Thursday, March 30, 2006

Whose Side Are You On.

I am very pro-immigration.

At a time when America's unemployment rate is 4.8%, stocks are rising, even consumer confidence is rising, and businesses in the US are having an extremely hard time getting skilled IT workers and unskilled laborers, to the point that many are having to leave the country, seeing Lou Dobbs come on TV and complain about too many immigrants and the "exporting of America" at the same time is laughable.

But how can anyone of any integrity tell the law abiding legal immigrants to the US that all their hard work, loyalty to the nation and dedication to doing things the honest way can be trumped by hopping the boarder and telling everyone that they own the place and that everyone else should get out?

I don't know what is more funny (in a fork in the brain kind of way), the fact that they are giving everyone a horrible impression of immigrants and confirming people's fears about them as a threat or the fact that they are making Mexicans look unemployable. Just like the recent protests in France, having large numbers of angry people running around making crazy claims of entitlement is not something that will attract a lot of businesses to an area or make people want to hire from your community. Once again the lowest common denominator gets to set the impression for the whole group. Where would they be without the media to edit and sanitize their rhetoric for them.

Hunger Strike Ended

Guillermos Fariñas Hernandez has ended his hunger strike. The average time one can survive a hunger strike is 60 days depending on the circumstances and that is roughly what he has put in. He is still not out of the woods health wise and he is committed to returning to his hunger strike.

Meanwhile, fidel castro continues to breath the same air as me. Determined to walk the earth as a shriveled corpse, the president for life and darling of the left-wing continues to defy all medical knowledge by continuing to walk without a central nervous system.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Politicians. You Can't Take Them Anywhere

Wonkette has a video of the Prime Minister of Italy humping a traffic cop - or trying to at least. Like most things politicians do, he is really just going through the motions. Like most things politicians do, he felt no need to ask permission. Like most things politicians do, failure came quick yet he felt he had succeeded. I could go on.

We're Number One! We're Number One!

We beat the homosexuals, the Muslims, recent immigrants and even the JOOZE. Atheists are the most distrusted minority in America. (Today America, tomorrow the world! BWHAHAHAHA!)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Guillermo Fariñas Hernandez

Mr. Hernandez is dieing and it may already be too late. I am not an expert on physiology but I know that the human body is not able to go on indefinitely under extreme deprivation. For all I know his organs and tissues may be undergoing irreversible damage.

Some people may think he is insane. He is undergoing a hunger strike because of his desire to have unfiltered e-mail access to the outside world. How can a journalist, living in Cuba, possibly think that Castro would care? Certainly any educated person would see that this is hopeless. What makes him think that his death will change anything? Did he think that the media outside of Cuba would care; that the press of the free world would be moved and champion his cause? If he thought so he has gravely miscalculated.

Why does he not just stop? Why not save his own life; live to use his gifts against the regime. What is he thinking?

I think I know what he is thinking. He is thinking that there comes a time when a stand must be taken; when all hope to avoid such a stand and still be successful is false hope. There comes a time when you realize that there are things worth more than your own wellbeing or even life itself and that the success or failure of your struggle is less important than the struggle itself.

In the history of civilization there have been many like him. Most have died quietly or have been put to death by the powers of the day. They have been imprisoned, exiled, tortured, crucified, beheaded, burned alive, disposed off, or have wasted away in anonymity. They have inspired the brave and provided a cautionary example to the cowardly. Some of them have catalyzed important social and political reforms - the events upon which our civilization has been built. Most went unnoticed into obscurity.

The reason people do this is to send a message. If the message only goes as far as one's friends and family then at least the message was given. It is a simple statement; one that says "I did all that I could." Not for themselves but for everyone else. Those whose minds are enslaved by fear will say, "He did all he could and it got him nothing." They don't get the message but it is not really meant for them. Those who see something beyond their own lives as important will say "he did all he could - we owe him for that."

It is because people understand that they owe men like Mr. Hernandez a debt that they have been unwilling to accept the apathy of western journalists to his plight. They are blogging his story, hoping against hope to save his life and making sure that if he dies, the thirty second obituary that I expect most broadcasters will afford him will not be all he is remembered by.

In a time where people are considered to be freedom fighters for blowing up their countrymen and for firing mortars at people who line up to express their democratic rights. There are real freedom fighters who have integrity and honor and are ignored as not newsworthy. They are not only newsworthy, they are an inspiration and a precious reminder of what humans are capable of when they try.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Irresponsibility All Around

Canada allowed material that could be used in hydrogen bombs to be sent to Iran. Can we be liberated now?

Also, I forgot to mention in my discussion of NBC Nightly News last night that they also included a piece on autism. While correctly stating that the exact cause of autism is in dispute they did not mention the fact that the evidence, shows that it has a strong correlation with several genes. Instead they gave two possible causes: vaccinations and mercury exposure (without mentioning any requirement for genetic sensitivity for mercury). From what I have read, these theories (especially the vaccination one) are about as respectable as denial of the link between HIV and AIDS. Further proof that NBC Nightly News is doing their research for science stories via Google and I am not talking Google Scholar. They could have picked up a phone and asked their family doctor for some information but why start trafficking in facts at this late date.

Oh, and several days ago local CBC Radio station in Fredericton, interviewed the president of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is the guy who forbid Wi-Fi from the campus until he (him personally-not the scientific community) was convinced that it does not bake people's brains or snap their chromosomes. He was introduces as a doctor but I later found out that the doctorate is not in medicine or even veterinary medicine but in zoology. I wish I had had a pencil with me because I counted about four or five statements which were just completely untrue, including how respectable his views are among scientists.

The reason he is in Fredericton is because he has been so thoroughly refuted in the ensuing debate that he feels that he needs to take his dog and pony show on the road. If he can rev up some opposition to Wi-Fi in a city that has implemented a pioneering program of free Wi-Fi access as a public service like street sweeping, he can make himself look like less of a loon. CBC Radio gave time to the people responsible for bringing Wi-Fi to the city to refute the claims but not the same day. The fair and responsible thing to do would be to allow someone with a medical or scientific background to rebut, since people will ask themselves why they should believe nasty old civil servants about a medical issue especially when this nut was introduced as a doctor.

But is the term "nut" too harsh? Well, he has a science background and yet has implemented a policy that something will be forbidden until it is proved to him that it is not harmful. In science education they usually mention at some point that you can not prove a negative (he must have been absent that day. Also, you can not prove anything to anyone who:
if he can manage it, avoids laying down his head for the night near overloaded electric outlets.
Welcome to Fredericton, jackass. And contrary to what he alluded to (by refusing to completely correct the radio host) Wi-Fi is radio not microwave and Wi-Fi is not turning Fredericton into a giant microwave oven.

There is no belief too fringe for the media to not plug it uncritically, even if it scares people away from economic development or results in lower vaccination rates for serious childhood illnesses.

And why is there no agreed upon convention for the spelling of Wi-Fi, wi-fi, WiFi or even wifi? Can't people get together on this? (Grumble Grumble...)

Friday, March 24, 2006

NBC Hates Camera Crew.

Well the criticism of the media's treatment of Iraq coverage must have touched a nerve. (Jack Cafferty of CNN infamy went so far as to say that there is no good news from Iraq.) Three days after NBC Nightly News aired a denial of the criticism, they aired tonight's segment of "Iraq: Three years later" where the delved into the psyche of their Baghdad reporter and his personal behind-the-scenes footage.

We got to see the NBC reporter using a treadmill because he can't go outside and punching the heavy bag to relieve the stress of having seen dogs chewing on a dead body. (They are animals dude, cut them some slack. In all seriousness dogs will chew on any dead body, even in America, where people generally do not turn it into a political statement). We saw how the crew is forced to take turns cooking for each other because they can not go to a restaurant. We got to see the aftermath of a car bomb that the terrorists helpfully brought to within view of his window. What we did not see during the week long "Iraq: Three years later" was anything about security, reconstruction (PDF - Sorry to disappoint you Cafferty but it does exist), reconstruction (yes it bares saying twice), or any good news whatsoever.

One thing I did see on this self-aggrandizing bit of tripe was some footage of NBC filming this reporter. It went by pretty quick and I only noticed it after thinking back on the story but it seemed to me that the reporter was the only one wearing body armor. The camera guy and the boom mic fellow were in normal street cloths. Does NBC feel that camera operators are dispensable? Do boom mic operators not have families. Is NBC heartless or just lacking any ethics? I know which one I would bet on.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Save the Plastic People From UN Tyranny

Save the Plastic People From UN Tyranny Posted by Picasa

If you happen to be in London, England on Saturday at 2:00pm go to Trafalgar Square and help support the Danish people, both real and plastic.

The organizers are asking that people not bring the cartoons. While this may seem odd at first there are many Muslims who want to show their support for this rally and the organizers do not want them to feel that the event is anti-Muslim. Given that they (the Muslims attending the rally) are personally standing up for the rights of people to express thoughts and images which some of them personally find offensive, I think that is a most appropriate request on behalf of the organizers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

50 Days

When he dies will they report it?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

NBC Nightly News Takes a Look in the Mirror

Tonight NBC Nightly News examined the question of whether or not they are biased in their coverage of Iraq.

Guess what they concluded. No really, guess.

They decided the charges were groundless. You see it is still too dangerous to report any good news from Iraq. That is not to say that their reporters do not venture out of the hotel; they most certainly do - every day. It is just that when they do go out it is still too dangerous to cover good news. Only flaming cars and bomb blasts are safe. Or news worthy.

So why are these charges being made at the media? Guess why. No really, guess.

It is because America is loosing the war and the Republicans need someone to blame it on (now they had a sox puppet guy on to say that last bit so it looks objective but that is their argument). And in an entire piece on whether the media is distorting the view of Iraq by fixating on flames and gunfire, often out of context, they included large numbers of clips of flames and gunfire out of context and not one picture of markets or new schools or a waste treatment plant or Iraqi Kurdistan or soldiers giving out school supplies to Iraqi children.

BTW The Unrepentant Individual has an interesting post on the US economy verses perception of the US economy.

What Do Afghanistanis Know About Afghanistan Anyway?

Elements of Canadian society (rhymes with 'reft-wing') have been so buoyed by the success of the anti-war campaign in the states that they recently have been trying to use Canadian media to turn the country against the Afghanistan mission. Even the minority Liberal party, who's government committed to the mission, started to backpedal in the hope that they could blame the whole thing on the Conservative party. They were making some headway until the soldiers and their families snuck in to the debate and started blabbing the facts and other inconvenient things.

The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, on a surprise trip to Afghanistan told the troops that cutting and running was an offensive suggestion and was out of the question. He used strong enough speech that the "mainstream" left had to back down a bit or look like craven idiots. The rest of the left has no such inhibitions and so the Afghanistan ambassador to Canada was asked what he thought about this movement.

This Normblog post contains his reply and some interesting links on the subject.




UN Stands Up To Racist Danish Lego.

As Sandmonkey reports, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights has come down hard against the Danish people for being racist and they have now produced propaganda to drive home that point featuring a piece of evil red Lego.

Why do you think they call the office the "High" Commissioner?

Prime Minister Churchill's Gloomy Speech

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
NBC Nightly News

Good evening,

Prime Minister Churchill gave a speech today in which he discussed the possibility of British surrender. The Prime Minister ruled it out as a near term option but whether this policy will be sustainable in the face of massive military losses and civilian deaths is anyone's guess.

Churchill went on to predict heavy fighting and, no doubt, heavy casualties on various fronts including: on the seas and oceans, in the air, on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets and in the hills. It seems as if no inch of Britain will be safe.

The Prime Minister went on to spell out his "Plan B" in which Britain, having faced utter defeat at the hands of the Great Third Reich, waits starving and subjugated for help from abroad.

When we return, is anti-Reich prejudice harming the careers or German civil servants in America ...and... How can Germany be described as anti-Semitic when they are taking such strong measures to keep Jews from leaving the country?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cue the Jeopardy Music

The UN is calling for 20 billion dollars to be invested over the next two decades on clean water development for Africa. The UN runs through a budget of 10 billion dollars every year.

Uh... UN dudes, do these two facts inspire any ideas? None?

Democrats and Other Psychic Friends

The CBC Radio news program, World Report which runs at the top of the hour was holding court in fine form this morning. They were stopping just shy of declaring victory for the brave insurgency and defeat for the imperialist crusaders but instead told us that many believe that victory had come for the brave insurgency and defeat for the imperialist crusaders. As long as it is someone else's statements it is news not propaganda even if the people saying it are the people you have been propagandizing for the last 3 years or just the guy down the hall. They must have cut themselves off early because they never got around to using the term "eminent civil war" fifteen times and they neglected to chant "Death to America" before going back to local programming but then the news has to fit in a roughly ten minute time slot so maybe they got to it later in the morning.

They might want to hold off on the prediction making because left-wingers have a pretty poor record of it, as this fellow shows.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hey, An Actor Who Can Read (Or So He Claims)

Richard Belzer star of Law and Order: SVU [sarcasm] like all actors, is a genius. He can read and so understands what it is like in Iraq far better than people who go there and far better than the ignorant uneducated soldiers. Belzer is apparently a PhD in what's-whatery.[/sarcasm]

And Air America Radio host Mike Malloy feels that the American Troops are murdering Nazi war-pornography makers. [sarcasm] But no one on the left is anti-troops, right? That is just a myth put out by neocons. [/sarcasm]

Just Beautiful.

The UN approved the new Human Rights Council with absolutely no mechanism to prevent the worst of the worst human rights abusers from sitting on the council. What's more, the members of the General assembled will vote on the 47 members of the council on May 9 by secret ballot so we will never know the cozy little side deals that go on to get the worst of the worst back on the new council.

Human Rights Watch criticized the US for holding up the process of forming the new council and didn't they just get their wish. What do they have to say about this.

Reed Brody - special counsel to the U.S.-based group, Human Rights Watch - says he hopes the new council will block undeserving countries from membership.

"I think the challenge now frankly is to prove the United States wrong," he says. "And, I think our challenge is to make the council as good as the United States would have liked to see the council be."

And maybe it will be for a few years, though I would not count on it. But really isn't hope the best way to ensure systems don't get abused. The UN is now officially a faith based bureaucracy.

Speaking of bureaucracy and human rights abusers and not giving a damn about anything Burma is enjoying a news blackout about the bird flu outbreak they recently admitted to experiencing, leaving farmers in the dark as to what to do or what might happen if they admit to having a sick flock. Loverly.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Listen to This.

Here is an opinion you don't get to here very often from women in the Middle East. I like how the cleric dismisses her as being unworthy of being rebuked because she is a heretic. She takes no guff from him. Of course she is under death threats now. Is pointing that out Islamophobic of me? Bhe. We secularists can be funny that way.

Democracy Was an Afterthought, Right?

Normblog makes hash out of the claim that democracy for Iraq was never a justification for going to war until after the fact. He also has a link to the New York Times showing that the claim that the administration knew there were no WMD stockpiles (as opposed to WMD precursors) is false. It turns out Saddam's top people thought so too.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Evidence of Inflation - Cosmological not Monetary

Astronomers have taken measurements which support the theory that the early universe underwent a period of rapid inflation. The inflationary theory helps to describe several features of the universe but until now there was no direct observational support. More research is underway to test astronomical predictions which could confirm the theory.

Human Rights Wrongs

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two of the parasites of the human rights industry which play political games using victims of totalitarian regimes as pawns (when they even acknowledge them at all - see Cuba for examples) are objecting to the US for obstructing the new improved version of the UN's human rights council. The US has the nerve of not wanting an inclusive council where human rights abusers still get to participate in the process.

Are there any competent human rights groups out there? Could one please be started?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

China Beneath the Surface

This is a good article about how China's economic expansion masks deep flaws. It is not the free market butterfly it is often made out to be but rather, to steal a joke from John Bolton, a Leninist caterpillar wearing lipstick.

Cranial Lard Roundup

Let's begin with an opinion piece in the National Post (print edition) in which the former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia (and defense witness at Slobo's trial) complains that the media put to much blame on the poor guy. His piece does a pretty good job of whitewashing Slobo's career, no mentions of the origin of the term "ethnic cleansing" or media crack downs. The arguments put forward seemed to boil down to:

a) Someone else started it.
b) Not nearly as many people died as is believed.
c) Slobo was not in control of his troops.

Fortunately the National Post is not a socialist rag and generally allows crap like this in their paper so that they can tear it to shred's in future editorials. It would be considered a strawman tactic if it were not for the large number of socialists who agree with former ambassador what's-his-face.

Moving on to examining the wonders of homeschooling, another National Post article caught my eye today. Autumn Ashante, a 7 year old daughter of a converted Muslim New Yorker has produced poetry that got her banned from the school where she recited it during Black History Month. Now the banning was an over reaction, especially given that the poem was the usual stuff that bubbles to the surface every once in a while during BHM along with claims that ancient Egyptians were black Africans and landed on the moon thousands of years ago. The school would have been far better off in using the issue to examine these attitudes critically but I think I have noted in places that public schools do not deal well with issues of reason and logic. What is really interesting is that Autumn was inspired by her "homeschooling" to use the poem to call Darwin (along with Christopher Columbus) a pirate and a vampire. Now anyone familiar with Flying Spaghetti Monsterism will understand the pirate aspect (he sailed around on a wooden boat for God's sake) but a vampire? Apparently so.

At a press conference she explained her poem:
"Darwin was a pirate - just like Christopher Columbus - all he did was murder, rape and steal,"
Now I need to clarify some things here. Murder, raping and stealing are not ALL Darwin did. As he mentions in a recent interview, he wrote a book. He also did a lot of field work in natural science, not to mention the fact that he made a really good noodle koodle.

Autumn Ashante expresses sadness over the controversy and hopes that it will not hurt her career. I would be more worried about having my career hurt by the fact that her father is using the homeschooling concept to raise her without an education. It is hard to get a job-even as a poet-when one's education consists entirely of sitting at home being lied to by one's dad.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

H5N1 - Possible Cluster.

Experts are being sent to Azerbaijan as several people died and three tested positive for an H5 flu virus. The other deaths are being investigated and it is not currently known (by me at least) if the virus was H5N1. While this is not panic worthy it might be noted that family/cluster outbreaks are one of the predictions made by epidemiologists as to what to expect to see before a pandemic. With several clusters in a village or region being a big alarm bell.
In the mix are several possible cases clustered in families. WHO is constantly on the lookout for clusters of cases, as they may be a sign of human-to-human spread of the virus.
Here are the effects of the 1918 flu but many say that a flu pandemic won't be so bad because many of the deaths were due to secondary bacterial infections and dehydration that we can now treat. Unfortunately this misses the fact that much of the world has insufficient resources to cope with the existing health crises like AIDS and dehydration from simple diarrhea causing diseases. With that in mind it might help to read this account of the 1918 flu and imagine living in one of the developing world's nations if H5N1 goes big time.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Al-Sadr Does What Media Can't - Blame the Right People.

Sandmonkey has good news (via Yahoo News and AP) and bad news (via Silly Bahraini Girl) today.

The good news is that Al-Sadr (not one of my favorite Iraqi figures but who has demonstrated some character in the past) is blaming al-Qaida in Iraq for the recent violence and calling for calm while the media blames the entire Sunni population and calls for civil war.

The bad news is that Saudi Arabia is trying to out do itself in the race to find the world's most creepy, bitter clerics. These latest two sheikhs are calling for no women to be able to use the Internet without the supervision of a male relative who is an expert in how wicked women are. Every family has one of those right?

UPDATE: I am sitting here hearing a local news program (one that is more objective than national news) confirming the positive of al-Sadr while I am reading this post describing him quite differently. I will wait to see what more info about him drips out. Truth is sometimes a slow drink. I hope the information proving Iran's involvement.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Black Heart Gives Out - Good Riddance

Raise a class to the Grim Reaper because he finally took someone who truly deserved it. Don't worry about a funeral, just drop his vampire ass down the nearest open manhole.

Silence This.

A blog on ScienceBlogs called Respectful Insolence has a post on the arson attack (he says that there is no need to link to him but his post is a good one) on a warehouse and office complex that the The Holocaust History Project was using as a mailing address. The Holocaust History Project has also been targeted by denial of service attacks for their effort to provide information on the Holocaust and the claims of deniers.

In response, there is a request going around to link to The Holocaust History Project so that those who have tried to silence this project will be thwarted. THHP also seems to be a fine site for information about the Holocaust and denial claims. Since it is a good reference page on the subject I will also be adding it to my links list.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Media All But Ignores Iran's Protest.

What little coverage there was of the protest for women's rights in Iran yesterday seems to have been designed to minimize. The BBC did an article on Iranian women today that didn't even mention the protest or the allegations of arrests and beatings but instead gave most of the article to a regime stooge in drag. CNN has a photo montage (not linkable) of International Women's Day events with Iran not mentioned.

I suppose that just because men and women in one of the most misogynist counties on the planet are willing to risk imprisonment and worse to stand up for what is right on International Women's Day there is no reason to expect the media to be impressed. Iran is an anti-American nation which equals friendly in the calculus of western media, but they are also a nation that wants to wipe Israel off the map, thinks the Holocaust is funny and happens to want nuclear technology for... oh, no reason. The media is, of course, busy racking their brains trying to figure out how to make Iran look less crazy (explaining the BBC article where the theocratic woman wants to educate Condoleezza Rice on how great things are for women in Iran).

Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Burma... there sure seem to be a lot of nations who are cashing in on the deal that the media offers. If you vocally criticize America and the west and democracy and capitalism you can do absolutely whatever you want and no negative news will be reported about you.

I love this world. Hey NASA, when can I leave?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Amnesty International Buys Brooklyn Bridge

Amnesty International has issued a report about the human rights violations by US forces in Iraq. The source for this report?
It said it based its findings on interviews with former inmates.
Again. Do any of these human rights agencies have anyone who is completely ambulatory working for them? More importantly, should suspected al-Qaida and Ba'athist terrorists be used as an exclusive source for your report? Amnesty International has proven that they are glue sniffers before, which is sad because the world really needs a group that actually is what AI claims to be.

Since another psychic report on prison conditions was recently issued against America it might be helpful to examine the accuracy of such works. When media reported on the new criticisms of Gitmo recently they gave first and foremost attention to the testimony of those who all claimed to be completely uninvolved in al-Qaida and Taliban (just happened to be tagging along when they were attacking) and had lots of incredible tales of abuse. Down at the bottom of these news stories (if mentioned at all) are brief mentions (unlike the Houston Chronicle which gives the whole story from the AP) of someone who admits to having been involved and reformed who says that the prison conditions are currently very good. Of course he is untrustworthy to the media because he admits his involvement. People who tell the truth can't be trusted, you see.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Smarter or Dumber Than the Average Bear?

Either way this is a cool set of pictures.

Via Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted).

Too Awful to Contemplate

How did I ever manage to procrastinate before blogging and video games? At least I have finished most midterms so I can now turn my attention to putting off an assignment until the last minute.

This gives me time to keep the world informed about all the madness around us. This brings me to a couple of stories that show that the United States really is beginning to use unconventional-some might say cruel and unusual-weaponry to try to jumpstart the Middle East peace process. They are peppering the region with demented pop singers like Michael Jackson and Madonna.

This is just frightening. And clever.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Narratives in the News

If you can't find news make it up.

Play a video (Hell, let's call it a secret confidential video) of someone telling the President that no one could be sure that the levees would not be over-topped.

Tell people that this is proof that he lied when he said that the breaching of the levees had not been foreseen. Sure, in the real world of the English language, saying that levees might be topped and that they could breach is not the same thing but this is the media not the real world.

As much as I dislike Bush I truly find it mesmerizing how the media manipulates people's perception not just in regards to Iraq and Katrina but when exaggerating crime statistics or generally sexing up any story or issue. From their decisions on what polling data to release (Zogby? Come on people.) and what stories to run and which to leave to rot on the wire services, to their taking of small data sets to draw the opposite conclusion from what the whole picture supports, to their ability to completely ignore the effect of time on trends by giving a snapshot that is completely out of context, the media has raised information management to an art. It is an art which, if I am to be honest, I kind of admire in a way like when you admire a venomous animal at the zoo-behind a layer of Plexiglas.

People accept it so readily because humans have a basic need to assimilate information into a narrative. We construct our view of the world by creating stories; simulations which follow basic themes like lust, threats, power politics, struggle, victory and defeat. When the media gives us our facts prepackaged in a self-consistent narrative with any conflicting facts excluded like so much trimmed off rind it is so much easier to stomach. Of course, since we are unable to incorporate conflicting facts into this narrative we let them bounce off us like rain which is when dealing with reality becomes difficult.
The resemblance to organized religion is unmistakable. In an example of what happens when reality crashes against your personal narrative, Mike Wallace has admitted to being astonished that soldiers who were injured serving in Iraq are still supportive of the war and don't hate the president.
Sunday night 60 Minutes report on the struggles and achievements of some military members severely wounded in Iraq, Mike Wallace admitted he was "astonished" at how "almost all of them support the war despite the fact that it's taken such a toll on them." He elaborated, "We asked them flat out: What about should we be there? And the ones that are the most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there.
Usually when you are astonished at something it means that part of your personal narrative is inaccurate and that you may be believing something that is not true. It is at the very least a signal that you need to do some examination of what you believe and why. It seems that Mike Wallace didn't bother because he used the tried and true methods of glossing over inconsistencies. A good narrative can be very compelling, especially to the narrator.

Some UN Troops and Staff Want Prostitutes

Normblog takes notice of the this interesting development. It seems that in addition to the sex abuse by UN troops not having been dealt with to a satisfactory degree, some UN troops and staff are resisting the ban on them using prostitutes.

Imagine an organization where people don't get fired for complaining about not being able to frequent prostitutes in the country they are working in. If you want to be against the prohibition of prostitution on your own dime that is fine. I can understand that. I don't believe in supporting prostitution personally but I don't see it as something which is best addressed with law enforcement methods with the exception of targeting those who traffic in and exploit sex workers. It is the prohibition which leads to the criminal sex trade to start with.

If, however, an organization hires you to work for the betterment of a nation they have the right to demand that you follow the local laws to the best of your ability, that you do not tarnish the organizations reputation and that you don't use the locals as prostitutes. The fact that some UN workers need this explained to them or that they feel entitled to complain about this is just freakin' unfathomable.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Double Standard

It is wrong to punish a whole group of people because of the actions of a few.
Is the above statement relevant to:
A) Boycotting Danish products because of the 12 cartoons which offend many Muslims.
B) Not wanting a company from the United Arab Emerate to own American ports because of two 9-11 terrorists.
C) My first grade teacher who made the entire class stay after school because someone vandalized a poster for which I have never forgiven her and for which I remain bitter and mentally damaged to this day.
D) A, B, and C.
E) Sentences are just bunches of words-they are not "relevant" to anything.


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.