Thursday, November 29, 2007
Check out this really nice photo montage on the Daily News website in honor of the 100th year of the Yellow Taxi in New York City. Well done, especially if you don't mind (or don't listen to) the slightly cheesy "smooth jazz" soundtrack. My favorite photo is the third one, which appears to be from the 1960s or early '70s, of a sea of taxis coming through a toll booth. My best guess is that this photo was taken on the Queens side of the midtown tunnel, but it might be the Lincoln. It would take a bigger dork than me to be sure.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The resignation of Rachel Paulose as US Attorney for Minnesota brings to a close one of the more transparently embarrassing appointments by an administration that distinguishes itself for putting under-qualified (at best) political hacks in important positions. Her resume was part of the DOJ document dump (see page 11) in response to the politicized firings of several US attorneys by disgraced former AG Alberto Gonzales, and below are several highlights. The resume reads like a pathetic application for admission to the inner circle of Bush republicanism:
"work included successful representation of Republican party in election lawsuit; defense of faith-based health care program"Who puts Sunday school teacher on their resume?? Unless of course you're a relatively inexperienced 33 y.o. lawyer hoping for a job as a US Attorney in the Bush administration. And what exactly is a "faith-based health care program"? That's just plain bizarre, although when you think about it, faith and hope are about the only health care programs available to a large proportion of Americans. And think of the money we could save if we had a faith based military instead of that expensive, fully equipped one languishing in Iraq. This could be a cool new trend! Faith-based stop lights! Faith-based immunizations! Faith-based air traffic control! The sky truly is the limit.
"work included defense against class action suit demanding slavery reparations"
"Yale Law Christian Fellowship" Board of Directors"
"Westville Bible Chapel: Sunday School teacher"
"Federalist Society: 2001-present"
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I know it's not technically permissible to quote so extensively from a copyrighted work, but I will do so here in hopes that everyone who ever reads this post, and indeed every citizen of the United States, might be motivated to find out what Chalmers Johnson is talking about in his stunning new book, Nemesis. It contains the most comprehensive and devastating single-paragraph indictment of US foreign policy I have ever read:
It should be noted that since 1947, while we have used our military power for political and military gain in a long list of countries, in no instance has democractic government come about as a result. In some important cases, on the other hand, democracy has developed in opposition to our interference - for example, after the collapse of the regime of the CIA-installed Greek colonels in 1974; after the demise of the U.S.-supported fascist dictatorships in Portugal in 1974 and Spain in 1975; after the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in the Phillipines in 1986; after the ouster of General Chun Doo-Hwan in South Korea in 1987; and after the ending of the thirty-eight years of martial law on the island of Taiwan in the same year. The United States holds the unenviable record of having helped install and then supported such dictators as the Shah of Iran, General Suharto in Indonesia, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and Sese Seko Mobutu in Congo/Zaire, not to mention the series of American-backed militarists in South Vietnam and Cambodia until we were finally expelled from Indochina. In addition, for decades we ran one of the most extensive international terrorist operations in history again Cuba and Nicaragua because their struggles for national independence had produced outcomes that we did not like.How many Americans could tell you a single thing about the activities of the US in any of the countries named above, with the exception of perhaps Vietnam? And how many high school history classes have ever mentioned the fact that the US was a state sponsor of extensive, profoundly illegal, terrorist operations against Cuba and Nicaragua (to say nothing of many other instances around the world) over the last few decades, under our own noses? The facts are not in dispute. Neither are the interpretations. And yet the mythology about the US being the engine for democracy, peace, and freedom around the world is undented, at least in this country. Read the book. Please.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Shiver Me Timbers
Is there any better indication of the grossly excessive US military presence around the world than this:
The U.S. Navy has said its aim is to remove Somali pirates from two foreign-flagged cargo ships it is monitoring off Somalia's coast, as one of the ship's captain reported that his crew was being treated well by the pirates.So the US military is attacking pirates off the coast of Africa to help out North Korean and Japanese ships. Someone please tell me what business the US has being involved in this at all? It just goes to show that if you build a giant military machine, you end up using it no matter what, in places and circumstances (Iraq? Panama? Vietnam?) that defy logic and ultimately challenge the basic foundations of a democratic system.
The U.S. Navy engaged the North Korean and Japan-owned ships in recent days off Somalia's coast, at one point firing to destroy pirate skiffs tied to the Japanese boat.