Talking points 26 June

A big hello to Tony who is going to be moderating for the first time tonight. Thanks Tony! Enjoy!

109 Responses to “Talking points 26 June”

  1. 1 Julie P
    June 25, 2008 at 20:11

    Welcome, Tony. I’m sure you’ll find a friendly bunch. Enjoy!

  2. 2 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 20:17

    Hello everyone. Its actaully Anthony here moderating. Hope I do a good job on my first day. I JUST figured out how to do this, so lets begin 🙂

  3. 3 Venessa
    June 25, 2008 at 20:20

    Thanks for moderating Anthony! So I think I heard someone elude to your post name having to do with a joke. May I inquire what the scoop is?

    I have a team building meeting at work today (drinking & playing golf) but will try to get on the blog as soon as I can!

  4. 4 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 20:28

    No, I’m just new to this, and used my old screen name for my registered wordpress profile. The name Tony is what I used to go by, but since my yahoo account was made around 1998, it has my “old name” in the e-mail “from” line.

    I’m curious if anyone has an opinion on Exxon and their “punishment”? Is 500 million a fair punishment? I mean, they did do quite a bit of damage! I think some of the people are just greedy and jumping on the law suit truck.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  5. 5 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 25, 2008 at 20:41

    Hi everyone!

    I was hoping other outcome for this one 😦

    Court overturns Exxon $2.5bn fine

    And a note about the death penalty:

    Court bans death for child rape

    I am against the death penalty, but I have to admit that sometimes I find it hard to defend its abolition.

  6. June 25, 2008 at 20:44

    Hello Precious Anthony… And a very big WELCOME to you from Baghdad, Iraq ! :-)… May I say a very big THANK YOU to two of my most Precious friends Dennis and Amy ?! My Precious Dennis and Amy my love, your golden hearts do always manage to draw a huge smile on my face… As for how I did in my final year surgery exam which I had yesterday, my answer to this would be : “I really don’t know how I did, honestly !”… And Salaam Shirley hayati, how are you doing sweetie ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  7. 7 Julie P
    June 25, 2008 at 20:45

    I recall the caption of the Valdez was drunk when the oil tanker ran aground. If I remember right he had a history with excessive drinking. Given that there are careers where a person’s driving, flying, or whatever, record is checked prior to employment, and during it by an employer and/or a government agency and they are found to be insufficient or deviated from the rules, then they lose their job or are not hired. If this is ignored and they are hired and kept on then, the employer is equally as negligent. What occurred in 1989 is just as relevant today as it was then. The judgement was based on the amount of damage done at the time. It appears to me that the time value of money is going ignored.

  8. 8 Colleen
    June 25, 2008 at 20:48


    Are these types of killings (Columbine, Virgina Tech, etc) an American phenomenon? Or does this happen in other countries as well? If not, why is this becoming a common-place tragedy in the US?

  9. 9 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 20:58

    Welcome Anthony, I thought about the outcome of the SADC calling on Mugabe to postpone the elections the possibility of it being free and fair does not exist but stop of saying what action(s) will be taken if the elections are not postponed. What do we think about this? Is there more that SADC can do more than calling for the postponement of the elections?

  10. 10 Dennis :)
    June 25, 2008 at 21:04

    Hi Anthony…

    Thanks for being moderator on TP on June 26, 2008…..

    I always will be your friend, Lubna….. 🙂

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  11. 11 Katharina in Ghent
    June 25, 2008 at 21:07

    Hi Anthony,

    Welcome to the moderating side! I can guarantee, once you’re hooked you won’t let go… Just keep an eye on the spam, sometimes comments get lost there.

    @ Colleen:

    I don’t think that it’s specific for the US, it does also happen in other places but maybe less often, and then they don’t kill as many people. I don’t want to blame the media, but there are a lot of movies out there that suggest that “taking things in your own hands” is the way to go, and if you feel deprived and misunderstood, (and a screw is somewhere loose), then fuses blow more easily and you may end up taking that rifle with extra ammo and “go after them”… these kids probably never learned another way to solve their problems.

  12. 12 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 21:19

    @Coleen, it happens everywhere but events in the US get more media attention than other places. Here in Liberia recently about 30 persons were murdered for land dispute. Nobody heard of it because is not in the west or some developed country. I bet if that were in the US, by now we would have still be talking about it.

  13. 13 Colleen
    June 25, 2008 at 21:25

    @ Katharina

    Yes I agree. I guess it made me think of some of the comments made regarding the US in Iraq on the show today… The whole idea that “the ends justify the means” — it’s a very selfish mentality… and these types of crimes seem to have the same selfish underpinnings…

  14. 14 Pangolin-California
    June 25, 2008 at 21:31

    @ Shooters- As a person who suffers from depression and comes from a family with a history of depression I have to say the US mental health services start at pathetic and degrade from there. There is virtually no trust among the general populace that the services that are available will actually be of assistance.

    This hits very close to home for me. My elder brother hanged himself not three blocks from his county mental health clinic. If he had the slightest glimmer of hope that he could have been helped he might be alive today. Despite a long list of assets that included a M.S. in computer science he felt that he had no hope of a settled and reasonable life.

    We get the shooters because we treat those among us with problems as garbage to be thrown away. They are merely returning the favor. Most will simply crawl off and conveniently die but that tiny fraction always has to object to the social order.

  15. 15 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 25, 2008 at 21:31


    I don´t recall an incident like that in my country, but here guns are not as available to the average people as in the U.S. Gun permits are very difficult to obtain -even if you are a hunter- and most weapons are restricted for military use. So, only you can get guns in the black market and if you are caught with one without a permit you face jailtime without bail.

    I am sure that if we could have more access to guns we would have those types of killings in schools and the workplace.

    I think the issue is gun control. I lived in Montreal for 6 years and there was a school shooting there at Dawson College in September 2006. It spured criticism about softening gun control in Canada. Also there was a school massacre in 1989: the École Polytechnique massacre. All the victims were women (the perpetrator selected them), because he claimed being fighting feminism.

    There is a list of notable school shootings in Wikipedia. Most of them are in the U.S. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting

  16. 16 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 21:40

    @ Pangolin

    I’m very sorry to hear that. I to used to be very depressed, and was a “cutter”. It was really hard to find good help, because everyone just wanted to throw pills my way right away. Personally, I don’t believe in pills. I’d say 90% of the people who are given a prescription shouldn’t be given it, but some doctors see this as a patient that will need to come in every month (AKA $$$). My doctor didn’t do ANYTHING for me! Neither did the pills. I think America is looking at depression the wrong way.

    Also, I HATE those depression commercials!!! “Are you tired at work….fatigued…can’t concentrate…sad…mad….” EVERYONE GETS LIKE THAT!!! IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE WEAK AND A FREAK!!! Sorry, this subject gets under my skin!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  17. 17 Robert
    June 25, 2008 at 21:44


    Similar things occur in most other countries around the world but not in such a sever manner. Why the US ones are often more violent I would suggest one of either the following:

    1) In many European countries guns and large knives are much harder to get hold off. If somebody does finally get pushed over the edge, the weaponry available at that moment to most Europeans will limit the number that will get hurt and the severity that can be inflicted in a single blow.

    2) Most other countries I’ve been too or had dealings with (UK, the US, a few European and some African) seem to tolerate in society a small amount of mouthing off and for a few punches to be thrown every so often, whereas I have found Americans a little more private when it comes to negative thoughts about others. Perhaps this acts as a relief valve and prevents somebody going over the edge in more dramatic ways.

  18. 18 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 21:47

    Luz, buenas tardes (¿noches?)
    I have also been following the same exxon case. I am livid (what is the word for “livid”?), maybe beyond livid. It is obvious that the Supreme Court has been filled with pro=cporate judges. Some might call them “activist judges.” Make me sick.

    Other than that, salam Lubna, kullu ziana alhamdulillah. I must ask, though, whether “Gulfi” Arabs use the word “zian” with the same pronunciation as Iraqis. It drives me nuts to constantly hear the fath follow the ya in words like z-y-n and i-th-n-n. Now that I have found those articles on Iraq from Democracy Now and other shows like it, I wonder if I will bother to keepup with their coverage of the war. By the way, what is your thought on Sahwa (the Sunni group)? Do they seem really Sunni, or are they just another salafist nonsense thing?

  19. 19 Katharina in Ghent
    June 25, 2008 at 21:48

    Dear Pangolin,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a family member like that.

    @ Anthony:

    I understand that you don’t like pills, i have a similar feeling about them, but I heard that at least some depressions are due to chemical insufficencies in your brain. But I’m not a doctor, so I don’t really know. What you described though about commercials on TV reminded me very much about when I lived in Canada, I just shook my head. If you work 40+ hours a week, take care of a family, take care of your household and try to squeeze in a little bit of quality time for yourself, who wouldn’t be tired, fatigued and have problems to concentrate! What this means is that you should take a break, work less, get someone to help with your home and take the kids to the park, having a good book in your hands. Pills are nothing but a fake quick fix, and when they don’t “help” anymore, what will you do then?

  20. 20 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 22:01

    @ Katharina

    This is kinda crazy, but I had a friend, who said he was on all these pills, was depressed, hated everyone, and had an actual plan to kill people at his school (this was told to me 2 years ago, and he went to school 5 years before that), but he stopped his pills, and started smoking marijuana, and he NEVER had those feelings again! I’m not advocating anything, I just though I might share that crazy little story. (well, personally I don’t see a problem with marijuana. I don’t smoke it, but I really think it should be re-scheduled and hemp should be grown in the U.S.A. for paper, fabric, etc.)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 21 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 22:20

    “I think the issue is gun control.”

    Most gun crimes are committed with guns bought off the black market or given by someone else who bought them. Thus, gun control will do nothing. In England, for example, the banning of handguns led to an increase in gun crime (lower overall violence, increase in gun-related violence).


    “According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from –

    * a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
    * a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
    * family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%”

    Realize the last stat pretty much destroys gun control as the issue.

    The issue is people wanting to kill people. Good luck stopping that, btw. Please remember the Japanese knife attack if you think guns are the only thing that can kill people. Even bare hands work if required.

    Mexico ‘school’ shooting:


  22. 22 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 22:23

    “well, personally I don’t see a problem with marijuana.”

    Could not agree more. Zero reason for this to be illegal when things like alcohol and cigs – with far more destructive potential – are legal.

  23. 23 Janet T
    June 25, 2008 at 22:25

    Depression is a tricky thing- but I think too much gets attributed to it. Anyone I know who has had a wife or husband die immediately gets prescribed Prozac- what’s wrong with feeling sad or grief? When did this become a bad thing?
    I went to the doctor a few years ago, thinking it was thyroid problems because I was run down and tired-
    He tried, 12 ways to Sunday, to get me to say I was depressed.
    I loved his final question- do you ever want to be alone?-
    My response? I have one husband, 2 kids, 2 dogs and 12 employees- of course I want to be alone all the time- the question should be …do I ever get to be alone?- the answer to that is NO!
    I left there and never went back

    We just want to treat everything with pills and shun any personal contact- it seems to be the easy way out, and as a society we are all about easy!

  24. 24 Janet T
    June 25, 2008 at 22:27

    @ riddler562-
    not that I want to have THAT conversation again, but I think you can make fuel out of hemp oil as well-

  25. 25 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 22:30

    @ Tino

    Thats what I’ve also heard about Australia, but I heard that along with killing, robberies and rape also went up after they banned almost all guns in response to the Port Arthur massacre.

    I had a friend killed (and his 3 and 6 year old sons) back in August by his wife, and no Gun was used. He was stabbed buy a huge Renaissance Fair sword, and the two kids were stranggled to death with pillows!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  26. 26 kpellyhezekiah
    June 25, 2008 at 22:32

    Hi tony,
    The Zimbabwe issue hasn’t gotten away and so I’m suggesting we continue tackling it. As I wrote here yesterday, I am against the violence taking place in that country now and personally think that the ‘oldman’ mugabe should’ve been bowing out and taking a back stage role like mandela by now, but I believe strongly that tsvangrai is NOT the correct guy to lead Zimbabwe forward and its people will do very well to look for a true stateman. Today, he has displayed his true colors again. Where was he when right at the beginning of the roundoff mbeki(south africa) and wade( senegal) with hindsight and wisdom suggested that instead of roundoff he should meet mugabe and form a government of national unity? m tsvangrai rejected the idea outright because he thought he was going to smooth sail to victory. Now that he has seen that he has lost(albeit under very unfortunate circumstances but which is common in almost all african countries eg. Uganda, egypt,sudan,nigeria,ethiopia,mali,chad,bourkina fasso etc and this list is tall)he now wants to find his way in to enjoy power by agreeing to the idea. This man is just a selfish politician who put their personal interest first before national interests. Mugabe will cause a ‘miracle’ in africa politically if he agrees now to a unity government. Let zimbabwe look for a stateman who will continue with the land reforms but who can ‘lay his life down for his people even if mugabe points and AK47 at him and I can assure you that mugabe himself will bow to such a person. In fact the gun will refuse to fire in his hands.

  27. 27 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 25, 2008 at 22:47

    I am very sorry about your brother. I don’t know what else to say. It must be very hard.

    I also have suffered from depression (post-partum depression). My mother also was severely depressed when I was little and one time she tried to kill herself. So, for me it is also a difficult subject to address. But I have found that the one of the best ways to deal with it is talk about it. So here is my opinion.

    Like you, I also think that mental problems are not addressed properly. I don’t know in the U.S., but here in Mexico the quality of the services available for people suffering any mental illness is deficient. Luckily, when I was diagnosed with post-partum depression, I was living in Canada. In my experience, they have a good health care system. I had access to many resources, including support groups and social workers that helped a lot (they even go to your house if you need help with the newborn). When I had my second baby, I was prepared to deal with it, and luckily I didn’t have it.

    Some types of depressions are due to chemical imbalances (e.g. post-partum depression), so there is the need to use medication in those cases. However, I agree with you that there is overmedication and that this is bad. I believe that psychotherapy is one of the best ways to deal with depression -if it is done properly by a professional that have high ethical standards. Personally, I have benefited a lot from psychotherapy, but I am able to afford it. I know that it is not available for everyone, which is very bad.

    And finally, I also hate depression commercials! They only want to sell pills. Depression is a serious problem and should be addressed seriously.

  28. 28 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 22:50

    re: depression

    My husband is on an antidepressant and has been for a while. Depression runs in his family. The change in him once he was able to find the correct prescription and dose was measurable. He is so much happier. I too am not a “pop a pill and everything will be okay” type of person but it is definitely an option that should be available to everyone. Hopefully access to mental health care will improve soon so more people can be evaluated and get the proper treatment for them.

  29. 29 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 22:55

    re: Exxon and the reduction of the penalty:

    What is going to deter companies like Exxon from hiring questionable people and taking the necessary precautions if there are no penalties? I’m not saying that $500 million is pocket change, but isn’t the point to not just recoup the cost of the clean up but also make the offender hurt some? If you are caught driving under the influence, you lose your license, your insurance goes up and you pay a big fine. And that is without causing an accident. If you are involved in an accident, the fines are higher and there is usually jail time. If all these companies are going to just pay the clean up costs, they are going to continue doing what they are doing and never take responsibility for their actions. With the record profits they are making, I bet they are laughing all the way to the bank today.

  30. 30 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 22:59


    Welcome to the ranks of the moderators. It takes a little while to get the hang of things but once you do, it is pretty straight forward. I’m around for a little while to help if you need it.

  31. 31 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 23:02


    Thanks. It’s quite fun :). I’m leaving in exactly one hour, but someone is supposed to take over.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  32. 32 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 25, 2008 at 23:14

    Thanks.I have forgotten about that school shooting. However, it is a little bit different from the Columbine and Virginia Tech cases. First, it was a parent -rather than a student- that shot the principal. Second, he alleged that his child complained of being sexually molested -which, as I recall, was unconfirmed- and he tested positive for cocaine. I have to research more about the case, since I didn´t follow it till the end.

    And really, in Mexico, school shootings are an oddity. I am not saying that my country is better or flawless… just look at shootings related to the illegal drugs industry (narcotráfico) here.

    But back to gun control. I think the issue here is the kind of weapons that are available. At the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings the perpetrators used semi-automatic weapons, which led to more victims.

    Finally, in the statistics that you posted about perps getting their weapons from friends, family, street buy or illegal source… maybe many of those weapons were obtain, in the first place, legally. Probably, a good part of that 80% were legally bought weapons that were borrowed or stealed by perps.

  33. 33 Will Rhodes
    June 25, 2008 at 23:18

    Also, I HATE those depression commercials!!! “Are you tired at work….fatigued…can’t concentrate…sad…mad….” EVERYONE GETS LIKE THAT!!! IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE WEAK AND A FREAK!!! Sorry, this subject gets under my skin!

    Would be a good show?

  34. 34 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 23:22

    @ Will Rhodes

    If it were to be a topic for a show, my keyboard would be smoking and I’d end the day with my finger prints gone!!!

    I wonder though, do Iraqis have this “depression” problem? Japan? Russians? Australians? HMMMMmmmm….

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  35. 35 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 23:22

    @gun control, the only effective way of controlling guns is to ban the manufacturers from manufacturing them. I doubt that will ever work cuz the western politicians huge financial donations from them to sponsor their campaigns. @ Tsvangarai, I argued that this man led his people down by pulling out of the race. All he wants is power. No true freedom fighter is afraid of guns. He will do anything including dining with Bob the Devil Mugabe just to gain power.

  36. 36 Will Rhodes
    June 25, 2008 at 23:33

    @ Tony

    The answer is yes. 😉

  37. 37 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 23:46

    @Anthony and Will~~

    They take a lot of antidepressants in Lebanon lately, I just heard on NPR. Depressing circumstances affect depression. Clinical, endogenous (vs. situational) depression is not a joke, and doesn’t mean one is weak or a freak. No kind of depression is trivial.

  38. 38 selena
    June 25, 2008 at 23:48


    I am very sorry about your brother.

    Sadly, the notion of *medical* treatment is over rated.

  39. 39 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 23:49

    Waded right in without tipping my hat to the mods, arriving, departing, hanging in, and hanging out. Where are my manners! Howdy Anthony, Amy, et alia.

  40. 40 Virginia Davis
    June 25, 2008 at 23:53

    riddler562/Anthony: Welcome. I almost lost my sister to anorexia – but a good therapy and loving children and friends. And we talk now once or twice a week.

    To put myself in the context of mental health: I was first hospitalized in November of 1968 – diagnosed schizophrenic, catatonic for a brief period and battled my way through the California mental health system from 69-79 (thought ATD meant Aid to the Temporarily Disabled but really Totally Disabled). Was a founding member of The Madness Network News Collective in the Bay Area; most of my published poetry in MNN. Came back to Portland in 1979 and battled my way through the Oregon mental health system till today.
    A large group of mental health activists can be accessed through www. MindFreedom.org. If you’ve got an extra $10 MF and Support Coalition International could use it – they accept no $ from government/phama corps. etc. I was able to contribute $10,000 through McKenzie River Gathering when the $ from my mother’s estate came through to help out.
    Good people, don’t moan about depression ads. Don’t say “we need better mental health.” Do something. SCI is an ngo recogized by the UN. Have you seen the public service advertisement where there are two people left from a crowd and the comment says: Be a friend.

    Anyway, I am so upset about Zimbabwe. I woke up and realized it would be wonderful if WHYsers and people all over the world could observe, alone and in groups, a time of silence for the desecration of what is really an important part of the modern world: a national election day. How does that happen? I don’t know.

    I know you did well on your exam, Lubna….

    love, another butterfly

    I am going to email the UN (which I believe in).

    Virginia in Oregon

  41. 41 riddler562
    June 25, 2008 at 23:58

    @ Everyone

    Thanks for hanging with me for my first moderation 😉

    Lubna, let us know when you know how you did!!! 🙂

    I’m not sure who’s taking over, but I was told by Chloe that someone would be. I’m leaving for the day. I’ll see you all tomorrow!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  42. 42 Tino
    June 26, 2008 at 00:00

    @ Luz

    I agree the shooting was different. I suppose I was trying to show gun violence happens everywhere but you clearly already understand this.

    “Finally, in the statistics that you posted about perps getting their weapons from friends, family, street buy or illegal source… maybe many of those weapons were obtain, in the first place, legally. Probably, a good part of that 80% were legally bought weapons that were borrowed or stealed by perps.”

    My point in posting that, is gun control attempts to restrict ownership to certain people. However, 80% of gun crimes are committed with guns that cannot be controlled by such a system. If someone’s friend or family is willing to give a gun to someone who cannot buy a gun legally you still have a problem. If they buy them on the black market, your law just became totally irrelevant. If you wish to ban ALL gun sales, you will end up like Britain – with a skyrocketing gun crime rate since the ban. The point is, gun control only restricts guns from law-abiding citizen’s hands. Criminals, by definition, are willing to break the law so laws on gun control do exactly zero for this problem. What would be an interesting solution but is probably still little far off would be having some kind of biometric ID on the gun. Thus, only you as the purchaser would be able to operate the weapon. Banning handguns has not worked anywhere, ever. All US statistics point to increased ownership -> decreased crime. A study I will try to find again later had a point that stated after interviewing criminals, their biggest fear was armed resistance and they admitted to staying away from areas with large gun ownership (hence laws like Kennesaw’s: http://www.rense.com/general9/gunlaw.htm).

  43. 43 Pangolin-California
    June 26, 2008 at 00:02

    @ Depression- The problem in the US at least is that doctors refuse to treat the person as a complex biological unit living in a complex environment. If you sound depressed and you have a thyroid problem you may still end up on the curb with a bottle of Prozac and six months of your life wasted while you wonder why the pills aren’t working.

    The fact that a medical problem can mean loss of work and homelessness in the US doesn’t exactly help. People will delay seeking help due to cost issues or simply due to lack of trust of the medical system. If the patient doesn’t have a reasonable expectation that the medical help is truly engaged in looking at his well being rather than rent-seeking then that also disrupts communication and healing. I perceive a lot of rent-seeking in the US medical system.

    Finally, there is so much poisonous crud in everyday products that people can be suffering from chemical sensitivity and never get treated at all as your average GP is ignorant of this kind of thing.

    @ Shooters- A shooter is simply a suicide seeking an escort IMHO. A person with two 9 mm pistols can kill or wound several dozen people at distances up to 50 yards or more. A person with any kind of knife or sword can be held off with something as simple as a chair or a bicycle. US murder and suicide rates are far in excess of EU, Canadian and Australian figures due to complex reasons. Gun control makes these cases much more difficult but does not eliminate them.

  44. 44 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 00:02

    The depression ads are just the tip of the iceberg! Pharmaceutical advertising is the larger subject. And docs who practice medicine according to whose giving what.
    What REALLY annoys me is that “my peer group” were and are prescribed Zyprexia,
    a neuroleptic I believe, which CAUSES diabetes. And so-called crazies don’t do well with the discipline required to manage diabetes.

    I do psychoactive meds religiously. Which is my way of making fun of my Christian Science background. 1 mg of Haldol a night. A 2nd generation drug after Thorazine which works for me.

    anyway, got to email the UN

    welcome to a struggle that began in the early 70’s….

    Virginia in Oregon

  45. 45 Will Rhodes
    June 26, 2008 at 00:04

    I’m not sure who’s taking over, but I was told by Chloe that someone would be. I’m leaving for the day. I’ll see you all tomorrow!!

    I don’t know who is taking over – but I am sure the other moderators as well as myself will moderate until someone does take over.

    See you tomorrow, Tony!

    If anyone would like to add topics that could be used in the show – please feel free, as usual, to add them.

  46. 46 Tino
    June 26, 2008 at 00:05


    Went ahead and looked up some biometric guns.


    This seems like a decent idea, though as they said it is currently 1-100 accuracy. If they could boost it to be more uniquely identifying I would say we are not as far off as I thought to having a valid biometric gun.

  47. 47 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 26, 2008 at 00:27


    What a silly story that was about “biometric gun!” By “1 in 100 accuracy,” I suppose they mean 99 in 100 accuracy. 1 in 100 wouldn’t be much to brag about. I would think one’s “holding pattern” might change in circumstances, different on a relaxing weekend at a firing range than woken up at night by a noise, adrenalin pumping, in pursuit of an intruder. Why not just have a fingerprint sensor?

    Wait a minute, is verifying the identity of the owner especially salient in the first place? I don’t think so.

  48. 48 Julie P
    June 26, 2008 at 00:35

    An admission of jealousy after reading about this on CNN and the BBC. I wish I was the person who bought the Monet at auction at Christie’s on Wednesday. After going to the National Gallery in May and sitting in a room filled with Impressionist paintings I saw the amazing beauty of their work up close, across the room, and from another room. Absolutely stunning and exquisite. I wanted to take all of them home with me, but I thought security would stop me, or if I did manage to get one, I’d be stopped at customs anyway. Well, I’m envious of the art collector who got this rare Monet gem.


  49. 49 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 26, 2008 at 00:40

    Personally, I think we’ve “done” Rhodesia. I mean Zimbabwe, sorry. Nothing will be done, and least of all by the UK, whose heart is in the right place but as the former colonial power, doesn’t have credibility down there. Despite, from what I can see, a relatively decent history as empires go. I’d rather live in a former British colony (in fact, I do) than a former French or Belgian colony, off the top of my head.

    That would be an interesting topic, a bit broader and deeper than usual. What makes some countries flourish and others fail? Or is it too cerebral and complex? I keep doing that.

  50. 50 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 26, 2008 at 00:42

    Point taken. I agree with most of what you said. However, in the case of school shootings (Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.), the perpetrators -I think- didn´t have previous criminal records or convictions. They were troubled young people who had access to guns (legally or illegaly). So, if gun control is not the issue here, why there are more cases of school shootings in the U.S. than in other countries?

    About the biometic gun, I hope it could be available soon! Thanks for the link. My husband works for an anticrime unit at the local police. He will be interested to hear about this 😉

  51. 51 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 26, 2008 at 00:58


    “I’d rather live in a former British colony (in fact, I do) than a former French or Belgian colony, off the top of my head.”

    I live in a former Spanish colony… I have to say, we are not the best place in earth. We have many problems that come from colonialism, like corruption and social/economic inequality, and we have discrimination issues (the more Spaniard/white you look, the better… au contraire, the more indigenous/dark you look, the worst).

    About your question “What makes some countries flourish and others fail?”
    I don’t know there seem to be many possibilities: north-south divide (geography), colonialism, religious issues, natural resources, etc.

  52. 52 ZK
    June 26, 2008 at 00:59

    Hi everyone — I’m sure all the mods will be chipping in but for the most part I’ll be taking over from Anthony for the rest of tonight.

    Britain’s continuing its pressure on Zimbabwe, stripping Robert Mugabe of his honourary knighthood as well as cancelling a cricket tour by the Zimbabweans to England next year, running the risk of England losing hosting rights to the 2009 20/20 cricket world cup.

    Runs the risk of playing into Mugabe’s story that Britain, as the former colonial power, wants to control Zimbabwe though.

  53. 53 Pangolin-California
    June 26, 2008 at 00:59

    @ Gun Control- I have to say that I think that gun control in the US is probably a lost cause. Ammunition control could be a different matter entirely. It is completely possible to tag each bullet loaded into a box with a unique number for that box and register the sale of that packet to an individual.

    While it is true that some people could and do reload their own ammunition in the US the percentage of people who are willing to mold their own lead bullets is probably far less than the percentage of beer drinkers willing to brew their own beer.

    Home brewing is fare cheaper than store bought and better yet few people bother. Accurately molding and loading lead bullets is more expensive, time-consuming and complicated.

    Control the ammunition first.

  54. 54 Tino
    June 26, 2008 at 01:02

    @ Jonathan

    Yes, by 1-100 they mean it is unique to about 1/100 people as far as I can tell. It is a measure of uniqueness. I would like a fingerprint sensor also, but it seems harder to implement (this is why I thought it would take longer).

    As for it not being a salient point I completely disagree. Making guns operate for one unique user kind of takes the black market option out of the realm of possibility – or at least makes it more difficult as someone would have to hack the gun not just get a hold of it. It also eliminates the family/friend buying a gun and giving it to you. Since these situations account for 80% of gun crime that seems pretty helpful to me.

    @ Luz

    I think, though I could be wrong, every school shooting except VT was committed by someone who did not use their own legally purchased gun but used a family/friend’s gun instead. On the VT case, the laws were amended to prevent such a situation from happening again. On that note, I wish guns were allowed on campus as I feel someone could have taken the shooter down before he killed many more. I assume I am in the minority on that position, though.

  55. 55 Will Rhodes
    June 26, 2008 at 01:21

    @ ZK

    running the risk of England losing hosting rights to the 2009 20/20 cricket world cup.

    I think it is about time that the MCC said no to touring Zimbabwe.

    His Knighthood should have gone a long time ago. If Mugabe comes out with some blather about Britain so be it – the whole world knows he is a living lie. This is way too little way too late!

    As a British national I am disgusted with the British government waiting this long to take any action.

  56. 56 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 26, 2008 at 01:28

    @Luz Maria ~~

    Good to hear from you. I’ve been reading your posts with interest for a while. From a very cursory scan, I’d say former Spanish colonies seem on average to be better off than French orBelgian ones, less well off than British ones. Not to say of course that this is the only determining factor, but it’s perhaps worth a look.

    More broadly, this is a great moment in history to consider what makes some countries flourish while others fail. Two countries, comprising half the population of the earth, are suddenly and rapidly rising from dire poverty. Their story is instructiveto anyone who cares about the well-being of real people, vs. theoretical, abstract “humanity” as a mass viewed from a distant ivory tower.

    Why do some countries flourish while others fail? I’ve boiled it down to bumper sticker length, even alliterated it cutely. Might it have a chance?

  57. 57 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 26, 2008 at 01:30

    Probably you are a minority on that position. But, I understand your point of view. Even I could agree with you if I lived in a violent place where there is not other choice. Luckly, it is not the case.

    I don´t like guns. My husband has the option, because he works at the local police, of getting a gun permit. He refused it and I am glad that he did. He is a researcher in CCTV and monitoring systems for public security. He doesn´t do field work, so he doesn´t really need a gun.

  58. 58 Shirley
    June 26, 2008 at 01:32

    Could a mod please give my email address to Pangolin and then reject this message, please? Thank you.

  59. 59 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 01:32

    whew, thank you, Will Rhodes – I enter indignity. And I’ve sent about a dozen emails off to the CSMoniotr and the Washington Post and Obama and Clinton and the WHYS staff for a moment of silence to honor the citizens of Zimbabwe tomorrow – can any of you out there imagine individuals there tomorrow and what they are facing? Oh well, wot t’ hell as Archy would say to Mehitabel.

    Or as Kenneth Patchen wrote: the world is just as lousy damn rotten as people want it to be. It’s a lovely day in my neighborhood – think I’ll walk to Beulahland for a hamburger for supper and read the CS Monitor.

    Virginia in Oregon

  60. June 26, 2008 at 01:39

    @ Will,

    ” His Knighthood should have gone a long time ago…As a British national I am disgusted with the British government waiting this long to take any action.”

    I would like to know why Mugabe has kept the knighthood granted to him by the Queen of a colonial country he doesn’t stop attacking in the name of its Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Why does Mugabe continue using English, the language of his colonial masters? At least he should make his speeches in one of the native languages of Zimbabwe.

    It seems Mugabe has lost touch with reality. As he considers himself as appointed by God, he no longer cares about what people on Earth think of him, including his long time friends like Nelson Mandela and the president of Angola. Perhaps, he is still waiting for a divine power to deliver his country from the current crisis.

    If the whole international community can’t figure out a solution to Zimbabwe’s current problems, Mugabe will continue to govern his country until God removes him from office, of course by death. As long as he is alive cherishing international incapacity to deal with him, Zimbabwe should brace itself for other years of acute hardship.

  61. 61 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 01:47

    @Tony: Thanks for being our moderator. And being so open about yourself. It is hard to open oneself up to pain. Virginia in Oregon

  62. 62 Dennis :)
    June 26, 2008 at 02:12

    @ Tony–thanks for being our moderator….

    Hi ZK..How r u?

    @ Lubna: Could you tell us all, how you did in college.

    I will be talking my final [1 of 2] next week…..

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  63. 63 Nelson
    June 26, 2008 at 02:14

    About Zimbabwe: There is common saying in Africa that whom the god’s want to destroy, first they make mad. This certainly holds true for Robert Mugabe. Listening to him talk, it’s visible that he is ready to hold onto power at all costs. The numerous talk shows going on at UN and SADEC will do nothing to make things better on the ground. Mugabe has said people in washington and London can shout as loud as they like but the (s) selection will still hold. What is needed in Zimbabwe is CONCRETE ACTION. The whole world should know by now that Issuing statements against Mugabe has being largely ineffective over the years. People of Zimbabwe need help.

  64. 64 Nelson
    June 26, 2008 at 02:26

    I have being asking myself, ” why is the situation in darfur not getting the same prime time coverage on news networks like zimbabwe” ? Any one thinking along this line? Is the media selective on what they report? Just thinking aloud.

  65. 65 Julie P
    June 26, 2008 at 03:10


    I’ve had the same run across my mind too. I’ve been sitting here trying to think of an answer or some kind of explanation and all I can come with is, how much bad news can a person take in a day?

  66. 66 Venessa
    June 26, 2008 at 03:38

    Julie P & Nelson ~

    That is the problem. When I turn on the local news it’s just a death count locally, nationally & internationally. I say yes, the media are selective about what they report or at least which things they give more weight to as a top story. What is positive in the world we can all debate about?

  67. 67 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 26, 2008 at 03:53

    Something positive to discuss? (Jumping up and waving my hand) How about, “What makes some countries flourish while…” oh, never mind.

  68. 68 Amy
    June 26, 2008 at 03:54


    I’m trying and trying to think of something positive……..maybe once the girls are in bed my brain will start to work again. Of course my loving husband would take issue of if it worked to begin with 🙂

  69. 69 ZK
    June 26, 2008 at 04:00

    I suppose it’s because that while the issue of Darfur is there, it is not as pressing a concern in the short-term as Zimbabwe, due to the upcoming runoff election. It is true though that Darfur does seem to have fallen by the wayside in terms of media coverage.

  70. 70 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 26, 2008 at 04:12

    Darfur has gottten a LOT of publicity in every medium and forum I know of, TV coverage, news coverage, Mia Farrow everywhere, documentaries, “Genocide Olympics” campaign to persuade China to allow a UN resolution, which of course will accomplish axactly nothing, and on and on. (If I were waiting for the UN to save me, I’d be depressed big time.) Everyone has heard about Darfur. It’s gotten much more coverage, for example, than the Congo, although more people are dying in the Congo. There is probably someplace else even worse getting less publicity.

    From my POV, it’s not really a question of competing tragedies anyway; I care for all of them. it’s more dramatic to see someplace like Sarajevo, or Rhodesia, that was a developed, rich, sophisticated place get torn apart in front of our eyes than someplace unfamiliar and undeveloped go from bad to worse, like Congo. I suppose because I’m part of the urban rich world and can more easily identify with, or am more viscerally horrified by, destruction of another urban environment. Scary to imagine that civilization can be destroyed and people return to primal, uncivilized, bestial ways.

  71. 71 Amy
    June 26, 2008 at 04:15

    Here is something positive to discuss: What charities do you like to donate to and why? We are involved with a local charity called the Children’s Cancer Association because of a good friend of ours who they helped (www.cca.org). My older daughter even asked for donations to them instead of gifts for her first communion a month ago.

    The idea came to me after reading this:

  72. 72 Dennis :)
    June 26, 2008 at 04:28

    Did anyone heard about the BBC’s decision to closed BBC Romanian service on BBC World Service radio….Please accept our condolences for the lost of the programming.

    I have a couple of topics for Thursday’s World Have Your Say programme:

    1]Saudi has 500+ people in custody for terroristic problems..
    2]The Queen has removed the knighthood of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  73. 73 Bob in Queensland
    June 26, 2008 at 04:31

    G’day from sunny Queensland, Tony! I hope you’re enjoying your first moderating stint!

    One thing I wanted to comment on from the discussion above was gun control. It was stated that, when the UK stiffened its gun control laws the instance of gun crime actually went up. This is true but there’s certainly no evidence of cause and effect there. Gun crime was already on the rise and all that happened was that the changes (to already VERY tight laws) were ineffectual. Frankly, I think the pre-Dunblane laws were about right and all that moving to an outright ban did was inconvenience already-honest target shooters. like the British Olympic team. Had the existing laws been properly enforced, Dunblane would not have happened. The local police issued multiple gun licences to a man with a known history of mental illness.

    Also, when talking about the increase in gun crime in the UK, it’s worth pointing out that, despite this trend, shooting incidents are still roughly one tenth the level they are in the USA.

    Regarding gun control in the USA, I agree the, with the number of guns already in circulation there, gun control wouldn’t really have much effect on criminals carrying weapons. However, have a look at the number of deaths each year caused by children finding and playing with “legal” weapons. Add to this the number of “heat of the moment” crimes where a husband shoots a wife or neighbour in the middle of an argument or a disgruntled student goes into school with his father’s legal guns. A gun makes killing too easy and most of thse crimes wouldn’t happen if the assailant had to batter somebody to death with a baseball bat or stab them repeatedly with a kitchen knife.

    Anyway, on that cheery thought, I’m back to my morning mugs of tea!

  74. 74 Dennis :)
    June 26, 2008 at 04:35

    I remember the Dunblane massacre in 1996, that is when i graduating from school…

    It was a horrible time for the people of Dunblane, Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom and the people around the world.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  75. 75 Venessa
    June 26, 2008 at 04:37

    Amy ~

    I have donated to international causes but my preference is to stay local with my donations. How can I save the world if I can’t save the people in my own community? At least that’s kind of how I look at it and it does not diminishe the value of people who contribute to a different cause they believe in. How do most people determine where they want their donations to go?

    My donations ~ of course I have to donate to OPB! Also, I am a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Here is a link if you are interested.


  76. 76 Dennis
    June 26, 2008 at 04:39

    Did anyone saw the United States Supreme Court decision on DECLARING the DEATH PENALTY as a punishment for CHILD RAPE [MOLESTATION]…ILLEGAL…

    I think that the court, did something that was going to happend.

    Several years ago, they declared that mentally ill persons–were not eligible for the death penalty as a punishment.


    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  77. 77 Tino
    June 26, 2008 at 05:15


    “This is true but there’s certainly no evidence of cause and effect there. Gun crime was already on the rise and all that happened was that the changes (to already VERY tight laws) were ineffectual.”

    Wrong. Gun crime, as seen on this official report (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb0206.pdf#search=%22Crime%20in%20England%20and%20Wales.%20Supplement.%20Violent%20Crime%20Overview%2C%20Homicide%20and%20Gun%20Crime%202004%2F2005%22 fig 3.5 is the relevant one) went NUTS after the ban. There may have been a slight upswing in a few, but the most important category (crimes vs a person) went up only after 1998 and it went up big time. I assume you got your info from wikipedia and their original source was down (was a nz domain anyway so seems weird to me).

    “However, have a look at the number of deaths each year caused by children finding and playing with “legal” weapons.”

    This, while extremely tragic, is not a gun crime. It is a case of negligence. Either a parent did not make it clear that these tools are not toys, or they left it in easy access. My father, for example, told me countless times that they were A.) not to be touched and B.) absolutely not toys and to ALWAYS take them seriously, even when unloaded, etc. He also never told me where it was kept until I was older.

    “Add to this the number of “heat of the moment” crimes where a husband shoots a wife or neighbour in the middle of an argument or a disgruntled student goes into school with his father’s legal guns.”

    I agree the school one wouldn’t happen without a gun, as I do not see a kid going in with a knife – but I suppose it would still be possible. The husband/wife thing, however, I could easily see happening with a knife. We have all seen plenty of crimes committed with knives for that reason – Bobbit anyone?

  78. 79 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 05:51

    Anyone out there wondering about “gun” crimes, particularly in the US. Seem any movies lately, played any video games (especially the US Army ones)? Watched “Law & Order” on TV – my vice, I want “the good guys” to win.

    The UN was born in San Francisco when I was living there as an infant with my father (recently back from WW II/Europe) and mother lugging me along to their drinking spots to sip Shirley Temples (with two cherries, please).

    Guess that’s why I believe, as well as growing up on The Wizard of Oz and being a rainbow girl. And I always took two packages of Oreo cookies to Oregon Health Division pot lucks as my “ethnic” contribution to the spread.

    luv to all, Virginia in Oregon

  79. 80 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 06:00

    I contribute to OPB, once for radio, once for TV. And to Sisters of the Road, a non-profit cafe in downtown Portland. And now monthly to Obama since Steve Novick is out of the Senatorial race here in Oregon. Joined up with his “network” tonight – very impressive. Emailing with a woman named Lisa, a precinct captain in Texas. Waiting to hear back from her with references for one of Obama’s short list VP candidates. Former general (female) Kennedy. She was successful in withstanding a male officer’s sexual harassment and is somewhat of a feminist/Clinton heroine. I will post. Also contribute occasionally to Mercy Corps who do programs in country, as well as medical aid.

    Virginia in Oregon

  80. 81 Bob in Queensland
    June 26, 2008 at 06:04

    Hi Tino,

    Although there was a rapid increase in gun crime in the UK in the years following the ban of weapons (I note the report you link to shows the levels falling again by the way) I’ve seen no evidence of a causative link between the legislation and crime level.

    Since UK residents were NEVER allowed to carry weapons (other than locked in their cars on the way to a gun club or hunting meet) the self-protection argument doesn’t apply there. What DID happen coincidentally with the total ban on handguns was the development of an urban “gang” culture, strongly associated with drugs, “gangsta rap” and the like. If you look at the graph of the location of gun crime, well over 50% occurs in the main large urban areas despite these only representing about 15% of the population. Unfortunately, the number of people in their teens and early 20s are much more heavily represented in gun crime (as both victim and perpetrator) than they should be as a percentage of population.

    It’s worth noting that guns are involved in only 11% of homicides in the UK compared to over 50% in the USA–and the total rate is significantly lower too.This is despite gun crime “going crazy” in the past 10 years.

    Finally, I don’t make the distinction you do between gun “accidents” and gun “crime”. A shooting is a shooting–and in civilised society people should not need to carry weapons. The mere presence of weapons vastly increases the chance it will be used.

  81. 82 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 26, 2008 at 06:26

    US Surpreme Court: Any decision restricting the death penalty is welcome.

    The Exxon Valdez decision is awful. Each claimant will get just $15,000 from Exxon. 20% of them have already died waiting. As I understand it, the court just said, well, that seems like too much money, and cut the award by 80%. They said punitive damanges shouldn’t be more than compensatory damages. I think they just made that up. Amazing.

  82. 83 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 08:16

    80% of the claimants (20% have passed) now get $15,000 instead of $75,000.
    Re Exxon Valdez. Remember that 4 of the justices recently had to recuse themselves because of investments which represented conflict of interests. I agree, Jonathan (sunny San Francisco) they made up compensatory damages should equal punitive.

    Also, I know I noticed – and perhaps some of the women bloggers noticed – that the United Nations has recognized rape as a tool of war and to be considered from now on in addressing solutions to conflicts and their aftermaths.

    Going to check out Charlie Rose…..

    Virginia in Oregon

    PS Rape puts a woman in hell, a child in an even worse place from which she sometimes never recovers to any decent place.

  83. 84 ZK
    June 26, 2008 at 09:11

    Found this interesting: Senator Obama is against the Supreme Court’s decision to ban capital punishment for child rape. Interesting, seeing how the court voted 5-4 towards the liberal side.


  84. 85 Mark from kansas
    June 26, 2008 at 09:32

    Child rape is worse than murder. That is why god made tall trees, just for them. You know someone who’s been through it, luckily I have not. It destroys the person that could have been and creates someone else. Sometimes it make a person stronger, but that is the exeption. These are the type of things that make people crack up and head out shooting. This is why many people are depressed, but they will not say anything about it because they are ashamed. This is a big reason why doctors can not explain the huge increase in depresion. Hang’em high for everyone to see.

    It does not suprise me Exon got off with small potatoes. Fishermen in Alaska do not apoint judges, politicians do.

    Aparantly the American supreme court likes terrorists, Child rapists, and exon mobile, that is freakn scary!

    Guns are tough. Bad guys can get them, any where. Hunting is fun, and can be a respectable sport if you do it right with respect to nature (you can also do this with a bow). You should be able to defend yourself, and your neighbors, from attack. Wether it is a burgalor or a roving milita stoned out of their mind wanting to wipe out you neighbor hood. We never shoud have made the damned things.

  85. 86 Mark from kansas
    June 26, 2008 at 09:39


    Here in the real world there are evil people, vicous horrible animals who can not be allowed to exist. The removal of their DNA from the planet can only keep the diminishing gene pool from getting worse. It has been the natural way of world long before governments were even thought of. At least they have a chance to prove they did not commit the crime. The victims do not have a chance to prove they are worthy to be on the planet, or in this case worthy to make it to the age of nine without severe emotional trauma.

  86. 87 Mohammed Ali
    June 26, 2008 at 09:54

    For the past three or four days I’ve not read anything from Steve from the US. I wonder what’s happening to him. Can somebody please tell me. i like to read the postings from him.

    By the way Mendela has said that the situation in Zimbabwe is as a result of a Tragic Leadership Failure. Does this apply to both Mugabe and Tsvangarai of the entire leadership of the government?

  87. 88 Eugene
    June 26, 2008 at 09:56

    About Zimbabwe, it is a very complicated situation, being an african, mugabe was once a liberation hero and in some quaters still is. His land policies are seen by many as exemplary and his anti-west rhetoric resonates well in some circles especially in a country whose colonial history is more recent than most. While other african countries have been critisised for not doing enough i do not think they could’ve done much anyway, miliatary intervention has a torrid history in africa and the only african country with a strong enough military (south africa) isnt about to go on any adventures any time soon when the memories of their previous military adventures are still fresh. African leaders are caught in the conundrum of country in dire straights, but not on the verge of collapse, mugabe still has controll. If you think back to kenya (where i am from) at the start of this year if the crisis had continued kenya would’ve torn itself apart with dire consequences for peace and development in east and central africa thats why intervention and mediation was quick. As long as mugabe maintains controll there will be no real noticable change however if rebellion or civil war breaks out then SADC and the AU will step in quickly. Mbeki too has been critisised while yes some of his decisions have been disasterous you have to take into account that south africa is very similar to Zimbabwe. With a large landless poor section of the population who view much of the land that is owned by white farmers as theirs thus mugabe is a hero and mbeki’s response to mugabe’s policy will be veiwed as south african policy. If he endoresed the land reforms you would see land invasions if he rejected it there would be outcry among a large section of the population so Mbeki has had to be extremely carefull as to how he deals with mugabe. As for the politics in zimbabwe it is a repeat of the african phenomenon which as a kenyan i know well, the misplaced hope of independence, the nepotistic president who slowly chokes his country to death and i think zimbabwe will find that if and when the MDC finally comes to power its actions will not match the rhetoric just as happened in kenya in 2002. Unfortunately zimbabwe has more pain and torture to go through how to help it is a tricky question that will eventually be answered not by the UK, USA, UN or the AU for than matter but by the neighboring states who would have the most to loose if zimbabwe became a failed state and untill then i am afraid all we can do is pray for common sense to prevail in harare. I have tried to present with an african real politik veiw of the situation intervention and meddling is not as easy as it seems the consequences must be considered and they would have very real implications in our own countries it may be all well and good for wesminister and the white house to talk tough but they do not have border with zimbabwe with thousands of refugees streaming accross every day.

  88. 89 ZK
    June 26, 2008 at 10:19

    Mohammed Ali: It’s summer right now, so it’s possible he’s on a holiday (vacation, as the Americans would say).

  89. 90 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 10:39

    Thank you, Eugene, for your explication on the situation in Zimbabwe. I sent more emails this evening suggesting a minute of solidarity for the citizens who will or will not be voting on Friday. National elections should be less than farcical. Virginia in Oregon

    (Smile: does everyone US remember November -December 2000?)

  90. 91 Mohammed Ali
    June 26, 2008 at 11:46

    Zk, this statement from McCain aide I just read on your website; The gist of it is this: that a terrorist attack on the United States in the months leading up to November would boost Senator McCain’s campaign. Although McCain has distance himself from this statement, but what would it mean for his campaign, how would victims of terror attacks on US citizens including the 9/11 attack think about his campaign?

    I think this topic worth discussion.

  91. 92 ZK
    June 26, 2008 at 12:54

    Charlie Black’s comments were badly placed, I feel. I think Sen McCain distanced himself pretty quickly with the statement about his record post-9/11 on national security issues. I don’t see it causing harm in the long-term, but certainly it’s going to affect his campaign in the short term.

    (BTW, just noticed that Steve just commented on another topic, so he’s obviously not on vacation. Heh.)

  92. June 26, 2008 at 13:12

    When it comes to monetary punishment I think for it to be fair and just, they should be assigned as a percentage of gross profits. It should be the same for personal civil awards and misdemeanors punishments. I have been told they tried this in California until some guy got a $10,000 speeding ticket.

    The point being is that a hard number like say a $100 fine is different in value to a person making $6.50 then it is to a person making $40 an hour, which is different in value to somebody making $200 an hour. Wealth trumps justice in this case. So if a person’s net pay is 14,000 a year then a 1% punishment would mean $140. At around $6.70 per hour it would take that person 20 hours to pay for the fine. Now if a person brings home a net income of $100,000, making around $48 an hour “bring home”, then a 1% fine would cost them $1000. They will have to work about 20 hours to pay it off. Ahh, sweet justice.

    Exxon’s fine might seem ridiculous to us, but to them, hardly worth noting. Turns out they are going to make it through just fine. They will only have to work Iraqis oil wells for an hour or two to make up the fine.

  93. 94 Shirley
    June 26, 2008 at 13:28

    I almost wonder if I wouldn’t really object if the U.N. did establish a presence in the U.S. during the elections to ensure free and fair elections in which everyone really is given a chance to vote and not intimidated, forced to wait in long lines because of a targetted reduction in the number of polling places, misinformed through targetted phone campaigns giving bad information on voting dates, etc., or given bad directions to a bad side of town only to find that the polling location is in another bad side two hours away; or “lost” electronic votes or failed recounts, etc. At least that way we would have more certainty that the one declared winner really did get most of the votes.

    Virginia Davis, I am really beginning to feel your peer pressure. If you post up some of the email addresses that you have been targetting, I might just follow your lead. (so you see, peer pressure is not always bad)

  94. 95 Bob in Queensland
    June 26, 2008 at 13:29

    @ Eugene

    I just wanted to echo Virginia’s thanks for your very clear and very informative post about the situation in Zimbabwe. You’ve confirmed a number of things I’d already suspected and clearly explained the complex nature of the issues.

    Alas, I fear that you’ve also explained why we’re a long way from a solution but thank you for one of the best posts even on WHYS.

  95. June 26, 2008 at 13:48

    It’s really laughable that some deluded individuals are still pining their hopes on ‘African leaders’ to resolve the Zimbabwe impasse. The truth is almost the whole tribe of our leaders are just as guilty of bad governance as Mugabe. So who among them, but for Mandela or Desmond Tutu, can claim the moral high ground to talk sense into Mugabe? Don’t tell me you believe in the power hungry Mbeki who spent all his time witch-hunting Zuma or Kibaki who stole Odinga’s victory or Obiang Guema who has transformed his nation into his farm or Omar Bongo who is out to outlive all monarchies in the world or worst still Biya under whose autocracy who are wallowing,,,As a matter of fact, all these guys are jokers and if you ask my opinion, I will tell you only God’s wrath will save Zimbabwe.

  96. 97 Shirley
    June 26, 2008 at 14:00

    I have to admit that I am still re-reading Eugene’s post. (Am I losing IQ points over the years?)

    I don’t think that I have words for my anger. Each person remaining in the suit gets $15,000. Some lost their livelihoods. $15,000 wouldn’t even make up for a year’s worth of that loss. Big Corporation. Friendly Politicians. Convenient Appointments. I wish that there were enough time to carry out an impeachment!

  97. 98 steve b - uk
    June 26, 2008 at 15:14


    I have enjoyed reading these posts and now have a couple of points

    1. Jonathan (Sunny San Francisco). It is rarely that I laugh out loud reading things but your post – especially the last one – about why some countries flourish and others fail made me do that. Comic writing of genius ( I also think the subject is a very good one – we could also ask what do we mean by ‘success’ and ‘failure’ etc ).

    2. About depression – a wise friend pointed out to me that being depressed sometimes is natural and, given the state of the world, sane. This whole commercial thing about walking about with a big smile, with 2.4 kids, glistening white teeth, a big car and a sense of continual inner contentment is exactly what drives some people nuts. And there is a difference between being melancholy and depressed.

  98. 99 steve
    June 26, 2008 at 15:22

    BREAKING: US Supreme Court overturns DC handgun ban. I haven’t seen the opinion, so I don’t know if it’s just particular to the law in DC, or if they have stated that gun ownership is an individual right.

  99. 100 Venessa
    June 26, 2008 at 15:23

    Shirley ~

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Dwight is very correct in his assertion that wealth does trump justice. If Exxon’s pocket book (or anyone else facing fines) is in no way suffering then what do they care? It’s essentially a punishment without real consequence.

  100. 101 Julie P
    June 26, 2008 at 15:53

    I’ve checked the US Supreme Court webiste looking for the ruling Columbia v. Heller and there is nothing posting beyond March 2008. I’m sure the Justices will release it soon.

  101. 102 Mohammed Ali
    June 26, 2008 at 16:05

    BREAKING AND IMPORTANT: President Bush said Thursday he will lift key trade sanctions against North Korea and remove it from the U.S. terrorism blacklist, a remarkable turnaround in policy toward the communist regime he once branded as part of an “axis of evil.”

    What does this mean for the Bush administration, for the world? Is North Korea coming out of Isolation, are they finally opening up? Who should credit for this go to, China or the Bush administration? Follow the story on the link below:

  102. 104 Julie P
    June 26, 2008 at 17:48



  103. 105 Virginia Davis
    June 26, 2008 at 17:49

    @Shirley: Thanks. Google: MindFreedom (out of Eugene, OR); Also Support Coalition International (out of Eugene, probably linked together at one of the websites). From there, there will be number of references and activities – all from a left center, left view.

    At one point in the movement the philosophical question was: abolish psychiatry or “reform” the system. I’ve always argued the latter.

    @Israel Ambe Ayoungwa: Thank you for your knowledgeable comment. Thankfully, I believe that things – and leaders – change over time and for the better. Like sail powered ocean transport again in this century – smile.

    Virginia in Oregon

  104. 106 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 26, 2008 at 18:48

    @Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)

    I think you are right. Spanish former colonies seem to be doing better than French or Belgian ones. However, we have two distinctive features: homogeneous religion (Catholicism) and “mestizaje” (mix between Spaniards and indigenous people). Both are quite important issues in Latin America.

    About: “Two countries, comprising half the population of the earth, are suddenly and rapidly rising from dire poverty.” I suppose you are talking about India and China. We have to see if they can also overcome social/economic inequality. I hope they can do it.

    Your question “Why do some countries flourish while others fail?” is quite good. Short and complex. Adding more to it, It could become a good hypothesis for a thesis.

    Luz María (sunny and dry Monterrey)

  105. 107 shirley
    June 26, 2008 at 19:29

    Tech Difficulties:
    Is it too late to try to listen to the programme on Gaza and African aid? I am having the worst time trying to hear it on Windows Media Player (the only crap the library lets us use).

  106. 108 shirley
    June 26, 2008 at 19:32

    Also, is there an mp3 link for Wednesday’s show on Iraq? This really is bothersome. I am so annoyed.

  107. 109 Tino
    June 26, 2008 at 20:57


    What would be required for you to believe a cause-effect relationship? What do you propose as the reason that gun violence shot up directly after 1998?

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