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A more humanitarian war

An interview with Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. Roth describes how his organization is trying to pressure the U.S. to wage as humanitarian a war as possible. To this end, HRW has not taken a position for or against a war, but rather on how a possible war should be waged. But this raises the question of to what extent the U.S. is still concerned with international humanitarian law. As Michael Byers of Duke University warns, "some U.S. politicians have begun to think of war, not as the high-risk recourse of last resort, but as an attractive foreign policy option in times of domestic scandal or economic decline... When war is seen as an ordinary tool of foreign policy - 'politics by other means' - political and financial considerations impinge on the balance between military necessity and humanitarian concerns."
posted by homunculus on Mar 10, 2003 - 10 comments

Intellectual Dishonesty

Intellectual Dishonesty
Intellectual dishonesty is pure poison to the enterprise of the law. Yet countless examples show intellectual dishonesty has now become a routine, expected part of American discourse. The most obvious half-truths and hypocrisies are greeted with shrugged shoulders and a grunt of "what did you expect?"
Is the ultimate goal more important than truth, honesty, integrity and "playing by the rules?" Or, put another way, does the end satisfy the means? "Restoring honor and integrity" would indicate not.
posted by nofundy on Mar 6, 2003 - 12 comments

Funny Across The Atlantic

America and England: Separated By Humor? "This laughter gulf between two otherwise co-dependent cultures should not be thought surprising. The two most fundamental aspects of comedy are observation and speech rhythms and these are necessarily subject to local variation. The point has often been made that British jokes derive most often from class and puns, while US humour is rooted in gags." While talk show host Ruby Wax claims "If your language consists of little more than guttural grunts and cherry pie, you can't be blamed for not getting it." Is it any wonder her little show tanked so fast?
posted by owillis on Feb 25, 2003 - 45 comments

Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state that trusted its saviours

"If the Americans think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty horrible to behold." something for US, British and world citizens to think about as we bang the drums for war on Iraq.
posted by specialk420 on Feb 24, 2003 - 30 comments

Well, THAT was quick

Helping America Prepare for Fiery Death. The anti-Ready.gov. Well, that was quick.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Feb 21, 2003 - 11 comments

fear gear

anyone been to safer america to stock up on tin foil hats or mustard gas spit shields? is it strange to capitalize on paranoia like this, or to open flag shops after sept. 11th? joking aside, any reports from the store from new yawkers?
posted by asparagus_berlin on Feb 20, 2003 - 13 comments

The people speak

Listen to what some anti-war protesters had to say this weekend about possible war with Iraq. Quicktime required.
posted by Ron on Feb 19, 2003 - 41 comments

Expatriate Iraq poet Saadi Youssef

America, America: I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island. A poem from Saadi Youssef, published in this Saturday's Guardian (scroll down past Seamus Heaney):

Take what you do not have
and give us what we have.
Take the stripes of your flag
and give us the stars.
Take the Afghani Mujahideen beard
and give us Walt Whitman's beard filled with
butterflies.
Take Saddam Hussein
and give us Abraham Lincoln
or give us no one.

Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He is considered to be among the greatest living Arab poets. Youssef has published 25 volumes of poetry, a book of short stories, a novel, four volumes of essays, a memoir, and numerous translations. In addition to being imprisoned for his poetry and politics, he has won numerous literary awards and recognitions. He now lives in London. [more inside]
posted by jokeefe on Feb 14, 2003 - 8 comments

Anti-Europeanism in America

Decoding Anti-Europeanism In America: Although European anti-Americanism focuses on one country, with one government and one foreign policy (the U.S.), growing American (i.e. U.S.) anti-Europeanism seems to conflate dozens of separate and disparate countries, governments and foreign policies into one abstract entity, "Europe", which doesn't really exist as such. Or exists just as much as "America", North and South, Central and Carribean does. So what the hell is up? What terrible confusion of categories is clogging up Western political communications? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 29, 2003 - 77 comments

We're So 'Meta'

I'm mo' "meta" than you! This USA Today puff piece is claiming that "meta" is the new "cool." What are your thoughts on this? Do any of you use "meta" in conversation or writing without a noun following it? (when you're not referring to the abbreviation for MetaTalk, obviously...)
posted by popvulture on Jan 28, 2003 - 64 comments

European Viewpoint

From a European Perspective

"President Bush recently declared that the U.S. was "the single surviving model of human progress." Maybe some Americans think this self-evident, but the rest of us see it as a clumsy arrogance born of ignorance. "

Is this something many Americans need to hear but don't want to listen? Personally I appreciated Mr. Eno's honest and candid observations. And no, I don't think he hates America.
posted by nofundy on Jan 23, 2003 - 98 comments

Civil War Widows Lunch Photo

Last Civil War Widows Do Lunch. Gertrude Janeway, the Union War widow, passed away Friday at 93. Live tonight on ABC, Alberta Martin will receive the grand prize -- one million confederate dollars and a 2003 Dodge Durango. [Just kidding.]
posted by britain on Jan 20, 2003 - 12 comments

American Peace Homepage

American Peace Homepage. "While most people, including most Americans, tend to believe that the United States has largely been a peaceful country until recently, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the United States has been engaged in military operations for most of this country's history. Of all the things the United States can claim, it certainly has no claim to being a 'peace loving' country. [Visit this site to see] a table containing every year, from 1776 to the present - all of US history. Just click on the year to see who US troops were killing, or threatening to kill, in that year."
posted by Joey Michaels on Jan 16, 2003 - 38 comments

Menzies and Amateur Scholars

Is Gavin Menzies the Stephen Wolfram of history? That's the question today's New York Times (login: dr_mabuse, pw: mabuse) suggests in a Menzies profile. Menzies has a new book out, 1421, which claims that the Chinese discovered America seven decades before Columbus did. Some people have made similarly precise claims about this planet's developments. Others have seen their amateur claims initially mocked and later proven to be correct. Is Menzies onto something or is he a crank? And how do we place the passionate amateur within the realm of scholarly pursuits?
posted by ed on Jan 5, 2003 - 17 comments

UN warns food aid to N Korea is drying up

UN warns food aid to N Korea is drying up 7 million North Koreans face starvation. You are the American president. What do you suggest be done? (note: America was the biggest supplier of food till recently.) Do you tell them No food till you give up nukes or do you feed them what you can and try to negotiate? Or do you sit back and say: not my problem.
posted by Postroad on Jan 4, 2003 - 24 comments

Québecers take on America.

Plein Sud - 'A unique vision of the Americas on the Web.' If you enjoy travel documentaries, this is for you. Two French Canadians take on the Americas in this epic site cram packed with videos (for 56k and broadband), interviews, and travelogues. Originally produced for TV, you can now watch the full episodes from the site.
posted by wackybrit on Dec 29, 2002 - 22 comments

Real Espresso Coffee

Will 2003 Be The Year Of Real Espresso In America? With the wealth of good machines, fresh coffee beans and online knowledge now available, not to mention tempting offers like Illy's subscription (though the pods turn out expensive in the end, it allows absolute beginners to make acceptable espresso) it's surprising Starbucks-style coffee (big, milky, watery and sweet) hasn't yet been dethroned by the pleasure of straight espresso (tiny, thick, creamy and intense), preferably restretto. I should add that, despite many efforts over the years, I've never had a decent cup of espresso in America. In fact, outside Southern Europe. What gives?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 23, 2002 - 61 comments

Senator Says State Sponsor of Sept 11th

On PBS last week, Senator Bob Graham said that there is "evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States," but that "It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today." Do you trust the government to keep the right informatin classified, or do we need to know?
posted by cell divide on Dec 19, 2002 - 16 comments

Essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise

Canadian American Relations According to the Guardian: essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise.
posted by blue_beetle on Dec 15, 2002 - 87 comments

NAFTA

It's the ten-year anniversary of NAFTA this week. Has it been a success? [more inside].
posted by acridrabbit on Dec 12, 2002 - 31 comments

American slangorama

Not sure if someone wants to beat you, or is asking for a date? Literal vreakdowns of American slang, including explanations of expressions found in movies and pop music. Don't miss the the literally Boschian body-parts slang or the insults, including the classic "I hate you, and if a horse had brought you here, I'd hate it just as much, if not more."
posted by blissbat on Dec 8, 2002 - 25 comments

U.S. Writers Do Cultural Battle Around the Globe

U.S. Writers Do Cultural Battle Around the Globe (NYTimes, reg. req'd). So many questions spring to mind... Is it productive for the government to do this, or should it be the role of civil society? Should such efforts attempt to portray an appealing version of the U.S., or an accurate one? Where would you direct people who, in good faith, want to gain insight into the "American mind" through the written word, or others forms of art?
posted by stonerose on Dec 7, 2002 - 9 comments

You and me.

What the World Thinks in 2002. How Global Publics View: Their Lives, Their Countries, The World, America. A global poll from the Pew Reaserch Center. via NPR.
posted by the fire you left me on Dec 4, 2002 - 20 comments

Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart's Female Trouble
With shopping on many people's minds these days, here's a story detailing charges of worker discrimination practiced at that store everyone knows (it's also America's largest private employer).

An informed consumer is a responsible consumer. Know where your money goes.
posted by mapalm on Dec 4, 2002 - 58 comments

Every 30 years (ish) America gets itself into war. Time's up!

Take a peek at this military timeline. And let's figure that the time from when Johnny, sergeant, age 25, gets home from fighting the war and tells 5 year old Junior about the experience to when Junior, Major/Lt.Col, grows up and wants to CAUSE a war, averages 30 years.

Now let's do some math...starting with the French and Indian War, 1754-1763. Add 30-ish years (21). American Revolution, 1775-1783. Add 30-ish years (38). War of 1812, 1812-1814. Add 30-ish years, numerous Indian wars. Add 30-ish years. American Civil War, 1861-1865. Add 30-ish years (37). Spanish-American War, 1898. Add 30-ish years (19). America in World War I, 1917-1918. Add 30-ish years (25). America in World War II, 1942-1945. Add 30-ish years (20). Vietnam War, 1964-1973. Add 30-ish years, and it's the turn of the millenium....it's now.

We haven't learned from 250 years of this cycle, and there's no reason to think we've learned anything since. I didn't count the Gulf War cause it wasn't much of anything, and I know the numbers are a bit forced...but I think this trend is worth discussing.
posted by taumeson on Dec 3, 2002 - 44 comments

A Moving

Hegemon, hyperpower, empire. "As the United States marches to war, no other label quite seems to capture the scope of American power or the scale of its ambition."
posted by four panels on Nov 24, 2002 - 3 comments

War With Iraq - As Predictable As Chess

War With Iraq - As Predictable As Chess There is still a good chance we can avoid war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein has never won a war, and his military forces surely foresee their own destruction. Numerous assassination attempts by them (some involving the Republican Guard) have failed. They are likely trying again, even now. Therein lies our best hope. What if they fail again? Then invasion by the U.S. is inevitable.
posted by daHIFI on Nov 22, 2002 - 20 comments

Tropical America game

Tropical America intriguing Flash game about forgotten histories of the Americas, inspired by the works of David Alfaro Siqueiros.
posted by none on Nov 18, 2002 - 2 comments

Gone To Croatan: Runaway Slaves, Lost Tribes, Tri-Racial Isolates & Hi, Iconomy!

In the late 18th or early 19th century a group of runaway slaves and serfs fled from Kentucky into the Ohio Territory, where they inter-married with Natives and formed a tribe - red, white & black - called the Ben Ishmael tribe. The Ishmaels (who seem to have been Islamically inclined) followed an annual nomadic route through the territory, hunting & fishing, and finding work as tinkers and minstrels. They were polygamists, and drank no alcohol. Every winter they returned to their original settlement, where a village had grown.

But eventually the US Govt. opened the Territory to settlement, and the ~official~ pioneers arrived. Around the Ishmael village a town began to spring up, called Cincinnati. Soon it was a big city. But Ishmael village was still there, engulfed & surrounded by "civilization." Now it was a ~slum~.


Maroons, Ramapaughs, Jackson Whites, the Moors of Delaware, Melungeons, the Ben Ishmaels--hat tip to Footnotes of History on that last--Red Bones, Brass Ankles, Turks, Lumbees, Croatans and other lost tribes and rebel slave communities.

The questions raised are what is race, tribe and family ...among others.

Included by extension are Hakim Bey, The Moorish Orthodox Church, various tribes of Black Indians, Jukes, Kallikaks, Margaret Sanger, The Bell Curve and Heather Locklear. (Step within the tent for the latter's interpetive dance)
posted by y2karl on Nov 15, 2002 - 38 comments

Lord Timothy Dexter - 'Consler of Trouth'

Lord Timothy Dexter (1747-1806) was one of the most colorful characters of early American history, described here as, among other things, an "Eccentric 18th Century Merchant - Investor with a Midas Touch - Impresario - Patron of the Arts, founding the 'World Mouserum of Grate Wonder and Gret Caricters' - progressive 'Libperel' - Self Appointed 'Consler of Trouth.'" This site includes a complete transcription of Dexter's punctuation-free magnum opus, A Pickle for the Knowing Ones featuring his famous Addenda.
posted by Joey Michaels on Nov 14, 2002 - 12 comments

The First Eight Presidents of the United States of America

John Hanson (November 5, 1781 - November 3, 1782), Elias Boudinot (November 4, 1782 - November 2, 1783), Thomas Mifflin (November 3, 1783 - June 3, 1784), Richard Henry Lee (November 30, 1784 - November 22, 1785), John Hancock (November 23, 1785 - June 5, 1786), Nathaniel Gorham (June 1786 until January 1787), Arthur St. Clair (February 2 , 1787 - January 21, 1788), and Cyrus Griffin (January 22, 1788 – April 29, 1789)--under The Articles of the Confederation.
Everything you know is wrong--George Washington was the 9th President
--or 8th, depending on how you call it on John Hancock's term. [More inside]
posted by y2karl on Nov 7, 2002 - 28 comments

How the world sees Americans.

How the world sees Americans. "They readily distinguish between the official face of the American government (who they tend to disagree with and fear) and American people, pop culture and values (which they tend to adore and emulate)." "It's the world's superpower ... that has a childlike understanding of everyone else."

Journalist Mark Hertsgaard travelled the globe gathering opinions about the U.S. He talks about the surprising results.
posted by gazingus on Nov 6, 2002 - 108 comments

Am I the only one who doesn't think this is news? This story also showed up here a few days ago. (more inside)
posted by kate_fairfax on Nov 4, 2002 - 54 comments

Carve-up of oil riches begins

Carve-up of oil riches begins US plans to ditch industry rivals and force end of Opec, write Peter Beaumont and Faisal Islam
posted by Postroad on Nov 3, 2002 - 14 comments

"You will have heard, Dr Sir I doubt not long before this can have reached you that Sir W. Howe is gone from hence. The Rebels imagine that he is gone to the Eastward. By this time however he has filled Chesapeak bay with surprize and terror." - Sir Henry Clinton

Spy Letters of the American Revolution is an excellent site offering such gems as a captured letter written from Rachel Revere to husband Paul, a message from a colonial scientist written in invisible ink, and Benedict Arnold's encrypted message to the British offering to surrender West Point for £20,000. The site includes photos of the documents, back-stories on each letter, profiles of the people involved, and descriptions of methodology, as well as a timeline and route map.
posted by taz on Oct 31, 2002 - 8 comments

What is America

What is America and what is its role in the world today? Not being American, I often find myself in conflict when speaking to them about their country. Looking for a way to express my views, I find myself agreeing more and more with Fareed Zakaria’s viewpoint.
posted by Baesen on Oct 30, 2002 - 29 comments

The First Measured Century

The First Measured Century contains quite a bit of information about American society; population, work, education, religion, health, money, politics, crime and more. Everything from the median marriage age to the percentage of Americans who believe it is wrong to go to the movies on Sundays (13%).
posted by edlundart on Oct 23, 2002 - 5 comments

Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine is opening tomorrow. I know muckraking Michael Moore is a touchy subject around here, but I found his first feature since Roger & Me insightful in its stubborn search for an answer to the question: "Why is America so violent?" Other reviewers agree. Subtle he isn't, but when the news is as stark as it is today, maybe subtlety is beside the point. I hope that even some of you who aren't predisposed to agree with Moore will give this film a chance. Did I mention it's also entertaining as hell?
posted by muckster on Oct 10, 2002 - 48 comments

Torricelli Considers Dropping Out Of His Re-Election Bid

Torricelli Considers Dropping Out Of His Re-Election Bid ...and Republicans' hopes to reclaim the Senate brighten. Why drop out now, with only 5 weeks left? Is Torricelli guilty of even more ethics violations than previously thought? (more inside...)
posted by jennak on Sep 30, 2002 - 67 comments

The end of an era?

The end of an era? The Miss America crowning had just 12 million viewers tune in this past Saturday, the lowest viewership in the history of the pageant. Are people turned off by this type of competition? Or are there just better things to do on a Saturday night?
posted by MediaMan on Sep 25, 2002 - 36 comments

The first world, or west

The first world, or west or any other generic term, is not the cosy alliance it once was according to this author. There is a growing schism which is becoming wider, is this a problem. Whilst on a lighter note the house of Sauds' representative here in the UK maintains a war on iraq is madness, seems everything is just super.
posted by johnnyboy on Sep 9, 2002 - 8 comments

Evidence since the early 1800s hinted that Welsh prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd and a colony of Welsh settlers discovered America in the 10th Century and eventually became assimilated as American Indians. New discoveries using DNA from graves in TN and England could show Madoc was actually a relative of King Aurthur and sailed to America in 562 AD! The historians Wilson and Blackett who have a loyal and cult-like following were also commissioned to produce a detailed genealogy of the Bush family by former President George Bush (senior).
posted by stbalbach on Aug 29, 2002 - 25 comments

Salman says "miscalculations"

Salman says "miscalculations" Is the US so unpopular.Are they willing and able to do anything about it ??
posted by johnny7 on Aug 29, 2002 - 56 comments

A wargame carried out by the US military was rigged

A wargame carried out by the US military was rigged to ensure the success of the American side against unspecified Middle East opponents, according to the retired General commanding the Middle East forces. Most amusingly, he managed to sink most of the American navy, and the game had to be stopped so the ships could be "refloated". I have to wonder, does this wargame indicate that America could be biting off more than it can chew, if it decides to invade Iraq by itself, or was this $200million down the drain?
posted by salmacis on Aug 21, 2002 - 45 comments

Dasht-e-Leili. Is it a remote desert site where the Taliban buried their massacre victims? Or is it where the United States' allies buried theirs? Or is no one to blame?
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 18, 2002 - 2 comments

Gary Condit's wife suing the National Enquirer.

Gary Condit's wife suing the National Enquirer. Condit. Tabloid. Condit. Tabloid. There's so much to hate in this story.... yay?
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Aug 18, 2002 - 6 comments

You have become a nation of monsters, America. Hypocrites. Murderers. Fools.

You have become a nation of monsters, America. Hypocrites. Murderers. Fools. A letter by a Canadian published in the Baltimore Chronicle to all Americans. Is this merely displaced anger; a worthless rant, or does this feeling come from a more real problem?
posted by Hall on Aug 17, 2002 - 145 comments

The 50 richest members of US Congress,

The 50 richest members of US Congress, each with a net worth ranging from $3.3 mil to $675 mil. Looks like a mostly even mix among the parties, with a heavy California contingent.
posted by mathowie on Aug 13, 2002 - 29 comments

What is the estimated US Population at this very moment?

What is the estimated US Population at this very moment? Find out at the official site of the US census. More fascinating information available by checking out the 2000 census homepage. As a post-script, what are your favorite sites for collecting interesting statistics?
posted by cell divide on Aug 8, 2002 - 16 comments

As it turns out, Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein were buddies back in the day.
posted by queequeg on Aug 3, 2002 - 43 comments

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