Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20

"[T]he secrets you will be asked to keep are not matters of national security as much as matters of embarrassment."

--Diplomat Peter Van Buren, speaking of security clearances at the State Department; images, from Van Buren's blog, one of the charges leveled against him at the Department, as well as of Ms. Bachman with a corn dog


Without Free Media, Everyone Suffers - Mosaiko Editor, “ 'Media freedom is the moral equivalent of oxygen; it is how society breathes and it is a key pillar of building civil societies,’ says Tara Sonenshine, the new U.S. Under Secretary of state for public diplomacy. Sonenshine, who has worked as a journalist, said she has seen the occupational hazards journalists must face. When the free flow of news and information is cut off, she said, ‘societies suffer.

Economies suffer. Individuals suffer.’ Sonenshine joined Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, for a special briefing April 18 at the Foreign Press Center in Washington to discuss the ‘Free the Press’ campaign in the run-up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3. The ‘Free the Press’ campaign focuses on the many ways in which journalists around the world are under duress, ranging from laws restricting freedom of expression on the Internet, to intimidation, threats and fines, to mysterious and frightening ‘disappearances.’ Posner noted that the Committee to Protect Journalists — an independent organization devoted to defending  journalists — reports that the number of journalists detained in the last 11 years has actually increased, from 118 journalists in 2001 to 179 imprisoned today. In 2012 alone, 17 journalists have been killed, according to the committee. Responding to questions from reporters in Washington representing international media as well as reporters in Africa and New York City who were connected by phone, Sonenshine acknowledged that traditional news media, under pressure from social media and the Internet, are finding it difficult to develop a sustainable economic model to stay in business. But in the search for economic support, she said, media should not be subject to corporate or government interference. ‘Government’s role is as a convener,’ Sonenshine said. ‘We do want to convene and listen to one another about what will enable print, radio, online, new PDA [personal digital assistant] newscasts to survive and thrive so that we have the best in journalism.’ Sonenshine and Posner emphasized that standards for freedom of expression and for free and independent media are defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and apply to all governments worldwide. Free media are also essential for the economic development of a nation, Posner said. ‘I think for many years we had a somewhat false debate about the relationship between civil and political rights and economic and social rights,’ Posner said. ‘The reality is that those rights are indivisible.’ Countries trying to build stronger economies need transparency and public debate about economic choices and policies, he said. ‘Journalistic freedom and freedom of expression enhance the abilities of governments and countries to enjoy economic prosperity and strength,’ Posner said.” Image from

Iran cleric praises atom talks, signals shift: analysts - Marcus George, Reuters, posted at "An influential Iranian cleric praised recent nuclear talks between Iran and world powers on Friday, the latest in a series of positive statements from senior figures that analysts said could signal Tehran is softening its stance. ... 'Iran will bargain inch by inch in Baghdad but there is a genuine desire to reach an agreement," said Sadeq Zibakalam, a professor of political science at Tehran University, who was optimistic that a deal could be reached eventually. They are paving the way and preparing the public for a deal with the West. But the language is about trying to maintain that it is not a submission and that they haven't given in.' While other analysts were less sanguine about prospects of a deal, they agreed Tehran had altered its strategy. 'It seems to be that they are trying to shape the talks through public diplomacy. I think they are certainly looking for a deal but I am not sure they are going to get it,' said Professor Ali Ansari of Scotland's St Andrews University. 'They are definitely trying to change the narrative.'"

U.S. Leadership Still Viewed Positively, but with Major Declines in Africa - Adam Clayton Powell III, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "America’s image abroad remains strong, retaining its post-Bush worldwide increase in 2009. But in new survey data released ... by Gallup, the U.S. has lost significant support in the past year in Africa and Latin America. ... Gallup also measured America’s view of the world. The countries viewed most positively by Americans are Canada (96% approval), Britain (90%), Germany (86%), Japan (83%), India (75%), France (also 75%), and Israel (71%). Mexico dropped to 51% approval, a decline from 74% in 2005. At this morning’s briefing, Jim Clifton, Gallup’s Chairman and CEO, said the decline in Americans’ view of Mexico has been devastating. ‘Business implications are staggering,’ Clifton reported, noting sharp declines in tourism and in willingness by business executives to visit Mexico – and invest there. Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of Meridian International, commented on the survey results ... . He said the numbers show that people around the world have a 'lack of confidence' in leadership of all countries. He noted that worldwide approval of the U.S., at 46%, matches almost perfectly President Obama’s approval rating in the U.S. The ambassador called for

‘three P’s’ to improve America’s standing in the world: ‘partnership, private sector investment, and principles.’” Image from

Romney hires gay nat’l security spokesperson - Chris Johnson, "The Romney campaign has reportedly hired a gay veteran GOP communication specialist and former Bush administration official as its spokesperson for national security issues. According to a Washington Post report on Wednesday, Romney has brought onto his campaign, Richard Grenell. The report says he brings ‘foreign policy chops and more than a decade of political experience to the aggressive but relatively young Romney staff.’ Grenell served as all eight years during the Bush administration as director of communications and public diplomacy at the United Nations, advising four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations. After the Bush administration ended, Grenell became at a partner at the Los Angeles-based Capitol Media Partners. The Post report doesn’t mention Grenell’s sexual orientation, but a number of media outlets have previously reported that he’s gay. Los Angeles-based lesbian journalist Karen Ocamb reported on Grenell’s sexual orientation Wednesday night. According to a 2008 report in The Advocate, Grenell engaged in a four-year struggle with the State Department to have his long-time partner, Matt Lashey, listed in the United Nations’ Blue Book, a reference guide of contact information for diplomatic personnel and their spouses. He was told by the State Department at the time that his partner couldn’t be listed because they weren’t legally married. Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, praised Grenell for taking on the role with the Romney campaign." Below image from

Primarily Awful - Melissa McEwan, "Mitt Romney has hired Richard Grenell as his national security spokesperson. You might not have heard of Richard Grenell, but he was a major player in the Bush administration, serving straight through both terms as the director of communications and public diplomacy at the United Nations. Which means he was a personal adviser to, among others, John Bolton, the UN-hating UN ambassador, the mere mention of whose name once caused Hillary Clinton to burst into contemptuous laughter. So, in other words, he's basically a perfect choice for Team Romney." Image from

The Art of Diplomacy - - "Our Consul-General in Miami is my old friend Kevin McGurgan, who learned some of the darker arts of public diplomacy when we served together in chaotic conditions in Sarajevo in 1996/97. Time moves on. KM is now busy in and around his corner of the USA promoting the London Olympics - with Lennox Lewis. He kindly sends out this alert to low-flying aircraft in the Florisa area in May: [']Next month I am throwing the opening pitch at a baseball game between the Marlins and the Mets here in Miami for the same cause.[']"

China's Diplomacy Anxiety: - "Chinese have recently been paying more attention to diplomatic issues, with discussion on politics and diplomacy proliferating in social media. And many people aren’t happy with the way things have been going. Take the attack on two Chinese vessels on the Mekong River, which resulted in the deaths of 13 crew members late last year. There has been a growing sense in online discussions that Chinese diplomacy in that region has failed. Aside from the fact that the culprits remain at large, the attacks have also reminded many Chinese of how tense things are in Southeast Asia. For a start, there are concerns over Burma, the Philippines and Vietnam. Concerns over Burma stem from what appears to be a democratization process unfolding there, a development that could affect the traditionally close Sino-Burma relations. Already it has been noted that Burma’s ruling junta has halted a controversial Chinese hydropower project in the country, leading many to wonder what will happen next. Arguably more significant has been the issue of oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea by Vietnam and the Philippines, which has led to the expulsion of Chinese fishermen from some waters. In some cases, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has been left only able to protest the Philippine and Vietnamese moves, provoking derision among many Chinese for the 'weak' response. One reason for the frustration among Chinese may be the contrast in China’s diplomatic and economic prowess. ... Certainly, the growth in the internet has made diplomacy more transparent in some ways, including in China. But as many Chinese have had their eyes opened, what they see is a country whose closest friends are Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria – nations viewed by many others as dangerous. Although Russia and China are ostensibly allies, ordinary Chinese don’t think that Russia can be trusted. As a result, a growing number of Chinese I speak with these days believe that China’s leaders have failed to reflect the public’s views in its diplomacy, including the decision at the United Nations to veto condemnation of the atrocities in Syria. Chinese leaders are no doubt aware of the Chinese public’s ‘diplomacy anxiety.’ The problem is that making changes will take time, meaning that for now at least, China can’t simply abandon a foreign policy track that it has been pursuing for years.”

VOA using Norwegian company's Interactivity Suite for "true participation TV" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio Canada International hears from listeners "from all countries, in many languages" about its budget cut - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Partners in democracy, partners in security: NATO and the Arab Spring - Alexander Corbeil, Gillian Kennedy, Geoffrey Levin, Vivien Pertusot, and Josiah "Sponsored by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the US Mission to Germany, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the’s "Your Ideas, Your NATO" policy workshop competition challenged students and young professionals to make recommendations on how NATO should support the long-term transition process prompted by the Arab Spring."

VOL. VIII NO. 8 April 06-April 19, 2012 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

Trip to India teaches Dan Wernick '12 lessons in diplomacy - Connecticut College - Laura Marenghi: "Dan Wernick '12 was only half joking when he told the Indian Public Diplomacy that one of the 11 college students on an official visit to India may be president of the United States one day. Wernick, president of Connecticut College's senior class, and the other students are part of the College-100, or C-100, a network of American student leaders that includes student body and class presidents; Rhodes, Truman and Gates scholars; Olympic athletes and other distinguished youth.

They traveled to India last month at the invitation of the Ministry of External Affairs' Public Diplomacy Division." Image from article, with caption: Dan Wernick '12 (third from left) with other C-100 students in India. Via manIC

Transition to employment - singer, Meandering Melody: "January 2012 I was hired by the U.S. Department of State. February 13, 2012  I was sworn in at the U.S. Consulate in Vienna Austria, as an Official employee. February 14, 2012 I worked my first official day at the U.S. Public Diplomacy Vienna Training Office. April 11, 2012 I almost walked away from my job in frustration. It has been a challenging transition period in my life. I am hopeful that all the intensive training I am doing will give me more employability in the future. And that very soon I will be a happy effective employee. My job is a flexible time- 20 hour a week job.  It is flexible

in that some weeks I must work more that 20 hours a week in order to fulfill my job requirements. And it is flexible that I can work shorter or longer days in the week as long as I work 40 hours in a 2 week period. Sometimes I have found juggling my other responsibilities around the job really difficult. And I have been surprised at how exhausted I am at the end of the day.  Slowly I am developing a routine at home. And slowly I am gaining competency with my tasks at work. I was perfectly honest in my job interview that I was completely unfamiliar with the data bases and computer programs I would be required to manage and work with. For the most part learning the new skills has been interesting and fascinating. I hope that as I gain confidence in my job I’ll have more energy in the evening to return to some of my hobbies, like posting blogs. :-)" Image from entry

Lullaby from a Mouse Playinga Guitar - Ryan Keith, A World Not Our Own: A Public Diplomacy Blog:  "I am in a village in Kiaoni at my fellow volunteer’s house. Jen Hagen is one of my favorite peace corps people with her dry sense of humor, ability to turn life into a kick ass musical, and her plethora of stories about her many brothers and sisters that are extraordinarily entertaining. I have never heard anyone, besides myself, who talks about their siblings with such unconditional fondness. I have been here for two days. As usual, my vacation away from mars makes it difficult to sit down and write about anything. I am too regularly caught up in the Haraka Haraka life of down Kenya. But after the events of last night, and update is necessary.

I left mars on the tenth of April and headed down to Nairobi on a plane. The plane first stopped in Korr, a tiny ring of manyattas in the middle of a white sand expanse. It was interesting to see a place that was even more empty and remote than my village and I wish I had an opportunity to explore. When I finally arrived in Nairobi, I was met by my friend, Alyssa, who is from western Kenya. We laughed, used more swear words than usual, and ate at Java House, the modern American style coffee shop. The next day was spent in Nairobi, in the Peace Corps office, officially to catch up on reports and paperwork, and unofficially to collect hugs from Peace Corps staff that haven’t seen or heard from me in three months. It is always like a small homecoming.

The following day was an event that I have been looking forward to not only since I joined

Peace Corps, but since I was a little kid watching the Discovery Channel. I went to the Maasai Mara. For those who are unfamiliar (and therefore less dorky), the Mara is a large animal reserve. It is huge, and most of the land is in Tanzania where it is called the Serengeti. It is the site of the famous Wildebeest Migration. So I crossed off another Life Goal. We had a three day safari and it was amazing. The Mara is stunningly beautiful. Endless vistas with miles of long waving grasses the color of a lion’s fur meeting the crystal sky. We drove through huge herds, hundreds strong, of cranky Cape buffalo with their flocks of orange and yellow ox-peckers. We parked next to prides of lazy lions, looking huge and fierce, but acting like fluffy housecats as they looked at us with no concern in their eyes despite being close enough for us to scratch their bellies. We sped through the plains when our driver heard of a black rhino sighting, an extremely rare event. And we took a million pictures of the pack of hyenas that feasted on a buffalo kill and fought off the goofy yet severe looking vultures. There was a pack of black-backed jackals that played chicken with three warthogs who only cared about rubbing their backsides on a fallen log. We had a few encounters with elephants; big and small, indifferent and grouchy. And of course, the crowds of grazing wildebeest, antelope, gazelle, giraffes, and zebra, which were so numerous that we, eventually, just told our driver to drive on by without pausing to look. The first day and a half, we safaried in the rain with mist clinging to the plains. The rest of the time it was hot and sunny as only an African scene can be. My favorite part of the trip was a trip to Hippo Lake, a popular wildebeest crossing during the Migrations, but in the off season was a nap zone for hundreds of giant grunting purple hippos and sleeping crocodiles. Hippos were never in my top favorite list of African animals, but they have shot to the top of the list now. They are so much bigger than my imagination and have a beautiful purple- grey and pink skin and a permanent smile. They are surprisingly graceful when walking around on land, and swim fast and grunt loud. I just adored them. The Maasai Mara was everything I wanted it to be and so beautiful that it will forever be one of my favorite places in the world.

After the Mara, I was off to a have a different experience. I took a typically horrendous bus ride to Makindu where I met Jen for an evening at the Sikh Temple. This is a peaceful retreat that has lots of grass, peacocks, bench swings, and absolute quiet. No one bothers you for any reason. It was a little slice of an American park. I went and, before Jen arrived, sat on a bench in the grass reading a book and watching an impromptu group of youths play cards. They didn’t even glance at me. I took a nap on the bench in the sun, and was not harassed or woken up for an hour. The Sikh temple, in addition to being beautiful, is completely free. Jen and I got a room with fluffy sheets and a ceiling fan (a FAN!!) for no charge and no trouble. We went to the dining hall and had delicious vegetarian meals for free. All the temple asks is that you do not bring alcohol, eat all the food you take in the dining hall, and wear a head covering when in the buildings. I was sick with a cold, from all the traveling, the safari in the rain, the lack of sleep, and overabundance of excitement but managed to recover a bit from simply being in a quiet, peaceful environment.

Now I am here, in Kaioni. It has been a crazy two days. Jen and I spent the first day in her village market buying fabric to give to her fundi (seamstress) to make dresses and sitting at a table with a cup of hot chai designing simple and adorable America-style dresses to shock aforementioned fundi. Some of the features that took serious coaxing for the fundi included: v-neck that showed a tiny hint of cleavage; strapless, one strap, and halter; above the knee length, zippers that were longer than the four inches standard on a Kenyan dress; and mixing two bright patterned fabrics. But, we did convince the fundi, and the woman will have four dresses in new designs finished in five days.

Impressive and exciting! On Monday night, Jen and I watched a lightning storm on the plateau behind her house. She lives near a river that, rumor says, contains hippos and crocodiles. The ground of her school compound where she stays is carpeted by chains of morning glories with simple white petals. As we stood there in the dark, watching the lightning flash all around us, Jen pointed to the huge baobab trees standing sentinel in the darkness. The pair in the field are called 'The Twins' and have arms that reach out to each other; the other, larger, tree is called the 'Snake Dancer' one, because of the branches akimbo seeming frozen in some strange motion, and two, because of the numerous snakes that circle the trunk. We stood watching the lightening illuminate The Twins and Snake Dancer for a while as the wind whipped around us and the air started to smell like rain and I realized how incredibly amazing it is to be here, in Kenya, and to get to see things like this. I have never stared at a scene in America and been struck with an almost spiritual fervor. I am a lucky girl.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was extra special. Jen and I did nothing but watch movies that we could sing along to, eat food, and chat. As the evening progressed, the clouds came in and the rain started to fall. Soon, it was too loud on the tin roof to do anything but yell at each other about the various leaks in the ceiling. The windows were open and started pouring rain onto the floor where the couch cushions absorbed it. The stima went out and Jen and I stumbled in the dark trying to light candles, put pots under drips, and hide books and electronics under fabric for protection. The rain just poured in the open window so I ran to it to attempt to close it, but discovered it can only be closed from the outside. I looked at Jen who looked at me with a 'yeah, I know,' expression on her face before she ran out into the storm to close the window. After that was accomplished, we swept the puddles of water out the front door and stuffed a towel under the door to prevent scorpions from coming in (an act performed way too late). After, there was nothing to do but sit on the bed in the dark. Fortunately, this being Kenya, we are both very used to entertaining ourselves

with no light and no electronics. We sat and talked and told stories of life before Peace Corps and our lives to come after. As we talked, the rain slacked off a bit. We were sitting there laughing about something when she abruptly sat up and said that she had felt something on her leg. She did this approximately fifty times a night; Jen has a bit of an obsession with scorpions being everywhere in her house. In the two days I have been here, we killed five, so it is a pretty valid concern. So Jen sat up to flick on her headlamp and direct it on her leg. There, in the beam of the lamp was her worst nightmare. 'I just got stung by a scorpion,' she said with surprising steadiness for someone who has spent the last year and a half dreading this moment. She said later that the first words in her head were, 'this is not a drill!' She sat and killed the scorpion (only death is a worthy punishment for that crime) and I got up, re-lit the candles, and found her Venom Extractor kit. Her leg was burning a bit but we couldn’t find the actual sting site so we just suctioned at a few places where she felt pain. Her leg was cleaned with lidocaine, leading to a very brief period where she thought the poison was making her leg go numb before I told her it was the drug. As I crouched in front of her, trying to decide if we should perform an emergency amputation via candlelight, I looked down to discover another scorpion between my feet, tail poised for attack. I dispatched him immediately, and, upon discussion with Jen, we decided that we must go on high alert. The next twenty minutes was spent on a thorough hunt for more scorpions, then a dressing down of the bed where all superfluous sheets were removed and the bed was scanned before we got in and tucked the mosquito net in tightly around us. It was too hot for sleep, and Jen was concerned that death was still imminent (by morning she was downright pleased that she had survived and that being stung by a scorpion was not as irritating as a mosquito bite). So we chatted some more, lying side by side in the dark, laughing hysterically as only a near death experience can make you. After an hour or so, it was now about 1:30am, we heard a noise. Jen said it was her guitar in the corner so I of course think 'Oh god, a ghost is playing her guitar!' but the reality was a lot more

hilarious, and to Jen, a lot more frustrating. It was the mouse that lives in her house; it had climbed into the guitar and was tripping along the strings. And so, the rain-soaked night filled with an army of scorpions came to an end with us being lulled to sleep by a mouse playing a guitar. This morning, we kidnapped a cat and her kitten (for obvious reasons)." Image (1);  (2) from entry, with caption: Ryan and Katharine Keith; image (3)  image (4).  See also John Brown, "Public Diplomacy: The World Should Be Teaching Us, Mr. Kristof," Huffington Post (March 11, 2010)

Ex-diplomat installed as rector of Trinity Episcopal in Ashland - "Fresh from 25 years as a U.S. diplomat — most of it on the front lines of international political and cultural interactions in China — the Rev. Anthony Hutchinson was installed Thursday as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland. Hutchinson, 58, who was ordained in the Hong Kong Anglican Church in 2008, took the Ashland post on Jan. 1. He says he brings a church tradition rooted in thoughtfulness and faith, not 'bumper-sticker slogans. I bring an international Anglican breadth to the church, a sacramental view, he says, noting the Episcopal Church is rooted in Protestant and Catholic traditions.

It's a prayer made manifest. From 2009 to 2011, Hutchinson served as assisting pastor and minister of music at the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Beijing, where his parishioners hailed from a wide spectrum of Christian faiths. He also had served as chaplain at St. John's Cathedral, and taught biblical languages and literature at Minghua Theological Seminary in Hong Kong. In the Foreign Service, he specialized in public diplomacy in China and also served in Africa. In China, Hutchinson was a right-hand man for ambassadors, sometimes providing the prayers for the embassy's solemn occasions, including on the 10th anniversary of 9/11." Image from blog


Who had the worst week in Washington? The Secret Service - Chris Cillizza, Washington Post: What they did was neither secret nor service. “They,” of course, are the 11 Secret Service agents who were removed from their assignment as part of an advance team for a presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia, after it came to light that they, along with some U.S. military personnel, had been in the company of upwards of 20 prostitutes in a local hotel.

The incident became an international scandal over just four words: “Baby, my cash money.” That’s what an escort told one of the agents the morning after their liaison, according to a report in the New York Times. The agent was offering the woman $30; she was asking for $800. Three Secret Service employees are already on their way out; one was fired, a second decided to retire (ahem), and a third was allowed to resign. It seems unlikely that the trio of departures is the last we’ll hear of the scandal.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that more Secret Service personnel will probably leave before all is said and done. No matter how it ends, it’s clear that no one will look at the Secret Service the same way for a long time. An institution whose official motto is “Worthy of Trust and Confidence” will now be better known for the phrase “wheels up, rings off.” (On behalf of happily married men who travel frequently for work, the Fix offers a big sarcastic “thanks” to the Cartagena 11 for introducing that expression into the vernacular.) Image from

Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor -- USA Today - A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites. Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's "information operations" program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored. For example, Internet domain registries show the website was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program.

No real justice in Guantanamo: Trying accused terrorists before military commissions won't meet international standards - Reed Brody, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri is charged with being a key organizer of Al Qaeda's attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, off the coast of Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. servicemen, as well as of two other attacks. Nashiri's trial before the Guantanamo military commission raises problems that go far beyond the fact that he was tortured. Despite changes made to the commissions since President Obama was elected, they do not meet international fair trial standards. is charged with being a key organizer of Al Qaeda's attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, off the coast of Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. servicemen, as well as of two other attacks.

Essay: We’ve seen photos before like ones of U.S. soldiers with Afghan corpses - Joe Heim, Washington Post: The publication on Wednesday of photographs of American troops in Afghanistan posing with pictures of enemy corpses was the latest in a series of similarly grisly embarrassments for the United StatesAmerican leaders apologized for the photographs, which were taken in 2010, as they sought to contain the diplomatic and political fallout from the incident. Everyone expressed appropriate outrage. But, however abhorrent these actions by a small group of American forces in Afghanistan are, they are in keeping with the history of conflict.

Perhaps we’re surprised because we think we’re more civilized than we are. Or because most of us don’t actually understand what war is. It is right that we are outraged. Horrified. Shaken. But there’s no reason we should still be surprised. Image from article, with caption: Disturbing images of warriors’ actions: There are many examples throughout history and literature of the vengeful acts of warriors.

Information into North Korea: "What used to be a drip is now a steady trickle" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Round-Up: Headgears in the Foreign Service - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: Headgear, headwear or headdress is the term for any element of clothing worn on one’s head for a variety of purposes — for protection, fashion, social convention or religious purposes. And our foreign service has bunches of this [Among many photos listed]:

Ambassador Peter Prahar provides remarks at the Pacific Partnership 2011 Closing Ceremony on July 14. Shown here wearing a floral headress popular in the islands

Ambassador Richard Olson, the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy Kabul wearing a Lungei (or headdress that is worn by men) during a visit to Paktika, Afghanistan. The Turban is a symbol of honor and is respected everywhere it is worn; it is a common practice to honor important guests by offering them one to wear.


"Jobs in the firearms business jumped 30 percent from 2008 to 2011, when the industry employed 98,750. The industry paid $2.5 billion in federal taxes in 2011, up 66 percent in three years."

--Tim Devaney, "Obama is named gun ‘salesman of the year’: Industry cites uncertainty over policy" - The Washington Times. Image from article, with caption: Curtis Irwin holds a .50 caliber rifle to show at a gun shop in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday. The Cheaper Than Dirt gun store recorded a record day of gun sales the day after the election of President-elect Barack Obama and is since having trouble keeping up with the demand for assault rifles


"This week Gallup had a poll showing only 24% of Americans feel we're on the right track as a nation. That's a historic low."

--Peggy Noonan, "America's Crisis of Character: The nation seems to be on the wrong track, and not just economically, "Wall Street Journal; image from article


"Starbucks to stop using red food coloring made from crushed beetles"

--Headline in The Washington Post


"[A]ccording to a survey recently conducted by Lloyds Bank, a fifth of all people [in the U.K.] with assets of more than $640,000 are thinking of leaving the country. ... Other surveys have shown that at least 50% of the population wants to leave, in the main to flee the other 50% of the population."

--Theodore Dalrymple, "The Ugly Brutishness of Modern Britain: A demotic egalitariansim, allied with multiculturalism, has rendered civility passé," Wall Street Journal


--Via ER on Facebook (loosely, perhaps inaccurately, translated [JB] as "I'm ready for the big [Lent] fast"


Video: Senior in love affair with muppet dog

1 comment:

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