Tuesday, December 31, 2002
This Washington Post story on the American role in the Iraqi weapons buildup made it to the top of the blogdex list of most linked to pages today. I did notice a sarcastic comment at Buzzflash.com about the story being old, but most of the takes seem to be positive - although the story is old news. I personally think it's a great story which deserves to be read more. Maybe our newspapers should try sneaking more history in.
Posted by David at 6:54 PM
One or two of the readers who have passed through here may wonder why I call this blog "The Art of Peace". I'm not a pacifist, I don't only write about war and peace, and even the art needs a little sprucing up - I have some plans for the future in that regard.
One reason is that I believe peace is an art, requiring creativity and thought. It would be much simpler if one country could simply declare peace on another. You know, one country is steathily trying to do something horrible, then WHAM! a surprise declaration of peace, and they have peace whether they like it or not.
As a general rule peace requires thought and effort on all sides. A serious global peace also requires a method of dealing with those who not only can't or won't work for peace, but actively work for war.
Posted by David at 4:16 PM
Sunday, December 29, 2002
The Romans, therefore, foreseeing evils while they were yet far off, always provided against them, and never suffered them to take their course for the sake of avoiding war; since they knew that war is not so to be avoided, but is only postponed to the advantage of the other side.
-- From Machiavelli's "The Prince"
According to this CNN report, North Korea has violated the agreement ending the Korean war by bringing light machine guns into the demilitarized zone. I believe our current course of trying to restrain North Korea by threats - or verbal statements and demands of any sort - is a failure. We must accept that they are either extremely desperate or extremely reckless. None of our alternatives for dealing with this situation is palatable.
One alterternative, which will understandably outrage many, is to give in, to subsidize the failed economy of the North Koreans in exchange for new verifiable protocols to prevent the development and sale of weapons of mass destruction. Of course their word is crap, we believe nothing not verified. Even so, this is outrageous. Can all the other nations developing such weapons get a similar deal? Should some not doing so start? The only glimmer of hope for this approach is that it worked with the Soviet Union. Through decades of grain sales they worked to spread communism, making only cosmetic concessions in exchange for aid. The leaders did not jeprodize their positions through war - nor through democratic reform. But somewhere during the process the pretense that the United States was the real enemy faltered. The only other thing to be said for this insane course of action is - look at the alternative.
The South Koreans have just elected a liberal government that wants to work more closely with the North. Do we tell them, "Sorry guys, we're pretty sure the North is preparing for war and giving them more time will only benefit them. Either you do this our way or we bring all our troops home so they don't suffer the consequences of a better prepared enemy?"
Some might actually like the latter course at first, but the most likely consequence is a second Korean war.
How about going on as we are now, trying to contain them? Assume for the moment they are rational in the same way Saddam seems to be - clever in a thuggish way at maintaining power at any price. If the aid we are giving them now is sufficient to keep them in power and prevent internal revolution, they probably won't start a war. Otherwise they almost certainly will.
I really would like to hear some better options here.
Posted by David at 7:31 PM
Saturday, December 28, 2002
I saw it first in this Washington Times article. Is Senator Byrd really as bad as Lott? The NAACP is on record as critical of Mr. Byrd, only asking why the two weren't linked together by Republicans years ago. I looked at the NAACP Washington Bureau report card, it gives Byrd a C (79%) and Lott an F (12%). Then again, Lott didn't get taken down for how he voted as much as what he said.
Posted by David at 1:02 PM
Via Binkley whose editorial stance I don't agree with, Frontpage magazine's article on Saudi steps to acquire nuclear weapons.
A willingness to talk about the problems in Saudi Arabia seems to be seen on the right more than the left, though not in the Bush wing of the party. Dean Esmay of Dean's World says he first started seeing it on left wing sites, and doesn't see it the way I do.
I can actually see a semi legitimate reason why Bush wouldn't want to talk about it. What if criticism of the Saudi government increases anti American feelings in Saudi Arabia, and makes the situation of the government more precarious? Just possibly he has a good reason for not discussing the problem publically, but I think the rest of us have to, even though the Saudi's get upset by unfavorable coverage in the press too.
There have been many important - and some silly - things said about the role of poverty in contributing to terrorism. Now let's talk about what circumstances make wealth contribute to terrorism. One of the unique things about the Saudi problem is that many rich people seem to be acting directly contrary to their own interests, and contributing to forces which denounce the government that protects them, forces which would almost certainly be less favorable to their richest supporters if they actually obtained power. Many of them seem to be people who did nothing to create their own wealth, and do little to preserve and maintain it. Perhaps this contributes to a desire to give their lives purpose. Unfortunately this desire seems to take a misguided form in some.
Change must come from within, and I think many Saudi's are aware of this. As the Saudi welfare state is collapsing, many who are forced to work will eventually come to take pride in their own achievements. Perhaps the rest of the world can help - although it would be easier if we had an Organization of Oil Importing Nations which could act to reduce our dependence on imported oil when a nudge in the right direction was necessary.
Meanwhile, there's plenty of ugly hate to be found on the Blogosphere. Fair enough - only censorship keeps some of them from saying the same things about us. All the same, perhaps we would be better advised to understand the problem, and see what if anything we can contribute to the solution, and failing that what we can do to insulate ourselves from the consequences.
Posted by David at 8:36 AM
Friday, December 27, 2002
Non kneejerk politics are unusual enough to be interesting. It's always worth a look when the Republicans are defending the consumers against moneyed interests - and principled critics take note. Visit The Looking Glass to see the Republicans take on big pharmaceutical companies. Where are the Democrats?
Posted by David at 8:13 PM
Via Eschaton, some information about Washington Times assistant national editor Robert Stacy McCain from Signorile. The reason I find this so interesting is that the League of the South is opposed to the war in Iraq and doesn't like Bush. This may give those of us with doubts about the war pause for thought, but also shows the potential for infighting on the right.
Posted by David at 4:38 PM
Wednesday, December 25, 2002
The latest Alan Reynolds commentary in the Washington Times is a Trent Lott story with a difference. Mr. Reynolds want to talk about the difference between "states' rights" and "Federalism".:
When he researched his family background, Mr. Eubanks "found the words 'states' rights' and 'illegal encroachment by the federal government' used in place of 'segregation' and 'integration.'" That comment is quite correct, yet it troubles me for two reasons. As a college student in the early 1960s, I was passionately opposed to the military draft and just as passionately in favor of the Rev. Martin Luther King's dream of treating people as individuals, not as members of arbitrary categories. On the other hand, I was and still am a big fan of decentralized government, otherwise known as federalism or devolution.
His words are worth thinking about, but I think several points bear more emphasis. First, any effort to limit the power of the Federal government will always draw support from those still fighting the civil war, and it is a rare politician who will resist subtly shifting his emphasis to draw more votes if he can do so without alienating anyone else. Much of his case is made by discussing Federal programs that were or were considered by some failures - while ignoring failed programs and initiatives of states. Most important perhaps is the desire to have it both ways. Oddly enough, most of the states where they complain about the Federal government get more money from the Federal government than their citizens pay back in taxes. This is the latest study from the tax foundation. Via Andy X of In the Land of the Blind who left the link in a comment on Atrios's Eschaton.
Posted by David at 12:28 PM
Monday, December 23, 2002
DEBKAfile is a website with versions in English and Hebrew which claims to have copies of memos from Powell to Blix sent over the past few days. The alleged memos make it sound like they are working closely together. Given the other accusations on the website about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction being hidden under hospitals and schools, it seems unlikely they were fabricated to discredit UN weapons inspector Blix as an American spy, and I can't think of any other reason for the magazine to fabricate these particular memos offhand - unless it was for quick cash or a headline story. An anti American source could have been trying to manipulate a magazine favoring war with Iraq by giving them a fake scoop too big to ignore. If they're real, the fact that Powell is trying to order Blix around doesn't mean Blix kowtows to him - perhaps Blix tries to placate him with noncommital comments which Powell interprets as submission.
Posted by David at 12:15 AM
Sunday, December 22, 2002
I'm adding the blog Carraig Daire Weblog to my sidebar because of the excellent collection of links to English language newspapers published in the Middle East - including Arab ones, which are much harder to find in the English language than Isreali ones. This isn't because I agree with the political opinions in the weblog or the newspaper links, but if you don't think the American media is telling us all we need to know about the Middle East this is a good place to start looking for more. The links have good rollovers too, if you hold your mouse pointer over "The Debka File" without clicking you get a line telling you they are "not always accurate, but often the first with information". These is some amazing stuff in the archive as well. Via Greeblie blog.
Posted by David at 8:30 PM
Saturday, December 21, 2002
Transparency international has issued a report on the biggest cases of government and business corruption in 2002. Those guys are going to be pretty upset if there are any huge scandals in the next week or so. I think they do lots of good work, so I would hate to see them jump the gun.
Most of the cases of government occur in countries with a PCI index of worse than 5.2, which is the rating for Italy. The other cases are all what I would consider developing countries, except for Italy and (depending how you see it) Pakistan. There are disagreements on exactly what the Transparency International Perceived Corruption Index measures, but I have not seen any equally serious attempts to find an objective measure of corruption.
Of course most of the major cases of business corruption involve big companies of industrialized countries, but that's probably because they have many more large profitable companies - and we have more information available on them.
Speaking of the PCI index, look at the top of the list - the countries considered least corrupt. Some of the countries there, such as Denmark, have high tax rates to finance their social problems. I'm still trying to find out why people don't start to feel the government must be wasting some of their money when they get the tax bill - any Danish readers want to help me out? The only English language Danish newspaper I managed to locate at AllYouCanRead.com seemed to concentrate mostly on local news.
Posted by David at 8:10 PM
Monday, December 16, 2002
Here's a story you probably haven't seen yet - I found it by accident myself. After reading these claims of the New Dem Daily, I decided to see for myself if they were right or wrong about Mississippi. I went to AllYouCanRead.com and started looking through Mississippi newspapers. I first discovered how many were local newspapers which ignored national politics - or reprinted it from AP. Fair enough, my hometown papers do plenty of that. I never did turn up any homegrown editorials.
I turned this up on the Clarksdale Press Register, which also gets international news from the newswires, but from a different agency (Xinua). Once I found it, I searched the New York Times, which I had previously glanced at. It wasn't there, even when I searched, although other items about Canada were. The Washington Post did have it, but it wasn't a headline, even a small one in the international news section. They got it from AP, so AP had it, although they may not have featured it.
Canada ratified the Kyoto protocols today, leaving Australia and the United States as the only developed countries not to do so.
Do we care, other than feeling smug we are not socialist enough to risk hobbling our economy this way?
I have forgotten most of the conversations I had twenty years ago, but I remember one that didn't seem too important at the time. I have since searched the web with keywords such as aliens, grandchildren and invasion, but have not found this puzzle. Suppose aliens wanted to take over the Earth, but they had taken damage from the primitive jet fighters of the last planet they took over, so they decided to try something different. They offer us a deal. Everyone alive gets everything they need to have a vastly improved standard of living without working. Not only that, we can even enjoy seeing our children and grandchildren grow up, and be guaranteed they will live out their natural life spans in peace. The grandchildren will be sterilized however, and after they die of old age the aliens take over the earth. Should we accept?
Of course, global warming isn't as cut and dried as this little puzzle. Nobody expects human extinction even in the worst case do nothing scenarios. It may still be revealing though. I was surprised and a little saddened when my friend decided to sell the planet. My sister was horrified to hear this, and I had trouble convincing her he was a normal human being. It's a question worth answering honestly though - how much do we really care about the future?
Many would answer this by saying they do care about the future, and oppose measures to cut carbon emissions because they think a stronger economy will have a better chance of understanding and fighting global warming than a weaker one. Others might say the effects may be trivial, and in some ways beneficial. I still think it's worth thinking about - and not just in terms of global warming - how much, if at all, should we think of future generations?
By the way, I agree up to a point some of the above. I think it would be a mistake to cripple our economy fighting global warming - but new technologies have historically tended to promote rather than hinder growth. I even have doubts about Kyoto, but considered it better than Bush's refusal to do anything. As modest as it is, I think the recent requirement for improved fuel economy for SUV's is a step in the right direction. Do those Hummer's people are driving also count as light trucks, or are they medium weight?
Posted by David at 8:57 PM
Well, this MSN Newsweek article shows we have gone beyond digging out new evidence of Trent Lott's racism and into studying the past that made him and his state what they are. Naturally, the New Democratic Leadership Council's Online community is eager to talk about the part this plays in Republican politics via Talking Points Memo. Another blog showing keen awareness of the relationship of the past to the present is Electrolite. I think they make some good points, but I think both Republican voters and Democratic voters should think about a harder question - what those who do not live in the old south can learn about their own political triggers and emotions.
Forget racism for now. Does the idea of your hard earned money being taken away from you and given to someone who didn't work for it make you angry? You probably support some help for the deserving poor, but what about those receiving money who don't deserve it? There are many of those, and you would be surprised how rich some of them are. Do you know which states sometimes allow multi millionaires to have medicaid pay for nursing home care for their spouses?
If the image of someone from a different ethnic group getting your tax dollars spurs a deeper anger than the image of someone from your own ethnic group, does that make you a racist? If so, few indeed are innocent. Yet there is a danger here for those who support cuts in aid to the poor because they believe it will give people more incentive to work and create more prosperity for us all. It is all too easy for politicans to find programs which will win the support of both those who believe small government is good for capitalism, and those who harbor racial anger, and this would be so even if nobody had deep emotional hooks they did not always think about. For those who want to encourage economic growth by cutting support for the poor, the dangers are twofold. First, your program will be distorted if only the elements which might appeal to racists as well as fiscal conservatives win support while other elements are ignored. Secondly, beware the politicans learn more about you than you learn about them - they are good at that - and lead you by the emotional vulnerabilities locked deep inside you.
It would be interesting to graph nations by both their racial diversity and the amount of aid they give their poorest citizens. It is rare indeed for a nation to have racial divisions but no leaders who will rise to exploit them.
Posted by David at 6:55 PM
Saturday, December 14, 2002
I've started my sidebar with Talking Points Memo. Joshua Marshall likes to point out errors made by large television news programs and newspapers, along with correct information and the source. Anyone can write an editorial, and a surprising number of people write well reasoned and readable ones, but we need more people who point out errors in the press - newspapers sometimes print errata somewhere inconspicuous, and it's rare to see television stations do so at all. Sometimes he editorializes, but he has more original research per page than most bloggers or non bloggers.
I also like his attitude. He manages to sound surprised when answering an article criticizing him in the online version of the American Spectator - because a big magazine like that would think him worth the trouble. Of course he used to edit the American Prospect, and he's contributed to many serious policy magazines, but he has a blogger attitude rather than a big media one in most things.
The only thing that strikes a wrong note with me is that all the links on his sidebar are to big media websites rather than one person blogs like his - or at least to blogs that are sponsored by big media websites.
Posted by David at 1:59 PM
Monday, December 09, 2002
I was really interested in Thomas Friedman's column in the New York Times about calls for religious reformation in Iran - so much so I decided I didn't want major media outlets to be my only source of information on them. The most interesting thing I found while surfing the web was this speech of Hashem Aghajari in June 2002 in Hamadan in English translation. It is a good starting place to learn about the present as well as the potential future, containing calls for Islamic humanism, rights for women and non-muslims, and the right for individuals to interpret scripture apart from officially designated clerics. It is a lesson for us all, since in the middle of passionate criticism of government torture, he comments, "While [the leaders] of the Islamic Republic apparently do not recognize human rights, this principle has been recognized by our constitution. In many non-Islamic countries, they at least recognize these principles in dealing with their own people. Maybe when it comes to other people, they oppress them - [like] what Bush is doing, and most Western nations, if they had the power." Even the most passionate advocates of democracy in Iran feel our nation does not treat people abroad as respectfully as it treats it's own citizens - and democracy will not allay that anger.
This is the second most interesting thing I found. Even the most revolutionary disagree with our policy on Isreal - but they are no longer willing to accept it as a cover for ignoring corruption and lack of freedom at home.
As awesome as this is, let's not kid ourselves. Even a revolution isn't enough. Somehow Iran must build an economy based on more than oil, so that as a nation they can base their pride on their abilities rather than their orthodoxy, or even their independence and courage. In short, they have the same problem as Saudi Arabia, only somewhat less so. As for the United States being biased towards Isreal it is hard to doubt - it would be odd if the United States were the only country to be perfectly objective. To rebuilt the ancient pride of their civilization, Iran must learn to compete with us not by sponsoring terrorism, or even ambiguous organizations which only some consider terrorists, but by creating a nation which can teach modern industry to others such as the Palestinians. Surely the lessons of history - and how Arab nations have often treated the Shia - are not lost on them. Let Iran lead the way in creating a new form of democracy, and let them turn the West's talk of human rights against them, as did Ghandi.
This is a formidable task, but ultimately history will demand no less of my own country if we are to continue calling ourselves leaders. I have written and will write more of this, but not today.
Using google I've searched for English language sites that might offer me a little additional insight into Iran. I liked Steppenwolf, which has more English than Persian. For links to many Persian blogs go to Hello World.
Posted by David at 6:25 PM
Saturday, December 07, 2002
I've been reading about United States foreign aid designed to slow the spread of HIV - and private philanthropy by Bill Gates designed to do the same thing. While everyone has complicated motives, I think there is a healthy dose of genuine desire to do what is right in both cases.
This contribution is only part of the efforts of the American government, but in some ways it may be typical. The Board of Directors of the Global Fund has eighteen voting members, including seven donor governments and seven recipient governments - you can read about the rest yourself near the end. Despite recent discussions of the higher efficiency of private enterprise, this seems very much a government to government program, with a "flexible and innovative management structure" between. It is hard to be convinced that politics will never interfere in the efficient use of this money, or that the targeting will be rapid and precise.
The contribution of the Gates Foundation is done very differently. He has selected a nation which due to it's combination of poverty and willingness to allow open discussion of HIV is most likely to benefit from the money - and then decided to work through non governmental organizations in India rather than the government. He has considered the most effective way to get the best out of every dollar - he wants to concentrate on truckers and others who move widely throughout India and sometimes spread disease. In addition, one small government impressed him enough he decided to give money directly to them.
Although motives are all mixed, it's hard to avoid the feeling that in this case private philanthropy really is more efficient. Of course, this is only one small part of the total expenditures of the Federal government, but the main focus of the Gates Foundation. If someone is going to focus a large amount of resources on one thing, is this one of the top choices? My answer would be yes. If you love humanity and want to focus on one thing as best you can, HIV in India is a good choice. India is a country of extreme contrasts, riches and poverty. If one were to set up a laboratory to breed a strain of HIV resistant to treatment, this would be it. There are poor and uneducated to harbor and spread the disease, and rich people who can catch the disease and afford the drugs, and people between who might change catagories and run out of money and spread a partially resistant strain of the disease. Drug resistant versions of the virus have already been found, and it's not unlikely that versions of the virus harder for the United States and other developed countries to deal with might be bred. I really think if you care about the future and want to help humanity and have the energy and power and knowledge to target your contribution, this is a great place to start.
As a general rule I don't think we can base our response to worldwide crises on the hope a billionaire will come along and do the right thing. At the height of our power America was one of the driving forces behind the World Health Organization's drive to wipe out smallpox, and we could do this - if we truly chose to pay the costs. If you look at Ted Turner's gift to the U.N., I'm not even sure it made an impact.
Some of my fellow bloggers, such as Thomas Nephew at Newsrack blog have good points to make about the United States program to fight aids internationally, very different from what I suggest here. Mallon's Media Watch disagrees with me on a much more basic level.
Posted by David at 8:17 AM
Thursday, December 05, 2002
Corporations complaining about the Kyoto protocols will often ask about China, which refuses to do pretty much anything except sign a piece of paper. People who think the United States should make cuts first have some answers. The United States creates much more atmospheric carbon per capita than China, is more technologically and economically able to act, and does assume certain responsibilities by calling itself a world leader. Nevertheless I think this is a pretty good question. Of course it will be a number of years before China starts generating more atmospheric carbon than the United States at it's current rate of growth, but the most serious dangers of global warming are more to our children and grandchildren than most of us alive today.
One course of action is to refuse to take any concrete actions ourselves until China takes some - or at least agrees to specific actions at a specified future time. A best case scenario involves China then agreeing to something binding, followed by the United States. There are two potential problems with this. Although China supports Kyoto, it does not seem high on their list of priorities. A cynic might suggest they support it because it costs them nothing and gets them some good publicity. There are others, even more cynical, who have suggested that many of the lobbyists who oppose our signing any treaty which doesn't cost China anything aren't really desperate to have China take positive action, and would continue opposing Kyoto for other reasons.
I think we must agree that Kyoto is dead, and yes, even when alive it was imperfect like all living things. Let's continue to ask how we could encourage China to play a part in slowing down carbon emissions while the consequences become clearer. My proposal is that even without Kyoto we should try and take some actions to cut our carbon emissions - and establish that this is how a superpower acts. If China were to become a superpower nearly on a par with the United States as the Soviet Union once was, emitting much more carbon than us because of their greater population and (probably) still somewhat less advanced technology and greater dependence on coal, we may hear the arguments of some lobbyists recycled from a different perspective - and this is one kind of recycling which does not benefit the environment.
Perhaps the world should take some other action as well, to add economic pressure to moral pressure. Given GATT and other agreements this would require care, but we've all heard of nations which refuse to take any action which has any economic risk, no matter how slight the risk or how great the danger of global warming. I'd still love to hear some suggestions though.
I've decided not to edit my previous post even though the information on Vegan Blog is not perfect - it would leave people wondering why the author had posted a comment correcting me when my blog said exactly the same thing. Instead, read the comment by the author under my reference to them even if you already read the blog. I also want to thank Richard for his pointer to Quark Soup, which is not exclusively on global warming but has much good information about it. The author has written for Scientific American and has also written fun stuff on the space shuttle and nanotechnology, so drop by when you're ready to learn some science.
Posted by David at 7:26 PM
Monday, December 02, 2002
Since some of what I write will seem outrageously left wing to many, I thought it would be more interesting to start out with something more towards the right. If you use google to search the web for comments on stricter automobile fuel standards, one of the ideas you will find again and again is that many mothers who would have bought station wagons for their families bought larger SUV's instead as Detroit improved the average efficiency of the fleet of passenger cars in part by building fewer station wagons.
Some people like to talk about this because they consider it a classic example of how government regulations are always counterproductive - but those who believe some regulations are more effective than others must still talk about the problems if there is to be any hope of rational improvement. In this case it's hard to avoid the conclusion the critics are at least in part correct - I've heard SUV commercials geared towards people uncomfortable climbing into and driving SUV's. I haven't seen many station wagons on the road lately. Although I'd be interested to see any market study data on the demand for station wagons, I'm ninety nine percent convinced, and have begun to think about what could be done if this was confirmed.
Classifying station wagons as light trucks wouldn't help - it would improve the average fuel efficiency for light trucks, making it possible to produce more of the worst monsters. Instead, maybe station wagons could have a class of their own between passenger cars and light trucks. Failing that, maybe we could trade off, allowing slightly worse milage for passenger cars if the lobbyists yielded a bit on the light trucks.
I also did a search to see what my fellow bloggers were saying about global warming, but the results werent too encouraging for me. I found a couple of people with fun blogs who didn't believe in global warming at all, despite the fact that even the scientists funded by the oil and gas industry who oppose the Kyoto protocols (such as Robert Balling) agree it exists. Look at this entry of Greeblie blog and if you follow the main link you'll see he's a human being with a family and friends and a cool blog, not a fanatic. Other blogs such as Newsrack blog are big on seeding the ocean with iron to get biomass to remove carbon from the atmosphere - even though it turns out most of the carbon seems likely to return to the biosphere as the plants complete their life cycle. It is an interesting idea and a fun blog though. Vegan blog is an exception to the rule - and a great blog - but it seems to be the product of a group rather than an indivdual blogger, and some of the news seems culled from other sources.
Posted by David at 4:52 PM
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Maybe the best place to start is with the new hole puncher I bought for work. She can do dozens of pages at once. She only cost me eight dollars at Office Max, which was much less than I expected to spend. Not only is she better than the new little two hole punchers you get when you order supplies where I work, she's even better then the old two hole punchers which people hoard like gold. I thought I would have to spend much more. I never would have even looked if anyone had known who to call to get my old one oiled.
As you can see I think of my new hole puncher as a she. I'm not sure if I'll show this to my wife, but I assure you we have a wonderful relationship on all levels. It's just that I was caught a little off guard by the oiled sensual feel as I punched through a pile of papers. The label I stuck on her now only says "This hole puncher was stolen from David Weisman, who bought it at Office Max". Of course it hasn't been stolen yet, but it will be too late to write than on the label if it ever walks off my desk while I'm not there. Notice the 'it'. This came well before I thought of naming her Samantha.
You may well be wondering why my hole puncher is worth this bandwidth. Let's talk about government waste instead. If you think there's too much of it, take it from someone who works there - you are absolutely right. The bad news is, cutting the budget won't make it go away. Someone with power to make changes needs to examine the operation from stem to stern. Just think what would happen if someone decided to save money by not buying supplies, and the wasted time contributed to many larger scale wastes which didn't show up on the budget immediately.
Posted by David at 3:24 PM