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October 17, 2003
I never saw a purple frog

And I never hoped to see one, but if you go to Western India, you can.

"It is an important discovery because it tells us something about the early evolution of advanced frogs that we would not know otherwise because there are no fossil records from this lineage," says Franky Bossuyt, of Free University of Brussels, Belgium.

I didn't even know we had advanced frogs, okay?

Oh, and before you sidetracked today, pop on over and get yourself on the NRA blacklist. Regardless of how you feel about handguns or hunting rifles, I'm assuming you're all sane people who don't think that assault rifles belong in just anyone's hands. I'm a little torn on the manufacturer litigation question, but my bottom line is that I don't approve of blacklists and any time I find one, I'll encourage publicity on the subject.

Bush has gone gallivanting off to Asia where I understand he'll be spending about 45 seconds each in a series of different countries. (Apparently the Secret Service decided they couldn't protect him if he stopped moving for a minute.) I mention this because I'm having some thoughts that I intend to share later.

Molly Ivins is pimping her new book and I encourage everyone to buy a copy. She has a refreshing, irreverent style. Apart from the book, she discusses her surprise at discovering she's a rabid Bush-hater (David Brooks let her in on the secret), and discusses how grown-ups can actually dislike one another's actions and policies without descending to school-yard invective, something the Right really should work on.

On the other hand, Michael Crowley from The New Republic is on CBS's site today discussing how Democrats in Congress feel that Bush 'betrayed' them over the question of war with Iraq..

I strongly urge you to read this one because of the significant weaknesses revealed in the Democratic leadership. They don't know what to do and maybe some of y'all out there with a better grasp on the big picture than Pelosi seems to be displaying could send her a note or something and explain things to her.

She's not the only one confused, either.

It's hard to underestimate how furious congressional Democrats are at the Bush administration. Their rhetoric boils with ad hominem vitriol toward the president and his team. And, because their anger is so personalized, so is their view of Bush's Iraq policy: It's not the national interest on the line; it's Bush's rear end. The problem is his, and Democrats aren't interested in helping him solve it.

I do understand this part of the problem. If they do "the right thing" and put the people of Iraq first, the Democrats will hand Bush a major political win that is going to hurt them in '04.

This isn't one of those situations with easy answers. Woollacott has some thoughts from the perspective of a post-imperialist U.K.

And, speaking of bad decisions, here's another story on Jerry Boykin, the religious extremist of questionable mental stability I mentioned yesterday. (I should quit blogging and just wait 24 hours because the stuff I find interested eventually shows up on Common Dreams or Cursor. Like this story.) Anyhow, he doesn't look any less scary the second time I read about him. And I'm glad to see that there's a growing protest over this guy's undiplomatic lunacy.

Over at Deutsche Welle, there's an Op-Ed piece pointing out the problems with the resolution unanimously adopted by the U.N. Security Council.

In the, well, drat category, I guess I have to quite nuking my vegetables and go back to steaming them or something.

Freidman's column from yesterday's NYT is reprinted in today's IHT, so you have a no-registration-required opportunity to read it.

"Above all," Dean Brodhead [dean of Yale College] told the students, "don't limit your associations to people who agree with you. …

A course of action I recommend to everyone.

On the other hand, William Bennett's defense of one-man-one-woman marriage is so full of logical fallacies that I wouldn't even know where to start if I wanted to deconstruct it. From his assertion that the male-female union is the "natural" one (while he, of course, ignores the clearly documented existence of homosexuality in "nature") to his belief that only human beings feel "purpose" and that's what sets us apart from...everything else in the universe, apparently, to his blithe attempt to describe some behavior as "proper" and other as, well, not, he's wrong in almost everything he says. (Suffice to say that I agree with the people who say that men and women are still going to be interested in each other even if you let goldfish get married, okay?) He does make one, very true statement.

But the nature of man does limit how we may treat him: This we have affirmed from the Declaration of Independence to today's human rights movement. It is why we should not clone humans, why we do not experiment on human subjects and why we oppose sexual subjugation.

That's true. We oppose sexual subjugation, including regressive attempts to subjugate the entire range of human emotional and sexual existence to an archaic standard.

Anyhow, that's enough of him.

To clear my palate, I surf on over to the NYT and see something I never saw before. Kristof Responds where the guy actually answers some reader mail and discusses some of his stories in more depth. Well worth checking out.

Apparently the USofA is not the flavor of the month for the Danish Crown Prince. But then, his fiancé things the Danes are "a little slow" so they're well-matched for diplomacy skills.

This is an odd little story about...well, about a woman who successfully challenged her parents' will on the grounds of sexual discrimination.

More seriously, while I've naturally heard of the Kobe Bryant rape charge, I never thought of it, or heard anyone refer to it even tangentially as a "Black man accused of raping a White woman" situation (I did not, in fact, know or think to wonder about the ethnic background of the woman making the charge), but the Black Commentator pretty much leads with that concept. Am I unnaturally color-blind or is there an unspoken subtext in the news coverage that I'm overlooking?

Next up, "religion and world societies" as we read the CSMonitor's brief column, "What Binds Diverse Peoples" Let me start by saying that I distrust their conclusions, not because I don't think the poll was properly conducted, I have no way of knowing their methodology, but because of statements like this:

A majority in all seven countries (except Korean Buddhists) thinks a more religious society would "greatly or somewhat help their country."

I'm sorry, but "greatly" and "somewhat" are nothing like the same response and it's bogus to categorize them as the same or nearly the same. Much depends upon the range of answers the polled population had to choose from.

Were there three (not at all / somewhat / greatly)?

Or five (not at all / a little bit / neither hurt nor help / somewhat / greatly)?

Where did "somewhat" fall on the scale? (not at all/ maybe a little bit / somewhat / probably would help / greatly help)

As you can see even from the brief illustration I've given here, the "positive to religion" aspect of the "somewhat" category depends very largely on exactly how many and what kind of choices are available.

I have an instinct to distrust any poll where I'm not allowed to see an exact and full question/answer list.

Just for fun, read In a Nutshell or a Coconut Shell?

(These entries are really too long, aren't they? The kind people at Sekmori (link to the left) who designed the site said I should "hide" the bulk of the entry behind a "more" link because it would make the page look tidier, but I'd hate to give the impression my early-morning thoughts are tidier than they actually are.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:16 AM


No, no. no! Don't make the posts shorter or hide them! All blogs (or at least several) are different but yours is for people who like to read. It is also a "classical" blog in the sense that it logs what you have read or seen and adds your comments and thinking to it. No, we don't need any more Instaprofessors!

Also you paraphrase Ogden Nash just like I do You are my favorite!

Posted by: Bengt at October 17, 2003 11:12 AM

That's a great link!

I always enjoy your English-language blog and just wish you'd update it more often so that I'd know what events or ideas you're currently thinking about!

(I always thought I was just being lazy...lots of links and my own random thoughts about them. And now I find that I'm a Classical Blogger. I like it.)

Posted by: Anne at October 17, 2003 12:15 PM