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Archive for June 4th, 2012

Trouble

I have written before about the affinity I feel for filmmaker and muckraker Michael Moore. We were contemporaries, teens in the late 60s and early 70s, growing up in small towns near Flint, where our fathers, World War II veterans, worked in the auto factories. We attended Catholic schools, were altar boys, and later young rebels, stirring up trouble in our high schools and getting involved in the anti-war movement.

The parallels end there; he went on to a succesful career taking on the powers that be, while I edited a quixotic magazine. And unlike me is wealthy and fat.

But when I saw his autobiography, Here Comes Trouble,  at the library I picked it up.

It was a mostly enjoyable read, though I don’t think he should quit his day job; his prose leaves a lot to be desired, though he certainly evokes the time and place of our childhood and adolescence quite well.

And while his thirst for justice and outrage over oppression are obvious, so is his massive ego, a fact that he seems blissfully unaware of as he writes.

And of course, like many on the Left he has a huge blind spot regarding abortion, as inexcusable in a Catholic as the blind spots on the Catholic Right for just about every other evil except abortion (my new nickname for this crowd is “FU Catholics”, after Franciscan University).

And then there is the strangeness of in one breath calling himself a pacifist and in the next bragging about the damage his bodyguards -former Navy Seals- have done and will do to anyone who threatens him. That may be understandable, as his life has been many times threatened, his property vandalized, and he has a family to consider. But calling yourself a pacifist while hiring armed men to protect you? And the pacifist label also wears thin a paragraph later, when he brags that he is now buff enough that you will break your hand if you hit him, and if that doesn’t work he will sit on you (at least I think that is what he is implying).

But aside from the occasionally annoying tone of the book, it was a good read, though I’m not sure how much it would interest someone who did not grow up in the world of postwar Michigan that he describes so well.

I guess you had to have been there.

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A Lesson Learned

On my day off last week I thought I would pull up the invasive poison ivy that was growing on the edges of our property. I had on a tee shirt and shorts, and I put on a pair of gloves.

“Aren’t you going to wear long sleeves and long pants?”, my bride asked.

I told her no, I don’t get poison ivy, haven’t since childhood.

So I went out on my mission to annihilate the noxious vine.

And a few days later I had the rash on both arms and both legs.

The lesson? Never presume that you are immune from some evil, just because you have not been troubled by it for a long time.

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Quote of the Day

“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”          -Kenneth Boulding

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Victims of the American airstrike at Azizabad, Afghanistan

Victims of the American airstrike at Azizabad, Afghanistan

“While details of the Syrian massacre are unclear and still subject to dispute, Canada, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Australia, Germany, Spain and the United States have expelled Syrian diplomats in protest. The State Department called the rampage “despicable” and complained about a regime that could “connive in or organize” such a thing.

The department was silent on the U.S. killing four years ago of just as many Afghan civilians, including 60 children, in Azizabad. A draft UN Security Council press statement said about the Aug. 22, 2008 bombing that member nations “strongly deplore the fact that this is not the first incident of this kind” and that “the killing and maiming of civilians is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.” The crime wasn’t decried as a “massacre” by our foreign office which finds it easier to denounce indiscriminate attacks when the enemy du jour stands accused.

U.S. envoys weren’t thrown out of capital cities when Afghan villagers said between 70 and 100 civilians, including women and children, were killed May 5, 2009 by a U.S. raid against Bala Baluk. Our Foreign Service officers stayed comfy in their posts later that year when U.S. jets killed 99 Afghans when they bombed a pair of hijacked fuel tankers Sept. 4.

U.S. ambassadors weren’t dismissed from Paris or Rome when our jets attacked a wedding party Nov. 4, 2008 in Kandahar Province, killing up to 90 people and wounding 28. In July that year, the U.S had bombed a wedding party in Nangarhar leaving 47 civilian partiers dead, including the bride. On July 4, that year 22 civilians were blown up when U.S. helicopters rocketed two vehicles in Nuristan.”

Read the rest here.

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