Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Actually, “bling handler” sounds kind of dirty


Something seems a bit suspicious about the fact that in the Cartoon Wars, 5 Afghans were killed by Afghan police trying to storm Bagram Air Base. Since when does the American military entrust its security to Afghans?

Job title of the day: “bling handler” for a rapper. And that guy just got killed, so the job is available.

The deputy editor of the Taizhou Evening News dies following a police beating.

Gonzales said that the only reason they’re not wiretapping calls both ends of which are in the US is that public reaction might be negative. In other words, they probably think it’s one more thing they have the “inherent authority” to do (the list grows with each episode of “24”: every time Jack Bauer threatens to gouge someone’s eye out or whatever, Gonzales “discovers” something else they have the inherent authority to do), but it’s politically expedient not to, at least for the present.

Reminds me: I would have quoted Russ Feingold yesterday, but I thought everyone else would, and they haven’t. In response to that nonsense about D’s having a “pre-9/11 mindset,” he said that Bush is demonstrating a pre-1776 mindset.

Poland is down to fewer than 200 legal abortions a year, and often it’s the doctors themselves doing the refusing. A woman who was told by 3 eye doctors that a pregnancy could result in blindness was refused an abortion by all 3 of those doctors and a gynecologist; she gave birth, is now close to blind, and is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The language about Iran has been quietly ramping up, not perhaps helped by the announcement by Iran’s largest newspaper that it will run cartoons making fun of the Holocaust. In fact, it will have a contest to find the best one. What would an appropriate prize be for that? In addition to the Security Council referral over its nuclear program, I’ve heard government statements in the last week claiming Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and that the increasing sophistication of IED’s in Iraq is down to Iranian assistance.

Which reminds me that I’ve been meaning to do a brief book report slash recommendation of a book I finished last week, Norman Solomon’s War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. The book’s an essay about the myths, lies, memes used to sell America’s wars, using the wars of the last 40 years to illuminate the current Iraq war. It’s very much a journalist’s book, relying mostly on old newspaper and magazine articles rather than archives and memoirs. This means he doesn’t really delve into whether Lyndon Johnson, Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush etc actually believe what they’re saying, but that would be a different book. This book is divided into 17 chapters, each of which focuses on one of these myths, such as: This Guy is a Modern-Day Hitler, They Are the Aggressors, Not Us, The Pentagon Fights Wars as Humanely as Possible, Withdrawal Would Cripple U.S. Credibility, What the US Government Needs Most is Better PR, etc (the table of contents is on the Amazon site). He demonstrates that the same themes are recycled over and over; this book is intended to be the antidote to the American amnesia that allows successive administrations to get away with that. The structure of the book really works: I knew most of this stuff, but the thematic chapters arrange the information in a way that is genuinely enlightening. Since his concerns overlap so well with my own, I would venture that anyone who likes my blog would like this book. And if you use the link at the top of this paragraph, Amazon will kick back 89¢ to me (or check your public library, like I did). Solomon’s previous book, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You, is available as a free download on his website. I haven’t read it yet, but I will. Oh, and no small thing: the man can write.

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