Open Thread February
Yet it is clear the Western powers have decided on pursuing a policy of regime change no matter what the cost to the people of Syria. The simultaneous withdrawal of the US, British, and French embassies, and the cutting off of diplomatic relations with the nations of the Arab League, is a clearing of the decks for the coming assault – which is going to be the bloodiest and most vicious yet. All of which raises a question: why now? After all, Syria has been a charter member of the infamous “axis of evil” ever since the Bush era, and the US has been overtly hostile to Assad in spite of the post-9/11 intelligence-sharing between Washington and Damascus.
The reason, in a word, is Iran. Remember, this is just the first Act of the tragedy now being played out in the region: the final act will culminate in “shock and awe” in the skies over Tehran. First, however, a few preliminaries must be gotten out of the way, and a casus belli clearly established. A civil war in Syria will pit Sunni Islamists against Syria’s national minorities: not only Alawites, but also Druze, Christians, and Assyrians. The Kurds are sure to go with the rebels, but they have their own organization – and their own agenda.
I bought this top-of-the-line, but used, Dell desktop on eBay the other day. I haven’t bought a desktop in a while. It was only when it showed up that I realized they don’t even put the old P2/2 mouse and keyboard connectors on computers anymore. Luckily I had a USB keyboard in the closet, but I had to do what I have never done before in my life – buy a mouse.
The next time this thought occurred to me, I happened to be in front of the Apple store on Boylston Street. I’ve only been inside once before, and absolutely hate it. It just bores me – like no other store, anywhere. Even Starbucks, Walmart, or Home Depot are more exciting.
So I’m just guessing that I can find a mouse for between $5 and $20 and that a relatively high-end mouse, ergonomically-designed and what not will be $39. It takes three sales associates to give me no useful information for about 5 minutes before a third finally tells me they have one mouse model in the store for $49.95. I never actually saw a mouse in a box for sale on the shelf.
My jaw dropped and I exclaimed incredulously at the fourth salesperson,”forty-nine dollars!?”
“And people actually pay that much for them?”
“Yup,” and then she too-cheerfully adds,”some people buy the [super-duper-whatever-version] for $69.”
“That’s crazy,” and I walked immediately away from her, three floors down the glass, spiral staircase and out the door.
Next stop: Next door, Walgreen’s Pharmacy. Three model’s between $15 and $30. Let me emphasize this: the pharmacy next to the Apple store has more models of mice, all cheaper.
Next stop: Staples, 75 meters away, 3 or 4 models, $20-$40.
Next stop: Best buy, 200 meters away – about 20 models. Bought the cheapest one, which was actually wireless USB, for $12.99 plus tax.
This doesn’t surprise me though. I’m about half way through Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. I don’t think I know of a bigger shitbag in history. This guy was a horrible human being who continues to con (even from the grave) hundreds of millions of people worldwide into spending three times what they need to with slick, tricky, fact-free marketing. How he treated friends, lovers, and employees tells the real story behind those “well-designed,” “user-friendly,” grossly overpriced white, plastic boxes.