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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

June 29, 2005
I'm Not Where I Need To Be

Something said in the comments started me brooding over this. The world o'blog. I started with the wingnuts and the cheap, easy scores, moved toward sites with a bit more depth, and now find myself starting to hunger for solutions.

I know there are voices speaking sense on the Left side of the 'net but I don't see the follow-up discussions. When Krugman or Marshall posts something insightful and useful about the economy or Social Security, where's the buzz? A lot of bloggers toss them a link, but I'm not seeing the in-depth discussion winding its way through the world o'blog. (What I think of as second- and third-tier discussion.)

Where are the discussions? (Sometimes I don't understand what I read, if it's Highly Financial, and I want the Eddicated Proffeshunals to 'splain it to me.)

Maybe there's a lot of discussion of serious issues, people actually debating what policies we should adopt, what strategies we should be using (not to win elections, but for the country in a larger sense) and I'm just reading the wrong blogs? **

Where should I be? (I don't necessarily want to talk myself, but I do want to 'listen' to knowlegable people debate things.)

I printed out 50 pages of stuff that I've been promising myself I'll read from Democracy Arsenal and 50 pages from Steve Clemons' posts for "airplane reading." By the time I get back, I'll need more.

(And, hey! Congratulations to Congress on their pay raise! It's always reassuring to see that our Dear Leaders aren't losing touch with their purchasing power, isn't it?)

_____________________

* Not for everyone, of course. Just some blogs. But some of the ones I read.

** Don't get me wrong. Some of the blogs on my list are non-negotiable. A day without Avedon Carol is unthinkable. Ditto for half a dozen other blogs over there.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:48 PM | Comments (15)
Issues, issues, issues

Over 50% of the people in this country share liberal values. Why aren't we talking to them about those values? Let's just pick any three issues and own them.

I said something like that the other day. Ever since then, I've been musing over what three issues I'd pick.

#1 - Domestic:
      Civil rights (privacy, Patriot Act, abortion, GLBT, etc.)
      Education (real reform)
      Employment
      Energy (clean, renewable, sustainable supply)
      Environment (clean)
      Torture
      Healthcare (reform the "insurance" system)
      Social Security (gradual reform)
      Voting systems reform (process, financial, redistricting, etc.)

#2 - International:
      Education
      Healthcare
      Hunger
      IMF
      Nuclear proliferation (and militarization)
      Terrorism
      U.N. Reform
      World Bank
      WTO

Solving those international issues is beyond the ability of the USofA by itself. Let's try for a different International list. Something a bit more manageable.

      Afghanistan
      Iraq

That's 11 issues, and I'm only allowed three.

I'm just posting it so I'll have it available to continue brooding on. (Feel free to quibble or contribute, though.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:04 AM | Comments (2)
June 28, 2005
Hate Lives On

Demagogy is a good word. It means, "impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace."

The Rightwing uses a lot of demagogy. Their voter base likes it. Responding emotionally is a lot easier than thinking. Name-calling is easier than reasoned discussion. Resistance is easier than change.

The Bush Administration's hypocritical homophobia will have consequences.

Consider the Civil Rights movement, (although I know some people object to that parallel). The more inevitable it became that equality under the law was imminent, the more hatemongering the racists did. They thumped pulpits and passed out leaflets and gave hysterical interviews about how we needed to be trembling in our shoes and reaching for our guns because The Negroes were a comin' and society was going to go down in flames.

The hatemongers naturally failed to stop human progress but the lies they told are still echoing down the years. The more resisters whip up public paranoia over the soon-to-be-integrated population, the more decades it takes for true integration to happen. The reactionaries teach ignorant people to hate and fear, and those aren't emotions that evaporate just because a bill is passed.

The bigots scream that "they" are going to take your jobs, your homes, your children, and your schools. And every time some nitwit doesn't get the job he wants, the house he thinks he deserves, his kids get in trouble, or he can't give them the education he wanted, he already has a scapegoat handy. (It's much easier to have a "them" to blame than it is to take personal responsibility, so weak people always like to have a "them" handy.)

It's irresponsible and socially destructive to make homophobia the centerpiece of their "social" program the way the Bush Administration is doing, but it's not unprecedented.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)
Lackluster Blogging

Report: U.S. to resume making plutonium 238

The United States plans to produce highly radioactive plutonium 238 for the first time since the Cold War, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper quoted project managers as saying most, if not all, of the new plutonium was intended for secret missions. The officials would not disclose details, but the newspaper said the plutonium in the past powered espionage devices.

It's "hundreds of times" more radioactive than the stuff used in bombs. Yeah, whatever.

I wonder if there's any discussion of oil being over $60 a barrel in the world o'blog. It's kind of important but it's also complicated. I'm not knowledgeable enough on the topic to discuss it at length.

In Iran, It's Jobs, Not Bombs, is another headline.

For the opposite perspective, Iran: The living fossils' vengeance, which argues that Iranians voted for oil revenues to be used to prop up their traditional way of life.

I'm wonder if these are urban vs. rural interpretations? Who knows?

Corruption in government, especially this Administration is not even a headline any more.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Maybe 'they' don't want to kill it. Maybe 'they' want to own it.

From all I've read, those "faith-based" programs are pretty much failing right and left. That does not, of course, stop Bush from shoving them down our throats.

I've heard of the concept of "eating locally" before. It's the "green" way, since it saves fuel, provides local employment, and provides fresher food. I do doubt that you could grow enough food in the middle of an urban area to make any significant difference, though.

Chaudhry has my sympathy.

It's just me, every day, all the time -- based on the presumptuous notion that I actually have something useful or, at least, entertaining to say. Ack! All this to say that I'm suffering a mild case of performance anxiety,exacerbated by the fact that I'm not entirely sure how to explain what this blog is about.

At least I do know what this blog is about. It's about me being cranky.

Except that my heart really isn't in it at the moment.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)
June 27, 2005
Our Mess

Rumsfeld Rejects Outside Panel on Gitmo I've been seeing that headline for the last 24 hours. All I can say is that if they're not doing anything they don't want to the world to know about, there's no reason to resist an independent investigation.

The ballooning number of detainees they're going to want to torture interrogate may have something to do with their reluctance. They don't want investigators showing up unexpectedly, or on-site all the time. It's better to have a chance to clean things up before visitors appear.

So, the "insurgency" could last for as long as 12 more years? That's what's all over the news. Some suggest that the USofA's plan to build 14 permanent military bases in Iraq may be part of the problem.

The Progress Report asks, "Why Is Rumsfeld Still Around?" The simple answer is, because he's doing what 'they' want him to do. Face it, people, ditching Rumsfeld and putting in someone else won't make any difference. It's the policies that are wrong and while Rumsfeld is one of the 'architects' of the policies, he's not a one-man show. The entire Administration will have to go before we can clean up Iraq.

I think it's pretty clear that they intend to leave that little problem for the next Administration. Cleaning up our mess, I mean. By saying it could take twelve more years to quell the violence, Rumsfeld not only absolves the Bush Administration of any expectations of success, but potentially another neocon Administration, if this group can pull that off again.

I should address this but it makes me tired to think about going through all of that again.

I wanted to point you to this. Where is the public outcry, the pressure on Bush to say, clearly and simply, that torture is unacceptable and must stop? (That isn't really what he said here, is it?) Durbin should not have apologized.

I know it's not that simple, but if the Bush Administration wasn't a pig-headed mob of warmongers, we might be able to salvage something out of this mess.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:18 AM | Comments (5)
June 26, 2005
Sunday Wish List

I ran a quick eye over yesterday's rant and decided that what I really need is a remedial course in grammar and punctuation. I know I was taught those things in grade school many years ago (I got an 'A'), but decades of writing little but business letters have eroded those skills. I have Strunk and White's Elements of Style, Shertzer's Elements of Style, and The Transitive Vampire. Maybe I should read them? (I like words. I know a lot of them. I need to resist trying to put them all into every post.)

Beyond that, I'm finally getting back to my Required Reading List.

In dead trees, I have Start Making Sense, but I'm halfway through Krugman's The Great Unraveling and have to finish it first.

Krugman's book is very readable, and very absorbing, but it does require paying close attention, what with my incurable habit of keeping an index of things I think I may want to refer to later and even writing in the margins from time to time. I may save it for later this week, when I'm on a plane again. (Don't ask me why, I just know I concentrate really well on an airplane.) I may have to start over, anyhow. I was in the middle of it last fall when I tossed up my hands and stomped away from the world o'blog, never to return. It's only been in the last month that I've started digging out that pile of books I had waiting to be read and lining them back up on the bookshelf.

After I finish those two, I'm going to start on Kwitny's Endless Enemies.

After I read Political Paralysis, I wanted to order The Impossible Will Take a Little While but my shelves are already overflowing.

On-line, there's always more that I should read than I'll find time for. I still haven't found time to read, World Order, Failed States, and Terrorism.

After Kevin Drum so handily found and linked to the on-line A Nagasaki Report, I bookmarked it but am still waiting to read it.

I wanted to re-read The Multinational Monitor's Profits of War which I printed out when it was available on-line. (I need to subscribe. I read that site regularly.)

I'd like to order Rethinking the Patriot Act. I had intended to spend a few hours browsing through the information on the National Priorities site.

I read about the Idler and now I'd like to subscribe to the magazine and order Hodgkinson's How to Be Idle. The bit about not having enough free time to participate in political debate made me nod. (I'm only half as ignorant as I seem. I promise. If I only had the time....)

There comes a time in every blogger's life when they have to choose. (Seems to me that I've made this speech before.) Are you going to write rude remarks about the daily headlines, or are you going to do research and attempt Deep Thought on matters of significant interest?

I'm a nine-to-fiver whose job is currently looking a bit shaky (through no fault of my own). I need to focus on making a living more and spend less time pondering the intricacies of politics, a subject that no one paying me to spend 30 hours a week on. Most of my "free time" (and about 20% of my "work time") goes into blogging.

My problem is that I'd rather think (and write) than "do things" but when I'm eighty, I'll regret spending these glorious, sunny summer days sitting here at a keyboard. So, you know, I'm not going to.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)