Sunday, January 27, 2002

Politicians as Scoundrels
An interesting site about politicians who have been in trouble or disgraced. It lists more than 300 politicians starting from the 1700s. Of course, these 300+ are only the ones who were caught. Makes me wonder if, to be a successful politician, one also has to have a bit of the scoundrel in one's personality. Having worked as a writer at the New York State Legislature for a couple of years in my youth, I would say that, from I have seen, that is usually the case.
Getting The Finger Fixed
Tomorrow I'm going to have some out-patient surgery on the middle finger of my right hand. I'm having a bone-spur and associated cyst removed. The doctor says I have to keep the finger raised for a while after, and I'm imagining driving home giving everyone the finger. I also imagine that it will be one-finger typing for a few days. That means short posts.
How Terrorists Are Made
Interesting column by Thomas Friedman in today's newspaper says:
Look at the biographies of many of the key hijackers or al-Qaida agents: Mohamed Atta, Ziad al-Jarrah, Marwan al-Shehhi, etc. It's the same story: He grew up in a middle-class family in the Arab world, was educated, went to Europe for more studies, lived on the fringes of a European society (many in Belgium), gravitated to a local prayer group or mosque, became radicalized there by Islamist elements, went off for training in Afghanistan and presto -- a terrorist was born. The personal encounter between these young men and Europe is the key to this story

The story seems to reinforce the importance of bringing up children to be curious about the big world around them, to help them learn how to seek out and analyze information, to appreciate diversity and the Golden Rule, and to truly seek to know their own minds and hearts. Bringing kids up in a narrow, restrictive, "protected" environment only makes them less able to deal with all of those things they never learned about when they find themselves lost among all of those "infidels" and "heathens" and "non-believers."