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January 23, 2004
A few more thoughts

Under the heading of, "boy, we have a nerve, we're demanding that Iran not hold and try the prisoners they arrested as al Qaeda suspects. No, we're telling Iran that the right thing to do is to send them home to be tried. (Note: Original link messed up, have substituted link to similar story.)

Do what we say, not what we do.

What about investigating politicians who are running for re-election? There's no question that this is something that's open to abuse, but there's also no question that there would be screams of outrage and cries of favoritism if you stopped investigating someone just because he or she was running for office.

Face it. This is one of those where the law enforcement agency, no matter which one it is, can't win in the public eye. No matter which path they choose, someone's going to complain.

Jonathan Dresner says forget the primaries, let's take a poll to pick a Democratic nominee.

Actually, that's sort of what a primary is, right? It's a, you know, form of polling.

Sorry.

Seriously, he's advocating a national poll as opposed to a handful of decisive state primaries, but I just see problems all over that one and they start with the security problems of any kind of internet balloting.

I'd like to see Bush's decision to kill the Hubble telescope come under a lot of public scrutiny and provoke a massive outcry. I'm just saying. If he though airy promises about going to Mars were going to distract me from his attempt to scuttle of one of the more interesting, and inspiring, scientific tools we have available today, he's wrong.

Maybe what I need is more fun in my life.

Am I ever glad it's Friday.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:53 PM | Comments (7)
Just Think About It

When you hear about Israel's "security fence" please don't get carried away comparing it to the picket fence in your neighbor's back yard or even those heavy, wire, "tornado" fences that surround playgrounds with their spiked tips.

Think, instead, 'Berlin Wall'. We're talking about a massive barricade twenty-seven feet high. It blocks out the sun in places.

This is stupid.

The fact that a student whose family is from South Africa doesn't happen to be black doesn't mean they're not "African-American" you know. I mean, unless someone has instituted some kind of time limit for how long your ancestors had to inhabit a country before they could be said to belong there?

If we persist in removing all references to (let me be brave and say it) skin color from the highly sanitized phrases we use to describe those of (the more culturally sensitive) "different ethnic origins" then there's going to be legitimate confusion as to whom those phrases refer. (What a clumsy sentence.)

I dunno. PCism run amok is driving me over the edge this week.

I'd say this little incident proves nothing so much as it proves that this school has utterly and completely failed to teach these students what MLK and his generation were fighting for or, in fact, anything at all about this country's history, much less the history of South Africa. That's what really should be at issue.

This showed up under "entertainment" but it should have been under "politics." Once again, the Republican Party is the first to sink to a new low.

Rather than admonishing Jetton for the outburst, House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, R-Warson Woods, offered praise.

"If the governor comes before the General Assembly and uses his constitutionally authorized duty, mandate, to report on the State of the State as an opportunity to mislead the public, then I think it is perfectly appropriate for a cry to come out for the truth," Hanaway told reporters, prompting another cheer from Republicans flanking her.

Does that apply to presidential lies while making, let's say, for the sake of hypothetical argument, the SotU address?

Holden was asked about the outburst during his own news conference after the speech. "That's just politics," the governor said.

Of course it is. It's natural and justified and even praiseworthy if a Republican does it.

It's "just politics" if a Democrat is equally inspired to cry for truth.

I don't see why Bush can't ask for tens of billions more dollars for Iraq after the elections in November. After all, any private citizen can ask for money for their pet cause.

They're not likely to get it, but they can ask.

(I would like to request that the next incumbent not accept collect calls from the guy, though. He's not leaving the government enough money to pay for that kind of freebie.)

Anyhow.

Are candidates willing to give straight answers to questions about where they stand on critical issues? 'More than they used to be but they're still uncomfortable with being forced to take a stand' seems to be the answer.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)
This

In this, Molly Ivins takes a few shots at Kerry, begrudgingly admits there's something there in Edwards, then spends a long time talking about how Dean didn't get a fair break because he's not a Washington insider and the media ganged up on him and he's still the guy for her before she turns her attention to Bush.

Not up to her usual form. I mean, clearly she tried, but just as clearly, Dean's third-place finish in Iowa still smarts and she's blaming the media for how it covered him. Not candidates in general, just him. She may be right. The "media" sure has been quick to declare Dean's candidacy a has-been based on, as near as I can tell, wishful thinking.

(Read this for one person's view on the steps campaign coverage takes.)

I don't know how to respond to this. Some of it is true, some of it is possible but unlikely, and some of it is just paranoia. (The idea, for instance, that the instant a reformer gets power in the government system, they become part of the problem, is manifestly untrue.) It's all a bit much for me and I'm not buying most it, in spite of seeing it copied in so many places today.

And then there's this discussion of terrorism, its aims and goals, and the author's frustration that so few people in this country bother to try and understand what's going on. (And yet, once again, the author goes that one step too far in insisting the al Qaeda will do whatever it takes to get Bush re-elected.)

What's up with these columnists today? Have they all eaten largely of the fruit of paranoia or what?

But this has the ring of truth. Few of us would be able to face the poverty and disease O'Neill saw without developing a desperate desire to give some of our bounty, some of our excess, to help people for whom so little could mean so much. Unfortunately for O'Neill, it sounds like he's working with a group of the few. You don't have to look overseas to find proof of that.

And this will please you small-government conservatives. Bush intends to spend less on everything next year. (Well, everything except death.)

This starts with a giggle and is interesting to read. What more could you ask for?

And now, I have to go to work.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)
January 22, 2004
Making war

I acquit him of warmongering, he seems only to be guilty of pleasure in using the skills he has developed, but forgive me if I don't share his enthusiasm for the opportunity.

We may be in for another round of terrorist attacks. Terrorists, as we all know, make war on others using a difference in beliefs, usually religious, as a rationale. Terrorists, as we all know, are promised a reward in heaven if they show up toting the bodies of enough enemies. Terrorists, as we know, revel in their own superiority and consider that they're specially chosen by their deity, that their acts of violence raise them above the level of ordinary people. Some of 'us' are more like 'them' every day, aren't we?

I read something like this:

January 20 - President Bush will use tonight’s State of the Union speech to call for limiting the legal rights of patients injured by medical malpractice, saying such laws will lower health care costs. This is a blatant misrepresentation of fact."

And I get annoyed. It's not a "misrepresentation of fact."

It's a lie.

And Bush's 'proposal' for health care reform was, as we've all read here and there, a hodgepodge of minor suggestions that he's waved in our faces before. Also, as you can see, they're not likely to do much good. What do they come down to? Malpractice "reform" that's going to make it hard for the individual to file suit, even with cause. Deregulation of the insurance industry, overriding state laws that ensure the quality and coverage of healthcare insurance. Yeah, those are things that are going to help the average citizen.

Also? What about AIDS? Or was he afraid to mention money for what some halfwitted idiots still think of as a "gay disease" at the same time he was coming out (heh) against equality for gays and in favor of counseling poor people on how to get married?

The mind just boggles every time I read about how Bush is just so good at reaching out to the poor.

Is Salt Lake going to come out in support of the 'war on terror'?

It's a tricky war, though. No doubt about it.

It was always difficult to imagine how the war on terror would end. There could hardly be a moment when the president would don pilot's gear, descend on to an aircraft carrier and declare that major combat operations were over, as he did after the toppling of Saddam. You can't do that with a worldwide, open-ended war on an abstract noun.

In the SotU, we learned that the 'war on terror' is essentially over because Bush has a campaign to worry about and things at home are kind of sucky so he's going to spend the next year pretending to care about the UsofA people. It's one way of interpreting the speech anyhow. (They're right about the order of the items, though. Putting the WoT first does suggest it's a lesser matter now.)

Mostly I find Maureen Dowd entertaining, but today's column sort of annoyed me.

The Philippines. Thailand. Italy. Spain. Poland. Denmark. Bulgaria. Ukraine. Romania. The Netherlands. Norway. El Salvador.

Can you believe President Bush is still pushing the cockamamie claim that we went to war in Iraq with a real coalition rather than a gaggle of poodles and lackeys?

I know I've had plenty to say about the makeup of our "coalition" in Iraq, but to call a significant percentage of the world's civilized countries "poodles and lackeys" is more than a bit over the top. Not that she doesn't make some good points, once she gets her spleen under control, but there's no point in taking potshots at Romania for not being a world power just because you're made at the Bush Administration for being slippery customers prone to telling half-truths.

On the other hand, members of the ruling elite aren't always the lackeys of repression. (Don't you love buzzwords and phrases that save you the bother of coming up with your own words?)

Seriously. Just because you're rich and have powerful relatives doesn't mean you won't risk yourself for the freedom of others.

If poor get richer, does world see progress? Interesting question.

Lynn Sweet on the perks big political donors can expect.

Parents, beware! Is your child involved in karaoke?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:19 AM | Comments (1)
January 21, 2004
Walking over for coffee

And, in between discussing the hoped-for results of an upcoming advertising mailing, my brain is still brooding over politics. (Multi-tasking is the only way I've survived the near-terminal boredom of the rat race over the last 30 years.)

Actually, I'm now supposed to be reading about setting up a 401k for our company, but I've read two brochures so far and I didn't understand anything they said.

I don't understand the forms we're supposed to fill out, I don't understand the questions we're supposed to answer, and I don't understand the list of answers we're supposed to choose from.

I am in such a mood and, in lieu of beating my brain against that wall any more, I've decided to rant at you.

Anyhow.

The thing is, you see, that aside from the explosion in government spending, most of which the Bush Administration fought against, their actions really are intended to shrink the size of the federal government. They fought against Homeland Security, they fought to privatize Medicare and Social Security, they've starved most educational and aid programs almost to death, they're dismembering environmental regulations and protections, etc.

They believe government should be mostly about "security" for the overall country. That means the military, so they increase spending to the military, but not to the people serving, no, they increase spending on weapons programs where most of the money will wind up in the hands of private industry.

What they can't privatize of the needed support services (which is very little, even though studies on the results of such privatization show that quality and cost-effectiveness go down), they're trying to fix the pesky personnel problem with the development of ever-more weaponry that requires fewer human bodies to operate. More war with fewer soldiers.

It's not even that difficult to justify their sort of "kicking ass and taking prisoners" approach to international relations. (Certainly I think most of us have had moments in our lives when we wished this country could just go in a blow away some petty tyrant or dictator who was making the lives of millions of people a living hell. I think it's this that the Bush Administration tapped into and is hoping to keep alive to justify their invasion of Iraq.)

You can't say they don't act on what they believe in.

You can, of course, say that they're dangerously misguided.

Far too much of this country's economy is already tied up with development and manufacturing of Weapons of Mass Destruction, for instance. Expanding military spending for weaponry is only going to aggravate that problem. How will we survive when we need to sell more and more weapons every year in order to provide for economic growth or even just stability? Will we, as some of the conspiracy-minded suggest, stoop to fostering wars in order to provide a market for our goods?

Would anyone care to try and imagine what kind of horrendous weapons the private military industries are going to come up with in order to keep their government spending contracts alive?

Would anyone care to speculate on Bush's recent interest in outer space, the historic embarrassment of the "star wars" program, and a connection to whatever other space-borne weapons we might be able to develop?

Do we need a federal government with no business to conduct that doesn't involve death and destruction?

Privacy is already a huge and growing issue in this country. With the advent of the internet, incidents of identity theft have topped something like 2,000,000 people in the last year or two. Records, financial and medical, are at risk for exposure. Government and private agencies have publicly announced the intention to compile and disseminate databases of information on unsuspecting citizens.

How are you all going to feel when that downstairs neighbor of yours, or the guy next door, the one with a grudge for that loud party you had last week, is employed by the company responsible for auditing your tax returns?

How are you all going to feel when that (ahem) private little medical problem you had last year shows up in a report on the desk of a prospective employer? When the fact that you spent 6 months on Valium after the suicide of your father is available to anyone in the world for the payment of a modest bribe sum?

How are you going to feel when that stalker boyfriend you moved across the country to escape can buy your new address, phone number, and even employer from some on-line black market source?

If they outsource the work of the federal government to private industry, there will be a lot of pious talk about security and safety and privacy and safeguards, but you know the guy next door. He can't even train his dog not to use your front yard for a toilet, so how can you trust that he's going to figure out right from wrong when he's hit with the blandishments of your soon-to-be-ex-wife's lawyer who would like to know where your money is stashed and just how much of it there is and what you were doing on the night of August 26th, anyhow.

You can regulate government and require a certain amount of protective transparency. You can't do that to private industry and never will be able to.

You don't know who is processing your financial records. With the recent rush to move jobs offshore, you don't even know what continent these records are being sent to, much less whether or not the next Osama bin Laden has half the staff of the processing center on his payroll and is about to put the thumbscrews to you and the rest of the last 1000 people to process a credit card payment at xhotxteensx.com between the hours and nine and five.

I won't even get in to the question of international trade. The Bush Administration has been so evasive on what they say versus what they believe versus what they do versus the results of their actions, intended or otherwise, that I don't even understand what's going on any more.

Anyhow.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, protecting the economy against the destructive influence of monopolies, and trying to insure that some recognizable version of the plane's ecology still exists twenty or fifty years from now, these are important. Education, child and senior welfare, protection of the individual, and reasonable security their daily lives, these are important.

You simply cannot rely upon industry to "self-regulate" to avoid excess pollution, insure fair and equal treatment of employees, and avoid fraud and criminal actions.

The problem is, this is just what those in charge of Bush's brain think you can do. This is why the push for deregulation. In their fantasy world, corporations have hearts, minds, and consciences that can be relied upon to push said corporations to "do the right thing."

I don't know what they were smoking when they came up with that one, but I promise you, they all inhaled. Deeply and repeatedly.

(Yeah, in Bush's Universe, excesses on the part of corporations will be "self-corrective" in that public protest and public opinion can act as a check on industry actions, but who among us has the time or the energy to spend all day, every day, trying to privately police every firm whose merchandise or products we use?

And whose protests are going to matter when the factory is in India, the corporate headquarters are in Germany, and the product is sold in the USofA, but the real problem lies in a covert sweatshop producing one vital component that's situated on some tiny island in the Bahamas?

The mind boggles.)

Pretending that government can concern itself solely with the maintenance of a military force, and a skeleton staff of legislators passing only the most basic and desperately needed regulations to keep business in check (but always careful to simultaneously protect 'business' against the unfair depredations of disgruntled citizens who can easily be dismissed as "extremists) and struggle for market domination world-wide seems like the product of some wild, mass hallucination.

It's as unworkable as Karl Marx's original, utopian vision of communism and likely to produce equally disastrous results if implemented. This is not a system under which democracy can thrive. It's not even a system under which democracy can survive.

My problem isn't that Bush-variety conservatives believe different things than I do. My problem is that they're so obviously wrong that even I can see it, and I'm anything but an expert.

I'm just saying. No one who isn't smarter than me should be in charge of this country.

And no one, even if they were smarter than me, should be in charge of this country if they're a bunch of delusional maniacs.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
Fiction and fact

SotU - Blah, blah, vote for me this time, blah, blah.

AIDS, SARS, out-of-sight prescription drug prices, overflowing prisons, spiraling deficits, disappearing jobs, and they pick athletes doing steroids as an important enough issue to get included in the SotU? We've got children committing crimes and doing time (including a couple of kids neither charged nor convicted, but still locked up in Guantanamo), but they thought he should waste time pontificating on how he'll be the judge of who should be able to get married?

I stared at this page for ten minutes, trying to find the right words to explain how these things demonstrate that we're currently being "led" by a bunch of short-sighted, dangerously misguided people with no firm grasp of what the priorities and issues facing this country really are, but then I remembered you know that.

I wonder if things like this made them wonder what kind of a reception Bush might when he showed up in Congress last night?

I wonder if it occurs to them that when you starting telling this or that person they can't get married, you're opening a whole can o'worms. Well, no, they never seem to think about that kind of thing.

I mean, the idea that some other country could institute a "pre-emptive" invasion of a non-hostile country on the grounds that they might be a problem some day....no, no, I'm not going there.

Fortunately for my blood pressure, the U.K. Independent is starting to agree with me that on the results of the Bush Administration's actions, they look unelectable.

Forget about them. I already have a headache, I'm not going to think about them right now. (Although I might laugh at them a little as I contemplate, with sadness, how their blinkers prevent them from catching more than the occasional glimpse of reality.)

A big chunk of Iran's government did, finally, resign in protest over the disqualification (by the religious hard-liners) of thousands of candidates for office. An interesting situation seems to be developing over this issue. It may turn out to be a major showdown between the forces of "democracy" and regressionist religious conservatives.

In the 'good news' department, the only independent, daily newspaper in Zimbabwe won its court battle and got the police off its premises. It expects to be publishing again almost immediately.

The prison hostage situation in Phoenix goes on.

And what about the Constitution and those guys in Guantanamo?

What about Afghanistan? I heard on the radio last night that, of the 35 international aid societies that moved in behind the USofA army, only five are still there. The others left because it got too dangerous for the aid workers.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)
January 20, 2004
And then....

Huh. Look at this.

Bill Clinton did a lot of bad things, but he didn't murder anyone"

That's National Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie talking. He says that maybe Republicans went a little far in criticizing Clinton but that's nothing to how psycho the Democrats are going over Bush. He also claims it wasn't "real" Republicans picking on Clinton that way, it was just a bunch of extremists, a "fringe group."

I'm sure the Starr group would be interested to hear that.

Anyhow.

#1 - If it's true, the Republican Party has no one to thank but itself. They're the ones who went muck-diving first. They created a precedent for treating a sitting president like the only target at a turkey-shoot.

#2 - Maybe it's not true and the Bush Administration is as loaded with policy extremists as some people are saying. The fact that a lot of people are saying something doesn't make it true, but it doesn't make it false, either. The bottom line is that Bush told a lot of lies (or even half-lies) to push this country into a war where people are still dying and he has to answer for that.

Anyhow, as Editor's Cut points out, sometimes Republicans are crying 'foul' over impassioned, but perfectly acceptable opposition speeches.

And look at Alterman today. He has good things to say about Kerry.

Kerry has some important and unique assets; nobody in the race is better versed in the issues and nobody in the race has better credentials to claim with progressive voters who make up the bulk of those people willing to show up for caucuses and primaries.

(Oh, yeah, he talks about those other candidates as well.)

Read David at Orcinus today.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:32 PM | Comments (2)
Bah

I'm a little depressed. This morning's NPR Morning Edition featured a report that 'since we'll clearly be needing more troops to occupy and patrol cities in the future, we need to expand the size of our permanent army.'

I mean, I'm just so over the whole, 'Look! We can kill people!' thing, aren't you?

And I found this story of what went on "inside" of one of the Iowa caucuses rather cloying.

It tried really, really hard to be a sweet, human interest piece. Really, really, really hard. At moments it's an interesting look at the different candidates' supporters, but mostly it tries really, really hard to convince us that a baby dressed in red, white, and blue and sporting a badge for one candidate is just amazingly precious or that we should have sympathy for a woman who cried when her candidate didn't score big. (Okay, the story hit me wrong.)

Dick Meyer's coverage of the results is full of sports metaphors, some of which I don't understand, but he's brave enough to try predicting what's going to happen next, a thing I'd imagine most of the hey, I fell on my face prognosticators are going to be a little nervous about for a while.

Let's take a moment out to discuss the question of, "electability," boys and girls. You probably didn't know this, but it's a bad, bad word*, and you shouldn't use it.

By allowing "electability" to be treated like a serious issue, we not only put the candidate under impossible pressure (no one knows who is electable until they get elected) but we automatically weaken the case of all of the potential nominees by the unspoken assumption that they're all weak and we're just looking for the least weak among them.

We also allow attention to shift from the real issues and what each candidate believes and create a sort of year-long popularity contest where the pattern on one guy's sweater or someone else's hairstyle becomes ridiculously important.

I hate to break it to you, but this isn't high school. We're not electing a Prom King or Prom Queen. What matters is what's inside their heads and what their track record of votes shows us they'll do if elected.

Okey dokey?

( * On the other hand, I sometimes use bad words, so I reserve the right to discuss George Bush's unelectability, should the mood strike me.)

Also, while we're on the subject, I'd like to request that the media stop "handicapping" the candidates as through this were a local racetrack. Quit telling us what we're supposed to be thinking, okay? (Do read the article, though. I like their approach.)

That Norwegian ship rescue seems to have been successful in that the three people heard trapped inside the vessel were rescued. However, the other 16 missing crew members might not be so lucky.

I didn't know there was a prison standoff going on. (Guess I should read something besides the political news sometimes.)

A prison standoff on the western edge of Phoenix dragged on into its third day Tuesday as two inmates continued to hold a pair of correctional officers captive in a guard tower stocked with weapons.

A friend of mine is traveling to Phoenix in a couple of days. I hope this is resolved (peacefully) before then.

The report says the authorities are refusing to say what the prisoners want. In one way, I approve. Giving people publicity only encourages this kind of behavior. In another, I don't. Without publicity, there's no transparency. I wonder if we'll ever know what happened? Maybe the prisoners have legitimate grievances.

There's a war on drugs going on, but the combatants aren't who you think.

Prepare yourself for the State of Disunion speech. I do wonder what he'll say about the past year and what he'll pretend he's doing to do for us next.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)
January 19, 2004
Politics and Porn

Hey, I like Kerry. I've said so before. I'm quite pleased he did well and quite perturbed at the mean-spirited and even petty insults being tossed his way by disgruntled bloggers from the Left.

The placings in Iowa surprised me, though. I didn't expect to see Dean that far down. Is the Republican determination to quash the possibility of a Dean nomination bearing fruit among Democrats?

Also, Avedon Carol (also in the comments below) is quite right. Porn for men is easy. Female and nekkid is all it takes, but women aren't quite that easy.

But, me, I'm shallow. I can still get quite a lot of pleasure from looking at an attractive, nekkid man. Even sans erection.

(I do rather suspect that it's not quite the same reaction a man has to porn, though. Heh.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:48 PM | Comments (9)
A few more notes

Being trapped alive inside a sinking ship is pretty much my idea of hell. Hits all my hot buttons - claustrophobia, fear of drowning, fear of suffocation, etc. My thoughts will be with these people.

Someone should tell Bush that job training programs only work when there are, you know, jobs to be trained for. Unless the sekrit plan is to train all of those unemployed high-tech workers to work at Evil Mega-Mart or to take janitorial positions, this is just more empty rhetoric.

Bet me. Go ahead, bet me. Bet me that when those 2.3 million unemployed people are "retrained" to pick up trash on the streets and in the parks that Bush won't use that to tout how much he's done to clean up the environment.

(Yes, I'm kidding. But only a little.)

Reading this, I'm a bit surprised by how popular Kerry seems to be with business, second only to Bush in scooping in campaign contributions but still at only about 25%. Skimming on down, I see that (surprise, surprise, surprise) there's no one in the securities and investment community who prefers those Regulatin' Democrats over those Deregulatin' Republicans. Skimming down yet further, there's an interesting take on what Wall Street likes and dislikes about the Democrat front-runners.

Will Kosova ever be free?

But granting immediate independence was not something that the UN, the United States, or the European Union wanted to risk. The consensus was that Kosova had never been an independent state and therefore needed time and tutelage to grow the necessary institutions. Secondly, any new status for Kosova would require careful negotiation of the fact that Serbia still regards Kosova as a province, a political arrangement tacitly recognized by the EU.

So, where's the problem? Don't Kosovarians like Serbia?

In 1993 alone, according to the Kosovar Human Rights Council, more than 20,000 Kosovar Albanians were tortured by Serbian police.

Okay, so someone 'splain this one to me. I know there was a "regime change" in Kosova, but are we now to understand that the international community is thinking it might allow take-backs?

Anyhow, there's much in the article to ponder, including the blood-curdling imagery of the "cattle car" train collecting and removing the unwanted.

And whether or not I'll be able to view these, I don't know, but I'm saving the URL.

And, you know, I'm not afraid to say it. Modern art is pretentious, inartistic crap.

Technically, my company isn't open today. I've already received one hostile e-mail from my boss (who would not have known I was working had he not been working from home himself and had he not sent me an e-mail previously) about, you know, taking some time off.

Anyhow. I'm going home to eat bonbons.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)
Blogging Around

John asks us to beware of bias for bias.

On the other hand, we're all about transparency and disclosure. At least, we should be. Which means that you really should reveal your financial links to the groups or people you take up newspaper space, or television time, touting for. Even if you're George Will.

Avedon Carol on pornography again.

(I, myself, hold mild but definite views on pornography. I think it's a lot of fun. The only thing I object to is that the media doesn't indulge in mildly pornographic images of men in the same way they deluge us with images of women. Thank goodness for Calvin Klein. I've never really understood why, in this country, sex is considered more shameful than violence.)

Kevin has too much time on his hands, but that's a cool thing to know anyhow, in spite of the scorn of some rather pointless comments.

So, you're not a joiner, hmmm? You're not the "activist" type, but you'd like to do your bit for home and country? Susie at Suburban Guerrilla explains how to do your bit, using the otherwise wasted time spent standing in the check-out line at the grocery store.

Charles at The Fulcrum is still discussing those 3,000 jobs IBM is moving to cheaper labor countries. Today he explains how it's official IBM policy to 'sanitize' communications with workers and avoid dangerous 'transparency.' Basically - lie about it. "All 3,000 of you are being fired for non-performance, so you're not eligible for unemployment, so get over it." Or, maybe, "My dog ate the payroll."

I, myself, want to be perfectly transparent on one issue, okay? I liked Clark's sweater. But even more - I think any discussion of what someone is wearing, unless said clothing is a costume meant to mislead the viewer into thinking they're seeing something they aren't (which nicely covers Bush's abysmal appearance in that flight suit), is stupid, pointless, and irritating.

And, just like in 2000, it seems to me that when the media is reduced to discussing someone's clothes, all it really proves is that the media is an ass and that they tried and failed to find something more significant to diss the candidate for.

(No. I absolutely refuse. I don't have time for any more books.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:16 AM | Comments (4)
Can they do that?

It just doesn't seem constitutional to create confidential lists of "good" and "bad" airline passengers. What's the criteria? Who's going to get searched? If someone with no connection to terrorism is inconvenienced and searched repeatedly, can they sue the feds for harassment? How about someone targeted as a Dangerous Red? Can they sue for defamation of character after they lose their job because they couldn't go on that business trip and the designation made their boss decide they could do without the problem?

(And what's up with the people dying on airplanes, anyhow?)

If someone is already in court, defending themselves on a dubious charge I might add, can you lure their lawyer away so you can arrest them again? (Don't make snap decisions. the subject isn't as clear-cut as some would have you believe.)

Looks like some people are about to boycott Coke if the multinational corporation doesn't clean up its act and its disgusting production methods.

Me, I disapprove of all soft drinks on principle. Loads of useless sugar, tons of artificial chemicals, no food value. But I'm aware that it's easy for me to be all sanctimonious when I've never been a pop-fancier, so I don't really expect the country to give up its passion for the stuff. Not even if they read the story. USofA citizens will do just about anything except inconvenience themselves or do without something they want for more than just a short time.

Will the U.N. bail us out in Iraq or leave us to clean up our own mess?

Remember how the Bush Administration once claimed that Iraq oil revenues would be used to pay for reconstruction? Not.

Dick Meyer does the country a disservice by referring, even tangentially, to Bush's "kindler, gentler immigration reforms." What Bush proposed is nothing of the sort. It is, in fact, a way to combine access to cheap labor for southern states with a tracking program that will help more easily discover and expel foreign nationals when we're tired of them (or when they become so skilled at whatever it is they're doing that they're on the verge of making some, you know, decent money at it.). Meyer saves most of his ire for the laughable NCLB, as well he should.

Molly Ivins doing what she does best. (Well, sort of. While I'm all over the idea of mocking Bush because he's completely unable to control the people he's put into power, the truth is that a remark like that could do the guy nothing but good with the voting population. Unless, of course, the Administration were about to demand a new round of tax cuts for the rich which, surprise, surprise, we hear they care. After that, the only way such a remark could help him would be to gain him a pity vote from the clueless nitwits who will feel sorry for him because he's only allowed to play with the presidential mantle, he's not allowed to really wear it) Anyhow, aside from the quote, she makes, as always, good sense.

I don't remember where I found the link, but What Makes a Terrorist? is interesting reading.

Naturally I'll be following on-line caucus news closely today. Looks like Kerry was well-positioned going into the day.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:50 AM | Comments (2)