Whew, safe at last!

I feel much safer now that they caught that kid who announced to the world he had planted weapons on airplanes! And it took them only five weeks to read his email message sent to them saying he had done this! What detective work! What policing. What ….what.. homeland security! Or maybe that should be, “what homeland security?”

If I see one more sanctimonious bureaucrat talking about what a terrible deed this was instead of admitting that their security system stinks. . . well, they did get my moustache scissors, and determined that my harmonica was not a set of brass knuckles or some clever knife, but box cutters? Guns? That seems to be beyond them. Good thing they fortified those cockpit doors. Of course, that won’t do much good against all those “stingers” that are apparently floating around Iraq for the taking while we scour the place for WMD.

Enough ranting. Doonesbury had the best rant of all on Sunday, anyway.

On the brighter side, we have the following:

In Natural High a brief account and linked slideshow covering our recent trip to Wachusetts Meadows which held a couple mild surprises and sure was beautiful.

A new item from Dom and a great new site Daphne and Dom have started with some stunning photos they've taken of Australian birds. They are springing ahead down there while we're falling back. (See the entry in Natural High right beneath the Wachusetts one.)

Ok, falling back into the quagmire that some know as the "real world" you'll find a ton of new stuff on the Quo Vadis site. That's where my time has been going lately and Don has been making some great additions. Here's a brief guide:

Click "Topic 0" for a "Noteworthy book review" dealing with Afghanistan and women.

Under Topic 2 (Afghanistan) You'll find an excellent article from England about our "breach of faith" in Afghanistan. How quickly we forget.

We're on Topic 3 this week, and there's a fine article on the need to improve our image in the Islamic world.

If you go to the "News and Views" section you'll find much more. The best approach is to just go to the News and Views home page and scan the top dozen or so postings - though you can also see the listing by topic linked on the right.

What are we learning in the study group so far? I think two things:

1. It's a good experience to follow all eight topics at once. We do this by having different people give brief reports each week. It makes you keep in mind how all the topics relate to one another.

2. When you start looking at a solid body of fact and sophisticated opinions you begin to understand both how complex things are and how distorted the picture is that emerges from the mainstream media. The media reacts only to the most notable crisis and then only if it directly involves Americans.

Of course, while we are trying to stay calm and objective in the study group, we reserve the right to rant in "Us and the World."
What's there? Well a rant at this crazy general whose story provides fanatical balance to the crazy president of Malaysia. And a good introduction to blogs from the Columbia Journalism Review. And Byrd's view of the naked emperor and much, much more.

Oh, and John forwarded this wonderful little Bush quote with pithy comment:

In his memoirs, "A World Transformed," written more than five years ago, George Bush, Sr. wrote the following to explain why he didn't go after Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf War.

"Trying to eliminate Saddam...would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible.... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.... there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles.  Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world.  Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."

If only his son could read.

I might add that I am just starting a bio of Teddy Roosevelt. There are some crude similarities between his presidency and the Bush presidency - but oh, the differences. Like the 42-year-old Roosevelt had already read some 20,000 books before assuming the presidency, had written 15, was fluent in French and German (not to mention, English), was a genuine war hero, an amateur boxing champion, a paleontologist, and world authority on North American mammals - in short, a character with real character and intellect second to few in the country of his day. this is not to say I'm thrilled with him - but oh, how painful it is to see the qualities there versus what we are doing today in electing a favored son and an actor. (If you read the original notice you had to wonder if my fingers were connected t my brain. Yes, but I wasn't using the spell checker, so they play wondrous tricks on me. )

Posted by Greg Stone at October 21, 2003 12:57 PM