Collected columns

I was looking for an old game column online the other day, and although I found it, I realized that most of them were pretty much gone forever. Which is not great loss; no one cares what I happened to think of a random Game Boy Color game these days anyhow, least of all me. While Internet archiving is a lot more comprehensive now than it was back in the mid-90s, it occurred to me that it would be useful to have a book of my political columns on the shelves for reference.

Anyhow, once I finish the current book, I’m thinking about putting together a book of my WND columns from 2001 through 2008. With 7 years worth of columns running 750 words with some minor commentary that’s going to be somewhere between 750-800 pages. Since I like nice leather-bound books, I intend to have it printed on quality paper and bound in leather; some years ago, Spacebunny gave me an Franklin Library edition of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum that I had been admiring so I’d like to do something like that. They’re going to be expensive, I think I can guarantee you that, but I’d probably charge something like $25 over the printing, binding, and shipping cost, which should keep the price under $150. Well under, I’d hope, but perhaps not with an 800-page monster… I suppose it’s possible that doing four-year collections might make more sense. Anyhow, in the event you would be interested in a copy, let me know. I’m not taking orders or anything, just wondering if anyone else might want one. The books will be an extremely limited edition, quite possibly an edition of one, in fact, if no one else happens to be interested.

Oh, stop whining

VDH is upset about the UN’s call for prosecuting former Bush administration officials:

An Austrian, Prof. Manfred Nowak, who serves as something called a U.N. special rapporteur in Geneva, is now warning the United States that former Bush administration officials should be tried and prosecuted for torture, including the lawyers who gave advice about statutes on interrogation.

I’m all for the prosecution of former Bush administration officials, up to and including George W. Bush himself, although torture is one of the least of their crimes. The trial, however, should be conducted by the American people, who actually have authority over those officials, not the United Nations. And I have no sympathy for Republicans – although VDH is actually a conservative Democrat, if I recall correctly – who cry about the UN going after their erstwhile political allies. The Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, but instead of pulling out of the UN and evicting the organization from New York City, they elected to kowtow to it. Congress didn’t declare war on Iraq or Afghanistan, instead Bush and Powell went to the UN and obtained permission authorizing the use of force.

So the Bush administration recognized the UN’s authority over its personnel and their actions. Therefore, these former officials have nothing to complain about. If you lick the jackboot, you shouldn’t be too surprised when it kicks you out of sheer contempt, if nothing else.

Pandemonia

A doctor in Mexico City claims that the swine flu outbreak is worse than reported:

I’m a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.

This is grim news, not just due to the chance that there will be a flu pandemic, but because it’s pretty close to the last thing that the global economy needed at the moment. If you’ve got vacation accrued, this might be a good time to take it and work on your Call of Duty skillz. Or to look into the possibility of tele-commuting.

Meanwhile Stratfor sees not only economic concerns, but worries about the geopolitical impact: “Depending on the extent of the virus’s spread, it could directly affect production: Offices and factories would shut down in areas where the flu was particularly rampant, amid efforts to control it. International travel and trade might well be affected, both voluntarily (as people avoided travel and refused to buy goods from countries heavily infected) and involuntarily (as states acted to protect their populations). The greatest effect would be psychological. In a world where consumer confidence has already been deeply affected by the economic downturn, a pandemic would dramatically darken the mood of the international system, with potential impact on governments.”

WND column

Obama’s First 100 Days

Obama’s first 100 days have been more important than has historically been the case with most presidents, because unlike past presidents, Obama’s lack of a track record renders him somewhat of an enigma. While legislative voting records provide a picture of an individual’s ideology, they tell very little about his character, his executive capabilities or his willingness to set aside ideology in the interest of achieving practical objectives. So, the first three months of Obama’s administration have been the first opportunity to really see if there is any substance beneath the marketing hype….