Monday, May 31, 2004
Ah crap. I am in trouble. I'm out
Ok, maybe not, but it's closeWhite Men Can't Jump
I love this movie! I haven't seen it in so long! But I found it in my room (taped off of HBO many moons ago) and just threw it in. I don't know what the true cause is, but I can't stop giggling. ("I may be a chump, I just said that ain't my name!") I don't know if it's the movie, the DDP and Rum, the Corey's World Famous Hamburgers we just finished eating, or the blogging craving I am now sating.
All in all, not a bad end to the night. Well, except I have to work tomorrow.
Now I wanna go play some hoops. Dang! Maybe this week. Gotta get me some.
"Shut your anorexic, malnutritioned, tape-worm having, overdoesed dick gregory bohemian diet drinking ass up and leave me alone!"
So thanks again for the great bash (suck-up #3)
Thanks to you too, Dad. I am glad you made it thru and are still with us. I love ya.
Sudanese peasants will be naming their sons "George Bush" because he scored a humanitarian victory this week that could be a momentous event around the globe — although almost nobody noticed. It was Bush administration diplomacy that led to an accord to end a 20-year civil war between Sudan's north and south after two million deaths.
Demographers at the U.S. Agency for International Development estimate that at best, "only" 100,000 people will die in Darfur this year of malnutrition and disease. If things go badly, half a million will die.
This is not a natural famine, but a deliberate effort to eliminate three African tribes in Darfur so Arabs can take their land. The Genocide Convention defines such behavior as genocide, and it obliges nations to act to stop it. That is why nobody in the West wants to talk about Darfur — because of a fear that focusing on the horror will lead to a deployment in Sudan.
Yet while Mr. Bush has done far too little, he has at least issued a written statement, sent aides to speak forcefully at the U.N. and raised the matter with Sudan's leaders. That's more than the Europeans or the U.N. has done. Where are Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac? Where are African leaders, like Nelson Mandela? Why isn't John Kerry speaking out forcefully? And why are ordinary Americans silent?
Check out the article. If the mainstream media refuses to do any in depth reporting on anything but Iraqi prisoner treatment, maybe the rest of us can get the word out.
Update: Gary Farber and his big stick just whacked me upside the head. In my ranting against the media (which I am wont to do lately, sometimes based on more than conjecture) I ignored the NY Times OpEd and the NYT syndicated news service. They have provided some coverage on the Sudan story. Furthermore, my linking talents are minimal at best. Here is a specific link to Gary's post, and here is a specific link to the article mentioned above.
I am learning. Slowly. See Gary, I told you there was no reason to fear me stealing your readership! Thanks for pointing out my shortcomings...
Sunday, May 30, 2004
On a cool note, Glenn Reynolds has linked to a couple of sites that are discussing the Blogger Bash from the other night. Well, maybe there are not so much discussions as Gary Farber prattling on endlessly about his version of the night(Which is mostly fictional. Although he was wearing a space shirt, and I did overhear part of the conversation he and a young lady had about said shirt. That part was true) and Jeff Goldstein discussing the intellectual conversations he and his neighbor had the day after. It's all entertaining as hell and you should check it out.
I need to update my blogroll now. I'll get to that later. I still need a shower before I leave. Stupid blogging. Always getting me in trouble.
Yes, today is Sunday, and I know that. Why did I wait this long instead of getting my observations out earlier? Maybe that night after it was all over like Gary Farber (Amygdala) did? Well, unlike Gary, I was not drinking lemonade all night. That and my friends and I decided to go camping for the weekend despite the weather forecast of cold, rain, and wind. Which it was. With a little snow. That is why I am home already.
Back to the party. A thanks, first of all, to Walter, Darren, Andy (didn't get to meet you, but thanks), and Zomby.
The night before this gala affair, I made the wise decision to stay up (and sporadically blog) until almost 3am. Getting to work before 8 that day was no small feat, but I pulled it off. I even got some work done! Suffice it to say, by the end of the day (3:30pm) I was zonked. I headed home and dropped in to bed and didn't awaken for almost 2.5 hours. Oops. The good news was that I was more awake and felt capable of handling the hordes of bloggers at the bash. I made it down by 8ish, got a drink at the bar (they were pouring generously, let me tell ya) and started mingling. By mingling I mean that I walked around talking to myself and my drink for a while until I stopped in to listen in on a couple of conversations. Eventually I was pointed to the rear of the room and was told the bloggers were there. Ok, cool. I made it to the back of the room and got to meet Andrew Olmsted (hey Zomby-you got his website right but misspelled his last name!) and Bloodthirsty Warmonger. I chatted them up for a while then headed off to refresh my drink (whiskey/cokes, using only the finest-aka cheapest-whiskey). Over the course of the next couple of hours I got to meet Dorkafork and Gary Farber at Amygdala (who made it known to me that he thinks the copious number of blogs out there are stealing his readership. I tried to convey to him that I am no one to worry about since his daily readership [on slow days] easily doubles my monthly readership)(I also heard him repeatedly attempt to explain where the name of his blog came from and how it should be pronounced. He seemed confused himself at times), I made runs past Jeralyn Merrit of TalkLeft, Jeff Goldstein (Protein Wisdom), Stephen Green (Vodkapundit), Walter in Denver, Darren Copeland (Colorado Conservative), Freedomsight, and Zombyboy at ResurrectionSong.
Those of you who know me may not believe this, but for the most part I hung out in the background and took it all in. My defense-I had still not woken up from my nap, and I didn't sleep nearly enough last week. Regardless, it was a lot of fun meeting everyone. I figured out that I am very new to this game (a 'baby-blogger' if you will) so for this event I was content simply getting my feet wet.
I'd like to 'thank' Zombyboy for those last 2 whiskey cokes ("Sorry, you're getting Jack and Cokes. None of that bad whiskey. Who else needs a drink! I'm buying!" That is paraphrased as this was towards the end of the night and had no recording devices on me) and the shot of tequila. Oy.
Jeff Goldstein was kind enough to acknowledge my existence with a "You, I don't know" during a round of "I love you"s to the crowd. He was also astounded by, and made numerous mention of Darren Copeland's resemblance to Colin Quinn (sp?).
For the record: Jeff Goldstein is not an uber-rightist and Gary Farber is not a libertarian. They were very adamant about this. Repeatedly.
Stephen Green does in fact like a good martini.
Ok, that is all I have energy for right now. I need to go wash the smoke smell off of me (since it was cold and very windy the whole 1.5 days we tried to camp, we didn't do much more than stand around a fire). And maybe do something productive before heading to Troy and Trai's house to continue the weekend of 'camping'. I wonder if his neighbors will mind us setting up camp in their yards?
Friday, May 28, 2004
The resignation came after nearly a year of revelations that the cardinal and archdiocesan officials that he supervised had repeatedly allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to remain in the ministry.
He's back in the news because he now has a new job.
It made no mention of Cardinal Law's new responsibilities, but a Vatican official said that "now he will be responsible for one of the four most important basilicas" in Rome. "He will be in charge of the administration of the priests and anything related to the basilica," the official said of Cardinal Law. He added that the post "is not a position of power."
He is responsible for one of the four most important basilicas in Rome, but it's not a position of power? That seems counterintuitive.
The appointment is also likely to make Cardinal Law one of the most influential Americans in the Vatican.
And the job will give him considerable autonomy. While at the Maryland convent, he was technically under the authority of the local bishop. Now, "he answers to no one but the pope," the former Vatican official said.
I guess being influential and being beholden only to a 80+ year old man is not the same thing as having any power.
Color me confused.
The phone rang a couple hours ago with the news. The test results were in, and it wasn't good.
There is nothing more that can be done for me. All I can do now is wait.
I am only 28 years old. I've never married or started my own family, and have seen very little of the world. I will be leaving no legacy of any sort behind when I go. As it stands, no mark has been left on the world by which I will be remembered.
(this is an exercise in imagination)
What would I do if I was actually given only 2 more years to live? I do know a long bender would be the reaction to the news. But after that what would I do?
In the book/movie 'Fight Club', Tyler Durden asks: "If you were to die today, what would you wish you had done with your life?" (Or something like that. I don't feel like firing the movie up to get the exact quote. I'd have to watch the entire movie and I'm going to be up late enough as it is). The sad thing is, I don't have an answer to that question. I don't have any idea. If I did, it would assist me in picking a direction in which to head upon hearing the news. What do I want to do before I die?
Family and friends are an option. I could spend all my time visiting my family and friends; we would have long meaningful talks and enjoy their each other's company with the time left. My family and friends are very important to me, so that would be a good option. But is that enough? I don't think I know an adequate number of people to spread myself around enough to not annoy the piss out of everyone ("He's coming back? Again? Hasn't it been 2 years yet?").
I could travel. I could start wandering the globe to see as much as possible before my ticket is punched. Seeing the sights of the world and experiencing different cultures would be great. But what would be the point?
Would buying an earlier exit be considered? How about taking up risky adventures such as sky diving, sight-seeing in Saudi Arabia, streaking across the gator farm right before feeding time, or telling a girl: "yes, that dress does make you look fat". That would preclude the drama and anticipation inherent in waiting for your demise to creep up on you. Or is that a waste of the precious time you have left?
This is a tricky question that I will have to explore more. Why? Why not? Death could be waiting right around the corner and I don't even know it. I could buy the proverbial farm tomorrow for all I know, and then I wouldn't even have the 'luxury' of identifying what I want to do in life and having the time to do it. My heart could contain unknown defects and quit on me while I sleep tonight. A nasty car wreck on the drive to work could snuff me out. A mountain lion, or bear, or marmot could attack and eat me this weekend while I'm camping. Point is, there is no way to no when your time is up, at least not until it's happening. And by then it is too late.
If for no other reason, exploring this topic is almost mandatory in order to get out of life what I want. It may help put things in perspective and help me prioritize.
What would you do?
Thursday, May 27, 2004
I'll be back. Unless I fall into the canal and drown/freeze to death. That'd be entertaining. I wonder what kind of face I'd have etched into my features when they found me? Would it be a "I'm freakin' cold and now I'm hypotherming to death" face or a face reflecting the bliss at being released from all bad, a scared face at all the things I would be missing out on in life because I drowned in a dirty and nasty retention pond of a canal? Or maybe the squirrels in the park will band together and gnaw my face off. That's make it harder for me to be identified. And really, do the cops and detectives want their job to be easy? I'll bet they crave a challenge. I'll leave my wallet and phone here to add to their fun.
Enough of that. I still have the toilet experiment to try when I get back....
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!"
-Percy Bysshe Shelley ('Ode to the West Wind', l.53)
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Monday, May 24, 2004
We are really close, and primarily use email and yahoo IM to keep in touch until we can meet up again. We email about many life issues for which we strive to find answers, yet more often than not we succeed only in further mudding the waters by creating more questions than we solve. It seems that recently my ranting and raving pleas for direction and suggestions have increased in volume, which has resulted in a flooding of her inbox. Unfortunately her answers are still non-existent, as are mine for her. She recently got a doozy from me, and as I knew would happen, she sent one at the same time that made my trivial problems look as insignificant as they really are. Contingent on her approval, I will post excerpts from her email in here.
This 'story'/tragedy revolves around 2 of my sisters friends (a guy and a girl). They work in a cafe in a park and live in the yurts (tents, basically) set up there.
They make less than 50 dollars a month -- and haven't been paid for 3 months. They've literally no money, and are prisoners in this place. They work all day,
everyday, and even at night can't leave b/c they're also guards. Their food is shit. I bring fruits so they get some vitamins but [the guy] gets upset b/c he
doesn't want to be charity.
Their backgrounds add even more to the drama of the situation:
But he feels emasculated b/c he
works for no pay, his parents want to renounce him as
their son b/c he isn't acting like a man, and he's my
age, so he should have married, but there's no way he
ever can when he can't even afford to buy a bus ticket
back home. It's his 1st time away from his family and
he misses them so much.
Meanwhile [the girl] might do the occasional prostitution
to get by, I'm not sure, but her family used to have a
lot of money, then her father went blind, and now if
she ever gets her paycheck it will go to help support
the family -- 6 kids and 2 parents and only 2 girls
are working, in restaurants for shitty pay.
And I am bummed to be stuck in a cubicle all day. The sheepishness has begun.
It's a horror, these desperations and sadnesses. Sometimes I feel like all the world is crying out at once.
Their birthdays are June 1 and they can't take even the evening off, tho I ARGUED with their boss about it (in my pitiful CHinese, no less) but I'm coming anyway
with a birthday cake.
My sister is a wonderful soul (which has gotten her into trouble before, but like the rest of our family, she is stubborn so she doesn't give up).
Some of my rants to her touched on life, the point of it, and that sort of thing. Towards the end of the above email, she referenced Vonnegut:
Do you think it's true what Vonnegut said, that we're all just here to help each other get through this thing?
Maybe that is the point. Spirituality is a good prod to live a good life and gives meaning to sacrificing for the good of others. Without that, why would you worry about anyone but yourself? Maybe because it pays you back in the form of outside support to survive this life thing. I don't know.
I do know that I get spoiled by my life, as do many many people in this country. We insulate ourselves not only from the pain in our own country, but we tend to turn our back to the rest of the world and their ills, maybe because we know they tend to be worse than ours and we'd rather not deal? That is the point of this post. Some perspective. I am not saying that if you are having issues with something that it is deemed ineffectual because someone else is suffering worse, but maybe seeing someone else's pain will make you more appreciative of all the good in your life instead of focusing on the bad. That is what my sister got out of it. And me too.
I don't know that this made any sense. I will re-read it in the morning after some sleep.
He [Lovelock] now believes recent climatic events have shown the warming of the atmosphere is proceeding even more rapidly than the scientists of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) thought it would, in their last report in 2001.
On that basis, he says, there is simply not enough time for renewable energy, such as wind, wave and solar power - the favoured solution of the Green movement - to take the place of the coal, gas and oil-fired power stations whose waste gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), is causing the atmosphere to warm.
He believes only a massive expansion of nuclear power, which produces almost no CO2, can now check a runaway warming which would raise sea levels disastrously around the world, cause climatic turbulence and make agriculture unviable over large areas. He says fears about the safety of nuclear energy are irrational and exaggerated, and urges the Green movement to drop its opposition.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
It's so nice outside. Maybe I should go do something outside....nah. Seems like a lot of work
The results of this study are disturbing to me. Women are planning their damn day while having sex? What a bunch of crap!
Both of these studies have come from German researchers. I wonder what these German scientiss have on their mind?
I am an idiot
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Friday, May 21, 2004
Wow. They are admitting the 'quagmire' the mainline press seems to have fallen in. And they discuss the lack of any focus on a different story-for a few lines. They somehow manage to keep most of the article on the prison abuse scandal though! Even though they appear to be decrying the press's lack of variety these days, they find themselves stuck in the same rut! It is a start though. Maybe next time they can mention all the other things going on around the world instead of continuing to focus on the prison story while saying another focus should be found.
Kind of funny, if you think about it.
The article starts:
Accounts and graphic photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse persist in the press despite the fact that the story has run its course.
The world already knows salient details of the prisoner humiliation and nudity, the causes of the abuse are under official investigation, and the courts-martial have begun. Yet, the caterwaul in the press against the American military and the war in Iraq continue.
And this is followed with:
"U.S. faces growing fear of failure," noted one recent Washington Post headline.
ABC was the first to air yet another set of photos — these showing two U.S. soldiers grinning next to the body of an Iraqi at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Al Arabiya, an Arabic broadcaster, also aired the photos of Army Spc. Charles A. Graner and Spc. Sabrina D. Harman — both facing a court-martial for prisoner abuse.
Funny. They made it almost thru 2 paragraphs before continuing to over-report the details of the pics....
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Stuck in town working
Nothing to do but drink beer
Will Farrell slays me
Barefoot and half-naked, Hamesa Adam carried two sons on her back for six days across the searing Sudanese desert. Two other children, missing their dead father, walked barefoot, and two more rode a donkey.
But 6-year-old Mohammed, one of the children on the donkey, got weaker and weaker.
He cried constantly, clutching at his side. There was not enough food. On the fourth day, Mohammed struggled off the donkey and fell onto the sand.
They buried him nearby, about 2 feet down, placing branches on the grave to keep animals from digging up his body.
This is the story of the Adam family, Sudanese farmers chased from their homes by Arab militias on horses and camels who swept down on their village, Selti, about three months ago with a kind of ruthless, medieval wrath: killing, raping, looting, burning. Some attacked in Land Cruisers mounted with automatic weapons. From the air, two helicopters strafed the village.
About 100,000 farmers in the Darfur region of western Sudan have made the same epic journey as the Adam family these past weeks and months, fleeing west into Chad....
Some refugees say that Khartoum government forces have taken part in the scorched-earth attacks, swooping down on villages with helicopters and Antonov planes. Human Rights Watch, based in New York, reported that government forces, allied with the Arab militias, carried out widespread ethnic killings and dispossession.
The Arab militias, mainly herdsmen, are terrorizing black African farmers from the Zaghawa, Fur and Massalit tribes and grabbing the spoils: land, stock, money and anything else they can steal. The Arab-dominated government in Khartoum denies it controls the militias, but observers point out that it serves the government's interests to repress areas where it is fighting rebels.
But we (me and the roommate) just put in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (not nearly the dialogue masterpieces like Kevin Smith's earlier movies, but funny as hell) and I am drinking a Loft Beer (seasonal New Belgium beer) and am waking up. This movie rocks.
And I've decided that I am in love with Ali Larter. Hottie. So Ali, if you are reading this (A guy can dream. Leave me alone!) and you want to hang out with some dude you don't know, drop me a line! Although given recent events (the girls just bounced out of the back of the van outside of the Moo Burger place), Eliza Dushku is pretty damn hot as well.
Either way, they're both easier on my eyes than Brandon (the roomie).
Or how old one, lives to be
I guess it boils down to
What we do with our lives
And how we deal with our own destinies"
-John Mellencamp, The Real Life
This story still isn't getting the airtime it should (you know, any airtime at all).
After the war, most of the people of Sadr city were so happy; they got rid of their oppressor, they enjoyed freedom of speech and performing their religious ceremonies. Most important is that the raise in the average income opened the door for the private businesses, including the small ones, to prosper. Young men can make a good living by several means without resorting to violence or breaking the law. Things were going just fine and improving when young Sadr started his revolt. Sadr city became insecure again and businesses were damaged seriously as a result. In the early days of that revolt, people sympathized with that idiot because they loved his father, but as his followers’ behavior became intolerable and as the lives of people and their jobs were jeopardized, they lost all sympathy with him and all they want now is peace so that they can go back to their works again.
Where are the polls conducted by the major media sources that would expose these kind of thoughts? I think there are a lot of people over here that would like to hear this sort of talk.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Discussionary Path 1: Who is worse for the future of our country, in terms of Iraq? Kerry or Bush? Here was my argument. If Kerry gets in, I'm afraid that he would toss the responsibility over to the UN and take us out of the equation (essentially). Why is this bad? Well, as we've seen lately (Congo, Sudan, West Africa, virtually everywhere...) it is an ineffectual organization that seems to do more harm than good (oil for food scandal anyone?). If we send them in, I feel that the 'help' will collapse and Iraq will plunge back into violent chaos. And once again, the people of Iraq will be screwed. Unfortunately, there are people in this country that would love to see this scenario occur. That way they get to say: "I told you so", about the war being a bad idea. Which is great. Lots of Americans, Iraqis, and various other international soldiers would have lost their lives trying to help out, and the country would be left to fend for themselves (which ain't gonna work out well). All to be able to gloat. Yeah, those idiots are out there (Michael "I made up most of the 'truths' in my 'documentary'" Moore). Can you guess how many people they know in the military? Idiots. And that is why I worry about Kerry getting elected.
Discussionary Path 2: I am very conflustered about this Iraq war, and the reasons this administration has decided to hang their collective hats on as reasons for invading. HOW COME, no one ever, and no one still talks about the 12 YEARS that S. Hussein flipped the world community the bird? The UN says, "Do this". He didn't. The US (and Clinton) tossed out some bombs until he acquiesced. Then the UN would 'reign' in the US until the next time. 12 years that idiot pulled that crap! How come that never comes up as a reason for getting him out. Isn't that plenty valid a reason? I don't know how to handle the fact that this never comes up, and no one ever mentions it. Instead of playing on the sympahthies of the world community ("we are going after terrorists") or falling back on their claims that they thought the WMD info was valid, why don't they talk about Hussein's track record??? It confounds me to no end.
That is enough of that. I am still a part of date night over here in South Denver, and my girlfriend is probably sick of me typing while she is watching the Drew Carey Show instead of us spending some quality time or something....
But unlike in the movie, I am going to start shutting programs down and saving my files until the very last minute.
Wish me luck...
Rudy defended the the police and fire folks, and in a way attacked the direction the Commission has been heading.
In his opening statement today, Mr. Giuliani declared that although mistakes had been made on Sept. 11, "Our enemy is not each other, but the terrorists who attacked us."
He added, to applause from the audience, "The blame should be put on one source alone, the terrorists who killed our loved ones."
There was some harassment from the audience, calling for real questions to be asked of the former mayor. What do they want to know? What questions could be asked? Anything useful, or more playing of the blame game?
In an interesting twist:
The commission staff said private businesses needed to assume a share of responsibility in planning for terror attacks and other catastrophes, something it indicated had not been done in the more than two years since 9/11.
Apparently their training and evacuation practices were, shall we say, lacking.
A. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a victim.
B. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
C. Smith &Wesson: The original point and click interface.
D. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
E. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
F. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
G. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
H. If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.
I. Those who trade liberty for security, have neither.
J. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.
K. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you NOT understand?
L. The Second Amendment is in place in case they ignore the others.
M. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
N. Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.
O. Know guns, know peace and safety. No guns, no peace nor safety.
P. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
Q. 911: government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.
R. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
S. Criminals love gun control - it makes their jobs safer.
T. If Guns cause Crime, then Matches cause Arson.
U. A government that's afraid of its citizens, tries to control them.
V. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
W. Enforce the "gun control laws" in place, don't make more.
X. If you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.
Y. The American Revolution wouldn't have happened with Gun Control.
Z. "...a government BY the people, FOR the people..."
In the meantime, I am posting an email forwarded to me by Bill that razzes the Repubs. That is the sort of thing you can expect from me as the spokesman for this new party-piggybacking on other peoples' efforts.
Things you have to believe to be a Republican today.
1. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
2. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
3. Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.
4. "Standing Tall for America'" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.
5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
6. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of gays and Hillary Clinton.
7. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
8. Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a Republican.
9. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
10. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
11. HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.
12. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
13. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
14. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
15. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
16. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
17. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
18. You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.
19. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
20. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
U.S. officials confirmed a report in a Japanese daily newspaper that a train explosion on April 22 killed about a dozen Syrian technicians near the Ryongchon province in North Korea. The officials said the technicians were accompanying a train car full of missile components and other equipment from a facility near the Chinese border to a North Korea port.
A U.S. official said North Korean train cargo was also believed to have contained tools for the production of ballistic missiles. North Korea has sold Syria the extended-range Scud C and Scud D missiles, according to reports by Middle East Newsline.
"The way it was supposed work was that the train car full of missiles and components would have arrived at the port and some would have been shipped to Syria while others would have been transported by air," an official said.
The politicizing and grand-standing of the 9/11 Commission does not end. Just now John Lehman launched a totally uncalled-for attack on New York's police and fire officials, saying their command and control was "scandalous" and not good enough for the Boy Scouts.
How dare he?
This was not only disrespectful to the work of many heroes it was said for effect and publicity. If Lehman truly cared about getting to ways to make things better, he would not have said it this way. But he did.
The former police and fire bosses being questioned gave him restrained what-for (I would have given him the finger). Thomas Van Essen said that the kind of statement Lehman just made is the essence of the problem people have with this commission.
Is the point of this commission to spread the blame to as many people as possible? I thought it was going to be a non-partisan attempt to learn from past mistakes in an effort to prevent a similar break down and disaster?
I can't believe that this guy is assailing the police and fire folks, people who risked their lives and many of whom lost their lives in an effort to help? What the hell is wrong with him? And people say that Bush is arrogant...
However, there are a couple of media sources that are reporting that it was indeed Sarin gas. Drudge, of course, is on top of it. Foxnews is also one of those sources. They are reporting that the presence of the gas has been confirmed.
"Clearly, if we're gonna find one or two of these every so often — used as an IED or some other way — the threat is not all that high, but it does confirm suspicion that he [Saddam] did have this stuff," said Ret. U.S. Army Col. Robert Maginnis.
Some experts suggested that the two shells, which were unmarked, date back to the first Persian Gulf War. The mustard gas shell may have been one of 550 projectiles that Saddam failed to account for in his weapons declaration shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Iraq also failed to account for 450 aerial bombs containing mustard gas.
So, what is really going on? How come these supposed findings aren't getting more airtime. Foxnews is reporting it, as is the New York Post:
U.S. officials said it's possible the terrorists did not realize the shell contained sarin because it had no markings that would distinguish it from an ordinary artillery shell.
Former top U.S. weapons inspector David Kay said the shell could have been a forgotten stray, but he didn't rule out that it could be part of a hidden stockpile.
But, I could find no related stories talking about this confirmation on CNN.com, the BBC, Reuters, ABC News, NBC News, or anywhere else really. I googled "sarin gas confirmed" and came up with a bunch of results, but not from the major infotainment sources. Maybe they will eventually get to this "unimportant" story, but so far i couldn't find anything. We'll have to wait for them to take a break from focusing all their efforts on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Yeah, that is important news, but there is a lot more going on in the world than that. You can't ignore important news just because one story is getting good play (well, they can and are, but that just ain't right).
Why are most 'credible' news sources afraid to report on a story like this? Are they afraid the confirmation will be rescinded? Yeah, right. They weren't afraid to publish unconfirmed sex photos (turned out to be from porn movies, not from an Iraqi prison. And they are STILL talking about them). Don't jump up on your high horse now. It'd be supportive news for the Bush admin, and the media doesn't seem to want to play any part in letting that happen, good reporting be damned.
Conservative media my ass
Secondly, there are a few sites that will, hopefully, take part in the next Roundup. You might want to check out King's Kid, Jimspeak, and Better, Shorter. Maybe we can even invite Patty, too.
I am going to try and make the roundup, but we'll see. It's the Friday at the start of Memorial Day weekend and I think I will be camping up near Steamboat for at least part of the weekend. It sounds fun though!
Sidenote: I heard a quote frmo a higher up at GM sometime in the past week. He was discussing 'Roger and Me', and how Moore showed the unwillingness of the GM execs to talk with him (I have not seen the movie). According to this guy, this is another example of Moore taking a situation and playing with it to give the impression he wants (not exactly a true documentary tactic). He said that lots of people want to talk with/interview the folks at GM, and at the time, Moore was just another no-name trying to get in on his own time. Why would they talk with him? Especially since his tactic was to walk up to the front door and demand an interview.
Sheds a new light on the venom he tosses all over doesn't it?
By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, April 6, 2004; Page A21
What happened March 25 was that one Washington institution quoted another to ask a third about accountability. The questioner was PBS's Jim Lehrer, who cited the late James Reston of the New York Times to ask Donald Rumsfeld why no one in Washington ever resigns for just being wrong. Rumsfeld, oozing cockiness, turned the personal into the theoretical and waltzed away from the question. I don't blame him. If, say, a Japanese government had performed as badly as the Bush administration has, there would be no one left to turn out the lights.
In his questioning of Rumsfeld, the nimble Lehrer brought up Lord Carrington, the British defense minister at the time Argentina seized the Falkland Islands. Carrington admitted he had underestimated the threat and his resignation was therefore in order. If Rumsfeld had applied that rule to himself, he would be thrice gone -- once for Sept. 11, 2001; once for the absence of WMD in Iraq; and once more for not having enough troops in Iraq. If he were his own subordinate, he would fire himself.
But from the president on down, no one in this administration ever admits a mistake or concedes having been wrong. Dick Cheney, whose slogan should be "Wrong Where It Matters," nonetheless takes to the stump to lambaste John Kerry. After all, the vice president is the very man who warned us, assured us, promised us that we must go to war with Iraq because, among other things, that nation had an ongoing nuclear weapons program. None has yet been found -- and no apology from Cheney has yet been issued. He was mistaken or dishonest. We await his choice.
In his interview with Lehrer, Rumsfeld made the point that the United States does not have the British cabinet system or the Japanese culture regarding shame and accountability. For all the talk about the buck stopping in this place called "here," it usually never stops at all. But demanding resignations begs the question. It is not heads the American people want, it is humility.
That is what's so lacking in the Bush administration. The real reason -- the terribly secret reason -- the administration was oh-so-slow to recognize the terrorist threat was precisely the quality so abundant in Rumsfeld: smugness. The Bushies knew it all. The very fact that the Clinton team told them to make terrorism job one led them to denigrate it: What did those Clinton jerks know?
Instead, the Bush team had its eye on the ball -- missile defense and, of course, China and Russia. Missile defense was considered crucial, and opposition to this Reagan-era program was deemed both ideological and shortsighted. But it turned out that the "missiles" that struck the United States had the logos of American and United airlines on their fuselages, and no star wars system could have stopped them. It would have taken hard spy work and, as they say, boots on the ground in Afghanistan. It would have taken a little humility.
That quality is precisely what commended the not-terribly-humble Richard Clarke to many of the Sept. 11 families: He apologized. He was sorry for what happened and sorry that his efforts had not somehow managed to avert a calamity. Lehrer cited Clarke's example to Rumsfeld, who just didn't get it. In fact, he recited all the reasons why Sept. 11 was really not his -- or anyone else in the Bush administration's -- fault. In spirit, he echoed Bush, who once said, "Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people." Yes, and had Custer known he was attacking so many Indians, he might have chosen to wash his hair that day instead.
What is so perturbing about this administration is not that no one of note has resigned or been fired -- and some of them certainty deserve the ax -- but that there is not the slightest hint that anyone (except Colin Powell) appreciates that mistakes were made not out of sheer bad luck but because the assumptions, driven by ideology, were so bad.
Terrorism, not missile defense, should have been the top priority; al Qaeda was and remains the threat, not Iraq. (That explains why Saddam Hussein is in jail while bin Laden is still on the loose, having slipped the noose in Afghanistan because the Pentagon left the job to locals.) Iraq was going to be a cakewalk -- the Middle Eastern version of the liberation of Paris -- and somehow that has not happened. In another country, some officials would quit in shame. In this one they can't even quit being smug.
Monday, May 17, 2004
20 mins standing ovation for FAHRENHEIT 9-11, yelling, screaming, cheering... 'This is the longest stading ovation in the history of the festival! Unbelievable!' declared Cannes stalwart Thierry Fremaux. Moore, raising fist, unable to speak over crowd, vows to fight... Controversial scene in film shows wounded American GI in Iraq talking about how Democrats must win election... Movie shows video of U.S. soldiers laughing as they place hoods over Iraqi detainees, with one of them grabbing a prisoner's genitals through a blanket...
Question is, how legitimate are the claims and arguments in this new "documentary"? How much has he made up/manipulated? It would be nice if he could weed out the crap he pulls for entertainment value. That would increase his legitimacy as a source of valuable info, and would allow for more out of the box thinking. As it is, I don't trust him. He has shown (again) recently that he is more into a good story than getting the facts right.
Secondly, why did his movie get the reaction it did? Because of the questions it raised or simply because it was anti-Bush? I have a feeling that the response would have been more subdued had the movie come out last year before all the Iraq stuff started.
I don't care what the actors/actresses and the like thought about the movie. They are far from biased (who isn't?), and given all the anti-Bush talk most of them have indulged in, this story lends no more credibility to Moore or his movie in my eyes.
I guess now he doesn't need to lie about Disney to get some attention....
Well sales are down, and they are now offering incentives for the first time to try and increase their sales. I hope it doesn't work. I hope the fad is gone, and I hope people that want/'need' to have one can find their way back out of their colons and get their head back out into the sunlight.
This makes me happy:
Sales of the flagship Hummer H2 have fallen for eight consecutive months, and 24 percent in the first four months of the year, compared with the same periods a year earlier. G.M. has resorted to rebates and financing deals, which have become standard for every Detroit brand but Hummer. Inventories piled up as Hummers sat unsold 62 days on average in the first quarter, compared with 15 days a year earlier. And G.M. is now using leases, which are less lucrative than sales, to move a quarter of its volume of H2's, according to J. D. Power & Associates.
Ain't that too damn bad. Really, I am broken up about it. And this guy seems to think the one time arson attack is an on-going thing in California:
"I know they're burning them in California," he added, referring to the arson of a dealership last year. The attack was linked to the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group. "But we didn't see that here," he said.
"We look at the higher-end S.U.V.'s as really being fashion statements," said Wes Brown, an analyst at Iceology, a market research firm in Los Angeles. "It had its moment in the sun when everyone had to have one. And now, that's it. It's done." The H2's initial success and subsequent cooling off was mirrored by other memorable vehicles, including late 90's revivals of the Ford Thunderbird and Volkswagen Beetle, he said.
Yeah, like paying $200 for a pair of freakin' jeans. Again, I think this trend is pathetic.
I need to find these websites:
One Web site dedicated to what it calls the "ultimate poseur vehicle" has collected 553 photographs from people all over the country giving salutes to Hummers, Hummer executives, Hummer toys and pictures of Hummers in magazines. As one might guess, these are not military salutes. The site's name cannot be printed in a family newspaper.
The Sierra Club sponsors www.hummerdinger.com, a satirical site lampooning Hummers for, among other things, getting less than half the mileage of a Model T Ford.
California's new guv was the first to buy a Hummer (non-military). He recently said that he would like it converted to a hydrogen fueled vehicle. Hummer said no way, that will not support the performance characteristics of the vehicle. What?? How many people that buy one of those monstrosities actually use it for what it was designed for? You don't need that much power and performance to drive to work or a soccer game.
Yes, I hate this vehicle.
There msut be a lot of right-wingers, religious folks having conniptions today. I wonder how ole' Dubya is 'celebrating' this occasion? (If she's getting married, do you think he was invited to Cheney's daughter's wedding?)
But then again, maybe I am just not clued in to what is really going on....
Let me say it again, I love the media!
It's nice that they are keeping us in the dark. It's for our own good, right?
Sunday, May 16, 2004
It's a good thing FOX is putting this show out. If it had to go up against COPS, what would fans of that show prefer to watch?
The point behind all these pictures and stories I mentioned is that the people started to speak out and express their feelings and here we’re in great need for support from the free world to back the progress. Moving back is absolutely unacceptable; we’ve put our feet on the right way and we need help from the others. Never let the bad pictures lay their heavy shadow on the good, bright ones. The negative media want our eyes to pause on the bad events to win time in this worldwide battle and to make us forget the good pictures that encourage us to keep the momentum. This includes most of the major western media.
I put the emphasis on the media comment. When you hear something like that, is pulling out now really a good idea? Are we really not accomplishing anything but turning the people against us? It's a tough call, especially when the infotainment (I love that term!) industry only gives us half truths and half stories.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
I think beheading was the chosen method of 'execution' because the group wanted to shock Americans and westerners in the worst possible way. The torturers at Abu Ghraib and other prisons chose sexual degradation because they knew that nothing would hurt and appall Iraqis and Muslims more than those horrible, sadistic acts. To Iraqis, death is infinitely better than being raped or sexually abused. There are things worse than death itself and those pictures portrayed them.
Interesting, eh? I am still not saying that the atrocities from Abu Ghraib are on the same level as Nick Berg being beheaded, but this gives some insight into how some (all?) Iraqis feel about all this. This is one more reason to punish the hell out of those soldiers. Our image is hurtin' enough. The last thing anyone needed was for those idiots to let their 'power' go to their head and abuse people (yes, they are people even thought the small minded bigots watching over them apparently don't think so) who have no way to defend themselves. I don't know the history of the people in that prison, but whatever they did, it's not up to the soldiers to punish them and treat them like animals.
The soldiers that took part in all this piss me off. They keep begging off responsibility (one of my biggest pet peeves about our society these days-and inability to admit when you are wrong and accept the consequences), saying they were ordered to take part and that they didn't know better. Bullshit. What about Joseph Darby? How come he didn't take part but instead documented what was going on and reported it to higher officials? Blaming the chain of command my ass. The uppers should have stopped what was going on (did they order it? I don't know. JD still didn't take part), but no one put a gun to the heads of the soldiers who did all this. Sac up and admit you are a perverted, small-minded imbecile and take what's coming to you.
Why are people so friggin' stupid?
Yes, I am in a fould mood today.
Just another example of the media ignoring some positive news that might help Dubya's image.
Unfortunately, it'd also help the morale of the country and give people a reason to believe that we are actually doing some good over there. But that wouldn't be good news, would it?
Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
Over 400,000 kids have up to date immunizations.
Over 1500 schools have been renovated and ridded of the weapons that were stored there so education can occur.
The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off loaded from ships faster.
School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war
100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed compared to 35% before the war.
Elections are taking place in every major city and city councils are in place.
Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
An interim constitution has been signed.
Girls are allowed to attend school for the first time ever in Iraq.
Text books that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.
Friday, May 14, 2004
The family asked for no visitors or MEDIA at his funeral. Who thinks the media respected this? And if turned away, do you want to bet that they will complain that they have all the right in the world to be there and abuse the family some more?
Brief tangent (another) from the subject of the media: Is it me, or does the evidence and wanton distribution of these pictures show, to a certain extent, the intelligence level of these people? How smart are people who indulge in criminal behavior and tape it? Why would you want a record of it? I think I did hear something about how in the prison, pics like that could be used to coerce other inmates into talking. But come on!
Back to the matter at hand....
Here's another piece by Instapundit, again showing the media bias (and no, it is not a conservative bias. I am not sure how people are still on that bandwagon). I can't understand how a US citizen could hate a president so much that they actively hope for us to lose a war/conflict. Do they not understand that this means many American service men and women are going to die? Is it that important for them to be able to say: "I told you so"? That is disgusting to me. If they really feel that strongly, stay the hell out of the country. Take your venomous small mind somewhere else. Then when you are hoping for the US to lose, you won't be rooting against someone you may know. Idiots.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Here's a quote from an Iranian woman, in regards to a country's leader projecting his faith onto everyone. Very insightful.
There's a useful lesson here for George Bush's America as well as for the ayatollahs' Iran: when a religion is imposed on people, when a government tries too ostentatiously to put itself "under God," the effect is often not to prop up religious faith but to undermine it. Nothing is more lethal to religious faith than having self-righteous, intolerant politicians (who wince at nose studs) drag God into politics.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Strange coincidence that the Nick Berg video was released almost
simultaneously with the video of Palestinian 'freedom fighters'
displaying the severed head of an Israeli soldier on a table.
Al-Jazeera had the head blurred out, and the Nick Berg video was
casually mentioned near the end of their news bulletin, and that was
that. No extensive discussions with Arab 'intelligentsia' followed, no replaying of the video over and over again for days (as the Abu Ghraib images), no talk shows with enraged, fist shaking, name-calling Arab figures discussing the effect of these videos on the 'image' of the Islamic or Arab world. Just shame and guilty silence. Apparently, pictures of an American female soldier taunting a naked man with underwear on his head is much much more gruesome to Arabs. I guess not everyone is perfect.
Some more insight:
And for Muslims, who are definitely going to say 'this isn't the real Islam':
"When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives." Surat Mohammed:4
Grow up, and leave the 7th century.
Scary that that is a passage from their holy book. Not that most holy books doesn't at times delve into violence, but I THINK(?) it's safe to say that a majority of the most violent radicals/fundamantalists are Muslim? That may be an unfair/unintelligent comment. But that is how I see the current situation (I am not saying other religions weren't as bad in earlier times) From my limited knowledge on most religions (other than Catholicism), that is how I see it.
Anyway, they always have CNN on the tv and I was watching while my sammich was prepared. The stock talk came up, and the major discussion was about Gap. Their prices have fallen after it was discovered that a lot of their overseas factories were exploiting workers and that working conditions were very poor. Big surprise. Of course they claim to have taken their business away from these factories, a move applauded by human rights activists. Huh? Here's how I see it. The people in these countries have no money, and even though they are treated like garbage at these factories, the presence of large/rich American firms gives them work/money/food. Now the company pulls out leaving them essentially high and dry. Sure, now the big/rich company can say they are not contributing to these horrible working conditions. That's great PR and all, but are they actually doing any good? This may help The Gap's image, but it doesn't really do the factory workers any good. Wouldn't a more effective solution be for them to go in and clean up the factory and do their best to fix the conditions? These factories are probably not going out of business. The abuses are continuing, the Gap (or whomever) is no longer connected to it. Shouldn't these human rights groups try and convince these large companies to try and rectify the solution instead of abusing them and then dropping them completely? That is further abuse in my opinion.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Update: There are now ideas swirling that part of the reason they killed this guy is because he is Jewish. Eck.
I am digressing. That is not what I was trying to get at. Here is where I am trying to go-I have never been homeless or broke, but there is a certain behavior I have seen exhibited from those who are that baffles me. If I were broke, I think I would be more than grateful for any kind of food-providing it was not dirty and/or rotten. However, I keep seeing how this is not the case. I have spent a few evenings in a soup kitchen doing sundry tasks-cleaning, preparing food, serving food, and whatever else was needed. My first time helping out there shocked me. There were pallets and pallets of bread that had been donated by various stores (the day old variety). Our job was to go through them and not only find the rotten bread, but to throw out anything that wasn’t sliced white bread, and that was probably at least half of all the bread they had. The people that had volunteered with me were also new to the scene. We all gawked at the ‘volunteer organizer’, unable to believe what he was telling us. Apparently, he said, the people coming in are picky and won’t eat anything but sliced white bread. Unreal! Here are people without a home, without food, who are refusing free food! And it wasn’t limited to milk. There was a lot of other food that had to be tossed (or taken out of town to a local pig farm-pigs aren’t picky) because no one would eat it.
I have another anecdote on the subject. Most days, there is a beggar at the end of my off-ramp on the way home. Like all others, they sit there with their cardboard sign that says something like: “Anything will help, God Bless”, “Needing bus fare/rent money/gas money/food money”, or something along those lines. Every now and then I try to throw a little out. You can never have enough good karma-you never know when you’ll need it. I ran home today at lunch, and there was a lady sitting there who has been there a couple/few days. I gave her a couple dollars the other day, but my wallet was empty today. But I had a power bar, and thought I’d offer it up. Granted, power bars aren’t the tastiest things, but it’s food and will give you some nutrients and stuff that you need. I was turned down, because she doesn’t like to eat them.
This flabbergasts me. If you have nothing, how can you turn down anything that would be good for you, something that would fill your stomach even a little, simply because you don’t like the taste? I don’t understand this at all. Granted, I am not a picky eater but how can you be picky if you are starving?? Maybe it’s a way for them to keep some self-respect and keep from having no say over anything in their life. I guess I could see that. Morale and self-respect are probably pretty low. Is disliked food really that much harder to swallow on an empty stomach than a little pride? I do not understand.
Anyone have any deeper insights into this phenomenon?
The Iran-backed Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual guide for many Lebanese Shiites, told American journalists in Beirut, "looking at the mentality of President Bush who considers him the second messiah in the world, one cannot expect him to act reasonably.
"The man has been presenting himself as a messenger from God with a mission to rule the world and spread the values he believes in ... That is why I suggest to have him examined by psychiatrists, with all due respect, because we respect sick people," Fadlallah said.
Wouldn't a spiritual messenger, in effect, be a messenger from God? Isn't spreading the faith to the world one of the beliefs of the Shiites? Sheik Fadlallah is purported to be the spiritual mentor of Hezbollah (Hezbollah is a Lebanese group of Shiite militants that has evolved into a major force in Lebanon's society and politics. It opposes the West, seeks to create a Muslim fundamentalist state modeled on Iran, and is a bitter foe of Israel. The group's name means “party of God.” ), the militant terrorist group.
But I guess his comments make sense. A lot of religions think they are the only correct ones, and therefore what they do is legit even if they condemn other religions of partaking in similar practices.
That is all. I am done rambling. At least until the next post.
Now I am off to count cars and screw up traffic. You, cool and important stuff. Nothing at all like making beautiful music....drat!
To Jenny Koh-congrats on your success!
They staged a protest in London to protest the treatment of livestock. And their approach? How did they try and make their point? By comparing livestock and their conditions to the conditions in Holocaust-era concentration camps.
Them people ain't right.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Damn sunburn. It's giving me these hot flashes and it's driving me crazy! When I took my shirt off at the beginning of the run, I knew this was going to happen. It got cloudy for a bit (not that that means anything) and even drizzled for a few minutes, but an hour and a half shirtless in the sun (especially with pasty white skin) is not a smart idea. But I've never been accused of being all that brilliant, so I'm ok with thata.
If only the heat and sweating would stop....
Sunday, May 09, 2004
Quick digression-A commercial is on right now for The Swan, on FOX. Stupid, stupid show. But what other channel would it be on? Only FOX.
So why am I so tired right now if I spent a lot of the weekend reading, walking, eating, laying on the couch, and a little bit of time in a bar or 2? Because my friend Alex made me go on a death run today. Green Mountain is a small mountain/really big hill in the foothills not too far outside of Denver. Not a ton of elevation gain, but we ran 7-8 miles, a lot of it uphill, and it hurt like hell. Felt good-once it was over. But now I am exhausted. Problem is, I am not sure I'd fall asleep if I laid down. Ah well. Thank goodness I get to go to work in the morning....