Friday, February 28, 2003

HELLO! (not that this changes much).

I posted the following to No War Blog a few days ago. The first bit is regarding the idea that the coming war is for oil. The second bit is regarding why so much protest now. I would be interested to see what anyone who reads this has to say about what I've written (not that they are particularly insightful, mind you).

It seems to me that in the SHORT term it would be unwise for those interested in oil to have this war. The oil companies, obviously, are more satisfied with some sort of stabilty in pricing and shipping, so as to be better able to plan.

In the LONG term, however, the U.S. having a literal hold on oil exports from the Gulf region (rather than a figurative and tennuous one, which they have now) would make good sense from the perspective of those in the government who are aiming for a long term empire-like situation.

It is, I think, strategery.

In other words it is less about oil now than oil later.


My hunch is that the upswing in protests against this war is the product of two big factors (and a few smaller ones).

Big factor one: starting with Seattle a few years ago, we have been living in a period of "protest chic" in the US and Europe. It seems like there are times, like the late 60s and early 80s, when protest marches and the like become interesting to a broader population than is otherwise the case. I have no idea why this happens, but I wonder if it has to do with population bubbles and the like.

Big factor two: there has been a relatively long and slow buildup to this war. The Bush/Blair team started publicizing their intent as long as a year ago, and this has allowed people to have time to come to a decision on the war. In Clinton's wars, there was usually less time for consideration before the thing happened (and the lack of protest chic). In Gulf War One, there was a lack of protest chic AND a rather abrupt start to the action (Iraq's invasion) AND a much clearer reason on the part of the US government.

Smaller factors include the inability of the Bush/Blair governments to convince enough people to support them, Iraq fatigue (to borrow Bush's phrase, "we've seen this movie before"), and (no mistaking it) the generally smaller reservoir of benefit of the doubt many people (especially liberals and leftists) have for Bush than the did for his predecessors (even his dad).

Those are my guesses, anyway.

Of course, there are people who have been against EVERY military action (and more people who have been against most military actions). They (or we, since I'm one of the folks who have been against most) have just got more people on their/our side this time than they/we normally do.

Although I'm essentially an ex-grad student, and am in another country, I'm still on the history department's list serve from West Virginia University. I just got the following email forwarded from the chair of the department.


I just had a phone call from Lt Cheslock of WVU's Department of Public Safety, informing me that they discovered a written message that said that a person is threatening to create a hazard in either Stansbury or Woodburn Hall  today or tomorrow that would destroy one of these two buildings.  They supposedly have already placed a chemical in the building that they would ignite.  Lt Cheslock does not think this is a serious threat but wanted to alert us, so that if we see anything suspicious or anyone acting out of the ordinary, we should alert campus security immediately (293-cops).  Campus security has already done a walk through of each of these buildings and did not find anything out of the ordinary.  Please make responsible individuals in your unit aware of the need to be alert over the next couple of days re: this situation.  Thanks-- Duane Nellis
M. Duane Nellis, Dean
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
West Virginia University


Notice that the dean says to inform "responsible individuals". Who did the chair of the history department think fit that bill? EVERYONE connected with the department, including all undergrad history majors.

What a maroon!


Thursday, February 27, 2003

On the same day I learn that Mr Rogers has gone to live, forever, in the neighborhood of make believe, I read that THIS has been decided.

The death of Mr Rogers must have caused me to blow a fuse, because the other story made me think of this:

Genesis 11:1-9: The Tower of Babel

1 Now the whole Earth used the same language and
the same words.
2 And it came about as they journeyed east, that
they found a plain in the land of Shinar and
settled there.
3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make
bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used
brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.
4 And they said, "Come, let us build for ourselves
a city, and a tower whose top will reach into
heaven, . . ."

Few headlines are more ominous than Mister Rogers Dies of Cancer. We are, now, truly alone.

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.

I am pleased that the French government has been critical of the US government on the Iraq business (and it is a business, in the worst sense of the word) and so have no interest in making bad jokes about France or the French. However, THIS is the sort of thing worthy of critique.

I LOOOOOVE tasty food. I've eaten my way across a fair chunk of western Europe and North America and have had all sorts of wonderful experiences BUT it seems to me to be a profoundly silly thing to kill yourself over a restaurant rating. I know: it is a business, too. Still. It is food.

Did I mention that I'm not usually very competitive?

I also do THIS.

I'll just start the fun by saying the following:

I am against the current war in/against/for Iraq. I think the US and British governments (and all governments and citizens who support them on this) are WRONG. I could get all subtle and pointed, but I'll leave it at that for the moment.

I like teaching. I hate grading.

I like beer. I wish I had more. I'm enjoying an "Indio" right now. It is my last one.

I like Star Trek.

I like living in Mexico. I wasn't sure I would, but I do.

I don't like dogs. Actually, I have an irrational fear of dogs (not the little ones). I mostly don't like dog owners (but there are plenty of exceptions).

I say this on the off chance that someone who doesn't already know me reads this. It is unlikely, but I feel I owe it to the random visitor to go on and clear the air.


I've neglected blogging for so long that I find myself unable to access the template to my old blog. Ah, well. That just means I'll have to do everything from scratch. Actually, I've got things wrong way around. See, because I can't access the template to my old blog, I've decided to create a new one. I wanted to access the template to the old blog to erase anything in it which might serve to indicate who I actually am to the casual surfer. I wanted to do that because I am currently a high school teacher and my students are quite web savvy. I want to be free to say whatever is on my mind and I don't want the kids to know it was me. Soooooo, this blog will (hopefully) have nothing in it which indicates my name, where I work, or what I teach to google searches. It will take a very steady hand to make that work, but I'm going to try.

First day in the new blog.