As noted above, April is a traditional month for the Take Back the Night marches. The four TBTN marches I attended at Princeton over 15 years ago were very important events in my life and who I became as a person. In a previous diary I blogged about the impact of those marches on my personal and professional life. I learned more from those experiences than from all except perhaps two of the 30 courses I took while I was there. So I am announcing the first annual Take Back The Blog March, a blogswarm in defense of women's right to be left alone in peace at night, including in the night of cyberspace, to be published on April 28, 2007.
I mentioned the need for a link logo to Demetrius, and he created the following. People are more than welcome to download and use them to promote this blog event.
For my part, I plan to keep adding posts here as I find them (and as the feeds become available.)
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Cross-posted at Diatribune and BlueSunbelt
"We don't do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraq invasion, has said. -- San Francisco Chronicle – May 3, 2003
Well, at least the ACLU is still trying to bring some sunshine to the fog of war. BTW, we really need to acknowledge the good work that the ACLU is doing both stateside and abroad lately.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the ACLU. They’ve taken on some dubious cases in the past, IMHO. But, they seem to have found their way defending the U.S. Constitution in the Bush era. We’ll especially need their services here at home in the near future, working with the Dem Majority in Congress, to keep the pressure on the Bush administration by way of court filings, amicus curiae briefs, and perhaps, even a class-action suit or two. In case you missed the other links, you can join or donate to the ACLU here.
But, I digress…
The American Civil Liberties Union recently obtained files from the U.S. Military on compensation claims to Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed and hurt by coalition forces over the past five-plus-years. The records were turned over to the civil liberties group in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
From Friday’s BBC News:
Of the 496 claims, 164 resulted in cash payments to families, the ACLU says. Many files relate to civilian deaths at checkpoints or near US convoys.
Yeah, right, maybe when I’m 80.
An attorney for the ACLU, Jameel Jaffer told BBC that it was the first time the U.S. government released to the public any records of this kind.
"For the first time they give the public access to very detailed information about the human costs of war," he said.
The ACLU published summaries of claims that were submitted to the U.S. Foreign Claims Commission by relatives of civilians said to have been killed as a result of actions taken by coalition forces.
About a fifth of the claims relate to deaths at checkpoints or near U.S. convoys.
In one case, a condolence payment of $7,500 was suggested for the deaths of a civilian’s mother and sister along with the injury of his 4-year old brother in an incident involving all four of them riding in a taxicab that traveled through a checkpoint in the town of Baquba without stopping.
An Army memo states:
"There is evidence to suggest that the warning cones and printed checkpoint signs had not yet been displayed in front of the checkpoint, which may be the reason why the driver of the taxi did not believe he was required to stop."
As a rule, the U.S. Military denies compensation for “significant acts” for lack of evidence, despite eyewitness accounts, and instead, in certain cases, issues minimum “condolence payments.” Some of the claimants told BBC that official denied claims usually conclude with the phrase:
"I wish you well in a Free Iraq.”
And, if you think that’s ironic.
Mr. Jaffer pointed out that he fears such platitudes, and the many instances denying compensation continue to enrage civilians, damaging U.S. efforts to win hearts & minds.
"It's extremely important from a policy point of view that the US compensates people in these kinds of claims and that the system is fair and not arbitrary," he said.
The US defence department has said it regrets any civilian deaths and strives to prevent them.
"Any loss of life is tragic and our forces, as well as the forces we serve with, take every available means to limit the effects of combat on civilians," defence department spokesman Todd Wician told the BBC.
"We don't do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraq invasion, has said. -- San Francisco Chronicle – May 3, 2003
Yeah, not even the children.
This war must end.
I first learned about the crass, insensitive remarks of Markos Moulitsas in this post by skippy, and later found a post by Steven D at Booman Tribune. In a later diary, Steven included what Markos actually said:
Look, if you blog, and blog about controversial shit, you'll get idiotic emails. Most of the time, said "death threats" don't even exist -- evidenced by the fact that the crying bloggers and journalists always fail to produce said "death threats". [...]
Since last night, I saw that skippy had updated his post with the following:
addendum: feminazi, commenting over at echidne's blog, asks this question:
Except, I don't know how much choice they have, given that you see *this* at the bottom of the home page on that blog:
© 2005, Kos Media, LLCI may be only a C-rate blogger (on a good day), but what do we *usually* do when we want to hold a public figure accountable for something they've said? Isn't it usually *their* advertisers that we write to? Or how about writing to some of the politicians and public figures who post diaries at Daily Kos. This Wikipedia article has a list.
I wouldn't recommend this if Markos' remarks were a one time thing, but as shirlstars' comment here indicates, this is part of a pattern of behavior.
How not to be an asshole: a guide for men
Why the lack of concern for Kathy Sierra ?
Take Back the Blog! March, a My Left Wing essay by Bruce Godfrey of Crablaw's Maryland Weekly.
Finally, as I noted here, I really haven't had it in me to do much blogging lately, and I'm still not feeling all that verbose at this point. But I do consider this to be an important issue, and, even if I don't manage to blog more about it, I'm going to make a point of adding relevant entries to my page of Google shared items, which you can find here.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I haven't read Daily Kos for a few days, but this post by skippy caught my attention:
markos weighs in on kathy sierra, the techie blogger who has been anonymously harrassed to the point of cancelling professional appearances out of fear for her own safety.Click here for the rest, and here for Steven D's post at Booman Tribune. It was from that post that I learned that the fear for her safety was due to receiving *death and rape threats*. Steven D also links to a number of other blog posts about the issue.
I don't have much to add, other than the comment that *real* men aren't afraid to apologize. Real men have the courage to willingly say "my bad" when they screw up. You know who *does* have trouble doing that? I'll give you a hint...his middle initial rhymes with "Trouble you".
Update: Steven D has a diary at Kos asking Why the lack of concern for Kathy Sierra? Yes, I'm breaking my own rule about not linking to Blogmart, but I've decided it would be worth it to helped the issue hit the recommended list on Markos' own blog.
click to enlarge
Now, hopefully, MSNBC will have something substantial on in the morning. Imus has always been a problem, but the outcry was never high enough.
What, I think, most whites in America fail to understand is that most blacks think Imus' behavior and language is the rule, not the exception and every time some White man gets in front of a microphone and shouts "Halfrican American" and nothing happens to the White man, most Blacks just nod and say "What did you expect? He's White, they all think like that."
Not all Whites think like that - a majority don't but many do. As a White man in the American South, I hear it all the time. If I am in a little store and black person leaves, 20% of the time I will hear "nigger" slosh out of the mouth of some White guy. Then I open my mouth... They are shocked, SHOCKED that a White guy would stick up for a Black stranger. Then they usually apologize (unless I am in Klan infested Montgomery County).
Things are getting better. I man I work with, Ken, is an old hippie. He was telling me of how the 60's revolution was for him and how he sees the same bullshit in Iraq today that he saw in Vietnam more than 40 years ago. For him, the 60's was about casting off the insane pressure of social conformity. When he graduated from high school in 1961, the dam burst... the social revolt began. Ken, a White hippie, loved hanging out with Blacks in his town to jam - he is also a gifted guitarist and he got hassled for going to the "colored" side of town to mingle with the Blacks. He fought for the right for Blacks to vote, he cried when MLK was shot. He still cries, as we all do, at the Vietnam Memorial.
I graduated from high school, in Dobson, NC in 1981 - exactly 20 years after Ken did. I told him, the things his generation fought for, especially civil rights, helped and had an impact that is visible today. Because in that 20 year period, somehow, in the South, in Dobson of all places, dating outside of your race was the IN thing to do.
Imus, Savage, Limbaugh, they are all just fucking dinosaurs that society will one day gaze upon in a museum and tell our grandchildren that these are the last corpses of American racism.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
click to enlarge
Along with my day job in advertising and the lunatic behind this strip, I also am executive director of my interfaith church and we have a pretty substantial relief outreach ministry called Books For Soldiers and we have been waiting on our 501 c3 certificate.
Last Wednesday, I received a response letter back from the IRS concerning the status of the 501 c3 submission for our church. Instead of awarding us the status, it was a four page letter outlining 41 questions they needed answered. The deadline for submitting all required documents, answers and all the rest was April 12th - today.
I have been working on this for the last week, 18 hours a day. The IRS guy was not picking up the phone so he couldn't answer any questions.
So I printed the last page out yesterday morning and was proof-reading it when the IRS guy called. He was out with the flu and was calling to extend my deadline by 2 weeks. I told him it was already done and warned him the documents were now 2 inches thick.
"Oh, no. I am going to have to read all of that."
Anyway, I am exhausted and apologize for the unfortunate hiatus.
Late last night, I saw the headline that Kurt Vonnegut had died. I had never read any of his books, but thought I recalled him appearing on The Daily Show a while back. Turns out I recalled correctly--you can view the interview here. (He was apparently on a promotional tour for his recently released autobiography, A Man Without a Country.)
Rosewater was on the next bed, reading, and Billy drew him into the conversation, asked him what he was reading this time.I'm going to have to find time to read that book.
Here's the most recent version of Vonnegut's web site that I could find on Internet Archive.
Kurt Vonnegut on Wikepedia.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
unfortunately, it's only bloggingheads.tv...but still...
I give you, "Otters Holding Hands".
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 5:07 PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
In February, Jerid, who is the current proprieter of Buckeye State Blog posted that BlogPac was offering to sponsor that site. In the interest of transparency, and because there had been some "bad blood" between Ohio bloggers and some of the "big box blogs", Jerid posted the details of that offer, and asked for feedback. A number of people did offer feedback, and, in the end, Jerid announced that he had decided to accept the offer of sponsorship, and explained his reasoning here.
And on a completely serious note in the event that Jerome comes back around. Dude, honestly...don't throw out a comment like "trashing my own credibility" when folks question you and your motives. It just makes us snap back.
Good for Jerid. He didn't post the content of Jerome's letter, but in posting about it offered continued transparency, which I agree is important. Me, I think I'm in the mood for some of this...
Update: Bryan responds with "Our Blogfather". Heh.
Monday, April 9, 2007
Ok Are you getting tired of this racist garbage coming out of broadcasters, politicans, entertainers and alike about black men, black women, black people. Not a month can go by without some moron saying something about black women, black men or black kids.
And its just not black folks wondering how long media will be allowed to go on like this. There is a Multi-racial Media Critique Coming Together on Imus.
The folks at Gossip.com are wondering do we really live in a country where we can’t call a group of black lady b-ballers “nappy-headed ho’s” and keep our jobs?
Yet, as Gossip. com notes, Don Imus’ Racial Insults Anger Black Leaders, Boost Ratings, Pave Way for Cash Bonus
Now with a slap of the hand (if it’s that) - MSNBC suspends Imus simulcast for two weeks.
Here is an example of the type of conversation I vision between Imus and his MSNBC Executive boss:
Executive: Imus, great job, Ratings are up dude. This is better than the insults regarding Hillary Clinton. This is news all the way over in Australia Our advertisers are OK they are not saying anything, this is Ok, your all right dude. Listen Imus, your HOT, You have 2,074 news articles on Google dude
Your hot Imus, your hot. Hey, don’t worry about the blacks this will blow over like all the rest of the insults we lay on them. Imus, dude those black leaders can’t even get themselves together they don’t even have a real NAACP dude, and those leaders are getting old dude, no one listens to Al Sharpton and Jesse no more. But I like how you went on that Sharpton guys talk show kissing up. I think it just might have worked, at least with your white audience.
Imus: Hey, what was the big deal about calling some black girls nappy headed ho’s. Those rappers say it everyday. Does Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do anything about the record industry? F them.
I'm missing something right now, people. I'm missing one of these.
Yes, it's a rat's ass. It's symbolic of the fact that at the moment I just can't bring myself to give a rat's ass about anything political. I think a lot of us have those moments--some of them last longer than others--where we just don't feel *into* the whole activist thing. Unmotivated. And if I'm not motivated, the inspiration for writing just isn't there. And then I don't have something worth crossposting and linking to in an effort to get interesting posts on this blog in front of more sets of eyes.
And maybe some people coming by and actually leaving comments so that the people I've persuaded to post here actually know that their work is being read.
So really, this blog is something I care a lot about. Way more than just a rodent's hindquarters. But because of what I described above, I can't really translate that into action at the moment.
I've been in this place before as far as motivation and creativity. I'll even venture to say that most of us have, and we come to realize that "this too shall pass".
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:18 PM
Via Yahoo News:
An Obama aide said the Illinois senator had no plans to attend the Sept. 23 debate in Detroit that Fox agreed to co-sponsor with the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute.Read the rest here.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
From John Kerry's blog:
We Democrats should’ve been unapologetic this week defending Speaker Pelosi because the truth was on our side: She had a right to go. And she was right to go. The coordinated attack on her trip to Syria was as inappropriate as it was irresponsible. And when that happens to a Democrat, we should all damn well stand up and be counted in our support, or else we hand partisan hacks on the other side a dangerous victory. They thrive on destroying our leaders -– we can’t let them. Especially when we’ve got the moral high ground.
Click here for more.
I was never the biggest Kerry supporter, but was one of those people who voted for him because he "sucked less than Bush". But with politicians, as with kids, I think it's important to "catch them being good"--praising the behavior we'd like to see more of. So I'm going to try to do that.