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July 29, 2005
"Pretend you care."

I think it's heart-breaking society is so warped that some people are desperately trying to change their basic natures.

And I think it's pathetic that telling a gay man that if he puts down his newspaper and makes eye contact with his wife, it will help ex-gay him. (I'm also offended, as one of the millions of people in the world who think that you talking at me while I'm trying to read is very rude on your part.)

And the misogyny in that "pretend you care" line just screams at you from the page, doesn't it?

I also note that lesbians seem to be a kind of second-class homosexual. Apparently hot girl-on-girl sex isn't as dangerous for society as hot boy-on-boy action. (Sorry, gals. Without a penis, you just don't rate.)

Other than that...the mind boggles.

Frank Worthen said men need to become “hard and masculine” in order to be able to enjoy the soft, mushy feel of a woman. In order to become firmer it is all right for a man to work out a little bit, he said, just don’t work out too much.

Mushy? On behalf of non-oatmeal women everywhere, hey!

But on behalf of het women everywhere, let me say I get behind the idea of all of those insufficiently "hard" men getting "hard" on my account. (Okay, now I'm just being vulgar.)

I also note that they say you might plan to wait as long as a year before your ex-gay hubby is ready to have some icky het sex.

Personally, not to be offensive or anything, as far as I'm concerned he can wait a decade if he wants to. I can't imagine wanting to have sex with a gay man. I can think of few less romantic (or erotic) situations than getting horizontal (or vertical, your choice) with a man for whom my body is a turn-off.

I mock because I'm obsessing.

Today is the day Zach is supposed to be released.

I know it's unreasonable to think his parents will let him use the internet today, or probably in the immediate future, but I really want to know how he's doing.

And if his parents took this time, after they saw the public shit-storm over their actions, to consider whether or not they might be taking the wrong tack. I don't think they did. Based on what I've read in Zach's blog and the interview with his father, they're too set in their religion and too defensive to back down.

Sigh. I'd like to believe they think they're doing what's best, that they made a calm and rational decision to take this step, but Zach's journal entry about his mother "saying the worst things to me for three days straight" until he was considering suicide, even briefly, makes it very difficult for me to believe that.


Update: I should have linked to this story about debunking "ex-gay" programs.

And Andrew Tobias copies us an interesting article on gay marriage.

I have only this advice to offer those of you who oppose gay marriage: Don't marry a homosexual.


Posted by AnneZook at 07:41 AM | Comments (3)
July 28, 2005
Travel Safety


(From RRBBS.)

Aug 2, Update: Thanks to Jonthan Dresner of Cliopatria, who bothered to check with Snopes, we find that this isn't an official sign. (Which isn't to say someone didn't scribble this on an "official" form and post it somewhere, but still....)

Posted by AnneZook at 03:50 PM | Comments (3)
I Said I Cared

So, a few follow-up stories. But just a few. Because I'm on "light" blogging duty this week, right?

First, Big Labor's divorce, or is it just a trial separation?

Okay, who's dying to eat? (Hint: They're dying so we can eat.)

A lot of dirty deeds take place in the middle of the night. For instance, CAFTA passed. That sucks.

Some dirty deeds take place during the heat of the day. Like hundreds of children kept sitting in the sun, waiting for a politician who never shows up. (Okay, that was just mean...I don't blame Bush for the weather, in spite of his oft-touted personal relationship with the Almighty. But I do blame the organizers of such events who fail to properly organize things.)

Kenneth Galbraith, over at TAPPED, pulls together various bits of information about the London bombing(s) and the picture doesn't look quite the way it did before.

On the "journalism and media" front, this is an excellent discussion.

On the torture and mistreatment of prisoners, the details continue to emerge.

Homeland Security. Do you know where your tax dollars are going?

Dumbest. Poll. Ever?.

This was interesting. It's nice to tell Democrats to "stand their ground" on issues, but the last I heard, the so-called 'leadership' of the Party was fumbling around, trying to figure out what their issues were.

David Sirota has the same message, phrased a bit differently. Mostly he's trying to explain that the people who have named themselves the "Democratic Leadership Council" are nothing of the sort. For the record, when I mention the Dems so-called leadership, I am not referring to the DLC. Since I became aware that it was a committee of self-appointed corporate tools, I haven't considered them any kind of "leadership." My concern, though, is whether or not the actual Party leadership, the officers of the Party, traffic with the DLC?

Bread and circuses. I wouldn't watch one of those "matches." I don't watch so-called "reality" TV, a format that's based on the theory that if someone is going to be humiliated, millions will want to watch. Why can't we make anyone understand that this combination of growing violence and growing intolerance are bad, bad signs for any society?

I've never had an abortion. I've never been in the position where I had to make that decision. Had I been in the position, I'm not sure I'd have chosen to have an abortion. When it comes to supporting Roe or letting it go, my answer is hell, no, we're not going to let it go. It's not about abortion. It's about choice. My body. My health. My life. My choice.

Homophobia? Can be funny. (We may need a new word to replace, "homophobia." A lot of these bigots don't seem to be phobic. On the contrary, they talk and think about homosexuality incessantly. They can't get enough of discussing homosexuality, especially gay sex. We need a better word, a word that expresses their compulsive fascination with the topic.) On another front, some people are fighting for acceptance in unusual ways.

Aid to developing countries is a confusing subject. It's morally the right thing to do, but it's been less than wildly successful. I'm not sure I agree that the "Cold War" had that much to do with the lack of success, although I certainly do agree that tossing around hundreds of millions of dollars carelessly was not an intelligent approach. You can't buy a country's support that easily (at least, not in the long term) and without safeguards to insure that the aid actually gets to the needy, you'd be better off not sending any money at all.

Much like reports that we handed it out in pallet-loads of Iraq's money to well, no one knows who we gave it to.

An audit by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction said U.S. auditors could not account for nearly $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds and the United States had not provided adequate controls for this money.

Speaking of fraud, I think we have to assume "we" are guilty of it. You just can't lose eight billion dollars, okay? The world's sloppiest accounting couldn't account for our inability to account for this. (Couldn't resist, sorry.)

Bottom line? Among the other things we're howling about, can a few of us howl about an investigation into this matter? Whether the money went to a sekrit slush fund, was pay-offs to local trouble-makers, went to enrich Chalabi discredited sources, wound up in a General's pockets, was used to create the next Taliban, or was burnt to toast marshmallows, the issue is accountability. We need to hold the Bush Administration accountable (I just can't avoid the word) for what's happening.

If I wasn't taking a few days off of blogging, you can bet I'd have blogged all of these things.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)
War and War

George W. Bush approves of torture. He thinks it's a good thing. He wants the USofA to be known as the kind of dangerous enemy who will torture you if they catch you.

(Well? What else are we to read from the news that he will veto a much-needed bill simply because it contains anti-torture provisions?)

The soldiers fighting, suffering, and living with the consequences of life-or-death decisions in Iraq deserve so much better than this White House.

Bob Herbert gets it. And he says it out loud. It's the oil, stupid.

Elsewhere, in the 'well, duh' category:

An independent panel headed by two former U.S. national security advisers said Wednesday that chaos in Iraq was due in part to inadequate postwar planning.

But this confuses me:

"A dramatic military victory has been overshadowed by chaos and bloodshed in the streets of Baghdad, difficulty in establishing security or providing essential services, and a deadly insurgency," the report said.

I'm not sure where the "dramatic" military victory happened. Anyone care to enlighten me? Are we talking about the carefully staged scene of the statue toppling? Is it that bit of made-for-TV 'drama' they're referring to? At what point did the situation change from a "dramatic" victory to the chaos we've been watching? Five minutes later? Two days? Of course, my memory isn't good, but I recall the stories about looting, murder, and general chaos that broke in what seems like hours after that little piece of propaganda.

Let's face it. The Bush Administration planned the killing part. They planned nothing else. I doubt if they could have withdrawn the USofA's troops immediately without the whole situation deteriorating into a disaster.

I am, at best, lukewarm on the subject of John Roberts. Not his Bench record, which is skimpy, but his previous history as a corporate/Republican tool mouthpiece. And most especially his connection with the group that upheld the mock trials at Guantanamo. His history doesn't prove much, but it's suggestive.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)
July 27, 2005
Taking It Easy

Me, I mean. For a few days, blogging will be light, just because I'm feeling like a slacker. (Also, after having fought off yet another avalanche of comment spam, I'm tired of looking at this blog.)

Before I go (again), a few links....

For those interested, an update on Venezuela. Chavez asks for respect. He says he has proof we've gone as far as planning an invasion of his country to secure their oil (not that unbelievable, is it?). And they continue to demand that we extradite accused bomber Posada. Which we seem remarkably reluctant to do. He must be the kind of "terrorist" that we're not actually fighting in the so-called war on "terror". (Oh. I forgot. We're not fighting that war any more, are we?)

I'm interested in the Senate deciding that protecting the gun lobby was more important than how we fight struggle against that whole terror extremism thing. (I could go to town on the dangers implicit in this semantic shift, but I assume you're all on top of it.) Except that I'm seeing conflicting stories, about whether or not the Senate is actually moving, so I'm not sure what the real story is.

The big story I'm following at the moment is the labor movement separation.

Well, that, and CAFTA.

And the fact that CNN actually covered Latoyia Figueroa's disappearance. (There's a way you can help.)

And the ongoing investigation of terrorists...extremists...bombers in the U.K..

And the fact that the GOP is now offering bounties on politicians' heads.

And the mounting problems in Afghanistan.

And I'm all over being amused, in a really ugly kind of way, at the Bush Administration desperately citing the Geneva Conventions as a defense against releasing more prisoner abuse photos. You know the prisoners I mean. We all do. They're those prisoners the Geneva Conventions don't apply to.

Other than that, though, I'm slacking.

(April 13, 2029. A date to keep an eye on. And maybe 2036.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)
July 26, 2005
Okay, then

It's not everything we could hope for, but if Zach's story at least starts some kind of public dialogue, well, then, we're making progress.

The incurable bigots are who they are, and we know who they are, but we also know they're wrong.

I firmly believe that most people, if told the truth, would not want to persecute or demonize the GLBT population in this country.

I've tried hard not to demonize Zach's parents. I know they're not monsters. They're spending a tidy chunk of change doing what they think is best. They've been lied to and misinformed and that's not something most people get over easily.

I don't know how this will turn out for Zach. All I can do is wish the best for him.

(And for Eric. Let's not forget about him and who-knows how many other children suffering the same abuse.)

Update: Looks like CNN is taking on the story seriously.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)
July 24, 2005
PATRIOT(ism) and Other Topics

The so-called Patriot Act. It's important And it's not too late.

And there's nothing patriotic about rape.

Commenters. Sheesh. Sometimes the mind boggles:

When we're talking about terrorism and bombings that may kill anywhere from tens to millions, the gloves are considered off by me and most civilized humans.

Clearly this is some new definition of "civilized" to which I have not previously been introduced. Because I'm still wondering how a spot of civilized torture stops people from hating you.

(And pardon me for pointing to an Atrios entry and mentioning one more time that a little less blindness about anything labeled "church" would be a very good idea.)

I was going to have a few words to say about the London police killing an innocent man in their search for terrorists, but I have a certain amount of sympathy for the police who made the mistake. After two bombings in two weeks....

There are a lot of Estate Tax Myths that need debunking.

I was also going to post sympathy for Egypt and some links to those bombings but the topic seems to have been reasonably well covered in the world o'blog. I did see that there was another incident. No casualties, thank goodness.

Liberal and Islam, an interesting combination to consider.

I didn't realize those California grannies were having quite to much trouble with the National Guard.

And, finally, in the "well, duh" department, genetically modified seeds have cross-pollinated with weeds to create super-weeds. Those of us who object to genetic modification aren't some kind of Luddites. We just think that the rush to market with these products was dangerous.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)
Saved Links

From time to time I have, yes, wondered if the MSM is really the cabal of ratings-obsessed slackers that those of us interested in real news claim. That made this chart reassuring. (Well, not reassuring as such. I would rather have been proven to be wrong.)

We have me the enemy, and he is us. At least, he's ostensibly a citizen of this country. He isn't "us" by any stretch of the imagination but it's scary how many lunatics agree with his kind of thinking.

PlameGate. It really, really, really does matter.

The exposure of Valerie Plame's cover by the White House is the same as the local chief of police announcing to the media the identity of its undercover drug officers. In both cases, the ability of the officer to operate is destroyed, but there is also an added dimension. An informant in a major sophisticated crime network, or a CIA asset working in a foreign government, if exposed, has a rather good chance of losing more than just their ability to operate.

Testimony courtesy of the Democratic Party, since the Republicans found themselves unable to participate.

While reading David Corn, I saw this book discussion but I already have far too many books waiting to be read. I don't have time to read the one recommended here, on the federal appointments process, either.

Did you read the Tobias entry about the cult of fundamentalism? (Scroll down)

I dunno. I was contemplating The Truman Project with interest, but now I have doubts, at least about the name. Per the link in my previous post, they may be better off renaming the project. Still, they're still discussing Truman and "new" Democrats over there and there's been a lot of thought-provoking posting.

Atrios was right. I searched Google News and found three links to the story. She's young, attractive, pregnant, and missing. But not white.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:40 AM | Comments (2)
Things To Ponder

I've started to link to this several times, but the ending always confuses me. I can empathize with the desire to be prevented from making bad choices, as my history is full of them (smoking, a car accident, that ice cream I bought yesterday), but I can't quite grasp how it's possible to feel that it's worth giving up the freedom to choose, just to be prevented from making bad choices. I regret some of my choices in life, but I don't regret choice, if you see what I mean.

But that's individual choice. Corporate or government choice should be more constrained. As artificial constructions, governments and corporations don't face the same choices, or the same rewards and penalties as the individual. In addition, the government's choices should reflect the will of The Peepul. I feel confident in saying that the majority of us would prefer that the USofA not become a despotic regime practicing indefinite detention and torture, and maintaining a body of secret police.

Over in the Moscow Times, Chris Floyd has some scathing remarks about the state of our republic.

Why did we drop the Bombs on Japan?

According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.

His intent was to start the Cold War?

Molly Ivins is truly hacked with the MSM. It's her job to keep up with the news and she insists we didn't "know that already" as the MSM claimed when the Downing Street Memos came to light.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)