succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, February 04, 2006

We'll miss you, Betty.

What starts out sounding like good news:
The United Nations Security Council, acknowledging the failure of the current strategy for ending the carnage in Darfur, Sudan, agreed Friday to deploy thousands of peacekeepers to the troubled province.

And even a little impressive for us:
The United States, which holds the Council presidency this month, offered the motion, and it was approved unanimously.

Is, in fact, a totally empty gesture:
The United States has no intention of sending American combat troops, officials said.

Assuming those and other challenges are overcome, the first United Nations troops are not likely to arrive in Darfur for almost a year.

(emphasis mine)

And just in case you're wondering, as of Dec. 31, 2005 we had contributed 387 military observers, police, and troops to UN peacekeeping missions. 387. Bangladesh sent over 9,000. Ethiopia sent over 3,000. Ghana sent over 2,000. Sri Lanka sent over 1,000. Sri Lanka! One year after the tsunami! So, you know, they had other things to worry about! We should be embarrased and ashamed. If we're going to be so half-assed about participating in the UN we should just be honest about it and actually drop out. And before you start in with how we contribute financially, thus making up for our lack of boots on the ground - 1) a country's financial contribution to the UN is based on its share of the global economy, so we should be paying a lot into the pot, 2) we haven't been paying our UN dues lately, and when we do pay, we shortchange them, and 3) we have one of the most feared/respected militaries. just the presence of American men and women carries a lot of psychological currency, something which just isn't the same as funding other missions without contributing person-power.

I know we have other problems right now. I know we're already short on troops for Afghanistan and Iraq and domestic problems, and Darfur and other international (especially peacekeeping) missions really aren't a priority right now. But that's sort of the problem, isn't it?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Oh, one more for good measure! I have always enjoyed the way Mark refers to my reproductive organs (at least this time there was no mention of teeth):

It sounds delicious. First mac and cheese, now grapes. The uterus is quite the horn-o'-plenty.

Clarification - when I say "my reproductive organs" I mean that Mark has referred to a female body part and I am female...I have yet to notice any horn-o'-plentiness about my specific set.

I nearly forgot! Today is National Wear Red Day (for 4 more minutes) to bring attention to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of American women. Also, Twisty has done a fabulous job drawing attention to the unforgivable gender bias that still exists in cardiac research and treatment. So next time you go in for your annual checkup (because I know you all make that appointment like clockwork) ask about your risk, ask about your blood pressure, talk about your family history, eating habits, exercise routine, and stress levels.

I sort of glossed over something in my previous post, that I just noticed upon re-reading: Cup O' Joe uses the term "Corporate Media," which is really a far more accurate descriptive term than the mainstream media (whenever this gets shortened to MSM it takes my brain a minute to catch up, because that particular acronym in the public health world means Men who Sleep with Men). So let's incorporate that into our lexicon, shall we? No more mainstream media. Call it like it is. Corporate-owned, non-objective, certainly not with your best interests at heart, no longer the watchdog it's supposed to be, media.

I've been putting off posting anything more about the SotU, or Cindy Sheehan's arrest. Just in case you somehow missed it, two women were asked to leave the House prior to the beginning of Bush's speech, but only Sheehan was actually handcuffed and arrested (although the capital police did later apologize). Cup O' Joe is talking about it, and he mentions this:

Years ago, long before film or television, protesters were simply beaten with clubs and dispersed. Now, they're downplayed and ridiculed in the corporate media, or locked up in "free speech zones" that look remarkably like prison camps.

I was raised by a couple of hippies, and their stories become slightly more honest the older I get. Dad was at one protest where there were two groups of students - the ones who were willing to get pounded on, and the ones whose job it was to chant, "They're beating the students!" over and over again. Mom was once chased through a building on campus by a 'protest security guard' who finally gave up when she darted into the women's restroom.

So, yeah, I suppose things could be worse. But after five SotUs by the little wannabe emperor, I'm inclined to agree with Shelby:

I'm seriously going insane. Why can't he just lie about oral sex instead of, you know, everything else?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The things you learn watching bad tv - airtroductions. Thank you, sad Lisa Loeb dating show. Now you too can sign up for a potentially diastrous date in the confined, unescapable space of an airplane.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I can't bring myself to listen to the SotU carefully enough to blog anything about it. But to make myself feel better, I'll link to this ( it's a bumper sticker that says "How did your magnet support the troops? This sticker bought them body armor." there are t-shirts too.). Allegedly, all proceeds go to Bake Sales for Body Armor (which will have a website of its very own soon) which appears to be legit (more info at the link). More clicks brought me to this website, which opens with this quote:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -Teddy Roosevelt

Yep. That sounds about right.

Aw jeez, he just started talking about healthcare. Latest speculation in the Times is that he plans to take on a major overhaul, a la Clinton. Leave my profession alone!

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have to stop talking so much in class. Second class and I'm already That Annoying Girl. But it's public health law class and a) I know next to nothing about law, so half the times I raise my hand it's a question and b) today we talked about ethics! Totally impossible to keep my mouth shut.

Which moves nicely to something I've been pondering - am I becoming Toby Ziegler? I mean, I've always felt like I have a strong sense of personal ethics, but Toby is frequently my least favorite West Wing character, often because I find his principled stands unstomachable. But lately I've noticed that not only am I hard on myself when it comes to these things, but I'm starting to be hard on other people too...I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've gotten frustrated with and judgemental about students who I didn't think lived up to a certain amount of personal responsibility, politicians who aren't willing to stand up for their so-called ideals, I'm becoming less forgiving and understanding of people who lack the moxy to speak 'truth to power' (in whatever context), etc. etc.

And a personal code of ethics brings us to Sid, to whom I have to give a little shout out. He left a comment here a while ago describing something I wrote as eloquent. Now, because I can't take a compliment, of course I feel compelled to disagree, but I also have to say that if I am ever eloquent, it is at least in part thanks to Sid. Although he often drives me nuts with his devil's advocacy, I honed my debating skills at case arguing with Sid, among others. And it's served me well. I learned to really think through my positions and look up facts to back them up. And what do you know? I've actually changed a couple of people's minds about things (which is, in a way, scary. I often forget that people listen when I speak. Mostly I just run off at the mouth for my own edification. Pretty much from when I learned to form words and sentences teachers would send home report cards that said, "Good student. Talks too much." which brings us to a nice conceptual circle, so I'm done.).

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Movie Marathon
(a recap)

His Girl Friday
Really, really funny. And clever! And kind of exhausting. I think the script for this one must have been at least twice as long as the average movie script. It's known for being among the first to have overlapping dialogue, more like conversations in real life. And Cary Grant. Wow. (this sparked a discussion about if many movie stars today fit the description 'women want them and men want to be them.' I think male movie stars tend to be of the more beefcake variety these days, and there are fewer Cary Grants and Steve MacQueens. but maybe I'm wrong) Also, after listening to Joss Whedon commentary on so much of the Firefly and Serenity stuff, I'm really intrigued about camera shot and lense choices. The first scene of this film is one, very long, unbroken shot. Now I'm curious to learn more about whether that was just the style of the time or a limitation of the technology or what.

The Jerk
Thoroughly enjoyable. Kind of almost makes me want to name my hypothetical, future dog Shithead. And Bernadette Peters, as always, sublime. But I'm not sure I'd necessarily watch it again.

Funny...but also really sexist. And I can't decide if it was sexist in this way that was trying to make a statement about the sexism of the time period, or if it was just plain old sexist. For example, Hot Lips. Her character was totally inconsistent. Given her earlier story line, there's absolutely no way the she would behave the way she did during the football game at the end of the movie. Annoying. Dissapointingly, my least favorite of the bunch.

What's New, Pussycat?
Hysterical, awesome, absurd. And really enjoyably filmed. I may have to consider becoming a Woody Allen fan. Even his character wasn't very annoying. Maybe I can get into his earlier stuff. Also, Peter O'Toole, creepily identical to Willem Dafoe.