April 17, 2003

method packaging

Some categories just cry out for redesign. Household cleaning products seem so locked into the Ajax/Comet/Mr. Clean, 1960's era, that it is refreshing to see an alternative.

Target Stores are selling dish detergent from method. It come in innovative, opening-on-the-bottom bottles designed by Karim Rashid.

Very nice graphics and bottles. I love the shape of the teardrop, but the dumbbell shape is more ergonomic with wet hands.

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Paul Jané is my source for all things Kim Jong Il-ian. Today he posts a number of amusing DPRK news items . One in particular caught my eye (besides that Phil met Ha):

Pyongyang, March 21 (KCNA) -- A visiting group of the "Love-Neighbor Society" of South Korea led by its chairman Ri Il Ha arrived here today. They were greeted at the airport by Ho Hyok Phil, vice-chairman of the National Reconciliation Council, and officials concerned with compatriotic feelings.

I tried to start one of those societies, but my wife found out. Badaboom.

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April 16, 2003


Recently, Über-retailer IKEA launched its unböring marketing campaign. In doing so, it joined myriad ice cream manufacturers and hard rock bands in obeying the urge to umlaut.

Just published in a design/marketing publication The Ethical Huckster, a thorough history of the umlaut. You'll laugh, you'll cry ... Well, maybe not. But you'll find 2700 of my words on an orthographical mark.

Here's the original in pdf format.

By the way, The Ethical Huckster is an excellent journal of marketing published by CHMajor Design. If you ask nicely (or flash enough cash), you might get on the mailing list. Tell him I sent you.

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Honda as Art

Cars swooping over oceanfront landscapes, speeding across dry lake beds. Nah. This Honda commercial from the UK is moving in a different way.

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April 15, 2003

Stanislaw Lec

Thought for the week:

"When smashing monuments, save the pedestals — they always come in handy."
—Unkempt Thoughts

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Franchises Available

I had delayed my new empire of chip shacks because I needed a celebrity spokesman.

But now it's a go, because:

No one says "food, folks, and fun" like Vladimir Putin. Et Voila!

For the full size logo: cliquez ici

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Ancient Art

Julie at Lone Prairie is wondering about the looted and smashed archaeology museum.

It is true that, had the U.S. not taken action in Iraq, these treasures of antiquity would still be intact and safe.

But is a ancient clay vase worth more than a present-day human life? Is a map of Catal Huyuk or a Sumerian tablet the equivalent of living without oppression? What is the value of preserving the ancient while the present sinks into bloody oblivion?

Clearly, force protection is number one for the military mind. Rightly.

Second is population protection. Nobody (sane) in the world watching the last half dozen US military actions can deny that our soldiers take extraordinary care to reduce civilian and even enemy casualties.

So I guess Julie's question could be phrased another way: Which soldier do you want to die in exchange for that vase? Which child should be killed to protect that statue?

I heard some people opining today that "yes, the killing is bad, but the museum destruction broke my heart." I pointed out that this has not been the first time in history that the artwork of this region was sacked. (Vandalize comes from the Vandals, after all.) It will resurface some time, some place. Some will be destroyed utterly, some will be rebuilt. I'm still dismayed by the shelling of the Parthenon by Morosini in 1687.

That we are still so close to the jungle is all the more reason to be ready to make peace and to make war. And to know the difference.

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April 14, 2003

Kucinich wants a DOPe in the White House

Got this in an e-mail from Dennis Kucinich. Seems he wants a DOPe in the White House, and I don't just mean him.

They're running a DOPe campaign:

Today, we redoubled our efforts to promote peace at the national level. Forty-seven of my fellow Members of Congress and I introduced H.R. 2459, a bill to establish the Department of Peace at the Cabinet level. The Members of Congress who joined with me were: [trimmed out list of usual suspects -ed].

Please read more about our bill here: www.dopcampaign.org/read_bill.htm.

The co-sponsors and I encourage you to get involved in this campaign. The Department of Peace website offers you ways to do this. We have found that just talking about the Department of Peace with your friends and family is an excellent and effective way to introduce a discussion on the issue of peace.

I can see it now, uniformed volunteers fanning out across the world, singing Kumbiya... I'm getting all misty.

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Today's Philosophy Lesson

"The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk."
— Hegel

I will have to spend the day pondering the significance to philosophy of the reported jailbreak in London of a pet owl.

Police appealed to residents to report sightings of Jazz, described as dark brown and 20 inches tall, with a 6-foot wingspan. The European eagle owl is the world's largest species of owl, and has been known to hunt foxes and small deer.

Police said hunger might drive Jazz to hunt rabbits, cats "or even small dogs."

"It is unlikely that he would attempt to catch small children as he lives with children at home," police said.

That last is comforting, I think.

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Saddam and the Jihadists

Ah, yes, I endlessly heard how Saddam was secular and Al-Qaeda was religious and they hated each other and they could never work together. and yadda yadda.

Whoa. Here's news, Saddam was best buddies with the jihadists, you know, like the guys that kill innocent Israelis and blew up the World Trade Center.

Another peace movement meme destroyed by truth.

PRESIDENT Saddam Hussein imported hundreds of well-trained Islamic guerrillas before the war to spearhead his fight against American and British forces, The Times has learnt.

Documents and captives seized by British troops in Basra reveal that the recruits were arriving in Baghdad from Muslim countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen as little as ten days before the war began.

They came to wage jihad against the Western military, and provided some of the fiercest resistance as the coalition advanced northwards. Survivors are still mounting occasional attacks in Baghdad and other cities.

US officials are seizing on the guerrillas' presence as evidence of links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist organisation - links that the Bush Administration has long cited as a justification for the war.

The foreign fighters provide a 'direct tie between Saddam Hussein and terrorist organisations', a Pentagon spokeswoman said last night.
[ ... ]
The foreign fighters were given money, and operated alongside Fedayin units rather than Baath party militias, and never the regular army. What is now apparent is that it was these foreign fighters who led the resistance inside Iraq's second city.

Weaponry found shows they were well-supplied with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machineguns, and that the tactics they employed proved that they knew how to use such hardware to attempt to disable tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Okay, so who trained them? Al-Qaeda, probably.

The extended battle for Basra was seized on by the antiwar side as proving how Iraqis would fight for their land. Obviously, it just shows the close ties of Islamic Fascism and Islamic Fundamentalism and their common cause.

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The Hunt for WMD

The last holding action for the much-battered antiwar forces is the whine "But they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction..."

Well, leave aside all those chem suits and atropine capsules found around Iraq, leave aside the fact that the military has been very busy pacifying the area around Baghdad for just 1 week, leave aside that there is still a war going on, let's just look at the scale of the task. Here's General Tommy Franks on the hunt as the US starts the real search for WMD.

"But you're talking about 2,000, 3,000 perhaps, places in this country where we know we're going to go and investigate each one of them. We may have ... somewhere between five and 10 and 15 site exploitations ongoing in a 24-hour period of time."

So, if they get to 10 site inspections a day (on average) it could take 7 to 10 months to visit all the already-suspected sites. If in the course of interrogation of Baathists and scientists, they uncover another 1,000 sites to visit, that's 4 more months. So 11 to 14 months just to inspect.

The UN had two, maybe three teams with much reduced leverage, zero control of the country, virtually no access to interviewing scientists and very poor operational and intelligence security than is now the case. So a rough guess is that it would have taken 5 years to even approach a fraction of the effectiveness we will now see. With the Iraqis scurrying around covering tracks, moving sites.

Looks like UN inspections had zero chance of actually working.

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Trying to Get the Left on Track

A nice summation of the current schism in the left between those who support tyrannical murderous regimes and those who oppose them. This is an extract from a letter sent by John Lloyd, a New Statesman columnist resigning his post:

France and Germany, the two leading anti-war states in Europe, baulked at acting against murderous tyrannies or collapsed states throughout the 1990s - in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, as well as Iraq. Where action to overthrow dictatorial regimes has been taken in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and now Iraq, it has been taken either with US prompting, or with the US military in the lead. In the first three cases, the result was a lifting of tyranny and the chance of a better life for the peoples of those countries.

European states are far more active and efficient in providing development assistance and peacekeeping forces than is the US. But there are times when peace must be made before it can be kept; and Europe as a whole has seen such moments as none of its business, relying on the US, and then usually blaming it for carrying the can.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, UN leaders have spread the message that their organisation could now enter into its own - as a protector of the downtrodden who, most often, are trodden on by their own rulers. This movement culminated, less than two years ago, in a Canadian-sponsored report, A Responsibility to Protect -- a brilliant summation of the arguments for stripping tyrants of sovereign inviolability. Of the major government leaders, only Blair has embraced the report, as the logical extension of the ethical dimension in foreign policy that Labour promulgated when it came to office.

Most of the left refused to follow this line. For some, it has been enough to declare all ethical dimensions phoney, since states such as Britain continued to shake hands with tyrants. For others, state sovereignty seems a necessary protection against what they see as the largest threat to the world: US imperialism.

US imperialism, in this view of a now resurgent part of the left, is composed of a mixture of things: efforts to control energy resources, principally oil; the repression of the Palestinians to ensure the security of the US "client state" Israel; a US refusal to tolerate any power that counterbalances its own; a hatred of all cultures other than its own, and a determination to destroy such cultures to make the world passively receptive to American values and merchandise.

Will the end of the war and the effort to rebuild decent government in Iraq change the view of the left? It would seem unlikely: the anti-US reflex is too ingrained, the dislike of Blair too great.

Yet the left's programme now should be to argue in favour of committing resources to those multilateral agencies that work, and to seek agreement from those forces everywhere in the world that are committed to democratic (or at least more responsive) government and to an observation of human and civil rights. The aim, as the US political scientist Michael Walzer has put it, should be a "strong international system, organised and designed to defeat aggression, to stop massacres and ethnic cleansing, to control weapons of mass destruction and to guarantee the physical security of all the world's peoples".

Posted by campbell at 01:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2003

Ignore Previous Posting, If You Know What's Good for You

Sorry, I don't know how that memo got misdirected to the Snoofmadrune weblog. Maybe you should just forget that you saw it.

Or else.

While we're on the topic of Canadian Invasions, though, it reminds of a little story I tell to explain how the "Anglo-Saxon" became dominant for the past 300 years on the northern 2/3rds of the continent.

Seems a new commander came over to take control of the French forces in Quebec. Deciding that February was just the right time to launch a scouting patrol that could handle some Indian raiding problems, he marched the forces out of the encampment and into the woods.

L'hiver, he reasoned, was no big deal in France for an army. So a couple of days later, he and his poorly outfitted troops were trying to plow through 6 foot snow banks without snowshoes or food (since they couldn't live off the land when nothing was moving). He managed finally to return to town with a much reduced force and learned that the arrogance of being French was no substitute for good equipment and strategy.

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Canadian Invasion Plans

Unilateral Hegemon Industries

To: Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney
From: BC

Suggest that you delay Syrian invasion plans until fall as summer is a
lousy time for a desert war.

Maybe you should consider dealing with that Canada thing this summer.

It could probably be done in a couple of days with a brigade from Fort
Drum. If the 10th Mountain isn't back from the 'stans, you could just
send in the New York Reserves. Hell, you could probably send in the
Monroe County Girl Scouts.

Suggest seizing Ottawa on a weekend in July. Black flies aren't as bad
then, and every damn person in the government will be at their
cottages. Chances are they won't even notice they don't have jobs until
sometime in September, if then.

In addition, if you seize and occupy every Tim Hortons donut shop along
the way, you will both neutralize all the provincial police permanently
stationed there and cut off the native food supply.

That is all.

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