Topic: The Culture
News Items That Provoke Thought
Amin Saikal is professor of political science and director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. He writes this from Canberra:
A mission for moderates
Amin Saikal, The International Herald Tribune, Monday, December 29, 2003
He sees three kinds of really unhelpful people:
Three minority extremist groups - the militant fundamentalist Islamists exemplified at the far edge by Al Qaeda, certain activist elements among America's reborn Christians and neoconservatives, and the most inflexible hard-line Zionists from Israel - have emerged as dangerously destabilizing actors in world politics. Working perversely to reinforce each other's ideological excesses, they have managed to drown out mainstream voices from all sides. Each has the aim of changing the world according to its own individual vision.Come now.
If these extremists are not marginalized, they could succeed in creating a world order with devastating consequences for generations to come.
Is he saying the fanatical Muslims, the born-again Christian right and the Sharon-Likud-Zionist folks are all cut from the same cloth? Yep. Worth a look. It's a convincing argument.
Another item of note comes from Reuters.
See Phony Paris Hiltons Buy Plenty of Pizza
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Attorney General John Ashcroft does have something in common with Paris Hilton:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The simple life has rubbed off on hotel heiress Paris Hilton - or so one would think judging by the amount of Domino's pepperoni pizza ordered in her name.Ah, I recall my friend Cindy more than once greeted the pizza delivery person in the altogether. But I digress.
"Paris Hilton" is the No. 1 fake name used by people calling for pizza deliveries, according to a survey of Domino's Pizza drivers in Washington, D.C., released Monday by the pizza delivery chain. And 38 percent of those using the name of the socialite model ordered pepperoni topping.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft might want to open an investigation into these findings -- he was No. 2 on the list of assumed names used by people ordering pizza.
Of course, given his conservative bent, he probably wasn't among those answering the door in the nude, who the survey said tend to tip better than people who answer in their pajamas.
The item has all sorts of odd details. You will discover people with "Dean for President" bumper stickers on cars in their driveways tipped twenty-two percent higher than people with "Bush for President" bumper stickers. And people with "Bush for President" bumper stickers were three times more likely to order meat-topped pizzas than "Dean for President" drivers. I'm sure this all means something. But I don't know what.