Archive for the ‘Jerks’ Category

Paula Zahn’s attack on the Council on American-Islamic Relations

January 23, 2007

Here’s the letter I wrote to CNN’s Paula Zahn just now:

I’ve tried giving your features on racism a chance, but today was the last straw. The way that you attacked the well-spoken representative from CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) was highly objectionable. You also allowed the other two panelists to attack her, sadly leaving the impression that Muslims as a whole should accept “terrorist” stereotypes against them since they are not “vocal” enough in “condemning” terrorism.

CAIR and many other Muslim groups and mosques have done an excellent job of explaining that the vast majority of Muslims are NOT terrorists NOR do they support terrorism. Why should Muslims bear any additional burden in swearing off terrorism than the rest of us? Why shouldn’t all white southerners “be more vocal” about swearing off domestic terrorism because of Timothy McVeigh and Oklahoma City?

I’m sorry to say, Paula, tonight you were as guilty of what you say you are trying to expose. You owe CAIR and all American Muslims an apology. I’m posting this same letter on my blog and will avoid watching your sensationalist and racist show in the future.

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Write to the White House – Law firms should be proud of representing Guantanamo prisoners!

January 13, 2007

As a lawyer myself, with a very good friend working on the Guantanamo cases pro bono, I find reprehensible Charles Stimson’s comments criticizing lawyers at big firms representing Guantanamo prisoners and his call for a boycott. The thing about being detained by America is that you deserve legal counsel. The thing about being a lawyer is that you donate some of your time to helping those in need of representation. Unless he wants to attack every public defender, every pro bono asylum lawyer, every legal professional in the U.S., Stimson and his followers ought to shut up. If right-wingers want to go on a witch hunt, they should steer clear of reputable lawyers who are giving of their own precious time to ensure that our system of legal rights is not affected by the present administration’s madness. It’s like J. Edgar Hoover all over again.

Write to President Bush right now and demand that he rebuke Stimson’s comments. Alberto Gonzalez and the DoD already did, but I’m afraid without our demands Stimson’s concerns will stay on the right-wing, nut-job radio stations for a very long time.

Oh, and apologies for the long absence, which may continue a bit longer – the New Year has arrived replete with many new projects here in Guatemala. I’m struggling a bit to juggle it all and prioritize… but this issue was too important not to post…

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An early Christmas present for YOU

December 20, 2006

… the 12 Days of Indian Christmas!

Lots of religion in the news/blogs lately: the New Atheists, Matthew LaClair and his crazy proselytizing high school history teacher, Sam Brownback (is he always in the news lately or what??)…

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Soy milk makes you gay?

December 13, 2006

Can you believe this guy? He claims that soy makes children gay. How bizarre. Here are some funny commentaries from Wonkette, TGW, and DailyKos.

Number 1 – he’s apparently only talking about boys, although he never makes that entirely clear.

Number 2 – what about all those people in Asia?

Number 3 – LOVE the lack of links supporting anything he’s saying.

As a straight, lactose-intolerant woman who has been drinking soy milk for most of my life, the entire article is hilarious – you have to read it. I don’t get why the right-wing always makes it seem like there is something sinister and threatening to American values about soy and vegetarians. Given that I like both of those things and I like America, I’m particularly curious…

In a comical linguistic snafu, I was trying to find more blogs about this ridiculous article, and typed “soy gay” into Google, only to get tons of Spanish-language books and list-serves for gay Latin Americans (“soy gay” translates into “I am gay” in Spanish) through my Google.com.gt

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Bush’s terrible pick to head HHS family planning dept.

November 17, 2006

Check it out – the HHS’s new family planning director will be a MAN who is AGAINST contraceptives for American women since he considers them “demeaning to women”… Like TGW, I wonder why Bush couldn’t find a WOMAN for the post???

And, I personally find it totally demeaning to prevent my access and choice to what science has made possible… I think the last elections show that Americans don’t want Republicans meddling in their personal lives or going too far to the crazy-religious-right. These people don’t want us to have access to: CONDOMS, THE PILL, THE PATCH, IVF, STEM CELL RESEARCH. Their tyranny is inexcusable and the more Bush panders to them, the more he and his party will lose. (At least I have more confidence in my fellow Americans now!) 

Write to the White House right now and oppose Eric Keroack as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs! I did it, and so can you…

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Did Macacas make the difference?

November 11, 2006

There’s a lot of post-game wrap-up these days about whether South Asians tipped the balance in Virginia (and therefore the Senate!), and/or whether Allen’s slur against Indian-Americans made a difference. I personally think it would be pretty cool if we Desis could claim the entire victory in the Senate, but like Kos wrote in his Memo to the Democrats, this election was more likely a perfect storm of events and actors. Here are three fun links looking back on the Macaca incident and analyzing its importance to the election:

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Guatemala vs. Venezuela (and other political musings)

October 21, 2006

Three interesting pieces of political news from Guatemala this week:

First, the voting continues for a temporary seat on the Security Council – it’s between Guatemala and Venezuela. The press here is definitely covering Hugo Chavez’s antics, who makes it sound like he’s running against the U.S. for the seat – as if a vote for Guatemala is a vote for George W. Bush or something… I think it would be great for Guatemala to be on the Council and to have more exposure on the world stage. At least the voting process is making more people around the world aware of Guatemala, its political interests, its economy, its culture…

Second, this past Tuesday, 10 major political party leaders – guided by a group of 15 community and academic leaders – released a “Visionary Plan for the Country,” with goals for improvement in the areas of security (which is dismal – see previous posts), health and nutrition (also dismal, since Guatemala this year fell to the bottom of Latin American-Caribbean countries in terms of child malnutrition), rural development, and education. Come this December, ten years will have passed since the Guatemalan Peace Accords, so it is time for a new agenda to shock the political system here – everyone I know here is pretty skeptical, but I still hope this is it…

Third, Wonkette – in a striking departure from its normal, humorous tone – covers the impending page scandal regarding House representative Jerry Weller, whose father-in-law happens to be Guatemalan former president/dictator, Efrain Rios Montt. Frankly, I’m addicted to U.S. mid-term election news, so it was surprising to see a Guatemalan connection like this. The Guatemalan supreme court ruled last week or the week before that Rios Montt cannot run for president again, but that still doesn’t seem to stop him as I just saw a campaign commercial for him on the local news channel yesterday… maybe he’s the equivalent of a Guatemalan Ralph Nader (but obviously more sinister)?

(Cross-posted at The View From Here.)

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Go Oprah!

October 13, 2006

I just watched Frank Rich on Oprah talking about his new book, the war in Iraq, Katrina, and a host of other issues. The show is part of a series about Truth in America. It was fantastic, balanced, and exactly what the country needs – a healthy airing of opinions and discussion – INCLUDING criticism of the government. Two different soldiers spoke up – one said the media doesn’t report enough good news from Iraq, and the other said that she and alot of other soldiers are questioning the war. I tried going to a bunch of blogs on the episode – and most of them are right-wingers criticizing Oprah for having Frank Rich on the show. Funny how most of them require log-in’s to comment… I imagine they don’t want any critical thinkers on their sites either…

Is it me, or is Oprah finally getting a spine? She took on minimum wage earlier this year, said Obama would make a good President, and now this!  I like how this episode made it clear that you don’t have to be a Bush-supporter to be a good American (hell, with his approval numbers lately, I guess that’s obvious)…

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Guns and Child Molestation

October 10, 2006

If there is anything we’ve learned about the American people and the party in power over the past week, it’s that even the prospect of child molesters on the loose won’t get the Republican Party to give up on either Dennis Hastert or its guns. Three school shootings in one week – what more does it take to get us out there talking about gun control??? Check out this essay, which echoes my feelings exactly. We are out of whack with the rest of the industrialized world. Living here in Guatemala, I see my share of guns everyday, mostly on the shoulders of private security guards outside our building, across the university campus, in front of every shop and restaurant, even at the gym. Although I’m often happy they’re around, I recognize that this many guns can’t be all good…

I can bring myself to understand how middle America folk might have legally purchased guns for hunting and skeet shooting, but buying multiple shotguns, handguns, and 600 rounds of ammo to take over a peaceful Amish one-room schoolhouse – or any other school for that matter – is just not defensible. There’s room for all of us to come together on this, and I think we can find common ground in the realm of faith. If we take lessons from our different religions about LIFE, nonviolence, freedom, and peace, I’m convinced we could find some common ground that moves away from the extreme NRA position that currently rules our nation. There is another sad thread that runs through the events of last week: child sexual abuse. The Amish schoolhouse gunman molested girl relatives at such a young age; Mark Foley sexually harassed at least one young page and maybe more; Foley himself claims to have been molested as a boy; and, both the Pennsylvania and Colorado shooters intended to molest female schoolchildren. All this should send up a flare: child molestation and sexual abuse is much more common than we choose to talk about openly, and often not discussed until its effects play out years later… Let’s not let this month be simply about the mid-term elections, the implosion of the Republican Congress, or mourning for the lives lost or damaged. Let’s remember the victims of guns and child molestation and vow to do something about it, together. (UPDATE: Check out Sara’s Sunday Rant for more…)

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Sad day for America…

September 28, 2006

Here’s the letter I wrote to John McCain just now, sitting in the library in Guatemala City, contemplating all that Guatemala has fought for to establish a democracy and honor human rights and dignity for all. I wrote my Senators – PLEASE take a moment to do so as well. Sometimes it seems like America is running in the opposite direction, away from new democracies like Guatemala and towards tyranny… (Check out Obama’s comments here):

Dear Senator McCain,

I just read the NY Times editorial about the torture-terrorism bill and was extremely disappointed that you would agree to such an extreme position in your so-called “compromise” with President Bush.

The bill – if it becomes law – will put our troops in harm’s way, allowing them to be raped, tortured, and mistreated with no way out – just the situation we have created for terrorism suspects here in the U.S.A., a place that used to be a haven for human rights and persecuted people.

These are not the ideals of the United States, and I denounce you, the President, and any Senators who vote for this un-American and inhumane piece of legislation. You are leaving a legacy that threatens the very core of our great nation.

Sincerely, Archana

PS – I had been impressed with your so-called “compromise” and your independence from the President, but now realize it was just a political stunt to put your face in the news…

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