two links before dying

I need to practice for my speech tonight, so I wont really be blogging. Instead, I just thought that Id share these two links. The first will take you to an interview in the LA Weekly with author and historian Gore Vidal in which he discusses the current situation America finds itself in and what the founding fathers would have thought if they were still up here on the surface with us instead of spinning in their graves like dental drills. The second link will take you to another interview. This one is with Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist I was fortunate to hear speak last evening. Krugman, while perhaps a bit more sane than the elderly Vidal, is no less scathing in his criticism of the current administration.

Here is a quote from Vidal.

All of this is in the USA Patriot Act. The Founding Fathers would have found this to be despotism in spades. And they would have hanged anybody who tried to get this through the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Hanged.

Hey, that was so much fun, lets try another one. I wonder what hell say this time.

With each action Bush ever more enrages the Muslims. And there are a billion of them. And sooner or later they will have a Saladin who will pull them together, and they will come after us. And it wont be pretty.

And, if you liked that, heres a quote from the Krugman piece. I will get to publishing my notes from his lecture here this weekend, but, truthfully, most of the stuff he said to our group he also said in this interview. This first quote Im posting here is on the subject of why the press was so slow to speak out against Bush earlier.

If you say what is actually obvious: that these people took September 11 as a great political opportunity and used it to push both a domestic economic and social agenda and a foreign policy agenda that had nothing to do with September 11 that’s an extraordinary charge. And the very fact that it’s such a harsh thing to say makes people unwilling to see it. It was obvious in the fall of last year that they were hyping the case for a war with Iraq. But it just seemed too harsh, too extreme to say that the President of the United States would do that. So there was a tremendous soft pedaling in the reporting.

And heres a quote on the economic meltdown. Krugman, as an economist who is best known for his research into failing economies around the world, has an interesting perspective.

This is my specialty. I watched it happen in other countries and you look at the numbers and you say: “Geez, we have a budget deficit that’s bigger compared with the size of our economy than Argentina before their 2001 crack-up. We have a trade deficit that’s bigger compared with the size of our economy, than Indonesia before its 1997 crack-up.” You say: “Well, yeah, but this is America and it can’t happen here.” But there’s a lot of things we didn’t think could happen here. Something very seriously wrong is going on now.

OK, as long as Im at it, heres some evidence that Vidal might be right about the Muslims turning against us. Apparently, theres a top-secret CIA report out from Iraq that, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, warns that growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding the U.S.-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the insurgents.

So, heres my question. When the Holy War starts, how do you think that youll be killed? I was just sitting here thinking about it, and I think Ill be be-headed in a public square I bet it was all those reference to ball-shaving.

OK, Lets end on a light note. Heres an article that Jim Egge, probably the only academic who reads this site, sent in yesterday to upset me. Its from the Onion. The article is called, Mom Finds Out about Blog and it sent a cold chill down my spine, as I suspect it would any blogger. Those of you who dont blog might find it funny though. Heres the first sentence.

MINNEAPOLIS, MNIn a turn of events the 30-year-old characterized as “horrifying,” Kevin Widmar announced Tuesday that his mother Lillian has discovered his weblog.

Actually, the swift blade to the neck by a follower of a vengeful Allah isnt sounding so bad right now.

OK, Im going to go and practice my speech now. If any of you can suggest a discrete way for me to vomit in front of a room full of people and/or hide diapers beneath a business suit, please let me know by tomorrow morning.

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