.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Interest and Perspective

Our views depend on our priorities and the information we receive

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Martial Law

This article inexplicably claims that martial law has been declared in New Orleans because of the hurricane. No mention of who declared this state, but the story does note that "the declaration is imposed to restore order in times of war and emergency." No other stories I've found use the term.

Not so fast, WDSU: martial law, where constitutional, is only properly declared by the President and/or (no one's really sure) by Congress, in situations where the "courts have closed." The courts are not totally in shambles in LA. State constitutions sometimes have martial law provisions, but I couldn't find any on a quick search that had been ok under the federal constitution. Doesn't look like they've been tested, though.

The administration can't hate the timing of this thing.

Also interesting: recent reminders that many National Guardsmen (trained to deal with this type of emergency, not in infantry work, of course) aren't here anymore when they're called for.

Anyone else care to use the disaster to further their agenda?

On a related note: last night we thought the worst was past, this morning we find that the levies have broken, the power's out, and there fatalities (I'll spare the reader some of the more gruesome and heart-rending tales). It's good to know all is well with my people, but the city's taken a big hit and it'll be a long way to recovery, as they say. I just hope the (real) old architecture gets to stay--it's one of the best parts!

*update* -- NOLA's been evacuated. No drinking water. Yep, the whole city. That road's looking longer and longer....

*martial law note* Andrew Somers allays my fears--looks like the media needs to fact-check and use the right words. I'll keep the mainstream hat on and chalk this one up to accident....

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Where's Willie?

Nobel Peace-prize winner (remember, no fact checking here) Willie Nelson was supposed to play at the Crawford circus [tent] today, but the old bean didn't show up. I want to know what happened...likewise, I was supposed to go but my ride bailed out early. I doubt Mr. Nelson's driver left without him....

I also hear tell it was a rumor a rumor that Willie was going to play, started by a teenager hoping on a fan site that the singer would show up. Who knows....

People with pro-war signs are stupid.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Bush's "Lies"

OK, so it's been noted that Bush is again tying Iraq to 9/11, and it's been said that this "dessicated lie" (see previous post on I&P) is not only egregious but stupid.

We need to see this properly. Although it's a great card to play, calling out the Pres on his bunk link between the two, we ourselves are not being totally honest. Bush's speech is actually one of the most honest things he's said (still wrong, though, when he invokes Cold War dominoe-theory bullshit, given the different dynamic): Bush actually admitted in the speech that his goal was to __control the region__. Of course that's his goal! From Israel to Pakistan (and beyond), we're trying to become the dominant power. Economic colonialism backed by force, dig?

My point is that liberals could get a lot more mileage from this observation than by pointing out that Bush is a liar--everyone knows that already (although it's great that it's happened). Just try not sounding like "conspiracy theorists" talking about the New World Order (quotes used because it's hardly a conspiracy anymore, given CAFTA, WTO practices, attempted control of the Middle East, etc.--their arrogance shows by letting it right out in the open now).


Weaving the strands

I love this article. Brings the Bush-war-Sheehan issues all home, at least for me.

Also, it's great when you can be totally objective and still bash Bush. And that's the cool thing about a media developement--you can talk about the talk, and ultimately end up talking about the walk. Which reminds me of a Pacifica host's today saying that the talk about Sheehan is not about her, but about the president.

Also, is Bush following me? Idaho seems an unlikely place to begin rallying support (it is a red state, but Idaho? come on...). Get where the gettin's good, I guess.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Mike Allen

Three days ago, Mike Allen at the Washington Post wrangled some out-context quotes from Ms. Sheehan in Crawford, showing a seeming bias against her cause. Bad press.

"But," now says Allen, "if Sheehan winds up providing the catalyst for a muscular antiwar movement, Bush's handling of the matter will turn out to be not only characteristic but also consequential." Allen is right in pointing out in the first paragraph that Bush has brought this on himself. What remains to be seen is whether Dubya's gambit will pay off for the Republicans in 06 and 08.

Interesting pitch shift, Mike. Also interesting: your metareporting: "On ABC's 'Good Morning America,' George Stephanopoulos said that 'a lot of Republicans would say...that this is the president's Swift boat moment,' a reference to Sen. John F. Kerry's tardiness in responding to attacks on his war record during last year's presidential campaign."

Much better press, methinks. Also, the Guardian recognizes a "tipping point."

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Arianna Huffington, Judith Miller, John Bolton

Ariana Huffington herself tells us the news that John Bolton met with Judith Miller in jail.

The former CA gov candidate's reporting on this meeting seems truly bizarre. Not to mention the meeting itself, which seems odd because the two existed (in my mind, at least) seperately in the political public figure pantheon. Now we find out that Bolton fed the reporter stories in the past, etc. Wonder when the book comes out....


Cultural negotiations

Saleh al-Mutlaq, one of four main Sunni negotiators, told The Associated Press: ``We will reject [the proposed constitution] and the people will be angry, the street will be angry and as a result we will be back to square one.'" Civil war?

The Sunnis' objections are based in their opposition to a self-governed region for Shiites; they say they want to deal with these after ratification and do not want any federalism provisions in the constitution itself.

I gotta say, that's the sort of thing that should go in a constitution. Horizontal sovereignty of political subdivisions can be legislated, but that means that it can be unlegislated. If a certain group or region should be independant in order to protect minority rights, that can't be left to the parliament or the courts. On the other hand, it might be better to keep things fluid (just in case the country actually has a chance of becoming a cohesive whole). But a lot of problems can be headed off by dealing with this stuff now.


Commenting on the News

Is a new national pastime. Let me take a crack: Bagnews muses: "I started to consider the power of an image; the strength (and cunning) of the right wing PR machine; and the lemming-like gullibility of a big chunk of the electorate (as well, of course, as the fact Saddam and Osama used to be roommates, and the quote--insurgency--unquote is in its last throes)....

"Finally it was clear (if not already obvious to everyone else) that Cindy's otherwise inspiring mission is not strong enough to do more than amplify mostly left-wing anti-war sentiment (and possibly provide stimulus for more broad-based questioning).

"Which ultimately means that what is needed (which has always been needed) are actual politicians to stop that man before he kisses again."

I disagree, if only because political action will be only the last step, and "broad-based questioning" and more will be required first. In fact, I again forecast that the culture split represented by disagreement over the war will continue to be more apparant as we progress. For instance, I've witnessed and had people (in Austin) actually wishing each other and myself Peace and flashing signs (and not at a vigil).

The discussion on Bagnews ranges from whether Bush is forcing Ms. Sheehan to kiss in the picture, to how good or bad the release of these pictures make him look.


Savage Enemy

President Bush announced in his weekly radio session that he is still committed to a war on a savage enemy.

Bush is blatantly propagandizing, dehumanizing the "enemy" . Not the path to peace. In fact, there's no room to move from that kind of early position to any kind of reconciliation with the peace movement. So he must think that he's stronger than his naysayers and can outlast them. Not ideal, but entertaining nonetheless.


The Ten Commandments on the Capital Grounds

Even if this doesn't establish religion, it carries the implicit message "this is the better religion". It's right in between the Capital and the courthouse. Nice and subtle, guys.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Blinky pants

Holy crap. Y'all thought GORETEX, KEVLAR, and
TUPPERWARE were the best we could do? Sheets, kids!
Frickin' nanosheets! Ahh, sweet opiate that is
technology....now I'm not saying people'll be walking
around with bullet-proof exoskeletons or nuthin',

I won't even try to get into what makes nanotech so
cool and so potentially useful, or how it works, but
I will remind the reader that we can't even imagine what
we'll be able to do with this stuff. Exoskeletons ain't
nothing if they don't endow the wearer with super-
strength and cloaking ability, right? Body
modification could also take some interesting turns...

This isn't about useless Buckyballs, or about clothes
that can light up (although that could work). All of our
guesses as to what this tech will be turn out to be will
be primitive, anachronistic hopes.

Exciting times, friends--interesting to see what we do
with them. We still need those replacement organs....

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Justice Roberts

Hmm....I had thought that the stink over Roberts'
appointment was a smokescreen by those coopting the
feminist movement (after all, Roberts _did_ say that
_Roe v. Wade_ was "sacrosanct" after _Casey_, right?),
but material released by the Reagan Library in Simi
Valley made me groan: during his tenure as a White
House lawyer for the former-actor-cum-el-presidente,
Roberts "disparaged state efforts to combat
discrimination against women and wondered whether
'encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes
to the common good.'"

Well, it really does look like this guy's stuck in the
past. What common good was he (is he?) talking about?
The one implanted in his conservative head as a child?
The one that wants to teach children that we don't
fall down because of gravity, but rather because God's
just pushed us (kidding, they want to do that with

And what irony that he's replacing O'Connor! First
woman appointed to the Supreme Court (by Reagan, no
less), after she fought hard to break into the legal
industry (like doing secretary work after passing the
bar just to pay the rent), replaced by a guy that
wouldn't have wanted her there. For real.

Looks inevitable ladies. Get you to the LSAT
(looks like we need the help)! (Except the hemophobic
Ophelias in the audience tonight--it's not worth the
psychic bloodletting).


Limbaugh Flaunts his Ignorance

Sayeth the pill-popping hypocrite: "I mean, Cindy
Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing
more than forged documents. There's nothing about it
that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming
onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an
attempt. It's the latest effort made by the
coordinated left."

I must point out that the media "glomming" onto Ms.
Sheehan first would be the internet media. And now the
glommers include newspapers. Second, it is real--the
effort is not coming from an organized left. The
people at this protest were there because they wanted
to be, individually. And for the record, the
conservative media and the Pres have all been spouting
the same coordinated lines about Ms. Sheehan for

In other news, Bush went on a bike ride today.



[I wrote this on 8/5, two weeks ago and less than a
week before Cindy Sheehan started everyone's engines
up. Funny thing is that it started out as an email to
a friend regarding Bush's suggestion that we teach
creationism in schools. Looking at it in light of the
past two weeks is interesting methinks. It's a true
relief that we just needed some event or person to
coalesce around, and that we haven't been completely
stultified yet.]

Why don’t I talk about us, that is, Americans. First
off, the last two decades have been insane and
inhuman; as a country we’ve lost sight of the proper
goals of a civilization, that is, enlightenment of the
people, their comfort, and peace. The framing of the
situation comes from different perspectival models, to
use a military term, but the bottom line is this: our
country is out of balance. In fact, we’ve been
spinning out of balance for the last two decades, from
what I've gathered.

That said (and left unexplained, we (and here I mean
again my colleagues) are in a unique position, not only
to recover a lot of lost political ground, but also to
reclaim a lot of our heritage, our humanity. It is
altogether possible to create real change in our land:
in addition those who’ve had their eyes open since the
beginning (You know who you are, you kidders), large
numbers of mainstream America have woken up to the
plain facts that their leadership stinks, that it in
fact despises them and wishes to staunch the bleeding
by tightening the noose. The current administration
has done nothing positive (the fear-filled jingoist
may disagree), and in fact in recent days has proposed
that American schools not only go back to being lazy
about science, but actively teaching half-truths about
our natural origins (only if they want to, of course).
Bush may have our souls’ best interests at heart if
what he proposes is that we recognize our place in a
world guided by forces unseen, but Americans know that
this is not science and does not belong in public
school science courses. The result is a flat insult to
their intelligence. (We won’t even talk about how a
“activist” court might remedy such an error.)

So the people of America know enough, thank god,
through our cultural memory and sufficient education
(for those who needed it, which may not include our
aforementioned downtrodden who neither needed nor
received this sort of education from the state) to
realize these problems. What’s more, we also know
enough (enough of us, at least) to see a new path. We
all long for peace, comfort, and human connection. The
government can provide the first, to a large degree,
can aid us in attaining the second, and has nothing to
do with the third. Bush won’t provide spiritual
meaning – we’ll provide it ourselves. My friends and
colleagues know that, given restricted government
interference in our lives (which the right wing
espouses as a goal while simultaneous building up the
machinery of control), we will find peace and
happiness and will lead our brothers and sisters to
the same. The right wing does not believe this. And
the corporate branch of the conservative party will
have none of it—they’ve inventory to liquidate.

You may ask, if you are against government
interference in our lives, why are you against Bush’s
plan to “give schools more freedom”? Well, the answer,
my conservative-minded friend (whom I am by no means
bashing, given that my though train looks
counterintuitive and may bear a resemblance to the
paradox many conservatives see in liberalism, which,
once addressed, may actually turn out to be a point of
solidarity between everyone, regardless of which side
of the virtual, arbitrary, and dehumanizing “political
specturm” we’re all forced to place ourselves on) is
this: Bush’s granting schools license to teach
nonscience subjects in science classes, subjects which
should be intrroduced in philosophy classes, is not

Freedom would mean educating our children with
textbooks that come from the same decade, not letting
the kids in the red states get the shaft from those
that benefit by keeping them in the dark.

Freedom would be giving public schools money to study
philosophy. But this can’t be allowed to happen.
Bush’s coalition is not only made up of the
spiritual/religious-minded, but also the
corporate/money-minded, who would certainly pull the
rug out from any hippy-dippy shit like that (read:
neo-cons and religious conservatives never the
twain shall meet).

But back to my main point, which is not as dark as
this diatribe may sound. Bush is starting to look
ridiculous, and people my age think we’re all pretty
smart. We may not all want to lead just yet, but we
can certainly throw the bums out in three years. Let’s
hope they don’t do too much damage before then.


Political Happenings and Points of Departure

Seeing both such a movement and the media feeding frenzy
surrounding it (this blog included) take off has made quite an
impression on my own perspective. For real, I doubted
our ability as a people to rise up again.
Looks like "they've" done it now.

The country, now that its media has a figure to center
a story around, is finally experiencing a burgeoning
peace movement. Of course, the sentiments already
existed before Cindy Sheehan became the sand in the
oyster. But it really is amazing that a single person,
merely by going to Crawford (what, we can actually
assemble and petition our government?) and speaking to
a few reporters, can give life to tensions already
widely extant and begin to change the world.

Of course, the media and various political groups have
interests in Ms. Sheehan--she gives them something to
do. But for all the videocameras and still cams at
Camp Casey, anyone there could tell you that this
thing was not organized by some group. The people in
Crawford last weekend held a variety of political,
religious, and philosophical views, and not all saw
her message perfectly matching their own. However,
everyone there felt a part of something larger than
themselves--they felt in the middle of the action.

Likewise, my single decision to skip work and leave
Friday morning, made on impulse late the night before,
also led me down a path much different than what might
have been. I wouldn't have made it to the site until
Saturday night (and even then, I would only have
gotten to see Alex Jones barking). As it happened, not
only did I see some old friends and meet some new
ones, but I've got a trip to Tijuana to look forward
to. Sweet.


New Blog

New times, new blog, to slurp from the great
primordial sea of internet media enough material for a
decent meta site. There certainly are enough

[ACLU Execution Watch Counter]
ACLU Execution Watch