Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blog Spotlight: Elaine answers (a bit) the big (personal) question

Elaine had amazing posts all week and when we started to tell her which one we'd like to highlight, she responded, "I knew you'd go with the lightest one!"  We're going with it because she does talk about her relationship with Mike and, since that was discussed in a roundtable, Ty's had his hands full with e-mails asking about it.  So if you're one of the ones asking, this is pretty much Elaine's statement on the relationship.


A number of e-mails that I read ask why I don't talk about Mike? We acknowledged our relationship in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Quick Roundtable." I'm really not into discussing specifics of my relationship. We're also attempting to respect the wishes of the woman Mike was previously involved with, but, even were that not the case, I'm not comfortable discussing my relationship. I'll try to answer a few of questions.

Yes, C.I. figured it out with no help or hints (not surprising and something that Rebecca and I have long noted, call it a gift or insight). Since the community sites have a little over a year to go, what happens if Mike and I break up? C.I. brought that up as soon as the roundtable ended, noting that no one wanted to choose sides so, since we've decided to be involved, if we break up, we'd better not drag everyone into it. I am aware of that, maybe more so than Mike because
C.I. and I have been friends for years and I know C.I. is very protective of Mike and of Wally. They truly could get away with murder in many cases. I disagreed with something Mike wrote this week (a word choice, a word I hate used in that manner). C.I.'s feelings about the word are the same as mine but C.I. defended him to the point that I finally made the point that if it wasn't
Mike, if it were, for instance, Jim, C.I. would not be so quick to offer a defense. Even Mike agreed (laughingly) with that. So if we break up before the sites end, we're both aware that it would be awkward for others if we didn't handle it responsibly. Jim and Dona are very comfortable talking about their relationship online and even making jokes about fights (that are usually a put on, a joke). Good for them, but that's not me. Ava didn't intend to talk about her relationship (with Jess) and one of the things I feel bad about in terms of my relationship is that she may have felt forced to talk about it due to comments Mike had made. (She says that's not the case.)

Mike may end up talking about. That's his business. I'd prefer he didn't but I haven't said, "You must not."

Now Kat has written another wonderful CD review. Here's the backstory, which I am happy to talk about, Kat had two that were more or less ready but she hated both. She wanted to weigh in on the Justin Timberlake CD and finally, after we all told her she should, she dashed that off late last night and it went up today. It's wonderful. "Kat's Korner: 'Mommy, May I Pet With Danger?'" will have you laughing so please read that. I'm tempted to quote some of my favorite lines from it but I fear I'd end up spoiling it. So this week, I'm just noting it but next week, I'll probably pull some from it.

Staying on music, let's turn to this highlight.

"While Nixon Campaigned, the FBI Watched Lennon" (Adam Cohen, The International Herald Tribune):
The FBI's surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law-enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics. At the time of the John Sinclair rally, there was talk that Lennon would join a national concert tour aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in politics - and at defeating President Richard Nixon, who was running for re-election. There were plans to end the tour with a huge rally at the Republican National Convention.
The FBI's timing is noteworthy. Lennon had been involved in high-profile antiwar activities going back to 1969, but the bureau did not formally open its investigation until January 1972 - the year of Nixon's re-election campaign. In March, just as the presidential campaign was heating up, the Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to renew Lennon's visa and began deportation proceedings. Nixon was re-elected in November, and a month later, the FBI closed its investigation.
If Lennon was considering actively opposing Nixon's re-election, the spying and the threat of deportation had their intended effect. In May, he announced that he would not be part of any protest activities at the Republican National Convention, and he did not actively participate in the presidential campaign.

After revelations about the many domestic spying abuses of the 1960s and 1970s - including the wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. - new restrictions were put in place. But these protections are being eroded today, with the president's claim of sweeping new authority to pursue the war on terror.

Let me again note that for today's illegal spying on US citizens, you really need to grasp what happened before and I'll, again, recommend C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy."
Also worth reading it a joint-post today, Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY & FRIENDS HELP MUSHARRAF PLUG BOOK!" and Cedric's "The Bully Boy Book Club (humor)." I had an e-mail wondering why I wasn't noting other sites? Mainly because I've been so busy all week. Usually after I start publishing a post, I'll remember that I forgot to note anyone else. It's not intentional, just an effort to get a post up as quickly as possible. (In the past, my "blog twin" and I discussed headlines we'd each note. Though we still talk before posting, now that we're a couple, we're usually talking couple talk which last quite a bit longer than news talk. Hence, when we finally get off the phone, I'm running late and rushing to get something posted.)

Susan e-mailed today and said she enjoyed my thing in the gina & krista round-robin (thank you, Susan) and also wondered what I was listening to while we were all in DC? I was running so behind this week that I didn't pack properly other than clothes. I brought one CD with me and that was it. What I'm listening to right now is a CD I wish I had brought but, fortunately, Kat did and I borrowed it from her, Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation. Right now, Grace Slick is singing "You want to know/ How it will be?/ Me and him/ Or you and me/ You both stand there/ Your long hair flowing/ Eyes alive/ Your minds still growing/ Saying to me, 'What can we do now? We both love you. . . '" Hopefully, some of you placed the song, it's David Crosby's "Triad" which Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young also recorded (Four Way Street). I love CSN and CSNY but I really think Grace Slick's vocals nail this song.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, September 22, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the 2700 mark for US military fatalities in Iraq looms ever closer (2697), the Defense Department learns (again) that the press makes the best lobbyist, and, as Democrats continue to run from Iraq, activists continue to speak out and organize.
Starting with peace news, Mima Mohammed (Los Angelse Times) reports on Helga Aguayo's statements regarding her husband, war resister Agustin Aguayo, who decided to self-check out September 2, 2006: "My husband has never broken a law and I am proud of him. He doesn't want to support the war -- he cannot do so conscientiously. He is a conscientious objector, but the Army forced him to become a resister." Helga Aguayo was speaking Wednesday at Camp Democracy (which continues free and open to the public through October 1st) in Washington, DC. and stated that her husband will turn himself in but he will not go to Iraq.
Also reporting on war resistance and Camp Democracy, Tim Wheeler (People's World Weekly) covers war resister Ricky Clousing's speech from this past weekend where Clousing noted what he saw "an innocent Iraqi killed before my eyes by U.S. troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability" and notes some of the torture techniques he observed and how Bully Boy "is seeking legal cover. . . . He is seeking another loophole to continue what they have been doing." Ricky Clousing announced at the Seattle Veterans for Peace conference in August that he would be turning himself in after self-checking out. He did so and that military has charged him with desertion and the war drags on . . .
While the military gets all the money they can grab (that's at the top, it never flows down to the enlisted). AP reports that today $70 billion more for quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan were added to the trough "as they wrapped up talks on a $447 billion Pentagon funding bill. The additional war frunds would bring the total approved by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [. . .*] to more than $500 billion, with another installment likely to come next spring."
The bumper sticker reads: "Bully Boy illegal invaded Iraq and all I got was a mountain of debt."
"*"? AP feels the need to insert "since September 11, 2001" into the sentence for some unknown reason. Are they attempting to repeat the discredited "link" between Iraq and 9-11? Clearly Congress approved no war spending measures on September 11th. AP also notes that the Defense Department got what it wanted and AP ties it to those reports of an overstretched (economically) military. Again we ask the question of Thom Shanker and Michael R. Gordon's report (New York Times) today:"Is it news or is it fundraising?"
AP also editorializes with this: "Even opponents of the war tend to support the measure because it supports U.S. troops in harm's way." Actually, cutting off the spending would cut the war. But don't rock the conventional 'wisdom' boat, don't tip the boat over. Which is apparently the m.o. for Dems when it comes to the November elections. Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) reports that the big plan revolves around stressing the economy and ignoring Iraq: "In poll after poll, voters place Iraq well above the economy when asked which issue will most affect their vote this year. And when you combine concerns about the war with concerns about terrorism/national security, it's the economy that is 'a distant reality.' Yet Democrats keep returning to the same domestic-issues-uber-alles thinking that cost them the elections in 2002 and 2004. They can't really believe that people are more interested in raising the minimum wage, middle class tax relief, and college affordability than they are in who's going to keep them from being blown up, can they? The Dems are like a bunch of crack addicts who know that the stuff is killing them, but keep reaching for the pipe."
This as Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that James Thurman (US "Maj. Gen.") loosens his grip on reality (further?) and claims that attacks on civilians in Iraq are down. Well pay it forward, Thurman. America can't afford universal health care but can pay $500 billion (and counting) for wars? Thurman also stated that, "As we clean up the streets, we find a city capable of starting to function properly." Street cleaners? That's what US troops are being kept in Iraq for? No, they aren't street cleaners and Thurman needs to work a little harder at his illustrations (working harder at capturing reality might cause a blood vessel to explode so we'll accept the fact that he's an Operation Happy Talker and move on.)
In the real world (which Thurman is welcome to visit), Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reminds: "The pervasive use of torture is only one aspect of the utter breakdown of government across Iraq outside the three Kurdish provinces in the north. In July and August alone, 6,599 civilians were killed, the UN says." The torture, the UN has stated, is being committed by a variety of groups including 'government forces.' Tim Reid (Times of London) reports that the White House takes offense to the UN report and denies it. We all await Condi Rice trotting out her "No one could have guessed" line yet again.
AFP reports, that in Baghdad, two bomb detector/defusers were killed when a bomb they were attempting to defuse exploded. Reuters reports a civilian dead from a roadside bomb in Latifiyaand sixteen wounded from bombs in Baghdad.
AFP reports that four Iraqi police officers were shot dead in Baquba. AP reports that attacks on mosques and homes resulted in four shooting deaths in Baghdad. China's People's Daily notes that four houses were set on fire in the attacks. Reuters reports one civilian shot dead in Kirkuk and that Nomass Atout shot dead "near his house in Diwaniya".
KUNA reports that 48 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today. AP reports a corpse ("blindfolded . . . bound") was discovered in Musayyib. Reuters reports two corpses discovered in Mosul and a woman's corpse found in Kirkuk. That should be 64 deaths reported, counting corpses, thus far today.
Returning to peace news, Paul Hogarth (Beyond Chron) reports, " About 25 activists gathered at the Office of Supervisor Chris Daly yesterday to display the Code Pink Peace Ribbon Quilt, and to kick off the Declaration of Peace Week of Action. The Declaration, which has been endorsed by over 180 peace and justice organizations throughout the country has three basic platforms: (1) bring our troops home now, (2) establish a plan to end the war in Iraq, and (3) prevent future U.S. invasions such as Iran, Syria or North Korea."

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