Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I, too, need a vacation from my vacation!

Bush taking it easy today in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho(AP) President Bush is spending a vacation day in Idaho before making another speech on Iraq.

...the president is kicking back at a brand-new resort in the Idaho Rockies, where he's the guest of governor Dirk Kempthorne. The two mountain bike enthusiasts are expected to sample the local trails.


I'm not sure why it is that people have such extreme fear and distrust of anyone who doesn't quite look or act like them... Perhaps in the case of disabled people it relates to base anxieties regarding their own health, I don't know. But the fact is that people with visible disabilities meet with extreme prejudice and disgust all the time.

You have to be an asshole of the first degree to complain and get a disabled kid kicked out just because he keeps you from getting full pleasure out of some dumbass movie.


Anthony, who uses a wheelchair, was with his parents, his sister and his grandmother at the Loews Cineplex theaters in the Galleria at Crystal Run Sunday, watching a 1:15 p.m. matinee of the G-rated film "March of the Penguins."

About 15 minutes into the film, one of the theater's managers approached the family, she said.
"He said our son was laughing too loud," Pratti said. "My husband told him Anthony didn't understand, that he was disabled, but that we'd try to quiet him down."
Not good enough, apparently – the manager brusquely told the family that Anthony had to leave, Pratti said.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Relatives came to visit from New York. My aunt is starting to look like my late grandmother.
Same features, mannerisms, everything -- and soon to be same in age, too. Also scary was visiting my other grandmother. I think her hands are getting slight trembles that she hides by sitting on them. Her always healthy body is struggling to keep up with her age, andshe is struggling to make peace with it.

I wonder how I would react to being in her shoes? I cannot stand the idea of being restricted physically, a dislocated shoulder making its presence known to me daily.

I miss my grandparents cutting apples for me during green summers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

State of Our Union - A rant.

I was thinking about this after yet another 7th inning stretch "God Bless America" rendition. Time after time lately I get these flashbacks to the Soviet times... be it after seeing yet another politician with a little american flag on his jacket, listening to a speech on patriotism at the time of war, or watching a rock concert at campaign events.

Here are some main features of today's political climate in America -- though I'm quite sure that it's not that much worse than it has been for decades.

  • Propoganda instead of dialogue -- Dishonest talking points, misleading 30-second commercials, endless stump speeches in front of partisan audiences, armies of partisan talking heads flooding TV and radio shows, "Mission Accomplished" photo-ops, kissing babies, 9/11 imagery, etc. The leader of the Free World gives a press-conference once a year (!) answering PRE-APPROVED questions?!

  • Dissent is suppressed or ridiculed -- anti-war protests are only covered if some kind of violence breaks out. Even Vietnam-era activism is seen as unpatriotic and somehow shameful. Anyone questioning defense spending is immediately relegated to the fringes of "public discourse". Widespread, pervasive poverty in our society is another taboo subject, as the "welfare=bad" associations are ingrained in our brains after years of belief through repetition.

  • Corporate, nearly monopolized, control of the press -- 2-3 corporations control all of our TV and newspaper media. They are driven by corporate profits, thus easily abandoning serious reporting for ratings-driven programming. Apart from the high-brow premium cable History Channel, when was the last time you saw a real investigative documentary on any major channel, from Fox News/CNN to ABC? When was the last time a non-partisan-hackery opinion was aired on any of the news programs? They speak of the polls incessantly, or of how the candidates looked or sounded in this or that opinion, or of Mary Cheney's, Monica Lewinskys, or other nonsense. People got a bit of a wake-up call with this Swift Boat documentary scandal, but this is just the beginning. Of course Janet Jackson showing a nipple, ooh, that's another story altogether.

  • Orwellian program names (Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind) -- this is more amusing than anything else, but yea, surely nobody in their right mind can be against the PATRIOT act! I mean, that would be unpatriotic! What, are you against "No Child Left Behind"?! You must want to leave American children behind, you bastard.

  • Cult of the forefathers -- this is the weirdest one of all. The Constitution and the Forefathers are revered like the Bible and its prophets. Some people in the XVIII century wrote a document. Yay. It's a nice document, great, but it was not divinely inspired, it was written by some men 250 years ago! Like Christ's disciples, our courts and politicians try to infer the "true intent" of the Founding Fathers In Their Unlimited Wisdon. Just strange.

This is a sham, not a democracy. Are "we the people" really THAT dumb that the politicians can't actually discuss issues with us and need to resort to round-the-clock propoganda? Shouldn't we be outraged? Or has the economic prosperity of the majority basically made us indifferent to any of this?

Look at the range of what is acceptable for politians to express in the public domain today -- they HAVE to be pro-war, they HAVE to be pro-low taxes, they HAVE to be anti-welfare, they HAVE to be anti-internationalist, they HAVE to be anti-"Big Government". What's the consequences if they don't? Well they'll be branded all kinds of names and discarded into the fringe. Why is that an acceptable state of affairs?

You'll tell me "Oh that's because the American people are pro-war, people disagree with you, so deal with it". No. That's not how democracies are supposed to work. People need to hear out arguments, they need to be exposed to points of view. They simply aren't.

My personal position is far from liberal on most issues, but I am shocked and appalled by the lack of public discussion.

Dissent IS suppressed, except it is suppressed by economic means (here's a tax cut for you, so that you don't worry too much about the dire poverty in our inner cities), by corporate media that lacks serious news coverage, by the enormous amounts of money needed to run a political campaign, and by pseudo-patriotic rhetoric ("Oh don't mind him, he is just an anti-American zealot, he's in bed with Stalin really, haven't you heard?"). Democracy can be suppressed in more ways than one.

End rant.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Pictures worth a thousand words...

Friday, August 12, 2005


I want to say something to express how I feel
on these days of gloom for my people
I search for words, but I only find

On the eve of the 9th of Av...

In an address to the nation Wednesday night, President Moshe Katzav asked Jewish residents of Gush Katif and Samaria to forgive the state for demanding their expulsion.

What follows are excerpts from the president's message to the nation, broadcast nationally.

"Dear citizens, my brothers the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza: We are standing before the most difficult decisions since the declaration of independence. In a few days, you will be asked, according to a decision of the government and of the Knesset, to evacuate the Gaza region and northern Samaria. We are reaching the moment of difficulty and the pain of abandonment is too heavy to bear," President Katzav said.


"In the name of the State of Israel, I ask of you, the residents, forgiveness for the demand to leave after tens of years of building and sacrifice. Your love for the people and the land is reminiscent of the pioneering forefathers, the spirit beating within you is the spirit of the forefathers of Zionism.


"After a year of difficult struggles and penetrating discussions, the hour has come. You are obligated to respect the decisions of the institutions of the state: the Knesset and the government. It is a decision that has been examined even in the High Court of Justice, and once it has been decided, 'the law of the land is the law.' The Knesset is the symbol of sovereignty and it expresses the will of the people. 'The voice of the masses is like the voice of the Mighty One,' the voice of the Knesset is like the voice of the masses."


"The eyes of Israel and of the entire world are turned to witness the struggle, and the ability of the state to make decisions. The Disengagement Plan does not put an end to your Zionist project. And we must not speak in terms of destruction and finality. You have said: 'Love will win out.' And you are correct; despite the cracks in the dream, love must win out. ...Opposition to the Disengagement must not harm the security of the state, the values of democracy and the most holy values of Judaism, such as the brotherhood of Israel. Whatever it might be, the dispute does not justify a rift among the people."


'The first flowering of our redemption' is not dependent on the Disengagement Plan.

"Dear residents, the pioneering spirit that characterizes you is essential to the nation and the state for the rest of the way. There will certainly remain scars and anger; nevertheless, we must reconnect again. You must maintain your spirits for the main struggles ahead for us. The supporters of Disengagement also understand that the main struggle is over the eastern border, which affects every home in Israel.

"Our struggle for existence continues."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gray day

Generally feeling unusually melancholic today,
I think it's the pregnant skies making me all hormonal.

Have work to do - not today, today I want to hear her voice --
and hearing her voice on the answering machine does not count.

Interesting link of the day:

Speaking of the 150,000 babies born in a day... My sister's little girl, born yesterday, weighs 4.4 pounds. They called her Gloria Joy Maria, if you can believe that, a cute Jewish girl.