Entries Tagged as 'terror & war'

diatribesterror & war

And for What? Reflections on the First World War

No Gravatar

The centennial of the outbreak of World War I, which began a century ago this month, has excited the usual sort of checkbox-ticking media comment. Here’s some further perspective: more than 15 million people died in the conflict, including some 8.5 million soldiers and 7 million civilians. Millions of widows, orphans and single women were left behind.

[Read more →]

animalsfamily & parenting

Fist Fights

No Gravatar

For Karen the Small Press Librarian, I recently exchanged interviews and e-mails with Dave Newman, author of Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children. It’s an academic novel about life off the tenure track for a working family with children in Pittsburgh, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the lives of college teachers, parents, and writers. In passing, Dave mentioned that when he was growing up in western Pennsylvania, it was common for boys to fist-fight at carnivals and county fairs, and then he wondered if he wasn’t the only person he knew who used the expression “fist fight.” So that led to my own ruminations on the subject, whether or not to add a hyphen or make it one word, and I also remembered that long before I became a hulking literary menace, able to beat down an entire capitalist higher-educational economy with a work of fiction, I was just another scrawny white boy, geeky and shy, terrified that I’d have to fight in public or fight at all. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

The dawn of Syrian conflict

No Gravatar

On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that President Bashar Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against hundreds of innocent civilians. It looks like we are once again faced with an all too familiar decision to make – continue to let atrocities occur and the situation escalate, or take meaningful action that deescalates the situation but subjects the United States into another overseas military snafu. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

Of Russian resets and NSA leaks

No Gravatar

In 2001 President Bush met Vladimir Putin at a summit in Slovenia. They met to discuss post-Soviet debt, among other things, but Bush saw their initial meeting as a chance to form a strong relationship with a key player in global politics. According to Decision Points, Putin was rough around the edges, but softened up when W. inquired about a cross that Putin had had blessed in Jerusalem. It was the sentimental story of Putin’s cross and this shared moment that had led Bush to suggest that he had looked into Putin’s soul. But if he really had, he would not have been so impressed. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

Too much news is good news for Mullah Omar

No Gravatar

Is there such thing as too much news? It seems that if there are enough distractions, like a bankrupt Detroit or a royal baby, people will forget or grow bored of other issues in our world that are more serious and still unresolved. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

He’s just too similar to Bush

No Gravatar

books & writingterror & war

New Philip K. Dick novel too absurd to be believed

No Gravatar

Philip K. Dick was one of the most important science fiction authors of the 20th century. His novels explored issues of identity, religion, metaphysics, and politics in a way that few authors, including so-called “literary” authors, ever did. During his lifetime, he published more than 40 novels, and 100 short stories. He won the prestigious Hugo Award for his classic novel The Man in the High Castle in 1962, and the John W Campbell Award for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said in 1974. His novels and stories have inspired at least ten movies, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, Total Recall, and Minority Report. In the years since his untimely death from a stroke in 1982, his reputation has only increased, and his works have gained a respectable following among academics and mainstream literary critics. The Library of America has published three volumes of his work.

When it was announced last year that an unpublished manuscript had been discovered among his papers, it sent shockwaves through the literary community. Now that the novel has been published, however, one can’t help but feel a sting of disappointment. [Read more →]

black helicopter watchterror & war

Early Roman Kings, Commentators and Evil Eunichs…it’s morning in America

No Gravatar

Mitt Romney Archetype

One of the things you discover when dealing with a spouse’s treatment for cancer is that there’s always either a “but” or an “and” with this example of why I really am torn between my “No God but Tiffany and Snooki is her prophet!” or “God is just a perverted, evil sonofabitch!” She sleeps a lot, and I brood. Brooding is not the best way to write; yet, sometimes it seems you should. This week is one of them…

Now, I don’t like Ross Douthat particularly. Since David Brooks is the Times approach to William F. Buckley only nicer, Douthat is their George Will, only tieless and with a
beard. To the left of Fox, to the right of sense most of the time, but when he’s right, he’s right and articulate.
He has a pretty accurate take on the middle east and the current unpleasantness directed at the United States by the latest outbreak of Jeffersonian democracy. He proposes that we need to avoid the cringing and the condescending in our analysis of what’s going on and what our alternatives are going forward. Yes, the video is awful on all counts, and the irrational reaction of the mobs really makes the whole Arab Spring thing seem more like the First Directorate of the French Revolution as opposed to some Islamic Renaisance. But, that’s not what’s happening here — this is realpolitik played by the Islamic power players. From our perspective, these guys may seem to be totally loony, but we’re watching different factions play out. There are grievances against us in the Arab world — some valid, some debatable, some batshit insane — and we need to acknowledge that, deal with it like adults and make some adult choices. Douthat is less than optimistic about that particular future. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

My 90 Days, 90 Reasons submission

No Gravatar

There is a website called 90 Days, 90 Reasons, which features powerful, persuasive essays by famous people, explaining why the current president, Barack Obama, should be re-elected. I was so moved by some of these essays, that I decided to compose a submission myself. Unfortunately, despite the fact that my Dark Knight Rises review got almost 60 Facebook likes, I am apparently not famous enough to be included. This, despite the fact that my essay is as persuasive and powerful and whatever the opposite of cynical is as any of the essays that have been published so far.

Despite the lack of interest, I feel it would be a disservice to the world to not post my essay somewhere, so I’m posting it here. I hope it persuades you to do the right thing.

Reason #1: Tee Are You Ess Tee

The reason that you should vote for Barack Obama for reelection can be boiled down to one word: I trust Barack Obama. And where our government is concerned, there is nothing more important than trust. Obama understands this. That is why he has worked hard to earn our trust, and he hasn’t stopped earning that trust. [Read more →]

terror & warThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that people will remember 9/11, but not as if it’s a football game that we lost

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 911: We should always remember 9/11, but not with patriotic pep rallies and not with fist-pumping; for, on this day, the extremist obsessions and narrow-minded religious views of a few arrogant, evil bastards resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people at the Word Trade Center in New York City, in a horrific crash in Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, in Washington, DC. On this day, trembling fathers wept into phones, saying goodbye to their children and wives, having given up, knowing that there was no way down or out, fighting not to sound terrified through the line — knowing that this final goodbye was worth trading away a last, useless burst of hope. On this day, wives did the same, fighting preservation instincts for a few seconds’ contact with their husbands and babies. And on this day, horrible circumstances made men and women who were just doing their duty into legends of self-sacrifice. This is the day when a thousand stories of strength and courage were passionately written, only to be sucked down in a cascade of molten metal and poison dust, never to be read by anyone. This was the day on which a new generation of children learned that grown-ups could actually take civilian life and expect sainthood in return.

This was the day of Allah’s misery. This was the day that, if God can cry, there must have been a hurricane in heaven — his tears like bullets in raging winds; angels covering their heads with trembling wings —  for a humankind that had turned him into a goal line to be crossed; a prize to be quibbled over; a concept for which to slaughter; a cause for torture and alienation.  [Read more →]

terror & war

September 11, 2001 Garden of Reflection Memorial

No Gravatar

Remembering 9/11 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Garden of Reflection memorializes all the people murdered on that dark day, with an emphasis on the residents of Bucks County who were killed.

[Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

The composite victory

No Gravatar

terror & wartrusted media & news

The AP uses high quality journalism to prove that you needn’t worry about drones

No Gravatar

The United States of America, the world’s greatest force for good, has lately been using drones to bomb the crap out of Muslims in the Middle East. Drones are especially convenient tools because they are light, maneuverable, and unmanned. The government — the government that works for me, and you (if you’re an American), and does what it does for your benefit — has only increased the number of drones it’s used in those areas in which it is fighting kinetic military actions.

Some people have expressed concern that these drones that we’re using to bomb the crap out of Muslims aren’t only hitting those that our government has deemed to be the *bad* ones. Official numbers are difficult to come by, because they don’t exist, but some have estimated that, well, a significant number of innocent, non-terrorist Muslims, have been killed in drone strikes.

Well, the Associated Press has used some impressive journalism to discover that those people are full of beans. [Read more →]

terror & wartravel & foreign lands

Notes on the Landscapes Spotted in the Backgrounds of News Reports

No Gravatar

Recently I started a daily ritual of watching Euronews after dinner. I’m not sure why I find the channel so absorbing, as when I actually lived in Europe I found it incredibly dull. And not dull in a smug, irritating BBC way but just… soul-crushingly boring, as is characteristic of anything that begins with the chilling prefix “Euro-”. Perhaps it’s only now, after years spent in a land where the news is delivered exclusively by pompous, Botoxed egomaniacs that I can appreciate the channel’s relatively understated style. Or then again, maybe I’m just digging the stuff I can see in the backgrounds. [Read more →]

art & entertainmentterror & war

First-class warfare

No Gravatar

Gore Vidal is not the chronicler but the fictionalizer of American history. The twin capitals of the nation warranted titles of their own, in his estimation. The one was Washington DC. The other was Hollywood. I ascribe not even the tarnished Golden State as the residence of Hollywood. Instead this bucolic appellation that once meant a modest agricultural hamlet now describes an ethereal thoughtscape that hovers above and beyond terrestrial boundaries. Hollywood rests on a state of mind, not a mere State of the Union as the existence of Bollywood and other imitators attests. It is a factory town and it’s one produce is Dreams. Tony Montana was well advised. “Don’t get high on your own supply.” Mark Wahlberg should have listened. [Read more →]

religion & philosophyterror & war

Piss Christs

No Gravatar

A tsunami of outrage has swept the nation and the globe. Another crime has been catalogued, another provocation that threatens to stir benevolent goatherds to strike at jumbo jets, of which they are pastorally ignorant. We speak of the ritual desecrations committed by American troops as they relieved themselves on a pile of defenseless, deceased, Taleban jihadis. A cry goes up that piss has no place in war. Patton would disagree but we need no more to rubbish the assertion than to recall that those who think piss has no place in war likewise think blood can be excised from it. That scrum includes, among other bigwigs, a young candidate for President who thought “smart diplomacy” a sound replacement for smart bombs. I wonder whatever became of that guy? But we have no time for trivia as the wars, under whatever management, have continued at least through this morning. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

The world is not America’s toilet

No Gravatar

Recently, a video surfaced showing what appears to be United States military personnel urinating on what appear to be corpses. The video is shocking, so I would prefer not to embed it here. If you want to see it, you can click on the image of president Obama below:

[Read more →]

terror & war

Now that was fun, wasn’t it? Ugh, no…let’s not do that again.

No Gravatar

Jerry Harvey, expert on management dysfunction and organizational behavior, has a classic finding called The Abilene Paradox. Basically, it discusses our inability to deconflict — agreement. We may all “want to do X but there are hidden voices saying, We should do Y because…” His story involves the disruption of a family afternoon in north Texas in the summer because his mother in law figured that he and his wife were probably bored. This resulted in a four hour car trip over beat up roads in a beat up, unairconditioned car to a Rexall Drug Store and Lunch Counter in Abilene. It was hot, it was dusty, it was a lot like the Texas in The Last Picture Show. When they finally got home and collapsed in the living room, there was dead silence punctuated by gas and burps from that fine Rexall Lunch Counter cusine for about 45 mintues. As Harvey tells the story, realizing that he was a trained social scientist with a PhD in Organizational Psychology and Behavior, felt compelled “to make a behavioral intervention.” So, he said, “That was fun now, wasn’t it?” To which his father-in-law responded by looking at him and visibly questioning the wisdom of letting his daughter marry this clown and then saying as only someone who’s from Texas or at least spent a lot of time there can say it, “SSSSHHHEEEEIIITTTT –that was awful.” The family did a post mortem, and when their reasoning got exposed — Momma thought the kids were bored and wouldn’t want to eat left overs, the kids didn’t want to deny Momma anything, Papa wasn’t going to push back against eveyone else so…the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in the early 70s, the road to Abilene was paved with kind thoughts and care for other people’s feelings. Book is a classic, and I recommend it to anyone — Harvey is one of my heroes along with Keith Richards, Guy Clark and Kierkegaard. [Read more →]

terror & war

Call it what you will … but mark it

No Gravatar

Veterans Day

IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
[Read more →]

diatribesends & odd

Chasing My Father

No Gravatar

Lately I’ve been chasing my father all over Hell – figuratively speaking. I don’t expect to catch him; he died seven years ago, taking with him some secrets I wish I could have asked him about, and others that I know I couldn’t have. He left behind some intriguing clues about himself, but remained something of a mystery to the end. [Read more →]

Next Page »