Three Cheers for Federal Employees!

Federal employees are always getting a bad rap as lazy infighters too fearful to take a chance. That is by and large untrue. And today they proved it. The electricity went out for some of downtown DC and the Federal employees stayed and continued to work in the dark without air conditioning. They had to be forced out.

All of which dovetails with my experience with many Federal employees. Even during the nonpayment of their salaries during the Clinton Administration, they had to be forced not to come in and do work.

Three cheers for people who believe in the importance of their jobs!


Peace in the Middle East - A Solution !!

What could inspire the leaders in the Middle East to put aside their anger and resentment to reach a lasting peace accord? Besides long-term self-interest, that is?

They would need to overcome their previous commitments to hatred and nasty rhetoric, push aside the screams for blood from their countrymen, be able to figure out solutions where none were visible before - what would do this? What would work?

Apparently, pictures of women in bikinis causes men to act impulsively.

"It wasn't that the men were simply distracted by their sexual arousal, which caused them to choose more impulsively. On the contrary, they exhibited improved cognition and creativity after exposure to sexy stimuli." (see linked article)

So it's even better - pictures of women in bikinis cause men to act impulsively and better.

So this is the plan: get a bunch of Middle-Eastern women in bikinis decorated in the flags of the region to frolic in an adjoining conference room while peace negotiations are going on.

Miss Israel could braid the hair of Miss Egypt. Miss Syria could give Miss Lebanon a pedicure. You get the idea. And it would work.

It already has. When the leader of Argentina visited the UK after the Falklands Island war with his daughter Zulema Menem, much of the jingoistic opposition to the visit died down. She was dressed very elegantly and wore a miniskirt to the memorial honoring the British war dead from the Falklands war and shed a tear. That was enough to turn public opinion.

And she wasn't even wearing a bikini.

As a newspaper at the time put it: There's nothing that British punters like more than to wrap themselves in the flag and sing jingoistic songs except the sight of a pretty girl in a miniskirt. The quote is not exact, it is from memory and I couldn't find it on the web. But you get the idea.

We all like to compliment ourselves about how deep and sophisticated we are, but we aren't that complicated really.

An antidote to this tactic is a sense of financial security. So making these guys feel broke first would be an important part of the plan. Hard to do for Arab millionaires. Feeding them stale bread would make us look poor. I'd say a solid gold car, but any of these guys could do that if they wanted.

Aha! We could tell them that we have discovered an alternative to oil-derived fuel. And on top of that, we have discovered a huge ocean of oil in the U.S. Which goes back to what people have been hinting at for a while: without oil, we don't care if they all kill each other or not. Except Israel. So they need Israel, because that's the only country that Americans care about over there.


Note to Ari Fleischer

Ari Fleischer has it wrong. The criticism of the press corps for failing to properly investigate the claims made to justify this war is not limited to the uncomfortable questions they asked him while he was Press Secretary.

It is the failure to investigate and report.

So Mr. Fleischer was asked questions he found tough. So what. It probably would have been easier on him if he wasn't a part of the campaign of deception in the White House that talked people and countries into a war that wasn't justified.

Gaza Scholars

Thank you, Secretary Rice.

Thank you for having a common sense head on your shoulders and restoring the Fulbright scholarships to the Gaza winners. There will be a long-term ramification of being reasonable in this matter. I call it the "payoff of reasonableness." None of these future Palestinian leaders will forget your compassion for them. They are going to be around a long time and the benefit may not be immediately apparent, but it will be there.

Thank you again.


The Gaza Scholars

It is hard to think of a better example of what is wrong with Israel's policy towards the Palestinians than not allowing Fulbright scholars to leave the country to pursue their studies.

What exactly does this accomplish? To date, there is no indication that the Gaza scholars are involved with terrorism. What would acting decently and humanely cost you?

People who win Fulbright scholarships tend to be leaders in their society. Israel's decision to deny these people a very prestigious scholarship by not letting them out of the country is going to cause long-term resentment. Considering the other ways the Palestinians are being treated by Israel, it is probably nominal in its impact.

Not letting people use their Fulbright scholarships is wrong and not strategic. The people in question are not going away. It would be just a little thing to let some scholars accept their scholarships. But for some reason, that is too much for Israel.