September 19, 2006

The type of memories
that turn your bones to glass



Gerhard Richter, Flugzeug II (Airplane II), 1966

* Colin Powell on his opposition to the Bush detainee plan. excerpt:

"Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell said yesterday that he decided to publicly oppose the Bush administration's proposed rules for the treatment of terrorism suspects in part because the plan would add to growing doubts about whether the United States adheres to its own moral code.

"'If you just look at how we are perceived in the world and the kind of criticism we have taken over Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and renditions,' Powell said in an interview, 'whether we believe it or not, people are now starting to question whether we're following our own high standards.'

"Powell, elaborating on a position first expressed last week in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also argued that the administration's plan to 'clarify' U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions would set a precedent for other nations that would endanger U.S. troops.

"'Suppose North Korea or somebody else wants to redefine or 'clarify' Geneva Conventions provisions prohibiting 'outrages against personal dignity' and 'humiliating and degrading treatment' of prisoners, he said.

"Powell's opposition marks a rare public breach with the administration he left 20 months ago. As secretary of state, he repeatedly clashed privately with Vice President Cheney and others who had more hard-line foreign policy views. But since leaving office he has declined nearly all opportunities to publicly criticize even those policies he opposed internally."

"Powell has said he regrets that the Iraq invasion was launched on the basis of false intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs and Hussein's relationship with al-Qaeda, information that he vouched for in an address before a hostile United Nations. He has also said that he believes the administration should have sent more troops to invade Iraq and provided a better postwar plan."

--- Related: MUST SEE TV, by Keith Olbermann. If you haven't seen it, please take to time to do so, its very much worth your minutes.

* From Harper's Index, September 2006:

-- Average salary package last year among all full-time employees of Goldman Sachs, including support staff: $521,000

-- Salary of the White House's new Director for Lessons Learned: $106,641

-- Amount Alaska Zoo paid last year to build a treadmill for its 8,000-pound elephant: $150,000

-- Number of times the elephant has used the treadmill so far: 0

-- Percentage of tea drunk in America that is served iced: 85

-- Percentage of volunteers in a four year psychedelic-mushroom study who said they experienced 'strong or extreme fear': 31

-- Percentage who described the experience as 'among the five most meaningful' in their lives: 67

* Seattle Craigslist experiement. Two Seattle folks posted a 'casual encounters' ad on the Seattle area Craigslist to see what kind of responses they could get, and then made public the responses, as well as the pictures of the people who chose to respond. NSFW hilarity ensues.

* "Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity." -- Lester Bangs

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