Independence Day

Seems everybody has different ideas as to what constitutes patriotism. I've noticed lately that some people's definition of patriotism actually tracks closer to the definition of nationalism, which brings us closer to Johnson's definition: "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel". What seems more important is to discuss is what our notions of liberty are. Hmmm... interesting timing on that trip to Colombia by McCain. Ya don't think that maybe... nah! Couldn't be. US citizens are not the only ones having their civil liberties squashed in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. The debate is raging in the UK as well. Migration isn't just an issue at the US-Mexico border. Europe is going through a great migration similar to what it saw in the fourth to sixth centuries, a new Volkerwanderung.

Finally, a lesson on Patriotism from Mr. Twain.

[Drive safely, and don't forget your American flag lapel pin!]
Hitler Returns to Berlin, while in America a man gives birth to a baby girl.

A Feast for the eyes: Peter Greenaway's recent installation in Milan, a projected performance (with music) integrated with Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. I wish I'd been there.


Now open in Berlin, The Embassy German's Love to Hate. It fits the context pretty well, so the hating is mostly about BushCo.? Well, maybe not: Fort Knox at the Brandenburg Gate. The Guardian has a guide to the LHC at CERN, a truly massive project. Some thoughts on Brasilia.
Woo-hoo! Chalk up another success for big business! Check this out: according to a leaked World Bank report, biofuels are the prime cause of the global food crisis! Can you believe it? We did it! We did it! High five, guys! Yeh!
Exclusive means.

Going Down...

The Bears have arrived. Bloomberg reports that President Bush's Dollar Drop Maps Loss of U.S. Clout at Final G-8 Summit. How convenient. Oil rises to Record Above $144... BushCo. gambled, and lost. BIG.

Barrack Obama may have learned his skills on the streets of Chicago, but now Arianna Huffington is telling Barack Obama to grow a pair. (sigh!) Well, at least there's this...

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency
Harper's has a good article by Wendell Berry entitled Faustian Economics: Hell hath no limits.
Would the White House be Able to Eavesdrop on Obama Under the FISA Bill Barack Supports? You Bet.

(tip-o'-the-hat to D"Alessandrius)
The big story of the day is that the writer and intellectual Christopher Hitchens submitted to being "water-boarded" to determine whether or not it is torture. His finding? It is torture.

So, now that Mr. Hitchens has determined that the United States of America has used torture in it's War on Terror (turning it into a War of Terror) and since the Geneva Conventions and other treaties to which the United States of America is a signatory forbid torture and cruel and inhumane treatment, will Mr. Hitchens now stand up and declare that the United States has committed systematic war crimes, and advocate the prosecution of those who ordered and established the systematic use of torture, including those in the Executive Branch who signed-off on the program? Christopher Hitchens was man enough to undergo water-boarding, and I commend him for his bravery. Now, is he man enough to stand up for what is right and denounce those who ordered the use of torture?

I wait with bated breath...

One more thought... How come he couldn't fucking figure it out before?
The last few news cycles have been filled with outrage over the words of Wesley Clark. An army of pundits and talking heads have denounced Clark for "dissing" John McCain. But what did he really say?

Clark's point was that executive experience, such as being a governor of a state (heck, even Dubya and Bill can claim that), running a large corporation, or being a commanding general (something Clark knows about - has anybody looked at Wes Clark's resume? The man is no lightweight) is relative to being able to effectively handle the job of President - and neither Obama nor McCain have these sorts of experience. In this sense, they are on equal footing, and neither possesses a viable advantage. Being tortured during wartime does not necessarily prepare one for the duties of the presidency, and is therefore irrelevant to the discussion of what qualifies a person to lead the country. What's wrong with that?

Wes Clark's words were impolitic - but they were true.

What everybody loves and respects about John McCain is that he suffered horribly for 5.5 years in the Hanoi Hilton and was tortured repeatedly. McCain is considered an American Hero because he survived torture. Why, then, do these same people not mind that we torture our enemies, or quite commonly, people who aren't our enemies at all but just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? This is cognitive dissonance on a cosmic scale. Why not ask Christopher Hitchens about it? He seems to have belatedly "seen the light", as they say.

What's with this romantic attachment to the heroic? Why do we need a hero? What about a good manager who selects great people to fill governmental posts and is able to successfully guide the country out of the mess that Bush and Cheney made? I don't want the president to be a hero, and I don't want to elect a president because he was a hero. I want someone to get things done and obey the law while doing it. Is that too much to ask for?
The Guardian has an article about Frank Gehry and his design for the Serpentine Pavilion, as well as an open discussion on the historical value and probable demolition of Robin Hood Gardens, by the Smithsons.
Andrew Sullivan re-reads The War Over Iraq, a book by Lawrence Kaplan and Bill Kristol published in 2002-03, and finds it wanting.


Connect-the-dots: Iran-Contra's Lost Chapter.
They didn't know.
Congrats to Spain!

Bombs Away!

Well, not quite yet, but it seems that some people (the usual suspects) are Preparing the Battlefield. So, what's it all about, Alfie? It was Oil, All Along.