From the Boulder Daily Camera — $8 will buy you a group session with Braco, a Croation faith-gazer, who will gaze at you. Silently.
For $72 you can get a full-day pass to all of the gazing sessions, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, either Wednesday or Thursday. Probably with some breaks so he can rest his eyes. According to the newspaper, apparently happy to pimp for him, his supporters claim his gaze can “awaken and realign one’s natural state of balance and harmony.”
I’m not making this up.
Probably they take credit cards, but if you’re a little short call me. I’ll look at you for 5 bucks or so. Sliding scale.
Chadian troops in Mali claim to have killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Algerian-born former leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the alleged mastermind of the recent hostage-tragedy at the In Amenas gas plant in eastern Algeria, during operations in the Ifoghas mountains, near the border with Algeria. (NY Times) The report of Mokhtar’s death follows by a day similar reports of the death of AQIM leader Abdelhamid Abu Zeid.
The deaths are reported widely, but neither has been confirmed. My bet — they killed some other one-eyed guy.
Update, March 9: Six days later, and — nothing. Not a single word, from anyone.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, but the BBC reports that French forces today took Kidal without opposition, landing four airplanes then walking into town. The rebels (or insurgents, or Islamists) were long-gone, dispersing into the nearby mountains or into Algeria.
Standing their ground would have been a losing proposition — the inhabitants of Mali oppose them and the French have them seriously outgunned — but they didn’t surrender, they disappeared. Probably they’ll hide out in the mountains until the French leave, which they are apparently fairly eager to do, then they’ll come out and see what the peace-keeping forces are made of.
This isn’t over, in other words. It’s just started, I think.
At ProPublica, “The Best Reporting on Redistricting Shenanigans“.
One of the reasons our federal government is such a mess — the main reason is money and this is related — is that the two parties have both worked to create Congressional districts that guarantee their party’s dominance, making elections non-competitive. That means the primaries matter more, and primaries bring out the party-activists, who tend to be driven by ideology. To get elected to a Congressional seat, then, you have to appeal to your parties fringe and can, maybe must, neglect both the majority of voters (who are generally centrist) and any spirit of compromise.
The collection is high-quality reading.
In openDemocracy, Hamza Hamouchene (apparently an anti-regime Algerian nationalist) considering Mali “another front” in the war on terror starts like this:
What the Islamist terrorist threat has become is an
incoherent pretext to intervene militarily on the part of the west. The only
principled position to adopt therefore is the rejection of both, for the self-determination
and sovereignty of the peoples.
Which is probably true. But then, there are always practical considerations — should a western nation allow an African nation to be taken over by Islamist terrorists, against the wishes of the population and when they are in a position to prevent it and have been asked by the threatened government to intervene? Principled positions become difficult to act on, sometimes.