New comment policy for ASV:
If I deem that you are being an asshole, I will delete your comment. My definition of "being an asshole" varies from post to post. I owe you no explanation if your comment is deleted. I owe you no explanation if you have been banned from commenting. If you email me asking why you have been banned or your comment has been deleted, I will delete your email. If you've been reading this site for any amount of time, I'm sure you'll be able to figure out on your own how you have pissed me off.
If you find your comment has been replaced with the following image (or a similar image, depending on the circumstance), consider that your first and only warning.
"The media are finished with their big blowouts on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and there is one thing they forgot to say: We're sorry," Rick Mercier wrote, in a column published Sunday in The Free Lance-Star. "Sorry we let unsubstantiated claims drive our coverage. Sorry we were dismissive of experts who disputed White House charges against Iraq. Sorry we let a band of self-serving Iraqi defectors make fools of us. Sorry we fell for Colin Powell's performance at the United Nations. Sorry we couldn't bring ourselves to hold the administration's feet to the fire before the war, when it really mattered. "Maybe we'll do a better job next war." Mercier admitted that it was "absurd to receive this apology from a person so low in the media hierarchy. You really ought to be getting it from the editors and reporters at the agenda-setting publications, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post."I must respond to Mr. Mercier: Perhaps because you are young, you still have that tiny shred of idealism that usually disappears by age 30 or so. Or perhaps you have been swayed by too many readings of Noam Chomsky columns. Or perhaps you were swayed by Mr. Apology himself, Richard Clarke. Following a trend, maybe? Insincere mea culpas are the new black, I suppose. But here's the main thing that bothers me: your list of reasons to be sorry seem borne out of some alternate reality; perhaps a bizzaro world where the media doesn't question the administration, write negative articles or dig for dirt when they are standing on cement. I've just spent some time looking back at news articles from the past year, and it seems to me that most of the media concentrated on the bad things going on; the lack of WMDs, the slow hunt for Osama, the death toll, the despair of the Iraqi people and so on. Judging from the hundreds upon hundreds of news stories spanning the last twelve months, what the media needs to apologize for is misleading the public into the thinking this war reached quagmire status about twelve hours in. Even when good things did happen - for instance, the day that Baghdad fell and the statue was toppled - the media put a negative slant on every report. They tried to tell us that the statue toppling was set up. They tried to tell us that Iraqis hated us, yet there were Iraqi bloggers popping up all over the place telling us the opposite. I could go on with many examples, the most glaring of which are the exagerrated body counts and the comparisons to Vietnam, but I think I've made my point. The media should be sorry. They should apologize to the coalition soldiers from other countries who are made to feel insignificant when the media calls this war unilateral. They should apologize for the swarming coverage of anti-war protests and the complete lack of coverage of rallies for the troops. They should apologize for going out of their way to find negative statistics when good things like rebuilt schools and hospitals were staring them in the face. They should apologize for pretending as if the freedom of the Iraqi people was inconsequential given that no WMDs have yet to be found. I really like that snide little comment about the "next war" that you managed to insert in there. That lets me know what side of this war you are on, giving your credibility on this issue a zero balance. So, Mr. Mercier, your apology is worthless. I will, however, forward it to a bunch of Iraqi soldiers I know to see how they feel about it. In fact, I'll forward it to all the Iraqi bloggers who have spent quite a bit of time thanking the American troops and President Bush. I'm sure the soldiers in particular will be thrilled to know that in Fredricksburg, Va., there is a small time reporter who thinks the media should have done even more to turn this country against them and make their job even more difficult than it is. Speaking strictly for myself, I would like you to take the paper your apology was written on and stick it up your ass. Thank you.
I am an Asteroid.|
I am a drifter. I go where life leads, which makes me usually a very calm and content sort of person. That or thoroughly apathetic. Usually I keep on doing whatever I'm doing, and it takes something special to make me change my mind. What Video Game Character Are You?
I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened, and what we must do to prevent a reoccurrence. I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television. Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.First point: Most American people already understand why 9/11 happened. Those who aren't busy trying to make everything Bush's or Clinton's fault understand. It happened because there are people of a certain ideology that would like to see every American and every non-Muslim person dead. If it wasn't 9/11, it would have been another day, another way. Second point: These hearings are not going to help prevent a reoccurrence. They will only serve to point fingers, deflect blame and further divide our country. If there is to be a reoccurrence of a day like 9/11, it is probably already a plan in action and having everyone sitting around discussing the past instead of worrying about the future is counterproductive. Third point: By apologizing, you are assuming guilt. I do not hold my government responsible for 9/11. Even if we had caught and killed bin Laden, the plan was already in motion. It wouldn't have mattered. Even if we cut off the head of the snake, his body still goes on slithering. My government did not fail me. If they failed me, there would be more than 3,000 dead people. If they failed me, we would be under Sharia law or, going back further, a communist country. I believe with all my heart that my government - from the Clinton years to the Bush years - did their best for us with what they knew. An apology like this one is a passive-aggressive move designed to elicit hugs and handshakes and maybe a few book sales. What I would prefer is that someone would stand up in D.C. and say "We have nothing to apologize for. The Murdering Islamists and their followers are the ones who need to apologize, and you will never get that." And then we kill the bastards, move forward and try to stop this from every happening again. Put down your signs, put away your dossiers and get off your ass and actually do something except Monday quarterbacking. ..........You know, this is getting redundant and ridiculous. Every day, I write the same story with different settings. Every day, I write out of anger or despair or worry. And I preach to the proverbial choir. The people who aren't in that choir - for the most part they stop by, they drop a few assumptions and insults in the comments and they move on. There are some readers who stick around, and have stuck around for a long time, and they know how to converse and debate and I appreciate them for that. But what good is it doing me to rant and rave every day? What purpose does it serve to sit down at the keyboard every morning and type away about terrorism and war when nearly everyone who reads this thing feels the same way I do? I have 43 articles in a folder waiting to be written about or cited. I have emails with links to other articles or blog posts. It's what I do. Write about all the bad things going on the world. I have to do that at Command Post as well. Even if it's on a different level over there, it still makes all too aware of everything that's going on around us. Before I started a blog, I didn't know that much about world affairs. Now I feel like I know too much. And it all comes tumbling out every morning, sometimes in the afternoon and evening, and jesus christ people, aren't you getting tired of it? Aren't you tired of reading what I'm tired of writing? Yet, I don't stop. Even though I have no idea what the purpose is, I don't stop. I've been interviewed three times in the past two weeks by people writing papers on blogging. Each one has asked me "Why do you blog?" I said to the last person, I don't know. I honestly don't know.
I'm trying to lay off of the armageddon-is-coming/I hate the world posts for today.
Well, let's keep with armageddon for a bit here. Fictional armageddon, that is. Armageddon via zombies.
Who doesn't love a good zombie flick? You've got horror, death, violence and brain chewing. Doesn't get much better than that. Plus, there's always that one asshole you just know is going to get eaten alive at some point and you feel great joy when one of the walking dead tears into the guy's flesh.
If you'll notice, the zombies in the new Dawn of the Dead are flesheaters. Most zombies that I have known have been brain eaters. I suppose, just like any living thing in nature,t he living dead also have various forms of their species.
On the one hand, the brain eaters are very cool because the act of them tearing into someone's head and causing brains and goo to spurt everywhere is a very gratifying moment, worth the price of the movie on its own. Especially if, right before the impact of teeth on skull, the zombie shouts out "BRAAAAAAAIIIIIIIINSSSS!" Gotta love it.
The flesheaters have their postive attributes as well. It takes much longer for a victim to die when attacked by a flesheater. Unlike the eating of brains, in which the first bite usually kills, the eating of skin and bones can cause the victim to linger in agony, watching as his limbs are torn apart by a very hungry zombie. However, that is also the downside. Depending on who the actor/actress is, the screams can really get out of hand and grate on your nerves. That's the reason I prefer braineater zombies. Nice, quiet deaths mean you don't have to listen to any emoting by B-movie actors.
Regardless of what type of zombie you like (and there are other genres, like stiff-walkers vs. runners), just by loving the entirety of the zombie world and the movies that are odes to them makes you somewhat of an expert in the field and, therefore, able to take part in my zombie survey.
For starters, I will introduce you to a few of my favorite zombies and their respective films.
Just a few to get you started.
So, your job. Favorite zombies, zombie movies, zombie species, zombie moments, etc. etc.
[I don't want to start any arguments here, but I will maintain during the entire time of this poll that the deadites from the Evil Dead trilogy are not zombies. They are somewhere between zombies and demons, but not zombies in the true sense of the word.]
*"Call Of The Zombie"
And out of the darkness, the Zombie did call
True pain and suffering he brought to them all
Away ran the children to hide in their beds,
for fear that the devil would chop off their heads
More than a hundred people carrying Palestinian flags and protest signs marched outside the Israeli consulate in New York on Tuesday to condemn Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush after the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin. "I'm here to demonstrate as an American that I'm so tired of Israel and their crimes and I'm disgusted in our government," said Rajee Mustafa, a 51-year-old electrical engineer from Jersey City, New Jersey. ... At the evening rush-hour protest across from the consulate, demonstrators carried signs such as "Sharon and Bush -- War Criminals," and raised chants including, "Sheikh Yassin, rest in peace, Israel will never sleep." Later at a memorial gathering in Brooklyn, speakers praised Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, as a freedom fighter who had dedicated his life to the Palestinian struggle. Among those addressing a hall crammed with several hundred people was anti-Zionist Rabbi David Weiss.Anti-Zionist? Is that what they're calling it these days? So here are these people in New York, praising a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. Sheikh Yassin, rest in peace. Spiritual leader. Freedom fighter. What do we know about this "spirtual leader?" Israelis call him the Palestinian Osama bin Laden Co-founder of Hamas Was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings from 2000 to the present, resulting in the deaths of over 400 people Favorite quote? The so-called peace path is not peace and it is not a substitute for jihad and resistance. These people who live just miles from me praise this man. They cry over his death. In fact, they wail. They curse Israel, curse America and wish death upon everyone but themselves. Where are their leaders, the ones who claim to be moderates and wonder why people walk on the other side of the street from them? Speak up. Tell us that you denounce Yassin and Arafat. I'm not asking that they turn around and praise Israel or defend her actions, I'm just asking that they show me who they are, that there are Muslims who do not fall to their knees in despair when a despicable mass murderer dies. One Brooklyn protester said: "People are so angry now, and I know they are going to try to explore that anger somehow. Sheik Yassin was not a terrorist. He was a spiritual leader for all Palestinians." And now that spiritual leader is dead and another one replaces him. Meet the new boss. Worse than the old boss. Abdel Aziz Rantisi (also Rantissi) A Hamas hard-liner who has pushed for accelerating attacks on Israel and rules out all compromise was elected Tuesday as the new leader of the Islamic militant group in Gaza after Israel's assassination of its founder. Take a deep look into the psyche of this Rantisi:
We hear the readiness of youth," says Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a local Hamas leader. "Some young people clearly say that they want to be martyrs. We hear that and choose from these people." Rantisi's recruits have paid dividends. Among the suicide bombings Hamas has claimed responsibility for: the Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem last August, which killed 15 Israelis, including seven children; and the March 27 suicide bombing that killed at least 20 people who were sitting down to a Passover meal at a hotel restaurant in Netanya in northern Israel. But Rantisi seemed caught off-guard when his oldest son, Mohammad, 23, who is a medical student in Iraq, said he, too, would be "honored to be chosen to become a martyr." "He doesn't know what he is saying," said Rantisi, with a dismissive smile. "He is only saying this because of his youth. "Some men must grow up to become doctors," Rantisi said. "But for that to happen, others have to sacrifice themselves and become martyrs."Kill one roach, another takes its place. I am continually suprised and disgusted by the depth of hatred these people have for Jews and for all free people. I should no longer be shocked by this behavior. Tell me, who was it that bombed the WTC the first time? Who bombed the Kohbar towers? Who bombed the USS Cole? Who pushed Leon Klinghoffer overboard? Who took hostages in Tehran? Who bombed the embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut? What about the embassy in Kuwait? Or the hijackings of Flights 221 and 847? Who bombed the disco in West Berlin? Flight 103? Anyone see a pattern here? We need to confront these people in order to stop them. We don't need to talk or coddle or appease or make nice. Confrontation is the only way now. Everything else has been tried. While some of those attacks were made by Palestinians and other by different Islamic factions, they can be lumped together because they themselves do that; when one terrorist dies, the supporters of all terrorist groups mourn. Witness the people in Iraq and Syria and other place mourn the death of Yassin, praise the Palestinians and burn Israeli flags. One in the same, as far as I'm concerned. It's become a common theme of mine, one I repeat almost daily now, that we are in the path of an unavoidable war. A world war, a war of civilizations, pitting the haters against the hated and I suppose which side is which depends on where you are standing. From where I stand, we are the good guys. We do not blow up buses or schools. We do not purposely target children. We do not think that people who do not praise our God are infidels and they should die, nor do we think our Gods are the kind who would want us to do such a thing. They flew airplanes into office buildings. They blew up embassies. They are the "them" in the us v. them. Say what you want; call me racist, call me bigoted. I don't care anymore. I have given so much benefit of the doubt to the Muslims who walk the same sidewalks as me. I thought that they were different, that they did not want us dead. But look, there they are, crying for Yessin, burning American flags. The others remain silent, never standing up to condemn what their fellow Muslims are doing. They are accepting Rantisi as the new Hamas leader in Gaza. They will praise him, they will follow him and their counterparts in Gaza will die for him. Or send their children out to die.
This is from Tal G's weblog, June 23, 2002.Here is a picture of a Palestinian kindergarten student with her hands raised and dyed red to recall the lynching of 2 Israeli soldiers in Ramallah. The article describes the kindergartens run by the "Islamic Charitable Association" in Gaza, which are attended by about 5000 Palestinian children. The article describes a "graduation exercise": The kids burned and Israeli flag and recite: "in the name of the martyr Muhamad Al-Dura and the infant martyr Iman Haju, we pledge to continue the Jihad in resistance and in intifada" A girl raised her "bloody hands", then a child dressed as Hamas leader Hassan Nasrallah recited a few lines about how the Hizbullah fought the Israelis and were rewarded from above. The kids carry toy rifles.Read the rest - there's a translated article describing in detail what the Palestinians are teaching their kids. Is it any wonder that the violence goes unabated? Is it any wonder that the cycle never ends? Just today: bq. A Palestinian teenager wearing a suicide bomb belt was detained Wednesday as he approached a crowded West Bank checkpoint in an apparent attempt to kill the soldiers there, the Israeli military said. It's not just the Palestinians. It happens in all Muslim areas, even right here in New York, where kids are taught that violence and hatred are ways of life, and that death is their reward. Whether you realize it or not, we are in the midst of a world war. It only escalates from here. Today, I have walked farther down the slope than I ever thought I would. I have begun to hate. I can no longer pick out the good from the bad, I can no longer pick and choose the practioners of the religion of peace that I will or will not condemn. I don't want to be here, but I've been more or less pushed. I hate myself for feeling this way, but I would hate myself more I didn't try to explore why I have these feelings. I am afraid. Anyone who reads this space knows that by now. But the fear gets greater with every day, with every bombing, with every sign that an American holds up, calling their own country evil and deadly. They don't know what deadly is. If they did, they wouldn't be parading around in their Birkenstocks praising our enemies. The world gets more dangerous by the day. When I was young, I thought the world would be headed in the opposite direction and we would be headed towards peace by now. We would be embracing our fellow man. Little did I know that our fellow man would never embrace us back. Where have all these multi-cultural and inclusion programs gotten us? What have we gained by welcoming this culture into our country and accepting its people as Americans? Nothing. It has not worked. It has only made it easier for them to walk among us, plotting, planning and spitting on our flag. And Islam is not the only culture that permeates our society to the point of disaster. There is the culture of hate, spawned by Americans themselves, the ones who teach Palestinian kids to hate the USA, the ones who side with dictators, the ones who praise our enemies and tell people to not support the troops. The clash of civilizations is not just between two peoples, but three. It's us, them and those who are the bridge between us and them. You know who you are. Our own government isn't helping. It's time to stop sitting around pointing fingers and laying blame on things that happened in the past. Instead, we should be concentrating on trying to stop those things in the future. We should be pointing our fingers at our enemies and going after them with all the zeal that our representatives are going after Bush and Clinton and whoever slept in the White House in the past twenty years or so. I'm done. If you've gotten this far, I thank you for indulging me in my moment of rather distasteful truth. I've become all the people I used to shake my head at with disgust. Can you blame me? Now, you may shout at me, send me hate mail, turn your back on me. I probably deserve it. But remember, I did not get to this place easily, nor with any sense of pride. Many of these links were found on LGF, or brought to my attention by Allah Update: Tactitus tackles the same subject.
[Consider this a placeholder for long, rambling morning monologue]
I haven't forgotten your questions, you inquisitive kids. I'm just taking them a little at a time.
Both Peat and Bonnie ask:
What happens when you make microwave popcorn with the wrong side up?
In my never ending quest to answer every inane question that comes my way, I always go to the full extent of my abiliities. So, last night, I put a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Upside down. I do live the daring life.
Well, Peat, Bonnie and the rest of you curious cats, I can now tell you what happens. But I'm going to make you guess.
This is what occurs when you put an upside down bag of popcorn in the microwave:
According to the nice lady from Jolly Time, a leading maker of microwave popcorn, the bottom of the bag contains a reflector that helps spread the microwave energy, which comes from the top of the oven, uniformly throughout the product. Turn the bag upside down and the popcorn will still pop, but it may take longer, and some of the corn may be dried out or scorched.
Have a ridiculous, personal or theoretical question you want answered? See here.
Two Israeli Mossad agents had tried to murder a Hamas official in Amman, the capital of an Arab nation which had a peace agreement with Israel. They had injected the Hamas man with poison, and the late King Hussein called the US president in fury and threatened to put the captured Mossad men on trial if he wasn't given the antidote to the poison and if Yassin wasn't released. Netanyahu immediately gave in. Yassin was freed and the Mossad lads went safely home to Israel.Perhaps not a great tradeoff, but Netanyahu did what he had to do in this situation. It's never good policy to let your own citizens die because of blackmail tactics by your enemy. Netanyahu was pretty much damned if he did, damned if he didn't. So he did.
So the "head of the snake" was let loose by Israel itself, courtesy of the then Israeli prime minister - a chapter in the narrative of history which was conveniently forgotten yesterday. Which is all very odd. If the elderly cleric really was worthy of state murder, why did Netanyahu let him go in the first place? It was not a question that anyone wanted to ask yesterday.See above, Robert. And no one asked it yesterday because it was no longer relevant. Only a person who has been so poisoned by the mindset of the people he writes about would try to twist the story of Yassin's death in such a way that people are questioning Netanyahu instead of looking at the reasons why Yassin deserved to be dead in the first place.
But there was something infinitely more dangerous in all this. Yet another Arab had been assassinated. The Americans want to kill Bin Laden. They want to kill Mullah Omar. They killed Saddam's sons. Just as they killed three al-Qaeda men in Yemen.Stop. Go back and read that again. Is Fisk really bemoaning the death of despicable tyrants and murderers? Of course the Americans want to kill bin Laden. He's only responsible for the death of 3,000 people on American soil. Omar? He's the one who said this: The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you. Plus he's the leader of that little band of merry men known as The Taliban. Saddam's sons? Do I even have to express why those cretins deserved to be dead? And those three men in Yemen? They were al-Qaeda terrorists. One of them was behind the bombing of the USS Cole and the American Embassies in Africa. Fisk makes it sound like we're on an some wild duck hunt, just shooting at random, killing people because they are Arab. bq. The Israelis repeatedly threaten to murder Yasser Arafat. It's getting to be a habit. Yea, the U.S. and Israel just won't stop trying to kill those damn terrorists and their leaders.
No one has begun to work out the implications of all this. For years, there has been an unwritten rule in the cruel war of government-versus-guerrilla. You can kill the men on the street, the bomb-makers and gunmen, but the leadership was allowed to survive. Now all has changed utterly. Anyone who advocates violence - even if they are palpably incapable of committing it - are now on a death list. So who can be surprised if the rules are broken by the other side?What the hell? I had to read that three times to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting his words. Let's see if I got this: Israel has upped the ante because they actually killed the leader of a terrorist group instead of his minions. They killed the mastermind behind the deaths of hundreds of children, the icon of all suicide bombers, and somehow they have broken the rules? I get it. Israel should not have targeted Yassin because the poor guy is a cripple and, while he can certainly come up with plans and direct his people to carry those plans out, he can't actually, you know...pull the trigger. So he should just get a pass. As for the rules being broken by the other side, I guess the bombing of buses filled with school children was on that list of "things that are ok to do." bq. The top guys are now in the firing line. Let us not say we didn't know. They've always been in the firing line, you idiot. Even Fisks's beloved terrorists want to kill Bush. Hell, they would probably line up Rice, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft against the wall if they could. Just shoot them all, one at a time, while their followers danced in the streets. I just cannot fully comprehend the way this man thinks. How can he write this stuff day after day and not feel the least bit like a fraud? And how can people hang on his every word as if he were some guru teaching them zen? Fisk is defending a depraved murderer. He's making Israel out to be the bad guys for wanting to take out a man who has caused the death of so many of its innocent citizens. He's chastising America for going after the men who have committed terrible acts against the free world. He's accusing America of being a nation of haters who just want to attack people for their nationality or religion, when it's the people he is defending that have done just that - attacked us because we are American and because we are not Muslim. They have attacked Israel because they hate Jews. Some day they will get you, too, Fisk. You'll be sitting in a cafe somewhere in the Middle East, jotting down notes for a story extolling the virtues of militant Islam, when a man dressed in designer grenades and bombs will walk in the door and blow himself up. He won't care that you are Robert Fisk. He won't care that you are a terrorist supporter. He's just doing his job, after all. You know, just defending his poor terrorist pals from the likes of toddlers, mothers and scholars. The title of today's Fisk piece is The gloves are off in terror war, and everyone is at risk. The gloves have been off since, at least, 1993. We're practically in round ten already. Where the hell has he been? And in case he has forgotten about these little things called terror alerts, and places like Bali and New York and D.C. and Spain, we have been at risk long before Yassin became a blood stain on the ground.
Despite it all, I still head out to meet my friend for coffee, we sit in an outdoor cafe in the sun under some trees and have a late breakfast. It's a beautiful day, the cafe is full. Nothing in the scene would indicate that the "gates of hell" are opened.... Are we all in denial? Are we all crazy? Or are we just doing the sane and logical thing by living our suburban lives?She's a brave woman. I would have chosen to hide under the bed all day. Over in the West Bank, people are lining up to be volunteers in the suicide bomber brigade. The Mideast reaction to Yassin's death is just fueling the fire of anger. Egypt, Iran, Yemen...everyone is going out of their way to condemn the assisanation and call for Sharon's head. And now the U.S. and some of its allies in the war on terror will condemn the killing of terrorist mastermind Yassin. Yet we actively pursue bin Laden and other al-Qaeda and Iraqi leaders and vow to take them "dead or alive." So how can the leaders who would put a bullet between the eyes of one terrorist condemn the killing of another? Unless, of course, it's out of fear of retaliation. The would be suicide bombers and martyrs will be standing in line for the next few days, waiting to be handed their bomb belts. Their mothers will kiss them, their fathers will praise them and they will go into Israel smiling, as if they were doing God's work. And they will kill themselves in a blaze of supposed glory, going for the gusto by aiming for places packed with women and children. Doesn't anyone see the difference between Israel and the Palestinians? Israel aims for murderers, terrorists. They go out of their way to avoid civilian deaths. But Arafat's people - they hit where it hurts the most. They aim for the innocent, the young. And they revel in those deaths. That's a depraved group of people for whom I feel no pity at all. I look at them I feel disgust. They are not people at all, but monsters wearing the faces of humans. As Banagor said:
That we enjoy and celebrate his death is fine with me. I do not consider it to be anything like the celebration of the deaths of innocents at the hands of suicide bombers, but then again that is exactly what separates my side from theirs. That is the entire reason why we are fighting this war. If somebody doesn't understand this then they should stick their head back in the sand and hope that the danger will pass over their soon-to-be dead body.People say, let us not rejoice in the death of others. Well, that's a fine sentiment if you're pious and righteous and I claim to be neither of those things. So I will rejoice. I will feel glad that there is one less piece of scum dirtying up the earth. And I will not feel bad if a hundred Palestinian martyrs in training die in the ensuing, inevitable battle. Enough is enough. The Palestinian people would never be happy until every Israeli on the face of the earth is gone, dead. They are all enemies of peace and play a big part in the war on terror that world should be fighting together. Don't you get it? People who raise their children to spill the blood of innocents are our enemies. They are part of the big picture, the whole scenario that makes this world the unstable place it is. Every other peaceful country should grow some balls and admit that Yassin being dead is a good thing. They should stand behind Israel in its fight against these ruthless murderers. But that will not happen because they are afraid, and that fear makes groups like Hamas even stronger. If Allison, in Israel, can go out today and have coffee as if it were an ordinary day and not one in which thousands of people have just vowed to kill everyone in her country, then she is braver than most world leaders. And she has taught me something about myself. We cannot be afraid. We cannot show our fear. Never again will I speak of being so scared of a terrorist attack that I don't want to leave my house. Never again will I cower at the sight of a low flying plane. We need to stand up and look these people in the eye and say, if you come for us, we will come for you. Twice as hard. Have no fear except the fear of what will happen if we sit back and take all the abuse that terrorists like Yassin want to heap upon us. Oh, and don't let those cries of "poor quadrapeligic in a wheelchair" tug at your hearstrings. Since September of 2,000 474 people have been killed in 112 Palestinian homicide bombings. You can bet that Yassin was behind about 98% of those bombings. And to all those protesters over the weekend who burned Israeli flags and marched in support of Palestine - you support a cult of death. You support terrorism masquerading as religion. If they strike at America, they will not care if you are a friend of Palestine or not. You will die with the rest of us. But keep waving that flag. I'm glad he's Yassin is dead. I wish the rest of Hamas the same fate, and soon. [And if this sounds like I am confused, it's because I am. I didn't think this one out, I just wrote]
It’s very cozy and comfortable to drink the tea in the morning, getting out of your first-class houses, driving your fancy cars, speaking loudly against your governments, criticizing your prime ministers and presidents, saying “ I want this thing”, “ I don’t agree on this decision”, “ I hate Blair and Bush”…..etc. Look you coddled pampered people… why don’t you want us to do what you’re doing now ? why don’t you want us to live like you ? Are you idiots? Selfish? Or what ? You ‘protestors’ I’m sure you didn’t use your mind when you got out of your houses.. just let me tell you something: when you want to refuse something or say that’s wrong, first of all you should study the whole case and discuss it thoroughly before saying it’s wrong, and when you say it’s wrong, GIVE A PROPOSAL to solve the case, now when you said “ No war….” What is the right thing to do to get rid of Saddam and build democratic countries in the region? Tell me … Otherwise, when you don’t know ANYTHING about Iraq and Iraqis do you know what to do? JUST SHUT UP and stay at home.Or they would hear this: Thanks to the friends of the free, democratic and prosperous Iraq and down to the terrorists and the hypocrites and their ideologies. Or this:
A heart felt greetings to the heroes of this brave and just operation who never spare an effort to help us and listen to us. God bless the souls of those heroes who died during this operation. That was not a war but a salvation and a wonderful dream and unbelievable dream coming true.But what would an anti-war, anti-George Bush, anti-America protester want to hear that for? The truth would just kill their blurry little causes.
I've read at least three articles already today about Dawn of the Dead v. Passion of the Christ at the box office. Zombies v. Jesus, which one will be the top moneymaker this weekend? The fight for number one!
That got me thinking. These two movies each bring in a different kind of audience. Each movie will make a (relative to the cost of the film) ton of money. Each will have taken a place at number one on the box office charts. And, most importantly, the movies share a common theme: rising from the dead! So I had a blockbuster idea, one that will combine the two disparate, yet large, group of movie goers who are fans of each film. One that will be able to suck the cash out of the pockets of both zombie fans and Jesus followers, bringing them together in a force so large, it will forever change the way blockbuster movies are made.
Yea, my Photoshop skills suck. But I still think it's a good idea.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is an important day to recognize the courage and enormous skill of the United States military. Our men and women in uniform are the best and the brightest the nation has to offer, and their efforts to defend Democracy should be honored each and every day. We also must remember those that have given their lives in the fight for freedom. "Before the war started, I repeatedly called on the President to build a genuine coalition to reduce the military and financial burden on the United States, to go to war only as a last resort, and to have a plan to win the peace. I voted to give him the authority to go to war only when he promised me and other members in Congress that he would do these things. He broke those promises. "He misled the American people in his own State of the Union Address about Saddam's nuclear program and WMD's, and refused - and continues to refuse - to level with the American people about the cost of the war. Simply put, this President didn't tell the truth about the war for the beginning. And our country is paying the price. "It's time for George Bush to start being consistent on Iraq. It's time for him to finally find the right policy for Iraq. It's time to take the target's off the backs of U.S. soldiers, reduce the burden on America's taxpayers, and finish the job in IraqHmmm..they must have forgotten to quote the part where he talks about freedoms restored in Iraq, Saddam Hussein being captured, the deadly duo being dead, the torture rooms closing, the children in prisons running free.... Oh, I see. He didn't talk about those things. He just wanted to take the opportunity on this day to remind people that no matter what good has come out of this war, if no WMDs are found, it's not worth it. Compare and contrast: Bush's speech
[We] will post some thoughts on the past year throughout the weekend, and we'd ask the same of our contributors. So contributors, if you have thoughts on the past year, especially regarding how you, us, them, blogs, journalism, or politics may have changed, post them in Op Ed. And readers, we want to hear from you, too! If you have thoughts about the past year at Command Post, or opinions about the intersection of blogs, journalism, and society, email them to info at command-post dot org. As long as they pass our subjective tests of decency and respect, we’ll post them on the Op Ed page (be sure to tell us in your email if you don’t want your name revealed). We’ll take submissions through Monday. We’d love to hear from you, and you can see your name in lights!While you're over at TCP, please read A Year in Iraq. It's an incredibly interesting, informative article, written by experts in the field (By Major John Voorhees and First Lieutenant Adria Toth) detailing everything that took place in the first year of the war, from the Road to Baghad right down to an Operation Summary. It's a must read.
I've been knee deep in Trasmet collected issues for the past few weeks. My writing - most of which you've never seen - comes from a place deep within. In that place is everything I loathe. It sits there like a magic elixer made of the necessary ingredients to keep me writing. Hate, fear, loathing, disgust; they are all very powerful emotions. And while love and beauty are powerful in and of themselves, they do not give me the quite the muse that negative emotions do. When I write, I feed on anger. I drink the blood of indignation. I call upon past incidents, in much the same way an actor will recall significant moments in his life, to bring out the emotions I felt at that time and feel them as if they were raw and new. Sometimes a simple song can do that. Sometimes, all I have to do is dream about it. Much of what comes out of those lingering feelings, you never see. They are pieces I write with an old fashioned pen and paper and they get folded and stuffed into a box with the rest of my scrawlings. I do, however, use the same tactic here. It's why I troll the sewers of Indymedia, why I read Morford and Rall, why I dig for stories that make me want to scream in anger. It gets me going. It's what interests me. It's what makes me part Spider Jersusalem, unable to write a decent screed unless I am full of rage or righteous indignation. Sure, Spider has a plethora of futuristic drugs to help him along. I have the blogging equivalent, I suppose. An endless supply of emails - people who send me links to things they know will outrage me. Like feeding heroin to a starving junkie. I hate it here, sometimes. I hate the internet, I hate the my town, I hate Long Island, I hate New York. But I love them all as well. I'm just more passionate about the things I hate. Beauty and love and all things happy, I'd rather just sit and admire, take it all in and keep it there. But hate, vitriol and fear - those are meant to be purged and it's when purging them that I come alive as a writer, when the ink is flowing like blood and the words are flying out of my head faster than I can write them. From issue #4: Spider: The point is, the only real tools we have are our eyes and our heads. It's not the act of seeing with our own eyes alone; it's correctly comprehending what we see. Channon: Treating life as an autopsy. Spider: Got it. Laying open the guts of the world and sniffing the entrails, that's what we do.Well, if I can't Spider I can at least name in inanimate object after him.
Rhea County [TN] commissioners unanimously voted to ask state lawmakers to introduce legislation amending Tennessee's criminal code so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature. "We need to keep them out of here," said Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the motion. County Attorney Gary Fritts also was asked by Fugate to find the best way to enact a local law banning homosexuals from living in Rhea County. .... Rhea County, about 30 miles north of Chattanooga, is among the most conservative in Tennessee. It holds an annual festival commemorating the 1925 trial that convicted John T. Scopes on charges of teaching evolution, a verdict thrown out by the Tennessee Supreme Court on a technicality. [emphasis min]We have a long way to go before this country can call itself progressive. There are no amount of words that convey my anger towards the people of Rhea County. This is sheer lunacy. Nevermind that the whole thing, like Michael Totten says, is unconstitutional and will never pass. Just the mere fact that there are people who think like this, people who agree with them and people who condone this behavior as if it were a righteous thing to do makes me wonder exactly how much we as people have evolved. There is no defense for this behavior. None. You certainly have the right to be biased towards homosexuals, but to try to make your bigoted, ignorant, neanderthal views law is reprehensible. Sickening.
Clutching pictures of relatives they lost, survivors of Saddam Hussein's 1988 chemical weapons attack gathered in this northern town Tuesday to remember the thousands who died. .... "This day reminds us of our grief ... (But) it's also a day of happiness because the dictatorship has collapsed," said Drakshan Kakasheik, who lost her husband, brother and three children, including a 5-month old son who died in her arms. "We smelled a foul smell and my brother went out and said: 'We're doomed. These are chemical weapons,"' she recalled tearfully. An estimated 5,000 people were killed and another 10,000 injured by the poisonous bombs Iraqi forces dropped on Halabja on March 16, 1988. "For those in my country and elsewhere who ... still wonder if the war was worth fighting, I say, 'Come to Halabja,"' Bremer said. "Look in the faces of the survivors here today. See how a peaceful village was turned into a hell overnight by evil."Saddam will never be able to murder like that again. But, you know, the world isn't any safer since he's been locked up. Right? Tell that to the survivors in Halabja.
A group claiming to have links with al Qaeda said on Wednesday it was calling a truce in its Spanish operations to see if the new Madrid government would withdraw its troops from Iraq (news - web sites), a pan-Arab newspaper said. In a statement sent to the Arabic language daily al-Hayat, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombings that killed 201 people, also urged its European units to stop all operations. "Because of this decision, the leadership has decided to stop all operations within the Spanish territories... until we know the intentions of the new government that has promised to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq," the statement said. "And we repeat this to all the brigades present in European lands: Stop all operations."Yes, I'm skeptical. But it sure wouldn't be a surprise to me if it turns out to be real. Update: I deleted a comment by someone called Truth Out Now, an anti-war activist who tried to speak for a dead soldier. It was rude, crude, crass and just plain wrong. So if the comments look weird to you, it's because a comment that people are referring to has been taken out.
[[Click for bigger image - it's a St. Paddy's Day greeting from my husband]The last time I went to the city (New York City, of course) on St. Patrick's Day was in 1980, with a few of my closest high school friends. We were in the home stretch of our high school careers; June would bring graduation, separation and higher education. We decided to make the most of our final months as high school juvenile delinquents and wreak as much havoc as possible.
So on March 17, 1980, we found ourselves on a westbound train at 7:30 in the morning instead of on a bus on our way to school. There was no other place to be on St. Patrick's Day besides New York City.
I don't think we saw much of the parade. Mostly we walked around the streets acting like idiots until lunch time, when we parked ourselves inside the Steak & Brew, a restaurant that gave out free beer with meals. Those of us who were only 17 showed fake ID, which the waitress barely glaned at. We stayed for a couple of hours, drinking and laughing, until the waitress said if we weren't going to order more food, we should leave. It had been a couple of hours.
We decided to walk over to Central Park. Drunk, perhaps a bit stoned, and surrounded by a massive crowd of other drunks and perhaps stoned people, we made our way through the throngs of Irish-for-the-Day revelers. We sang Danny Boy and some other Irish songs that everyone but me - the lone non-Irish person - could sing. We worked the crowd, not caring what anyone thought of us. We introduced ourselves to strangers, shared cigarettes with a homeless man and drank green beer with a bunch of firemen. Kevin shook hands with anyone and everyone, using his signature greeting of "have a nice life!" Man, were such geeks. Such idiots. But we had so much fun.
We closed out the afternoon pretending to scale rocks in Central Park. When we tired of that, we stretched out on one huge boulder, the five of us spread out, staring up at the gathering clouds. And we talked. We talked for what felt like hours about hobbits and pinball machines, about Todd Rundgren and the Grateful Dead, about the Yankees and the Islanders, and all the other all the things that bound us together through four years of high school, things that seem insignificant now, but were so important to us then.
I was the only girl among the five of us. It never felt odd to me, though I know it looked odd to other people. Those four guys were the best friends anyone could ever ask for. I had the greatest times of my life as part of that group of geeky kids. We weren't the jocks, we weren't the burnouts, we weren't the honor students or drama crowd. We were just us, the kids with no single identity, the kids who appeared to be friends with everyone, but were really only friends with themselves.
We talked about life, too, laying on that rock in the park as the sun started to disappear and the day turned cold. We guessed what our futures would be like. We wondered how long our friendship would hold. We made plans, laughed at our own far-fetched dreams of fame and fortune and stayed on that rock until our fingers and ears went numb from the cold. It was as if we knew that we were experiencing one of our last great days together. We hung onto it for as long as we could, and then we made an impossible promise to each other. We promised that no matter where life took us, no matter how far we roamed, we would come back to that very rock on St. Patrick's Day in the year 2000. Twenty years. We'd share our stories, show off pictures of our families, give each other autographed books and albums since we were all destined to be famous authors or musicians. We spat on our palms and gave each other wet high fives to solidify our vow. And then we headed for home.
I haven't seen them in quite a few years. I think it was 1999 when an old high school friend had a bunch of us over to reminisce. Only three of the five of us showed up, and it just wasn't the same without the other two. It wasn't right. And we forgot about our promise - not one of us mentioned it.
St. Patrick's Day, 2000 came and went. I didn't go to the rock, but I swear, I did think of my four friends that day. I wondered if any of them remembered our promise to meet there. I wonder if they still think about hobbits and pinball machines, if they still think of all those parties at my house when they watch Islander games.
Well, Happy St. Patrick's Day to Kevin, Chris, Tim and Jim. Hope you guys are having a nice life. I am.
"They are rounding us up" I have just received news from a friend in northern Kurdistan who has family in Syrian Kurdistan: In the Zorava neighborhood, Kurdish men between the ages of 14 and 50 are being arrested. Approximately 2,000 have been arrested in these operations.I now return you to your force-fed U.S. news diet of Martha and Kobe while Britian brings you a comprehensive, ground breaking story that elderly Jewish voters in Florida aren't going to vote for Bush. Did I mention the word uprising? What about violence? Two countries whose politcal stability could have great impact on us? You know, that whole axis of evil thing? Thank jeebus for blogs. Of course, you can also find all this news over at Command Post.
At the core of this conflict is a fundamental struggle of ideas. Of democracy and tolerance against those who would use any means and attack any target to impose their narrow views. The War on Terror is not a clash of civilizations. It is a clash of civilization against chaos; of the best hopes of humanity against dogmatic fears of progress and the future.It most certainly is a clash of civilizations and a president who cannot see that is a president who does not understand terrorists at all. Oh sure, he's right in that it's a struggle of ideas; they want to kill us, we want to live. "You love life, we love death," as the saying goes. They want us to worship their god and follow their religious guidelines to life. We like our freedom to choose. ...democracy and tolerance against those who would use any means and attack any target to impose their narrow views. I don't know about you, but the words democracy and tolerance, when used in the terms of dealing with people who want to kill you, strike fear in my heart. These people want us dead. Well, dead or wearing veils and facing Mecca. So, Kerry says Bush has done too little in the war on terror. Bush opposers say that al Qaeda striking in Spain is proof that that the war on terror isn't working because al-Qaeda is still alive and well. Which leads them to believe that if we had captured OBL two years ago, al-Qaeda would be dead as a doornail. al-Qaeda is just an umbrella organization for a host of terrorists, would-be martyrs, murderers and thugs. Even if OBL was hung in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on international television, these groups would still exist. From the closest offshoots of al-Qaeda to the fringe groups, they would act separately and together to fulfill their mission. Do you think it would really matter had bin Laden been captured already - or at least proven dead? I don't think so. It's likely that OBL stopped running the show soon after September 11, 2001. If he's not dead already, then he's holed up in a shabby hut somewhere, powerless and feeble. It's not like al-Qaida was formed on 9/10/01 and then struck with force the next day. They've been around a while. And before them were other groups and other factions hell bent on turning the world into one giant Muslim playground. As it will always be. The war on terror probably can't be won anytime soon. But we can play the best defense we know how and hold them off from scoring again. For every OBL that bites the dust, another one rises in his place, spurred on by dreams of heavenly virgins and martyrdom. It's our job to strike these self-appointed leaders of murder down as they appear, and just keep hacking at them until either their numbers are diminished or they get the hint that we don't want to live under their law, their religion, their rules, and we will fight them every step of the way. So no, the capture of OBL months or years ago wouldn't have mattered. It might have been a moral victory for us and a moral letdown for them, but, like cockroaches, they would gather up again and look for the crumbs of fear to prey on. They'll move out of Spain and into places like Poland or America. They'll once again try to sway elections with fear, driving cars laden with explosives into crowded buildings, sending out signals that it's time to submit or be killed. Of course the terrorists have won. They've been emboldened and strengthened by the Socialist win in Spain. Fear wins. Terror works. So they pat each other on the back for a job well done and start planning the next. I'm no longer sitting around wondering when the other shoe to drop. I see its shadow hovering above us. It's not the mock shadow of a mock attack. Any minute now.
Here's a happy thought: tonight, while my wife and I are enjoying pizza and a movie (Chuck & Buck most likely, unless I can convince her she'll like Mother, Jugs & Speed, which is doubtful), Saddam Hussein will be squatting over a bucket somewhere, dreaming of gold-plated toilet seats while he wipes his ass with old Nation articles. Ain't life grand...?Ok, one more thing: Sean is looking for Kerry-critical posts for his ongoing series, Kerry's House of Ketchup.
It's time to teach these kids right from wrong. Mind you, I don't care what kind of music they listen to. But I insist they pay homage to the bands of my wreckless youth properly. They sit on the floor, more frigthened than Dave Matthews in a mob of Guns n Roses fans. This, I say, is punk. I spit when I say the word punk. I'm holding a Misfits album. Yes, album. As in vinyl. I don't have a turntable to play it on, but they get the point by just looking at the album cover. I run through my vinyl collection. I call out the names of the bands and shout PUNK! after each of them. My husband punctuates this by yelling out New Found Glory, NOT PUNK! We go through the metal CDs. We show them Slayer and Pantera and contrast that with Linkin Park and Saliva.After that I told them when they listen to Blink 182 they have to do it with headphones on. And here I am, tapping my feet and nodding my head along to a song by the very group I loved to hate. Defeated yet again by a catchy hook! That was a year ago. DJ's taste in music has branched out more with each guitar lesson. Now, squeezed in between the Good Charlotte and The Darkness CDs are selections by Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Lynch Mob and Van Halen. He's even been borrowing some Led Zeppelin CDs, having been turned on to The Immigrant Song from School of Rock. Nat, she's a confused child. One minute she's all goth and dark and inspired by AFI. The next she's swooning over Clay Aiken. But hey, at least she digs Faith No More and what more could this mother want? Anyhow, that was all a long, drawn out way of saying, enjoy this: Blink 182 - Feeling This (mp3)
Right-wing bloggers are at it again. It wasn't enough to get my cartoons pulled from The New York Times--now they say my "whining" about it is unseemly. Of course, the warbloggers like to keep this tactic to themselves, they're so damned good at it. But to hell with that. If you're tired of losing every cultural and political battle, then please join me in mimicking the relentlessness of the right. Write to the Times to let them know how you feel about them pulling my cartoons in response (solely, as they admit) due to Republican pressure: Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital New York Times Letters to the Editor Ombudsman Daniel Okrent I don't stand to make a penny either way--this is solely about the First Amendment.First, allow me translate: bq. Right wing bloggers have called me out for trying to start a letter campaign against the Times when I've been bitching that it was a letter campaign that got my comic pulled. My free speech has been stifled. The first amendment states: bq. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Basically, it means that - in the venue of free speech - the right to freedom of expression (speech) shal be free from government interference. Point #1: The government did not make a law against the NYT publishing Ted Rall's comic. Point #2: The government in no way, shape or form interfered with Rall's comic being place in the NYT. Point #3: The New York Times, as Ted's employer (even though they didn't pay him for his strips) has every right in the world to take the strip out of their paper. They even have the right to remove the strip because they caved to public pressure. Point #4: Nowhere in the first amendment does it say that an comic artist has the right to air his opinion in the local paper without interference from that paper. Point #5: Nowhere in the first amendment does it say that the New York Times must carry a comic by one Ted Rall. So -and excuse me if I have my facts wrong - someone explain to me how Ted Rall's right to free speech has been violated. Especially when his comic appears in many other places, as does his column.
Pigfoot, Louisiana- March 2004-Mojo Nixon, has announced that on March 20, 2004 he will perform his final concert at the Continental Club in Austin Texas. Rumors have been circulating about Nixon's retirement for some time and Nixon finally confirmed this will indeed be his final performance. I have nothing more to say," says Nixon. "Not only am I empty, but obviously nobody gives a rat's ass about the things I have been saying for twenty years. The masses are just as blinded by the light of stupidity, prudery and the shiny objects of hate."Mmm....shiny objects of hate. Cranky bastard, ain't he? Mojo Nixon w. Jello Biafra - Love me I'm a Liberal mp3 [Originally written by Phil Ochs, Jello and Mojo updated the lyrics to make them more timely] I cried when they shot John Lennon tears ran down my spine and I cried when i saw "jfk" as though I'd lost a father of mine but malcolm x and ice-t had it coming they got what they asked for this time so love me, love me, love me i'm a liberal i go to pro-choice rallies r ecycle my cans and jars i'll honk if you love the dead hope those funny grunge bands become stars but don't talk about revolution that's going a little bit too far so love me, love me, love me i'm a liberal i cheered when clinton was chosen my faith in the system reborn i'll do anything to save our schools if my taxes ain't too much more and i love blacks and gays and latinos as long as they don't move next door so love me, love me, love me i'm a liberal rush limbaugh and the l.a.p.d. should all hang their heads in shame i can't understand where they're at arsenio should set them straight but if neigborhood watch doesn't know you i hope the cops take down your name so love me, love me, love me i'm a liberal yeh, i read the new republic(an) rolling stone and mother jones too if i vote it's a democrat with a sensible economy view but when it comes to terrorist arabs there's no one more red, white and blue so love me, love me, love me i'm a liberal once i was young and had an attitude stickers covered the car i drove in even went on some direct actions when there weren't rent-a-cops to be seen ah, but now i've grown older and wiser and that's why i'm turning you in so love me, love me, love me i'm a liberal [I think we need some updated lyrics for this song]
A) Public and private freedoms shall be protected. (B) The right of free expression shall be protected. (C) The right of free peaceable assembly and the right to join associations freely, as well as the right to form and join unions and political parties freely, in accordance with the law, shall be guaranteed. (D) Each Iraqi has the right of free movement in all parts of Iraq and the right to travel abroad and return freely. (E) Each Iraqi has the right to demonstrate and strike peaceably in accordance with the law. (F) Each Iraqi has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religious belief and practice. Coercion in such matters shall be prohibited. (G) Slavery, the slave trade, forced labor, and involuntary servitude with or without pay, shall be forbidden. (H) Each Iraqi has the right to privacy. Article 14. The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security. The Iraqi State and its governmental units, including the federal government, the regions, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, within the limits of their resources and with due regard to other vital needs, shall strive to provide prosperity and employment opportunities to the people.There will be no Sharia law. There will be no dictatorship, no tortures, no oppression. This is the closest the citizens of Iraq have ever been to freedom. Rejoice for them, even if just for a moment. Even if you still think the war was wrong, please admit to me that this consitution, this moment in history is a good thing.
Ms. Burlingame is not offended by Bush's use of 9/11 imagery in his campaign ads. Ms. Burlingame is probably in the majority of relatives of 9/11 victims in this opinion, but you would never know that. The squeaky wheels get the grease, and certain widows belonging to certain organizations are mighty squeaky. In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on our country, the families of those who perished on that day became forever linked through our shared anguish and grief. But "the 9/11 families" are not a monolithic group that speaks in one voice, and nothing has made that more clear than the controversy over the Bush campaign ads. It is one thing for individual family members to invoke the memory of all 3,000 victims as they take to the microphone or podium to show respect for our collective loss. It is another for them to attempt to stifle the debate over the future direction of our country by declaring that the images of 9/11 should be off-limits in the presidential race, and to do so under the rubric of "The Families of Sept. 11." They do not represent me. Nor do they represent those Americans who feel that Sept. 11 was a defining moment in the history of our country and who want to know how the current or future occupant of the Oval Office views the lessons of that day.She then goes on to make a very salient point, one which I wanted to address from the start: bq. The images of Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville have been plastered over coffee mugs, T-shirts, placemats, book covers and postage stamps, all without a peep from many of these family members. I suspect that the real outrage over the ads has more to do with context than content. It's not the pictures that disturb them so much as the person who is using them. Precisely. After all, as I mentioned yesterday, the 9/11 Victims Assocation is aligned with Moveon.org and Democracy Now!, two strong anti-Bush organizations. This hardly makes their motive here altruistic. Don't be fooled. These people aren't concerned about feelings, memories or painful reminders. No, they are just on a crusade against Bush getting re-elected. Burlingame says about those who purport to represent 9/11 families: bq. They are "9/11 family members" and therefore enjoy the cloak of deference that has been graciously conferred upon them by the public, politicians and, most significantly, the media. In fact, I have viewed this specific, limited faction of family members as more of a lobbying group than anything else. 9/11 belongs to all of us. Nobody owns it. Nobody has control to the rights over pain, tears, sorrow, anger or memories. Nobody, not even a group of women who think they can run roughshod over your feelings has the right to speak for you. bq. The leader of a lobbying group advised individuals at a 9/11 family meeting shortly after the attacks: "Make no mistake, you have a lot of power. Politicians are more afraid of you than you know." They know. As "relatives of 9/11 victims," they are virtually immune to challenge on the issue of who should have the loudest voice regarding the legacy of this national tragedy. You have a lot of power. And now they are using that power to practically run a presidential campaign on the platform of sympathy. bq. We should not tolerate or condone remarks such as those of the 9/11 relative who, so offended by the campaign ads, said that he "would vote for Saddam Hussein before I would vote for Bush." The insult was picked up and posted on Al-Jazeera's Web site. In view of the sacrifice our troops have made on our behalf, this insensitivity to them and their families suggests a level of self-indulgence and ingratitude that shocks the conscience. They are lobbyists, these people. They have an agenda, and it is not one based on carrying on the memories of their loves ones. It is a political agenda, and - to me, at least - that sours any emotion at all I carried for the members of this group. Burlingame is right. 9/11 belongs to all of us. Every one of us. We all suffered, we all felt fear and panic. We all cried and carried the sorrow of 3,000 families. I lost people I knew that day. My family was traumatized. She lost a dear friend. He saw the first plumes of smoke from his seat on the train. His uncle was on one of the planes. He was there. He was lucky to make it out alive. Did anyone ask those people their opinions? Did the people who call themselves The Families of September 11th ask if they could go around representing the feelings and needs of every single family member of every victim? Probably not. And for them to go around demanding that Bush's ad be taken off the air, campaigning for John Kerry and saying ignorant things about voting for Saddam under the guise of that name is tantamount to usurping someone's grief. And you, the American public, are being duped by those people. They are guilting you, shaming you, into rallying behind them. They are using their victimization as a tool to get you to vote a certain way in November. They have become master manipulators of the media and the public. All of these people have stories to tell. 9/11 belongs to them, as well. It belongs to the shopkeeper who lost his business. It belongs to people who lost bosses, teachers, teammates, clients. It belongs to everyone who felt fear, sadness or anger. No one has the right to herd everyone into one small compartment and say it's for your own good. I am as angry now as I was in the days right after 9/11. We are being taken advantage of. We are being used. Peaceful Tomorrows and the 9/11 Victims Association and even, to some extent, the IAFF are playing us for all it's worth. They want to use our empathy to further their political motivations. Burlingame closes with this: bq. George W. Bush says that his presidency is inspired by an enduring obligation to those who lost their lives on that brutal September morning. The images of that day stand as an everlasting example of our country's darkest day and finest hour. They are a vivid reminder of the strength and resilience of our great country. They belong to us all--including this president. Let the candidates make their own choices. I trust the American people. The left accuses the right of politicizing 9/11. Seems to be that most of the politicizing is being done by those who are complaining loudest about the ads. After all, when the people who demand the ads be removed are actively campaigning against the president and for his opponent, the pot is talking to the kettle. [Update on this post here] The Voices project is an ongoing collection of personal stories dealing with 9/11. New entries are always welcome.
Hundreds of people have written to the New York Times since the story broke in Editor & Publisher and elsewhere, including Tom Tomorrow's popular blog, about the paper's website's decision to drop my cartoons--a decision that they admit was in reaction to getting tired of dealing with reader (i.e., right-wing) complaint emails. I don't know whether your letters will make a difference relative to getting them to pick up my cartoons again, but I do hope that it will make them think twice the next time they decide to do something similar. If censors face as many complaints from outraged readers as non-censors do from outraged nonreaders, the balance of power may begin to shift. In the meantime, I recommend keeping on the pressure. If you haven't yet written to the Times, please do so.In other words:
The New York Times caved in to a letter writing campaign by right-wingers who wanted the Times to take action against my comic and have it pulled from the paper. I was outraged, appalled and disgusted that such a thing could happen. The people at the Times are Stalinists and have no backbone. Now please, let's start a left-wing letter writing campaign to pressure the Times into taking action on this issue!Hey, Ted? Thanks for the material. You make it so easy.
The society the GOP wants to create is not a society worth defending against terrorism. Since Bush will probably get re-elected, this means that the United States will shortly become a society not worth defending against terrorism. Under Bush II, we will witness savage tax increases and spending cuts to stanch the deficit. Privatized Social Security will impoverish the lower classes. The military will continue to grow beyond society's ability to pay for it. Religious extremists will reign. The impoverished bottom fifth of the population will be left to fend for itself while elites continue to loot the state. Republicans, in solid control of all three branches of government, will be free to impose their secretive agenda without regard to public opposition. The republic will essentially be liquidated. And so I say that on November 3, 2004, the United States will most likely cease to be a society worth defending against terrorism. On that day, for me, it's going to be pencils down.Please, allow me to respond. Dear Mike, Are you implying that, if Bush should win the election, we should just pull back, dismantle every cabinet and organization devoted to stopping terrorism and wait for the bombs to fall and biochemical warfare to begin? Perhaps your brain is clouded by bad judgment and you are not seeing the future clearly. While another four years of Bush may not be your ideal world, it is certainly far from the gloom, doom and apocalyptic scenario you set before us. The world will not end. However, if more people had the same attitude as you, the world probably would end. If everyone just gave up and decided to the let the terrorists do what they want, it would be the beginning of the demise of civilization. Billions would perish because your tin foil hat was screwed on too tight. Not worth defending? Are you really that self-centered and egotistical that you think we should shut down our defenses because you don't like Republicans? This country is certainly worth defending and to say anything different is repugnant. Even people I know who are so far left they make Chomsky look like Ann Coulter would never say a thing like that. Hate the country, hate the president, hate the laws. But to say that everything in the United States is not worth the fight is ignorant, foolhardy and must come from the mind of a petty, bitter, selfish man. So, when November 3rd comes around and your choice doesn't get the nod, are you going to openly support the terrorists? Or are you just going to drink the rest of that Kool-Aid and keel over? Go ahead, drink it. You're a complete disgrace to humanity, anyhow. I'll keep on supporting the war on terror even if it means protecting your thankless ass. [After I wrote this I saw that Mike had replied in the comments on Blogcritics] bq. Glum? I'm living large, baby. If I'm not living in Canada by November 3, 2004, I'll be kicking back, knowing I don't have to lift a finger to support the war on terror. Free at last, free at last... To which I replied: Why wait til November, Mike? Why don't you go now? Write me in a bit and let me know how that socialized medicine thing is working out for you, k? He doesn't want to support the war on terror, but the jackass doesn't realize that even in Candada, he is being kept safe by that same war.