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October 31, 2003
Like Lemmings Over A Cliff

Why do lemmings thrown themselves suicidally over cliffs? Well, like many other stories "everyone knows" it turns out this is a myth.

Ah, well. Let's move on.

Reading Emma on Bush's flightsuit-clad PR trick, I find myself whining, why didn't I write that?

The speech was basically one of the most overripe displays of vainglory ever uttered by a president.

Of all the easy ways to get good PR, it seems that someone in the White House would realize that attending soldiers' funerals, even just one or two of them, is one of the easiest. It's also, I think, a necessary and fitting gesture of respect and honor for the troops sent into a hard, long battle. Too bad the Bush Administration doesn't seem to agree. To be fair, the article doesn't mention how many times, historically, Presidents have made such a gesture but that doesn't change my perception that what the Administration is most concerned with is trying to pretend that "Bush" and "dead soldiers" aren't in any way connected.

I also think that the media blackout on the returning bodies is a disgrace. It's precisely that sort of behavior that gives rise to the comparisons to Vietnam. (No, this is not another Vietnam. Not right now. But parallel Administration behaviors do tend to bring up old memories.)

In the absence of any, you know, actual terrorists, Ashcroft is still persecuting environmentalists. It's a pity that with all of that money he hasn't been able to find any real criminals to justify either his appointment or the formation of the Big Brother Homeland Security agency.

Matt Yglesias on the difference between Conservatives and Liberals:

Roughly speaking, conservatives think more people should be sent to jail for longer periods of time, while liberals believe crime can more effectively be controlled by programs aimed at prevention and rehabilitation.

(He goes on to make a good case for both perspectives.)

By the way, the military is about to hold its first terrorism trial. I doubt we'll be allowed to hear any of the details.

Are things improving in Argentina? I've been following the story of the trials they've been having and there's a very interesting situation developing down there.

I finally found a story about the Zimbabwe doctors' strike today.

To everyone's surprise (not), it seems that those buying up Iraq's assets may find themselves in international legal trouble. (It wouldn't happen to a nicer bunch of thieving profiteers.)

There's a blatant bias in this article about international funding for 'reconstruction' in Iraq, but there's also some food for thought.

There's less bias, and even more food for thought in the idea of making defense contractors and profiting investors fight the wars they support so eagerly.

And, hey, annoy a Conservative. Link to and read the excerpts of the Clinton interview available on-line. I'm going to buy the magazine so I can read it all.

Here's a view of a different kind of Muslim society. And here's a view of a war over dress code and what it says about a country and a culture.

I heard a long piece on NPR a couple of weeks ago about the psychological stresses of combat and the effects on soldiers long after the bullets stop flying. It included some history of the years-long fight to get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recognized as a real mental health issue. Today, supposedly, the military is on the lookout for overstressed soldiers and is implementing a help system that anyone (unless they want a promotion some day) can use. It's a pity that not everyone in the military was told that policy had changed, isn't it?

While we're watching out for Human Rights around the world, let us not forget the abuses that happen inside our own borders. In any sane world, someone would have gone to court to stop that man by now. That's he's doing it is offensive enough. Gloating is....it makes me sick.

For a little Friday Fun, go read QuickTakes.

Your government at work News Item: Bush administration awards no-bid Iraq contracts to Halliburton. News Item: Halliburton reports 400 percent increase in profits. The system works.
Posted by AnneZook at 09:11 AM


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