Friday, March 24, 2006

A Government-Type Speaking the Truth about Bush Administration? Well, an Ex-Government Type

So have you read Madeline Albright’s Op-ed Piece in the LA Times, Called “Good Versus Evil Isn’t a Strategy?" Let me say, if you only have 2 minutes to read tonight, skip my piece and read Madeline’s….good stuff. I was frankly surprised to see something so good from a government-type, but I guess since she’s officially a retired government-type, she doesn’t care what the Republican spin machine says about her. And you know she’ll get ripped for this one, but good! She begins like this:

THE BUSH administration's newly unveiled National Security Strategy might well be subtitled "The Irony of Iran." Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the invention of the phrase "axis of evil," the administration now highlights the threat posed by Iran — whose radical government has been vastly strengthened by the invasion of Iraq. This is more tragedy than strategy, and it reflects the Manichean approach this administration has taken to the world.

It is sometimes convenient, for purposes of rhetorical effect, for national leaders to talk of a globe neatly divided into good and bad. It is quite another, however, to base the policies of the world's most powerful nation upon that fiction. The administration's penchant for painting its perceived adversaries with the same sweeping brush has led to a series of unintended consequences.

Wow, right to the heart of the problem. Albright is 100% right, the “axis of evil” is a myth, and our adherence to the myth has only served to weaken the position of the US, and the West as a whole, in the world. First off, I do not believe that these countries are evil. Yes, there are some leaders in the region who may be evil, and some leaders who just plain are evil, but I don’t see Muslims as inherently evil, and categorizing the Muslim people as part of an “Axis of Evil” only feeds into tensions between the two cultures.

And Albright also points out that Iran has only become so strong because the United States has eliminated their biggest opponent, the neighboring power that has always kept Iran in check, Iraq. By kicking Iraq while it was already hurting, the United States has done less to improve the conditions in Iraq, and almost nothing to truly promote Democracy in the country, while it has served to leave them vulnerable to a region full of predators, all of which have gotten a little stronger for not having to defend against a powerful Iraq.

But Albright now brings up the crucial point, a point I have been declaring ad nauseum to def ears for months now: that the participants in the “Axis of Evil” had no connection to each other, in fact in many ways couldn’t stand to be anywhere near each other let alone work together, until the US pushed lumped them together in the “Axis of Evil”, and forced them to collaborate.

For years, the president has acted as if Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein's followers and Iran's mullahs were parts of the same problem. Yet, in the 1980s, Hussein's Iraq and Iran fought a brutal war. In the 1990s, Al Qaeda's allies murdered a group of Iranian diplomats. For years, Osama bin Laden ridiculed Hussein, who persecuted Sunni and Shiite religious leaders alike. When Al Qaeda struck the U.S. on 9/11, Iran condemned the attacks and later participated constructively in talks on Afghanistan. The top leaders in the new Iraq — chosen in elections that George W. Bush called "a magic moment in the history of liberty" — are friends of Iran. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, Bush may have thought he was striking a blow for good over evil, but the forces unleashed were considerably more complex.

Albright goes on to make some suggestions to the Bush Administration, and I must admit I’m not convinced by these proposals. But I am impressed that someone of Albright’s stature would come out and say the truth in the face of this overbearing Bush administration. Much applause to the former Secretary of State Madeline Albright for saying what needs to be said.

technorati tags: , , , , technorati tags: , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 9:30 PM / | |  

Wet T-Shirt Contest Busted

Well, now that I’m back from math hell, time for some commentary on the news. First, this story comes out of Bay County Florida, a long-time spring break hangout for high school and college kids. Apparently at a loss for what to do with their time, six sheriffs decided to roust a wet T-shirt contest for lewd and lascivious behavior. I’m sure this was one of hundreds of like events around the town that will take place these next two weeks (at least if it’s anything like when I was there), but they decided to break up this group’s good time.

Investigators say the male DJs and customers used alcohol to help encourage the female participants to remove the t-shirts, expose themselves, and allow the audience to fondle them and bite their breasts.

Capt. Rickie Ramie of the BCSO Special Investigations Unit explained, “They had taken a contest and basically there were females up there performing oral sex on one another, that was the original complaint. And we sent in a couple of investigators in at the time to see what was taking place. Inside they saw, certainly things that would be classified as violations of the law."

How much do you want to bet that there was at least a 30 minute delay between the investigators arriving at the scene and determining that a crime was being committed? The story continues:

Deputies arrested six people. Thirty-two-year-old Charles Ray Bunch of Panama City is accused of solicitation for lewd and lascivious conduct by the contestants. Seventeen-year-old Jacqucin Strong of Orange Beach, Alabama was arrested on nudity and indecent conduct.

Aside from young Strong, all the participants in the event, as well as the other people at the bar, were apparently of age. Of the 6 people arrested, 3 were men, including one person who was charged with resisting arrest.

OK, maybe I’m missing something here, but aren’t these just a bunch of kids heading south to blow off some steam after a tough set of finals (or they’ll think they’re hard until they get into the real world)? Aren’t there enough things to worry about in the world without raining on the parade of a few kids having a bit of harmless fun? Seems like the Bay County police aught to get a life.

A quick note: I had a devil of a time finding a couple photographs of wet T-shirt contests that weren’t pornographic. The hardships I go through to make sure my there are good pictures to go along with the stories! I guess everyone has to make sacrifices. Anyway, appreciate the photos; they were a labor of love.

technorati tags: , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 5:38 PM / | |  

Free At Last!

It's finally done! After about 2 months of studying till my brain hurt, I finally completed my GMATs. I didn't do bad, did easily well enough to get into most of the schools I would want to go to. But more than that, they are finished, completed, done, asta la vista baby, finito, zeh hakol, gotta love it, they are done, Done, DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I'm glad to be finished with the GMATs?


Posted by Scottage at 5:08 PM / | |  

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Freedom of Speech and Making a Difference; the Buck Stops Here

Let me start by apologizing for not posting any serious content for the past few weeks. Tomorrow I have this huge test, called the GMATs, which is a multiple-hour exam with Math, English, and essays. I’m scared out of my wits for the thing, so it’s been occupying all of my time. However, when one of my favorite readers, Sonia-Belle, asked if the Body-Snatchers had come and taken me away, I realized something had to be done. So I decided to combine a post with some math, and give people something more serious to read.

This issue really began to take focus for me when Matt Urden challenged one of my recent posts, commenting: “The problem is that discussion and debate are useless exercises if outcomes and decisions from that discussion and debate are not somehow put into action for change.” This is directly contradictory to my beliefs. I believe that words are powerful, that a person who uses words well has tremendous potential for influence in the world and can make a difference. And I believe that the Internet makes that even more possible, as it provides a forum where those views can be expressed and heard. That is why I push for traffic to my site; because I want to have my views heard, and to challenge others to define their views.

By Matt’s comments, this really isn’t making a difference. He may be right; we are not really affecting any change in our society, right? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. Perhaps the problem, as Matt indicates, is that no one is being heard by the people with the power, but maybe the problem really is that no one is speaking at all. And if this is the case, then all of us are truly beginning to make a difference.

I feel that the deterioration of free speech in this country is a problem growing so rapidly, it is ridiculous. It seems almost daily that our government squashes the voice of dissent in some way or another. Think of free speech as a point, a destination, where a person feels free and comfortable saying what he or she believes at any time and at any place. This is what our founding fathers had in mind; a land where even the most radical voice could be heard.

Our government, like our supreme court, functions at its best when a wide variety of opinions are represented. Our country was built on the principle of debate, on the view that every voice has merit, and while the representation in government of every view should be based upon the number of people who share that view, the strength of all voices should be equal. In the United States, we all are supposed to have a voice, all are supposed to be able to say our piece and be heard. But that society is a long-distant memory.

Again, the society where speech truly is free, where we all have a voice, is a point on a grid. Another point on the grid represents our society, and the freedom of speech found within it. The distance between these two points grows with every action against free speech we see.

When a woman, the mother of a soldier, is arrested for peacefully demonstrating against the war, a woman who has paid the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of this country, the distance between the points grows. When proof comes out showing what really happened in a natural disaster on our own soil, and the proof is ignored, the distance grows again. When a member of our media speaks out against the efforts by our government to squash freedom of the press, and gets shouted down by other reporters for being liberal and dangerous, the line grows even longer. And when our own politicians, the people we elected to stand up for our rights, are afraid to speak, then the line between free speech and our society rally grows. It grows way too long.

In 1989, 15 of my classmates and I, all of whom were either Poli-Sci or Econ majors (I double majored in both disciplines), composed only the second group of Americans to be allowed into the Soviet Union. There we met with government leaders in official Q&A discussions, as well as meeting with dissident leaders in unofficial visits (which eventually got us kicked out of the country). This was the Cold War era, and the world criticized the Soviets for their policy of silence. There was an oppression in the air, a feeling that, should you speak, not only was someone listening, but they were waiting there to shut you up.

Opposition leaders harped on this as the reason that the Soviet regime had to fall. Freedom of Speech is the most basic right, they argued. It leads to advanced thinking and person discovery. We asked the Soviet leaders why they couldn’t allow free speech in their society, that it certainly was within the vision of both Marx and Lenin, but they stated that the threats to the Soviet Union were too great, that in that day and age allowing free speech would be tantamount to allowing the liberals and the radicals to run rampant over the country.

Upon returning home, the common feeling was that there was no excuse for the abandonment of freedom of speech, that no matter what the dangers, that one, simple freedom is a self-evident truth, and must be adhered to. And our government’s rhetoric supported this theory, stated in clear, unwavering terms that, regardless of the situation in the Soviet Union, they are committing crimes against nature by forcing their people into a cone of silence. And that was our justification for continually pushing for Democracy in that region.

And now the shoe is on the other foot. We claim that it is too dangerous to allow freedom of speech, not realizing that when freedom of speech is dangerous, when it is most tested, is when it can shine the brightest as a beacon to the rest of the world, drawing people to our form of government. We are guilty of the same things that we accused the Soviets of not twenty years ago. Our way of life slowly crumbles as we lose touch with the very principles our country is built upon. And I suspect that, while seeing this happening around you, the feeling of helplessness I feel daily grows in you as well.

But actually, we can make a difference, and even in little ways we can have a big impact. We are speaking here, on our blogs. Sure, as individuals, we have a minimal voice. But the more we work together, the more we try to find ways to be heard in unity, the more power we hold.

We have an edge, a very slight edge. Whereas the politicians have to fear the Republican sound machine if they say what needs to be said, we can only benefit from attention by the government. Until we get to the point where, like the Soviet Union, people are being pulled off the street for speaking poorly of the government, any attention from the government helps bring more attention to our thoughts and writings.

I guarantee that, if George Bush got up today and said “The blog Perspectives of a Nomad is abhorrent, and should be shunned by all righteous God-fearing Americans”, 2 minutes later I would have a million hits on my blog, and blogger would crash (yet again!). Sure, they can make things unpleasant for me, or for anyone, but the government is still limited to some extent by the code of ethics laid down in the Constitution. How much they adhere to it would be questionable, but they would be limited in the punishment they could dish out for my speaking my mind. Or your speaking your mind.

The problem is how to get everyone pointed in a similar direction. I mean, 62% of the people disapprove of the Bush Administration right now, but getting two of them on the same page is nearly impossible. It’s why I attempted the Walken campaign; because a figure head, any figure head, could be something we could all fall in behind, and start to move in a similar direction. And an actor shares the trait that government attention generally helps earn them publicity, as opposed to hurting their public profile.

So maybe the Walken idea was stupid; I’m ok with that, no big deal. But let’s not stop there; come up with another idea. How are we going to use the tool that we have here, a whole blogging community, to move public perception, to make the public aware of how bad our president has let things get, and to mobilize people to let their voice be heard. I’m not a powerful person, so this is the only voice I have that will be heard. Let’s find a way to speak together, and send a message that someone will notice. Because it’s time for individuals to make a difference, and the buck stops here!

technorati tags: , , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 2:10 PM / | |  

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More support emerging for Christopher Walken

This is Scottage reporting from Christopher Walken's frozen tundra headquarters in Rochester, NY, where members of the Walken campaign have refused to abandon the campaign even after the candidate abandoned the campaign. Why have people stuck with it, you may ask? Well, we can get that answer from new supporter Bruce Willis:

You know, this was never about the Chris. I like the guy, sure, but I didn't get into this for him. I got into it because something has to change around here. And since his values are my values, I figured this is where I belong. Plus, we're actors, so there's no way for those jerkoffs in Washington to intimidate us; all they can do is get more people seein' me. As if people don't know me.

Plus, Christopher has some good ideas on taxes. Sure, I would wind up being taxed more under it, but households around the country would have more money to spend on my movies, and I have 6 lined up for next year alone, so I win no matter what. And hey, isn't it all about me winning? I think it is. Yippee Kayyeah!

So yeah, sure, what the hell, I'm Christopher Walken. I don't like the way taxes are squeezing my customers out there, and I hate the way the Republicans don't care about it. I would get into a sweaty T-shirt and chase them around narrowly avoiding death, but I know Arnie likes it a little too much. So instead, I'm Christopher Walken. Hell, I played everyone else!

Oh, and hey, if you Chris, tell him I have his watch. It's a piece of $h!t and smells like @$$, and I don't really think my pop ever owned this...I think he just couldn't pawn the hunk of junk off on anyone else. So tell him to come grab it, I hate the damn thing!

And it a related story, more support is rolling in for Walken. Brad's Brain caught an exclusive today with George Clooney, who stood squarely behind the actor-turned politician. And Abba is scheduling a reunion concert to support this campaign of values, as seen on the Meltwater, Torents, Meanderings, Delta site, which was recently redone and looks amazing!

Are you sick of business as usual with the Bush Administration? It's time for a change, time for a campaign of values! We've put a face on the healing this country needs, and the face is Christopher Walken. Show your support for the Walken campaign, tell us why you are Christopher Walken and link back here. If you haven't read his platform yet, check it out here.

Remember, we have absolutely no support or endorsement for the candidate. But when you read the platform of the campaign, expressed by these great farces of stars, I'm sure you'll agree that these are the views we would love to see in our next president.

This story is a farce, and is paid for by Christopher Walken for President

technorati tags: , , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 2:45 AM / | |  

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Demi says "I am Christopher Walken"

When I get home I tear off all of my clothes, spread cooking oil all over myself, and then roll in breadcrumbs....hey, moron, yeah you over there, gave me the wrong script, bring me the right one. Get up and get it myself? Hello! Have you noticed I have no clothes on over hear?

While I'm naked, I don't have to do anything for myself. Could you imagine the draft? Here, much better, now get lost, Plebe! {Clears throat and moves back to sweetest voice ever}

Hi, I'm Demi. But really, I'm Christopher Walken. CHris Walken knows that the children are our future, and he knows the importance of restructuring our schools to help our kids get ahead earlier in life.

I mean, let's face it, not everyone can afford a private education for their kids. And thank God, how would I prove my kid is superior to your kid? But at least Christopher wants to improve the standard of public education, and eliminate standardized tests, so even the kids my kids wont talk to get a well-rounded education.

So yeah, I'm Christopher Walken. And if you elect me, I promise to strip down naked, spray myself in clay, and dance for every person who voted for me.

And hey, if you see Chris, could you ask him if he has any parts for me in his next film? I haven't had a good part since 1997, and that was GI Jane. Tell him I would get naked for his film, hell, I would get naked for him! I would even do that trick where I balance 2 50lb weights on my fake breasts and they don't sag at all. Oh, come on, help me get a gig already....

This post is a farce, and is paid for by Christopher Walken for President

technorati tags: , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 11:08 AM / | |  

Halle Berry Claims: "I Am Christopher Walken"

Today, Halle Berry came out strongly behind Christopher Walken for President, siting his support of a woman's right to choose has teh reason for her strong affinity to the candidate.

Christopher Walken is for the American family, and he knows how destructive it can be to live in a broken household, devoid of love and compassion. He understands the real world. And because of it, he knows that a woman should have the right to choose to have a child when he is ready.

And Walken isn't just leaving the problem alone, or ignoring it. He wants a new solution, and he turns to education on safe sex. Again, he knows that the real world is filled with images of sex, and also knows that no amount of stigmatizing of pregnant women will solve the problem of unwanted pregnancies. But maybe education can.

Berry finished by showing that her allegiance lies, not so much in the actor, but in his views, and that in some way their paths are the same.

In my mind, the war an abortion is tearing our country apart, and we need someone who's going to bring new approaches to the issue. Couldn't that person be Christopher Walken?

So I say I'm Christopher Walken. There's some Walken in me. Isn't there some in you? IF so, maybe we can compare notes (or something) along the campaign trail. Maybe we'll start with dinner? I'm a big fan of swordfish....

This post is a complete farce and is paid for by Christopher Walken for President.

technorati tags: , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 12:18 AM / | |  

Monday, March 20, 2006

Walken for President - Coming Out Speech

Excerpts from Christopher Walken's Coming OutSpeech in Rochester, New York, 3/20/06, announcing his candidacy for President in 2008.

"This candidacy is not about me. Hell, I might not even accept the nomination. It's about a set of ideals that we call democracy. some our our leaders seem to have forgotten those ideals, but in 'Da-BOM (Bloggers of aMerica) Party, we remember them, and we cherish them."

"So it's almost as if I'm not running for President. In fact, it's exactly like I'm not running for President. But my values are. And your values are. And our country's values are. And I am here to tell the big-business mongers out there that, yes, we have values, and we care about them. "

"This is not a candidacy for a person, but for a set of ideals. I hope that in 2008 we can win one for the right ideals. I am Christopher Walken, and these are my ideals."

Paid for by Christopher Walken for President

technorati tags: , ,


Posted by Scottage at 1:46 PM / | |  

Jessica Alba Endorses Walken!

Jessica Alba has endorsed 'Da-BOM (Bloggers of aMerica) Party candidate Christopher Walken. Alba said she loves Walken's politics, and that he looks cool in his Italian 3-piece suits.

"Plus, I figure with all those secret service men around, he won't be camped out under my window all the time. Of course I'll miss him and that silly telescope thing...."

Meanwhile, Walken campaigned in California on his platforms of gradual but scheduled withdrawal from Iraq and pro-choice platform, and hopes the Alba endorsement will be the first of many.

Paid for by Christopher Walken for President

technorati tags: , ,


Posted by Scottage at 1:16 AM / | |  

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Christopher Walken For President

So, as you can see from the comments, it turns out Christopher Walken isn't running for president, it's all some hoax. Guess the goof's on me, huh?

On one hand, it shows the value of the net, immediately communicating the validity of a story. A perfect example of people sharing information, making sure we all have the correct data.

Well, the goof's on them! We need to start a write-in campaign for Christopher Walken. I don't really care if he himself runs, but I like his platform, and if we push for Christopher Walken, maybe people would really see the value behind his campaign.

So, ELECT CHRISTOPHER WALKEN IN 2008! WALKEN FOR PRESIDENT!!! Let's ring in a new era for the US with Christopher Walken for President! Let's get behind our new candidate.

Paid for by Christopher Walken for President

technorati tags:


Posted by Scottage at 10:12 PM / | |  

Christopher Walken for President


Posted by Scottage at 5:54 PM / | |  

Christopher Walken for President!

Just a quick note: for some reason blogger is not showing my photos for this post. I hope to recover them soon. Sorry for the delay.

I just experienced a very surreal lunch. Those who read here know my life is consumed by studying for the GMATs these days, and so for quick food breaks I go down the street to Zebb’s, a burger joint where a couple waitresses know me, know I’m studying hard, and bring me ice tea as soon as I sit down. What more can a guy ask for? Anyway, it’s got a bar with some booths around it, which is where I sit, but people don’t really talk at between the booths or around the bar at all. It’s more of a place you go to be with a person or friends, or a place you go alone (with a math book).

When I pulled in today, I parked next to this yellow Chevy, and on the window was taped an advertisement for Christopher Walken for president in 2008. I don’t know if you guys have heard about this, but I hadn’t, and was immediately intrigued. Walken for President? I like the idea, but beyond that, I knew I had something to post about right away: Walken roles that qualify him for the job, quotes from movies, co-stars, a wealth of good writing to be done on this presidential candidate.

Next to me was a table with 5 college-age women, and since the car had an RIT sticker on it, I figured, why not, ask if one of them owns the car, and if the candidacy is real. So, I got up a bit of guts, and asked. Well, none of them owned the car, but it immediately sparked debate amongst the girls. One of them really liked Walken, he seems smart, and his roles are intelligent. Another girl was totally against it, as she finds him very scary. A third thought he would be an excellent candidate for ambassador to the Middle East, because he would scare the pants off of anyone wanting to do something to the country.

A waitress came over with the girls’ food, and I excused myself. The waitress went back into the kitchen, but soon came out with two other waitresses and a cook. Apparently, the cook had seen an interview with Walken on Letterman, and thought the guy was crazy. He needed to know if it was true that Walken was running for president. Another waitress thought he was hot, and that if he were running for anything, she would be watching TV for his commercials. After being peppered by the girls, she admitted she voted for Arnie.

Soon, the bar was crowded around this corner booth, all talking about Christopher Walken for President. I had to leave to come home to study (except I’m doing this first), but I swear when I was leaving people were moving over from the restaurant part of Zebbs to the bar section to be part of the conversation. There was definitely a lack of wait staff on the floor, as they were all deep in discussion, and yet no one really seemed to care. It was definitely a cool scene.

I came home and found that indeed Walken is running for president, and I agree with a great deal of his platform. I will post on that in the future, though right now I need to hit the books again. But let me leave you with a couple of conclusions that came from the conversation around the bar:

1) Most of the women there felt Walken would not be a good choice, that he would be too scary or too erratic. The guys were more open to the idea, and there were numerous quotes from The Deer Hunter, A View to a Kill, The Dogs of War, Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead, Pulp Fiction, and True Romance to back that up. Those were the movies I recognized the lines from, but man, he’s been in a lot of movies.

2) The women in the bar seemed to prefer the idea of Harrison Ford for President, and can’t believe his hasn’t decided to run yet. It became apparent that the Zebb’s poll clearly indicated that Ford could achieve a majority amongst female voters, transcending discrepancies between right and left.

3) Many people in the bar, both men and women, both left and right, would vote for Martin Sheen for president. However, much of that support appears to be contingent on his accepting Alan Sorkin as the speech writer for his campaign.

4) No one seemed to take my suggestion that the next president should be Jessica Alba. Come on! She would be a great choice. Who would want to mess with the US if it meant they had to meet with Jessica Alba? Oh, wait, that may not work….

technorati tags: , , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 3:37 PM / | |  

And Now For Family Fun: The Patriot Act Game!

Are you a monopoly fan? I am, love the game. I have the standard game, and my beloved Philadelphia Eagles version, with squares for Jaws and McNabb, Andy Reid and Dick Vermeil, Wlbert, Charmichael, Bergey and Bednarkik all make the game a trip down memory lane for an Eagles diehard like me.

Well, there’s a new version out, this one called the Patriot Act Game, and I’m getting it. Instead of trying to attain wealth or property, you try to retain your civil liberties. It’s a whole new twist on monopoly, and I love it!

Two versions have even emerged of the game. The first version, it appears, comes from Michael Kabbash, a graphic artist and Arab civil liberties officer. He created the game to use as a teaching tool, as Kabbash teaches graphics at the College of New Jersey. "This is my way of putting my political ideas forward, hoping people will wake up. There's a lot of apathy, and we have to realize that we're in a democracy, that we're all allowed to say something."

In Kabbash’s version, players are not given civil liberties equally: US citizens get 5, non-citizens get 1, and members of the radical right get 6 civil liberties while Democrats get 3 or 4, and so on. Go has been renamed “Bring It On” for Bush’s pre-Iraq War statement. Color coded spaces correspond to terror alerts, while a red space automatically loses a civil liberty for the roller and anyone within 5 spaces. Chance cards are Homeland Security Cards, and include directions like “FBI Wants you for Questioning; Lose One Turn” and “You provide the local authorities with speculative information on the next door neighbor; Collect one civil liberty for each player.”

And for the finishing touch, Kabbash replaced the Monopoly Man player piece…with John Ashcroft. Ashcroft had no comment when asked about the game today, but he laughed when told that jail had been replaced with Guantanamo Bay. And Kabbash’s final comment may be the most telling: "I've had people complain to me that when they play, nobody wins. They say `We're all in Guantanamo and nobody has any civil liberties left,'" he said. "I'm like `Yeah, that's the point.'"

The second, newer version is a bit more polished but seems to lack some of the grass roots charm of Khabbash’s game. The game has been created by Lisa Freeland, a public defender, and Steffi Donike, a local artist, and is meant to be more factual than the Khabbash version.

The game currency is "freedom fries," the "homeland security threat level" rises during the course of the game, each level being indicated by the movement of a tiny representation of a roll of duct tape, and the players, whose game tokens are black, brown or yellow, are faced with playing disadvantages in comparison to those who have the red, white, or blue tokens. The goal of the game is to get every player to Freedom Corner before the homeland security threat level reaches “Severe” AND the player who is secretly holding the “Snitch” card turns everyone in to Attorney General John Ashcroft. Along the way there are four sets of cards players may be instructed to pick from, including “Protest,” “Surveillance,” History,” and “Justice.

There are cards that predominantly focus on the history of civil liberties, and times in the past when they have been revoked. The board tells of numerous actual cases and focuses on the minutia of the Patriot Act, analyzing the act itself and the history of civil liberties. It definitely appears to be more informative than the Khabbash version, though perhaps it’s a yawn. I haven’t played it yet, so I don’t know.

It should also be noted that the Khabbash version is distributed free over the net, though supposedly you can buy a copy with all the niceties, including the John Ashcroft token, for $20 (it’s not included in the store, they only have T-shirts and a mug there), while the second version sells for $30 and is being actively marketed.

Well, I must say, I like it, I like it a lot. I’ll definitely try the Khabbash version, not sure I would pay for the Pittsburgh version. But it’s nice to see people standing up and being heard. In a time when I focus too much on the dangers in the world, this is the upside that gets dwelled on too little. That individual people can be heard, and can make a difference, with advances in communication that’s truer today than at any time in history, I believe. And that is something to be optimistic about!

technorati tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Posted by Scottage at 1:20 AM / | |