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


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, 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.
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.
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 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


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...


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, 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.

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