Thursday, May 20, 2004

During WWII, we had a policy of relocating Americans of Japanese descent living on the West Coast to relocation camps inland. This ensured that they could not signal submarines off-shore. It also protected them from mob violence.

According to the first-hand accounts I have read about these camps, the inmates were well-treated. They had sufficient food, clothing, shelter, and medical treatment. They even had movies on Friday nights. It was possible to get a weekend pass to leave the camp (I think that part of the family had to remain).

You could get out of the camps if you signed an oath of loyalty or if you had a close relative in the armed services. The inmates felt that, as American citizens, they should nto have to sign an oath.

It was not pleasant. Many lost their homes and businesses.

In retrospect, it was unnessesary. The US was never in danger of invasion from the Japanese but the people at the time did not know this and they acted in what seemed like a prudent manner.

Similarly, many German and Italian citizens in the US at the outbreak of the war were put into internment camps.

Contrast this with Germany's treatment of the Jews, Gypsies, and others. Not only were they rounded up and locked in camps, they were not given sufficient food. They had to sell the clothes off of their back in order to buy food from people living nearby (at inflated prices). When the camps got too crowded, they started gassing the inmates by the thousands.

In many current US textbooks the two acts are given as equivalent even though the Holocost killed tens of millions and the Japanese relocation arguably did not kill anyone.

Some people want to believe that Americans are as bad as the worst people in the world.

The same is true for the Iraqi prison tortures. I lost count of how many columnists have said that we lost the moral high ground and that we are as bad as Sadam Hussin.

For the third week in a row we see the same pictures of prisoners being humiliated on the nightly news. It was barely covered when we found that Sadam's death count was higher than expected.

One possible factor - support for Viet Nam dropped after reports of My Lai and similar attrocities. Could the media be hoping that non-stop coverage for this will sour support for the war? The two are already being used in the same sentence.

Dumb quote about the whole thing from a lawyer representing one of the accused women reservists:

"How do these idiots think [the reservists] got [the hoods and electric wires and women’s underpants]? Iraq is a Muslim country."

Well, let's see... the hoods and ponchos look like they were made from tarps, electrical wire can be ripped from the wall, and his client is a woman who presumably wears underpants.

SNL and The Daily Show like to say that things in Iraq are "worse... much, much worse". Is it so?

A poll taken in Iraq by USAToday/CNN/Gallop was released three weeks ago. At the time the only part that was covered was the number of people who regarded the US as occupiers instead of liberators. There are a lot of other entries. Some of them are bad for the US, many are good. Naturally the news media took the worst indicator they could find.

A few interesting points - the people of Iraq do not like French president Jacques Chirac any better than they like President Bush or Prime Minister Tony Blair. The numbers were:

Bush - favorable: 25%, unfavorable: 55%, no opinion: 4%
Blair - favorable: 17%, unfavorable: 46%, no opinion: 23%
Chirac - favorable 16%, unfavorable: 42%, no opinion: 22%

Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US/British invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?
Worth it: 61%
Not worth it: 28%

See the rest of the poll at

More analysis of this poll in Slate

Is offshoring a problem?

Michael Corbett doesn't think so

The simple truth is that offshoring is not the result of a few Benedict Arnolds. It's a result of the relentless pressure on businesses to take advantage of every opportunity available to them to reduce costs, increase quality and add to profits.

I drink a lot of Pepsi and Mountain Dew so I wondered when I saw the headline about "Too much soda may raise cancer risk".

I figured that there was more to it. Here is a response (copied from

Response To Esophageal Cancer Paper in New Orleans:

The paper presented by Professor Mohandas K. Mallath from Mumbai India in New Orleans, Louisiana this weekend temporally correlates the increase in adenocarcinoma of the esophagus in American white males with the increase in consumption of soft drinks from 1974 to 2000.

This is not a peer review publication; it is a correlation study that cannot even imply causality.
Any factor which is increasing in prevalence over time (use of video recorders, cell phones, various medications, consumption of pizza, etc.) would correlate with the rising incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
Although the rate of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is increasing in the U.S., the rates of this type of esophageal cancer are very low compared to the major cancers in the U.S. Thus, even a small increase in rates will be a large percentage increase. Better diagnostic procedures are also undoubtedly responsible for some of the increased incidence reported.
The known risk factors for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus are tobacco use, total fat intake, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and perhaps salty foods.
Dietary factors may be involved in esophageal cancer, but studies in areas of the world at exceptionally high-risk of esophageal cancer, such as in parts of North Central China, suggest that consumption of fluids (other than alcohol) tends to be associated with decreased rather than increased risk.
The explanation of acid in soft drinks associated with esophageal cancer defies logic as citrus beverages such as orange juice and grapefruit juice are also acidic and consumption of these beverages begins at an early age, and intake of fruits and fruit juices has been linked to decreased rather than increased risk of this cancer.
Per-capita soft drink consumption is known to be very high in Mexico and Mexican Americans, yet rates of esophageal adenocarcinoma are lower among Hispanic than non-Hispanic whites in California, New Mexico and other areas of the United States. (see e.g., Kubo A, Am J Gastroenterol 2004; 99: 582-8; Wu AH, Cancer Causes & Control 2001: 8: 721-32; Vega KJ, Am J Gastroenterol 2000: 95: 2352-6).
All ingredients in soft drinks are approved as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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