Category Archives: etc

Eau de beef

I eat a Burger King burger now and then, but I’m not sure I want to spray myself with their new cologne, Flame by BK.

Apparently it’s meat-scented.  This is a joke, right?  A whopper?

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Squeaky Clean Oregon

Recent events have people speculating on the most corrupt state in the union.  Illinois, Louisiana???  Via Yglessias we have a chart of public corruption by state over the last 10 years.

No major surprise here with Louisiana at #1.  But I didn’t think Oregon would be absolute cleanest state in the union.

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What not to wear, GOP-style

Apparently the GOP spent $150,000 on a makeover for Sarah Palin and her family in September.  C’mon!  The regular folks who appear on What Not to Wear buy “a whole new wardrobe” for $5,000.

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Latte Wars

I’m from the Pacific Northwest (Starbucks territory) but I just visited the East Coast and was struck by the popularity of Dunkin’ Donuts there.  Now Matthew Yglesias (location:  DC) reports that Dunkin has taken the LEED, so to speak, in energy efficient stores.  Among other things, a new store

…will have an on-site Earthworm Casting facility, which will house 80 pounds of red earthworms to eat the waste produced by the store.

Can Starbucks compete?  The Latte Wars enter a new realm.

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Remembering Fawn Hall

I was surfing the web for info on the Iran-Contra scandal recently. I think it was because Iran-Contra seems like the template for the Bush/Cheney regime: contempt for Congress and the rule of law, a generalized worship of all things military, and an unbelievable incompetence. In any event, I stumbled on this, a description of Oliver North’s secretary, Fawn Hall, attempting to transfer money to the Iranians:

“Funding from one foreign country, Brunei, was botched when North’s secretary, Fawn Hall, transposed the numbers of North’s Swiss bank account number. A Swiss businessman, suddenly $10 million richer, alerted the authorities of the mistake. The money was eventually returned to the Sultan of Brunei, with interest.”

The conservative movement in a nutshell. Incompetent autocrats.

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What would Reagan do?

Conservatives are in a funk these days. W’s approval ratings hover at 30%.  The GOP is about to nominate for president someone who once called Rush Limbaugh a clown and Jerry Falwell “an agent of intolerance”.  Everyone knows it’s a Democratic year.

What’s a conservative to do these days?

In the case of The Heritage Foundation the answer appears to be “begin the process of deifying Ronald Reagan.” They’ve launched an entire website devoted to answering the question: “What would Reagan Do?”

Isn’t this a bit sacrilegious? It’s obviously a reference to the question “What would Jesus do?”.

In any event, the site entertains its visitors with the “question of the week”. For example:

What did Reagan see when he looked into the heart of America?
1) Goodness and truth
2) Greed and selfishness
3) Fear and racism

Visitors returning the following week can find the correct answer to the previous week’s question. For example, the correct answer to the question above is number one.
Just passing the time. Just passing the time.

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Culture War – Turkish style

I just finished reading the novel “Snow” by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. The central conflict in the story is between the protagonist, Ka, a educated, secular, urban, European-leaning Turk who travels to a rural city of Kars. There he encounters fundamentalist Islamists, Kurdish nationalists and others who feed on the resentment many of the locals feel for urban intellectuals like Ka. They believe that Ka and others like him have betrayed the traditional Turk and Muslim way of life.

Young girls, it seems, have gone so far as to commit suicide because the local authorities won’t let them wear head scarves. The school’s headmaster is murdered by an Islamist. It’s a tangled tale of love, betrayal, religious and political fundamentalism–and snow. Excellent book, funny and sad.

And I guess it’s not totally fiction. Fast forward to today’s news: via LA Times:

ISTANBUL, TURKEY — Turkey’s highest court today decided against outlawing the ruling party (AKP), which had been accused of attempting to advance an Islamist agenda in officially secular Turkey… .

The case against the AKP was brought by prosecutors after the government tried earlier this year to lift a ban on the wearing of Muslim head scarves in public universities. That prohibition has its roots in the decision of modern Turkey’s highly respected founding father, Kemal Ataturk, to ban religious dress in public institutions.

Miss Turkey 2007 Winners

Woman wearing traditional Islamic headscarf appears in Turkish parliament

Talk about a culture war. Turkey’s highest court came within a vote of outlawing the ruling party. Over head scarves. That would be like the Supreme Court in this country outlawing the GOP for requiring prayer in public schools.

Of course that won’t happen. For one thing, the government here generally doesn’t outlaw political parties. For another, in this country religious displays by high government officials isn’t banned, it’s expected. For another, if the high court in this country were to outlaw a political party, it would most likely be the Democratic Party. And it wouldn’t be for insufficient devotion to secularism. Democrats, we are told, stand in the way of prayer in schools, and putting the ten commandments in the courthouse; Democrats are conducting a war on Christmas, and so forth. Turkey’s culture war is just like America’s. In a parallel universe.

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