Thursday, September 27, 2007


I found this in the paper the other day. Unbelieveable.

U.S. scientists tracked a shorebird as it made a record 7,145-mile flight from Alaska to New Zealand without stopping for food or water.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center says its observations confirm the godwit made the longest nonstop flight ever recorded for a land bird.

The bird, dubbed “E7,” was one of 16 godwits captured by researchers in early February in New Zealand. All were fitted with GPS and a small battery-powered satellite transmitter to track their migration.

E7 left northern New Zealand on March 17, flying 6,300 miles nonstop to China. After resting for five weeks, it then traveled on to a summer nesting area in western Alaska.
The bird began its record-setting flight back to New Zealand on Aug. 29, flying past Hawaii, Fiji and other remote islands of the Pacific before arriving on Sept. 7 just east of where she had been captured seven months earlier.

During those nine days, the bird “slept” by shutting down one side of her brain at a time, researchers said. They added that the exertion needed for the epic flight burned more than 50 percent of E7’s body weight.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nothing Will Change

The human behavior experts are right. My reaction to the Surge reports from Patraeus and Crocker will be in line with the conclusions I’ve already reached. That is, whatever the positive results of the Surge to date, many of which are suspect anyway, will not alter the inevitable end result of America’s Iraq misadventure: It has been, is, and will be a disaster. If you have reached a different, more positive conclusion, you will interpret the Patraeus/Crocker reports in a way that validates your opinion.

So – after all the media frenzy and analyses and conflicting points of view – my mind will not be changed, your mind will not be changed.

I am resigned to the fact that nothing will change so long as Bush is in the White House. The can is being kicked down the road, as it has been for years. It will be kicked further down the road the next time, and the time after that. No matter the facts, no matter the outcry, the power to keep us on our current path is in the hands of those who are incapable of admitting that they’ve been wrong. They don’t need to worry that the Democrats will derail them. The Dems don’t have the strength or courage to do it.

In the words of the Chinese proverb, “If we don’t change our direction we’re likely to end up where we are headed.”

I don’t buy the notion that we have a moral responsibility to stay in Iraq until the job is finished because, after all, we started it. With the use of force, to some extent we can keep the lid on. But sooner or later the Iraqis have to decide what they want for themselves. Why squander more lives and billions of dollars to delay the inevitable? Makes no sense to me. My complaints, of course, are like braying in the wind. Nothing will change.

This is September 11. Six years ago today I was having lunch in Taormina, Sicily at Lorenzo’s when radio reports about what had happened in New York began coming in. In one sense that seems like a long time ago. In another, it is like yesterday.

That was a day when something did change. I’d like to think a positive change is still possible. Without the need for an accompanying catastrophe. Where we are now leaves me with little hope that will happen.