Friday, December 31, 2004


This is a test...of that BloggerBot Hello thingie...
The Wrath of Nature

The tsunami/earthquake thing in southeast Asia has me pretty horrified. Watching the death toll creep up from a sad 20,000 to a "holy crap!" 150,000 all week long has given me a new appreciation for my coddled, well-fed, inland, American life.

We should all stop complaining about our malfunctioning cell phones (you heard me, customers I spent all day talking to,) and our crappy McJobs (uh, that's me too I guess,) and donate some of that cash we were just going to spend on more crap.

Red Cross has set up a special fund specifically for the tsunami victims.

Or, you can go Red Crescent if you are so inclined.

The United Way has created the South Asia Response fund to deal with the disaster.

UNICEF is taking donations for South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts.

The Prime Minister of India has set up a relief fund and is accepting donations.

Moveon.org is demanding America's 'leadership' offer more help.

Oxfam America is taking donations for an Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Fund.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has already set up shop, and is taking donations.

Habitat for Humanity has lots of homes to rebuild.

Amazon.com has set up a way to donate using 1-click ordering.

The Karuna Trust, some Buddhist monk type people, are helping out.

As are the American Jewish World Service.

Islamic Relief is doing their whole 'One-of-the-Five-Pillars' thing.

Both Google and CNN.com have put together respectable charity lists to choose from.

Want to volunteer? Check out Tsunamihelpoffered.blogspot.com.

And if you can't do anything to help any of the above charities, I'm sure there's a prefectly good homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your hometown in dire need of cash or volunters. Hell, there's probably some poor people in your neighborhood who could use a hand.

So go help them!

Since I'm a person who still is in denial about New Mexico turning into a red state, I can't help but sticking in this thought: If people like Bill O'Rielly or all those Chirstian Coalition whiners spent as much time emulating the 'philosopher Jesus' (which sounds like a cool band name...Philosopher Jesus)as they did complaining that gay Jewish filmmakers are staining the souls of America's children, then all the victims of this disaster would be living in mansions and driving Cadillacs.

But seriously, go help!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Post-Christmas Schwag

Because I know you all want to buy some, there's new designs in the Plucky Store.

Don't forget the Taos Aelthing (Viking Festival) Store either! I like the Sack of Lindesfarne shirt...

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Whatever

Happy Secular Winter Holiday! Spring will come again!

UPDATE: Via skippy, you may now have a Festivus for the rest of us!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Awesome

In a move that will have Rick Santorum shouting "I knew it!" the Jim Capozzola over at Rittenhouse has had his bulldog, Mildred, ordained a minister.

I hereby renounce my secular humanism and worship at the altar of Mildred!
Ho ho ho, American Children!

The Little Hedgehog is also having a Christmastime creep-out.

It's one of those life ironies that a time where you're supposed to be nice to everyone is really a time when you're not...
Christmas makes baby Jesus cry...

The seasonal spending orgiastics of my fellow consumerist cogs is particularly offensive to me this year, what with the wake of all this chest-thumping in defense of Christmas done recently by the whiners on the right.
Throughout December, O'Reilly has positioned himself as the lone ranger, willing to step up and defend the baby Jesus. "Nobody sticks up for Christmas except me. Did Peter Jennings stick up for Christmas last night? I don't believe he did. How about Brian Williams, did he? Did Rather stick up for Christmas? No."
You know, Al Franken was right. Bill O'Reilly is a serious fruitcake (haha, for Christmas, get it?). You have to wonder if he really sees himself as the lone warrior standing to protect the helpless baby Jesus. This is a teeny-tiny baby step away from that "Gay Jewish filmmakers are ruining the world" guy that was so easily mocked on the Daily Show last week.

I have to say that it's almost refreshing, now that the election is over, that the ultra conservative right is dropping this whole "we love Jews and liberals are anti-Semitic, not us," thing.
At one point, O'Reilly told the caller, "Come on, if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then." (Media Matters for America, a liberal media monitoring organization, quickly posted transcripts from the radio show.) "It was offensive and over the top," says Steven Freeman, associate director of the civil liberties division at the Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish civil rights organization.
Jesus Christ (haha again). Imagine if he had said "If you're offended in this primarily white nation, then you gotta go to Africa then," to some black person? Maybe this is the next step in the new "First they came for the ______ but I did not speak out because I was not a ______," type situations. The day can't be far away when someone tells Mr. O'Reilly that "If you're so offended, then go back to Ireland!"

The truly funny thing is that Christmas was, only very recently, a religious and wholesome holiday. It's a feast day, for Christ's sake (literally, haha), having more in common with Mardi Gras than the more family-oriented (and secular) Thanksgiving. Not only does it have ancient, pagan roots...
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
...But until quite recently it was celebrated in a fairly debaucherous manner.
On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today's Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the "lord of misrule" and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
So I think it's Bill O'Reilly robbing Christmas of it's true meaning. I'm going to his house and demanding his best food and drink, lest I terrorize him with mischief.
Guilt-Free Christmas

Not that it's possible with all the Catholicism in my family, but here are some things to avoid purchasing in this year's consumerist orgy.

Beluga caviar, crocodile skin, ivory, and other grisly animal remains...

Diamonds...

Chocolate...

And pretty much anything made in China.

It's more than a little sad when you think of what Christmas is supposed to represent, theoretically anyway, and the destruction all the crap we buy wreaks on the environment and our fellow man. Look folks, there's a reason the 'West' is so much better off than the rest of the world. Because we (and by that I mean you and me, all of us) exploit the fuck out of them.

If we all try our hardest not to be greedy pigs, then maybe we can make the world a teensy bit better this Christmas instead of making it worse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The medal of what?!?

Irony is officially dead, my friends, and there's a shiny medal pinned to its chest.
Bush presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who oversaw combat in Afghanistan and the initial invasion of Iraq, former CIA Director George Tenet and former Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer.
Now I really can't speak with authority on the general, but this very article has choice worts for George Tenet and Paul Bremer.
Tenet left the CIA in July after seven years as director. He has been criticized for intelligence failures before the September 11, 2001 attacks and the never-proven prewar allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Bush credited him as "one of the first to recognize and address the threat to America from radical networks."
Bush then said, "Coughbullshitcough!"

Bremer, of course, is best known for this choice remark.
This fall, Bremer suggested the United States had paid a price in Iraq in the immediate aftermath of major combat operations because it did not have enough troops in place to stop the looting.

Those remarks gave Bush critics ammunition for their claims that the administration's postwar planning was inadequate.
Hey, I said that, too! Can I have a medal of freedom too?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Well, there's always something...

Okay, so how do I edit my archive template now that blogger has decided I don't have one? But it's there....oh, booger.
New Template

Too boring? Too hard on the eyes? I just figured it was time for a change...
Cause yeah, that's a real problem

Am I the only one that thinks that steroid use in baseball is about as important to the state of the world as plastic surgery in Hollywood? Who cares about this non-issue anyway?

John McCain, that's who. I have had a grudging respect for McCain, based mainly on the good-humored appearances he often makes on The Daily Show. But if we're really reached a point in our society that when we're fighting what appears to me to be an unwinnable war that we started for no reason, or that when a genocide just took place in the Sudan, or that when millions of our nation's children are being medicated to an inch of their lives, or even with the relatively banal plagues of poverty and homelessness all around us a respected politician is rebuilding his career based on steroid use in baseball?

Because, you know, steroids are a huge problem. Once we get rid of steroids, then everything will be great again.

Jeeze.
Best quiz ever

bees
Which Eddie Izzard line are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Via The Little Hedgehog.

If you're not familiar with the joy that is Eddie Izzard's comedy, then you might as well be covered in jam.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sunday, December 05, 2004

George W. Bush wants your teenaged daughter pregnant and date-raped!

That is the only conclusion I can come to after reading the recent study (Adobe Acrobat required) on the horribly sexist and, more importantly, fantastically ineffective abstinence-only sex education programs the White House is pouring $170 million of your taxpayer's money into.

These programs, failing to accept the fact that horny young people really want to fuck each other, fail to prevent teenage pregnancy or the spread of STDs, and may actually make both problems worse (by convincing teenagers that condoms are ineffective, so they are less likely to use them when they do give into their natural urges).

From the study:
The report finds that over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two thirds of SPRANS grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health. Specifically, the report finds:
· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain False Information about the Effectiveness of Contraceptives. Many of the curricula misrepresent the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. One curriculum says that “the popular claim that ‘condoms help prevent the spread of STDs,’ is not supported by the data”; another states that “[i]n heterosexual sex, condoms fail to prevent HIV approximately 31% of the time”; and another teaches that a pregnancy occurs one out of every seven times that couples use condoms. These
erroneous statements are presented as proven scientific facts.

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain False Information about the Risks of Abortion. One curriculum states that 5% to 10% of women who have legal abortions will become sterile; that “[p]remature birth, a major cause of mental retardation, is increased following the abortion of a first pregnancy”; and that “[t]ubal and cervical pregnancies are increased following abortions.” In fact, these risks do not rise after the procedure used in most abortions in the United States.

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Blur Religion and Science. Many of the curricula present as scientific fact the religious view that life begins at conception. For example, one lesson states: “Conception, also known as fertilization, occurs when one sperm unites with one egg in the upper third of the fallopian tube. This is when life begins.” Another curriculum calls a 43-day-old fetus a “thinking person.”

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Treat Stereotypes about Girls and Boys as Scientific Fact. One curriculum teaches that women need “financial support,” while men need “admiration.” Another instructs: “Women gauge their happiness and judge their success on their relationships. Men’s happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments.”

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain Scientific Errors. In numerous
instances, the abstinence-only curricula teach erroneous scientific information. One curriculum incorrectly lists exposure to sweat and tears as risk factors for HIV transmission. Another curriculum states that “twenty-four chromosomes from the mother and twenty-four chromosomes from the father join to create this new individual”; the correct number is 23.
The report finds numerous examples of these errors. Serious and pervasive problems with the accuracy of abstinence-only curricula may help explain why these programs have not been shown to protect adolescents from sexually transmitted diseases and why youth who pledge abstinence are significantly less likely to make informed choices about precautions when they do have sex.
These programs also, in my opinion, will make the next generation of teenaged girls more likely to be pressured into sex and less likely on top of that to have a condom to use to protect themselves with when that happens. Take this little gem about what happens to 'uppity women'.
One book in the “Choosing the Best” series presents a story about a knight who saves a princess from a dragon. The next time the dragon arrives, the princess advises the knight to kill the dragon with a noose, and the following time with poison, both of which work but leave the knight feeling “ashamed.” The knight eventually decides to marry a village maiden, but did so “only after making sure she knew nothing about nooses or poison.” The curriculum concludes: Moral of the story: Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess.
What the hell is that? Asking the parents of daughters out there, why would you want your child to learn such a thing? Do you think the girl who has been taught this will be more likely to say no to sex if pressured? Or, if they want to have sex too, do you think they'll have a condom around?

What the hell happened to our society? When did it become Afghanistan around here? And why is there relationship advice, no matter what its nature, in a sex-ed class anyway?

Then there's the way these 'curriculum' paint an image of the sexually aggressive boy.
One curriculum teaches that men are sexually aggressive and lack deep emotions. In a chart of the top five women’s and men’s basic needs, the curriculum lists “sexual fulfillment” and “physical attractiveness” as two of the top five “needs” in the men’s section. “Affection,” “Conversation,” “Honesty and Openness,” and “Family Commitment” are listed only as women’s needs. The curriculum
teaches: “A male is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is sexually attracted. . . . Women usually have greater intuitive awareness of how to develop a loving relationship.

The same curriculum tells participants: “While a man needs little or no preparation for sex, a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation.”
So, not only are girls supposed to be accepting, adoring, meek little helpmates, but boys are brainless shallow horndogs who can have sex with anything at the drop of a hat. Oh, and they have really delicate egos, too.

Seriously, I wouldn't buy this crap in a cheap Kate Hudson romantic comedy, and the White House is spending 170 million dollars on trying to make your kids act this way.

Not that I want teenagers to have sex. It's a mistake of the right to say that comprehensive sex education encourages sex. The sex ed-class in my high school (during what are increasingly looking like the golden, halcyon days of the 1990s) encouraged abstinence as the only 100 percent effective method of birth control and preventing STDs. However, recognizing the fact that horny teenagers are going to lean enthusiastically towards wanting to fuck each other, they also talked about proper condom use and birth control pills and whatnot. The buzzwords "safer sex" were used.

And never once were the girls admonished not to nag the boys.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The first snow

Yes, it does snow in the desert. And it is freaking cold outside!



Speaking of cold outside, if you are going to be in Taos in February and have always wanted to investigate your hidden Thor-like nature, this is something you should look into. It's invitation only, but if you follow these directions, you can come too.

Plus there's t-shirts.

I'll be there, with horns on!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Back to life...

I apologize in advance if this is too smarmy.

This is a weird post to write. For awhile I thought of just abandoning this blog all together due to the last post on it. I didn't think I could bear to look at it and even thought about taking down the blog for good.

Let me explain.

I always said I never wanted to have children. I'm a young, progressive, busy, artist type. I don't have much experience with babies. They kind of freak me out. I'm so scared I'm going to drop them, or hurt them, or give them a lifelong phobia of something. When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified at first. What the heck would I do with a baby! How on earth would I make it through 40 weeks of healthy eating! No more cigarettes or caffeine! I was totally freaking out.

Gradually, I began to embrace the idea. I imagined how cool, clever and smart my child would be. How much they would look like their daddy. How wonderful it would be to breastfeed (food from my own body...how wholesome and economical!). I imagined making clothes and teaching a child to paint or teaching them about nature. What a well-rounded kid I would put into the world! I even picked out names: Lola or Oliver. Little Lola. Little Ollie. Cute and even a little Punk!

I embraced the role of healthy earth-goddess mother. No smoking, drinking, caffeine, processed food, or sugar. I bought trail mix to snack on instead of chips. I drank only 100 percent juice instead of soda. I even sloshed down the requisite 8 glasses of water a day. I walked, I did yoga. I stopped being so cynical and jaded all the time. I was actually feeling a little plucky.

When I had my first doctor's appointment and got to see the baby's heartbeat on ultrasound, I was amazed. How neat! I felt so...alive...to be participating in this most basic of human functions...reproduction! I felt instantly connected with women everywhere! We started to refer to the little embryo as the Speck.

Even when the morning sickness and constant fatigue kicked in, I took it in stride. When hunched vomiting into a toilet or dragging my sorry, sleepy behind to work every day I would say to myself "I'm doing this for the Speck!" I even flashed back to the lectures my own mother used to give to me..."I carried you inside me for 9 months and this is the thanks I get!" Now I could sympathize!

In other words, I had gone from practically anti-child to nascent loving mother in 2 months. Life is full of surprises.

It sure is. On Halloween, of all nights, at about 4 am, I woke with a fantastic amount of cramps. I was alone, as my husband works the graveyard shift. I had been having some light pinkish spotting the past few days but was told it was probably nothing as it was so light and pink. Well, the light pink spotting had turned into something else.

It was really horrific, sitting on the bathroom floor surrounded by a gory mess that was supposed to be little Lola or little Ollie. I'll spare you the grossest details, but it's an image I haven't been able to get out of my head. I screamed and cried until my husband came home. When he asked me, aghast, what happened all I could say was "It's gone, it's gone!" I think I cried for 72 hours straight.

So I had a miscarriage. 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, which is a number that sounds fantastically high to me in the era of boner pills and baldness cures. I am now a member of that '20-percenters' club.

Let me tell you, it couldn't possibly suck more.

What was really weird was going to vote on November 2nd. It was almost surreal, walking up to the voting booth in mincing, still crampy little steps and knowing that I really didn't give a crap about any of it anymore. I barely noticed that Dubya won. It really didn't penetrate through the haze.

The worst was going to the doctor afterwards. Sitting in that waiting room full of pregnant women, with baby magazines and maternity clothes catalogues piled everywhere was too much to handle. Seeing an OB is a weird, humiliating experience anyway.

Having another ultrasound and seeing a big empty grey space on the screen where there used to be the Speck really just set me over the edge. I had told my husband that I really, really didn't want to break down in the doctor's office and luckily he saved the day. He started to joke around, making me laugh. He made me a bouquet of those giant q-tips that all doctor's offices have but that seem to have no identifiable purpose. I don't know how I would have made it through that visit without the giant q-tip bouquet!

In general, though, I have just been hating life and the world. I have turned a complete 180 of how I felt when I was pregnant. I am either sad or furious all of the time. When I think of all of the abused children or crack babies or babies who were left in cars and died, or Iraqi children crushed under their homes, or Israeli children killed by a suicide bomber, or Palestinian children caught in crossfire I want to punch a wall. It's so not fair that any old asshole gets to have a child and I don't.

Mostly, though, I am furious at the universe for making me realize that I do want children, that I would make a great mother and I wouldn't scar a baby for life or drop them or give them psychological problems and then taking it all away from me. Why? Where's the life lesson? What am I supposed to take away from this? I don't get it.

In the past few days I'm feeling like I'm coming back to life. I will get back to blogging. It seems like recently all I've had is one medical problem after another that's keeping me from doing so, but not anymore. Even if I have to stray into the personal, this blog has been my venting space for over two years and I'm not about to stop now.

One thing I found out that kind of opened my eyes was that my mother had three miscarriages and my grandmother had seven. Seven! I can't imagine experiencing this seven times. Of course, my grandmother had 13 children (not counting the seven) so she was just super strong anyway. Seriously, women kick ass.

And as a kick-ass woman, I think I'll survive this one after all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Vomiting: my new favorite hobby

Well, now that all the family members have been informed I guess I might as well blog about it. I am with child!

This is of course exciting and creepy at the same time. But, since all I've done for the past six weeks is sleep and throw up, I've not really been keeping up on the news. Hence the paucity of blogging.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Babe Ruth's Piano

I don't even like baseball. To me, it's like a severely boring arcana of odd rules and funny outfits. All that squatting and running weirdly and spitting and ball-scratching just isn't for me.

However, you gotta love the Red Sox beating the Yankees last night. Awesome!

I only lived in Boston for a short time, and I didn't exactly love it, but that must be a really happy city right now. Even the Citgo sign must be smiling.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

This quiz is a sad substitute for a real post...

I'm neglecting you, I know.




I find this quiz fun but slightly sexist in a vague, unsettling way. Via Moonshine Highways.

Monday, October 11, 2004

RIP

Let's hope that some good can come out of the death of Christopher Reeve, who always seemed to me like a really nice guy, even before he was paralyzed, and more attention will be brought to the possibilities of stem cell research in healing spinal cord injuries.
Reeve died Sunday of complications from an infection caused by a bedsore. He went into cardiac arrest Saturday, while at his Pound Ridge home, then fell into a coma and died Sunday at a hospital surrounded by his family, his publicist said.

His advocacy for stem cell research helped it emerge as a major campaign issue between President Bush (news - web sites) and Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites). His name was even mentioned by Kerry during the second presidential debate on Friday.
Stem cells might have saved his life. Stem cells, taken from abandoned frozen embryos that rich people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating instead of just adopting a baby, I might add.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Need some wood?

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I will now be having horrible nightmares about your (shudder) wood.

I'll post about the debate tomorrow. Right now I really, really need to go to bed.

I am glad, though, that John Kerry finally got nasty and angry tonight. I loved the 'the President didn't find WMDs so now he has weapons of mass deception about my positions' bit.

Also, I think 'the internets' is going to become my favorite Bushism.

But now for sleep. I have to got to work at 3 a.m. So I'll post later. You know, on the internets.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Dirty, dirty liar!

As underwhelmed as I was by Edwards' performance at the debate, it can't be ignored that Dick Cheney is a lie-spurting machine.

My favorites are the bold assertions that while Cheney is down at the Senate most Tuesdays 'doing his job,' John Edwards has skipped out on work so often that he'd never met him before that night.

Ha!

Not only had they met like 3 times before (evidence: both pictorial and in video), but if like 4 times in 4 years counts as 'most Tuesdays,' then I'm worse at math then my second-grade teacher always said.
Bleh

I, for one, think that last night's rather nasty little debate between the Vice President and Senator Edwards was less satisfying than last week's ass-whupping by John Kerry. Personally, I wish Edwards had talked about Halliburton more.

With a good deal of taxpayer's money going to Halliburton, a corporation that is under investigation for both overcharging the American government for the 'reconstruction' of Iraq and for bribing its way into Nigerian oil contracts, Edwards should have been saying "Halliburton" as often as the President said "Mixed Messages" last week. Halliburton. Halliburton, Halliburton.

This enrages me more than almost anything regarding the mess the White House has made of Iraq. The reconstruction could have been like Iraq's New Deal, a jobs=generating effort to unite the nation, give industries something to do, and allow the Iraqi economy to start moving again after a war and years of crippling sanctions. Sheesh, we even helped the fascist Axis powers reconstruct after WWII, and now Germany, Italy, and Japan are thriving, modern, democratic countries.

With Iraq's economy being engulfed by Halliburton and Bechtel, and Iraqi workers living with a freakishly high unemployment rate, no wonder they are humiliated by the occupation. If Canadians invaded the US, gave the job running a factory that's been yours for years to a Canadian, and either just laid you off entirely or gave you some menial job, how would you feel about Canada?

If I had been John Edwards last night, I would have pounded this mental image into the heads of everyone watching: The Vice President is hopelessly entwined with a corrupt corporation that lies and bribes, and is using taxpayer's money to keep the Iraqi people angry at us. It's the truth.

Speaking of the truth, didn't you just love Cheney's plug for 'factcheck.com,' presumably a website that backs up his statements? Well, beyond the fact that the last time I tried to use the Internet as a source on a term paper I got docked a big fat one, and beyond the fact that he couldn't even get the name of the website right (when you do a lot of making shit up, keeping facts straight seems less important) but the website doesn't even agree with him.

Hopefully, the next debate will be more satisfying. I think either Dick Cheney isn't as dumb as Bush, or Edwards isn't as good an orator as Kerry, or both.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

And speaking of...

The PeaceWalk gets hate mail!
Hello,

After you complete a peace walk, do the Muslim members of the peace walk cut
the heads off of the Jews, blow up Jewish schoolbuses, and demand that all
Jews fight to end the very existence of Israel while screaming "god is
great!" and shooting guns in the air while screaming at the top of your
lungs?

Curious,

Chris
Personally, I think this guy is a serious loser who doesn't have anything better to do than to send stupid emails to a non-profit organization making an honest effort to turn the world into a better place. My father, though, gave him a well-worded response.
Peace be with you Chris:

It is interesting that you take the incidents committed by a small radical component of the Muslim community that are really fringe extremists and put that on all of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Is it true that because a few men and countries had enslaved my African ancestors, and because a portion of the population of Europe helped in the killing of 6 million Jew during the holocaust, or that the Klu Klux Klan lynched many African Americans, or that hundreds of thousands of native peoples were slaughter throughout north and south America, or that Stalin killed over 30 million of his people that all white people or Christian peoples are evil or want to put all Jews in ovens or enslave all African-Americans?

If this were true that the 1.5 billion Muslims of the world believe this then the 1 in 5 portion of the population would be creating total havoc in all parts of the world. Of the 10 million Muslims that live in America, of which 45% are African American, where have you heard or seen any of the rhetoric that you are claiming. I have not heard any of our communities spouting any such thing. If anything we condemn suicide bombings, beheadings and etc. as unIslamic barbaric acts. Was slavery, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of native Americans or the genocide of Bosnians by Serb Christians, Christian acts of Jesus even though Christian doctrine was used to justify these acts. I would say no, not in the least.

After having over 8 peacewalks around the US to answer your question, have you seen in in the American news media any news of beheadings or blowing up of schoolbuses or shooting of guns at innocent children????? No you have not!!!! and will not!!!

If anything, if you had read any of the newspaper articles associated with these events and followup events afterwards you would have read about Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities coming together and working for each others benefit for peace.

Please look at your own history of America and Europe and see that in this last century that over 120 million people have been killed in wars of conquest, racism, bigotry. Yet does the action of a few extremist leaders and countries condemn the whole population of white Europeans and Americans. Based on your logic that would make them the most evil and barbaric people on the face of the earth.

Look beyond the surface and get to know truly what Islam is about and stop the indictment of a whole people because of the actions of a few, because the tables can be reversed with your logic for your own people also if this were true. Myself as an America can say that for my African American people, my brother native Americans and many Hispanic Americans of this country we could make a similar claim, yet it would not be fair to the majority of people who had no part what so ever in those atrocities.

Open your heart and your mind and look at your own history before you make such ridiculous statements. If you were truly curious you would make the effort to go beyond
pure prejudicial comments and seek the truth that is right in front of you.

May the peace and blessings of the creator be with you,


Abdul Rauf
Well put. Not that I think Chris will listen.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Hmm.

I guess it speaks to the level of which my faith in others, specifically other Americans, has fallen that I'm shocked neither by these photos nor the conduct of the racist fanatics trolling the comments here.

Of course we killed innocent people. If you posted all the pictures of innocent people the American government is responsible for killing you'd need infinite bandwidth. From Asia to Africa to South America, the United States has had a hand, often indirectly but very often directly, in the deaths of a lot of innocent people who committed the crime of being born in a particular place.

And of course people are going to have knee-jerk, self-centered, hateful racist reactions. Historically, it's what people do best. It no longer surprises me to hear people lump together all Arabs, even all Muslims into one 'enemy.' Lord knows, Bush's heavy-handed (a euphemism, I know) policies have allowed al-Qaida to do the same to us. In fact, Bush has united different groups who used to hate each other. Now they all just hate us.

If Bush wins re-election, I'm moving to Canada. If I can convince Brian to stand the cold.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

One Last Thing...

...before I go to bed. And I know it's petty, but it bugged me.

\Mul"lah\, n.
Definition: [n] a Muslim trained in the doctrine and law of Islam; the head of a mosque

Note the subtle yet existant difference between that word and this one:

\Moo"lah\, n.
Definition: [n] informal terms for money

This is one of the smaller examples of what Kerry was just talking about in reference to the president being insensitive to other places in the world. If our leader can't even make the effort to pronounce a single vowel sound correctly, how can he convince countries who speak in the language that includes that vowel sound to side with us in a difficult struggle?
He thinks we're retarded

I can't believe George Bush just started the debate by mentioning 9/11 and WMDs in the same breath.

With all due respect, you have got to be fucking kidding me.

After all the shit that man has taken my country through, he has the gall to bring up the same old bullcrap that anyone not on crack knows is complete baloney.

9/11 changed everything, alright. It turned politics into a complete joke. If George Bush wins re-election then I will have even less faith in the American people than I did after Titanic made a billion dollars.

I am pleading with my American fellowes to keep this man out of the White House. This kind of behaivor cannot be rewarded.

Please, show them we are not the mindless sheep they think we are?
Pop Quiz

After reading this rather upsetting article, I want to ask two questions of two particular nations involved in what is often rather euphemistically called a conflict.

First up is Israel, infamous for some rather, let's say, excessive methods of crowd control.

Q. What will this child become when he grows up?
In the bloodiest incident, a tank fired a shell toward a group of gunmen, killing seven Palestinians and seriously wounding 23, including gunmen and civilians. Many of the wounded lost limbs, and at least four were under age 14, doctors said.

Kamal Adwan Hospital was overwhelmed by the influx, and doctors had to treat some patients on the blood-soaked floor and on cafeteria tables.


Ahmed Salem, 10, said the shell was fired from a tank at a U.N. school near Jebaliya's market. "I was hit and fell to the ground. The man lying next to me had no head," said the boy, who was wounded by shrapnel in the leg.
A. This child will grow up to hate Israelis.

If some gunmen are using civilian children as shields, as the army commander in Gaza goes on to suggest, is it okay to shoot right through the children to get at the gunmen?

Probably not a good idea.

Next let's ask Palestine something.

Q. How to you think the family members of these innocent victims feel about putting an end to the occupation and furthering the cause of the Palestinian people?
Three Israelis ? two soldiers and an Israeli woman jogger ? were killed in two Palestinian shooting attacks in northern Gaza.

...Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets and mortar shells at Gaza settlements and Israeli border towns since 2000. Most attacks caused damage and minor injuries. There have been two deadly strikes, including Wednesday's hit on the border town of Sderot that killed two children as they played on the sidewalk in a quiet neighborhood at the onset of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

...In one incident, two gunmen fired on an army observation post near Jebaliya, killing a soldier before being shot dead. Near the Jewish settlement of Elei Sinai, two attackers killed a woman jogger and an army medic who came to her aid. The gunmen were eventually killed by troops.
A. They will come to hate Palestinians and never want to withdraw from the occupied areas.

I, for one, (and feel free to disagree with me on this) think that soldiers are valid if unfortunate targets...They're soldiers after all...But it's never okay to kill innocent civilians, especially two little children who are committing no other crime but playing on the sidewalk in the neighborhood they had no choice about living in.

Is my point not clear? Let's ask two more questions.

Q. Israel, do you think these now homeless Palestinians will quietly find a new place to live and continue to live a law-abiding existence?
Army bulldozers demolished 22 homes along a relatively narrow road leading into the camp, U.N. aid officials said, apparently to widen it and allow more tanks to get through. Armored vehicles avoided the booby-trapped main street.

"A bulldozer entered our living room and demolished half the house," said Hussein al-Jamal, a resident of the camp's Block 2, adding that he and his family fled, along with many of his neighbors.
A. No, they are now more likely to affiliate themselves with some sort of anti-Israel terrorist organization.

Q. Palestine, do you think this Hamas terrorist's assertion is likely to come true?
A masked Hamas gunman carrying a rocket launcher said he expected Israeli soldiers to leave soon. "Jebaliya will be a burial ground for their soldiers," he boasted. "They will run away and we will stay."
A. No, your horrific actions against innocent people are going to turn Israeli public opinion against the cause of the people you purport to represent.

Both of you two countries are very, very stupid and probably would have failed this pop quiz.

I'll get off my soapbox now.*

*Well, I probably won't, actually.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Been there, done that

Riverbend over at Baghdad Burning has a moment most of America is familiar with.
I prepared myself for several minutes of nausea as Bush began speaking. He irritates me like no one else can. Imagine long nails across a chalk board, Styrofoam being rubbed in hands, shrieking babies, barking dogs, grinding teeth, dripping faucets, honking horns ? all together, all at once ? and you will imagine the impact his voice has on my ears.

I sat listening, trying not to focus too much on his face, but rather on the garbage he was reiterating for at least the thousandth time since the war. I don't usually talk back to the television, but I really can't help myself when Bush is onscreen. I sit there talking back to him- calling him a liar, calling him an idiot, wondering how exactly he got so far and how they're allowing him to run for re-election.
I have so been there. I completely understand her disbelief that Bush is still being allowed to run again. How is he not getting on a helicopter on the White House lawn just like Nixon, never to return?

To tell you the truth, I wouldn't be surprised if the U.N. sent guys in blue helmets to observe the legitimacy of our elections. After 2000 (not to mention 4 years of disastrous presidency) I often wonder if this election won't be looked upon as a dark time for democracy.

The question is, I think, will the 2000 election be a depressing nadir which we will rise above? Or is it going to be a mere prelude?

Are we going to let Bush steal the election again?

Turns out there might be reason to worry. Read this Salon article about the lengths politicians are willing to go to keep African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. The article mentions several horrible incidents from the 1980s and 1990s, and of course capping it all off with Florida in 2000.
To many African-Americans, the most notorious effort to disenfranchise blacks occurred in Florida in 2000. During the election, according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Republican state officials "failed to fulfill their responsibilities." In the aftermath of the debacle, numerous media reports surfaced of organized efforts to keep blacks away from the polls -- tales of police roadblocks erected in black neighborhoods, of election officials asking voters for unnecessary identification, of people being forcibly turned away from the polls by police. A few of these stories were discredited. Yet when the commission investigated the election, it corroborated many of them.

Floridians told the commission that they saw police cars illegally patrolling areas near polling places. They testified that in minority neighborhoods, polling places were closed early or were moved without any notice. The commission declared that election problems in Florida resulted "in an extraordinarily high and inexcusable level of disenfranchisement, with a significantly disproportionate impact on African American voters."

Much of the disenfranchisement was caused by antiquated voting machines used in minority neighborhoods; while just 11 percent of Florida's voters are African-American, more than half of the spoiled ballots -- more than 90,000 of the votes tossed out -- were cast by blacks. But another major source of disenfranchisement was the state's erroneous purging from voter rolls of thousands of suspected felons, the vast majority of whom were African-Americans. The purging occurred, the commission concluded, as a result of the "overzealous" efforts of Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris to combat voter fraud. "African American voters were placed on purge lists more often and more erroneously than Hispanic or white voters," the commission also noted. Could it be, many Democrats wonder, that Hispanic voters were not purged because, at least in Florida, they tend to vote Republican?
I honestly had no idea that the majority of 'chad failures' came from African-American voters. This is intensely suspicious to me.

If the Bush campaign people were willing to go to these lengths in 2000 when they had nothing to lose, what will they do now they've had a taste of power?

There's still hope, though. I hear Canada's quite lovely in the fall.

Monday, September 27, 2004

No Kidding, Capitan Obvious...

Colin Powell emboldens the enemy and states what is painfully obvious to anyone who hasn't been smoking something.
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell sees the situation in Iraq "getting worse" as planned elections approach, and the top U.S. military commander for Iraq says he expects more violence ahead.

Their comments Sunday followed a week in which President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi spoke optimistically about the situation despite the beheadings of two more Americans and the deaths of dozens of people in car bombings.
Iraq is getting worse. Yes, we know that. Very good, Colin. Now you get a lollipop.

Powell then goes on to spew the same old hoary chestnuts about terrorists hating freedom.
"It's getting worse," he said on ABC's "This Week." "They are determined to disrupt the election. They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic election."
Uh huh. Could it possibly be that the election is being hosted by the invaders who destroyed their homes, killed their families, and otherwise ruined their lives?

Naw, they just hate us for our freedom.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The local blogtopia (y!sctp)

Other political-minded people who have had to assure other Americans, at least once, that yes, there is a 'New' Mexico:

Democracy for New Mexico
Metaquerque (actually, already on the blogroll)
Alpert's Truth
Burque News
The Little Hedgehog
moonshine highways (not really political, but lovely photography)
NewMexiKen
and the lovely Pika at Quirky Burque, who was also already blogrolled, but deserves all the attention you can give her!

All added to the blogroll.
Abortion

I cannot applaud this effort enough. To recognize the fact that a multitude of women have had abortions without shame or suffering, to realize that the availability of abortion has made so many lives better is to remove from it the stigma of something bad, tragic, or devastating. Abortion in this country has allowed women to lead better lives. To force a woman to be pregnant when she does not want to be is as limiting as wrapping her in a burqa and locking her away.

I have never had an abortion, but I have several friends and family members who have. These women are not heartless, selfish feminists or over-sexed harlots. These are normal human beings who seek what men take for granted: control over their reproductive systems. The more we can recognize the truth about abortion, that it happens to our mothers and daughters and sisters and friends, the harder it will be for old white men to take this right away from us and put us back where they think we belong.
Photograph by Ali Price. Please don't sue me!
The Blogmistress returns

After some life adjustments and a new computer, sort of, (thanks to Brian's previously unknown hardware skills) I am jumping back on the aforementioned blogging pony. Look for updates to layout and a much needed update to the blogroll coming shortly.

Monday, August 23, 2004

It's my Blogiversary!

I hadn't even noticed, but it's been two years since I started riding the blogging pony. feel free to peruse the archives for some Plucky 'best-of'.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Fear the pale-skinned foreigners and their strange, European ways

Pain be damned! I'm blogging today!

A few days ago, USA Today, of all places, explained why Michelle Malkin's and Annie Jacobsen's desire to see all dusky young males harassed at airports is a really stupid one. Al-Qaida, seeing the American public's passionate desire to paint terrorist threat only in Middle-Eastern Male colors, has begun to recruit from places like Bosnia and Chechnya. You know, where white people live. It seems that even Caucasians are capable of hating America.
To avoid the intense scrutiny on travelers from certain Middle Eastern countries, al-Qaida is believed to be using operatives from Chechnya, Bosnia and, when possible, Western Europe. Not all are Arab, and not all are men. All are thought to be Muslim, but a few have pretended to convert to Christianity to deepen their cover, the senior intelligence official said.
Hopefully our National Security forces are smarter than fantastically blockheaded pundits like Malkin otherwise I'm sure we're all in danger. While security forces are busy making young Arab men take off their shoes and give up the tweezers in their carry-on bags, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Chechens with a bible under their arm will be planning out the next 9/11.

Next time I get on a plane, I am definitely going to closely watch the activities of every white "Christian" guy on the plane. I will note how many times they went to the bathroom and whether or not the rhythm of their breathing is deep enough. Then, I am going to write a bunch of articles as to why the safety of innocent, brown-skinned, patriotic Americans like myself is being threatened to avoid bruising the egos of these Europeans.

After all, if they're innocent, won't they have nothing to hide? Europeans in this country have lived so well, surely they won't mind taking one for the team in order to preserve my own peace of mind. White people claiming to be Christians are planning attacks on America, so what choice do we have but to question every white Christian in order to protect ourselves?

In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic.

Salon's "Ask the Pilot" guy also has a good column on the subject, in which this excellent point is made.
"Whether or not profiling is racist is irrelevant," says Stanley J. Alluisi, a professor at the Aviation Sciences Institute, Southeastern Oklahoma State University. "More to the point, it's an inefficient use of resources and unlikely to produce good results. Without an extremely specific set of data upon which to build a profile, it would tag so many people as to be useless. Keeping a lookout for 'Middle Eastern men' doesn't help and actually hurts by wasting resources."

"If security authorities are told to look closely at Middle Eastern males," adds Johnson, the military intelligence officer, "then someday the threat will show up as female and Caucasian. In the anti-terrorism business, routine is weakness. The Israelis began successfully profiling suicide bombers as young males, so the Palestinians started sending females and middle-aged men. The first few got through."
All of this seems very much on the common-sense side of thought to me, but not to the breathlessly paranoid Ms. Jacobsen, whose latest column can be read here.

Jacobsen is, of course, Caucasian and from a highly Christian culture, and we know these people are planning an attack on America that could come at any moment. So make sure to keep an eye out for her or her type at airports everywhere.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to take 1800 milligrams of ibuprophen and wrap my wrist and elbow in a cold compress. Cubital tunnel surgery, here I come!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Speaking of Bummed

What the crap is that stupid Blogger bar thing across the top of my website? That's so hideous. I need to switch to Moveable Type.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Totally Bummed

So I definitely have cubital tunnel syndrome (like carpal tunnel, only with the other nerve in the hand) and have a month to get better otherwise I need icky surgery. So, blogging, violin playing, and other diverting activities are forbidden at least for awhile. Plus, I have to wear a big goofy brace.

I'll try to make updates occasionally, probably using the Sidekick as that seems to be less trouble on my arm. We'll see, I guess.

But this definitely bums me out.
Medical Difficulties

The spectre of some sort of ulnar nerve compression problem has reared its ugly head, causing some alarming numbness in the pinkie and ring finger of my left hand. This may put blogging on an even further back burner than its been lately. I'll keep you posted.
Viva Italia!

You know, I cannot deny that there's something fundamentally hot about this Italian fencer making out with his gold medal at the Olympics the other day...hubba hubba!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Testing testing 123...

This is to test if I can blog via Sidekick...I can!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Cameraphone Blogging

I'm not sure if this counts as being artistic, but I sure am having a blast with my cameraphone. Here's a bunch of crap I took with it:



Sunday, August 01, 2004

Right.

You know, if I were the Bush administration, I would try to keep things like this quieter. I don't think they have the intended reaction.
WASHINGTON - The federal government warned Sunday of possible terrorist attacks against "iconic" financial institutions in New York City, Washington and Newark, N.J., saying a confluence of chilling intelligence in recent days pointed to a car or truck bomb.
It's a good thing all those solders died or had their limbs blown off in Iraq, not to mention all the civilian deaths. Because Americans are sure a lot safer now. Oh, wait, I guess we're not.

This is really the kicker for me, though.
Ridge said it would be up to New York City officials to decide whether to move to the highest level, red. The city has remained on orange since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The threat potential remains through the Nov. 2 elections, Ridge said.
This does seem to leave the possibility very open for the GOP convention to be held in a cit under code red lockdown. I wonder what that would be like? I truly don't think it could help anything, with all the neocons praising themselves as balloons fall from the ceiling while New Yorkers are afraid in their homes and have to go through security checkpoint after security checkpoint.

Grumble. I'm very sleepy. I'm going to get some coffee and fortifying lunch.
This is probably pretty true...

Dorothy Zbornak
Which Golden Girl Are You?

You are smart, sensible and love your family.
You are forgiving but also tend to hold a grudge,
especially when it comes to ex-husbands!



Via Timmydale.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Am I being too cynical?

Maybe, but after the last few years is it hard to blame me?

If a marine named Todd Johnson had mysteriously escaped beheading via Iraqi insurgents and turned up in him birth country of Canada, where he still has relatives, would there be all this paranoid obsession about it?

So Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun has gone on leave. Apparently that's a standard part of the 'repatriation process' (something that sounds a little creepy to me, but maybe now I'm being paranoid...). Perhaps, in light of the spectacle of themselves the military made during the whole Captian James Yee fiasco, they are choosing to be hush-hush about their investigation, but the only people who seem to be acting like Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun did anything wrong are our histrionic media.

But, you know, that's really just par for the course, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Meanwhile...

ciacito, baby! Wassup? Just a little pic taken from my new Samsung E715 camera phone (and then made into a little wee pic via a picture editor on the computer).

That's right. I am now one of the cell phone people.

While you're waiting for me to get my blogging act together, why not check out my friend Tim's blog. He's the bravest guy on the planet for me right now.
I didn't die

Blogging will resume, I promise. Soon. Tomorrow. But now I sleep.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Angels and menaces of grace defend us...

This would be funnier if it weren't so right on the mark.

I agree with cartoon Kerry. It's scary that Bush can't say 'nuclear.'

Link via NTodd.
And speaking of Jesus...

This Nicholas Kristof Op-ed is worth attention.

If the latest in the "Left Behind" series of evangelical thrillers is to be believed, Jesus will return to Earth, gather non-Christians to his left and toss them into everlasting fire:

...These are the best-selling novels for adults in the United States, and they have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The latest is "Glorious Appearing," which has Jesus returning to Earth to wipe all non-Christians from the planet. It's disconcerting to find ethnic cleansing celebrated as the height of piety.

If a Muslim were to write an Islamic version of "Glorious Appearing" and publish it in Saudi Arabia, jubilantly describing a massacre of millions of non-Muslims by God, we would have a fit.
I don't doubt it. I'm sure these books will be decried as evidence of the horrible violence inherent in the 'rotten to the core' Christian culture any day now, but just to be on the safe side, I'm not going to hold my breath.
God Hates Crabs.
 
The Slacktivist has some excellent ideas as to why some acts of 'abomination' are more abominable than others.
The folks over on the religious right cite Leviticus as evidence that homosexuals are an unclean "abomination," yet they have no problem eating at Red Lobster. What gives?
Since many observers have noted this apparent inconsistency (see, for example, godhatesshrimp.com) I figured I would wade in to try to explain why it is that so many contemporary Christians reject gays while embracing shellfish.
Things like this have always been interesting to me because, as an athiest, I think everybody's just making it all up, but it's always seemed that the answer to alot of the world's problems is not less religion but rather more of it. 
 
Or, at least, more of it followed properly.  For example, suicide bombing wouldn't be much of a problem in the Middle East if the idea that suicide was evil were taken seriously.  Also, Christian fundamentalists wouldn't be such hate-filled bigots if they actually did the things Jesus wanted them to do.
 
Poor Jesus.  He must be spinning in his grave right now.
 
Just kidding.
Sigh...
 
Now, far be it for me to undermine our current democratic nominee for president, but John Kerry is making me pine for Howard Dean

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Friday he would be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against terrorists if he had adequate intelligence of a threat. 

..."Am I prepared as president to go get them before they get us if we locate them and have the sufficient intelligence? You bet I am," he said at a news conference at his Washington headquarters.
Now, I suppose the argument could be made that by "them" he means actually al-Qaida and not just whoever he feels like.  However, after four years of bald-faced lies from a U.S. president, I'm a little jaded and quick to suspicion. 
 
Over the next few months, "The lesser of two evils is actually less evil..." will be my mantra.
Cripes.
 
They went and changed blogger again.  Although I kind of like this fun toy.
 
Who knows.  Maybe I'll post in different colors all the time now.
I just wanted to let the world know...
 
...that my friend Tim is strong, and brave, and wonderful.
 
Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming.
It's good to know some things never change
 
Iggy Pop, still scary.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

And soon, no drinking and no talking!

Now, I know smoking is a nasty habit and leads to all sorts of badness, but I've never quite understood the logic of banning smoking in bars.

It's like saying, "Well, go ahead and kill your liver, not to mention running over a happy family on your way home, but your lungs...now they're sacred territory to remain pink and fresh!"

It's totally stupid. If you're going to a bar and drinking...chances are health consciousness isn't one of your top concerns. Which is why I find this story out of Ireland so heartening.
GALWAY, Ireland July 7, 2004 — The smoke of rebellion rose across Ireland on Wednesday as a handful of pubs let customers smoke in defiance of a government ban.
Health Minister Micheal Martin promised to punish the owners of Fibber Magees, a Galway pub that was the first to rebel against the 3-month-old ban, and any others joining the campaign.
It's good to know that somewhere on the planet people haven't gone entirely insane about smoking.

Yes, smoking is unhealthy. And unless you've just ran a mile, eaten nothing but skinless chicken breasts without any sort of sauce, and breathed only crisp mountain air after bathing in the purest of springwater then I don't want to hear a word of it from you.

Banning smoking in bars is like banning sodas from McDonald's.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Yay!

I like this news.

I think John Edwards's idea of "Two Americas" should come back to the forefront.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Pop Quiz

Is the person who said this Muslim or Jewish?
"We will not support any violence, but we'll understand because the way that Sharon acts is a way that encourages violence,"
How do you feel about the religion of this fundamentalist cleric?
A Palestinian cleric drew criticism last week for saying that anyone handing over part of Palestine to a non-Muslim could be killed under a historic law of "fatwa" -- a license to kill someone who intends to kill someone else.
Of course, that's not how the quote originally went.

Violence breeds violence. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict would be just as bloody if they were Catholics and Hindus. It has nothing to do with religion, but with abuse of power and terrorist tactics.

Naturally, the fanatical fundamentalist rabbi who issued that call to arms is no more representative of Judaism than Osama bin Laden is of Islam. Jews worldwide are not to blame for his actions, nor should they need to decry them. It's obvious that any sane person would disagree with him. The question "does Judiasm support assasination?" doesn't even need to be asked. Of course it doesn't support it.

Unfortunately, Muslims in America are forced to explain the actions of a minority of people who pay lip-service to their same religion all the time.

As my father said, it's like holding all of North and South America accountable for the actions of the population of Albuquerque.

Or, as Margaret Cho said, like grabbing a redhead and shouting at them, "What's up with the IRA?"
Okay, this is hardly funny anymore...

HASH(0x8ab5174)
borderline


Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla


I don't care what Brian says...I am not a loose cannon! This quiz is just wrong!
Oh yeah...

Happy Fourth of July.

From where I'm sitting in New Mexico you can actually hear the Native Americans say "whooptie-doo."
Fahrenheit 9/11: A late-night, too-many-rum-drinks review:

(You'll have to excuse me, I'm having a Christopher Hitchens moment.)

As usual, Michael Moore's new film is being decried for having a 'slant.' So what? I maintain that anyone who criticizes Moore's films as 'too biased to be documentaries' is ignorant of the medium. Saying that Moore is too biased is like saying this blog is too biased.

Duh. Of course it's biased. That's kind of the point.

Moore's films aren't cinema verite any more than I'm reuters.com, and they've never purported to be otherwise.

Any 'bad press' Fahrenheit 9/11 is getting about being "full of lies," is referring to only the beginning third anyway, which describes all sorts of nefarious relationships between the Bush family and various Middle East baddies. This is all a little slow, to be honest.

These things aren't exactly a secret to anyone in blogtopia (y!sctp). And some of the connections are a teensy bit tenuous.

However, you do get to see Paul Wolfowitz suck on a comb and then smilingly rake it across his hair. Cripes, I'd like to hear an explanation for that one. Although I guess it does explain why his bangs always have a slight 'something about Mary' look to them.

Once the film actually catches up to 9/11, however, it's heart-wrenchingly honest in a way the media hasn't been in several years.

One moment which few reviews I have read have mentioned, was so powerful that I actually flinched. When Moore goes back to the titular day, instead of showing us the same footage we've all seen over and over again he gives the audience a completely black screen with only the audio of planes hitting towers.

It was so shocking to hear that deafening whoooomp the air was knocked out of me. I was reminded of what actually happened that day in a way I wouldn't have thought possible after years of listening to the Bush administration desperately harping on a non-existent Saddam-bin Laden connection.

Another favorite moment: the world-weary Washington state trooper forced by budget cuts to patrol the entire open coastline all by himself.

The sight of all those injured soldiers was also shocking, such as the man laying in bed with no arms or legs, or the man with permanent nerve damage who has quit the Republican party and vows to be a lifelong Democrat? Is he lying about being so angry?

Or how about the poor, terrified female soldier who barely held back tears while talking about expecting to die at any moment? Or the fantastically young-looking soldier talking about a little part of himself dying inside every time he takes a life?

Are they lying about that too? I won't even mention the footage of the Iraqi grandmother screaming "Where is god to help defend us? Where has god gone?" while standing amidst the rubble that used to be her home, except to say that it brought a tear to my eye.

Moore visits a woman from his beleaguered hometown of Flint, Michigan who has made the kind of sacrifice for the American way of life that most of the people responsible for starting this war couldn't even fathom.

Is her pain and anguish all a lie? Is her betrayal at the use of her son as cannon fodder a figment of Moore's imagination? Is it all 'staged,' as a passerby dares suggest to the woman later in the film?

In this movie Michael Moore seems to support our troops more than anyone I've heard fling about that catchphrase recently. In revisiting Flint, he makes the point that many of the soldiers dying and killing for Halliburton's no-bid contacts are from economically impoverished areas and often have no other job prospects than joining the military.

Near the end of the film, Moore states that it's funny how the same people who have been screwed by the American system are the first to risk their lives to defend it. "All they ask," says Moore with less irony that you'd think, "is to not be put in harm's way unless it's absolutely necessary."

For people whose ideas of a sacrifice are monthly blog hosting fees or some spare change for a bumpersticker (and I suppose this is directed at both sides of the isle) hopefully this is a huge reality check. It's really easy to bloviate at the keyboard while 18 year olds are fighting so we don't have to.

It's our responsibility as voters to remove the man responsible for starting this war from office, and not reward him with four more years to bleed us dry both literally and figuratively.

Okay, rant over.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

More power to them

Poor South Africans from Soweto are suing Disney for rights to the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," used in The Lion King, itself already a ripoff of a Japanese cartoon.
The lilting song, initially called "Mbube," earned an estimated $15 million in royalties since it was written by Zulu migrant worker Solomon Linda in 1939, and featured in Walt Disney's "Lion King" movies.

However, Linda's impoverished family have only received about $15,000, the lawyers said.

...If the case is successful, legal action may also be launched against Disney and other companies in the United Kingdom or Australia, where British copyright laws would have applied, Dean added.

It would also have widespread implications for other South African musicians, authors and artists who may have sold their rights without being aware of their entitlements. "The family are entitled to royalties. There has also been a misappropriation of South African culture -- the song is thought to be American," Dean said.

Linda's grandson Zathele Madonsela, 16, told reporters the case was very important for his family, who live in poverty in the Johannesburg township of Soweto.
If anyone deserves a piece of the Mickey pie, it's South Africans from Soweto, who have been being screwed since the Boers landed in like the 1700s (or whenever it was. Apologies to my history professor.)

I hope they squeeze every last drop they can.
Oh. My. God.

Reading this made me want to watch I Spit on Your Grave.

Listen to defense attorney Joseph G. Cavallo describe a 16-year-old girl who was gang raped by several young men, using their penises and foreign objects including a pool stick and a juice bottle. The girl was unconscious during the rape, which the men videotaped, accidentally returning the tape to the video store.
"She knew how to use her body. She knew how to use sex," said Cavallo, one of at least nine defense lawyers (not including the publicist, a jury consultant and an army of private investigators) representing Gregory Scott Haidl, 18; Kyle Joseph Nachreiner, 19; and Keith James Spann, 19.

...In just his opening statement, a pacing, finger-pointing Cavallo told the jury that the girl—next to the tape itself, the prosecution’s star witness--is "a nut," "a pathological liar," "a cheater," an "out-of-control girl," "the aggressor," a wanna-be "porn star," "a troubled young lady," "a tease--that’s what she is!" "a mess," a "master manipulator," a "little opportunist," "a compulsive liar," "a cheat--that’s what she is" and a "callous" drug addict and alcoholic who trimmed her pubic hair, bragged about liking group sex and once drank a beer in a car.

...During preliminary hearings, Cavallo called Doe a "slut"; on this day, he stayed away from the word. However, he told the jury several times that everyone, including the girl’s parents, "knows what she is." Talk outside the courtroom was less coy. In the hallway just outside, a defense consultant openly and repeatedly called Jane Doe "a fucking whore."
So it's no wonder that these people elected a serial groper for governor. Jesus Christ!

Anyone know where I can send some firmly worded (yet non-threatening) hate mail?

Link via Sisyphus Shrugged.
Does this look bad, or is it just me?

This seems a little ominous. The the 1st Battalion of the 509th Infantry, who have historically been playing the 'bad guy' in military exercises, are being deployed to war for real for the first time in 6 decades.
The Geronimoes are tasked with playing the "enemy" at the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., putting visiting infantry and special operations troops through their paces.

...The bad guys now have to switch sides. With the Army pressed to rotate more soldiers into Iraq, they have now turned to the 509th, which hasn't been deployed in 60 years. Two of the battalion's four companies, Alpha and Bravo, have been called up for duty in Iraq.

"I think the Army said, 'Hey that's the 509th — those are Geronimoes. They're a historic unit. They're a well-trained unit, a highly disciplined unit. We need somebody right now and those guys are ready,' " said Griffith.
This kind of creeps me out. If they're that desperate, then what's next?

If you're the wealthy son or daughter of a congressperson, then it might be time to start getting your draft dodge all worked out.
Ummm...yeah....

Sorry about that. Doing the happy dance left me a little more busy than I'd thought...

Sunday, June 13, 2004

I'm doing a little happy dance right now...

Because I never have to go back to my old job again...cha cha cha cha cha...yay!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Ronald Reagan, still dead

Meanwhile, some other stuff happened.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Gunmen killed an American in the Saudi capital Saturday, shooting him as he pulled into his garage at home, witnesses said, in the third slaying of a Westerner in the kingdom in a week.
I'm sure it was of no consequence.
Bassam Salih Kubba, 60, Iraq (news - web sites)'s most senior career diplomat, was mortally wounded when gunmen drove up behind his car in the city's Azimiyah district and opened fire, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thamir al-Adhami said.
It definitely has nothing to do with that war thingie in that Iraq place.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A senior U.S. military officer acknowledged Saturday that the Americans have not achieved their goals in Fallujah despite the agreement to end the siege of the Sunni Muslim city and turn security over to an Iraqi force.
Anyway, the important thing to remember is, Ronald Reagan is still dead.
RIP Ray

What really pisses me off about this Reagan thing is that Ray Charles died and nobody noticed.

My favorite image of Ray Charles is as the blind musical instrument salesman in Blues Brothers. "Twist it! Shake it, shake it, shake it baaaaby!"

Remembering Reagan.

Amen.

Via Max. Max spoke, I listened!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Cognitive Dissonance

As long as the rest of the media is in "All Reagan, All The Time" mode, I thought I'd join in.

Some neocon somewhere must be having his head exploding in confusion.

Stem-cell research, which conservatives have somehow linked to abortion, could probably have made the last days of their hero more dignified and painless. Even poor old Nancy is begging for a change in the government's policy regarding this. What a Reagan-loving, fundamentalist neo-con to do?
Last month, Nancy Reagan appeared at a fund-raising dinner in Los Angeles to promote stem cell research.

"We would very much like to work with you to modify the current embryonic stem cell policy so that it provides this area of research the greatest opportunity to lead to the treatments and cures for which we are all hoping," the senators wrote Bush.

The letter was signed by 42 Democrats, the Senate's one independent and 15 Republicans, among them conservatives who oppose abortion.
It's my understanding, and I could be wrong on this, that the majority of embryos used in harvesting stem cells are those which came from the fertility treatments of wealthy white people who can't be bothered to adopt a child in need.

Why not let someone else besides the doctor they're flinging hundreds of thousands of dollars at in order to spread their own seed benefit from their fortune?

I'm sorry if this sounds overly snarky, but it really pisses me off that people (even Republicans who screwed Central America, South America, the Middle East, brought the healthy ketchup vegetable to school lunch programs, and gave me nightmares of nuclear holocausts as a child) have to suffer in death just so George W. and the rest of his self-righteous buddies can win a few more fundamentalist votes...
Yay!

So I got the new job. Now I just have to figure out how to quit my old one. I feel like I'm trying to end a bad relationship...

Maybe I'll give them the 'It's not you, it's me,' speech.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Wow...

Ronald Reagan died.

Really, the problems with his economic policies and his foreign policies aside, dying of Alzhiemer's disease has to be one of the worst ways to go.

Poor man.

Maybe they'll bury trickle-down economics with him.
...sigh...

I keep trying to blog but I'm too anxious about the prospect of getting (or, more acurately, not getting) this new job that nothing is getting my goat enough.

So, I guess I'll just go to bed.

Also, I saw the new Harry Potter movie and I don't care what Hans says, I thought it was pretty fricken good.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Oh my God...

Have we gone back in time? Of all the things that should be shouted from the rooftops to all who can hear by the media, why...why is someone interviewing O.J.?!??!?
MIAMI - O.J. Simpson complained Friday that the media have convinced the public he is guilty, and he said he hopes the real killer is found so that he can have the pleasure of proving people wrong.

"My prayer is that it will be solved so that I can go to so many people that I felt I had to be nice to," he said in an interview with The Associated Press marking the 10th anniversary of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson's slaying. "I've always been a gracious winner and loser. Only this time, I don't think I'd be gracious."
You have got to be kidding me.What the hell is wrong with this country?
Well now George W. Bush and I have something in common

We both disagree with the Pope about stuff.
The ailing pontiff complained about recent "deplorable events," an apparent reference to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops. In the absence of a commitment to shared human values, "neither war nor terrorism will ever be overcome," he said, struggling to speak.
Of course, it's different stuff we disagree about. Good old JP couldn't be more right about this.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Sounds like my kind of life

The world's oldest woman, Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan, died this weekend.
Her husband was a bank manager in the 1940s and '50s who passed away in the 1970s, Matos said. They never had any children and lived peacefully, he said.

She enjoyed a beer with meals, Matos said.

"Even when she was over 100 years, every time we took her out to a restaurant, she always liked to have a beer, a small beer, a 7-ounce beer with the food," he said. "That was the first thing she asked for when she got to a restaurant."
No kids and daily beer. I'm going to live to be 115!

Link via TBogg

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Friday, May 28, 2004

Aw, I wanted to get 'Speak 'n' Spell'

In celebration of not losing internet access and living like an Amish person, here's a quizilla for you.

etchasketch
You're an Etch-a-Sketch!! You're the creative,
artsy type who doesn't need to actually utilize
a single muscle group in order to have fun.
Doesn't matter though, you're still cool.


What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was never really good with an etch-a-sketch. Pretty much the only thing I could manage was random 'city skyline' sorts of things.
Yay!

So, I finally paid the cable bill. I only had to live without tv for a few days and they didn't even get around to turning off my internet access.

It's exciting, living life on the edge...

Thursday, May 27, 2004

What a coinkydink...

Maybe this is tinfoil hat territory, but I don't think so.

It's awfully convienient that suddenly, when Bush's poll numbers are way, way down, there's a huge terrorist threat.

They didn't even bother to raise the terror alert level. You'll notice it's still 'Bert' in the sidebar over there.

Of course, in my opinion things like this really shouldn't boost Bush's approval rating, as they show to anyone with half a brain how he's *not* made it safer for Americans.

That is, if it's even a real terrorist threat.

It's sad to be so cynical. I didn't start out this jaded!
Okay, I know this is lame, but...

I really, really hate people who ask for money to blog. I really don't think my blog is worth that much.

Now, if I were to give something substantial in return, on the other hand...

As I am broke (not to mention bored), I have opened a Cafepress.com shop. It's here, if you're interested. More stuff is getting added as we speak.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Technical Difficulties

Well, I'm probably getting my cable cut off in the next few days, so there may not be any posting here until Friday or so.

Such is life. Really, I should feel lucky to have happened to be born in a part of the world where I can afford cable internet access in the first place.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Foreign Terrorists, like this 2 year-old girl

Okay, I'm sure U.S. forces aren't cruel enough to randomly bomb isolated tents and homes in the middle of the desert (although I would say that with much greater assurance *before* the Abu Ghraib photos came to light) but it really irks me to see them trying to spin such an obvious screw up in a different direction.
"There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Saturday. "There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too."


But video that APTN shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around the bombed out tent.
Bad people have celebrations, too? Bad people like this 2 year old girl who now needs a tube to drain her liver?

This article kills me, too.
"We have not denied anything about this incident. We still don't believe there was a wedding going on, or a wedding party going on, when we hit in the early morning hours. Could there have been some sort of celebration going on earlier? Certainly," the official said.
Not even the people whose parents, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children had their bodies ripped apart by bombs paid for by the US taxpayer are denying the celebrations were over when hell fell on them from above. That's just a stupid, mean thing to say.

Even if this were *also* a terrorist hideout this would be terrible. If there's even a chance that the building you're considering dropping your bombs on is filled with innocent men, women, and children, it would seem to me that securing the area in a more precise manner than exploding it would be in order.

But then again, maybe there's something I just don't understand about war.