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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Sat. 10/29/05 08:56:43 AM

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A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

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Celebrating the 2000th American Death in the Iraq War by Zombie @ Zombie (ht):

The following pictures were taken in San Francisco on October 26, 2005, at the rally "commemorating" the 2000th death of an American soldier in the Iraq War.
A minor imbroglio erupted a few days earlier when the blogs and made posts mocking the American Friends Service Committee's plans to politicize the 2000th death of an American soldier in the Iraq War, with both blogs describing the upcoming nationwide events as "parties." Many anti-war blogs (which were also politicizing this artificial "milestone") took deep umbrage at this ironic insult, venting their anger at both bloggers, and insisting that the comemmorative events would be somber and respectful.
I decided to check out the AFSC's "Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar" event in San Francisco to settle the dispute. Would the rally be a somber and respectful memorial to our troops — or a fun and exciting "death party"?
You decide....

Into the woods: Americans may love British fantasy fiction because it hearkens back to simpler times. But it might have more to tell us about the horrors of the present. by James Parker @ The Boston Globe (ht):

"I sometimes think," grumbled the British science fiction writer Michael Moorcock in a 1987 essay titled ''Epic Pooh," ''that as Britain declines... her middle-classes turn increasingly to the fantasy of rural life and talking animals.... Old hippies, housewives, civil servants, share in this wistful trance; eating nothing as dangerous or exotic as the lotus, but chewing instead on a form of mildly anaesthetic British cabbage."
Even had this passage not occurred in the middle of an attack on ''Watership Down" — the best-selling 1972 novel that is being reissued in paperback by Scribner next month — its target would have been clear. For ''Watership Down" concerns itself with mild-mannered chewers of cabbage (rabbits, to be precise) and its author, Richard Adams, at the time he wrote the book, was an English civil servant.
The broader assault of Moorcock's essay is on the body of fantasy fiction produced and consumed by (as he saw it) a ''disenchanted and thoroughly discredited section of the repressed English middle class" — the ''artificial romance" of J.R.R. Tolkien's ''The Lord of the Rings," the ''corrupted romanticism" of C.S. Lewis's ''Narnia" books. These are precisely the productions, of course, that continue to enthrall the American public. Peter Jackson's ''Lord of the Rings" trilogy bestrode Hollywood like a colossus for three years, and Andrew Adamson's upcoming ''The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is expected to succeed on a similar scale.
Has American culture begun to mimic the chronic nostalgia of a certain strain of post-imperial Englishness? Is the embrace of these fantasies part of, in Moorcock's words, a ''longing to possess, again, the infant's eye?" Or is there something in them that speaks to the moment more clearly than, say, ''Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous"? A closer look at ''Watership Down" reveals that its vegetarian heroes inhabit a rougher and bloodier reality than is generally remembered: a wartime reality. And it is the fact that he had been to war — rather than his class status or political tendencies — that places Adams in the company of Tolkien and Lewis....

The Incredibles: The only debate about Joseph Wilson's credibility is the one taking place at the Washington Post and the New York Times. by Stephen F. Hayes @ The Weekly Standard (ht):

On June 12, 2003, when he first published a story about the matter, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus became the second journalist to have been used by Ambassador Joseph Wilson to peddle bogus information about his February 2002 trip to Niger.
Wilson told Pincus that he had debunked Bush administration claims that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. He was specific and apparently seemed credible. And Pincus bought it all.
He wrote:
Armed with information purportedly showing that Iraqi officials had been seeking to buy uranium in Niger one or two years earlier, the CIA in early February 2002 dispatched a retired U.S. ambassador to the country to investigate the claims, according to the senior U.S. officials and the former government official, who is familiar with the event. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity and on condition that the name of the former ambassador not be disclosed.
During his trip, the CIA's envoy spoke with the president of Niger and other Niger officials mentioned as being involved in the Iraqi effort, some of whose signatures purportedly appeared on the documents.
After returning to the United States, the envoy reported to the CIA that the uranium-purchase story was false, the sources said. Among the envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong," the former U.S. government official said.
There is one problem with this: It's wrong. Wilson lied and lied repeatedly. His central contention — that he had seen documents about the alleged sale and determined that they were forgeries — was a fabrication. We know this because Wilson took his trip in February 2002 and the U.S. government did not receive those documents until October 2002. It could not have happened the way Wilson described it to Pincus....

Rosa Parks, civil rights heroine, is dead by Cassandra Spratling @ Detroit Free Press (ht):

When Rosa Parks refused to get up, an entire race of people began to stand up for their rights as human beings.
It was a simple act that took extraordinary courage in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. It was a place where black people had no rights white people had to respect. It was a time when racial discrimination was so common, many blacks never questioned it.
At least not out loud.
But then came Rosa Parks.
This mild-mannered black woman refused to give up her seat on a city bus so a white man could sit down.
Jim Crow laws had met their match.
Parks' refusal infused 50,000 blacks in Montgomery with the will to walk rather than risk daily humiliation on the city's buses.
This gentle giant, whose quietness belied her toughness, became the catalyst for a movement that broke the back of legalized segregation in the United States, gave rise to the astounding leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and inspired fighters for freedom and justice throughout the world.
Parks, the beloved mother of the civil rights movement, is dead, a family member confirmed late Monday [Oct. 24]....

A Matter of Life and Death by Marjorie Williams @ Vanity Fair (ht):

The beast first showed its face benignly, in the late-June warmth of a California swimming pool, and it would take me more than a year to know it for what it was. Willie and I were lolling happily in the sunny shallow end of my in-laws' pool when he — then only seven — said, "Mommy, you're getting thinner."
It was true, I realized with some pleasure. Those intractable 10 or 15 pounds that had settled in over the course of two pregnancies: hadn't they seemed, lately, to be melting away? I had never gained enough weight to think about trying very hard to lose it, except for sporadic, failed commitments to the health club. But I'd carried — for so many years I hardly noticed it — an unpleasant sensation of being more cushiony than I wanted to be. And now, without trying, I'd lost at least five pounds, perhaps even eight....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sat. 10/29/05 08:56:43 AM
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