Tuesday, December 30, 2003
(I imagine the above line sung to the tune of Alice Cooper's "Welcome to my Nightmare...")
Welcome to Puck's Den of Iniquity, by housemate of mine, and husband's brother, Transformer Dan.
I like his blog. It's very the World Wide Web circa 1995.
I think Sinead O'Connor should sing Bob Marley's "War" a capella at the Democratic National Convention and tear up a picture of George W. Bush while shouting "Fight the Real Enemy!"
Maybe that will get the message through the Democratic Presidential Candidates' thick skulls.
Look, guys, when you do all the infighting like this not only do you each individually look like assholes, but you each make each other look like such jerks that my fellow unwashed masses in America will find whichever of you wins the nomination so unappealing that they'll stay home election day and Dubya will have another turn at the wheel.
Wesley Clark and Howard Dead especially, kiss and make up already. Together you guys could rock. Does it really matter which one of you is listed first on the ticket and which of you is listed second. You could flip for it as far as I'm concerned. Or rock-paper-scissors, if you prefer.
Just please, save some mud to sling at Bush. Because we all know how unelectable he really is.
In 2003 I managed to hold my gorge down during League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tomb Raider 2: Cradle of Life, and the phenomenally icky Dreamcatcher, and yet have not seen Lost in Translation, In America (actually from last year, but released in the states in 2003), American Splendor, Winged Migration, or any of the movies on critic's "10 Best of 2003" lists that aren't Return of the King.
This is very bad.
My husband comes from a family that went to the movies once or twice a year, and to popcorny, feel-good movies at that. My family went to the movies every single weekend, often depressing dramas at that. When I married my husband, I swore that mine was the family tradition that would carry on. I really have to try harder. Although I do enjoy a good popcorn flick, for every Pirates of the Caribbean there seem to be seven or eight Shanghai Knights.
Although I did manage to get him to go see Whale Rider with me.
This is an issue that really pisses me off.
Let me state that I am ethnically Cuban, Black (yes, Mr. President, they have Black people in Cuba as well as Brazil), Italian, Spaniard, and Chinese. I take pride in the many cool things in all of these ancestries and cultural legacies. I consider myself to "be" all of these things (and don't see any conflict between this and my identity as an American, either).
That's why this abcnews.com article really annoyed me. It tells the non un-interesting story of Wayne Joseph, a man who took a DNA test out of curiosity and found out that he's not black like he thought he was.
...After seeing a TV story last April about a Florida company, DNA Print Genomics, which marketed an ancestry-by-DNA test, he began to wonder exactly how much of him was African, how much wasn't, and what else there might be in his genes.
...A few weeks later, the results arrived at his comfortable Claremont, Calif., home.
"I just glanced at it, just a cursory glance initially Â didn't really notice it much," Joseph said. "Then, I went back to it, because all of a sudden it hit me exactly what I had read. And it read, 57 percent Indo-European, 39 percent Native American, 4 percent East Asian and 0 percent African.
Fine, interesting. Andcertainlyy a strange discovery to find out about one's self. One that probably could lead to a newfound interest in your family'sgenealogyy, and a new interest in the cultures that your ancestors came from.
Fine. Great. But the annoying part comes later.
Only in an absurd farce, like The Jerk, does a white man identify himself as black, though, in a way, that is precisely what Wayne Joseph proudly, if unwittingly, did for the last 50 years. The question is, what does he do now?
Emphasis mine. Wow. Poor Wayne Joseph, just discovered that he's White, Native American, and East Asian, and instead of being able to embrace these new facets of himself, loses the last two a few paragraphs later. Citing the "one drop makes you black" rule, writer Jim Wooten seems to have let slide the "one drop makes you white" rule.
Wayne Joseph is not White. He is White and Native American and East Asian. He should embrace all sides of his heritage. (I myself would be curious about the East Asian. That's probably some interesting family history, there.)
In a move sure to prevent terrorist attacks everywhere, the FBI has urged local law enforcement officials to keep an eye out for people carrying almanacs. Poor Ben Franklin is spinning in his grave.
In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."
It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.
I'm sorry, I just cannot take this seriously. The thought of what my local police department (notorious for doing things like shooting to death people who are threatening suicide) would do to someone of dusky hue observing a touristy landmark with an annotated almanac in their bag makes the mind reel.
But beyond that, if terrorist organizations had used the Internet to get this information (and I'm sure it's all there), would anyone with an internet connection be suspicious? Will old ladies' almanacs be confiscated at airports as well as their tweezers?
We captured Saddam, but forgot about all those pesky almanac publishing houses?
I'm sure the government can expend its energy in much better ways. Like capturing Osama bin Laden, for example.
Go ahead, accuse me of buying into the Mad Cow disease hype. I don't care.
But this post at Sisyphus Shrugged has me wanting to yak. Total, complete ick.
Also recommended for budding PETA members, the excellent My Year of Meats, by Ruth Ozeki, which manages to be about Japanese/American culture clashes, female empowerment, fertility problems, eating disorders, the retch-worthy American beef industry, and good all at the same time.
Some prick broke into our VW bus and stole my copy a few years ago. I hope they've eaten lots of hormone-injected, BSE-infected beef since then.
Whatever that holiday might have been. Whenever it might have been.
I myself prefer New Year's to Christmas, and am really looking forward to putting 2003 behind me. It kind of sucked, let's face it.
2004 seems more promising, with the hope of a new president, new film classes, and the Extended Edition DVD ot Return of the King (mostly joking!).
Plus, my ten year high school reunion will be in a year. I've heard that a particularly nasty former bedmate of mine is now fat and miserable. Can't wait to see him.
In April I will be closer to 30 than to 20, which is a good thing. I've always thought the most well-rounded, wholesome people in the world were 30-year old women.
I'm feeling kind of ruminative tonight, and in that spirit I will now post a series of New Year's resolutions for 2004 (when, I've heard, all the old computers will freak out and think it's 1904!).
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Here I am, idly browsing the internet whilst awaiting the coming Holidays when I come across the funniest Albuquerque joke ever.
This is so close to what our local paper is like, it's uncanny.
Found at the fantabulous Metaquerque, who seems to take pictures of what Albuquerque actually looks like. Thanks be to Quirky Burque for pointing me in his direction.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Proving Howard Dean's point, the Office of Homeland Security raised the terror threat level to Orange today.
Ridge cited reports that Osama bin-Laden's terrorist network is trying find holes in U.S. aviation security, and that "extremists abroad" are anticipating attacks that will rival or exceed the scope of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The government elevated the threat level, last raised in May, after U.S. intelligence agencies "received a substantial increase in the volume of threat-related intelligence reports," Ridge said.
I really think this whole color coded system is silly. But that's for another post.
I thought that capturing Saddam Hussein was supposed to make Americans safer? Who is this Osama bin Laden fellow they keep mentioning? I thought we already captured all the insane dictators who wanted to kill Americans?
It's not that I'm not impressed by Hussein's capture. I just don't think he was the one we should have been looking for.
Friday, December 19, 2003
You know, the first time I read Dante's Inferno, I could picture myself among the wrathful and the gloomy. They seemed like punks and goths to me, respectively.
The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Fifth Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Very Low|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Very Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Very High|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Moderate|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Extreme|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Extreme|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Extreme|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||High|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||High|
Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
Via Thousand Yard Glare.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that an American citizen must be treated like an American citizen.
In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites) said Padilla's detention was not authorized by Congress and that Bush could not designate him as an enemy combatant without the authorization.
..."As this court sits only a short distance from where the World Trade Center stood, we are as keenly aware as anyone of the threat al-Qaida poses to our country and of the responsibilities the president and law enforcement officials bear for protecting the nation," the court said.
"But presidential authority does not exist in a vacuum, and this case involves not whether those responsibilities should be aggressively pursued, but whether the president is obligated, in the circumstances presented here, to share them with Congress," it added.
So, no, Mr. Bush, you cannot do whatever you want.
Don't get me wrong, I truly hope they put this guy away for awhile. But to think that Jose Padilla is getting treated differently that, say, this man, or this man, or hey even this man is astounding.
Padilla is Hispanic. Those other three guys were white.
It really makes you go hmmmmm. You know, what an amazing coincidence that three white terrorists get trials in US court while the Hispanic terrorist is held indefinitely without a trial. I'm shocked!
But probably not that much. You get used to things like this after awhile.
But I really don't think capturing Sadaam Hussein will make much of a difference in Iraq. For one, I really don't think he was running too many things cowered down in that hidey-hole growing an Osama-like beard all these months.
I am glad he's been captured. We should release him to that international court in the Hague we refuse to participate in because Henry Kissinger might get nabbed.
Or, just turn him owver to his own people. Maybe they'll hang him like Mussolini. But I have to agree with Howard Dean, I don't think Americans are any safer because of Hussein's capture
I'm probably going to be proven wrong on this one, but a plywood box underground doesn't really seem like a main base of operations or a military HQ or anything like that.
Also, and more obviously, things like this keep happening.
Now, if only we could capture OSAMA BIN LADEN already! You remember Osama bin Laden, right? Please tell me somebody does!
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Monday, November 24, 2003
I'm as equally pissed off as Hesiod that Senate Democrats have rolled over for the Medicare Bill, and I had written something particularly biting and pithy about it but blogger ate the stupid post...
Just read Hesiod about it instead
Saturday, November 22, 2003
I tell you, you haven't lived until you've felt the exhilaration of having the power company switch your power off.
It was like, "Gee, I'm bored...I think I'll read some blogs....watch TV...refrigerate some food...take a hot shower....d'oh, I'm Amish now!"
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
You really shouldn't piss old people off. Unlike my own unmotivated demographic, they actually vote.
So you know fear was struck in the heart of someone somewhere in Washington when old people started burning thier AARP cards, to protest the new perscription drug bill.
Link via Counerspin Central.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
George W. Bush proves that if you can't beat Osama bin Laden, you should join him.
Nov. 18, 2003 | LONDON (AP) -- President Bush criticized Tuesday's ruling by Massachusetts' highest court striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage and said he would work with Congress to "defend the sanctity of marriage."
"Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman," Bush said in a statement released shortly after he arrived in London for a state visit. He said the ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court "violates this important principle."
..."I will work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage," he said.
Sanctity of marraige, my ass. Does that mean we'll never have to watch this crap ever again?
I'm hoping I haven't alienated my entire tiny readership by my constant absence.
Anyway, this post and this one too at Body and Soul inspired me to write something today. This post is taken from my comments there. (And spell-checked, too!)
Jeanne is writing about The Bookseller of Kabul, a controversial book by Asne Seierstad. Jeanne has a link to the firstchapterr of the book.
Reading it got me thinking.
The ethnocentricity of Westerners when looking at other cultures sometimes amazes me. We often try to eradicate sexism where it may not exist, or inadvertently make problems worse when trying to fix them.
Example: there's a group of people living in central New Guinea called the Grand Valley Dani, that had been pretty much left alone by the west until the 1950's. They had existed with stone-age technology up until pretty much the 1970s, when their culture was jolted into the 20th century.
The Dani were pretty much egalitarian between the sexes. Polygyny (having more than one wife) was practiced, but the women weren't "bought and sold" or treated as property. Husbandsrespectedd their wives. Women owned the gardens that they grew their food in. The men did hard physical labor like building houses and tilling soil, leaving women to thinks like plant potatoes or gather salt. Nobody had to work very hard and most of the day was spent sitting and gossiping.
One practice of the Dani, however, was kind of barbaric. If someone died, after the funeral some girls from the compound would have the first joint of a finger removed as a kind of sacrifice. As a result, most adult women were missing a joint on most of their fingers. They were still able to do things like weaving with their mutilated fingers, but heavy work was out of the question.
So, in come the Dutch missionaries and put a stop to this practice. Of course they do. The idea of mutilating little girl's fingers is pretty creepy to me. A generation later, almost no women have their fingers mutilated. The unintentional result of all of this is that now women do all of the work. They till the fields, build houses, tend the pigs, gather salt, do the cooking, everything. When a man needs more help with a major task, he used to gather all of the men from his neighborhood to help. Now he gets another wife.
So, ending funerary finger mutilation did not end gender inequality in the society. It seems to have made it worse.
My point is, that we can't just go into Afghanistan and take off everybody's burkas, or get rid of polygyny and expect that to solve all the problems. The burka is not the problem. Polygyny is not the problem.
Government regulations forcing you to wear a burka under threat of a beating or worse, now that was a problem.
Now they have other problems in Afghanistan that need fixing. What they're wearing doesn't seem to me to be one of them. Who they're sleeping with doesn't seem to be the problem, either.
People like the author of this book want to eradicate the traditions that offend theirsensibilitiess, but they don't want to help the women of Afghanistan gain real power in society.
Power of the type that women are still struggling to gain and keep here in America.
To quote this Salon article:
When I asked my English students what they would buy their mothers if they were given $20, burqas (more properly called chadoris) were the gift of choice; when I asked what improvements the girls sought at Balkh University, they mentioned a changing room to put on their chadoris at the end of the school day. I was surprised at my own vehemence when I suggested that they throw the chadoris out instead. Later, then-deputy women's minister Tajwar Kakar complained to me that the only topic female journalists wanted to discuss was the veil -- not education, not job-training, just the veil.
Getting rid of things like burkas or polygyny, or finger-mutilation among the Dani, make us feel good. We can see the little changes on the surface and ignore the actual problems deep beneath.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Thursday, November 06, 2003
That sounds like fun. Via Naked Furniture.
Here's another fun one.
What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla
But that was really smashingly obvious.
Jeeze, I thought the partial-birth abortion (a term, by the way, that is not a medical one but was invented by the anti-abortion people to sound especially icky) was bad enough before reading this at TBogg.
The husband or the woman's parents (if she is not eighteen) can sue her for having an abortion.
Now keep in mind that the Republicans specifically kept out language regarding the health of the woman that would allow her to have the procedure for psychological reasons. Yet the husband can ask for damages for psychological injuries.
Cripes. No wonder we've given up searching for Osama Bin Laden. His spirit is alive and well in the White House!
Hope you're enjoying your ride down the slippery slope!
I have a newfound respect for former POW Jessica Lynch. Like many of us, I'm sure, I've been annoyed by the way the media and the military seemed to be turning her into a peaches-and-cream heroine, a damsel in distress sort of emblem for all that is good in America. Lynch, unlike that "Let's Roll" widow, recognizes this is horrible and calls the media on their bullshit.
Initial reports portrayed the Army supply clerk, then 19, as a hero who was wounded by Iraqi gunfire but kept firing until her ammunition ran out, shooting several Iraqis.
But Lynch confirms that was not the case. She tells Sawyer she was just a soldier in the wrong place at the wrong time, whose gun jammed during the chaos. "I'm not about to take credit for something I didn't do,"
..."I don't look at myself as a hero," she adds. "My heroes are Lori [Pfc. Lori Piestewa], the soldiers that are over there, the soldiers that were in that car beside me, the ones that came and rescued me." Piestewa was one of the 11 members of Lynch's unit, the 507th Maintenance, who were killed in the ambush near the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah.
Well, at least someone is mentioning Piestewa, who I think should really be the one emerging as a hero and poster-girl.
There was also another aspect of Lynch's story here that I find disturbing. Maybe I'm just naive about how the military usually works, but you'd like to hope that they'd be fighting with reliable equipment, at the bare minimum.
She said her convoy was surrounded by Iraqi attackers: "They were coming from everywhere. We had vehicles getting stuck, vehicles running out of gas Â our weapons were jamming."
...In the chaos of the ambush, Lynch says, she discovered that her gun was jammed and she was unable to defend herself. She was never able to fire her weapon.
Scary. But, the worst thing about this article I think is the fact that it has the tawdry headline "Jessica Lynch Says She Can't Remember Sexual Assault" and said assault is mentioned only once in the very first paragraph. The article goes on for four pages after that without mentioning sexual assault. Does the media really think the American public is so hungry to read about the rape of a soldier that they'll use it as a headline that misleading as to what the article is really about?
Worse still, is the American public actually hungry to read about the rape of a soldier? Creepy.
Sorry about the dearth of posting lately. I've been sort of busy at school. Also, the prospect of not being able to go back to school next semester has me too depressed to blog. If I were some giant blogger like Atrios I'd get a paypal account and ask for money, but since the 30 or so of you a day who wind up here are probably as hard-up for cash as I am, I won't bother.
Plus, that's kind of weird.
Anyway, sorry about the neglect.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
I'm told that in Netscape and Mozilla the posts on this page get progressively smaller in font. But it looks fine in IE. Any ideas?
UPDATE: Never mind, thanks to the keen eye of Desert Jo, problem solved! Lesson learned, count your "small" and "span" tags.
Monday, November 03, 2003
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
In the spirit of Talk Like Bill O'Reily Day, and Misappropriate Michael Savage's Name Day, and Poke Fun at the Cheneys Day (not to mention the "Fair and Balanced" that remains in my blog title) may I humbly suggest Donald Luskin is a Creepy Stalker Day?
Read Atrios for the low-down.
Afterthought: Is it just me or are neo-cons the most litigious bunch of sue-happy bastards you've ever heard of?
Addendum: Well, it's official, kids. Friday is, courtesy of Jesse at Pandagon, Donald Luskin Day! Plan your party now!
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Holy crap! was all I could think after reading this story at Eschaton.
Oct., 17 — A child custody dispute in Nebraska has become the subject of a civil rights protest after a judge warned a Mexican American father that his visitation rights would be severely limited if he insisted on speaking “the Hispanic language” to his 5-year-old daughter.
... Amador, who was born in Texas and speaks fluent English and Spanish, told the judge, “I don’t come to her speaking Spanish, but there are times when I try to teach her what ‘hair’ is in Spanish, what ‘hand’ is, stuff like that.”
Reagan replied that English should be the principal language, but said Amador could teach his daughter a few words.
“Are you telling me I can teach it to her but not speak it?” Amador asked.
“That’s right,” Reagan said. “The principal form of communication . . . is going to English” and not “the Hispanic language.”
“What kind of ignorant statement is that?” asked state Sen. Ernie Chambers, who filed a complaint on Amador’s behalf with the state Committee on Judicial Qualifications. “There’s no such thing as speaking Hispanic.”
Wow. If I were a cartoon character, my eyes would be goggling out of my head right now.
|You are 53% geek||You are a geek. Good for you! Considering the endless complexity of the universe, as well as whatever discipline you happen to be most interested in, you'll never be bored as long as you have a good book store, a net connection, and thousands of dollars worth of expensive equipment. Assuming you're a technical geek, you'll be able to afford it, too. If you're not a technical geek, you're geek enough to mate with a technical geek and thereby get the needed dough. Dating tip: Don't date a geek of the same persuasion as you. You'll constantly try to out-geek the other.|
I think that's a respectable amount of geek. Just enough to be snobbish about my superior intelligence (ha-ha), but not too much to be sadly socially awkward.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Sometimes things the Israeli government does just makes me want to smack myself in the forehead.
Sunday's demolitions, which according to Palestinian official left at least 156 families homeless, were not the first at Netzarim junction. In October 2000, Israeli troops razed twin residential towers there that saw intensive gunfights.
But they were the largest demolition of Palestinian Authority buildings in Gaza since the start of the uprising.
Hey-at least they evacuated the surrounding area first, which seems unusual for the Israeli government. But what, pray tell, do they think will become of the 156 homeless families? Do they think the young men (and women) in those families are unlikely to join up with Hamas and try to kill the people they would see as making them homeless and ruining their lives? What are they going to do for those homeless families to keep this from happening?
It's like the Israeli government is reading How Not to Make Friends or Influence People.
Story via Cursor.
It seems more and more that Iraq is worse now than it was before we liberated it. Somebody forgot to tell these guys the war in Iraq is over.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. general said there were signs foreign fighters were behind four suicide bombings that killed 35 people and wounded 230 Monday in Baghdad's bloodiest day since Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) was overthrown.
..."It's in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerge and we will stay the course in order to achieve this objective," Bush said after a meeting at the White House with the U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer.
Well, yes, now that we've created complete chaos and unrest that we don't have the manpower to quell, now it's in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerge.
(Additional thought...a peaceful Iraq? We're the ones that made it war-torn in the first place!)
On top of the usual mangling and bumbling of the United States, the terrorists involved here choose to start this bombing campaign on the first day of Ramadan. Imagine how much worse the national trauma of September 11th had been if it had happened on Christmas.
Asshats on all sides.
And who suffers? The normal Iraqi who's just trying to live, as usual.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
I dare anybody to explain this situation to me in a way that makes sense without using the word "race." Please.
Shoshana Johnson, a soldier from the exact same unit as America's sweetheart Jessica Lynch, who was also wounded in combat, is recieving a drastically lower amount of disability payment than Lynch is.
a few days ago, military brass informed her that [johsnon] would receive a 30 percent disability benefit for her injuries. lynch, who is white, was discharged in august and will receive an 80 percent disability benefit.
the difference amounts to $600 or $700 a month in payments, and that is causing johnson and her family to speak out.
Johnson is black, Lynch is white.
Makes you go Hmmmmmm...
Via skippy the bush kangaroo, who did in fact coin the term blogtopia.
Sometimes I wonder if my misanthropy is really that misguided.
Soon after discovering a new species of extremely rare bird in Venezuela, we promptly killed them all by constructing a dam and flooding their only known habitat.
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) -- Naturalists celebrated the discovery of a new species of bird -- a blue-flecked, seed-eating finch -- in Venezuela, but they mourned that a state electricity company destroyed its only known habitat to make way for a dam.
As a species, we sure have stacked up alot of bad karma.
Now they're expelling students for what they write in their diary...their diary.
Rachel wrote the story in her personal journal and was showing it to a classmate. Her art teacher noticed, confiscated it and turned it over to school officials the next day.
"It was a story about a girl who falls asleep in class, dreams she kills her math teacher, then wakes up and nothing happens," she said.
Rachel was suspended her for 10 days for "inappropriate writings that describe the threat of bodily harm toward a school employee," school system spokeswoman Susan Hale told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she was expelled after a hearing her father described as a travesty.
I am willing to bet that every last one of us wrote about horrible things in their high school diaries. I would understand if they brought in this kid's father to discuss it or something, but to expel her? Who is that helping? Also, her diary has not yet been returned. What does that teach this girl? What lesson is she supposed to learn from this experience? That even her private thoughts are subject to punishment?
Friday, October 17, 2003
Friday, October 10, 2003
Hey, cool! An Iranian lawyer named Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize. This sounds like a good thing to me.
OSLO, Oct. 10 — Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for her work defending human rights in an award aimed at inspiring democratic reform across the Muslim world.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Ebadi, one of Iran's first woman judges before the Islamic revolution forced her to step down, for work focused on the rights of women and children.
Via Rittenhouse Review. I was not awake, but I did hear it there first.
A few sites on the links pages have updated.
The Islamic Center of New Mexico website has a nice new look.
And the Bitter Shack of Resentmant has made the big move to Typepad. Go Read! it here.
Also added a bunch of new links. Why are you still here? Go Read!
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Saturday, October 04, 2003
This is so, so, so sad. The restaurant that was targeted by an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber in Haifa was apparently a symbol of Arab-Jewish unity.
Oct. 4, 2003 | HAIFA, Israel (AP) -- The bustling seaside Maxim restaurant is a mirror of one of Israel's few mixed Arab-Jewish cities. Jewish pro soccer players hang out here. Many of the diners are Arabs. For four decades the business has been owned by two families -- one Arab, one Jewish.
... At Haifa's Rambam Hospital distraught Arabs and Jews filled a narrow corridor waiting for information about injured relatives and friends who worked at the restaurant.
One of them, an Arab woman named Odet Najar, 28, waited for news about her cousin, Sharbe Matar, 23, a waiter. "Everybody was together there, Jews and Arabs; we went to the restaurant a lot," she said, in fluent Hebrew.
I sincerely hope they rebuild as soon as possible and continue to live together in peace. It really sucks that there are people involved in this conflict that would rather fight than live together. This story seems to re-iterate the point that this is not a war between Israelis and Palestinians, it is a war between Israelis and Palestinians who want peace and Israelis and Palestinians who don't want peace.
One thing about this story stuck out to me especially, though.
About a fifth of Israel's 6.6 million people are Arabs, a minority made up of those Arabs who were not forced out or did not flee the war surrounding Israel's 1948 creation. They have strong family ties with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza but enjoy Israeli citizenship.
Maybe I'm just horribly naive. Maybe there is something about this that I'm not getting. But, why don't all Palestinians enjoy the type of life Israeli Arabs do? Life in the occupied territories really is harsh and hopeless. Improving living conditions there would probably improve the situation as a whole.
At least it seems that way to me. But what do I know?
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Arnold admits to sexual transgression, sort of.
Rush resigns from ESPN in both drug as well as race-related scandal.
And Plamegate shows no signs of disappearing.
Sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles.
Speaking of, now we know why the cookie crumbles as well.
Open Source Politics has gained a bazillion more readers this week. Yay us!
So, what are you waiting for...go read!
Robert Novak is a coward, The CIA's Patriotic Math, A Matter of Trust, I Have A Little List ... are all about everybody's favorite new scandal, the Valerie Plame situation.
There's also the Ben Franklin True Patriot Act Action Alert, Pie In the Sky, The Politics of Power, Asbestos Legislation #1 and #2, and the Florida Political Breakdown.
Oh yeah, and I wrote one, too.
I finally just finished watching the insanely depressing Lost in La Mancha, about genius auteur Terry Gilliam's efforts to make a film called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam's production collapses in 6 days, for a variety of reasons. He only had a 32 million dollar budget to start with.
For fuck's sake, someone spent 54 million dollars on Gigli. And that got made without a hitch. What sort of culturally bankrupt assholes are we in this country when we spend that kind of money of "It's turkey time, gobble gobble," and Terry Gilliam can't get what looked like a seriously brilliant film get made?
What the hell is wrong with you, Hollywood executives? Terminator 3 got $170,000,000, Battlefield Earth got $73,000,000, Rollerball got $70,000,000, and the eye-bleedingly awful Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (although it was better than the first one, which is not saying much) got $90,000,000. Worst of all, I think, is that Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle not only set the cause of women's equality back twenty years, but it cost $120,000,000 dollars to make.
I think this is the reason the terrorists hate us.
What could Terry Gilliam do with the budget of some of these films? For 5 million he made Time Bandits. For 15 million he made Brazil. For 29 million he made 12 Monkeys.
Imagine The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with a budget of 170 million dollars instead of the film that gave Arnold Schwarzenegger the chance to stick a woman's head in a toilet.
Hollywood Movie Executives, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Okay, rant over.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Someone has finally taken interest in the Valerie Plame situation...although they've put John Ashcroft in charge of the investigation.
WASHINGTON Sept. 30 — The FBI began a full-scale criminal investigation Tuesday into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer, and President Bush ordered his staff to cooperate with the first major probe of his administration.
...Democratic leaders said Attorney General John Ashcroft was too close to the White House to conduct an impartial investigation. "We don't have confidence in John Ashcroft ... and we know without a doubt that somebody broke the federal law," Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, "If there ever was a case for the appointment of a special counsel, this is it."
If Valerie Plame sold real-estate or gratified the president orally (tee hee) then there would be a special council all over this situation. But no, her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, only exposed the president as a big fat liar, so that's not a big deal.
Mr. Wilson has publicly accused presidential adviser Karl Rove of revealing his wife's identify. The motive, according to Wilson, was revenge for his own role in exposing as probably wrong the White House claim that Saddam Hussein sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.
Over at Open Source Politics, Mark A.R. Kleiman has a pretty definitive series of posts on this scandal...go read!
And don't forget to register to vote! We can take the country back from these chowderheads!
Friday, September 26, 2003
Some young conservatives completely miss the point at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Rushing and other members of his group at Southern Methodist University in Dallas sold freshly baked cookies for a series of different prices based on the customer's gender and race.
The bake sale's sign said white males had to pay $1 for a cookie. The price was 75 cents for white women, 50 cents for Hispanics and 25 cents for blacks.
Rushing, a 23-year-old law student, says he and his fellow bakers meant no offense and were only trying to protest the use of race or gender as a factor in college admissions.
I was just reading in my psych textbook (discussing the higher prevalence of emotional problems in African-Americans than in Whites) that 44 percent of blacks live below the poverty line, while only 5 percent of whites do. So, a better analogy would be to only give the black person a quarter to buy the cookie with. Or, charging everyone the same price but only giving minorities a portion of the cookie.
If there's a white person out there whose life has been ruined by affirmative action, please stop by my house for lunch. You can ride your unicorn over from the 7 Cities of Gold, and don't forget to bring water from the Fountain of Youth for our tea.
I hereby appoint the Dixie Chicks the first bluegrass plucky punk girls.
Read this letter, via Eschaton.
Oh, I have to go. Keith and Mick are in the limo waiting for me. The five of us have started getting together every Tuesday night. I must tell you, Keith is really getting into his fiddle lessons with Martie. He can already play “Faded Love”. And Mick, well he gets faster at “Dueling Banjos” with Emily every week. I think they are really going to blow everyone away at the rock and roll family reunion next week. But, it's not just about them learning from us. Nope, they help me every week think up new controversial "rock and roll" things to say. Thanks guys…you’re the greatest!
PS. I will also be posting this in German so if you don't like what I really said you can just translate it into what suits your agenda.
I wish I had written that!
Now, enough of you, blog, I must study for my psych test.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
I just want everyone to know that someone really excellent died last week. I missed his funeral because it was my anniversary and I'm kind of pissed off about it.
Gus Blaisdell, my favorite film professor, the best teacher I ever had, the person responsible for making me see cinema as an art form, died of a heart attack last Wednesday.
Tall and lean with a full beard and disheveled hair, Blaisdell was teaching Images of Women in Film and International Horror Film this semester, Jaffe said.
"He loved to perform," Jaffe said. "He had a great theatrical flair, a great presence. People just found him interesting to look at and to be with ..."
Blaisdell was considered an intellectual in a broad sense because he had formally studied and worked in a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, literature and visual arts such as painting and photography, Jaffe said.
"He had a passion for a variety of subject matter," Jaffe said. "He could bring them all to bear on a particular film or body of films."
Jaffe said Blaisdell was extremely articulate and had a remarkable memory, including the ability to remember shot-by-shot sequences of films.
Gus was a really, really excellent teacher. I'm pissed off that I'll never get to take his Stanley Kubrick class. (Ha ha, sniff...Just kidding Gus...) I'm sorry I made him keep playing I Spit on your Grave after he was going to turn it off because it was so awful. I'm sorry my paper on The Bicycle Thief was so half-ass. I'm sorry I shaved my Mohawk, I know he liked it. I'm sorry I never took him up on his offer to show him my poetry. I'm sorry I made the cellophane of my candy wrapper crinkle during the movie that one time. I'm really sorry he made us read all that Stanley Cavell (ha ha...just kidding again, Gus).
Next time you're at a movie and someone's cellphone goes off, or their bratty rugrat starts squealing, or their stupid digital watch beeps, throw your shoe at them in honor of Gus.
He would've liked that.
Scientists in Cuba have found a living specimen of a rare insectivore previously believed extinct.
Sept. 25, 2003 | HAVANA (AP) -- With its long snout and tiny body covered with spiky, long brown hair, the worm-munching creature known as Solenodon Cubanus long has been a mystery to zoologists, who believed it to be extinct.
But a farmer in eastern Cuba recently found the first live specimen of the ancient and enigmatic creature seen in four years, local media said.
The find proved conclusively that Solenodon Cubanus still survives, and raised hopes that the curious animal dubbed "Alejandrito" may have other relatives roaming the island.
I looked for a picture of Solenodon Cubanus but could only find one of the Haitian Solenodon. Freaky in a cute way.
Okay, so now I play news catch-up. First and foremost, no one in their right mind could think this was anything but a good thing.
KATSINA, Nigeria (AFP) - Nigerian single mother Amina Lawal was cleared of adultery by an Islamic court, releasing her from a sentence that she be stoned to death.
..."Amina is free. Amina has been discharged. Amina can have her life back," she told reporters outside the court, as Lawal and her baby daughter Wasila were whisked away in a police vehicle with a heavily armed escort.
I wish her and her seriously cute baby girl a long life.
Been really busy with class and stuff. I've been neglecting you, faithful blog readers. Both of you.
If it makes you feel any better, while watching It's a Wonderful Life in film class today, I cried in front of everyone. Very embarrassing.
Damn that Frank Capra!
Sunday, September 21, 2003
Thursday, September 18, 2003
There's nothing like hearing news like this to make you a complete misanthrope.
LONDON, England -- The lion is close to extinction in Africa, a wildlife expert has warned after numbers fell by 90 percent during the last 20 years.
Only 23,000 are left compared to an estimated 200,000 in the early 1980s as a result of hunters killing them to protest livestock, said Laurence Frank, a wildlife biologist from the University of California.
The possibility of lions going extinct in their natural habitat makes me sick to my stomach.
And yes, I know I referenced The Matrix in the title of this post. But I just finished my paper on it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
The White House is now trying to say, with straight faces, that they've never ever said there was a tie between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, and if 70 percent of the American public thinks so, it's not their fault.
President Bush said Wednesday there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 disputing an impression that critics say the administration tried to foster to justify the war against Iraq.
...The president's comment was the administration's firmest assertion that there is no proven link between Saddam and Sept. 11. It came after Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday clouded the issue by saying, "It's not surprising people make that connection" between Saddam and the attacks.
No, Dick, it's not surprising. Let's think about why people might make that connection, shall we?
Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press," also repeated an allegation doubted by many in the intelligence community that Mohammed Atta, the lead Sept. 11 attacker, met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Prague five months before Sept. 11.
...The administration has argued that Saddam's government had close links to al-Qaida, the terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden that masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks.
On Sunday, for example, Cheney said that success in stabilizing and democratizing Iraq would strike a major blow at the "geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9-11."
Emphasis mine. Do they think that we're stupid? Cheney might as well have said, "There are no ties between Iraq and al-Qaida, coughbullshitcough." Now that would be funny.
Seriously, everybody register to vote right freaking now. Are you really going to let them talk to you like that?
Friday, September 12, 2003
The DNC website now has a blog, most amusingly titled Kicking Ass. Go read! Right now they're taking suggestions as to what cheesy slogan the Iraqi tourism program proposed by Donald Rumsfeld should have.
My suggestion? "Iraq: it's where your oil came from."
My crass, tasteless suggestion? "Iraq: so much fun, you'll stick to us like flypaper."
Go, put in your two cents.
Again, she proves that all "swarthy males" look the same to her. I will not link to her column out of fear of catching cooties, but Eschaton has the link here. This is what she said that so rightly pissed Atrios off.
On the basis of their recent pronouncements, the position of the Democratic Party seems to be that Saddam Hussein did not hit us on 9-11, but Halliburton did.
Uhhh, last time I checked it was Al-Qaida that attacked us, a group led by Osama bin Laden, not Saddam Hussein. You remember Osama bin Laden, right Ann?
Or have we always been at war with Eastasia?
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Monday, September 08, 2003
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Via TBogg I find this post at San Diego Soliloquies which gives at least one strike against the claim that MEChA, the organization that California Recall candidate Cruz Bustamante belonged to in college.
So quite a few of the usual suspects are up in arms about Cruz Bustamante having been a member of MEChA in callege. Every single damn one of them translates:
Por La Raza todo.
Fuera de La Raza nada.
For the Race, everything.
For those outside the Race, nothing
This is a common mistake among people who think the ability to order from a Taco Bell menu constitutes fluency in Spanish. The word "por" is almost never used as "for". You almost always use the word "para". "Es para ti" (Sorry about the accents) is "It's for you". Por has many uses, but the first definition is "because of", as in "eso te pasa por crédulo" (That's what you get for being so credulous). When you get a postcard from Spain that says "Por Avion", do you think that someone accidentally gave the airplane's mail to you?
Go read it now!
I was ready to believe that Bustamante might be homophobic. Until I read at Instapundit's post on the subject, of all things, (I won't link to him out of general non-conformity, but San Diego Soliloquies above has a link to the post in question) and found out that the evidence used by everyone in the righty blogosphere to accuse MEChA, and Bustamante by association, of homophobia is an article from Aztlan.net, Aztlan being a completely different organization from MEChA.
Now, I know next to nothing about Cruz Bustamante. But, given the current evidence, it doesn't seem he's a racist or a homophobe.
Show me where he said that if a segregationist had become president, the world might be a better place.
Show me where he said that there should be a law stating marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
Hell, show me where he said he had "no hang-ups about the 'fag' business."
And to be Fair & Balanced about it, you could even show me where he called New York "Hymietown." (Not even the most furious Googling gave me a good link to that, but it was Jesse Jackson that said it.)
Then I'd be more than willing to believe Cruz Bustamante is a racist homophobe. Until then, find some policy or something of his to criticize.
*Sorry about the lack of a tilde.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
There's something about this story that made me realize exactly how I feel about the death penalty.
STARKE, Fla. - Still defiant even as he was strapped to a gurney, a former minister who said he murdered an abortion doctor and his bodyguard to save the lives of unborn babies was executed Wednesday by injection. He was the first person put to death in the United States for anti-abortion violence.
Paul Hill, 49, was condemned for the July 29, 1994, shooting deaths of Dr. John Bayard Britton and his bodyguard, retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Herman Barrett, and the wounding of Barrett's wife outside the Ladies Center in Pensacola.
Personally, I feel Paul Hill was a murdering bastard, who deserves what he got and I hope he went to the hell he believed in when he died. The fact that he wants to control my body, and the bodies of my mother, sister, and firend, to the extent that he would kill for it fills me with rage.
But that shouldn't matter. Our personal anger and convictions shouldn't interfere with the delivery of justice. Otherwise, our court system would be nothing but mob rule and a court of popular opinion. Our justice system should be cool, rational, and impartial. Not flaming with the hatred of those who want revenge for the wrongs that have been comitted against them. We're supposed to be penalizing and reforming people, not seeking vengance upon them.
I told someone at work the other day that I was against the death penalty. The responded that I would "sure feel differently if someone killed someone I loved." Sure I would. If someone killed someone I loved I would probably want to tie them to a chair and go at them with a baseball bat.
But that's not what the criminal justice system of a civilized society should be based on.
On a side note, this story also lists several examples of white, christian terrorists. As part of my constant (boring, by now, I'm sure) quest to point out that not all terrorists are Ann Coulter's swarthy males, I quote:
The killings of Britton and Barrett happened during a time of increased violence at clinics nationwide.
Another abortion doctor had been killed in Pensacola in 1993 by Michael Griffin, who is serving a life sentence. Two receptionists were killed at Boston-area abortion clinics in 1994 by John Salvi, who committed suicide in prison two years later.
Earlier this year, James Kopp was convicted of killing an Buffalo, N.Y., abortion doctor in 1998, while fugitive Eric Rudolph was captured and charged with a 1998 bombing that killed an off-duty police officer at an Alabama abortion clinic.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Today is making me nervously excited for two reasons.
One, today is my first day back at school in several years. I'm having sort of a quarter-life crisis (quote me earlier..."In five years...I'll be thirty!" Quite a humorous moment, really) and am afraid I will stand out amongst the fresh-faced 19 year olds straight out of high school. And yet I've been waiting for today to happen all year, and can't believe it's finally happening!
Second, today is opening day for a new metablog project I've been participating in, Open Source Politics. There's alot of good talent from all over the lefty blogosphere, so go take a look. And especially notice me in the SocialEyes section.
On a semi-side note, I've updated the blogroll again with scads of new links. Go read!
Sunday, August 31, 2003
Apparently Arnold Schwarzenegger is a womanizing bastard, at least according to this article in Salon.
But then came John Connolly's Arnold exposé in Premiere. The article catalogued allegations of all sorts of boorish behavior, almost all of it directed at women, beginning in the early 1990s and continuing into the new century. During the filming of 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," Connolly alleged, Schwarzenegger fondled costar Linda Hamilton in a limousine and stuck his hands into the blouse of a female crew member, pulling out her breasts for the amusement of himself and a few of his friends. During the filming of 1996's "Eraser," Connolly alleged, a guest on the set happened upon Schwarzenegger performing oral sex on a woman in his trailer. As Salon reported last month, Schwarzenegger allegedly looked up from his work and uttered a line that has now become an inadvertent trademark of the Schwarzenegger campaign. "Eating," he reportedly said, "is not cheating."
Class-sy, let me tell you.
But I really don't care if Schwarzenegger is a complete boor or not (just like I didn't really care about Bill Clinton's antics). I do think that Grey Davis, a nortorious dirty fighter, will immediately pounce on this issue and use it to his advantage. Davis has more than enough ammo to come away with this dubious election in the end.
Friday, August 29, 2003
Sometimes George W. Bush reminds me of Charles Foster Kane.
Let me explain.
In Citizen Kane, the greatest American film of its era, millionare publisher Charles Kane is caught cheating on his wife with a would-be singer. Tabloids report on this incident with the headline "Charles Foster Kane caught in Love Nest with 'Singer'". Charles then marries the woman and builds her an opera house in an attempt to "take the quotes off the word 'Singer'", to quote another character in the movie.
Sometimes I feel like the Bush administration is trying to take the quotes off the words "Iraq is a 'breeding ground for terrorism'".
N A J A F, Iraq, Aug. 29— A massive car bomb exploded at the Imam Ali mosque during prayers today in this holy city, killing 75 people, including one of Iraq's most important Shiite clerics, a hospital official said.
A survey of Najaf's medical facilities showed 75 dead and 140 wounded, many seriously, said Dr. Safaa al-Ameedi, chief doctor at the central hospital in the city, 110 miles southwest of Baghdad.
I was definitely against the war in Iraq. However, if you're going to tear down an entire society, you have a responsibility to rebuild it properly. Which I can't help but feel we've been having some trouble doing.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
I've finally hooked up the computer and have sweet, life-sustaining internet access. Sure, my body aches from hauling furniture upstairs for a week straight, and sure, I have to leap over stacks of boxes to get anywhere in this apartment, but it's alright because the computer is finally back online.
I may never move again.
Regular posting to resume tomorrow. I'm taking a Tylenol PM and going to bed.
Saturday, August 23, 2003
It's hard to have hope for either Israel or Palestine when you read things like this.
But even compassionate mothers here have their limits when it comes to accepting that their side just might be as much to blame for violence as the other's side.
"Who is responsible?" said El Jarusha. "The Jews are responsible. They are the ones who launch shells and rockets on the Palestinian people. Hamas is not responsible."
Leibovitch is equally convinced that her side is victimized more than the other. "They call people that killed people, innocent people, 'innocents,' " she said, her voice rising. "They call them 'martyrs,' which is not the meaning. The meaning is 'killer,' the meaning is 'terrorists.' The meaning is 'shameful.' "
These two women both had their innocent children killed by militants on either side of the conflict. The article quotes the two mothers expressing feelings of empathy towards each other for the loss they have felt. And then the two women both are reduced to hateful invective when asked which side is responsible for the terrible situation their region is in.
It's depressing, and decidedly unplucky of me, but the Palestinian/Israeli situation really confirms my Atheism for me.
Both of these groups think God is on their side. They both seem wrong to me.
*Added* I wanted to clarify that I don't think religion is the cause of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. It seems to be a conflict over power, which I pointed out in a previous post. It's just that each side uses God as both an excuse and rallying cry, which is depressing to me.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
Circle I Limbo
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow
Circle IV Rolling Weights
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled
Circle VI Buried for Eternity
Circle VII Burning Sands
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement
Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle IX Frozen in Ice
Via Red Letter Day.
Saturday, August 16, 2003
The Fox News website may or may not have made a serious gaffe. Blah3 has a screenshot showing an image of the NYC skyline...that seems to include the fallen World Trade Center towers!
Now, I don't see the big antenna that was on top one of them, but isn't that exactly where they used to be in the New York City skyline? Look here for yourself. Creepy, in either case.
*Update* Well, apparently they're not the Twin Towers after all. Still a creepy picture though.
Friday, August 15, 2003
You know it's bad when the electricity-free Iraqis are giving us survival tips.
Here are some tips from the streets of Baghdad:
SLEEP ON THE ROOF. Without power -- and hence without air conditioning -- Iraqis have taken to climbing up stairs in the hot nights. Some install metal bed frames on rooftops, while others simply stretch out on thin mattresses. "It's cooler there," said Hadia Zeydan Khalaf, 38.
SIT IN THE SHADE. Many Iraqis head outside when the power's off. "We sit in the shade," said George Ruweid, 27, playing cards with friends on the sidewalk. Of the U.S. blackout, he said: "I hope it lasts for 20 years. Let them feel our suffering."
Well, we already knew that the Iraqis weren't exactly enthused about our presence there. But "I hope your suffering lasts for 20 years?" That's just mean.
I have retitled this blog. Because, really, anyone who's fair and balanced wouldn't want to read a blog that wasn't also fair and balanced. But that's perfectly fair and balanced of them. To be fair and balanced about it, I wouldn't want to read a blog that wasn't fair and balanced either. What's with all the fair balancing, you ask? Well, because I am fair and balanced I will tell you, so that those of you who are not yet fair and balanced can become fair and balanced. Think of how wonderfully fair and balanced we will all be together! Anyway, here is a fair and balanced link describing, in a fair and balanced way, why I am being so fair and balanced today.
Plucky Punk's Fair and Balanced Land...Plucky blogs, you decide.
**Fair and Balanced Update** Fair and Balanced blog Blah3 has the fair and balanced master list of other fair and balanced bloggers who are, shall we say, getting in touch with their inner fair and balancedness today. I wish them all a happy, fair, and balanced weekend.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
James T. Kirk
An impassioned commander with more respect for individuals than for authority, you have a no-holds-barred approach to life and its obstacles. "I don't believe in the no-win scenario." James is a character in the Star Trek universe. STARTREK.COM has his Starfleet record.
Via Whom Gods Destroy. If you'll excuse me, I have to get in a fight with a sexy green-skinned person until my shirt get ripped off.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
I don't think I'm old enough to really remember the heydey of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, but this article got me thinking.
The strange, compelling saga of three Irishmen in a Colombian court dates back to August 2001, when Martin McCauley, James Monaghan and Niall Connolly were arrested in the Colombian capital of Bogota as they stepped off a plane arriving from a region of the country held by FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Colombian prosecutors accuse the three middle-aged men of training FARC rebels in the use of explosives and terrorist tactics. They are also accused of holding false papers. If convicted, they could get up to 20 years in a Colombian jail.
The three Irishmen, for their part, have vigorously denied the charges, saying they were in the South American nation to study the peace talks between FARC and Colombian government officials, which have since ceased. They have also expressed concerns over the fairness of the Colombian justice system.
I know next to nothing about this particular situation, and am ready to share the concerns over the fairness of the Columbian justice system, but really the article got one big fat question stuck in my head.
"The Troubles" are a conflict that has roots in British Colonialism. The opposing sides are divided by religions that, from an Athiest's point of view, are more similar than not. An oppressed minority on one side of the dispute used terrorisim to attack a better-off majority on the other side. Innocents die. There are even financial ties to Islamic dictatorships.
At the height of the Troubles, one of the key supporters of the IRA was Libyan President Col. Muammar Qaddafi, who assisted the organization with cash, arms and training in camps across the North African nation.
"It was Qaddafi's way of getting back at Britain," says Eunan O'Halpin, professor of modern history at the Dublin-based Trinity College. "There were, for example, large consignments of Semtex [explosives] shipped from Libya to the U.K. and around 1987, French customs intercepted a hundreds of tons of arms bound for the IRA."
It reminds me alot of a conflict all the way on the other side of the world.
So why isn't the IRA considered a "Catholic Terrorist Group"? Why don't people like Ann Coulter use the IRA as an example of the inherent violence of Catholocism? Are the Irish considered fundamentally incompatible with peaceful democracy? Et cetera?
Is it because the violent acts of the IRA have nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with the teachings of Catholocism?
Is it because the IRA just happen to be Catholic? If they were Hindu would they not object to their current situation?
Do many of the xenophobes here in America find it easy to see that "The Troubles" are really about power and not religion or culture because the people involved have peaches-and-cream complexions and not olive ones? If you can see a different reason, please, spell it out to me.
I feel like I've been trying to make a similar point since 9/11/2001. I'm sure it's getting tiresome by now.
**ADDENDUM** Thanks to Jeanne for the link. Read her story about her own experience trying to get through customs, and check the comments section for spirited debate between Tacitus and myself.
Monday, August 11, 2003
Your parents probably had different ethnic backgrounds and now they're
almost certainly divorced, or at least they argue all the time. You mostly just wish
they'd leave you alone instead of using you as a pawn in their tortured conflict with each
other. Instead, you've become the battleground for a fight that doesn't really feel
like it's yours. You'd rather just go fishing. But that doesn't look likely in
the immediate future. Just keep cooking with olive oil and you'll live longer, at least.
the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid
That one really is impressively accurate. But the Cyprus flag looks weird on a white background.
I've never liked Californians. Especially the rich ones. They tend to buy vacation homes in Placitas (a very posh little village right outside of Albuquerque. Val Kilmer had a house there.), and drive their SUVs very slowly all over town. I blame California for Albuquerque's recent smoking ban in restaurants. Californians tend to think things like, "Teeny little cigarette...disgusting. Big fat stinky cigar...sexy and cool!"
Their taste in Mexican food is horrible. Too much cilantro. And they never eat green chilie.
However, when I hear things like this...
Schwarzenegger leads the long list of hopefuls, with 42 percent of poll respondents saying there is a good chance they would vote for him.
Also in Schwarzenegger's favor is that 72 percent of respondents think his campaign should be taken seriously. More than half -- 52 percent -- say he would do a better job than a career politician.
I can't help but feel a little bad for them. I mean, the man never even played a politician in a movie!
I think if the citizens of California manage to elect this heart patient govenor, instead of taking an oath of office, the person holding the Bible (or whatever it is they swear you in on) should ask Schwarzenegger, "Govenor, what is best in life?"
To which Conan, I mean the Govenor, would respond, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women!"
Thursday, August 07, 2003
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Of course, we all knew that already, but it is still a little upsetting to see it illustrated so clearly.
Bush, at a news conference Wednesday, said, "I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or the other."
Today, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House was studying possible responses if pending lawsuits in Massachusetts and New Jersey result in legalization of gay marriage. McClellan declined to say whether Bush favors a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
I really have never heard why marriage is too sacred and pure for two men or two women to participate in together, but it's not too sacred for Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee to marry each other, or for Carmen Electra to wed a drunken Dennis Rodman, or for Anna Nicole Smith to marry that old guy.
Can the proverbial "Adam and Steve" enjoying the legal benefits of marriage really be worse for society than Plus-Sized former Playmates golddigging geezers on their deathbeds?
...but procrastination has always been my strong suit.
Anyway, I hereby order everyone to request the second season of Twin Peaks on DVD. Apparently if Amazon gets enough emails from people wanting it, they'll tell "the studios" to put out for us.
And I seriously want these on DVD. So everyone, click here.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to brush my teeth.