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July 16, 2004
Celebrating Friday

Avedon Carol admits to being a sucker for a sentimental story. I am, too. I ordered some flowers for a friend.

And let's celebrate Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville).

The argument started during a debate over HR-4818. The bill would provide international monitoring of the November presidential election. Congress has been considering an outside monitor due to all the confusion over the last election, and the "hanging chads" in Florida.

Representative Brown said, "I come from Florida, where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat. We need to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said get over it. No we're not going to get over it and we want verification from the world."

I'm celebrating David for the courage to keep on researching and speaking on a topic far too many of us are trying desperately to pretend doesn't exist. (And sympathy to Professor Kim and her neighbors.)

Let's celebrate the fine work many people do on the internet; especially the kind of thing that keeps us informed about election trends. (And let's celebrate the "weak Bush" trend of Colorado. There's still time for the majority of the voters in the state to come to their senses!)

NOT celebrating

Remember that early-morning post of mine where I contemplated a couple of pats on the back for the Bush Administration for seemingly following through on Bush's stated determination to stop pandering to evil regimes just for short-term gain for the USofA? I take it back.

Also I'm not celebrating the fact that some fools just robbed the satellite bank on the first floor of our office building, from what we hear, at the same time that another group of nuts were ransacking a crime lab in a suburb. (That doesn't sound right, does it? What kind of 'crime lab' could outsiders get into to ransack? But that's the rumor I heard.) (Maybe they fired some of the staff?)

(P.S. As a former Kansas resident, here's another book I have to buy. It will be interesting to find out how Kansas became such a hotbed of embarrassing stupidity.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:47 PM | Comments (4)
Quickly, Now

I'm really not sure what to say about the Philippines pulling out of Iraq. I guess they're doing what they feel they have to do, and I can't say I blame them. They sent around 50 soldiers to Iraq under whatever financial pressure or inducement the USofA applied but the war probably isn't turning out the way they expected.

On the other hand, it's true that you don't win by caving in to pressure from the bad guys. Europe knows that.

Security officials in Germany and other EU nations say there's no reason to further tighten stringent security following Thursday's end of a three-month terrorism truce purportedly offered by Osama bin Laden to Europe.


Most European countries spurned the al Qaeda ultimatum when it first appeared, stressing that they weren't going to deal or bow down to any terrorist group.

That "most" bothers me. I wonder which country or countries didn't spurn the offer and precisely what not spurning it consisted of? Failing to make a public announcement that they were spurning it or tacitly pretending it had nothing to do with them since they didn't have troops in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Of course, it has to be accepted that our behavior in Iraq isn't really designed to inspire the Middle East to confidence. (Nor is that of some other people.)

I'm saddened by the news that 75 or more children burned to death in a school in India.

Schools all over this country are decaying, day by day, while there's no money for maintenance or renovation, you know. We can't afford to maintain schools. We have wars to fight, people to kill, that sort of thing. I just hope we never see a headline like the Indian one about a school here.

Should I lavish praise on the Bush Administration, no matter how cautiously? I don't know, but if this is true, maybe I should. I've made a fair number of bitter remarks about the USofA's habit of turning a blind eye toward atrocities when it suits us. If this is really a step toward abandoning this policy, then I'll be applauding. (Cynicism suggests that there's more to it than simple concern for human rights, a topic of less than primary concern to the Bush Administration.)

In spite of the praise lavished on her recent columns, I haven't been reading Ehrenreich's efforts recently, but I stumbled across this one and immediately regretted my inexplicable avoidance. "All Together Now"

Societies throughout history have recognized the hazards of groupthink and made arrangements to guard against it. The shaman, the wise woman and similar figures all represent institutionalized outlets for alternative points of view. In the European carnival tradition, a "king of fools" was permitted to mock the authorities, at least for a day or two. In some cultures, people resorted to vision quests or hallucinogens anything to get out of the box. Because, while the capacity for groupthink is an endearing part of our legacy as social animals, it's also a common precondition for self-destruction. One thousand coalition soldiers have died because the C.I.A. was so eager to go along with the emperor's delusion that he was actually wearing clothes.

Joel Bleifuss is beating a dead horse. Specifically, Reagan. More specifically, why Bush is a lot worse than Reagan.

A move to stop trafficking in conflict diamonds in the Congo is a good thing.

I don't think Stephen Hawking should be let to change his black hole theory. It was hard enough to understand his theories in the first place, I spent six months reading physics books. The new theory is interesting though. Now I see black holes as a sort of galactic time capsule. Things fall in, but they might fall out again.

And The Guardian is collecting urban myths. The posts are interesting, but I'm looking forward to the promised analysis next week even more.

I clicked on this headline just because it was funny ("Reason's Heathens) and found out it was a book review. Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of its Enemies, Just what I need, another book to add to my towering "to be read" stack.

Dave Barry shops.

Internet access still wacky today, I'm afraid. I'm getting on for about 30 seconds, then getting booted for a couple of minutes, then getting back on for about 30 seconds, etc. It took me almost an hour and a half to compile this post, for instance. Hardly seems worth it, does it?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:22 AM | Comments (4)
July 15, 2004
We Are Not Amused

I leave you guys in charge for a few days, and look what happens.

It's not the car bombs in Iraq, painful as it is to read about those, or the fact that the situation in Sudan hasn't improved, or background on Bush's attitude toward torture, but the casual discussion of how a 'major terrorist attack' could be used as an excuse to postpone the USofA elections this November. (No, that's not how the discussion is being framed, but it could< be taken that way.)

Casual discussions, mind you, no real outrage to be heard. Is that because you don't really believe it will happen? Because I think even the mention of such a thing should raise alarms all over the country, but I seem to be alone in that thought.

Maybe it's just that I haven't gotten to those blogs yet, but I'd certainly expect someone to be discussing that the "upset" in Spain bears no resemblance to the current situation in the USofA.

I mean, have you seen the current polling for the USofA presidential race? The polls that indicate the Bush Administration is dropping in popularity? The only "upset" at this point would be if Bush was elected in November and much as I appreciate the move to prevent temporary voter hysteria from creating such a disastrous situation, I think we'd better take our chances on our current democratic processes.

It's worth pointing out that my friend Buehler thinks a terrorist attack would all but guarantee a Bush victory. He thinks a terrorist attack will "prove" to people that we need a "strong" president.

Which is scarier? That people in this country are so ill-informed as to miss the fact that nothing the Bush Administration has done to combat 'terror' is working, or that a majority of people just might be buying the Bush Administration's portrayal of the man as "strong"?

Anyhow, based on the Administration's desire to postpone the election if there's a terrorist attack, I'd suggest the Bush Administration agrees with my position. Any attack and the Bush presidency is toast.

Other than that, I was glad to see the petition to change Colorado's electoral vote allocation is getting a webmention. I've signed it and please believe me when I say I'd have signed it even if Colorado was a "reliably blue" state and a successful electoral vote change meant some votes would subsequently be awarded to Republicans. Fair representation is important to me. (Even if I frequently think the majority of voters need to be smacked and then chained to a reliable news source for a few hours a week.)

Lawrence Krubner has some fascinating posts up that I wish I had the time to talk about. So does Hugo Schwyzer.

I did a fair amount of reading on my vacation. Not as much as I intended, but I only had three days and the weather in the mountains was too gorgeous to ignore. I did a bit of walking (you couldn't call it "hiking" because I didn't work that hard at it) and a bit of just sitting outdoors, sipping coffee and soaking up the sun.

Anyhow. Reading. The Federalist Papers. The Anti-Federalist. Tom Paine's Common Sense. (Not relevant to the topic at hand, but fascinating nonetheless.) The Constitution. (Don't laugh. When was the last time you read it?) UsofA history in the 20th century, but not the kind you learn in K-12 "history" classes. The stuff they leave out in those classes.

Some reading and some learning. I'm thinking we have rather a lot of work to do before we become the country I always thought we were.

I have more to say, but my internet connection keeps going out on me and I'm getting massively frustrated. That's probably a sign I should get back to work.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:55 AM | Comments (5)
July 14, 2004