Saturday, July 05, 2003


Big Talk [re: Bush's "bring it on" quip]

Patrick Nielson Hayden, in the comments section:

I like Dean, too, not because his positions match mine perfectly (they don't -- I'm further to the left on some issues and more of a cranky libertarian on others), but because he articulates a civic Americanism in which someone like me actually exists. I don't doubt that a President Dean would regularly annoy me. I doubt very much that his decisions would have me wondering whether I wanted to remain an American citizen.

This is where I take my shoe off and pound it on the table, Kruschev-fashion, whilst yelling "Yes" loud enough to frighten the neighbors. (And they're pretty relaxed, for the most part.) The Bush Administration and its attendant Big Christian Money has Unemployed Agnostic Me frickin' scared. Scared they're turning my country into something so different, so contrary to its founding ideals, that I won't be able to subscribe to those ideals and still call myself a patriotic American. And I'll tell you, push comes to shove, it's not the ideals I'll give up.

Not that the Bush Administration is the only thing wrong with this country[*], but I'd sure like to be employed all twelve months of a year, y'know?

[*] There's the lawsuit-feeding frenzy, which itself is an artifact of the refusal to take personal responsibility for anything, which is probably related to a zillion things, and New Math to boot. And there's the desperate need for campaign finance reform, so someone with an idea can run for major office, without making compromising promises. There's the increasing consolidation of media channels and the US's data feeds, with which the aforementioned B.A. isn't exactly helping. Well, it's helping -- in the wrong way. There's the isolationism of the US from the international community's entertainment and culture, thanks to everything from DVD regioning to slashed arts education budgets in schools.

I could go on. And I'm sure I will.

Dean, Bush. Dean, Bush. Choices, choices.

...In recent months he [Dean] has been called "brusque,","brash","blunt" and "belligerent"; a few more choice words on his part and critics will be questioning whether Dean has the diplomatic skills needed to be the leader of the free world.

and Bush does?

Short-Fused Populist, Breathing Fire at Bush, linked via Medley

Y'know, they're just trying to label him as something ignorable so they can then ignore him. Forget it. This is the candidate to watch for a simple reason: this is the candidate with the people behind him. He's not saying what we want to hear -- he's saying what we want to say.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Dinosaur "Missing Link"

Brontosaurus 'missing link' unearthed

Originally misidentified as the bones of another animal, Antetonitrus ingenipes appears to be the missing link between the sauropods and their mainly two-legged predecessors. Tres cool.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

From the Paramecia Department

SARS and the Flu:

Looks like Toronto's got the chain of transmission for SARS really licked, now WHO is thinking ahead to the next influenza season. Flu looking a lot like SARS, especially to airport personnel. Besides, influenza can kill all by itself, you know.

As the global public health emergency caused by SARS appears close to an end, attention is focusing on the problems that are likely to arise during the next influenza season, when cases of influenza are likely to raise suspicions of SARS. The problems are of major concern, as a high level of suspicion is recommended by WHO at a time when vigilance for a possible seasonal return of SARS is particularly important. Although the behaviour of the SARS virus is impossible to predict on the basis of current knowledge, it is well known that many respiratory illnesses caused by a virus tend to die out when heat and humidity rise and then return when the weather turns cooler. Worldwide, influenza typically infects 10% to 20% of the total population during seasonal epidemics, resulting in from three to five million cases of severe illness and from 250 000 to 500 000 deaths.

Cholera, Again (this time, Liberia):

Between 6-29 June, 586 cases of cholera have been reported from those health facilities still operational in Monrovia. From 23-29 June, 50% of the admissions were from Bushrod Island and central Monrovia. Because of the security situation, exact numbers of cases and deaths are difficult to obtain.
WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health with control measures including mass chlorination in and around Monrovia. WHO is also providing drugs, medical supplies and chlorine to those nongovernmental organizations, including MERLIN and Medecins sans Frontieres (France and Belgium), working in Monrovia.

Kate Hepburn

Jesus. I watched The Lion in Winter the other night. It's an amazing film. That's inaccurate. It's a towering legend of a film, and rightly so. Peter O'Toole as Henry II, Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Anthony Hopkins as Richard, Jane Merrow as Alais. Timothy Dalton as Phillip of France, John Castle as Geoffrey, and Nigel Terry as John. Each and every performance is exquisite. Incredible, incredible film.

The larger-than-life passion of Henry and Eleanor - whom he lets out of 'jail' for Christmas Court - the machinations and plotting, amazing deviousness right next to raw emotion. Pride that rivals that which let Heathcliff and Catherine destroy the world, rather than bend and forgive, just once.

Incredible, incredible film. You have to just watch it. You can't describe it to someone else. Just watch it. Then, go back and watch it again, and this time, pay even closer attention.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Being the Bully

And refusing to abide by the same rules we want everyone else to follow. I just can't get behind these constant, deliberate assaults on the US's standing in the international community. By the US.

Do we not all live on the same planet? Do we not all care about our air and our food? Do natural disasters not cross national boundaries? How on earth can the richest and most technologically advanced nation ever justify acting as if we are NOT becoming more globalized every day, with every company that does business, every nonprofit health organization flying in supplies, every worker sending home part of their salary, in Zimbabwe or India or Vietnam -- we bind ourselves tighter together into a global community every day.

How can the Bush Administration justify antagonizing and bullying our neighbors?

No matter how much they want to, you cannot turn back time and go back to the age of robber barons and the American West. When the frontier was wide open, fortunes could be made without regard for others, and the poor/serfs/foreigners knew their place. Fuck that.

US cuts aid to Caricom six
U.S. punishes foes in fight over world criminal court
US Hypocrisy Astounding

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Holiday Cheer

On the bright side, I'm actually going to a 4th of July celebration this 4th of July. Can you say BBQ, boys and girls? This may be my first time doing such as a grownup.

I know, I know -- but come off it, I work in IT! Y'know, IT? Where a 3-day weekend typically means you can get some work done while everyone's gone and still do a load of laundry on Sunday?

So, of course, this 4th of July BBQ is being hosted by -- yep -- a Canadian.

The mind boggles. Well. Not really.

In other news, today is (was, sorry) Canada Day. Happy Canada Day!
Big News

I've been so excited by this newfangled unemployment insurance idea that I just had to get myself laid off so's to try it!

(that was humor, boys and girls)

So, CCPU had truckloads of layoffs, today. My boss was kind enough (thank you) to tell me without waiting for the official tell-me interview an hour or so later. I know you read this blog, so I really do mean it -- thanks. I'm not normally a fan of spoilers, but I feel this was a special case.

I was then left in the envious-to-the-working-class position of being home in time to watch reruns of the Original Star Trek series. See? You're jealous.

Monday, June 30, 2003

No Big Surprise

Top cleric says Iraqis, not U.S., should lead push for constitution

No duh. What, didja think you could just cookie-cutter out a national design for these people without their input?

Iraq's leading Shiite cleric has issued a fatwa opposing the formation of a constitutional council by the American occupation authority, saying Iraqis should elect the drafters of their constitution. The fatwa, or edict, may complicate considerably the plans of the American-led authority here to select a convention to draft a new constitution for Iraq.

Oh, Just Suck My Left One

Bill Frist Being An Asshole

Asked whether he supports an amendment that would ban any marriage in the United States except a union of a man and a woman, Frist said: "I very much feel that marriage is a sacrament, and that sacrament should extend and can extend to that legal entity of a union between -- what is traditionally in our Western values has been defined -- as between a man and a woman. So I would support the amendment."

So, Bill...if marriage is a sacrament, are you suggesting that the institution of marriage is, first and foremost, a religious one?

In that event, one can only conclude that in order to maintain proper seperation of church and state, the US must immediately cease to recognize the legal institution of marriage, rather than give preferential treatment to those engaged in a specifically religious union associated with a specific faith.

For, and the Constitution can get quite explicit regarding this subject, you do not get to force your religious views on me, nor do I get to do the same do you.

The latter of which is too bad, a good sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl is just what we need today, to turn things around.