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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Topic: Breaking News

SCOTUS: Let the fun begin! ('Here come da judge, here come da judge!')

Early Tuesday evening in Los Angeles:

Bush Nominates Judge John C. Roberts
Deb Riechmann, Associated Press, Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 4:45 pm Pacific Time

The link here is to the AP wire on the topic, so the versions change. More than an hour before the announcement there was this:
President Bush chose federal appeals court judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday as his first nominee for the Supreme Court, selecting a rock solid conservative whose nomination could trigger a tumultuous battle over the direction of the nation's highest court, a senior administration official said.

Bush offered the position to Roberts in a telephone call at 12:35 p.m. after a luncheon with the visiting prime minister of Australia, John Howard. He was to announce it later with a flourish in a nationally broadcast speech to the nation.

Roberts has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003 after being picked for that seat by Bush.

Advocacy groups on the right say that Roberts, a 50-year-old native of Buffalo, N.Y., who attended Harvard Law School, is a bright judge with strong conservative credentials he burnished in the administrations of former Presidents Bush and Reagan. While he has been a federal judge for just a little more than two years, legal experts say that whatever experience he lacks on the bench is offset by his many years arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

Liberal groups, however, say Roberts has taken positions in cases involving free speech and religious liberty that endanger those rights. Abortion rights groups allege that Roberts is hostile to women's reproductive freedom and cite a brief he co-wrote in 1990 that suggested the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 high court decision that legalized abortion.
And over an hour after the announcement the opening way this:
President Bush named federal appeals judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday to fill the first Supreme Court vacancy in a decade, delighting Republicans and unsettling Democrats by picking a young jurist of impeccably conservative credentials. …
Well, the core of the Republican Party was a bit slow to be delighted. As I heard on the cable shows in the background, out in Colorado Springs, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, the gatekeeper of Republican values (evangelical Christian rule of the avenging American Jesus), took an hour to think about whether this was a good thing, then gave his stamp of approval. The left is not yet jumping up and down in anger, although they need an hour or two.
"The president has chosen someone with suitable legal credentials, but that is not the end of our inquiry," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Referring to planned hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Reid said, "I will not prejudge this nomination. I look forward to learning more about Judge Roberts."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Democrats would want to probe Roberts' views to see whether he holds "mainstream values."
And so it begins.

Want to know more about the guy? See this history of his legal career and views or this one. ScotusBlog now has another blog devoted to nominations to the court, where you can read the criminal law opinions the guy has written. The text of his 2003 confirmation hearings can be found in PDF format here and here, if you get off on such things.

I'm with the editors of the legal site Talk Left in deciding to hold off -
? it's too soon to start opposing Judge John G. Roberts. Most of us knew nothing about him before tonight. He's only been a Judge for two years. Before that he was deputy solicitor general. The legal arguments he made while working for the Government or as a corporate lawyer may or may not reflect his personal values, or how he would rule as a Supreme Court Justice.

I'd like to know more about him before I make up my mind. I don't think it helps that liberal groups are coming out swinging so soon. It has the appearance that they would oppose anyone Bush would nominate.

It's obvious we're going to get a conservative Supreme Court nominee. Bush is President and the Senate is Republican-dominated. For now, I'm just happy it wasn't a rabid right-winger like Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, Edith Jones (not to be confused with Edith Clement, who probably would have been okay,) Ted Olson or one of the Fourth Circuit judges that were reportedly under consideration.

I'm more worried about Bush's second pick, the one he will make when Chief Justice Rehnquist retires, when his key aides may be out from under the gun of, or already indicted by, Fitzgerald's grand jury.

I do not want to fall into the Administration's trap of getting so distracted by this judicial nomination that I don't pay attention to other injustices of the Administration, like the war in Iraq, the detainees, military tribunals, the potential abolition of habeas corpus in death cases, and Rove Gate, to name a few.
And it's not like the other news is going away, even if all else will be sparsely reported. This could be a good, juicy fight and our news media, chasing the advertising bucks, does not multi-task much. Our press is more hedgehog than fox - in fact, Fox News ought to be called Hedgehog News (see Hedgehogs and Foxes from December 21, 2003 in these pages).

But what of the Rove business? I wrote to my friends Monday evening that I was getting sick of the Karl Rove business and I'd get back to it later. Christopher Hitchens wrote Monday on how awful Wilson and his wife are - and how Rove had no choice but to attack. Whatever. So what? One can comment to speculation and opinion, but to what end? What's the point of saying - "Look! Bullshit!" - as there are no new facts, or just little ones?

Hitchens in Rove Rage: The Poverty of our Current Scandal argues that Saddam Hussein certainly was trying to buy uranium and only fools believe otherwise. And he ends with this:
Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless. What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press? Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend. Or you can say that the word of a mediocre political malcontent who is at a loose end, and who is picking up side work from a wife who works at the anti-regime-change CIA, may not be as "objective" as it looks. I dare say that more than one supporter of regime change took this option. I would certainly have done so as a reporter if I had known.

OK, then, how do the opponents of regime change in Iraq make my last sentence into a statement of criminal intent and national-security endangerment? By citing the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. This law, which is one of the most repressive and absurd pieces of legislation on our statute book, was a panicky attempt by the right to silence whistle-blowers at the CIA. In a rough effort to make it congruent with freedom of information and the First Amendment (after all, the United States managed to get through the Second World War and most of the Cold War without such a law), it sets a fairly high bar. You must knowingly wish to expose the cover of a CIA officer who you understand may be harmed as a result. It seems quite clear that nobody has broken even that arbitrary element of this silly law.

But the coverage of this non-storm in an un-teacup has gone far beyond the fantasy of a Rovean hidden hand. Supposedly responsible journalists are now writing as if there was never any problem with Saddam's attempt to acquire yellowcake (or his regime's now-proven concealment of a nuclear centrifuge, or his regime's now-proven attempt to buy long-range missiles off the shelf from North Korea as late as March 2003). In the same way, the carefully phrased yet indistinct statement of the 9/11 Commission that Saddam had no proven "operational" relationship with al-Qaida has mutated lazily into the belief that there were no contacts or exchanges at all, which the commission by no means asserts and which in any case by no means possesses the merit of being true. The CIA got everything wrong before 9/11, and thereafter. It was conditioned by its own culture to see no evil. It regularly leaked - see any of Bob Woodward's narratives - against the administration. Now it, and its partisans and publicity-famished husband-and-wife teams, want to imprison or depose people who leak back at it. No, thanks. ?
Unpacking that it comes down to the CIA being anti-regime-change fools and cowards who couldn't see the truth. Yeah, yeah.

The argument is flawed? Josh Marshall, after reviewing Hitchens' questionable citations of evidence, one by one, writes this -
But why mess with preliminaries? The Iraq Survey Group more or less owned Iraq for more than a year, had access to all the evidence leading up the war, all the evidence in Iraq, all the scientists arrested by the US military, everything we've learned since the war. ? the ISG concluded that Saddam's regime had not sought uranium either at home or abroad since 1991, period.

What else is there to say?
Oh, lots - but why bother?

The White House has a political problem that is more immediate. Karl, and now Scooter, may be in deep trouble.

Tom Noah in his continuing Rove Death Watch comments, as do so many others, on the president's change of position, from "anyone who was involved" is so fired to "anyone who is indicted" is so fired, to "anyone who is found guilty and convicted" is so fired. Whatever. It's become a joke. And the polls show only a quarter of the people now think the White House is cooperating in getting this straightened out. It's a mess.

Kevin Drum over at the Washington Monthly has a cool analysis of how the came to be such a big deal, in Nukes and the Base - "So why did the White House go nuts? What were they so scared of that they went into full-blown smear-and-destroy mode?"
? the White House political operation wasn't lashing out just because of Joe Wilson. They were lashing out because they believed their political lives depended on their own supporters continuing to believe that Saddam had been actively working on a nuke program. Without that belief, they'd lose support within their own base even if they eventually found evidence of chem and bio programs.

In Karl Rove's world, the base is sacred, and nukes were the key to their support. Joe Wilson threatened to open a crack in that support, and that's why he had to be destroyed.
Perhaps so. That works, but it doesn't fix anything.

The real mess, as Frank Rich argued over the weekend in the New York Times, is that This case is about Iraq, not Niger. -
The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a CIA operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

So put aside Mr. Wilson's February 2002 trip to Africa. The plot that matters starts a month later, in March, and its omniscient author is Dick Cheney. It was Mr. Cheney (on CNN) who planted the idea that Saddam was "actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time." The vice president went on to repeat this charge in May on "Meet the Press," in three speeches in August and on "Meet the Press" yet again in September. Along the way the frightening word "uranium" was thrown into the mix.
Well, maybe it is really about the whole war.

It was a good time to change subjects and get this Supreme Court nomination to the top of the news mix. After all, there is mounting evidence that the special prosecutor has Rove clearly committing perjury, if nothing else. (See this and this.) Ari Fleischer seems to be involved (see this). And on it goes.

And late Tuesday a group of eleven former intelligence officers delivered a letter to the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate on the Plame case. They're pissed, and end with this:
Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government?s protection of their covert status.

For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community and help protect their ability to live their cover.
And who are these guys?

Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Brent Cavan, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Vince Cannistraro, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Mel Goodman, former senior Analyst, CIA
Col. W. Patrick Lang (US Army retired), former Director, Defense Humint Services, DIA
Mr. David MacMichael, former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA
Mr. James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. Ray McGovern, former senior Analyst and PDB Briefer, CIA
Mr. Jim Smith, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. William C. Wagner, former Case Officer, CIA

Geez. So let's talk about Judge Roberts.

Posted by Alan at 21:13 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 19 July 2005 21:18 PDT home

Monday, 18 July 2005

Topic: For policy wonks...

News Notes: Non-Stories

Those of us who are kind of news hounds are well aware that the new media does not exactly multi-task. There's usually one big story. The rest is secondary.

Because reporting the news is, almost entirely, a commercial venture, anyone who mans an assignment desk is constantly making decisions on what should be covered. Is any given story what people really want to know about? Yes? Then you cover it is all its juicy details, and cover it in such a way that, if television, viewers don't change channels to see Tiger Woods triumphant, or what's up with Lance Armstrong or the Mets, or which of the luscious "Desperate Housewives" this week inadvertently finds herself stark naked in the front year in the middle of the afternoon. (Something one hardly ever sees out here, oddly enough.) If radio, one covers things scattershot in short bursts, because folks in their cars seldom want more than a headline and a few follow-on sentences ("Give Us Twenty-Two Minutes and We'll Give You the World") - and the same principle applies. If it's not what they want to hear - terse nuggets of what's happing here and there - then there's always Janis Joplin on the oldies station. (Those who listen to NPR seem to be the exception, willing to hang on through "backgrounders" and extended essays.)

In any event, you must hold your audience, on the presumption that your ratings will then be healthy enough that you can charge good money for open advertising slots in prime time. You can guarantee that so many millions will be tuned in when you break for something about the virtues of their particular product or service. Of course, now and then you gamble and report something odd you think is going to be news, or so you hope, and you get a scoop on your competition.

But, for the most part, you know what your audience wants, and it is your job, as a public service, to give them that, and make a few bucks doing so. Thus endless coverage of Michael Jackson's trial, and this missing attractive white woman or that - and of the next hurricane, as folks want to see all the details of that, even if they live in Ames, Iowa. Monday, July 18, Larry King on CNN did a full hour on the late Princess Diana's sons - how they're doing now in their twenties and all they're facing and so on. His ratings for this show were, of course, wonderful, or so one assumes. Of deep importance in the grand scheme of things? No. But millions tuned in.

What may seem to you to be news - matters that are of historic or social importance - does not matter as much as what your audience wants to know about. The news folks don't choose the news. The market does.


Maybe you can create a new market by reporting something people don't yet know they want to know - just as creative marketing can create a new need people didn't know they had, like the need in the seventies for the water in the toilets to be blue (some folks felt obliged to have their toilet water blue because otherwise their visitors would think less of them). The Washington Post back in the seventies "created a need" for folks to know about Nixon and the Watergate cover-up. There was no market for that, but they created one. Very clever.

As Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta, says, it's always a balance - between what should be reported in a democracy (people really need to know this), and what people want to hear about (people really want to know that).

Thus these days it's Karl Rove all the time - folks seem to get off on the leader in trouble and embarrassed (or at least defensive), or they get off on being angry at those who doubt him. That will do until the president nominates someone to the Supreme Court - and then we get a lots of different fussing and fighting. (Remember Anita Hill and the Coke can and the pubic hair?) We had a new hurricane, but unless it hits Texas there's no ratings bump there. The young, pretty red-state white woman is still missing is Aruba - all those odd folks speaking Dutch, even the scary young black guys! - but nothing is happening! The suicide bombings in Iraq get worse and worse - now a hundred dead at a clip - but reporting that in any depth doesn't sell advertising slots any longer. It's not "news" - as that's just what happens (the new normal).

Much of this was covered last weekend here in One Man's News Is Another Man's Tedium - which was in some ways a laundry list of possibly important things happening that were NOT news. Possibly important things. News. Often two different things.

There you would find mention of a July 7 item from the BBC reporting our new puppet government in Iraq entered into an agreement with Iran for troop training.
Former enemies Iran and Iraq say they will launch broad military co-operation including training Iraqi armed forces.

"It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq," said Iranian Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani." ...
Yes, indeed, Iran is one of the members of the Axis of Evil, and we're almost ready to do something like bombing the hell out of them if the continue trying to finish up a nuclear bomb or two. So we liberate Iraq to bring them western-style free-market capitalism and some form of democracy, and they start off with a military pact with the worst of the bad guys?

As I asked then, we fought this war for what? Wasn't for the WMD (oops), and the flypaper-will-keep-us-safe thing is looking shakier by the day (but is was London, after all, and not Chicago, or even Peoria, that was bombed), and it seems spreading democracy will have to wait until the constant suicide and remote-controlled bombings stop. (Think about that - we created a battlefield over there so we wouldn't have one here, but at the same time we saying we're bringing the folks there peace and security so the place will no longer be a battlefield - so you can do both at the same time?)

The question raised with the BBC item? Did we fight this war to install a government there that will join up with Iran in all sorts of military agreements? We created, possibly, a new client state of the worst-of-the worst, Iran?


Well, this is not news, as in this is not covered in the news here much. We've got Rove and Bush, and the Aruba girl, and some other matters, including the British princes' growing pains, so this one will be hard to sell. There's only so much you can cover.

But it is curious, as Bill Montgomery points out over at Whiskey Bar in an item he titles Ayatollah You So.

He opens with two items from papers in the Middle East. From the Gulf Times he finds this from July 18:
Iranian President Mohamed Khatami yesterday hailed a "turning point" in relations with Baghdad as Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari made a historic visit to Tehran aimed at strengthening ties after decades of enmity . . . Jaafari, who took refuge in Iran during the rule of Saddam Hussain, visited the tomb of Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini yesterday, and paid homage by laying a wreath of flowers.
You read that right. Flowers at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini. Who? Ayatollah Khomeini - hostages in Iran - Carter couldn't get them out - freed the day Reagan took office - Ayatollah Khomeini our biggest enemy at the time.

Then this in the Tehran Times of July 19:
Al-Jaafari, for his part, expressed pleasure over his meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei. He called the late Imam Khomeini the key to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, adding, "We hope to eliminate the dark pages Saddam caused in Iran-Iraq ties and open a new chapter in brotherly ties between the two nations."
Montgomery comments:
Now I personally don't blame al-Jaafari for cuddling up to the Iranians - if I were in his shoes I'd do exactly the same thing. But laying flowers on the tomb of the Ayatollah Khomeini is rubbing it in pretty thick, especially when the Great Satan is keeping his chair warm for him back in Baghdad. Couldn't he have used FTD?

I guess not. A quick look at the history of al-Jaafari's Dawa Party will tell you why.

It would be interesting to see what kind of reaction al-Jaafari's little Tehran tete-a-tete would cause here in Great Satan Central, if it got 1/20th the coverage of Karl Rove's pimply ass. How would the folks back home feel if they knew their sons and daughters were getting limbs blown off so that Iraqi politicians could jaunt off to Tehran and say warm and fuzzy things about the crazy old man who gave us the Iranian hostage crisis? [my emphasis]

And what kind of surrealist cover story would the GOP propaganda machine come up with to convince the Fox News audience that fighting and dying to keep Khomeini lovers in power is really a good thing?
Well, one assumes the comment that Rove has a pimply ass is just an angry insult, but were some news organization have actual footage of same, now THAT would be a news story. The fact that the government we brought into existence - to replace that of the former guy now in jail and awaiting trial - is aligning itself who Iran, who we have been told since the days just after 9/11 is just as bad (same axis) is not news?

But it is news on the BBC and in the Middle-East media. Why is that? Different news market? Perhaps it's just knowing your customer.

Can anyone create a "need" for this story, at least for those of us who have friends and relatives fighting there now for some reason - whatever it is? There could be a market there. You could create one.

Probably not. It will turn to news when the two countries, Iran and Iraq, join forces and tell us to get out, they have a nuclear bomb or two, and they take hostages again. Now it's not news, just the starting point of possible news. We'll get to it later.

Posted by Alan at 21:58 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 18 July 2005 22:02 PDT home

Sunday, 17 July 2005

Topic: World View

A Late Bastille Day

Bastille Day comes late out here - and it was celebrated at the La Brea Tar Pits of all places - complete with a Petanque tournament!

Here is the skinny:
The fourth annual Bastille Day LA is a free all-day festival held in the gardens of the Page Museum [adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits]. Supported by the French Consulate in Los Angeles, the Bastille Day LA celebration is meant to "reinforce the undying ties between the French and American people and to promote French heritage and culture."

Foods to be presented at the event include: Sweet and savory crepes by Café Marly; Coucous and Moroccan specialties by Marakesh; Merguez, frites and barbecue by Tartine et Café; Macarons, caramels, sables, pates de fruits by Boule; Specialty French breads by L'artisan Valley Bakery; Croissants and cookies by Breadbar; Quiches and salads by Normandy Country.

There's a Provencal petanque tournament, a Parisian waiters' race, and an international vendor marketplace with gastronomic specialties from all over France and refreshments in the Festival beer and wine garden. Performers from around the world on the main stage throughout the day are expected to include French Latin Funk Group Patje, Hot Fab Djazz Club Jazz Band, West African singer Kadiatou, Tahitian dancers, the C. Dance Jazz Company. Best part? It's free! Sunday 12:00 noon to 8 pm in the gardens of the Page Museum, 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles. In the heart of the Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard (Wilshire Boulevard & Curson Avenue), just East of LACMA.
A full report and a photo album will follow, sometime Monday. Until then?

The script -

A babe -

The stage -

Provencal petanque befuddles the young locals -

Posted by Alan at 17:31 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 17 July 2005 17:38 PDT home

Topic: World View

Our Man in Tel-Aviv: Armed Brothers

A new column from Our Man in Tel-Aviv - Sylvain Ubersfeld

Tel-Aviv, Sunday, July 17, 2005 -

Not being Jewish and living in Israel can prove to be an advantage, especially if and when one is trying to make an acceptable assessment of the so-called Israel -Palestine conflict. Born of a Jewish father whose family was eradicated by the Nazis while he was completing his studies in France, I was educated in the Christian faith and I now realize how both of my cultural and religious heritages are equally important. Surprisingly enough, or rather not, I was not able to choose one culture rather than the other and I will light candles on Friday night, and find serenity on the top of the basilica in Jerusalem which is nowadays turned into a monastery for Coptic and Ethiopians Priests. Unlike many Frenchmen who pass judgments abroad when visiting other countries, I have not yet decided if anyone was fully wrong, or right, in regards to what is known as the middle-east conflict. Having spend over eighteen years of my life in extensive traveling, a good part of it in the heart of the Middle East, I do not consider myself as an expert, although some "official" experts working for big international organizations may know less than I do about Arabic and Jewish culture.

Nothing can in my opinion justify any kind of terrorism, would it be physical aggression or intellectual perversion consisting in stigmatizing a race, a group of people, a caste, or a minority. The Palestinian and the Jews are brothers. They live on the same land that has the same physical characteristics; they are warmed up by the same sun, washed by the same rainwater that pours here during winter in the biblical sense of the flood. Both of them enjoy drinking Turkish coffee in which they will eventually put a special kind of ground spice (partially made of cardamom), as much as they will appreciate eating falafel (fried balls of runnabean flour), pitah, (the traditional Arabic bread), humus (a delightful puree of chick peas served with olive oil and lemon juice), or watermelon diced up and accompanied by goat cheese.

Both Jews and Arabs will dedicate one day a week to praying following ablutions (for those who are really involved into religion that is) and they will probably read verses of their respective holy book, both of these containing by the way quite a few appeals to the basics instincts and hatred and revenge which inhabits each of us and which we should dominate (in principle).

Most of the Jews would be able to understand basic Arabic, and in the same fashion it is not uncommon for Arabs to pick up quite a lot of Hebrew… this should not come as a surprise as the languages are extremely close and both of them by the way have a "dot" system which allows consonants to be pronounced as vowels by addition of a special marking under the letter. Their ancestors were in their time a part of the same household, both of them are traders at heart and both of them were able in the past to live together in harmony and respect of their respective faith, going to the extent of sharing the same kind of food, including meat slaughtered in similar conditions.

But because Muhammad took of on his chariot of fire (Was it a chariot of fire? I can't recall.) quite a few hundred years after the Biblical adventure which brought the Jews out of exile, there is somehow a distorted view which drive people in thinking that Jewish religion has somehow more legitimacy in the area. Truly enough, the issues at stakes in this conflict are not only political but also demographic, economics, and religious… with the unavoidable cohort of bearded wise men on both side who have a dangerous tendency to mix up secular and religious matters in the conduct of state affairs, thus already imposing an emotional approach which often deprives them of common sense. God and business have never been good friends; religion is an affair of the heart in the intimacy of each individual.

I hate terrorism of all kind, and I realize that due to my heritage I may not be fully objective when assessing the conflict, but the biggest shock for the last six months of daily monitoring news, internet, or international papers, was seeing on TV a young Jewish boy, from an extreme-right family, probably educated, hurling a stone at an Arabic teenager already lying on the ground. This vision really did hurt more than all the horrible scenes of violence and dismembered bodies that have been circulating around in the international press circles.

The disengagement process is supported by most of the Israeli population. It is in my opinion the only viable solution to change things around here. It is not only the future of Israel at stake but the future of an entire area of the world which is getting, day by day, more volatile, and whose whereabouts provides more and more excuses for extremists of all kind to attack freedom, civil liberties, and the very basis of our daily life.

Regardless if one is an atheist, a Jew, a Christian, a Moslem or a Buddhist, the aspirations for all are the same and all of us are entitled to enjoy our time on earth. Because both the Israelis and the Palestinian share, in my opinion parts of the responsibility, and because they are brothers, isn't it about time that they changed their ways and go from being armed brothers to becoming brothers in arm fighting only for the future well being of generations to come? Maschiach (the messiah of the orthodox Jews) will not come… not this month at least (the month is nearly over!). Allah will never endorse any innocent civilian killings in the name of Jihad. The job of making peace rests entirely in the hands of men of good will, which, I admit, are extremely rare, especially in this area.

Copyright © 2005 - Sylvain Ubersfeld

Posted by Alan at 17:15 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 17 July 2005 17:16 PDT home

Saturday, 16 July 2005

Topic: Announcements


The new issue of Just Above Sunset, the parent site to this web log, has just been posted. That would be Volume 3, Number 29 - for the week of July 17, 2005. There is much there that did not appear here. And what appeared here first has been extended and expanded.

What's new?

This week the Wilson-Rove scandal gets at lot of attention, as it seems to have bulldozed all the other news out of the way - except there is some fallout from the London bombings that was regrettable, and odd news regarding the Saudis, and on how we treat out returning soldiers, and here and there talk of Harry Potter and all that. Don't miss news of the Unitarian Jihad, and the triumph of hope over experience (Justice Sunday II), and the Republican Party apologizing for playing the race card for so long, but one of their main men ragging on the sinfulness of Boston. It was quite a week.

And one should not forget Bastille Day. Ric Erickson provides on the scene coverage (with a cool photo) - and our readers react to some of the more unusual expressions one finds in French, as reported by someone in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles has its big Bastille Day party on the afternoon of the 17th for some reason, and photos of that will be added later.) In his regular "Our Man in Paris" column, Ric lets us know the real dynamics of the day - political and musical.

And this week, after a long absence, Phillip Raines returns, reminding us of what really matters. It isn't any of the above.

Bob Patterson is back covering a really odd sci-fi birthday party (with photos) and the world of world radio in his WLJ column.

Photography? The doors of Paris from Don Smith of Left Bank Lens, and a parallel from Hollywood - and a gem of a Tuscan villa here in Hollywood.

The pithy quotes this week match current events - the press and politics.

Direct links to specific pages -

Current Events ________________

Delusions: This isn't funny anymore. But it never was. (Veterans Affairs)
Foreigners: Common Decency is So Overrated (America's image in the world)
Interesting Commentary: The Unitarian Jihad and Other Alternative Universes
Reporting Something: One Man's News Is Another Man's Tedium. Did Things Just Heat Up? (Overlooked news stories)
The Scorecard: Regarding l'affaire Rove at Mid-Week (basic facts)
From the Other Side: Different Perspectives on Karl Rove, Harry Potter and Tom Cruise
End of the Week: Rove and Social Security and Racism and the Evil of Boston
Sequels: The Triumph of Hope Over Experience (Justice Sunday II)

Features ________________

Our Man in Paris: France Goes Off the Clock Again
Bastille Day: Paris and All Over
What Matters: A Friend Reminds Us

Bob Patterson ________________

WLJ Weekly: from the desk of the World's Laziest Journalist - A Face in the Crowd
Book Wrangler: A Birthday Party Spawns a Column About Freedom of the Press (with photos)

Photography ________________

Left Bank Lens: Quelles choses secrètes on apprendrait-il si on devaient ouvrir ces portes à Paris ?
Old Hollywood: Here, water cascades from the mouths of lions into multiple pools and waterways….
Hollywood Doors: The Private and the Public

The Usual ________________

Quotes for the week of July 17, 2005 – The Press and Politics

Villa d'Este (1355 Laurel Avenue): Italian villas in rural Tuscany inspired architect brothers F. Pierpont Davis and Walter S. Davis when they designed the complex in 1928. Here, water cascades from the mouths of lions into multiple pools and waterways.

Posted by Alan at 22:42 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Saturday, 16 July 2005 22:46 PDT home

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