For Wal-Mart, the country's biggest company and employer of more people than any entity except the government, only something like a war could force the kinds of changes it has made since the fighting began. Computers normally used for gift registry now send e-mail greetings to the military. On the internal Wal-Mart television network, the usual loop of giddy promotions for Mary-Kate and Ashley apparel, garden tools and DVD's is interrupted twice a day for live briefings from the White House and the Pentagon.
Ms. Stallings spends her days and nights on an emotional shore patrol, up and down the aisles of her store, a 200,000-square-foot "supercenter" that sells everything from baby clothes to bloody mary mix. She and her co-manager, Terry Branton, seek out the unusually quiet, the drawn-looking and the people who are openly in tears — mostly their employees, sometimes their customers, too. They console them as best they can.
I'm having dinner tonight with Arianna Huffington. Oh, boy! I'm excited.
POST-DINNER UPDATE: Arianna Huffington informed the waitress in a very serious tone that she would break out in hives and need to be carried off in a stretcher if any garlic or onions were present in her meal. After the waitress went off to speak with the chef about her food requirements, Ms. Huffington chuckled and told us, "That's the only way to make sure they don't put any in your food. If you just say you don't like garlic or onions, they'll ignore you." The whole table laughed- and her meal contained no onions or garlic.
My fantasy for the evening was that I would tell Arianna Huffington about UNC's renewable energy campaign, that she would then write about it in her column, and then we'd be famous. Someone did bring it up, and Ms. Huffington asked me to email her more information about it. I won't get my hopes up- perhaps she was just being polite- but it is nice to have one's fantasies come to pass, at least somewhat.
Arianna Huffington's political transformation fascinates me: "I believed in the power of the free market, of the invisible hand," she said in her speech Monday evening, "But then I realized that the free market is not free- it is entirely rigged." What is it like to decide that most of your core ideologies are wrong? Is it exhilirating? Heart-breaking? Both?
After dinner, one of the co-chairs of the Student Environmental Action Coalition mentioned to me that only a few years ago, she was in the College Republicans. "What happened?" I asked. She answered in a straightforward manner, "I got tired of people who could not logically back up their arguments."
I plan to pick my friend's brain some more about her transformation; meanwhile, here's Arianna Huffington's description of it.
As a friend and I emerged from a restaurant tonight on Rosemary Street, we were approached by a man who appeared to be mentally unstable: he was babbling incomprehensibly to strangers about (as far as I could tell) how anti-war protestors were "hurting his feelings" and how they couldn't appreciate the sacrifices he had made for them. Note that neither my friend nor I were wearing anything such as a peace sign that might have indicated that we were against the war; other than being of student age there was no obvious reason for him to direct what seemed to be increasing agitation towards us. My friend (rabidly anti-war) sounded sincere as he agreed with every statement the man made. I thanked him for serving us, and we exited as soon as the traffic cleared enough for us to dash across the street. The man kept mumbling as we said, "We have to go" and headed off quickly in the opposite direction of campus.
The man looked about the right age to be a Gulf War I veteran. posted by Jean at 11:49 PM
A recent "This Modern Cartoon" reads, "I am outraged by the determination of an unelected president to drag us into an unnecessary war! AND I am outraged by his assertion that we will not 'pass our problems along' to the future generations-- when HE's the one proposing a TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT over the next five years! I am outraged that ENRON and the other corporate scandals have been effectively SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET! And that Dick Cheney STILL hasn't made his energy taks force records public! AND that the S.E.C. has actually just WEAKENED accounting industry oversight! AND I am outraged by the administration's attempts to undermine AFFIRMATIVE ACTION-- not to MENTION their stealth campaign against abortion rights-- and the BILLIONS they're pouring into an all-but-useless MISSILE DEFENSE SYTEM--and their complete CONTEMPT for basic civil liberties and constitutional rights-- and their efforts to portray any dissent as UNPATRIOTIC-- and--AND--"
At that point, the speaker falls, spluttering, to the floor, a victim of OUTRAGE OVERLOAD.
After a very relaxing and enjoyable Spring Break, I have returned to school only to feel unbelievable outrage towards the recent actions of our government. I felt literally ill to hear President Bush's words as he addressed the nation last night, not only because of his disrespect for diplomacy and basic human life, but also because I counted at least 10 outright lies in his speech. President Clinton was impeached for lying about his relationship with a woman to whom he was not married. George Bush lies to us about matters of global importance that will affect those of us who survive for decades. I am angered by the thought that educational, environmental, artistic, and health programs throughout the nation will likely have to be slashed to finance this war- and yet the cost of the war was not even factored into Mr. Bush's budget proposal for this year. Mr. Bush also declined to include any money in the budget for the rebuilding of Afghanistan, a move that does not suggest future support for the victims of "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Meanwhile, the Senate voted to ban so-called partial-birth abortions, in a piece of legislation actually prohibits abortion procedures that are only used prior to the third trimester. Moreover, the procedure is the most common, safest means of abortion, and- here's where I get really outraged- there's no provision for an exception in the case of a threat to a woman's health. If this legislation had been in effect in April 1995, women like Coreen Costello could have died:
"COREEN COSTELLO from Agoura, California. In April 1995, seven months pregnant with her third child, Coreen and her husband Jim found out that a lethal neuromuscular disease had left their much-wanted daughter unable to survive. Its body had stiffened and was frozen, wedged in a transverse position. In addition, amniotic fluid had puddled and built up to dangerous levels in Coreen's uterus. Devout Christians and opposed to abortion, the Costellos agonized for over two weeks about their decision and baptized the fetus in utero. Finally, Coreen's increasing health problems forced them to accept the advice of numerous medical experts that the intact dilation and extraction (D&X) was, indeed, the best option for Coreen's own health, and the abortion was performed. Later, in June 1996, Coreen gave birth to a healthy son."
Meanwhile, the Bush administration is gutting the Clean Air Act, repeatedly making efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling (thankfully, the attempt of two days ago failed, but they will try again), and introducing logging as a means of preventing forest fires. Not to mention attacks on the Violence Against Women Office. Oh, and the state of New Jersey announced recently that "If the nation escalates to 'red alert,' which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home."
There's an enormous backlash against anyone who dares to point out that perhaps some of these measures might not actually be a good idea. Bobby Eberle writes in a column entitled, "It's Time for the Silent Majority to Speak Out:"
"With a dip in Neilson ratings or a slowing of record sales, executives who normally let their 'stars' run amok will undoubtedly rein them in. Free speech is great until it hurts the bottom line. When the bottom line is hurt, executives have an obligation to bring the 'hammer' down and get these celebrities to back off."
In the words of Rachel Corrie, a young American woman who was killed a few days ago as she tried to block a bulldozer from destroying a Palestinian home:
"Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world."
I believe there is hope. But I am so angry right now that I can hardly breathe. I hope we can channel this outrage into working to end the war and creating some good at home.
In a column entitled, "It's time for the Silent Majority to Speak Out," Bobby Eberle of "GOPUSA: Bringing the conservative message to America," states:
With a dip in Neilson ratings or a slowing of record sales, executives who normally let their "stars" run amok will undoubtedly rein them in. Free speech is great until it hurts the bottom line. When the bottom line is hurt, executives have an obligation to bring the "hammer" down and get these celebrities to back off.
This site is now the number one google search return for this eloquent phrase. Don't ask me why. I'm sure that making this post will ensure that we're super number one for it. It's a dubious honor, but interesting nonetheless.
Whoever was doing the searching was probably disappointed by this site's decided lack of spousal voyeurism. On the other hand, Two Left Feet does feature unique photos of nearly naked young vixens engaged in licentious protesting. So maybe he found what he was looking for after all.
UPDATE: We've also been reached by searching on Yahoo for "FUKED WOMEN." Ok, now I'm going back to outrage overload over world events. I think most of us know who's really getting "fuked." posted by Jean at 9:53 PM