Friday, December 09, 2005


Thought I was going crazy, but it is actually thundering as it is snowing right now in Boston. Having lived my entire life in the north (ok, except for the 10 months in Florida, but we don’t speak about that), I have never experienced this phenomenon before. Pretty cool!

No comment

Face the Nation (CBS News) - Sunday, December 4, 2005

Sen. JOHN KERRY: ...And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...


Sen. KERRY: ...Iraqis should be doing that. And after all of these two and a half years, with all of the talk of 210,000 people trained, there just is no excuse for not transferring more of that authority.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you're not saying we should stop fighting these insurgents?

Sen. KERRY: Absolutely not.... But we do not need 160,000 troops running around the country as a whole, exposing themselves as they are, feeding the notion of occupation.

Barney's Best Friend, Joe

So, as usual, I'm a bit behind on things. That's why I was only today reading the Tuesday, November 29 op-ed by Joe Lieberman in the Wall Street Journal, Our Troops Must Stay: America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists.

Lieberman's words - lies? delusions? desperate panderings to the Republicans? - have left me sputtering and speechless.

Nevertheless I will attempt to comment.

"Progress is visible and practical, " writes Lieberman. How exactly does he measure this? "There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. "

I wonder, did he count the cell phones? Is that how he got his scientific figure "millions"? No matter, let's move on.

"In my meeting with the thoughtful prime minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, he declared with justifiable pride that his country now has the most open, democratic political system in the Arab world. He is right. "

Hmmm, how exactly does one maintain a democracy while being under foreign occupation? Just wondering.

"The administration's recent use of the banner 'clear, hold and build' accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week."

Again, I'm woefully behind on the administration's Orwellian catchphrases and questionable campaign names. (My recent favorite: Operation Steel Curtain. Are the propaganda folks really that desperate that they have to bring out the Curtain again?) When I first read that, I thought Joe was talking about clear-cutting forests or something.

"If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come. "

Finally, some honesty. Though if The Subliminal Man from SNL were reporting here, he would add "for the oil."

"After a Thanksgiving meal with a great group of Marines at Camp Fallujah in western Iraq, I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. "

I just don't have anything witty to say to that. Just blatant administration cocksucking.

Lieberman ends his piece with the Marines' motto Semper Fi. Nice words from a man who did not serve in the military; he received an educational deferment while in school, then a family deferment (as a father) upon his law school graduation in 1967.

The only way to end this piece is with a photo from Joe’s own website. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Panda Meditation

Two words: Panda Cam

Check it out!

You will never get any work done on the computer again.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What is Your First Memory of Physical Pleasure?

Mine was when I was 3 or 4. I was at a parade with my parents. It was summertime, so it was most likely a 4th of July parade. From far off, I could hear the marching band approaching. My excitement began to grow. I loved the coordinated movement, the uniforms, the music. The sound begins to build; they are moving closer. The melody wafts over me. And then the rhythm enters my body and I become synchronized with it, propelled by it. And here comes the line of bass drums! Their beating FILLS THE CAVITY OF MY CHEST AND MY HEART ITSELF BECOMES A DRUM! I close my eyes, perhaps even cover my ears, a small smile on my face. I don't even need my ears, because I am listening with my whole body. It's exquisite, almost too much...almost too much... And then they are gone. The reverberations drain out of my body. I am slightly chagrined, hoping no one noticed my ecstasy.

There are more marching bands to come. I can hardly wait.

Topic of the Day

REM has created many exquisitely beautiful songs, but never a perfect album.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

An Ode to Home Box Office: Part Three, The Sopranos

So, to review: Still no HBO in my home.  

But you can’t avoid it. Everyone’s talking about what’s on HBO.  It seems the best shows are there. Not only can you swear and have sex on HBO, it seems you can also have well developed characters, deal with real-life issues, and oh, have great casts as well.  And because subscribers pay a shit-load of money for it, content is not sacrificed to the censorship of advertisers.

Once again, Netflix and the DVD player have saved me.  But sometimes, the wait for seasons to be released means that media critics and average people are discussing things that have happened while you’re still a season or two behind.  Am I bitterly referring to that New York Times article about a certain important development in season 5 of Six Feet Under while I was still waiting for season 4 to be released on DVD?  What do you think?

Now, while waiting for the aforementioned 5th and final season of Six Feet Under to become available, I have gotten hooked on The Sopranos.  Oh, I looked on from the sidelines for years as everyone and his uncle cheered Tony Soprano and his family.  “Big deal,” I thought.  Not that I don’t love a good gangster story.  I’m a huge Scorsese fan.  Turns out I was just a playa hater.

But now I am hooked.  Season one is under my belt, and we would have started season two yesterday, but for the broken DVD that came out of the Netflix sleeve.

Why do I love it so?  

Reason #1: James Gandolfini
It’s astonishing to watch this big lunk of a man express such subtle emotion and such depth.  Of course it helps that he has great writing and story development to work with (see #2).  His body and his face convey so much – I could just watch him forever.

Reason #2: Challenging traditional depictions of masculinity
OK, I admit I’m pushing it here.  Yes, The Sopranos does depict a subculture that is thoroughly a Boys Club, and is inherently sexist.  Tony and Co. routinely hang out in Silvio’s strip club, Badda Bing, where the topless dancers are literally backdrops to the action around them.  Tony has a mistress, comes on to his therapist, and visits call girls.  In one episode, Tony’s Uncle Junior, the Boss – in name only – of the New Jersey families has his authority challenged when gossip spreads that he orally pleasures his lady friend.  Evidently licking pussy means that you are one.

Despite all this, and more, the masculinity of The Sopranos differs greatly from that normally depicted in American pop culture.  One aspect of this is the Mediterranean culture that allows men to show affection for each other: to hug, kiss, and express their love and loyalty genuinely to each other with no specter of being accused of homosexuality. (Having seen only one season, I do not know if homophobia becomes an issue later in the series.)  We also see Tony cry more than once in a way that tells me he’s taken Rosey Greer’s song “It’s Alright to Cry” to heart.  Finally, to depict a mob boss as having panic attacks and needing psychiatric help challenges our notions of male power, laying bare the consequences of a culture that tells men that they must always be strong and “suck it up.”  In therapy, we see Tony struggle honestly with issues about his family. Particularly touching is a scene where he talks of wanting his son to be proud of him, yet wanting his son to have other options in his life.  

Reason #3: Beyond Stereotypes
Rudy Giuliani accused The Sopranos of giving Italian Americans a bad name.  I would contend, however, that the show in fact opens up possibilities of representation, rather than restricting them to stereotypes.  In fact, many secondary Italian characters in the show wrestle precisely with the notion of stereotypes.  Some echo the former New York Mayor, wanting nothing to do with Tony because he “gives us a bad name.”  Others fancy themselves superior to Tony, yet are like giddy children around him, treating him as an object of fascination.  In another scene, Christopher, not yet a “made man,” has an encounter with a “gangsta” rapper that puts him face to face with the appropriation of his culture.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about The Sopranos as I watch more seasons (no spoilers, please!)  But for now, I eagerly await the next disc.

Thank you, HBO.

An Ode to Home Box Office: Part Two, Paradise Lost

OK, as I mentioned before, I’ve been cable-deprived most of my life.  And really, I’ve been just fine without it.  I even went without a TV – gasp! – for a number of years.  I remember the first time I saw (or for that matter heard of) The Real World. I was visiting my friend Martha, who at that time lived in one of those complexes where cable is included.  I saw the show, and was like, “hey, what happened to the videos on MTV?”  Ha ha!

So, I was doing fine.  But then HBO had to go and start producing original programming.  Not only that, it was good.  Anyway, that’s what people would say, but how would I know?  

Thank goodness for DVDs and Netflix, cuz now I can catch up on what all the cool people were watching years ago.  

Take for example Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.  This documentary about the West Memphis Three aired on HBO in 1996.  It just became available on DVD a few weeks ago, and I got it right away.

Of course I’d heard about the West Memphis Three before, through friends and through bands like Pearl Jam who have done benefits for the West Memphis Three support fund.  I knew the basics: 3 teenagers accused of murdering 3 boys, 2 of them sentenced to life and one to death row.  The evidence?  The boys wore black clothing (this is even before Columbine and the so-called “Trenchcoat Mafia”), were fans of Metallica, and were thought to be “a little weird.”

Even though I knew the outlines of the case, the documentary blew me away. First of all, for only the third time that I can remember, I had to close my eyes during some scenes.  The filmmakers openly show the horrific, gruesome, shocking – I’m running out of adjectives here – murder scene, including graphic images of the murdered boys.  At first I thought this a sensationalist move, or an exploitative one. But the more I think about, the more I think they did it so as not to gloss over the seriousness of the case. Perhaps also as a way to explain the “satanic panic” that overcame the people of West Memphis after the murders, along with the absolute urgency to find the killer – any killer.  I’m still not sure it was necessary to show the images, but I’m beginning to understand why the filmmakers might have made the choice.

There are so many aspects to the case, so many egregious wrongs, that I won’t go into them here.  Check out the movie, and the follow up Revelations: Paradise Lost II which aired in 1999.  Visit the website and read for yourself.

An Ode to Home Box Office: Part One, the McGrails’ Basement

I never had cable growing up.  Let’s be honest, I wasn’t even allowed to watch most TV until 1980 when my parents got divorced.  If it wasn’t “educational,” my father wouldn’t let me see it.  So I missed all the joys of a 1970s childhood: CHiPs, the Hulk, Charlie’s Angels.  

After my parents got divorced, my TV horizons expanded greatly.  Dukes of Hazard! Fantasy Island! The Facts of Life! But it wasn’t enough for me.  

“Mom, why can’t we get cable?  Pretty please!  Everyone has it!”  

It was the early ‘80s.  MTV had just launched.  HBO was all the rage.  But in our house, 3 channels was evidently enough.  (In recent years my mother has relented and now has the deluxe cable package.  About 15 years too late for me, thank you very much!)

Thank god for the McGrails. They lived two houses down, and Carrie was my constant companion.  Together, we would memorize the HBO schedule for Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  As nonchalantly as possible, we would rush downstairs, and in the dark watch as much of it as we could before her father would inevitably discover us, and shoo us away from the forbidden R-rated movie.  It was not until I was an adult that I finally saw the entire movie from beginning to end.  It is, incidentally, one of my all time favorites.

This is how I saw all the, uh, seminal movies of my early adolescence: Porky’s, Bachelor Party, Risky Business.  In secret at the McGrails, or if I was really lucky, while babysitting.  But all of it on HBO.  

Soon videos came along and replaced the urgency of HBO for my teenage forbidden movie needs.  But those folks over at HBO are smart – they had other plans to lure me.

To be continued…

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Frickin' Clueless

This is an excerpt from MoveOn's post about the nomination of Samuel Alito:

This morning, with his administration growing weaker by the day, President Bush caved to pressure from the radical fringe of the Republican Party and nominated Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Caved?!? Caved to pressure from the radical fringe?!?

Hello! Earth calling Eli and friends! Bush is part of the radical Christian right. These are his friends, and he's done nothing but kiss their asses since even before he stole the 2000 election.

But wait, it gets better:

Bush's ploy to woo the far-right could reshape the High Court for decades to come—but we don't have to let that happen.

Is MoveOn really this dumb? How could they not see that Bush has been serving the agenda of the far-right for the past five years? He's not wooing them, he's in their back pocket!

And talk about stating the obvious. OF COURSE ALITO - OR ANYONE ELSE BUSH NOMINATES FOR THAT MATTER - WILL CHANGE THE COURT FOR DECADES TO COME. As will John "but he's so nice" Roberts.

So how does MoveOn propose we stop this juggernaut? Sign a petition to our Senators. Remember them? The ones who won that "victory" where they "saved" the filibuster by promising never to use it? The ones who voted Roberts right on through? The ones who keep giving Bush whatever he wants?

Wake up people. Get out of the box. We're not going to turn the tide by emailing Senators. The system is broken. Stop fooling yourselves it can be fixed. Take the red pill. The world can't wait.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Another reason why I love Kanye West

I caught the end of "All Eyes on Kanye West" on MTV2 the other night. In it he talks about how he used to be homophobic until one of his cousins came out to the family. Kanye realized that he had a choice to remain homophobic or to accept his cousin, whom he loves, as he is. That was a big turning point for him, and he talked about how his cousin now brings his partner to family gatherings. Kanye talked about the rampant homophobia in the hip hop community, and called on the hip hop community to change their ways. He said that homophobia is discrimination, and that it's wrong.

To have such a well respected rapper/producer as Kanye West speak out against homophobia is a big deal! I thought of all the kids I used to teach sex ed to, and how Kanye's words could really have an impact on them.

Plus he talked about using Fiona Apple's producer on his new album, and about how much he likes Portishead, so I am intrigued!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Whatever Happened to 7 Year Bitch?

And who knew that this song from their 1992 debut album, Sick ‘Em would again be applicable in the next century?

No Fucking War

We're fucking poor
We're very poor
We're really poor
We're fucking poor

Bush pull out
Like your father should have
Continue to ignore
We're gonna take it to the streets
We'll start a fucking riot
I wanna fucking riot
It's time to fucking riot
Who wants to fucking riot?

No fucking war
No fucking war
No fucking war
No fucking war

Dance and sing, plead
Pray for peace
But they won't hear you
No not in the least
You're in reach and
You've got to shove
Cuz silence
Is defeat
Yes silence
Is defeat

We're very poor
We're fucking poor
We're really poor
We're fucking poor

Bush pull out
Like your father should have
Continue to ignore
We're gonna take it to the streets
Start a fucking riot
I wanna fucking riot
It's time to fucking riot
Who wants a fucking riot?

I Love Kanye West

On a September 2, 2005 NBC live concert fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West went off-script and delivered some raw truth to the viewers. I was someone who didn't quite get all the Kanye hype last year, but now, I'm hooked! Following is an excerpt from "Kanye West's Torrent of Criticism, Live on NBC" By Lisa de Moraes from the Washington Post.


...West and Mike Myers had been paired up to appear about halfway through the show. Their assignment: Take turns reading a script describing the breach in the levees around New Orleans.

Myers: The landscape of the city has changed dramatically, tragically and perhaps irreversibly. There is now over 25 feet of water where there was once city streets and thriving neighborhoods.

(Myers throws to West, who looked extremely nervous in his super-preppy designer rugby shirt and white pants, which is not like the arrogant West and which, in retrospect, should have been a tip-off.)

West: I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!

(West throws back to Myers, who is looking like a guy who stopped on the tarmac to tie his shoe and got hit in the back with the 8:30 to La Guardia.)

Myers: And subtle, but in many ways even more profoundly devastating, is the lasting damage to the survivors\' will to rebuild and remain in the area. The destruction of the spirit of the people of southern Louisiana and Mississippi may end up being the most tragic loss of all.

(And, because Myers is apparently as dumb as his Alfalfa hair, he throws it back to West.)

West: George Bush doesn't care about black people!

(Back to Myers, now looking like the 8:30 to La Guardia turned around and caught him square between the eyes.)

Myers: Please call . . .

At which point someone at NBC News finally regained control of the joystick and cut over to Chris Tucker, who started right in with more scripted blah, blah, blah.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Unbelievable Katrina Quotes

"We got a lot of rebuilding to do.... the good news is and it's hard for some to see it now but out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic gulf coast... out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- the guy lost his entire house -- there's going to be fantastic house. I look forward to sitting on the porch. " -Bush at the Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile, Alabama, Sept. 2, 2005

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." -Bush at the Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile, Alabama, Sept. 2, 2005

"I believe the town where I used to come – from Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself, occasionally too much – will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to." –President George W. Bush, on the tarmac at the New Orleans airport, Sept. 2, 2005

"You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals...many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold." —CNN's Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans' hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality...And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." - Barbara Bush, on visiting the Astrodome, Sept. 5.2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Who knew that Girls Gone Wild would have such dire consequences?

More from the "I do not make this shit up" files...


P.O. Box 30000, Philadelphia, PA 19103

For Immediate Release 8/31/05

Contact: Michael Marcavage
1-800-3-Repent, Ext. 4


PHILADELPHIA - Just days before “Southern Decadence”, an annual homosexual celebration attracting tens of thousands of people to the French Quarters section of
New Orleans, an act of God destroys the city.

“Southern Decadence” has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year, a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed in front of police to the mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the weeklong celebration as being an “exciting event”. However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin.

On the official “Southern Decadence” website (, it
states that the annual event brought in “125,000 revelers” to New Orleans last year, increasing by thousands each year, and up from “over 50,000 revelers” in 1997. This year’s 34th annual “Southern Decadence” was set for Wednesday, August 31, 2005 through Monday, September 5, 2005, but due to massive flooding and the damage left by the hurricane, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has ordered everyone to evacuate the city.

The past three mayors of New Orleans, including Sidney Barthelomew, Marc H. Morial, and C. Ray Nagin, issued official proclamations welcoming visitors to “Southern Decadence”. Additionally, New Orleans City Council made other proclamations recognizing the annual homosexual celebration.

“Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city,” stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. “From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that opened its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same,” he continued.

New Orleans is also known for its Mardi Gras parties where thousands of drunken men revel in the streets to exchange plastic jewelry for drunken women to expose their breasts. This annual event sparked the creation of the “Girls Gone Wild” video series.

“Let us pray for those ravaged by this disaster. However, we must not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long,” Marcavage said. “May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God,” Marcavage concluded.

“[God] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”. (Matthew 5:45)

Link to press release:

So Help Me God now on sale at the Repent America Bookstore!
"The Ten Commandments Judge" tells his story, including his pledge before his election, his refusal to obey an order by the Federal District Court, and why he believes this issue is the most crucial of all political questions.

Repent America is an evangelistic organization based in the birthplace of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Monday, August 29, 2005

I do not make this shit up!

This is the text of an actual email I received on Monday...

From: Columbia Christians for Life
Subject: Hurricane Katrina satellite image looks like 6-week fetus
To: Columbia Christians for Life

Satellite picture of Hurricane Katrina at looks like a 6-week unborn human child as it comes ashore the Gulf Coast, vicinity states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida at 12:32 PM, Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane "Katrina" (reportedly means "Pure" in Russian) - satellite image - Monday, 29 Aug 05, 12:32 PM (EDT) - coming ashore Gulf Coast - satellite image looks like 6-week fetus

check out NOAA website:

The image of the hurricane above with its eye already ashore at 12:32 PM Monday, August 29 looks like a fetus (unborn human baby) facing to the left (west) in the womb, in the early weeks of gestation (approx. 6 weeks). Even the orange color of the image is reminiscent of a commonly used pro-life picture of early prenatal development (see sign with picture of 8-week pre-born human child below). In this picture, and in another picture in today's on-line edition of USA Today*, this hurricane looks like an unborn human child.

Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers - FIVE are in New Orleans ('Find an Abortion Clinic [sic]')

Baby-murder state # 1 - California (125 abortion centers) - land of earthquakes, forest fires, and mudslides
Baby-murder state # 2 - New York (78 abortion centers) - 9-11 Ground Zero
Baby-murder state # 3 - Florida (73 abortion centers) - Hurricanes Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne in 2004; and now, Hurricane Katrina in 2005

God's message: REPENT AMERICA !

Quote of the Day

"I felt like the P was getting between me and my fans."

- Sean "Diddy" Combs, on the Today Show 8/16/05, on why he was changing his name yet again.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Inspirational Song for Friday... and beyond

Today's inspirational song, boys and girls, is Eminem's "Mosh". Released right around the election in 2004, it's the best call to arms I've heard since the demise of Rage Against the Machine. Yes, Emimem is problematic in many ways. "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" is one of the most disturbing songs I've ever heard (Tori Amos's version on Strange Little Girls is even more disturbing, if that's possible). But he's also quite talented, and when he gets it right, he gets it really right. I've left off the first verse; it's just the standard hip-hop braggadocio.

Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,
Come with me, and I won't stear you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,
We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp
We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors

To the people up top, on the side and the middle,
Come together, let's all bomb and swamp just a little
Just let it gradually build, from the front to the back
All you can see is a sea of people, some white and some black
Don't matter what color, all that matters is we gathered together
To celebrate for the same cause, no matter the weather
If it rains let it rain, yea the wetter the better
They ain't gonna stop us, they can't, we're stronger now more then ever,
They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go,
Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push up, mush, fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home come on just . . .

Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,
Come with me, and I won't stear you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,
We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp
We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors, come on

Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us,
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying
we're responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered
This is Bin Laden, look at his head nodding,
How could we allow something like this, Without pumping our fist
Now this is our, final hour
Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise
Try to amplify the times it, and multiply it by six
Teen million people are equal of this high pitch
Maybe we can reach Al Quaida through my speech
Let the President answer on high anarchy
Strap him with AK-47, let him go
Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil
No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes
They've been swiped, washed out and wiped,
And Replaced with his own face, mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you'll know why, because I told you to fight

So come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,
Come with me, and I won't stear you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,
We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp
We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors

And as we proceed, to mosh through this desert storm, in these closing statements,
if they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences,
and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction
that we call our president, for the present,
and mosh for the future of our next generation
to speak and be heard, Mr. President, Mr. Senator

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Poetry of Spam

I don't know about you, but my inbox has changed. Gone are the days of "Wet hot sluts!", "Barely legal", and "XXX Britney". Today, the spammers are waxing poetic. Not intentionally, of course. I know that they are using some sort of randomizer for words so that they can slip by spam blockers undetected. But like the times in 3rd grade when I imagined that the patterns in the ice on my school bus window were drawn just for me by some kind soul who rode the bus before me (I sure was lonely that year!), I like to think of some brilliant poet carefully crafting these absurd yet beautiful subject lines. Hey, if they can make the utterances of Donald Rumsfeld into poetry, anything is possible!

Here are some of my favorites:

Re: Or sing as symmetry operative
Re: At look so deft ornithology
Have close so obituary
As forget or snail costumier
Be think is attrition
The speak by tinderbox
I fall be genealogy recycle
He type he outrange chalk
I play go flux.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Songs for Friday

Taking a lead from my friend Chris at Cheeze Blog, here are the first 10 songs I heard today on random shuffle (walking to work is the best!!):

1. Mater Dolores, El Vez
2. Particle Man, They Might Be Giants
3. Under Your Spell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
4. Life and How to Live It, REM
5. I Believe, REM
6. Kinda I Want To, Nine Inch Nails
7. Bakerman, Midnight Oil
8. The Authority Song, Jimmy Eat World
9. Four Women, Nina Simone
10. Superstition, Stevie Wonder

And at work, I've been listening to Radio Nova, a station I discovered when staying at our niece's apartment in Paris last winter. It's got a great combination of old stuff and new stuff, a lot of which I don't know. Plus very few interruptions for publicité! Check it out at

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Smoke and Mirrors

Many people have been asking me what I think of the nomination of John Roberts to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat on the Supreme Court, especially in light of my piece “Signifying Nothing,” which has gotten wide circulation.

I see this nomination as just one in another of the Bush administration’s smart strategic moves to keep the left busy fire fighting, thus expending time and resources, but not actually advancing forward. I believe that the Bush administration is purposely not doing anything so outrageous that people will pour into the streets.

Don’t get me wrong. Bush and Co are doing outrageous things everyday. And they’re getting away with it. The recess appointment of John Bolton is just the latest example in a long line of stunningly brazen moves that consolidate power and flaunt convention. Perhaps it’s the shock that dampens the people’s reaction to these moves. Or perhaps it’s the flawless Orwellian “doublespeak” of such Bush programs as the Patriot Act, The Clear Skies Initiative, and No Child Left Behind that leaves people’s heads spinning and unable to think clearly. The Bush Juggernaut is like the most skilled Las Vegas magician: we only see what they want us to see. And even those of us who see the sleight of hand behind the card trick are often at a loss of how to explain the illusion before they’ve moved on to the next one. (I’m reminded of the Thomas Mann novella, Mario and the Magician, about nascent fascism. It’s been years since I’ve read it; I’ll have to re-read it and see if it’s relevant to our times.)

But what I’m talking about with the Roberts nomination is somewhat different. Alberto Gonzalez’s name had been tossed about for years as Bush’s top pick for the Supreme Court, even before Abu Graib, even before he became Attorney General. But I believe that the administration sensed that a Gonzales nomination to replace O’Connor would produce too much protest. So instead, they nominated John Roberts. He has a shady history no doubt, including gratuitously arguing during another case that Roe v. Wade was a bad decision that should be overturned while he was Solicitor General under Bush. But what the media is portraying is a relatively young, good looking man, who his colleagues all describe as “nice”. And the left is reacting in kind. Instead of calling for an outright rejection of Roberts, or even a filibuster, leaders on the left are asking that his background be “thoroughly investigated“. That’s as lame-ass a protest as the Dems, before the Iraq War started, complaining that they should be consulted in the decision to go to war.

Another example of this “give ‘em enough to keep ‘em busy, but not enough to provoke massive protest” is what they’re doing with reproductive rights. Bush, et al, have never hidden the fact that they want to outlaw abortion in the U.S. But instead of overturning Roe v. Wade outright, they have been slowly chipping away at reproductive rights for years. They know that legal abortion has become an accepted fact for the majority of Americans, and that most would not accept the outlawing of abortion. So instead they wear it away step by step. This long-term assault seems much less serious to the general public. The result is that people on the left who see the true Bush agenda and call it out are accused of crying wolf. And the difficulty of sustaining a drawn-out defense of Roe wears on the financial and human resources of the choice movement.

Perhaps they’ll save Alberto Gonzalez for when Rhenquist retires, which I believe will be once the Roberts confirmation goes through. Or maybe they’re satisfied with him as Attorney General for now. What’s certain is that Roberts will get confirmed. Remember that a Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas. Anyone who expects any real opposition from that corner is sorely deluded.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Every Sperm is Sacred; or, Does Nick Cannon Masturbate?

So I finally saw the video for Nick Cannon's song "Can I Live". I'd heard about it, but hadn't seen it for myself until recently. It's pretty outrageous.

It opens with a scene of a protest at an abortion clinic. The camera follows a young African American woman as she runs the gauntlet towards the door to the clinic. So far, so good. It's a realistic portrayal of the insanity that goes on outside clinics across the country every day.

But then, you start to realize what the lyrics are about. Turns out that the woman in the video is supposed to be Nick's mother, and he is singing to her, as her 8 week old fetus, not to kill him:
"You see me in your sleep so you can't kill your dreams
300 Dollars that's the price of living what?
Mommy I don't like this clinic
Hopefully you'll make the right decision
And don't go through with the Knife Decision"

Later on he sings, with an incredible amount of ego:
"That's a life inside you look at your tummy
What is becoming ma I am Oprah bound
You can tell he's a star from the Ultrasound"

OK, here's something I've always wanted to point out to people who say "what if your mother aborted you?" Well, you know what? I wouldn't know because I wouldn't be here! It's such a ridiculous argument. If Nick Cannon's mother had had an abortion, he wouldn't know because he wouldn't be here, and we wouldn't know either! Or as Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, the former chair of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice would put it, in any situation, you have a series of choices, but you don't get the opportunity to live each one out, so you can't know if you made the "right" decision, only if it's the best one for you at the time given the circumstances.

Anyway, back to Nick's video.

The woman, about to have an abortion, runs from the clinic still wearing the paper gown, in tears, and the song moves to the chorus, sung in the video by a choir of children wearing t-shirts that say "life" or something like that:
"I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You
I Will Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I Would Say To You

The song ends with Nick hugging a woman who seems to be his real mother, and saying"
"I ain't passing no judgment
Ain't making no decisions
I am just telling ya'll my story
My love life
I love my mother for giving me life
We all need to appreciate life
A strong woman that had to make a sacrifice
Thanks for listening
Thanks for listening
Mama thanks for listening"

But in reality he IS passing judgment. By recording this song, and making this video, he is making a strong anti-choice statement, one that is surely having a big impact on his fans. When I saw it, my reaction was, "well, there goes a whole new anti-choice generation." I taught sex ed for six years, and many of the youth I taught were very anti-choice, even those girls who had had abortions. Their attitude is "you made your bed, now lie in it". I can see many of them quoting and referencing Nick's song to justify their anti-choice opinions.

Now I am not saying that Nick's mom should have had an abortion or not. I support her, and all women's, right to have a child, as well as to have an abortion. What I find troublesome is Nick taking on the persona of an "unborn child" and essentially saying "mommy, don't kill me," a favorite quote and sing of many clinic protesters.

Evidently, this video is getting played on TRL on MTV. I can guarantee that a video in which a woman chose abortion would be censored by MTV as too controversial. Rarely, if ever, do you see a woman choose abortion on TV (Maude, Six Feet Under). More often, a woman might consider abortion, but then have a miscarriage on the way to the clinic (Party of Five), or she decides to keep the baby after all (Dawson's Creek). Occasionally, you will see a woman talk about an abortion she's had in the past (90210). But that's a topic for a future blog!

Click here for Sunsara's take on the song:

Guess Who's Back!

OK, my adoring fans, I'm back. I've been out of things, because well, life got in the way. Family crisis, leaving old job, getting new job... you know, the minor stuff.

Right now I'm writing from a wonderful place, the Pan-T Ranch in Montana. It's really amazing and beautiful here, not like any place I've ever been. I'm here with 6 other fabulous women, 2 who I already knew and 4 new friends. These are some kick-ass women: an abortion provider who stood up to relentless protests at her home by the Lambs of Christ (who are neither meek nor Christ-like), an anti-nuke activist who has gone to jail more than 100 times for protesting nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons, a woman who ran a domestic violence shelter more than 20 years, an amazing vegetarian cook, a young communist who's done great work with homeless youth in New York City, and a woman who started out her activism by telling Nixon to stop the war as she received the "Young American Medal for Service" and hasn't stopped since. We went to a peace rally today in Livingston, MT with "Montana Women For..." It was good to see what's going on in some place other than the north east in terms of protesting the war.

In addition to all the great women, there are some great animals here, too. My favorite is the brand new kitten, Blue. I am rarely without her in my arms. Yesterday I announced that I was starting a new form of meditation called "kitty meditation" that involves relaxing by playing with the kitten. There is also an older cat named Sam, and 4 dogs: Kili, Violet, Bean, and Katie. I have been informed by the women here that I have to change my profile - they say I am not a future crazy cat lady, but that I am already there.

But it's not all relaxing, here. We are spreading the word about the World Can't Wait in between wonderful meals.

I'll try and post more while I'm here, and before I start my new job next week with Military Families Speak Out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Non-Profit “Irrational Exuberance” Bubble

As you could probably tell from my Supreme Court posting, I’m very frustrated with the liberal non-profit world these days. (Yes, I still work in it myself because I haven’t quite figured out how else to earn a living.) Today, my partner wrote an email that really captured something I’ve felt, so I decided to share it with you. I took out any identifying information; after all, we do need that non-profit to keep paying his salary!

“This morning, I watched an intern tell a co-worker some relatively unimportant piece of news that I suppose could have been interpreted as a very mildly positive development on whatever the both of them are working on, and I then had the privilege of being a witness to that dorky 10-second dance that my co-worker does when she is given a piece of "good news" (complete with finger-snapping) that totally does not warrant such a physical display of joy.

“And then it hit me: I thought about ol' Alan Greenspan and his comments about "irrational exuberance" - this is totally what half the people here do. We get excited about bullshit, and convince ourselves that the bullshit is in fact very significant and real, like overzealous cheerleaders at a high school pep rally, and then we sweep very substantial and meaningful bad news under the rug and put our own delusional spin on it. Whether this is done consciously to keep morale high or the troops focused on their tasks, or unconsciously as a defense mechanism to prevent us from having a complete nervous breakdown, I dunno. But in any case, it blows my mind, increasingly so since last November.

“It's certainly not in my view a simple case of "positive attitude" or "necessary optimism". No offense to the real hard work all these folks do, but the delusional state of mind (especially after the last presidential election) sometimes borders, in my view, on mental disorder.”

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Break Up Songs

While it’s easy to pay attention to love songs when you’re not in love (isn't that what being 12 is about?), you don’t necessarily care about break up songs unless you’re broken up. So what follows is a list of break up songs I have direct experience with. Thank goodness the last one was in 1991!

The first person I ever broke up with freshman year in high school listened to Purple Rain non-stop afterwards on his walkman. I guess that line “It’s such a shame our friendship had to end” was what got him. My friends called him a drowned puppy. I felt a little bad. I still love that song.

I don’t really remember any song from my next break up, but I do remember that he gave me Chicago XVII for Christmas. Was “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” on that one?

The next one was a guy who communicated through notes, which consisted solely of song quotes, and tapes he made me. When we broke up, I got a blistering tape of Marillion. Harsh! I immediately threw it away, despite the fact that I did like “Lavender” and “Kayleigh”. I just didn’t want to listen to them if they were supposed to be about me!

For that guy, I guess “Careless Whisper” was my guilty feeling song. Oh, and in his yearbook I did write quotes from two songs (anonymously!):

Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember,
We simply choose to forget.
But it’s the laughter we will remember
When we remember
The way we were.

Don’t let the past remind us
Of what we are not now

Do you think he knew it was me? ;)

Then was the guy who couldn’t tell the Beatles apart. Good riddance!

Then, let’s see, I ended going out with Purple Rain guy again between high school and college. We did the long distance thing until he broke up with me over Easter weekend when I was home from freshman year in college. Guess things evened out in the end. The only thing that saved me was Melissa Etheridge’s self-titled first album, which had just come out. For those of you who only know her from her recent adult contemporary work, her first few albums are quite bitter and rocking. Just what the doctor ordered! In my more generous days, I also played Chicago’s “Feeling Stronger Everyday”, but that was more for me than for him.

Finally, we have the soundtrack for the “friends with benefits”. I guess you can’t really call those breakup songs if you were never really together. Two of my favorites for that were Suzanne Vega’s “Knight Moves” (Do you love any, do you love none, can you love 20, can you love one, do you love me?) and the Cowboy Junkies’ “Cause Cheap is How I Feel”. Both are excellent for sitting in the dark and crying in your beer.

Billy Bragg’s “Greetings to the New Brunette” is a great “moving on” song. And Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” (forget Whitney’s version exists!) is heartbreaking – it makes me cry whenever I hear it, especially when she sings “and most of all I wish you love.” And Phil Collins doing “Against All Odds” is still an amazing song. If that’s just too un-hip for you, you can listen to the Postal Service’s cover of it. Great song, either way.

A friend of mine got divorced right when that Alanis Morrissette album came out, you know the one with “You Oughtta Know” on it. I guess it was very cathartic for my friend.

I can’t wait to hear your favorite break up song stories! C’mon, relive your exquisite pain!

Perfect Love Songs

A few months ago when we were visiting Karl’s family in France, I began polling people about their top 5 perfect love songs. Now I am not a romantic person. In fact, I’m about 99% cynic. But even I have to admit that there do exist some perfect love songs. I also couldn’t think of any that had been written after the mid-80s. Most of mine were from the 60s and 70s. So I was curious to know what others thought. So far no one has come up with one from more recent times.

I’d love to hear from you. What are your top 5 (or more) perfect love songs? And by that I don’t mean unrequited love songs, or breakup songs (that’s for another post). I mean songs about I love you, you’re so great, we’re so great, this is perfect.

Here’s my list:
Maybe I’m Amazed, Paul McCartney Now I’m a John Lennon person, myself, but my best relationships have always been with Paul McCartney men. I did date that one guy that couldn’t tell the Beatles apart – that should have been a sign right there. And Lennon/Lennon relationships are too intense. There’s a reason why it was Lennon/McCartney. That’s probably why this song tops my list.

Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton I used to think this was a sad song, but a friend of mine (rightly so) told me I just thought it was sad because of personal associations. It’s a beautiful song.

God Only Knows, The Beach Boys And god only knows how Brian Wilson wrote such heartbreakingly perfect songs.

In My Life, The Beatles Nothing to say, it’s just that perfect.

You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Gladys Knight and the Pips OK, maybe I was a bit influenced to put this on my list by High Fidelity, but it is a great song.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice, The Beach Boys I actually played this for a boyfriend when I was 17. Ah, young love!

Sweet Thing, Van Morrison My dream is for someone to sing this song to me.

Reservations, Wilco "I’ve got reservations about so many things. But not about you. Not about you.”

Just Like Heaven, The Cure Officially the most recent perfect love song.

Still the One, Orleans I’ve loved this song since I was a kid, and now am quite delighted that it actually applies to my life!

On a side note, our friend Leland sang Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” for us on our 10th anniversary. And Elvis sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” when we renewed our vows in Vegas, so those are pretty good songs, too.

Karl’s List:
He says he could only come up with three… (in no particular order):
1. Perfect Day, Lou Reed
2. Something, The Beatles
3. Pale Blue Eyes, The Velvet Underground

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Signifying Nothing

When I checked my email on Friday, July 1, there were over 50 messages in my inbox about Sandra Day O'Connor's surprise resignation from the Supreme Court.
"O'Connor Resigns – Women's Lives Are at Stake!"
"Urgent Alert! Action Needed Now!"
"Abortion Rights Emergency!"
"The Battle for the Supreme Court Has Begun"
"Protect Our Rights!"

Reading them, I found myself moving from irritated to fuming. It's not that I disagree with the basic premise. There is no question that we are at a very dire moment. Whoever fills the vacancy left by O'Connor's retirement will have an influence on the Supreme Court for decades to come. Looking at Bush's nominees to the lower courts, we can tell the type of jurist he will likely nominate for the Supreme Court. And the prospects are not good. The consequences will be far-reaching, and will have a direct impact on people's daily lives.

As Adam Cohen wrote in New York Times in October, 2004:
"Abortion might be a crime in most states. Gay people could be thrown in prison for having sex in their homes. States might be free to become mini-theocracies, endorsing Christianity and using tax money to help spread the gospel. The Constitution might no longer protect inmates from being brutalized by prison guards. Family and medical leave and environmental protections could disappear."

So why am I fuming when I should be joining the fight? Because the Left is gearing up to fight the same battle they've fought, and lost, since Bush stole the election in 2000. From the Florida recount debate, to the launch of the Iraq War, to the 2004 election, to the filibuster battle, the Left has used the same losing strategy over and over again. In essence, the strategy is to get lots and lots of people – including those who have never participated before - to support the Democrats, and to hope/beg/lobby that they will "do the right thing", which usually involves maintaining a system that was long-ago broken. The solution to the vote fraud in Florida? Get more people to vote. How to stop the war from starting? Call your Senator! Want to get rid of Bush? Hold your nose and vote for Kerry! Desperate to prevent Bush's outrageous judicial nominees from getting confirmed? Celebrate as a victory a "compromise" that ensures the filibuster won't be used.

Even progressives have embraced this strategy, citing of the importance of "speaking truth to power."

Well, the truth is that power doesn't give a shit. Power is only interested in staying in power. As Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." So far, no one is demanding anything. Nothing of substance, anyway. Nothing that will really rock the foundations and change the dangerous course that Bush, et al, are leading us on to fascism and theocracy.

So I'm fuming because all this desperate activity - the emails, the national conference calls, the emergency meetings – strike me as nothing but "sound and fury, signifying nothing." Nothing, because the result will be the same as with the other major battles against the Bush juggernaut: Lots of time and energy and money will be expended, and Bush will still get his way.

Some said of the 2004 election that the bright side was that unprecedented numbers of people, many active for the first time, were mobilized to work to elect Kerry. The thought is that these folks will now be involved in new battles. But is it a good thing for people to organize to go down a dead end? Isn't that actually disorganizing?

Many people comfort themselves with the thought that "the pendulum will swing back." But the fact is, there is no pendulum. The laws of physics do not dictate that the world will swing back and forth between the radical left and the radical right, eventually settling in the moderate center. When the times have "swung" one way or the other, it is because the people made the world change. Civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, all were achieved with decades of hard work and personal sacrifice. Many people went to jail to make change. Some people died. In every case, it was only when the demands of the people became so great that those in power had no choice but to pass legislation or issue court decisions that echoed the will of the people.

The situation we find ourselves in today is also the result of people on the extreme right working for decades behind the scenes to make the change that THEY want to see in the world. The architects of the Bush agenda have been working since the Nixon administration – my entire lifetime – to get to where they are today. They are not going to walk away from power just because a bunch of new people registered and voted for Kerry. They are not going to back down from their agenda and nominate a moderate jurist for the Supreme Court just because people ask them to. And the Democrats are too invested in protecting their own limited power to step out in a way that might actually make a difference.

So what to do? We have to do something. Everyday we grow nearer and nearer to a point of no return. I go back to Douglass's assertion that "Power concedes nothing without a demand." What demand will make a difference today? What demand will stop this juggernaut and take us away from the brink, from the point of no return?

The only proposal that I've heard that has the possibility of actually turning things around is The World Can't Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime! <> The name says it all. We can't continue to fight this stuff piecemeal with ineffective strategies. We can't wait for an imaginary pendulum to swing back. We can't wait for 2008. We need to be bold and take this on head-first. Some people say we need to develop a long-term strategy first. But let's be real: unless we act today, there will be no need for a long-term strategy. Unless we stop the Bush regime NOW, the Supreme Court will be irrelevant in the not-too-distant future.

Go to the website and read the call. Think about it. Talk to your friends and family about it. Join me in signing your name to call, and become one more in the millions needed to drive out the Bush Regime. Truly, the world cannot wait.

With Thunderous Applause

Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater. As a child, I was only allowed to watch “educational” television – movies and FM radio were verboten. But for some reason, my father deemed Star Wars important enough to make an exception. So obviously, Star Wars is very special to me.

I was seven years old in 1977, and immediately I became a huge fan. I joined the fan club, and impatiently waited the three years in between each film. Since I was a child, I was naturally attracted to some of the more surface aspects of the film: I longed to wear my hair in Princess Leia “donuts”, and gosh that Han Solo sure was cute!

But from the start, I was also drawn to the political aspects of the story. The Rebellion were a small, rag-tag group of people fighting against the evil Emperor and his police state, enforced by the Stormtroopers. When we first meet the Rebels, we don’t know how long they’ve been fighting the good fight, but we see their loyalty, and how much they’re willing to sacrifice.

Neither of my parents were activists, but politics were a topic of conversation in our household. I had an awareness of injustice in the world, and a desire from an early age to be part of the struggle against it. I wanted to be a member of the Rebel Alliance!

I can honestly say that I spent a lot of time wondering what happened in the Galaxy that the Jedi Knights were decimated and the Emperor came to power. How did the peaceful Galaxy become the fascist Empire?

Padme Amidala answers that question in Revenge of the Sith: “So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause.”

The steps that lead to this moment seem innocuous, even reasonable, in isolation:
*The Trade Federation blockades Naboo, a peaceful, out-of-the-way planet
*Senator Palpatine of Naboo is elevated to Chancellor by a sympathy vote.
*Obi-wan Kenobi discovers that a clone army has secretly been commissioned.
*Jar-Jar Binks leads a successful call for the Chancellor to be given emergency war powers, including calling up the new clone army. His reasoning: we must be able to act quickly in these uncertain times. (Sound familiar?)
*Small conflicts break out all over the Galaxy, and the Jedi, the peacekeepers of the Galaxy, are stretched beyond their capacity.
*Some Jedi start to sense that the agenda of the Sith is connected to that of the Chancellor.
*Meanwhile, a small group of Senators becomes concerned that the actions of the Chancellor may be moving them towards a fascist police state. Their solution is to cling to their democratic principles.

By the time anyone puts all the piece of the puzzle together, it’s already too late. The Chancellor, whose term has long expired, declares himself Emperor, to the aforementioned “thunderous applause.” At long last, the Jedi decide they must act to bring Palpatine down, but they are too late. Palpatine has successfully won over Anakin Skywalker, the star Jedi Knight, who then single-handedly brutally eliminates the Jedi Council, as well as all apprentices, even the children.
Many people see Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, as the story of Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, through his literal physical transformation into Darth Vader. In fact, Episode III is much more. It is a clear depiction of how simple steps, often rationalized by the majority as needed for security or for the greater good, can quickly take a society to a point of no return.

The movie ends with the few remaining Jedi going into exile, and other potential leaders of a resistance movement disbursing (Yoda, Obi-Wan) or dying (Padme Amidala). Evidently George Lucas cut an early story line of Padme Amidala starting the Rebel Alliance. Scenes of Yoda going into exile on Dagobah ended up on the cutting room floor. So we are left to fill in the blanks ourselves. We do not know how, but a resistance movement does form, presumably led by Senator Organa of Alderran, Princess Leia’s adoptive father. It takes approximately 20 years for the Rebel Alliance to gain the strength to take on the Empire in a serious way. All this time, the Senate continues to meet, albeit as a rubber stamp for the Emperor. Only at the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is the transition to a fascist police state complete with the dissolution of the Senate.

As fans of the original trilogy know. The Rebel Alliance was eventually victorious, killing the Emperor, and destroying the second Death Star, the ultimate weapon of a fascist police state. But at what cost?

We are not living “a long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away”. This is the United States of America, 2005. Our own trajectory parallels that of the Star Wars Galaxy in a frighteningly accurate way. Anakin, newly re-named Darth Vader, actually says to Obi-Wan, “If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy,” directly referencing George W. Bush’s pronouncement before the Iraq War began. Like George Lucas’ Galaxy, we are quickly approaching a point of no return. Unlike the Jedi Council, we cannot drag our feet in making bold moves to halt the current path of history. We cannot wait for everything to fall apart, for all resistance leaders to be jailed or worse, before we act. We cannot afford to wait to form our own Rebel Alliance until after the other shoe has dropped. As Steve Earle sings on his latest album. “The Revolution Starts Now.”

May the Force be with all of us.


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