Category Archives: Current Affairs

A Review of “Zero Dark Thirty”

As “Zero Dark Thirty” winds down, after Osama Bin Laden is dead, a big military transport is shown, parked on some windswept desert runway. As CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) climbs into its open maw, the pilot emerges to tell her she’s the only passenger listed for the flight.

“You must be pretty important,” he says. “Where do you wanna go?”

Maya slowly straps herself into a fold-down seat, alone as the plane’s huge cargo door closes out the world beyond its drab, cavernous fuselage. After a moment, a tear slowly trickles from each of her eyes, though she does not sob or lose her composure. “ZD30″ ends a moment later, with Maya staring shakily ahead, still not answering the pilot’s query.

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Cleaning Up Torture In North Carolina

Aero Contractors in Smithfield NC has been the focus of anti-torture protests.A CIA front company, Aero Contractors, ran “torture taxi” flights out of the Johnston County airport in North Carolina for years. The flights crossed there Atlantic, picked up prisoners from Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, and took them to secret prisons, Guantanamo, and other torture sites overseas. (This is not a rumor; the New York Times among others “outed” the operation years ago.)

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Three Homelands: A Revelation In Ireland

Three Homelands: A Revelation In Ireland

In December 2010, on a bright but cold afternoon, I took a serious blow to the ego, and what’s left of my cultural pride. It probably did me good, but I’m still rubbing the sore spot: it’s like a bruise that just won’t heal.  It started out fine, when I got off a bus not far from Waterford, Ireland, just in time for an interview.

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Will It Ruin The Planet If I Buy These Blueberries??

Blueberries from ChileAh, January. It’s the season of snow and ice and other annoyances.

But there’s an UP-side: in the supermarkets I can find tubs of fat, dark, juicy blueberries.

I love ‘em. Call me an old anti-oxidant junkie. (In fact, some of you might have noticed that my Gmail address is supposed to be “wild blueberries” in French. I say “supposed to be” because I misspelled it; oh well, Comment puis-je être maladroit?)

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Beethoven’s Message to Guantanamo — And To Us

BeethovenMy musical hero Beethoven wrote only one opera, Fidelio. Instead of rhapsodizing about Teutonic gods, or killing off ill-fated sopranos, his story dealt with a group of political prisoners who win their freedom from an oppressive system, mainly through the heroism of a woman.

This week in Washington DC, a series of protests will begin which is aimed at US-sponsored torture and imprisonment, particularly the continuing crime of Guantanamo, and the unad Continue reading Beethoven’s Message to Guantanamo — And To Us

An Example of Intelligent Conservatism

An example of intelligent conservatism. I wonder if anyone in charge was listening??

From an article by David Frum in the New York Times Magazine, published online Nov. 12:

Even from a conservative point of view, the welfare state is not all bad. G. K. Chesterton observed that you should never take a fence down until you understand why it had been put up. We should remember why the immediate post-Depression generations created so many social-welfare programs. They were not motivated only — or even primarily — by “compassion.” They were motivated as well by the desire for stability.

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Bush & His Book: Some Truths In Review

I make it a rule not to write reviews of books I haven’t read. I also do my best to avoid pontificating about them.

But I’m also a Quaker, who follows this rule about rules by the Elders of Balby, which they appended to a long list of rules for Quakers in 1656:

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by; but that all, with a measure of the light, which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these things may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not in the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

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