Aaron Hanscom

Sunday, April 30, 2006

American Patriot

The Gyllenhaals are back at it.

Movie star JAKE GYLLENHAAL has shocked American Gulf War veterans by joking they did nothing but "masturbate" during their time in the desert in 1991. The cheeky 25-year-old stars in JARHEAD, a movie exposing the US soldiers' lack of combat in the Middle Eastern conflict. He said, "The US soldiers were sent to the desert for 122 days and they sat in the same tent and did nothing, except a little too much masturbating."

His sister still takes the prize for the most offensive comments to date.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

While Europe sleeps...

so do we. Or had you heard?

MONTPELLIER, France — The cellphone's trail led from bloodstained Fallouja to the engineering school here, a modern campus where researchers in white coats stroll past labs and the breeze rustles through trees in courtyards dotted with pine cones.

Two years ago French investigators, aided by U.S. intelligence, detected calls from Iraq to a central figure in a suspected extremist cell in Montpellier. French intelligence officials say the calls came from a militant leader in Fallouja involved in the grisly killing of four American military contractors by a mob on March 31, 2004, an incident that became an icon of the savage conflict in Iraq.

The suspected cell included a group of Moroccan students accused of studying electronics, computer technology and telecommunications in the service of a North African terrorist group allied with Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The group is sending fighters to Iraq, developing alliances across North Africa and plotting attacks in Europe, investigators say.

Officials say the case of the students, several of whom are under arrest, also illustrates a wider effort by terrorist networks to use universities and the Internet to replace former training camps in Afghanistan.

Update: And a little closer to home...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Svelte Porcelain Bush-hater

You be the judge as to whether or not Caitlin Flanagan's anti-Bush salvo is tasteful:

For her part, Flanagan seems to be feeling the pain of backlash from those she has judged. A week after our meeting — during which she has very likely read the Elle profile, which brought out the pious parson in her, a side I didn’t see — she calls me back and tells me she has a quote for me that she hasn’t given anyone else. “I am pro-choice, anti-war, anti-Bush, I’m a Democrat, and only a conservative on family issues,” she says plaintively. “I’ve got nothing but derision from the left — you’ve got to check everything on the menu to please them. But the right has been good to me, even though they disagree with me about abortion. I can go on Tucker Carlson and he’s respectful. The head of the Southern Baptist Convention had me on the radio. But the feminists humiliate me. We, the Democrats, have a real small tent. The Republicans have a big tent.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Guantanamo Vacation

From the Guardian, no less!

Tracked down to his remote village in south-eastern Afghanistan, Naqibullah has memories of Guantanamo that are almost identical to Asadullah's. Prison life was good, he said shyly, nervous to be receiving a foreigner to his family's mud-fortress home.

The food in the camp was delicious, the teaching was excellent, and his warders were kind. "Americans are good people, they were always friendly, I don't have anything against them," he said. "If my father didn't need me, I would want to live in America."

Asadullah is even more sure of this. "Americans are great people, better than anyone else," he said, when found at his elder brother's tiny fruit and nut shop in a muddy backstreet of Kabul. "Americans are polite and friendly when you speak to them. They are not rude like Afghans. If I could be anywhere, I would be in America. I would like to be a doctor, an engineer _ or an American soldier."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Lost Generation

V S Naipaul tells it like it is:

Hemingway didn't know where he was, ever, really. He was so busy being an American and that was his subject matter. You wouldn't have any idea, from Hemingway or Fitzgerald and their stories or writings about Paris, that Paris was in the most terrible way between the wars. They just talked about the cafes, the drinks and oysters and things like that. They don't see the larger thing outside. I find it very difficult to read that kind of writing or to take it seriously. It's for other people - people down the road...

Freedom of Speech in Sevilla

I studied at the University of Sevilla in 1998. Anyways:

A group of some 20 leftist youths, members of a "solidarity with Cuba" group, charged into the University of Sevilla's conference room and disrupted a speech by poet and exiled Cuban dissident Raul Rivero on Monday. Rivero called them "a metathesis of Castroism," and the university expressed its "most energetic condemnation of the incidents, provoked by persons from outside the university." The disruptors shouted Rivero down, calling him a "terrorist." Rivero told Libertad Digital, "A year ago, when I came to Spain, something similar happened at the Granada poetry festival. But after they shouted their slogans, I was able to continue speaking. Yesterday was different, because they managed to keep me from expressing my opinion." Rivero declared, "The Cuban government is based on lies and cheap propaganda. That's why it is afraid of words and the truth."