Monday, October 30, 2006

The sectarian left holds a scowl-fest

Pre-election protest calls for end to Iraq war
Market Street march draws colorful crowd

"About 1,000 anti-war activists marched through San Francisco on Saturday in a lively protest that combined chants, cheers and street theater."

October 28th ANSWER Anti-War Protest
"People in cities all over the US heeded ANSWER's Call to Action to organize locally coordinated anti-war activities for Saturday, October 28th. ANSWER said, 'The people will force the issue of the Iraq war onto the U.S. political stage by taking to streets in demonstrations in cities and towns throughout the United States.' ANSWER also protesed Bush's denial of the number of Iraqis who have died in the war, and the threat of a war on North Korea."

OK, here's the problem with the American left. It's just over a week before the November mid-term elections. On a Saturday when many mainstream Democrats, Greens, and progressives are walking precincts, tabling, phonebanking, or otherwise working in support of candidates for various positions, what does the sectarian left do? Call for an antiwar protest!

The mainstream activists who are sympathetic to calls to end the Iraq war are busy, and don't participate. So the march is a small, demoralizing gathering of the hardcore left, who scowl at each other as they sell their newspapers. If elections really don't matter--and I'm one who agrees that Democrats are no alternative--then why have the protest 10 days before the election? Why not after?

If the goal is to break progressives away from any illusion in the Democratic Party, then why not wait when you can have a march that attracts more of them to a protest where they can interact with socialists, anarchists, and other radicals? Yes, the Democrats are a delusion. They are not an alternative. However, to make that argument, you need to engage people. And if mainstream activists don't come, how do radicals engage them?


Monday, October 23, 2006

Who says racism is unfashionable?

Image of special, limited edition Nativity Creche offered by Hawthorne Village of Niles, IllinoisMy Sunday newspaper contained an insert advertising this curious product, advising that "This first ever Native American influenced Nativity is a very special, limited time offer, and strong demand is expected." (Sic.) And only $49.95! Send no money now! Who wouldn't want this heirloom item in their "collection" of dust-gathering ceramics?

This "collectible" is so offensive on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin. So I'll ask the following: Who does this offend more?
- Indigenous Americans who have suffered generations of genocidal slaughter at the bloody hands of "Christian" oppressors; or
- "Good" Christians who know that "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" was a blondish, blue-eyed white male (as unlikely as that would be in First Century Judea.)

Friday, October 20, 2006 is awful

Today's "vent" of the day. My wife forwarded me the link for an article. And this is my reply to her, with a CC to the Sacramento Bee:
The next time you want to forward an article from, just copy it and paste it into the message. The site basically SUCKS.

All content is password protected, requiring one to register. I understand why from a marketing perspective capturing visitor information is important, among other things for reporting demographics and such to advertisers. However, it's a real pain.

I have been a registered user of for a while, but I rarely visit the site, and rarely remember username or password, tried several times to recall what obvious combo it might have been, and basically gave up. Maybe they have cookies, but I clean those out pretty frequently.

The Bee should find other means of incentivizing registration. In this age of bloggers linking promiscuously to content, they're going to avoid sites like the Bee's that are overly protective of content. They'll go to sites like the San Francisco Chronicle (lessor paper, better site, with archived content) or the LA Times, or whatever. This registration thing also inhibits search engine spiders/robots, further diminishing traffic to

Online advertisers want "Eyeballs". That means traffic. The Bee's barriers to easy traffic access seem rather stupid, frankly. But whom am I to say. I only do a little online marketing...


And yes, this posting is directed "" whoever that
may be, more than you, beloved spouse.

--- Marianne Skoczek wrote:
Going to the blogs:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If the Brits leave, who'll be our "poodle"?

YAHOO! News: UK troops worsen problems in Iraq: army chief.
Hmmmm. I wonder if Bush will say that General Sir Richard Dannatt is not "credible".

I stick by my assertion of June: The biggest group of armed killers, rapists, thieves, torturers, and abusers in Iraq is not Al Quaeda, "insurgents", or the various militias. The biggest gang of killers is the U.S. Military.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why does "Christian" Bush hate children?

Today's always excellent features this quote from historian Howard Zinn:
"I came to the conclusion that, given the technology of modern warfare, war is inevitably a war against children, against civilians. When you look at the ratio of civilian to military dead, it changes from 50-50 in World War II to 80-20 in Vietnam, maybe as high as 90-10 today… When you face that fact, war is now always a war against civilians, and so against children. No political goal can justify it, and so the great challenge before the human race in our time is to solve the problems of tyranny and aggression, and do it without war."

Exactly. Which is why Alexander Cockburn is correct when he describes the U.S. as the greatest force for evil in the world today.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Natasha St-Pier: Vivre ou survivre

Oh, why not. It's Friday, and lookie what I found. As the leading Francophile on at least my block, I've been a big fan of Natasha St-Pier for a few years. I first encountered her on an interview in the audiomagazine Champs-Elysées; and soon had acquired all her available albums. This song doesn't appear on any of them. If St-Pier performed in English, I'd probably be ashamed. Hey, I don't listen to Britney. But, sigh, in French...

Les chanteuses: une autre raison pour aimer le français. (Ma chanson préférée par St-Pier est «Nos rendez-vous». Formidable. Mes autres chanteuses préférée s'inclu la super Patricia Kaas. Et aussi Sandrine François. Et les autres, bien sûr.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

We wouldn't want to inconvenience motorists...

Image of a blocked pedestrian crossing
Few things frustrate me more than this, the all too common blocked pedestrian crossing, or three-legged intersection. Pedestrian delay matters less than motorist convenience, this says. This crossing is located in San Francisco's Hayes Valley, a neighborhood long blighted by the Central Freeway. The neighborhood has started to revitalize, drawing more pedestrians. Let's hope this situation is one of the first to be remedied.

Fleet Week Wastes Taxpayer Dollars--Again

Image of Blue Angels

Here's a letter to the editor by my wife. I whole-heartedly agree, of course. People are dying--here and abroad--because of American military excess. Let's stop this nonsense.
Editor, San Francisco Chronicle:

It's Fleet Week again in San Francisco, a disruptive annual celebration of militarism that reminds us why so much of the world's population is so disgusted by the U.S. It's loud, obnoxious, and impossible to ignore. At a time when many in this country and in this city lack adequate education, housing, healthcare, or employment opportunities, is this military orgy the best use of our tax dollars?


Marianne Skoczek
San Francisco, CA