Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wild America

From Slate.com:

"Rewilding"—bringing elephants, cheetahs, and lions out of captivity to run free in parts of North America—could help save these megafauna from global extinction. More important, it would restore to the continent biological functions lost millenniums ago...Sound crazy?


No, it sounds awesome. Imagine what Americans would save per year on Trimspa, miracle diets, and lawsuits over too-small movie theatre seats if you had Cheetahs ready to chase you at a moments' notice.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Lost

If you're like me, in between bouts of Shark-wrestling and Xtreme Kayaking, you watch Lost.

Season One was both masterfully mysterious and frustratingly vague. So many questions were brought up, and so few of them answered, that the sudden realization that Lost is coming back on-air in the not-too-distant-future is enough to get me all antsy in my pantsy.

Over at AICN, Herc has a bunch of Season 2 factoids and miscellania to help whet your appetite for more polar bears, unseen creatures, and luminous pregnant australians.

Fighting Terrorism At Home

Courtesy of The Daily Pick:

Heartfelt congratulations to President Bush, who on Friday August 19th breaks Ronald Reagan's all-time record for most vacation days. The old record was 335 days, though Reagan took his sweet time of eight years to accomplish this feat. President Bush did it in nearly half the time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Unreality That Dominated

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

From the Washington Post


The Senior officer involved in policy since the invasion admits that their plans were never realistic.

Conservatives seem to feel that liberals who point out facts like these are somehow "rooting for America to fail." They're wrong. What we want is accountability for massive errors in judgement. I don't care whether or not George Bush believed that invading Iraq was necessary. I don't even care that the reasons for our going continually shifted according to new developments.

What I care about is that what they expected to acheive was never realistic. I care that this man's been in charge since the beginning of the war, and apparently knew this.

I care because apparently, the reason President Bush has not met with Cindy Sheehan to tell her what her son died for is that no reason exists. For democracy? For oil? For peace? For stability? For none of these things. And here's a senior officer in charge of policy since '03, who could have done something about it. I want men and women held accountable for the deaths of our Armed Forces, for the deaths of Iraqi civilians, and for the bringing of civil war to Iraq.

This desire is non-partisan. Democrat or Republican, this "War" has been a miscalculation of epic proportions, and our country has suffered deeply and definitively for it. Those responsible for making the decisions that marched this country's sons and daughters into death's arms are to be held responsible.

They are to answer the questions of the mothers left behind.
(courtesy of This Modern World)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

X3 and Robert Smith's Seminal Rock Band

Over at Chud.com, Devin Faraci's reporting that Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) is joining the cast of X3 as "Dr. Rao."

Those of you geeky enough to read Joss Whedon's (Firefly, Angel, Buffy) current Astonishing X-Men run know that Dr. Rao is the scientist responsible for creating the Mutant Cure, a drug that eliminates mutation.

The X films continue to interest me because they're the only "comic-book" movies that delve deeply and consistently into real-world issues while veiling them in costumes and super-powers. In an age where people like James Dobson are trying to teach parents how to "un-gay" their children, where society steamrolls children into carbon-copied midget consumers, the idea of a drug that can eliminate what makes you different is timely and thought-provoking, the way all good science fiction usually is.

People like Asimov, Bradbury, Orwell, Mieville, and Whitehead have all used Sci-fi to explore real human concerns, ideas, and morals. It's a credit to Lauren Schueler-Donner, Avi Arad, and especially Bryan Singer, that they've consistently tried to inject topical, important issues into a movie about men who shoot laser-beams from their eyes and women who walk around naked and scaley.

Pervert, Heal Thyself

James Dobson, he of the Righteous Word and Unhealthy Fixation on Gay Folk, points us to Dr. Joseph Nicolosi's helpful tome "A Parent's Guide To Preventing Homosexuality," which contains helpful instructions on making your son not gay.

Meanwhile, the boy's father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his
son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.


What, exactly, is showering naked with your assumedly pre-teen son going to accomplish?
The thing I notice most about Dobson's anti-gay diatribes is how one-sided they are. Other than a passing reference to the idea of "masculinized girls," he seems entirely preoccupied with saving young boys from the evils of homosexuality. Like the rest of society, Dobson just doesn't seem to have the same problem with "masculinized girls" that he does with "effeminate boys."

Is it the whole "stickin' it up the pooper" aspect of gayness that really bothers Dobson and his ilk? I find the whole idea pretty repulsive, myself. But despite my inability to comprehend the sexiness of said pooper-stickin', I'm more than able to accept that certain people really do enjoy the act, both physically and emotionally. But Dobson and his ilk cannot accept that. Nor can they accept that sexual preference really does appear to be something innate, not something we choose.

I've been asked, given that I'm not gay, why I continue to report on this sort of bigoted nonsense. To be honest, that question angers me as much as Dobson and Co.'s efforts to "cure" confused kids of somethign they're probably always going to struggle with. The question implies that I should belong to a group in order to act, or write, on their behalf. Well, they came for the shoemakers, and because we were not shoemakers, we did not speak up. Sound familiar?

(Courtesy of the American Prospect)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

NEWSFLASH! Now Just Diddy

P. Diddy has changed his name to "Diddy." According to Katie Couric's interview, he felt the "P." was getting between him and his fans.

If I were a snarkier man, I might point out that the "P" getting between a singer and his fans is more of an R. Kelly problem.

I might also suggest that, brainless and harmless as they are, this wouldn't necessarily be something I'd choose to broadcast on a morning news program.

Then you'd say, "Matt, that first one was almost funny, but now you're just crotchety and old-sounding."

At which point, I'd be inclined to agree, and apologize for bringing any of this up in the first place.

Double-Spanked

"The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that [New London, Ct's] original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent....In some cases, their debt could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, the homeowners are being offered buyouts based on the market rate as it was in 2000 . "

Article.

Why isn't this continuous front-page news?
And why is it that, hard as I try, I can't find a single mention of this during the "Justice Sunday" event from Sunday?

(link courtesy of chud.com)

Justice Sunday II: Return of the Justice-inator

Justice Sunday II aired this past Sunday on television stations nation-wide. I'd intended to try and watch, since I prefer to comment on the event itself, and not on other comments about it. Unfortunately, I missed it. I had a bottle of bad whiskey and a shot glass all ready to go, but sometimes life gets in the way of my drinking.

The report on the event is an interesting read (and no whining from you conservatives that I've linked to the NYTimes. Judith Miller pushed your case for war, fellas). Such honorable, god-fearing men and women as Tom DeLay, James Dobson, Tony Perkins (of the Family Research Council), and Phyllis Schlafly spoke from their hearts about what God really wants from his chosen people, namely, that they turn America's system of laws into something reflective of the Bible's.

"Speaking at the Justice Sunday telecast, Phyllis Schlafly, the veteran Christian conservative organizer, asked: 'How do the judges get away with such outrageous decisions? By asserting that Supreme Court decisions are the supreme law of the land. But you know that is not true. That is a terrible heresy.'"


Christopher Hitchens Continues His Impression Of A Nine Inch Nails Album

By now Cindy Sheehan is "old news" around these internet parts. The mother of a slain American soldier, Sheehan has drawn media attention by traveling to Crawford, Texas and demanding that the President emerge from his vacation in order to explain what her son died for.

The President's stated reason for not engaging Ms. Sheehan has been the arguably laughable assertion that he "needs to get on" with his life. But this story does not appear to be vanishing the way that he'd like it to. A grieving, undeniably furious mother is harder to ignore than questions about the war's underlying validity.

So one of the Administration's top wordsmith attack-dogs has been unleashed.

Cindy Sheehan's Sinister Piffle
"What dreary sentimental nonsense this all is, and how much space has been wasted on it. Most irritating is the snide idea that the president is "on vacation" and thus idly ignoring his suffering subjects, when the truth is that the members of the media—not known for their immunity to the charm of Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod in the month of August—are themselves lazing away
the season with a soft-centered nonstory that practically, as we like to say in the trade, "writes itself."

Oh, indeed, young Christopher. What dreary, sentimental nonsense is found in the grief of mothers.

Your comparison of the work schedules of the President of the United States, and unnamed and unidentified lazy reporters would, perhaps, have some zing behind it if these two jobs had even a measure of comparability between them. Unfortunately for your bone dry condescension, the job of the President carries with it certain public expectations. One of these expectations happens to be that, in a time of declared, ongoing war, the President is going to stick around. Or did Roosevelt take five weeks off during WWII?
Any citizen has the right to petition the president for redress of grievance, or for that matter to insult him to his face. But the potential number of such people is very large, and you don't have the right to cut in line by having so much free time that you can set up camp near his drive.

So we all have this straight: You can do exactly what Ms. Sheehan is doing. In fact, any one of us has the right to do so. But her flagrant line-cutting has rendered her case unpalatable. Doesn't the mother of a dead soldier have the good sense to wait her turn?? Where have our manners gone?
I distrust anyone who claims to speak for the fallen, and I distrust even more the hysterical noncombatants who exploit the grief of those who have to bury them.

Especially their mothers. Who, apparently, is exploiting herself by being both a "hysterical noncombatant" and someone "who (has) to bury them."