Archive for December, 2007

Resolutions? Or just surviving?

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Last Monday of 2007


For me, 2007 was a pretty good year, though I’m not overly sorry to see it end.

Neat Thunderbird and Firefox Add-on

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Mozilla never integrated their calendar into Firefox and Thunderbird, and I think that project is a goner. About the only thing I missed after switching from Outlook was the calendar, which synched with my iPAQ. Yesterday I turned up an add-on that works in Thunderbird and Firefox, called ReminderFox.

What Benazir Bhutto Could Teach Us

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Democratic front-runners Clinton and Obama acknowledged Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in strikingly different ways last night. Clinton tried to bank on having met Bhutto, and claimed she “knew her” for 12 years.

For [Obama’s] chief rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bhutto’s death helped underscore the line she has been driving home for months — about who is best suited to lead the nation at a time of international peril. In her comments Thursday, Clinton described Bhutto in terms Obama (D-Ill.) could not: as a fellow mother, a pioneering woman following in a man’s footsteps, and a longtime peer on the world stage.


I think Obama hit closer to the mark:

. . Obama delivered a withering rebuke of Clinton’s experience, depicting her lengthy political resume as a hindrance to solving big problems, including crises abroad. In an especially charged moment, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod would later tie the killing to the Iraq war — and Clinton’s vote to approve it, which he argued diverted U.S resources from fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, both al-Qaeda hotbeds.

“You can’t at once argue that you’re the master of a broken system in Washington and offer yourself as the person to change it,” Obama said. “You can’t fall in line behind the conventional thinking on issues as profound as war and offer yourself as the leader who is best prepared to chart a new and better course for America.”


On that last point, falling in line behind conventional thinking, I think we could indict most members of Congress, of either party. Status quo hasn’t worked very well for us, for a long time.

R.I.P. Ms Bhutto

Thursday, December 27th, 2007
Benazir Bhutto

And so we turn another bloody page in the chronicles of the Great Game. Calling this a War on Terror is a misnomer. It’s a power struggle between fringe Muslims and Late Capitalists. In the name of Islam, Osama bin Laden and his gang seek to re-establish an Islamic caliphate across the Muslim world, to be governed by Sharia, Islamic law.

Against this group are arrayed the forces of neoliberalism and free trade. Neither of the latter can tolerate religious fundamentalism; both are necessarily secular. This is what sticks in bin Laden’s craw. It doesn’t help that the United States, globalization’s greatest champion, is in the midst of its own Christian fundamentalist revival.

While we don’t know for certain who killed Ms Bhutto, it probably was al-Qaeda, and not Pervez Musharraf. I can’t see how Musharraf benefits from the rage and anger that will ensue from Ms Bhutto’s murder. (more…)

Fat Times

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Does government concern over Americans’ fitness and Body Mass Index constitute a Nanny State? Sally Pipes thinks so.

Israel: Mass murder is okay if we do it

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

A victim of Israel's savagery

In response to last year’s capture by Hezbollah of a few Israeli soldiers, Israel launched a vicious air and land war against the Lebanese people. Convoys of fleeing Lebanese civilians were mercilessly bombed, entire city blocks of apartment houses in Beirut, miles from the Lebanon-Israeli border, were leveled, and almost every highway bridge and airport in Lebanon was destroyed. Compounding the crime was Israel’s use of cluster bombs.

Cluster bombs are little explosive modules carried in a thin, aerodynamic shell. When released by a bomber airplane the shell opens, scattering the cluster bombs over a wide area. Some cluster bomblets are designed to detonate on impact. Others are more insidious. They arm themselves on hitting the ground, then remain inert until struck once more. The second type are still murdering Lebanese civilians to this day. *

In response to global outcry over their savagery, Israeli military prosecutors investigated the legality of the Israeli military’s use of cluster bombs. Guess what? (more…)

Fast-Food Racism

Monday, December 24th, 2007

The New York Times has been covering Florida farm workers’ struggles to be paid fair wages. Even if you don’t eat fast food, the struggle raises issues important to every American. One I’ve blogged about recently is deep-seated bigotry. The Florida Tomato Grower’s Exchange is a business collective that sets prices and wages, going so far as to heavily fine tomato growers who dare to pay their workers more than the Exchange-set rate, which works out to about $5.00 an hour, with no benefits. Here’s a quote from Reggie Brown, executive vice-president of the Exchange:

If we weren’t paying a very competitive wage and giving these workers enough money to send to their families in Mexico and Central America, we wouldn’t be able to attract a labor force.

Compare that sentiment to this quote from the Rev. Noelle Damico, national coordinator of the Campaign for Fair Food for the Presbyterian Church:

For years we’ve provided charity to farmworkers in South Florida, and we started asking, ‘Why are farmworkers who work six days a week and often 10 or 12 hours a day still needing help from charity?’ We saw that something was very wrong.


Those un-Christian Christians

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Mike Huckabee’s visit to a hard-core evangelical church in San Antonio today ignited a Catholic firestorm.

Payback: Post-Colonial Africa Returns the Favor

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Gas mask

European countries exploited Africa for more than 100 years. Whatever infrastructure they left, schools and roads for example, were built to support exploitation. Now, thanks to global warming, dengue fever, which might have been addressed, has spread to Europe.

Similar warming-induced problems are happening in other places. (more…)

Assessing the Surge

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Some correspondents are gleefully promoting Bush’s surge of troops in Iraq as a success. Some newspaper opinion writers were claiming success when the surge had only begun. Their metric? A reduction in violent deaths throughout the country. While cause for optimism, a reduction in violence is hardly something to brag about.

Adding U.S. troops in early 2007 may have cut sectarian slaughter, but putting U.S. troops in Iraq in early 2003 is what started the wave of violence in the first place. What’s more, the surge was not intended merely to reduce violence. The surge was supposed to give the Iraqi government time to get its act together. Which begs the question: What Iraqi government?