Saturday, May 28, 2005

A very nice philatelic view of an internal Chinese landscape. (original stamp is 2 by 3.5 inches)  Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

A bunch of miscellaneous but interesting stuff:

Spying on the Government: A UC Berkeley geographer maps the secret military bases of the American West -- where billions of dollars disappear into creepy clandestine projects.

Trevor Paglen The protagonist of the preceding story-- Includes Secret Bases, Secret Wars and Recording Carceral Landscapes.

Secret Service Visits Art Show at Columbia from the Chicago Sun-Times

A fascinating collection of historical airline and airport information
Building a Better Spy

Advice for John Negroponte: Go for broke. Face down Rumsfeld. Your country needs you.

Richard A. Clarke writes directly (and quite sharply) to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte here in a very interesting shot across his bow.

It's also amazing to think that Negroponte has been in this new office of 'Director of National Intelligence' for a month. It's amazing how seamlessly the bureaucracy has swallowed him up.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

How prescient!

As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents more and more the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal: On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

--H.L. Mencken (1920)
Some very sad news:

Andrew J. Goodpaster, 90, Soldier and Scholar, Dies
The New York Times
May 17, 2005

Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster, a soldier and scholar who fought in World War II, commanded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and came out of retirement to lead the United States Military Academy in a time of crisis, died on Monday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here. He was 90 and a resident of Washington.

The cause was prostate cancer, said his granddaughter Sarah Nesnow.

General Goodpaster was NATO commander from 1969 to 1974, after serving as deputy commander of American forces in Vietnam. Before beginning his Vietnam service in 1968, he was the third-ranking member of the United States delegation to the Paris negotiations with North Vietnam.

He retired as a four-star general after his NATO command but came out of retirement in 1977 to become superintendent of West Point and deal with the aftermath of a scandal involving cheating. General Goodpaster voluntarily gave up a star, assuming the rank of lieutenant general as superintendent. He retired again in 1981.

Andrew Jackson Goodpaster was born on Feb. 12, 1915, in Granite City, Ill. He attended McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill., for two years before transferring to West Point, where he graduated second in his class in 1939. That year, he married Dorothy Anderson.

In World War II he was twice wounded while leading a combat engineer battalion in North Africa and Italy. In addition to two Purple Hearts, he was awarded the Army's second-highest decoration for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross, for making a reconnaissance under heavy fire through a minefield, and a Silver Star.

Returning to the United States after being wounded for the second time, he served for three years on the general staff of the War Department. Early in that assignment, he helped plan for an invasion of Japan that became unnecessary after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In the late 1940's, he studied at Princeton University, earning a master's in engineering and a doctorate in international relations. In the early 1950's he was attached to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, then served with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

From 1954 to 1961, he was an adviser to President Eisenhower. He then served as assistant commander of the Third Infantry Division and, later, as commander of the Eighth Infantry Division. He held several Pentagon posts and served as commandant of the National War College before becoming deputy commander of American forces in Vietnam.

When he came out of retirement to become West Point's superintendent, the academy was reeling from a cheating scandal that involved 151 cadets. In his four-year tenure there, the general sought to substitute ''positive leadership'' for hazing and personal abuse, to bolster the academy's courses in humanities and public policy, and to ease the admission of women to the academy.

General Goodpaster was a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Eisenhower Institute, which studies foreign and domestic policy issues.

He was a member of the American Security Council and a founder of the Committee on the Present Danger, groups whose central thesis was that the Soviet Union's military threat was underestimated and that the United States needed a correspondingly strong defense.

A West Point classmate, Lt. Gen. Edward L. Rowny, retired, said General Goodpaster was working on his memoirs until a week ago.

He is survived by his wife; two daughters, Susan Sullivan of Alexandria, Va., and Anne Batte of Salisbury, N.C.; and seven grandchildren.

This amazing man spoke at my conference and was actually cracking jokes, despite having gone through at least two rounds of radiation therapy relatively recently.

And the things that he had done and seen! A certainly full life!

Rest in peace, sir!
Here's something that I think people would enjoy:

- an often 'over the top' look at Cold War propaganda, design and politics.
Plowing through a lot of work while I'm fighting off this damn cold but I decided that I had to stop to let the rest of the world know about a book I happened across:

On Bullshit
by Harry G. Frankfurt
Princeton University Press, 2005

The video interview is disappointing as only Princeton University Press could make it.

Anybody out there read it, so you can tell me whether it should drop the 'On' in its title?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Harumph!! I'm stuck in bed with a bad cold when I could be listening to Vaclav Havel speak in person at the Library of Congress.

At least the LoC is broadcasting the presentation via live webcam. If you want to watch it from home, click here and follow the directions. It's going to start in a few minutes, so I'd better go...