February 4th, 2005


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

So, Paul Volcker announces, in a preliminary report, that the UN Oil-for-Food program was crooked as a dog's hind leg. What a surprise.

I think I may say, without serious fear of contradiction, that most governments throughout human history have shown a propensity for corruption. In most countries of the world today, it's not hard to find somebody in power who's on the take. The only exceptions are those countries with a tradition of honorable service; with independent (and skeptical) voters, journalists, and prosecutors; and with a deovotion to the rule of law. And even there, you gotta stay on this, or you get nasty surprises all the time.

So, why should we be surprised if the UN and its servants and officials are dirty? Did we think these guys are all so altruistic that they would never -- I mean, they're just trying to preserve peace and order, right? (Snort)

If you wanna fix this, you gotta deal with two things. First of all, the UN needs a means of being accountable to its member states. I mean, it's all very well to have an International Criminal Court, but is that court going to be able and willing to prosecute Kofi Annan and his ilk? Second, we need to put some First World people with unblemished reputations in their own national leadership in positions of responsibility. Third Worlders who have worked for the UN their whole lives, or whose whole experience is in corrupt systems, don't inspire me.

In the meantime, all this just makes me want the US to resist those who see the UN as some morally superior body which transcends national sovereignty. Booshwah. It's a Parliament of Whores. Not that we should disengage from it -- but we should use our leadership in it to demand that it live up to proper standards. And we should start by sacking Kofi Annan.

Hounded unmercifully

This afternoon, I spent an hour getting the house ready to be fogged for fleas and other undesirables. Then I put Sassafras in the car, triggered the foggers, and left.

We went to the vet for her annual checkup. She hates the place, and dislikes the people there. I'm sure it's because of bad memories of her first extended visit when she was spayed, but she's getting better at other places she dislikes -- like the groomer's. So why not here? It seems to me that this vet's personnel are just not good with Sassy. I don't know why. When I took her to the specialist in Milton, she did fine. I think they're just sort of hamfisted with her. Maybe we ought to audition a new vet.

Anyway, as a reward for enduring the vet -- and because we had to stay out of the house another hour -- we went out to the holler. She enjoyed that! And so did I. I could have loafed around out there the rest of the afternoon, but needed to be getting back. So she's in the backyard, I'm getting the house aired out, and Collinsmom ought to be getting home in a few minutes. We'll probably have to keep cleaning stuff the rest of the evening.

Winter has its Dog Days, too, it seems.

New Icon

I have finally chosen my third user pic for LJ. It is not an icon to be venerated, though if you recognize what it is you will agree that there are times when it is certainly a thing to be appreciated.

I think I'll use my Burning Bush logo for when I'm being profound -- or at least, when I'm addressing profound issues. (I may well be as flippant as always, cf. my Pentecost sermon, "Flaming Bunny Ears and Other Signs of the True Church.") Joe Bear -- my childhood friend, now in retirement (as witness his little rocking chair) is best used for posts of a personal nature. But I've been trying to find an appropriate Scouting-type icon for when I'm talking about life in the great outdoors. And I have just remembered Old Reliable, the handy backpacking trowel.

We talk about everything on the trail. Sometimes we're serious and sometimes we're just talking piffle, but you have to be out there with us to realize how the awesome feeling of "everything is sacred" can alternate so rapidly with conversation of the "nothing is sacred" variety. For those of you who haven't been out in the bush with us, well, it's sorta like this.

You know the game show, "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" Imagine that half the contestants are told that they are explorers in the jungle who have stumbled across a lost tribe that they are to communicate with. Now imagine that the other half of the contestants has been told the exact same thing. The first group must play the encounter in Marx Brothers fashion. The other group must play it a la Monty Python. Now imagine them meeting each other, and you have a good sense of what a day on the trail is like with our happy Crew.