November 30, 2006
This letter will remind you of the letter I wrote to the Abu Ghraib jerks. That's because I realized today that we've got ourselves an analogy here. Remember the SAT? Here's a good one for you:
Abu Ghraib soldiers : Iraq :: Michael Richards : race relations
Yes, Kramer, you're the Lynnie England of race.
The rest of us work hard to heal the wounds of yesteryear. We try to treat people fairly, we make sure we never say something that could offend, and we work to keep our country moving forward towards harmony between the races. And you come along and yell at someone about lynching.
What in the holy hell were you thinking?
When I first heard this story, I thought it was weird and dumb. But I really didn't think it mattered in the long run. Then I read this sentence in a completely unrelated article today:
If blacks are to fight the plague that is racial ugliness -- and racism remains one of the great threats to the Republic, no question about it, just ask that Seinfeld loser or Mel Gibson -- then we have to be honest with ourselves.
So now, thanks to you, people with an agenda can hold you up as the Paragon of Racism. See, white people are racist deep down: that Kramer guy called people the n-word. Just like how the Abu Ghraib soldiers destroyed the reputation of all the other honorable and admirable soldiers in Iraq, you have destroyed whatever credibility we white people have when we claim that racism isn't nearly as bad as some people let on.
Now my college roommate, who was afraid of walking across campus for fear of being lynched, will have more of a reason to think all white people really are out to get her. Now when some loser celeb says that the president hates black people, someone might honestly think that a tirade about lynching could just as easily come out of Bush's mouth as it did out of yours.
Black people everywhere will be waiting for the racist shoe to drop, thanks to you.
Most of us are not racist. We don't think lynchings are funny. We have enough of a moral or societal compass to know that what you did was completely out of line. And weird. Most of us don't have that crap bubbling right below the surface. Slight provocation won't give us n-word diarrhea of the mouth. We look at what you did as the strangest and most horrifying thing you can think of.
But to the black author of that article, it was just proof that "racism remains one of the great threats to the Republic."
Thanks a lot. All the progress that we white people have made to try to prove that we judge on the content of character: gone.
I hate you for that.
November 17, 2006
I've written so many times here about fraud, waste, and abuse. I can think of dozens of examples in my own life of how the government wastes money in the military community. And if they're wasting it in the few places I've been, I can't stand to think how much waste there really is.
I've got one word to sum up fraud, waste, and abuse: Pearl.
Pearl was our education counselor in Germany. She was brought out of retirement to fill the position. She gave soldiers so much wrong advice that it makes me ill, she couldn't write a grammatical sentence to save her life, and she constantly brought me her work and asked for help because she didn't understand. I made $8.50 an hour; she made over $60,000 a year.
And if there's one Pearl, there are surely plenty of others.
The government doesn't spend money wisely, and there aren't many checkups once it's spent to make sure they're getting bang for their buck. I don't want the government to have a dime more than they need.
November 11, 2006
My husband's visible discomfort that he might not have another opportunity to put to use all he learned in Iraq, all he has digested and mulled over for two years, stands in stark contrast to the Iraqi quoted in this article:
Â“What was I going to wait for that would keep me on the force?Â” said Mohammed Humadi, a police captain who quit in August after one of his commanders was killed and beheaded. Â“Nothing was going to get any better. I have children, and if I were to sacrifice myself, it wouldnÂ’t change anything.Â”
I struggle daily with the two opposing camps of the War in Iraq: those who say that the US has no business trying to set up a utopia halfway across the world, and those whose idealism bubbles over into dreams of playing Iraq in the World Cup. But the one thing I do know is that it's a knife in my heart that my husband would give his life for Iraq while this Iraqi would not.
A knife in my heart.
November 07, 2006
"I advise you as an Iraqi, if you were in a circumstance in which you have to issue a death penalty, you have to remember that Saddam is a military man and in this case the verdict should be death by shooting not by hanging," [Saddam] told the judge.
Justice, thy name is the gallows.
All in all, MSN advocates $94,154 worth of consumer goods, plus pricetagless trips to see the Dalai Lama and a haircut from some famous L.A. barber.
A Cadillac XLR roadster and Gucci luggage? That's what women need? Doesn't the average American household have something like $8000 in consumer debt? And MSN thinks that suggesting $4000 watches and trips to Mongolia is a good idea?
Seriously, what planet are these people living on? You know what women need by the age of 40? Maturity and self-respect. Then they won't fill that void with fancy suits, watches, haircuts, and cars.
Some of the suggestions were reasonable: a subscription to a smarty-smart magazine, a few jazz CDs, and some classic movies. Get people to broaden their horizons. Even a trip isn't a bad idea, though it's condescending to say that Europe is oh-so-yesterday and now the Third World is where it's at. Maybe MSN can encourage these women to adopt an African baby while they're there; it's all the rage, right?
I'm regularly disgusted and offended by the nonsense MSN prints, but this is just over the top. Who do they think their target audience is, suggesting a $78,000 car? Is Julie Greenwald hanging out on MSN trying to figure out what she should buy with her millions? I imagine most women who click that link are looking for more spiritual advice: find a hobby you really love, teach your children to waltz, volunteer for a charity that empowers you. Not more ways to spend money.
What the hell is wrong with our culture, that this passes as advice for women?
November 06, 2006
Anyway, Teresa pointed out that Hollywood is not very good at writing realistic marriages. I was shocked recently to see that KFC commercial where the young wife is on the phone and she "signs" what she wants for dinner to her husband. And her husband's buddy doesn't get it, so he explains their secret language. Every time I see that commercial, I keep waiting for it to change. I keep waiting for the punchline to be that the husband is complete dufus who doesn't know anything about his wife. As it stands, that commercial is really stinking cute. It shows married people actually working in harmony, knowing each other on an extremely personal level. You never get that on TV.
Smash is right:
Unfortunately, the sentence is not to be carried out at daybreak. Appeals and due process will delay the execution for months, if not years. Saddam will get more consideration than any of his victims ever received, and arguably more than he deserves, but that's one of the many differences between freedom and tyranny.
I guess this is enough consolation for today. At least it made our household chuckle:
Thousands of Iraqis sang, danced and unleashed celebratory bursts of gunfire yesterday as Saddam Hussein finally faced the consequences of his tyrannical rule in a Baghdad courtroom.
Oh, the Iraqis and their celebratory gunfire.
The husband's leaving for a field trip tomorrow, or else a cake would be in order. I'll just have to remember the deliciousness of the dragging-him-out-of-a-dirty-hole cake. And dream of the deliciousness of the hanging-by-his-broken-neck cake I'll get to make someday. Yummy.
November 03, 2006
I just caught the tail-end of a radio trivia gimmick, where a caller had to answer some questions. She had no idea who Dennis Hastert is, she couldn't provide a line from the "Star-Spangled Banner", and she didn't have the first guess what the Dow was at...in fact, she thought "the Dow" was a new type of WMD. I am not kidding. It might've been funny if it weren't so stinking depressing.
So beware the internet bubble. And be glad half the country doesn't vote.
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