Even a blogger needs to eat. This blog is primarily Charles' hobby. But if he is intent on continuing to woo the Hooter's waitresses
in Chatanooga he needs something that pays.... wings don't come free you know. Here's a link to his
day job where he works the education beat
and, assuming he can't annoy enough people that way, is sometimes allowed to write opinion pieces.
Need perspective? Watson offers readers all they could possibly eat. For a unique view on current events, namely how they look from
orbit, here's Chuck's Real-Time(ish) Satellite Imagery of Areas of Interest.
Whenever it strikes his fancy, and there's good telemetry, Chuck will
process and post near real-time images of locations in the news. Eminently engrossing.
Wanna get into the head of a Japanese salaryman? Why, for Chis'sakes?! Well, assumin' you do, feel welcome to check out
the on-line journal of
Campbell's English class. Everyday, a group of disaffected salarymen are required to spill out their inner-most thoughts about life, the universe
and everything in broken English. Amazingly prosaic.
Saturday, November 27, 2004 Three Crooked Cops, A Stripper And A Professional Wrestler. It sounds like a Carl Hiassen novel, but if it were it would be taking place in Miami. Instead, it's a real case taking place in Memphis. It seems that the cops have been charged with all sorts of corrupt and criminal activities. And two of them, along with the stripper girlfriend of one are also charged with conspiring to rob, and possibly murder, professional wrestler Jerry Lawler. Lawler admits to knowing the 21-year-old stripper and having her in his house a couple of years ago.
Update: Lawler's autobiography says he graduated from high school in 1968, so he'a bit older than the stripper.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 Congratulations to Ben Brandon, the Libertarian who defeated Republican county commissioner Allen Bradford in a runoff Tuesday for county executive in Dade County, Ga. (The county executive combines the duties of commission chairman and county administrator.)
Brandon is reportedly the first Libertarian to run for county office in Dade, much less win.
I didn't follow the race that closely, but from what I can tell Brandon's secrets to victory were: 1)focusing on issues he actually can affect as county executive (property tax relief), 2)seeking and getting endorsements from prominent Democrats and Republicans in the area, and 3)not having blue skin.
Thursday, November 11, 2004 RIP, Abu Ammar It probably goes without saying that Yasser Arafat was one of the key figures of the last half of the 20th century. What you think about him seems to depend mostly on your worldview with respect to the wider issues of the Middle East, especially the problems of the Arab-Israeli confict and the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism. Here are a couple of thoughts based on my observations while involved at a very low level in the "peace" process in the 80's.
There is no doubt that Arafat and the PLO kept the ongoing tragedy of the Pallestinian Arabs on the world's front page, when no one - not Israel or the surrounding Arab nations, really cared. During the war for independence the Israeli's were conducting what we would now call "ethnic cleansing", while the Arab states were in effect callously encouraging it and the resulting refugee problem in the hope it would fire up world opinion (and their own people) against the new state. Since then, the focus is often on Israel for the occupation, but surrounding Arab states deserve a great deal of scorn for continuing to use the Pallestinians for political purposes while not really caring about them.
Arafat and the organizations he led were certainly flawed. His style of leadership was geared towards a beseiged revolutionary organization, and while not as dictatorial as other Arab leaders, he was certainly was no democrat. His tactics were sometimes reprehensible - the attack on Israeli athletes, the hijackings, etc., but he was recently blamed for actions he probably did not authorize or condone (specifically, the suicide bombings). Arafat did have a lot of blood on his hands, but not so much (in my view) that he was beyond redemption. After all, the founders of Israel (and the US, and the resistance against the Nazi's for that matter) didn't hesitate to use violence against civilians to acheive their objectives. Arafat is often critisized for not making the transition from revolutionary to statesman. While there is some validity to that, we did a lot to make that transition difficult and finally impossible. I think we fundamentally miscalculated by labeling the PLO and Arafat as "terrorists" and refusing to negotiate with them until the fundamentalists took over. A key difference between Arafat's PLO and successor orgainations (Hamas et al) is that the PLO was originally secular, and probably could have been negotiated with.
One of the reasons for the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism, especially in the occupied territories, was the failure of the US and Israel to negotiate with the PLO in the early and mid 80's. By the time we recognized the PLO in the 90's, Arafat's control and influence over the radical elements of his people was waning and he was not in a position control events. I think too that the cynical maniplation of the Pallestinian problem by the Arab governments contributed to the rise of fundamentalist groups elsewhere by revealing these governments to be the corrupt and incompetent institutions they are.
Hopefully Arafat's passing will result in an opportunity for both the Pallestinians and Israelis to move forward. But, given the now extensive influence of both Hamas and Hezbulallah, Arik Sharon as leader of Israel, and the neo-con influence in Washington, I'm not optimistic.
In the end I can't say that I mourn his passing, but flaws and all, I suspect we will ultimately miss "Abu Ammar".
FYI, I've moved most of my blogging over to SatBlog, mainly because I own the computers and domain, and I've been posting some fairly large images and it's hard to do that reliably here.