Thursday, July 31, 2008

Liberal Media What?

O’Reilly Flips On Analyst He Once Called ‘A Truth-Teller’ After His Study Found Media Bias Against Obama

In 2006, after the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) released a study showing that Democrats got more favorable coverage than Republicans, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly hailed the organization’s president, Dr. Robert Lichter, as “a truth-teller.” On his Fox News show, O’Reilly praised Lichter’s findings as definitive proof “that the media leans left” because “the stats are the stats.” [Fox News, 10/31/06]

But now that the CMPA has released a new study — using the same methodology — that found that ABC, NBC, and CBS have been tougher on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently, O’Reilly has changed his tune about the validity of Lichter’s research.

In an Monday interview with Lichter on his radio show, O’Reilly called the new study “misleading” and “an enormous mistake” by Lichter. Lichter replied by telling O’Reilly, “you can take all my studies or none of my studies.”

Monday, July 28, 2008

Women in the Military

Oh my various gods. You have to be kidding me.

So I was surfing the internet today, and ran across this article by Ann Wright. As the end of the article states, "US Army Reserve Colonel, Retired, Ann Wright is a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves. She was also a US diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the US Department of State in March 19, 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War."

And she wrote one doozy of an article. Holy hell.

Is There an Army Cover Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?

The gist of the article is that a number of factors--each disturbing on its own--are adding up to something ugly. If one in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted by the men with whom they serve, if "suicides" are often clearly anything but (particularly post-rape), and if a large percentage of women's deaths are being attributed to this nebulous ruling... what the hell is going on?

I'll put some excerpts in here, but the article itself obviously carries a trigger warning. If you don't really want to know why these "suicide" investigations are suspect, I suggest you steer clear.

But, now, even more alarming, are deaths of women soldiers in Iraq, and in the United States, following rape. The military has characterized each of the deaths of women who were first sexually assaulted as deaths from “non-combat related injuries,” and then added “suicide.” Yet, the families of the women whom the military has declared to have committed suicide, strongly dispute the findings and are calling for further investigations into the deaths of their daughters. Specific US Army units and certain US military bases in Iraq have an inordinate number of women soldiers who have died of “non-combat related injuries,” with several identified as “suicides.”

94 US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). 12 US Civilian women have been killed in OIF. 13 US military women have been killed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). 12 US Civilian women have been killed in Afghanistan.

Of the 94 US military women who died in Iraq or in OIF, the military says 36 died from non-combat related injuries, which included vehicle accidents, illness, death by “natural causes,” and self-inflicted gunshot wounds, or suicide. The military has declared the deaths of the Navy women in Bahrain that were killed by a third sailor, as homicides. 5 deaths have been labeled as suicides, but 15 more deaths occurred under extremely suspicious circumstances.

8 women soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas (six from the Fourth Infantry Division and two from the 1st Armored Cavalry Division) have died of “non-combat related injuries” on the same base, Camp Taji, and three were raped before their deaths. Two were raped immediately before their deaths and another raped prior to arriving in Iraq. Two military women have died of suspicious “non-combat related injuries” on Balad base, and one was raped before she died. Four deaths have been classified as “suicides.”

[See original article for the example cases Col. Wright offers]

Although the data on the number of suicides in the military is vague and purposely underreported by the Veterans Administration, of 69 suicides of men in the military since 2002, 64 committed suicide in the United States, 1 in Kuwait, 2 in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan. Men are much more likely to commit suicide once they return from a combat zone, than in the combat zone. Of the 8 alleged suicides of women in the military, 3 were in Iraq, 2 in the US, 1 in Kuwait and 1 in Bahrain. The question of why women would be more likely to commit suicide outside the US than once home should be investigated.

The circumstances surrounding each of these deaths warrants further investigation by the US military. Congress can compel the military to reopen cases and provide further investigation.

Granted, some of the commenters on this entry make a good point. What did we think was going to happen when the military started recruiting more and more convicts? Did we think that the quality of our servicemen would be improved with the introduction of more violent offenders? Or was quality not an issue so much as quantity? We need more soldiers, and consequences be damned as long as we get them.

This is a problem for the people our soldiers meet on the ground, obviously. But with a large number of female soldiers these days, it's becoming clear that servicewomen can't have high expectations, either. The best they can hope for is to be safe from their own comrades in arms.

For about a third of those women, their hopes won't pan out. And for a troubling percentage of that sad population... they may lose their lives and have the real cause covered up. It's bad enough that the government has done a poor job of seeing to the health needs of women veterans, and hopefully we're on the way to fixing that. But this? This is a whole different level of disregard, a whole new level of downright misogynist cruelty.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama is Nicolae Carpathia!

Okay. This has to stop.

Eight of the last twenty referrals to my blog were from people looking up variations on "Obama is Nicolae Carpathia."

So, since I know there are going to be more of you, I will give you an intelligent and helpful link first. If you are interested in the opinion of a real life New Testament Scholar on this subject, please see this entry by Professor James McGrath. If you really want a Biblical angle on this, please see that entry. Prof. McGrath speaks with greater expertise than I do, and I don't have anything intelligent to add.

So I'm going to add something ridiculous instead. Discussion around the dinner table of my blog referrals resulted in the following (and I extend my apologies to those of you who aren't Ghostbusters fans... if you exist):

Woman in Charge, Women Who Charge

Woman in Charge, Women Who Charge

By Judith Warner

Is it a coincidence that the bubbling idiocy of “Sex and the City,” the movie, exploded upon the cultural scene at the exact same time that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy imploded?

Literally, of course, it is. Figuratively, I’m not so sure.

And before I set off an avalanche of e-mails explaining why Hillary deserved to lose, I want to make one point clear: I am talking here not about the outcome of her candidacy – mistakes were made, and she faced a formidable opponent in Barack Obama – but rather about the climate in which her campaign was conducted. The zeitgeist in which Hillary floundered and “Sex” is now flourishing.

It’s a cultural moment that Andrew Stephen, writing with an outsider’s eye for the British magazine the New Statesman last month, characterized as a time of “gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind.” A moment in which things like the formation of a Hillary-bashing political action group, “Citizens United Not Timid,” a “South Park” episode featuring a nuclear weapon hidden in Clinton’s vagina, and Internet sales of a Hillary Clinton nutcracker with shark-like teeth between her legs, passed largely without mainstream media notice, largely, perhaps, because some of the key gatekeepers of mainstream opinion were so busy coming up with various iterations of the nutcracker theme themselves. (Tucker Carlson on Hillary: “When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” For a good cry, watch this incredible montage from the Women’s Media Center.)

Stephen is not the first commentator to note that if similarly hateful racial remarks had been made about Obama, our nation would have turned itself inside out in a paroxysm of soul-searching and shame. Had mainstream commentators in 2000 speculated, say, that Joe Lieberman had a nose for dough, or made funny Shylock references, heads would have rolled – and rightfully so.

But 16 months of sustained misogyny? Hey — she asked for it. With that voice, (“When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, ‘Take out the garbage’ ” Fox News regular Marc Rudov, author of “Under the Clitoral Hood: How to Crank Her Engine Without Cash, Booze, or Jumper Cables,” said in January). With that ambition, and that dogged determination (“like everyone’s first wife standing outside a probate court,” according to MSNBC commentator Mike Barnicle) and, of course, that husband (Chris Matthews: “The reason she’s a U.S. Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around.”). Clearly, in an age when the dangers and indignities of Driving While Black are well-acknowledged, and properly condemned, Striving While Female – if it goes too far and looks too real — is still held to be a crime.

In a culture that’s reached such a level of ostensible enlightenment as ours, calling a powerful woman “castrating” – however you choose to put it – ought to be seen as just as offensive as rubbing your fingers together to convey a love of gold coinage when you talk about a Jew. It’s nothing other than an expression of woman-hate — and the degree to which such expressions have flourished, in the mainstream media and in the loonier reaches of cyberspace this year, has added up to be a real national shame.

Which brings me back to “Sex and the City.”

How antithetical Hillary’s earnest, electric blue pants-suited whole being is to the frothy cheer of that film, which has women now turning out in droves, a song in their hearts, unified in popcorn-clutching sisterhood to a degree I haven’t seen since the ugly, angry days of Anita Hill and … the first incarnation of Hillary Clinton. How times have changed. How yucky, how baby boomerish, how frowningly pre-Botox were the early 1990s. How brilliantly does “Sex” – however atrocious it may be – surf our current zeitgeist, sugar-coating it all in Blahniks and Westwood, and yummy men and yummier real estate, and squeakingly desperate girl cheer.

Take Miranda: a working mother archetype for an anti-woman age. She’s so callous now that she won’t let her nanny eat a decent meal, and so defiantly sexless that she’s let her pubic hair grow in. Take Charlotte: the Good Mommy, with an angel’s face and no employment, a seemingly limitless credit line and an adoring troglodyte of a husband (so short, so bald, and yet so good with the gelt). And then – please – take Samantha. At 50, she’s the one girlfriend aged enough to bear the baggage of old-time, Clinton-era feminist sentiment. She’s a self-centered heart-breaker, a real man-eater — you should see how she rejects a drooping roll of sushi — her corruption made manifest by the fact that, at film’s end, she develops (gasp!) a gut.

Yes, a gut, girls, like yours and mine and that of virtually any real woman who’s over 35, or has had children, or has something more important to do than full-time Pilates.

“Sex and the City” is the perfect movie for our allegedly ever-so-promising post-feminist era, when “angry” is out and Restalyne is in, and virtually all our country’s most powerful women look younger now than they did 20 years ago.

Oh, lighten up, I can hear you say. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.

Earnestness is so unattractive (in a woman).

Conservatism: A Few Basics (Not as Boring as You Fear!)

Conservatism: A Few Basics

One of the characteristics of left-wing parochialism on campus is the casting of other outlooks through their popular, and not always accurate, manifestations in public life. For many campus dwellers, the word “conservatism” evokes images of Iraq and Cheney, or people in megachurches waving their hands, or judges in Salem in 1692. That’s what happens when an education system downplays conservative ideas, texts, and figures. Only the most extreme or oppositional versions of it stand out.

Academics should take conservatism more seriously. Here is a list of basic conservative canons as outlined by Russell Kirk in The Conservative Mind. They derive from the lineage Kirk drew in that book, a roster that includes Edmund Burke, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Coleridge, Tocqueville, Hawthorne, Henry Adams, and Irving Babbitt.

1. Belief in a transcendent order or body of natural law.

2. Acceptance of the variety and mystery of human existence.

3. Conviction that civilization requires hierarchy and order.

4. The connection of freedom and private property.

5. A trust in local customs and traditions over the visions of social engineers.

6. A preference for gradual change over revolutionary change.

Clearly, each one violates a reigning dogma or value in the humanities. No. 1 goes against social constructionism. No. 2 goes against the love of theory. No. 3 goes against egalitarianism. No. 4 goes against the reliance on government action. No. 5 goes against the faith in innovation and reform. And No. 6 goes against the cachet different kinds of radicalism possess in the field (“this book is a radical rethinking of . . .”).

So, when people contest the assertion of liberal bias in the humanities curriculum, they shouldn’t ask if conservatives are demanding affirmative action for themselves or Intelligent Design in the classroom. They should ask how often tradition, transcendence, hierarchy, capitalism, and gradualism are hailed as values in the classroom and quarterlies.

Posted at 11:43:01 AM on June 19, 2008 | All postings by Mark Bauerlein

Just Passing Through replied in the comments:

With Prof. Bauerlein finally—prodded by my comments, obviously—delivering a little essay instead of just cutting-and-pasting another stat summary, I wasn’t going to get in on this. Leave well enough alone, etc. Besides, I figured the dirty, hippy, half-witted commie pinko bed-wetters “a tired rambler,” “Anti-hypocrisy advocate,” “Roger,” and others would immediately check in to do battle with the smaller roster of righties, e.g., “CU Prof,” “S. Britchky.” So far, not really the fireworks I anticipated.

Therefore, I must, in the interest of a clearer debate, provide a colloquial translation of Prof. Bauerlein’s conservative canon:

1. Belief in a transcendent order or body of natural law. As the bumpersticker says, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”

2. Acceptance of the variety and mystery of human existence. They do all them drugs and shoot each other ‘cause that’s just the way they are. Nothin’ we can do about it.

3. Conviction that civilization requires hierarchy and order. You can’t go around demonstratin’ in the street. Especially when there’s a war on.

4. The connection of freedom and private property. If I want to build it, I’ll build it. It’s my land. And if the county says I can’t, just let ‘em try and stop me.

5. A trust in local customs and traditions over the visions of social engineers. You ain’t from around here, are you? Well, around these parts, people like you just can’t come in here and live like you want. We’ve got our ways.

6. A preference for gradual change over revolutionary change. It’s always been done that way. May not be fair, but that’s only for a few folks. Maybe their grandkids’ll have it a little better, but for now, it’s just too bad for them.

Oh, one little cavil: Even the ardent lefties I know don’t “hail” their tenets in the classroom. Insinuate, maybe. “Hail” is a blurb verb, as in “Critics hail Broadway’s newest…,” etc. It’s crap writing and Prof. Bauerlein teaches English.

diogenes replied:
Both “Just Pissing Through” (#11) and “a tired rambler” (#3) illustrate beautifully the point that Mark made in his first paragraph. I know of no conservatives who sound like JPT’s “colloquial translations.” Rather, those sound like stereotypical lines from bad movies about brutish and reptilian people from the backwoods who resist the intrusion of more enlightened Yankees from the Ivy League. (“Deliverance,” anyone?)

In the interest of balance, let me suggest the Liberal counterpart to each of the six points from Kirk:

1. Belief in a transcendent order or body of natural law. —-“We Liberals, being the most-evolved form of life, are the final authority on things. Don’t try to tell us how the universe works; we’ll make it work the way that fits our current theories and wishes.”

2. Acceptance of the variety and mystery of human existence. —-We’re all exactly alike—physically, mentally, emotionally. Especially you little people. But we’ll make you all just like Us, only obedient to your betters.

3. Conviction that civilization requires hierarchy and order. —-The only hierarchy is that We Who Know make the rules for you little people. Within that framework, party down!

4. The connection of freedom and private property. —-Conservatives don’t understand the vocabulary. ‘Freedom’ means the right to do what We permit, not what you want to do. Remember that ‘Freedom is Slavery;” We’ll make you happier this way; trust me.
‘Private property’ means you can use it until We want it for something else. In the meantime, We’ll tell you what we think is the best use of the property.

5. A trust in local customs and traditions over the visions of social engineers. —-How quaint. As though you people who live in fly-over country could know how to do things in your own town, your own schools, your little “states.” We in New Haven and Cambridge and Manhattan THINK about things and thus KNOW what’s best for you. All you little people want to do is cling to your guns and your religion. But you WILL conform. We have Ways.

6. A preference for gradual change over revolutionary change. —-There’s no need to make the changes gradually, because we know what the world ought to be like, and the sooner the better. Delays simply run the risk of diluting our vision for your future. Moreover, We will not be secure in our power until the revolution.

The appalling arrogance of these two (and some other liberals among these responses) illustrates why it’s almost impossible to have an intelligent conversation with a liberal. “We (Liberals) THINK about things until we see that liberalism is correct, while you (conservatives) blindly accept what your traditions tell you. It’s perfectly obvious and beyond cavil that logic, tolerance, science, and virtue are the exclusive province of liberalism.” Moreover, the irritating fact that not all conservative think alike becomes the basis for charging Bauerlein and others of inconsistency and misuse of sources.
In “The Idiot,” Dostoyevski has a character say, “I have never known a liberal who would allow anone to have an opinion of his own, without immediately overwhelming him with abuse or something worse.”

He was right.

Joe Erwin added later:

Both “conservatives” and “liberals” have more complicated positions than those for which they are given credit. I think again of the statement once made my my post-doc advisor: “There are only two kinds of people; those who believe there are only two kinds of people, and those who don’t.” This series of comments includes abundant stereotyping of the “left” and “right” and the “liberal” and “conservative” perspectives. How can intelligent people be so small minded as to lump people into such groups? There may something that could be characterized as a “liberal syndrome” and a “conservative syndrome” in which those suffering from these respective maladies each hold a set of dogmatically defended values or beliefs (that in each case include stereotypes about the other).

Isn’t it all far more interesting and complex than this sort of polarized perspective on the world and its peoples? Left, right, up, down, north, south, east, west, and all shades and grades of n-dimensional hyperspace are in play. And within that matrix, one of the most powerful concepts is that at every level of function, variation occurs, and some things work better than others. Processes and mechanisms that do not work at all, that is, fail to function or are fatally flawed, do not survive. Ideas and techologies and systems and organisms that work well some or most of the time, at some level of organization, tend to persist. The classic psychological defense mechanisms, like stereotyping, overgeneralization, tearing down others to elevate ones own position, etc., all are effective enough of the time that they survive in the discourse of people like those who post here. As indicated in comment #48, the level at which most of this discourse has been conducted, with ad hominem attacks and unwarranted stereotyping, is not helpful.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

By all rights this should be the endgame.

But it won't be. Because people are stupid.

Remember how the Iraqi Prime Minister endorsed Obama's Iraq plan? And remember how this Carpetbagger Report article snidely commented, "I can’t wait for a) McCain to explain why Maliki’s opinion about events in his own country don’t matter; and b) the media to explain to me why this is good news for McCain."

Well! McCain explained why Maliki's opinion doesn't matter. An insightful and entertaining account is here, and they include his Today Show appearance.

McCain answered, “I have been there too many times. I’ve met too many times with him, and I know what they want.”

Y'know. More than Maliki. Who is an Iraqi. And their democratically-elected Prime Minister, to hear talk of him. And more than Iraq's government spokesman, who also endorsed Obama's timeline. Mind you, this is the same guy who--after pressure from the US--claimed that the remarks were misinterpreted and inaccurate. Seems he subsequently grew a pair and is hopping on with the PM. Damn uppity towelheads, demanding the national sovereignty we promised them. What'll they think of next? *eyeroll*

Contrast this with the statement he made in 2004 that if the Iraqis really wanted us out, we'd have to go.

"I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because -- if it was an elected government of Iraq, and we've been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government then I think we would have other challenges, but I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people."

Enough, Senator McCain. Just cut it the fuck out. Admit you've lost the foreign policy battle, and that it's the only one you were fighting in the first place. It's done.

As Spencer Ackerman commented, "There's nowhere left for McCain to go here. Either he endorses a timetable for withdrawal, which he has consistently said would be a disaster, and cedes his only big issue to Obama -- and more importantly, concedes that Obama's judgment is sound -- or he deliberately ignores the concerted, expressed wishes of the Iraqi government in order to prolong an unpopular war."

I swear there was a time when people respected us.

US tells lies about torture, say MPs

Britain can no longer believe what Americans tell us about torture, an MPs' report to be published today claims. They also call for an immediate investigation into allegations that the UK government has itself 'outsourced' the torture of its own nationals to Pakistan.

In a damning criticism of US integrity, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said ministers should no longer take at face value statements from senior politicians, including George Bush, that America does not resort to torture in the light of the CIA admitting it used 'waterboarding'. The interrogation technique was unreservedly condemned by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who said it amounted to torture.

A change in approach would have implications for extradition of prisoners to the US, especially in terror or security cases, as the UK has signed the UN convention which bars sending individuals to nations where they are at risk of being tortured.

Torture is Useless

Dear Friend,

Did you see the news? Yesterday a military judge overseeing the first war crimes trials at Guantanamo refused to consider evidence obtained in "highly coercive environments and conditions." So now not only is information acquired through torture unreliable, un-American and immoral, it's also useless.

Now, TrueMajority is working with Catholics United and School of the Americas Watch to bring you the voices of torture survivors and military interrogators who are asking Sen. McCain to regain his moral footing and ban torture.

Watch the video and sign their petition demanding an end to torture.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How does he get away with this?

I'm not ready to come out and say that McCain is trying to get Obama killed, but what the hell, man? The other explanations for this don't look so good, either.

For the last several years, anytime high-profile U.S. officials arrive in Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s described as a “surprise” visit. No matter how many times these officials go to the countries, or how long their stay, it’s always a “surprise.” There’s no real mystery here — if the arrival of VIPs were publicized, their lives might be in danger.

Journalists are almost always responsible with this information, and see no reason to create a potentially dangerous situation. When there are exceptions, it tends to spark outrage — John McCain, for example, was “furious when the press reported on his son serving in Iraq” because McCain “feared the coverage would make him a target.”

The point is obvious — to protect Americans’ lives, details on trips to Iraq and/or Afghanistan are kept under wraps. Everyone knows this, and everyone respects this.

It makes John McCain’s careless remarks yesterday all the more striking.

For weeks now, Barack Obama has closely guarded the details of his planned fact-finding trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, citing security concerns.

But Friday, the Democratic presidential hopeful’s Republican rival, John McCain, may have let the secret out of the bag - infuriating some Obama supporters and putting Camp McCain on the defensive.

“I believe that either today or tomorrow — and I’m not privy to his schedule — Sen. Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other senators” who make up a congressional delegation, McCain told a campaign fund-raising luncheon. “I am sure that Sen. Obama is going to arrive in Baghdad in a much, much safer and secure environment than the one that he would’ve encountered before we started the surge,” McCain added.

While refusing to confirm or deny anything about Obama’s schedule, his aides were furious with McCain’s comment. They noted every major news outlet has resisted speculating on the timing or location of Obama’s war-zone maneuvers out of safety concerns.
John Kerry said he was “surprised” by McCain’s apparent breach of protocol: “I’ve been around enough of these trips to know that I’m leery of saying anything for security reasons. End of story.”

And therein lies the point: John McCain has been around enough of these trips to know the same thing. Yesterday, for whatever reason, he ignored security concerns because he wanted to score a cheap political point.

Once reporters began asking about this, McCain’s spokesperson, Tucker Bounds, said McCain “doesn’t know the itinerary of the trip, but was speaking in boarder terms.”

Actually, I really wish he had, but that’s not what happened. McCain said “either today or tomorrow.” Those aren’t “broader terms,” they’re fairly specific terms. A handful of reporters alluded to a general timeline — NBC”s Andrea Mitchell told viewers yesterday that Obama would be arriving in Iraq “shortly” — but only McCain referenced specific days.

Mark Kleiman considered some competing explanations.

1. John McCain is unaware that the timing of U.S. officials’ trips to Iraq is kept quiet to avoid helping terrorists there plan attempts to kill them.

2. John McCain is so forgetful that he didn’t remember that when McCain said in public that Obama’s trip to Iraq is scheduled for this weekend.

3. John McCain actually wants to help terrorists assassinate Barack Obama.

It’s hard to imagine the first and third options being true, which suggests McCain was either confused, forgetful, or dangerously careless — or possible some combination therein. (I’ve seen some suggestions that McCain might have been trying to force Obama to postpone his stop in Iraq, by making it excessively risky, and thereby saying, “A ha! Obama won’t go to Iraq after all!” This, too, strikes me as unlikely.)

I’m hesitant to get too outraged by this. Obama’s schedule wasn’t classified, and given what we know about the rest of his European schedule, one might have been able to infer that the stops in the Middle East were going to happen this weekend. For that matter, as much as I’ve lost respect for McCain, I’m hardly at the point at which I believe he’s willing to literally put Obama’s life in danger.

That said, John McCain’s increasing recklessness raises legitimate questions. Even if he wasn’t sure about Obama’s schedule, and was merely speculating about the weekend, McCain knows how this system works. He knows why any and all details are kept secret. He knows why breaking protocol is literally dangerous to those traveling into war zones. For most of us, it’s just common sense. For someone who’s been in the Senate as long as McCain has, and has traveled as extensively as McCain has, it’s standard operating procedure.

And yet, he did it anyway. At an absolute minimum, it should undermine public confidence in John McCain.

I’d just add one thing. Josh Marshall asked, “Any thoughts on the reaction if Barack Obama had publicly broken the embargo on details and timing of Sen. McCain’s imminent visit to a war zone?”

I shudder to think of the apoplexy. We would hear about it, literally every day, for the rest of the campaign. Republicans everywhere would call Obama a traitor, and the media would create huge graphics that read: “Obama: Does he want McCain killed?” Democratic members of Congress would distance themselves from Obama, and the senator would be forced to issue a public apology. Every media narrative — about inexperience, lack of national security bona fides, etc. — would be reinforced.

And you know people are gonna vote for him anyway. I can't stress my horror at this enough. So what if he has to look up his own stances on issues? So what if he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade? So what if the Iraqi Prime Minister explicitly told the world McCain is wrong about Iraq? So what if his economic plans are denounced by actual economists?

He's the Republican candidate, damn it. And Republicans vote Republican! McCain's pretty bad, but at least he's not that stealth-Muslim sleeper-cell-bred terrorist-appeasin' elitist colored man!

Oh, spam.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The (Our) Iraqi Prime Minister Expresses an Opinion!

McCain? Those were your balls.

Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan - magazine

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."


"The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it isn't," Maliki told Der Spiegel.

As the Carpetbagger Report mentioned in Maliki endorses Obama’s Iraq strategy — by name, "I can’t wait for a) McCain to explain why Maliki’s opinion about events in his own country don’t matter; and b) the media to explain to me why this is good news for McCain."

Friday, July 18, 2008

So here's what we're looking at:

McCain’s attacks get more reckless, less responsible

McCain insisted that Obama’s “voting record … is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont.” When reporter Dave Helling asked if McCain believes Obama is a socialist, McCain said, “Oh I don’t know,” as if it were a distinct possibility.

And that, oddly enough, was just the tip of the iceberg.

McCain, bordering on delusion, then accused Obama of reversing course on comprehensive immigration reform, which is hysterical, given that McCain reversed course on comprehensive immigration reform and Obama didn’t. But more importantly, it led to this fascinating exchange:

Q: But you flip-flop a little bit too.

McCain: No, I didn’t.

Q: You flip-flop on drilling, on tax cuts…

McCain: Actually, I didn’t. Actually, on the drilling issue, when gasoline reached $4 a gallon, we’ve got to do things that we otherwise haven’t done in the past. I have not changed my mind on any other issue. On immigration, I said we need comprehensive immigration reform, it failed twice, so we’ve got to do what’s going to succeed.

Q: But you were against the tax cuts, now you’re talking about making them permanent. Isn’t there flip-flopping on both sides?

McCain: Actually, no.
Now, if McCain wants to justify his reversals, that’s fine. He can explain why he changed his mind on various policies, and hope that voters understand. But McCain has instead decided to pretend that he’s never flip-flopped at all. Reality just didn’t happen in McCain’s odd worldview.

“I have not changed my mind on any other issue.” Senator, I’ve counted all of your flip-flops — and at last count, there are 64. At least try to stick to reality here.

McCain relies on the bogus National Journal rankings, after they’ve already been debunked. McCain says he hasn’t flip-flopped on anything, after we’ve already found several dozen examples to the contrary. McCain says Obama hasn’t “reached across the aisle,” after we’ve found plenty of instances of Obama doing just that. McCain just keeps lying, over and over again.

But that “socialist” line is pretty extraordinary. McCain, no matter how wrong he was on a given issue, used to conduct himself with a little more class. Even when one disagreed with him, it was easier to at least respect him as a senator.

But Candidate McCain has become reckless, and frankly, kind of an embarrassment to himself.

Two related thoughts. First, McCain worked for many years to develop a solid reputation in the political establishment, as a credible guy who took policy matters seriously. It’s a shame to see him throw this reputation away as part of a win-at-all-costs crusade for the presidency.

And second, I wonder what the media reaction would be if Obama attacked McCain with this kind of ferocity. Imagine if someone asked Obama if McCain were a fascist, and Obama said, “Oh, I don’t know.” Consider the response from news outlets if Obama called McCain an “extremist,” and began making things up.

We’d hear, I suspect, an endless barrage about Obama “cracking under pressure,” and “losing his cool.” McCain’s attacks yesterday, though, will almost certainly go by unnoticed by anyone except bloggers and blog readers.

Straight Talking (Now With Added Socialism!)

The "most extreme voting record" stuff is presumably based on the National Review Journal's (oops!) claim that he was the most liberal member of the Senate in 2007. One crucial fact about those rankings: they consider the percentage of the votes a Senator actually cast, as opposed to the number of (allegedly) liberal votes cast. I'll outsource the explanation of why this matters to Steve Benen:

"Obama was the 16th most liberal senator in 2005, and the 10th most liberal in 2006, before racing to the front of the pack in 2007. National Journal suggests this has something to do with Obama moving to the left to curry favor with Democratic primary voters.But there’s a more logical explanation: Obama missed a whole lot of votes in 2007 — he’s been on the campaign trail — but was on the floor for many of the biggest, most consequential votes. In nearly every instance, he voted with the party. And with that, voila! The most liberal senator in America."
Obama is a socialist: well, not if you have any clue what 'socialism' means. Wikipedia:
"Socialism refers to any of various economic and political concepts of state or collective (i.e. public) ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods and services."
Noticed Obama trying to nationalize any industries lately? Funny, neither have I. And I have examined his voting record fairly closely -- the voting record McCain claims he's talking about.

Obama hasn't "reached across the aisle to work in a bipartisan fashion": that would be news to Richard Lugar, Tom Coburn, and others. Actually, why not quote Lugar himself, from ust a few days ago:

"Republican Sen. Dick Lugar (IN) today said an Obama campaign ad which features him is "accurate." The ad makes the point the Obama previously "reached out" to Lugar to "help lock down loose nuclear weapons."

Lugar is widely considered one of the most knowledgeable in the area of nuclear weapons proliferation and the coauthored of the 1991 Nunn-Lugar Act on cooperative threat reduction.

"He did" reach out, Lugar said. He explained that in 2005, Obama asked if he could join Lugar on a trip to Russia and other countries to visit sites under the Nunn-Lugar program.

"After that, we had legislation that we cosponsored together which passed" dealing with dangerous missiles. "So I am pleased we had that opportunity to work together," Lugar said. "I'm pleased we had the association Sen. Obama describes.""

I assume that when McCain says that Obama "supported amendments that would have killed comprehensive immigration reform", he's referring to Obama's support for the amendment that would have sunsetted the guest worker program after five years. (Obama missed the vote on the amendment that would have killed the guest worker program, .) There are a lot of principled reasons for opposing that program, like not wanting to create a legally sanctioned group of people who work for us but lack the rights of citizens. And lots of people who agree that guest worker programs are wrong also support comprehensive immigration reform. (Me, for instance.)

The only way to read the fact that Obama supported that amendment as conflicting with his claim to support comprehensive immigration reform is if you assume that nothing other than the bill in the Senate in 2007 could possibly constitute "comprehensive immigration reform": that unless you supported that specific bill, as it stood, you cannot claim to support comprehensive immigration reform. But that is, frankly, ridiculous.

It's also worth remembering that Obama voted for the immigration bill, with the guest worker program. See here, here, and here.

"I have not changed my mind on any other issue." Hahahahahaha!!!! That's a good one, John McCain! Really had me going there!

Oh, wait: he was serious?

Steve Benen's list of McCain flipflops now has 63 items. Some of them are quite important.


UPDATE: Oops, almost forgot to address this: "Senator Obama wants to raise taxes; I want to keep them low. Somebody who wants higher taxes, I'm not your candidate. Senator Obama is."

The correct version is: somebody who wants lower taxes, and is making less than $237,040: Senator Obama is your man. All those people -- 95% of taxpayers -- do better under Obama's plan than McCain's. See here for details, or consult this handy chart:


Here's what I think is weird, and anyone who's got evidence to the contrary should let me know. Republicans don't seem to be excited about McCain and in fact I hear almost nothing but bitching about him from Republicans I know. If you don't believe me, check sites like this.

To me this would suggest that you shouldn't vote for McCain. You don't agree with him on the issues, you don't think he's a real Conservative, you think he's a sleazy politician who's going senile to boot. So why in the hell do you want to put him in charge?

The answer is that it doesn't matter what Republicans want or what Republicans like. Sure, there are people who genuinely consider the candidates each election year, but by and large it doesn't matter if McCain makes his "base" happy. They'll vote for him because he's the Republican, and Republicans vote Republican. Once he secured the nomination, I saw very little he could do to lose the votes of the Right, including losing their support.

My opinion on this hasn't changed. If I could collect some small unit of currency for every Republican who hates McCain, but will vote against their own interests to get him elected... I'd still be depressed but at least I'd be depressed and wealthy. And then maybe Republicans would start looking out for me for a change!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bite me, DHHS.

No. No no no no no.

HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion

In a spectacular act of complicity with the religious right, the Department of Health and Human Services Monday released a proposal that allows any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman's access to contraception. In order to do this, the Department is attempting to redefine many forms of contraception, the birth control 40% of Americans use, as abortion.


Up until now, the federal government followed the definition of pregnancy accepted by the American Medical Association and our nation's pregnancy experts, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is: pregnancy begins at implantation. With this proposal, however, HHS is dismissing medical experts and opting instead to accept a definition of pregnancy based on polling data. It now claims that pregnancy begins at some biologically unknowable moment (there's no test to determine if a woman's egg has been fertilized). Under these new standards there would be no way for a woman to prove she's not pregnant. Thus, any woman could be denied contraception under HHS' new science.

The other rarely discussed issue here is whether hormonal contraception even does what the religious right claims. There is no scientific evidence that hormonal methods of birth control can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. This argument is the basis upon which the religious right hopes to include the 40% of the birth control methods Americans use, such as the pill, the patch, the shot, the ring, the IUD, and emergency contraception, under the classification "abortion."

See also Abortion, Birth Control Opponents May Get Federal Protection. Gays, Not So Much

Hospitals, clinics, researchers and medical schools would have to sign “written certifications” that they won't discriminate in any way against people or institutions that oppose abortion or some forms of birth control or refuse to perform them. This includes oral contraception and emergency contraception and is apparently an attempt by the radical religious right to classify oral contraception as abortion. Naturally, the Bush administration is eager to help out.

So, the inner city women's clinic employee who refuses to talk to patients about birth control? Can't touch her. The hospital pharmacist who refuses to fill prescriptions for birth control? She can't be fired or disciplined. The doctor who refuses to give emergency contraception to a rape victim for "religious reasons?" Give that man a promotion.

He goes on to mention that this is the administration that doesn't believe in preventing discrimination against homosexuals.

Is it clear enough yet? Is it clear enough yet that you are more important and valuable to the Bush administration before you're born than afterward? Is it clear enough that this administration is not done jerking us around yet?

There's some more information about this at Medical News Today.

Mary Jane Gallagher, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, said, "The proposed definition of abortion is so broad that it would cover many types of birth control, including oral contraceptives and emergency contraception." She added, "We worry that under the proposal, contraceptive services would become less available to low-income and uninsured women." Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, "Why on earth is the Bush administration trying to discourage doctors and clinics from providing contraception to women who need it?" Christina Pearson, a spokesperson for HHS, declined to discuss the draft rule. "We don't normally comment on whether we are considering changes in regulations," Pearson said (Pear, New York Times, 7/15).
Just no, to all of this.

No. No, no, no.

You need to email some people and even call some people if you can.

First, emails. This page has a tool to email your members of Congress. Pester them to pester everyone else.

And then!

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt
Office Phone: 202-690-7000 or 202-205-4708
Fax: 202-690-7203
Correspondence Secretary: 202-690-6392

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


"I am someone who is no doubt progressive" from The Carpetbagger Report.

This is an excellent blog, and I really suggest that people check it out. It's definitely left-leaning, but the thing I've noticed about left-leaning blogs (as opposed to right-leaning blogs) is that they tend to *gasp* link to their sources. The bias is there, but I'm inclined to lend much more credence here than, say, WorldNetDaily or whathaveyou because The Carpetbagger Report actually bothers to present sources for what it claims.

It's left-leaning, but it's also right. (And yes, I tried to think of a way to avoid that pun and just couldn't get around it.)

Whether Barack Obama is “moving to the middle” is a topic of considerable discussion, though I tend to think most of the handwringing is overwrought and misplaced. But I was taken aback by the ferocity of Bob Herbert’s column in the NYT this morning, in which he complained that Obama is “not just tacking gently toward the center,” but “lurching right” and “zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that’s guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash.”

So there he was in Zanesville, Ohio, pandering to evangelicals by promising not just to maintain the Bush program of investing taxpayer dollars in religious-based initiatives, but to expand it. Separation of church and state? Forget about it.

And there he was, in the midst of an election campaign in which the makeup of the Supreme Court is as important as it has ever been, agreeing with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas that the death penalty could be imposed for crimes other than murder. What was the man thinking?
As much as I tend to enjoy Herbert’s work, this column is way over the top, and in some instances, simply factually wrong. For example, if you simply read the AP report last week, you’d get the impression that Obama’s “faith-based initiative” is just like Bush’s. Unfortunately, Herbert didn’t read the actual speech, or he would have known that this simply isn’t true. This isn’t an example of Obama “lurching” towards Bush’s position; it’s an example of the opposite.


I can’t help but think the hyperventilating in some corners has become wildly excessive. On some issues (gay marriage in California, reforming the bankruptcy laws), Obama has moved to the left. On others (Iraq, death penalty, faith-based programs), he hasn’t moved at all. He switched gears on public financing, but that was pragmatic, not ideological. Obama is wrong about the FISA “compromise,” but one issue, albeit an important one, is not evidence of “zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that’s guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash.”

In fact, one of the great ironies of the last couple of weeks is that there’s been hysterical cries about Obama “moving to the middle” without him really moving much at all. In some ways, this is actually the best of all possible worlds — voters (most of whom consider themselves moderates) are being told that Obama is angering liberals by campaigning as a centrist, while at the same time, Obama is just about as progressive as he was before.

In this sense, Obama is getting credit for moderation without really having to moderate. It’s disappointing to read a sloppy attack like Herbert’s, but in the big picture, maybe that’s a good thing for voters who think Obama’s “too liberal” to hear.

And about Obama's supposed change in position on Iraq stuff. Honestly, guys. I know some of you are buying this and that's just disturbing. It's pretty clear you haven't been listening, because you can't tell the difference between someone who's feeding you a shameless line of unsubstantiated crap, and someone who's repeated the same set of things over and over for years. I'm going to link this and be done with it.

Now let's see how McCain does on the consistency test. The Carpetbagger Report has an alarming list, as does Ira Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council.


But y'know... people who are buying this are, like I said before, not paying attention. They're credulous people looking to justify voting with "their team" for good or ill, and if they weren't convinced by reason and research... I have little hope of changing their minds. I just get tired of hearing their crap!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

FISA: Why we continue to fight

FISA: Why we continue to fight.

Back in March, I wrote a story laying out the rationale for drawing out a FISA fight that everyone expected us eventually to lose. ("We don't have the votes!") The basic premise:

Every time Congressional Dems actually slow down and take stock of the situation -- from Senator Chris Dodd's brave (and lonely and seemingly futile) stand, to the cautious maneuvering of House Dems today -- new revelations arise that should make all Americans who value our freedoms glad they did.

Well, the House stopped slowing down recently, and have handed an all-too-willing Senate (which has all along been more willing than the House, it must be noted) a bill that puts retroactive immunity for the pay-for-play telecom spies back on the table. Now it's back in the Senate's lap, with a few brave souls preparing to do what they can to keep the train wreck in slow motion.

Is that worth doing? Sure. And for all the same reasons, which perhaps deserve mention again as Senators prepare to vote on this mess when they come back to work next week. And it couldn't hurt for you to be armed with this list if you see your Senators or Representatives at your local Fourth of July festivities.

So, over the years since we first learned of the Bush domestic spying scheme, and in the six month reprieve that the extended FISA fight has given us, what have we learned about the security and surveillance practices of the "administration" that we supposedly should trust with these new powers?

I suggest people read the entry on the original page. If you want to know what people like me are so damned worried about, look at the list in the entry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Articles I found!

Link round-up, since I lack the energy for full entries on all these things.


Obama's Supporters Organize on FISA

I had no idea that the protest group on Obama's website had grown to almost nine thousand people. It was about 1,500 when I joined. No wonder the damn listserv was clogging my inbox. o_o

Proving that you can both support a candidate and hold him or her accountable, a major effort by grassroots activists within the Obama campaign is asking for his support in opposing the bad FISA Amendments Act, and particularly, telco amnesty.


This effort shows two things: the always-expanding power of the Internet for organizing. We knew at the outset what a powerful tool the tubes were going to present, but the new iterations that people create on a daily basis is fantastic (and another reason for the Net Neutrality fight to be rejoined full force when we have our new president and Congress).

It also shows that you can fully support Barack Obama and still disagree with him on issues. That being a supporter, particularly a netroots supporter, doesn't mean setting aside your own beliefs and principles. We're not supposed to just shut up when we disagree--if we do, we're setting a very bad precedent for our role in a potential Obama presidency.

The real story on Obama's "faith-based initiatives" stance

Ignore the false claims by the AP that Obama is supporting the rights of faith-based groups to discriminate and keep their federal dollars too.

Anticipating criticism from the left, Obama said: “I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership will endanger that idea — so long as we follow a few basic principles. First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.”

The Obama campaign released plans saying his new President's Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, working within the White House, “will work to engage faith-based organizations and help them abide by the principles that federal funds cannot be used to proselytize, that they should not discriminate in providing their services, and they should be held to the same standards of accountability as other federal grant recipients.”

How to market Obama to your Republican friends

Most Republicans' biggest gripe with their own party - by far - is its failure to control the bureaucracy and reign in runaway federal spending and deficits. It is useful to mention that while the last five (5) Republican Presidents promised fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, all of them grew discretionary civilian spending by tremendous amounts, and ran up ever larger deficits. Meanwhile, only Pres. Bill Clinton balanced the federal budget, and produced four years of surpluses, with the same forecast long into the indefinite future. A big problem with the federal budget is that almost nobody knows where all the money is going; its easy to add earmarks and pork barrel spending and special interest giveaways when the people back home cant tell the difference. Sen. Barack Obama's major legislative accomplishment in the Senate, the The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 has been to bring transparency to federal spending. Send your Republican friends to which his legislation created, a veritable "Google of the Federal Budget", where anyone can research every dollar to see where their tax money is actually going. The whole Federal Rathole is now online, for the first time ever, inviting scrutiny from whoever has the patience to slog through it all. You dont have to be a CPA to realize that this does more in the long run to control wasteful federal spending than all the speeches Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon ever gave on the subject, put together.

Obama Win Offers Brand America a Global Lift

The U.S. would profit globally from a failed Obama presidency more than it would from a successful McCain presidency.

That's the sort of provocative, but plausible, statement that lies at the heart of the famous Oxford Union debates.


Then take it up with Kunal Basu, an Indian-born, U.S.- educated, Oxford University professor who examines how corporate reputations are made and broken. He argues that America's badly damaged brand around the world, one that has changed the course of human history, has never been about its military superiority, its economic-growth rates or even its innovative spirit.

``Where the U.S. has really been on the leading edge has been not technology but morality,'' he says. Its very existence has been constructed around freedom of religion, speech and other individual choices, and the ground-breaking ideal that all humans were created equal.

``Now it has the chance to re-establish itself there again,'' he says. ``The fact that the most powerful nation in the world could again be the most moral would be transformative. The world needs it.''

Reputation, a matter of the most enormous value for companies and individuals alike, is hard to establish but easy to lose. The same is true of countries.

With Abu Ghraib torture photos, Guantanamo Bay's stain on due process, and the U.S.'s perceived ineffectiveness from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, Brand America is hurting bad.

I'm linking this article because I'm mentioned in it.

I actually got a facebook message from some MSNBC reporter wanting to interview me as well, but she needed to do it that day and alas... I don't check facebook on a daily basis.

Jeff Strabone of Brooklyn now signs credit card receipts with his newly assumed middle name, while Dan O’Maley of Washington, D.C., jiggered his e-mail account so his name would appear as “D. Hussein O’Maley.” Alex Enderle made the switch online along with several other Obama volunteers from Columbus, Ohio, and now friends greet him that way in person, too.

Mr. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.

“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on

So like the residents of Billings, Mont., who reacted to a series of anti-Semitic incidents in 1993 with a townwide display of menorahs in their front windows, these supporters are brandishing the name themselves.

And perhaps the most important one of all. An entry on DailyKos about Obama's legislative record.

Here are a couple of the article's examples:

The Lugar-Obama Cooperative Threat Reduction.
Introduced by Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Dick Lugar and Sen. Tom Coburn.

First introduced in November 2005 and enacted in 2007, this bill expanded upon the successful Nunn-Lugar threat reduction, which helped secure weapons of mass destruction and related infrastructure in former Soviet Union states.

Lugar-Obama expanded this nonproliferation program to conventional weapons -- including shoulder-fired rockets and land mines. When the bill received $48 million in funding, Obama said, "This funding will further strengthen our ability to detect and intercept illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction, enhancing efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism."

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act
In the first month of the 110th Congress, Obama worked with Sen. Russ Feingold to pass this law, which amends and strengthens the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

Specificially, the changes made by Obama and Feingold requires public disclosure of lobbying activity and funding, places more restrictions on gifts for members of Congress and their staff, and provides for mandatory disclosure of earmarks in expenditure bills.

The House passed the bill, 411-8, on July 31. The Senate approved it, 83-14, on Aug. 2. At the time, Obama called it "the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The internet is serious fucking business.

So on one of my forums, a girl started a topic bemoaning the deaths of some celebrities. You know the ones. Stanley Winston, George Carlin, Michael Turner. "June has become a dark month," she says, the month having been "overcast in darkness and despair."

Aside from how ridiculously melodramatic that is... I kind of have a moral problem with it. What the fuck is with people who will completely fall apart emotionally over the death of one celebrity they never even knew (Heath Ledger anyone?) but don't even seem to register enormous tragedies when they occur? Is it just that people they see on TV are "real," whereas thousands of faceless Asians just don't have the same impact?

There's nothing wrong with mentioning it and noting that it happened. Don't get me wrong, it matters that celebrities died just like it matters when anyone dies.


Just repeat that and ask yourselves what would make your world OVERCAST IN DARKNESS AND DESPAIR.

"June has become a dark month" my ass. I guess May wasn't dark enough for her. Just a lot of strangers, right. No one she really knew (and by knew I mean she watched them on TV or went to see their movies).

I held off on replying until a couple of other people jumped on the melodrama bandwagon.

May was a rough month, too. Something like ten thousand people died after the earthquake in China, which sucks because a lot of them were probably trapped under rubble and buried alive. If you want to donate to the earthquake relief to help rebuild schools and hospitals and stuff, you can go here.

There was also that cyclone in Myanmar. A lot of people died there, too, and the worst part of it is that their government wasn't letting international aid workers in for, like, weeks. Bad for the national image, y'know, having other countries help your RAVAGED DYING PEOPLE. Eventually they let aid workers in, though, and if I recall the death toll passed twenty thousand (with over forty thousand missing). Their food infrastructure was also badly damaged, which means there are going to be a lot of hungry people for a good long while. If you want to donate to help all those people, click here.

Then there was our own backyard. The terrible flooding in the midwest around where I live has left a lot of people outof homes and jobs. The link I just offered is a link to donate to help the victims of that flooding. The twisted part is that the rainfall is badly needed in Oklahoma where they've had a drought year. In an area based on agriculture, you kinda sorta do need water. It's all evidently in the midwest drowning people and destroying their homes, instead of keeping cattle and crops alive further west.

So I guess, if June's celebrity deaths get you down too badly... it could always be worse. It could always have been May. May was my month of darkness and shock and grieving, even though the thousands of people dead and homeless and hungry are--in many cases--halfway across the world.

And before you say it, yes. I know that when someone is in emotional distress it's not generally helpful to tell them that what they're freaking out about is not really as worthy of their attention as... well, any number of things. But at the same time, get a fucking grip and get some fucking perspective.

An admin posted in the thread later chastising me and a couple of other people (who will no doubt be seen now as my minions, mindless drones sent into threads by their mistress to parrot my dangerous and malicious propaganda) for trying to remind this girl that if she's going to have a nervous breakdown, it's kinda fucked up that this is what she cares about. At the very least, as one girl stated who lives in Singapore and was closer to the disasters, "if June was a month of darkness for you because of these people dying - I'd say that you're very fortunate because you seem not to be personally affected by the disasters that've been littering the headlines of international news for years on end. Just my two cents."

Also, I get the distinct impression that the staff of this forum have begun to read my other journal (where this is cross-posted), presumably to figure out what makes me such an ornery troublemaking little bitch. This is why. People on your forum will spaz over the deaths of people who died wealthy and old and safe and surrounded by loved ones, but there was nothing on the board about the natural disasters going on everywhere killing thousands in pretty terrible ways.

Those priorities are fucking sick, and that's why I'm such an ornery troublemaking little bitch.