June 11, 2008
June 11, 2008
Security scanners which can see through passengers’ clothing and reveal details of their body underneath are being installed in 10 US airports, the US Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday…
But the new machines have provoked worries among passengers and rights activists.
“People have no idea how graphic the images are,” Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union, told AFP.
The ACLU said in a statement that passengers expecting privacy underneath their clothing “should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies such as evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane.”
Toni Milton, 38, mistakenly dialled Neil O’Brien’s number on her mobile phone while she was making love to her ex-boyfriend, a court heard.
O’Brien, 41, said the sound of his girlfriend sleeping with another man caused him to flip out. He drove to her house and stamped on her face so hard he left a shoeprint, Leicester crown court heard…
Miss Milton only realised she had accidentally pressed the redial button on her mobile phone when she heard O’Brien shouting at her down the line. When she picked up the phone he said: “I take it we’re finished then?”…
John Hallissey, prosecuting, said: “It appears that while they were in bed together – and it is relevant that they were having sex – her mobile phone was knocked on to the floor.
“It landed in such a way that it dialled O’Brien’s number. The first she knew of what had happened was when she heard him shouting her name.”
…Last month, 26-year-old accountant Shawanda Greene says she joined “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds,” a recently created Washington, D.C., support group of mostly younger women. Ms. Greene’s goal: to figure out why, despite an annual salary of $82,000, she had only $54 in her savings account.
The Girls kicked into action, encouraging Ms. Greene to track her spending. While some of her income was going to pay down debt, including $14,500 in student loans, Ms. Greene realized she was also spending too much on extras, like her $400 Cole Haan boots and her hungry boyfriend, who she says would consume much of her food when he came over. “Things were particularly bad when it came to produce…”
The stage was set, the lights went down and in a suburban Japanese primary school everyone prepared to enjoy a performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The only snag was that the entire cast was playing the part of Snow White.
For the audience of menacing mothers and feisty fathers, though, the sight of 25 Snow Whites, no dwarfs and no wicked witch was a triumph: a clear victory for Japan’s emerging new class of “Monster Parents”.
For they had taken on the system and won. After a relentless campaign of bullying, hectoring and nuisance phone calls, the monster parents had cowed the teachers into submission, forcing the school to admit to the injustice of selecting just one girl to play the title role.
Across Japan teachers are reporting an astonishing change in the character of parents, who, after decades of respectful silence, have become a super-aggressive army of complainers. The problem is that nobody can decide whether this is a good thing or not. Japan’s mass media has opted to demonise them: a lavish television drama starting next month will present the monster parents as a vile symptom of a society that has lost all respect for its traditions and decorum…
…There are parents who have secretly placed recording devices in their children’s classrooms, and others who have demanded that the results of sports events be changed to reflect expectations rather than the reality on the field…
June 11, 2008
Is Hillary Clinton ending her marriage along with her campaign for the American presidency? Rumours are buzzing and all eyes are on the offices of matrimonial lawyers in New York where Bill and Hillary Clinton, partners in America’s best-known dysfunctional marriage, are officially domiciled.
For years the deal has been that Hillary would stand by her man in exchange for his standing by her as she took her own turn in the Oval Office. It has all gone horribly wrong. The deal between wife and straying husband officially ends with her concession to Barack Obama and admission of failure in a lifetime’s ambition.
“Why on earth would she stay with him now?” asks an insider to Hillary’s staff as Junior Senator from New York. “It’s over. The feeling is that she can do better in the Senate without him, and better if she wants to take another shot at the White House in 2012.”
Hillary watchers point out that there is simply no reason for her to stay married. Bill has shot his bolt not so much with his lifetime of compulsive adultery but by his failure to win her the primaries.
Few Clinton boosters even pretend that anything other than political ambition has been the juice in their marriage for at least the last 25 years. Hillary has no use for Bill without his political potency.
This month’s Vanity Fair profile by Todd Purdum suggests that the 42nd President, the Horn Dog in Chief, has lost his mind rather than the id which was supposed to have been quelled by retirement and heart attack.
Purdum comes across as Cassius with his knife in Caesar’s back because he is married to former Clinton press aide Dee Dee Myers and his story reeks of the inside
job. But Clinton’s time has come just as it came to Caesar.
Bill has fallen not through the boyish sexual urges America had come to know and perhaps even love a little, but through a venality that he was thought to have been above. Since leaving office he has made obscene amounts of money with little real work and fewer morals.
Rich buddies are reported to have provided Bill with private jets and sexual opportunities. Staff are said to have staged “interventions” to protect Hillary from yet more scandal. And the rumours of cocaine being supplied to boost the ageing Baby Boomer’s erectile function will not quite go away. And what are Americans supposed to make of President Clinton taking trips to Africa with Wall Street billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who faces jail for using under-age prostitutes?
Supporters once said that for all his sins, Clinton could be forgiven for taking one clear moral stand: he would never condone racism. His desperate use of the ‘race card’ to keep Hillary on track cost him that. He played his last electoral ace and lost.
Purdum quoted a former aide saying that “there is an anger in him I find surprising”. Where does that come from? It is worth remembering that it was Bill who last asked for divorce, back in Arkansas, when he was determined to marry Marilyn Jo Jenkins. Hillary refused because she thought it would be the end of their political ambition, and Bill, concurring, cooled off.
It cannot be long before this tragedy of ambition trumping all finds its way to the boards of Broadway. And the divorce court.
June 11, 2008
From the SC&A mailbag, a letter from readers Vickie K, an expat living in Germany:
This is an FYI. I am sure the themes and results of the Merkel-Bush meeting will be reported in the MSM, but I don’t know whether they will report the truly obnoxious comments of the politicians. I haven’t heard any mention that the Bush visit coincided with the anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Instead, everyone is talking about the terrible Bush legacy (my quick translations):
He has damaged transatlantic relations;
The Iraq war has damaged transatlantic relation;
We look forward to a new president;
We won’t miss him (from a member of The Left);
Bush has damaged trust in the US;
He has increased the distance between the US and Europe (this from Hans Dieter Genscher);
He made the world worse and our energy supplies less secure;
The trust of the world in democracy was damaged by Bush’s double standards;
Iraq, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib have damaged the reputation of not just the USA but also the West in the Muslim world;
He strengthened Islamic extremists and Iran;
The Bush era was not a good one, and I say this as a friend of America (this from the superwimp head of the FDP);
He began the Iraq war on questionable grounds and against the objections of important allies and he damaged human rights in Guantanamo.
Meanwhile back in the real world, the highly moral German companies, as opposed to predatory capitalist US ones, would topple Merkel rather than significantly restrict trade with Iran, and they aren’t too happy about Merkel being mean to China, either. Nor have the Germans offered to take Guantanamo prisoners and set them up with German welfare for the rest of their lives. Oh, did I mention the huge demonstrations against Chavez, Mugabe, the Burma junta, and Sudan that have halted all traffic in Berlin for years? I mean, Germany is a real bastion of guarantors of human rights. German state economic ministers are warning of energy shortages because of its ridiculous environmental policies. There are warnings of the coming of a two-class medical system, and hospitals are in dire financial trouble.
Amazing how one little dumb Texas cowboy can cause all these problems isn’t it? But pundits and pols are
warning the public that Obama won’t be very different from Bush in many areas. He may even make more demands with respect to Afghanistan and he will still insist that China and India be involved in climate change agreements. Of course the Germans will be a little more tolerant of him because his election will mean that the US has finally met Germany’s high standards of racial tolerance.
Just another day in Germany.
From John Rosenthal’s The Legend Of The Squandered Sympathy, in which the author documents the anti Americanism of Europe’s liberal elites long before 9/11 and the war in Iraq.
In the weeks leading up to the 9/11 attacks, Le Monde had embarked on a veritable campaign of incitement against the United States, complete with editorial cartoons on an almost daily basis that would not have been out of place in the most rabidly anti-American specimens of the Arab press. The July 2001 Group of Eight meetings in Genoa, Italy, provided the occasion for a front-page offering of dubious taste by the paper’s lead cartoonist, Plantu. It shows George W. Bush, protesters in the background, giving orders to seven figures, representing the other participating nations, who are variously depicted as bound, gagged, and blindfolded by American flags or impaled through a variety of orifices upon the flagpoles bearing them. “Tell these kids to stop the violence!” Mr. Bush demands…
The 9/11 attacks did nothing to curb this onslaught. On the contrary, they only seemed to inflect the rising curve of animosity more sharply upward. In the weeks and months that followed, Le Monde would return with mind-numbing regularity to the theme of American guilt in connection with 9/11, typically leaving it to third parties to say openly in its pages what its publisher in his “All Americans” piece had merely insinuated or stated as conjecture…
President Bush’s May 2002 visit to Berlin provided an ideal occasion for such ventilating. Die Zeit chose to mark the occasion by publishing a collection of “open letters” to Bush from German and European notables (May 16, 2002). These included a letter from the performance artist Christoph Schlingensief. “I have played with the idea of quite simply blowing you up at our next meeting,” he wrote. Mr. Schlingensief’s stock-in-trade are pseudopolitical “provocations” in which the border between satirical send-up and genuine engagement gets hopelessly blurred. Something is apparently being parodied, but it is not clear what, and the seeming parody lacks what is usually deemed an essential element of the genre: humor. But in any case, the alibi of it all being a matter of “art” cannot diminish the enormity of an author being found to contemplate the assassination of the U.S. president in the pages of Germany’s most influential weekly paper. Moreover, Mr. Schlingensief’s German readership will not have failed to hear in his threat an allusion to the “July 20 Conspirators,” who on July 20, 1944, tried precisely to “blow up Hitler” at a meeting of the Wehrmacht general staff.
If the Bush-Hitler comparison was merely implicit in Mr. Schlingensief’s “letter,” it was entirely open in that of another contributor: the actor Josef Bierbichler, three times the German stage’s Actor of the Year. “But time is always metamorphosing into itself,” Mr. Bierbichler mused, “Yes. Like money. Or as fascism metamorphoses into civilization and vice-versa–or precisely Hitler into Bush.”
When 9/11 occured, Mr Bush had been in office less than a year.
Most of the examples…cited here come from the first few months after the 9/11 attacks through the middle of May 2002–i.e., before even the diplomatic mobilization for the Iraq war, let alone the military mobilization, had begun. They are drawn, moreover, from the two newspapers that arguably have the most powerful influence on the formation of “mainstream,” ostensibly educated, opinion in France and Germany respectively. They are not drawn from the fringes.
This suggests that there is indeed a relationship between the Bush administration’s Iraq policy and rampant anti-Americanism in the Franco-German “core” of Europe. It is not, however, the relationship that is customarily supposed. It was not the nature of President Bush’s policy that provoked the anti-American rage; it was rather the daily dosage of anti-American conditioning in the French and German media that predisposed the more susceptible sections of the public to assume nefarious motives behind a policy whose rationale in light of 12 years of Security Council resolutions on Iraq and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was reasonably straightforward and obvious.
As Vickie K notes, the Soviet blockade of Berlin and subsequent Berlin Airlift began in June of 1948. A Herculean effort was mounted and spearheaded by the United States to supply food and commodities to residents in Berlin’s western sectors, after the leaders of the People’s Paradise that was the Soviet Union blockaded all access to the city.
No word from the German media on the events of those and the risk assumed by Americans on behalf of those Germans.
Must be an ubermenschen thing.