Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

current events

aug
12
2003

community service

Today’s Washington Post has a story about a new effort underway to commemorate September 11, 2001, through a national, annual day of community service. (“Groups Urge Day of Service to Mark Sept. 11” - 08/12/03) The organizing group, One Day’s …

jul
25
2003

art imitates life imitates…

This week’s edition of The Onion has a story that’s almost too true-to-life. Taking the Maryland state government’s recent financial woes, the satirical newspaper reports that the state decides to shut down, rather than sell out or run itself further …

jul
22
2003

desperation

Rumor has it that Saddam Hussein’s son Uday and Qusay were killed today in a firefight with U.S. military in Iraq. (NYT: “U.S. Commander Confirms Search for 2 Top Targets Is Over” - 07/22/03) The paranoid in me is worried …

jul
16
2003

googling wmd

This has been already passed around/discussed to death, but I’m posting about it here anyway because it amuses me. If you go to Google, type “weapons of mass destruction,” and click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button underneath, you’ll be …

jun
27
2003

he's back!

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, former Information Minister for the Iraqi government, apparently emerged from the war unscathed. The Associated Press reports that Sahhaf, still in Iraq, gave a televised interview to an Arab television network. (azcentral.com: “Iraqi info minister is alive …

jun
25
2003

'aspen' fire

azcentral.com/The Arizona Republic posted an animated Flash map that I built showing the growth of the “Aspen” fire northeast of Tucson. I will continue to update it as the Fire Service posts updated maps to their site. The “Aspen” fire …

jun
24
2003

misinformed

Respondents to a recent Washington Post/ABC poll were alarmingly misinformed when it came to the question of whether or not Iraq used chemical/bioweapons in the recent war. (“Poll: Majority Backs Use of Force in Iran” - 06/24/03) The survey also …

jun
19
2003

crowd control

Today’s New York Times has a disturbing factoid about U.S. troops in Iraq: Although witnesses said American forces demonstrated considerable restraint throughout a two-and-a-half-hour standoff, the incident underscored their lack of crowd-control equipment. Lt. Col. Richard Douglass, a First Armored …

jun
10
2003

alert fatigue

The next time the Department of Homeland Security raises the terrorism alert level to Orange, Arizona may not follow suit. The Arizona Republic reports that that state government may treat the alert more as a warning or advisory than a …

may
23
2003

on alert … sorta

Due to recent violence (bombings, armed attacks … stuff like that) on U.S. allies and interests overseas, we’ve been bumped back up to Orange Alert. But somehow the situation doesn’t seem as dire or freaky as in previous Orange Alert …

may
09
2003

iraq and 9/11

A federal judge in NYC this week ruled that Iraq was at least partially responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (USA Today: “Lawsuit ruling finds Iraq partly responsible for 9/11” - 05/07/03) The Iraq/al-Qaida connection was the weakest …

apr
18
2003

'principle' over need?

According to an editorial in Wednesday’s Washington Post, the military has been letting go of a number of Arabic-speaking linguists (as well as specialists in other languages) because of their homosexuality, this despite the government’s intense demand for Arabic speakers. …

apr
17
2003

war is over

According to Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, the surest sign that the war in Iraq is over isn’t any kind of official proclamation from the White House or Pentagon. It’s media coverage. The war officially ended yesterday, by the …

apr
08
2003

that virus in china

BBC News reports a new theory about how the SARS virus spread throughout a Hong Kong apartment building: It was carried by cockroaches through the sewer system. (“Sars ‘spread by cockroaches’” - 04/08/03) Meanwhile, Slate’s John Cohen talks about the …

mar
31
2003

war notes

A few links and notes related to the war in Iraq… Chrisian Lowe of The Weekly Standard has a good explainer about why we’ve lost so many helicopters (and helicopter crews) so far in Iraq: Basically, helicopters are difficult to …

the military's version of the war

I recently signed up for a few e-mail newsletters from the Department of Defense. Among these was the Armed Forces Press Service. A recent story that came across the wire: “With Iraqi Regime Going Down the Tubes, Where’s Saddam?” (03/30/03). …

mar
30
2003

green day

Hank Stuever of the Washington Post (can you tell I’ve been reading WP this morning?) has a fun essay in today’s edition about what would happen if the terror alert actually dipped down to green. (“How Green Was Our Warning” …

prisoners of war

The Washington Post has a riveting story today about the experiences of some American prisoners of war during the first Gulf War. (“POW Redux” - 03/30/03) The mind can corner on rails, she says. Can cut on a dime. It …

mar
28
2003

live tv war

CNN just ran a field report about a Marine squad in Nasiriya who were trying to recover the bodies of fellow soldiers. A compelling story, to be true. But I wonder about the appropriateness of constant camera shots of covered …

mar
24
2003

a different cost of war

The U.S. is giving a number of our allies in the Iraq conflict added incentive to help out, in the form of financial assistance. Forbes has a list of funds the Bush administration proposes to allot to various countries involved …

the real cost of war

My friend Danielle forwarded this to me over the weekend. It’s interesting — and staggering — to consider the real cost of war. I got this info off of Patriots for Peace and Nonviolence.org. It is truly amazing to see …

a more “humane” war?

Talking heads, in the media and military alike, have been using words like “precision” and “surgical” when talking about military bomb and missile strikes. Our modern weapons of war are so advanced that they can hit their target without causing …

mar
20
2003

no place like home

I talked to my dad last night over the phone, just before Bush’s speech about the war having started. My dad, only half jokingly, tried to convince me to come home to Tucson for the rest of the semester, or …

mar
19
2003

it begins…

The war, it has begun. Let’s hope it’s as short and bloodless as possible. Edited 11:38 p.m. - “Operation Iraqi Freedom”??