July 31st, 2003
There is a special form of rudeness that I’ve encountered so often lately that I want to give up on the human race. Several people in the last few days have assumed that it’s ok to make certain comments around me, comments that are dismissive of other groups or types of people, because I’m not obviously one of them.
Consider this a public service announcement, folks: you never know to whom you are talking.
Don’t assume that because I’m successful, my parents never divorced. Don’t assume that because I’m progressive, I’m also vegetarian. Don’t assume that because I’m a professional, I don’t like homemaking. Don’t assume that because I dress conservatively, I disapprove of clothing you think is “skanky.” Don’t assume that because I’m married, I like children. Don’t assume that because I have a Ph.D., I look down on people who didn’t finish high school. Don’t assume that because I criticize a country, I don’t love it. Don’t assume that because I look a certain way, everyone in my family looks that way. Don’t assume that because I work with you, I like you. Don’t assume that because I’m straight, I don’t know (and love) any gay/bi/trans people. Don’t assume that because I’m quiet, I have nothing to say. Don’t assume that because I go to your church, I agree with your politics. Don’t assume that because I’m a feminist, I look down on housewives. Don’t assume that because I knit, I want to make something for you. Don’t assume that because I’m cute, I’m not strong. Don’t assume that because I act unashamed of something, you can comment on it. Don’t assume that because I’m related to you, I agree with you. Don’t assume that because I’m smiling, I’m not angry. Don’t assume that because something is in a predicate in this paragrah, it’s true.
And most importantly, don’t assume that if I look like you, I am like you.
July 28th, 2003
Grace publications is a scam to cheat desperate academics out of a “processing fee”. The journals they supposedly publish (Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, Asian Journal of Information Technology, Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, and Journal of Food Technology) don’t exist, and they are using real scientists’ names to promote themselves. Don’t be fooled.
July 24th, 2003
Wolfowitz concedes that errors were made in planning the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq.
Paul D. Wolfowitz, briefing reporters after a 41/2-day trip to Iraq, said that in postwar planning, defense officials made three assumptions that “turned out to underestimate the problem,” beginning with the belief that removing Saddam Hussein from power would also remove the threat posed by his Baath Party. In addition, they erred in assuming that significant numbers of Iraqi army units, and large numbers of Iraqi police, would quickly join the U.S. military and its civilian partners in rebuilding Iraq, he said.
The really astonishing thing about this article is the analysis that follows Wolfowitz’s announcement, which documents the way the administration made ideologically- or politically-based decisions about Iraq in the face of data indicating that (in most cases) very different actions were needed.
The continued practice of this administration to ignore data is apalling and flat out embarassing.
July 24th, 2003
After President Bush landed on the Abraham Lincoln back in May, the White House denied that the trip was politically motivated. White House officials portrayed the trip as a natural outgrowth of Bush’s regard for the troops:
The second [White House official] said, “Those who accused us of a political stunt are engaging in a political stunt. Fine by me. Let’s talk every day about the president wanting to get aboard that carrier to welcome those sailors and pilots home after 10 months fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”
So what are we to make of recent reports that a conservative fundraising group is using official Navy photos taken during the event to raise funds for the 2004 election?
Citizens United for the Bush Agenda is asking up to $1,000 from 30,000 people who were mailed the photo in the past month. For an additional $43, which refers to Bush being the 43d president, donors can also receive an official baseball cap bearing the name and image of the carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln. For $75, they can get two.
”He is clearly a commander-in-chief who is proud to be in the company of his troops — a striking contrast to former president Bill Clinton, who openly `loathed’ the military,” the group’s president, David N. Bossie, wrote in a letter accompanying the photograph. ”But while the sailors and Marines on the USS Lincoln were still cheering and saluting him, left-wingers back home in both the Congress and the media bitterly attacked him for visiting the troops.”
That sure sounds like politics to me.
July 24th, 2003
The 496 year-old Waldseemueller map, the first map to use the word “America” to describe the new world, is on display at the Library of Congress.
The library recently completed the $10 million purchase of the 12-panel map covering 36 square feet, the most expensive single item it has ever acquired. It was owned by Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg, at whose castle in southwestern Germany the document was discovered a century ago. It is the only one known to survive of the 1,000 copies of the map said to have been printed.
July 23rd, 2003
Atrios has a nice analysis of the deaths of Saddam’s sons:
Turning Saddam’s sons over to the Hague tribunal for prosecution would have gotten the UN and the Europeans back on board, and gotten us some relief on reconstruction and on troops.
Turning them over to the Hague would have been better for the Iraqi people, too, who probably are not going to be persuaded that Saddam’s sons are really dead by any dental records or DNA analysis CENTCOM can produce. Prosecuting them live on TV for weeks on end
July 23rd, 2003
More about the Missouri River controversy: Faced with conflicting court orders, the Army Corps of Engineers has refused to comply with one, and has now been slapped with contempt charges
The Corps has refused to follow her order, beginning last week, on the lower Missouri River through Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The agency said the order conflicts with an earlier federal court ruling requiring enough water for barge shipping and power generation.
This may seem like a local, regional dispute between environmental groups and an overly bureaucratic agency — but more is at stake here. Water is becoming increasingly political, and not just in the parched Southwest. As the amount of potable water available in the U.S. declines, we can expect to see more of these kinds of disputes, even in places where water is not so dear.
July 23rd, 2003
Electronic Paper is getting better all the time. Recent versions are flexible, high-contrast, light-weight and extremely portable — suggesting that certain visions of the future (useful computer clothing, easy to use computer books & newspapers) may be a lot closer than we think.
July 21st, 2003
In a disturbing trend, people in small cases are having trouble finding lawyers. While the reduction in cost seems worth it to overburdened court systems, the personal consequences can be devastating when offenders are sent to prison for years or hit with fines they can’t afford.
“The consequences of a plea can be gigantic,” Kessler said, noting that misdemeanor convictions can mean a year in jail, a hefty fine, losing a driver’s license or the right to own a firearm — even possible deportation for immigrants.
The trouble is largely one of recordkeeping — it’s not that these people have been denied lawyers, it’s rather that there are no accurate records of whether they waived their right to a lawyer.
This is really a travesty — rights matter, even small ones. But progress is being made — many states are making an effort to clean up their records and better track cases where a person waives their right to an attorney.
July 17th, 2003
From Jim Schenk’s Saluting the Childless:
“And so I salute you and honor you who do not have children. It is you we must emulate in this society - you, who have had to deal with the biological and cultural pressures: “Suzy, when are you going to make us grandparents?” “Poor Suzy, she doesn’t have children yet, I wonder if she can’t have them.” It is you who must deal with the continued conversations about our children. I also want to salute those who have only one child, or who stopped at two children - I salute each of you, no matter how many children you have, if you have controlled the drive to have more children. We must hold you as heroes of the sustainability movement.”