31 December 2005

Anti-Americanism cleanses all sins

Palestinians in Iraq Pay the Cost of Being ‘Saddam’s People’ (Doug Struck, December 30, 2005, Washington Post)

For years, Saddam Hussein harbored a small population of Palestinians in Iraq, trotting them out to cheer whenever he went to war — which he routinely justified as essential to Arab nationalism and the Palestinian cause.

Yes, it’s so wrong that people who supported a brutal dictatorship should suffer any consequencs

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27 December 2005

Who's data gets to be private?

The very phrase “wire-taps” is misleading. No wires are tapped. NSA merely watches what goes through the quite public realm of cyber-space, which, as we all know, is where information wants to be free.

Robert Schwartz

That’s a very interesting point, actually. Is the attitude of many electronic libertarians that support the elimination of intellectual property but oppose having their own data public inconsistent?

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The New Puritans

In Washington State you can hold interspecies group sex orgies in private clubs as long as no one smokes.

Carter

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26 December 2005

Larry Niven scores

[source, source]

A Chinese company has begun marketing kidneys, livers and other organs from executed prisoners to sick Britons in need of transplants.

One wonders how many of those recipients protest the application of the death penalty in the USA.

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Eventually accurate, sometimes, in a good year.

A good post by Ed Driscoll on the aftermath of Old Media coverage of hurricane Katrina. I agree that the coverage was driven by the need to find a way to attack President Bush in a manner that wasn’t obviously anti-American, as so much of the war coverage has been. One is left wondering what the point of Old Media is, if it can’t be trusted to get even basic facts right until months after an event.

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Now that's just mean.

[source]

She described her captors as “poor people” and said that she “cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter [Baghdad’s heavily fortified] Green Zone to kidnap Americans.”

Recently released “hostage” Susanne Osthoff explains how the Americans are making life difficult for the Caliphascists.

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20 December 2005

Bait and switch watch

[source, source]

These budget cuts continue a quarter century of governance guided largely by the idea that, in Ronald Reagan’s words, “Government is not the solution … government is the problem.” But an assessment of these decades reveals that as government’s role in citizens’ lives diminishes, so, too, does active civic engagement. […]

But since the mid-1970s, younger generations of Americans have disengaged from politics. Participation in voting, for instance, has plummeted among the young and less advantaged.

The key thing to note here is how “active civic engagement” gets turned in to “political engagement”. There are those of us who view political engagement as the opposite of civic engagement, not its synonymn.

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19 December 2005

Not a big mystery

Funny, the MSM has become much more pro super-rich folks since the super-rich became movers and shakers in the Demorcatic party. Wonder why?

C.J. Burch

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17 December 2005

Welcome to the future

[source, source]

The philosopher Daniel Dennett visited us at the University of Delaware a few weeks ago and gave a public lecture entitled “Darwin, Meaning, Truth, and Morality.” I missed the talk — I was visiting my sons at Notre Dame and taking in the Notre Dame-Navy football game. Friends told me what I missed, however. Dennett claimed that Darwin had shredded the credibility of religion and was, indeed, the very “destroyer” of God. In the question session, philosophy professor Jeff Jordan made the following observation to Dennett, “If Darwinism is inherently atheistic, as you say, then obviously it can’t be taught in public schools.” “And why is that?” inquired Dennett, incredulous. “Because,” said Jordan, “the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution guarantees government neutrality between religion and irreligion.” Dennett, looking as if he’d been sucker-punched, leaned back against the wall, and said, after a few moments of silence, “clever.” After another silence, he came up with a reply: He had not meant to say that evolution logically entails atheism, merely that it undercuts religion.

Hahaha. I’m an evolutionist and an atheist and I think this is about the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. As one of the commentors pointed out, if Dennett had spent any time on a good weblog, he would have had such an naive point of view beaten out of him long ago. It’s certainly symptomatic of the lack of self reflection of modern academics, to whom it would never occur to apply to themselves the same rules they apply to others.

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15 December 2005

Total lack of internal reflection

[source]

“As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq,” claims a story in the Los Angeles Times. Get a load of this:

According to several sources, the process for placing the stories begins when soldiers write “storyboards” of events in Iraq, such as a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid on a suspected insurgent hide-out, or a suicide bomb that killed Iraqi civilians.

The storyboards, several of which were obtained by The Times, read more like press releases than news stories. They often contain anonymous quotes from U.S. military officials; it is unclear whether the quotes are authentic.

“Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories,” said the senior military official who spent this year in Iraq.

What exactly is the difference between what the Times claims the military is doing and what the Times is doing right here? Oh yeah, the military’s supposed propaganda is designed to aid our side.

And we can’t have that, can we?

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13 December 2005

A handy trick for avoiding introspection

[source]

Degrees of optimism in Iraq: The latest survey of opinion in Iraq shows a degree of optimism at variance with the usual depiction of the country as one in total chaos.

I like how the “usual depiction” is treated as some sort of external imposition by the very people who provide it.

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We can't allow our name to be sullied by promoting that kind of behavior

President George W. Bush’s administration is drawing up plans to carry out the biggest overhaul of the US foreign aid apparatus in more than 40 years in an attempt to assert more political control over international assistance, according to officials and aid experts.

[…]

Critics in the aid community fear the reorganisation will lead to a politicisation of foreign assistance, where aid will become subordinated to the Bush administration’s drive to promote democracy. [emphasis added]

What more do you need to know about such critics, than that they oppose such a subordination?

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