[the palaverist]

Monday, July 31, 2006

[blogging the secretary-general]

UNSG.org is an intelligent Canadian blog on the selection process for the next UN Secretary-General. The latest post has some trenchant tea-leaf reading regarding last week's straw poll. The blogger's inside sources suggest that the lone "discourage" vote for South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, rather than coming from Japan or China, came from the United States, which may have simply voted "discourage" for all four candidates.

This is made more plausible by US Ambassador John Bolton's bizarre recent comment describing "the ideal candidate as a proletarian — somebody who will work in the system, who will get his fingernails dirty or her fingernails dirty, and really manage the place, which is what it needs." I love it when neocons pull out the Communist rhetoric. It makes me feel so deliciously dirty!

Seriously, though, this seems to be an attempt both to discredit the current candidates and to suggest that the new Secretary-General should be an anonymous nobody, to be treated with all the respect neocons generally accord to the proletariat. Or perhaps it's just part of the Bush administration's overall contempt for expertise, qualifications or demonstrations of competence — starting, of course, from the decidedly mediocre top man, and extending to people like Paul Bremmer, Michael Brown, Michael Chertoff, Harriet Miers, and of course Bolton himself.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

[good news for dems]

Moveon.org sent out an email today touting an exciting NPR poll that shows the Democrats as likely winners overall in the 50 closest House races.

Unlike most polls, this one didn't just call likely voters nationwide and try to extrapolate. Instead, the pollsters talked to likely voters in the 50 most competitive districts. Nine of them are held by Democrats, 40 by Republicans, with one independent, and they went for the GOP by 12 points in 2004.

At the moment though, a mere 29 percent of likely voters say they will probably or definitely vote for the incumbent, while 46 percent say they'll probably or definitely vote for someone else. When a generic Democrat and Republican are posited, the overall result is 48 percent to 41 percent in favor of the Dems; when actual names of candidates are used, this shifts only slightly, to a 49-43 split. (Keep in mind that this is in districts that went Republican by 12 points in 2004, well to the right of the national average.) Breaking it down even further, the poll found that in the "competitive" districts currently held by Democrats, the incumbent party holds a whopping 60-29 lead, while in the Republican-held districts, the Dems still hold a lead of 49 percent to 45 percent, a bit past the 3.2 percent margin of error.

The results on specific issues are also pretty interesting. Most startling is the discovery that on "values issues, like stem cell research, flag buring and gay marriage," the Democrats have an 14-point lead, which jumps to 18 points when the question is just on stem cells. So far, at least, the Republican wedge issues aren't getting any traction.

It's a long way to the November election, but this poll doesn't bode well for the GOP.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

[watching the walls]

This past weekend, Jenny and I made a purchase we'd been researching and planning for some time: we bought a video projector, the Sharp XR-10X. Gone is the small flickering tube, a mere 18 inches across diagonally. Replacing it is our flickering living room wall, or rather a flickering expanse of it that's about 100 inches diagonally, or 80 inches from one side to the other.

It's a helluva way to watch the Simpsons.

The new projector isn't perfect. For the moment, we have an s-video cable snaking its way across the room, but that means the picture quality is a little off: you can see flicker lines gradually scrolling up the screen, and sometimes quick motion is a little glitchy and pixelated. Hopefully this can be corrected by switching to component video cable, but that'll mean calling Time Warner and bugging them to get me a cable box with a component-video output.

But even with the extant flaws, it sure beats the old cathode rays, especially for Jenny, whose distance vision isn't great. Even with a fair amount of ambient light, the image is clear, and somehow the mind is willing to believe that a patch of white wall in a lighted room is black if the surrounding area is flooded with brighter light. There's a bit of the window-screen effect from visible pixels, but I have to pause the video to see it clearly, and it's actually kind of useful for making sure the focus is right. The sound of the fan in the machine is far less intrusive than the air conditioner across the room. And at the rate we watch TV, the lamp should last us at least a couple of years.

Now I just need to get a hold of some quality ambient films to show at parties. Fluxus films? Warhol screen tests? Fillmore-style psychedelic light shows? Daniel, I'm counting on you to have some kind of Russian avant garde something-or-other that gives good background.

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[all the pieces of a language]

When you start to learn a language with the intention of really understanding it deeply, you quickly discover that there are many more aspects than the few taught by formal pedagogy. Most teaching systems will give you the writing system, grammar, standard vocabulary and a certain amount of listening comprehension. Beyond that, everyone wants to learn the slang and dirty words, which are rarely included in Beginning I textbooks.

But languages have further corners and byways, and one that is often overlooked is the handwriting of ordinary folks. In America, kids are drilled (or at least were when I was young) in cursive writing, which is disappointingly free of any curse words, but which is helpful when you're trying to scrawl notes fast enough to keep up with someone speaking.

Korean has its own cursive writing, but unfortunately I've been unable to track down any books on the subject. As it is, my Korean handwriting is slow and laborious and earns compliments from people here in the office for its tidiness — like a second-grader's, basically. In an effort to change that, I downloaded some Korean handwriting fonts and have been attempting to parse and apply them.

For now, I'm stuck with a bit of a hybrid style, one that allows my writing to flow more easily, but that doesn't change the shapes of the letters so much that I can't read them easily. After all, part of what makes a morass of loops identifiable as a word in English is our ready knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar, and even then, we regularly find ourselves squinting at scribbles as we try to decide whether that's answer or cursives.

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[where blue helmets come from]

Well, not so much the helmets as the guys under them. Slate has a helpful Explainer on how to become a UN peacekeeper.

Basically, UN member states contribute them, and they mostly come from poor countries because the UN pays them $1,028 per month, which is crap if you're from the developed world but is quite a lot for major troop-contributing countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (the 2005 monthly per capita income in the latter was $33.58). In such countries, the government typically takes a cut to cover expenses and contribute to the national coffers, while the individual peacekeepers are paid low wages that nevertheless beat what most people can earn back home. A problem with this scheme is that the UN peacekeeper salary is not nearly enough to pay for quality equipment and ammunition, so peacekeepers have been known to arrive on the scene underequipped and hungry, adding to the logistical crisis they're supposed to be defusing.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

[bringing the war home]

Major Eric Wolf of the United States Marine Corps is a logistics officer who has served a six-month tour in Iraq. He's also my brother-in-law — my wife's sister's husband — and he and three of his four kids are staying with us at the moment. They're moving from his Washington, DC, posting to Camp Pendleton in California, and they've decided to do it as a drive across the country in the family van. (His wife and one of his daughters chose to fly instead.)

Shortly after his arrival at our apartment, Eric dropped the news that he's going back to Iraq almost immediately after he gets to Camp Pendleton. Last time he flitted around the country collecting information on how units were using their equipment in various contexts, but this time he'll hopefully have a safer job. Still, I'm not happy to have yet another family member in a Middle Eastern war zone (my brother Effie is still in Safed, though he's heading for Jerusalem tomorrow). This morning I awoke from dark dreams of a first visit to Israel that, instead of giving me the warm and relaxed feeling virtually all Jews get when they go there, was full of falling bombs and foreboding.

All day I've had John Kerry on the brain — not John Kerry the presidential candidate, but John Kerry the antiwar protester in 1971:
Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say they we have made a mistake ... We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? (Full Testimony | Video Excerpt)
Substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam," and these words could've been spoken by a soldier yesterday.

Of course, there's an easy answer to Kerry's questions: lie to the troops. According to a recent Zogby poll, "Nearly nine of every 10 [US troops surveyed in Iraq] — 85 percent — said the US mission is 'to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9/11 attacks,' while 77 percent said they believe the main or a major reason for the war was 'to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.'" Even so, "an overwhelming majority of 72 percent of American troops in Iraq think the US should exit the country within the next year."

This is the situation into which my brother-in-law is being tossed, this time with no particular mandate, but just to fill some boxes on a troop chart.

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[the race for secretary-general]

Yesterday the Security Council held an informal straw poll to see where they stand on the various declared candidates for UN Secretary-General — Kofi Annan's term ends on December 31 of this year — and Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon of South Korea got the most endorsements.

To understand what this means, it might be helpful to back up and explain how the Secretary-General is chosen. According to Article 97 of Chapter XV of the UN Charter, "The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council." On the surface, this makes it look like the power resides with the General Assembly, but in reality the Security Council recommends just one candidate, which the General Assembly then approves or not. So it's the Security Council's views that matter most.

In the secret-ballot straw poll, each Security Council member could check "encourage," "discourage" or "no opinion" next to the name of each declared candidate. (The declared candidates are Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, former Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, and Indian novelist and UN Department of Public Information head Shashi Tharoor.) Minister Ban received 12 "encourage" votes, one "discourage," and two "no opinions." Tharoor came in a close second.

So who's the "discourage," eh? If I had to guess, I would say Japan, whose attempts to join the Security Council as a permanent member South Korea has vigorously resisted. But who knows?

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Friday, July 21, 2006

[prunella's blog]

Meet Prunella P. Pistlethrot, sometime misanthrope, cataloguer of bad things, and a very dear friend of mine.

You might notice that her links look a lot like my links, which is because I helped her with her web design. But this is not a side project of yours truly. Oh, no. Prunella has a sharp and funny mind of her own — she writes glorious sentences like "Being Miss Poofy Blankeypoo doesn't really work for me" and "On a general scale of evil I'm going to rank them somewhere between hangnails and nice people you know, but whose names you can't remember" — and I look forward to reading more of her cranky views on the world.

Oh, and if anyone who knows her way around Photoshop wants to take that lovely picture of Prunella, sharpen it up and then email it back to me, that'd be much appreciated.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

[korean dance at lincoln center]

On Tuesday, August 8, at 7:30 p.m., the 82-year-old Korean Living National Treasure dancer Kang Sun Young will perform at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, along with her troupe of 60 dancers and a 14-piece Korean traditional orchestra.

It's extremely rare for a Korean performance to be staged on this scale outside of Korea. From what I know of Korean dance, it should be a moving and powerful experience. You can read the press release for details.

The Korean Mission to the UN is giving out tickets, so if you've got any interest in coming with me, please let me know by July 25.

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[the oddities of korean]

Learning Korean is hard work, but continually fascinating. I'm now on the first chapter of the Beginning 2 textbook, which means I've begun my second semester of self-study after taking off a couple of weeks to torment myself with vocabulary drill, and it's nice to get back to the part I like best, which is weird grammar.

In the Korean language, verb endings do a lot of heavy lifting. As opposed to adding entire phrases or clauses, Koreans can change the whole character of a sentence just by manipulating the verb form.

For example, ka- (-) is the root of the verb to go. The simplest sentence you can make with this verb is Kayo (가요), which literally means Go, with an implied subject. (For simplicity, we'll assume the implied subject is you.)

Here are some of the variations you can make by changing the verb form:

Kaseyo. (가세요.) = Please go.
Kal keoyeyo? (갈 거예요?) = Do you intend to go?
Kalkkayo? (갈까요?) = Should you go? or Shall you go?
Kajiyo? (가지요?) = You're going, right?
Kago Shipeoyo. (가고 싶어요.) = You want to go.
Kaneundeyo. (가는데요.) = You're going. Do you need any further assistance?

Note that all of this is in the present tense, and all at the polite informal level of formality. I find it incredibly interesting that you can pack so much meaning into verb forms. It's just a very different way to approach communication.

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[weekly world music 14: weaving voices]

America is Waiting | New Feet by Brian Eno and David Byrne (My Life in the Bush of Ghosts)

Dhyana and Donalogue | Speaking in Tongues I | Sacred Stones by Sheila Chandra (Weaving My Ancestors' Voices)

In 1979, Brian Eno and David Byrne, who had been working together on Talking Heads records, embarked on a remarkable project, the result of which was the 1980 album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Lavishly reissued by Nonesuch, Bush of Ghosts sounds perhaps better today than it did then. Inspired by then-obscure African and Arabic music as well as the nascent hip-hop scene and its elision of the roles of composer, performer and curator, Eno and Byrne set out to create the music of an imaginary culture.

There were twists and turns along the way — fascinatingly described in the intelligent new liner notes by Byrne — and the final product, made up of rhythm tracks and found vocal samples, captured the zeitgeist of an uncertain time during which convulsions in the Third World intruded on the consciousness of the First. The period during which the album was made was one of relentless coverage of the Iranian hostage crisis. It also saw the independence of Zimbabwe and the kidnapping and murder of the American ambassador to Afghanistan. In America, Ronald Reagan was elected president. The album's vocal samples of African and Muslim singers, African-American and white American preachers, angry political talkshow hosts and laughing exorcists create an ominous swirl of cross-cultural superstition and ecstaticism that reflected the atmosphere of those times and resonates strongly today.

"America is Waiting" probably reflects the atmosphere of the hostage crisis most clearly, but its mood of expectation, condemnation and menace could have come straight from today's talk radio. "New Feet" is an outtake that uses beautiful samples of Muslim (I think) singing. You can listen to snippets of all the tracks at the Bush of Ghosts website, which is chock full of goodies, including a remix site, and well worth a look.

A very different approach to voice across cultures is that of Sheila Chandra, the first English pop singer of Indian descent to chart a hit. On her album Weaving my Ancestors' Voices, she specifically wanted to move past the idea that fusion is about mixing up exotic instruments, so she limited herself to voice and drone. The fusion is all in the vocal style. "Dhyana and Donalogue" is an adaptation of a very old Irish ballad, with some wordless Muslim-style lament thrown in. "Speaking in Tongues I" is a bravura performance of Indian spoken percussion. And we end with "Sacred Stones," a gorgeous blending of Christian and Hindu prayers and harmonies. Amen, Shiva!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

[the taste of summer]

There are certain flavors that I will always associate with summer: fresh blackberries hot from the sun and picked straight from the vine, chocolate milkshakes like my grandmother used to make when my best friend and I would watch Scooby Doo, ice-cold lemonade.

For Koreans, the flavor of summer is apparently naengmyeon (냉면), or cold buckwheat noodles. Today the New York Times profiles this chewy treat, which I have to admit I never liked. Lately my colleague Young has been trying to convince me to give it another shot, so I will soon be indulging in this peculiar Korean dish once again. Hopefully Kang Suh, which she says is the restaurant to go to, will do a better job than the hole-in-the-wall student eatery near Daehagno in Seoul where I developed my current dislike.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

[bombs in safed]

My brother has a few pictures up of the penny-ante damage that's been done by Katyusha rockets in the northern Israeli town of Safed, aka Zfat, where he's been studying for the past several months.

I'm a bit less sanguine than he is about how safe things really are, but it is interesting to see what kind of damage these rockets usually do, as opposed to the pictures of the few that are bigger or hit something flammable. It's almost as if they were hurling hyperactive fireworks rather than serious weapons. Hyperactive fireworks that can take your head off, but still.

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[goin' to chicago]

Update: Looks like no Chicago after all, or at least not until the end of August. Jenny's been extended in Pennsylvania instead. Ah, well.

Original post: Like a Mississippi sharecropper, it looks like Jenny is goin' to Chicago. Okay, not much like a Mississippi sharecropper, considering she'll be going as a business consultant to develop a cost-benefit analysis for what could turn out to be a very large transportation project. She's scheduled to leave her current project with CIGNA at the end of the month and begin her new gig in August.

In terms of travel, Chicago may actually turn out to be less arduous than all of the schlepping to Philadelphia and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for her current project. Jenny was told that travel time for the new gig would probably average two to three days per week, and while it's unclear how that would be divided up, that would be a distinct improvement over the ongoing four-day travel schedule she's been on. Of course, these things have a way of expanding. However it works out, though, I'm glad Jenny gets to move on (finally!) from her first project as a consultant and start a new adventure in a new city.

Bonus: A theme song, of sorts, for Jenny's new assignment (gotta listen to the very end) (via music (for robots)).

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[korean cuisine]

"Heaven knows, I have eaten a lot of unusual things, but I found these little fellas terrifying." That is food writer Stefan Gates's take on Beondegi (번데기), or boiled silkworm larvae, a popular Korean snack. The photo and comment are part of his "search for the ultimate edible challenge," as documented by the BBC. Other Korean culinary delights include sea slugs and dried frog tea.

It's features like these that make me envy those friends of mine who have become obsessed with Italy or France. Of all the countries in the world to snare my passions, why did it have to be the one that thinks larvae are a tasty treat for the kiddies?

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

[the best hotel in india]

When we were in India in 2002-2003, our favorite hotel was one we didn't even stay at: Killa Bhawan. Located in the honey-hued fort walls of the historic Thar Desert city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, the hotel was run by an affable Brahmin who was wise enough to see the value of inviting non-guests up to his extraordinary terrace for chai and conversation. We were given a look at the gorgeous interiors, put together in conjunction with a French designer, then ushered up to comfortable wicker chairs on the crenellated curve of the fort wall, where we drank in the views along with the sweet spiced tea.

India was an enervating and difficult place to travel, but Jenny and I could see heading back to Jaisalmer simply to while away our days at the Killa Bhawan. More even than its stunning location, what so impressed us about the Killa Bhawan was its immaculate, lush sense of style. Its color schemes — Rajasthani oranges, pinks, greens and reds against tan sandstone and dark wood — became a kind of shorthand for all that we found most compelling about Rajasthani style. Alas, the tight spaces of New York apartments are more suited to the clean lines and simple elegance of East Asia, while its more northerly light works better against the muted shades of those temperate countries than with the bright juxtapositions of the Indian desert. But one day I do hope to decorate a home, or part of a home, in the style of Killa Bhawan. And in the meantime, you'll notice that the look of this blog owes a bit to the color and feel of that remarkable hotel.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

[bombs in israel]

Northern Israel is under attack, and this includes the town of Safed, where my brother is living with a family friend. He tells me he was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a blast about three blocks away. He's now in the hills out beyond the city, which are hopefully less of a target than the city center. But with bombs raining down and the violence escalating, it's a scary situation. Hopefully he'll get himself to Jerusalem soon, out of range of the rockets, where he can stay with friends. For the moment though, he seems to be stuck. I'm chatting with him now.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


When Ghengis Khan died, his legacy was so powerful — and so disputed — that his family homeland was closed to all outsiders and remained closed until after the fall of the Soviet Union nearly 800 years later. This and other fascinating and bizarre facts about history's most prolific conqueror can be found in Jack Weatherford's engrossing if somewhat undercritical biography, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. And what better time to learn about this astonishing figure, who really did reshape the political landscape from Manchuria to Central Europe, than now, as the Mongolians celebrate his octocentennial?

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[personal achievements]

Today at the gym, I made it for the first time through 20 full minutes on the treadmill. For those of you who jog regularly, this may not seem like much of an achievement, but I have always had a tough time with jogging, ever since I was first forced into it by the venerable Mr. Starn of the Terra Linda High School Physical Education Department. My father has never liked jogging either, claiming it beat up his knees. Once I'd had my knee surgery, that was pretty much it: I now had a ready excuse for ruling out jogging as a form of exercise.

But it was never quite true. Jogging sometimes leaves my knees a little sore, but the pain is primarily in the muscles. Specifically, five minutes of jogging would leave my tibialis anterior screaming for mercy. And the thing with muscle pain, as opposed to joint pain, is that you can overcome it through regular exercise and strengthening. Jogging was never impossible, just uncomfortable because it worked muscles that were weak.

I have now reached an age at which my Adonislike physique will no longer maintain itself without my active intervention. To slow the inevitable decline, I go to the gym, except sometimes I don't, which is why I want to take up jogging. For all those times when work is too busy or I'm too lazy and I don't get to the gym often enough during the week, I'd like a cardiovascular option for the weekend, and I'd rather not spend a fortune on an elliptical machine that will dominate whichever of our two rooms we put it in.

As such, I've been hammering away at the treadmill for maybe six weeks now, gradually increasing my strength and endurance. I think our week of intensive hiking in Acadia National Park may have put me over the top, and now, at long last, I can jog.

Mr. Starn would be proud.


Yesterday I had another sort of personal breakthrough. Ever since I got an MP3 player several months ago, I've had a bit of a pocket problem. I carry my wallet in my left front pocket, while the right front is dedicated to my cellphone, keys and a handkerchief. There's just too much junk in the left pocket for the MP3 player, so it goes in the right pocket, but that gets me tangled up whenever I reach for my wallet to get out my Metrocard or buy something. And I hate carrying things in my back pockets, so that was never a good option.

But yesterday I made a discovery. It turns out I have another pocket, and it's right on the front of my shirt! So now I've begun carrying my MP3 player in there, and all is right with the world. Genius! I should have myself bronzed.


[a frustrating dream]

Do you ever have the kind of stress dream where you're trying to get something done, like get to the airport or finish your homework, but you're thwarted by an endless array of niggling obstacles? Well, this morning I was having a dream like that, and the goal I couldn't quite reach was to get to bed and go to sleep. How annoying is that?


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

[weekly world music 13: songs for the dear leader]

Song of General KIM IL SUNG | Don't Ask My Name | Children's Music 1 (Music Gallery of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

애국가 (Aegukga) (National Anthem of the Republic of Korea)

Been hankering for creepy marches and disturbing paeans to terrifying totalitarian dictators? Your search is over!

In honor of North Korea's recent erectile dysfunction, here are a few tracks from the DPRK's charming Music Gallery, as filled with joy as everything produced in the jolly North. My Korean isn't good enough to understand most of the lyrics, and I'm not about to go wandering around the South Korean UN Mission in search of someone to translate North Korean propaganda ditties, so unfortunately I can't tell you exactly what these tunes are about. I did catch the children singing "김정일 ... 우리 아버지" (Kim Jong-il ... uri abeoji, or Kim Jong-il ... our father) at one point, but you knew that was in there somewhere.

In the interest of fairness, I've also included the national anthem of the Republic of Korea, whose title translates to The Patriotic Song — you may recall hearing it following some short-track skating event in the Winter Olympics. It's better than the North Korean stuff, although I find it disappointing that so many Asian countries have gone for poignant yet rousing anthems in the European classical tradition. Like, wouldn't it be cooler if the national anthem of Indonesia was the Kecak, or if India's was a raga that took 45 minutes? If Nepal can have its wacky flag, shouldn't someone have a truly bizarre national anthem?

Oh, and if you happen to be wondering why a "weekly" feature appears as sporadically as Weekly World Music, let's just say that I'm on summer schedule, and also that I'm sorta lazy. I'll try to keep up with it every week, but some weeks it'll slide. Life is full of broken promises.

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[a change at gitmo?]

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon today has decided to apply the Geneva Conventions to all detainees worldwide.

If this is actually what happens, or even if it becomes officially the standard by which detentions are expected to be conducted, it would be an enormous shift in executive policy and a welcome rollback of one of the worst moral and strategic failures of the Bush administration.

The article itself, however, is less than clearcut on the administration's policy change. The announcement of the new approach is attributed only to "a senior defense official." Beyond that, the article is mostly a murky discussion of the recent Hamdi v. Rumsfeld decision and potential Congressional responses to it. (The BBC's breaking news report is much sparer.)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure even the Geneva Conventions ban either rendition or secret prisons.

As an odd little side note, the Geneva Conventions prescribe payment for all prisoners, set at rates of Swiss francs per month that made some kind of sense when the Conventions were first signed. That means that each detainee below the rank of sergeant — which presumably all of them are, in the present case — is entitled to 8 Swiss francs, or roughly $6.50, per month. The real question, of course, is whether we make the pay retroactive so that detainees can collect the $350-odd that's coming to them.


Monday, July 10, 2006

[forza italia, carroll gardens style]

The Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, where I live, is one of Brooklyn's old Italian neighborhoods. Al Capone was married at the church up the street, and there's a social club just a couple blocks from my building where old men still hang around and argue in Italian.

So you can imagine that yesterday was a big day for the locals. Occasional correspondent Robert Ooghe came through with the pics.

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[new beck record coming]

Guero came out just last year, but it turns out Beck is already nearly finished with a new album — a Nigel Godrich production, like Mutations and Sea Change, but also supposedly a hip-hop record, whatever that might mean coming from Beck. In any case, if the album comes out in the fall, as promised, it'll be the quickest turnaround between records since Midnite Vultures followed hard on the heels of the supposedly unofficial Mutations. Even better, there's enough material in the can for several albums, which means more may be on the way, at least in the form of a flurry of B-sides.



After a long run at Angelfire, Palaverist is migrating to Blogger. The reasons include Blogger's easier interface and searchability and the wonkiness of Angelfire's comments function.

I don't think this change should have much impact from your perspective as a reader. There are a few quirks to the new layout, but it should work much as the old site did. The posts from the Angelfire period will remain in place over at http://archives.palaverist.org/, while new posts will get archived here.

Please let me know if there are any problems with the new layout or interface. Thanks!


Previous Posts

[things i'd like to write about but haven't]
[drop the red lantern]
[how not to apply for a job]
[pop is the new alternative]
[what does it all mean?]
[national fears]
[lies, damn lies, and sound effects]
[our pakistan moment?]
[how to fail like an olympian]
[cold winters]


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