Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Secrets & Lies, Part 1

I eavesdrop on conversations. I peek in windows at night. I cheat at board games. I always stop to watch airplanes fly overhead because I believe one day I will witness a plane fall from the sky. I love this website.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Today's Pentagon Lecture

"We're in an environment where people react to impressions," Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon spokesman, said at the news conference Thursday about Guantánamo. "And so what we're trying to make sure people understand is that the impression they ought to have is that the guards, the interrogators, the command down there have been extraordinarily cautious, and yet there have been instances where inadvertent mishandling has occurred or other types of mishandling," Mr. Di Rita added.
New York Times 05/27/05
Well now, "We're in an environment where people react to impressions" ?? What the h*ll does THAT mean?
Of course people react to impressions, and in this case the impressions have been formed by mounting evidence, including reports from the Pentagon itself of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and the FBI and CIA's admission of numerous cases of detainee torture.
The White House and The Pentagon may wish to alter the American public's impression of what they're up to behind closed doors, but the evidence being disclosed on many fronts suggests that failure to react to our impressions makes us complicit in the crimes being committed in our name. Crimes of torture and abuse euphemistically labeled "inadvertent mishandling" by the Pentagon, cannot be suppressed indefinitely.
It's an ugly stain and it marks all who remain silent.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Needs, Wants and Hypocrisy

It's been a quiet week at blog de la resistance, but a slow burn is making its way to the surface. And nothing, but nothing fuels the fire like hypocrisy. Consider the current cult of the individual as practiced by our Republican bretheren. Pharmacists don't have to dispense a medication if they disagree with a woman's reason for taking the drug. "W" believes so strongly in the sanctity of life that he refuses to support stem cell research and therefore denies hope for millions with life-threatening illnesses - to say nothing of the generations to come. Lawmakers can't imagine the desperation of a pregnant child, teenager, rape victim or victim of incest or abuse, and enact legislation requiring onerous waiting periods and parental notification requirements before an abortion can be performed. All of this takes place under the banner of "family values." Well, buckeroos, I can't think of any healthy family that operates under this sort of thinking. A family, after all, is a social unit that functions for the good of everyone. I have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law who routinely sit down for a "needs and wants" discussion with the entire family. Together they negotiate the tricky terrain of these distinctions - someone "needs" time to finish their science project, another "wants" to soak in a hot tub. They give and take and sacrifice "wants" for the other person's "needs" until everyone has been heard, responded to and taken care of in the manner of a well-functioning family. No one is allowed to dismiss or belittle another person's "needs," and everyone is expected to sacrifice a "want" from time to time. The trouble with the Republicans in control now is that they are unable - or unwilling - to make the distinction between "needs and wants," a distinction that even my ten year old nephew has been making for several years already. Without that distinction, every issue becomes an individual, un-negotiable need that disregards the legitimate needs of a larger society. The "wants" never even make it to the table. The Republican family model is dysfunctional at its core. It is laden with hypocrisy and disregard for the least members of our society. They call it tough love. I call it mean and punitive. And any former adolescent will tell you, the harder the fist falls on the table, the more bloody the rebellion. Vive le resistance!

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Cleansing Breath

Today is the birthday of one of our greatest contemporary poets, Jane Kenyon. In one poem, she describes being claimed by melancholia as an infant and she did, in fact, suffer from long depressive bouts throughout her life. In her writing, though, she captured best those intense moments in which we recognize happiness in the minute details of our daily routines. Ten years after her death from leukemia at the age of 47, her voice still radiates its deep appreciation for the joy of living in the world. The Suitor is one of my favorites. I hope you find a quiet moment for poetry. Righteous anger at the state of the world today can deplete energy and stamina. Some days a gal just has to take a deep breath.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Spin This, Bushies

This is what was done to a prisoner his U.S. captors thought was innocent. And the White House would have us believe Newsweek magazine is responsible for the poor image of our country abroad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Finding Real Religion

Turn up the volume and holler a righteous AMEN to this outpouring of indignation and rage from George Galloway. If this four minutes of video doesn't make your day, stop wasting your time at blog de la resistance.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bothered and Bewildered

Today's topic: Holy-moly and the lathering of His followers
  • Human abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons? Big shrug.
  • Report flushing a book down a toilet? Bloody riots across several countries.
  • Pre-emptive invasion of Iraq based on lies and fabrications - a war that so far has resulted in the deaths of over 1,600 U.S. soldiers? Collective yawn.
  • A husband takes his brain-dead wife off of life support after 15 years? Special session of Congress amid weeping, wailing hystrionic public outcry.

Differences? Similarities? Discuss among yourselves.

Monday, May 16, 2005

From the Bowels of the White House

And speaking of sanctimonious opportunism, how about the inflated rage of the White House over the Newsweek report of U.S. soldiers desecrating the Koran? This just in from White House spokesman Scott McClellan: "It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story. I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not." "The report has had serious consequences," he said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

I'm trying to take the outrage seriously, but Scotty dear, you must be joking. First, some entity (like maybe a government) gets the facts wrong (like maybe connecting Saddam Hussein to Ossama bin Laden, or fabricating the existence of weapons of mass destruction). As a result, people lose their lives (oh, let's say somewhere in the range of 1,600 U.S. soldiers) and the image of the U.S. abroad has been damaged? And all this is due to the corrosion of journalistic standards?

Try again, Mr. McClellan. Try again.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Camelot vs. The Shameful Lot

"Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory" - John Kenneth Galbraith Last weekend, GHIW and I traveled to the Windy City for a quick romp of theatre, dining, a visit with old friends and new, and a whirl through the Field Museum's special exhibit, "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years." The exhibit was memorable. My excitement at viewing Jackie's gowns, suits, dresses, hats - the defining couture of my upbringing, segued to nostalgia for those halcyon days of scratchy black and white television images and my younger, simpler existence of the '60's. But by the end, GHIW and I both found ourselves depressed and angry. How sad that no one younger than us has any memory at all of a time when the White House was a gathering place for intellectuals, artists, musicians, writers and thinkers. Who is left to imagine a presidential administration that could and did reach out to other nations in a spirit of equality - speaking other languages, bridging cultural differences. We know now that the Kennedy years were not the Camelot years we imagined. But the tone and timbre of those years were pitch perfect; refreshing and inspirational and far-reaching. One need only contrast the Kennedy administration to the current administration to understand how low we've descended on the evolutionary ladder. My God! We have a president who can barely speak his native language. A man who never traveled beyond the borders of his country until after becoming president. A president who brags about not reading newspapers. A president who surrounds himself with sycophants and sanctimonious opportunists. JFK sent Adlai Stevenson to the United Nations as ambassador. "W" wants to send John Bolton. I want to send bananas to the White House 'cause it's nothing but a monkey house now.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Take a Message - Please!

It's Friday. It's raining. It's dreary at threadingwater base camp and I'm in a snitty mood. Today's number one snit-o-commentary concerns a most annoying trend that has recently been noted by GHIW and myself. Businesses - especially doctor's offices - that seem to have a policy of refusing to take messages. "Hello. I need to speak with Dr. So-and-So's nurse." "Sorry. She is only in the office between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. I suggest you call back tomorrow between those hours." "Could you take my name and number and ask her to call me?" "It would be better if you just called back tomorrow between 8 and 3." Umm . . . excuse me, better for whom? Maybe my upbringing as the daughter of a self-employed businessman who often received calls at home from his clients, is to blame for my peevishness. Or maybe it's all the years I worked as an office secretary taking messages as part of my job. Whatever the reason, I find these attempts to shift responsibility back to me for follow-up to be grievously annoying. Voice mail and other forms of automated answering devices are bad enough. When I finally reach a human being, I shouldn't be forced into a verbal arm-wrestling contest in order to get them to take my name and number and relay a simple message. So there. Thinking giant thoughts today.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"What's It Going To Take?"

asks one reader. Good question. The current administration's lies, PR spin, abuse of power and indifference could fill a catalog the size of a Texas oil rig. Those of us who pay attention are dismissed as un-American, out-of-touch liberals, whiners and even traitors. In today's NYTimes writer Bob Herbert tells the story of Army reservist Aidan Delgado and his photographic memoir of his tour of duty in Iraq. Not a Hallmark scrapbook to be sure. Read this on an empty stomach. In our current reality-crazed culture, can Mr. Delgado's dose of realism effect a change in public attitude? Mr. Herbert thinks it can. I want to think that it MUST, but my darker side is less certain. What IS it going to take?