Friday, August 27, 2004

Bush takes the high road- and doesn't fall off his bike!

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Bush Dismisses Idea That Kerry Lied on Vietnam

I've got to throw him a bit of a bone here. He made a complete sentence that made sense. Good for him.

Although he did not condemn the ads that have been coming out, at least he's making a half-hearted attempt at distancing himself from them.

I guess that's kind of a slippery slope, though. Most Republicans I know follow this line of reasoning: Bush could have done a lot worse. But that's a pretty cynical way of looking at things. Bush was given plenty of opportunities to make things better. He surrounded himself with positive influences, smart people who held a lot of influence. But then, he systematically ignored these people and screwed up his opportunities. To argue that Mr. Bush has done the best he could may be true, but that really doesn't make things any better. I once heard a comedian compare the Bush administration's supporters to spectators at the Special Olympics. They aren't there because they know the competitors are the best of the best, they are there because they are doing the best that they can. I guess that's okay on some level, to some people (such as in the case of the actual Special Olympics) but why should we support someone who is doing the best he can when he's clearly completely unqualified for the job?

And I'm not entirely sure he's doing the best he can, in the truest sense. He's doing what's best for certain people. Certain people who are smarter than him. That would make for an interesting survey. Call up around 1000 people at random in the U.S. and ask if they think President Bush is doing the best that he is capable of doing in his job. Then ask them if they think that's good enough.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

OLD FIREHOUSE ART CENTER

OLD FIREHOUSE ART CENTER

Reason No. 534 why I need to leave Longmont.

I actually inadvertently wrote the headline for our paper's feature on this stupid fundraiser a week ago when I jokingly said to our head designer, "You could, like, headline it with 'The Full Longmonty' or something."

And that week, it appeared in the paper, 80 point font: "The Full Longmonty."

Yuck, my claim to fame. It is now on the bulletin board as the headline of the week.

Headlines are the worst, they are when you know that you are a writer for pay. Puns are painful, and yet we all have to be all punny and whimsical with headlines. Except if they are for something serious, like war, then you have to headline them like you are writing a trailer for a bad Bruckheimer movie. "End of the Line" for Hussein. "A Day of Destruction" for an explosion or a tornado. Then there's the headlines that tread the line, things like West Nile virus or poor funding in schools that are serious but not earth-shattering. "Beat the Skeeters," or "Will Work for Books."

Headlines are where journalists have to be advertisers- we have to draw the reader in by any means necessary, by titilating, by frightening, by piquing curiosity. It's not pleasant but sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and do it- think of a pun.

Anyway, the jeans battle continues. eBay has a pair of Citizens for Humanity jeans in my size but the price keeps going up . . . And I keep getting outbid by auction pirates coming in at the last second and setting their highest bid at $100. Bitches! It is like virtual keepaway.

This is going to blow my clothes budget for September and I do need to get some other fall clothes. Ah well, in Colorado the summer stays well into November in most years, and so it's great to go shopping here. The fashion seasons are rigged to mirror New York weather, so summer clothes are slashed to 70 percent off by mid-August. And here, we still have plenty of summer to go. Ha. Silly Easterners and their normal seasons.

I like that the Iraqi soccer team wants nothing to do with Bush's campaign. In fact, they are quite clear on this fact.

From the Taipei Times:

"The ad, which has been broadcast in the US for one week, begins with footage from the 1972 Games in Munich, during which 13 Israeli athletes were killed by terrorists, and continues with a narrator saying, 'Freedom is spreading through the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations and two less terrorist regimes.'

As the flags of Afghanistan and Iraq flutter in the breeze, it concludes: 'With strength, resolve and courage, democracy will triumph over terror and hope will defeat hatred.'

Under US copyright law, only the US Olympic Committee has the right to use the Olympic insignia, images and trademarks for marketing purposes."

(snip)

"The committee might want to avoid a confrontation with Bush, but it appears that the objects of his affections have no such qualms.

To the embarrassment of their media handlers in Athens, members of the Iraqi soccer team have reacted furiously to the news that their efforts are being used to aid Bush's efforts to win a second term.

Team coach Adnan Hamd told Sports Illustrated magazine: 'My problem is not with the American people. They are with what America has done; destroyed everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the stadium and there are shootings on the road?'

One of the team's midfield players, Ahmad Manajid, accused Bush of 'slaughtering' Iraqi men and women.

'How will he meet his God having slaughtered so many? I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that make them a terrorist?' he said."


This all kind of reminds me of when Homer finds a three-chambered peanut, and hollers "Marge! Look what I did!"

Bush didn't create the resolve and the passion of the Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team. This exists despite what he has done to the country of Iraq, not because of it. Okay, yes, he got Sadaam out of there, but the way he did this was much like using a bazooka to get rid of a rat. This is the crux of the problem- he could have made a better case for going to Iraq if he had had any kind of a plan to begin with. Instead, he depended on the might of the armed forces and the strength of his intelligence communities to do the work for him. Kinda like he depended on the fact that oil is a valuable commodity and hoped that would carry his oil companies to success. Mr. Bush continually depends on others stronger than him to carry the day and is surprised when his own complete lack of leadership skills drives his purpose into the ground. But then, when he screws up royally, he blames those under his command (9/11 commission, Abu Ghraib). And if he somehow, despite the odds, is successful in any way (No anarchy after 9/11, Iraqi and Afghan Olympians), he takes the credit for himself. He is a complete Lumbergh, the CEO from hell.

A lot of peripheral damage has occured because of his ADD approach to the war in Iraq and it is this peripheral damage that he needs to answer for. He has no business pulling a Homer and claiming "Look what I did!" by capitalizing on the fact that a strong Iraqi and Afghan people have miraculously managed to pull some shreds of civilization from the rubble of their destroyed countries. No more than he deserves credit for any successes culled from this clusterf&%k of an administration.

Okay, that's my rant for the day. Four hours until my auction is up- I'd better make sure I keep an eye on it.
Until next time . . .

Monday, August 23, 2004

Welcome to November 2

Welcome to November 2

There is something both hopeful and foreboding about this.

At least I now know where my polling place is (duh, it's on Pratt Parkway, not at the Civic Center. Bleh.).

So, let's see, spent the weekend either shopping for American-made jeans or doing absolutely nothing at home. I feel much better now.

Re: American made jeans. You wanna spend All Freakin' Day shopping? Try to find American (or at least EU) manufactured jeans for under 80 bucks.

There are only a few brands that are made in the U.S. or the E.U. anymore. These are (for shopping reference):

J. Crew (jeans, but chinos are made in Mexico)
Citizens for Humanity
Seven for All Mankind
Levi's Ultimate (not regular Levi's, but the designer ones)
Lucky Jeans
Halogen (made in Canada, but still OK)
Diesel- made in Italy
Earl
Wrangler (yep, some styles still made in the USA, but from imported fabric)
Express carries two styles made in Italy or the US

Jeans that are NOT made in America but still sport flags or use Americana as a marketing tool:

Levis
Lee
Rampage
Ralph Lauren
DKNY
Nautica
Guess
Fossil

Levis and Nauticas run from $19.99 to $69.99 in most stores, while all the U.S. Made jeans I could find were somewhere between $60 and $140 (With the exception of BDG jeans at Urban Outfitters, which were $39 and were, in fact, made in the U.S.A. But they didn't fit for crap and felt flimsy.).

Just goes to show how much it costs to humanely manufacture jeans these days. But I'm biting the bullet and trying on eBay for a pair of Citizens for Humanity Jeans with a maximum bid of $81. They fit the best.

But it also goes to show the kind of labor-intensive shopping one has to do in order to keep a somewhat clean conscience. It's kind of the same slippery slope that vegetarianism produces, though- Okay, I'll just buy non-sweatshop jeans. But then, why is it OK to buy sweatshop-produced tops? Towels? Toys? Athletic shoes? And even if I don't buy those, is it OK to buy things in a store like Target that sells both non-sweatshop produced items that I need, like detergent and CDs, but also sells sweatshop-produced clothing?

It is incredibly difficult to maintain a sweatshop-free lifestyle. But I suppose that, like buying organic whenever you can, any step in the right direction is a good step to make. Voting with dollars is much more effective than a boycott. It all goes back to my basic philosophy- that action is much more effective than inaction. If you don't shave your legs, don't eat meat, don't shop at Wal-Mart, don't watch studio movies and don't listen to corporate music, you aren't really doing anything. In fact, you're not doing a lot of things.

Instead, it is important to act strategically. Buy organic meat instead of none at all. Write letters. Vote. Join groups with like-minded goals. Buy second-hand or buy American or EU-made. Talk to others about your ideals and have arguments. I do this all the time, but for the most part I'm glad to at least get my ideas out there. Even if people disagree with you, your opinion is valid and they can't ignore it unless you keep it to yourself.

Being a consumer, for better or worse, is a large part of being an American. It's important to be the best consumer you possibly can be.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Family booted over T-shirts

Family booted over T-shirts

I had honestly hoped that when I read this second hand, that I would find out that it was not true. But, as continually seems to be the trend, it just keeps getting worse.

People wearing "This is what a feminist looks like" T-shirts are not necessarily Un-Republican. After all, W stands for Women, right?

Not if you are a woman who wants to work outside the home, or if you do work outside the home and rely heaviliy on overtime or if you are a woman who has sex and doesn't want a child right now, or if you are a woman who wants her kids to grow up in a clean environment. I don't really "get" why W thinks he stands for women, but then again the women he's been around aren't really like most other women. Take Barbara, the "Let Them Eat Cake" matriarch for one example. And Laura has that blank reptilian stare of a woman who long ago decided it just wasn't worth it to argue with her husband or his cronies, despite her pro-choice leanings.

Poor Laura . . . and Barbara . . . and really, even, poor George Sr. who was pro-choice until he got involved with the Reagan administration. It just goes to show that intelligent people can't hold a hard and fast position on an issue as complex as abortion, so they believe it should be kept out of the Federal Government's hands. Okay. This, of course, leads to that irritating argument that all intellectuals are wafflers, flip-floppers, etcs, all those names that come from people who see in black and white and are directed toward people who understand the concept of gray area.

*breath*

KE in 2004. Vote like your life depends on it.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Surprise surprise





What Sex and the City character you TRULY are!
Name
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You are... Smith
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This is how much your sexual service would be worth if somebody $5,141.51
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Hot-O-Meter-How Hot are you? - 99%
You were born to be in Sex and the City TRUE
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Albuquirky

This is the torch singer we saw at the Martini Grille, a little hole-in-the-wall neon and stucco joint in downtown Albuquerque.
I have decided that all the love I do not have for a lover (or for the general human race, as it sometimes seems) is instead diverted to cities. I fall in love very easily with cities. And Albuquerque is pretty easy to fall in love with, sometimes, what with the bizarre and intriguing blend it has of the ancient, the atomic-modern, and its distinctly rough-around-the edges feel.
It seems that since we left, Albuquerque has grown a downtown. Prosperity seeped downhill from the suburbs and feeds the University areas, the Nob Hill region and the old Route 66, Central Ave strip.
It's kind of a weird phenomenon- wealth feeds the suburbs, and fuels sprawl. Then fickle fashion deems sprawl undesirable, and hence, downtown revivals.
I liked it- and I feel like I could probably go back . . .
But travel often makes me antsy for change. And I'm beginning to really, really need a change.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

CNN.com - McCain: Same-sex marriage ban is un-Republican - Jul 14, 2004

CNN.com - McCain: Same-sex marriage ban is un-Republican - Jul 14, 2004

This makes so much sense. Laws are meant to protect people's lives, liberties and their pursuit of happiness. Laws are meant to keep us from victimizing one another, and to punish those who victimize. Laws are meant to keep us safe and to protect our property. Just which of these purposes are served by preventing a group to enjoy a right that others enjoy? What is it that gay citizens have done that makes it make any sense to keep them from getting married?

Oh, yeah, that's right. The whole sinner thing. The whole "family values" thing. But why single out this group of sinners? If you actually read the words attributed to Christ (and it's becoming clear that people like Bush and Musgrave have not) we are all sinners. And if you want to ban all marriages incapable of producing functional families, well, that's another ban all together.

I like the bumper sticker that said "ban no-sex marriages."

Heinz In the News

Heinz In the News

It is interesting that Heinz puts a statement on its website denouncing rumours of political affiliation (the only reason I visited the site was that I wanted to learn what the little U in the circle on my ketchup label meant). When really, I'd much rather vote for someone whose campaign contributions were raised by good old, All-American ketchup and Ore-Ida French Fries than someone whose campaign is tainted with the greasy fingerprints of foreign oil, defense contractors and bankrupt energy monopolies. But that's just me.

Ketchup doesn't rely on alliances with unstable and oppressive theocratic dictatorships. While I'm sure that the factories that produce ketchup are guilty of most industrial sins, i.e., outsourcing, cheap foreign labor, pollution, waste, etc., I doubt that the ketchup industry is as deeply embedded in the national economy as oil. Would we be anxious to invade a nation that was controlling vast amounts of our incoming tomato supply? I also doubt that Kerry would come into office having become deeply indebted to his ketchup cronies and try to make a case for invading Italy. Or that he'd make a case for invading any country and then send huge packages of Heinz food items to the troops a la Halliburton.

So even though Heinz says they don't have much to do with Kerry's campaign funds, I wouldn't really care if they did. Because I really doubt that there will ever be a bumper sticker proclaiming "No Blood for Ketchup."


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Why today is cool

-It is the day before my birthday
-It is voting day for the primaries (GO MIKE MILES! GO STAN MATSUNAKA!)
-I will have two items in the next two weeks' papers
-Tonight is Queer Eye night

Ah, the life of the easily entertained.

I read a piece today on MakesMeRalph about just what women went through in their struggles to gain the right to vote. It is actually pretty sickening. We must remember that at one time, America was no better in regards to the way it treated women than say, the Taliban. And we also must remember that eventually, we fought hard enough and long enough to make that change. In fact, it is during election years that I am particularly proud to live in a nation that has been able to fight archaic ideas, oppressive notions and mob rule in the name of freedom. We miss the mark sometimes, as Americans, but nobody can argue with the fact that freedom is just a generally good idea.

Colorado women actually won the vote earlier than many other states- but in the West things were a little different. In the Libertarian spirit the West has become famous for, both Wyoming and Colorado women gained suffrage in 1869 and 1893, respectively. And because there were few women in these states at the time, the percieved danger of allowing them to vote was minimal. Why were things so different back in the "civilized" East, I wonder?

I'd love to muse some more but work calls. Until next time . . .

Friday, August 06, 2004

ABQjournal: Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement

ABQjournal: Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement

You can file this under the "dishing it out but not taking it" header.
Or, much like kids in a treehouse- you can't come in unless you think like we do.

Except we're not in a treehouse, and we're not children. The people of Albuquerque, as guaranteed by the first amendment, have the right to say anything they goddamn please about the president, the vice president and their policies. and if Cheney had any faith at all in the people of America, if he cared at all about what they had to say, he wouldn't ask them to sign their names on a document of endorsement before appearing at his rally. It's so sick, wrong and Orwellian that I just want to get schnockered on Victory Gin and pass out.

Another gem from GWBWYPGN?:

"I just remembered that the syndicated episode of "Seinfeld" that was on TBS last night was the "Yada Yada" episode where George's girlfriend glossed over all the incriminating information in her stories with the eponymous phrase. It's starting to look like "classified" is the "yada yada" of the Bush administration — "We set up this homeland-security-department thing back in 2002, and yada yada, we've prevented more than 100 terror attacks." Brilliant!"

If they yada yada over another election, I really hope the American people will not stand for it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Home Page Republicans for John Kerry

Home Page Republicans for John Kerry

Yay!

I like this a lot because what I often used to like about Republicans (old school, Eisenhower type Republicans) is that they occupied themselves with the politics of the big, rather than the politics of the little. Back in the day, liberals used to irritate me because they seemed to fight for the minutiae of things. While Kosovo was being bombed, they were angry about detail politics, like Nike's sweatshop issues or getting legislature passed that okayed public breast feeding (admittedly, I lived in Boulder at the time this all was going on, where minutiae is king). But I like this site because the tables have turned. Republicans are trying to confuse their voters by advocating the lives of stem cells while democrats are trying to find a way to regain our global reputation for stability and equality.

I particularly like this point:
"I have come to believe that the Bush Administration, because of its "bias toward war," does not deserve re-election, and in fact, it deserves to be booted out of office, because starting a war, especially on the reasoning and the processes that led it to this [Iraq] war, is a morally repugnant thing to do.

It is one thing for a Republican presidential administration to get into office and not be able to do much about the current abortion situation. It is quite another to start a war, and further, to set a precedent for using armed conflict as anything but a last, last resort in managing foreign policy."


And I can just hear the righty retort on this.
Oh, so it would have been okay to leave Sadaam in power?
No, but if we take out Sadaam just because he's bad, doesn't that implicitly obligate us to take out every other dictator on the planet?
Well, if they pose an iminent threat we're just supposed to sit back and take it?
How do you define a threat?
If they have weapons and don't like the United States, they are a threat.
Okay, so, depending on what you define as weapons, that means we're threatened by like, the Netherlands, France, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and not to mention Iran and North Korea. And probably we could count heavily libertarian groups within the United States as a threat, too- they have all kinds of weapons and anger. We can't just systematically wipe out everyone who might disagree with us.
Why not?

But I like the Republicans for Kerry site. Godspeed to them.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Freaky little town, hostility in the workplace

Okay, so everyone knows how weird my town is- the same kind of weird every mid-size town in the middle of middle America is. Lots of random people with random ideas and weird little isolated suburban families. Older people with axes to grind. Younger people on homemade drugs. It's pretty standard, really.

But what is really weird is the latest wave of letters to the editor. They range from diatribes advocating the revokation of citizenship to homosexuals and liberals to rants on the unfairness of traffic laws in what should be a self-governing society. We got one today from Bill Castle, one of Longmont's Elder Statesman types, the son of one of our most persistent small business owners, Ralph Castle, who had a gas station on Main Street for as long as anyone can remember. In it he describes why he chooses to dissent (interesting coming from an "oil" guy):

"Many years ago our founding fathers wrote the following in our Declaration: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
They chose to dissent. They were called traitors by the people who sought to enslave our great nation; we now call them Patriots. There is nothing quite so noble, quite so patriotic as to exercise our God given right to peacefully and legally dissent. I choose to dissent, Mr. President. The direction you have us headed, in my opinion, is guided solely by profit, greed and politics. I choose to dissent, Mr. President. My dissent does not make me a terrorist as your conservative attack dogs yelp. My dissent does not make me a terrorist sympathizer as your Vice President suggests in his garbled way. My dissent does not make me un-American, a suggestion your entire cabinet seems to support.
My dissent makes me a Patriot and puts me in a group of the finest Americans."

This town is gonna get real interesting come October.

And, as it turns out, there are issues with creating opinion pieces in the paper, even for our more senior staff members. Our biz editor was told by administrators to "stick to business" when he published a column on Sunday wherein he criticized the wording of such legislature as the "Clear Skies Act." Although, one member of the public came in to say he agreed with his article.

So this is what it's like to live in a battleground state.

But it does make for some awkwardness in the workplace. Journalists are officially prohibited from displaying their political stance publicly (no bumper stickers, no yard signs, etc.) but there is no mistaking us. We are all pretty vocal about it. And the one thing that we all seem to agree on is that it is more important than ever to be political, even in a field that is supposed to be neutral.

The media cannot help being politicized, because people are political, even if they don't know it. And there is no way that bias can be completely eliminated. As long as their are conservative publishers and liberal writers, there will be a certain amount of push and pull as to what a paper says about the world. Neutrality is no less accessible than perfection. But the good news is that the bias goes both ways. Mutual bias is almost as good as neutrality, in some ways.