IM giants told to work it out. A consortium of financial services giants, which are getting into instant messaging, wants to force interoperability among ICQ, AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger. “The call for interoperability comes as corporations are beginning to look more seriously at IM as a communications tool within the office–a trend that has IM providers salivating at the thought of turning what has been mostly a free service into a paid product.” CNET

“How Would The Bush Administration’s Claims Of Self-defense, Used As Justifications For War Against Iraq, Fare Under Domestic Rules Of Self-defense?” Joseph Fletcher, professor of jrusiprudence at Columbia, argues that the administration’s claim of “self-defense” in justifying its coming war against Iraq is “banal”. Most aggressors lay claim to self-defense and broaden the claim to include preemptive actions that do not pass muster with legal standards that require an “imminent unlawful attack”. International law, in fact, is even more extreme; the UN Charter, e.g., requires not just an imminent but an actual attack to invoke the right of self-defense. The US’s threat to Iraq meets neither standard but may be justifiable under other alternative, lesser, legal arguments, e.g. that a danger so great exists that ‘an attack is “immediately necessary” on this “present occasion” ‘. However, the US fails to make international law arguments even when some may be applicable. FindLaw

After Baghdad, What?

Iraq war hawks have plans to reshape entire Middle East: “As the Bush administration debates going to war against Iraq, its most hawkish members are pushing a sweeping vision for the Middle East that sees the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq as merely a first step in the region’s transformation.

The argument for reshaping the political landscape in the Mideast has been pushed for years by some Washington think tanks and in hawkish circles. It is now being considered as a possible US policy with the ascent of key hard-liners in the administration…” Boston Globe

Fate of the WTC Businesses

Year of Struggle and Change:

When the World Trade Center towers fell, they took more with them than human lives. A huge segment of the downtown economy collapsed with the falling steel and concrete, and the disaster encompassed far more than the large financial firms that are most often identified with the Sept. 11 attacks.

The trade center was home to hundreds of diverse companies, a polyglot village spanning everything from Asian food importers to graphic designers to dentists. Many had inhabited the towers for decades.

Those companies, more than half of which had fewer than 20 employees, became refugees on Sept. 11. Some have folded, overwhelmed by the deaths of owners or employees or undone by a lack of cash. Others have eked out a living in kitchens and basements. Some have relocated to Florida or Texas, while others have insisted on staying within a few blocks of ground zero. Some, miraculously, have flourished, growing even as the local economy foundered.

The New York Times set out to chronicle the fate of the complex’s tenants as they struggled to re-establish themselves over the past year. After compiling lists of tenants from several sources, The Times estimates that about 700 companies and organizations occupied the trade center buildings. Defining a more precise number, however, is difficult because so many of the companies were subtenants whose occupancy did not appear on official lists.

Why Aren’t U.S. Journalists Reporting From Iraq?

‘This week we are finally getting to the core excuse from the Bush administration for attacking Iraq right now. Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with CNN’s John King on Sunday, laid it out nice and simple, the way they like it back in Wyoming: “We have to worry about the possible marriage, if you will, of a rogue state like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda.”

This notion that the Iraqi leader is in cahoots with Osama will be easy to feed the American people. To the American people, one bad Arab is the same as the next, and Osama equals Saddam. People who wonder about the Bush war-urgency only need to think about this: There’s a blind spot that needs to be exploited now, before too many journalists get the idea to go inside Iraq and find out what’s really happening.’ TomPaine.com [via Walker]

…by Nina Burleigh, who has written for The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and New York magazine. As a reporter for TIME, she was among the first American journalists to enter Iraq after the Gulf War.

Dual appendages:

Fossil find reveals world’s oldest penises: “A perfectly preserved shellfish fossil over 100 million years old has revealed a surprising feature – the oldest penis in the world. The fossil, a one millimetre-wide crustacean called an ostracod, was found in Brazil and examined by David Siveter at the University of Leicester. It was preserved with its shell open displayed another surprise – not one but two penises…” New Scientist