Saturday, February 28, 2004

Vote for Kerry on Tuesday! 

I admit it: I haven't really done my due diligence on the remaining Democratic contenders. Back when Dean was the frontrunner, I figured he would have the nomination wrapped up before Minnesota held its March 2 caucus. Then after Dean collapsed (much to my disappointment), I figured Kerry would have it wrapped up by March 2. And some would argue that he does.

So far, I've considered Kerry to be the least acceptable of the 'acceptable' candidates (i.e. not Gephardt, Lieberman or Sharpton). After all, he's not particularly charismatic, and the Bush campaign has already made some minor, but seemingly accurate, attacks on his record (they've also told some outright lies). And a few folks on the left are already accusing Kerry of being 'Bush-lite', like Alexander Cockburn for example (subscription required):

". . . it's hard to figure how big a slice of the earth's inhabitants would register a dime's worth of difference between the two, or even a genome's worth, for that matter. After all, they are cousins. Sixteenth cousins. Why, in San Francisco right now they could legally get married."

On the other hand, my parents live in North Carolina, and just today they told me not to vote for Edwards, because as near as they can tell, the only thing he's done in the Senate is to run for president. It seems that he routinely misses votes. In other words, he's all flash and no substance.

So I was pleased to see David Corn, a journalist whom I greatly admire, write a column explaining 'What's Right With Kerry'.

Read it. I'm sure you'll want to vote for him, too.

(Also posted at edwardpig)

The Foreshadows of the Past 

In the forward to the paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings (George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1968), J.R.R. Tolkien warned his readers not to look too deeply into his writings for hidden messages - there were none of a conscious nature.
As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches; but its main theme was settled from the outset by the inevitable choice of the Ring as the link between it and The Hobbit. The crucial chapter, 'The Shadow of the Past', is one of the oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels.
Regardless of Tolkien's admonition, readers and critics have been seeing allegory and parallels to real history, usually applicable to the time period in which they are reading and critiquing, since the day the books were published. In the 1950's the story was about Hitler and the rise and fall of the Third Reich, followed by the paranoia and scouring of the Red Scare and McCarthyism. When the books were published in paperback, the flower children latched on to it as a testimony against the military/industrial complex and an appeal to return to simpler things. (As a result, there were a lot of communes dotting the countryside named "Rivendell" and "Lothlorien," and I'm willing to bet there are quite a few people in their thirties named Frodo, Bilbo, or Arwen.) Now with the huge success of the Peter Jackson-directed series of films, the trilogy is taking on deeper meaning to the current world situation with roles re-cast by bloggers and pundits.

Read the rest at Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Surviving A Worst Case Scenario 

For anyone not depressed enough thinking about each of the things that BushCo have done to our country these past four years, I thought I'd do you all a favor. Over at The Fulcrum I've put them all together and tried to predict what things would be like after another four years.

I will admit it's the longest post I've ever written, and I'll further admit that what I see in my rather cloudy crystal ball is not at all encouraging. It is in fact, as I put it, a "dark, bleak future that lies at the end of the neo-con path." What I hope it does is motivate just one person who reads it. Most of the people who read my blog are probably going to vote for "Anybody But Bush," but if I can change just one person's mind, if I can convince one undecided to cast a vote for the Democratic nominee - just one - I'll consider it to have been worth the effort.

Here's a sample:

"Your papers are not in order!"

Already, in an attempt at making Americans think they are serious about "Homeland Security," we have to endure ridiculous searches at airports. Some, identified by some process, are subjected to closer inspection. These typically include old women in wheel chairs, young families with children and professionals in suits. But efforts have been underway by the Department of Homeland Security to develop more intrusive methods of screening airline passengers. Early efforts have been met by howls of protest by passengers and civil libertarians, but make no mistake about it; should BushCo be reelected, CAPPS II or something very much like it will be implemented. Every time you fly, John Ashcroft and his cronies will be looking at your travel history, your credit history, and - if they can get away with it - what books you recently checked out at the library.

Read the rest of A Worst Case Scenario.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

changing definitions 

at rubber hose i review the changes in the centuries old legal definition of marriage that occurred in the mid-19th century.

Open Letter: The Federal Marriage Amendment 

Like Charles, I also wrote a letter about the Federal Marriage Amendment. You can see my effort at edwardpig.

It doesn't matter whether you crib from my letter or Charles', or compose one of your own. But please speak out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sometimes I just Feel Weird! 

While writing my next post for the Blogger's Chess Match, I suddenly, for absolutely no reason, felt like Rip Taylor. I've set up an appointment to see a therapist.


I've finally come up with a contest! With prizes and everything!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Right Thing 

Everyone in the blogosphere is talking about President Bush's backing of the blatent idiocy Marriage Amendment. many are angry at this news but I'd like to take this opportunity to defend our cowardly brave President. You have to give him credit. No other Dictator President but George W. Bush would take such a dramatic and bold stand against homosexual citizens activist judges demanding the right to mary the one they love forced sodomy. It's really amazing to see such an ignorant motherfucker articulate man make an obvious political gesture ardent and heartfelt plea for bigotry kindness and decency in these troubled times. The frothing redneck hatemongers American People have spoken. They want the Government interfearing in personal matters to take a stand, to stem the tide of equality depravity which threatens to undermine their stranglehold on power our Democracy.

The Simulated President 

In deference to the Fanatical Right, I will no longer compare George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot or any of the more colorful and flamboyant dictators of the twentieth Century. However dramatic (and tentatively accurate) these comparisons may be, they fall short of their point. Once the statement, "Bush is like Hitler" is made, you can almost hear minds closing and making any sort of rational argument from that point forward is a Sisyphean task, to say the least. Not only do we have to contend with the quibbling over what "is" Nazism or Fascism as a sociopolitical movement, we have to deal with ontological categories as a whole; are these ideas two branches of the same thing, or are they Left or Right of the political seesaw? Ultimately such questions are pure sophism, or worse philosphistry, which is the creative act of dressing up half baked arguments as philosophical discourse on the level of what did Nietzsche really mean by "the Abyss" and can one get a decent bowl of pad tai noodles when you get there?

So, to avoid pissing in anyone's porridge, I will instead take the safe route and compare George W. Bush to only fictional presidents. By their nature of being fictional, there's no real emotional investment in these "people" and so the accuracy of their political positions are of a symbolic nature only. (We could argue that Bush's policies are equally symbolic in that they have no bearing on his actions but that's a different essay altogether).

Read Part One: The Revolution of Lowered Expectations
Part Two: Save Us, Arumcheck!

Bush to Codify Bigotry 

You've probably heard by now that aWol intends to come out in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in the United States. May of us in the Liberal Coalition - and those in our blogrolls - have posted our opinions on the bigotry of conservatives, the Christian-right and homophobes in America. Here's just a bit from my post today:

According to MSNBC, the miscreant in our White House will announce his support of a Constitutional Amendment (H.J.RES.56) banning same-sex marriage tomorrow.

Not satisfied that gays are already one of the most vilified and discriminated against groups in the country, Bush, in a bow to his far-right wingnut base wants to codify their bigotry and hatred by desecrating one of the most admired documents in history: our Constitution. This is a document that, throughout its history, has been a beacon of freedom. That history has not always been perfect, but the trend has been towards a greater protection of equality for all, towards a greater provision and protection of rights to Americans.
I also wrote about a website, Congress.org where you can write your congress person and other members of the federal government to express your displeasure over this and urge them to fight this bigoted resolution. Additionally, I posted the text of the letter I sent.

Please, take action on this important matter. And read the rest of my post at The Fulcrum.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Monday Puppy Blogging 

Now available with photos at the MX23.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

why i have no problem with nader running for president 

it should come as no surprise to anyone that ralph nader has decided to run for president. i mean, the news broke a few days ago that he was appearing on meet the press to announce his intentions in the presidential race, did anyone seriously believe he would go on the air just to say he was giving it a pass?

at the same time, i have no hostility towards ralph or his supporters. first, on a practical level, i do not buy the underlying assumption that while nader is in the race he will attract votes from people who will otherwise vote democrat. i have no idea whether that was true in 2000 (can anyone cite a poll of nader voters about that issue?) i am fairly certain that the 2000 nader voters i personally know would not have voted at all if nader were not in the race. that anecdote may not count much as evidence, but it at least illustrates that the prevailing wisdom is not necessarily right.

read the rest at rubber hose

The Holodeck Presidency 

For those of you who never watched Star Trek - The Next Generation, the holodeck was the place where the crew could go for recreation. Through 24th Century technology, energy could be converted to matter and then generated as solid objects in an enclosed grid. It's a set designer's dream come true: anything could be created - scenery, props, lighting, even characters, and the holodeck computer held thousands of records of people, places and things. So if you wanted to visit 1940's San Francisco right out of a Philip Chandler detective novel, or the English countryside for horseback riding, or 1890's London for a Sherlock Holmes adventure, all you had to do was tell the computer what you wanted to do. Within a matter of seconds, the door opened into that world. You could even play with it like a live-in Xbox or Playstation with hundreds of pre-programmed games and stories. When it was over, all you had to do was tell the computer to end the program, the door would open, and the game was over. And none of the solid objects or characters created in the holodeck could exist outside of it - once the holoprojectors were turned off, they vanished like a dream.

Holodeck technology is still a few generations away - we still haven't gotten over the tricky part about converting energy to matter - but if you look at the administration of George W. Bush, you'd think not only does holodeck technology exist, his entire presidency is one giant holodeck program. Here's a world where all sorts of fantasies can play out: Good battles Evil like a retelling of Beowulf, the rich grow richer and the poor more desperate like Les Miserables or the Victorian London of Charles Dickens, where 2.6 million new jobs magically appear with the wave of a wand (hold it...we never said that - computer, freeze program!), and where Freedom and Democracy are the result of invasion and occupation. It's all magical fun and games, but in the end, the game has to end.

Read the rest at Bark Bark Woof Woof.