Archive for January, 2009

Donkey Bookmobiles

Anybody else remember bookmobiles?

When I was a child, back there in the last millennium, I lived in a modest California Central Valley town of about 10,000 people. Though we had a perfectly fine public library just off downtown, a bookmobile daily crawled through the streets delivering books to those who were too old, sick, young, automobile-impaired, or Boo Radley-like to frequent the place. I was kind of a library rat then, and I remember being grateful, when laid up first with mononucleosis, and then with valley fever, that the books could come to me.

Some years on, still in the last millennium, I moved upstate to another California Central Valley town, this one somewhat bigger, one with not only a perfectly fine public library, but also a more brash and boastful library connected to a college. Though a bookmobile did not cruise the streets of the top town in the county, it did dutifully crawl into all the towns, villages, hamlets, forks in the road, wide spots, and wilderness areas tucked away in the flatlands, foothills, and mountains.

This piece will eventually get around to reporting on a perfectly charming story from the BBC about the use of donkeys to circulate books among the children of Ethiopia, but first I smell several hundred more words of introductory and digressive material . . . .
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Cheney: “We Don’t Need No Stinking Pardons”

Vice President Darth Cheney, in the latest stop on his “Everything I Did Was Right, Legal, And Just” tour, has  informed Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press that there exists no reason for George II to issue pre-emptive pardons to save the bacon of those who authorized and/or inflicted torture in the War on Terra.

Darth further opined that no one in the Central Intelligence Agency behaved unlawfully during any “interrogation” because all always proceeded according to the administration’s “legal” opinions.

Finally, Darth hallucinated that the “intelligence” his minions obtained via waterboarding proved reliable and valuable because the waterboarders acted with “great discrimination” and were “people who know what they’re doing.”

A New Zealand paper’s expanded treatment of daffy Darth’s AP chat notes that the soon-to-be-ex-VP believes all CIA personnel are in the clear because “I don’t have any reason to believe that anybody in the agency did anything illegal.” And if he says it, it must be true, right?

Darth defended both the George II decision to torture, and the unlawful warrantless spying program:

Cheney said the administration rightly used programs to intercept communications of suspected terrorists and used tough methods to interrogate high-value detainees.

Darth warned that the incoming Obama administration must not only continue to muck about in Iraq, but also get busy in Iran and North Korea; the latter nation, he decreed, is both busily producing nuclear material, and helping the Syrians do the same.

Darth praised Obama’s retention of Robert Gates as Defense Secretary, which indicates to me that the man should probably be fired at once.

Finally, Darth argued that George II should not be blamed for our current financial morass, lying that “I don’t think anybody saw it coming.”

Dirt

Early last Monday morning, KGO-San Francisco’s Ray Taliaferro, dean of the Left Coast lefty AM-radio talk-show hosts, signed on with an impassioned sermon both poxing, and pleading with, all parties in Israel’s current assault on Gaza. A brief account of that jeremiad can be found here.

This Monday morning, the violence in Gaza having not at all abated, Taliaferro returned to sermonizing, this time taking as his text the primacy in this Mideast conflict, of dirt.

What is liberating to me about Taliaferro’s lamentations is that they transcend all the tired old themes that are so incessantly and obsessively worked and reworked whenever people feel the need to on this issue opine, ruminate, bloviate, screech. This night, Taliaferro graphically exposed and addressed the bald fact that in this Mideast conflict combatants on all sides, through their actions, demonstrate that to them dirt is more important than their own children.

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“There Is No Other Reward”

And what a terrible morning it is. Where?—over in the Middle East. Oh no—you mean the Middle East is at it again? Yeah, they’re at it again. They don’t have enough intelligent people in the population over there on both sides of the border to get together? No, no, no-no. Well then how many of them have to die? Well, they don’t care if all of them die.

So how long is it going to take all you guys to kill each other? Somebody will fire on Israel, kill some people; Israel will fire back, and kill some people; back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth—here comes 2015—and forth—here comes 2020—and forth—here comes 2050—and forth–here comes—oh lord.

I have come to the conclusion—and nobody can talk me out of this one—that there is no answer. And that the killing will take place until there’s no . . . one . . . left.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’ll tell you this: I feel sick to my stomach, when I see what is happening today.

It’s so sad. It is so sad. It is so sad. It . . .is . . . so . . . sad. Say it again, Mr. Taliaferro: it is so sad.

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When I Worked

January 2009
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