Saturday, April 26, 2003

Wow-- I'm overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I've come across over the last few days that deserves to be posted. I'll start slowly and see where we end up:

Another example of how much farther ahead the UN is of the United States:
UNOPS Says Job Creation Can Improve Security
OK- so the article is about Afghanistan, but Bush still hasn't figured that out in the US-- if you don't count nepotism, that is.

Eh-- It's gray and rainy here in DC, but at least I had the opportunity to sleep in and avoid this town's crazy politics (from internicene office brawling to the insanity of US "foreign policy")

Oh, well, at least I'm not at home and having the opportunity to go backstage and talk to the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers among others....
And it would have been just across the street from home too! D'oh!

Going to drown my sorrows in Radegast--
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

(thanks to Tim for his prodigious and sometimes scary knowledge of popular culture)

Wednesday, April 23, 2003


My computer is on its last legs and am most likely in the market for a new laptop (unless I find a sweetheart deal to fix this one). Do any of you all have recommendations on what I should be looking for and where I should get it?

My primary needs are internet connectivity (a _lot_ of web research and file downloads, some rather large), data storage (though I have an external Zip Drive), graphic processing (cartographic editing, image display), and audio (I like to listen to mp3s and CDs while I work).

While I am more careful than many people, I also need durability since it's going to be doing a lot of traveling. Affordability is important too-- if job opportunities work out, I might have some more to spend, but not now.

If you know of good deals on printers and scanners, I would also be interested. But that is a much lower priority.

You can e-mail me or drop a comment-- while I need to do this relatively soon, I'd be grateful for any and all recommendations.


Tuesday, April 22, 2003

This just in: Not displaying a flag in your workplace, home, or vehicle makes you less of an American.

More as it develops.
It's late (or early) and I feel like I need to post something to get my mind off the track of Russia's impending demographic implosion.

First, I want to give a shout-out to Tim who is not only joining the bleary-eyed commuting crowd tomorrow morning, but looks as though he will get one of his creations accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary in the spirit of "D'Oh!" and others. His lexicographic prowess has already prompted several variations, such as meta-scary and meta-comedy. Who knows what heights this phenomenon will go?

Other random thoughts:

News outlets should translate all Arabic names to English-- I wonder what the public would think if they knew that they were going nuts to guard against groups like "Of the Base" (al-Qaeda). [You have a better translation? Also check out this site to get tips on general Arabic naming conventions.]

Please GaTech and other ACF Nationals organizers, don't post a game-by-game, team-by-team tabbed breakdown of the scores on the Yahoo group. It's for information, but not like that. All you have to do is snag a bit of web space. Hell, you could even start a Blog!

It's disturbing that ...."if Feshbach [big-name demographer] is right-- and he usually is-- Russia's population in a couple of decades will be lower than it was in 1917, and its workforce will be half of what the nation needs to fuel its economy." (Laurie Garrett, preface to Russia's Health and Demographic Crises)

That's about it-- Time to hit the proverbial hay. And quit complaining-- I'll put links up in the morning.

Monday, April 21, 2003

I still don't understand Americans' (and the current administration's) tendency to write off entire areas of the world as irrelevant and/or ignorable. This was never true, but I would have thought that 9/11 would have made at least a few people take stock. Still, just about every media outlet (not necessarily only American) carry banner stories (and some buried on page A56) screaming variations on the theme of "There are bad things out there!!" Or, in the case of Fox News: “What you don’t know will kill you!” As if these things magically appeared out of nowhere-- metaphorically and literally. Wake up, people!

Perhaps it's racism, cynicism, or good old apathy, but the one thing the world needs to wake up to is that it can't just say "Oh, the Rabbani regime is about to topple to a bunch of students (Talibs), but that doesn't matter to me here in the West." We did that when the French were fighting (and losing) in Indochina, when a certain Serb politician made a speech in Pristina, when the value of the Bhat took a nose-dive, and countless other instances.

It’s also important that people realize there are more crises going on in the world than Iraq and (if you’re really a policy wonk) North Korea. Check out what’s going on in Sierra Leone, the Ukraine, Sudan, Belarus, Indonesia, Argentina, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia (links to come)-- each of these are potentially explosive and have the potential to severely impact American, indeed global, interests. And there are countless trans- supra- and sub-national issues I haven't even touched on.

I'm not saying we need to rush in and get involved in each of them like we did to Iraq and Afghanistan or even provide material support-- some of them might require only the world's interest or diplomacy to make a significant difference. The international outcry and subsequent (relative) restraint shown by the PRC during and after the Tian’anmin Square demonstrations was closely watched by anti-communist groups in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

What we really need is awareness—I know it’s wishy-washy to declare that apathy is bad and not come out with a definitive solution (though I will be posting some of my ideas later), but it seems the American public has moved even closer to that pole. With questions like “Why do they hate us?” and “Isn’t it terrible that their ideas of the world are shaped by all that propaganda and anti-Americanism?” In my experience, very few of the people who ask that question have even sought out international news sources (like The World Radio Network and “The Ultimate Collection of News Links”) and seriously questioned their assumption that what they saw on prime-time American news is the “truth.” And what about talking to people from different countries (and I don’t mean trying to talk to the next non-white person that passes you on the street). The Internet has made this even easier, but for whatever reason, many don’t take advantage of it.

There’s so much to this, but I’ve got to get back to work—I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on this topic in general as well as my posting. I guess that’s what the comment option is for….
This is one of the major reasons I don't like piercings or tattoos.

For all you sports fans out there (excerpts from conference announcement):

The manifestations of violence by sports fans and supporters are increasingly taking over the positive side of fan clubs and supporter activities. In some cases this violence is shown through aggressive expressions of racism and nationalism, representing a real threat to the universal values of sport and human rights.

In the good practice of youth work, the work with fans often requires an ‘immersion’ with the groups of young people, an understanding of the sub-cultures involved and a readiness to question the stereotypes and the prejudice regarding sports fans. Many youth organisations are competent to work with fan clubs and are making an invaluable contribution to the entire sector in preventing and combating violence.

The seminar “Youth work with fan clubs as a means to prevent violence in and around sports arenas” aims to bring this theme closer to the youth work in Europe.

Very interesting.
Catching up with a couple of things:

"If President Bush had been president, he would have won" the war in Vietnam.
--Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the administration's pick to run post-war Iraq
(As reported in the New York Times and Washington Post 041603)

Excerpts from a story on Virginia Military Institute's exchange program with the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris):

"...the e-mail sent to each cadet by VMI's director of international programs, which stated: 'Do not allow your personal feelings regarding recent political differences between the United States and France to cloud your judgement.'.......
'The conversations have been interesting,' said VMI spokesman Chuck Steenburgh. 'VMI cadets aren't shrinking violets. They're polite but inclined to ask difficult questions.'
Several times, observers said, discussions got tense, such as one Ecole student voiced her opinion that deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction. But the conversation never veered out of control, a student said, possibly because the discussions were not widely attended by VMI cadets.
The visiting students said they mostly avoided discussion of the war in favor of learning about American culture. Music, video games, and 'admiration' (among the men) for actress Jennifer Aniston seem to top that list........"
(Washington Post 041803)

Excerpts from White House Officials to Conduct Web Chats
".... Questions will be discarded if they include 'inappropriate messages' said Jimmy Orr, the White House internet media director. After that, [W's Chief of Staff Andrew] Card gets to choose which of the questions he will answer......
...As one press corps wag noted yesterday morning when the discussions were announced, it will allow the White House to give the same message to a 12-year-old in the Midwest that it has long given the press corps: 'When we have something to announce, we'll announce it.' ....
....Orr said the White House has high hopes for its entry into interactivity-- mentioning the web chats in the same breath as its web site's blockbuster hit, 'Barney Cam,' which features a camera that follows the president's Scottish terrier, Barney.....
....on Earth Day, April 22, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman will hold a discussion."
(Washington Post 041603)

Sign in window:
"Alterations of any kind for men and women"
-Dry cleaning or plastic surgery?

Gathering background on some other things that will be posted soon.....