succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, May 29, 2004

I'll second that

Commenter "Old Hat" over at Atrios says:

"It'd also be cool if we stopped going on these messianic Victorian civilizing romps 'round the globe to teach the brown people how to be civilized and love Baby Jesus.

We'd have more resources left over to supply simple stuff, like, food to places like Haiti and the Sudan. Remember those places? Haiti? Sudan? Anyone?"

Atrios provides a shorter version of one of my previous posts:

"Some of us said that going to war in Iraq would make us less, not more, safe. Some of us said that going to war would be an excellent recruiting tool for al Qaeda. And, hey, some of us were right."
[edited for grammer]

Friday, May 28, 2004


Almost forgot - I'm really starting to dig the folks with whom I play soccer on Fridays. They're just very sweet and encouraging. Sort of reminds me of getting to know the theater kids. Lately, the soccer kids have noticed that I don't shoot at the goal, I pretty much pass as soon as I get the ball. So they've started encouraging me to take more shots, waiting patiently while I sort of muck around and fumble and eventually shoot. It's just very nice when the opposing team congratulates you on a nice shot.


So it just occurred to me, one of the reasons Matt is acting inappropriately toward me might be because he thinks I'm gay! I had completely forgotten that I mentioned to him a couple of months ago that I met his friend Charity at an OUTFront meeting. Wow. That would explain so much. Wow. yeah.

Also, I'm playing blog catch-up. wrote this the other day while at work:

Blarg. Someone snuck in a window in a girl's apartment in Carlyle Woods a couple of weeks ago. A police car chase ended near my friends' apartment last night, with the suspect fleeing into a nearby house. This morning a CDC employee was robbed in the parking lot (at a different CDC branch here in Atlanta). Sigh. I guess it's inevitable that once you've lived in a metropolitan area for a period of time you will begin to feel unsafe. But I was really enjoying the reprieve from Cleveland. I still like it a lot better hereā€¦I just hate to acknowledge that the world is the type of place where I feel so unsafe so often.

and misc other articles and whatnot that I've been e-mailing to myself as reminders to say something about them.

David Dellinger (one of the Chicago Seven)

Died yesterday. From - "The evils in the society today are greater than they were in 1968," he said in a 1996 interview with The Associated Press. "I enjoy life this way, I enjoy life being in solidarity with the people who are fighting for a better world." Wish I could have met him.

Not so Cynical?

Apparently I'm not the only one feeling a little cynical about the recent terror threat announcement. The Times is a bit skeptical too, and the skepicism seems to increase daily. I even heard murmerings today that it might have been vaguely illegal for Ashcroft to make such an announcement, given the currently established Homeland Security pecking order. I think illegal is pushing it a bit far, but a) the mere existance of such skepticism is an incredibly sad statement on the current state of politics and b) should this actually be a political manuveur, well, that's just sick. Our security is far too great of a national, big picture issue to be reduced to petty squabbling between asshats like Ashcroft and Ridge. C'mon people, you have jobs to do, and they don't involve getting into a who has a bigger pecker contest with your fellow politicians.

I don't like to say I told you so...

Excellent Krugman op-ed today. Reminded me of a conversation I had with Matt the other day. He said prior to the 2000 election he thought Bush was "just another Republican," so while he was bummed about the outcome of the election, he wasn't terribly freaked out or anything. And since over the past four years he has realized just how horrible Bush is, he feels fairly confident that other Americans have come to a similar realization and therefore his chances of being reelected are fairly low. I told him one of the reasons I'm still so terrified we could be stuck with another four years of this guy is that I had an inkling of how bad he could be. I'm not saying I was particularly plugged in or intuitive or had all the political answers or anything like that. But I was genuinely frightened of what living in a Bush-led United States would be like. And I had numerous people call me paranoid and say I was simply overreacting. I feel like that has been happening to many many people over the past four years. I'm not saying I was always (or even often) a member of groups who made correct predictions, but I am saying that there have consistently been groups of people waving their arms, saying this is going to turn out badly. Whether "this" was the election in general, the whole Iraq debacle, Bush's recess appointments of judges or whatever. And those groups have repeatedly been shushed and called paranoid conspiracy theorists. Now, there are plenty of actual paranoid conspiracy theorists running around. But when the group running around waving their arms warning everyone turns out to be right over and over again...well, maybe it would be worth listening to them every once in a while. And I don't feel like that is happening. So I feel like there is this possibility that people still think Bush is "just another Republican."

And lastly

Bob Herbert has some suggestions for President Bush:

"It may be that the president never understood what made the U.S. great. In that case, he'd be among those who could benefit most from a reading of Mr. Gore's speech. If he followed that up with a look at the Bill of Rights (it would only take a few minutes), he'd have a better understanding of what this country, at its best, is about."

This may be, fundamentally, the main reason why I fear and mistrust Bush. I find it impossible to believe his actions are motivated by a desire to make America great. To make it better. As Herbert says, "These and other matters are transforming the United States into a country that is more warlike, more brutal, less free, less just, less admirable and much less appealing than the nation that existed when Mr. Bush stepped into the presidency in January 2001." When your friends are ashamed of you, you should listen to them. When a world full of people supporting us after 9/11 turned on us, we should look inward and ask why. Immediately after 9/11 people held signs that said We Are All Americans. Now American travelers abroad try to hide their nationality. It's time to change that. November can't come soon enough.

Steps off soap box

And to close, a West Wing quote. Because really, this blog should just be called Bartlett for President.
"I'm sleeping better. And when I sleep I dream of a great discussion with experts and ideas and diction and honesty. And when I wake up, I think: 'I can sell that.'"

Thursday, May 27, 2004


I hate to realize just how cynical I've become about this administration. While reading an article on about concerns of an increased terrorist threat over the summer, I came to this sentence:

"Attacks might take place before the November presidential election in an attempt to affect the outcome, the officials said."

Which, I realize, given what happened in Spain, is within the realm of possibility. But I have to admit, the first thing I thought was, this feels like the current administration trying to frighten the American public into voting for Bush.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Wow. Requiem for a Dream is just such an impeccably well done movie. Everything - the acting, the cinematography, the sound, the music. Just amazing. I can't believe this wasn't recommended more strongly to me. It is, as everyone warned, incredibly depressing...but somehow, in this way that's just right. Maybe because everything else is so well done, the gut-wrenching-ness seems inevitable and necessary too. I don't know. But it definitely didn't fuck me up as much as people had warned me it might. Practically feel like this should be required viewing for all high school students. Anyway...also, stuck around afterwards for great conversation with Matt. Reason 601 that I don't like a 9-5-type job - if I could have, I would have gladly stuck around most of the night, discussing politics and education and the health system and jobs and just worked tomorrow afternoon and evening instead. Alas, the ranks of the working world...(off to bed)

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience is only supposed to be used as a last resort, after all other potential avenues of change have been exhausted. But what's the threshold for that? Must you personally exhaust other options? Or if others have tried and failed, is that sufficient evidence of a blocked pathway? I ask this because what I'm really wondering is, Have we reached that point with the current administration? Is civil disobedience appropriate at the upcoming Republican National Convention?

In other news, if you want a neat-o free bumper sticker, check this out: would seem I am not savvy enough to trim this image to fit my blog. Sorry about that.