Saturday, October 12, 2002
Friday, October 11, 2002
When dealing with our credit union, for example, there is a probability approaching one (and they test the theoretical limits of the asymptote) that the teller will make some annoying little error -- funds deposited in the wrong account, a withdrawal amount wrong, etc. These errors are usually resolved after about an hour of my wife's labor, and one or two phone calls. Fortunately, we don't have to deal directly with the credit union much more than once a quarter. Factoring in the average hourly wage in the U.S. ($16.23 in 2001, as computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), we can thus derive a yearly Incompetence Tax levied on us by our credit union of $64.92. Given a membership of roughly 200,000, this amounts to a total annual Incompetence Tax of $12,984,000.
Other forms of the tax are smaller, but more frequent. All told my family eats out roughly 847 times a week. Okay, I exaggerate, but by less than I care to admit. The National Restaurant Association reports that Americans eat 54 billion meals out per year, or 187 meals per person. In my experience, all but the finest restaurants make a mistake about 15 or 20 percent of the time. You know, the fries are the wrong size, or your steak was cooked wrong, or the waiter forgets to refill your water until you ask, or you have to wipe off the table and chair yourself, and so on. Let's assume a 15 percent error rate, and an average amount of your time required to fix the problem equal to one minute. This yields a total U.S. Incompetence Tax on dining out equal to $2,191,050,000 per year. (via Blissful Knowledge)
1. Mr. Abourezk called the Israeli government "terrorist" and consistently opposed arms sales to Tel Aviv. He called for recognition of the PLO and embraced Syrian President Hafez Assad, a major sponsor of international terrorism.
2. Later, during the Gulf War, the former senator even compared Israel to Nazi Germany: "Israel has been grabbing land since 1948, and I don't know how you call it self-defense.... Hitler said he took Czechoslovakia in self-defense, you know."....
3. With a memo dated April 3, 1975, Mr. Daschle....blasted America's "carte blanche policy on military supplies for Israel," and even charged that the U.S. government endangered its own soldiers for the sake of Israel's: "During the October War the Department of Defense was willing to deplete the supplies available to American military forces in Western Europe and in the United States to maintain the Israeli Defense Forces. This was done to the tune of $2.2 billion which the United States government wrote off as an outright military grant and then asked the American taxpayer to pay for through government borrowing at 9.5% interest. Israel rightly concluded that there were no limits to the American commitment to Israel."
Great. So the only American ally in the region is attacked on its most holy day and Daschle is complaining we sent them too many weapons???
Radical Islamists, however, would use that very technology in their struggle against the civilization that has made it possible. This means that radical Islam has more destructive power than it otherwise could, but it also means that in the realm of ideology, which is after all where they make their claims to legitimacy, radical Islamists are in the grip of utter contradiction. The creed for which they have pledged to kill and die leaves no room for the methods by which they would do so. The Taliban-style reversion to medieval life would make high technology impossible, and a dependence on high-tech makes that reversion impossible. The combination, "the crossroads of radicalism and technology", is an impossible home for radical Islam.
Care for a quick walk down Memory Lane? Joshua Muravchik reminded us of some Carter nuggets in a 1994 piece for The New Republic. While in office, Carter hailed Tito as "a man who believes in human rights." He said of Ceausescu and himself, "Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics . . . We believe in enhancing human rights." Since leaving office, Carter has praised Syria's late Assad (killer of at least 20,000 in Hama) and the Ethiopian tyrant Mengistu (killer of many more than that). In Haiti, he told the dictator Cédras that he was "ashamed of what my country has done to your country."
While in North Korea, Carter lauded Kim Il Sung, one of the most complete and destructive dictators in history. Said Carter, "I find him to be vigorous, intelligent,...and in charge of the decisions about this country" (well, he was absolute ruler). He said, "I don't see that they [the North Koreans] are an outlaw nation." Pyongyang, he observed, was a "bustling city," where shoppers "pack the department stores," reminding him of the "Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia."
(picture from Curmugeonly & Skeptical)
"More and more prominent Americans are signing the "Not in My Name" petition urging President Bush to keep Saddam in power. Signers include "concerned citizen" Ben Dover, Du Mba Sanostrich of the highly respected Neville Chamberlain Society for the Denial of the Obvious and Youcommies Are Nuts of Crush Murderous Dictators Inc."
"Actually, we hate to sound suspicious, but is it possible that last name is a fake?"
Even by late 1978 few people in the Carter administration, including the American embassy staff in Teheran, seemed to know much about the leaders or directions of the revolution. Khomeini’s violent ideas and extraordinarily anti-American, anti-Zionist views apparently had not yet registered. U.S. policy appears to have straddled both sides. For example:
—Shortly after the Shah declared martial law, President Carter called him to voice support.
—Yet in October, after weeks of daily reports sent back to Washington on events in Iran, Ambassador William H. Sullivan "could detect neither high-level concern nor any comprehensive attitude toward the events that were in progress."
—On 4 November 1978, as rioters spread fires across Teheran, destroying banks, theatres, and the British embassy, security advisor Brzezinski called the Shah from the Iranian embassy in Washington to express his assurance that the United States would "back him to the hilt."
—Concurrently, certain high-level State Department officials evidently had concluded that the Shah was the major problem in Iran and that he had to go regardless of who replaced him.
—Energy Secretary James Schlesinger (a previous Defense Secretary in the Ford administration) argued that the Shah had to be saved, and proposed a U.S. show of force in the Indian Ocean.
—Late in December President Carter seems to have agreed, dispatching the aircraft carrier Constellation to the Indian Ocean. Then, possibly out of concern over risk to the carrier, the President countermanded his own order.
Thus, as time ran out for the Shah and for Washington, the Carter administration split between supporting the monarch, dumping him, or riding out the storm.
Carter would proceed to strangle our Nicaraguan ally by forcing the IMF and the World Bank to cut off credit, to embargo beef and coffee, and to prohibit weapons sales to the Nicaraguan military. He would force American allies to do the same, as he would pressure Israel to recall a ship with munitions bound for Nicaragua. Once Somosa was deposed, Carter would push through Congress a $75 million aid package for the new Marxist government of Daniel Ortega.
|As predicted the Nobel committee has given the Peace prize to another clown who has contributed less than zero to actual world peace. The man for whom no tyrannical despot's butt stank too much to plant a big wet one on: Jimmy Carter. Their main citation was for his vital contribution to the Camp David peace accords, remember those. That's where we pay the Egyptians $2+billion/yr to help finance their virulent anti-American, anti-Israel newspapers and prop up their corrupt dictatorship and they in turn agree not to attack Israel and get their ass-kicked again.|
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Hey Guys be on the alert. Read carefully below and don't say I didn't warn you. Police warn all clubbers, party goers and unsuspecting pub regulars to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any woman. A new date rape drug on the market called "beer" is used by many females to target unsuspecting men.
The drug is generally found in liquid form and is now available almost anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, from taps and in large "kegs". "Beer" is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars to persuade their male victims to go home and have sex with them. Typically, a woman needs only to persuade a guy to consume a few units of "beer" and then I simply ask him home for no strings attached sex. Men are rendered helpless against this approach. After several "beers" men will often succumb to desires to perform sexual acts on horrific looking women to whom they would never normally be attracted. After drinking "beer" men often awaken with only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, often with just a vague feeling that something bad occurred. At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their life's savings in a familiar scam known as "a relationship."
It has been reported that in extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer term form of servitude and punishment referred to as "marriage". Apparently, men are much more susceptible to this scam after "beer" is administered and sex is offered by the predatory female.
Please! Forward this warning to every male you know. However, if you fall victim to this insidious "beer" and the predatory women administering it, there are male support groups with venues in every town where you can discuss the details of your shocking encounter in an open and frank manner with similarly affected, like minded guys. For the support group nearest you, just look up "Golf Courses" in the yellow pages.
Homer: I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.
The "Sunshine Policy" makes the outside world swoon, of course; Kim received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 in recognition of his work for "peace and reconciliation." It has also deeply influenced perceptions in South Korea. Opinion research shows a surge in hope and trust toward the North that is accompanied by a burgeoning hostility to the United States and the 37,000 American troops stationed in South Korea as a tripwire to protect it from the North.
This is where, as Eberstadt rightly notes, South Korean policy "has inadvertently set in play powerful forces" that could not only jeopardize South Korea's military alliance with the United States but could "trigger a major diminishment of American influence in the Pacific." East Asian stability and economic growth could lastingly be harmed were this to happen.
South Korea's policy of wishful thinking, in short, potentially endangers not only its own welfare but that of its entire region.
Oldest Skull Probably "Very Lazy, Stupid Man"
(2002-10-09) -- Despite a new article in the journal Nature claiming that a 6 million year-old skull fossil actually comes from an ape, the paleontologist who discovered it still says it's a man.
"Okay, so it walks on all fours, and has a prominent brow ridge -- that doesn't mean it's an ape," said French paleontologist Michel Brunet. "It could be a just a very lazy, stupid man. You've seen the type; beer in hand, glowering at the television. They hardly ever walk erect; callouses on their knuckles."
University of Michigan anthropologist Milford Wolpoff says the fossil fragments are actually those of a kind of gorilla.
"I can understand how Dr. Brunet's team mistook this for a human ancestor," said Dr. Wolpoff. "We've all been to bowling alleys, you know."
"My question is, who named Jesse Jackson as my leader? Because I didn't get no ballot."
--A customer in a real-life, South Central L.A. barbershop.
The best the left has is Christopher Hitchens, and we know what is becoming of him. Camille Paglia is a writer for the right no matter what she may claim, so she doesn't count. Who is left of major league caliber? Maureen Dowd? Come on. The liberal roster of top drawer syndicated writers is pretty much zero. The team is a goofy gallery of tedious shills who are third rate leaving their views aside. Think about it. Lets go over the names of some of their more high profile columnists. Molly Ivins, Bob Herbert, Al Hunt, Helen Thomas (oy!), Paul Krugman, William Rasberry, Elenor Clift, Joe Conason. I hate to carry on with this list because it is rude to smear it in their face beyond a point. These are not compelling writers and I don't even know if sharper liberals would try to defend them as worthy.
Firstname, Let me ask you a question...In those other Biz Opp's, did you ever get the check? My guess is that you didn't. Like you, we are sick of the false promises.
Amazingly personalized. How did they know I had a firstname? Actually when receiving unsolicted business offers I prefer to be referred to as Mr. Lastname.
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
If we are to fight and risk our youth in Iraq, what will 5,000 Americans do who are now stationed in Saudi Arabia solely to protect the kingdom from Iraq? Will they sit tight out in the desert — on orders of a regime whose citizens murdered 3,000 of our innocents and have subsidized terrorists — as their fellow Americans are killed a few hundred miles distant? It would be hard to imagine our diplomats or generals grounding fighters and bombers as Americans were in harm's way an hour's flight away in order to accede to a government of questionable friendship and morality. Indeed, it might prove very explosive for the Saudis to attempt to prevent Americans from coming to the aid of their countrymen on the battlefield.
If Saddam sends a half-dozen germ- or chemically laced Scuds into Israel, what will happen if they are tracked by Israel satellites, targeted by improved second-generation Patriot-like missiles, and blown apart in their descent over Jordan and the West Bank, with their toxic clouds kept eastward by Mediterranean winds? Will the Palestinians again cheer if the Iraqi projectiles this time break up over Ramallah, spreading their patron's frightening poisons over themselves? What will be the official Palestinian response: anger or praise for Saddam? Or perhaps: "Shame on you Jews for not allowing just yourselves to be gassed?"
What will Arab intellectuals say should the U.S. intervention be quick and successful, Saddam Hussein removed, and a consensual government established that allows freedom of expression without becoming an American colony? Will they deplore American intrusion but visit a new Baghdad to write and speak freely? Will they damn us for bombing an Arab country as they freely investigate for the first time the disappearance of thousands of Iraqis over the last decades? Or will they go on the state dole in Egypt or Saudi Arabia to write op-eds criticizing freedom in Iraq?
If the United States is successful, and there is a postwar consensual government in Iraq, what will be the effect of such an emerging latitude of reform — in Turkey, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iraq, and Qatar — upon the surrounding autocracies of the region? And do the monarchs and autocrats in the Gulf realize that under the present evolving circumstances the greatest danger to their rule is not the Arab street, the fundamentalist madrassas, a bullying United States, or assorted Libyan and Syrian thugs, but the democratic contagion that might emerge in Iraq? (via Cold Springs Shops)
He points to this piece in Cato which discusses the harm done to humans by Green policies:
The media seem to have bought into the agenda and terminology of the anti-globalization groups. For instance, a "hunger activist" for the media is someone who promotes a particular anti-technology ideology and is not someone who has actually helped people in need gain access to food in the most effective way possible: by growing more of it themselves.
Organizations with "food" or "rural advancement" in their name have raised and spent hundreds of millions for dollars in advocacy. Yet they have spent virtually nothing to directly help those in need. They also savagely attack people like Norman Borlaug and international agricultural research institutions that are responsible for the world being able to feed six billion people -- and feed them better than ever before by bringing about an agricultural revolution that close to tripled food production while population was doubling. That was done with only a slight increase in land-under-cultivation from 3.5 billion acres to 3.7 billion acres.
The "Green Revolution," which many of the activists have opposed, is regularly deemed to have been a "failure" by those who have no feasible alternative strategy to feed a globe of six billion people and which is expected to grow to nine billion before leveling off.
Naturi Naughton, a former member of the platinum-selling teen group 3LW, claims in a lawsuit that she was forced out of the R&B trio because she was not "ghetto enough."
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, the East Orange resident charged that the "purported" manager of the group, Michelle Williams, said Naughton "did not present the appropriate `project girl image,'" and berated her as "Ms. Two Parent Household." (via GeneExpression)
Homer: Because sometimes the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making someone else look bad. And I'm tired of making other people feel good about themselves!
Mr Mugabe won praise for his land reform project, with delegates unanimously passing a resolution in support of his government's land redistribution project.
"We applaud and support the courage and foresight of President Mugabe for embarking upon the land reform program," the document stated.
Zimbabwe's Government has confiscated thousands of hectares of white-owned farmland, and earmarked thousands more farms for seizure and redistribution to landless blacks.
Mr Mugabe says the measure addresses inequitable land ownership left by colonial rule.
As I've said before (and here and here), I'm sure the West will be blamed for the million plus (almost all black) who will die of starvation because of Mugabe's policies. (article link via PejmanPundit)
At the close of an uninspired review of an uninspired film (How many times must wannabe intellectuals quote Robert Warshow when speaking of gangster films? Shouldn’t there be some kind of statute of limitations?), the writer graces us with this final reflection:
"Still, if Road to Perdition ultimately fails as entertainment, it offers rich material for allegory. Maybe it was because I attended a screening on Sept. 11, but I couldn’t help seeing Hanks as an American everyman, a pure-hearted killer who will commit no end of mayhem to ensure a better life for his children. Imagine Willie Loman with a tommy gun, and you’ll see what I mean. ‘You dirty rats! Attention must be paid.’"
But of course! What a brilliant point he’s making in the course of preening his anti-Americanism before his audience of U.K. intellectuals. What does Sept. 11 remind him of? The way Americans are killers. Sept. 11 becomes, in his lovely leap of logic, really about Americans being pure-hearted killers capable of "no end of mayhem," infinite evil deeds. Doesn’t everybody think that way? (Everybody in his little circle, I imagine). Sept. 11 reminds them that Americans are first and foremost murderers, so let’s not spend a moment acknowledging that little matter of Sept. 11 being a day on which 3,000 Americans were murdered by the "pure-hearted killers" of Al Qaeda. Who, when not committing mass murder, stone women as punishment, torture gays, crush free thought by executing dissidents. No, they get a pass (and the 3,000 become non-persons). Because they hate America, they must be for liberation, and so we can’t blame them; we must accuse ourselves of being killers. In fact, we should thank them for providing our witty writer with an occasion for reminding the world that the "American everyman" is a killer.
Here’s the analogy: Heidegger’s peculiar neutrality-slash-denial about Nazism and the Holocaust after the facts had come out, and the contemporary Left’s curious neutrality-slash-denial after the facts had come out about Marxist genocides—in Russia, in China, in Cambodia, after 20 million, 50 million, who knows how many millions had been slaughtered. Not all of the Left; many were honorable opponents. But for many others, it just hasn’t registered, it just hasn’t been incorporated into their "analysis" of history and human nature; it just hasn’t been factored in. America is still the one and only evil empire. The silence of the Left, or the exclusive focus of the Left, on America’s alleged crimes over the past half-century, the disdainful sneering at America’s deplorable "Cold War mentality"—none of this has to be reassessed in light of the evidence of genocides that surpassed Hitler’s, all in the name of a Marxist ideology. An ideology that doesn’t need to be reassessed. As if it was maybe just an accident that Marxist-Leninist regimes turned totalitarian and genocidal. No connection there. The judgment that McCarthyism was the chief crime of the Cold War era doesn’t need a bit of a rethink, even when put up against the mass murder of dissidents by Marxist states.
The point is, all empires commit crimes; in the past century, ours were by far the lesser of evils. But this sedulous denial of even the possibility of misjudgment in the hierarchy of evils protects and insulates this wing of the Left from an inconvenient reconsideration of whether America actually is the worst force on the planet. This blind spot, this stunning lack of historical perspective, robs much of the American Left of intellectual credibility. And makes it easy for idiocies large and small to be uttered reflexively. (Perhaps the suggestion I recently saw on the Instapundit.com Web site calling for an "Anti-Idiotarian" party might be appropriate.)
Goodbye to the brilliant thinkers of the Left who believe it’s the very height of wit to make fun of George W. Bush’s intelligence—thereby establishing, of course, how very, very smart they are. Mr. Bush may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer (I think he’s more ill-informed and lazy than dumb). But they are guilty of a historical stupidity on a far greater scale, in their blind spot about Marxist genocides. It’s a failure of self-knowledge and intellectual responsibility that far outweighs Bush’s, because they’re supposed to be so very smart.
Goodbye to paralysis by moral equivalence: Remind me again, was it John Ashcroft or Fidel Castro who put H.I.V. sufferers in concentration camps?
Goodbye to the deluded and pathetic sophistry of postmodernists of the Left, who believe their unreadable, jargon-clotted theory-sophistry somehow helps liberate the wretched of the earth. If they really believe in serving the cause of liberation, why don’t they quit their evil-capitalist-subsidized jobs and go teach literacy in a Third World starved for the insights of Foucault?
Goodbye to people who have demonstrated that what terror means to them is the terror of ever having to admit they were wrong, the terror of allowing the hideous facts of history to impinge upon their insulated ideology. (via PejmanPundit)
Affable Anti-Semite Thinks The Jews Are Doing Super Job With The Media
PLANO, TX—Henry McCullers, an affable Plano-area anti-Semite, praised the Jewish people Monday for doing "a bang-up job" running the media. "This has been such a great year for movies, and the new crop of fall TV shows looks to be one of the best in years," McCullers said. "And the cable news channels are doing a terrific job, too. Admittedly, they're not reporting on the Jewish stranglehold on world finance, but, hey, that's understandable."
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Homer: And Lord, we are especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest, safest energy source there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipe dream.
Max Jacobs is a hole-punch that can emulate a ZX Spectrum! It gets +2 to kill undead.
Common Sense and Wonder is a sticking plaster that's programmed against harming humans and plays MP3s.
Riccardo Giacconi, 71, of the Associated Universities Inc. in Washington, D.C., will get half of the $1 million prize for his role in "pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources."
Raymond Davis Jr., 87, of the University of Pennsylvania shares the other half of the prize with Japanese scientist Masatoshi Koshiba, 76, of the University of Tokyo. The two men pioneered the construction of giant underground chambers to detect neutrinos, elusive particles that stream from the sun by the billion.
The Daily Evergreen would like to sincerely apologize for an injustice served to the Filipino-American, Spanish-speaking and Catholic communities on the front page of Thursday's Evergreen.
The story "Filipino-American history recognized" stated that the "Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza," the galleon on which the first Filipinos landed at Morro, Bay, Calif., loosely translates to "The Big Ass Spanish Boat." It actually translates to "Our Lady of Good Peace."
Parts of the story, including the translation above, were plagiarized from an inaccurate Web site.
October is Filipino-American History Month. Members of the Filipino-American Student Association of WSU will hold events to celebrate thier [sic] history and culture all month. They should be able to celebrate without gross inaccuracies and poor coverage by the Evergreen.
We hope these groups accept our deep regret.
Monday, October 07, 2002
10. Will guide Iraq forward into the eleventh century
9. More money spent on the arts, specifically flattering portraits of Saddam Hussein
8. Will hold regular "town hall" meetings, followed by "town hall" tortures and executions
7. Less talk, more rock
6. An anthrax-infected chicken in every pot!
5. Switch from intimidating beret to humorous "Lordy Lordy I'm Over Forty" baseball cap
4. I'll paint any camel for $99.99
3. Ah, what the hell -- mustaches for everybody!
2. Sunday night "Sex and the City" marathon at the palace
1. To restore decency and integrity to the office of tyrannical, murderous dictator
Saddam Hussein's power base is coming under extreme pressure, with members of his inner circle defecting to the opposition or making discreet offers of peace in the hope of being spared retribution if the Baghdad dictator is toppled, according to Iraqi exiles.
Ayad al-Awi, the head of the opposition Iraqi National Accord, said his group in recent weeks had received senior defectors from the Iraqi security services, which form the regime's nerve centre.
At the same time Kurdish groups said they had received secret approaches from military commanders offering to turn their weapons on Saddam when the war began.
A moral exemplar it most emphatically is not, however. Its moral standing and moral record deserve to be rehearsed just now. Whatever its pretensions, and however much they're cheered by the limp-minded, in fact the U.N. is the epicenter of world cynicism. Here idealistic rhetoric is routinely invoked on behalf of power politics and often sheer tyranny. In extenuation, it could scarcely be otherwise.
Physicist Todd Brun at Princeton speculates
about computers which could use sub-atomic wormholes to send intermediate results back in time.
Brun developed a program for such a computer to solve extremely difficult mathematical problems, such as factoring very large numbers. At the start, the computer checks the wormhole. If in the future, the computer solved the equation, it sends the answer encoded in bursts of particles back in time through the wormhole.
The program essentially works because of steps "which are never actually executed," Brun said. Such a computer essentially works similarly to a familiar time travel paradox.
Brun believes these strange conclusions are less likely to lead to supercomputers than they are to show the existence of wormholes is even more unlikely.
"I think its implications are very interesting, but mostly for theory rather than practice," he said.
Cool article in PC Magazine about advances in Aspect-Oriented programming. Using evolutionary inspired techniques to evolve programs.
Just a few years ago, John Backus, who led the IBM team that created FORTRAN in the 1950s, responded to the question of whether there was some programming idea, however futuristic, that he found intriguing. Backus—long retired from IBM's research labs—replied, "Well, I always thought it would be a neat idea to just grow computer programs and then kill off the ones you don't want. But I suppose that would be impractical."
What Backus described as a fantasy is a thumbnail definition of genetic programming, a hot field in computer science today. The relentless march of Moore's Law continues to make what seemed impossible suddenly within reach—all that new computing firepower that clever software can exploit. But genetic programming is also perhaps the most striking example of another trend in software: Increasingly, programming is borrowing ideas from biology.
Apparently, I'm good for my wife too according to this study
In the winter issue of Family Matters, the journal of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, de Vaus writes that the percentage of married men and women suffering stress was the same, at just 13 per cent.
He also found that 25 per cent of both women and men were miserable when single. Married women with children and a job had the fewest mental health problems of the female sample, suggesting that kids are not as stress-inducing as some parents like to claim.
The findings add hard data to ideas already taking hold in the US. In 2001, Linda Waite's book The Case for Marriage: Why married people are happier, healthier and better off financially cited other studies that overturn Bernard's theories.
"When I first came to Iraq, I very quickly realized that I could not compare the situation there to other Middle Eastern countries I had been in, like Syria, Jordan or Egypt. This country was hell. We were the only Europeans in a city called Amara in the Shi'ite area of southern Iraq near Basra, and we arrived just a few weeks after the uprising had been crushed. There was a belt of tanks around the city. The majority of buildings were burned out. There was no food in the market. There was also a terrible degree of malnourishment there.
"People in Iraq won't talk freely, because they are terrified that their friends are working for one of Saddam's nine horrible security services. Because of this atmosphere, it took us three or four months to learn some details about the uprising. The Iraqis made people lie down in the streets and then buried them alive under asphalt. They killed everyone who looked a little religious, because this was a Shi'ite area. It was forbidden to take the corpses from the street. All in all, 60,000 or 70,000 people were killed in this area in 1991.
"The most regressive and dangerous elements in the Arab and Islamic world depend on Saddam Hussein. Really toppling Saddam Hussein means uprooting the Ba'ath regime, with the help of the Iraqi people. This would give the final blow to pan-Arabism in the Middle East. Syria and a lot of very radical factions in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf states would be affected. These factions look up to Saddam Hussein as a pan-Arabist, anti-imperialist hero - although he is anti-imperialist in the tradition of the Nazis, not the left. Also, Saddam is financing organizations like the Arab Liberation Front in Palestine, which is a Ba'ath organization. He is paying the families of suicide attackers. He is directly and indirectly responsible for a lot of terrorism in the Middle East." (via AndrewSullivan)
"Being married to a clever woman is good for men's hearts, researchers have found."
This popped into my head after hearing Cole Porter's "Let's call the whole thing off", which has the line "You say either (ee-ther) and I say either (i-ther)..." and the rule for 'I' and 'E' occurred to me: 'I' before 'E' except after 'C' or when it sounds like 'A' as in neighbor and weigh, so now I want to know why the word (either) is not pronounced A-ther. I know this is a small thing in the vast, myriad of English pronuciation oddness, but it seems that in this case there is a well established rule for the pronuciation of 'ei'.
Sunday, October 06, 2002
Nelson Mandela says it’s the US and not Saddam Hussein who’s ‘the threat to world peace’. Canada’s transport minister, in his contribution to 11 September observances, regretted that the Soviet Union was no longer around to act as a check on American ‘bullying’. Sweden’s Goran Persson wants to build up the EU because it’s ‘one of the few institutions we can develop as a balance to US world domination’. Sweden was famously relaxed about Nazi world domination and Soviet world domination, but sometimes there are threats so monstrous that even in Stockholm you have to get off the fence. In Germany Gerhard Schroeder is Chancellor today because his party successfully articulated the great menace that George W. Bush poses to the planet. Feel free to insert standard ‘arrogant cowboy’ imagery and other examples of rampant Texaphobia.
Let’s suppose for a moment that these fellows are right. The question then arises: So what are you going to do about it? Well, Mr Mandela’s country has been busy selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Saddam. The first secretary of the South African embassy in Jordan is serving as the local sales rep to Iraqi procurement agents. Thanks to these sterling efforts, they’re bringing significantly closer the day when the entire Middle East, much of Africa and even Europe will be under the Saddamite nuclear umbrella and thus safe from Bush’s aggression.
Way to go, Nelson! But what are the rest of you guys doing? I’m a little out of the loop with the great thinkers of the world stage, so I’ve foolishly spent the last year working on the erroneous assumption that Saddam’s the big threat. I’ve wasted my time positing likely scenarios for a post-butcher Baghdad and the possible consequences for Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. I don’t pretend to have all the answers — well, okay, I do, but only when I’m being interviewed on TV shows — but I find it a bit odd that the anti-American crowd, once you strip away the moral preening, don’t seem to have any answers.