30 July 2011
The story whereto I here connect you doesn't mention that Pfc. Obdo had previously gained notoriety for what formed the subject of this uncommon commentary. It seems that he's not a conscientious objector in the War by Terror.
28 July 2011
It seems as though half the advertisements on television these days are for some weight-loss product or another, and that the other half are for debt relief (or for something to do with credit, which is closely related). Are we unable to live within either our incomes or acceptable ranges of weight? Maybe we could solve both problems at once, if we would slash the amount of money that we spend on food.
27 July 2011
Why do people, especially, it seems, here in the USA, abbreviate any word or term in common usage that comprises more than two syllables or so? Are we so impatient (perhaps to make more money) that we don't think we can expend the additional trice required to say "cellular telephone" rather than to use the insipid phrase "cell phone?"
20 July 2011
I often watch the cable television network Turner Classic Movies (TCM); one of the programming themes for this month, as seems to be true of one month each year, is "Race and Hollywood." This time, the self-appointed ethnic representative who gets to air not only films of his choice, but also his whining grievances about alleged cinematic stereotyping of his people, is a Dr. Jack Shaheen, author of some book that charges Hollywood with vilifying Arabs. The subject for yesterday night was portrayals of Arab women; among the films that Shaheen chose to illustrate his points on this topic, in his capacity as co-host, was Caesar and Cleopatra! Does this man, to whom the TCM site refers as "acclaimed" and as a "Middle East expert," have so little knowledge of history as to think that Cleopatra (VII) was an Arab? "Dr." Shaheen might find it edifying to learn that the Queen of the Nile was of the purely European Ptolemaic dynasty, and that she lived more than 600 years before there were any Arabs in Egypt. Since the TCM site also mentions the depiction of the Ayyubid ruler Saladin in The Crusader, it seems that Shaheen is equally ignorant of the fact that Saladin was not Arabic but Kurdish. How many box-tops did this guy mail in to get his doctorate?
16 July 2011
Greece has a small-enough economy that its insolvency can be temporarily remedied by entities such as the European Union, but who could do the same for the USA?
12 July 2011
"Wikipedia" is an interesting (if stupidly named) experiment, but an encyclopædia that can be edited by any crank who has access to the w.w.w., and which includes articles on video games—even on characters in video games—will never be anything more than a curiosity.
08 July 2011
In view of the fact that Adolf Hitler had lived only in the South German areas Austria and Bavaria, one would have expected him to transfer the Third Reich's capital to a city such as Munich (which his National Socialists had attempted to take over in 1923) or Nuremburg (where their infamous rallies took place). Berlin could not be considered a traditional capital of Germany, since it had served as such for the unified German state for only 62 years before Hitler became chancellor. Neither was it the most logical location for the seat of power; the sole reason for its selection is that it was the political centre of Prussia, the state that brought about German unification. One might suppose that der Führer wanted to recapture the glory of the German Empire, which had its capital in Berlin; he did not, however, admire that Second Reich, which was governed by the upper classes that he hated. Why, then, did he rule from Berlin?
03 July 2011
As elsewhere throughout history, the current unrest in the Arab world comes not from a yearning for "freedom" but from a desire to run one's country in one's own way, which impulse is not necessarily (or even usually) noble.
02 July 2011
01 July 2011
Aside from the US-specific issue regarding the Libyan civil war, namely, the illegality of President Yo'Mama's continuation of his country's involvement, there is the question that applies to any of the NATO powers intervening in the conflict: Could a Libya without Gaddafi be worse than one with him? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, in the context of the worldwide struggle versus jihadism. Gaddafi's Libya may be Islamic, but it is not Islamist; in fact, it's one of the most secular states in the Moslem world, and this evidently is one of the leading factors in the revolt against his rule. (A complication is that while secularism, from our viewpoint, is desirable in Moslem countries, it has had an extremely detrimental effect here in the West. This point may need to be elaborated upon in another uncommon commentary.) To risk lives and waste money for the sake of trying to depose a strongman, even after the revelation that Usama bin Laden endorsed the "Arab Spring," is so short-sighted that there may be no glasses with lenses thick enough to correct the problem.