Archive for December 2nd, 2006

New Horizons In Postal Innovation

…And tasty, too!

Residents of the coastal town of Susami in Wakayama prefecture love the sea and the post office so much that the town once installed a mailbox on the ocean floor for scuba divers. Now, further evidence of this powerful sea/mail love comes in the form of “Surumail” – edible postcards made from squid.

Produced by the Susami fishing cooperative, Surumail postcards consist of dried surume squid (Todarodes pacificus), the local seafood specialty. The squid jerky is flattened and vacuum-packed into the shape of a postcard, and an adhesive label is included for the postage, delivery address and a short message.

Be sure to check out that link to the underwater mailbox.

December 2nd, 2006 at 10:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

This Is Probably Worth Repeating…

I posted this about 5 months ago, but it now seems timely enough that an exhumation may be in order:

It is not a coincidence that the women and minorities who are prominent conservatives are unusually vile and unqualified – it is by design.

I believe that the conservatives actively seek out, recruit, and cultivate these people, not just to apply a thin layer of I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Diversity on top of their Wonderbread movement, but to provide endless opportunities to accuse their opposition of the very hatefulness that is their stock in trade.

Some examples:

Democrats opposing Clarence Thomas for being a sleazy sexual harasser? A lynch mob.

Liberals/Democrats pointing out, repeatedly, that Condi Rice is criminally incompetent? Racist, sexist, and possibly homophobic.

Liberals jumping all over Michelle Maglalang (or something) for her hypocrisy about Teresa Heinz Kerry’s “professional name” when she uses one herself? Racist and sexist.

Liberal outrage at Ann Coulter over… jeez, who can keep track? Yeah, definitely sexist, yeah.

Liberals making a fuss about a gay prostitute in the White House press corps (possibly sleeping over as well)? Homophobic.

Liberals bashing Israel’s increasingly sadistic Palestinian policy, neocons, or Joe Lieberman (and don’t try to tell me he hasn’t been cultivated by the Republicans)? Anti-semitic (I’m Jewish, by the way – but perhaps I’m self-hating).

Even the failed nomination of the laughably unqualified Harriet Miers to the SCOTUS (that really happened – I didn’t just dream it, right?) was used as an example of liberal sexism, even though it was Republicans who ultimately shot her down.

To some extent, we play into the Republicans’ hands every time we so much as mention their race, sex, or orientation while attacking them (although it’s kinda the whole point in Gannon’s case). However, the sad fact is that even if we scrupulously referred to, say, Ramesh Ponnuru or John Yoo as snivelling, sadistic little cockroaches without ever once mentioning their race, we would still be accused of racism, even if that is precisely what we are attacking them for. Such is the opportunistic illogic of the Republicans and their captive media.

Believe me, I am no civility advocate, even if I don’t swear much on this blog (what can I say, my Dad reads it). If you want to curse these fuckers out, feel free. But just remember that they are trying to bait you. They want to collect and display as many samples of liberal “intolerance” as they can, the higher-profile the better. Don’t make it easy for them. Besides, it’s not like there isn’t a wealth of material to work with – why waste time on cheap shots that are beside the point, which is not that Coulter and Malkin are women, but that they are evil.

One additional recommendation: Keep a bunch of minority, women’s, and gay rights issues in your back pocket to wave at the conservative flying monkeys whenever they start insincerely protesting their compassion for the oppressed. Surely they should be willing to go on record with their support of gay marriage to prove that they’re the tolerant ones, right? Or at least to condemn the Right’s shabby treatment of women like Cindy Sheehan and Valerie Plame. Or ask them how the glorious liberation of the women of Afghanistan and Iraq is coming along.

Thankfully, in the case of the recent civuffle, the conservatives were pretty quiet; but I think my point is still valid.

10 comments December 2nd, 2006 at 01:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Wankers

No! Really?

I missed this one yesterday, but Cursor didn’t.

For days, Arab governments lobbied against any American opening to Iran, Jordanians planned protests against President Bush and politicians braced for a possible announcement of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

But as the summit meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Kamal Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq concluded Thursday morning, the Arab world was left dumbfounded that nothing had come of it.

“I am baffled by what I saw,” said Abdel Moneim Said, director of the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo. “This was an expression of the Americans in deep trouble, but Bush’s approach to dealing with the Iraqi problem also bore the signs of someone out of touch with what is going on.”

(…)

“I did not see a coherent strategy that really deals with the situation,” Mr. Said said. “I did not see Bush realizing how bad it is.”

(…)

The sessions ultimately proved disappointing for Arab nations, [Fares] Braizat said. “The meeting showed that Bush cared about the game, but he did not know how to make the right moves,” he said. “There were no tangible results.” And results, he said, were what Arab leaders were looking for.

Anyone who finds this result surprising simply hasn’t been paying attention. Bush just wants to run out the clock so Iraq can become someone else’s problem. Which, by the way, suggests to me that he expects a Democrat to take the presidency in 2008.

My favorite line in the story comes from a Jordanian security official:

They burnt some flags, but for us, burning flags is not a security issue, it’s an environmental issue.

*wistful sigh*

1 comment December 2nd, 2006 at 11:53am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Politics,Wankers,War

Mittstake

Oops:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has hardened his position against illegal immigrants as he readies a White House run, was having his lawn manicured for years by undocumented Guatemalans.

(…)

The workers said they made $10 an hour in cash and worked 11-hour days. Romney never inquired about their status, they said.

(…)

Romney’s office said the Republican governor had no idea the workers trimming his hedges and mowing his grass were in the country illegally.

“Gov. Romney hired a legitimate Massachusetts lawn service company to take care of his yard. He knows the owner as a decent, hardworking person who is a legal resident,” Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said.

Romney, who is gearing up to announce a presidential bid, backs legislation to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexican border, and arresting illegal immigrants.

“It’s one more thing you can do to make this a less attractive place for illegal aliens to come to work,” he said in June, after reports that the state was paying contractors who hired undocumented workers.

Way to make Massachusetts a less attractive place for illegal aliens to work, dude. Well played.

I’m fairly sympathetic to illegal immigrants, and I think the hysteria about how they’re going to take our jobs and destroy our country is just another example of Republicans demonizing the “Other” so they can posture about how they’re the ones defending us from Scary Enemies like Mexicans and Gays and Muslims while the Democrats would just let such monsters live their lives in peace. But if you’re building your rep as an anti-immigration crusader, I can’t believe you wouldn’t be paranoid or xenophobic enough to ask your contractor about all these suspicious-looking brown people on your lawn.

The two best explanations I can think of (which are probably not mutually exclusive):

1) Romney doesn’t really give a shit about illegal immigrants (I mean, come on – he’s in Massachusetts), and this is all just positioning for a presidential run. Of course, he could have at least gone through the motions of pretending to give a shit.

2) Romney, and probably other Republicans, view illegal immigrants in the same way they view abortion: A terrible, repugnant plague upon our country – but damned useful on the down-low. “Abortions and illegal immigrants for me, but not for thee,” in other words.

I’m leaning towards both. I suspect that Romney knew damn well that there was a possibility they were illegals, but the contractor gave him such a good deal that he simply didn’t want to know.

1 comment December 2nd, 2006 at 09:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Wankers


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