February 27, 2010

Senator Bunning, Apparently Before His Heart Turned to Stone

More craziness from the politicians! Republican U.S. Senator Bunning has singlehandedly blocked the passage of legislation to extend unemployment benefits to over one million Americans.  (Full disclosure: Including this one.  If this legislation doesn’t pass, my unemployment benefits will run out in a few weeks.  Needless to say, this would be very bad.)  The “gentleman” from Kentucky (a state with an unemployment rate of over ten percent) is using this opportunity to make a bold statement in favor of fiscal restraint and against deficit spending.  He claims he’ll back the bill when he’s assured that it won’t be paid for with borrowed funds.  Yesterday, debate stretched late into the night, as various other members practically begged the good Senator to release his hold on the bill.  He refused, and indeed complained that the proceedings were keeping him from watching a basketball game on television.

Senator Bunning, RUFKMRN?!

If you want to make a point about deficit spending, great.  If only someone had stopped the former President from financing an endless, two-front war with debt, we’d not be in this situation.  But while the Senate is considering emergency unemployment extension legislation is not the time.  Over a million Americans are counting on those benefits to pay for rent, food, and other necessities during this “jobless recovery.”

What’s allowing the Senator — this one person — to prevent passage of the bill is a parliamentary rule that exists only in the Senate.  It’s known as a hold, and Senators can use it to prevent consideration of any legislation, for any or no reason at all.  Combined with the filibuster, it places an enormous amount of power in the hands of a single person.  Senator Shelby of Alabama has placed a hold on all of President Obama’s judicial nominations. The Senate already ludicrously concentrates power in the hands of a few — recall that Wyoming (population: 533,000) and California (population: over 36 million) have the same number of votes.  It’s time for that august body to consider the reform of its rules to prevent the kind of procedural terrorism that Senators Bunning and Shelby are perpetrating.

Right after they break cloture and pass an unemployment extension bill.



February 26, 2010

When I was working, a friend of mine and I had our own “WTF”-type acronym to use as an all-purpose response to Baffling Company Decisions, Bizarre Statements by Ex-es, etc.  It was “RUFKMRN?!”   This stands for “Are you f&#$ing kidding me right now?!”  True, it’s not as succinct and pithy as WTF.  But my admittedly unwieldy acronym conveys a sense of deep disgust and moral outrage in a way that WTF just can’t.

I had my RUFKMRN moment this afternoon when I learned of legislation passed in Utah criminalizing certain miscarriages.  How this law could possibly be applied in any sort of fair or rational manner is unimaginable.  Will all miscarriages be investigated to determine whether they were caused intentionally or recklessly?  Really?  Note that the recklessness standard would not require the State to prove that the woman intended to cause her miscarriage.  Wow.

How this law could have been passed by a state legislature is similarly unthinkable.  Thanks, Mary-Heather, for reminding me that women must remain vigilant in protecting our rights.

In crafty news, crocheting potholders continues apace Chez Laura.  I might have bought more cotton.

Edited to add the obvious:

Pattern:  Modern Vintage Potholder by Maryse Roudier

Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic, Color Numbers 3001 (white), 3805 (bright turquoise), 3856 (navy).

Hook: Susan Bates, size D. (I changed my mind about that Brittany Birch  hook.  The hook part isn’t deep enough, so I kept dropping the yarn.  Kind of hard to get in a rhythm.)


February 24, 2010

Today, a series of random thoughts about this and that…

The crochet craze continues at Cafe au Laine!  In addition to making potholders, I made a little scarf out of some alpaca-acrylic blend that’s been in my stash.  (Related query: why am I incapable of passing up sale yarn when I go into the Big Box Craft Store only for crayons for the Littles and the new issue of Insert-Name-of-Fiber-Mag-Here?)

That’s a Brittany Birch crochet hook, which I just picked up at the yarn shop.   I wasn’t sure about the design of the hook-y part (nota bene the highly technical terminology here), but I like it.  The wood feels nice in the hand.


If you are feeling Very Sad and Small, and things seem not so very good, the Oldies Soul Pandora station is cheering.  Bad moods shrivel and die in the presence of Sam Cooke.  Works for me.


Lending libraries are, in my opinion, one of the great innovations of the modern era.  I’ve been frequenting mine often lately.  I make liberal use of the online catalog and its “Place a Hold” button.  This is very helpful if you like mystery series, and don’t like reading them out of order.  Recommendation if you like that sort of thing: the Charles Lenox series.


February 19, 2010

The other day, I was sitting in my dining room, in a comfy chair in the corner, knitting.  I started thinking about all the projects I have going, and want or need to do.  I came to a shocking realization.  I am totally overcommitted.

I have promised to do two samples for the store. One of them is for a class and the other is in laceweight.

New Noro! Sekku (cotton/wool/nylon/silk) in color #4.

Projects are on the needles which are intended as gifts for my mom and my sister.  I have started a Spiral Yoke Pullover which I’d like to wear before fall.  Also, Ravelympics!  Overcome by my natural joiner tendencies, I tagged my long-neglected Girasole (Rav link, that) for the WIPs Dancing event, which means that I should be finishing it in the next week or so.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

What do mercerized cotton and Scottish Highlanders have in common?

And speaking of joiner tendencies, there’s Potholder Swap 2010!  Pictured above is more 100% cotton yarn than I have worked with in the past four years combined, I’m sure.  Participants in this redoubtable event are required to dispatch five double-sided cotton potholders (all the same pattern) to the home of Adrian to arrive by March 27.  That would be eminently doable, I guess, if I didn’t keep changing my mind about which pattern I want to use.  Gah!  Indecision!

Will it be simple double crochet circles?

How Knitting Saved My Life. Again.

February 15, 2010

When my son was first diagnosed with autism, I spent approximately one year knitting only garter stitch.  Not because I didn’t know how to knit anything else, but because I didn’t have the mental energy for anything more complicated.  It was soothing, and eventually I moved on to bigger things.  Like purl stitches.

When I was a stay-at-home mom, and I was struggling with isolation and depression and a bad marriage, knitting came to the rescue again.  I found knitblogs, and I felt less alone.  I became a much better knitter.  Finishing colorwork mittens and seamless sweaters both distracted me and gave me a little confidence, which I sorely needed.  I found a knitting group and I made some friends.

Now I’m entering my sixth month of being (mostly) unemployed.  All that time I’ve spent knitting over the last ten years continues to pay off.  I have a part-time job at a fantastic LYS, where I am teaching and talking to knitters and inhaling wool fumes for several hours a week.  I didn’t realize how much working had contributed to my General Sense of Self-Worth until I lost my job.  Being able to go to the store and be useful and help people through their yarny muddles gives me a nice feeling of competence.  Plus, new knitting friends!

I’ve seen some low moments in the last few months.  But  I understand that as problems go, mine aren’t that bad.  And I really do wake up many mornings and think, “This is a good day.  I can still knit.

And I still have Malabrigo in my stash.