Monday, May 19, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Golfing for Burma?

On Saturday May 17th, thousands of people will gather across the world to call for the international community to intervene in the humanitarian crisis in Burma. Demonstrations and vigils will be held to urge world governments and the United Nations to intervene by supplying aid to the 1.7 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis.

The Burmese military regime has consistently blocked the international community from providing food, water and medical supplies to the areas hardest hit by the cyclone. Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of death through starvation, dehydration and preventable diseases such as malaria and diarrhea.

Burma’s rulers have turned a wholly humanitarian concern into a political issue, neglecting the very real needs of their citizens to meet their own political ends. Disaster relief specialists are waiting for access to the country, and thousands of tons of aid are ready to be distributed. It is only due to the government’s obstruction that a comprehensive relief effort is not currently underway. The international community must step up and take decisive action to save millions of lives that are currently hanging in the balance.

It has been a positive step that the international community has discussed the option of critical intervention, however this is not enough. Decisive action needs to be taken. Governments around the world need to make the vital decision to save millions of lives, by whatever means possible. Likewise, it is imperative for the friends of Burma’s military regime in the international community to initiate dialogue pressuring the junta to open the country’s borders for an international relief effort to get underway.

www.burma-network.org/

The above is taken directly from the web site. I learned of it through a Facebook group calling for everyone to change their profile pictures to the graphic above. I'm all for taking action either through direct protest or direct donation, though frankly, it's hard for me to believe that any of the money will actually get to these suffering souls in the form of meaningful aid.

The Facebook awareness idea seems a little silly to me, as do a few of the events taking place in the United States such as the Fund Raising Happy Hour at the Ultra Bar in Washington, DC. A happy hour? Really? UC San Diego will be selling wristbands, t-shirts and buttons to raise money. I hope they're not made in China. Haven't we as a nation been inundated with enough useless rubber bracelets and
catchy slogans on t-shirts? Probably the silliest event is golfing for cyclone relief in Michigan.

I'm not knocking the efforts of the people who have the best of intentions in organizing these events. Their hearts are truly in the right place. The point I'm trying to make here is this - why do we as Americans have to be enticed with recreational activities to donate money toward relieving the suffering of millions? Has our culture become so Romanized that unless we are stuffing our guts, participating in sport or trying to look hip with the latest sound bite plastered across our chests and/or wrists that giving to a cause just isn't worth our while? What's in it for us, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Stephen Colbert!!!


I couldn't let the day go by without acknowledging my hero's birthday!


Musical Interlude....

Back in 1993 I was living in Ireland and the album "Us" by Peter Gabriel was at the very top of my play list. Last night, I dug it out and gave it a spin for old time's sake. It's still his masterpiece as far as I'm concerned. Absolutely brilliant.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You know….Morons!

The cable news channels and American news media in general have completely gone off the rails this week with yet more asinine hyperbole from the political “race” to the White House. I honestly don’t know why I keep tuning in. I guess you could say it’s like crack to this journalism school drop out. I’d like to be able to state with unwavering confidence that my addiction to sensationalized headlines and political games has reached its zenith and will now begin the long slow descent to the bottom of priorities in my mind numbingly boring life. But alas, I am an addict and all addicts lie. Maybe I should just stop pretending and willingly offer my body and soul to the television news gods/pushers who offer no explanations, accountability or apology. Kind of like my father – but that’s a whole other issue that need not be hashed in this forum.
The first tantalizing tid bit to come over the airwaves was John McCain’s absurd assertion that a “spokesperson” for Hamas has indicated to the McCain campaign that the much feared (though democratically elected political party in Palestine) wants Barack Obama to win the presidency and that he himself would be “Hamas’ worst nightmare.” Two things pissed me off about this ridiculous statement. First, no one disputes that Hamas is a terrorist organization and that Barack Obama regards it as such. The mere suggestion that somehow a vote for Obama brings all mighty America one step closer to defeat by radical Islamists plays directly into the biggest fears of the dimwitted, bible thumping non-thinking sector of the population, which I grant you, is huge. But the second, more infuriating point that had me throwing cat toys at the TV was that not one journalist or pundit actually had the cahones to ask the Maverick why his campaign was getting PR statements from Hamas. Does this so-called spokesman (I highly doubt they’d employ a woman being a radical Islamic organization) have the McCain campaign headquarters on speed dial? Do they exchange emails frequently? Inquiring minds want to know! And now, to add insult to injury, Connecticut’s own traitor, Joe “Fuck You Democrats” Lieberman, has gone on CNN reasserting the Hamas for Obama claim. I realize he’s no different than any other self serving blow hard politician but I always figured him for having more brains than this.
Speaking of brains, and a disappointing example of their temporary absence, I give you the week’s number two campaign / news media fuck up. Hillary Clinton and her famous hard working white uneducated Americans comment. All of this apparently justified as something that came out of the Associated Press. This kind of desperation is breaking my heart! To imply that she’s got this very special and apparently vast swath of the white vote completely sewn up takes the conversation to an all new low not visited since the Geraldine Ferraro gab fest last March. Sadly, the apprehension in Hillary’s voice comes through crystal clear in the now famous audio that has made the rounds of all the networks and Sunday talking head shows. She knew exactly what she was saying, how she was saying it and what the fallout for Obama would be. And the hesitation between her words also indicates that she’s fully aware and knows bullshit when she’s spewing it. I wonder whose brilliant idea it was for her to make such a stupid statement? Was it Bill and his mastery of word usage? (Remember how he could dispute the meaning of the word “the”?) What about that total tool Terry McAuliffe? I don’t know, but I do care. If by a snowball’s chance in Hell she is the Democratic nominee I’ll have to vote for her. I used to like her. She’s brilliant, dedicated and tough as nails. However, she’s also narcissistic, pandering and pig headed. I’d have qualms, big ones, about pulling that lever for another Clinton administration. On the other hand, the comedy would remain strong. By the way, one of today's AP headlines reads, "Clinton Outwardly Confident Even as Hopes Dim." I wonder if she'll be quoting that one.

All weekend long I’ve been reminded of that famous scene in Blazing Saddles where the Waco Kid explains to the new Sheriff about the simple country folk he would now be charged to protect. "They're the salt of the earth. You know, morons."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Word of the Day...

proctovisionary: (noun) a person who looks at the world with his or her head up his or her ass. [usage - George W. Bush is the greatest proctovisionary of our time.]

*thank you indecision2008!