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Here was where I was going to say "Hillary, you were the first lady for eight years. You've been a senator for about that long, and it's just the job of senators to run for president. You don't have a magical blanket of experience, you're just an awesomely smart person who was married to a guy who was the president. Jesus, Hil! Barack may have only been a state senator before coming to the same office as you're in now but what would another term of seasoning teach him about being president that he didn't pick up from two hundred years of US historical documents about the qualifications of our presidents? Doesn't that technically mean he has as much experience in actual elected office as you? Jesus! You're not this guru from the mountaintop you're another senator, and a good one. But if you're so ready now, why aren't you leading in the senate more?" But instead of just saying that I have to admit it would be a fig leaf, a justification. I should just admit the following:

FINE! We LIKE him better than you!

Yes, readers, for me, it's officially now a stupid POPULARITY CONTEST this year and I'm taking Barack Obama for the win because I think the other guys and gal aren't as cool and I want a president who's different from all other presidents have ever been in a way that great men and women of the past and present have not been. A different race. A different level of "experience." A different skill set. My age group. My MLK-quotin orator. My tribe. Obama. Now.

Jesus, history doesn't care about experience. And it's not rocket science. It's the presidency of a nation of fucking cracker fatasses like me. History Loves being inspired by oration. Loves exciting new things that turn the corner with surprises falling out of their pockets.

It's shallow and I'm supposed to be more adult about it and I should be able to justify the choice by being able to pick out the issues but I don't give a shit. Our number one fucking priority was always always ALWAYS going to be "Get us someone different from George W. Bush. And then number two was "Get us the fuck out of Iraq." That we happen to have found two someones sufficiently different from George Bush means a lot of us are going with who is also awesome. That Barack is awesome in an awesome way? So much the better.

I'm barely sorry about this.

History doesn't give a shit about experience.
burnunit: (yeeargh!)
As I am descended from Norwegians, I believe I share with my fellow Norwegians a historical perspective on the Larry Craig matter. See, thanks to my Norwegian heritage, I believe I have a clear and hardheaded, realpolitik kind of way to think about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons who remain members of the Republican party in this degraded era. We know a thing or two about people like this, see, we call them quislings. Because that's exactly how they're playing the game, and exactly the kind of persons they're playing with vis a vis their own sexual orientation.

If you're queer and a republican, you're first an idiot who can't read writing on the wall no matter how high and bloody the letters are; a traitor second; and and pretty much utterly doomed third. If you think you're not, you are fooling yourself about what your party wants to do to us...to you and people like you. Give them so much as an angry inch, and they'll gleefully cut it the fuck off. Then feed it to you and tell you how they're saving everyone while they're doing it. Quislings. Think about it.
burnunit: (yeeargh!)
Here's the text of a bitchy email I sent thru Xcel's online contact form:

Just got off the phone with a customer service rep. There's some changes you could consider looking into regarding bill paying. I don't know what you're telling your people but there's also some tweaks that could be made in the messaging or delivery style for your reps.

First, I was calling to ask about changing the date of this months payment because it's going to make it too tight with regard to our bank account. Since the bill comes tomorrow, she told me that's a no-go because the request has been made to the bank already. Ugh. What century is this? If you're serious about this online payment stuff, please consider some system that can change payments at the last minute or allows payments by multiple means--what do you care if I want to pay with a credit card or by check? The money doesn't know where it came from. I can arrange payments by ACH to various creditors that come out on the same day I arrange them. Why is yours so complicated?

Second, I asked if it was possible to move our payment date for the account over all, so as to line up better with payday. She was convinced it was not--she said "Oh no! You can't do that. The payment comes out on the due date then it's issued the day after the meter gets read. You have four weeks to pay that bill." The tone of condescension was positively thick, like I'd shown a pattern of paying awfully close to the edge of lateness or something. Yeah, I have four weeks to pay the bill but I signed up for AUTO pay so why am I being "reminded" that I have all this time to pay my bill? When I remark that we'd like to manage this closer to our pay dates, she says "When I get my bill, I just subtract it from my checking account." This isn't me asking you to be loosey goosey with my payment dates like some wayward teenager. Please do not lecture me on the perceived failures of my money management system. We do our banking online, period. Seriously it's 2007! How we use (or not use) a check register is way way below the line of what your reps should be commenting on.

Finally I got her to understand that I'd be all right with moving the auto pay date to an EARLIER date. Suddenly she doesn't care so much about managing my private business for me and is more worried about how "sometimes it skips a month and I don't know how but it gets out of alignment and it can get really confusing." If and when that happens, I'm sure I can work out the details with you, don't you think? By this point I'm thinking, if you can't move my date, then cancel my auto pay! She moves it and we're done.

Seriously. Lots of your customers manage their money totally online. If you only asked them, you might be shocked. But more than that NONE of your customers need your phone operators getting all up in their grills about how to manage finances. Please.

Jon Olsen
What do you think? not strong enough?
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A thought for web folks on a Sunday night. If you're an independent web person, or any kind of web strategy/management/services company, and you're not using Google Analytics, you're basically just wasting your clients' money.
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So here's something funny, if by funny I mean horribly depressing, and by that logic a big f'ing surprise: the same dumb shits we know got us into this shit through their imperialistic madness and ruined the work of our soldiers thanks to their mindblowing incompetence have, like a junky, concocted a madcap one more fix scenario that's sure to end up about the same as Renton's trip to the hospital at the bottom of that carpet pit in Trainspotting because, sadly (and by sadly I actually mean sadly) the plan is already fucked up. Yes, the same incompetents who can't run a country, couldn't run a "war on terra" and can't seem to stop themselves, have devised a war plan that has, wait for it... two command structures in the same operation. To put this in terms all of us (myself included) can better apprehend and get our minds around, that's like me ordering an entree from one waiter and a pizza from the hostess. Then when the two arrive together, I stick the guy at the next table for the bill.
more rant behind cut )
Drive boy dog boy dirty numb angel boy in the doorway boy she was a lipstick boy she was a beautiful boy and tears boy and all in your innerspace boy you had hands girl boy and steel boy you had chemicals boy I've grown so close to you... boy....
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Dear Generation Y,

Guess what? We're breeding. You know what this gets us? In addition to the awesome sensation of being a parent to one of the greatest persons I've ever met, I'm making someone who is going to drive you a-holes right up a wall. That's right, my kid is from a different generation than Gen Y, and she (and her little bro/sis) are going to make you guys feel the way you make me feel most of the time right now.

I totally get it now. It's one thing when our parents say "I hope you have kids that drive you crazy just like you did to me," I mean, I think I get how that's going to go down when Eleanor's a teenager. But it's more than that. Her values and interests and attitudes might be a reaction to mine, or might be a reflection of them. But one thing's for sure: when she's 14, and some of you are in your late 20s early 30s? She's going to make you guys feel so frickin' old. She's going to say shit that you guys will never imagine, that you guys won't believe you could possibly ever have said.

She's going to dress in the most maddening ways--not just to me, whose right it is to be anxious about whether she's growing up too soon because I don't relish the thought of you little perverts drooling over her--but she's going to wear shit that you think is totally stupid and asinine, and totally get away with it. She's going to be strong and powerful and pandered to by the whole fricking world, the whole mechanisms of marketing and industrial mass culture are going to be bent to making her happy and you will get nothing. No one will give two craps about you and your needs.

YOU will be middle management and my people (probably not me, but who knows) will be EXECUTIVES and we will tell YOU to work your asses off to convince HER and HER FRIENDS to spend their money making US rich. YOU will carry out the work of pandering to HER, to make HER happy, in order to make ME happy. Your only revenge, your ONLY HOPE for Revenge against her is to settle down; settle down and start makin like bunnies. And when you do, I'll be there, sounding a lot like my old man or maybe like YOUR old man, cackling, plotting, fixing the price of trade goods, signing defense appropriations, justifying ridiculous wars, puttering in the garden, paying for the Boomers' social security screw ups, still quoting movies and tv shows to your annoyance, remembering, and occasionally hearing you say "you guys used to be cool." We were Never cool. I wish we could have been, but deep in your hearts, you never liked us and we were too compromised, too inchoate and incoherent for you. You won't like our kids either. O how you'll loathe our kids, no matter how good and bright and well-intentioned they'll be when they leave our clutches. You'll dislike them, no matter how optimistic and exciting they'll be, you won't like them. But you'll be buying them durian-oxygen lattes and MangoSteam or GoogleBooks gift cards or whatever, in order to ask them focus group questions. So you can find out how to get them to like you. It doesn't end. Nothing. Ever. Ends.

I have seen things you people couldn't imagine. I have seen attack ships on fire off the shoulders of Orion, c-beams glittering in the dark near Tannhauser Gate. And all these things will be lost, like tears in rain.

"Walking in space we find the purpose of peace/The beauty of life you can no longer hide." What a piece of work is man. "Wide! Wide! Wide!" The cosmic ballet goes on. Selah.

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What the crap is a nonbinding resolution? I know you think it will help but it won't. You are the Senate, you are 100 of the most powerful men and women in the world. You have the power to make something happen! It's in the constitution, what's left of it, anyway! see relevant sections of Article 1 behind this cut )

See? You get to call the shots you weak-willed idiot children! Not only that, your constituents voted for something a little bit firmer than a ridiculous "Non Binding Resolution." Come on! Napoleon Chimpface and Shoot Em Up Dick are used to getting their way just about no matter what. Nonbinding Resolutions are exactly as difficult for them to ignore as wet toilet tissue in the white house crapper. I didn't campaign for you to write dipshit resolutions. Go write a fucking law, you morons! Go. Write. A. Bill. And put in it how you're not going to pay for any more of this nonsense. Here, I'll write it for you. Why not? The Current Occupant's running dogs and various lobbies like Big Oil have been writing legislation for you for years.

The Omnibus War Halting Bill of 2007
1. Congress won't pay for any more adventures and war bullshit in the Middle East.
2. The troops will pack up and come the hell home. Congress will pay for that.
3. Cheney can eat it.
3.a.1 Cheney must answer a series of difficult trivia questions.
3.a.2 Cheney must answer a series of difficult questions about his relationship to defense contractors.
3.a.3 Cheney must answer a series of difficult questions about his relationship to extraction industries.
3.b.1 Cheney must describe in clear detail the events of February 11, 2006.
3.b.2 Cheney must turn in his badge and his gun.
3.c.1 Cheney shall be prohibited from holding any more offices, elected or appointed.
3.d.1 Cheney must give 1/10th of his net wealth to homeless shelters upon completion of his term.
4. $77 million earmarked for federal construction of a bridge between Alaska and the Kamchatka peninsula.
5. $4 million earmarked for tea cozies to be hand knit and delivered to Alaskan families.

Okay, I only threw in numbers 4 and 5 because Ted Stevens called me while I was making this journal entry and said I had to.

See how easy that was?! Wow. I guess I should run for office. Yes. Olsen in 2008, bitches.
burnunit: (yeeargh!)
I'm so fucking excited about the war! I'm so excited that we're going to send a whole bunch more young boys and girls all at once to kill and/or be killed! I don't know if I recall correctly, but I agree with the writer who imagined all of the troops yelling "SURGE!" together as they poured into the country. I'm so excited because we have so much irrefutable evidence that this time the masters of the pentagon will get it right, this time they'll manage the resources correctly and not just hand over billions to their corporate* whiphandlers. Because not only was going to war in the first place a clear and indisputable necessity, they obviously sent exactly as many troops as they needed to start phase one of the operations. Surge! surge! surge!





*first few times I tried to type "corporate" my fingers kept spelling out "coproate" which makes me think about poo. suitable, no?

**Edit: surely even very casual readers of these deranged ravings (a number now all the way in the forties or so) know how I feel about Norm Coleman most of the time (uh, quite negative). But he spoke adequately before the senate today, and I say, "Good on yer, Norman." Gotta give props when a person shows evidence of... well, let's just say I appreciate him agreeing with me in some of the particulars.
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Dear Republican Party Members of Congress,

It has recently come to the attention of the majority of American voters that for the last 12 years you have been abusing power and balkanizing the Democrats in the House and Senate with absurd rules and outrageous shams of leadership and madness in the development and passage of legislation. You excused your own behavior with a pair of rhetorical stunts centered on two locii: 1) Democrats did it to you under Tip O'Neill; and 2) you and Good Christians Everywhere(tm) are actually a persecuted minority who has suffered long and hard times under the yoke of secular humanist oppression.

It has now been established that you are 2/3 correct: Tip O'Neill was a right sharp ol' machine politician who mistreated you; and you are a minority. The comparisons between your political party and the struggles of Asian, African, lower-class European, Arabic, Semitic, Latin American, non-heteronormative, female, and Native persons pretty much end there. You are a minority party, a political group whose platform is recognized as meaningful to a smaller number of voters than the parties which do not share your views; and who do not want you to create policies that promote those views. Since this is America, your voices will be heard, no doubt continuously, comparing yourselves to the same people from whom you and your ilk have spent a good 500 years working very hard to distinguish yourselves. In response to this hypocrisy we, the voters, have a certain degree of impatience and have thus tacitly agreed to permit the Democrats a certain amount of latitude in their treatment of your requests for participation in the process taking place now in Washington.

To wit, suck it, motherfuckers.

The New American Majority
together with
People For Letting The Dems Have At Least Their Hundred Hours
Society of People Who Recognize Reality When They See It

This has been a Sick Of Your Southern Strategy Bullshit production.

EDIT: Since she's the most powerful woman in the U.S., and the U.S. is the most powerful single nation state that has yet been, does this make Nancy Pelosi the most powerful woman in world history? Arguments for or against this theory are plausible.
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Oh my gawd, I'm so excited they executed Saddam! Did you see the news out of Baghdad this morning? There's spontaneous parades and children are giving flowers to soldiers and women are wearing miniskirts and tube tops! There's already plans for a McDonald's and a Wal-Mart and I hear they've built some Starbucks in the Green Zone even. A bunch of girl scouts is already breaking cookie sales records in Fallujah and I hear gas prices are a buck twenty a gallon from Mosul to Tikrit. Every house has electricity and the water is clean and plentiful. The Unified Sunni and Shiite Joy Committee is planning a big surprise party for the Kurds, to make up for all the negative history.

To celebrate, Israel is taking down the wall.

Mission. Accomplished.
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I found that I really liked John Kerry in the last months leading up to 2004's election. i thought he seemed like an affable, intelligent, and serious guy. He had an interesting life and one very cool hobby (dude, he windboarded for like 75 miles one time!). But gawd!! What a doooooofus. I really think what he said Tuesday was way overhyped by a desperate GOP on the eve of their humiliating defeat. But not only is his sense of the punchline absolutely DUMB, his timing is completely foolish! Why risk throwing off the momentum even a tiny little bit? The current talking point is "Kerry botched a punchline, Bush botched a war" which is, essentially, true. It's a good little soundbite response to asinine trumpeting of the aging elephants. But as the ever intriguing Joan Walsh said in Salon today, "Yes, Kerry only botched a joke, while Bush has botched a war, and yes, Republicans were despicable in their intentional misreading of his words -- but Kerry should never have given them an opening. I have a deal to make with Kerry -- if I say I believe you simply blew a punch line, rather than slurred the troops, will you go away? For good? Done." Please big J, just shut the fuck up and disappear for a while. We'll give you some seniority on a committee after the changeover, but you gotta keep your hands off the pendulum until it is done swinging!

Meanwhile, I heartily commend you to read Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article about Congress. In a long, profanity-laden piece Taibbi summarizes some of the very good reasons we have to be utterly disgusted by this new Do Nothing (Unless You Can Fuck It Up) Congress. Believe me, they find a way. One choice passage:
It is clear that the same Congress that put a drooling child-chaser like Mark Foley in charge of a House caucus on child exploitation also named Cunningham, a man who can barely write his own name in the ground with a stick, to a similarly appropriate position. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the former chairman of the House Subcommittee on Human Intelligence Analysis and Counterintelligence: "As truth will come out and you will find out how liablest [sic] you have & will be. Not once did you list the positives. Education Man of the Year...hospital funding, jobs, Hiway [sic] funding, border security, Megans law my bill, Tuna Dolfin [sic] my bill...and every time you wanted an expert on the wars who did you call. No Marcus you write About how I died."

How liablest you have & will be? What the fuck does that even mean? This guy sat on the Appropriations Committee for years -- no wonder Congress couldn't pass any spending bills!

This is Congress in the Bush years, in a nutshell -- a guy who takes $2 million in bribes from a contractor, whooping it up in turtlenecks and pajama bottoms with young women on a contractor-provided yacht named after himself (the "Duke-Stir"), and not only is he shocked when he's caught, he's too dumb to even understand that he's been guilty of anything.

I know some folks reading this today are 3rd party, not-particularly-Dem-backing, and that's fine. But I'm a Democrat and we're going to kick the shit out of those rat finks on Tuesday. Maybe you'd like to party along. When you're in the booth, ask yourself if, in the national elections, the situation is going to really truly be the very same no matter who is in control of congress. If you can honestly say that, that this class of GOP is morally and legislatively the equivalent of this year's class of Democrats, by all means, vote for a third party. But I'm asking you, as your friend, to vote for a Democrat. Please vote specifically for Democrats. I'll eat a big plate of crow, with all the fixins of my words and my hat, if the Democrats don't make a better Congress than what we've had the last 6 years. If you doubt me, you can mark this entry in your memories. Hell, I'll tag it and everything. We'll drag it up in 2008 and 2010 and you can make me swallow bite after bite. Please vote for Democrats Tuesday.

Just don't think about John Kerry when you do it.
burnunit: (madworkin)
Think back to when you first heard the phrase "open a ticket" as in "technical support is opening a ticket for you" or "i'm going to open a ticket" or "what is your trouble ticket number?" or "ok then, I'm going to go ahead and raise the level on this open ticket"

When did you first hear that in your experience of problems/troubleshooting? I think I heard it in the early nineties or so. Then I heard it a LOT when I was administering all those servers and crap (gee, why do you suppose I would hear "what is your trouble ticket number?" a lot of times when working with a Dell Poweredge Server running Windows 2000 Server???) and I still see it referenced whenever I'm looking for information on a piece of software or something.

Is it a newer term? Did our generation create this term? If so, on behalf of my generation, I am fucking SORRY, world. Dear world, I apologize for the "ticket" concept of customer support because it is a meaningless piece of neologistic bullshit. Ooooh I have a ticket. My ticket is registered. Ooooh, they're upgrading my ticket to a higher level of support. Oh my, really? A ticket? Just for meeee? Yes sir! Right away sir, your ticket is open, see I've opened you a ticket, sir!!

What is a fucking ticket? It's a technical term for a job generated by a customer/end user's encounter of a bug or problem with a piece of software or hardware. It's a piece of industry jargon utter bullshit that doesn't actually help anyone, to know it exists, it just exists to benefit the debuggers/customer service personnel/project managers/etc. It means there's a record that they fucked up and somebody has to "clear" that ticket eventually. You know what? As a customer, I am not reassured by being assigned a ticket number. I am not reassured that some technician has been "assigned my ticket". That is just jargon which means something only to the technician and that person's bosses. That little piece of jargon transforms my problem into a physical (or virtual) record of an event, and the technician is further abstracted by the assignment of a convenient number. If that process works, fine. But the truth is, we don't need to know about it! We need something that doesn't assume expertise. That's a piece of jargony information that we don't need to become experts in! We are perfectly happy to call it something else, something more human maybe. Call it my case, or my claim or my problem. Or whatever. But calling it a ticket makes me very alienated, particularly because over-competent phone staff clickityclickclickclick away on their keyboards and murmur "ok I'm assigning you a ticket QR65114 and if your ticket isn't cleared by... tomorrow...give me a call and we'll upgrade your ticket to level 2."
Thanks. I'll just fix it myself. Gahhh!
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So I'm taking "the ethics of MLK" at school and the more you study the man, the more admirable he is, truly. One of the greatest Americans. After a while, our jaded minds kind of let King fade into the background and someone occasionally trots out a snippet of his speech. But that's sad because he's so much more than the cliches people have tried to attach to him; really, he just towers. But standing in his enormous shadow is one of my new heroes:

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was awesome. He was a singer, even performing in John Henry with Paul Robeson (Paul freakin Robeson! I believe "freakin" is actually Paul's middle name...). He was an academic and athletic star in school. He attended Wilberforce University and Cheyney State. He was a former communist who left the CPUSA when Stalin dropped the integration of the military issue and called on communists to start working on getting America into the war. He worked with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and helped launch the Congress on Racial Equality. As a Quaker and pacifist, he refused military service and went to jail. He organized protests against segregated dining hall seating in prison for crying out loud! He organized the Journey of Reconciliation in 1947. You may recognize that particular action by the fact that it was the template for the Montgomery bus boycott and the Freedom Rides. He and A. Philip Randolph were already planning a march on Washington in 1941 but pulled back when FDR made a gesture (executive order 8802).

He was a very close advisor to Dr. King, some have called Bayard his main advisor. It was Rustin who counseled Martin on nonviolence, and kept Gandhi's writings and principles in front of King during their struggles. Rustin was the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Equality. A few leaders opposed Rustin's role in organizing the action, including Minnesota's Roy Wilkins (yes, THAT Roy Wilkins). Their reasons? Rustin was a former communist, Rustin had been arrested too many times, Rustin would be controversial, oh yeah, and

Rustin was as gay as a whistle! God bless us Minnesotans, we're always willing to take pride in our civil rights. But gay ones? Well... have you heard the stuff from last week's hearings at the capitol? Like how all these white ministers keep rolling out the quotes of a few black ministers and other black people and so they could be able to say "gay rights are NOTHING like African American rights" and "Dr. King's legacy should not also stand for homosexual acts" and "I'm scared because I'm a stupid bigot and I need the blessing of a black person to pretend I'm not"

Okay nobody said that last one and the other two are kind of paraphrases. But you get the idea! I prayed, thanking GOD that the Senate subcommittee struck down the amendment last week. Dammit, America! Dammit, Minnesota! We have better things to do with our prayers! You are wasting our valuable prayer time with Senate subcommittees and prayer against things! Let us get back to praying FOR things, praying for positive change. I'm interested in praying for marital equity, not praying that someone vote no on a subcommittee proposal in a state senate! Give relationship equity to all people now! Then we can go back to praying for regime change in Iran.



Look at that photo on the right. Tell me you're going to look in that awesome face and say, "Sorry Bayard, you still have to wait. You guys got your black rights though, right? Isn't that enough? Buck up, it's only been 43 years. These things take time." They are co-opting King and the modern followers of King to provide cover for their dehumanizing agenda. But King didn't let them dehumanize Bayard Rustin. He didn't speak at the March, but Rustin made it happen and King stuck by him.
burnunit: (yeeargh!)
It's been out for about a month, but if you haven't seen Salon.com's Abu Ghraib Files (if you don't subscribe , just sit through the ads to get the daypass. it'll take no time at all) you really need to. Not because it's cool, or because you need "more fuel against the administration" or whatever, but because fuckingA, this is what we did, with you know, our money and power and taxpayer dollars and shit. and then I kind of lose my shit for a few paragraphs )

"There is a place past the blues I never want to see again... I saw God's shadow on this world. I could not love the world entire. There grew a desert in my mind. I took a hammer to it all Like an insane medieval king I saw God's shadow on this world. I saw God's shadow on this world. I saw God's shadow on this world."
"you came to take us all things go, all things go to recreate us all things grow, all things grow we had our mindset
all things know, all things know you had to find it all things go, all things go if I was crying in the van, with my friend
it was for freedom from myself and from the land I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes"
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They want to use drones for domestic spying (article linked from Slashdot)

The pilots association is worried? What happens to the airspace? These are the wrong freaking concerns! These are the wrong freaking questions! Or at least they're questions about practical things which should be a little further down the list of priorities right now. Concerns that totally ignore the far far more disturbing fact that the government would like to spy upon and menace citizens and dissenters using any and all available means. Trees, meet forest!

Nothing comes of the president's revelations about illegal wiretapping. Nothing comes of revelations about external prisons and detention camps. Nothing comes of any of this crap! David Cross was right, what does this guy have to do, eat a Jewish baby on live tv or something? My fellow americans, I'd like ot talk with you about civil rights and the constitution... rrarrr...MMM...that's good Jew baby...

I guess this is what is meant by "We've earned political capital in this election and I intend to spend it." Spending political capital means running the whole bloody country straight into the bowels of hell, apparently. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!
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I have reached this conclusion. I do not hate George W. Bush. I have felt hatred in the past toward him, expressed various degrees of it, and been subject to paroxysms of rage, delight at his failures, and desire for his downfall. I am so totally over that. The way Godwin's Law is inevitably It's completely five minutes ago. Outre. So "Hey kids it's 1998, let's go get Bill Clinton."

I hate his policies, I hate the culture his adherents promote, I hate the atmosphere created by his royalist family loyalty cult, I hate the decisions he's made about war, I hate the rulings made in the past by his various choices in judges, I hate the rulings and opinions of the judges who he says share his judicial philosophies, I hate the underlying theology of his particular species of Christianity, I hate his choice in neckties, I hate the sound of his voice, I hate the perception that he doesn't care about poor people and the perception that he can't hear dissent but also the perception that what he really wants is to intimidate and crush dissent and the facts that his administration has actively sought out suppression of dissent and the secret prisons and detention camps in other countries and the fact the dollar is collapsing and the burgeoning deficits he countenances and the outrages expressed by his supporters in congress and the perception in many debates that all a president has to do is declare a war and people should be expected to support our president and the policies and judicial decisions that appear to uphold the notion that a woman may be forced into servitude as a broodmare for the state in violation of her constitutional rights and I hate the anti-science language that infuses so much of his administration's policy statements and that of his supporters' and I hate the characterization by his supporters of anything that asks questions as unamerican and I hate that he went to Yale and summers in Kennebunkport and yet he remains a regular guy and I hate that he gets to take so many vacations and I hate the fact that he's campaigning for Tim Pawlenty and I hate the way he laughs and I hate how he can talk about being addicted to oil one day and his staff and the Vice President can moderate the statement the next

none of this is the same as hating him, the man himself.

But I still feel hollow inside when I think about our country.

Did you know I was a champion Citizens Bee competitor in high school?
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Look, we have a reputation for being milquetoasts, but come on! When Garrison Keillor calls for congress to impeach Bush in no uncertain words (exact quote: "Impeach him and let the Senate hear the evidence.") it's gotten pretty bad. This guy depends on basically moderate-to-conservative people in the heartland for his bread and butter. Probably a very significant body of Keillor listeners voted for Bush in droves. If he's willing to risk all those listeners to write "Impeach Bush" in the national press, you know times are getting wild. I completely agree with him; impeach the right wing christofascist and throw him in the docket to stand trial for war crimes. EVERYBODY hates the guy. His poll numbers are in the crapper. He's an arrogant prick who pretends not to understand the question when someone criticizes him. He talks like a 9th grader. He's more worried about picking off the weak or lame in the name of stopping horrendous manimal experiments and he thinks women should be broodmares for the war machine. He thinks freedom is slavery. We really should beg congress to impeach. Or I know. Maybe we could just get him to go hunting with Cheney.
burnunit: (Default)
because they'll fucking arrest you for being a seditious, commie, radical and chop your hands off. Go little South Dakota anti-woman movement, go! I believe I said it first: gingham makes great burqas...

LISTEN gatdammit! This is going to happen to you one way or another: environmentalism will be equated with terrorism animal right will be equated with terrorism any degree of vegetarianism will be terrorism eating sushi will be terrorism homosexuality will be determined unacceptably abnormal gay marriage will be banned gay adoptions will be banned gay behaviors and sex will be banned homosexuality as a concept will be banned gayness is terrorism desire is terrorism abortion will be banned feminism will be banned activism will be banned dissent will be banned Islam will be banned Judaism will be banned non anabaptist christianity will be banned hope will be banned desire is terrorism
only the will and of the will only the will of the state and of the states only the one state and of the one state only the one. dear. leader. war is peace ignorance is strength freedom is slavery
desire is terrorism hope is rebellion
burnunit: (Default)
I think in some ways this interview with Richard Stallman represents my views on a number of things. If we could just build escapes, parallel realms where thought is free, well... what's to stop us?

Also, I like how he responded to the criticism like why isn't he fighting for other 'real' freedoms or against injustice or whatever. And he basically says that software freedom is very real and well, his skills are in software so that's where he can do the most good. You can still be for justice and against facism while focusing your efforts in those areas that you have the highest chance to make an impact.

What also interests me is that there's lots of parallels to other freedom and justice movements. Like my company. We work in diversity training for business. This is an incremental, business-driven way to change the world. It's aligned with equality, affirmative action, equal opportunity, etc. But it's incremental and uses business drivers with a backing of law. It's very effective. But that's not the only way that works.

I have been learning about and am working with a group to start an anti-racism initiative at the seminary. Anti-racism is not incremental, it's tranformative (see MCARI for what I'm talking about. I'll be taking one of their anti-racism seminars this spring). Both are worthwhile processes and both succeed. But they're not identical and they befit different organizations differently. Ultimately they have the same goal. I think too, the open source movement and free software movements have similar goals, but with different drivers. The FSF is much more about transformative experience: build software to escape into freedom.

Then I think there's another story, those movements who foundered or were co-opted or corrupted by evil. Surely in the idealized words of a WTO, there is or was once this vision of uplifting everyone. I mean consider their statement: "A system based on rules rather than power makes life easier for all." That sure sounds good. But on the other hand, the WTO appears to be corrupted by eeevil. (Probably because they choose to believe that "easier = better", but that's another rant for another day).

It's like, we need people to hold up these transformative lights, or we're only ever going to be incremental. And if we're always incremental, evil, which in my experience moves very quickly, might triumph.
burnunit: (crankiest. evar.)
eternally follow the money! dammit! Here's an interesting article from August about Iran's oil bourse. Ah yes, I forgot, follow the money! Follow the money! Say it with me people! Guess the author's thesis!
"Saddam set himself implacably against the American Unified Monolithic Prosperity Sphere by..."
a) plotting to kill GW's dad; b) hiding a wmd program; c) demanding euros instead of dollars in 2000. BINGO! The answer is C as in CLUSTERFUCK. And in fact we transitioned Iraqi oil back to dollars this last summer. One of the benefits of being an occupying empire is that you can insert your face on the coins and demand that things be rendered unto Caesar.

Apparently Iran has plans to do a similar thing except, you know, worse. "Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on dollar supremacy in the crucial international oil market." Which is basically saying Iran does have a weapon of mass destruction and it's called the petroeuro, which is shaping into a kind of macroeconomic nuke. Silent weapons for quiet wars, man.
burnunit: (crankiest. evar.)
panel from get your war on about the F word
I got the above going thru the archives of get your war on and I must say I completely agree. The F word is the LEAST OF OUR FUCKING PROBLEMS. Which reminded me that there are many people I know, even some who only occasionally read these posts, who still wince at the f word. This post is not about any of you, nor is it any kind of 'secret message' telling you what I really think about you. I don't actually think about you and your opinions of the f word very much at all! I'm certainly not out to combat loved ones over my vocabulary. I'm very comfortable with my vocabulary as it is. Me, I feel most comfortable in an environment where the f word is ready at hand, like punctuation. It's too good a word to extinguish. Not only that. But this reminded me (this cartoon, moreso than conversations about saying 'fuck' or not) that our national debate has utterly sunken beyond repair. It's like we should reboot and start over. Nobody can talk about anything to do with business, politics, media, science, or relations (personal or geopolitical) without either driving themselves nuts or sounding like they're nuts. We've really been debased and distracted by woah a really pretty girl just walked by my office window seriously we've been deranged, deluded, debased, distracted by a 'world more full of weeping than we can understand'. I can't believe there's an honest to God shouting match going on in the media and the fucking political fishbowl (oops there's that word again) about wishing Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas. Shut UP! It's so much more complicated than that! I think what especially stings about that situation is that the debate is into it's second or third round this year. And that's after many rounds through history (see this article from Salon about that matter.) Yee. Argh. So I'm back to working on my book, my complicationist manifesto More is More: A primer for the complicated life but I think it'll be years before i finish it. If my head don't asplode before I do.
burnunit: (Default)
several, actually.

a. until we are factually an oppressed minority or have endured historically long suffering (greater than 300 years, say) or have lost a war, middle and lower class european americans will not ever know the trials of the other ethnic and cultural groups. that will always be there to indict us, often deservedly so.

b. until we know that, we may never be treated, with equality, either

c. likewise, until that happens, probably no one will ever write of us a sentence like these representative examples:
"Russians may stand very close to you when conversing. And they are very demonstrative, so don't be surprised if you are on the receiving end of body hugs, backslapping, shoulder pats, and other casual contact."
"Be prepared to be patient. Whereas American and Canadian businesspeople tend to think in terms of days and months, the Japanese do so in terms of years.(...) Among a group of Japanese businessmen, the one who is most silent is probably the one in charge, especially if he is also older."

d. if you've ever felt like the exception to a description (for example, let's say the ones above!) then you probably are exceptional. I wonder if that's an excuse for ignorance of reality for a lot of people. Especially exceptional people. Does there seem to be a lot of otherwise-exceptional people saying, "Well that doesn't apply to me. That can't be universally, generally, or even somewhat true. Q.E.D." (whatever THAT is--whether a generalization about a group of people--let's say white Americans, or men, or geeks, or what-have-you)

e. I think it behooves exceptional people not to be ignorant of how people perceive them, fairly or not and to continue to be exceptional by 1) proving folks wrong and 2) showing empathy for a history that may negate or outweigh their own personal experience. Yes, it can suck, but knowing it sucks means you probably have some insights and maybe could help rather than be reactionary about it.

Two books I recommend are Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands and Do's and Taboos Around the World for Women in Business (the quotes above are from the latter)

feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

[edit: these and other observations, many of them turned upside down by drink, will be open for relaxed discussion when I join the rest of the cool kids at omegacon tomorrow! see you there; boo yah!]
burnunit: (Default)
Breathless text in my inbox: JOHN KERRY JOINS CHRIS COLEMAN IN MINNESOTA! Well no shit. If you're Randy Kelly, the incumbent mayor, also a democrat, and you campaign for George Bush in 2004 I'm thinking it's going to be hard to win the endorsement of Dem leadership for your candidacy.Tool. God love the people of St. Paul but how could they elect such a TOOL?

By way of Dadahead and Atrios: pssst,Tom Cruise is God, tell no one.

The Bird Flu is mutating. So yeah. That was a nice run while it lasted. Amid hurricanes, tornados and superstorms, global warming, fucked up leadership, wars on two continents, silent and loud weapons deployed in quiet wars on four others, peak oil (right before your eyes!!), here comes the mutant bird flu. oh yeah, and firefighters, what's up with THAT? Something something, white horse, something something rider's name was death something something hell followed with him. Hello 16th century! FNORD. I open up my wallet and it's full of blood. memo to Danger: let's get started on those after the plague scripts, we should be able to shoot right here in minneapolis once everybody dies!
burnunit: (Default)
Woah. Crocodile blood cures AIDS? Okay so I know it's not a cure. On the other hand, it's pretty cool that crocodiles can fight off HIV. I mean, seriously cool. It's like the oldest species has the strongest medicines inside it. I knew if I could defeat Saurus the Great in face to face mortal combat and devour his heart that I could triumph over human weakness, I just knew it! I'm especially fond of the sentence, "It's like putting a gun to the head of a bacteria and pulling the trigger." I hope so. But who's going to clean up all that mess?

**edit: while doing some google searches on crocodiles, I found a basically-unrelated site that nevertheless scared the pants off me. seriously, I'm sitting at my desk, sans pants, right now! Makes me think I'll never go swimming again! **
burnunit: (relax)
What an appropriately timely phrase to pop into my head. I do feel a disturbance in a force. It's this vague disquiet coming in from almost all my nerves where they're extended into the noƶsphere.

Gosh, that doesn't make it much less vague by way of explanation. This is really not trying to be one of those vague cloaking posts, which I think all of us write on occasion.

woah. not too vague, but dang lengthy. you have been warned! )
burnunit: (Default)
First a favorable bankruptcy law, now lenders go from 2% to 4%. Coincidence? I hardly think so. On the other hand, fiscal responsibility is a hard row for some people to hoe and they need to. We did CCCS and it was hard. Companies don't like getting paid back on your schedule. But it was worth it. I think there's a lot of families out there who will be pushed off the ledges, though, thanks to these double whammies.


burnunit: (Default)

May 2009

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