How about something a little lighter? Take a look at this wonderful sight, full of pictures of old Tokyo taken from postcards.
Did you know Osama Bin Laden died over three years ago? Think about it; in the three years since the US invaded Afghanistan, not a single videotape has appeared from Osama Bin Laden. Every few months a horribly degraded cassette tape turns up and the news media dutifully report that a voice that could be Bin Laden’s is on the recording. But not a single image from this evil megalomaniac in three years. And it really isn’t all that surprising. Bin Laden was a diabetic with end stage renal disease, in need of hemodialysis every three days to stay alive. Even then, his need for dialysis indicates that his health was in terrible condition and he didn’t have long to live.
So if Bin Laden is dead and no longer a threat, what’s going on? Why does the news media, the military and the Republican administration keep resurrecting his specter? Because Osama Bin Laden is a Weapon of Mass Convenience.
I think this quote sums it up quite nicely:
Osama bin Laden is truly our Emmanuel Goldstein, the mercurial leader of the resistance against Big Brother in Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. Of course, Bin Laden does not fit the bill entirely—Goldstein was at one time part of Big Brother’s party, whereas Osama was just a lowly CIA functionary—but the outcome is pretty much the same: Osama, like Goldstein, stirs up the masses, elicits enduring hatred and dread—Goldstein was used effectively to keep hatred and dread alive during “two minute hate” sessions. Even though the body of Osama is dead a buried, his soul lives on through audio tapes and a presence on the internet. Bush will get a lot of mileage out of his corpse over the next four years.
Here’s a really good article by Molly Ivins: The Reality-Based Environment. The gist of her article is that despite George Bush’s proclamation that global warming does not exist, the environment is particularly interested in conservative mandates and to ignore the facts is only going to make it worse.
Sticking with this same idea, Salon has a good interview with Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, both interesting books about the fate of human societies. Read the article, and read the books too.
The vessel is currently underway back to Guam and several Navy and Coast Guard ships are meeting the submarine enroute to provide escort and support. 20 sailors were injured in the grounding yesterday, one critically. The San Francisco is expected to arrive in Apra Harbor on Monday.