Art born out of murder. “But now, a proliferation of art is emerging from the tragedies amid the blood and sand of the dusty industrial border town across from El Paso, produced by artists and performers fuelled by moral outrage and responding to what has become a human rights crisis and a bi-national scandal.”
Chronicle of Higher Ed:
Back in the USSR. Mr Bush’s take, “The more I get to know President Putin ... [snip] ... the more I get to see his heart and soul ... the more I know we can work together in a positive way”, rings hollow at present.
The industry still hasn’t figured out a way to measure site traffic.
NY Times Op-Ed:
Cover-up on clean air. “More broadly, Ms. Tinsley said she could find no basis for the new rule in science or law, and urged her superiors to restore the old one.”
NY Times Editorial:
A Flu Vaccine Fiasco. In the face of the bird flu threat, we must do better.
NY Times Op-Ed:
Safire, “The Afghan Miracle”. A creative bit of spin, certainly. “... over 10 million Afghans have registered, plus 2 million more in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran. That’s a political miracle. It also does not add up; some people are apparently registering more than once.” Get better information. “... thirteen provinces were over-registered, with four provinces—Nuristan, Paktia, Paktika and Khost—having over 140 percent registration.”
A miracle? Alchemy might be a better description.
Mr Kristof, in another article, highlights the “freedom” of women. It can’t happen all at once, but reestablishing the warlords and paying them to lay off the government isn’t auspicious for human rights. “Furthermore, these warlords and U.S. officials neglect to mention that on October 6, 2001, when the United States began attacking the Taliban, there were almost no warlords left in Afghanistan. By that time, the Taliban had either co-opted the major warlords, or destroyed them ... [snip] ... the United States needed local troops, and for this the United States physically brought back the warlords, rearmed them, financed them, supported them militarily, and reinstalled them in power. The CIA simply handed suitcases of cash to warlords around the country.”
The result is, reinforced by Mr Kristof’s observations, “Many women and girls, freed from the Taliban’s rule, have again been forced out of schools and jobs due to insecurity. Poppy cultivation has soared to new highs, providing billions of dollars to the Taliban, warlords, and petty criminals who resist the central government. Foreign states with long, mostly destructive histories of interference in Afghanistan’s affairs—Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Uzbekistan, and Russia—are again picking local proxies to push their agendas.”
Forgot to mention yesterday ...
first snow on the ski mountain, thanks to all the precip we’ve been having. And I still have a poor little hummingbird hitting the feeder. Get thee south, little one.
Ironic, given the discourse at the debate. CIA Report Finds No Conclusive Zarqawi-Saddam Link.
House Republicans seek to quash military draft rumor. Killing a bill doesn’t kill the original problem ... current manpower requirements. The best Snopes can render is ... probably not [subject to current events].
Rodney Dangerfield, has passed away. Rest in peace, sir ... and I pay my respects.
Aerial images of Mt. Saint Helens, by Bruce Ely.
The VP Debate,
from my rather wet and muddy vantage point (it’s been raining cats and dogs here in NM). I keep trying to call it a draw, and keep arguing myself back and forth. A muddy subject, for sure. I don’t believe anyone expected John Edwards to do so well, yet there was that persistent campaign shpiel slickness that I dislike. I didn’t expect Dick Cheney to be so poorly spoken; I had forgotten how often we see these Administration individuals in pre-scripted events, announcing major policy initiatives at preach-to-the-choir right-wing thinktanks. I fear a bit of bias in my view, because I prefer the more down-to-earth, soft-spoken style that Mr Cheney adopted for this debate ... because it is the tactic I would use.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Mr Edwards was very aggressive, didn’t shrink from tough questions ... but still softballed some stiff statistical/policy-wonk items that I feel he should have had at his fingertips. Or maybe he weighted Bush-like consistent pounding of the campaign shpiel more. A little waxy, a little Ken-doll. That flick-the-switch neon smile. I was pleasantly surprised at the budding gravitas. He answered most of the personal attacks hard. Difficult to oppose an individual with such a long career in politics as Mr Cheney, yet he did remarkably — which is why I am arguing with myself that a ‘draw’ here is likely a win for Mr Edwards. All he had to do was hold is own. Mr Edwards did extremely well at clearing blown smoke from his running mate’s media/public record [as interpreted by Mr Cheney], best ‘salesman’, and going further in presenting Mr Kerry as a solid choice, as well as solidifying these seemingly diaphanous “plans” that Democrats keep rhetorically throwing around [there’s something horribly Reaganesque in the “we have a plan ...” that continues to raise my hackles — every time I hear it, I hear Mr Reagan saying it]. I believe I got more content here than from Mr Kerry in the first Presidential Debate; he was too busy poking the monkey in the cage with a stick to give us discursive information.
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
I was expecting soft-spoken smartly-slanted statistics and swift, cutting, smart rejoinders from Mr Cheney. I wasn’t disappointed, except in wit and delivery. Ridicule without wit is just plain ugly; he made this mistake a few times, for me. His hands seemed to be shaking, towards the end. He kept muffling his microphone, mostly monotone. Any policy initiatives came out in a droned rush, recited without any emotion or enthusiasm. Hard to grasp, in that format. He came across as ‘white urban rich’, jaded. Instead of direct refutations, he used what I call the “Contract with America tactic” of focusing on smaller details that throw the subject into doubt for the non-policy-wonk. “You’re wrong on your statistics. The percentage is wrong ...” even though the right one isn’t good, either. Old tactic, doesn’t work as well these days. I expected him to have more spontaneous wit. And yet, there were times when he portrayed the ‘elder statesman’ well. I’m surprised to find, even though I thought Mr Bush’s debate performance horrifically mangled, he expressed some foreign policy goals better than Mr Cheney did tonight. These two are not the idealogical powerhouse in an unchoreographed environment, clearly. I find Mr Cheney didn’t booster the President very hard, in comparison with Mr Edwards’ boosting of Mr Kerry. But I think Mr Cheney brought a little blood with Mr Edwards attendance record, playing “disciplinarian of the Senate.” I couldn’t help laughing, imagining the spanking Mr Edwards might receive. Using the old “board of Education”? So I’d rate Mr Cheney best with the personal attack and Taoist redirection of force.
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question ...
Both just went crackers over the AIDS question, getting the moderator a bit miffed when she ended that particular segment. I found myself miffed, also; AIDS in America is no minor issue. I gave mental points to Mr Edwards for bringing up minority issues again, later on.
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
I admired Mr Cheney for not using every second of time. Sometimes there really isn’t anything more to say. Mr Edwards, when asked if he felt personally attacked when the President mentions “they put a trial lawyer on the other ticket” ... I would have simply said, “Well, you just answered your own question” and left it at that. Poor question; dull rejoinder.
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Mr Cheney didn’t thank his opponent in the closer. Just the moderator, and the venue. Sour grapes over the mention of his lesbian daughter? Mr Edwards rang quite insincere, at that point. A real sour note that he just barely managed to mollify.
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
I think both helped their respective tickets. Mr Cheney helped regain some semblance of authority for the Administration, and Mr Edwards put even more polish on the Kerry-Edwards apple.
Almost, at times, the Fool.
Mr Edwards managed to be critical, yet optimistic. Mr Cheney retained the doom-and-gloom of the ‘wartime administration’ charade. Optimist usually does the best.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Hard to call for me, as you can tell. A draw. Yes, I’ll call it a draw. Scooter the Muppet vs. Jabba the Hut ... no clear winner. Which means a gain in respect for Mr Edwards, boosting the Kerry-Edwards ticket. Hooray for my side. Let’s move on. Looking forward to Friday.
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
Apologies to TS Eliot.
Mr Allawi, sans rose—garden-colored glasses.
A fake in the White House? Got your attention, didn’t I?
Geez, man, give me a chalkboard over Powerpoint any day.
Blast from the past; a quote from Dick Cheney in 1992:
“And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam Hussein worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait [in 1991], but also when the president made the decision that we’d achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq ...”
weighs what I’ll call the ‘entertainment quotient’ of the upcoming VP debate.
Who will star in “The Da Vinci Code”? Each will bring a different flavor to the story ... Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe and George Clooney. Tom Hanks? Does that mean Meg Ryan will be ... no. I won’t go there.
Mr Karzai leaves the ‘safety’ of Kabul to campaign. An odd concept. The candidate can’t travel the country freely, yet is favored to win.
Medieval surgeons were more advanced than thought. Daring, at the very least.
CJR Campaign Desk:
Iran Says Its Missiles Can Now Reach 1,250 Miles. Whereas the other Shahab missiles seem to be North Korean tech, the Shahab 4 seems to be built mostly on older Soviet engineering. The longer we fiddle with North Korea ...