Sunday, February 24, 2008


Saudis arrested for flirting with women
Saudi Arabia Investigates Men Arrested After Allegedly Flirting With Women in Public

Staff; AP News Feb 23, 2008 17:00 EST

Saudi Arabia began interrogating 57 men Saturday who were arrested after allegedly flirting with women in front of a shopping mall in the holy city of Mecca, a local newspaper reported.
I'd call this flirting, but then, what do I know...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

Sponge Bob Crab (whatever that is)

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Last week there was a power outage in my town. Everything ground to a halt. For about 3 minutes. We really felt inconvienced. For crying out loud, the computers were down!

But then there is this:
IRAQ: The Lights Have Gone Out, Who Cares
16th February 2008, 09:20 am

BAQUBA, Feb 15 (IPS) - Lack of electricity in Baquba has shattered businesses, and the lives of families. Months of power failures has darkened morale everywhere.
And this:
Half of Baghdad without water
15th February 2008, 09:05 pm

Power failures and maintenance have disrupted running water supplies to almost half of the capital, Baghdad, home to nearly 6 million people.
Clearly "The Surge is Working" depends on what your definition of "working" is.

For the effect on the people of another occuptaion, go to here. If you do read this, swear that a shiver didn't go up your spine.

Friday Crab Blogging (on Saturday)

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have been woefully negligent in replying to pithy comments in the Growlery and from Mr. Putnam.

The first set of posts concerns waning American hegemony:
It starts with Jim Putnam's comments: Thoughts From "Goodbye To Hegemony"

Followed by the Growlery: End of Empires

Based on the primary article which is by Parag Khanna and was published in the New York Times, 27 January, 2008. Its title is “Waving Goodbye to Hegemony”

I am really impressed by the dialog between the Growlery, in England, and Jim Putnam just south of where I live, about this Gotterdammerung of America. It is uncanny to me how America in her spiral towards obscurity seeks to parlay our plight off as that War between the Gods. It is Us against the ‘turrists,’ putting way too high a value on both. (Please remember that the original terrorists probably numbered less than 1,000 and the Twin Towers death toll, as sad as it was, was less than 3,000.)

Apparently the original Gotterdammerung story is from the Norse legend of Ragnarok. Here the gods do battle with one another (it is Odin versus the Giants; wait a minute, wasn’t that just the Super Bowl?) and it is foreordained who will kill who (how does a god get killed?) and who will be covered with honor. It is all sort of Calvinistic, and, of course smacking of that old time Religion that makes Huckabee warriors clutch their pearls. It involves all sorts of things that Bush touts but doesn't have, like bravery and honor. Gosh!

Let me summarize: America is in decline. We are about to go into an awfully deep recession and many of the people I know are living paycheck to paycheck. Much of what Khanna predicts will happen in the next ten years.

Khanna has quite a bit to say about the underpinnings of this descent from power. He certainly makes a cogent argument and I guess as an American I should be anxious to try and alter what he sees as inevitable. Ironically, we still believe we are gods and involved in the gigantic clash of the universe. But this descent into Hel (yes the Norse had a hell, but I don’t think Dante would approve) will probably pass unnoticed by History with a Capitol H. We'll keep descending until such time as the average American can’t buy a tricycle let alone an SUV.

What is interesting is how brief our little Camelot was. When I lived in Ireland and travelled in Europe and beyond (1970-72), most people were pretty tolerant of “Yanks.” I do admit that I would claim to be an Australian in the outback of Anatolia. Even then, or especially then, America was pushing its exceptionalism. That was only 25 years since WWII and I guess there was a certain feeling of gratitude to America, though one can be cynical about that. Be that as it may, I certainly felt proud of being a “Yank” even though I was raised in the South. I can guarantee you I do not feel that way now.

Unfortunately, there is one, tiny, little fly in the ointment. Or flies in the ointment. They are called nuclear weapons, and W is itching to use them. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

It takes all kinds.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I must confess to being totally exhausted with the primary season. It has already gone on for almost a year and we have ten months left. I will admit that I was an Edwards supporter and am sorry to see him end his campaign. I truly hope that Clinton and/or Obama can not shoot themselves in the foot because I think a McCain presidency would quickly doom our country, if it isn't so doomed at this point.

I think I will go back to commenting on some of the things that The Growlery and Jim Putnmam have been discussing, including the last (and first) books by Jack McDevitt. Am also reading Iris Murdoch, Gibson's new one, another Trollope, and whatever.

Short but sweet will be the new format.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Talking Points Memo Muckraker has links to testimony by both Michael McConnell (Director of National Intelligence) and Gen. Michael Hayden (Director of CIA) which confirms what all of us have known for a long time:

The United States of America has used torture on prisoners.

While most people will say, ho hum, no big deal, I contend that this, coupled with our abetting the murder of over a million civilians in Iraq, will be two issues that will never go away. Two issues that have permanently scarred the Escutcheon of our Nation.

Update 02/06:
Today we have:
White House defends interrogation method
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday defended the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, saying it is legal — not torture as critics argue — and has saved American lives.

President Bush could authorize waterboarding for future terrorism suspects if certain criteria are met, a spokesman said.
Since when does the White House decide what is legal? How about the Supreme Court.