Tigers, Wal-Mart, and Schwarzenneger (Oh My)

  • In Thailand, Buddhists find that tigers and humans can live together in harmony. Not only that, but the tigers, which live in a Buddhist temple, also coexist with the “monkeys, horses, deer, peacocks, geese and wild pigs” that live in the same area. The tigers are fed dog food and, if the article is to be believed, are satisfied with that. It’s actually kind of interesting. (AFP: “Thai Buddhist monks share temple with endangered tigers” [May 9, 2004])
  • Sez VP Cheney: “The story of Wal-Mart exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country — hard work, the spirit of enterprise, fair dealing, and integrity.” Paul Waldman asks the question, ‘why’s Dick so enthusiastic about Wal-Mart?’ (paraphrased) and comes up with several possible answers. Like, maybe it’s Wal-Mart’s low wages, or its canny use of sweatshop labor, or its antipathy to collective bargaining. While Waldman doesn’t actually ask the real question of why Cheney traveled to Bentonville to sing praises of the company, it’s still an interesting article, and a pretty concise summation of the problems with Wal-Mart. Though the real answer to the question ‘Why was Cheney at Wal-Mart?’ is also potentially troubling, since the trip, designated “official business” and paid for by gov’t funds, may have [brace yourself] had political purposes, and therefore not been eligible for White House funds. The National Review basically states that the visit was for campaigning, which is kind of curious. (Gadflyer: “Cheney Sings Wal-Mart’s Praises” by Paul Waldman via AlterNet; Times Record: “Cheney Visit Draws Capitol Hill Scrutiny” by Alison Vekshin [May 19, 2004])
  • Sheila Cassidy is interviewed by The Guardian for her thoughts on the Iraqi Torture scandal. What makes her thoughts interesting is that, in the 1970s, Cassidy was a victim of torture under the Pinochet government in Chile. Cassidy:

    “Torture is not just a one-off, something that happens one day. There is the post-traumatic stress it causes, to different degrees in different people. It’s always there.”

    It’s a worthwhile read. Not unreasonable parallels are drawn between what happened in Chile and what’s happening in Iraq; while Dr. Cassidy doesn’t claim the situations are identical, she makes important connections, e.g., the conceptualization of the Iraqis as people who are not like us (Americans/ ‘Westerners’). (Guardian: “The idea exists that Iraqis are not like us” by Mark Oliver)

  • Curiously, in contrast to other Republican governors (e.g., George Pataki and also the governors of MN, TX, AR, NH, MD, and SD), Gov. Schwarzenegger hasn’t done any campaigning for Bush, nor has he really criticized John Kerry. The LA Times has an interesting article on Schwarzenneger’s “reticence” in this particular area. (LA Times: “Schwarzenegger is reticent on Bush campaign” by Robert Salladay [May 18, 2004] via BoGlo)