- Has the President of Turkmenistan really proposed to name the month of January after himself?
Christopher H. Jones tracked down The Washington Times article from August 9, 2002 By Igor Sasin
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE on this proposal. We must admit that we had thought the reference was fictional. But the story leads with the following paragraph:
"Turkmenistan's eccentric President Saparmurat Niyazov, after whom cities, airports and even an aftershave have been named, has suggested renaming the 12 months of the year after himself, his mother and other national heroes."
- Why would the White House Press Secretary refer to Zaire in #415 when that country became the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 and is now referred to as "DRC" or "Congo-Kinshasa"?
- Steve Horton emailed us "in #415, C.J. makes reference to Zaire. Does the West Wing world still have Zaire? Have they not gone back to Congo like we have?"
Maybe C.J. should have checked with the CIA, whose website says: "Since 1997 the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC; formerly called Zaire) has been rent by ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow in 1994 of refugees from the fighting in Rwanda and Burundi."
- Even before we heard from Mr. Horton, we saw a post from CJ Cragun on the Television Without Pity West Wing Forum which said, "Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 and is now referred to as 'DRC' or 'DROC' or 'Congo-Kinshasa'."
In addition to the CIA link, Cragun sent us a link to the Information Please's page on the country which includes a map and says, "Formerly the Belgian Congo, this territory was inhabited by ancient Negrito peoples (Pygmies), who were pushed into the mountains by Bantu and Nilotic invaders.... Mobutu Sese Seko was overthrown in May 1997, ending one of the world's most corrupt and megalomaniacal regimes. The last of the CIA-nurtured cold war despots, Mobutu deftly courted France and the U.S., which used Zaire as a launching pad for covert operations against bordering countries, particularly Marxist Angola. Mobutu's disastrous policies drove his country to economic collapse while he siphoned off millions of dollars for himself.
Laurent Kabila and his long-standing but little-known guerrilla movement launched a seven-month campaign that ousted Mobutu. The country was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo, its name before Mobutu changed it to Zaire in 1971.
- Editor: It is possible, of course, that this never took place in the West Wing's world and in that world the country is still called Zaire or maybe C.J. just misspoke. But this show needs to hire a fact checker so they only make such mistakes when they want their world to be different! It is silly to make it different for no reason.
- In "Evidence of Things Not Seen", C.J. tells Toby that a day on the moon is the same as a year on the moon. Toby says he knew that. What do they mean?
- Martha Jackson on the Television Without Pity West Wing Forum explaned it as follows: "a lunar year is actually defined by the time it takes the moon to travel around the earth.... Now, the moon only rotates once on its axis as it rotates around the earth. It takes 27-1/2 earth days for the moon to rotate around its axis one time. So a moon day is 27-1/2 earth days. That is also how long it takes for the moon to rotate around the earth. That's a moon year. So the length of time it takes for the moon to spin around
on its axis once is the same amount of time it takes the moon to spin around the earth once. A day is defined by the amount of time it takes a satellite to spin around on its axis. For the moon, that's 27-1/2 days. A year is defined by the amount of time it takes a planet to spin around the celestial body that is holding it in its orbit. For the earth, that's the sun; for the moon, that would be the planet Earth. It also takes 27-1/2 days for the moon to rotate around the Earth. 27-1/2 days to spin around on its axis (one day has passed) and 27-1/2 days to rotate around the Earth (one year has passed). It's why we only see one side of the moon."
We also found the following links which refer to this phenomena, although the above explanation was the best we found: