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October 17, 2003
If you're feeling intellectual

Or if you might want to improve the shining hours of the upcoming weekend with a bit of exercise for your brain, I recommend any of the following:

Grotesque Inequality

There is something profoundly wrong with a world in which the 400 highest income earners in the United States make as much money in a year as the entire population of 20 African nations -- more than 300 million people.

Geneva accord gives a glimmer of hope

Some key Palestinians and Israelis have managed to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the lethargic Bush administration, which many here believed has decided to "disengage" from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, when they disclosed a seemingly far-reaching draft peace agreement.

Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and Iraq

Are the ideas of the conservative political philosopher Leo Strauss a shaping influence on the Bush administration’s world outlook? Danny Postel interviews Shadia Drury – a leading scholarly critic of Strauss – and asks her about the connection between Plato’s dialogues, secrets and lies, and the United States-led war in Iraq.

Brooks No Argument

A closer look at the Times' newest columnist

House Rules

This week, in the face of mounting domestic and international heat, the House of Saud promised to allow elections for local councils in Saudi Arabia's 14 municipalities. If they take place as planned next year (and you never know), the elections will be the first in the kingdom's history.

But today, just for fun, run over and read Mark. Slap A Condom On The Vatican
They say condoms kill. Meanwhile, millions die of AIDS. Can the Catholic Church be stopped?

It quietly apologizes to the victims while in the same breath slaps homosexuality and pedophilia as unforgivable sins, even as countless pairs of young male feet shuffle from bed to bed after lights-out at the local seminary. Apparently, there is no Latin root for "staggering hypocrisy."

I know, I know, you're tired of hearing it, but you really should subscribe to the Morning Fix. You get stuff they don't put on the official site.

Don't use your work e-mail, though. Even the Fix's Disclaimer could get you into trouble.

== Disclaimer == Because if you don't do it no one else will. Because if you do do it someone else won't. Because there is nothing truly preventing you from saturating yourself in the hot steamy goodness of why the hell not. Please please please, knock it off with the spitting. If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations. No such thing as random coincidence. No such thing as small change. No such thing as too much lubricant.

All contents, except the swearing and the random blasphemy, (tm) (c) 2003 SF Gate

Anyhow, if you don't subscribe, you'll never get to read the Mullet Haiku and I ain't telling you what today's is, okay?

(P.S. Read this article on computer/human interaction in the healthcare world just because it's interesting.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:49 PM | Comments (2)
Who's talking now?

Over at Amptoons there's a good debate on "fat versus unhealthy" going on. I'm about to infuriate someone, I'm sure, by chiming in with my usual opinions.

[removed – 500 words that would not have added to my popularity, not that I care about that kind of thing, but there are other subjects I can air my ignorance on with less chance of accidentally seeming to offend someone personally. Instead, let me offer an unrelated but nevertheless interesting link to an article about Engendering Differences: Ethical Issues about Intersex to distract you.]

Ahem Okay, let's move on.

Kos talks about Boykin and, I'm pleased to see, points that that what a Lt. General does or says in full-dress uniform most emphatically does attain the status of an "official" act or speech. Also, what happened to vetting people for craziness before you put them in positions of power?

Via Hellblazer, this odd and rather disturbing site

How do you feel about Limbaugh's drug problem? Should he be arrested? Should he be mocked? Join the discussion over at Digby's blog.

Bengt has not only updated his own English-version blog, off_topic, with "The Terrorists Have Won," but recommends a post by Jonas Söderström as "the most influential Swedish blogger."

The post is in Swedish, but the quotes are in English, so you'll know just what he's writing about. This evening I hope to get some time to try and translate some of Jonas' own commentary and I'll try and post some of that here if I do. (No, I don't read Swedish. I usually rely upon comparing the suggestions of two, separate on-line translation programs and a handful of common sense.) I hope Bengt will forgive me for quoting him without permission:

I think Jonas’ post is rather representative of the general opinion in Sweden and, indeed, in large parts of Europe.

As I've said before, it's a source of frustration to me that I can't find many English-language blogs from around the world. I'm very interested in the opinions of "regular people" from outside the USofA.

Over at StoutDemBlog, you can read an argument that it's not the "under god" that's the problem, it's then entire concept of a pledge of allegiance. I'm not sure if I agree or not.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:04 PM | Comments (3)
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 | Comments (2)
Blogging Around A Little

John McKay points out what Mississippi voters need to know. It's not that Balfour is a racist that should worry them the most. It's that he's an unprincipled opportunist.

Or maybe it is because he's a racist, as he ingeniously tries to deny, and as Kevin discusses.

Avedon Carol is usually an interesting read but this debunking of the Right-wing myth that the Left has anyone as unprincipled, dishonest, and downright undemocratic as Coulter needs to be spread around.

On the other hand, I think the entry on this article, missed an opportunity to point out how ignorant Bill O'Reilly really is. When he says that that the country is "as polarized as it's ever been in the history of the Republic", O'Reilly demonstrates just how little he knows about this country. The current distaste for Bush, his cronies, and his policies hasn't begun to match the rhetoric the Republicans threw at Clinton. And when you consider the "polarization" of Watergate, VietNam, or the Civil War, I think you can see my point. O'Reilly's ratings must be slipping or something, because to me he just sounds desperate to whip up some drama around himself. (Other than that, my assessment of what Kinsley has to say is that, yeah, we thought Bush would be an ineffectual dork but back then we didn't know he was taking orders directly from god and we forgot about his friends. If we'd thought of all that, we'd have been a lot more worried about the future of this country.)

Matthew Yglesias talks about a connection between imprisoning drug dealers and users and lower street drug prices. I assume he's being facetious, except where he points out that prison sentences Do. Not. Work. as a drug policy, but the Urban Institute paper he links to, suggesting, as he says, a radical shift to an evidence-based public policy is the kind of rational reading I enjoy.

For instance, let me point out that if someone had done a study on whether or not incarcerating casual drug users (CDUs) and low-level dealers (LLDs) deterred CDU or LLD and found that it did not, then they wouldn't have had to build all of those prisons and incarcerated all of those CDUs and LLDs and then we'd be able to test Matthew's theory that putting fewer people in prison for drug-related crimes would keep the street price of illegal drugs too high for most of today's casual users to afford. (Okay, absurdity aside, go ahead and read the paper. It's only 8 pages.)

Posted by AnneZook at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
October 16, 2003
Bush Don't Read

It's old news by now that Bush doesn't read the newspapers, and that at least when traveling the televisions on Air Force One are set to play sports programs or tapes of earlier games instead of news programs, but Helen Thomas smacks him for it anyhow.

He probably hasn't heard about the seventy-four children recently rescued from a life of slavery, either. I doubt anyone wants to distract him from fighting bad guys by bringing up the plight of unimportant children of non-voting parents.

Do you suppose anyone on his staff read about, and told him about, Russia's declaration that they've decided they, too, are entitled to wage preemptive war should they think it's necessary?

I'm sure people read this poll but I'm not sure anyone bothered to tell him about it. I doubt he'd understand the feelings of people who actually wind up, you know, fighting.

Do you suppose anyone at all in a position of responsibility read this man's resume before they decided to stick him in an empty seat at the DoD? The man's certifiable, okay?

He probably won't be reading the blog covering the sniper trial, either.

(Speaking of blogs, this is an interesting experiment but it's hardly the radical departure that the article tries to imply. For one reason and another, I spent some time surfing the websites of small-to-medium sized cities a few months ago and I found that quite a few of them used "citizen" blogs in their "local" or "lifestyles" sections.)

I doubt he's read any of the stories musing over historical parallels for the USofA's recent invasion of Iraq, either.

Do you suppose that he or anyone he appointed has read about and thought about the need for some really sensible welfare reform?

Aside from all of that, I think Maureen Dowd went too far, far too far, in trying to tie Bush in to that fraudulent letter-writing campaign. There's no evidence, not even a hint of a suggestion, that such a thing is true. On the other hand, if I lived in Nethercutt's district, I'd make sure he lost the next election in a landslide:

On Monday, Representative George Nethercutt Jr., a Republican from Washington State who visited Iraq, chimed in to help the White House: "The story of what we've done in the postwar period is remarkable. It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day." The congressman puts the casual back in casualty.

That's an unconscionable remark and grossly insensitive to the thousands of family members and friends who have lost loved ones.

And it looks like in the case of Monsanto vs Europe, Europe has won. Europeans won't have to worry so much about Monsanto's genetically engineered seeds for a while.

Finally, the Geneva Accords may not be a perfect solution, but they are unquestionably the work of representatives (authorized or otherwise) from both sides of the Palestine-Israel conflict and as such, as the sole example of cooperation from the two sides, deserve serious consideration. It may just be that bypassing "politics as usual" and going directly to the two populations with copies of the Accords is exactly what's needed.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
Less Obvious Links

My opinions about some things change from time to time, but I never change my mind about the If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations. line being almost the best part of subscribing to the Morning Fix. Every time I read it, I want to post it above my desk.

Under the category of, Well, DUH, add Government study questions safety of SUVs

You have to bring your brain to a reading of this article about the situation in North Korea, but it's worth it.

There are still suspicions that the USofA is using some kind of nuclear weapons in its 'war on terror.' This link isn't about DU, by the way.

According to this article, the Neocons are still running the playground. For what it's worth, let me point out that the USofA has a history of endorsing almost anything and everything Israel does, so Bush's defense of the preemptive strike on Syrian soil isn't any kind of departure from previous USofA policy. Also, supporting Israel's (really, much more justified) use of 'preemptive self-defense' helps to shore up our own recent behavior. It's worth considering just how little Syria's previously vaunted cooperation with the Bush Administration's 'war on terror' is buying them in the long run, though. Nothing lower than a politician who don't stay bought.

There was a big human rights march in Saudi Arabia yesterday. I don't remember seeing that on the front pages of the national USofA media sites, do you? I thought we were all about democracy in the Middle East these days...or maybe that doesn't include democracy in places where the Bush clan has repressive buddies it wasn't our idea. Seriously, this seems to have had a certain amount of Saudi governmental backing, which probably signals another clash between the royal family and the elected government.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)
October 15, 2003
Take a moment

Pop over to Jeff Cooper's blog and send your best wishes/prayers/thoughts/requests for positive karmic intervention/whatever to him and his family, especially his beautiful son Noah.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)
The Ides of October

(Can you have "ides" if it's not March?)

Here's more on the dangers of black-box voting.

And Atrios is angry. With good reason.

And the more I read about the Rush-on-drugs story (which honestly isn't that much, since I couldn't care less if Rush walks the planet or falls off into a black hole), the more I agree with Digby. He's right, and so is Steinback because we all know Limbaugh isn't going to see the inside of a jail cell, no matter what. Rich people and celebrities aren't jailed in this country for the kinds of offense that would send us non-privileged citizens up the river for five or ten years. (And, no, none of Limbaugh's followers and their ilk are going to rethink their mindless idiocy.)

I heard an excerpt from Bryant's speech this morning. Let's hope his two-year, transitional government achieves its goals. Bryant sounded calm and sincere, but politicians generally do. His lack of ties with any of the previously warring factions is a very good sign. I have no how idea how many, if any, "Taylor loyalists" might infect the remaining government power structure, but this is a golden opportunity for Liberia and I'm going to watch them closely over the next couple of years.

You know, I saw some kind of poll on CNN (or somewhere else) about a week ago, asking if I'd shop at a store that sold, "Ghettopoly" and I had no idea what they were talking about. Now I do, and I'm appalled.

And I suspect I could be a racist or some other kind of -ist, because while the idea of 'Ghettopoly' strikes me as a massive display of cultural and social insensitivity, I can see the humor in "Redneckopoly" and find myself wondering if laughing at 'those people' might not be a valuable tool against spread of their backward philosophy?

Speaking of cultural insensitivity, does this strike anyone but me as a prime example? In today's world, being bilingual is an asset. In the USofA, being English-Spanish bilingual is doubly an advantage. And even if it weren't, what right does the court have to accede to such an arbitrary and pointless request? There must be more to this than the story gives us.

There's probably another –ism involved in my instinctive distaste for acts of mass murder committed by people who claim to be the hand of god of whatever the world's religious fanatics think they are.

This strikes me as extremely odd. A Palestenian suicide bomber? In the Gaza Strip, that wouldn't seem out of place. A missile strike? Typical Israeli reaction. But a remote-controlled bomb planted in the middle of a diplomatic convoy? Someone desperately wants to derail any potential peace plan, that's clear, but which group? And precisely who was in the vehicle?

The Iraqi ruling council said, thanks, but no thanks to USofA attempts to recruit tens of thousand more peacekeepers from around the world and especially to the idea of troops from other Muslim countries. I hope our government listens to them. One of the things I keep hearing over and over from Iraqis interviewed in the country is that the USofA is not handing over any real power to the Iraqi people.

And this is a good editorial on the question of just how good things are, or aren't, getting in Iraq. (Hint: Things are improving, but the Iraqi people still distrust the USofA's motives.)

Consider Islam versus the world. There is, as the author points out, a difference between a "muslim society" and "repressive society." but the question remains whether this or, indeed, any militant religion can truly accept peaceful coexistence with "rival" religions. (Well, of course they can. You see it all over the world.)

A persuasive editorial on the Pledge of Allegiance dispute. The part I want y'all to pay attention to is the, "inherently coercive nature of a classroom" okay? Because that's true. Children, especially young ones, feel an urge to conform, without any real understanding of underlying issues.

In any case, religion or no religion, I have a marked dislike for letting this remnant of McCarthyism survive and even flourish in our society. As the column points out, removing the words is not "hostile to religion" so much as it is a re-establishment of religious neutrality.

Lessons From A Liberal Cop is a good column. I'd be interested in reading the books.

And The (timely) death of outrage is a good entry from Ted at Crooked Timber.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)
October 14, 2003
Schizophrenia

It's true. It's not something I'd thought about in quite this way before, but it's very true that those who build their entire world view on fighting terrorism are dependent upon the existence of terrorists.

Terrorists are dependent on the "sins" committed by countries like ours to stir up anger and revolt and to recruit new members. They have to have those members to survive.

It is, in short, a symbiotic relationship.

We've seen it here at home. Everything the Bush Administration undertakes any more is part of the "war on terror." They have to make cutting funding for Head Start a part of the war on terror. Tax relief for multi-billionaires is a part of the war on terror. No-bid contracts to companies headed by Bush cronies are part of the war on terror. It's all the neocons have got.

But I'm glad I didn't put any money on our next target. I wouldn't have thought of Cuba would you? Of course, I wouldn't have thought of punishing the Saudi 9/11 hijackers by invading Iraq, either.

Those feisty little neocons...always coming up with surprises.

Cuba's only second-tier on the old axis o'evil. Along with Syria who recently committed the terrorist atrocity of being bombed by Israel, and Libya.

We sure are spreading the evil around these days.

Jesse Jackson thinks Bush is looking for a fight down south and he may be right. Castro has managed, by sitting around and doing nothing any different from what he's been up to for decades, what none of North Korea's nukes could accomplish...he's placed himself in the crosshairs of the Bush Administration.

As always, I'm torn. There's no denying the world would be a better place for the removal of half a dozen despotic rulers we could all name.

There's a part of me that approved of the deaths of Hussein's offspring and that won't mourn news of his death. Now that our 'weapon' against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has turned on us, neither I nor most civilized people would regret the dismantling of the Taliban. The people, the majority of the people, living in the mjddle of the Pakistani-Israeli war would approve the sensible two-state peace plan. I could name several other headline-grabbing situations around the world.

But you can't just march in and impose democracy on the world at large. A Pax Americana is just not something this country is prepared to support, and certainly not a single-handed effort to force our way of life on people uninterested and/or unprepared to deal with a tidal wave of classic rock music commercials designed to sell new flavors of soda pop.

We're also not interested in sending generation after generation of young people out to die in the jungles and deserts of the world in an attempt to compel strangers to conform to our set of values. There has to be a solution that allows for each of these countries to come to their own peace. To develop the style of government and the kind of society that suits them and their heritage.

Not everyone wants democracy, okay? Even in this country, there's a fair percentage of people who never bother to exercise their right to vote. What makes us think that trying to force this faltering system on countries whose history and culture have not prepared their people for the turmoil of electoral politics is the right thing to do? Maybe they don't want a democracy. Maybe they want a theocracy or a monarchy or socialism. It's none of our business if they do, okay? Even a benevolent dictatorship, and yes, such a thing exists, might be the right solution for some countries.

There's a difference between what we think of as "democracy" and actual freedom. I support freedom, civil liberties, and human rights for everyone. I don't support the idea of forcing carbon copies of the USofA's flawed political system on everyone we come into contact with.

I'm sitting here looking at the counter on the Cost of War website and I'm thinking there's no price too high to pay for liberty, but I don't trust that the Bush Administration is interested in any liberty unconnected with that of USofA corporations to exploit new markets. Based on the clear and compelling evidence that they have little or no idea what to do with Iraq now that they have it, I don't trust this Administration to recognize the needs and wishes of the Iraqi people, or to bow to those needs if they don't fit the neocons 'vision' of how things oughta be.

Must. Have. More. Coffee.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)
Hoo-ah.

I'm sorry, but Canada is...sometimes an odd place. I didn't even know there was such a thing as semi-premeditated murder.

Tyger, Tyger may someday be just a poem and an old photograph to children. Should the species become extinct.

The behavior described here may "endear" Bush to "the men" in uniform but it makes embarrassing reading.

Read it anyhow. There's stuff there you should think about. Like this:

As the World Socialist website has pointed out, when you add together the $368bn for routine spending, the $19bn assigned to the department of energy for new nuclear weapons, the $79bn already passed by Congress to fund the war in Iraq and the $87bn that Bush has just requested to sustain it, you find that the US federal government is now spending as much on war as it is on education, public health, housing, employment, pensions, food aid and welfare put together.

Hoo-ah.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:31 AM | Comments (1)
October 13, 2003
The Winner!

No matter what else I read this week, I don't think it's possible for me to read anything that makes my mind boggle to the extent that this did.

The question? "Why is the State Department so cozy with the Saudis?"

The answer? Apparently the State Department, by refusing to completely breach diplomatic immunity and trigger an ugly international incident between a potential, future Saudi ruler and Bush II, revealed itself as dangerously unAmerican or something.

Aside from that, even though they can't help mentioning the names of various former Bush (I) Administration officials who are now well-placed to make a lot of money off the Saudis, they manage to avoid discussing the Bush family's long-time ties with the ruling family...and the amount of money those ties have genereated for the clan over the years.

I'll bet you almost any amount of money you care to name that the Bush clan's cozy, even intimate, relationship with the Saudis doesn't get much of a mention in the book as a whole. Yes, the unfair and unbalanced OpinionJournal is actually offering a book called, "Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens American Security".

The next time I think I need a laugh, I may buy a copy. (Not.)

The only thing I can unashamedly approve of in this column is the clear link between Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 hijackers. For once.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)
I'm back

Check out The Daily Howler for a quick look at challenges California's new governor faces...just minor items like deficits and illogical campaign promises.

You know what this is? It's a version of Israel's, "we'll blow up your home and your mother, too" strategy for dealing with suicide bombers. No wonder our government stays mum about Israel's behavior. Who knew we actually admired targeting innocent bystanders?

Heh. Politely, of course, but firmly. That's how Republicans are framing their call for Bush to actually be presidential. I hope none of them are holding their breath. And then read Josh Marshall on the subject.

John's Pay attention to your daddy, is well worth reading.

People may be right. The Left may just be too "civilized," too "nice" for contemporary politics. (Via Atrios.)

Hee. Hee.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)
Whatever

I just have to wonder about people who spend their entire lives persecuting others.

And I think Kucinich is wrong. The only thing stupider and more irresponsible than this unwarranted invasion would be abandoning Iraq now that we've created a mess. I do intend to read his plan carefully, though.

Freedom of speech is under attack again.

The question is, should 'potentially damaging allegations' be repressed just because an election is close?

"The timing was a problem. Hitting people with allegations that generate a strong emotional response that affects the vote should be done only in extreme cases."

Well, these weren't new allegations, so it's true that they maybe could have received front-page coverage a little sooner. And I think the women in this case felt that sexual harrassment bordering on abuse is fairly extreme.

On the other hand, isn't that just why certain people wanted the recall election held as quickly as possible? To keep 'voter indignation' at Davis from subsiding and to prevent any protracted campaigning that might reveal candidate weaknesses? I'm just saying. If the Times (or another paper with the same courage> had aired what's commonly known about Schwarzenegger earlier, his campaign probably would have gone down the tubes.

I haven't noticed that any bias the press has toward 'officialdom' doesn't seem to kick in when it's headline-grabbing scandal at stake. Or, rather, it doesn't kick in when there's headline-grabbing scandal at stake about Democrats. Republican sins seem to miss the front-page, or disappear into the void, with astonishing frequency.

And it looks like no one can work with Arafat. Not even his hand-picked cronies.

This is how we keep our promises. ('Not well' in case you're wondering.)

The Quick Takes are worth reading today.

News Item (1968): Pentagon sends out press releases to hometowns across the United States containing identical quotations about progress being made in Vietnam War, with the names of local soldiers typed in following the quotations the Pentagon had written.

News Item (2003): Identical form letters about the progress being made in Iraq, supposedly from hometown soldiers serving there but written by someone else, start turning up at local newspapers.

Wait. No. Let's not be overly suspicious.

Heh.

Hey, now that there's a spying scandal at Guantanamo, do you think the military regrets targeting and ousting their previous translators on the grounds of sexual preference?

Let's give Cheney a smack-down.

There's no gratitude in the world. I mean, we paid convinced Turkey to join our 'coalition' in Iraq, and now those ingrates are saying they'd rather rule themselves, thank you.

And here at home, Garrison Keillor takes on the recall fallout.

Okay, I debated this, but at the risk of incurring wrath, I'm linking to it anyhow. I think there's truth in this. The only issue I have with it is that the analysis is confined to a discussion of racial differences whereas, in my opinion, this is a more valid theory when discussing class differences. Cultural expectations and cultural norms have a lot to do with achievement. Aside from those bell-curve wrecking success stories, the expectations of family, friends, and society are significant factors in how far children go in life.

Look at George Bush. A born slacker, a guy with an eye for the main chance, looking to get-rich-quick with the minimum of effort. Without the expectations, the unwritten assumptions that underpinned his entire cultural upbringing, he'd be selling "Rolexes" that "fell off the back of a truck" on some street corner today. Or, you know, the white-collar-criminal-staying-out-of-the-elements equivalent.

Anyhow. I think there's a lot to be said for how cultural assumptions, especially unspoken ones, can shape the minds of the young.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)