Koran Abuse Redux

by Kieran Healy on June 3, 2005

In a story responsibly timed for release on a Friday evening, “the Pentagon confirms”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4608949.stm that American soldiers at Guantanomo have been messing with the Koran in various ways:

bq. US guards at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre kicked, threw water and splashed urine on copies of Koran. The Pentagon has released details of five incidents in which the Koran was mishandled by US personnel at the camp, some intentional and others accidental. In another incident a two-word English obscenity was found written in a Koran.

I’m sure _Newsweek_ was responsible for this somehow. I suppose the next line of defense in this charade is going to be “You see, the military is investigating this and punishing the few bad apples responsible.” On the merry-go-round spins.

_Update_: As expected, the comments have examples of several of the expected, semi-trollish lines of defense. As a reminder to those now arguing that defiling the Koran is no big deal (and of course it’s small potatoes in comparison with torture and other human rights abuses), the story here is the contrast between the contents of the Pentagon report and the avalanche of aggressive, high-minded flimflam that the Administration unleashed on _Newsweek_ when it originally ran its version of the story.

The Information Age as Metaphor

by Henry on June 3, 2005

“Mark Schmitt”:http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/6/3/135622/4413 and “Matt Yglesias”:http://yglesias.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/6/2/104034/7861 have an interesting debate on whether the term “information age” is a metaphor, synechdoche or a description of a more-or-less tangible empirical phenomenon. I’ll have more to say about this soonish when I finish reading Bruce Abramson’s “Digital Phoenix”:http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=62-0262012170-0 ; but in the meantime want to recommend those interested in this question to Doug Henwood’s “After the New Economy”:http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-1565847709-2 (which we ran a “seminar”:https://crookedtimber.org/category/henwood-seminar on in 2004).

Update: And “Ed Kilgore”:http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/6/3/233228/5444 jumps in too, arguing, as best as I can tell, that skepticism about the information age is rooted in nostalgia for a 1950’s version of social democracy, that only ever applied to the “aristocracy of labor” in the North.

Friday Fun Links

by Ted on June 3, 2005

Gary Farber has an interesting series of posts (here, here, here, and here) about elements of Revenge of the Sith that ended up on the cutting room floor.

From Saturday Night Live‘s TV Funhouse, the adventures of Divertor! The Jay Leno impression just slays me.

I don’t know what made me think of the Movie Trailer Cliché Theater, but it never fails to raise a smile. I miss Modern Humorist something fierce.

All the Deep Throat talk reminded me of the pleasant little comedy Dick, which proposes that Deep Throat was really two bubbly teenage girls who wandered downstairs at the wrong time during a sleepover at the Watergate. Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch (from “Kids in the Hall”) steal the show as Woodward and Bernstein, but Jim Breuer (as John Dean) and Harry Shearer (as G. Gordon Liddy) have some moments. I think we’ve got some readers who would enjoy it at their hastily-scheduled Deep Throat parties this weekend.

David Brooks resurrects the claim that

The Western European standard of living is about a third lower than the American standard of living, and it’s sliding. European output per capita is less than that of 46 of the 50 American states and about on par with Arkansas.

This was done to death in the blogosphere a couple of years ago, but it’s obviously time for another go.

Update: Oops! Scott Martens points out in comments that the EIU gives US median household income as $57 936, way out of line with the Census Bureau figure, which obviously invalidates my comparison, and casts doubt on their figures for France. I guess I’d better not just rely on a quick Google next time. I’ll look into the EIU numbers some more.

And, as several commentators point out, that will also teach me to be more careful before slagging off others for sloppy work. Time for a dish of crow.

Further update I haven’t yet found out how the EIU gets its numbers, but I’ve fixed the obvious errors in the post and taken the opportunity to remove unfair comments about Brooks

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