Forum to discuss political, philosophical, and gastronomical concerns of college folk and their associates.

Monday, July 26, 2004

BBC News: Homeless World Cup Helps To Rebuild Lives

This story spoke to me. Many ask what we need to do for homeless people to help them reclaim their lives, and still many others say that we should do nothing as a society because the homeless need their own chances to help themselves. This is a tremendous example of how both approaches to the problem of destitution need to be applied in creative ways. Everybody feels the results of homelessness in increased crime and increased public spending on housing and food. That is why we should actively encourage efforts to let homeless people help themselves. In an age where criminally deranged teenagers have taken to filming so-called "bum fights" and abuse of the homeless is disturbingly high, this is a prime example of what can work to help both the homeless and those among the population who feel unsure what to do about them. Now let's just see if we can get a U.S. team to win.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Well this little project has reached a milestone. I still can't figure out how to use my site meter, or maybe it is true that nobody has ever visited this site; but somehow, we have reached the rank of 11943 in the blogosphere. Thanks to all those who I know have visited, including Ben, Miles, Brian, Jonathan, and Alex. You have made this worthwhile by... Ben posted something funny and Brian posted some good comments, and Jonathan and Alex had a miniature war discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict (and Miles just wasted space). Thanks again for your continued support. If anybody is offended that their name is not on this list, please submit a comment and you will get a free gift from the person who maintains this site. Disclaimer: Sometime Blues takes no repsonsibility for the actions of the proprietor which may result in injury, pregnancy, or mental anguish.

On a serious note, thanks everybody.
CNN.com Kerry Advertisements

Okay, I can admit when I see offensive bias, whoever is the perpetrator. I don't understand why Kerry's ads are featured all over CNN. I will admit I frequent this site, because I think Fox News is even more offensive as a veritable advertisment in itself for the Bush-Cheney campaign from Bill O'Reilly to the bullying of Sean Hannity and the choreographed sniveling of pathetic, spineless, and maybe reluctant conservative apologist posing as a liberal, Alan Colmes. However, I cannot understand why CNN would display the Kerry ads so prominently. No overwhelming bias comes through in there programming, as it does on FNC. So why would CNN open themselves up to more attacks on this subject. Sure I like to see Kerry ads everywhere, but maybe a news site isnt the place. Perhaps Bush never tried to place adds on CNN.com, but regardless, I wish CNN would keep it toned down a little. As for this site, I try to keep the bias to a necessary minimum. Sometime Blues will not endorse any candidate this election cycle, but if anybody asks the writer and host who to vote for in the upcoming presidential election, I will tell them John Kerry and John Edwards (D).

And in Illinois, Barak Obama, and in South Dakota, Tom Daschle (much as it pains me to have him as the caucus leader), and in North Carolina Erskine Bowles (who has federal experience unlike his challenger, I think), and in Virginia, since we don't have an election for the Senate (and the DNC doesn't run Senate candidates in VA anyway), I'd have to support John Warner (R) for his next time up for re-election and anybody who runs against George Allen (R), because I think him as one in the same with George Bush, Rich Santorum, and Bill Frist (telegenic conservatives who do not care at all about those who disagree with them). Ok, that's all.
The Economist:
The Crisis in Uganda
The Flames of Darfur

These two stories highlight two examples of crises that are being ignored for all intents and purposes on this very day. The civil war in southern Sudan, which happens to involve one of the largest supplies of oil on the African continent, gets all kinds of attention from the administration, but the brutality in Darfur, named as genocide by the U.S. Congress, has inspired little action. The southern civil war has raged for decades, and the Arab government fighting for control of oil resources, that the U.S. may or may not be interested in, has worked closely with Osama bin Laden in 1980's and 1990's. Meanwhile, in Uganda, and country close to Rwanda and the chaos of other Central African trouble spots, a fundamentalist "Christian" cult has been perpetrating almost the exact same crimes that insurgent guerrillas did in the genocide in Rwanda of a decade ago, and in Sierra Leone and Liberia recently. When will the world, especially the only world power that has committed itself publicly to battling terror and despotism throughout the world, recognize terror when its shows itself openly. Hoepfully the U.N., NATO, or the EU will pursue action when economic and political pressure inevitably fail to change the position of Khartoum. What would Sudan have to do to provoke a U.S. attack. Apparently supporting terror is not enough anymore, if it ever was.


Friday, July 23, 2004

I know its been a while, nearly three months. A lesser man might be discouraged by such a gap. It might deter him from the business of keeping his constituency informed. It might even (have) led him to scrap his blog entirely. But not this man. I will forge ahead with a new sense of purpose.

So reader(s), I hope your summer(s) is(are) going well. Mine is. I am working at Georgetown but in a better position then in summers past. I am also getting in better shape, working hard on the rush efforts on behalf of THE BAKER'S DOZEN , and writing my own pieces again. Look forward to seeing some soon.

So to get to the point. I frequently hear conservatives laud George W. Bush and celebrate his unceasing dedication to principle. "He is a steady leader in uncertain times" Well I'm we can all agree that singularity of purpose CAN be a good thing, but is not always called for. For instance, had Saddam Hussein never chosen to cease being an American stooge and chose his own path for his megalomania, he never would have been ousted. Had he only remained under the less than subtle influence of the U.S. Dept. of Defense under President Reagan, he might still be the democratically elected president of Iraq that he claims to be.

Bad example? Try this one.

If the founding fathers had stayed committed to the principles of limited government embodied in the Articles of Confederation, arguably the model for the later Confederate Constitution, then the United States would never have been blessed with the Constitution. In fact, the Constitution which we hold so dear (which by the way, we should never let be cheapened by attempts to exploit its provisions for political gain), was a COMPROMISE, something with which the radical conservatives in control of the majority party seem unfamiliar.

Now we turn to President Bush. His unshakable "resolve" made him resolved to go to war. Enough of us recognized the truth, that his warnings that he would reserve war as a last resort were nothing more than a warning of the impending war, long before any commission anywhere started to report on intel failures. His faith in his notion of God also leads him to obedience to his Christian values which prompted him to execute record numbers of inmates as the Texas chief executive and to cut the funding to institutions that seek to use stem cells to pursue medical process.

While I disagree with some, like Bill Maher, that Bush shapes his foreign policy (if at all himself) according to the Book of Revelations, but I assert that the obvious truth of this administration has been intrasigence with respsect to many issues; from obstructing congressional investigations of secrecy and misconduct to the course we took in the action against Iraq and its people. John Kerry may not always know how to stand unflinchingly in the face of reality, but he at least knows that sometimes you need to open your eyes and look at reality before you confront it.

Oh yeah, and Kerry has better hair.


Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Running For the Right: Life and Liberty

My friend Brian saw the film We Were Soldiers and produced this statement in favor of President Bush's war. I think this emotional response to a movie is symptomatic of the emotionalism that reigns in the decision-making of some conservatives. The only meaningful insight made is that he realizes that he sounds simplistic, because of course, this argument is incredibly simplistic and ignores the history behind the situation is Iraq, the traditional formation of US foreign policy, and the issue of the secrecy that surrounds this administration. Of course Brian would disagree. |

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Economist: Southern Culture

Jonathan lives near Bossier City. Go figure. |

Friday, April 09, 2004

BBC: Belgian Police Clock Mini-Cooper at Mach 3

Belgian Police accused this guy of driving at three times the speed of sound. I find this really amusing. If this were America, the guy would sue the cops. I know that I would, mostly because I want to recover some of the money that I have lost in speeding tickets. Odds are their radar malfunctioned and the guy will just have a funny story to tell. But those Mini-Coopers are pretty fast... |

Thursday, April 08, 2004

BBC: Crimean War Tortoise Dies

Perhaps it is my own ignorance of biology, but I still find it interesting when I hear about the long life spans of some animals compared to humans. This tortoise lived to the age of 160. Something like that makes me wonder why humans are designed to live such a short life and if we would generally enjoy living longer. More importantly, I wonder if the ship whose mascot he was, actually performed any more effectively because of their mascot turtle. I mean tortoise. |

Monday, April 05, 2004

Debka: Analysis of the Recent Fighting in Iraq

Debka is one of my favorite sites for news and analysis. This article is a good example of what they're all about. I think the article gives some insight into the motives of some of the important decisionmakers in Iraqi and Middle East politics. It also indicates just how difficult it will be for the US to extricate itself from Iraq. (On the other hand, I'm not sure how much of the article is based on solid intelligence and how much is based on speculation -- but I hope you'll find it interesting nevertheless.)


Sunday, April 04, 2004

Telegraph UK: Watergate Aide Compares Bush White House to Nixon Administration

Clearly the timing of this comment and book release, just after the blockbuster release of Richard Clarke's book, must make one suspicious. Dean has profited from his role in the Watergate scandal in the past. However, one must also consider that Dean, as a participant in the most important political scandal of the last half-century is in a unique position to judge the indicators of a corrupt administration. While Dean must judge the current White House as an outsider, as must we all, he recognizes the frequent use of executive privilege to justify extreme secrecy as a political tactic. |

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Sports Illustrated: Debut of Freddy Adu

This story has caused quite a stir in American soccer circles. As a player from this area, I know people who have played with and against Adu and speak highly of him. His seems to be a very mature soccer player and quite a well adjusted person. I invite any comments on the situation of a child of his age becoming a professional athlete. |

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

So we played with fire and sort of got burned. If you want to post long arguments, that is cool, but please do it in the form of comments in the future. Otherwise people will think this site is just about Jonathan's encyclopedic knowledge about Israel or Alex's course notes, or my ranting about racism, economic injustice and the virtues of Seinfeld and Elimidate. That being said, allow us to move on.

AP: Bush Campaign Attacks Soft Money Use by Opponents

In an effort to discredit Kerry, who does have a precarious record on fundraising, the Bush campaign has filed a complaint with the FEC regarding the use of soft money contributions by Anti-Bush groups. Firstly, Kerry has definitely done nothing illegal. His campaign would have to do very little to motivate many of these groups, which arose before he began his candidacy, to raise outrageous amounts to defeat Bush. Secondly, it shows the inherent flaws in the federal campaign funding system that Bush can raise bundles of hard money and still collect if from large single donors and it is still technically legal. Ideally we could get Russ Feingold (D-WI) to run for president, but in his absence, defeating Bush will be the biggest step forward for campaign finance reform.

The Economist: Uzbekistan Deals With Terror

While no reasonable person can support terrorism anywhere, I condemn the Uzbek government just as much as the Islamist militants who perpetrated these attacks. Karimov's government is scarcely different than that of the worst Soviet dictators, which Karimov was until the veil of capitalism became enough cover to deter American "justice". Groups like these are only able to take root in Uzbekistan, as they have throughout the Muslim world, because of corrupt and repressive dictators like Karimov that have all to often been supported by world powers like the Soviet Union and the United States. I find it repugnant that Karimov is our ally because he is certainly not a far cry from Saddam Hussein. The main difference is that Karimov is much more in control of himself. Until the current administration makes some effort at regime change in Uzbekistan, I will hold to my contention that a double standard is in use to identify "rogue" regimes.

Running For the Right: God Bless America

It is great that America is taking a stand to defend the rights of this girl to wear what she pleases and practice her religion freely, but do not use this an an example of why America is more principled than France. We are not fighting a war against all enemies of freedom, but selected enemies. We are not invading Russia, Uzbekistan (see above post), North Korea, China, or ceasing to support anti-democratic insurgents the Americas. America chooses its battles carefully, as it should, but not always according to any one principle. I am not going to say that this is a PR stunt (albeit trivial), as I would have no evidence with which to back up that claim. But I would not be surprised if it was.
I'd like to thank Alex for his informative response to my post. I've read the World Net Daily article again, and while I certainly agree with Hagee's conclusions regarding UN actions in Israel, it is true that he throws in a few other points without providing any real evidence. Clearly, Hagee's article is no substitution for a thorough history of the entire conflict, and in particular the 1948 war. That said, I cannot agree with all of Alex's conclusions.

The crux of the matter seems to be Hagee's statement, "When you declare a war – and lose that war – you must be prepared to live with the consequences of that war." I'll get to that in a moment, but first I'd like to introduce another quote. "This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." That was the Arab League's secretary general, Abd al-Ahlman Azzah Pasha, on the eve of the 1948 war. There are many similar quotes, but I think that this one is particularly vivid. Had the Arabs won, there would have been no Jewish refugees -- only Jewish corpses. Accusations that Israel acted too harshly ignore this crucial fact.

To keep my post from being longer than the articles themselves, I’ll skip the important issue of how large numbers of Palestinians became refugees – in other words, what exactly Israel’s actions were – though perhaps I’ll get back to it another time. Instead, I’d like to talk about the Palestinians themselves. “When you declare a war – and lose that war – you must be prepared to live with the consequences off that war.” The first phase of the war, lasting from November 29, 1947 until April 1, 1948, was a Palestinian offensive resulting in heavy Jewish casualties – and therefore Palestinian Arabs share the blame for the attempted “war of extermination.”

But should Israel have let the Palestinian refugees back in anyway, as the UN asked? I don’t think so; the following words of the Egyptian foreign minister speak for themselves: “it is well known and understood that the Arabs, in demanding the return of the refugees to Palestine, mean their return as masters of their homeland, and not as slaves. More explicitly: they intend to annihilate the state of Israel.”

So much for the Palestinians’ intentions; but what of their historical claims? Have “the Arabs of this territory lived there for centuries?” I don’t think so – the vast majority moved to Israel to take advantage of the economic opportunities that resulted from Jewish settlement, and indeed from 1921 to 1939 far more Arabs immigrated to Palestine than Jews. At the same time, there had always been a Jewish presence in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem. While it is important to understand the anger of the Palestinians, it is also important to recognize that their anger could stem from something other than an actual historical wrong – for example, it could come from the constant incitement to, in the words of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, “Murder the Jews. Murder them all.” Similar incitement continues to this day on PA television and in PA-controlled mosques.

Finally (and I know I’ve gone on way too long), I question whether Hagee’s idea that the Arab states could accept the Palestinian refugees is indeed foolish. They do indeed share a common language and culture, and Israel assimilated an even larger number of Jewish refugees from Arab states. Addressing the past in a truthful and open manner is a starting point for finding real solutions, and I think that one person who may realize that is Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), recently the prime minister of the PA, who has said that the Arab armies abandoned the Palestinians after they “forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live.” No lasting peace is possible until the Arabs stop cynically exploiting their own refugees. “We brought disaster upon…Arab refugees…” said the former prime minister of Syria, Khalid al-Azm, in 1972, “in the service of political purposes.” No lasting peace is possible until the political purpose of the Arab states ceases to be the destruction of Israel.

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