seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Busy Again

So this is going to be another busy week - posts may be few and sparse. GRE on Thurs, lots of web work in the meantime. Vikes looked better than I expected tonight although I must say, they deserve a better coach. Vikings clock management remains the absolute worst in the league. And that cheap hit by Johnstone didn't help either.

Da best map!

I'm sure most of you have seen the Jesusland Map, the traditional red vs blue map, or the Purple map. All are quite nice. But none really stack up to the 3d map!.

Israeli Bias

Juan Cole's blog, Informed Content just featured a piece that offers a fantastic discussion about what anti-Semitism is and what anti-Israeli thought is. As someone who has been highly critical of Israel in the past, it strikes home to me. It is a long piece, but feel free to stop after the first couple of pages - the rest is interesting too, but may not be relevant if you are not interested.

Good News on the Horizon

Gonna be a good weekeend. Sunday, the Steelers and Eagles play in the NFL - gonna be one of the best games of the season - two incredibly hot teams that happen to be my faves. Heading to Rochester tonight for a wedding. Listening right now to that new Steve Earle album, The Revolution Starts Now. That man can write, he can sing, and he sure can tell it how it is. Personally favorite song: its between "F the CC" and "Condi, Condi."

In other news - mark your calendar's now. Martin Devaney is playing the Turf Club on Saturday, Nov 20 in celebration of his new album. Come on out! We may lose First Ave, which is a huge blow to independent music, but we still got the artists to support. And Martin's new CD is hot.

Government denials regarding the original Gulf War illness (from '91) have become even less plausible. These photos show a great protest idea.

Gonna get Religion All Night Long

Yeah all the Fogerty fans in the house gimme a hell yeah. I found some good columns in the NYTimes today thanks to Jake at work. Thomas Friedman had some good points (I'm not sure how long these links will last - the NYT online policies are odd) and Maureen Dowd had some fine moments, but Gary Wills struck gold with his piece. He basically says Rove was a genius and capitalized on Americans who beliefs are closer to bin Laden than the U.S. founders (this is a rough paraphrase that I daresay he might not appreciate).

I have registered the domain name Let me know if you have any fun ideas of what to put on it. I want to focus on the interesting ways the blue states and red states differ. For instance, the strongest states economically tend to be blue. The blue states by far and large have not only been the victim of terror attacks, but are the most likely targets for future attacks (don't forget Kerry won DC 90-10.

Number of books sold in blue states versus red. Number of people who complain about welfare vs number of people on welfare. Number of teeth per capita. OK, the last one was a cheapshot.

I just published another review on hatchetjobber - this one dealing with a recent Mother Jones article.

You know how Bush keeps talking about training the Iraqis to do the Iraqi soldiering ... Army Times has an article about them. Seems they have a long way to go.

An Upside in Redneck America

Well, it looks like the Left Behind belt has pushed Bush into victory now that Kerry is going to concede. The upside, and I think it is a BIG upside is that Bush is left to clean up the messes he started. When he again loses jobs and the terrorists (whose numbers have increased thanks to his decisions) start hitting home, he won't be able to blame Clinton this time.

Furthermore, the states that put him into office are the ones who by far and large will see their children die in Iraq. They should have lots of time to think about how happy they are that gays are not tying the knot in their state while they are reading the want ads trying to find a job.

I'm not upset that Bush will continue serving as the President. I'm upset that 58 million Americans can be so stupid in the land where Jefferson, Franklin, and others created their experiment.

Nov 3

It's looking bad for Democrats. Even if Kerry somewow magically wins, the message from American voters is clear. We're here, we're rednecks, we reward incompetence. The thing that really pisses me off about this election is the 11 States that voted to change their Constitution to flick off gay couples.

To me, it's like they're saying, we missed our chances to keep the racial minorities where they belong, but golly gee gosh darnit, we're gonna make sure those homos know their place.

Way to go Christian right - soon you will have your wish and women will be closer to again being "brood mares for the state" to quote Carlin. You have likely won the election for your candidate. The folks in Ohio and elsewhere have decided to continue policies that screw them over and make them less safe - cuz they saw it on the tee vee.

Election Eve

I just posted another review over at hatchetjobber - this time of Michael Moore's new book Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Letters from the War Zone. The upshot? A very good, quick read.

Tomorrow, many Americans will vote. Sadly, most of them will have spent far more time and energy following Nascar, the NFL, or a sitcom than the candidates. Once again, I will not cast a vote. I explain why below.

In 1996, I cast my first and only vote for a Presidential candidate. I was strongly considering Nader but ended up voting for Clinton. I then watched as he went on to take many positions with which I disagreed. In many ways, you could say that Clinton's legacy left Bush with a mess in Iraq with few options. The fact that Bush somehow created a bigger quagmire is actually somewhat impressive in a twisted way.

At any rate, I believe that Bush has been a particularly bad President in terms of benefiting the majority of Americans. After 9-11, an attack that perhaps could have been prevented if the U.S. had a competent President who considered terrorism to be a priority, Bush has simultaneously lost all international good will for the United States and created more terrorists while only modestly hurting al-Qaeda's capability to launch more attacks.

I believe Kerry will fare much better at reducing the chances of additional attacks against the U.S. even while I acknowledge that more attacks are inevitable. Kerry will also do a far better job of spurring economic growth.

Ultimately though, the real problems that I have with the United States government are going to be there regardless of who wins. The U.S. will remain a prudish society governed by the rich in their interests. The U.S. will continue to dominate the world with military bases and aircraft carriers scattered throughout the globe.

Millions in the U.S. will continue to lack health care, women will continue to make less money than men for comparable tasks, children will still suffer at poorly run, underfunded schools, and polluters will continue to despoil the environment.

I will not be supporting a candidate who, at best, can claim that he will moderately slow the rate at which we despoil the nature around us.

The problems that we face seem insurmountable regardless of who is in office. The media misinforms the few people who actually try to follow politics. People on the right and the left grow increasingly hostile toward each other - preventing the dialogue which is necessary for us all to live together.

Ultimately, we have a large mountain to climb if we are to establish a democracy in this land. The institutional barriers we face, the inertia we have to overcome in an age of consumer abundance is so great, that I am not at all convinced it matters who is the President.

My greatest fear is that Kerry will win, and most of the people who have been fighting for a more democratic America over the past 4 years will relax, not understanding that Democrats (and the business interests that set the agenda) are nearly as hostile to democracy as Republicans.

I categorically reject the idea that because I do not vote, I somehow lose the "right" to object to government policy. This is absurd. The fact that the government makes decisions that effect me gives me the right to respond. Casting a ballot for a candidate beholden to moneyed interests has nothing to do with that right. Honestly, they had elections in Soviet Russia. Even Saddam Hussein had elections. When the entire government is controlled by a few interests, elections tend toward being meangingless.

Snoop Dogg PSA

Oh yeah - not to be outdone, Snoop Dogg is now encouraging his fans to get out the vote. This PSA may not be appropriate for work computers...

Also, the latest Get Your War On comic is out. Read it!

A Changing World...

I was thinking this morning about the Republican mantra that the whole world changed on 9-11. This is why they believe they are best positioned to govern the United States - because they learned important lessons on 9-11.

There are indeed lessons from 9-11, but it takes bucket loads of chutzpuh and good ole fashioned American arrogance to think the whole world changed because terrorists succeeding in attacking NY, NY and D.C. In fact, escalating world terrorism was something the whole world was facing before 9-11. The fact that it got the attention of the U.S. public doesn't really change anything except the talking points on pundit shows.

From what I can tell, neither party learned what I consider to be the most important lesson of 9-11. Osama bin Laden's will always exist, but his organization is so strong because of the resentment created by an arrogant American empire that rules the world. American military bases in the Middle East, coupled with our uncritical support of apartheid in Israel foster resentment that drives young men to Osama's training camps.

Terrorists like Osama bin Laden are not articulate enough, their visions not appealing enough to create armies of the size they have unless large numbers of people are fed up and hopeless in a system under which they have no political control or legitimate outlet for change.

I would prefer to see these men going underground in their society and working (hand in hand with women!) to overthrow the tyrannical regimes at home. Of course, they do not because it is much easier to hate the large empire across the sea than it is to fight at home where you are more likely to rot in prison than die gloriously.

Now what is interesting about Republicans claiming to have learned the lessons of 9-11 is that the evidence shows that Democrats understood some the lessons before 9-11. They understood that the world was growing more interconnected in more ways than just economic. They have long believed in engaging the world rather than going it alone - much in the same ways as Republicans now want to strategically engage the world.

On the matter of terrorism, the Clinton administration clearly considered it a higher priority than that under Bush. In the first 9 months of his term, Bush failed to do much of anything to track or disrupt global terrorism. In fact, when presented with warnings that global terrorism was about to strike home, he went on vacation and back-burnered protecting the U.S. citizens, which is the whole point of government. If it fails to protect us, (especially through incompetence) then it is damn near worthless.

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