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July 26, 2003

Thanks to the kindness of those in the world o'blog I've been hooked up with someone who has the expertise to create a beeyootiful new site for me as well as doing all of those fiddly technological things behind the scenes.

Now all I have to do is to select a domain name that someone else hasn't already absconded with.

What shall I call myself?

(P.S. I was blogging around and ran across this article which makes interesting reading.)

Posted by AnneZook at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)
Weekend stories

Every time I think about how I'm against the death penalty, I read something like this and realize I'm right. Death is too good for these people.

Now we're pissing off Russia? Is there anyone besides the U.K. we're not fighting with?

Head Start is now on the chopping block...no...wait...it looks like it's already over.

I think that politicians out campaigning instead of in Washington voting is a disgrace. The new Head Start plan passed by one vote. Where was Gephardt?

Once again, Nader and his Green Party prove that they don't understand how the system works. There's no way they can win and they know it. Let's hope that liberal voters know better than to risk a return of the Bush Regime in '04. (Kucinich is asking them to stand aside, for the greater good.)

It would appear that things do not, in fact, go better with Coke. Toxic waste? I am so glad I don't drink that stuff.

(Also, the water in the region should be reserved for the people and the farms before the Coca-Cola corporation gets to it. What kind of skewed priorities do these people have?

Oh...wait...in the recent drought here in Colorado, I remember that when they were begging for us to conserve water, the one statistic I was unable to find was the amount of water used by manufacturers as opposed to the amount used by individuals. So I guess their priorities are the same as ours. Starve the people, by all means, but don't upset the business community.)

Let's hear it for the Boy Scouts. My objection to their homophobic policies aside (when will being gay not be responsible for bigotry and tragedy?), anything that speeds up airport waiting lines is good by me.

Jonathan Steele argues, convincingly, that the problems in Iraq aren't necessarily caused by remnants of the Hussein regime. Also, let's all remember that the soldiers on the ground aren't supposed to have to fix this. Where is the leadership this situation demands? It's easy to say, cut our losses but that would be wrong. We made this mess. It's up to us to fix it.

We need to do is stop insisting on installing a handpicked government there. Let Iraqis choose their government and get the hell out. Leave their country to them and don't further inflame religious extremists who are feeding on the chaos. Where is the leadership?

I guess we can't afford to do things properly in Iraq. Certainly we can't as long as we keep handing out multi-billion dollar tax cuts every couple of months.

This is worth reading if you wonder how journalists and others comport themselves while covering a war.

A cult of personality trailed Uday. One of the first things journalists who arrived after the war did was loot one of Uday's many houses (a memento of the war they missed, perhaps). There was a party a few weeks ago in London in which people were invited to wear one of Uday's florid Versace knock-off shirts that streamed out of the looted houses in the hands of journalists, along with some really bad ties and family photographs. It strikes me as a bit creepy -- sort of like wearing Eva Braun's underwear. Uday was part of an international political pop culture, probably because few of us have actually met any of his victims.
Really, the entire article is just fascinating.

Imagine my shock when it's left to the iniquitous OpinionJournal to ask why Democrats aren't demanding facts about Saudi Arabia. (Most of the rest of this column is predictably inane.)

Now I remember why I don't blog on weekends. All of this has left me amazingly depressed.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

Some kind of shenanigans are going on over at CNN, connected with their story about Ashcroft's ability to tap your phones and read your mail.

The poll connected with the article currently shows 2087 people saying "sneak and peek" is essential for security and ZERO votes for "it's a violation of civil liberties" which just isn't possible.

If my "no" vote doesn't show up soon, I'm sending them a rude note. (I've seen this on CNN before. Thousands of votes on one side and absolutely zero votes on the other side of a poll. I think sometimes their "no" button doesn't work.)

Uncharacteristically, I'm browsing around on-line today. I may be back to whine about the news but in reference to the previous whine about how no one ever helps me, let me say that people stepped up to help me and I may, one day soon, find myself with a shiney new site of my own! (Thanks, Andrew)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)
July 25, 2003
Heavy Sigh

Okay, blogger has eaten another one of my probably-longer-than-it-should-have-been posts. I've been reduced to writing e-mails to strangers asking plaintively how they managed to move their blogs off of blogspot.

I understand the basic concept. Get a domain name. Find a hosting service. Set up website. Move archives. Takes about a week if the blogs I've read are anything to go by. I don't have a week.

Plus which, the blogs of the people who have managed to set up their own sites are always referring to arcane software programs I don't understand. What is "Perl" and can I make a necklace if I have a hundred of them?

As I told one such individual today, it's not that, given the time, I wouldn't be able to figure it out, but time is the one thing I don't have much of.

I can't believe that in all of blogdom, there isn't one un/under-employed person willing to take my money in exchange for doing most of this work for me. What kind of crass consumerism do you call that? What happened to the American Dream? Isn't taking the money of overpaid, ignorant people good enough for the Left any more?

You people are spoiled, you know that? No dessert.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)
July 24, 2003
It Looks Like A President (Achenbach)

It Looks Like A President Only Smaller Trailing Campaign 2000 (by Joel Achenbach)

On Campaign 2000:

"[T]he great groaning enterprise of national politics and the lofty prize of the White House all coming down to an epistemological conundrum over the meaning of dimpled, pregnant, hanging, and dangling chads."

On presidential elections:
"A presidential candidacy begins roughly five to seven years before the actual election, when the candidate first learns to grovel shamelessly for money and lie without smirking."

On candidate Bush:
"His aides are smart enough to know that Bush is a better candidate when he is not actually seen or heard.

Let's look at some numbers from the Washington Post/ABC News poll. In February 1999, Bush had a favorable rating of 51 percent, even though he was not widely known, and 36 percent had no opinion at all. That favorable rating rose steadily. By October 31, it had risen to 69 percent. But then disaster struck: He began actively campaigning. By February 27, Bush's favorable rating was down to 49 percent. [. . .] On TV last night [2/10/2000], CNN reported that his favorable rating had eroded to 44 percent."

Discussing destructive, trash-throwing protesters:
"[P]rotesters are, in most every case, sincere and committed, but they might want to consider switching their strategy toward one that is designed to make people agree with them."

On protesters at the 2000 Democratic convention:
"So it's a diverse coalition. One consistent theme is the revulsion at corporate America and the consumer culture it has spawned. The more radical protesters believe they are trapped in a police state. Imagine how validated they must feel, getting shot with rubber bullets in downtown Los Angeles outside a convention ringed with a prison-caliber fence."

On the ubiquitous chad:
Throughout the twenty-three years I've been publisher, editor, sales manager, staff writer, and cartoonist of Chad Watch I've tried to warn my fellow citizens that our entire political system was vulnerable to the time bomb we call a "chad."

To say that I've been completely ignored and, indeed, treated as though I have severe hygiene problems would grossly understate the situation. Our circulation s has languished in the high single figures. People I once counted a friends have derided my work as bizarre and obsessive. The mainstream news media have paid no heed to Chad Watch's truly groundbreaking seventy-seven part series on the difference between a winking and blinking chad.

My parents urged me to go to law school, and several times threatened to evict me from the attic, which is not only my residence but also the chad Watch newsroom. My only companion throughout these difficult years has been my pet turtle, whose name you could probably guess (rhymes with mad). It has crossed my mind that my work on chad (amazingly, some people don't realize that the plural is the same as the singular, just like "shad") has a causal relationship to my marital status (extremely single). Recently I have been forced to adopt a policy: On a first date I suppress any mention of chad until we've both ordered the main course. (Is all this too personal?)

I'm not sure there are any quotes I could pull from this book that would show you what fun this one was to read.

The blurb says that "[t]he diarist is a veteran Washington Post reporter, satirist, and explainer of the inexplicable" but not even those credentials give him the power to explain Campaign 2000.

Still...he was concerned to keep his columns "relevant" during the campaign, so he wrote about what he saw, read, and heard, and it makes highly entertaining reading.

"In keeping with the Court's ambition to provide an unambiguous and unanimous decision in Bush v. Gore and thereby legitimate the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, we present herein a majority opinion signed by Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, O'Conner, and Kennedy, with a partial dissent to the majority by Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas, a full dissent by Justices Stevens, Souter, Breyer, and Ginsburg, a partial dissent to the full dissent by Justices Breyer and Souter, a needling, invective-filled dissent to the partial dissent to the majority opinion from Scalia, and a spitwad [attached] from Justice Steven . . .

The Court will note that it did manage on Tuesday afternoon to assemble a respectable 6 - 3 majority in favor of the Chinese take-out.

You might think that it's long enough after the disaster of Campaign 2000 to make the book seem a bit tired, but you'd be wrong.

It's all kept fresh by Achenbach's combination of "insider view" and ability to view the shenanigans of both parties, and their handlers with the jaundiced eye of a voter who wishes he'd gone to the movies instead.

The voters aren't neglected, either. From time to time, Achenbach steps out of his ivory tower of national syndication to hunker down with the real folks and see what they think of it all. (The answer? Not much. Not in the sense of disapproval, but in the sense of people asked about a topic that has no relevance to their real lives.)

This one's been out long enough that it should be in your local library if you're not (like some of us) a compulsive buyer of books. Buy it or borrow it, but read it. And be prepared to laugh.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)
My goodness

I can't believe the name "Rush Limbaugh" is appearing on my blogroll in any form, but there it is. I spent some time reading Barry's blog, Rushlimbaughtomy, today and even though he won't go steady (heh heh), I'm adding him to the blogroll anyhow.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)
Interesting reading

If you have the time and if, like me, you have the day off. (No, I'm not spending it here, writing blog entries. Just the morning part of the day.)

The Neoliberal Take on the Middle East (via Busy, busy, busy)

Wow. Via Rushlimbaughtomy, a site new to me, I found the Mother Jones coverage of "The World According to Halliburton." I'm not on the side of those who think Halliburton is personally trying to take over the world, but this is a fascinating example of how huge USofA conglomerates have tentacles all over the world. (When you wonder why foreign policy is so complicated, remember these things, since our gov'mint exists as much to further the interests of corporations as of individuals. When it's a Cheap-Labor Conservative gov'mint in charge, they exist more to further corporate interests than those of individuals.

Via Buzzflash, "A Chart of Bush Lies about Iraq."

It's amazing what people say if you put them under oath, isn't it?

As always, just go read Josh Marshall. The 9/11 report will reveal no link between Iraq and al-Qaida (told you so) and the gloves are coming off in the war between the White House and the CIA.

Jim over at Rittenhouse Review gave me a laugh. Reminds me of that line out of Charade where Audrey Hepburn tells Cary Grant that, "I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies, I couldn't possibly meet anyone new." (I love that movie.)

In another hmmm moment, I have to say that when the NYPost starts complaining about the Administration's policies, conservatives should be worried. Especially when it involves Rumsfeld refusing to allow the military to add up what it's spending because of privatization .

Posted by AnneZook at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
Oh, pits.

I hit the wrong button and lost my original entry

What was I talking about?

I know I said that it's always good to read Molly Ivins and I enjoyed her biff, bam, pop! story on legal ethics.

I know I also said that while Hightower sometimes goes over the line, I appreciated his update on the Nike Swoosh case as the corporate do-badders struggle to convince the world that their lies about the use of sweatshop labor were politically motivated and had nothing to do with advertising.

I also appreciate his words on the increasing corporatization of our schools. It's an embarrassment, the kind that should bring down leaders in high places, that we have the money to invade two countries in one year and we give millions of dollars back to already rich people, but we can't afford to fund our schools properly.

I remember wondering how many of you would pay an expert to write an article or a series of articles on topic of major interest to you.

George W. Nixon? That one made me snicker, but Meyer is rightly incensed that it appears the White House blew an undercover CIA operative's cover in an attempt to at political retaliation.

In a story that doesn't seem to have made the front pages here, Chicago police compared a wanted fugitive to rapper Ice Cube. (why won't these people use real names?) I think more than just an, oops, sorry! is called for.

I went on at some length about each of those topics but fortunately for you, I don't intend to key all of that in again. Let's move on.

Do you know that Congress, in response to hundreds of thousands of faxes, calls, and e-mails from voters is working to strike down Michael Powell's relaxation of media ownership regulations? Of course you do. Do you know that if Congress does what the voters want, the White House is threatening to veto the bill? William Safire covers the story.

W. House Nuke Defense Shifting That's the CBS headline.

You know, what weirds me out about "those people" is the way they fight against just standing up and saying, "made a mistake, sorry."

If George W. Nixon Bush had just stood up and admitted that they'd messed up in the beginning, none of these stories would be getting traction today. But he doesn't say that. Do they think it makes him appear weak to admit a mistake? They're quite wrong. It just makes him look like an out-of-the-loop dolt who hasn't been given permission to take the blame yet.

Even as the entire world realizes they were just plain wrong, they fight to find another way to say it, or send out underlings to take the blame or something. It really is Nixonian, okay? For those of us who remember Watergate, it does have a very familiar flavor.

Which makes it a relief to turn to reports saying that Wolfowitz is admitting that a lot of their pre-invasion planning was just plain wrong. For two seconds, I think, I'd vote for that man but then of course I remember more about him and withdraw the offer. Still, having the courage to stand up and admit the things that everyone in the world knows to be true seems to be a rare quality in the Bush Administration and I applaud Wolfowitz for his brief tango with honesty.

When I read the words, "AFTER SEPT. 11, even George W. Bush's harshest critics credited him for leading" I know I'm not going to like the article. I was far from one of his "harshest" critics (although I was pretty harsh), but my memories of 9/11 are tied up with the leadership Giuliani showed on that day. My memories of Bush include only my wonder and growing annoyance that he was hiding instead of leading.

And, speaking of things we should be rabble-rousing about, how about Guantanamo? Louise Christian is quite right when she says, "There is no defence for Guantanamo." There isn't. Let's see at least 50 percent of the "yellow cake" outrage directed toward the situation in Guantanamo, okay?

Detainees are incarcerated in wire cages 8ft by 6ft 6in, with no privacy and with the lights on all night. They are allowed out for exercise only twice a week for 20 minutes in a small, enclosed exercise yard. These are conditions which would challenge anybody's mental health. During this time the detainees have been intimidated and coerced into speaking to interrogators without a lawyer being present. The situation is already one of grave abuse of human rights.
By not faxing, e-mailing, and phoning your government to protest this, you're an accessory, okay?

Read it and think.

If Deanna Wrenn is telling the truth, and I have no reason to believe she isn't, she's been wronged. More, as a reporter, she's been damaged by the horribly biased re-writing of her story by Reuters. (I've already removed ABC from my "regular reading" list, although I still check their site occasionally, because of their overtly sensationalist approaches to storytelling. I may have to stop checking Reuters, too.)

Texas Democrats are still fighting redistricting and, surprise, surprise, DeLay's name is all over the problem.

These people continue to frighten me.

The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle; and that too few political leaders today are making the case for global leadership.
There are so many lies embedded in that statement that I don't know where to begin.
The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world.
If for no other reason, I'd fight against the current crop of "neo-Conservatives" just because they're reportedly affiliated with this bunch and share their aims. What these guys, they're offering a rose-tinted view of what Cheney, et. al., want the world to become. (I have to say, when George Will announces that Conservatives are going astray....) (Ed. Further reading, of course, proves that he's dissing them not for being a bunch of nutcases, but for not sticking his his preferred line of nutcasedom. Still, it's clear that even to his highly biased eyes, they've gone off on some weird tangent of their own.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

This is the sort of thing I meant when I said we needed to stop obsessing on "16 words."

Congress misses the big picture on war with Iraq

It's more than just whether or not the nuclear claims around the invasion were correct. It's, fundamentally, do we want to become a rogue nation? Because in my book a rogue nation is one that pre-emptively invades another on a slender pretext of "self-defense."

Posted by AnneZook at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
July 23, 2003
What's this?

A rare moment of common sense overtakes the Cheap-Labor Conservatives.

. . . Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, the senior Democrat on the committee, thanked Thomas for his remarks, at the same time emphasizing the point Democrats have been making since the controversy erupted. "The minority has a right to be respected, to be heard ...to know what is in the bill," he said. Republicans have an obligation, he added, "to use not the rules that we make up as we go along, but the rules that have allowed this (House) to exist for over 200 years."

Posted by AnneZook at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)
On the other hand

I can think of few things that would annoy CheapLaborConservatives more than if we stopped pressuring the Administration about the uranium thing not because we believed them, or got bored with the topic, but because Bill told us to.

So I think that any of us who are ready to move on to larger problems (see almost any entry below or on the sites to the left) should first send an e-mail to Bush/Cheney/Rove or even call DeLay, and explain that you're letting it go, not because you believe a word that comes out of their mouths but because Clinton told you to and you trust Bill Clinton.

They'd just hate that. You know they would.* Every conservative Conservative I know still foams at the mouth at the mention of the man's name.**

Remember how Bush whined when he first took office because the press was still giving more coverage to Clinton than to him? If he thought Democrats were still taking their direction from Clinton, he'd...he'd...well, who knows what he'd do? It's worth finding out, don't you think?

* Okay, maybe we'll leave Cheney off the list. He's already got heart problems.

** I actually met someone who pointed a triumphant finger at the endless list of investigations as proof Clinton was the spawn of satan.

When I pointed out that no charges had been filed, the vast majority of the allegations had been found to be baseless rumors, and in this country, you're innocent until proven guilty, this person assumed the standard right-wing fallback position, "He had sex! He lied about having sex!

I know I've said this before, but what IS it with the conservative obsession with other people's sex lives?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)
You see?

Check out Avedon Carol today for reasons to go with my "get over it" position.

They didn't know State said the info was probably fraudulent, okay? They didn't read the entire 90-page report and the no-doubt copious footnotes.

Stop whinging (love British English) about the use of dubious intelligence. Focus your ire where it belongs.

We were dragged into war by the kind of people who can't be bothered to read their own documentary evidence supporting their claims.

Now that's the kind of thing you should be mad about.

(Also, I'm all over the "cheap labor conservatives" label.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)
Call me stupid

Really. Feel free. It's not like I can hear you from here, after all.

The whole "yellowcake" thing? Get over it, okay? Move on. Unless there's actual proof that venality was involved, let's give it a rest. Move past those 16 words.

Consider the entire case made for invading Iraq. Consider all of the evidence produced before the fact, all of the claims made. Is there a pattern of deception? If there is, let's talk about that bigger picture.

But let's not bring the country to a halt over this.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)
July 22, 2003
And more

If our "real" reason for invading Iraq was "humanitarian" then we should be heading to Liberia next, right? Right? Because by anyone's standards, it's a war zone there and a humanitarian disaster

Meanwhile, on the home front, read Patriot Act abuses documented

Also, no matter how you slice it, Republicans seem to be bad for the economy, don't they?

I won't be crying to Hussein's horrible offspring if they're really dead. Not a tear.

This, on the other hand, strikes me as a crime. It's not that I care more for dolphins than humans (although in the case of Hussein and his sons....) but kidnapping members of a species known to be intelligent and flying them to an unfriendly, unnatural environment to turn them into entertainment spectacles? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Looks like our elected representatives have been sent to their rooms without dinner. In August they'll get another chance to play nicely together on the subject of the pension bill.

Gary Hart smacks us all upside the chops and tells us to learn to play nice. He's quite right, of course. The level of public debate in this country is appalling.

Is there a Hidden Treasure of Democratic support?

Via Tom at Tbogg a link to a site I'd forgotten about. Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)