Friday, April 28, 2006

Mission Accomplished!

Monday will mark the 3 year anniversary of America's Mission Accomplished in Iraq, and I think a tempered, tasteful remembrance of Bush's big day on the big boat is in order. This year, instead of joining the raucous street celebrations, I've decided to just review the words spoken on that day in 2003 by our defender of American freedoms.

"Thank you. Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment, yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other made this day possible.

Because of you our nation is more secure. Because of you the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen before. …

In the images of celebrating Iraqis we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement.

Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.

We are helping to rebuild Iraq where the dictator built palaces for himself instead of hospitals and schools..."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dear Mr. President

I really never paid any attention at all to Pink. She just seemed like another assembly line pop product putting out songs that were "catchy." Now suddenly, she's the voice of a generation with "Stupid Girls" and this...which might actually be my favorite song this year.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Eostre!

I’m totally fascinated by the way certain cultural traditions can be passed from generation to generation for hundreds, and often, thousands of years and how symbolic expressions evolve or are co-opted into a new representation. The celebration of Easter is a great example. Easter, possibly the holiest of all days for Christians, has its roots in Pagan, pre-Christian Europe. Eostre was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility, and she was honored through feasts and fertility festivals that coincided with the Spring equinox. Her earthly symbol of fertility was the rabbit – hence the chocolate Easter bunnies that we know and love. For the Pagan peoples of Europe, the season of Eostre was a time to recognize Nature’s ability to reproduce and rejuvenate in each day of increasing sunlight. As Christianity’s dominance spread throughout Europe, Christian missionaries and leaders co-opted the old ways and traditions and re-signified them with images of Jesus’ rebirth during the days of increasing sunlight. Now if I could just find some literature on the cultural and religious significance of peeps.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This Land Is Your Land....

I just love a wedge issue. Especially one that threatens to rip apart the GOP, by challenging Republikans to choose between their two most fundamental character traits – greed and hatefulness. On one side you’ve got the moneyed establishment conservatives who, in order to conserve more and more wealth, see illegal immigrants as nothing more than cheap labor that allows for more profit to float to the top. For these Wall Street Republicans, this is basically about property rights, not human rights – and as we all know, this is a property rights era. Bush certainly racked up points with CEOs across the country, when he let us all know that “there are jobs that no Americans will do,” and I’d guess that Halliburton’s stock jumps a few notches every time someone mentions building a wall along the border.

On the other side of the Republican civil war are the Lou Dobbs groupies, the O’Reilly lunatics and the Minutemen-loving fundamentalists who are kept awake at night with images of brown-skinned illegals climbing over walls to apply for welfare and rape white women. These people are the real heart and soul of the Republikan Party, and most likely, these will be they will be the victors in this bloody battle. For these Calvinists, illegals’ geographic place of birth is evidence of their unworthiness, and crossing the border to work is to spit on God’s plan.

The only thing that really overshadows this theatre, is the mystery of why conservatives chose to allow this divisive issue to boil over right before elections. The Democrats don’t need to instigate anything or have a plan (thank god), because it looks like the Republikans’ internal jihad between greed and hate, being played out through the Dubai Ports Deal and illegal immigration conflicts, should sufficiently fuck them for November.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Trip Report

The family visit actually exceeded all of my already over-inflated expectations. We had a blast. Of course, three days o’ Disney was exhausting, but everything worked out exactly as planned. The weather was magnificent, our room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge overlooking the savannah habitat was ideal, and not one of us was afflicted with vacation dysentery, cholera or lyme disease. After allowing the mouse to pillage our wallets for three days, we sojourned south to the M.I.A. It was wonderful and surreal to have my two lives fuse together in front of me. You see, I’ve lived in Miami for over 12 years now, and the possibility that my family from Pittsburgh might ever know my life here, outside of e-mailed photos, never even crossed my mind. They’re great people, but not exactly world travelers. The largest city my sister has ever seen is, well, Pittsburgh. She’s not afraid of going places or meeting new people. In fact, she’s open-minded, friendly and extroverted. But, for reasons that someone like myself will never understand, she’s just never had a longing to see the world outside. But see it she did. They stayed in South Beach, dined on Lincoln Road, swam in the turquoise ocean, trekked through the Everglades and met people from all over the world. And they had a great time.

It feels good and healthy to have been able to integrate my family into my life here. I feel more whole in a way that’s hard to articulate. My sister let me know how impressed she was with the genuine warmness of my friends and that she noticed how family-like we are in our closeness. I thanked her for giving me the ability to forge real relationships. But I don’t think I thanked her enough.