AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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old busted hotness

So I was telling my mom about the gas ‘shortage’ in Nashberg last night and she said, given the current political climate and the economy that we can expect to see things like this increasing all over the country. She said during the 70s that there was a lot hoarding and similar weirdness in relation to the economy. Meaningless, pointless hoarding or more sinister hoarding (like gas) that made things worse for everyone rather than helping anything. Given the fact that people are much more susceptible to frenzies over incomplete/inaccurate media reports, I’m sure she’s right.

My brain has been muddling over this for hours. Mostly I think who gets fucked here is the people already doing right. Great if you live in a big coastal city and have good public transportation. But what if you live in mid-sized town, buy local and support local businesses? What happens when there really is a gas crisis? Nothing can be trucked in, people freak and suddenly no one can get anything because there isn’t enough local food to sustain the area?

(So I started writing this post, then I got totally distracted by Men in Black on TV. Now I am tired and I don’t care to finish my thoughts.)


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I am surrounded by morons

The gas shortage in Nashville is becoming INSANE.  This picture was taken around the corner from my house at the Citgo that had gas all day (because the owner refused to sell anyone more than $20 at a single sale).  People we freaking the fuck out all over town.   There have been reports of fist fights and general insanity.  The reporting on the whole thing is some of the worst I have ever seen.  Like no one at all, none of the media outlets are explaining what’s going on.  A a couple of the stations are seriously feeding the frenzy.  As far as I can piece together there were multiple news reports on Friday about how Hurricane Ike was going to take out all the refineries and the pipeline and so everyone better get gas because there would be none.  People freaked out.  There was a 400% increase in gas sales Friday causing many stations to run out. Stations started putting up signs saying they were out of gas (most expecting deliveries Monday or Tuesday).  The local news made a huge deal out of the stations being out of gas.  People freaked out more.  I started hearing stories about people driving to 18, EIGHTEEN, gas stations looking for gas.  Hey, asshole, maybe just don’t fucking drive then.  Walk, bike, work from home.  There were thousands of accusations of price gouging filed with the AG’s office and there may or may not be an investigation (strangely everyone has stopped talking about that).  So now there’s no gas, estimations say 85% of the stations in Nashville are completely empty.

Now, as far as I can tell, there was no reason for this at all.  If everyone hadn’t freaked out and started using all their gas to drive around and get more, and had maybe just chilled for the weekend until the deliveries came, the worst that probably would have happened is there might have been a little less gas, maybe prices would have been exorbitant for a few days and then prices would have leveled off.  It is like this is all a self made, self perpetuating crisis.


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in which we really learn why we should ride bikes

So there’s no gas in Middle Tennessee right now. It’s insanely expensive in East Tennessee and cheap (relatively) in West Tennessee. On the surface this is residuals from Hurricane Ike. According to the press this is because everyone went a filled up before the hurricane hit. As far as I can tell, everyone went and filled up because the press made such a huge deal about how everyone needed to go fill up because oh no there will be no gas. So now there’s no gas. Except maybe there would be gas if the press hadn’t flipped everyone out. Great.

I have enough gas to get to work and back through weekend and get to the bank. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere over the weekend, and I’m really not now. Hopefully by next week they will have it all sussed out. I’ve been trying not to freak out about the economy, but being in a city full of gas stations that literally have no gas is kind of apocalypse scary.

Also I’m just pissed off about the whole thing because I watched it happen. We left Nashville on Sat am and prices were around $3.89. There were INSANE price fluctuations between Nashville and Memphis. In Arkansas it was around $3.89. We drove back Sunday and I took pictures of gas prices the whole way back. It was like $3.89 in West Memphis (Arkansas), $3.99 in Memphis, $4.79 an hour out of Memphis, $4.19/$4.29 a MILE from the $4.79 station. When we got back to Nashville it was $3.99 in our neighborhood, but people have told me that price varies by as much as $0.80 around the city. I saw a ton of complaints about price gouging on Monday and now the AG is saying he’s not sure those complaints are worth investigating? We are on the same pipeline as NY and they aren’t running out of gas… You do the math.

Augh, I should just fucking go to bed, now all I am doing is making myself angry.

ETA – HA! I just angered myself further by reading some of the comments on the article I linked to. People are idiots, but still it appears most of them feel exactly the same about this as I do. Like really, what the fuck is going on?


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Let’s put that guitar down and go **** Matt Damon

I don’t feel well.  I’ve been sick on and off since Friday morning. I thought maybe food poisoning (combined with hangover) but now upon reflection, I think it’s actually been a mild, multi-day adventure in vertigo. This sucks, but on the other hand, it is the mildest the vertigo attacks have ever been, so that’s kind of good.

I know, I know.  I keep saying I’m swearing off political blogs.  And talking here is, for the most part, preaching to th choir, and still, well, I just can’t stop myself: This is your nation on white privilege. Yes, these are, IMO, sensible, not really inflammatory arguments.  These are things we should be talking about instead of Palin’s family.  However who would we make these arguments to anyway?  It’s not like the people who need to understand this stuff would ever listen.

Watching Signs first thing in the morning will probably set the tone for my day to be even more weird than usual.

Could I love Matt Damon any more?  It seems almost impossible.

I have a small, sensible, reasonable to-do list for today.  I should get on it.


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towns with walls

We made it to Arkansas and back.  I have to say, it really is one of the most depressing states to drive through.  Pretty in and around the mountains, but man, I felt like crying most of the way home.  Hard to explain why, partly the poverty, partly the way American small towns seem so isolated.  The isolation seems so limiting and horrible to me, like we, as a nation, are choosing to turn our backs on influences from the wider world.

I took pictures on the drive home with an actual film camera.  Weird, right? Will post if they actually turn out.

Am totally exhausted, but too much so even get up off the couch and go to bed.  I woke up early, early this morning thinking someone was running a bath in the hotel room–that booming water in small room sound–but it was actually the insane rain from the end of hurricane Ike passing over us.

I don’t know if it was the storm, or the excitement, or being not in my bed, but I had crazy ass dreams too.  Don’t remember enough to relate here, except there were dreams with in dreams and small towns that become huge temples, and visions of cities past that never existed.

Will sleep and maybe make sense tomorrow.


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the news is blues unless the news is new shoes

Saturday I read political blogs all day. ALL DAY. Shockingly I did not suffer an aneurysm. However I do have much much much less faith in the human population than I did before.

Sunday I read sewing blogs all day. Now I want to cut up everything I own and sew it into something else. The only thing that is stopping me is that I need to spend an hour finishing and cleaning up all my other craft projects in order to set up the sewing machine.

Of course I spent much of both days watching seasons 2 – 4 of Scrubs with Ladybug. We really do lead the most interesting lives. Now I am supposed to be coding (I was until I started writing this) and Ladybug is actually cleaning the house and being productive. We did, maybe go shoe shopping yesterday. In honor of that, here are the new shoes I’ve I acquired in recent weeks:

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Ladybug and I both admit that we have shoe problems, we buy many and hoard them. In an attempt to end that, we both cleaned out our closets yesterday of shoes that were worn out, fit poorly or simply weren’t going to be worn again. Here are the shoes we are getting rid of:

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Yes, that is a laundry basket each (and how amusing are the DSW bags in the background?)! No, I don’t know yet what we are going to with them. I wish I knew someone we could give them to to make art out of or something.

I’ve been thinking about ti for a while, but after seeing the shoe madness here, I’ve been much more seriously taking a three month non-consumerism pledge. Which is to say purchasing nothing beyond what I need for survival food etc) for 3 months. If I want new clothes I have to make them, etc… And of course I can make gifts etc, as that is clearly possible from the massive of amounts of craft supplies I have stashed around the house. Still it is a big decision. I’ll probably sit on it for a while.


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and on it goes

I just got off the phone with the detective assigned to my case.  They got good prints off my car, and they have a hit, but unless I can pick the guy out of a line up it’s fairly useless.  Because the print was on the outside of the car, the defendant can say he was in the neighborhood and touched the car accidentally at some point during the day.  None of the prints they got off the inside of the car are good enough for matching.  So the Det. is bringing a photo line up for me to look at tomorrow. But since they had bandanas tied around their faces, it’s kind of a crap shoot.  We’ll see.

It’s nice they gave it to a detective that works the same hours as me, I guess.  But now I’m tired.  I’m lonely and sad and I can’t really call anyone at 1 am, just because I want to chat.  The perils of the night shift.

Boss Daddy, because he is the best, went down to the station and talked to the Commander for a bit this week.  They said yes, it isn’t our imagination, there has been huge upsurge in this kind of crime in our neighborhood and two other specific neighborhoods as well.  They think, maybe, that there’s new gangs moving into the area and that most of it is gang initiation related.  Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel better.  But it sort of does, like it wasn’t just random, hideous crime in my neighborhood.  However, if it’s true, I suspect the Nashville PD doesn’t have  gang unit that’s ready for this kind of thing.  Since one of the cops who responded when I was robbed spent a god deal of time explaining how gentrification and crime are related, as if it was new concept, I’m gonna guess they really aren’t ready.


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cops and dreams. again.

I slept in today. I woke up early. Like before 7:30. And I was awake. I could have gotten up. But I had a rough night at work last night, then stayed up another hour reading. And it’s another night of waiting tables tonight, so I opted to sleep.

As a consequence of the extra sleep I had weird dreams. One about grocery shopping. In one there was a 4th apartment in my house that a beloved friend moved out of. And for some reason as they were remodling it there were TV and DVD players all sorts of electronics in the yard which we all basically grabbed as much as we could of. Then I had a really long dream that I was catching up with a friend that I miss. In the dream she used to live next door to me and I was catching her up on everything that had happened since she’d moved. Which isn’t too far from the truth.

So this morning, I’m trying to read my email in all my multiple acocunts. I follow the same pattern: read, delete, read next, or read, reply, delete, read next. For some reason every time I try to delete or reply Yahoo! is making me reenter my password. It’s also reloading really, really, really, really slowly. I want to kick it, or blow it up. It is making me crazy.

There were a series of muggings in my neighborhood last night. Not surprising, as it’s not exactly gentrified, it’s summer, it’s hot and kids are out of school. Three 20-something guys got hit a couple blocks from my work and ran down to us to call 911. I saw this morning that a cafe nearby and few other individuals were hit in the area with in a few hours. Now I’ve mentioned before that I’m really unimpressed with the Nashville PD. But once again, I can’t figure how they make the decisions they do. So guys get mugged, call 911 and the cops respond in about 3 minutes. Then 3 cop cars hang out, asking the guys questions, and 15 minutes later the helicopter starts flying over. Um, okay. Wouldn’t it be better to have one cop car respond and interview the kids, and the others canvas the neighborhood on foot or in their cars? I’ve always wondered about the effectiveness of the copter, since there a lot of trees and fully wooded areas around here. It wouldn’t be at all hard to hide from a light in the sky. Plus it clearly did nothing since several other folks were hit, presumably by the same muggers, in the same area, after the first group of guys was.


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media with and without meaning

Is Finding Neverland the most boring movie ever? I put things on for company when I’m coding during the day and I think this might put right back to sleep. Gah. It’s not often I turn a movie off an hour into it, but I think I’m switching this out for Wild Things.

You know what isn’t boring background noise? Penn & Teller’s Bullshit. Sofa king awesome!! You can find many of the episodes on YouTube.  I recommend, especially, the Creationism episode (and the War on Porn episode which, admittedly, I haven’t yet seen all of, but I love the show and I trust Jezebel).

You know what else doesn’t suck? Mad Men. And it’s soon returning. WHEEE!

Hmm, I should probably stop talking about distractions, as it’s, well, distracting me. And there’s work to be done.


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“Get that toddler primed for a lifetime of God-fearing guilt.”

I will simply copy and paste the email from my super awesome stepdad, and say that the link is long, but definitely worth reading:

Thought you would enjoy this, especially since from a Westerner’s perspective, it is right in your neck of the woods.
Warning, the review contains one of the greatest.misogynistic.terms.ever, in this case the woman in question really earned it.
(I admit, I only started reading to find out what he thought the greatest misogynistic term ever was. Heh. Also how cute is dad’s Simpson’s Comic Guy punctuation in his email? Hee hee.)


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sun shines even on bad cops

I have recently had cause to be generally unhappy with the way the Nashville police respond to things.  The Seattle police force certainly had it’s problems, but Nashville is quite clearly not serving and protecting all it’s citizens equally and it’s a shame.  I know it’s tied to a lot the other urban problems we have, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get addressed any time soon.  Also I know it’s funny to joke about the rivalry between Memphis and Nashville, but fucking hell, Memphis, really? I’m not saying it wouldn’t have gone down the same in Nashville, but the fact that it didn’t happen here makes me feel at least a little better about our cops.  Even if it would appear that steroid usage is common among them.

It is a another glorious under 80 day in Nashville.  I am going to celebrate by cooking out.  If you are reading this and you want to come by and eat with me and miss Ladybug, call me.

God, I love E.Nash.  The the 35 minute delay between writing this and the paragraph above, my pal, Heartbreaker, came by, brought back some stuff he’d borrowed, invited me out to a show tonight and hung out and generally encouraged me on the work I am supposed to be doing today.  In the PNW people don’t just drop by and hang for a bit.  I love it when they do.


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So. Things.

This weekend Ladybug and I went ten miles out of our way to do our grocery shopping at Publix. Publix is great. Reasonably priced, store brand stuff is awesome and I can get all hippie/natural brands that I’m accustomed to in Seattle and can’t get in my (awesome) ghetto neighborhood in Nashville. And Ladybug and I are always up for cross-cultural experiences. So there we were, in suburbs. It could have been ANYWHERE in middle America. It didn’t feel like Nashville. It didn’t feel like anywhere. It was just a vaguely American place. So we shop. We get our good foods. We marvel at the suburbs and we drive home.

So I’m thinking, here’s all these relatively uniform looking people. All these teenagers who are dressed like Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. And there’s nothing around that makes think this place is special because… It didn’t even necessarily feel like the South or Nashville or anything.

I bag on Nashville a lot. The grocery stores suck. Public transit is a joke. Decent restaurants must be carefully sought and aren’t just found. But really, I love Nashville. It feels like, well, Nashville. It has character and personality and despite how small it is it’s still genuinely urban. Yes, the racial divide is bad, the poverty is hard to deal with (especially when it’s so close), but I love even those things. It has soul, it is reality. There is more reality here than any American suburb. And it is dark and poor and horrible, but it’s also, arty and bright and amazing and I just love my city.

Sometimes you have to go to the suburbs to remind yourself of why you love the city. Also real urban kids don’t need to try and look like Ashlee Simpson because they have culture and variety and other things in their lives to keep them from becoming plastic parodies of people.

After grocery shopping, Ladybug and I re-arranged the kitchen a bit and it feels much more open and bright and utilitarian. Hurray!

I’ve started training my replacement at the day job. She seems great so far. So that’s good. Can’t wait to get out there.

Have a stack of reference/research books next to me. Should be doing that work. Am instead blogging and contemplating eating cold fried chicken and watching 13 going on 30. Which you know I hate both the leads of that movie, and yet, still enjoy the movie. Weird.

Yes, I had other things to say. Smart, interesting things. Political things. Intelligent things. Who knows now what they were, though, because I’ve forgotten. Maybe I’ll have a beer with that fried chicken.


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boohoo and linky linky

I'm not having a good day.  No, I don't want to talk about it.

Also I'm getting a fairly hideous headache.  And my boss is ten minutes late for our meeting. If he's not here in another five I am going home.

In lieu of my own content, links:

Maybe everything would be better if I had one of these:

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

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it’s like my brain won’t turn off, even when I try and make it

I'm sure you've all probably seen this in various form around the net, everyone and their brother seems to be reposting it (usually with out credit the original photographer):

What the World Eats, photos by Peter Menzel.  It's a series of pictures of families in different nations, sitting with all their groceries for one week. This was originally emailed to me by a work associate, with the comment, "Don't know about you, but right about now, I'm counting my blessings! Sure glad we live in America."  Really?  Really?  I am seriously appalled that anyone would look at this and take that sentiment away from it.  My immediate response to it is that I have been slacking lately on my personal pledge not buy prepackaged food and to eat more vegetables.  My secondary response to it is that middle class culture, universally, around the world, eats a disgusting amount of non-food items.  This is clearly one more sign/symptom of the decline of western civilization. I am going to eat an apple now.  And then contemplate making my own tortillas and subsequently my own tortilla chips, as that is one of the few packaged foods I cannot live with out. I will, of course, never follow on this contemplation.

Naturally before I was sitting here feeling all high and mighty about this, I was out, earlier this morning, where I bought myself a bunch of make-up and other useless crap.  So later I can go home and make myself feel very very pretty, while simultaneously beating myself up mentally for not being a hairy-legged hippie who could care less about how she looks.  Le sigh. Perhaps as I move into my 35th year my meditations should focus more on accepting and balancing the series of contradictions that I am.

I have actually been thinking about food a lot lately.  I've run across stories about the current global food crisis in a variety of media this week.  I find it really upsetting.  America, the Land of Plenty, people starving in other countries, blah blah blah. Sure, right, who doesn't find it upsetting if they dwell on it? The failure of decent world trade, the crumbling international economies, the terrifying rise of nationalism and conservative ideals in middle class "Western" countries, and very real threat of global climate change are all very clear signs that we have passed a tipping point.  Sure crazy radical revolutionaries like myself have been saying such things since the 70s (and surely earlier) that western civilization will topple, that we are living in end times, that we've too long been living on a bad colonial model and living beyond our means.  I just don't know what is to be done about it. I mean, I live in and am a product of the country and the culture into which I was born.  I am incredibly materialistic, and yet ethically against the very foundations that make that kind of materialism possible for me.  I am, essentially a moral failure, though still incredibly idealistic.  The question is, really, what to do about it?  I mean, I'm not going to run off and live in woods and grow all my food. I can continue to work to be a better person.  But, how much work do I need to do?  Can I be satisfied working in small family-owned business, and working to make small steps in teaching people about energy conservation?  Should I run off work harder to help feed poor kids in other countries? Would it even matter if I did?

Ugh, I anticipated introspection this week, pre-birthday and all.  I wasn't actually expecting to have a moral crisis about how I live my life.  Excuse me, I'll be over here in my designer jeans, putting on eyeshadow and trying to calculate how much I have spent on cosmetics and wondering many months of food I could have purchased for a family in Africa with that cash.  Later I will go out and have fun with my friends and then stick myself with pins for not remembering to feel the suffering of the rest of the world acutely enough. Or perhaps I'll forgo all of that, take up pot smoking as a hobby, and forget I ever worried about any of this.

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stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before

Some mornings I just can't win.  Woke up 40 minutes before my alarm, laid in bed for 20 minutes and fell back asleep about the time I'd decided to get up.  Overslept. Raced around getting ready. Picked clothes that matched.  Got to work, caught myself in the mirror and realized that I look like my mom.  Sure, my mom is beautiful, she was insanely gorgeous when she was young, but man, I would rarely be caught dead in her clothes.  The problem here, I believe, is the shoes.  The very comfortable shoes, which my mom picked out, purchased for me, and then bought herself a matching pair.  I probably never should never have let that happen.

And while I was driving to work there was this whole thing on the radio about the Chinese economy and I got to thinking about how we've completely screwed ourself in the US.  And how it's really this insane culture of consumerism and disposability that has fucked us.  I mean we've sold off our entire manufacturing industry to lowest bidder in Asia and other places, so that can create for us massive amounts of stuff we don't even need.  I mean really, there is nearly NOTHING at Walmart that you or I need. Sure you can get lots of cheap stuff there, but why do you needs many cheap items when perhaps one good one would do whatever the job is?  OF course, obviously, I am as guilty of buy into this consumerist economy as anyone is.  Sure as guilty as I feel about it doesn't seem to stop me too much.  Partly because while I understand this idea of everything each individual does does matters, I'm not sure it's true.  I don't shop at Walmart.  So?  Does that really change the entire culture of my country?  Because a drastic, 180 change is all that is really going to make a difference. In 50 years can we get everyone into the culture of conservationism so fully that we no longer even need to manufacture plastic trinkets and cheap knockoffs overseas? So we can return to manufacturing in this country (using renewable power) and go back balancing our import /export levels?  Can we create enough decent paying jobs for our own citizens so that those same citizens can afford quality items made here and eradicate the needs for using cheap overseas labor?

Ugh, sorry, it's not like I have any new, interesting or original ideas there.  I'm just really bothered by it today.  I will resume (after last weekends retarded mass of shopping) to buy as much as I can used, or made in America, and really just to buy less.  Maybe next week I'll give you my high horse lecture on packaging and how we should all be boycotting the absurd packaging that wasting resources on everything we buy.

And, superficially, and self-servingly, let remind you that my birthday is in 14 days, and if you're so inclined, you should buy me something handmade.

Um, hi.  It's sunny.  I 'll be over here in my mom outfit drinking more coffee and getting to work, yeah?

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is it over yet?

It's WAY too cold.  After yesterday's balmy spring-like temps and last night's insane windstorm it should just not be this cold at 11 am when it's this sunny out.  BRRRRR!

I am cranky today.  The smallest things are irritating me.  

So I wrote way, way back that the idea of Guiliani vs. Clinton race was utterly abhorrent to me.  I'd probably abstain from voting at all.  Now people are talking McCain vs. Obama, which well, I'd go with Obama, I guess.  Not so much from party loyalty exactly (fucking Democrats, arg), but because Sen. Kennedy endorsed Obama and whithers goes my tribe as goes Teddy K. But I was listening to the radio this morning talking about the FL primaries and future possibilities and I realized that if it came down to a McCain vs. Clinton race, I'd have to back McCain.  I've been saying forever that people, in general, probably unconsciously, vote for the candidate they'd most like to have a beer with.  It's how Bush got elected in the first place.  A coworker asked me last night about Obama, she said they rest of the staff was behind him but they weren't really sure why (as they don't follow politics enough to worry about policies or anything).  I am sure why, because we work in a bar and Obama is the only candidate on the liberal side that we'd want to come hang out and drink with us. Period.  It's the way the populace votes.  I have other reasons to dislike Hilary, but mostly there's no way she'll manage to come across as someone warm, pleasant and friendly enough to hang out with for a Pabst and therefore she's unelectable. Also Edwards dropping out is a big time bummer. And I am so tired of this election already.

I want new shoes.  Instead I will pay bills.  Boo.

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hostage

I don't know if you know anything about Ingrid Bétancourt, but she's been hostage in the jungle of Colombia for the last six years.  A few weeks ago the guerillas holding her released a short video of her and a 20 page letter she'd written to her mother.  At that time they interviewed her sister on NPR and read portions of the letter. I was driving home at the time and had to pull over because I was crying so hard listening to her letter to her mother.  Today the FARC, her captors, released two other hostages.  NPR had Bétancourt's husband on talking about his hopes and what the family has been doing.  In addition to working with Hugo Chavez and others to negotiate release if possible, her husband has apparently been chartering small planes and flying over the jungle dropping thousands of pictures of her children in hopes one will make it to her. I really cannot express the amount of emotion this whole story stirs up in me.  Like listening to her husband today I just kept saying "oh my god" and fluttering my hands to my chest.  I was so completely overcome.  I feel so bad for Madam Bétancourt, her family, her loved ones, and her country.  I really can't explain why, but the entire thing stirs up something really deep, horrible and painful inside me.

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please wear orange on Friday

An email from my mom, directly copied and pasted:

You know you can count on 1 or fewer fingers the number of broadcasts political appeals that I have ever sent.
I'm conscious that many of my friends and family are on opposite sides of the political pole from me.
 
But, as an American and a decent human being, I believe that what our country is doing in Guantanamo is a black, cancerous blot on our international reputation, the heart of the Constitution, and our shared human souls.  Our children and our children's children will wonder why we didn't do something to stop it.

This is a minor action to take: Please wear orange on Friday to show solidarity with the efforts to close Guantanamo.
We are a nation governed by the rule of law. It's what our better angels seek when we try to assist other countries in human-rights turmoil. We must show by our actions at home that we truly believe in the rule of law.
 
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/closeguantanamo.html

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who asked us to come anyway? no one

This morning on NPR they were talking to academics from Iraq who have fled the country. It made me really sad.  I think one of the things that vast majority of Americans don't understand (or don't give time to think about) is that Iraq is a middle class country.  That is to say the level of education, the amount of money and education etc. that people have is comparable to western Europe or any of the "first world" nations.  It is often depicted in the media etc. as a sandy, desert place full of barefoot boys and bearded men in turbans. But the truth is it was a country full of thriving cities no different from ours here, with people doing all kinds of work and those people, people quite literally just like you and I are now living in extreme danger.  Danger from the actual facts of war: bombs, gunshots, beatings.  But also from the current regime of fundamentalists that are over taking.  This, in my opinion, isn't so different from what happened in Iran, where the entire educated middle class was crushed under the heel of extreme fundamentalism. (HA!  Just as I was typing that one of the guys on the show said much the same thing!)

It makes me really hurt, partly because I feel so bad for all these people.  People who love their country, the land they come from, who are cast out, running, fearing for their lives because of their beliefs.  But it's more than that, I don't feel in any way protected from this myself.  I don't doubt the possibility of something similar happening here.  We aren't so high and mighty anymore, as Americans.  The threat of losing our rights and moral liberties to fundamentalism overtaking government is much more real threat than communism ever was, and more insidious because it will come from inside and we will be too complacent to do anything about it.

Now, people are calling in and apologizing to these men for what American did to Iraq.  I need to start thinking about something else before I burst into tears at my desk.  But you should all go listen yourselves.

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