Bhutto Backlash

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto surprised me, although I can't think why that would be the case. The terrorists dominating the Northwest Province in Pakistan have been promising to kill her for a long time.

What al Qaida may have done, instead of eliminating a political enemy, is to create an invincible foe. A dead person can't say something stupid. A dead person can't make political miscalculations. A dead person can't get caught stealing or cheating. Benazir Bhutto has become a flawless symbol of the desire for democracy.

What Pakistan is looking at now is the unifying effect of Bhutto's assassination on the entire country. Knowing this, the purpose of postponing elections would be the hope that time would erode some of this effect. Let's hope they don't. It would be better to forge a new government when some unity can be fashioned out of this terrible event.


Real Immigrant Phobia

Fears of wild immigrants hiding in the forests of the Ukraine have led to a large upswing in gun purchases by Germans, Italians and Austrians for fear that the forest-dwellers will descend on them to commit crimes. The trusty old Baltic Times describes the issue in the article linked to this post.

The Schengen Agreement abolishes systematic border controls between the participating countries, according to Wikipedia. Will the ability to travel between European countries really lead to a roving mass of crime between the Ukraine, Italy, Austria and Germany?

The idea is so laughable it makes Pat Buchanan look rational.


Destroyed CIA Tapes and the Evil Truth

Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of torture and OK'd it. So now hearings are being held because CIA videotapes of waterboarding were destroyed. Granted, it probably was a crime. But destroying tapes is not the real issue here. It is Nancy Pelosi's lack of courageous leadership in a time of national crisis.

So Nancy Pelosi has feet of clay because she knew of the detainee abuses and tacitly endorsed them. That's why the Democrats have been lying down on the issue of torture.

They feel they can redeem themselves by screaming and moaning about some tapes being destroyed. How about the failure to uphold the Constitution? How about being a real leader and saying "This is not acceptable."

Speaker Pelosi's claims that she did not know waterboarding was actually being done instead of being talked about are ridiculous. As soon as you hear the mention of a torture technique created during the Inquisition, you should object to any prospect of its use. Why were they talking about it to begin with, anyway? Because they were intending to use it.

Nancy Pelosi, I am ashamed and disgusted by you.


What Guiliani Can Learn From Castro

The power of humility. Recently asked about the most influential person in the world, Guiliani said that he was that person. Does he have any idea of how he sounds when he says that? I guess that sort of bragging appeals to the NYC voter.

Now listen to the Castro rhetoric:

' "My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, or even less to obstruct the path of younger people, but to share experiences and ideas whose modest worth comes from the exceptional era in which I lived," Castro wrote in the final paragraph of a lengthy letter discussing the Bali summit on global warming. ' See MSNBC article linked to title of this post.

"I promise that I will be with you, if you so wish, for as long as I feel that I can be useful — and if it is not decided by nature before — not a minute less and not a second more," he said at the time. "Now I understand that it was not my destiny to rest at the end of my life."

Doesn't he make hanging on by his fingernails sound so noble? His power-lust is framed in terms of ideas of modest worth, crediting the exceptional era he lived in rather than himself. There's a lot to learn here.

It was not his destiny to rest at the end of his life? Poor guy. He is forced to be the tired leader of the country until his last breath. How he suffers!

Castro Won't Hold On to Power?!?!?

You're one hundred years old, bud! What do you MEAN you won't cling to power? Are you going to wait until you're middle-aged? When will that be? When you're 150 years old?

This guy is too hysterical. He is the architect of the parasite state, only the host he was feeding off of died.

But, to be fair, Castro did throw the pimps and drug dealers out of Cuba. So they could move to Miami and bless our shores. I am by no means a sympathizer with these rabid Cuban expatriates, as you can probably tell. So you were thrown out of Cuba. So what. How many other people came here with nothing? Do you see them buying airplanes and trying to create their own armies? Grow up.

And the literacy rate in Cuba is higher than in the U.S. And THEY have universal health care. What's our excuse?


Al Jazeera Cartoon About Secretary of State Rice

Clever, not terribly insightful. Depictions of foreign leaders is funny.


Leaking the National Intelligence Estimate

The National Intelligence Estimate revealed that the Bush Administration knew since September that Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program for several years. The Bush Administration could not suppress this information because it knew that the moment it did, it would be leaked to the press.

Lamentations that in the old days such things would never happen were a source of mirth to many. When an Administration scapegoats an agency, what is it expecting? Loyalty? It's more like they were expecting stupidity. What happened the last time? Intelligence information was misused and the country was led into war with Iraq.

Poor President Bush. It seems those civil servants make a difference after all.

U.S. War with Iran: It's Not Over

Many people heaved a sigh of relief when the Washington Post reported last week that the Bush Administration learned in September that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program several years ago.

The thinking was: "They can't possibly justify a war on Iran now. Whew!"

They would be wrong.

When a zealot hasn't had a new idea since 1986, they don't let go of it easily. Mere facts do not impede a well-fantasized plan of glory. So we have observed the concept being floated that Iran's uranium enrichment is enough of a reason to intervene in Iran. Watch out for that one, it is not going to die an easy death.

Iran is here to stay. We need to learn how to work things out. What the last forty years SHOULD have taught us is that the United States cannot control the government of another country without long-term grief. The purpose of government is talk to other governments to get business done. Beating a drum and calling for blood has its appeal, but is not governance. Nor is it leadership.


Lori Drew and the MySpace Suicide

So what kind of adult would OK the idea of creating a false identity and then plaguing her daughter's former friend with it? She claims that she told her daughter to "only say nice things." Are we supposed to believe that? That she told her daughter "OK, create a false identity and pretend to like your former friend, even though you don't anymore, but only say nice things." It's absurd.

It seems that the entire Drew family is being shunned by their neighbors. And that's the least of their problems. There are death threats and ominous cars driving by their house.

Good! There should be some kind of feedback mechanism to online behavior. You can't just do anything or say anything without facing the results. The problem is that in the United States, people often express themselves through violence. Letting them live in shame is worse than a hail of bullets.

It seems Lori Drew ran an advertising agency out of her home she has had to shut down. Hooray! I hope they lose everything. And if they do decide to move, it won't make a difference. What that family did, and what Lori Drew sanctioned will follow them everywhere.

It has taken a while for our sense of morality to extend to the effects of what we say online. But that's part of what I see going on here. It's an important shift.


Sex Tips for the Young Woman

The marketplace rules on this one.  You are the supply and he is the demand.  Don't just hand out your goodies.  Make him work for it.

Think of it this way:

One egg a month  - millions of sperm a month.

Those damn sperm are competing and competing for that egg of yours.  Even if conception is not the goal, it is the driving force behind the desire for sex.  You look at a potential partner and think: " - he make good baby."  He thinks the same about you.

This whole "hooking up" thing is really bad for you.  Your potential mate needs to show he's a good catch by:
  • Calling when he says he's going to call.
  • Showing up when he says he's going to show up.
  • Doing what he says he's going to do.
  • Taking care of you when you are sick.
  • Caressing and adoring you.
  • Singling you out to spend time alone with you, not with you and Spanky and the Gang, but alone with you.
  • Bragging about you and your accomplishments to his friends.

Relevant old wives tales:
  1. Look at his shoes, if they are not nice and clean it shows that he is not a person of substance but only puts his efforts into appearances.
  2. How he treats the waitress is how he's going to treat you in ten years.
  3. Stingy with the wallet means stingy in bed.  Generosity is not about money.  It's about time and consideration.
  4. Masturbate before a date if you really think you might jump in the sack too soon.
  5. Don't commit for a few months.
  6. Try to wait six months before intercourse.  That's a tough one.  You probably won't get there, but try.  
  7. Men aren't the only ones who think between their legs.  You do, too.

Talking to Jesus in my Backyard

Many times when I am troubled or confused, I find comfort sitting in my
backyard having a cold beer, along with a quiet conversation with

This happened to me recently after a particularly difficult day. I said
"Jesus, why do I work so hard?"

And I heard the reply: "Men find many ways to demonstrate the love they
for their family. You work hard to have a peaceful and beautiful home
your friends and family to gather."

I said, "I thought that money was the root of all evil."

His reply was, "No, the love of money is the root of all evil. Money is
tool; it can be used for good or bad."

I was starting to feel better, but I still had that one burning
question, so
I asked it. "Jesus," I said, "what is the meaning of life? Why am I

He replied: "That is a question many men ask. The answer is in your
and is different for everyone. I would love to chat with you some more,
for now, Senor, I have to finish your lawn."


Dog Walker Hell Week - Dog Walking Company - The Dog Walker's Handbook


It's over. I had ten extra walks per day for the last week and a half. It has been a few decades since I have been bone-tired in a literal sense. Dog walking is manual labor. It may seem like unfettered fun to you cubicle-ites, but there's a lot to worry about.

BUY The Dog Walker's Handbook for $5 by clicking on the title to the book.

First, every single dog owner has a specific set of instructions that applies to their dog alone. You need to remember all of it. Then, the dog doesn't always WANT to go outside if it's raining or snowing. My dog Amber is like that. She just looks at me like I'm insane and pulls a sit-down strike.

Of course there's the fat, old, lazy dog that suddenly gets a burst of youth and makes a run for it. Always keep a firm grip on the leash.

Logistics is everything in dog walking. The clock rules your day. You need to be at certain places at certain times and have to map out your strategy for getting there.

( And yes, YouTube managed to freeze my face in a bizarre expression. But listen to it anyway. )

Of course as your business grows, you hire people. Then it really gets tough. Like the guy who sat in someone's house and ate a bucket of chicken and left some of the bones and biscuits lying around. The client was a vegetarian, by the way.

There was another guy who thought of himself as a kind of roaming Dick Cavett and would get to houses as the people were getting home from work - big no no - and then have in-depth conversations about country music or the economy. And I'll bet they were great conversations. But you need not to lose your focus: caring for the dog. No matter how much they smile and laugh, they will get angry and fire you if you fail to do this.

That brings up another issue. Your clients think of themselves as better than you. As a dog walker, you are in the servant class. No matter how jovial they are, or how they discuss books with you, they think of you as the maid. And neighbors delight in watching you and telling the client if you have done something like not pick up the poop.

The colder weather isn't so bad if you prepare by dressing appropriately. You warm up really quickly if you move.

You are always marketing as a dog walker. The barrier to entry in this business is virtually zero. So anyone could call themselves a dog walker and try to poach your customers. Advertising on Craigslist is great, as are line item mentions in the local paper. Put signs up in dog parks, or better yet, go to them in the mornings. That's a great place to get customers.

Remember, your clients are the humans, not the dogs. It's hard to remember this fact. You will often like the dog more than you like the owners.

But the upside is that you get into really good shape and the dogs are always so glad to see you. It really lifts the spirits. They are such sweet little beings and the weather in DC is very mild most of the time, making a nice walk with a dog such a pleasure. I would walk along Rock Creek and think of all the times when I was working inside how much I would love just a few minutes of walking around in that weather. And I did it every day. It was glorious.


Democrats Soft on Torture: Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles Schumer of New York

What do you stand for if you don't oppose the use of torture? How could a person POSSIBLY consider themselves to be a leader in a democracy and compromise on that issue?

Waterboarding was created during the Spanish Inquisition. What does that tell you?

If someone was suggesting we waterboard pets, little cats and dogs, then this country would be ready to kill them. On the spot. No one would be quibbling about it being torture. Because you know it is torture.

And yes, there is a clear line that torture is wrong. That ticking bomb scenario is nonexistent, and even if it does happen, why do you think that someone would tell you the "truth" versus "anything you want to hear"?

The Democrats are folding on the torture issue. This will not be forgotten.


Two Hundred Houses for Sale in Petworth

The decline and fall of real estate investors is a boon to anybody looking to buy a house for the price of a condo.

The Petworth market is taking a real hit right now because of the foreclosures. There are about two hundred of them. But keep in mind the huge mall that is opening at 14th & Irving is going to have a cascading uplift to properties north of Columbia Heights. And the huge redevelopment of Georgia Avenue and Sherman Avenue from Howard University to the Georgia Avenue Green Line stop will only enhance that.

Check it out! The lawns are nice and you can still own a home for less than the price of a condo. And that includes a yard. Any Realtor should be able to help you locate something.


Delhi: Monkeys on the Payroll

For a mere $19 a month in bananas, larger langur monkeys are being used by the Indian government to chase away smaller rhesus monkeys that are causing problems at tourist sites and temples. The rhesus monkeys are also crowding around the entrance to a new subway and need to be chased away.

We take a lot for granted in this country. We don't have the fights with wildlife that other places do. I remember being in New Delhi and being told of the family of monkeys that live in the museum for the last few hundred years. We just don't have these problems.

The thought of monkeys in the lobby of an office building is cute, I'll admit. But you don't know these buggers. They throw things at you, try to steal your food and water bottles, and enjoy causing trouble. Then they laugh at you. Try dealing with that every time you enter your building.

So in bringing in other monkeys, the Indian government is setting itself up for trouble, I think. Who's to say that THOSE monkeys won't start to be a nuisance?

This reminds me of the wild elephants terrorizing villages in Africa. American animal rights people want those elephants to be safe from being killed. But then none of their children have been stomped to death by an elephant living on the edge of town.

There's a lot to be taken for granted in how we've tamed our wildlife. Sometimes I think we should let 1000 elephants loose in California and see how wildlife-friendly they are then.


Socks the Cat v. Clinton in the White House

Talk about soccer moms will pale in comparison to the pet lover's lobby. It is an untapped political steamroller.

So our new Clinton candidate took poor little Socks the Cat and got rid of her after she served no more political purpose. That poor cat. When people determine character, it is the treatment of their pets that they look at. Among other things.

What would it have taken to just keep the cat? Hillary needs to answer this. I'm sure many of you are laughing now, but just wait.


Stop Worshipping the Brain

James Watson is a bright guy. He helped unravel the DNA code, or something. And I'll bet he got straight A's in high school and even college. So what? And yes, of course, there is that Nobel Prize. Still, so what?

He comes out with some racist blather this week about intelligence and race and the whole world gets upset. OK, he can figure out some weird science stuff that none of us could get. Fine. But that doesn't make him a prophet or seer. That doesn't give him leadership abilities, and God knows it doesn't give him political ones.

People are looking to intelligent people for answers that they can't give. James Watson is a homophobic, racist jerk. There's a lot of them out there.

The problem is with us. We expect that he has some Universal Truth instead of being really good in a narrow field. The relevance in James Watson's beliefs is in looking at how few blacks there are in major research institutions.

He may be smart, but he's also an idiot.


Yes, We Are Torturing People

Let me ask you a question. Suppose you picked up a gun and shot someone and then claimed that you did not shoot him. Instead you say you were poking his internal organs with a projectile piece of metal, but weren't shooting him at all. Would that be enough to absolve you from charges of shooting someone? No.

So, too, do the claims of this Administration fall short of convincing in the area of toture.

Let me ask further what would happen to the lawyers who advised you that the above legal theory was sound? They would be brought up on ethics charges and possibly disbarred. That's what WILL HAPPEN to the lawyers who advised our men and women in uniform that waterboarding prisoners is legal. Even if we call them detainees.

Now I can hear all sorts of lawyers shrieking about legal definitions and what tests apply, etc. But I would caution anyone about to commit a Federal crime that such distinctions, as between "prisoner" and "detainee," don't often last very long. And when detainees are recognized as prisoners, the interrogators will become torturers in law as well as life.


Bush: Killing Counter-Terrorism

George Bush's Administration is not in the least interested in fighting terrorism. They just want to be seen doing it. Whenever they get a juicy terror tip, the first people they call is the Fox News Channel, thereby compromising the source.

And remember when a computer guy in al Qaida was turned and working in place? They announced it to the world. That guy could have been good for years.

But, no. It's more important to strut around and thump your chest. That's what you get for electing a cheerleader for President.

Click on the title to this post for the source information.


Terror Attack with Chili Peppers

A restaurant in Britain triggered a terror alert when its very hot chili peppers caused an alarm to be raised. A "noxious cloud" and "eye-watering stench" caused panic among Soho shoppers and the area was sealed off for Hazmat and possible terror attack inspections.

That guy's Thai food is nothing to play around with, it seems. "The restaurant, which has been open for 17 years, is considering putting up posters to warn the public during future chilli cooking sessions."

Click on the title to this post for the Guardian story in full.


Gingrich Won't Run !!

And he's put on a few pounds, too. I thought I'd mention that since if Hillary put on that much weight it would be a source of commentary:

What does it mean?
Has he lost his personal discipline?
Has he lost his focus?
Would he have a heart attack in office?
Will his wife throw him out for letting himself go?
Maybe he doesn't really want the White House?
Won't we look bad with a fat guy representing us at international negotiating tables?
Where will we get all the pictures of Our Fearless Leader chopping wood or jogging?
Does he dye his hair?
Was that the same suit he wore yesterday?

Food for thought.

Biofuel Blowback in Brazil

Lula, the leader of Brazil, has really done a lot to promote the use of ethanol and now Brazil is a major exporter of biofuels.

His South American neighbors, exporters of oil, are not so pleased. It is interesting to look at their arguments because if biofuels really take off here in the U.S., these are the kinds of things that oil companies will also say:

  • Biofuels cause starvation
  • Biofuels cause global warming and kill much-needed forests
  • Biofuels raise food prices.
Biofuel opponents are actually saying that people will starve because of biofuels. That's funny. And a signal of how desperate oil companies are to maintain the status quo.


Ahmadinejad in New York City

Nothing is quite as invigorating as jumping up and down and yelling at someone. So the citizens of New York City took the opportunity of Ahmadinejad's visit to the United Nations to curse him out with placards and bullhorns. Whee! Wasn't that fun?

But it accomplished nothing. So what? You're rude to a visiting foreign leader. It does nothing but help Iran's leader to be seen being yelled at by Americans. The next time, do something useful. Welcome him. Be polite. That would be a little harder to explain back home and Americans wouldn't look like ranting idiots.

Republican Space Aliens

Many will recall that on July 8, 1947, witnesses claimed that an unidentified object with five aliens aboard, crashed onto a sheep ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico. This is a well-known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Government.
However, what you may not have noticed is that during the month of March, 1948--exactly nine months AFTER that historic date--George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Condoleeza Rice and Dan Quayle were all born.
See what happens when aliens breed with sheep?
This piece of information may help to clear up a lot of things.

Our National Discourse on Terrorism

Here's a great YouTube clip. Sad but funny.


Fugimori Gets No Respect

What is it with the Peruvians? Fugimori, their old President, was the ONLY ONE who broke the back of the Shining Path, a terror group that had been plaguing Peru for two decades. They even stormed the Japanese embassy in Lima, which Fugimori brought to a successful end. And, in case that weren't enough, Fugimori also brought double-digit inflation under control.

So now he wants to come back to Peru and they want to arrest him. In any other country, he would be a welcomed hero. Sure, he tried to extend his Presidential term. OK, he's an egomaniac. All those types are. But give the guy his due: he sure did a lot for Peruvians. And this is the thanks he gets.


Implications of a Fuel Cell Car

So Iceland has created a fuel cell car. At $8 for a gallon of gas, Icelanders must be very happy.

Supposing, in the next ten years, this technology is adopted throughout the world. The demand for gasoline is radically and dramatically reduced. Are we going to continue caring about the Middle East in quite the same way? Of course not.

And if the demand for oil is reduced, then the riches of the Arab and Persian nations will also be reduced. So the money sent to radical Islamist groups will also be reduced, as will their ability to cause trouble elsewhere in the world.

Another nation affected would be Russia. Russia is basing its current bout of hegemony on its supply of oil. Witness the threats to cut off the heat to its neighbors last winter. I always predicted that the Russian resurgence would be short-lived. Now they can focus their efforts on fighting Canada for ice flows.

A fuel cell car - imagine! I'm dying to get a new car myself, but my husband and my sister prudently are talking me out of it. One way to inspire myself to patience would be dreams of a fuel cell car THAT DOESN'T USE GASOLINE!! With leather interiors, of course. I wouldn't get a car without leather interiors.

- - - - -
As an aside, you can usually click on the title of a post to see an article related to my rant.


War with Iran - Ahmadinejad Calls the Bluff

In his own deft way, Ahmadinejad is calling the bluff of the West by pretending that none of the threats of war from France and the U.S. are happening at all. You may remember that the French Foreign Minister claimed that the only way to eliminate Iran's nuclear threat would be war if strong sanctions weren't imposed. That's not the same as calling for an outright war, but in diplomat-speak the mere mention of the term "war" is significant. It is a clear first step to the real thing, and not to be taken lightly.

Another significant point is that the threat came from France. Such verbal bullying we have come to expect from a cowboy President who had never been to Europe before his election. Not from France, who is not known for such things. France is not thought to be in goose-step with the Bush Administration either. So it shows there is a real coalition building in the West for war with Iran. That's serious.

Ahmadinejad's nonchalant rhetoric is probably aimed at trying to calm his population down and improve their self-esteem by another laughing round at the West. Thumbing your nose at the big guy always has a great feeling to it. He's also throwing the fear back at the West. Now the West has to react to its own words since Iran isn't giving us any pushback. Let's see if the mention of war continues.


MTV in Columbia Heights

MTV is locating its Rock the Vote HQ right here in Columbia Heights. The rumored location is 11th and Park NW. They wanted an edgy neighborhood, and by God that's right here. They should have been here five years ago. It was so edgy people got shot on their own front porch.

I wonder how much of the coverage will mention that DC has no vote in Congress.

It's kind of fun to see the globs of young party-goers drifting down the streets these days. I wonder if Columbia Heights will become a kind of Adams Morgan for restaurant chains. And when that mall opens up we will be deluged with the shoppers. My money's on about ten thousand people a weekend visiting this area.

And then there are plans to 'develop' the Old Soldiers Home, an area of 77 acres to the northwest of Columbia Heights. It is to become a mix of shopping, residential with a 22 acre park in the middle. I fail to understand why these projects are considered improvements. I think a patch of green in the city doesn't need any improvement.

Prediction: in five years, my block will be zoned commercial.


Conspiracy Requires Cooperation

For all those 9-11 conspiracy fans out there, a conspiracy requires cooperation between the various parties. It is the observance of Econ-Girl that groups accused of conspiring wouldn't cooperate with each other to get off the Titanic, much less to cooperate to more nefarious and complicated ends.

And that's not even including the whole "keep your mouth shut afterwards" which would NEVER happen, even if both sets of people were operating with brain tumors to the extent they cooperated at all.


Aboriginal Glories

While the treatment of aboriginal peoples has been awful, their behavior hasn't been too hot, either. WARNING: this is extremely politically incorrect.

The girl on display in Argentina, the one who was sacrificed 500 years ago in a volcano, is the source of much attention because of the preserved state of the body. But let's not forget she and two small children were murdered by their people.

Why should aboriginals get a pass on this when we're always hearing about Columbus? I'm sick of this noble savage myth.

And the Native Americans, as they like to call themselves, try to suppress information that white people were here in North America before they were. In the US, they forbade any examination of a body that was one of the oldest found in the US. It was Caucasian. Their reasoning was that because it was so old, it had to be Native American and therefore they had right to bury it and forbid examination.

Fortunately, another such remains was found in Mexico, and that body could be studied.

I have no sympathy for anyone who clings to "the old ways." If the old ways worked, we'd all be using them. If they don't, dump them. That's what makes America great. We use what works and we judge by results.

Click on the title to this post to see an article on the Inca girl on display.


Giuliani Does Not Understand Terrorism

Emergency preparedness, yes. Terrorism, no.

My opinion on his understanding of terrorism is based on a Time magazine article linked to the title of this post. He mocks the threat of North Korea because they never directly orchestrated an attack on U.S. soil. He apparently doesn't know that they sell weapons to people who do.

Guiliani thinks that the Iraq war reduces the terror threat in the U.S. What? The increased resentment towards the U.S. brought on by that war is bringing more recruits. Guiliani complains about the Clinton Administration track record on terror. At least Bill Clinton tried to bomb Osama bin Laden, and at a time when he was under severe personal attack.

Besides, I have some serious doubts about the quality of his character. Imagine running a campaign on "commitments" to the American public when your marriage failed in part because of your infidelity. The man is blind to himself. And of course there is the appointment of Bernard Kerik, a man who used the deaths of brave men and women to get a cool love nest for his mistress.


Note to Gonzales

Look, bud, this is the way the Bushies operate: they wring all of the credibility out of you and then kick you to the curb. But that is not the end. Then they blame you for everything. Be prepared to be labeled the Attorney General of torture. They have to have some fall guy for it, and that's you. It was always you.

Sorry, bud. Hate to be the one to tell you. All those bar-b-ques really didn't mean anything.


14th & Girard

When a person is told that five police forces patrol in DC, the first comment that comes is "Wow, I bet it's safe!" The implication that "more is better" would be untrue.

The true implication is: where many entities in charge, no one does anything.

Who's going to shut down 14th & Girard, NW? There is about one killing every other month there. Are we going to wait until a middle-class pedestrian gets shot? Or a child?

This rant is not just about that particular park. The US Park Service is responsible for many parks in DC, and are very reluctant to do anything at all. It took two years to get a fence around 11th and Monroe, NW. And half the time the Park Service doesn't lock it at night.

If the US Park Service wants to exercise bureaucratic control over an area, they need to be responsible for patrolling it as well. We're getting sick of this. We pay taxes, we get no vote, and we have no say over half of the city.


"The Communist Party is the Most Sympathetic"

"Nature has no sympathy, people have sympathy, but the Communist Party is the most sympathetic."

A banner with this saying was displayed for the relatives of the 181 Chinese coal miners who are trapped in a flooded mine. Convincing, eh? People often talk about the power of propaganda. But the power of observation wins every time.

If the Chinese Communist Party is the "most sympathetic" how did this happen? Why is the Chinese environment polluted so badly? The Chinese Government is more sympathetic to profits than people and workers.

The relatives of the trapped miners know this and demonstrated it by violence. If you can believe it, the families were told to go home and wait for news, and not to talk to anyone. No news came. Frustrated that international journalists were being given information when they were not, about eight relatives smashed the offices of the coal mine company.

Communism and industrialization were to go hand in hand. Wouldn't it be ironic if now that China is really becoming industrialized that Chinese workers begin to organize and strike?


"CIA" As An Epithet

One of the disadvantages of being known to have once worked on a contract at the CIA is that you are subject to the slur of "CIA." That's it. I didn't know that "CIA" was an epithet unto itself. However, it seems that it is.

One would expect at least an adjective, such as "slimy" or "lying." Or that "CIA" would be used as an adjective itself, as in "CIA pig." Some people get really sensitive about these things. Not I.

It seems that the association itself with a person is enough of a put-down. And that is truly sad.


Denmark and Russia in a Battle to the Death

The North Pole is the globe's hottest disputed territory right now. Russia, still sore at its loss of Eastern European domination, is now fighting over ice flows.

"Mine!" shouts a balding Putin, shaking his fists over a map of the Arctic. "All mine!"

And now a team of Danish scientists are going into the North Pole area for research. A threat if I ever saw one! Stayed tuned for military hi jinks by the Russian government.


Cheney Has a Heart?

Dick Cheney had the battery to his pacemaker changed. So in the event that his heart skips a beat, say, if he gets a chance to detain more teenagers for torture, a little electric shock will go off and get him back to normal. The miracle of modern science. Now if we could only do the same thing for a conscience ...


Clinton and Obama - Talking to the Enemy

Clinton accuses Obama of being naive because he is willing to talk to nations like Cuba, North Korea and Iran if he gets elected President. She is wrong. Having a list of countries with problematic behavior and refusing to talk to them about it means conducting communications through the press and third parties. You will always have to have communications. It's just a matter of how.

Look at this Administration. They are finally talking to Iran. They had to. If there was ever a group of people invested in not talking to Iran, it would be this Administration. But essential discussions needed to be had, and you should have thought of that when you decided to invade the country next to Iran. So now you have to talk to them.


U.S. Talks With Iran: Is War Still in the Air?

Yes. Don't be fooled. The Bush Administration acknowledged that the country cannot be run like Texas when it agreed to have conversations with Iran. It only took them six years. As a national leader, you have to talk to people you hate. Freezing them out is ineffective.

But the Bush Administration is populated with people who don't change their minds and hate new ideas. So their thoughts from twenty years ago, namely, to invade Iraq and then Iran, are still driving their thinking and policy decisions.

It would be wise to watch the news reports and the rhetoric. Recently, an article appeared about Iranian problems with drug smugglers. It was a sympathetic article to Iran and likened their border issues with ours. The appearance of this article can be seen as a signal that the U.S. position towards Iran is open to cooperation. It would be a declaration of "common ground," if you will. The Bush Administration would be feeding the notion that Iran and the U.S. could unite in fighting narcotics trafficking.

How strong would that "common ground" be? Almost illusionary. Iran should not be baited into any conciliatory stance.

Don't be surprised if a sudden reversal of rhetoric occurs, painting Iran as an enemy of the U.S. One would be mistaken to think that any gains in understanding between the U.S. and Iran would preclude manic accusations from our President. That is not the case.

And when the President speaks, he is speaking to his political base. So the reassurance of "don't listen to what I say, watch what I do" would be hollow.


Russia and Official Murder

Another Western publishing worker was murdered in Russia. Putin does not stop at killing Russians in London. He does not stop at killing critics in the Russian media. He does not stop at killing rivals at home. Why would he stop at killing troublemakers here in Washington, DC?

London has expelled four Russian diplomats because Russia refuses to extradite the killer of a Russian exile critical of Putin, Litvinenko. The man, a former KGB agent, was killed in London. In other words, allegedly acting under Putin's orders, someone in London was killed. I hope I am not the only person outraged at this.

Where is the screaming right-wing media on this one?


Food Quality Through Public Executions

So the Chinese have shot the guy in charge of their food quality. Do you feel better now? Given the Chinese government's penchant for shooting people it hardly gives me any comfort, anyway.

Fundamentally, if someone at the top is allowing lousy and dangerous food to be exported, no one in China cares until they get caught. China doesn't even have one consistent set of trade laws. How are they going to enforce "quality" even assuming they agree with us on what that means.

If you want a great example of the failures of deregulation of business, the import of bad foodstuffs into the American diet would be a good place to start. Profit motive fails as a substitute for good policy. Profit motives are short-term and short-sighted. U.S. business has an equal share in the blame for poisoning our food supply.

Imagine: all the dogs that died from bad food from China could have been children. Would we be embracing the free market then?


Thong + Silk Skirt + No Slip = Obvious

For God's sake, who taught you how to dress? This particular fashion offender was at 17th & M NW today around Noon. If you've never actually worn a skirt before, talk to someone who has!


Evicting Dave the Actor

So it has finally come to this. This time, not only has he not paid his rent, he handed me a few rubber checks as well. The good news is that he pays week to week, so I'm not out of all that money.

So he gives me this story that $7000 will be arriving. And each time I ask, he tells me "it hasn't cleared yet." This goes on for two weeks. Finally, I tell him he has to leave and he tells me "but I won't have any money until my paycheck on Friday." Huh? What happened to the $7000 that was coming in? I'm so angry I can't even look at him.

Since Dave lives in the house with us and rents a room, we don't all the restrictions associated with kicking him out.


Guantanamo: "No Legal Basis" for Holding Detainees

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the problem with hearings for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay is that there is NO LEGAL BASIS for holding them and that they SHOULD NEVER BE RELEASED.

First of all, if we are not a nation of laws, what are we?

Secondly, by deciding that all detainees should never be released, and denying them a fair hearing, you are making sure that no one will ever find out if you've imprisoned the wrong person.

Wrongful imprisonment is a very important issue here because of how the detainees were treated. Making sure the detainees never get out is a great way to see to it that no one ever knows what you did.

It was never a great strategy, and one that will fail in the near future.


God Likes Me Better Than You

Societies with certain rules, such as "don't murder" and "don't steal," survived. Societies that didn't have those rules did not. Other rules, like "women need to wear a cloth on their head" do not rise to the same level. That is, societies having that rule do not have an improved chance at survival.

But it is not enough that behaving a certain way will increase your society's chance of survival and therefore your chance of survival. GOD must order it. And not only does GOD like my way better than yours, but GOD condemns your way of doing things. GOD likes me better than you.

A belief in GOD and GOD's will and GOD's rules means survival of humanity.

When people rail on about GOD and GOD's will, they are hijacking GOD's name to their own purposes. How do you think he feels about that?


Dick Cheney - King of the World

Our Vice President is not a part of the Executive Branch, did you hear? He's King of the World. That would give us all a lesbian princess in his daughter. My, have times changed.

As King of the World, Cheney does not have to worry about public opinion. The elections that got him in office were just a ruse for the masses. Little did we know.

As King of the World, Cheney is not under the authority of the President of the United States. The President is under him. What a fun Christmas party that must be.

Speaking as one of the huddled masses, I can't WAIT for Cheney to realize that one day he won't be in office anymore. I hope someone has a camera at that moment. It will be the falling of a dinosaur.


Hamas and Fatah

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has criticized the international community for its open support of Fatah over Hamas. They express this support by giving money to the Fatah government and not to the Hamas government.

I think Carter's a little wrong on that one. Former President Carter says that Hamas was elected and the world is making a big mistake in ignoring the voice of the Palestinians.

Yes, Hamas was elected. No, Hamas cannot govern. They can't even work with other groups of Palestinians. And when real bare-knuckled politics of governing is required, Hamas pulls out its guns.

So Jimmy Carter complains that the global support of Fatah over Hamas will create a divide between Palestinians. Maybe. But why should anyone support a government they oppose? One calling for the destruction of Israel? One that can't even negotiate a political solution with its own brethren?

There is a democracy of international support as well. No nation MUST give the Palestinians money. If there are two governments, as there are now, support can be given to either, or both. If you act like gun-toting lunatics, don't be surprised if you don't get money from other nations.


Economics Explained with Cows



You have two cows.

You give one to your neighbour.


You have two cows.

The State takes both and gives you some milk.


You have two cows.

The State takes both and sells you some milk.


You have two cows.

The State takes both and shoots you.


You have two cows.

The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the

milk away.


You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.


You have two giraffes.

The government requires you to take harmonica lessons


You have two cows.

You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.

Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why your cow has dropped dead.


You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of

credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a

debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get

four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights for six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a

Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who

sells the rights to seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on

one more.

You sell one cow to buy a new President of the United States, leaving

you with ten cows.

No balance sheet is provided with the release.

The public then buys your bull.

You don't need money to start a dog walking business. Buy The Dog Walker's Handbook


You have two cows.

You shred them.


You have two cows.

You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads because you want

three cows.


You have two cows.

You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow but

produce twenty times the milk.

You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market

it worldwide.


You have two cows.

You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and

milk themselves.


You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.

You decide to have lunch.


You have two cows.

You count them and learn you have five cows.

You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.

You count them again and learn you have two cows.

You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.


You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you, but you get to charge the

owners for storing them.


You have two cows.

You have 300 people milking them.

You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.

You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation, and run him over with a

tank in a large open square area.


You have two cows.

You worship them.


You have two cows.

Both are mad.


Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.

You tell them that you have none.

No-one believes you, so they bomb the hell out of you and invade your


You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy.


You have two cows.

The one on the left looks very attractive.


You have two cows.

Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate



Have we had enough of reports that detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being mistreated? Have we had enough information on how this Administration has orchestrated a policy of torture?

I have.


The Paris Hilton Index

It's nice to know that not just Americans are pathetic celebrity watchers.

Pravda, yes that Pravda, has her return to jail at the top of the page with a photo of her wearing very little. This being just days from Russia threatening to turn Europe into a pancake. You'd think people missing their old Cold War charms would have something more serious to talk about. But then, look at me. I'm writing about this stuff.

The Frankfurter Allegemeine at least puts Paris Hilton stories right next to George Michael ones, and a little bit above how handwriting has gone downhill since computers. Now that shows a proper sense of perspective. But only Germans would worry about the quality of their national handwriting.

The Belfast Telegraph puts the news of Paris Hilton's jail experiences right after Putin's latest insult to Tony Blair. Let me see, so Putin allegedly orders the killing of a person on British soil and won't give up the guy indicted for the crime. Russia and Britain are in a major struggle about this, and Britain is threatening to cut all business ties with Russia "if they don't conform to international standards." This is a big deal. And right next to that is Paris Hilton! Because if you want to know about impending economic war in Europe, you will definitely want to know what Paris Hilton is doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

The Sydney Morning Herald has Ms. Hilton at the top of its video news on its front page. At least they title it "Paris Hilton Media Circus" and outright admit that what is important is not where she is or what she is doing, but that so many idiot news outlets consider any of that important. A little ironic reflection is needed, perhaps, since all they post is a straight Reuters film clip.

The Lithuanian ELTA ignores our poor Paris, but is excited that Playboy will now be published in Lithuanian.

All in all, poor Paris might be regretting her notoriety right now.

Prince Bandar's Wild Ride

So Prince Bandar shows up at a bank and wants $2 million cash for "traveling expenses." The bank refused. Imagine being asked to scrape up $2 million in cash out of the bank's vault. Do they even have that much laying around at one time? He spends $17 million refurbishing one of his palaces.

"He is quoted in a recent biography saying that he personally flew $10m in a suitcase to Rome and gave it to a priest at the Vatican Bank, in order to covertly fund the Christian Democrats against the Communists in the 1983 Italian elections." See The Guardian article by clicking on the title to this post.

So why the scandal? Sure, the guy's a bit weird, but who cares? A British company, BAE, got a contract to build military weapons for Saudi Arabia. Apparently, as part of the deal, they have been sending $30 million to a bank account in the U.S. every quarter for at least 10 years as a bribe to the Saudi princes making the deal. Can you even imagine getting that kind of money EVERY THREE MONTHS? Bribing foreign officials has only just become illegal in Britain. And Tony Blair shut down the investigation because of "national security" reasons.

There's a lot of jobs in Britain being funded by Saudi military purchases. So they don't want to scratch too deeply on something silly like bribery.


Syria is an Ally of the United States in War on Terror

According to a BBC article, Syria allowed the CIA to house kidnapped people the U.S. suspected of terrorism. They also allowed them to use "enhanced interrogation techniques," said Dick Marty, a Swiss politician investigating the whole extraordinary rendition program for a European human rights group.

Syria's assistance in the War on Terror is not something new. But this information, if true, shows that their level of involvement and cooperation is a lot higher than we have been led to believe.

Also, it poses an interesting contrast to the rhetoric of this Administration, which has been very negative regarding Syria.

Click on the title to this post to see the BBC article.


Bush Uses Words, Not Threats, With Putin

Today Putin and Bush announced that they have a common framework for getting past this nasty missile business in Europe. So all these Russian remarks about Europe becoming a pancake were posturing, which is what you would have to expect. After all, Russia would be destroying themselves in destroying Europe. And I doubt they are prepared for another European war.

Without a doubt, though, Russia has felt very threatened by Eastern Europe's military cooperation with NATO and the U.S. They have made this plain over the last few weeks by their complaining loudly and publicly that Russia is abiding by treaties limiting missiles and no one else is.

But now that President Bush has found the value of talking instead of name calling, he and Putin have established the beginnings of a dialog on military cooperation against common threats. What are these common threats? A nuclear Iran, a Middle East meltdown, and an aggressive China. Those are my guesses. So much for the cold war military contractors were hoping for.

Click on the title to this post for the transcript of Bush's and Putin's public statements.

Training a Torturer

You train a torturer by torturing them. So when the military bosses decided they wanted to toughen up soldiers against rough interrogation techniques, they implemented the SERE program, which put our soldiers through some rough interrogation. Then, most of the limits put in place to prevent torture and abuse were removed.

Add to that the Presidential rhetoric about "the gloves are coming off" and other handy phrases, and what do you have except implicit permission to abuse prisoners? With unaccountable CIA contractors telling soldiers to "soften up" their Iraqi prisoners, what do you think you are going to get? No structure is in place to stop that pressure.

For these and other reasons, this Administration needs to be held accountable for its deliberate lapses in management and policy.


Putin and the Balance of Power

Putin is back in the 20th Century on this one: "We think it would be harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a tinderbox and fill it with new types of armaments," Mr Putin said.

Russia has test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile and claims to have fired it almost entirely across its northern air space to eastern Siberia. That means they could hit Europe if they wanted to.

So if Eastern Europe gets a missile shield, Russia will up the ante with showing off its new missiles. Whee! Haven't we been here before? It's a new arms race.

Remember Kissinger's balance of power politics that got us into Vietnam? That's where Putin's head is at. He is threatening Europe with fire if they install missile defense shields in Eastern Europe. Why would Russia feel threatened by that anyway? It's not as if they are planning on sending missiles into Europe, right? Or do they just want the option?

Putin should instead worry about the other rising powers of the 21st century: Brazil, China, India-Pakistan, Indonesia. He's fighting some kind of self-esteem war over the losses of the Soviet Empire. Get over it, dude. Europe won't be cowed so easily again.

Click on the title to this post for the story in the The Sydney Morning Herald.

Cindy Sheehan Quits

Good for her. She had banged her head against the wall long enough. She sacrificed her life and health and marriage and now realizes nobody meant what they said, even Democrats.

I'm waiting for the tell-all book. That would be great.


Litvinenko Will Never Die

So Putin thought, "Hey, if Britain won't hand over Litvinenko, we'll just kill him in Britain!" Of course Britain is understandably outraged and now wants former Federal Security Service officer Lugovoi back in Britain to answer charges of murder. Russia is dragging its feet and is talking about a trial in Russia instead.

What were you thinking, Vladimir? What would you do if Russia was offering protection to someone and another country came in and killed him on your soil? You were supposed to learn this kind of thinking as a child. Remember? If you don't like being hit, don't hit others.


Foreign Perspectives on the Dollar

"They are getting rid of the dollar to,but slowly slowly.So in the end no one will pay you interests for the green paper,will get rid of it,and then you'll end up trillionaires: in worthless paper." Comment on Econo-Girl

At 9:12:00 AM, vader said...

"It is strange that no one in the usa dares to talk about this.To warn the people that HEY maybe in a few years your savings will worth nothing..."

Your ideas are interesting, but a little lacking.

Yes, other countries are conducting international business in Euro. Yes, some of that business used to be conducted in Dollars. But that is only part of what supports the value of the dollar.

The United States is an extremely stable country that is also a huge marketplace. We allow and encourage innovation like no other country, and don't place impediments in the way of instant success. You can get as rich as you want, as fast as you want, if you are smart enough.

Another factor supporting the value of the Dollar is that people all over the world NEED the dollar to have value. First, many non-Americans put their money in Dollars in the United States because they know it will be safe.

Second, you mention the exchange of goods and services in exchange for Dollars. Remember the end results of that exchange: we have their goods, they have the Dollars. If the bottom falls out of the value of the Dollar, it is the the trading partners who will be hit hard, not the U.S. After all, we are not holding those Dollars. China et. al. is. Even China's recent diversification won't change the billions in Dollar assets that make up their wealth. It is China at risk, not the U.S.

Third, the U.S. population has a horrible savings rate. To answer your question, what savings?


Wake Up!!

Be prepared this summer for yet another baby boomer self-indulgence in the form of yet another movie about Vietnam. Ummm, we're fighting a war now guys. Unlike the 60's however, the class divide has separated those fighting from the rest of the U.S. So the outrage is muted.

I have an idea. You don't need to go back forty years for a dose of invigorating anger. Just live in the moment. The outrage is right now.

The United States, your government, is torturing people. It is torturing teenagers.

The United States, your government, handed the reconstruction of Iraq over to political incompetents who were talked into massive, useless expenditures by contracting companies.

The United States, your government, is run by people who wait for the bureaucracy to feed them problems instead of thinking and asking the right questions.

The United States, your government, is sending our citizens into war without protective equipment they need.

The United States, your government, is shielding the children of the middle class from paying any cost for the debacle in Iraq.


Hamas and Fatah and the Palestinian Authority

Is anyone surprised that Hamas and Fatah are killing each other? Not me. And that tenuous cease-fire they've got going on is not going to last. Hamas and Fatah are fighting for control of the Palestinian Authority. It is a natural outgrowth of Hamas winning electorally.

Because, again, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Hamas has expressed itself politically through violence for years. Now it has the chance to govern and it can't do it. Not without killing people. Its only political expression is violence and wild-eyed rhetoric. To be more balanced, Hamas also has many charities and feeds the poor, etc. But it is how you communicate and negotiate with your enemies that makes you a leader.

The worst possible denouement would be Israel's involvement in this fight. Let them kill each other or learn how to talk themselves. It is a struggle they are going to have to resolve.


Peace in the Middle East

It all starts with chitchat. That's right. Just talking to someone. So the United States finally decided to talk to Iran. At last! Denouncing someone from a pulpit, calling them "evil" and then expecting them to cooperate with you is not a strategy. Chest-thumping may feel good for a little while but does not get results.

The large, next-door neighbor of Iraq needs to be listened to right now, especially since they have some Americans in custody and are not letting them go. See? We should have thought before doing the same thing to Iran a few months ago. But then thinking was never a Bush Administration strong suit.


Cult Characteristics and Radical Islam

Click on the title to this post to see a very interesting video about operating a cult. While watching this video, I was wondering how many of these tactics were used by radical Islamic terrorist groups.

Certainly you can see some of the group process of indoctrination in their recruiting techniques. Exceptions might be in demonizing the past and isolation from family. Although certainly Zarqawi had those. Often terrorists will talk about their earlier lives of drinking and using drugs. But not all are isolated from their families.


The Pope Allies With Iran

Pope Benedict supports Iran's right to use nuclear energy. Not nuclear bombs, mind you, but nuclear energy. Pope Benedict met with Khatami, former leader of Iran. The Pope also mentioned the "freedom of religion" in Iran. Except if you are Jewish. He didn't think of that part, I guess.

"Meanwhile, Khatami said, 'Today, Muslims, Christians and followers of other religions should stress on their commonalities and strive to maintain unity in the face of insecurity and violence.' The former president regarded lack of kindness and justice as the root cause of main problems for mankind."

He's joking, right? Like calling for the destruction of Israel is kindness and justice?

I appreciate what the Pope is trying to do. He is trying to get a dialog going with Iran when the U.S. is failing to do this. The Pope is trying to get Iran talking and getting applause for nonviolent actions. That is a good thing. He is getting Iran engaged in positive constructive rhetoric which will be mentioned in the future, believe me.

Basically, Popes are forced to do things like this when the leader of the free world acts like a high school bully and snob all rolled into one. Bush senior was known for treating world leaders like they were all in some exclusive club. Bush junior acts the same, only he won't let everyone into the club and won't talk to those who don't belong. Not a mature way to handle foreign policy.


Easter Island Gets Its First Taxi !

The article from Easter Island's newspaper is fun, upbeat and optimistic to the point of sounding like propaganda. It describes with pride the advent of taxicabs on Easter Island, one of the most remote places on Earth. Anything that isn't made on the island has to be shipped from at least 2,300 miles away.

Continuing down the page, you can see a snapshot of daily life on Easter Island by the listing of recent accomplishments. A new paved road is called a "marvel." An historical site was seized by the family that used to own it and trespassers are chased off with a spear gun. It seems the family never got the land they were promised in exchange. The canoe race at the annual Tapati Festival was canceled because one of the canoes was destroyed in the ocean. Only one canoe is left on the island.

But the lasting impression one gets is the joy and optimism of the people on the Island. It's uplifting to read.


Bill Moyers Presents a Bombshell

WOW!! Bill Moyers skewered the right wing pundits who mindlessly promoted the war in Iraq. It was unbelievable. He showed Vice President Cheney outright lying on television. And he showed the pundits repeating the lies.

In short, the credibility of many journalists and pundits was outright attacked and destroyed. There is no way to ignore what Bill Moyers reported.


Peace in the Middle East: The Payoff for Peace

The Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported that the King of Jordan supported the idea of giving Palestinians a payment rather than a guarantee of a return to their old land. Hamas went bonkers and has returned to sending rockets into Israel.

Let's face it, all of the Palestinians are not going to return. Just give them the money and let's move on. Of course, Hamas will no longer have any reason to keep on killing people except that they are bloodthirsty jerks. They will probably invent another reason.


Critique My Blog

Submit your blog for a critique by this blogger who does nothing but review other people's blogs.


50% Good News In Russia

The Russian government has just ordered the Russian News Service to make half of what it says about Russia "positive." That means if a nuclear bomb was set off in Moscow, it would have to be balanced with how global warming is making the weather so nice.

Seriously, don't you see wildly ample opportunity for satire? I mean, "Today the sun shone. In other news, you won't have any electricity this winter." Of course any journalist tempted to do that would be gunned down like the rest of them.

He Should Have Never Had the Guns

The New York Times reports today that the Virginia Tech gunman, whom I will not name, should not have had the ability to buy a gun at all under Federal regulations. But someone in Virginia decided to reword the Virginia regulations to be different than the Federal one, illegal by the way, and put that version on their forms. So the Virginia Tech gunman got his guns and ammo.

Let's read into this. Some gun rights wacko decided that he wanted to increase gun ownership possibilities and reworded the Federal regulation. Now over thirty people are dead.

Don't worry. We'll find out who did this. And then not even the NRA will be able to save them.


Take the Al Jazeera Poll - Should the Virginia Tech Gunman's Video Be Broadcast

By broadcasting the video that the deranged student recorded, the news media is only encouraging copycats. The gunman himself referred to the Columbine killers, no doubt because of their video messages.

Brooke Gladstone of NPR's On The Media said today that airing the videos was the only thing news outlets could do. I disagree. The graphic and offensive images are not providing any new information and only serve to encourage others to follow suit.

Al Jazeera has an online poll. Take it and see what their readers think.


"Morally Retarded"

Let's begin the cultural shift with the introduction of a new phrase: morally retarded.

The phrase is an accurate description of those who go on these mass killing sprees. Too many messages in the popular culture associate a willingness to commit violence with a superiority of character, where the person is depicted as having transcended normal limits.

The opposite is true. People who can commit violence are morally retarded and need to be depicted that way. They've never developed limits because of their moral retardation. Their decision-making capacities are skewed. The result is violence our entire society has to suffer.

Let's change the conversation about violence.


Guns Don't Kill, People Do

And that's the problem. People kill. I know there are many responsible gun owners and hunters. My Dad is one of them. And I am sure that any one of them can pass basic safety criteria and not be upset at needing to have a clean arrest record and proficiency at the firearm they are buying.

And how would the world end if all guns had tracing microchips? If we traced gun ownership like we do car ownership? What is the big need for automatic weapons?

I'd really like to know.

God, Guns and Guts

Another American tragedy yesterday at Virginia Tech. And yet there is still more control over who can drive a car than there is over who can own a gun. A car is identified and traced through the VIN number.

And what is with the crazy pro-gun lobby? They issued a press release right after the shooting blaming a lack of guns for the incident. The idea being that if some students in the classroom had guns, and people in general knew that, then no one would enter a classroom with mass murder on their minds.

Or if they did, they would use a hand grenade. Or they would shoot someone upon entry to the classroom and duck out the door waiting for someone to chase them with their gun. Or they would pull the fire alarm and shoot people from a hidden vantage point. Or they would throw tear gas into a classroom and kill people in the confusion. That in turn would cause some gun-wielding students to shoot back.

Do you think a person who plans a cowardly attack like the one at Virginia Tech is going to be dissuaded from doing so because he will be killed? Obviously not, since suicide seems to have been part of the plan from the beginning. Instead, a gun battle will ensue, with just as many people being killed.

People who wield guns need to be referred as cowards. The media language needs to change and so does our culture.


Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq

Remember when Turkey wouldn't let the U.S. go through its country to invade Iraq? Now the Turkish military is talking about moving into northern Iraq on its own. It seems that Kurdish separatists within Turkey are hiding in northern Iraq and Turkey wants to go in and get them.

For now, the Turkish military is holding itself back and waiting for civilian leaders to make the call. So let's imagine that the U.S. is pulled out of Iraq altogether, which is the best. The new Iraq now has to worry not only about Iran menacing them, but Turkey too. Not to mention Kurd separatism erupting in northern Iraq at the same time. Let's not forget the oil there.

If Iraq blows up, then Iran and Turkey will have good reasons to march in. I think what the Iraqis will find is that they had better hang together, or they will surely hang separately.


Was George Washington A Terrorist?

Well, was he?

Don Imus and the Nappy-Headed Ho's

Poor Don Imus. The culture has changed underneath his feet. Whereas last year it was perfectly OK to call accomplished young women "whores" it is not OK now. That is a step forward for us all.

If A Terrorist Lives ...

Most terrorists die a violent death. They die fighting the government they oppose, or they get killed by people in their own group, or they kill themselves. A few will be rerouted into crime.

But sometimes they live. We can see in East Timor what happens then. They run for office against each other. With speeches and rallies and icky promises and no ability to shoot your opponent. Not if you want to win the election.

Click on the title to this post to see an article describing what violent rebels turned politician looks like.


Torture and the U.S. Image

The Iranian diplomat that the U.S. released claims he was tortured. That may or may not be true. What's important is that the claim of torture is so believable to the rest of the world. Our actions as a nation in this Global War on Terror have so besmirched our standing and credibility that any spurious claim will now be given a stage.

Thanks Rumsfeld. Thanks Bush. Thanks Guantanamo, and all the faceless bureaucrats that allowed it to happen.

Iran: Crazy or Stupid?

The Iranians are neither stupid nor crazy. It is a comfort to think that they might be, but they aren't.

Because if the Iranians are stupid or crazy, then we can dismiss what they are saying or why they are saying it. We then do not need to look at our own hostage-taking actions, nor do we need to dance our elaborate dance of self-justification.

What those labels also give us are the excuse to refrain from thinking. There's no analysis required if someone's CRAZY! Hurray! I was worried for a minute there, but now comfortably sit back in my preconceived notions. Ahhhh.

Iran's Hostage Strategy Worked

So now the truth is shook out. Iran took the British hostages so they could get their diplomats back. You may recall that the U.S. stormed an Iranian diplomatic facility and took some 'diplomats' as captives.

Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. So Iran seized British marines and held them without access to British embassy officials. Just like the U.S. did to the Iranian diplomats. Then, after the U.S. released a diplomat and allowed Iranian officials to visit the other ones, the British marines were released.

So you get the point now, President Bush? Or do you need a picture? If you throw beer in someone's face, be prepared to have beer thrown back in yours.

Econo-Girl has always said that the Iranians are neither stupid nor crazy.


Free At Last! British Marines Go Home

Ahmadinejad released the British Marines "as an Easter gift to the British people."

With no sense of irony in sight, Dick Cheney muttered about not having the right to kidnap sailors. Would that extend to diplomats, too? Wasn't that the point Ahmadinejad was making?

Econo-Girl thinks that the Iranians have long kept sleazy actions under diplomatic cover, so she is not as outraged as others at the arrest of Iranian "diplomats." Still, the point was made, wasn't it?