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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

February 05, 2005
Heading Left

John Edwards, via E. J. Dionne, hits one out of the park.

(Via Avedon Carol.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)
February 04, 2005
Friday Headlines

In the What Were They Thinking? department, the Crazy Bear. A teddy bear in a strait-jacket?

Seriously, people. This country is in trouble.

Under the heading of "fairly unsavory" let's put Adopt-A-Sniper. Supporting the troops is one thing, but can we do it without celebrating death? War brutalizes those on both sides.

On a similar topic, it's rather interesting to read that the Bush Administration cares a lot more about covering its tracks than it does about catching 'terrorists'. Interesting, but not surprising.

Brooke Allen has an interesting article up about how the Christian religion has been shoehorned into our government over the years. Starting with the Constitution, where deities were noticeably absent, right up through the McCarthy-era rewriting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state." John Adams opined that if they were not restrained by legal measures, Puritans--the fundamentalists of their day--would "whip and crop, and pillory and roast."

Ahhh...the Good Old Days. Tell the boys in Guantanamo Bay they're back....

Here we go again. The latest target of the Bush Administration's attempt to dismantle the government? Amtrak. It will never pass, as the article does make clear, but it would be interesting to see how the heavily populated New England district voted in the next election if Bush removed their means of getting to and from work, wouldn't it?

And Howard Kurtz on why you can't trust the Bush Administration's words.

And now, my checkbook and I are headed to my auto repair shop. I hope it's a kinder, gentler bill than it was the last time.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
February 03, 2005
Old and New

A Fistful of Euros takes a tour back through their '04 archives and pulls up some things I didn't see before. France-bashing as a feminist issue was a good post. So was the one that started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and wound up with that dangerous Islamic weapon, the head scarf.

And I was wondering when someone would just stand up and say this. We Already HAVE Private Accounts.

Iraqi elections. I'm still waiting for the rest of the story.

Oscar Chamberlain says we should think first, blog later. (I'm happy to be insignificant.)

Via Eric Alterman, check out the Washington Post post-SoTU, on-line discussion.

The money quote:

Washington, D.C. [poster]: Anything he said strike you as objectively untrue?

Robert G. Kaiser [Washington Post Associate Managing Editor]: Yes.

Let's pause for a moment to savor that moment.

And then, because it's the right thing to do, the rest of the answer:

Bush often describes a world whose features are all highly debatable, if not simply invented. He proposes “a comprehensive health care agenda” that will leave perhaps 50 million Americans without health insurance. Is that comprehensive in any meaningful sense? He promises big economic benefits from legal changes, “tort reform,” that independent economists say cannot have more than a small economic effect even if enacted, which is not likely. He promises to increase the size of Pell Grants, not noting that they have shrunk far below the level he promised when he came into the White House. He proposes to reduce American dependency on foreign supplies of energy, when independent specialists say that as long as we need oil, we will be heavily, and increasingly, dependent on foreign suppliers. Bush spoke of a free and sovereign Iraq as though all was well there, but Iraq is a country in terrible straits, with most uncertain prospects. Bush didn't invent the rosy scenario approach to politics, of course. There's a lot of tradition behind this kind of wishful rhetoric.

And I stand (well, sit) corrected. I said it's not unheard-of for presidents to be booed during the SoTU. I must have been suffering from short-term memory loss. Of course Republicans treated Clinton a lot worse. No matter what it is... in recent years Republicans have always been the worst. (Note: I do not endorse the naughty language at the link. Surely we can all find invective more creative than four-letter words?)

Juan Cole is very amusing today.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)
Still Browsing

State of the Union. Not a unanimous win by any standards.

I apologize to Josh Marshall for saying we should wait to hear the Bush Administration's plan for Social Security before criticizing it. Turns out, as I should have expected, they don't actually have a plan. (If I were that incompetent at my job, I'd get fired.)

Seriously. I think they're afraid, don't you? They know whatever plan they will put out there will be criticized (all the more so because they're "fixing" a "crisis" that's largely imaginary with vague 'solutions' that are largely destructive) and they can't take the heat. This way, no one can point a finger at Bush or anyone specific and say, "he is wrong." Because none of them are actually saying anything. Bush is not taking ownership but he rarely does. After all, he's a CEO, not a leader.

And, still seriously, it's not usual for a president to be booed during the SoTU, okay? Is this a measure of how frustrated Congressional Democrats are? Of how hard it is for them to get their voices heard in what should be the normal course of bipartisan business?

Oil-for-Food was riddled with fraud. What amazes me is reading this like it's "new news." Are we pretending we never knew this before?

Tsunami victims. Don't forget.

Democracy under attack. Me, I'd say the investigation is the "frivolous" part of the equation, wouldn't you? What's at issue here isn't who won, it's whether or not voters were able to vote, and their votes were accurately counted.

Maureen Dowd on George Bush and men's nipples makes a good rant, but there's not much new there.

What's up with Norway, anyhow? Nettavision hasn't updated its English-language website since 12/31. Did they decide to stop maintaining it without warning us?

It's nice to have the job market back where it was Before Bush but what the article doesn't mention are the new workers who entered the workforce in the last four years. Getting back to where we were before this Administration started trying to dismantle the country isn't really that special, is it? I mean...just think of how robust the economy could be now if the robber barons weren't in charge.

I know I've mentioned this before, but it's an on-going story. Worry about the world's water supply. Not environmental pollution, no. Corporation pollution. They're determined to own it...and if you don't behave (and pay up), you're not getting any.

Heh. I have the day off, can you tell? I'm a blogging maniac today.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)
Browsing the 'Net

The whole "turn your back on Bush" thing meant something.

(While you're over at Newsday, check out Paul Vitello's price list for selling his media support for Rightwingnut causes. His pricing is very reasonable.)

I, and anyone else interested in the degeneration of the media, specifically the New York Times in this country probably need to read My Times, by John Hess. A discussion of the man and the book.

An unfriendly (to Bush) but telling review of a Bush 1/14/05 "chat" with journalists.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. (Well...smile, too. But not too much...because another Bush presidency is on the minds of those in charge of the Right wing.)

Let's hear a cheer for permalinks.

I r a q = Vietnam. Bush = Nixon. The parallels aren't exact, but there are increasing similarities.

A really big difference, of course, is that Nixon inherited his war (although his in-office problems stretched far beyond that). Bush went out looking for a disaster.

Some other links worth reading:

The Axis of Oil

New Papers Suggest Detainee Abuse Was Widespread by Jeffrey Smith and Dan Eggen

Locked in Abu Ghraib, by Fred Kaplan

Doctors and the war on terrorism, bmj.com

The Pinochet Principle: Bush Defends Torture in the Name of National Security

Invisible Soldier by John Tarleton

'Stinking Evidence' of Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida, by Thom Hartmann

Iraq, the Press and the Election, By Michael Massing

2004: Things to Forget by Arianna Huffington

Critics Say Mysterious New U.S. Spy Program Endangers National Security

Posted by AnneZook at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)
February 02, 2005
Good Grief

Corporate taxation. Only...not so much.

Corporate profit. Oil corporate, anyhow.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)
The Silence

This is kind of the problem. I've taken to writing blog entries, then holding them over until the next day. When I look at most of them, they don't seem to be about anything substantial. Or even important, sometimes.

One of the things that occurred to me during The Big Hiatus was that there's no real point in yet another blog cherrypicking the rounds of the daily headlines. And, unlike many of you, I haven't selected a primary soapbox platform and I don't have "expertise" in anything political/cultural/historical. I don't bring anything unique or particularly learned to my perspective on the news. So I'm not blogging as often.

Also?

I keep mulling over Bush's inauguration speech threat to bring some more democracy to the world and I've been scanning world maps, looking for a country smaller and less-protected than Iraq that we can invade to distract the world's opinion from the mess we've made in Iraq. No luck so far. There are smaller Middle-Eastern countries, but most of them have big, mean neighbors who would object to us pulling up a tank brigade and making ourselves at home. I'll keep looking.

I know Condi used to be a hotshot in the whole Soviet-Cold War area of interest. Maybe we'll find ourselves looking at former Soviet countries again?

If all else fails, we could always invade Haiti again. They're having another election, and the new government might look at us funny or something. Not that anyone cares about Haiti.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:44 PM | Comments (3)
January 31, 2005
Some Stuff

Kids today. Sheesh.

Federal and state officials, meanwhile, have bemoaned a lack of knowledge of U.S. civics and history among young people. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has even pushed through a mandate that schools must teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the date it was signed in 1787.

Um, no. Kids should have Government and Civics classes every year of their mandatory 12-year schooling. Not that I doubt Byrd's good intentions, but mandating a once-a-year set-aside to think about government will only teach kids exactly what they learn today...that government and the Constitution aren't that important to their everyday lives.

Whaddya know. Looks like the Guantanamo detainees are human beings and entitled to be treated as such.

Is there going to be hunger in Zimbabwe or is it an evil USofA plot to make the current government look bad?

Remember Darfur? The U.N. says, "it wasn't genocide. Amazingly suprised, aren't we? Plus, where are those moral values?

Do you know what's happening to your health insurance?

Criticize Bush, get an IRS audit?

The Register interviews a comment spammer. (I'm no IT person, but I find the Register to be very interesting reading.

I've had to lock my comments section down very tightly, and I don't use trackbacks at all, and I still fight masses of comment spam. But I agree that the search engine consequences of blogging is becoming a problem.

And even more, I'm astonished by Google's overemphasis on blogs in search engine results. When I go looking for information, I don't mind finding myself at a sensible, well-written blog, but mostly I'd rather find "expert" information on whatever I'm searching, you know?

Posted by AnneZook at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)