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Copyright © 2005 Frank Lynch.

 

 

Me: Frank Lynch

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These are my mundane daily ramblings.
For something less spontaneous, I maintain The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page (over 1,800 Johnson quotes), with a weekly essay springing from one of Johnson's quotations.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005:

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that there's gambling going on... Poland is launching an investigation into whether the CIA has, in fact, been using its territory for secret prisons and jails. Forgive me, but what a charade: think about this — Bush has been desperate to hold together his vaunted "Coalition of the Willing" in Iraq; and in the 2004 debates, he chastised Kerry for failing to list Poland among the participants. And every time a country threatens to take its transistor radios and Erector Sets out of Iraq, the White House pulls out all the stops to keep them in, just for the show. Does Poland really think it can act as if the CIA was operating without its knowledge? Does anyone really think the CIA would have done so without the appropriate parties being in the know? GMAFB.
Link | | | 6:52 PM | Home


Calling the Red Cross, but only when it's convenient. Reuters tells us that a Belgian critic of the U.S.'s Guantanamo facility will be allowed to see it, but won't be allowed to see any of the detainees; that's the role of the Red Cross, Uncle Sam says. Glad we see the value of the Red Cross, and glad the Red Cross is petitioning for access to detainees in our secret jails around the world. (Don't forget Poland! He forgot Poland!) But apparently Uncle Sam has d ecided otherwise: as terrorists, they're not entitled to rights under the Geneva Convention, says a spokesperson.

Mr. Ereli said that the Geneva Conventions requiring humane treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to certain terrorism suspects seized as "unlawful enemy combatants," but that, in any case, the United States treats most of them as prisoners of war.

So to repeat a frequently asked question, if we're really fighting a war against terrorism, and these prisoners are terorrists, doesn't that make them prisoners of war? Or are we not fighting a war against terror? Mr. President? Can you elucidate, clearly and succinctly, in a sentence which a 6th grader could diagram?
Link | | | 8:07 AM | Home
 

Friday, December 9, 2005:

Me, Pierre! Cook for me, Pierre! I subscribe to the New York Times' premium "Times Select" service, and I think it's amazing how many people associate it solely with online access to op-ed columnists. Truth be told, practically unlimited access to the archives is great... Tonight a bunch of us were laughing over a food section article from 1987 where chef Pierre Franey and a Times writer would approach people in supermarkets with this challenge for Franey in mind: he had to cook dinner for them based on what was in their cart and whatever he might find in their pantry at the time.

Here's a bit (I'm presuming the link won't work!):

Mr. Evenson, who said he shops every day for what he will eat that night, had planned a dinner of raw carrots, apple juice and corn chips, followed by pasta in a butter, oil and mustard sauce. "There's lots of things for you to play with," he said.

Well, not exactly. The cupboard yielded tomato paste. Less inspiring was an ancient head of garlic. As Mr. Franey put it, "This garlic is a little . . ." He turned the cloves to dust with a squeeze. Back to the cupboards he went, this time finding garlic powder.

"It's against my religion," he said, but we all agreed the situation was desperate.

Ya gotta admit, the idea of Pierre Franey foraging in your kitchen is a pretty fantasy. Taking out your Kellogg's corn chips and mashing them to bread a can of tuna for instance. Think about it: Pick me, Pierre! I have Tabasco Sauce!!
Link | | | 12:31 AM | Home
 

Thursday, December 8, 2005:

Torture works! It helps fuel the fires of war, and makes "Big Time" Dick Cheney feel good about signing onto the principles of the Project for a New American Century, which called for regime change using less than peaceful means. Go Dick! Yay! Blood's on your hands, bub. Rot in hell.
Link | | | 11:26 PM | Home


A very simple Lennon tribute. We all know by now that this is the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder. Most tributes I've seen have been lengthy affairs: long quotations of lyrics, collections of others' appreciations and such. Tonight I passed by a bulletin board in my kid's school that really hit me hard in its simplicity. The board must have been something like six feet wide and four feet tall; the background was completely red, made up of stapled pieces of construction paper. Off in one corner (but not all the way in the corner, maybe 5 inches from each border?) there was a white black and white photo of Lennon from the late 70's, John flashing a peace sign; underneath someone had written just "Thank you, John" and the years 1940-1980.

It was as if, "what more to say?" And it said so much - - if I hadn't had the immediate memory of our daughter's play so firmly in my head I would have wept.
Link | | | 11:15 PM | Home


Sometimes it helps to remember the differences in British English. It's not just the use of the letter 'u' in words like 'colour' or the interesting way they say that Charlie Parker was a saxophonist. But when I read this article, I really had forgotten, and imagined something like crash test dummies used to reduce crib deaths. But then I remembered.
Link | | | 10:58 PM | Home


Condoleezza Rice's European song and dance. I guess we should accentuate the positive: she's much more willing to venture onto foreign soil than Our Fearless Leader is, and not only that, they don't riot when she's there. So it's a win-win: we get to show our face, and the locals don't have their cars and shop windows destroyed in her wake. Still, I can't help but recall a cover from The New Republic sometime in the period 1989 to 1992: it had a map of the world, and there were countries like the Middle East, and the color key labeled them as "doo-doo;" countries like China and Korea, color-keyed as "deep doo-doo;" and others (can't remember) color-keyed as "really deep doo-doo." Finally, there was Australia and the UK, color-keyed as "Safe for Quayle Travel." We really can be thankful that Rice ventures out more than Bush; and there's no doubt that her recent expressions against torture constitute a (welcome) firmer stance than anything "Big Time" Dick Cheney or OFL have ventured to express. Perhaps we have McCain to thank for this; maybe even Rove, who might just have finally noticed that Bush's approval ratings have sucked?

I hope to have more to say on these and other things tonight, later. Rest assured, I am no longer on the West Coast, but I landed back into a week of evening time demands (tonight our daughter is in the school play, tomorrow night it's a company Christmas party...). I do hope to be baaack.
Link | | | 7:12 PM | Home
 

Saturday, December 3, 2005:

Hiatus warning. Going on a business trip for a few days starting tomorrow morning, so you probably won't see anything new here until Wednesday. Maybe Tuesday night if I bring along my camera and have enough energy to post a photo on my return. This means no more words, no more pics until then (unless I have something to say later tonight). As I've said before on these occasions, you can be sure you won't miss my return by setting up an account at bloglines.com (it's free...) and then adding my feed to your list of feeds. (Feeds are cool: bloglines will check to see if your blogs have new posts so you spend less time clicking.)
Link | | | 7:33 PM | Home


Is "Alito" Italian for "Souter"? Remember how in your grade school classes they taught that you can learn about a character in fiction not only by what they do but by how others react to them? (I think there were other ways, too — what the narrator says, what the character thinks...) Keep that idea about how others react in mind for a moment. Doubtless you've noticed that Alito has continued to distance himself from anti-Roe positions he expressed in the 1980's. How has the "Right" responded? Pretty silently, if you ask me... (Have I been missing some? I tried a search at technorati, but didn't find anything.) You would think that if Alito really didn't intend to act on his 1980's opinions on abortion, that the Right would feel as if they'd been sold a bill of goods, wouldn't you? Again, assuming I'm right that the they've been silent, this means that the Right thinks he's anything but a Souter; meaning, of course, that Alito isn't being square and the Right has information we don't have. The Silence is damns his Confirmation Conversion, if you ask me.
Link | | | 11:57 AM | Home


Jeff Jarvis memories... OK, so the Pentagon has admitted to planting news items in Iraqi papers, but does that mean the terrorists have won? I don't think so: it's perfectly in line with other PR efforts the U.S. government has foisted on its own citizens, so why should we think that Iraqi citizens deserve better treatment? If the terrorists have won, they won a long time ago! Rather, I think it means that Eric Alterman has won, at least in respect to an argument he had with Jeff Jarvis on MSNBC back in January. Alterman speculated that the pro-American Iraqi bloggers which have been embraced by many on the right might have been planted by the CIA. Here's Jarvis's account; I think this is Alterman's, but I can't verify it: for some reason my browser or Internet connection is acting up (although the kid has hers, and we're on the same network). (Here's a link to Google searches on the topic, for good measure.)

Jarvis's irascibility on the issue is the really puzzling point to me: given how often the U.S. government has lied to its citizens over major foreign policy issues (the Gulf of Tonkin, Yalta accords over Poland... and some country in the Middle East), and given that the government hired a PR exec to "improve" our image in the U.S. Middle East, is it so unhealthy to wonder whether or not we know all the boundaries which the government has decided not to cross? Jarvis thought so; Alterman was merely speculating, it wasn't exactly a Joe McCarthy moment, and all Jarvis had to do was admit the possibility without accepting it as reality.

In any event, whether or not Alterman was right about specific bloggers, his basic idea was correct: we don't know the limits of what our government is doing, and we should all be skeptical. Jarvis may have changed his views with this week's revelations on the planted news stories, but if he's talked about it, it isn't on his blog. Perhaps elsewhere.
Link | | | 10:05 AM | Home
 

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