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busy, busy, busy

Friday, May 30, 2003

I'm telling you, if you haven't seen this film yet you're nuts.

I've kind of dropped the ball lately as far as the blogging goes. Partly it's because blogger is making some of my posts disappear, but mostly it's because I really don't have all that much to say right now. Well, that's not quite true; I have plenty to say, but not enough energy to "say" it here. I'm sure it's just a temporary phase I'm going through, and I'll be back to spouting inane gibberish soon enough.

I finally got me a library card. In fact, I have to pick up some books today the library is holding for me. A couple of them are from the History of Middle Earth series, and the others are Apocalypse Pretty Soon and The Dreams our Stuff is Made of. I read Fellowship of the Ring this week, so I might as well pick up The Two Towers. Why the hell not? I also read Vonnegut's Deadeye Dick yesterday, and it wasn't too shabby. Definitely not as brilliant as many of his other novels, but also not very bad.

I'm obviously just rambling here. Pay no attention.

Oh, by the way, check out Mac's reading lists/book reviews.

This post was posted for no other reason except to make a post.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day?
by Howard Zinn, 1976, from The Zinn Reader

Memorial Day will be celebrated ... by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.

In 1974, I was invited by Tom Winship, the editor of the Boston Globe, who had been bold enough in 1971 to print part of the top secret Pentagon Papers on the history of the Vietnam War, to write a bi-weekly column for the op-ed page of the newspaper. I did that for about a year and a half. The column below appeared June 2, 1976, in connection with that year's Memorial Day. After it appeared, my column was canceled.

Memorial Day will be celebrated as usual, by high-speed collisions of automobiles and bodies strewn on highways and the sound of ambulance sirens throughout the land.

It will also be celebrated by the display of flags, the sound of bugles and drums, by parades and speeches and unthinking applause.

It will be celebrated by giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President.

There was a young woman in New Hampshire who refused to allow her husband, killed in Vietnam, to be given a military burial. She rejected the hollow ceremony ordered by those who sent him and 50,000 others to their deaths. Her courage should be cherished on Memorial Day. There were the B52 pilots who refused to fly those last vicious raids of Nixon's and Kissinger's war. Have any of the great universities, so quick to give honorary degrees to God-knows-whom, thought to honor those men at this Commencement time, on this Memorial Day?

No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.

"The shell had his number on it. The blood ran into the ground...Where his chest ought to have been they pinned the Congressional Medal, the DSC, the Medaille Militaire, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, The Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania. All the Washingtonians brought flowers .. Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies."

Those are the concluding lines of John Dos Passos angry novel 1919. Let us honor him on Memorial Day.

And also Thoreau, who went to jail to protest the Mexican War.

And Mark Twain, who denounced our war against the Filipinos at the turn of the century.

And I.F. Stone, who virtually alone among newspaper editors exposed the fraud and brutality of the Korean War.

Let us honor Martin Luther King, who refused the enticements of the White House, and the cautions of associates, and thundered against the war in Vietnam.

Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.

On Memorial Day we should take note that, in the name of "defense," our taxes have been used to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on a helicopter assault ship called "the biggest floating lemon," which was accepted by the Navy although it had over 2,000 major defects at the time of its trial cruise.

Meanwhile, there is such a shortage of housing that millions live in dilapidated sections of our cities and millions more are forced to pay high rents or high interest rates on their mortgages. There's 90 billion for the B1 bomber, but people don't have money to pay hospital bills.

We must be practical, say those whose practicality has consisted of a war every generation. We mustn't deplete our defenses. Say those who have depleted our youth, stolen our resources. In the end, it is living people, not corpses, creative energy, not destructive rage, which are our only real defense, not just against other governments trying to kill us, but against our own, also trying to kill us.

Let us not set out, this Memorial Day, on the same old drunken ride to death.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

The Matrix Has Me

There is definitely some higher power at work here and, despite it's actual purpose, it really does not want me to post my review of The Matrix Reloaded. I am fairly certain of this because I have written out three full reviews and, just as I am to post them here, they disappear. One was lost because Blogger was being unstable, the another because the computer unexpectedly crashed, and the final review, which would have appeared today, simply and unexplicably vanished from the editing window. Poof. Since I no longer wish to arouse the anger of whatever power might be keeping me down, and because It's only a bad review of a bad film I don't really care too much about, I'm giving up. Read other reviews, like this this one and this one, because my gripes are about the same.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

What happened to the Dreaded Liberal Media?

From FAIR:
A majority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to ratify a sweeping plan to weaken or eliminate rules that limit the size and power of media companies. Among other things, the FCC's three Republican commissioners hope to revoke the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, which prevents a company from owning a newspaper and a TV station in the same market, and to significantly increase the number of TV stations one company can own.

...Broadcasting & Cable reported (5/15/03) that the FCC's current proposals would allow a single company to own as many as three TV stations in any of the five biggest markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia), and permit ownership of two TV stations-- as well as a major newspaper-- "in nearly all of the largest 100 markets." In large radio markets, according to B&C, the changes would allow a company to own eight radio and two TV stations.

Imagine living in a community where one large, multinational conglomerate controlled eight radio stations, two major TV stations and the leading daily newspaper. Given the damage that media consolidation has already done to the quality and diversity of media offerings, such a scenario-- repeated in communities across the country-- has worrying implications.

The implications are indeed worrying. For more information on the potential effects of such deregulation, and to see what you, a lowly citizen to whom these government agencies ultimately answer, can to to prevent this action: Move On and United for Peace and Justice, for a start.

The most telling aspect of this impending deregulation, which would result in a much higher contentration of available media outlets among the companies that already own most of the media, is the absolute silence coming from the Right. All along we've had it pounded into our heads by the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, and any of their FOX News/talk radio clones that the American media has a horrible liberal bias that seeks to completely obliterate any so-called conservative viewpoint. The Myth of the Liberal Media is ridiculously easy to debunk, and any person who obtains their news from more than one source knows the whole idea is a sham.

Fortunately, because of this FCC deregulation fiasco, we no longer need to rely upon inutition and common sense to know that the Monolithic Liberal Media doesn't exist--we have our proof in the silence of the Right. If the media was truly liberally biased and run by maniacal liberals, as O'Reilly and Coulter would have us believe, don't you think they would be discussing the issue? Wouldn't there be some dialogue? Indeed, if the Liberal Media Myth were true, wouldn't your television or radio explode from the panicked shrieking every time you passed FOX News or some talk radio show? The scenario depicted above would be their worst nightmare come true if a liberal media truly existed, and you'd better believe they wouldn't remain silent about it.

So why aren't they breaking out into epileptic fits over the potentially devastating blow to conservative opinion in the media? It's simple: they know they have nothing to worry about. They know there is no liberal media. They know their tirades are just a means to boost ratings, sell books, and shape the opinions of the easily-led automatons who make up their viewer/listener base. If anything at all proves there is no liberal media, it is the lack of participation of conservative commentators in any meaningfull discussion on the impact of decreased regulations.

My review of The Matrix Reloaded will be done at some point. Or not. At this point I don't really care. Maybe I should just say that it is a completely unecessary stinking pile of shit. It is not interesting, it is not even entertaining. I hated it. I won't be seeing the next film in the series. Yeah, maybe I should say something like that...

Monday, May 19, 2003

I saw The Matrix Reloaded on Friday. I didn't particularly enjoy it. I'm in the process of formulating a "review" of sorts, but at the moment it is simply a (long) list of what I didn't like about the film. It's a shame, really, because I had been really looking forward to seeing it. Ah well, life goes on, I suppose. Look for that review sometime tomorrow.

I have barely used the computer since late last week, and I must say I feel alright about that. Though I have absolutely no idea what's going on in the world right now, I also have no desire to know anything. How weird is that? I'm sure it will pass, though, especially as soon I feel like I want to start complaining about things that I have no control over and which have little to no effect on me personally.

I got a haircut today. I feel much better about the world now. I also signed up with a staffing agency in Johnson County, so hopefully my ass will be working shortly. Won't that be nice. The woman who interviewed me asked, after viewing my "qualifications," why in the hell haven't I been hired on anywhere else yet. I wanted to tell her, "Beats the fuck out of me, ma'am, maybe it's because all of those people are complete fucking asswipes who don't give a fuck about anyone or anything besides themselves." What I said was, "I don't know." I'm guessing that was the right answer.

Excellent quote from The Simpsons last night (approximate):

Milhouse: I've learned that war doesn't solve anything!
Bart: Except all of America's problems!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

GOD DAMMIT! Does this mean I need to change the name of this site? Shit.

I've been laughing non-stop since 6:30 this morning (well, until about five minutes ago). Why? Because that Teletubby is only the tip of the iceburg. (via This Modern World)

The extended edition of The Two Towers is going to be 222 minutes long, thanks to the almost 45 minutes of extended and extra scenes. Christ. I'm going to have to block off an entire weekend to soak it up. It will be out six months from this coming Sunday, which right now seems like a really long time. At least the regular DVD will be out August 26. I think that might be able to tide me over for a few months. Of course what I'm really looking forward to is The Return of the the King...

I finally got around to adding some new links over on the left. They're pretty neato. Now if only I could get my rear in gear and reply to some very overdue e-mail... But first I need to get over the fact I don't have the original and only busy, busy, busy website. Dammit.

Nobel War-is-Peace Prize

When I first heard that a Norwegian politician had nominated both George Bush and Tony Blair for a Nobel Peace Prize, I thought it was either a hoax or a move by a random European simply for the sake of irony. No. It's real.

'Sometimes it's necessary to use a small and effective war to prevent a much more dangerous war in the future,' Jan Simonsen, a right-wing independent in Norway's parliament, told Reuters.

'If nobody acted then Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) could have produced weapons of mass destruction and, in five or 10 years, could have used them against Israel,' he said.

An award to Bush and Blair would be a U-turn after the Nobel Committee awarded the 2002 prize to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter last October. At the time, the committee chairman called it a kick in the shins to Bush's Iraq policies as Carter had been calling for a diplomatic solution.

Simonsen said the war had 'made it possible to create democracy and respect for human rights in a country which for so many years has been ruled by one of the worst dictators in modern times.'

Pardon me for thinking the jury is still out on whether the war has "'made it possible to create democracy and respect for human rights" in Iraq. The last time I checked, there wasn't a whole lot of action in the respecting-human-rights situation, and democracy is even more of joke there than it is here. Read the story. For a much better summation of the idiocy of this situation, The Onion is the place.

Shoot to kill to promote democracy and freedom

So after a month of acting like looting in Iraq wasn't the US's problem to handle, the newly-installed occupation administrator now decides that killing looters is appropriate.
..."[Bremer] made it very clear that he is now in charge," said an official who attended the meeting today. "I think you are going to see a change in the rules of engagement within a few days to get the situation under control."

Asked what this meant, the official replied, "They are going to start shooting a few looters so that the word gets around" that assaults on property, the hijacking of automobiles and violent crimes will be dealt with using deadly force.

How Iraqis will be informed of the new rules is not clear. American officials in Iraq have access to United States-financed radio stations, which could broadcast the changes.

A tougher approach over all appears to be at the core of Mr. Bremer's mandate from President Bush to save the victory in Iraq from a descent into anarchy, a possibility feared by some Iraqi political leaders if steps are not taken quickly to check violence and lawlessness.

But imposing measures that call for the possible killing of young, unemployed or desperate Iraqis for looting appears to carry a certain level of risk because of the volatile sentiments in the streets here. Gas lines snake through neighborhoods, garbage piles up, and the increasing heat frequently provides combustion for short tempers, which are not uncommonly directed at the American presence here.

Full article. For those who are thinking that this new policy is merely a threat to prevent further looting, and that US forces won't actually shoot someone, think again. (Why don't I believe the military when it says the troops were fired on first?)

What surprises me the most is the seemingly broad support for this new policy to be found among right-wing commentators. After a lengthy round of channel-surfing yesterday and this morning, I didn't find many cable network news anchors (or hosts, or whatever they call themselves) who opposed the shoot-to-kill plan; every person I watched on FOX and MSNBC seemed to think it was the best thing they'd heard in years. While not terribly surprising in itself, these are the exact same people who, when the looting began, shouted down anyone who suggested US troops get involved; as far as they were concerned, it wasn't our responsibility and it wasn't in our interest to prevent looting. Most felt it was a case of boys will be boys, that the people need to let off steam after decades of oppression. Why the sudden change of heart? Did they all of a sudden realize that the chaos was not such a good thing? Do they see it as a chance for their "embeds" to capture a shooting on camera (a sure ratings booster)? Are they just a bunch of bloodthirsty voyeurs? Or are they simply the absolute, uncritical, unthinking mouthpieces of the Bush administration?

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

It looks I won't be able to blog from the shitter after all.

"It hurts, but one has to tell this government where to get off."

If only American workers would take after the French, no doubt we would see some pretty impressive changes.
France's famously organised public service unions brought the country to a halt yesterday, and severely affected travel across the rest of Europe, posing the biggest domestic challenge yet to the year-old rightwing government.

More than a million demonstrators took to the streets in a display of union muscle unseen for years, and those commuters who dared to go to work were forced to jog, bike, scooter, rollerblade or even skateboard into the office.


Four in five flights were grounded, two-thirds of mainline rail services were cancelled, and the Paris metro was largely shut down. Hardly a bus was to be seen in the capital, Bordeaux or Strasbourg, and transport was paralysed in 15 other cities. The port of Calais was closed for part of the day, and only Eurostar trains ran normally.

Schools were shut, newspaper kiosks were devoid of papers, and the national grid suffered a 10% loss in its electricity supply. Even private sector workers swelled the ranks of the 24-hour protest.

The unions were triumphant and were yesterday already warning of the next one-day stoppage, if the government did not back down.

It will never happen here, though, not with weak-willed and company-friendly unions who sell out the workers to curry favor with the company executives. Of course, that's the American way, since anything else might be seen as creeping socialism. Can't have that. Read the article here.

And who says Democrats are pussies?
Democrats blame the standoff on the GOP's attempt to redraw the state's U.S. congressional districts, a process dictated every 10 years to reflect population shifts found in the U.S. Census.

Texas already has a court-drawn redistricting map, but Republicans say it doesn't reflect state voting trends and want to redo it. Their plan could add five to seven GOP House seats to the 15 the Republicans already have.

From their motel in Ardmore, Okla., the Democrats blamed U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for the shutdown of the Texas House of Representatives.

"We have a message for Tom DeLay: Don't mess with Texas," said House Democratic Legislative Caucus leader Jim Dunnam. "We did not choose the path that led us to Ardmore, Okla. Tom DeLay chose that path."

Read the whole article.

Quote of the day (from The Guardian): From the Attorney-General of New Mexico to the Govnernor of Texas, replying to his request to arrest representatives hiding out in that state. "I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the lookout for politicians in favour of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy."

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The clothes of our emperors

US policy-makers may wrap themselves in the flag and profess the ideals of democracy, freedom, and liberty, but their primary political and philisophical influence had some less-than-democratic ideas.
"Strauss was neither a liberal nor a democrat," [Shadia Drury, author of Leo Strauss and the American Right] said in a telephone interview from her office at the University of Calgary in Canada. "Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical (in Strauss's view) because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them.
Like Plato, Strauss taught that within societies, "some are fit to lead, and others to be led," according to Drury. But, unlike Plato, who believed that leaders, which he called philosopher-kings, had to be people with such high moral standards that they could resist the temptations of power, Strauss thought that "those who are fit to rule are those who realise there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."

Moral law was nonetheless indispensable Strauss' view because "it is necessary to keep internal order." It should be propagated through religion, which, like Karl Marx, Strauss considered to be "the opiate of the people," or in Strauss' own words, "a pious fraud." But religion is for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it; indeed it would be absurd if they were, because they know there is no reality behind it.

For Strauss, "religion is the glue that holds society together," according to Drury, who added that Irving Kristol among other neo-conservatives has argued that separating church and state was the biggest mistake made by the founders of the U.S. Republic.
"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing," because it leads to individualism, liberalism and relativism, precisely those traits which may encourage dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty," according to Drury.

These people aren't conservatives, they're reactionary neo-Bismarckians who wish they were Alexander III of Russia. Read the whole article here.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

We've all been there, torn between answering nature's call or sending that important email that just can't wait. Well, we can now rest at ease since, very soon, we'll be able to take a dump and forward patriotic email at the same time. God bless Bill Gates.

US quietly eases rules for faith-based groups. More and more, a little every day, we're getting so much closer the United States of "Religious Freedom" that the religious right is praying--and paying--for. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Grandma is okay, as is the rest of the family in Stockton. As for Stockton, well, it's not really there anymore. Most of the residential areas are okay, but what was once the downtown business district now consists of a few rather large piles of debris. But do you know what? That old take-shelter-in-a-bathtub bit really works. I always assumed it was some old "duck and cover" type of precaution invented to make the doomed feel better about imminent death, but, since that's the only thing that kept my grandmother from being blown away, I guess it's legit. Hooray.

My aunt and uncle were driving into town as the whole thing was starting, so, unaware of an approaching twister, they drove under the overhang of a bank's drive-up lane. To make a long story short, they were both able to climb out of the car after the main roof beam of the overhang landed on top of them, which was then followed shorty after by the rest of the bank. The next day, a bulldozer uncovered the flattened car and my uncle drove it home. Not even a flat tire. True, that's not as fascinating as a two-by-four being blown through a tree trunk, but it's all I've got. I think my dad's ace video footage might make a nice commercial for Toyota.

And not to keep beating a dead horse, but Stockton made it into the Guardian UK today.

I'm currently in the process of "developing" a new personal website. I have the design finished (oddly enough, it looks exactly like this page), so now I'm trying to conjure up some content. That's the hard part, so it may be a while before it sees the light of day. Also, I have no idea where to get it hosted; I really hate geocities, angelfire, tripod and all of those types of places, but then that leaves me with probably having to pay for something, which I really can't and don't want to do. Any ideas?

Monday, May 05, 2003

We need more human beings like Howard Zinn
"I suggest that a patriotic American who cares for his country might act on behalf of a different vision. Instead of being feared for our military prowess, we should want to be respected for our dedication to human rights."

Spring storms

I live in one of the few parts of of western Missouri that wasn't at least partially destroyed yesterday. As a result of some atmospheric quirk (which my few courses in meteorology leaves me unable to explain) the major storm paths tracked directly to the north and south of my hometown. We got some heavy rain, but no hail, and nothing compared to what other areas received. Stockton, Missouri, a very small town about an hour north of Springfield and where my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and two cousins live, was apparently pretty much destroyed last night. No one has been able to make contact with them; according to sketchy reports from regional newspapers, the area of town where my grandmother lives is gone. My father left for Stockton before dawn this morning, and we have yet to hear anything from him.

When I wished a while back for some firsthand experience with severe weather, this is not exactly what I had in mind.

"By the grace of God"
The U.S. government this week launched its Arabic language satellite TV news station for mostly Muslim Iraq. It is being produced in a studio--Grace Digital Media--controlled by fundamentalist Christians who are rabidly pro-Israel. That's grace as in "by the grace of God."
Grace Digital Media and Federal News Service are housed in a downtown Washington, D.C. office building, along with Grace News Network. When you call the number for Grace News Network, you get a person answering "Grace Digital Media/Federal News Service." According to its web site, Grace News Network is "dedicated to transmitting the evidence of God's presence in the world today."
"Grace News Network will be reporting the current secular news, along with aggressive proclamations that will 'change the news' to reflect the Kingdom of God and its purposes," GNN proclaims.

A high-five to Mac for sending this my way. Read the full article.

"Fictitious Times"

Ted Rall graces us with his vision of an alternate present that, remarkably and unfortunately, has a much stronger foundation in "reality" than the present in which we all exist. Which version of the present is worse? Rall's fiction, in which the legally-elected president takes office and commits the same blunders and crimes for purely personal benefit, yet does so against a blistering tide of opposition from all sides that will eventually (presumably) lead to his downfall? Or is it Bush's reality, where instead of mass opposition, the majority of the country perfects the practice of doublethink and allows the administration to destroy what rights we have here while (indeed, in order to facilitate) destroying lives all over the world, all while hailing a man who was never elected as one of the best men to ever hold the office? To put it another way, which one is preferable: the one where the leaders and the people of the United States stand up for themselves and expose the deceit of a legitimate leader, or the one in which the leaders and the people are complicit in the crimes of an unelected and illegitimate ruler? Call me idealistic, but I'll take the "fiction" any day.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Buca di Beppo was great last night. Not only did we dine on fantastic food, but we also reminisced about Goose calls and Ray the RA. I can't imagine the KC Bloggers could have a better time with their pizza and beer and spotty conversation. Next time, we're taking pictures...

Pynchon on Orwell: The Road to 1984.

'20th hijacker' taunts US attorney general with quiz

Friday, May 02, 2003

A nose full of candy and an ass made by Tandy

Behold the wisdom of Pimpbot 5000.

I know I'm not alone in my desire to see Pimpbot 5000 make a triumphant return to the Conan O'Brien show. What happened to this bit? I think I'm going to start sending daily letters to the show begging for some Pimpbot. Who's with me?

It appears we have some activity from BJ. What a freak.

I'm going to get stuffed at Buca di Beppo tonight with Maggie, Mac, and Steven. I'm very much looking forward to it since I haven't been around anyone my own age for a whole month. It's our alternative to the pizza-and-beer gathering offered by the Kansas City bloggers group. I think a good time will be had by all.

Almost all of my friends in Maryville are graduating tomorrow. Kevin, Jed, Brian, Steven, Lisa, may the heavenly light of Our Lord Jesus the Christ and the Heavenly Father shine upon everything that you do and bless your future with happiness and... Wow, I really need to stop reading all those religious web sites. Good luck guys, you better keep in touch. Godspeed!

I received these articles from Mac, and they definitely deserve some attention:
The Dick and Bush's "Christian" Blood Cult

Who's overreacting?

As despicable as he is, at least Pat Robertson is upfront about his aspirations for Evangelical Christianity in the Middle East, as this interview with fellow-fundy Dutch Sheets (definitely no relation) clearly shows:

ROBERTSON: What about the Iraq War? Have you discerned any significance about this war that you want to share?

SHEETS: Well, yes. I mean, I spent several days and hours praying about it beforehand. I knew we were going to war. I just knew it in my spirit. And I feel that the Lord said to me that this was all about the spirit of Babylon. I believe we've come full circle back to Genesis. That spirit that has arisen from way back in the beginning that has opposed the Lord, that says, "I'm not going to submit to You." And that spirit that goes all the way through Revelation where God says, "Fallen is Babylon the Great." I believe that we are coming into the season where God has determined, "I am now going to deal with the spirit of Babylon." And I believe, Pat, that the spirit of Babylon is the ruling spirit behind Islam.

You know, the Lord loves those people, and I believe that He has very passionate love for them, but we believe that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. And I believe that God is in the process now of bringing down that stronghold that has blinded people to the Gospel. And I believe we're now coming into the greatest harvest among the Muslim people, that we've heard about for so long, and I believe this is what it's all about. The Lord said to me before we ever went to war, "I have declared war on the spirit of Babylon," and that's when I knew we were going, and I believe that's what it's all about. It's not about a man. It's not about a people. It's about a spirit, and liberating people from that spirit.

So would someone please tell me again that the Christian "humanitarian aid" missions are going to Iraq to just help out the Iraqis? That Franklin "Islam is an evil and wicked religion" Graham's Samaritan's Purse is going to rebuild homes and hand out food and not attempt to wipe out all traces of Islam with which it comes into contact? The above passage is what it's all about, kiddos.

The Evangelicals never offer a carrot without a stick here at home, so why does anyone believe them when they say they're going to do so in Iraq? There is no respect for Arab culture among these people; in case no one has been paying attention, they hate Islam and everything it stands for (though, oddly enough, it stands for almost everything Christianity stands for). You had better believe there is going to be a carrot-and-stick routine in Iraq, only instead of a stick the carrot will be dangling from the end of a cross.

Since most Iraqis are already incredibly suspicious of America's intentions, sending more Americans to Iraq to spread the Gospel is only going to add more fuel to the fire. No matter what Bush says from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, this war is far from over.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

"Hiroshima, Nagasaki rocked by powerful explosions"

Bob Harris (who is filling in for Tom Tomorrow over at This Modern World) discusses the subtle manipulation carried out by major media outlets through the use of passive phrasing. This has always bothered me as well, particularly because editors (or whomever decides on the headlines) tend to fall into passive voice whenever a direct headline might make this great nation look, well, not so great. It may not seem like a big deal, and it's something most people probably don't notice, but it's as perfect example of media manipulation as anything else I've seen. I'm particularly attuned to it since passive voice is a touchy issue for me because I'm overly conscious that I use it way too often in my own writing; since I spend about two to three hours every day scanning headlines and reading articles, I notice it all the time in other people's writing as well. I'm not sure why it never occured to me to write about it, but Mr. Harris does a much better job at exposing this shameful little trick than I suppose I could have done.

Where is Joe McCarthy when we need him?

Today is May Day. Apparently there are no workers demonstrations in the Kansas City area today. Perhaps such an observance would reek too much of the great scourge upon humanity that is socialism? Besides, here in the States we have the all-American workers holiday, Labor Day, when there are no parades, management takes the day off to play some golf, and the laborers still have to work, though they probably get holiday pay. What could possibly be more American than keeping the labor in Labor Day?

Interestingly enough, today is also the National Day of Prayer. The confluence this year of May Day and the National Day of Prayer is sure to go unnoticed and its significance will probably be lost on most of those who do know what's going on. The NDP was created by Congress in 1952, ostensibly to celebrate religious faith but, like the creation of the national motto 'In God We Trust' (and its addition to our currency) and the inclusion of 'under God' to the pledge of allegiance, it was really a pissing contest between Congressmen to prove how un-Communistic they were. It was essentially part of a great polemical debate between two major superpowers; it was purely political in nature, and nothing more.

Still, I've had my eyes peeled for the past couple of days hoping to see some sort of gloating, McCarthyite rant published somewhere about how today is symbolic of the defeat of godless Communism by the righteousness of American traditional values, that few Americans even know what May Day is while "we" all observe a day of prayer, but I have seen nothing. Who dropped the ball? This would be the perfect opportunity for the Right play on America's irrational fears of socialism and rail against universal health care, the living wage, and Democrats. Hell, I'm sure someone like Ann Coulter or Bob Dornan could even somehow tie it in with the "war on terror." What's going on? It's really not like those people to miss a chance to uphold their flimsy position. I think it's time they get with the reactionary program. I need something more concrete that I can complain about.

I'm just a little bit country...

If Jesus came down from Heaven and offered me anything I wanted (isn't that how it works?), I think I would ask him to teach me how to play the banjo. I don't where it comes from, but for quite some time I have had an overwhelming desire to learn how to play the banjo. There's just something about that instrument that gets me going. Perhaps I watched a little too much Hee-Haw as a kid, or maybe I've seen Deliverance more than I should have, but dammit, I want to get my banjo on.