succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, January 21, 2005

"Your body is a wrapped lollipop. When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it. It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he's done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker." According to a Ms. reporter who attended the Eighth Annual Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference, this metaphor was seriously suggested as a way to teach abstinence. Um...I thought abstinence only education was supposed to discourage kids from having sex. Mmmm...saliva-fouled sucker.

So I've always enjoyed U2's music and respected Bono's various humanitarian activities, but since reading Salman Rushdie's accounts of meeting the band and working with Bono I've had quite the crush on U2's front man. And when he says things like this, how could you not love him? "They say in that in death, a loved one leaves you something - a gift that's not in the will. I think I got this voice from him. In the middle of that song ["Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"], when I sing, 'I know we don't talk, but can you hear me sing?' his voice comes in."

A few weeks ago Creative Loafing did a whole section on how Altanta is an island of mainstream moderate-to-liberal-ness in a giant red sea - definitely confirms Carrie's whole urban-versus-rural notion.
Population 1.1 million 7.1 million
% white 35% 70%
% black 57% 25%
% dem state 85% 35%

I don't have stats on the next largest cities in the state, but given that we account for 1/7 of the entire state's population, maybe it's about time we had a little more say in state politics and quit putting up with the reputation of being a city full of sinful heathens?

And, oh yeah, no WMDs, new terrorist breeding ground, yep, I feel so much safer now. Glad we did that.
Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

And, before I get the verbal smack down from Shelby, let me reiterate the position I've held since the first rumblings of invading Iraq started seeping out of DC - I could swallow getting rid of Saddam and "liberating the Iraqi people" as a justification for some sort of intervention/invasion and the (inevitable) loss of life that would accompany such action. My problems are 1) I had then and still have now absolutely no faith in this administration's ability to successfully plan for and carry out such an action in a way that maximizes benefits to the Iraqi people and minimizes costs to us, 2) given what we know now (and what many intelligent people believed then) nothing significant had changed about the situation in Iraq that warranted such hasty action. It would have behooved us to be patient, concentrate on Afghanistan, garner more international support, and go about this thing in a much more effective manner. And 3) call me cynical, but I just can't believe that Bush and his cronies are really kept awake at night worrying about all the horrible things Saddam did to his own people. Yes, horrible things did happen. And yes, we as a member of the international community have a responsibility to try to do something to stop those horrible things. But it was gross and manipulative and hypocritical for this administration to land on that as a justification for war simply because it was convenient at the time (and all their other justifications turned out to be big fat lies...oops, I meant intelligence failures).
(and no, none of this really matters since we're there now and have to deal with that reality. I just needed to get that off my chest)

Just imagine how much good the $34 million Bush has been withholding from the UNFPA for three years in a row could do right now.

Crowley led a five-member Democratic congressional delegation to Sri Lanka to study the work of the U.N. agency in the island's tsunami-hit coastline.

The agency said it is assisting in obtaining safe childbirth for about 15,000 pregnant women affected by the Dec. 26 tsunami that battered the coast and displaced nearly 1 million survivors. Up to 38,000 Sri Lankans were killed.

The U.N. group estimated the money could have helped prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies and nearly 800,000 abortions, 4,700 mothers' deaths in childbirth and more than 77,000 infant and child deaths.

Quick rebuttal - the Bush camp claims they're withholding the money because the UNFPA is complicit in China's forced abortion and one-child policies. This is complete bunk because a) the UNFPA does not involved itself in abortions at all, in any country (the organization decided that abortion was simply too controversial of a topic and they would waste and lose too much time, energy, and money getting involved in that debate, and they have way bigger problems to deal with) and b) the state department's own committee came back from a trip to China with the conclusion that the UNFPA was not complicit in any of these policies and in fact was doing positive work against these policies by only working in provinces that did not implement them and providing other, safe, healthy reproductive alternatives. If you're feeling so inclined, do something to counteract all the inauguration hubris and toss some money to these people.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

It's taken a while, but I've finally found friends with whom I can be totally comfortable. I can be dumb and drunk and they'll humor me and I don't have to agonize over what they'll think in the morning, because they know me and they don't judge me and they'll just let it go. Once again I have been blessed with people who embody the following quote:

"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are - chaff and grain together - certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away..." --- Dinah Mulock

I am so lucky.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I suppose it was only a matter of time until it was someone I know

Thank God he's ok...mostly.

January 12, 2005
Charleston native wounded in Iraq

1st Lt. William Rebrook IV taken to Germany for treatment

By Tara Tuckwiller
Staff writer

Charleston native William Rebrook IV, an Army first lieutenant serving in Iraq, is alive but badly wounded after insurgents blew up his patrol vehicle Monday south of Baghdad, killing two soldiers.

Rebrook, 24, is the son of Charleston lawyer Ed Rebrook and Beckie Drumheller. He is a 1999 graduate of George Washington High School and a 2003 honors graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. He had been in Iraq since July, his father said.

"He's been hit twice before - had two vehicles blown out from under him - but never injured," Ed Rebrook said Tuesday.

The Army hadn't released the names Tuesday afternoon of the two dead soldiers and four wounded in the attack, but Rebrook said his son was among the wounded.

"I knew it," he said. "I knew it last night. I was just all agitated, couldn't stop looking at his picture. This morning at 6 o'clock, someone called me from Fort Hood, Texas, and told me. At 9 o'clock, his colonel called me and told me the extent of his injuries."

The younger Rebrook was airlifted to a military hospital in Baghdad for emergency surgery on his left arm, which had suffered multiple fractures from the elbow to the shoulder, his father said. He also suffered burns to his face and neck. He did manage to say a few words to his father on the phone.

With pins stabilizing his arm, Rebrook was transferred to a military hospital in Germany for further orthopedic surgery on his arm. His father and mother are now arranging a flight to Germany to be with him.

"He is expected to remain there for about three weeks, and then he'll be transferred to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., for rehab," his father said. "They expect him to be there for eight months to a year."

The younger Rebrook had expected to come home from Iraq by March.

Monday's was a routine patrol: "That's what they do," his father said. "They take two or three Bradleys, 10 men to a vehicle, and they go out, literally looking for the bad guys."

The two insurgents believed to be responsible for the attack were captured and are being interrogated, Ed Rebrook said.

Rebrook's was the second heavily armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle destroyed by a roadside bomb in less than a week. On Thursday, a similar bomb killed seven soldiers in a Bradley, prompting the Defense Department to note that the insurgents seemed to be using bigger, more powerful bombs.

"It's fair to say that they are afraid of the elections" scheduled to take place in Iraq Jan. 30, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. James Hutton told the Associated Press on Monday after Rebrook's vehicle was destroyed.

Monday was a particularly bloody day in Iraq: In addition to the destruction of Rebrook's vehicle, a suicide bomber killed at least four police officers and wounded 10 in Baghdad; a roadside bomb killed three Iraqi National Guard soldiers and wounded six in a joint patrol with U.S. troops in Mosul; and U.S. soldiers accidentally killed a 13-year-old Iraqi girl and wounded a 14-year-old boy near Baqouba, the AP reported.

Eddie and I aren't friends, not really even acquaintances. But he graduated the year after I did and Charleston is a small enough place that you pretty much know everyone who went to school with you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"A time comes when silence is betrayal."

I read the other day about how not many of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s later speeches, the ones he gave after "I have a dream," are very well known or often repeated. This is because he became so outspoken against the war in Vietnam and the foreign policies of our government. Wouldn't really do for Bush to go around repeating or honoring those kinds of sentiments. But, thanks to Bob Harris, I am reminded of just how much we need to be honoring those thoughts (from a 1967 speech at New York's Riverside Church):
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice... The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world...
... At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

And Amelia links to Bob Herbert:
"Never since his assassination in 1968 have I felt the absence of Martin Luther King more acutely. Where are today's voices of moral outrage? Where is the leadership willing to stand up and say: Enough! We've sullied ourselves enough.

Indeed, where is our outrage? A time comes when silence is betrayal.