July 23, 2006

Recent good stuff from the blogs, part two

Posted in Blogging, News at 12:41 pm by The Lizard Queen

This morning Juan Cole posted about the current conflict between Israel and Lebanon:

Matthew Kalman reveals that Israel’s wideranging assault on Lebanon has been planned in a general way for years, and a specific plan has been in the works for over a year. The “Three Week War” was shown to Washington think tanks and officials last year on powerpoint by a senior Israeli army officer:

“More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail.”

The Israelis tend to launch their wars of choice in the summer, in part because they know that European and American universities will be the primary nodes of popular opposition, and the universities are out in the summer. This war has nothing to do with captured Israeli soldiers. It is a long-planned war to increase Israel’s ascendency over Hizbullah and its patrons.

Again, the whole post is well worth the read.

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Recent good stuff from the blogs, part one

Posted in Blogging, Blogroll, Censorship at 12:28 pm by The Lizard Queen

My week out of town turned into more than that away from the blogs, so I have some catching up to do, and I came across a couple of posts today that I wanted to share with my readers (all, you know, two of you…). The first is Christie Keith‘s recent rant against attempts to make the Internet rated-G:

The Internet cannot, must not, ever become a safe and “child-friendly” place, whatever the fuck that means anyway. I think people are completely delusional about children and what they know and understand, but that’s not really even my point. If you try to apply the standard of “child-safety” to the Internet, to ensure that nothing that would upset some fundamentalist homeschooler in the wilds of the Midwest ever sneaks even one hot, wet, throbbing little byte onto the hard drive of her home computer, then we are All. Totally. Fucked. Forever….

Freedom of expression isn’t just a phrase you should let go in one ear and out the other. It really means something. It means something whether you’re just letting all those silly brain bunnies run free on LiveJournal, or ranting about oppression on DailyKos. The principle is identical.

The whole post is well worth the read.

July 22, 2006

Spin cycle

Posted in Media, Musings at 2:26 pm by The Lizard Queen

Like most liberals, I have been finding myself increasingly disenchanted with the mainstream media. Indeed, is there anyone out there who’s happy with it? Conservatives think it has a liberal bias; liberals see it as–among other things–desperately trying to reinforce the status quo. At any rate, when I’m online I’ll usually check CNN.com to try to get a feel for what’s going on in the world (as you can probably tell from my links, I like to have a variety of perspectives, even if they do all lean towards (or are firmly entrenched in) the left). Today I did so, and couldn’t help but notice both a spin of opinion in theoretically objective articles as well as a tendency toward irrelevant commentary. Read the rest of this entry »

News on the sex ed front

Posted in Children and adolescents, Education, Sex at 12:36 pm by The Lizard Queen

I found the following article interesting: Sex education may get adolescents to delay sex. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the results might be colored by the adolescents in question telling adults what they wanted to hear (“The biggest effect was seen in the percentage of kids who said they wouldn’t have sex until after marriage; before the program, about 60 percent said they planned to remain virgins until they married, while nearly 71 percent said they would after the program.”), but one thing is clear to me: this proves that arming adolescents with accurate knowledge about sex does not make them want to have sex any more than abstinence-only education does. I wonder if any abstinence-only advocates are paying attention to studies like this, though…

July 8, 2006

Out of town

Posted in Blogging, Personal at 10:51 am by The Lizard Queen

Greetings to my lovely readers! Posts from me will likely be rather light for the next week or so, as I’m busy dancing with cowboys. And, you know, helping out with a writing conference and stuff. I trust you’ll be able to get along without me.

Feel free, though, to use this as an open thread–anything going on out there that you think I should know and/or rant about? If so, just leave me a comment…

July 6, 2006

Setbacks on the same-sex marriage front

Posted in Children and adolescents, Civil rights, GLBT issues, Government at 11:56 am by The Lizard Queen

From Yahoo News: 2 top courts rule against gay marriage

The paragraph that gets my panties in a twist:

The New York decision said lawmakers have a legitimate interest in protecting children by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and that the law does not deny homosexual couples any “fundamental right” since same-sex marriages are not “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition.”

Okay, seriously, folks: how, exactly, does limiting marriage to heterosexual couples protect children? Last time I checked, love and stability are good things to have in children’s lives. Also, one hundred and fifty years ago suffrage for African-Americans and women was not rooted in the nation’s history or tradition, but we managed to get past that, so I don’t see why that should be a factor here. Sounds a bit like a tautology to me…

More from me later, I’m sure; for now I’ve got a meeting.

July 5, 2006

Your pick(s) for best novel?

Posted in Literature, Musings at 11:52 pm by The Lizard Queen

The Little Hedgehog recently linked to the Modern Library’s lists of the 100 best novels, one chosen by “the board,” the other chosen by “the reader” (which I suspect is supposed to be “the readers”). I found the lists interesting, to say the least. (I’ve read more of the books on the readers’ list–22 as opposed to 15–though I find some of the choices completely bizzare, particularly the fact that four of the top ten books are by Ayn Rand, and another three are by L. Ron Hubbard…) And they made me wonder–what would be my lovely readers’ pick or picks for best novel? I would love to hear your thoughts, if for no other reason than that it’ll give me more books to add to my already-ridiculously long to-read list…

Here are a few of my picks. Not an easy decision for me, but I managed to cull a shorter list from the short list by removing the novels that are already on the Modern Library’s list (namely Lolita, The Sound and the Fury, The Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, My Antonia, and Slaughterhouse V). Anyway, here are three books that I think could contend for the title of Best Novel, in no particular order:

1. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway–I don’t quite understand how To the Lighthouse (which I’ve not yet gotten around to finishing, though it is of course on The List…) made it onto both lists when this one didn’t. And, of course, if you read Mrs. Dalloway then you must read Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, which is not exactly a retelling of the same story, but covers some of the same ground in fascinating ways (note to self: find modernist classic to update, do so, then reap the rewards…).

2. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony–maybe this is merely the result of the fact that the only literature written after 1950 that I read when I was an undergrad was written in China or France, but I’m not sure I’d even heard of this book before I moved to New Mexico, which is a shame. It may not be the most accessible novel, but it’s certainly more accessible than Virginia Woolf’s fiction…

3. Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried–technically a book of short stories, I suppose, but I think, unlike many such books, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I realize that it’s a book that might not hold a great amount of interest to those not interested in fiction writing or in the Vietnam war, but all the same it’s an impressive work.

So… your thoughts?

Donning my tin-foil crown…

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:44 pm by The Lizard Queen

What–you didn’t expect me to wear anything as ordinary as a tin-foil hat, did you? 😉

Anyway, it was a relief to see that I’m not the only one who thought that the timing of Kenneth Lay’s death seemed a bit suspicious…

July 1, 2006

Gee, I can’t see any way in which that could go wrong…

Posted in Censorship, Government at 2:03 pm by The Lizard Queen

Three words: Office. Of. Censorship. Said office would “screen news reports to determine whether they ‘hurt the country’ or are of ‘news value.’” (My question: are those two necessarily mutually exclusive?)

Add to this the fact that we currently have a President who thinks the usual checks and balances shouldn’t apply to him during wartime (or, y’know ever), and my inner Marvin the Paranoid Android begins to suspect that George Orwell’s fictional dystopia could easily become reality 30 years after Orwell’s original estimate.

Luckily, my Marvin doesn’t get to come out to play all that often…

Oh… my… my head…

Posted in Government, Humor at 1:14 pm by The Lizard Queen

From ChezLark (hat tip to Shakespeare’s Sister): Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) describes the Internet. It’s funny… though I’m not quite certain if that’s “funny-ha-ha” or “funny-uh-oh”…