The Guardian 23 November, 2005

Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

Theory of Dumb Design

Out of the controversial debate pitting the theory of evolution against the theory of intelligent design has emerged a new theory, dumb design, which some experts believe may explain the televangelist Pat Robertson.

The theory of dumb design holds that human beings were designed by a superior being, but one who mysteriously designed certain humans in a particularly dumb way.

Enter Reverend Robertson, whom many experts in the theory of dumb design are calling "Exhibit A" in their effort to prove that the theory holds water.

"If you take a look at Pat Robertson’s brain and mouth, and how they work or do not work in concert, you have a fairly persuasive argument that the theory of dumb design is valid", said Dr Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, one of the leading advocates of the dumb design theory.

The theory of dumb design began to gain traction in August, when Robertson called upon the US to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

And last week, when Robertson warned the people of Dover, Pennsylvania, that God would strike them with natural disasters after they removed school board members who favoured teaching creationism, the theory of dumb design seemed to achieve critical mass.

But even an adherent of dumb design like Dr Logsdon warns against putting too much stock in the theory, adding, "No one theory could possible explain all the things Pat Robertson says."

People’s Weekly World

How the Pentagon justifies
Phosphorous Bombs on Fallujah

In post-Saddam Iraq, there are no civilians

Now that the Iraqi Government has been forced to investigate the US military’s criminal use of phosphorus incendiary bombs during the November 2004 assault on Fallujah, it is important to note how slippery the Pentagon is being about its claim not to have used this dreadful weapon against "civilians".

In a grotesque and blatant war crime, the US began this assault by first encircling Fallujah, and then declaring that it would allow women, children and old people to leave, but not "men and boys of fighting age" (whatever that may be). Several hundred people in a group of families trying to flee the city over the weekend were actually detained, and then, after allowing the women and children to go, US troops tested the men’s hands for gunpowder traces. Finding none, they nonetheless sent them back to the doomed city to face their fate.

By trapping as many as 100,000 men and boys in the city before invading it, the US has assured that it will be killing many, many civilians, but we won’t be hearing much about that. As far as the Pentagon and Centcom in Iraq go, the dead in Fallujah are and will be all rebels. If they die, they must have died fighting.

Besides the fact that denying civilians the right to flee a battle zone is in itself a war crime under the Geneva conventions, US actions before and during the assault and destruction of Fallujah mean that current assertions that white phosphorus weapons were not used against civilians are total lies. The Pentagon simply defined away all people left, or stranded, or trapped in the city as insurgents.

This grim history, so reminiscent of the way the Nazis herded Jews into villages in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union before levelling them, gives the lie to the latest effort to dodge a charge of war crimes in Iraq.


Wage cuts for hospitality workers

Wage cuts are on the way for restaurant and hospitality workers once the new industrial relations laws are passed, Jeff Lawrence, LHMU National Secretary, warns. Jason Hart of Restaurant and Catering Australia told the Senate Industrial Relations Committee on November 15, that: "the overall wage rate experienced by a hospitality business is too high " and "the total amount expended on wages across the industry is too high".

The message is clear.

The wages of waiters, chefs, kitchen hands, hotel workers, bar tenders and other hospitality workers are now in the Hospitality Industry and Government’s sights.

Hospitality workers will be forced to supplement their incomes with tips.

"This candid admission by the restaurant industry signals a rapid attack on the wages of workers who cover difficult shifts and weekend work", Jeff Lawrence said.

Workers in the hospitality sector are predominantly low paid already.

"Forcing workers to depend on tips signals the Americanisation of the Australian hospitality industry", Jeff Lawrence said.

"As the most casualised industry in Australia, hospitality workers are more vulnerable than most.

"Hospitality industry employers have now indicated their clear intention to cut wages in this industry as well."

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