Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

April 1, 2005

Sunni non-participation?

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:15 pm

AP Story here:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Influential Sunni Muslim clerics who once condemned Iraqi security force members as traitors made a surprise turnaround Friday and encouraged citizens to join the nascent police and army.

Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai, a cleric in the Association of Muslim Scholars, read the edict during a sermon at a major Sunni mosque in Baghdad. He said it was necessary for Sunnis to join the security forces to prevent Iraqi police and army from falling into “the hands of those who have caused chaos, destruction and violated the sanctities.”

James Taranto’s comment:

Don’t forget, back in January the doomsayers were urging the postponement of Iraq’s election for fear of Sunni nonparticipation leading to a civil war. Their streak of wrong predictions remains unbroken.

These “doomsayers” were the same ones who said in 2001 that we couldn’t get rid of the Taliban since no foreign army had ever succeeded in Afghanistan (OK, so ours was the first), then in 2003 said it would be a house-to-house fight for every city in Iraq, especially Baghdad, not realizing that most Iraqis were praying for a US invasion. They also said the “Arab street” would rise up and destroy us if we invaded Iraq; instead, protesters in Beirut are asking “Where is Bush?” as if he is supposed to order an invasion whenever the people in a country are sick of their dictator. (See also here.)

The Afghans, the U.S. Army, Beards, and Photoshop

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:48 pm

This is a heckuva great story. Here’s a teaser:

All US soldiers are expected to be clean-shaven, according to AR 670-1, the army regulation covering uniforms and appearance. That created a bit of a problem, since working with the Pashtuns while clean-shaven was a lot like being an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a biker gang while wearing a pink tutu and a lacy top. The powers that be had therefore, reluctantly, grudgingly, and sorrowfully, authorized SF teams working with the Afghans to grow beards. Of course, it being the Army and all, no way was there going to be a clean implementation of a policy that radical.

(Hat tip: Blackfive.)

Wheelchair Pageant Winner Loses Crown

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:45 pm

for standing. Not walking, just standing.

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin has been stripped of her title because pageant officials say she can stand – and point to a newspaper picture as proof.

Janeal Lee, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a scooter, was snapped by The Post-Crescent newspaper standing among her high school math students.

“I’ve been made to feel as if I can’t represent the disabled citizens of Wisconsin because I’m not disabled enough,” Lee said Thursday.

The move by the state pageant officials, led by coordinator Gina Hackel, is supported by the national board.

Candidates for the crown have to “mostly be seen in the public using their wheelchairs or scooters,” said Judy Hoit, Ms. Wheelchair America’s treasurer. “Otherwise you’ve got women who are in their wheelchairs all the time and they get offended if they see someone standing up. We can’t have title holders out there walking when they’re seen in the public.

This is so bizarre I just don’t know what to say. She can occassionally stand up from her scooter, but she should be “seen in the public” doing so because this will offend people? So, according to Ms. Wheelchair America, disabled people should not do try hard to do as many things as they are capabale of doing so if those things conflict with stereotypes about what disabled people are supposed to be able to do.

(Hat tip: Chana Meira. No, this is not an April Fool.)

Michael Schiavo files wrongful death lawsuit

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:21 pm

A grieving Michael Schiavo has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the parents of his late wife, Terri Schiavo, who died yesterday of dehydration two weeks after her feeding tube was removed. Despite their spending eight years fighting in court to prevent the removal of the tube and get her therapy for her severe brain damange, Michael Schiavo says they “didn’t try hard enough” to save his wife’s life.

When asked whether his client didn’t bear more responsibility for his wife’s death because he litigated for it for eight years, Schiavo’s attorney George Felos said, “That is a cruel thing to say to a grieving husband. It is blaming the victim. It is like blaming a woman for being raped because she’s attractive. Besides, if people can sue for injuries after diving where there was a ‘No Diving’ sign, is this really any different?”

Details on the diving lawsuit are here. Details on the Schiavo lawsuit are here.

Lest you think the Schiavo fight is over…

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:00 pm

… there is now the funeral fight. I.e., whether Terri’s parents will be able to attend the burial. They answer (does this surprise anyone?) is No.

His brother, Scott Schiavo, said her ashes will be buried in an undisclosed location near Philadelphia so that her immediate family does not attend and turn the moment into a media spectacle.

This means that the Schindlers will not be able to visit there daughter’s grave ever. (Unless Michael relents someday and tells where it is.) Can this be anything but wanton cruelty? After all, it’s not like Michael is likely to be a frequent visitor, what with his “new girl” and the two kids he’s had with her over the last 10 years.

No doubt this was intended as a (last?) insult to the Schindlers, but it may be an inadvertent compliment. The only person I can think of off the top of my head who was buried in an undisclosed location was Moses (yes, that Moses), who according to Deuteronomy 34:6 was buried by God Himself in an unknown (to man) location, to make sure his grave wouldn’t become the focus of idol-like distraction.

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