February 2006

Bosia sues Serbia for war crimes

by Limbic on February 28, 2006

from BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Court hears Balkans genocide case:

The first trial of a state charged with genocide has opened in The Hague, where Bosnia-Hercegovina will accuse Serbia and Montenegro of war crimes.

The BBC has an interesting analysis of the issue here: Analysis: Serbia in the dock

If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules in favour of the Bosnian’s it will kick off a cascade of claims and counter claims.

Croatia is also suing Serbia, but Serbia has very strong counter cases against Bosnia and Croatia.

Furthermore, the Serbs have a powerful defence that was used against them when they sued NATO

…when the hearings open on Monday, Belgrade may launch yet another procedural challenge.

This is likely to be based on a judgement the ICJ handed down two years ago in a separate genocide case that Yugoslavia had brought against eight Nato countries in relation to the Kosovo conflict.

The case was dismissed – partly on the grounds that at the time of the events in question Yugoslavia was not fully recognised as a member of the UN.

But perhaps Yugoslavia’s successor, Serbia and Montenegro, can now use the same argument to dismiss this case?

Professor Vojin Dimitrijevic, director of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, says “this will certainly be the first procedural argument of the Serb and Montenegrin side”.

The other two defences likely to be used are that the event sin Bosnia did not amount to genocide and that Serbia was not directly involved in the those events.

The second defense is a very weak. It is widely known that Croatia and Serbia supported their ethnic bretheren during the war. Interestingly, by the time the alleged genocide was taking place (The fall of Srebrenica in July 1995) Serbia had completely abandoned the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs. It was the fact of this that allowed the Croatians to attack and expel the Croatian Serbs from the Krajina in the last big offensive of the war, Operation Storm.

This suggests that during the time of the worst atrocities, it may haave been the democratic Croatian government that was more actively involved with genocide than Serbia under dictator Slobodan Milosovic.

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Sicko "Marriage Contract"

by Limbic on February 26, 2006

From The Smoking Gun

Sicko “Marriage Contract” One For The Ages: Repulsive “Wifely Expectations” pact emerges in Iowa kidnap case

FEBRUARY 17–This country, as you know, is filled with the deranged. And then there’s Travis Frey, a 33-year-old Iowa man who is facing charges that he tried to kidnap his own wife (not to mention a separate child pornography rap). Frey, prosecutors contend, apparently is a rather demanding guy. In fact, he actually drew up a bizarre four-page marriage document–a “Contract of Wifely Expectations”–that sought to establish guidelines for his spouse in terms of hygiene, clothing, and sexual activities. In return for fulfilling certain requirements, Frey (pictured right) offered “Good Behavior Days,” or GBDs. Each GBD, Frey wrote, could be redeemed by his wife to “get out of doing the things” he requested daily. A copy of the proposed contract, which Frey’s wife never signed and later provided to cops, can be found below. While we normally point out the highlights of most documents, there are so many in this demented, and very graphic, contract, we really can’t do it justice. So set aside ten minutes–and prepare to be repulsed. (4 pages)

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From Projects@Work – Sacre Bleu! Napoleon, Project Manager?

Karen Klein : In your book you mention six winning principles that kept Napoleon on the right path – at least for the first part of his life. Can you explain those principles and how they resonate with project management?

Jerry Manas: Sure. The first is exactitude, which for Napoleon meant pinpoint precision in carrying out his campaigns. Even though Napoleon appears to have been aware of everything that surrounded him, it wasn’t sudden genius that came to him. It was the extensive preparation and meditation he did ahead of time. He learned about the topology, the subject matter and the people he’d be dealing with. And then, he was in constant contact with his commanders. As a project manager, you want to develop the same kind of situational awareness through planning and communication.
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Be a wife or a whore?

by Limbic on February 26, 2006

From Forbes.com comes a superb article on The Economics Of Prostitution:

Wife or whore?

The choice is that simple. At least according to economists Lena Edlund and Evelyn Korn, it is.

The two well-respected economists created a minor stir in academic circles a few years back when they published “A Theory of Prostitution” in the Journal of Political Economy. The paper was remarkable not only for being accepted by a major journal but also because it considered wives and whores as economic “goods” that can be substituted for each other. Men buy, women sell.

Read on here.

Look out for classic lines like

Another zinger: “This begs the question of why married men go to prostitutes (rather than buying from their wives, who presumably will be low-cost providers, considering that they can sell nonreproductive sex without compromising their marriage).” Guys, nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day” more than “low-cost provider.”

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Buridan's ass

by Limbic on February 23, 2006

from Buridan’s ass – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Buridan’s ass is the common name for the paradox which states that an entirely rational ass, placed between two stacks of hay of equal size and quality, will starve since it cannot make any rational decision to start eating one rather than the other. The paradox is named after the 14th century French philosopher Jean Buridan.

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Why I published those cartoons

by Limbic on February 23, 2006

From The Washington Post

I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn’t to provoke gratuitously — and we certainly didn’t intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter.

…Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn’t intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations.

I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult.

I am offended by things in the paper every day: transcripts of speeches by Osama bin Laden, photos from Abu Ghraib, people insisting that Israel should be erased from the face of the Earth, people saying the Holocaust never happened. But that does not mean that I would refrain from printing them as long as they fell within the limits of the law and of the newspaper’s ethical code. That other editors would make different choices is the essence of pluralism.

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Faces of tomorrow

by Limbic on February 23, 2006

“What is the face of London, New York, Paris? What does a Londoner, a New Yorker, a Parisian look like?”

The Face of Tomorrow attempts to find this face by taking photographs of the current inhabitants and compositing their faces to create a typical face. What we get is a new person – a mix of all the people in that city.”

Via Abelard

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If you are offended, are you harmed?

by Limbic on February 22, 2006

An excerpt from “The Big Questions: How Philosophy can Change Your Life” by Lou Marinoff:

“A trifle consoles us because a trifle upsets us.”

Blaise Pascal 

 

“What’s on trial here today is political correctness. Now, political correctness is the idea that assures that the worst thing we can do is offend somebody. Well, a lot of people were offended when Galileo suggested that the earth was revolving around the sun. A lot of people were offended by Picasso because in his portraits the eyes weren’t where they were supposed to be. A lot of people were offended by Rosa Parks when she wouldn’t sit in the back of an Alabama bus just because of the color of her skin. You see, everybody’s offended by something. A joke, a TV show, a song, an idea. .. And offending is very different from hurting . . . Political correctness tries to protect us from ourselves, but what do we have to give up for it? We give up our sense of humor, our sense of romance, our sense of play. We give up the courage to be different, to think different.”
                       Alfred Molina in the TV series Ladies Man 

“TOO MANY PEOPLE experience needless dis-ease due to a handful of fundamental confusions. With increasing frequency in recent times, people have confused privileges with rights, objectivity with subjectivity, wishing with willing, wanting with needing, price with worth, affluence with fulfilment, reality with appearance, and sameness with equality. Not to mention disease with dis-ease! In this vein, people cause themselves and others a lot of unnecessary suffering by ignoring the distinction between offense and harm. The costs of this ignorance, both personal and societal, have been monumental. Before we get to the troubles this mistaken equivalency causes us, we must first clarify just what “harm” and “offense” are, and thus make clear the difference between them. If you can learn not to confuse the two, and learn how not to take offense, you might just spare yourself a lot of dis-ease, and maybe even harm. I am very serious about this: the confusion of offense with harm is itself a potentially harmful mistake, with dire consequences awaiting those who persist in making the error.

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British historian David Irving has been jailed for 3 years in Austria for “denying the Holocaust of European Jewry” according to the BBC.

This is utterly wrong at several levels.

Firstly it is a violation of free speech and makes a mockery of Europe’s high minded claims of late surrounding the cartoon controversy.

Secondly, Irving has stated openly and unequivocally that he does NOT deny the holocaust took place.

He did 15 years ago because in his professional opinion as expert historian of the Nazi era he could not see sufficient evidence for the claim. Now he does and says so openly.

I find it deeply shocking that people can be jailed in 21st century Europe for expressing opinions about historical facts.

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The describable cruelty of Muslim Jew killers

by Limbic on February 20, 2006

Ilan Halimi: Tortured then burned alive by Islamic gang

From Haaretz Daily, bet this one never makes it to the BBC (and the BBC).  Ilan Halimi (above) was abducted by a Muslim gang, tortured for weeks and finally burned alive. Oh yes, its..err….NOT anti-Semitic (wink):

“They acted with indescribable cruelty,” the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. “They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight.” While the citizens of France were shocked by the unbridled violence of the gang, Halimi’s family claims that the murder was motivated by anti-Semitism. “We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair,” Rafi Halimi, Ilan’s uncle, told the press. “First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone,” Rafi Halimi added. “When we said we didn’t have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it,” Rafi said. “They also recited verses from the Koran.”

[Update: The BBC did pick up the story, but only after the French PM himself denounced the crime as anti-Semitic:

“Prosecutors initially ruled out anti-Semitism, saying the gang – believed to be behind six other botched kidnappings – were unemployed and motivated by money.

But Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told a meeting of Jewish community leaders on Monday that the judge handling the case was investigating leads pointing to an anti-Semitic attack.” BBC ]

The horror of it and not a peep in the International presses?

Meanwhile over in Nigeria “Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings.” Europeans draw funny pictures, Muslim mobs burn down churches and massacre minorities.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilan_Halimi

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