Friday, February 27, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

Pandas at the Sichuan Panda Conservation & Research Center
after last year's earthquake

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

The Barrelhead fish with a transparent head and eyes inside of his/her head!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Congress voting on Captive Primate Safety Act

Good news: The House just voted and approved the Captive Primate Safety Act, which would ban transporting primates across state lines to use as pets. The Senate will vote on a companion bill later this year.

Sadly, it took the death of Travis the chimpanzee, killed last week after attacking a person, to spur Congress to move. But it is a good move nevertheless, and should prevent tragedies like this one from happening in the future.

While the act passed overwhelmingly in the House, still, 95 representatives opposed the bill. Who, other than those who profit from the exotic pet industry, could possibly think that having primates as pets is a good thing, especially after what happened last week?

Unfortunately, the bill does not specifically prohibit people from keeping or purchasing primates as pets, so it does not go nearly as far as it needs to. But it is, at least, a start.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Heartwarming story of the day: The Sequel

From the Telegraph:
Pcs Matt Jackson and Yasmin Mossadegh, of Kent Police, came across the two-foot long, 20lbs animal - the size of a small dog - hopping along a road in Canterbury at 2.20am on Sunday.

They admitted that at first it seemed like "something out of Alice in Wonderland". But detaining the albino rabbit before it caused an accident proved to be more of a handful than they first thought.

After spending 10 minutes fruitlessly trying to grab the animal - even resorting to using their jackets as matador capes in a bid to snare the creature - they had to call on eight members of the public to help out.

Pc Jackson said: "After several failed attempts trying to grab the rabbit, we removed our coats to try and cover it with a bullfighting technique. Again this failed.

"Pet-loving members of the public who were passing by saw us struggling and rushed to our assistance. Now, with 10 pairs of hands at the ready, the rabbit's time on the run was coming to an end."

The officers and members of the public pursued it for about 200 yards before it was finally caught.

Pc Jackson added with a smile: "Inquiries are ongoing into unconfirmed reports that Bunny had an accomplice called Clyde who assisted in the hare-brained escape idea."

The rabbit has been nicknamed Tiny and is currently being cared for by staff at Barton Veterinary Hospital in New Dover Road.

It is still unknown where the animal came from.

Veterinary nurse Jenny Gooderham said: "I think it is someone's pet as it is in good condition and is used to being handled. We've certainly never had a stray giant rabbit before - they are not very common."

Heartwarming story of the day

From the Orange County Register :

Two inseparable sea lions got their very own Valentine's gift this morning – a return to the freedom of the open sea.
Dozens of beachgoers watched as the Pacific Marine Mammal Center released Makia and Alto, two California sea lions who forged a tight bond during their month-long rehabilitation.

The sea lions were found during separate rescues in November, both spotted by lifeguards off the shore of Huntington Beach. The males were brought to the Laguna Beach-based Pacific Marine Mammal Center within 10 days of each other.

Both sea lions were in dire need of medical attention, showing signs of malnutrition. Makia also suffered from respiratory distress, while Alto had conjunctivitis in his right eye.

Even in a center where an average of 200 hundred animals a year are rescued, Makia and Alto stood out, volunteers said, largely due to the bond the two formed as they were nursed back to health.

"Sea lions are very social animals. Some just really bond with one another," said Michele Hunter, animal care director. "You have the little buddies and stuff, but these two were just inseparable."
Hunter said the two couldn't even bear to be apart for short periods of time – such as when volunteers would weigh or tag them – and would holler until they were reunited.

Given their relationship, Hunter said it seemed appropriate to release Makia and Alto on a holiday symbolizing love and companionship.

"We see a lot go through, but there are special ones like these that we will always remember," she said.

Pacific Marine volunteers and staff watched this morning as the truck transporting the two sea lions arrived at Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach. While volunteers said they do their best to maintain their distance from the animals in order to preserve their ability to go back into the wild, it was still an emotional moment for some who had watched Makia and Alto's rehabilitation.
"Each of them has different personalities, and they are so much fun," said Kelly Bonett, a Pacific Marine volunteer.

The crowd watched in anticipation as workers carried the crate bearing the two sea lions onto the sand. Pacific Marine board member Mary Ferguson urged Makia and Alto toward freedom as she opened their cage.

"Go home little guys, go home," Ferguson said.

After a moment's hesitation, the two sea lions made a quick dash toward the sea, swimming away side by side. The onlookers cheered as they briefly popped their heads out of the surf several times before swimming out of sight.

"They're gone, but they are happy and where they should be," Ferguson said, as she watched them move out of sight. "Those two will be together forever. There is no doubt about it."

The release was particularly exciting for the many children on the beach, who waited in anticipation for a glimpse of Alto and Makia.

"I liked it when they ran into the water and started playing," said Shane Lawson, 6, of Laguna Beach, as he played in the sand minutes after the release.

"They were a little timid, then they charged," added Taylor Scott, 9, of Laguna Beach.

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

From Lolcats

Palin sues government to stop protection of whales

Dumbass animal-killer Sarah Palin is working out new ways to terrorize wildlife in Alaska.

She's already sued the federal government to stop them from listing the polar bear as threatened; now she is suing them again to challenge their protection of the beluga whale, whose population in Cook Inlet, Alaska, has dwindled to about 375 individuals.

Ironically, it was the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Bush administration who listed this population of whales as endangered; during Bush's tenure, the numbers of animals added to the endangered or threatened list was smaller than any other President since the Endangered Species Act was passed: 61 species over Bush's eight years, compared to 522 protected during the Clinton administration.

Yet, for all of the Bush administration's indifference to the disappearance of wildlife, at least they protected a few animals. Sarah Palin's treatment of her state's wild animals, on the other hand, is without precedent, and involves suing the feds for those few animals that they have protected, in order to protect the interests of the oil industry.

Remember how the "maverick" Palin stood up to Alaska's oil industry? Clearly, standing up to them means bending over backwards and sacrificing the state's animals so that their profits will not be threatened, even one bit.

Washington recognizes that domestic abuse targets pets

In a remarkably intelligent move, legislators in Washington state are considering a new bill which would include family pets in domestic violence restraining orders. HB 1148 overwhelmingly passed the House and is moving to the Senate for a vote.

Animal advocates, social workers, and sociologists have long known of the links between domestic abuse of women, and violence towards animals. Many abusers target the family pet as a way to terrorize their partners, and, because so few domestic violence shelters accept pets, to keep the woman from fleeing her home.

Hopefully, the Senate will quickly pass this common-sense and humane bill, and other states will follow.

Contraception saves money

MSNBC just reported that government spending on family planning (ie birth control) not only prevents millions of unwanted pregnancies, and prevents abortions, but actually saves money!

Who knew?

Oh, yes. Smart people already knew that providing not only access to birth control, but funding for the poor to get it, prevents unwanted pregnancies, which is one reason why funds for family planning were initially inserted into the big stimulus package, but were then removed because conservatives freaked out.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health policy institute, reports that for each dollar spent on family planning (primarily through Medicaid), four dollars are saved in costs associated with unplanned pregnancies and births, and that almost 2 million unintended pregnancies were avoided (including 400,000 teen pregnancies) in 2006 alone. That means either 2 million unwanted babies, or two million abortions, were avoided that year, because of federal and state-funded family planning for the poor.

While feminists and women's health activists have long considered birth control to be basic health care for women, much of this country's right wing still considers access to contraception to be a sign of loose morals, and a slippery slope leading to baby killing.

If right wingers were truly concerned about "baby killing," they would realize that access to affordable and reliable contraception actually prevents abortions.

But preventing abortions, ultimately, is obviously not important to people like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who said, "The issue is whether taxpayers should fund, and thereby encourage, behavior that's risky and morally questionable."

Way to see the big picture, Tony. Fretting about unmarried people having non-reproductive sex is the moral concern; not the millions of unwanted pregnancies, unwanted babies, and abortions which result from poor education, lack of opportunities, and lack of funds.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

A hamster eating a piece of popcorn on a piano.
What else is there to say?

Katha Pollitt says it all about Nadya Suleman

Katha Pollitt, in a new article in the Guardian, said everything I've been thinking about Nadya Suleman, the crazy "octomom," but am not eloquent enough to say. My favorite line: she's the "maternal equivalent of a cat collector."

Check it out!

US should lead the way on civil rights for all

Last year, France proposed a new UN declaration which would encourage the rest of the world to decriminalize homosexuality, thereby giving basic human rights to perhaps 5% of the world's population. Homosexuality is currently illegal in approximately 85 countries and is punishable by death in a handful of them.

Sixty countries voted with France to support the measure.

The United States, under the Bush Administration, opposed the measure, joining China and all of the Muslim countries in opposition to this most basic of human rights.

This month, however, at the Durban Review Conference in Geneva, another proposal condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation was made, and this time, the United States under the Obama administration supported the measure, although it still failed to get a majority vote.

Thankfully, however, for those of us who see the United States as a leader in human and civil rights, we have finally made the right decision.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

From AP:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider whether to protect a rabbit-like, alpine creature known as the American pika because of habitat loss.
The decision comes in an agreement announced Thursday with the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice. The groups sued in August to protect the so-called "boulder bunny" under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The government has until May to decide if protection is warranted.
Environmentalists say the pika is losing its cold, high-altitude habitat because of global warming. The American pika cannot survive in warm climate and has been moving to higher elevations as temperatures at lower elevations rise.

We ARE afraid to talk about race

Attorney General Eric Holder is in hot water right now, having said that America is a "nation of cowards" when it comes to talking about race. Conservatives immediately freaked out, maintaining that because we now have an African American President (not to mention an African American Attorney General), there is--voila!--no more racism in America.

Bigot radio show host Rush Limbaugh and idiot columnist Michell Malkin both chastised Holder, and Malkin, in another in a long line of ignorant statements, said that if anyone is a racial coward, it's Obama, because he sat in Jeremiah Wright's church, "saying nothing about the separatist demagoguery echoing from the pulpit to the pews." Malkin displays her astonishing ignorance about the realities of black churches in America and, in fact, the history of the segregated church.

It's true--we have come a very long way, since the days of our parents and grandparents when segregation was legal, and blacks could not attend the same schools or live in the same neighborhoods as whites. But those days are not very far behind us, and the legacy of those days, which lasted for over a hundred years after the end of the Civil War, remain with us today.

Blacks, and other minorities, still:

-suffer from poverty at much greater rates than whites
-suffer from, and die from, most major diseases at greater rates than whites
-have lower incomes than whites
-have less property, and wealth, than whites
-have a lower life expectancy than whites
-have a greater chance of being imprisoned than whites
-have a greater chance of being victimized by violent crime than whites
-have a harder chance getting credit or home loans than whites
-and, thirty years after Brown vs. Board of Education, still go to segregated schools that whites long ago fled

Yes, it's true; we have a black President. But Barack Obama, during his campaign, was careful to portray himself in a way that did not scare white voters, and that allowed us to think of him as "safe." White voters could safely vote for him as long as he didn't make them think too much about race, or about his own blackness.

While Obama was elected by both black and white voters, it's also true that in those states in which blacks made up more than 20% of the electorate (but less than 55% of Democrats), he lost among whites, who were less likely to vote for a black man. Obama won soundly in states with hardly any blacks, and states with huge numbers of blacks. Outside of that, he did not, even among Democrats.

So yes, we, and by that I mean white America, are afraid of race. We are afraid to talk about race, and we are still afraid of people who don't look like us, because we still think that they are different from us, and different is scary.

The New York Post cartoon in which two white cops shoot a chimpanzee while saying "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," is both a reference to the horrific shooting of Travis the chimpanzee, but it also, very clearly, draws from three hundred years of imagery relating African Americans to monkeys and apes. That the Post chose to ignore this obvious history, and simply shrug off the charges of racism by noting that Al Sharpton (one of the first to complain) is a publicity hound, just demonstrates that they are afraid to cop to the racial implications of the cartoon.

We are indeed a nation of cowards when it comes to race.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

Alexis took the night

Last night's American Idol had one amazing performance, a couple of good ones, and some truly terrible, almost shameful performances.

Alexis Grace, who I never even noticed during the auditions or Hollywood week, did an amazing job with Aretha's "Never Loved a Man." My own favorites leading up to the evening, Anoop and Jackie Tohn, did alright, but not as great as they could have done. Another favorite, Danny, did a fine job although for some reason Paula, Randy and Kara thought he turned water into wine.

Who humiliated themselves? Casey Carlson, who I don't remember ever seeing before, and Stevie Wright, who is normally a fine singer but sang a bubblegum song that made the judges, and me, cringe. Stephen Fowler, while he didn't humiliate himself exactly, sure didn't do himself any favors with that Michael Jackson impersonation.

The biggest surprise of the evening was Tatiana, who not only did quite a nice job with Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love for You," but also behaved as if she were in a cloud of Xanax, an interesting change (although not necessarily an improvement) from her Ecstacy-induced performances during Hollywood week.

I suspect that tonight we'll see Danny, Alexis, and I hope Anoop move on to the next round, although America loves a working man, which means we'll probably see Michael or Brent in the third position.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chimpanzee killed because people are idiots

Yesterday, a pet chimpanzee named Travis was shot and killed after mauling his "owner's" friend. The chimpanzee lived in Connecticut with Sandy and Jerome Herold, who apparently thought a wild chimpanzee would make a good pet.

Today, Travis is dead.

Every few months, another story hits the news about a wild "pet," whether chimpanzee, tiger, leopard or snake, who mauls his owner or another unlucky person.

When will idiots like the Herolds realize that wild animals are not pets? That just because you raise a chimpanzee in your home, that doesn't make him a person, or even a dog? It was reported that the Herolds fed Travis wine, and that yesterday, when he began acting odd, Mr. Herold gave him a Xanax to calm him down.

After Mrs. Herold tried to stop Travis' attack by stabbing him with a knife, a police officer arrived and shot him; he didn't die right away, though. Instead, he limped back to his cage where he died in a pool of his own blood.

Let's hope this tragic story stops some other idiot who thinks bringing home a wild animal and making it into a pet is a great idea.

Teenagers will have sex!

So CNN reported today that in Bristol Palin's first interview since she gave birth to her baby boy, Bristol admitted that "telling young people to be abstinent is 'not realistic at all.'"

Imagine that--Telling hormonal teenagers not to have sex may not work!

Another surprise: she also noted that having babies is not glamorous!

Will wonders never cease.

It's common knowledge that most teenagers have babies because of all the glamour, so it's interesting to hear that it may not be all it's cracked up to be! And ever since 1996, when President Clinton signed into law the Welfare Reform Act, with its federal dollars allocated to abstinence only education, we all thought that telling horny teens to not have sex was the best way to prevent these exciting teen births. Certainly that's what Sarah Palin has always believed.

Who knew that telling teens not to have sex, and withholding any information about birth control and STD's (except to tell them that condoms don't work), wouldn't be the best way to combat teen pregnancy?

Well, as it turns out, lots of people knew that.

Two decades after abstinence only education became the only federally-approved form of sex education in the country, and 1.5 BILLION dollars in abstinence funding later, we now know, from numerous studies, that IT DOESN'T WORK.

Kids who are given abstinence-only sex education not only don't delay their first sexual experience beyond those who take comprehensive sex education courses, but are more likely to get pregnant and to contract sexually transmitted diseases.

For decades, schools had to decide whether to take federal sex education funds, which means they had to teach abstinence only, or to reject those funds in favor of giving kids comprehensive sex education, thus reducing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. In recent years, more and more schools have been rejecting the funds and providing education, rather than morality, to kids.

Let's hope that more schools will wake up to reality and do the same.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

For Susan, who doesn't think giraffes exist
My question is: who invented ostriches?

American Idol Top 36

So for once, this year I am happy about the top 36. I come from a long line of gamblers, so my money is on the following for the top 12:

1. Anoop Desai (did I mention he's smart AND dreamy?)
2. Adam Lambert (but please, please, get rid of that haircut)
3. Jackie Tohn (with the whiskey & ciggies voice)
4. Tatiana del Toro (because the judges know we need someone to despise)
5. Ariana Afsar (sweet voice, sweet girl)
6. Jasmine Murray (the r&b choice)
7. Lil Rounds (see #6)
8. Matt or Michael (because there's only one blue collar spot)
9. Nathaniel Marshall (the openly gay spot cries out for him)
10. Scott McIntyre (because, well, he's blind)
11. Danny Gokey (because his wife died)
12. Brent Smith (the country spot)

I imagine one of the many blondes will make it onto the show as well, but given that I can't tell one from the other, I'm not going to bother to guess who it might be.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

Sam, the koala bear rescued, and given water, by Dave, one of the fire fighters trying to stop the disastrous wildfires in Australia this week

Killing dogs to preserve public safety

A story just came out on CNN which reports that Iraqi officials have been "culling" stray dogs in Baghdad by killing and poisoning them, to reduce disease and attacks on people.

What the fuck?

So far we have spent 596 BILLION dollars on this insane war, and the result is a country where government officials poison and shoot dogs to death?

$596 billion, and there's no money for even the most routine vaccinations or tranquilizer guns?

An Iraqi woman quoted in the article says that "critics of the culling program should consider human rights before animal rights."

That's fantastic that at least some Iraqis have the same ignorant response as many Americans when faced with criticism over our own inhumane treatment of animals: that we cannot care about both human and animal rights.

You would think that some of the billions that we pour every day into this non-winnable war could be used to provide for human medicine AND vaccinations for animals, so that a country that is supposed to be the beacon for democracy in the Middle East would not be forced to deal so brutally with its non-human residents.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

American Idol: Who will the top 36 be?

So tonight American Idol will, after a long two hours, reveal the 36 semi finalists. I've always found it strange that, given that there are no more performances after last night's show, that the final 36 were not just chosen last night. Instead, each year, the judges winnow down the Hollywood group until there are about 48 people left, and then, with no new information, winnow them down the next day until we reach our 36 who will be featured on the show.

Anyhoo, I'm rooting for:

To go home, FAST:

Drama queen Tatiana
Ridiculous waste of time Bikini Girl (she's gone already, but still)
Could he be any lamer Nick/Norm Gentle
Let's not have a pity vote Scott the Blind guy

To stay on to the finals:

Dreamy and smart Anoop
Widower and sweetheart Danny and his pal Jamar
Lovely and soulful Frankie Jordan
Joplin sound-alike Jackie Tohn
Working class guys Michael and Matt
Adam with the Pete Wentz hair
Matt who played the piano

If Anoop goes home, I vow that I will not watch this show ever again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ridiculously cute photo of the day

Who needs school, health care, or food?

Propublica has released a comparison of the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill, allowing us to easily compare the two versions.

What's different? In a nutshell, the compromisey Senate bill has huge cuts in aid to low income families (the poor are poor for a reason), including COBRA health care for the unemployed, hunger relief, job training and programs for the disabled; aid to states, including Medicaid; funds for energy, including energy efficiency projects (weaning ourselves off of oil is too expensive!) and twenty five billion dollars cut from educational funding, because, seriously, who needs smart people?

However, there are seventy five billion dollars more in tax cuts, so if the Senate bill ultimately becomes law, I guess we can all spend our $500 checks at Walmart while unemployed, illiterate, and burning coal to cook our cat food for dinner.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ridiculously Cute Photo of the Day

My Dream Cast

The new cast of Dancing with the Has Beens was just announced, and it was, for the most part, a predictable collection of former stars, never-were stars, and wanna be stars (but Steve Wozniak, seriously?). I, however, will not be tuning in this season.

I would, however, watch if my own dream cast was featured. Please, for your enjoyment, my Dream List:

1. Kim and NeNe from Real Housewives of Atlanta
2. Omorosa
3. Anna Nicole Smith (back from the grave!)
4. Jessica Simpson
5. Bea Arthur
6. Courtney Love
7. Janice Dickinson
8. That little guy on Chelsea Handler's show
9. Pete Doherty
10. Star Jones
11. Sarah Palin
12. Joe the Plumber
13. Rod Blagojevich

Fun fact: I once had dinner with Bea Arthur for a charity event, and she is an ANGRY DRUNK. She would make Cloris Leachman's time on the show seem tame!

Stimulus package debate: Do Republicans want economy to fail?

So Obama's stimulus package, now filled with far more Republican-added tax breaks (which economists agree won't help the economy in the long term but which make Republicans look like they care about "main street"), is being debated in the Senate, with a vote expected tomorrow.

And even though economists (or, as the Republicans like to say, Socialists) maintain that direct spending on infrastructure is what is needed to stimulate the economy, Republicans continue to cut billions in proposed spending on education (who needs that?) and aid to states in the form of funds for health care, energy, roads, and other infrastructure. So ultimately, the bill that will be voted on (and which will be opposed by all but three moderate Republicans), will be a much worse bill, that will do far less, than the original House bill.

It's awfully easy to look at Republicans adding ridiculous amendments and removing important features from a bill they're going to oppose anyway, and think that they do it because they want the economy to fail. They certainly don't seem to want it to improve, given that their own proposal involves doing exactly the same thing that got us into this boat: cutting taxes for the wealthy. Because that will surely fix things this time.

And in other news, Obama bumped his head on Air Force One while traveling to sell the stimulus package to Americans!

Gray Wolf Population Stagnant

The Fish & Wildlife Service just announced that there are only 52 gray wolves in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The endangered gray wolf had been reintroduced into these areas in 1998, and FWS and environmentalists had hoped that by the end of 2006, the wolves would number at least 100.

Instead, wolves have been killed or removed for killing or threatening livestock, or for leaving their narrow reintroduction area, with 19 wolves shot or trapped by Fish and Wildlife in 2007 alone. In 2008, on the other hand, because the government did not kill any wolves, ranchers took the law into their own hands and illegally shot at least 5, which brings the total of wolves illegally shot to 30 since the program began.

As long as federal wildlife policy continues to view wildlife, even endangered animals such as the gray wolf, as being less worthy of protection than the ranchers' profits, wolves will continue to die. The feds need to expand the wolves' area and clamp down on the killings in order to allow this majestic animal to survive.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Quit

I quit Lost. And I feel pretty good about it.

Lost is, like Heroes, one of those shows you have to COMMIT to. It's got a complicated story line, multiple characters, and jumps back and forth across the space/time continuum (as Hiro would say).

That said, it's a hell of a lot of work.

After the thousand year hiatus from last season, of course I'd forgotten everything that happened last season on Lost, so I planned to watch all of the reprisal episodes they've been running lately. I taped six hours' worth of them, and the tapes (because I'm too poor to afford Tivo) just sat on my tv, mocking me.

Finally, we decided to just skip all the old tapes, and just watch the new episodes this week when they finally aired on Wednesday. It'd be fun, right? Catching up with old characters, figuring out what they're doing now, trying to figure out who the hell is even alive anymore?

Well, of course we didn't watch it when it aired. We taped it and finally, my hubby and I, we decided to sit down last night and watch it once and for all.

We turned it on, and immediately started fighting because we didn't understand it. We kept rewinding, over and over, to try to make out what was happening by reading the subtitles. And who the hell are all these new people? Where did they come from? What did they want?

After about twenty minutes, we both looked at each other and admitted: this is like homework. Worse than homework. It's like a final exam that we didn't study for.

Who wants to fail Lost? Not me. We also realized, belatedly, that we don't actually even LIKE any of the characters. I certainly don't like sanctimonious Jack, and while Sawyer is hot in a greasy sort of way, I don't like him either. I find Locke to be creepy, with his passion for hunting and killing, and don't really care for sexy Kate with the troubled past. Nope, I realized. I don't much like these people and don't much care whether they are still on that island or not.

Now my Wednesday nights are free and clear for Biggest Loser and American Idol!

Albuquerque Pimp pleads guilty; Girlfriend stands by his side

So yesterday in local news, an Albuquerque man plead guilty to pimping out college students from UNM. I don't actually have a problem with sex work per se; where it's legal and regulated, women (or men) can choose, in as much as one chooses to be a prostitute, to work in conditions that are free of violence and disease, as in some European countries and much of Nevada.

But when there's a pimp involved, there's just nothing going on but exploitation. James Bays, who ran a service called Desert Divas, is called by his lawyer a "man with a loving family... a man that's got the potential to do something with his life."

Let's hope the devoted family man chooses for his next career a job that doesn't make money off of young women have sex.

Derek. I need you.

So last night I watched "the first ever cross over episode" of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Grey's Anatomy was not as all about Meredith as is typical, as they let Yang develop her relationship with the studly red head, but much of the focus was Derek's intention to propose to Meredith, so I guess it was really all about her anyway. Thankfully, they seem to be pushing both George and Izzy off of the show, since their story lines (especially now that Izzy's dead stalker boyfriend is finally gone) seem to have fizzled down to nothing.

But I really want to talk about Private Practice. What do I NOT hate about this show? It's certainly not the constant drama in their one-patient-a-week private practice, in which every episode is two-to-three "issues" which, predictably, divide the doctors in half. It's definitely not judgemental Dell, who, since coming out as anti-abortion a few episodes ago, needs to make sure to be both sensitive and condemning in his dealings with all of the female characters on the show. I know it's not how spastic and insecure and nutty (but in a cute way!) all of the accomplished, beautiful women are on the show, and how they spend most of their time (which there is plenty of since they have only one patient a week) agonizing over their love lives and how much sex they're having. And it's clearly not the over the top ridiculousness of the fact that they run a practice that sees one patient a week and yet they all live next door to each other in huge (but comfy!) houses Right On The Beach In Malibu.

I guess what I don't hate is the fact that Shonda Rhimes, the creator of both shows, has populated Private Practice with an ethnically diverse cast, like Grey's. Unfortunately, that diversity doesn't extend to any other social feature, as there are apparently no gay people in Santa Monica, and definitely no fat people. There are, however, a surprising number of poor people as patients, who drive (or take the bus?) from Working Classville to have their children tended to and their fertility needs met, evidently for free, by the doctors of Oceanside Wellness Center. I also don't hate the fact that Violet, played by Amy Brenneman, appears to be refreshingly free of plastic surgery.

Last night's show was a predictable mix of polarizing "issues" like Addison's brother having a brain tumor (which turned out to be parasites, perhaps earwigs, he picked up in some Latin American country)--should Naomi (or NeNe as Addison calls her) tell Addison or keep Archer's secret? Should Addison call her ex Derek, the best brain surgeon in the universe, to come help?; like judgemental Dell's worrying over whether he may have harmed the new baby he helped deliver; like Cooper's contining problems with the blond harpie (with a heart of gold!) who runs the practice upstairs; and like Violet's adolescent angst over whether to tell the potential fathers of her baby (the good looking guy and the older troll) that she's pregnant.

It was a two-parter so we can look forward to the continuing of last night's issues next week, when:
1. Derek will save Addison's brother, but could put his relationship with Meredith in jeopardy
2. Cooper will continue to beg Blondie to take him back, yet will not be man enough to give her any good reason to
3. Violet will continue to agonize over whether or not she will be a good mother
4. Dell will have another patient to judge an unfit parent

I can't wait!