July 2006


Sec. Rice showed up yesterday in Lebanon during a surprise stop-off in Beirut.  Since President Bush’s 2003 Thanksgiving Surprise..every 6 months or so it seems like a member of the Administration has made a “surprise” stop somewhere in the Middle East.  Even though it was a good idea for Sec. Rice to visit Lebanon yesterday to show support for the weak Lebanese government, are the surprise visits good policy or a trick used one too many times? 

There’s a line in that fairly forgettable 1998 film, “You’ve got mail” (except for the Nora Ephron dialogue) that I often think of in day to day living.  This morning I was reading the Post on-line and that line came to mind as I read the article, “In Iraq, Military Forgot Lessons of Vietnam.  The article goes into detail why the US military has not been able to win or come close to stopping the counter-insurgency in Vietnam.  This week I’ve been reading, “The Ugly American,” by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick.  The Ugly American is set in South-east Asia.Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma etc in the mid-fifties.  On Friday, I had just finished where one (there’s more than one American) American has convinced the French Colonel that you can’t fight the Vietnamese using traditional warfare.  The Vietnamese were using tactics in a Mao Zedong brochure and the American convinced the French Colonel to use the same tactics.  Finally, they did and were successful..however afterwards the American soldier was nearly court-martialed by an American General for teaching the French Colonel “guerilla warfare.”  The WaPo article goes into detail how the US Military continued to use conventional methods to fight an unconventional war unsuccessfully in Iraq…just as they did in Vietnam. 

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Last week I finished Pearl Buck’s “The Exile,”  a semi-biographical story about her mother, an american missionary in China at the turn of the century.  I confess, for most of the book I thought it to be one of her inferior pieces of work.  The Good Earth is classic, but this novel was a little too much florid prose for my tastes.  However, as I was on the last couple of pages I found the following line (in the author’s voice) intriguing:

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The Leavitts have a bit of a shady reputation in Utah, amongst Republicans and Democrats alike.  The family has been linked to the introduction of whirling disease, which is threatening southern utah fisheries, then Gov. Leavitt was quite possibly a key participating member of the infamous Utah Olympic Scandal, not to mention a few other thiings that were fairly detrimental to the state of Utah.  Now Gov. Leavitt is now Sec. Leavitt and he along with his family made it to the front page of the Washington Post due to a family foundation that may or may not be ethical

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The Washington Post has a fairly interesting article about bloggers today.  Apparently the average blogger is under 30 (not surprising since the average person above the age of 40 is scared stiff of developing technology), and there’s 49 million blogs out there.  That’s a lot of blogs….especially when that number will probably double in the next 5 years.  While there’s 49 million blogs…only about 10,000 have an audience beyond their friends and family.  The cool things about blogs (like the article says) is that its not just geeks writing blogs.  People are writing about their hobbies, life..and culture becomes a little more varied when more people write.  Go Bloggers!

A couple of weeks ago, the Surgeon General issued another warning against second hand smoke.  I believe without doing much research, that this is the strongest warning she’s given.  As an asthmatic living in tobacco country..I welcomed her statement with open arms (and a couple of thankful lungs). 

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There’s a long (but not especially well-written) article about Baby boy Wilson in the Washington Post today.  After reading it, I started thinking about a series of questions I always ask myself whenever the Wilsons are concerned.  First:  Which is my favorite Wilson? (I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need to pick) Second: Which one will ultimately be more successful (I think Luke will be) and third-Why does the nickname butterscotch Stallion crack me up so much (because its hillarious).

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