By Nicholas Kristof, on his blog, On the Ground:
"My Thursday [New York Times] column is about the extraordinary failure of police around the country to test rape kits promptly. Many kits are never tested, and others wait for a year before they are tested. There are a range of reasons, including the cost, but I think the underlying one is a deeply embedded skepticism among many veteran police officers about many rape cases, a sense that often it isn’t a truly serious crime.
"From the point of view of a rape victim, she undergoes the evidence collection procedure and then waits and waits and waits. She never hears any result, so she assumes that there was no DNA found, or no match. But in fact, what often happens is that the kit was never tested.
Police forces are to some degree at fault, but the problem is broader: It’s also politicians who allocate money to DNA testing centers, which are invariably starved of funds in ways that lead to long delays. The aim of this column is to offer a nudge so that prompt testing of rape kits becomes a priority.
"You may remember that last year one of the issues in the presidential campaign was the way Wasila, Alaska, charged rape victims to have their kits tested when Sarah Palin was mayor there. In fact, that’s not unusual. A number of states and localities have provisions requiring victims to pay for rape kit testing, although typically it is their medical insurance that pays. In some states, the women can be reimbursed.
"Please comment beside the column. I’d particularly welcome comments by rape victims, police or anyone with an experience in this area."



"The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth will ever be."
~~Konrad Lorenz, "Man Meets Dog"



This is Penny, our new granddoggy. She is 6-months old, and came from the Grundy County, IL, Animal Shelter. Isn't she a doll?




By Shirley Frank, West Branch, IA, in a letter to the Editor of the Quad-City Times:
"Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has announced that he's going to lead a drive to block the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York. Giuliani, a Catholic who is currently married to his third wife, apparently believes that marriage is the sacred union of one man and a different wife every few years."



After a brave battle with lymphoma, our sweet boy Jordan was euthanized today, at 9:00 AM, with his mamas holding him. We miss him terribly.
Your pain and discomfort are over now, sweetheart. Rest in peace, dear Jordan. We will always love you.


"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."



By Bono*, Op-Ed Columnist for The New York Times:
"... A few weeks ago I was in Washington when news arrived of proposed cuts to the president’s aid budget. People said that it was going to be hard to fulfill promises to those who live in dire circumstances such a long way away when there is so much hardship in the United States. And there is.
"But I read recently that Americans are taking up public service in greater numbers because they are short on money to give. And, following a successful bipartisan Senate vote, word is that Congress will restore the money that had been cut from the aid budget — a refusal to abandon those who would pay such a high price for a crisis not of their making. In the roughest of times, people show who they are.
"Your soul.
"So much of the discussion today is about value, not values. Aid well spent can be an example of both, values and value for money. Providing AIDS medication to just under four million people, putting in place modest measures to improve maternal health, eradicating killer pests like malaria and rotoviruses — all these provide a leg up on the climb to self-sufficiency, all these can help us make friends in a world quick to enmity. It’s not alms, it’s investment. It’s not charity, it’s justice.

"Strangely, as we file out of the small stone church into the cruel sun, I think of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, whose now combined fortune is dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty. Agnostics both, I believe. I think of Nelson Mandela, who has spent his life upholding the rights of others. A spiritual man — no doubt. Religious? I’m told he would not describe himself that way.
"Not all soul music comes from the church."

*Bono is the lead singer of the band U2 and a co-founder of the advocacy group ONE.



From Bark Bark Woof Woof:
"This has not been a good month so far for the anti-gay brigades. First Iowa strikes down the anti-same-sex marriage law, then Vermont passes same-sex legislation. Then the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) launches an ad campaign that sets the bar for self-parody, and now they've announced a national campaign called '2 Million for Marriage' -- or 2M4M.
"For those of you who are not up on the acronyms used in gay chat rooms, M4M means 'Man for Man,' as in one man looking to meet up/hook up with another man.
"So either there's someone in NOM who has not been outside of their cocoon since the advent of the internet, or there's someone inside the organization with a wicked sense of humor and playing these folks for the fools that they are. Either way, this is the best example of an unintentional double entendre in advertising since 1969 when Ford came out with the Rim Blow steering wheel."




If all goes well, Jordan will have his first in a series of five chemo treatments this afternoon. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers and waymedowns.
Thank you.
Jordan's moms and brothers and sisters



“One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.”
~~Erich Fromm



"No matter how little money and how few possesions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
~~Louis Sabin



By Steven W. Thrasher, Op-Ed Contributor for The New York Times:
"IF it weren’t for Iowa, my family may never have existed, and this gay, biracial New Yorker might never have been born.
"In 1958, when my mother, who was white, and father, who was black, wanted to get married in Nebraska, it was illegal for them to wed. So they decided to go next door to Iowa, a state that was progressive enough to allow interracial marriage. My mom’s brother tried to have the Nebraska state police bar her from leaving the state so she couldn’t marry my dad, which was only the latest legal indignity she had endured. She had been arrested on my parents’ first date, accused of prostitution. (The conventional thought of the time being: Why else would a white woman be seen with a black man?)
"On their wedding day, somehow, my parents made it out of Nebraska without getting arrested again, and were wed in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on March 1, 1958. This was five years before Nebraska would strike down its laws against interracial marriage, and almost a decade before the Supreme Court would outlaw miscegenation laws throughout the country in Loving v. Virginia.
"When the good state of Iowa conferred the dignity of civic recognition on my parents’ relationship — a relationship some members of their own families thought was deviant and immoral, that the civil authorities of Nebraska had tried to destroy, and that even some of my mom’s college-educated friends believed would produce children striped like zebras — our family began. And by the time my father died, their interracial marriage was seen just as a marriage, and an admirable 45-year one at that.
"That I almost cried last week upon reading that the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state law banning same-sex marriage will therefore come as no surprise. I’m still struck by one thought: over the years, I’ve met so many gay émigrés who felt it was unsafe to be gay in so-called flyover country and fled for the East and West coasts. But as a gay man, I can’t marry in 'liberal' New York, where I’m a resident, or in 'liberal' California, where I was born, and very soon I will have that right in 'conservative' Iowa.
"Of course, the desire to define relational rights and responsibilities with a partner, to have access to the protection that this kind of commitment affords, is rather conservative. But it’s a conservative dream that should be offered to all Americans. Though it takes great courage for gays to marry in a handful of states now, one hopes that someday, throughout the nation, gay marriages, like my parents’ union, will just be seen as marriages.
"It’s safe to say that neither the dramas of our family, nor its triumphs, could have been possible without the simultaneously radical and conservative occasion of my parents’ civil marriage in Iowa. And so when the time comes, I hope to be married at the City Hall in Council Bluffs, in the state that not only supports my civil rights now, but which supported my parents’ so many years ago."


Baby Corgi photo from LOL Dogs



Because my momma's mad at da computer right now, I thought I wood take a minute to tell u all dat my brudder Jordan isn't doing bery well right now. He is going to da vet tomorrow, so we may hear what is da matter wif him.
Jordan is not eating bery much fud. My mommas have to coax him wif treats and icecreamys and other fuds dat he likes. He has lost some wate.
We is all bery nervous about Jordan. So if you have a minute or 2, please say some laymedowns for Jordan. He is da bestest brudder a corgi boy could have.
Fank you!
Zorro, Rya, Morry, Livi



By Nicholas D. Kristof, from his blog, On the Ground:
Since aid workers were expelled from Darfur, we’ve heard very little about conditions in the camps there. And of course, Sudan isn’t giving me a visa to report there. But this anonymous former aid worker describes conditions in a couple of camps that are consistent what I’m hearing:
Zam Zam camp in North Darfur has virtually doubled in size in the past two months. 36,000 people have arrived there since the end of January, fleeing fighting between government and rebels. They are homeless, hungry and desperate, and urgently in need of help. Many are women and children. Helping so many new arrivals would always be an enormous challenge, but with many of the biggest aid agencies now gone it is going to be nearly impossible. As a result, these families are not receiving the food and water they need.
In Kalma camp in South Darfur, the situation is even more serious. The entire camp, which shelters 90,000 people, has not received any aid in weeks. Feeding centres for malnourished children are running out of food. Water pumps have run out of fuel and stopped working. A meningitis outbreak has killed at least two people - there may be more but aid workers are no longer there to confirm it.
All this makes the Arab League’s decision to stand behind President Bashir simply blood-curdling. How can the Arab League have any credibility when it talks of human rights and justice when it stands united with the man whom an international court has indicted for “extermination” and “crimes against humanity”? The Arab League simply ends up complicit in the further horrors unfolding there.



Another from our friend Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:
ABC News, April 3, 1949:
"A Republican congressman from Iowa warned Friday that the state could turn into 'the miscegenation Mecca' if the state legislature does not begin restricting marriage licenses to in-state residents.
"The statement from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, which followed the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous ruling striking down a state ban on cross-race marriage, underscored the emotional power the issue holds for social conservatives in the state, which will hold the GOP's first presidential nominating contest in 2012.
"Iowa is now the third state where Negro and white mixed-race couples are permitted to marry. The other two are Massachusetts and Connecticut.
"Conservatives like King are pushing for a state constitutional amendment banning mixed marriage.
" 'It is the Iowa legislature's responsibility to pass the Marriage Amendment to the Iowa Constitution, clarifying that marriage is between one man and one woman of the same race, to give the power that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself back to the people of Iowa,' said King.
"Given that Iowa is the state which kicks off the presidential contest, several Republicans who are eyeing a White House run in 2012 criticized the ruling and reaffirmed their opposition to mixed-race marriage.
" 'I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman of the same race and the definition of marriage should be left to the people and not to activist courts,' former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., said in a written statement provided to ABC News.
"The governor of South Carolina -- Republican Mark Sanford -- also criticized the ruling and touted his support for a constitutional ban on mixed-race marriage in his state.
" 'The governor supported a constitutional amendment here banning mixed-race unions. That position still holds,' Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told ABC News. 'He's not the governor of Iowa, but he's against mixed-race marriages.'
"Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who supports civil unions for mixed-race couples, reacted to the Iowa decision by reiterating his support for restricting marriage to same-race couples. In 2004, Huntsman successfully backed a constitutional amendment banning mixed-race marriage.
" 'He believes all people should have equal rights,' Huntsman spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley told ABC News. 'But when it comes to marriage, Gov. Huntsman believes that should be reserved for a man and a woman of the same race.'
"Asked if he favors the passage of a constitutional amendment in Iowa, Roskelley said, 'He would leave that up to Iowa and trust that they would address that appropriately within their state.'
"Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, called the decision 'disappointing.' 'All Iowans should have a say in this matter, not a handful of legislative judges,' said Huckabee in a written statement. 'This issue is too important to not be made by the people of Iowa. It is my hope that the legislature will take the necessary steps to properly resolve this matter.'
"Erin Isaac, a spokesperson for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, said, '[The governor] supports civil unions but believes that marriage is for a man and a woman of the same race.'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also spoke out against the Iowa ruling.
" 'Gov. Pawlenty disagrees with the Iowa Supreme Court decision and believes that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman of the same race,' said Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung.
"An aide to another potential Republican presidential candidate, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, played down the decision's relevance to his state.
" 'Does it include Louisiana?' asked Jindal spokeswoman Melissa Sellers.
"Pam Pryor, a spokeswoman for Sarah Palin, told ABC News that the Alaska governor would not comment on the Iowa marriage ruling even though she is an ardent opponent of mixed-race marriage.
"Despite losing in court on Friday, social conservatives are hoping that they will prevail by amending the state constitution.
" 'Mixed-race 'marriage' continues to be a movement driven by a liberal judicial elite determined to destroy not only the institution of marriage, but democracy as well,' said Tony Perkins, the president of the Washington-based Family Research Council. 'The casual dismissal of the facts of human biology and thousands of years of human history, simply to pander to a small band of social radicals, is bizarre and indefensible.'
"While mixed-race marriage opponents are hoping that Iowa will follow California in overturning a decision of its state Supreme Court, supporters of mixed-race marriage are emboldened by the fact that it is considerably more difficult to amend the state constitution in Iowa than it is in California.
" 'The Iowa Constitution can't be changed quickly,' said state Sen. Matt McCoy, Iowa's first openly gay state lawmaker, in a YouTube video released Friday.
"A state constitutional ban on mixed-race marriage would need to be approved by two consecutive legislative sessions, the 2009-10 session and the 2011-12 session, before going to the voters in a general-election referendum, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's office.
This means that the earliest Iowa voters could weigh in on this issue would be in November 2011: smack-dab in the middle of the Republican Party's 2012 nomination fight."

"Original article: ABC News, April 3, 2009. It's only coincidence that, with very few modifications, it could have been written in 1949 about marriages between blacks and whites -- something which was illegal in most states until Loving v. Virginia overturned state miscegenation laws in 1967."
-- Badtux the Civil Rights Penguin



From our friend Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:
"I am going to tell you a very important and little-known fact: I am part of an Antarctic conspiracy to bring socialism to America.
"Now, I hear you saying, 'oh get out with it!'. But consider. We penguins are amongst the most socialist creatures on this planet. We do everything in groups. We swim in groups. We fish in groups. We huddle together in groups while protecting our eggs from hungry critters. We are socialist from top to bottom. So we hatched this plot on August 4, 1961 to bring the benefits of socialism -- the raw herring, the huddling together in the cold, etc. -- to the rest of the planet.
"Yes, Barack Obama is ours, in most cunning disguise. The reason why he doesn't have his original birth certificate, just the re-issue from the State of Hawaii Birth Registry? It's because he doesn't really have one. Because we penguins are cunning hackers (see: Linux), we hacked into the Birth Registry's computers and placed a fake birth record there. We also bankrolled his career, using the vast wealth of the Antarctic, until now... now he is where we engineered him to be. Bwahahaha!
"So what next for America, you ask? Okay, first, we ban home heating oil, natural gas, and electricity. Nobody needs heat or light. If shivering in the dark and cold and eating raw food is good enough for penguins, it's good enough for you naked monkeys too. Next, we send our crack penguin goon squads to take away all your guns. No more guns. Then we round up all Republicans and place them into concentration camps where raw herring will be flung over the fences from time to time for the conservatives to fight over. And then when all you naked apes are shivering and freezing in the dark, puking on your raw beef or raw herring, then is when we shall dispatch our penguin armies to take over and impose a socialist paradise upon America under the leadership of our brave fellow penguin, President Barack Hussein Obama.
"What, you thought the right-wingers were engaging in tin-foil-hattery when they whined that President Obama was a foreign tool who was here to impose socialism upon America? Hah! You didn't know the half of it! Your problem is that you simply did not have the imagination to realize how daring the real plot to bring socialism to America was. Prepare to meet your new penguin overlords. Bwhahahahahaha!"
-- Badtux the Evil Penguin