Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I also thought this quote was telling, from Kueng:
"religion is no longer, as it was in the Middle Ages and the Reformation, an institution set over the social system to guarantee its unity, but merely a factor, a sphere, a one part-system among several."
This is similar to the background I read in Lapidus' book on the Islamic World about the development of Shi'ism as the dominant religion in Iran. Lapidus shows that the country's rulers viewed its popularity as assuring stability and logevity for their rule, both of which were lacking in that region in the Middle Ages.
Friday, September 14, 2007
After reading Berman's book, it seems clear that these new Red Brigades are repeating the mistake that the Marxists in the 1970s made in the run up to the Iranian revolution. The Islamists along with Communist and Marxist parties overthrew the Shah. After that, the Islamists instituted a totalitarian state and wiped out anything left of their left-wing co-conspirators. Berman's main point is that these former Marxists turned away from the ideology to appreciate liberalism and freedoms above all else.
Like the radical Moslems at the helm of the Shah's overthrow, some of the Marxist groups of the 1960s in America also had reactionary ideas about society, they also had prescriptions for personal habits and behavior. This indicates that these are not at once contradictory ideas.
The new Red Brigades state that the Islamists may be the stronger of the violent radical organizations now, but that Marxist conceptions of the proletarian overcoming its oppressors would win out; these Islamists are just vectors towards this outcome. This reminds me of the twisted strategy of Charles Manson, who tried to foment a race war that once finished, he was convinced, would allow him and his group to take over the country.
Monday, September 03, 2007
I think there are several ways to answer it. The Islamic terrorism that started surfacing in the 1990s is both internationalized and is focused on destruction rather than political goals. First, the high profile of anti-terrorist policy making in the world is largely a game of catch-up. Sure, in many countries there has been a long history of national terrorism; national terrorists often have political goals, and believe that terror would be the best way to achieve these goals. One can find a way to reason with such groups -- take Northern Ireland. But the internationalized approach of terrorists today and their ability to move around the world force us to think about ways that terrorists can be deprived of their recourse to "safe countries." There shouldn't be any safe countries for terrorists.
If one looks back on the statements released from Al-Qaida's leadership, one could say that, like many national-based terrorist groups, it does have a political goal - of creating a global ummah. This is a much more far-flung aim, than, say, autonomous rights for a particular territory within a nation-state. I don't take the creation of a global ummah as a real goal of Al-Qaida, but even if it is genuine, one imagines that the interim goal to achieve this is all out destruction and the propagation of fear in the Western world.
And it goes without saying that, if the goal is destruction rather than the achievement of a political goal, that this is a different kind of "war." (I know this is a contentious term; shall I call it a "struggle"?) However, conventional weapons won't work in this struggle. We need new approaches. As I said in the previous post, some have indicated that the advent of suicide missions in connection with this type of terrorism changed the rules of the game. But I think we know that suicide bombers have caused the Western world lots of trouble in the past. One could think of kamikaze pilots, and look to Chechen fighters, and as I indicated earlier, some of these communist rebels in the 1960s. It's true that there have not been any Israeli suicide bombers, and that even though during Israelis' struggle against British occupiers, their brand of terrorism didn't include suicides. However, as Paul Berman describes Debray's concept of suicide, it is far reaching in modern political movements:
"Maybe revolution and suicide had somehow drawn close to one another. The vast popularity of the cult of Che in so many places around the world took on a slightly creepy look, from this point of view. But Debray was thinking of many more people than Dr. Guevara. He thought about President Allende in Chile, who killed himself with an AK-47 in the course of General Pinochet's coup, in 1973, and about Allende's daughter, Beatriz, who killed herself three years later, in Cuba...Debray never bothered to glance across the Rhine at his own comrades in Germany - a characteristic omission, on the part of a Franch intellectual. But it's obvious what he would have seen, if only he had bothered to look. For what was the history of the German revolutionary movement in the 1970s, if not a history of people on the verge of suicide, and beyond the verge? - even if no one has ever been able to rule out the possibility of official murders. The prison suicides, if they were suicides of the Red Army Fraction's leaders, the death of one revolutionary comrade after another, the grisly panache, the riots that broke out in the aftermath of those prison deaths - these things did seem to celebrate a cult of human sacrifice." (222)
There are several points in this that don't match up. First of all, human sacrifice for what one perceives as the greater good has a long history, rooted namely in Christian if not older traditions, like hero worship in ancient Greece. This is nothing new. Heroes are always dead when they are glorified. They died in battle, so to speak; and in the modern world, battle can take on any number of forms. Furthermore, I think Berman, and perhaps Debray, mistake fighting for lost causes as an obsession with death. That is too great a mental leap. Failure to make good cost-benefit analyses, or caring more about your cause than your life is not really an obsession with death, just a case of extreme fanaticism.
So why do we pay attention to terrorism when fighting poverty and hunger could save many more lives? First, national security is one of the fundamental tasks of the nation-state; if the United States is threatened by terrorism rather than by widespread hunger, then combating terrorism should be one of the nation-state's main tasks. You might say the United States doesn't do enough to fight poverty or hunger around the world, and you are probably right. But it wouldn't make sense for our government to view American and non-American problems in the same light, even though in many ways failed states are a detriment to our own security.
Secondly, terrorism has a more widespread impact than its victims. Terrorism is designed to spread fear wider than its randomly selected targets. This fear can cause greater havoc than the terrorist violence itself. It is a challenge, then, for governments to forewarn and arm their citizens with awareness while assuaging their fears. This is difficult, because governments also need to gain citizens' support for new policies to stop terrorists. If citizens don't perceive the threat, or feel the fear so to speak, then they won't support new policies that may inconvenience them or change the way their society has functioned. So this is the government's conundrum in the face of terrorism.
Finally, I think terrorism is also viewed as a priority because governments do not want to be taken by surprise. They want to be in control of their nation's security. As they should be. Unlike in a conventional war, the battle can crop up anywhere. This control of the security situation means that many new policies need to be put in place.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Another major topic of the book is heresy, and the question of where heresy and officially sanctioned belief diverge. I was reminded of all this because my boss took a detour on a business trip to Albi, in France, because it's one of the stops on the Tour de France. A day after he mentioned it I realized that this was the site of the Albigensian Crusades, and not just a pit stop for that parade of doping die-hards. Through a wonderful course I took in college with Mark Pegg, and the time I've spent near Prades, in the Pyrenees, I am still interested in this time period and the locations bound up with it. That includes the abbey of Saint Michel de Cuxa, which is so connected to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon park in New York, and lies close to the valley running through that part of the Pyrenees, to Saint Martin du Canigou, which sits high atop rocks which are the precursors to the Canigou mountain. And there is the priory of Serrabonne, the hard to reach abbey to the south. All of them quite old, with structures even from the 12th century.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
In any case, the atmosphere inside the restaurant is calm and clean, and having a DJ as the owner meant that the music was good.
However, the food was disappointing. I heard from another person afterwards who had also been there that, like me, she had gotten a dish that looked like it was meant for an octagenarian. The chef seemed to throw in hot pepper pieces to counteract the fact that there was little taste in some dishes. And some things that sounded fancy were failures, like the macaroon (tasteless) and lavender-infused ice cream (not good, despite the fact that I love lavender scents).
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Criticism and the battle of ideas (rather than of fists) is still important today; and I'm talking about what we want the world to look like in the future and which principles we think are important enough to apply to everyone, not just our countrymen. We can't always get involved in the discussion ourselves, but we can give people the tools, the room and the support to have this discussion themselves.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
I made a comment to my friend about how such an object, if it existed, 1) was stupid from a public safety standpoint, and 2) was a glorification of dangerous weapons that kill people. Well, those grenades existed, if you can believe it. Where is the PR vetting for the order of 1000 squishy stress ball hand grenades?
Did we not learn anything from the effects of black toy water guns? how many people got shot when those were pointed at police or other people?
(via Boing Boing).
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
But the time doesn't matter to me as much as the fact that I ran the whole race wtihout stopping to walk, not even once, even though I had never run that distance before, and I usually took walk breaks during 5 mile runs. The track was beautiful; we ran around Hains Point and had water to left or right side of us for the whole race. The temperature was in the 60s, so I never felt overheated, which I had worried about, because I don't have a sense of what the boundary is for overheating, i.e., when I need to stop and take a breather.
And what's more, I didn't have my iPod.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I am making dinner for a couple this coming week, and I am tempted to replicate this beautiful salad I had in Paris a couple years ago, which was made with prawns, grapefruit and cilantro. I don't want to devein anything, though. Do I need to? This salad was so simple and was served on a few pieces of greens at a Thai restaurant in Chinatown near Place d'Italie.
The other option is to make some kebabs with chicken and vegetables marinated in something with lemon. And to have some nice couscous, hummus, and olives on the side.
Not to mention the 10k I am running tomorrow!!! To bring or not to bring the iPod, that is the question. The friend with whom I am running the race told me it's against runners' culture to bring an iPod. Which I guess I understand. But those who adhere to the "runners' culture" can get through a 10k without straining themselves, and without such devices; whereas I wonder whether I will make it without pounding beats piercing my eardrums.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The see of Aquileia was founded by St. Mark, who had been sent by St. Peter to go to Alexandria. From 535 to 536, the Bishop of Aquileia along with some others broke off from the Pope in Rome. After Italy was overrun by Lombards, and many of the smaller entities that had been subservient to Aquileia (whose leaders had now fled to Grado, an island off the coast of Trieste) adhered to the Pope, the Lombards set up a new patriarchate at Aquileia; so there were now two Aquileian patriarchs. The Popes went on to recognize those in Grado (rather than those actually in Aquileia). The city flourished in the years around 1000, but by the 14th century an earthquake and other problems left it deserted.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Hirsi Ali points to several unethical acts of the prophet Mohammed, as recorded in the Koran, which one would not do well to emulate today. For instance, he took a nine year old as his wife, and he led aggressive military campaigns against neighboring countries.
Is it true that these particular behaviors are not questioned in Islam, as they would not belond to Mohammed's example to be followed by believers? Is Hirsi Ali right? I am trying to think of any of Jesus' acts as recorded in the Gospels that we would not want to imitate in today's world.
In any case, there is a difference between claiming that the religion is the root of the problems that Hirsi Ali points to, or whether the religion, as Ali's friend Irshad Manji says, is "weighed down with the pressures of Arabian cultural imperialism, which dictate that women must give up their individuality in honor of the family and become communal property."
Hirsi Ali asks Manji, "Why are liberal, secular Westerners so afraid of taking a stance against the abuses of Islam?" First, as Hirsi Ali herself noted earlier in the book, liberal Westerners would trace the cause of abusive actions back to problems of the indivual committing them, and not to the religion he or she belongs to. Second, I appreciate the author's encouragement to Westerners to confront people who are denying their family members the benefits of an open, equal society, but whatever reform the author wants to occur would have to come from within. There is too much colonial and other baggage in the relations between the West and the developing world to make this a legitimate topic of discussion between the two, if it were needed, which I'm still not convinced of after reading her book.
As has been said before, her accusations against Islam put her in the company of some very biggoted people. Her goal, she says, is to promote change; the fallout from that is irrelevant to her.
I also saw the exhibits at the museum before the film started, including the Eugene Boudin (pictured to the right) and the two Jasper Johns exhibits - early work and prints. The Boudin exhibit was good; I liked that his work showed all classes hanging out on the beach. To me it seems funny that women in billowing dresses hung out in the sand, but I guess that's what they did in those days and in those outfits. The Johns prints exhibit was more to my taste, having done some printmaking in my day. Sometimes he printed on handmade paper, which reminded me that I want to learn how to do that.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Poet Nikki Giovanni calls him just plain "mean," although I don't understand how a professor can think that one person is "mean," without thinking that the "mean" had to come from somewhere -- e.g., mental illness, abuse, trauma. It doesn't just come out of nowhere. Would a skillful author describe one of her characters as "just mean," without explaining why that person was mean or evil? Wouldn't that make her a pretty bad author, to revert to the old good vs. evil trope?
Yes, he's hard to understand. The snippets from the video he sent to NBC are vague: they blame "you" for what he did. Who? Everyone? If he was trying to send a message to people, he did a really bad job.
This student seemed to have slipped through the cracks, because he really should have been committed, if only for his own sake. But what will this mean for the other maladjusted kids out there? Are they going to be thrown at therapists right and left all over campuses, when some of them may actually be acting within the normal range of human behavior, just quieter, more reserved, less expressive?
Monday, April 16, 2007
The Virginia Tech Shooting
See the emails below. Who was the gunman the authorities had in custody? Did the police make a mistake? And why did they write an email at 9:26 if the first shootings took place at 7:15?
Here are the emails the university administration sent to students: (from CNN)
Time sent: 09:26:24
Subject: Shooting on campus
A shooting incident occurred at West Ambler Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating.
The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case. Contact Virginia Tech Police at 231-6411
Stay attuned to the www.vt.edu. We will post as soon as we have more information.
Time sent: 9:50 a.m.
Subject: Please stay put
A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows
Time sent: 10:16:40
Subject: All Classes Canceled; Stay where you are
Virginia Tech has canceled all classes. Those on campus are asked to remain where they are, lock their doors and stay away from windows. Persons off campus are asked not to come to campus.
Time sent: 10:52:45
Subject: Second Shooting Reported; Police have one gunman in custody
In addition to an earlier shooting today in West Ambler Johnston, there has been a multiple shooting with multiple victims in Norris Hall.
Police and EMS are on the scene.
Police have one shooter in custody and as part of routine police procedure, they continue to search for a second shooter.
All people in university buildings are required to stay inside until further notice.
All entrances to campus are closed.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Frits was the fourth chairman of the company, and directed it during WWII. He saved the lives of hundreds of Jews by convincing the Nazis he needed them for manufacturing, and he was given a Yad Vashem award in 1996 in recognition of his efforts on their behalf. (wikipedia)
Frits Philips was also responsible for the Evoluon, the UFO-looking building visited by every school group in the Netherlands, until it became a conference center.
(Picture from Eindhovens Dagblad)
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The author seems to imply that the Americans should be able to make the distinction between Iraqis we can trust and those we cannot. He tells the story of loyal Iraqis who have spent time in the United States, and those who have made great sacrifices, in order to serve the Americans in Iraq, all the while getting little in return. These guys should have been given a break, Packer implies.
This scenario is a lot like the recent use of "zero tolerance" rules in schools to create secure environments, which usually mean that administrators are relieved of the burden of making judgments about what should and should not be permitted. Categorically, there was no discretion for giving some Iraqis the protection they needed, without throwing "confusing" nuance into the way the rules are followed.
"A smugglers' boat carrying Somali migrants capsized off Yemen's coast and at least 62 were feared dead, officials and local media said Saturday. Survivors told authorities that the human traffickers forced them into the sea after seeing the Yemeni coast guard. It was not immediately clear when the boat, which was believed to be carrying 96 Somalis, capsized. About 32 Somalis were rescued, a security official in the coastal Abyan province said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Another local official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said survivors were taken to the Kharaz refugee camp in the city of Aden, 200 miles south of the capital San'a. The local Al Ayman newspaper, quoting unnamed witnesses, reported that 16 bodies had washed ashore since Friday night and more could be seen floating in the sea. ) "
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
EU Observer reports:
"The office of a European Parliament assistant was also searched, with parliament officials however declining to comment on the reason for the apparent involvement of the assistant."
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Although it's gotten cooler today, it was still possible to sit outside yesterday evening at L'Enfant in Adams Morgan, where we got a glimpse of the presidential (or vice-presidential) motorcade and the havoc it was causing. Sure, we knew it was the night of the Correspondents' Dinner at the nearby Hilton, but what we didn't know was what Karl Rove was doing while we unknowingly quaffed our half-priced wine. This is what he was doing.
Not that I pay much attention to Rove, but I noticed he was thinner than he used to be. It's not gastric bypass, he says, but some powders and vegetables, and surprisingly, not exercise, about which Condi and George W. are so fanatic.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I read the play, and I think it's quite balanced. But balanced means that it includes statements praising going to war and fighting for the country, and other statements against the war. There really is no middle ground to gravitate to in this particular situation. Unfortunately, the statements in support of the war are full of patriotism but are missing any specifics about why it's justified to be at war. This contrasts with the play's statements criticizing the war, which are based on the soldiers' daily experiences with the reality of the war. But there's nothing you can really do about that....
"A school administrator who is a Vietnam veteran also raised questions about the wisdom of letting students explore such sensitive issues, Mr. Canty said."
This reminds me of the eventually successful efforts to give the right to vote to those who are also old enough to fight. If one is old enough to fight, as these students soon will be if they don't already have siblings fighting, they should be able to talk about and struggle with these sensitive issues. And I should add that the school doesn't need to "let" the students explore these issues; they already deal with them every time they watch or read about the war on the television and in the newspapers.
(Side note: Students of the school point to numerous examples of infringements of freedom of speech at the school, the play's cancellation being the latest of many, they say. But the requirement that yearbook quotes have a published source is probably in reaction to the yearbook scandal that occurred a few towns away, at Greenwich High School, a little more than a decade ago. When the seemingly insignfiicant letters under the pictures of a number of GHS seniors were put side by side, they spelled out "kill all n----s.")
Zizek assumes that the extreme situations mentioned above are occasional. But the way that the United States approaches the threat of terrorism is as a continuous, ongoing problem that has brought the world into a collective "extreme situation," where new rules are required. Zizek writes:
"Yes, most of us can imagine a singular situation in which we might resort to torture — to save a loved one from immediate, unspeakable harm perhaps. I can. In such a case, however, it is crucial that I do not elevate this desperate choice into a universal principle. In the unavoidable brutal urgency of the moment, I should simply do it. But it cannot become an acceptable standard; I must retain the proper sense of the horror of what I did. And when torture becomes just another in the list of counterterrorism techniques, all sense of horror is lost. "
Zizek's singular situation has become the norm for those who are fighting terrorism; and how do you use techniques that should be the exception in typical situations? This is a lot like being on terminal red alert; how do you make everyday an emergency situation - the exception becomes the rule.
Do we have to do bad things in order to effect change for the greater good? Certainly there are situations like this, when one heinous act can save many innocent lives. The widely promulgated explanation of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that they saved many lives that would have been taken had the war been allowed to continue. But I don't see much moral anguish in arguing this point; the truth is final, inarguable, and Japan is our friend, further buttressing the wisdom of the bombings. America does not struggle over the decision to bomb Japan.
Would we struggle over the use of torture? The cost-benefit analyses on these actions are tough, they are never cut and dry, and urgency prevents lengthy study of their consequences before the actions are taken.
I am against torture in any situation, because I am convinced that it doesn't elicit good intelligence. As I understand it, American soldiers are taught how to give up information if they are captured, but in a specific way that seeks to placate the captors without endangering U.S. forces. The captive gives up kernels of information that are insignificant but sound valuable, information that can be corroborated but cannot cause harm to U.S. assets if the enemy knows them. Why would our enemy act any differently? And the cell-like structures of Al Qaeda preclude our finding caches of information in the minds of any one captive.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
a. scrapping the Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC)
b. scrapping the Committee of the Regions (CoR)
c. replacing the European Parliament with a European Senate made up of national European parliaments
(A) and (b) I can understand. But the question with option (c) is whether Europeans think that European issues are important enough to warrant having a representative work on them full time. National parliamentarians are pressed for time; and there already are collections of national parliamentarians in the Council of Europe (PACE) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, where the effects of decisions are relatively minor to the daily lives of Europeans and major decisions are made by the member states anyway. The same cannot be said of EU policies with European Parliament co-decision making power, that have far-reaching implications for manufacturing guidelines, management of national economies and environmental regulations (and many other issues) that apply to the daily lives of EU residents. I'm not saying the EP is perfect (ummm....far from it), but the magnatude of the issues seems to demand some kind of full-time devotion of a democratically-elected representative of the people, whoever that may be.
Friday, March 16, 2007
The final possessive "s" is seen as necessary because of the current pronunciation of the state's name, and will be debated in the Arkansas state legislature.
"After Arkansas became a state, confusion remained on its spelling and its pronunciation, as many maps from the time spelled it without its final "s." A resolution by the Legislature in 1881 formalized its current spelling and pronunciation, making its final "s" silent."
I found this story originally on Language Log, the blog of UPenn phonetician, who has lots of cool items.
Monday, March 12, 2007
You start really wondering about whether St. Elizabeths, the mental hospital located in our nation's capital, is spelled with or without an apostrophe. This may seem a minor point, but the historical characters creating the Oxford English Dictionary around which "The Professor.." revolves would have cared about such a question, as surely Lynne Truss, the author of "Eats, Shoots...", does.
One of the two major characters of "The Professor..." knew the facility well. Dr. Minor, who contributed a great deal to the OED, stayed at St. Elizabeths during his final years, after spending 38 years at Broadmoor asylum in England.
Wikipedia spells it without an apostrophe. But Simon Winchester, the author of "The Professor...", uses the apostrophe in every instance. The D.C. Chief Technology Officer instructs webmasters to leave the apostrophe out.
From 1858 to 1910, the official name of the hospital was the Government Hospital for the Insane. Informally, however, it was called St. Elizabeths. Dorothea Dix, the mental health reformer who played a major role in establishing St. Elizabeths, spelled it without the apostrophe. But the name "St. Elizabeths" or "St. Elizabeth's" was informal, so it's probable that lots of people called it either/or during the period of 1858 to 1910. But when Dr. Minor, the contributor to the OED and subject of Winchester's book, stayed there, it was called "St. Elizabeths," unquestionably without an apostrophe because Congress had so named it in 1910. (How Public Organizations Work, "Archetypes in Organization," Judith Lombard, page 150)
In addition to Dr. Minor, John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate President Reagan stayed there, as did Ezra Pound following his "insane" support of the Mussolini regime during WWII. The hospital is named for St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Monday, March 05, 2007
His biggest problem was in defending the recent vote in the legislature to give Chavez decree power in many respects. He says, the representatives were not really to be trusted, and that their "constitution goes beyond the classical liberal democracy," as if we were supposed to understand what that meant. I think it meant that the Venezuelans trust the people, the beneficiaries of the Chavez social agenda, but the representatives they could do without. He also hinted that the opposition had, at times, a "destabilizing agenda" which called for more restrictive measures.
On Iran, Herrera said that Venezuela "had to allow countries to develop themselves," and that if Iran has nuclear power then they should keep it, but not use it for weapons.
But at the same time, Venezuela has been offering subsidized gas to Katrina victims and the U.S.-Venezuelan trade relationship is robust. Venezuelan citizens are benefiting from the Bolsa Familia social program. These things are largely unsung in the media in the United States.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Giscard d'Estaing also reiterated his reasoning behind his stance against referenda for ratifying the European Constitution. While his argumentation is sound -- referenda are glorified plebecites on the political mood of the day -- it does little to solve the public relations dilemma of bringing a document -- old or cherry-picked -- to the French and Dutch parliaments while bypassing direct public input. The image this creates is that European elites didn't like what "the people" had to say, and so they will know to go around them in the future. Good luck, Margot Walstrom.
The ex-president also explained that it would be more difficult for Segolene Royal (rather than Sarkozy) to push the Constitution forward, because of the divisions in her own party. The rumor of the Sarkozy-Merkel pact to bring back the Constitution remains.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
This report describes the new efforts at securing the European Parliament buildings, complete with revealing pictures of MEPS.
- New Dutch cabinet under Jan Peter Balkenende sworn in by Queen Beatrix. The youth of some of the members is amazing: CDA Camiel Eurlings is minister at 34 years old, and PvdA Sharon Dijksma is a staatssecretaris at 36. Nebahat Albayrak, PvdA, (above) looks younger than her 39 years.
- Bomb threat on Zaventem airport in Brussels, and it was briefly evacuated. Makes me think of the bomb threat questionnaire next to our desk so that we can write down everything a phoned in bomb threatener is saying.
- Wimbledon finally decides to pay women the same award amounts as men.
Monday, February 19, 2007
On the other hand, I empathize with its critics.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Would people know about that video if it weren't for the internet? I don't know many people who actually watch SNL on television anymore. The really good clips make it to the internet, and then, after they have sucked the internet dry, they take off again, leaving us with rednecks ranting about conspiracy theories into their home cameras, random Turkish shows about Kurdish terrorists and japanimation that amounts to sexual harassment. It makes me sad. Those videos create buzz for shows; especially since they are not show length. I wish they wouldn't systematically take them away.
Wikipedia explains how it was pulled, rereleased on the internet, and pulled again.
Friday, February 09, 2007
It goes back to the old dilemma; if torturing someone meant that he would give you information that would save thousands of people from a terrorist attack, isn't it worth it? This assumes that torture elicits truth rather than fear. Or that it elicits something other than what U.S. servicemen are trained to offer up: tidbits that are confirmable and no big chunks of information so that they can stall their captors. Or that those who are being tortured have not been brainwashed to no longer care about death or death threats.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
And why were these guys targeted if this was a plan that went all the way to Turner Broadcasting Corporation and was created by a PR firm?
I don't blame Boston for its reaction to these devices, which were obviously part of a coordinated plan to send a message. Unfortunately, Boston thought the message was something more menacing than "watch our show."
The biggest problem is that there was no communication among the various component companies of Turner Broadcasting. News outlets at Turner continued to carry the story of "suspicious devices" around Boston despite the fact that their colleagues had in fact coordinated the stunt. I imagine that the people who placed these devices allowed the panic to continue for a while before explaining the stunt to authorities because of the chance for more publicity (which has definitely panned out). I don't think there's anything wrong with placing weird devices around, but maybe next time they should inform the police and their fellow news outlets.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Now the issue on the EP agenda is the role of the Belgian organization SWIFT, which has given banking and other financial information about Europeans to the U.S. federal government. Are SWIFT's contributions to the U.S. Automated Targeting System (ATS) a breach of Europeans' privacy?
This is what will be discussed at the EP's miniplenary today. Sophie In't Veld (Dutch D66 member of EP) complains on BBC radio that the data could easily be used for purposes other than anti-terrorism (infectious diseases is on the list, for instance), and wants assurances that the data really is secure. Canada provides adequate legal protection for mistakes in its new PNR agreement with the EU, she says; so far, there are no such protections for Europeans in the U.S. Sophie says that the U.S. has stronger privacy laws than the EU, thus the EP's requests are actually of a limited nature in comparison.
Timothy Kirkhope (UK, Conservative) has said that the EP's position of trying to limit the amount of information shared with the U.S. risks obstructing U.S. access to important pieces of information that could prevent and fight terrorism.
This website was made on a mac with the ".mac" system. The system is made for people who want to have a nice-looking website that is easy to update and that can integrate media from the rest of your computer without "importation" or manual uploading. If you look at enough websites, you'll see that this website is simply a mac template. Updating the site is very easy -- there is no file transfer protocol (ftp) program needed because the subscription to .mac allows you to update changes on the website directly through the website editor software. This software also connects easily with iTunes and iPhoto so that you can drag your pictures or music directly onto the templates.
Of course, this software would never be used to make a high-end, unique website, but it serves the purpose for a small business owner who wants to have a good-looking and easy-to-update website.