bush lied, people died. escalate nonviolence.
Old South Gone With the Wind.posted by Natasha at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK |
Jobless rate at 8 year low of 6%. This number is probably even a little optimistic. Not everyone whose unemployment benefits have run out has found a new job, and many of those available won't be as good as the old one. Some bloody magazine in early 2001 ran a cover of a guy sitting at a desk looking miserable, it was titled "The Return of the Crappy Job." Prescient, or what?posted by Natasha at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK |
Apparently evangelicals have an image problem. In a survey asking Americans their feeling about different groups, evangelical christians were barely beat to last place by ladies of the evening. They're apparently much less popular than gays, but you can see why. I mean, who's more fun at lunch, really?
posted by Natasha at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK |
A very hefty report from Iraq purports that no WMDs will be found in their country. The report wasn't due until Sunday, we'll see what happens next. I'm just waiting for Cheney to crack at a press conference and shout out that he knows 'the bugger has something, cause I sold it to him at Halliburton.'
Escalating deployments watchers expect the official war to begin in January, if war is actually declared. I was going to say that the bombs would probably start dropping in January, but then I realized that of course bombs have been dropping there for over a decade. It's hard to say if the Iraqis currently living in the no-fly zones would know the difference for a while.posted by Natasha at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK |
Buzzflash commentary notes that this isn't the America we thought it was just a short time ago.
posted by Natasha at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK |
Bill Moyers fact checks O'Reilly. Fortunately, the good gentleman was only refuting slander against himself. Fact checking the sum of O'Reilly's work would surely take longer than the renowned interview series with Joseph Campbell, "The Power of Myth."posted by Natasha at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK |
Tariq Ali muses on the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, and on why giving it to Jimmy Carter is only slightly less ironic than giving it to Henry Kissinger, if at all. Truly, an impressive list of carnage and political malfeasance.
posted by Natasha at 5:53 AM | PERMALINK |
The TAP review of the Gores' new books.posted by Natasha at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK |
Friday, December 06, 2002
When contemplating whether capital punishment is just, we can all think of people who almost certainly deserve to die for what they've done. But instead of thinking of Dahmer, Kissinger, or Manson, think about the dozens of people who've been taken off death row because DNA evidence cleared their name beyond the shadow of a doubt. And most recently, the five young men sent to prison for the attack on the Central Park jogger, were completely exonerated following the confession of a man in jail for another rape and murder, whose DNA matched that found on the victim.
Project Innocence has dedicated itself to retracing DNA from evidence files to determine whether or not a conviction punished the right person. They've released 116 people to date, by proving that they could not have committed the crimes they were sentenced for. A fallibility rate like that should indicate that we, as a society, don't know enough to be deciding who lives and dies.posted by Natasha at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK |
Update 12/9: As Body and Soul points out, the Where is Raed blog has been taken down, and its archives deleted. Glad I copied the post over in its entirety.posted by Natasha at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK |
Mark Morford is delighted with Kissinger's appointment, because what we really need now is more murderous criminal masterminds in power. He closes thusly:
posted by Natasha at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK |
Naomi Klein: Democracy Is Not a Hamburger. No matter what Trent Lott says.posted by Natasha at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK |
The The Global Accounting Scam, why the GDP is bad for us.
posted by Natasha at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK |
An interesting discussion of Islamic attitudes towards women and sex, which makes distinctions between cultural and religiously mandated practices. A complex picture of a faith which encompasses over a billion people.posted by Natasha at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK |
Robert Kuttner wonders why more people aren't outraged about disparities in pre-school child care that favor the wealthy. With shifting budget priorites, the youngest children are getting cut out of good care, even as their parents have less and less time to spend at home.posted by Natasha at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK |
Mandela hopeful that growing awareness of safe sex practices will slow the spread of AIDs.
To anyone inclined to be snide about this, I'd remind them that upper class Europeans around the time of the French Revolution were dying left and right due to syphilis. And various STDs which have mellowed in their effects over the years are rampant in the US today, it's just that we can treat them better now. No people on the planet has a monopoly on licentious behavior, even though we all seem to believe fiercely in our unique virtue. Yeah, and we're all good drivers, too. Sure we are.posted by Natasha at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK |
Ten thousand take to the streets in Turkey to protest their country's involvement in an Iraqi war. The country has been asked to contribute 40,000 troops to the effort, which would be handy because then we have cannon fodder whose body bags won't be coming home to America.
The Turkish people, according to a Democracy Now broadcast, feel that their country can't afford a war and haven't fully recovered from trade losses suffered in the last one. Turkey's government wants a specific UN declaration of war before participating in any military operations in the country.posted by Natasha at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK |
Ariel Sharon generously offers Palestinians their own state, on less than half the land they currently have, barring security zones, and providing that they choose a leader to Sharon's liking. Will this, too, be remembered as a tremendous olive branch that the ungrateful Palestinians slapped the kind Israelis with? Probably.
As a follow up to the recent wave of targeted Israeli attacks (formerly known as extrajudicial killings, and before that, as assasinations) on Palestinian militants, their families, PA police forces, 95 yr old women coming home from the doctor's, and anyone standing too close to the places where these targets allegedly are, nine are dead in the bombing of a two story building. Four of the dead were from the same family. The building was the suspected former residence of a recent suicide bomber.
Israel has begun to claim that Al-Qaida members have recently entered Gaza. I guess that's alright then, it was only a matter of time. Next thing you know, we'll have Al-Qaida members mysteriously working in Latin American countries who've been getting uppity enough to elect populists.posted by Natasha at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK |
Thursday, December 05, 2002
ZenFlea posts an anthem for the coming war, sung to the tune of 'If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.' Very catchy, worth a dozen articles:
Update: It comes to our attention that this song was originally posted in its completed form on TAPPED.posted by Natasha at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK |
CalPundit has found a fun game for all of us to play, what would you cut out of the US budget. The easy version is 'cut whatever you want.' The hard version is 'cut only what affects you.'posted by Natasha at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK |
Thomas Freidman thinks that the saga of Hashem Aghajari is the most important story in the world right now. He could be right. Aghajari was sentenced to death by Iran's conservative judiciary for making a speech questioning the right of the clerics to run the government and be the sole interpreters of the Koran. In part:
For more detail, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) further analyzes Aghajari's statements, and reproduces them in detail below. This segment was interesting, but the whole thing was food for thought:
This article notes that President Khatami has publicly denounced the slowness with which the judiciary has acted to review the matter. Aghajari's lawyers have filed an appeal on their own initiative, Mr. Aghajari had said that the entire affair was a farce and that he would not appeal.
Pointed out by our friendly neighborhood Easter Lemming.posted by Natasha at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK |
Steve Perry believes that all good liberals should abandon the Democrats like rats from a sinking ship. He makes a good case, and I'd agree, except I'm not helping any more Republicans get into the White House. Local races, now, there is an active Green party in my area...posted by Natasha at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK |
More on the No Child Left Behind Act's little known provision that military recruiters must be given access to high school student contact information. While parents can choose to opt out, some people are concerned about the possible implications. If the schools choose not to comply, well, why would they choose not to comply?
posted by Natasha at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK |
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Does Europe 'Get It?'
It goes on and on like that. The author was profoundly distressed that Germans seem to think that the Dresden firebombing trumps all arguments, even though the person he spoke to was born after the event. Well you know what? The closest we've come to war in America before 9-11 was Pearl Harbor, which we continue to prattle on about as a defining moment in American history.
I mean, no one complains about Americans who stir up the people talking about the firebombing of Los Angeles, which killed millions and took years to rebuild from. No one complains about people who still go on about lessons from the Mexican invasion of Texas in '44, or the tours of the burned out remnants of Old Dallas... Oh yeah, that's right, the US hasn't suffered a serious invasion in well over a century. We haven't seen entire cities laid waste, had to bury millions of people, or come up from a crushing burden of debt and reparations. We haven't had to face war crimes trials showing us that even our own fellow citizens have darkness in their hearts. We don't have the surviving descendants of our leaders' past perfidy winning multi-billion dollar lawsuits against our embattled industrial sector.
Further, the implication by some that they're looking forward to Europe getting a major terrorist hit so they come around just sounds creepy. No better than the snide Israeli 'sympathy' after 9-11 itself, when no one seemed to think it was at all perverse for them to say that they were glad we'd know what it felt like. What could be more morally repugnant than hoping that people die in order to instill fear and panic in a populace such that any available target will be struck back at blindly, and a ready excuse created for any war that anyone wants to wage? Is it much better to hope for terrorism than to commit it?
And Germany, to keep picking on them, has been as helpful in the actual war on terror as any ally could possibly ask. But it's a little rich of us to tell them that they don't know anything about the consequences of violence. Maybe we should examine another possibility: That some of our European allies have begun to believe that all-out war isn't the best solution to every problem.
Does It Matter Who Fixes The Problem?
Later in the article, the author says this:
No decision to take action can be made properly without an assessment of the motives and trustworthiness of the actors. There are as many ways to wage a war as there are to build a house, maybe more. And there's a wide range of possibilities for the aftermath of any given conflict. So given a stated goal, a regime change in Iraq that will make the world safer, people have every right to ask whether or not the record of the party proposing the solution indicates they can credibly accomplish it.
There's virtually no doubt that we can topple Hussein, but that isn't the tricky part. It's that second bit, the part afterwards, that has people concerned. There are a large number of calculations to be made as to whether this war will in fact leave the world safer, or whether it will make it more dangerous. Can a war in populated areas, a war of occupation, be waged with minimum civilian casualties? Can the US bring together enough different nations on a diplomatic level to engage in the crucial rebuilding? Will we commit to rebuilding, and stick with it until the end, or will we leave an even more shattered country behind us? Will we be able to use the occasion as a time of improving regional ties and cooperation such that the entire region will be more stable and less threatening?
These are questions on which the administration has done very little to reassure people. The Germans in particular, should know how dangerous it is to leave a defeated nation penniless, hungry, friendless, and desparate. The record to date in Afghanistan encourages no one.
This Just In: I Have Unilaterally Decided Not To Punch You In The Face.
And above that post, there's this Richard Perle criticism of the multilateralist stance, as drawn from a Front Page transcript. This part really caught my eye:
This is a pollution of the debate over the morality of international actions by attempting to make the term 'unilateral' meaningless. And here's why: Is it unilateral of me to decide not to punch you in the nose? Why not? What if my buddy hates you and told me to go punch you in the nose? Why not then? It's no more 'unilateral' a decision than the US deciding not to invade Mexico. The term simply has no meaning in such a context.
These terms specifically apply to actions that affect other nations whom our government was not elected to represent, particularly those cases where the benefit/loss calculations are hard to determine. Killing people has to be the most disputed method of solving problems, with highly questionable benefits. And when Perle says that the US, "in defending itself and in defending the common values of all of us, is driven to acting alone, or nearly alone," he's saying that taking actions that affect others should be viewed as some kind of meta-multilateralism because it really reflects the values of everyone involved. But if this were genuinely true, wouldn't the supposed beneficiaries agree with us?
The provision of things that everyone really wants and values is never spoken of in this way. No one refers to Doctors Without Borders' 'unilateral' provision of medical care to war zone victims. No one complains about the UN aid workers providing 'unilateral' food aid to the starving. The results of caring for the sick and feeding the hungry are universally accepted as Good Things, and there is seldom any reason to argue about whether so-and-so should get to provide these benefits.
Let's look this straight in the eye as a nation and admit that a pre-emptive war (formerly known as an unprovoked invasion) is about as questionable an endeavor as a country can get involved in. Our allies shouldn't become enemies overnight for pointing this out.posted by Natasha at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK |
A search serendipitously turned up a Jon Stewart interview held just after Bush's first 100 days. Enjoy.
And watch The Daily Show, or get someone to tape it for you. I mean it.posted by Natasha at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK |
A worldwide poll indicates deep suspicion of US motives in Iraq, though there is broad support for the war on terror.
It appears that while US culture and citizens are viewed favorably, US government policies are not. Citizens around the world expressed general dissatisfaction with the way things were going, both in their own countries and the world at large. Lots of interesting information, best to read it all.posted by Natasha at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK |
In the BBC:
Chinese and European scientists collaborate on space mission.
Exciting molecular computing breakthrough hints at exciting data storage capacities in the future.
Large oil find in Kazakhstan may threaten the Caspian sea due to seismic instability in the region.
Iran's young economy struggles to grow fast enough for the three-quarters of the population under 30.
Rioting in East Timor seems to have stoppped, but officials are on alert.
UN workers feel threatened by Israeli military.
A suspected Palestinian militant was killed in an Israeli missile strike on a building owned by the PA.
Militants clash in northern Iraq.
Rebel group in Burundi refuses cease-fire. The country has been at war for 9 years.
UN troops to bolster peacekeeping efforts in DR Congo.
India to begin producing natural gas from a Vietnam field.
Researchers demonstrate that Marijuana is not a 'gateway drug', and its availability has no effect on hard drug use.posted by Natasha at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK |
The Onion informs us that Presidents Washinton Through Bush May Have Lied About Key Matters. The article states, "While conventional wisdom holds that only two U.S. presidents, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, have ever openly lied about anything, the report offers substantial evidence linking all 42 presidents to deliberate acts of deception and dishonesty." Also included are photographs of 4 of the 137 known presidential mistresses.posted by Natasha at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK |
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
As the country reels from the SHOCKING revelation that John Kerry gets expensive haircuts, No More Mr. Nice Blog tops that by sharing that George W. Bush buys expensive cowboy boots. Good thing he's not running as a ... populist? Erm...posted by Natasha at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK |
The Daily Howler dissects the widespread lie that Gore lied about his congressional involvement in the Internet. The remark, at the time it was made, was unremarkable because it was widely held at the time to be true. As a senator, Gore had put in more work than any of his peers (though it was apparently a horse race with Gingrich) to understand the issue and convince the government to fund its development. It's worth reading all the way through, but this part was particularly clear:
Of course, the thing that happened sometime later was that the RNC got hold of this statement and turned it into the lie of the century. Which was, naturally, repeated at every other mention of Gore's name in the popular press. The 'liberal' media.
To recap, they created a credibility issue out of hard work and forward thinking, while making credibility a non-issue for a drunk-driving failed businessman who deserted a National Guard post over refusing a drug test. My head, it's definitely spinning.posted by Natasha at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK |
Jesse at Pandagon adds a new measure of online discussions: "...I want to introduce a post-9/11 corollary to Godwin's Law: Any discussion of support of the War on Terra will eventually mention Noam Chomsky's purported "anti-Americanism". ..."posted by Natasha at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK |
Alas, A Blog posts a very funny song about sodomy, sung to the tune of 'Yesterday.' I bet some of you didn't know just how funny sodomy could be ;)posted by Natasha at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK |
Jonathon Steele examines Gerhard Schroeder's position on German involvement in war in the Guardian. It begins:
Compare to this MSNBC article by Michael Moran in September, "The Germany that can say 'no'." It's actually an interesting piece, even though it begins on the ludicrous premise that Germans are 'genetically autocratic,' only to note later that Hitler had cursed them in high Napoleonic fashion as a 'nation of shopkeepers.' I suppose that the French were congenitally autocratic for a generation, too. It opens:
posted by Natasha at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK |
Sometimes when I'm at the grocery store checkout line, I make the mistake of looking at the tabloids and reading the titles. Yesterday the cover of Woman's World - The Woman's Weekly, whose tagline reads 'God Bless America', had a bold story subtitle that I couldn't resist for all its kitchsy glory.
Turning to the inside, I was disappointed to discover that the touted remedy is a white kidney bean extract called Phase 2. Even more of a letdown, that it works best with a moderate, balanced diet. There are so many things I'd like to say about that, but I wonder if they wouldn't just detract?posted by Natasha at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK |
Monday, December 02, 2002
The UN reports that investment in women's health care and family planning provided a significant economic bonus to developing nations. One of the major benefits is decreased infant mortality, creating a situation more like the developed world, where women no longer need to have extra children to ensure that at least a couple will survive to adulthood.posted by Natasha at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK |
Of course, it's already presidential candidate season, even though the elections are about 2 years away. How is it that people with parliamentary systems manage to announce an election abruptly, coordinate their parties, and have that election within a couple months? Anyway, John Kerry has pretty much come out and admitted that he's running, so here's the full transcript of his Meet the Press interview. You can read the Liberal Oasis commentary here.posted by Natasha at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK |
There's more in the report, plus graphs and charts if you like that sort of thing.posted by Natasha at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK |
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Nathan Newman finds a post explaining that Nancy Pelosi is a Communist because she belongs to a caucus that's approved of by an organization that many years ago had the founders of communism in its ranks, but now includes all of the center-left heads of state in Europe. (Our allies, who are mysteriously unsavory in every way, except when we need their approval or partial adventure funding.) Oh, and btw, this makes her an apologist for Stalin by association.
Leaving aside for the moment that it would be way easier to tie many prominent Republicans to 'unreconstructed' fascism, where do these people come from? Let's take this to its implied conclusion, to dispel any hint of sanity that might cling to the argument.
Do they imagine that a congresswoman from one of the most entrepreneurial and financially successful states in the country is going to come out in favor of adopting an across the board command economy, confiscate all the property and everything? Do they think that the state whose publicity machine tirelessly cranks out a multicultural and cooperative message is going to put up with someone who wants to jail people for political opposition? Californians may be tree huggers (which is a point in their favor, imo) but they're not about to give up the ability to start their own businesses, or elect people who imply that perhaps they shouldn't. Further, this is the state where Republicans lost the governorship (and by now, every other important office) partly because state residents weren't willing to tolerate the racist implications of forbidding illegal immigrants (by which the Republicans meant Mexicans) to use state services like public schooling.
I think we all know which party has been filling the news with suggestions that entire cultures deserve our bloody and immediate retribution. We know who's been expanding the ability to perform surveillance on citizens purely for information gathering, an act that our government deemed a generation ago to be highly prone to abuse. We know who's been turning the media into a timid mouthpiece for their own political benefit. And it's obvious that someone is pushing tax cuts that will undercut the millions of small businesses in America, by ensuring that their potential customers can't afford their services. It sure isn't the Progressive caucus of the Democratic Party.posted by Natasha at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK |
Lisa Rein finds links and commentary that make Henry Kissinger look like an even worse choice to head a fact finding commision. And here I was thinking it just couldn't be done. Included is a link to an archive of Christopher Hitchens' work, before he started collecting money from the other side. As Atrios noted, the poor man's head must be nearly exploding. This quote was particularly 'good' (wherein I'm using some alternate meaning of good that makes my head hurt):
posted by Natasha at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK |
Courtesy of my friend Julia, I'm informed that San Jose Mercury News writer Mike Langberg is engaging in speculation about the 10-yr future of technology. Included is a link to his self-graded report card for how his 10-yr predictions in 1992 came out.posted by Natasha at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK |
As though there weren't enough problems in the world, administration hawks are growing paranoid that Latin America may be a threat, owing entirely to a resurgence of mildly leftist populism. I guess they thought that Kissinger and his ilk had arranged to have all that sentiment removed from the thoroughly devastated region, whose economy is worse off than it was in 1980. In part:
Don't these people feel in the least embarassed about villifying some countries for a lack of democracy, and punishing others for practicing it? Do they really have no shame in suggesting that no electorate should be able to pick a government of which we disapprove?posted by Natasha at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK |
In the Paper of Record today:
The world's glaciers are disappearing, creating a looming water shortage, and ample evidence of rising temperatures. How long will we continue to call for 'more research?'
The hypocrisy of farm subsidies is that our 'free-market' loving developed nations block the very markets that would allow poor countries to build their economies. By undercutting their agriculture through drastic import tariffs and subsidizing our own farming sectors to the extent that they can export at less than the cost of production, the one advantage of developing nations is erased in the global trade regime. They continue to remain economically isolated as commodities exporters, based on the mineral content of their land, with those items produced by the actual labor of their citizens restricted from the market.
posted by Natasha at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK |
Bombers are called in as fighting breaks out between rival Afghan warlords. I guess that country is all wrapped up then. They can get back to fighting each other, and we can get back to paying attention to more important parts of the world.posted by Natasha at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK |
Matthew Yglesias and a cast of dozens discuss the terrible threat of the feminists who want to get rid of men. As if.
Doesn't it ever strike anyone as odd that the people who seem most worried about the terrible peril of radical feminism seem to be the very most eager to start wars in which thousands of men will inevitably die? Who's trying to kill off who?posted by Natasha at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK |