Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Professor Charles King on Russia/Georgia
"Over the last several years, Georgia has become increasingly convinced that it's a real partner of the United States, that the US would defend Georgia - practically regardless of what Georgia did - that Georgia was simply reasserting control over bits of territory that are still internationally recognized as Georgia's own.

And so I think the Georgians' political elite, particularly the president and the people very close to him, probably convinced themselves of two things. One, that they could do this quickly and successfully, that is, re-take South Ossetia, and secondly, that if there were a Russian response - and there are very technical and geographic reasons for why the Georgians might have believed it would be difficult for the Russians to respond militarily, if they had taken South Ossetia's major road links very quickly - but if there were a Russian response, that the United States would somehow step in to defend them, and in fact both of those calculations have turned out to be wrong..."
Putin's war enablers: Bush and Cheney

"In a unipolar world, the Bush doctrine of preemptive war allowed
Washington to assert itself without fear of contradiction. The Bush
doctrine, however, was never meant to be emulated by others and was
therefore implicitly predicated on the notion that all challengers
would be weaker than the United States throughout the 21st century.
Bush and Cheney are now getting a glimpse of a multipolar world in
which other powers can adopt their modus operandi with impunity. Bush's
rhetoric may have sounded like that of President Woodrow Wilson, but
his policy has often been to support the overthrow or hobbling of
elected governments that he does not like -- and that has not gone
unnoticed by countries that also count themselves great powers and
would not mind following suit.

The problem with international law for a superpower is that it is a
constraint on overweening ambition. Its virtue is that it constrains
the aggressive ambitions of others. Bush gutted it because he thought
the United States would not need it anytime soon. But Russia is now
demonstrating that the Bush doctrine can just as easily be the Putin
doctrine. And that leaves America less secure in a world of vigilante
powers that spout rhetoric about high ideals to justify their unchecked
military interventions. It is the world that Bush has helped build..."

Grip The Raven
"Today, Grip the Raven, who inspired both Dickens and Poe can still be seen, proud as ever, in the Philadelphia Rare Book Department. If a single raven can inspire two classic works, and a conspiracy of ravens can help humans hunt down a caribou, perhaps people will begin to see ravens not as a dark and ghoulish creature but as the intelligent, elegant and playful human-like bird they are? Perhaps we will disown the dim and arrogant eagle and adopt the clever, adaptable raven as our appropriate national symbol? The answer is most assuredly… Quoth the Raven…Nevermore."

interesting book on Traffic

“Something as simple as a couch dumped in a roadside ditch can
send minor shudders of curiosity through the traffic flow.”

Godard Weekend

Local trees

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

it's Kim Novak day on TCM today, including a noir with Fred MacMurray & an unseen-by-me Phil ("Walking Tall", "Phenix City Story &c.) Karlson heist movie with Brian Keith, as well as the usual Hitchcock & Aldrich....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Isaac Hayes on "The Rockford Files"
"When reading the various online stories/tributes about Hayes' death, most of the writers focused on Isaac's undeniable influence on popular music and his role as the voice of "Chef" on the animated series South Park. Since I had nothing unique to add from either of those angles, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to focus on his acting and pay tribute to my favorite Isaac Hayes' portrayal... his recurring role as badass Gandolf "Gandy" Fitch on The Rockford Files (which ran on NBC from 1974-1980)..."
The Bush administration's feckless response to the Russian invasion of Georgia. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine
Regardless of what happens next, it is worth asking what the Bush people were thinking when they egged on Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's young, Western-educated president, to apply for NATO membership, send 2,000 of his troops to Iraq as a full-fledged U.S. ally, and receive tactical training and weapons from our military. Did they really think Putin would sit by and see another border state (and former province of the Russian empire) slip away to the West? If they thought that Putin might not, what did they plan to do about it, and how firmly did they warn Saakashvili not to get too brash or provoke an outburst?

It's heartbreaking, but even more infuriating, to read so many Georgians quoted in the New York Times—officials, soldiers, and citizens—wondering when the United States is coming to their rescue. It's infuriating because it's clear that Bush did everything to encourage them to believe that he would. When Bush (properly) pushed for Kosovo's independence from Serbia, Putin warned that he would do the same for pro-Russian secessionists elsewhere, by which he could only have meant Georgia's separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Putin had taken drastic steps in earlier disputes over those regions—for instance, embargoing all trade with Georgia—with an implicit threat that he could inflict far greater punishment. Yet Bush continued to entice Saakashvili with weapons, training, and talk of entry into NATO. Of course the Georgians believed that if they got into a firefight with Russia, the Americans would bail them out...

It's grim up North Island--with an excellent question
"Why don't we have a Canadian IKEA?" asks Claire Trevena. The raw logs of the region go elsewhere for processing, when local industries could turn them into more than shakes and carvings...

at the end of your rope? swing into the dog days with my grampy's narrowly-acclaimed new book of poems THE AGE OF BRIGGS & STRATTON

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Afghanistan Transforms Canada
"Our role in the war is dominating our international reputation and integrating us into the U.S. and its imperial designs on Middle East oil. In order to justify this colonial occupation, Canada now spends so much of its (paltry) aid budget on Afghanistan (much of it finding its way into the pockets of corrupt officials) that there is barely any financing left over for other developing countries' needs.

Meanwhile, the conflict and its "war on terror" rationale are being used to justify massive increases in military spending, completely distorting the role of government and the spending priorities of Canadians.

Lastly, the military's role in Canadian politics and culture is being rapidly Americanized. Canadian military spokespersons now openly promote their war-fighting role and take part in cultural events, and the media (most notably the CBC) promotes this new expansive role.

It is hard to imagine a less honourable "mission" on which to base such fundamental changes to the country. There are no longer any secrets about the Afghan conflict or Canada's continuing role in it..."

Local trees

often listened to, but never seen before YouTube - Al Bowlly - The Very Thought of You