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....