the downside

Oh, there’s a downside to bicycle commuting.


It’s going to be rough going home. And getting back here tomorrow.

As the Finns say, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes.

Going simple

I was going to make the aforementioned African groundnut stew last night, but when I got home, I was kind of beat.

SO, rather than branch out and try something new, I made an old standard- three bean soup.

And it was really good. Which is fortunate, because I made about three gallons of it.

Read the extended entry for the recipe:
[Read more…]

Gun cleared

Katharine Gun has been cleared of the charges against her.

Ms Gun, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, had been accused of disclosing a request allegedly from a US national security agency official for help from British intelligence to tap the telephones of UN security council delegates during the period of fraught diplomacy before the war.

She argued the alleged disclosures exposed serious wrongdoing by the US and could have helped to prevent the deaths of Iraqis and British forces in an “illegal war”.

After the prosecution offered no evidence, the judge, the Recorder of London Michael Hyam, recorded a formal verdict of not guilty.

I am having trouble finding a proper definition of what I mean when I say “these people,” anymore. Does anyone need any clarification of who I mean when I say “These people seem to be pathologically afraid of the truth”?

example one.

example two.

example three.

example four.

Student Loans for Hamburger University!

the following is from a letter sent by John D Dingell, Rep from Michigan to Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors:

February 20, 2004

Dr. Gregory Mankiw
Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
Executive Office of the President
Washington, DC 20502

Dear Dr. Mankiw:

I noticed in the recently released Economic Report of the President that there was some consternation in the defining of manufacturing. It could be inferred from your report that the administration is willing to recognize drink mixing, hamburger garnishing, French/freedom fry cooking, and milk shake mixing to be vital components of our manufacturing sector.

I am sure the 163,000 factory workers who have lost their jobs in Michigan will find it heartening to know that a world of opportunity awaits them in high growth manufacturing careers like spatula operator, napkin restocking, and lunch tray removal. I do have some questions of this new policy and I hope you will help me provide answers for my constituents:

Will federal student loans and Trade Adjustment Assistance grants be applied to tuition costs at Burger College?

Will the administration commit to allowing the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to fund cutting edge burger research such as new nugget ingredients or keeping the hot and cold sides of burgers separate until consumption?

Will special sauce now be counted as a durable good?

Do you want fries with that?

Finally, at a speech he gave in Michigan this past September, Secretary Evans announced the creation of a new Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing. While I understand that it takes a while to find the right candidate to fill these positions, I am concerned that five months after the announcement no Assistant Secretary has yet been named. I do, however, know of a public official who would be perfect for the job. He has over thirty years of administrative and media experience, has a remarkable record of working with diverse constituencies, and is extraordinarily well qualified to understand this emerging manufacturing sector: the Hon. Mayor McCheese.

With every good wish,

John D Dingell
Member of Congress

Hambone, hambone, where you been?

Unpacking boxes, mostly.

Last night, we had a midnight mission to find an unattended dumpster to put all of our moving boxes in. You should have seen us staking out dumpsters… “This one’s too well lit… what about the one behind Winn-Dixie?” We finally dumped our trash behind some insurance agency.

Working 40 hours a week is a switch. Hello, new life. I haven’t done this is three or four years.

Here are some things that I am excited about:

LTGF and I are now members of an organic produce buyers’ co-op. We spend $20 or so a week, and we get this huge box full of organic fruit and vegetables. Last week, we got sweet and regular potatoes, carrots, two kinds of lettuce, onions, four kinds of oranges, broccoli, cauliflower, two kinds of apples, local garlic, some spring mix, green beans, an avocado and I don’t know what else. It was lovely. We still have leftovers. I think that we ate out once last week.

I think that I might be doing some DJing in a local bar in the coming weeks. I have this ever-growing collection of Jamaican dancehall and French hip-hop. Kai had his night spinning at the Go Bar and it was a huge success, due in part to the inclusion of some songs that I gave him. Time to bring it on, I think, from the source.

I have several people bending my ear about starting a digital project studio in my study. I am really into the idea. Right now I am trying to figure out how to set my rig up- Digital Performer or ProTools? Midi Controller keyboard or Roland XP-30? So much information to try and process all at once. I have not played with digital audio before, and I don’t even know where to begin. The science of digital audio evolves on a minute-to-minute basis, and there’s this RIVER of information that is whizzing by all the time. I just have to decide where to stick my toe in. Everyone that I talk to about it has a different opinion, and they are all fairly sure that they are right. *whew*

Here’s a recipe that I am going to make with the rest of the veggies that we have from the co-op:
[Read more…]

Chalabi = Diem?

LTGF (lovely and talented girlfriend, for those of you that wrote me and said “Uh, Lieutenant Who?”) and I watched Viet Nam: The Year of the Pig last night. We were both goggle-eyed at the similiarities between the rhetoric out of Washington in 196* and the rhetoric now. VN:TYotP is a film completely assembled from documentary and news footage of the era, so there were lots of talking head shots of General Curtis “Bomb them Back to the Stone Age” LeMay, General Mark Clark and LBJ, as well as other Veetnam-era luminaries. All of these men touched on the point that “the Oriental” was “willing to sacrifice himself in limitless numbers,” while “every one of our boys is a precious commodity.” (I found the racism in these remarks curiously redolent of the misunderstandings that Americans have when confronting Islamists, but that’s a whole ‘nother essay.)

While extended comparisons between historical epochs perhaps ought to be left in the more capable hands of Bill Montgomery, I am going to weigh in on a few things:

I always thought that the whole WMD rubric had a Gulf of Tonkin smell about it. It was a end looking for a means to justify itself.

Additionally, the State Department and the Pentagon had their boy in place (Diem), as far as they were concerned, and there was a lot of mouth noise about “Free and Fair Elections,” much like today, though Ahmed Chalabi is clearly the candidate of choice only if you happen to have an office in a building that has five sides…. The people of Iraq don’t seem to want to have anything to do with the guy. Similarly, the elections in South Viet Nam were largely predicted to be headed away from the ideal outcome desired by the U.S. Were the elections fixed? A large percentage of the Viet Namese seemed to think so. There were weeks of riots following the “elections” that kept Diem in power.

Diem and his packet of cronies are said to have used the banner of “anti-communism” to garner U.S. support while they lined their pockets. I must say that I have not seen much of Ahmed Chalabi to convince me that he is up to anything more noble than that. Even the CIA picked up on Diem’s game before too long and there was plenty of speculation at the time that the U.S. government turned a blind eye to the generals that had Diem assassinated. He had become a liability.

One of the biggest mistakes that the U.S. made on the ground in Viet Nam was that U.S. intel had equated the resistance in South Viet Nam to organized insurgency from North Viet Nam. There was a deliberate failure to see that much of the Viet Cong were homegrown South Viet Namese opposed to the U.S. regime in Saigon. As I was watching the film last night, I was reminded of the CPA’s unwillingness (until most recently) to admit that the resistance in Iraq is composed of Iraqis opposed to the occupation. This intentional myopia created a climate where all of the B-52s and napalm in the world couldn’t change the minds of the population.

There was a huge credibility gap between (first) Diem (and later, the Generals) and Ho Chi Minh. Ho, demonized as he has been in American media and reviled as a Communist Devil, had the full respect of most of the Viet Namese people. He was preceived as a common man, a peasant, a villager- and the village was the hub of Viet Namese life. The Viet Namese hamlet had been the foundation block of Viet Namese culture for thousands of years before the Japanese, then the French, then the U.S., and finally the Chinese got there. Ho won the battle for the soul of Viet Nam in the hamlets. He was seen not as a “communist” leader- he was seen by the Viet Namese as a Viet Namese nationalist leader- a Confucian and the son of a farmer. These things resonated deeply with the Viet Namese common person, and all the Domino Theories in the world couldn’t change that.

I believe that there is an equivalent war for hearts and minds being lost in the Mosques of Iraq. The U.S. will never get any traction in the region as long as our government flogs secular government over Islamic theocracy. The Mosque has been the hub of life in Islamic countries for centuries. It’s incredibly na¾ve to think otherwise, though perhaps no more na¾ve than thinking that U.S. troops would be met in Iraq with candy and flowers after twelve years of U.S. cruise missles, No-Fly zones and the massive trade embargo.

I don’t have a solution to propose a way to proceed in Iraq. But it seems clear to me that anyone that is paying attention can see that we are forgetting history and dooming ourselves to repeating it. I hereby open the forum to input.

Is the Promise you were telling me about?

The Whole Colorado University football program seems to have been prefaced on one assumption- that if you played for them, you could have as much ass as you wanted, whether the girl consented or not. And if the girl didn’t like it, well… the coach would feel free to denigrate the accuser openly in the press.

How did this program get to be such a mess? Who was head coach, the man that was heading the program as it slid into a date-rapin’, stripper hirin’, sexual harrassing mess? Why it was Bill McCartney, co-founder of the ‡ber-Christian Promise Keepers!

Clearly, the thing to do if you are attacked by a UC football player is to Graciously Submit.