Sorry about the slow posting lately. I'll try to do better.
As some of you know, I retired from the AF Reserve. I finally got my orders proclaiming that, and went over to the AF Pass and ID section to turn in my old ID and get a Retired Reserve ID.
I found a waiting-room full of sullen people, and when I checked the customer log, it looked like it would be over an hour at least until I could get taken care of. (There were five people ahead of me to get ID cards.) There were three people behind the counter, and two computer systems that could take photos for ID cards and process the paperwork. One of the three wasn't doing anything I could see, (indeed, was on the far side of the office) another was just sitting there at the computer while the third (a civilian) was explaining to a customer who'd come in for some paperwork that she couldn't give it to him today, that he'd have to make an appointment for it. He was pointing out that he HAD, and he was here for it. The civilian behind the counter was clearly put-out, and the airman at the computer just sat there like a lump, making no attempt to take the next in line while the problem was sorted out.
I watched the discussion for a while, then left. The overall feeling was of hostility behind the counter - and I figured I could try back later. Frankly, I spent enough time waiting in that office while outprocessing to last me for quite a while. They are slow - damn slow, and their attitude had only gotten worse.
But then I thought about going over to the Navy side - I knew where their pass and ID section was. So - I go there. No backup, four people who were ready to help, a very pleasant and professional sailor took care of the paperwork, since they had access to all DOD personnel records, and I was out of there in less than ten minutes. I was very impressed - and believe me, after 25 years in the AF and AF Reserve, it takes a bit to impress me when it comes to bureaucratic procedures.
So now I is officially retired, no thanks to the AF Reserve Pass and ID section. They may be understaffed - I don't know, and frankly at this point I don't much care. But I do know that if the pass and ID offices were what I had to form an impression of the respective services on, I'd be much more impressed with the Navy than the Air Force.
Infrared light shows us the heat radiated by the world around us. By viewing animals with a thermal infrared camera, we can actually "see" the differences between warm and cold-blooded animals. Infrared also allows us to study how well feathers, fur and blubber insulate animals. As you tour this "Infrared Zoo", see what new information you can gather about the animals here that you would not get from a visible light picture. Enjoy your tour!
Woo! Neat! A different way of looking at the world indeed.
The latest, and lowest, low point comes now as France — which worked hard to lift Iraqi sanctions under Saddam's oppression — now works to retain Iraqi sanctions after America's liberation. Rather than realize its foolishness — if not viciousness — France clings to denial.
Ghia Johnson, a single mother of four, who has been homeschooling for seven years now, is one of the many parents who feel that public schools are dangerous, ineffective and focus too little on African American history.
"That takes precedence over math and science and all other subjects, because if they don't know who they are or where they came from then I don't believe they will know where they are going," Johnson said.
If they don't study math and science and all other subjects, it's pretty clear where they'll go - and it's not up. African-American history is fine - but you're placing it ahead of everything else, and pushing science, math, and other skills down the list. This is great if you're going to be teaching African-American history in a liberal arts college somewhere - but otherwise it's not going to help much.
I spent a couple of years doing classroom computer maintenance in the DeKalb County school system. Dangerous? There were schools I didn't like to visit. Ineffective? In a lot of cases, yes. I remember school papers I saw stapled on the bulletin boards that were badly spelled, had poor grammar, and were generally unsuitable for business needs - yet it was a business class, and the letters on the board were 'examples' of how business correspondence was done.
Feel-good education (which we've slipped to in a lot of cases, give the students lots of ego strokes so they're proud of themselves no matter what they accomplish) does not work. And it seems this lady hasn't realized that the hard stuff (math and science) will do more for her kids than obsessing on African-American history.
This wonderful site is still up. And still presenting Islam in the most complimentary light possible. (Not that I'd really expect anything else, but they tend to ignore the real-world experiences of Islam, rather like the Communist supporters tended to ignore how the system actaully didn't work well at all.) From one of their introductory threads...
In regards your question 'If America were an (ideally here) Islamic nation, what things would we not be seeing?'
1) You would not be seeing as many rapists or wife beaters. We'd rid the society of their evil. Ya thats right! We dont "beat" our wives except with a tooth brush or noodle hehe (beheading or stoning, that's another matter.)
2) You wouldnt see "democracy" which calls for man to legislate. The only one allowed to legislate in Islam is the best of all Judges, Allah. Our source is the Quran and the Sunnah (way) of the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) and only societal success will come from them(And you'll see public canings, beheadings, amputations, such a deal..)
3) You wouldnt see drugs (becasue they'd be exporting them. Afghanistan - opium production's a great cash crop...)
4) You wouldnt be seeing children not knowing who their fathers are because their momz had a one night stand.(Umm, because she'd be killed before she had a chance to give birth...)
5) You wouldnt be seeing charged health care (like in america)... (That's right. Probably because there'd be no health care.)
6) You would not see homeless people on the street. Islam obliges us to take care of the poor and give them the means to better their life. (Hmmm. Why do I have my doubts on this one?)
7) You would not see as much violence, pornography, gambling, prostitution (as the women would be taken care of instead of forced to work). (Sounds like Victorian times, doesn't it? The poor soiled doves, put to work to redeem themselves. Sounds SO familiar.)
8) You would not see illiteracy. Seeking knowledge is an obligation on ever beleiving man and woman. (statement of the prophet Muhammad)...(Hmm. Guess this is why we've seen so much technical and ethical innovation and... what? You mean Islam hasn't produced anything in decades? Never mind...)
9) You would see a huge decrease in STDS because Islam does not allow fornication or adultery. (Ah, Queen Victoria would love it.)
10) You would not see as many women in the workforce (even though it is permissible), women in Islam are given THE RIGHT to stay home and be a mother and wife instead of being forced by the husband to work and still be a wife and a mother. (They are in the US, too.)
11) You would not be seeing women in bikinis (unless in their own homes on their own time) but publicly, covering the body would be obligatory. The jews and the christians etc would not be made to wear "burqa" as you saw in afghanistan, though I wish they would for protection of them and men. (Ah, we poor, weak men. We need to be shielded from bikinis, from bare woman flesh seen on the street. Why, bare ankles might scare the horses...)
12) You would not see "ghettos" in which a child is afraid to walk the streets at night for fear of harm done to him. Instead everyone will feel secure and safe. Security for all people is the goal of Islam. Thus you would not see thugs and gangs and mofia like thieves. They would quickly be taught a lesson they would not forget. (Hmmm. Grudge Match: ACLU vs. Islam. Wouldn't THAT be interesting? Wait - under provision 2 the ACLU woiuld be rendered irrelevant.)
13) You would not see as much pollution, forests destroyed, or greed coming from the corporate sector. (In your dreams, sparky. The way you get no pollution is by not having industry, which Islamic countries in the ME and Africa have down to a science. In Indonesia, it's pretty bad in spots.)
14) You would not see such high divorce rates... (I'll wait and see on that one. They might go down, but there's a provision for divorce in Islam.)
15) You would not see such high suicidal rates either... (Oookay - if you say so. Seems to me like some very noticable suicides are happening in the ME, but hey, it's only Palestinians.)
Now, I'm bearing in mind that the majority of the posters on ClearGuidance haven't a whole lot of 'life experience' - and some of them see Islam as the 'hot thing' at present. They haven't seen how Communism was shilled as the next big thing - and seen it flop. Still, as I posted previously, there's those with a more... radical... bent.
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh. For sheik Salman please, I am a father of 4 and want to fight jihad in Iraq and defend my fellow Muslims there. If I die there with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure will I die as a Shaheed? I need to know because I only have one life and I don’t want to waste it! Please give me a clear proof from Qur’an and Sunnah and the Salaf Insha’Allah. Was salam.
There's folks who don't see a difference between Christianity and Islam.
Do you ever get to thinking about your past - about the mistakes you've made and the plans that went awry? Of the achievements you've gloried in, but are now faded?
I do. A lot of the time. (Only in my case, I tend to look more at the failures than the sucesses. I'm working on that.)
Oh, I'm not obsessive about it - but there have been times I've found it hard to forgive myself for the mistakes I've made. But there's only so long you can flagellate yourself with the barbed whip before it starts getting counterproductive. And really, when you look at your past too much, you run the risk of making the past more important than the present - or the future.
I think that a lot of Islamicists look at the 'glory days' of Islam and think that there's a way to recapture them. They ignore a lot of the bad, such as the mass slaughters, the mortaility rate, the severe lack of infrastructure of the time, and focus on the 'noble desert warrior for Islam' image. (In somewhat the same way but MUCH less intensely, the SCA enjoys the good parts of the Middle Ages, costuming, handicrafts, fighting, pagentry and pomp - but leaves the plagues and food poisoning alone.) Yet there's a major difference between the folks in the SCA and those in Islam who'd want to drag things back to the early days of the religion. Folks in the SCA KNOW they're playing at it, and wouldn't want the reality that they've taken the best parts from.
The Holy Land was a poor, largely deserted country during the 19th century. Its inhabitants were backward, its services meagre, its roads of poor quality and unsafe, and its economic activity was very limited. Robbery and assault were everyday occurrences. There were no medical services of any kind and plagues frequently took a heavy toll of life. The population dwindled gradually: entire villages were abandoned and cities became small towns with few inhabitants. Aside from Gaza and Jerusalem, each town in the Holy Land (up to the 1840's) had a populace of less than ten thousand. The deterioration of the country was a result of the negative development in the Ottoman Empire which underwent intensified internal decline from the XVIIth century and on. This fact left its impact on Palestine: the local governors became more corrupt, and neglected their obligations, the troops were beyong control and the Bedouin tribes from the desert broke into cultivated areas, turning vast sections into wilderness. As a result, disorder and insecurity spread, government construction and public works were neglected, agriculture and trade were severely damaged and the farmers were oppressed and impoverished.
The noble desert warrior, pulling down fences. Poverty. Oppression.
Is that want they want? Hard to believe it could be so - yet you get stories out of SA about how the locals look on work as being beneath their dignity. In Afghanistan, the entire infrastructure was virtually destroyed by the Taliban. Almost no electricity, almost no running water, sewage out the wazoo - but this is somehow admirable and good because it harkens back to the good ol' days.
And such 'cultural features' are seen as worth preserving by our left because it's part of their cultural heritage. Hell, food poisoning and a 50% infant mortality rate were cultural features of medevial times - I don't see any rush to restore THOSE features of the culture.
The mistakes that were made by Islam have become enshrined as 'sucesses'. To be repeated, hopefully - not learned from and avoided. The fanatical intolerance, the spurning of technology... Until Islam - pardon me, the practicioners of Islam - can realize that their obsession with the past is a sure ticket to failure and destruction it's going to be VERY hard to make any progress towards a prosperous and thriving Middle East.
Here is a handy rule that you should follow whenever you receive an URGENT WARNING or other email chain letter: Unless the message includes a reliable web address that verifies the claim, SMACK THE PERSON WHO STARTED IT IN THE HEAD.
Interlocutor: Stanley and Ted, in terms of Prof. Hollander's remarks, let’s get to the heart of the matter: do you believe that Western capitalist democracies, and especially the United States, are more oppressive and unjust than their present and past totalitarian enemies? Just as bad? No better? In your perspective, is there moral equivalency between American-style capitalism and Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the Taliban, Hussein, etc.?
Glick: There is no question but that the Western capitalist democracies have attributes, particularly in the area of individual rights, that are important to defend, especially now when the Ashcroft Justice Department is using the threat of terrorism to undercut those rights. And there is no question but that these countries have developed their economies in ways that have made possible, within those countries, higher standards of living, in economic terms, than is true in many other parts of the world. But that's just a part of the picture.
The full picture is that this wealth has been created to a significant degree because of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism. Those things, most still with us, have led to the wretched conditions of existence for huge numbers of people in the "Third World" and very real poverty for a minority in the United States. The U.S. and Europe have a very, very long history of supporting extremely authoritarian and repressive regimes throughout the Third World because those regimes allow multi-national corporations to extract resources and exploit local labor to their immense advantage. This very undemocratic model, and the economic damage done to those economies as a result, have then made it more difficult for revolutionary governments to evolve a democratic model of social change and, as I wrote of earlier, quoting from my book, "have led many down the path of corruption in pursuit of personal power, wealth and privileges, or both."
The bottom line: if the United States (and the other Western capitalist democracies) are truly interested in encouraging democratic and socially just societies elsewhere, they should practice what they (sometimes) preach. The U.S. is becoming increasingly unequal as far as the distribution of wealth (and power) and increasingly less democratic, to a very alarming and dangerous degree.
Hollander: Mr. Glick grudgingly acknowledges that capitalist democracies have certain advantages but his exposition makes clear that what he is really fixated on are their problems and blemishes -- this is what he calls the "bigger picture".
A VERY interesting read. Brings to mind the biblical injunction "Don't ignore the beam in your own eye, when criticising the mote in your neighbor's." Increasingly less Democratic? As in believing in the Democratic Party? Possibly. But increasingly less democratic as far as voting goes, or parties? Don't think so. (No, don't trot out that "Selected, not elected" crap - every count of Florida shows Bush as the winner. EVERY. SINGLE. COUNT. By papers, by the voting people. Get over it. Try harder next year.)
An Argument for Secession
by Anonymous Californian Sunday May 04, 2003 at 08:56 AM
You know, I didn't want to give Indymedia any sort of recognition or linkage here, but I just can't help myself. The... stupidity of so many of the posters here is just incredible.
Yep, California could secede from the Union. But I wonder if they've thought beyond the "cut off the nose to spite the face" stage? Some respondents have, some haven't...
this ain't 1776
by Jim Thomas Thursday May 08, 2003 at 09:42 AM
First off, this ain't 1776. California's ability to secede from the Union was pretty much decided in the 1860s by this little thing we now call The Civil War!
Legalisms aside, the huge investment in infrastructure and federal ownership of lands in the state would have to be addressed. Do you think the rest of the current United States would NOT want to be reimbursed for those things?
Now as for politics. You must be presuming that the whole state's population shares your views, or at least would tolerate your views to the point of secession.
Are you out of your mind?
You may think you are oppressed and that the USA is oppressing the worldwide masses. And additionally, yo may even think that you merely breathing while within the borders of the country must somehow mean you contribute to that oppression.
We are living in the greatest country in the world in amazing times. California is a great place for sure, but without the rest of the country we would be a great place on the order of Belgium.
Long live the USA!
add your comments
Views from South Carolina
by Anonymous Thursday May 08, 2003 at 06:20 PM
This is way too funny - as a fellow Californian, I encourage you to read the humor of those who dare to agree and their views:
When in the course.....
by mike Thursday May 08, 2003 at 06:57 PM
Not funny at all; a left-right alliance for seccesion could accomplish great things, even (or especially) if California remains part of the United States of Soviet America.
Consider Quebec. It's never seceeded and probably never will, but just by raising the threat has brought great benefits to itself (a more integrated economy, enhanced cultural identity, the hatred of U.S. Republicans, etc.)
California is so powerful--eighth largest economy in the world, if not bigger--that a credible movement to leave the USA could force the oligarchy to make substantial concessions to keep the state in the fold.
So I say long live the Republic of California, where lefties and righties can live in peace, without hating each other quite as much as they do now! (Ok, as a slogan, it needs a little work, but, hey, I just joined this movement five minutes ago.)
add your comments
I guess this week's Alcoa Award goes to Indymedia - 'cause if anyone needs tinfoil hats, they do.
"such material is promoted by the SF IMC editorial team" by one of the editors Wednesday May 14, 2003 at 10:21 AM
This is your last warning. Stop posting criticism of our editorial policy to any thread but this one:
If you do it again anywhere else on this board, it will be removed and so will everything else you have ever written. We're getting mighty tired of you, and of people like you, hijacking topics and diverting attention from the subject at hand. This thread is not about SF-IMC. It's about yet another Zionist atrocity. Stay on topic or get 86ed. The choice is yours.
So much for the 'freedom' that Indymedia is so dedicated to promoting. The objectionable quote that raised the ire of the Indymedia editor?
Specifically by good grief Wednesday May 14, 2003 at 09:35 AM
What we are talking about is how the made-up headline discredits the valuable information in the article itself. If you want people to pay attention to an article, then it is important that is not be misleadingly titled in such a way that it brings the article itself into disrepute.
Anyone who has used SF IMC for more than two minutes is well aware of the situation in Palestine. Unfortunately, headlines falsified with the intent to bring the artilces they are attached to has become an extremely common occurence here. That is why I brought up the subject in the first palce, which is why such material is promoted by the SF IMC editorial team. It makes you wonder whether they have been infiltrated by disniformation specialist when they use such uncritical standards.
I can understand why this was allowed to stay on the Other/Breaking Newswire. The question is why it was promoted to the Global Newswire, which is a vliad question udner the circumstances, where it only serves to discredit the Palestinian cause. The comments that say this should not be questioned seem designed to achive that same unfortunate goal.
Anyone who's visited the Indymedia sites and observed with an objective eye can quickly see that they've got a line they want spread, and they will allow no deviations of that line. I fully expect the above exchange to disappear in a day or two. After all, if there's no evidence of dissent or disagreement, then there is none, right? If there is no dissent, then their position has to be the correct one, right?
Contrast this with a site like LGF, where troll posts are normally left up and discussed - because they show what the trolls are thinking. (That is, if they are thinking, and not just emoting like crazy.) In fact, most of the 'conservative' blogs I've seen almost never yank posts, unless they're really, really foul. If there's anything worthwhile contentwise they stay up...
(CNSNews.com) - An African American civil rights group is planning a Saturday protest against Greenpeace, alleging that the environmental group has committed "eco-manslaughter" through its support of international policies limiting development and the expansion of technology to the developing world's poor.
First it was Iraq, and a war on Terror. Now, it's starting to look like a war on stupidity is shaping up. First opponent, "Greenpeace".
Look - I'll admit that Greenpeace is a valuable organization - or was. However, there's a fine line between passion and obsession, and I think they slid over it a while back. No GM, no pesticides, no industrialization - well, as the article says...
"To serve its own ideological agenda, [Greenpeace] wants to keep the Third World permanently mired in Third World poverty, disease and death. So far, it has succeeded," said Niger Innis, national spokesperson for CORE
Innis believes that policies advocated by Greenpeace are keeping the developing world's poor from attaining running water, electricity and modern agricultural techniques that would allow more food to be grown on less land.
"It's time to hold these zealots accountable for the misery and death they cause," Innis stated.
According to CORE, 2 billion people worldwide have no electrical power or clean water and are forced to use manure for fuel. CORE alleges that groups like Greenpeace are partly responsible for this as a result of their opposition to infrastructure development projects in the poorest regions of the world.
Maybe it's time to take a more objective look at some of the policies that the Greens would like followed, or that are being followed at the behest of the Greens.
Of course, the end line was the most telling about the attitude of the Greens towards this discussion...
Several calls to Greenpeace USA were not returned by press time.
Next time you run into a bunch of eco-loonies howling from the rooftops about the number of innocent Iraqi children killed by Anglo-American sanctions or the number of Africans whose lives are blighted by the alleged predations of globalisation, you might want to take some comfort from the realisation that what is really going on here is a massive exercise in guilt-displacement.
Green campaigns, you see, are not just a laughable manifestation of Western illiberal neurosis. They actually kill real people in the real world. There is no better illustration of this than their the long-standing (and shameful) war against DDT, an extremely useful chemical spray that has a proven track record in stopping the spread of malaria but which the greenies regard as a 'toxin' that must be eradicated in order to 'improve' the environment.
From Samizdata - which I trust a LOT more than the Indymedia sites, by the way, on how the Greens are turning their backs on the poorest and neediest populations in the world.
Hey, it's great to be 'for' the starving masses. But let them use technology to better their lives? No way! They need to stay the romantic third-worlders they are - with all the problems and pestilence that entails.
The West's mistrust of genetically modified crops means it is the Third World which is suffering
This is undeniably true. The mantra of the Non-GM crowd is that we don't know what effects genetically modified food will have on people long-term, but they're ignoring a lot of the short-term effects like famine, starvation, and vitamin deficiencies.
A large part of the problem is that people don't really know what the 'GM' part of the equation holds. The thing is, to my way of thinking ALL the food we eat has been 'genetically modified' - through such things as selective breeding for yield or taste or color. Nobody would argue that a 'granny smith' apple is potentially dangerous, I'd think. Or that hybrid corn strains were hazardardous to people's health.
But what the heck - read the whole thing. And ask yourself, "Who Profits?" when GM foods are prohibited in Europe, and discouraged by Europe in starving countries.
Why? Because from the age of 6 to 18, our kids live mostly in what I call Soft America--the part of our society where there is little competition and accountability. In contrast, most Americans in the 12 years between ages 18 and 30 live mostly in Hard America--the part of American life subject to competition and accountability; the military trains under live fire. Soft America seeks to instill self-esteem. Hard America plays for keeps.
Soft America for a long time has been running most of our schools. Since early in the 20th century, as Diane Ravitch has shown in Left Back, educators have had a mistrust of testing and competition and a yearning to protect children from their rigors. Educators ban tag and dodge ball, because some kids lose. Teacher unions seek tenure, higher pay, and lower accountability. Parents' expectations are often low: Mom and Dad, busy working in Hard America, don't want to notice that their kids are not learning much. There are exceptions of course: Many schools do a good job despite all this. But for most kids who are not on the track to the relatively few select colleges, junior high and high school are something like the Soviet system: They pretend to teach, and we pretend to learn.
Then at 18, kids encounter Hard America--competitive colleges and universities and community colleges, competitive private-sector employers, training institutions from McDonald's to the military. Some fall behind and don't get much of anywhere. Others seek out enclaves of Soft America--soft corners in the civil service or corporate bureaucracies. But most figure out pretty quickly that how they do depends on what they produce. They develop skills that astonish those who knew them at 18. That is what we have been seeing in the American military forces in Iraq.
Very interesting article on the 'two Americas' - and judging by what I've seen over the last 46 years, it's true. When I was in high school, they didn't really care if I learned, it was sufficient for me to show up. That I was miserable and bored, flunking math and depressed didn't matter, that I attended was.
Then I graduated, and found out just how unprepared I was. It was scramble city, trying to figure out a lot of the stuff that I should have gotten straight in high school. But sometimes, there's just nothing like diving into the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim. You either learn, or drown - and there were plenty of times I was gasping for breath.
High school didn't prepare me for life - but I've managed pretty well in spite of it. Read. Enjoy.
You should consider adding it to your daily list, if you've got one. There's 4 main sections to it, one on Iraq, one on North Korea, one for the War on Terror and one for Opinions and Editorials. Each section has stories that have been listed blog-style, so readers can comment on them. And there's some righteous fisking going on.
I knew that the wave of anti-Americanism that would swell up after the Iraq war would make me feel ill. And it has. It has made me much, much more ill than I had expected.
My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world.
I can hardly bear to see the faces of Bush and Rumsfeld, or to watch their posturing body language, or to hear their self-satisfied and incoherent platitudes. The liberal press here has done its best to make them appear ridiculous, but these two men are not funny.
I was tipped into uncontainable rage by a report on Channel 4 News about "friendly fire", which included footage of what must have been one of the most horrific bombardments ever filmed. But what struck home hardest was the subsequent image, of a row of American warplanes, with grinning cartoon faces painted on their noses. Cartoon faces, with big sharp teeth.
It is grotesque. It is hideous. This great and powerful nation bombs foreign cities and the people in those cities from Disneyland cartoon planes out of comic strips. This is simply not possible. And yet, there they were.
Others have written eloquently about the euphemistic and affectionate names that the Americans give to their weapons of mass destruction: Big Boy, Little Boy, Daisy Cutter, and so forth.
One has to wonder why this woman is so determined to hate the US. Does she save her ire for the dictators of the world? Does she see the US as, perhaps actually being a GOOD influence? Not hardly.
A great democratic nation cannot behave in this manner. But it does. I keep remembering those words from Nineteen Eighty-Four, on the dynamics of history at the end of history, when O'Brien tells Winston: "Always there will be the intoxication of power… Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever."
We have seen enough boots in the past few months to last us a lifetime. Iraqi boots, American boots, British boots. Enough of boots.
I hate feeling this hatred. I have to keep reminding myself that if Bush hadn't been (so narrowly) elected, we wouldn't be here, and none of this would have happened. There is another America. Long live the other America, and may this one pass away soon.
Seems to me the dictatorships are the ones stamping on a human face, not the US. But in the end, she can blame it all on BUSH.
And she may be right there. If Gore were in the White House, do you think the Iraqi people would be free? Or the people in Afghanistan? Or would we be cowering under severe security, turning isolationist and people like her would be penning screeds about how the US DESERVES what it got on 9/11?
(Heck, makes you wonder what she thought of the US helping in WW2.)
She joins a long list of righteous writers like Ted Rall, Noam Chomsky and Norman Mailer, who have contracted a terrible, brain-shrinking disease. No, not SARS, but LARS: Loathe America Really Severely. (It was best I could come up with on short notice.)
LARS debilitates the thinking process. These writers try to write something clever or deep or profound, but all they can come up with is a million variations of "I hate you America, you SUCK!" Take, for instance, Ms. Drabble's most recent piece:
My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world.
Ah yes, feeling vomit rise into your throat until it causes a burning sensation is quite fashionable these days. It sounds to me like Ms. Drabble could use an exorcist rather than an antacid, however. She has the demon soul of Maureen Down stuck in her esophagus.
Drabble's terrible sickness has caused a bit of amnesia as well, as she has completely forgotten anything good America has done for the rest of the world. In fact, in Drabble's fevered brain, America is the enemy of all, wreaking havoc wherever it goes, leaving victims lying in its wake like a killer tornado. She makes no mention of the enemies that America is actually fighting, like al Qaeda or Saddam or terrorism in any form, instead making the United States appear to be the enemy of all who look upon it.
There, I have said it. I have tried to control my anti-Americanism, remembering the many Americans that I know and respect, but I can't keep it down any longer. I detest Disneyfication, I detest Coca-Cola, I detest burgers, I detest sentimental and violent Hollywood movies that tell lies about history.
I can think of worse things a country could face than Mickey Mouse, soda and Ronald McDonald. Sure, the clown guy is scary and soda might make you burp, but I have a pretty good feeling that oh, the people of Iraq for instance, might prefer a few dwarves and a Happy Meal to being tortured, beaten, stripped of any dignity you once had and left to starve to death while their leader lives in luxury. (Ok, she does have a point about the movies. I hate Pearl Harbor, too.)
Of course, like any proud Brit, Dabble drags Shakespeare into the fray.
Just leave Shakespeare and Shakespeare's homeland out of this squalid bit of revisionism, I thought at the time. Little did I then think that now, three years on, Shakespeare's country would have been dragged by our leader into this illegal, unjustifiable, aggressive war. We are all contaminated by it. Not in my name, I want to keep repeating, though I don't suppose anybody will listen.
Unjustifiable. Tell that to the children who were freed from the prison. Tell that to the young girls who were raped by Uday Hussein, to the familes who lost husband, wives, sons and daughters to unjust torture and murder.
America is holding more than 600 people in detention in Guantánamo Bay, indefinitely, and it may well hold them there for ever. Guantánamo Bay has become the Bastille of America. They call this serving the cause of democracy and freedom.
So, America is an evil, putrid, sickness inducing country for holding suspected terrorists and enemy combatants in detention, but Iraq is ok for holding innoncent children in dank, airless prisons for not agreeing with his politics? I think the LARS has caused Drabble's loathing gene to mutate and go haywire.
Seriously. She has all but admitted to stalking Jack Straw.
I keep writing to Jack Straw about the so-called "illegal combatants", including minors, who are detained there without charge or trial or access to lawyers, and I shall go on writing to him and his successors until something happens. This one-way correspondence may last my lifetime.
I think Mr. Straw better have the Anthrax and Other Deadly Powders Department check out those letters before he opens them. Even if they are sealed with a kiss, he must make sure that the lipstick stain isn't tainted with cyanide. Those stalkers can be a passive-agressive bunch.
I hate feeling this hatred. I have to keep reminding myself that if Bush hadn't been (so narrowly) elected, we wouldn't be here, and none of this would have happened. There is another America. Long live the other America, and may this one pass away soon.
Ah, there it is! The tell-tale parenthetical reference to the last election. We now know where Ms. Dabble contracted her LARS disease from. She must have been hanging out with Ted Rall.
As for me, I would not want to see the America where Al Gore was president on September 11, 2001.
I do believe there are a lot of grateful Iraqis who would not want to revise history in that manner either.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for LARS, and it seems to be contagious. The most vulnerable people are those who use the word "selected" in place of "elected." If that is you, seek shelter immediately. Preferably in another country.
I wonder if there's a 12-step program for LARS? There certainly should be...
When was the last trip you took where:
the guide wouldn't allow you to keep your passport?
you weren't allowed to use the local currency?
criticism of the place you traveled could get a guide into serious trouble?
on your return you felt you had to be careful bringing back books, pins and T-shirts because they might be illegal?
All this and more can be yours with a trip to the DPRK, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Orwellian Country Names, better known as North Korea. In an age where you can get Starbucks on Thai islands, Baskin-Robbins in Saigon, Coke and McDonalds just about everywhere, it's nice to finally visit a place lacking even the knowledge of such things.
A tourist's log of a trip through North Korea... with lots of photos.
It was the first time the Defense Department has announced it might have evidence of the sort of prohibited unconventional weapons program that it said justified forcibly disarming Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).
"On the smoking gun, I don't know," Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone said, when asked whether this was a breakthrough in the continuing coalition search for weapons of mass destruction.
Cambone said that what the U.S. military has in its possession is the kind of mobile laboratory that Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) described in an unsuccessful attempt to get U.N. Security Council approval for the war.
"They have not found another plausible use for it," Cambone said.
You know, there's folks out there who'll say that if we don't find WMD or equipment to make same that we'll have failed. I don't see it that way. We went in, on the best information we have. Could Saddam have been running a bluff for 12 years with the WMD stuff? Certainly. Did he? It's too early to tell.
Why do I say it's too early to tell? Because it is. Remember - before we went into Iraq, folks against the war said we should give the inspectors as long as 6 months to try to find WMD. And it hasn't been 6 weeks since Iraq fell.
NEW YORK -- Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges -- and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!
Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.
"We don't believe this guy's story -- he's either a lunatic or a pathological liar," says an SEC insider.
"But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks' time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can't be pure luck.
"The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He's going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources."
The past year of nose-diving stock prices has left most investors crying in their beer. So when Carlssin made a flurry of 126 high-risk trades and came out the winner every time, it raised the eyebrows of Wall Street watchdogs.
"If a company's stock rose due to a merger or technological breakthrough that was supposed to be secret, Mr. Carlssin somehow knew about it in advance," says the SEC source close to the hush-hush, ongoing investigation.
When investigators hauled Carlssin in for questioning, they got more than they bargained for: A mind-boggling four-hour confession.
Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune.
Hmmm. Wonder what OTHER info he might have?
Now - this brings up an interesting question in my mind. If a time traveller gets caught, would it be ethical to interrogate him about upcoming events? Perhaps even use techniques that are beyond the norm, to get info that's REALLY hot? (For example, does NK ever use nukes? Are bioweapons used against the US?)
And how would you verify the time traveller actually was from a future time? My first thought is check his teeth. Second, check his eyes for signs of surgery. Third, with his current age of 44, that puts him in the range when they still did above ground nuclear tests. Do a bone biopsy and check for strontium levels.
Any other ideas? And what would you ask him about?
(Oh, and remember this was in the Weekly World News, and just picked up by Yahoo.)
Okay all you Sirius fanatics...Sirius has recognized your enthusiasm and as a reward they are offering a Friend & Family program just for you.
Sign up for one year of service (billed monthly or yearly at $12.95/mo.) and you get the great Audiovox Sirius receiver absolutely free.
Regular readers of this site (all three of you, maybe four) who know me will know I'm pretty hot on this service. Why? If you spend more than half an hour a day in traffic, you know why.
You've listened to AM, you've listened to FM. You may have a 12-CD changer in your car for when the DJs and ads on the radio get too bad. You may even have a DVD player for when you're REALLY stuck in traffic and are going to be there for a while... you just pull out a piddle pack or equivalent and be done with it. But...
You know what you've got on tape, CD and DVD. You've listened to the CDs so many times you sing along with them, and your tape deck not only ate the tape last time, it digested it and formed it into a disturbing brown mass that points unerringly at magnetic north. (Or the bobble-head doggie stuck on your dashboard with a magnet, depending.)
You've listened to the same top 10 music selections on AM & FM channels so many times the Claer Channel playlist is tattooed on your cerebral cortex - but Sirius offers variety and gets musicians IN HOUSE to play on channel 100.
Last week (4/21-4/25) the following artists came through the SIRIUS Studios:
Bobby Sanabria, Bill Mays, James Naughton, Mulebone UK, Paul Williams and Melissa Manchester, Kaki King, Kevin Ceballo, Nothingface, Boris Grebenshikov of Akvarium, Diane Schuur and Karrin Allyson, Mull Historical Society, Anna Wilson, Les Nubians, Billy Hector, Anthrax, Elefant, Bone Crusher, Victor Manuelle, The cast members of Les Miserables, Doctor Judy, Chico DeBarge, Reach 454, Scott Robinson, Linda Hart, and Finger Eleven. Stay tuned for programming highlights about Sirius Sessions, artist interviews, and special music programming on SIRIUS that may feature highlights from these visits.
You've listened to the same commercials for the last decade - and recognize ad campaigns from five years back. And ten years back.
Aren't you tired of them?
If so, click on the image above for the Sirius Manifesto.
Would you spend 50 cents a day for a paper?
This costs less. No commercials - 60 channels of music, 40 of talk. In your car. 24/7. No commercials interrupting the music at all.
The hardware is FREE, if you follow the first link above. Total cost, $12.95 a month.
However, this morning - the DNS seems to be back to normal. I've not heard a word from Dotster or Names Direct on the issue, although I have sent them numerous emails regarding this issue - they all went unresponded to, as of yet. I cannot seem to get an answer from the company at all - - it would help if they had a real human being who answered their telephone. I only can find one number for Dotster - ironically enough, I obtained the number via their WHOIS. They must have a good, well-behaved WHOIS. So, I'm waiting.
What I do know is that about 8pm last night, I was, all of the sudden, able to download my boycott-hollywood.us email and the site started loading for me - with no slow load issues that I had experienced earlier in the day. I was also able to update my information at Dotster - - whereas earlier in the day, yesterday, my ability to update information there was 'suspended'.
Contact from Dotster with an explanation of what the hell is going on would be a nice thing. But, no word as of yet. I'm not sure what this means - - if the site stays up? Or if it's still scheduled to be taken down? I wish I knew - - however, for now, it seems, we are still here so I just wanted to fire off a note of thank you to everyone who has been supporting this site over this whole William Morris fiasco (oh, I haven't heard from them either).
You see, the funny thing (at least, to my way of thinking it's amusing, your mileage may vary) the people who complained most about their free speech being stifled (by their fans VOLUNTARILY not watching their movies or buying their albums) ended up PAYING (and you can be sure the William Morris Agency paid a good bit to Dewey, Cheatham and Howe to send the letter and get Dotster panicky) to stifle the free expression of others using the legal system.
But, I guess, making sure sites like Boycott Hollywood don't affect your sales by pointing out the things YOU were proud of saying in an anti-war stance is worth a few bucks, isn't it? Bottom line, you lose money both ways. Your agency shelled out for lawyers, and your fans ain't shelling out for your work. That's funny, to me.
And PhotoDude has some interesting observations on what he calls the "R-S-C Factor" (for RoBbins, Saradon and Chicks.)
It seems simple enough to me. But then I'm a simple guy. Now we have the far more complex R-S-C Factor, which stands for Robbins-Sarandon-Chicks. Mr. Robbins (and others) claims he has lost acting jobs since he made his very public anti-war stance. Ms. Sarandon starred in a TV movie earlier this week that got the kind of dismal ratings Phil Donahue used to get on MSNBC just before he got canned. And the Dixie Chicks have shed tears and stripped naked for us in their attempt to scream, “We're Sorry, But...”
Some would have you believe that this is political oppression, via economic sanction. A stifling of dissent. Poppycock!!! As I've tried to illustrate, it isn't political, it is simple human nature. I took a stand, and one result was increased popularity. They took the opposite stand, and one result was decreased popularity. Meanwhile, poll after poll has shown the pro/anti war split to be, at best, 70/30.
You can do the math on how that all adds up re: popularity going up or down.
Of course, while I chose to make my stand in a place where the consequences are mostly immaterial (gee, how dumb was that?), not in the places I earn income, some might say these people don't have the same choice I did. Simply because of their celebrity. You might argue that, for example, if Tim Robbins had a web log where he deliberately compartmentalized his anti-war stance from his career, sort of like I have, it would still have the same impact on him because of his celebrity. An impact I don't feel in the same circumstances. In a purist sense, some might argue they should have the same right to separate their career from their political beliefs that I do.
In a pure world, that would be true. But we're talking about Hollywood here. The Bizarro World of Celebrities. Nothing is pure, or fair. Is it fair that Monica Lewinski now makes a hundred times as much money as your average woman, simply because she was chosen to host a TV show solely on the basis of her moral infamy in the Oval Office? No, but that's just the way life is in CelebrityLand.
And in a societal sense, here's another thing that's not fair: Robbins, Sarandon, and the Dixie Chicks have all earned such a vast sum of money via their celebrity that if their stand meant they never worked another job as long as they live, they would still be financially better off than 99.9% of Americans. Do they not in fact have more impunity to express their opinion than the average American, based on that financial insulation? How fair is that?
Well, his take on the 'fairness' of it is debateable - but as he points out, even if they NEVER work another day (and they don't have to worry about that, I'm sure there will be people willing to employ them) they aren't going to starve.
But they sure don't have much of a grip on reality. Or their 'fans'. Fans are fickle creatures indeed. They'd do well to remember this in the future.
Seems there was this site, called "Boycott Hollywood" that listed what folks in Hollywood who were against the War were saying. Now, a LOT of folks in Hollywood have played their anti-war stance for all they're worth, seeing it as free publicity - and when anyone was CRITICAL of them (not attempting to shut them up, mind you, but just going "Damn, that's stupid" and not buying their albums or watching their shows) they screamed CENSORSHIP and loudly protested about their First Amendment rights.
This site put up a RECORD of their statements, exerpts from newspapers and news organizations nationwide. They got the criticism together, didn't editorialize (well, not much) and just let the stars speak for themselves.
So, the William Morris Agency sics lawyers on them.
"Well, folks - it's been a blast and it's been fun.
Apparently, our domain registrar (namesdirect.com - subsidiary of Dotster.com) have caved to the pressures of the William Morris Agency giant. On April 29, 2003, Dotster.com received a letter from the William Morris Agency in regards to this website. Their complaint accused us of liable and potentially other civil and criminal offenses.
This is another fine example of how Hollywood feels that their opinion and view is the only one that matters. Average citizens are disallowed the free expression of our point of view because they don't like being challenged for their views. I stand firm on the belief that we have done nothing wrong at this website - - The celebrities have expressed their views, and we have responded in kind by expressing our views regarding the thoughts and ideas that they have, publicly, expressed.
Dotster.com has suspended our update information at this domain and have informed us that the DNS information of this domain has been changed and the website will be down within the next 24 hours and our contract with them is now null and void. They are doing this because we did not provide accurate contact information in their public database.
When I explained that the reason we did not provide accurate contact information is because we have received multiple death threats and I did not wish for just anyone to have my personal information - and asked them for suggestions on what to do - Dotster was unmoved. They did not give me the chance to update the information with accurate information and keep the domain. That's not an option - - they are just simply going to shut down our domain - no explanation needed.
Further questioning of Dotster brought me a copy of the letter sent to them by the William Morris Agency and reads as follows:
(If you don't see a letter above, it's probably because the site's been pulled.)
We, in fact, recieved no such email from the William Morris Agency.
I can say only this - - the fact that we're being shut down because of the William Morris Agency tells me that we truly touched a raw nerve in someone, somewhere. At the very least, it tells me that our message was recieved by the people that it was intended for. The very fact that we cannot express our opinions regarding the views of these stars/celebs shows me, yet again, the double standard that exists in Follywood.
Thank you all for your support at this website - it appears my hands are tied in keeping it open. Dotster will be closing down our site within the next 24-48 hours. I appreciate the hard work that Chris and Reilly have done at this site and appreciate the ongoing and intelligent, provoking discussions held here.
Hollywood leftists are worried about their 'free speech' rights. Yet they'd deny others that, by getting lawyers involved and getting a web site that posts THE STARS OWN QUOTES shut down. They DON'T want you to remember their latest 'roles' - they'd much rather you forget, and ignore that man behind the curtain...
Aren't you GLAD Hollywood's so concerned with 'free' speech? Well, kind of 'free', that is. (Rather like Indymedia - they love the IDEA of free speech, as long as it fits THEIR criteria of 'free', and they will ruthlessly yank anything opposing their ideas or critical to their causes.) You just gotta love such 'broadminded' actions...
So, don't forget! Support Hollywood! Because they BELIEVE in free speech! (You know, I'm going to support Hollywood. There's a DVD I've been meaning to get - "Strategic Air Command", with Jimmy Stewart. Yeah. I'll support Hollywood. Not the CURRENT crop of anti-US trendoids, but the Hollywood that didn't take their fame for granted, and was aware that they owed something to the country and fans that made them stars.)
Col. Matthew F. Bogdanos, a Marine reservist who is investigating the looting and is stationed at the museum, said museum officials had given him a list of 29 artifacts that were definitely missing. But since then, 4 items — ivory objects from the eighth century B.C. — had been traced.
"Twenty-five pieces is not the same as 170,000," said Colonel Bogdanos, who in civilian life is an assistant Manhattan district attorney.
No, it's not. Cultural catastrophe? Or just a small speed-bump?
The thing that amazes me are the groups who would WILLINGLY have seen Saddam stay in power - and cite the looting as a reason why he SHOULD have been left undisturbed.
This unmatched leap in human productivity – intellectual, economic, artistic – requires a few essential ingredients.
It requires mutual trust. And it requires hard work.
That’s about it. Not such a big deal, really.
Now here is where life goes to hell: there are large numbers of people, really vast oceans of them, who despise, in the core of their being, one or both of these essential ingredients for human success.
Look at the personal make-up of kings and potentates and dictators throughout history, and you will find that widespread trust of the common man and a willingness to work as hard as they do are not high on the list of their qualities. You will often find this among ministers and bureaucrats, and some college professors, too.
And yet these are the people who have benefited from – stolen, actually – the wealth generated by grass planting and basket weaving and spear making people throughout history. The wealth their hard work generated was promptly stolen by the state, and put into golden toilets in extravagant palaces – for the elites. It happened seven thousand years ago and it happened seven weeks ago. It has happened, continuously, through our shared human history. It continues, without any signs of fatigue, in many places to this very day. As Mel Brooks says, It’s good to be the King. Of course, if you happen not to be the king -- not so good.
Now while concentrations of wealth in the hands of kings and dictators has become a little passé these last few decades, the state, and the idea of the state, is and remains very, very powerful. It appeals to all of our most infantile desires: We will take care of you, says the State. We will feed and clothe and house you all. We will take care of your education, and when you are sick, we will provide a doctor.
And all you have to do, is work for the rest of your lives, and give the wealth that hard work generates, to the State.
It follows that if one is willing to depend on the State for the very essence of life -- food, housing, medical care – then the State assumes life and death power over the people that make up that society. Which brings us to another deep-thinking hominid, who wrote that the most perfect human society is one that takes from each according to his ability, and gives to each according to his need. And who collects and disseminates this largesse?
Now, on the face of things, this theory of Karl Marx’s is a damn sight more noble and refined than the you do what’s good for you, I do what’s good for me, and we both are better off pragmatism of Adam Smith. In theory, Communism is a moving and high-minded philosophy that is based on the highest human traits of compassion and sacrifice. This is why so many romantics and idealists are attracted to it. (Pacifism also recruits heavily from this pool, and for the same reason.)
Fortunately for our own personal enlightenment, history has put this idea -- this theory of how people are made -- into play as well. It is, for all intents and purposes, the direct opposite of the anti-state, radical experiment discussed earlier. How has it performed?
Not so well. During its trial in Russia, it managed to run the most resource-rich region of the earth into utter ruin and ecological devastation that will last for many decades, perhaps centuries. The State it produced killed no less than forty million of its own people, and it terrified and stunted, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, the entire population to which it had attached itself. There is much noble and beautiful in Russian culture. Almost none of it came from this experiment.
Oh, and by the way, since it’s easy to gloss over such things, let’s say it again: Forty Million killed. Minimum.
Reason seems to tell us that if this system was as good as it sounds on paper, then it would be the Soviet economy dominating the world, Soviet movies playing in theatres around the world, Soviet songs on the planet’s airwaves, and Soviet science and invention scattered across the earth like diamonds.
Oh, and uh, of course, there’d still be Soviets. Soviets winning the Cold War. Ronald Reagan dying of pneumonia in a Siberian Gulag rather than Mikhail Gorbachev making a Pizza Hut commercial.
Didn’t pan out that way. That’s evidence.
Okay, one data point doesn’t make a line. Let’s look at China, host to the world’s largest population, one of its oldest cultures, and home to some of the hardest-working people on the planet.
Well, let’s see: looks like at least thirty million killed by the State, the usual repression, torture and humiliation. No discernable cultural impact on the outside world. The number-one musical talent in communist China is…? I don’t know. You probably don’t either. The Chinese are making strides in manufacturing (they are also trying a new rulebook), but earth-shaking, history-altering inventions? Anyone? Bueller?
Russians and Chinese are smart people. Why such failure?
Despite the reams and rolls of evidence, there remains a committed, fanatical cadre of people who find the idea of a Benevolent State so compelling, so seductive, that they refuse to give it up in the face of any mountain of evidence to the contrary. They point to halfway states like Sweden, which, on the face of things, seem halfway awful by many standards. A lower GDP than Alabama or Mississippi – the poorest states in the opposing camp. But this isn’t just about filthy lucre. The culture produces what? Abba, and Volvo. Loved the first, not a fan of the second. There is little invention, almost no outstanding contributions to science, technology, music or the arts -- although Bergman was terrific. It is a safe, decent place where everything is taken care of. It reminds me, in fact, of a very large retirement home.
This is exactly what many people want the world to become: a retirement home. Run by? Guess who! And they are doing everything in their power to see that it happens.
Bill Whittle, at EjectEjectEject.Com has some of the finest ideological fact-based writing that I've ever seen. (As opposed to Indymedia rantings, which are long on emotion but real short on, ummm, factual backup.)
It's well worth your time checking out his site. I highly recommend it.