Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Musings..

Because Sometimes They Say It Better Than Me.

I have previously commented at the sad state of American media and the endless focus on celebrity shenanigans or news of the trivial, while a bloody war rages on draining this country of resources and lives.
The nation appears to be blithely marching on busy shopping and paying more attention to American Idol than the decisions of officials which will affect generations both present and the next.
Nothing like perspective from a Marine’ father. From the subscription only section of the NYTimes,
this article jumped out at me.

A Marine’s Father Asks That We Recall What Truly Matters

A few years back, when he worked part time
for a limousine company in Parsippany, George Somjen was the driver on a day
when Gene Simmons of the rock group Kiss went to visit his mother. She offered
Mr. Somjen whitefish for lunch, and he got to see her basement filled with Kiss
So it was perfectly natural for Mr. Somjen to write to Mr.
Simmons last week, after watching an episode of Mr. Simmons’s reality show,
“Family Jewels,” in which he visited Camp Pendleton and a veterans’
In the letter, Mr. Somjen mentioned his son in Iraq, the agony of
being the father of a marine serving overseas, and the daunting conditions
soldiers face there.
“In that show, you cried when speaking with a veteran,”
Mr. Somjen wrote. “We cry every day.” He noted a litany of the absurd and the
ephemeral in the news — the
Nicole Smith
drama, Roger
’s salary, Paris Hilton. He went on. “I beg you, implore you to use
your fame, power and presence to help our military. I will do whatever I can to
help but can never reach the multitude that you can.”
He has written to
others: a local columnist, the cable news commentator Nancy Grace. After reading
a column about Edwin L. Eaton, the city manager of Long Beach, on Long Island,
who lowered the town’s flags to half-staff as a reminder that the war goes on
amid the gaudy celebrity cavalcade of American life, he wrote to me.
Day, the day we stop, more or less, to remember the war dead, is over. The real
news moves on — just ask Lindsay Lohan, back this week at the top of the
celebrity dysfunction charts. But like Mr. Eaton, Mr. Somjen wasn’t ready to
move on. What kind of country are we, he wanted to know, captivated by this
endless cavalcade of trash news in the midst of horrific carnage overseas? How
do you balance the endless coverage of people famous for being famous and the
relative invisibility of the people who fight the war?
He pulled out a
clip. It was about
. “Recently I was sent to this very humbling place called rehab,” she
was quoted as saying. “I truly hit rock bottom.” Mr. Somjen rolled his eyes.
“You know what, Britney? Iraq’s a humbling place.
What does he want? He wants
to know why military personnel pay for their own uniforms and haircuts and other
essentials. Why parents who can afford it have to send boxes and boxes of food
and supplies overseas.

Mr. Somjen… don’t be holding your breath. Nothing is gonna change, the democrats are ineffectual and can’t stand up against a President who has a less than 30% approval. Americans except the ones doing the fighting aren’t making any sacrifices, just passing on the bill to their kids.

Yes its a rant, I just felt like one.

Melamine From The US In Feed

While the Chinese were rightly blamed for their lax standards when Melamine ended up in pet food in the US made from wheat flour imported from China. Apparently we have some issues too and this one was revealed only because a distributor worried about what was in its feed binders after the reports from China got theirs tested. From the NYTimes link

Melamine From U.S. Put in Feed
Ever since pet food
contaminated with an industrial chemical was traced to shipments of wheat flour
from China, American officials have concentrated on cracking down on
It turns out the problem was closer to home, too.
federal officials announced that a manufacturing plant in
was using the same banned substance, melamine, to make binding agents that ended
up in feed for farmed fish, shrimp and livestock.
The problem surfaced after
a distributor, concerned about what was in its feed binders after the reports
from China, sent the product to a private laboratory for testing.
melamine was used by
BTLSR, a Canadian forest products company with a small chemical plant in Toledo,
to make binding agents that keep pellets of animal feed together, said Dr. David
Acheson, assistant commissioner for food protection at the
and Drug Administration
Melamine is not permitted in food or pet food
products. In the last few months, pet food contaminated with melamine, all
traced back to China, sickened or killed thousands of pets in the United
Dr. Acheson said the levels of melamine and melamine-related
compounds in Tembec’s products were far lower than that found in wheat flour
from China that ended up killing the pets. Consequently, the authorities said
that they thought the contamination did not appear to pose a risk to human

We All Need To Smile Too..

"At a press conference somebody finally stood up to Bush: a bird shit on him. Here's what is wrong with this man: he looked at it, and then wiped it off with his bare hand. And this is the guy who doubts that he descended from an ape." - Bill Maher

"Experts said this is going to be a very busy hurricane season. To which FEMA said, 'Not for us.'" - Jay Leno

"The [Iraq funding] bill contains a plan to establish 18 benchmarks. It's sort of like punishing your child by saying, 'If you don't get your grades up, you are grounded---unless, of course, you would like to go out. And by the way, you are grading yourself. And I keep the pot in the silverware drawer." - Jon Stewart


meno said...

I have this fantasy that for one week, all the media ignored celebrities and reported on something real. I realize that it is just a fantasy though.

Also, i think we will be hit with more and more incidents of us poisoning ourselves with the toxic substances we produce to "improve" our lives.

Quite the pessimist am i this morning.

Lotus Reads said...

Poor Mr. Somjen, it is true, nothing is going to change. The war has gone on for way too long and with no valid purpose. I think people are just sick and tired of the war and are looking for a diversion which these celebrities very happily provide.

Sanjay said...

@meno..I agree what you talk about is a mere fantasy.
You are right about poisoning ourselves and I do share your pessimism. As Bill Maher said nowonder we are all so obese as a nation, have we seen the things we put in our bodies?

Carrie said...

It is so true. When Chris (my ex) came home for 2 week leave he had a list a mile long for him and his crew of stuff they needed. The army doesn't supply anything. He also emailed me during the hot summer about the need for nurishment. He said they aren't providing healthy food and if I could ship stuff like canned fruits and vegges and nuts to them because they were getting sick from the food that Haliburton was providing. They are treating our men so bad over there and by the time they come home they are so brainwashed and confused they don't know how to adapt. Sorry for the rambling.

Sanjay said...

Hi Lotus, :) How is the Thursday treating you?
I agree that people are looking for a distraction. But shouldn't they be looking for a solution and be engaged on this issue?
A significant chunk of the American public got behind the Iraq adventure without paying attention to the voices of caution. And now distraction won't wish away the sorry situation. :)
Thank you for the comment, it is most appreciated.

Sanjay said...

@Carrie. Thank you for your comment and it is not a rant at all. It is indeed a sad situation. I am aware of what you talk about, but with an ineffectual administration, opposition party, a media that pretty much wont do its job and a populace that would rather wish things away I am afraid things will only get worse.

Orchid said...

isn't change finally around the corner...i am talking abt 08, i know it's going to be pretty pretty late for the war by then!! sad but the situation couldn't be any sorrier..atleast with Iraq

Id it is said...

In Bush's America we all certainly do need to smile despite...
Good to see you back.

Diana said...

I love that line, "they thought the contamination did not appear to pose a risk to human

So, they are saying that they'd cheerfully feed it to their kids in a sandwich?


ML said...

I have such a problem with all the celebrity hype when there are much more important things going on. I, along with millions, keep wondering when the troops will be called home.

I also keep wondering how much more stupid Bush can get. Next time he'll probably look up, open his mouth and let the bird poop in there.

Coffee-Drinking Woman said...

That wheat issue - we didn't eat anything made with or fed with wheat gluten for a while after the news broke...

some bread (the commerical stuff frequently has wheat gluten in it), chicken, pork...