Friday, June 22, 2007

The Palestinian "Coup"

Ahmed Yousef is the political adviser to Ismail Haniya, who became the Palestinian prime minister last year.
He wrote this
op-ed in the New York Times.

THE events in Gaza over the last few days have been described in the West as a coup. In essence, they have been the opposite. Eighteen months ago, our Hamas Party won the Palestinian parliamentary elections and entered office under Prime Minister Ismail Haniya but never received the handover of real power from Fatah, the losing party. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has now tried to replace the winning Hamas government with one of his own, returning Fatah to power while many of our elected members of Parliament languish in Israeli jails. That is the real coup.

...The streets of Gaza are now calm for the first time in a very long time. We have begun disarming some of the drug dealers and the armed gangs and we hope to restore a sense of security and safety to the citizens of Gaza. We want to get children back to school, get basic services functioning again, and provide long-term economic gains for our people.

Our stated aim when we won the election was to effect reform, end corruption and bring economic prosperity to our people. Our sole focus is Palestinian rights and good governance. We now hope to create a climate of peace and tranquillity within our community that will pave the way for an end to internal strife and bring about the release of the British journalist Alan Johnston, whose kidnapping in March by non-Hamas members is a stain on the reputation of the Palestinian people...

Any further attempts to marginalize us, starve our people into submission or attack us militarily will prove that the United States and Israeli governments are not genuinely interested in seeing an end to the violence. Dispassionate observers over the next few weeks will be able to make up their own minds as to each side’s true intentions.

Also read: Robert Fisk-Welcome to ‘Palestine’

Blog Burnout

I was listening to my favorite radio talk show host, Mike Malloy, this week and he came around to the topic of rage fatigue. People with so much rage about what's been going on in our political system that you just blow a gasket with so much to think about.

You can burst a blood vessel wondering how
Dick Cheney can claim that his office is not a part of the Executive Branch of government, and therefore he need not hand over documents to the oversight office at the National Archives. Or Crazy Joe Lieberman suggesting we should pre-emptively bomb Iran. Or anytime I'm watching C-Span and come across Rep. Phil Gingrey or Rep. Patrick McHenry... God! What assholes! But the more I thought about it, I realized I was suffering from "rage fatigue". Malloy's right. Too much of these wackos gets you discouraged.

Lately I have been feeling guilty about the frequency of my blogging, or lack of it. My original intent for starting this blog wasn't to inform others or for self promotion or to be radical. My purpose was strictly therapeutic. There was so much exploding out of me every time Chimp in Charge would open his mouth that I needed an outlet. My fiancee would shut down at my nonsensical, mouth-foaming rants (for good reason) and I was afraid I'd hurt my cat if he crossed my path at the wrong time, so I thought I'd write out my frustration on a blog. This way, I could actually be coherent and if someone wanted to know how I felt, I could touch on a topic and before going mad, I could say, "You can read it on my blog."

At first it definitely helped, although I didn't really sleep much those first couple of months. The only time I had to write would be at night after I got home from work at 11pm or so. I'd jot down thoughts over the course of the day, form outlines on the subway ride home and start pecking away at the keyboard when I got in.

The posts eventually became harder and harder to write because at the beginning, I went gangbusters and wanted to write something down every day. But time grows short, there are these life-goes-on things that can't be ignored, and with SO MUCH corruption in this administration, there was never a respit. Another scandal pops up literally every day. Republicans are stupid every day (it's true!) and you begin to fall behind. So much to rant about, so little time.

Finally, within the last month or so, I think I burned out. I would sit at my desk and stare at the screen feeling overwhelmed and write nothing because I didn't know where to start. My rage fatigue came in the form of "Blog Burnout". (That phrase is now copyrighted.)

Ultimately, I suppose this post is to serve as an apology for those who eventually came to my blog on a semi-regular basis to see what my latest soapbox topic was, whether to look for a chuckle or to join me in my rail against the scandal du jour. I know there weren't many of you, but you were faithful. I hope you will forgive my lack of output and still stop by to see what I have to say because I'm planning on fighting the fatigue. Not to say that I'll be back at the 5 posts a day level where I started, but if I can get my mojo working, I'll try to churn it out with the mediocre of them. I'm not shooting for "best of them"; I'm not that good a writer.

Man, that Gingrey is a putz.

Made in China - Use At Your Own Risk

NEW YORK TIMES: The toy maker RC2 Corporation pulled a number of its Thomas & Friends trains and accessory parts off the shelves yesterday after learning that the red and yellow paint used to decorate more than 1.5 million of the toys contained lead.

That's right, LEAD! The relatively expensive Thomas toys were manufactured in China. Currently, the United States imports 70%-80% of all children's toys from China.

RAW STORY: The recall comes amid increasing concern over health risks posed by food and other tainted products from China, including toothpaste and pet food.
Thousands of animals in the United States were poisoned from pet food additives made in China, one of a series of incidents that have exposed lax controls in Beijing's food quality control system.

From Crooks & Liars:

Just in the last month, a ghoulish fake eyeball toy made in China was recalled after it was found to be filled with kerosene. Sets of toy drums and a toy bear were also recalled because of lead paint, and an infant wrist rattle was recalled because of a choking hazard.Over all, the number of products made in China that are being recalled in the United States by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has doubled in the last five years, driving the total number of recalls in the country to 467 last year, an annual record.

It also means that China today is responsible for about 60 percent of all product recalls, compared with 36 percent in 2000.

Anyone remember who
Bush nominated for the Consumer Product Safety Commission? That’s right, the guy consistently FOR the laxing of safety standards. Luckily for us, his nomination was withdrawn, but let’s keep a close eye on the next one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stem Cell Hypocrisy

Bush has vetoed lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research for a second time this past Wednesday under the guise of "sanctity of life".

“Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical,” Mr. Bush said in a brief ceremony in the East Room of the White House. He called the United States “a nation founded on the principle that all human life is sacred.”

All life is sacred except for Iraqis, isn't that what you mean, George? All life is sacred except the surge of troops you're sending to die in Iraq, right George?

George W. Bush is a hypocrite (no news there).

But let's get to the crux of the matter: The "sanctity of life" argument is a smokescreen while this administration slowly shifts federally funded research to the private sector. The pharmaceutical companies are not restricted to experiment with embryonic stem cells and once they start finding cures you can only imagine what the exorbitant cost for the cure to a disease like diabetes or multiple sclerosis will be after the private sector patents its findings as opposed to having it in the public domain.

How do you suppose the average American will be able to afford something like this if it stays in the hands of the corporations? The corporations and the extremely wealthy win again.

Chimpy's vetoes are just pre-emptive privatization.

Bob Geiger: He's Kidding, Right?

New York Times Editorial: Mr. Bush’s Stem Cell Diversion