Age of Empire by BBC

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The BBC has a really interesting radio series going on right now called Age of Empire. Five of the six parts have been broadcast and are posted on their website. It examines whether the US is an empire, as this topic has been coming up more and more lately. It’s very interesting and examines a lot of the history of world politics.

I’m in the middle of listening to them right now. So far he hasn’t come to any conclusions; he’s examining the issues. I can’t wait to see what (if anything) he decides at the end.

What Bush says and what Bush does

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I hope the fact that George Bush often says one thing and does another is not news to most Americans. Here is a great webpage, created by the House Appropriations Commitee, that outlines many of the promises Bush has made and then quietly broken:

What makes things difficult is that the media doesn’t seem to want to bring these issues up, and the only way the average person could find out would be to read through his budget each year.

Also somewhat related was the recent news about Scientists all over the US accusing this administration of distorting scientific facts for political gain:

Sometimes they bite the hand that doesn’t feed them

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It seems the US justice department is so busy placing gag orders on people whom they demand information from, and in general being super secretive, that they forgot to share a little bit of information with their own prosecutors. In a strange twist one of those prosecutors is now suing John Ashcroft. I’ll start taking bets on whether the plaintiff is detained without access to anyone – under the provisions of the Patriot Act – and then shipped off to Cuba.

Some interesting articles on the Bush Administration

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A great article detailing the move to a militarized foreign policy by the US.

This article details a lot of the ironies of Bushs policies. Especially interesting is the point that the US went to war with Iraq to supposedly help stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, yet Pakistan has been selling nuclear secrets for decades – and the White House is suprisingly quiet. I’m obviously not proposing that the US should invade Pakistan, but doesn’t that fact, plus that Osama is likely hiding somewhere in that country, provide a much more compelling argument than the one used for Iraq? Oh, I remember now: a) they don’t have oil, and b) they didn’t try to kill his daddy.

And lastly, a nice catch-all article talking about the Iraqi conflict in general, but with some very interesting tidbits about the internal conflicts within the Bush Administration.

Media sensationalism at it’s best

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Here’s a funny article about all the backlash from the super bowl incident. The article itself isn’t funny, but what it says about our society is.

A funny clip of some news-talk-show was shown by Jon Stewart last night. The guy said “What bigger scandal could there be than this incident?” WHAT?!?! Is this guy an idiot or a repressed sexual freak? Here’s a few other scandals that might be a little bigger:
- her brother, a repeated pedophile
- a president who exposed an undercover CIA operative
- the entirely corrupt situtation with “rebuilding” contracts in Iraq, including proven scamming by contractors with blatant conflicts of interest and ties to the administration

This is insane! The media has been talking about this for days now, non-stop, when there are REAL issues going on here and around the world.

Now let’s look at what all this media attention says about us. Think about our societal standards for a second:
- nipples, although not breasts, are banned from television during primetime
- words like “ass” are routinely bleeped
- guns can appear at any time
- people can be murdered in pretty much any fashion (as long as it doesn’t involve nipples)
- mass murders can be shown
- severed body parts, as well as mutilated and burned bodies can be shown
- medical operations on a live body are ok, again, as long as no nipples are involved
- detailed descriptions of rapes and child molestation can be given

Does this not seem a bit skewed? I’m not saying, as our society tends to do, that because of everything else we might as well open the flood gates and let anything be shown on television. I’m in favour of the opposite. Why the hell is so much violence shown on TV? If I had a choice between allowing a child to see nudity versus violence, I would pick nudity any day. What is screwing up kids in this society more? I think the evidence of over 20,000 homicides per year in the US in recent years is proof enough.

Yes, I realize there will be someone out there who says “But show me evidence that violence in the media is directly influencing children.” There may be some great evidence out there I haven’t seen, but I personally don’t care. Use some common sense! If you desensitize a person to some action, that action becomes more acceptable and less shocking – by definition. If you desensitize people to violent crime, it becomes cool to write songs about murdering people, cool to play video games to murder people, etc. How can anyone argue this is a good thing? Pretty soon you’re watching your friend gun down the guy across the street and think it’s cool

I fully agree this is entirely the parent’s responsibility. If you aren’t aware what your child is being exposed to, you need to find out right now. However, since so many parents don’t seem to do this, the government can help by regulating the distribution, just like it regulates so many other things (ie: nipples.)