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Category Archives: Thoughts

Simple wavering thoughts

Sorry that I haven’t updated for forever. That’ll be changed soon, so be ready! But until then, get out and vote! Yep, today’s the day across the country.

For those of you who are in Cinci, you can use these to check your registration and find out where to vote:

Am I Registered?

Where Do I Vote?

Judith MillerBig news of the day is the New York Times’ articles on Judith Miller. Here is the Times’ take on her role in the Plamegate affair and here is Miller’s article.

I really have little to say about either. To me, it seems like it’s one issue to protect a whistle blowing source who has information about a group hurting people (like the big tobacco case) and a completely different issue to protect a source who is using reporters to put a whistleblower’s family’s life in danger by illegally giving the reporters nationally confidential material. The funny thing is that the New York Times states they feel the same way in their Code of Ethics, but support the Society of Professional Journalists in giving Miller the First Amendment Award.

For more information, Arianna Huffington has a detailed rundown of the articles.

Only 12 more days until the grand jury is over. Only 12 more days to go.

N.Y. subway threat tip a hoax (CNN)
NYC Subway Threat Info Not Substantiated (FoxNews)
Fabricated fear (Newsday)
‘No Evidence’ Of NYC Subway Threat (CBS News)
New York City subway threat a hoax (CTV)
New York subway alert ends, plot appears unfounded (Reuters)

It is becoming more than coincidence that whenever bad times hits the government that a terror related event is reported. This is a phenomenon that seems to be concerning the main stream more and more.

Tomorrow on Countdown, Keith Olbermann will be hosting a special feature entitled ‘The Nexus of Politics and Terror.’ Here is how he describes it:

Last Thursday, we spoke of at least 13 coincidences of timing between bad political news for the government and a terror or terror-related event. We will be presenting a special report detailing those and other coincidences on Wednesday night’s edition of this news hour, “The Nexus of Politics and Terror” on COUNTDOWN this Wednesday at 8:00 and midnight Eastern here on MSNBC.

Countdown: Nexus of Politics and Terror

What’s that again about the boy who cried wolf?

Senator McCainSenator McCain’s anti-torture amendment passed the senate in a 90-9 vote today!

Hell yeah, McCain!

On the heals of a court order to release more Abu Ghraib footage, this is a huge victory for our country and shows that we are not afraid to stand up to an overzealous president.

In a July 25th press briefing, a reporter asked the following question to Scott McClellan:

Last Thursday the White House threatened to veto the defense bill if it includes standards for the humane treatment of prisoners, drafted by Republican Senator John McCain. And also on Thursday the Pentagon refused to comply with a court order to release photos and videos of prisoner abuse in Iraq. Don’t these documented cases of abuse suggest that the U.S. military should adopt higher standards for the humane treatment of prisoners?

Scott’s response:

We want to make sure that there is nothing that restricts the President’s authority to be able to do what he needs to do to protect the American people and prevent attacks from happening in the first place, and bring to justice those who seek to murder innocent civilians.

Innocent civilians like the innocent taxi driver, Dilawar, tortured to death by Americans who struck him just to hear him cry ‘Allah’?

While the bill still needs to be passed, this amendment is a win for the American people who hold themselves to a higher standard. It’s a win for those who understand that torture under the guise of liberation is not true liberation. And it’s a win for those who realize democracy cannot be forced through the barrel of a gun.

Read the amendment for yourself.

O'Reilly and ClarkThis is hilarious. Last night on his show, Bill O’Reilly slammed blogs, even going so far as calling them assassins. Here is the video (again thanks to C&L for hosting the bandwidth).

The reason why I find it so funny is that Bill has the worst inconsistencies of any major media personality that I watch and is constantly being called out on them by the web community.

For example, he says that Media Matters is the worst, yet they point out his inconsistencies more than anyone. Most importantly, they always show transcripts, court cases, and other documented facts. He says that the Smoking Gun is just as awful. They are the ones who would not let him sweep his sexual harassment case under the carpet. Think Progress even showed that Bill lied in this latest segment.

But let me tell you the one thing O’Reilly did that made me really feel disdain for him. A few nights ago, O’Reilly was interviewing General Clark about the Abu Ghraib pictures that were ordered to be released. First, Bill made the argument that torture has always been a condoned part of American warfare, why should now be different? I believe that Americans hold themselves to a higher standard and we cannot say we are liberating Iraq from a violent, torturing dictator if our soldiers do the same.

But then, he started listing off American torture in previous wars and said this:

General! You need to look at the Malmedy massacre in World War Two, and the 82nd Airborne who did it!

The Malmedy massacre was a slaughter of at least 72 American prisoners of war by the Nazis. caught the horrible mistruth and is hosting the transcript, the video, and the mp3 so you can see it and hear it for yourself.

Do you want to know what’s worse?

      1) Bill has not acknowledged his error.
      2) He has not apologized to the soldiers and families of the 82nd Airborne.
      3) And, are you ready for this, Fox News edited the statement out of their transcript on the web!!!

Yet, this is why I love what the internet has done to free speech in this country. For decades, media outlets have barely been accountable for what they print and say. Now the citizens have a medium for checking the data and ideas disseminated through the airwaves and newsprint. In a government of checks and balances, I see this as liberating step towards true democracy.

So when you go to a website, ask yourself: Are they linking to source evidence? Are they looking at all the evidence or just specific pieces that support a given point? And feel free to voice your own opinion. It’s just as valid as everyone else’s.

Yep, here it is. The new ten dollar bill:

New Ten Dollar Bill Front
New Ten Dollar Bill Back

And, yes, it’s orange. Personally, I always like the fact that all of our money was the same color. It kinda set us apart from most other countries. Granted, it was kinda boring, but it was our boring money. Apparently, this new funny money is harder to counterfeit. You can check out its features here.

A few days ago, I got this email from John:

Maybe you’ve already seen the commercial on TV (the creepy burger king dude chillin with a lumberjack), but I thought I would send you all a screenshot of Burger King’s new breakfast sandwich, called – I shit you not – the “Meat’normous” omelet breakfast sandwich. At just under 800 calories, it’ll give you the energy you need to start any day filled with chopping down trees and wearing flannel.
America has gone insane….. deliciously, deliciously insane.
Take THAT morningstar!

Here is the picture he sent:

Burger King Meatnormous!

It might be because I am a vegetarian, but that just looks disgusting. It looks like a tongue is hanging out of the side of its mouth. I do know, however, that being vegetarian for 5 years means that a hamburger does not look like a hamburger anymore. It looks like cow.

But let’s review. If I am in a forest, and this creepy guy appears out of nowhere offering me meat:

Creepy Burger King

Would I A) Accept it and chow down? Or B) Think to myself, “Boy, this guy sure reminds me of someone else in a mask…..”

Hannibal Lecter in Mask

….. ask myself what that sandwich is really made of, and then run the other way as fast as I can!

Egg ShellRahul, being brilliantly amused at my friends’ use of the Myers-Briggs system, found this wonderful article on discussing the top ten advantages to being an introvert. From Introvert Advantage, a site dedicated to the book “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World”, here they are:

The Top Ten Advantages Introverts Possess

10) Work Well With Others, Especially In One-to-One Relationships
9) Maintain Long-Term Friendships
8) Flexible
7) Independent
6) Strong Ability To Concentrate
5) Self-Reflective
4) Responsible
3) Creative, Out-of-the-Box thinking
2) Analytical Skills That Integrate Complexity
1) Studious and Smart

And to follow up, here are the misconceptions:

The Top Ten Misconceptions About Introverts

10) Party Poopers
9) Unfriendly
8) Nerds
7) Lacking Social Skills
6) Won’t Talk
5) Don’t Like People
4) Withdrawn
3) Loner
2) Shy
1) Hermit

As an INFP, I can appreciate these lists.

Think our administration is doing everything in their power to help the situation in New Orleans?

President Bush is touring around the country giving speeches about how everything is under control while diverting critical resources for photo-ops, like helicopters and members of the Coast Guard.

Vice President Cheney is still on vacation in Jackson, Wyoming.

Condoleezza Rice is still on vacation in New York City where we she went shoe shopping and played tennis yesterday.

Mike Brown, the man in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is having trouble managing the resources. Should this be a surprise? His only experience at management was with the International Arabian Horse Association which forced him to resign in the face of mounting litigation and financial disarray.

Now for the one really trying: Mayor Ray Nagin. In an interview last night, his voice cracked with anger and anguish at his frustration with the administration dragging their feet. I recommend watching the video.

For raw stories, check out Interdictor. Please donate.

Hurricane Katrina Damage

Tomorrow, I leave for Florida with Rachel to spend a vacation in Disney World. It feels very weird thinking that I am headed to the ‘happiest place on earth’ while knowing the devastation in New Orleans. The descriptions coming from inside the area are hellish at best. One man who is in charge of OC4 internet crisis control has become one of the most well known informants since he has been able to sustain an internet connection. Known as the Interdictor, the stories on his blog about the crime, the spread of corpses, and the rampant neglect by the National Guard are numbing, as if the articles on CNN and Reuters were not enough.

My friend, Molly, contacted me today and asked if I wanted to go help with the relief crews. I have to admit, I’ve thought about it more than once. While I continue to think about it, however, I am doing what those in the relief crews ask: donating money. If you feel so inclined, please help by making a donation to the Red Cross or other relief organization.

These donations are an incredible asset as our current administration continues to struggle with helping those in New Orleans. Normally, under these circumstances, I would leave all finger pointing behind. Bush, however, brought it upon himself in a speech that just makes my blood seethe. On ABC (via the BBC), Bush said:

I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did appreciate a serious storm but these levees got breached and as a result much of New Orleans is flooded and now we’re having to deal with it and will.

It’s one thing to stay quiet and another to lie in the face of so many deaths! But, I guess Bush has a track record of it.

In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country.

In 2004, National Geographic did an entire article on what would happen in a hurricane disaster in New Orleans. The detail is prophetically chilling.

Scientists around the world have been declaring New Orleans’ environmental damage a huge problem for years.

Even worse, the money set aside to prevent this problem back in 1995 was funneled out of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) beginning in 2003 in order to go towards the war in Iraq, the one we knowingly entered under false assumptions.

If that was not enough, Scott McClellan had the gall in a press conference today to state that those who have not received food, water, and medicine have ways to get it. Anyone watching CNN knows there are thousands of people stuck in New Orleans, told not to leave their houses so that they do not get mugged or raped, who are getting no help. He also refused to give answers to tough questions about white house budget cuts to SELA and other organizations.

Let us continue to keep those in New Orleans in our prayers and support them through our aid. When everyone has been taken care of, let us remember to return and focus on how this could have been better prevented so we do not repeat the mistakes of our predecessors.

Update (09/02/2005): Hunter wrote a moving article today called ‘Left Behind‘ about the situation in New Orleans. Apparently, the thousands told to go to the the Convention Center still have not received adequate aid with the young and elderly now dying of dehydration. Also, here is another 2004 article about why FEMA is unable to cope with this natural disaster due to cuts by the Bush administration.