Archives for April, 2002

HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: More

HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: More on the benefits of gentrification.

Posted on Apr 30, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD:

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: The administration’s going to need a new excuse to flatten Bagdhad. The supposed meeting between hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent last spring never happened:

Although Atta had indeed flown from Prague to the United States in June 2000, the Czechs had placed the alleged meeting in April 2001. The FBI could find no visa or airline records showing he had left or re-entered the United States that month. The bureau does have records showing Atta was in Virginia Beach– where officials suspect he was casing U.S. naval facilities in the area – and Florida in April. “Neither we nor the Czechs nor anybody else has any information he was coming or going [to Prague] at that time,” says a U.S. official.

But intelligence officials have been reluctant to set the record straight– both out of reluctance to embarrass an allied government and because so many anti-Saddam hawks in the Bush administration had embraced the story. To be sure, administration hardliners aren’t ready to give up. Newsweek has learned that Pentagon analysts are still aggressively hunting for evidence that might tie Atta, or any of the other hijackers, to Saddam’s agents. It may yet turn up, but for now, at least, the much touted “Prague connection” appears to be an intriguing, but embarrassing, mistake.

Posted on Apr 30, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

FIX THE IMMIGRATION LAWS: I

FIX THE IMMIGRATION LAWS: I don’t agree with everything in this Dick Morris column, but it’s hard to deny that he’s identified a serious problem. Morris notes that:

Last October and November as bodies were being dragged from the World Trade Center wreckage, 7,000 new visas were issued to men from nations in which Al Qaeda is active.

I wonder if that counts the posthumous visas the INS granted to Mohammed Atta and the other hijacker.

Posted on Apr 30, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

RATS THE SIZE OF WEINER

RATS THE SIZE OF WEINER DOGS: That’s what D.C. has, as Joshua Micah Marshall notes in his blog. I can vouch for that. I live around the corner from Rock Creek Park, so I’ve got them darting through my backyard a couple of times an hour. Like pigeons, they’ve figured out that humans aren’t really going to mess with them, so they’re not scared of us. But so what? It’s still better than living in Northern Virginia.

Posted on Apr 29, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

USEFUL MAPS: The BBC website

USEFUL MAPS: The BBC website has a handy little section that allows one to examine the changing contours of Israel and Palestine.

Posted on Apr 29, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A READER OBJECTS to the

A READER OBJECTS to the Manichean view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so prevalent on the right:

I don’t like Arafat and I feel like the Palestinians have devolved into some kind of death-cult society that authorizes anything and everything against Israel. This whole situation reveals what I think is an historical truism: thinking one is a great victim is a prerequisite to the greatest displays of orgiastic violence. Even the WWII Germans thought of themselves as terrible victims, the “Job of History” in the words of Himmler.

But as for the victim thing it goes for the Israelis too. Not that they’re not victims, but so are the Palestinians. They’re both victims and victimizers. And I don’t buy the neocon line that the balance is so far tilted one way or the other. I agree there’s a difference between targeting civilians and simply being reckless about it, but look at Sharon. He deliberately killed some 30 or 40 civilians in the 1950s–the definition of a war crime. It’s called the Qibiya massacre. A much more significant episode than Sabra and Shatila in my opinion.

Some right-wingers, in response to moral relativism, I think have adopted a Manichean view of the world: all good versus all evil. It’s obvious where they put the Israelis in that context.

Posted on Apr 29, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

ONLY IN AMERICA… oh, um,

ONLY IN AMERICA… oh, um, wait a minute…

Posted on Apr 26, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

BUDDY-BOY DIPLOMACY: Boy am I

BUDDY-BOY DIPLOMACY: Boy am I sick of hearing the President blather on about his “strong personal bond” with this or that foreign leader. He was at it again yesterday with Crown Prince Abdullah:

Well, first of all, one of the really positive things out of this meeting was the fact that the Crown Prince and I established a strong personal bond. We spent a lot of time alone, discussing our respective visions, talking about our families. I was most interested in learning about how he thought about things. I’m convinced that the stronger our personal bond is, the more likely it is relations between our country will be strong.

It’s great that Dubya and the Crown Prince will be able to chum it up next time Abdullah’s at the Waco ranch–grilling some burgers, tooling around on RVs, and plinking at tin cans with BB guns in the back yard–but is this glad-handing, backslapping approach to foreign affairs conducive to realpolitique? Crown Prince Abdullah sits atop a corrupt autocracy that subsidizes virulent anti-Americanism and terror. Though I happen to agree with him that the U.S. is far too closely aligned with Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Sharon a “man of peace”? Come on), this guy really has cojones to tell us what to do given that 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 killers were Saudis. We should be ready to kick him over the instant it becomes advantageous to us, whether he’s the President’s pal or not.

Posted on Apr 26, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

LE PEN, AGAIN: Mark Steyn,

LE PEN, AGAIN: Mark Steyn, self-professed “extreme right-wing madman,” takes issue with the media’s characterization of Le Pen as the same, in a piece that puts the Le Pen phenom in context.

Posted on Apr 26, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

UNFAIR TO THE FRENCH: Yeah,

UNFAIR TO THE FRENCH: Yeah, I hate to say it, but Charles Krauthammer’s hysterical column today is. In a piece purporting to detail a resurgence of European anti-semitism, he writes:

The European “street” has lately been expressing itself on the subject of Jews as well. In France, synagogues have been burned to the ground and Jewish youths savagely attacked. In Belgium, two synagogues were firebombed, a third sprayed with bullets. A Berlin police official advised Jews, for reasons of safety, not to wear outward symbols of their religion.

Krauthammer knows damn well that the folks torching French synagogues aren’t Europeans, but unassimilated North African Arabs. The Le Pen phenomenon has far more to do with disaffection toward that element than it does with a rebirth of anti-semitism. Moreover, if Le Pen can be taken at his word, he sounds suspiciously like Krauthammer on Israeli anti-terror policy:

It’s very easy to criticize from the armchair in the living room. I completely understand the State of Israel, which is seeking to defend its citizens.

Posted on Apr 26, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

THE GREAT MALE CONSPIRACY: Check

THE GREAT MALE CONSPIRACY: Check out the juxtaposition of text and ad here. Coincidence? I think not.

UPDATE: OK, yesterday, this page–which contains info on how to get treatment for anorexia nervosa–had a banner ad showing a svelte woman’s torso, and urging the reader to “lose 10 pounds in a month.” Today it’s different.

Posted on Apr 25, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

SHUT THE HELL UP: Richard

SHUT THE HELL UP: Richard Cohen discusses his desire to deliver a cell-phone suppository to yammerers who treat public spaces like their office and other people like they don’t exist. He’s so right. The D.C.-N.Y.C. train ride, once three and a half hours of pleasant contemplation and reading time, has been ruined for me by having to hear 40 versions of the following conversation: “Yeah, it’s me. Yeah, I’m on the train.” Arrgh.

Less annoying, but still perplexing, is the number of people who walk around with the “hands-free” cell-phone attachment. Since the cord isn’t immediately visible, it makes the wearer look like he’s talking to himself like an escaped mental patient.

Posted on Apr 25, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

TAKING THE FEZ TO A

TAKING THE FEZ TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL: Hamid Karzai, alleged president of Afghanistan, has one sweet hat:

KABUL, Afghanistan — It’s the rage in Kabul and is getting attention in Milan and Paris, but the ultra-chic hat made famous by Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has a rather unpalatable origin — it’s made using the downy fur of aborted lamb fetuses.

Posted on Apr 25, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

“GOT YOUR MIND RIGHT, LUKE?”

“GOT YOUR MIND RIGHT, LUKE?” A judge makes use of the world’s greatest prison movie:

AZTEC, New Mexico – It’s a case of life imitating art – or at least a Paul Newman movie. A judge in New Mexico has ordered two inmates to watch the Newman classic “Cool Hand Luke.” The inmates are accused of walking away from a work detail. In the film, Newman repeatedly escapes from a chain gang and is ultimately killed by guards. Dalet Flores and Raymond Holguin only had days to serve when they allegedly escaped. Now, each faces an additional five years.

Some men you just can’t reach.

Posted on Apr 25, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

MORE ON ELMO: From the

MORE ON ELMO: From the Washington Times:

“Please Congress, help Elmo’s friends find the music in them,” Elmo pleaded. He added, “I love you, Congress.” “And my grandchildren love you too, Elmo,” said Rep. Ralph Regula, Ohio Republican and the panel’s chairman.

A grown man talking to a goddamned puppet is bad enough. But a grown man who’s a congressman talking to a puppet while he’s trying to decide how much of our money to spend? Criminal.

Posted on Apr 24, 2002 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment