November 30, 2003
….has been that the best attacks on Bush come from the Right and that for Bush to win, his opponent will have to paint him as weak on the war against terrorism. Well, lookey here.
The Guardian on anti-Zionism vs. anti-Semitism:
What anti-Zionists find so obscene is that Israel is neither martyr nor saint. Their outrage refuses legitimacy to a people’s national liberation movement. Israel’s stubborn refusal to comply with the invitation to commit national suicide and thereby regain a supposedly lost moral ground draws condemnation. Jews now have the right to self-determination, and that is what the anti-semite dislikes so much.
November 29, 2003
Julie Birchill is leaving The Guardian because of what she calls a ‘quite striking bias against the state of Israel’ by the paper. A great read, go check it out.
I always liked those movies where someone comes home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. They are reunited with friends who have known them their whole lives. They drink too much and get into trouble. They make peace with something that has been gnawing them back in their new lives. The film ‘Beautiful Girls’ springs to mind, though I’m sure there are plenty of other films in the same category.
There is an ease that you have with old friends that I find harder to establish with newer ones. I spent some time with two groups of my friends recently and felt this more than ever.
Last week, I went to a party, on the Lower East Side, of friends who have known me since before I spoke English. These are my childhood friends. The ones I know because they lived next door or down the street or around the corner. To paraphrase a Douglas Coupland line: they were outside, I was outside, we were the same age and that meant we were friends. If we had something in common ‘you like grape juice? I like grape juice!’ we were best friends. We all hung out at Mr. Kim’s Luncheonette on Foster Avenue, played video games and, when we got older, read magazines like Kerrang and Circus (we were mostly metalheads). Don’t try to buy cigarettes from Mr. Kim, even today, because the chance that he’ll tell your grandma is huge. When I’ve come in there with boys he didn’t like, he made sure my grandma was aware of his opinion. When Peter came in with me for the first time, Mr. Kim had no problem blatantly asking when we were getting married.
It was immediately comfortable to hang out with these friends despite the fact that we hardly see each other. We talked about how easy it is when we’re together, how we don’t watch what we say and how everything just flows nicely. We can tell big secrets to each other. It’s a trust that comes from knowing what the other person looks like holding their mom’s hand to cross the street, scraping their knee when they fall down from running too fast, or spending rainy days riding our bikes around the lobby of the building in which we lived.
My other group of friends was made later in life. It was a case of one person introducing another person to the group, who introduced another person, and so on. Our crowds when we go out could get really out of hand. I never knew what rappers were bragging about when they sing about ‘rolling 20 deep in the club’ (translation: going to a club with 20 people). It seemed like it was hard not to draw a large crowd to go out. I’ve seen movies and gone to dinner in groups of 20. Everybody has a friend or two that they want to bring. The size of the group invariably gets outrageous.
If my friends from childhood were made because they were there (and don’t get me wrong, that is as good a reason as any), this other group was made because they fit me so well. I came back from Scotland after living there 6 months the first time around (I would go back within 2 years to spend a longer length of time there), and my non-Russian best friend had started hanging out with this Russian group. I couldn’t have been more sulky. I was a bratty teenager right in the middle of my ‘America sucks’ phase and there could be nothing worse than not only hanging out with Americans, but hanging out with Russian-Americans who I considered, though I was one of them, aliens from planet Versace. I never fit in with my community and didn’t think I was going to start then.
I was wrong. I fit in better than I ever had. We know little things about each other that are impossible to convey. We understand each other’s families and the problems that they have. Russians, in particular Russians who have made it to America, are the most realistic people I’ve ever met. There is no idealism whatsoever. What you see is what you get. Those who gravitate towards Russians tend to be the same. There are plenty of non-Russians in the group now but they have that same quality, a super-realistic brand of thinking to them. I tend to appreciate that these days. I played cards last night until 4am with 9 guy friends (I won!) and it’s the smallest thing but I know, without asking, that none of them were against the war in Iraq, none of them think that 9/11 was payback for some abstract crimes the US committed and none of them have any respect for those who draw moral equivalency between the Israelis and Palestinians. There was discussion, at one point in the game, about changing the rules from ‘winner takes all’ to someone also winning second place and getting their money back. There were plenty of ‘what is this, Communism’ comments. I thought that was funny.
I make friends rather easily and am in touch with almost everyone that ever passed through my life. But it’s nice to go home sometimes and connect with people who really know you, and probably always will. At the height of my sullen teenager days, when even spending the summer in Brooklyn made me feel like I was suffocating, Dawn Summers said ‘think of Brooklyn as homebase, like in tag, you’ll always feel safe here.’ She isn’t often right, that Dawn, but she was then. This Thanksgiving I was thankful for having somewhere to go that feels truly like home.
Small update: a friend of mine forwarded a link to an invite I had made for my 24th birthday party. He writes that he always thought it was cool that I had such a varied bunch of friends. The evite is here, I have to admit I think it’s pretty cool too.
November 28, 2003
Which one is that now? The one that says Israel shall take no steps whatsoever to defend itself and shall continue to allow its people to be slaughtered at will?
Yet another aside: I heard a non-Jewish guy say recently ‘I’m more Zionist than 99% of the Jews in America and 95% of the Jews in Israel’ (I corrected this post after he told me I misquoted him). I found that very attractive.
Andrew Stuttaford links to a story by blogger Oliver Kamm on how public money was spent by London mayor ‘Red’ Ken Livingston on a party whose purpose was to condemn Bush. It ain’t my money so I don’t care much, but how do my British readers feel about this (I guess we’ll hear from them on Monday as it is already the weekend over the pond)?
As an aside, don’t you just love when ‘commies’ hobnob with celebrities? I think that really says something.
At that moment, Bush strode forth from the wings in an Army track suit emblazoned with a 1st Armored Division patch. The bored crowd shot immediately from their seats and whooped. As he surveyed the crowd, a tear dripped down the president’s cheek.
Headline on Drudge: KERRY CONSIDERS BORROWING AGAINST HOME TO FINANCE CAMPAIGN…
November 27, 2003
Even on Thanksgiving, the rap feud continues
One of my brother’s friends is in, uh, rehab and today they had a special visitor: rapper 50 Cent. The clinic gave 50 a sweatshirt with the clinic’s logo but it was too tight. 50 said ‘nah, it’s too small, it’s Ja Rule’s size ‘. Zing.
Disclaimer: I have a huge, incomprehensible crush on 50 Cent.
I love this man. I really, really do. For ditching most of the press who hung out outside his ranch ‘reporting’ that he was now eating his Thanksgiving meal. For putting himself in harm’s way to bring some happiness to our troops over there. For not losing his resolve and not forgetting what brought us to this point. I love the president and I’m thankful today for him.
More on Bush’s visit here and here.
November 25, 2003
I remember when the 7.2% growth prediction came out, many people said it was overblown. In fact, it turns out to be, well, underblown. Will the tax cuts get credit? Yeah. Wait for it.
…when the two biggest drawbacks to his candidacy are his personality and his wife.
Scott at Slantpoint who is, by the way, one of my favorite people that I’ve met through meetups, has a great post about Howard Dean openly admitting that he dodged the Vietnam draft.
This is, for many reasons, a really sore point with me. I feel like I may have written about this before, but, Peter and I almost broke up in the beginning of our relationship because he volunteered the information that he would’ve dodged the draft had he been around during the Vietnam war. As someone raised to understand how evil and awful communism was (and is: hi Cuba and N.Korea) and how it had to be stopped, these words were shocking to me. A wiser, albeit younger, friend of mine (the third one on the list) convinced me I was overreacting by basing my relationship decisions on a hypothetical situation. Since I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe anyway, I agreed that I probably was. Still, I am unshaken that Vietnam was the right thing to do. Vietnam was one front in stopping Communism. America might’ve been wrong strategically in Vietnam, but its purpose was completely correct.
Agree/Disagree? Read Scott’s post and we’ll reconvene.
November 24, 2003
The left just doesn’t get the whole free speech thing. Like the Dixie Chicks story noted below, they seem to really believe that free speech includes them ’speaking out’ about whatever nonsense they’re into this week while the rest of us sit quietly by.
Here is a story about a bunch of protestors at Fort Benning (the article doesn’t even say what exactly they were protesting, I wonder if they themselves know) getting really angry that the military people at the school they were protesting dared to counter their chants with…..music. That’s like, so uncool maaaaaaan. I didn’t come here to hear patriotic music, I came to pick up chicks! The idiot protestors called the music a ‘psychological operation’ and are threatening to sue. I wish I was kidding.
So where do the loonies pick up this ‘I can speak freely but you really shouldn’t’ position? Why, from their party of choice, of course. The Democrats are having a little-girl-kicking-the-carpet fit about the RNC running a terrific ad (featuring Bush at his best, being real and being tough) in Iowa saying that the RNC is politicizing 9/11 because the ad talks about the need to take on terrorists pre-emptively and that some people think that is wrong. If it was just criticism they were dishing out, I wouldn’t be mentioning it. But no, they are demanding the RNC pull the ad. Are they drunk? Or are they dumb enough to believe that 9/11 won’t be mentioned at all in this election? I realize that the Democrats are the party of ‘moving on’ but word to the wise: the American people are nowhere near forgetting about 9/11. It will not only be an issue in this upcoming election, it will be the issue. The Dems can wish for a bad economy to focus attention upon, but they’ve got to wake up and see the number one issue is staying alive. Everything else is secondary. I maintain what I’ve said all along about election 2004: the only way to beat Bush is from the right. To say that he isn’t strong enough on terrorism, that Candidate A can do better. If the Democrats are planning to leave 9/11 out of it, I will at once join the chorus of people who believe Bush will have a landslide win against whomever the Democrats put up.
Via FreeRepublic for the first article and via Peter for the second.
November 23, 2003
…I find all these articles in Britain about Bush’s previously unknown ability to form sentences. Stephen Pollard has more about this in the Telegraph. A terrific piece, my favorite part is the too true end:
What really offends about George Bush is that what you see is what you get, and what you see is a genuine American who makes no effort to be anything else. We can put up with Americans who seem ashamed to be American. Woe betide them, however, if they are proud of it. They will have to put up with our weapon of choice: the condescending sneer.
Peter is really angry about the lack of attention the press gives to the Iranian democracy activists. And he’s telling them so.