11/25/2003

The War On Americans' Rights... I Mean Terrorism

FTAA IMC is an independent media web site covering the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas meeting that happened in Miami last week, and the protests it inspired. The response to the protests by the city, or the federal government, or whoever the heck was in charge of responding to them, was quite scary. As I read on the IMC web site, the police were militarized, and the military were policing. There were dozens of police in full riot gear on every street corner. The 'authorities' scared the citizens into closing their businesses and avoiding downtown, so the place was deserted except for protestors and police/military. I read about military tanks patrolling the streets at night.

This is the kind of news I avoid a lot of the time, because it is too depressing, enraging, and scary for me. Everyone else seems to avoid it too, because I haven't heard anything about it other than from my brother. That is even scarier.

11/18/2003

Political Muscle

I can't be the only one to notice this, but there seems to be a trend towards famous, musclebound, tough guys getting elected governor of western states. First Jesse Ventura, now Arnold Schwarzenegger. What's going on with that? Are voters afraid that their governors will have to beat someone up? Are they insecure about having a governor that could be construed a sissy?

I realize that there is something of a history of celebrities parlaying their fame into elected office; I'm aware of Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, and Sonny Bono (who, by the way, I sometimes get a little confused with Bono of U2). In nearly every case, these elections alarm me, because I have the strange idea that you should be qualified to hold elected office, and not just by the fact that lots of people know your name and face. But maybe I'm wrong about that and I should just lighten up. After all, politics is all about appearances, and so is fame, so perhaps it's a natural marriage.

Why is it, though, that the left wing famous people never seem to run for anything? Where are Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson, Janeane Garafolo (ok, I know she's too young)? Martin Sheen could, of course, be elected to anything immediately, having won the trust of the nation playing the President on The West Wing. I suppose it's to his credit that he hasn't chosen to capitalize on that role by making it real. But I'd much rather have him than Arnold, or even Jesse, though I did develop a soft spot in my heart for old Jes'.

Maybe Martin Sheen can't beat up all the other governors. Maybe that's why he hasn't run.

11/16/2003

the gates of...

I have noticed that there seems to be a new trend on my road of putting big forbidding gates across the entrance to the driveway. I haven't seen this before, ever, outside of those weird subdivisions in Florida and on tv shows filmed in Beverly Hills. Certainly not in this little corner of the world. Ok, I've only noticed gates on two driveways - but that's a lot, considering that it's not a big road, that I've never seen it before, and that they both sprang up in the past couple of months.

What does this mean? Is there a danger lurking in my neighborhood that I'm not aware of? Are my neighbors just getting paranoid? Are the gates there to keep me out?? These happen to both be houses I've visited over the past few years, although I don't know the inhabitants well, or at all. I went to one as a favor to a friend who needed something dropped off - I don't even think anyone was home, and I think I left the package by the door. The other one was a similar nonevent.

It's curious and disturbing to see these unfriendly gates. One's a big tall chain link number and the other is a pretentious looking iron bar affair. I haven't tested them to see whether either is electrified or otherwise buttressed against all comers.

What is this world coming to?

11/11/2003

Alternative Energy

Here's what I don't understand: why is it that the big greedy oil companies aren't rushing around trying to get ahead in the alternative energy markets. Not because they care about the environment, or because they're trying to make all us commie-pinko-liberals happy, but because they could make so damn much money doing it. Won't whoever has the patents on new fuel technologies and the like become like Bill Gates or Henry Ford? It's clear to everyone that the world has a limited supply of fossil fuels, and that we're going to run out of them one of these days - and that even before that, they're going to become incredibly expensive to extract and process.

I can't see why Toyota and Honda are the only companies making hybrid cars. Car companies could be competing to make the fanciest, trendiest hybrid cars and marketing them to the people who are now buying Range Rovers and Hummers (ok, maybe not Hummers... ). It seems to me that it would make financial sense for these companies to be trying to milk every last penny out of the touchy feely liberals out there.

9/26/2003

Radio Sociology

I am concerned that I may have an involuntarily sexist attitude towards my friendly local radio station DJs. I looove WKZE, and I listen to it all the time, even when it's staticky. But my two least favorite DJs are Christine and Julie. I think it's because of their irritating personalities and tendencies towards crappy music. But I worry that it's really because they're women.

I like Jimmy, Corey, Frank, and Stuart, and I've come to have a certain soft spot in my heart for Doug, too, even though he talks too much. Instead of Nature versus Nurture, the debate I have going on in my head is Programming versus Personality. I haven't come up with a way to test myself on this. If Christine's morning show were exactly the same but with a male voice, would I still not turn the radio on until 10 am when it was over? Or would I react differently to the clich├ęd and non-morning-appropriate music she sometimes plays and her overly peppy and full of herself comments?

I hope for my own sake that these women are genuinely irritating and amateurish.

9/25/2003

It's Just Too Depressing and Predictable to Talk About"

Misleader.org: Daily Mislead

"President Bush's Inspectors Find No Weapons to Support his Claims about Imminent Threat"

Of course not. Because it was a big lie!