Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Quick Civics Lesson

I was just reading something where someone criticized the President and followed it with a sarcastic "forgive me for being unpatriotic". That cheesed me off. Why? because patriotism is love of your nation, not necessarily love of it's leaders. See?

Patriotism: Love of and devotion to one's country

In the "old world" this did indeed carry over to mean the royalty. L'etat, c'est moi? An antiquated, un-American concept. A French concept. (Eat that, Freedom Fries lovers!)

A driving purpose behind the U.S.A.'s founding fathers was that the country was governed by it's people - all it's people, not just the elected representatives. *sigh*, OK, I have to include my usual disclaimer that they didn't really think about all the people, they were really only thinking about the white, landowning males, but they still had the whole elected representative thing going on!

Every once in a while, I just have to write this stuff down. Yes, we have an elected President who's supposed to run things while he's in office. He is, however, just a man, and just in office for a specific amount of time. He's representing our country, but he does not define it. TO be against the President is not necessarily anti-American. We're allowed to have political opinions, and we're encouraged to involve ourselves in our government, and through official, pre-established channels, work for the agenda that we think would make the U.S. a better place to live.

Having an opinion about how your country should be run is as patriotic an action as I can imagine. No, it's not as obvious as holding up a gun at our enemies, but if the only people who cared about the way things were being run were the people already doing the job, we'd be a different nation.

What was it that Lincoln said? "Of the people, by the people, for the people?" Yeah, I think that was it. Nothing about "Of the people, by the people, for the President", as far as I remember.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Every Time I Look Around

Every time I look around there's a new atrocity waiting for me to read about it. Today's comes via Brilliant at Breakfast and Pandagon: Treating women as f**king chattel.
The U.S. military on Thursday freed five of what it said were 11 women among the 14,000 detainees currently held in the 2 1/2-year-old insurgency. All were accused of "aiding terrorists or planting explosives," but an Iraqi government commission found that evidence was lacking.

Iraqi human rights activist Hind al-Salehi contends that U.S. anti-insurgent units, coming up empty-handed in raids on suspects' houses, have at times detained wives to pressure men into turning themselves in.
Everyone reading this understands that this practice isn't law enforcement, it's kidnapping, right?

Why the hell don't the people who are doing it? Or do they know and just don't care?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Not-My-Pet Blogging Mark VII

Today I'm not in the mood to talk about a specific news item, so I'm just going to talk.

Work is going well, I've made a lot of coding progress, which is nice.

The event I'm planning for the end of March is coming along swimmingly.

My phone calls to my new Senator went very well. It was not long, but my point was made.

I've been having a few interesting private conversations about the whole Hamas-as-government thing. Key points:

1) Running a government and running a terrorist organization are 2 different animals. Two words: public services.
2) I don't think Hamas wants peace so much as complete genocide. Thinking that, it's hard for me to be optimistic for the future of peace talks.

Blogger won't let me post a comment over on the Center of NJ Life. Oh, wait, it just did. Never mind.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It's Never Going to Work

It's Never Going to Work

More and more when I see how things are going in the Middle East, I think those words. I am now of the opinion that everyone currently involved in the whole Israel-Palestine fiasco has to die and be replaced by less fanatic people for a resolution to ever come about. I used to think that Yassir Arafat was the one who had to die to open things up, but now I see that I was indulging in wishful thinking, and my timetable was plotted out on much too small a scale, and that this generation will not even be close to seeing anything resolve. Not even close.

Just when I was hoping (but not expecting, I admit it) that democratic elections for "Palestinians" would show the world that these people are not all rabid-Israel haters, that cooler heads do exist in the Arab world, and that most people want to coexist peacefully and just be done with all the fighting, I'm proven wrong, wrong, oh, so wrong.

If you've read me before, you know that my heart and mind are torn to pieces over this. I'm so far left in my desire to not kill anyone, anymore, that I'm wrapping around to the right and thinking that if we just kill them all, already, that at least it will be over, and we can stop the damn fighting.

Of course that's utter crap. The reality is that there has to be a certain combination of force and the will to cohabit the same earth constructively, and that it just isn't being reached.

My crazy idea for the day: teacher spies. We infiltrate the training schools with teacher spies who use subliminal messages to make the children they're teaching less violent and less likely to be willing to take their own lives for "the cause".

Is that really crazy? Is it morally reprehensible? I can not tell anymore, what with my brain saying things like "killing them all is the peaceful thing to do" and "people given a democratic choice are choosing the bloody terrorists".

See? It's never going to work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Respectfully Disagree

Reading Atrios today, I clicked on the article he called "Wanker of the Day". I usually agree, today I didn't. Atrios feels that Joel Stein has it wrong in his article "Warriors and Wusses". I, on the other hand, do not. So, I wrote in the comments section:
I can't agree that this piece makes "wanker of the day". Caring about the individual while loathing the war isn't an idiotic position, whether you agree with it or not. Quite frankly, when I think of something I can do to "support the troops", it's always send over packages of eye drops. That's what I do. Maybe it's stupid, maybe it's useful, I don't know. I do know that it's not glorifying war the way parades do.
After writing it, I realized I was comment number 266, and no one would ever see it. That's when I remembered that I have this blog thing...

So that's it. I think that parades are about war, and that soldiers are people, most of whom are just doing what they think is right. Sure, some are crazy violence-lovers, but hey, at least they've found a legal outlet for their aggressions. These guys are necessary for the world we live in (as opposed to the world I'd *like* us to live in), so I send them stuff, but I don't see how some hip hop star lip-synching while standing in the back of a convertible helps them, right now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Scare Tactics, eh?

Theory: Canada doesn't want U.S. liberals moving in, and they've made deals with the American press to help discourage the idea.

I have no other real explanation for headlines like this:

Canada's Conservative Party wins election
Victory pushes Canada to the right for the first time in nearly 13 years

That contain a slightly different tone within the articles themselves:
As Monday'’s victory quickly gave way to Tuesday's reality, it became clear that the Conservatives'’ winning margin was too narrow to rule with a majority, a situation that will make it hard for them to get legislation through the divided House of Commons.

Monday, January 23, 2006


A blog that gives actual answers to the question, "So what can *I* do?". Amazing.

Saw it over on Poor Impulse Control, had to share.

Friday, January 20, 2006


(I SO cross-posted this at skippy the bush kangaroo)

I'm from jersey. Yeah, yeah, exit 9. We Jerseyites have a new senator, Robert Menendez. Yesterday, I decided to write my new senator an email, and yet, I - and I believe myself to be amongst the savviest of the internet-search-savvy - could not find an email address for him.

Email Address: None Currently Available

What's up with that?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Word Worth Spreading

Via Running Scared, who saw it at Balloon Juice (been a while since I mentioned that blog, and the last time I was pissed):

Welcome to ReadtheBill.org and the "72 Hours of Sunshine Rule"
ReadtheBill.org is a new national organization dedicated to forcing Congress to post all proposed legislation online for 72 hours before it goes to the floor of Congress. We call this the "72 Hours of Sunshine Rule". It is needed because Congress has degenerated into chaos. The House of Representatives still has a rule on the books requiring proposed legislation be available to members for three days. But the House waives this rule routinely and rubber stamps huge bills in the middle night, clueless of their content or cost. Senate rules are fuzzier but the result is the same. This chaos in Congress costs every American. Provisions and giveaways slipped through Congress are one reason that the U.S. has a national debt of $8 trillion. These sneaky provisions also invite plain-old corruption.
Being the kind of gal who reads instruction manuals, I'm also the kind of gal who believes that the legislature should be reading the legislation before voting on it. Isn't that actually what their job is? Listen to the constituents, propose new legislature to make the country/states run better, and vote on other people's proposals - that they've actually read? Doesn't that sum up the important duties?

I'll check on that, but I'm pretty sure. I admit, I've read a few bills, and it's hard. They're more boring than listening for your name at the DMV. Still, these people ran for the position and won, they now have to actually do it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Job Is Getting Their Money's Worth

Their money's worth out of *me*, that is.
I wish I had time to write something insightful, but it's 4, already, and I have to leave at 4:30 if I'm going to make my 6:00 appointment. I hate working so stupidly far from home.

And no, I don't want to change where home is. I *like* where home is. I also refuse to quit. I've been here 10 years, and I've got a very sweet benefits package going, thank you very much.

But since I wanted to write *something*, and nothing good was going to get written by me today, I decided to go with this:

Camera, music phones give Sony Ericsson record Q4
Business was buoyed throughout the second half of 2005 by sales of a high-resolution 2-megapixel camera phone and the Walkman phone, based on Sony's brand of portable music players.
Why do I care? I just bought the Sony Ericsson w600i, that's why. I ditched the orange face plates. I don't need the Walkman at all, I've already got an iPod, and a radio transmitter attachment makes it usable just about everywhere. The 1.3 megapixel camera, though, that's pretty boss. I took this picture with it. If only my hands weren't so shaky, it'd be a pretty good picture!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Message to Jon Corzine

Today is NJ Gubernatorial inaguration day. Jon Corzine will be sworn in as NJ Governor, and I have the following message for him:

I backed you pretty hard, Jon; now's the time to not let me down. Make good on the promises, and do the job you said you could do.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

No Meat, Just Snark

Personal bankruptcy filings hit record in '05
WASHINGTON - The rush of indebted consumers to file bankruptcy before a tough new law took effect pushed personal filings for 2005 to their highest annual level on record — more than 2 million, according to new data.
Because the economy's looking up, right?

Seriously, I cannot imagine the annoyance to creditors when anyone who was afraid of the new law rushed to beat it to the finish line. These are not signs of a healthy country.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Just too busy to blog today, and yet I can't stop thinking about it. Hence, you get this note instead of some lengthy essay about the Alito hearings or something.

I'm really sorry.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Trouble Getting Serious

As you know, the world around us is a depressing place, sometimes. See any of my entries about the Middle East if you wonder what I'm talking about. Sometimes, though, life gets silly. Today a friend directing a choral project sent out this link:


If you don't read music, read the notations, you'll still laugh.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Religious Mixed Messages

(Inspired by Mu)

OK, Pat Robertson, still off his rocker:
Robertson says Sharon's stroke is God's punishment

     The Reverend Pat Robertson says Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke could be God's punishment for giving up Israeli territory.
     The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network told viewers of "The 700 Club" that Sharon was "dividing God's land," even though the Bible says doing so invites "God's enmity."
     Robertson added, "I would say woe to any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course."
     He noted that former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
     Robertson said God's message is, "This land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone."
As a liberal Jewish woman, I'm getting confused, here.
  • I support Israel because it's the homeland for the Jewish people. I went to college there for a semester, and then I lived on a kibbutz for a while, and I definitely feel connected to Israel.

  • Am I expected to support the peace efforts or right-wing solidarity position? Because I feel like I could go either way without betraying my faith.

  • Quite frankly, I want my government to support Israel, but not because of the crazy messianic lore that Christians are actually supposed to believe. Jews have crazy messianic lore, too, but I'm not a very good Jew, really.

  • Who are the people who think that all liberals support the cause of the Palestinians? Am I not really a left-leaner if I'm completely against them? I don't want any part of Israel to become Palestine at all, but I understand that a compromise can save lives. I also understand that everyone wants Jerusalem, and that only one side can have it. I'm also skeptical about how many of these "Palestinians" are really people who want a homeland, and how many are just Jew haters who want us all dead, and they're using this cause as an excuse to perpetrate extreme violence.

Well, that turned out badly, as lists go. Not organized at all. And on top of it being a terrible list, I find that every time I write about this I only wind up depressed and convinced of the futility of it all.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Random Comment on "Tributes"

Last night I was at the gym, and when I walked into the treadmill room (the one with the TV's), I saw still pictures of miserable crying people, with a background of some homey, folksy song. I said, "What the hell is this?".

The woman on the treadmill (it was half an hour before closing, and it's a small gym) said, "It's a tribute to the miners that died."

"A tribute? Their idea of a tribute is to show footage of the miserable, sad people left behind crying really hard? Is it me, or is that just exploitation? It's mean!"

So... is it me?

You Thought I'd NEVER Come Back!

OK, so I went on vacation and didn't tell any one, nor did I arrange guest bloggers. Can't say I know what I was thinking, except,
"It's the holidays and I'm going away! Yay!"

Perversely, as I went to somewhere warm in summer (Bermuda), I went somewhere cold (the Poconos) in winter. I should really rethink my strategy, there.

Still, I had a wonderful time, and later today I'll be back to my usual opinionated bloggy self.