Friday, July 04, 2008

Who woulda thunk it?

Reuters reports that the government of Panama has declined to host a U.S. military base on their soil.

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama has ruled out hosting a U.S. military base to replace one in Ecuador which is being reclaimed by the Quito government, a senior Panamanian official said on Friday....

Panama's Justice Minister Daniel Delgado said his country's often turbulent history with the United States made the establishment of new bases impossible.

Funny how the article fails to mention that we invaded Panama, killed, wounded and displaced a lot of people, and have a rich history of fucking over Latin American countries, particularly those stupid enough to let us build military bases.

Those reading the article with no knowledge of history would be mystified. We are so good, so righteous. Why do these poor, deluded people always distrust our good intentions? Why o why?

Picture of today

Chuckling does his part

I just got a call from a representative of Senator Obama asking me to help out with a campaign donation. I want to help Senator Obama, I genuinely do, but I figure at this stage in the campaign he needs my advice more than he needs my money.

So I said that I would not give anything to Senator Obama for two reasons. First, because I did not want to waste any of my money to retire the mutli-millionaire Hillary Clinton's campaign debt. Second, that Senator Obama is quickly becoming a Republican and that I am not giving a dime to support the Republican agenda.

Apparently they have been hearing a lot of negative feedback over paying back Senator Clinton's campaign debts because the caller had a scripted answer to that criticism, which was reasonable.

But he just sounded exasperated about the charge that the Senator has dropped any pretense of being a Democrat. I pointed out that Senator Obama supports what should be illegal wiretapping, that he wants to funnel tax dollars to so-called religious organizations, and that he is backing off his pledge to get us out of Iraq -- Republican positions all. No scripted answer to those points, yet.

I was polite and asked that the caller please pass my concerns up the chain of command. I'm sure the Obama campaign will get the message if enough people refuse to contribute based on those principles. Of course the message they get may be to rely on corporate donors and their lobbyists instead, but that would speak to their morality not mine. I did the best I could to help.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Picture of today

Party like it's 1999

I'll try not to harp on this continually as the elections season rolls on. I know it doesn't win me any friends or influence. But periodically I just have to point out the overwhelming evidence that we live in a one party state. And now seems to be a good time for a little reminder, seeing how Senator Obama just dropped any pretense of being a Democrat. His embrace of Bush's Iraq policy so soon after his embrace of Bush's domestic spying policies should give you a couple pretty solid clues as to how things actually work. Senator Obama, just like everyone else in any kind of leadership position, is a member of the inner party. Whether he wins or loses, there will be no roll back of the national security state, no sensible universal health care and no change in the direction in the flow of money from the middle class to the wealthy.

But if elected, I wonder what he will accomplish. He's very eloquent and persuasive you know. The sky is not even the limit. President Clinton only managed to fulfill the liberal dream of doing away with Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Maybe President Obama will achieve the holy grail and destroy social security and medicare. For the good of this great nation, you know. For the good of Americans like you, me, and our sainted grandmothers. With a bi-partisan consensus of Republicans and centrist Democrats, he'll be able to accomplish just about anything.

Can't have that

This is sad.

An Indiana teacher who used a much lauded bestseller, The Freedom Writers Diary, to try to inspire under-performing high-school students has been suspended from her job without pay for 18 months.

The forces of ignorance rule most of this country.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The mighty, they fall

In economic news, the NY Times reports that the U.S. is on its knees begging for money in Moscow.

...the American treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., appealed in Moscow for Russian investment in the United States.

Speaking from the grave, Vladimir Lenin counseled the current Russian president to buy any rope we offer for sale.

Photo of the day

Election year observation

It just occurred to me that no one is running against the Beltway establishment this time around. How strange that both candidates would choose not to use such a proven strategy.

Never mind that Senator McCain is the Beltway establishment personified. That kind of grand hypocrisy and hucksterism has never stopped Republicans before.

And what's up with Senator Obama? He's not only running against the Beltway establishment personified but doing it at a time when that establishment is coming off the biggest failures in the history of the country.

What could possibly explain his failure to take advantage of such a winning strategy?

Update: I just saw Senator Obama's top advisor, David Axelrod, on tv saying that the Senator was not really serious about withdrawing troops from Iraq. Hmmmm. What could possibly explain that sudden alignment with the Beltway establishment?

It's a stumper.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Photo of the day

How it plays in peoria

A friend sent me this first hand report of some family friendly fare in the heart of this great country:

Well at least I got to see some family entertainment in Peoria at the Cubs farm team's new family entertainment stadium. Between inning entertainment as a "balloon race" where a girl had to burst a water balloon on her boyfriends chest with her chest. Then run a lap and then bust a water balloon on his crotch and then jump his bones on the ground till they could break a balloon between the two of them on the ground. That was followed by a grind dance contest on top of the visiting teams clubhouse about 10 feet from us. $8 well spent! Oh crap we were with our under 13 girls soccer team.....

Ummmm. Okay. Sounds like good midwestern fun, I've been there, done that. Seems a bit strange doing it at a professional baseball game, but whatever.

He also included this link to a short article that some might consider sexist. I got a chuckle from the denouement, but found it interesting in the context of our ongoing conversation about what is or is not sexist. The major issues surrounding Senator Clinton's campaign for President are relived in comments, but with a better sense of humor.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A desolate world with desolate people in it

I saw Pixar's new film Wall-E the other day and have been debating whether or not to say anything about it. I read a lot of reviews to see if I had anything particularly interesting to add and found that I didn't, so this will be brief.

I see all of Pixar's movies because I have kids, but I am not the studio's biggest fan. Cars is the only Pixar film I like uncritically. I have seen Cars numerous times simply because I enjoy it. Yes, I realize that I am probably the only person on the planet that sees it that way. Whatever. And I thought The Incredibles was pretty good as well.

So for what it's worth, I liked Wall-E and would say it is better than The Incredibles but not as good as Cars.

Interestingly, I again came across Debbie Schlussel's site when looking for reviews. Debbie is one of the more amusingly pathetic racist hate mongers on the internets. Making fun of her seems unfair, akin to teasing the mentally retarded. Nevertheless, she is probably not 'technically' mentally retarded and her nonsense does illustrate the depths of moral and intellectual depravity in which Republicans wallow, so she is fair game (if one defines fair as really ugly).

Her film criticism is generally high schoolish. Sentences like "Soon, a spaceship lands on earth and deposits small robot that looks like a cross between Caspar the Friendly Ghost and an egg" gives you all insight you need into her mainstream writing skills. The only possible reason to read her is for the insanely stupid asides.

I'm sure you can both enjoy this film with your family and explain to your kids that Ted Turner's scary vision of a scorched earth with no vegetation is fantasy and won't happen.

Yea, Ted Turner used his evil mind rays to inculcate his scary visions into the minds of Pixar employees. He's very scary that way.

But she goes way beyond stupidity into the serious ugly farther down when she discusses Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul, a Tunisian film the Washington Post's Micahel O'Sullivan describes as "a lovely if meandering fantasia about the power of narrative."
Khemir has a great eye, even if his pacing is at times lazier than Western audiences may be used to. In the end, though, the loose threads of the various yarns are tied up in a deeply satisfying way, giving this fairy tale the heft of great literature.

Schlussel, it seems, is only capable of considering art through her personal kaleidoscope of hate. She describes the film as "not charming, just backward," and then goes off on a neo-Nazi style anti-semitic rant.
You can't blame the Arabs and Muslims for their lack of advancement in story development and video production, though. After all, they have more important industries in which to make their advancements and developments and focus their "ingenuity" and "creativity": the IED industry, the homicide belt bomb industry, and the Mein Kampf/Protocols of the Elders of Zion publishing industry, and the women's sackwear/full-Ninja fashion industry.

Yes, they have advanced video production but only for certain things: beheading videos, Al-Qaeda recruitment videos, and the transmission of anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic sermons.

Funny how so many neo-Nazi douchebags like Ms. Schlussel miss the fact that Arabs are semites too.

One drop rules

Washington Post reporter Jonathan Weisman gets smacked down for observing that Senator Barak Obama is as white as he is black, perhaps more so since he was raised by whitey.

Several readers were upset by a remark that National political reporter Jonathan Weisman made on a chat on Monday. Weisman was responding to this question about Sen. Barack Obama:

"Alexandria, Va.: Obama's new ad (which plays a lot in Alexandria) shows pictures of his mother and grandparents, playing up his white family. Until now he's been 'African American'; now suddenly he's a white Midwesterner? During the primary Hillary was criticized for changing her image too many times. Won't Obama be criticized for doing the same thing?"

Weisman's answer: "I haven't heard that criticism, but it is striking -- not a single picture of his father. Now, that really is consistent with his upbringing -- he really did not become immersed in black American culture until he left college and went to Chicago. The great irony is that he is much more white than black, beyond skin color."

A Mr. Kendall Ridley from Houston is outraged.
"I'm simply blown away by this display of ignorance. Please let Mr. Weisman know that black culture is the all-encompassing experience of being black; there is not just one kind of black culture, as black America is neither monolithic nor single-minded. If Obama is 'more white,' 'beyond skin color,' I entreat Mr. Weisman to delineate precisely what he means. . . . Is he suggesting there is 'white behavior' and 'black behavior' or 'white thought' and 'black thought'?"

Without ultimately judging Mr. Ridley, I'm afraid I must question parts of his logic, if not his outrage altogether. If he were making the argument that there is no such thing as race so that any kind of categorization of people by race is idiotic per se, I would be right there with him. But when he writes that black culture is the all-encompassing experience of being black, he shows himself to be just as racialist, if not racist, as any other race obsessed moron.

This little controversy is a great example of why we need to do away with the entire disproved and outdated concept of race. Mr. Ridley is right that there is no such thing as 'black behavior' or 'white thought' because there is no such thing as black or white, at least when it comes to classifying humans.

But ethnicity is a very real phenomenon. Although impossible to classify around the edges, at the core things such as an African-American experience, ghetto culture, an African American literary tradition, white middle class values, WASP-ish snobbism, and all too many other ethnic categories actually exist, at least to some extent. Mr. Ridley's idea that there is an all-encompassing black or any other culture based on skin color is simply idiotic.

When we decode Mr. Weisman's politically unwise comment that Senator Obama is more white than black beyond skin color in ethnic terms, what he says is essentially accurate. Senator Obama was raised in what is typically considered a white middle class environment. An esoteric white middle class environment, granted, but a white middle class environment nevertheless. That is simply the fact of the matter.

Of course we should do away with all of these color based terms. 'White middle class values' should be replaced with something like 'typical American middle values' since people of all hues can and do share typical American values, but within the context of today's reality, Mr. Weisman made perfect sense as opposed to Mr. Ridley, who appears to be horribly warped by racialism.

The fact that Senator Obama cannot run an ad that shows images of his grandmother without getting criticized for trying to be white demonstrates just what a fucked up racialist world we continue to inhabit.