zoethe: (Default)
The peace of a gentle spring day in Cleveland was shattered when a a gunman walked into the Peter B. Lewis building at 4pm and opened fire. He's holding about 50 people hostage - some apparently under his control, some hiding out in the warren-like crannies of this strangely constructed building, more suited to Epcot Center than to the stately grounds of the university.

I work on the Case Western Reserve University Campus. I probably know at least a couple of the people who are being held there. I have walked through the glass door he shattered with a sledgehamer, a door that requires keycard entry for security purposes. They didn't really consider this kind of attack when they issued our little plastic cards.

Moreover, I walked right past that building, that door, not more than a couple hours before all this happened. I had files to deliver back to the School of Social Science, across the street from the School of Management. It was quiet, the sun was shining, there was nothing to indicate that only by the luck of timing was I not part of the crisis that's unfolding.

It gives me a shudder. And I know I'm not alone in that feeling. There were dozens of people on that street today, many more in and out of the building. Many who are watching from the comfort of their dorm room or living room and thinking, "I left only an hour, 15 minutes, 10 minutes before it happened."

We rolled our eyes and joked when the president was forming an anti-terrorism plan, but here we are, not under attack from some foreign entity but victims once again of the solitary nut with a gun - and how do you fight against that? Metal detectors wouldn't have done squat - he didn't even enter in a legal fashion - and you can't put a guard at every door, tanks in the street, checkpoints all around campus.

We live free, and take the risk of doing so. But all those unanswered questions from "Bowling for Columbine" are bubbling to the surface once again. What the hell is wrong with us?
zoethe: (legolas)
Sorry, I was just too amused not to share this gem from Cleveland Non-Violence. Finally, that smoking gun we all KNEW had to be out there.. *snert*

***********************

Finally. The Osama Bin Laden/Saddam Hussein link exposed!

Powell Offers Proof of Saddam-Osama Link March 27, 2003

By Gil Christner

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary of State Colin Powell today offered
incontrovertible proof of the long-sought-after link between Saddam
Hussein's Regime and the al Qaeda Terrorist Network.

In a speech before the General Assembly, General Powell was able to
show, through a series of "degrees of separation," how Hussein was
merely 6 people away from Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda. Using
charts, graphs, and all AV equipment available to the U.N., Powell
presented his case to the General Assembly and the entire world, which
was watching via television cameras.

Never rambling or tentative, a confident Sec. Powell spoke with a voice
of authority, outlining the solid connection between the leader of Iraq
and the group of terrorists deemed "the most dangerous people to
Humanity" by Fox News Network. The series of charts and graphs were
presented in 14 different languages, including Farsi, Aramaic and
German. French was inexplicably left out of the languages used.

In sum, here are Gen. Powell's arguments:

1. In December of 2002, actor Sean Penn went to Baghdad, home of Saddam
Hussein.

2. Sean Penn is married to actress Robin Wright.

3. Robin Wright and Penn made the movie "Forrest Gump" with Tom Hanks.

4. Tom Hanks made the film "Apollo 13" with Kevin Bacon.

5. Kevin Bacon made a Visa card commercial with Indian-born character
actor Sahid Benjali.

6. Sahid Benjali used to bartend at the Lingerie Club in Hollywood. In
the early 80's he served drinks to Carmen bin Laden, a former USC
student, who is Osama's sister-in-law.

After Gen. Powell's presentation, there were several heated
discussions, with many of the delegates making angry responses, some of
which were not too flattering to the case being made.

"Six degrees? Fah!" said Ahmad Abu l Gheit, the delegate from Egypt.
"I can get from Saddam to Osama in 5 people! Including Madonna!"

"Six people? I can do it in four," retorted Elinor Hammarskjold, the
Swedish delegate. "And I don't need to use Kevin Bacon! Just give me
the Farrelly Brothers and a pool boy in Bel-Air!" Whereupon the entire
floor of the U.N. erupted into arguments.

Eventually the winner emerged: Tanzania delegate Mark J. Mwando was
able to get from Saddam to Osama in 2 steps:

1. In 1983, Saddam Hussein met with then U.S. Envoy Donald Rumsfeld,
working on behalf of the Ronald Reagan-George Bush Sr. administration,
to arm Iraq against Iran.

2. George Bush Sr. was formerly the head of the CIA, the organization
which armed Osama bin Laden and provided training to his followers in
the 80's.

For coming up with the winning entry, Delegate Mwando was treated to a
party platter from the Carnegie Deli on 7th Ave. "This is wonderful,"
Mwando said as he munched on a dill pickle.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could not be reached for comment.
zoethe: (Default)
US Hawks Set Sights on Iran, Syria as Baghdad Falls

Emboldened by the U.S. military's apparent quick rout of Iraqi forces, conservative hawks in America are setting their sights on regime change in Iran and Syria.


"It's time to bring down the other terror masters," Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute wrote on Monday -- two days before U.S. troops swept into the heart of Baghdad -- in a piece entitled "Syria and Iran Must Get Their Turn."


"Iran, at least, offers Americans the possibility of a memorable victory, because the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will enthusiastically combat it, if only the United States supports them in their just struggle," he added. "Syria cannot stand alone against a successful democratic revolution that topples tyrannical regimes in Kabul, Tehran and Iraq (news - web sites)."

---------

And on and on.

It's not an invasion, it's a war. And we aren't reinstituting colonialism, we're liberating people.

Just keep telling yourself that.
zoethe: (Star Wars)
Sorry about all the war talk. I have tried to stay away from the topic.

Still, why do I keep thinking of blankets innoculated with smallpox...?


U.N. Fears U.S. Bomblets Resemble Food Packets

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. children's fund UNICEF expressed concern on Wednesday that Iraqi children might mistake yellow food packets being handed out by U.S.-led forces with small bombs with identical coloring.

"Confusing unexploded ordinance with food places children at huge risk of injury or death," UNICEF said, calling on the military to urgently change the color of the food packets.

A UNICEF statement said food packets known as "humanitarian daily rations" that were being handed out by the U.S. and British forces in Iraq were covered in a bright yellow plastic wrap.
The color of the wrapping was identical to that of an air-dropped bomblet that UNICEF identified as a BLU 97.

A similar problem had arisen during the war in Afghanistan where the U.S. military eventually changed the wrapping on food packets to blue, the U.N. agency said.

In Afghanistan, both the food packets and the bomblets were dropped from U.S. aircraft while in Iraq only the bomblets were being air-dropped. But children can still confuse the ration and unexploded ordinance, because of their identical coloring, UNICEF warned.
zoethe: (Star Wars)
Oh. My. God.


N.M Teachers on Leave Over War Protests


By JULIE ANN STEPHENS, Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Two high school teachers said Tuesday they have been placed on leave for refusing to remove war-related student artwork posted in their classrooms.

Highland High School teachers Allen Cooper and Geoffrey Barrett said they were told Monday night that they would be suspended if they did not remove the posters.

Barrett, who teaches history and current events, said the student art carried both anti-war and pro-war messages, and was created as part of a class assignment.

"I think this is mostly a violation of the students' rights to have a voice and express their opinions," Barrett said. "Asking me to take down the posters was taking away the voice of the students and I was not going to do that."

Cooper said one of the signs in question in his classroom read "No War Mr. Cooper." It was written by an Afghani student who has had family members killed in U.S.-led bombings in Afghanistan, he said.

"I really agonized over this," said Cooper, an English teacher. "I don't want to be suspended. I just want to teach my classes."

Both teachers said the posters in question were taken down by school officials before classes began Tuesday.

Rigo Chavez, a spokesman for the school district, said the teachers had been placed on paid administrative leave "in connection with the district's policy on the presentation of controversial issues."

On Monday, two teachers and a counselor from neighboring Rio Grande High School were cleared to return to work after similar suspensions for refusing to take down anti-war signs.


-----------------------------------------------

Do these people even realize what they’re doing? What the hell are we fighting for, if not for the freedom to be able to say, “I disagree with my government”? The staggering irony of this sickens me – George Dub says we want to grant Iraqis freedom, yet this kind of behavior is occurring in his own backyard and he doesn’t even blink.

We’ve learned nothing. Nothing at all. Those “crazy militia nuts” hiding out in the hills of Idaho are right – we have freedom as long as we don’t piss the government off. The Left is no better than the Right.

This makes me ill. My thoughts and prayers are with our “guys on the ground,” but…what are they fighting for? Really?
zoethe: (Default)
76% of Americans now support the war, up from 60% yesterday. 45 countries have jumped on the U.S.A. bandwagon now.

Nothing succeeds like success.

The countries are easily dismissed as cynical pragmatists, but I think with the American people there is something else at work. One comment I have heard over and over, on the radio and in person, is “I didn’t really support this action, but now that the troops are in I am behind them all the way.”

Call it post-Vietnam vet syndrome. Good men and women, badly hurt by the anger of a nation at a war they had little choice but to fight, did not take the insults and the hatred lying down, did not attempt to put Vietnam behind them and pretend they’d never been there. They made us aware that these actions were wrong, and they demanded—and received—retribution for the discrimination and pain they had suffered. That retribution is still on the books, and will continue to be on the books until the last of the Vietnam soldiers have gone the way of the survivors of the Civil War. We don’t want to do that to the people who risk their lives for our safety ever again. And we shouldn’t.

But here’s the thing. I don’t remember any of this kind of talk the last time we marched into the Gulf. Nor when we liberated Panama, meddled in the affairs of the Balkans, or tried to make Ethiopians stop killing each other. Despite the moral conflicts—frequently similar to the ones faced now—this aspect of the dialogue was never center stage like I’m hearing it now.

Could it be that our instincts are telling us that this is likely to be another protracted, morally ambiguous, eventually ugly situation?
zoethe: (James)
We received the updated security plan for Case Western Reserve University, in case of terrorist emergency.

I’m still trying to determine if this is an act of arrogant naiveté or just the covering of butts. I am reminded of my coworkers on 9/11, scurrying about in frantic indignation that we weren’t evacuating the building, because, after all, we worked in the shadow of KeyBank Center, the tallest building between New York and Chicago.

The tallest building

BETWEEN

New York and Chicago….

GET OVER YOURSELVES! My god, if more terrorist attacks were going to occur, they would be aimed at national landmarks like the Sears Tower, not trivia questions! (Maybe this belief that the obscure is important has been injected into our society by national sports – “He has an ERA of 2.5 when pitching while wearing blue shoes.”)

It gets better. Some other friends said that they shut down the trains because the station is in Tower City and Tower City would (of course) be the target because it represents the heart and soul of Cleveland.

Hello?

We’re fucking Cleveland!!! It’s nice that you have such a positive view of yourself, but the sad truth is we probably aren’t on the top-ten of morale-shattering targets in America. We’re a footnote.

And Case Western Reserve University is a perfectly nice, flirting-with-first-tier, Midwestern College. It’s not Harvard or Yale or Columbia. It’s not even Notre Dame. And it doesn’t have a football team. No one is going to attack us. We’re nowhere near important enough.

A more honest approach than the evacuation and safety plan would have been the following memo:

“If it comes to the point where terrorists are attacking this campus, the world will no longer be a fit place to live. Remain at your desks and make peace with your god.”
zoethe: (Default)
In an 8-1 decision today, the Supreme Court protected the continued existence of the First Amendment. The Pro-Life/Pro-Choice component of using RICO laws to squelch unpopular viewpoints was the least important part of this decision. Even if you are pro-choice, as I am, the notion that peaceful protest could be prevented by the threat of vicious economic reprisal was a dark shadow over the future of grassroots change.

The most vile aspect of the RICO fiasco was watching people like Ted Kennedy gleefully embrace RICO as a way to shut up those pesky protesters. Never mind that criminal sanctions already exist if they engage in criminal behavior, we want to shut them up entirely. This is the same Ted Kennedy who threatened to filibuster RICO at its inception because he feared it would be used against war protesters and civil rights activists, many of whom do not have clean hands when it comes to destructive protest behavior? What Ted really wanted was to shut up people who don’t think like him. That isn’t liberalism; it’s Left-Wing fundamentalism.

Freedom of speech means freedom for all speech – especially the kind we don’t like. When the world turned upside down in the 60s, the very people who are trying to limit conservative outcry were the ones in the minority, frowned upon and regarded as troublemakers. They relied on the very freedoms they want to take away to make the world listen. How smug is it to say that now that we—who are obviously correct and therefore superior—are in power, we don’t want to hear any of this whining from you who don’t agree with us. Do they truly believe that the tide won’t turn, and they are safe from ever facing sanctions from the very rules with which they are attempting to oppress distasteful points of view?

Fortunately the Supreme Court was there to save these people from themselves—and the rest of us from them. A round of applause for the Supremes!
zoethe: (Default)
The front page of Yahoo has a Valentine's Day ad showing a couple embracing. A man has his back to the camera, the roses he has obviously just flourished draped around his shoulders in the hand of his...

ambigously-gendered partner. Woman? Man? I really can't say. And I think this is the idea.

Congratulations to the gay community. This is the biggest stride forward in acceptance you have ever made.

In the U.S., rights are things we grant to those who make us sqeamish, long before we grant them acceptance. Despite the continuing lag in accepting homosexuals as appropriate legal life partners, we have afforded as much protection as is legally practical. And yet gays and lesbians have remained on the fringe in the minds of the average American.

Why? Because nobody mainstream markets to them. The U.S. is all about commerce, mainstream, Target/Wal-Mart/Costco commerce. Every radical idea eventually gets stirred into the slumgulleon stew of America and made palatable to the average Joe Sixpack. Music is the greatest example. Rap may still be the angry music of the people, but we also sell stuff with watered down versions of it. And everything in America that becomes mainstream eventually enters the selling machine.

Ads aimed at a demographic are the ultimate acknowledgement that it exists. Mainstream huckstering for the gay dollar has begun.

Welcome to the front of the bus.
zoethe: (Default)
Jeff and I went to Starbuck's for coffee this morning. Upon handing us our skinny mochas (Jeff's without whip, mine with), he recited the most bizarre salutation I have ever heard:

"Have a pleasant holiday, if you choose to celebrate."

I gaped at him in alarm, staggered back a few steps and turned to Jeff. "Merry Christmas?" I yelped.

This PC crap has got to end.

I am a practicing Pagan, and well aware that the solstice holidays were long ago usurped by this faux natal celebration. But that celebration was later elbowed out by a fat guy in a red suit, and Christmas is the most secular of "religious" holidays on the calendar. The non-Christian religions have made a major error in trying to pull away from it--encouraging the secular celebration of such universal values as family, friends, and unbridled greed could have shoved the nativity into footnote status in only a few years. Midnight Mass? That place you go to show off your spiffy new clothes and sing great songs! Yeah, there's some God talk, but no one can hear it over the howling babies anyway. Besides, it's completely optional.

Instead, the decision was made to re-religi-fy Christmas and get snotty about it. People shook their fist in protest, demanding that their own winter holidays be equally trivialized .

Congratulations; you've succeeded.

"Have a pleasant holiday,
if you choose to celebrate."

Have people really been so brittle at Starbucks? Have they snarled out that they are agnostic, athiest, Jehovah's Witness, Amish, and that a greeting as Have-a-nice-day innocuous as "Happy Holidays" is personally offensive to the extreme? Have they demanded to speak to managers, written to headquarters, notified the papers over this intrusive and judgmental greeting? I doubt it.

And anyone who would should be calmly told to go out in search of a life.

Jeff and I went from Starbuck's to Suncoast to exchange a mispurchased video. It was early, and hardly anyone was in the mall (yes, despite my vows to the contrary I did end up back in the mall for a few minutes today). The staff was in a punchy, raucous mood, and we were quickly riffing on each other as I searched for a replacement gift. A tall, robust redhead noticed my "stealth pentacle" and asked where I had purchased it, then asked if I was a pagan. Upon confirmation, he pulled out his Thor's Hammer and pronounced me "among friends."

When I finished my exchange that same booming voice wished me an unhesitant, "Merry Christmas!" Then he shrugged and said, "I assume you celebrate it, since you're getting gifts."

There we were, two people whose religious holiday was a few days ago, who generally don't get acknowledged in the "multicultural winter festivals," and who certainly don't have a National Pentagram on the Washington Mall between the National Christmas Tree and the National Menorah. And yet we are happy sharing the holiday of others. Because, hey, it's a happy time of year.

So Merry Christmas. And if you're offended by that, get fucking over it.

Santa!

Dec. 20th, 2002 11:28 am
zoethe: (leafy pent)
Santa came into our office this morning. He ws ho-ho-hoing his way through the building, after spending rush hour standing on the corner outside of Severance Hall and brightening everyone's commute with a jolly wave.

He didn't bring prezzies. He didn't even bring candy canes.

And yet he filled with joy the hearts of three women who are all much too grown-up for such things. Really.

Christine, the KNOCK-OUT lawyer, actually hopped up and down and clapped her hands in glee. In her perfect make-up, short-skirted power suit, and elegantly coifed hair.

I look upon those who would steal such pleasures from the world with sadness and impatience.

Poor Santa is under attack from all sides. To the fundamentalist Christians, he is a reminder of the pagan roots of their usurped holiday, and they would just as soon he went away. To the fundamentalist non-Christians, he is a pervasive symbol of a holiday that is deplorably central to our culture--because no matter how much we try to call it winter holiday, it's still Christmas time.

Most of America, typically, is still confused as to why there is so much fuss about a happy guy in a red suit. He makes us feel good, just by his presence--even without presents. He laughs in the face of stress and sadness, he enfolds us in the warmth of his arms. He reminds us that this season is about magic and miracles, whether you celebrate the birth of a savior, the return of the sun, the blessing of a light that held true long past when it should. We are coming through the darkness, and looking to the future. That in the midst of darkness a jolly voice can burst forth in a deep and resonant laugh, that is perhaps the greatest miracle of all.
zoethe: (Default)
But even in the much more violent days of my childhood we didn't have anything like the G.I. Joe bombed out home . Is Refugee Barbie next???
zoethe: (angel)
I came across this link today:

http://www.magicalblend.com/newsletter/November012002/turkey.html

For those who don't care to click through, it is a "Save the Turkeys" group. Rather like Greenpeace and their baby seals. You pay them a $15.00 adoption fee and they "rescue" a gobbler otherwise destined for a kitchen table somewhere. For your $15.00 fee, "you receive a color photograph of your turkey, adoption certificate, and a year's subscription to Farm Sanctuary's quarterly newsletter. A turkey adoption is also a perfect gift for the holidays and a great way to educate your friends and relatives. Farm Sanctuary is also looking for loving, vegetarian homes for rescued turkeys."

Oh

My

Gawd.

The domestic turkey as we now know it is not a fit beast for readapting to the wild. It has no place in the food chain, no vacant niche crying out for its return. It is, in sum, an artifice created only to adorn the Thanksgiving table, glistening brown and chock full of bread crumbs. It is nothing more than a Norman Rockwell picture waiting its turn to fling itself, Shmoo-like, onto a platter saved for this one annual ritual.

This is a creature that, left out in the rain, will drown looking up at the sky. It is less an animal than an animate cauliflower with a turnip pinned to the top.

And they want people to adopt these full-sized, full-grown turkeys. Creatures bred with breasts so fullsome that they can barely walk. Creatures far too stupid to contemplate their own mortality--too stupid, in fact, to be aware of their own existence. There are no circus trick turkeys, no dancing turkeys, no clever turkeys at all.

If we stop eating them, they will die out. They're poor pets, they're tough to breed successfully, and left to their own devices the young refuse to drink and expire within two days. They don't even manage to be cute.

Surely these people something better to do than drive the poor domestic turkey to extinction.

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