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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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11/23/2002

allAfrica.com -- South Africa: Nigeria Rocked By Miss World RiotsA War Cry... I suspect the National Organization of Women is wondering whether to deplore or join the Nigerian Muslim....

"Journalists saw 16 corpses in the streets in at least three sections of the city, amid complaints that police and soldiers had fired at demonstrators, chanting "Down with beauty!" and "Miss World is sin!" Houses, shops and schools were razed in the poor quarters of the city and tension was high, with large numbers of security personnel on the streets."

In the Loop If you want to get past the editorializing and soft facts which cloud the questions of Muslim/Western relations, read ex-CIA Director James Woosley's speech to a Restoration Weekend audience this last Thursday.

The intelligence of the analysis is hard to beat.

"So I would suggest that our response after September 11th in Afghanistan, like our response against the Japanese after
Pearl Harbor, was something that was quite surprising to our enemies in the Middle East who attacked us. I think they
were quite surprised at what we did in Afghanistan. But, you have to admit, like the Japanese at the beginning of the ’40s,
the Islamists, both Shia and Sunni and the fascist Baathists in the Middle East at the beginning of the 21st Century, had
some rationale and some evidence for believing this rich, spoiled, feckless country would not fight."

And this re Iran....

"Keep your eye on Tehran. I can’t claim that it’s going to change soon. The mullahs have a great deal of power. They have oil money and the military force and the rest. But, there are, I think, some tectonic shifts below the surface there. With respect to our own conduct, I think the President did exactly the right thing in the early part of the summer, when after the student demonstration surrounding Taheri’s blast, he issued a statement basically saying that the United States was on the side of the students not the mullahs. And it drove the mullahs absolutely crazy and I think that’s evidence of the shrewdness of the President’s move."

Read the whole speech...

11/22/2002

The Globe and Mail: Breaking NewsMoron? Ms. Ducros - who obviously should have known better - has come up with this statement, "Ms. Ducros said the comments attributed to her "in no way reflect my personal view of the President of the United States," but she in turn apologized for the attention they had attracted.""

So if they do not reflect her "personal view" whose personal view is she parroting?

11/21/2002

Wets Unfortunately Tony Blair does not have a handy hand bag.

"Alice Mahon, who rebelled against the government in September, said: "There is a real push now by the whips. They are telling MPs that voting against the motion on Monday would be sending out the wrong message.

"They are going round saying it would be a vote against the UN, which it would not be. It would be a vote against American militarism."

Anti-war MPs believe the government wants to exploit their goodwill towards the UN by tempting them to vote in support of the resolution, a vote that would then be used to justify military action if Iraq fails to comply with the weapons inspectors. They pressed Mr Straw to grant a second vote ahead of a military attack and to make clear the passing of the security council resolution would not be used by the US as a green light for an assault."

What I wonder is what these good socialists see as the upside to defending Saddam. It is not as if he is a leftist being toppled by the CIA or a champion of human rights - Kurd gassing is unlikely to win the Nobel Peace prize.

In actual fact the anti-war MPs are first and foremost anti-American. If the Americans are for it then they are against it. Which has, I suppose, the virtue of consistency.

Brave Islam You have to hand it to the Islamofascists - they take on the hard targets. Those nursing assistants are the spearheads of the Crusaders. Cleverly helping the sick. What depravity will the West sink to next??

The New Puritans While the West has relegated the Miss World pageant to the status of sideshow, the emergent Muslim community in Nigeria has taken its presence in that country as a pretext to exert the baleful influence of the 13th century.

There is no real defence of the pageant - just the fond hope that, in time, it will fade for lack of interest. But the idea that there are people being killed and churches being burned by militant Muslims should be more than enough to have the pageant relocated. It is simply not worth the death of a single human being to stage the show.

11/20/2002

The Real NYT Agenda

In blogland entire careers have been made finding bias in the New York Times. Well, yeah, it has always been a liberal newspaper....this is not news.

What is news is the fact the Times isrushing to join the dumb and dumber bandwagon. You can call it "sophisticated exegesis" if you want but the truth is it is pandering.

"Popular culture, meanwhile, is "the pulse of the country," and influences everything from the business world to governments overseas, Raines said, praising a recent front page story about pop idol Britney Spears.

"It was about the fame machine, the economic engine that's behind it," Raines said. "Our readers are interested in reading a sophisticated exegesis of a sociological phenomenon like that."

These changes will be "additive," and won't detract from coverage of other subjects, Raines said.

"If you stop changing, you're going to diminish what you are, not enhance what you are," Sulzberger said. "We are going to change for the next generation."

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The tragedy of KutI seem to recall this sort of article before Afghanistan There is a simple mindness to writing pointed history. Yes British Arms were defeated at Kut. Yes Townsend, in command, went several twist of the river too far.

This article is redolent of the same sort of false historical analogy the Left press employed prior to the capture of Kabul. After all, the Russians had been recently defeated in Afghanistan and the overwelming superiority of the British Army in the early 1840's was stunningly defeated in Kabul. One man of 9500 survived to tell the tale.

The tragedy of Kut was militarily avoidable. But it took place as the result of a completely improvised strategy which failed to take account of the ability of German officered Turks to put up a fight.

It seems unlikely that the Americans - if they march on Bagdad - will press riverboats into service or underestimate the strength of Saddam's army. Nor are they likely to want for supplies or re-enforcements. Air power, overwelming and highly targetted strikes, will make any sort of Iraqi troop concentration as vast a killing ground as the road out of Kuwait City was in the last go 'round.

There is no historical precedent for the tactical superiority enjoyed by the American military. It was, at least in theory, possible to so outnumber the Roman legions that they could be defeated. Now numbers work against an American enemy.

In the recent Afghani conflict a single group of ten American Special Forces, directing B-2 strikes, killed 1500 Taliban in a couple of days. Iraq - if not Saddam - is well aware of this. It will, I expect, act accordingly.

No Cod The destruction of the cod fishery is a reminder that strip mining living species is a dumb, short sighted and economically absurd idea. For a little while the fishermen prosper and then the stock collapses.

On the WestCoast we are faced with the same sorts of issues with salmon, herring and ground fish. The pressure on the stocks from commercial fishermen, sports fishermen and native fisheries is intense. Worse, there are very few areas which are completely protected. While this is not a huge issue for the migrating salmon, it is a species level issue for rock fish.

Often when I go to Galiano I see people hauling picnic cooler literally filled to the brime with rock cod. These are so called "sports fishermen"; but what they really are is strip miners hired by restaurants to fill their menus. It must stop and the best way to stop it will be to declare and enforce rolling "no take" areas throughout the Strait of Georgia. Big areas. Big enough to allow stocks to re-establish themselves.

The Spectator.co.ukWere it not for the fact I periodically sell most of the books I own, I am also a dedicated collector/scout/fisherman of books. Lovibond plays at the dealer end of the market - the real fun is the $1.00 book which you know is worth $50 and might be worth $200. It lies in the depths of garage sales and thrift stores and, once in a very long while, on the shelves of the dealers themselves.

Casting your net of a Saturday morning is one of the more delightful ways of wasting a bit of time in a good cause.

National Story - canada.com network Mr. Axworthy, as always, has several good points to make in the pre-released text of his speech at Carlton University. But they are obscured by his base note of anti-Americanism.

It would be a very good thing to charge Saddam with war crimes in the International Court. It would be wise to define terrorism as a crime under international law. And no one doubts that bin Laden has made a mockery of the initial military efforts to reach and kill him.

The fact is the war in Afghanistan was the opening round in a long term struggle against terrorism and its causes. There is a place for human security issues within that struggle.However, for the next few years the pointy end - military and intelligence driven - will be required to first contain and disrupt terrorist activities and later to roll up the networks.

Roughly 20,000 people went to camp in Afghanistan. Before it is time to declare victory in the military campaign against terror each must be found and defanged.

For the moment Iraq is purporting to co-operate with the UN inspectors - which it certainly would not have done if it did not have the overwelming power of the US pointed at its head. Whether that co-operation will continue is unknown for the moment. I expect we'll know by Christmas.

One thing we can know is that there will be no co-operation if the United States announces it no longer views Iraq as a military priority. And Mr. Axworthy knows that too.

For international institutions and human security measures to work there must first be an enviornment in which the alternative to compliance is sufficiently severe that no rational, or even irrational, dictator will dare defy the "world assembled". Part of that enviornment is the overarching military might of America.

Spam Wars Kevin Werbach in Slate is on to something which he thinks will kill email: spam. Not that email will be over; rather the ability to reach just about anyone, even if they don't know you, will be restricted.

Which will be a drag for those of us who pitch reviews and articles using email. One glory of email is instant rejection. Which is part of the freelance trade. Making the trip from pitch to miss in half a day leaves you able to send the pitch elsewhere that day. The velocity of pitching is directly tied to the ability to have quick reponse. And as not all of those pitches miss, it is also tied to freelance income.

It would be a pity if the penis enlarging Nigerian viagra substitute credit restorers killed this.

11/19/2002

How superbugs do it I recently reviewed a book on the frightening rise of anti-biotic resistant bacteria. While it is great to see progress being made in trying to discover how the immunity arises, it strikes me that the pure anti-biotic strategy can only be extended a few years before evolution has its way with us.

It makes far more sense to be looking for treatments which can co-evolve with the bacteria they are controlling.

Interesting So there is a webring called blogcanada. Which I am just in the process of joining. I wonder what is on it. A very good idea I think.

11/18/2002

Teens Find A New Place To HangTrouble! "Music, teenagers, and a lot of fun. It sounds like a bad combination, but, it is anything but bad if you are a concerned parent."

Ok, it is television news and it is from the South but are these people serious. Music/teenagers/fun = a bad combination.

The triumph of the Baptist soccer moms from hell is nigh.

3-GHz: Hyper Speed and Hyper-ThreadingZoom, zoom A friend of mine just gave me her olb business computer - a blazing 133 Meghz, 40Meg RAM and a 2.4 Gig disk.

The machine I work on is a 366 Mhz Celeron. (Albeit with two screens and not enough memory. Of course I would like a new computer; but the interesting fact is that I can use my friend's gift - with a little modification - as perfectly good little Linux box which will let me build a network server for all of out computers for pretty much the cost of the hard drive.

The rapid increase in processor speeds and the drop in the cost of storage has, in the Windows world, been met with ever bigger and more complicated software. Which is fine for some people, but for the vast majority of computer users all that speed and all those software features are largely wasted.

Walmart is not so dumb offering cheap "Lindows" machines....At a guess those sorts of machines are the wave of the consumer future. (Though I'll be interested to see how my Linux install goes.)




Credit Cards Seek New Fees on Web's Demimonde Is charging adult sites an extra fee an abridgement of free speech or sensible business practice?

Like it or hate it the pornography business operates according to law....weak and often ineffective laws, but laws none the less. Visa and Mastercard, by imposing significant charges on all adult sites are pretty much ensuring that only larger operators will be able to make the money necessary to cover the fees.

This is not, in fact, censorship - rather it is the cration of a barrier to entry where there had been none. While no one will miss the vast majority of the small time porn merchants it is one more nail in the idea of a costless, barrier free internet.