Esophageal Cancer kills Christopher Hitchens

I learned of his death from Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist.  I am deeply saddened to hear that his strong, defiant, brilliant voice will add nothing more to the ongoing conversation in the struggle for truth and human solidarity.  Hitch, as most admirers referred to him, was the most strident of speakers.  He was always willing to call bullshit on a tyrannical viewpoint and point to the best of human nature whilst arguing against the worst.  His death reminds all of us who value the contrary position to speak not more loudly, but more eloquently when confronting the ideas of suppression and dogmatism.

I may have more to post at a later date, but I really just was shocked by the news as Hitch  kept writing and speaking (as much as his condition would allow) up until his death.  I’m pretty sad about this news, but know that his life’s work was not in vain and will not soon be forgotten.

NPR has done a very nice job of eulogizing him briefly here.

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Film The Police

To paraphrase Billy Bragg, make sure you take into account the video capabilities when choosing your next cellphone. Never know when you’re going to have to document the activities of the biggest gang in the US.

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30 Days of Biking

The World

Chromoly Steel, Baby!

I have signed up for 30 Days of Biking.  Click on the link for more info on them and follow them on twitter @30daysofbiking.  I intend to blog a bit about some of my more epic rides during the month here and I will tweet daily under my real name (which I’m not giving you here, sucka!) using the hashtag #30daysofbiking.

This is a chance for me to put my money where my mouth is in the interest of more sustainable/bike-able communities.  Please join me starting September 1st in riding your bike (at least a little) every day of the month.

Get out there and ride!

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A minor reflection on the language of the “War on Terror”

All of this furor over the “Ground Zero Mosque” and jackoffs like the ones in the picture below has gotten me thinking about the language that has been used regarding the 9/11/01 attacks.

These folks don't get the point. I'm not sure they're even in the same ballpark as the point.

I’ve got to seriously wonder what effect the lexicon introduced largely by the Bush Administration and parroted by every congressperson/senator/pundit/asshole with a blog has had on our public discourse about everything from US military action abroad to civic freedoms within the country.  While I recall xenophobia being plenty prevalent prior to 2001, it seems to have been given a new veneer of legitimacy in the last 9 years.  The talk of the US being a “Christian Nation” has increased exponentially making anyone who doesn’t fit in that box a “Them” in this Us vs. Them culture war.

I’m going to take a look at some of the main terms used and how I perceive their subliminal context.

  • Ground Zero –  The renaming of the World Trade Center site has been one of the most troubling to me.  It seems to denote an Apocalyptic/Nuclear view of the attacks on 9/11/01.  It points to “where it all began” and speaks heavily to justifying this as an Orwellian “War Without End.”  This branding of the World Trade Center site demeans the people that were killed and turns their deaths into a product that can be used as currency in shaping public opinion.
  • Homeland Security –  The moment that the word “Homeland” and the promotion of “Homeland Security” came into play, I thought of the “Fatherland” of Germany during WWII.  The labeling of this country as “Our Homeland” put up an invisible fence around the US that made it acceptable to see anyone who is not a citizen as someone who should be seen as an intruder in our home.  The use of such language has gone a long way towards diminishing our view as citizens of the world.
  • War on Terror –  This one’s a doozy.  The US Congress hasn’t actually declared war since WWII, so what the hell does it mean?  G.W. just spit out a bunch of platitudes about fighting an enemy that can’t be defined as a group of people.  There is no country of Terror and the concept of Terrorism can just as easily be applied to the KKK as it can be to Al Qaeda.  This seems to be another one of those Orwellian concepts whose effectiveness was proven with the still ongoing War on Drugs.
  • Enemy Combatants –  Here we have an exercise in obfuscation.  It is a term tells us nothing other than the fact that someone in the government thinks that these people are doing something to harm the US.  It’s clear to me that the intent here is to dehumanize these people and obscure the reason that they are being held without due process.  Why aren’t we being made aware of who these people are and what they are specifically being accused of?  You would think that that would bolster support for the “war” if the citizenry had more information, wouldn’t you?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, nor am I making any citations on this material.  I’m just pointing out my perspective on these few terms.  There is definitely more to this lexicon of terminology and I think I’ll re-visit this topic some time soon.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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By way of introduction…

Well, the Twins won tonight 6-1 over their rivals, the White Sox.  Just putting that out there to mark the occasion.  The Twins are now in 1st place in the AL Central.

I’m pretty sure this will be a topic of many of my posts here.  I tend to take a stats-based view of understanding baseball but I reserve the right as a fan to make completely emotion-based rants here as well.

Sooo, I don’t really have anything compelling for my first post.  I’m hoping this will be a really great spot for stories of my exploits and a place to be an opinionated asshole.

I’ll end with an awesome picture of my dog, Gomez.  He’s fucking sweet.

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