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Protestus Interreruptus

I just got an e-mail from an anti-war listserv I belong too (I know, I know) and I was sure it would announce the cancellation of an anti-war rally.

63rd street anti-war rally on April 12 cancelled!!

But this is what the e-mail said …

Arabs and Muslims Against War and Occupation–the community rally on 63rd St. in Chicago, scheduled for 3 pm, Saturday, April 12th, HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

Organizers of the rally cite the pervasive atmosphere of fear and anxiety in the Arab and Muslim community as the main reason for the cancellation.

These feelings have been perpetuated by a series of anti-immigrant, U.S. government policies, which have led to thousands of detentions of Arabs and Muslims in this country.

The “War on Terrorism” and the war on Iraq have intensified the criminalization of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, making them even more fearful of, and vulnerable to, racist attacks. The 63rd Street community, which has many Palestinians among its residents, is staunchly opposed to the war and the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, and will continue to affirm its right to speak out against these U.S. sponsored atrocities. This right of dissent and protest has been under attack by the Bush administration and local law enforcement, and our community will not accept the criminalization of Chicago’s anti-war movement.

The organizers appreciate the broad support for this rally from the citywide anti-war movement, including groups from other immigrant and oppressed nationality communities. We are regretful that we had to make this decision to cancel the rally, but will continue to support and organize anti-war, Palestine solidarity, and other racial and social justice movements. Thank you all.

The Coalition for Justice in Palestine

I mean, do I need to comment on this?

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Overheard at Time Inc

Two staffers were flipping through an investment magazine with, among other things, a picture of Alfred E. Newman on the cover.

STAFFER #1: That’s the MAD magazine guy. Don’t we own him?
STAFFER #2: Yeah. We should sue!
STAFFER #3: Oh, wait. We own this magazine, too.

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If I can make it … um, here

I’ve been in Manhattan for two weeks now. As I walked out of my apartment today (a leased-out New School dorm room, located near Wall St), I saw my first New York sunlight. Not sunrise – no. Sunlight. It has been alternately cold, damp, rainy, dank, chilly, muggy, frigid, and wet for 14 days.

It’s amazing what this does for my general outlook.

So: My life circa April 2003. I wake up at 8:30 – late for a reporter, perfectly normal for a magazine staffer. Fate tempts me to take my time, because the subway trek is only about 20 minutes long and nothing really happens at Money until 10 a.m. In Chicago, 10 a.m. reporting was a death sentence – only so many hours left in the day before East coasters closed down shop. Here, where we’re calling a country one, two, or three hours behind us, it’s only sane. We report, break for meetings, write memos, write emails, take lunch (for me, usually at the desk at 1 or so), report, then head home sometime after 6 p.m.

I’m leaving out all of the humor and weirdness that fills the gaps in these days. Why haven’t I posted much? Well, at first, the position at Money was draining the life out of me. I arrived with no background in personal finance, and having been an expert on a few areas before, and interned in those industries, it was heartbreaking to suddenly be adrift and useless. That changed after a few days; I’ve got duties now, and I generally enjoy them.

Fun posts should come as a result.

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Carping

Before my PC crashes again, some choice letters to the New York Times:

Reports of our troops walking through the rubble of a presidential palace, sitting in Saddam Hussein’s chair and pulling down statues make us look less like an army of liberation and more like the Visigoths sacking Rome.

If we were Visigoths, we’d be raping Iraqi women and taking the statues back home. But then, a basic knowledge of history doesn’t seem to haunt you.

There are other stupid letters, from people who have not been right about anything since 1975 yet still want, need us to take them seriously. And there are a bunch of great letters, slyly expressing what people like me have been thinking these past 24 hours: The “Chickenhawks” were right. You were wrong. And if we’d listened to you, 22 million Iraqis would still be in a national prison.

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Chriiiiiiis!

My friend and ally Chris Chandler made it into the venerable Delaware News-Journal. He’s also in the third picture from the top of the page. Witness:

“Our father had an Atari 2600, and we grew up playing that,” said Chris Chandler, 21, of Brandywine Hundred.

Chandler brought boxes of vintage video games, hardware and memorabilia to sell from a booth he shared with brother Sean, 19, and their friends Mark Buckmaster, 20, and his brother Andy, 18, also of Brandywine Hundred.

An early Pong system Chris Chandler found at a flea market now carried a $25 price tag. By the end of the three-day event, he had raked in $1,500.

So I’m not the biggest dork I know. I’m still the poorest.

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The moral of the story

I’ve spent nearly an hour today on the phone and on e-mail trying to get a long-promised, vital grant check for the Northwestern Chronicle, without which the paper cannot publish. I’ve been doing this from Manhattan, as I am employed full-time for one quarter, and the paper is currently in the hands of editors who’ve promised to upturn the changes I made. After a year producing 25 issues of the Chronicle, from my room, for lack of an office, I have yet to earn a summer job.

The moral: The whole “hard work” thing? Not worth it.

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Jesus Christ, Kerry!

If the candidate is reading, I’ll spell it out for him: We don’t have a problem with you “criticizing” the president. The idea that it’s no longer OK to “criticize” the president is a figment of the campaign to make he current situation seem dark and Orwellian; it comes from the same well as Matthew Rothschild columns and Maxine Waters position papers. It’s nonsense.

What we have a problem with is casting the president as a dictator. It’s hard to believe someone is serious when they suggest, as some wackier fixtures of peace marches do, that Bush is planning to cancel the 2004 elections, or that he’s wilfully committing war crimes, or 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society.

“Regime change” has entered the lexicon as a Bushite term for the removal of Saddam Hussein. It has previously been used in speeches by John Conyers and Ramsey Clark, who are cracked enough to believe that the Bush government really is the personification of evil. When Kerry uses it, he snarkily dismisses current U.S. foreign policy (oh, let’s just get rid of whoever we don’t like), which makes people like me want to hear Kerry’s ideas.

And in place of giving us ideas, Kerry waves the bloody shirt and talks about “patriotism.”

We know you love your country in amorphous terms, John. Now, give us a reason to take you seriously.