason and it is perhaps an overemphasized reason – things are both more complex and more strategic than “just” emotion. But it is a pretty significant factor, in my opinion. Head over his blog to read more about megachurches. Based on my years in high school at a megachurch, he is pretty on target.

Making Progress in Ohio for Progressives – Take Back Cincinnati

August 14, 2006

I’ve been wondering what I can do for the midterm elections and I’ve found it. I’m originally from Ohio and there is a competitive race in Cincinnati between Republican incumbent Steve Chabot and the Democratic challenger John Cranley ( I’m going to be guest blogging on Cranley’s campaign blog Take Back Cincinnati and helping to do online campaigning where I can. I think Cranley is not just an acceptable alternative to a very unappealing Republican, but he is actually a really exciting candidate. For once, it isn’t the lesser of two evils, but there is actually a good choice.

Cranley lives in the Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, which has traditionally been the neighborhood where Appalachian folks have migrated to in order to get jobs in the city. I love it that he lives IN the city with the folks. Cranley is also a graduate of Harvard Divinity School where I am currently studying and a place that I truly think does an excellent job of preparing people to think and reflect ethically. (He also graduated from Harvard Law School.) I really feel like he will do an excellent job as a member of the House of Representatives, giving the folks of Cincinnati the representation that they deserve. Of course, it is easy to do a much better job than Chabot who has, just to name a few things, continually advocated for a cut in estate taxes, has “serious reservations” about raising the minimum wage, has failed to criticize the Bush administration’s policies related to national security, voted to on allow school prayer during the so-called War on Terror (Nov 2001), and voted to make it a federal crime to transport minor girls across state lines in order to get an abortion. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Want to help get John Cranley elected? You can do your little part by writing a little blurb on your blog about him and linking to Do your part for Ohioans who deserve just, ethical representation in the House of Representatives.