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Your taxes at work. Arlington West, Santa Barbara. More about Arlington West here, and about your taxes at work at The Skeptical Observer.


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Best of Blogs Round-Up: Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Quote of the day: "There are countless countries where erections are not allowed. They are oppressed and dictated to. The Irish people should be proud and I am proud to have taken part in so many Irish erections over the years.
I can't even remember how many erections I've been involved in but it's certainly more than 25 and possibly as high as 50. I would urge everyone, men, women and children to gain experience of erections as soon as possible.
In fact, I have just opened discussions with the Catholic church so that priests can tutor young boys individually about the role they can play in their erections."
Irish Erection


Featured Blog, I: American Fetish
Militarism and the Anti-War Movement

In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition, and for three years since, I have spent many hours speaking to numerous anti-war forums across the country and around the world. I have always been struck by the sincerity of the vast majority of those who call themselves anti-war, and impressed by their willingness to give so much of themselves in the service of such a noble cause.

Whether participating in demonstrations, organizing a vigil, conducting town-hall meetings, or writing letters to their elected officials and the media, the participants in the anti-war movement have exhibited an energy and integrity that would make anyone proud. For myself, I have been vociferous in my defense of the actions of the majority of the anti-war movement, noting that the expression of their views is not only consistent with their rights afforded by the Constitution of the United States, but also that their engagement in the process of citizenship is a stellar example of the ideals and values set forth in that document, and as such representative of the highest form of patriotism in keeping with service to a document that begins, "We the People."

Lately I have noticed a growing despondency among many of those who call themselves the anti-war movement. With the United States now entering its fourth year of illegal war in and illegitimate occupation of Iraq, and the pro-war movement moving inexorably towards yet another disastrous conflict with Iran, there is an increasing awareness that the cause of the anti-war movement, no matter how noble and worthy, is in fact a losing cause as currently executed. Despite all of the well-meaning and patriotic work of the millions of activists and citizens who comprise the anti-war movement, America still remains very much a nation not only engaged in waging and planning wars of aggression, but has also become a nation which increasingly identifies itself through its military and the wars it fights. This is a sad manifestation of the fact that the American people seem to be addicted to war and violence, rather than the ideals of human rights, individual liberty, and freedom and justice for all that should define our nation.

In short, the anti-war movement has come face to face with the reality that in the ongoing war of ideologies that is being waged in America today, their cause is not just losing, but is in fact on the verge of complete collapse. Many in the anti-war movement would take exception to such a characterization of the situation, given the fact that there seems to be a growing change in the mood among Americans against the ongoing war in Iraq. But one only has to scratch at the surface of this public discontent to realize how shallow and superficial it is. Americans aren't against the war in Iraq because it is wrong; they are against it because we are losing.

Take the example of Congressman Jack Murtha. A vocal supporter of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, last fall Mr. Murtha went public with his dramatic change of position, suddenly rejecting the war as un-winnable, and demanding the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. While laudable, I have serious problems with Jack Murtha's thought process here. At what point did the American invasion of Iraq become a bad war? When we suffered 2,000 dead? After two years of fruitless struggle? Once we spent $100 billion?

While vocalizing his current opposition against the Iraq War, Congressman Murtha and others who voted for the war but now question its merits have never retracted their original pro-war stance. Nor have they criticized their role in abrogating the Constitutional processes for bringing our country into conflict when they voted for a war before the President had publicly committed to going to war (we now know the President had committed to the invasion of Iraq by the summer of 2002, and that all his representations to the American people and Congress about 'war as a matter of last resort' and 'seeking a diplomatic solution' were bold face lies). The Iraq War was wrong the moment we started bombing Iraq. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is no excuse, and does not pardon America's collective sin of brooking and tolerating an illegal war of aggression.

The reality is, had our military prevailed in this struggle, the American people for the most part would not even blink at the moral and legal arguments against this war. This underlying reality is reflected in the fact that despite our ongoing disaster in Iraq, America is propelled down a course of action that leads us toward conflict with Iran. President Bush recently re-affirmed his embrace of the principles of pre-emptive war when he signed off on the 2006 version of the National Security Strategy of the United States, which highlights Iran as a threat worthy of confrontation. This event has gone virtually unmentioned by the American mainstream media, un-remarked by a Congress that remains complicit in the war-mongering policies of the Bush administration, and un-noticed by the majority of Americans. America is pre-programmed for war, and unless the anti-war movement dramatically changes the manner in which it conducts its struggle, America will become a nation of war, for war, and defined by war, and as such a nation that will ultimately be consumed by war. Read the rest at Alternet...

Featured Blog, II: Being and Nothingness

A DJ asked me, "What if you woke up tomorrow, and you were beautiful? I mean really beautiful. You were 19, blonde, weighed 110 pounds, 5'11" and beautiful. What would you do?"

Maybe I mentioned this before. But I can't let it go.

Once a friend was upset about going home.
Me: "Why?"
Her: "Because you can take a cab, but I can't."
Me: "Why not?"
Her: "Because I am really pretty. You are so lucky because nobody bothers you. I could get raped."
Me: "I could get raped too!"
Her: "Marg. Ok, get real now. You would not get raped. They don't go for girls like you."
Me: "Like what?"
Her: "Whatever..."

I am beautiful now.
The DJ says, "You know what I mean."

No. I don't. Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn't mean it does not exist. I am so fucking beautiful I have players lined up around the block around the clock waiting for me, and they ain't even getting any then. The line is just for the wristband yo! I am so fine, 17 year old girls draw my face on their hands and pledge undying love, and lean in too close to me to ask me if I want to buy some candy for their basketball team. "No sweetie. I already bought some from those boys over there, you know, the ones crying?"
I don't like them too young. Tastes like pee.

I am so beautiful lots of gay men who would never consider being with a woman say, "I am a big ol queen but oh yeah – I would definitely get it up for her! Just so I could tell my boyfriend. He'd be so jealous!"

I flashed my vagina at a show in P-Town once, because I was supposed to sing, and my vocal range is somewhat limited, and a leatherdaddy in the audience said he got an erection, and had to question the integrity of his own existence. I don’t know whether to hug him or spank him.

I am pussy without borders.

My father told me that I was not a pretty girl and that I would need to develop a good personality in order to have people like me. My mother said, "Don't worry, nobody hate daddy like I hate daddy."

They were so relieved I got married, "SHE NOT GAY!!!"
Their proudest moment...A ticker tape parade and shit....

They don't really know anything.

I have to believe that I am beautiful because if I don't I will die. How I lived when I was convinced I was ugly: I starved myself, and fucking fucked as many people as possible- "This body is not going to last!"-but when I was fat again I was still doing it with anyone who was even vaguely interested because I thought I had to. I didn’t know I had the right to turn them down. It was my duty as an 'ugly' girl and I should be grateful for whatever I could get. All you had to do was ask me. It was like being a prostitute but I never made anything. I just wore myself down. With bad bad sex. Men who were way too old for me, and should have been arrested, but since it was consensual, I was saying yes to it, because I thought I deserved it. I was an accomplice, victim and perpetrator, and in the act it was like I was being punished for their crime. And that was terrible and lonely. So when some man says to me, "Don't you wish you were beautiful?" those are like killing words. That's my death, if I don’t pummel it into his soft, not yet completely formed radio disc jockey skull that I am already beautiful, and I wish for nothing, other than for him to go away.

I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose. Read the rest at Margaret Cho's Blog...

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