Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Israel: Weapon Tester For U.S. Military

DIME weapons. Nice.

Israeli functions as a military outpost for the U.S. One of their jobs is to test new weapons on Palestinians and Gazans.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Israel Nearing 1,000 Murder Mark

I guess that's what they mean when they talk about being 'near their goal' or whatever. 1,000 is a pretty solid number to bring into the upcoming Israeli elections.

I think the racism must be so strong in Israel - like here in the U.S. - that killing Gazan civilians and resistance fighters is one and the same -- there's just not distinction at all for Israel.

This guy Olmert better not try to show up in my town. I'll arrest his ass.

Least Modern Bookstore In The Country

That would be Stacey's on Market. In all the time I've spent in San Francisco, not once did I go in there -- except, that is, until the other day, when I went it to see why it was failing.

Five things jumped out at me:

  1. Underutilized space - too much of the floor space was underutilized - being either sparse or just not being maximized to see stuff and things
  2. No cafe
  3. An incredible view of Market from the 2nd floor, where a cafe should be - ideally, with a very long bar running across the length of the Market St window.
  4. The 'STACEYS books' sign outside on Market is basically invisible. If you are a brand name, you can get away with using your name -- otherwise, just put a big 'BOOKS' sign up there. The 'books' on the sign is tiny and can barely be seen. No tourists would be interested to stop in, that's for sure.
  5. The technical books they had seemed like a relic. I understand that old traditions die hard, but if it's killing your business, maybe you should think about ditching them? I noticed a few tech books in the back that absolutely nobody would be interested in.
In short, if I wanted a bookstore to fail, I would do exactly what Stacey's has done -- nothing.

Frugal Foodies Dinner

Sounds cool.

U.S. Terror In Nicaragua

Very typical article - bashing the leader of a non-compliant country as 'totalitarian' for the entire first half, and then allowing us the know why it's all made up:

Leftwingers flocked from all over the world to help harvest coffee, build schools and be inspired by a government that promoted women's rights, literacy and social justice. Events turned when the Reagan administration, alarmed by Managua's tilt to Moscow, sponsored a bloody and ruinous insurrection by Contra rebels which ended in stalemate. For many it was an immoral and illegal intervention by an overweening superpower, a harbinger of today's Iraq. The Sandinistas' credibility was damaged by presiding over hyperinflation and a draft. Exhausted voters, fearing fresh US-backed mayhem, ousted them in a 1990 election, a shocking, unexpected result which reduced many to tears. The revolution was over.
So, the electorate was terrorized by U.S. sponsored Contras so much that they finally relented and voted for the U.S. candidate. They knew that if they voted for their own guy again - Ortega - they'd suffer years more of murder and terror on a massive scale. Reagan was a good guy.

Still, the article is completely absurd -- it talks in once sentence as if the U.S. backed nationwide terror, and in the next sentence as if there was no such thing. Bizarre, but that's the standard:

Three centre-right governments ruled from 1990 to 2006. The economy stabilised, combatants were demobilised and democracy took root. But corruption blossomed and the poor were forgotten. Jobs were scarce and most people scrabbled on less than $2 a day. Ortega lost consecutive presidential elections and was accused of raping his stepdaughter, Zoilamérica Narváez, since she was 11. He denied it and no trial took place because a court decided the statute of limitations applied. But his reputation was shredded, although Murillo stood by her husband.
Um, isn't that the whole point -- to appoint right-wing governments? The combatants - the terrorist Contras - we demobilised because the U.S. didn't need them to terrorize the population anymore. That the poor were forgotten was the predictable and necessary outcome of the election of a U.S. candidate - what would be the point of the invasion-by-terror otherwise?

The 'article,' of course, is unsigned, and it uses unnamed 'western officials' to bash the new lefty govenrment. We're allowed another sliver of truth in the parting sentence:

Kaufman will not turn his back on the flawed Second Coming of the Sandinistas. "Do we think [it] is better than another rightwing, neoliberal government beholden to US masters? Absolutely."
It's totally crazy. We need a people-fueled international newspaper with real resources. Indymedia is great, but it'd be better to have people getting paid so they can eat and take the time necessary to do the best work.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mayoral, Governor Crimes An Institutional Problem

So the latest case of a corrupt mayor. What to do?

Doesn't it seem a bit weird that one person can steer a contract to a particular contractor based on nothing more than who they like? Isn't that just a disaster waiting to happen?

Of course it is. So why do mayors and governors have any say in the process at all? Really, there should be a board - say, a city council, that appoints an independent 'contracts board' that awards contracts based on various preset specifications.

Shit - I don't know the specifics, but it seems all too easy for governors and mayors to run roughshod over the system. What's the point of government if it doesn't have built-in checks and balances?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What End Of Times Means

If the Times goes away, we will no longer have a national newspaper that cheerleads us into war. After that, we might be able to start rightsizing some of the military-industrial complex.


Time For 32-Hour Work Weeks, Or 6-Hour Days

Why not? The economy is shrinking anyways. At least this way, people can be employed. Or we could mandate a six-hour day.