Friday, July 29, 2005


Today is Friday, July 29, 2005 and Iraq drags on. It's a fiasco and we're not going to see a democracy come out of there at all. Women will be oppressed, and it'll soon be a terrorist training ground of the first caliber because no one is going to control the religious teachers there anymore than religious teachers are controlled in Saudi Arabia. Bush's folly has made America and the world less safe rather than more safe. I cannot imagine the American citizens living right after WWII allowing this to go on. Those folks would have had Bush's popularity ratings down to twenty or thirty percent by now. America is no longer a peace loving nation which the world can look up to and follow. Two Texas politicians have destroyed everything that America once stood for, LBJ and GWB.


NEWSWEEK'S Baghdad bureau chief comes home after two years in Iraq and he's got some more sobering news:

"Some of the worst ambassadors in U.S. history are the GIs at the Green Zone's [the most protected enclave for foreigners in Baghdad] check-points. They've repeatedly punched Iraqi ministers, accidentally shot at visiting dignitaries and behave (even on good days) with all the courtesy of nightclub bouncers—to Americans and Iraqis alike. Not that U.S. soldiers in Iraq have much to smile about. They're overworked, much ignored on the home front and widely despised in Iraq, with little to look forward to but the distant end of their tours—and in most cases, another tour soon to follow. Many are reservists who, when they get home, often face the wreckage of careers and family." (Newsweek, June 13, 2005, p. 40)

I'm 67 and I can tell you that all this sounds very much like Vietnam. And this is the modern condition of America and many western and westernized nations. Politicians can no longer fight and win wars which citizens are not convinced are actually necessary. That's why, historically, America always allowed itself to take the first blow.


"Being brutally candid means recognizing that the huge and largely uncontrolled inflow of unskilled Latino workers into the United States is increasingly sabotaging the assimilation process. . . What's particularly disturbing about the Borjas-Katz study is that children of Mexican immigrants don't advance quickly." (Samuelson's column in Newsweek, June 13, 2005)

This slowness of the first generation of Mexican immigrant children to advance runs counter to the history of all the other immigrant groups who have come to America. Rather than blame that slowness on anything having to do with being a Mexican, perhaps we better be getting the word out to the rest of the world that America is no longer the vibrant economy which can lift up hundreds of thousands of immigrants arriving endlessly on our shores. Maybe blue collar Americans need to look closely at what's happening to them too. Maybe we ought to be looking at what happened to Britain in the last fifty years.


"The sea is murky. Sight and smell, which work well for mammals on the land, are not of much use in the depths of the ocean. Those ancestors of the whales who relied on these senses to locate a mate or a baby or a predator did not leave many offspring. So another method was perfected by evolution; it works superbly well and is central to any understanding of the whales: the sense of sound. Some whale sounds are called songs, but we are still ignorant of their true nature and meaning. They range over a broad band of frequencies, down to well below the lowest sound the human ear can detect. A typical whale song lasts for perhaps fifteen minutes; the longest, about an hour. Often it is repeated, identically, beat for beat, measure for measure, note for note. Occasionally a group of whales will leave their winter waters in the midst of a song and six months later return to continue at precisely the right note, as if there had been no interruption. Whales are very good at remembering. More often, on their return, the vocalizations have changed. New songs appear on the cetacean hit parade.

"Very often the members of the group will sing the same song together. By some mutual consensus, some collaborative song writing, the piece changes month by month, slowly and predictably. These vocalizations are complex. If the songs of the humpback whale are enunciated as a tonal language, the total information content, the number of bits of information in such songs, is some 10 [to the sixth power] bits, about the same as the information content of the Iliad or the Odyssey. We do not know what whales or their cousins the dolphins have to talk or sing about. They have no manipulative organs, they make no engineering constructs, but they are social creatures. They hunt, swim, fish, browse, frolic, mate, play, run from predators. There may be a great deal to talk about." —Carl Sagan in COSMOS, p. 271

"Ronald Reagan [was] the Fred Astaire of foot-in-mouth disease." —Jeff Davis

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