Monday, February 28, 2005
I can’t even tell you how many of my posts have died on the vine in the last couple weeks. It’s really kind of frustrating. There are a few that I may revisit soon; sometimes they take a while to pop.
There’s the essay on immigration, for instance. How come nobody ever asks why illegal immigrants can’t come to the U.S. legally? Seems like an obvious question. Then the MJS had an opinion piece about that very thing, which I can find nowhere on the web. Working on it.
MoDo wrote a column about a conservative lobbying group that’s opposing the AARP on Social Security reform. She manages to (again) insert the Swift Boat Vets into the argument, and there's a reference to Wile E. Coyote that gave me an idea. Always fun to pick on MoDo, but alas nothing.
Oh, and I went ahead and read Ward Churchill’s funny little screed. [Summary: 9-11 was payback for Iraqi sanctions, which are the fault solely of the evil Americans; America is like Nazi Germany and the hijackers were like Allied pilots bombing Dresden; America is evil and anyone who takes part in or benefits from our economic system (read: all of us) is a collaborator, thus the Eichmann thing. Okay?] Two things I noticed: one, Churchill actually missed his own point. More on that later. Two, after publishing the piece Churchill wrote an addendum that was really funny. He abandons the ‘revenge-for-Iraqi-children’ theory and suggests that the 9-11 hijackers were avenging, among others, the Japanese at Hiroshima, the Navajo on the Trail of Tears, and African slaves crossing the Middle Passage. I find that unlikely. Possibly he believes it was karma coming back to bite us. Because we’re so evil.
Finally, the ad banner at the top of Wonkette’s site appears to rotate, but the one I see most often has a caricature of Bush and says, “Many U.S. citizens think the world backed the war in Iraq. Maybe it’s the papers they’re reading.” The ad is selling subscriptions to the Guardian.
How many of you know anybody (anybody American) who believed the rest of the world was behind us? Apparently a large number of Guardian readers think that many U.S. citizens think the world backed the war in Iraq. Maybe it’s the papers they’re reading.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
I swear I am not making this up
North Korean scientists have cultivated a new type of flower called the 'Kimjongilia' (take a minute to deal with that). The new flower was bred to bloom in mid-February, to coincide with Kim's Feb. 16 birthday. This allows NKers to point to the red blooms and claim that even the earth is celebrating the birth of the "lodestar of the 21st century."
And yes, they really call him that.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
This should make Lance happy.
Monday, February 07, 2005
It's gonna be soon
A great piece from the Times of Britain:
“In interviews for this article over many months, western policymakers, Chinese experts, North Korean exiles and human rights activists built up a picture of a tightly knit clan leadership in Pyongyang that is on the verge of collapse.
Some of those interviewed believe the ‘Dear Leader’, Kim Jong-il, has already lost his personal authority to a clique of generals and party cadres. Without any public announcement, governments from Tokyo to Washington are preparing for a change of regime.”
The article points out a number of signs that could indicate accelerating decline. An assassination attempt on one of Kim’s sons, purges and disappearances (and increased defections) among the NK elites, recently-released photos of Kim that appear to have been taken at least two years ago, NK agents in Beijing and Ulan Bator selling assets to raise cash.
An interview with “conservative US scholar” Michael Horowitz:
“When it finds North Korean generals who can be trusted to close concentration camps and scrap Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs, [Horowitz] said, Washington could send a message to them, saying that if they ‘do something’ it will receive support from the United States. He said he is sure that China has already selected a North Korean general to succeed current leader Kim Jong-il as the political costs of Kim's remaining in power grows increasingly. Beijing has reviewed a scenario in which the general would seize control, declare a national crisis and request China to send 200,000 troops to complete the coup d'etat, he said.”
And from VOA:
“In recent months, reports from North Korea say his portraits have been taken down in a number of public places. Last month, a videotape allegedly filmed in North Korea showed a portrait of Mr. Kim being defaced.
Douglas Shin is a Christian activist who says he has extensive contacts in North Korea. He goes so far as to say he thinks Kim Jong Il has already been sidelined.
‘I think right now North Korea is basically run by one or more generals who are using Kim Jong Il as a façade,’ said Douglas Shin. ‘They are hiding behind Kim Jong Il whenever necessary.’
Mr. Shin says official North Korean announcements increasingly emphasize the role of party and the military leaders surrounding Kim Jong Il, rather than Mr. Kim personally. That, he says, may hint at a broader distribution of power in the future.
Because the Kim personality cult has been used to legitimize the regime for decades, many North Korea experts say the government is unlikely to survive long in the event of Kim Jong Il's death. The current leader's sons are considered too distant from their grandfather's heroic image to command public support and there appears to be no mechanism for selecting a leader outside the family. That could mean a power struggle that leaves the government unable to function effectively.”
All rumor and speculation, sure, but rumor and speculation we weren’t getting last year.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Here's what I've been thinking about...
Geometry: a point can be defined as a zero-dimension object, having no extension in any direction. A line (more precisely a segment of a line) is a one-dimensional object bounded by two zero-dimensional points. A square is a two-D object bounded by four one-D lines, and a cube is a three-D object bounded by six two-D squares.
So, an object of whatever dimension is basically defined by some number of objects of the next lower dimension. Also note the progression: two points, four lines, six squares. What occurs to me is that a four-dimensional object should be bounded by eight three-D cubes.
This is where I run up against the cognitive limitations of my species. If a cube can be represented in two dimensions (as we all know it can be), a four-D object might likewise be represented in three.
Any ideas? Anyone?