Monday, December 18, 2006

The great white/black/male/female hope

I was listening to NPR (as usual) and heard a discussion about whether America is ready for a black and/or woman President.

Barack Obama was mentioned, with some discussion about how elements of the black community may view Obama as "not black enough". OK, Obama has a black dad and a white mom, so he's 50% black anyway.

Part of the discussion pointed out that Obama is not of the generation of civil rights protest leaders; rather, he is reaping the rewards of Dr. King's dream. You know, that "content of their character" part.

So, is that black enough? Or does he need gangsta street cred? I don't think that constituency votes in any great numbers anyway (particularly the youth and the felons).

Of course, there are probably some in the white community who regard Obama as "too black" (i.e., more than 0%). Maybe there would be some perverse logic to their supporting him: If Obama can be elected President, then do we need Affirmative Action anymore?

There was even the mention of a fear that a black President may take away the so-called "white privilege", whatever that is. If he or she does, I imagine it will be because he or she is upholding the standards set forth in the Constitution, not because of some racial backlash. (But then, I expected the current President to uphold the standards set forth in the Constitution, and look where it got me.)

If whites don't vote for Obama because he's too black, they're bigots. If blacks don't vote for Obama because he's not black enough, they're idiots.

The discussion then turned to whether America is ready for a woman President. Someone mentioned that the men have traditionally tried to look tough by playing touch football, driving tanks, or zipping around in speedboats; if women did that, they'd look silly. Not to say that the men don't look silly, too (alas, poor Dukakis).

Can a woman be tough enough to defend her country? Let's see, there was Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Elizabeth I, Queen Boudicca...yes, I think a chick can handle the reins of power.

The real question is: Are Americans still so juvenile that these doubts are taken seriously?

Unfortunately, I think I know the answer. But two years is a long time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Perp walks of life

Who uses the phrase "walks of life"? Christians, that's who. Specifically the brainwashed kind.

Have a look at this video. Here you will see a story about the Christian Embassy, an organization with extraordinary (and probably unconstitutional) access to the (literal) corridors of power in this country.

One woman gets teared up describing how Jesus Christ died on the cross (Cross?) for her sins, specifically for her sins; I didn't know they had met.

Many uniformed officers working in the Pentagon speak about how great it is to be Christian when they have such tough jobs to do. One guy says he makes time in his busy schedule to have Bible study. "The work will still be there." What work? Oh, defending our country! I'm glad he can have his Twix moment when the going gets tough.

Then again, the stated order of loyalty is to God/Jesus, family, then to country. One official remarked that a constituent had taken issue with his faith-based governing. "It comes with the package," he said. Personally, I'd vote that particular package out of office.

There is also footage of our elected and appointed representatives and defenders traveling abroad, spreading the word (Word?) for Jesus and studying ancient Hebrew folklore.

This stuff freaks me out in a Stepford Wives kind of way, even down to the group of women who support their important menfolk.

Would an Islamic group have such access? Of course not. And they shouldn't. And neither should the Christians.

Smoke gets in your...nose

About two days ago, I began smelling smoke, as if someone were smoking cigarettes or burning wood, even though neither is happening near me.

Yesterday I felt a sore throat coming on, and today I have all that plus a fever. Still have the smoke smell.

I found this web page about the phenomenon, and it appears I'm not the only one to experience it. Barring a rare brain tumor, all signs point to sinus infection.

I hate smoke.

Bright Penny

Ick. I have a cold. Sore throat. Blah-ness. As long as I'm stuck here, I thought I'd watch Part One of the new Sci-Fi Channel mini-series "The Lost Room".

It stars Peter Krause (of "Six Feet Under" and "Sports Night" fame), and features Elle Fanning, the beautiful and charming little sister of the incredibly talented Dakota Fanning.
The story has a very imaginative premise: Krause is detective Joe Miller who investigates a strange double homicide, and ends up with a motel room key that can open any door, but which always opens into the same motel room. No matter what gets changed in the room, the next time he enters, it has been "reset" as it was.

Unfortunately, his young daughter Anna is in the room when the door closes. When he opens the door, she's gone. He now has to find her; perhaps Miss Margulies can help:
Juliana MarguliesHe discovers that the room once contained many mundane objects, such as a penknife, watch, ballpoint pen, etc., which now appear to have strange powers (the pen fries people, the knife makes someone fall asleep instantly, the watch boils an egg).

What will become of Anna? I'll just have to tune in tonight for Part Two.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Carter on Palestine

Former US President Jimmy Carter is attracting criticism for his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter wrote an op-ed piece in the LA Times in response to some of the criticism.

I haven't read the book, but I have watched some interviews with Carter, so my comments will be more of a general nature.

  1. Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in part for his work in the Middle East, and his list of credentials on the subject is greater than most. As such, I value Carter's perspective, and presume no ill will on his part.
  2. It is possible to disagree with the policies and actions of the state of Israel without being anti-semitic. If I disagree with Israel's actions, it isn't because they are Jewish; it's because I disagree with their actions.
  3. It is possible to support the Jewish cause and to remember the Holocaust without automatically supporting the policies and actions of the state of Israel.
  4. Some people who oppose Israel are cowed into silence because of the large Jewish lobby in the United States.
  5. Some people who oppose Israel are cowed into silence because of woolly religious reasoning that goes something like this:
    • The Jews are God's chosen people.
    • If I support Israel, then God will like me.
    • Biblical prophecy says something about doing something in Israel before Jesus can return, so I'll support that, then shove them out of the way when the Messiah comes (back).
  6. Violence sucks.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Conservative by definition

Definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary:
  1. To protect from loss or harm: Greg wants to conserve the Constitution, therefore he is a Liberal.
  2. To use sparingly: Bush wants to apply the Constitution as little as possible, therefore he is a Conservative.

Mmm, Lebanon...

Time for a geography lesson.

An article posted on shows the following map:

Lebanon is the delicious strawberry nation between chocolatey Syria and the Mediterranean Sea.

Beirut is the cherry on top.