Max and Kitty…
The real writer is one|
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.
-- Marge Piercy, For the young who want to
in The Moon Is Always Female.
Take an ax to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
-- Rumi, Quietness
Max and Kitty…
John le Carré has warned that the intelligence services could “become as much of a peril to our democracy as their supposed enemies” if they are not subjected to rigorous examination. The novelist was defending himself against the accusation that his former colleague John Bingham, upon whom he based his most famous creation, the spy George Smiley, “deplore[d]” how his novels revealed the “secret world” of the intelligence services.
Writing under his real name David Cornwell in a letter in Wednesday’s Telegraph, the author and former MI5 and MI6 agent acknowledged the debt he owed his mentor Bingham, a man for whom he “shall always have unqualified admiration”. But the novelist also gave a robust defence to the claim in Tuesday’s Telegraph from Lord Lexden that Bingham “was not treated as respectfully as he deserved by his protégé, John le Carré”, that Bingham was “hurt by the portrayal of his secret world in the novels”, and that Bingham once said that le Carré “was my friend, but I deplore and hate everything he has done and said against the intelligence services”.
John le Carré John le Carré believes ‘our secret services could in certain circumstances become as much of a peril to our democracy as their supposed enemies’.
Le Carré, however, said that “where Bingham believed that uncritical love of the intelligence services was synonymous with love of country, I came to believe that such love should be examined. And that, without such vigilance, our secret services could in certain circumstances become as much of a peril to our democracy as their supposed enemies”.
The Bush-Obama Security Scheme even pisses off fiction writers.
As Gibbs and Bishop make a left turn down the corridor towards the conference room at timemark 18:58 in Dressed To Kill (episode 16, season 11, aired last evening, 4 March 2014) a painting of my old ship–albeit in her earlier incarnation as DLGN 25–appears on the wall behind them. If you mouse over the photo above you can see my own print of that painting as it hangs to the left of my writing desk.
I wonder if the painting is random or if someone on the show has a connection to the Gray Ghost of the Pacific.
In the wake of an explosive new allegation that the CIA spied on Senate intelligence committee staffers, one senator felt this morning that he needed to make something clear.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee oversees the CIA, not the other way around,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) said in a press release.
In normal circumstances, that would have been a statement of the obvious. Today, it was more a cry for help.
McClatchy News Service on Tuesday reported that the CIA’s inspector general has asked for a criminal investigation into CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides who were investigating the agency’s prominent role in the Bush-era torture of detainees.
Specifically, McClatchy reported: “The committee determined earlier this year that the CIA monitored computers – in possible violation of an agreement against doing so – that the agency had provided to intelligence committee staff in a secure room at CIA headquarters that the agency insisted they use to review millions of pages of top-secret reports, cables and other documents, according to people with knowledge.”
In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) referred to what he called “unprecedented action against the Committee in relation to the internal CIA review,” and described it as “incredibly troubling for the Committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy.”
Clearly, concerns over invasion of privacy have an elitist spin, but the Bush-Obama Security Scheme couldn’t care less.
The vast bulk of the commentary issuing from American commentators about the Russian military action in Ukraine involves condemning exactly that which they routinely advocate and which the U.S. itself routinely does. So suffocating is the resulting stench that those who played leading roles in selling the public the attack on Iraq and who are still unrepentant about it, such as David “Axis of Evil/The Right Man” Frum, have actually become the leading media voices condemning Russia on the ground that it is wrong to invade sovereign countries; Frum thus has no trouble saying things like this with an apparently straight face: “If Russia acts the outlaw nation, can it be expected to be treated as anything but an outlaw?”
In the Bush-Obama Security Scheme, when it comes to rules, the
United Rogue States of America prefers TEGWAR and Calvinball.
Every West Virginian knows and understands, the difference between a “redneck,” a “good ol’ boy,” and “po’ white trash.”
My Hess line moved to Palantine, Virginia (now Fairmont, West Virginia) in 1723. My father and his parents moved to Marietta, Ohio during World War II. My dad is fond of joking that he raised the average intelligence in both states when he moved.
One of the face slaps I recieved from reading Dan Wakefield’s Kurt Vonnegut: Letters has come from the realization that I have absolutely no clue about 95 percent of the literary references made by Vonnegut in his letters. I am a writer with a library that people have marveled at and not, by Vonnegut’s casual standard, not even close to well-read.
I am ordering you to do something new, if you haven’t done it already. Get a collection of the short stories of Chekhov and read every one. Then read Youth by Joseph Conrad. I’m not suggesting you do these things. I am ordering you to do them. p. 177.
I at least know who Chekov and Conrad are, but I can’t name a single work by either that I’ve read (although Heart of Darkness–and now Youth, A Narrative–are waiting for me on my Kindle App.)
I’ve been having so much fun with the Guardian’s quick crossword puzzles that I decided to go back and begin solving them from the start. The first puzzle online is No. 135 from Wednesday, 7 June 1944 (the day after the Normandy Invasion) and while tough seems a very silly word in that historical context, I was greatly challenged by this puzzle. Take a look at the highlighted word (28 Across) and see if you know what the clue might be.
The Armed Forces thinks I’m too old to track down terrorists. You can’t be older than 42 to join the military. They’ve got the whole thing ass-backwards.
Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn’t be able to join a military unit until you’re at least 35.
For starters, researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a month, leaving us more than 280,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.
Young guys haven’t lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. ‘My back hurts! I can’t sleep, I’m tired and hungry.’ We are bad-tempered and impatient, and maybe letting us kill some jerk that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.
An 18-year-old doesn’t even like to get up before 10am. Old guys always get up early to pee, so what the hell. Besides, like I said, I’m tired and can’t sleep and since I’m already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch.
If captured we couldn’t spill the beans because we’d forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.
Boot camp would be easier for old guys.. We’re used to getting screamed and yelled at and we’re used to soft food. We’ve also developed an appreciation for Continue Reading »
[To see the 5 February 1996 edition of Point Of View (Vol. 28 nos. 9 & 10) follow the link and then download the PDF version of the issue to your Adobe Acrobat reader. JH]
I wish every civic or government class in every high school in our area would put their students to work examining the Plain Dealer’s front page today.
There are lessons to be learned.
Most of the front page is taken up with a crybaby display of Cleveland sports and its sad, sad record. Boo hoo, boo hoo. We didn’t win.
What is more instructive is the replica of the Plain Dealer front page the day following the Browns championship in 1964. The 50 years ago story.
Less front-page space was given to the championship victory on the PD front page in 1964 than is given this Sunday to a silly, preposterous piece dominating the front page of a newspaper already dangerously scarce of news.
The editors who made this decision deserve a dishonorable discharge.
The Sunday Page One piece is spread over six columns (seven inches in width) and 15 inches deep. The entire front page is eight columns and some 20 inches in depth.
The NEW Plain Dealer – short on substance, big on drawings and photos – wastes space that it can ill afford to squander if it wants to keep serious readers.
But it doesn’t seem to be in the “news” business and even less in the information business.
In addition, there are two entire inside pages devoted to the whimpering about the misfortunes of Cleveland major league sports teams. No, I Continue Reading »
From Sherry Chandler, The Bluegrass Poet, of course…
In his last, seemingly prescient Facebook post, published just hours before his arrest, Begg wrote: “Sometimes knowing too much can be a curse.” UK-based human rights investigator Nawaz Hanif told The Intercept that the charges against Begg are a transparent attempt at silencing political dissent:
The arrest of Moazzam Begg under British anti-terror laws is eerily similar to the detention of David Miranda a few months ago – both utilizing vague terror allegations to stifle investigations into abuses of power….It is pertinent to ask British authorities why Moazzam is being arrested a day before his report on torture and rendition is to be released, and over a year since he last stepped foot in Syria.”
This explanation is all the more credible given the exploitation of terrorism charges by both the U.S. and UK governments throughout the post-9/11 era. There has been a consistent attempt by government authorities to stifle political activism among those criticizing civil rights abuses as well as foreign military expansionism. Predominantly, the brunt of this suppression has focused on Muslim minority communities in the West.
And the Bush-Obama Security Scheme applauds the work of its minions…
“What’s the difference between Hillary Clinton and a catfish. One has whiskers and stinks, and the other is a fish.” — private-equity executive Paul Queally at the Wall Street secret society Kappa Beta Phi annual dinner
“What’s the biggest difference between Barney Frank and a Fenway frank? Barney Frank comes in different-size buns.” — Paul Queally
“In Wall Street land we’ll take our stand, said Morgan and Goldman. But first we better get some loans, so quick, get to the Fed, man.” — investment banker Warren Stephens, while wearing a Confederate cap, to the tune of “Dixie”
“Can you fuckin’ believe Lasry up there? He just gave me a ride in his jet a month ago.” — Fortress Investment Group founder Michael Novogratz, at the same dinner
“I believe that God has a plan for all of us. I believe my plan involves a seven-figure bonus.” — new society members, singing to the tune of “I Believe”
“What happens at the St. Regis stays at the St. Regis.” — Kappa Beta Phi motto
State reps Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland)
A proposed Ohio law whose broad language would allow business owners to cite religious beliefs in refusing service to whomever they choose was pulled Wednesday by its sponsors in response to overwhelming criticism to a similar bill in Arizona.
Supporters of House Bill 376, including Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, who co-sponsored the bill, [and Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, who sponsored the bill with Tim Derickson, R-Oxford. JH] say the bill was intended to protect religious freedom and prevent legal ramifications for people who act on those beliefs.
“It’s a case of trying to criminalize a difference of opinion,” said Thompson on Thursday.
A feckin’ difference of opinion Andy? Really?
No, your bill was intended to pander to those in what you perceive as your ignorant and superstitious base. Your bill was intended to perpetuate that ignorance and superstition by appealing to irrational fears.
Three generations ago you would have sponsored a bill to protect the religious freedom and prevent legal ramifications for people who acted on their belief that exogamy and miscegenation were sins before their gods.
Four generations ago you would have sponsored a bill to protect the religious freedom and prevent legal ramifications for people who acted on their belief that African Americans bore the mark of Cain.
Fifteen generations ago you would have sponsored a bill to protect the religious freedom and prevent legal ramifications for people who acted on their belief that their gods demand that you not suffer a witch to live and added a rider on the bill to allow a tax break for firewood and torches.
You sir are an ass.
As for Patmon, he is beyond asshood.
The debate over the new 20-year sin tax being demanded by sports owners and their corporate supporters is coming down to who lied and how much did they lie.
And how much will they lie this time.
The people who want the new 20-year tax lied. And they lied big.
Mayor Michael White wrote in 1990 that “It was critical that I could truthfully assure our citizens that the project would afford real job opportunities for Greater Clevelanders, particularly those most in need – the unemployed.”
The laughing can start now. That was a whopper.
He also said that the Cleveland schools would realize $15.6 million per year NEW (my emphasis) real estate taxes from the project.”
You can really laugh now. That was a Big Whopper.
Do we call these lies or political exaggerations? I’d go with the first choice.
Especially since Mayor White – the promise-maker – thereafter traveled to Columbus in a private corporate jet to successfully ensure that NO REAL ESTATE PROPERTY TAXES would ever be paid Continue Reading »
US rail company Amtrak has begun offering writers residencies on trains, after the author Alexander Chee expressed a wistful longing to write on trains in a recent interview. The writer Jessica Gross tweeted her approval, “because it would allow for uninterrupted creativity and window-gazing”, and Amtrak picked up on the idea; Gross has now travelled to Chicago and back, writing about her journey for the Paris Review, and Chee is due to take his own journey later this year. More trips – free, or as low-cost as possible – will follow, Amtrak told The Wire. The eventual goal, said Julia Quinn, social media director for Amtrak, is to “engage with writers several times a month”.