Thursday, June 30, 2005
Some Dare Call It Hypocrisy

I'm lifting this almost verbatim from Delaware Dem's diary at Daily Kos -- I'm ashamed to do it, but it's too good not to spread around. Many thanks to the author; go and read the original diary for related quotes from Bush documenting the shifting (but oh-so-clear) objective of our "mission."

These quotes date back seven years, to the time when President Clinton was sending troops to Kosovo. Republicans once thought questioning the president was their duty as representatives of the people, but now it's the act of traitors and cowards -- funny, that.

"You can support the troops but not the president" --Tom Delay

"[The] President...is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." -- Rick Santorum

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." -- Tom Delay

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." -- Karen Hughes

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" -- Sean Hannity

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." -- Tom Delay, Floor Statement, 4/28/99

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." -- Governor George W. Bush

The Republican Party: the sickest joke of all.
12:41 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Parthenogenesis*

Lately I've been living a very active dream life. A few of the people who read this blog have heard about some of these dreams; most haven't. Suffice to say that they've been particularly conflict-laden of late -- there's a lot of frustration and turmoil expressing itself in my dreams, and it's been making me uneasy. Where is it coming from? What is it that's bothering me? I know I've got a couple of readers who don't buy into the assumption that any psychological insight can be gleaned from dreams, but I tend to pay attention to them, especially when they're as vivid and sticky as mine have been recently. When my mind starts talking to itself, I try to listen and pay attention if I can.

This morning I had an interesting experience -- something I've come close to in the past, but never quite fulfilled. I awoke out of another vivid, conflict-filled dream, and the first thing I thought was, "I have to write that down." I managed to hang on to the basic outline of the dream and a few key images long enough to get to this computer, and rapidly tapped out enough in the way of key phrases and ideas to bring the rest back into focus in my waking state. Having written it down, and reading it over and considering what I'd written, my next thought was, "this would make a good film." (Hey, Kurosawa did it, what better example do you need?)

Just like that, the whole thing was there: characters, relationships, themes, a story arc, a few pivotal moments and vivid images... my brain quickly filled in a few gaps (motives, some embellishment of major plot points, additional images and thoughts on underlying narrative layers) and I ended up with, for all intents and purposes, a film treatment. Obviously, I'm not ready to talk about it much yet -- still needs some time to simmer, you know -- but this is the first time a dream has ever produced a complete film idea. (I've gotten fragments of ideas before, but never anything whole and mostly complete in itself.) And only once before have I ever had a whole film come to me in a rush like this, and even that was only a little short (though it is, on the other hand, also the only complete film I ever directed myself.) I assumed that after a few hours I'd decide the idea was crap and toss it aside, but if anything I've become more taken by it the more I think about it. It's already seen some modification, but nothing major, just some filling out and development; given some more time to figure out not just what it means in itself, but also what it means to me personally, there could be quite a lot more still floating just under the surface that I haven't become fully aware of yet.

This all presents me with a small dilemma, though. I've already got a project (an academically important project at that) that demands my attention for the time being; I feel compelled to get this idea out on paper as a rough draft as soon as possible, but that would detract from the work I've already set for myself. I absolutely can't (and won't) let it interfere with the preproduction process I've already got underway. On the other hand, I worry that if I leave it for a few months while I take care of other things, my enthusiasm for it will fade and I'll be left with just another unrealized idea sitting in my notebook with all the others.

Still, I suppose it's something of a luxury problem; if I make adequate notes, there's nothing but my own drive (or lack thereof) to prevent me from coming back to it later on when time permits. It's extremely important that I finish what I've currently got going on first -- I'm already good at starting new projects, but I need a lot of practice at seeing them through. And it's incredibly pleasing to have an idea just present itself so easily -- normally the idea-generation process is an extremely painful one for me, involving a lot of self-doubt and self-criticism that usually leads nowhere. Which isn't to say there isn't still room for that to happen in this case, just that somehow I've ended up with a head start this time. And I can't help but notice that this particular film idea is very well suited to a low-budget first feature, more manageable than most of my ideas but still interesting and potentially complex. A bit bleak, perhaps (and, as mentioned above, full of conflict on numerous levels), but accessible... will I still love it in six months?

* not a reference to this, but rather to this.
4:23 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Friday, June 24, 2005
The Nefarious Liberal

Damn... they've gotten wise.

Leave it to Bush's Brain himself to whip the mask away from the grotesque face of liberal anti-Americanism and hatred for the military:

"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

(New York Times)

And there, in a nutshell, is the ugliness of American liberalism -- we want soldiers to die. That, friends and neighbors, is why we criticize, that's why we question, that's why we demand that every death be acknowledged and seen by every American citizen. Rove's got us dead to rights; we've got a hate-on for the troops, and we wish them nothing but harm.

In honor of Karl Rove's bold revelation, then, I'd like to present...


"Twenty Ways to Hurt The Troops"


1. Send them to war unnecessarily and under false pretenses, to "protect" America from a non-existant threat.

2. Send them in insufficient numbers, so that they are unable to create a secure environment.

3. Send them with insufficient equipment and armor. When taken to task on it, promise to address the problem, then do nothing.

4. Make it impossible for troops to leave after the terms of their enlistment are up. Keeping them in battle for years on end would be ideal.

5. Drag former soldiers who thought they had retired from the service back into battle.

6. Recruit young kids on the basis that they won't be sent to Iraq, and then send 'em anyway.

7. Send troops normally reserved for domestic service into prolonged battle in a foreign country, ravaging their home and family lives.

8. Once troop morale is sufficiently low that new enlistments begin to drop off steeply, start recruiting people formerly considered unsuited to military service, thereby making sure that the quality of the military continues to fall.

9. Fill the warzone with unregulated private mercenaries, who degrade morale among the troops and create additional hostility among the citizens of the occupied nation. Also, pay those mercenaries enormously better than the troops -- this not only further decreases morale, but also siphons the most skilled and experienced officers out of the military, thereby further reducing the quality of the military. (A clever person could probably find a way to use this private-contractor system to do some profiteering on the side from the comfort and safety of a Washington office -- consider it a two-fer.)

10. Disregard the Geneva Convention -- not only will this increase the hostility of the occupied nationals, but will also serve to endanger the lives of any American troops (and aid workers, journalists, etc.)taken prisoner in the course of the war. By demonstrating that we feel no obligation to abide by international law, we can encourage our opponants to treat our people as badly as we treat theirs.

11. If caught engaging in torture, blame the troops.

12. Demonstrate through incompetence that the United States is not an unbeatable force; make it apparent to the entire world that we are vulnerable and unwilling to sacrifice as a nation in order to support our troops with more than words and yellow ribbon magnets.

13. Dishonor dead soldiers by refusing to acknowledge their sacrifice: treat letters of condolence with indifference, forbid the public acknowledgement of military funerals by disallowing photographs of flag-draped coffins, and make sure the president never attends a single soldier's funeral.

14. Make injured soldiers pay for their food while undergoing treatment for their injuries.

15. Slash veterans' medical benefits.

16. Slash veterans' retirement benefits. (At the very least, block every attempt to increase funding of any kind for veterans, in spite of increased need.)

17. Provide no aid to veterans who return from war with no resources; we want to see homeless vets panhandling on streetcorners just like in the good ol' post-Vietnam days. (Just because you didn't manage to kill them doesn't mean you can't still destroy their lives.)

18. Denigrate the quality of the military while making empty statements of support -- "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have." If possible, say something like this in answer to a soldier who's asking why he has to go rummaging through landfills to find makeshift armor for his military vehicle. (That's chutzpah, baby.)

19. Completely ignore the advice of your military commanders in the field; make frequent statements about the status of the war that are completely disconnected from every available first-hand account.

20. Alienate the rest of the world from our "cause," making sure American soldiers are in it alone as much as possible. It might take a long time to repel our closest allies, but if we keep it up, eventually they'll go; then ALL the dead soldiers will be American.

Anyway, you get the idea -- those are just a few possibilities to get the ball rolling. Once we've cleared a certain number of dead soldiers, of course -- say, 1700 or so -- people might start to catch on that things are going badly. Support for our bogus war will start to drop, grumbling will be heard, even the press might begin to grow a pair and start asking uncomfortable questions. I have a few ideas for dealing with these eventualities:

We could always test the waters for another war -- distract the rubes long enough to cut and run. This tactic has a bonus: it spreads our troops even thinner, making their jobs literally impossible. And you know where that leads -- that's right, more dead soldiers!

If we can't manage a second war (well, technically third, but the first one was bordering on honest, so it doesn't count), then we can always make a stab at Plan B, "Operation Scapegoat":

Find the people responsible for pointing out our evil ways, and make them pay for our sins. Did they say all along that the war would lead to unnecessary death? Blame that death on them. Did they criticize us for the incompetence that directly led to pain for the troops? Blame that pain on them. The more they argued against all the things that hurt the troops, the more we paint them as responsible for that hurt. The main thing is to deflect, deflect, deflect -- we are pure and blameless, and they are filthy traitors. The less they had to do with the actual administration of the war, the better; the more removed from the decision-making process, the more plainly culpable we can make them appear. Attack, rebuke, slander, lie, and provoke -- it's the only way we can prove our honor, integrity, and beautiful innocence.

PS: One last statement: the Bush administration is made up entirely of scrotum-licking suckers of Satan's cock, and constitutes the closest thing the United States has ever had to a vindictive, theocratic, fascist-totalitarian dictatorship; furthermore, all of its supporters are selfish, petty, ignorant brownshirts-in-the-making. But I want to underline that that statement is simply a reflection of a difference of philosophy, not an attack. Thank you.

Update: pissed-off soldiers!
2:54 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005
An Unpopular President

After four years of binging and brawling followed by a good eight-month sleep, America awakes to find George W. Bush lying next to it in bed. "Jesus fucking Christ," it thinks to itself, "how drunk were we?"

It's not pretty -- how will we ever show our face in the neighborhood again? -- but Dubbers is making himself busy in the kitchen, promising to make us an omelette out of all these broken eggs. There are mumblings about a wedding, a rushed drunken ceremony -- he's here for keeps, back acne and all (at least until we can get our lawyer on the phone.)

Yes, America is waking to its inevitable hangover -- and god, our head is throbbing:

Bush's approval rating: 47% approve, 51% disapprove

Support for US war in Iraq: 39% approve, 59% disapprove

(Gallup)

"Do you think George W. Bush has the same priorities for the country as you have, or not?"

Same: 35%
Not the same 61%

"Do you feel Bush and the Republican leaders in Congress are making good progress on solving the nation's problems or not?"

Progress: 37%
No Progress: 61%

"Whose fault is that mainly: Bush and the Republicans, or the Democrats in Congress?"

Bush/Republicans: 67%
Democrats: 13%

(Polling Report)

Gee, America... buyer's remorse, much?
9:39 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Sunday, June 19, 2005
Four Years Tonight

I was driving south from Memphis -- I was living in Mississippi at the time, but had been visiting my then-boyfriend, and had stayed rather later than I'd intended (though that was hardly unusual.) I'd made the entire trip and was within no more than a few miles of my house at a four-way stop, crossing a highway where the traffic moved very fast carrying people towards the casinos further away. I got to the intersection, stopped along with everyone else, waited my turn while others moved through, and when my turn came headed on across -- all perfectly normal.

I didn't hear anything, and I certainly didn't see anything, but very suddenly I found myself being whipped violently through space -- I couldn't tell what direction or in what orientation (spinning? flipping?), and I vaguely remember screaming, but I was half expecting the world to return to normal so I could continue home. When the car came to a stop, several thoughts passed through my head simultaneously:

What the fuck just happened?

Are all my extremities still attached?

Will I still be able to go to work tomorrow?

Can I get out and walk? Could I just walk home from here?

The urge to simply get out of the car and go home was intense; I checked around for blood (completely terrified, but completely calm), and then noticed with great surprise that most of the parts of my car were no long in their correct places. The steering wheel was (or at least seemed to be) above my head and beyond my reach; I could see the side of the front, driver's side wheel through the window (or the hole where it used to be), an angle that I only recognized as not making sense. The car door was digging painfully into my left hip. I made a feeble attempt to open the door to get out, but I couldn't even move my arm, much less budge the door.

People started wandering up to the car -- they all had horrified expressions on their faces and wouldn't get closer than ten feet; one of them shined a flashlight in my eyes and asked if I was okay. The look on his face was much, much more alarming than the state of my car -- what the hell is he seeing in me that makes him look so frightened? I tried to answer, but he didn't seem to be able to hear me; he told me the ambulance was coming (the station wasn't more than a quarter mile up the road; they probably heard the collision) and not to worry. I just sat there trying to make sense of everything. I couldn't see any other car around me, and I started wondering if I'd done something wrong, if I'd hit something, if all this was my fault -- though I couldn't imagine what it was I might've done. And I really, really wanted to get the fuck out of that car.

The paramedics showed up directly; a middle-aged blonde woman climbed into the passenger side through the back seat and started checking me over, reassuring me that they was going to get me out. She put a neckbrace on me and asked me where I was hurt -- I tried to answer again, but even though she was just a foot away she couldn't hear me; I couldn't get my voice to rise above a faint whisper. Some guy appeared outside the driver's side with a huge piece of equipment and told me he was going to cut the car open so they could get me out; he jammed it into what was left of the door and started crushing the hinges. The power of this thing was forcing the door further into the car where it had buckled in against my left knee; that, in turn, forced my knee to bend further and further to the side around the door until I could feel something inside popping under the strain; that was the first hint of pain I felt. The lady behind me was asking me a steady string of questions -- what was my name? (I told her) what day was it? (Tuesday -- no, Wednesday now) did I remember the accident? (I remember something, what happened?) did I have ID in the car? (yeah, somewhere) was there anyone she could call? (call my mom, call my boyfriend) could I move my fingers, wiggle my toes? (yes) did my head or neck or back or chest or stomach hurt? (no, but my shoulder feels weird, and I can't move my arm.)

I sat there while the guy with the cutter ripped the car door open like a tin can; there were people standing all around and other cars trolling by with people gawking out the windows, staring straight at me; all of this was visible only because of flashing red and blue lights. A firetruck came; a cop stuck his head around and asked if I was okay and if I had ID; some other guy brought a stretcher around behind the first guy. Two more men joined and along with the first guy bent the shredded door back towards the front of the car, then caught me as gravity pulled me out and down towards the pavement. "Don't move, don't try to help, just go limp and let us pull out out, we'll do all the work." Two of them grabbed my jeans and my shirt and slid me out of the wreck, pulling me up onto a backboard while the lady climbed over the seat and followed, supporting my head. I experienced a very visceral memory of what it was like to be helpless in my mother's arms as a baby, and was overwhelmed by a rush of trust in and gratitude towards the paramedics, who were enormously gentle with me. And then I was out, finally getting a full breath of air, being loaded up on the stretcher and staring up at the stars... "wow, it's a nice night out."

I couldn't turn my head because of the neckbrace, so I couldn't see any of what was around me. The cop compared my face to my driver's license and said he'd take care of my car, said I shouldn't worry. I heard someone off to one side say to someone else, "he's refusing to take a breath test... I'm not surprised." Then the dark and the flashing lights were replaced by fluorescent light and white plastic, the lady who'd been in the car sat down next to me, and the ambulance door was slammed shut. "Methodist?" said the driver; "no, go to the Med trauma center." Then she turned her attention back to me: oxygen mask over my face, flashlight shining in my eyes, her fingers digging into my stomach, asking me to move my fingers and wiggle my toes again. After a few minutes of this, and more questions, she stopped, looked down at me curiously, smiled, and said, "I thought you'd be dying on the way to the hospital, but you seem okay. You were really lucky."

"What happened?"

What had happened was that a black car, without its headlights on, had run the stop sign doing roughly 60 mph/100 kph and nailed me square in the driver's side door. According to witnesses, he hadn't even hit his breaks before he hit me, just plowed right in. For all intents and purposes I'd been hit by a speeding car with nothing but a four-inch-thick, 1977-vintage car door between me and the front bumper of the car that struck me.

She spent the rest of the trip trying to get an IV line into my arm, without much success; she was much more relaxed (barring a brief moment when I sleepily closed my eyes and was commanded to stay awake and keep looking at her until we reached the hospital), and finally gave up on the IV, saying I was stable and that the ER nurse would have an easier time without all the bumps in the road. As I lay there, taking the opportunity to really see the inside of an ambulance (definitely not worth the trip), I felt completely at peace -- I was certain that I wasn't dying, but it seemed curious to me that I felt like, if I were, it wouldn't be bad or frightening, that if I'd died that night everything would've still been okay. What was scary was the idea that it could be that easy to let go.

We reached the hospital quickly, I was unloaded and whisked off to a pink emergency room, my clothes were cut off (goddammit, my good sweater), I was poked and prodded and asked questions by a doctor and two nurses -- what was my name? (I told her) what day was it? (Wednesday) did I remember the accident? (yes) was there anyone they could call? (call my mom, call my boyfriend) did my head or neck or back or chest or stomach hurt? (no, but by shoulder aches and I still can't move my arm); can you move your fingers, wiggle your toes? (yep.)

I guess I passed muster because the doctor left and the nurse started talking to me -- I was in line for an x-ray, but until then I'd have to stay in the brace and on the board. Another nurse would be along very soon to give me something to make me feel better. He appeared, asked how much pain I was in (not so bad), and injected something into my IV; I remember his hands were badly deformed from arthritis. And then, I think, I fell asleep for a while.

I woke up to the sound of people talking on the other side of a curtain; my shoulder was throbbing and my back had begun to ache. I used my good arm to pull my injured arm across my chest (it hurt less that way) and held on to it for much of the night. I still couldn't look around because of the neckbrace; I had no idea what time it was, and I was thirsty. I tried calling out, hoping someone would notice, but nobody came. So I just lay there. Behind the curtain a doctor was explaining to another patient that he was going to put some pins in his leg to keep the bone steady while he waited to go to surgery; yes, it'll hurt, but it won't last long. That was followed by the sound of drilling and the most agonizing screams I've ever heard; then nothing but whimpering and the doctor's reassuring voice. I had nothing to look at but the ceiling tiles; there were the stains from splattered blood on them in various places.

The rest of the night passed in that way -- periodic visits from the nurse with the drugs (which never quite completely worked), alarming sounds from other corners of the room, staring at the blood on the ceiling, alternately worrying (offended) that I'd been forgotten in the corner and then passively dozing off, wishing my mother would come for me, wriggling to relieve the gnawing ache in my back from being on that goddamn board for eight straight hours, wondering what time it was. Somebody brought me some water; another nurse reported that my mother had been called -- the only answer at my house was by a machine (sigh, typical) but they'd keep trying -- and a friendly nurse brought me some folded sheets to prop up my bad arm so I wouldn't have to hold it all night.

My mother appeared in the morning -- she'd noticed that my car wasn't back, so she'd checked the machine and found the message from the hospital and rushed over -- just as I reached my turn under the x-ray. The technician was this beautiful, grinning, round-faced guy who told me that he "wasn't into pain" and handled my broken shoulder like it was a holy relic, turning it gently to get the required angles. When they were done I was taken back to the pink room -- I had a broken collarbone, but nothing else, so the collar came off and (god, the relief) the board was removed; they sat me up just a little (my first look at the room where I'd spent the night) and a new drug-nurse came by. "My philosophy," he announced, "is that as long as you can still talk to me, you're good for more drugs." He presented me with a syringe full of morphine -- "you'll feel kinda strange for a few seconds, but then you'll be in a reeeaaal good mood" -- and shot me up through my IV. Five seconds later, it felt like all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room; I was a fish flopping on a pier. Ten seconds after that, the pain in my shoulder was still there, but I didn't care anymore. I caught myself grinning like an idiot, but not because I was happy -- though, admittedly, I was no longer miserable. It was my big chance to try really hard drugs -- I can't say I was impressed.

I lay there a while longer and napped while my mother fussed over me (which she was very welcome to do, I'd never been so happy to see her). An osteopath dropped by eventually, all smiles and jokes: "how are you at dealing with pain?" he asked. Dunno, okay I guess. "Well, you're going to have a lot for a while; your clavicle -- that's your collarbone (I know) -- is broken, and we can't really do anything about that. We'll give you a sling, that should help, and you'll get pain medication, but other than that it just has to heal. I broke mine skiing once, hurt like hell!" Great, thanks.

I had other injuries, too -- my legs had taken a lot of the impact, and had each turned into one massive splotchy purple-black bruise from ankle to hip. But apart from that, a deep scrape on my left elbow, and the collarbone, I'd emerged from a pretty catastrophic wreck mostly unscathed -- I was in pain and addled, but nothing that wouldn't heal. My mother had a big job helping me get dressed -- it took three tries just to sit up, much less pull on the clothes she'd brought for me -- and then there was the wheelchair ride to the car, the drive home, the struggle into the house, the wait while mom got the bed ready, and finally finding my way towards something resembling comfort. And there I stayed for the next two weeks.

I got flowers, I got phone calls, my boyfriend visited, I slept a lot and ate very little. I couldn't bear to watch television -- some little boy had his face chewed off by a vicious dog the same day, and my capacity for empathy was off the charts so I couldn't cope with it. I wavered between anger, frustration, stoicism, peaceful gratitude, alarming flashbacks, and other assorted emotional episodes -- my boyfriend brought me one of his favorite books to read, and having gotten through about half of it I rejected it as the most horrific, repulsive thing I'd ever read. I quit taking my pain medication because I was starting to look forward to it too much, and did the rest my time with plain aspirin. One afternoon, while trying to sit up, I felt a pop in my broken collarbone and though, "this is going to hurt." The thought was chased away by a wave of intense, mind-boggling pain: my chest constricted, my vision went white, and I'm sure I nearly passed out. My mother, who'd been helping me, just stood there helplessly while I gasped my way through it; once it passed, I was too exhausted by it to do anything but lay back down.

Anyway, after two weeks I was up and around a little bit; after four I was getting back to normal. That pop in my shoulder was the sound of the splintered, broken ends of the bone grinding against each other as the break flicked out of alignment; the osteopath who did my after-care said it was "borderline," but would probably still heal okay. The alternative was surgery to re-break the bone and insert some pins to hold it still while it healed; I said no thanks, I'd had quite enough pain already. The bruising everywhere else gradually subsided; I woke one afternoon to the sensation of the skin on my legs being melting away -- my mother looked, but saw nothing wrong. It passed, but ever since I've been slightly numb to the touch in those places; I can only assume it was the last gasp of some damaged superficial nerves. The knee that was bent around the car door took an eternity to heal, but eventually did -- even now it sometimes moves around in ways I don't think it's supposed to, and it can get a little sore, but it's mostly okay. Ocassionally my collarbone feels as though it doesn't quite fit -- and it doesn't, quite, so that makes sense -- and it's a little lumpy and odd-shaped. I'm very proud of it.

That all happened four years ago tonight. Laying in my bed at home in the days after the accident, I remember being convinced that at the moment of impact, two different realities had split away from each other: one -- this one -- in which I survived and recovered; another in which I died. It seems likely that that was partly the opiates talking, but I still think about it from time to time. And I still have minor flashbacks in the semi-consciousness before sleep -- visions of unavoidable collisions shake me awake but don't frighten me. Whenever I drive by a bad crash on the road, I feel a rush of sympathy, followed by a tiny little prayer of gratitude -- thank god today's not my day -- and remember seeing faces staring at me from moving cars.

The fourth anniversary is maybe a strange one on which to go back over the event, but these numbers are so arbitrary. I've just shrugged off the previous anniversaries; this year I felt like getting some of it out of my system. I guess it must seem a little morbid, but for me it's all very matter-of-fact; it didn't change my life, although it did somewhat change my attitude towards death. Still, it was a major event just the same. If nothing else, I'm happy to be here to write about it four years later.

Oh, and wear your seatbelts, kids.
11:20 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Thursday, June 16, 2005
Things You Don't See Every Day

Here's an interesting photo:



This is a picture of US Rep. John Conyers (Huge Balls-MI) attempting to deliver a petition regarding the Downing Street Memo/Minutes -- signed by more than 500,000 (so far) American citizens -- to the White House and being refused entry.

Let me repeat that: a US Representative was refused entry to the White House, because he thinks the documented and verified desire of the Bush administration to "fix the evidence" surrounding WMDs in Iraq in order to justify their pre-fabricated war perhaps merits some official investigation. Eventually an aide took the petition, promising to pass them on (yeh, right), but still -- isn't Bush man enough to face an elected representative?

Things are getting interesting, eh?

PS: Conyers also sent a letter, co-signed by 89 US Representatives, to the President more than a month ago, asking these questions:

1)Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

They seem like fair questions to me, as yet unanswered by anyone in the Bush administration. Funny, that.
10:04 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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The More They Do This Shit, the More Stoned We Have to Be to Make It Through The Day

It's been a strange period in American drug laws -- the Supreme Court has ruled that federal drug laws trump state drug laws, which calls into serious doubt the medical marijuana laws of several states -- which is bad -- but also affirms the precedence of all federal laws, which is good for us on some issues and possibly ultimately good for us regarding drug laws as well. Medical marijuana makes a lot of sense, and keeping it illegal makes no sense at all -- I still believe that eventually the prohibition on pot will fall, and if we can accomplish it across the country in one fell swoop, that would be great.

On the other hand, we have one bill coming up that carries a particularly feculant stink with it. US Rep. James Sensenbrenner (Fascist-WI) has proposed a nasty little bill known as H.R. 1528 into the legislative process. Behold the dumbassery:

H.R. 1528, Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005, is one of the worst drug war bills that Congress has ever considered.

Among other things, HR 1528:

--Virtually eliminates the ability of federal judges to give sentences below the minimum sentence recommended by federal sentencing guidelines, essentially creating a mandatory minimum sentence for every federal offense (including both drug and non-drug offenses).

--Expands the federal "three strikes and you're out" law to include new offenses, including mandating life imprisonment (with no possibility of parole) for anyone convicted a third time under the RAVE Act.

--Mandates a 10-year minimum sentence for anyone 21 or older that gives marijuana or others drugs to someone under 18 (i.e. a 21 year old college students gives a joint to his 17-year old brother). A second offense would be life in prison.

--Expands what is considered to be a "drug-free" school zone to include almost any place in an urban area, and increases penalties for selling or distributing drugs in that area. (The result will be enhanced penalties for people in inner cities, while people in rural and suburban areas get less time for the same offense).

--Mandates a 5-year minimum sentence for any person that commits a drug trafficking offense near the presence of a person under 18 or in a place where such person resides for any period of time. The sentence is 10 years if they are parent. (I.e. a mother that sells her neighbor a joint will get a 10-year minimum sentence, even if her kids were at school at the time).

--Creates a new offense for persons who witness or learn about certain drug offenses that fail to report the drug offender to the police within 24 hours or fail to provide full assistance to the police in tracking and prosecuting the offender. Offenses that would get someone a 2-year minimum sentence, including failing to report a neighbor that is storing or selling drugs when that neighbor has kids, failing to report anyone that gives a joint to someone under the age of 21, and failing to report a college student that is selling marijuana on a college campus.

--Mandates a 5-year minimum sentence for any person that offers, solicits, encourages, or induces a person enrolled in drug treatment, or previously enrolled in drug treatment, to purchase, possess or receive drugs.

--Makes it a federal crime to provide "drug paraphernalia" to anyone. While the goal is to make it a crime - punishable by up to three years in prison - to give someone a bong as a birthday present, it would also make it a federal crime to provide someone with sterile syringes (except where it is explicitly authorized by local or state law). If enacted, it would essentially criminalize many needle exchange programs.

(source)

To summarize the most evil parts of this bill: if you even know about someone else using drugs -- if you see your best friend take a drag off a joint at a party, for example -- and don't rat him or her out within 24 hours, you risk being sent to prison yourself for a minimum of two years. Or if you happen to have that same joint passed to you at that same party, decline to take a hit, and hand it to the stranger standing next to you -- and if that stranger, unbeknownst to you, was in a drug rehab program ever in their lives -- you've just committed a crime that carries a minimum sentence of five years. If your hippie parents smoke a J after you're in bed for the night, they're looking at doing five years for their crime.

I'm increasingly convinced the Republican party just wants to find a way to slap every single one of us in prison. Seriously. Because if this law were passed and enforced, at least 75% of Americans -- including those of us who don't even use the stuff -- would be in the pokey. Is this getting stupid enough for you yet, "moderate" Republicans?
9:22 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Monday, June 13, 2005
Democratic Party Values

Boy, I'm just blogging my ass off today... I've spent weeks wandering in the desert of Blog, and suddenly I come across an oasis...

Anyway, I thought this was pretty cool. One of the Democratic party's weaknesses over the last couple of decades has been that we've had trouble getting across to people in a meaningful way what it is we stand for, and what we believe in. There's been momentum building to finally find a way to state that clearly -- large parts of the American public think we're just for gay rights, reproductive rights and environmental protection laws (which we definitely are) but fail to realize that those are elements of larger values which contain much, much more than just that.

The community over at Kos has devised one version of what such a declaration of Democratic values might look like on paper:

Community

Responsive govt
Anti-corruption
Accountability
Transparancy
Electoral Reform
Fiscal responsibility
Protecting our environment
Protecting our cultural heritage
Education (pre-K, primary, secondary, college)
Worker rights
Social Security
Health Care
Gender equality (same pay for same work, etc)
Affirmative action
Tort laws to protect the little guys from Big Corp
Non-regressive tax laws
Gay marriage
Fair trade laws
Small business support

Privacy or Personal Freedoms

Choice
Opposition to regulation of morality
Opposition to Patriot Act
Right to die
Medical marijuana
Consumer privacy
Freedom of/from religion
Access to contraceptives

Security

Strong (not hollow) military
Leadership on global issues (e.g. terrorism, landmines, global warming, etc.)
Champion of human rights, at home and abroad
Leadership in science and technology (e.g. stem cells, alternative energy, etc.)
Strong United Nations/Internationalism
Energy policy

That sounds fucking awesome. There's something genuinely meaningful and important in that list for every single American, each item representing a place where the Republican party has failed miserably. You're looking at the ticket to a Democratic renaissance.
12:26 AM ::
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Anti-Refuge Resources

Just a couple of quick links for anyone wanting to know more about what's going on in Memphis regarding the Love In Action/Refuge "ex-gay" teen program from the local perspective:

The primary blog of the protest: Queer Action Coalition

Personal insight: my buddy Morgiepie's LiveJournal

It sounds like the protests are having some concrete results; it's hard to tell what that means in real terms, but I think it's safe to say that the going hasn't been as easy for the LIA/Refuge folks as John "Just Kill Yourself" Smid would've liked. And that's a Good Thing.
12:15 AM ::
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Sunday, June 12, 2005
Fresh Memo

Now that the Downing Street Memo has begun to get a little airtime in the United States (damn those leaked documents, the bane of corrupt Republican presidents), it's time to add a piping-hot new memo from the British government: voila!

This isn't as in-your-face as the DSM, but in at least one way it's considerably more damning. Barely six months before the US attacked and invaded Iraq -- back when the Bush administration was still assuring the American people that it intended to exhaust all diplomatic efforts (wait for it, this is fucking rich) -- this memo demonstrates that:

1) The Bush administration was already preparing its military for war with Iraq, and wanted Saddam Hussein gone;

2) the Bush and Blair administrations were well aware that they had no legitimate legal grounds to undertake that war;

3) the Bush and Blair administrations were looking at ways to provoke or otherwise produce an incident which could be used as justification for their otherwise-illegal war; and

4) the subsequent issue surrounding UN weapons inspectors was the justification they chose, and in fact the inspectors were returned to Iraq to fulfill that justification.

Get it? The UN weapons inspectors were never there out of any attempt to forestall war; they were there to ultimately give Bush an excuse to invade, and Blair an excuse to support him.

That's some dark, nasty shit; that's just about the most corrupt, evil, manipulative thing I've ever heard coming from any American administration, and that's saying a lot. And mind you, this isn't some blogosphere conspiracy theory -- I don't think I've heard even the most thickly-foiled 'net conspiracy nut suggest that the inspection process was begun with the sole intention to fail so that failure could serve as a justification for war. No, this comes from deep within the guts of the British government itself, from the minutes of a meeting personally involving the highest-level British officials (including the PM himself); and so far, neither Bush nor Blair has disputed the authenticity of either of these documents.

I'm beyond even making snarky comments about cocksucking and the Clinton impeachment; this has become far, far too serious and tragic to be remotely funny. The Bush White House has succeeded in reaching the limits of my black humor. Strangely, I just can't find anything at all to laugh about in 1,702 dead American troops, nearly 13,000 total American casualties, as many as 100,000 dead Iraqi civilains, and a nation torn to shreds through incompetence and corrupt greed.

If this profound war crime is left hidden and unpunished, I'll be convinced: the United States will be beyond salvation. If we can't address a national misdeed as profound as this one, there can't be anything but dishonor left in us.

Read the memo for yourself; then, if you want more, read this piece as well. If you still don't get it after that, you're beyond my help.
1:04 PM ::
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Further Depths of Depravity

More thoughts from John Smid, self-loathing warden of gay teen prisoners:

"I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery."

(read more about this asshole here)

So, according to Smid, suicide is a legitimate escape from homosexuality in the eyes of god. And people wonder why so many gay teens kill themselves.

What a fucking dick this guy is. And yet it's gay teens who are being swept up to "get help." The fact that gays are being locked up while this fucker walks the streets illustrates every goddamn thing that's wrong with conservative "Christian" America.
12:39 PM ::
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Friday, June 10, 2005
Something Sick And Depraved Is Happening In Memphis

And I'm not talking about the gay kids; I'm talking about the fundamentalist Christian response to gay kids.

I've been trying to figure out how to approach this one for a few days. On the one hand, the appropriate ethical and moral stance couldn't be clearer; on the other, this event has become the current focal point (and a source of some amount of angst) for a number of my local friends who are directly involved.

Memphis is the home of a new make-your-kids-stop-being-gay camp that's gotten a fair bit of attention in the blogosphere over the last week. "Love In Action / Refuge" is one of those fundie-based sexual repression programs, this time geared towards queer teenagers whose fundie parents feel they need to "rescue" their kids from a "life of sin." It's run by a purportedly "ex-gay" minister (read: profoundly repressed self-hating gay man with an intellect equivalent to that of a four-year-old and a bad case of spiritual retardation to boot), and "participants" are forced to attend daily sessions in which they are harangued, lectured, guilt-tripped, abused, and humiliated into subverting their actual identities at the most crucial moment in their personal growth.

Needless to say, the Memphis gay community -- especially that part that is committed to helping gay teens -- is pissed as hell. Mind you, this is a gay community that has to live in a relatively hostile environment, so they're some tough bastards and not easily cowed. Memphis Area Gay Youth and the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center have been holding protests outside the church "hosting" this little exercise in psychological torture twice a day every day, and plans to continue to do so throughout the duration of the camp session: once in the morning to greet the teen victims and their parents, and once in the evening when they're leaving to go home. I haven't joined the protests yet myself, but I plan to get up there at least a couple of times before it's over.

I've been asked in the past -- only ever by my straight peers -- why it matters to me since, as a heterosexual, I'm not directly affected. Nobody ever pressured me to be someone other than who I was, I never felt any condemnation from my family and society for being myself, and this is something that could be easily filed under "not my problem." But the thing is, y'see, I deeply love a number of gay people. That's not a some-of-my-best-friends statement: truly, my gay friends have been some of the most overwhelmingly generous sources of love, support, and friendship I've ever had the good fortune to find, and my world wouldn't be nearly as happy a place without their influence. More importantly, I adore them as they are -- their lives are better when they can be themselves, as are the lives of everyone who knows them. I can't imagine seeing any of those people put through this kind of rejection and emotional trauma (even though I know none of them have escaped unscathed); it would break my heart.

In short, if you insult my queer friends, you insult me; you fuck with them, you'll have at least one straight girl on your ass. It's not often I'm inclined to make statements like that, but this is one issue that could definitely make an activist of me, regardless of my personal stakes.

I don't know any of these kids personally, but it disgusts me that any loving parent would put their child through this hell. Oh, I'm sure they mean well, but this is the most evil kind of "Christian love" imaginable... this is sick, this is depraved, and it has been bringing up a large amount of angry-mama-bear energy in me lately: I swear to God (the good one that loves everyone, not the vicious one that "hates fags") nobody would ever, ever touch any kid of mine; if they tried, I can assure you they wouldn't leave the attempt unscarred. The protestors, being outside the direct circle of influence for these kids, are unable to change the actual fact of their torment, but they can be there to let those kids know that beyond the walls of their church and (sadly) their family home, there is support and love for them as they are, and there are people who are eager to accept them as friends and family. I'm usually pretty skeptical of the value of protest, but this is one instance when the word "protest" finds its fullest meaning and become enormously important in itself, apart from whatever symbolic or civil power it might contain.

I'll end with a selected look at the soul-killing rules these kids have to deal with during the program -- the complete rule list is enormously long and littered with scripture; you can read them in their entirety at the blog of one of the poor kids forced to live under them for the next few weeks.

2. No sexual/emotional misconduct. Any temptations, fantasies, or dreams are to be presented to one's staff worker only. Sexual misconduct includes viewing pornography, visiting an adult bookstore, emotional dependency, voyeurism, stalking, masturbation, mutual masturbation, or any form of genital or sexual contact with another person. Sexual temptation, as well as the above, is not to be discussed between clients. This includes MI's (Moral Inventories) written on current sexual struggles or temptations).

3. No hugging or physical touch between clients. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is allowed (exception is when observed by therapeutic accountability).

4. Clients are to remain within the "safe zone" while in the program. This "zone" is illustrated on a map of the Memphis area in the office. An exception is for clients who reside or are staying outside the safe zone, and commuting to the Love in Action campus.

You will be forced to describe in detail the most personal, intimate aspects of your life, and will then be judged in a way that no adult (including your parents and straight-camp staff) would tolerate. You will be cut off not only from your pre-existing sources of support, but from each other as well. No hugs. No human contact. You are anathema and untouchable to us and to each other. Your human dignity is evil.

Men may not wear any jewelry (other than a watch and a wedding band) unless approved through a C.O.C. In addition to a watch and wedding band, women may also wear a pair of simple earrings (one earring per ear.) The clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories.
Men: Shirts are to be worn at all times, even while sleeping. T-shirts without sleeves are not permitted at any time,
whether worn as an outer garment or an undergarment. This includes "muscle shirts" or other tank-tops. Bikini-style underwear is prohibited.
Women: Bras must be worn at all times, except while sleeping. Thong-style underwear is prohibited.

No expression of human sexuality is permitted ever, under any circumstances, whether gay or straight. You can't be thoroughly repressed if you can still find your genitals. Your body is evil.

4. All Refuge program members must complete four MI's (Moral Inventories) per week unless otherwise instructed. Detailed instruction on writing MI¹s will be provided within the first few days of beginning the program.

5. Refuge clients will be prepared to give an Introduction ("Intro") at every Intro Rap. Detailed instruction on giving an intro will be provided within the first few days of the program.

(...)

9. Refuge clients are expected to maintain a committed pursuit of a positive and thankful attitude.

10. Absolutely no journaling or keeping a diary outside of the MI process unless directed or approved by staff.

Under no circumstances are you to think for yourself or feel anything other than what we permit. We demand full access to your thoughts and emotions; we will stamp out those thoughts and feelings that do not meet with our approval. You will thank us for your humiliation. Your mind and soul are evil.

1. LIA wants to encourage each client, male and female, by affirming his/her gender identity. LIA also wants each client to pursue integrity in all of his/her actions and appearances. Therefore, any belongings, appearances, clothing, actions, or humor that might connect a client to an inappropriate past are excluded from the program. These hindrances are called False Images (FI's). FI behavior may include hyper-masculinity, seductive clothing, mannish/boyish attire (on women), excessive jewelry (on men), mascoting, and "campy" or gay/lesbian behavior and talk.

2. As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning. With the exception of the very first program day, when they may arrive no later than 9:00 a.m., Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc. Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client¹s last day in program. Clients may request to have their F.I. items returned by filling out a C.O.C.

We can tell if you're still gay by your clothing and possessions; we'll be watching for creeping signs of faggotry. The merest hint of fagginess (or, for girls, dykiness) will result in additional abuse and humiliation. We will take from you every potential reminder that support and acceptance are available. Your personal history is evil.

5. Due to the nature of many gender identity struggles, issues of enmeshment and emotional dependency can develop not only with same sex, but sometimes even more easily with the opposite sex. Because healthy and appropriate same and opposite-sex relationships are encouraged, dating and exclusive relationships of any kind are prohibited while in the program.

Your sexual identity is an addiction, not a source of personal fulfillment. Your desire to find mutual support with other human beings will be thwarted and punished. You're in this hell alone -- all alone -- except for Jeezus and your tormentors. Your capacity to love other people is evil.

1. All new Refuge clients will be placed into Safekeeping for the initial two to three days of their program. A client on safekeeping may not communicate verbally, or by using hand gestures or eye contact, with any other clients, staff members, or his/her parents or guardians. In case of a practical need, Safekeeping clients may write down their question or request and show it to another client, staff member, or their parent or guardian. Writing may only be used when absolutely necessary. Parents and guardians must enforce their child's safekeeping status at home or in their temporary lodging.

2. Refuge clients may C.O.C. to be removed from Safekeeping status. Safekeeping clients will be removed from Safekeeping at their staffworker's discretion.

3. Any client may be placed into Safekeeping at any time, at a staffworker's discretion.

(...)

5. Safekeeping clients are required to spend a minimum of two hours (in one sitting) a day alone in their room (note: by "alone" it is understood that parents or guardians can be in the room but are not to interact or disrupt the alone time of the safekeeping client). During the alone time Safekeeping clients may work on their treatment plans, read program materials or the Bible, pray, or work on other assignments from their staffworkers.

You'll be kept in solitary confinement until we say you can leave. You can be returned at any time on our orders, for whatever reason we decide. You will be cut off from all human contact. You can't speak to anyone, including staff members, unless spoken to; writing is permitted strictly at our pleasure. You are unfit for society. Your need for companionship and social interaction is evil.

1. No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.

(...)

5. Refuge clients may only read materials approved by staff.

6. No television viewing, going to movies, or reading/watching/listening to secular media of any kind, anywhere within the client's and the parent's/guardian's control. This includes listening to classical or instrumental music that is not expressly Christian (Beethoven, Bach, etc. are not considered Christian). The only exception to the media policy is the weekly movie.

7. Refuge clients may watch one video/DVD per week that has been approved by staff via C.O.C. Movies submitted for approval must be rated G or PG. The parents/guardians are responsible for securing the video/DVD.

(...)

19. Refuge clients must keep their bedroom doors open at all times, day or night.

20. Proper bedclothes must be worn during nighttime sleeping hours. Appropriate bedclothes include full pajamas (tops and bottoms) or a pair of non-underwear-type shorts and a T-shirt. Nightgowns are not allowed.

Don't tell your parents what happens at straight-camp. They neither want nor need to know what we're doing to you.

You will be exposed only to those cultural influences that meet our approval.(Note: how the fuck is Bach not sufficiently "Christian"? Is "Ode to Joy" somehow now considered an anti-Christian composition?) And god help you if we catch you masturbating. Your desire for respect and privacy is evil.

And my favorite:

1. Be honest, authentic, and real.

But do not, under any circumstances, be what you honestly, authentically, and really are. Jesus loves you, but he hates you when you're gay.

It goes on and on and on like this... I suspect that half the point is to make the rules so extensive and numerous that no teenager on earth could keep them all straight in his or her mind, and is thus doomed to commit at least a few infractions: yay, an excuse to mete out some godly punishment! These are some sick fuckers running this joint; remember, these aren't "bad" kids or problem children, they're not committing crimes or hurting themselves or getting into trouble. They're just gay. In modern-day America, though, that's more than enough to justify punishment and psychological torture.
4:09 PM ::
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Monday, June 06, 2005
Körperwelten

Salon has an article today about the traveling exhibits of plastinated human corpses that always stir people up wherever they go (you'll have to click through the day pass if you're not a subscriber -- sorry.) I went to see the original Body Worlds exhibit in London a few years ago, in a renovated brewery in the deepest depths of the East End. I was accompanied by a friend of mine (at the time) who was a fairly talented special make-up effects artist; he seemed like one of the more receptive people to see it with.

The expectation, of course, is that you're walking into a freak show -- you feel self-conscious buying your ticket, as if you're admitting how base your curiosities really are. Even having seen photographs, you wonder how grisly it's going to be -- these are, after all, actual human bodies on display; not models, not waxworks, not even dehumanized specimens. A lot of the bodies still have identifying features -- visible faces, eyes, tattoos; they don't look alive, but they still look very much like people. In reality, though, the exhibit starts off very gently -- here's a cross section of bone (still looking fresh and pink inside), here's a sample of a liver and a kidney, here's a brain. Then on to the for-your-own-good displays: here's what arteriosclerosis looks like; here's the lung of a lifelong smoker; this is how an alcoholic's cirrhotic liver ends up. And finally, you get into the artful stuff: entire human bodies (and a few animals) posed in such a way that major systems are on display in their entirety and in their original positions, muscles can be appreciated in (something very similar to) motion, and a certain kind of aesthetic beauty is maintained, and maybe enhanced. The idea, after all, is that the body is a work of art.

The centerpiece of the particular exhibit I saw was two plastinated men riding a plastinated horse (one of them holding out his own plastinated brain); even so, the most visually memorable image was of a large hare -- or at least a large hare's circulatory system, and nothing else. Just a heart and some assorted membranes and veins and arteries floating in a transparent box, in exactly the shape of the hare they once belonged to. It was absolutely stunning, and if I'd been a kid I'd have had nightmares for a week at least.


scary bunny


At the very end, we were given a chance to leave the exhibit before heading into the most gratuitous part (and the only part that actually did feel like a freakshow): we were led into a small white room that had clearly once served as a walkway over the street; we stood suspended thirty feet above the ground with nothing below us except pavement. And around the walls were maybe forty large jars containing various ancient specimens of prenatal deformaties: hydrocephaly, conjoined twins, severe spina bifida, babies with no brains at all. The guide said that these specimens had been traded to the exhibit in exchange for plastinated bodies to be used in various second-world medical schools; they were mostly very old (I'd seen several of them in books over the years), and were clearly the product of an entirely different scientific mindset. They were utterly different in tone than the rest of the exhibit, and had obviously been included just because they were there -- what the hell, why not?

The floating white room with the jars of dead babies was something I could easily have dreamed; even standing there I was struck by the surreality of it, and in truth that was the most interesting thing about the experience. The rest of the exhibit was actually a little... well, mundane. Almost a let-down, in fact. I found it difficult to think of those elaborately-staged displays as art (in spite of the obvious artifice), because human life and death are already so emotionally and intellectually loaded, it's hard to add any dimension to them that doesn't feel like an unnecessary, tacked-on intrusion. It was interesting from a scientific perspective, but the thing I primarily took away (apart from having my curiosity satisfied and a somewhat better idea of human anatomy) was that people are just meat, and meat pretty much looks like meat no matter what it came from. And that's cool, y'know, I love meat; some of my best friends are meat. But you can learn a lot of the same concepts on a walk through a butcher's if you're open-minded enough.
12:13 AM ::
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Saturday, June 04, 2005
Oh, Well That's Okay Then

"The Pentagon on Friday released new details about mishandling of the Quran at the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects," reports the Associated Press, "confirming that a soldier deliberately kicked the Muslim holy book and that an interrogator stepped on a Quran and was later fired for 'a pattern of unacceptable behavior.'

"In other confirmed incidents, water balloons thrown by prison guards caused an unspecified number of Qurans to get wet; a guard's urine came through an air vent and splashed on a detainee and his Quran; and in a confirmed but ambiguous case a two-word obscenity was written in English on the inside cover of a Quran."

(Salon)

But it was a two-line sentence in Newsweek that caused those riots. Uh-huh, sure.

Entire Republican party (in unison): "Hey, it was just a little piss... what's the big deal?"
12:34 AM ::
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