Classless Cheap Shots At Columbia

Columbia University president Lee Bollinger showed himself to be a classless buffoon yesterday, despite pronouncements from some corners of a flawless “rope-a-dope” maneuver.
Let’s get a few things straight. First: he (Bollinger) and his University extended the invitation to Mad Mahmoud. They (Columbia and Bollinger) opened their doors to the figurehead of state of the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. They invited the ringleader of the gang that took American diplomats hostage for almost a year and a half. I don’t know what sort of upbringing Bollinger has had, but as I was raised, when you invite another person into your house, you bear the responsibility for ensuring the guest’s comfort and security. You never invite someone else into your house for the sole purpose of chastising or mocking them. It’s indecent, unseemly, and indicative far more of your own lack of character than a reflection on your guests.
Bollinger had an opportunity to make his feelings known about this “petty and cruel dictator”: right after announcing that the Columbia administration, having realized Ahmadinejad is either “brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated”, was rescinding their invitation for him to speak. You don’t insult guests you yourself invited, lest you show yourself to be base, uncultured and unworthy of the respect you deny your guests.
It wasn’t “brave”, it wasn’t “good”, it was an inversion of a relationship (that of host to guest) that ought not be rent asunder, regardless of cultural differences. It was self-aggrandizing in the extreme for Bollinger — he gets to stand apart from the crowd as The Man Who Stared Down A Tyrant and probably rake in some alumni dough. (In light of this, his assurances that Columbia would have invited Hitler to speak in a similar capacity make even more sense. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be The Man Who Dissed Hitler, right?) Bollinger’s actions revealed nothing about the Dinner Jacket Puppet that wasn’t already known.
I cannot abide Ahmadinejad’s views, his practices, nor the regime that he fronts, but the answer is public humiliation in the proper venue. It is not rolling out the red carpet and then unceremoniously yanking it out from under your “honored” guest.

Archduke Ahmadinejad?

Much virtual ink has been spilled over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request to visit the site of the World Trade Center during his visit to NYC, though I haven’t seen anyone suggest the following:

  1. Ahmadinejad believes in the Hidden 12th Imam whose reemergence will bring about the end of this current world order and the reemergence of the Islamic caliphate.
  2. The Big A. believes that the martyring of the entire Iranian people, pursuant to nuking Israel, is an acceptable trade-off to bring about the Mahdi’s return.
  3. Given #2, might Ahmadinejad’s assassination also bring about the regional chaos necessary to wipe Israel out/give Iran the casus belli to nuke Israel?

I’m just saying, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Mad Mahmoud might be looking to ignite a wider conflict by sacrificing his own person on the alter of the WTC. Given his past crazy behavior, I wouldn’t put it past him.

$5 Bill Makeover Screams “I am a five”, “Fabulous!”

The fiver.The Treasury Dept. is looking to issue new $5 bills (since apparently the current bill is being bleached and then reprinted as counterfeit $100s in staggering numbers) and, to combat the forgers, they have initiated changes to make Lincoln’s currency more in line with other recently-revised issues (from the $100s all the way down to the $10s).

“We wanted this redesigned bill to scream, ‘I am a five. I am a five,”‘ Larry Felix, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We wanted to eliminate any similarity or confusion on the part of the public between the $5 bill and the $100 bill.”

So how did the Treasury decide to redesign the bill dedicated to the greatest former president unable to shake persistent rumors of a secret homosexual lifestyle? By sprinkling the resulting design with a lovely, pale shade of Tinky-Winky-esque purple that could almost politely be referred to as “periwinkle”.
I think someone over at the UST must have a great sense of humor…

Is Our Harvard Grads Learning? No.

de Tocqueville
This report has been making the blogospheric rounds today and it is, well, damning of our educational system’s ability to impart civic knowledge, to put it bluntly.
Simply stated, when presented with a 60 question test covering basic U.S. history, civics and political philosophy, Harvard seniors scored best with a D+ average. All other schools’ students scored worse.
The report’s findings are extremely interesting — not only are our college students culturally and politically illiterate, but they actually score lower on average after attending four or more years of higher education. College makes kids dumber, apparently.
Bop on over and take the test yourself and (hopefully!) you’ll be able to report: “I’m smarter than the average Harvard grad.”
(Full disclosure: I scored 54/60, missing questions 18, 19, 36, 54, 58 and 60. I guess I need to brush up on my Just War, Keynsian economic theory and good governance oversight…)

No Respect

I was going to refrain from posting today, out of respect for the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and those that died that day, but I simply can’t let the disgraceful vandalization of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the eve of 9/11 go unremarked upon.
I do believe that, should the perpetrators be caught, the Inverse Golden Rule ought to be applied: they should be slathered in an unidentified staining agent and left for the public to mock and ridicule, perhaps even in stocks on the Mall in D.C. I can’t even describe how disgusted I am that one of my fellow countrymen (or women) would stoop so low as to desecrate a memorial dedicated to those willing to give their lives in defense of our country.

Duuuuuude, Spam?

So, spammers, what’s the deal with trying to spam my blog with “head shop” junk? Bongs, pipes, etc.? E.D. drugs and grass seed too good for you?
Y’all have problems. Seriously.

The First Rule Of Corporate Compliance Training

…Is: The correct answer is not, as one might think, the right (ethically, morally, etc.) one, but instead the one that will end up costing the Company the least amount of money in court proceedings.
Keeping this rule and its close cousins (“When in doubt, the snitchy answer is best” and “Reprisals aren’t real and, besides, even if they were, the Ethics office will handle your case in a straight-ahead fashion that guarantees you fair treatment”) in mind and you will pass any training quizzes with flying colors.
Or maybe I’m just a cynic.

Viele Verbindungen

Guten Abend, meine Damen und Herren. Welcome to “Doug’s Brauhaus von Linkenarbeitsgemeinschaftigenluftenwarnungsteinen”. Tonight we are featuring a sumptuous feast of the finest in hand-picked links, personally selected by the owner. Please won’t you consider the menu?
First off, we have two exquisite examples of technological cluelessness, the first of which, “Shut Up I Hack You“, features self-inflicted “haxx0ring” spiced nicely with some inappropriate l33t language and mild cursing. Next, we have the finely-aged Attack of the Repo Men, resplendent with paranoia, legal threats and a near-obsession with Russian hackers. I would suggest a nice hearty red wine to go with either link.
For those of you whose tastes instead run towards a more refined videogames-centric list, we have a wonderful preview of the Wii-specific controller developed for Guitar Hero III, freshly-picked news of a forthcoming “Beirut”/”Beer Pong” game headed for the Wii, a piquant “Jane Goodall among the Geeks of Penny Arcade”-esque article from WIRED and, of course, the trailer for Penny Arcade’s upcoming computer adventure game, “On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness”:Also of interest on today’s menu is a photo gallery of Goth Day At Disneyland 2007, a freshly-caught copyright infringer infringing on infringers who infringed upon him and word of the tarring and feathering of a known drug dealer in Northern Ireland.
Should you find the need to use our extensive, ahem, facilities, I might ask you to brush up on Male Restroom Etiquette:

For dessert, we have a lovely selection of Geeky Wedding Cakes. (I particularly like the Homestar Runner one, personally. Seriously.)
If I may be of any further assistance to you this evening, please don’t hesitate to call me back over to your table. Enjoy!

Al Qaeda Comes Down Against Bending It, For Keeping Sexy Right Where It Was

It seems as if, in a bid for popular American support, al Qaeda operatives have released a video threatening the lives of David Beckham and Justin Timberlake for “corrupting” young Islamic minds.
I, like much of the viewing public, remain mixed in my reaction to this news. On the one hand, al Qaeda. On the other hand, bodily harm to Beckham and Timberlake. If alQ were truly intelligent, they’d release a follow-up mentioning Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and Michael Vick by name, thus securing the support of roughly 99% of Americans.
In all seriousness, though, what is it with these fanatics? A bigger bunch of cosmic killjoys I’ve never seen…!