Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Greeting us with flowers.

This is just terrible. I'm sorry for the families of these people.

I'm sure in ten years hollywood will exploit this with a so-so movie with a bunch of male starlets in it.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Fair and Balanced

Read this Salon article for a very even-handed and accurate seeming article about the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

It's the normal people on both sides of the fence who suffer when extremists battle each other..
Okay, so I finally saw The Passion of the Christ

Was it anti-Semetic? Probably a little, but no more so than the story already is, in general.

Was it violent? Well, yes, but no more so than your average horror movie. If you're used to gory movies it won't shock you too much.

Was it any good? Eh. I found myself unmoved. Brian made the point that it was probably something you would only 'get' if you knew the story intimately already. For instance, I though the Romans were being nice to Jesus when they present him with a cloth soaked in water after he says that he's thirsty. Brian had to explain to me that it was actually sour wine, and a further torment.

I think it was a mistake for Mel Gibson to focus on the physical suffering of Jesus rather than the spiritual suffering of Jesus. After all, anyone can go through physical torment. Physical torment is shallow, and the sort of thing that happens to the hero of an action movie (Bruce Willis walking on broken glass in Die Hard, or Mel himself getting gutted at the end of Braveheart are two good examples,) but only a Jesus-figure could have withstood the emotional torment that must have gone along with the knowledge that you *have* to die to save mankind. Unfortunately, Gibson decides to minimize that spiritual at best, and at other times to leave it out entirely.

The worst part was when Jesus was dying on the cross, and goes from an anguished "My father, why have you forsaken me," to an understanding 'It is accomplished" in a nanosecond. The character has made a huge reversal, suddenly understanding and accepting his fate fully, and we get zero insight into what is going on in his head. We can't even see his expression through all the grime and bloody gunk on his face.

I didn't get it. But maybe that's why I'm an athiest.
Busy with school and run-down with illness.

Sorry about the lack of posting the last few days.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Wow. This is lame.

Punk wasn't hijacked by left wing was created by left wing elements.

I'll take Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys over Michale Graves from post-Glen Danzig Misfits any day. That's hardly proper punk credentials.

I agree with Tbogg. I still call far-right punks skinheads.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

I hope this is good news

The Israeli Government has killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, in an airstrike.

Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired three missiles at the wheelchair-bound Yassin and two bodyguards as they left the mosque, killing them instantly.

A total of four people were killed and 12 were wounded in the attack, witnesses said.

Sheik Ahmed Yassin will never plan another suicide bombing. That's a good thing.

I do, however, have two major problems with this. One is the problem I always have when the Israeli Government carries out one of these airstrikes. I'd like to know who the other three people and twelve injured were. If the usual is true (and it may not be, if the other dead and injured turn out to be Hamas members or others of that ilk I will gladly retract this statement,) then they were probably innocent bystanders exiting a mosque. [**see update below**]

Let me put it this way. If the F.B.I. had dropped a bomb on Terry Nichols as he was exiting church along with the rest of his innocent congregation, killing three people and injuring twelve others, would that be considered justified?

Somehow, I think there might be a bit of an outcry. Especially if the dead or injured included children, as is so often the case in the Occupied Territories. What is the Israeli Government supposed to say to the mothers of these children? "Oh, I'm sorry, but the actions of someone your kid happened to be born in the same neighborhood as left us no choice but to kill them?" And what are they going to do to keep the older brothers and sisters of these dead kids turning to suicide bombings? They've already learned that life has no value!

My second problem with this is that this murderer is now a hero, a martyr in the eyes of many Palestinians. I don't expect this to put any kind of a halt to attacks on innocent Israelis (and I'm hoping to have to eat my words on this). Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if it had the opposite effect, as Hamas attempts to take revenge.

And please, don't call me an anti-Semite. Just because I don't think certian factions of the Israeli Government should be allowed to do whatever they want doesn't mean I hate Jewish people. And nothing in the above post excuses suicide bombings, either.

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong about this and the dead and injured were not innocent and the death of this murderer will halt or at least slow down suicide attacks against Israel. I certianly hope so.

**UPDATE** Well, nevermind.

Among those killed were several of Yassin's bodyguards and his son-in-law. Seventeen people were wounded, including two of Yassin's sons.

I still believe my point is valid, though. Firing a missile into a non-military area is not exaclty the way a civilized nation goes about dealing with murderers. And this guy has defninitely turned into a martyr.

More than 200,000 Palestinians, some carrying billowing green Hamas flags, poured into the streets of Gaza City for Yassin's funeral procession, the largest gathering here in recent memory. Tens of thousands of furious Palestinians rallied across the West Bank.

Mourners in Gaza jostled to touch Yassin's flag-draped coffin, and women ululated and threw flowers and candy. Two Israeli helicopters flew above, and the sky was blackened from the smoke of burning tires.

I really, really hope this doesn't escalate.
Well, that depends on what your definition of 'improved conditions in Iraq' is...

While I decide whether hot miso soup or cold ice cream will be easier to eat, read this Salon article describing what's better and what's worse in Iraq. Alot of it is worse.

Based on the ABC/BBC poll, 17 percent of Iraqis think that attacks against U.S. coalition forces are acceptable. That's 17 percent of about 25 million people -- more than 4 million people, in all. When the Bush administration declares that it is winning the war on terrorism, it is obviously discounting the situation in Iraq. What's happening here is not a question of a few hiccups in light of the postwar transition.

This illustrates a fundamental problem with the Bush Administration's approach to the war on terror. Instead of focusing on the total destruction of terrorists at the expense of all else (including the truth as to whether or not they're actually terrorists, but that's another argument), they should be focusing on preventing new terrorists from coming about in the first place.

What has happened in Iraq is that 4 million new people now want to kill us. When you take a situation where there was little terrorist activity and create 4 million easy recruits for al-Qaida, that doesn't seem like any kind of a success.
I have a meatball in my throat

My left tonsil has swollen to the size of a Swedish meatball, so I might be a little light on the blogging the next few days.

Don't worry, it's not another hiatus.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Sweatshop Sweatshirts

Showing their typial penchant for hypocrisy in all its forms, the Bush Administration sold sweatshirts imported from Burma on their official re-election website.

Burma (or Myanmar, as it is now called), is known for the horrible conditions of their sweatshops. Bush himself signed into law forbidding importing goods manufactured there.

Bush last July signed into law the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, saying "The United States will not waver from its commitment to the cause of democracy and human rights in Burma."

Violators of the import ban are subject to fines and jail, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Burmese textile workers earn as little as 7 cents per hour, according to the National Labor Committee, a human rights group.

No, irony isn't dead. It just smells funny.

The care labels on the clothing state they should only be 'machine washed cold,' proving once and for all that these colors do run after all.

(Link via Pandagon.)

**added** If you're interested in making sure the person who made your clothes made more that 7 cents an hour, check out No Sweat Apparel-100% Union-Made.
It depends on what your definition of 'said' is...

I must say, this is pretty dang fun to watch. Nice to know that someone in the media is paying attention.

Link via This Modern World.
Dawn of the Dead: slightly less gory and violent than The Passion of the Christ!

Seriously, though, pretty entertaining if you're into that sort of thing. You know, zombies eating brains and stuff. Highly recommended by Plucky.
More charges dropped.

Capt. James Yee, the Muslim chaplain accused of mishandling classified documents at Guantanamo Bay has been cleared of wrongdoing. What makes me curious is that they've done so because to investigate further might 'endanger national security.'

In dismissing the charges, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, which operates the detention center, cited "national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence" if the case proceeded.

"In the grand scheme of things, and in the interest of national security, Gen. Miller felt like the charges needed to be dropped," said Lt. Col. Bill Costello, a Southcom spokesman. "It seemed to be the prudent way to proceed."

Considering this follows awfully close to the statements of the four British former prisoners concerning physical and sexual assault at Camp X-Ray (not to mention uneccesarily extreme amputations), could it be that they really just didn't want to draw attention to conditions there?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Peace Walk Fever is spreading...

This makes me more than a bit proud. Go, Dad and Rabbi Lynn!

Maybe it will catch on in even more cities.

**added** If you're interested in the Peace Walk, please check out their website (maintained by me!).

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


I don't want a toaster.
Furnulum pani nolo.
"I don't want a toaster."
Generally, things (like this quiz) tend to tick you
off. You have contemplated doing grievous
bodily harm to door-to-door salesmen.

Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Not quite sure what to make of that one.
The future of America, folks...

Check this out.

In this poll 47 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds say they'd vote for George W. Bush if the election were today, 31 percent for John Kerry, and seven percent for Ralph Nader.

This is, of course, the same demographic that watches Jackass.
Hello, my name is Vanessa Regis-Campos-Marquetti-Gatsch.

The subject of maiden names is a sticky one for me. This Slate article made me think of a few things.

I grew up the child of a hyphenated name family, but it's more complicated than most. You see, my *father* also grew up in a hyphenated name family. Much of my childhood was spend with my last name shifting around from Campos-Marquetti (my father's name) to Regis-Marquetti (Regis being my mother's mother's mother's name, that she took upon marrying my father. Now that's a 1970's era feminist move for you!). On top of that, my parents neglected to ever give me a middle name. The whole idea of having one is a foreign concept to me.

At doctor's offices, schools, anywhere where I would have needed to be registered by name, the last name I was under would often depend if it were my mother or my father doing the registering. After their divorce, which name I used turned into an emotionally messy sign of which 'side' I was on. For instance, my sister, who until puberty was my mother's darling, always west by Regis-Marquetti.

So, eventually, in High School I just said screw it all, and we to being plain old Vanessa Marquetti, no hyphenation, no middle name. Besides, I liked the sound of the two names together-multisyllabic, with a nice, musical flow. Van-ess-a-mar-quett-i. Sounded foreign, exotic somehow. The signature was nice too, with that big, loopy, dramatic 'q' hanging down there. And as it was neither my mother's nor my father's name, I felt like I was sort of forging my own identity.

I had wanted to keep my 'maiden' name when I got married. My husbands name sounds so unlike me. It's very abrupt, very German. It seems designed to be shouted. GATSCH! It sounds like a verb. Plus, five letters and only one vowel. That's too many consonants. Also, the 'G' makes for an awkward signature.

My husband said he didn't mind, but I could tell on some level it hurt his feelings a little bit. Something about how his name, his family history, wasn't important enough to graft onto my own. And I certianly didn't feel that way.

So, I changed my name. I became a Gatsch, practiced a new signature and got used to advising people on how to pronounce it. (My mother still stubbornly refuses to merge the 'tsch' into a proper 'ch' sound, pronouncing it 'Gat-sh' with an innocent, confused look on her face, although I don't know where she gets off as her name from her new marriage is now Mrs. *Hall*.)

And what of Marquetti? What did I do with the name that I had used to forge my own identity with as a teenager? I nudged it over and it became a middle name, filling in the blank place on forms that had been there my whole life. I finally have that third initial I've always wanted.

See, I'm still creating my own identity.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's annoying for issues like this to be politicized. The name that you go by is, obviously, very personal to you. Am I somehow not a feminist because I didn't keep my 'maiden' name? I don't think so. This sort of thing is a personal choice. It's not "shallow, satisfying, lipstick feminism," as the author of this piece so condecendingly put it. It's a choice.

I kind of though that was the whole point of feminism, to give women the freedom to choose without social judgement.

Link via Sisyphus Shrugged.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Ahhh, irony

I would really find it delicious if the French managed to capture Osama bin Laden before we did. Somehow, I don't think that will help Bush get re-elected.

To be truthful, I really don't think if Bush brought out bin Laden in a little cage during the GOP National Convention it would help. Really, I think it would make people wonder why it took so long.

Why were were attacking Iraq while all these al-Qaida bombings have been killing people for four years.
Yes, I am a geek.

I find this to be fantastically cool.

Named Sedna, after the Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic, the planetoid is 800 to 1,100 miles in diameter, or about three-quarters the size of Pluto, and probably half rock, half ice.

...Brown and his colleagues believe Sedna is the first known member of the long-hypothesized Oort Cloud, a sphere of material orbiting the sun that explains certain comets. If Sedna is part of the Oort Cloud, the cloud extends much closer inward toward the sun than previously believed.

I suppose I'm geek enough to think that's cool, but not so geek as to realize the Oort Cloud was just hypothesized. I kind of thought that was something they were sure about.

Anyway, it's still cool.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Holy Crap. Even the guilty shouldn't be treated like this.

I'm a little astounded to read the stories of the British men recently released from Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay. First off, British authorities set them free after a mere 24 hours of questioning. It took them 24 hours to find out what it took us two years to discover. (Link via Cursor.)

What the hell is wrong with this country?

On top of that, the treatment described by one of the men is just unexcusable.

He alleged all the detainees were routinely assaulted, hooded, kept in so-called "stress positions" and held in solitary confinement for months. Detainees were also sexually assaulted by women to "break" them psychologically, he claimed.

Mr Harith also alleged they were forcibly injected with sedatives and other drugs.

Granted, the story then goes on to mention this man was reportedly paid £60,000 for telling his story, so that may discredit him a little.

But these are allegations I *hope* will not go uninvestigated. I don't care if they really were guilty, there is no reason a free society should be sexually assaulting or drugging their prisoners.

If we really believe in democracy and justice as American people, let's start acting like it.

Here's another story detailing the treatment of the Camp X-ray detainees. Let me warn you, this article has some pretty gross things in it, detailing some of the sexual assault committed against the prisoners. But especially creepy to me was this:

Describing medical treatment, Jamal said he knew of 11 men who had legs amputated and two who lost toes and fingers. He was told that the Americans had removed far more tissue than was necessary.

HE added: "The man in the cell next to me had frostbite in two fingers and two toes. He also had it in his big toe, but they didn't treat that for a year by which time they had to cut off much more than was needed.

"All the men who had lost limbs complained they would chop them off high up and not bother to try to save as much as possible."

This is disguisting. Where is the outrage in the American media? Are people that would be disgusted by this seriously in the minority???
Blogger Round-up

Okay, just to get myself warmed up, here's some regurgiblogging...

Alas, A Blog tells of a sad yet fascinating case involving c-section birth. A woman is being charged with murder after refusing to undergo a c-section to save the life of her unborn children. Allegedly, she refused because she did not want to have a scar, which seems ridiculous as she apparenly has had two prior c-sections.

Childbirth has always been a scary idea for me, and if I was told I was going to opened from "breastbone to pubic bone," as this woman was, I would probably freak out too. Add in the possibility that this woman might have been suffering from mental illness, and the charge of murder seems ridiculous to me.

Body and Soul also has a post on this issue.

In my (admittedly paranoid) opinion, the threat of death hovers around childbirth. Women used to die in childbirth in huge numbers, and although now with modern medicine the threat is greatly lessened it is still present.

Hesiod reports Judge Roy Moore, of the really ugly Ten Commandments momument fame, is thinking of running for president on a third-party ticket.

I, for one, think that it's only fair to let the Republicans get their share of spoilerage.

skippy has a link to two polls showing Karl Rove is *not* a genius. The shameless whoring of the 9/11 imagery has apparently really pissed people off.

And finally, Al-Muhajabah wonders if it's al-Qaida or Basque separatists responsible for the horrible, murderous act of terrorism in Spain this week.

There's that for now. I'm just getting warmed up!
I'm baaaaaack...

I've been meaning to come back for the last few days, and finally today the itch to complain (in a plucky way, of course) grew too strong.

Plus, Brian only posted once, the quitter.

Just kidding.

I have stayed away for long enough. Give me a few hours to play news catch-up. Expect much late night, feverish posting.