Monday, January 31, 2011

What's Happening in Egypt ? Day 7 | #Jan25 #OpEgypt

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Latest Updates:

There is a massive protest ("Million Man March") planned for tomorrow, Tuesday February 1st, in Tahirir Square, in Cairo. The Egyptian army has promised not to resort to violence against protesters.

I have also been informed (via Twitter) that giant screens are currently being put up on Tahirir Square, possibly by Al Jazeera.

A US convoy, lead by ex-ambassador to Egypt, Frank G Wisner, has arrived in Cairo to"reinforce the US message to Egypt." (Al Jazeera)

So... what exactly is going to happen if when Mubarak finally steps down? Does Egypt have a plan for recovery and a new government, even a temporary one? The US and EU are recommending free and fair elections, but peace takes time. I suspect that the country will remain in chaos for quite a while, maybe even years, especially considering the state of nearby countries as of late.

In other news - while hundreds of Americans and Canadians struggled to get out of Egypt this past weekend, CNN reporter Anderson Cooper was making his way into Cairo. He will soon be joined by anchorpersons Brian Williams of NBC (going live tonight) and Katie Couric of CBS (by tomorrow evening).

Small protests took place this morning in Russia, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Vladmir Putin and his regime.

I'm probably going to miss a bunch of things, because I'm in desperate need of a nap (and money to repair my stupid car...) it's going to be crazy week.

7:12pm - Back. Apparently not much new has happened... The internet in Egypt is still down (completely. They had managed to get dial-up services running, but as of 11AM EST, the last remaining ISP went down.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Updates - BP Spill, #LGBT & #DADT, Prison Geeks, etc.

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Did you think I was going to totally ignore the US just because I skipped the SOTU? Nah, I can totally do both! It's just going to be kind of low key this week, you know, laid back. Maybe even a bit silly at times. And I just need to actually find out what's going on in the US... (I needed to take a break for a while. America really pisses me off sometimes...)

  • BP Oil Spill - Surprise, surprise, the oil's still down there. And guess what? So are the dispersants. (Warning - high science content! Yay!)
  • 63 year old Roger Stockham was arrested today outside one of the largest mosques in the country, in Dearborn, Michigan. He carried with him a large quantity of explosives.
  • While I don't particularly want to draw attention to certain people right now, I thought this was worth sharing today: out of all the Rush Limbaugh boycotts we've seen over the years, I don't think any of them have been as widespread and fast-moving as this one. His racist comments and derogatory imitations following Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the US have spurred a national backlash among activists and Asian-Americans. California state senator Leland Yee (D, from San Francisco) is at the forefront of this movement demanding an apology from Limbaugh, as well as a withdrawal from his sponsors. And in related news, Glenn Beck's ratings have dropped to an all time low and are continuing to fall. So low he has apparently already been dropped by NY's WOR station. See, I thought we could use a bit of good news...
  • Have I mentioned what's been going on with DADT lately? We might see some action on the implementation of repeal as soon as February 4th. Hey, it's a start. We're getting there.
  • In other LGBT news, Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian woman from Uganda, won temporary reprieve from deportation back to Uganda (where she would very, very likely be killed...). A British High Court judge granted an injunction.
    • Also Re: Uganda - on that same day, David Kato, the gay rights leader who was recently murdered, was buried. Many believe that his death occurred as a result of the American evangelicals who had increased anti-gay sentiments (Maddow video) and influenced Uganda's "Kill the Gays" law, as well as the Rolling Stone tabloid's vicious hit list.
    • And on a semi-related note, it seems that gay people seeking asylum in America are being faced with a new and appalling challenge. In the Czech Republic, gay asylum seekers were forced to undergo arousal testing (fellow psych geeks should know how this works... It used to be done on prisoners, if they were gay or sexual offenders, in America, for "rehabilitation" research. For everyone else - imagine being forced to watch porn while a scientist stares at, pokes, and measures the responses of your nether-regions... And if it's just not doing it for you, you're labeled "sick.") Men are given two options - get measured, or get deported. While I could rant about about all of the problems with mandatory arousal testing (especially how it discriminates against asexuals), I'll let you research that for yourself. In the US today, asylum seekers are forced to conform to an immigration officer's idea of what a LGBT person should look or act like. LGBT people are being forced to "prove" their gayness by representing stereotypes and submitting to humiliating "tests," just to be taken seriously.
  • This just cracks me up. Apparently even geeks in prison want the right to play D&D (that's Dungeons & Dragons for all of you non-geeks out there. I'm a proud nerd and tech/art/book geek. D&D is much lower on the hierarchy of geekdom, so my knowledge on the subject is very limited. But I know the name and that it involves role-playing of some sort and dice with many sides... I dunno, google it.) Apparently some prison officials have banned the game because they believe it could lead to gang behavior. Gang behavior. And escape fantasies. (Well, I'm sure there is some sort of fantasy involved in playing the game, and I'm sure many prisoners already have "escape fantasies." But I suspect the point they're talking about, or anything worth worrying about, is actually not so much a fantasy but a psychological disorder... Extreme delusions?) And like I said, the image that popped into my head... A gang of this:
That's a hardcore gang member alright! The death penalty will never be a deterrent - but mandatory D&D games? Ack.
  • Boehner felt a need to comment on his crying... Honestly, it's not a big deal. Men can cry. It's allowed. In fact, it's encouraged. It's ok, dude, let your feelings out. You're allowed to have them. You're human. Just don't ever diss a woman for being "too emotional" either. And please, for the love of ____, stop tanning!!!
  • Remember the Rent is Too Damn High guy who was trying to run for NY governor? Jimmy McMillan? Apparently now he's running for president in 2012. As a Republican-- so that he doesn't have to face Obama in a primary. 
    • On a side note, he has interesting views... I'd say he might actually be sort of moderate. Admires a certain Alaskan's political views, wants to essentially force one parent to stay home and raise the children, supports allowing Christianity to dictate/influence laws, doesn't believe in global warming... But also completely supports LGBT rights and gives full support for marriage equality, believes in free (in state?) college tuition, social justice, federal education programs and social programs for senior citizens. At least he did, when he was running for governor. Yet somehow he plans to do all of this by cutting taxes (for property owners). I'm not entirely sure how lowering taxes will "raise tax revenue," but good luck with that.
  • There was a protest in California today, against the Koch brothers
  • Whatever happened to rules reform in the Senate? All I've seen is this - it failed?
  • This just in in World News - Sudan suceded?!

I'll try to update this a little more, later. There are few really interesting things in my news feed right now... I need to slough through it some more.

What's Happening in Egypt ? Day 6 | #Jan25

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I'm starting a new post on this. Here are today's updates (as seen on the updated post).

There are reports of new protests in Sudan. Like in Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan, protesters are demanding the resignation of their president. Citizens all over the Middle East and Africa are demanding a transition to democracy.

We also have new information about the American companies helping to oppress and restrict the people of Egypt. Combined Systems, Inc, based in PA, has been supplying the tear gas and smoke grenades that have been used to injure and kill protesters and reporters all over the Middle East. Narus, a subsidiary of Boeing, has been supplying Mubarak's regime with mass surveillance equipment that allowed the government to track, record, and reconstruct all information shared via the internet and mobile phone connections. This information includes emails and attachments, VoIP calls (like Skype), viewed web pages, etc. And this technology also allowed the government to completely shut down internet access in the country.

More to follow.

2:45 pm - Video from a protest at the Egyptian Embassy in London. Sad...

3:10pm - AJE reports that some Egyptians believe that foreigners (particularly due to our media) are inciting the violence.

6:11pm - The White House is said to be getting ready for a "post-Mubarak Egypt," according to the LA Times. Also, a group of academics, historians, and political scientists have written this letter to ask President Obama to take a tougher stance on Mubarak's regime. And (so far, peaceful) protests have begun in Sudan. Check here for continuous updates.

We stand with Egypt. (And others with similar goals...)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's Happening in Egypt - Updated 1/30 | #Jan25

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Last night, I started to write up a post on the situation in Egypt, only to realize 2 things:
  1. The MoJo blog on this is unbeatable. Check it out. This would only be a sad, cheap imitation that wouldn't do anyone any justice. Also, if you want video coverage, there is no better source right now than BBC One and Al Jazeera (English).
  2. MSM coverage is starting to sicken me again. I don't think we need to spend 20 minutes talking to the American guy who's bragging about how it's his first time smelling tear gas, or the whiny tourists who are visibly upset because they couldn't see the pyramid museum today. Sorry I'm not more sympathetic to your plight, Mrs. Crabapple, but people are literally being beaten to death outside by the police as they attempt to free themselves from an oppressive regime (that had also completely shut down communication to the rest of the world), and all you care about are cheap souvenirs? I understand that you were looking forward to an awesome vacation in Cairo, and you couldn't have necessarily foreseen this, but priorities, people! Safety before capitalism!
    1. I just wanted to add, as I finished typing this, AJE also started talking about the role of MSM in this. Twitter & Youtube good, American tv news bad. [nods]

Very long story short - Egypt has had the same "president" for the past 30 years, but citizens would like a real democracy. Mubarak keeps promising democratic changes but hasn't delivered (and wanted his son to succeed him). There is a lot of corruption in their government. And while the nation is actually financially "ok," or at least comparatively ok, most of the workers aren't seeing any of that money reach them and are living in poverty. So instead of waiting for change, they're trying to force it. (O_o ok, maybe I need to change what I just wrote. It's kind of creeping me out...Oh, irony... Let's just hope it never, ever, ever comes to this kind of situation in our own country.)

There are also protests going on in San Francisco and Washington D.C. in solidarity with the people of Egypt. Yesterday there was a White House press briefing. Video and transcript can be found here. Later, President Obama also spoke about the situation, asking the Egyptian authorities to refrain from violence against the protesters and reverse blockage of the internet. Protesters should also remain peaceful: "Violence and destruction will not lead to the reforms that they seek." He also urged the Egyptian government to follow through on its promises of reform and change. "But we've always been clear that there must be reform: political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people." (Transcript can be found here. Video is here.)

Regarding police violence - it seems that the military is choosing to stand with the protesters, who have remained mostly peaceful until provoked by police. Some chose peace to convince the police and military to join their side:
Protester Kisses Egyptian Police officer.
via TheAtlantic

However, not all of the protests were non-violent. In other regions of the country, protesters torched government offices, ransacked buildings, including stores and homes, and threw Molotov cocktails at police and military.

Videos and images have shown that the Egyptian police, using water cannons and tear gas, were the first to attack protesters as they prayed.

The other day I posted the video of a protester who was shot. Not even 10 minutes after that video was released, the internet in Egypt was shut down (by the Egyptian government) to prevent the spread of information and to keep more protesters from organizing. We have also learned that American companies have played a role in spying on Egyptian citizens via the internet (petition!). So consider this your call to action - we will not let them be silenced. Educate as many as you can, especially via social media sites. And if you can, set up TOR relays and bridges to help some censored users regain internet access. Check out Access Now for more ways to help.

Mubarak, in his remarks Friday, has stated that he has no plans to resign, but would fire everyone else in his regime and start over. Today he announced his new vice president, deputy, and prime minister. Mubarak is struggling to hold on to his power, despite the fact that the Egyptian protesters will not give up until he too has left office.

I'm still trying to find out more information about the ongoing, concurrent protests/attacks in Yemen (where activists are calling for the president to step down), Jordan, and Somalia, and continuing unrest in Tunisia. I will be following this topic for some time, so be sure to check out my Twitter feed on the side (or see and Mother Jones for the latest. Let's all hope for an end to oppression in the world, and for peaceful resolution in the Middle East.


There are reports of new protests in Sudan. Like in Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan, protesters are demanding the resignation of their president. Citizens all over the Middle East and Africa are demanding a transition to democracy.

We also have new information about the American companies helping to oppress and restrict the people of Egypt. Combined Systems, Inc, based in PA, has been supplying the tear gas and smoke grenades that have been used to injure and kill protesters and reporters all over the Middle East. Narus, a subsidiary of Boeing, has been supplying Mubarak's regime with mass surveillance equipment that allowed the government to track, record, and reconstruct all information shared via the internet and mobile phone connections. This information includes emails and attachments, VoIP calls (like Skype), viewed web pages, etc. And this technology also allowed the government to completely shut down internet access in the country.

More to follow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

America's One Track Mind

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America's One Track Mind: Why I Haven't Been Covering Anything on the SOTU This Year.

Point in Case - Today's Headlines:

Google's "Spotlighted" News as of 10:58pm today:
And their list of Top Stories:
(Click on photos to Enlarge)

Some (albeit few) of you may be wondering why I did not cover the SOTU address. You know when you hear about something so often that you get sick of it? That happened at about 10 pm, Tuesday night. I almost didn't even watch it. (Basically, I was over it before it even began. Thanks a bunch, media.) The highlight of it, for me, was hanging out on Twitter with Keith Olbermann and the other FOKkers, joking about salmon and trains and drinking games, and droopy, orange Boehner. Good times. And I spent about half an hour talking about Bachmann before I was over that too. So yes, America, I'm totally done. (And it's really annoying that every conversation I've had since Tuesday night somehow gets warped into an argument over what he said. At home, at work, online, on Tumblr, on Twitter, everywhere. Seriously? Is there ANYONE else who does not want to talk about it?)

Let me put this in terms everyone can understand - I couldn't give a fuck. It's an annual speech. It doesn't mean anything. It's Congress - how much of what they say actually reflects what they do? That's all that matters: what eventually gets done. We have 24 hour news to tell us about the state of the union anyway - though they really don't do that great a job of it. So if you're that interested in opinions and news about the speech, check out the oversaturated media, America. You're not going find any of that here. Not this year.

There are way more important things going on in the world right now than speeches we've heard before. And I don't want those things to fade into the background the way things tend to in this country. We're trying to raise awareness. I want action, not empty words. While the US is battling over stupid speeches and spending tons of money reporting on snow storms, brutal protests are being ignored, oppressive governments are violently suppressing discontent, people are being murdered in the streets-- and that's just from the past few days. Violence is escalating across the world, while we're sitting around quibbling about earmarks and immigration. I'm more than content to spend my days ranting about fighting racism and sexism and homophobia and hunger and other things that actually matter. So I'll be over on Twitter or IRC if you'd rather talk about something more important than high speed rail. (Don't get me wrong, it's cool and all, and would create a ton of jobs I'm sure, but seriously, things like that are not a top priority by any stretch of the imagination.) Come find me.

And if you're interested in what kinds of things I'm talking about, things that the MSM has utterly failed to properly report in the past few weeks (I'll add more links tomorrow, as well as a full post on the state of the world tomorrow.):
  • Two more shootings in Arizona, one of which occurred in the middle of the night. A nine year old girl and her father were killed by a group of anti-immigrant militants who broke into their home in the middle of the night under the pretense of catching an escaped criminal. The girl's mother was also shot. Stories are just finally starting to circulate.
  • The return of segregation in American schools
  • Still more stories about people who think it's ok to hunt down other human beings for sport, simply because they don't have "the right papers," or they're LGBT. Like a gay activist in Uganda who was murdered, after Rolling Stone tabloid newspaper (no relation to Rolling Stone magazine) published a hit list of 100 gay Ugandans.
  • Violent protests in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Venezuela, and in other parts of the world. Interesting how none of the big networks really picked this up until the internet went down in Egypt...
    UPDATE: This is a great collection of links regarding the situation in Egypt. Today was Day 4 of...
  • FBI raids on internet activists and anti-war activists
  • Bradley Manning and whistle-blower protections
I also encourage all of you to participate in a Palin-Free February (or at least just for the last week of February, with LeftAction). Again, we have far more important things to think about.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Random 8pm Ramblings, since Countdown is gone... #FOK

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See, THIS is why I need Countdown w/ KO on at 8pm...

I have nothing better to do with my time, so I start editing HP pics. (I added Disco Diggory & a [Tumblr] caption : "FACT: Avada Kedavra turns you into a moody undead disco ball.")

And Olbermann has finally said something, but... It basically consists of "Hi" and "It's not so bad, what happened, you guys..." [sigh] Well, we already knew he isn't allowed to talk about the situation and has a 6 month "ban" from TV, so I dunno what I was expecting... I guess I'm just curious about what's going to happen next...

So I'm bored again. House is on, but... meh. (As much as I *love* watching house play Daddy, I feel bad for Wilson having to see his best friend/secret lover make out with Cuddy instead of him... ^^") I made an awesome garlicly brown rice risotto tonight, so that will continue to be the highlight of the evening :-/ Other than NEW GOSSIP GIRL!!! And SOTU tomorrow night... good times? Guess I'll be watching it on CNN or C-Span now...

Yes, I know I live a sick, sad existence. Oh well.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

You're Fucking Perfect. #ItGetsBetter #pink

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[TRIGGER WARNING: depression, suicide, cutting, anorexia]

I stumbled upon this (not on SU though) video and absolutely had to share it. This is a message that every person on the planet should hear.

For everyone who's ever been made to feel alone, or unwanted, or ugly, or different. For everyone who's ever been told that they're "not good enough." -- Fuck what they say.  

 You're fucking perfect just the way you are.

I wish someone had said this to me, growing up. (And I just want to add, bullying, depression, eating disorders, self esteem, "fitting in," - these things are often considered just "teen issues," but remember, teens aren't the only ones dealing with these problems. I'm 22 already, and I still live this shit every fucking day. Still. Good times :-/) And even now... I can't/don't want to get into the details, but I know what this is like. I see this girl, and she's like a mirror of me. (Minus the shoplifting & drugs... unless you count "accidental" glue inhalation, practically injecting a lifetime's worth of caffeine and sugar on an hourly basis, and making Lysol flamethrowers in a closed garage... breaking & entering [long story short, I was allowed to be in the house, but the screen door was accidentally locked & my key didn't work in the back door for some reason... Seriously, I had a bedroom and TV there and everything.], & I'm terrified of blood so it was never that deep... But that followed me through college. 2.5 years "clean." I still think about it though. I just traded it for something "better." [If you cut or scratch, stop. STOP NOW. Get a rubber band and a few red Sharpies, and throw away everything else. Don't hide, it, throw it away. And find a new, healthier distraction.]).

Watching this video, it means so much to me that I can't even...

I really wanted to write something about this, but right now, I can't find the words... Maybe I'll try again later...

@Pink - Thank you.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please GET HELP IMMEDIATELY. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) It's a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Petition time - Keith Olbermann was just fired.

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Keith Olbermann was just fired. Join me in signing this petition and standing with Keith.

UPDATE: Bold Progressives has shared this Thank You statement/petition

Or if you're on Twitter -I'm starting a petition for a HuffPost TV network featuring Maddow & Olbermann (ok, so this is kind of wishful thinking, but still!) - http://act­.ly/2zo

Rachel says it was a mutual decision. Sorry, but somehow, I really don't buy that... Maybe I just don't want to. Either way, I know this isn't as pressing a matter as ending rape or world hunger, but this matters, in its own way. We who are left-of-center have very few voices to speak to/for us on MSM. We can't stand to lose one now, especially someone as outspoken as Keith Olbermann.

I'm Making it Official - 2011 sucks. #olbermann

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So is it safe to officially announce that 2011 sucks? I know we're just getting started, but OMFGWTF?!?!

Let's examine the evidence so far:
  • Tea Party House of Congress
  • Obama considering cuts to social security
  • I might actually be homeless by this time next month
They ended their contract. Or should I say, MSNBC ended his contract. Why? I don't know... It's all over Twitter, but none of the major news sites have picked it up yet. Rumors suggest it has something to do with his previous suspension, or the NBC/Comcast merger. I suspect we'll get a few petitions around soon, but... ??? I don't know what this means for KO. Again, if he and Rachel get their own network, I'm so there. MSNBC is worthless to me without the two of them. Only reason I ever watch. And even with just Rachel there... (when she's there, and Wannabe Rachel isn't trying so hard to be her...)

I'm not going to lie right now, I'm kind of sad about this. It's kind of like losing a friend... (albeit a rather distant one that I’ve never actually met. But we hung out every weeknight at 8! It was fun! We had some good times!! Why are they ending so abruptly? Was my money not good enough, MSNBC??? Our petitions???)

I'm hoping some good news will follow... Please?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One More Reason NOT to go to Camden

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So fellow NJ residents are probably well aware that there are certain cities we generally try to avoid, but usually aren't as bad as their reputations would suggest. You know, Newark, Asbury Park, Weehawken... And then there's Camden. No one in their right mind goes to Camden, especially at night and/or with out of state plates. Even when I was in Philly, a.k.a. Kill-adelphia, everyone knew that they would do anything to avoid going over the bridge alone.If it's not the drugs, or the gangs, it's the cops. But better to have them than not.

Up until last November, Camden was ranked the most dangerous city in the entire country. Now it's #2. Not because it's improved any, but because crime increased in St. Louis.

Now here's what really blows my mind - today, half the police force and a third of the firefighters were laid off due to budget cuts, in a city where crime quite literally runs rampant through the streets. I can almost understand the firefighters to a point, and the office jobs. Even animal control to some extent. (It will now be privatized. Ugh...) But cops?! In Camden?!?! The city has had a year to plan for this, and try to readjust the budget. So why does public safety take the biggest hit??

Nevermind the actual officers at the moment, but the citizens of Camden?? How are they supposed to feel now? Like any city, if you stay away from the "bad parts" or the "bad people," you'll be just fine. But there are rumors that cops simple will ignore some "emergencies" because they won't be able to take care of them all. How is that fair to the residents, Mayor?  And when everyone knows that the police are unlikely to be able to do anything? And when the residents know that they are less protected? Say (Darwin forbid) there is a situation like what happened in Tucson? Or worse? How does the city plan to respond?

And on another note, how are the police going to make more money now? I suspect the answer is very clear - more tickets and arrests.

I understand the need for balancing budgets and cutting spending, but public safety should NOT be an option.

I could go on about how over 400 people have now lost their jobs in this dismal economy, and will likely face financial trouble, and this entire situation is insanely unfair to everyone and ridiculous and potentially dangerous, etc. But I also have things to do- like trying to keep my own family from becoming homeless by the end of the month. Which is a real possibility right now... seriously. So I'm probably going to be busy for some time, or without internet access. Updates here from me will likely be via Tumblr & Twitter & the Google feed (all from my phone); but I don't know how long that will last either since the account holder is currently throwing a tantrum and could shut it all off at any moment, and my hours at work are still at the bare minimum. 2011 has been pretty bad, and is only getting worse...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating Martin Luther King, JR. | #mlkday

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Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

I don't think anything I could say today would do him justice. Peace, progress, change... the end of poverty, and discrimination-- these are all things he worked towards, and things for which we must continue to strive. We have made so much progress, but we still have so far to go...

So instead of trying to come up with something blindingly brilliant and enlightening (which, in my current mental state, I doubt I could do...), I'll just leave you with this petition:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:

"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."  (emphasis mine)

On this day, dedicated to a man who gave his life for peaceful progress, we're asking our leaders in Washington to hear our call and end the violent rhetoric, hateful language and empty bombast that has seeped its way into our politics.

We must, as President Obama said, learn to speak to each other "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds." The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this call for peace.

If you want to join me and thousands of others, please send this e-card to your elected leaders to let them know we must change the rhetoric if we wish to honor the victims of the shooting in Tucson.

Click Here to Sign

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Crosshairs," Correlations, & Consequences: Dealing with What Happened in Tucson

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"We are again dealing with difficulties in a contentious, partisan time. We are more connected than ever before, more able to spread our ideas and beliefs, our anger and fears. As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged." -- Bill Clinton, following the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing

I'm still a bit shaken after what happened... but I wanted to say this. I'll try to be coherent, but as usual, my thoughts are all over the place. It's taken me 4 days to even get to a point where I feel like I can speak again. I keep trying to process all that's going on, and make some sense of it, but... There are global moments of insanity, and disbelief, and anger, all rolled into a week-long fit of depression. Good times, Not so much...

EDIT: As usual, President Obama says it best. (Eulogy from tonight's memorial service in Tucson).

And when my boss says to me (while pointing at a neatly packed but apparently-not-the-way-she-wanted-it box of merchandise), "Who did this? They deserve to get shot!" and I'm left standing there, shaking, disgusted that even after everything that's happened in the past year, let alone the past 4 days, no one seems to understand how horrifying it is to hear that. (I once had a roommate who would declare that she would like to “shoot him/her in the face” every time she got angry at someone. I also had a roommate who would tell people “I’ll cut you!” It was uncomfortable then, and it’s still uncomfortable now. Nothing ever changes…) For something that is "just an expression" - do we really have to use such violent language just to express dissatisfaction? Saying that someone deserves to be shot because they did something you didn't like? Not cool.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 7 others (as confirmed by CNN & NPR) have been fatally shot at in Tucson Arizona, during a public event with constituents at a local Safeway grocery store. Giffords was shot point blank, in the head. Little is known about the shooter other than he has been described as in his late teens to early 20s.

While it is easy to speculate the motivations for such an act, we should refrain from making jumping to conclusions until more details are available. I will continue to update this information when possible. Let's keep everyone in our thoughts at this time...

LATEST: 8:38 - Sheriff also condemns violent rhetoric, says Arizona has become "the mecca of prejudice and bigotry." (See Huffington Post link below for full comment.)  Count has also increased,19 people were shot today, 6 have died.

Conflicting reports- New report says it is possible that Giffords is still alive and is currently in surgery.
  • 2:40 - Other news sources are no longer reporting that she is dead. New reports say that she is in surgery.
  • 2:43 - There will be a news conference later today, at 3:30pm.
  • 2:45 - The shooter is a 21 year old male. No other details have been made available.
  • 2:55 - UPDATE FROM HOSPITAL- Giffords is ALIVE and in surgery, with 9 others in critical or serious condition, including a child. Briefing in 40 minutes. 
  • 3:04 - Giffords' Aide has died in the attack, according to NBCNews (via Twitter).
  • 3:31 - Sources told MSNBC a semi-automatic weapon was used. The FBI will be leading the investigation. News conference is not yet underway, but will start soon. 
  • 3:55 - I apologize for the delay. Judge John Roll has been confirmed dead. Doctors expect Giffords to "pull through." A second person was arrested. 
  • 4:29- (I am unable to get to a computer at the moment, and Blogger is giving me trouble with editing this on my phone. Please stay tuned to Twitter & the Huffington Post for further updates.) There has been another confirmed death- a 9 year old little girl. The shooter has been identified as 22 year old Jared Loughner. At this time, at least 1 other arrest has been made, with a 3rd expected to follow.
  • 6:04 -  Loughner claiming he acted alone, according to officials familiar with the case. (Reported by AP) A 9mm Glock was recovered. The suspect's (unconfirmed) YouTube, Myspace, & Facebook accounts have been suspended/removed, pictures and videos are circulating on Twitter. I've also been informed by @DustyTrice that there will be several press conferences starting at 6pm in Arizona.
  • 7:45 - The staffer has been identified as Gabe Zimmerman, Rep. Giffords' director of community outreach, according to Politico. RIP. 
  • 8:20- (By 6pm, they meant AZ time.) Press conference with the sheriff is currently airing on MSNBC & CNN. Second suspect is "white... possibly in his 50s" according to sheriff.
    • Westboro Baptist "Church" hate group has announced that they will be picketing the funerals of those who died today. Heartless.
  • 8:31 - Tucson tea party rep says they won't tone down the rhetoric. (Also - many, including myself, suspect that Loughner may be schizophrenic. Sheriff says he is "unstable.")
  • 8:38 - Sheriff also condemns violent rhetoric, says Arizona has become "the mecca of prejudice and bigotry." (See Huffington Post link below for full comment.)  Count has also increased,19 people were shot today, 6 have died.

Tucson Citizen
Huffington Post
CNN (live broadcast)
Twitter - word is that Sarah Palin has taken down her "target" picture off of her website. Giffords was one of Palin's "targets." Also, an petition is currently going around, demanding that @SarahPalinUSA take responsibility for what happened.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Army Declares Atheists Spiritually Unfit

Army Declares Atheists Spiritually Unfit, Part 2 : Dispatches from the Culture Wars:

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So 2 things: Bill O'Reilly doesn't understand how tides work. How the fucking hell did he get past 3rd grade science??? lol... (Though I'm sure he and President Obama will have plenty of time to discuss these things during their Superbowl interview...) And 2 of the "strict constitutionalist" Tea Party members violated the Constitution today by voting, after skipping the swearing in ceremony. Oh, and surprise, surprise - TPers skipped the parts of the Constitution that they didn't like. Good times, hypocrites! Good times... Seriously, it's been what, like 2 full days, and already the 112th Congress is writing itself like a bad joke... (And by bad, I mean somewhat depressing... Stupidity is painful to watch.)

But my point. Speaking of bad science - apparently there is yet another obstacle to my ability to serve in the Army. (I am quietly celebrating, while pretending to be furious about this un-American violation of my rights as a citizen. Well, ok, I am actually really offended, but...) We've already been informed that the army has forced soldiers to attend evangelical Christian rock concerts, upon threat of lockdown. Leaders of the armed forces have apparently also decided that non-theists are "unfit" to serve in the military, and require them to attend counseling. (Olbermann is currently discussing this on tonight's Countdown, by the way). Soldiers are administered a mandatory "spirituality test," known as the "Soldier Fitness Tracker, supposedly designed to aid in suicide prevention. Because godless heathens must have nothing to live for, and nothing "real" to for which to fight.

Can I just say - just because I don't believe in a god doesn't mean my life doesn't have meaning or purpose; nor does it mean I'm automatically suicidal (in fact, atheism probably saved my life...); nor does it mean that you have any right whatsoever to judge my life or shove your narrow worldview in my face, kthnx. First Amendment, freedom of religion, and you're part of the government, Army. Let's think about that for a second.

Lack of a god does not make my life empty, or imply that I'm unsure about my values. The only values I'm questioning are yours, Army. You say you value honesty-- yet you force your soldiers to lie about who they are, while openly disparaging them based on your own prejudice and fears. You say that you value life - yet you bestow more honor on a soldier for killing a man (or woman/etc) than for loving one. You say that you value freedom - yet your methods of "obtaining" it consist solely of blind murder, torture, infinite detainment without a charge. You say that you value strength - then why is it when I look at you, I can see only weakness-- a bully, instead of a protector; oppression, instead of liberation; hypocrisy instead of integrity.

So thanks, Army, for letting me know once again that "people like me" aren't good enough to belong to your club. Continue to spread  your discriminatory view that only Christian heterosexual cisgender males belong amongst your ranks. After all, that's been the "American Way" for like ever, right? And to think, once upon a time you were a beacon of change, a progressive bastion of racial equality and hope for a brighter future, in a time of segregation, institutionalized oppression, and (worldwide) despair. Clearly, you're stuck in the past, Army. You haven't evolved since that time. WE have. But anyway, thanks for giving me a pass, should women ever be drafted. I just check the box next to Atheist/Godless Heathen, right?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just Mentioning Things...

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So I decided that I am going to publish the Unpopular Opinion post that I had been working on; however, as it's become a 6 page paper (3,500 words and counting) I'm probably going to publish it on Scribd and then just post a link and short abstract here. Either way, I'm grateful to have learned that I'm not the only one who feels this way about this particular topic. (Hell, even a network of Wikipedia articles and psych researchers/statisticians back me up on this. Awesome.)

I just wanted to bring your attention to 2 things: today is the day when Congress can change the filibuster rules. And the "results" of the Prop 8 trial are in, sort of. Apparently the appeals court has decided that it's up to the California courts to decide if the ruling is valid, or something like that... Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what the heck they're trying to do here, but it sounds like basically, no one wants to be the one to make the call, and they're just passing the case back and forth. So stay alert for any information on that.

I could go on forever about Tea Party craziness, but I think I'll have to leave that for another time when I shouldn't be sleeping.

Also, if there are any topics you think I should look into, or things you want to discuss, feel free to email me (via the Contact button at the top of the page), Tumblr, Twitter, or AIM @ DarkAngelKiely. (Hehe, I'm expanding my mini media empire...) I'm off to bed (read: trying to unkink my back so that I can actually relax enough to sleep... I slept in a weird position all day and now this -_-" Yoga poses didn't do anything for me, and I can't even crack my back like this. Help???)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fail, Win, & Avoiding Feminist Backlash...

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I wrote this super long post about my pet peeves about feminism and discussions of rape culture and sexual assault, and now I don't want to share it. Great. Really.

I'll probably get around to it, I just need more time (and vodka) to prepare for potential backlash... Touchy subjects are like that, and if this gets back to Tumblr... Not likely anyone will see it, but clearly the topic elicits some pretty strong emotions, so even 1 or 2 angry people...

So yea, while I mull that over, here's what's going on, since the new Tea Party Congress (please don't make me say it again) has taken over. They've already scheduled a vote for repealing health care reform. Without hearings. Yes, that's right-- they're not even going to consider any other viewpoints, or the effects of repealing the legislation. Odds are this won't get past the Senate even if it manages to pass in the House, but still... Oy.

Anthony Weiner is on Countdown talking about this right now... (Cablevision lied and told me it was a rerun. Bad Cablevision! But I hear Male Rachel will be on tonight. I am very sad about this. I wish he would either stop trying to be Rachel and just be himself, or that the magnificent Dr. Maddow would just grace us with her exuberant intelligence and inimitable wit... ^^")

Re: Anonymous... Pros and cons of (cyber) attacking a foreign government? Hmm..

Oh, alright... I'll try to scrounge up the courage to actually post what was I was going to... I just don't want to start a war. I have way too much on my mind, and no desire to alienate a group of people I generally like, or Storyteller Knight for that matter (I know we just talked about this, but... still. If you read it in its entirety...) Maybe after a few hours of video games or something, or a few more hours of browsing Tumblr... Ah, Tumblr...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Updates

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Ok, so haven't the faintest idea what I was talking abut this morning, but New Years things, since life goes on...
  • Happy 1/1/11! The next time we'll see anything even remotely close to this is 11/11/11, and then not again for another 1000 years. (So yea, WE aren't going to see this again. lol...)
  • A bunch of new health care rules go into effect today. Things like closing the "donut-hole" we've heard so much about, and requiring that insurers spend 80-85% of premiums on actual medical care and other things specifically for the customers; and giving seniors free preventative screenings and yearly check-ups; etc.
  • Yesterday, Joe Miller finally FINALLY conceded to winner Lisa Murkowski and dropped the lawsuit that made him Sore Loser of the Year. So congrats, Murkowski, first female senator from Alaska. (Moderate pro-choice, pro-stem-cell, pro-SCHIP republican who voted for DADT repeal & helped expand the hate crimes definition to include LGBT? Eh, I'll take it, even if her environmental record is... well, absolutely appalling. Lesser of 2 evils again. Why is that always the case??)
  • The snow is finally melting! Yay! Just thought I would mention that...
  • Ok, so this might just be a minor concern, but Wikileaks hasn't posted any new leaks since December 28th... They are still in operation, and will be getting new funding (and actual paychecks) due to Assange's supposed book deal, but... ? Weird.
  • Apparently the House is now allowed to have phones on the floor. If Congress is anything like high school or college, I suspect things will get very interesting...
  • World News: The UN has been discussing the possibility of genocide in the Ivory Coast. There are reports of a mass grave, but the UN's probe has been blocked, as the Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo denies the rumors. Conflict in the region will likely continue to escalate, as West African nations prepare to forcefully oust Gbagbo, due to the the controversial outcome of the November election.
  • NJ Governor Fa- I mean, Christie, wasn't here last weekend to enjoy our wonderful blizzard. Word is he preferred Blizzard Beach. (Then again, so do I, but I was stuck here in the 3 feet of real snow, not floating down the lazy river with a cute British girl I had just met over at the wave pool... True story, actually.) I really could not care less that he stayed - what the hell would have done once he got here, if he were able to get here? Whatever. This wouldn't be such a big deal if the person he hired (and, you know, created a position for) was actually here to do her job too-- take over as governor when the actual governor was away. But no, she too was off on vacation in Mexico, despite the fact that one of them is supposed to remain in the state at all times. So instead, we were left with Democrat Stephen Sweeney, President of the state senate as our acting governor. He got the job done, so good for him, even if he promised to "be nice" and not do anything even remotely left-of-center until Christie got back. Can we keep him? Please??? Not his biggest fan, but he has to be better than Christie, who never seems to be around when the state needs him... (pic is clickable, btw... Check it out)
    • In other NJ blizzard news, remember a while back I mentioned this awesome guy named Cory Booker who is the mayor of Newark? You know, that guy who drastically reduced crime there? Yea, him. He spent all day Monday organizing snow plows and a cleanup brigade to help his constituents, personally responding to concerns and requests using Twitter-- oh, and actually grabbing a shovel to help out. I know, right??? I told you he was awesome. (Plus he's super cute. Just sayin.) Keep an eye on this guy, he might very well be President material.
    • But other mayors weren't so cool. Some people in Brooklyn are still digging out, though most were able to finally get their streets plowed by Thursday. Bloomberg = FAIL.
  • DADT - still waiting for "repeal" to actually be implemented...
  • Ok... here it goes. The DREAM Act. It failed, and we're unlikely to see any real progress on immigration reform in the coming years. I don't know what else to say other than I'm really disappointed, and I hope we can do better this year.
  • I'm having tons of fun on Tumblr! I moved my Random Rants over to there (again, tired of Blogger's static pages...) So if I'm not here, I'm probably hanging out over there.
So there you have it. Happy New Year, everyone!

    Happy New Year

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    Happy New Year! When I'm less impaired and more awake, I actually have a post for today...