January 16th, 2009

Re-entering the US just got even more painful

I ‘ve always hated the process entering the US, where the immigration and customs policies seem to be more Soviet-Russia-Bureaucracy than Land-Of-The-Free, but since I got my Green Card it’s been a little better.  At least now there aren’t forms to fill out beforehand, and I can use the faster-moving citizens line (and when I’m travelling with Jay, we can at least line up together). But one of Bush’s midnight regulations might make things worse again.  Starting two days from now, Green Card holders will be treated just like any other alien,  and will have to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entry.

DHS said all “aliens” in the U.S. are subject to the biometric requirements of the US-VISIT program, and that lawful permanent residents – even though their backgrounds have been thoroughly examined — are technically still considered aliens.

“US-VISIT enables DHS to determine if an LPR seeking entry has been convicted of any crime that would render him or her subject to removal from the United States,” says the final rule.

Great.  I worry enough about speeding fines and parking tickets enough as it is, without making it ammunition for a surly border guard.  And then there’s this:

LPRs have generally been allowed to use the line designated for “U.S. Citizens” when they arrive on an international flight at a U.S. airport, and this treatment is likely to continue, but that doesn’t give the two groups identical rights, says DHS. “This accommodation does not mean that LPRs are, or will otherwise be treated as, United States citizens,” says the final rule.

I mean, come on. I pay taxes.  I contribute to society. I’m a good citizen legal permanent resident. The least you can do is let me enter the country in the company of my husband.

Pretty please?

Full article:  Green card holders will be fingerprinted and photographed at U.S. borders


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October 1st, 2008

Can we get a new category on why i like canadians?

In this case, it’s Toronto’s Heather Mallick who said what every sane person in America has been thinking, but not so comfortable about saying too publicly.

A Mighty Wind blows through Republican convention,” about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, contending that Palin has the “toned-down version of the porn actress look,”…Palin “added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn’t already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America’s name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right.”…Mallick defined “white trash” as “rural, loud, proudly unlettered (like Bush himself), suspicious of the urban, frankly disbelieving of the foreign, and a fan of the American cliché of authenticity. The semiotics are pure Palin: a sturdy body, clothes that are clinging yet boxy and a voice that could peel the plastic seal off your new microwave.” And as to why people in rural areas vote for Republicans, Mallick explained her view that “red states vote Republican on social issues to give themselves the only self-esteem available to their broken, economically abused existence.”

Heather Mallick, thank you.


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September 25th, 2008

Why am I not freaked out?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been readying myself for the inevitable sci-fi movie misery that will result from the Large Hadron Collider starting up–the black holes, the tiny dragons, the fact that we can’t understand particle physics without smashing subatomic particles into each other–maybe that just puts everything in perspective. My bank just got taken over by the Fed. The economy is collapsing. A third of the world’s species are likely to become extinct in the next few years. The dumbest person in the country is a vice presidential nominee. The presidential campaign seems like a surreal clusterfuck of…well…things that oddly seem more unlikely than string theory.

So, we’re on the verge of handing over nearly a trillion dollars to a dude in our administration, which has an history of making monumentally stupid decisions, with no oversight, no process for appeal, no agreement that this is even a good idea, no idea whether this really even addresses the main problems in the economy… excuse me if I feel like we’re 37 minutes into an episode of House. Let’s start chemo, even though we don’t really think she’s got cancer, because, well, we’ve run out of other ideas. But of course we’ll figure it out by the end of the episode, right?

So maybe that’s why I’m not freaked out. Even though I know I should be. Even though Henry Paulson is clearly no Hugh Laurie. And I’m probably going to be homeless in a year when all this posturing plays out and the economy collapses and the tiny dragons release an EMP that destroys all electrical signals, thus rendering Microsoft useless and Jessica Alba a post-apocalyptic bike messenger…but for some reason I haven’t been able to internalize the peril yet. Or maybe I’m just inured by the last four years of increasing fear of iminent doom, which comes, just a bit less dramatically than a category 3 hurricane, and doesn’t seem as bad as the fear.

Oh, the heart is a bizarre muscle, ain’t she. The brain knows we’re screwed. The body can’t quite imagine life without prime time hospital soap operas. Or that life isn’t a prime time soap opera. Perhaps the Matrix is correcting itself? Or I need to stop watching so much television. Or watch more Dr. Who. Or just buy a lot more sci-fi books before I can’t afford them and stash as I’m on the run from the 21st century.

Do I sound paranoid to anyone?


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June 12th, 2008

Habeas Corpus Still On Life Support

The Supremes have pitched the Bush Administration their 3rd strike.

I am cautiously hopeful with the slight majority for Democrats in Congress and the lame duck status of The Idiot. I am unsure this means we can immediately restore the foundation of democracy – the right to challenge detention by the government. When Congress originally passed the Military Commissions Act, I got a bit maudlin here. Rather than jump for joy I want to see what The Idiot’s Minions and Congress are going to do about this latest slap from The Supremes.

Read the rest of this entry »


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June 28th, 2007

Bush Failed the Gulf Coast

After Katrina, Bushed promised help.  But it never came.  And now a pediatrician who stayed to help has  finally given up. Read his powerful story.


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May 31st, 2007

Someone get this man a fiddle and a match

Several recent reports about recent behaviour by the president in private , such as thumping his chest while repeating ‘I Am The President!’. Apparently he’s upset that no-one understands him. But when you live in a bubble, what else can you expect?


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May 25th, 2007

How to steal an election with negative votes

The principle of democratic elections is “one person, one vote”. But in the US in 2004, you could also add: “one particular person — Karl Rove — millions of negative votes”.

BBC reporter Greg Palast has 500 emails from Karl Rove (mistakenly sent to email addresses at spoof site georgewbush.org instead of RNC site georgewbush.com) that detail the process of “caging”. The basic idea is that the RNC would take addresses of typical Democratic voters (blacks, hispanics, etc.) and send them letters first-class marked “do not forward”. Each letter returned undeliverable was used as evidence that the registered voter was not entitled to vote. Of course, many of them were returned because they were sent to soldiers away in Iraq or Afghanistan. Overall, more than THREE MILLION votes were challenged. Soldiers sent home absentee ballots only to have them invalidated, and they never suspected a thing. How can democrats compete in elections decided by thousands of votes in the face of dirty tricks like this?

This video of Palast answering questions about his book is required viewing. It details the whole program, and how it’s connected to the US Attorney purge, the Iraq war, and even the high price of oil.

I’m really, truly depressed by the state of this country right now. The government is corrupt. The election system is broken, and Palast doesn’t hold high hopes for the 2008 election either. And the democrats, as judged by their recent capitulation to Bush with the no-strings-attached war funding bill don’t seem to be able to do a thing about it.


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November 3rd, 2006

One Breath

This is a great political ad. Shame it’s not on TV.


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August 23rd, 2006

Bush Strategerizes

Great article in Slate on Monday’s press conference with the prez. It’s just so clear he doesn’t get it. Fred Kaplan really nails it here, though:

As for Iraq, it’s no news that Bush has no strategy. What did come as news—and, really, a bit of a shocker—is that he doesn’t seem to know what “strategy” means.

Asked if it might be time for a new strategy in Iraq, given the unceasing rise in casualties and chaos, Bush replied, “The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve their objectives and dreams, which is a democratic society. That’s the strategy. … Either you say, ‘It’s important we stay there and get it done,’ or we leave. We’re not leaving, so long as I’m the president.”

First, it’s not clear that the Iraqi people want a “democratic society” in the Western sense. Second, and more to the point, “helping Iraqis achieve a democratic society” may be a strategic objective, but it’s not a strategy—any more than “ending poverty” or “going to the moon” is a strategy.

I’d add that “we’re not leaving, so long as I’m president” clearly isn’t a strategy anyway, unless your strategy is “let the next guy clean up the mess”.


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December 7th, 2005

God is Real, and on Line Two

If I’d read this in the New York Times instead of The Onion I could easily believe it to be true.

Voice Of God Revealed To Be Cheney On Intercom

WASHINGTON, DC—Telephone logs recorded by the National Security Agency and obtained by Congress as part of an ongoing investigation suggest that the vice president may have used the Oval Office intercom system to address President Bush at crucial moments, giving categorical directives in a voice the president believed to be that of God.

For many, the revelation explains Bush’s confusion in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“I was very surprised by the president’s slow response in New Orleans,” political commentator Bill Kristol said. “The president told me that he was praying every day in his office, but had received no reply. I had no idea what he meant, but of course, it all makes sense now.”

At the time of Katrina, Cheney was on a fly-fishing trip, from which he returned on Sept. 1.


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