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Luke Melia

3/26/03, 11:40pm – Computers in Schools

I attended a training session with a volunteer group today. I’m going to be tutoring in an elementary school in my neighborhood soon. During the training session, another soon-to-be volunteer asked about computers. The coordinator answered that most schools have a computer room, but don’t have computers in the classrooms.

I wonder why that is. My computer (and net connection) is certainly my single most valuable learning tool, by a long shot. In an environment where schools are cutting days from their calendar out of fiscal strife, I imagine it’s not financially viable to outfit students with computers.

I sat there today, wondering how many computers could be bought instead of one $500K cruise missile.

3/23/03, 9:58 pm – Artforms

Breakup Girl, once an Oxygen property, is back in the hands of Lynn and Chris and, most importantly, back to saving love lives the world over.

This afternoon, I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage adaptation of Midnight’s Children, the novel by Salman Rushdie. I haven’t read the novel, which I understand to be excellent. The production, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, was very creative and well-acted, but lacked the dramatic tension to hold together. Every exposure I have to Indian history and culture takes me back to my time there, though, and that’s always nice.

Finally, I’m reading The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. I just finished the chapter on marijuana, and have one left, on potatoes. It’s a wonderful read.

3/22/03, 8:49 am – The View from New York

Spring has sprung here. It’s a gorgeous 54 degrees out this morning and I woke up with a lot of energy today.

My cell phone offered up a voicemail from Art this morning. He’s a very good friend from when I lived in Charlottesville, and he’s getting married in a few weeks. I haven’t seen him in way too long, and am very excited to help him celebrate!

Our indoor volleyball season is complete. We ended with a winning record, and in third place. Not bad. It was a good season, marred a bit by tension over a focus on fun versus a competitive focus. That’s a tough balance. Still, it was fun, overall. Now that the warm weather is coming, I’m going to take a season off and focus on my sand game.

The rest of this post is talk of war. So if you’re overloaded, move on…

Rumsfeld was on TV yesterday saying, “We did not choose this war.” That’s silly. This war has been weighed in Washington think tanks for several years, and was decided on well before Bush’s bungled diplomacy failed.

During the newscast, a commentator noted that the cruise missiles cost half a million dollars each. This site seems to beat that out. As part of the “shock and awe” campaign, the BBC reports that over 1,000 cruise missiles were fired at Baghdad in 24 hours. In case you’re not quick with math, that spells out half a billion dollars spent on that aspect of war alone in one day. The waste is spectacularly sickening. And if you live and pay taxes here in America, as I do, you’re paying for it.

I attended last week’s rally and march in Washington DC, just days before the war began. The speakers frustrated me a bit, because they were all over the map. Lots of rhetoric about Palestine and even some about affirmative action. It was clearly alienating to some of the crowd around me, not necessarily because they disagreed with those issues, but they had come that day to take a stand against this war, not against every injustice in the world.

A big protest is planned for today here in New York. It will be a march from midtown down to Washington Square park. Should be a good day for it.

I struggled a bit this week with what my position and activities should be now that war has begun. I find myself looking forward to the prospect of freedom and self-rule for the Iraqi people. But regardless of the worthy ends, death and destruction carried out against the will of the vast majority of the world should not be justified. This Machiavellian bargain is damaging to the interwoven relationships which bind this global village.

Geekman (in an uncharacteristically serious post) suggested that protest should stop now that war is here. Many others understandably feel the same way. Respectfully, I disagree. To endorse an illegitimate war is wrong. To acquiesce now sends the message that it’s acceptable to begin planning the next war, to continue the remaking of American foreign policy, and to continue a unilateral destruction of multilateralism.

I won’t endorse it with my silence.

3/19/03, 1:44 am – The World War Web

Joe Maller writes:

“Following current world events is very frustrating. I’m grateful that so much of my life up to now was lived in relative peace. It’s going to be a very long time before that can be said again.”

I hadn’t thought of it that way. That’s pretty depressing.

Anita Roddick has a war Q&A: Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?

Scott Rosenberg wrote an essay on the road to this war for Salon (where I just became a subscriber, BTW). Dave Winer is running with a nice introduction. Worth a read.

The graphics on the Homeland Security Dept.’s ready.gov are pretty amusing. With the captions added here, they’re good for out-loud laughs.

3/19/03, 1:36 am – A Man, A Plan, A Root Canal

Went to the dentist yesterday. And then went back today. I had a root canal.

It was my first visit since last May, but that time I only got through having six x-rays taken. And before that, it was years. I’m not sure how many. Three, perhaps?

Five years without a dentist visit is not a good idea. Not even if you are afraid of the dentist. And especially not if you have a sweet tooth and work in a building with a cookie shop, a brownie shop, an ice cream store, and two bakeries.

The visit was tough, but I got through it. My mom was there to help distract me and reassure me. I got a sticker that says, “I did great!”

How old am I? It feels silly…. It is silly. But it’s worth doing what it takes to take care of my teeth (and make them stop hurting!). Plus, it’s always nice to hang out with my mom.

3/19/03, 1:25am – Overheard on the Train

Three working class white guys on a mid-afternoon train to Manhattan. I listened to their conversation as I was working on the crossword puzzle. I was thinking I might get some insight into peoples’ current mood about the war.

Man 1: Looks like we’re going war.
Man 2: Yeah, I don’t know what to think about it.
Man 1: I think if we’re going to do it, we should do it. Nuke ’em.
Man 2: The whole world seems to be against it. People say it’s about oil. I don’t see how it’s going to make it safer here. I don’t know what to think.
Man 1: I think if we’re serious about it, we should just do it. Nuke ’em or something.
Man 3: Ya know what? My friend once did a line of coke off a stripper’s ass. Right in my living room.
[Conversation shifts…]

Um… yeah, ok. Well, that makes me feel a lot better about my fellow Americans.

3/16/03, 11:20 pm – He’ll Have His War

Bob Herbert writes in tomorrow’s NY Times, “The president’s mind was made up long ago and all the chatter pro and con was just so much smoke in the wind. Mr. Bush will have his war.”

It looks that way. As I stood underneath the Washington Monument on Saturday, in a crowd of fifty thousand people or so, I reflected on the UN diplomacy process. Even if the disarmament goal had been attained, that would not have been enough for the Bush administration. Bush’s goal from the beginning has been regime change, and more to the point, the establishment of an influential American presence in the Middle East.

I yelled a lot in these past few months, loudly, with millions of others throughout the world. We insisted that we win without war, that we make diplomacy work. It appears that nobody in our democracy was listening, at least nobody with the strength or balls to make a difference.

The charade of diplomacy is has fallen apart like a shitty off-Broadway play. Our goodwill of the world has been squandered in a more wasteful and unfortunate way than the economic surplus. At least Americans had three hundred lousy bucks to show for the stupid tax cuts. What do we have to show for the goodwill spent on this war? Do we feel safer now? Will my Manhattan neighbors feel safer once a war begins and we have heavily armed police squads in the subways? Will we be safer in America once we have an American general calling the shots in an occupied Iraq?

Forgive my bitterness. I love the America built by the great men and women who came before us. I hate to see our government bumbling and fumbling as it leads that America to a dangerous destination. But it looks like we’re about to bumble out of the phase of token diplomacy and bumble into the preordained agenda of killing and invasion.

3/13/03, 1:30pm – The Music of the Movement

Five tunes for your ride to the protest or vigil this weekend…

Not in My Name, by Chumbawumba

In A World Gone Mad, by The Beastie Boys

The Price of Oil, by Billy Bragg

United States, by Seize the Day

Flag Revisited Eye Remix, by Alabama 3

3/11/03, 3:05 pm – Resigning is the New Orange

Aussie security official Andrew Wilkie resigned, calling Australia PM John Howard’s policy on Iraq “bad” and “dumb.”

Career US Foreign Serviceman John Brown resigned, writing “”Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president’s disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century.”

Brit Andrew Reed resigned from his post as parliamentary private secretary to the Environment Secretary in protest at the deadline being imposed on the weapons inspectors.

Another UK official, International Development Secretary Clare Short, has threatened to resign if Tony Blair goes to war without UN backing, claiming that the PM is being “extraordinarily reckless” with the future of the government.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the resignation of of twenty-year U.S. diplomat John Brady Kiesling.

I’m no Faith Popcorn, but I smell a trend here.

Now, if we could just convince Saddam to follow suit…

3/10/03, 8:13 pm – Local Boy Makes Good (Print)

I got back to my apartment today, drained from seven hours of sand volleyball yesterday and a quiet day at work and found the new issue of New York magazine in my mailbox. “Generation Hexed” is a feature piece about unemployed New York twentysomethings. It features, and I do mean features, Arye, who I worked with for a while at Oxygen. There’s four photos of him and the article starts “Arye Dworken has theories for just about everything.” Here’s the article online.

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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