Friday, July 21, 2006

Hell on Earth... or, you know, a little fright
The image at the right is a screenshot from CNN.com at the time of this posting. The caption makes it sound like the family in the picture escaped a pretty harrowing experience, does it not?

My first thought was "man, they don't look like they just came out of a war zone," which led to "okay, maybe they're just really relieved to have escaped." So, I click through to the full article to get the true story.

Like thousands of Lebanese-American families, the Esseilys' family visit to Lebanon coincided with Hezbollah's capture of Israeli soldiers and the Israeli airstrikes that followed.

Esseily doesn't consider herself "inside the war."

"I was three kilometers away, and I heard [an airstrike] and [it] shook my house. The smoke was coming up my way, and I smelled the plastic and the burning of the homes and all that. But I never went into it," she said.
Okay, so they wanted to leave and were a bit scared, but it doesn't sound like they were in any real danger.

So it makes sense, as CNN says on the front page, that they are thinking about all of the people who are still there, and worrying for their safety. But why describe their departure as "escap[ing] the horrors of Israel's campaign"? (emphasis added)

What horrors did these people experience?

And if this is the closest CNN can come to finding someone who were horrified, what does that say about everyone else?

I'm just asking because I want to know why the media feels the need to drum up excitement about these things. I know I'm not the first to ask—and I'm not taking it as far as some others who would scream "antisemitism!!" at the top of their lungs—but the desire to tell a good story really handicaps their ability to tell the truth.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's hot in the hot tub
This heat is literally killing us, according to CNN.com:

The heat that has stifled much of the nation since late last week has contributed to the deaths of at least 10 people, including two in Oklahoma City, one in Philadelphia, two in Arkansas and one in Indiana.

The toll increased Tuesday with word that a 23-year-old man with cerebral palsy died in a Philadelphia suburb after apparently being left in a sweltering van by accident, authorities said.

In the Chicago area, three women, one in her 50s and two in their 70s, died from the combination of pre-existing conditions and heat stress, according to a spokesman for the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
We could save these people, if only we had a socialized medical system.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Off the bench
Okay, so it's been over a month since I posted anything. Time to get off my ass and back in the game. This may turn out to be another three-day long, aborted attempt—but we'll see how it goes.

So, what is there to comment on? I honestly can't think of a single thing that's going on in the world worth talking about... oh. Wait. I heard something about Israel, and maybe Lebanon? Let me just... check the... news, here.

Hmmm. Seems like a pretty big deal. So, I know you're all dying to know what I think.

Pretty simple, really—one word conclusion: good.

I mean, it's obvious that Israel is only doing this to get Joe Lieberman elected. My Zionist co-conspirators have been warning me not to admit it in public, but it seems clear to me that everyone knows what's going on. The Israeli government knows that they need Lieberman as an advocate (since he is their puppet) and that he's in danger of losing. But if they can draw out the freedom fighters of Hamas and Hezbollah, and play up the victimization of Israel angle and drum up support for Lieberman's flagging campaign.

I mean, seriously, there's no other possible explanation for Israel's decision to invade Lebanon, right?

Frankly, others have already tackled this topic ad nauseum, so I'll defer to their wisdom.

Okay, so that was a pretty wimpy first day back. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Or later tonight if I'm in the mood.

UPDATE [7/18/2006 - 19:35]: More brilliance on the issue from CNN.com:

Israeli airstrikes pounded the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital near the airport early Wednesday, lighting up the night with explosions. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the latest airstrikes, but at least 12 people died in Israel and Lebanon on Tuesday.
According to The CIA Worldbook, the estimated July 2006 population of Israel is 6,352,117 and the yearly death rate is an estimated 6.18 deaths per 1,000 people.

The estimates for Lebanon are 3,874,050 people and a death rate of 6.21 people per 1,000 per year.

So, let's round Israel down to 6 million and Lebanon down to 3 million, which is dropping better than a million to be conservative—and with the same motive, let's round both death rates to 6 per 1,000 per year. So we've got 9 million people dying at a rate of 6 per 1,000 per year. That's 9,000 deaths per year between the two countries. Divide that by 365, and you get an average of 24.6 deaths per year.

So, according to CNN, the violence in Israel and Lebanon has actually halved the average death rate!