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I’m Floored

I got my credit card bill the other day and, on top of all of the other unexpected costs associated with my trip to Europe, a hotel reservation that I had canceled still appeared on my statement for $170. I contacted the reservations agent and forwarded a copy of my credit card bill, my hotel reservation confirmation, and most importantly, my reservation cancellation confirmation emails. Hopefully that will be sufficient information to get that expense corrected.

Despite (fortunately) having free lodging the entire time I was in Paris, this trip ended up costing me quite a bit of money when taking into account the lodging in Amsterdam (an unexpected expense that came about after we realized Mike wasn’t going to Oxford), the car rental/tolls/fuel for going to Amsterdam, and the train from Paris to London (because we weren’t sure about the Oxford thing we weren’t able to purchase the tickets in advance and we got screwed price-wise). UGH.

On the plus side, I may be able to save some money going forward. I promised my parents i would pay to put hardwood flooring in their townhouse as their 40th anniversary gift. Well, I spoke with the flooring company and realized that I can take advantage of this weekend’s State Tax Holiday and not pay taxes on it. WOO HOO! It’s only a few hundred bucks…but I’ll take it.

And on a political note….there was a tiny 3-paragraph article in the Metro newspaper this morning about a group of American soldiers in Iraq who gang-raped a 14 yearold girl, then shot her in the head, and also murdered her parents and 5 year-old sister…all following some golf practice. After the rape and murders, they grilled chicken wings and had dinner.

UMM – why does this get 3 paragraphs in the middle of the paper when Lance Bass’s sexuality warrants a front page? The article says this happened in March. I watch the news every day and I don’t recall hearing about this (maybe I missed it…it’s possible). But still – where is the outrage? Aren’t we over there to supposedly protect? Who is supervising these people? We’ve got abuse in Guantanomo, abuse in Abu Ghraib. And now this?

This is the democracy we’re trying to spread to the middle east? Give me a break. I want these guys in prison for life. I want their bunkmates to rape them violentely for the next 50 years. I want them to be miserable for the rest of their lives. I want world peace, fluffy puppies and ice cream cones.


  1. Comment by Lise on August 8, 2006 10:19 am

    Honey, I hate to tell you this, but it HAS been all over the news for weeks! I think if you’re getting your news from the Metro …. but don’t worry, it has been getting a lot of play in the major papers & news outlets. The main perpetrator in fact was discharged from the Army before this broke for “personality disorder”. Yeah, I’d say that’s correct. Psychopath could be another word. Perhaps it’s been overshadowed by the murder trial of an Iraqi man by 2 soldiers & the Haditha scandal. But don’t worry, we have Israel/Lebanon (Iran/Syria/et. al.) to distract us from that nasty Iraq.

  2. Comment by karyn on August 8, 2006 11:18 am

    So to recap – you want the U.S. soldiers to get gang raped on an ongoing basis for fifty years AND you want sunshine and light and lollipops and ice cream and puppies? Which would you like first?

    Forgive me if I do not get too worked up about prisoner treatment at Abu Ghraib or if I do not shed a tear over the idea that our military personnel do not treat their religious doctrine (Quoran, whatever) with utter respect. Pretty sure if I had to guard people who would as soon kill me and my sons as look at us , on the basis that we are not of their faith, I would PROBABLY be disinclined to kiss their asses or treat their little book of hatred and cruelty with particular reverence either. Fuck ’em.

    Not RAPE them – raping kids and innocent villagers under any circumstances is quite a different thing and is completely loathesome, I’m with you there. Perpetrators of these crimes should be duly prosecuted.

    But you will forgive me, please, if I don’t give a rat’s ass about the lack of respect our prisoners get.

    How much respect did the families on board the airplanes during the 9/11 attacks get? Or the pedestrians in Battery Park? Or the children of the victims who were at school watching Daddy’s office building crumble to the ground?

    Yeah. I’m just saying.

  3. Comment by karyn on August 8, 2006 11:19 am

    PS: Lance Bass is GAY?!

    Well… maybe it was a slow news day.

  4. Comment by snarl on August 8, 2006 11:23 am

    Um, Karyn – the Iraq families were not on board those planes. Hell, to the best of my knowledge, Iraq had nothing to do with it (that would be Al Qauida members throughout the world…specifically the leaders hiding out in Afghanistan).

    Iraq was invaded under the asssumption they had weapons of mass destruction..and chaos has ensued since then. I do sympathize with those families moreso than the American soldiers. Remember that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing?

  5. Comment by karyn on August 8, 2006 11:31 am

    Yes, I understand the Iraqis were not the hijackers nor were they directly involved with 9/11. Don’t “um karyn” me. My point is that I have a hard time getting worked up about respecting anyone who thinks the 9/11 attacks were justified, admirable and or appropriate, as Iraqi insurgency claims to.

    Innocent until proven guilty is all well and good but sometimes common sense should prevail. Saddam had to go – whether they found WMD or no. Come on – like it’s hard to fool Dubya. I’m ok with that part; I do not think we should still be there trying to build it into Little America for crissakes. We ‘freed’ them from their Dictator; those who wanted freedom should be taking the ball and running with it as far as I am concerned. Did we stay in Germany and help them pick up after Hitler? Seriously – did we? I can’t remember.

  6. Comment by chrispy on August 8, 2006 1:13 pm

    with the iraqis, yes we had to get rid of saddam, but under the ruse that we go exploring for oil there. there was a correct internationally-sanctioned way to go about building a democracy, but the u.s. had to go it alone not fully understanding the implications of the scope of the problem at hand. building a ‘new country’ was sold as a cash cow for a lot of american companies charged with rebuilding infrastructure etc.. now we have differing religious groups within that country willing to go to war with each other for the next thousand years to gain control of the country. yes saddam had to go, but the outcome and the situation for the people of that country is still terrible, but its a different grade of terrible…for them, and for the americans still over there.

    the fact is that the poor of the middle east have little faith in america and the american system because we are part of the perpetual cycle of tyrannical rule in that part of the world. cheap oil is sold to us by the saudi royal family, who really dont care about the living conditions of people in their country and refuse to spread the wealth, yet because we are in cahoots with them, we dont dare rock the boat by deposing their government. if we did decide to try to upend that tyrrany, and help them foster a new govt, we would be looking at the -fair trade- price of a barrel of oil exceeding $100+. what would that do to our economy? its a catch 22 with the u.s. looking like greedy hypocrites.

    do i think that killing people by flying planes into office buildings is justifiable as a way of making a political or ideological statement? of course not. but would we have paid attention to the statement they were making if the statement was made another way?

  7. Comment by Dave in Chicago (2) on August 8, 2006 9:39 pm

    The Marshall Plan post-WWII was the most massive infusion of capital reconstruction ventured to-date (which doesn’t even include the administration and rebuilding of Japan).
    So, yeah, it’s been done before.
    (Wiki is not my favorite source, but it was convenient.)

  8. Comment by karyn on August 8, 2006 10:00 pm

    And I’m sure there is a correct, internationally sanctioned way for many hateful people to express themselves rather than attacking subway systems (London, Madrid) or office buildings and airplanes.

    But they don’t give a shit. So why should I pay a whit of attention to the message they are trying to get across exactly? The gist seems to be: You Believe Differently, Therefore I Must Kill You And Your Children So I Can Get Laid By 72 Virgins When I Die; Hopefully That Will Occur In The Process Of Killing Your Infidel Ass.

    Why the hell can’t they sit on a dune or a camel or in a mosque or a on a dung heap or whatever the hell they have and just think dark thoughts about us? Why do they feel compelled to act on their religious idioms and kill people simply because they are “infidels”? You know what? I have sweet fuckall to do with foreign policy or deposing their governments or the cost of oil or what our Fearless Leader says or does.

    I agree with you and with Karl on many issues and about many of these topics here. Just about all of what has transpired on our part could have been handled about a million times better. But in the end – to my pedestrian school of thought, anyway – it comes down to Them Or Us.

    And I’m really ok with it being us. Hypocritical, greedy fuckups that we are, collectively – I’m still ok with it.

    I know my views are un-pc and not popular… two of many, many reasons I will never be President.

  9. Comment by Will on August 9, 2006 6:35 am

    Let me suggest checking out a little history. The centuries of friction and, eventually, hatred between Christian countries of the West and Muslim countries of the East goes back to the Crusades. The West invaded countries that were managing the holy places of the Christian tradition in an open and extremely respectful manner, facilitating pilgrimages and allowing completely free access, and then created mayhem slaughtering massive numbers of both warriors AND innocent civilians until the West was thrown out on its ass as it royally deserved to be.

    Both during the Crusades and during the era of Imperialism, the nations of the West interfered with and exploited the Near and Middle East. When the British were finally forced out, they did their level best to make sure there would be decades if not centuries of trouble in the area by creating outlandish national borders combining ethnic and religious majorities and minorities that made absolutely no sense combined as they were.

    Who are we to say how other people should live and govern themselves? Muslim contries have radically different cultures and traditions than the West. We are speaking of THEIR countries, THEIR cultures and traditions, THEIR desire to have themselves ruled and organized as they see fit. Some of the hypocracy of our barrage of justifications for invading Iraq came out when a group of female intellectuals made a statement that they wear the veil because they want to, because it is a deep and revered part of their tradition and the West should just get over it.

    Rape and pillage are forbidden under International Law as is torture and other abuse of prisoners. By violating thesae laws we make a mockery of both Internationalk Law and our own Constitution. If we presume to invade other countries (in Iraq’s case with absolutely no justification) we had better behave ourselves according to the law or give up the pretense of “bringing them Democracy.” If we rape and murder them for our own amusement, sack their museums, destroy homes, neighborhoods, businesses and places of worship, create chaos politically and economically–and have absolutely no plan to correct all the havoc and destabilization we have created, why should a single Iraqi look as Democracy as anything but loathesome?

  10. Comment by Chris on August 9, 2006 8:25 am

    This is why I don’t touch anything political with a ten-foot pole. Karyn looks positively pacifistic compared to what I think.

    Since I don’t want to see my ass spread on toast, I’ll just stay away from such things.

    But I hadn’t commented in a bit, and wanted to say hi!

  11. Comment by karyn on August 9, 2006 8:59 am

    Yes, I am with you on the raping-and-pillaging-is-wrong and that we ought not torture our prisoners. Generally. (Although… I wonder what Daniel Pearl went through during his detainment prior to having his head lobbed off. So much for respecting international law.)

    Raping and murdering anyone for one’s own amusement is despicable and disgusting under any circumstances, and the rat-bastards who have done so deserve what they get. I’m so on board with that. And with the notion that our president is an idiot. And I do not think we need to tell Iraqis how to live or govern themselves. I think we were right to help them overthrow their dictator if that is what they wanted (I think they did) but I’m not sure why we didn’t just get the hell out of there and let them run with it. We do not seem especially welcome now that the monster has been removed.

    For the record, I think if women WANT to wear the veils and burkkhas that is up to them and I respect their religious beliefs. Do you think they – and their culture – respect mine? Or yours?

    Mostly, in the beginning here, I was just saying I do not give a rat’s ass if our soldiers do not revere the religious doctrine set forth in the books in possession of the prisoners. Should they steal their Quoran and badmouth it? Probably not. Should they take a piss all over it? No. Am I losing sleep over it? No. Does that make me hypocritical? Maybe. I’m highly imperfect. But I’m not willing to or, sanctioning the, slaughter their kids just because they’re a different religion / race / nationality.

    I do tense up and feel marginally ill whenever I hear a low-flying plane skim the area, though. (Yeah. I know. Iraq didn’t commit the terror attacks here. I know. But only because Karl told me. )

    Further – let me be clear – I do not hate the Muslim countries of the East nor do I hate Muslims across the board nor do I hate the religion. I hate having to tippy toe around being careful not to offend people who are already content to slaughter our citizens based solely on their citizenship. I hate that this bullshit carries the day and the fact that even though despite my frothing at the mouth about it yesterday, I could still come to the table with a “Come Let’s Reason Together” / “Live And Let Live” philosophy, I daresay a fair few on the other end of things would not.

    The fact remains that I haven’t done any raping, pillaging, savaging, invading, slaughtering or suggested we bring democracy to anyone else. Iraqis are entitled to look at Democracy any way they wish. We do not seem to be afforded that same respect; if we look askance at any government or religion sanctioning Anti-Americanism, we are racist, facist, profiling pigs.

    History is telling; you are right. There is much to learn.

  12. Comment by karyn on August 9, 2006 9:01 am

    Thanks Chris. I was getting a little scared here, myself.

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