Friday, August 01, 2003

So I open my wallet...

This is how you tell you really live in the South:

Those crazy southerners and their Confederate money...

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Belated Sunday Update

On Sunday, I read most of Amelia Earhart's Twenty Hours, Forty Minutes, went to a company function at the Coliseum, walked along the river bank for a bit, drove up to Shelby Bottoms and hiked around the short loop (alas, no bunnies), then went home and watched The Restaurant.

My grand housecleaning ambitions for the weekend basically fizzled. Oh, well, at least I'm taking advantage of the no classes thing while I can.




As if the Bush defense department wasn't fucked up enough, it now basically wants $8 million to set up an online betting website so that people can place wagers on whether or not terrorists will attack or political figures will be assassinated. Proponents claim that the free market is better able to predict the future than intelligence analysts, so why not set up a "terrorism futures market."
One of the two senators, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, said the idea seemed so preposterous that he had trouble persuading people it was not a hoax. "Can you imagine," Mr. Dorgan asked, "if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in — and is sponsored by the government itself — people could go in and bet on the assassination of an American political figure?"
And meanwhile on the homefront, the administration is busy trying to dismantle what remains of the nation's passenger rail system, creating record-breaking budget deficits, and coming up with tax cuts for the rich.

Sorry for the political benders lately, but a times I get very frustrated about some of these things, and blowing off steam here seems more constructive then yelling at the computer. For my next post, I promise something more fun and decidedly non-political.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

A principled position

Today's Washington Post Magazine has a great piece on John Brady Kiesling, the US dimplomat who resigned his post with a blistering letter criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq juggernaut.
In his April 25 speech at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a couple of weeks after the fall of Baghdad, Kiesling made an explicit attempt to rally the internationalists. Princeton, he told the 200 or so students, faculty and foreign policy professionals in his audience, "used to be the heartland of a brilliantly successful foreign policy coalition" that shaped American diplomacy for most of the 20th century. It was a bipartisan alliance between liberal "Wilsonian idealists," with their humanist worldview, and the kind of conservative pragmatists who used international institutions to advance American economic interests. But the coalition now "lies in tatters," he said, and he offered his views on how this had happened:

September 11 offered a golden opportunity for anyone "savvy and unscrupulous enough to manipulate public fears," and the advocates of "hard-nosed neoconservatism" promptly seized it. They adopted "the power politics of the schoolyard as their model of human interaction" and reduced a complex moral universe to a permanent face-off between "the forces of light and the forces of darkness." They used "lies and half-truths" to build a case for invading Iraq as "a step toward a more complete power grab." As the neoconservatives began to drive American policy, old-school internationalists tried to come to terms with them, hoping to retain influence. But accommodation has proved no easy task.

"This is an administration at war, and you are with them or you are against them," Kiesling said.


Among Kiesling's former State Department colleagues you can find a variety of opinions on the need to forcefully remove Saddam Hussein. But there appears to be near-consensus on one point: American foreign policy in general has been dangerously militarized, and the diplomatic point of view devalued. [...] Chas. Freeman, the retired ambassador, is more direct. "We have a national mentality now that says, if you see a problem, shoot it! Because we know that we're very, very good at shooting things."

Free beer!

Well, sort of... We went to the second annual Music City Brewer's Festival, held in the park between the Gaylord Entertainment Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Hilton, and the future site of the new Nashville Symphony Hall.

The deal is, you pay $20 to get in, and then you get a "bottomless cup" that lets you sample beer from a bunch of different brewers arrayed around the outside of the park. There is also live music, and part of the proceeds go to Second Harvest.

Altogether, a pretty great way to spend an afternoon. (The beer is free, but you have to pay a buck for the water!)

We hung out at the festival for most of the afternoon, then went and had dinner at Jack's Bar-B-Que, which serves the best barbeque in Nashville (in my opinion, that is!).Then back to the beer festival for a while longer. We finally closed out the night at Robert's Western World. Oh, and we took a few more catfish photos, too!

I walked from my house over to the park, which I like to think compensated in some small way for drinking beer all afternoon. The refurbished Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge is scheduled to reopen next week, which will make it a lot easier to hike from one side of the river to the other. (Right now all the working bridges are clustered on the other side of downtown.)

Here are some photos:




You can check out some more right here.