Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Buy Nothing Day is Coming – No Purchase Necessary

I'll be visiting with family over the Thanksgiving holiday, as I'm sure most of you will be doing with your family and friends. One tradition I am proud to say that my family has never participated in is the Friday after Thanksgiving shopping orgy known as "Black Friday." Still, I invite you to join me in observing the International Buy Nothing Day.

That's right. Simply take a deep breath and refuse to be a part of this overindulgence. There are a lot of other activities you can do instead of shop (besides the obvious: why aren't you spending time with your loved ones on this rare day off?):

Some suggestions from the International Buy Nothing Day website:
Credit card cut up
Volunteers stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a sign offering a simple service: to put an end to extortionate interest rates and mounting debt with one considerate cut. Be careful though: in some first-world countries, carrying scissors in public can get you arrested as a "terrorist".

This activity has the advantage of being most likely to piss off security personnel. You and nine of your closest friends silently drive your shopping carts around in a long, inexplicable conga line without ever actually buying anything.

Almost everyone in Pakistan who believes in George Bush's vision of democracy is in prison today

In an interview last night with Charlie Gibson of ABC News, President Bush stated that the general "hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."

This is more worrisome than ever, that Bush thinks it's within "the line" to declare emergency rule, fire members of the Supreme Court and arrest journalists, lawyers and human rights activists.

From the Washington Post:

Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said that "it's hard to imagine how the administration will be able to achieve anything in Pakistan if the president is so disconnected from reality."

"Almost everyone in Pakistan who believes in George Bush's vision of democracy is in prison today," Malinowski said. "Calling the man who put them in prison a great democrat will only discredit America among moderate Pakistanis and give Musharraf confidence that he can continue to defy the United States because Bush will forgive anything he does."

Wednesday poetry beak


Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin’ more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an’ men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.

Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An’ I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.

— Edgar Albert Guest

Find out more about Edgar Albert Guest and other poets at the Poetry Foundation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Clinton viewed as strongest, most decisive candidate, but we're not going to report that

In my post earlier today I told you that Hillary Clinton is not my first choice of candidate for President. However, I feel compelled to publicize the recent Associated Press poll which shows that the American people clearly have a positive impression of her — not that you would that by watching any of the talking heads. (click for larger image)

Decisive, strong, honest, experienced, and ethical. The American people give Clinton high marks across the board — in fact, higher than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat.

But how are the poll findings being reported by the major news outlets? Obama and Giuliani Seen as Most Likable Presidential Candidates

USA Today: Obama, Giuliani Most Likable

Washington Post: Obama, Giuliani Likable

So, apparently being likable is the most newsworthy finding of this poll. And here I would have thought it was the fact that the majority polled viewed a woman as stronger and more decisive than all of her male opponents. I don't know, I guess I thought that was kinda groundbreaking, actually. But what do I know about reporting, I'm just a blogger, right?

I can just hear the Chris Matthews (he's a real reporter) intro now: “Hillary Clinton is unlikable. Is she electable?”

Image of the day

From Reuters:
Muhammedd Suleman, a cameraman with Pakistan's Geo television network, protests against the crackdown on media. November 19, 2007.

And from an interesting story at the Guardian:
Most people here have finally realised that "freedom of the media" was a meaningless buzzword in a country where constitution and courts can be set aside on personal whims. But it remains a fact that in the last few years this carefully created perception of free media helped a military dictator to market himself, among western mentors and even in the unsuspecting media, as a democrat in soul. It also helped to sustain his regime by providing a safety valve for public discontent inside the living rooms rather than the streets.

It's Campaign 2008, and what's a pet lover to do

I have pets, and their future is very important to me. So clearly that will affect my choice of candidate in the next presidential election, right? I mean, here's a story about Hillary Clinton having no love for Socks the cat. Surely that will carry some weight in my decision.

Or how about the fact that Barack Obama is a White Sox fan? As a follower of the Orioles myself, I cannot in good conscience rally behind someone who roots for a rival American League team, can I?

Okay, you see where I'm going with this. The mainstream media has all but decided that I will back Hillary Clinton because I'm a woman. And it's starting to really piss me off. Being a woman is only one part of who I am, and to simplify my vote like this is an insult.

Like all of you, I'm a combination of many factors. To predict how I will vote based on one or two factors ignores the very real concerns I may have based on other areas of my life. Woman, Democrat, christian, East Coaster, environmentalist, Scottish heritage, teacher, home owner, righthander, lesbian, math challenged, partner, beer drinker.

You get the idea.

When I was 11 years old, I campaigned for George McGovern. I was in the 6th grade, and my elementary school ran a mock election. My mother drove me in our Rambler to the McGovern for President headquarters, where enthusiastic college students loaded me up with posters and buttons. I remember feeling very serious and important as I hung those posters in the empty school hallway. I remember feeling that this man could change the future. It was 1972 and I thought George McGovern could end the Vietnam War. I remember believing in him with all my heart.

That's the last time I felt that way about a candidate.

For the past year, I have been campaigning for Dennis Kucinich. I believe he is playing an important role in this campaign, forcing the other candidates to address issues such as impeachment and the unconstitutional actions of the Bush Administration, as well as being the only candidate with a real environmental policy. But in the end, I understand that he will not win the party's nomination. By the time I get to vote on it, the Democratic candidate for president will be decided. I predict that the candidate will be Hillary Clinton, and I will campaign for her.

But until that time, please let me make my own choices based on who I am.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Musharraf enforces American-style democracy, has hand-picked Supreme Court legitimize his presidency

Here's a fun game: let's compare headlines from today with ones from 2000, shall we? (you do remember the elections of 2000, don't you? If not, take a glance at the image to the right from the protests back then.)

Pakistan Court Clears Musharraf for New Term

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Bush's Favor

Pakistan court tosses election challenge

Election 2000: U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Federal Questions of Lawsuit

Yes, we are truly spreading American democracy throughout the world.

Fox Hosts: Raising the level of debate to ... well, at least that of a 6th grader

Mature, informed discussion, right? Not from the “morning crew” at Fox's Fox & Friends. From The Raw Story:

A Fox News morning host has a novel idea to handle those pesky Code Pink protesters who disrupt political events and Congressional hearings: 50,000 volts of electricity.

Brian Kilmead shared his ever-so-evolved views on crowd control Monday morning in a Fox & Friends discussion of a Code Pink-disrupted Hillary Clinton speech. His answer to annoying anti-war types? Tasers or Billy clubs.

Advocating the use of lethal force on non-violent protesters? Yeah, that's the American way.

The Fox hosts used the disruption to remind viewers of Code Pink’s habit of disrupting Capitol Hill hearings, and they re-played the famous “don’t Tase me bro” sound-bite from a University of Florida student earlier this year. The student’s screams seemed to delight the hosts, and Kilmead clearly wanted to hear more of them.

“I would be for Tasing anyone in Code Pink,” he says. “I’m pro-Pink Tasing.”