Monday, December 30, 2002


I was idly watching CNN this morning while getting ready for work. I saw two of the most heartbreaking things I've ever seen. First, some video of a little Palestinian girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, picking through the rubble of her home that had been demolished by the Israeli governement, and pulling out her teddy bear. She dusted it off, and then scrambled away. Apparently she happened to live in the same house as a suspected terrorist, so I guess she doesn't get a house at all.

Then next story was about Israeli 5th graders having to be shown how to use gas masks in case of attacks. One boy asked if it would protect him in case of nuclear attack. Their school, like most in Israel, had a bomb shelter in the basement. The soilder demonstrating the use of the masks to them looked like a teenager, just a few years older than they.

It's hard to be the Plucky Punk, sometimes.
In Grog We Trust

Both Pandagon and Matthew Yglesias have blogged about this irritating anti-athiest article in Slate. I Agree that Jim Holt is entirely missing the point of atheism when he asks "Can you prove God doesn't exist". (Although I give him credit for using a phrase like "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" nowadays.) The burden of proof is not on the non-believer. The non-believer doesn't believe because religion has failed to prove anything to her. I also like Pandagon's point when he says

First, belief in any God or gods to the exclusion of others necessarily declares a nonbelief in the existence and/or validity of those entities. This is not to say that if I am a Christian, I believe that Jews or Muslims, etc., are bad, unworthy people - just that they don't believe the right thing. It's no more than what an atheist does, with the exception of the fact that no God has risen to the level of faith of the atheist.

Athiesm is a very personal thing. Most avowed athiests I know have come to this decision after a lot of soul-searching, and their beliefs mean more to them than most "Easter/Christmas Christians" (people who go to church only on Easter and/or Christmas). A friend of mine once described her athiest beliefs as "getting the same sensation looking through a telescope or studying biology that believers get sitting in church." To say that athiesm is somehow intellectually lazy is kind of offensive, and hardly column-worthy.

An article written by a Muslim saying that Christianity is somehow lazy because there is no attempt to "prove" that Jesus was the last prophet, or an article written by a Christian saying that Judaism is lazy for not attmepting to "disprove" that Jesus was the Messiah would be immediately decried as offensive. Atheists, however, are an easy and socially acceptable target.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Peace On Earth...

I'm not really blogging today. Instead, I'll take this opportunity to post something my father wrote during his recent pilgrimage to Mecca. I think it's a wonderful expression of religious feeling, and I hope a few Christians or Jews ( or Buddhits or Hindus or Pagans) who read my father's words will think "That's not so different". I especially like his descriptions of all races and genders coming together for a single purpose. Sometimes (and I say this as a Bertrand Russel/Carl Sagan reading non-believer) I think that the solution to alot of problems in the Middle East isn't less religion, but more. Or rather, actually following what the religion is telling you to do. Anyway, before I get maudlin, here it is. It's pretty long. so I'm not going to italicize it like I usually do with quoted material.

AsSalaamu Alaikum:

I sit here in Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris, France, wondering. This now grown adult, once New York City projects kid, never imaging that I would be here in this far away land. Wondering, what has just happened to me? I feel as one just awakened from a dream, a wonderful dream.

In reality it did start with a dream, a dream that I had this past summer. Of hearing the call of the Adzhan (the call to prayer) and looking upwards, seeing just above this extremely beautiful landscape golden Arabic letters. I remember waking and feeling an incredible inward peace, knowing within that this surrealistic dream was a premonition of something important and wonderful to come.

And come it did. For I have seen the face of the world. This long lost city kid always having imagings of travels to other worlds and stars, now dazed by an experience come from this world and yet from another.
For I have seen the face of the world. It is a face composed of faces that have journeyed from all the corners of the earth for one purpose, that of the worship of Allah Subhana Wa’tala. Come to fulfill one of our obligations of worship to him.

Yes I have seen the face of the world, the young Saudi brothers from Al Qassim amazed to see a muslim from America, the Philipino brothers who sang praises of worship to Allah with me and my dearest guide Sultan Al Sultan as we circled the sacred Kaa’ba seven times in our performance of the tawaf. I saw its face in the Egyptian, Sudanese and Nigerian brothers, whose faces I could swear I had seen before as I rode the subways and walked the streets of New York. I saw it in the Chinese sisters in their regal Asian garb that I remember seeing in the National Geographic magazine. Africa, Asia, Europe, India, America, China, Saudi, Morocco, Yemen, Russia, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, all those faces were there.

Alhamdulillah, I saw the Kaa’ba with my own eyes. I felt its presence with my own heart. It’s Black-covering cloth outlining it in all its beauty like the massive monolith from a movie long ago. And there at its top encircling it round were the golden letters that I had seen in a stunning dream, reminding me of the things that were to come.
Every time I glanced at it, I could not believe that it was truly there. Was I really seeing it? Was I really at Al Haram, in the holy city of Makkah? Yes I was, and I was glancing all around me at the face of the world.

Oh Allah lead me on the straight and righteous path. For you have given me another gift, part of the one true gift of Al Islam. I have seen the Kaa’ba the place built by Ibrahim and Ishmael (Peace be upon them).

I have been to the tomb of the prophet (PBUH), Abu Bakr and Umar in Medina. I have seen the Jannat (graves) of the wives of the Rasul, the place where the Sahaba lie in wait for the Day of Al Qiyam. Oh Allah lead me and keep me on the straight and righteous path.

Was it a dream? Yes, in a way it was. It was reality wrapped in the dreams of the now grown city kid from the projects. The dream of seeing other worlds and other places, and of discovering that we are not alone, and never have been. That there is a Glorious One who created us in His mercy to live and to die, and to live once again for an eternity. A promise to be fulfilled to us, by our walking the straight and righteous path of Al Islam, the path of submission to the ONE.

Where am I? Oh yeah, I am here in gay Paris (Paree) still awaiting my sky jet. Awaiting my flight back to the states, back to the land of the free and the home of the brave. My mind is a whorl with all that has happened. Johnny Neumonic overloading on data from this my world.

Makkah a glorious and wondrous place, the home of the Kaa’ba. A place in paradox dominated by the old, the present and the eternal. A paradox of humanity that lives in splendor and also in shanties of poverty on the surrounding volcanic hills. Makkah, the home of Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). The place where Jibrel (Angel Gabriel) first came and squeezed the sense of revelation out of the prophet (PBUH). The place where modern Makkans are blasting away the volcanic hillside, building the new and the modern, in order to accommodate their relentless growth. The integration of the old and the new within Al Haram, visible in all its magnificent beauty of Marble and Minarets, surrounding the black cloth covered Kaa’ba of ancient times. Al Haram surrounded by looming tall and modern hotels and office spaces, built to house the affluent of this society.

What a paradox! What a mix of the ancient, the here and now, and of the eternal. Yet it is eternity that dominates this place. For it is here that millions come for worship, to honor the One, the True, the Most Compassionate. Allahu Akbar, Alhamdulillah, Subhana Allah, La Illaha Ila‘llah, there is None but the One.

Oh Allah you have shown me the face of the world and I am humbled by it.
I have seen what our beloved brother Malcolm saw, that which transformed him into a better human being. For he too saw the face of the world and it transformed his mind and spirit, down to the essence of that which made him a Man. For he saw that tens of thousands of human beings could come to a single place, not caring what color, race, creed or nation they were from. That they could come together in Salaam, in Peace, unified as one by the One, by Al Islam.

I look up now and realize that I am back in the west, from my travels to the east. Here there are few hijabs, few salaams, I hear no calls of the Adzhan at Fajr, other than my inward call. I long for the call to prayer as this Parisian dawn approaches. The call that brought me to tears in Al Qassim Province, in the town of Riyadh Al Khabra. The call that started as one call from a Siddiq, then grew to another, then another, then another. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, until it turned into an overwhelming wave of calls to Salat (prayer), that you could hear outwards to the distant horizon. It was as if a mass of angels had come down from the sky singing the praises of Allah the All Mighty. Tears were my only expression that morn as the predawn coolness caressed my face.

May we lie to hear such a call to prayer in my home of America in the early pre-dawn morning. I keep having flashbacks, flashbacks of the Black Cube in all its splendor, surrounded by golden Arabic letters exclaiming that there is no God but Allah the One. I feel different. I am different. For I have become, I have caught a glimpse of that which is eternal.
Oh Allah, Al Wadud lead me to the straight and righteous path. May I fulfill the destiny that you have selected for me through Peace using your ultimate sense of compassion and understanding. InshaAllah may I be worthy of the journey that I know is to come, and may I have the strength to do thy will compassionately and with courage.

Thoughts expressed in Paris, France on my return from the Holy City of Makkah
Abdul Rauf Campos-Marquetti


My father is General Secretary of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, and since September 11th, 2001 has become a peace advocate. Last month he was questioned by the FBI, something as an old-school punkgrrl I can't help but feel is kind of cool.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Rudie Can't Fail...

Joe Strummer Dead at 50


Everybody go to a small, independently owned record shop and buy THE CLASH on vinyl. Listen to "Hate and War" or "I'm so Bored with the U.S.A." over and over again, and realize what's been lost.

Now punk really is dead.


UPDATE: You can sign an online card here.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

INS Update

The INS has taken the edge off my disgust by releasing most of their "detainees"

Only 23 remained in custody Friday. Their names came up in law enforcement data bases in connection with various crimes, Martinez said.

That's good, I'm glad innocent people were released. However, it's still disgusting that this is apparently how things are going to happen now.

In the next phase, male visa holders from 13 additional countries -- including Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon and North Korea -- will be required to register by January 10. Males from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan must register by February 21.

America? What's that?

Ever read about something and just want to puke? I was so disgusted when I first heard about INS rounding up Arabs that I felt nauseous.

"It is a shock. You don't expect this to happen. It is really putting fright and apprehension in the community. People who come from these countries -- this is what they expect from their government. Not from America," said Sabiha Khan of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

I come from immigrants, on both sides of my family. This is not the sort of thing the country my father's parents and my mother's grandparents dreamed of would do. I feel as though the current government has betrayed them.

Talk Left (an excellent, site, BTW) agrees with me.

What country is this? We don't recognize it as America. But we can tell you whose country it is: Bush and Ashcroft's.

Atrios as usual, says exactly what I wish I'd have said first.

Look folks - imagine you're dealing with your DMV. Imagine Flunky #1 messes up your driver's license application and tells you to come down to the office. Then, when you do go down to the office as requested Flunky #2 notices you drove there AND you don't have your driver's license (because, well, they screwed up your application). Flunky #2's boss recently decided they now had a no-tolerance policy on such things and he has you arrested and thrown in jail.

Via Atrios I find this LA Times article (registration required, bu hey, it's free) that really, really upset me.

Many objected to the treatment of those who showed up for the registration. INS ads on local Persian radio stations and in other ethnic media led many to expect a routine procedure. Instead, the registration quickly became the subject of fear as word spread that large numbers of men were being arrested.

Lawyers reported crowded cells with some clients forced to rest standing up, some shackled and moved to other locations in the night, frigid conditions in jail cells -- all for men with no known criminal histories...

Some, he said, were hosed down with cold water before finding places to sleep on the concrete floors of cells...

Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, called the detentions doubly disturbing because "a lot of the Iranians are Jews who fled Iran because of persecution, and now they are undergoing similar persecution here.... This is just terrible."

This is very spooky to me, the sort of thing you read about happening in pre-Holocaust Germany. But hey, at least Trent Lott resigned.
Home for the Holidays

Sporadic posting this week, sorry. Gotta have priorites, and as Mr. Plucky Punk and I are preparing for the first Christmas we have actually spent actually together since, well, ever, the blog is pretty low on my list. But I promise to post every once in awhile.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Somebody...Please...make him stop

Is it just me, or does the fact that Trent Lott appeared on BET to apologize to black America somehow make it worse? It's roughly akin to appearing on The Sopranos to apologize for insulting Italians, or showing up dressed in green to the St. Patrick's Day Parade to apologize for insulting the Irish.

Imagine "I'm here on Bondage Night at the Ramrod to apologize for not allowing gay couples to adopt'" or something like that.

Not all black people watch BET. I for one, have never watched it, and I won't watch Lott on it. However, I'll give you five bucks if he doesn't mention the fact that he "has plenty of black friends", at least once. He should really just stop talking. He's only making it worse!

UPDATE: Well, he mentioned all his black friends.

LOTT: Look, I have a lot of good friends, young African-Americans, business men and women, people in my state that I have reached out to and helped and going to continue to help, and a number of them are speaking up about it.

If you're minutely interested, read the transcript here.
What are Conservatives Conserving?*

Katharine Mieszkowski has a good article in Salon about the White House and their environmental regulation war with California.

In October, the Bush administration took time out from battling al-Qaida and other evildoers to file an amicus brief in federal court in Fresno, siding with automakers and dealers in a suit against a California regulation requiring car manufacturers to sell "zero-emissions vehicles."

The administration has also been fighting for the extension of offshore oil drilling rights in California coastal waters near Santa Barbara. Never mind that such drilling is so unpopular with voters here that even state Republican politicians outdo themselves trying to prove how fervently they oppose it.

And earlier this year, even as California passed the nation's first anti-greenhouse gas law to fight global warming, the feds declared that the government must continue to study the issue before enacting any policies around it.

What are the conservatives actually consering? The White House wants to gobble up natural resources so badly they're acting like Democrats just to do it! Why is defense of state's rights okay when Trent Lott daydreams about Dixiecrats, but not when a liberal state wants to protect the health of their children? Is it really a "save the children" issue? I wonder what was life in California like before all those environmental regulations Bush wants to get rid of...

In Los Angeles in the '50s, "pollution was so bad, you'd blow your nose and it would be black," says Ed Camarena, an engineer who's served on the board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which now enforces air quality regulations in the area. The San Francisco Bay Area had cleaner air, but as recently as the '60s, elementary schools were known to close down because smog made it hard for children to breathe.

George W. Bush's legacy: black snot for everyone!

*shamelessly stolen from Carl Sagan

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Christmas Songs to get drunk and depressed to...

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (love that name) is taking nominations for favorite Christmas song. I thought I'd get into it in a completely secular way and offer up my choices.

In no particular order:

1. "Happy Birthday" by Mojo Nixon
2. "The Christmas Song" by Tom Leher
3. "Run, Run, Rudolph" by Chuck Berry
4. "Fairy Tale of New York" by The Pogues
5. "Hot Christmas" by Squirrel Nut Zippers
6. "Scrooge" by The Ventures
7. "Good King Wenceslas" by Mojo Nixon (really, that whole album is awesome)
8. "Home on Christmas Day" by Cyndi Lauper
9 "Making Christmas" from the NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS soundtrack
10. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by The Temptations.

If I had to pick just one it would be "Fairy Tale of New York". That song makes me cry if I think about it too hard. *sniff*

UPDATE: Brian would like to add "Merry Christmas, War is Over" by John Lennon.

UPDATE #2: I has come to my attention that the name of the song is "Happy Christmas (War is Over)". Heh heh. Sorry.

UPDTAE #3: Final consensus...."Happy XMas (War is Over)" I like to be accurate.
America, land of the free

Before you condemn Egyptian student Abdallah Higazy for filing a civil rights lawsuit seeking $20 million in damages, consider that if he could be persecuted the way he was, it could also happen to you.

FBI agents detained Higazy as a material witness December 17, 2001, when he returned to the hotel to retrieve his personal belongings, including his passport and a Koran.

"I was taken arrested put in solitary, confinement ,shackled, strip searched," Higazy recalled Thursday.

During the lie detector test 10 days later, Higazy falsely admitted the radio was his, the basis of the prosecution.

Higazy claims Templeton threatened him during the course of their session, that he mentioned his brother, living in upstate New York, and said, "we'll make sure Egyptian security gives your family hell."

According to the government's report, Templeton interpreted Higazy's denials that he had participated in the September 11 attacks as lies.

Imagine what would have happened to Higazy if the real owner of this radio had never come forward. If this can happen to one innocent young man in this country, it could happen to anyone.
I think I'm gonna cry...

Al Gore, after winning my heart over the past few weeks, has apparently decided to break it.

Gore's decision opens up the 2004 presidential field for Democrats. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is running and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has formed an exploratory committee and will announce his decision after the new year. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gore's running mate in 2000, has said he is interested in running.

My theory? Gore has discovered how fun it is to not play political reindeer games and speak his mind on things. Being faced with the possibility of having to play those games all over again, he decided not to.

What I don't think he realized is that someone who *doesn't* pander is *exactly* what the disenchanted Democratic voter base was looking for. Lieberman and Kerry rolled over for the White House faster than France did for Germany. If the Democratic nomination for president in 2004 is a congressperson who gave Bush their support for war on Iraq I swear, I'm finally moving to Canada.

My undying affection to Free Pie and Rittenhouse Review for their recent additions of myself to their blogroll.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mad Kane and skippy the bush kangaroo, too!
Either he's running in '04 or he's got a movie out

I'm really sad I missed Al Gore on "Saturday Night Live" last night.

In a spoof of the MSNBC talk show "Hardball," Gore portrayed Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, who in recent days has repeatedly apologized for remarks he made that seemed to support racial segregation.

"I meant no disrespect to any white people," insisted Gore-as-Lott. "As long as I am in office, we will leave no white person behind."

Please...NBC...rerun this immediately.

Friday, December 13, 2002


Plenty of people are keeping up on this issue more than me.

Joe Conason of Salon has a nice blog entry today...Trent Lott's disturbing remarks were not an offhand, accidental comment, but rather a pattern.

Tom Tomorrow has all kinds of information, plus a lead on a tape of Lott making these kinds of comments on a third occasion.

Atrios has a copy of the 1948 offical Democratic Party sample ballot that Lott was so proud of.

My take on the whole issue? I find it very upsetting, but hardly surprising.
Inspect what I say, not what I do

Robert Scheer has an article in Salon that proves for an interesting, if someone one-sided, read.

A bolder investigation would unearth the original U.S. designs for the weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological and nuclear -- that now haunt the world. If U.N. investigators were deployed here, they would discover that it was U.S. companies that quite often supplied the materials that permitted other countries to experiment with the means of killing us all.

D'oh...very true. Scheer goes on to say that an outside inspection of the kind Iraq is facing might uncover the culprits behing both the anthrax mailings and those missing hard drives at the Los Alamos National Labs. Worth reading, if you can overlook the slightly shrill tone.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Not in my front yard

Ah, the Hate Crime. Just the thing to confound my leftist, liberal bleeding heart. I believe completely that one has the right to speak one's mind, yet that leaves alot of room for big burning crosses.

Justices Wednesday will hear arguments in a case that asks whether burning a cross is constitutionally protected expression or an overt threat that can be banned by the states. The justices' ruling, expected next year, could affect laws in about a dozen other states.

First off, isn't it disturbing to anyone that, in the year 2002, this is even an issue anymore? Maybe it's because I don't live in an area of the country where this is likely to happen anyway, but do people still burn crosses?

There are two particular incidents the Supreme Court is looking at. One involves a man burning a cross on his own property, and the other involves a group of teenagers attempting to burn a cross on an interracial family's front lawn. Now it seems to me there is an obvious difference here. If you burn a cross on your own property, then you are a backwards, socially devolved sicko, for sure, but one who is free to do whatever they like on their own time with their own stuff (holy run-on sentence, Batman!). I'd sure hate it if someone told me I wasn't allowed to have my Ann Coulter dartboard (just kidding, don't really have one of those, hehe). However, if you burn a cross on someone else's property, then there is an attack involved, an implied threat even, and that makes the other person a victim.

Makes sense to me. Of course, legally speaking, I'm probably all kinds of wrong.
Really Cool Science Stuff

It's things like this that come along every once in awhile that make me feel like my old plucky self again...

We live on a really...pretty...planet.
Al Gore, the last Democratic spine standing

Al Gore, who is starting to become my hero, has given the loudest denouncement of Trent Lott's pro-segregationist Freudian slip that I've heard outside the blogosphere.

"It is not a small thing ... for one of the half dozen most prominent political leaders in America to say that our problems are caused by integration and that we should have had a segregationist candidate. That is divisive and it is divisive along racial lines. That's the definition of a racist comment," Gore said.

Joe Conason talks about Al Gore's courage in denouncing Lott.

Dec. 10, 2002 | Gore's moral victory
Al Gore proved his moral courage yesterday. He didn't hesitate to say that he opposed Trent Lott's racist speech, that Lott had to withdraw those remarks, and that if Lott failed to do so, the Senate should censure the Republican leader.

Check the Daily Howler (which is quickly becoming a daily read) for the attention Lott's creepy remarks have gotten from the "liberal media".

Surely—given the corps’ liberal bias—the strange remarks were widely flogged. Sorry. On Saturday morning, the Washington Post was the nation’s only paper to prepare a report about what Lott said. (The Chicago Tribune ran the Post report.) And on Sunday, while Lott was hammered on Meet the Press and Late Edition, the all-stars over at Fox News Sunday forgot to mention his comments. Does Fox report, letting us decide? According to Nexis, Senator Lott’s peculiar remarks have never been mentioned on Fox.

Also, check out their archives for more info on the "War on Gore".

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

It's too cold outside, anyway.

Some bad news for the environment.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The northernmost reaches of the Earth are warming, reducing the sea ice across the Arctic Ocean, melting the ice sheet in Greenland and spreading shrubs into the Alaskan tundra, scientists said Saturday.

Taken individually, the changes only suggest the region's climate is undergoing a warming trend. Together, they provide dramatic evidence the change is real, a panel of scientists said during at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

When does saying we "shouldn't be alarmist" start to sound ridiculous?

I have updated the links page with a proper blogroll. Go take a look!

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Does this say something about my writing?

I am the number one result of a Google search for "elephant iraq cuban missle".

Hmmm. There's someone out there with an interest in elephants, Iraq, Cubans, and who can't spell the word "missile" (which, in all fairness, I didn't spell correctly, either). And all of those things at the same time!

Friday, December 06, 2002

Embarassingly revealing Internet Quiz Result of the week

What Sign of Affection Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Awwww...... Christopher, I dare you to take this. In fact, I dare anyone to take this quiz and not feel silly.

Via Sisyphus Shrugged.

Old People are not Cute

Strom Thrumond is 100 years old. That does not make him admirable, respectable, or a hero. So when Trent Lott says:

...When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had of followed our lead we wouldn't of had all these problems over all these years, either.

just remember that when Strom Thurmond ran for president, he said this:

... there's not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches

Via Slate.

UPDATE Atrios has more on the subject here.
The war in Afghanistan improved the lives of women, and I have a bridge to sell you.

Further proof that we have abandoned Afghanistan.

According to a recent United Nations study, 1,600 women die in Afghanistan in every 100,000 live births. In comparison, only 12 deaths per 100,000 are recorded in the United States.

But in the remote Afghan province of Badakshan, high in the northeast mountains of Afghanistan, the situation is even worse. The study found that more women of child-bearing age -- 64 percent -- die in pregnancy and childbirth there than has been recorded anywhere else in the world.

Allow me to posit a theory. A place where live has so little value that you'll probably die if you try to create one is not likely to raise children that will grow up to value life themselves.

Anar Gul says she has lost three of her six children, two of them when they were just a few days old.

And she is angry.

"We people don't get any help from the United Nations," Gul said via a translator. "People die hopeless here. We can't get to a hospital. And the U.N. and the government don't care. Only the rich get help, not us poor people."

This seems to me to be a kind of hopelessness and anger that would make someone easy prey for al-Qaida recruiters, let alone Northern Alliance drug-dealing warlords. But what do I know?
Local Wal-Mart manager screws poor children

A manager at a Colorado Wal-Mart took it upon himself to rob a Toys for Tots charity donation box.

He said the box was not visible from the store's security cameras, so there was no video proof that the toys were purchased.

As a result, he decided to place all of the items in the box back on store shelves to be resold.

Read about this outrage here. This person should have been fired, in my opinion.

(via Atrios.)
So I slept on it...

...and I'm blogging. Woo hoo!

As soon as I decide to leave blogging behind for awhile, both MaxSpeak and Body and Soul have linked to me as a worthy blog penned by a woman! So, I'm going to sleep on it. I may decide that their honorable mentions are a sign that I should keep going, I may decide that everything in the world is far too depressing to write anything that doesn't sound annoyingly kvetchy.

In any case, thanks for the "shout-out".

In the meanwhile, I'd like to draw everybody's attention to the interesting discussion going on about J.R.R. Tolkien, racism, and "The Lord of the Rings" on this message board.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

I'm still on hiatus, I swear!

If you've ever had uneasy feelings about women and Islam, go read the excellent interview with Geraldine Brooks at Salon. She discusses at length the real role of women in Islam, not the patriarchal extremism forced by dictators. She also has great points to make about the possibility for internal change in Iran, what effect Saudi oil wells have on the oppression of women, and the reason Western feminists chiding Islam is so irritating and useless.

Most every Muslim woman I've ever met has outspoken, strong-willed, and straightforward. Go read and find out why. Islam in its actual form I always thought was much less oppressive of women than, say, Catholicism. For instance, Islam lacks the "virgin-mother" figure, the perfect woman you're supposed to strive to be exactly like. But no one can be both a virgin and a mother, so in Catholicism you can never be the perfect woman. Even when Islam is too oppressive, it is for different reasons. When Catholicism tells women to be meek and quiet, it does so because women are easily corrupted. When Islam tells women to be meek and quite, it does so because men are easily corrupted and may take advantage of them.

I do have problems with Islam. Despite being heavily encouraged in my youth by my father and stepmother, I am not a Muslim. However, the problems I have with Islam are the same problems I have with pretty much every religion (homophobia, submission to the will of an invisible divine power, conformity). Islam itself is not misogynist. Unfortunately, the teetering dictatorships propped into place by our crap foreign policy and our lust for oil, often are.

Now, back to Kingdom Hearts.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Nobody's Home...

I haven't posted anything in a week, as I'm sure you've noticed. And I've never felt better!

I am taking time off from blogging.

In the meanwhile, I plan to immerse myself in hype for The Two Towers and play Kingdom Hearts. In other words, I'm taking some Plucky time. News is depressing me.

I promise not to be too long....

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Canyonero, anyone?

Why Oil Sheiks Love A Good Hummer

Go Read.
Let's play a game

Did John Ashcroft really say this?

There is a concern that the Internet could be used to commit crimes and that advanced encryption could disguise such activity. However, we do not provide the government with phone jacks outside our homes for unlimited wiretaps. Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web?

Well, yes, but it was about the Clinton administration, so I'm sure he really meant it.

Via Tom Tomorrow.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Plucky the Misanthrope

The more I hear about...well, pretty much anything these days, the more my disgust for human nature increases.

Let me explain. When I was a little kid, I remember seeing a news broadcast concerning the war between Iraq and Iran. Growing up in the 80's (and having a Muslim father) gave me a chance to see alot of Middle East conflict on the news, but a particualr image haunts me to this day.

The image was of an infant and its mother, lying dead in the street from poision gas. I seem to remember it was an Iranian mother and child, but that doesn't really matter. I remember being horrified, and glad that such stupid acts of hate would never occur in American society, where people were calm and rational.

I was brought back to that thought today, when I read this article and really realized how wrong I was.

I'm probably being a drama queen. I think I have a big dark cloud over my head today.

*UPDATE* While we're at it, let's go ahead and add this, this, this and this to my list of why people suck. Anyone with happy news feel free to let me in on it.
Who needs actual news, anyway?

Disappointed by the slowness of our government to declare war on Iraq, MSNBC has decided to pretend that they've done it already.

Secaucus, NJ, Nov. 18 — In a unique special event, MSNBC presents “Wargame: Iraq,” a look at how President George Bush and his top advisors might decide to attack Iraq. “Wargame: Iraq,” airing Monday, Nov. 25, 10 p.m.-12 a.m. ET, is an intense, dramatic look at simulated meetings of the National Security Council, enacted by veterans of past administrations and experts in foreign policy, as they decide the parameters for going to war.

Is this news-o-tainment or what? I used to think that MSNBC was slightly more legitimate that Fox News (and admittedly, I was glued to the channel during the 2000 election debacle, and again in the first few days after 9/11/2001) but they have officially fallen off the deep end for me.

Plus, the movie geek in me is irritated that they didn't hire real actors. Imagine the crappy performances these people are likely to give. Ha ha.

I wonder what fake outcome this fake National Security Council will come to. Actually, I don't.
Playing in their Reindeer Games

The Rittenhouse Review has a well-written article concerning the treatment Al Gore has recieved at the hands of the media "Heathers".

When the subject is Al Gore, each of the pundits named here, each member of this gaggle of giggling geese can be counted upon to reveal him- or herself to be the quintessential 17-year-old Alpha Girl: immature, insecure, dishonest, manipulative, selfish, developmentally stunted, and desperate for the approval and affection of others.

Too bad Winona Ryder is on probation.

(BTW, I hate Winona Ryder, just to be clear.)

Sunday, November 24, 2002


I'll never understand the logic of people who are abusive to you and think that will make you do what they want.

To the anonymous person who just called my unnamed place of employment, if you tell someone "f**k off, you stupid idiot who can't do anything right", they're not very likely to bend to your wishes, that by the way violate the policy of the company they work for.

I hope their next waiter spits in their food.

Bunch of savages in this town....
Oh My...

My friend and loyal reader Christopher just sent me an email in response to a post from earlier that is worth reprinting in its (near) entirety. In fact, it made me laugh so hard (in the middle of work, even) that my cubicle drew stares.

I realize of course, that my response to your concerns is slightly delayed,
however, I hope that you will take the time to read a little common sense and
perhaps correct your earlier, irrational, inappropriate, propaganda spreading

First, requiring American’s to be able to determine where a country is on the
map before bombing it, is a lesson in inefficiency. In the fast-paced modern
world of revolutions, counterrevolutions, coups and separatist movements,
countries come and go at lightning speed. The precious time spent trying to
locate a particular country on the map may close the window of opportunity
forever. For example, in the Vietnam war, if the United States military had
taken the time to try and find out where Burma was, they could have ended up
bombing Myanmar. Just think what a diplomatic mess that would have created!

Second, American’s are already required to memorize more information than any
other citizens on the planet. This means that there is relatively little space
available for additional facts, especially when the utility of such information
is minimal at best. Say for example, that I memorize the location of Eyerack.
If two weeks later, the end result is the annihilation of the bloody place, then
that fact becomes completely irrelevant. Valuable brain space has been used up
on out-dated and irrelevant information that could have been used to try and
puzzle out who the father of Rachel’s baby is on Friends. This is bolstered by
additional facts that you left out of the survey in question, while only 13% of
young American’s could find Eyerack, only .04% cared where the country was
anyway. America is a big country, filled with busy, productive citizens. We do
not have time to compartmentalize the rest of the world into nice little regions
and specific areas, let alone give each one of the places a name.

Third, teaching American’s how to read a map often requires teaching them how to
read. The additional money such an ethereal and impossible program would
require can only result in a significant reduction in resources available for
bomb making. America’s bomb making capacity is already less than 154% higher
than any competitor. Furthermore, teaching everyone who might enter the
military to read, could easily lead to mass education and if we are going to
engage in such communist driven, bleeding-heart hand-outs, then Americans have
already lost the war.

Fourth, many countries have crazy and weird sounding names like,
‘Campoocheeah’, ‘Leyebeereeya’, ‘Canuhduh,’ and ‘Noo Meksicoh’. Americans
often feel uncomfortable trying to sort out such foreign sounding devil talk.
To put added pressure on our brave bombadiers, already giving 110% for their
country is in pretty poor taste. Furthermore, recent CIA evidence suggests that
many of these names may contain subliminal messages, greatly endangering any
American mind that is exposed to them. A study, conducted by a very well known
institute, determined that after being asked to examine maps of a certain
‘Tie-Land’, 35% of subjects tested, “felt mildly inclined to purchase neck
ties.” Standard practice follow up questioning determined that an alarming 98%
of the subjects, “lived predominantly on the land.”

Finally, even the briefest glance at our foreign policy demonstrates that
there is no need to find out where particular countries lie on a map.
American’s do not bomb countries because they are somewhere, we bomb them to
demonstrate the superiority of American ideals, ideology and life style.
Statistics show these values are almost completely absent outside the 30 or 40
States. Such a massive threat to our way of life, does not require labeling, it
requires action.

Irate reader,

Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, he's being sarcastic.
Girls Kick Ass, as the t-shirt says

I'd like to take a moment to recognize all the butt-kicking blogs penned by women.

Ann Salisbury
Jeanne D'Arc
Kim Osterwalder
Mad Kane
Sisyphus Shrugged

And of course a million more that I don't know about.

On a similar subject, Ampersand has had some excellent posts in the past few days concerning feminism and the men's-rights movement.

And Body and Soul is conducting an interesting discussion on women's rights and cultural imperialism.

Stop reading my drivel and go read all of them.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

They call it Jackass for a reason.

The Art House isn't dead, it just smells funny.

Stumbled upon this interesting article from Salon a few days ago on the advent of DVD home video.

"Movies as they were meant to be seen." To film purists that has long meant one thing only: on the big screen. It's also a phrase used by the premium cable channels that run movies without the cuts imposed by the major networks, and by DVD manufacturers who have raised the bar on the quality of movies available for home viewing.

There's a little Art House theater in Albuquerque called "The Lobo" that has unfortunately been closed for the past few years. I do sigh deeply every time I drive by it. Lately, even the "For Sale" sign is no longer displayed. (If someone has bought it, they're taking their sweet time doing anything with it.) However, given the choice between seeing "The Philadelphia Story" at home on DVD, and seeing a scratchy, skipping, faded print that catches on fire (I never saw a film catch on fire until I regularly attended screenings at The Lobo), or now not at all, I choose DVD. I always loved the scratchy, faded look of old movies as a kid, but it was quite a revelation to find, first through laserdisc projections in film studies class and later in DVD at home, that they weren't really meant to look that way. They have as beautiful an asthetic as anything more modern.

It sounds stupid, and it's really of those things you know intellectually but don't really realize. I think that rather breathtaking realization was when I went from curious movie buff to proud cineaste.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Why don't I read Mad Magazine?

Once again, the world of satire has provided a more accurate representation of the news than anyone in journalisim ever could.


Via Maxspeak.

A big gold star to the first person to tell me why this is weird and creepy and wrong.

Gene scientists Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith hope to create a single-celled, partially man-made organism with the minimum number of genes necessary to sustain life in a project funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department, The Washington Post reported in its Thursday editions.

If the experiment works, the newspaper said, the microscopic man-made cell would begin feeding and dividing to create a population of cells unlike any previously known to exist.


For more human sliminess, read this article about a New York class-action lawsuit against McDonald's.

In federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, a lawyer alleged that the fast-food chain has created a national epidemic of obese children. Samuel Hirsch argued that the high fat, sugar and cholesterol content of McDonald's food is "a very insipid, toxic kind of thing" when ingested regularly by young kids.

This is very, very true. McDonald's food is very bad for children, adults, dogs, anybody who eats it. There are many things in this world that are bad for children. That's why they have PARENTS that are supposed to KEEP THESE THINGS FROM THEM. Or so I've heard.

On the subject of big fat dumb kids, is this cheerful revelation.

The society survey found that only about one in seven -- 13 percent -- of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors, could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor.

Although the majority, 58 percent, of the young Americans surveyed knew that the Taliban and al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, only 17 percent could find that country on a world map.

Here's a proposal for a new U.N. resolution...before we are allowed to bomb a nation we have to know how to find it on a map!

Didn't I tell you the news was pissing me off lately?
What Would Jesus Drive?

Apparently, a hybrid vehicle.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

And I'm back

Had a great vacation with the Cubano side of my family down in Miami. Discovered that my grandfather makes a great Cuba Libre (or, as he called them, "Fidels"), realized I can't dance to that kind of music, got to show off my husband to everyone, and played on a real beach for the first time in years. I didn't even get "wanded" at the airport, though my father got the same "random" search he happens to get everytime he flys anywhere. When we got back I realized that the reason I couldn't browse to this page was that my computer had the Klez virus (removed, no severe damage done), my kitchen sink was draining onto the hallway floor, and my place of employment had scheduled me for a day when they knew I was out of town.


So, I don't really feel like blogging yet. Everything in the news is just pissing me off. Maybe I'll write something personal, though I swore that when I started this blog I would avoid that like the plague. Whichever, I'm not going to do it now. Now I'm going to watch all three zillion hours of special features on the "Fellowship of the Ring" 5-disc DVD I just bought. It came with bookends.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Well, Anyway...

If I'm not the only one having problems accessing this page, this won't matter. But, I'm going on vacation. Going to Miami. So no blogging for a few days. When I come back I'll tell you all about how I was randomly given an anonymous search at the airport.

Every time I try to access this page I get a DNS error. Can anybody hear me????

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Why Al Gore should be President.

Because he said "Peace Out Y'all" on tonight's episode of Futurama.

Anyone willing to play their own head on TV gets my vote.

Friday, November 08, 2002

What the...?!?

Okay, I don't know why it was on. I wasn't really watching Hardball on MSNBC. It was just on in the background. I wasn't really listening.

That is, until former Congressman Bob Dornan said something that shocked me so much I had to rewind it on my TiVo.

He said, and I quote verbatim,

One third of all abortions, 35 percent of all teenage abortions, end in killing a child with a soul.


I'll put aside my punkgrrl indignation that an old man has the gall to say anything about what happens in my uterus and I'll take this statement as meaning, at least in part, that prenatal fetuses have souls. Fine. But to say that only one third of abortions involve souls means that the other two thirds don't involve unborn souls. Are those abortions okay? If no (which, somehow, I think I can safely say is Dornan's position) then why not? Is it more than a soul you're protecting? Could it be your patriarchal need for control? And at what point in fetal development does "the soul" happen? I'll have to ask my OB-GYN.

Seriously, If American politicians don't stop acting like the Taliban then I'm moving to Canada.
The Land of Bubonic Enchantment

Only in New Mexico, folks.

Two tourists were hospitalized in New York City after they likely contracted bubonic plague in their home state of New Mexico, health officials said.

People come down with Black Death in New Mexico all the time. Sad that they had to go to New York to get it noticed. I love my state, really I do.
The Burqa and the Damage Done

Jeanne over at Body and Soul makes a point about "The Veil" that I wish more people would hear.

.Afghan women are no more empowered taking fashion orders from French feminists than they were taking them from the Taliban. How they dress effects our comfort level. We look at them and think, how can they be free if they're still in those sacks? But it's not about how we feel, it's about how they live

I wore "The Veil" for a certian brief but significant portion of my life. And although I take issue with many core beliefs of Islam (mostly the same issues I take with, say, Catholicism, and pretty much all religions for that matter) "The Veil" is not one of them. The head-to-toe burqa is an extreme example, and most Muslim women do not wear veils like these, nor does the Koran call for them to.

Besides, they're perfect for covering a really bad hair day.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Monday, November 04, 2002

Funny, but not Ha-Ha Funny

John Stewart of the Daily Show was interviewed by CNN's Howard Kurtz. The transcript would be a funny read if it were The Daily Show, and not CNN that had aired it.

KURTZ: You're going to be on live election night with..."Indecision 2000," live on election night...

STEWART: We're probably not going to go with 2000. We're going to go with 2002. We're going to stick with the year that it is now.

Kurtz goes on to reveal the shocking truth behind The Daily Show's reports.

KURTZ: I went to one of your tapings this week.

STEWART: Yes, you did.

KURTZ: And I can reveal -- can I say this?

STEWART: By the way, I didn't care for the heckling.

KURTZ: All right. I can reveal that all those -- you go to those live correspondent reports standing in front of the Capitol, out in North Carolina.

STEWART: That's exactly right.

KURTZ: They're right on the stage there with you.


KURTZ: Isn't that kind of dishonest?

STEWART: Our budget is to the point where we can only afford the picture of North Carolina. We can't actually afford the trip. So we put them in front of a just a green screen of that.

KURTZ: So you don't, you're not confusing yourself with a quote, "real journalist"?

STEWART: No. You guys are...

KURTZ: You're just making fun...

STEWART: You guys are confusing yourselves with real journalists.

I don't know, maybe Kurtz was joking and I just had to be there.

What is this "Rac-ial Pro-fi-ling" of which you speak?

Novelist Rohinton Mistry cancelled a US book tour because he was sick and tired of being "humiliated" at US airports.

"As a person of color he was stopped repeatedly and rudely at each airport along the way -- to the point where the humiliation to him and his wife (with whom he has been traveling) has become unbearable," said a statement from Mistry's publicist.

My favorite part is this, though.

Canada issued a travel advisory last month urging such citizens to avoid travel to the United States, but Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said he has since received U.S. guarantees that all Canadians appearing with a passport at a U.S. border would be treated equally.

I bet Maher Arar would disagree.
If I were Like Ann Coulter...

If I were like Ann Coulter, I would say that this is evidence that Christianity causes terrorism.

Kony is a former altar boy and was part of an earlier Christian fundamentalist rebel movement, the Holy Spirit Movement, which was founded in 1986 by a former prostitute, Alice Lakwena.

Of course, I am not at all like Ann Coulter, so I'm just grateful for my Atheism.
Movie-Geeks Unite!

Just stumbled across this interesting piece from Salon a few days ago. Go read if you're as sick of politics as I am.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Are they being Anti-Semitic, too?

Look like Ariel Sharon's Likud party is losing support in Israel

The crisis was precipitated by Sharon's rejection of Labor Party leader Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's demands to cut $145 million in funds for Jewish settlements in the $57 billion 2003 state budget. Compromise proposals failed and Ben-Eliezer resigned from his post as defense minister, followed by the rest of Labor's Cabinet ministers...."We must fight terror, but this is the day when we have to present a diplomatic horizon," Ben-Eliezer said, referring to peace talks with the Palestinians. "The prime minister is unable to present a diplomatic horizon."

Full story here.

You know, honestly, I've grown very cynical about the whole Israeli/Palestinian "dispute". I'm beginning to feel as though we should just all get together, hold a giant worldwide tribal council meeting and vote both sides off the island.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

No, I really love bloggers....

Here's a new one I've just come across...D-Squared.

Anyway, they had something brilliant to say about the Israel/Palestine conflict on Monday.

Basically, I regard the Palestinian Authority, or whatever it's called, as the moral equivalent of the IRA. In other words:

I think they have a genuine grievance and a genuine right to have their claims taken seriously

I think that their grievance, and their case, is by no means as strong as their more vocal supporters think it is

I think that the population that they claim to represent is being made the victim of unacceptable governmental repression and are the chief victims of an unconscionable political situation

I think that their chosen method of warfare is cowardly and disgusting, and not to be tolerated or apologised for

I deeply doubt that they really represent the people they claim to represent

They are, on balance, the villains of the piece, but the cause that they support in their villainous manner is at bottom, just.

I agree. It is possible to both think the Palestinian people are getting screwed and also to think that encoraging teenagers to participate in suicide bombing is horrible.

I think that what this brings home to me is that a) what a bloody shame it is that there does not appear to be any Palestinian equivalent of John Hume and b) that when you extend this analogy to judge the Israeli forces by the standards of the RUC and the B-Specials during the worst periods of the Troubles, they still appear to have behaved bloody badly.

Good stuff, go read.

Monday, October 28, 2002

I love bloggers...

Blogger Aziz Poonawalla (who also uses the word "idiotarian"...whose side am I on, anyway?) "Fisks" (there I go again) Osama bin Laden.

Good stuff.
What is it good for?

Everybody read this, then try and tell me why we should invade Iraq.

Via Red Letter Day, who I read even though he uses the word "idiotarian".
Ignorance is Strength

I know it's easy to overuse the 1984 metaphor, but sometimes you just can't help it. We're reaching serious "Memory Hole" status.

Go read this Tom Tomorrow post and you'll understand. Here's a good example.

But the most recent irritant was Mr. Butler's quick withdrawal from Iraq on Wednesday of all his inspectors and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iraqi nuclear programs, without Security Council permission. Mr. Butler acted after a telephone call from Peter Burleigh, the American representative to the United Nations, and a discussion with Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had also spoken to Mr. Burleigh.

--New York Times, 12/18/98

America's goal should be to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of all unconventional weapons.... To thwart this goal, Baghdad expelled United Nations arms inspectors four years ago.

--New York Times editorial, 8/3/02

But don't worry, citizens of Oceana. Just keep up the doublethink and practice your NewSpeak.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Ahh, Young Love...

I ran across Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About at work (found via Ted Barlow, who is unfortunately on hiatus), and I laughed so hard that I attracted stares from surrounding cubicles.

There are many arguments we have over arguments. 'Who started argument x', for example, is a old favourite that has not had its vigour dimmed by age nor its edge blunted through use. Another dependable companion is, 'I'm not arguing, I'm just talking - you're arguing,' along with its more stage-struck (in the sense that it relishes an audience - parties, visiting relatives, Parent's Evenings at school, in shops, etc.) sibling, 'Right, so we're going to get into this argument here are we?'

Kind of reminds me of the time my husband and I got into a shouting match over who was cooler---Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. (Which, BTW, was nothing compared to the "Great Vowel Shift" argument, of which I was not a participant.) Ain't we sweet?
Sunday Link-O-Rama

I have collected several day's worth of stories to comment on.

First up, there is this disturbing poll from

Amid broad public unfamiliarity with Islam, doubts about the religion's tenets have grown. More than a third of Americans now don't think it teaches respect for other beliefs, and nearly a quarter believe Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims.

If this were Christianity instead of Islam we were talking about, Ann Coulter's head would explode.


Others echo my "Oh Goodie, Muslim sniper" reaction.

Said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations: "It's like a ball in your stomach. 'Oh God, here we go again.' Every time we seem to make some advancements, it's like we take one step forward and two steps back."

Next, Al Gore, who I didn't know was a cultural commentator, discusses the very Clockwork Orange-sounding News Plus.

News has become routine and cheap," Gore said. "It's becoming more standardized and homogenized." ..."[The networks] are having to sell a new kind of hybrid product - news plus. News plus entertainment, news plus attitude, news plus opinion," Gore said.

I'm beginning to wish I had taken his class.


Not to be outdone, Arianna Huffington of Salon has a piece about a Anti-Oil campaign to mirror the new, completely retarted Anti-Drug campaign.

Imagine a soccer mom in a Ford Excursion (11 mpg city, 15 mpg highway) saying, "I'm building a nuclear bomb for Saddam Hussein." Or a mob of solo drivers toodling down the freeway at 75 mph shouting in unison, "We're buying weapons that will kill American soldiers, Marines and sailors! Yahoo!"

I think that's excellent.

*UPDATE* Apparently, there's talk of actually producing this ad, which I think is even more excellent.

Last but not least, Tapped marks an important distinction.

Bush's lies are Big Lies. They are important lies. The difference between his lies and Gore's lies is the difference between saying you had a hot dog for lunch on Tuesday when you actually had one on Wednesday, and saying a tax cut is aimed at the middle class when in actuality 40 percent of it goes to the top one percent of Americans.

I've always felt that Democrats are skwered by the "liberal media" for their small lies (I didn't get oral sex, and movie plots were about me, and the internet) while Republican big lies are quickly forgotten or glossed over (I don't remember if I traded arms for hostages, Iraq has nuclear weapons, No New Taxes). But what do I know, I'm not a pundit.

That's all for now, folks.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Oh Great

That was my response upon hearing the sniper suspect arrested was a Muslim...Oh goodie, can't wait to hear what Ann Coulter has to say about that. But then I heard he was involved in the Nation of Islam. Let me just say, officially and for the record, that the Nation of Islam is to actual Islam like Snake Handling is to Christianity. These are the people who killed Malcolm X when he stopped hating white people, fer Christ's sake.

More on this later.

And, just for the record, I still can't wait to hear what Ann Coulter has to say about it.

*UPDATE* MaxSpeak has an intelligent take on the situation.

Note to the clueless: just because I change my name to Joe Islam doesn't mean I'm part of a worldwide terrorist conspiracy

Go read.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I always suspected as much...

You are Fozzie!
Wokka Wokka! You love to make lame jokes. Your sense of humor might be a bit off, but you're a great friend and can always be counted on.

Via Body and Soul...thanks Jeanne

I am adding several more blogs to my links page. I used to ask first, but people stopped responding. So, If you see your blog linked and don't want it to be, just email me and I'll remove without further ado.

I've just been promoted (anyone who knows what I do for a living will pity me immediately) and have spent the last few days training for my new position, so have had little time for bloggera.

Just a few links to interesting stories I've come across recently:

This is a Salon piece about a youth group in Israel working to give teenagers a voice.

Several young PYALARA members actually say the group has helped stop them from becoming suicide bombers. "I want to tell you honestly that I thought about [becoming a suicide bomber]," says Lana Kamleh, 16, of Jerusalem, who has worked for the Youth Times, PYALARA's newspaper that is distributed throughout Gaza and the West Bank, and appeared on Palestine TV on PYALARA news programs.

If the only outlet for rage a seriously pissed-off teenager has is a group of psychos with an explosive belt in their hands, what do you think will happen? Israel should be funding programs like these. I have yet to hear any Palestinian teenager quoted as saying "You know, demolishing my home, keeping me inside 24 hours a day, and shooting at me when I go outside really kept me from wanting to become a suicide bomber." But maybe that's just the liberal-controlled media at work.

It makes no sense to say you're fighing terrorism when you have more terrorists when you're done than you had when you started.

On a decidedly lighter note, No More Mister Nice Blog makes an excellent point about the "increase of violence in today's music". You should hear some of those Opera guys talk about smackin their ho's!

Also, Ha'aretz writes about protests to Israeli plans to demolish a Palestinian low-income housing project.

The project, which was launched about 10 years ago, was meant to provide low-income housing for young Greek Orthodox families in Beit Sahour, a predominantly Christian town of 13,000, according to Suzan Sahori, a spokeswoman for Beit Sahour.

Sahori said a new Israeli road meant to speed settlers past Palestinian towns is being built behind the apartment complex.

That's all for now. I know I haven't written anything about North Korea yet, or "The Sniper". But I might later. I dunno.

Friday, October 18, 2002

War for Oil

Here ya go, Christopher.

Upon doing some research (read, Google searching) I found this article that Tom Tomorrow had actually linked to a while back.

While debate intensifies about the Bush administration's policy, oil analysts and Iraqi exile leaders believe a new, pro-Western government -- assuming it were to replace Saddam Hussein's regime -- would prompt U.S. and multinational petroleum giants to rush into Iraq, dramatically increasing the output of a nation whose oil reserves are second only to that of Saudi Arabia.


American firms are barred by U.S. law from making contracts with Iraq and have had to watch as the rival firms of other nations sign contracts with the Iraqi dictator to pump oil after U.N. sanctions are lifted. Assuming Hussein is overthrown and U.S. and U.N. sanctions are lifted, Goldstein said, "you'll see the U.S. companies will be very, very interested."


"Given Iraq's dire financial situation, any Iraqi government after Saddam Hussein will need massive amounts of money and will try to produce as much as it can," said (Muhammad-Ali) Zainy, now a senior energy analyst at the Center for Global Energy Studies in London.

So, with a pro-U.S. puppet government installed, we would be in the position to set up all sorts of sweet deals. However,

For domestic oil producers, however, such a collapse could be unwelcome.

"I don't think it's really in the interest of the United States to have OPEC disintegrate and have a crash in oil prices," Zainy said. "The United States is a large (oil) producer; there are interest groups, oil corporations and independent oil producers that want a reasonable price level."

So, either the war isn't really over oil, or the Bush administration is so incompetent they can't even get their evil schemes right. I'm not sure which sounds more plausible to me.
If this were an American, it would be all over the news.

A Canadian/Syrian citizen stopping for a layover in the United States has apparently been deported to Syria.

"Mr. (Maher) Arar, 32, was deported to Syria on Oct. 7 or Oct. 8 from Kennedy Airport in New York during a stopover on his way home to Montreal, officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed yesterday. The Canadian government was not contacted about Mr. Arar's case until after he had been deported, on Oct. 10."

Now, it strikes me that if this were an American citizen, and he was deported to, say, Cuba instead of Syria, everyone would be outraged.

Full store here, at Talk Left.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Manifest Duh-stiny

MONTREAL — Should Canada become the 51st American state? Four out of 10 Americans answered "sure" in a recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing of Montreal.

I don't think any more comment is warranted.

Read here.
I just liked this.

Tina the Troubled Teen

Tomorrow, I will talk about war for oil.

For instance, Christopher (intrepid reader, woo-hoo!) asks,

Why could we possibly fight this war over oil interests?

I just do not understand this in even the technical sense. I mean, Iraq will not or cannot sell us oil, fine. But other countries in the region do and these countries do not want us to move against Iraq. So...if we did attack Iraq...would we not run the possibility that we would have even fewer people to trade oil with us? I do not really know the ins and outs of the situation. I understand we are an attractive oil trading partner for many of the middle eastern countries but we are certainly not the only one...

Good question. But I am sleepy now and will try to find an answer tomorrow.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Donde esta el bin Laden?

International events of the past week have made it clear that while the Bush administration winds up for the tar-and-feathering of an oily old nemesis, the al-Qaida danger we did a really half-assed job of taking care of is catching up with us.

"We are sure al Qaeda is here. The Bali bomb blasts are related to al Qaeda, with the cooperation of local terrorists," Indonesian Defense Minister Matori Abdul Djalil told CNN Monday.

President Bush agreed that al Qaeda probably was behind this and other recent attacks.

So, all that time we were in Afghanistan, keeping the Red Cross from doing its work, bombing wedding parties, and possibly aiding and abetting war crimes we didn't accomplish anything?? Al-Qaida is still a threat? Then what was the point of bombing the crap out of that already bombed-out country?

I am brought back to a line from Al Gore's now famous proto-campaign speech a few weeks back.

The fact that we don't know where they are should not cause us to focus instead on some other enemy whose location may be easier to identify.

Not that I'm saying we should continue bombing the crap out of Afghanistan, far from it. But if the whole point of going to war (and that was a war, let's not play the Operation blahblahblah game) is to restore order by destroying those who put order at risk, and we have yet to do that, then we haven't done anything besides use up alot of explosives and kill a bunch of people.

And now we're ready to give the people of Iraq the same treatment.

Wasting Time at Work, starring Vanessa!

In lieu of anything substantial, I present this link-fest of time-wasting mastery.

How Fascist are you? via Amptoons (who found it at Green Fairy)

Ratings, even more fun and time-wasting than Snopes!

Celebrity Mug Shots, proving that even I get off on the misery of the rich and famous. (My favorite is Bill Gates, arrested on the exact date of Brian's birthday for the crime of wearing that hideous shirt)

I promise, promise to post something of meaning very very soon.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Go, Redskins!

Loyal reader Chrisopher brings this to my attention, regarding my post about "selective sensitivity"

The name 'Redskins' has actually spawned an intense ten year court case as to its offensive nature. Having finally come to an apparent end, the name was found to be offensive and therefore, although it may be used, it may not enjoy trademark protection. So, essentially, you are free to print up and sell all the 'Redskins' paraphenilia you like.

Go, team!
Blogger's Remorse

Okay, so I haven't posted in awhile. It's just that after sitting at a computer at work all day has made the thought of coming home and sitting in front of one make me want to puke. But I'll get over it, I promise.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

You know, it was that movie with Kevin Costner

I know I'm a few days behind on this one, but we got a new desk and the computer was disconnected for awhile.

But, I had a hearty chuckle upon hearing that our noble leader has compared the action he is about to take in Iraq to the Cuban Missle Crisis.

Hel-lo!?! Anybody else remeber the Cuban Missle Crisis? You know, when the president, faced with actual "weapons of mass destruction" (as opposed to weapons that may or may not exist in a particular amount of time) chose not to go to war for the good of the nation???

Hesiod does a much better job of talking about this that me. Go read him.
Fun with Search Engines

Sitemeter says someone found this site because they did a search for "teen drag queen". I love the internet.

*UPDATE* Someone found this site searching for "play spit with computer". I think the best thing that ever happened to me is that I found out at one point in time someone was trying to find out how to play spit with their computer. I don't know what that is, and I don't think I want to know.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Here we go...

Okay kids, here goes.

Dear Sen. Pete Domenici, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Rep. Heather A. Wilson, Rep. Joe Skeen and Rep. Thomas Udall

I have pondered long and hard about what I should say in this letter. I thought of a lot of pithy things to say. But really, it comes down to this: Please don't.

Please don't let an administration that the majority of Americans didn't vote for drag our nation into a war that so many do not support.

Please don't let politics-as-usual cost the lives of anyone in any country. Please don't let oil interests cost the lives of anyone in any country.

Please don't let anything we do now destabilize our relations with an entire region to the point that the children of the people we send into battle will be affected.

Please don't abandon the frail government we have established in Afghanistan to warlords and al-Qaida remnants we have yet to eliminate.

Please don't expose our soldiers to possible chemical weapons.

Please don't put Americans at danger by inflaming the hatred of terrorists.

Please don't jeopardize our relationship with a planet-full of allies.

I could go on and on, but I won't. I know you're probably getting hundreds of letters and are probably just sorting them into piles of "yes" or "no". This is a passionate "no".

War is not something wage "just in case". There is too much at risk


Vanessa Gatsch

As a warm-up for tomorrow's (well, as of half an hour ago, today's) anti-war blogburst, I preset this Boondocks cartoon from a few days ago that pretty much sums up my feelings.

Although I find the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pop-up ad very irritating.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Here it is again...

Atrios brings up another example today of something I had noted a few days ago.

I can't wait to hear what (christian white American) Ann Coulter has to say about a Muslim (who she automatically hates) trying to kill a gay socialist (who she automatically hates).
War: The RPG

Wagner James Au of Salon offers a surprisingly fawning article on the Army's use of an online computer game called America's Army as a recruitment tool.

The game has become so popular with U.S. troops and Pentagon brass, says Lt. Colonel Wardynski, director of the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis and the man who initially conceived it, that there's even talk of shipping computers to Afghanistan, so soldiers can play it from there.

Am I the only one who finds this a little disturbing? I play these games. I have friends who play these games. I've seen people who claim to be adults giggle with glee when they take out an enemy city. I've done the giggling myself. Maybe I'm just idealizing, but I don't think these are the emotions I want soldiers feeling when they fight a "just war" in my name.

The makers of America's Army claim to have changed the focus of this game from the typical "divide and conquer" to something more like restoring order to chaos. However, they tellingly admit that those "new" rules only apply in certain types of gameplay.

So in "America's Army," the server keeps tabs on your fealty to the military's strict rules of engagement (ROE) -- crossing them too often gets you removed from the game, thrown into a virtual depiction of Fort Leavenworth prison. (Multiplayer games are usually anarchic, free-fire zones.)

I'm willing to bet (and anyone please correct me if I'm wrong) that most of the people are playing those "anarchic, free-fire" multi-player games. Also, the article quotes journalist Mark Bowden, who wrote the 1999 book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (that Ridley Scott made that tripey movie after) as denouncing the "war games".

"[Games] have a certain amount of potential value in making someone interested in history or in the military or how the military operates," says Bowden. "It has that kind of educational value." But he's skeptical their utility may extend beyond that. "In terms of preparing someone for the actual experience of combat, particularly infantry soldiers, I just regard that as really unlikely. Because I think the essential element in real combat is terror. And I don't believe you can re-create actual terror in a video game. It's a game; you can turn it off whenever you want to."

Even Capt. Jason Amerine, an "Operation Enduring Freedom" vet who loves the game, admits its limitations as something representative of real warfare.

"When I was in a shoot-out with the Taliban, it occurred to me that I had to stick my head up to shoot at them and I might very well catch a bullet between my eyes ... and I was aware of it, but I knew what I had to do. That's not something you can re-create in a computer game, the fact that your life is in danger. And also, when you actually have to see the results of what you did, when you go over and you see the enemies that've fallen by your hand, that's something else you can't re-create."

I don't really have a problem with the idea of this game. (Far from it, I enjoy these kinds of games a lot.) But for the Army to think it can use computer games to entice people to join the army strikes me as a bit short-sited. People (at least people I know) whom play violent video games do so for fun.

They do so for escape. Violent games (whether it's the violent army warfare in the games this article mentioned or the violent gang warfare in the much-maligned Grand Theft Auto 3) are fun because they let you do things you would feel horrible doing in real life. Would the defenders of America's Army also stand up for Grand Theft? My hunch is no.

Violence is violence, killing is killing. This is the same sort argument I got into so many times about the (also tripey) film Saving Private Ryan. The same people who praised the "realistic portrayal of warfare" (too bad the realistic portrayal of acting wasn't paid as close attention to) would decry the "cartoon violence" of The Matrix.

Actually, I change my mind. I think America's Army should be more violent. I think it should be as loaded with gore as Ryan's opening beach invasion. But then the game might not serve the Army as well. James Au says:

I challenge [game designer] Wardynski on the game's dearth of on-screen gore. (Hits are rendered with a prim red dot, as if the weapons were shooting out magic markers.) Doesn't that sanitize the gruesome aftermath of an M-16 hit? Gore would disqualify the game from getting the intended Teen rating from the ratings board, he responds -- and besides, "We respect our audience [enough] to know that if we don't have that in our game, they're not dumb and they'll still know that [gore is] part of combat."

Uh-huh. Ask the same kid how much he "knows" after he's seen that gore for real.
My duck's on fire! Somebody Get me an elephant!

I thought I'd return from my consumptive hiatus with a laugh.

Some UK based scientists have just completed a yearlong study on international humor. Their website detail which jokes were funniest in which countries. My favorite has to be Belgium's top joke.

Why do ducks have webbed feet?
To stamp out fires.
Why do elephants have flat feet?
To stamp out burning ducks.

Also, the joke from England.

Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One starts to insult the other one. He screams, "I slept with your mother!" The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do. The first again yells, "I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!" The other says, "Go home dad you’re drunk."

I did find one thing telling, though. The joke that scored best with Americans was a sexist dig at someone's old hag wife. The top Canadian joke was making fun of Americans. I like the Canadian joke better.

See the full info here.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Can I sign up for this?

I am still fighting off whatever form of Hanta Virus or Consuption or whatever it is I have. I'm too doped-up on Nyquil to care about possible war with Iraq.

But, I just had to say something about this guy.

I totally want blue skin! Talk about body modification. I wonder if it gets bluer when he tans...

I promise to post something meaningful tomorrow.

Link via This Modern World, by the way.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Death-Rattles be Damned!

A friend of mine brought this to my attention, and I had to comment on it.

From a article:

Indonesia is the world's most-populous Muslim nation but the vast majority of its more than 180 million citizens practice a moderate, tolerant form of the religion.

Now, the fact that this even has to be said to the American public shows where we've found ourselves as a nation. Let us,for a moment, ignore the freak-o shouters on the extreme right and extreme left shouting charges of anti-semitism and anti-muslimism (did I just invent a word?) at each other, while practicing exactly what they accuse the other side of.

This is the very mainstream CNN. Imagine if the sentence read "Israel" instead of "Indonesia" or "Jewish" instead of "Muslim" and think of how pissed-off everybody would rightly be.

I'm just going to say this once.

Of course most of Indonesia's Muslims practice a moderate, tolerant form of Islam. That's because real Islam (and not the fanatical fundementalism practiced by the governements of many Middle East nations) is a moderate, tolerant religion, just like Judiasm and Christianity, the two religions Islam builds upon.

I've often found we practice a kind of selective sensitivity. For instance, a football team called the "New York Negros" or the "San Francisco Slant-Eyes" would have everyone up in arms, yet the "Washington Redskins" remain without too much complaint. This is just another example.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to lay down on the couch and make my husband make me soup and tea.

Expect light blogging for a few days. I seem to have cotracted TB, or the West Nile Virus, or maybe even anthrax. Whichever one it is, I'm too fascinated by the rattly noise it makes when I breathe to concentrate on blogging.

Monday, September 30, 2002


I think it's funny (but maybe not funny ha-ha funny) that the same people who object to Spanish drag-queen suicide bombers (at least I assume they're drag queens. They may be very broad-shouldered, flat-chested women...) seem to find nothing at all wrong with the Urban Warfare Playhouse.

Personally, I think they're both more than a little twisted, although they'd both look great on the shelf next to my home-made Bondage Barbie.