Saturday, July 16, 2011

On the one hand, analysts say, China’s military ambitions are understandable. The country’s global trade footprint and its reliance on foreign fuel and raw materials justify building a sophisticated and far-flung military force to secure its interests, just as the United States has done. As China expands into areas now dominated by the American military, they say, broad cooperation is crucial to avoid dangerous rivalries and potentially disastrous miscalculations. Some good might even come of this unlikely alliance.

But on the other hand, many American analysts view China’s military overhaul as the core of an effort to rein in American military power in the western Pacific. In this view, the antiship missile, aircraft carrier and much of the other sophisticated hardware China is developing are intended as a counterforce to the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet, which has dominated Pacific waters for a half-century or more.

—Michael Wines, New York Times, 15 July 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hooray for Midwestern common sense! From a dispatch by Michael Powell and Monica Davey from Indianapolis, a man was quoted saying something quite telling in a blunt, clear-eyed way:

Tom Galovic, a barrel-chested former school principal and now chief financial officer for the Greater Clark County Schools near Louisville, shakes his head. He is a fan of Mr. [Governor Mitch] Daniels over all, he said. But he sees a self-fulfilling prophecy taking shape around public education — the same problem that many others see with Indiana’s intent focus on the cost side of fiscal restraint.

If you cut and cut,’ he said, ‘you erode the system to the point that it snaps.’”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

e.e. cummings in the news again, this time from the fine folks at Awl magazine.

Lexi Mainland (real name? guessing not, tentatively) is the chief micro-blogger for the Times. She refers concerned photo-takers to this page, which displays some alternatives to those TwitPic bastards. (Ironic: yes, Mr. Keller, this is aggregating. Odd that that sounds so similar to aggravating.)

The dinosaurs at Time hope to God (who is obviously Henry Luce) that you collegiate fools did not choose to major in an archaic field known as journalism, a word whose root denotes a daily record-keeping. Nowadays people keep tabs every minute: minutalism?

As a blogger, it behooves me to ask whether informing the world about anything involving your experience waiting for a plane or what you ate for lunch is useful at all. As a micro-blogger, saying so is predicated on the real possibility of being de-followed, or whatever the hell that is supposed to be termed.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Good job, guys. Now, how about declaring victory?

Friday, April 29, 2011

“The modern Arab Republic of Egypt identifies itself as an Arab nation, though its people are ‘Arabized’ rather than true Arabs. The distinction between Arab and Egyptian is well recognized among Egyptians and Arabs alike. Egypt perceives its role in the development of the Middle East as one of leadership [sic], peacemaker, and negotiator.”

— Susan L. Wilson, Culture Shock! Egypt: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Portland, 1998: Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co.), p. 10

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

[e.e. cummings, 100 Selected Poems, p. 61, Grove Press, n.d.]

No. 49:

(of Ever-Ever Land i speak
sweet morons gather roun’
who does not dare to stand or sit
may take it lying down)

down with the human soul
and anything else uncanned
for everyone carries canopeners
in Ever-Ever Land

(for Ever-Ever Land is a place
that’s as simple as simple can be
and was built that way on purpose
by simple people like we)

down with hell and heaven
and all the religious fuss
infinity pleased our parents
one inch looks good to us

(and Ever-Ever Land is a place
that’s measured and safe and known
where it’s lucky to be unlucky
and the hitler lies down with the cohn)

down above all with love
and everything perverse
or which makes some feel more better
when all ought to feel less worse

(but only sameness is normal
in Ever-Ever Land
for a bad cigar is a woman
but a gland is only a gland)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The point of no return for a probable Israeli attack on Iran may have passed in 2005, when senior leaders decided that the idea was not worth it. Yet as Amir Oren reports in Haaretz, the successive missile defense system known as the Iron Dome appears to be resurrecting the go-bomb-Iran idea, as evidenced by the fact that any barrage of missiles in reprisal may be shot down by the new, and expensive, system. Oren points out that when former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak pressed GWB to green-light a strike on Iranian nuclear sites in January 2008, Dubya just refused, perhaps reinforcing the image of the United States as the bossman-called-partner. Bush commented that Barak in particular really freaked him out. Now there is a scary man, one who even frightened the former president. Chag sameach!