Wednesday, October 11

W performs "Imagine"

W's rendition of "Imagine" by John Lennon.

Thanks to Swankette for the link ... I think.

Tuesday, October 3

Echoes of Nuremberg

Listen to this commentary. Please.

A soldier of the "Greatest Generation" - the only Jew in his unit - who served in Europe provides us with some important perspective on the current debate about trials, secret evidence, and the Geneva Conventions.

Today, in the midst of a national debate on how to treat captured terror suspects, my mind flashes back to Room 600 at Furtherstrasse 22. We gave Goering and the other war criminals a chance not only to defend themselves but in some cases, preach hate and violence.

In a ruined Germany, where so many corpses still lay buried in the rubble, and life seemed so very fragile, we found it in ourselves to give the worst of men due process.

If we can afford Herman Goering, arguably one of the worst creatures in human history, an open trial with legal representation and no secret evidence, how can we not offer the same to the prisoners in Guantánamo Bay?

Monday, October 2

Escape from L.A.

On Saturday I did a "fly in/fly out on the same day" trip to Ontario, California make a presentation at a conference.

I think I'm still not quite recovered. It's not that I'm tired. Sure, it was a long day, but I was home before 10pm and I slept in on Sunday. It's not that the presentation was that difficult or stressful - the presentation went off without a hitch, It's my sinuses, you see.

I haven't been to the L.A. basin in more than 10 years. The last time I was down there, I recall cresting the hill at the top of the Grapevine on I-5 and looking down at the ocean of brown, cruddy air lapping at the crest of the mountains. I distinctly recall thinking, "Ugh! I'm voluntarily going down to breathe that crap?" Fast forward a decade. I'm sitting on an airplane flying south over the mountains looking out the window. Oh, look. What a pretty lake. Nice trees. I bet those houses down there are expensive. About then, I notice the ridgeline that separates the north side of the mountains from the slope leading down into the valley. Lapping right up against the ridgetop is a veritable sea of smog. The exact same thought popped into my head, "Ugh! I'm voluntarily going down to breathe that crap?"

Once I stepped out of the Ontario airport terminal, my sinuses swelled up and I started sneezing. I could see the air. It's one thing when one can see the air on a misty Portland winter morning or the air on a sultry humid summer Boston afternoon - that's plain old-fashioned (and harmless) dihydrogen oxide floating around up there. It can be a bit unpleasant, but at least it's completely natural. But when one looks out and can see the man-made pollutants clogging the air ... well, that's a wholly different thing. Apparently my sinuses think the same thing. They responded rather violently. Forty-eight hours later, they're still trying to flush out the crud I sucked in while trying to breathe that artificial soup.

Why on earth would however many million people choose to live in that?