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April 23, 2004
Is Democracy too much work?

Re-reading this article, I find myself wondering.

UNITED NATIONS, New York Latin America has freed itself from the military coups and dictatorships that long blighted its public life but now faces a fresh challenge to political stability from deep popular disenchantment with democratic government, according to a new United Nations report.

The report, a harsh self-analysis compiled by Latin American authors and being made public Wednesday in Lima, notes that while the region is the only one in the developing world to be governed almost wholly by democratically chosen leaders, those leaders are increasingly unable to finish their terms in office.

As evidence that the weakness of democratic governments in Latin America is breeding nostalgia for the strongman rule of the past, 55 percent of people surveyed say they would support the replacement of a democratic government with an "authoritarian" regime if it could produce economic benefits.

Fifty-eight percent of those questioned said they agreed that leaders "may go beyond the law" if they have to and 56 percent said they felt that economic development was more important than maintaining democracy.

"With an assessment this lousy, the impact could be quite amazing, and we really have to move very quickly to prevent a major crisis politically speaking," said Enrique Berruga Filloy, Mexico's ambassador to the United Nations.

"This shows that democracy is not something that has taken hold of people's minds as strongly as we had thought it would," he said.

First, let's note that "going beyond the law" something a majority of those polled agreed a government could do if it felt it necessary, is a vague and imprecise phrase. Which law? How far beyond?

Second, let's note that this article didn't say people were willing to trade freedom of speech or freedom of the press for economic prosperity. It's implied, but not said, so we can't be certain it's a choice the people were given.

"There seems to be some sort of democratic exhaustion, people are fatiqued, they think things take too long," the ambassador added.

And I find myself wondering…why? Were these people seeing democracy as some kind of magic trick? You install it and whoosh! life is suddenly peachy? Yes, it's work. Anything worthwhile usually is. Worthwhile things usually take quite a bit of time, too.

And it's work because certain more developed Western countries maybe haven't given some of the fledgling democracies all of the support they could have.

The report, portrayed by its sponsor, the UN Development Program, as "written by and for Latin Americans," involved opinion surveys of 18,643 citizens and lengthy interviews with 231 political, economic, social and cultural figures, including 41 current or former presidents and vice presidents.

It argues that while unhappiness with political leadership is traditional in Latin America, people who now complain are looking at democratic governments and ending up faulting democracy itself.

Voter turnout is falling across the region, especially among the young, while civil unrest is on the rise, with protest actions threatening elected leaders.

Since 2000, four elected presidents in the 18 countries surveyed were forced to step down before the end of their terms because of plunges in public support, and others may now be in peril.

As nearly as I can tell, economic prosperity, or the lack thereof, seems to be behind a lot of the unhappiness, but it's not reasonable to pretend that a country without a highly developed infrastructure of roads and industry is suddenly going to become a democratic paradise.

Democracy provides opportunity. It's up to the people, not the government (although the government should be a full and willing helper) to actually build the society they want. Democracy isn't an abstract. It's just a bunch of people working toward a shared goal.

The report acknowledges separate circumstances in different countries, among them class conflict, the disenfranchisement of indigenous populations, popular reaction against debt burdens and guerrilla warfare. But it argues that there is a broadly shared political culture and social structure that transcends them.

"The common denominators of this phenomenon outweigh the many national differences," it says.

You can arrive at a single destination via many roads. The fact that these countries are experiencing similar outcomes doesn't mean much when you begin to consider the problem in terms of solutions.

For instance…guerilla warfare and class conflicts are very, very different problems.

Class conflicts, to a certain extent, will always be with us because human beings have a natural propensity to divide themselves into social groups. In spite of Conservative protests, it really is necessary to legislate equality in order to protect those pushed to the bottom of the heap. Among other things, civilization is about overcoming the less attractive components of our natures.

Guerrilla warfare, on the other hand…which country, what warfare, and over what do they fight?

The report attributes the erosion of confidence in elected governments to slow economic growth, profound social inequality and ineffective legal systems and social services. Despite gains in human rights from the days of dictatorship, most Latin Americans, it says, still cannot expect equal treatment before the law because of abusive police practices, politicized judiciaries and widespread corruption.

Okay, that's clear enough. Corruption and abusive police forces. The abusive police force, while probably of more immediate concern to the citizens, is a problem that has to be solved from the top down. Creation of a more equal society starts with legislation (as I said above). Effective legal and social systems…legislation.

Under this admittedly simplistic analysis, we see that corruption in politics is the root of the evil. The next step would be examining each country and seeing who is supporting those regimes…who keeps them in power?

Next, re-reading this analysis, Fables of Reconstruction, about the potential for successful democracy in Iraq makes me wonder about the issues listed above (corruption inthe government we're installing, the many Iraqi militias functioning as guerrilla fighters, etc.) and others. If you haven't read it yet, you really should.

I may spend a significant part of the weekend re-reading parts of The Last Best Hope.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:16 PM | Comments (4)
Hey, kids! It's Blogaround time!

Before Al Jazeera, there was BBC Arabic Television (Thanks to Avedon Carol for the link.)

The problem with reporters is that they're too polite. They've lost the hustling, hungry, get-the-story mentality. Now they're baby birds, mouths constantly open for the next doled-out morsel, cheeping pitifully when they want a bit of attention. (Via Jerome, at Bad Attitudes.) For instance, and as Chris points out, it wasn't even the national media who filed the FOIA request to access those flag-draped coffin photos.

I want everyone to stop and carefully, very carefully, the huge difference between "education" and "training." Education is good for creating an informed, aware, and alert populace. Training is good for producing cannon fodder and interchangeable labor units. In fact, I was so distracted by considering the difference, I'm not sure I got the gist of the post that inspired the train of thought, but I know it had to do with government regulation of universities in Britain.

Hugo Schwyzer has an interesting post that's generated some interesting discussion. Topic: The line between the therapeutic and the academic in gender studies.

If that sounds dry, know that he's teaching a course on, essentially, the development of the Western ideal for beauty, including the connections to bulimia and anorexia. Where does "teaching" about this topic stop and "therapy" for the women students suffering from these conditions begin? Should any such leap be made? (Should such a course even be taught if you suspect that one or more students may be using the material as a "how-to" guide?) And then it all shifts into a discussion of women and self-obsession among other things. Not to be too self-referential, but it's interesting reading, for a woman.

Via Digby, we learn that Rumsfeld is even nuttier than we thought.

Read Matthew Yglesias on The Imperial Temptation.

This could almost be titled, "Love Canal, Redux."

Over at TalkLeft a pithy, amusing post has generated the usual stream of abusive, irrelevant sniping from wingnuts. I'm grateful for my anonymity.

Hey, lookit this! Stephen Green finally has a post I can completely support! I have a passion for Napoleonic War era history and the British naval tradition of the time is a large part of that. (Ignore the squabbling and idiocy in some of the comments.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:58 AM | Comments (2)
On A Friday

Denver, we got snow.

Happy birthday, Hubble!

I guess no one ever explained to Bill O'Reilly that he's funny. When someone brought it to his attention, the freepers attacked.

You know what worries me? What worries me is hearing that White House officials meet with Democrats and Republicans separately to discuss something like progress in Iraq. Are they telling different stories to each party or what?

I disagreed with some of this (the bit about "racial overtones" to the Janet Jackson's Boob Fiasco) but it was food for thought.

It's very difficult, if you're not a member of an ethnic minority, to figure out what progress this country has made toward real equality, but clearly we have a ways to go.

Japan is practicing a different kind of bigotry. No foreigners allowed…especially, from the way the article reads, Russians.

China's government uses civilian informants to maintain its authoritarian grip on the country. The article is worth reading for many reasons, not the least of which is how easily someone can move from being a "loyal citizen" to being a tool of unscrupulous powers.

You have to be able to tell right from wrong. You have to be able to draw the line.

Molly Ivins always amuses and informs. Today she has a number of points.

On the other hand, the IMF is eying the USofA deficit and they're not amused.

People are stupid. Sometimes criminally so.

Slavery. Today.

136 dead. No, not North Korea. The Sudan where government forces are alleged to have assisted in the massacre.

War dead. Yes, ours. The DoD continues to be Not Happy that this public information, obtained under a FOIA request, has been made public. Suck it up, boys. We're entitled to know and you're entitled to complain. Ain't democracy wonderful?

In Norway, not even a recent, violent crime has convinced the authorities that the police should be armed.

Remember Tami Silicio and her husband? She took the pictures of the flag-draped coffins on the airplane. The Veterans for Peace group offers their thanks to the fired couple for their courage. As does the Seattle-Times.

Is it time for Colin Powell to step down? Well, no, in his eyes he'll do whatever he has to to support the Bush Administration and he's said so. But I think he's incurably compromised. It's a shame. He coulda' been a contender.

California has taken an important step toward banning the unreliable and unproven electronic voting machines.

If anyone is talking about this, I haven't heard them. Spent nuclear fuel rods have gone missing. Can we have a little worry here?

The Beeb is cutting back its staff in Iraq. Not good news for those of us unsatisfied with the sparse information provided by USofA media outlets. (Fortunately for us all, Chris Albritton is headed back that way shortly. Drop him five or ten bucks if you can afford it.)

Feminism is facing off against transexualism. My only opinion on the subject is summed up by a quote from the article. "There is no monopoly on oppression."

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is teaming up with MoveOn.Org on the subject of health and reproductive rights around the world. Actually, more than one government agency is participating in this conference. Conservatives, who have never minded government websites promoting Republican talking points, are feigning shock and outrage. They're opposed to family planning, you see. (Anyone tells you Conservatives aren't anti-feminism, you remember this.)

Dave Barry mocks stupid severance packages and speculates on Ken's relationship with Pinocchio.

Cute baby monkey picture.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:42 AM | Comments (2)
April 22, 2004

You know, when I posted that link about the mouse born of two mothers (and no fathers), I really wasn't thinking of it as a "virgin birth" story, but someone else made the connection.

What used to be called, formally but pedantically, a "denial of service attack" is now the more memorably "mailstorm." I like it.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)
Y'all come back, now!

As you're leaving, pop by these sites for a look-see.

Avedon Carol takes on the thankless task of, once again, trying to explain the difference between "elite" and "intellectual." She'll fail, as most people have failed, because they're fighting the wrong battle*, but she's always thought-provoking, so read it anyhow.

(* Why not, instead, work to show the people that government is not in fact, beyond their intellectual capacity? The average citizen might not have time to memorize all the figures in the budget or analyze all the potential ramifications of a free trade act, but they can easily grasp the less-intellectual-than-you-might-think basic provisions. Government, after all, is made up of average people who just happen to have a taste for public office. It's a mistake to think they're some how smarter or better than the rest of us.)

The "airy-fairy elite" stigma will cease to have any force once a significant percentage of the voters not only understand what's going on in Washington, but are proud of understanding it.)

Check out Bad Attitudes where everything posted in the last 48 hours (and before, of course) is worth reading. And this bit gave me a giggle.

Jeanne says it all.

Chris Nelson tells us "the rest of the story" about the woman who brought us the flag-draped coffins in Kuwait. (Here.) The government's policy is just wrong and that's all there is to it. It was wrong in the past and it's wrong today. Part of supporting the troops is honoring those who have given "the last full measure of devotion" in their country's service. Hiding returning coffins isn't about "respect" or "sensitivity" for the families. It's about politics and public relations. (Arthur agrees.)

Jonathan Dresner puts into words much of my thoughts about Doonesbury's current story line and adds information I didn't know about publications refusing to carry it. It seems that people being wounded in war and maybe even dying aren't suitable material for the USofA newspaper public.

TalkLeft is still on the threatening conscription plan.

Pen-Elayne covered a story I heard and read about, but didn't comment on here. That was Mordechai Vanunu's release from an Israeli prison. You don't heard much talk about it because WMD in the Middle East are okay if they're in the right hands.

skippy is talking mercenaries and money.

Yes, I'm still going to blog about the Village Voice article, but in the meantime, Robert Tagorda blogs it but offes no opinion I can identify.

Here and there, Mark Moford has become the flavor o'the month.

Funny, funny, funny.

It appears that I missed the announcement (or maybe I was being dissed?) that the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash is back for a third (?) year.

I'd like to attend, indeed, at this moment I'm planning to, but I'd like not to be the only liberal there this year.

I had a very unfortunate experience with it last year, but that has nothing to do with the largely Conservative views of the attendees. It was an unexpected and unfortunate reaction between some medication I was taking and the beer I drank. My memories of the Bash, then, are blurred but I distinctly remember the next two days of enforced bed-rest. On second thought....

Posted by AnneZook at 10:48 AM | Comments (4)
Death all around
As many as 3,000 people were killed or injured Thursday when two trains carrying oil and liquefied petroleum gas collided and exploded in a North Korean train station, South Korean media reported.

Was it an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong Il?

Chinese babies in a second province have died after being fed "fake milk."

[…] an investigation will be held into why the Fuyang city government failed to act despite knowing about the problem last May.

I don't have words….

Work on restoring power in Iraq, which has not yet attained Hussein-era levels, is going to slow down as Siemens AG pulls its people out. GE is doing the same.

Justice is supposed to be blind, but sometimes it peeks and injustice results.

So, what's behind withholding a report on atrocities in the Sudan while the UN is debating the Sudan? Okay, it's not a permanent burial of the report, but if I were going there, I might want to know what to look for. (On the other hand, I might want to go in with a relatively open mind.)

"Always ignore the experts" seems to form a large part of the Bush Administration's operating strategy. Certainly there's a growing consensus that logical analysis doesn't play much of a part in how they make decisions.

What is the world going to do about Kosovo?

I don't approve of "enemy combatants." I don't approve of semantic gyrations and euphemisms that are used to bypass the law. Guantanamo detainees need to be subject to USofA law or the Geneva Conventions or something. You can't just lock people up indefinitely and keep them out of the public eye hoping we'll forget about them.

It's encouraging to see that some students still organize to fight corporate misdoings.

Was a Palestinian boy tied to the hood of a jeep by Israeli soldiers and used as a "human shield" to protect themselves against rock-throwing children?

"In my judgment, the whole world should have said: 'Thank you, Ariel. Now we have a chance to begin the construction of a peaceful Palestinian state.'"

President Bush, defending his support for an Israeli plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip but leave some settlements on the West Bank, a stance sharply criticized in the Arab world.

This quote was buried at the end of an article discussing how the Bush Administration won't talk to Congress clearly about what future funding needs in Iraq are going to be.

Of course, we know why not. They don't want those budget-busting numbers in the headlines while Bush is out fund-raising and stumping for votes.

(And, the spiteful part of my brain whispers, when Bush isn't re-elected, they're hoping to leave the next President, a Democrat, in an ugly, ugly spot. So that when the whole project fails, they can pretend it wasn't because it was mortally flawed from the start.)

It's always interesting to see a new genre appear in the literary world, but this one is likely to be short-lived.

Official investigation into Wooward's claim that the Bush Administration diverted $700 million earmarked for Afghanistan and used it in their efforts to ramp up for an invasion of Iraq is beginning.

Tax loopholes for pork projects and stupid buying incentives make me tired. I'm telling myself this loophole has nothing to do with the millions spent purchasing SUVs so VIPs could ride around in Baghdad's "green zone" feeling like Rambo, but it all just adds to my loathing of the unsafe, gas-guzzling, traffic-snarling monstrosities. (More on that second article later. Link via John McKay.)

The baby has two mommy mice, no daddy mouse. It's fascinating what science learns with these oddball experiments.

What does it take to stop people from littering? talking trashcans?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)
April 21, 2004

Today's chauvinist-pig-male moment is brought to you via this guy and his handful of small-minded, cowardly associates who are hiding in the shadows.

Or...not. At least 200 women are interested enough in meeting husband-caliber men to have tried to join the place.

Although, just to put that number in perspective, I understand that gay serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer received hundreds, if not thousands, of marriage proposals after he was imprisoned.

I don't remember where I was going with this, but this is where we wound up. People are weird.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Comes with many faces.

Many faces.

Sometimes they're hard to see.

That makes it all the more shameful when those without courage lie, cheat and maybe conspire to mislead us.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)
Mostly War

Wolfowitz says Iraq and Iraqis are a lot better off without Hussein.

In Basra, 68 people are dead, including a possible 20 school schildren. Victims of a car bombing

Reports that the Administration diverted $700 million allocated for the war in Afghanistan and used the money to plan the as-then-unnanounced invasion of Iraq, continue to surface.

How significant is it that Spain, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic are pulling out of the "coalition of the willing" and leaving Iraq? The second two had less than 700 troops on the ground, combined. Spain had about 1,500.

Psychologically it may be very significant.

Poland, our largest "ally" in the country, may be hinting at pulling out their 2,400 troops.

Thailand is suggesting they might pull out their 451 troops.

I dunno what he meant by it, but Rumsfeld's declaration that soldiers are "fungible" strikes me as perilously close to calling them cannon fodder and I think that's a pretty offensive attitude toward the troops.

That's not a wise way to talk about soldiers, no. It's even less wise in a time when repeated suggestions of reinstating the draft are floated by various politicians.

"There's not an American ... that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future," Senator Chuck Hagel told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq.

"Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."

We've paid several billion dollars and been subject to some arguably obnoxious 'security' measures. We've paid the price of watching the Bush Administration use 9/11 to excuse everything from tax cuts for the wealthy to budget slashing in environmental protections to violating the spirit, at the least, of the constitution. We've suffered through years of economic downturns and are now watching jobs go overseas and body bags return.

What is it with these people that only death and destruction registers with them?

The Nebraska Republican added that a draft, which was ended in the early 1970s, would spread the burden of military service in Iraq more equitably among various social strata.

"Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class," he observed.

The man's hallucinating. All you have to do is take a look at Bush's record to see that a draft isn't necessarily going to put anyone else in danger.

And what about Al Jazeera - is it propaganda or news?

Moving on to a few other topic:

I really don't think Afghanistan is going so well that Germany should be bragging about using it as a model for Iraq.

You have to ask yourself - what's more important? Democracy or economic prosperity? Is democracy too much work?

Ex-Pentagon Official Admits Job Deal

A former senior Air Force official pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy, admitting that she negotiated an executive job at Boeing Co. with her daughter's help while still overseeing a controversial $23 billion deal between the company and the Pentagon.

To end on a musical note, let me say that anyone who thinks these are some of the "worst songs of all times" isn't listening to enough music.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:08 AM | Comments (2)
April 20, 2004
Reading Between Meetings

Chris Nelson found words for a thought we should all be worried about.

The NYTimes (which has taken to using very irritating ad pages that hang in your browser window before a link loads) talks about those mercenaries in Iraq.

By the way. Jew.

Thanks to Matthew Yglesias, I found myself reading The Euthyphro Dilemma and thoroughly enjoying the mental workout. Anyone who has stopped by here more than once in the last year probably knows I've got an attitude about religion but being on the outside of the 'belief paradigm' on this topic doesn't mean I don't enjoy seeing the mythological aspects investigated from a logical perspective.

Over at Notes on the Atrocities, Jeff discusses something we all need to know more about - problems with polls.

Jim is brooding over middle age, which is silly. Everyone knows "middle age" starts when you're 60. He's got a long way to go.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)
A Few Quick Ones

In Massachusetts, one legislator is trying to blackmail the state's Supreme Court justices into changing their stance on gay marriage.

The White House is backing down on some of those new regulations banning overtime for some workers.

Environmental awards have been made.

And Indiana police officer won't be reinstated after being fired for refusing to work in a casino. The Supreme Court says the police department isn't required to assign people to jobs according to their religion.

But the Supreme Court won't be hearing the Texas redistricting case.

From 12/7 to 9/11, we seem to keep making the same mistakes.

Is it respectful to avoid showing pictures of flag-draped coffins in the news or just pandering to the White House's desire to keep the war at a distance? That's an important question regardless of who's in the White House.

And, speaking of the White House, Cheney was censored in China.

The military would like to be exempted from environmental regulations and 39 states have filed objections. (Before you get over-excited, remember that every story has two sides. I might not really believe "them" but they're entitled to have a hearing.)

You may find it hard to believe that the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was once about 15-1. Especially when you read reports of how it now passes 300-1. That's up, you'll notice, from the 42-to 1 ratio in 1982.

And, speaking of leadership failings, Trent Lott is still sulking over losing his leadership role in the Senate.

The U.K.'s EU referendum is their biggest story this week.

Want a little sarcasm in your news this morning?

Did I link to this yesterday? I think I forgot. Read it. Is funny.

Yes, I read everyone's New Liberal Vision entries. Yes, I still intend to make comments. Eventually.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
April 19, 2004

If you don't like the content, then don't watch the movie. It's not like anyone is forcing you to sit down in front of a television and listen to the curse words.

Censoring software is dumb.

I wonder why anyone who is too weak to withstand the horrible moral pressure caused by hearing the word damn! wants to watch death-and-destruction movies like The Patriot?

It is just that killing people is okay, as long as you don't swear at them?*

Flaming hypocrites.

I understand that copies of Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang and The Little Mermaid are available.

(* Please note. I haven't seen The Patriot and have no idea if any character dies in the movie.)

Posted by AnneZook at 03:45 PM | Comments (7)
I Object

I object to this kind of 'oversight' of universities.

I object to breaching the wall separating church and state. At the same time, I object to objecting to people voting their private consciences. Let them vote the way they feel they should, then you vote via the ballot box.

I object to an Administration that tries to keep important information away from the voters.

I object to invading a country then putting inoffensive, noncombatant citizens under a kind of neighborhood arrest.

I object to this. If Bush was raised by a mother, and wife of a former president, who thinks she's too special to look at the consequences of her son's actions…well, that explains a lot.

I object to this mindset. I'm also appalled, and a bit frightened, by it. What kind of lunatics think you should just act without studying the situation and trying to anticipate the consequences of your actions? (Well, the kind that invades countries with no plan for dealing with the aftermath, I guess.)

I object to this behavior. If you want to protest, go ahead. Don't pretend it's a corporate position if it isn't.

There's no personal animus in it, I've decided that being a dork isn't reason enough to dislike someone, but I will say that the more I learn about the facts behind their actions, the more I object to the Bush Administration.

I Don't Object

Check out this column. Interesting reading about " the urbanization of insurgency." (I'd like to read that RAND report.)

Read Arianna Huffington on the need for "an overarching moral vision for America." (My apologies if I linked to this previously.)

Read Bill McKibben on, One Nation, Underperforming.

I'm just saying. Originally, I was mightily puzzled to explain how someone like Bob Woodward could have written such a kiss-up book on Bush's run-up to invasion war, and I refused to buy a copy of it. I'm a bit relieved to realize, now, that Woodward had a Plan of Attack all along. How crafty of him.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

A top Saudi official has assured President Bush that his country will increase oil production to lower gas prices before November to help the president's re-election prospects, according to a broadcast report Sunday." Because they love him, yes they do.

"The White House is considering the creation of a powerful new post to oversee all of the nation's intelligence agencies, Bush administration officials said Friday." Because what we need with spiraling deficits is yet more government.

"Judges on a little-known federal court that decides claims against the government are appointed for 15 years, but collect their full six-figure salaries for a lifetime for a workload that averaged fewer than two trials each in one recent year." Because making it a lifetime appointment in reality, in spite of the mandated 15 year term, keeps the judges honest, according to the article.

"A robotic plane deliberately dropped a bomb near a truck at Edwards Air Force Base on Sunday, marking another step forward for technology the U.S. military hopes will one day replace human pilots on dangerous combat missions." Because taking the danger of 'us' dying out of the equation will make us so much happier about invading other countries

"First they came for Howard. Why isn't everyone who cares about free speech rallying around the embattled radio personality?" Because…well, I don't know. Indecency rules are under attack, apart from Howard Stern's case.

"Years after President Bush set off alarm bells in the Muslim world by referring to his war against terrorism as a "crusade," the word that Arabs equate with Christian brutality has resurfaced in a Bush campaign fund-raising letter…" Because he called it a crusade originally and he's a guy who means what he says.

"Richard Clarke’s decision to step out publicly and write Against All Enemies is more shocking than the revelations within." Because being an honest man in politics isn't easy.

"The scenario for the flash mob was simple: At exactly 1 p.m. Sunday, several hundred people were to converge on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just outside the Kremlin walls and place flowers and black swastikas there." Because there's no idea so silly it can't be exported

"How fares the multination cover-up of the richest rip-off in world history? Because the U.N. needs to be better than that. Because we should have been better than that.

"Meanwhile Afghanistan, where NATO assumed peacekeeping responsibility last August, is not progressing well. NATO's European members have failed to contribute sufficient troops to extend the peacekeeping presence much outside the capital, and the resulting power vacuum has been filled by warlords." Because we took our troops and moved on to a new war.

"BILL CLINTON CAUSED 9/11. Because it's different when George does it. And because some people need to be reminded that Clinton did, in fact, strike against al Qaeda.

What would America be without its public libraries? We may get a chance to find out because libraries are facing unprecedented economic challenges. Budget cuts have weakened or closed libraries in more than 40 states in the past year." Because free access to information supports freedom and democracy.

Salam, Rhodri, and Gregor talk about the blog. Because they can.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:09 AM | Comments (2)