Archive for the ‘politics’ category

Another Reason to Abolish Capital Punishment

February 25, 2009

noose

I’ve gotten into a lot of arguments over the years with people who support the death penalty.  While I would usually cite the moral and philosophical issues I have with it, that argument was usually countered with “we are spending too much money on criminals as it is, so just get rid of them.”   Was happy to see that in light of the economic crisis, law makers are taking a closer look at their respective state budgets, and in an effort to save money by reducing spending where it isn’t needed, many have targeted capital punishment as an expense that should come off the books.  This NYTimes article explains how death penalty cases cost millions of extra dollars in court costs, and how the years of appeals and trials only exacerbate the problem of over-crowded prisons — an issue so severe in some areas that states are simply releasing [non-violent] offenders on the basis of capacity limitations.

Whatever the reason, let’s hope the tide against the death penalty continues to rise.

Israel’s Violation of Press Access “Unprecedented”

January 6, 2009

as a much more somber follow-up to the post below…

This article from today’s NYTimes explains Israel’s admitted censorship of free press in Gaza since its invasion of the occupied territory, which has almost completely shut out international press from the areas in and surrounding the war zone, while practically offering guided tours of every uninhabited piece of dirt in Southern Israel that has fallen victim to a Hamas rocket. 

The Foreign Press Association of Israel has summed up the shut-out by stating that “the unprecedented denial of access to Gaza for the world’s media amounts to a severe violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs.”

And what is the job of journalists?  To report the news, to expose the truth, to inform a public that needs to make informed decisions.  These restrictive practices only serve to point the compass of public opinion towards the conclusion that exposing the truth and informing the public may not be in Israel’s best interests after all.

* * * * *

This accompanying blog article on the NYTimes website offers a cursory glance into the extremely well-planned PR campaign Israel has been implementing — pretty interesting.

Prop 8 – The Musical

December 3, 2008

This video is awesome.  Great collaboration. Pass it on!

 

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

 

more about ““Prop 8 – The Musical” starring Jack …“, posted with vodpod

Hope, personified

November 5, 2008

He won.

amazing. 

was at a friends place watching the television coverage until about 12:30am last night.  They had a bunch of people over.  Champagne bottles popped open, everyone screaming.  A few of them decided to head out into the city to take part in the street-side celebrations that were springing up everywhere.
I stayed home.

What’s wrong with you? they asked. Secret McCain fan?

They didnt get it.  They arent from the States, and for them, this was just a celebration. This was a lot more for me. I was just as happy as they were, maybe more so, but in a different way. It was pretty emotional for me… I just remembered watching the last two elections, and the disappointment I felt…and all the hard times we went through these last 8 years, with September 11th and the subsequent gloom and widespread anti-arab sentiment, and the wars that claimed the lives of friends or friends of friends, and the economic situation which caused many of my friends to lose their jobs and/or all their savings, and having to listen to the radio each morning to see if I still had a job that day…even if Obama hasn’t officially done anything as president yet, he’s already imbued me and countless others with a profound sense of hope that better times are ahead, and confidence in the belief that he has the wisdom, compassion, and courage to pursue ideals that appeal to the common man.  For this alone, I am grateful. His speech was inspirational…I couldnt control the shivers, and some point, the tears.

A new journey begins…where will it take us?  Where will we take ourselves?

I hope to have the courage to project this new-found sense of confidence and empowerment into something worthwhile in my life, and in the lives of others.

best,
Z

Election Day Jitters

November 4, 2008

I can’t believe today is the day! I recall the last two election days with horror, compounded by the morose, cold numbness one feels while watching the grim reality of their future materialize slowly in front of them, which is what I experienced watching the election results in real-time on TV in 2000 and 2004.  In 2004, I have to admit, I was deeply ashamed to be an American; I could not fathom reelecting GWB and the vote of confidence and approval his reelection signified…to be part of that conglomerate left me with a feeling of indignance that proved difficult to cleanse.

I won’t harp on the choices others have made in the past or will be making today.  I just hope that everyone who cares about the future of this nation and has the privilege of being a part of it gets off their ass, heads to the polls, and votes for the candidate they honestly believe will do America best.

Hoping to leave work a little early to avoid what I expect to be massive lines at my voting site.  In case it is packed, I have a magazine and an election-day playlist on my iPod to keep me going.  Tired as I am right now, nothing is gonna stop me from “Barack[ing] the Vote”, as the young kids are saying these days.

Good luck America!

from Lincoln to Obama, a long road traveled

October 24, 2008

Pretty interesting nytimes piece, highlighting the presidential candidates the newspaper has endorsed since the 1860 election where Abraham Lincoln was elected, up to now.  This follows it’s recent public endorsement of Barack Obama, which was great, but not good enough to make me forget that it trivialized Obama during the primaries when it officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the more capable candidate [still pissed about that].

Amazing that the first endorsement, for Lincoln, was for a candidate whose presidency would be focused mainly on the civil war and the divisive issue of the enslavement of Africans….and then you scroll down and see an endorsement for Barack Obama, a proud man of (recent ancestral) African descent.  Imagine how 19th century Americans would have reacted if you told them there would be a black president one day!  Hell, imagine if you did it 50 years ago, and the reaction probably wouldn’t be as different as we may like to think.

But we’re ready now.  We as a people have come a long way, and we have to continually make bold decisions in favor of change for the better, rather than seek out the short-term comfort of complacency. 

I hope you all agree, and that you show it on election day by getting off your asses and voting this Election Day.  It’s just around the corner! History in the making, folks.  Be a part of it.

President [ap]Palin?

October 2, 2008

The VP debate is tonight, and a horrible thought just crossed my mind:

if McCain wins the election … and hard as it is to admit, there is at least a decent chance of that happening … and his 72 year old heart gives out …

then SARAH-PALIN COULD BE THE PRESIDENT of THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!!

Do McCain Palin supporters realize that?  I promised my friends that I would leave the country even if McCain won, but if Palin was president I would burn my passport and develop a British accent real quick.

The holy-crap-its-already-August Round Up

August 4, 2008

The summer is flyin by, and I’m not happy.  Gotta make the most of it while we can, folks.  Ive been trying to, but that’s only part of the reason why Ive been seriously slacking with the posts…believe it or not, Ive actually been busting my ass at work.  Despite my best efforts to evade acknowledgment and remain anonymous in all aspects of the company other than the payroll, word got out that I actually exist and have the capacity to tackle a larger workload.  Sons of bitches…

Here’s another patented ramble to update you on my life, and ruminations on everything relevant (to me) outside of it:

•Just back from a weekend down on the Jersey Shore, where I stayed at my friends awesome beach house.  Saturday was a fucking monsoon and I got kicked out of the water because the sissy lifeguards were afraid of the raging lightening.  Wimps.  Sunday made up for it though…started the day early and got in plenty of sun, and my arabian skin did great under the pressure (I only used SPF 8 sunblock).  Came back to work today lookin extra crispy, wearing white to accentuate the contrast, which made all the home-bodies in my office hate my guts.  Mission accomplished.

•Reading Things Fall Apart right now.  It was assigned in college but I Sparknote’d that biatch.  My friend Andrew gave me a spare copy and I thought I should actually read it, being it’s a classic and I haven’t read any other books set in Africa.  More to come on this.  No spoilers, please.

•I lost my phone in a  taxi after it fell out my pocket.  No one called or tried to return it.  I hate that.  Ive found phones before and went to crazy lengths to get it back to the owner.  Feels pretty crappy, cuz I know someone found it…  Ah well, I have insurance cuz I know I always lose or damage my phones; the list is pretty impressive.  I’ve dropped a phone down a sewer grate, in the toilet, in four feet of snow and couldnt find it, one fell on the street and got ran over by a truck…I could go on for a while.  That’s why I am the only person in the world who has no interest in an iPhone…I know Im gonna lose that shit in a week.  Not much of a gadget person anyway…long as I can make a phone call and it’s smaller than the one Zack Morris used to pull out of his ass in Saved By the Bell,  then I’m all good.

•SPORTS. Ok, plenty of quick thought, cuz each is deserving of it’s own post…  Brett Favre is a selfish bastard and the Packers are assholes for now declaring that he can compete for the starting QB job, after all this freaking talk about being committed to Aaron Rodgers.  They totally gave in to this drama queen.  They drafted Brian Brohm because Favre said for the 716th time that he was definitely hanging up his helmet.  He put the Packers in such a bad spot, and for that reason alone they shouldve had the stones to move on.  Federer is losing his #1 ranking, but is still the best player in the world.  I think he’s gonna bounce back in a big way, and people are nuts for prematurely predicting his demise.  Manny to the Dodgers is good for both teams. He is gonna play great there (a motivated Manny is the most dangerous hitter in the league), and the Red Sox dont deserve the negative backlash theyve gotten since the trade.  That team won 2 championships because of team chemistry, and Manny gave up on them and called out management on a daily basis.  Francona is the best skipper in the league and he needs respect from everyone in his clubhouse.  They gave up a lot, but in getting Jason Bay and ridding themselves of a clubhouse cancer, theyre a contender that will only get better.  Team USA basketball is looking great in their tuneups, and D-Wade is STRAIGHT UP NASTY.  Do not sleep on this man!!  He lost some luster in the eyes of many the last two years because of serious injuries, but somehow he looks more explosive than ever and has been their #1 highlight reel so far (and he’s a only sixth man).  I’m not afraid to say it: USA Basketball is gonna dominate the Olympics.  Write it down, bitches.  Ron Artest to the Rockets?  I’d be lying if I said I’m sure it’s gonna work, because Artest truly does deserve his rep as a headcase.  But the conditions are as good as they can be, as he’s playing for a coach who he actually respects, in a system he can benefit from, will be asked to contribute offensively and handle the ball at times, which will make him happy since he’s always clamoring about not being utilized offensively, and Shane Battier can come off the bench as a top sixth man who can play multiple positions.  The Rockets are my fav team after the Knicks, and, if by some strange turn of events the Knicks do not win a championship this year, I want the Rockets to go all the way.  T-Mac is too damn good to never get out of the first round. 

•McCain is a dirty bastard and his attack ads are ridiculous.  Trying to knock Obama as a leader by comparing calling him a celebrity in the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears?  That shit is weak.

What a loser.  Later y’all.

George Carlin & Co: Open Up [your fuckin] Eyes

July 18, 2008

I was watching videos of George Carlin on youtube and man, that dude was a genius. RIP man. The great satirists just have a skill for cutting through the bullshit and explaining things to people in a way that not only makes sense, but is also funny as hell. And it’s not just about politics — it’s about all of the many forces and waves tugging at and crashing around us that try to move us, shape us, scare us so that they can then be the ones to comfort us, and turn us into sheep so that they can herd us into cages locked the second we let others think on our behalf.

But the greats like Carlin and Bill Maher and Jon Stewart clear the fog a bit. Not to say you should believe whatever it is that they say, but if you listen, youll notice that theyre not telling you what to believe, like your politicians, parents, teachers, and priests (rabbis/imams) do; theyre telling you to open up your eyes and start thinking for yourself.

Here are a few great clips i came across:

this one explains why I am a francophile:

More videos to come, but I have to leave the office before they make me do work.

ciao

Abductee Fighting to Have CIA Torture Acknowledged

June 9, 2008

I was so glad to read this story.

I wrote about the plight of Khalid al-Masri in this post back in October, describing the disgraceful US Supreme Court decision to exercise a loophole and avoid hearing the case of man who was abducted, sent to Afghanistan where he was tortured and interrogated, and then later abandoned by the CIA. But al-Masri hasn’t given up yet. Along with a growing bastion of supporters, he is again putting pressure on the German government (he is a German citizen) to acknowledge what was done to him hold accountable the agents involved.

The ACLU has taken up his case in the US. We’ll see how far that goes.

Good for al-Masri for sticking to his guns and having the courage to relive this horrible ordeal in order to expose governmental corruption and receive the public apology he desrves. I hopes he gets a few billion out of it as well..though a billion dollars probably only exchanges to something like 3.5 euros. Good luck dude.

To read more about this case, click here.

Turkish Court Bans Headscarf In Universities — Again

June 6, 2008

This really pissed me off.   I’m going to Turkey for a few months on vacation; it has always been my dream vacation.  I think about it as a crossroads of modern human history, where so many civilizations have made their mark on the world, a mark whose beauty is reflected today in the diversity of the Turkish culture.

That’s why I was so pissed off by the news report today that the Turkish High Court overturned a legal change issued by Prime Minister Erdogan that would allow women to where the headscarf at Turkish universities on the grounds that the change violated laws protecting Turkish secularism.

Read that sentence again.  The purpose of the overturned legal change wasn’t to require women to wear the headscarf; it was to allow women who choose to wear it to attend a Turkish university. 

I know the history of Turkey is complex and that there is a strong general desire to protect secular laws from religious extremism, but this isn’t a question of zealotry or “Islamism” or security.  It is a question of liberty, justice, and equality.  Secularism can be maintained while preserving individual liberties.  These kind of laws cannot be made to assuage irrational fears; think about where the U.S. would be if lawmakers and courts never took a stand against irrational and often ignorant public opinion. The decision of the high court is appalling because Turkey is trying so hard to kiss EU ass and prove that it is progressive, yet refuses to pass laws securing individual liberties for it’s own citizens (the other well known grievance is the strict code of expressive censorship Turkey enforces). The courts are also considering banning Erdogan and his widely popular AKP party from politics altogether…they have banned entire parties in the past and are expected to do it again here.  

Obviously there are many other countries in the same boat, but I guess I just expect more from Turkey.  I am also especially sensitive to human rights violations that are validated by the courts…I place a lot of faith in court systems as the guardians against corruption, and I feel indignant when they instead become the purveyors of it (I wrote about a similar story a few months ago regarding a US supreme court decision).

Here’s hoping that Turkey can be a place where all people are afforded equal rights, and that any protests that result from this decision are widespread, yet peaceful.

Al Gore’s Advice to Hillary: Get Sexy, Quick

May 16, 2008

I thought about this after reading this interesting post about the perception of Hillary as a boring candidate based on her endorsements (in comparison to Obama’s Rock-Star laden list). Hmm…a democratic candidate who is too boring to win? Who does that remind me of?

None other than Al “I’m too sexy for the white house cuz I won an Oscar” Gore!!

This man went from soul-less robot designed to look like a living human being to spontaneous sex-God in the span of about 4 seconds.

Ok, perhaps I embellish slightly. But the man created a buzz and definitely turned up the sexiness in a campaign criticized for lacking in charisma. And how did he do this?

All it took was some good old-fashioned hanky-panky with his wife..on national TV.

Have you ever seen Tipper so titillated? Neither have I. In fact, Al probably hadnt, either. And for those of you who don’t remember the buzz it stirred, read this.

A little public tonsil-hockey goes a long way on the campiagn trail. So Hil, Al and I agree that before you’re out for the count, you should make your power-move while you still can… and while the camera’s are still watching.

Photo of the Day: Why Obama Won the College-Male Vote

May 15, 2008

Because at the end of the day, every bro has to look himself in the mirror.

Word.

For you Hillary fans out there, no worries… I’m sure there are some sorority girls somewhere printing up pink “Chicks before Dicks”  t-shirts as we speak.  These things have a way of evening out.

McCain’s Pastor is Way Crazier than Obama’s

May 14, 2008

They’re all over a web, but here’s a video of McCain’s Pastor, Rod Parsley, on a rant about his view of America’s sacred mission. 

WTF is up with all these crazy pastors?  Obama’s pastor flipped on him and this dude Parsley is straight-up deranged.  There are some key differences, however, between the two Reverends and the candidates they are linked to. 

Obama’s pastor didn’t have a rep for being crazy until he turned on him, and when he started making all these crazy comments, Obama went out and publicly renounced him.  McCain never renounced Parsley despite making comments that were far more hostile and egregiously inflammatory.  On the contrary, He has actually welcomed the support.  Moreover, seeing as this is not a case where there is some kind of feud or rift between the two (as with Obama/Wright), I cannot imagine that Parsley just came up with this crazy shit recently… I’d wager that he’s been “preaching” (more like spewing) this crap from day 1.  I don’t know about you, but the thought of a guy who has a decent shot at becoming the president of the United States sitting down in church (as I would imagine he has, as he brings up religion and spirituality quite often) listening to Parsley say the kinda stuff he said in this video, nodding and hallelujah-ing and going through the motions and coming back the next week, it just makes me a little queasy.  And by a little I mean a lot. Don’t you think that if Rev. Wright never publicly insulted Obama, or even if he actually still supported him, but made the same kind of comments  as Parsley makes regularly, Barack Obama would renounce any ties with him immediately? 

I think he would. 

Who knows, maybe these pastors are just gloryhogs who want their day in the limelight.  But these dudes don’t preach in front of empty seats, so maybe we should look a little closer to find the root of the problem.  It’s a cryin shame that these politicians would probably catch more flack for not having a pastor than they would for having one who is a malicious psycho.

How sad is that?

Holla at Obama

May 6, 2008

Just a quick reminder to Indianians and North Carolinians to STEP UP today and help Barack Obama get jiggy wit it for the next 4 years.  He has promised to unleash this baller-ific victory dance if he wins.  As if you needed any more reasons to support this man. Crank Dat Obama!  

I’ll take this over a Hillary hokey-pokey any day of the week.

John McCain: 5 Things You Need to Know

April 25, 2008

Prepare to be shocked.

I just received a startling news revelation that there is a person running for president not named Obama or Clinton!

YES, John McCain is not a myth.  He is real.  And with all the crazy infighting between the Dems going on — I’d be surprised if this thing gets settled in a way that does not involve mudwrestling or a contest to see who can tell the best yo-mama joke — this McCain character actually stands a chance in a general election.  Which means that we need some dirt on this dude to find out what he’s all about.

And what better source than the amazing Jon Stewart?  With his assistance I will begin my McCain bashing, as it is never too early to sully the reputation of a future adversary. Stewart’s McCain highlights on a recent episode of the Daily Show  include the following juicy tidbits, along with my own ruminations:

McCain does NOT wear an American Flag lapel pin! What gives? Nazi bastard.

McCain cares deeply about civil rights and plans on being a pillar of the black community.  This is evidenced by the fact that he recently went to Selma, Alabama, home of the landmark civil rights march, for a speaking engagement about civil rights….in front of a crowd composed almost exclusively of white middle class citizens.  He was also later seen standing next to a black woman singing in a church, with an awkward smile and an alarmingly sweaty brow.  This man obviously loves black people.  He also has firmly stated that slavery was probably a bad thing and that he has seen the entire Roots mini-series, twice.  Now that is impressive. 

Personally, I’m not buying it.  You wanna see how he really feels?  Let’s see what happens when his daughter Meghan comes home one day with a big black dude she met at a G-Unit concert.  My guess is that Papa McCain’s 71 year old heart skips more than a few beats.

71. Jesus. There is a minimum age for presidential candidates, so why cant there be a maximum? This dude was born in the 30’s.  I’m afraid he might randomly enforce a food ration in anticipation of the next Great Depression (which, judging by the current value of the dollar, we might already be in).

McCain has a Reverend even crazier than Obama’s!  That is quite an accomplishment.   Actually, Rev. John Hagee is not McCain’s Pastor but is a prominent one who’s support was sought after by the McCain Campaign.  Hagee has been quoted as calling American Muslims disloyal, and thinks Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment against New Orleans for being the Sin City of the south.  The difference here is that McCain totally stands by the endorsement from this jerk. How can he do this, but then also go on record as saying that Katrina was a terrible disaster that deserved much more attention and government assistance than it received? How can he be proud of this endorsement?

John McCain looks like and may actually be a leprechaun.  It’s true.

What if he’s not a nice leprechaun that helps you find gold and marshmellowy cereal but an evil leprechaun like from the movie Leprechaun with Jennifer Aniston!  This possibility can’t be ignored.

Lucky Charms my ass. You’re going down, McCain.

Hillary to Iran: We Will Obliterate You

April 22, 2008

I’ll let her do the talking this time.

For Obama’s take on this, click here.

Pennsylvania Primary Pep-Talk

April 21, 2008

OK, Pennsylvania, your time has come.  Make your country proud.  O-fucking-Bama for president.  Yes We Can.

Yea, sorry, that’s all Ive got.  Discussing the election and the merits of the candidates is draining at this point, not to mention pointless. I think most people have made up their minds, if not about who the best possible candidate is, at least about who they are going to vote for.  So I won’t get all worked up in a Billary bashing tirade; I’ve already done that.  I’ve moved on.

Instead, I’ll provide you with links to websites that do it for me! It’s so much easier that way.

Since their is still a chance Hillary can win this damn thing, and the possibility that Pennsylvania might be the next Ohio (which means i might owe the state a giant roundhouse kick when this is all over), we have to be open to the possibility that she might actually be our next president.  That being said, the best thing about a bad president is that they often are great to make fun of.  Hillary is no exception, and in fact I think she’d be a gold mine for people like me who enjoy sarcastic and sometimes (often) immature satire. 

See, I’m giving Hillary credit for something.  Who says I can’t be objective?

Ok, I take that back. She sucks. Enjoy the Billary bashing!

http://hilldabeast.com/

http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/hillaryclinton/Hillary_Clinton_Jokes.htm

 

BILLARY EXPOSED!

March 17, 2008

hillary-face.jpg

I swear this is how Billary looked during her last press conference I asked her if she was trying to brainwash everyone into thinking she was human when she was really the devil’s wife and she said “yer darn tootin i is” in the fake southern accent she mysteriously picks up when she’s campaigning in southern states and then I told her to reveal herself and then she morphed into her true self and i turned and looked at the other reporters and was like WTF why arent you taking pictures of the devil woman and they didnt answer and just stood there hypnotized with blank eyes and then she swung her pointy devil’s tail to try to knock the phonecam out of my hand but I caught it with my left hand and then pulled her closer and round house kicked her in the face and she said arRrGH and blew a fireball at me but I ninja flipped over it and took a pic on my phone cam and escaped and posted it online so you ppl could see the truth and NOT VOTE FOR HER you hear me pennsylvania dont do it or seriously I will come over there and round-house kick all of you retards in the face and take a pic of you crying and post it so America can know who is responsible for it’s destruction if BILLARY is victorious. Don’t test me Im serious and deadly.

OK I know this post is childish and shoots down whatever credibility this blog has regarding politics, but since this blog never had any credibility regarding politics I guess it is not much of a setback.  This is also a manifestation of how I get around election time, and I’ve heard enough campaigning and my decision is made and Hillary is a buttface and I want my opinion to be known.  If you close your eyes and listen to her closely during debates and then open them again you will see what I see.  Try it, it’s true.

Cynicism: the key to a stress free life

March 5, 2008

glass-half-empty.jpg

Case Study: 2008 Ohio Democratic primary. 

I realized last night that I wouldn’t have had to go to sleep as stressed out as I did.  I have been sick the last few days and really needed a peaceful night’s rest, and I could of had it had I not decided to check the primary results online before turning in.  Why did I do it?  Anxiety, most likely.  But my anxiousness must have been the result of the fact that I foolishly gave in to that forever-failing mental mirage we humans call hope.  Why did I have faith in Ohio? Did it not screw America hard enough during the 2004 election?  When I think about it, I really had no reason to believe Ohio would come through, but I hoped that it would.  Had I lowered my expectations and been faithful only to my cynical nature, I would have avoided the grief that now grips me. 

The glass-half-empty approach is always the safe way to go.  If two people are trekking across an arid desert towards a refrigerator they see from afar, sitting on a sand dune, and one dude says don’t rush, it’s gonna be empty, and other says no way man, there’s a case of beer inside, I can feel it, and then the second guy runs toward it and opens the door only to find a box of baking soda and a jar of peanut butter [which you couldn’t possibly enjoy if your mouth is dry and you have nothing to drink; also, I think those are the only 2 things in my fridge right now..], he would probably use the last remaining amount of energy he has left to bash his head in with the refrigerator door, because the pain is easier to bear than the disapppointment of dashed hope.  Meanwhile, glass-half-empty dude just keeps walking listlessly, living a little longer and giving the rescue team searching for him [which he doesn’t believe exists] more time to find him.  

Case in point: cynicism = self-preservation.