Kim brought over this basket of veggies for my birthday. We had a bunch of them for dinner. Yum!
america the beautiful
Understanding America's Class System
"How about them political elites, huh? Five million bucks for Chelsea Clinton's wedding, 15K just to rent the air-conditioned shitters -- huge chrome and glass babies with hot water and everything. No gas masks and waxy little squares of toilet paper for those guys.
"Yes, it looks big time from the cheap seats. But the truth is that when we are looking at the political elite, we are looking at the dancing monkey, not the organ grinder who calls the tune. Washington's political class is about as upwardly removed from ordinary citizens as the ruling class is from the political class. For instance, they do not work for a living in the normal sense of a job, but rather obtain their income from abstractions such as investment and law, neither of which ever gave anybody a hernia or carpal tunnel. By comparison, the ruling class does not work at all."
At the beginning of WWII Americans of Japanese descent were rounded up and put in concentration camps. I thought that we were beyond that now, that it couldn't happen again. Now I see how it begins.
"When the Islamophobic furor against the proposed Muslim community center two-and-a-half blocks away from Ground Zero began to peak in mid-late July, some people wondered why it was occurring now, nine years after the 9/11 attacks. As the New York Times recently noted, an article published in the paper “last December about the project drew little negative comment.” Daisy Khan, the wife of the imam who is spearheading the Cordoba House, told the Times that the possibility of their project being controversial “never occurred” to them.
"But there is no reason to be surprised at the anger over the community center. While others have pointed to the economy, or to the recent surge in thwarted homegrown “terror” plots, to explain the anger over the community center, one can read what’s being played out as simply a continuation–albeit a much more intense strain–of the virulent anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment that began after the September 11 attacks. Specifically, the concocted controversy over the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) in 2007 should have set off alarm bells about the power of Islamophobic activists whose aim is to shut Muslims and Arabs out of American public life. The Brooklyn academy, the nation’s first dual-language Arabic public school, barely survived an onslaught of racist right-wing attacks against the school. Unfortunately, the founding principal, Debbie Almontaser, was not spared, and fell victim to an orchestrated smear campaign not unlike the one now targeting Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf."
"But I'd really like to hear from him right about now. Whatever else he did wrong, Mr. Bush went out of his way during his eight years in office to tell us that we are not at war with Islam and Muslims, the "crusade" gaffe notwithstanding. His rhetoric regarding Islam and Muslims after 9/11 was uniformly conciliatory, couched as it was between his WMD fabrications and pro-war grandstanding, and as the leader of his party, he kept the lid on an explosion of virulent hatred against fellow citizens who prayed to Allah instead of Jesus or Yahweh. It was bad enough after 9/11, with many assaults on Muslims and mosques to go around, but it could have been far, far worse had Bush not spoken as he did.
"Well, he's gone now, and the dogs are off the leash. The proposed construction of the Cordoba House two blocks from the World Trade Center site has given the far-right the opportunity to unveil the one flag they really salute: hatred, divisiveness and fear. For whatever reason, Mr. Bush has chosen to remain silent while his former minions drag the GOP and the country even further into darkness - his spokesman issued a "no comment" on Tuesday regarding the matter, in fact - so it falls to cooler heads to try and prevail. The problem is, my head isn't all that cool. I'm furious and disgusted over this situation, over the fact that once again, the far-right media establishment has successfully dragged us all to the edge of a cliff, over the fact that too many of us are wallowing in our worst selves."
Two Minutes to Midnight?
"America's march to a disastrous war in Iraq began in the media, where an unprovoked U.S. invasion of an Arab country was introduced as a legitimate policy option, then debated as a prudent and necessary one. Now, a similarly flawed media conversation on Iran is gaining momentum.
"Last month, TIME's Joe Klein warned that Obama administration sources had told him bombing Iran's nuclear facilities was "back on the table." In an interview with CNN, former CIA director Admiral Mike Hayden next spoke of an "inexorable" dynamic toward confrontation, claiming that bombing was a more viable option for the Obama administration than it had been for George W. Bush. The pièce de résistance in the most recent drum roll of bomb-Iran alerts, however, came from Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly. A journalist influential in U.S. pro-Israeli circles, he also has access to Israel’s corridors of power. Because sanctions were unlikely to force Iran to back down on its uranium enrichment project, Goldberg invited readers to believe that there was a more than even chance Israel would launch a military strike on the country by next summer.
"His piece, which sparked considerable debate in both the blogosphere and the traditional media, was certainly an odd one. After all, despite the dramatics he deployed, including vivid descriptions of the Israeli battle plan, and his tendency to paint Iran as a new Auschwitz, he also made clear that many of his top Israeli sources simply didn’t believe Iran would launch nuclear weapons against Israel, even if it acquired them.
"Nonetheless, Goldberg warned, absent an Iranian white flag soon, Israel would indeed launch that war in summer 2011, and it, in turn, was guaranteed to plunge the region into chaos. The message: the Obama administration better do more to confront Iran or Israel will act crazy."
I forgot to mention the birthday of this blog. It was 10 years old on August 10th. Today is another birthday. It's my 66th. Time to add another picture to the banner.