January 05, 2006

Early 2006 Musings

I have been away, in Las Vegas, visiting family. I am still on my trip to California visiting other family, but we took a sidetrip these last few days. It was my first visit to a place I have always said was the last place on earth I ever wanted to go. It still is. Other than family living there, and despite all their protestations about why they do, I still don't get why any humans would want to live there who are not directly involved in the business of the national gambling obsession -- the act of throwing away money for fun.


In any event, I have been away from Orwell's Grave longer than expected and have been trying to find a way to re-enter my blogging brain.

The first site I visited was Baghdad Burning, Riverbend's blog from the capital city of Iraq, the young woman who has kept us all in touch with the realities of Iraq citizens and what they confront in their lives on a daily basis. Her latest entry starts like this:

Here we are in the first days of 2006. What does the ‘6’ symbolize? How about- 6 hours of no electricity for every one hour of electricity? Or… 6 hours of waiting in line for gasoline that is three times as expensive as it was in 2005? Or an average of six explosions per day near our area alone?

She has a way of making the lives of Iraqis come home directly into our hearts.


I see that our President has finally responded to the overwhelming truth of his intellectual and policy isolation by staging (much like he staged his interview with the troops last year) a meeting with former secretaries of state and other past administration officials to hear their unique views on the war and its aftermath. His phony little meeting was relatively short and was summarized by his statement:

"I've ... had a chance to listen to their concerns, their suggestions about the way forward. Not everybody around this table agree with my decision to go into Iraq, I fully understand that. But these are good solid Americans who understand that we've got to succeed now that we're there. And I'm most grateful for the suggestions that have been given. We take to heart the advice; we appreciate your experience and we appreciate you taking time out of your day."

I find it fascinating how he apologizes and explains to his base that these are really "good solid Americans" so it's really okay for him to meet with them, even though in his heart of hearts meeting with them makes him squirm with discomfort. Thanks for coming, here's your hat and what's your hurry.


While two more suicide attacks have killed more than 110 in Iraq, the US military has bombed and obliterated an Iraqi family of women and children in their home as they pursued men they suspected of planting a roadside bomb.


And finally, while we were in Las Vegas, the center of the universe of everything wrong with our consumer culture, we intermittently followed the story of the trapped miners. The story, of course, has become the mistaken information about how many survived and then the news that all the original information was wrong. What I fear will go missing in this story is why these men were killed and what violations were committed by the mining company.

The Skeptical Observer has two short pieces worth reading, the first about the company violations, and the Bush administration's Interior Department that is filled with mining company cronies; and the second, a story about the United Mine Workers and mine safety issues in general.

Here is the first statement from the United Mine Workers of America about the Sago tragedy. Note that the miners at Sago were not members of the UMWA.


Hume's Ghost said...

Yep, the media is once again failing to provide context for this disaster and is instead focusing on the human interest angle.

Here's an entry I did a while back on how one of Bush's first acts when came into office was to white-wash the Oct. 2000 coal slurry spill in Inez, Kt. It has been described as the worst east coast environmental disaster in US history.


enigma4ever said...

Her posts are truly amazing...to bad more Americans don't read her...

I am glad that you survived LV- it is one of the worst places on earth....welcome back...

and about Bush and the Coal Mine Disaster...so sad..and so angering...alot like Katrina...

nightquill said...

Notice he didn't call the assembled Secretaries "strong". Since he calls everyone/everything on his side "good" and "strong", there must be significance in the omission.

Just the other day I heard him saying about Sharon on the radio, "He was a good man. He was a strongman."

OK, well he probably meant that with another space, but it sounded that way when he said it.