::it just occurred to me

12 09 2008

that Sara Palin is kind of like Madonna these days: kind of hot, kind of scary.



Judge for yourself.




::9/11 Remodeled

11 09 2007

I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write for this September 11th for a week or so now. I’m sick to death of politics lately, though, and I really didn’t care to have an entry centered around the Surge or the Senate hearings with General Petraeus, or the latest stupid thing Dubya’s handlers are shaking their heads over.

You can’t talk about September 11th, 2001 without talking about Iraq, no matter how linked they aren’t, and I think anyone who’s read more than two entries is probably pretty clear on how I feel about George dubya.

And what if we disregard Iraq completely and force it out of the conversation like the redheaded stepchild that it is? Then we are left with talking about the new fascism: wiretaps, detainments, deportations, Gitmo, no-fly lists, and whether or not breast milk is a dangerous liquid that should be banned from flights.


So yeah, trying to think of something to say about 9/11 without talking about all that bullshit. Hadn’t really thought of anything.

I thought also about writing about how September 11th really effected me more than I thought it would in the months after that day. Like how every time I happen to look at the clock and see 9:11, I tense up and I feel a lump in my stomach. I don’t know the story behind that one.

I watched Flight 93 on cable the other night. I haven’t cried during a movie in years. Years, I tell you. And not because I try to be some tough guy jagoff who claims to not cry in movies, either. Wanna know something? I cry during TV weddings. Real weddings, too. Even if I don’t like one or more of the people doing the deed. But TV weddings get me too, every time. I don’t have to like them either.

Anyway, Flight 93. I cried, and I really, really didn’t expect to. I didn’t expect there to be such a portrayal of the fear and bravery and simple humanity of those people. I didn’t expect the terrorists to be somewhat human, and they were. To see their own fear of what they were doing was as painful as it was to see everyone else’s fear of what was being done.

I’ve rambled this far and all I’ve really said is that I can’t think of what to say and terrorism is bad.

So anyway.

I got home from work, and went out into the front yard with the two little boys to give The Missus a break for a little while, and all of a sudden Liam decided he wanted to ride his bike. We got him a bike back in March for his 4th birthday, and he’s been a little intimidated by it. He’s only ridden it 2 or 3 times. I don’t want to force the issue and make him learn to ride it. There’s no fun in that. And learning to ride your bike should be fun, so he’ll do it as his own pace.

But today he wanted to ride his bike. So we got it out and washed off the dust and cobwebs, cleaned the helmet and pumped up the tires. Off we went down the street and around the block.

He was very tentative at first, not wanting me to take my hands off the handlebars, and letting out a little whimper with each teeter onto the training wheels. I convinced him he needed to take his eyes off his feet and look where he was going shortly before we got to the corner. Which, being able to see it, he rounded like a pro.

He got a little further, sped up to the point where I let go but stuck close, and then suddenly shouted out, “Yeah for me! I’m doing it! I’m steering!”

I gave him some encouragement of some kind, and then, he said it.

What did he say, you ask?

Almost shaking on the bike with excitement and frothing at the mouth, Liam said:


And I’ll be damned if he’s wrong.

We continue loops around the block for over an hour, with him sometimes having as much as half a block lead on me on looking back.

So fuck September 11th, 2001 and all of it’s tragedy and fascism and machismo and death.

September 11, 2007 is the day my kid decided to learn how to ride his bike.


the best day ever.



::day 3

13 10 2006

With no real half and half in the office.

And now the hazelnut is almost gone.

I’m beginning to think the bastards don’t want me around.




10 10 2006

There is no more half and half in the office.

I am reduced to the indignity of using hazelnut creamer.



::extraordinary rendition

19 09 2006

Mister President–

I think I need some clarity on this.

Say you’re a Canadian citizen, and you’re travelling home to Canada from a trip overseas.  Your return trip takes through JFK International, where you have to catch a connecting flight.  Say you’re getting off your plane and you’re on your way to you connection when you get arrested kidnapped in the airport. 

Let’s go on in this scenario and say that you’re held for two weeks by officials working for the United States government, and during that time you’re not allowed to call any of the following people:

  1. Your wife back home in Canada
  2. Your lawyer
  3. The Canadian embassy or any member of the Canadian government. 

Let us also remember, in this hypothetical situation, that there are treaties between the Canadian and US governments dealing with just this sort of thing, and that the treaties spell out that you should be able to, at a minimum, get in touch with 2 and 3 on the list above. You’re a good Canadian who knows a thing or two about what your government does, and you’re aware of your rights.  No one seems to care.

So let’s say you’re held in the US for two weeks, after which time the CIA decides to put you on a plane and fly you to Jordan, and then drive you to Syria, where you are turned over by the CIA to the Syrian government.  The Syrians hold you for a year, during which time you are repeatedly tortured.

When the US government is asked about you and your whereabouts, let’s say they deny ever having heard of you.  For a year or so.  Then they refuse to say where you are or what has become of you.

But let’s say the Syrians can’t get anything out of you, and they give you back to the Canadians, who spend the next two years smearing your name and calling you a terrorist. 

Then all of a sudden they realize that you’re not a terrorist, you’ve never had terrorist sympathies, and you’ve never done anything wrong.  Unless of course, being of Arab descent while travelling through US airspace is wrong.  And it very well may be. 

The Canadians issue apologies, offer you compensation for the money you’ve lost and the slander  you’ve suffered, and genuinely try to make up for their part in the horrible injustice that’s been done to you and your family.  The United States, on the other hand, summarily dismisses without comment the lawsuit you filed against them.

Bullshit, right? 

That’s just another liberal bullshit conspiracy story that never happens.  We are saving the world for democracy here, people. 

We are the guys in the white hats.

Tell that to Maher Arar.  The bullshit story above is his story, and it is true.

But hey, there’s a war on, right?  And every airport, bus stop, train station and intersection is part of the front, right? We are all players here, we are all soldiers. 

This is tragic, this is sad, this is a terrible injustice, but would which would we rather have–a few mistakes, a few people tortured when they shouldn’t be, or another 9/11?  That’s how the logic goes.  There is collateral damage in every war.

Wrong.  If this can happen to one person, if the government can blow off treaties and laws and common human decency when dealing with a Arab Canadian no one is likely to care about, it can happen to anyone.  You or me, in New York or Kansas City, citizen or no. 

Am I paranoid?  Am I a conspiracy nut?  I don’t think I am.

What’s stopping it from happening?

Who knows that it hasn’t happened already?



::big speech

7 09 2006

Let me just open this up with a quote:

“…The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it — and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.”

George W. Bush

September 6th, 2006

And just for fun, I’d like to follow that up with an excerpt from a little something called a Presidental Signing Statement:

“The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.”

So we know for a fact what we’ve known as speculation for almost a year now: The CIA kidnaps people in our name–make that your name–they kidnap people in your name, and hold them in secret for months while using alternative sets of procedures with which to extract information out of them. 

We can’t be told what these alternative procedures are; security reasons, you see.  But the procedures we usually use don’t work, so we know what the procedures aren’t.  The alternative procedures the President referred to do not include any of the following:

  • The use of attack dogs

  • Humiliation

  • Degredation

  • Deficating on the Quran

  • Simulating rape

  • Female interrogators stripping down

  • Female interrogators pretending to wipe menstral blood on prisoners

  • Falsely telling prisoners their families have been captured and\or killed because of them

  • Forcing prisoners to remain in painful positions for hours or even days
  • Depriving prisoners of food and water
  • Forced isolation of prisoners

None of these practices were used.  We used alternativesWe did.  You and me, us and them.

But one thing you can be sure of, everyone, is that we are safer now that this type of thing is being done around the world to hundreds or thousands of people.  Or only one–does it matter?  If we throw away our priciples for one occassion, why not despense with them altogether?

Stalin had something to say about that idea, and I think it rings true here.

One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.

Joseph Stalin

But what we are after here is order.  Safety.  Control. 

Liberty breeds danger, after all.




::new fascism

5 09 2006

“…once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism”

Donald Rumsfeld

August 29th, 2006

Got that right.

The new fascism that so many of us are morally and intellectually confused about has some characteristics that the world is all too familar with.

Did I miss anything?

We must fight this new fascism with all that we have, and, just as Rumsfeld cautions, that the extremists behind this new facsism cannot be appeased.

Regime change ’08.