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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Least Reported Story - Republicans Grant Oil Amnesty-Again

In a slick move by the Dems, they managed to get a bill on the floor to shave oil subsidies.  Of course, it died yesterday in the Senate.  Still, it was a deficit reduction measure, and the deficit hawks will have a harder time blaming Dems now.  Plus, it's good fodder for the populist trough.  Down with Big Oil.  Also, Big Oil, if you pay my college loans off, I'll totally sing your praises.  We can call it RavingOilslick.

On another note:  CNN political reporting is pretty lame.  So many of the 5 Ws were not answered in that piece.  Who sponsored the bill?  Who argued for it on the floor?  What was the bill's number, the bill's text?  What subsidies?  The bill gives numbers, true, but such vague, generalized numbers as it would be hard to fact check.

Let me guess CNN.  You sent some junior staffers to the vote, got some comment from randomly leaving members, and posted the article.  Sigh.  This is why I prefer to get my news from Jon Stewart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Responding to the comments at

Every so often I read the comments on a post.  This time, reading the comments at the above link I found a strange set of statements stated by someone with the alias CATHERINE4711.  You can read her statements at the link, my comment follows:

The most bizarre set of comments I've ever read. Is no one more offended at Catherinie's diatribe? Jewish women holy? Holier than thou perhaps. First off, Hillary is a hot mama. I always thought so, and attacking her sexuality as you did Catherine, is an ad hominem argument. It lowers any point you MAY have had. Second of all, any outfit that publishes is in the public eye, and even if its readers tend to form the basis of one group, they can and must be taken to task for not adhering to what is to most simple common curtesy. Maybe they thought it was somehow disrespectful to Hillary, because she's a hot mama, but its far more disrespectful to her, to just wipe her clean from the photo. It frankly denies her existence, her role as one of the most important heads of state in the world. This was not done for her benefit. Nor was it done for the benefit of Jewish men who allegedly can't control themselves. It was belittling. Period.

As to Catherine's bizarre rant about the holiness of Jewish women. I am not Orthodox, and frankly gave up my own claim to Judaism years ago out of boredom and growing horror of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. (I know--I shouldn't go there) That said, your comments are only meaningful if I accept the tenets of Orthodox Jewish faith. Which I do not, and frankly, if they consider this sort of behavior to be "respectful" to women they do not rank much higher than the Muslim's attempts to shield their women.  Regardless my point is simple, your simple statement that Jewish women are "holier" than men, does not make it so.  Only Orthodox Jews would agree to that, and I suspect many of them would not.

Humanism, and human rights, are a constantly growing body of ideas that force us to be better people. Hiding women, or their bodies, does not in fact make men better or less likely to sin. In God or the Law's eyes. It simply acts as an instrument of repression, and no amount of gifts, flowers, and jewels can cxhange that fact. I understand that Orthodox women choose this behavior, and I respect their right to do so. But I absolutely cannot understand it. And the bulk of Jewry, I think, would agree with me as Orthodox is a mere minority among minorities.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama is Dead, Long Live Obama

This isn't a pleasant post.  As I feel this blog is the sum total of my work, I feel it necessary to comment on the events of the day--even when I have very little to say, or very conflicted feelings.  Given that the killing of Osama bin Laden is the biggest news of the past five years, I feel obliged to comment.

I was in bed when the news came.  My fiance woke me up to tell me.  My first reaction was that I thought someone had shot the president. (I was half asleep).  I leapt from the bed in horror, a truly awful and heart rending feeling in my chest.  She was super excited and started reading the article, I cottoned on after a second, and listened to the sparse details released at the time.  During this recitation, I went back to bed.  She continued to read the article as I lay face down in the pillows.  I knew she wanted me to speak, so I said the only cogent thought that came to mind, "Two years.  Well, I guess it wasn't that hard Mr. Bush."

The next day, as we learned more, I was very passively receiving.  I felt obliged to use one of my free 20 articles at the Times to get the skinny.  I didn't even bother to finish it.   I'd heard that the man had been shot in the head.  They said there was a firefight, but head shots are only achieved by snipers and by close, sometimes point blank shooting.  Either way the man did not die the death of a martyr.  I was pleased, I admit, by that.  Either he died on his knees staring death in the face, or he died in midflight hurriedly dodging bullets.  Then again, who knows how martry's die?  Death is never pretty, and no one "looks good" doing it. 

After, I cruised the internet for other people's reactions.  I recalled from my dreamlike state the night before that people were gathering and chanting "USA!  USA!  USA!"  I've always found this behavior disgusting.  It doesn't matter to me whether or not its a U.S. v. Canada hockey game, or the killing of a mass murderer.  Aside from the murderous intent behind such chanting, aside from the ignorance and fear it demonstrates, or the inflamatory ultra nationalistic zeal it engenders, it bothers me on an entirely different level.  It's groupthink.  Even on Passover, I recite the Hagaddeh with the others, and make funny voices until my 'better half' gives me a healthy poke.  I find it filthy, and I feel filthy witnessing it or participating in it.  It's a classic mob mentality.  It's very human, but as a humanist, I have much higher hopes for my people.

I've always been on the outside.  As Nietzsche put it, I peered into the abyss.  And I came to love that isolation, to revel in it.  All of which to say--this might be a personal hang up.  It seems normal that people chant at baseball games, at religious events, at executions, at protests.  So why does it not seem normal to me?  Why do I find it so reprehensible?  I could join in easily.  Sure, maybe not at a baseball or football game, I hate sports, and know little about them.  But I could have easily insisted we travel down to Times Square that night to revel in the blood thirsty dance.  Even had I tried, even had I felt something at Osama's death, I would have felt self concious screaming out bloody murder.  I use to be more musical, I tried writing songs.  I couldn't write a lyric to save my life.  Everything felt hollow, corny, trite.

My mother was mere blocks away from the WTC on 911.  I myself had been scant miles from the Pentagon on 911 and could see the smoke from the roof of my dorm.  It was a very peaceful day for me.  I hit the liquor store before the rest of the schmucks fled the city.  And I lay with a girl, on a sunny roof, with a beer. 

Today, I work in a 50 story building in the most targeted city in the world.  I even work for a firm that represents the day's symbols of corporate avarice and disunion.  I am a target.  And I don't care.  I don't feel threatened, and now that the man is dead, I don't feel safer, or less safe.  This is my problem, I get that I'm different like that.  But really, I'm quite an anxious person, incredibly anxious.  But my fears are real, they are things that happen to me every day, the awful things that can and do go wrong almost daily.  They are the casual guilts from not responding to phone calls or emails, or shirking someone else's work, or not progressing in my own life or career.

My building might blow up today.  I'll be scared shitless, I'll run down the stairs, probably throwing people out of my way.  I may make it out, but I probably wouldn't.  50 floors is a long distance to walk.  But I can't get it up to be scared about that.  I'm scared about my upcoming wedding.  I'm scared about how my family will get along, and if I'll have the money to pay for it all.  I'm scared about my fiance's visa status, I'm scared about what the next six months will hold for us.  But I'm not scared of Osama.  I never was.