Thursday, October 06, 2005

DAILY MUSELI: Rapture Coming Soon!

At right: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, c. 1497-8; Albrecht Durer, (1471-1528)

Good morning.

1.) 2005 HASN'T BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR THE WORLD. And it's likely to get worse. First we celebrated New Year's Eve as hundreds of thousands drowned in southern Asia. Then came war, famine, floods, storm surge, hurricanes, tanking consumer confidence, rising personal bankruptcies, rising energy prices, subway bombings, a looming flu pandemic, etc. Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, then came yesterday's ominous sign that, maybe, just maybe, all the forces of evil in the marketing and promotions world have united to create what Gawker has called "the single most f***ed-up kid in the history of f***ed-up kids." Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are having a baby. Gawker continues: "[Y]es, the world is quite possibly caving in on itself."

And you can't stockpile enough bottled water to survive that. Where's my duct tape?

2.) ONE FRONT ON THE GLOBAL WAR TO ROOT OUT TERRORISM that hasn't gotten any major news attention in quite some time is the Triple Frontier, that lawless region in South America between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Back in 2002 and 2003, there were numerous articles about how Islamic extremists were using the region to "finance terrorist activities," according to a U.S. Treasury Department memo, according to Wikipedia.

If you don't know much about the Triple Frontier, I suggest you read Jeffrey Goldberg's 2002 piece in The New Yorker about tracking Hezbollah (if you can find it), where he traveled to South America. Here's an interesting Q&A that's available online. But Goldberg's piece was criticized by some, and many officials have said that the threat in the region may be overstated. The last mention of the "Triple Frontier" and "Paraguay" in blogs is this mention from last month about concern over a report that the United States wanted to set up a military base in Paraguay. According to the report, the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion said that the U.S. did not want to set up a base, but was concerned about the "illegal activities" in the Triple Frontier. (I can't really figure out where the sourcing on this is on this blog.)

I'd be curious to read more about what's going on down there in the Wild, Wild South.

3.) TO THE UNITENDIFIED MAN ON CLARENDON BOULEVARD who was trying to tuck his shirt in yesterday morning while walking down the sidewalk: There are better places to do that. Seriously. It's one thing to talk on your cellphone and walk at the same time. But to walk, talk to a co-worker and undo your belt, unzip your khakis (in full view of patrons drinking their coffee at Cosi) and tuck your shirt in all at the same time, that is a bit much. Do you realize how embarrassed your co-worker was?

4.) WHILE JUDITH MILLER'S CASE is for sure interesting, this story involving the Times' Beijing bureau, Chinese state secrets and a copy of a memo that may have been stolen may provide more interesting plot twists.

>> "Internal Times Memo Key to China's Case" [The Washington Post]


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