September 20th, 2003

fashionable

It's good to be omega-3?!

For years, there has been a lot of talk about the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids on heart disease, but a recent post on Metafilter points out that researchers are finding diets high in omega-3 fatty acids to be linked to lower rates of depression and bipolar disorder.

One study pointed out the "highly significant benefits" of adding omega-3 to the diet as compared to placebo, but that it wasn't known whether omega-3 "augments antidepressant action in the manner of lithium or has independent antidepressant properties of its own."

Although doctors are generally unwilling to consider omega-3 as an alternative to existing treatments for depression, it apparently makes a great adjunct to already existing treatment therapies, especially since there are few debates about its other positive effects.

Feeling bummed out? Suck on a salmon!
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Britain's Liberal Democrats claim victory over Tories, Labour...

Sarah Teather, a 29-year-old Liberal Democrat candidate, won a by-election victory in a north London pro-Labour district. This was the first by-election defeat for Labour in 15 years, and, surprisingly, it wasn't the Tories who won it.

This goes to show the extent to which Tony Blair's discredited policies have hurt the Labour Party, but it also shows that Tory conservatives have been completely unable to capitalize on it.

Despite efforts of Blair to scare the public and foment distrust of Liberal Democrat candidates, the truth of the matter is that their warnings of the repercussion's of Blair's policies have come to pass. At a certain point, it becomes hard to disagree with the people who are telling you the truth.

Rather than trying to target Labour, however, Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats are squarely targetting the Tories, with the goal of establishing themselves as the primary opposition party to Labour.

As a result, Tory leadership is desperately trying to backpedal in their carte blanche support of Blair's policies on Iraq. Too little, too late.

In other words:
1> Labour has been trying for years to be Tory. (i.e. "New Labour") They've been so successful at this that they have become totalitarian demogogues -- unable to tolerate dissent within their own ranks, uninclusive, and ultimately uninspiring.
2> Tories are trying to become "New New Labour"... slavishly pro-business, but peace-lovin' -- at least until they get voted into office. Nobody believes a word they say.
3> Liberal Democrats are being themselves... perhaps even a bit quieter than normal, really. They are happily watching the other parties self-destruct, and will gladly let the voters come around to their way of thinking.

This is a lesson that the Green Party in the US could learn from. Their slogan should be "When you're tired of being lied to by these guys, take a look at us. We'll still be here...."
fashionable

New York Times declares war on France.

That's right. War on France. Neocon sympathizer Andrew Sullivan ups the ante, calling France "malevolent" and "the enemy".

Friedman supplies a simplistic comparison, saying it is "as if America said it did not care what happened in Mexico because it was mad at Spain."

Contrary to US public opinion, Iraq does *NOT* share a border with France. The distance between France and Iraq is over 2000 miles -- approximately the same distance as between the US and Venezuela, or Alaska and Japan, or Maine and Ireland, or from the Pacific beaches of California to the Atlantic beaches of Florida. Like Friedman's comparison, it's quite a stretch.

Still, let's play out Friedman's scenario. Assume that Spain has invaded Venezuela without UN approval, on the justification that it faces an imminent threat from Venezuela's vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, none of which they can find. The Spanish occupation of Venezuela drags on, soldiers die daily, the country sinks deeper into debt, and people start to talk about Venezuela using the C word -- cienaga -- the local equivalent for quagmire.

In desperation, Spain goes back to the U.N. and asks for other countries to contribute soldiers to be deployed under Spanish control -- troops which could absorb "politically acceptable casualties". Spain makes no meaningful concessions on powersharing and refuses to lay out a reasonable schedule for Venezuelan self-rule.

Are we to believe that Friedman really be willing to put US soldiers under Spanish control in such a scenario? Wouldn't he think that this would be a blaintant misuse of the U.N.? Has he no respect for the rule of law?

While admittedly the US has had some proud moments, it has also had its moments of shame, where we have overturned governments and propped up tyrants. Friedman is ultimately asking that a precident be established that would give the US automatic approval by the UN, no strings attached, and he views any nation that opposes this stance as the enemy. The true enemy, however, would be the establishment of a status quo inherently prone to abuse.

Our founding fathers strongly believed in resisting the temptation of tyranny at every turn -- seperation of powers, inalienable rights, due process, and in the idea that no one should be able to impose their will over another without representation... and yet our government would gladly force France to send their soldiers to Iraq to die in our soldiers' places if they could.

Winston Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried." However, if the choice is either democracy and endless debate or tyranny in the name of expediency, I choose democracy. If we truely want to support democracy in other countries, then US support for democracy and the rule of law in the U.N. would be a great first step.

Democracy for the U.N., democracy for the people of the United States, and democracy for the people of Iraq -- but always democracy.
fashionable

Great quote on Iraq.

"The bitterest contradiction of all may be that this war was waged -- first and foremost -- to save face after the humiliation and suffering of September 11. It was meant to inspire awe in the Arab and Muslim world .... And in that it truly has failed. Every day we look weaker. And the worst news of all is that it�s not because of what was done to us by our enemies but because of what we've done to ourselves." - Christopher Dickey
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(no subject)

Drunken US soldiers torment an endangered bengal tiger in the Baghdad Zoo, then shoot it when it attacks US serviceman.

Great job guys. You just gave a generation of Arabic kids a bedtime story that should help them along towards an exciting career in international terrorism. Someone should find out where these soldiers live, and force their community's local zoos to permanently lose one of their most beloved animals, to be sent straight to Baghdad.