The Friends of California Libre...

18 October 2003

The International Men and Women of Mystery

Greetings, friends,
Savor this screed, because it's jam-packed from end to end with delightful tidbits, some bouncing across the Internet to you from every corner of the globe. The theme this time is...WHAT??? Or...HUH???

First of all, the Australians have created a unique alternative to Barbie. Lorinda, this made me miss you more than anything (thanks, Miles):

Is clean living the way to longevity? Who knows...
Cambodian Man Smokes His Way to 122 Years -- Maybe

These French kids should use that Cambodian as a role model...but hey, nobody encouraged us to smoke in high school:
French Pupils Angered Over Smoking Ban

IMPORTANT! There are large protests scheduled for 25 October (next Saturday) and these may be the largest since the war....(which war, you might ask, natch.) As far as I can tell, all activities are being concentrated on San Francisco and Washington DC; groups in other cities (including Los Angeles) are encouraging people to bus to either of these places.

You can get more info here:

I will wait for 9 November (more about that in the next Spooky Screed).

Okay, will some of you do me a favor and go here:
Then click on "Recent News". You'll see a story near the top about a book-burning in Cuba. This website has a distinct anti-Cuban slant, but I'm of a divided mind about it and seek your guidance. The issue of intellectual freedom in Cuban libraries has proved a prickly one in my profession; many of my colleagues, especially in IFLA (the UN of the library world) have tried to ignore it, but yet it remains. I have very mixed feelings about Cuba and these events, if true (and I have no reason to doubt them) will unmix them some.

I have no mixed feelings about our new governor, and neither do many of my fellow Californians. The band Dramarama has responded with a new version of the old Dead Kennedys saw, "California Uber Alles"; you will need broadband to really download this song quickly (thanks, Geri):

And now, allow me to turn to Europe for a moment. Is the recent vote in favor of the US policy in the Middle East another Neo-conservative triumph, or is it a global smirk courtesy of our idiot President?
America has defeated Iraq in the field but, says Paul Robinson, she has not won the battle against terrorism or her enemies in Europe and on the East River
By Paul Robinson§ion=current&issue=2003-10-18&id=3620

Our British allies have made a strong decision; after ignoring or disparaging it, they've suddenly become much more interested in joining the EU military force, which the US sees (rightly so) as a rival to NATO:

And the US Government is very unhappy about it:
Summit talk of close European military ties upsets U.S.
By Thomas Fuller

But the EU model, clunky as it may be, is inspiring imitation all over the globe, in Africa, the Middle East, Russia, and now in Southeast Asia. A potent new trade and currency bloc is in the works:

Countries that were once living in the 19th century have jumped ahead into the 21st, with a vengeance:
Now China is sending a man into space. Why?
By Joan Johnson-Freese

Is it the attraction of our Western hygiene?
Dog Beats British Man in Breath Freshness Test

Or our Western ideology?
German Teaches Dog Adolf to Give Hitler Salute

And while the Chinese are going into space (and the Germans are teaching their dogs new tricks), one of the oldest symbols of post-WWII progress is headed for the hanger. If you have a thing for airplanes, this article will bring a tear to your eye:,3604,1064750,00.html
For 30 years it has streaked across our skies, a beautiful triumph of design. But now the world has fallen out of love with Concorde and next week it will fly for the last time. Francis Spufford marvels at the aircraft that soared higher and faster than any other
Francis Spufford
Thursday October 16 2003
The Guardian

We can forgo technology for our great culture, of fine art:
Critic Falls for 3-Year-Old Boy's Art

Or the art of the deal:
Portuguese Store Gives Free Clothes to Nude Shoppers

Finally, let me leave you with this comment by Pat Robertson (he's baaack) that will make you miss the 1980s...and the 1970s...and the 1960s...the 1950s...well, you get it. But I hope it makes your day, because it made mine. Even our new Governor would never imagine this (thanks, Mike):
Feds Condemn Robertson for Nuke Comment
Published: October 11, 2003
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- The U.S. State Department has condemned an on-air suggestion by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson that the agency ought to be blown up with a nuclear device.

Robertson, who heads the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, made the remark while interviewing author Joel Mowbray on ``The 700 Club'' television program last week. Mowbray wrote a book called ``Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security.''

``I read your book. When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer.' I mean, you get through this, and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up,''' Robertson said during the interview.

The State Department's headquarters are located in Foggy Bottom, a Washington neighborhood.

Richard Boucher, the agency's top spokesman, called the remark Thursday ``despicable.''

``I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain,'' Boucher said to reporters during a press briefing.

Robertson was out of town and could not be reached for comment, his spokeswoman Angell Watts said Friday.

In National Review magazine, Mowbray has written articles criticizing the way visas were issued in Saudi Arabia. Mowbray was questioned in 2002 by the State Department after disclosing at a press briefing that he had obtained a classified document about visa issues.

Robertson also advocated bombing the State Department during a June interview with Mowbray.

``Well, it looks like Congress had better do something, and maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up,'' Robertson said.

The Christian evangelist regularly condemns the State Department as a rogue element he says consistently undermines U.S. policies and the principles of freedom.

``It's like an entrenched bureaucracy that has their own agenda, and it doesn't comport with the will of the American people. How do we get rid of them?'' he said during the June interview.

In a July broadcast of ``The 700 Club,'' Robertson accused the State Department of supporting Muslim rebels who opposed the Liberian government headed by Charles Taylor.

Robertson, a Bush supporter who has financial interests in Liberia, said he believed the State Department has ``mismanaged the situation in nation after nation after nation'' in Africa.

``So we're undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country,'' he said during the July broadcast.

Vive le Screed!

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