Santa Baby

DECEMBER 25, 2008

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Rest in peace, Eartha Kitt.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 5:20 PM on 2008-12-25 | permalink | comment


NOVEMBER 7, 2008
It's well after 3am. I should be asleep. I tried to do just that. But it didn't happen. Normally when I can't sleep, it's due to the stresses of life and anxiety about upcoming trips, tasks that must be taken care of, or disagreements where I regretted what I said. Tonight's not like that, though. Since Tuesday, I can admit to not being able to sleep easily. I've been the insomniac because I feel an excitement growing within me.

Yes, as all the pundits said through all of Wednesday, we are in a historic time. They spent the full day talking about how the future face of America being not quite white. Of course, I give it complete respect. The countless times I saw MLK's 'I have a dream' speech on Wednesday made me tear up and cry along with the rest of you. It's big that America has advanced itself to do what I thought was impossible. Fifty years ago, we were in midst the segregation. And now our blackest president to date is moving into the whitest of houses. But I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking about renewal. Can you feel the electric energy that's pumping into America's veins? I feel it. It's like the last eight years have all been a bad dream (a bad dream that's still happening) and yet, we can see the end to this nightmare. January 20, 2009. I count the days. I never knew I could be so excited by cabinet appointments.

I'd have to admit, this week does feel a bit surreal. I'm not sure what to do now. We did it. We actually did it. As of next year, we have a new Democratic president and a strong majority in the House and Senate. And not just any President. The beautiful orator. The intellectual introvert. The cool-as-a-cucumber candidate. The underdog who was expected to be beaten by Hillary, then John. Barack Obama. And this comes as a surprise to me, but I think I'm more impressed by him now than I had been before November 4. You would think after two grueling years campaigning, the man would put his well-worn feet up and take a little rest. But no, he has already announced his new Chief of Staff, phoned up nine world leaders, and unveiled a transition website where you can submit comments, read platforms and action plans, subscribe to the blog, and even apply for a job. He hasn't even started his first day, and he's at it gung-ho. If he's been faking his servitude to the people and the nation, someone needs to get him that memo telling him that he has already won. Doesn't he have some brush palms to clear somewhere in Texas Hawaii? ;)

Now, don't worry. My head's not in the clouds. After these god-awful eight years, I am realistic. I do not think he's a Messiah annointed by God to save the world and our souls. And I surely hope the rest of you don't, either. He's a man. He's done a few votes that I would have disagreed with. All I expect him to do is to work hard and reverse some of the damage that Bush II has done. I fully expect to review all of what he is doing and put his feet to the fire when I feel it's necessary to do so.

But you know what? Unlike Bush, I'm thinking that's what he expects and even wants. Tonight, I spent a considerable reading through Obama's plans for technology and innovation. I think one of the biggest reasons I wanted Obama to win was because he's a candidate who has his mind on the future and is pushing for greater transparency in our government. He wants to put it all out there for us. He wants to include us. He doesn't want to hide and conceal like Bush/Cheney had done all these years. Instead, he wants to use the power of the Internet in the government to include the people more. He actually wants us to become involved. No more sheeple. We must be people. I really like that. We are not to fear the government, but include ourselves with it. Because that's what true democracy is.

I won't be so bold to say that we've just elected the greatest American President. I have no idea how his presidency will be. Maybe he will have a good start but get bogged down in the politics. Maybe all the personal attacks on him will finally get under his collar and he will crack. Maybe the economy's woes will keep him from the greatness we are hoping he's capable of. I hope not, though. I like to think I have a pretty good instinct in people, and he seems to be the real deal. Not some pussy politician who kisses babies and wears big flag pins. Did you notice that he didn't do too many of those embarrassing photo ops that we normally groan from. And his campaign was tight, a well oiled machine. It's obvious the man knows how to use his resources well.

Whatever the case, these are exciting times. I actually look forward to the future.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 3:07 AM on 2008-11-07 | permalink | comment

JANUARY 3, 2008
Compelling. Definitive proof that Musharraf's government is lying about Bhutto's assassination.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 10:01 AM on 2008-01-03 | permalink | comment

In Remembrance, Robert Dziekanski

NOVEMBER 21, 2007
Alright, I have to talk about Robert Dziekanski.

For those of you who don't know, there was a death at Vancouver's Int'l Airport (YVR) last month. A death of tasering by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Robert Dziekanski was the victim, a 40-yr old Polish immigrant on his first international flight who spoke no english and was immigrating to Canada to live with his mother. His mother (erroneously) told him to just wait at the baggage claim area. But she didn't realize or forgot that baggage claim is still in the secured area, and she would not be able to meet him there as she thought. For ten hours, Dziekanski waited for his mother at the luggage carousels. *10 hours*. Just outside the doors, his mother waited seven hours in the public receiving area. After that, she figured he must have missed his flight and headed back for home in inner BC. Anyway, in those ten hours lost and confused and wondering where his mother was, Dziekanski grew agitated and the authority came in and tasered him, twice, to restrain him. Dziekanski died as a result of the electric jolts.

I remember when I first flew to YVR back in 1998. I was equally confused about the setup. It was my first time through international airport customs and security. Sim hadn't told me that he didn't have access to baggage claim. So I was lost as can be, and just focused on following the rest of the crowd. Eventually, I found my way out of the public area. But I think I had to ask someone in baggage claim area where to go next. Thankfully for me, I could speak english. I cannot imagine what a horror it'd be to do all that and not speak a word of english. Of course, one can always say why didn't he learn basic english on the long flight over? Why did he not talk to an authority, even in polish? Surely someone would've sent over a translator. Why didn't he just watch and do as the thousands of other arrivers as they went through the last check before leaving the secured area? So many questions could be asked. And hopefully with a full inquiry, some of these questions may be answered. But point is, YVR does NOT make much effort to make it an easy transition to a first-timer. I don't recall seeing any signs that point to the end of the security gate. It's very ambiguous, and you have to rely on observation to get the idea of what to do. YVR should realize this, and make changes to allow more ease. Sure this was a one-time thing, but I'm sure I'm not the only person around who felt confusion the first time in YVR.

What made me most angry about this whole situation was the cover-up by the officers who were on duty. A photographer managed to videotape the last ten minutes of Dziekanski's life, and it discounted what the RCMP was saying happened. Thank goodness for that. But, I haven't worked up the desire to watch the video of Dziekanski's death. One thing to see people blown up in an action movie. It's another to watch the death of a real person. In the same place you've been countless times in travels. I feel it's a bit of an invasion. A person's death is a personal thing. And do I really need to see that to know what happened? I should, I know. And maybe one of these days, I will. But not yet.

I'm tired of hearing about the taser. Now I understand it's a lot nicer than pulling a gun on someone. But I think it's almost made the job too easy for police, all police around North America. Now instead of using their wits to restrain, they just taser the hell out of anything that moves. Tasering someone two times? Give me a break. Surely someone could've been over there immediately after the first taser to handcuff him. No reason to show excessive brutality. Especially as you probably also know he's been walking around there for ten hours beforehand. That'd make anyone agitated. After seeing someone walk around unhelped for ten hours, why don't you go over to him and ask him if you can help? There are always staff around the area. It's a big open area. Why didn't anybody go help him beforehand? Ten hours! I don't just blame RCMP for this, I also blame YVR for not helping him in those ten hours he likely needed it.

I can't say it's murder, as the death wasn't intentional. But it's a true shame. And highly avoidable.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 11:11 AM on 2007-11-21 | permalink | comment


JUNE 20, 2007
When FoxNews justifies torture by mentioning Jack Bauer, that's one thing. When MSNBC says it, that's another. And when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says it? My eyeballs start spinning in my head.

Justice Antonin Scalia is one of the most powerful judges on the planet.

The job of the veteran U.S. Supreme Court judge is to ensure that the superpower lives up to its Constitution. But in his free time, he is a fan of 24, the popular TV drama where the maverick federal agent Jack Bauer routinely tortures terrorists to save American lives. This much was made clear at a legal conference in Ottawa this week.

Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge's passing remark - "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?' " - got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.

The conservative jurist stuck up for Agent Bauer, arguing that fictional or not, federal agents require latitude in times of great crisis. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.

"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.

"So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes."

What happened next was like watching the National Security Judges International All-Star Team set into a high-minded version of a conversation that has raged across countless bars and dinner tables, ever since 24 began broadcasting six seasons ago.

Okay Jack Bauer should never be mentioned in the court of US law. Not even casually. Especially in the Supreme Court. Because Jack Bauer does not exist. And although torture seems to work like a charm for CTU, it doesn't really work in the real world. And that's the true scary part. The lines are seeming to blur between fact and fiction, between reality and entertainment.

What a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world we live in.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 9:40 PM on 2007-06-20 | permalink | comment

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