Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Plucky Punk's Happy with comments!

Yay! Courtesy of Enetation, now you can tell me what you really think! However, if the comments just become a painful reminder of how few people are actually reading this blog, I'll just remove them. No biggie.
Will the real Democrats please stand up

Hesiod points us towards a video clip of that excellent President Bush versus Governor Bush debate that was on The Daily Show the other night. Hesiod also thinks this would be an excellent theme for an anti-Bush campaign ad.

I agree. You hear alot that the Democrats are lost votes in the last two elections because the politics of the country have moved towards the right. I'll go out on a limb here and take the position that the opposite is true. I think the Democrats have gotten the most right-leaning voters that they are going to get, they shouldn't try to court any more. Rather, the Democrats need to court all the people who voted Green, or didn't vote at all, because they feel the party has degenerated to a bunch of decadent Republican wanna-bes. I want a Democrat with moxie, who will call Dubya on all his bullsh*t, dress up like Trent Lott on Saturday Night Live and say they will "leave no white child behind", or who will tell neo-con chickenhawks that he fought and bled for his right to question the government.

Please, Democrats, I practically beg you, don't play it safe in the next elections. Stick you necks out, take risks, act like you have a pair. This will get you votes.

Or, at least my vote.
We are all The Media's sheep

Bob Harris, who's guest-hosting This Modern World, points out these scary incidents of media manipulation.

As a rule, passive tense equals at least some level of manipulation. Any decent writer knows to avoid it, precisely because it's confusing -- but editors often rely on passive tense to keep uncomfortable questions about individual and collective responsibility (including their own) at bay.

The people who manipulate public opinion in this way are the same people, I am convinced, that are responisble for Josh Gracin not being voted off American Idol tonight.

I told you I was obsessed.

Proof Democracy doesn't work

That crap factory Josh Gracin has yet to be voted off American Idol. Seriously, I started watching that show pretty much by accident and now I have to keep watching it week after week just to make sure he gets voted off. I want to see the look on his face. It's become a dangerous obsession of mine.

If he wins, I may just move to Canada.
Embarrasingly Revealing Internet Quiz Result of the...well, you know...

So which fairy tale archetype are you? Hmm??

made by Michelle at EmptySpace.

I've never really thought of myself as a scruffy nerf-herder. Scoundrel, maybe, but definitely not a nerf-herder.

**UPDATE** What's really funny is, my husband took the same quiz and got "hero". We're a match made in heaven, really.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Freedom Food

This Mark Fiore cartoon is excellent, and not just because I myself stated that burritos would soon be called "freedom wraps" during a drunken conversation the night after Mardi Gras at O'Flagherty's in New Orleans. (Try the Guinness Floats, trust me.)
Oh yeah, this will make them not want to be America-hating terrorists

US Forces Make Iraqis Strip and Walk Naked in Public

Via Cursor.
And now for something completely different.

I know this is hardly the kind of post one should follow up a rant about fetal murder with, but this is definitely the best news I've heard for awhile. I've always thought Chewbacca was the Star Wars character I had the most in common with. I have alot of hair, am far too tall for my own good, and kind of make that rawwr noise when I yawn.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Why Scott Peterson is a Double Murderer

I've been meaning to write about this for a few days, but have been too busy nursing my swollen gums through a vicodin haze. Hearing about Scott Peterson's double murder charge brought this to mind, and this article in Salon (you'll have to click through the ad, you know the drill) really brought it to the forefront of my mind.

Is abortion morally wrong? What makes the choice of, say, a teenage girl with her life ahead of her, to have an abortion any different from the the "choice" Scott Peterson made when he killed his wife and unborn child? To me the answer is obvious. To compare the free choice of one person with the robbing of one expectant mother of the choice to have a child is disgusting to me. I'm going to attempt to spell out why to those who find the answer a little less clear.

Why would it be wrong to have an abortion? Is it because you're killing something that's alive? We kill living things all the time with no guilt. There must be something inherently different about human life that makes it sacred. Is a developing embryo a human being? What would make it so? It lacks most of the anatomy of a human being. In some stages of development it's more like an amphibian or reptile in its structure and anatomy. But frog-killing is certianly not murder.

It ceritanly has the possiblility of becoming a fully developed human being, though. But every living cell in my body carries the blueprint to make an entire copy me, especially in this age of cloning. Not to mention the fact that once a month a woman's body expels a cell that is specifically designed to become another human being. Is every woman guilty of murder because she didn't get pregnant and allow the potential life to happen?

So it's not the fact that it's alive, and it's not the fact that it has the potential for human life. Is it because an embryo looks like a tiny little person? We kill and cause immense suffering to other animals that are very similar to us in appearance. Perhaps it's because developing human embryos are more intelligent than animals. Yet the parts of the brain that house human intelligence do not develop until very, very late in pregnancy. And again, we have no problem hunting, experimenting on, or killing other intelligent animals like whales, dolphins, primates, cats, dogs, pigs...I could go on and on. Besides, if we base our right to life on our intelligence alot of people would have to die right freaking now.

From these arguments I'm able to come to the opinion that it is wrong to oppose a woman's right to choose abortion. I don't know what choice I would make in a similar situation. I know it would be a hard decision for me. I find it completely misogynist for some of the right-wing to assume that is a choice that would be made friviolously, because, you know, it would be so annoying to have to have a baby.

So why did Scott Peterson kill two people and not just one? Because Laci Peterson made a choice. She chose to give birth, and that's as sacred as the choice not to give birth. And both choices should be equally as respected. The fact that there are men out there who want to force either choice on any woman is sickening to me.

I'm sure I've offended someone with this rant. I don't care. It's my blog. Nanny nanny boo boo.

**UPDATE*** I had wanted to add, but totally forgot, that the above arguments are something I mostly got from reading Carl Sagan. Go read a book and get off the internet.

**Post-Update Addendum** Silvan adds:

It should also be mentioned that many of these self-proclaimed "Right-To-Lifers" only extend their mighty logic to embryos and not to adult humans. For example, all those humans on death row or those humans dying in wars, all at the command of many of the same people that tell us to keep our mitts off of those precious tadpoles.

Good point. It seems often that "Right-to-Lifers" stop caring about the life as soon as its born!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Welcome to The Dog House

From my sickbed I notice that Polizen is now The Dog House. Go read Silvan's list of French products to rush out and buy. Heck, if the boycott on these products turns out like the boycott on the Dixie Chicks, they should be best-sellers any day now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Not much blogging for a few days, I'm sure. I'll be going in to get another tooth removed tomorrow, and don't think I'll be feeling up to it. But if something stirs me enough for me to break the vicodin haze, maybe I'll post something.

Until then, make sure you floss. Trust me.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Lost in the Looting

Little Red Cookbook gives us a link to these pictures of items that used to be housed in Baghdad's Museum of Antiquity. I also recognized some items that I had first become familiar with in my schoolbooks, namely these two heads.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Happy Hilarious Easter!

from Atrios.
Tim is great!

Just wanted the world to know...
Cultural Illiteracy

Brooke Biggs at Bitter Shack of Resentment hits the nail on the head as to why the White House not caring about the destruction of National Museum in Baghdad was so reprehensible.

What is inexcuseable is the Pentagon's weak explanation that everything happened so fast that they couldn't put a good plan together in time. Let's remember one crucial thing about this war: it was pre-emptive. Which means we controlled the timetable. We could have delayed the war until a decent plan was in place.

We just didn't bother because we just didn't care. And we just didn't care because our leaders spent more time in corporate management classes than in art history or cultural anthropology class. Our leaders are cultural morons.

I think this is exactly the thing that bothered me the most. It's like we're saying "Oh, sorry we destroyed your culture, but here's a McDonald's and a Wal-Mart and lots of other shiny new American corporations to replace it with."

The Iraqis cannot live by bread alone. And while it is very important for us to make sure they have that bread in the coming months and years, it really blows that we've allowed their cultural heritage to be destroyed. The lost antiquities were the type of thing that would have restored a national pride, and that a fallen people could have used as symbols to rally around when rebuilding their government.

But not anymore.

Embarrasingly Revealing Internet Quiz Result of the Week.

So which LOTR Villain are you? Hmm??

made by Michelle at EmptySpace.

Wow, I'm cool. Via Sisyphus.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Cineastes Unite!

Everybody sign this petition to keep the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez remake of Casablanca from happening!

Via TBogg.
Alright, listen up everyone.

I'm just going to say this once.

If you are, say, calling customer service or technical support for a company that provides you with a device or with service for that device, and you want an employee of that company to do something for you that has been told to you is against company policy by other employees, by statements in the manual of that device, and on the website for this company, then let me assure you that yelling, screaming, cursing, ad hominem attacks on the supervisor of that employee, especially when I am that supervisor, is not the way to get that against-policy event to happen. Calling the employee names until she cries is not the way to get that against-policy even to happen. (You've never lived until you've had to talk a 17 year old girl at her first job down from her assh*ole-induced panic attack in the callcenter bathroom.) "The customer is always right" does not extend to include the right to cause severe emotional trauma!

Attention America...before you buy anything or sign up for any service, please read the warranty and/or the service contract first! That way, when exactly what the huge money-grubbing corporations do exactly what they tried to tell you they were going to, you won't have that surprised look on your face. And you won't want to yell at me.

Yes, the companies are out to screw you for money. But it's not like it's a big secret. If you don't want to have to pay for out-of warranty exchanges on your over-priced, high-end, luxury-item electronic equipment, then maybe you should move to Communist China where you don't have to worry about these things! It's called Capitalism, it's what allowed you to become wealthy enough to afford those things in the first place!

So, the next time you call your ISP, or your phone company, or your cable company, or anything, try to remember the person on the line probably hates that company even more than you do, has probably been screwed by that company to a greater degree than you have, and is not personally responsible for anything that happened to your poor widdle self.

So please, try to be a little nicer.

I hope the degree of my ire will excuse my run-on sentences and otherwise generally poor grammar.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I am no loger ashamed...

Because skippy watches American Idol, too!

(You'll have to scroll down to the post titled "and now for the really important news", skippy's links are blogspotted...)
Is Sexism not as bad as Racism? Should rich women have fewer rights?

I haven't been commenting on the Augusta National Golf Club and their inablility to enter the 20th Centruy by allowing women, mostly because I didn't think the concerns of wealthy people were that important in this time of war. However, something hit me today while watching Martha Burke, head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, on the Daily Show. (Which is really what I tend to watch instead of the news).

If this golf club refused to admit black people as members, would people still say "there are more important things to worry about?" If the NAACP were protesting against the club, would people still be so flip in dismissing it?

This is a club whose members are all wealthy and don't really have a care in the world, so it's hard to get concerned about their problems. But if a group of black men were saying "we want to join the rich white southern club," I think we would be a million times more concered than we've been about the women who want to join. Is sexism not as bad as racism?

It's easy not to care about the problems of a bunch of wealthy women. However, should the rich white men who run this club be allowed to discriminate as much as they want as long as the people they discriminate against are also rich? I feel safe in saying that discrimination against anyone is part of the problem, and ending discrimination against anyone is part of the solution.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The Rittenhouse Review, also an Aries

Hey, Happy Birthday, Jim!
Unspeakable Arrogance

After September 11th, many people asked "Why do they hate us?" like it was a hard question or something.

Why do they hate us? Well, maybe one of the reasons it that we keep saying things like this.

Sure, there's been some pilfering of food, appliances, medical supplies, and historical relics. But by the standards of a country whose rulers have routinely expropriated billions in oil revenue and seized whatever property struck their fancy, walking off with a jar of peanut butter and a fridge is more petty mischief than looting.
....That's not to say that the crowds' exuberance has been harmless; I'm sure that a lot of glass and more than a few noses have been needlessly broken, and I'm sure that some goods have been transferred to people who won't fully appreciate their value.

Some pilfering? Petty mischef? Just alot of broken glass?

How about 7,000 years of history lost forever?

As examples of what was gone, the officials cited a solid gold harp from the Sumerian era, which began about 3360 B.C. and started to crumble about 2000 B.C. Another item on their list of looted antiquities was a sculptured head of a woman from Uruk, one of the great Sumerian cities, dating to about the same era, and a collection of gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, also from the Sumerian dynasties and also at least 4,000 years old.

How about an entire city torn to the ground?

A young man named Rafiq was panicking in a terrible way and said in a broken voice, "Where are the American forces? We want to stop this situation. There is stealing and looting and we need safety. WHERE ARE THE AMERICANS?" ... "This isn't freedom, this is bullsh*t," a kid said to me. It was like the report of a rifle.

How about sick people going untreated because the hospitals have been looted?

International Committee of the Red Cross official Roland Huguenin-Benjamin told CNN that hospitals have been looted and pointed out that potential patients will not be able to make it to the hospitals to receive treatment "unless some sort of security can be re-established in the city."

Take a look at this Yahoo News slideshow for a closer look at these "small potatoes." Some of these pictures are of Iraqis looting Saddam Hussein's palace. Fine. But the images of destroyed museum artifacts are disturbing. Not to mention images of people looting humanitarian food supplies and hospitals.

If that's not enough for you, how about this horrible quote Free Pie found in Atrios' comments?

Limbaugh actually said the following today in regards to the museum looting:

"What culture? What cars have they invented? How many Nobel Prizes have they won

What culture? Oh, I don't know, that is the part of the world that pretty much invented the city, and the number zero (which is the exact amount of respect I have for Limbaugh). Or how about this amazing piece of architecture (found at Veiled 4 Allah)?

Why do they hate us? Because we're a bunch of completely inconsiderate assh*les, that's why.

And the first person to say "Oh, that means you think people deserved to die on 9/11" gets a verbal punch in the nose (addendum: not an actual punch, as this right-wing thug that Digby posted about suggested). That shows, to quote Bill Maher, an inability to mentally walk and chew gum at the same time.

Okay, rant over.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Deja Vu all over again

You know, this line didn't convince me last time, and they'll have a really hard time trying to convince me with it again.

Fleischer would not rule out military action against Syria, but emphasized that it is U.S. policy never to do so.

"We always leave options on tables, but our course of action with Syria is focused on reminding Syria that this is a good time for them to re-examine their support of terrorism, and a good place to begin is with their harboring of these Iraqi leaders who have fled to Syria, who should be allowed to find safe haven there."

Syria flatly denied the accusations.

As Tom Tomorrow said, "second verse same at the first".

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Good News, Funny Photos

This news made me happy, but also a little weireded out because of the photos of soldiers all in matching pajamas. They look a little like escaped mental patients.

KUWAIT CITY - Unexpectedly released by Iraqi troops, seven U.S. POWs basked in a warm welcome Sunday and were declared in good shape after their 22 days of imprisonment....Shortly after their capture early in the war, the seven had been shown on Iraq's state-run television - giving a human face to the peril confronting American troops. After their release, Young's father, back in Lithia Springs, Ga., watched shaky video footage of his son on CNN. "It's him, and I'm just so happy that I could kiss the world!" Ronald Young Sr. said. "It's him! It's definitely him."

Yay! Also this photo of a servicewoman living it up in the lap of cheezy deposed-regime luxury is very amusing. Via Electrolite.
Flexing the Freedom Muscle

I will give you 500 dollars if you can give me examples of right-wing "pro-war" protesters being treated in a remotely similar fashion as the left-wing "anti-war" protesters have been treated recently at Yale.

From Atrios (edited slightly for language*):

1) Wednesday morning - Publishing of an article on Katherine Lo,
whose suite was entered by three men armed with a 2x4 after she displayed an American flag upside-down outside her dorm room window. They attempted to enter her room, which was locked, and left the following note: "I love kicking the Muslims b*tches ass! They should all die with Mohammad. We as Americans should destroy them and launch so many missiles their mothers don't produce healthy offspring. F*ck Iraqi Saddam following f*cks. I hate you, GO AMERICA."

2) Wednesday evening - A group of undergraduates participated in a silent, non-violent vigil-type action in the University's dining halls to mourn the loss of Iraqi civilians in the current conflict. Raphael Soifer, a participant, was followed out of Davenport and spit on by a husky white male.

There's more, and it ain't pretty. And please, none of the "Well, in Iraq under Saddam you wouldn't have the freedom to decry the government," because that's the stupidest argument ever. That's like saying "Since you can show your dissent, that automatically means you shouldn't." What good is ability to flex your "freedom muscle" (to coin a kinky-sounding phrase) if you never actually flex it? If you have the ability to say, play the violin, and then say "I'm not going to play it, because I already can," then eventually you will lose that ability.

Am I the only one this is an obvious connection for? The less we allow ourselves to use the freedom of expression that people have fought and died for, the more the muscle will atrophy and eventually our freedom will be a 90 pound weaking that gets sand kicked in its face by Canada. And nobody wants that.

*I edited the language a little so that people reading this site from work won't get blocked out by their horribe fascist web-nanny software.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Cultural Casualties of War

The looting in Baghdad is really starting to piss me off. (note: I've been told recently that I'm always pissed off about something. Perhaps Plucky is a misnomer?) We were immediately able to secure the oil wells in Iraq. The president even specifically asked Iraqis not to destroy them, because they were "wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people". But stores, offices, hospitals, schools? Even, god help us, the museum? Go ahead, angry mob, help yourself.

Robbing history itself, thieves pillaged the Iraq National Museum, stealing or destroying artifacts going back 7,000 years predating even Babylon. The loss resonated through Baghdad and around the world.

"This is Iraq's civilization," said a tearful museum employee. "And it's all gone now." At Emory University in Atlanta, historian Gordon Newby said: "This is just one of the most tragic things that could happen for our being able to understand the past."

The looting isn't just annoying. It's also, if I may put on my tinfoil cap for a moment, suspiciously convienent.

The looting of the Baghdad bureaucracy raised concerns that any documents tied to Iraqi chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs might disappear along with all the treasures.

Our "unoccupying force" (you know, like 7up is the "unCola") needs to take care of this. Perhaps we are finding out that rebuilding a nation is not entirely as easy as we thought it would be?

Let me just say this right now for the record...

If any of my "friends" or "loved ones" ever, ever puts me on Scare Tactics, I will kill them.

That show is seriously funny, though.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Happy Birthday to me!

Woo Hoo! I am 25! If the world ends tomorrow, so be it.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Welcome to my blogroll

Thanks to The Watch for the link!
Happy Birthday*, the War is Over

I was going to write something pithy and genius about the "end" of the war, but Max wrote it already.

What's left? Will the Iraqi people come out of this, after burying their war dead, in better shape then we found them? If you think it matters, you have to admit it remains to be seen.

Got read it. I hope the "new" Iraqi government is worth these horrible injuries, these horrible deaths, and this kid's arms. To paraphrase a "Get You War On" cartoon I saw a while back, the Iraqi people better be the most freaking free people on the face of the planet, for me to justify the loss of a little boy's arms. The better have a more enlightened government than Canada by next week.

I also want to know, as I did with Afghanistan, what evil we're bolstering and supporting now that will turn against us in 20 years. Because, you know, our track record of installing successfull governments is soo good.

So while I definitely think it's great the Iraqi people are dancing in the streets right now, (especially the "Democracy, Whisky, Sexy" guy Bill Maher mentioned on his show last week) forgive me if I reserve my judgement on the "success" of the war for the time being.

Just to clarify, I know the song is "Happy Xmas, the War is Over", but it's my birthday tomorrow, so I changed it.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Let's play a little game...

Who said this?

"We have a president I don't trust, who has proven my reason for not trusting him: He had no plan. We have a civil war that was falsely described as a huge humanitarian problem, when in comparison to other places, it was nothing."

Was it Michael Moore at the Oscars? Was it Peter Arnett on Iraqi television? Was it John Kerry talking about George W. Bush? Was it a Dixie Chick?

Nope, it was Tom DeLay deriding President Clinton during the Kosovo invasion.

What's that you say, a Republican criticizing the President during wartime? They must really hate America!

For more right-wing hypocrisy, read this Salon article about how John Kerry is standing up to convervative attack dogs.

Luckily the decorated Vietnam war veteran is defending himself. ... "I'm not going to let the likes of Tom DeLay question my patriotism, which I fought for and bled for in order to have the right to speak out," .... "The Republicans have tried to make a practice of attacking anybody who speaks out strongly by questioning their patriotism. I refuse to have my patriotism or right to speak out questioned. I fought for and earned the right to express my views in this country." Finally, a Democrat who has the guts to fight back!

Let's hope they all show the same backbone, and we may actually end up with a democratic presidential candidate with a chance of ousting the Boy Emperor from office!
Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Peace Walk

There is going to be a Peace Walk (like a march, but slower I suppose) in Albuquerque, NM on Saturday, May 10th. It will start at Nahalat Shalom at 7 am and end up at the Islamic Center of New Mexico. Anyone wanting more specific info just send me an email.
This one hit close to home...

The IDF has shot another non-violent, unarmed protester.

Brian Avery, 24, from Albuquerque, N.M., heard shots fired and came out of his apartment building to investigate just as an armored personnel carrier rounded a corner, said Tobias Karlsson, a fellow activist...."We had our hands up and we were wearing vests that clearly identified us as international workers when they began firing," Tobias said. "Brian was shot in the face, and it looks like he was hit by a heavy caliber bullet because of the extent of the wound."

Brian Avery is exactly my age and from my home town. I wonder if I've ever met him.

My father travelled with members of the ISM on his recent trip through the Occupied Territories. These people are not terrorists. I wonder what ham-handed excuse the IDF will offer up this time.

Life as Parody

It took me a second to realize this pro-war rally was an April Fool's joke by anti-war protesters.

Then again, compare this to this and you might wonder which is real and which is a joke as well.

One thing I've been feeling recently is that America is not so much a country anymore, but a spoof of a country, starring Leslie Neilsen and directed by David Zucker and titled Democracy 33 1/3 or something. It's getting hard to tell The Daily Show and The Onion from actual news.

I don't know if that's good or bad.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Missed Opportunity

You know, I'm actually kind of sad that Geraldo got kicked out of Iraq.

Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera and his crew were flown out of Iraq Wednesday by members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.
Earlier this week, military officials accused Rivera of disclosing military movements without military authorization after a report in which he squatted in the desert and outlined military movements in the dirt.

This is a serious missed opportunity.

Think about it. Once coalition forces took hold of Baghdad, Geraldo could come across a secret vault in Saddam Hussein's basement, and spend an hour of prime time tv talking about all the amazing Weapons of Mass Destruction (and other buzzwords) hidden there. Then, they would crack it open on live on Fox and find...nothing!

Either that or one of Saddam's Fedayeen could hit Geraldo in the face with a chair and break his nose, I'm not sure which one would be better.

Seriously, missed opportuniy. Story via skippy.
Do you think we would ever see this on Fox News?

I really don't have any additional comment for this story. It speaks for itself.

"We had hope," he said. "But then you Americans came to bring us democracy and our hope ended."

Another one for the "I guess they'd rather be alive than free" files. Via Hesiod.

To everyone who sent me a nice letter telling me not to be in pain anymore.

And thanks to Devra, for the link!
This is a seriously stupid article.

I am sick and tired of hearing that the anti-war movement should support the troops. How am I not supporting the troops if I don't think they should die?

Those who protest insist, for the most part, that they support the troops. But cries of "Bring them home!" are all but drowned out by ubiquitous war coverage.

"For the most part" my arse. Humph.

Look, I understand that our soldiers are good at their jobs, and that they understand the risks involved in performing it. Still, I think that if you join the armed forces, putting your life on the line, you are putting your implicit trust in your leaders to not to be wasted as a resource. Just because you're the president, and you can order a bunch of men and women to go and die for your personal gain, doesn't mean you should. I oppose the war the administration has started, not the mostly working-class men and women they are using as pawns and then refusing to take care of when they are sick and old.

Support the troops, bring them home.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Trust me...

If your dentist ever asks you "so, in addition to that filling I'm going to give you, do you think you're up for having your wisdom teeth pulled?" say NO.

I don't think I could be in more pain if I tried.

No blogging today, I'm going to take a percocet.