Thursday, September 02, 2004
The department where I got my Ph.D. was scheduled to be closed, but strenuous politicking has apparently saved it. Nevertheless, I'm irritated. All the wasted time reaching out, creating synergy, forging alliances, etc., etc., and for what? Just to safeguard that which only an idiot would have cut in the first place. Wherever you go, the superstructure of university administration is undermining the function of the university. Just who is in the driver's seat anyway? A pox on all administrators!
I didn't watch the Republican Convention speeches last night, I just saw the wrap up on CNN, and it was charming to see Darth Cheney's sneer is just getting worse with age. Nevertheless, I was struck most by just how vile and spiteful Georgia's Zell Miller looked and sounded. That pinched face, those hollow eyes: it was as if his body and mind had been snatched by evil aliens from another galaxy (sadly, in a sense, that is exactly what has happened). I hope I don't run into more of Zell's Zombies anytime soon! (Photos from Atrios: excellent title for this post comes from Jim Vandeventer, former Republican candidate for California Governor.)
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Having a lot of fun extending my family line back, all the way back to Simon Bussey, who landed in 1668 at Cape Porpoise (near Kennebunkport), Maine. It was excellent to see that date: I had a copy of a letter from my grandfather, Francis Drake Buzzell, to his granddaughter, indicating the first Buzzell landed in 1668 (although he had indicated the landing place was Connecticut, not Maine). Maine was the wild frontier then: apparently Cotton Mather's History of New England describes Bussey's travails being kidnapped by Indians. Kennebunkport is much more sedate today (or is it?)
Just another example of how we have to commit what we know to print, and disseminate it, if we want it to live on! Stuff that frustrates us to no end was once common knowledge! (I wonder if this blog will live until eternity?)
Donald Rumsfeld's approach to bad news is simply to assert it doesn't exist and hope no one catches on. We saw that in the Iraq War with his "broken pots" remark, and we see it again with Abu Ghraib:
The (investigative) reports ... made clear that some abuses occurred during interrogations, that others were intended to soften up prisoners who were to be questioned, and that many intelligence personnel involved in the interrogations were implicated in the abuses. ...
But on Thursday, in an interview with a radio station in Phoenix, Mr. Rumsfeld ... said, "I have not seen anything thus far that says that the people abused were abused in the process of interrogating them or for interrogation purposes." ...
Mr. Rumsfeld repeated the assertion a few hours later at a news conference in Phoenix, adding that "all of the press, all of the television thus far that tried to link the abuse that took place to interrogation techniques in Iraq has not yet been demonstrated." After an aide slipped him a note during the news conference, however, Mr. Rumsfeld corrected himself, noting that an inquiry by three Army generals had, in fact, found "two or three" cases of abuse during interrogations or the interrogations process. In fact, however, the Army inquiry found that 13 of 44 instances of abuse involved interrogations or the interrogation process, an Army spokeswoman said. The report itself explicitly describes the extent to which each abuse involved interrogations.
Mr. Rumsfeld also misstated an important finding of an independent panel he appointed and is led by James R. Schlesinger, a former defense secretary, saying in the interview with KTAR radio, "The interesting thing about the Schlesinger panel is their conclusion that, in fact, the abuses seem not to have anything to do with interrogation at all."
But the first paragraph of the Schlesinger panel report says, "We do know that some of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere."
Mr. Rumsfeld insisted that while the abuses "were a terrible thing to have happened," the military has responded quickly and thoroughly to the allegations. So far, four major reports into aspects of the misconduct have been released. Four more are pending. "We keep learning more all the time," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "It's a bit of a discovery process."
The Education of Donald Rumsfeld. May we live so long.....