"indecision may or may not be my problem."
from a 1968 book about the middle east:
American policy, in its habitual fashion, had resulted in creating the very situation which it thought to avoid.
maxime rodinson, "israel and the arabs".
hard to believe (for me) - massachusetts voters voted 'no' on a law proposition that would allow local towns to give permits to supermarkets to sell wine.
since there are obviously few more dangerous issues in the world, this was also the most expensive ballot question campaign in state history breaking the record held since 1988, when the state voted on nuclear power plants.
supermarkets shelled out $7 million on trying to get the law passed, while liquor store and beer distributors paid $4.5 million to stop the law from being passed.
at the end of the day, this is a common story of legislation.
a stupid-ass law is in place, protecting some economic special interest of a small group. this lobby-propelled law has over the years thoroughly been twisted into some heap of moralistic bullshit related to 'protecting our children', just about the most hipocritical thing you can imagine from liquor stores. and now some other special interest group wants to get in. so both groups shell out millions to make up campaigns tarteting some deeply emotional decision centers in our brains, making the decision about 'consumer choice' or 'teenage drinking'. yeah, right.
trying to appease the traditionally alcohol-spooked american voter, the law in question was phrased so carefully, that i couldn't believe anyone in their right mind would reject it. it basically allowed towns to hand out a limited number of permits to grocery stores to sell wine, and only wine. towns could of course not grant permits if they didn't want to.
but at the end the scare campaign funded by the liquor companies ("foreign owned grocery stores", "190 additional drunk driving fatalities per year", "fail to stop underage buyers"), worked. astonishingly, even very liberal voters that i've talked to, were flailing on election day on how to vote on this question. when pressed to explain why exactly they oppose it, they couldn't muster any good explanations, which is not surprising, since the campaign was mainly emotional and not rational. they usually said something like: "i mean, i'm for consumer choice, but...hmm.. i don't know something.... hmmm.... don't know if it's a good idea, really."
much has been written about the difference between campaigns of hope vs. campaigns of fear. but it really comes down to the emotional response at the ballot box - when you're all alone there with the pen in your hand, and something inside you that you can't quite explain is making you uneasy about a question, it's always a little more comfortable to vote with your fear than with your hope.
i'm not an american. by law and by plan i am but a temporary visitor in this country, and i appreciate the hospitality i'm afforded here. still, after over 4 years of residency here, and with all the humility of accepting that it is really none of my goddamn business, i feel entitled to at least comment on what seems to be a horrendous turn in one of the most admirable aspects of american political principle.
the american political system grew out of suspicion towards government. i believe that history shows us that this suspicion is based. many times in the past have political groups in power increased their power 'for stability' just to abuse it within a short amount of time.
this week it seems that a particuarly unbelievable undermining of some of the most basic constitutional rights has been signed into law, and as g.w.u law professor jonathan turley said "the strange thing is, weve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, Dancing with the Stars. I mean, its otherworldly."
on another topic, i was surprised that many people don't know keith olbermann, who i consider one of the sharper political pundits on the left side of the spectrum (although he does look like a ken doll...). so killing two birds with one stone, watch olbermann's special comment on the military commissions act, and his interview of turley.
via the rude pundit.
if you happen to vote in nevada, vote to legalize marijuana. not much else to say on this topic. oh, maybe this: you must be a total idiot if you support the criminalization of weed. maybe nevada will lead the way to normalize the rest of us.
with a headline like "Venezuela's Chavez: Recovering Castro prepared to die", and given our experience with communism, and my personal affinity for conspiracy theories, one must wonder.
is he alive? is he dead? did chavez kill him? is chavez really castro in a fat-suit?
and most importantly, who will sit in the tribuna antiimperialista in the next u.s.a-cuba beisbol match?
i was going to write all about our emotional meeting here. but at the end of the day, despite the thinly veiled plainclothes security people, and the host of government-looking cars and s.u.vs parked on the sidewalks and plazas around the building, the ex never made it up to the 4th floor. he was probably running late and had to be content with the lower-level groups. or maybe he was just intimidated by the fact that i am israeli.
at any rate, the world now is safe from iran knowing everything about social robots.
as it were, i am repeatedly approached by people who want to make sense of the whole mess between israel and lebanon, and while i'm at it - what the hell is up with gaza, and iran, and all the rest. which is kind of curious because (as i also tell them) my opinions are radically marginal in the israeli political discourse. but in my defense one might say that i guess i can at least place iran, syria, and lebanon on the map which is more than most people who live around me can claim.
this weekend, however, the ny times put up a wonderful map/graph deliniating the various population demographics and hostilities around the middle east, so as a public service, and in blatant violation of copyright, i'm also hosting the image locally.
the graph has a lot of really interesting information on it and describes the various levels of hostility with cute phrases that range between just 'deep suspicion and hostility' to all-out 'war'. i was also surprised to learn that hammas was sunni, which comes to show what kind of expert i am.
a friend also pointed me to the middle east buddy list, a similarly cute attempt to make sense of the mess that's called the middle east. (i would personally label the relationship between israel and the e.u with 'it's complicated' rather than 'friends', but i guess nobody asked me).
and as a final cherry, here's the rude pundit with a message to my (his) american readers, reminding them that they have better things to worry about than israel.
the older i get, the more i get convinced that political debate does not reach its intended goal. that is, if the intended goal is for one party to persuade the other of its opinions. maybe the intended goal is just passing time, or entertaining. in which case, political debate works well enough.
people use so-called political debate mostly to reinforce their existing views. the only way people can really change their mind is by either studying (i.e. listening to someone else on a matter they have no knowledge or opinion of) or experiencing something first hand. this is why i increasingly believe that if i want someone to accept my views, i should lead by example, rather than explain why i think i'm right (or have people read my book list). the latter two will only work in the above mentioned two cases: you either don't claim knowledge on the matter, or you want to get more arguments for what you believe in anyway.
i'm starting to think that this phenomenon (not being able to be convinced by verbal communication) is an inherent human trait. call it a 'me-factor'. that this not-changing-your-mind is something etymologically important to us as humans almost the same way language itself is. not a big fan of evolutionary explanations, i'll just say that it might just be something deeply rooted in human nature to have to experience things yourself in order to shape your opinion. it's about dominance, perhaps. or about exploration. for humans, when they form their opinions based on experience, it feels a lot more like it's your own distillation of external facts as opposed to the redigestion of someone else's thoughts (to which we humans seem to be pretty opposed to). the satisfaction of reaching the opinion is much higher, as is our commitment to these new opinions.
propaganda movies pose a special case, which also explains their excess danger in the lineup of political tools. watching a movie seems to fall between the two extremes of verbal persuasion and first-hand experience. the fact that movies hold something of the 'magic of reality' or at least the pretense of objective representation (and i won't get into all that boring film theory stuff from college) makes the viewer believe they experienced something first hand. combining that with the 'me-factor' makes for a powerful mix.
still, films that are extremely different from your opinion will probably be filtered out. and the more educated masses are beginning to question the filmic medium's claim to objective representation, pushing political films more into the realm of 'someone else's opinion'. which is good.
just something i wanted to put out there for now.
this cartoon made me laugh today:
although it would have been funnier without the last frame, if you ask me. and you ask me.
the interesting editing together with this strong cast creates a movie that is never dull, but left me with only a very slight post-viewing baggage, while i was expecting to be strongly moved.
and in israel the following grafitti in a tel aviv alley pretty much sums it up
'end the occupation', one wrote. 'and the murder of jews by arabs' added another. 'and the scum' added a third, somewhat puzzlingly.
first off, pittsburgh is very cool.
they're all interesting, especially the interview with kenyan economist james shikwati, who says among others that
If one were to believe all the horrorifying reports, then all Kenyans should actually be dead by now. But now, tests are being carried out everywhere, and it turns out that the figures were vastly exaggerated. It's not three million Kenyans that are infected. All of the sudden, it's only about one million.
AIDS is big business, maybe Africa's biggest business. There's nothing else that can generate as much aid money as shocking figures on AIDS. AIDS is a political disease here, and we should be very skeptical.
In the industrial nations, there's a sense that Africa would go under without development aid. But believe me, Africa existed before you Europeans came along. And we didn't do all that poorly either.
Shikwati basically says that all that aid is turning africa into a country of beggars, which is ultimately bad for their development. it's pretty standard right-wing economics, and should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but is still interesting reading.
the way i would imagine the gaza evacuation going down around here is:
(1) IMPORTANT DEADLINE: last date for application for monetary compensation is July 1st. If you are eligable for compensation, you MUST complete Form EVC-G/05 and Form MON-G/05 and mail them before July 1st. Late applications will not be considered.
* Please note important regulations regarding disorderly conduct and monetary compensation (p.23) . If you are arrested during the evacuation you might lose eligability for monetary compensation. Please contact your local Army civilian relations office for more details.
let me just get this straight. the united states is disappointed that iran elected a hardline, conservative, religious candidate?
the united states government? that, what? prefers more of an appeasing, liberal, atheistic philosophy?
anyway, as always when i see horses, i can't help but wonder what the first human who decided to tame this animal for riding was thinking, and how he could have survived this stupid idea.
haaretz's main headline says abbas expects hamas to disarm after joining the palestinian authority, stating
When a movement or militia is transformed into a political party, I would say that there will then be no need for them to possess weapons. There will be only one authority, one law, and one legal gun. The issue is very clear, and this has been common practice throughout history.
while this seems pretty straightforward and logical to the appeasing liberal that i am, what is surprising is that this move is apparently following, among others, american pressure.
isn't it a little weird that this is the american position, when one of the big prides of the local political system (at least to a large part of the population) is that the populace should always be armed and ready to take on the government, in case the government becomes too corrupt or oppressive?
that it's a basic human right to form a militia?
i wonder how the american right, who is running things these days reconciles these two approaches. that is under the false hypothesis that reconciling double standards was part of their philosophy to start with.
the delocator helps you find non-corporate cafés by zipcode. i mainly liked the name and the logo, although i do agree with their message, too.
Each [Starbucks] store is designed to deliver the authentic coffeehouse experience. The only way to accomplish this and be profitable and competitive is by making all of the stores identical: the same beverages, food, ambient sounds and smells, even the same simulated coffeehouse interior wall treatments. Their products, services and spaces are quantified: eliminating any subjectivity or variance in their business practices, making all things measurable; homogenized: reducing the entire range of experience to one particular form; and commodified: everything is either directly for sale or in the aide of selling.
conceivably standardized cafés are not really such an affront to the american taste, what with the usual coffee interaction ending in a paper cup that is being drunk while racing to the parking lot, but i personally really like café culture. maybe for the sake of demonstration it would help to imagine that all the bars in boston would turn into mcPubs with big backlit menus over the bar, and beer dispensed in paper cups coming in three sizes 'Good Ole'™ Pint', 'Meadow o'England™ Mug', and 'Royal Crown™ Pitcher'.
of course the sponsor of tennessees marriage protection act is facing divorce because of his alleged relationship with a senate aide.
guess his act was too late to protect his own marriage.
i've just about had it with hypocritical religious sexuality in america.
is it just me or does it seem to everyone that the war in iraq has pretty much ceased to interest the headlines, giving way to more feeding-tube related deaths?
the last thing i really heard touted by the media (and admittedly, i'm not following the news too religiously) was how democracy was on the roll in iraq and the middle east.
hey, that reminds me, wasn't there news from syria and lebanon a few weeks ago that was all historic and world-changing? that, too, has been kind of 'eh'ified in the last few weeks?
strange how these things go.
checking up on iraq i found the following surprising:
apr.3: Two Iraqi police, one army officer killed in Mosul... Marine killed in Iraq blast... Iraqi prison attacked by insurgents, one killed... One of the biggest private security firms in Iraq has created outrage after a memo to staff claimed it is 'fun' to shoot people... Britain to pull 5,500 troops out of Iraq...
apr.2: Car Bomb Kills Five Iraqis North of Baghdad... Marine Killed In Ramadi... Insurgents attack Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison...
apr.1: Three US soldiers killed in Iraq unrest... U.S. Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Walks Free...
mar.31: Suicide Attacks Kill Seven in Iraq... One Killed as Gunmen Fire on Shiite Pilgrims in Iraq... Marine Killed In Iraq... U.S. Soldier Killed In Baghdad... American soldier died from wounds... Attacks on American forces are down 25 percent from last fall...
and just in case you're paying taxes this month, the war in iraq cost the united states $160,644,700,000 + change so far.
it goes on like this for the previous days too. you get the point. all stuff that would be headline news before the elections, now that it's over people are like: 'hey, we tried. whatever'.
or maybe repetitive news is just not really news anymore.
i like the idea that the states are like little testbeds for policy ideas, keeping the justice and government systems heterogeneous and experimental in a safe way. good policies ideas will eventurally travel between states, but if there's some fuck up, it can be more contained. finally the really good ideas will be implemented on a federal level.
The Department of Homeland Security is experimenting with a controversial new method to keep better track of immigrants who are applying to remain in the United States. It is requiring aliens in eight cities to wear electronic monitors 24 hours a day.
The ankle bracelets are the same monitors that some rapists and other convicted criminals have to wear on parole.
they should do it for all citizens! and allow public access to that information. that would be fun. i want to know where my friends are, too.
hmm, maybe that's too dangerous. how about they allow public access to this information only to people who are card-holding members of the republican party. that way the information won't go into the wrong hands. and that would also encourage people to join the party.
Rather than confronting the issue of reporter's privilege head-on, Apple is going to this journalist's ISP for his emails. This undermines a fundamental, First Amendment right that protects all reporters. If the court lets Apple get away with this, and exposes the confidences gained by these reporters, potential confidential sources will be deterred from providing information to the media, and the public will lose a vital outlet for independent news, analysis, and commentary.
the question of whether it's ethical to expose a company's plans is a valid one over which i'm divided.
but i sure hope that corporations will not be granted the right to get people's email correspondances whenever they feel the need.
now just to clear this up - i don't give much of a shit about corruption and paid journalists who write in favor of the administration, and president's ties with hookers and drug dealers. that's the way any government operates anywhere in the world and all throughout history. i guess you have to be an asshole to get to be a politician, so there's no avoiding that.
the only thing i want is for conservatives to stop preaching. that's all.
The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.
the washington post reports that the search for wmd in iraq has officially ended.
with a whimper.
Four months after Charles A. Duelfer, who led the weapons hunt in 2004, submitted an interim report to Congress that contradicted nearly every prewar assertion about Iraq made by top Bush administration officials, a senior intelligence official said the findings will stand as the ISG's final conclusions and will be published this spring.
basically the conclusion was reached in september of last year, but hey - that was really an inconvenient time to officially say things like that.
not that i think it would have swayed anyone to vote differently.
oh, and speaking of the i.s.g, it's always fun to revisit the fabulous thank you video bush sent them before the elections.
couldn't help but smirk when i heard one of the settlers' spokesmen on israeli radio this morning, bitching about the supposedly imminent evacuation of settlements by the army as part of the disengagement plan.
as part of this latest political development, there is a lot of talk in israel about some right-wing soldiers refusing to follow orders if they are commanded to evacuate jewish settlers from gaza.
i don't have the precise quote but he said something to the effect of "it's simply wrong to put the army in charge of what is obviously a police job. the army should fight the enemy and not do policing jobs dealing with civilians. there can only be a disaster if we have the army dealing with civilians, since they're trained to kill enemies and not to deal with a civilian unarmed population."
(sidenote: i would be interested to hear what percentage of gaza settlers is unarmed).
as they say in hebrew: good morning, eliyahu! the army is not equipped to deal with civilians?
who would have thought?
in a similar story, there are many banner ads around jerusalem that say that population transfer is a violation of human rights. again, as opposed to the last 30 years, this time the settlers are the ones funding these ads. cute political stand coming from a group who - at least partially - was an avid proponent of transfer when it was the arab population who was in line for the one way ticket to elsewhere.
what's next? 'i got syphilis' baseball caps?
unrelated: a blog entry here is #1 hit for 'MIT geeks'. strange.
a friend of a friend, yael berda, will be coming to cambridge tonight and i convinced her to give a short talk at m.i.t about political dissent and non-violence.
it's tomorrow at 4:30 in the media lab building (room 235), and i would love to see you there.
she's got quite a track record and you can read all about the details of the talk here.
arianna online with a detailed column listing the current state of iraq facts that you want to ignore if you're pro-war.
a good read with many links to lying politicians and homeless veterans.
Whats more, one of the companies that makes the protective plates for the Humvees used in Iraq said last week that it could easily have increased its output if only the Pentagon had asked. Remember how often on the campaign trail the president trotted out his sure-fire applause line, promising, Ill make sure our troops have the best. They deserve the best? Maybe he was referring to the quality of their funerals.
in all fairness, i should add several notes, though.
whether you think the war in iraq is great or it sucks, one thing is clear. it's not where the u.s thought it would be at this point.
it's also weird to me as an israeli to read about abandoned war-wounded, coming from a country that with all its shortcomings, at least tends to those who got harmed in war.
today is f.a.t, friday after thanksgiving, 'fat friday', 'black friday' (not because it's gloomy but because you get your books back into the black), 'day after thanksgiving', etc. in short, the biggest shopping day of the year in the u.s.
it's also buy nothing day if you're into that kind of stuff.
actually, dror sent me an even more convincing link - much better than the official propaganda, albeit only in hebrew.
as with my vegetarianism, i think the right way to change things that are wrong (if you actually believe they're wrong) is not by banning or stopping, but by partial change.
people don't like partial change because it's not as sexy as banning or stopping something.
but personally, i would prefer if everyone would eat only 10% less meat than they do than if 5% of the people who do eat meat would stop eating it altogether.
same here. i don't know what i think of 'buy nothing day' except for maybe its symbolic and educational value. i'd much rather if people would just buy a little less, and would think a little more when they do so every day than if they just didn't buy anything on a single day.
to quote andy warhol:
i don't understand people who don't buy underwear. i mean, i can understand not using it, but not buying it?!
this is probably the camp david account from the best-informed source you can get, since he seems to not only have been present, but - as opposed to barak and clinton - also have learned a thing or two before getting the job.
Second, although Camp David undoubtedly was a breakthrough, and although Israel was prepared to concede far more than in the past, the deal nevertheless didn't meet the minimum requirements of any Palestinian leader. Washington now welcomes the new leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Korei, but it is worth bearing in mind that neither could have embraced the Camp David ideas and neither did.
to this day i find it ridiculously sad how ex-p.m barak's ego has led him to popularize the 'no partner theory', a choice that - in my opinion - has sparked much of the bloodshed we're witnessing now.
barak, who still hasn't presented any maps, documents, or anything else to his people in support of his theory, prefers to stick to his populist, simplified, and sophomoric talkshow chatter so easily adoptable by the public.
and i heard he's running for re-election!
It's far from over. The tunnel is just a little darker -- and longer -- than we imagined.
ok, sorry for the geeky title, i just spent a few days running algorithms in java.
anyway, the onion - once more - had it right when it called what happened two days ago as an 'attempt at democratic elections' european election monitors are appalled, and i hope nobody thinks it's beyond this administration to cheat their way through the elections.
but cheating or not cheating apart, by far my favorite story so far is that of the e-voting machine losing 4500 out of 10500 votes because it was running out of memory.
it's nothing new that this is not a very technology-savvy country, as i've noted a few times, but what kind of storage system did they use that can only store 3,005 (!) votes? an atari 2600? or maybe every vote was stored as a 100M movie file?
and there is no backup for the votes that were lost? hell, i back up papers that i write every night on two machines.
and the machine didn't stop accepting votes when the memory ran out? it just overwrote the old votes?
god. some programmer should be put in prison for malpractice on that one.
a friend of mine called from israel and asked whether we're aware of the whole arafat crisis. i pointed out to him that arafat is on top of google news for a few days now, interrupted for about 24 hours with election news, and now, the day after the elections he's back on the top headline.
i have no idea why he is so interesting to the world, for someone who has been declared 'irrelevant' so long ago.
them liberals here at m.i.t look hazy-eyed over to canada. the more laid-back types eye mexico. they all note the well defined border between the blue states and the red states, and it's almost like secession is in the air.
looking at the map, an unnamed democrat here said: 'see all those blue states? what we should do is adjust the tax laws so that we pay less federal taxes and all those red states will starve and maybe then they'll find out that they're actually depending on us democrats to survive'.
i never understood why the north didn't let the south secede in the 1800s, or as udi once said 'i thought the union was a voluntary thing'. maybe now is a good time to reconsider.
since nobody really gives a fuck what i have say on the topic, i will now announce that 'some words to not' calls the 2004 presidential elections for incumbent president and republican nominee george w. bush.
with florida gone and ohio nothing more than wishful thinking for the dems, it's safe to say that we are looking forward to another four years of great comedy in the white house.
there sure were some long faces on the t tonight. people were not very happy.
i know that there are supposedly some 1,000,000 uncounted votes in florida, but hey - i think it's over.
and it's the home of democracy (as another subway poster says). too bad that they're short 500,000 volunteers to staff the voting booths, because presidential election day is not a paid vacation day. for a country spreading freedom and elections all over the world, one would think that they would encourage people to attend their own elections. but that would be too much to ask.
my one true love didn't like the market when we started dating. she couldn't get over the fact that you had to pay each and every one of the sellers separately, take out money and count it for tomatoes separately, and for basil separately and for cheese separately. she also didn't like that some of the sellers tried to cheat you all the time. and the fact that there were so many people crowding the place like a guns-and-roses concert, when axl rose was still hot.
[...] there has been a consistent pattern in the Administration's actions: laws that are designed to promote public access to information have been undermined, while laws that authorize the government to withhold information or to operate in secret have repeatedly been expanded. The cumulative result is an unprecedented assault on the principle of open government.
what on earth made the democratic party copy the graphics from msn messenger for their homepage?
are they trying to be 'hip'? do they have a license for that?
great clip in which john stewart gets angry live on 'crossfire', and lashes out at the so-called investigative media, which really is not much more than a stage for politicians to deliver their talking points.
[calling 'crossfire' a debate show] that's like saying pro-wrestling a show about athletic competition.
i know i'm a little obsessed with bush these days, but it's just that all this cool info just keeps flowing in.
like this from a fascinating, if one-sided, nyt article full of interesting bio info about the most powerful man in the world.
Rubenstein described that time to a convention of pension managers in Los Angeles last year, recalling that Malek approached him and said: ''There is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. . . . Needs some board positions.'' Though Rubenstein didn't think George W. Bush, then in his mid-40's, ''added much value,'' he put him on the Caterair board. ''Came to all the meetings,'' Rubenstein told the conventioneers. ''Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years: 'You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.' He said: 'Well, I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.' And I said thanks. Didn't think I'd ever see him again.''
Bush would soon officially resign from Caterair's board. Around this time, Karl Rove set up meetings to discuss Bush's possible candidacy for the governorship of Texas. Six years after that, he was elected leader of the free world.
the latest fad in the pinko bush whacking is videos showing that bush seems to have a weird drop in mental functions.
kos has another one of those, allegedly from a video that was sent to (and leaked by) the iraqi survey group.
it's pretty weird looking. a friend says that "he looks like his behaviour system is having threading problems or something".
also, i noticed in the last debate, and here, that bush's mouth is drooping. some people are asking whether he might have had a stroke.
i really don't know what to make of all of those videos/claims. in this world of two-sided pre-election spin, it's hard to know what's what.
just short of deleting yesterday's o'reilly entry, i adjusted it and took out some - true, but irrelevant - paragraphs. the whole thing got carried away out of my glee for someone who is such an asshole getting hurt, and looking back a day later it seems unproportional.
just found out about this girl that she is 21. that's a shocking 10 years younger than me. i thought she was 24, she thought i was 26.
watch the video: the difference ten years make. it's a whole new man.
o'reilly is one of the most annoying people in the world, and very high up on my dream assassination list. so there's nothing better than having this asshole pretentious egoistic prick finally get hit.
sen. kerry spoke today about the leaking border to mexico.
he said that even people from the middle east (shock!) cross that border unchecked.
that's me! i was in the news!
no, really. when i came back from tijuana to san diego all they wanted to see was me wave my non-driver new york state i.d. which many non-immigrant aliens can just issue, and i'm sure it's even easier in other states.
so much easier than carrying your passport, and student visa, and i-20 form and all those things that they ask for at jfk.
a recent political email debate reminded me how important it is to retain a sense of humor in parallel with your political views.
tony does. and he stays political. but mostly i just like to read him coz he's funny.
what's peculiar is during the original controversy regarding the sign on the Lincoln, the administration first said that the seamen had put the sign up, and the president had nothing to do with it.
but then when they were pressed they said
oh you mean that mission accomplished sign, oh yeah, that was done by an outside company.
"You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm's way. "
George W. Bush, 1st Pres. Debate, Oct. 1, 2004
a funny medley of bush's pityful stubmling on thursday, via tony pierce.
and this is after they've been trying to train him for years to get his skills up to those of the average college class president.
people need a fable. a short, easy to remember anecdote that models the situation convincingly.
⑪ During the 2000 debates, you stated that you believed our troops should not be used for "nation building." Could you explain what our troops are now doing in Iraq and how that differs from nation building?
another commenter notes that the right question to ask bush is not whether he would support a constitutional ban on abortion, but whether if his daughter came home pregnant from a party (and she has been known to party to oblivion) if he would support an abortion then.
not that he wouldn't weasel his way out of it, like all politicians do.
but just because conservatives have a tendency to change their views when it comes to their own lives. as this commenter notes, like dick cheney on gay rights (he has a gay daughter) or nancy reagan on stem cell research (her husband, well, you know).
probably the single thing that always infuriates me about conservatives is their attitude that if it's not their problem it's not a problem they should care about.
wired claims that
Joshua Kinberg, the 25-year-old creator of Bikes Against Bush, was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and criminal possession of graffiti instruments, according to Sgt. Mary Christine Doherty of the New York City Police Department.
'criminal possession of graffiti instruments'?
you can get updates on his arrest and how to help him on his site. there's even a long video of his arrest. in which he's wearing our program's t-shirt.
funny liberal shout from the rnc, as a response to their 'four more years' slogan: 'four more months'
a few dozen fatah members, some armed, went out last night to the streets of ramallah, and tried to prevent residents in restaurants, coffee shops and other locations to watch the 'arab superstar' competition.
abdel-moneim had another interesting look at that core psychological problem: both nation's myths are based on the 'few against many' paradigm. the only thing is, they're reversed.
jewish paranoia always talks about the jewish few being overrun by the killing many, and just like the many spaniards/russians/germans persecuted and killed the helpless jewish few, now it's '300 million arabs wanting to throw us into the sea'.
arab paranoia, on the other hand, can be summarized as 'the educated and equipped few rule the powerless many', and to them, israel fits right into this pattern, with its sophisticated army, educated government and atomic bomb. just like the few turks, and the few brits, now it's the few america-backed jews that are back in town to exert their force on the helpless arab nation.
'oh i wish i had some honey bunches of oats', says the well-trained american refugee. 'or some mountain dew red alert'. brands are american culture. and guess who's making a buck out of it. not you.
little plug here for my main man josh kinberg from parsons' design and technology program, who is taking his project literally to the streets and releases bikes against bush to greet the rnc.
Bikes Against Bush is a one-of-a-kind, interactive protest/performance occurring simultaneously online and on the streets of NYC during the upcoming Republican National Convention. Using a Wireless Internet-enabled bicycle outfitted with a custom-designed printing device, the Bikes Against Bush bicycle can print spray-chalk text messages sent from web users directly onto the streets of Manhattan.
so are there more machismo letters? more badass ones? and then more subtle, and gentle letters? and if so, why?
russia's 'russky kuryer' writes:
To a great degree there is no Democratic party candidate John Kerry. There is an abstract "anti-Bush" candidate who has been compelled, in accordance with the US electoral system, to take on human form and assume a human name...
via bbc news
kerry's 1971 statement to the senate committee of foreign relations is quoted a lot by the right wing during this election campaign.
usually there's no reference to what document they're quoting, and as customary in our zero-attention-span society, only a single sentence from this report is quoted as a catch phrase over and over again without background or context. god forbid people would have to read/hear/say full paragraphs.
i think it's a great read.
We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism - and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.
had lunch in the big city tonight, and saw the following inscription on a big building:
"the new england shelter for homeless veterans"
nice column, tony style, although i would be hard-pressed to agree with his claim that there were "both sides being represented", and i outright laugh when i read jeff jarvis being called "logical", unless that was meant to be sarcastic.
Ironically, Moore ignores the fact that he too is making a hefty profit from this war. Like all propagandists, Moore fails to perceive himself as part of the problem.
The separation wall and fences are a good example. The fence's route in the northern West Bank, and around the settlements, has ruined the livelihood of masses of Arab peasants who returned to working the land after they lost their jobs in Israel. The wall in Jerusalem destroys the fabric of life for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents of the Ramallah, Abu Dis and Bethlehem regions. But Israeli public opinion has become deaf to Palestinian suffering, because a clear equation has been created in Israel: They are suffering - but we are not being blown up. They will lose their livelihoods, and their children will not be able to reach their schools or doctors' clinics, but we will be able to ride the bus or go to the supermarket with less fear.
no spoilers. just thoughts.
this is the best the average consumer can stomach: image, image, image, flash, simplified claim, flash, soundbyte, image. i mean, seriously, who knows this better than the white house and fox news?
my guess is - it will soar.
and since everyone and their mothers are busting balls about this movie that it makes you sick, and i definitely have nothing to add on this topic, i'll just quote tony:
youre a dog in a dirty fight. the other dog is definately deceitful and mistrustful, and ugly, and selfish, and solely interested in its own agenda. the other dog told the nation that there were definately weapons of mass destruction in iraq and that those weapons needed to be removed in order to protect america. and yet some liberals are trying to pretend that that dog's inaccuraccy is on the same level as yours.
coz we all knew that we were the ones to get hit if the two superpowers decided to up the ante. i mean you would fucking see pershing-IIs driving down the autobahn.
one by one, couples waving the coveted paper slip came out the door beneath the gold inscription telling the commoners about god's ten commandments, and while high above the american flag waved in sync with the p.o.w/m.i.a banner, on the lawn below a stars-and-rainbow was joined by signs saying 'mazel tov'.
quoted from ha'aretz:
"we have found the way to deal with terrorism, so from now on i will focus on solving our social and economic problems."
israeli prime minister ariel sharon, december 2001
in thomas friedman's recent column he mentions how much of the world's stability depends on china's economy running smoothly. so should all the world tremble in fear? not necessarily. friedman goes on to quote economist richard koo:
"Chinese leaders understand what world they are living in. They have a general equilibrium view of the world that what they do affects us all and then comes back to affect them."
i wish more world leaders would understand that.
an admittedly stupid radio show analyzing bush speeches from an orwellian p.o.v has some very long and really cool strings of bush audio clips, that sound like an sound art installation.
some of you might have gotten word of the petition to remove jew watch from the google search engine. wanting to check it out (like millions of others), i googled 'jew', and what really struck me as cool was the self-referential first google news item regarging the word 'jew':
(click on the image to enlarge)
here's google's take on the issue, which i quite frankly support.
btw, i finally checked whether the etymology of the word 'jewelry' is related to 'jew', and apparently it's not.
a new book called Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity is out.
appropriately, the book is downloadable free. unappropriately, it's downloadble free from amazon, a company some people might also accuse of using technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity.
sidenote: 'free' and 'culture' are among the most overused words in the language and i'm quite sick of them. they really make me want to believe in that old wives' tale my grandfather used to tell me to make me use better language:
he said that every word has a fixed number of times it can be said, and if you say a word too often you'll run out of its usages before long, and you won't be able to use it ever again until the day you die.
the 10th anniversary of two seminal events are near this date; one just passed, one is imminent. i thought this would be a good opportunity to remember that the first palestinian suicide bombing in israel (a hammas bus attack in afula) happened on april 6th, 1994 following the february 25th, 1994 massacre of 29 praying palestinians in hebron at the hands of baruch goldstein.
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content here by guy hoffman .. as seen times since march 2004