martes, febrero 22, 2005

President's Day

I hope the three day weekend was good for everyone! I had a good Pres Day. The weather was shit, but it was DocDay on the Sundance Channel (many documentaries), and they were partying for the holiday too, with a load of documentaries about how the Patriot act has infringed upon people's rights and has persecuted some for name alone (no lie, but y'all knew that) and how Bush is, um, bad. First was a documentary on the religious extreme right and politics. Ain't it funny how troublemaking presidents and other polticians all of a sudden reach out for televangelists in crisis? Nixon was I suppose morally torn apart when he invaded Cambodia and Laos instead of keeping his election promise to bring the boys home, so much so that he called on Billy Graham to help him through the rough patch. Ronald Reagan did this just before Nixon when he was Governor of California, and he had just had someone executed on death row, to the dismay of many, many protestors who camped out at his house. Billy Graham was definetly busy in the late 60's. Then came Jimmy Carter. The televangelists loooved him, you know the Southern Baptist thing. Then they found out Carter was for equal rights for women, and that put an end to that. Apparently, Bush said once that he should be "sittin on a bar stool in Texas...." and went on to say that it is the hand of God that put him where he is right now. I used to think my father was God, too. But I was 5. Next up was the Patriot Act documentary, which I caught half of, but just enough to see a woman tell how airport security people made her strip down to her skivvies in the middle of some mid-western airport because she was mistakenly on some flight risk list. They all had a nice chuckle, as did the people walking back and forth, to and from their gates. And then I heard about this guy going to college in DC, and while he was raised Catholic, he had a Muslim name, thanks to his father. So he gets to Philly, and little does he know that he too is on the flight risk list, and boom he's detained for hours with no explanation until the last 5 minutes of detention, kind of like the subway announcements, of course, and misses his flight. It was a coinkydink that the loyalties of most of the people on those lists were not with the regime, and let me just stop there lest I be detained for something during my lunch hour. You know, they should really at least send notices in the mail, saying something like "Dear Sir or Madam, Please note that your name has been arbitrarily picked out of a brown bag and placed on the national no fly/flight risk list. Please take precautionary measures in this regard. One would be not to ever go anywhere ever again. Another would be to keep your fucking mouth shut."

So this is the America we are left with. I really should have had a very good time ridiculing Bush and the deterioration of America due to his failure as a human being, plus the denigration of the name GOD by past, present and most likely future presidents and the evangelists themselves, in which the irony is so great, it is comical, and I should have felt even more elation at the fact that I am so not alone on this one that even cable channels with excellent reputations broadcast whole documentaries about it on a President's Day, no less. But I was left completely depressed. My dad said he got really upset just after the election, couldn't sleep right, and of course it was more about disillusionment at the amount of dumb-asses in this country. I feel the same way, but all those rednecks are just enablers, just as bad, plus they've always been there. I had come to expect just a tad more from the fucking POTUS, and I just had to stop and mourn for the lives, money, conscience, decency and international "cool" points that this country has lost, and because of JUST ONE GUY and pretty much, if you will all remember, on first impact. Moments like that make me want to really go ahead and move to France, where the president is Jacques Chirac, and his people only make fun of him because he keeps saying "naturellement" (naturally) to begin sentences, in that French traditional way, like they're schooling you on the basic rules of logic. Hey, maybe since I work at the UN I could put together a special political mission to Paris for intelligence and logic use and training and propose this to the US mission. Now that would be money well spent.

Speaking of intelligence, last week Bushy appointed H. E. John D. Negroponte, who looks very much like Monty Burns of Simpsons fame, as Director of Intelligence, or whatever the title is. Mr. Negroponte has previously served as US ambassador to the UN, and funnily enough, to IRAQ. In the eighties, for his activities in Central America, in which the US was just pinching off their final turd on Latin America, he earned the nickname "Butcher of Honduras." You know what, maybe I just didn't get the memo that the meaning of intelligence had changed to "hassling and/or killing people."

martes, febrero 15, 2005

Hey boys!

Quit being so surprised by female lovers of hip-hop! We do exist. No, I am not the only one, and there are many women in hop-hop: MC Lyte for one. Remember, Roxanne Shante was there at the beginning, then came Salt and Pepa and Spin, Queen "Ladies First" Latifah, Mony Love, etc, etc. Of course if my tastes make me a hot commodity, I'm with that.

martes, febrero 08, 2005

Playa love/hate

So I'm sitting here touring blogs, and I keep coming to these stupid and disgustingly childish ones, some entitled "I am a Fairy Princess" or something equally moronic, especially when the author is above the age of 14. To make matters worse, these blogs say nothing constructive (like this particular entry) and are instead littered with Sanrio panda bears and Chococats and other cutesey crap, not that that stuff isn't at all acceptable, but like all candy fluff, consume in moderation and have mercy on my soul, please! On top of everything, there is no button to take you to the next blog and you are forced to linger as you figure out how in the hell to get away, until you find that the only way out is to go back to the previous one, press the "next blog" button and cross your fingers. You will usually know when these errant blogs are coming, because the screen will start to do that little morphing thing. Beware!

In the other corner, we have a blog entitled "urban socialite". Apparently, it is a precursor to a new web-site. Now this blog gets my vote for blog of the day. It talks all about fashion (this week is Fashion Week in NYC! Go to for more fashion info., that is if you like that sort of thing. I know New Yorkers like to be fashionable without necessarily talking about it lest they be jinxed into being a walking faux pas for life) and gives links and whatnot. Now that's something I can get behind. At least it is superficiality in the REAL world and not some Neverfuckinland that exists underneath supercute Taiwan or something. Another one of my faves is a blog entitled Nappy Diatribe (I might be wrong on that title) by a guy in Virginia Beach. God forbid he come here and find unwanted publicity, but I just have to give him props, because he had me laughing for hours. This is the same guy who wrote me a comment about my previous posting concerning Kobe Bryant and the s*&t who accused him of rape. OK, to that girl who whined "Well everyone handles everything in different ways," in defense of the accuser's fucking two or three guys before she went to the police, the same chick, by the way, who I was going on about in my posting "Pleasures of the blog..", this one has been a long time coming: "FUCK OFF," and I feel I can say that to her because she was probably thinking that about me and couldn't muster the guts to just say it to me so I could smack her and be justified in doing it. Even though I have met two other women who think that the best remedy for the awful pain of sexual abuse or assault is to fuck countless other men to get it out of their systems, I think that is bullshit. It just does not seem logical to me, and I don't think I am alone on that one. I would never use something so personal, nightmarish and horrible to justify slutdom. Come on, ladies. What the hell have we been fighting for all this time? Why are you playa hating?

Ms. Shirley Chisholm

Last night I watched a documentary on Ms. Shirley Chisholm, the first woman to have run for the presidency of the USA. She was Caribbean-American. Her career, her courage, her defense of justice for all people was lovely, beautiful and amazing. She was someone to really believe in just when people needed her (she ran in 1972). Unfortunately, and even Gloria Stienem knew it, Ms. Chisholm could not possibly have won, and I think that her loss may shed some more light on why Kerry didn't win: once a country is dragged into war, they cannot elect progress, because it is argued that wartime demands an aggressive leader who is strong on troublemaking and quite weak in almost every other regard. This would be why Nixon was re-elected in '72, despite much protest, second only to that which plagues Bush the Minor. Maybe I live in my own little world, but I would like to think that if there were no Iraq, Bush would have lost. Come to think of it, if there were no midwest (Minnesota can stay - Hi Amy and Sivie!, and so can Illinois - Big up, Barak!), Bush would have lost, because there's not enough Republicans on the coasts to have won Bush the election, but I digress, again. Ms. Chisholm was a true role model, and if all women could get on that same boat of progress, dignity, power and justice, then we could truly make a change and all this struggle for equal rights would be over and done with. If you have power and justice within yourself, no one can question you. Shirley Chisholm, rest in peace.

lunes, febrero 07, 2005

I Can't Believe the News Today....

....because it's fairly good!!!!

Here is an op-ed from the Times, by which I was so moved, I'll go ahead and give you the whole thing instead of just providing the link and taking the lazy-ass way out.

Marking Down Bin Laden
by Thomas L. Friedman
The New York Times – 6 February

A few weeks ago it was reported that the Bush administration was considering doubling the reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden from $25 million to $50 million. I totally agree with readjusting the reward for bin Laden's capture, I just think the Bush team has the number totally wrong.

The U.S. should announce that it is lowering the reward for bin Laden from $25 million to one penny, along with an autographed picture of George W. Bush. At the same time, it should reduce the $25 million reward for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the chief terrorist in Iraq, to one pistachio and an autographed picture of Dick Cheney.

Don't get me wrong. Bin Laden and Zarqawi have murdered thousands of people. I want them brought in dead or alive - and preferably the former. If I thought $100 million would do it, I'd be for it. But these megarewards clearly are not working, and in many ways they are sending the totally wrong signals.

First, both of these guys are obviously megalomaniacs, who think the world is just hanging on their every word and waiting for their next video. All we are doing is feeding their egos, and telling them how incredibly important they are, when we not only put a $25 million bounty on their heads, but in the case of bin Laden, double the figure. We are just enhancing their status on the Arab street as the Muslim warriors standing up to America, and only encouraging other megalomaniacs out there who might have similar fantasies to follow suit. We should be doing just the opposite - letting these two losers know that we don't think they are worth more than a penny or a pistachio.

But there is an even more important issue of principle at stake. We should not be paying Iraqis or Arabs or Pakistanis to get rid of their problem. Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are a curse on their civilization. Their capture will have meaning or real value to them, to us and to the world, only if it is done by Arabs and Muslims for the sole purpose of purging their civilization of these two cancer cells.

Also, if bin Laden's or Zarqawi's own neighbors turn them in for nothing, it will have a much greater deterrent effect on others. After all, what story would you rather read after bin Laden's capture?

"Osama bin Laden was apprehended this morning after villagers turned him in to local police. The villagers collected the $50 million reward and then fled their country in ski masks, not wanting anyone to know their identities." Or, "Osama bin Laden was captured this morning after villagers tipped off local police. One of the villagers, Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, told reporters: 'This man sullied the name of Islam, a religion of mercy and compassion. There is a special place in hell for him. I will dance on his grave.' "

What I would do with the $75 million we have budgeted as rewards for bin Laden and Zarqawi is use it instead to sponsor an essay contest for high school students in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria and Egypt. The contest entry form would say the following: "In 2,000 words, write an essay on one of these two topics: 1. Why do you believe the Arab-Muslim world is fully capable of achieving democratic, representative government and how do you envisage it coming about through peaceful changes inside your country, without any American or other outside help. 2. Write an essay about the lives of any of the great medieval Arab or Muslim mathematicians, scientists or philosophers and how their innovations helped to shape our world today."

The winners would be awarded visas and four-year scholarships to any accredited university in America to which they could gain acceptance. The winning essays would be posted on the Web in English, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and French. What do you think would make America more secure? Rewarding one person for turning in bin Laden or putting thousands of young Arabs and Muslims through American schools?

Maybe we could even call them the "Bin Laden Scholars." I sort of like the idea of bin Laden sitting in a dark cave somewhere, composing his latest nutty video message, and suddenly learning that all the reward money we were devoting to killing him will go instead to killing his ideas - and to bringing young Arabs and Muslims closer to America rather than pushing them farther away.

I know the 9/11 families want justice and closure when it comes to bin Laden. So do I, and I can't think of any better punishment than having him turned in one day by one of his neighbors in return for a penny or a pistachio.


So I read this and then go to BBC News online, and find out that Abbas and Sharon are slated to sign a truce tomorrow ending the intifada. Of course they have to have a "summit" (why in the hell can't they just say that they're having a meeting?) first, and let's hope that neither get caught up in any nationalistic pride or anything and fuck it up. I pray that this truce will last and that it will lead to a lasting agreement for peace. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that there is hope for so many more good things to happen in the world. I have to say, I have not been this optimistic and hopeful since I heard the rumor that Bill Clinton is the choice du jour to succeed Kofi Annan, and now that I think of it, maybe the Boss' appointment of Clinton as Special Envoy for the Tsunami aid (see my previous posting) was sort of an "in" for him. While I know working for Billy Boy comes with certain caveats, I was overjoyed by that one, and I'm not going to say any more lest today be dirtied by sarcastic comments from Republican readers.

Not only that, but I heard that the MTA is going to give Metrocard holders a grace period before they hike up the fares again. Well bust my buttons. Least they can do. Comemierdas!

viernes, febrero 04, 2005

The UN in the News...again

As an employee of this God-forsaken organization, I shouldn't really go on and blab about the scandal and the intrigue that goes on here, but given that it is on the front page of the NYT (a link to the article and even made it to those other tabloidy NYC dailies, the Post and the Daily News, hey, it's not really a secret, is it?

I had to laugh at Mr. Annan saying that he had put his trust in these officials. NOBODY at the UN can be trusted, and other people, maybe in my own office, might put me on that list. However, I understand the feeling of meeting someone who you consider trustworthy, so you give them your confidence and come to really respect them, and then they stab you in the back or otherwise screw you hoping that you'll never find out the truth. It happens to the best of us, so Kofi, I'm with you, boss. But rest assured that the joke is on them and they will be duly punished at some point in their miserable lives. Like I always say, you get what you pay for, and that's true most everywhere else except for the UN, where those who sit on their fat asses and do nothing get the big bucks, and those who actually try to earn their keep get continually screwed. Makes me really, really wish that Kerry and Edwards could have come to the UN to give a seminar on what it means to give salary and promotions on the basis of merit, instead of allowing a guy that's washed dishes for 20 years to apply to be a Director of a Department and then get shortlisted to be interviewed for the position, just because he has 20 years work experience, and that puts him way ahead of a guy with two MBA's and one PhD on the way, because the latter candidate only has 5 years of work experience (no kidding, this really happens, and a similar thing is happening to me). I'm starting to think that it's not that certain people are just shirking their duties or playing ignorant where that's concerned. I just really think that that word "merit" is not in the UN vocabulary, and I say that because the system of non-merit based pay and promotion has made a home here, it is painfully engrained in everything that happens here, and is to blame for a lot of the problems the UN faces today, giving rise to the UN being called things like "irrelevant", so Bush wasn't completely off the mark when he said that.

And that is my tangent for the day. Fare thee well!

martes, febrero 01, 2005

The UN in the news

Sometimes it really makes me happy and proud to work here. Sometimes it really tries my conscience. Today, the UN has done both.

A report on the situation in Sudan was issued yesterday by a UN-appointed panel. It accused the Sudanese government and the allied militias of atrocities, and said that there was enough "evidence" to take some of the accused to the International Criminal Court. But what is happening in Sudan is not, according to the report, genocide. Gee, what is it then? Just thinning out the troops? (I can't take credit for that comment. That was Dave.) That would be what's trying my patience. Of course, the US is having a hissy because a) they desperately want the UN to call the killings in Sudan genocide, which in all fairness they absolutely should, but with the US government, you have to wonder why they are so desperate for justice to be done, and b) they are opposed to the International Criminal Court altogether, because if they joined up, they would have to be accountable for their actions, and the US government would surely die first in a clandestine (of course) suicide pact. So adamant is the US about Sudan that the ambassador to the UN quit his new job over it after only about 6 months because procedures were not to his liking.

Today, my bossman, Kofi, appointed my hero, Bill Clinton, as Special Envoy to oversee aid to and the rebuilding of the countries hit by the tsunami. Apparently, P.O.T.U.S. Bush agrees with the decision and lent his support, in a strange show of support for something that is UN-backed. So it is true that every cloud has a silver lining. Clinton has also been asked, in his new post, to push for a resolution to the conflicts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka (rumor has it that the UN wanted to deny aid to these countries until conflict had been resolved - that's another "trying my patience" part). I for one have a lot of confidence that Billy Bob can make great advances in this regard. After all, he did mediate the most successful talks between Israel and Palestine to date. Of course they didn't work because Arafat got all nationalistic and walked out on the ballgame, but hey, Clinton tried and he came very close.

Speaking of the Israeli-Palestine affair, I hope that now that Arafat is dead, and this may sound like such an un-P.C. comment but when have I ever been P.C., there will be a greater chance for peace. In that regard, Sharon has been impressing me with his initiatives in cooperating with Abbas, but I'm still skeptical. You know, once you murder thousands of people, you kind of get a bad reputation, and it sticks. Not that the other guy isn't guilty of a few crimes here and there, but when you're talking politics and government officials, everything is relative.