Posted by: Amie | October 18, 2008

“Joe” The “Plumber”

Joe the plumber needs to pull up his pants and deal.

As I watched Wednesday’s debate, I sat in hopes that some catty slap fighting would start up to accompany the girlish banter that took place between the two candidates. No one “won” in my opinion, unless you count winning your Fifteen Minutes of Fame. If so, the trophy goes, undoubtedly, to Samuel Joseph (Joe) Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio. (He even scored his own Wikipedia page.)

In the heat of the battle, John McCain wound up for a punch when he mentioned Joe the Plumber, a man Barack Obama had encountered on the campaign trail in Ohio. Senator McCain spoke of Joe’s years of hard work and strife to earn enough to be able to afford the purchase of the company in which he’s invested so much of his life, and Joe’s fears of working under Senator Obama’s tax plan. Joe is worried that his new income would bump him into the affected tax bracket, and he won’t be able to afford to live out his “American Dream.”

Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes…

First of all, does anyone get the feeling that “Joe” (who’s not actually “Joe” but really Sam the no-so-legally-practicing plumber) is a plant from the McCain Camp? Pure speculation here: but since when does McCain take so much interest in who Obama speaks to on a daily basis (unless it’s Bill Ayers on the phone- ten years ago)? Also, while supposedly undecided (like the rest of the swing state), he’s got a lot of quasi-McCain repeated rhetoric going on there – but everyone’s allowed their opinions, I suppose. If not a plant, he was certainly taken advantage of and exploited by McCain Camp (whether he caught on or not is another issue). And the media, of course can always be counted upon to destroy someone: overnight Joe went from poor, struggling American media sensation with lots of verbose opinions based on semi-truths turned tax evasionist with no real license to legally be making a living as he has been. For that, I do, actually pitty him as no one wants their dirty laundry aired. But since it’s out, we’ll examine that later on.

Secondly, if it is true that “Joe” feels this way (that he will not be able to afford his business under Senator Obama’s proposed tax plan), it’s time for Joe to examine his priorities and learn a little about business. Joe’s Ohio home as of June 2008 was experiencing a 6.6%  unemployment rate. Given his legal status in his trade and having a lien placed against him for back taxes, I think Joe should be thrilled to have a job. He should probably focus more on paying off the IRS than paying his former boss for a business he’s not personally licensed to own.

This is not a large firm of which Joe aspires to be the sole proprietor. He is one of two employees in the company. While Joe is wringing his hands and fretting about being elevated from his usual 40 grand a year to a whopping $250,000 after taking over the business, it’s rather likely that he won’t be affected at all. After Joe makes all of his proper deductions, it is likely his taxable income will not be even a blip on the radar screen of the proposed plan.  Well, actually, it would – he will get a tax break. Ohio’s business records stated the company’s annual revenue is seated at a comfortable $100,000 a year, which would not even graze the upper income tax bracket.

Joe continued to express his concern that even if he would not personally be affected by the tax change, that others would in an interview with Katie Couric.

COURIC: Well, he [Obama] supposedly will raise taxes only on people who make over $250,000 a year. Would you be in that category?

WURZELBACHER: Not right now at presently, but, you know, question, so he’s going to do that now for people who make $250,000 a year. When’s he going to decide that $100,000 is too much, you know? I mean, you’re on a slippery slope here. You vote on somebody who decides that $250,000 and you’re rich? And $100,000 and you’re rich? I mean, where does it end? You know, that’s – people got to ask that question.

Well, for now, Joe, don’t get your panties in a twist. The only bracket in question is $250,000 and more, which we see you’re not in, and won’t be for quite some time unless strike it lucky with clogged drains this year. And, for the record, the median income for households in the US was $50,233 in 2007, so yeah, for most, $100,000 it still is “rich.”

All that being said, I really wish you the best, Joe. I come from a long line of blue collar workers who share your struggle. I’m sure they too would be outraged by spending the extra $900 in taxes they would have to pay out of their earnings that, all of a sudden, went from barely paying their bills to a quarter of a million dollars a year.

I was entertained by your long-winded ramblings on while they lasted. I hope you finally choose for whom to cast your ballot. I hope that you do get to realize your “American Dream” while most of us live and die in our companies and never have the chance to outright purchase our place of work. While our dreams forever remain a dream, I hope the media exploitation attention allows you to flourish, and in your best interest, Joe, may you never make enough to fall into the higher tax bracket you dread so much.

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Posted by: Amie | October 16, 2008

In Case You Missed Tonight’s Debate…

I present to you a short recapitulation of tonight’s debate starring Batman as Senator Obama, The Penguin as Senator McCain and special guest, Robin.

More to come on the subject…

Posted by: Amie | October 15, 2008

I Shall Let the Conservative Speak

If you’ve read my other posts, you’d probably gather that I’m as one friend from my past would suggest, a “flaming liberal.” This is not so….well, not until this campaign.

Recently, due to my support of a certain candidate, I’ve been labeled a lot of things and have been sent messages and emails “concerned” about my “liberal propaganda,” and trying to steer me on the “righteous path” to cast my vote. Seeing as how I don’t believe that God should ever be reduced to, compared to, or even related to an American political party – Republican or Democrat – and that being righteous certainly is a lot more involved than being pro-life (I still hate that term – is anyone “pro-death”?!) and supporting gay rights and opinions thereof, I still believe in separation of church and state. My staunch belief that everything happens as part of a plan willed into existence by The Almighty keeps me from fearing that voting one way or the other will bring about the end of the earth or any other such disaster before its time. That being said, we still have a responsibility to make an educated and open-minded decision about how we place and choose leadership. Politics is, and will always be a dirty business. Certainly some politicians are dirtier than others, but you will never find a candidate or party that represents wholly who you are and your belief system. Being “conservative” (read: Republican) does not denote a certain level of piety nor does being “liberal” (read: Democrat) define one as “ungodly” or a heathen – though some (obviously) may argue…

I’ve always considered myself bipartisan though I’m a registered Democrat today (as I feel I have much more in common with the party’s ideals), when I originally filled out my paper work a few days after I turned 18 in preparation for 2004’s election, I was a Republican (don’t worry – I ‘wrote in’ that year).

Even this year I will not vote straight-ticket as I think it’s shallow to allow party loyalties to control ones ability to be educated and cast his/her vote accordingly. I respect those that can point out flaws in their own party of choice. I respect those that don’t blindly follow the leader, and therefore I have a newfound respect for Kathleen Parker.

Kathleen has appeared on Fox News numerous times on my not-so-favorite The O’Reilly Factor and other programs, and is a syndicated columnist. I have read her jazz before, but I was ever so impressed to see her appearance on the Colbert Report. I actually sat in shock (as apparently most people did) as a Republican conservative asked for the removal of Sarah Palin from the ballot.

Ms. Paker said she recieved 12,000 emails in protest to her article in the National Review (though some, secretly and ‘off the record’ were from Washington in alliance). Parker said, [one email stated] “my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster.”

Harsh words for someone who simply stated what everyone was thinking:

“Finally, Palin’s narrative is fun, inspiring and all-American in that frontier way we seem to admire. When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.

Palin didn’t make a mess cracking the glass ceiling. She simply glided through it.

It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

Posted by: Amie | October 15, 2008

The New John McCain

Debate tonight. What will happen? Stay tuned!

Anyone else excited to see the ‘new’ John McCain? Just because I can’t say it any better myself (and I can’t %^$&%*# figure out how to post anything non-youtubed to my blog…MOLLY!!!), I’ll let my friend Jon Stewart say it for me.

Quite frankly, I’ve somewhat enjoyed seeing the not-so-Straight Talk Express careen violently off the Road to Washington into a ditch. We’ll see how it goes as they dig out of the rubble and try again t-minus 20 days to Election Day and counting.

Posted by: Amie | October 14, 2008

Dear Granny

Much frustrated with my seemingly inability to maintain a well-kept household, I turned, in an e-mail, to the one person on earth I know would have the answer to my “how to?”: My dear granny.

This woman is amazing. At seventy years old, she still works a nine-to-five as an accountant and while most grandmas would be content sitting at home knitting scarves (don’t worry, she does knit) in a rocking chair, Granny is out and about and chases my seven-year-old sister around like she’s under thirty. Not only that, but when most people her age were refusing to get on the technology bandwagon, she leapt on up with gusto and still maintains my uncle’s dot com business and shoot emails and texts like a pro.

What she also does, what most grannies do: keeps an immaculate house. She frequently hosts my family of twenty or more and has her place back to spic and span in under an hour. Her house always smells of cinnamon spice and the like. Her linens are always cool, crisp and soft with a tranquil blend of cedar and fabric softener – her place is perfect, and I want mine to be, too.

In frustration and a lame attempt, I recently visited Target. I think I purchased at least $20 in Glade candles, and the rest in cleaning products to better the scent of my home. It smelled somewhat of a cheap, knock-off version of Granny’s house, and the next day smelled back to normal. There is dust everywhere. I can’t vacuum enough, and my house still, after planting Glade sh*t everywhere doesn’t smell like apple cinnamon, dammit!!

Maybe this is part of the whole “nesting” phase pregnant women supposedly go through, but a.) I thought that would be later on, and b.) I think it’s more along the line of losing my mind. I want my house to be clean as this is a frustration point between my husband and I – he’s helping me now that I’m pregnant, but I’m sure once I pop out the bun in the oven, it’s back to me being the housekeeper. And while I was never good at it to begin with, I certainly don’t know how I’m going to do it when I’m wrist deep in poopy all the time.

I actually began to feel frantic as my mind mulled over these ideas. How in the HELL am I going to do this? I’m not Susie Homemaker! I’m a wanna be neat freak who alphabetizes books but is totally okay with leaving yesterday’s dishes in the sink until tomorrow. What am I going to do with I have a drooling, screaming being sucking the life out of me AND I have to clean!?

In a moment of desperation, today, I penned typed this:

Hi Granny

How are you? I hope everything is going well.

Now, don’t laugh, but I have a question for you. How do you do it?

Ever since I can remember you’ve been as busy as a bee working and keeping up with family and yet you keep everything in order. Your clothes are beautiful, you look lovely all the time, and your house is clean enough I’d eat off the floor (and have before). Your home not only always looks nice, but it smells amazing and I just don’t know how you do it! I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever seen dust on your furniture or pictures. I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen a spot on a mirror or dirt on the carpet.

And maybe it’s just because I love spending time with you, but everything about your place is always so inviting. Aside from last time when your A/C was broken, your house is always at the right temperature and your couches and chairs are always the right level of comfort. And not only that, but your blankets and pillows are always soft and smell incredible, just inviting me to fall asleep.

I really need to know your secret. And before you say, “I just do it,” I need a really good answer, because, let me tell you, I’ve been “doing it” and my home doesn’t ever look as good as yours. So were you born with this miraculous gift to keep a beautiful home, or was it years of practice and I’m just not giving myself enough time?

Love you,
Amie

I greatly anticipate her answer. I’m now off to bake brownies to get into the spirit of channeling Granny.

Yesterday my friends C. and K. and I suited up in pro-Obama gear we’d created ourselves from white t-shirts and Sharpies. We loaded into my car and traveled an hour south to Indianapolis.

We arrived several hours early, but hundreds of cars still blocked out the pavement as we were ushered into our own spot. We parked the car and walked towards what seemed a never-ending line of bodies snaking through the buildings and gates. We walked a good ten minutes before we ever even saw the line, and continued on to find our place in it another ten. All along the way volunteers (like ourselves) handed out tickets and information for those interested in investing time for the Obama campaign. People shouted from the sides hawking anything from Obama/Biden ’08 buttons to funny hats created from insulation foam.

Funny hat man

Funny hat man

We eventually found our way the end of the line only to continue walking very quickly in the direction from which we had just come. Though we’re all Hoosiers (people originally from Indiana)* and used to sh*itty weather our state generally has to offer, we were still in disbelief that it had been such lovely weather for a week only to unleash cold breezes accompanied by buckets of mist dumped on our heads with each gust on the only day any of us had ventured outside in a while.

As we neared the grandstands, the volunteers began shouting “PLEASE MOVE THE LINE!” over and over again. We didn’t understand this as we were already in a trot and there were still three hours before the event was slated to begin, but we complied and shuffled along as fast we could. As we neared the line of guards with guns and blue rubber gloves, I noticed a ridiculously large amount of umbrellas piled along the walkway.  We were instructed to turn all cameras and other electronic devices on, and a guard told a man, when asked what to do with his umbrella, “Put it over there or in the trash. You’re not allowed in with it.” Expecting to watch him throw a huge fit, the man, probably in his early fifties in designer slacks and tasseled shoes simply sat the umbrella in a pile and moved through the metal detector without a fuss. Another lady was told she was not allowed to take a full perfume bottle inside, so she calmly sat it aside in hopes it would still be there when she got back. I was shocked that neither complained. They were so determined to set their eyes on the one who gives hope to them that they were willing to risk losing personal possessions.I don’t know why, but I was really moved by them.

Since we were campaign volunteers, we held bright orange tickets while most of the spectators held white. Green tickets were issued to media, politicians and other VIPs. We were escorted through a gate according to ticket color. Our section happened to be stage right, ground level, and only a few yards away from where Senator Obama would be speaking. We like three pre-teens at a Hannah Montana concert. It was ridiculous.

We had a view of the stage, grandstands, the obligatory human backdrop that every candidate and every rally has with token members of society: a few blacks, a few whites, a veteran or two, college kids, retirees, people in uniform, military personnel and, of course, some other Democratic politicians.

the crowd

the crowd

People began to crowd in and push their way closer and closer to the front only to realize their efforts were futile as people who had been waiting for hours were unwilling to give up their spot, and more people were pouring in from outside. As you become pressed up against total strangers, in order to break the awkwardness of the situation, one begins a conversation. Our conversation buddies were a young African-American professional woman, two upper-income bracket ladies, and a white, professional man. S. was the one who talked the most.

She told us that she and her husband are in the upper bracket of income and gladly welcome the taxes “for the rich” that Obama proposes.  She said she’s been a Republican her whole life but can’t stand the idea of another coming into power.

As she talked I felt so inspired. S. was an educator and her husband an entrepreneur. They weren’t born rich, they worked to get it, and slowly they’ve watched their assets dwindle. She told us of how she voted for Bush and how she felt cheated and her whole attitude, like mine, toward her own country had changed over the last few years. She said her husband is sick, and she now fears that they will lose everything as her son is still in college and they still have mortgage to pay.

V. talked about what life was like growing up in a city as a black girl and working her way into school and earning her own money to purchase a house and found herself financially. Now her investments, due the economy, are worthless.

M. (also Republican-turned-Obamican) talked about how she has four children and she feels like she’s drowning in a bad mortgage trying to help her husband pay the way for all of them.

I felt so connected to people that before, I would have had nothing in common. We were each representing our own demographic category, yet we all felt the same way. I couldn’t believe how much the country had changed seeing it represented before me: former Bush supporters now rallying for the first man of race to come into office. I felt, for the first time in a while, hopeful about our country. We continued to talk and get to know each other as we stood in the mist and tried to ignore that our feet were covered in mud.

C., Me, and S.)

muddy feet: (clockwise from top: C., Me, and S.)

We heard cheers from the grandstands, and we hoped that our waiting had finally come to fruition, but it was only the ABC World News bus approaching to set up camp. As I felt my back begin to cramp, suddenly I had white ticket envy. I could have been sitting upon my fat, pregnant duff this whole time rather than pretending to be tough, but I stuck it out anyway, bending over from time to time to relieve my back pain.

Eventually Evan Bayh came to address the group and introduce Senator Obama. He spoke about bringing his sons to witness history, as his father, Birch Bayh had done years ago.

Senator Evan Bayh

Senator Evan Bayh

And things finally got underway.

I will never forget the anticipation that swept over the crowd as we watched and waited to see the first glimpse of who, we hope, will become our next president. Thousands of people suddenly fell silent and aimed cameras and camera phones in the direction of the stage. It was a heavy presence of excitement and hope as everyone waited. Though I couldn’t see much (as I was vertically challenged in a sea of tall people), I caught sight of Secret Service and guards pouring out of the entrance way, and finally Senator Obama. The crowd roared as he walked around shaking hands with the human backdrop.

Shaking hands

Shaking hands

As he began to speak about the economy, I felt a sense of calmness in the crowd. Everyone just felt like what he said was exactly what we needed – like chicken soup when you have a cold. I heard someone say, “We miss being patriotic.”

At that moment, I heard a man behind me start screaming, “COMMUNIST! SOCIALIST! ABORTIONIST! TERRORIST!”  I turned to see a man in his late forties in a blue jacket and McCain/Palin hat. Everyone began to shh him and tell him to “SHUT UP!” rather forcefully, but he continued. A man around his age with his young daughter next to him turned to him and grabbed him by his jacket. I was horrified as I saw the crazed look in his face. We all froze as we watched, hoping he wouldn’t give him a well-deserved punch in the face as we knew Secret Service would descend upon them in minutes. The protester began to spout reasons why Obama was horrible and McCain is Jesus incarnate, and I didn’t catch everything of what the father said over top of him, but most of what I caught was this: “I guess you really don’t know what it’s like to come home from your second job of the day to this beautiful face (and pointed to his daughter) and still have to tell her, “I’m sorry, honey. We’ll have to leave our home because mommy and daddy can’t afford our house any more.” You would never understand.” There was desperation in his voice. He was shaking and his face was red. He was about to cry. He was clinging to what little hope he had left, and that’s why he was there that day.

M. started in on the heckler. “MCSAME!” she yelled over his Republican rhetoric. For a moment I was embarrassed to be from Indiana, until the rest of the crowd began to chant, “THROW HIM OUT! THROW HIM OUT!” as they pointed to alert Secret Service of the threat.

McCain/Palin protester pointed out by crowd

McCain/Palin protester pointed out by crowd

He then took off his hat, listened to the speech with a cocky, McCain-esque grin on his face, and eventually made his way to the exit gate.

The Senator wrapped up his speech right as I didn’t think I could handle much more. My spine was about to snap in half and I was dehydrated, I couldn’t breathe and the bellybean was none too happy either. I had to get out of there. I looked around again before we scuttled to the exit gate. I knew I had to get out before I fell flat on my face in the mud, but I didn’t want to leave. It may have been the fact that I was extremely tired and emotional, but tears welled in my eyes. I had found thousands of people who feel just like me. I had made friends I’d only get to tell people about – never see again. I felt at home. I felt hopeful.

We trudged back to our cars and decided to have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory though we were covered in mud. We thought we’d solicit a few stares, but were happy to see that a lot of the people in the restaurant were also at the rally as they too were mud-caked and sporting Obama gear. We finished our lunches topped off with cheesecakes, and spent the rest of the afternoon telling each other about our favorite parts of witnessing history.

For Senator Obama’s full address in Indianapolis:

*(Note: If you’re from Indiana or have spent any length of time here, you’ll eventually realize why you should never plan anything outdoors. It will be ungodly hot, ungodly cold, rainy, snowy, icy, windy, or all of the above in a rotating sequence all day long. No joke.)

Posted by: Amie | October 6, 2008

The Story You’d Never Hear

Today, as I was tooling around the blogosphere on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I stumbled upon this. I live in Indiana, which for those of you geographically impaired, is right next to Ohio. This story didn’t even hit our papers.

Apparently, on the 27th of September, two individuals attacked a young girl, spraying her in the face with a chemical substance (some say pepper spray) through the basement window of a mosque.

“The men didn’t say anything to her (before she was sprayed),” [Police Chief] Biehl
said. “There was nothing left at the scene or anything that makes us
believe this is a biased crime.”
– Dayton Daily News

Really? Not biased?

The police claimed it wasn’t a hate crime. Though
I really don’t see, logically, how an attack on a mosque, or spraying a
10-year-old girl in the face with chemicals while she’s attending her
mosque is anything but. I read the report absolutely nonplussed by the
blatantly nonchalant reactions of police.

I read a little further into the story, and found an email from a person who was attending the mosque at the time of the attack:

A passage taken from Chris Rodda’s Diary::

“The author was with one of the families from the mosque — a mother and
two of the small children who were in the room that was gassed — the
day after the attack occurred.

“She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies
and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their
Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for
their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their
eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and
grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit
the building and the irritating substance there.

“The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn’t stop sobbing.

“This didn’t happen in some far away place — but right here in
Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying
together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.

“I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is NOT America. She tells me
this is not Heaven or Hell — there are good and bad people everywhere.

“She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the
little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me
she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what
kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place
of worship?

“The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave
America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say
they like me, … , and other American friends — but they are too
afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to
contemplate the safety of their living situation?

“Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to
do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who
attacks women and children?

“What am I supposed to say to them? My words can’t keep them safe
from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn’t losing
loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is
there no place where they can be safe?

“She didn’t want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight,
and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me — tell me — what am I supposed to say to them?
“”

“Mosque board member Tarek Sabagh said many people within the mosque
speculated that the incident was the result of a DVD about Islamic
radicalism titled “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West”
that was mailed to area homes by its producers and circulated as a paid
advertisement with more than 70 newspapers, including the Dayton Daily
News. –
Dayton Daily News

Here’s the video:

The film was distributed by The Clarion Fund. According to their website, the fund’s main goal “is helping Americans understand that
the mainstream media is not adequately conveying the reality of radical Islam.”

As if we don’t already have a hard enough time in the United States being Muslim, but we have a whole organization with enough money from “private donors” to produce websites and films out to make us all look like monsters. Fantastic.

And no, I’m not one of those that believes all Jewish are evil and blah blah blah, but the fund’s founder is an Israel-Canadian, Raphael Shore, who is a full-time Rabbi and a film producer. I’m really sorry, but accepting anything regarding Islam from a Jewish Rabbi would be like learning about Black History from a Grand Dragon of the KKK – especially when Shore believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s media coverage is biased in favor of Palestine. He says that we should view casualties in Palestine different from casualties in Israel and says we should feel more compassion towards Israeli casualties, rather than Palestinian ones, as the Palestinians are the terrorists.

Hmmm…propaganda much?

This film was distributed as a paid advert in 70 newspapers across the country. Knowing my fellow Americans as I do, I’m sad to think about how many people will sit in shock and horror at the DVD’s content, and pass it along as gospel truth to their friends and neighbors.

The cherry atop the sh*t sundae: The Clarion Fund’s site boasted Pro-McCain slogans before it drew too much attention and were removed.

Posted by: Amie | October 5, 2008

Take a Deep Breath, And Watch

Posted by: Amie | October 5, 2008

Pray, Vote, Pray

I recently took a job to beat both boredom and financial helplessness. I work at a kiosk in the mall under my good friend K. I sit around in a depressed stupor as I think about what I SHOULD be doing and what kind of job I SHOULD have, but that’s an entirely different post. I’m thankful, nonetheless, to at least not be bored out of my mind, and my favorite part of the job is definitely people watching.

Yesterday, as K. and I sat and discussed our dislike for Palin and the VP debate, a woman passed by wearing a shirt, that in simple, bold text, said “Pray, vote, pray.” K. and I both looked at each other at the same time and said, “Yep.”

She probably meant it in the “Christian” fashion as she was also sporting a ginormous cross necklace, but it doesn’t mean that the message excludes everyone else.

I remember, back when I attended church, on election day, we’d gather the night before and hold a prayer vigil to “pray in” the new president. People would pray in rotations and come in for a certain time slot and kneel at the altar and say a prayer for the upcoming vote and administration. During the whole 24-hour period someone would be praying for the new president.

Sometimes I get upset that Muslims don’t view things the same way. I’ve always respected the way Muslims put their days on hold to bow five times in reverence to God. It’s one of the many thing that made me fall in love with Islam in the first place. But sometimes I feel when it comes to things like elections (and many other happenings), they mark it off the list as chasing dunya, or something worldly. It is worldly. But until we die, this is our home, and we’re responsible for it as God has entrusted us with the earth.

Many Muslims (citizens) don’t even vote because they feel this is not “their” country and they just don’t care. Of course, they sit around and bitch about how horrible Bush is/has been, but refuse to take responsibility at the polls. Sweetcheeks, if you’ve been here long enough to score citizenship, or were born here in this country, it’s your country or your country as well as home. If you’re trying to make a “statement” by not voting because you disagree with both candidates, you’re still doing something irresponsible.  Say what you will about how the popular vote doesn’t count, but not voting is allowing someone else to do it for you.  If you don’t like either candidate, write someone in. Give Nader a chance. Vote Green party or independent. Just vote. And p.s. – You seriously have zero bitching rights if you were too lazy to walk on over and drop your ballot.

Pray, vote, pray. Pray you vote the right way, get out and vote, and pray others will do the same. It’s not hard, and it’s something we should be doing anyway.

I’m not one to ask others to do it and not do it myself, so I guess you know what I’ll be doing come election day.

Posted by: Amie | October 3, 2008

“Ethics” in Journalism

It’s not like I’m the most naive chickadee on the block, here. I’ve come to find out (thanks to living my formative years during the Bush Administration) that the media often twists the truth. (Duh.)

We live close enough to a larger city that their newspaper actually is more relevant, but we buy our county’s local paper for laughs. I don’t think a single issue has printed that didn’t have a horrible photo, a misprint, a grammatical or spelling error since I have been able to read. Sad as it is, we simply buy it to find the errors for laughs. However, yesterday’s mistake hit close enough to home that I finally made due on my promise to call and complain.

My sister has been selected as a student ambassador to travel next summer to Europe. We have been incredibly jealous excited for her opportunity to go and experience places most of us have only seen on TV and in books. While the nominations are selective, she wasn’t the only one selected to attend, but the prices are quite steep and not many people can put up the funds to send their kids away.

We opened the paper yesterday to see a huge article of a smiling, arms folded, braces wearing teenager next to her proud Army fatigue-wearing father with his hand on her shoulder. The article talked about how People to People Student Ambassadors take students overseas to learn about culture and represent their communities and schools. That part was all kosher. Then came a bunch of half-truths about the organization and total misinformation. (My favorite: “[students] will travel to countries such as England, Italy and Paris” (not a country, Sweetcheeks))All of that could have gone ignored (like so many other blunders the paper’s printed before) until, “Brent Snyder said his daughter is the only Clinton County student selected. How Samantha was nominated is still a mystery, Brent said.”

Oh, really? Do tell.

So sick of this paper’s constant blatant lack of professionalism (and of course, defending my own), I picked up the phone and dialed the editor’s office. The editor is out until Monday, but guess to whom my call was directed? The author of the article itself. I mentioned the article and its content, and immediately she went on the defensive. “Well, I tried to contact the People to People representative for our area, but no one answered, so I just printed what Mr. Snyder said.”

Great. Let’s just print a bunch of sh*t that people say and present it as fact. I think I’m going to start my own newspaper tomorrow. If I’d known journalism was so easy, I would have done it years ago.

The irony is this woman was hired with the best resume of the reporting staff and was said to “be a great improvement” to the publication. Bah.

If a journalist can’t take a few minutes to find out information for something as inane as a high school trip (no offense, Amity), I don’t think they should carry the title of journalist at all.

Now, before you make fun of me for getting my feathers all ruffled up because of something like this, it’s scary to think of how this stuff goes on on a larger scale. Fox News tosses in spin into any and all things “liberals” say. CNN reports “news” from the war abroad.

When you can’t trust your hometown newspaper to print facts on simplistic subjects, you certainly can’t trust corporate media, with their hands in everyone’s pockets, to give you the truth.

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