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Monday, September 27, 2010

36 degrees

No, no - it's not that cold here. That's the difference between the high in Palo Alto (94) and the low (58). San Francisco's high is only marginally better, making its way up to (87), but its low is a little higher (61). Which means it'll be gorgeous in my neighborhood (probably about 80ish) while I'm gone today, I'll be boiling at work, and it will feel comparatively freezing (55ish) when I get home tonight. *sigh*

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 trailer

You knew it was coming.

I"m actually not terribly impressed by the trailer (I'm sure I'll watch it again a couple of times, so maybe that will change), though I am excited about the film...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Overheard in SF

"Dude, I totally got stabbed in that fucking bar fight because of you!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Blah blah blame Alan Ball blah."

Racialicious' Andrea, on the season finale of True Blood.

A couple of people have asked me what I thought of the finale. After this season, I don't think it's worth the energy it would take for me to talk about it, so I'll just say that the finale did exactly what I needed it to do. I feel absolutely no excitement or anticipation for next season, which means I can make a clean break. You remember when I compared watching True Blood to hanging out in a bad relationship because of the way things used to be? This is where I finally realize things are never going to change and pick me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Yorkers on 9/11

Also via Serwer, this piece in which 4 Muslim New Yorkers make me cry.

When I think of September 11, 2001, I know the horror that was visited on my city. But I know something that so many other do not. America made me a Muslim. It continues to make me a Muslim. I am not sure I would be the Muslim I am today without New York. So when people say you cannot be American and Muslim, I laugh and think “You’ve never met a Muslim and you’ve never been to America.” (Hussein Rashid_________)
As someone who loves my faith deeply, 9/11 shook me to the core. I feel an enormous level of personal responsibility to represent Muslim Americans and Islam, and to present them both in an objective and relevant light. This responsibility and focus on the Muslim American facet of my identity has taken priority over other facets of my identity for so long that sometimes I forget that they even exist. I see this in many friends too. (Zeba Iqbal________)
Sometimes the expectations on us weigh too heavily, but all the same, in the weeks and months that followed, American Muslims couldn’t and didn’t step up as we should have. And because we didn’t tell our stories, the far right has been able to make us their punching bag, bringing us into the company of those great threats to Western civilization, including gay marriage, Latinos and a President simultaneously godless and Muslim.
I still think back to that day, and wish I’d stood up and said: Those people are not us, and their beliefs are not Islam. But these are the kinds of moments we learn from. It may not be fair to American Muslims that we must prove we are not those who have tortured Islam into a hideous thing. In fact, it is not fair. But this is the reality of our time: We must direct our lives into fighting the capture of our religion by those who, claiming Islam, have nothing to offer the future but barbarity. (Haroon Moghul _____________)
I never felt like Muslim values – tolerance, compassion, generosity, honesty – were at odds with American ones. My elders often told us that the United States was the ONLY true Muslim country, the only place that really lived up the those values. I believed that. I still do.
.....There is no disconnect for me, I am a Muslim in the way only an American be. (Ameena Meer______________)

More from Obama and others on Park51

From today's press conference:

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I wonder if I can get you to weigh in on the wisdom of building a mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero.  We know that the organizers have the constitutional right.  What would it say about this country if they were somehow talked out of doing that?  And hasn’t the Florida minister’s threat to burn a couple hundred copies of the Koran, hasn’t the threat itself put American lives in danger, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, on the second -- on your second question, there’s no doubt that when someone goes out of their way to be provocative in ways that we know can inflame the passions of over a billion Muslims around the world, at a time when we’ve got our troops in a lot of Muslim countries, that's a problem.  And it has made life a lot more difficult for our men and women in uniform who already have a very difficult job.
With respect to the mosque in New York, I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position here, and that is, is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal; that they have certain inalienable rights -- one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. And what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.
Now, I recognize the extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11.  I’ve met with families of 9/11 victims in the past.  I can only imagine the continuing pain and anguish and sense of loss that they may go through.  And tomorrow we as Americans are going to be joining them in prayer and remembrance.  But I go back to what I said earlier:  We are not at war against Islam.  We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts. 
And we’ve got to be clear about that.  We’ve got to be clear about that because if we’re going to deal with the problems that Ed Henry was talking about, if we’re going to successfully reduce the terrorist threat, then we need all the allies we can get.  The folks who are most interested in a war between the United States or the West and Islam are al Qaeda.  That’s what they’ve been banking on. 
And fortunately, the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world are peace-loving, are interested in the same things that you and I are interested in:  How do I make sure I can get a good job?  How can I make sure that my kids get a decent education?  How can I make sure I’m safe?  How can I improve my lot in life?  And so they have rejected this violent ideology for the most part -- overwhelmingly.
And so from a national security interest, we want to be clear about who the enemy is here.  It’s a handful, a tiny minority of people who are engaging in horrific acts, and have killed Muslims more than anybody else.
The other reason it’s important for us to remember that is because we’ve got millions of Muslim Americans, our fellow citizens, in this country.  They’re going to school with our kids.  They’re our neighbors.  They’re our friends.  They’re our coworkers.  And when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them? 
I’ve got Muslims who are fighting in Afghanistan in the uniform of the United States armed services. They’re out there putting their lives on the line for us.  And we’ve got to make sure that we are crystal-clear for our sakes and their sakes they are Americans and we honor their service.  And part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don’t differentiate between them and us.  It’s just us. 
And that is a principle that I think is going to be very important for us to sustain.  And I think tomorrow is an excellent time for us to reflect on that. 
[Full text of press conference here.]

Jim Geraghty at The National Review suggests that we tell our fellow citizens "thanks for your service, but we don't want an Official Mosque of Ground Zero."
 Adam Serwer at The American Prospect points out that that's not what's being proposed, and closes with the following:
There is no conceivable way to describe to a Muslim American soldier facing death and danger in Afghanistan or Iraq in the name of their country that the freedoms they are fighting for simply do not apply to them. One cannot reconcile Muslims taking on among the most solemn responsibilities of citizenship with the kind of disparate treatment Park51 opponents are asking American Muslims to sustain. If there is no them, if there is just us, then the argument over Park51 is already settled. (Full post here)

Guess which one I'm inclined to agree with.

Tim Wise on race and sex and "illuminated individualism"

In other words, we are neither merely individuals, nor merely Americans. Race continues to matter. Only by being aware of that meaning and resolving to view individuals and communities as they really are—which requires acknowledging their languages, cultures, traditions, and racialized experiences—can we actually hope to build the kind of democracy that treats all persons fairly and equally.
--From Colorblind: The Rise of Post-racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity

Part two of Racialicious' Tim Wise interview.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Elsewhere online...

Tim Wise also explains it all, but he's talking about the problems with "post-racial" and "colorblind" -ness at Racialicious.

Via TNC, The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan responds to the bigotry of others with patience and eloquence.

Jay Smooth explains it all

Today's GIANTword is "gotnosensitive."

Today's other word is "love." You can watch Jay Smooth's vocabulary lesson here.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I don't even know what to say about this.
Touting the ways it can help students "be transformed by an experience that puts opportunity into action and gives purpose to your passion," the Des Moines, Iowa-based school has elected to dub its added pedagogic value the "D+ Advantage" campaign. The tagline for the promo campaign: "Your passion + our experience."

I didn't believe it, so, in the interest of research, I went to the page myself. It's true. I took a screenshot.


I love this guy

Jay Smooth promises new videos.
I'm excited for us to reunite depressed together, while the world goes to hell. It's gonna be great!

Friday, 9/3/2010

A couple of things I picked up via Racialicious:

At Mediaite, two clips from NBC's 5th year anniversary Katrina broadcast of Meet the Press. The first clip is Brian Williams talking with Wendell Pierce (actor, The Wire and Treme), Douglas Brinkley (historian), and Garland Robinette (journalist). After showing two brief clips from 2005, Williams asks, "Why didn't it matter to someone?" and "What happened to that national conversation that we were all supposed to have about what was exposed by Katrina?" The answers, from Pierce and Brinkley respectively, are worth listening to. In the second clip, Brian Williams talks with Brad Pitt about his Make it Right Foundation and the houses they're building in the Lower 9th Ward. Also worth watching. Interesting if Pitt is right about the energy consumption (or lack thereof) in the neighborhood - I'd love to see what people will do (or refuse to do) with this model of affordable, green housing.

In other news, this headline from AlterNet: Drunken Bigot Tries to Commit Anti-Muslim Hate Crime, Gets His Ass Kicked Instead. Here's the original story in the New Haven Register. I love it that the actual url for the story includes the phrase "hookah beatdown."

I might also love Brian Williams.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First, a friend sent me a link this article, which says that Warner Brothers/DC is trying to make a Sandman TV series. Then, Yahoo TV confirmed it. Let me share what I sent in reply to that friend.

I cannot express how very strongly I vote no on that. Wait, wait - let me try... OH, HELL NO! Unh-uh. No, no, no, no, no. I mean, no! Just, no. I DO NOT LIKE! Hm. Not quite right, but close. I just can't imagine that going well.
I stand by that response, and was glad to see this article, sent by another friend, which is a bit more detailed and articulate on why bringing Neil Gaiman's Sandman to TV is a bad idea. Ms. Ryan mentions one of my main objections, which is that making an appropriately awesome TV version of Sandman would take more resources (both money and talent) that I really expect the average network to come up with. I'd go further, and say that even if, by some miracle, that awesome version came to be, it wouldn't be popular enough (and certainly wouldn't get good enough ratings fast enough) to stay on the air.

Or, in the words of a fabulous postcard I recently received, "Nej, nej, og atter nej." (Danish for "No, no, and again no."