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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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Thursday, 15 June 2006
They think we're all fools. We shall see.
Topic: Couldn't be so...

They think we're all fools. We shall see.

Thursday, June 15, 2006, and it just can't be this ridiculous, but if the Associated Press says so, it must be so -
Congress plunged into divisive election-year debate on the Iraq war Thursday as the U.S. military death toll reached 2,500. The Senate soundly rejected a call to withdraw combat troops by year's end, and House Republicans laid the groundwork for their own vote.

In a move Democrats criticized as gamesmanship, Senate Republicans brought up the withdrawal measure and quickly dispatched it - for now - on a 93-6 vote.

The proposal would have allowed "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.

Across Capitol Hill in a daylong House debate, Republicans defended the Iraq war as a key part of the global fight against terrorism while Democrats assailed President Bush's war policies and called for a new direction in the conflict.

"When our freedom is challenged, Americans do not run," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in remarks laden with references to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"This is a war that is a grotesque mistake," countered House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She called for a fresh strategy - "one that will make us safer, strengthen our military, and restore our reputation in the world."

House Republicans moved toward a vote on a nonbinding resolution Friday morning to reject any timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces.
What is this all about? What difference does any resolution make? And what about the other tidbit the AP mentions, and the Democrats point to - reports that the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, wants, as part of "a national reconciliation" plan, to pardon insurgents who had attacked our troops. Forgive them? The prime minister's aide who said that is now gone -
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office Thursday accepted the resignation of an aide who had told a reporter that Maliki was considering a limited amnesty that would likely include guerrillas who had attacked U.S. troops, the aide said.

The aide, Adnan Ali al-Kadhimi, stood by his account, reported in Thursday's issue of The Washington Post. Kadhimi said Maliki himself had indicated the same position less directly in public.

"The prime minister himself has said that he is ready to give amnesty to the so-called resistance, provided they have not been involved in killing Iraqis," Kadhimi said Thursday.
So it's okay if they killed our guys? We're fighting for what, exactly?

Nevertheless, for the Republicans in the House and Senate, the Pentagon distributed its seventy-four page "debate prep book" - what to say when people raise awkward questions. Say we cannot cut and run. It works for every question. It seem this is the first time the Pentagon has every prepared a coaching manual for congressmen and congresswomen, and distributed it to only one side. Curious, and somewhat third-world, where the military takes sides with the current strongman, or doesn't.

And this big day of debates was the same day the president signed the new legislation giving him an extra out-of-budget sixty-six billion to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - another "supplemental" that was in no planning anywhere, but is necessary to do things right. What are you going to do? No one could have anticipated... And it was the same day the death toll for this adventure reached a nice round twenty-five hundred of our people. In the daily press briefing the new White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, late of Fox News, said it was just a number, but the president "feels very deeply the pain that the families feel." But it's just a number.

And the talking ran on and on in the House and Senate. Why? Because Republicans in both the Senate and House really to put everyone of both parties on record - for the November elections.

And it was a farce. In the Senate, John Kerry, had a proposal to work with the Iraqi government on a transition plan. Republican Mitch McConnell introduced legislation he said was what Kerry was really proposing, that we get out right now, and that was voted down. Kerry was not amused. Senate Majority Leader Frist got to say that if the United States withdrew too soon, "I am absolutely convinced the terrorists would see this as vindication." And terrorism would spread around the world, and would eventually reach the United States itself. And that was what Kerry really wanted. Kerry said the vote was "fictitious" - but it didn't matter. The item was defeated. So there.

But the real action was in the House -
Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., attacked war critics as defeatists who do not deserve re-election. "Is it al-Qaida or is it America? Let the voters take note of this debate," he said.

In turn, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said: "Democrats will never put American service members in harm's way without a plan, and without support. For that, you need the sit-and-watch complacency of a Republican Congress."

"In this fight for the future of peace, freedom and democracy in the Middle East and around the globe, winning should be our only option," Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., said, sticking to the GOP script.

"Stay and we'll pay," countered Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who criticized "the failed policy of this administration" and lamented the lives lost, billions of dollars spent and the bruised U.S. image since the war started. "It's time to redeploy," he said.
It was nasty, and the Republicans arranged for it all to come to a head with a resolution saying our troops are great, and the Iraq war was really and honestly part of the bigger global war on terrorism, and setting an "arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment" of troops is not in the national interest. The Democrats said the whole thing was a sham - they'd been promised an open discussion but got a ten-hour limit, and no one was allowed to offer any amendments or changes to the resolution. And the rules were changed so no one was allowed to offer any alternative resolutions of any kind. Vote for it or don't.

We pay these guys for this?

Note that Michael Scherer visits with the guy who invented "freedom fries" and asks for his opinion in Resolved: America great! Bin Laden evil! Go Bush!, and finds even that guy is disgusted with it all -
Rep. Walter Jones, the North Carolina Republican who invented the phrase "freedom fries," invited me into his Capitol Hill office Thursday morning, a cluttered space festooned from floor to ceiling with military memorabilia, Pentagon plaques and photographs of soldiers. Then he pulled out an e-mail he had recently received from an Army captain who served in Iraq.

The e-mail quoted another American soldier serving in Iraq, a voice that Jones wanted people to hear. "Tell all those assholes in D.C. to get us the f--- out of here. This is bullshit," Jones said, reading from the e-mail, but choosing not to pronounce the f-word in full. "Either that or tell them to tell Bush to send over the twins. They can bunk with me. That would be useful."
And Jones sits on the Armed Services Committee and represents the district that includes Camp Lejeune. He's ticked off? It seems so. Well, he has been campaigning for a "full and honest" debate on the Iraq thing, and has written letters to Majority Leader John Boehner, asking just a chance for a public vote on a pullout date.

That didn't work -
Of course, none of that has happened. In April, Boehner told his colleagues that he would schedule a floor debate on Iraq, apparently bowing to pressure from Democrats and Republicans such as Jones. But this week, when the debate finally kicked off, Boehner and the Republican leadership pulled a bait and switch. Instead of an Iraq debate, they scheduled a debate on a resolution "declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror." And then, in an election-year trick that is almost as old as the Congress itself, the GOP leadership barred any amendments on the resolution, effectively forcing Democrats to vote on whether or not they want Osama bin Laden to win.

Jones now says he feels duped by his own party's leadership. "Maybe I should have been less trusting, but I felt it would be a debate that would allow us to talk about policy," Jones told me. "I don't see how we would have gotten hurt if we had allowed members of both parties to go down to the floor to offer an amendment." To express his frustration, he appeared Wednesday at a press conference with Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat from Hawaii, who bound his own hands in yellow twine to dramatize the bonds under which members of Congress toil.
Cute, but pointless. Other things were afoot -
It was a move that set a potentially dangerous trap for Democrats less than five months away from the midterm elections. If they vote against the resolution, Democrats will be on record opposing victory in the war on terror. If they vote for the resolution, they will be on record endorsing the president's prosecution of the war on terror. As policy, the resolution is virtually irrelevant - it changes nothing. As politics, however, it's a powder keg, a spectacle ready-made for televised attack ads during this fall's campaign season. "When our freedom is challenged, Americans do not run," thundered House Speaker Dennis Hastert, openly baiting his Democratic colleagues. "Stand up for freedom, adopt this resolution."'
Yeah, whatever.

Scherer's account of what happened -
This sort of tit-for-tat, at a level that would embarrass most high school debating teams, continued throughout the day. Both sides deftly demeaned each other, stopping just short of hurling spitballs, epithets or wagging their tongues. Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha took the lead in providing an unending stream of depressing facts and statistics about the war in Iraq. Electricity and oil production are down, he said, while the number of daily attacks, the monthly price tag and the estimated size of the insurgency were all growing. "This is rhetoric," he announced, after one Republican had given his statement. "Things are not getting better."

Hastert, meanwhile, opted for more R-rated fare in an effort to prove that, in fact, things had improved in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein, Hastert said, "School girls were raped. Iraqi patriots were thrown alive into meat grinders."

For his part, Walter Jones chose to avoid the whole ordeal. "I don't want to give any credibility to what I think is a charade. My two minutes, maybe three, is not going to change anything," he told me in the morning. When called for a vote, he said he planned to vote "present." "It is not an honest debate," he explained. "If it was an honest debate I would vote one way or the other."

Before leaving his office, I asked him what it would take for the House to have a real debate about policy in Iraq. He paused a moment, and then appeared embarrassed by the answer. "I don't want to say this because I'm a Republican," he began. "But if things change, then obviously that could change the rule in the debate."
He's had enough of his own party? So it would seem.

Those in charge do think this will help them with the voters. They think we're all fools. We shall see.

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles Mackay

Knight-Ridder collects some madness in key quotes here -
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.: "We are making progress toward our goal, but the battle is not over. It is a battle we must endure and one in which we can and will be victorious. The alternative would be to cut and run and wait for them to regroup and bring the terror back to our shores."

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.: "What is the definition of sectarian violence? A civil war. All of us want to end this thing; all of us want to find a way to prevail in Iraq. But this is a civil war, and we're caught in a civil war. There's less than 1,000 al-Qaida in Iraq. They've diminished al-Qaida. We're caught in a civil war between 100,000 Shias and 20,000 Sunnis fighting each other."

Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill: "Which, then, is the greatest risk in the face of decades of evidence: to act or not to act. To trust Saddam? Who in this body is willing to assert that it's ever wise, that it's ever moral to risk the destruction of the American people. That is the context in which the decision to intervene in Iraq was taken."

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.: "This is a blunder of historic proportions by this president. And it's very important that we understand that we are paying a huge price for these mistakes by this administration."

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate's assistant Republican leader: "It is not an accident we haven't been attacked again since 9-11. By going on offense ... we have succeeded dramatically in the principal reason for advancing the war on terrorism - and that was to protect us here at home. We've got them on the run in Iraq. Why would any want to suggest that we ought to run, when we've got them on the run?"

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., speaking to the Republican Congress: "You have adopted an approach of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, with abandon. ... The debate today is about whether the American people want to stay the course ... or pursue a real strategy for success in the war on terror."
All of this is truly and deeply irrelevant. The president will do what he will do. This was all to put the Democrats on the defensive for the fall elections, and the time was right, just after the president's Iraq visit and the targeted assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, bring him to "justice," Texas-style. No capture and trial like with Saddam Hussein. None of that sissy stuff.

Of course, at "In the Pink Texas" Eileen Smith notes this is all symbolic hooey, or some such thing - "If the Democrats vote against the resolution, they look like spineless eunuchs. If the Democrats vote for the resolution, they just look dumb. Capitalizing on Bush's Iraqi photo-op, the Republicans feel that it's time to strike. Not to support our troops, but to boost their re-election efforts. Classy."

This fellow here adds - "Here's to hoping the partisan, dishonest, despicable, disingenuous, disrespectful Iraq debate backfires on the GOP." Well see.

And there's this - "What moron came up with the brilliant idea of debating Iraq as a way of helping Republicans in the fall elections? Yeah, Republicans get to stand up before the country and profess their undying admiration for Bush as commander in chief and for how 'great' they think the war is going. Brilliant strategy. If you want a Democratically-controlled House come the fall."

Those in charge do think this will help them with the voters. They think we're all fools. We shall see.

And then there are the sons of Ronald Reagan, Ron the liberal-progressive one, and Michael, who went the other way and says this -
I've been wondering why there is something familiar about the behavior of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, and suddenly it dawned on me that we have our own similar insurgency right here at home - it is called the Democrat Party.

Think about it. Both are operating under the same motivation - an unrequited lust for lost power. And both will do just about anything to retrieve it.

Remember, under Saddam Hussein's long rule, his fellow Sunnis - a distinct minority in a nation with a vast Shiite majority - were the kings of the hill --and incredibly cruel monarchs to boot.

Saddam may have ordered the atrocities, but it was the Sunnis who carried them out, torturing, beheading and otherwise brutalizing the Shia and the Kurds and looting the nation's treasure.

They were very well compensated for their services - and since being ousted by the U.S. invasion and the deposing of their benefactor they have been unable to accept their current powerlessness. They are, as the liberals like to say, "in denial." They just can't live with their loss of authority and act as if they can somehow regain what they lost by mounting an insurgency against the new Iraqi government.

... What it all comes down to is a willingness to tear down their own house if they can't assert absolute ownership of the premises. It's what is known as a "rule or ruin" strategy.

Here in America we have a similar situation - a political party that for years dominated Capitol Hill. They ruled the roost for so long that they began to believe they had some divine right to control the House and Senate.

... Like the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, the Democrats cannot accept their minority status, even though when the GOP took over Newt Gingrich refused to impose the kind of absolute, anti-minority rule his party suffered under the Democrats. They were treated as colleagues, not serfs whose presence was to be barely tolerated. Since then, the Democrats have shown not one whit of gratitude.

Like the Sunni insurgency, the national Democrat Party and its congressional contingent has demonstrated time and again that they will willingly sacrifice the welfare and security of the American people to get their way.

... In the end, all that matters to them is regaining the power the American people took from them in 1994, and, thank God, have kept it out of their hands ever since.
Such is the level of discourse these days. It's a wonder anything gets done. The president's approval ratings may be at record lows, but the approval ratings of congress are even lower. It's not hard to see why. Both houses seem to be run by posturing clowns, engaged in theater of the absurd. And they want our votes?

What gets done seems to get done in the courts, as in this - Thursday, June 15, 2006, the US Supreme Court rules there really is no constitutional requirement for the police to knock and announce their presence before breaking down doors to serve search warrants. Maybe. Previous rulings were wrong. The vote was 5-4 and one of the new guys, Justice Alito, was the one who broke the tie.

It's a little more complicated. The Court ruled that suppression of the results of the no-warning bust-down-the-door search - that's what usually happens when evidence is obtained in violation of the Constitution - is just too extreme when police fail to knock-and-announce. So the police still shouldn't just bust down doors. That's unconstitutional - illegal search and seizure - rules are rules. But if they do bust in with no announcement, whatever evidence they find can't be tossed out. They had a warrant after all. But this gives them little incentive to follow the rules.

Breyer for the minority - "The court destroys the strongest legal incentive to comply with the Constitution's knock-and-announce requirement."

So? They're the police. It's kind of East German, but there you have it.

One defense attorney says this -
Knocking and waiting for a short time for a response avoids needless property damage and saves occupants from the trauma of a sudden and unexpected invasion by armed officers. More importantly, it can save lives. In this case, the police entered the wrong residence, and a frightened occupant, mistaking officers for intruders, killed an officer. If the police had knocked and waited for the occupant to answer, they would have realized their mistake, and that tragic death would have been prevented. Officers were shot under similar circumstances in this case. And in this case, a less aggressive approach may have prevented the shooting of an occupant.
Yeah, well, too bad.

Cato Institute policy analyst Radley Balko notes here - "If you establish that a rule is grounded in the Fourth Amendment, then eleven years later remove the only real way to enforce that rule, you have rendered the rule meaningless."

But to be practical, Princeton law professor Orin Kerr notes this - "As every practicing criminal lawyer knows, when the police have a warrant the evidence is probably coming in even if the defense can find some technical violation along the way." No big deal.

It's not like we're creeping toward a police state or anything. Right? And all while congress does its self-righteous posturing and plays games.

The opinion is here in PDF format if you're interested. It probably matters more than anything that happened on Capitol Hill the same day.

Posted by Alan at 22:42 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006 06:36 PDT home

Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Things Imploding
Topic: NOW WHAT?

Things Imploding

Just a few brief notes, as the day was given over to systems work. Setting up the old stuff on the new computer is getting increasingly Byzantine, or baroque, or whatever adjective you'd like. Tuesday was the eight critical new patches Microsoft released for Windows, and exploring what actually was recovered from the old hard drive and dumped on the new - everything but five years of archived email, and all the addresses and mailing lists. Drat. And today it was setting up the email system again, and a bit of reconstruction - and who knew POP3 and SMTP configurations could be some complex? And that patch to get Outlook to read the old address book in Hotmail was no fun at all. And new hardware arrived, a docking station with all sorts of gizmos - including a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. It just seems wrong they're not connected to anything, and still work. No wires? That can't be right. But the docking station has good speakers, and the FM jazz station streaming live from Paris, TSF, sounds good - even the newscasts and weather reports where they talk so fast, and the silly commercials for this and that. The time differential is a little disconcerting - nine hours - and their midnight set, of Miles Davis and Toots Thielemans and French guys no one here knows, starts at three in the afternoon Hollywood time. Whatever.

The break today was running a few errands and taking a few photos up on Hollywood Boulevard. Those came out nicely, and are very odd - see five of them here.

But the day had its news, of sorts. The president, back from his five hour Baghdad visit, held a press conference and was crowing about it all, proud as punch, as they say. The narrative in the press was that everything was all better, the White House no longer on the defensive, and the left put in its place, and every Democrat holding his or her head in shame at their foolishness in doubting him. And on Rumsfeld's direct orders the press was tossed out of Guantánamo. No one will report from there now.

That last item generated a great deal of comment all over. But that's the world we live in.

Editor & Publisher broke the story here (Wednesday, June 14, 2006) -
In the aftermath of the three suicides at the notorious Guantanamo prison facility in Cuba last Saturday, reporters with the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald were ordered by the office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to leave the island today ... The Pentagon spokesman told E&P that Rumsfeld's office was overruling any of the permissions from military at the base.
See Donald Rumsfeld, July 18, 2005, here -
I have no doubt that free and well-informed people can and will sift through the increasing volumes of information and over time develop a balanced view of our government, our Armed Forces, and our values and principles.
Bill Montgomery, looking at the two, says this - "That must be what he's afraid of."

Enough said.

On the other matter Montgomery adds this -
We can only guess whether Shrub's secret repeat visit to Iraq was dreamed up before the Abu Zarqawi Hour went off the air, as the White House claims, or whether the trip was actually thrown together on the fly in an effort to milk a little more free publicity from the final episode. Either way, the stunt revealed as much about the depleted state of the Cheney administration's bag of propaganda tricks as it did about the gang's determination to keep pouring blood and treasure into the world's largest hole in the desert.

Sending America's titular head of state to Baghdad the first time, to celebrate Thanksgiving with the troops in 2003, was a clever stroke - just the thing to distract the media from the rapidly deteriorating security situation, which only a few weeks before had sent generals and diplomats (including the current president of the World Bank) scurrying for cover in their underwear.

Of course, simply waving a shiny metal object in front of the White House press corps probably would have been just as effective, not to mention a whole lot cheaper for the taxpayers, but you still can't argue with the results: saturation coverage of the world's biggest Thanksgiving turkey - serving dinner to a bunch of grinning GIs.

But that was then and this is now, and while distracting the media is still child's play (literally) the voters have grown quite a bit more jaded after nearly three years of watching flag-wrapped coffins shipped home COD. At this point, sending Bush to do the grip-and-grin with the new Iraqi prime minister and his cabinet isn't exactly must-see TV.
No, it isn't. Montgomery goes on to discuss how the trip was just a holding action, to stop the hemorrhaging on the war front, while the battle to convince everyone the economy is great will be the main Rove strategy for winning everyone's vote in November, even if those who are doing well are the top two percent of the heap. That'll be tricky, with a lot of pointing to averages in the data, not mean values. But most people think that average and mean values are the same thing. Thank goodness Americans do so badly in math, with our students ranked twenty-eighth in the industrialized world, tied with Latvia. Average wages are rising while eighty percent of all workers have seen their actual earnings decrease a few percentage points each year for the last six years. Point to the former. Hope folks don't pay attention to the latter. It might work. Convince people they're just confused, or among the rare and unusual unlucky chumps, and everyone one else is doing just fine.

But there's no more to do about Iraq, as Montgomery explains -
... politically, it comes down to this: Ever since the war began to go south - say, in the late summer or early fall of 2003 - the Cheneyites have relied on a never-ending string of bogus "turning points" to deflect criticism and create the illusion that victory in Iraq (whatever that means) is creeping closer, despite the mounting chaos and death. But with Zarqawi's elimination, the never-ending string has, for all intents and purposes, ended.

There are no more name-brand dictators or terrorists left to catch or kill: Zarqawi's successor is so obscure nobody seems to know who he is or where he came from - it's not even written into the script yet. The elections are over, so there'll be no more purple fingers to wave in front of the cameras. The "permanent" government has been formed; all of its ministers finally named.

The turning points, in other words, have all been turned, and Iraq is still a killing field. Now that the last few macabre headlines have been squeezed out of Zarqwari's autopsy report, democracy boy and his handlers literally have nothing to look forward to - except a long, hot summer of IEDs, ethnic cleansing and more of those flag-wrapped caskets being Federal Expressed to cemeteries around the country.
So that was it? Could be.

The other issue clouding things is, of course, is the four hundred sixty folks we hold at Guantánamo Bay. We hold them there because that is not in America, so their rights are what we say they are, not what any citizen, visa holder or visitor to, say, Cleveland, could claim. So they don't fall under our laws. And we say they don't fall under the Geneva Conventions, as they are not at all prisoners of war, but somehow a new sort of fighter - "enemy combatants." So they're not criminals - you can't try them, exactly, as there's no crime involved - and they're not prisoners of war, so you don't have to treat them as such, allowing communication with the outside world and monitoring by a neutral third party like International Red Cross. You don't even have to list them, and some outside Cuba are off the books, the famous "ghost detainees."

But it's an embarrassment. The UN and even our allies are calling for us to shut down the Cuba prison. Saying there just are no rules will not do. Most American have had no problem with the "there are no rules anymore" concept, but that's shifting. The three suicides didn't help, and may be where there's been a shift in public opinion in this country. A major spokeswoman in the new Karen Hughes "public diplomacy" department did say, on the BBC World Service, that the suicides were just a publicity stunt and good PR (discussed here), the man in charge of the Guantánamo facility said the suicides were an act of war against us - but the administration is backing away from all that. They know better. People are laughing, bitterly, but laughing just the same. That's very bad politically. It's worse than being wrong. When people just laugh you lose by a massive landslide. It's the kiss of death.

How to deal with that? In the Wednesday, June 14, press conference, the president said, again, that he'd really like to shut down Guantánamo. He seems to know the jig is up. But note how he explains why the facility should be closed - because reports of torture and suicide just give people an "excuse" to criticize the United States.

A reaction here -
We don't need an excuse to criticize your administration, Mr. President. You and your helpers provide fresh cause for alarm every week. Banning the press won't shield you or your administration from warranted criticism. Guantanamo has severely damaged the credibility of the United States, and our elected representatives need to hear us object to misdeeds that tarnish our country's reputation.

As much as he'd like to, the president can't close Guantanamo, he says, because he "needs a plan for trying terror suspects if the U.S. Supreme Court rejects his military tribunals." Is the president worried that judicial activists on the Supreme Court might disagree with his assertion that "enemy combatants" have no right to judicial review of their indefinite detentions? He should worry.

You want a plan, Mr. President? You insist the detainees aren't prisoners of war, so the plan is simple: charge them with crimes and give them a criminal trial, or let them go.
Trapped. Hoist by his own petard, as here -
(pi-TAHRD) To be caught in one's own trap: "The swindler cheated himself out of most of his money, and his victims were satisfied to see him hoist by his own petard." A "petard" was an explosive device used in medieval warfare. To be hoisted, or lifted, by a petard literally means to be blown up.
It blew up. Even if the suicides were, as originally claimed, not desperation at all, as we were treating everyone there just fine, but a very clever way to make George Bush look bad and influence the November election and make the House and Senate go Democratic and make Bill Frist and all the others lose their power to influence legislation on tax cuts and such, the damage had been done. It's over.

There are many things to fix in order that the president not spend his last two years dealing with a hostile congress that might actually want some answers. This should be interesting.

Now back to the systems work.

Posted by Alan at 22:48 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006 06:27 PDT home

Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Notes on the Transitory and the Big Stuff
Topic: Breaking News

Notes on the Transitory and the Big Stuff

Tuesday, June 13, 2006, big news, Bush's Brain (as in the book and the movie) won't be charged with anything at all. Karl Rove will not be indicted. Either he didn't do anything wrong in the matter of exposing the CIA secret agent to attack her husband, the ambassador who made the administration and particularly the vice president seem like manipulative liars, or there wasn't enough solid proof to prove it, or something else. Who knows? And then the same day the president pops up in Baghdad for a five-hour visit, surprising everyone, including the new Iraqi prime minister, who thought he was dropping by one of the old Saddam palaces in the Green Zone for a video conference with President Bush in Camp David. And there was George in the flesh. How odd.

As for the Rove matter, it seems Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, had written a letter to Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, informing him that Karl Rove would not be charged with any crime in the whole matter, as noted here -
In a statement, Mr. Luskin said, "On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."

... In his statement Mr. Luskin said he would not address other legal questions surrounding Mr. Fitzgerald's decision. He added, "In deference to the pending case, we will not make any further public statements about the subject matter of the investigation. We believe that the Special Counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct."
Yeah, good luck on that. The well-known defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt has much more here, saying the whole things is over. But Luskin refuses to release the whatever letter he got from Fitzgerald, which is curious, but also categorically denies any deal was cut to get Rove to rat out others, which means, if true, this Rove matter is dead.

The left is disappointed, and the right elated. What else would you expect? As for bitter left reactions, there's the sardonic, like this - "I find it amusing that the biggest story of the day is that a member of the Bush administration is NOT being indicted."

On the Republican right that's a good day.

But the speculation goes on, as it must, as here it's obvious to one person following the matter closely that Vice President Cheney "may" still be indicted as "the architect of this smear." You find the same sort of thing here, a "hope" that there really is some sort of deal involving turning over Cheney, or even Bush, to Fitzgerald. Hope seems silly here. One can hope for lots of things. Hope is cheap - actually free. And worthless. There seems to be no deal.

Jane Hamsher, who has been following this whole Rove business in excruciating detail - only really mad political junkies follow it all - falls back on her now vast pool of information and background fact and gives us this -
It's become ever more apparent as time goes on and Fitzgerald releases bits of information in his filings that this was a Dick Cheney operation. Rove may have gotten involved because smearing people is his idea of a good time, but the Cheney scrawlings on Joe Wilson's op-ed are the "blue dress" of this case. Look at Conrad Black. Look at George Ryan. I'm sorry, but Fitzgerald had Rove dead to rights if he wanted him, and anyone who thinks he got nothing for something has been following the story of a different prosecutor than I have been.
Well, Hamsher has studied Fitzgerald and how he works, in detail, and she may be onto something.

But maybe it is time to let it go. Posted on Flag Day, June 14, Walter Shapiro, argues the Democrats and the left might be looking a gift horse in the mouth, or something like that. As he notes here -
Fitzgerald, by not indicting Rove, may have saved the Democrats from getting too caught up in the politics of vengeance. There was always an analogy to Madame Defarge sitting by the guillotine knitting in the way that Bush haters reveled in every unreliable rumor about a Rove indictment.

Vendettas may be emotionally satisfying, but they rarely provide a formula for winning elections. In fact, the best way to get back at Rove is not through criminal prosecution but by forcing him to read an Election Night speech conceding that the Democrats have won back Congress.
Yeah, saved by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald from looking like foaming-at-the-mouth Bush-haters. It's a gift. But the hope is thin. The election will be close, the electronic voting machines everywhere easily hacked and closed to any kind of auditing at all, and the districts well gerrymandered. We'll see.

As for that trip to Baghdad, the CNN account is here, and an interesting assessment from Glenn Greenwald here -
George Bush paid a surprise visit this morning to Iraq and, according to the immediately solidified media consensus, this is but the latest step in the heroic political comeback of George W. Bush, and yet another sign that things are "turning around" in the war. It is always so striking how heavily this administration relies upon political theater, and how eagerly and giddily the national media consumes it. In just the first few minutes of coverage, scores of reporters pranced across the television set struggling to contain their excited admiration for the President's audacious survey of his conquered land.

No matter how many times one flips through news channels this morning, one hears the same thing. The new Iraqi government has been formed. We killed Zarqawi. Bush has a "new team" in place. Karl Rove has been "cleared" in the Plame matter. Polls after Zarqawi's death show an "uptick" in support for the war. And now the President plans a secret mission to visit Iraq in order to meet with the new Prime Minister. Happy days are here again.

The media is desperate to find "big stories" every day. As a result, events which are so plainly inconsequential from a perspective which spans more than the last ten minutes of world events - such as Bush's stunt this morning in secretly materializing in Baghdad - are endlessly seized upon as evidence of some grand world change. The president's approval rating has been humiliating low and collapsing for almost a full year now, but one new poll shows a two-point increase to still-embarrassing levels of unpopularity, and - presto! - the President is recovering and is becoming popular again. Every event is reported and analyzed based exclusively on what has happened in the last five seconds, with the events of the prior week, or month, or year, all but ignored.
That about sums it up, except two of the polls, CBS and Rasmussen, actually show no bounce.

But on Flag Day, June 14, the Wall Street Journal is on the good news bandwagon here, but cautiously.

Greenwald is just bitter, noting the fundamental, "deeply entrenched problems with our war effort" that even the conservative were admitting before this Baghdad jaunt -
But to the media, a photo op here, a cosmetic personnel change there, and the death of a single terrorist - and all of those problems magically vanish. In two short weeks filled with melodramatic, exaggerated media events, both the Iraq war and the president's deep political problems have fundamentally improved. Big news! The President has turned all of this around. He is now bold and successful again. And his oh-so-brave flight to Iraq symbolizes how strong and successful he is. How long before we hear from Brit Hume or Candy Crowley about some apocryphal anecdote about the covert Air Force One flight or the folksy but audacious comment made by the Commander-in-Chief when he came up with this idea and insisted that he go despite the urgent pleas from his aides that it wasn't safe enough?

The realities are ignored in favor of the breathless media events. The fact that Iraq is such a dangerous and anarchic place - a full three years after our invasion - that the President still can't visit except by unannounced theater demonstrates how disastrous the situation is there, not how successful our occupation is.

... Iraqi death squads? Iranian control of internal Iraqi affairs? Abu Ghraib and Haidatha and the invasion itself causing Middle Eastern Muslims to think even worse of the U.S.? The destruction of U.S. credibility? All of that was interesting for awhile, but now, none of it matters, because the President staged one of those exciting movie events again, Karl Rove isn't going to prison, and the USA Today poll shows a two-point increase in the President's approval rating after he bagged a bad guy. We are seeing a new and emboldened president and a new and successful war. The pictures have been so dramatic and this is all so very, very exciting indeed.
Well, that's the way things work. Maybe this will turn out better thah the "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier thing. While in Baghdad that same day thirty-six more died in car bombings, eighteen at one time up north in Kirkuk, the others here and there.

And this photo (Pablo Martinez Monsivais for AP), just about sums it all up, with the caption - "White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, left, and White House Counselor Dan Bartlett, ride in a military helicopter wearing helmets and flak jackets for a trip from Baghdad International Airport to U.S. Embassy in the Greenzone Tuesday, June 13, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq." They look grim and scared shitless, and the AP guy will now be shunned by the White House. But Pablo Martinez Monsivais had fun.

And all over the place there was this -
People in European and Muslim countries see US policy in Iraq as a bigger threat to world peace than Iran's nuclear programme [sic], a survey has shown.

The survey by the Pew Research Group also found support for US President George W Bush and his "war on terror" had dropped dramatically worldwide.

Goodwill created by US aid for nations hit by the 2004 tsunami had also faded since last year, the survey found.

The survey questioned 17,000 people in 15 countries, including the US.

The latest in a series of annual polls by the Pew Global Attitudes Project interviewed respondents between 31 March and 14 May 2006.
You can see some of the results in a table here. It's not pretty. But then we don't want to be liked, or admired, or respected - we just want to be feared, and right about everything. In every Muslim in the Muddle East is there really an American inside trying to get free? We'll see about that.

In short, the transitory events of one day are overwhelmed by the big stuff.

And the Republicans running for office in November are avoiding having the president come speak for them - his wife, Laura, would, they say, be better - and more and more of the commentators and cheerleaders in the media are bailing out on the whole enterprise (as here), with many saying with all the spending and social programs like Medicare Part D he's not really a conservative, leading to analyses like this from Jonathan Chait in The New Republic - Binge and Purge - The Right Expels Bush (subscription only). This is not about teenage girls and their eating disorders, but about the political problem -
In "The Man Who Would Be King," the late-nineteenth-century Rudyard Kipling story later turned into a movie, an English adventurer named Daniel Dravot becomes the regent of Kafiristan, a remote mountainous region north of India. Dravot leads the Kafiri people to a string of battlefield victories, and they receive him as a God, the son of Alexander the Great, and turn their treasure over to him. But then they see him bleed, and - discovering he is mortal after all - turn on him with unbridled rage. Mobs of tribesmen denounce him as a fraud, chase him out of the temple, and ultimately send him plummeting to his doom.
You remember that - Sean Connery and Michael Caine - but it may be apt here. Something is up.

Josh Marshall says here that something may be really big -
With all the efforts now to disassociate President Bush from conservatism, I am starting to believe that conservatism itself - not the political machine, mind you, but the ideology - is heading toward that misty land-over-the-ocean where ideologies go after they've shuffled off this mortal coil. Sort of like the way post-Stalinist lefties used to say, "You can't say Communism's failed. It's just never really been tried."

But as it was with Communism, so with conservatism. When all the people who call themselves conservatives get together and run the government, they're on the line for it. Conservative president. Conservative House. Conservative Senate.

What we appear to be in for now is the emergence of this phantom conservatism existing out in the ether, wholly cut loose from any connection to the actual people who are universally identified as the conservatives and who claim the label for themselves.

We can even go a bit beyond this though. The big claim now is that President Bush isn't a conservative because he hasn't shrunk the size of government and he's a reckless deficit spender.

But let's be honest: Balanced budgets and shrinking the size of government hasn't been part of conservatism - or to be more precise, Movement Conservatism - for going on thirty years. The conservative movement and the Republican Party are the movement and party of deficit spending. And neither has any claim to any real association with limited or small government. Just isn't borne out by any factual record or political agenda. Not in the Reagan presidency, the Bush presidency or the second Bush presidency. The intervening period of fiscal restraint comes under Clinton.

Take the movement on its own terms and even be generous about it. What's it about? And has it delivered?

Aggressive defense policy? Check.

Privatization of government services? Check.

Regulatory regimes favoring big business? Check.

Government support for traditional mores and values on sex and marriage? Check.

That about covers it. And Bush has delivered. The results just aren't good.
Yep, it doesn't work. But then, it's what we have, a fake conservative government concerned with appearing "muscular" (preemptive wars of choice defying the world), with making the rich richer and businesses free to do what they want, and obsessed with sex (no abortions as that's no woman's own decision, and make the gay folks just go away) and with death (the federal government should make sure the brain dead have their bodies kept functioning for as long as possible), and obsessed with a specific vision of a vengeful God as part of the government itself, keeping people in line - and a ruined economy with low wages and dead-end jobs for all. Huh?

Change coming? Had enough?

Samuel Johnson famously said, long ago, that for a man to marry a second time represents the triumph of hope over experience. But it's not just that second marriage. People are forever thinking the next time they'll get it right, or we'll all get it right, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, what Johnson called "experience." And we have these elections coming up.

Change? Hope is cheap - actually free. And worthless.

Posted by Alan at 22:14 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006 06:42 PDT home

Monday, 12 June 2006
Kafkaesque, in a Good Way

Kafkaesque, in a Good Way

Wheels are turning. The Just Above Sunset computer was just declared real dead, and the shop has just transferred the recoverable files from the carcass of that system to a new external hard drive to plug into the laptop, which now becomes the new Just Above Sunset server. Let's hope it's up to the task. Now it's getting things set up and settled down. This will take some time. Much must be reinstalled or reconfigured. Much will have to be reconstructed. This will take some time.

And while that work goes on, the far wider world, as far as any reasonable person can tell, has gone mad. This is not the usual madness, where you shrug and grin sardonically at the foolishness of those who run things, or think they run things. One expects much of life to be absurd, often in a deadly way, and the only reasonable response is a certain cynicism and determination to do one's best to do one's best, and fix what one can fix in one's own small sphere. But it's almost as if these guys in charge of things are actually trying to test us all. How much utter nonsense will we accept, nodding in reluctant agreement - this must be done, that must be done? They say some things are so, and those things just doesn't seem so, but the majority put them in their positions of power, so you attend to what's in the press and other media, and they aren't laughing scornfully, so what are you going to do? Black is white, up is down, and everyone has his or her own private troubles, so what does it matter?

Too abstract and generalized?

In lieu of more specific commentary this date, here's a bit of what other have been saying about the business down Guantánamo way.

Andrew Sullivan here -
Every time I have tried to write something about the cancer and shame of Guantanamo, and the thought that the United States has strapped dozens of randomly captured individuals in metal restraints in order to force-feed them, I find myself so flummoxed that I give up. It has come to this? Remember: scores of these inmates have almost no evidence against them or have been detained on evidence tainted by torture, and have no way out of an insane system. Remember also: it is perfectly obvious that whatever interrogation techniques we may have used against these people, we have completely failed to get their cooperation to an almost farcical degree. And when some then commit suicide, which is one rational response to the situation, a U.S. general describes their deaths as a form of "asymmetrical warfare?" Again, it is hard to know what to say. These defenseless suicidal inmates are a threat to the U.S. military? Some things are so absurd that they can only be addressed in fiction or satire or silence.

And then you try and use logic that might appeal to a caricature like Rumsfeld and you find yourself thinking: Since whatever intelligence we have procured from these prisoners must now be either moot or exhausted, since they will never be released, and since almost none have had or will have access to anything resembling a fair trial, isn't allowing them to commit suicide the first rational policy we have entertained yet? These prisoners cannot be a threat dead. They are no use alive any more. They clearly prefer paradise to the eternal Cuban limbo they are now enduring. So why keep them on earth? When they're all dead, you can shut the place down, whatever the Supreme Court says. Win-win, no?
And Sullivan points to someone using the pseudonym of "Jon Swift" saying, among other things, this, in "Guantánamo: Kafkaesque, in a Good Way" -
This week three prisoners at the Guantanamo prison camp committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells using bed sheets. "They have no regard for life, either ours or their own," said the commander of the base, Rear Admiral Harry Harris about men who killed themselves. It's easy to understand the frustration of Admiral Harris, who has cared for these prisoners for years only to be repaid with this kind of planned and coordinated attack. Indeed, American guards have already saved 23 inmates from 41 suicide attempts and force fed hundreds of inmates who have gone on hunger strikes while these terrorists continue to wage homicidal campaigns against themselves. One of the men was even set to be released, although no one had gotten around to telling him yet. If there is a better illustration of the different values our two cultures place on life, I don't know what is.

Critics claim that the inmates are in a state of despair and have a sense of hopelessness because officials continue to resist efforts to charge the prisoners and give them trials or release them. Already, nearly half of these dangerous men (and several children) have been released after spending years at the camp, meaning that the 460 who are left must really be bad. Many of these men have not been released for humanitarian reasons because of a very sincere concern that they will be tortured or killed if they are repatriated to governments that are not quite as civilized as our own. Senator Arlen Specter has accused the Bush Administration of "stonewalling" him on the fate of these prisoners and claims that the charges against them are based on "the flimsiest sort of hearsay." He has vowed to fight what he perceives to be this injustice by scheduling hearings that will be postponed indefinitely and writing very frank letters. Unfortunately, these men and their lawyers are not permitted to see the evidence against them because it is Top Secret, which has led Amnesty International to call the Guantanamo prison camp "Kafkaesque." But I think Guantanamo is Kafkaesque in a good way. By not forcing the detainees to contend with the stress of due process, they are being spared the negative outcome of a trial, since it would almost certainly end in a guilty verdict, although they seem to want to carry out the inevitable sentence prematurely.

Although the media has generally been good about not giving these detainees undeserved attention, the failure to prevent this incident, which brings the prison's survival rate from 100% down to a still commendable 99%, has regrettably played right into the terrorists' hands. State Department spokesperson Colleen Graffey called these suicides "a good PR move" and "a publicity stunt," by which I think she means these detainees are sort of like David Blaine, although more successful ultimately in achieving the intended outcome.

Admiral Harris contends ominously that the suicides are in fact an act of war against the United States. "I believe this was not an act of desperation, but rather an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us," Harris said. Asymmetrical warfare is a tactic used by a weaker enemy to surprise and disorient his opponent. In order to restore symmetry to the battle, our side will have to engage in increasingly self-destructive tactics of our own and abandon certain principles and ethical values that hold us back and hand our opponents weak points they can exploit to strike back at us, a strategy we are already using with some success in Iraq.

Coincidentally, Harris predicted that someone would die at Guantanamo in an interview last month and speculated on the aftermath. "We're going to be subjected to a lot of questions, and rightfully so. Legitimate questions. Why did this person die? Did you have something to do with it? Was it of natural causes? And I believe, if it is of natural causes, we're still going to be criticized," Harris said. Unfortunately, these kinds of attacks by the press and other members of the left on U.S. credibility will just turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy as Peter Ingemi explained: "The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say 'we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep.' At that point the left can celebrate that they have made our military and those who support it the people they claim we are. Once that happens however any compunction about respecting them will be gone, and remember one side is armed and one is not." In other words, the more the press delves into stories like Haditha, Abu Ghraib and the conditions at Guantanamo, the more likely it is that regrettable incidents will occur. If people are just going to believe the worst mo matter what we do, why should we bother to behave honorably? On the bright side, this will free up our side from certain restraints that limit our ability to fight back.

It seems that any effort we make to appease critics of Guantanamo have only backfired anyway. Some of the men who were released have begun to wage a PR campaign against the United States, another insidious kind of asymmetric warfare. One of the men we released is now claiming that he was tortured at the prison, which, of course, the Bush Administration has repeatedly said in no uncertain terms that we don't do, although if we wanted to torture, we wouldn't be subject to the laws of the Geneva Convention (a treaty some other administration signed anyway) because these detainees aren't lawful combatants, so theoretically we could if we wanted to, but we don't because it is against our principles except in certain circumstances. In the end, however, we may discover that the only way to save the principles make our country great will be to sacrifice them.
Absurd, no? This Swift, not the one from the eighteenth century, says this about himself - "I am a reasonable conservative who likes to write about politics and culture. Since the media is biased I get all my news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues."

It is madness. There was always a touch of the surreal in decisions of the administration, and a certain amount of dreamlike absurdity in the explanations of those decisions - Kafka meets Tom Stoppard, with a touch of the most sardonic of the French existentialists of the early fifties. This is beyond that. Out here in Hollywood this is called "jumping the shark" - and this a major case of that. We are victims here, of three guys who hanged themselves? Right.

And the guys in charge want us to take them seriously? For some, hearing all this must be like waking up inside the Dali painting, with all the clocks melting and the nightmare seascape. How'd we get here?

Minor note - see this from Daniel Engber -
Are Muslims allowed to kill themselves?

No. There's a clear prohibition on suicide in the collected sayings of the Prophet, known as the hadith. In particular, anyone who kills himself must spend an eternity repeating the act in the afterlife: "He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell Fire (forever) and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell Fire."

You won't find as clear a statement in the Quran. This passage provides the closest thing to a ban: "Do not consume your wealth in the wrong way - rather through trade mutually agreed to, and do not kill yourselves." But the word for "yourselves" could just as well be translated as "each other" - which would make this a ban on homicide, not suicide.

Muslim scholars throughout history have noted this ambiguity but have tended to support the prohibition nonetheless. Eight hundred years ago, Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi acknowledged that the passage could be interpreted either way but argued that it's better to assume that it's about suicide.

The long-standing prohibition - which had become entrenched by the ninth century - may have something to do with the low suicide rates in Muslim countries. On the other hand, not all suicides get reported as such. In some cases a family will deny that a suicide has occurred, or they'll keep the cause of death to themselves. Entire communities sometimes join in the denial.

? What about suicide bombers? There's no general agreement about how to distinguish between suicide (intihâr) and martyrdom (istisyhâd). Some argue that you're not committing a sin if you're trying to kill the enemies of God. It's only suicide if you're taking your life for your own benefit.
Oh. That's clear. Both sides are mad as hatters.

And who's in charge?

In the National Review (major conservative journal) John Derbyshire breaks ranks with his kill-them-all war buddies here -
We are not controlling events in Iraq. Events in Iraq are controlling us. We are the puppet; the street gangs of Baghdad and Basra are the puppet-masters, aided and abetted by an unsavory assortment of confidence men, bazaar traders, scheming clerics, ethnic front men, and Iranian agents. With all our wealth and power and idealism, we have submitted to become the plaything of a rabble, and a Middle Eastern rabble at that. Instead of rubbling, we have ourselves been rabbled. The lazy-minded evangelico-romanticism of George W. Bush, the bureaucratic will to power of Donald Rumsfeld, the avuncular condescension of Dick Cheney, and the reflexive military deference of Colin Powell combined to get us into a situation we never wanted to be in, a situation no self-respecting nation ought to be in, a situation we don't know how to get out of.
Ah, no one is in charge, and there's no way out. Absurd, and just like the play, No Exit -
The play begins with a valet leading a man named Garcin into a room that the audience soon realizes is in hell (many people believe that hell is portrayed as a gigantic hotel because of the "rooms and passages" mentioned in the play). The room has no windows, no mirrors, and only one door. Eventually Garcin is joined by a woman (Inès), and then another (Estelle). After their entry, the valet leaves and the door is shut and locked. All expect to be tortured, but no torturer arrives. Instead, they realize they are there to torture each other, which they do effectively, by probing each other's sins, desires, and unpleasant memories. At first, the three see events concerning them that are happening on earth, though they can only observe and listen, but eventually (as their connection to Earth dwindles and the living move on) they are left with only their own thoughts and the company of the other two. Near the end of the play, Garcin demands he be let out; at his words the door flies open, but he and the others refuse to leave.
Sartre, 1944 - just stuff on stage. Now in 2006 it makes perfect sense. We're here.

Posted by Alan at 21:51 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006 17:13 PDT home

Sunday, 11 June 2006
Hot of the Virtual Press
Topic: Announcements

Hot of the Virtual Press

The new issue of Just Above Sunset, the weekly magazine-format site that is parent to this daily web log, is now online. This is Volume 4, Number 23/24 - for the week of June 11, 2006.Click here to go there...

This week is a double issue. The computer used to build and maintain the site failed on May 31 and there was no issue last Sunday. That's still in the shop and this issue was built on a laptop purchased to fill the gap.

This week, there are seven extended commentaries on current events, an amazing photo essay from Ric Erickson, Our Man in Paris, and a photo essay from Our Man in Tel-Aviv - Sylvain Ubersfeld. And there are three photo pages on the Hollywood often missed, and seven pages of special Southern California shots, some quite amazing.

And more of the weird from our friend in Texas, and new quotes.

Direct links to specific pages...

Extended Observations on Current Events __________________

Changing the Subject
The Great Divide
The Dog That Didn't Bark
A Good Death Assessed
Assessments: Looking at Death at the End of the Week
Late News: Things Turn Sour

The International Desk __________________

Our Man in Paris: The Sundown Show
Our Man in Tel-Aviv: Moving South, Changing Culture

Hollywood Matters __________________

Architecture: Architectural Detail and Hollywood History
Oddities: Fooling the Eye in Hollywood
Landmarks: Things Not To Do In Los Angeles

Southern California Photography __________________

Trains: Mediations on the Past, in Color
Not Hollywood: Encinitas on a Quiet Afternoon
Long Light
Treacherous Unbrightness
Lens Work: New Eye on Hollywood
Botanicals: Details, details, details...
Odd Shot: The Pause That Refreshes

Quotes for the week of May 28, 2006 - Pertaining to Current Events

Posted by Alan at 17:57 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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