November 15, 2005

and the archer split the tree

will oldham, by laurent orseau

* E.J. Dionne on the scare tactics of G.W. Bush. excerpt:

"There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

"The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.
"The bad faith of Bush's current argument is staggering. He wants to say that the 'more than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate' who 'voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power' thereby gave up their right to question his use of intelligence forever after. But he does not want to acknowledge that he forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.

"By linking the war on terrorism to a partisan war against Democrats, Bush undercut his capacity to lead the nation in this fight. And by resorting to partisan attacks again last week, Bush only reminded us of the shameful circumstances in which the whole thing started."

-- related New York Times:

"The president and his top advisers may very well have sincerely believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But they did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections. We need to know how that happened and why.

"Mr. Bush said last Friday that he welcomed debate, even in a time of war, but that 'it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.' We agree, but it is Mr. Bush and his team who are rewriting history."

* How Brian Jones made Mick and Keith look conventional. excerpt:

"What's so interesting about Stoned [directed by Stephen Whoolley], which recreates the final days of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones (found dead in his swimming pool at the age of 27, a month after being sacked from the band), is that it's about class as much as sex.

"'It was a hedonistic time in which people like Brian were elevated very quickly and felt their fame put them above the law.' No wonder an older generation felt antagonistic towards these long-haired celebrities. For working-class teenagers such as Woolley, however, the Stones represented escape: 'I was going to inherit the world of Brian Jones: the world of drugs, flared trousers and hanging out with Jane Birkin. In contrast, my father and uncles had fought in the war, and were still quite young guys, but their world was over.'"
"Brian Jones was the face of 1960s revolution. With his sexually ambiguous glamour, he was glam rock before the term was ever coined. Without him there would have been no Rolling Stones. He founded the band in 1962, giving them their name (after a Muddy Waters song) and original rhythm-and-blues style. Later, he was the one recording ethnic music in Morocco and introducing the sitar to Western pop music. But by 1969 he had been sacked for excessive drug-taking and failure to turn up for recordings.

"By the time Stoned opens, he's out of the charmed London circle, still surrounded by lovers and minders, but no one is really taking care of him. 'These days you'd have a legion of gurus and PRs and therapists and chefs surrounding you,' says Woolley. 'Brian, on the night he died, had a not very good builder, a nurse who just happened to be there, and his Swedish girlfriend of just a few months.'

"Woolley is under no illusion about Jones; he could be capricious, vain, a violent womaniser. But he had extraordinary charm. As Keith Richards once observed: 'I've never met a nicer bunch of guys.'"

* More Murakami in the New Yorker: 1971: The Year of Spaghetti.

From Harper's:

* Number of Alabama state senators co-sponsoring a bill last summer to "protect" public displays of the Ten Commandments: 10

* Number of them who could list the Commandments: 1

* Price in South Africa next year of a latex vaginal insert that latches onto a rapist's penis and requires surgical removal: 35 cents

* Amount a German company says it can save a cargo ship in annual fuel costs by outfitting it with a giant kite: $1,200,000

* Bonnie 'Prince" Billy's Summer in the Southeast, a recording of live shows from the summer of 2004, is out today.


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