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.
Can't we all just get along?

There are two sides to every story, and sometimes they're both right.

Mike Silverman at Red Letter Day has a great point about the tendency of certian "activists" to be anti-semetic. I have heard the language he describes as unacceptable and been very pissed-off by it. You can't say Israel is unfairly persecuting the poor Palestinians and then turn around and unfairly persecute Israelis. It makes you sound just like Ann Coulter.

Also, the particular brand of trendy, shout-in-the-streets protesting he seems to be referencing has always annoyed me. I remember during my wild college years encountering a "Free Tibet" protest on campus and thinking "All you're doing is making me late for class and getting on the local news." I'm sure the people of Tibet really, really appreciate that some white kids are dancing around, shouting, and waving giant banners in my face while they labor under Chinese opression. (For a good bit about these sort of irritating screaming young adults, see this post at Tapped.)

However I have also heard the language he describes as acceptable immediately decried as anti-semetic. See here (and several personal examples from my own experience). Also, I take issue with a particular point he makes.

Be specific when criticizing Israel's policies and avoid hyperbole. Acceptable: Israel's policy of demolishing the family homes of suicide bombers is wrongheaded and inflames the situation. Unacceptable: Israel's policy of demolishing the family homes of suicide bombers is a horrible war crime and proves how violent and evil Israel is.

Punishing people for the crime of being related to a criminal is not just "wrongheaded" but morally incorrect. Saying that the actions of the Israeli government are amoral doesn't make one anti-semitic or condone the actions of suicide-bombers. I might say that I feel the actions of the American government are consistently screwing over everybody else in the world, but that doesn't automatically mean I hate all Americans and think they should all die. Again, it's toeing the Ann Coulter boundary.

Salon also has an article on anti-semitism today, if you have their premium subscription. (I don't. Someone tell me how it ends.)

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Expect two big posts in the next few days, one about Islam and the other about women. I want these to be good ones, so I'm taking some time to mull them over.
This is why I love America

Anyone concerned about the pressing need our current administration seems to have to declare war and generally tell everybody to piss off should consider participating in the upcoming Open Letter Blogburst. If you have a blog, or even if you don't, this is a great way to get your voice heard.

Remember, in our country we have the freedom to express displeasure with our government. That's one of the things that makes us great.
On a Personal Note

I'd like to take a brief moment just to tell the world that scratchy, dusty old vinyl LPs are so much better than compact discs it's not even funny.

My husband and I went record shopping in a thrift store this week, and came away with armloads of dusty, slightly scratched treasures. I love all of them. I love the way Patsy Cline's voice sounds even more plaintive through the pops and fuzz of the old Decca Records 45 we bought, not to mention the sound of the seriously dusty Gold Dust Woman. I love the copy of The Velvet Underground's Andy Warhol with the bright orange disc. I love the poster we found in Sgt. Pepper. I love the four-disc box set of Die Zauberflote from 1941 that I found for 2.99.

But most of all, I love the way Mom-Cat stared in amazement at the spinning records in the player, moving her head around in tight little circles.

I encourage everyone to go to their nearest Goodwill and buy a beat-up old record player and a stack of dusty old records. Make sure the covers have that giant circle scuffed onto them that old record covers get. You'll thank me.
That's it, I'm moving to Canada

The U.S. continues to take baby-steps towards becoming the Taliban. It's a slippery, slippery slope.

The board of Georgia's second-largest school district voted Thursday night to give teachers permission to introduce students to varying views about the origin of life, including creationism.

The proposal, approved unanimously by the Cobb County school board, says the district believes "discussion of disputed views of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced education, including the study of the origin of species."

Uh-huh. Full store here.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

It's Banned Book Week

Everybody stop shouting about who's going to blow up whom and read this or this or this.

And for more info on banned books go here.
Yeah, yeah I know...

If Saddam Hussein tried to kill my father, I'd be just as upset. But it just doesn't sound...professional when your president refers to his "dad."
With(out) a little help from our friends

William Burton has some great things to say about the way the Bush administration handles its foreign policy.

If you tell people You're not important; I couldn't give a rat's ass what you think; no, we're not gonna help you with your own problems (which was the Bushie attitude towards the world before Sept 11th), it makes it a hell of a lot harder to get cooperation when you really want it....Why don't we try to do all the symbolic stuff that may be a pain in the ass, but doesn't really hurt (like ratifying the UN treaties on the Rights of Women and the Rights of Children); then we can do stuff that only hurts us a little but helps others a lot (like loosening trade rules for textiles with Turkey and Pakistan); then we'll get a lot more smiles thrown our way when we really need something.

I've always thought the basic role of the president in foreign policy matters was to be national schmoozer. Shake hands, have tea in front of the oil painting of a founding father, smile for the cameras, make a little business deal. This has to be the thing the Bush administration is the worst at.
Okay, you caught me

So I went to bed last night instead of posting more.

So sue me.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Several things, to get me warmed up.

Okay, kids, seems I have a case of blogger's block, so I shall need to get warmed up today

First, apparently there's more to that child beating live on tape! that I first thought. Now, not only are we sensationalizing a family in crisis, but we're maligning a minority culture as well!

Next up, Slate sets it straight about the Rosa Parks comments in the new film Barbershop. Seems two young proto-riolgrrls protested the "back of the bus" policy months before Parks did.

And also, I think the fact that so many states are removing stupid, horrible laws from their books and stupid, horrible wordings from their constitutions is a wonderful thing. It may seem trifling and uber-P.C. to some, but it's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

And Finally...

I saw this on MSNBC (okay, you got me, I did watch it) the other day, and am glad that it's been deemed worthy of a "Bushism":

We need an energy bill that encourages consumption...

Now, that's the problem with America, we just don't consume enough!

See the Bushisms here.
Plucky Punk goes Homer Simpson

Michael Kinsley said something in a recent Slate column that literally made me say "Woo-hoo!"

If the great essential truth about terrorism is that some people just hate the United States, the obvious next question is, Why?

God forbid anyone ask that question. Because, you know, we might just have to (gasp) consider the actions of our Great Nation and how they affect the world! Kinsley goes on to say:

If the subjective basis for terrorists hating America is off limits for consideration, that would seem to leave the objective basis: Is it something we did, or didn't do, to them or theirs?


Kinsley's piece is focuses on a very silly book-ette by William J. Bennett, but the general points he makes about what a cop-out it is to explain away the cause of terror as "evil" make it worth reading in general. See it here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Better late than never

Almost exactly two years too late, Al Gore has regained his moxie.

Now far more damaging, however, is the Administration's attack on fundamental constitutional rights that we ought to have and do have as American citizens. The very idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedies, and that this can be done on the sole say-so of the President or those acting in his name, is beyond the pale and un-American and it ought to be stopped.

If Gore can take this spitfire and run with it, perhaps the next election he's in won't be nearly so close as the last one was.

Monday, September 23, 2002

I don't know nothin bout profilin no races!

Denials of racial profiling on commercial flights are starting to sound more and more ridiculous. Take this story about a Indian-born doctor Bob Rajcoomar, a naturalized citizen and former U.S. Army major, who was detained on August 31, for the crime of upsetting air marshals with his looks.

Rajcoomar said the marshals came over to him. "One of these marshals came down to me and said, 'Head down, hands over your head!'"

Rajcoomar said he was given no explanation for why he was being held.

"One of the marshals said something like, 'We didn't like the way you look,'" he said.

Read more here and here. Links via Google.

America, As Seen on TV

People in this country only care about something if they see it on television.

I know that's not exactly big news, but it struck me this week while seeing and reading about that Indiana woman who beat up her kid live on tape! Yes, it was horrible. Yes, the woman is probably a bad mother.

But guess what, folks, it happens every day! How many people who sat in front of MSNBC's Live Coverage would have done anything if they saw someone beating their child in a parking lot? Right now, someone is doing to their child what Madelyne Gorman Toogood did to hers, and there isn't any footage of it. Who will help that child?

Okay, so that was a little maudlin, but I'm feeling kind of weepy today. Anyway, anyone in the Albuquerque area who might want to help can help out this place. It's pretty cool.
Blahgger, again

For some reason there's two 9/22-9/28 archives on the archive page. Maybe Blogger especially liked that week.
Happy Anniversary to Us

from 9/23/00 to infinity

aww....gosh i sure do love that guy...

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Justice! Pt. 2

Those three "Muslim Medical Students" (as they will now be known for the rest of their lives) are now able to continue their education with some semblance of normalcy. Maybe now cable news will stop talking about it.

Well, for aging astronauts, anyway. Buzz Aldrin is not going to face charges for decking a whack-job .

Fox's cable channel (FX) has annonced its plans for a new TV show that hopes to nominate a presidential canditate for 2004.

I don't even know what to say.

Apparently the candidate will be chosen using the same sort of over-the-phone polling from that sad, sad show American IdoI. I wonder if more people will vote on this than at the actual presidential election? Will Florida manage to screw up this as well? Will the candidate be Democrat or Republican? Or will they have to make their own "TV Person's" party? Will the winner fight Darva Congers on Fox's own Celebrity Boxing?

I think all the old phone phreaks should get together and make it so Joe Briefcase (from whom I got the link, thank you) wins.

Saturday, September 21, 2002


I know I haven't posted anything in a few days. Fear not, intrepid readers, I'm just working long hours. Got to pay the bills!
Not like this guy, though. Stupid capitalism, mumble, grumble, grumble....

Thursday, September 19, 2002

How cool is this?

I so want this car. Maybe by 2010 I will be rich enough to afford it.

A silly-looking dinosaur has just been discovered. Will it appear in Jurassic Park IV?

And finally, our esteemed leader seems to be some sort of a subliminal Who fan. He won't get fooled again!
I will never say anything to anyone while in public ever again.

This whole"Muslim Medical Students" fiasco is just getting more and more ridiculous. At first I found it bemusingly funny, much like that old "Hit the floor, lady" joke.

Karen, a Midwestern housewife, took her first trip to Las Vegas last year. She had done very well playing the slot machines, winning a bucket full of quarters. Karen needed a break, and she left the casino heading toward the elevators, taking her bucket with her.
She steps into the elevator and before the doors shut, four beefy, leather-clad African-American men step in. Karen (never having spent much time with African Americans) clutches her bucket close to her body.

One of the men says, "Hit the floor, lady," and she does: quarters fly everywhere. The men bust up laughing and they help Karen collect her winnings. One of the men explains that he meant for her to select her floor. They help her collect her quarters and the elevator arrives at her floor. She leaves embarrassed, and the men are still laughing.

(via Snopes, which has no permalinks, so that's the best you'll get)

However, it's become plainly clear that the bad thing that really happened here is not anything either of the parties involved may or may not have done, but the outright lies and sensationalism foisted on the American public by the pseudo-celebrites in cable news. One, maybe naive but certianly well-meaning, woman and three young men who once had the promise of medical careers ahead of them, have had their lives disrupted and probably ruined because of the media.

But who behaved in very bad faith? Who else—your cable press corps! Indeed, let’s extend all praise to [James] Zogby [of the Arab-American Institute] for his comments when he spoke with O’Brien. “The problem here is not the woman. The problem is you,” he boldly said. “CNN covered this thing live as did others and the problem therefore is that it fed the hysteria.”

The Daily Howler has the real story here.

It's comforting...

It's comforting to see that free thinking isn't in danger in this country, after all.

When 15-year-old Katie Sierra wore T-shirts bearing [a highly cynical version] of the American pledge as well as other sayings that showed her opposition to the war in Afghanistan, teachers and students at her West Virginia High School were outraged.

I always love it when people buck their cultural norms. For instance, I take a strange delight in the fact that Ted Nugent, a product of the 60's and 70's, is such a straight-laced conservative in person. I rejoice at "white rappers" and I smile gleefully when I see fellow black punk rockers walking down the street. I love Drag Queens and Drag Kings. House husbands and career moms, wonderful. I could go on and on. So I think it's great that a 15-year-old girl from West Virgina found the courage to stand up for what she believes in, in the face of all that fair-weather flag-waving and cultural jingoism.

Full story here. Link via Cursor.

*UPDATE* For the full store on Katie Sierra, I suggest this site.

Monday, September 16, 2002

See what can happen when we don't bomb them? provides me with another surprising story. Seems like Iran is on the verge of an internally-produced change.

...if you spend time here, you are likely to come away with the strong sense that things will change. The hardliners are still in charge. But there is a mood in the street — a determination to lead a freer, less isolated life — that in the long run, seems irreversible.


This story reminded me of something Robert Wright wrote in Slate a while back.

So, why haven't any big anti-American terrorist plots been hatched by Iranians? For one thing, thanks to the 1979 revolution, America is no longer backing their repressive monster. Iran, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, has lots of angry people, but the ones who are angry at their government don't have the United States to blame for it. In fact, since they want more moderate, perhaps even secular rule, the American way is as close to being the solution as the problem.

Good point. If it becomes impossible to blame all your problems on a particular group, let's say "America", then you're less likely to want to do bad things to members of that particular group. For instance, not one Muslim Theocracy thinks Finland is "The Great Satan". I wonder why?

In the interests of "American Security", it might be better for out armies to take a more "hands-off" approach. This is problematic, however, because I also feel that as a "superpower" the United States has a responsibility to take action, to "stop bad things when they are happening". What we need to do is to redefine what that entails.

I've linked to Wright's pieces before, but here they are again. I recommend all nine entries.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

I should really, really go to bed by now

But this is so almost funny that I had to bring it to your attention. It reminds me of how my father suffers many "randomly not random" searches while in airports.

*UPDATE* Okay, this officially makes it not that funny anymore

Since Friday, the hospital has asked the students to transfer somewhere else after receiving numerous threats. Hospital president Dr. Jack Michel said Saturday his hospital has received an overwhelming number of e-mails and phone calls that he described as "threatening, ethnic, racial e-mails directed at Muslim-Americans."

Seriously, what's wrong with some people?

Friday, September 13, 2002

America the Dinosaur

Tom Tomorrow has a great post today (well, yesterday) about the backwardness of America's war mentality. He says one of the best thing's I've heard recently about the politics of our country.

Well, the United States is in danger of becoming the RIAA of global politics.

Read up here.
No, Really, I Hate Ann Coulter

Again I preface this post by saying I don't really hate Coulter. I hate the things she says. Especially when she says things like she did in her last two columns. Now, I know that Coulter is a right-wing extremist. (Can anyone else think a group of right-wing extremists using a severe twisting of religous beliefs to attack the culture of their percieved enemy? Hmmm....let me think...) But her recent statements leave the realm of political discourse (or, rather, leave political discourse even further behind than she already has) and enter the world of of propaganda.

In her 9/11 column Coulter talks about a lesson plan suggested by the National Council for Social Studies The lesson plan involves a short story entitled "My Name is Osama".

Calculatedly inciting hatred toward white American boys, the story is about a nasty little boy, "Todd," who taunts an Iraqi immigrant named "Osama." This is the lesson to commemorate the biggest hate crime in history committed by someone named "Osama" against people with names like "Todd."

Well, the thing that Coulter misses entirely is that the "biggest hate crime in history" was not just committed against people with names like "Todd." It was also committed against people with names like "Moustafa" and "Mario" and "Manuel" and "Keiko". The greatest thing about New York City is that it is the opposite of homogenous. It is filled with people bearing names running the spectrum from "Todd" to "Osama". The attack was not on "Todd". The attack was on "Americans". This is something that Coulter likes to cite and then simultaneously deny. To quote her again from a passage I find maddening,

By "America," I obviously mean to exclude newsrooms, college campuses, Manhattan, and Los Angeles

Here we see Coulter's brand of severe doublethink in effect. The 9/11 attacks happened to "Todds" (i.e., average, white, sterotypical, apple-pie "Americans"), and yet the place where (one of) the attacks happened, namely Manhattan, is not "America." Which is it?

In Coulter's 9/4 column, titled "Murder For Fun and Prophet", Coulter mentions several examples of Muslims who have committed horrific acts, and "exposes" elements of hypocrisy in the Quran. Now, being a devout agnostic, I am the first to point out hypocrisy in any organized religion. For instance, "Thou Shalt Not Kill", unless you're setting a "witch" on fire, killing an abortion doctor, in the military (self-explanatory), or govenor of Texas. Also, "Love thy Neighbor", unless they're Native Americans you've given smallpox-infected blankets to, illegal Mexican immigrants desparate for work, scientists daring to recognize that the Earth revolves around the sun, or in the military (there's a link for ya...)

Coulter convieniently forgets to mention the hypocritical elements in her own religion, not to mention the fact that she herself is constantly violating the major tenets of it.

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

Way to turn the other cheek, Ann.

Again, thanks to Anti-Coulter for most of the info.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Not posting anything today, saving all ironic commentary for tomorrow.

But, here's this to tide you over.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002


My place of employment is "celebrating" the anniversary of September 11th by decorating everything with red, white, and blue streamers and balloons. It's all very jubilant-looking, as though we're about to have a picnic and watch fireworks.

Is it just me, or is that downright creepy? Like, "Yay, It's September 11th, the one-year anniversary of the murder of thousands of people, everyone get together and celebrate!"


I'll write more on this later.

Monday, September 09, 2002

A bad day for Quality Entertainment

And now there's this news....Farscape is cancelled! A good friend of mine introduced me to the show just a few months ago, and I was just starting to get into it! Well, everybody get together and protest.

Info here.

And here.

And here.

Hopefully a good show will be saved. Meanwhile, the winner of Fox's American Idol has been invited to sing the National Anthem at the Lincoln Memorial on September 11th. Read about it, and mourn the loss of good taste, here.
Creative Bankruptcy

What's wrong with American culture? For one, Hollywood keeps things like this movie from happening.

Don Quixote is the film Terry Gilliam was born to make. It would have been genius. It, at least, would have been better than this movie, or this one, or cripes, especially this waste of everything.

I can't believe that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, one of the most intellectual movies to come out in the 90's, is out of print. And yet Bio-Dome, a movie so bad that I mourn the trees that had to die to make the paper the script was written on, is now available on DVD.

Oh well. At least Lance Bass won't be going N'Space!!!
It's bad enough he was almost in Star Wars

I'm sure there are myriad reasons this happened. Whether it's money, or health problems, or lack of training, I don't care. I'm just glad that Lance Bass won't be going N'Space!!! Thank GAWD!

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Okay, so this is Uber-Old News by now, but...

...this is my blog and I'll do what I want. had an Op-ed a few days ago about the 2000 "election". Things like this are worth remembering when the current White House administration is busy doing that voodoo that it does so well.

Also, here's another something dragged up from awhile back. Remeber those red-and-blue maps that apparently showcased Bush's clear victory over Gore? Well, here's a more accurate version of said map.

Thanks to Scoobie Davis Online and This Modern World for the links.

I find myself increasingly disgusted these days as more and more 9/11 kitsch surfaces. Heather Havrilesky of Salon writes

Five basketball seasons, 53 movies, seven hair colors, two gym memberships, four long distance carriers, three girlfriends and two e-mail addresses from now, we'll be scrapping those commemorative plates at a yard sale. In America today, those who can't remember the past for more than two seconds without getting interrupted by their cellphones may be condemned to repeat it.

Full article here. Another must-read.
Look Ma, Logic!

For the past few days Slate has been offereing some of the most cogent pieces of writing on the "war on terror" that I've yet read. The series, written by Robert Wright, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, uses logical reasoning to offer a possible resolution to our vague and hovering war.

My husband once opined, after watching yet another night of depressing evening news, that if someone wants to kill you, then the only way to ever be safe after that is to make them not want to kill you anymore. Wright says something similar.

We have to understand that terrorism is fundamentally a "meme"—a kind of "virus of the mind," a set of beliefs and attitudes that spreads from person to person. One way to squelch terrorism is to kill or arrest the people whose brains are infected with the meme, and the Bush administration has done some of that effectively. But some forms of killing and arresting—especially the kinds that get us bad publicity—do so much to spread the meme that our enterprise suffers a net loss.

In other words, fighting to stop terror does no good at all if when you're done you get more terrorists than you had when you started. Makes sense to me. So how should we fight terror? With Democracy and economic recovery.

We can instead intervene at the level of economics and politics, and if we're successful, then the radical variants of Islam will lose support; radical "memes" will find fewer brains willing to host them....

This would have several benefits: 1) It would give young men an outlet for economic ambition, diverting them from radical pursuits. 2) It would give young men an outlet for political ambition by abetting pluralism; after all, global capitalism brings modern information technologies that are powerful tools of political expression and of interest-group formation. 3) It would expand person-to-person contact with the West in a natural, enduring way; when it comes to nurturing multicultural tolerance, there's nothing like doing a mutually profitable deal with a foreigner. 4) It would expand the number of affluent Muslims who, by virtue of dependence on trade, have a stake in preserving world order against terrorist disruption, and in nourishing their country's reputation as a stable place for foreign investment.

In other words, if we treat Middle East nations as equals in our foriegn policy (economically, politically, and otherwise) then maybe they won't hate us anymore. Again, makes sense to me.

It's a definite must-read.

Friday, September 06, 2002

In Bog We Trust

Salon once again has an excellent article , this time about the recent Athieism vs. Pledge of Allegiance hulabaloo. Things like the "Under God" and the "In God We Trust" may seem trifles to many, but they mean alot to some.

I know I was always a bit creeped out by pledging myself to something I didn't necessarily believe in. Is teaching our children doublethink, even in the smallest way, really what we need right now? Or ever?
Politic-Free Peace March

Anyone in the Albuquerque, NM area interested in participating in a September 11th peace march see here. Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view. You can get that for free here. I'll give you specific info via email if you need it.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Whoo hoo, Road Trip!

Not much bloggery for the next few days, as I am going on a road trip.
Breeding Hate

Salon has a story today regarding the forced deportations of the family members of Palestinian suicide bombers. Two relatives of a suicide bomber are being forcefully deported from their homes. These two people were apparently accessoried to the bombing.

The court said Intisar and Kifah Ajouri had advance knowledge of the attack. The army has said Intisar Ajouri sewed the explosives belts for the bombing.

Fine. Then charge them with that crime, don't just expel them because of an accident of birth. Persecuting someone unfairly (yes, even a guilty person can be treated unfairly) only leads to more hate.

Two days after the Tel Aviv bombing, army bulldozers demolished the family's three-story home with six apartments -- five for Mrs. Ajouri's five sons and their families, and one for Mrs. Ajouri, her husband and their unmarried daughter, Intisar.

"That (the demolition) was not enough for them. They want to kill everyone in the family by deportation," Mrs. Ajouri said. Ali Ajouri was killed in an Israeli army strike Aug. 6.

How many more "fighters against oppression" does the Israeli government want to create? Suicide bombing is a monstrous, horrible, inhuman act. But if Israel's goal (well, the government of Israel's goal) is to restore order and end the cycle of death, this is exactly the opposite kind of thing they should be doing.

In the United States, if the government knows where a murderer is, they arrest him. In Israel, they blow up his apartment building, killing a bunch of little kids inside. Then, in order to "make things right" some Palestinian teenager enraged by this act will explode himself in a shopping mall, killing a bunch of people who where committing the crime of going shopping. That is, if an Israeli soldier doesn't shoot him and the 5 innocent Palestinian bystanders standing next to him first.

I'm so depressed today...