Tuesday, January 31, 2006

No One Takes Him Seriously!!

Big applause line: "Congress did not pass my plan to overhaul social security."

Damn, with all those hoots and hollers from the left side of the aisle, the chambers looks like British Parliament. Maybe people will start liking Democrats more if they keep up the genuine, well-timed impertinence.

Displatch #1

9:16pm: He actually used the phrase Weapons of Mass Destruction. Thought that term no longer passed the straight-face test. Dammit Iran!

Incidentally, Slate has a nice piece about the parody-of-itself the SOTU address has become.

9:19pm: The continuing rhetorical power of the "we must fight terrorism abroad or else the vicious attackers bring the battle here" line astounds, given its logical inadequacies. The Iraq war has done a lot more for Al Qaeda's recruiting and retention than for the United States military's.

9:27pm: Never trust a man with beady eyes

9:32pm: Can't deal with his appropriating human rights discourse. Big problem.

9:35pm: Never trust a man with a crooked smile

9:40pm: Does he not realize that the camera is on him even when he's not talking, recording his smirks and winks?

9:41pm: That's all for me. Good night.


A few predictions while the red carpet kissass is going on:

1) Little little things-- there's no new world order to announce, no money in the coffers for grand initiatives.

2) Maybe some defense of critics, probably some falsely persuasive admitting mistakes stuff

3) I won't be able to stomach more than 30 minutes.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Making a Mockery of the Court

The Cairo-based Federation of Arab Lawyers plans a mock trial of George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Ariel Sharon for war crimes committed against Iraqi and Palestinian civilians. Ramsey Clark, reportedly, is putting on his prosecutor's hat for this one, and the organizers claim that Nelson Mandela will show up if he feels well.

Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein's lawyer claims he is filing a suit against Bush, Blair and Donald Rumsfeld in the ICC, demanding half a million dollars for each Iraqi who's lost a relative or property during the war. Also wants remedies for Abu Ghraib torture victims.

Laugh all you want, but you'd be hard pressed to convince me that either of these is less absurd than Hussein's trial in Baghdad. Boycotts, assassinations, impotent judges, theatrics.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chimères of Washington

Maybe the NYT is reading my blog!!

The Times today runs a long-overdue
post-mortem on the chaos in Haiti and-- amazingly-- puts it on the front page of the Sunday edition, above the fold, then lets it ramble on for three full pages inside. The upshot is that the US-backed International Republican Institute fomented the 2004 coup by sending support-- money, training, winks and nods-- to the opposition and by stymying negotations between Aristide and the opposition. The IRI also may have had shady dealings with Guy Philippe, drug-runner extraordinaire, before he led the revolt that unseated Aristide.

This is solid reporting, and certainly welcome, but it announces nothing new of note. I agree with my human rights professor, Jim Cavallaro, who is happy to have his so-called conspiracy theories legitmated. But why didn't the Times whip this out a year ago?

And why doesn't the paper have a full-time reporter on the Haiti/ Caribbean beat? (Note to the NYT honchos who undoubtedly are reading this: I could be yours after I graduate in June.)

On a somewhat happier note, the Haitian "authorities" have finally released Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, whom Amnesty International called a prisoner of conscience, from a Port-au-Prince jail where he's been languishing for months. He's en route to Miami for-- less happily-- leukemia treatment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

De-Pressing Haiti

Stop the presses: Today the New York Times ran an article about Haiti!

The Times usually ignores that chronically failing state, just an hour-long flight from Miami. I'd estimate it's run fewer than a dozen full-length features about Haiti since the coup in 2004. And there are stories upon stories there. A few weeks ago, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission apparently killed himself. The number of kidnappings in Port-au-Prince rivals those in Baghdad. Stooges in the temporary government have imprisoned a major contender for political power on trumped up charges.

I'm not arguing here that the US's flagship paper has an obligation to run stories about Haiti. I'm just saying those stories are damn good and easy to get.

Friday, January 20, 2006

More Terror from Turd Blossom

Underlining the GOP's endorsement of cruel and usual punishment, Karl Rove instructed his party to devote their campaign energies to....the War on Terrorism!!!

Please don't tell me that my fellow Americans will still buy this crap. Please. Please.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Same-Sex Love in Massachusetts

Big news for Bostonians: Wunderkind Theo Epstein will return to the Red Sox.

From the official press release:

"Ironically, Theo's departure has brought us closer together in many respects, and, thanks to these conversations, we now enjoy the bonds of a shared vision for the organization's future that did not exist on October 31."

It's like Brokeback Mountain got a happy ending.

Bin Laden vs. McClellan

"Your minds will be troubled and your lives embittered. As for us, we have nothing to lose. A swimmer in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our lands, offended our honor and dignity and let out our blood and stolen our money and destroyed our houses and played with our security and we will give you the same treatment."
--Osama Bin Laden

"Clearly, al Qaeda and the terrorists are on the run...And as I indicated, clearly, the al Qaeda leaders and the terrorists are on the run....I think, clearly, the leaders of al Qaeda and others are on the run...But we've got them on the run... I think, clearly, he is on the run ...We are winning this war on terrorism, the terrorists are on the run and we're going to continue ....He is someone who is clearly on the run...Well, as I indicated, he's clearly on the run... [Reporter: How do you know he's on the run?] I think it's clear from all indications..."
--Scottie McClellan

Credibility: Osama
Use of Metaphor: Osama
Looks: Osama
Pity Point: Scott

Diabolicalness: ??

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't Kill Jill

I didn't know Jill Carroll when she worked at the Journal. I hope that I will be able to meet her someday.

Returning from an interview with a Sunni leader, the 28-year-old foreign correspondent was ambushed. Ms. Carroll watched as her captors murdered her translator. Her driver escaped.

Today, Al-Jazeera aired a silent video showing Ms. Carroll speaking. Her kidnappers have threatened to kill her in 72 hours if Iraqi female prisoners are not released.

Her story is breath-bating and heart-breaking for me. She is about my age, worked at the WSJ when I did and represents many of the things I dreamed of being when I started in journalism: intrepid, diligent, and determined to uncover the real story and certain that its revelation will improve the world. See here for some of her stories and for a Ms. Carroll update.

Let's hope we can hear her first-person version of events soon.