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You Decide in 2004: Kerry or Scary?

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Terror and Liberalism

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria


Polyarchy by Robert Dahl

The Nazi Seizure of Power

The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen

Terror and Liberalism

Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman

In Association with

The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck



A Few Thoughts On Turkey

Over the course of my four months in Turkey, I've become amazing complacent with the illogical way things are done here. ["But Kris, every culture is different and has their own way of doing things!"] Maybe, but the Turks do things in ways even they don't understand - as my Turkish roommate can attest to.

Here now, are a few thoughts on this wonderful, frustrating, beautiful, and contradictory country:

- If you're going to make people pay to use public restrooms, the purpose of which is to pay for maintainance and cleaning supplies, maybe cleaning the place once in a while wouldn't be a bad thing.

- Pouring a bucket of water on a dirty sidewalk does not make the dirt go away. It just makes the sidewalk slippery.

- Carrot flavored gum is nasty. That's right, carrot flavored gum. Sick.

- Selling really good bread on the street all across major cities is a great thing. If you need a snack, bam, there you go.

- For a placed named "Turkey," there is an amazing lack of turkey's.

- When CO is pouring into the contained space of a cross-country bus, maybe it would be a good idea to stop the bus occasionally so the passengers don't all die.

- If you have to expend an entire role of tape in order to keep a lira note together, it could be time to consider taking that bill out of circulation.

- I like ketchup, but does it need to be so thick that you can build small log cabins out of your fries with the ketchup actually holding the structure together? That seems a bit excessive.

- There has to be a better time to vacuum a classroom than when students are taking a final exam.

- It snows every year in Ankara. Every single year. No exceptions. This shouldn't be a surprise.

- When a movie theater is 90% empty, I should be allowed to pick my own seat.

- The Kurds are key and should stop being called Turks. They aren't Turkish. Get over it.

- The most amazing engineering I have ever seen was a box of gum. You should have seen it. It was amazing.

- Yes Turks, there was a genocide of Armenians in 1915-16. Oh you haven't heard of it? I wonder why...

- If tea did not exist, unemployment in Turkey would quinuple.

- Being able to climb all over a 2,000 year old fort is a good thing. Except when the door you think leads you out of the place really is a 50 foot drop off.

- That 6-year old Kurdish boy didn't need to stare at me from a foot away for four hours straight. That was just unnecessary.

- Horses run counterclockwise everywhere in the world. Someone tell the Turks. Even, the Kurds do it right.

- I was not evolutionarily equiped to use a squat toilet. It simply can't be done.

- The recent comeback of Narghile is a good thing. Places that don't have move coals for said Narghiles are no fun.

- Hand sanitizer on Turkish buses doesn't actually make your hands clean. It just makes them smell like rotten lemon.

- Doner spits are a genius way of cooking meat. We need more of that in America.

- Real democracy doesn't call for military "interventions" every twenty years. If a political party is doing stuff badly, next time there's an election, vote them out. It ain't that hard.

- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the most German-looking Turk/person I have ever seen. That's suspicious.

- The bus oasis is a world unto itself. Beware.

- Coins get bigger as their value declines. Stated without comment.

- What are the Kurds keeping in all that extra space in their pants?

OK, that's all I got for now. Time for dinner. Should I have chicken and bread or bread and chicken?

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 9:20:00 AM

Friday, December 19, 2003  



I think we all saw this coming. At least he had the decency to not run for reelection last year. He did a good thing by eliminating the horrendously unjust death penalty for Illinois, but that doesn't make him a good guy. Bribes are bribes and you get caught in the end - even in Illinois.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 3:38:00 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2003  


The Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Read


"In the Kurdish city of Kirkuk in the north, eight people were killed and 80 wounded from gunfire during celebrations of Saddam's capture."

Where did they think the bullets went when they fired them straight up? A captured Saddam doesn't do you much good if you're dead. Honestly now...

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 6:09:00 PM

Sunday, December 14, 2003  


On Another Note

Now I can rest assured that that METU cafeteria worker who precariously dangles a cigarette from his mouth while dishing up my bean soup is in fact, not Saddam. Whew.

Seriously, I was worried.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 5:33:00 PM



'We Got Him'

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 7:55:00 AM


Well, I Guess That Solves It

Keep in mind this is from the Daily Telegraph (via Priorities & Frivolities):

"Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist."

"Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service."

"The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad."

Wow, al-Qaeda, Saddam AND the Palestinians? My, that's the trifecta! But wait, there's more!

"The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria."

I mean, why not? Of course Atta had a role to play in everything, why not Niger too? That way it all makes sense and we can declare victory, right?

Maybe Atta was the senior administration official who leaked classified information too. Or maybe he was the shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas in 1963. Or maybe he was Deep Throat. At this point, you never can be too sure.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 6:09:00 AM


Saddam Captured

An Iranian news agency is reporting that Saddam Hussein has been taken into custody, based on a claim made by top Kurdish Iraqi leader Jalal Talabani. As in, he's alive. So far there has been no official word on this report, but a spokeswoman for the coalition said there would be a "very important" announcement at a news conference scheduled for 7am ET.

If this is true, this is a huge win for coalition forces and it should lift a big psychological burden off the Iraqi people. Stay tuned...

**UPDATE**: Tony Blair has confirmed reports that Saddam has been captured. Fox News is reporting that Saddam was found "cowering" in a basement in Tikrit.

**UPDATE 2**: Apparently Saddam tried to bury himself alive as soldiers were moving in on him. He actually had to be dug out of his hole.

Also, DNA reports have indicated that it is in fact 100% evil, er, Saddam.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 5:47:00 AM