Thursday, September 15, 2005

Found in the paper

I just read a blurb about a book piece in a periodical entitled the gina & krista round-robin. Love the title. If I can break away from my husband Thomas Friedman (I really can't leave him alone when he keeps wandering off and raving like a lunatic), I hope to read it tomorrow.

Reminds me of a book discussion I saw Sunday, "13 Books, 20 Minutes" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):

Betty: I like the Ramona books too. I'd forgotten them until I started reading them to my own kids. It's like rediscovering the books all over again. My favorite changes from week to week depending on what the kids are into. Currently, they want Robert Bright's Georgie. That's a book about a little boy who's a ghost and it has the ink drawings that the kids get excited over.This summer, at my oldest's day care, there was a Halloween in July thing where they got to dress up and read books. They had to make their own masks with construction paper and sacks and they did that in day care so it wasn't a stress for the parents. But during that week, one of the books they read was Georgie and this was really hard to find a copy of. But we "had" to have it and I remember those days so I finally found a copy on the internet. Let me do a quote because I just feel like I'm rambling here. (Laughing) Maybe because I'm not reflecting on the past but the topic pulls me very much into the present. Here's the opening of the book:

In a little village in New England there was a little house which
to Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker.
Up in the little attic of this little house there lived a little
His name was Georgie.
Every night, at the same time,
he gave the loose board on the stairs a little creek,
and the parlor door a little squeak.

It's a cute book and at a time when the youngest is worrying about monsters under the bed, it's great because I can say, "I don't think it's monsters, I think it's Georgie!" and peace is restored and bed times met.

And also this from Like Maria Said Paz:

Gina's asked that we note what we picked as a children's book that left an impression at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Confession, I didn't offer one. Everyone was rushing. And time was called. I'm not griping about that and wasn't going to say anything but since Gina wants me to note my pick, I need to note that I didn't offer one.
I'd pick the Nancy Drew books. But note the ones from when I was a child. I found the originals in my elementary school library. They don't have photos on the cover (they might have had dusk jackets, if so the library lost them before I was in elementary school). They were published in the thirties. Nancy had an amazing car with running boards on the side which I thought was the only way a car should look. (My father collected antique cars.)
She was also more independent in the original series. Each series has weakened her in my opinion. Any of the early books from the thirties are my favorites. I liked the Dana Girls as well if it was from the original series.

Friedman and His Ego

Friedman and His Ego
by Bettina Friedman

There is something troublingly self-indulgent and slothful about my husband Thomas Friedman today -- something that Katrina highlighted and that people who know Thomas Friedman really took note of. It irritated them -- like watching a rabid dog in its final hours, foaming at the mouth and unsure of its surroundings.
That is certainly the sense I got after observing Thomas Friedman flouncing around the living room, then the hall, the outside sidewalk, in his shorty robe always, spouting off anything he "thought" or "believed" in the moment when he "thought" or "believed" of/in it.
He may go loonier than a "vegan at McDonalds" or a "beggar at Bergdoffs" but there was something truly appalling at his latest screechings.
"Has he truly lost it?" wondered Mrs. K, Nicky's wife.
I didn't know what to tell her.
I think Thomas Friedman went nuts somewhere around the time he was on his book tour. And I'm guessing he was barreling down Crack Up Highway like a trucker hopped up on No Doz. (It really does get harder and harder not to speak like him the more you're around him.)
Mrs. K, who knows the world around us, was appalled that he was singing the praises of Singapore.
If you're not familiar with the country's human rights policies, you can check out Amnesty International's report.
"Has he even been to Singapore?" Mrs. K asked me.
"Not that I know of. And we both know he rarely leaves our NYC apartment unless the dress policy is casual enough to allow for shorty robes."
"I just don't get him," Mrs. K offered.
Trust me, the crack pot of the op-ed pages is not simply any local loco. Indeed, he's so wack, he's taken to baying at the moon this week. Even when I corrected him with, "Thomas Friedman, that is not the moon, that is a street lamp."
From Thomas Friedman's early years, Nicky K tells me, he was a bit "caffinated" but otherwise able to make a few sensible points. These days, Nicky K swears, he's channeling former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noons "on a really, really bad day."
Which may be why he's no longer interested in his once favorite sex game, role play where he played William Safire and I, as Peggy Noonan, would have to change his adult diaper.
But Thomas Friedman isn't interested in sex at all these days.
Perhaps it was the affair that went bad with Patti Limmerick Nelson? Following the events and oddities of our Fourth of July picnic, I confronted Limmerick and like many an aging, failed intellect, when confronted with the choice between her lover and her cats, she elected to stay with the cats.
Thomas Friedman and his ego have not recovered from that moment. Not even the "vacation" helped with its trip to Coney Island and its searches of most of Manhattan for the perfect replacement shorty robe.
To this day, when someone refers to him, as he insists upon being referred to as, as "The great Thomas Friedman," he will cock an eyebrow, his spine will stiffen and he will await the punchline. He has grasped, to some degree, that these days, he is the punchline.
Even with his ego shattered, or possibly especially with his ego shattered, Thomas Friedman continues to pontificate in a sort of psuedo-Dennis Miller manner, taking on all the ghosts of decades past. Like something out of his obviously split mind, Thomas Friedman has taken to playing two roles from Dickens' A Christmas Carol: both Ebenezer Scrooge (consumed with money and "free trade") and the ghost of Christmas Past. While Christmas comes but once a year, the weak minded op-edists are always with us.
"In the areas of grooming, mental fitness, critical thought and breeziness, Thomas Freidman fails repeatedly," said Tang-Se Smith of the Columbia Journalism Department. "His mental breakdown proves the long held hypothesis that op-eds require little to no thought."
Did Tang-Se actually say that?
Does Tang-Se actually exist?
I made it up. Just as so many fictional characters pop up in my husband's Thomas Friedman's writings. That's possibly unfair. They do exist -- in his mind.
When an evicition from a local produce market resulted in no more prunes for Thomas Friedman, his brain appeared to stop up on a level equal to his bowels. Reading his latest column, it was obvious that what his body cannot expell below, his mouth will spew above.
The regularity that fiber could provide to his bowels and, along with water, to his mental well being are concepts Thomas Friedman is no longer interested in.
As I type this, the street lamps are coming on and Thomas Friedman is downstairs, on the sidewalk, in his shorty robe, yet again attracting nervous stares, as he bays at the street lamp he has once again mistaken for the moon.
Though certain papers let the nitwits design their own columns, and certain book publishers blot the landscape by reprinting their slight notions in sketched out forum, we can say no. We do not have to read the ravings of an obviously deranged mind.
Speaking of deranged minds, Tang-Su, my mythical professor at Columbia, would say to Thomas Friedman, "We were shocked at what we read. Abuses in Singapore are ignored as you push it as your dream locale."
Tang-Su continues, "Today's op-ed writer differs in one crucial aspect from yesterday's op-ed writer. There were standards then. Erma Bombeck was intentionally funny and others didn't attempt to flaunt their ignorance by writing of things they obviously knew little of."
Thomas Friedman believes he can write on anything. He calls himself a "multi-field expert."
The reality is he is one of a long line of Know Nothings who has yet to grasp how small his actual knowledge base is.
To say that in a way that my husband Thomas Friedman could understand, I will close with this,
"The 'thoughts' you offer are like the dipping sticks one gets from Pizza Hut. They're tasty but they do not, in an of themselves, make for a meal. Your columns, like your mind, suffer from inadequate nutrition."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Editorial found in the paper

I found this editorial in the paper and wanted to note it on my computer.

"Editorial Reading press releases, live from the Green Zone"
[Note: This is an editorial.]
What the hell goes on in the Green Zone? Forget the rumors that led to a guild becoming involved (rumors of wild behavior on the part of Times reporters, rumors that someone was fired for telling truths to wives back in the United States, rumors, rumors, rumors), exactly what do they do?
Not a whole hell of a lot.
The big Iraq news of the week was Tal Afar. The Times front paged Kirk Semple's "
Baseball in Iraq: As Pastimes Go, It's Anything But." Apparently the jock fumes reach the Green Zone as well. (Though I'll refrain from pinning this one on Todd S. Purdum.)
This is a front page story. Why? Not because it's a big story in Iraq. It's not. It's a piece of disgraceful fluff. It's Operation Happy Talk. And while it goes on, while we're bored with a non-story passing for front page news, the Times can't even report on Tal Afar.
What do they do in the Green Zone?
Yes, Friday, finally, a story ran in the Times on Tel Afar: "
U.S.-Iraqi Sweep Arrests 200 in Rebel Staging Area" but the Times receives no credit for that article, it's an Associated Press article. Whatever it's positives or minuses, all the Times did was run a report by another news organization.
So what do they do in the Green Zone?
And what the hell is Robert F. Worth? Is he a reporter? Is he an op-ed writer? Read"
Basra Bombs Kill 16 Iraqis and 4 U.S. Contractors" and try to answer that question.
I'm unable to grasp how, in a story on bombings, this opening qualifies for a news report:
There was also a piece of good news: American military officials said [. . .]
What did "American military officials" say? It doesn't matter for this discussion. (A contractor was released.) What is that judgement call ("good news") doing in the paper? Is Worth channeling Matt Lauer? Tip to Worth: "In other news . . ." You're supposed to be reporting. You're not there to editorialize.
The sentence, the part noted above, reveals all that is wrong with the Times reporting on Iraq."American military officials said . . ." That's the basis for every damn thing. (Yes, I'm tossing around "damn." Call me Bumiller. But "damn" is much more mild than the word I'm saying outloud as I dictate this.)
Reporters are supposed to serve as the eyes and ears of the public. That's why they're called the "watch dogs." That's not happening when every "report" is a press release. "American military officials said . . ." And what did you see Robert F. Worth? What did you hear? Not what were you told. What did you observe all by yourself?
Or does that require leaving the Green Zone? From all accounts, it's Delta House there so who would want to leave -- other than someone with a modicum of taste?
Look they can Boys Gone Wild it or not all they want in the Green Zone, I don't care. I do care what makes into print but I wonder if anyone reporting from the Green Zone does?
I did a conference call with three friends (reporters) on this asking them to play devil's advocate so I could anticipate the responses. (The Times would call the phone call "reporting.")
So here's the big argument. "It's not safe. I could lose my life."
You know what, cover cook-offs. If that's your excuse, cover cook-offs. No one's forcing you to be there. The paper certainly isn't forcing anyone. Reporters are choosing to be there. If you're a reporter and you're there, you need to be reporting.
It's not safe, doesn't cut it. It wasn't safe for Daniel Pearl. He went after the story. Others have before him and will after. The attitude of "Oh it's tough here so you have to cut me slack" doesn't wash. You get off your asses or the Times needs to appoint J-school graduates who are ready to dig in and find stories. (Which the Times, being the Times, will water down. But a diluted news report is still more powerful than any of the diluted press releases that regularly get filed.)
There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that reporters can point to with pride coming out of Iraq for the paper. You're not making a name for yourself. The t-shirt you should be furnished with when you depart can only proclaim: "I SURVIVED THE GREEN ZONE." That's all that's being done. Reporting isn't being done. (And the Times is becoming a joke to other print organizations over their "reporting" from Iraq.)
Want a blast from the past? Try this ("
More Iraqi Army Dead Found in Mosul; 2 Clerics Slain," November 23, 2004):
Basic services are still unavailable in Falluja, and the valves in the city's main water-treatment plant are still not working. But troops will provide bottled water until the plant and the city's heavily damaged water and sewer pipes can be fixed, the general said.
The general said it, did he? Well Richard A. Oppel. Jr. and James Glanz, did you follow up on that? Or did you just print what you were told? (Rhetorical question.)
Does anyone working for the Times in Iraq do anything more than play telephone chain? Does anyone not buckle immediately?
From Molly Bingham's "
Home From Iraq" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution):
The intimidation to not work on this story was evident. Dexter Filkins, who writes for The New York Times, related a conversation he had in Iraq with an American military commander... Towards the end of one of their conversations, Dexter declined an invitation for the next day by explaining that he'd lined up a meeting with a "resistance guy." The commander's face went stony cold and he said, "We have a position on that." For Dexter the message was clear. He cancelled the appointment.
If you're going to discuss Iraq, you have to discuss Filkins at some point. I'm aware it's more pleasing to discuss Judith Miller. But if she had a part in getting us over into Iraq, it's the "reporters" like Filkins who keep us there. For the record, Filkins has denied Bingham's version of the events. People will have to make up their own minds as to whom to take the word of.
While you're attempting to sort that out, let's again note
Christian Parenti mentioned Filkins last night on The Laura Flanders Show: "Dexter Filkins politics are very different from the Dexter Filkins politics we know in the New York Times. [In person, he's saying] 'Oh it's awful, the situation is totally out of control.'" That's a paraphrase (I've left out a "Dude" among other things).
Oh, it's awful, the situation is totally out of control?
Didn't seem that way when Filkins reported "In Faulluja, Young Marines Saw the Savagery of an Urban War" -- his rah-rah-rah piece of "award winning" journalism. Six days after the battle (Nov. 15), Filkins' story makes it into print. Exactly how slowly does he type? Exactly whom edited that copy?
From Dahr Jamail's "
Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" (pdf format, you can find the quote below at this site here):
Burhan Fasa'a, a cameramn with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I entered Falljuah near the Julan Quarter, which is near the General Hospital," he said during an interview in Baghdad. "There were American snipers on top of the hospital," who, he testified, "were shooting everyone in sight." The Iraqi Red Crescent would have to wait a full week before being permitted to dispatch three ambulances into the city.

Not quite the way Filkins reported it. For that matter, not quite the way Richard A. Oppel, Jr. and James Glanz report it. (They report that the Iraqi Red Crescent found no one when they entered Falluja. They just fail to seriously address why that is.) It goes beyond Filkins but Filkins has the prize and he contributed the go-go boy gone wild story that portrays a massacre as a video game.
Reality: Preceding the blood bath, males of "fighting age" were prevented from leaving that city. The destruction was severe and has not been "fixed." (Does the United States military still provide bottled water? Did they ever? Not what they told you, but what you could verify, please.)
Press releases continue to pass for reporting ("Hussein Confessed to Massacre Order, Iraqi President Says") and they should all be worried. They're the upcoming Judy Millers. They're the laughingstock of many of their peers. (Filkins epecially whose appearance on Terry Gross's Fresh Air is legendary -- and the tales repeated of it are far more interesting than what he actually said on air.)
Let's note this:
On this 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Amy Goodman, host of the national radio and TV show "Democracy Now!" is submitting a formal request to the board of the Pulitzer Prize, calling for The New York Times and its reporter William Laurence to be stripped of the 1946 Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the atomic bomb. Laurence was also on the payroll of the US War Department. Goodman recently wrote an Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun (written with journalist David Goodman, her brother) called "The Hiroshima Coverup" (see ).
Goodman said, "William Laurence and the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the atomic bomb, and his faithful parroting of the government line was crucial in launching a half-century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb. It is time for the Pulitzer board to strip the atomic bomb apologist and his newspaper of this undeserved prize."
This is Filkins future. I used to assume that it would take place long after he was gone. (And long after I was gone.) But he's the one reporters bring up to me. They're friends and they know I consider his reporting proganda. (Had the election gone differently, would his story have been more realistic?) So maybe they're just saying what they say to please me? I don't think so. (I could, as always, be wrong.)
But away from them, when you walk someone through Filkins reporting, someone who has no idea who he is, they grasp that its people like Filkins that keep us in Iraq.By failing to report accurately what Operation Enduring Falsehood did (and what they do) they allow a number of otherwise well meaning people to think "fine tuning" is an answer. (Filkins is also a laughing stock for a TV appearance I missed. He supposedly minimized a trial for the abuses of Abu Ghraib -- with regard to instructions from above.) Fine tuning isn't an answer. As Filkins allegedy told Parenti, "It's totally out of control." Until that truth makes it into the reports, I'm saddened by those who argue fine tuning and aren't war hawks but I don't blame them for the failures of the press to report reality. They're being short changed. (Hawks aren't. They don't need excuses to continue war. They thrive on it the way some in the Green Zone thrive on the chaos.)
But here's the reason Filkins may feel the bite while he's still alive. Some domestic reporters in the United States aren't speaking fondly of the embeds. They're pointing fingers right now as the clampdowns that reporters have gone along with in Iraq come home to the United States.
The Boys Gone Wild are also a joke to people who've served in the area. And those first hand accounts will continue to come out. A Worth or Glanz will be embarrassed for being so quick to print press releases, but Filkins was in Falluja. He saw with his own eyes and he didn't report.
The bodies, the limbs piled up in the streets, Filkins somehow missed. And he was there. A friend at one of the top ten (circulation) dailies has gone from lukewarm support of Filkins' infamous "reporting" to outright disgust with it. The opinion is there is no "comeback" from it. That Filkins could do a mea culpa and return his prize and he'd still be damaged goods.
That kind of talk may not make it into the Green Zone but Filkins should worry. And so should the paper.
In an early November piece on Falluja (this one co-written with James Glanz), a military officer told Filkins that "it ought to go down in history." Filkins accepted the gung-hu attitude, too bad he didn't consider the words themselves. This will go down in history.
This will haunt the Times and it will haunt Filkins.
Amy and David Goodman may not get the Times stripped of a Pulitizer (though I hope they do) but just addressing the issue accomplishes something. And when the issue of Dexter Filkins is seriously addressed it will further tarnish the paper's name.
With Judith Miller, the paper waited far too late to address the situation. (Both her reporting itself and the legal argument they attempt to make -- they not Millers' attornies.) If they hem and haw with regards to what passes for "reporting" from Iraq currently, they'll further hurt their already badly damaged reputation.
In the meantime, by not revisiting the press releases they published, they do real reporting, democracy and the people of the United States a huge disservice because they're not reporting. It took Cindy Sheehan to act as the spark to wake up a nation. The Times could have done that long ago with some strong reporting. It shouldn't be the job of the editorials to try to later straighten out the reporting.
And as the press in the United States feels they're under attack, they're making some rather rude comments about those in the Green Zone that they feel have condoned this sort of behavior.
Democracy Now! noted the following Friday:
The journalists who have been covering Hurricane Katrina have literally been risking their lives for the last week. Reporters have been stationed in and around New Orleans since the Hurricane hit and have tirelessly reported on the devastation to the city. Some journalists have expressed enormous outrage at government officials for their slow response. A few television reporters openly broke down on air as they report the horrific conditions and the desperation of victims. Reporters have witnessed the militarization of the city and are starting to feel the effects of the government crack-down on information gathering. FEMA is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition, journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams reported on his blog, that police officers had been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham wrote a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes: "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans, Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city."Earlier this week, Reporters Without Borders issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. They highlighted two cases – in one case police detained a Times-Picayune photographer and smashed his equipment to the ground after he was seen covering a shoot-out with police. In the second case, a photographer from the Toronto Star was detained by police and his photos taken from him when police realized that he had snapped photos of a clash between them and citizens who the police claimed were looters.
Those in the Green Zone may have kidded themselves, if they were non-Arabic, that they weren't being controlled. It was just the Arabic reporters suffering, right?
A Dexter Filkins could cancel the meeting with the resistance and kid himself that he made the choice. (Like Madonna' s ludicrous claim in the nineties that the difference was she chained herself.) The "choices" that have been made are now impacting reporters outside the Green Zone and they aren't amused.
That's why the Times should be concerned. The rumblings and grumblings are coming from their competitors. Not from independent media, which the Times would easily dismiss (as it so often does). I don't know that other dailies are doing a better job than the Times (the daily I read is the New York Times). Reporters at other papers seem to think to think they are. Three reporters in particular (two at one organization, one at another) are mentioned repeatedly (by press not affiliated with the two organizations).
The Times is aware that Judith Miller has become the fall guy for every reporter that gave breathless (and non questioning) coverage to WMD claims. So they're familiar with the concept of a fall guy. (They've also created a few over the years.) They should be really concerned right now because although Filkins isn't the "name" that Miller is (even people who didn't read her reporting in real time can now list the problems with it), he'll quickly become that. One reporter trying to cover New Orleans has already used Filkins as an adjective to express dismay over conditions that authorities attempted to impose. ("They thought I'd do a Filkins!")
Whereas the derision of Miller began with the independent press, Filkins' is starting at the top. Again, he wrote a first person account of what happened in Falluja. That's hard to come back from as details continue to emerge about what didn't get reported in that piece of melodrama.The paper should be very worried. It took years for the criticism of Miller to go beyond independent media. If Filkins gets burned by the mainstream press, it will be a much harder hit than any criticism the Times faces over Miller.
The fact that they've continued to offer press releases won't help them either. They should have dealt with this long ago. They need a new chief in Baghdad and they need it right away.
What Americans need is some honest reporting

How would Iraq respond?

Friday, Fat and Hairy Butt Cheeks got on my last nerve. That's how I like to think of my husband Thomas Friedman, "Fat and Hairy Butt Cheeks."

He sulked and whined.

It actually started Wednesday. He was convinced the prunes I was using for his prune juice were "substandard." Then he decided the produce guy was jealous of him and that there might be something harmful in them. Then he decided that there was something harmful in them. Then, and now we were at Thursday morning, he decided to "throw my wait around and let them know who the 800 pound gorilla was!"

Honestly, he could just moon them if he wanted them to know he was simian. Trust me, that butt has so much hair on it you could do cornrows with it.

Well the young guy didn't enjoy having some lunatic screaming at him, even one with frosted highlights.

He must have complained to his boss because that afternoon we received a letter entitled "Memo to Thomas Friedman: Do not shop here anymore."

Oh he was mad.

"Where will I get my prunes!"

He screamed and he sulked and he suggested that he needed a little "gut check time." I told him I wasn't in the mood.

"The whole world's against me!" he screamed.

I suggested that maybe they were just a little tired of his advice. Like Nicky K whom Thomas Friedman told Tuesday that not only did he look old, he looked like the fifth Golden Girl. Thomas Friedman told Nicky K he needed to start getting highlights like Thomas Friedman does.

"Nonsesne," Thomas Friedman sputtered to me. "Nicky K needs my advice. If I don't toughen him up, he'll continue being the whiney little candy ass he is. He needs my advice! You need my advice! The whole world needs my advice!"

That was his moood when he sat down to write his Friday column. Reading "New Orleans and Baghdad" wasn't surprising. He'd decided that with an inflamed Middle East, an invasion and occupation going on, and things hitting the fan daily, what Iraq really needed was a hard hitting locker room talk from him.

Honestly, I think he was the towel ball in high school. (He always corrects me, "Equipment Manager, Bettina, Equipment Manager. Big difference. Big.")

But there he is, once again, writing about something he knows nothing about.

I started fantasizing what would happen if Iraq wrote him back?

Memo to: Thomas Friedman
From: Iraq's Kurdish, Shiite and Sunnie leaders
Dear Sir:
As people living in strife, we have no idea why you attempted to add to our worries and troubles but we have a question for you, "Exactly who do you think you are?"
You do not live here, Mr. Friedman. We have not sought out your advice.
It must take a large ego to think an entire country awaits your advice.
Before your memo arrived, many of us were already of the opinion that America needs to stop "helping."
We're confused as to why you assume that your words were eagerly awaited.
Your remarks struck us as some sort of threat; however, that could just be the typical arrogance from a certain type of Americans who see us as simple-minded, child-like beings in need of guidance.
You inform us of opposition to your occupation in America.
We're amazed that you think, with all that is going on, that our biggest concern is what the country that's screwed up our water systems, our power system and pretty much turned the whole country side into a turkey shoot at a county fair thinks.
Mr. Friedman, you are not the center of the world although we understand your large ass does excerpt its own immense gravitational pull.
"Hell hath no fury . . ." Do you dare to lecture us about the spiritual world?
Your comments about politics in the Arab world reveal not only your arrogance but also your ignorance.
Did you think "murderous Sunni Baathists" would win you friends?
We invented the zero and you write like one.
Unless you are a young boy of eight or younger, we fear for the United States. If you are a prime example of a leading thinker than there must not be a great deal of thought coming out of your country.
You write of "the pressure on us . . ." While we are sorry that you have troubles, we have troubles too. Nowhere in your memo did you indicate that you were aware of that.
While we are sorry that so many innocents are suffering from the after effects of Hurricane Katrina, we are hopeful that the stress and need will at least prevent further damage to our own country by you and your ilk for a few days, if not weeks.
"New Orleans and Baghdad" reveals a childish mind. If it is housed in a child's body, we will merely chuckle. If you, Thomas Friedman, are an adult, we will worry for the state of your country when a nut job like you is allowed to freely dispense advice to strangers.