Light Weekend Reading
One of the reasons that I started blogging was because my friends and family were tired of getting emails from me about "interesting" articles that I had read. I figured it would be easier to link and add commentary on a blog than to spam everyone. With a blog, I get to spam the world.
But, there are still interesting articles out there. Some of them match the "theme" and tone of my blog and some don't. So I ripped off Armchair Generalist's idea for a "Casual" Friday". I'll call my section light weekend reading. Heavy linking with minimal commentary. Enjoy.
Note: My new blog Raising Zane is up, but I've still got some work to do. I'm going to migrate all the Zane stuff over there so I don't end up subjecting family to all my rants. More to follow.
Abu Ghraib Roll-up:
General Demoted, Cleared in Probe
President Bush approved yesterday an order demoting Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, the only general to be punished in connection with investigations into detainee abuse at U.S. military prisons.
No prosecution for Abu Ghraib colonel
WASHINGTON - The Army reprimanded and fined a colonel who was in charge of an intelligence unit at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq during the period of prisoner abuse, but the service chose not to press criminal charges, an official said Wednesday.
Prison abuse trial set to begin for another soldier
FORT HOOD - Since January, Spc. Sabrina Harman has sat through each of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse trials, watching quietly as fellow soldiers were punished for tormenting Iraqi detainees.
Now it's Harman's turn in the dock, with much of the same evidence available to be used against her.
Comment: Is this as fair as it should be?
Situations that I'm glad I'm not in:
11-ounce newborn struggles to survive
OKLAHOMA CITY - Her legs are no longer than an adult's pinkie and her feet are about the size of an adult's fingernails.
'Weighing 11 ounces, Kalea Lyn Allen was delivered three months premature Tuesday by Caesarean section after an ultrasound raised concerns, Dr. John Stanley said.
Comment: I'm a lucky, lucky man. Don't know if I'm tough enough for something like this.
Darfur Drawn: The Conflict in Darfur Through Children's Eyes
On mission along the border of Chad and Darfur, Human Rights Watch researchers gave children notebooks and crayons to keep them occupied while they spoke with the children's parents. Without any instruction or guidance, the children drew scenes from their experiences of the war in Darfur: the attacks by the Janjaweed, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad.
Comment: Makes me want to thump somebody's skull. I preach a more touchy-feeling approach to the GWOT, but clearly the Janjaweed are assholes. If this situation doesn't illustrate to my fellow liberals that there is sometimes a need for raw military power, then nothing will.
Walking it like you talk it:
Colorado Politician Signs Up for Iraq Duty: State Treasurer to Leave Post to Help Shape Baghdad Government as a Marine
DENVER, May 6 -- As the elected treasurer of a state that faces looming budget deficits and a complex effort to revamp its tax laws, Mike Coffman has had a lot to think about right here in Colorado. But for many months now, Coffman says, he has been thinking about a different set of governmental problems -- those facing the emerging national and provincial governments in Iraq.
Home from Iraq
We spent 10 months in Iraq, working on a story, understanding who the people are who are fighting, why they fight, what their fundamental beliefs are, when they started, what kinds of backgrounds they come from, what education, jobs they have. Were they former military, are they Iraqi or foreign? Are they part of al-Qaida? What we came up with is a story in itself, and one that Vanity Fair ran in July 2004 with my text and pictures. [My colleague Steve Connors] shot a documentary film that is still waiting to find a home. But the basic point for this discussion is that we both thought it was really journalistically important to understand who it was who was resisting the presence of the foreign troops. If you didn't understand that, how could you report what was clearly becoming an "ongoing conflict?" And if you were reading the news in America, or Europe, how could you understand the full context of what was unfolding if what motivates the "other side" of the conflict is not understood, or even discussed?
Comment: This is worth reading. It took guts to do this, although I don't agree with all the conclusions.
Homeland Security Update:
NY Times HAZMAT Article
A small stretch of northern New Jersey running between Newark Airport and Port Elizabeth has been called the most dangerous two miles in America by terrorism experts, and for good reason. It holds a chlorine plant that could threaten some 12 million people, and it has more than a dozen other chemical plants, two port complexes and a plethora of oil storage tanks, refineries and pipelines, intermingled with rail and highway links that provide easy access to more than 100 potential targets in all.
Comment: I'll post more on this topic later, but this issue is a hell of a lot more complicated than it looks. Trust me. BTW, the part about having the chemical industry use less dangerous chemicals is just plain dumb. You can't make chlorine less dangerous.
Kabul's must-see TV heats up culture war in Afghanistan
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN A bearded man from the bazaar is whisked into a barber shop, where he's given a shave and a slick haircut. After a facial, he visits fashion boutiques.
In a few tightly edited minutes of television, the humble bricklayer is transformed into an Afghan metrosexual, complete with jeans, sweater, suede jacket, and sunglasses.
CS Monitor AFG Blog
Comment: If you don't read The Christian Science Monitor, you are missing some excellent South Asia coverage.
Volunteer patrols may be on Texas border by fall
After spending a month engaged in a citizen patrol along the Arizona border, the Minutemen are finalizing plans to come to Texas.
Chris Simcox, the leader of the controversial Arizona group that is attempting to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants from Mexico, says he is considering October for the beginning of patrols along the Rio Grande in South Texas. Other patrols are being considered for New Mexico and California.
Comment: I'm sorry, but this is just plain dumb. Somebody is going to get hurt.
Just For Fun:
Joe Bob Briggs Lives!
What ever happened to Monster Vision?
Dumbest fucking idea for a TV show. Ever.