Current Events

Sarcasm & Vitriol

The enormity of the suffering and absurdity of the federal government’s response is beginning to sink in. Some are turning to sarcasm:

Two images transposed by mrfurious, President Bush posing with a new guitar given to him while he was visiting a San Diego Airforce Base the day after Katrina hit New Orleans. The original photo can be found here but I think everyone agrees that this is going to be a photo op that Bush is going to want to forget.

Others are just plain angry. Listen to the full interview of Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans. Very powerful stuff, his outburst struck a chord with the interviewers and left them speechless.

That was yesterday when tempers were fraying at the lack of response. The President later admited that the initial response was not enough and, thankfully, we now see that food and water is getting through.

Chirac mocks British cuisine, UK fights back by stealing Olympics

Nothing like a good international rivalry to brighten up your morning paper and the French politicians can always be counted on for a good zinger every now and then. Chirac’s latest off the cuff remark overheard by a reporter at the French paper Liberation was well-timed right before the G-8 summit being held in Scotland.

“We can’t trust people who have such bad food,” Chirac was quoted as saying. He reportedly added that only Finland has worse food in Europe and that mad cow disease was Britain’s sole contribution to European agriculture.

Ouch! Well the morning papers ate it up as everyone spoils for a good fight. Of course, when news that London clinched the 2012 Summer Olympic bid from runner-up Paris, my mailbox was peppered with all sorts of good-natured jabs such as the photo above.

The King of San Francisco


As we were driving through the city Tyler asked who lived in the majestic building that is known as the City Hall. I said that the Mayor of San Francisco worked there but he didn’t know that term, “Mayor.” I said that the Mayor was someone who ran the city.

“Oh, so the king of San Francisco lives there?”

Hmm. With all the hubub over the Bay Bridge, a King might come in handy.

The Great Debate

Had the great debate between George Bush and Saddam Hussein actually taken place in 2003 here’s how it would have gone down:

Tuesday February 25, 2003 – The United Nations

Tony Blair, moderator: Welcome to the first televised debate between George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein, live from United Nations headquarters in New York. We will begin with a brief opening statement from each of you.

Bush: First of all I would just like to welcome my evil friend to the UN, one of the great American institutions for the propulsion and impregnification of freedom throughout the world.

Saddam: Thank you, Satan. I hope that in today’s debate we may find some common ground between the Iraqi people’s commitment to harmony, peace and human progress and America’s desire to destroy the Middle East.

Bush: Do I answer that? Should I answer that? I’m just a good ‘ole boy an’ I don’t know how these things go, but from where I come from that’s just a gross misrepresentationalism and exasperation of the truth…

Blair: Excuse me, Mr. President, but  “these things” go like this – I ask the questions.  The first question is quite simply this: do you have any links with al-Qaida?

Bush: No I do not.

Blair: The question is for Mr. Hussein.

Saddam: As I told Mr. Tony Blaine clearly and simply, if I had links with al-Qaida and I enjoyed those links and I was profiting in some way from those links then I would not be ashamed to tell the world of these links, but since I am ashamed to tell the world of this, it follows that I have no such links.

Neither do I!

Blair: The second question is for President Bush.
President Bush, if America and Iraq were to go to war tomorrow, who would win?

Bush: That’s easy. America…

Saddam: Yes, America. Even I knew that one.

Bush: Because America sits in the path of rightiousness and we stand for freedom. We are a diverse nation because we can sit and stand at the same time. And our ability to stand alone, and sit, comes from the hearts and souls of too blue American people, Americans like Mr. Blair here, people who are willing to love their neighbor, just like they would like to love themselves…

Blair: Your two minutes are up.

Bush: Well that may be but this great United American States of Americans are on the side of rightliness and Americanity, against a… a… malodorous Axis of Evil made up of Iraq, North Korea and… how many are in a axis? 

Blair: I think you’re allowed as many as you like.

Bush: OK, Iraq, North Korea and France!

Saddam: France?

Blair: France?

Bush: Who am I thinking of then? Irania?

Blair: Let’s move on. Saddam, are you willing to destroy your stockpile of Samoud 2 missiles in accordance with UN weapons inspectors’ orders?

Saddam: I explain to you now that if Iraq possessed these so-called weapons, we would never destroy them, but since we do not have any such weapons and we never have, we are happy to comply, even though these non-existent weapons certainly do not exceed the prescribed range of 150 kms. I’ve even tested them myself, and we don’t have any.

Blair: The final question is for George Bush. Mr President, is there any way that Saddam Hussein can avoid war, and what steps must he now take in order to reach a negotiated solution?

Bush: Now listen to me. It’s very simple. First Saddam must compile 200% with the UN inspectorers, and I mean activated compilation, not passivist negridation.
Second, he must disarm fully, in keeping with UN revelation 1441 and the next one, I believe its 1442, which will require him to disarm even more fully than what I have just stated. Then he must destroy all Samoud missiles and any other weapons of mass destruction he has found, or not found, to be in possessive of, without being asked, even though I’m telling you. Finally, there is one more task he must perform, which I am not at liberty to indulge. And even that will not be enough.

Blair: Thank you, Mr. President. The translator would like to take your answer home with him and work on it over the weekend.

Bush: Fine, but we require nothing less than total disarmature.

Saddam: Yes, Disarmature!

I’m sorry, but I’m not sure that "disarmature" is a word.

Well, by “disarmature” I don’t mean he must cut off his own arms. But this here is an evil man. He has cut the arms off many of his own Iraqiian citizens. But I will tell you now that I would be proud to shake the hand of any brave Iraqiian citizen who had his arms cut off.

Saddam: Disarmature, Yes! We will take down all our armatures! We are a peaceful people…

Bush: You know, you remind me of a cowardly hunter who shoots the pigeon of peace, or is it the dove of peace? Well, you know, there’s a saying where I come from, ‘a bird in the stone is worth two…hunters…hunting and it’s the birds that’s supposed to suffer, not the hunter.’

Saddam: Mr. Blair, What is he talking about? Mr. Blair?

Hmmm… Did you know that an anagram for ‘Saddam Hussein’ is ‘I demand Sushi’?

Saddam: What is this ‘Sushi’?

Forwarded by Perry Burns

Current Events

just a little light

I’ve been trying to come to grips with the news coming in about the Indian Ocean Tsunami. It seems so surreal. The pictures I’ve seen show that it was a beautiful day when this thing came lumbering ashore and just rolled over anything in its way. In the same way, here we are in the middle of the holiday season, lights blinking on the tree, while reports of a death toll destined to clear 100,000 souls come in the background. I’m only catching in bits and pieces because this is the time of year that I try to unplug and catch time with the family but it’s clear now that this is a tremendous tragedy of uncomprehending vastness. My sister is in the region (she’s fine) so she must feel it even stronger – what to do? You want to help but showing up now would only mean she’d add her mouth to all the others looking for a bit to eat.

What really brings it home are the pictures of the dead children. As a father, I can imagine the pain that a parent must feel when they must bury their son or daughter. The innocent faces, they look like they are sleeping, it rips my heart to see them, one life cut short, the other left in tatters.

I hope that we can learn from this somehow. That we can pull together and help each other through this time, that the league of nations can set their differences aside, turn away from petty conflict and strife and take care of others in more dire need. We were given the chance to change our thinking after 9/11 shocked the world with the terror that man unleash upon itself, we’ve been given a second chance with this natural disaster.

But some good may even come of that. . . . I heard this morning that the Tamil Tigers have been working with government troops to bind the wounds of Sri Lanka. That may come to nothing, but at least they’re not killing each other at the moment.

Shadows this dark can cast a powerful light.

– John Perry Barlow

Current Events

Care Package

We sent a care package to a friend’s cousin who is on the front lines in Iraq. Ramen noodles, socks, chapstick, note paper and some letters from the kids. We don’t necessarily support the political reasons for the war over there but we do want to show our support in some way and connect with the good people that are over there during the holidays.

Current Events

FCC and Doraemon

fccdoraemon.JPGThis is old news but Terrie Lloyd, who’s always good a picking up tidbits for his excellent email newsletter “Terrie’s Take” highlights the striking resemblence of the new FCC mascot, “Broadband” to Doraemon, the cartoon every Japanese kid knows by sight. Turns out the publisher of Doaemon, Shougakkan, is going to take legal action but it’ll be interesting to see how a suit lodged by a private Japanese company works out against a US government organization.

It will be interesting to see if a Japanese copyright claim against a US government department will be received with as as much vigor as trade disputes in the opposite direction. Expect to see more about this on slow news days on NHK and other Japanese media…

Show me the money

We just got our absentee ballots from New Jersey today. We didn’t think we really should register to vote as we didn’t have a fixed address yet and now I hear that the race is going to be real close in NJ so I’m more than happy to throw my vote down where it might make an impact. I’m also kind of relieved. With all the various California propositions going on, I’m ok with sitting this one out and not having to study them all.

As we head into the final stretch, you can check out who’s donating to which party on the following site which places donors onto a map of your neighborhood. Kind of voyeuristic but, hey, it’s politics and it’s nice to see some transparency in the system.

The blogosphere is on fire about the strange lump on the back of Bush’s suit during the first debate with detailed video analysis looking for proof that George was channelling Karl Rove via a wireless transmitter. There’s even an entire site dedicated to the debate about the debate which goes into great detail.

Who knows what really happend. The bloggers are now, as The New Yorker said about their forensic analysis of the Rather memos, “in CSI mode” and the best of it is over on the site which contains detailed entries listing popular frequencies and full specs used by some of these wireless devices. All I know is that a certain segment of the population is going to be looking very closely at every detail of the next and final debate.


Can there be two “internets”

Watching the second presidential debate and just caught another verbal slip to go with the “mexed missages” post from the first debate.

When questioned about the prospect of a draft, President Bush said, “I hear there are rumors on the internets, that there is going to be a draft for the military.” This is the first time I’ve ever heard the net referred to in the plural and it goes to show how out of touch Mr. Bush is from my world.