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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

October 29, 2005
Democratic Party Failure

Is this the Democratic Party's failure or just Ferrer's failure? How can the Democrats be running such an inept campaign now?

I sympathize with Ferrer's position and I understand what he wants to accomplish. I just don't understand why he's hanging out there alone. Where is the money?

Is it just that the Democratic Party refuses to try and match the millions spent by a billionaire determined to buy the election?

Posted by AnneZook at 08:48 AM | Comments (3)
October 28, 2005
Comments I Would Have Made

If bloggers' comments systems were active or working. I've lost track of some of the posts I wanted to comment on earlier this week, but here are the ones I could find:

To Dr. Fallon:

US to Israel : Refuse $100 Million Contract to Upgrade Venezuelan F-16s

He speculates that Israel replaces the electronic systems in the F-16s we sell them because Israel makes better electronic systems. Me? I think they do it because they suspect we've embedded a few easter eggs in the machinery. And that we're demanding that Israel not retrofit Venezuelan F-16s with new electronics because we really, really want our easter eggs in Venezeula's F-16s.

To Brad DeLong:

Heresy!

In general I agree that vegetables, already carbohydrate-heavy, should not be adulterated or made any less healthy by the addition of white sugar. However. A spoonful of white sugar does a lot to cut the acidity in tomato-based soups and sauces. You should try it.

To David Sirota:

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back.

For some reason I can't get registered or whatever to provide a comment on his posts. If I could have, I would have said that it was no sweat off Wal-Mart's back to say they'd approve a minimum wage hike since, in the same breath, they gloated that it would damage "small competitors."

I don't believe this theory (minimum wage hikes hurting small business excessively) but if I did and I was Wal-Mart, I'd be gleeful over getting the Feds' assistance in running potential competitors out of business.

Bottom line? Since it doesn't mean they'll have to pay anyone a single penny more, it costs them nothing to pretend to support workers' rights.

To Josh Marshall:

Thank you. Just, you know. In general.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:26 AM | Comments (2)
Wingnut Friday

Rightwing meltdown! Anne Coulter says Karl Rove is a boil that needs to be lanced!

Personally, I think all the leftwing blogs should pick this up and make it a big story that Coulter turned on Karl Rove.

No, of course that's not what happened. And I know I said quoting people out of context was naughty, which makes me distorting her words three times as naughty. But I do so dislike that woman. I dislike anyone who makes a career of hatred.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
Victories! Justice!

Multinational Monitor's new issue is out and this time the lead article is one to warm the heart.

The People’s Triumph Over Corporate Power

When you are in the business of tracking and reporting on multinational corporate activity, it is inevitable that you you are going to traffic in tales of sorrow, woe and misery.

Deprivation of land and livelihoods; poisoning, homogenizing and genetically altering the food supply; price gouging and union busting; fraud and theft; reckless endangerment of workers and consumers; destruction of communities and private enclosure of public and community assets and space; denial of life-saving medicines and marketing of deadly products; clearcutting forests and altering the earth’s climate; imposing charges for education and healthcare and no-charge dumping of toxics into the air and water: these are the routine byproducts of the multinational corporation’s single-minded drive for profits. And so, they are the stuff of Multinational Monitor reporting.

But for all their power, multinational corporations do not always prevail. Their plans are frequently thwarted, their power restrained, their authority displaced.

Almost always, a common thread ties together these defeats of corporate power: an organized group of people. Sometimes it is a handful of skillful campaigners, sometimes a mass movement of millions. But people power does regularly overcome and triumph over concentrated corporate power.

In this issue marking Multinational Monitor’s twenty-fifth anniversary, we celebrate those citizen victories with the first of a two-part series recounting peoples’ wins over corporations and their supporting structures and institutions.

Anyone wondering how to organize, and succeed, needs to read these accounts.

The rest of you need to read them because we all need validation that it is possible to win against the might of multinational corporations and indifferent, or hostile, governments.

(No one ever seems to be discussing this publication. Why does no one ever discuss this publication? They do some astonishing journalism and this issue's table of contents is just mouth-watering.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)
Feminism

Not a topic I blog about frequently, I admit.

Lust Horizons.

The 'Voice' and the women's movement, from The Village Voice, still relevant after all these years.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
You Go, Sulu

Congratulations to George Takei for taking a courageous step. And to his longtime partner, who doesn't have to be a secret any more.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
Fascist

Over at CJR Daily there's a discussion of the growing body of opinion, from the Left and the Right, that we're becoming a fascist state. Considering that the Right (the far, far Right) is the political home of fascism, I find this encouraging. People on the Right, and not just ones that a Lefty might consider "moderate" are starting to see problems in how the country is being run.

Maybe my personal (and I'll admit, very visceral) dislike of Bush and of all his Administration's doings leads me to mistake the majority of our political Right for something a lot Wingier than it is. Maybe there are some Real Conservatives left. Let's hope they move faster to regain control of their party than liberals did with the Democratic Party.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:22 AM | Comments (4)
Stop! Thief!

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, op-rdding at OpEdNews.com say there's proof that that '04 election was stolen. But their story, "Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings" is one we've seen, the one where the GAO says they investigated and, "hey, it looks like these machines have problems and can be tampered with." Which isn't precisely proof that an election was stolen. And yet....

Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry's name saw Bush's name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems in Franklin County (Columbus). Kerry's margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

Bottom line? Secure, verifiable voting mechanisms? Not a partisan issue. People's votes have to count. And be counted. Accurately.

(And now I'm grumbling, at least privately. We failed to elect Bush twice and yet there he sits....)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)
October 27, 2005
Bloglinking

More on Rosa Parks and, indeed, the history of resisting segregation in America. (Via Professor Kim.)

And a brief, but so very fitting tribute.

Aha! I knew I had it somewhere, that link to a blog entry detailing a little backgroun to the whole Avian Flu / Tamiflu situation.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)
She's "It"

You remember Brigadier General Colonel Janis Karpinski? She was the highest-ranking officer to be penalized in the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture scandal. She's speaking out. If what she's saying is true, she really was set up.

(It's an August 24th article? How did I miss that for two months? I assume everyone else read and discussed it already? When I wasn't paying attention or something?)

(Link corrected. My apologies.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:41 AM | Comments (5)
War On Drugs

Or was it a fight over drugs?

Are we trying to stop the flow of illegal drugs, or own it?

There have long been rumors and stories of the CIA running drugs around the world although the excuse is always that our government "has to" play footsie with criminals in order to gather information and find the bad guys. (Strange how the bad guys never seem to get found...and they keep on pouring tons of illegal drugs into the market year after year.)

Now we have the army, what's presented to us as regular soldiers, running drugs for private profit.

No wonder our government fights tooth and nail against legalizing such substances as marijuana. Seems like there are a lot of government employees who would be sitting around, twiddling their thumbs if they weren't 'fighting' a "war on drugs."



_____________________

For the record, don't comment that the drugs in the story were a lot more dangerous than marijuana. I'm in a bad mood today and I'll exaggerate if I want to.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)
Public Obscenity

How nice. Exxon-Mobile's profits have jumped dramatically. In fact, by seventy-five percent.

That's obscene by any standard.

Someone explain to me again how the tripling of gas prices at the pumps has been an economic necessity and not a case of corporate profiteering?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)
Sheesh

How many times am I going to have to read this?

More than 30 percent of Americans happily answer to the appellation "conservative," while 18 percent call themselves "liberal." And yet when questioned by pollsters, a super-majority of more than 60 percent take positions liberal in everything but name. Indeed, on many if not most issues, Americans hold views well to the left of those espoused by almost any national Democratic politician.

Seems to me I've read it about twenty times, in various articles, over the last year or so. Is it possible there's someone out there who doesn't get it?

Connected to the previous entry, I now find myself wondering if people are so disconnected from reality that they're treating party politics like a game? They've picked a side and they're sticking with it out of blind stubbornness and some weird inability to admit that what they really believe in and what they publicly support have no connection with each other?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)
Ugh

I think it says something very sad about this country when this kind of show is a "huge hit."

Unless anyone here is naïve enough to pretend people are watching it as "history"? No? Didn't think so. It's about blood and sex, presented as violently as possible.

It's about a country so out of touch with itself that it turns to the mindless stimulation of violence to reassure itself that it's still alive.

After 9/11, people wanted to help and Bush said, "go shopping."

After Katrina, people wanted to help and everyone said, "just send money."

Doesn't anyone want the people of this country to be involved any more? Have we really come to this point, already, where we're nothing more than robotic mechanisms for moving currency from one place to another?

There's a sort of malaise thing going on. A spiritual (not religious) problem. (Religion is part of the problem, but not all of it, and it's on the wrong side of the equation from where you'd theoretically expect to find it.)

I don't have a spiffy conclusion. I just know that the rising popularity of ever-stupider and more violent "entertainment" programming and the disinclination of Washington to have anything to do with us outside of fundraising are in some way connected.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:48 AM | Comments (2)
The Wrong Education

Faith-based schools. A recipe for riots?

Segregating children according to their parents' superstitions is a great way to make a volatile town

I agree.

I'm astonishingly tempted to subscribe just so I can read the rest of the article.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:13 AM | Comments (2)
I'm melting....

Speaking of meltdowns, is the Republican Lies and Defamation political strategy suffering from a huge one?

Scott Howell, the PR guy who created a lot of the more distasteful Rightwing ads of the last few years, defending a factually inaccurate and racist ad for Jerry Kilgore, Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia:

Howell pleaded ignorance to the specifics of Bell's case. "The guy was in trouble and he was about to be deported, I think," Howell said. "And he just happened to be--technically didn't want to be thrown out of the country, I think. And I'm telling you, I'd love to belabor that with you, I just don't have the...I can't stand to talk to somebody in the media and be wrong."

So was Timbrook's statement an insidious appeal to prejudice? Again, Howell presented himself as a naïve bystander.

"Basically he [Bell] had jeopardized... you've got to verify this," Howell explained. "But basically, the guy had his visa revoked because of his record, and INS was looking for him to throw him out of the country. He thought it was an INS bust or whatever. That's something you've got to--don't write anything about that, because I don't... I know in the moment, it was almost like an extra nugget. It was almost an extra line when talking to her about it. It was sort of germane to the discussion. It wasn't intentional. It sort of found its way there."

An adman claiming he doesn’t know where the content of his ad came from? Sounds like serious meltdown territory to me.

The article is titled, "Hitler in Virginia" after the infamous "Hitler Ad" which was also a Howell creation.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)
Rules Is For Other People

And Andrew Bard Schmookler (what a name!) is wrong. The problems we're facing today don't have anything to do with "religion" which is just a smokescreen the Bush Administration uses to cloak their real motivation and goals.

It has everything to do with morality...or the kind of morality held in contempt by those with power, arrogance, money, and privilege.

We're facing these problems because the "CEO" of our country is a failed businessman who was bailed out in the past by daddy's friends so often that he has no respect for or belief in the force of law. His contempt for the legal system was illustrated by his nomination of Harriet Meirs to the Supreme Court. No clearer demonstration of his indifference to the function of SCOTUS could have been made, short of just not bothering to nominate anyone at all.

I'm pleased she was forced to withdraw her nomination. I just wonder if anyone but me has the sense that the Bush Administration is going down in flames and the country is being led by a pack of increasingly lunatic wanna-bes?

I'm not calling anyone mentally unstable because that might be actionable. But nominating Harriet Meirs to the Supreme Court was not the behavior of sensible people. I mean, what kind of delusions would have fed the belief that such a nomination would be acceptable?

Possibly, being allowed to make the recess nomination of the completely unacceptable John Bolton to the U.N. went to someone's head.

Bush has finally created a mess so big that not all daddy's money and friends can fix it for him, or hide even part of it under the rug.

I do wonder just what the rest of his meltdown is going to look like.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)
Three States

Hmmm...when I was babbling on my in uneducated way about whether or not we should continue to try and force Iraq's Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds to live together, I should have referred you to Jonathan Dresner's Constitution Writing 101. I was guilty, as I sometimes am, of having read and absorbed the material and then forgotten where I read it.

(Question: If we could steal some of Palestine's land for 900,000 Jewish people half a century ago, why can't we figure out a way to give 25,000,000 Kurdish people some of their land back today?) (Okay, I know I'm oversimplifying the problems involved in making restitution for the sins of empire in the last century, but still.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)
October 26, 2005
Thank...someone

Nuke 'Bunker-Buster' Plans Dropped

The Bush administration is abandoning its push to develop a "bunker-buster" nuclear warhead and instead will pursue a conventional weapon that can penetrate hardened underground targets.

Finally. A sign of sanity from someone in Washington.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said Tuesday that lawmakers had agreed drop funding for the proposed nuclear bunker-buster from the Energy Department's budget for the 12 months beginning Oct 1. He said the Energy Department had requested the move because it no longer planned to pursue a nuclear bunker-buster.

Can anyone explain to me why the Energy Department was developing a nuclear weapon? Can anyone explain to my why the Energy Department was developing any weapons?

Clearly I need to know much more about the functions of various federal agencies and departments.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
Make A Note

Keeping a list of who's naughty and nice?

Bad man.

Racist, sexist, and just plain stupid. And people voted for him.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
We Helped 'Em

Afghanistan. Supply depot for much of the world's drug trade.

We gave 'em democracy, albeit accompanied with large side orders of Warlords We Rely On*.

It's a pity we couldn't give them something they could use. Like decent lives or hope for the future.

Oh, yeah. We helped 'em, all right.

_____________________

(*An old and favored CIA trick. Ally yourself with criminals and murderers and drug traffickers so you can...I don't know. Win a few cosmetic victories, in place of real ones?

I'm pretty sure this isn't what most of the CIA's people were hoping for when they signed on, but it's what the CIA has been for decades.

_____________________


(This "one topic per blog entry" thing is a lot of work. There will be a brief silence while I write the names of all the issues and ideas I care about on slips of paper, drop them into a hat, and just pick three to worry about in the future.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)
Well?

How about a three state, or a three-region state solution to Iraq?

The current countries that exist in the Middle East are, as we all know, largely products of Western imperialism. Or, you know, arrogant stupidity, because basically we drew lines on a map and named the resulting hunks of territory before handing them over, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or history of strife, to various Western powers.

So, while it's all very well to say we can't "make up for" the injustices of history, is it really our business to force the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds to cohabitate?

Posted by AnneZook at 11:11 AM | Comments (3)
Upstart Media Does Good

The history of al-Jazeera.

Founded in 1996 the Qatar-based news network - which became a potent media force in during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq when its ability to report events in the Middle Eastern domain from an Arab perspective contrasted with the difficulties faced by other media organisations - al-Jazeera was recently voted the fifth most influential global brand (behind Apple and Google).

Impressive, to say the least.

There are 100 or so other Arabic TV stations available to those with satellite dishes. But all are either state controlled or not trusted by viewers. From the outset al-Jazeera was different. It ran stories about the corruption of government officials in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and elsewhere. It aired debate of a kind rarely seen on Arab television. It even interviewed Israeli officials - never seen on other Arab networks. Its motto was: "We get both sides of the story."

But there are always those who do not want the other side to get an airing. And not just totalitarian governments in the Middle East. When US President George Bush launched his "war on terror" he pronounced that you had to be either with him or against him. And though al-Jazeera in total showed just five hours of bin Laden's speeches, compared with 500 hours of the US President, it was clear al-Jazeera was seen as being in the enemy camp.

During the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, al-Jazeera was the only station with a round-the-clock satellite link from Kabul to the outside world - until, that is, two American "smart" bombs hit its office. Something similar happened in 2003 in Iraq when the station's office in Baghdad was attacked by US forces, killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub, after the US had been given the office's precise co-ordinates.

Very interesting reading.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)
Rosa Parks, revisited

I've been pondering the whole Rosa Parks question.

As discussed in the comments (and on David Corn's blog and scroll down) the iconographic story of a tired woman with sore feet hitting the wall and deciding that she'd had enough and just couldn't take it any longer...isn't quite accurate.

Rosa Parks wasn't just a woman who stepped forth from the crowd that day on that bus. She was a woman who had investigated, explored, and discussed acts of civil disobedience, including the one she finally undertook.

This was not the case of a single brave figure standing up (or, sitting down, as the case may be) against the weight of oppression.

The moment that triggered the massive turmoil of the Civil Rights movement was not an unexpected spark. It was a planned act of civil disobedience.

In the USofA, there's a whole mythos around the idea of a single individual standing up against "The Man" or any other name you care to use for an array of corrupt or evil forces. (I'd imagine that this is where the whole Superman thing came from.) This is what was presented to us on the evening news and in the evening papers. A single tired woman who just wanted to sit down on the bus. This is what we reacted to.

But it wasn't like that. It wasn't spontaneous and it wasn't unpremeditated. The NAACP was behind her. She took action...knowing that she was being supported. That there were those who would step forward to defend her. Standing up for your rights with the massed weight of a large organization behind you isn't quite how you achieve the status of an American Icon, is it?

Or, is it?

I've been pondering that for hours.

She investigated civil disobedience in the NAACP meetings. I can't believe that part of their discussions did not center around the dangers. Potential consequences. The myriads of ways something could go wrong. The possibility that the public wouldn't respond. That anyone so acting was facing personal violence. Arrest. Possible abuse at the hands of the authorities, out of the public eye. (Don't believe it? Don't be naïve.)

And her NAACP group may have hoped for support from the general population...but what kind of support? A few letters to the editor? A few bodies milling around outside the police station? A few activists bussed in from surrounding states? A few people refusing to ride the bus for a few weeks? What did they expect?

Did they expect a national uprising? No. They may have prayed for one, but they couldn't have predicted it. Rosa might well have wound up behind bars with just a few friends and the local arm of the NAACP struggling to protect her.

Rose Parks is an American Hero. Support or no support, she acted. I don't think there's any way, in this day and age, to enable people to understand the bravery it took for a Black woman in the South to refuse to give up that bus seat. Anything might have happened on that bus that day, and Rosa knew it.

Regardless of the assistance waiting in the wings, in the moment that Rosa Parks acted, she acted alone. The weight of her action, and the consequences, were on her shoulders.

The sheer, raw courage she displayed that day still astonishes me.

In the moment she refused to yield, Rosa Parks placed herself against the arrogant presumption of a nation. She challenged the USofA's smug view of itself as a land of equal and burgeoning opportunity. She exposed our hypocrisy and our weaknesses, and she became the face of our national shame.

This is the image of Rosa Parks that captured the imagination of the country, and of a generation.

So, you know? Yes. Rosa Parks is an American Icon.

The fact that she turned out to be smarter, better-informed, and better prepared than I thought? Is just an impressive bonus.

Update: Read this.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)
Fake News!

Someone wrote a piece of legislation with teeth in it, but it's been defanged.

You know, you just can't keep this Administraton/Congress under control. As soon as you squash them in one area, they're breaking out into idiocy in another.

Seriously, people. I know everyone in the country wants you to get active on their cause, but this one matters. It's important to know if the "news report" on some government activity you just heard is, you know, actually news or a PR blurb the government put out to soothe you.

And, like clear and transparent voting, this is a bipartisan issue. Those of you on the Right should play along. (It astonishes me how few of you care about voting issues or media transparency issues. Astonishes me and touches me, because it argues that you have a deep and abiding faith in the essential honestly and fairness of the Democratic Party, the one likely to be back in power after next year's mid-terms and in an even stronger position after the '08 Presidential election.)

So, go head. Make a call or write a letter.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)
Are you listening?

Panic in West Nile As Kony's LRA Mount Invasion

The ease and swiftness with which the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels sneaked over vast areas of South Sudan into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has caused panic in West Nile.

Questions are arising over the competence of Uganda's intelligence to detect and forestall subversive activities.

That a whole band of 370 fighters of LRA led by their much-feared Deputy Commander, Lt. Gen. Vincent Otti could pass via the SPLA-controlled South Sudan safely is baffling because Uganda has been a longtime ally of the SPLA, who surely couldn't have aided the rebels.
In response, Uganda government hurriedly transferred its battle-tested troops of the 51st and 79th battalions from Acholi land, where they have been fighting the same rebels - with little success - for nearly 19 years, to West Nile in order to secure the frontier areas.

Apparently military action is not the answer.

Situation in Sudan's Darfur Deteriorating Sharply, Says UN Refugee Agency Chief

"For Darfur to stabilise, one of two things must happen. Either the parties must radically change behaviour and respect their commitments, or AMIS must be expanded in both size and mandate, and given the support it needs. Given this conflict's history, the latter is the only real option today," David Mozersky, ICG's senior analyst said.

Not murdering thousands of people isn't an option? What kind of lunatics are these people?

Evil ones, led by this man.

The situation in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region is once again deteriorating sharply, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said, warning of a possible imminent calamity which might have "a devastating impact" on neighbouring countries and on other parts of Sudan.

They need help. But what kind?

Aid workers increasingly are the focus of attacks and humanitarian agencies say this is seriously hampering their capacity to operate on the ground in Darfur, where nearly 180,000 people have been killed 2 million others displaced since fighting erupted between the Government, allied militias and rebels in early 2003.

180,000 people have died in Darfur in the last two years.

Where is the world? Just...just watching? Again?

Sudan Focus of New Caucus in US House of Representatives

How nice. A caucus. Making, if the article is correct, one of 180 caucuses on things we care about or are worried about.

Yeah, sarcasm, but it's because I don't have any better suggestions.

Clearly you can't kill people into behaving themselves. And people in a "holy war" (demanding that Uganda be ruled by the 10 commandments?) just aren't amenable to logic and common sense.

Bottom line? Religion is dangerous and makes people stupid.

Bottomer line? If we weren't so occupied with killing thousands of people in Iraq, maybe we'd have the time and resources to do something significant in the Sudan.

But I sure don't know what.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
Hmmm

What we totally want to do is to punish an entire country because they have stricter health guidelines than we do.

Apparently we snipered the driver of that suicide bomb truck, which is why the bomb detonated before the driver was right at the hotel. Or...that's the latest story, anyhow.

Gwyn Topham is exaggerating. It's not that bad to have been born in November. I should know. (Nov 5)

I vowed to spend more time commenting on other blogs and less time blogging about other blogs, but this you should read.

(Besides. Half the blogs I've tried to comment on in the last 24 hours have popped Typepad error messages.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:30 AM | Comments (2)
October 25, 2005
Farewell, Ms. Parks

The best Rosa Parks tribute I've read so far today.




I've always wondered...who was the white man who wanted her seat? He passed in and out of history without an identity. Just a faceless symbol of white oppression. I often wonder if he ever stopped, at any point during the rest of his life, and considered the consequences of his arrogance that day. Did he ever come to understand why that bus seat wasn't his?

Posted by AnneZook at 12:32 PM | Comments (10)
Handful of Headlines

We're gonna party like it's.... Oh, wait. 1999 isn't a good number when it's a body count.

(Update: Well, in the time it took to post this entry, we moved from 1999 to 2000 casualties. Which does not, I remind you, include any of the estimated 25,000 Iraqis we've killed.)

You know, I never really believed it when people said the NRA was evil, but I'm changing my mind. Okay, yeah, I could buy the tale that they cared about "Second Amendment Rights" here in the USofA. And all of the guff about "sportsmen" needing semi-automatic weapons...okay, yeah, I could buy that it was the principle they were protecting. But now that I read that they're a force internationally? Not so much buying the "Bill of Rights" story, no.

And I'm starting to think I never did know anything about Colin Powell, but it's still painful to read this story. (And then there's this. TAPPED is all Colin Powell at the moment.)

E&P has a first-hand account of the latest Baghdad bombing, the one that targeted reporters.

Boy, am I glad I'm not a Democrat these days. They need to refine their message, their position to something they can easily deliver to the public, and that's what they're spending their time on?

Can someone please explain to them that they need to define and deliver their issue positions first? What kind of idiots try to create a "slogan" before they've defined their "product"?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
October 24, 2005
What Blogs Say

Low on the Hog gets a nod for his pithy explanation of how the MSM continues to misunderstand blogs. He says the popular sites aren't for the most part, reporting the news. They're trying to make sense of it.

Both that site and Ahistoricality are bragging on how much their blogs are worth, which is the new blogger game. Before you go and look, I'm willing to admit this one isn't worth a cent. ("Who cares," she grumbled. "Stupid Technorati, anyhow.)

I hate the specter of unemployment and poverty. I hate that I can't donate to NPR at my usual level. That I can't buy any new books. That I can't kick in a few bucks to someone whose opinions I respect and who needs a little assistance.

We're rapidly approaching the season of giving, goodwill, and charity. Make a list, and check it twice. You need to know who not to to hand a dollar to. (The first commenter has a good point, but the fact that the Bush Administration is funding a homophobic Christian organization at 95% but pitching a fit over funding the non-partisan news at NPR at more than about 15% says a lot for the priorities of the Bush Administration...and I don't approve.)

Hypocrisy, thy name is Hutchison.

Pondering the 96 feeds in my Bloglines list, I think I really need to cut down. And where I think I'll start is with a lot of those "group" blogs with six or fifteen people posting on them. I just don't have time to read all of that every day. Or even every week. Most of the time I enjoy individual blogs so much more anyhow. I like the unique voice and perspective of following an individual's point of view. (Obviously, some group blogs are immune from such action.)

Today's worthiest entry. Even if Tyler Florence isn't quite that big of a stud. And even if he (Res Publica) didn't have enough sympathy for Marc Summers who must be facing some ugly blackmail for continuing to participate in, "Unwrapped" except that sometimes he (Marc Summers) does actually visit independent producers or small companies. Which might save him (Marc Summers) from going straight to hell. But his (Res Publica) entry was pretty funny, so you should read it.

Where's the.... Maybe LabKat has the right idea? You want to attract traffic...show 'em the beef(cake)? At the moment, I'm torn between the awareness of my largely male reading audience and my desire to improve upon LabKat's parade of Ubersexuality.

And, more seriously, Brad R., at Sadly, No, explains to someone named "Justin Darr" why he...well, blows.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:54 PM | Comments (4)
Other Stories

Color me marginally bored with the coverage on Hurricane Wilma. I'm not linking to ABC or CBS, the "picture" media because they both had the same headlines. (Yes, I know our media is becoming one huge conglomerate, but do they need to rub our faces in it?)

The International Herald Tribune has a good front-page picture (Havana) if you get over to see it before it changes. Why do I want to see pictures of disasters? Because it makes it more "real"? Because I get a better sense of what's actually happening? I don't know.

Nigeria: 117 Perish in Plane Crash. Reports are that the plane exploded while in the air. My sympathy goes out to the families and loved ones of the victims.

Today's Dead Parrot story is the one where the bird in the U.K. did have the "killer" strain.

The first case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has already killed 61 people in the Far East, has been identified in Britain.

What's up with this story?

"This place is a much more sophisticated junior high school," 30-year-old Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said recently in an interview. "There are the nice guys that everybody likes, the jocks, the geeks, the bullies -- they're all here. It's a representative democracy."

I'm sure I read it a year or two ago. Not the bit about McHenry saying it, but the comparison of the Federal Government to a clique-filled school of adolescents. (The behavior of Congress and the White House makes a lot more sense when you look at it in this context.)

Do you think Ralph Nader writes his own stuff? Because if he does, I'm jealous. To Bush, on Harriet Meirs:

Moreover, before the general public, the nomination has a distinct aroma of cronyism deeply marinated in a sauce of secrecy.

What a great sentence.

Yahoo? I never use them these days.

Long-time readers of this blog know that DynCorp is on my list of really unfavored corporations, so I'm not really pleased to see them going public. And what's with trying to raise an extra $100M to pay "bonuses" to unspecified people? Why, as the general population's lives become every-more precarious, are corporations wallowing in floods of easy money? Because poor people are so last month.

Who's the FBI watching?

And, finally, lest you think government just doesn’t work, a bit of proof that it does. How else could Kentucky have won a grant to keep its bingo halls clean?

And, speaking of money? How could the sitcom Frasier have lost money? Creative accounting. We're heard the horror stories for years. Maybe it's time Hollywood (and the television industry) was forced to clean up its (accounting) act? Corporate fraud is corporate fraud, no matter how you film it.

Hmmm. I've searched my heart and my conscience, but there's no way this blog could be considered any kind of "commercial venture" and no one spending more than ten seconds here could believe I expect (or want) the current White House to endorse my low opinion of the Bush Administration and its supporters, so I guess it's okay if I repeat that it's naughty to display a Presidential Seal:

seal.gif

in either of those ways without permission. (Via Jesus' General.)

Pandagon is playing, too.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)
Read A Book

Via Ahistoricality, I found this site of "one star reviews" of ostensibly revered books. Very entertaining.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927)

Author: Thornton Wilder

“Basically all that happens is five people die on a small bridge and then the author goes on to discuss these people’s lives. What a BORE. Unless you’re some philosophical nerd, you will not enjoy this book at ALL. If I was the author of this book I’d tell myself to get a grip on the real world.”

Heh. And it's even more fun when the reviewer is trashing a book that I, myself, have never been able to love. Or even tolerate.

“In the first 20 pages, Alex and his lackies beat a guy senseless and rob him; they steal a car and trash it, they get into a vicious gang fight; they attack a couple at their home, destroy the husband’s life work (his book, A Clockwork Orange), beat him and his wife senseless, and rape the wife. This really ticked me off.”

Yes, Anthony Burgess's, "A Clockwork Orange".

And:

“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.” “While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”

That was "Grapes of Wrath."

I won't spoil any more of them. Go. Read. Giggle.

(And don't miss the, “The book is not readable because of the overuse of adverbs.”)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
Money, money, money

Some not buying story of Frist sale

Paper reports Senate leader was told of HCA holdings in "blind trust"; at odds with earlier account.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist received regular updates on his holdings in HCA, according to a published report, which would seem at odds with his earlier statements about his knowledge and control over his holdings.

Those big meanies. Picking on a guy just because he's got a little money and wants to know what's happening to it? So what if someone in his position should be making decisions based on what's good for the country and not his portfolio? Haven't you heard? The rich are the country. What's good for them is good for...well, them. Poor people don't fund campaigns.

And here's a lesson for you. You shouldn't assume that just because a deal was done by a bunch of connected cronies and because campaign contributions and payouts of ten times market value for property were involved that a deal is crooked. Naughty you.

Also? Just because someone gets paid a huuuge amount of money for doing...we know not what, it's not right to assume whatever they were doing was cover-up related. You are so cynical.

And this is an op-ed site and thus can't be trusted like real news. Guv'nor Bush hiring and firing to squash criminal investigations? It's all just speculation.

Pure speculation. Like the idea that Bush might fire Fitzgerald to squish his criminal investigations. (Also? You know, no, it ain't gonna happen. The is the USofA, not backwater Texas. People would talk.)

Hmmm. Reading this, it actually looks like the Democratic Party has a plan for the next election cycle. No, guys, it's not too early to start. But while you're planning, don't forget to speak up loud and proud right now. If you don't, you might wind up inheriting this.

But maybe they are moving? Pelosi is calling for an investigation into potential financial shenanigans around Republican Bob Ney's ties to a lucrative contract and a company connected to...wait for it...Jack Abramoff.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
New(s) From Iraq

At least 23 dead in Iraq violence. That's a nice headline to start the day with. Not.

Criminy. Some neocon nitwits still their their hand-picked pupped Chalabi could become Iraq's PM?

In the U.K., a Lt Col of an active brigade resigns over the lack of armor for his troops.

Journalism is under fire. Literally.

Two rockets and a car bomb hit the Palestine Hotel on Monday, injuring at least one person and causing considerable damage to the building that houses many foreign journalists, Iraqi police said.

No coverage on who was responsible. With a "car bomb" one assumes "insurgents" but who knows? The USofA isn't above taking a few potshots at journalists.

And it's worth noticing that the BBC covers the story very differently.

Three powerful blasts have rocked streets around Baghdad's Palestine and Sheraton hotels, one of them sending up a huge plume of smoke and dust.

It is unclear what caused them in a city that has seen frequent car bomb and mortar attacks, and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

I don't watch much television, but if I did, and I'd have known it was on, I might have watched "The Question of Torture". But maybe not...because I don't need to be convinced that torture is wrong and that the Bush Administration's adoption of it as an "interrogation technique" is a national disgrace. Nor that the soldiers torturing people are going to have a hard time with their behavior in the years to come (although I don't know if that was addressed in the program or not).

Still. The interview about how the program was made and why it wasn't made by the "mainstream media" is worth reading. (And, no, Michael Kirk isn't massively biased against the Bush Administration*, so those of you who lean Right can read the interview without fear of cooties.) (*I can tell the same way I always tell...he said things that annoyed me.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)