Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Remind Congress Who's the Boss

Now that a new Congress is about to take over, it's time to become a citizen activist and remind them who they work for. Like it or not, this was the most effective strategy of the GOP in gaining and keeping power for so long. They had their trained little minions calling immediately every time an issue came close to a vote. They had letter writers composing form letters from mass-distributed GOP talking points for the sheep to sign and mail off in their names. They had emails that all the sheep had to do was cut and paste and send from their own accounts. Most of the time, all the text was written and all the obedient little sheep had to do was sign their names and not question anything too closely.

When you actually add up the numbers of people who did this it wasn't a whole lot. It was, as the statisticians like to say, a representative sample of public opinion. But it was a sample that was consistent and could be depended upon to raise their voices in order to influence their congressional representatives. It is the way the system was meant to work, and when there are two or more sides expressing an opinion it works well.

But in the last few years it has not been representative of the population as a whole. Many people gave up and believed their voices didn't matter and that Congress only listened to people who had large wads of cash to throw their way. If this was true, then how come a small segment of the population consisting mostly of homophobic, warmongering religious fanatics came to represent America? Because they were loud and others were not. Because they took the time to make those phone calls, sign their names to those letters, and cut and paste those emails. And the rest of the people did not.

It's time for that to change. I'm going to make it very easy for you. Here's what you need to do:
1. Find out the name, phone number, and email of your representatives. Here is a good place to start:

2. Call once a month and email once a week. Surely what you believe and want is worth the five minutes it will take to do both those tasks. That's ten minutes a month to let your voice be heard and to have a hand in shaping the kind of government we will all have to live with.
If you need a form letter for either email and/or snail mail, here is a simple template for you to use:


Washington, D.C.

Dear Congressperson _________:

I am writing to bring to your attention a matter of great importance to me as a voter and as a resident of your district.

(insert a short description here of your concern, whether it is Global Warming, the Draft, the Iraq War, Corporate Sleaze, or any other matter you want them to move to the top of their agenda. Keep it brief and keep it to just one topic per email, phone call, and letter. If you want to write about the war AND Global Warming, send two different emails/letters/phone calls. You letters have a much better reception this way.)

Thank you for your consideration. If you would like to respond to these concerns, here is my


phone number:


Very truly yours,

Here are some hints:

Before you call, write out your statement. Usually your call will be taken by an aide who will make a note of which side you fall on. Make it brief and to the point. Keep in mind that a phone call from you on a particular issue carries more weight than an email and you should call once a month.

Emails or letters are the next best thing. This is a great way to keep your issues fresh in the pile your representative must deal with. Once a week will allow you to thoroughly cover an issue of the week.

Petitions are the least respected of the communications sent to politicians. Everyone and their dog sends them thousands.

Remember, it is OUR government, and it up to US to make sure they know who their employers are.

Image from Ursine Logic Changing hearts and minds one t-shirt at a time


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Snow Day!

It's snowing! It's snowing a lot! I can't get out of the driveway. Darn. Guess I'll just have to play all day. :-))))

And a bike ride is probably out of the question, eh?

This was taken a couple hours ago. The car is just a big white blob right now.


Friday, November 17, 2006

The Darkness and Light of Winter Holidays

At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, most of the time I find myself saying "Bah Humbug" to Christmas. It's not a holiday I celebrate. I am not a Christian. I don't believe in Jesus. I give gifts all year round because I like giving, not because I'm expected to come up with something just because everyone else is. Having my own shop makes gift-giving a lot more fun because if I don't see something I like, I just make something I do like. I really enjoy how my friends and family look forward to my gifts now because they know I made them. That's how gifting should be; it shouldn't be this cringing feeling of what am I going to do with this piece of crap from Auntie Weirdo every year.

For those same reasons, I've made my own cards for several years. Usually I make just a small amount and they are handpainted, individually created little works of art for those near and dear to me. I send Winter Solstice cards to the Pagans and Witches, live Turkeys grazing happily for the non-carnivores in my life, lots of images of candles and light for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Solstice, and even Christmas because light is special during the darkest time of the year.

As an informative aside, that's why major holidays during this time celebrate with light. Anyone who has ever lived in a far northern climate like I do knows that light is precious this time of year. Those delightful 10 pm summer sunsets are now replaced with the gray turning dark around 4:30 and regaining its gray hue sometime around 8 or 8:30 am. It's still early...wait until next month when we have about 8 hours of light, if you can call it light when it is mixed with wind, sideways driving rain, and that perpetual grayness of late fall, early winter. Candles and light are big this time of year and necessary. Even warm, desert climates acknowledge the shorter days of winter, the lack of light, and create art for their holidays that is filled with candles and colored bulbs and bright colors.

To acknowledge both this upcoming season of light festivals, I've taken several of my most favorite artwork cards, recreated them for the digital world and turned them into cards in my store.

And besides the need for light, I've also kept in mind the non-carnivores for this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. This is the card I just sent out for Thanksgiving

It was inspired by a dear friend who told me that most people never see a live turkey or even know what beautiful birds they are in "real life." So I made this card for her and I have to agree, they are lovely birds. I thank her for opening my eyes to their beauty and I hope you share it with others in your own lives.

Here's the link to the card if you want to buy some. There's currently a 25 percent off sale that goes through the 19th, so you'd have to hurry: Wild Turkeys You get six with envelopes for 11.25 with the discount, which is a great price for special holiday cards! I will leave them at the special price of 15.00 through the holidays as I feel that is both affordable and also reflects the time I spent to make them unique.

This card and most of the alternative offerings is from My Holiday Store, a shop that is separate from Ursine Logic. I started it so I would have a place to buy alternative holiday items and non-religious Christmas cards and gifts. Although most of the items in Ursine Logic are not exactly mainstream and make great gifts, I wanted a special store to acknowledge there are more ways to celebrate Winter than with Christmas.

May you enjoy my offerings and send them to many of your friends who will hopefully enjoy them as well.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Understand the "Win"

I wanted to wait for a few days before I wrote about the election because as overjoyed as I am over winning Congress away from those thieving, lying, warmongering parasites, I don't have much faith in their Democratic replacements. I didn't want to give the impression that I believe everything is going to be alright now that the elephant got its butt kicked. I may be an idealist, an optimistic, a believer in the inherent goodness and compassion of human beings, but I am not stupid. Never have been. Not about to start now. ;-)

So here is my take on it all after a few days of doing a lot of reading, a lot of comtemplating, a lot of thinking how things could and could not go. First and foremost, these are career politicians one and all. To get elected to office in America requires millions of dollars and a whole lot of promising to kiss certain asses in payback of donations rendered. Yes, the Democrats won. Now the question must be asked and explored: who do they owe for this victory? We learned too late that the GOP was beholded to the oil companies, the insurance companies, the munitions companies, the pharmaceutical companies...well, the list is long and yes we knew before but we never really knew the extent of that beholding.

Therefore, I propose that one of the first things we do is make a list of these contributors and keep it safe and updated on different blogs and websites. Make it easily available. Make it open. Make it transparent. And then when any legislation comes up for a vote, match its benefits against the list of contributors. When an obvious or not so obvious match pops up, that is the time to take action. Call and write your congressional representatives. Create blog swarms to move the connection to the top of search engines, blogs, personal websites, listservs, and newsletters. Shine a light on it and make noise. Remind your representatives that what the voter gives, the voter can take away.

On a related note, make some noise in the direction of your representatives to enact some real campaign and lobbying reform. Our country is now at the mercy of those who have the most money to throw at an election. Right-wing lunatics like Mellon-Scaife, Murdoch, and the public media who are first and foremost weapons manufacturers and media outlets second, should not be able to enforce their ideology, bloodlust, and war profiteering on our country anymore. This will require even more effort, even more noise and pressure on the congresscritters as many of them are beholden to these bastards.

And finally, for now at least, the most important thing we need to change in this country is protecting the right to vote. It is disgraceful that elections have become no more than a sporting event for some people, an unethical, no rules, no respect, unsanctioned sporting event. Anyone, and I mean anyone who messes with an American's right to vote in any way should be sent to prison as the law currently demands but hasn't been enforced since Bushco lied and cheated their way into power. When all the evils of this administration are studied years from now, interfering with the cherished American right to vote will overshadow all others. We don't need voting reform so much as we need to punish those who interfered with the right to vote. Let's start enforcing the laws and we won't need as much reform. If this means putting the president of Diebold in jail, so be it.

So there you have it for now. Yes, it's a good thing we won, but it is also an awesome responsibility and it is a lot like inheriting a run-down, stripped bare and plundered crack house. The bones of the house are solid but it will take a lot of work, time, money and patience to restore it to its once splendid glory. It will take commitment and strength from all of us working together to take back not just the country but the foundation upon which it was founded.

Design from Ursine Logic Changing minds one t-shirt at a time

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I Vote

Why I Vote

I've been asked several times by people of all ages, stripes, and colors why on earth I continue to vote in elections that are rigged and will not reflect the will of the people. My answer is always the same: I will not let these evil, manipulative bastards that are in control kill my hope because once that is gone, they own me. I continue to believe elections can only be stolen if they are close. Don't let this one be close. Get out and vote if you haven't already. Bring a friend to the polls. Make turnout so overwhelming that the will of the people cannot be subverted again.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to admit our own complicity in a bad thing. I see this administration as the result of mass apathy and voter indifference. It's no different than having a swarm of creepy, crawling vermin moving into your house because you don't care enough about it to engage in periodic pest control. These pathetic excuses for human beings, these warmongering cretins who care nothing about human life, are in charge because most of us let them get in and stay there.

I can understand that after 911, most of us were stunned into submission to whomever promised to make the pain go away. These evil Bushco bastards manipulated fear, shock, and very likely even set up the whole thing--or at the very least, allowed it to happen on purpose, for one thing only: to enrich and empower themselves. They care nothing about us. They care only about themselves.

Yes, there was a period of time in this country when we deserved representatives who were as selfish and indifferent as we were. Life seemed like one, big, never-ending party...until Bushco came to town and took over the dance halls, saloons, and our hearts and souls. Did we fight back? Did we question their right to do this? Did we even fucking object?

America is one of the most medicated countries in the world. We either take prescribed drugs that numb us to all feeling, or we buy them off the street or from the liquor stores to numb our pain at being used, abused, manipulated and lied to by these thugs. Many of the repugs have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Do you think it is an accident, a minor coincidence that all these drugs to numb us started appearing just as they were beginning their takeover of our country?

As the professionals often tell those who are trying to break free from addictions and other destructive behavior: you have to want to get better. It has to come from inside you. That's why you need to get out the vote tomorrow. It's the first step toward getting better.

Image from Ursine Logic Changing hearts and minds one t-shirt at a time.
For those of you who are wonderfully crazy enough to read my words after all this time, here's a special sale for the holidays on greeting cards and ornaments as a special reward: 25 percent off. This is only on greeting cards and ornaments. No coupon or code needed. Prices marked down on site already.