Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This morning on the 'Today' show, Matt Lauer asked his panelists -- I think Tucker Carlson was one of them -- if there was a double standard re Republicans getting caught with their pants down and asked to resign and the MSM making a big deal over it. I nearly spit coffee all over my television. Here's the deal, and I don't know why Matt Lauer doesn't get it. IF YOU CLAIM YOU REPRESENT THE PARTY OF "FAMILY VALUES" AND BELIEVE IN "TRADITIONAL" INSTITUTIONS THAT INCLUDE MARRIAGE AND EXCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF INFIDELITY, THEN DON'T PLAY FOOTSIES IN THE MEN'S ROOM AND BLAME THE MEDIA FOR MAKING A BIG DEAL OF THE FACT THAT NOT ONLY MIGHT YOU BE A BIG HYPOCRITE, YOU MAY ALSO HAVE REALLY BAD JUDGMENT (I mean, an airport BATHROOM? Seriously?).


I feel better.

LotD: The last line is the best. "A Senator's Wide Stance"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reading corner

I've been reading a lot lately, and last night, I finished Khaled Hoessini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. This was possibly the roughest read I've had in a long time -- just emotional (and at odd times too), poignant, depressing, horrific, and every now and then a moment of hope. The story follows two women through pre-revolutionary Afghanistan through the fall of the Taliban (the current resurgence is barely a blip on the radar) and what their lives and circumstances were. If even 1 percent of what happens to these women is based in reality, it's already too much. There was a part of me wondering about my own comfortable life when halfway around the world, these women are being physically and emotionally and mentally tortured and treated as prisoners. It's possibly the most disheartening book I've ever read and Hoessini's prose -- stark but poignant (he has mastered the art of putting the right details at the right moments and skipping over what doesn't matter) -- manages to cut right to the emotional heart of the story. I can't say I enjoyed the book, but I couldn't put it down.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Stole this link from my brother:

The Wrong Lessons of Iraq, but it's semi-related to the previous post on this subject, so I thought I'd go wild and crazy and post TWO entries today. Lori, you'd probably enjoy the link since it's more a psychological analysis of the different attitudes about the war.
No time machine

I was watching "The Daily Show" last night and also a few nights ago, when Bill Kristol was on. Jon Stewart was pounding both Kristol and last night's guest, Stephen F. Hayes, pretty hard on the Iraq War, but what I especially liked about yesterday's conversation is that Stewart actually brought up the issue of patriotism and if you're against the war, somehow you're a traitor and hurting morale. The full transcript of yesterday's show is over here or you can always watch it on Comedy Central if you'd like (I personally find their media player horrible).

Here's the thing. The supporters of the war have framed it so elegantly in black and white. Black and white is easy, it doesn't require nuance. It's either A or it's B. There's no in between and you don't have to hurt your head with shades of gray. Easy, easy. So if you're against the war, then you want the terrorists to win and if you want a plan of action, then you're supporting the terrorists. If you want the troops to come home becaus standing between two sides intent on killing each other isn't a long-term viable strategy then you're a defeatist. Add it all up together and somehow you're unAmerican and unpatriotic, which all adds up to the 't' word: Traitor.

See, the conservatives have gotten really good at the name calling. They've gotten good at framing the debate and setting up the sides. They've got a huge grassroots support system on radio and internet and all they do is pick at you little by little until suddenly it's tiresome to bang your head up against "YOU MAKE NO FREAKING SENSE AND YOU HAVEN'T IN YEARS" brickwall.

The thing is, it doesn't matter if the antiwar people are defeatist, unAmerican, unpatriotic, or Benedict Arnold. Those are just adjectives, they don't mean a dang thing. It's the conservatives who got us into the freaking mess and they don't seem like they have a plan to get us out. That's why they get so upset when we ask questions. That's why they don't believe in accountability. 'Stay the course' wasn't a winning strategy for the first George Bush, but apparently old habits die hard. Maybe it's time we reframe the debate from the antiwar side: "We made a mistake, we want to fix it in the best possible way for America, and how can we do that in a way that minimizes casualities -- civilian and military, Iraqi and American -- in the best possible way?"

Rhetoric is easy, but it's not a solution. So while I'm leaning very strongly towards Hillary Clinton, honestly, I'd vote for the first person who puts forward a strategy that makes sense, is actionable, but more importantly, doesn't involve playground-style name calling.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Interesting article about Padilla and the possible effects of alleged US torture over here. But what really caught my attention was this phrase: "In 2002, the Justice Department produced a "torture" memo stating that victims would have to experience pain equivalent to organ failure to prove torture." Just. Wow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why does it always go

That I figure out what ails my story and how to fix it when I'm in the least possible position to fix it? I've been contemplating my latest disaster and deciding with uncharacteristic zeal that I want to resurrect it and fix it, whatever the quality, so I can at least have a recent accomplishment of "I wrote something! Hooray!" So the first problem was the de-evolution of narrative and description and dialogue into paragraphs of serial events told to you, the hapless reader.

I realize now that the paragraphs are important because they are the guideposts to the story's action. It's not necessarily the content of the paragraphs that is the problem but more the way I've related the story. A few 'telling' moments here and there sprinkled through a story isn't the kiss of death. An entire third of the story is. Now that I realize the exact issue, I also have some idea of how to fix it. At some point (meaning the future, not tonight, because lately I seem to excel at procrastinating), I will turn my paragraphs into something that cannot be advertised as a cure for insomnia.

Blogger has been refusing to publish lately. Bad Blogger, no biscuit!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

History lessons

I've always associated what's happening in Iraq today with more recent genocidal civil wars such as Bosnia and Kosovo as they are fresh in recent history and have some of the same characteristics: ethnics groups forced together into a country by a strong-fisted leader. Remove that force and lo and behold, the country falls apart and people who formerly called themselves friends and family are at each other's throats. But Fred Kaplan over at Slate points out another parallel which I'd never noticed before -- India in 1947 and Iraq today. The article is here. It pains me to say it -- because I want nothing more than for the troops to come home -- but Bush ignored one lesson of history and now we can't possibly ignore another. They've got to stay there until somehow any potential consequence of withdrawal is mitigated.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Newsweek has an interesting series called "On Faith" in which they discuss various religious questions from different viewpoints. Today, the question was: "Are physicians' primary obligations to their patients or their religious convictions?"

I found the following paragraph in this viewpoint cut right to what has always bothered me about these so called 'conscience' laws so succinctly:

It should be noted that virtually all of the assertions of a
"right of conscience" by physicians and pharmacists are directed against women and women’s exercise of their right to choice about their reproductive capacity. These physicians and pharmacists are asserting that their private conscience is superior that to that of women. Yet it should be obvious that women also have a right to exercise conscience in regard to their own private medical issues.

And also, here's an interesting perspective from the ever interesting Anna Quindlan. If abortion is a crime, then what's the punishment? How Much Jail Time for Women Who Have Abortions?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A long time gone

So I'm back, which is kind of what I said in my last post, and it's kind of misleading because I was never really gone. I felt like taking a hiatus from the internet for any number of reasons last week, though I was online a lot this weekend as I was taking a defensive driving course online (6 hours!) in order to get my speeding ticket dismissed. I'm pretty happy to say that at this point, I'm just waiting for paperwork to make its way to me so I can get the entire thing dismissed. I have until October 9th to file all the paperwork with the court, but really, I just want it over with. New developments make me think things are going to get a lot busier from here on out and the last thing I want to worry about is Sweat Sock City's finest showing up at my door to haul me off to the slammer because I forgot to take my course and file the paperwork. For the record, I'm happy to report that I did receive 100 percent on the final exam, though my record through the course was less than stellar -- somewhere around a 94.

I'm feeling out of practice. Hopefully I'll have something more interesting next time.