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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Polyarchy by Robert Dahl
The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
Cubs win again! Prior not only outdueled four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddox, he managed to pitch a two-hitter in his first playoff appearance. Wow.
The Cubs now hold a 2-1 lead in the best of five series, which certainly bodes well for future success. According to the Cubs website the team that holds such a lead in a division series has gone on to win the series 9 out of 13 times.
Game 4 - the potential clincher - will match Matt Clement, who pitched the game winner that put the Cubs into the playoffs, against the Braves' Russ Ortiz. Again, it's at Wrigley, so that'll be another Cubs win. :)
Thus far I've failed to comment on the treasonous Plame Affair, but unlike the previous 16 Words scandal (that still hasn't been resolved by the way) this one is pretty straight forward and could be solved pretty simply if Bush was willing to ask some basic questions of his senior staff. Of course he won't, so a whole investigation needs to be conducted. Here's the short of it:
Wilson had one story, Bush had another. Bush People didn't like Wilson's story. Bush People compromised national security in the process of smearing Wilson. Who are the "Bush People"?
After meeting with Congressional intelligence committee members, Bush's pointman for finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has concluded that there just plain aren't any. "It clearly does not look like a massive, resurgent program, based on what we discovered," reported David Kay, former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the U.S. weapons of mass destruction search team. Oops.
"Kay described the two mobile labs discovered after the war ended in northern Iraq -- which President Bush once said confirmed that Hussein possessed programs for weapons of mass destruction -- as not being "ideally suited" for that use. "We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile BW [biological weapons] production effort," the report states.
"The survey has begun looking at equipment that could be used to resume chemical production, Kay said. He also indicated that there were leads on other purchases and attempted purchases of chemical agents. He said many scientists said, "Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled [chemical] weapons program after 1991." That finding conflicts with a finding in the intelligence community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that it was active.
"Kay said Hussein wanted to obtain nuclear weapons, according to interviews with Iraqi scientists and government officials, but "to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material."
"On Oct. 7, 2002, Bush said that "the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. . . . Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
Was there anything that was true from those pre-war statements? Anything at all?
"On Aug. 20, 2001, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a man who would soon be named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country's most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders...."
"The most intriguing aspect of Hussayen's journey may be entirely coincidental: his brief proximity in a hotel near Dulles International Airport to three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers the night before they crashed Flight 77 into the Pentagon. On the night of Sept. 10, Hani Hanjour, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi checked into the same hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn.
"The FBI has examined hotel videotapes and interviewed employees, but has found no indication that Hussayen and the hijackers interacted, law enforcement sources said. After the attack, an FBI agent interviewed hotel guests, including Hussayen and his wife, but did not get very far.
"According to court testimony from FBI agent Gneckow earlier this year, the interview was cut short when Hussayen "feigned a seizure, prompting the agents to take him to a hospital, where the attending physicians found nothing wrong with him."
"The agent recommended that Hussayen "should not be allowed to leave until a follow-up interview could occur," Gneckow told the court. But "her recommendation, for whatever reason, was not complied with," he said.
"On Sept. 19, the day air travel resumed, Hussayen and his wife took off for Saudi Arabia."
OK, so it didn't work out so well, but the series is still tied. What's the matchup for game three? Mark Prior vs. Greg Maddox. The brand new, fire-throwing, cool-as-ice Cubs ace against the former Cub star who looked just like Prior back then. Let's compare:
This past weekend a friend and I went downtown to search for the American embassy here in Ankara. After obliviously walking past it once, we eventually found it. Hilariously enough, it's on the corner of John F. Kennedy Caddesi and Ataturk Boulevard. We walked around it, checked it out, saw the gigantic white Ford Expeditions parked out back that look incredibly out of place in a city of go-kart cars.
As we walked by we must have looked suspicious though, for the Turkish guard in the guardhouse called us over to the microphone. We actually had no questions whatsoever, but they were suspicious so we asked the obvious question. Apparently the answer isn't as obvious:
Us: "What are the embassy hours?"
Turkish Guard: "Which embassy?"
Us: "Uh.... um, this one. The American embassy I'm talking to."
Turkish Guard: "Today is Sunday."
Us: "Um, well yes, we know that, but what are your hours?"
Turkish Guard: "Its closed."
Us: "....right, but... [sigh]... OK, nevermind."
Even at the American embassy Turkish logic dominates. I'm frightened.
Since Thursday I've been without internet and thus, without much contact with news from back home. While it was only a few days, I felt pretty out of touch. Among the things that took place while being away:
- The Justice Department is finally investigating the lies and illegal activities of the Bush administration! It only took three years. Bush has been doing his lying thing ever since he got into office, and only now are they getting around to checking the facts. Get ready for some great Poindexter moments.
- The Chicago Cubs made the PLAYOFFS! 2003 National League Central Division Champions!
Seriously, the CUBS. Playoffs. I thought those words were incompatable. '98 was great, but with the Red Sox's also in the playoffs, I think it's about time that hell freezes over for that Cubs-Red Sox Series. And of course I'm in Turkey for this...