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November 07, 2003
That's (not) Entertainment

I had more coffee, but it didn't help. Part of my brain is focused on regretting NaNoWriMo, which I decided not to participate in this year, part of it's focused on my plans for the weekend, and a significant percentage of it is, surprisingly, focused on getting some work done.

However, there are a few things you shouldn't miss today.

Avedon Carol is talking about truth in media and discussing the apparent deep concern for "accuracy" in the cancelled Reagan miniseries as long as it's, you understand, the right kind of accuracy. No mentions of hubris, no repeating dumb or insulting remarks, no coverage of lies or criminal behavior. (Ed. I got to the story via Avedon Carol and I encourage you to read the comments in that blog, but the material itself is the most recent Eric Alterman Center for American Progress column. And you should read it. My apologies to both of them for my sloppy linking.)

I dunno. If you take that stuff out of the Reagan years, all you're left with is the already exhausted amusement potential of "supply side economics" and who wants to watch four hours about that?

Reagan was a president who lacked basic knowledge of current events; the former actor who accelerated the transformation of the presidency into the most cynical kind of political theater; a foreign policy daredevil who promoted civil war in Central America at the expense of the U.S. constitution but is now bogusly credited with "winning" the Cold War; a destroyer of all the environment except that which he owned; a man who claimed to have nothing against homosexuals but wasn't willing to expend an ounce of political capital to keep them from dying of AIDS; a leader whose economic policies allowed the wealthy to feast at the government trough while contributing to massively increased poverty and homelessness in America's cities.

Forgive my cynicism, but I doubt this was the president the miniseries would have shown, no matter how "unflattering" it was.

The problem with telling, or trying to tell the truth about what really happens in the corridors of power in this country is that the vast majority of citizens of this country don't want to hear about how ugly some of the things we do are.

Also, didn't I say this? The miniseries was pulled for financial reasons. Threatened boycotts.

For the record, I do feel it's a bit hypocritical of us on the Left to scream about freedom of speech when we've used the same tactics against people we don't like over on the Right.

It could be my imagination, but when I read Hesiod's entry on Bush's recent speech, I see a guy angry because he liked the speech and didn't want to. (I've been taken to task for this flippant remark, so let me make the record clear. Hesiod made no secret of how he felt about Bush's speech and I agree with him. It's the speech that should have been made long before we invaded Iraq and it is, indeed, "too little, too late" at this point. I don't know who in the Administration is responsible for this sudden display of intelligence but I wish they'd been in charge of crafting both policy and the message over a year ago. In short, I do agree with Hesiod and he was right to point out, as he did tangentially, that I shouldn't take my disgruntlement out on him.)

Via Informed Comment, an interesting explanation of why Iraq is not post-War Germany or Japan or any of the other comparisons the Administration would like to put over on us.

Toxic Immunity in yet another example of why the government shouldn't be exempted from the legislation and regulations it passes, and why we need an EPA with a real focus on P and some muscle behind it.

We've heard rumors of Bush versus Bush before, stories that Dad doesn’t like what Sonny Boy is doing now that he's in charge of the store, but are they true or is it a conglomeration of rumor and inference on the part of hopeful liberals?

Also, now Clark's saying the invasion of Iraq was a bait-and-switch" tactic to settle essentially personal grievances of individuals associated with the Bush Administration, but I find myself wondering how someone so very on the "inside" in terms of the access and sources you'd expect someone with his background to possess didn't know this or speak up about it before he decided he wanted to be president?

Andrew Olmsted has some interesting thoughts on the role of men in our society. In spite of his expressed admiration of that "Toit" person I mentioned yesterday, and whose 'rant' I found so absurd, Andrew has some very interesting thoughts. (It's a bit one-sided, as all of us tend to be on our 'own' topics and, to be fair, Andrew is less prone to knee-jerk, one-sidedness than, for instance, I am.) His objection to teachers "disciplining" boys more than girls doesn't contain any discussion of that fact that teachers also pay much more attention to boys, call on them more often in class, etc., so if boys are "disciplined" more, it could just as easily be because they get the majority of teachers' attention (I read a study on the subject a couple of years ago and will try to find an on-line source I can link to.) but for the most part I agree with him and others who talk about how society has maybe swung just a little too far in the direction of "empowering" women and that it's time to try and achieve a new balance.

Of course, I'd rather avoid the "pendulum" model that goes too far, alternately, in each direction before reaching stasis, since I'd rather not spend my declining hears awash in a conservative backlash, but I doubt we can. Probably the best thing thinking people can do is meet the growing demands for a more true equality head-on and try to minimize any overreactions.

Understand that I don't think women (or minorities) have achieved a true equality yet, but I don't actually feel that we'll truly be "more equal" just because someone else is declared, "less worthy." That's not the kind of equality I, personally, am searching for.

Anyhow, read Andrew's post. I'm always over there quibbling at him in his comments section, which is not really nice of me because I check his blog every day and he almost always* gives me something very interesting to think about, but that's just sort of how I am. (* Almost always. Not so much when he's rooting for the wrong baseball team, you understand.)

Anyhow, I really like commenting in the blogs of the sane conservatives in blogdom. Challenging what they say frequently makes them expand on their thoughts and, well, that's educational for me.

Apparently I've run out of news items to discuss at the moment, so go practice Cat Bowling or try your luck with the Bug On A Wire or something.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:57 AM | Comments (3)
Skimming the headlines

AlterNet offers us links to a story of what's reportedly the first time the so-called Patriot Act is being used for other than tracking down terrorists. (Sadly, the paper the story links to seems to be inaccessible at the moment.)

Naturally no one supports racketeering or bribery (or, you know, profiteering), but I still don't like it.

And, speaking of Iraq, are we actually breaking international law and can we be stopped?

I do like this story about the apparently growing fight over Diebold's reportedly faulty "electronic voting matchines." I'm impressed, too.

Diebold's defense of, "those are ours, they're copyrighted, they could be forgeries and maybe you changed the content" is pretty bizarre. I guess it's the sort of defense you get from a company notably on the defensive.

I’m not sure what this article was trying to argue, except maybe that it's okay if we have the death penalty in the USofA because 80% of the executions happen in the South, and mostly it's just Texas and Virginia. I fail to see why that's a good thing (except that I'm glad it's not here).

This article insists that we're not sending more troops and that the Bush Administration is searching for an Iraq exit strategy, but that's a contradiction of other reports I've read or heard over the last week discussing which soldiers are being told they're going to be returning to Iraq and the numbers of additional Guard troops being mobilized for shipping out.

The Washington Post takes on the uninspiring and uninvolving results of excessive gerrymandering.

I found this site the other day, quite by accident, and found it interesting.

The HistoryMakers is a national, 501(c)(3) non-profit educational institution committed to preserving, developing and providing easy access to an internationally recognized, archival collection of thousands of African American video oral histories.

E. J. Dionne, Jr. discusses the increasing polarization of the country.

Other than that, I didn't find much to move me to comment this morning. There's no point, after all, in me being the 5,000th blogger to cover the story that yet more soldiers have died in Iraq. I have nothing to add to the commentary on Bush's 'men-only' club, watching him sign guaranteed-to-be-overturned-but-hey-we-can-campaign-on-it-anyhow legislation banning a medical procedure most of them probably don't even understand. I covered the story that Turkey isn't sending troops to Iraq previously. I'm not economist enough to know if the economy is really developing a sizzle or if we're just seeing the usual pre-holiday spate of temporary hiring.

Maybe I need more coffee.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)
November 06, 2003
A few more examples

Ironic juxtaposition. It's a thing of beauty.

Preparing for President Bush's visit to North Carolina this week, the White House tried Wednesday to soothe angry textile makers who blame U.S. trade policies for job losses. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans said the administration is doing several things to help the industry. Bush is scheduled to hold a $1 million campaign fund-raiser Friday in Winston-Salem.

(From CNN Politics.)

As I expected, a lot of bloggers are covering the whole, "Iraq wanted to avert war" story but Josh Marshall offers the cautionary caveat that I forgot to put on my own links. In short, it might not be true, so let's stay calm.

I didn't know this and I'm ashamed of myself. I doubt I could have gotten more than nine of the cabinet positions and certainly I wouldn't have been able to name them in order of succession. (Yes, I'll be memorizing this list.)

Even though Republicans cut the "no profiteering" clause out of the eighty-seven billion dollar appropriations bill they just passed, what's happening in Iraq seems to be a bit more than some of them can swallow. There's a story that Halliburton, who has been charging the army an outrageous sum for fuel under the no-bid contract they were given won, could be replaced some a company, dare I say it? Somewhat less rapacious.

I have no idea who 'Kim du Toit' is, but, reading reading Matt Yglesias, I see that Kim thinks Real Men Don't Need No Stinkin' Wimmin so my life is probably improved by my ignorance.

(I'll forgo the usual, "closeted much?" joke to say that I think Matt might have done the world a favor by not linking to a clear nutcase, but if he hadn't, I'd have missed my morning giggle, so instead I'm thanking him.)

What's Ashcroft up to? Is it that he can't get Big Brother Patriot II passed, so he's redefining the previous guidelines to let him do whatever he wants, or what? (Via The Agonist)

And why not try reading Sebastian Holsclaw's The Reasons For the War (Part II)? (Part I was posted yesterday.) Aside from a few differences in how we interpret certain events, I'm finding this series interesting.

Apparently Republicans are too busy leaving some pork on the table to care about Bush's broken promise of "no child left behind."

"Don't ask, don't tell" may put a stop to a significant amount of the army's recruitment efforts. Except...not, because it seems that the Pentagon has or can portray itself as having the power to cut off federal funding from any university that keeps recruiters off-campus.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)
The good, the bad, the completely stupid

Under the heading of, a stupid waste of time and money, let's put the redesign of the nickel, okay? I mean, okay for the twenty dollar bill, because that's reportedly the most counterfeited bill in the world, but at a time of huge and growing deficits and budget cutbacks in every direction, why redesign the nickel?

Stories like this one frustrate me. Details! We need more details!

And I might have been happier if this one had never gotten out.

Okay, no, I wouldn't have been, but....I just hope no one from the Bush Administration stands up and claims they exhausted all diplomatic channels before they invaded Iraq, okay? The level of hypocrisy in this Administration is starting to choke me.

And reading that the U.N. has left Baghdad, pulling the last of their foreign staff out, isn't comforting, either.

Which means I'm rather pleased to read Maureen Dowd giving the Bush Administration a bit of a kick in the teeth today.

Looks like the Rwandan genocide trials have actually started. Here's the site where daily postings of trial information is supposed to be available.

Via AlterNet, another take on the story of the cancelled Reagan miniseries. This Miami Herald AP article says it's all about defending the neoconservative political strategy.

And from The Capital Times I learn that one of the irrational, unreasonable, idiotic no doubt sensible to them objections the wing-nuts put forth for wanting the project torpedoed was...wait for it...are you ready for this?

The actor playing Reagan is, in real life, a die-hard liberal.

Come on people. Fantasy. Reality. There's a difference. Really.

However, to support my own position that there could be political fallout from dissing Ronnie, look at this from the same source:

What shouldn't be lost in all this is the simple fact that Viacom is one of several media giants hoping to reap huge financial rewards if new Federal Communications Commission rules on media ownership are allowed to stand. The FCC relaxed the ownership rules earlier this year, but Congress is threatening to overturn them.

It surely is not in Viacom's interest right now to further agitate Republican members of Congress by airing a film on their heroes, Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

The sound you hear is me, resting my case.

But before you do that, go read this Washington Post editorial.

It's not the dark night of fascism descending on the land when a TV network gets bullied into canceling a controversial program about a national political figure, but it's not a particularly edifying spectacle either.

Read what Bill Clinton had to say about "Defining the mission of the 21st century." For the record, I'm not quite as enamored of a 'true global community' as he is. I have no problem with discrete, separate countries. I just wish they could coexist without periodically trying to blow each other off the face of the planet.

On the way to work this morning, I heard on NPR that last month's 8/1% growth in productivity was due to USofA workers putting in more hours. With the new overtime laws, I doubt any of them got extra compensation for it. We need to consider how to let labor run this country, instead of the corporations. Don't get me wrong, I like corporations. They keep the economy churning along. I just think that the 'business of business' should be secondary to the business of living.

(And, speaking of NPR, is this cool or what? A $200M gift! I only wish that mean't they'd stop with the annoying pledge breaks already. I mean, I don't mind donating, because I do listen, but, as with PBS, is sometimes feels like they run pledge drives every second month.)

It must be kind of spooky to be a student or teacher in a university as great as this one, with its libraries and laboratories and lecture halls, while knowing it is within the borders of a nation where wisdom, reason, knowledge and truth no longer apply.

I realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how to become a professional writer. I say to you, “If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

From Knowing What's Nice


Hiding in plain sight

News Item: FBI says it used the USA Patriot Act to investigate the finances of a strip-club owner in Las Vegas.

We can feel secure now against the threat of nude terrorists.

And then:

It's better in Bolinas

Proposition on the Nov. 4 ballot for voters in Bolinas, Calif., reproduced here exactly as it was presented:
"Vote for Bolinas to be a socially acknowledged nature-loving town because to like to drink the water out of the lakes to like to eat the blueberries to like the bears is not hatred to hotels and motor boats. Dakar. Temporary and way to save life, skunks and foxes (airplanes to go over the ocean) and to make it beautiful."
The proposition passed 314-152.

We will want to be keeping a closer eye on Bolinas, Calif.

After today, I'm assuming that everyone who cares to has bookmarked QuickTakes and I won't annoy you with any more quotes.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)
November 05, 2003

From the comments sections:

[...] it is to me utterly incomprehensible how people over there can accept that political pressure is allowed to stop a TV-show! So what if it gives an unfair picture of the Reagan presidency? You have to fight that on an objective basis, not by censorship.

I understand the confusion, but I think there are some misconceptions embedded here.

#1 – The USofA is not a "free" society, it's a capitalist society. That means things happen, or don't happen, in the private sector based on revenue. That is, "will money be made from this?"

The press gave the publicity for the situation to the right-wing extremists, because that makes better headlines, but I promise you that the network's actual decision was made based on whether or not they thought advertisers would be willing to buy ad time during the show.

(I'm not denying the possibility of "behind the scenes" influence between powerful men but that is not, after all, a flaw exclusive to the USofA. That happens everywhere and has more to do with human nature than any system of government.)

#2 – The "censorship" in this case was purely voluntary. That is, the network made its own choice not to air the project. The fact is, anyone has the freedom to cave in to pressure if they decide to.

(Yes, if the media were half as liberal as right-wing alarmists pretend it is, there would have been a greater public outcry against this informal censorship from the Left. The resulting publicity would have guaranteed the show good ratings, the advertisers would have been happy to sign on, and the miniseries would have aired. The problem was that the Left is too busy hating Bush. Also? The current Democratic leadership just doesn't care that much about the legacy of the crime-riddled Reagan Administration.)

In response to your suggestion that Reagan's defenders conduct the fight on an objective basis, I have to say that I don't see that happening.

First, the Reagan Administration was, to a large extent, indefensible. The criminal investigations and the convictions are a matter of public record. No miniseries in the world is going to erase that.

Also, the Right is not, and I think a lot of their apologists would have to admit this, the Vocal Extremist Right is not prone to fighting facts with facts. They're not about being objective.

They're about waving the flag and taping the President in a flight suit so they can make him look like a war hero instead of...no, not going there.

The Right's current strategy is about speeches with short sentences and simple, emotionally hyperactive catchphrases that people can repeat without having to think about the words too much.

The Right's leadership doesn't want their voter base thinking and remembering the crimes of the Reagan years. (From Reagan to Bush I is barely a step, and from Bush I to Bush II...well, it's a natural progression. No one in the leadership wants anyone thinking of "Bush II" and "criminality" in the same sentence and they've had to fight this more than once during his campaign and his presidency so far.) They have to "lock in" those voters before they turn their attention to the "swing" voters in the middle. Bush is going to have to work hard to win their votes next year, so the Right has to ensure the continuing support of their extremist voters now, so they can ignore them later.

Caveat: I'm making a lot of sweeping generalizations. There are plenty of people on the Left who are less interested in facts than in revenge, bush-bashing, and partisan infighting. There are plenty of people on the Right who are sane, thoughtful, truth-loving individuals.

Anyhow, in the end, the point is that the network made its own decision to pull the show.

And, in fact, they did not do it as an act of censorship. They did it to avoid a situation where someone was demanding censorship rights.

The Vocal Extremist Right was demanding the power to approve the content of the program in advance, and, failing that, threatening to ask that a "crawl" be added to the tape, disclaiming historical accuracy.

Let's be clear. There was no reason, no reason in law or in society, that the network had to do anything more than just throw that demand in the trash. They made their own decision.

While I would have preferred that the network show more courage and run the show their own way, without allowing any third parties to review and approve the content in advance, I have to say that their decision to pull the miniseries (understand, they already paid to have it made) is braver than caving in to the demands of a vocal minority.

Okay, I have a couple more thoughts.

First, I suspect that the finished quality of the miniseries wasn't as good as it might have been. It's quite possible that the network was happy to have a legitimate excuse to refuse to show it. This way, they reap the publicity without having to commit to showing four hours of programming that, if it really wasn't very good, would fail in the ratings.

Second, regardless of the efforts of those on the Right or the Left to change us, the fundamental nature of our society remains.

Now that this controversy has erupted, I can promise you that one day, in the not-too-distant future, a more talented filmmaker who might not otherwise have been interested in the Reagan years is going to decide to undertake a much more frank look at the Reagan Administration.

And an equally talented body of crew and actors who wouldn't sign on for a vanity piece about the former president are also going to be interested in the new project.

I predict that this current controversy will result, in the long run, in a much higher quality movie or miniseries in the end.

(For the record, I also predict that FOX or a network of their ilk will show up with a vanity piece movie before long, painting Reagan and all of his cohorts in the glowing Red, White, and True-Blue of American Patriotism. And half the audience will turn it on to bask in the glory while the other half will tune in to laugh.)

I've rambled a lot, I know, and I hope the "explanation" hasn’t been as confusing as I suspect it is. For what it's worth, it was twice as long, but I took pity on you before I posted it.

I should let this sit for a while and think over what I've said, but I really need to get to work, so I'll just post it and wait for more intelligent people to point out the places where I've been unfair or am just plain wrong.

(And, you know, happy birthday to me! again.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:29 AM | Comments (3)
Ranting and some headlines

Is Dick Meyer right? Is it personal? Are we, in fact, arguing about issues or is the current state of politics actually a case of, "the jocks vs. the chess club"?

He mentions that the USofA's interest (speaking of the majority) in foreign affairs, so keen right after 9/11, has waned considerably. That's true. He mentions that national elections are always, no matter what else crops up, about the economy. That's true. (The economy sucks, by the way.) He says that the current division is an illusion and that the parties are actually very, very close to each other's positions on most major issues.

That's probably true, but it's an illusion. While it may be (thanks to the idiotic Democratic "leadership" who have dragged the party to the right over the past couple of decades), that there's not much difference between a Democrat and a Republican, two key factors need to be remembered.

First, and as I've said before, most of the current crop of non-participating adult voters identify themselves, when asked, as mostly Democratic or liberal. (And, again, let's all thank the so-called 'leadership' who pushed the Left out of the party). So what passes for a "Democrat" in national politics these days doesn't much match what the majority of liberals in this country define as an actual, you know, Democrat the way the beast used to look.

Second, what may look like insignificant issues to Meyer actually loom rather large in my mind. What's at stake is the future. The country is poised to move one direction or the other, and we have to decide if we're going to regress or move forward.

Conservative or Liberal?

Backwards or forwards? The actual issues, one by one, may not look that significant to a political commentator, but each of them is, I think, key in determining where we're going to be in ten, twenty, or fifty years.

As science turns up more and more evidence that homosexuality could be genetic (i.e., natural) for some people, are we going to open the doors and accept that homosexual people are just people, like anyone else or are we going to preach supernatural hellfire at them and demand that they stay silent and celibate or we'll stone them in the city streets?

As the world becomes an increasingly dangerous place, thanks in large part to the world-wide proliferation of WMD that the USofA significantly financed and even inspired, are we going to make institutional a policy of "pre-emptive self defense" or are we going to work to give the only significant international body, the U.N., the power and the backing to enforce international law?

As the planet we live on becomes ever more polluted by the byproducts of "civilization" are we going to work toward and demand the use of bio-friendly, low-impact technology or we going to leave it to the profit-driven chemical companies and manufacturing plants to voluntarily recreate themselves as "green" institutions?

Gun control? How do you solve the problem of guns in the hands of children? By removing guns from the hands of adults? By banning all but "sporting" guns? By arming teachers? What kind of society do we want to build? A peaceful one, or one where at any moment you could be killed by a stray bullet from a legally armed "defendor"?

Education? Public schools or school vouchers? Do we educate everyone's children more or less the same, living up to the democratic ideals this country was founded on, or do we allow the middle and upper classes to create their own educational enclaves in private schools? Do we just do what has to be done and fund our public schools as though our children were as important to us as a stealth airplane, or do we stockpile a few more bombs, leaving increasingly poorly funded public schools to the bottom 5% of the population that can't even afford the bus fare to a better school district?

The differences between the Right and the Left are significant.

I mean, who's for, and who's against profiteering?

(Okay, that was a cheap shot and unconnected with the rest of my rant. Sorry.)

Ahem. Okay, let's move on.

I don't know why this editorial was published unsigned. I'd like to write a letter of praise to the author.

Bush = Hussein?

Congress funded Bush's war but none of them were willing to go on the record with their support. They're cowards. Most of the sane people in this country totally accept that now that we're in Iraq, we have to finish the job.

WaPo's headline reads, "Democrats: GOP Blocking Drug Bill" on the front page, but when you click the link, the actual story headline reads, Democrats Assail GOP on Drug Bill. Over at The Hill, the double headline reads, "Dems balk at Medicare plan Republicans strive to save endangered drug reform bill."

And is Truth, lies, and the legend of 9/11 paranoiac conspiracy theory or the facts? I can't even tell and I haven't had time to try and research any of the names mentioned.

Let's end on a high note, shall we?

News Item: British intelligence spends days analyzing unusual transmissions, suspecting terrorist or spy traffic, later to determine that a ram was rubbing its horns against the aerial masts of the Scarborough signal station "in between serving ewes."

Good catch.

Almost invaded Iran this time.

From QuickTakes, of course.

(Happy birthday to me!)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)
November 04, 2003

Mostly these are follow-ups on things I've written about before. Because what's the point of having all of these news sources available to me if I don't get the one thing I've always wanted...the rest of the story once someone has dropped off the front-page headlines.

When you're calculating it, you need to figure in (via Hell for Halliburton) the dead and wounded. Yes, as this site points out, it's more difficult when the "civilian contractors" aren't counted. Tom Engelhardt offers more in "Everything is Private."

Mark Crispin Miller stays on top of the electronic voting problems. And (via Atrios), there's plenty of story left to cover. Check out Off the Kuff as well.

The scandal story of K Street and governmental influence is still alive and well in Mother Jones.

In my opinion, Andrew Sullivan is kind of a humorless twit, as he proves by 'fisking' Andy Rooney's mock-speech for Bush.

This is a prime illustration of why I dislike the fad of 'fisking' other people's words. Sullivan does what most 'fiskers' I've seen do – takes more exception to the writing style than the content.

There's no understanding why this column sparked such a response from Sullivan. I mean...it's Andy Rooney, okay? The guy who muses over proliferations of paperclips in your office des. The man who weighs coffee to see which pound bag actually holds a pound.

Andy Rooney is Andy Rooney, Sullivan. He's an American Institution and nothing you say is going to make him appear to be the pawn of Satan, okay? Get over yourself and if you can't think of anything real to write about on a particular day, just keep quiet. (Happily, Josh Marshall gives us a timely reminder about the glass house inhabited by Sullivan's heroes.)

Finally, I'm sure I've written about porn (or, as friends have advised me to spell it to avoid undue public notice, "pr0n"), so I feel no shame in pointing you to this entry from TBogg.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

Poll-watchers are a time-honored and, in my opinion, valuable tradition of our voting system. It's distressing that, from the 'outside' of this situation, I can't tell if the intent in this case is good or not. Lacking any solid evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume that it is, and that these are honest people working for fair elections. We need that kind of thing. Florida, for instance, really just can't have a third tarnished election in a row.

And those of you wondering about the attempts to advance-censor the Reagan miniseries might be interested to know that pressure from the Right may succeed in getting it cancelled before it airs.

Drawing Republican fire over the accuracy of its upcoming mini-series "The Reagans," CBS appears ready to present a kinder, gentler portrait of the ailing former president than originally produced -- if the network airs it at all.

Personally, I'd rather they didn't air it at all than air a version that's admittedly dishonest. It must be sad to be not only that paranoid, but that afraid of what people might say.

From TomDispatch, an argument that we have no withdrawal strategy for Iraq because the Administration thought they could go in, take down the government, build a few permanent USofA bases, and then leave with no problems.

Krugman is interesting today.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has it's own site and will, one presumes, be giving us updated coverage of the genocide trials due to start in a few days. The site does offer a "daily journal" as well as "daily case minutes" and it looks like the "case minutes" are where the details of what's being said will show up.

Via Archy, here's an unsanitary sort of story.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)
Egotistical moments

Looking at the stats for my site isn't something I remember to do often, but when I do, I'm always bemused.

Why do I get more referrals from a German site than from anywhere else?

How did I manage to garner two hits from the IAEA and are they watching me?

If a domain is parked, how can it be referring visitors to me?

Keywords are even weirder.

How could my site pull a hit for "evil sex angst"? Do I even want to know? (Could someone help me get past the point of wondering if the searcher was looking for angst about evil sex or for evil about sex angst?)

Who is "Roger Stroope" and did I actually refer to him at some point? Ditto for "Gerald Eskenazi" and why did I get four hits on that name?

I really need to pay more attention to what I say, don't I? Because if I've really be writing about "Antonia Zerbisias diet hints" I need to rethink the usefulness of this site.

The strangest and most interesting referral was the name wizard.yellowbrick.oz, but then I found this and realized it was a spammer or a hacker or something.

On the other hand, if I actually wrote about the (an?) "April 19 history burning of the treasury" then I'd like to see the post because it sounds like an interesting topic.

I'm sure I never wrote about the Puritans looking at forecasting the future as a crime, or about tourism ruining everything it touches in Cambodia. If those were from Google, they need to clean up their algorithms. And if Avedon Carol asks you, no, I'm sure I never wrote anything on the subject of, "Avedon Carol nude." I wouldn't be that rude.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:34 AM | Comments (2)
November 03, 2003

For those of you following the story of how teacher Gail Kaplan delivered an insulting and obnoxious racial slur to a 4th grader, you'll be glad to know she's been...not quite fired, but put on indefinite administrative duty so at least she's not in the classroom abusing students today.

Still, she should have been fired. What's with pretending that maybe she didn't understand what she was saying? How stupid is she?

"Sensitivity training" is a waste of time and a purely cosmetic "fix" for the situation.

No one could make such a remark, in this day and age, without understanding just how inexcusable it was. And no one who makes such a remark has any business working anywhere near children. (I don't want them working around me, either.)

IMO, a transfer isn't enough. Real "sensitivity" would have been to fire this woman to prove that the district itself has, in the words of a comment on my original entry, zero tolerance for racial slurs.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)
The Blogroll

And, speaking of institutionalized racism, was it racism or just timing that made Lynch's story worth of a made-for-tv-movie (which I don't intend to watch) while Johnson's story remains unknown to all but a handful of people?

Elayne has thoughts on the Philadelphia schoolgirls story, as does Ben, who would like to see more people in our society getting a whuppin.

There's a part of me (the part that was driving when some idiot crammed his SUV into a tiny gap in traffic in front of me this morning) that sort of agrees with him. I do approve of law and order and of leaving punishment to the courts, but...there's no denying there are people who take advantage of the fact that there's no actual law against cutting someone off in traffic or blocking the supermarket aisle with their Volkswagen-sized cart or carrying on loud cell-phone conversations in libraries.

I'll bet that people who left their wagons sprawled across the entire main street of town 200 years ago, blocking traffic and annoying their neighbors, were taught by a little on-the-spot action that they were not, in fact, the center of the entire universe and that they had to give a little thought to other people's convenience and safety as well.

Check out Sebastian Holsclaw's thoughts on a situation that might call for judicial impeachment.

In his, "War: Lessons Learned" category, Andrew Olmsted offers us more news from Iraq today.

A recently-promoted friend has provided me with a new report from Iraq. This one looks at some infantry operations and includes some good assessments of what we're seeing in Iraq and what that means for the occupation and reconstruction. As usual, my comments are interspersed.

Definitely worthwhile reading.

I don't often agree with Jane Galt, but I agree with this quote. We made this mess, now we gotta clean it up. I don't agree with those a lot of the comments, but that's to be expected.

"James" in particular, not only ties Hussein's extremely secular rule to a perception that " religion is more important than rationalism" in Iraq, but misuses an apostrophe in the first sentence of his comments. (Yes, I'm petty like that.) Also, I think the USofA casting stones at other countries for institutionalized corruption smells a little like "pot, meet kettle."

Via Garcia Tagorda a link to an interesting column by by Brownstein of the LATimes.

Other than that, I've done a bit of messing around on the blogroll at the side. I know...I said I needed to work today, and I do, but I've been meaning to do a little maintenance for a couple of weeks now, so I just did.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)
What shall we discuss today?

The new consititution in Afghanistan?

The continuing efforts of Ecuadoran Indians to bring oil giant Texaco to task for allegedly contaminating their country?

The implicit racism of our social institutions?

The 16 soldiers killed in what some headlines are calling a 'chopper crash' even while the bodies of the stories refer to the reports of missile trails? (Or whether or not, in light of other, similar attempts the military was cautious enough about where the Chinooks were allowed to fly?)

The Rumsfeld interview?

Whether this was an exercise in bad taste (when posted to a weblog) or a fascinating historical glimpse of how the world saw Hitler before the horror of WWII and whether or not the blogger should have become embroiled in the mess he describes?

Andy Rooney's speech-writing abilities?

The truth is, I've got a pile of work in front of me that's not getting any smaller, so that's where most of my attention will be.

And if I have a minute to spare, I think I'll go read an older article and contemplate the truth inherent in the headline. Needed: A Vast Liberal Conspiracy

Posted by AnneZook at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)