Bless me Father for I have SinnedNice to see motive for the apparently inexplicable. Wonder why the Holy Father met with Tariq Aziz just prior to the Iraq war....It's all about oil.
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One Damn Thing After Another
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One should welcome the gradual emergence of a normal political life in Iraq after nearly half a century of brutal despotism, including 35 years of exceptionally murderous Baathist rule.Amir Taheri acknowledges the facts of democratic life. Not everyone will agree. Yup.
The central aim of the war in Iraq, at least as far as I am concerned, was to create conditions in which Shiites can demonstrate without being machine-gunned in the streets of Baghdad and Basra, while the Kurds are able to call for autonomy without being gassed by the thousands as they were in Halabja under Saddam.
It is good that Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani can issue fatwas, something he could not have done under Saddam Hussein. It is even better that those who disagree with the grand ayatollah could say so without being murdered by zealots.
Hundreds of BBC staff today staged walkouts in protest at the departure of Greg Dyke, their Director-General over the Kelly affair.I can't help but think of Canada's own CBC. If all the bodies walked out....who would notice? But the BBC is a bigger deal and the walk out signifies the denial that Glen Reynolds alludes to. The employees simply cannot imagine that a report which underscores their implicit bias and unprofessionalism could be anything other than a whitewash.
A small demonstration outside Broadcasting House in central London began shortly after 3pm, a little over an hour after Mr Dyke made his resignation public. The protest lasted about an hour in freezing temperatures.
At some point, shouldn't we all to step back and ask, Is Vancouver really worth it? There’s a case to be made that it isn’t. Like its beloved hockey team, Vancouver is good, but not quite as good as it thinks it is. There are plenty of sawoffs: great mayor, appalling premier. Great airport but no way to get to it. Great sailing and skiing but no time to do these things because you’re working so that you can afford to look at the ski hill and the sailboats out your office window. For the same effect at a third the price, you could buy a trickle-fountain and a poster of Mt. Fuji and move to Saskatoon.I commented,
Bruce, I often think, given what we each have done and built and, apparently contemplated, that I have a doppleganger wandering about. I just looked at housing in Saskatoon. $700/month for a whole nice house, 200K for a character, four bedroom in a nice area...Hello...The big issue in Vancouver is always the density/height versus affordability trade off. People who already own property see their property's value as adversely effected by changes in zoning and so oppose it. With a remarkable lack of foresight I might add as upzoning tends to increase the value of property. The problem Grierson describes so well is the product of a virulent NIMBYism.
OK. It is -40C and they have stopped picking up garbage for fear the hydraulic on the trucks will freeze up...but, hey, why not.
The other element of the insanity of Vancouver housing prices is that it really does effect every aspect of Vancouver life. People cannot afford to both live here and have much of a life.
Of course, the answer would be to start building a little serious density in the vast under developed areas of the city. Say twice the density of False Creek. And build tall - 40 stories is a silly limit for a real city. And get rid of the antique industrial zoning which has inflicted such blight on so much usable land in Vancouver. And, flatten all those awful one story, thirty years past best before date immediately post WWII buildings along stretches of Streets like Broadway and Kingsway. There is lots of room - but it has to be built not left fallow.
Notice, too, how small it is. Result: members tend to speak to one another, rather than just hauling off and bellowing into space. The absence of desks is critical, not only to the intimacy of the place, but also the tone. Who sits in rows of desks? Schoolchildren. Bureaucrats. Prison-workers. Who, by contrast, sits on benches? Judges. Councils of elders. Church congregations. (Also hockey teams - ed. Okay, I didn't say they were saints.)It has been noticed before, but the initimacy of the British Parliament, members standing two sword lengths apart, creates the cockpit in which the tradition of Parliamentary debate was created. The asides, heckling which is witty and not loud, the capacity to hold the House in the palm of an eloquent speakers hand. My spam is right, size doe matter.
As I said months ago, things are at a pretty bad state of affairs when you realize that you can trust your government (I'm an American) more than the media. debbye
First, obviously, Dean is finished as a potential nominee. He's blown all his money, his campaign is in disarray, and he's turned to an inside-the-Beltway Democrat to run his campaign. Dean may well play a potent spoiler role, but it's almost impossible to see him winning. Even if he somehow pulls out a plurality of delegates and goes to a brokered nomination, the other candidates will pool their delegates and select a non-Dean.When your own personal nemisis say's you're done, you're done. Yeaaaaah!
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Documents from Saddam Hussein's oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.
Blizzards blanketed most of the country with snow. In East Yorkshire there was 16in in some places and severe weather warnings were issued by the Met Office for the Midlands, Scotland and northern England. the telegraphMaybe the Gulf Stream has stopped.
Pakistani investigators told The News, a Pakistani daily, that two key figures in the nuclear programme received millions of pounds in Dubai-based bank accounts at the same time as nuclear hardware was delivered to Iran.There has to be a certain satisfaction to selling the nuclear secrets you developed for one state to a few more states. After all those hours in the lab, dabbling in Dubai real estate would be so relaxing. Takes your mind off the fact the technology you created and then sold is capable of killing millions if not tens of millions of people. Were it up to me I'd lock the culprits in a sealed room with lots of food and water and several low intensity, lethal radiation sources. Set the clock for irreversible radiation poisoning in, say two weeks. Lots of time to think about the really horrible deaths they will suffer for potentially inflicting millions of such deaths on the innocent. Bastards.
One senior scientist was said to have tens of millions of pounds' worth of financial and property assets, mainly in Dubai.
The News said he also paid a Pakistani newspaper editor to run a favorable publicity campaign and organise seminars to praise the scientist.
Pakistani officials have not identified the scientists but they have done nothing to dispel reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan, hailed as the "father of Pakistan's bomb", and a close aide, Mohammed Farooq, are at the centre of the investigation.
"While Andrew Gilligan wrongly impugned Tony Blair's integrity, Alastair Campbell, remember, impugned that of many BBC journalists, describing them as having "an anti-war agenda".
jackie ashley, the guardian
"The allegation that I or anyone else lied to this house or deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence on WMD [weapons of mass destruction] is itself the real lie." the guardian
From the start, the inquiry was really a proxy for the bitter fight over the war in Iraq. The BBC (and most of the British press) was on one side, and Prime Minister Tony Blair's government was on the other.One of my readers wrote me to suggest the fact the Hutton report was so damning of the BBC and said nary a negative word about the Blair government meant that it would be seen as a whitewash. I suspect he's right because the antis just do not have it in them to say that the exercise of American, British and Australian power to defeat a ruthless tyrant is a good thing. For the Clare Shorts, Vanessa Redgraves, Margaret Drabbles and the Harold Pinters, not to mention the French and the BBC, the single most important thing is that the Americans and their supporters must not win.
During the war, I sometimes tuned in to the BBC for news. One night, I saw Mr. Gilligan broadcasting from Baghdad. He was openly contemptuous of the U.S. military, which he insinuated was dishonest and inept, and he was ridiculing its claim (which was accurate) that it was in the process of securing the Baghdad airport. Later, after Saddam's fall, he told viewers that Baghdadis were experiencing their "first days of freedom in more fear than they have ever known before."
globe and mail
"What the report shows very clearly is the prime minister told the truth, the government told the truth, I told the truth. The BBC, from the chairman and the director general on down, did not," Campbell told a news conference.Being lectured by Blair's spin doctor has to hurt. More a bit later.
"The BBC will have to decide itself what action to take to restore its reputation and integrity."
The Sun claimed that Lord Hutton, who will publish his findings formally today, has exonerated the Prime Minister of "dishonourable, underhand or duplicitous" conduct over the naming of the Government scientist David Kelly and the handling of the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.If this is true then the anti-war left in England will have suffered a tremendous blow. So will the BBC (if that is not redundant) which is apparently castigated for allowing Andrew Gilligan to sex up his reporting. More later.
Despite an unprecedented security operation, the Labour-supporting tabloid managed to obtain a copy of the lengthy document. It published detailed extracts, claiming that the inquiry had also cleared Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, and Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair's former spin doctor.
One vivid lesson from yesterday's exit polls was the determination among Democratic voters to unseat George W. Bush. Asked about the most important quality in deciding their vote, 20 percent cited the candidate's ability to defeat the president, second only to the 29 percent who said "he stands up for what he believes." The issue of electability mattered far more to Mr. Kerry's supporters, 60 percent of whom put that quality first, than to Mr. Dean's backers, just 9 percent of whom said that was their priority.For committed Democrats who is elected to the White house may be less important than ensuring George Bush joins his father as a one term President. Which may well explain why Bush is touching base with the fundys and the paleos in his own party and generally trying to keep the fences mended within his own core voting group.
The emotional climax of his speech comes when he describes how he used to represent "people like you" against teams of highly paid, distinguished corporate lawyers. "And you know what happened? I beat them, and I beat them, and I beat them again!" The crowds go crazy, but they are not only applauding; they are applauding and smiling at the same time, a result that was not generated by all the other candidates who have used the Two Americas theme over the years.It's the smile. The sense that Edwars is a guy who would stand up to the special interests, to the powerful and "beat them and beat them and beat them." In the American race, anger is passe. Dean did it and it didn't work. Now the game has shifted to pushing a sense of them and us and the idea that them can be beaten by us. And, after all, aren't we all us?
david brooks, nyt
The President is proud of his Big Government moralism. As he put it in his first State of the Union message, "Values are important, so we have tripled funding for character education to teach our children not only reading and writing, but right from wrong." Sounds inoffensive enough. But who exactly determines what is right and what is wrong? Churches? Synagogues? Parents? Teachers? Nah. The Federal Government.So Sully and the rest of the economically conservative, socially libertarian, foreign policy hawks are none too pleased. But what to do? They are hardly going to suggest not electing Bush. Especially if that implies electing Kerry or Edwards. Not that anyone should be surprised at Bush's interventionalist strategy. He campaigned on it.
andrew sullivan, time magazine
According to the philosopher Roger scrutinies, "Reason is now on the retreat, both as an ideal and as a reality." The leaders of the counter-revolution may seem an incongruous coalition - post-modernists and primitivists, New Age and Old Testament - but they have been remarkably effective over the past quarter-century. Those who lack the courage to use their understanding "without direction from another" are easy prey for self-styled gurus, and the sleep of reason has duly brought forth many such monsters, exploiting and expanding the demand for mumbo-jumbo.Wheen has written a book called How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusionswhich I would very much like to review. At one point I edited Common Ground Magazinein Vancouver (I was very, very broke is my only excuse) and I could not get over the flight of reason which drove the flakes, channelers, alien representatives and "bullet point to enlightenment" wackos to the door. The range of the woowoo was remarkable, each more sincere than the last. Well, as my law school buddy Helen Kersly once remarked, "Hitler was sincere."
Francis Wheen, the guardian
In September 1784 a Berlin magazine invited Immanuel Kant to answer the question: What is Enlightenment? "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity," he replied. "Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without direction from another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolve and courage to use it without another's guidance. Dare to know! That is the motto of Enlightenment."Amen.
The new company bylaws came into effect on Friday and effectively disbanded the Hollinger International committee, which was set up by dissident executives to oversee an auction of the group's assets to secure the best return for shareholders. Lord Black is believed to have changed the rules because Hollinger International was working on a "poison pill" defence due to be implemented early this week.The shareholders' rights plan being contemplated here would give shareholders who hold a minority of the voting rights in the company the ability to exclude Directors who represent a shareholder holding 78% of the voting rights, from preventing the sale of the subsidiary company's major assets. To which the dissidents shareholders will say, but we put up most of the money and, besides, differential voting rights are oppressive and alien to the highest ethical standards expected from American corporations. Besides, Lord Black and his cronies have misappropriated monies and perks from the subsidiary. To which Lord Black will expensively say, "So what, the Board of Directors of Hollinger International have never objected and if they did I'd fire their butts off the Board. And you viperous ingrates, you are trying to steal the assets of a company which I control."
The defence - known as a "shareholder rights plan" - would have prevented the Barclay brothers gaining control of Hollinger International when they bought Lord Black's 78% stake in Hollinger Inc by raising the holdings of International's other shareholders to dilute the Barclays' influence.
"The corporate review committee believes the company can sell major assets without the approval of the company's controlling shareholder and that they can execute the sale in a timely manner,"Timely here meaning, presumably, before the contolling shareholder amends the by-laws or calls the cops.