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Showing posts from October 3, 2004
Bollettino Curious omission LI has just finished reviewing a rather depressing novel set in Liberia. This summer, we were supposed to review another depressing book by Douglas Farah, the WP reporter, Blood From Stones, about the “secret financial network of terror.” Farah’s beat was West Africa, and he links the arms and diamond merchants in that area to both the Hezbollah and Al Qaeda networks. We were not totally convinced by the story line he is pushing – evidence for a strong alliance between a Shi’ite group and a group well known for massacring Shi’ites in Pakistan and Afghanistan seems to me, at best, shaky, a matter of individual initiatives and an attempt at Pan-Islamic solidarity is rhetorical rather than real, and at worse, tendentious, an attempt to drag into America’s scope enemies who are really enemies of Israel and various factions in Lebanon. However, in the course of the report, Farah extensively describes the horrors of the West African breakdown and its finan
Bollettino Say, how much is the interest on that debt? LI won’t watch tonight’s debate. Our last non-watching of the debate was an outstanding success – our candidate romped. We aren’t going to jinx Kerry now. However, we have been succumbing to a bad case of ISD – Internal Speechmaking Disorder. This is a disease that strikes thousands of talk radio listeners and bloggers every year. Tragically, there is little that can be done about it. Symptoms are uncontrollable daydreams about speaking oneself on the podium, or having one’s candidate speak on the podium saying terribly clever and devastating things that one makes up oneself. Usually, the opposing guy in the daydream is struck dumb. He’s shown up. He’s ashamed forever and ever. Under our ISD compulsion, we’d recommend that Kerry’s people look at the stark article about Bush’s fiscal policy in the WP this morning . It really just recaps what we know: that the surplus, which was estimated at a trillion dollars when Bus
Bollettino Streaks LI intermittently tries to see things from the view of the Bush supporter. This isn't from any impulse to fairness, but from the same novelistic curiosity that makes a man slow down to look at a car wreck. Now, here's the problem: Any non-Bush supporter looks at the news from, say, about January of this year, and asks: how can anyone support the contention that: a, the war was justified, and b., that it is going well, when all the evidence seems to be against it. We think we know where to look for an answer: not in evangelical Christianity. Not in Dick Cheney's brainwashing powers. But in sports. That's right. We need to look at Bush's belief that the war is chugging along splendidly not in the light of information we have about the war, but in the light of the metaphysical belief, in sports, in the streak. There’s an interesting paper by Bruce Burns, at Michigan State, on “heuristics as belief and behavior.” It is Burns conte
Bollettino ‘… in the dunghill of despotism among the other yet unhatched eggs of the old serpent.' - Coleridge The Spectator, the right wing British rag, has a great book review section (and hey, I got another book review to do for the New Yorker – so give LI a break. We do know from our book reviewing). It is definitely worth registering with those guys, because it is one of the treats of the Net. The Spectator has a nice review of William Hague’s new bio of William Pitt the Younger. Hague, you’ll remember, used to be a Tory up and comer. Didn’t he run against Tony Blair back in the stone age? He still sits on the opposition bench. Apparently, the boredom of sitting out in 32° F draft year after year took its toll. An American politician would try to get a part in a cop drama. The British always turn to writing long bios. Michael Foot did H.G. Wells. Hague has done Pitt the Younger. Pitt a revolting character, a sneaking, pallid man with all the charm of a snake fa
Bollettino So Sahib Bremer, late of Baghdad, tells a bunch of Indiana insurance men that there were too few soldiers to occupy Iraq back in the beginning, and that maybe the eight billion dollars worth of looting that Donald Rumsfeld thought was such a joke, back in May 2003 (Hey, I musta seen the same vase on tv bein’ taken out of the museum fifty times! and all the cued and oiled press goes, badda badda bing, wow, that’s a hot one!) just might have led to a general air of lawlessness. No shit, Sherlock. There are, in LI’s opinion, two options for the U.S in Iraq. One option is simply retreat. Getting out of there, in an orderly fashion, by the end of next year. The second option is a huge increase in the U.S. force in Iraq. The option that is unacceptable is the current Bush plan: the indefinite stay of a relatively small force. Let’s call this the let it bleed option. To see why this is so, let’s look at Samarra, the victory the U.S. is currently touting – right
Bollettino What country actually financed Al Qaeda and got special thanks in the bipartisan commission on 9/11? What country’s secret service was connected with the hijackers, and might even have wired them a bit of bread now and then, to keep them going in those cold nights that sweep down from the American hinterland? Not Iraq. Not Iran. Not even Saudi Arabia. Pakistan. Since then, the U.S. has given the Pakistan government a premium perverse incentive to look for Osama bin Laden at least until 2050, at which point the IP rights on Osama’s Buns of Steel video run out. Check out this Slate story about the latest Pakistan arms fair. You can’t get better than an arms fair – you can smell the death of the peasantry in the air! Cotton candy and mustard gas for everyone! “ As delegations from a veritable Who's Who of pariah states —North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Zimbabwe, Sudan—make the rounds, a Pakistani company shows off its new cluster bombs (which, the company press relea
Bollettino But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore – Isaiah For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore. Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine? – Jeremiah A plea for whores The poetic revolution, in contrast to the political one, sinks to the very bottom of language, its lowest level, where the neurons are barely firing in the sludge, where it is perpetually 3 am in the stall in the bar’s bathroom, down, down to the era that invented agriculture, the just out of Eden moment when insults were designed, to render its essential act. The derangement of all the senses, the transvaluation of values, has to begin somewhere. I begin at the word “whore”. Interesting, that word. It has been adopted enthusiastically, I’ve noted, by