Tuesday, January 31, 2006

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Today I got an email from a former instructor regarding tomorrow's events:

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall on the same day. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication... and the other involves a groundhog."

Side note: I much preferred this version of the State of the Union--this guy does the best impression of Bush EVER.

Favorite quote: "If you have an enemy that's killin themselves, they're already gettin half the job done. Part of what we have to do is sit by and let 'er rip!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Multitasker of the Year Award: George Galloway

If you asked me last month, I would say that George Galloway is the most awesome MP ever. I have no idea what his role, if any, was in the UN's oil-for-food scandal. All I know is that I was abso-freaking-lutely blown away by his tough talk to the US Senate subcommittee last year during the investigative hearings regarding his involvement. Galloway went berserk before the almighty US Senate, and that's a fact. I don't care if he was involved in a sordid love affair with Sadam and Osama. For one fleeting moment I was able to see, right there live on C-Span, what it might be like if politicians in America actually held robust, open debate similar to that in the House of Commons. I hold no illusions that Galloway opened up some kind of new standard for public discourse on Capitol Hill, but anyone who's ever endured even two minutes of congressional hearings via C-Span knows that the banality is enough to literally spur droves of viewers into dying of boredom. Literally. And there is something deeply disconcerting and almost sinister about that. Lord knows if Bush was held under as much public scrutiny as Blair is by his own colleagues in Parliament he wouldn't last one day as President. The public humiliaton alone would send him stuttering and inventing words which would no doubt lead to the APA diagnosing our little Dubya as showing signs of mental retardation.

But I digress...

Back to Galloway. The MP is ALL over the news out here in Old Blimey. He's been quite the busy bee--not only has he just successfully won a libel case against the Daily Telegraph, but he's also found a home on Celebrity Big Brother alongside the likes of a transvestite who wears gorilla coats, a Paris Hilton look-alike who dubbed Hilton Travelodge, and Dennis Rodman. For the last three weeks the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow has been serving his consituency by dancing the robot in a spandex leotard and lapping milk from a saucer like a kitty.

Unfortunately, such admirable endeavors have taken their toll on his Parliamentary activities. According to theyworkforyou.com, since 2005, Galloway has only voted in 15% of Parliament's elections, ranking him at 634 out of 645 MPs. Among those who ranked below him were five members of Sinn Fein who were practicing abstention, three speakers who were in eligible to vote, and two members who have recently become deceased.

I suppose, if you asked me now, I would not rank George Galloway as the most awesome MP ever, even though his robotic prowess has proven impressive. I will, however, dub him "Multitasker of the Year".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY: The Rev would not be proud

Today, as I scanned some of the top stories from my native soil, I kept seeing the face of Rev Martin Luther King pop up along with various stories. 'What's goin on here?' I thought. Then it dawned on me--yesterday was MLK Day, and I was just sittin out here in limey land sipping tea, watching celebrity Big Brother.

The 20th anniversary of its official national observance, this holiday commands attention on so many levels, and must be recognized now more than ever. With Rosa Parks' recent death, King's widow in the hospital from a stroke, another Vietnam on our hands and the mounting fear of nuclear devastation, the cause of the great Reverend needs a little revisit. And by "little revisit" I mean a major acknowledgement. Monumental I'd say.

This is the only major U.S. holiday which has yet to be diluted and degraded by the shameful, culture-eradicating machine that is commercialization. No "Martin Luther King White Sale Now On at Macy's!" or "MLK Low Low Prices at Circuit City!" to be had.

It was in 1994 that President Clinton signed, with the collaborative efforts of Coretta Scott King, the King Holiday and Service Act, which sought to promote the day as one of "community service, interracial cooperation, and youth anti-violence efforts."
...sorry President Bush, but I guess (from that last line) you won't be celebrating this year, or for the rest of your horrific tenure.

It's the nonviolence tenets of King's teachings which really strike a prescient chord. King historian Taylor Branch wrote an amazing Op-Ed piece in the NYT yesterday which really eloquated (I realize that eloquate is not a word, but if I were eloquent enough, I could think of a bettter one) this well:

"Above all, no one speaks for nonviolence. Indeed, the most powerful discipline from the freedom movement was the first to be ridiculed across the political spectrum. 'A hundred political commentators have interred nonviolence into a premature grave,' Dr. King complained after Selma. The concept seemed alien and unmanly. It came to embarrass many civil rights veterans themselves, even though nonviolence lies at the heart of democracy."

Repeat after me: Nonviolence lies at the heart of democracy. Nonviolence lies at the heart of democracy. Nonviolence...

King is the ultimate patriot, one of the only true martyrs in my book, and proof that the message of America's founding fathers will not be lost in contemporary American history books.

Quoting Branch further, "His oratory fused the political promise of equal votes with the spiritual doctrine of equal souls. He planted one foot in American heritage, the other in scripture, and both in nonviolence."

And finally, Branch concludes:

"We must recognize that the accepted tradeoff between freedom and security is misguided, because our values are the essence of our strength. If dungeons, brute force and arbitrary rule were the keys to real power, Saudi Arabia would be a model for the future instead of the past...Gunfire took Dr. King's life, but we determine his legacy. This holiday, let that inspiration remain our patriotic challenge."

This holiday, I went to Topshop and ate at Starbucks. The Rev would not be proud.