Daily Archives: 03/05/2003

Joe McCarthy Must Be Smiling

I came across a story today about a guy that was arrested for wearing a ‘give peace a chance’ t-shirt in an upstate New York shopping mall. He was asked to leave the premises by security guards and refused, so the police were summoned and duly arrested this unruly upstart. He was 61 years old, and shopping with his 30 year old son. The real irony is that he bought this shirt at that mall. The security guards felt that he was likely to cause a disturbance, so they asked him to leave. He wasn’t protesting or demonstrating; he was simply shopping.

What disturbs me is the ‘likely to cause a disturbance’ excuse given by the mall security. Who determines what qualifies as a ‘disturbance?’ Wearing a t-shirt is cause to arrest a man? I see t-shirts all the time that I think are highly questionable, but I don’t see any of those guys heading off in the paddy wagon. What gives here? What is my country becoming?

Yummy

Just finished a tasty dinner; potato & leek soup with some garlic pesto bread. Whoa, tasty. Nothing like a belly full of starch and dairy to stop a guy in his tracks. Think I’ll go finish that book now.

American Gods

I am about to finish Neil Gaiman’s gothic fantasy American Gods. This is the first book I read by Gaiman, and I enjoy his choice of locations. I’ve been to the House on the Rock and Rock City atop Lookout Mountain, and both are excellent roadside attractions. Gaiman weaves an engaging story around the interesting idea that the old gods people came to the New World in the hearts and minds of believers, and this decrepit divinity still persists in America, forgotten in the rush to newer deities like the television, computers, or Wall Street. And what happens when these two pantheons come into opposition? Well, read the book.

Bombs Away in Davao

The airport in the southern Philippine city of Davao suffered a terrorist bombing overnight. The bombing actually occurred outside the main terminal, in a small covered area frequented by jeepney and taxi drivers. At least 20 are dead and hundreds are injured.

The attack is just the latest in a surge of terror activity in Mindanao and the southern Philippines. The suspected reason is the Philippine government’s renewed campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. With extensive U.S. aid, Philippine military units seized territory from the MILF last month and stepped up efforts to crush both Islamic insurgency groups. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a staunch ally in the U.S. ‘War on Terror,’ and the presence of U.S. troops in Mindanao is just the latest example of her efforts to quash the Islamic insurgents. While the MILF is accused of the bombings, no one has claimed responsibility for any of these latest bombings.

This bombing in Davao is another one that strikes too close to home. I have been to Davao; I have been through that airport. First Kuta, now Davao; will anyplace be safe in the coming months? Seems like Southeast Asia is becoming highly unstable. Bali was targeted because of the high number of Western Europeans, Americans, and Australians in Kuta, an act of terror designed to frighten Western societies. The work of radical extremists. The violence in Mindanao is more pervasive and of a different nature. U.S. involvement probably escalated the conflict, but the majority of the attacks are against other Filipinos and local infrastructure, airports, gas stations, bus stations, water reservoirs, fuel depots. Sounds like a traditional insurgency campaign against hard targets, designed to impede Arroyo’s government and force peace talks.