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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

December 24, 2005
Celebrate!

Let's celebrate the season with a whirlwind tour around a few ports in the World O'Blog

Cathy From Canada gets it right most of the time and I especially recommend Getting Worse. (And don't miss Great line of the day.)

And, speaking of quotes....

Both Hellblazer and Bérubé used the world "pwned" in their blogs this week. I have no idea what they're talking about, which is a testament to how disconnected I am from "popular" culture.

Chris at Interesting Times has a link to an Ezra Klein piece, and some darned good advice for people who find themselves in political debates with wingnuts. Just...reject the premise.

Remember a post or two ago when I speculated that the gov'mint wants all data passed digitally so they can spy on us more easily? I should have just visited The Poor Man.

Avedon Carol adds to the Boiling frog notes (Torture! Legalized!) and earlier this week she talked about missing footnotes in the media's understanding and coverage of the Lefthand World O'Blog.

In the same "boiling the frog" vein, apparently Fox (so-called) News no longer has any fear of revealing white-supremacist ties.

Last, but certainly not least, good-by to Jonathan Dresner, who will no longer be enlightening and entertaining us at Cliopatria.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:24 AM | Comments (4)
Happy Holidays

Ho. Bill Would Allow Arrests For No Reason In Public Place

"It brings us frighteningly close to a show me your papers society," said Carrie Davis of the ACLU, which opposes the Ohio Patriot Act.

I was thinking that exact same thing, even before I read that sentence.

Ho. Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report

Do you know what your internet provider has been doing?

(Tangentially, I find myself wondering if the government's demand that everything become digital ASAP is connected to the relative east of mining digital data? If TV becomes digital, for instance, how long will it be before stations are gathering digital information on just which households watch them and when? Will those of us who watch programs that are too "liberal" find ourselves visited by the Terrorism Cops? Yes, it's far-fetched. But a lot less unthinkable than it was five years ago.)

Ho. If the Supreme Court thinks that government officials should be immune from prosecution, well, isn't that just a license to commit crimes?


P.S. It's A Wonderful Internet

Posted by AnneZook at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)
December 23, 2005
FEMA

Apparently, whatever the Bush Administration sees FEMA as, it's not as a response agency for national disasters.

And the "changes" we've heard are being planned are designed to make us think they're cleaning up their act more than actually doing something.

If this is true, well...my sympathy goes out to the good, dedicated people who work in the Agency.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)
Huh?

They're being held illegally but you can go ahead and hold them forever if you want to because I don't know what to do with them.

What kind of ruling is that from a federal judge?

Am I just oversensitive today or are there signs of mass insanity sweeping across this country?

Posted by AnneZook at 03:16 PM | Comments (1)
Celebrate Mediocrity

Congress Leaves Bush Agenda Unfinished is a headline to warm the heart.

And yet....

"If it were an ordinary year, a traditional year, sort of a simple first year of a president's second term, you would have to say he had a pretty good year," said Stephen Hess, public affairs professor at George Washington University.

Boggles the mind. By what standard would a year of fighting about torture, body counts and illegal wire taps, one withdrawn Supreme Court nomination, and another stalled nomination, allegations of financial corruption and fraud in the majority party, and an intelligence scandal that comes ever-closer to the White House be considered a pretty good year?

Our standards sure have fallen.

"They did a lot of tier-two issues that were important to certain constituencies but that, in and of themselves, were not of any great magnitude," Franc said. "It was not a year for, obviously, enactment or even action on tier-one issues."

A man with a 3 point "mandate" that increasingly looks like the result of blatant election fraud might need to be grateful that individual members of Congress had their own pet projects to push through, some of which can be touted as "wins" for the White House.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
Wiretapping

I was going to have an opinion on Bush deciding he has the power to circumvent the courts and the Constitution and to order wiretaps of private conversations completely unconnected with any pretended war on an emotion but...what can I say?

They did what they did, in spite of Congress telling them they couldn't.

This is another of those cases. You either get it, or you don't. This Administration does whatever the hell they want to do and they don't really give a shit about the law. They think they're above it.

And millions of unthinking USofA citizens continue to think that's okay.

It mystifies me.

You either understand the importance of the rule of law and civil liberties, or you don't. How can we have so many millions of citizens who fail to grasp the fundamental building blocks of their own nation?

How can you be so short-sighted?

You're not the kind of person who can do what's right because it's right, so let me put it another way. You either understand that you have to speak up for others or there will be no one left to speak up for you when it's your turn. Or, you don't. And if you don't, I really don't know of any words short enough and simple enough to make you understand it.

One thing I can promise you with 100% conviction though, is that your turn will come. I know that in your mind, you're never going to be the kind of person targeted. You think you're immune. That's what makes you okay with letting other people be targeted.

When you find out you're wrong, it's going to be far too late.


Posted by AnneZook at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)
Kidnapped

Oddly, some of the world doesn't approve of breaking the law in order to uphold the law or to fight terrorists who break the law or people who might be or might be going to be terrorists who might or might not be thinking about breaking a law some day.

EU-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap'

Abu Omar was allegedly kidnapped from a Milan street An Italian court has issued Europe-wide arrest warrants for 22 suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003.

Looks like we should plan on staying inside our own borders for a while.

Say...until 2008. Or after the impeachment.


Posted by AnneZook at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)
Celebrate Mediocrity

Congress Leaves Bush Agenda Unfinished is a headline to warm the heart.

And yet....

"If it were an ordinary year, a traditional year, sort of a simple first year of a president's second term, you would have to say he had a pretty good year," said Stephen Hess, public affairs professor at George Washington University.

Boggles the mind. By what standard would a year of fighting about torture, body counts and illegal wire taps, one withdrawn Supreme Court nomination, and another stalled nomination, allegations of financial corruption and fraud in the majority party, a disastrous failure of an appointed offical to respond to a catastrophic hurricane (and a president noticeably disconnected from the problem), and an intelligence scandal that comes ever-closer to the White House be considered a pretty good year? And that's just some of what's happened over the last year.

Our standards sure have fallen.

"They did a lot of tier-two issues that were important to certain constituencies but that, in and of themselves, were not of any great magnitude," Franc said. "It was not a year for, obviously, enactment or even action on tier-one issues."

A man with a 3 point "mandate" that increasingly looks like the result of blatant election fraud might need to be grateful that individual members of Congress had their own pet projects to push through, some of which can be touted as "wins" for the White House.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)
December 22, 2005
Holiday Shopping?

Stuck for that last, perfect holiday gift? Why not Rent-a-Negro.com?

Ayo believes that the practice of renting is the very real, socially acceptable legacy of slavery. "We continue to look at black people in a service mentality, whether it's bringing somebody their evening meal or serving up their education on racism," she says. "And this, as we know, is not the role of black people in our society anymore. I was really interested in the way white people would get offended when I was reluctant to let them touch my hair or explain rap music to them. I realized that they had an expectation of me as a black person to do as they asked."

It's an interesting point, but it seems to me that it is, just a little, a case of, "you see what you look for."

In a group of four or five women and one or two men having a conversation, there comes the inevitable moment when the women demand of the man, "why do men do ____?" As though the one man can answer for all the men in the world and educate the women on Why Men Are the Way They Are.

Similarly, I've been faced many times with a man or men asking, "why do women always ____?" as though I can answer for all the women in the world. (No, they don't tend to ask me if they can touch my parts, but I've often had the feeling that some of them would, given the least encouragement.)

And I've had people question me about life on a farm and whether or not I can milk a cow, just because they find out I'm originally from Kansas. Because they assume everyone from Kansas lives on a dirt-poor farm at the threshold to Oz.

Making assumptions about groups of people is how we begin to relate to them, how we begin to understand them.

It's only when the issue of skin color arises that this perfectly natural curiosity about "the other" in our society suddenly becomes disgraceful.

Whether it's because of gender, disability, or skin color, a willingness to be educated should be celebrated, not seen as lingering bigotry.

And at a time when we all must accept and admit that the Black experience in the USofA is very different than the White experience? I think this willingness to commit a small social gaffe in order to reach out across that barrier should be applauded. While I think it's very possible to look at this as the legacy of slavery, it's just as possible to see it as an openness to learning about People Who Are Not Like Me.

But don't let my quibbling prevent you from reading the article or taking a look at the website (or even buying the book). It's exceptionally fine satire.

There are a lot of people in this country for whom meeting or talking with a Black person really is an unusual experience, and there's plenty of real bigotry left that needs to be fought. I applaud Damali Ayo's willingness to speak up about a topic that too many people are afraid to discuss openly.

I just think Ms. Ayo needs to understand that we've all had to learn new things and make adjustments to the "dominant" culture in our pluralistic society. She'd have had to do a lot of learning and adjusting no matter what her skin color. T

hat's what living in a "society" is all about. Making adjustments so that we can all co-exist. I caution against assuming that every "adjustment" you have to make is because your social group is being oppressed.

______________________________

Completely tangential rant:

At the risk of getting myself into a lot of trouble, let me point out that "grunge culture" or whatever it's called today, is not the path to success in today's society.

So, for you kids (of all skin colors) running around with three rings in your nose or pierced tongues and eyebrows and talking the language of rap music?

Take off the jewelry, learn some decent table manners (you will have business meals to get through), buy some decent clothes, and learn to speak the (dominant, yes) language of business in this country. (Or, if not, don't blame us because the sight of your chewing gum stuck in your tongue stud makes us rethink the wisdom of having you around all the time in the office.)

Learn that there's a difference between "personal" and "professional" and just as big a difference between "private" and "public."

Personally and privately, your life is your business.

Publicly and professionally, there are rules to follow. These rules are what makes it possible for tens of millions of us to live shoulder-to-shoulder. They aren't some kind of "repression" or at least if they are, we're all equally repressed.

The business world, especially, is a game. And, like any game, you can't win by ignoring the rules.

______________________________

Another rant:

And that goes double for the jackass in the SUV who thinks jacking up his vehicle on giant tires give him the right to drive over the top of everyone else in rush-hour traffic.

There are rules and these are vitally important when we're all hurtling down the road, surrounded by tons of metal. Every one of us is driving a mobile weapon and it behooves us all to be just a teensy bit considerate of the other armed users of the roadways.

You are breakng the rules and you are able to continue breaking them every day purely through the courtesy of the other ten thousand users of that same road, users whose perception of the fragillity of our "civilized" society is keener than yours.

In my world? You are a bigger danger than a bank robber. We have police and laws to deal with criminals, but there's no real way for us to deal with those who are eroding the actual fabric of civilization one rush-hour at a time.


And now, society demands that I put on shoes and comb my hair because I have to move from my personal living room to the public world of employment. Note that while I spend 90% of my "personal" life barefoot, I don the Shoes Of Professionalism willingly and without complaining that society is repressing me.

It's a game. If I put on the right clothes and bathe and show up at a designated location for a designated number of hours, they give me money which I can exchange for server space upon which I am able to run this blog.

I don't know. It's always seemed like a fair trade to me.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:42 AM | Comments (2)