Experience past quickies: one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine.ten.Aug 2004
JON STEWART:But Don't fear. John Kerry is a master debater.
Do you think you'll-- when-- when you get into the debates with him is this going to be-- will you be able to do that? Or-- or will he-- I've seen he's very shrewd in debates of saying, "Look, this is a choice. It's a-- it's a very easy choice between-- a man who loves-- Fidel Castro and-- (LAUGHTER) and someone who-- loves America." You know? How-- how do you-- do you think you will ever be able to have an honest discussion?
Well, that's the test of debates. I mean, look, the President has won every debate he's ever had. People need to understand that. He beat Ann Richards. He beat Al Gore. So he's a good debater.
I've said several times over recent days that it is an example of the president's moral cowardice that he has such a long record of having others savage his opponents -- for sins of which he is usually more guilty than they -- and then denying any responsibility for what's happening. It's like the moment captured in that recent Kerry campaign spot where John McCain tells Bush to stand by his attacks or apologize, and the now-president is painfully caught off guard, bereft of the protective phalanx of retainers.-Josh Marshall
He's not used to having to stand behind what he's done. And when McCain comes at him one on one he's jelly. His life has always been a matter of others doing his dirty work for him, others bailing him out. And in that moment it shows.
The current debate about these two men's military service has put the spotlight on physical courage. But that really is a side issue in this campaign, if we're talking substance. The real issue isn't physical bravery but moral cowardice.
President Bush is an examplar of that quality in spades. And it cuts directly to his failures as president. Forget about thirty years ago, just think about the last three years.
Before proceeding on to that, one other point about the two men's service. On the balance sheet of moral bravery, as opposed to physical bravery, the two men are about as far apart as you can be on Vietnam. On the one hand you have Kerry, who already had doubts about whether we should be fighting in Vietnam before he went, and put his life on the line anyway. On the other hand, you have George W. Bush who supported the war, which means he believed the goal was worth the cost in American lives. Only, not his life. He believed others should go; just not him. It's the story of his life.
That is almost the definition of moral cowardice.
Tricks of the Trade . In an article in The Morning News, Defective Yeti asked readers to reveal the secrets of their profession:
"For many, the nature of the change that Chavez is driving has become the central reason behind the sustained attempts to undermine the Chavez government. The disparity of agendas is glaring. The opposition continues to promise, for instance, a return to free market economic policies, a platform welcomed by international financial leaders and institutions like the International Monetary Fund; Chavez is opposed to it.-Red Constantino, via Leiter
"'We are building an economy at the service of human beings,' said Nora Castaneda, the president of Banca Mujer (Women's Development Bank), of the Chavez administration's goals, 'not human beings at the service of the economy.'
"For the first time in Venezuela's history, government authority has been established decisively over how the Venezuelan oil industry - the fifth largest exporter in the world - is to be run and for whose benefit. Oil money is now re-channeled towards financing immeasurable employment, health, education and literacy missions throughout the country for the destitute of Venezuela, specifically for women.
"At least 65 percent of Venezuelan households are headed by women and the Chavez government during the drafting of the 2000 constitution ensured that this fact was reflected in Venezuela's framing document. Among it's progressive provisions, the constitution recognizes women's unwaged caring work as economically productive, entitling housewives to social security.
eah, I found some quotes from McClellan, and maybe "shut up" is how some slower folks might paraphrase him. I don't see that as an accurate summary, though, and to claim that Bush & Co.said that "527s should shut up" is a bit misleading. Sort of like the Swift boat ads I suppose.A "defender" of Bush and his lying ways gets reamed here. Bush & CO. lies don't fly under the blue for very long and the few that serve them up get their asses handed to them.
As for proof that Team Kerry is in cahoots with moveon.org? None. I'm making shit up to provoke a reaction. Like those claiming that the Swift boat vets are a front for Bush's inner circle.
Alan McKee, who with academics Catharine Lumby and Kath Albury is conducting the Understanding Pornography in Australia study, said that a survey of more than 1000 porn-users must be taken into account as Labor considers forcing all internet service providers to automatically filter hardcore porn to protect children.Okay, but...
"The surprising finding was that pornography is actually good for you in many ways," Dr McKee said.
"When you look at people who are using it in everyday life, over 90 per cent report it has had a very positive effect."
But the author of the policy before Mark Latham's office - supported by senior Labor figures including ALP national president Carmen Lawrence and communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner - Australia Institute executive director Clive Hamilton said: "No man who regularly uses pornography can have a healthy sexual relationship with a woman.-The Australian Sure....
It was an outdoor video shoot this week. And it was raining cats and dogs. The city was witnessing its worst and longest-ever rains in recent times. God was dancing his own dance from above the clouds. On mother earth (read Filmcity Studios, Mumbai), defiant Daler Mehndi decided to go ahead with his planned shoot for the title track of his forthcoming album ‘Shaa Ra Ra Ra’. In fact, he opined, “God must have wished it this way. He throws such challenges to make us stronger.”
“You might not find one like him ever again,” someone remarked, while this Mr Unstoppable swayed everyone around, of course, including his sensuous video co-star Rashmi Nigam (the girl who is soon to debut in Bollywood with ‘Popcorn Khao… Mast Ho Jaao’) with his trademark energetic bhangra. By the end of it all, the Sardar smiled and quipped, “All is well that ends well”.
As in 2000, the president seems to enjoy his linguistic miscues. Appearing last week with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bush said he and the Austrian-born California governor "share a lot in common" -- good wives, big biceps and "trouble with the English language."-Washington PostYou must be sanctionized!
The next day, he offered a curious wish for his audience in Oregon: "I hope you leave here and walk out and say, 'What did he say?' " The question was rhetorical, but it is possible a listener would at times be truly befuddled about Bush's meaning.
There was this discussion of Iran policy last week: "As you know, we don't have relationships with Iran," Bush said. "I mean, that's -- ever since the late '70s, we have no contacts with them, and we've totally sanctioned them. In other words, there's no sanctions -- you can't -- we're out of sanctions."
You see, the future is already here, it's just not well distributed yet.
The future does feature some brand-new stuff that was technically impossible before, but, more importantly, the future has a different take on matters that are already here. There's a change of emphasis. The future is like another culture, another country. We have to come to terms with the future's language.
So what's a Blobject? And why might they rule the Earth?
Since I write about design quite a lot, sometimes people think I made up that word, "blobject". If you Google it, my name pops right up, but I didn't coin the term. A famous industrial designer named Karim Rashid made it up, and he wrote about it in a book aptly called "I Want to Change the World." A good book, very educational, you should buy it and read it. I did. Karim's not kidding.
A Blobject is commonly defined as "an object with a curvilinear, flowing design, such as the Apple iMac computer and the Volkswagen Beetle." But computers and cars are just end products, they're not the process. The truth about a blobject is that is a physical object that has suffered a remake through computer graphics. It was designed on a screen with a graphics program. A blobject is what a standard 20th century industrial product, a consumer item, looks like after your crowd has beaten it into shape with a mouse.
Blobjects are blob-shaped objects, because of NURBS and meshes and splines and injection molding and CAD-CAM. They're highly curvilinear consumer items designed on workstations, and then they're generally blasted into being in a burst of injection-molded goo.
Blobjects are the period objects of our time. They are the physical products that the digital revolution brought to the consumer shelf.
In "Wahhabi Islam: From Revival to Global Jihad" -- billed by its publisher as the first book-length study of the 18th-century Muslim reformer -- Natana DeLong-Bas argues that the vilification of Wahhabism and its founder gets it all wrong. "The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden does not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and is not representative of Wahhabi Islam. . .," she writes.-Boston Globe
In fact, DeLong-Bas argues, Abd al-Wahhab's writings display "an absence of the xenophobia, militantism, misogyny, extremism, and literalism typically associated with Wahhabism." She describes Abd al-Wahhab's embrace of reason alongside divine revelation, and writes of his commitment to "placing women on a balanced footing with men." Far from being a how-to manual for violent jihad, DeLong-Bas concludes, Abd al-Wahhab's writings provide "a vision that offers hope for the future."
DeLong-Bas's critics aren't letting such startling statements pass unchallenged. "I'm sad this piece of scholarly trash was published by Oxford," says Khaled Abou El Fadl, professor of law at UCLA who writes frequently on Islamic jurisprudence. "This doesn't qualify as scholarship -- it falls within the general phenomenon of Saudi apologetics."
Black Africans are very comfortable leading a life of subsistence farming and frequent casual sex with lots of different partners starting at about age 10. They are basically quite happy and unmotivated to change this lifestyle, which makes sense because, at least in the villages, it is a great lifestyle (especially for the men, who get to spend all day every day drinking beer with their buddies while women work in the fields). Black African governments, however, are not happy watching their subjects dig potatoes in between bouts of lovemaking. This is not because they have anything against subsistence farming or sex but rather because it is difficult to tax subsistence farmers or 14-year-old working girls.
Black Africans sometimes express confusion as to how others achieve economic prosperity, particularly the Indians who operate most of the continent's small shops. One boatman on the Zambezi relates that his people believe that "Indians [kill young African girls] and cut out their hearts. Using the fresh hearts of these African virgins as bait on large hooks, they were able to catch certain Zambezi fish that were stuffed full of diamonds." A girl in South Africa notes "They say Indians never sleep. They just stay awake, doing business night and day. That's why they are rich."
Reducing poverty in the Third World is a moral as well as a political and economic imperative, but to expect from it a decisive change in the foreseeable future as far as terrorism is concerned is unrealistic, to say the least. It ignores both the causes of backwardness and poverty and the motives for terrorism.
Poverty combined with youth unemployment does create a social and psychological climate in which Islamism and various populist and religious sects flourish, which in turn provide some of the footfolk for violent groups in internal conflicts. According to some projections, the number of young unemployed in the Arab world and North Africa could reach 50 million in two decades. Such a situation will not be conducive to political stability; it will increase the demographic pressure on Europe, since according to polls a majority of these young people want to emigrate. Politically, the populist discontent will be directed against the rulers — Islamist in Iran, moderate in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, or Morocco. But how to help the failed economies of the Middle East and North Africa? What are the reasons for backwardness and stagnation in this part of the world? The countries that have made economic progress — such as China and India, Korea and Taiwan, Malaysia and Turkey — did so without massive foreign help.
All this points to a deep malaise and impending danger, but not to a direct link between the economic situation and international terrorism. There is of course a negative link: Terrorists will not hesitate to bring about a further aggravation in the situation; they certainly did great harm to the tourist industries in Bali and Egypt, in Palestine, Jordan, and Morocco. One of the main targets of terrorism in Iraq was the oil industry. It is no longer a secret that the carriers of international terrorism operating in Europe and America hail not from the poor, downtrodden, and unemployed but are usually of middle-class origin.
I have read the book and found it is neither the political propaganda nor the urban legend that its detractors claim.Right away Robert shows that he lack's basic knowledge of the English language. If you don't know what "Propaganda" means, then maybe you should use small words. It's hard to understand how something that has just hit the new the past few days has become the stuff of urban legend, but maybe Robert uses a "special" dictionary.
Why should details of what Kerry did more than 30 years ago be part of this election campaign? Only because the senator has made them integral to his strategy. Kerry as war hero received more attention at the Democratic National Convention than plans for the future.Here's the speech. WTF Robert?
The book's strength is the vehemence of testimony by swift boat veterans, alleging that Kerry "gamed" the system to win decorations and later betrayed comrades by charging war crimes. Typical is the quote by Bob Hildreth, commanding an accompanying boat: "I would never want Kerry behind me. I wouldn't want him in front of me, either. And I sure wouldn't want him commanding our kids in Iraq and Afghanistan." Some 200 "Swiftees" on May 4 signed a letter to Kerry demanding full release of his service records.200 people that did not ever step on a Swiftboat, a slowboat, or even a rowboat with Kerry signed a letter and that somehow trumps someone that actual has more than a halucinatory relationship with the man.
The book's weakness is support for Kerry's presidential campaign by his swift boat crewmates, presumably people who knew him best. O'Neill told me that these former sailors served with Kerry no more than five weeks. Jim Rassmann, now part of the Kerry presidential campaign, was a Special Forces lieutenant spending a few days with Kerry when he fell or was knocked off the swift boat while under fire and was fished out of the Mekong River by the future candidate.
Keyes said legalizing abortion deprives the unborn of their equal rights.Keyes is quick to show his ignorance concerning sexuality.
"I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence," Keyes said. He said Obama "has broken and rejected those principles-- he has taken the slaveholder's position...."
[Obama] said he voted against the late-term abortion ban in Springfield because it contained no exception to protect the life of the mother. He noted that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and federal appeals Judge Richard Posner, both appointed by President Ronald Reagan, had voted to strike down laws banning late-term abortions.
Asked specifically about the phrase "slaveholder's position," Obama said Keyes "should look to members of his own party to see if that's appropriate if he's going to use that kind of language...."
Obama said he didn't question the sincerity of those who are deeply concerned about abortion, but he said he believed there are many other issues on the minds of voters.
"As I travel around this state, I don't get asked about gay marriage, I don't get asked about abortion," Obama said. "I get asked, 'How can I find a job that allows me to support my family.' I get asked, 'How can I pay those medical bills without going into bankruptcy."
[Keyes] defended his belief that gay marriage is wrong, brushing aside a suggestion from an interviewer that sexual preference might be biologically determined.
"We as human beings cannot assert that our sexual desires cannot be controlled," Keyes said. He said such a claim would "consign us to the real of instinctual animal nature-- and we are not there."
MARK TRAHANT: Most school kids learn about government in the context of city, county, state and federal, and of course, tribal governments are not part of that at all. Mr. President, you have been a governor and a president, so you have unique experience looking at it from two directions. What do you think tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century and how do we resolve conflicts between tribes and the federal and state governments?Later on, Jesse Jackson is given the same question.
GEORGE BUSH: Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a -- you're a -- you have been given sovereignty and you're viewed as a sovereign entity.
MARK TRAHANT: Okay.
GEORGE BUSH: And therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities. Now, the federal government has got a responsibility on matters like education and security to help. And health care. And it's a solemn duty. From this perspective, we must continue to uphold that duty. I think that one of the most promising areas of all is to help with economic development, and that means helping people understand what it means to start a business. That's why the Small Business Administration has increased loans. It means, obviously, encouraging capital flows, but none of that will happen unless the education systems flourish and are strong. That's why I told you, we spent $1.1 billion in reconstruction of Native American schools.
BRENT MERRILL: As you saw today at the president's conference, the leader of the free world does not understand tribal sovereignty. What would you do in your estimation, Reverend, what would you do and how would you advise tribes to educate our folks, just exactly what tribal sovereignty is?There's a link to an audio clip of Bush answering the question here.
JESSE JACKSON: The President explained. You just didn't understand. Sovereignty is sovereignty. You understand? It's like in sovereignity. If you are on a reservation, you have been soverized. Your Ph.D. is in soverbication. You understand? I don't think you understand.
BRENT MERRILL: You're right. I didn't understand that.
JESSE JACKSON: Well, needless to say -- needless to say that the sovereignty of American – Native American tribes are federally protected rights. As long as Native Americans were perishing on those reservations it didn't matter to states. But now that you have gaming on the reservations and economic development on the reservations, and indeed in some states voting on the reservations, the state now wants to impose itself on the federally protected sovereignty of the states. It has nothing to do with education, per se. It has to do with a legal relationship between federally constructed contracts or treaties, and states would not have the right to interfere with those federal territories. That is the real answer to that.
...it behooves students to approach with great caution works which make obvious claims to impartiality and "objectivity." There are serious doubts as to the applicability of such terminology. One must beware of the label "objective" in particular; the prevailing tendency is to apply this "approval" word to viewpoints which are mainly the consensus of the most generally held conventional attitudes and sentiments. This is one of the most widely prevalent semantic diseases afflicting the people who live in our time, and the temptation to engage in this practice is almost irresistible. It further accounts, in part, for the sharp decline in discussion and debate upon, and the panic-stricken avoidance of, anything which gets tagged "controversial." Nothing could be more deplorable in a society which makes such protestations of being open and "free."
Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.There's plenty more where that came from.
“Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can.”
Bush’s mental stability has become the topic of Washington whispers in recent months. Capitol Hill Blue first reported on June 4 about increasing concern among White House aides over the President’s wide mood swings and obscene outbursts.
The market's view of Costco speaks volumes about the so-called Wal-Martization of the U.S. economy. True, the Bentonville (Ark.) retailer has taken a public-relations pounding recently for paying poverty-level wages and shouldering health insurance for fewer than half of its 1.2 million U.S. workers. Still, it remains the darling of the Street, which, like Wal-Mart and many other companies, believes that shareholders are best served if employers do all they can to hold down costs, including the cost of labor.
Surprisingly, however, Costco's high-wage approach actually beats Wal-Mart at its own game on many measures. BusinessWeek ran through the numbers from each company to compare Costco and Sam's Club, the Wal-Mart warehouse unit that competes directly with Costco. We found that by compensating employees generously to motivate and retain good workers, one-fifth of whom are unionized, Costco gets lower turnover and higher productivity. Combined with a smart business strategy that sells a mix of higher-margin products to more affluent customers, Costco actually keeps its labor costs lower than Wal-Mart's as a percentage of sales, and its 68,000 hourly workers in the U.S. sell more per square foot. Put another way, the 102,000 Sam's employees in the U.S. generated some $35 billion in sales last year, while Costco did $34 billion with one-third fewer employees.
Bottom line: Costco pulled in $13,647 in U.S. operating profit per hourly employee last year, vs. $11,039 at Sam's. Over the past five years, Costco's operating income grew at an average of 10.1% annually, slightly besting Sam's 9.8%. Most of Wall Street doesn't see the broader picture, though, and only focuses on the up-front savings Costco would gain if it paid workers less. But a few analysts concede that Costco suffers from the Street's bias toward the low-wage model. "Costco deserves a little more credit than it has been getting lately, [since] it's one of the most productive companies in the industry," says Citigroup/Smith Barney retail analyst Deborah Weinswig. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams says that Sam's pays competitively with Costco when all factors are considered, such as promotion opportunities.
The report, due out on August 18, will likely point out "that Rumsfeld and senior officials failed early on to set up clear, baseline rules for interrogations."
Newsweek's revelations aside, it's been difficult to get any genuine updates on the torture story. Across the Atlantic, Scotland's Sunday Herald recently discovered that there are up to 107 child prisoners being held in Iraq, according to a UNICEF report that has not been made public. (Last month, IRIN made similar allegations, complaining that human rights groups have not been allowed to see child detainees.) The Herald also chronicled some absolutely sickening evidence for child torture in Abu Ghraib:
It was early last October that Kasim Mehaddi Hilas says he witnessed the rape of a boy prisoner aged about 15 in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. “The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets,” he said in a statement given to investigators probing prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib. “Then, when I heard the screaming I climbed the door … and I saw [the soldier’s name is deleted] who was wearing a military uniform.” Hilas, who was himself threatened with being sexually assaulted in Abu Graib, then describes in horrific detail how the soldier raped “the little kid”.
The national guardsman peering through the long-range scope of his rifle was startled by what he saw unfolding in the walled compound below. From his post several stories above ground level, he watched as men in plainclothes beat blind folded and bound prisoners in the enclosed grounds of the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
He immediately radioed for help. Soon after, a team of Oregon Army National Guard soldiers swept into the yard and found dozens of Iraqi detainees who said they had been beaten, starved and deprived of water for three days. In a nearby building, the soldiers counted dozens more prisoners and what appeared to be torture devices - metal rods, rubber hoses, electrical wires and bottles of chemicals. Many of the Iraqis, including one identified as a 14-year-old boy, had fresh welts and bruises across their back and legs.
The soldiers disarmed the Iraqi jailers, moved the prisoners into the shade, released their handcuffs and administered first aid. Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrickson of Albany, Ore., the highest ranking American at the scene, radioed for instructions. But in a move that frustrated and infuriated the guardsmen, Hendrickson's superior officers told him to return the prisoners to their abusers and immediately withdraw....
"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.
The 60-second ad features Vietnam veterans who accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of lying about his decorated Vietnam War record and betraying his fellow veterans by later opposing the conflict.
"When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry," one of the veterans, Larry Thurlow, says in the ad. Thurlow didn't serve on Kerry's swiftboat, but says he witnessed the events that led to Kerry winning a Bronze Star and the last of his three Purple Hearts. Kerry's crewmates support the candidate and call him a hero.
Kerry also ridiculed President Bush’s claim that the nation has “turned a corner” in an era marked by terrorism and economic recession.
“Just saying that you’ve turned a corner doesn’t make it so. Just like saying there are weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq) doesn’t make it so. Just like saying you can fight a war on the cheap doesn’t make it so. Just like saying ’mission accomplished’ doesn’t make it so,” Kerry said.
“The last president who used that slogan, who told us that prosperity was just around the corner, was Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression,” he said.
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
George W. Bush
Remarks by the President at the Signing of H.R. 4613 August 5, 2004
I haven't heard one that bad since Richard Nixon was in the last stages of self-immolation. As I recall, it was during his final state of the union address, in early 1974....
"We must eliminate dangerous precedents."
So of course, Tricky Dick said:
"We must eliminate dangerous presidents."
Nixon immediately realized what he'd just said on nationwide television, backed up, and corrected his mistake. But the expression on his face while he was doing it was truly a classic "Why me, O Lord?" look.
Bush, on other hand, being both dyslexic and stupid to the point of brain death, naturally didn't notice his own blunder.
And I really hope that people are not morally lazy or weak enough to elect this guy; I won't say "again" because he wasn't elected the first time. And it is true to say that across the world there is quite a lot of anti-America sentiment, which is different than anti-American sentiment. I think that even in the majority of Muslim countries that have been polled, nobody blames Americans -- they blame George Bush and the people surrounding him. Mind you, we'll see what happens this November, because you can have someone take over your country once and still have it be an accident. But twice? Well, that would be regrettable. [Laughs.]
Whereas they're perfectly entitled to have whatever worldview they like, I would suggest that humanity is moving in a forward direction. And that any attempt to turn the clock back to a mythical, simpler, or better age would probably be about as effective as Britain's ancient King Canute, who famously sat on his throne along the tide line and ordered the waves to go back. To be fair, he was only doing this to demonstrate the futility of expecting leaders and rulers to be able to command the forces of history and the world. But yeah, I tend to think that this conservative backlash that has been going on since the '70s is the final spasms of a dying creature; history is not moving that way, and no matter how much people dig their heels in and assume this is the 1950s or the Middle Ages, that's not the truth of the situation.
Of course, in magic, such as that I'm interested in, every part of the body has its own symbolic significance. We were talking earlier about the cult of the head. Various parts of the body, such as the sexual organs, have profound meanings in most systems and cultures. The eyes, the hands -- these are all very rich in symbolism because they are so immediate to us. We all know our bodies intimately; it's all we have and all we are.
Information is funny stuff. In some of the science magazines I read, I've found it described as an actual substance that underlies the entirety of existence, as something that is more fundamental than the four fundamental physical forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the two nuclear forces. I think they've referred to it as a super-weird substance. Now, obviously, information shapes and determines our lives and the way we live them, yet it is completely invisible and undetectable. It has no actual form; you can only see its effects. Information is a kind of heat. I would suggest that as our society accumulates information, from its hunter-gatherer origins to the complexities of our present day, it raises the cultural temperature.
I feel that we may be approaching a cultural boiling point. I'm not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing; I really don't know because I can't imagine it, quite frankly. But I think we may be approaching the point at which the amount of information we are taking becomes exponential, and I'm not entirely certain what kind of human culture will exist beyond that point. Except it will happen sooner than we expect, and the difference between us and the kind of people that will exist after such an event will be vastly different than the difference between us and the hunter-gatherer society we've evolved from.
Although belly dancing is an expression of joy enjoined by women as well as men of every age on many occasions, professional dancers are generally viewed as little better than whores. Egyptian law once prevented belly dancers from testifying in court. Religious injunctions sanction their participation in rituals like the giving alms during Ramadan or participating in the hajj.-Meditations on the navel ban, by Maria Golia
...a group of young Arab ladies calling themselves "the vagina warriors" recently produced a performance of the Vagina Monologues, donating the proceeds to the first women's shelter in Cairo and the Middle East. Domestic abuse is not higher in Egypt than elsewhere, but it doesn't have to be. Many and subtle are the forms of violence to which Egyptian women have grown inured. On the unsubtle side we have Mohammed Omar, columnist for the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar, who maintains that only ugly women attract abuse and every man "[has] the right to do what [abusive] men have done". No wonder the Vagina Monologues were not advertised and the recipients of email or word-of-mouth invitations warned to keep it "confidential". The American University, where the play was performed, went so far as to post a sign outside the theater door claiming disingenuously that it had no connection with the production.
A Maryville man spent his 23rd birthday in custody after police said they found him early Sunday running nude from the John Sevier pool snack bar with a box of stolen snacks. Authorities said the man had apparently scaled an 8-foot tall fence while naked and covered in nacho cheese and was seen running toward a Jeep in which officers found clothing and an open bottle of vodka. . . ``In addition, the male had nacho cheese in his hair, on his face and on his shoulders,'' [Officer Scott] Spicer reported. ``The nude male had a strong odor of alcohol and was semi-incoherent.'And I'm seriously considing dropping this bomb in the one of those threads.
Lord Tebbit has continued his one-man tirade against gay men, by claiming the country's current "obesity epidemic" can be blamed on the government's support for "buggery"....
"The root cause of this problem, like a number of others, is the break down in family life," he said, arguing that families "don't so often eat together" and that "wives are virtually pressurised into feeling they ought to go to work instead of looking after their children"....
"We don’t only have an epidemic of obesity, we have a huge problem with AIDS. And the government's attitude is to do everything it can to promote buggery - knowing that those two are intimately connected."
For more than three decades, the Republican Party has relied on the "culture war" to rescue their chances every four years, from Richard Nixon's campaign against the liberal news media to George H. W. Bush's campaign against the liberal flag-burners. In this culture war, the real divide is between "regular people" and an endlessly scheming "liberal elite."
Our thug in Iraq, The PM, Saddam 2.0, Iyad Allawi, shot some people in the head just before coming into office.[metafilter]
"Allawi wanted to send a message to his policemen and soldiers not to be scared if they kill anyone - especially, they are not to worry about tribal revenge. He said there would be an order from him and the Interior Ministry that all would be fully protected.
After nearly 30 years of arguing that a black hole destroys everything that falls into it, Stephen Hawking is saying he was wrong. It seems that black holes may after all allow information within them to escape. Hawking will present his latest finding at a conference in Ireland next week.-New Scientist [metafilter]
The about-turn might cost Hawking, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, an encyclopaedia because of a bet he made in 1997. More importantly, it might solve one of the long-standing puzzles in modern physics, known as the black hole information paradox.
It was Hawking's own work that created the paradox. In 1976, he calculated that once a black hole forms, it starts losing mass by radiating energy. This "Hawking radiation" contains no information about the matter inside the black hole and once the black hole evaporates, all information is lost.
But this conflicts with the laws of quantum physics, which say that such information can never be completely wiped out. Hawking's argument was that the intense gravitational fields of black holes somehow unravel the laws of quantum physics.
A Swede released from Guantanamo Bay last week said he had been tortured by exposure to freezing cold, noise and bright lights and chained during his 2-1/2-year imprisonment.
Mehdi Ghezali, the son of an Algerian-born immigrant, told Swedish media in interviews published or aired Wednesday that he was interrogated almost every day at the U.S. naval base on Cuban soil.
A husband and wife who wore anti-Bush T-shirts to the president’s Fourth of July appearance aren’t going down without a fight: They will be represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union as they contest the trespassing charges against them Thursday morning in Charleston Municipal Court.
Police took Nicole and Jeff Rank away in handcuffs from the event, which was billed as a presidential appearance, not a campaign rally. They were wearing T-shirts that read, “Love America, Hate Bush.”
Spectators who wore pro-Bush T-shirts and Bush-Cheney campaign buttons were allowed to stay.
For the last four and a half months, a baby endured abuse that included two fractured bones in his left arm, another fracture in his right arm, a broken leg and bruises to his jaw, abdomen and thighs.
Now the baby’s mother and her boyfriend are accused of causing those and other injuries to the baby, as well as feeding the baby spoiled, raw meat.
According to court records released Friday, Veronica Martinez, 18, said she wanted her 6-month-old boy dead because he ruined her life.
"Here in Asia, HIV/AIDS stands at a turning point," Mr Annan told delegates to the second Asia-Pacific meeting on HIV/AIDS, held in the run-up to the international meeting.
"How you address this challenge will impact the very future of the region."
More than 20 million people have died of AIDS since the condition was first detected in the US in 1981.
About 38 million people have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which makes them vulnerable to diseases such as cancer and pneumonia.
AIDS may kill as many as 48 million workers by 2010 and the toll could rise to 74 million by 2015, inflicting a body blow to national economies, the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned.[metafilter]
The ILO published the analysis, which is based on access to life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs, on the opening day of the 15th International AIDS Conference, the top forum on the 23-year-old epidemic.
"HIV/AIDS is not only a human crisis, it is a threat to sustainable global, social and economic development," ILO director-general Juan Somavia said.
"The loss of life and the debilitating effects of the illness will lead not only to a reduced capacity to sustain production and employment, reduce poverty and promote development but will be a burden borne by all societies, rich and poor alike."
The bottom line: The US appears poised to continue an unprecedented national argument about the inner workings of its national-security apparatus, with the charged context of an election year inevitably affecting that debate. "These things are converging - and a lot of them are saying the same thing: 'We got things wrong,' " says Lee Strickland, a former senior intelligence officer, now a professor at the University of Maryland.[metafilter] [Full text: Conclusions of Senate's Iraq report]
The latest major development on this subject came Friday, when the Senate Intelligence Committee dealt a stinging blow to the nation's intelligence community. In a scathing 521-page report, the committee charged that the Central Intelligence Agency's judgments about Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs (WMD) were exaggerated, and were a product of "group think" - not properly challenged from within.
Q Scott, on that point, the President has talked about changing the tone in Washington, to making the debate more civil. But the Republican National Committee put out this statement on Edwards, calling him "disingenuous and unaccomplished." The Bush-Cheney campaign put out talking points saying that Senator Edwards "delivers his pessimism with a southern drawl and a smile." Is that helpful?-Caught by Mykeru
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I mean, is there something in there you're disputing? (Laughter.) I think it's perfectly reasonable to talk about the differences on the issues and to talk about the record. And I think that's what you're seeing being discussed here by the campaign and by the RNC. The President believes that we should focus on the policy differences and focus on the leadership styles, and that's what he will continue to do as we move forward on this campaign.
Q So you're agreeing with those statements then, that he is disingenuous and unaccomplished?
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, it's perfectly legitimate to talk about the issues and the differences on those issues, as well as to discuss the record. There are individuals in this race who have records, and those records are a reflection of how they would lead in office.
Q You don't seen this as personal attacks, you see this as policy --
MR. McCLELLAN: Suzanne, there are clear choices in this election, and the President wants the discussion to focus on the issues and the differences on those issues. There are clear choices and there are clear philosophical differences for the voters, come November. And the President will keep this focused on the issues and talking about his positive vision for the way forward for our country.
Q So you don't have a problem with the language and the tone?
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, it's perfectly legitimate to talk about the issues and the differences and to talk about the record.
Far from entering an age of maneuver, we have entered a new age of attrition warfare in two kinds: First, the war against religious terrorism is unquestionably a war of attrition—if one of your enemies is left alive or unimprisoned, he will continue trying to kill you and destroy your civilization. Second, Operation Iraqi Freedom, for all its dashing maneuvers, provided a new example of a postmodern war of attrition—one in which the casualties are overwhelmingly on one side.-Ralph Peters, In Praise of Attrition
Nothing says that wars of attrition have to be fair....
It isn’t a question of whether or not we want to fight a war of attrition against religion-fueled terrorists. We’re in a war of attrition with them. We have no realistic choice. Indeed, our enemies are, in some respects, better suited to both global and local wars of maneuver than we are. They have a world in which to hide, and the world is full of targets for them. They do not heed laws or boundaries. They make and observe no treaties. They do not ex-pect the approval of the United Nations Security Council. They do not face election cycles. And their weapons are largely provided by our own societies.
We have the technical capabilities to deploy globally, but, for now, we are forced to watch as Pakistani forces fumble efforts to surround and destroy concentrations of terrorists; we cannot enter any country (except, temporarily, Iraq) without the permission of its government. We have many tools—military, diplomatic, economic, cultural, law enforcement, and so on—but we have less freedom of maneuver than our enemies....
Of course, we shall hear no end of fatuous arguments to the effect that we can’t kill our way out of the problem. Well, until a better methodology is discovered, killing every terrorist we can find is a good interim solution. The truth is that even if you can’t kill yourself out of the problem, you can make the problem a great deal smaller by effective targeting.
And we shall hear that killing terrorists only creates more terrorists. This is sophomoric nonsense. The surest way to swell the ranks of terror is to follow the approach we did in the decade before 9/11 and do nothing of substance. Success breeds success. Everybody loves a winner. The clichés exist because they’re true. Al Qaeda and related terrorist groups metastasized because they were viewed in the Muslim world as standing up to the West successfully and handing the Great Satan America embarrassing defeats with impunity. Some fanatics will flock to the standard of terror, no matter what we do. But it’s far easier for Islamic societies to purge themselves of terrorists if the terrorists are on the losing end of the global struggle than if they’re allowed to become triumphant heroes to every jobless, unstable teenager in the Middle East and beyond.
A friend recently said that she had come to believe the level of Israeli violence against Palestinians is now so great that a balanced approach to the two sides, the middle way promoted by so many peace groups, has become totally untenable. Another friend, an Israeli American just returned from several months in Israel, witnessed such a level of Israeli violence, not only against Palestinians but even against Israeli protesters, that she committed herself to oppose it. She decided she could no longer "protect my own skin" by simply standing by. "I no longer cared about protecting myself". She put her life in danger on behalf of justice for the Palestinians.
These two friends have recognized and are strongly protesting the sham of taking a neutral position between the two sides in this most unbalanced of conflicts. Neutrality in any conflict in which there is a gross imbalance of power is probably an impossibility and certainly immoral. Treading a middle path between one utterly powerless party and another party with total power, effectively removes all restraints on behavior by the powerful party. Yet this is the posture of those American peace groups that put themselves forward as advocates for Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation. They take no position between the Palestinians and Israel, but only promote peace plans such as the unofficial Geneva Accord. without also taking action or even speaking out forcefully against Israel's occupation. The consequence is that these groups have given Israel the time and the license to devastate the land, begin its ethnic cleansing, and destroy any prospect for Palestinian independence. Their refusal to take a clear stand against Israel's oppressive policies is a statement that might makes right, that oppressive policies are acceptable, and most particularly that justice for Palestinians is less important than power for Israel.
It is apparent that this administration confidently expects the American people to sign blank checks unquestioningly. It is obvious that they believe they are entitled to unchecked power, unlimited authority, and unquestioning citizens' support. To them, our Bill of Rights under the Constitution is nothing more than an inconvenient roadblock to overcome; our American system of checks and balances can be bypassed by overusing national security; and people's dissent is a problem that can be diverted away by a culture of fear and complete submission to government authority.
Nader has not only come out for same-sex marriage--a basic civil right--but he is for ending legal discrimination against gays and lesbians that allows employers to fire someone for their sexual orientation in 36 states....
Though Dean is often trumpeted as a great advocate of gay and lesbian rights because Vermont was the first state to offer civil unions while he was governor, the reality behind that partial victory exposes Dean's own opportunistic nod to the homophobes. When the Vermont Supreme Court unanimously ruled that gay couples were due the same legal rights of marriage as heterosexuals and ordered the legislature to pass a law to that effect in 1999, Dean made it clear that he would not sign gay marriage into law and pushed instead for civil unions.
Civil unions do not carry with them any of the 1,049 federal rights and benefits of marriage. When Dean did sign civil unions into law, he did so "in the closet," without the usual cameras flashing and notables in attendance. At the time of signing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Dean "was going around the state telling folks he was only doing it because the Vermont Supreme Court made him."
Kerry voted against Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996--though 118 Democrats voted for it--but since then he has come out strongly against same-sex marriage and has repeatedly condemned the Massachusetts legislature for granting marriages to gay and lesbian couples.
Though the Democrats theoretically support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would eliminate the right of employers to fire someone for their sexual orientation, they have allowed it to languish on paper for a decade without ever hitting the floor of Congress. According to the Washington Post, Bill Clinton held a closed-door meeting in 1997 with advocates of ENDA--which has been chiseled away at to include notable exemptions for small businesses, the armed forces and religious organizations. Clinton's "support"for gay civil rights was so half-hearted that he refused to use his influence to even get a vote on ENDA onto the House floor.
For the first time in the history of American journalism, almost two dozen award-winning print and TV journalists with virtually centuries of experience among them have collaborated to produce this book of devastating essays about the dangerous state of American journalism today. Writing in riveting, often gut-wrenching detail about their personal experiences with the “buzzsaw”—concerted corporate and/or government efforts to kill their controversial stories and their careers—the contributors reveal the awesome depth and breadth of censorship in America today. Their essays portray a press corps that regularly engages in self-censorship and attacks reporters who come under fire for not doing so. They describe a Fourth Estate that has largely relinquished its watchdog role and that has been co-opted by corporate and government powers. The bigger picture is that of a press actively contributing to the demise of democracy in America.Ethel grabs quotes (and there are plenty more) from Into the Buzzsaw
Now the excerpts from the chapter by Michael Levine, a 25-year veteran of the DEA.
When President Nixon first declared war on drugs in 1971, there were fewer than 500,000 hard-core addicts in the entire nation, most of whom were addicted to heroin. Three decades later, despite the expenditure of $1 trillion in tax dollars, the number of hard-core addicts is shortly expected to exceed five million. Our nation has become the supermarket of the drug world, with a wider variety and bigger supply of drugs at cheaper prices than ever before. The problem now not only affects every town and hamlet on the map, but it is difficult to find a family anywhere that is not somehow affected. P. 258
The Chang Mai factory the CIA prevented me from destroying was the source of massive amounts of heroin being smuggled into the US in the bodies and body bags of GIs killed in Vietnam. P. 264
My unit, the Hard Narcotics Smuggling Squad, was charged with investigating all heroin and cocaine smuggling through the Port of New York. My unit became involved in investigating every major smuggling operation known to law enforcement. We could not avoid witnessing the CIA protecting major drug dealers. Not a single important source in Southeast Asia was ever indicted by US law enforcement. This was no accident. Case after case was killed by CIA and State Department intervention and there wasn’t a damned thing we could do about it. CIA-owned airlines like Air America were being used to ferry drugs throughout Southeast Asia, allegedly to support our “allies.” CIA banking operations were used to launder drug money. P. 265
Are you proud that nearly 3 billion people on this planet do not have access to clean drinking water when we have the resources and technology to remedy this immediately?It could be that Lileks' humor has sunk to shrill hyperbole or that he really doesn't grasp that Moore means that we should start doing something immediately and not wait until thousands of people die like we've done in the case of allowing the situation in the Sudan to get worse. Lileks wants us to believe that the worst problem about bad drinking water is "the squirts." "The squirts" sounds a lot better than cryptosporidiosis, escherichia coli, giardiasis, and Hepatitis A to name a few.
Immediately! Right now! The entire purpose of the American economy must be turned to the task of building sanitary water systems in rural Peru, old Soviet industrial sites in the Urals, and the Chinese hinterlands! Immediately! We are not only obligated to step in and help poor Robert Mugabe upgrade the pipes of urban Zimbabwe, we must issue bonds to ensure that these systems work until the sun sputters out. Because that is the first obligation of the government, as set forth in the Constitution: ensure that someone in the Sudan can drink tap water without getting the squirts.
These so-called patriots hold the flag tightly in their grip and, in a threatening pose, demand that no one ask questions. Those who speak out find themselves shunned at work, harassed at school, booed off Oscar stages. The flag has become a muzzle, a piece of cloth stuffed into the mouths of those who dare to ask questions.Oh yes, I have seen that link!. Except it doesn't quite work in comparision.
Or draped backwards on the broad trunk of brave dissenters who manage to schedule in a photo shoot before they’re carted off to the lime pits. You know, this is just so old. So tired. It would be old and tired if it ran in a high school newspaper. Shunned at work? Oh, I can’t tell you the number of times around the newspaper office I’ve been told to avoid someone because he was critical of the Shrub Regime. Harassed at school? I’ve heard of such things, yes. Booed off an Oscar stage?
Are you proud that one in six children lives in poverty in America?When anyone pulls out Prager to prove a point, it's a big red sign that this person has fled from any attempt to be moderate or refrain from licking the right-wing wacko boots. Yes, he wants us to go back to snubbing unwed mothers, whom obviously have complete and utter control of the men in their life and can compell them to tie the knot even though it may be akin to a noose. I'm sure Lileks will be Prager's bucket boy as he strolls along the streets painting an "A" on every single Mom in sight.
No. I’m ashamed. I think we should be more like British Columbia, where one in six children lives in poverty. No – wait. Er - next question.
But before we move along, I’d like to echo what Dennis Prager said about this today: child poverty is closely tied to unwed motherhood. You want a poor kid, have one when you’re young and the father’s contribution consists of bimonthly Pamper drops. If Mr. Moore wishes to lead society back to a place where unwed motherhood is frowned upon and men are expected to marry the women they impregnate, I’ll be right there with him.
I don't believe in going back. Lanzmann does. The museum culture that has sprung up around the concentration camps is based on a sense of spiritus loci which I lack. What was done there could be repeated elsewhere, I have argued, conceived as it was by human minds, carried out by human hands, somewhere on earth, the place irrelevant, so why single out the sites that now look like so many others? I don't go back to where I've been. I have escaped. Lanzmann goes back to where he has never been....Lanzmann's Shoah and Its Audience by Ruth K. Angress [metafilter]
Like all survivors I know that Auschwitz, when the Nazis killed Jews there, felt like a crater of the moon, a place only peripherally connected with the human world. It is this "otherness" of the death camps that we have such difficulty conveying. But once the killing stopped these former camps became a piece of our inhabited earth again. When I was a child there in the summer of 1944, a former teacher showed me a blade of grass and said, "You see, even in Auschwitz there is grass, things grow." He meant it as a life-affirming statement, and I understood it as such and in my hard-boiled, childish way I despised him for it. He was a Central European humanist, steeped in a gentler tradition than I, who had lived all of my short conscious life under Hitler and the last 18 months of it in starving, crowded, disease-ridden Theresienstadt. I felt contempt and bitterness that a grownup should tell me as a kind of comfort that here in Auschwitz the grass might survive while we didn't. The teacher was probably killed, for few survived the June 1944 gassing of B Il b, the "family" camp that in its earlier stages figures prominently in the second part of Shoah. There is plenty of grass in Lanzmann's long shots of the camp site today. I look at its technicolored image and I think of that middle-aged man who was trying to tell me something about the resilience of life in general when I felt only naked 12-year old terror for my own particular life. If I could, I would take back my rejection of him by filling in a blurred memory. And so, after a full six hours of film, I begin to understand why Lanzmann cares about place.
In one of Edwards' silver-tongued arguments to the jury on behalf of a girl born with cerebral palsy, he claimed he was channeling the unborn baby girl, Jennifer Campbell, who was speaking to the jurors through him:Here's FMH's take...
"She said at 3, 'I'm fine.' She said at 4, 'I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing OK.' Five, she said, 'I'm having problems.' At 5:30, she said, 'I need out.'"
She's saying, "My lawyer needs a new Jaguar ... "
"She speaks to you through me and I have to tell you right now -- I didn't plan to talk about this -- right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you."
Well, tell her to pipe down, would you? I'm trying to hear the evidence in a malpractice lawsuit.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde on the death of Little Nell, one must have a heart of stone to read this without laughing. What is this guy, a tent-show preacher? An off-the-strip Las Vegas lounge psychic couldn't get away with this routine.
As a physician, I am supposed to be all for "tort reform" and contemptuous of attorneys, but I don't stand with the stereotype of my profession in this respect. Some of my best friends are lawyers... Seriously, though, since a segment of my profession seems to answer only to monetary concerns and not at all to an ethical standard based on the privilege and burden of fulfilling the sacred trust bestowed upon them by their patients, the threat of a lawsuit may be the only effective barrier between them and negligent practices — or legitimately compensating for the damages when nothing stands as a barrier. As this post points out, "Americans despise lawyers, but only until they need a good one on their side." And they can tell the difference between an advocate and a bloodsucker. Perhaps Edwards' background will make for a more truly polarized campaign in which "tort reform" finally gets exposed for the corporate shill that it is and populism finally gets pitted against the Republican pro-corporate agenda in the way it has been painfully obvious it has needed to for a long time....
Edmonds said the judge dismissed her lawsuit without hearing evidence from her lawyers, although the government's lawyers met with Walton at least twice privately. She noted that Walton, the judge, was appointed by President Bush. ''This shows how the separation of power has basically disappeared," Edmonds said in a telephone interview. ''The judge ruled on this case without actually this ever being a case."