"To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?" -- C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 18, 2004

CBS Elves: Just want to mention a neat little promo being run on CBS. A few CBS personalities, including Letterman and its NFL game day anchors, have been animated, Rudolph-style, for a little 30-second seasonal promo. A nice job. I just wish CBS.com would post a high quality Quicktime version of the spot, instead of using RealPlayer. Check the first listing under "video clips."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Iraqi Graffiti: I remember a college Latin class in which we were shown graffiti found in the ruins of Pompeii. It was great stuff--and talk about shelf life. One scribbling ran: "Litus, you are a mediocre man." I've always liked that one.

Harper's has joined the cause of documenting choice graffiti. This collected from Baghdad between March 2003 and August 2004:

Telling? You bet. Apparently, in Michael Moore's view, correcting your journalistic mistakes isn't a professional responsibility, it's a symptom of abuse. I guess we already knew of his firm opposition to correcting the record for accuracy--we just weren't aware of the enabling philosophy beneath it.

Contras, Drugs & The CIA: It doesn't seem like that long ago, now that I'm thinking about it--when the San Jose Mercury News shot into the national limelight thanks to a story connecting the CIA and drugs and the Contras. It was 1996, actually. And the journalist behind that story, Gary Webb, was found dead on Friday--an apparent suicide.

Webb's work was skewered by the mainstream media, but it still has its devotees in the alternative press. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting's Jeff Cohen, for instance, calls Webb's story the first piece of journalism to gain major national exposure via the Internet. He's probably right about that.

For a refresher, check FAIR's "Contra-Crack" archive.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Smoke Screen: In a piece riddled with non sequiturs, Scott Ritter tries to obscure the true implications of the U.N oil-for-food scandal. He spends some time explaining how sanctions hurt the Iraqi people--a fact contested by no one, as far as I know--and how the goal of the oil-for-food program was regime change--not humanitarianism. Okay. Maybe Democrats are trying to forget Clinton's support for regime change, but that doesn't help Ritter here.

His main point: The Bush Administration, he says, is trying to shift everyone's focus from the missing WMD's to the U.N.'s corruption. Ritter, I think, knows better than that.

The relevance of the oil-for-food story is that it speaks directly to the reasons for French and Russian opposition to the war in Iraq: both countries stood to lose financially if Saddam was removed from power. Maybe there are foreign powers who can, with a clear conscience, make anti-war arguments with U.S. imperialism in mind, but not the French or Russians. While there were profits to be made, Saddam wasn't just tolerated, he was their first choice.

Long live Iraq as well as long live Islam, and fall down America, as well as fall down Saddam, for both are feces!

And:

This Kerry, what is he? Cheese or jam? Bush is made of steel and sharp. Don’t disappoint him, Americans!

For more cultural snap shots (it gets better and cruder), read on.

Euro Buffalo: Did you know there was such an animal as a European Bison? I sure didn't. In my grade school studies of the Old West, the Cowboys and Indians, etc., I guess no one ever thought it important (or even knew) to mention that our own American Bison has a nearly identical relative across the pond. Granted (and sadly), there are only 300 left in the wild, so perhaps its existence is the obscurest of trivia to most.

Also, its numbers were limited to small herds in Poland and Caucasia from the 15th century to 1925--not quite rising to the level of common knowledge, wouldn't you agree?

How'd I finally discover the European Bison? In a Canon camera magazine ad.

Yesterday: Never got to the blog yesterday. Errands and work kept getting in the way. Sorry.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Coral Reef Health: A few days ago, I posted a Washington Post Op-Ed on the front page of the Coffee Shop Times which focused on a recent conclusion from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. The group says that, not only are the world's coral reefs shrinking, but they "show no immediate prospect of recovery."

I've got a friend who's line of work places him, more often than not, in racing boats tossing about on the seven seas; and he has long held that it's common knowledge among ocean-farers that the reefs are dying.

Meanwhile, an Australian study now predicts that global warming will foster "considerably faster future rates of coral reef growth that will eventually exceed pre-industrial rates by as much as 35 percent by 2100."

So global warming could be good for the world's coral reefs?

Let's hope so, because warming we are (like my Yoda-speak?)--no one disputes that.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Moore Self-Discipline?: In Michael Moore's latest message to his fans, titled "It's Time To Stop Being Hit," he publishes a letter from a woman who sees parallels between the behaviors of domestic abuse victims and those of post-11/2 liberals. She begins:

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years.

Telling? You bet. Apparently, in Michael Moore's view, correcting your journalistic mistakes isn't a professional responsibility, it's a symptom of abuse. I guess we already knew of his firm opposition to correcting the record for accuracy--we just weren't aware of the enabling philosophy beneath it.

Contras, Drugs & The CIA: It doesn't seem like that long ago, now that I'm thinking about it--when the San Jose Mercury News shot into the national limelight thanks to a story connecting the CIA and drugs and the Contras. It was 1996, actually. And the journalist behind that story, Gary Webb, was found dead on Friday--an apparent suicide.

Webb's work was skewered by the mainstream media, but it still has its devotees in the alternative press. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting's Jeff Cohen, for instance, calls Webb's story the first piece of journalism to gain major national exposure via the Internet. He's probably right about that.

For a refresher, check FAIR's "Contra-Crack" archive.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Smoke Screen: In a piece riddled with non sequiturs, Scott Ritter tries to obscure the true implications of the U.N oil-for-food scandal. He spends some time explaining how sanctions hurt the Iraqi people--a fact contested by no one, as far as I know--and how the goal of the oil-for-food program was regime change--not humanitarianism. Okay. Maybe Democrats are trying to forget Clinton's support for regime change, but that doesn't help Ritter here.

His main point: The Bush Administration, he says, is trying to shift everyone's focus from the missing WMD's to the U.N.'s corruption. Ritter, I think, knows better than that.

The relevance of the oil-for-food story is that it speaks directly to the reasons for French and Russian opposition to the war in Iraq: both countries stood to lose financially if Saddam was removed from power. Maybe there are foreign powers who can, with a clear conscience, make anti-war arguments with U.S. imperialism in mind, but not the French or Russians. While there were profits to be made, Saddam wasn't just tolerated, he was their first choice.







Copyright © 2004 The Coffee Shop Times



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