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August 15, 2003
Friday Fun

Just in case you were wondering why I almost never go to the movies.

Also, it's possible that not all the weirdos in the world are in your hometown. Surrey thinks they're in Surrey.

Okay, most of the stories aren't that weird. I mean, this is no Arcata Eye Police Log which, for those of you I haven't yet managed to convert to the joys of, has contained the following items:

Friday, March 14 9:58 a.m. City of Eureka water workers tended to that town’s Mad River water conduit, which passes under Arcata. A Pacific Court resident didn’t make any direct threat, but the Jed Clampett-like concept of running the revenooers, er, water technicians off one’s property with a shotgun was somehow broached.
2:22 p.m. Somebody reportedly found a nook, possibly a cranny, within the ceiling of a downtown travel agency in which to live, and moved in. Investigators found that someone unknown had simply moved a ceiling tile and installed a wind chime, but there was no evidence of any ceiling dwellers.
8:24 p.m. A woman was apprised that yelling at traffic in the street is frowned upon in most modern civilizations.

I can't believe you don't read it. I can't believe you never mention it to me. This is the best site on the web, okay? Bar none.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:08 PM | Comments (2)
Fair. Balanced. Fair and Balanced

Okay, my mind is boggling again. If this story were to hit the front page of the NYTimes and a few other national media outlets picked it up, this could completely tank Bush's re-election campaign. (Kevin worried because this story was from January, but I don’t think the time-frame matters. It's the on-going pattern of "outsourcing" jobs...taking employment from USofA citizens and giving it to a cheaper labor pool, that's the real concern.)

Via Cursor, here's the Memory Hole copy of an article saying we don't know precisely how many people we have stuffed into the Guantanamo Bay facility or exactly who they are. (I suspect an article run originally, and only, by the NYPost, so read with a grain of salt, okay?)

And, in an illustration of pretty much everything I think the world needs least right now, take a look at the future of war on Ruminate This. (Does anyone else have a problem with her blog? I open and close her site in a separate browser because that "fade in-fade out" effect seems to hang up for five seconds or more each time.)

Over at skippy's lower-case house, there's an interesting post on the "mystery illness" that's killing soldiers in Iraq. Could it be linked to their anthrax inoculations? Or, like, reportedly, the original "gulf war syndrome" is there some other "inoculation cocktail" they were given that's starting to have some ugly after-effects? (links blogger, scroll down, etc., etc., etc.)

Talkleft has some good links to follow-up stories on Ashcroft's decision to protect the homeland's security by watching judges whose sentencing habits don't please him.

And, on final note (for now), let me say how pleased I am with the number of us committing to be Fair and Balanced today.

Ted Barlow offers fairness and balance, but he hasn't written to us since 7/24. What's up with that?

And ThomasMC has a pop-up announcing their fairness. And balance and well as a cursor tail.

I'm sure John Duffy would be Fair and Balanced if he hadn't been awol for over 12 weeks. John! Come on, guy! How long does it take to write a dissertation or a book or a set of encyclopedias or whatever it is you left the world o'blog to mess around with?

Posted by AnneZook at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)
It's all about being Fair and Balanced, isn't it?

Capital Eye is always interesting. Recently they offered a breakdown of the voting for/against the re-importation of drugs and the way the votes stacked up against campaign contributions.

There are some Fair and Balanced politicians. Take a look at the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act, recently introduced to the Senate by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican.

Power is changing hands. Look closely, and you can see it, in the tiny, picturesque country of Liechtenstein.

And it's a pity we're not as concerned about home-grown terrorism as we are about the international stuff. Isn't there some old saying about cleaning your own house first?

I don't think the Common Dreams Headline is at all fair and balanced. I think there's a difference between the implication than an entire country is "gloating" and the quite natural satisfaction at learning their occupiers are suffering from some of the same problems they're fighting.

The article does raise one interesting thought. After a day or so without A/C, will the East Coast have more sympathy with, and concern about, the on-going power outages in Iraq?

Read More »

Posted by AnneZook at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
The Troubles Out East

No, farther east. Outside our borders.

No link, but to start the day off right, I heard a fair and balanced report on NPR on the way in this morning. They were interviewing Iraqis, but not the ones you'd expect. No, they were interviewing those who had been better off under Hussein. As those who shared his Sunni faith, they were the favored minority. That didn't make their lives simple, but they did at least have a certain amount of privilege that they don't possess now. Even one general from Hussein's army who admitted that he and his men were put into needless danger during the invasion battles mourned the passing of those times. Mostly for two reasons. (1) He resented the USofA disbanding the army and putting him out of work, and, (2) He saw Hussein as a "strong leader" capable of controlling the fractious country, a job no one expects the committee of returned exiles and others favored by the USofA to be able to do.

And Dissent is offering an extremely fair and balanced analysis of The Struggle for Power in Iraq, complete with a bit of regional history (very little), for those who haven't wrapped their heads around it yet. (Direct link here.) The bottom line? Look to see the recent resurgence of religious feeling transform into a Shiite influenced, if not an outright religious government.

For those interested in an analysis of the anything but fair and balanced media coverage in the days leading up to the invasion, check out FAIR's article on the subject.

Are the seeds of the next disaster being sown even as we speak? Iran may still be in the Administration's cross-hairs and I don't think anyone can deny that tacitly ignoring what our own country has listed as a terrorist group because we hope it will cause trouble for our enemies is pretty much the sort of behavior that got us into this mess in the first place.

But the same hard-liners reportedly oppose a deal with Tehran, which they depict not only as a sponsor of terrorism determined to acquire nuclear weapons, but also an exhausted dictatorship teetering on the verge of collapse that could be easily overthrown in a popular insurrection, with covert U.S. help or even military intervention.

It just isn't going to happen that way. You can't "sponsor" your way to democracy and certainly I don't think you can get there via an organization that assisted Hussein in the atrocities he committed after the Gulf War, okay?

And speaking of criminal behavior, are we ever going to turn our attention back to the mess we created in Afghanistan?

Posted by AnneZook at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)
August 14, 2003
Personal Note

On a personal note, I don't know what's wrong, but my e-mail has been down all day. If you're waiting to hear from me, don't hold your breath, okay?

(By the way, when did CNN become Fair and Balanced?) Hee. Hee.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:24 PM | Comments (2)
Your Pocket Is Singing

Personally, I'm not really interested in a guy moaning about his failure to pick up a woman in the airport.

I wonder if it ever occurred to him that she might be on the phone to save herself from the advances of strangers?

Contrary to what many men seem to believe, it's not really that easy for a woman to rebuff an unwelcome advance. At least not when said advance is made politely. Women aren't unaware of the fact that men have feelings and egos. Nor are they unaware of the courage it takes to approach someone.

This makes it very awkward when, as sometimes happens, the woman looks at the man and feels not only no spark of interest, but a definite (let's be polite) disinclination to pursue even a limited acquaintance.

Still, I sympathize with his point of view. People in this country are, it seems, neurotically averse to being alone. Anyone walking down the street without a companion seems to feel compelled to pull out a phone. Ditto people standing in lines, eating out, driving down the street, and shopping. It's astounding how few people seem able to bear the burden of their own, solitary companionship for even a few minutes.

I mean, you see someone sitting on a shaded bench in a green park. Are they enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and watching the ducks play? No, they're yakking on the phone.

How many times have you been stuck behind someone in a check-out line at a store who can't seem to get their merchandise paid for because they're too busy talking on the phone to listen to the clerk at the register?

And I don't think any of us hasn't heard of the dangers associated with people yakking on the phone while driving. I'm not certain which is my favorite – the guy driving like he doesn't notice other cars, because talking is more interesting than watching the road, or the guy so involved in his conversation that he forgets what the accelerator is for when the light in front of him turns green. Either way, the part where they're steering a thousand pounds of fuel-laden machine down a street or highway full of innocent bystanders seems to be the least of their concerns.

If I were a bumper sticker kind of person, I'm sure, "Hang Up and Drive" would be on my car.

But it's a larger problem than just morons with cars.

Why are people so reluctant to be alone? What is it about themselves they're so afraid of facing if they're left with the thoughts in their own minds for ten minutes?

Admittedly I'm a raving egotist, but I find the privacy and freedom of my own thoughts very entertaining. I've never understood people who view the possibility of being by themselves for five minutes, or five hours, as an ordeal to be survived.

What's wrong with you people?

Posted by AnneZook at 12:04 PM | Comments (3)
Iraq, Love, DARPA

It's frustrating trying to get news from the Iraqi perspective these days. I don't trust our media too far. I continue to be grateful to Salam Pax and I'm pleased that his early courage, blogging from Hussein-controlled Baghdad, is being rewarded.

And I feel the pain of the unnamed USofA soldier who told him, " "They tell you it's the Oil but I know it is not the Oil, I just can't figure out what the hell it is we are here for." "

And what about those human shields who are now being >slapped with fines for breaking the law? Well, based on the letter of the same law, which the article cites as the sanctions against " virtually all direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade transactions with Iraq", I'd say she didn't do anything wrong. Unless paying for food for her personal consumption is found to be a "financial or trade transaction."

Something tells me that in the unlikely event that any USofA corporations are fined for their actual violation of these same sanctions, they won't be paying as high a fine, proportionate to their income, as the individuals being targeted by Bush's pro-invasion Administration.

I should point out that I do believe that if the sanctions are held to cover the activities of these individuals, then, yes, they should be fined and they can choose to pay or not pay, as they wish. If you knowingly and deliberately break the law, you have to accept the penalties. If the law is unjust, we can try to change it, but you can't ignore it with impunity. That way lies anarchy.

And, speaking of law, it's good to read that even though we're not all of us focused on Guantanamo Bay, others are and the battle about the reach of the constitution (and, indeed, the U.K.'s constitution) goes on.

(In other places in the U.K., they're fighting about love. This is one case where the liberals are wrong. Trying to ban colloquial or slang usage of a word is...it's just absurd.

DARPA, an organization I was only vaguely aware of before the recent fiasco, is really rather fascinating. I'll have to see if there are any books out on it.

I said it before, and I'll repeat it now for those who never listen to me. That whole "terrorism stock market" wasn't quite what it was portrayed as being in the media coverage and I regret my own initial, knee-jerk reaction to the news. You'd think I'd have learned better than to accept the media's version of a story at face value by now.

Also? I think there's room in this country for an organization that dreams big. When you reach for the stars, you're likely to fall a long way when you miss, but that shouldn't stop you from reaching. Some of their projects are worrisome, but the thing that worries me least about DARPA is the accusation that they're "politically tone-deaf." That's actually reassuring.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:38 AM | Comments (3)
Mid-morning musing

This morning started with a rush-hour drive to my doctor's office (which is, naturally, in the opposite direction from my office). What with one thing and another, most of which were cars driven by people unclear on the concept of "moving with the flow" in traffic, it took a solid hour after the appointment to get to my office. Mumble-grumble-whine-complain.

I don't have anything against a "sting" to capture people who sell illegal arms, but I do wish the media would stop trumpeting that a plot to smuggle missiles into the US has been foiled. Since we fabricated the "plot" it seems a little absurd, don't you think?

Also, the question of entrapment is always there. This time, I don't think it was an issue, but official zeal, has, in the past, led to some mistakes.

And it seems that among the other pre-invasion cautions about their rosy plans for Iraq, the Administration was told that enforcing instituting Democracy might be impossible in the country. They continue to pretend they didn't hear the experts, though.

I know the recall of a governor and the election of a new one is serious business, but the way people in California are going at it, it's more of a sideshow.

I'm not a big joiner. I've never really joined clubs or parties or organizations. Even as a voter, I'm an independent, unaffiliated with any organized party. Interestingly, over the last year I've found myself joining a surprising number of progressive organizations. I'll probably join ACT, too. There are a number of good ideas for getting the disenchanted Left back into the voting booths, if only someone would listen. (Are we sure we have the best candidates in the race now?

In terms of "big news," I think 3,000 dead people is news. In spite of the seriousness of the topic, the reference to a " 'veritable epidemic' of death" gave me a little cognitive dissonance.

I wish those people would stop whining. I didn't hear the military complaining about multi-millionaires being given huge tax cuts, did you? I didn't hear much of the Republican establishment complaining about it at all. So now that, just a few months later, they realize they no longer have the revenue to run the government, well, the idea that this comes as a surprise is a touch annoying. As for the soldiers in Iraq about to take a pay-and-benefits hit, well, they're citizens just like the rest of us, so they're going to feel the effects of the lousy economy just like the rest of us.

Of course, unlike the rest of us, they're in danger of being killed fighting a war their tax-cutting boss instigated, but that's really a whole different rant I'm not prepared to get into yet.

As they say, 'so many rants, so little time.'

Posted by AnneZook at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)
August 13, 2003
A Manly World

I don't read Horowitz's bigoted, reactionary appeal to the worst of the Right-wing, otherwise known as Front Page Magazine. Why not? Well, even with Groupthink mocking the text, FPM's efforts tend to upset my stomach. (Via Ampersand.)

Any yet, sometimes, I think I'm denying myself some much-needed giggles by avoiding the publication.

The appeal of Truman/Reagan/Bush is plain speaking, firm conviction, and personal courage. they are seen to have solid instincts rather than attractive emotions or intellectual preparation...the American archetype, in short.

They got guts, but no brains. That's what FPM was saying. It's saying that the Archetypical American is a reactionary mouth-breather.

And, on warfare:

Slaughter en masse is still called for, and it remains man’s work.

Hey, he's right. This is totally among the realm of things the vast majority of women are willing to leave to men. Like adjusting yourself as you leave the bathroom, this is not something most women would want to lay claim to...the perception, in defiance of the evidence of recorded history, that mass slaughter (short of complete genocide) solves problems.

Heh. Anyhow.

I have few opinions on the health insurance/health care problem, mostly because it's not one of the things I've read about extensively.

There is one idea I'll leave you to ponder. Some kind of change is critical if the current system, the one we're forcing to fit a model it was never designed to fit, is not going to collapse around our ears.

The current health insurance system cannot be "fixed." Like (as far as I know) all USofA insurance programs, our "health insurance" was created as an indemnity-based system. It was never designed to provide access to healthcare. It was insurance. If you got hit by a catastrophe, then it kicked in. You were supposed to get your ears peered into and your blood pressure taken on your own nickel.

Don't get me wrong, I know there are millions of people who can't afford to go to the doctor to get weighed and have their temperatures taken. I'm not saying we don't need reform in our health care systems. I'm saying that the concept of "insurance" is fundamental to what needs to be changed.

On a more personal note, stop dyeing your hair in the bathroom sink, okay? I know where you live. I know, because you live upstairs from me. Every time you dye your hair in the bathroom sink, my bathroom sink stops up and overflows. You may not be aware of this, but the sludge you're rinsing off your head turns to cement in the pipes.

Knock it off. I'm sick of cleaning your wastewater off my bathroom floor. Also? I'm going to start billing you for my laundry costs because I have to wash my rugs and towels all the time.

Inconsiderate twit.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:13 PM | Comments (2)
News and then a lighter note

Looks like the heat is still on in Texas. This time the AWOL Dems are in New Mexico.

And here's a defense of the Administration's Guantanamo policy. (Yes, registration required.)

It's from a conservative publication, so don't gag when you read about "Mr Bush's liberal instincts" or anything.

While well-written and well thought-out, the article didn't convince me, primarily because it accepted as a premise one of the factors that bother me the most.

The Bush Administration has been wrestling with the problem - not dissimilar to that faced by Whitehall during the early years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland - about whether to treat suspects as prisoners of war or common criminals. His dilemma was understandable. Had he called them PoWs, he would have been obliged by the Geneva Conventions to release them at the end of hostilities.

I do not accept that we need a way to hold detainees at Guantanamo for an indefinite period of time, without trial or sentencing and outside the jurisdiction (or so they claim) of this country's constitutionally guaranteed rights or even outside the influence of the Geneva Conventions. I do not accept that we have a need or a right to incarcerate people indefinitely until we can gather enough evidence against them to convict them of a crime. I do not accept that this "war on terror," no matter how necessary it might be, is an excuse to disregard the principles the country was founded on.

But if he could not call his captives PoWs, nor could he treat them quite like common criminals. Under the US Constitution, criminal suspects have to be put on trial, and judged according to the rules of evidence. Any competent defence lawyer would make short work of testimony gathered from secret sources or from prisoners held for many months, in harsh conditions, without access to lawyers.

You don't have any actual evidence, you hold people in inhumane conditions, you deny them access to legal assistance, then you whine because you can't get a conviction? Cry me a river, okay?

I don't want terrorists running loose, no, but I deny that this country's system of legal justice is not up to dealing with these kinds of trials. Instead of spending a year concocting wars and then running from the questions about their concoctions, the Administration could have chosen to sponsor and encourage public debate about how these detainees should be handled, but I guess that "of the people, by the people, for the people" thing is really just so five minutes ago.

So it was that the President hit upon the idea of treating them neither as PoWs nor as criminals, but as something in between. He decided to put them on trial by military tribunal, and instructed his Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to draft special rules of evidence and procedure that would make convictions more likely than in a civilian court.

I think the problem with this is clear. Making it easier to get a conviction means making it easier to convict the innocent. This is not acceptable. Nor, in my view, is any kind of "secret" trial ever allowable under this country's laws. A secret investigation is something I can see the need for (in certain circumstances) but never secret trials.

Mr Rumsfeld's rules, drafted on March 21, 2002, are not nearly as illiberal as his critics maintain. They include many safeguards of the rights of the defendant. But the fact is that they fall well short of the standards of justice required by civilian courts in both Britain and America.

This doesn't surprise me. (The first part of it, I mean.) I think Rumsfeld is dangerously short-sighted, but I don't think he's a monster.

Anyhow. It was very interesting to read, but I turn with relief to the lighter note of Maureen Dowd's latest column, "Blah, Blah, Blog. She thinks the internet might be over. Turgid political blogs killed it.

In England, there's a war going on over, as you might expect, homosexual marriage and ordaining homosexual bishops. At the same time, the future king and future head of the Anglican church is living in sin with his long-time paramour. I, like the National Post, remember the furor over a chaste kiss on the cheek not that long ago. I'm amused, although not surprised, to see the result of the Palace's careful, step-by-step, public acceptance of the situation.

And via a path I no longer remember, I discovered the amusing Transport Blog yesterday.

And, to round out our look at the lighter side of life, let me offer my new, "most favorite" site, the Royal Journal. It's all about what gets found.

Want Drugs (cocaine) Buy at [deleted] Union St Apt 1-B Ask for Sylvia


Fancy a British Passport! No perverts or time wasters please! A 22 year-old English Writer is looking for a man husband of American nationality for green card purposes only.


To Whom It May Concern Who ever spit toothpast on this faucit? should clean it because it is gross to the other members of this household Thanks!

When I finish reading my way through the "found" items on this site, I'll move on to Found Magazine and even Object not found.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)
August 12, 2003
Fair and Balanced

As I read through the old blogroll, I see that quite a few of us are Fair and Balanced today. I approve. I may just buy me a Fair and Balanced book to read, to commemorate the occasion.

Here's a Fair and Balanced watchdog for civil liberties. The offer a listing, in chronological order of the towns, cities, and states that have pass resolutions against the so-called Patriot Act.

In the interests of being Fair and Balanced, I think I should also mention that I'm waiting for a formal and official investigation, complete with employment termination, of the people who broke the law by revealing the name of a CIA undercover operative. Also, for what it's worth, I think said exposure was a move in a completely unfair and unbalanced war between the intelligence community and the White House.

I don't think that conspiracy theory-sounding articles are Fair and Balanced and this one is no exception. I really don't think 9/11 was planned or permitted by the Administration in order to give themselves a reason to go to war. After all, it's well-known that Clinton wanted to go after al Quaida and that the incoming Bush Administration wasn't interested in a fight.

It was only some time after that that they got excited about getting their war on. Of course, then their interest wasn't really in al Qaida, which probably explains why they ignored Clinton's advisors. After all, Clinton and his guys had bombed the heck out of Hussein's known and suspected WMD sites, so they weren't going to be able to give the Bush-Cheney boys a reason to target Iraq.

I also refuse to believe that we're all off killing and dying today in order to divert the American Peeple from the lousy state of the economy. They already know Bush I tried that and it didn't work.

I don't know if it's Fair and Balanced or not, but Maureen Farrell has "Dubya Jeopardy" on offer over at Buzzflash. (On second thought, I take that back. It's completely Fair and Balanced to tot up the various, errr, misdemeanors and inaccuracies of the current Administration.)

WaPo is often Fair and Balanced, and here,E J Dionne offers a Fair and Balanced comparison of the Right's current hypocritical speechmaking about the nature of "patriotism" to their unfair, unbalanced, and, indeed, unreasonable behavior during the Clinton years.

Not all coverage of current events is Fair and Balanced, of course, but I think many people and publications are raising questions that need to be answered. Don't get me wrong. I don't think for one instant that there's anyone at the military who isn't very, very worried about the recent illnesses among our soldiers in Iraq. But I don't see much discussion of it in the national press, which bothers me.

There was talk, in a Fair and Balanced way, of course, recently about that weird televangelist, Pat Robertson's connection to and support for Liberian President Charles Taylor. I suppose it's too much to hope for that Robertson's affinity for the deposed dictator would move him to transfer himself to Nigeria? (Robertson is a real prize as a business partner, as Scotland discovered.)

And, finally, there's nothing Fair and Balanced about the conflicting messages sent to women these days. Fortunately, most of the women I know don't have the time or neurotic insecurity that would drive them to the pages of the New York Post during an identity crisis.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:10 PM | Comments (2)

Yes, it's a pretty, new site. I'm having a few issues with it. It comes with a counter service that insists I'm getting five times the number of hits I know I'm getting, for instance. It isn't that I wouldn't like to believe that many thousands of readers show up a day, but I know it isn't true. And the code for the template is so fancy I'm afraid to make any changes. I'll have to save up blogroll additions and gather my nerve up to try that some day.

But there are bigger problems in the world. For instance, the heat wave in Europe is getting serious.

And Japan admits that the chemical, probably mustard gas making people sick in China is leftover from WWII. Was, in fact, likely buried by Japanese soldiers deliberately in the hopes of just what's happening now; that civilians would dig it up and get sick. That's a step in the right direction toward standing up and taking responsibility for your past sins. Not all of them, of course. If you haven't heard of this, maybe this explains why:

The Japanese historians testified that the full extent of the germ attacks remained unknown partly because the United States made a deal with the Japanese not to prosecute those involved in exchange for the scientific data.

Maybe Japan isn't the only country that needs a cleansing round of confession?

It's a pity not all Japan's sins are important to them. (Of course, those were just women (okay, some were children), after all.)

Too many numbers make my head hurt, but this look at our spiraling national debt is sobering. The warnings about the fall to come are equally scary.

Apparently, Popular Science thinks it's important to start explaining the difference between when we're using the internet and when we're on the web. There also seems to be a perception that having to type a URL is a Bad Thing and we should all just search-and-click through search engines. I disagree. The best search engine we can create won't be able to access all the content on the web. It's an interesting idea, I guess.

More stupidity from the East Coast. It seems that the Administration was warned about the likelihood of resistance in Iraq, the same kind that's killing soldiers now, but they chose, as they always seem to do, to believe the rosy promises of amateur instead of the experts. Could these people be any more incompetent?

Molly Ivins takes us all to task for the appalling drop in the standard of public, political combat.

And Durst thanks Bush for stepping up to save the country from the heinous effects of letting people who love each other get married.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:16 PM | Comments (5)

Some things I was thinking about yesterday, but didn't get posted.

I don't blame American soldiers, hair-triggered from the deaths of so many comrades over the last few weeks. But I do blame their bosses. Surprise checkpoints thrown up after dark on dark corners? Is someone actually expecting "the enemy" will rush them when not even the soldiers seem to know where they're going to be stationed next? (via Chris Nelson) (Tuesday update: Well, last night someone threw grenades at soldiers at a checkpoint, which now leads me to think the guys maybe should just pain targets on themselves. I hate this war.)

Prometheus 6 directs us to a NYTimes article explaining what we owe Liberia.

I'm not sure if a liberal "Get Out the Vote" campaign will work or not. As I'm sure I've said more than once, analysis of voting patterns has shown that the majority of those who have dropped out of the voting process identify as liberal, or "left of center." They'll vote when, (a) something restores their faith in "the system", and/or, (b) issues they care about are front and center in a campaign.

I'll stop myself before I start blaming the media again.

(Hey, guys! I was only kidding, okay? You don't actually have to declare war on N. Korea to make me look insightful, and prophetic, okay?)

It looks like some version of "liberal talk radio" already exists. I'm sorry, but I don't care for the sound of this, okay? The "Bush Crime Family"? Can we please be a little more responsible, a little more moral, and a little more intelligent than Savage and Limbaugh, and their ilk?

Oh, and note this:

It's dawning on radio programmers that 54 million people who cast ballots for Gore and Nader (and another 50 million who tell pollsters that they lean liberal but didn't bother to vote) represent a huge market opportunity, and that the boom potential for the radio industry is extraordinary.

See? I told you so. Tens of millions of left-leaning voters who don't go to the polls. What do they care about? If we could motivate just ten percent of them, we'd be in good shape. (Especially if that 10 percent also bothered to vote in local and state elections.)

You know what else I'd like to see? In spite of the fact that it would make campaigning tricky, I'd like to see states split their electoral votes up to match the percentage of votes for each presidential candidate. This isn't the first time I've suggested this, but I'm still considering how it would work. It would naturally infuriate the "state's rights" crowd, since it would increase voter importance at the expense of each state's majority.

On the other hand, an advantage is that, disenfranchised by "re-districting" or not, voters would get to have a more significant impact on the choice of president. (Of course, then you get the problem of a majority-choice president likely to be serving with an opposition Congress elected by creative re-districting. I'm not going to give myself a headache about that one because I think the re-districting process also needs change.)

Posted by AnneZook at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)
August 11, 2003
Not so serious

This, gave me a giggle:

The main obstacle [to a national, liberal talk radio network], probably, is neither financial nor ideological but temperamental. Remember the old joke about politics being show business for ugly people? Well, right-wing radio is niche entertainment for the spiritually unattractive.

(via Cursor)

Hee. Hee. Seriously, the parents in the audience need to refer to " Tips For Talking About the President With Your Children."

Yeah, sure, they did it for Clinton first (because there seemed to be a huge expectation that tens of thousands of eight year-olds were going to read the Starr Report) but I think this kind of Parent's Helper is just as valuable today.

*1) Think about your values as they relate to this situation. What are your family's values about telling the truth? What would you do if your child lied to you and when you scolded him or her, s/he replied: "I am not a fact-checker." Or added, "Isn't it time to move on?"

The other points are just as useful.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Forget about my lovely new blog. (Well, no, don't, but let's move on anyhow.)

Today's real news is that Walter Cronkite is writing a column in the Philadelphia Enquirer!

How many times have I whined that I missed Walter Cronkiite? A hundred? (Well, a dozen, anyhow.)

(I'm working to figure out how to link directly to whatever he writes.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

In't it pretty? (You can say 'yes' without inflating my already humongous ego. I didn't design it. I just stood on the sidelines, asked stupid questions, and made admiring noises.)

I understand that when I get used to it, it's going to be enormously superior to Blogger. We'll see. Us old geezers resist change, you know.

I'm also acutely aware of the fact that in about fifteen minutes, I'm going to be trying to post this and no doubt thereby exposing my ignorance to the world at large.

For those still unclear on the dangers of the current wave of redistricting and unsure how the problem should be handled, may I direct your attention this way for a moment.

Note the part there at the beginning of the article where it says that Democrats are unlikely to find themselves in the majority because redistricting has created Republican "safe" districts in too many places around the country. We urgently need a better system of creating districts. This is no longer something that can be left to the various state legislatures and whichever Party is in power at the moment. (I don't care which Party is redistricting in its own favor, okay? It's just wrong.)

In other news, I see that Mr. Lieberman, finding it unlikely that he's going to be invited to join us, has decided to attack us. Maybe his feelings got hurt by the results of all of those polls that basically said, "Anyone but Bush or Lieberman? (Or does he know something about the DLC's intentions toward the Progressive part of the Party that we don't know?)

I also, quite frankly, find these continued attacks on the Democratic Party for its "protectionism" laughable. Has anyone checked the Republican party's record on the topic? (Or, again, an alternative presents itself. Maybe the Dems just aren't 'protecting' the right people?)

Kucinich may be unelectable, but he continues to sound pretty good. I'm remain, though, concerned about what I see as his lack of experience dealing with many of the issues that will face the next President.

Molly Ivins cleaned her desk and the detritus of the last year makes painful reading. (Me, I'm a clean-desk person, so I'm spared these little shocks.)

And Bob Herbert is wrong. Gore got a lot of press for his speech. It was mentioned in almost all the sites I read, anyhow. (I've no idea how the print-version or television news handled it, it's true.) In any case, it was nice of Herbert to recap some of the points Gore made.

In, really, unrelated news, it's good to see that Bush is actually working during his 30-day vacation. Okay, so he's BBQ'ing to raise bucks for campaigning and not really, you know, paying any attention to the two or three wars we have going on. It's a sort of work.

And I wish Jimmy Breslin would stop saying things like, "limited war" in his headlines. I know Iraq isn't Vietnam, but there are some phrases that bring up bad memories. The column isn't one of his better efforts, in any case. The parallels he's trying to draw between Iraq and Ireland don't hold up.

Actually I wish people would stop mentioning Vietnam. I've never quite come to terms with a lot of what we did there and certainly not with the effect on the soldiers who fought. The idea that we could be on the way to doing that again....

Apparently it's been a gay, gay summer. I'm okay with that, even if I'm not watching the much-discussed Queer Eye for the Straight Guy program. (I have no issues with men wishing a make-over, but watching some guy get his back waxed doesn't appeal to me as entertainment.) I have recently seen several episodes of Will and Grace, though, and find it every bit as funny and charming as its supporters have claimed. It takes the media to pronounce that a media connection is required to turn a cause into a Cause these days, but whatever. In related but tangential news, I have to say that the Boswell excerpts I've read could be interpreted as evidence of gay marriages in history, but there's room for interpretation. I doubt I'll actually read the book since any interest I have in the subject is purely academic.

Outside our borders, I see that the Congo continues to be SEP with very few Western countries stepping up to the place to help feed the hungry. (We weren't one of them, no.) It's a pity it isn't Ghana. We might care more if there was gold or diamonds at stake. (Edited: Let me add that I know we're doing a lousy job in Ghana, okay? Sarcasm doesn't always work in print.)

(I'm very parenthetical today, aren't I?)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Giving religious extremists death sentence is not a deterrent. Not when they belong to a religion that says the martyred hero goes straight to nirvana, complete with dancing girls. For these types, the worst thing you could do is give them life in prison. You want to discourage them? Don't send them to Allah.

Is this cool, or what? Via Editor and Publisher)

And someone needs to tell these left-wing environmental alarmists that global warming is only a theory. While you're at it, snorkel on down and explain that to the Great Barrier Reef, too, okay?

I'll probably get lambasted by the intelligentsia but you couldn't pay me to sit through an opera. Not unless it was, like, a hundred thousand dollars and the noise was was guaranteed not to last for more than an hour.

It's odd the stories that various publications decide to cover. I mean, what about the price of vanilla going up makes it worthy of front-page coverage? It's all about Madagascar, politics, and the environment. (For the record, buy real vanilla, okay? There really is a flavor difference.)

(It's possible that I'm now reduced to aimless babbling because I'm afraid to try posting on the new interface. I think it's time to give it a try, don't you?)

Gregory Hines R.I.P.

Posted by AnneZook at 05:11 PM | Comments (2)