May Exceed $300 Billion. May exceed? If they are now saying $300 billion, who among us doesn't believe that the number will go even higher? Now think about that figure. $300 billion. Perhaps this will make it easier: $300,000,000,000.
Now, think about our annual deficit. Add up the costs we would incur if we were to provide health care to the uninsured, funds to shore up our public schools, subsidies to maintain Amtrak and other public transportation systems, investment in alternative energy....I could go on. Can anyone tell me what we have gotten for our $300 billion? Is Osama in jail or in the ground? Are the Afghani people better off? Does Karzai control more than Kabul? Are the warlords out of Afghanistan? Are the "insurgents" out of Iraq? Is the middle east nearing stability? Are we respected throughout the world and seen as a force for good? Is our economy robust? Are jobs plentiful? Do Americans feel secure?
I keep on looking at these last four years and I count up the scandals, I watch a cruel and bumbling administration fuck everything up and I wonder, what will it take to get them out? What atrocity must they commit before Americans speak with one voice (as much as that is possible) and say enough? I just don't know.
fascism. Tell me this isn't scary. Thanks to Jenn for the link.
Americablog for the latest revelations about Jeff Gannon, man for hire. The folks at that blog have done their work. There are links to pages and photos--the photos are explicit and definitely not work safe. Some people may think that enough is enough and that any continued investigation of this story is just beating a dead horse. Well have them read the hole post that I've linked. The relevant questions/memes are there at the end and, briefly summarized, they focus on how a gay hustler with no journalism experience was able to get a day pass to the white house press room every day for two years? Let's face facts, he had to have help to get in there. So, who wanted him there? Why?
You know, in the end I'm thinking that a lot of this may really boil down to sex. Look at the W administration and tell me that you don't see a host of modern day J. Edgar's and Roy Cohn's. If that's the case, then let's bring this closet cabal down. Out normal gay men and women know that the extremely closeted gays, those who want to be close to power, will do anything to keep protect their access. They are the worst offenders when it come to gay baiting. It's time to bring them down.
present. The link leads you to a flash animation that shows the differences between the EEC and Italy. And, since I'm half italian and was raised by a gazillion sicilian family members, I can tell you that certain of the scenes were so spot on. Watch the scene that describes the differences between when an EEC pedestrian attempts to cross a street versus an italian trying to cross the street. Reminds me of when a big chunk of my family went to Italy on vacation and we stayed a week or so in Rome. My Uncle Frank acted as our tour and would make us walk everywhere (he was constantly assuring my mother that "it's just a little bit further"). Well, he finally did get us to the coliseum, sort of. We could see it, it was just across a huge multi-lane highway. Please note, that at this time Rome had absolutely no traffic lights. Look at that scene and know that on that hot August day in 1970, we (my mother, brother, cousin, other uncle and grandmother) lived it.
Update: Um, that entry was full o' errors. Note to self: do not post after taking a sleep aid.
No matter how many scandals the W admnistration has created, no matter how many malapropisms W spits from his filthy little mouth, no matter how much damage he is doing to the economy and wants to to to that safety net called Social Security, W never has a blow land on him. Of course, it helps to have a lying nasty piece of shit like Karl "turd blossom" Rove around to do your dirty work. But all of this would be impossible with at the compliance of the ball-licking corporate media. So, on those days when you feel like you have just had enough and you want to open the window and scream (or do something mindlessly destructive), I offer some friendly advice: don't. Instead, run, don't walk to The Rude Pundit. You'll still be pissed that the corporate media are whores, you'll still hate what W et al. have done to this country, but you'll feel a little bit better after you've laughed your ass off. Note to the easily offended: The Rude Pundit choose his/her name very carefully. Not for the faint of heart.
for a visit to Chinatown to celebrate the New Year. The streets were packed, one of our favorite restaurants was closed for the holiday, suburban families were walking slowly down the streets two or three abreast (about the width of the sidewalk). In short, not the best idea. But today, a year later, I suggested a Chinatown visit during for the New Year's festivities and John, again, agreed. And it was just packed, the crowds were unrelenting. What was I thinking? But the streets were also filled with families and kids and lots of noise and banners and dragons. It was really nice. I know that I will promise myself not to visit Chinatown next New Year, but I'm guessing that, once again, I will break my promise.
Before going to Chinatown, John and I went to the Imax theater to see "Aliens of the Deep", James Cameron's movie adventure to the ocean's floor some 2 1/2 miles down. There is no sun at that depth to allow for photosynthesis and there are these chimneys that spout out super-heated water (over 750 degrees), yet the place is teeming with life. It was fascinating to watch, but the dialogue sounded like he used the fool who wrote the script to "Titanic" (i.e., this project of ours was "off the hook", says Cameron, one comely female scientist sees a deep cavern and declares "it's da bomb"....whatever). Note: If you go to see the movie, check out the fish with flippers that look like feet. Creationism my ass.
After the movie, we went over to Central Park for three seconds to see Christo's gates. I don't know a lot about art and I don't have a position as to whether it was good art, but it is an excellent public experience. Lots of different folks were there--the park was jammed. Sadly, all the slow moving people were in front of us, people who felt free to stop suddenly to take a photo or for no fucking reason whatsoever. If you want to see the gates, try to go on a weekday.
Now I will briefly describe the start of my day's adventure--it wasn't a good start, but, ultimately, I'm glad I went through it. I took the 1/9 subway up to the Imax theater (around 66th street) this morning to meet John. As the train pulled into the 18th street station, there suddenly was a loud explosion and a flash of light. No one panicked, but we collectively said "on my god." The doors opened and I got the hell off the train. Some people were milling about trying to figure out what was going on. Then the acrid/sulfuric smell rolled in, followed by white smoke. A young man was in front of me, looking around, not knowing what he should do. He was (unintentionally) blocking the exit. I went up to him, put my hand on his back and told him that he had to move and should leave the station. He moved so that people could exit but he remained, presumably to wait for the next train. I went through the exit and ran up two flights of stairs quicker than I thought possible (and I run up stairs as a rule). So did most of the other riders, but more than a few people just stayed on the platform. When I got to the street, I stayed by the stairwell (it is both an exit and entrance) with the intention of stopping anyone who tried to go down but no one entered for the next few minutes.
Why did I ultimately feel good about what had happened? 1) The thing, whatever it was, was not an attack; 2) people did not panic, some just stood around doing nothing (at worst, they slowed down those who wanted to get out), but those who wanted to leave the station did it in an orderly manner--no pushing, no shoving, no screaming; 3) I got off the train as soon as the doors opened (no lingering at all) and I quickly exited the station. That is, I did not panic, I wasn't afraid, I thought clearly, found the exit and, after reaching the street, I was prepared to do the appropriate thing (i.e., warn others not to go down to the platform).
After catching my breath, I flagged a cab and went to the theater, met John in the lobby and filled him in. He said that genetic selection (thank you evolution) probably provided me with the skills/quick reaction time that I needed to react to a potentially bad situation. I hope I don't have to truly test my survival skills, but I learned that I'm pretty well-prepared. It's no guarantee, but it's not a bad thing to know.
Have a healthy and happy New Year.
Howard Dean is now the DNC chair. I for one cannot believe that one of the few things* that I've hoped for has actually happened. Anyhow, I got this hmtl script to add to my blog that should allow you to contribute to the DNC via Act Blue. Here goes:
*Other things for which I hope: to see the term "frog-marched" and the name "Karl Rove" to appear in the same sentence in every newspaper in the country; to see W cry uncontrollably and then turn and vomit on Dick Cheney during his (W's) resignation speech; to have a camera on W for the entire public display of his mother's funeral, robbing him of the opportunity to smirk during his special day; etc.
Update: The link works. You will be sent to Act Blue to make your donation (Act Blue is coordinating donations from a number of sites). The site is secure and donating was easy (I donated $20.06, which was a figure some folks at Kos suggested to send a signal, and I threw in a few more bucks to Act Blue). By the way, read the histories of the two guys who started this. Not exactly slackers.
this site to check our its photos of New York City architecture. As I was clicking around, I found that it had an entry for the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center and I found this page, which documents how the world responded to 9/11. I'm not particularly sentimental, but I couldn't get through the whole page without crying. The looks of anguish are so brutally real, but the thing that really hit me was the shared sense of loss. Then I saw the sign that someone in Germany made that read "America, You'll Never Walk Alone." And I wept. I wept because I wonder whether anyone would go through the effort to make that sign if another horrible attack happened today. I wept because I think I know the answer.
Fuck you George W. Bush. And you too, Dick Cheney. And Condoleeza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz and the whole PNAC cabal. Fuck all of you for destroying what was good and decent about our government and for making the U.S. a big, brutish, ugly world bully.