One of the things that goes along with advising Student Council at my school is orchestrating the annual Talent Show. For the past four years, that’s included performing as the first act — largely because I badger my fellow faculty into performing, and I feel I should ask them to do something I’m not willing. Also, because secretly I am a ham. The song is always something of my own writing and always a capella, because I don’t know anything about playing instruments or writing music for them. I like this because it gives me a chance to demonstrate that I am every bit not a singer as I am not a songwriter. This year’s offering was called “Nothing But a Dream”. Because I have no shame I’m including a Quicktime movie of it as well.
More testing, this time with the correct category.
Let’s see what this does.
You can just ignore this post — I’m trying a new feature.
Where should I put the subscribe message?
(written 2007 0412; extended 2007 0413)
I’ll admit that this post is basically ripped off from Glenn Greenwald, whom you should read for details. I just wanted to collect all the points in a clean, stripped version. The subject? The amazing and disturbing “incompetence” demonstrated by the Bush administration in producing records that might put it in a bad light. How many times must we accept the excuse “The dog ate my homework” before everyone recognizes that this is actually criminal malfeasance. I know that you should “never ascribe to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity” — but come on — this is passing from unbelievable to ridiculous:
| 2007 0412
|| Emails regarding plans to fire US Attorneys, allegedly sent via RNC accounts|
| 2007 0324
|| 18 days of emails (this time from the Justice Department and White House) regarding plans to fire US Attorneys
| 2007 0228
||Videotape of the final interrogation of detained US citizen Jose Padilla, which could shed light on whether he had been tortured.
| 2004 0624
|| Memos regarding the White House policies on torture
|| Over 2,000 pages of a classified report, missing from the copy submitted to Congressional oversight committees, regarding possible abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib
|| Legally-required documents to explain gaps in President Bush’s service — or, more usually, lack thereof — in the Air National Guard
|| Transcript of a videoconference call that directly contradicted the White House story on how engaged the President was during the Katrina debacle. The administration told Congress that no such transcript existed — then oops! it was found and leaked.
|| FBI records indicating agency participation in the interrogation of anti-war protesters in 2002. The FBI denied that the secret intelligence unit was present, except — oops! — DC police logs show that it was.
||Emails relating to the case against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for illegally disclosing the identity of a covert CIA operative
||Videotape records of abuse by federal guards of foreign citizens detained after the 9/11 attacks.
How do they expect anyone to believe their story?
PS: If you have links to any similar events, I’d appreciate hearing them and I’ll add them to the list. And before the wingbats take over the comment space, yes, I’ve heard of Sandy Berger and yes, that was reprehensible. What’s your point?
The Book of Lost Things
a novel by John Connolly
InstaRating: 5 (out of 5)
This is simply a good book. I would not have thought anything would rank up next to a new book by Guy Gavriel Kay (Ysabel, which I’ll review some other time), but this one easily meets that standard. One of life’s greatest treasures, for me, is a book that compels me to keep reading at an ever-more-breakneck pace. I love a book that gives me the sensation that I’m missing details because the vision is so extravagant and the journey so enthralling that there just isn’t time to savor everything. I love a book so good that, around page 50, I start calculating how long I have to wait so that it will be fresh when I re-read it.
A short summary: David is a pre-teen in World War II Britain, who loses his mother to an unnamed lingering disease and his father (as David sees it) to a stepmother and half-brother. David starts to hear books whisper to him and then, in an ancient house, hears his mother’s voice calling to him. He ventures into the garden just as a Luftewaffe bomber crashes, propelling him into an alternate world where strange versions of well-known fairy tales seem to be true. He meets a kindly Woodsman and a questing knight, but is menaced by the half-wolf Loups, by harpies, trolls, and above all by the Crooked Man, an indistinct but terrifying menace who wants, for reasons left unexplained, for David to tell him the name of his half-brother. At the suggestion of the Woodsman, David travels east toward the castle of the ailing King and his magic Book of Lost Things. What he discovers — there and along the way, in the King and in himself — ends up changing everything.
More detail will inevitably involve spoilers, so I’ll hide them below the fold. If you’re looking for whether this book is a good read, but you don’t want to know the ending, stop here and take my word for it: This is a good book. It will richly reward you for reading it. Connolly shows himself to be a master of atmosphere and foreshadowing. If you need to hear more, and don’t mind knowing what’s coming, read on…
Glen Greenwald continues to shine a welcome spotlight on the outright authoritarian — dare we say, totalitarian? — impulses of the Right’s new darling, Rudy Guiliani. Twice in the past few days, he’s made statements that, only a handful of years ago, would have been credible only coming from the mouth of some cartoonish caricature. Really, there is no Constitutional guarantee not under attack by the wingbats who have hijacked the Republican party…
OK, so that’s not entirely fair. But Glenn Greenwald has a terrific piece on why it’s not entirely unfair, either. The short version: When asked if the President of the United States should have the power to detain indefinitely American citizens without any sort of review, Mitt Rommey said he couldn’t form an opinion without consulting some “smart lawyers” — despite the fact that it clearly violated the Contitution, the upholding of which is the sworn duty of anyone holding the office Rommey had decided to seek. But it gets better. Guiliani doesn’t need lawyers; he knows he supports this sort of power trip, although (hilariously) he hopes to exercise it only “infrequently”.
How far we have sunk, in only six years! Who could have guessed that the American habit of liberty would prove so fragile?