Gongol.com Archives: September 2006
Brian Gongol

September 29, 2006

News British military leaders want troops moved from Iraq to Afghanistan
With NATO warning of a massive shortage of manpower in Afghanistan, it seems that something must be done. Sectarian violence is reportedly on the rise in Iraq, too, with anecdotal evidence backing the figures. It's no particular surprise: When people's standards of living fall or fail to rise normally, they tend to take solace in identity as members of groups. The greater the self-identity, the easier it becomes to blame "others" (whomever they might be) for the troubles -- even if that's an entirely inappropriate conclusion to draw. Poor white laborers in the Confederacy who suddenly faced competition from freed slaves upon the end of the Civil War were driven to blame the former slaves for their troubles, even though their differences comprised little more than the color of their skin. It's easy to blame the "other" and much harder to do anything to get beyond the real causes of trouble.

Computers and the Internet Another half-million laptop batteries recalled

News Another reason to oppose traffic cameras: Most crashes have nothing to do with speeding
UK finds that speeding is rarely the cause of crashes, and even among serious crashes, speed isn't the leading cause by far. So, along with privacy concerns and the hazards of a surveillance society, add that traffic-monitoring cameras don't really even deter harm.

Weather and Disasters Huge typhoon wipes out power to two-thirds of Manila
That's 8 million people without electricity. Next, it's expected to hit Vietnam, and when it does, expect a high death toll.

Threats and Hazards "Unmistakable exclusionary intolerance"
Reviewer of "Jesus Camp" worries that the truth of some of the evangelical Christian movement could be just as dangerous as elements of radicalized Islam

Threats and Hazards "It is beyond the capability of our political class to accept that the opposition acted in good faith"
The concept of a loyal opposition -- one that engages the majority on matters of principle and substance -- is what democracies count on to keep themselves upright. But that seems to be asking too much of politicians who just want more face time on cable news shows.

News Police trying to refine hostage-rescue tactics after Colorado killing

Threats and Hazards House approves more warrant-free wiretapping
Would give the executive branch 90 days of supervision-free wiretapping authority. Where's the separation of powers when we need it?

Graphics Ballistic

Water News California struggling against one of worst wildfires ever