....LMB: "Stagnant"....

June 28, 2003

Just seems like there's no new news to write about these days. The stories are always the same. The Bush administration is lying. The Bush administration is giving money away to the rich. The situation is bad in Afghanistan. The situation is bad in Iraq. North Korea is hopping mad, wishing that we'd pay attention to them.

But I'll do a bit of summary on recent badness developing in Iraq.

First, according to Dack's count, 62 U.S. soldiers have been killed since Bush pronounced that major hostilities were over from the deck of that aircraft carrier. That's about one-third as many as were killed during the war phase of this operation. That's not good.

Second, the U.S. doesn't seem to know what the hell it's doing when it comes to rebuilding Iraq. It's obvious that the Iraqi people want life to return to normal as quickly as possible, and that means that means rebuilt cities and the departure of U.S. troops. The longer it takes to accomplish number one, the more trouble it will be for the fellows in number two.

Third, "U.S. military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq, choosing instead to install their own handpicked mayors and administrators, many of whom are former Iraqi military leaders." Read that again. Remember how we went into Iraq to eliminate a dictator and spread democracy through the Middle East? Yeah, this action is going to turn out well.

Fourth, and this may seem like I'm kidding at first, but Baghdad's air conditioning is failing. The temperature in Iraq can reach up to 140 degrees Farenheit duing the summer. Already, the heat is up to about 117 degrees. This is bad. Extreme heat puts everyone on edge, and increases the chances that anger and tension will boil over into violence.

Fifth, "The bodies of two U.S. soldiers missing for days were discovered early Saturday northwest of Baghdad", and honestly I consider this good news. These soldiers were abducted two days ago, and I suddenly had a flashback to hostage crises of the 1980s. Not only would something like that depress and anger the fuck out of America, but it would likely dry up any existing American sympathy for the Iraqi people. "They kidnapped one of ours, we should kill em all!" The fact that these soldiers are merely "casualties" instead of hostages being imprisoned and tortured might be better on everyone.

The cry of "U.S. out of Iraq" is being taken up by a number of anti-war groups. It's a double-edged sword. Leaving Iraq finally gives the people their liberation, but it leaves their country in a shambles. Remaining in Iraq is against the Iraqi people's wishes, but it could lead to the country's rebuilding. Or, it could just be a handover of the nation's wealth and institutions to White House corporate cronies. Not sure which way to lean on this issue.

Posted by Jake at 01:12 PM | TrackBack (0)

If we actually worked with the UN on this, it wouldn't be too hard to walk out of Iraq at any time. We can had over to the UN, for the expressed purpose of rebuilding, the money we would have otherwise spent maintaining a military presence. At the same time, we withdraw at the same pace as UN peacekeeping forces enter. With UN peacekeepers, $60 billion or so of US cash, and unhindered access to the country by the dozens of NGO's chomping at the bit to give humanitarian aid, this could be a no-brainer of a solution. Oh, and we'll have to give up any dreams of keeping those oil wells.

Posted by: Mike at June 28, 2003 02:27 PM

...HAND over to the UN...

Posted by: Mike at June 28, 2003 05:12 PM

OK, let's back the fuck up. I think we can agree that 9/11 was the act of terrorists. And we can also agree that terrorism flourishes in fucked-up, evil, lawless backwaters like Afghanistan, and now, Iraq.
So why the fuck can't we get some goddamn food, water and AC going over there? Whatever it costs, (Mike's plan looks fine to me,) I think it's a hell of a lot cheaper than even one American life. And it's certainly cheaper than the next 9/11.

Posted by: Cazart at July 8, 2003 02:35 PM

Fortunately, Mike, we're not there FOR the oilwells. They belong to the Iraqis. Our efforts to-date have demonstrated this.

And if the UN had any kind of successful record at real 'peace-keeping', I'd be ALL for it, but look what it did to the Palestinians? 3 GENERATIONS of people living in 'refugee' camps! They've become (spiritually) ingrown/inbred, and have twisted into bomber-victims... toxic!

Its difficult in Iraq, but the difficulty is giving way to real, positive results. You can read of these through other channels in the blogosphere... mostly NON-news.

Posted by: Eye Opener at July 10, 2003 05:21 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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