Andrea Harner
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April 9, 2009

China Rights Activist Beaten in Cemetery By Sharon LaFraniere, NY Times
BEIJING — Last Saturday was tomb-sweeping day, when the Chinese traditionally honor the dead. Sun Wenguang, a 75-year-old retired professor, was one of many to visit the cemetery.

Apparently, though, he chose the wrong death to commemorate. He came to remember Zhao Ziyang, a former prime minister and Communist Party general secretary who lost his party position and his freedom after sympathizing with student-led, pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Mr. Zhao, who died in 2005, is a martyr to some democracy advocates.

As Mr. Sun entered the cemetery in Jinan, a city about 230 miles south of Beijing, he said, four or five men attacked him and beat him severely. He is now in a Jinan hospital with three broken ribs and injuries to his spine, head, back, arms and legs, according to China Human Rights Defenders, a Hong Kong-based group. The group said the attack on Mr. Sun was part of a concerted effort by the Chinese government to head off any efforts to memorialize the deaths of hundreds of Tiananmen Square protesters on June 4, the 20th anniversary of the government’s crackdown.

“Chinese authorities are staging a campaign of terror to intimidate and suppress expressions of commemoration for the 1989 Tiananmen massacre,” the group said in a statement. The attack on Mr. Sun “is part of the overall campaign,” it said.

Public security officials in Jinan referred calls about the attack to the propaganda office of the city’s Communist Party. No one answered phone calls to that office on Tuesday night.

Mr. Sun said he had previously visited the cemetery on Qingming Day to honor Mr. Zhao’s death without serious incident. But this year, he said, he announced his forthcoming visit on the Internet.

“It is important for China to restore the memory of its history,” Mr. Sun said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed. “Zhao Ziyang is such an important person in Chinese history, and students today have no idea who he is. That is outrageous.”

As he left the teacher’s dormitory at Shandong University, he said, a public security officer and about 20 plainclothes officers tried to stop him. “They said, ‘Don’t go there today. So many people are going there. It is dangerous,’ ” he said.

When he got into a taxi, a car followed him, he said. He said he had started down a cemetery path, carrying a banner that read “Condolences for the heroes who died for freedom,” when four or five men jumped him from behind.

He said the attackers lifted him off the ground, threw him into a deep ditch, and kicked and beat him for more than 10 minutes. Other people came to the edge of the ditch, he said, “but nobody tried to help.” Finally, a uniformed officer showed up and called an ambulance, he said.

In the four days he has been in the hospital, the police have not shown up to investigate, he said.

“I still feel very weak. And I think probably my days are numbered. But I don’t feel regret. I am 75 years old and I would be very happy to sacrifice my life for my ideals,” he said.

Mr. Sun has a long history of activism. He was imprisoned for seven years in the 1970s for criticizing Mao and his successor, Hua Guofeng, and was among the first to sign Charter 08, a manifesto issued in December that calls for democratic reforms.

Still, he said: “I didn’t expect this. I was not trying to organize any group of people. It was just a personal visit to a cemetery. In order to fight for democracy, we need to make personal efforts.”

* via NY Times print edition!!!.

April 2, 2009

Deep Green Living on HuffingtonPost! Greening My House: Power Strips, White Light Lamps, Compost Jars, and Logs Made of Coffee Grounds

Check out Arianna's write-up about her house and office getting greenified by my friend Susan Short's company Deep Green Living!! We can all live a little greener - you know it's true! Now turn off that light you're not using and feel better about yourself :-)

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March 30, 2009

Christian Fundamentalists say the darndest things!!!/If Atheists rules the world. SO LOL!

* via BuzzFeed!

Explaining Fiscal Foolishness--Psychology and the Economy: A behavioral scientist discusses the irrational human impulses that led to the economic downturn, Scientific American Mind magazine
Peter A. Ubel is professor of medicine and psychology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he explores the quirks in human nature that influence our health, happiness and society. He is author of the book Free Market Madness (Harvard Business School Press, 2009), which investigates the irrational tics that lead people to overbid on eBay, eat too much ice cream and take out mortgages they cannot afford. In an interview with Jonah Lehrer, Ubel explains how innate optimism, greed and ignorance can depress financial and physical well-being—and how individuals can commit to change.

Scientific American Mind: Your new book, Free Market Madness, argues that conventional economics, which assumes that humans are rational agents acting in their own self-interest, is deeply naive and scientifically unrealistic. Instead you describe a brain brimming with biases and flaws. Do you think these flaws are responsible for the latest economic turmoil? If so, how?

Peter Ubel: Irrationality is responsible for the economic mess we find ourselves in
right now—irrationality plus greed, of course, and a sub­stan­tial dose of ignorance. Let us start with ignorance. I am sad to say that many Americans have a difficult time with even simple math—around a third of American adults cannot calculate 10 percent of 1,000. People who struggle with concepts such as percents have an extremely difficult time with more complicated ideas, such as compounding of savings and, very relevant to our cur­rent crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages.

To make matters worse, most of us are hardwired for optimism. Ask us how we rate as drivers, and the vast majority of us are convinced we are above average—even those of us who have gotten into multiple car accidents. As a result of our unrealistic optimism, we are convinced that our incomes will rise fast enough to keep up with our outsized mortgage, or that our adjustable rate will not rise, or that our house’s value will indefinitely outpace inflation. We are social beings, too, and frequently judge our own decisions by seeing what other people are doing. If my neighbor added on a new kitchen with a home equity loan, I might assume that is a good idea for me, even if a more rational weighing of my finances would suggest otherwise. Even savvy financiers can get caught up in irrational impulses. If a competitor’s firm makes huge profits on risky loans, it is easy for me to push aside my fears about such risks: if he took those risks and was rewarded, maybe I overestimated the risks!

Mind: What can eBay teach us about human irrationality?

Ubel: eBay auctions help to reveal the rational and irrational forces driving consumer behavior. People are often quite rational, after all. Raise the price of a T-shirt, and generally, fewer people will buy it. Reduce the quality of a good, and you better reduce its price, too! But behavioral economists have analyzed eBay data to help identify some ways that consumers act irrationally. [For more on eBay and irrationality, see “Is Greed Good?” by Christoph Uhlhaas; Scientific American Mind, August/September 2007.] Offer a really low price for opening bids, a price everyone knows will not be the final selling price, and you nonetheless lure some consumers into making an initial bid. That increases the number of people bidding on the product, which makes it look more attractive, thereby generating even more bids. And then bidders, who knew the price would rise from their initial bids, get emotionally attached to the product and keep raising their offers. Now you know why it makes sense to tell people that bids for that Picasso hanging in your living room can start at $5!

Mind: You also argue that by taking our own irrationality into account, we can improve our health and well-being. Can you provide an example of a way to achieve such improvement?

Continue reading...

March 23, 2009

Mrs. Obama Speaks Out About Her Household By Marian Burros, NY Times. I admit I am smitten with the Michelle-Barack relationship

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Reporters are not the only ones with a particularly keen interest in what Michelle Obama wears. Her husband, Mrs. Obama says, notices everything. In fact, she has learned not to wear a certain gray metallic belt when the president is around.

“Barack calls it my ‘Star Trek’ belt,” the first lady said in an interview this week. “He doesn’t understand fashion.”

The interview, which started out on the subject of the new White House vegetable garden, ended up ranging over a variety of household topics, which Mrs. Obama addressed with substantial fun-poking at her husband, her mother and herself.

On the president and her wardrobe:

“He’s always asking: ‘Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.’ It’s like, Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.”

She teasingly imitated him: “You didn’t need any more shoes. The shoes you had on yesterday were fine. Why can’t you just wear that for the rest of the presidency?”

Continue reading...

March 19, 2009

Jonah Peretti, HuffingtonPost.com & Time magazine. I'm proud of my hubby series!

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There is flattery, there is shameless flattery, and there are conversations with Arianna Huffington. She'll talk to old men about their libido, beautiful women about their intelligence, the unemployed about their talent and the wealthy about their artistic depth. In her hands, a compliment is the social equivalent of a Tomahawk missile, launched in stealth at a heavily researched target and perilously difficult to defend against.

As recently as five years ago, this ability — plus a native braininess and a healthy dose of opportunism — had earned her a regular seat at soirées in the Washington–New York City–Los Angeles triad, as well as a modest media profile. She was once referred to as "the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus."

Today Icarus is in her shade. In February the Huffington Post, the website she started in 2005 with Ken Lerer and viral-marketing guru Jonah Peretti, became the 15th most popular news site, just below the Washington Post's and above the BBC's. It garnered 8.9 million unique users that month, according to Nielsen — more than double what it attracted a year ago. It gets a million-plus comments from readers a month. A business newswire recently valued the site at more than $90 million. Only one independently held online-content company (Nick Denton's Gawker properties) is worth more.

HuffPo, as it's known, has reached this level of prominence with 55 paid staffers, including Huffington. Twenty-eight of them are editorial, compared with more than 1,000 at the New York Times. Open the site on any given day and you will be greeted with copy from the Associated Press, contributions from unpaid writers, stories whose legwork was done by other news outlets and a smattering of entries from the site's five reporters. In terms of traditional newspaper content, that's about the level of a solid small-town daily.

But some people believe this model may fundamentally change the news business. When the Seattle Post-Intelligencer became the first large daily newspaper to stop printing and move entirely to the Web, on March 18, the new site was structured uncannily like HuffPo, its original content reduced and jostling for space with guest blogs, wire stories and links to other news sites.

The success of her site has allowed Huffington, 58, to reinvent herself again, from Bush-bashing pundit to media mogul and digital pioneer. But as the enterprise grows, even a pedigreed networker like Huffington may find that it's hard to keep friends in the media when she's killing their business.

Necessary Huffness
All the residents of Huffington's large romantic stone house in Brentwood, Calif., are female: Huffington, her sister Agapi and her two daughters Christina, 19, and Isabella, 17. The walls of the living room are adorned with paintings by Françoise Gilot, one of Picasso's lovers, and Kimberly Brooks, the wife of actor Albert Brooks. Isabella's room is covered with photographs by Annie Leibovitz. Most members of the house staff are women — Huffington even uses her housekeeper as chauffeur when necessary. "My mom's not good at driving," Isabella says. The matriarch is a deft hostess; there's always something to eat and, in the way of female gathering places, lots of conversation.

The Huffington Post was hatched at a party here not long after the 2004 presidential election. Former AOL executive Lerer, who professes to hate parties and to barely have known Huffington at the time, had already launched an anti-NRA site. He saw the need for a counterpoint to Matt Drudge's popular right-leaning website. "For about half an hour it was called the Huffington-Lerer Report," says Lerer. "But I'm shy." He and Huffington raised a million dollars, and Lerer brought in Peretti, his buddy from the anti-NRA website. The Huffington Post was to have three basic functions: blog, news aggregator with an attitude and place for premoderated comments.

Continue reading...

March 12, 2009

Europeans Debate Castration of Sex Offenders By Dan Bilefsky, NY Times

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Pavel remembers the violent night sweats two days before the murder. He went to see a family doctor, who said they would go away. But after viewing a Bruce Lee martial arts film, he said, he felt uncontrollable sexual desires. He invited a 12-year-old neighbor home. Then he stabbed the boy repeatedly.

His psychiatrist says Pavel derived his sexual pleasure from the violence.

More than 20 years have passed. Pavel, then 18, spent seven years in prison and five years in a psychiatric institution. During his last year in prison, he asked to be surgically castrated. Having his testicles removed, he said, was like draining the gasoline from a car hard-wired to crash. A large, dough-faced man, he is sterile and has forsaken marriage, romantic relationships and sex, he said. His life revolves around a Catholic charity, where he is a gardener.

“I can finally live knowing that I am no harm to anybody,” he said during an interview at a McDonald’s here, as children played loudly nearby. “I am living a productive life. I want to tell people that there is help.”

He refused to give his last name for fear of being hounded.

Whether castration can help rehabilitate violent sex offenders has come under new scrutiny after the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee last month called surgical castration “invasive, irreversible and mutilating” and demanded that the Czech Republic stop offering the procedure to violent sex offenders. Other critics said that castration threatened to lead society down a dangerous road toward eugenics.

Continue reading...

March 9, 2009

Seeking Justice, Chinese Land in Secret Jails By Andrew Jacobs, NY Times. China angers me so much series.

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They are often tucked away in the rough-and-tumble sections of the city’s south side, hidden beneath dingy hotels and guarded by men in dark coats. Known as “black houses,” they are unofficial jails for the pesky hordes of petitioners who flock to the capital seeking justice.

This month, Wang Shixiang, a 48-year-old businessman from Heilongjong Province, came to Beijing to agitate for the prosecution of corrupt policemen. Instead, he was seized and confined to a dank room underneath the Juyuan Hotel with 40 other abducted petitioners.

During his two days in captivity, Mr. Wang said, he was beaten and deprived of food, and then bundled onto an overnight train. Guards who were paid with government money, he said, made sure he arrived at his front door.

As Beijing hosts 10 days of political pageantry known as the National People’s Congress, tens of thousands of desperate citizens are trying to seek redress by lodging formal complaints at petition offices. A few, when hope is lost, go to extremes, as a couple from the Xinjiang region did in late February: they set their car afire on the city’s best-known shopping street, injuring themselves critically.

In his annual report to the legislature on Thursday, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said China should use its petition system to head off social unrest in the face of a worsening economy. “We should improve the mechanism to resolve social conflicts, and guide the public to express their requests and interests through legal channels,” he said.

According to the state media, 10 million petitions have been filed in the last five years on complaints as diverse as illegal land seizures and unpaid wages. The numbers would be far higher but for the black houses, also called black jails, the newest weapon local officials use to prevent these aggrieved citizens from embarrassing them in front of central government superiors. Officially, these jails do not exist.

Continue reading...

February 25, 2009

As a grammAr nazi, I appreciate this Op-Ed: The I’s Have It By Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman, NY Times

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When President Obama speaks before Congress and the nation tonight, he will be facing some of his toughest critics.

Since his election, the president has been roundly criticized by bloggers for using “I” instead of “me” in phrases like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I.”

The rule here, according to conventional wisdom, is that we use “I” as a subject and “me” as an object, whether the pronoun appears by itself or in a twosome. Thus every “I” in those quotes ought to be a “me.”

So should the president go stand in a corner of the Oval Office (if he can find one) and contemplate the error of his ways? Not so fast.

For centuries, it was perfectly acceptable to use either “I” or “me” as the object of a verb or preposition, especially after “and.” Literature is full of examples. Here’s Shakespeare, in “The Merchant of Venice”: “All debts are cleared between you and I.” And here’s Lord Byron, complaining to his half-sister about the English town of Southwell, “which, between you and I, I wish was swallowed up by an earthquake, provided my eloquent mother was not in it.”

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that language mavens began kvetching about “I” and “me.” The first kvetch cited in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage came from a commencement address in 1846. In 1869, Richard Meade Bache included it in his book “Vulgarisms and Other Errors of Speech.”

Why did these 19th-century wordies insist “I” is “I” and “me” is “me”? They were probably influenced by Latin, with its rigid treatment of subject and object pronouns. For whatever reason, their approach stuck — at least in the rule books.

Then, why do so many scofflaws keep using “I” instead of “me”? Perhaps it’s because they were scolded as children for saying things like “Me want candy” instead of “I want candy,” so they began to think “I” was somehow more socially acceptable. Or maybe it’s because they were admonished against “it’s me.” Anybody who’s had “it is I” drummed into his head is likely to avoid “me” on principle, even when it’s right. The term for this linguistic phenomenon is “hypercorrection.”

A related crime that Mr. Obama stands accused of is using “myself” to dodge the “I”-versus-“me” issue, as when he spoke last November of “a substantive conversation between myself and the president.” The standard practice here is to use “myself” for emphasis or to refer to the speaker (“I’ll do it myself”), not merely as a substitute for “me.” But some language authorities accept a looser usage, and point out that “myself” has been regularly used in place of “me” since Anglo-Saxon days.

Our 44th president isn’t the first occupant of the White House to suffer from pronounitis. Nos. 43 and 42 were similarly afflicted. The symptoms: “for Laura and I,” “invited Hillary and I,” and so on. (For the record, Nos. 41 and 40 had no problem with the objective case, regularly using “Barbara and me” or “Nancy and me” when appropriate.)

But an educated speaker is expected to keep his pronouns in line. Here, then, is a tip, Mr. President. Nobody chooses the wrong pronoun when it’s standing on its own. If you’re tempted to say “for Michelle and I” in tonight’s speech, just mentally omit Michelle (sorry, Mrs. Obama), and you’ll get it right. And no one will get on your case.

* via The New York Times which I still read in print!!

February 23, 2009

Interesting, self-aware quote by Hillary on what she and Obama have in common...her to a lesser degree.
Mrs. Clinton said she was skeptical that these appearances alone would lead to changes in the policies of foreign governments. But by connecting with people on a personal level, she said, she believes she can help mold public opinion, which, in turn, can influence governments.

“President Obama has an extraordinary capacity to do that because of the really positive feelings that he personally engenders,” she said. “To a lesser degree, I have some of the same capacity.”

From: Clinton Reshapes Diplomacy by Tossing the Script.

February 20, 2009

Obama Inauguration, Washington D.C. 2009!

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February 19, 2009

Hilarious Letter to the Economist.

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* Thanks for this Althea Wasow!

** The articles linked above are here: Gasping for gas and To the barricades.

February 13, 2009

Ian Bassin named Deputy Associate Counsel to the President: I'm so proud of my friend!!

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January 21, 2009

How repulsive was the way Rick Warren said Malia and Sasha????!!!!!
Obama's First Air Force One Ride

January 19, 2009

DC Inauguration Trip: Celebrity sightings so far

@ Four Seasons:

Arnold
Tom Brokaw
Steven Spielberg
Kate Capshaw
Christiane Amanpour
Mayor of Los Angeles
Arianna of course
Woodward
Bernstein
Anderson Cooper

@ HuffPost Ball:
ROBERT DeNIRO!!!!
Chris Matthews
Jamie Lee Curtis
Teri Hatcher
Tina Brown
Sting
Ashlee Simpson's baby daddy
Larry King
Jennifer Beals

November 5, 2008

Obama, Japan celebrates!!!!

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* via HuffPost!

PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will make you cry.

Turn up the volume:

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PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will make you dance.

Turn up the volume!!

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November 4, 2008

My haiku gift for you on this important day!

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* To contribute your own haiku magic, click here!

** I thought this up at 3 in the morning and was so excited I woke up Jonah and recited it to him. He said, "it's good!", then checked the count which prompted me to do a quick recount (please god, no) and once cleared, he said again, "it's good!" :-)

October 24, 2008

NYU computer scientists use technology to identify “body signatures” of Obama, McCain, and Bush. The data shows McCain does not just vote with Bush 90% of the time, he also is closer to Bush when it comes to his “body signature”!

Very interesting:

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October 23, 2008

Larry David's Waiting for Nov. 4th!...LOVE YOU LD!

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I can't take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I'm anxious all the time and taking it out on my ex-wife, which, ironically, I'm finding enjoyable. This is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. Actually, it's worse. Biopsies only take a few days, maybe a week at the most, and if the biopsy comes back positive, there's still a potential cure. With this, there's no cure. The result is final. Like death.

Five times a day I'll still say to someone, "I don't know what I'm going to do if McCain wins." Of course, the reality is I'm probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I'm not going to kill myself. If I didn't kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I'm certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it's by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it's due to racism rather than if it's stolen. If it's racism, I can say, "Okay, we lost, but at least it's a democracy. Sure, it's a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it's a democracy." If he loses because it's stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I'd rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one. (It's not exactly a Hobson's choice, but it's close, and I think Hobson would compliment me on how close I've actually come to giving him no choice. He'd love that!)

The one concession I've made to maintain some form of sanity is that I've taken to censoring my news, just like the old Soviet Union. The citizenry (me) only gets to read and listen to what I deem appropriate for its health and well-being. Sure, there are times when the system breaks down. Michele Bachmann got through my radar this week, right before bedtime. That's not supposed to happen. That was a lapse in security, and I've had to make some adjustments. The debates were particularly challenging for me to monitor. First I tried running in and out of the room so I would only hear my guy. This worked until I knocked over a tray of hors d'oeuvres. "Sit down or get out!" my host demanded. "Okay," I said, and took a seat, but I was more fidgety than a ten-year-old at temple. I just couldn't watch without saying anything, and my running commentary, which mostly consisted of "Shut up, you prick!" or "You're a fucking liar!!!" or "Go to hell, you cocksucker!" was way too distracting for the attendees, and finally I was asked to leave.

Assuming November 4th ever comes, my big decision won't be where I'll be watching the returns, but if I'll be watching. I believe I have big jinx potential and may have actually cost the Dems the last two elections. I know I've jinxed sporting events. When my teams are losing and I want them to make a comeback, all I have to do is leave the room. Works every time. So if I do watch, I'll do it alone. I can't subject other people to me in my current condition. I just don't like what I've turned into -- and frankly I wasn't that crazy about me even before the turn. This election is having the same effect on me as marijuana. All of my worst qualities have been exacerbated. I'm paranoid, obsessive, nervous, and totally mental. It's one long, intense, bad trip. I need to come down. Soon.

October 22, 2008

REPUBLICANS DISGUSTED: PALIN'S $150,000 SHOPPING SPREE WITH CAMPAIGN MONEY!!!!

OMG. You have to check out the front page of Huff Post right now for the slide show they've created of Palin's suits thanks to campaign and taxpayer money. Or it's at the bottom of this page.

I've attached my faves: 1) One of her many daughters carrying her Louis Vuitton bag - gosh, Palin's just a regular, middle-class, small-town girl with a real Louis Vuitton bag, and 2) Looking like her former jacked up self in the supermarket, prior to her vp nomination and windfall.

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October 19, 2008

Powell noted that McCain has been a good friend for 25 years, but expressed disappointment in the "over the top" negative tone of the GOP campaign, as well as in McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee.

I'VE NEVER FELT MORE LOVE FOR COLIN POWELL THAN I DO RIGHT NOW!!!

Click HERE for videos!

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Sunday that he will break with his party and vote for Sen. Barack Obama. "He has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press.

"I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities -- and you have to take that into account -- as well as his substance -- he has both style and substance," Powell said. "He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."

Powell noted that McCain has been a good friend for 25 years, but expressed disappointment in the "over the top" negative tone of the GOP campaign, as well as in McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee.

"Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president," Powell said. "And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made."

He also harshly criticized some of McCain's campaign tactics, such as the robocall campaign linking Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.

"Mr. McCain says that he's a washed up terrorist, but then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have the robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate. Now, I understand what politics is all about, I know how you can go after one another and that's good. But I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for."

Powell also spoke passionately against the insinuations by some Republicans that Obama is a Muslim.

"Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian," he said. "But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

Following the interview, Powell told reporters outside NBC's Washington studio that McCain "is essentially going to execute the Republican agenda, the orthodoxy of the Republican agenda with a new face and a maverick approach to it, and he'd be quite good at it, but I think we need more than that. I think we need a generational change. I think Senator Obama has captured the feelings of the young people of America and is reaching out in a more diverse, inclusive way across our society."

Powell charged that the Republican focus on William Ayers and Obama's religious affiliations were damaging America's image abroad.

"Those kinds of images going out on al Jazeera are killing us around the world," he said. "And we have got to say to the world, it doesn't make any difference who you are or what you are, if you're an American you're an American. And this business of, for example a congresswoman from Minnesota going around saying let's examine all congressmen to see who is pro America or not pro America, we have got to stop this kind of non-sense and pull ourselves together and remember that our great strength is in our unity and diversity. That really was driving me."

Powell continued, defending Obama against McCain's latest charge that the Democrat's policies are quasi-socialist:

We can't judge our people and hold our elections on that kind of basis. Yes, that kind of negativity troubled me. And the constant shifting of the argument, I was troubled a couple of weeks ago when in the middle of the crisis the campaign said 'we're going to go negative,' and they announced it. 'We're going to go negative and attack his character through Bill Ayers.' Now I guess the message this week is we're going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there's nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying les, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that I don't think is accurate.

Asked whether he still considers himself a Republican, Powell responded, "Yes."

Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama called Powell to thank him for his endorsement and express how honored he was to have it.

Obama "said he looked forward to taking advantage of his advice in the next two weeks and hopefully over the next four years," Gibbs said in an email to the traveling press. "They talked for ten minutes."

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, John McCain said he respectfully disagreed with Powell's decision, but "this doesn't come as a surprise."

In fact, aside from their shared history as Republican military men, Powell's endorsement is significant due to the fact that McCain has repeatedly singled him out for lavish praise. In a July New York Times interview, McCain described the former secretary of state and Joint Chiefs chairman as "a man who I admire as much as any man in the world, person in the world" when answering a question in which Powell was not brought up. Meanwhile, near the same time as that interview, McCain was reportedly considering Powell as a potential running mate.

McCain's high opinion of Powell as one of the "most credible, most respected" men in America is not merely an election-year spasm, either. When asked in 2001 if he would have chosen Powell for a Cabinet position had he succeeded in his first presidential run, McCain said "oh, yes." During two December 2000 appearances on NBC Nightly News, McCain described himself as "exuberant" over Powell's selection as secretary of state, which he predicted would secure "a beneficial effect on the conduct of American foreign policy." McCain added in another TV appearance that President Bush was "blessed" to have Powell working for him. In 2003, when Powell faced criticism from Newt Gingrich over his plan to travel to Syria, it was McCain who rose to the secretary's defense on MSNBC's Hardball, when he said: "I think it's appropriate that Colin Powell is going there."

Even at the end of Powell's somewhat frustrating tenure in George W. Bush's inner circle of policy advisers, McCain praised his overall performance, saying: "When he took the helm at the State Department nearly four years ago, I was confident that Secretary Powell would lead with honor and distinction ... I have not been disappointed." And in a CBS interview during this year's primary race, McCain suggested that one of President Bush's chief failures "was not to listen more to our military leadership, including people like General Colin Powell."

The praise has not only run in one direction, as Powell described McCain the "toughest man I've ever met" last year. But in the end, what sounded like a compliment could have been the beginning of the end. During this summer's conflict between Russia and Georgia, Powell criticized McCain for being, in essence, too mindlessly tough. When asked by CNN's what McCain meant when he said "We are all Georgians now," Powell demurred. "One candidate said that, and I'll let the candidate explain it for himself."

When pressed for further opinion, Powell distanced himself from McCain's staunchly pro-Georgian line. "The fact of the matter is that you have to be very careful in a situation like this not just to leap to one side or the other until you take a good analysis of the whole situation," Powell said, tamping down the rush to herald the rise of a new Soviet threat.

"The Russian Federation is not going to become the Soviet Union again. That movie failed at the box office. But they do have interests. And we have to think carefully about their interests."

October 16, 2008

Spiteful McCain was an angry and deceptive old man last night!

October 14, 2008

He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”

This personality defective guy who has proudly seeded vicious rumors about Obama makes my skin crawl and stomach hurl. Enjoy getting upset!

The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama
By JIM RUTENBERG
Published: October 12, 2008

The most persistent falsehood about Senator Barack Obama’s background first hit in 2004 just two weeks after the Democratic convention speech that helped set him on the path to his presidential candidacy: “Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion.”

That statement, contained in a press release, spun a complex tale about the ancestry of Mr. Obama, who is Christian.

The press release was picked up by a conservative Web site, FreeRepublic.com, and spread steadily as others elaborated on its claims over the years in e-mail messages, Web sites and books. It continues to drive other false rumors about Mr. Obama’s background.

Just last Friday, a woman told Senator John McCain at a town-hall-style meeting, “I have read about him,” and “he’s an Arab.” Mr. McCain corrected her.

Until this month, the man who is widely credited with starting the cyberwhisper campaign that still dogs Mr. Obama was a secondary character in news reports, with deep explorations of his background largely confined to liberal blogs.

But an appearance in a documentary-style program on the Fox News Channel watched by three million people last week thrust the man, Andy Martin, and his past into the foreground. The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government.

An examination of legal documents and election filings, along with interviews with his acquaintances, revealed Mr. Martin, 62, to be a man with a history of scintillating if not always factual claims. He has left a trail of animosity — some of it provoked by anti-Jewish comments — among political leaders, lawyers and judges in three states over more than 30 years.

He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”

Though he is not a lawyer, Mr. Martin went on to become a prodigious filer of lawsuits, and he made unsuccessful attempts to win public office for both parties in three states, as well as for president at least twice, in 1988 and 2000. Based in Chicago, he now identifies himself as a writer who focuses on his anti-Obama Web site and press releases.

Mr. Martin, in a series of interviews, did not dispute his influence in Obama rumors.

“Everybody uses my research as a takeoff point,” Mr. Martin said, adding, however, that some take his writings “and exaggerate them to suit their own fantasies.”

As for his background, he said: “I’m a colorful person. There’s always somebody who has a legitimate cause in their mind to be angry with me.”

When questions were raised last week about Mr. Martin’s appearance and claims on “Hannity’s America” on Fox News, the program’s producer said Mr. Martin was clearly expressing his opinion and not necessarily fact.

It was not Mr. Martin's first turn on national television. The CBS News program "48 Hours" in 1993 devoted an hourlong program, "See You in Court; Civil War, Anthony Martin Clogs Legal System with Frivolous Lawsuits," to what it called his prolific filings. (Mr. Martin has also been known as Anthony Martin-Trigona.) He has filed so many lawsuits that a judge barred him from doing so in any federal court without preliminary approval.

He prepared to run as a Democrat for Congress in Connecticut, where paperwork for one of his campaign committees listed as one purpose “to exterminate Jew power.” He ran as a Republican for the Florida State Senate and the United States Senate in Illinois. When running for president in 1999, he aired a television advertisement in New Hampshire that accused George W. Bush of using cocaine.

In the 1990s, Mr. Martin was jailed in a case in Florida involving a physical altercation.

His newfound prominence, and the persistence of his line of political attack — updated regularly on his Web site and through press releases — amazes those from his past.

“Well, that’s just a bookend for me,” said Tom Slade, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, whom Mr. Martin sued for refusing to support him. Mr. Slade said Mr. Martin was driven like “a run-over dog, but he’s fearless.”

Given Mr. Obama’s unusual background, which was the focus of his first book, it was perhaps bound to become fodder for some opposed to his candidacy.

Mr. Obama was raised mostly by his white mother, an atheist, and his grandparents, who were Protestant, in Hawaii. He hardly knew his father, a Kenyan from a Muslim family who variously considered himself atheist or agnostic, Mr. Obama wrote. For a few childhood years, Mr. Obama lived in Indonesia with a stepfather he described as loosely following a liberal Islam.

Theories about Mr. Obama’s background have taken on a life of their own. But independent analysts seeking the origins of the cyberspace attacks wind up at Mr. Martin’s first press release, posted on the Free Republic Web site in August 2004.

Its general outlines have turned up in a host of works that have expounded falsely on Mr. Obama’s heritage or supposed attempts to conceal it, including “Obama Nation,” the widely discredited best seller about Mr. Obama by Jerome R. Corsi. Mr. Corsi opens the book with a quote from Mr. Martin.

“What he’s generating gets picked up in other places,” said Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who has investigated the e-mail campaign’s circulation and origins, “and it’s an example of how the Internet has given power to sources we would have never taken seriously at another point in time.”

Ms. Allen said Mr. Martin’s original work found amplification in 2006, when a man named Ted Sampley wrote an article painting Mr. Obama as a secret practitioner of Islam. Quoting liberally from Mr. Martin, the article circulated on the Internet, and its contents eventually found their way into various e-mail messages, particularly an added claim that Mr. Obama had attended “Jakarta’s Muslim Wahhabi schools. Wahhabism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging jihad on the rest of the world.”

Mr. Obama for two years attended a Catholic school in Indonesia, where he was taught about the Bible, he wrote in “Dreams From My Father,” and for two years went to an Indonesian public school open to all religions, where he was taught about the Koran.

Mr. Sampley, coincidentally, is a Vietnam veteran and longtime opponent of Mr. McCain and Senator John Kerry, both of whom he accused of ignoring his claims that American prisoners were left behind in Vietnam. He previously portrayed Mr. McCain as a “Manchurian candidate.” Speaking of Mr. Martin’s influence on his Obama writings, Mr. Sampley said, “I keyed off of his work.”

Mr. Martin’s depictions of Mr. Obama as a secret Muslim have found resonance among some Jewish voters who have received e-mail messages containing various versions of his initial theory, often by new authors and with new twists.

In his original press release, Mr. Martin wrote that he was personally “a strong supporter of the Muslim community.” But, he wrote of Mr. Obama, “it may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel.” He added, “His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles.”

Yet in various court papers, Mr. Martin had impugned Jews.

A motion he filed in a 1983 bankruptcy case called the judge “a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

In another motion, filed in 1983, Mr. Martin wrote, “I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”

In an interview, Mr. Martin denied some statements against Jews attributed to him in court papers, blaming malicious judges for inserting them.

But in his “48 Hours” interview in 1993, he affirmed a different anti-Semitic part of the affidavit that included the line about the Holocaust, saying, “The record speaks for itself.”

When asked Friday about an assertion in his court papers that “Jews, historically and in daily living, act through clans and in wolf pack syndrome,” he said, “That one sort of rings a bell.”

He said he was not anti-Semitic. “I was trying to show that everybody in the bankruptcy court was Jewish and I was not Jewish,” he said, “and I was being victimized by religious bias.”

In discussing the denial of his admission to the Illinois bar, Mr. Martin said the psychiatric exam listing him as having a “moderately severe personality defect” was spitefully written by an evaluator he had clashed with.

Mr. Martin, who says he is from a well-off banking and farming family, is clearly pleased with his newfound attention. But, he said, others have added to his work in “scary” ways.

“They Google ‘Islam’ and ‘Obama’ and my stuff comes up and they take that and kind of use that — like a Christmas tree, and they decorate it,” he said. For instance, he said, he did not necessarily ascribe to a widely circulated e-mail message from the Israeli right-wing activist Ruth Matar, which includes the false assertion, “If Obama were elected, he would be the first Arab-American president.”

He said he had at least come to “accept” Mr. Obama’s word that he had found Jesus Christ. His intent, he said, was only to educate.

October 10, 2008

McCain calls us "his fellow prisoners"

Tell me it wouldn't be scary as shit for this guy to be our president. As a commenter wrote, "grampa needs a nap, you guys".

* via BuzzFeed.

October 9, 2008

Palin's Kind of Patriotism by Thomas Friedman

Palin's thinking is so dumb and dangerous...and depressing to think she's not alone.

Criticizing Sarah Palin is truly shooting fish in a barrel. But given the huge attention she is getting, you can’t just ignore what she has to say. And there was one thing she said in the debate with Joe Biden that really sticks in my craw. It was when she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

What an awful statement. Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic.

I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.

Sorry, I grew up in a very middle-class family in a very middle-class suburb of Minneapolis, and my parents taught me that paying taxes, while certainly no fun, was how we paid for the police and the Army, our public universities and local schools, scientific research and Medicare for the elderly. No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

I can understand someone saying that the government has no business bailing out the financial system, but I can’t understand someone arguing that we should do that but not pay for it with taxes. I can understand someone saying we have no business in Iraq, but I can’t understand someone who advocates staying in Iraq until “victory” declaring that paying taxes to fund that is not patriotic.

How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States? Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?

We are in the middle of an economic perfect storm, and we don’t know how much worse it’s going to get. People all over the world are hoarding cash, and no bank feels that it can fully trust anyone it is doing business with anywhere in the world. Did you notice that the government of Iceland just seized the country’s second-largest bank and today is begging Russia for a $5 billion loan to stave off “national bankruptcy.” What does that say? It tells you that financial globalization has gone so much farther and faster than regulatory institutions could govern it. Our crisis could bankrupt Iceland! Who knew?

And we have not yet even felt the full economic brunt here. I fear we may be at that moment just before the tsunami hits — when the birds take flight and the insects stop chirping because their acute senses can feel what is coming before humans can. At this moment, only good governance can save us. I am not sure that this crisis will end without every government in every major economy guaranteeing the creditworthiness of every financial institution it regulates. That may be the only way to get lending going again. Organizing something that big and complex will take some really smart governance and seasoned leadership.

Whether or not I agree with John McCain, he is of presidential timber. But putting the country in the position where a total novice like Sarah Palin could be asked to steer us through possibly the most serious economic crisis of our lives is flat out reckless. It is the opposite of conservative.

And please don’t tell me she will hire smart advisers. What happens when her two smartest advisers disagree?

And please also don’t tell me she is an “energy expert.” She is an energy expert exactly the same way the king of Saudi Arabia is an energy expert — by accident of residence. Palin happens to be governor of the Saudi Arabia of America — Alaska — and the only energy expertise she has is the same as the king of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s about how the windfall profits from the oil in their respective kingdoms should be divided between the oil companies and the people.

At least the king of Saudi Arabia, in advocating “drill baby drill,” is serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. My problem with Palin is that she is also serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. That’s not patriotic. Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy — not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground, but by empowering more Americans to work in productive and innovative jobs. If Palin has that kind of a plan, I haven’t heard it.

* via NY Times.

October 6, 2008

Let's not forget McCain's wise words...

“Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I’m terrified.

* Via Paul Krugman's column today.

Several recent nonpartisan studies estimate that under the McCain plan around 20 million Americans currently covered by their employers would lose their health insurance.

Health Care Destruction By Paul Krugman:

Sarah Palin ended her debate performance last Thursday with a slightly garbled quote from Ronald Reagan about how, if we aren’t vigilant, we’ll end up “telling our children and our children’s children” about the days when America was free. It was a revealing choice.

You see, when Reagan said this he wasn’t warning about Soviet aggression. He was warning against legislation that would guarantee health care for older Americans — the program now known as Medicare.

Conservative Republicans still hate Medicare, and would kill it if they could — in fact, they tried to gut it during the Clinton years (that’s what the 1995 shutdown of the government was all about). But so far they haven’t been able to pull that off.

So John McCain wants to destroy the health insurance of nonelderly Americans instead.

Most Americans under 65 currently get health insurance through their employers. That’s largely because the tax code favors such insurance: your employer’s contribution to insurance premiums isn’t considered taxable income, as long as the employer’s health plan follows certain rules. In particular, the same plan has to be available to all employees, regardless of the size of their paycheck or the state of their health.

This system does a fairly effective job of protecting those it reaches, but it leaves many Americans out in the cold. Workers whose employers don’t offer coverage are forced to seek individual health insurance, often in vain. For one thing, insurance companies offering “nongroup” coverage generally refuse to cover anyone with a pre-existing medical condition. And individual insurance is very expensive, because insurers spend large sums weeding out “high-risk” applicants — that is, anyone who seems likely to actually need the insurance.

So what should be done? Barack Obama offers incremental reform: regulation of insurers to prevent discrimination against the less healthy, subsidies to help lower-income families buy insurance, and public insurance plans that compete with the private sector. His plan falls short of universal coverage, but it would sharply reduce the number of uninsured.

Mr. McCain, on the other hand, wants to blow up the current system, by eliminating the tax break for employer-provided insurance. And he doesn’t offer a workable alternative.

Without the tax break, many employers would drop their current health plans. Several recent nonpartisan studies estimate that under the McCain plan around 20 million Americans currently covered by their employers would lose their health insurance.

As compensation, the McCain plan would give people a tax credit — $2,500 for an individual, $5,000 for a family — that could be used to buy health insurance in the individual market. At the same time, Mr. McCain would deregulate insurance, leaving insurance companies free to deny coverage to those with health problems — and his proposal for a “high-risk pool” for hard cases would provide little help.

So what would happen?

The good news, such as it is, is that more people would buy individual insurance. Indeed, the total number of uninsured Americans might decline marginally under the McCain plan — although many more Americans would be without insurance than under the Obama plan.

But the people gaining insurance would be those who need it least: relatively healthy Americans with high incomes. Why? Because insurance companies want to cover only healthy people, and even among the healthy only those able to pay a lot in addition to their tax credit would be able to afford coverage (remember, it’s a $5,000 credit, but the average family policy actually costs more than $12,000).

Meanwhile, the people losing insurance would be those who need it most: lower-income workers who wouldn’t be able to afford individual insurance even with the tax credit, and Americans with health problems whom insurance companies won’t cover.

And in the process of comforting the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted, the McCain plan would also lead to a huge, expensive increase in bureaucracy: insurers selling individual health plans spend 29 percent of the premiums they receive on administration, largely because they employ so many people to screen applicants. This compares with costs of 12 percent for group plans and just 3 percent for Medicare.

In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I’m terrified.

October 2, 2008

I was channel surfing on Monday following the stock market’s nearly 800-point collapse, when a commentator on CNBC caught my attention.He was being asked to give advice to viewers as to what were the best positions to be in to ride out the market storm.
Without missing a beat, he answered: “Cash and fetal.”

I’m in both — because I know an unprecedented moment when I see one. I’ve been frightened for my country only a few times in my life: In 1962, when, even as a boy of 9, I followed the tension of the Cuban missile crisis; in 1963, with the assassination of J.F.K.; on Sept. 11, 2001; and on Monday, when the House Republicans brought down the bipartisan rescue package.

But this moment is the scariest of all for me because the previous three were all driven by real or potential attacks on the U.S. system by outsiders. This time, we are doing it to ourselves. This time, it’s our own failure to regulate our own financial system and to legislate the proper remedy that is doing us in.

I’ve always believed that America’s government was a unique political system — one designed by geniuses so that it could be run by idiots. I was wrong. No system can be smart enough to survive this level of incompetence and recklessness by the people charged to run it.

This is dangerous. We have House members, many of whom I suspect can’t balance their own checkbooks, rejecting a complex rescue package because some voters, whom I fear also don’t understand, swamped them with phone calls. I appreciate the popular anger against Wall Street, but you can’t deal with this crisis this way.

This is a credit crisis. It’s all about confidence. What you can’t see is how bank A will no longer lend to good company B or mortgage company C. Because no one is sure the other guy’s assets and collateral are worth anything, which is why the government needs to come in and put a floor under them. Otherwise, the system will be choked of credit, like a body being choked of oxygen and turning blue.

Well, you say, “I don’t own any stocks — let those greedy monsters on Wall Street suffer.” You may not own any stocks, but your pension fund owned some Lehman Brothers commercial paper and your regional bank held subprime mortgage bonds, which is why you were able refinance your house two years ago. And your local airport was insured by A.I.G., and your local municipality sold municipal bonds on Wall Street to finance your street’s new sewer system, and your local car company depended on the credit markets to finance your auto loan — and now that the credit market has dried up, Wachovia bank went bust and your neighbor lost her secretarial job there.

We’re all connected. As others have pointed out, you can’t save Main Street and punish Wall Street anymore than you can be in a rowboat with someone you hate and think that the leak in the bottom of the boat at his end is not going to sink you, too. The world really is flat. We’re all connected. “Decoupling” is pure fantasy.

I totally understand the resentment against Wall Street titans bringing home $60 million bonuses. But when the credit system is imperiled, as it is now, you have to focus on saving the system, even if it means bailing out people who don’t deserve it. Otherwise, you’re saying: I’m going to hold my breath until that Wall Street fat cat turns blue. But he’s not going to turn blue; you are, or we all are. We have to get this right.

My rabbi told this story at Rosh Hashana services on Tuesday: A frail 80-year-old mother is celebrating her birthday and her three sons each give her a present. Harry gives her a new house. Harvey gives her a new car and driver. And Bernie gives her a huge parrot that can recite the entire Torah. A week later, she calls her three sons together and says: “Harry, thanks for the nice house, but I only live in one room. Harvey, thanks for the nice car, but I can’t stand the driver. Bernie, thanks for giving your mother something she could really enjoy. That chicken was delicious.”

Message to Congress: Don’t get cute. Don’t give us something we don’t need. Don’t give us something designed to solve your political problems. Yes, Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke need to accept strict oversights and the taxpayer must be guaranteed a share in the upside profits from all rescued banks. But other than that, give them the capital and the flexibility to put out this fire.

I always said to myself: Our government is so broken that it can only work in response to a huge crisis. But now we’ve had a huge crisis, and the system still doesn’t seem to work. Our leaders, Republicans and Democrats, have gotten so out of practice of working together that even in the face of this system-threatening meltdown they could not agree on a rescue package, as if they lived on Mars and were just visiting us for the week, with no stake in the outcome.

The story cannot end here. If it does, assume the fetal position.

* Via Rescue the Rescue By Thomas Friedman.

September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits By Dorothy Samuels, NY Times Editorial

Palin wants sexual assault victims to pay for their rape kits. That's nice.

Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits By Dorothy Samuels, NY Times Editorial

Palin wants sexual assault victims to pay for their rape kits. That's nice.

September 24, 2008

TAXPAYERS SHOULD NOT BAIL OUT WALL STREET!!!!!

I am sickened by the idea that taxpayers may be bailing out high-flying investment bankers who made millions and millions of dollars over the years. And all this may happen because one guy says we should do it quickly! and "trust me". What is happening to our country?

Bob Herbert wrote a great piece on this yesterday:

A Second Opinion?

By Bob Herbert

Does anyone think it’s just a little weird to be stampeded into a $700 billion solution to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression by the very people who brought us the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

How about a second opinion?

Everything needs much closer scrutiny in these troubled times because no one even knows who is in charge, much less what is going on. Have you ever seen a president who was more irrelevant than George W. Bush is right now?

The treasury secretary, Henry Paulson — heralded as King Henry on the cover of Newsweek — has been handed the reins of government, and he’s galloping through the taxpayers’ money like a hard-charging driver in a runaway chariot race.

“We need this legislation in a week,” he said on Sunday, referring to the authorization from Congress to implement his hastily assembled plan to bail out the wildly profligate U.S. financial industry. The plan stands at $700 billion as proposed, but could go to a trillion dollars or more.

Mr. Paulson spoke on the Sunday morning talk shows about “bad lending practices” and “irresponsible borrowing” and “irresponsible lending” and “illiquid assets.”

The sky was falling, he seemed to be saying, and if the taxpayers didn’t pony up $700 billion in the next few days, all would be lost. No time to look at the fine print. Hurry, hurry, said the treasury secretary.

His eyes, as he hopped from one network camera to another, said, as salesmen have been saying since the dawn of time: “Trust me.”

With all due respect to Mr. Paulson, who is widely regarded as a smart and fine man, we need to slow this process down. We got into this mess by handing out mortgages like lollipops to people who paid too little attention to the fine print, who in many cases didn’t understand it or didn’t care about it.

And the people who always pretended to know better, who should have known better, the mortgage hucksters and the gilt-edged, high-rolling, helicopter-flying Wall Street financiers, kept pushing this bad paper higher and higher up the pyramid without looking at the fine print themselves, not bothering to understand it, until all the crap came raining down on the rest of us.

Yes, the system came perilously close to collapse last week and needs to be stabilized as quickly as possible. But we don’t know yet that King Henry’s fiat, his $700 billion solution, is the best solution. Like the complex mortgage-based instruments at the heart of this debacle, nobody has a real grasp yet of the vast implications of Mr. Paulson’s remedy.

Experts need some reasonable amount of time — I’m talking about days, not weeks — to home in on the weak points, the loopholes, the potential unintended consequences of a bailout of this magnitude.

The patchwork modifications being offered by Democrats in Congress are insufficient. Reasonable estimates need to be made of the toll to be taken on taxpayers. Reasonable alternatives need to be heard.

I agree with the economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, that while the government needs to move with dispatch, there is also a need to make sure that taxpayers’ money is used only where “absolutely necessary.”

Lobbyists, bankers and Wall Street types are already hopping up and down like over-excited children, ready to burst into the government’s $700 billion piñata. This widespread eagerness is itself an indication that there is something too sweet about the Paulson plan.

This is not supposed to be a good deal for business. “The idea is that you’re coming here because you would be going bankrupt otherwise,” said Mr. Baker. “You’re coming here because you have no alternative. You’re getting a bad deal, but it’s better than going out of business. That’s how it should be structured.”

The markets tanked again on Monday as oil prices skyrocketed. Time is indeed short, but alternative voices desperately need to be heard because the people who have been running the economy for so long — who have ruined it — cannot be expected to make things right again in 48 or 96 hours.

Mr. Paulson himself was telling us during the summer that the economy was sound, that its long-term fundamentals were “strong,” that growth would rebound by the end of the year, when most of the slump in housing prices would be over.

He has been wrong every step of the way, right up until early last week, about the severity of the economic crisis. As for President Bush, the less said the better.

The free-market madmen who treated the American economy like a giant casino have had their day. It’s time to drag them away from the tables and into the sunlight of reality.

September 12, 2008

THIS IS PRECISELY WHY I AM A DEMOCRAT AND NOT A REPUBLICAN

I deeply believe in what David Brooks wrote in his NY Times column today. Here it is in its entirety:

THE SOCIAL ANIMAL By David Brooks

Near the start of his book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” Barry Goldwater wrote: “Every man, for his individual good and for the good of his society, is responsible for his own development. The choices that govern his life are choices that he must make; they cannot be made by any other human being.” The political implications of this are clear, Goldwater continued: “Conservatism’s first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?”

Goldwater’s vision was highly individualistic and celebrated a certain sort of person — the stout pioneer crossing the West, the risk-taking entrepreneur with a vision, the stalwart hero fighting the collectivist foe.

The problem is, this individualist description of human nature seems to be wrong. Over the past 30 years, there has been a tide of research in many fields, all underlining one old truth — that we are intensely social creatures, deeply interconnected with one another and the idea of the lone individual rationally and willfully steering his own life course is often an illusion.

Cognitive scientists have shown that our decision-making is powerfully influenced by social context — by the frames, biases and filters that are shared subconsciously by those around. Neuroscientists have shown that we have permeable minds. When we watch somebody do something, we recreate their mental processes in our own brains as if we were performing the action ourselves, and it is through this process of deep imitation that we learn, empathize and share culture.

Geneticists have shown that our behavior is influenced by our ancestors and the exigencies of the past. Behavioral economists have shown the limits of the classical economic model, which assumes that individuals are efficient, rational, utility-maximizing creatures.

Psychologists have shown that we are organized by our attachments. Sociologists have shown the power of social networks to affect individual behavior.

What emerges is not a picture of self-creating individuals gloriously free from one another, but of autonomous creatures deeply interconnected with one another. Recent Republican Party doctrine has emphasized the power of the individual, but underestimates the importance of connections, relationships, institutions and social filaments that organize personal choices and make individuals what they are.

This may seem like an airy-fairy thing. But it is the main impediment to Republican modernization. Over the past few weeks, Republicans have talked a lot about change, modernization and reform. Despite the talk, many of the old policy pillars are the same. We’re living in an age of fast-changing economic, information and social networks, but Republicans are still impeded by Goldwater’s mental guard-rails.

If there’s a thread running through the gravest current concerns, it is that people lack a secure environment in which they can lead their lives. Wild swings in global capital and energy markets buffet family budgets. Nobody is sure the health care system will be there when they need it. National productivity gains don’t seem to alleviate economic anxiety. Inequality strains national cohesion. In many communities, social norms do not encourage academic achievement, decent values or family stability. These problems straining the social fabric aren’t directly addressed by maximizing individual freedom.

And yet locked in the old framework, the Republican Party’s knee-jerk response to many problems is: “Throw a voucher at it.” Schools are bad. Throw a voucher. Health care system’s a mess. Replace it with federally funded individual choice. Economic anxiety? Lower some tax rate.

The latest example of the mismatch between ideology and reality is the housing crisis. The party’s individualist model cannot explain the social contagion that caused hundreds of thousands of individuals to make bad decisions in the same direction at the same time. A Republican administration intervened gigantically in the market to handle the Bear Stearns, Freddie and Fannie debacles. But it has no conservative rationale to explain its action, no language about the importance of social equilibrium it might use to justify itself.

The irony, of course, is that, in pre-Goldwater days, conservatives were incredibly sophisticated about the value of networks, institutions and invisible social bonds. You don’t have to go back to Edmund Burke and Adam Smith (though it helps) to find conservatives who understood that people are socially embedded creatures and that government has a role (though not a dominant one) in nurturing the institutions in which they are embedded.

That language of community, institutions and social fabric has been lost, and now we hear only distant echoes — when social conservatives talk about family bonds or when John McCain talks at a forum about national service.

If Republicans are going to fully modernize, they’re probably going to have to follow the route the British Conservatives have already trod and project a conservatism that emphasizes society as well as individuals, security as well as freedom, a social revival and not just an economic one and the community as opposed to the state.

September 11, 2008

Everyone chill the f out. Obama's got this. I LOVE THIS IMAGE!

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August 28, 2008

For a New Political Age, a Self-Made Man By Jodi Kantor, NY Times

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A thoughtful and intriguing look into Obama.

From the earliest days of his presidential campaign, those around Senator Barack Obama have heard the same mantra. He repeated it after he announced his candidacy and after debates, after victories and defeats.

A longtime community organizer in Chicago, Mr. Obama helped Irene Sanders to her car while helping out at the James Food Pantry in 2006.

“I need to get better,” he would say.

In the way Mr. Obama has trained himself for competition, he can sometimes seem as much athlete as politician. Even before he entered public life, he began honing not only his political skills, but also his mental and emotional ones. He developed a self-discipline so complete, friends and aides say, that he has established dominion over not only what he does but also how he feels. He does not easily exult, despair or anger: to do so would be an indulgence, a distraction from his goals. Instead, they say, he separates himself from the moment and assesses.

“He doesn’t inhale,” said David Axelrod, his chief strategist.

But with Barack Hussein Obama officially becoming the Democratic presidential nominee on Wednesday night, some of the same qualities that have brought him just one election away from the White House — his virtuosity, his seriousness, his ability to inspire, his seeming immunity from the strains that afflict others — may be among his biggest obstacles to getting there.

There is little about him that feels spontaneous or unpolished, and even after two books, thousands of campaign events and countless hours on television, many Americans say they do not feel they know him. The accusations of elusiveness puzzle those closest to the candidate. Far more than most politicians, they say, he is the same in public as he is in private.

The mystery and the consistency may share the same root: Mr. Obama, 47, is the first presidential candidate to come of age during an era of relentless 24-hour scrutiny. “He is, more than any other contemporary political figure, a creature of these times,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer, a fellow Democrat who campaigned this spring with Mr. Obama in Oregon, Mr. Blumenauer’s home state.

Last month, while visiting Jerusalem, Mr. Obama crammed a note in the Western Wall that was promptly fished out and posted on the Internet. The message was elegantly phrased, as if Mr. Obama, a Christian, had anticipated that his private words to the Almighty would soon be on public display.

In the note, Mr. Obama asked for protection, forgiveness and wisdom, a message in keeping with the humility he tries to emphasize. But his uncanny self-assurance and seemingly smooth glide upward have stoked complaints from his critics and his opponents, first Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and now Senator John McCain, that he has not spent enough time earning and learning, that his main project in life has been his own ascent.

Because he betrays little hint of struggle, Mr. Obama can seem far removed from the troubles of some voters. Older working-class whites may be uncomfortable with his race — he is the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya — and his age. But they may also find it hard to identify with him, even though he tries to assure them that they have much in common, mentioning that his mother relied on food stamps at times and that he worked as a community organizer in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. His command of crowds of 75,000, his unfailing eloquence and his comparing himself to Joshua and Lincoln can belie his point.

These voters are not the first to see a contradiction between Mr. Obama’s aura of specialness and his insistence that he is just like everyone else.

“I’m just a first among equal folks,” Mr. Obama’s fellow editors at the Harvard Law Review wrote about him in an affectionate but biting parody issue after he was elected its president. “But still, no one’s interviewing any of them.”

Continue reading...

Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech By Robert A. Caro, NY Times Op-Ed

A great op-ed piece today: a history lesson and a lesson on history-making.

As I watch Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention tonight, I will be remembering another speech: the one that made Martin Luther King cry. And I will be thinking: Mr. Obama’s speech — and in a way his whole candidacy — might not have been possible had that other speech not been given.

That speech was President Lyndon Johnson’s address to Congress in 1965 announcing that he was about to introduce a voting rights act, and in some respects Mr. Obama’s candidacy is the climax — at least thus far — of a movement based not only on the sacrifices and heroism of the Rev. Dr. King and generations of black fighters for civil rights but also on the political genius of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who as it happens was born 100 years ago yesterday.

When, on the night of March 15, 1965, the long motorcade drove away from the White House, heading for Capitol Hill, where President Johnson would give his speech to a joint session of Congress, pickets were standing outside the gates, as they had been for weeks, and as the presidential limousine passed, they were singing the same song that was being sung that week in Selma, Ala.: “We Shall Overcome.” They were singing it in defiance of Johnson, because they didn’t trust him.

They had reasons not to trust him.

Continue reading...

Media’s Balancing Act By Nicholas D. Kristof, NY Times Op-Ed

A nice op-ed highlighting the rough role of journalists. What would you do in the three scenarios Kristof poses???!! Here is the article in its entirety:

By early 2002, it seemed clear that the United States government was muffing the anthrax investigation. Microbiologists interviewed by the F.B.I. reported that the bureau didn’t fully understand the science involved and had allowed the destruction of anthrax stocks that might have provided comparisons with the spores used in the attacks.

In the spring of 2002, I wrote a series of columns about the anthrax investigation, including some in which I referred to a “Mr. Z” as an example of the flaws in the F.B.I.’s investigation. Some scientists had mentioned him to the F.B.I. early on as a candidate for closer scrutiny, but those trails weren’t initially followed.

Later, after the authorities tipped off television reporters before a raid of his home, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill held a press conference to deny any involvement in the anthrax case. In the process, he confirmed that he was Mr. Z.

The government later named Dr. Hatfill as a “person of interest” in the case, and agents came to trail him constantly. Government officials leaked private information about Dr. Hatfill to reporters and this year paid him a multimillion-dollar settlement as a result.

Then, this month, the government announced that the real culprit was, Bruce Ivins, another scientist who had worked in the United States biodefense program at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md. The F.B.I. claims that Dr. Ivins, who killed himself as the investigation closed in on him, was actually the anthrax murderer, and it exonerated Dr. Hatfill.

So, first, I owe an apology to Dr. Hatfill. In retrospect, I was right to prod the F.B.I. and to urge tighter scrutiny of Fort Detrick, but the job of the news media is supposed to be to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Instead, I managed to afflict the afflicted.

Dr. Hatfill sued me and The New York Times, along with others in the news media and the Justice Department. His suit against me and The Times was dismissed, yet even if I don’t have a legal obligation, I do feel a moral one to express regret for any added distress from my columns.

That makes this a good moment to look at the larger question of what principles should govern the collision between the public interest in aggressive news coverage and the individual interest in privacy.

Dr. Ivins is a case in point: Some of his friends and family are convinced of his innocence and believe the F.B.I. hounded him to death. And the evidence against him, while interesting, is circumstantial. Shouldn’t a presumption of innocence continue when a person is dead and can no longer defend himself?

So don the mantle of a journalist for a moment and think about how you would handle these three hypothetical cases:

• You discover that police have seized barrels of chemicals from a group of young foreign men living in town and are questioning them on suspicion of planning to poison the local reservoir. The men’s lawyer pleads with you to write nothing, saying that the matter will be cleared up and that publicity would exacerbate anti-foreign prejudices and make it impossible for them to remain in the community. Do you write about it?

• You find that police have a new suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case and are interrogating him repeatedly. A friendly cop lets you peek at the man’s file. The man’s wife calls up frantically to beg you not to go public, saying that an article would set off a media feeding frenzy that would permanently traumatize their three children. Do you break the story about this suspect?

• You learn that the local high school girls’ basketball coach has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct and has left three previous schools under a cloud of suspicion. The school authorities seem paralyzed and are encouraging the teacher to move again before the next school year, but the police have not been involved. The coach says he is leaving the area and probably teaching. He pleads with you to let the matter drop and hints that a scandal might drive him to kill himself. Do you write anything?

My own answers are yes, no and yes. In the first case, the risk to a reservoir is such a serious health concern that it demands coverage. In contrast, the Ramsey case is titillating but doesn’t involve serious public policy concerns (though any cable TV channel would break the story in a heartbeat). In the third case, the school system has failed and news coverage may be the only corrective oversight.

Naturally, it would be important to give the suspects’ points of view and to humanize them by quoting friends. But my own judgment is that while the cost imposed on individuals can be huge, where crucial public interests are at stake, we in the press should be very wary of keeping what we know from the public.

August 22, 2008

THIS IS THE BULLSHIT CHINA PULLS AND WE MUST PUNISH THEM FOR IT/Too Old and Frail to Re-educate? Not in China By Andrew Jacobs, NY Times

China purportedly allowed protesting in a designated area and then once citizens applied for a permit to this legal protest, they are arrested and sentenced to "re-education through labor" camp. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY IT IS ABHORRENT TO SUPPORT CHINA.

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In the annals of people who have struggled against Communist Party rule, Wu Dianyuan and Wang Xiuying are unlikely to merit even a footnote.

The two women, both in their late 70s, have never spoken out against China’s authoritarian government. Both walk with the help of a cane, and Ms. Wang is blind in one eye. Their grievance, receiving insufficient compensation when their homes were seized for redevelopment, is perhaps the most common complaint among Chinese displaced during the country’s long streak of fast economic growth.

But the Beijing police still sentenced the two women to an extrajudicial term of “re-education through labor” this week for applying to hold a legal protest in a designated area in Beijing, where officials promised that Chinese could hold demonstrations during the Olympic Games.

They became the most recent examples of people punished for submitting applications to protest. A few would-be demonstrators have simply disappeared, at least for the duration of the Games, squelching already diminished hopes that the influx of foreigners and the prestige of holding the Games would push China’s leaders to relax their tight grip on political expression.

“Can you imagine two old ladies in their 70s being re-educated through labor?” asked Li Xuehui, Ms. Wu’s son, who said the police told the two women that their sentence might remain in suspension if they stayed at home and stopped asking for permission to protest.

“I feel very sad and angry because we’re only asking for the basic right of living and it’s been six years, but nobody will do anything to help,” Mr. Li said.

It is unclear why the police have detained people who sought permission to protest. Some political analysts say the police may be refusing to enforce the government’s order, announced last month, to allow protest zones. Chinese lawyers and human rights advocates also suggested a more cynical motivation — that the authorities were using the possibility of legal demonstrations as a ploy to lure restive citizens into declaring their intention to protest, allowing the police to take action against them.

Continue reading...

August 19, 2008

Some Hurdles Are Too High by Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

My dad sent me this interesting article on the Olympics and China, which I have excerpted here:

Think of Liu another way: At these Games, Liu is China. How it got that way we Westerners may only guess.

But it is unlikely we will ever see an athlete in greater emotional pain, or a country that takes a loss more personally, or a cast of trainers and coaches who feel more devastated.

"Liu Xiang will not withdraw unless the pain is intolerable, unless he has no other way out," said China's national team coach Feng Shuyong. Liu's coach, Sun Haiping, broke down sobbing several times at a news conference.

Time will tell whether Liu and his coaches truly thought that he had any hope of racing on Monday. What's certain is that, whatever his condition and whenever his injury occurred, Liu absolutely had to make an appearance to prove -- by falling down, by attempting a restart after it was clear he could never clear the first hurdle, by kicking a wall in anger numerous times -- that he was really hurt.

This, remember, is a country that, for generations, has seldom known what was real and what was propaganda, which of the missing were alive or dead, what official stories were true and which complete fabrications.

Even after Liu's photo gallery full of misery was on view, large numbers of Chinese -- on Internet sites and in media samplings -- felt more anger than sadness. Some said he should have crawled around the track rather than walk off.

And A-Rod thinks playing for the Yankees is tough.

If Phelps, who slipped and broke his wrist last winter, had gotten hurt and never swam here, it would have stunned and saddened America. Few would have been angry.

But this is a nation so obsessed with making an impression, and not embarrassing itself, that it has a government department dedicated to controlling the weather during the Olympics -- and it may actually be working. Military-complex security has shielded the Games from demonstrators. Every food stand is triple-staffed, every media center double-sized and, many times, a single reporter rides in a bus with 31 empty seats. For hospitality and efficiency, China has super-sized it all.

Continue reading...

August 15, 2008

Hawaii & Obamas

As some of you know, I LOVE Hawaii. Hawaii, Japan and Italy are my favorite places on this fine earth. And with the Obama family's recent trip to Hawaii, the place seems even more magical. Theirs is the only trip I have ever vicariously enjoyed!

Obama bodysurfing:

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The flower behind the ear is the loveliest accessory, compliments of tropical nature:

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The gorgeousness of Hawaii:

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August 12, 2008

Harmony and the Dream By David Brooks, NY Times Op-Ed

This op-ed is so great. It sums up so many of my interests and what I spend a lot of time thinking about, since I am an individualistic American yet I am collectivistically Chinese and Japanese too. David Brooks does a nice job reflecting on this dichotomy. He also throws in some neuropsychology to highlight how important nurture is in the now very tired nature vs nurture debate. Finally, Brooks espouses the importance of relationships which is all too overlooked by the typical American (I wholeheartedly embrace Obama's use of this phrase as it is apt). I've bolded parts I loved.

The world can be divided in many ways — rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian — but one of the most striking is the divide between the societies with an individualist mentality and the ones with a collectivist mentality.

This is a divide that goes deeper than economics into the way people perceive the world. If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.

These sorts of experiments have been done over and over again, and the results reveal the same underlying pattern. Americans usually see individuals; Chinese and other Asians see contexts.

When the psychologist Richard Nisbett showed Americans individual pictures of a chicken, a cow and hay and asked the subjects to pick out the two that go together, the Americans would usually pick out the chicken and the cow. They’re both animals. Most Asian people, on the other hand, would pick out the cow and the hay, since cows depend on hay. Americans are more likely to see categories. Asians are more likely to see relationships.

You can create a global continuum with the most individualistic societies — like the United States or Britain — on one end, and the most collectivist societies — like China or Japan — on the other.

The individualistic countries tend to put rights and privacy first. People in these societies tend to overvalue their own skills and overestimate their own importance to any group effort. People in collective societies tend to value harmony and duty. They tend to underestimate their own skills and are more self-effacing when describing their contributions to group efforts.

Researchers argue about why certain cultures have become more individualistic than others. Some say that Western cultures draw their values from ancient Greece, with its emphasis on individual heroism, while other cultures draw on more on tribal philosophies. Recently, some scientists have theorized that it all goes back to microbes. Collectivist societies tend to pop up in parts of the world, especially around the equator, with plenty of disease-causing microbes. In such an environment, you’d want to shun outsiders, who might bring strange diseases, and enforce a certain conformity over eating rituals and social behavior.

Either way, individualistic societies have tended to do better economically. We in the West have a narrative that involves the development of individual reason and conscience during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and then the subsequent flourishing of capitalism. According to this narrative, societies get more individualistic as they develop.

But what happens if collectivist societies snap out of their economic stagnation? What happens if collectivist societies, especially those in Asia, rise economically and come to rival the West? A new sort of global conversation develops.

The opening ceremony in Beijing was a statement in that conversation. It was part of China’s assertion that development doesn’t come only through Western, liberal means, but also through Eastern and collective ones.

The ceremony drew from China’s long history, but surely the most striking features were the images of thousands of Chinese moving as one — drumming as one, dancing as one, sprinting on precise formations without ever stumbling or colliding. We’ve seen displays of mass conformity before, but this was collectivism of the present — a high-tech vision of the harmonious society performed in the context of China’s miraculous growth.

If Asia’s success reopens the debate between individualism and collectivism (which seemed closed after the cold war), then it’s unlikely that the forces of individualism will sweep the field or even gain an edge.

For one thing, there are relatively few individualistic societies on earth. For another, the essence of a lot of the latest scientific research is that the Western idea of individual choice is an illusion and the Chinese are right to put first emphasis on social contexts.

Scientists have delighted to show that so-called rational choice is shaped by a whole range of subconscious influences, like emotional contagions and priming effects (people who think of a professor before taking a test do better than people who think of a criminal). Meanwhile, human brains turn out to be extremely permeable (they naturally mimic the neural firings of people around them). Relationships are the key to happiness. People who live in the densest social networks tend to flourish, while people who live with few social bonds are much more prone to depression and suicide.

The rise of China isn’t only an economic event. It’s a cultural one. The ideal of a harmonious collective may turn out to be as attractive as the ideal of the American Dream.

It’s certainly a useful ideology for aspiring autocrats.

July 24, 2008

Obama is my homeboy. Obama's Berlin reception. What a great shot!

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July 23, 2008

Obama & McCain in 2012? When you are creating an aging algorithm, you shouldn't omit the "black don't crack" phenomenon

No way Obama will look like this.
McCain will look like this if he's lucky.

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July 17, 2008

"...the United States spends more than twice as much on each person for health care as most other industrialized countries. But it has fallen to last place among those countries in preventing deaths through use of timely and effective medical care"

...according to the report by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group in New York as reported in today's NY Times.

July 7, 2008

Civil Rights as pondered by LA County Fourth Graders, 1970

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* Thanks to Althea for this!

June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Upholds Right To Own Guns For Self-Defense

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June 25, 2008

Supreme Court rejects death penalty for raping children

Thank goodness.

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The Supreme Court has struck down a Louisiana law that allows the execution of people convicted of a raping a child.

In a 5-4 vote, the court says the law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in cases of child rape violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

There has not been an execution in the United States for a crime that did not also involve the death of the victim in 44 years.

Chinese blogs low on criticism - surprise, surprise!

Click for the full image and story!

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* Thanks to Amy Wood for this!!!

June 18, 2008

Racist Anti-Obama Pin: Way to go, hatemongers - you made a pin!!

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June 11, 2008

Letters to the Editor: Evolution and Creationism in Schools, NY Times

A+ for being well-written!!

To the Editor:

Re “The Cons of Creationism” (editorial, June 7):

The debate over science versus creationism is in part fueled by the notion that everybody’s opinions and beliefs are equally valid. While in a democratic society we should be respectful of each other’s opinions and beliefs, this is not how science operates.

The scientific method has well- defined rules by which we decide whether a solution to a scientific problem is correct or not. It is not that we believe or have the opinion that a certain solution is correct — we prove it scientifically one way or another.

Thus there are right and wrong solutions that may seem unfair, undemocratic and elitist. But this is how science advances and produces the marvelous technological developments that surround us. And this is not a belief. It is a fact.

Ivan K. Schuller
La Jolla, Calif., June 7, 2008

The writer is a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego.

Courtroom sudoku: People are pathetic series!

Ha ha ha ha ha.

$1 million Australia drug trial aborted after more than half of jurors caught playing sudoku

[The forewoman] said four or five jurors had brought in the Sudoku sheets and photocopied them to play during the trial and then compare their results during meal breaks. She admitted to having spent more than half of her time in court playing the game. The trial, which started on March 4, has cost more than $1 million, including counsels' fees, staff wages and court running costs for 60 days of hearings. Judge Zahra, who had previously commended the jury for its apparent diligence, told the forewoman that the Sudoku players had let down their fellow jurors and all involved in the trial.

* via BuzzFeed.

Deconstructing the Bump by Jim Rutenberg, NY Times

Frustratingly, I can't find this column from today's The Caucus section anywhere on the NY Times website so here is the best part with my favorite phrase bolded for your pleasure.

In regard to the media not being able to wrap their heads around Michelle and Barack Obama's fist pound and to Fox News' true to form inappropriate comments on the matter, Jim Rutenberg writes,

"The Fox News segment was part of a fist-bump-related media dorkathon that continues, even a full week after the Obamas' onstage moment. Um, people: This is a common gesture, and its use is not limited to democrats with unusual names. In 2001 it was used by Carleton S. Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive - now advising Senator McCain - and Michael D. Capellas, then the Compaq chief executive, to salute the completion of their merger. And in 2006, former President George Bush shared a fist bump with Anna Kournikova at a celebrity tennis event - and he was 82 at the time.

June 5, 2008

Punch it in! Barack & Michelle Obama are a true team.

As my hubby wrote, "How cute are Barack and Michelle Obama? They actually love each other!" Also, it's defined as: All the fun of a high five, but less dorky. LOL!!

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P.S. I LOVE Michelle's outfit!!

June 3, 2008

AMERICA. THIS IS OUR MOMENT. THIS IS OUR TIME.

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May 9, 2008

Why Hillary Should Quit

I am still astounded to think, who would have guessed several years back that Dems would become so sick of Hillary and weary of Bill? Go ahead: Claim you predicted it back in '99! None would be the wiser!

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May 3, 2008

The Democratic Race in Seven Minutes - a great video!

* Thanks to Eric for the link!

April 29, 2008

'Free Tibet' flags made in China

The global economy is complicated!!

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* Thanks to my brother for the link!

April 3, 2008

How can we support the Olympics in China or China in general?????!!!!!

China Sentences Rights Activist to Jail

Confined to house arrest for seven months, Chinese activist Hu Jia still managed to use the Internet and telephone to chronicle the harassment of dissidents in his country before he was hauled off to jail last December.

His conviction and sentencing on subversion charges Thursday is the latest indication that China's leadership intends to clamp down hard on dissent ahead of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.

Hu, one of China's most prominent human rights advocates, was given 3 1/2 years in prison for ''inciting state subversion,'' said his lawyer, Li Fangping. The evidence against Hu included five Internet articles he wrote and two interviews he gave to foreign media, Li said. continued...

March 26, 2008

4000+ Casualties of War

Is it worth it?

March 25, 2008

Jonah Peretti & Huffington Post in New Yorker magazine, I'm a proud wife series!

My hubby is in this week's New Yorker magazine!

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China is not good for you

Having a Taiwanese mother, parents who live in China and a B.A. in East Asian History I have heard, witnessed and learned things about China that people farther from the matter may not have and it's not pretty. While I'm relieved to see that media coverage, the NY Times specifically, has been more focused recently on highlighting the wrongs China commits day in and day out, I am reserved in my hope that this will affect public opinion enough. I'm sure most people are sickened by the Tibet situation for example but I realize more and more that until governments step in, meaningful reform will likely not take place. And it doesn't look like our government is going to do the right thing.

Here's a sampling of articles from the past 30 days:

China Rights Activist Sentenced to Jail Excerpt: A Chinese activist who had petitioned for land rights was sentenced Monday to five years in prison and then shocked with electric batons when police scuffled with his family, his lawyer said. More on Hu Jia Excerpt: Mr. Hu has worked on many causes in China, including volunteering to help AIDS patients and participating in tree-planting campaigns. He is a prominent blogger who also disseminates information about peasant protests, dissidents and other issues often censored in the Chinese news media. On Dec. 27, security agents dragged him from his apartment as his wife, Zeng Jinyan, also a well-known blogger, was bathing their infant daughter. She has remained mostly under house arrest during her husband’s incarceration.

U.S. Drops China From List of Top 10 Violators of Rights Excerpt: The State Department no longer considers China one of the world’s worst human rights violators, according to its annual human rights report released Tuesday, a decision that immediately earned the ire of human rights groups. In the annual report on more than 190 countries, the State Department did say that China’s “overall human rights record remained poor” in 2007. China, the report said, tightened media and Internet curbs and increased controls on religious freedom in Tibet and the Xinjiang region. The report said China’s abuses also included “extrajudicial killings, torture and coerced confessions of prisoners, and the use of forced labor.”

China Tries to Thwart News Reports From Tibet Excerpt: For the past few days, CNN, the BBC, Google News, Yahoo and YouTube have been blocked or have faced temporary blackouts or service disruptions in some parts of China. Some foreign journalists also say their e-mail service has been disrupted. Such measures are not unusual here. China strictly censors news that appears in the Chinese media and occasionally disrupts the activities of international news organizations and foreign Web sites operating in China, particularly if the content they are distributing is deemed politically offensive to the government.

Heparin Find May Point to Chinese Counterfeiting Excerpt: Federal drug regulators, in announcing Wednesday that the mystery contaminant in heparin was an inexpensive, unapproved ingredient altered to mimic the real thing, moved closer to concluding that Americans might be the latest victims of lethal Chinese drug counterfeiting. The finding by the Food and Drug Administration culminated a worldwide race to identify the substance discovered early this month in certain batches of heparin, the blood-thinning drug that had been linked to 19 deaths in the United States and hundreds of allergic reactions.

Tibetan Exiles: Protest Deaths Near 140 Excerpt: The group said the overall toll was ''around 140,'' and it listed the names of 40 Tibetans killed in protests that started March 10. Previously, the Dalai Lama's government said 99 protesters died. China has put the death toll at 22.

China Bars Olympics Coverage From Tiananmen Square Excerpt: Apparently unnerved by recent unrest among Tibetans and fearful of protests in the heart of the capital, China has told broadcast officials it will bar live television shots from Tiananmen Square during the Beijing Olympics.

4 Executives Are Charged Over Tainted Toothpaste Excerpt: The chemical, diethylene glycol, which is banned from certain ingestible items in the United States, was discovered in almost a million tubes of toothpaste last May and led to recalls in 34 countries. The chemical, commonly used in antifreeze and as a solvent, can lead to kidney damage or liver disease. The toothpaste ended up being distributed in the United States in prisons, luxury hotels, hospitals and discount stores. It was one of the earliest global alerts to broader manufacturing problems in China that allowed scores of tainted products, including toys, children’s jewelry and pet food, to end up on store shelves. The chemical in the toothpaste was used instead of the more expensive chemical glycerin.

Chinese Rights Activist Reported Missing Excerpt: A Chinese lawyer who has urged the Communist Party to improve its human rights record in advance of the Summer Olympics has disappeared, according to his wife, who said Friday that she was worried that the authorities might have detained him because of his political advocacy. The lawyer, Teng Biao, 34, disappeared on Thursday evening after calling to say he would be home in 20 minutes, said his wife, Wang Ling. Shortly afterward, she said, she heard shouting in the parking lot below the family apartment and later found her husband’s empty car. Witnesses told her that two men had dragged someone out of the car and taken him away, she said.

March 18, 2008

Obama on race: So smart and thoughtful. It seems like I'm stating the most glaringly obvious truth, doesn't it?

SO NICE TO TAKE A BREAK FROM BLACK AND WHITE THINKING AND FOCUS ON GREY INSTEAD.

Only if you are surrounded by crackheads and crackheads only do you not know that a man named Barack Obama is running for president

Interview with DMX


Q: Are you following the presidential race?
A: Not at all.

Q: You’re not? You know there’s a Black guy running, Barack Obama and then there’s Hillary Clinton.
A: His name is Barack?!

Q: Barack Obama, yeah.
A: Barack?!

Q: Barack.
A: What the fuck is a Barack?! Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa?

Q: Yeah, his dad is from Kenya.
A: Barack Obama?

Q: Yeah.
A: What the fuck?! That ain’t no fuckin’ name, yo. That ain’t that nigga’s name. You can’t be serious. Barack Obama. Get the fuck outta here.

Q: You’re telling me you haven’t heard about him before.
A: I ain’t really paying much attention.

Q: I mean, it’s pretty big if a Black…
A: Wow, Barack! The nigga’s name is Barack. Barack? Nigga named Barack Obama. What the fuck, man?! Is he serious? That ain’t his fuckin’ name. Ima tell this nigga when I see him, “Stop that bullshit. Stop that bullshit” [laughs] “That ain’t your fuckin’ name.” Your momma ain’t name you no damn Barack.

Q: So you’re not following the race. You can’t vote right?
A: Nope.

* via here.

March 17, 2008

Dorkasses for Hillary: God help them

* via Fake Steve Jobs.

March 14, 2008

Barack Obama: On My Faith and My Church

Barack Obama blogs for HuffPost!

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I feel as if I know Obama

Touching story about Obama and his mother.

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Pakistan: State of Emergency by David Montero, PBS Frontline/World

Unfortunately the Taliban is far from eradicated and rather have been rerouted and reinvigorated. The Pakistan Taliban are apparently now more of a problem than the Taliban in Afghanistan. Watch this great video by Frontline reporter and friend from Wesleyan David Montero.

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Also check out the reporters interview.

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March 13, 2008

Unwelcome Surprises by Gail Collins, NY Times

All the Op-Eds are great today but this one is especially apt and funny.

No more electing prosecutors, NYC! Too high-strung!!

February 29, 2008

It's true what they say about Barackoli.

Barackoli.com helped the Obama campaign pass one million donors.

* Keep it going!

February 25, 2008

VOTE BARACKOLI. It's good for you!!

This weekend was super fun thanks in large part to a little project I made and that I'm pretty chuffed about!!!

What's your favorite vegetable??!! I can't hear you!! And who you gonna vote for??? That's right, BARACKOLI!

Spread the good word, people!

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2008 Oscars best moment: Gaydolf Titler

See it here:

February 19, 2008

Candidate Wins Support in the East. No, Farther East. by Norimitsu Onishi, NY Times

Ganbare, Obama!

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February 9, 2008

He is now more than a man, he's a movement - Yes we can! OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!

Update: Thanks to a reader, here is the video! You can even just put it on and go back to reading US magazine or surfing Perez...I think you might just be moved!

After sweeping the caucuses today, Obama gave his best speech to date. He was on fire!! Try to find the whole speech he gave in Virginia which touched on a lot of issues without sacrificing hope and poignant bits of humor. I will search for it too!


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February 8, 2008

Yes We Can. OBAMA '08.

February 7, 2008

Manufacturer in $2 Million Accord With U.S. on Deficient Kevlar in Military Helmets by Bruce Lambert, NY Times

Imagine if your loved one was a soldier fighting in Iraq, and reading this article.

A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year. continue reading...

Darkness and Light by Maureen Dowd, NY Times

Maureen Dowd's Op-Ed yesterday about the Clinton machine versus Obama was harsh but perhaps painfully true.

Excerpt:

As she talked Sunday to George Stephanopoulos, a former director of the formidable Clinton war room, Hillary’s case boiled down to the fact that she can be Trouble, as they say about hard-boiled dames in film noir, when Republicans make trouble.

“I have been through these Republican attacks over and over and over again, and I believe that I’ve demonstrated that much to the dismay of the Republicans, I not only can survive, but thrive,” she said.

And on Tuesday night she told supporters, “Let me be clear: I won’t let anyone Swift-boat this country’s future.”

Better the devil you know than the diffident debutante you don’t. Better to go with the Clintons, with all their dysfunction and chaos — the same kind that fueled the Republican hate machine — than to risk the chance that Obama would be mauled like a chew toy in the general election. Better to blow off all the inspiration and the young voters, the independents and the Republicans that Obama is attracting than to take a chance on something as ephemeral as hope. Now that’s Cheney-level paranoia.

Bill is propelled by Cheneyesque paranoia, as well. His visceral reaction to Obama — from the “fairy tale” line to the inappropriate Jesse Jackson comparison — is rooted less in his need to see his wife elected than in his need to see Obama lose, so that Bill’s legacy is protected. If Obama wins, he’ll be seen as the closest thing to J. F. K. since J. F. K. And J. F. K. is Bill’s hero.

February 5, 2008

It felt exhilarating to vote for Obama!!!

Guaranteed that if you vote for Obama you too will fly out of the polling place high on inspiration!

January 31, 2008

This is why we must not be taken in by the still horrific Chinese government must

Dissident’s Arrest Hints at Olympic Crackdown by Jim Yardley, NYTimes.

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January 30, 2008

Looking Anew At Campaign Cash And Elected Judges by Adam Liptak, NYTimes

Loved this article and the research question asked. The judges will surely squirm, at the very least, when the full article is published next month in the Tulane Law Review!

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January 28, 2008

Obama's speech in South Carolina was inspiring! Obama's the Great Uniter! Obama inspires!

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December 11, 2007

O2 in '08!!! Oprahbama!!

With all the recent excitement over Oprahbama I must remind you of a little post I did almost two years ago - I am prescient!!

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Crime Buster With Eye on the Future by Michael Powell, NY TImes

Interesting article on Giuliani's tenure as mayor.

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He was, to the popular eye, Eliot Ness reincarnated, an unsparing prosecutor for a crime-shadowed age. And when the United States attorney in Manhattan resigned in January 1989, he earned a tabloid salute:

“Good News for Bad Guys,” The Daily News proclaimed. “Crimebuster Giuliani Steps Down.”

Rudolph W. Giuliani waved his prosecutor’s scythe in the 1980s, and Wall Street barons, political bosses and Mafia dons seemed to fall in serried rows. He inspired cinematic characters, took ovations in restaurants and battled the Reagan administration officials who had appointed him.

Michael Dowd, a streetwise lawyer whose trial testimony about bribe-taking exposed the ethical rot afflicting New York politics, found shelter beneath Mr. Giuliani’s cloak. “No one was going to back him off,” Mr. Dowd said. “He was charismatic, relentless and endlessly loyal.”

There was, however, another side to the young prosecutor, a moralistic and carnivorously ambitious man who desired public office. Mr. Giuliani, who was 38 when he became United States attorney in 1983, threatened his targets with long prison sentences, and he infuriated judges with leaks of grand jury testimony to the press.

His agents handcuffed Wall Street arbitrageurs before prosecutors investigated them. Apology was weakness; skeptics were “jerks.”

Like a medieval crusader, he rarely flinched at hard tactics in pursuit of exalted goals. Continue reading...

October 11, 2007

SuccessTech School Shooting/Irony Kills

What is this country coming to??!! What is happening to our children??!! Meanwhile, this is the school's homepage:

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For consolidated info click here.

September 26, 2007

Iranian President is an Idiot

BuzzFeed

This came out of his mouth during his speech at Columbia University on Monday:

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this."

What a total Loser-Moron. Ugh. So annoying.

September 10, 2007

In Polygamy Country, Old Divisions Are Fading by Kirk Johnson, NY Times

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Nothing makes me wish I were a fly on the wall more than some good old fashioned polygamy.

Amber Clark, 28, an Army veteran who moved here from California about two months ago and who described herself as an active Mormon, said she thought polygamists should be left alone, so long as no one was under age or coerced into marriage.

“I’m liberal in that respect,” Ms. Clark said. “If it’s legal in some states for people of the same sex to get married, why is it not legal to marry more than one wife?” continued...

August 6, 2007

An Unsolved Killing by Jeffrey Toobin

An interesting article about a very unsolved murder messily intertwined in politics:

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July 31, 2007

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun short doc

After a year and a half it is finally up! If you have 13 minutes to kill check it out!

July 20, 2007

Gay Pride 2007! from bateau, Paris '07

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July 13, 2007

Sicko by Michael Moore

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I walked out of Sicko with an overwhelming pride for sharing a nationality with Michael Moore as he may be one of the greatest American patriots of our time. It is obvious from all his films that he is not a journalist. If you hold him to journalistic standards it is incredibly frustrating to watch his films which are about relentlessly complex problems yet that doesn't stop him from over simplifying, over romanticizing and failing to blame all culpable parties. He is however, a true patriot in the sense that he holds America to the ideals she so strongly espouses and by using the tactics he knows best and is best known for, tirelessly tries to make her live up to all of them. Even with the overstatements and oversights replete in this film, I ask you how many people are making films spotlighting our atrocious health care system and its painful consequences? Not many so I commend you, Michael Moore!

June 8, 2007

Angelina Jolie joins Council on Foreign Relations

Ok. It's of course great that Angelina has become a dynamic humanitarian force in the world. It's really really great. BUT I don't know if she should count as qualified to be on this council (I don't purport to know much about this council and its members-I'm merely assuming they are a deserving and illustrious group). Maybe she supplements her high school degree by being self-taught on humanitarian issues but I haven't read or heard anything explicitly saying she has done this. I don't mean to detract from the importance of experiential knowledge at all - I just strongly believe in book knowledge serving as an anchor and framework for understanding the world at large. I am not convinced that she is learned enough in humanitarian issues and other areas of study to be a meaningful addition to the council. I hope to be convinced or proven wrong - thoughts?

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* via HuffPost.

June 5, 2007

He reminds me to blink more often when staring at my screen for hours.

Hopefully he can be helpful to you too:

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May 31, 2007

Bush administration and Hitler regime's torture policy

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* via Kottke.

April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Aftermath: Did Legal Drugs Play a Role in the Massacre? by Arianna Huffington

Arianna raises an important question I really want answers to.

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April 18, 2007

The Deadly Compromise by Jonah Peretti

Jonah writes a very realistic and unfortunately true observation about the gun situation in America in light of the Virgina Tech shooting.

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American gun policy is a deadly compromise.

Pro-gun advocates explain that the Virginia Tech killer would have been stopped in his tracks if students and teachers were carrying concealed weapons. This is absolutely correct -- it is obviously much harder to kill people who are armed.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates explain that those murders would never have happened if the killer could not get guns in the first place.

The is also completely correct -- just look at the murder rate in Asia and Europe to see how limiting access to guns reduces violent crime.

Both sides are right, but they want to live in different worlds. continued...

Seductive Poison by Deborah Layton

Seductive Poison is a must-read. It's a first-hand account of a former People's Temple member and Jonestown survivor. The most interesting aspect of this tale is the rise of this church/socialist group as a byproduct of the times. For most of the members, the organization's lure was its stated commitment to eradicating racism, sexism, classism, but most emphasis was on the shameful racism of that time. Consequently the majority of membership were black Americans and the group was able to enjoy some political protection. Its pretty clear that the same message now would not carry the same weight and therefore the time capsule quality of the group is historically fascinating. Other aspects of the book cover the socialist camp and Jim Jones, the deluded, paranoid, tyrannical, megalomaniac leader and these are less gripping only because they are traits and tactics employed by every other despot who has blighted our history. Since no one knowingly joins a cult but cults continue to exist and proliferate today, what was most salient to me was the realization that it's almost too easy to conduct such horrific social experiments (Zimbardo!). In addition to the blatant tragedy of 1000 people getting murdered, is the countless families destroyed for the false promise of a larger, better family.

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April 17, 2007

Gunman kills 33 people at Virginia-Tech University, April 16, 2007.

In light of yesterday's horrific incident at Virgina Tech I am just hoping desperately and perhaps naively, that debate will result in a tightening of gun laws in this country. It is not rare that in public places I think, "it's possible someone has a gun right now". And that's not a nice thought. People are fragile. Sometimes all it takes is enough trauma to push you over the edge and boom, you kill over 30 people while searching for your girlfriend who surely wronged you in some way. Ugh. So sad.

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April 12, 2007

Lee Iacocca speaks the truth.

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to—as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

* From this interview on the subject of his new book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

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** via Kottke.

April 4, 2007

America loves Obama!!!!!

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* via Huffington Post.

March 30, 2007

Live circumcision!

Uummmm...mass circumcision, come one, come all! I'm doing them for free!! To help stop AIDS!! JK Rowling.

I hadn't really given much thought to the question "to circumcise or not to circumcise?" except that I found myself saying, "isn't it done because it's cleaner to circumcise?" but then I'd think of all the ways we currently do things for "cleaner" reasons that are pretty whack - women, when was the last time you had all your pubic hair ripped off because it's cleaner that way?! The other weekend we started talking about circumcision at the end of a dinner party and with the help of Wikipedia we studied just the very superficial differences in the photos provided. We also talked about whether we would have our sons (assuming we give birth at some point to a son or two) circumcised. Yesterday the discussion continued at the BuzzFeed office and I had already started to sour on the idea when I found this. I started sending it around with the caption - "hey, check out this fun vid!" but it is of course not that fun of a vid. See for yourself.

Tensions Over French Identity Shape Voter Drives by Elaine Sciolino

An interesting debate is shaping up in gay Paris. When (if ever) do you put your foot down and say we must be true to our national identity and at what point does that become worse than the thing you were originally battling?

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March 29, 2007

MC Rove

What oh what did we do to deserve MC Rove??

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March 28, 2007

Cruelty-Free Carnivorism

There is such a thing as cruelty-free carnivorism right?! As an animal lover sometimes I feel guilty for being a carnivore and other times, I feel like it's only natural...conflicted carnivorism??

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March 22, 2007

Who Created "Hillary 1984"? Mystery Solved!

The story.

The creator.

March 6, 2007

Homophobic Tranny calls John Edwards a faggot

Update in response to Hasan's comment: I totally agree - her mental imbalance is plain to see - the woman needs psychiatric help!

Ann Coulter is frightening (and ugly - but I'm above that!) Can someone please explain to me why this woman is so full of hate and terror? If I knew that as a little girl she was gang raped and then parts of her body cannibalized by a liberal cult, then I could possibly understand.

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* via BuzzFeed.

February 23, 2007

America, we're heating up!

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Hot! In a completely not sexy way.

* via Harmony Blog.

February 20, 2007

New film shows JFK moments before assasination

Always sad to be reminded of the day JFK was shot. Always interesting though to receive more information about that fateful day.

Any conspiracy theorists out there just freaking out right now? Do share.

View here.

* via Kottke.

February 16, 2007

Homo sex is great

Wow, look at how much more fun the guy with the pink shirt is having than the guy holding the U need Jesus Christ! sign - go gays!!

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Thanks to my cousin Angelina for posting this!

February 1, 2007

Bush Is Not Above the Law by James Bamford

A good Op-Ed by James Bamford whom I worked with on the Eavesdrop event!

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Last August, a federal judge found that the president of the United States broke the law, committed a serious felony and violated the Constitution. Had the president been an ordinary citizen - someone charged with bank robbery or income tax evasion - the wheels of justice would have immediately begun to turn. The F.B.I. would have conducted an investigation, a United States attorney's office would have impaneled a grand jury and charges would have been brought.

January 30, 2007

At Ease, Mr. President by Gary Wills

This is a fantastically to the point Op-Ed on this administration's misuse and abuse of "commander in chief".

Full Op-Ed:

We hear constantly now about "our commander in chief." The word has become a synonym for "president." It is said that we "elect a commander in chief." It is asked whether this or that candidate is "worthy to be our commander in chief."

But the president is not our commander in chief. He certainly is not mine. I am not in the Army.

I first cringed at the misuse in 1973, during the "Saturday Night Massacre" (as it was called). President Richard Nixon, angered at the Watergate inquiry being conducted by the special prosecutor Archibald Cox, dispatched his chief of staff, Al Haig, to arrange for Mr. Cox's firing. Mr. Haig told the attorney general, Elliot Richardson, to dismiss Mr. Cox. Mr. Richardson refused, and resigned. Then Mr. Haig told the second in line at the Justice Department, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Mr. Ruckelshaus refused, and accepted his dismissal. The third in line, Robert Bork, finally did the deed.

What struck me was what Mr. Haig told Mr. Ruckelshaus, "You know what it means when an order comes down from the commander in chief and a member of his team cannot execute it." This was as great a constitutional faux pas as Mr. Haig's later claim, when President Reagan was wounded, that "Constitutionally ... I'm in control."

President Nixon was not Mr. Ruckelshaus's commander in chief. The president is not the commander in chief of civilians. He is not even commander in chief of National Guard troops unless and until they are federalized. The Constitution is clear on this: "The president shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States."

When Abraham Lincoln took actions based on military considerations, he gave himself the proper title, "commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." That title is rarely - more like never - heard today. It is just "commander in chief," or even "commander in chief of the United States." This reflects the increasing militarization of our politics. The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. In wartime, it is true, people submit to the national leadership more than in peacetime. The executive branch takes actions in secret, unaccountable to the electorate, to hide its moves from the enemy and protect national secrets. Constitutional shortcuts are taken "for the duration." But those impositions are removed when normal life returns.

But we have not seen normal life in 66 years. The wartime discipline imposed in 1941 has never been lifted, and "the duration" has become the norm. World War II melded into the cold war, with greater secrecy than ever - more classified information, tougher security clearances. And now the cold war has modulated into the war on terrorism.

There has never been an executive branch more fetishistic about secrecy than the Bush-Cheney one. The secrecy has been used to throw a veil over detentions, "renditions," suspension of the Geneva Conventions and of habeas corpus, torture and warrantless wiretaps. We hear again the refrain so common in the other wars - If you knew what we know, you would see how justified all our actions are.

But we can never know what they know. We do not have sufficient clearance.

When Adm. William Crowe, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, criticized the gulf war under the first President Bush, Secretary of State James Baker said that the admiral was not qualified to speak on the matter since he no longer had the clearance to read classified reports. If he is not qualified, then no ordinary citizen is. We must simply trust our lords and obey the commander in chief.

The glorification of the president as a war leader is registered in numerous and substantial executive aggrandizements; but it is symbolized in other ways that, while small in themselves, dispose the citizenry to accept those aggrandizements. We are reminded, for instance, of the expanded commander in chief status every time a modern president gets off the White House helicopter and returns the salute of marines.

That is an innovation that was begun by Ronald Reagan. Dwight Eisenhower, a real general, knew that the salute is for the uniform, and as president he was not wearing one. An exchange of salutes was out of order. (George Bush came as close as he could to wearing a uniform while president when he landed on the telegenic aircraft carrier in an Air Force flight jacket).

We used to take pride in civilian leadership of the military under the Constitution, a principle that George Washington embraced when he avoided military symbols at Mount Vernon. We are not led � or were not in the past � by caudillos.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's prescient last book, "Secrecy," traced the ever-faster-growing secrecy of our government and said that it strikes at the very essence of democracy � accountability of representatives to the people. How can the people hold their representatives to account if they are denied knowledge of what they are doing? Wartime and war analogies are embraced because these justify the secrecy. The representative is accountable to citizens. Soldiers are accountable to their officer. The dynamics are different, and to blend them is to undermine the basic principles of our Constitution.

Garry Wills, a professor emeritus of history at Northwestern, is the author, most recently, of "What Paul Meant."

January 26, 2007

Jewhab: Great new word!

Am I the only one who just heard this word for the first time?? They say the first time is the best time!

Jimmy Carter will shamefully have to follow Mel Gibson to Jewhab.

January 18, 2007

Republicans cutting and running (from Bush)

Finally!

January 12, 2007

Did you know that Barack Obama smokes??!!!

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December 19, 2006

Sean Penn blogs on HuffPost!

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I have always liked Sean Penn and I think it's sad that he was mocked while helping out in New Orleans during the Katrina aftermath. There. I said it. Can't people be earnest and caring anymore? Here he goes for it again and I commend him for it!

Try not to be distracted by Spicoli on the right hand side of the page :-)

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December 18, 2006

Socially conscious Bon Jovi holiday card for you

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Thanks to my dear friend Celeste for this warm and fuzzy jpeg gift!

November 17, 2006

China says, "fiiiiiine" to Wikipedia

...after a year of being threatened by it. LAME.

November 9, 2006

Alas, the House AND the Senate are ours!!!

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November 8, 2006

WOAH - Rummy's gone!

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Fingers still tightly crossed but...Senate & House Gain/Loss

Update: Check out Michael's comment below - it's great and worth your time. Thanks Michael!

What a pleasure to see!

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November 7, 2006

NO EXCUSES TUESDAY: VOTE!!

Do you know the best site that's keeping track of the polls and presenting the candidates and the issues? Do share! Let's get into this!!

October 24, 2006

Sucks to look like Bush in NYC!

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Thanks to my bro for this link!

October 3, 2006

Move over Arianna Huffington, make way for Arianna

Arianna is working hard, looking good! and spreading the good cheer of fearlessness...everywhere I turn it's Arianna this and Arianna that and it dawned on me...Arianna is now a one-name wonder. Awesome. My favorite people can't bother with two names: Prince, Bjork, Madonna, Amy (Sedaris), Stephen (Colbert)...

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Check out the new New York Magazine story, The Human Blog.

Also, here's a behind-the-scenes at the Colbert Report video.

September 21, 2006

When Parenting Comes Full Circle by Cheryl Saban

I think the issue of our elderly parents and how to take care of them (or not) is a fascinating topic because of how differently people of different cultures view it yet are increasingly adopting a US like approach. But is that the best approach? Are we happier? What's the right balance?

What do you think?

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September 18, 2006

Bush getting told on 9/11

A new and awesome addition to the corner of 23rd & 10th Ave is this piece of art. Talk about something to look at and think about...

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*"The Memory of Truth" by Ligorano/Reese at the Jim Kempner gallery.

August 16, 2006

Al Gore is hip!

He's training people to give his Global Warming slideshow to audiences around the world.

If that's not totally hip and cool, I don't know what is.

* via Kottke.org.

August 15, 2006

What If 9/11 Never Happened?

This week's New York Magazine takes on this momentous meditation with articles, interviews and columns worth reading.

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Hey, check me out over at HuffPost!

And join in on the comment chaos*:

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* What do I think about comments? It's funny you should ask because I have lengthy, detailed and exhaustive thoughts on this matter. I believe that insightful, worthwhile comments are rare. I also believe that people willing to comment at length about everything and anything that comes to their minds whether or not it serves the larger goal of a compelling site are plenty. Curiously enough, the specific comments on this HuffPost post are simultaneously exemplary of this and anomalistically interesting.

August 2, 2006

Update on Mel's little problem with Jews

Thanks to GMail, I now know that...

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Ari Emanuel Challenges Hollywood To Not Work With Mel Gibson

Melly, Melly, Mel...you are a disappointment.

What do you guys think??

* via Huffington Post.

July 19, 2006

Panty Proof of Global Warming

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via Kottke.org

July 18, 2006

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always
reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester,
and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in
the same way that hanging around tall people will make
you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all
kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry
their pets because a dog has legal standing and can
sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and
hasn't changed at all; women are still property,
blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still
illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay
marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears'
55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce
children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old
people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our
orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more
children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children,
since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a
theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are
imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only
one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a
female role model at home. That's why we as a society
expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of
society; we could never adapt to new social norms.
Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the
service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

* Thanks to my brother for this awesome email forward!

June 19, 2006

American Apparel Resignation Letter

WOAH. I love it. Here it is:

***

From: Laurelle Miciak
To: Dov Charney; Iris Alonzo; Dan Abenhaim; Tasha Dunn; Joana devCastro; Mariekim Pelchat; Osama Afify; CDN Store; AA Store Ottawa; AA Store Church; AA Store Bloor; AA Store Church; AA Store College; Store Managers; AA Montreal; AA Store Ottawa; AAEurope; KI1 Store; Emily Green; Lee Poulin; Shannon Nadj; Emmy Ha; Ellie Vitello; Geoff Stevens; Sarah Macdonald; Danielle Raquiza; Abigail Lawson; Sara Cadeau; Nick McIsaac; VA1 Store; Marty Bailey; Christina Klisanin; Stacey Haberkorn; Patricia Pawlukiewicz; [ed: email addresses redacted]
Sent: Sat 3/26/2005 11:47 PM

Letter of Resignation
March 2005

I will start by saying that I am personally moved to write this; that nobody has encouraged me to condense my feelings into this letter. No, it was only me and many of the things that have been eating away at me for a while now, things that have gained tremendous momentum. This is why I am leaving your company today. This is it.

I began working at the first American Apparel store in Canada in November 2003, one of the original locations in North America. A flagship store. I have seen the company grow and shift from phase to phase: from the time it was awkwardly moving from the wholesale market into the world of retail with its ethics strongly in check, to a time when I began to learn of its major flaws. A time when its discrepancies regarding its treatment of employees has paralleled the disorganization of its stock and product situation-which is as random as the company's absent (but much needed) human resources department. Without knowing or caring much about how operations run on the other side of the border (Borders? Plural?), things are beginning to crumble here in Canada, where it all began. Where your seeds were planted.

I am extremely saddened and affected by the recent departures of certain key members of the Montreal team over the past months. Drastic changes in all facets of management are not "progressive" or "youth driven" or cutting edge: they are a cause for concern and stress for all employees who have to deal with it. Working under a non-system which is missing structure is not only unproductive and inefficient-its fucking anarchy. Not to say that there isn't a pecking order, though: there are plenty of girls in this company who are being compensated for whatever it is that they do well, whenever it is that they do it, I guess. Yes indeed! Not all of us are created equally at American Apparel, but God forbid we stray from the universal dream-the "new paradigm" that we are all a part of. The amount of people who have been promoted then demoted/fired/forced to quit because they were prematurely moved up or wrongfully chosen is simply astonishing. Perhaps this is part of AA's 'Socialist-Capitalist' fusion. Because Socialism suits the company just fine, until a personnel issue arises, which is when it reverts to the 'you win some you lose some, you know?' mentality. Whatever. AA is all about the grey areas.

I was recently told that perhaps in 2-3 years, when the company has "stabilized", that I could probably be compensated for my time properly. That maybe, by that time, working between 60-80 hours a week would mean making more money than just enough to cover my rent and the bills that I have to pay. In short, I was told that I was lucky to have what I do with American Apparel right now. That running a store (small warehouses, really), managing and disciplining an entire staff, and everything in between is essentially a priviledge granted, not a position that has been earned. How's that for motivation? Trial periods vary between 2 weeks to 6 months, based loosely upon how much time they want you to spend "proving yourself" before they have to pay you at a higher rate.

The amount of dedication that this company expects from anybody in a management position is hugely disproportionate to the amount of money that they are forced to accept.

And then there are store openings! How exciting! The sheer fact that I have not been properly compensated (after asking and trying to fairly negotiate several times) financially, for my involvement during these openings is absurd. Not being appreciated after leaving my life behind for weeks at a time, as well as my other job (at which I made more money) to find, hire, assemble, teach (indoctrinate), purge, fire, promote, negotiate and guide an entire staff, an entirely new team and new page in the company book, is not only despicable- its completely stupid. Don't you think that it would be wise to keep senior employees happy? Don't you think that it would be fruitful to keep a good rapport with those people? After all, one of us is worth a lot more than our hourly wage. There are hundreds of little things that make us valuable, believe it or not. Countless experiences that help stores run more efficiently and successfully- ways to help you make more money. Because that's what its all about right? The profits!

Continue reading "American Apparel Resignation Letter" »

Cristal Boycott

In solidarity with Jay-Z and all who live the hip hop lifestyle I have joined the Cristal Boycott and am only stocking my sub-zero fridge with Dom P. & Krug.

Dear God, Please put an end to this Cristal boycott AESOP. I am THIRSTY!!

June 8, 2006

Sen. Ihofe (R-OK): Im really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, weve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.

Watch him say this:

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What he failed to mention is something that has been a big part of his family history - incest.

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A: totally awesome hook-up two Thanksgivings ago. Inhofe was drunk in bathroom, peeking through slit in door, waiting until Granddaughter walked by and then he stuck out his creepy hand, grabbed her and pulled her in. She's now 9 years old and drinks before noon.

B: Cousin Boy and Cousin Girl are madly in love with each other but don't want to taint the family's recorded history so instead have romantic plans to marry other people but to always live next door to each other for the rest of their incestuous lives. In this secretive, tense environment they fight a lot but always have makeup sex.

C: These guys really brokeback it. They were always close brothers and now that their wives are friendly and take karate lessons together, they've been able to spend qt together at pottery class. P.S. That phallic ashtray Brother B received from Bother A was indeed pottery art from the heart even though Brother B, in a crystal meth freak out, threw it in his son's face and it shattered. Now his son wants to do meth and bang his brother like Daddy.

Jon Stewart Slams Conservative Author Bill Bennet on Gay Marriage Debate and It's Fun To Watch!!

Favorite comments from Huffington Post:

"Saw the show last night and Jon was BRILLIANT! He is knowledgable, and able to keep pressing his point/question without losing respect for his guest. Would LOVE to see him take on Coulter, and watch her melt down into a puddle of piss..." - braindeadsorry, 06.07.2006

"Wow. Somewhere Dan Savage is hugging his husband." - HopelessHeartsDept, 06.07.2006

Divorce Is Not Caused Because 50% Of Marriages End In Gayness..."Actually I belive that figure is correct... For republicans." - TrollzReviL, 06.07.2006

June 2, 2006

Marriage should be entered into quickly and youthfully!

Lawmakers set new ages for marriage.

"The state with the lowest marriage age is New Hampshire, which allows 13-year-old girls and 14-year-old boys to marry..."

Boy am I glad I didn't live in New Hampshire as a teenager! By 23 I'd have been thrice married, twice divorced, once suspiciously widowed...

* via Huffington Post.

May 25, 2006

Buy your Stewart/Colbert '08 T-Shirt!

Finally, candidates I can get behind!!

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May 15, 2006

Building a Brand (The Huffington Post) With a Blog by David Carr

Apparently my sweet pea Jonah is a "hotdog".

New York Times
May 15, 2006
David Carr
Building a Brand With a Blog

When it began a year ago, The Huffington Post seemed like a remarkably bad idea. The brainchild of Arianna Huffington, the blog was intended to be a liberal counterpoint to The Drudge Report, featuring an elite list of Hollywood bloggers Gwyneth Paltrow, Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, among others who would share their innermost leanings.

A year later, The Huffington Post has succeeded by failing. The promised missives from stars never much materialized, but the site is booming, fueled by rapid-fire news postings and more than 700 bloggers, most of whom you have never heard of.

The Huffington Post had more than 1.3 million unique visitors last month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, and more than 2 million in February.

The site now has deals with Yahoo and AOL, is close to a deal with a video company, and has been approached by Barry Diller to help build a separate satiric news and entertainment site.

After investing about $2 million, a fraction of the $50 million it would take to create a magazine, The Huffington Post has become a well-known, oft-cited news media brand in the blink of an eye.

It seems that Ms. Huffington, who has taken to social climbing with the finesse of a ballerina and the ferocity of a fullback, has found finally found her mtier. Nick Denton, founder and publisher of Gawker Media, calls her "the only establishment figure to make the transition to the Web."

After a zigzag career that included tours as an author, socialite, political wife, conservative maven, gubernatorial candidate and television commentator, the glamorous Greek ex-pat known for inspired political fan-dancing has found traction in a media space better known for rants from people who rarely leave their basements.

"I am an obsessive, and the Internet rewards obsession," she said, adding in passing that there is still no Greek word for blog. "We should come up with a better name for it, but I guess that ship has sailed."

And so it has, taking Ms. Huffington right along with it. Last Monday night, she was honored by Time magazine along with Matt Drudge, still the unchallenged king of the blogosphere as one of America's 100 most influential people.

AT the party at the Time Warner Center, Ms. Huffington, who has railed against the war in Iraq, finally had the chance to face off against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

When she finally had her moment, she asked the secretary of state, "Who designed your dress?"

Rena Lange, was the secretary's reply. "And who designed yours?"

"Kira Craft. She's a young designer in Los Angeles."

Ms. Huffington's readers, who have grown accustomed to a steady diet of red-meat attacks on the administration, were livid.

"I tend to agree with your positions, but this is important. You give up your power as a journalist when you're 'afraid' to ask questions just because you're at a social function," wrote one poster on the site. "Why, as a journalist, would you want to socialize with those in power?"

Her readers fail to understand that her air-kissed mastery of social conventions is how she arrived in the first place. Ms. Huffington, whom I have watched work the room effortlessly at both political conventions and Oscar parties, is a celebrity who occasionally functions as a journalist, someone who throws rocks from deep inside the glass house.

"I don't think she is giving voice to people who didn't have one," said Mr. Drudge, her foil on the right. "She is crashing the gates of her own home in Brentwood as far as I can tell. It's not like she is disenfranchised."

But a Brentwood address alone does not push a Web site above the clutter. Ms. Huffington smartly partnered with Ken Lerer, a former AOL executive who was convinced that the site could blend straight news and blogging. The duo hired Jonah Peretti, a viral marketing hotdog who has helped the site's visibility.

Beyond the bag of Web tricks, Ms. Huffington has introduced the sparkle of celebrity to the frat-house world of blogging.

In at least one case, she overdelivered, manufacturing a post by George Clooney (which he quickly disavowed) out of public comments he'd previously made.

"I tried too hard to speed up his journey to blogging," she blithely explained.

She may have stumbled with Mr. Clooney, but she has sped a lot of other journeys. The Huffington Post came along at a time when the liberal penchant for polite discourse was being buried by the unalloyed opinions of conservatives, who used talk radio and the Web to tilt the playing field in their favor.

Ms. Huffington put the same kind of megaphone on the left at a time when the old hallmarks of civility and fairness were no longer prized, and in this new world, a bit pass.

After just a year, The Huffington Post has worked one end of the political spectrum to put itself right in the middle of things.

JWT, the advertising agency, has placed ads for several clients on the site and has invited Ms. Huffington to speak at a huge ad summit in Cannes, France.

"Clients have begun to realize that you can't just play it safe," said Bob Jeffrey, the chief executive and chairman of JWT Worldwide. "They have to be willing to look at things that have a point of view."

And part of the reason that her site is doing so well may be simply that the current administration is not.

"There are a lot of things that are doing well because of the failing of the Bush administration, and while our country might not be one of them, The Huffington Post certainly is," said Al Franken, the Air America radio host and occasional Huffington Post contributor. "Arianna has always tried a lot of stuff and some of it didn't stick to the wall. This just happened to come along at a very good time."

May 12, 2006

The Yes Men have done it again: Hoax on Halliburton!

It's like a gated community for one!

"It's basically a giant inflatable orb," said a Yes Man posing as "Fred Wolf of Halliburton" during a phone interview yesterday. "If catastrophe threatens a large population, the business manager simply enters the orb, puts it on, and it protects him or her in any climate condition, whether it involved tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, ice conditions or heat conditions."

YesMenHalliburtonSuits2.jpg

"We were targeting Halliburton because they're the most iconic example of companies profiting from global warming, climate changes and even natural disasters like in New Orleans," said a Yes Man who called himself Andy Bichlbaum.

YesMenHalliburtonSuits.jpg

Via HuffingtonPost.

March 24, 2006

Atheists are Americas least trusted group

This certainly speaks volumes and don't forget, more Americans believe in Creationism than Evolution.

Congratulations America! Your people are not the brightest bulbs!

March 23, 2006

How to Spot a Baby Conservative

Or better yet, how to hear them from afar.

March 22, 2006

Not scary at all. I just pissed myself.

NorthKoreascaresme.jpg

via HuffingtonPost.com.

February 23, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell & Adam Gopnick on Health Care in the US vs. Canada

A very interesting read!!

February 14, 2006

Interesting New Yorker Article by Malcolm Gladwell

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Cheney's Buddy Hunt: What a Blooper, huh Chenes?!?!

Jon Stewart is as good with this material as I'm sure you can imagine:

TDS-Cheney-shotgun.jpg

"Don't let your kids go hunting with the Vice President. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land or-energy regulations they're trying to get lifted. He'll shoot them in the face."

And play a little Cheney Buddy Hunt!

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February 10, 2006

Amy Sedaris Knows Losers: Peta Video B Roll

Amy Sedaris fans will delight!

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P.S. Fur is never cool.

P.P.S. Amy Sedaris and Bjork are two of the most inspring women to me.

P.P.P.S. I will give my everlasting gratitude to the reader who get their paws on this poster and then gives it to me - I can't seem to find it anywhere:

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January 31, 2006

The Onion interviews Stephen Colbert

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January 26, 2006

Want love from John Cusack?? Now's your chance!!

I know you're one of those people who sees something hilarious and contagious on the Internets and thinks or even says, "I could have made that!" Well, now's the time to make it.

Write that funny little script, pick up the videocamera and make the video that will surely be the next big thing!

Check out the details and the hot judges:

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If you do end up the winner that you've insisted all along you are, don't forget who urged you to create!! That would be me.

January 20, 2006

Why Is President Bush So Awesome??

This video by RocketBoom is totally awesome...what a perfectly inciting question!

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January 19, 2006

O2 in '08!!

Obama for President, Oprah for Vice!

O2 in '08!!

Oxygen in 2008!! (Read: We can finally breathe again!)

Do you think I'm onto something here? Both in terms of potential candidates and winning slogans??

Thank you!

December 12, 2005

Psychiatry Ponders Whether Extreme Bias Can Be an Illness

It's a fine line how much to aquiesce to the times and how much to retain what you feel are your principles however I think extreme bias is something that should be evolved out of us. Of course it never will be but this little cynic can dream a little dream right?

December 8, 2005

A Man's Right to (Help) Choose?

Here's the original op-ed piece by Dalton Conley and here's the follow up.

There's a lot to ponder here and I think it's worthwhile to give it some serious thought.

While I chew on it, what do you think?

November 10, 2005

New Notes from Harriet to George - The New Yorker

This is hilarious. Read it now! Ima yonde! (Japanese) Shyenzai kan! (Chinese).

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November 8, 2005

What's a Modern Girl to Do?

Thank god I have smart, interesting and inspiring female friends who engage with the world and never stop asking questions. Below is a Maureen Dowd article from Halloween weekend that keeps coming up in convo...SO, read it and let's discuss shall we?

---

What's a Modern Girl to Do?

By MAUREEN DOWD (NYT MAGAZINE) 5334 words
Published: October 30, 2005

When I entered college in 1969, women were bursting out of theirs 50's chrysalis, shedding girdles, padded bras and conventions. The Jazz Age spirit flared in the Age of Aquarius. Women were once again imitating men and acting all independent: smoking, drinking, wanting to earn money and thinking they had the right to be sexual, this time protected by the pill. I didn't fit in with the brazen new world of hard-charging feminists. I was more of a fun-loving (if chaste) type who would decades later come to life in Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw. I hated the grubby, unisex jeans and no-makeup look and drugs that zoned you out, and I couldn't understand the appeal of dances that didn't involve touching your partner. In the universe of Eros, I longed for style and wit. I loved the Art Deco glamour of 30's movies. I wanted to dance the Continental like Fred and Ginger in white hotel suites; drink martinis like Myrna Loy and William Powell; live the life of a screwball heroine like Katharine Hepburn, wearing a gold lam gown cut on the bias, cavorting with Cary Grant, strolling along Fifth Avenue with my pet leopard.

My mom would just shake her head and tell me that my idea of the 30's was wildly romanticized. ''We were poor,'' she'd say. ''We didn't dance around in white hotel suites.'' I took the idealism and passion of the 60's for granted, simply assuming we were sailing toward perfect equality with men, a utopian world at home and at work. I didn't listen to her when she cautioned me about the chimera of equality.

On my 31st birthday, she sent me a bankbook with a modest nest egg she had saved for me. ''I always felt that the girls in a family should get a little more than the boys even though all are equally loved,'' she wrote in a letter. ''They need a little cushion to fall back on. Women can stand on the Empire State Building and scream to the heavens that they are equal to men and liberated, but until they have the same anatomy, it's a lie. It's more of a man's world today than ever. Men can eat their cake in unlimited bakeries.''

I thought she was just being Old World, like my favorite jade, Dorothy Parker, when she wrote:

By the time you swear you're his,

Shivering and sighing,

And he vows his passion is

Infinite, undying --

Lady, make a note of this:

One of you is lying.

I thought the struggle for egalitarianism was a cinch, so I could leave it to my earnest sisters in black turtlenecks and Birkenstocks. I figured there was plenty of time for me to get serious later, that America would always be full of passionate and full-throated debate about the big stuff -- social issues, sexual equality, civil rights. Little did I realize that the feminist revolution would have the unexpected consequence of intensifying the confusion between the sexes, leaving women in a tangle of dependence and independence as they entered the 21st century.

Maybe we should have known that the story of women's progress would be more of a zigzag than a superhighway, that the triumph of feminism would last a nanosecond while the backlash lasted 40 years.

Despite the best efforts of philosophers, politicians, historians, novelists, screenwriters, linguists, therapists, anthropologists and facilitators, men and women are still in a muddle in the boardroom, the bedroom and the Situation Room.

Courtship

My mom gave me three essential books on the subject of men. The first, when I was 13, was ''On Becoming a Woman.'' The second, when I was 21, was ''365 Ways to Cook Hamburger.'' The third, when I was 25, was ''How to Catch and Hold a Man,'' by Yvonne Antelle. (''Keep thinking of yourself as a soft, mysterious cat.. . .Men are fascinated by bright, shiny objects, by lots of curls, lots of hair on the head . . . by bows, ribbons, ruffles and bright colors.. . .Sarcasm is dangerous. Avoid it altogether.'')

Because I received ''How to Catch and Hold a Man'' at a time when we were entering the Age of Equality, I put it aside as an anachronism. After all, sometime in the 1960's flirting went out of fashion, as did ironing boards, makeup and the idea that men needed to be ''trapped'' or ''landed.'' The way to approach men, we reasoned, was forthrightly and without games, artifice or frills. Unfortunately, history has shown this to be a misguided notion.

I knew it even before the 1995 publication of ''The Rules,'' a dating bible that encouraged women to return to prefeminist mind games by playing hard to get. (''Don't stay on the phone for more than 10 minutes.. . .Even if you are the head of your own company. . .when you're with a man you like, be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile.. . .Wear black sheer pantyhose and hike up your skirt to entice the opposite sex!'')

I knew this before fashion magazines became crowded with crinolines, bows, ruffles, leopard-skin scarves, 50's party dresses and other sartorial equivalents of flirting and with articles like ''The Return of Hard to Get.'' (''I think it behooves us to stop offering each other these pearls of feminism, to stop saying, 'So, why don't you call him?''' a writer lectured in Mademoiselle. ''Some men must have the thrill of the chase.'')

I knew things were changing because a succession of my single girlfriends had called, sounding sheepish, to ask if they could borrow my out-of-print copy of ''How to Catch and Hold a Man.''

Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men, it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and complain of a case of springtime giddiness.

Today, women have gone back to hunting their quarry -- in person and in cyberspace -- with elaborate schemes designed to allow the deluded creatures to think they are the hunters. ''Men like hunting, and we shouldn't deprive them of their chance to do their hunting and mating rituals,'' my 26-year-old friend Julie Bosman, a New York Times reporter, says. ''As my mom says, Men don't like to be chased.'' Or as the Marvelettes sang, ''The hunter gets captured by the game.''

These days the key to staying cool in the courtship rituals is B. & I., girls say -- Busy and Important. ''As much as you're waiting for that little envelope to appear on your screen,'' says Carrie Foster, a 29-year-old publicist in Washington, ''you happen to have a lot of stuff to do anyway.'' If a guy rejects you or turns out to be the essence of evil, you can ratchet up from B. & I. to C.B.B., Can't Be Bothered. In the T.M.I. -- Too Much Information -- digital age, there can be infinite technological foreplay.

Helen Fisher, a Rutgers anthropologist, concurs with Julie: ''What our grandmothers told us about playing hard to get is true. The whole point of the game is to impress and capture. It's not about honesty. Many men and women, when they're playing the courtship game, deceive so they can win. Novelty, excitement and danger drive up dopamine in the brain. And both sexes brag.''

Women might dye their hair, apply makeup and spend hours finding a hip-slimming dress, she said, while men may drive a nice car or wear a fancy suit that makes them seem richer than they are. In this retro world, a woman must play hard to get but stay soft as a kitten. And avoid sarcasm. Altogether.

Money

In those faraway, long-ago days of feminism, there was talk about equal pay for equal work. Now there's talk about ''girl money.''

A friend of mine in her 30's says it is a term she hears bandied about the New York dating scene. She also notes a shift in the type of gifts given at wedding showers around town, a reversion to 50's-style offerings: soup ladles and those frilly little aprons from Anthropologie and vintage stores are being unwrapped along with see-through nighties and push-up bras.

''What I find most disturbing about the 1950's-ification and retrogression of women's lives is that it has seeped into the corporate and social culture, where it can do real damage,'' she complains. ''Otherwise intelligent men, who know women still earn less than men as a rule, say things like: 'I'll get the check. You only have girl money.'''

Throughout the long, dark ages of undisputed patriarchy, women connived to trade beauty and sex for affluence and status. In the first flush of feminism, women offered to pay half the check with ''woman money'' as a way to show that these crass calculations -- that a woman's worth in society was determined by her looks, that she was an ornament up for sale to the highest bidder -- no longer applied.

Now dating etiquette has reverted. Young women no longer care about using the check to assert their equality. They care about using it to assess their sexuality. Going Dutch is an archaic feminist relic. Young women talk about it with disbelief and disdain. ''It's a scuzzy 70's thing, like platform shoes on men,'' one told me.

''Feminists in the 70's went overboard,'' Anne Schroeder, a 26-year-old magazine editor in Washington, agrees. ''Paying is like opening a car door. It's nice. I appreciate it. But he doesn't have to.''

Unless he wants another date.

Women in their 20's think old-school feminists looked for equality in all the wrong places, that instead of fighting battles about whether women should pay for dinner or wear padded bras they should have focused only on big economic issues.

After Googling and Bikramming to get ready for a first dinner date, a modern girl will end the evening with the Offering, an insincere bid to help pay the check. ''They make like they are heading into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge,'' Marc Santora, a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says. ''They know you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don't, they hold it against you.''

One of my girlfriends, a TV producer in New York, told me much the same thing: ''If you offer, and they accept, then it's over.''

Jurassic feminists shudder at the retro implication of a quid profiterole. But it doesn't matter if the woman is making as much money as the man, or more, she expects him to pay, both to prove her desirability and as a way of signaling romance -- something that's more confusing in a dating culture rife with casual hookups and group activities. (Once beyond the initial testing phase and settled in a relationship, of course, she can pony up more.)

''There are plenty of ways for me to find out if he's going to see me as an equal without disturbing the dating ritual,'' one young woman says. ''Disturbing the dating ritual leads to chaos. Everybody knows that.''

When I asked a young man at my gym how he and his lawyer girlfriend were going to divide the costs on a California vacation, he looked askance. ''She never offers,'' he replied. ''And I like paying for her.'' It is, as one guy said, ''one of the few remaining ways we can demonstrate our manhood.''

Power Dynamics

At a party for the Broadway opening of ''Sweet Smell of Success,'' a top New York producer gave me a lecture on the price of female success that was anything but sweet. He confessed that he had wanted to ask me out on a date when he was between marriages but nixed the idea because my job as a Times columnist made me too intimidating. Men, he explained, prefer women who seem malleable and awed. He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there's one thing men fear, it's a woman who uses her critical faculties. Will she be critical of absolutely everything, even his manhood?

He had hit on a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality.

A few years ago at a White House correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful and successful actress. Within minutes, she blurted out: ''I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women.''

I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful men took up with young women whose job it was was to care for them and nurture them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers.

John Schwartz of The New York Times made the trend official in 2004 when he reported: ''Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame.'' A study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggested that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors. Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them. There it is, right in the DNA: women get penalized by insecure men for being too independent.

''The hypothesis,'' Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author of the study, theorized, ''is that there are evolutionary pressures on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring that are not their own.'' Women, by contrast, did not show a marked difference between their attraction to men who might work above them and their attraction to men who might work below them.

So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? Do women get less desirable as they get more successful?

After I first wrote on this subject, a Times reader named Ray Lewis e-mailed me. While we had assumed that making ourselves more professionally accomplished would make us more fascinating, it turned out, as Lewis put it, that smart women were ''draining at times.''

Or as Bill Maher more crudely but usefully summed it up to Craig Ferguson on the ''Late Late Show'' on CBS: ''Women get in relationships because they want somebody to talk to. Men want women to shut up.''

Women moving up still strive to marry up. Men moving up still tend to marry down. The two sexes' going in opposite directions has led to an epidemic of professional women missing out on husbands and kids.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the author of ''Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children,'' a book published in 2002, conducted a survey and found that 55 percent of 35-year-old career women were childless. And among corporate executives who earn $100,000 or more, she said, 49 percent of the women did not have children, compared with only 19 percent of the men.

Hewlett quantified, yet again, that men have an unfair advantage. ''Nowadays,'' she said, ''the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child. For men, the reverse is true.''

A 2005 report by researchers at four British universities indicated that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to marry, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.

On a ''60 Minutes'' report on the Hewlett book, Lesley Stahl talked to two young women who went to Harvard Business School. They agreed that while they were the perfect age to start families, they didn't find it easy to meet the right mates.

Men, apparently, learn early to protect their eggshell egos from high-achieving women. The girls said they hid the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it was the kiss of death. ''The H-bomb,'' they dubbed it. ''As soon as you say Harvard Business School . . . that's the end of the conversation,'' Ani Vartanian said. ''As soon as the guys say, 'Oh, I go to Harvard Business School,' all the girls start falling into them.''

Hewlett thinks that the 2005 American workplace is more macho than ever. ''It's actually much more difficult now than 10 years ago to have a career and raise a family,'' she told me. ''The trend lines continue that highly educated women in many countries are increasingly dealing with this creeping nonchoice and end up on this path of delaying finding a mate and delaying childbearing. Whether you're looking at Italy, Russia or the U.S., all of that is true.'' Many women continue to fear that the more they accomplish, the more they may have to sacrifice. They worry that men still veer away from ''challenging'' women because of a male atavistic desire to be the superior force in a relationship.

''With men and women, it's always all about control issues, isn't it?'' says a guy I know, talking about his bitter divorce.

Or, as Craig Bierko, a musical comedy star and actor who played one of Carrie's boyfriends on ''Sex and the City,'' told me, ''Deep down, beneath the bluster and machismo, men are simply afraid to say that what they're truly looking for in a woman is an intelligent, confident and dependable partner in life whom they can devote themselves to unconditionally until she's 40.''

Ms. Versus Mrs.

''Ms.'' was supposed to neutralize the stature of women, so they weren't publicly defined by their marital status. When The Times finally agreed to switch to Ms. in its news pages in 1986, after much hectoring by feminists, Gloria Steinem sent flowers to the executive editor, Abe Rosenthal. But nowadays most young brides want to take their husbands' names and brag on the moniker Mrs., a brand that proclaims you belong to him. T-shirts with ''MRS.'' emblazoned in sequins or sparkly beads are popular wedding-shower gifts.

A Harvard economics professor, Claudia Goldin, did a study last year that found that 44 percent of women in the Harvard class of 1980 who married within 10 years of graduation kept their birth names, while in the class of '90 it was down to 32 percent. In 1990, 23 percent of college-educated women kept their own names after marriage, while a decade later the number had fallen to 17 percent.

Time magazine reported that an informal poll in the spring of 2005 by the Knot, a wedding Web site, showed similar results: 81 percent of respondents took their spouse's last name, an increase from 71 percent in 2000. The number of women with hyphenated surnames fell from 21 percent to 8 percent.

''It's a return to romance, a desire to make marriage work,'' Goldin told one interviewer, adding that young women might feel that by keeping their own names they were aligning themselves with tedious old-fashioned feminists, and this might be a turnoff to them.

The professor, who married in 1979 and kept her name, undertook the study after her niece, a lawyer, changed hers. ''She felt that her generation of women didn't have to do the same things mine did, because of what we had already achieved,'' Goldin told Time.

Many women now do not think of domestic life as a ''comfortable concentration camp,'' as Betty Friedan wrote in ''The Feminine Mystique,'' where they are losing their identities and turning into ''anonymous biological robots in a docile mass.'' Now they want to be Mrs. Anonymous Biological Robot in a Docile Mass. They dream of being rescued -- to flirt, to shop, to stay home and be taken care of. They shop for ''Stepford Fashions'' -- matching shoes and ladylike bags and the 50's-style satin, lace and chiffon party dresses featured in InStyle layouts -- and spend their days at the gym trying for Wisteria Lane waistlines.

The Times recently ran a front-page article about young women attending Ivy League colleges, women who are being groomed to take their places in the professional and political elite, who are planning to reject careers in favor of playing traditional roles, staying home and raising children.

''My mother always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time,'' the brainy, accomplished Cynthia Liu told Louise Story, explaining why she hoped to be a stay-at-home mom a few years after she goes to law school. ''You always have to choose one over the other.''

Kate White, the editor of Cosmopolitan, told me that she sees a distinct shift in what her readers want these days. ''Women now don't want to be in the grind,'' she said. ''The baby boomers made the grind seem unappealing.''

Cynthia Russett, a professor of American history at Yale, told Story that women today are simply more ''realistic,'' having seen the dashed utopia of those who assumed it wouldn't be so hard to combine full-time work and child rearing.

To the extent that young women are rejecting the old idea of copying men and reshaping the world around their desires, it's exhilarating progress. But to the extent that a pampered class of females is walking away from the problem and just planning to marry rich enough to cosset themselves in a narrow world of dependence on men, it's an irritating setback. If the new ethos is ''a woman needs a career like a fish needs a bicycle,'' it won't be healthy.

Movies

In all those Tracy-Hepburn movies more than a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between equals that was so exciting. You still see it onscreen occasionally -- the incendiary chemistry of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie playing married assassins aiming for mutually assured orgasms and destruction in ''Mr. and Mrs. Smith.'' Interestingly, that movie was described as retro because of its salty battle of wits between two peppery lovers. Moviemakers these days are more interested in exploring what Steve Martin, in his novel ''Shopgirl,'' calls the ''calm cushion'' of romances between unequals.

In James Brooks's movie ''Spanglish,'' Adam Sandler, playing a sensitive Los Angeles chef, falls for his hot Mexican maid, just as in ''Maid in Manhattan,'' Ralph Fiennes, playing a sensitive New York pol, falls for the hot Latino maid at his hotel, played by Jennifer Lopez. Sandler's maid, who cleans up for him without being able to speak English, is presented as the ideal woman, in looks and character. His wife, played by Ta Leoni, is repellent: a jangly, yakking, overachieving, overexercised, unfaithful, shallow she-monster who has just lost her job with a commercial design firm and fears she has lost her identity.

In 2003, we had ''Girl With a Pearl Earring,'' in which Colin Firth's Vermeer erotically paints Scarlett Johansson's Dutch maid, and Richard Curtis's ''Love Actually,'' about the attraction of unequals. The witty and sophisticated British prime minister, played by Hugh Grant, falls for the chubby girl who wheels the tea and scones into his office. A businessman married to the substantial Emma Thompson, the sister of the prime minister, falls for his sultry secretary. A novelist played by Colin Firth falls for his maid, who speaks only Portuguese.

Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects ofrejection rather than of affection.

It's funny. I come from a family of Irish domestics -- statuesque, 6-foot-tall women who cooked, kept house and acted as nannies for some of America's first families. I was always so proud of achieving more -- succeeding in a high-powered career that would have been closed to my great-aunts. How odd, then, to find out now that being a maid would have enhanced my chances with men.

An upstairs maid, of course.

Women's Magazines

Cosmo is still the best-selling magazine on college campuses, as it was when I was in college, and the best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand. The June 2005 issue, with Jessica Simpson on the cover, her cleavage spilling out of an orange croqueted halter dress, could have been June 1970. The headlines are familiar: ''How to turn him on in 10 words or less,'' ''Do You Make Men M-E-L-T? Take our quiz,'' ''Bridal Special,'' Cosmo's stud search and ''Cosmo's Most Famous Sex Tips; the Legendary Tricks That Have Brought Countless Guys to Their Knees.'' (Sex Trick 4: ''Place a glazed doughnut around your man's member, then gently nibble the pastry and lick the icing . . . as well as his manhood.'' Another favorite Cosmo trick is to yell out during sex which of your girlfriends thinks your man is hot.)

At any newsstand, you'll see the original Cosmo girl's man-crazy, sex-obsessed image endlessly, tiresomely replicated, even for the teen set. On the cover of Elle Girl: ''267 Ways to Look Hot.''

''There has been lots of copying -- look at Glamour,'' Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmo's founding editor told me and sighed. ''I used to have all the sex to myself.''

Before it curdled into a collection of stereotypes, feminism had fleetingly held out a promise that there would be some precincts of womanly life that were not all about men. But it never quite materialized.

It took only a few decades to create a brazen new world where the highest ideal is to acknowledge your inner slut. I am woman; see me strip. Instead of peaceful havens of girl things and boy things, we have a society where women of all ages are striving to become self-actualized sex kittens. Hollywood actresses now work out by taking pole-dancing classes.

Female sexuality has been a confusing corkscrew path, not a serene progressive arc. We had decades of Victorian prudery, when women were not supposed to like sex. Then we had the pill and zipless encounters, when women were supposed to have the same animalistic drive as men. Then it was discovered -- shock, horror! -- that men and women are not alike in their desires. But zipless morphed into hookups, and the more one-night stands the girls on ''Sex and the City'' had, the grumpier they got.

Oddly enough, Felix Dennis, who created the top-selling Maxim, said he stole his ''us against the world'' lad-magazine attitude from women's magazines like Cosmo. Just as women didn't mind losing Cosmo's prestigious fiction as the magazine got raunchier, plenty of guys were happy to lose the literary pretensions of venerable men's magazines and embrace simple-minded gender stereotypes, like the Maxim manifesto instructing women, ''If we see you in the morning and night, why call us at work?''

Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria move seamlessly from showing their curves on the covers of Cosmo and Glamour to Maxim, which dubbed Simpson ''America's favorite ball and chain!'' In the summer of 2005, both British GQ and FHM featured Pamela Anderson busting out of their covers. (''I think of my breasts as props,'' she told FHM.)

A lot of women now want to be Maxim babes as much as men want Maxim babes. So women have moved from fighting objectification to seeking it. ''I have been surprised,'' Maxim's editor, Ed Needham, confessed to me, ''to find that a lot of women would want to be somehow validated as a Maxim girl type, that they'd like to be thought of as hot and would like their boyfriends to take pictures of them or make comments about them that mirror the Maxim representation of a woman, the Pamela Anderson sort of brand. That, to me, is kind of extraordinary.''

The luscious babes on the cover of Maxim were supposed to be men's fantasy guilty pleasures, after all, not their real life-affirming girlfriends.

Beauty

While I never related to the unstyled look of the early feminists and I tangled with boyfriends who did not want me to wear makeup and heels, I always assumed that one positive result of the feminist movement would be a more flexible and capacious notion of female beauty, a release from the tyranny of the girdled, primped ideal of the 50's.

I was wrong. Forty years after the dawn of feminism, the ideal of feminine beauty is more rigid and unnatural than ever.

When Gloria Steinem wrote that ''all women are Bunnies,'' she did not mean it as a compliment; it was a feminist call to arms. Decades later, it's just an aesthetic fact, as more and more women embrace Botox and implants and stretch and protrude to extreme proportions to satisfy male desires. Now that technology is biology, all women can look like inflatable dolls. It's clear that American narcissism has trumped American feminism.

It was nave and misguided for the early feminists to tendentiously demonize Barbie and Cosmo girl, to disdain such female proclivities as shopping, applying makeup and hunting for sexy shoes and cute boyfriends and to prognosticate a world where men and women dressed alike and worked alike in navy suits and were equal in every way.

But it is equally nave and misguided for young women now to fritter away all their time shopping for boudoirish clothes and text-messaging about guys while they disdainfully ignore gender politics and the seismic shifts on the Supreme Court that will affect women's rights for a generation.

What I didn't like at the start of the feminist movement was that young women were dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. They were supposed to be liberated, but it just seemed like stifling conformity.

What I don't like now is that the young women rejecting the feminist movement are dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. The plumage is more colorful, the shapes are more curvy, the look is more plastic, the message is diametrically opposite -- before it was don't be a sex object; now it's be a sex object -- but the conformity is just as stifling.

And the Future. . .

Having boomeranged once, will women do it again in a couple of decades? If we flash forward to 2030, will we see all those young women who thought trying to Have It All was a pointless slog, now middle-aged and stranded in suburbia, popping Ativan, struggling with rebellious teenagers, deserted by husbands for younger babes, unable to get back into a work force they never tried to be part of?

It's easy to picture a surreally familiar scene when women realize they bought into a raw deal and old trap. With no power or money or independence, they'll be mere domestic robots, lasering their legs and waxing their floors -- or vice versa -- and desperately seeking a new Betty Friedan.

October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks Dies at 92

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October 4, 2005

Jonah's post from yesterday on HuffingtonPost.com

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September 23, 2005

Bush family tree

This could be the oldest thing or the newest thing on the internet...as a newly married woman with my head in the clouds (and in the grand jury room) I feel out-of-the-loop!!

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Thanks to Beth Rosenberg for spreading the cheer!

August 31, 2005

Tomorrow is "Stick It Up Their Behind" Day!!

For those of you with cars...I'm certain this is worth the effort...if everyone were to do this...can you imagine just for a second? aaahhhh...would be amazing.

IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT IF EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA DID NOT PURCHASE A DROP OF GASOLINE FOR ONE DAY AND ALL AT THE SAME DAY, THE OIL COMPANIES WOULD CHOKE ON THEIR STOCKPILES.

AT THE SAME TIME IT WOULD HIT THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY WITH A NET LOSS OF OVER 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS WHICH AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINES OF THE OIL COMPANIES.

THEREFORE

THURSDAY

SEPTEMBER 1st HAS BEEN FORMALLY DECLARED "STICK IT UP THEIR BEHIND " DAY AND THE PEOPLE OF THESE TWO NATIONS SHOULD NOT BUY A SINGLE DROP OF GASOLINE THAT DAY.

Thanks to my friend Katy Oliver for this reminder!!

August 18, 2005

New Huffington Post & Bold Cindy Sheehan!

I've gotta say that having gotten used to Huffington Post without ads I was worried about my reaction to the new site which would include ads...it turns out the site still looks quite good! The ads aren't too invasive and there are nice features that were added for improved usability. Check it out!

Also, this Cindy Sheehan thing is pretty amazing...pretty cool to read history in the making!

You never get far in life by just sitting back so I say an oldie but a goodie from my good ole cheerleading days, "Be Agressive! B-E Aggressive, say B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E, Be Aggressive...Ahh-ggressive!!"

Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women

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Words cannot even begin to describe my intolerance for this guy, this wrongly titled organization Focus on the Family - Focus on Your Child and for those who share this twisted and damaging ideology.

CATCH your child's homosexuality...BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

* via Huffington Post.

August 15, 2005

Comedy Central: Harlan McCraney

This clip is funny. Check it out.

There's our favorite fraudulent president!

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Arianna doesn't beat around the bush:

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Talking points:

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Thanks to my friend Bendan 'Turtle' Turrill for this!

June 29, 2005

Larry David's 'The Roving Thoughts of a Liberal Insomniac'

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Oh, this is good.

via The Huffington Post.

May 19, 2005

We live in a fucked up world.

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"Rent-a-crowd" company launched in southern India to cheer politicians.

Question to aliens: Are you guys as fucked up as we are? If yes, I'm no longer interested in your abduction program.

Mark Green's W's Retraction

MGreenheadshot.jpg W's Retraction...if only...

May 12, 2005

Anal sex is funny. So is Ze Frank.

Check out this post by this man: ZeFrankheadshot.jpg

May 10, 2005

This is a good post by Joe Scarborough

Sudan Suffering in Silence.

April 25, 2005

HuffingtonPost.com coming real soon!!

I've been waiting, waiting, waiting, for Jonah to be quoted alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal, Warren Beaty, Gwyneth Paltrow, Walter Cronkite, etc...now I can rest easy...

I think this is going to be a consistently interesting, fun and addictive site!

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April 22, 2005

Stop Global Warming - Join the Virtual March!

If there's ONE thing you must do today on EARTH DAY, it's sign up for this virtual march to stop global warming. This campaign has great potential to be huge and your participation will be invaluable. Join me on this march!

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People who are suckers for big names (maybe I'm one of these people, maybe I'm not) read on.

Laurie David is the Founder of this campaign:

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...and is also the fortunate wife of Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld creator). I had to include this even though it's only marginally relevant:

[Q asked to Laurie David] Your husband made a hilarious speech at an NRDC event in which he described his early impressions of you as "a materialistic, narcissistic, superficial, bosomy woman from Long Island ... But then after a few short months I began to sense that something had changed. She started peppering her conversation with words like ozone layer, sustainable forestry, and toxic runoff ... what was now all too painfully obvious was that I, Larry David, the shallowest man in the world, had married an environmentalist." - Grist Magazine interview

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a long-time inspirational environmental leader and a leader on this march:

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John McCain, the Senator everyone loves! is also signed up and leading the march!

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And finally, the biggest name in my book...my hardworking heartthrob Jonah Peretti. I went to bed at 3 am as Jonah and Laurie were on the phone putting finishing touches on the site and I awoke at 7 am to Jonah's "it's launched!!"

The earth thanks you!

March 18, 2005

George W...

Woah!

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* Meatpacking district last week.

January 21, 2005

Network for Justice needs YOU!!

Stop the death penalty in New York State! Just sign this petition and you can help eradicate this fatally flawed system.

You'll get a cool personal page where you can track who of your friends have signed up, who of your friend's friends have signed up and how far the petition has spread!

Be warned - you might become obsessed with checking up on your friends and reminding them to sign up! :-)

Click to sign up through my page!

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January 7, 2005

Worse Than Fiction

New York Times Op-Ed by Paul "Not a Fan of the Bush Administration" Krugman

December 14, 2004

BUY BLUE!!

If you BUY BLUE this holiday season, you'll be shopping at companies that donated most of their money to the democrats during the election...which means that in doing so, you should enjoy completely guilt-free shopping! because you'll be shopping with a social conscience...there's nothing better and funner.

It's all about Barnes & Noble, Netflix and...Hard Rock Cafe for me!!

November 19, 2004

Bush & Condi Rice in Love Part II

I can't wait for the third pic of this series...eeew!

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President Bush has given female nominees such as Condoleezza Rice, above, and Margaret Spellings congratulatory kisses, but has given male nominees such as Alberto Gonzales a handshake and a pat on the back.

November 17, 2004

Bush and Condi Rice in Love

It's official and on the front page of the New York Times today...Bush & Condi are in love.

Supposedly they're all lovey eyes while the rest of the administration rolls their eyes.

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Condoleezza Rice with President Bush at the White House on Tuesday when he announced that she was his choice to succeed Colin L. Powell as secretary of state. Questions abound as to her policy orientation.

November 12, 2004

51% Bush + 48% Kerry =

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* via EYEBEAM's ReBlog

November 11, 2004

The Onion: Nation's Poor Win Election for Nation's Rich

Click for more:

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Culture of Life?

Remember when Bush said during the debates that he promotes a "culture of life"?

Well I'm confused because these are faces of the American soldiers who have died in Iraq over the last year (growing daily, of course)...not to mention the number of civilian deaths in Iraq, the increasingly unaffordable health care costs and rising mortality rate in this country.

I guess I'm just an abortion party hosting, bleeding heart liberal that just doesn't get it.

November 10, 2004

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

I am unstoppable in this post-election atmosphere!!!

Post, post, post, breathe, breathe, beathe, post, post post, breeeeeaaathe.

Some of you are loving me and others...not so much.

Self-reliance? Remember folks, people need each other.

Hold me. I'm feeling close to (some of) you.

**********************************************************************

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with
water to prepare his
morning coffee. The water is clean and good because
some tree-hugging
liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily
medication. His
medications are safe to take because some stupid
commie liberal fought to
ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his
employer's medical plan
because some liberal union workers fought their
employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs.
Joe's bacon is safe to
eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to
regulate the meat
packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo.
His bottle is properly
labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the
total contents because
some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what
he was putting on his
body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath.
The air he breathes is
clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal
fought for the laws to
stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his
government-subsidized ride to work.
It saves him considerable money in parking and
transportation fees because
some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public
transportation, which
gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with
excellent pay, medical
benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation
because some lazy liberal
union members fought and died for these working
standards. Joe's employer
pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't
want his employees to
call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll
get a worker
compensation or unemployment check because some stupid
liberal didn't think
he should lose his home because of his temporary
misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so
he can pay some bills.
Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC
because some godless
liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from
unscrupulous bankers who ruined
the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage
and his below-market
federal student loan because some elitist liberal
decided that Joe and the
government would be better off if he was educated and
earned more money over
his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father
this evening at his
farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the
drive. His car is among
the safest in the world because some America-hating
liberal fought for car
safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third
generation to live in the
house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because
bankers didn't want
to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity
until some
big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't
belong and demanded
rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His
father lives on
Social Security and a union pension because some
wine-drinking,
cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of
himself so Joe
wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns
on a radio talk show.
The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and
conservatives are
good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans
have fought against
every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his
day.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government
liberals ruining our lives!
After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone
should take care of
themselves, just like I have."

* written by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler.

Free vs Slave States & Fuck the South

Wow, blog readers...we've really got a debate a ragin' on the United States of Canada and Jesusland post!

Here's more fuel for the fire:

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Compare through the tears!

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Here's a rant that's deservedly making the blogosphere rounds but probably won't help the cause unless the cause is secession.

Click for more:

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If anyone knows the author of "Fuck the South" please give a holler...planning a dinner party.

November 8, 2004

Straight male seeks Bush supporter

This is a craig's list posting that has been taken down because all good things must come to an end:

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November 4, 2004

United States of Canada and Jesusland

No nonsense border patrol please:

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* Thanks for the gem, Lars!

Optimistic Critical Thought Begets Stronger DEM Party

I am back and psyched!

A day of mourning, 8 hours of sleep and cups of espresso have something to do with it.

Mostly, I am profoundly excited by the fact that people are talking about what went wrong, how could we have done better, how do we change to win in '08??

And this is exactly what we should be concentrating on now.

We are a smart party, people.

Let's start now to regroup, rethink and restrategize the Dem Party.

Some good thoughts to get you revved up:

Simple but Effective: Why you keep losing to this idiot.

Democratic Values: How to start winning the red states.

And yes, all future post titles will follow the ______ Begets ________ format.

Photos to make Republicans quiver at my new strength and determination:

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November 3, 2004

Defeat Begets Strength to Persevere

I'm stunned and feel unprepared to write or say anything about Kerry's defeat. I truly believed we'd be celebrating and joking about being unable to stop smiling. What a surprising, complex and maddening blessing, democracy is.

After canvasing for days in the hot Florida sun and having been bombarded on election day with astonishingly positive exit poll numbers, defeat feels like getting the wind knocked out of you while agonizing over a break-up. This was a brutal wake-up call but consider us awoken and kicking.

We cried more than once today but we know that we must persevere, fight and hope, harder and stronger than ever.

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* Andrea, Jonah, Susan and John at ACT headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, FLA.

October 29, 2004

VOTE OR CRY

Since my post about going to FLA, I've been overloaded with emails asking me how I'm going to vote and the answer is...the easiest way I've voted in my life so far!

A big enveloped arrived in the mail in which I found instructions that I studied closely:

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And caaaarefully...No one was going to pull a fast one on me.

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Oh, I got it! However...Thomas Edison was chosen over Amelia Earhart and I'm more of a plane person than a lightbulb person but I can live with the example for instruction sake:

Andreastudiesinstructs3.jpg

I was ready to put on my shades, suck on a popsicle and V-O-T-E!!

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This picture proves that I voted for Kerry and for about 15 people I know close to nothing about...also, that I love ramen enough to make a ramen collage for my wall.

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I had an envelope moistener right next to me but I preferred to lick, vomit, lick, vomit.

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A kiss sealed the deal...

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and then my ballot humped Jonah's all the way to the post office.

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Nothing's sexier than exercising civic duty.

You know the deli scene in one of my favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally??

That was post-voting.

October 28, 2004

A Message to Undecideds

It's mind-blowing to me that you people throw your up hands and sigh, "Gosh, I just don't know whether to vote for Bush or Kerry!" Well gosh, I'm amazed at your stupidity. And when you say, "I'd like to hear more details...I'd like more time spent talking about....I'd like...I want..." I scream silently, YOU ARE SO SPOILED. WHO TOLD YOU YOU DESERVED SO MUCH? YOU'RE SO ANNOYING. Snap to it, people.

Here's a 10 year old displaying conviction. Try it on for size.

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*Willa Rubin, age 10, writer, guitarist and my inspiration.

October 26, 2004

7 DAYS AWAY!!

This Saturday, Jonah and I will join a group organized by ACT (America Coming Together) and go to Fort Lauderdale where we'll remind folks that Kerry makes the sun shine in FLA and that Kerry is a friend of the All You Can Eat establishments. On Election Day we'll bus Blacks, Jews and Other Liberals to polling places and then we'll party our pants off at the victory party! We're certain there will be some FLA sponsored voting hanky-panky, so we've gotta go down there to do some illegal interventions of our own (You vote Kerry, this buffet coupon's yours, Grandma). For the record: I'm JOKING.

Check out this hilarious video for some FLA flavor:


VotingMachine.jpg


What'll YOU be doing???

That's not supposed to make you feel guilty. It's supposed to make you hate me and then motivate you to help Kerry in this pivotal election!

If I can do it, you can too:
ACT,
John Kerry for President-Volunteer Center,
America Votes &
MoveOn-Leave No Voter Behind.

The very least you could do is PARTY, right?!

Hot off the press from EYEBEAM R & D is the FundRace Block Party! which identifies Democrats and Republicans in your (or any) neighborhood so if you want to party with people you like or with people you hate, or to organize a trip to a swingstate with your neighbors, click below on Mr. Heinz (way to go, Johnny!) or Mr. InternetS:


Fundraceblockparty1.jpg


Wouldn't hurt if in between keg stands you made a phone call or two to PA, FLA, OH, NV..., ..., ..., ... Fill in with states Howard Dean screamed.

Go Kerry!!!

October 15, 2004

Going UpRiver with a Major Crush on Kerry

I've got a major crush on Kerry. And I mean MAJOR.

It all began while watching Going UpRiver, an excellent documentary about Kerry's service in Vietnam and his incredible leadership upon returning from Vietnam. I highly recommend it and you're in luck - It's in theaters now.

Although it's depressing that our current President was doing keg stands during this time, you'll be inspired and excited to welcome Kerry as our next President!

Here are some snapshots of a true leader. Click on pics for the trailer.

Upon returning from Vietnam, Kerry leads the Vietnam Veterans against the War...

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Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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I think most people could only hope to be as articulate as Kerry was already at age 27.

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Suspenseful first sentence...

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meets dramatic, climactic ending...

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October 12, 2004

Democracy Ad

I woke up this morning feeling a little something....what was it?

Oh, I know what it was..preachy and right*!

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*as in right and wrong, not in terms of the political spectrum.

October 4, 2004

The Faces of Frustration

Let's watch that debate again!! And again!!

Click below to see funny highlights:

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A sampling:

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A teaser:

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For more fun: click here.

October 1, 2004

Terizm, Terizm, Terizm...

Hey congrats to all who have said 'terrorism', '9/11', etc ad nauseum because now it all sounds like blah, blah, blah!

I think I'm supposed to be scared into voting for Bush.

Well Mr. 'Not Such A Good Debater' Bush....BOO! I'M VOTING FOR KERRY.

Check out this short video:

KeepingAmericaScared.jpg

September 29, 2004

Girls for Kerry

Here's me and my BFF, Willa Rubin. You may recall her awesome guest blogging such as her post on The Beatles.

We are fighting night and day for Kerry to be elected.

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Willa often gazes into the future, thinking hard for Kerry. Note her Kerry 2004 pin over her Harry Potter T-shirt.

You may also notice the little seaweed hanging off her glass - She's a good saver, a real left-overs person.

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I walk through these mean New York streets touting my own Kerry badge of honor.

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And I make sure that wrist starers get their eye full too so here's a Kerry dogtag turned bracelet.

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As for the really short undecided voters, Willa's got it covered. She represents on her personalized, politically charged Converse:

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To support Kerry, click here!

September 1, 2004

Kerry Rocks!

I present to you, another AndreaHarner.com exclusive...KerryRocks.net!

Click on Kerry to see a kick ass video you'll want to pass along.

Kerry plays guitar, Bush was a cheerleader...You Decide!

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* A stellar Cory Arcangel and Jonah Peretti collaboration.

July 22, 2004

AndreaHarner.com loves you.

Update: We are now at 196 sign ups, so confidently in 1st place! Yay! The real Janelle is getting a real ass kicking - J/K Janelle and her readers! My words are merely friendly fire.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks to all you good people, AndreaHarner.com is in 1st place on Tom's Petition with 168 sign ups!!

This means that we rule.

We are making a humungous impact on this important cause and kicking blogger asses in the meantime...all in good spirit of course...check out the impact we've made here!

If you've already signed up, you have your own personal page from which you can invite more friends to join and if you haven't signed up it's not too late - sign up here because look closely...

The real Janelle is posing a real threat...

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Sincerely,
AndreaHarner.com

July 14, 2004

Update on Assault Weapon Ban Petition

Update: I am now sitting pretty at 2nd place with 98 sign ups!! My readers are ass-kickers! Thank you, ass-kickers! Keep it coming, people!

Thanks to my great readers, I'm comfortably at 5th place with 40 sign ups!!

Here's the Top 10 as of July 14 @ 7:49 pm:

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Again, NOT that this is a competition among bloggers, but who are we kidding, this is a great competition and I like kicking ass!! LOL.

July 13, 2004

A Good NYTimes Op-Ed by Bob Herbert

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July 12, 2004

Other than to gruesomely destroy lives, what are assault weapons good for?

Hello faithful readers!

There is a new interface that helps bloggers take political action. The first test for the software is an effort to extend the assault weapons ban.

Please sign up here on the andreaharner.com page so I can kick the asses of all the other bloggers who are participating. J/K, J/K! However please note that I am currently in 3rd place and would love to take you all with me on the glorious ride to the top!

If you're a blogger who'd like to compete, you can sign up here...NOT that this is a competition...LOL, LOL.

If you want more information about this important cause and project, you can find that here.

July 1, 2004

The Corporation, Fahrenheit 911 & Wheely Willy

The Corporation & Fahrenheit 911 are extremely important movies to see.
I caution you strongly however that upon walking out of the theater, you may find yourself maniacally searching for that old drug dealer from high school's number in seach for cyanide tablets. My spirit crushed and my soul depressed, I thought, I can take those tablets and call it a long, tragic day or I can try and make a difference in this world by living and working in a way I'm proud of and also drinking a lot in the meantime. I've signed on for the latter...AA, save me a seat.

Thank God for one thing in this sad, depraved world and that's Wheely Willy:

WHEELYWILLY.jpg

June 9, 2004

The President we forgot about

Apparantly collective amnesia and a tendancy for us fallible humans to glamorize the past is on the side of not great presidents. You drop dead 20 years later and all of a sudden you're great.

Paul Krugman helps put this in perspective and of course criticizes Bush in the process...god bless the Krugster.

The Great Taxer

May 28, 2004

Kerry/Kutcher or Kerry/Perot please!

Pros and Cons of John Kerry's Top Twenty Vice-Presidential Candidates

via reBlog

May 20, 2004

NY Times article on Fundrace.org

In today's Circuits section, there is a good article on Fundrace.org, a recent project by EYEBEAM R & D's Jonah Peretti & Michael Frumin.

Note how Melissa Kramer is quoted as being really bothered about having her information online but she's perfectly willing to have an obscenely large photo (see print edition) of herself taken with her name, city and state captioned...Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up now... Oh fame...

Street Maps in Political Hues by Tom McNichol, May 20, 2004

May 18, 2004

America's Moral Depravity

Thomas Friedman has finally come around about the war and has some smart things to say...except that he continues to credit Bush with having "a strong moral vision". You win some and you lose some, I suppose.

Dancing Alone May 13, 2004 New York Times.

May 11, 2004

Good Op-Eds in today's NY Times

JUST TRUST US by Paul Krugman

&

TOURISTS AND TORTURERS by Luc Sante

May 3, 2004

Oh Condi, Condi, Condi!

From the April 29, 2004 Economist:

condiricecropped.jpg

April 20, 2004

Stoopid for President! Part Deux

As part of this morning's Brian Lehrer Show, Brian and callers discussed Bob Woodward's new book "Plan of Attack" and Woodward's interview with Mike Wallace.

In this interview, Woodward shared his recent conversation with the President:

Woodward suggested that people were concerned about the failure to find Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The President's reply: "Well, you travel in elite circles."

Hhhmmm.

Well I guess everyone is a dumb shit. I'm just relieved our fearless leader doesn't have his head up his ass.

Quel relief!

Stoopid for President!

So Kerry speaks fluent French and used to give interviews in French. That is, until Republicans, true to themselves, insinuated that Kerry was too Continental. So what does Kerry do, to salvage any hope that the fine Americans out there who may actually be influenced by Republicans, might come around to voting for him? He stops speaking French.

A perplexed Alain de Chalvron, Washington bureau chief for France 2, the French equivalent of the BBC mused, "For us, to speak any other language and have an open view of the world, for a President, should be a plus."

Well you know what Monsieur Fancy Pants?? Not for us Americans! We need them dumb as...our current President! Yeah! The levels of intellect and thoughtfulness are just about right!!

Thanks anyway for your thoughts and please don't hesitate to drop off more suggestions in the shredder on your way out! Ouch!

The New Yorker, April 19 & 26, 2004, Talk of the Town, Pardon?

Republicans, thank you for the precedent you have set. I am deeply satisfied with the image represented by and actions taken by our current President. Thank you.

March 18, 2004

The Crazies Are At It Again

Article:

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Highlights:

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So let's pack up our pots and pans, male thongs and megaphones...

2004 Gay Pride Parade in Rhea County, Tennessee!!

March 17, 2004

Find out who of your neighbors and your favorite celebrities are giving $ to!!

Say goodbye to a perfectly promising productive day...

The first of two new addictive additions to EYEBEAM R & D's fundrace.org project is the

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which allows you to search by location (even down to specific buildings!) or by name to see who is contributing to which political candidates!

Always wanted to know what that shady neighbor's political leanings were? As long as they donated over $200, it is part of the public record and for your eyes to feast on!

Have a meeting in a building uptown? Enter the address and see what political climate you will be entering!

Tidbits: Charlize Theron gave $1000 to John Kerry, big entertainment moguls often give to nearly every Democratic candidate as well as to Bush, Madonna's contributions are accessible by typing Ritchie for last name and finally, Puffy's contribution info is revealed upon typing Combs...don't bother with the Puffy, P-Diddy, Puff-Daddy...

Note: Big, huge movie stars are often listed in the public record as being "self-employed." Life is hard for them too. Look. See.

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And the second source of non-stop fun you can rationalize as just becoming more politically aware is:

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And you can find this sort of juicy info listed at the bottom of each city map (in this case, it's NYC):

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*Compliments of EYEBEAM's reBloglogo-small.gif

February 28, 2004

The Case for Gay Marriage

The Economist states its case for gay marriage: The Case for Gay Marriage

Highlights:

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February 27, 2004

Bliss & Bigotry

Bob Herbert's Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times: Bliss and Bigotry

Highlights:

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Bob Herbert, I wholeheartedly agree.

February 25, 2004

An Important Gun Bill

The Senate is about to make a major decision on a bill that would give legal immunity to Bull's Eye and other negligent gun shops. This would make the gun industry the only industry with immunity.

It is being debated on C-SPAN right now and could be voted on within the next 72 hours.

Here's an OP-ED from today's New York Times.

Also, the Senate email system is clogged by the 100,000 emails from voters, strongly opposing the bill however it has powerful lobbying support from the NRA, so it might actually pass.

This means that if bloggers and internet news sites start making some noise, Senators could feel that they have to speak up so please start yapping away or show your support at Stop the NRA.com.

January 9, 2004

Bush in 41 seconds

I couldn't say it any better than this hilarious video...click now!

BushFace.jpg

January 6, 2004

NRALeaders.com

Check out this great site exposing NRA Leaders and the things they have said and continue to say!

Get your laugh on as you incredulously sift through one horrific comment after the other and then be rendered speechless when you realize that this is not a joke.

Keep the pressure on...these wackos have got to go!

December 19, 2003

Fight back with a poll!

Take the Marriage Poll and tell the AFA ("American Family Association-Promoting Traditional Family Values") to shove it where the sun don't shine.

This AFA poll was designed to prove to Congress that people oppose gay marriage goddammit! (note the obvious: the poll takers would be AFA site visitors-traditional family values promotors) but now, thanks to contagious media (email forwards, blog links) the word has gotten out to the saner bunch and the results are proving it!

Thank the Good Lord above!!

...and of course the Leave It To Beaver families that provide such shining models that we should all aspire to!! ha!

December 9, 2003

Yay for the Dean Machine!

Al Gore endorses Howard Dean for President

On a petty politics note, clearly the Gore-Clinton riff continues, with Clinton informally endorsing Clark (voter of Nixon & Reagan) and Gore of course now endorsing Dean...

November 18, 2003

Yay for Massachusetts!!

Finally, people are coming around to their senses...hopefully Massachusetts is just the beginning of a trend among states.

High Court in Massachusetts Rules Gays Have Right to Marry

November 17, 2003

GoogleRace & EYEBEAM

Check out this fun site and guaranteed procrastination tool created by Eyebeam's R & D Group:
GoogleRace

Check out who wins the EYEBEAM award. Hint-I fully endorse him:

The EYEBEAM award goes to...

I greatly dislike him but apparently he's the most "Sexy Dancer" of them all:

If he's the sexiest dancer, then we're in trouble...oh wait, we ARE in grave trouble.

The one you've all been waiting for...

The Stuart Little Award

And for those of you who missed the nice New York Times article on EYEBEAM, here it is:

Digital Art's Year-Round Summer Camp

November 12, 2003

Follow the FundRace!

A great site ranking 2004 Election Candidates by Grassroots, Devotion and Fat Cats Indices as well as financial contributions by state, county and zipcodes.

FundRace.org

November 7, 2003

The MEATRIX, a great little flash movie

Make sure you have your volume turned up.

The MEATRIX

October 21, 2003

We need to get Bush out and regain control of the Senate

Senate Set to Ban Type of Abortion Procedure Today

September 30, 2003

PLEASE MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR ALL OF US!!!

THIS chocolate lab wants YOU to donate EVEN JUST $25 to help make history!!

We're at a little over $14 million and we need to raise $15 million by midnight tonight.

You've got to believe that we can do this!

Please please CLICK ON MISTER CHOCOLATE LAB and make a contribution to improve all of our lives!!

THANK YOU!!

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September 24, 2003

I MET HOWARD DEAN AND AM PROFOUNDLY CHANGED FOR THE BETTER

Calling out to those of you, buried deep in apathy and cynicism....

I've got great news for you!

HOWARD DEAN IS THE REAL DEAL!!

Jonah and I began the evening as our usual half cynical, half idealistic selves until...
we heard Howard Dean speak!

DEAN proved that he is SMART, SINCERE, THE PERFECT BALANCE OF THOUGHTFUL AND ASSERTIVE, PASSIONATE YET PRACTICAL, IMPRESSIVELY QUICK ON HIS FEET, KNOWS HOW TO SPRINKLE CHARM AND HUMOUR IN THE MOST MEANINGFUL AND APPROPRIATE MOMENTS AND FINALLY...IS TRULY INSPIRING. WIDOWER AND WIDOWER..OR WIDOWER AND WIDOWEE...I SOUND LIKE GEORGE BUSH NOW...FACT AND THEORY...HIS AIDE SAID, WHEN WE MOVE INTO THE WHITE HOUSE, I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE IT'S REALLY WELL FURNISHED...JONAH PERETTI, YOU ARE MY #1 MAN, HOWARD DEAN IS EASILY MY #2 GUY.<--!>

After he spoke, I bee-lined with everyone else to have a moment with him.

I thanked him for inspiring me and asked if I could take a picture of us for my blog.

I reached out my arm and took this picture of the two of us together.

As I revelled in delight at having this prime photo opportunity, I heard Howard Dean say, "ON THE BLOG IT GOES!!"

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THE AMOUNT RAISED BY THE END OF THIS MONTH WILL GREATLY DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF THE DEAN CAMPAIGN SO IF YOU WANT TO AFFECT POSITIVE CHANGE YOU CAN DONATE WHAT YOU ARE WILLING AND ABLE THROUGH THESE TWO HOWARD DEAN SITES:

DEAN FOR AMERICA and BLOG FOR AMERICA

It's a damn shame that we're limited to contributing $2000 per person because I keep trying to contribute more than that amount but keep getting reprimanded for attempting to go over the legal limit!! J/K!! J/K!!

What a refreshing change of political outlook to feel hopeful and happy...

THANK YOU HOWARD DEAN.

August 12, 2003

California Governor Race

Yes, it's true folks, here are two gubernatorial candidates for California:

For Gary's thoughts, check out his highly amusing "Gary Hates..."

garyforgovernortakeone.jpg

Arnold, well, of course he promises to "Pump Up Sacramento!"

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July 30, 2003

This makes me sick

Bush Looking for Means to Prevent Gay Marriage in U.S.

May 24, 2003

The Empire Playing Cards have arrived!

I don't usually post on weekends, as this sleepblogger needs some down time...

However, this well designed, well researched and well executed Lesson on the Bush Administration & Company is hot off the press and wholly deserves an andreaharner.com endorsement :-)

WARNING: The incestuous network of power may freak you out.

empirecards175.jpg

May 21, 2003

I HEART Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet on washingtonpost.com dated May 20, 2003

Assault Rifle Ban enforced in Iraq....but not in the US....Uuumm...ok!

NYTimes Article dated May 21, 2003

May 15, 2003

Yippee!! Assault Rifles Will Finally Be Mine To Be Had Again!!!

So I consider myself to be an average Joe, or Jane, if you will...and I have been waiting and waiting for the assault rifle ban to be lifted...

Finally it looks like the GOP will make sure that it is lifted!...and Nietzche proclaimed God Is Dead...puuullease...

clearly God is alive and kickin' in the good ole GOP!!

Washington Post article dated May 14, 2003

Whew!! I can finally protect myself in a more thorough way than I could have, just strapping on hunting rifles and hand guns!

Take a sneak peak at the goodies that may be entering your homes soon...if we're lucky...keep your fingers crossed!

Assault Rifle Goodies

April 11, 2003

Yay! Disgusting Realities! Yay!

Wouldn't it have been DIVINE if we had quickly, quietly and without killing civilians and soldiers....just ASSASSINATED Saddam?

I mean it!!

Eason Jordan's NYTimes Op-Ed Article April 11, 2003

SHOCK and AWE!! Wow! What a great fucking name for a video game, ESPECIALLY NOW!!!

Quick, quick, REGISTER SHOCK and AWE as a trademark for our video game!!

Companies scramble to commercially exploit the war in Iraq

April 6, 2003

Andreaharner.com Apologizes

Thanks to a post by Jeremy, I stand corrected and blushing a bit.

Apologies to those who take my word as gospel, but The Phone Call bit below is not in fact true.

Evidence provided by the trusty SNOPES.com

April 4, 2003

Depressed about The War & The Wackos

If you feel like getting more depressed about the war yet encouraged by humanity, check this out:

The Phone Call

As for poor Jessica Lynch...Message to her parents: Not so sure her pink casts will pull her out of shell shock, but nice attempt...crisis management coaching from Elizabeth Smart's family, perhaps?

March 31, 2003

LIFE AFTER LIBERATION, PART III-What Iraqi Women Will Be Thanking Us For!!

Reporting LIVE from New York City: An ANDREAHARNER.COM EXCLUSIVE on Iraqi life after liberation...

WOW GUYS!!
Iraqi and American soldiers are dying left and right, but I can't help but be so excited for the women of Iraq!!
I mean, they'll mourn and grieve for a little while, but they'll surely perk up! once they get a hold of these AMERICAN GOODIES FOR WOMEN!!!

NOSE HAIR TRIMMER, PETITE ENOUGH TO FIT IN YOUR PURSE!

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LOTION APPLICATOR FOR BACK!

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BRACELET BUDDY!

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PEDI-HOSE!

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I have a confession to make: I'm TOTALLY ON THE FENCE about this War, I mean, I'm not even so sure we should call this a war...I'm thinking Liberation? Liberation could be a great! substitute for the nasty WAR word! The ONLY THING that propells me back onto the fence about THIS THING that's going on, is that people are dying!

Anyway, what's MOST IMPORTANT is that Iraqi Women's lives will be so much EASIER, more FUN and ultimately more SATISFYING.

March 28, 2003

Statues of Puberty

Me and my cuz I adore, Jessica Lazdins!

statuesofliberty.jpg

*Andrea's hooker-esque eye make-up compliments of Sephora's Free Consultation & Application

March 19, 2003

LIFE AFTER LIBERATION, Part II-What their pets will be enjoying

Reporting LIVE from New York City: An ANDREAHARNER.COM EXCLUSIVE on Iraqi life after liberation.

AS THE BOMBS BEGIN FALLING, DRASTICALLY IMPROVED IRAQI PET LIFE is more and more TANGIBLE!!!

Dirt, dust and flying debris will be things of PRE-LIBERATION as Iraqi Poochers wear stylish DOGGY GOGGLES!! Yay!!

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Iraqi Kitties will finally FEEL SAFE in their very own TIMMY the MOUSE HOUSE!!!

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Iraqi doggies will never have to be left at home again! as was commonplace, in the DARK DAYS BEFORE LIBERATION!!

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Iraqi Kitties teeter on the edge of being SPOILED ROTTEN! with this new OPPORTUNITY!! Finally, Dirty Iraqi Kitties walk in nature without having to drag in the dirtiness of the outdoors!! Yay!

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Little Iraqi Doggies, will no longer be depressed nor yearn for a little "FOOT UP!" in the cars because...we offer the PET LOOKOUT SEAT!!

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Finally,"GOING for the GUSTO!" as we friendly folk do! we offer them the option to SEND YOUR IRAQI DOG AWAY to a better, happier place...

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A beautiful Dog Island complete with Dog Statistics! so you always know, what company your NEWLY LIBERATED IRAQI PUPPY IS KEEPING!!

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OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS!!
That's what we Americans love and Iraqis soon will as well!!

Americans, Iraqis, American pets, Iraqi pets....
EVERYBODY WINS! in Iraqi Life After Liberation!
HALLELUJAH!!

*******end of report*******

~Stay tuned for Part III of the LIFE AFTER LIBERATION series...~

LIFE AFTER LIBERATION, Part I-What they'll be eating

Reporting LIVE from New York City: An ANDREAHARNER.COM EXCLUSIVE on Iraqi life after liberation.

Americans will of course, be VICTORIOUS and Iraqis welcome us with OPEN ARMS!!

The first taste of LIBERATION for those LUCKY, LUCKY IRAQIS, will be an American favorite, HOT DOGS!

hotdogmaker.jpg

This old-fashioned replica is the perfect TEACHING tool to allow Iraqis to LEARN about our great eating tradition!!
EAT UP, IRAQIS!!

Hot Dogs will undoubtedly be an IMMEASURABLE SUCCESS and Iraqis will PLEAD for More, More More!!!

So then we roll in the Pizzas and go the extra mile to introduce to them, the great American invention, THE PIZZAFORK!

pizzafork.jpg

Speechless with Gratitude and Impressed beyond Belief, Iraqis plan their Thanksgiving celebration with another great American invention, TURKEY PLACECARD HOLDERS!!!
With these beauties on the table, Iraqis will be just like us, reminiscing with pride about how the ORIGINAL GREAT LIBERATION began in a little place called Plymouth Rock.

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Just when the Iraqis will ponder in amazement, "Is there anything the GOOD People of America HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF??" I mean, life as we used to know it, was never so FULL, so COMPLETE and so FUN, FUN, NUMBER 1 !!

The NATION OF INNOVATION will then simply OUTDO OURSELVES!! by providing for them, the vastly improved and dangerously superior...EZ & TIDY KABOB MAKER!!!

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Finally we'll THROW IN A BONUS, because we're good like that, by assuring them, "when you don't feel like cooking, and once restaurants, SPRING OUT OF THE RUBBLE, you've got take out!"

They'll then be unquestionably DUMBFOUNDED and ask, "with so many menus, how can we possibly keep track of them?"

takeoutmenuorganizer.jpg

Well, that's when we present to them, The TAKE OUT MENU ORGANIZER! Hooray!!

GROUP HUGS commence and we revel TOGETHER in our profound happiness...us, for LIBERATING THEM and them, for BEING LIBERATED BY US.

*******end of report*******

~Stay tuned for for tomorrow's LIFE AFTER LIBERATION, Part II-What their pets will enjoy~

March 13, 2003

I LOVE people like KIMBERLY AND people who support THE WAR! I'm SO full of LOVE!

WARNING: AN ANDREA RANT AND RAVE CONTAINED HEREIN. ANY PAIN CAUSED BY READING THIS IS UNINTENTIONAL AND UNFORTUNATE YET IRRETRIEVABLE. Thanks for your cooperation.

Kimberly, a HUGE idiot and complete bitch (Nice Combo! Well done, Kimberly!) called into the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC this morning and did 2 things simultaneously: 1) Exposed herself as a fool with comments such as (and I apologize to Kimberly fans or verbatim fans out there as I am merely paraphrasing from memory), "I am UTTERLY DISGUSTED by your show, EVERYTHING you say is anti-American and you're doing nothing good in this world" and 2) Nauseated and enraged listeners of the show such as myself. Brian Lehrer handled this woman well by attempting to ask her questions which may have lead to an interesting, substantive and constructive discussion instead of one ignorant woman's rant against a NOT AT ALL ignorant Brian Lehrer. She was unable to answer the questions (surprise! surprise!) and further dug herself into the hole of IDIOCY by contending, "I NEVER listen to your show, Brian! (Her tone being, "ugh! As IF I would stoop so low!") I was RUSHING TO THE SALON when I heard it for the first time and was outraged by you! (Rushing to the SALON on a Thursday morning, angered by people with brains and a more balanced and sensible view of the world than her? WAIT, I think I know Kimberly or Kimberly types...they're fun! they're great! they're SWEET.

SO, that was NOT what I consider to be a nice start to the morning!

Neither is feeling inundated by ALL THE OSTENSIBLY VALID REASONS WE SHOULD GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ...since THESE "REASONS" are PRECISELY, NOT REASONS to declare war, in my humble opinion of course...LUCKY FOR ME! Most of the ENTIRE WORLD agrees with me.

Of course these are only my opinions and people are allowed their opinions, yes, even people like KIMBERLY, as much as that pains me, it's necessary and good to have the viewpoints of the white, the black and the shades of gray represented and engaged...

In this spirit, check out this representation of dialogue:

wardialogue.jpg

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