succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Thank you thank you thank you atrios. For stating what should be, yet somehow never seems to be, the obvious.

"What Kerry - and the Democrats - need to do is to overturn conventional wisdom by re-framing the debate. September 11th happened on Bush's watch, after his administration completely ignored the threat of terrorism. Right now, We All Know that George Bush showed "great leadership" after 9/11. How do we know that? Well, because the goddamn Democrats keep saying it. Truth? Bush ran and hid and then didn't stop wetting his pants until 3 days later. He then went and bombed a stone age country back to the stone age, and then didn't provide the resources to rebuild it. Thousands of Taliban and al Qaeda members were allowed to escape to Pakistan, defeating much of the purpose of said bombing, and we never found Bin Laden, the stated architect of the 9/11 attack.

We now know that we haven't been devoting the resources to find Bin Laden, because we're now "stepping up" that attempt with Operation Mountain Storm. Why we didn't step up that threat two years ago is obvious - we had to mobilize for Iraq and this gang can't walk and chew gum at the same time (frankly, they can't do them separately either).

So, resources were diverted away from a fighting a gathered threat to a non-threat. We've spent $200 billion fighting this non-threat, much of which went into the pockets of corporations which failed to provide the services they were contracted to do. The immediate aftermath of the Iraq war was bungled, largely due to the utter lack of planning by the "grownups." Suspected WMD sites were looted, civil infrastructure wasn't repaired as the money was diverted to contractors who didn't do it, and civil order was not maintained.

We're spending billions on missile defense, and a measly few million on improving port security. While terrorists may obtain a nuclear weapon, they are unlikely to obtain a reliable intercontinental missile delivery system. Why bother? They just need to float into any port and push the button.

The only great leadership Bush showed after 9/11 is that he miraculously failed to shit his pants while giving a speech post-9/11. Just about everything else has been a total disaster .

Friendly territory for the president? Sure, but only because no one is bothering to point out the obvious. The Bush foreign policy is a miserable failure."

Also, via atrios, this article by Ted Rall about McCarthyism and censorship. The conclusion:

"The Right is running scared. Their wars and economic schemes are revealed to be as fraudulent as their fake president, whose poll numbers are plummeting as he turns to face uncharacteristically unified Democrats. Because they have no record worth defending and no ideas anyone will believe, the new McCarthyites have only one line of defense left: censoring their opponents. The question this time is, will anyone stand up for free speech?"

And lastly, this lovely collection of quotes. My personal favorites:

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
- Barbara Bush, said on 'Good Morning America' the day before the Iraq war started, New York Times, 01-13-03

"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
- George W. Bush, Washington Post, 11-19-02

Right. So I'm supposed to be writing this 10-20 page paper that's due in about 6 days and I've basically been sitting in front of my computer all day every day surfing the net instead of writing. So my big goal for this afternoon is 3 pages. Three pages sometime in the next 6 hours or so. Seems totally reasonable. Ok brain, start working!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

What I wrote at the time

3/7/04 - 1:40 am

Too much alcohol (ok, maybe not really too much alcohol) and way too many cigarettes later and I'm not really sure that I could possibly be happier. I got to hug Ken and Seth and Christine today, and, with a little luck, Beth and Nick tomorrow. Really lovely dinner party, with Seth laughing more than I remember (I used to/still feel like making Seth laugh is a real badge of honor; Seth invited me out on the back porch to smoke w/ him and felt like I'd really been accepted into the cool kids club; then felt like I babbled on about silly, inconsequential things; then later took Christine's arm on way out the door and she made comment about being with a smart, funnny, attractive girl and when realized was talking about me felt truly, highly complimented). Saw some of the most brilliant improv/comedy tonight and was sold out, so they ordered pizza. God I love these guys. Slightly more than 3 more days with them.

3/10/04 - 2 am

I seem to be very lucky with endings. The very last day of my freshman year of college was undoubtedly one of the best days/nights of my life. And I'm not sure I could have asked for a better last night here in Chicago. Just Seth and Christine and Beth and Ken and I. Drinking and smoking and playing asshole. Wandering out for drunk, stoned, late night dining. Seth and Christine being very cute and vestiges of old times and...signs of deep love and care in the moments between them. Seth drunker than I've seen him since the Alter Ego party years and years ago. A strong feeling of old times...and both the good and bad that comes with the old times.
Nick doing exactly the same thing he did last summer in Pittsburg...and me less surprised by it.

And now

Part of what made my time in Chicago so great was that it felt like just by being there I made it possible for the rest of those kids to just let go of a lot of the crap that's been messing them up for a long time and just have a little emotional vacation and remember what it used to be like...2003 was a pretty rough year for all of them, and it was so good to see people I love just relax and have an easier time of it, even if it was only temporary.

The comedy show I so poorly referenced above is called "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" and is performed by the Neo-Futurists, who will be visiting Atlanta soon. So it they're ever in a city near you, go see them! Much fun shall ensue.

Sunday was spent mostly sleeping and shopping, first at this totally sketchy market (one guy was selling tape, just tape, all kinds; everything was so obviously stolen from a warehouse or truck somewhere, it was hysterical) then browsing in shops we could never afford along Miracle Mile. Quiet evening in playing trivial pursuit with seth and beth and a phone call to a very drunk carrie.

Monday was the Shedd aquarium, with me being all school-kid-ish and getting excited about how adorable the dolphins and beluga whales and sea otters are. More shopping and dinner and drinking with Nick (8 pints! lightweight my ass!) and later meeting up with seth and erin and ken at the Ten Cat, where, oddly, we were greeted by a dog.

Tuesday was climbing with Beth, which I could have done all day, though my arms and legs gave out after about 30 minutes. We were both thrilled to find someone who's as obsessed with the sport as we each have become. Spent the afternoon at the art institute (I love that I have friends who get stoned and listen to beautiful Icelandic music while wandering around an art museum) and was pleasantly surprised by how many famous pieces I stumbled across. I mean, obviously, I know the Chicago Art Institute is a great museum, but usually when I go to places like that I sort of have a list of pieces in my head that I'll make it a priority to see. I didn't this time, and yet found so many that I was greatful to finally see in person. Like the Sunday in the Park with George piece (which is actually called something else, but it's the pointilism piece central to the play, so that's what I always call it) and the pipe surrealist piece by magritte and a random still life that I've had a copy of for a few years simply because it appeals to me and a very disturbing georgia o-keefe work that looks far too coincidentally like 9-11. Dinner was sushi, where I branched out by trying 3 new things! (though I still don't like seafood, raw or otherwise)

Anyway, still wrapping my brain around some other stuff, but I'll be working that out elsewhere, thankyouverymuch. Thinking of sending little notes to each of them, but they're all so anti-emotional-sentiments of any sort that I can't decide if that would be overstepping my bounds...we'll see.

So now I'm back here and trying to get back into the grind of research and work and paper writing and blah. Would rather stay on vacation a while longer.

Oh! And, I think I might, maybe, possibly, have a date. Here are the facts - he's recovering from acl surgery, so I told him once he's feeling better he should let me buy him a beer. He said he'd definitely take me up on that offer and said to call him once I got back into town. So we chatted for about half an hour last night and he suggested we go out saturday night and explore east atlanta (since I've never been to that area of town; it's a little sketchy and I'm too wimpy to explore it on my own). He's going to pick me up and he chose the place and it's on a satuday night - so that seems date-like, right?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

For those who care - I'm back in Atlanta, safe and sound. Though I'm pretty sure I returned with slightly fewer brain cells than when I left, something which I doubt I can afford. Ah well, perhaps it will encourage the others to work harder and faster. Survival of the fittest and all. I'll try to post a recap sometime tomorrow, and will attempt to piece together the drunken musings I apparently scrawled before falling fast asleep early each morning. Suffice to say I had a tremendously lovely time and am still firmly in vacation mode.