The Blob

Saturday, November 13, 2004

First Light

The US Air Force announced a successful first test of an airborne-based chemical laser designed to destroy enemy missiles carrying nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. There's a long way to go, as the challenges to making this work are immense. But I have a hunch Boeing and others working on this will be successful. And knowing what the North Koreans are up to, this development makes me sleep a bit better.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Arafat: A perspective

Yassir, I gotta say this: Arafat is dead. Finally. I should never dance on someone's grave, but I feel no pity for anyone who brutally killed thousands of innocent men, women and children in the name of his goal. Yassir was an odd mix of terrorism and diplomacy, a life led in which the ends (an unquenchable thirst for a Palestinian homeland) justified his often brutal means.

There were times when he showed contrition, as he did immediately after September 11. But Yassir Arafat was also the force behind the Munich Olympics killings, a mass killing of schoolchildren and countless other wanton murders. Is this the way to create a legitimate nation? When I think back about Yassir Arafat, I will remember him as the father of modern terrorism as we know it. Nothing more, nothing less. And for all the defiance he showed, in the end, the Palestinian people gained little. Disagreeable though I have often found them, they do deserve a better fate.

My only hope, and sadly one that I doubt that I will ever experience in my lifetime, is to see the people of Israel and Palestine finally make amends, and realize that fighting and seeking an eye for an eye will never accomplish anything. But that is an argument I will never win. You cannot change people who don't want to change. Trust is the last thing on their minds.

What scares me is that a year from now, many of us might think nostalgically about Mr. Arafat. Although the immediate leaders of Palestine appear to be more moderate, I'm afraid they may soon be pushed out of the way, and violently. Much more radical groups will no doubt vie for power. I do hope I am wrong.

To give you some perspective on Arafat, look at the following articles. A scathing post-mortem on Arafat from Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe is required reading. It contrasts with the politically correct and ever-clueless statements by former President Jimmy Carter. Here's a link to a story on the chaotic funeral on the West Bank. The crazed behavior of the mob did little to support their quest for statehood.

Finally, I offer you an article about Arafat's widow Suha Arafat, and the deal she pulled to take in a paltry $22 Million per year to help her live happily ever after in Paris. It supports what I suspected: that they pulled the plug on Arafat's life support about 5 seconds after she cut a deal for the money. Can you feel the love?

You can pick your friends but...

I'm not sure about you, but I always think it's great to get a cheap laugh at Bill Gates' expense. Take for example, the announcement of Microsoft's new search engine, Microsoft Nose Picker. I'm not making this up. Czech it out for yourself here.

You can't make up stuff this good. It's got to happen on its own.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Too cool

I highly recommed that you visit 10 X 10, one of the best new Web sites I've seen in quite some time. Brilliant in its simplity, profound in its genius, 10 X 10 provides a digest of the day's news from around the world in a revolutionary new way. You'll need Macromedia's Flash plug-in for your Web browser. Then, sit back and prepare to be amazed. It's really that good.

You can find out more about 10 X 10 here. Then, go here and start rolling your mouse over the words and pictures. You'll get what it's all about in no time.


They deserve each other

The Yasser Arafat death watch continues. And like his life, it is full of contradictions, betrayal, deception, lies and hidden agendas. Like where is Arafat's $ billions, for example. His lingering death may have more to do with intermural bickering and rivalries and the search for his Swiss bank accounts than the end of days for the Palistinian leader.

For some insight on the murky, confusing reports swirling around Arafat, I recommend an excellent New York Times article, Palestinian Aides Try to Unravel Mystery of Arafat's Condition. It shows the rivalry between Suha Arafat, Yasser's wife (who had not seen him for over three years) and his political heirs. From what I can tell, they're both wrong. Each side wants to control the fate of Yasser Arafat, and neither side wants to provide sympathy or condolences.

It's a fitting fate for a man who spent his life as a terrorist, killing countless of innocent people, and betraying his own people time and time again by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Sad. In a region where futility and bloodshed is the order of the day, where hatred is so ancient that perhaps no one really knows why they are fighting themselves and each other, I really wonder if peace is truly an objective. I will never understand a people who are content to argue over anything, including the color of the sky.

Such is the legacy of Yasser Arafat. It is perhaps fitting that his end is this way.