Saturday, April 08, 2006


How complex is the situation in Iraq? Read this:

On the Ground in Iraq The roots of sectarian violence
By Nir Rosen - Boston Review

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The State of the Media in Iraq:

Baghdad: The Besieged Press
By Orville Schell - New York Review of Books
One evening while I was in Baghdad, a British security guard mentioned that Fox News was giving a "party" in the nearby Palestine Hotel, once the almost elegant, five-star Le Meridien Palestine on the banks of the Tigris River. I was curious both to see what had happened to this legendary hotel and also what now passed for a social gathering among foreign reporters here. So at dusk, accompanied by two armed guards, I walked over to the Palestine through the maze of blast walls.


When we finally arrive on the fifth floor, we have to leave our guards at a checkpoint fortified with a steel door. Inside, we are greeted by the stink of disinfectant and stale air filled with the smell of curry and cigarette smoke. Down a hallway with a greasy carpet I find a small sitting room with shabby furniture and a soccer game playing on a TV. The Fox News staffers who are smoking and drinking seem glad to see almost anyone. The scene makes me think of a group of elderly retired people clinging to a residential hotel slated for demolition.

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Review of Armstrong and Kos Crashing the Gate:

The Hope of the Web
By Bill McKibben - New York Review of Books

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Harpers Index:
Estimated amount the U.S. would save each year on paperwork if it adopted single-payer health care: $161,000,000,000 [James G. Kahn, University of California, San Francisco]

Percentage change since 2000 in the average amount U.S. workers spend on out-of-pocket medical expenses: +93 [Hewitt Associates LLC (Lincolnshire, Ill.)]

Number of dominoes that a wayward sparrow toppled just before a Dutch world-record attempt in November: 23,000 [Endemol NV (Aalsmeer, The Netherlands)]

Hours later that the sparrow was executed: 1.5 [Endemol NV (Aalsmeer, The Netherlands)]

Price for a vibrator that plugs into an iPod and “stimulates you in time with your favorite music”: £29.99 [LoveHoney U.K. (Bath, England)]

Year that a Hindu nationalist party in India rechristened Valentine’s Day “Prostitution Day”: 2005 [Shiv Sena (New Delhi)]



Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they'd heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more into the elements from which it sprang. Out of that whirlwind no voice spoke and the pilgrim lying in his broken bones may cry out and in his anguish he may rage, but rage at what? And if the dried and blackened shell of him is found among the sands by travelers to come yet who can discover the engine of his ruin? ~ Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian

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