April 22, 2004


(Why yes: I usually AM at least a week behind on blogospheric events. And as a matter of fact I AM going to take the time to explain this as though you'd never heard of the thing before, because even though most of you have, it's important enough that I'm tailoring discussion of it to the "what are you talking about?" crowd.)

Spirit of America is a not-for-profit organization that raises money to help U.S. citizens--civilian or military--improve the lives of people in other, less fortunate countries. And you know what? That all came out so poorly-worded that I'm just going to crib from their "About" page:

Spirit of America (SoA) is a nonprofit, charitable organization that helps Americans serving abroad improve the lives of people in need. We enable American military, Foreign Service and reconstruction personnel to submit requests for goods that will help local people. Typically, the requests are for items that established aid organizations and government bureaucracies are not designed to handle and that fall in the gaps between large-scale assistance programs - yet can make an important difference.
As an example of some of those "goods that will help local people," Spirit of America raised $4,800 to provide dental kits, distributed by U.S. Marines, to Iraqi families in Al Hillah.

Small thing. But you try not brushing your teeth for three days and see what it does to your outlook on life. You can read about similar Spirit of America efforts on this page.

More from the "About" page:

SoA collects the tax-deductible donated funds and procures the goods, or secures the direct donation of the requested goods, and arranges shipment to the requestor. We are now accepting and fulfilling requests from Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not seek, require or accept funding from the U.S. Government.
[Emphasis mine.] And that emphasis is added to point out one thing: You do not need to support our operations in Iraq to donate to this organization. You would not be helping to fund Halliburton, the CIA, or "merceneries." (Misspelling intentional--and would someone please explain to me why an aspiring political consultant would be so averse to using spell check?) You'd be helping kids brush their damn teeth. If you're against dental hygiene . . . uh, actually, if you're against dental hygiene?--Could you please stand at least six paces away from me. Phew.

Several blogs have started teams of bloggers to participate in a drive to help Spirit of America raise the money to fund independent television stations and news programming in the Sunni Triangle. Currently, Al Jazeera provides most news in the area. Now, I've got family members who dispute the presence of bias in the U.S. media, and that's one thing. We can have that argument all day long as far as I'm concerned. But there's one thing I flatly refuse to argue with anyone, and that's that Al Jazeera is to objective news reporting as decent Mexican food is to Toronto: They don't get anywhere near each other. But don't take my word for it; see what an Iraqi has to say about Arab media:

Arab satellite channels reported today that Al-Mustansiriyah university was under siege by US troops. We have a neighbour who is a professor there, so as expected we raced to his house when we had heard about it. We congratulated him for his safety, but he looked significantly surprised and asked us what was up? We told him about the siege. He chuckled at us and said "Oh, you mean that". It turned out there was no siege at all, there was an American patrol in the vicinity of the university, and they had witnessed someone climbing on the clock tower trying to paste a large poster of Muqtada Al-Sadr. The patrol called for backup, entered the campus and hollered for the fellow to come down. They teared the poster and removed a few others close to the university's main entry gates. According to our friend, the whole process didn't take any more than 20 minutes. Just to show how the Arab media conveniently distort events.
Whether you agree with our presence in Iraq or not, there is no disputing that the current portrayal of events in Iraq is having an effect on how the U.S. is perceived there. People are hearing "occupation forces bombed a mosque;" they are not hearing "occupation forces bombed a mosque filled with gunmen actively firing on them." They are getting (if they are lucky) only half the story.

We do not, in this country, live in a one-news-source environment. We are lucky to be able to read and watch the news from many sources and compose our views from among them. Iraqis should have the same opportunity.

The Spirit of America fundraising effort is not to provide Iraqis with "MarineTV." Its stated aim:

The donated equipment will be the property of the Iraqi stations. The stations can create their own news and choose their own programming with the agreement that they will prohibit airing of anti-coalition messages that incite the local population. The stations also agree to sell airtime at a fair market price so that the Marines can communicate their information efficiently and quickly when needed.

For example, images were recently broadcast of a mosque in Fallujah damaged during fighting. With these stations the Marines could have provided the full picture by airing video of combatants firing on them from the mosque grounds. These stations would have enabled Iraqis to understand the complete picture. News of reconstruction projects and humanitarian assistance that balances the news of conflict will also be provided on these stations. The stations will be free to criticize the Coalition.

I think it's a fine cause, obviously, and I hope others will agree and donate.

That only leaves me one decision: Which blogging team do I join?

There are three, participating in a mock war to see who can raise the most money. They are:

The Victory Coalition, led by A Small Victory and Wizbang

The Liberty Alliance, led by Dean's World

The Fighting Fusileers, led by Castle Argghhh! (Look, I didn't name them. Don't roll your eyes at me like that.)

I have pros and cons for all three of 'em, but I'll just list the pros here:

Victory Coalition:

  • Jim and Meryl are already on board and, well, I love Jim and Meryl. Also, they will be mad at me if I pick someone else's team.
  • Michele has the coolest logos and artwork for it. Cartoon dead girls and Dave Chapelle as Rick James? You can't top that.
  • I'm pretty sure if you took away my access to the ASV comment sections I would suffer DTs. Or get more housework done; I'm not certain which. Anyway, A Small Victory is one of my very favoritest blogs and has been so for, like, forever, and therefore I feel a certain loyalty to it.

    Liberty Alliance:

  • They're in third place. That's a polite way of saying LAST place. I am all about the underdog. Look at that sad little boy. Folks, that ain't right.
  • Dean, UNLIKE CERTAIN OTHER TEAM LEADERS, has me blogrolled. In fact, Dean has me blogrolled despite the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I have said anything remotely nice about him, but I need a calculator for all the times I've called him a chauvinist asshole. Now that's a man.
  • Did I mention Dean has me blogrolled?

    Fighting Fusileers:

  • It's the incentive package I like here. Very generous, and very original. In fact, it's gorgeous. (You people with your puny offers like, "I'll write a post about whatever you want if you donate"--bah! Didn't you learn anything from how swell that tactic worked for Treacher?)
  • I don't know, I've just always thought e-Claire was cool. Maybe I'm a sucker for names that are puns.
  • Castle Argghhh! is a blog by "one of Jonah's military guys." Does this mean they have an "in" with Jonah Goldberg? Have I mentioned that I have a total fangirl crush on Jonah Goldberg? Yeah, I'm not exactly sure why either--but it's probably something to do with his beginning his bio with the line, "First God created pepper-jack cheese, hard pretzels, and beer." I like a man who has his priorities in order.

    So there are good reasons to sign up with all of 'em. And by the end of the day, I'll have decided which.

    Hope the suspense doesn't kill anyone.

    And remember: I am highly bribable. Highly.

    Posted by Ilyka at April 22, 2004 09:21 PM in hell is other people
  • Comments

    But...I'm not just offering you words! I offer photos and mp3s! One of our members has offered free hosting and a blog! Another one has offered a mix tape. And I write stories about Britney Spears snuggling with George Steinbrenner.

    Sigh. Whatever you want, I'll give you. Even my first born.

    DEFINITELY my first born.

    Posted by: michele at April 22, 2004 09:53 PM

    I think that you should sign up with us because you don't want to offend your friends by choosing lust over friendship. Everyone knows that you think Dean's an asshole so you wouldn't be pickin' a buddy by going with Dean, right?

    Go with the jerk, it'll prove how serious you are about helping. :-)

    Did I mention my sad, little boy?

    Posted by: Rosemary the Queen of All Evil at April 22, 2004 09:56 PM

    Do you like cats? I have spare ones...

    Posted by: Rosemary the Queen of All Evil at April 22, 2004 09:58 PM

    Oh, darlin' guurl! You are so sweet!

    Well, let's get down to bribing! Hmmm -- I'd offer to blogroll ya, but you' are, of course, already there.

    I know -- Howz about my recipe for Killer Mocha Cookies? They're lethally chocolate . . . mmmmm

    Let me know, eh?

    Posted by: Claire at April 22, 2004 10:09 PM

    Don't do it! She's either trying to kill you or worse...Make you fat!

    What kind of bribe is that? Join me I'll make your ass big.

    That's not a good bribe. Not before summer, anyway...

    Posted by: Rosemary the Queen of All Evil at April 22, 2004 10:19 PM

    How's this for a bribe: I will blogroll you, but for the first two months of my blog's existence - you will be at the #1 position.

    I unveil my new blog on Monday. Think about it. Two months at the top of The Queen of All Evil...

    Posted by: Rosemary the Queen of All Evil at April 22, 2004 10:23 PM

    We're winners with soldiers and guns!
    And I have milk to go with Claire's cookies.
    and work off those cookies.
    Did I mention we have soldiers?
    mmmmmmmmmm, soldiers:)
    It's a slam dunk!

    Posted by: SondraK at April 22, 2004 11:22 PM

    Sondra and e-Claire are obviously trying to make you fat, proving that they don't really love you. You know I love you or I wouldn't bother arguing with you. :-)

    Plus our little boy is VERY sad....

    Posted by: Dean Esmay at April 22, 2004 11:53 PM

    Not to mention our dog, who's SO cute, and he's been sick you know....

    Posted by: Dean Esmay at April 22, 2004 11:53 PM

    I could let you preview our novel. The main character is a STRONG and POWERFUL woman.....

    Posted by: Dean Esmay at April 23, 2004 12:09 AM

    I wouldn't be mad if you joined another coalition. I might cry and throw the mother of all fits, but I wouldn't be mad. Well, just a little. Maybe as much as a certain sports team's fans were when a certain man who is now marked for life caught a certain baseball at a particularly bad time. But definately not more than that. Well, maybe just a very little.

    (Dudette, I'm all for the wargame but if e-Claire is doing matching funds then it's pretty much a no-brainer.)

    Posted by: Jim at April 23, 2004 02:01 AM

    As I've always said, Jim is such an intelligent gentleman.

    Too bad you'll never taste those Choco-Coffee-Orgasmi-Cookies. *sigh*

    Posted by: Claire at April 23, 2004 03:39 AM

    I too have a fangirl crush on Jonah, as does my sister. Maybe we need t-shirts.... :)

    Posted by: Ith at April 27, 2004 12:18 AM

    I enjoyed reading your stuff. Cool site. Fantastic blog: http://daisylady.bravejournal.com/entry/14579/ , Revelations of John

    Posted by: Steven Anderson at October 6, 2005 05:05 PM