There seem to be preliminary signs that VIM 6.0 is out, but the announcements all seem to have been pulled. Maybe they found a last minute showstopper.

ABC affiliates are actually refusing to run Politically Incorrect since Bill Maher made the mistake of criticizing the United States on the air. See Arianna Huffington’s latest column for more.

The Middle East Times: Addressing sources of Mideast violence against the U.S.:

Many of us accept the premise that terrorism is a phenomenon that can be defeated only by amelioration of the conditions that inspire it. Terrorism’s best asset, in the final analysis, is the anger and desperation that leads people to see no alternative to violence.

While only a fringe element has seized upon violence as their solution, many of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslim people are understandably aggrieved by double standards. America claims that it must impose economic sanctions on certain countries that violate human rights and/or harbor weapons of mass destruction. Yet the U.S. largely ignores Muslim victims of human rights violations in Palestine, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir and Chechnya. What’s more, while the U.S. economy is propped up by weapon sales to countries around the globe and particularly in the Middle East, Washington insists on economic sanctions to prevent weapons development in Libya, Sudan, Iran and Iraq.

In Iraq, the crippling economic sanctions cost the lives of 5,000 children under age five every month. Over one million Iraqis have died as a direct result of over a decade of sanctions. Finally, Washington’s pro-Israel policy unfairly puts higher demands on Palestinians to renounce violence than on Israelis to halt new settlements and adhere to U.N. resolutions calling for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands.

That anger cannot be extinguished by Tomahawk missiles or military operations. The present U.S. strategy for ending the threat of terrorism through the use of military force will only exacerbate this anger and desperation.

The Sudanese government is rounding up known terrorists from Al Qaeda and other groups operating in the country. This is a sign that the diplomatic efforts made by the United States and other countries since 9/11 are working. The article does not specify what’s happening to these people once they’re rounded up. On the other side of the coin, US diplomats in Indonesia are leaving the country after being threatened by Islamic extremists.

Primer on Raising Your International Literacy
Rather than just complaining about the lack of literacy among Americans when it comes to international issues, I’ve decided to provide a short list of ways people can learn more about what’s going on in the world beyond our borders. Not only is it crucial to understand what’s going on around the world, but it’s also pretty interesting. Why follow the 100th day of 24 hour Gary Condit coverage when you can read about things like the Prime Minister of Papua-New Guinea being deposed because he hired South African mercenaries to put down a rebellion on the island of Bougainville? Here’s the list:

  • Subscribe to National Geographic and read it.
  • Listen to the BBC World Service or The World on your local public radio station or streamed over the Internet.
  • Read a non-US newspaper of your choosing on the Web. If you’re at a loss, The Times (of London) is well respected. If you’re interested in Asia, the South China Morning Post has a good reputation, too.
  • The Economist is always a good choice, either online or on dead trees.
  • Check out Dangerous Places Web site, or buy the book online. The book, which masquerades as a travel guide, is a great primer on developing countries around the world. The chapter on the US is not to be missed, either.
  • Take a stroll through the CIA World Factbook. It’s always worth a look when you’re reading a news article about a country you’re not familiar with.
  • Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have lots of reports on how people are really doing around the world. It never hurts to look up the countries that the US government befriends.

If you’re using XQL for anything, please drop me a line. I’m writing about it for a book project that I’m helping on, and I can’t seem to find anybody who’s actually using it in the real world.

It’s a two-fer on Salon today. Laura Miller has an excellent article about the willful ignorance of Americans when it comes to foreign affairs. This has been a huge point of frustration for me for years (as regular readers can probably guess), but I certainly didn’t want the world to get our attention this way. Oh, and you don’t have to get far into the first page of the article to discover that Condoleeza Rice is really, really ignorant. Nice to have a National Security Advisor who doesn’t know the difference between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

Jake Tapper has a story on the deteriorating state of media relations in the White House. It turns out that Ari Fleischer was lying about Air Force One being a target of the terrorists (as everyone knew at the time), and about the plane that hit the Pentagon heading for the White House. He or one of his flunkies also called up NBC News and berated them for running an interview with President Clinton after the attack. I think that the White House has done a lot of things right since the attack, but letting Fleischer continually butcher the truth isn’t one of them.