"All European nations would view a widening of the conflict with great scepticism, and that is putting it diplomatically," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told the Bundestag on Wednesday. It would be "irresponsible to look for new targets."In an interview with the BBC today, Colin Powell suggested he understood the problems. But can Powell hold back the hawks? I doubt it.
Friday, November 30, 2001
Thursday, November 29, 2001
"Nazi murderers were given a trial at Nuremberg because US President Truman made a remarkable decision. 'Undiscriminating executions or punishments,' he said, 'without definite findings of guilt fairly arrived at, would not fit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride.' No one should be surprised that Mr Bush – a small-time Texas Governor-Executioner – should fail to understand the morality of a statesman in the White House.It is unlikely that any war crimes tribunal will ever hear about the outrages in Afghanistan. This is first because the victors are rarely required to face justice, second because the US, after all, does not believe anyone else is worthy of trying Americans, and the junior Minister at the British Foreign Office, Peter Hain, has already ruled out an inquiry because "nasty things happen in war." This last is rather odd as Minister Hain personally authored a press release in August of this year in which he paraded Britain's willingness to encourage and support the International Criminal Court in its work against war crimes. I guess this doesn't count when the SAS is involved.
The Afghani leaders must assume that no financial assistance of any type will be forthcoming from the Coalition, whatever the promises made. Planning for anything else is to throw the dice against all the historical odds.
"Dr Rosenberg [a fisheries scientist at the University of New Hampshire] says that many countries assume that, as long as the overall picture remains healthy, fisheries management is a problem for the long term. As long as global volumes are rising or stable, it seems reasonable to conclude that the exhaustion of local fishing grounds has been balanced by the opening of new grounds farther afield. The new research suggests that this is wrong."European regulators recognize the problem ... .
"Our fleet is still much too large for the available resources and we are constantly being criticised in international fora for its overcapacity and the possible compounding effects of our aid schemes. Courageous measures are needed. In view of the critical situation of several important stocks I feel that no time should be wasted", Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said."Unfortunately, they seem unable to do anything about it. The recent Fisheries Council meeting "could not reach an agreement."
As Western societies move away from the meat-based diets of our recent ancestors -- for spiritual reasons, or for fear of chemical contamination -- fish can become an ever more important source of food. Equally important, a revival of the coastal fleets will in many countries revive otherwise moribund regions, improving the lives of millions of people and enhancing the overall economy. Stock depletion should become everyone's concern.
"Representatives of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen, four of the six Arab member states, announced that they would not be bound by the Assembly's decision and walked determinedly out of the Assembly Hall at Flushing Meadow. The Egyptian and Lebanese delegates were silent but walked out, too."And so it began. From this position of distance, we can survey the hundreds of thousands of dead, the millions upon millions of impoverished refugees, the ethnic cleansing, and the terrifying degree to which this issue has affected the world's equilibrium for half a century. We can see the results of that decision in 1947, and we can say loudly and unquestionably that the decision was plain and simple wrong.
Wednesday, November 28, 2001
"Fifty years ago, the KMT parachuted into Taiwan," said the pro-DPP Taipei Times in a scornful November 17 editorial. "The fact that this alien regime managed to maintain its rule for so long is more miraculous than Taiwan's oft-touted economic miracle. Its regime was a prime example of rule-by-force."However, there is no doubt that this will complicate the already tangled web of emotion, trade and ego that binds together Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. This is an area of the world where the international community faces the potential for grave dangers in the near future (the Koreas, Taiwan and China) and it will be valuable for us all to take more than a pasing interest in their affairs.
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Monday, November 26, 2001
" ... on the day At Home filed for Chapter 11, AT&T unveiled a deal to buy the company's assets for $307 million--without staging an auction that might have lured a higher bidder. 'They negotiated this deal behind our backs,' says Donald Morgan of investment firm MacKay Shields, who represents At Home's bondholders. They have asked the bankruptcy court in San Francisco to reject the paltry offer, and accused AT&T of 'unsavory shenanigans' that stripped At Home of value. Small shareholders feel just as hosed. 'This is an egregious and grievous manipulation. These people are worse than any crook sticking up a convenience store,' snipes Don E. Doby Jr., a sports marketing agent in Charlotte, N.C. He bought 1,000 At Home shares at $44 in 1999, has sold half of them since, but is still down $35,000.It is somehow comforting to get such a clear indication that the Robber Barons still rule the world.
"In the end, Menem's strong pro-market rhetoric simply meant that the losers in the domestic market -- the smaller firms that lacked the affordable credit and technical know-how to survive the competition -- had to bite the bullet. For the winners, the state was still there to lend a helping hand by granting access to lucrative contracts and assets and offering generous concessions with high investment returns."And, once again, we read how the idea wasn't wrong, merely that the program managers weren't "tough" enough and that's why it failed ("the Argentine experiment does not reflect badly on liberalization, privatization, or the rest of the market package; rather, it offers evidence of another failure to pursue adequately tough change".)
Of course, the developers and proponents of these schemes (including the academics who examine the failures) cannot contemplate the idea that market economics (and the consumerist-capitalist system that it is designed to support are plain and simple wrong and bad for a people's health. Should that splinter of thought ever slip through into their minds, they would have to face the fact that the system only works through bribery (tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and companies), illegality (secret subsidies for exports) and despair (threatening the masses with unemployment and reduced social welfare supports).
In Palestine this morning, a Palestinian militant was killed in military action in the Gaza Strip. From September 11th until now (2:30pm PST November 25), the total number of Palestinians killed is 162. In the same period, 28 Israelis were killed.
"If they fund a terrorist, they're a terrorist. If they house terrorists, they're terrorists. I mean, I can't make it any more clear... to other nations around the world. If they develop weapons of mass destruction that will be used to terrorize nations, they will be held accountable," the president said.Once again, we are left to assume that Israel with its nuclear arsenal is exempt from this accountability.
Sunday, November 25, 2001
Saturday, November 24, 2001
Friday, November 23, 2001
"Though the exact figures are not clear, workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross in Mazar-i-Sharif said at least 250 Pakistani fighters had been killed in the school, many because of American bombardment.War is always brutal. When you can wage war 30,000 feet away from your unarmed enemy, then brutality can reign supreme.
The Pentagon's decision to bomb the large compound was supported by the Uzbek warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostam, but opposed by other local generals, who argued it would be more humane to allow the fighters to surrender."
These glorious animals, so close to us genetically, are in terrible danger. Contact the Orangutan Foundation to see what YOU can do to help!
... It is important to take these small symbolic steps against the corporate beast; it develops our muscles for the really bruising fights ahead. Today I brought no money with me to work, so nothing can I buy.
In Gaza, the Israeli Army shot to death a 15-year old Palestinian boy this morning. It now seems likely that the 5 Palestinian children killed yesterday died as a result of an Israeli terrorist booby-trap. From September 11th until now (9:00am PST November 23), the total number of Palestinians killed is 154. In the same period, 27 Israelis were killed.
Thursday, November 22, 2001
The extreme right takes the same material, the same history, agrees that the speech was "breathtakingly" banal, that the homilies have been heard "a thousand times before," and yet can still come out swinging against Powell for asking Israel to accept "unsafe" and "stupid" policies.
Ain't diversity a wonderful thing?
"The results have been devastating. Half a million jobs have been lost since 1993. Wages for the poorest 40 per cent have dropped by 21 per cent. Poor areas have seen their water costs go up by 55 per cent, electricity by as much as 400 per cent. Many have resorted to drinking polluted water, leading to a cholera outbreak that infected 100,000 people. In Soweto, 20,000 homes have their electricity cut off each month. And the [foreign] investment? They're still waiting."A new "anti-apartheid" movement is beginning in South Africa's shanty towns to resist this devastation; will the West's new "anti-terror" laws forbid us to help?
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
"William S. Dillingham, senior economist with the state Employment Security Department said Seattle's educated population may make the city somewhat less vulnerable to the current economic downturn. 'Having a more educated work force makes it much more resilient and makes the labor force much more employable,' he said.Surely this is clear evidence of the value of education to society as a whole, a value that should be recognized by making all post-secondary education free, with entry governed by merit alone. It is hard for me to believe that even the most die-hard capitalist could not recognize the profit that would be generated from such an investment.
"The government, B.C.'s largest employer, currently has 35,000 full-time equivalent positions. Starting in January, the government plans to cut 23 to 33 per cent of those jobs, ranging from 8,050 to 11,550 positions ... 'It is going to hurt individuals, there's no question about that,' Finance Minister Gary Collins said Tuesday. '... It's not going to, in the short term, spur the economy'."No shit, Sherlock! Unless, perhaps, you own shares in Kraft Dinner or thrift stores or Food Banks.
Further, the article avoids the problem of definition, assuming that anyone identified by the US -- and presumably the US alone -- as a terrorist is a terrorist regardless of whether or not other people, other nations, may have a different interpretation of what these people are doing.
In Mr Sprinzak's scheme, Pax America means that America is by definition always right, and anyone who thinks otherwise could -- and should -- be subject to "pre-emptive military strikes." What a horrible stinking world that would be.
[Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for the link]
"[T]he second Bush administration has modified [the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force] in favor of innovative tactics that quickly exploit enemy weaknesses with ruthless bombardment from the air under a doctrine in which the use of force is unrestrained by borders or allies. Where Mr. Bush now takes this doctrine is an open question, but he has painted his mission broadly across the world."Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post makes it almost a joke: "the commentators already seem bored with Afghanistan." It is not only "terrorists" who should be concerned. Pax According to America comes loaded with a mailed fist for all of us.
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
" ... one hypothesis is that small blood vessels to the skin are damaged, whether by cholesterol or smoking, making you more wrinkled and older looking."Sins of consumption and of pride are equally exempt it appears; "The study found that looking older was not related to alcohol consumption, or one's level of attainment at work."
(NOT the early risers!)
"One recent development in recruiting is shortwave radio. A shortwave receiver is far cheaper than a computer, and hate-filled messages (some advocating violence) now are heard on 1,100 hours of broadcasting a month across the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center ... the messages of Pierce of the National Alliance, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and other right-wing extremists have been broadcast from Iran and Iraq."The article ends by suggesting the possibility that a Middle Eastern anti-Israel group may have supplied anthrax to US-based militants. Strange and disturbing bedfellows indeed.
"If the medical authorities say it is worthwhile and they can be controlled in a way that people are happy with, then clearly from ACPO's perspective they would support it, because it would reduce the tensions in the community and the erosion of the community."With the police on side, operational gravity is now disposed to follow their lead. One can only hope the politicians wake up and smell the coffee real soon.
Monday, November 19, 2001
"Ever since hostilities broke out between Israelis and Palestinians more than a year ago, Fatah has been more of an opposition party than a bastion of support for the PA. Fatah leaders have struck this stance in order not to pay a political price for the perceived failings of the PA's policy of negotiation."More and more it seems to me that Arafat is the Moses who must now step down for his people to receive their Promised Land.
"For the US, the whole country of Afghanistan is collateral damage. Or, to put it another way, a little hors d'oeuvre before they move on to the next course - Somalia, Yemen or, most worryingly of all, Iraq? The latter is already being openly touted in Washington as a possibility for the "second stage" and tension is growing in the Gulf region. Meanwhile, as far as the US is concerned, the UK with its nation-building agenda, the UN and everyone else is welcome to spend their soldiers' lives on the onerous task of clearing up the mess the US bombing has left behind, freeing it to concentrate on the next task"The wreckage of the future for Afghanistan is already in place as this perceptive piece from the New York Times attests in some detail. As I mentioned on Saturday, soon is the time the body bags will begin to fly for an American-inspired mission, and yet by then the Americans themselves will probably be at 30,000 feet, safe above another country bombing it to shreds in the name of freedom.
Sunday, November 18, 2001
"Self-examination, it swiftly transpires, is not her strongpoint. 'She simply can't talk about herself,' says Ted Cockle, her product manager at Sony's UK headquarters in London. 'She can't even look you in the eye when she meets you. And she's bonkers, so she can be very unpredictable. But she comes alive when you put her on a stage'."Ain't that the truth!
In earlier times, an overwhelmingly odd figure like Macy Gray may have ended up in the Freak Show, a staple of US travelling carnie culture for a long time. One of the finest exponents in such a circumstance was the Human Blockhead, Melvin Burkhart, who hammered nails up his nose for a living.
"Mr. Burkhart, who lived in Riverview, Fla., was one of the last of the old-time sideshow performers clustered around the Tampa area. Percilla the Monkey Girl died in February, and Jeanie Tomaini, the Half Girl, died in 1999. James Taylor, publisher of the journal Shocked and Amazed, which chronicles sideshow history, also listed the Lobster Boy, the Ossified Lady and a man famed for boxing gorillas, all of whom have died in the last decade."
Saturday, November 17, 2001
A sample: Camped outside of Kabul, there are contingents of Hazara peoples attempting to protect their interests, "equipped with weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, which are far more than they need for a light security role." (BBC)The LA Times has a well-written summary of the present difficulties in the US position. By unleashing a focused thrust to overthrow the Taliban regime, the US chose to ignore the brutal realities of armed ethnic politics. By choosing to fight at 30,000 feet, the US lost its best chance to influence events on the ground.
It is now that the bloody business begins, when body bags will start winging their way west. For me the interest will be in seeing how many US forces are committed to the "peacekeeping" operations, or whether the casualties to come will be confined to Brits and French and Germans.
Friday, November 16, 2001
"... the tanking economy has resulted in a marked drop in business, as clients -- just as the general public -- cut back on spending and struggle with post-traumatic."
Thursday, November 15, 2001
”From 1990 to 1997, 10,482 warheads were disassembled at Pantex, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Until 1997 the company dismantled slightly over 1,000 a year; but accidents and other delays that year, the last for which numbers are available, cut the figure in half.”An interesting insight into an important but rarely discussed part of the disarmament process.
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
"Jose’s cafe has its share of regulars, from a shoemaker down the street who comes in every few hours for a couple of minutes each day, never taking off his apron, to the older gentleman, a seller of roasted chestnuts on the street fifty yards away, who may or may not be originally from a Baltic state."It is a while since I have been in Paris, but I am happy to report that cafe society on Commercial Drive in Vancouver is remarkably similar.
[Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for the link]
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
"Criminal groups running drugs and diamonds into the United States have for years smuggled contraband by stuffing it into condoms and having a "mule" swallow the load, or by having it implanted surgically or rectally. The same technique can be used to smuggle plastic explosives like Semtex past security at an airport."I guess we won't spend the billions necessary to deal with the causes of "terrorism" until we have wasted billions more on inadequate "security."
"It's purely partisan politics," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., one of the leaders of the bill blockade. "Be truthful about it. They don't want conservative judges on the court" ... Stop whining, the Dems say -- when President Clinton left office after eight years, 67 of his judicial nominees had never had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee."Which is more partisan -- the appointing of extreme justices, or the complaining about the appointments? Don't pick controversial appointees, and there won't be so many delays!
"So it’s no surprise that poor countries are this round’s strongest opponents. Before they agree to drastically expand the reach of the WTO, many are asking rich countries to make good on their promises from the last round."Klein's close is depressingly accurate: "Trade negotiations are all about power and opportunity, and for Doha’s Kamikaze Capitalists, terrorism is just another opportunity to leverage. Perhaps their motto can be: What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. Much stronger."
Monday, November 12, 2001
'"Giving a tobacco company exclusive rights to lung cancer vaccines is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank,' said Helen Wallace, deputy director of GeneWatch UK, which uncovered the deals ... Derek Yach, director of the non-communicable diseases cluster at the World Health Organisation, said: '... The last company that should control the rights to a lung cancer vaccine is one that makes huge profits from products that cause the disease'."
Meanwhile, in Nepal, the royal family has lost another Princess, this time in a helicopter crash. After the massacre earlier this year, the Nepalese royal family can hardly afford to lose more members. At this rate the Maoist militants won't have to dissolve the monarchy when it takes power: there won't be any left!
In Palestine during the past 24 hours, an Israeli security guard and a Palestinian militant were killed in separate military incidents at Kfar Hess. From September 11th until now (6:00am PST November 12), the total number of Palestinians killed is 141. In the same period, 27 Israelis were killed.
Sunday, November 11, 2001
"Last year, the Department of State's omnibus human rights report harshly criticized Uzbekistan, describing it as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights" whose already poor human rights record only worsened as the government "continued to commit numerous serious abuses." The country was listed along with China and Sudan as having imposed "severe restrictions" on press freedoms. It was cited along with Algeria, Sierra Leone and Cameroon for the "widespread" use of torture by security officials."With allies like these, why do we need enemies?
Somehow it seems fitting that on the day we celebrate the passing of one of our icons, we should also discuss the re-branding of another. Mick Jagger needs a makeover, it seems. Virgin Records is using the release of his solo album "Goddess In The Doorway", to remake Jagger in the image of Britney Spears for the "Y Generation."
"But many in the industry are sceptical that the singer can find new teenage fans. 'I see no wisdom in Virgin's internet strategy of trying to interest Britney Spears fans,' said Craig Marks, music editor of the US magazine Blender . 'It seems impossible, if not ridiculous.' The first problem, Marks said, would be to convince Spears fans that Jagger wrote 'Satisfaction', a song she covered on her last record. 'He'd have to cover Britney Spears's cover.' "
Saturday, November 10, 2001
Moskos: "It is time to construct a new form of American conscription that will restore the citizen soldier, properly compensate the career force, and allow other essential security work to be done at a reasonable cost to the nation."I suspect that while many on the Republican side of the aisle would like to bring back conscription, the Bush wing will take the middle ground and adopt the Third Way creed of extended voluntarism.
Korb: "The all-volunteer force has given us the most professional and competent military in our history. Even in the booming economy of the 1990s, it managed to attract and retain high-quality people."
Friday, November 09, 2001
Thursday, November 08, 2001
"The handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main source of dispute, with Downing Street and the Foreign Office worried that dithering in Washington in its handling of the peace process risks alienating Arab opinion, which is seen as crucial in the coalition against terrorism ... The British government is also intent on opposing the expansion of the war beyond Afghanistan and is horrified at elements within the Pentagon pushing for an all-out assault on Iraq."If the Brits really do oppose turning the Coalition onto Iraq, Bloodthirsty Blair will have been a late convert to that position. In the past he has parrotted Dubya's "hit them wherever they are" rhetoric.
Talking of tonight's exercise in national hypnotism, is it just me, or does Dubya really look more and more like Alfred E. Newman each time he makes an address to the nation?
A columnist named Joan Burnie wrote in The Scottish Daily Record last March that "it is time someone doused her in strong disinfectant and placed her in permanent quarantine so she can cease contaminating the nation."She is so unpopular, in fact, that she is "assigned a Special Branch officer by Scotland Yard. Her car is inspected for bombs every morning. She has to have her mail scanned." Hmmmmm, and you thought her lamb chops cooked in bacon fat were bad for you!
Wednesday, November 07, 2001
"In Ciudad del Este on the Paraguayan side of the Parana River, the commercial district is a mosaic of businesses owned mostly by Arab merchants. International and regional intelligence sources say those businesses and a mosque in the city serve as a revolving door for Islamic extremists ... They include Egypt's Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and Lebanese Hezbollah, both identified by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations linked to Osama bin Laden; and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which has been linked to Iran's Imad Mughniyah, who is on the United States' list of most wanted terrorists."In July, 2000, Paraguayan sources were reporting that there were 460 operatives in the region for the Hezbollah organization alone. Bet you a dollar there'll be some military action in that area soon.
I gave up my last car in 1991 and have used public transport virtually every day since then. Sure, I’ve waited in the rain longer than I should have on a few occasions; sure, I’ve met one or two surly bus drivers. But, I have to tell you, this system has never yet let me down, has always found a way to get me from A to B, and all for less than two bucks a throw. The addition of cross-town express bus service (99 east-west, and 98 north-south) has been brilliantly successful in my opinion. These routes, combined with Sky Train (including its soon-to-be-completed Millennium Line), Sea Bus, and the suburban express services (123 bus, West Coast Express rapid rail link, etc.) form the backbone of an effective transportation network for Greater Vancouver.
I am convinced that many improvements could me made, in service, in equipment, in management (the bus strike this summer was a disaster, for example). But what we have now is so much better than most people have in their cities that we should cherish and protect what we have before the Liberal Government tries to give it all away in a grab for ready cash.
Tuesday, November 06, 2001
"I propose that Blair and Bush take Kalashnikovs and come to a specified place where Mullah Omar will also appear with a Kalashnikov. Then we will determine who runs," he challenged.Maybe Blair can discuss this interesting winner-take-all offer when he meets with the Dubya tomorrow.
In marketing news, the Topps trading card company have not been slow to generate revenues on the back of Dubya Dubya Three.
"Kids need to understand that the President (and his team) will keep them safe and that evil-doers will be punished. Our cards deliver the details in a medium with which they are familiar and comfortable."Perhaps there will be another set giving some other opinions. Yeah, right.
[thanks to memepool for this one]
Why do men still tip their barbers? I'm talking about the old fashioned men-only "No Styles" barber who still exists on most Main Streets in North America. Most of them are independent businessmen, who own their own shops, no matter how small or humble, and yet, by tipping them in addition to their listed charges, we treat them like waiters or porters or taxicab drivers. I do it myself: my barber charges me $10 and I always add a dollar. I guess it is the personal nature of the service involved. Still, I think it strange.
Noam speaks! The Chomsky gave a speech in Delhi yesterday "at a surprisingly large non-religious anti-war congregation." He sharply criticised the Indian government for its human rights record in Kashmir.
"Earlier, Chomsky told a gathering including Defence Minister George Fernandes and Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, that the United States was a leading terrorist country which borrowed its anti-terrorism manual from the Nazis."Never one to sit on the fence is old Noam.
"It's not the Lutheran church where I grew up," says Abby Elliott. "It's never boring or fearful or full of guilt."I certainly don't knock this; I have dear dear friends who are members of one or another of the various Religious Science congregations. They believe, and I accept, that they are better people for so belonging.
" ... whatever the material contribution of successive Israeli governments to the collapse of the Oslo framework or Israel's moral and legal responsibility for its own behavior since autumn 2000, Arafat is guilty of strategic misjudgment, with consequences for the Palestinians of potentially historic proportions."Arafat may join the list of leaders, starting with Moses, who brought their people to the Promised land, only to be discarded themeselves at the gates.
Monday, November 05, 2001
"The failure of the October 20 raid prompted senior British officers, to emphasise the importance of good intelligence. They made it clear they did not yet have it, and the postmortem following the raid has delayed repeat operations."Rumsfield and Bush (and all the media outlets that bought into that grainy parachuting footage) have been telling us that the raid was a wonderful success. With the deep-sixing of information for which this Administration is already reknown, it is going to be a while before we get an acceptable "official history."
"The recent enforcement is indicative that we have not lost our priorities in other areas since Sept. 11," said Susan Dryden, a department spokeswoman.I know I'll sleep more soundly in my bed tonight.
Diabetes Watch: Scientists have discovered a possible link between Vitamin D deficiency and the occurence of Type 1 diabetes. There is an interesting thought that increased concern over UV from the sun -- leading to use of stronger sunscreens on children and thus decreased exposure to our largest source of vitamin D -- may have something to do with this. Also: A protein from certain fat cells has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in diabetic mice. This could be of valuable assistance in treatments for Type 2 diabetics.
Sunday, November 04, 2001
In Israel today, two Israeli civilians were killed. The Palestinian militant involved was also killed. From September 11th until now (9:30pm PST November 4), the total number of Palestinians killed is 132. In the same period, 24 Israelis were killed.
While the Veep hides out in a "secure location," the Second Lady is showing her stuff at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.
“The connection between the interpretation of freedom and the agenda of political action since the 1960s is demonstrable. The new politics of identity on such diverse issues as gender, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and multiculturalism has aimed at social transformation based upon the freedom to form new patterns of self and group identification.”A long description of the third concept in action today follows. In conclusion, Sidorsky says: “The third concept of liberty represents a formulation of the perennial ideal of freedom that has special bearing in the peculiar circumstances of our own age. In the new international context, after the rigidities of the long struggle between two antagonistic power blocs, there has been increased room for change in the formerly fixed boundaries of national and ethnic self-identification. In a period of global economic transformation with rapid advances in information technology, there has been greater space for individual self-definition. Yet whether that torch of liberty will function as a guiding light or as a burning sun will depend upon the ways in which its application is carried out with an awareness of the bonds of nature, the burdens of history, and the plurality of values that are implicit in the achievement of a free society.”
"According to a commission set up under the auspices of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), there is not a single population of lions in West or Central Africa that is large enough to be viable."
"The escalation strategy is now clear, particularly after Dubya’s October 11 prime-time press conference: We will expand military strikes against other countries ad seriatim. There is no question that Iraq is next on the list. The new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, let slip on Meet the Press that we are selecting targets in Iraq. And when Dubya went out of his way to publicly praise Paul Wolfowitz, the Pentagon’s No. 2 and its most fervent hawk on Iraq, his goal became obvious."Ireland closes with a deeply negative view: "The likelihood of Bush being granted sweeping powers will measurably increase when Republicans almost certainly retake both houses of Congress next year during a deepening war with more U.S. casualties. Meanwhile, the rush to shred our civil liberties is unimpeded ... At this point, it is hard to see a way out of the crisis the long war is creating for our democracy. One is reminded of the old Russian proverb: An optimist is only a pessimist who has not yet heard the bad news."
"I was on the John Edward show. He even had a multiple guess "hit" on me that was featured on the show. However, it was edited so that my answer to another question was edited in after one of his questions. In other words, his question and my answer were deliberately mismatched."Psychics, televangelists and Ronco infomercials make television work for them. [Note: the link to the article takes you to the Skeptic's front page. Click on the story: "Deconstructing The Dead"]
Saturday, November 03, 2001
"Sotheby’s will not forget his $2.5 million purchase of Roy Lichtenstein’s painting, “I’m sorry”, with an American Express card. Mr Broad gave most of the 2.5 million Frequent Flyer miles to art students in Los Angeles. When asked, he admits that he used the card because it gave him extra time to pay."
And speaking of art, the LA Times has a great review of where to find the happening art galleries in Los Angeles. I look forward to visiting Chinatown and Echo Park next time I'm down in Southern California.
I have found an excellent essay by Stanley Hoffman in the American Prospect magazine. It is one in a number of "Why Don't They Like Us" pieces written by commentators -- thoughtful and otherwise -- since September 11th. Hoffman goes a long way to explaining the kind of political anti-Americanism that I am familiar with; and his analysis of the Middle East problem works well. His criticism is limited, though, because he omits the economic and cultural aspects of American hegemony which, I would assert, are more important day-to-day in formenting popular anti-Americanism around the globe (other than in the Middle East) than are geo-political moves.
Friday, November 02, 2001
An Israeli was killed near Ramallah today. From September 11th until now (9:00pm PST November 2), the total number of Palestinians killed is 131. In the same period, 22 Israelis were killed.
"What was telling about the Franzen-Winfrey contretemps was the five-alarm outrage of Manhattan’s literary publishing community. Faced with a choice—reprimanding arguably their brightest star in years or alienating a woman who spends many of her shows in the company of a bald-pated schmaltzateer named Dr. Phil—judgment was swift. New York publishing chose Oprah."I sure am ambiguous about all this. By the way, my wife -- who has had extensive experience with Parkinson's in her own family -- is currently reading the book, declaring it the finest depiction of the disease and its affect on families that she has ever read.
"I just don't see what the big deal is ... I mean, what if I was wearing an elbow costume? That's part of the body. Would they suspend me then?"After winning first prize in the costume contest from his peers, the vagina wearer was suspended from school.
"The heir to the throne, Crown Prince Tupuotoa, is apparently battling with his sister, Princess Pilolevu Tuita, for control."Trouble in paradise, it seems. Perhaps we should send in Colin Powell or the CIA to sort things out for them.
In Palestine yesterday, the Israeli Army assassinated two Palestinian militants. From September 11th until now (5:00am PST November 2), the total number of Palestinians killed is 131. In the same period, 21 Israelis were killed.
Thursday, November 01, 2001
"Respectable society doesn't really care ... They say it's just boxing, and boxing has always been dirty. Respectable society doesn't care because almost all the fighters are black or Latino. Boxing is the sport of the underclass. Even the Russians are poor. If a golfer or baseball player were getting cheated and injured like this, there would be televised Congressional hearings."It is hard to disagree with Newfield's suggested course of action. "Boxing has to be changed, even though there is no lobby for fighters and no constituency for reform. It is the moral thing to do. I know Congress has more serious and universal priorities--the war on terrorism, the economy, the minimum wage, campaign finance reform, preventing the confirmation of right-wing judges and preserving the environment. I know it's difficult to legislate more regulation in an era of deregulation. But attention must be paid, the effort must be made. The fighters are powerless workers of color, waiting for the arrival of their Cesar Chavez, their A. Philip Randolph. They need representation, rights and a collective voice."
"A 2,000lb bomb ... no matter where you drop it, is a significant emotional event for anyone within a square mile".As the author says, this is a tactic being resorted to by "increasingly desperate military planners." Can the draft be far behind?
"[The CEO of Goodwill] said he researched the matter and fired Italie after receiving legal advice from lawyers he knows. He said he realizes he can't fire someone based on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, but that firing someone for political views is legal."Land of the free and home of the (defunct?) First Amendment.
"By and large, Popeye is a nostalgic figure at this point, one that doesn't appeal to people under 20," lawyer Gilbert Brooks told regulators.The commission voted 5-0 to let New Jersey casinos offer the game.
The centenary of the birth of the great Richard Rodgers -- My Funny Valentine, My Romance, Where or When, With a Song in My Heart and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, to name a few -- is coming up next year. USA Today gets in early with this overview of the composer's life and work.
What do you think it would be like to have a roommate who was a call girl? Dara Colwell has produced a well-written piece that explores this issue with care and sensitivity.
"You know you could do it," the South African said to me in her clipped speech. "All it takes is the first time." Toni nodded, adding, "You think you're not going to go there, you're not going to cross that line, but once you have sex for money, you've changed. You can do it."[thanks to AlterNet for the link]