The Untamed Continent

The news business is one of death, destruction, and misery. It's just not compelling to report that people are leading healthy, happy, productive lives. Reporters tell us about the plane that crashed, not the thousands that landed safely. When you look to Africa, you don't have to look too far to find a story that's absolutely horrific. The following is from a Yahoo News story by George Gedda:
"There is just no question that Congo has the worst, bloodiest, nastiest conflict in the world, but the amount of attention it has received is negligible," says Scott Pegg, an activist and researcher in African issues. And there is nothing resembling a weapon of mass destruction in the conflict. The weapons of choice for the most part are bows and arrows, machetes, assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Child soldiers abound. Orphans, some of them under 1 often have little choice other than to join one of the militias doing the fighting.
Because the region is of little strategic interest, major powers show little interest in the fighting. The story talks about the money the Bush administration is sending Africa to fight AIDS. Although I don't have numbers to back up my skepticism, I have to question this quote from Colin Powell:
"You could take all of the lives lost through weapons of mass destruction over the past century ... go through World War I, go through Hiroshima, go through Nagasaki, go through all of them," Powell said two weeks ago. "Put all of those numbers together, multiply by 10 and you don't reach the number of people who will die from HIV/AIDS in the next 12 months."
All the lives lost through weapons of mass destruction over the past century is a lot and 12 months is not a long time. I wish I had the resources to check this out.


Ultimate Altima

It's 2003. The US auto industry has been fighting the Japanese for at least 20 years and it's still not caught up to them. This is from a story in the NY Times:
Nissan's Altima sedan, made at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn., was the most efficiently assembled vehicle in North America, requiring 15.74 labor hours. Two G.M. plants at Oshawa, Ontario, trailed the Altima production line at Smyrna: The plant that makes the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo required 16.4 hours. The plant that produces the Buick Regal required 17.1 hours.
If it only takes 15.74 hours to build an Altima, why do they cost $23,689?


Guardian for the Fetus

Florida Governor Jeb Bush wants a guardian appointed for a woman's fetus. The woman is 22 years old but is severely retarded and has the mental capacity of a child.  She was raped and is now six months pregnant. This from the Orlando Sentinel:
Susan England with Florida NOW said: "If third parties are allowed to represent the fetus under these circumstances, there is no logical reason they would not seek to do so in the case of a competent pregnant woman considering an abortion or medical treatment detrimental to her fetus."
The state of Florida wants to force this poor retarded woman to give birth.  I mean she doesn't even know her own name. Will the right-to-lifers stop at nothing?


The Dream Team

I have a theory about Ferrari's success in F1. That is: As long as the present management and technical team stays at Ferrari, the success will continue.

When Michael Schumacher came to Ferrari he brought team manager Jean Todt and technical wiz Ross Brawn. In turn, those men brought their preferred technicians and support personnel. There was some speculation that if Michael Schumacher won the 2003 Formula One World Championship he would retire. That would be six titles and he would have surpassed Juan Manual Fangio's five, securing Schumacher's place in the history books.

It looks like Schumacher and the rest of Team Ferrari will be a force for many years to come. Earlier this week, at the Canadian Grand Prix, it was revealed that many of the key Ferrari personnel have signed contracts keeping them with the team until 2006. In this crash.net article via Yahoo Jean Todt confirms my hypothesis:
On the subject of what he felt was his greatest achievement with Ferrari, Todt began by stating he did not like thinking in terms of superlatives. "But the biggest achievement has probably been building this 'dream team'. Now the challenge is to maintain that situation. When you look at what Ferrari has achieved in the past ten years, it is more than any other team in F in terms of wins, championships, but also in the stability of the team.
One team member who has not been signed yet is Rubens Barrichello. His contract expires at the end of this season. This has fueled wild speculation about his future with the team.


Hello, It's Me

I haven't had a chance to post to my web log since the end of May. Well, this corrects that.

I've been busy, buying farm tractors and house paint and other stuff. More later. I promise.