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2006 March 24 — Why Now?
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Belarus Update

First, when John IV took the title of Caesar [Tsar] it was “of all the Russias” because there are three. Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine are the three Russias. Belarus is not some modern construct, it is a very ancient nation that has connected then disconnected from Russia multiple times over the centuries.

The government of the modern version has more in common with The Sopranos than The West Wing, although I admit that the president’s son hasn’t gunned down anyone else in a bar recently.

As predicted, Lukashchenko was reelected in a process that no one believes was free or fair. There are a lot of people in rural areas who haven’t quite accepted the fact that they are no longer in the Soviet Union and would have automatically voted for the current officials because that is what they had always done, and it is possible that Lukashchenko could have won if the election had been free, but he didn’t want to chance it.

As occurred in the flawed election in the Ukraine, people camped out in a main square of the capital city, Minsk in this case, to protest the result and there is a major protest scheduled for tomorrow, but the security forces, still called the KGB in Belarus, swept up all of the protestors in the middle of the night.

Don’t look for a fairy tale ending. This is going to be nasty.

March 24, 2006   4 Comments

Testing For Thee, But Not For Me

R. Neal at Facing South writes about one of the many Republican hypocrisies concerning education: Florida double standard for voucher students.

Florida voters have been forced for years to get the Republicans to adequately fund public schools, to adequately staff public schools, and to offer pre-school through the initiative process.

Consider this logic: we need to make tax cuts because we have a surplus, but we can’t implement the “class size initiative” because we have no money.

Left on their own, the only thing the Republicans have done is institute a testing regimen, the FCAT, which they can use to justify a voucher system. The vouchers keep getting thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court, and the Republicans keep coming up with new versions.

Since they are not allowed to directly fund the Christianist madrassas for their fundamentalist masters, they indirectly fund them with vouchers. As R. Neal points out there is no oversight at all for these schools, but they are receiving tax money.

March 24, 2006   4 Comments

The Season Of Love

The Alligator Crawl Season has begun, and all of those fools who thought it was “cute” to feed ‘gators in a local waterway are going to find out which ones are male.

When in the “mood”, male ‘gators climb out of the water and crawl about looking for love. It’s a lot of work, and they really need the extra calories.

March 24, 2006   6 Comments

Cognitive Dissonance

It was alright for the UAE to operate our ports, but an Israeli company, Check Point, should not be allowed to buy a security software company used by the Federal government?

Actually, foreign companies should not be allowed to own any of our security infrastructure, and the best way to prevent that is to stop privatizing these functions and bring them back into Federal ownership.

The defense of the nation is one of the few things that the Constitution lists as a function of the government.

March 24, 2006   Comments Off on Cognitive Dissonance

How’s The Democracy In The Middle East Going?

Abdul Rahman has to be executed according to the US approved Afghan constitution. He has to be executed according to the fundamentalist Islamic Afghan judiciary. He has to be executed according to the conservative Islamic electorate.

There is a very fine line between democracy and mob rule. It takes experience and peace to see it, but only a loud and persuasive voice to make it disappear.

Another slipshod, half-finished job by the Shrubbery and his cronies.

March 24, 2006   Comments Off on How’s The Democracy In The Middle East Going?

A Missed Opportunity

The Washington Post just blew it. They had an opportunity to generate some more traffic to their site and receive the benefits of those increased ad revenues and they blew it.

At the end of 60 Minutes in the 1970s you didn’t see Andy Rooney, you saw Shana Alexander and James J. Kilpatrick in verbal combat in the Point-Counterpoint segment. That segment became such an icon that it was parodied on Saturday Night Live‘s fake news Weekend Update by Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd.

The Post could have provided the same dynamics with a red state versus blue state version. Two bloggers , one from each side, going after each other on one site. They could have staged occasional grudge matches featuring guest bloggers on a single topic with a on-line poll tied in to determine the winner, like Oxford debates. That would generate traffic. That would generate income.

There are real writers with genuine ability and strong political beliefs who would have willingly accepted the offer. People with authentic credentials and portfolios to prove they know how to write to deadline. A salary and passwords would be the expense, as blogging is an obvious telecommuting job.

What they did was hire a hapless kid who tried to bluster his way through a job he wasn’t qualified to do. The Post lost massive amounts of credibility for their attempt, which was already in short supply after the Howell incident.

If the Post thinks the Stalinist red state bloggers are going to appreciate the effort, they haven’t been reading the blogs. The red staters are already spreading the meme that the Post did this on purpose to damage their standing as part of a liberal plot.

Welcome to the grassy knoll, Mr. Brady.

March 24, 2006   Comments Off on A Missed Opportunity

Friday Cat Blogging


Friday Cat Blogging

Yes, I am the biggest cat in town.

[Editor:Ninja is 2 to 3 inches taller than Sox at the shoulder and 6 pounds heavier.]

Friday Ark

March 24, 2006   11 Comments