Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin, Oh Shit!


Totally unexpected, in my opinion, was McCain's pick today of Alaska governor Sarah Palin for his VP. I actually thought it was a joke at first. My uneducated opinion - he is trying to get Hilary's supporters.
I know very little about her, and look forward to finding out more, but she seems to be popular, have a decent grasp of financial issues, and is abysmal on abortion, creationism and gay rights. So if the Republicans win, she'll be our next president, because let's face it, McCain isn't long for this world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Democratic Convention Day 3- what a night!

I listened to the convention last night via Air America radio, which was streaming it live with little bits of commentary between speeches. Wow, what a night! I cried, I laughed, it was so exciting. It really gave me a profound sense of something or other.
My favorite parts:
- New Mexico and Illinois yielded to New York during the roll call, and Hillary went up to the mic and asked the procedural rules to be suspended and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation. Palosi then asked the crowd of delegates to vote and they all scream Yay!. Oh it's beautiful.



- Bill Clinton gets up to speak and the crowd just won't quiet down. He has to ask them finally to stop. And what a speech! The man can speak, that's for sure. The most popular president of our time. He makes a full endorsement of Obama, specifically stating that Obama is ready and fully qualified.



- then Kerry rips his friend McCain a new one, which is really nice because we didn't get to hear any fighting words from him in 2004.

- Beau Biden, Joe Biden's son, and Attorney General of Delaware, came up to introduce his dad. He spoke about the accident, in which his mom and sister were killed shortly after Joe was elected to the Senate - made me sob. And then Joe Biden came up and gave a lovely speech. He said some really sweet things about his son and mother, and beat up on McCain some more. And as he was done Obama surprised everyone by showing up and saying thanks to him in person, which was just so touching.



It was all so uplifting. Still, there were some points made that I strongly disagree with. Joe Biden spoke of holding Russia accountable and supporting the young democracy in Georgia. I have already told you my views on the subject, but I think this was wicked pandering.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bejing 2008: Kanayeva and Bessonova

I don't have TV, and I don't really like sports, but I did make a point of watching some of the Olympics on nbcolympics.com. The competition I was looking forward to the most was rhythmic gymnastics. I was rooting for Ukraine's Ganna Bessonova, because I enjoyed her Athens performance, and she did not let me down, performing beautifully and winning a bronze. The newcomer this year, and the gold medal winner was Evgeniya Kanaeva, a Russian 18 year old, who did was so beyond everyone else in skill and grace it was remarkable. In my personal, biased opinion, Ganna Bessonova deserved at least a silver however.

The other gymnast I was cheering on was 10th place winner Almudena Cid of Spain. She is the oldest of the bunch, and did not do anything too technically complicated but she just seemed to have so much fun. Maybe because it was her 4th and probably last Olympics.

I couldn't get any finals footage but I did find these qualifying clips of Bessonova and Kanayeva. I just wish there was more footage of Kanayeva with the ribbon. The things she did with it were unbelievable. Bessonova is first in each 'instrument' or whatever it's called, then Kanaeva. The music is "Nara" by E.S.Posthumous in case you like it.

video

Some pictures of Kanaeva:






Some pictures of Bessonova:



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Supporters for McCain

One of my new pet peeves are former Hillary supporters who are planning to vote for McCain (around 20% of them, last I heard). Here is a John McCain ad featuring one such supporters, Debra Bartoshevich, not an actress by the way.

video

Yesterday in Denver, where the Democratic Convention is taking place, the McCain camp brought Debra out for a press conference, so she could explain her decision to others. Debra, a pro-choicer, was asked if she was concerned about McCain's pro-life voting record, to which she replied:

"Going back to 1999, John McCain did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle saying that overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense, because then women would have to have illegal abortions."

Well, that is in fact true. "I'd love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary," McCain told the Chronicle in 1999. "But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations." Adding to the confusion, Carly Fiorina, top McCain surrogate, said earlier this year: "[McCain] has never signed on to efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade."

And yet, during the South Carolina primaries McCain stated “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned" and his campaign website says



I am an ardent pro choicer. As far as I am concerned, if you think an unborn baby should not be killed, by all means, CHOOSE life. I strongly suspect that I would not be able to kill my unborn baby, though never say never (consider rape, incest, genetic defect). And Hillary supporters who are planning to vote for McCain make me mad.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama says American kids should learn Spanish

So I will start of with this bit of old news. Back in July Obama gave a speech in Georgia, during which he mentioned that Americans should worry less about immigrants learning English then making sure that their kids spoke Spanish. Sounds very inflammatory right? Sounds like Obama would like Spanish to take over the states, forcing everyone to learn to speak Spanish, adopt it as a second language, that sort of thing. So lets put this statement in context.



And for those of you who can't see the video, here is the transcript, word for word:

[I don’t understand… when people go around worrying about “we need to have English only”. They want to pass a law “we want just, we want English only”. Now I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But… but understand this, instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English – they’ll learn English – you need to make sure that your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language. You know, it’s embarrassing, it’s embarrassing, when… when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say is “Merci beaucoup.” Right?]

Well, after watching what he actually is talking about, which is not that every child should learn Spanish but that every child should study a foreign language, I think he is completely right. Please note, that he does not say that every child should be forced to learn a foreign language, nor that that the US has to become a bilingual state, but that an American's education should include an appreciation and understanding of foreign cultures. And this goes back to my earlier point of America being woefully lacking in knowledge of much beyond it's borders.

Interestingly, while looking for this video I came across a number of blogs etc that cut off the speech after 30 seconds, just where Barack says "you need to make sure that your child can speak Spanish." And I can see how that would get a lot of people upset.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why, oh why, is McCain doing so well???

I have been all atwitter this past week, terrified at the notion that McCain could actually win the election this year (and by that I mean legally, and not through election fraud as happened the last two times). I am not exaggerating, the thought actually scares me. More than the prospect of four more years of neo-con rule, what really bothers me is the reality of more than half of Americans actually voting for him. If McCain wins, I promise you, I will loose what's left of my faith in this country and it's people.
Not that I ever really had much to begin with. Most Americans, I am sorry to say, are simple, selfish, poorly educated, blindly patriotic, and remarkably ill-informed when it comes to anything of importance outside it's borders (and frequently within the borders as well). Naturally, for my own well being, I make a point of staying far away from these fools, and try to keep in my circle of acquaintances people who will not drive me up the wall with their ignorance. And as most human beings, I prefer to be around those who share my core values. There are some exceptions, such as a few deeply religious people that have made it on my list of friends, whose faith I am willing to overlook just as long as we don't discuss it too much and their other values don't contradict mine. Yet I have recently become aware that at least two of my closer friends, are planning to vote for McCain. AAAAAAAAh!!!
What? How? Whyyyyyy?????? Well, that is precisely what I asked one of them (the one that I can hope to remain friends with even if we disagree on politics, because thankfully, we agree on most everything else). So I have decided that from now on I will dedicate a few posts to topics that my friend has brought up as of importance to her (and reasons for choosing McCain over Obama), and so as not to single her out, I will also draw from the general pro-McCain and anti-Obama opinions and give my take on them. This being my blog, I think I am perfectly entitled.
Some of the things I plan to write about are clarifications/information about Obama's stance on an issue, others will refute blatant lies of the opposition, and others still will simply point out what I think is bad about McCain. Naturally my hope is that some of my readers (all 5 of you or whatever) might be swayed either by facts or my fervor. Mostly, however, I need to vent.
First and foremost, however, a disclaimer. The following is a list of things I believe to be right and moral and the best way of doing things. If you truly think that the opposite way is better, and this is your honest opinion, and not an uninformed or brain washed one, then you have my respect in that at least you use your head for something. It is perhaps better, however, if we never meet, as we are sure to dislike each other immensely. Anyway, I believe ...
... that the USA is not the greatest country on Earth but just a country that happens to be big and rich and currently influential. It will pass, just like the British, the Ottoman and the Romans before them. For now we are capable of doing great harm but might be able to do a little bit of good too
... other countries and people who live in them are just as entitled to their opinions and a chance at expressing them as we are, providing they are not trying to kill us or too many others
... diplomacy and not military force should be used to solve problems
... when butting into other countries problems, we must do so because it is for the good of it's people, and not because we can gain something economically (OIL!!!)
... people get the government they deserve
... the best thing about America is the promise of freedom
... I believe in the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom FROM religion
... America is not a Christian nation, there just happen to be a lot of Christians around
... being a Muslim is not bad, and it certainly does not make you evil
... every woman should have the right to choose whether to keep or get rid of (kill, if you'd like) the embryo/fetus inside of her
... every single person in this country should have excellent and affordable medical coverage; EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!!
... taxes are good and necessary but the less you make the more tax break you should get
... corporations are not people, they are not entitled to the same rights, and should not get benefits people do not
... if you want to stop illegal immigrations, try to work with Mexico and make it better, so that fewer people feel like immigrating
... and on a similar note, every one in this country was once an immigrant
... education should be excellent and free, at least up until Bachelor's level; it should be paid for by taxes
... creationism and other religious nonsense has no place in public schools, unless you are discussing religion as a subject matter
... being homosexual is no different than being heterosexual and all rights including those of getting married (legal in the eyes of the law, not God) must be available to all
... we must all care for the sick and the poor who cannot care for themselves
... and the help to the sick and the poor must be excellent and paid for by taxes
... real unbiased journalism should make it's way back into every day media (television)
... anchors and talk show hosts who blatantly lie should be fired
... politicians who are found to be blatantly lying, stealing or cheating should be fired
... this planet is precious, global warming and pollution are a problem, and no country and no people are special enough that they can't be inconvenienced for the sake of keeping the planet around for a little while longer, SUCK IT UP and recycle etc
... who you have sex with is none of my business unless you are hurting them or me

There are probably a few others but these are just a few that come to mind. Anyway, today's post is just a kind of introduction to my future theme. If any of you have any suggestions of topics/points I should discuss, drop me a comment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Aroused Prince


AAAAh! Harry Potter Naked!!!! Aaah! My eyes!!!!
Let's have suggestions for titles cooler than mine. Here are some runner-ups:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Fire
Harry Potter and his no-longer-secret Prince
...
Incidentally, judging on movies alone, I am totally crushing on Ron. Can't wait for the Ron/Hermione kiss!!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Russia, Georgia, US and South Ossetia

I've been meaning to write about this for a few days now, ever since I got into a disagreement with a cousin about Russian/American politics. Although the South Ossetia conflict is old news at this point, having been overshadowed from the beginning by the Olympics, Bigfoot, and John Edward's infidelity, and only getting more coverage than the latest news of how Bush and his peeps forged intelligence that justified the attack on Iraq (more on that later), I think it is important to properly digest the situation. Not that all of the information is clear, available, or correct for that matter. We may not know for a while still what exactly happened and why, since this is just another conniving power play on the parts of the Bush and Putin administrations.

First, a little history. When Georgia asked to become part of the USSR (mainly to get protection from Turkey), Ossetia, among others, was one of the little mountainous countries that got engulfed as well. And when Georgia broke away from Russia in 1991, Ossetia was divided in two. North Ossetia stuck with Russia. South Ossetia was given to Georgia. Displeased as they were, South Ossetians kept starting rebellions and passing legislations declaring its sovereignty, which were not accepted by anyone. A ceasefire was put into effect in 1992 but South Ossetia was still Georgian. Then there was another crack down on S. Ossetia in 2004, followed once again by a ceasefire, though not a very effective one. Russia in the meantime was stirring trouble of its own in the region, aiding the Ossetians and giving Russian citizenship to anyone who wanted it. And in Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili came to power after a brief "Rose Revolution", aided in all probability by the Americans. He certainly remains a US "puppet" and is at this point highly unpopular among his electorate.



Starting on August 2nd, 2008 the fire on South Ossetia from the Georgian side seemed to intensify (allegedly in response to S. Ossetia's provocation). Some began to flee into North Ossetia and Saakashvili announced that a ceasefire will begin. Instead, in the night of August 7th, Georgia began shelling the city of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), with some 2000 people "reported" dead. I say "reported" because independent human right groups say the casualties were far lower, as few as 44 dead the first night. Certainly there were no attempts to decrease civilian casualties. Human Rights Watch reports evidence of firing directly into basements, which is where civilians were hiding, and the weapons used were "inherently indiscriminate". So Russia responds by bombing the hell out of Georgia. They retook Tskhinvali, started a second front in Abkhazia (disputed fact), a small region in a very similar boat as South Ossetia, and carried out multiple strikes on military installations in Georgia. Russian troops seemed to at least partially occupy the Georgian cities of Gori and Poti. They also carried out a very successful cyber attack, shutting down news and government websites, putting pictures of dictators on the national bank website, etc. They even attacked the president's site, which was hosted by that time in Georgia - Atlanta, GA, that is. So Georgia basically got their ass handed to them by the Russians. No surprise there.

Some ceasefires have now been signed, many in the international community, the US among them, saying that Russia's response was disproportionate. So hopefully now we can have some sort of diplomacy. But the question is, why the heck did this happen??? On the eve of the Olympics, the little Georgia decides to taunt it's much mightier neighbor and get away with it? My cousin suggested, and I am not sure that he is entirely incorrect, that Saakashvili's desire to get into NATO was behind this attack. How he figured that forcefully subduing South Ossetia would endear him to NATO I do not know. It is, however, likely that he expected his ally, the US, to back him up. Whether he was promised help, if he was egged on into this conflict by Bush and co. or if he was just deluding himself, I do not know. Certainly he had reasons to believe that the US will help him out. We have been supplying him with weapons, money and military training. And it's not a secret that tensions between Russia and the US are far from over. As for Russia's response, could this have been a preview, a kind of message to the US, about what would happen if they attack Iran? After all Russia has long maintained that it will not ignore military actions there. And finally, to add conspiracy to the story, Russia happened to bomb the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, 30% of which is owned by British Petroleum, which interestingly enough is one of the main competitors of Russian oil supply to Europe. I wonder how many wars would never have begun if we had finally learned to stop using oil. Would anyone then even care about the Middle East?

So my conclusion at the moment, is that the US was being passive aggressive, Saakashvili was an idiot, and Russia called the bluff. In the meantime it's the people of South Ossetia, and to some extent Georgia, that are paying the price.


PS: Did anyone catch the fact that John McCain's foreign policy adviser is a former lobbiest for Georgia AND a member of the Project for the New American Century, the group that infamously thought that an attack like 9/11 would be great for the future of neo-cons.

No Credit for Creationism Classes



Excellent! The poor bastards will benefit from a real biology class. Man, creationists make me mad. And the poor kids brain washed from childhood! Even if they keep believing, good on UCLA for standing up for proper educational standards.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lazy Bloggers Post Generator

Blimey! I just climbed out from under my rock and realized I have not updated this since Hammertime was in the charts... You would not believe how heavy that rock really is. Stupid Global Warming!.

I am flat out like a lizard drinking with sleeping my way to the top, choosing my retirement village, just generally being a nuisance to my local police, my day starts with the dawn patrol from the first cockadoodledoo from the rooster till I run out of alcohol. I am putting money aside so I can run away. maybe tomorrow.

I swear on the bones of my ancestors I will write something that makes sense soon. Well, I'll try. Assuming I don't get distracted by counting my chest hairs..

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