Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Yahoo! Directory: Elvis Presley > Impersonators

Yahoo! Directory: Elvis Presley > Impersonators

Spend the morning in Nebraska, eat an entire bag of Gardetto's mix, and spend your evening working on an story on kid's theatre and you are bound to have weird dreams. In my MSG-induced fever dream, I fell in love with an Elvis impersonator. Just try walking through the rest your day with periodic love scenes between yourself and Elvis (and not young Elvis, damnit!) floating through your head.

It's going to be a long day.

It was a great trip- the holiday was the stuff of Norman Rockwell fantasy (well, on the surface at least. We are a liberal family so we were sprinkling the idyllic scene of filial feasting with epithets against the Chimp in Chief). Perfect food, perfect Iowa weather, good times. I miss the laid-back attitude of the midwest.

The kids theatre thing was fun- a local theatre group is putting on a production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and I attended a dress rehearsal last night. So funny- kids at around 8 and 9 are so incredibly perceptive and so manipulative. One 8-year old insisted on a close-up photo and a cutline. I said I'd see what I could do, wondering if she had an agent. I'll be doing a preview story on the show, which is something I've never really done before so I'm hoping for the best.

Anyway- still playing catch-up from for the weekend so blogging will probably be light. Meantime, ponder this:

No Bushie in Iraq this Thanksgiving? How come? Could it be that he's not feeling all that welcome anymore?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The New York Times > National > Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda

The New York Times > National > Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda: "Americans said they opposed changing the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which Mr. Bush campaigned on in the final weeks of his campaign. A majority continue to support allowing either same-sex marriages or legally recognized domestic partnerships for gay people."

This article confused me. It looks like people generally espouse Kerry's views but still voted for Bush. Further, they have concerns about his leadership but . . . still voted for him. Further:

" [...] in one bit of presumably good news for a party that is looking for it, Americans now have a better opinion of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party: 54 percent said they had a favorable view of Democrats, compared with 39 percent with an unfavorable view. By contrast, 49 percent have a favorable view of Republicans, compared with 46 percent holding an unfavorable one."

In the words, or letters, rather, of my father, WTF?

People knew the guy was an idiot, disagreed with his values, were more positive about the general attitude of the party opposing him and STILL voted for him?

I'm not saying Americans are dumb. But what leads to this kind of behavior?

Oh yeah. The fear thing. Ask any abused woman why she stays with the guy. It's because she's scared of the unknown.

Either that or allegations of voter fraud are true.

Monday, November 22, 2004

And a little Saabblogging while we're at it

Tom Servo, the Saab.

Monday morning catblogging


NBC.com > American Dreams: Salute to the Armed Forces

NBC.com > American Dreams: Salute to the Armed Forces

Okay. So I love American Dreams, the same way I loved Dawsons Creek. It is heavy handed drama that placates me for an hour before I have to return to Reality. I call it quality television. But . . .

Last night's episode bugged me. I like how the show balances the notion that one can be loyal to the troops and wish them safety while simultaneously objecting to the war (the daughter, Meg, represents this balance). Last night's episode featured his emotional (if somewhat anti-climactic) homecoming and I was genuinely grateful on behalf of my little fictional family that he was home. However, the show made it at least somewhat clear that he faced an uphill battle at home to regain a sense of normalcy and switch over from war mode to home mode. Fair enough.

The show was presented "with minimal commercial interruption" by Ford. Hah. The father presented his newly returned son with a BRAND NEW, 1966 Ford Mustang. Product placement less subtle than a sledgehammer. The cast worked ably around it, and so did the story, but after the show, Ford presented a thick gooey 5-minute commercial in which a soldier returns home and bonds with Dad over war stories and his 1970 Fastback. I was doing okay until that. The product placement was okay in the story, but the pukeworthy extended commercial at the end insulted me deeply but reminded me of the inextricable link between the modern Armed Forces and commercialism.

For one, I doubt, as the father in the commercial said, that the mere thought of the '70 Stang was what kept those boys going in 'Nam. I guess the car is supposed to be sort of a synecdoche (ha! I love it when I get to use that word!) for America- for how a poor kid bagging groceries could join the forces, come back, and with his military training find a job that would earn him that shiny new car. Fine. But I would at least like to think that guys over there in Viet Nam were thinking of life itself, of the future, of their families, of their hometowns . . . and somewhere down that list after kid brothers and girlfriends and taking a long hot shower after getting home is the idea of a new car. Cars are important to Americans, and are a symbol of America, but they are not THAT important.

I think this link has been around for some time- one only needs to look at a vintage Life magazine to see that service men and women are used in plenty of advertising. Coke ads show guys embracing mom, little sisters offering their freshly returned GI a bottle of soda. But now- I guess I just find it distasteful that in a war so dominated by commercial interests that servicemen and women are becoming mere mascots for huge corporations. Especially corporations so dependent on the oil industry.

I could live with the '66 in the show. That was fine, because the show is called "American Dreams" and they presented the car in a scene that explored the complexities of post-war life for every veteran. But the schmalzy commercial that followed was an insult to the Armed Forces, not a salute as they so tritely called it. It was a reminder, at least to me, that there is a cottage industry surrounding the Armed Forces that exists to exalt the idealized veteran while making huge amounts of money off of their deployment. Does anyone actually think those yellow ribbon magnets cost $8 to make? Those things don't support the troops. They support people who know how to make money off of a war. In my eyes, those companies who make such things are no better than Halliburton. They are profiteering off of the fact that this trumped-up war involves people close to the hearts of the American consumer.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I think this movie has changed my life

You are Donnie Darko! You are confused and mentally
unstable but you are a truly great person who just
wants to love, be loved, and not die alone.
"I promise one day everything will be
better for you."

Which Donnie Darko Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, November 19, 2004

My town

Today I got up early (imagine!) and headed over to the DMV to get new plates for my schweet new ride. The process took a lot less time than expected so I strolled over to my neighborhood coffeeshop for a cup of java and some people-watching.

Longmont is old enough and small enough to still have a Main Street so I hopped into Gizzi's Coffee, the newest shop on Main, which has large, floor-to-ceiling windows on the front. Perfect for watching the cars, the people, etc.

I sat for some time, enjoying the radiant warmth from the sunshine (it was cold but sunny) and watched the people inside the shop. A boy and his mother ate cinnamon rolls. A businessman in an expensive suit answered cell phone calls. The owner was talking with what appeared to be a job applicant.

Outside I saw the Teddy Bear Lady approach.

Longmont is home to a handful of homeless people, including the Teddy Bear Lady. They are always going somewhere, never stopping or sitting in alleyways but always walking. The Teddy Bear Lady is so-named for her stroller with a giant teddy bear in it, festooned with shopping bags and other possessions. She is a talker. Always chatting about her poor health, the weather, and so on. She never begs . . . she just talks.

She was wearing a skirt with no stockings today and it is obvious she suffers from a swelling malady of some kind. Her skin looks drawn and tight on her legs and her windburned fingers.

I saw the businessman open the door for her and the stroller as she left the coffeeshop after spending some change for a hot chocolate. I found it endearing.

There is another place on Main today that I found interesting- there are a lot of stores nearby that cater to semi-legal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and one of them has a large sign in Spanish that advertises an easy and cheap way to send money to Mexico. Not two doors away is a travel agent with a sign saying "Escape to Mexico."

I hadn't found a way to spend time downtown in a while. Today I'm glad I got to see a morning in my town. It was peaceful. I am never at a loss for things to be thankful for in my life. But I look at the relative calm, the peace in my town, and I am so thankful that I am privileged enough to know peace. There are plenty of people in this world who never have.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Get Fuzzy

Get Fuzzy

You are Rob Wilco!  You own Bucky Katt and Satchell Pooch, even if it doesn't seem like it at times.  You are very sarcastic and do your best to co-exist with your pets.
You are Rob Wilco! You own Bucky Katt and Satchell
Pooch, and put up with their antics constantly.
You work in an Ad Agency, and do your best to
balance work and dealing with your pets. You
listen to Leo Kottke and like the New Zealand
All Blacks along with many other great things.
You are very sarcastic and generally wear

Which Get Fuzzy Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Manifesto time

Okay, I've had about two weeks to think this over, to let the anger subside. But let's face it- the GOP blogosphere is having a little party right now and harping about how they are not only in the majority but feel that they have been vindicated in their bigotry, small-mindedness and lack of foresight. I feel that it is now time to do a little clearing of the air, a little rebuttal, if you will. Since the simplest among us enjoy lists, I will present it as such.

1. Myth No. 1: Liberals are out of the mainstream.
What mainstream? The mainstream is imaginary, especially in America. If you are one of those who think the mainstream is white, Christian, married, conservative and balks at the widespread popularity of "Will and Grace," you may be correct about the mainstream in your suburb, but visit Detroit or New York or hell, even Longmont and you will find many many people who exist well outside that narrow definition of the "mainstream." 79% of America lives in cities with a population of more than 750 thousand. Despite what these people would like us to believe, the American Gothic contingent is not predominant.

People love to talk about this imaginary majority. They love to say that "mainstream" America doesn't want gays to be married. They like to say that "mainstream" America enjoys watching NASCAR, shopping at WalMart, reading People Magazine, and refuses to pay attention to global events. If you listen to the Right, "mainstream" America is a contemptible, bigoted little prick. And I happen to know that most Americans are simply not that way.

And what's worse, if you use the "liberals are outside the mainstream" argument to discount the ideas liberals have, you are effectively saying that anyone outside of this narrow definition of "normal" America simply doesn't count. What, I ask, is wrong with being outside of this imaginary "mainstream?"

2. Myth No. 2: We lost because we don't have the numbers and we are failing as a party.
We lost because of many reasons, but not because we are failing as a party. One of many reasons is probably voter fraud, but I'm not going to depend on that as an explanation. The main reason was because of fear. Because people (even smart people) do stupid things when they are scared. You know how that girl always runs upstairs in horror flicks? Well, think of re-electing Bush as the political equivalent of running upstairs when you are chased by an axe murderer. It doesn't make sense, but she was scared.

As far as numbers go, we came damn close. Turnout was at an all-time high and we managed to eke out a near-victory for a war-protesting, French-looking Massachussetts liberal democrat whose record was iffy and whose platform was wobbly. Nearly half of America was willing to vote for a candidate as described above, during wartime.

It's not that we don't have the numbers. And it is certainly not that we are dying off- we are making the comeback of the century. We nearly beat a president who once basked in a nearly 90 per cent approval rating back during 9/11. I have to believe next time will be different. It's going to be a rocky 2006.

3. Myth No. 3: Liberals hate America and would rather have kept Saddam in power.
This is the lowest of the low. The people that say this are effectively channeling their inner six year old: "Ms. Hoover! Liberals are saying they hate America and like Saddam Hussein and they like to eat dog poopy!"

Liberals do not hate America. Most of us are trying very hard right now not to hate anybody, because that's the easy way out. Hate is more of a, oh, how to put it, Red State value. We like it here, and most of us, for all of those who are bandying the word "expatriate" about, intend to stay here. Because America is not just for those who enjoy its loose gun laws and gigantic churches. It is also mountains, streams, canyons, cities, cultural plurality, innovation, arts and (at least for now) freedom to join or refuse to join any established religion you care to. There are plenty of other freedoms we know and love and aren't stupid enough to abandon. We know it's the best place to live but- here's the kicker- we also know it can be better. The more we innovate and improve, the better things can be for everyone.

As per the Saddam thing- this is just a bad syllogism. To hate a war does not equal loving a warlord. Lest we forget- in 1999 conservatives were arguing that military intervention in Yugoslavia was a terrible idea but we don't go around saying that Republicans all love and sympathize with Milosevic (remember McCain saying that the U.S. would "lose credibility" in the eyes of the world if we launched airstrikes in Yugoslavia? Republicans caring about global credibility. Those were the days). Yes, the world is a better place without Milosevic. And Saddam (although I think he's still nominally in the world).

But it would be way better without U.S. troops in Iraq now. And way better if we hadn't basically given our allies the finger. And way better if Iraq wasn't being rebuilt by Halliburton. In short, the world would be a better place if Bush had listened to Colin Powell. But alas, we don't live in that world. It is pointless to argue to some the subtleties of this, but to those who say liberals are Sadaam sympathizers, you might retaliate and say, well, would the world be a better place with Slobodan Milosevic in power? It's back to that whole six-year old mentality, but apparently that works.

Myth No. 4: Liberals don't have values.
Well, if you call gay-bashing and encouragement of sexual ignorance values, I don't want any values. We do have values. We value life- that's why we oppose capital punishment and militarism. We value love- which is why we believe that people should benefit from our nation's freedoms if they love one another, regardless of who they love. We value children- which is why we want each one to be wanted and want our children to informed on how to protect themselves from disease and unintended pregnancy. We value education and freedom of faith and we value the world's resources. We value women and minorities and the differences between us all.

Next time some idiot tells me they voted for "moral values," I may remind them that Fox Network, the sleaziest, cheesiest orifice of public entertainment, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who celebrated each day prior to the last election day with a countdown to Bush's reelection. I may remind them of the "values" Guiliani holds dear. Or about the values of human dignity so clearly displayed at Abu Ghraib.

Bottom line- I'm done crying in my beer and now I have to say it's time for action. I love my country, which is why I'll be damned if it's going to be Wal-Marted, Jerry Fallwelled and Rumsfelded out of existence.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Things I will never do . . .

Because everyone else does (according to obits, anniversaries and engagement announcements):
-Go to Mexico on my honeymoon
-Go an a cruise for an anniversary
-Buy an RV
-Move to Mesa, Ariz.
-Crochet items for my grandchildren

Sometimes these obituaries are just too disturbingly similar. Kinda like the people in this town . . .

Chris Rock = Genius

From The Onion AV Club interview:
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's weird. I'm an independent, but I got to admit I lean Democratic. But just as a television person who does shows, the Republicans had a much better convention. As a producer and a performer, they had a way better show. It wasn't even close. They got their message out, even if it's a weird message. The Republicans have convinced people that there's a greater risk of a plane hitting their place of work than you actually losing your job. You know, you say you'll protect us, but we never really got hit until you got here. We weren't in danger until we met you."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Start spreading the news . . .

I'm leaving in March . . .
Just for a visit, though. I'm heading to Old New York for the first time ever, and I am very very excited. I've never been further East than Atlanta, never seen the Atlantic from this side. I'd welcome any suggestions for hotspots to hit- I have always wanted to see the big buildings, like the Chrysler building and the Empire State building. Hm . . . I'll have to get a digital camera by then.

Such a tourist. But I'm so psyched. I've always wanted to go. And to tell you the truth, it's been a while since I've been in a true Blue state . . .

Until next time . . .

Friday, November 12, 2004

Year-old news that's news to me.

Top News Article | Reuters.com

So. Everyone in America needs to watch "Control Room."

I have always had a little fascination with Al-Jazeera, being that my dad lived in the Middle East for a while and I'm always interested in what other countries' media operations are saying. Yes, that definitely puts me on Ashcroft's list (soon to be passed down to Alberto Gonzales. Hi Al!) but I think it is important to understand what is going on over there and how it is being broadcast over the greater Arab world.

Here are the high points:

Most Arabs don't hate Americans. They hate Bush and they hate his administration. They hate the arrogance. Iraq is literally the oldest civilization on the planet. They have taken care of themselves for thousands of years. They had libraries when Europe was clawing its way out of the Dark Ages. They were offended by the Crusades then, and they are even more offended now. Some Arabs feel that their susceptibility to dictators is their own fault- that Arabs do not rise up as they should against their brutal leaders. But they nonetheless think that it is their own responsibility- the Arab responsibility- to overcome them, not the "white man's burden" to intervene.

Al-Jazeera employs women in high positions, and they don't wear veils.

Tarek Ayoub, an Al-Jazeera reporter, died from wounds inflicted by the U.S. military that also hit two other non-military targets where the media was staying in Baghdad. I don't see how the U.S. can simultaneously argue that this was accidental while touting their precision weaponry. But accidental or not, it wasn't very smart.

Toppling the Saddam statue was staged. One Iraqi Al-Jazeera exec said the men in the square didn't even have Iraqi accents, and all the men involved came in with the tanks. Did one of them just carry the Iraqi flag around, waiting for this moment? And why did no one come out of the surrounding buildings to join them? PR, my friends, it was all PR.

Some things that Arabs believe, if they are true or not, are very troubling. Some think that the looting was by order of the U.S. Military. Looting TV stores and even the Ba'athist headquarters makes sense. Looting a museum does not. An Al-Jazeera reporter believed that they were ordered to destroy evidence of Iraq's history in order to create a more malleable, forgetful Iraqi people. Whether or not this is true, it is scary that he, and undoubtedly others, think it is true. He believes America is seeking to erase Iraq's history in the name of democracy.

Al-Jazeera is not propaganda. Rumsfeld likes to say it is because it is easy to imagine that they are. It is easy for Americans to believe they are because Americans don't watch it. But we must remember that they are reporting from the Arab perspective- they show the cost of this war more explicitly than we do not to propagandize but because this war is on THEIR turf. Their people are dying. Their museums are being destroyed. They have a different perspective, but not a useless perspective. In fact, every day we ignore what Al-Jazeera has to say, we are missing an opportunity to understand just why we are struggling to win their hearts and minds.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Fallujah is hell on earth, say Iraqis - Iraq - www.theage.com.au

Fallujah is hell on earth, say Iraqis - Iraq - www.theage.com.au

Okay. Imagine for a moment what this must be like.

One moment you are living in your rough city of nearly 300,000 (think Witchita or Toledo or Cincinnati). Next moment it is taken over by an insurgency seeking a stronghold after the Bagdad invasion. Suddenly they are burning and hanging the bodies of American soldiers in the streets. Months later the fighting has gone so badly that most of your friends have fled for other cities and everyone knows that the rebel leaders are long gone but for some reason they keep fighting.

The population in your city dwindles and you fall asleep to the sound of RPG fire close enough that the glass left in your window rattles. There has been fighting in the streets for a long time but now almost everyone has left. You can't remember when the water stopped running, but it has been gone for some time now. You remember when electricity was intermittent, but now it's gone.

We forget, here, what it is like to have this happening in your homeland. No matter how you feel about the war, it is important to know what it must feel like about the innocent people who are just trying to live in Iraq right now. The perception that all Iraqis are either fighting with us or fighting against us is inaccurate- plenty of them are just trying to live around the war, carry on their lives, dodge the constant explosions.

Semantics and the Bush Administration

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and
terror has been achieved."
- JOHN ASHCROFT, the attorney general, in his resignation letter.

I heart Frontline. Frontline tells you so many facts that sometimes it is hard to parse out an opinion of your own. But last night's Frontline covered the advertising industry and how it has had to change so much in recent years to break through the "clutter" of its own design. Procedures such as focus groups and narrowcasting were discussed, and most of it sounded pretty innovative and interesting and based in the essential tenets of Freudian Psychology.

Then they talked to Frank Luntz, a political strategist for the Bush administration. He was using focus groups to discern what words they responded favorably to, for an energy corporation. This is the man who turned "global warming" into "climate change," "The Iraq War" into the "War on Terror," the "Estate Tax" into the "Death Tax," the "Tax Reform Act of 1969" into the "marriage penalty." He doesn't change policies, he changes the way we refer to them.

He is the Ministry of Information.

Although they didn't discuss it, I am willing to bet that Mr. Luntz is also the one who morphed "civil unions" into "gay marriage" as well. He knows what that 51% of America wants to think, and he doesn't get in the way of them thinking it, no matter how f*&ked up it is.

Semantics play a huge role in any political campaign, but the semantics of the modern GOP are desceptive and visceral, using intimidation, confusion and fear. Think "Clear Skies Act." "Operation Iraqi Freedom." "FairPay." Respectively, these are pieces of legislation that lowered standards for industrial emissions, invaded a nation to impose a set of foreign governmental and economic ideals (I believe Webster calls that an occupation, see also imperialism) and refused thousands of workers their right to overtime pay.

"Laci Peterson's Law" evoked the horrific murder of a pregnant woman to chip away at Roe V. Wade. "Defense of Marriage" implies that marriage is under attack. "No Child Left Behind" assumes that before, children were being left behind, alone and frightened (more appropriate, perhaps for legislation helping AIDS orphans than promoting standardized aptitude tests).

My point? Democrats need to get on board the Semantics Train. We need to hire a Frank Luntz of our own. Let's bring up the "Civil Tolerance for Couples Act" and demonize the other side for their bigotry on the civil unions issue. Let's pass the "Abortion Reduction Act of 2006" and implement free birth control programs and after-school safe sex classes for all high-schoolers. We're the ones with the masters degrees in English, let's use them.

We need to find something that counters the "Freedom on the March" nonsense. Preferably something with "mission" to refer back to the ridiculously premature "Mission Accomplished" BS. Something Biblical. How about "Mission Armageddeon." Yeah, that works.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The United States of Reality has a nice ring to it.

"It's as if the genes of liberals have rendered them immune to all forms of filth.":

Bleh, this guy is disgusting, but he proposes a neat idea. Let's all of us Bleu states branch off and keep all of our Federal taxes, civil liberties and respect for working women and minorities and all of the Red states who seem to have no quarrel taking our subsidies but never stop blathering about how we're all going to hell (as John Stewart says, NOW who's the elitist?!) can have their own damn country.

See, this wingnut thinks that all 38 bleus need to secede in order for his people to live it up in peace, love and lovely white supremacy. That leaves us with NY, CA, IL, the other original colonies, the pacific northwest and some midwestern states. That leaves us with the world's fifth largest economy, most of both coasts, the UN, the Capital, the home of the Internet, Microsoft, the Redwood Forests, the film industry, the tv industry, most of the music industry (but not Nashville. Wah.), the fashion industry (not that most of Red America has ever found a use for that, excepting Ann Coulter's Prada addiction), the lumber industry, a huge percentage of coal production and Wall Street. Oh, and the cultural capital of minority groups.

In trade, they get the Alamo, the world's largest ball of twine, the Museum of the Confederacy and Salt Lake City.

Yeah, great idea. I'm all for it. Except I want to keep Iowa. Cheese curds rule.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: When the Personal Shouldn't Be Political

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: When the Personal Shouldn't Be Political

Okay. Let's have a little talk about the facts of life. We will never go back to the 1950s, no matter how hard people try, and when people other than white men imagine the possibility of doing so, it is understandably painful to think about. Black people- into the shadows. Women- back to your kitchens! Gays- back into the proverbial closet. The genie is out of the bottle. The Fab Five has spoken. They're here, they're queer, and yes, as much as it pains some, we have to get used to it.

As much as some people would like to have this magical time-travel experiment back to the Beaver Cleaver days, the idea of voting on "moral values" simply because you don't want to recognize the world we live in today is just a gussied-up version of bigotry and intolerance. I'm tired of telling myself to get used to the conservative perspective on things while their idea of reciprocation is to call Lefties traitors, heathens and morally bankrupt yuppies. I admire people who use their faith to help others. I respect people who use faith to better themselves. I, and I think Jesus is here with me on this, am disgusted by people who use faith to justify their bigotry.

I have openly gay friends. Many of the people who believe in Bush's kind of faith do not have openly gay friends, so I might be able to understand their lack of empathy on this subject. But I have gay friends who are, for the most part, a good sight more monogamous than many of my straight friends. The argument that gay people would abuse marriage because of their promiscuous lifestyle simply does not stack up when one considers that nearly 37 percent of men and 22 percent of women admit to having extramarital affairs (note also that this site makes the claim that Christian couples break up more than non-Christian couples for reasons of infidelity). People are unfaithful, regardless of orientation.

And nobody can tell me that "Who Wants to Marry my Dad" hasn't done more damage to the sanctity of marriage than any gay couple could.

A lot of anti-civil-union folk like to play the childbearing card. Since it is impossible for gay unions to produce children, they are not valid. Excuse me if I am about to reveal more than you all wanted to know, but there is a fairly good chance that my male/female marriage, should I choose to have one, will not produce children: either by choice or by my own physical inability. The child argument stings for me, because it invalidates the marriages of every infertile couple on the planet. But it seems that this is the best that they can argue.

But the main point I am trying to make here is that the Constitution should never be used to keep a group of people from having rights. As much as the anti-gay-union lobby likes to talk about slippery slopes and how we will go straight from civil unions to incest and polygamy, the simple fact remains that a far scarier slope will be created if we start putting words in the constitution that bar a group from enjoying certain rights simply because of who they are. The Constitution should protect minorities who are outvoted by the majority (are you listening, Antonin Scalia?).

Imagine what could happen if the Constitution started banning other rights now enjoyed by people in the minority. Would they ban marriages between people who were mentally handicapped? The elderly (bottom line of a lot of anti-union arguments is that people don't want to think about gay sex. On that line of reasoning, you better believe they'd outlaw elderly marriages . . .)? To me, the consequences of taking people's rights away by a Constitutional amendment are far more frightening than any gay marriage.

We can't go back to the 1950s. And it would seem the difference between progressives and conservatives is that we have enough sense not to want to.

Fanatical Apathy: Concession Speech

Fanatical Apathy: Concession Speech

I like the tone of this. This is how we are all feeling, underneath our skins and underneath our quiet "dignity."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Supporting (all of) our troops

I got called in to work a little early because they are doing a special Vet's day spread and needed a spare cub reporter to interview a couple of the vets that came in. I was grumbling on my way to work, imagining interminable rants from old guys about how kids today just don't unnerstand that freedom aint free and we're all spoiled rotten little commie brats that are content to drive rice-burners with peace stickers on them . . . you know, very stereotypical angry militaristic stuff that I've come to expect from vets because of my family.

But as soon as I got to talking to these guys I learned that they are, like all groups of people, not a bloc. They are incredibly diverse, broken to various degrees but nonetheless proud, and so very profound.

I talked to a guy who joined up at 17 and was told not to call himself a soldier during his duty in Southeast Asia because it was before Vietnam was "official."

I talked to the daughter of a vet suffering from dementia- a sweet old man who was shot twice before his 19th birthday and was only saved from a D-Day deployment due to the public outcry of stateside mothers who demanded that 18-year olds be spared from the invasion.

I talked to an ancient, slim WWII vet who, with tears in his eyes, said that while he was proud of his service and of his training, that he believes in peace.

"We're like firemen," he said. "We train all our lives to be the best we can be at what we do, and we pray- we pray to God- that we never have to do it."

His philosophy is much like mine- that we should be prepared to defend ourselves but that military intervention should be the absolute last answer. He fought and was injured in a war that was just and that furthered the cause of the world. But he believes that in all cases, we should be reluctant, not enthusiastic, about deploying force. I would hasten to call him a philosophical war hero.

I believe our President would call him "weak."

Friday, November 05, 2004

'It's a Victory for People Like Us' (washingtonpost.com)

'It's a Victory for People Like Us' (washingtonpost.com)

I'm not a religious woman.

But please, God, help me to understand your followers.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Purple nation

This kind of gives a different spin on the "red state blue state" issues that so many have been harping on lately. We're all one nation. One big, purple nation. There are no red states nor blue states per se. I'd like to see this broken down further- maybe show us where the reddest regions are in the states, where they are bluest . . .

Face it folks, we're all in this together.

RollingStone.com: Politics - The Generals Speak

RollingStone.com: Politics - The Generals Speak

Well worth reading. To whit:
Did we have to do this? I saw the intelligence right up to the day of the war, and I did not see any imminent threat there. If anything, Saddam was coming apart. The sanctions were working. The containment was working. He had a hollow military, as we saw. If he had weapons of mass destruction, it was leftover stuff -- artillery shells and rocket rounds. He didn't have the delivery systems. We controlled the skies and seaports. We bombed him at will. All of this happened under U.N. authority. I mean, we had him by the throat. But the president was being convinced by the neocons that down the road we would regret not taking him out.

--General Anthony Zinni, Commander in chief of the United States Central Command, 1997-2000

Example of vitriolic anger:

Oh dear.

I'm thinking that at the very tip top of Bush's second-term priority list should be a little something about repairing relations with the global community.

Bush's Second Term (~shudder~)

Modbee.com | The Modesto Bee

Blogger was clogged as Southbound I-25 at 8:30 a.m. yesterday and I think I know why.

I am trying very hard to think in a glass half-full kind of way right now. For all the billions of dollars, for all the firepower, for all the deception Rove could muster, Bush only won by 3% of the popular vote. Bush simply cannot go on ignoring us 48% (roughly 56 million) voters who voted for a Massachussetts senator with a foreign wife and a one-term senator running mate (think about it guys, we're talking about one of the least electable entities in politics) over an incumbent president during war time. 3% is hardly the kind of victory Rove is used to.

Also, it is important to remember that a good number of Republicans voted on the party line simply because they want Bush to clean up his own mess. They know he messed up but they think it is his responsibility to make good on the promises he made four years ago. Google "Bush" and "his own mess" and you will find an astonishing number of articles from global papers saying that this is, in a way, a blessing in disguise. There is a good chance that Kerry would have done a fine job but there is also a chance that he would have experienced a lot of blockage in Congress and would have failed to carry out many of his plans to clean up Iraq, reinstall solid environmental policies from the first Bush and the Clinton administration and he would have been saddled with the image of the hogtied liberal in the midst of a hostile Congress. We may have been saved a couple of supreme court justice appointments but there is a good chance that Kerry may have had an uphill and ultimately unsuccessful battle in trying to make the proverbial silk purse out of the Bush administration's fallout.

Instead, we now rely on Bush to take the half-finished business of every decision he's tried to make and make good on every promise he made to the American people. He needs to knock off the stupid Orwellian terror alert color coding crap (I can guarantee that without the need for re-election, the terror alerts will slowly go the way of the hydrogen fuel cell initiative) and get down to the business of uniting Americans and bringing the troops home. He needs to stop smirking and start working.

What do I see for a second term? I think that terror talk will go from the grim to the optimistic. Instead of Cheney scaring us all with the apparition of Osama plotting against the soccer moms of America, the administration will begin to talk about how their terror system is "working," namely, that we have not experienced another attack since 9/11 and that is because of the infamous "hard work" they continue to do.

I see Bush continuing to tell the Pro-Lifers exactly what they want to hear but not actually chipping away at Roe V. Wade (keep in mind that a number of Republicans in Congress are those of the libertarian kind . . . and those who aren't fond of the notion of screwing with the constitution).

I see the Congress going slightly less Red in the 2006 elections.

I am doubtful that Bush will have an administration that helps progressive causes more than it hurts them. But I am optimistic enough that he might prove me wrong. Yesterday was a day of handwringing and I'm actually kind of glad that Blogger was down because I could have easily gone the way of every other blogger and spewed more vitriolic anger onto the servers but I find it hard to be angry. As dissapointed as I am that Kerry lost, this was a clean election. No legal battles, no major frauds, no slimy dealings in a state where the incumbent's brother is governor. This is what just a little more than half of the American people wanted. Now we need to work at it to make sure that our half does not go unheard.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Thanks to thiscenturysucks.com:

Get Out The Vote Get Out The Get Out The Vote Get Out The Vote
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Monday, November 01, 2004

Weekend update

Hoo boy. This was one of those weekends where all I truly wanted to do was snuggle up with the kitty, make glowing-butter popcorn and watch Dawn of the Dead. However, I wound up getting talked into a costumed bar crawl on Saturday and attended a friend's party last night, and I regret nothing.

Saturday: Boulder, downtown, always a weird place but weirder somehow on Halloween. Memorable costumes: a disenfranchised voter, the flu vaccine, Lyndie Englund and an Abu Ghraib prisoner, a hanging chad and hurricane Charlie. I was Marilyn Monroe. The divey Walrus was ground zero for Longhorns fans, and as a result I learned to Texas Two-step.

Sunday: Again, Boulder, party at a friend's house with her 18-month-old and several other munchkins in costume. BabyMac (as I will refer to the hostess' daughter) was a dragon, Dahlia, a little red-haired baby was a bat, and a little boy whose name I never learned was a cat. I was Cleopatra. Makeup is fun.

And actually, Sunday night I did get to sit at home with the cat and watch Halloween.

Next week: Election Day festivities, and Friday Night Good Use party on Friday. When it rains it pours. I have these social droughts, then suddenly I'm out every other night. Crazy stuff.

As for the election, I see a real nailbiter. But I am optimistic. If you listen to the astrologers, they all foresee a time of great change and significant events, but I suppose that can go either way. I'm seeing either an overthrow of the GOP reins or a retention of Bush that incites rebellion. It will be interesting either way.