Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Oh, it's not about oil...

Tom Tomorrow points me towards this mind-bending story.

After the loss of 1.5 million barrels per day of Venezuelan production in December the oil price rocketed, and the scarcity of reserves threatened to do permanent damage to the US oil refinery and transport infrastructure. To keep the pipelines flowing, President Bush stopped adding to the 700m barrel strategic reserve.

But ultimately oil giants such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell saved the day by doubling imports from Iraq from 0.5m barrels in November to over 1m barrels per day to solve the problem. Essentially, US importers diverted 0.5m barrels of Iraqi oil per day heading for Europe and Asia to save the American oil infrastructure.

This makes no sense to me. Everybody carpool or ride the bus or walk or use a bicycle so we don't have to do stupid crap like this anymore!

Didn't we win this war already?

Before we move on to our next war, let's remember the wars we've left behind. The Afghans obviously need closure.

King said the latest battle might last some time.

"It's a relatively large area ... There are some caves, there may be more that we don't know about, so it could take a considerable period of time," King said. He said fighting was centered on rocky and rough terrain in an unpopulated area around the Adi Ghar mountain.

The War That Fixed Nothing doesn't even get an official end. It's like we got tired of playing and took our ball home. Meanwhile, the Afghans suffer and the popularity of the people we were supposed to eliminate grows. How can we be sure the war with Iraq will be different?

The team with the Pirate Logo won.

I admit, it was kind of nice to see Tampa Bay win the Superbowl, considering it was their first Superbowl ever. Plus, my boss is a Raiders fan. Not this much of a Raiders fan, though.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Purely Emotional Response

My father is leaving for Israel and Palestine tomorrow as part of a delegation for peace.

I can't say I'm not worried for his safety. It's not a rational response, I'm sure.

Anyway, I hope to be posting more information, and will be posting updates on his trip as he sends them to me.

But for now, I will bite my fingernails and scour the internet for any news in that region.


Wednesday, January 22, 2003

In the Year 2000 (and 4)

Go read Salon today, they have an interesting series of articles on what the possible worst-case scenarios are for Bush's legacy. It's premium content, but if you let Mercedes-Benz try to sell you something, they'll let you read it.

I also encourage everybody to visit the Planned Parenthood's online Rally for Choice, if only to see a cartoon William Reinquist tell a cartoon George W. Bush "Take it away, Oil Slick".

Monday, January 20, 2003

Just a snide comment...

Again, maybe I'm naive, but I don't really think the stray box of small, empty warheads in a box in the corner of some abandoned dump somewhere is really enough to go to war over, let alone enough for mentioning on the news like it's some sort of damning evidence. But what do I know.
Poor Uncle Colin

You know, I've never really thought Colin Powell was the "Uncle Tom" type. I am also a non-sterotypically "black" black person, and have bristled at descriptions of Powell not being "black" enough. I've had experience being described the same myself, and have been called "oreo" or "zebra" (or "grey", which I actually thought was kind of funny...) by black people as many times as I've been called worse names by white people that I will not repeat here. I probably disagree with Powell politically on many levels, but I can respect the man for being himself, especially if "himself" is not what he's "supposed" to be.

That's why I'm glad he came out against Bush's profoundly stupid and ill-timed statement on affirmative action.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Calling himself a "strong proponent" of affirmative action, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that he believes race should play a role in university admissions.

Unlike Condoleezza Rice's half hearted "Well, whatever the President said, but I don't really think that, really..." statement:

Rice reiterated Sunday that she supports Bush's position.

"He has made a case that race-neutral means ought to be tried first. And he has, as president, appropriately left to the court the question of what the limits of the Constitution are in pursuit of diversity," she said. "And I think that's the appropriate place for the president to be."

If race-neutral means do not work, however, race can become a factor, Rice said.

Powell took a firm stance, showing that a black person who believes in Civil Rights doesn't have to act like Al Sharpton. You go, Colin. Let your freak flag fly.

Here's a Powell quote from the Republican National Convention in 2000:

"We must understand the cynicism that exists in the black community," he said. "The kind of cynicism that is created when, for example, some in our party miss no opportunity to roundly and loudly condemn affirmative action that helped a few thousand black kids get an education, but you hardly heard a whimper from them over affirmative action for lobbyists who load our federal tax codes with preferences for special interests."

That doesn't sound too Uncle Tom to me.

*Gasp*! Did I just write something good about a Republican????
No rest for the Wicked

So I wake up to find that Christopher and Ginny have left a drunken message on my answering machine at 5 am.

Well, like 3 drunken messages.

Jeeze, I miss you guys.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Men are the new Women

I rest my case.

Via Red Letter Day, who probably thinks I'm an "idoitarian". (But I don't think Lord of the Rings is racist, either!)
Life in Liberated Afghanistan

Maybe I'm naive, but I've always thought that if you're resorting to war, it's because that the last possible thing that will restore order. If the point of war is not to restore order and the rule of law, then what is the point of war?

That's why I'm so angry at reading this. (Via Atrios.)

Newly announced rules on female education in the western Afghan province of Herat prohibit men from teaching women or girls in private educational courses and uphold strict gender segregation in all schools, Human Rights Watch said today. Because of a shortage of female teachers, the restrictions will result in a severe limitation on the ability of women and girls to receive proper education.

Our war with Afghanistan has not liberated the Afghani people. It has not eliminated the threat of al-Qaeda. It has not caught the man responsible for the murder of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. It may not even help Bush get re-elected.

Look, I'm not even saying that we were wrong to bomb Afghanistan. (I feel that way in my heart, to use a really maudlin turn of phrase, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here.) I'm just saying that if we're going drop a bunch of explosives on a country that's already been reduced to rubble, then we sort of have the obligation to put it all right again before we go level someplace else. If we didn't take down the Taliban with the intent of putting something better in its place, then why did we do it? To make ourselves feel better? To teach the world a lesson about the United States?

Well, I think I learned something about my country, at least.
Take the Media Bowling, take them Bowling...

Finally went to see Bowling for Columbine the other night. It's worth seeing, but it's not what I expected. This movie is being advertised as though it's all about Gun Control...which it really isn't. It's more a criticisim of the media in America, and of the scare tactics they use. And, in light of recent events like this, this, this, or this one (a classic), I think that's a point worth making.

On a different note, the movie has convinced me to go back to film school. I'm trying to get a Stafford Loan to pay the money I owe the university, which if you know the story at all is kind of fun because I will be turning my enemies against each other. Wish me luck.

Oh, and God Bless the people of Canada.

Sunday, January 12, 2003


Did a Democratic Congressman take a stand on something?

In a statement released Saturday, Gephardt said the flag that flies at a Confederate Soldier Monument on South Carolina's Statehouse grounds "is a hurtful, divisive symbol and in my view has no place flying anywhere, in any state in this country."

Well kiss my grits. Maybe we need them all to be running for president all the time, and then they'll all start acting like they have a spine.

Story here, via Atrios.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Things that make you go hmmm....

The pending war with Iraq must really be irritating to the international community. Even the U.N. weapons inspectors are starting to sound testy.

Illustrating the problem was the complaint yesterday by one of the two chief inspectors that he needed “more actionable information” from U.S. intelligence agencies. Director General Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who supervises the search in Iraq for a nuclear weapons program, told reporters, “We need specific information on where to go and where to inspect.”

When the Bush administration can't even provide the people who are actually looking for the weapons with "actionable information", I think the American public can feel free to be suspicious.

From this MSNBC.com article. I promise never to go to that website again.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Dissent is Patriotic!

My new friend Heba emailed me this.

21 American Cities and Towns Say NO!!! to U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. and
Homeland Security Acts: WILL YOUR HOME TOWN BE NEXT???

The governing bodies of 21 American cities and towns have passed
resolutions protecting the civil liberties of their 3,321,662 residents
...Concerned citizen-actionists in at least 50 other cities and counties
in 26 states are working on getting similar resolutions passed in their
home towns.

Check out The Bill of Right Defense Committee for more info, and to order a cool "Dissent is Patriotic" bumper sticker!
Public Service Non-Sequitor

The anti-drug campaign has gone from bad to worse. First, capatilizing on America's new fear of terrorism, they release the ads that inspire Arianna Huffington's Detroit Project (see below post). Then, there's the "genius" drugs-are-illegal-because-you-shouldn't-do-them-because-they're-illegal circular logic. Now, via Tapped I find they have released an ad that's so ridiculous that I really think whoever made it is trying to bring the Bush Administration down from the inside: Two stoners are sitting around saying stupid pothead things, when one of them pulls out a gun and kills the other one.

They are honestly trying to say that guns don't kill people, sitting around and getting stoned kills people?

Look, people are going to do drugs. They are going to drink and smoke cigarettes. They've been doing it since the dawn of civilization. No amount of "morality laws" are going to keep people from doing things that make them feel good but are bad for them. However, if the hypothetical gun the hypothetical stoners were playing with had been kept in a locked drawer, or had a safety lock on it, perhaps the hypothetical tragedy could have been prevented.

Or, take the raver girl high on ecstacy in the "Flash Forward" ad. Perhaps if she'd had a "chill room" to go to, her outcome would have been different.

But chill rooms and gun locks aren't scary, guilt-ridden "solutions" that make you feel bad about yourself, or solutions that at best slap a band-aid on the festering wound of drug use in this country. If this is how they're handling the War on Drugs, I'm terrified about their handling of the War on Terror.
If I were Ed McMahon, I'd give her a million dollars.

Arianna Huffington is my hero. Go see her Detroit Project website and find out why.

I think this is the best idea anybody's had in a long time.
Hey, cool, Rittenhouse linked to me! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 07, 2003


The links page isn't loading. (Of course it's not loading. Why would it be?) So, um, technical difficulties, I guess. Please stand by.
The Dopey War on Drugs

Busybusybusy, who I should have been reading all along, posts this genius take on a recent anti-drug ad. I've always thought the excuse that you shouldn't do drugs because ...they're illegal... was not a smart road for the "War on Drugs" to take, since the people making them illegal are the same people telling you not to do them, because they are illegal! (Too bad I use free Blogger, otherwise I might have been able to grammar-check that sentence.)
Just a comment...

I can see the hate mail coming on this, but if certian supporters of Israel don't want to be referred to as Nazi's anymore (a portrayal I think is horrible, and one I hope I have avoided, but this one was too awful for me to not comment on) then they should really, really not use terms like "final solution" in reference to the Palestinians.

(Via TBogg, because I don't want to link to or mention the original poster on my site.)
D.W. Griffith is not ready for his close-up, Mr. De Mille

Slate offers up yet another irritating article (scroll down for my comments on their Christmastime Atheism screed), this time written by Bryan Curtis and about genius filmmaker D.W. Griffith.

Griffith was without a doubt a visionary moviemaker, pretty much inventing the "language of film" that we all take for granted. For instance, if you take a shot of character A looking to the right and place it next to a shot of character B to the left, when watching the shots in succession you automatically assume the two characters are looking at each other. Griffith did it first, starting way back in 1909. "Rules of editing" such as this pretty much define the Hollywood style of filmmaking still in use today, nearly 100 years later. Granted, I do think Eisenstien did more interesting things with montage editing in the 20's and 30's, but it goes without saying that pretty much every movie you'll see today owes a debt to Griffith.

The man also jam-packed his films with racist images, propaganda, and general Trent Lott-style Confederate apologism (to coin an akward phrase). He is America's Leni Riefenstahl. Both filmmakers made beautiful and moving films
(Griffith's Intolerance and A Corner In Wheat, which features a creepy "crushed by grain" death scene, and Riefenstahl's Olympia series come to mind). Both filmmaker's racism and cultural bias shines through clearly in their work. No one doubts the quality of Griffith's films, and the fact that they should be studied and even admired for their artistic merit. But to deny the racism of the man who created Birth of a Nation is naive in the extreme. When Curtis writes:

What all this suggests is that Griffith had no well-formed inner politics and that whatever ideology he put on the screen was malleable to the social whim of the moment (or whatever books he was reading).

what he is suggesting is the cultural version of the Nazi soldier's excuse of "just following orders". It's not his fault, it was just the culture he was immersed in. That's not a good excuse for Palestinian suicide bombers, Nazi soldiers, or Trent Lott, and it's not a good excuse for Griffith.

**UPDATE** Via Atrios I find David E. of the Fablog has written on this subject already.
Well Duh...

Appointed Reporter Says Clones Could Be Hoax

Usually, scientific claims are accompanied by some kind of proof, and are submitted to experts for review by peers of the researchers before the results are made public, most often through publication in scientific journals.


But the Raelian claims bypassed this process, hitting television screens and newspapers at the height of the Christmas and New Year holidays — when news is often scarce.

I find it incredibly stupid and annoying that "the media" has decided that this alien-cult-cloned-baby nonsense is actually a story, and I find their astonishment that the whole thing may be *gasp* a hoax! more than a little amusing. But the fact that I am expected to believe news is scarce right now is insulting to my intelligence. How about this story, or this, or this? All of these are from ABC News's own website. Do they really think Americans all want their news to look like this?

Friday, January 03, 2003


It's been killer busy at work recently, so time I usually spend idly blogging is now being spent doing other things. Some nice stories I've picked up, though:

The year's first baby.

Here's a really embarrasing story concerning the cultural incompetence of the people in charge of our nation's security.

Boston Harbor has been filthily polluted for pretty much the past 200 years. Any claim that it's going to get better because of microbes leaves me highly dubious.

China is planning a manned mission to space...good for them! Although the "space capsule" looks a little MST3K.

Sorry about the lazy blogging. I promise something more pithy soon.