Thursday, October 30, 2003

Department of Whatever Is the Opposite of 'Confidence-building'

After being asked to pay to appear on a talk show broadcast on airplanes by the Sky Radio Network, Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a nonprofit organization that presents itself as a consumer-advocacy group, "was so angry that she directed lawyers for the center, whose board includes Erin Brockovich and Ralph Nader, to draft a complaint letter to the Federal Trade Commission, which the center intends to submit today. It asks that Sky Radio, which also produces programming for United, Delta, Northwest and several other airlines, be required to disclose prominently that its news-style programs are actually little more than paid advertisements."

Apart from the main issue at hand (and apart from the fact that the CJD is clearly a front for trial lawyers stonewalling against tort reform), there is also a question here of which agency has the authority to deal with this issue: is it the FTC? or the Federal Communications Commission? or the Department of Transportation?

Assuming it gets anywhere, this promises to be an interesting case.
Breast cancer? Apparently, it is possible.
I find this photograph beautifully haunting (too bad the caption writer doesn't know grammar better):

A Muslim man prays in front of Eid Gah mosque on the second day of Ramadan in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003. The holiest month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset during the month-long fast. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Department of Unexpected Web Sites

The astronomical clock on Old Town Square in Prague has its own Web site: I think that's pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Another Humdinger from Rumsfeld

Defending himself last week after the leaking of a memo in which he painted a far less-rosy picture of the "war on terror" than the Bush administration had previously presented to the public, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld turned for recourse to the Oxford English Dictionary.

During an unannounced appearance at a Pentagon briefing last Thursday, the secretary "said he stood by his view, as disclosed in what was to have been a private memo, that the United States faced 'a long, hard slog' in Iraq. But he quickly added that his preferred definition was spelled out in the Oxford English Dictionary as 'slog — to hit or strike hard, to drive with blows, to assail violently.' "

You'd think that anyone who bothered to look up words in the OED would recognize the difference between a noun and a verb, but Rumsfeld, ever the master linguist, proved his manipulative mettle in verbiage once again.

If you read the full transcript of Rumsfeld's remarks, it's clear that he intended his "definition" as a joke. Problem is, to borrow a line from Morrissey, that joke isn't funny anymore.

Monday, October 27, 2003

A Little More Gravitas Wouldn't Hurt

It's comments like these that make me embarrassed to be an American:

"Look, it can't be fun to be occupied. And it's not very much fun, frankly, being an occupying power. But the fact is, life is much better for the Iraqis today than it was six months and much better than it was a year ago. And they know that." —Paul Bremer


Friday, October 24, 2003

Department of the Willing

I've been meaning to post something like this for some time:

"List of Countries Supporting Iraq Effort"

By The Associated Press

October 23, 2003, 11:14 AM EDT

Countries besides the United States that are lending assistance in postwar Iraq:


Albania -- 71 non-combat troops to help with peacekeeping, based in northern Iraq.

Azerbaijan -- 150-man unit to take part in patrols, law enforcement and protection of religious and historic monuments in Iraq.

Bulgaria -- 485-member infantry battalion patrolling Karbala, south of Baghdad. An additional 289 will be sent.

Central America and the Caribbean -- Dominican Republic (with 300 troops), El Salvador (360), Honduras (360) and Nicaragua (120) are assisting a Spanish-led brigade in south-central Iraq.

Czech Republic -- 271 military personnel and three civilians running a field hospital in Basra; 25 military police in Iraq.

Denmark -- 406 troops, consisting of light infantry units, medics and military police. An additional 90 soldiers are being sent.

Georgia -- 69, including 34 special troops, 15 sappers and 20 medics.

Estonia -- 55 soldiers, including mine divers and cargo handlers.

Hungary -- 300-member transportation contingent in Iraq.

Italy -- 3,000 troops in southern Iraq.

Moldova -- Dozens of de-mining specialists and medics.

Netherlands -- 1,106, including a core of 650 marines, three Chinook transport helicopters, a logistics team, a field hospital, a commando contingent, military police and a unit of 230 military engineers.

New Zealand -- 61 army engineers assigned for reconstruction work in southern Iraq.

Norway -- 156-member force includes engineers and mine clearers.

Philippines -- 177 soldiers, police and medics.

Poland -- 2,400 troops command one of three military sectors in Iraq.

Portugal -- 120 police officers.

Romania -- 800 military personnel, including 405 infantry, 149 de-mining specialists and 100 military police, along with a 56-member special intelligence detachment.

Slovakia -- 82 military engineers.

South Korea -- 675 non-combat troops with more forces on the way.

Spain -- 1,300 troops, mostly assigned to police duties in south-central Iraq.

Thailand -- 400 troops assigned to humanitarian operations.

Ukraine -- 1,640 soldiers from a mechanized unit.

United Kingdom -- 7,400, 1,200 more planned.

Other countries making troop contributions are Kazakhstan (27), Latvia (106), Lithuania (90) Macedonia (28). Details on these deployments were not available.

The United States is in discussions with 14 other countries about providing troops.

Economic reconstruction pledges for Iraq made prior to or during the Madrid conference:

Belgium -- $5 million-$6 million for 2004.

European Union -- $230 million for 2004.

Iran -- Offered to provide electricity and gas.

Japan -- $1.5 billion the first year and is considering a medium-term package for presentation at Madrid.

Philippines -- $1 million.

South Korea -- $200 million over four years in addition to $60 million committed this year.

Spain -- $300 million for 2004-07.

Sweden -- $32.7 million for 2004-05.

United Kingdom -- $900 million for three years, including money contributed since April.

World Bank -- $3 billion-$5 billion over five years.
Department of Fishy Math

An article by Jonathan Weisman in today's Washington Post — "Iraq Aid Needs, Pledge At Odds; Questions Raised About Making Up Difference" — suggests Iraq will have big problems sticking to its projected budgets in the next few years.

Seems Paul Bremer, the American ruler of Iraq, pledged in a letter to U.S. Congress that the country would ask for no funding from the U.S. in 2005 as long as it gets the full $20.3 billion it wants for 2004.

Writes Weisman: "The written pledge, in a document responding to lawmakers' questions, appeared at odds with the Coalition Provisional Authority's estimated costs of reconstruction and the amount of money likely to come from other nations. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow put the total rebuilding cost at $55 billion in a speech yesterday at an Iraq donors conference in Madrid.

"If the administration secures its full request from Congress, the United States will have committed less than half that amount — $24 billion in 2003 and 2004. Pledges from the World Bank and other donors total little more than $8 billion so far, and the Madrid conference started on a disappointing note for U.S. officials, largely because of reluctance from Saudi Arabia.

"The provisional authority's document to Congress concedes that any money pledged from other nations will not be available until 2005, leaving the near-term rebuilding costs solely on the U.S. government. Still, the authority wrote to Congress this week: 'If we receive our full request of $20.3 billion, then we will not seek additional reconstruction funds in FY 2005,' which ends in September of that year."

Thursday, October 23, 2003

More on Iraq's "New Economy"

Previously, I noted the Bush administration's plans for "reforming" the Iraqi economy with a plan of "shock therapy," here, here, and here.

I promised that this week I would poke around a little to try to find out who actually wrote the plan. Meanwhile, here is an article from The Iraq Press, titled "Iraqis must retain 51 percent stake in foreign investment, businessmen say." (I admit I have no idea who publishes the thing, but the phone number for the editorial offices is clearly British and the subscription rate for the print edition is given in pounds sterling.)

The article, dated October 13th, says that a group called the Association of Iraqi Businessmen met with the U.S.–picked Governing Council of Iraq to demand "that Iraqis should have at least [a] 51 percent stake in any foreign investments in the country." The plan as currently written "[a]llows up to 100% foreign ownership in all sectors except natural resources."

Hamid al-Aqabi, the association's chairman, "said no other country in the region was giving full ownership to foreigners and Iraq should follow investment rules prevalent in the oil-rich Arab Gulf states where foreign investors are not allowed to have more than [a] 49 percent stake in any project."


Another article in The Iraq Press, this one titled "Minister says there'll be more jobs than number of unemployed," has Iraq's finance minister, Kamel al-Kailani, making the wildly optimistic claim that in 2004, "There will be more job opportunities in Iraq than the current unemployed figures." (Harking back to my previous postings on this topic, the current unemployment level in Iraq is 50 to 60 percent. The author of this article puts it at "at least 50 percent.")

Kailani says he is expecting a budget of 33 billion dollars for 2004: 20 billion from the U.S. and 13 billion from oil exports. But is that $13 billion a realistic figure?

A quick Google of "iraqi oil exports" netted me this article, dated June 11, 2003, whose last three grafs are as follows:

"Earlier this month, Bush administration officials testified before a U.S. Senate panel that Iraq's oil production is now about 800,000 barrels per day and is expected to rise to about 1.5 million barrels per day later this summer, about 40 percent of its top pre-war output.

"Production will increase to 2.5 million barrels per day by year's end, according to the officials.

"At that rate, Iraq could receive between $14 billion to $15 billion per year in gross revenues, depending on world oil prices."

So, clearly, Kailani is assuming oil production of 2.5 million bpd. What is it right now? Another article, dated Oct. 22nd, says, "Iraq's first post-war budget, released 10 days ago, assumes total Iraqi exports will average only 1.6 million bpd next year. [. . .] The budget assumes Iraq will only return to post-war export capacity of 2.4 million bpd on average in 2005."

In other words, the finance minister is talking through his hat.
Department of Crass Manipulation

This story reached me courtesy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Titled "How the Poll Results on Iraq Were Manipulated" and written by James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, it reveals how Dick Cheney spun the results of a public opinion poll in Iraq conducted by Zogby International in August of this year.

The poll was the first survey of public opinion in Iraq since the U.S. invaded and occupied the country in March. Following is the first half of the Zogby article:

Early in President Bush’s recent public relations campaign to rebuild support for the US war effort in Iraq, Vice President Cheney appeared on “Meet the Press.” Attempting to make the case that the US was winning in Iraq, Cheney made the following observations:

“There was a poll done, just random in the last week, first one I’ve seen carefully done; admittedly, it’s a difficult area to poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But that’s got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect to the attitudes to what Americans have done.

“One of the questions it asked is: ‘If you could have any model for the kind of government you’d like to have’ — and they were given five choices — ‘which would it be?’ The US wins hands down. If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established, by 2:1 margins they say no, including the Shiite population. If you ask how long they want Americans to stay, over 60 percent of the people polled said they want the US to stay for at least another year. So admittedly there are problems, especially in that area where Saddam Hussein was from, where people have benefited most from his regime and who’ve got the most to lose if we’re successful in our enterprise, and continuing attacks from terror. But to suggest somehow that that’s representative of the country at large or the Iraqi people are opposed to what we’ve done in Iraq or are actively and aggressively trying to undermine it, I just think that’s not true.”

In fact, Zogby International (ZI) in Iraq had conducted the poll, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) did publish their interpretation of the findings. But the AEI’s “spin” and the vice president’s use of their “spin” created a faulty impression of the poll’s results and, therefore, of the attitudes of the Iraqi people.

For example, while Cheney noted that when asked what kind of government they would like, Iraqis chose “the US... hands down,” in fact, the results of the poll are actually quite different. Twenty-three percent of Iraqis say that they would like to model their new government after the US; 17.5 percent would like their model to be Saudi Arabia; 12 percent say Syria, 7 percent say Egypt and 37 percent say “none of the above.” That’s hardly “winning hands down.”

When given the choice as to whether they “would like to see the American and British forces leave Iraq in six months, one year, or two years,” 31.5 percent of Iraqis say these forces should leave in six months; 34 percent say a year, and only 25 percent say two or more years.

So while technically Cheney might say that “over 60 percent (actually it’s 59 percent) ... want the US to stay at least another year,” an equally correct observation would be that 65.5 percent want the US and Britain to leave in one year or less.

Click here to read the rest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Department of Whitewashed Corporate History That Nevertheless Remains Forever, Fondly, in My Brain

(I'll keep this short for those of you who don't give a damn.) Remember the Frito Bandito? He was the mascot of Frito's Corn Chips in the 1960s and '70s. Remember that song he used to sing? It remains with me to this day.

A year or two ago, I was remembering him with my sister Ellie, and we decided to "look him up" online -- as we had previously the Happy Ho-Ho (who I always thought of as Robin Ho-Ho-Hood) and King Ding Dong (where and when I grew up, known as King Dons, and prior to that, Ring Dings), both of which (whom?) you can gawk at here (wait for the Planet Twinkie animation to load, then click on the "Hall of Fame" sign; you'll find their names in a little menu on the left).

But so we Googled the Frito Bandito, found the Frito-Lay Web site, and the appropriate page, "Frito-Lay Timeline," and lo and behold, discovered that the Frito Bandito has been erased from the company history. For obvious reasons, of course.

Speaking of "erased," though, I have to say that one of the reasons I remember the Frito Bandito so well is because I once owned a blue Frito Bandito eraser. You know, the kind you stick on the end of your pencil, over the built-in one?

Anyway, the Frito Bandito lives no more in official Frito-Lay history.

May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Department of "How Does It Feel?"

No, this is not about Bob Dylan. It's about an art installation in Manchester, England.

"On 10th October 2003, the UHC Art Collective erected a full sized replica of Camp X-Ray in the centre of Manchester UK. The Arts Council funded project is an art installation, or exhibition, which: 'challenges our apathy over the prisoners at the US Army's Guantanamo Bay site and investigates experiences of incarceration and sensory deprivation.'

"The camp is staffed by volunteer 'prisoners' and 'guards' and runs for 9 days. It runs as far as possible on the same basis as the real camp and photos from the mainstream media were used as guidelines for its construction."

There are even video clips. Take a look.

A Volte-face and a Business as Usual
(You tell me which is which -- but you have to read the story)

"Vietnam Seeks to Move Past Reported U.S. War Crimes"

"HANOI (Reuters) - Communist Vietnam said Tuesday it wanted to move forward from its war past with America, following a U.S. newspaper report that an army unit known as Tiger Force may have committed war crimes.

"The Blade newspaper from Toledo, Ohio, reported Sunday that the unit killed scores of unarmed civilians, but an investigation was closed with no charges being brought.

"Asked to respond to the report, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that while the war with America, which ended in 1975, 'caused much suffering and losses to the Vietnamese people,' it wished to close the door on such events."

Monday, October 20, 2003

Department of Scary Family Resemblances

"Sen. Prescott Bush, R-Conn, attempts to 'disassociate himself' from Missouri Sen. Stuart Symington during a hearing on Capital Hill in this Aug. 17, 1962, file photo. Government documents show that Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show." (AP Photo, File)

This from a story titled "Newly Unclassified US Documents: Bush Ancestor's Bank Seized by Gov't," published Oct. 18 by AP.

By the way, I don't know yet if I'm convinced about this whole Nazi-Bush connection, but I'll say one thing about it: It's pretty clear by now that it ain't goin' away anytime soon.
Department of Fearing the Worst

It's stories like this that make a person right to be concerned -- if not obsessed, depending on how much free time one has -- with the state of civil liberties in Dubya's USA.

Police and government officials in Florida have been using an informational system called MATRIX, the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange.

"Created to enable state and local authorities to track would-be terrorists as well as criminal fugitives, the database is housed in the offices of a private Florida-based company, Seisint."

The founder of Seisint, Hank Asher, previously owned a company called Database Technologies, which "administered the contract that stripped thousands of African-Americans from the Florida voter rolls before the 2000 election, erroneously contending that they were felons."

Go ahead. Read it. I challenge you not to fear the worst, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Where Is the New York Times on This?

"Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well.

"The identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt."

Read the full article here.

Again, credit for this find goes to my informant P. "House" Hausler, of Bedford Ave.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

More on Shock for Iraq:
Finance minister advocates less-radical reform

I think next week, when I have more time, I'll look into this further, but meanwhile here's another piece from the New York Times about the "shock therapy" new economic plan put in place in Iraq by Paul Bremer on behalf of the Bush administration.

Titled "Iraqi Official Urges Caution on Imposing Free Market," the article appears on the first page of the World Business section and was written by Thomas Crampton from the World Economic Forum's East Asia Economic Summit, taking place this week in Singapore. The online version includes a photo of said Iraqi official; the print version does not.

"We suffered through the economic theories of socialism, Marxism and then cronyism. Now we face the prospect of free-market fundamentalism," Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi, Iraq's interim trade minister, said in an interview with Crampton.

Referring to the economic plan announced in late September by Iraq's finance minister at the annual World Bank/IMF get-together in Dubai, Allawi said it could lead to (quoting Crampton here, not Allawi) "a reaction against foreign companies and persistent political stability."

Allawi notes -- with a diplomatic flourish at the end -- that Iraq's situation is not comparable to that of the East bloc countries emerging from communism: "The economies of Eastern Europe collapsed due to internal problems. Our situation is very different since the changes came in the form of very welcome help from outside."

Essentially, Allawi plumps for a slower, gentler pace of privatization, as well as some protection for at least a few Iraqi industries other than merely oil. "These things are not yet being thrust down our throat," he says, "but I strongly disagree with the call for fast and radical change."

To impose a full-fledged (I'd say "over-fledged," compared to any other similar program of reform in recent years) free market overnight in Iraq, the minister believes, would be to apply a "flawed logic that ignores history."

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Saint George?

Check out this weird photo from yesterday's AP wire (thanks to "House" Hausler for bringing it to my attention):

The caption reads as follows:

"President Bush speaks about Columbus Day at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Monday, Oct. 13, 2003. President Bush, annoyed by what he considers the 'filter' of news reporting, will seek to go around the press on Monday through television outlets that do not routinely cover the White House. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)"

A Lesson for Cynical People Like Me

From yesterday's edition of my daily job-listings e-mail from the Idealist:

"A 'really rotten day' at work prompted a Toronto police officer to e-mail a spontaneous plea to Bill Gates for technological help fighting child pornography. The officer, who couldn’t have imagined that Gates would actually read his hastily dashed off missive, was shocked when Gates responded promptly and generously. Relatively low profile actions like this one strongly suggest that the charitable activities of the world’s richest man aren’t simply part of a public relations ploy."

Here is the story.

It's about time I put something positive on my blog, huh?

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Cleaning Up Loose Ends Department

Yesterday I came across an old issue of the New Yorker that contained a quote I had intended to post here but didn't get around to. Since then, I had misplaced the magazine.

The quote is from a profile of filmmaker Ang Lee by John Lahr in the June 30, 2003, issue, and comes from a portion of the article that discusses Lee's screenwriting process. I'll give you the whole graf, but the golden nugget comes at the end. (Schamus, by the way, refers to James Schamus, one of the two founders of the production company Good Machine.) I've broken up the original single, long graf into three shorter ones, for easier reading.

"Lee's first three films — his Chinese trilogy — explore the dilemma of translation between East and West. The screenplays themselves, as Schamus writes in an introduction to two of them, 'were written in Chinese, then translated into English, rewritten in English, translated back into Chinese, and eventually subtitled in Chinese and English and a dozen other languages.'

"The Lee-Schamus process is a testament to the trust between the two men. 'I go into my hole to write,' Schamus says. 'I emerge to give him pages. But there's very little of that standing over my shoulder. He will let me roam and screw up. What he wants to know, as I'm writing the stuff, is why. Why are we making the movie? What's so interesting about that? What's the theme? The topic? He trusts we'll get there. But he also knows that he will not be able to make a good movie unless he has the answer to those questions.'

"In the case of The Wedding Banquet (which was the most profitable film of 1993, based on budget-to-box-office ratio, surpassing even Jurassic Park), Lee kept sending back Schamus's pages, insisting that the psychology of the characters was not Chinese enough. 'Finally, in frustration, I'd simply give up and write the scenes as "Jewish" as I could make them,' Schamus writes. '"Ah-ha," Ang would respond on reading the draft. "Very Chinese!""

Friday, October 10, 2003

Follow-up on Iraq Shock

I realize that you have to subscribe to the Economist to access its Web site, but I still thought it worth pointing out its recent article on the new economic plan for Iraq.

The headline alone speaks legions: "Let's all go to the yard sale." Not to mention the subhed: "If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist's dream."

Though of course the Economist takes a far more sanguine view of Iraq's "shock programme of economic reforms," the article makes clear how extreme a plan it is. To wit:

"If carried through, the measures will represent the kind of wish-list that foreign investors and donor agencies dream of for developing markets. Investors in any field, except for all-important oil production and refining, would be allowed 100% ownership of Iraqi assets, full repatriation of profits, and equal legal standing with local firms. Foreign banks would be welcome to set up shop immediately, or buy into Iraqi ventures. Income and corporate taxes would be capped at 15%. Tariffs would be slashed to a universal 5% rate, with none imposed on food, drugs, books and other 'humanitarian' imports."

As for the authorship of the plan, which I questioned in my previous posting below, the weekly writes:

"The regulations were announced by Iraq's nominal finance minister, Kamel al-Gailani, but they bear the signature of Paul Bremer, who heads the American-run Coalition Provisional Authority, and the imprimatur of the American consultants it has hired to frame economic policies."

As for the article's concluding sentence -- "The unspoken wish is that this will create a poster-child for the recalcitrant economies surrounding it." -- I can only agree if this is intended to mean a poster child of the sort used to raise funds for Easter Seals: in other words, a cripple.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Shock Therapy for Iraq?

Jeff Madrick writes in today's New York Times that Iraqi leaders are implementing an economic plan that resembles the controversial "shock therapy" policies adopted in many East bloc countries after the fall of communism.

Describing the plan as "extreme," Madrick writes: "It would immediately make Iraq's economy one of the most open to trade and capital flows in the world, and put it among the lowest taxed in the world, rich or poor."

More specifically: "The new plan reduces the top personal income and corporate tax rate to only 15 percent. It reduces tariffs on imports to 5 percent. And it abolishes almost all restrictions on foreign investment. It would allow a handful of foreign banks to take over the domestic banking system."

Madrick questions whether such a low tax rate will be able to support the obviously necessary social programs in Iraq, noting that even in Poland, "where advocates of shock therapy claim success . . . there was substantial social spending."

Fadhil Madhi, the regional program manager for the United Nations Development Program in Beirut, speaking to Madrick in an unofficial capacity, estimates the unemployment rate in Iraq at 50 to 60 percent, and recommends a public works program to establish jobs. But it seems clear there will be no funding for such a program under the economic plan announced last week.

After all that has happened in Iraq in recent months, I hope it is unnecessary to point out the threat that sustained high unemployment would represent to "stability," as policy wonks and bureaucrats like to say.

Anyway, you can go and read the article and judge for yourself. The one criticism I have of Madrick's piece is that nowhere does he say who actually authored the plan. He says it was announced by the Iraqi finance minister and approved by Paul Bremer. But what I want to know is who wrote the thing?
Is anybody reading my blog anymore? If so, please leave me a comment.
My Friend Lou Shows Up Kay Claims on Iraqi Nuclear Program as So Much Bunkum

Read it here.

"Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, [an] expert close to the International Atomic Energy Agency said David Kay's report [that Iraq had been planning to revive its atomic weapons program until the U.S. invasion in March] was largely based on 'statements and opinions by scientists and officials with no apparent supporting evidence.' "

Go, Lou!

I should add that one of three articles on Kay's report in today's New York Times notes that Kay, who served in the Pentagon under Ronald Reagan and moved on to the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1983, left the IAEA "in 1992 after what associates describe as a dispute with Hans Blix, the agency chief, over what Mr. Blix is said to have regarded as Dr. Kay's overly close relationship with American intelligence agencies."

Gee. What a surprise.