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2009 October 09 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Just Stuff

Susie Madrak has a collection of one-liners that answer the question: How bad is it?

I really liked: “The economy is so bad that if the bank returns your check marked ‘Insufficient Funds,’ you call them and ask if they meant you or them.”

The Norwegians told a joke today that no one seems to understand, including me, and I understand German jokes about Friesians [the people, not the horses]. I don’t approve of Friesian jokes, but I understand them.

Update: I may not understand the Norwegians, but I do understand John McKay at archy.

October 9, 2009   9 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

New Kit On The Block

Friday Cat Blogging

What was that?

[Editor: This is KT-2’s addition to the group, a little brown mackerel tabbie with white paws. Doesn’t seem as jumpy as most new kittens.]

Friday Ark

In Memoriam


October 9, 2009   12 Comments


This is more of an ancient tax-free shop, than a country. It sits on storied trade routes, and provides a place for “entrepreneurs” to rest up for their next venture. The wars in the area rarely end in anything more than a truce, because as soon as the foreigners give up and leave, the locals go back to their private feuds.

In Creative Cartography II I discussed the Soviet solution for some of the problems in the area of Central Asia the Russian Empire thought they owned, but the real hard cases tended to end up in Afghanistan.

The various groups generally use Dari, a form of Persian, as the lingua franca, and most speak Persian based languages, but they have no problem misunderstanding each other when it suits their purpose.

Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Nuristani, and Baloch are the major ethnic groups in generally agreed order of size, but there are several others. No group can claim a majority, and the largest group, the Pashtun, are more concerned with tribal affiliation, than being Pashtun.

After the major fighting was over and the rebuilding was just getting started, there were a number of attacks on “insurgents” that turned out to be wedding parties, or tribal leaders going to gatherings. That was the result of tribal feuds being continued, as the intelligence was designed to harm rival tribes.

The concepts of a national army, or police force are alien to Afghanis. They are not going to act against members of their own tribe. The whole concept of the nation state is not exactly part of the psyche of people in the area. I have no idea how you would judge winning, but getting out alive would be a good place to start.

Remember: foreign troops are the only thing that unites the tribes, and that’s what the Taliban are counting on.

October 9, 2009   Comments Off on Afghanistan