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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

February 18, 2005
To continue...

I've been wondering about this for days. Why is the man who actually published Valerie Plame's name not in trouble when someone who reportedly had the story but didn't publish it (Miller) looking at bars? Someone please explain this to me.

(Negroponte?)

We encourage torture.

We tortured in Afghanistan.

Some days, I don't know where to direct my outrage first. Maybe the important thing to remember is that both of these are being perpetrated by the same administration.

And (in a first for me) via al Jazeera, a report that Rumsfeld says we gotta upgrade Guantanamo to meet Geneval Conventions standards and now I'm all confused because I thought they were saying the GC didn't apply?

Best solution? Close it down. Either these are legitimate prisoners, in which case there's no need to fear the judicial system in a civilized country, or...well, there's no "or" to that. If they're not legitimate prisoners, then holding them is a war crime and that's all there is to it. I maintain my opposition to the concept of a "detainee" who is not a prisoner. "Enemy combatant" is just another way of saying fascist tyranny.

Ahem. The U.K. has its own history with torture.

Gannon-Guckert-GOPUSA = Gannon/Guckert Got GOPUSA Press Pass

"He faxed a letter in on his [GOPUSA] letterhead, they checked that it was a conservative news Web site he worked for," McClellan explained,

I see. As long as you're a conservative.

And, no, it doesn't really "look" like a news site, it looks like a partisan mouthpiece site. But still. If all you need to be "legitimate" is a website....

(That last paragraph in the article? From what I heard, pictures of Gannon himself reveal him to be displaying a "hard" pass, not a temporary "day pass" as the WH keeps insisting. But I don't know...that's just what I heard.)

If you remember Harvard's Lawrence Summers getting the raspberry for speculating on differences between men and woman and scientific aptitude, then you might find this story interesting. With all due respect to feminists everywhere, I still don't think Summers did wrong. I know a lot of people started screaming like he'd said, "women are lousy at science" but that's not what he did say, and I don't think he was wrong to speculate that there may be innate differences between men and women. (Get over it, people. Scientific studies showing differences in how female brains and male brains process information are all over the place. There are differences. Do these differences influence whether or not women will be "good" at science? Who knows? If no one is allowed to investigate it, we'll never know. And won't you feel silly a hundred years from now when a study is done and proves that, given an equal playing ground, women are better at science than men?)

I'm with Ebert. I wish I understood global monetary policy better. For decades I've paid intermittent but uneasy attention to the announcements of new IMF policies and of IMF "assistance" here and there in the world, always wondering why the recipients of such generosity never seemed to be able to make any lasting change. Maybe if I understood the background more, had paid better attention in Macro, I'd know how accurate those documentaries are.

It's rather sad that the things I have no trouble in believing are: (1) that the USofA would use developing countries as dumping grounds for excess product, regardless of the damage done to that country's economy, and, (2) that the Chiquitabananabunch have used every method they could find, no matter how unethical or immoral, to try and keep their stranglehold on their market. I've read about those things too many times, in too many places to doubt them.

CorporateAmerica can be so evil. (And now, another interesting site I'll have to find time to read.)

You know? I'm blogging too much again. I need to go away and be calm.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:56 PM | Comments (5)
Mixed Emotions

Hewitt characterizes the "Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed sheet as a "center-right" publication? What planet is Hewitt living on? (Forgive me...I'm always shocked when something draws my attention to how right-wing part of the country has become.)

Anonymous Wall Street Journal Op-Ed characterizes bloggers as "amateurs"? Well, some of us are and some of us aren't. And of those of us who are, and aren't, a fair amount of us are putting our names to what we write, okay? Good, bad, and stupid...I have the courage to put my name on everything I write.

Anonymoust WSJO-E slams "Internet and talk-show crew"? I'm assuming they don't mean the entire internet but let's set that aside for a moment and contemplate the bitterness of that attack on talk shows.

Just who is the WSJO-Emad at, anyhow? Because most of the talking-head news programs are virtually overrun with conservatives of the type who probably sleep with the WSJO-E sheet clutched to their sticky chests. I can only thnk of one which isn't. (Go Daily Show!)

(I note that talk radio, the actual location of a lot of unprofessional witch-hunting pretending to be "news", got a pass. I assume that's because those high-profile talk radio shows make the WSJ's Op-Ed Squad look "center" Right.)

Anyhow. Topic.

Some of us amateurs have standards, just as some "professional" hotmilitarystud.com journalists do not. *

(Not so much me with the "standards", what with the occasional name-calling, but many of us have high standards. And there's a huge pool of "amateur" bloggers whose credentials in their areas of interest would put most journalists to shame. As, I hasten to point out, Hewitt does go into detail about.)

Also? I'm thinking that any publication who regularly prints Noonie's gushings should be keeping a lower profile on the whole " good judgment and sense of proportion" thing, okay? (Remember the whole "Bush in Superman's tights" column? The one that told us more about Noonie's fantasy life than anyone wanted to know? Someone's "good judgment" said publishing that would elevate the tone of the publication?)

Ahem.

Amateurs, professionals, whatever, okay?

#1 - The fact that people aren't getting paid doesn't mean they aren't producing accurate, informative, thought-provoking content.

#2 - If the national news media was doing what we wanted them to, maybe a lot of us wouldn't have felt the need to start blogging.

#3 - Mind yer own business. You don't own the news, boys. It's public. If people would rather talk to each other than sit at your feet and listen to Jovian pronouncements of dubious honesty? That's our right. You stopped being untouchable long before you talked about Fox's "Fair and Balanced" News without so much as a snicker. You thought we didn't notice the difference between reality and what you told us...but we noticed. We always noticed.

Plus which, what with that whole democracy and free speech thing? Maybe you need to figure out, and fast, that that million people who heard and disliked your slant on a story a decade ago? Have a way of telling you so today. It's called Freedom of Speech.

In my job? If my "consumers" (clients) speak up and say I'm telling lies and doing sloppy work and generally incompetent? I get fired.

I'm not sure I see why journalists should think they're entitled to be treated differently. (Especially considering the sad state of trash that passes for "journalism" in most places these days.)

Having said that...let me say that I agree with the WSJ Op-Ed piece to a certain extent. Not so much their attack as what I perceive to be some of the fundamentals of their argument.

**Should any professional figure who makes a remark that, taken out of context, seems really inflammatory be fired/asked to resign? No. Context matters. (My opinion? CNN has wanted to get rid of Jordan ever since he made that remark about suppressing info coming out of Iraq to appease Hussein.)

Should a journalist who prints something that proves to untrue, be fired/asked to resign? Not necessarily. Not the first time, if there's any indication (s)he made an honest error. (Dan Rather? A memo that was alleged fraudulent, but not proven to be? Who cans an employee after decades of service for that? Only a corporate leadership anxious not to offend an overbearing and dictatorial administration.)

The good thing about the net is that it allows many of us to add our tiny voices together to make a big impact.

The bad thing about the internet is that it allows many of us to add our voices together but doesn't require us to bring our brains to the process.

I was going to have some opinions about New Democratic Leadership and why we should so totally not try to copy the Republican "model for success" but I've decided to go buy a candy bar instead.

_______________________

* Publishing a sweeping indictment of "internet and talk show" news sources and then retracting it in a different venue later, saying you only meant two people? Let's talk about "adult behavior" for a minute, because you seem to be using a different definition than the sane world.

I'm just saying. If those are "professional" standards, then I can qualify as a pro. All I need now is a HotBloggerBabes.com website and I might even make it into the White House Press Corps!


** Those among you who have never made a remark that, taken out of context, seemed damning, or who have never made an honest error based on faulty data, feel free to argue.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)
Slums

They're home to an estimated 1 billion people around the globe. More of those people than you think live here, in the USofA. There are children, veterans, elderly people, and disabled people.

But, by all means, let's cut social programs to provide another $80B+ for an unwinnable "war on terror."

(Forgive me for mentioning, yet again, that I think we're as much a part of the problem as the solution.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)
Chomp!

A scientific study shows that those vampire myths just might have some basis in fact. That a creature just might live longer...and stay younger...with doses of young blood.

But...not exactly, so don't reach over and take a chunk out of your cubicle-mate's neck or anything. There are still issues around blood-type compatibility and stuff to consider. Clones seem to be the answer.

Clones...I recall that I read that that cloning company has "delivered" a second cloned pet to some wealthy but not too bright individual. Somewhere else, recently, I read that some company has won permission to go back to working on human cloning technique.

There's value in that research, but that doesn't stop me from being reminded of a SF story I read many years ago, one wherein the wealthy classes were in the habit of keeping personal clones on-hand to harvest for spare parts whenever they developed a problem or needed to replace some worn-out organ.

I'm just saying.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
February 17, 2005
Dumb

Some guy at the Vatican says good health is overrated.

It's all very well to say some people care too much about good health (you can say almost anything you want) but it's also stupid.

I mean, go ahead...try and draw the line. How much good health is "enough"? Which diseases should we cure? Which ones not? Who decides?

(Although...upon re-reading the article, I can't help but get the impression that what the man is actually saying is that it's time to stop saving Rome's current leader 'cause he's past it and needs to go. Something about the juxtaposition of the guy saying that people make a fetish of good health and should suffer like John Paul does and the discussion of John Paul's elaborate hospital visit strikes me as odd.)

Posted by AnneZook at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)
More calmly

Embattled blogger in Tulsa seeks support. Michael Bates nees help in spreading the story of attempted intimidation.

Tort reform targets the poor.

Always remember and never forget. WMD? Imaginary.

(Negroponte. Sheesh.)

The story is still "Gannongate" instead of "Talongate." As far as Gannongate goes, the question is still out there. Is the Bush Administration that venal, or that stupid?

Maureen Dowd's in a snit over the Gannon/Guckert thing. No one loves a switcher, Mo.

Joking aside, she's quite accurate in her assessment. If there's a line being blurred between professional journalists and shills, it's the White House blurring it. No one is confused about what a blogger is or where they fit into the "news" pyramid. Anyone else wants to start up a "professional" journalism organization and staff it with...whoever they want to staff it with, they're within their rights. I'm just saying. Used to be that the "White House Beat" was something an organization (and a journalist) earned through years of professional (journalistic) effort.

(Allow me to take a moment to made rude gestures in the direction of the "White House Press Corps" who should have smelled this rat and exposed it long ago.)

A blog I don't often read, The Rude Pundit puts some perspective on it. "Here's why it matters...."

Yeah, I tried the actuarial calculator and yeah, I lose just over $1500/year under the Bush plan. I don't think anyone today has any idea what the final outcome on Social Security "reform" will be. There's no way the original Bush proposal would make it through Congress. He's already offering tentative amendments. I'm not saying give up the fight...we need to keep the heat on, no doubt, but get set for the long haul.

(Negroponte? How on earth....)

And more on that "acts with genocidal intent" but not genocide story in the Sudan.

Burka would be funny today if the nominees under discussion weren't so very insane. Priscilla Owns is covered in Bushwhacked and is, topically, the source of so many insane legal decisions that...well, read the book. Or Google around to read for yourself how the woman is too much of an extremist even for Alberto TortureMemosRUs Gonzales.

Sometimes I want you to go read something just because whatever it is made me think. How Bambi fought the Viet Cong.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)
Good Grief

Negroponte? *

What are they thinking?

Negroponte!

Why don't we just go ahead and change the USofA's country motto now and get it over with?

       In Death Squads We Believe

We could even add a coda.

       Obey or die

I mean...this guy.

Okay...it just happened.

The exact moment when I finally stopped believing that the Bush Administration actually does mean well.


_____________________


* While we're chatting, let me mention that I do remember the summer of 2001 when Negroponte (Negroponte!) was first nominated (Nominated! Negroponte!) by the Bush Administration to oversee the carnage in Iraq.

I was appalled but still in my largely pre-political phase. (I.e., disgusted with "politicians" and their dishonesty...not, at that time, understanding how much of my anger should have been directed at the media. But that's another rant and I'm really short on time today.) You might not remember the occasion because the national media, as is their habit,** were all too busy following, nay creating a sex-and-murder story where none existed. Remember? Remember Condit?

_____________

** Well...let's be honest. The national media doesn't actually "make a habit of it', no. Not always.

I mean, any such story might get some coverage, eventually, if people demand to know about the story, but if the target is gay and conservative, not so much with the months and months of inflammatory headlines.

(It's like there's some kind of weird media conspiracy of silence whenever the words "gay man" and "Bush Administration" might come up in the same sentence, you know? The national media should be all over the idea that a poorly vetted "journalist" was allowed to make free with White House access, but they're all quaking in corners.)

(Okay...most of the above might be unfair. Not the stuff about John "Brown Humans Ain't Got No Rights" Negroponte, but some of the rest of it. I think I'm getting sick. I'm very cranky today.

Negroponte! I'm not sure I could be more appalled if I wanted to be.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
February 16, 2005
Bits of Stuff

Life in the Republican money chain.

Remember ChoicePoint? They're b-a-a-a-ck and spilling the beans on...a lot of us.

Abu Ali. Born in Virginia, he's now imprisoned in Saudi Arabia at...go ahead...guess who's request.

Who knew the Church of England was exploring updating their commandments?

I haven't said anything about it, but I'm following the China mine disaster story. I assume everyone else is too, so what's to say?

Other than that, well, it looks like a slow news day when the early-morning headlines are all about what dog won a dog show.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)
February 15, 2005
Briefly

Paying columnists out of government funds and sitting by happily while said columnists publish columns praising us to the skies? We've all agreed it's naughty.

What about paying columnists out of campaign funds? What about if it's Democrats this time and even the sketchy details you read in this article smell a bit?

In his editorials, Wesson praised Cleaver, defended him against allegations that a state agency did not follow its own regulations when it loaned Cleaver $80,000 [....]

The story "broke" in October but it didn't hit the national news until the big-dollar conservative payola was revealed. But that doesn't really matter. Wrong is wrong.

And, speaking of wrong. Missile defense. I heard an interview on NPR last night with a defender of the program, insisting that all of these test failures aren't what they seem. He says there's nothing wrong with the basic physics, it's just that minor computer glitches or tiny parts in a system of a thousand complex interacting tiny parts fail to work. Missile defense doesn't fail, just the...well, the missile defense part of it.

Look, guys. Missile Go Boom! is something we mastered decades ago. The fact that your missiles would go Boom! if you could get them to launch or, you know, find the target, does not impress me. Especially not with a multi-billion dollar price tag. It's impractical, unnecessary, and dangerous. I'm sorry North Korea is giving you brand-new nightmares, but you shouldn't have started calling names and invading non-aggressive countries. You broke it. You fix it. Without the Boom!, if you please.

The entire world has too much boom! already. (Although I notice that the Google News search for the Exhibition o'Death reveals that remarkably few USofA news outlets are interested in the story. I also notice that Iraq's one representative is not from their government.)

Not even the IDEX website allows you to see what corporations were among the 900+ that are attending.

Voting. Transparent, verifiable voting systems, that's what we need. It matters who won or lost, yes, but it matters just as much that the process be honest.

And while we're working on being an upstanding, honest, open democracy again, can we please knock it off with the torture? Find out who approved it, punish them, and make it clear that USofA citizens do not approve. (P.S. We don't need new legislation. We got legislation. We need a government that obeys the law.)

Naked streets? It's a new concept to me, but I do understand the theory it's built on. It's just that, as someone who is a frequent pedestrian for the enjoyment of walking on a nice day, I doubt I'd feel comfortable without a clearly established "right of way." I've come too close to getting run over by drivers who assume the own the crosswalks and sidewalks as well as the road and that an intersection without a light or painted crosswalk is tantamount to a racetrack.

(Speaking of naked? Me, I thought other things ought to be more naked, but I've been convinced otherwise.)

Some days, it feels like I spend hours, sitting on hold and scanning the news headlines.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)