Sunday, February 27, 2005

'Battlestar Galactica' - the new TV phenomenon.

Geeks in their 30s - very much like ourselves – probably remember the old Battlestar Galactica, the cheezy late-70s cult-series that tried to capitalize on the Star War success.

This new version, which started as a mini-series on Sci-Fi has become a TV phenomenon. Not only has it been critically acclaimed, it has also become the network's biggest hit, averaging more than 3 million viewers per episode, throwing the Sci Fi Channel to the top spot in cable for five consecutive Fridays.

The story of the show revolves around Cylons - human-made robots who've learned to take on human form - and have just destroyed billions of people. The only survivors from this devastation are a ragtag fleet of ships, which were getting ready to retire and call it quits. Now, these ships and the people they house have been thrust into the position of being the sole opportunity to advance the human race into the future.

The reason for this unexpected success can be explained in several ways:

  • a good cast playing characters that seem more like real people having a real bad day,
  • good writing (with no archetypal sketches of good and evil so prevalent in many Sci-Fi shows),
  • and with state-of-the-art special effects.

But above all, it is the post-traumatic world into which the characters are thrown that makes it interesting. It plays with the audience’s emotional ties to their own post-9/11 environment of course and each character is challenged while the viewer is never lectured. The enemy is no longer the old toaster-like robots with the flashing red eyes as the Cylons have been ‘updated’ to now look very human, even becoming suicide bombers.
The greatest achievement of this series is probably to redefine the genre of space opera by giving it gritty realism.

To be noted: The SciFi channel has planned for another season to be aired in the summer. In the meantime, it has made Episode '33' (Season 1 Episode 1) of Battlestar Galactica available for free, uncut and commercial free, online at Also available are deleted scenes from the series. Whether this is a a ploy used by the Sci Fi channel to attract more viewers or just a bold move, it’s a pretty cool thing to do.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Let them be guillotined!

While all the attention is focused on the French finance minister ‘scandal’, the real stuff goes almost unnoticed: namely the dismissal of the case against former-mayor of Paris, Jean Tiberi for “lack of evidence”.

Now, interestingly, the case is still open for 49 people accused of ‘corrupting officials’ but all the politicians involved have simply disappeared from the case.

This is the last chapter of a series of alledged corruption and scandals involving the Conservatives when they were in power in Paris between 1977 and 1995 - not only the Tibéris, but also former Prime Minister Alain Juppé( ‘who got away with a very light sentence), and even French President Jacques Chirac, who used his ‘immunity’ right to even refuse to be heard as a ‘witness’.

Here’s a (probably incomplete) list:

  • Fictional jobs in government offices (in the City of Paris and in Essonne)
  • Illegal use of government services
  • Usage of City of Paris gardening services for private purposes
  • Manipulated biddings for public procurement (Hauts de Seine housing projects, Paris public housing projects, High schools of the Paris region) There was a shock when a videocassette of businessman Jean-Claude Méry was disclosed after his death. In this videocassette, Méry gives many details about the kickback schemes in the Paris region; in particular, he says that he delivered FRF 5 million in cash to Jacques Chirac.
  • And the icing on the cake in politics is the vote rigging (In several districts of Paris, people were allegedly illegally registered on the electoral rolls in an attempt to modify the outcome of elections.)

So really, take your pick.... No wonder why the French go bizurk when some politician plays the victim. No wonder, they want to hand them all (or rather ‘guillotine’ them). It’s actually a wonder how things can keep so quiet. So it seems the French finance minister ‘scandal’ is a mere distraction.

Now Tiberi has announced his intention to run for the next elections in Paris. Can you believe it? And you know – he will find some sukers to vote for him and may even elected.

The fact that Tiberi is Corsican has probably nothing to do with his mob-style politics, and in any case, there is one comforting thought – there is always Italy!


Playing the French revolution all over again?

French Revolution...

In the last 5 days, the news in France has been gripped by the “scandal” of French finance minister,
Herve Gaymard, after he attracted heavy criticism for using public funds to rent a huge luxury apartment in Paris. Yesterday, he finally announced his resignation.
There was nothing illegal but it was clearly morally questionable to rent a 600 square metre apartment close to the Champs-Elysees, at a cost of €14,000 a month to the French taxpayer, at a time when unemployment in France hits a record high of 10%, when finding a small apartment in Paris is synonymous to a treasure hunt, and when budget austerity and cuts in public spending is the official motto of this cabinet.

There is little need to go along the public lynching, but the interview of former-minister Gaymard on T.F.1. (France's most popular private channel) was a great illustration of the indulgence of French TV anchors when inteviewing politicians. Such unnecessary reverence may be the sign that deep down the French have some nostalgia for their former aristocracy and the privileges of the pre-revolutionary ancien régime, and so maybe that the ‘media lynching’ is a revolution of sorts. In other words, maybe the French continue to play their history over and over again (creating aristocracy of sorts and then demanding revolution, and finally using the guillotine) - their fascination for the elite and their demand for political beheading certainly seems to have a lot to do with that.

This has also been noticed by the Brits, not only as a great opportunity for French-bashing - fair enough! - but also for the interesting idea of a 'Let them eat cake' attitude [that] faces another revolution in a recent article published by The Times.



Read this extract from L.A Times article, An Identity Crisis Unfolds in a Not-So-Elite Press Corps and have a ball.
Last month, [...]Talon News correspondent, James Guckert asked President Bush how he could work on Social Security and other domestic initiatives with Democrats "who seem to have distanced themselves from reality."

The openly scornful and seemingly partisan description of congressional Democrats startled some veterans of the White House press room. And they wondered how Bush came to call on the relatively obscure reporter — not just this time, but on previous occasions as well.

Left-wing bloggers soon revealed that the reporter, whom colleagues knew as Jeff Gannon, was really named James Dale Guckert. They also disclosed that Talon News was owned by an avowedly partisan website called GOPUSA. The website in turn was the creation of a conservative Texas political activist named Bobby Eberle.

That stirred a furor over how a seeming Republican agent got clearance to attend White House briefings as a journalist. Soon Gannon resigned.

Then gay activists, indulging in what one media critic called "bloglust," posted on the Internet homoerotic photos of Gannon advertising himself as a $200-an-hour gay escort.
More to be found on:


- Chicago Tribune article, The new age of `news', February 26, 2005,1,1926742.story?coll=chi-techtopheds-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true


Friday, February 25, 2005

American Town Hall Meeting

President Bush, who is supposed to be enjoying a get-to-know-me tour through Europe, has just cancelled the centerpiece of his German visit, an American-style town hall meeting. As we've pointed out before, American-style means getting the questions approved in advance. Seems the Germans weren't going to allow for a scripted event so it's been unceremoniously dropped from the schedule. Perhaps expecting someone to answer honest questions extemporaneously is considered too elitist by this administration.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

How to advance your political agenda...

Bash the gays! When the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) supports the Bush administration in its efforts to overhaul Medicare (pretty unanimously viewed as a disaster), they're considered a non-partisan backer. But when they balk at the President's attempts at privatizing Social Security, they're accused of...dissing the troops and supporting gays. Who knew they had such a diverse agenda?


Rhetoric Vs. Reality

Recently President Bush has reiterated U.S. concerns that Russia was returning to its old authoritarian ways. It is a fact but what does he think he can do about it?

The problem of Bush's 'rhetoric' of freedom (emphasizing the U.S. mission in supporting the growth of freedom and democracy around the world) is its inconsistency in the 'real world' of foreign affairs.

When 'reality' finally hits home, then what? It seems that Bush is caught between a rock and a hard place. Obviously, the US needs non-democratic allies (Pakistan, China are the most obvious ones) so a little bit of 'real politics' rhetoric is urgently needed and it is about time to tone down the 'crusade rhetoric' which is perceived, if not in America, at least in the rest of the world, as a demonstration of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

'Real politics' can be a good political move too. It seems that if people are ready to endorse 'torture' for 'the good cause' of their national security, they should be OK with a bit of 'real politics' as long as the stakes are clearly explained to them. Making a difference between those democratic states that are dangerous for world stability, those that are not, and those that are necessary for world peace at this time and age could be a good start. It does not mean that the West should not push for democratic reform whenever possible, or that we should not occasionally use force when an 'immediate danger is looming', but PLEASE, stop the 1950s goodie-baddie cowboy rhetoric.

The result is that nobody likes to be lectured, (Kremlin in no mood to be lectured, Bush told) and certainly not the Russians. Then they feel cornered and end up saying really REALLY stupid things like:

What traditions are we talking about exactly here? That of the Pogrom? The Russian Revolution? The Gulag? Communism? The current Mafia?

Politically, Russia has indeed brought a lot to the world, mostly either a great void or plenty of little 'counter-models'.


'24' and the War of Fiction.

Would I give it away to those who have not seen it yet if I told you that the basic plotline of season 4 of '24' is... Terrorists plot to destroy America, people die, Jack Bauer comes in, Jack saves the day!

Does that look familiar? Well, very much like a rerun of seasons 3, 2 & 1.

Yet if you start watching it, you may still get hooked just because you want to know how Jack is going to make it this time of course, or how the writers are going to make him get out of that one!

You may also want to sit back and adopt the 'scholar' position and pretend you're watching it to know better how America talks about its fears. Fiction is, after all, an important part of the human psyche and the best way we define our culture and civilization may stillt be through the stories we tell ourselves.

Two interesting new elements this season:

1. First its casual show of torture (albeit in a very mild non graphic way) to get information out of terrorists or 'terrorist spies'. Obviously, this is something that we all know exists in 'real life' (the famous 'allegations' of torture in Abu Ghraib or Guantamo have been great reminders) and indeed context makes the whole difference.

This is shown in a context in which Americans are at best a mbivalent in their condemnation of torture. This is also a context in which Gonzalez who played a leading role in providing legal grounds for the torture of foreign detainees was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General. (Feb. 14)

Interestingly though, the show also deals with the problem of defining torture, okaying 'non invasive' techniques when trying to get information out of the Secretary of Defense's son (with the eventual blessing of the father himself) and the torturing of innocent people for the good causes.

To be noted as well – so far in the show, torture has been useless and ineffective. Some have even suggested that the infectiveness of torture techniques was there "to convince America that torture is (a) revolting and (b) doesn't work anyway". I doubt the writers are betting on such a sophisticated multi-layer reading.

2. the second interesting point is the identity of the terrorists. You might have expected them to be Saudis, Iraqis, Iranians,… It seems there is enough to choose from… but they are actually Turkish (with a great performance of Iranian-born actress Shohreh Aghdashloo as the 'terrorist housewife').
Now hold on here – Turkey is a secular sate, a key ally to the US. Or is it? Of course, this has really infuriated the Turks.
two popular American TV series, 24 and West Wing, feature plotlines this season envisioning Turkish terrorists melting down US nuclear plants and women beheaded in Turkey for immodest behavior, respectively. Given that Turkey is overwhelmingly the most socially liberal and progressive of countries in the Muslim world, what is happening here? Are the show's writers just ignorant, or what?

Interestingly, the hottest selling book in Turkey these days is a thriller that portrays a fictional war between the United States and Turkey.

'Fictional war' or 'War of fictions'?


Tuesday, February 22, 2005


'Smirk' is one of the great concept of the English language, and that has only come clear to me when Bush became president. Unfortunately, the word has no real equivalent in French.

It can be defined as

'To smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner'

It has been translated into French by [Harrap's Dictionary] as 'sourire d'un air narquois' but the English word has more to it than this translation reveals.

As an example, think of President Bush who is always smirking when he gives a speech. He did it again yesterday when he spoke in Brussels. It is sort of ain't-that-good or an ain't-that-a-great-statement movement of the face. Or it may be that he is simply happy and proud to have made a complete sentence with a subject, a verb, and a complement, with some actual sense to it. It is like 'Hey, look, I made it".

Apparenlty, his 'smirk' has been noticed for a long time. Brian Williams and the Boston Globe's David Nyhan noted the Smirk Problem on MSNBC and CNN, respectively, prompting a superbly detailed article by the Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes.

One of the suggestions is the daring idea that Bush's smirks may be "masking" smiles intended to hide some other emotion… or some other agenda.

No way! Is this actually suggesting that a president could actually…. LIE? I dare not even consider it.

Yet, that would give a whole new light to Bush's recent speech about the importance of Europe and France to his policy.


Healthy for the mind

For the NY Times, the controversial Simpsons' episode is "At Least One Program [that] Runs Toward Controversy", a revealing sign that in the U.S. the cowardice of many broadcasters in the current climate of the cultural war led by the conservative right through the intrumentalization of 'moral values' has not been unnoticed.

No matter what one thinks of gay mariage, the Simpsons is indeed good for bringing out in the open controversial issues and that takes courage in today's chicken-hearted media world.

This is not the first time that this cartoon satires controversial issues. As the Guardian notices, The writers poke fun at those on all sides of the debate, from evangelical rightwing vicars to advertisers and retailers eager to make a fast buck.

One may think of the character of, the religious zealot, Ned Flander who

"co-produces the Super Bowl halftime show as -what else?- a biblical pageant. Homer portrays Noah. The stadium is flooded from a Duff's Beer blimp. Ned preaches the Word. Take that, Janet Jackson"

One may also think of the episode with a mock Fox News ticker proclaiming "JFK Posthumously Joins Republican Party" and frequent digs at the network's output. Remarkable for a show produced by Fox.

This is in the great American tradition of realistic, frank and hard-hitting satire based on the real world, rather than the naive escapism of most entertainment programs, with shows such as 'all in he Family' rarely seen outside the U.S.

The lesson in the end should really be about putting things into perspective and laughing our dramas off for just about anything can be eased with a tiny bit of humor.


Plot Twist.

Patty fell for professional golfer Veronica, a golf pro on the LPGA tour. But…:

At the altar, however, after guests were asked to speak or forever hold their peace, Marge tore Veronica's dress at the neck and revealed a large Adam's apple.
It turned out Veronica was a man in disguise, who took up the ruse in order to play on the professional women's golf tournament.
Marge found the faker out by spotting him lifting a toilet seat, and belting out rock and roll band Aerosmith's "Dude looks like a lady" while shaving.

Needless to say that this much-hyped episode ran with the proper parental advisory!

Here's Homer marrying Julio and Thad, and pronouncing their union legal in "Massachusetts, Vermont, maybe Canada," but advising them to "stay out of Texas."


Simpsons' gay character is.....

Marge Simpson's sister, Patty Bouvier. (Is there any reason why her name sounds so… French? Any hidden message here?)

Patty and golfer Veronica.

(Any particular reason why her name sounds so… French? Any hidden message here?)


Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Moral Majority continues its diktat, but the Simpsons are 'coming out'

Since Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at last year's Super Bowl, the U.S. Congress has been working on a new bill that would raise the fine for 'indecency' from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer. It just overwhelmingly passed the House Wednesday on a 389-38 vote.

Now it seems that the simple idea of switching channels or worse still, turn it off altogether, has yet not reached most Congressman – except for Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York who dared to voice that amazing new technological concept.

The beauty of the whole thing is that most broadcasters are actually doing the job themselves – they are
censoring themselves, just to play it safe. A famous example is last year's "Saving Private Ryan" airing episode when TV Stations declined to broadcast the movie for fear that violence and language would land them in hot water with the feds. This is exactly what the Hollywood studios did in the 50s, so afraid were they of the repercussions of the witch-hunt and the moral pressure.

The question of what defines 'decency' has really not been thought through of course! That would take too much brain work. But it’s starting to hit home - imagine, Bush himself has acknowledged, in a C-Span interview that his Federal Communications Commission has had some trouble figuring out what exactly constitutes television indecency. The commission defines obscene material as describing sexual conduct "in a patently offensive way" and lacking "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value." Indecent material is not as offensive but still contains references to sex or excretions (I like the 'excretion' one!). So what about a work that has "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value." and still contains 'sex'? Who's to decide that something has a rtistic value? The ‘artistic police’? The government? For an administration that based its rhetoric on less government intervention, the contradiction is blatant.

Now I suppose this is nothing that should surprise those of us who tend to follow the news . Remember when in 2002, during the war against the Taliban, when US Attorney General John Ashcroft appeared in front of female, art-deco "Spirit of Justice" statues whose nudity had been carefully covered with black curtains. More recently, the FCC launched an investigation after some viewers complained about a parade of actors portraying naked statues during the opening ceremony of the Olympic games (Among them were the satyr and the nude male statues, kouroi, both emblems of ancient Greece's golden age.). These are signs of the times we live in.

Now in this bleak picture, however, there is a glimpse of hope:

  • ­cable and satellite channels are not subject to indecency fines (even though they can just as easily be accessible to children.
  • in tonight's episode of 'The Simpsons', “There’s Something About Marrying”, the town of Springfield decides to legalize same-sex marriage (to boost tourism, ) and one of Sprinfield's own comes out of the closet. (and for the first time in the show's history, the episode bears a "Viewer Discretion" warning).
Now I think the essential question is - who will come out of the closet?


An Iraqi Pat Robertson?

Ayatollah Al sistani
seems to be the big leading figure of Iraq these days – when you see his picture, he looks as scary as Khomeini but is actually very different. He is definitely much harder to figure out from a western perspective.
A lot of his views seem paradoxical:
  • First, it should be noticed that not only is he a Shiite but he is Iranian-born, and arrived in Iraq some 50 years ago. But at the same time, he has carefully kept his distance from official Iranians. He was also the great competitor of Khomeini, and is now revered throughout the Islamic world and has far more personal followers in Iran than the theocratic hard-liners there.
  • he wants Iraq's new constitution to be in line with Islamic principles, yet at the same time he is also against any role for the clerics in the governance or administration of the country.
  • he encouraged women to vote as they want (Something that the Saudis still have to learn) but his teaching does not allow them to shake the hand of any man other than a father, brother or husband. - - His life is very austere He rarely eats meat, insisting on a peasant diet of yogurt and rice. Incidentally, he also forbids music for entertainment, dancing and playing chess, while his office is Internet-wired.
  • he has condemned the occupation, but has never issued a fatwa against it, and has even called voting in the last elections an 'Islamic duty'.

In fact, his 'philosophy' has been compared to a Muslim version of that of the Christian coalition – not supporting that clerics rule the nation, but that religious ideals govern policy.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A scripted Q & A

Condoleeza Rice recently passed through Paris to give a speech at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (or Science-Po as it is known to the locals). After serenading them with her concert piano recital, she gave them a run-down of the priorities of the Bush administration during its second term, including democracy promotion abroad. This was no accident, delivering such an address in France. It was a calculated move which was intended to stress the similarities between US and French/European culture and the need to show a unified front in the face of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes abroad. The upside is that she showed little of the “Euro-bashing” that her administration has thrived on since its move toward war in the Middle East. Gone were the “punish France” invectives uttered by Rice in that tumultuous time. This was a charming Rice who knew which keys to press in this diplomatic recital. Very well done on that front.

The downside is that the Secretary of State stuck to the Bush administration’s practice of pre-screening questions. This is unfortunate for both sides of this trans-atlantic relationship. The Bush Administration comes off as still too scared to answer questions about its policies abroad. And for all the blather about a historical relationship that supercedes any current disagreements, they still seem rather suspicious of the French. On the other hand, criticism of the Bush administration in the French press has run the gamut of « abusers of human rights » (Abu Graid) to « greedy oil-grubbers » (Where are those WMD?). While much of their criticism is valid, these accusations just muddy the waters of the real debate : Iraq, democracy, and an agressive foreign policy. France risks leaving itself on the sidelines if it doesn’t have anything useful to propose. Criticizing is one thing, actually proposing an alternative is something entirely different, which is why I liked the recent opinion piece by Justin Vaïsse in Le Monde. Vaïsse takes Rice’s speech as the heart of the Bush policy and says what I’ve been saying all along:

Du coup, la vraie question est plutôt : quelles sont les meilleures politiques pour promouvoir la liberté ? Condi Rice a exposé la vision américaine. A nous Européens, et peut-être plus particulièrement à nous Français, d'énoncer plus clairement notre vision de la promotion de la démocratie, pour être fidèles à nos idéaux et plus efficaces dans le cadre transatlantique.

[What exactly is the means to promote democracy? Rice has spelled out the US position, now what is ours? Shouldn’t we the French be providing a clear alternative if we object so much to the US vision?] The answer, in short, is OUI! And he lays out five things to consider in doing so:

1) Is it wiser to promote democracy from the exterior (by force, threats) or from the interior (support of dissident groups, sanctions)?

2) What alternative is there to the “radioactive” US presence in the Middle East? Why do we, Europeans, offer only lukewarm support for the dissidents, often to put distance between European and US policy. But to what end?

3) If the US wants to make “liberty” the organizing principle of US foreign policy, how can we make sure that our principles of “human rights” are respected as well?

4) The US focuses on justice in its quest for liberty, while Europe focuses on righting social wrongs: inequality, injustice, destruction of the environment, poverty…none of which makes for a good marriage with democracy.

5) And finally, where do we place democracy promotion on the list of global priorities? Rice has stated the US priorities, democracy promotion is at the top. Where is it on the European list?

There is much to discuss here and we intend to here in the next few days. But this is a beginning. Someone has finally asked the Europeans for some details. If Rice won’t accept them in the friendly confines of an academic/political discussion, then maybe the discussion can be brought to them.


Robot Soldiers in Iraq?

According to this interesting N.Y Times article, GI, Robot' rolls toward the battlefield, the Pentagone is seriously considering using 'robot soldiers' in future wars. Sci Fi? Apparently not:
  • By April, an armed version of the bomb-disposal robot will be in Baghdad, capable of firing 1,000 rounds a minute. Though controlled by a soldier with a laptop computer, the robot will be the first thinking machine of its kind to take up a front-line infantry position, ready to kill enemies.
Another hint that this is becoming serious is that they are talking about lawyers but remain reassuring.
  • The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions," said Johnson, who leads robotics programs at the Joint Forces research center in Suffolk, Virginia. "I have been asked what happens if the robot destroys a school bus rather than a tank parked nearby. We will not entrust a robot with that decision until we are confident they can make it."

We are still a long way to the 'I, Robot' world but because it is all about money (the Robot being less costly in retirement benefits), and politics (a better way than censorship to make sure you don't see body-bags in the news), we can bet they'll try as hard as they can to have them working.
Unfortunately, we're even a longer way to the day when all soldiers and even all civilians are robots... but who knows?


Thursday, February 10, 2005

The art of the selective misquote...

From Sunday's NYTimes Book Review:

Mr. Bush added that "in this job, there are some simple pleasures in life that really help you cope. One is Barney..."

Barney? Barney?! Oh, not THAT Barney! Right, right, right…there’s the dog, Barney. But…well, Barney?

At least we don't use misquotes for politic ends.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

The effect of wardrobe 'problems'.

Talking about his show at the half-time during the Superbowl, Paul McCartney said with great humor "People may have concerns of another wardrobe malfunction, but I can safely tell you that I won't.".
No doubt, his showing his breats might not cause the same uproar anyway. Sorry Paul.
The funny thing is to see how that bit of flesh has been used as a pretext for even more censorship in the repressive cultural environment of today.
The beauty of it all is that the networks are doing their own police. That's just awesome. It saves taxpayer's money.
If this should remind you of anything by the way, that's probably because it should.


Chirac & Africa

Chirac is on a tour of ('French') Africa. First for a conference in Congo, Brazzaville visiting his great friend Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo) who did even better than him in the last elections winning 90% of the votes (against 82% for Chirac). Gee, the competition is tough!
In the meantime, France is once again accused of genocide in Rwanda (in French). Unfortunately, once again, this news has not reached the front pages yet. Will it? Who cares?
In the meantime, a great fiction, 'Hotel Rwanda' will soon open here. It blames France and Belgium for some of their actions there. Will it make the headlines in France?
In the meantime, a former French colony, Togo, is undergoing a military coup after the death of its leader.
In the meantime, Chirac is accusing M'Beki (leader of south Africa) of 'not undersdaning West Africa' - for HE does of course! [after M'Beki "accused France of fuelling the rebellion in Ivory Coast"]. Maybe because M'Beki speaks English and not French! ;-)
In the meantime Chirac has won a big batte - "saving the African forests".
In the meantime, I'm sitting in my livingroom wondering how long the farce can continue?
The Joker can't help laughing it off though - what else is there to do?


Saturday, February 05, 2005

From the "They hate us for our freedom" file...

Freedom? what freedom?

Oh, THAT freedom!


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Everlasting truth?

Today, I came across an interesting quote written some 80 years ago... :

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed [and hence clamorous to be led to safety] by an endless series of hobgoblins"
H.L. Mencken

Sounds familiar? Now let's see... what does this remind you of?