Soy milk makes you gay?

December 13, 2006

Can you believe this guy? He claims that soy makes children gay. How bizarre. Here are some funny commentaries from Wonkette, TGW, and DailyKos.

Number 1 – he’s apparently only talking about boys, although he never makes that entirely clear.

Number 2 – what about all those people in Asia?

Number 3 – LOVE the lack of links supporting anything he’s saying.

As a straight, lactose-intolerant woman who has been drinking soy milk for most of my life, the entire article is hilarious – you have to read it. I don’t get why the right-wing always makes it seem like there is something sinister and threatening to American values about soy and vegetarians. Given that I like both of those things and I like America, I’m particularly curious…

In a comical linguistic snafu, I was trying to find more blogs about this ridiculous article, and typed “soy gay” into Google, only to get tons of Spanish-language books and list-serves for gay Latin Americans (“soy gay” translates into “I am gay” in Spanish) through my Google.com.gt

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Happy Burning of the Devil Day!

December 7, 2006

Today is “Quema del Diablo”, or the day that residents of the city light all their old stuff in flames! How cool is that? (Although I guess there are some environmental problems…) Students burn their old notes from the school year gone by, residents burn everything they don’t need.

Yesterday, while walking to the library, I saw stands set up by the side of the road selling fireworks and bright red, paper mache devil pinatas! I don’t have much to burn since I haven’t been here long, but I thought that given the religious tone of our blog, it would be fun to celebrate Burning the Devil Day together!

Don’t forget to keep checking out Seth in Peru!

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5.8 Earthquake in Guatemala

December 4, 2006

We had a moderate earthquake today in Guatemala City that felt like a pretty big one! We’re doing fine and there appears to be no damage or disruption of power.  The entire building was rocking back and forth and felt like it was on water for about 60 seconds, though. Pretty frightening…

Check out the US Geological Survey for some cool maps…

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Check out Seth in Peru and Ecuador!

December 3, 2006

Seth is accompanying two Interplast trips to Peru and Ecuador, and he’s posting some great stuff on the Interplast blogs. My favorite story is the series Seth wrote on Javier, a former cleft patient who is now a radio DJ! To go from a debilitating deformity that causes profound speech impediments to following his dream of being on the air is just incredible. Of course, I used to work at Interplast, so I’m pretty biased… but at the holidays, I encourage all of you to consider donating to Interplast – take a look at Seth’s stories and I think you’ll agree that they are pretty amazing.

I’m working hard these days trying to get in lots of research before the entire city shuts down for the holidays for like three weeks, so I’ll be posting more soon from Guatemala!

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Fun Stuff from our Blogroll

November 22, 2006

Just three small notes from my favorite sites:

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Bush’s terrible pick to head HHS family planning dept.

November 17, 2006

Check it out – the HHS’s new family planning director will be a MAN who is AGAINST contraceptives for American women since he considers them “demeaning to women”… Like TGW, I wonder why Bush couldn’t find a WOMAN for the post???

And, I personally find it totally demeaning to prevent my access and choice to what science has made possible… I think the last elections show that Americans don’t want Republicans meddling in their personal lives or going too far to the crazy-religious-right. These people don’t want us to have access to: CONDOMS, THE PILL, THE PATCH, IVF, STEM CELL RESEARCH. Their tyranny is inexcusable and the more Bush panders to them, the more he and his party will lose. (At least I have more confidence in my fellow Americans now!) 

Write to the White House right now and oppose Eric Keroack as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs! I did it, and so can you…

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Did Macacas make the difference?

November 11, 2006

There’s a lot of post-game wrap-up these days about whether South Asians tipped the balance in Virginia (and therefore the Senate!), and/or whether Allen’s slur against Indian-Americans made a difference. I personally think it would be pretty cool if we Desis could claim the entire victory in the Senate, but like Kos wrote in his Memo to the Democrats, this election was more likely a perfect storm of events and actors. Here are three fun links looking back on the Macaca incident and analyzing its importance to the election:

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My 2006 Election Predictions

November 7, 2006

Senate: Tester, Casey, Whitehouse, Brown, Menendez, Cantwell, Cardin and Webb all win for the D’s. For the Republicans, Corker wins relatively big and Sen. Talent wins a nail-biter. Lieberman wins handily.

House: 26 seats move to the Democratic side. Close winners include McNerney (CA-11) , Kleeb (NE-03), Lampson (TX-22), Trauner (WY-AL), Grant (ID-01), Paccione (CO-04), Mahoney (FL-16), Cranley (OH-01) , Yarmuth (KY-03) and all three CT races.

Texas Governor, in order: Perry, Bell, Strayhorn, Kinky.

PS – Does anyone know how to use Sunlight Labs’ Popup Politicians on WordPress.com blogs?

Although I’m a proud independent, I’ll be watching the races closely to see if dems can pull out some big gains. I’ll be especially rooting for McNerney against Pombo in CA-11.

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Evangelical rock concert

October 31, 2006

So I spent the past four days trapped in an evangelical torture chamber, or Profecía 2006. On the invitation of a friend, I attended this four-day Neo-Pentecostal mega-church conference with participants from around the world. (As background, Guatemala is experiencing a massive conversion from Roman Catholicism to Evangelical/Neo-Pentecostal Christianity. There are about five mega-churches in the city, each with stadium-style seating, packing in 3,000 to 5,000 people per service, several times a day, every Sunday. There are also countless smaller, store-front evangelical churches throughout the city and countryside. Basically, it’s something I’d definitely like to learn more about as a phenomenon while I’m here.)

The most striking thing about the conference for me was the utter lack of ANY quiet time. (Thus the torture chamber reference.) It was constant noise – speaking in tongues, screaming, singing with a loud Christian pop band, what they called “clamoring” for God. I came home and instituted a silence policy each night – NO speaking to my husband, NO television, NO music. It was like being at a loud rock concert for the entire waking day (9am to 9pm everyday), with no time to process.

As a practicing Hindu, I’m used to silent meditation retreats to commune with God, daily meditation, and soothing chanting… On a related side note, every time I was asked about my heritage during the conference, I obviously said India (my Spanish is certainly not good enough to pretend that I’m brown-skinned because I’m Latina). The response is ALWAYS, “There is so much work to be done in India” – i.e., so many souls to be saved.

A whole group of “prophets” came here from the U.S. as the conference’s headliners. They were very charismatic, fire-and-brimstone preachers from the American South and Midwest (and one guy from home in the Bay Area). Although much of what the U.S. speakers said and did bordered on the intolerant, offensive, or charlatan (and strangely out-of-context for Guatemala), I was really impressed by many of the people I met over the course of the four days. In addition to being very sweet and kind, they were extremely intelligent and well-read about religious history, poverty in Latin America, and social movements. Every one of them had a strong belief (which I share) in God’s ability to grant us each a mystical, individual experience and inspire us to acts of bravery and charity… I guess I found that it’s good to go outside of my comfort zone sometimes if I really want “inter-faith” experiences…

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Guatemala vs. Venezuela (and other political musings)

October 21, 2006

Three interesting pieces of political news from Guatemala this week:

First, the voting continues for a temporary seat on the Security Council – it’s between Guatemala and Venezuela. The press here is definitely covering Hugo Chavez’s antics, who makes it sound like he’s running against the U.S. for the seat – as if a vote for Guatemala is a vote for George W. Bush or something… I think it would be great for Guatemala to be on the Council and to have more exposure on the world stage. At least the voting process is making more people around the world aware of Guatemala, its political interests, its economy, its culture…

Second, this past Tuesday, 10 major political party leaders – guided by a group of 15 community and academic leaders – released a “Visionary Plan for the Country,” with goals for improvement in the areas of security (which is dismal – see previous posts), health and nutrition (also dismal, since Guatemala this year fell to the bottom of Latin American-Caribbean countries in terms of child malnutrition), rural development, and education. Come this December, ten years will have passed since the Guatemalan Peace Accords, so it is time for a new agenda to shock the political system here – everyone I know here is pretty skeptical, but I still hope this is it…

Third, Wonkette – in a striking departure from its normal, humorous tone – covers the impending page scandal regarding House representative Jerry Weller, whose father-in-law happens to be Guatemalan former president/dictator, Efrain Rios Montt. Frankly, I’m addicted to U.S. mid-term election news, so it was surprising to see a Guatemalan connection like this. The Guatemalan supreme court ruled last week or the week before that Rios Montt cannot run for president again, but that still doesn’t seem to stop him as I just saw a campaign commercial for him on the local news channel yesterday… maybe he’s the equivalent of a Guatemalan Ralph Nader (but obviously more sinister)?

(Cross-posted at The View From Here.)

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