Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Prig of Paxil

The world's loss is my gain.

After six weeks with the Prig of Paxil, aka my husband Thomas Friedman, I felt like I was zipping down the exit ramp to Edge of Sanity Blvd. with him.

You know how he's the urban blight of the op-ed pages, how he drags down everyone around him?

Well Thomas Friedman in person isn't all that different from Thomas Friedman in print.

And you know how you feel like from Wednesday to Friday, you can't get a handle on his writing? That's exactly like Thomas Friedman the man.

He's bi-polar, which most people would probably figure out rather quickly, and nothing helps.
He's supposed to take his Paxil. But he's rationing them out to one a week because he frets over his co-pay. Which, with his plan, is kind of like Lovey and the Millionaire debating a half hour on whether or not to biggie size an order of fries.

He's convinced it's all "one big scam." And that instead of monthly refills, he can make a bottle last for a full year.

Which explains why, last Wednesday, he can sound like Hillary Clinton not sure what to say on the war so instead using rhetoric about our duties and then, on Friday, sound like the internationalist version of Trent Lott as he mocks "turbans" (among other things.)

As if the caterpillar he has sprouting beneath his nose strikes anyone as "fashionable."

Thomas Friedman is struggling to scale Mount Humanity while lacking all the basic equipment and skills. Once you understand that, you understand the Prig of Paxil.

The six weeks is over, the enforced vacation, and I really hate that he returned in time to spoil the world's holiday. But when I think of the number of people whose Wednesday he ruined last week or the number of people whose Friday he ruined, I think of how, day after day, 'til the clouds roll by, he ruined six weeks of my life that I'll never get back. Balancing Thomas Friedman inflicting his ill will, Arab stereotypes and bad tidings on the world, as opposed to just hurling them in my face, I find that, selfish or not, I prefer it that way.

He came upon a midnight clear and stunk up the whole world. If there's to be any hope in 2006, it depends upon the fence sitters like Thomas Friedman waking up to the reality that is Iraq. Don't place any bets.

Monday, December 26, 2005

News and humor found in the paper

In today's paper, I found this news article:

"News roundup including did Bully Boy break the law?"
Did Bully Boy break the law by authorizing spying on American citizens and circumventing the FISA courts? If so, how many years can someone be sentenced to for that crime? We'll highlight a radio discussion on that issue, but first, news on Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, Russia, Chile, Israel, activism and more.
As reported on The Daily Iraq Wire, December 25th wasn't a day of peace in Iraq. Two bombs went off in Iraq injuring seven Iraqis. In addition, a reported al Qaeda group in Iraq announced Sunday that they had kidnapped and killed four Arabs who had been "working with the US authorities and the Iraqi government in the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad."
Monday violence and unrest continued. Deepa Babington, reporting for the Irish Examiner, notes that Baghdad saw five explosions today killing eight and wounding thirty-eight. Outside of Baghdad, there were attacks in Falluja where a suicide bomber killed himself and two police recruits. In Dhabab, five Iraqi soldiers were killed.
Reporting for IPS, Gareth Porter reports today a "looming confrontation" between Shi'ites in Iraq and the American officials who are urging the disbanding of Shi'ite paramilitary groups. American officials fear groups may have close ties to Iran. The "looming confrontation" emerged when American officials decided to make an issue of the "torture houses" run by Shi'ites. "Decided?" Major R. John Stukey and others first reported the existance of "torture houses" in June of 2005. From June to November, US officials remained silent.
As of Monday, US military fatalities in Iraq stand at 2169, official count with 56 of those fatalities for the month of December. Iraq Body Count, which gathers totals by following media reports, estimates that as few as 27,592 and as many as 31,115 Iraqis have died thus far since the invasion.
In other war news, Agence France-Presse reports the American military is claiming that "very soon" the number of troops serving in Iraq will drop from 19,000 to 2, 5000.
In activism news, NOW is calling for action on Samuel Alito, Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination:

There is work to be done, both in Washington, DC and throughout the country. As a part of Freedom Winter 2006, NOW and Feminist Majority Foundation are working together to bring grassroots activists to DC between January 3 and January 20. We're also encouraging activists to organize in their communities.

More information can be found online at NOW as well as online at the Feminist Majority Foundation. In related news, Ms. Magazine has compiled "the top ten news stories for women in 2005." Topping the list, Sandra Day O'Connor's announcement that she will step down from the Supreme Court bench. Planned Parenthood has also compiled a look back at the year 2005. Their look back begins with a listing of the five best and five worst places to get birth control prescriptions filled:

Brooks/Eckerd Corporation

Rite Aid

In international news, Al Jazeera reports that Augusto Pinochet will finally stand trial for the deaths and disappearances carried out under his dictator regime as the head of Chile. Chile's Supreme Court, in a three to two vote, ruled that Pinochet is fit to stand trial. The BBC reports that charges will be filed Tuesday against four US marines for rape. The four are currently at the US embassy in Manila and "it is unclear whether it will hand over the marines." Abdul Rahman Khuzairan reports, for Islam.Online. net, that on Sunday a sit in was staged in Casablanca by Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Forum "to protest the mass grave found recently with the remains of 82 people." Canada's Star Phoenix reports that Monday in St. Petersburg, shoppers in one store were exposed to a mysterious gas: "Boxes containing timers wired to glass vials were discovered at the scene of the attack and three other stores in the same chain in Russia's second-largest city." And in Tut-tut Tuttle news, the Finanical Times reports that car dealer and contributor of $70,000 worth of donations to the GOP in 2004, Robert Tuttle continues to stumble in his post as US ambassador to England. For the second time, Tuttle has been forced to issue a correction to the BBC following an interview. Embassy work, not as easy as moving cars off a lot.
"Have we made poverty history?" asks The Independent of London? The debt relief in 2008 will go not to Africa but to Iraq and Nigeria. In addition the United States is backing off from it's earlier committments. Also reporting for The Independent, Maxine Frith notes that charities and aid workers believe that Live 8, and those involved in the concerts, "hijacked" the effort and gave the world a false sense of resolution when the problems of world poverty contine. Meera Selva reports from Africa that the people supposed to benefit from the concerts in London's Hyde Park have seen little difference in their lives. One woman tells Selva, "We have problems in Africa, big problems. What can plastic bracelets and pop concerts do to solve them?"
Reuters reports Israeli helicopters firing three missiles into Gaza. This comes as Al Jazeera reports that the Israeli government has announced intentions to build an additional 200 homes on the West Bank. The BBC reports, in other news from the region, that Ariel Sharon has been urged to "curb his appetite" by doctors as he awaits sugery "to close a small hole which doctors found in his heart after he had a minor stroke."
For The KPFA Evening News Anthony Fest spoke Monday evening to Christopher Pyle, "a consultant to Congress in the drafting of the surveillance act, today he teaches political science at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusettes." (What follows is a rough transcript, use the link to listen to the archived broadcast.)

Pyle: The Church Committee was set up because during the Watergate era we had discovered extensive domestic surveillance operations by a number of agencies including the FBI, military intelligence, the CIA and, the largest intelligence agency of all, the National Security Agency. It does electronic intercepts worldwide. It has stations around the world. It picks up communications off of statellites. It picks them off of landlines and it searches them with a dictionary of watch words. And during the 1970s, we discovered that the National Security Agency had maintained files on about 75,000 Americans and they particularly targeted political activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, the folk singer Joan Baez, and the anti-war protestor Dr. Benjamin Spock. We sought to end that massive surveillance, which had no judicial authority what so ever, by passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. That law said that if the government, when the government wanted to monitor electronic communications it had to go to a special court to gain a national security authorization, a speciall warrant. And for a number of years, it appears that the government did go to the special court and was able to conduct its monitoring with special warrants. But three years ago, the Bush administration decided that this was inconveinent for some reason that's not fully understood. And they just ignored the court and began collecting, uh, information rather broadly. The law itself says that it's the exclusive method by which monitoring may take place and that anybody who violates the law is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Fast: So there's no leeway for interpretation here, it's uh, it's black and white that if you don't go through the FISA court, you are in violation of the law?
Pyle: Exactly. So what we have here is the rather extraordinary situation of a president who has admitted to committing a felony. Now he says that Congress excused him by passing the resolution against al Qaeda but that says nothing about electronic surveillance. And then he says that the Constitution excuses him because the Constitution places him above the law. There's actually a secret memo produced by the Justice Department to justify torture that says that a war time president can ignore the criminal law of the United States. There's no basis for this in law, there's no basis for this in the history of Constitutional law and Constitutional interpretation and that's of course why the memo was kept secret because if it had ever seen the light of day it would have been laughed out of court. Well now it's seen the light of day and assertions based on that theory have seen the light of day and we're not laughing because we realize the government is really out of control.
Fast: Doubtless the techonology of surveillance is incrompably more powerful today than it was in the 1960s. Is there any indication yet exactly how wide, how wide a net the NSA was casting or how many people had been surveilled?
Pyle: No. The initial reports by the New York Times were that up to 500 people at a time had been targeted but perhaps thousands had been intercepted. And if they were, let's say, monitoring all e-mails and searching all e-mails in the United States for certain code words or phrases then it would be probably hundreds of thousands or millions of people who would have been monitored, not simply 500 people targeted at any given time. But we really don't know. But what we know is that the judges on the FISA court are extremely upset. One of them has already resigned because of this. The others want to know particularly whether this warrant-less spying was being used to then produce probable cause for specific warranted spying. In other words, infecting the very process with illegaly obtained information.
Fast: Since the administration was apparently conducting surveillance that was more in the nature of data mining then watching individuals is there any legal grounds under which they could conduct that kind of operation?
Pyle: No, that is what was known in the common law as a general search. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution forbids general searches. The second clause of the Fourth Amendment says that the warrants must be obtained that specify the place to be searched and and the things to be seized. The FISA warrants specify the persons who are the targets of the intercepts. There has to be specifity. There can't be a great dragnet collecting everything and then sorting it by computer and putting everybody under suspicion.

Did Bully Boy break the law? Better question, after trotting out Vicky Toe-Jam in print and on TV to put forward false claims about the Congessional act passed in the 80s to prevent the outing of CIA agents, why has the mainstream media been so reluctant to pursue people who helped with the drafting of the FISA act?
The above is news you may have missed and was compiled by Wally, Rebecca, Mike, Kat, Jim, Jess, Ty, Cedric, Elaine, Betty, and C.I.

And I found this hilarious piece of comedy writing:

"All Puff No Politics (parody) "
We love our parodies. Our readers tend to as well. Consider this your Christmas gift.

At the intersection of politics and pop culture, you'll find us lost and asking for directions

We Finally Weigh in on the War (Our Official Statement)
A number of critics have expressed disappointment that we've had nothing to say about the war after all this time. I want to note first off that we couldn't provide you with the much needed coverage of Wentworth Miller and snaps for Veronica Mars if we took the time to weigh in on every issue some nut case has.
But as the chorus has grown louder, I felt that possibly, perhaps, maybe we needed to weigh in.
So a number of us sat down to come up with an official statement on the war.
We've been accused of ignoring the deaths and destruction. We've been accused of silence at a time when brave voices were needed.
Not true, say I! Nobody can question our bravery. Not all that long ago, I wrote a piece on pies and Thanksgiving. That wasn't easy for me. I prefer cakes to pies. I would have been happier writing about cakes. But pies matter to a lot of people. And pies were a big issue in circles around the water cooler. So I stepped up to the plate, I bit the bullet, and I found my voice.
You'd think I'd get a little credit for that. I don't know that a great number of other blogs addressed the very important issue of pies and Thanksgiving.
But I did. I did it here. So no one has a right to ever question my stance on the issues.
For those who have been critical, here is this site's official position on the war:
After much soul searching and consulting our leatherbound editions of The New Republic, we have concluded that the war was both necessary and needed. If Americans had not gotten into the war, what kind of world would we live in? Here at All Puff No Politics, we will stand up and state loudly and clearly that we support the actions taken in World War II.

It wasn't easy to come to that conclusion because we are majorly uninformed on most topics that aren't discussed at the A-list table in any high school cafeteria. But we did our work and we are proud to offer our statement on the war. Hopefully, that settles the issue.
-- Pristine

Uh, Pristine, I think people were asking you to make a statement about the Iraq war?

Iraq War? Is that the sequel to Arachnophobia? I hated that movie! Spiders, ugh!

I truly think you should be ashamed of your silence regarding Iraq. I would suggest that you read the chapter entitled "Colony Within the Colony" in Sheila Rowbotham's Women, Resistance & Revolution which came out in 1972.

Lucille, are you as big a drip as you seem? And why would I want to read such a book? How does such a book have anything to say to me? It's not even a Best of containing articles from The New Republic, I bet. We've made our official statement on the war, we support WWII. If that's not good enough for you, I'm sad that you won't be visiting All Puff No Politics anymore.(I'm not really sad, Lucille. I was sticking my tongue at you while I wrote that I was sad.)

Women's Voices Coming Through Loud and Clear
Everyone must read torture supporter Dotty Bush's latest at GOPLovingButCentrist Aspiring.com:
What is about torture that's so wrong? I roll up the newspaper and hit my dog over the snout when he's bad. How is that different from torture?

Also do not skip Laughing Lottie and her addressing the pressing issues effecting women today:
So Dell comes in and starts jabbering right in the middle of PrisonBreak. Wentworth Miller once a week almost makes my marriage bearable. Couldn't he have chosen a better time?

So true, Laughing Lottie, so true. Right Wing Sue further explores the state of womanhood today:

I hate Jane Fonda!!!! Don't you hate Jane Fonda!!!! Jane Fonda's movies set my nerves on edge!
Many influential critics at major media outlets have echoed Right Wing Sue so I will too. Now I'll take a break because it's really hard for a professional journalists like myself to write so much in one entry.

I like Jane Fonda and Monster-In-Law was a funny movie.

Oh beg to differ Marthy, I can give you a list of male critics and male wanna bes at major papers who trashed Monster-In-Law. The film bombed!

Monster-In-Law, starring a white woman over sixty, a Latina woman and an African-American woman, was probably the most inclusive movie, cast wise, last summer. And excuse me, but Ms. picked Jane Fonda as one of their women of the year not all that long ago and Wanda Sykes was on the cover last summer.

Who reads Ms.? I said "major media outlets." Don't you know how to listen! The film bombed!I'll attack it and Jane Fonda in the name of sisterhood. Deal with it!

Actually, Pristine, the film didn't "bomb." It made over eighty million in a lackluster summer and it outperformed recent films that starred a woman over fifty. It was very funny and addressed the lengths that a woman in crisis could go to. The message was positive. I don't know about your "major media outlets," but I do know that I don't need to judge a woman's performance, or a film's, by what someone writes in the mainstream media especially when they are ignorant enough to call the film a "bomb."

Well aren't you just all full of yourself. What, did you just finish Gloria Steinem's Revolution From Within? I'd urge you to put that time into reading some real papers that concern themselves with larger issues. I can call the film a "bomb" if I want to. Major media outlets did, so I can too. Truth is what institutions dominated by males tell us. You make a silly fool out of yourself Maria.

Has anyone noticed that Pristine writes more in the comments than she wrote in what she considers "her" entry?

Music: Wayne Newton Rocks & Rules!
Grooving on the wild and way cool New Republic!!!! They have the best art's coverage! They have the best everything! (They really showed Arundhati Roy, didn't they! As a pro-feminist male, I applaud them for encouraging violence towards Arundhati Roy.) Hugs and kisses and warm snuggles to everyone at The New Republic. They've turned their probing eyes to the accomplished works of Wayne Newton today so let me give them props, give them links and try to interject myself in the discussion hoping they'll reciprocate!
Wayne Newton is an American institution! His music was pioneering! I'm not sure whether he recorded in the fifties or the sixties and TNR didn't provide that information so let's just say he recorded some time ago. And he did it his way! He even had a huge hit with that song.
Wayne Newton and his music stood for all that is good in America. It represented the American spirit. It represented the Holy Ghost! It represented everything and surely today's rappers owe a great debt to der Newton.
Wayne Newton started it all!
But to prove my "objectivity," let me note that not everything Wayne Newton recorded was excellent. Some songs were merely good. None come to mind because I really don't know what I'm talking about. But I am objective so I need to demonstrate that. I'm like the professor that doesn't believe in handing out more than a couple of A grades because, if I recognize quality in many, that degrades the excellence of my chosen few.
See, there are standards. And standards have been set down in stone. The white, straight, male canon is one that I celebrate because I believe in "quality" and I believe in "tradition." You can see that thought pattern in my work.So though I love The New Republic and Wayne Newton (I sleep with both under my pillow!) (Well, a photo of Wayne Newton) I must note that excessive praise does no one any good. It's the equivalent of opening up the canon. Preserve our standards and praise be to Alan Bloom!
-- Barney (not the big purple guy)

I have no idea what you're talking about and wonder if you do.

Wayne Newton rocks! Loved him performing at the GOP thing in Florida after we stolethe vote!Bushlover

Here here for Wayne Newton. F**k yourself, Linus! We own the world.
GOP Party On!

In a pinch, if I couldn't have sex with Bully Boy, I'd so do Wayne Newton. Linus is an idot who needs to be killed. Slowly and painfully tortured to death.

Some of you may have noted that Kat disagrees with me. Well she ignores me. She doesn't even write about me. She's just writing about the "hailstorm" (her term) in the comments. I've written her to demand that she correct her opinion. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Beauty, I will not be ignored! So go over to her site and give her hell. I found a way to scream at her in an e-mail and I bet you will too. Burn the witch! Bash the bitch! Motto for now and forever!

Barney, you the man! Way to put that uppity girl in her place. I'm as sick as you are of chicks thinking they can have their own opinion. Give me my marching orders, Barney, I will follow!Jennifer

Excuse me but I enjoyed Kat's post. As someone who has long supported Pristine's work, I'm surprised by the tone of the comments here and the deliberate attempts to distort. Frank Sinatra had the hit with "My Way," Glenn Close starred in Fatal Attraction, not Fatal Beauty, and Kat used the term "firestorm," not "hail storm." As a Latina woman, I'm hesitant to post here considering the anti-woman nature of the comments and the fact that there seems to be no effort to question or explore "conventional wisdom" that always inducts white males into the canon but reduces others to the margins.

Maria, I'm not thrilled with the comments here either but Barney linked to himself on a Wayne Newton fan site which has brought us a lot of traffic (we've had twelve hits today!). I could have defended Linus but really, what was the point? He disagreed with Barney and I only support free speech when it's me or Barney. As for Kat, I read her blog.She's not very smart. Barney's a much better writer. As a feminist, I have no trouble tearing down a woman to build up a man and neither should you. If she can't get with the program and blindly cheerlead every white male in creation then she has to take her lumps. I'm very interested in hearing your opinions as a Latina. Feel free to post more so I can ignore your points (like Barney's factual errors that you point out) and trash you as I have Kat.

On Protecting Our Daughters
Daughters are important to the future. Without them, who would our sons marry? (For those offended by the question, we'll post a transgender post tomorrow so give me a break already!)And it's important that we raise our daughters to realize both what their rights are and what their rights aren't. Rights are a finite thing.
Which is why I recommend that every Thursday night, if you have a daughter, or maybe if there's a young teenager in the neighobrhood that you speak with, you sit down with her to watch UPN's Veronica Mars which is like mainlining Joss Whedon on an empty stomach! See Veronica Mars is an empowerment role model for young girls. For instance, last year she went around screaming she was raped. This year, she finally had to face reality that she chose to have sex. That's an important message for young women, one they need to hear.I'm so glad and so proud that Veronica Mars has made year two about crying false rape. I can get behind that message.

You have truly lost it. You need to read Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will and possibly put some actual thought into what you write.

What do you want from me, Lucille? Am I supposed to consult you for a reading list????Excuse me, but I just got season seven of Buffy on DVD and I think that says a lot more than any dopey book could. I'm also hard at work, something you might want to try doing, attempting to break my record for most views of a movie (72 for Lethal Weapon II) with Serendipity and I'm only up to 64 on that so I don't exactly have a great deal of time.

posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @ Sunday, December 25, 2005