Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I will be buying this book...


I haven't blogged about my love of Sassy magazine before, and I'll spare you all my gushing about how great it was, how I wish there were something like it today (for teens and those of us no longer teens) and how I've met the first Sassiest Boy in America. Instead, I'll just link to this article by the authors of How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time:

Vapid celebrities, too-skinny models, coverlines that promise girls their best bikini bodies: there are plenty of things about teen magazines to criticize. (And plenty of places that do, Gawker and Jezebel among them.) But if you think today's teen magazines leave much to be desired, you should seek out copies of teen magazines from the '80s, when Seventeen still pushed multiple diet stories per issue and college was seen largely as a means to getting a Mrs. degree.

Sassy magazine changed all that. Launched in 1988 by Jane Pratt, who later went on to start Jane magazine, Sassy tried to not make girls feel bad about their bodies or their sexuality; in fact, it was boycotted by the religious right for running informative --but not pedantic-- sex stories. It was also unabashedly feminist and resolutely liberal, with one infamous article bashing Bush Sr.'s drug war. It even had a sense of humor! (A one-star record review meant "I'd rather work for Clarence Thomas" than listen to this CD).

Read the rest...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Daily Kos to DCCC: "Go to hell."


As many of my friends and family already read in an email from me today, I could not believe the gall of the DCCC in trying to use yesterday's retreat as a fundraising opportunity. I'm now starting to read other blogs and see that I'm not the only one who was disgusted.

You can read all about it on the Daily Kos.

UPDATE: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is the chair of the DCCC and he even voted against the legislation...I am so confused...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why history class is important

It really is like 70+% of us live in one reality, while Bush and the Bushies live in another. From Josh Marshall:

President Bush, yesterday: "Now, many critics compare the battle in Iraq to the situation we faced in Vietnam. There are many differences between those two conflicts, but one stands out above all: The enemy in Vietnam had neither the intent nor the capability to strike our homeland. The enemy in Iraq does.”

There are so many problems and distortions with this statement that it is difficult to know where to start. But here's one place. Can we review the main arguments for why we were in Vietnam? Or at least try to distinguish them from the ones for getting out?

President Bush appears to be embracing the argument that the Vietnam War was a fight against Vietnamese nationalists who wanted to kick us out of Vietnam but had no interest in us one way or another beyond that. Certainly they weren't going to launch attacks against the US mainland. But that was the Doves' argument. The premise of the war was that it was a battleground in the larger Cold War struggle, one against the Soviets (who certainly had the ability and arguably had the intent to attack us), the Chinese (though that's much more complicated) and international communism generally.

In any case, the arguments for staying in Vietnam and staying in Iraq are actually quite similar -- and the arguments for leaving actually have a degree of parallelism too.

Of course, if we're worried about armed jihadism, which we certainly should be, it's really difficult to think of a better way to exacerbate the problem than to permanently occupy a country at the literal and figurative heart of the Muslim and Arab worlds.

Amateurs

It makes my head hurt to not be able to support my own party, but after reading this article in the NYT this morning, my head also hurts from confusion...Neither Pelosi nor Reid will vote for the Iraq spending bill? If they don't support it, who exactly is in charge on the Hill?

The decision by the Democratic majority to strip the measure of a timetable for troop withdrawal has raised the prospect that it could be approved mainly by Republicans with scattered Democrat support. The idea that many Democrats would be left on the losing side in a consequential vote has exposed a sharp divide within the party, drawn scorn from antiwar groups, confused the public and frustrated the party rank and file...

...But scores of other Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, say they have no intention of voting for the more than $100 billion sought by the White House for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan because Mr. Bush refused to accede to timelines, readiness standards and other conditions. They have said repeatedly since taking control in January that they will not turn over more money for the war without some movement toward a withdrawal...

...And Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and Ms. Pelosi’s partner in negotiating with the White House, had also not revealed how he intended to vote.

Should Mr. Reid decline to support the final bill, it would mean the approval of the war money over the personal objections of the top Democrats in both the House and Senate.

What is going on???

Congrats to the Cheneys


And here's to hoping that his daughter and her partner can some day enjoy the same civil rights as Britney Spears and BOTH of her ex-husbands!

You can read about Cheney's sixth grandchild here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is this news?


As reported everywhere today:

President Bush offered two-year-old information about Osama bin Laden's connections to al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq on Wednesday, as he used a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to try to bolster his long-held contention that Iraq is a central front in the "war on terror." (from the Washington Post)

Is this really news? Don't we all know that al-Qaeda has been in Iraq as long as we have? They weren't there before we got rid of Saddam (the two didn't exactly see eye-to-eye), but of course they came in to recruit and to operate out of this newly chaotic environment that we created.

If Bush thinks this is proof that Iraq is a central front on his "war on terror," does he also see this as HIS fault?

What happened??

I'm really at a loss for the Democrats' complete backing down to the Bush administration over war funding, benchmarks, timelines, etc. Don't they have the support of the American people? Didn't the polls show that the public was supporting their efforts over Bush's stay-the-course mentality? I don't get it...

I agree with Mike Lux, over at Huffington Post:

If you're just going to give up because Bush is more stubborn than you, what's the point? The Democratic rank and file should vote overwhelmingly against this deal with the devil, and make clear to their leadership that the Democrats should have the same rule as the Republicans: only bills that have a majority of the majority party caucus supporting them should go to the floor.

I'm making a call to my Congressman's office today.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Forgiveness

One peice of news that I did hear this week was about the death of Jerry Falwell. I have to say I did fantasize a little about the conversation he must have had with his maker...I'm sure many of us thought about what God had to say to this man who preached so much hate in the name of God. I also came across this blog post by the author of The Messiah of Morris Avenue, Tony Hendra. I read the book a few months ago (thanks to Dean for the recommendation). While it's not all that well-written (like Hendra's blog post), it is an interesting story (and a quick read) about what would likely happen today if Christ did return to Earth. Here's some of the blog post (which you can read here):

I resisted editing his post - the typos are Hendra's!

Its' central character, the man in whose hands the immense power of 'knowing' the hour and nature of God's Judgment is concentrated, is the Rev. James Zebediah Sabbath. Sabbath is based to some degree on Jerry Falwell: from the Rugged-Old-Cross roots from which Falwell sprang, to the sleek, corporate theocrats whom Falwell helped spawn...

Into Sabbath's Dominionist heaven (or hell) on earth, comes a young man who might well be the true Christ returned. He's far from the buffed superhero packing overwhelming firepower Sabbath hopes for. Just like the first time around he's poor, from a forgotten corner of the empire (the Bronx) and not of the dominant race (he's Latino). And just like the first time around, the most subversive concept he preaches - and lives - is that fundamental Christian act, to which fundamentalists pay only the scantiest lip-service, forgiveness.

...But while the world believes forgiveness to be weakness, in truth it takes great courage. Just as killing those you feel threatened by is far easier than learning to live with them, payback is the weak and spineless option, the way out no-one will give you a hard time for. Forgiveness on the other hand takes true grit...

Subversive forgiveness may be, but, unfortunately, it's the core message of the guy from Nazareth. What's not to understand in the preachment: love your enemies? And even if the Aramaic (via the Greek and Renaissance English) is open to a slightly different translation, his choice not to defend himself against his enemies -- or even allow himself to be defended -- when they came to arrest him, is unambiguous. It's what defines Christianity against the other two Abrahamic faiths. You don't have to believe that the story's historically true; the example of its protagonist in the defining narrative of Christianity is unmistakable. Violence even in your own defense, is not acceptable. You cannot be a follower of Christ and kill your enemy; you cannot be a Christian and not forgive him. The history of Christianity is largely the history of grappling with this highly inconvenient truth and its manifold implications.

So it goes in my retelling. As Mark Twain famously said: if Christ did return, the Christians would crucify him. The Messiah of Morris Avenue preaches precisely the same core message as before: in the Dominion of Christ this is both blasphemy and - Church and State being one - treason. The Reverend condemns him as the Anti-Christ, hunts him down, tortures him and has him crucified (on the cruciform gurney of a lethal injection chamber). Then, just to make sure there's no hanky-panky about resurrection, he orders the mortal remains cremated.

But -- just like the first time around -- the Messiah does rise from the dead and appears not just to his followers but to his arch-enemy the Reverend. What finally cracks open that hardest of hearts, is not the miracle of resurrection, but that the man he condemned, tortured and murdered and whose body he burned to ashes, embraces him as a brother, forgives him for every one of his hate-filled acts. 'I was the Anti-Christ', the Reverend realizes in that moment 'and still you forgave me'

...And while Falwell's lies and distortions should have been combated by every non-violent means necessary, and the evil and hurt he caused, documented and remembered, that doesn't mean that the retribution Falwell sought to exact on others or threatened to, must be taken on him now, in any form. Which includes crowing that death has somehow found him out, or hoping that he went in pain or that he's up to his eyes in hot sewage in the Ninth Circle of hell or -- as was my intention -- dancing a triumphant two-step on his grave.

No, this is the moment for forgiveness. I hope that Jerry has met again and been reconciled with, the force of love and forgiveness that at some point in his life, he must have encountered. And while I never imagined I would ever write these words: may his turbulent and misguided soul -- however far it may have gone astray -- now find its way home and rest in peace.

Work gets in the way...

I've been totally crazed with work for the last week, but I'm back! I'll have new posts soon!

I haven't even been able to catch much news...but I do know that Wolfowitz will soon be out of a job and that the story about Gonzales and Card at Ashcroft's bedside still has legs. (Who knew this administration would actually make me respect John Ashcroft?!?!)

What are the current betting odds on how much longer Gonzales can stand looking like a fool to cover for his BFF, George Bush?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What makes you think you're qualified?

Great ad from the Richardson campaign...

Mars Saved?


Looks like Veronica Mars fans may get at least one more season of our favorite detective. From Zap2It.com, quoting the Hollywood Reporter, :

If the new season gets off the ground, the show will have fast forwarded to a few years in the future, when Veronica (Kristen Bell) is studying at the FBI Academy.

Will there still be a role for Logan??

UPDATE: Bad news, Veronica fans...the show's been cancelled. Where will Jason Dohring show up next???

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A personal thanks....to Bill Clinton


So, this blog is not personal, but I have a political note to add to something my family is going through...

My mom has breast cancer again (after being cancer-free for 15 years). I'm going to skip all the details here, but she will be having a single mastectomy soon. We learned yesterday that - thanks to Bill Clinton - as of 2000, all insurance companies have to cover reconstructive plastic surgery after a mastectomy. Not only do they pay for the one breast to be "rebuilt," but they also pay for the second breast to be "done" so women have a matching pair! :)

I can't tell you how thankful I am personally that, because of this policy, my mom will get to feel more like herself again when this is all over. Here's to a Congress and a President who were looking out for real people (and their boobs!)! [and feel free to insert your own Bill/boob jokes here]