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July 26, 2005


"...at least I have electricity...."

I take it you don't live in the eastern part of Montgomery County, where every thunderstorm comes with a free "no power for at least a few hours" card.

Baltimore County, just north of Baltimore. Not every thunderstorm knocks the power out, but it happens often enough that it keeps me guessing. At the moment, though, rain would be welcome.

Will you ever put Iraq The Model on your blogroll? They had an interesting photo of candles that had, not totally melted, but ha drooped over in their den, about a month ago.

Fairfax County is no picnic in the will-we-or-won't-we during thunderstorms either. Not to mention brownouts; we've had at least three already this summer. One day last week, my wife and I were at our gym in Fairfax, and the entire strip center lost power right in the middle of a bright sunny day -- the power demand had helped blow a transformer. Nothing like every treadmill in the joint suddenly lurching to a stop, then gym users having to shower and dress in emergency lighting.

Here in DC the Metro seems to be having problems with its air conditioning. Maybe they're trying to keep it too hot for people to wear explosive vests.

there's a NPR-station program here in So. Cal called Left, Right and Center, with Robert Scheer (LA Times columnist), Matt Miller (DLC) on the pro-war center and a rotating group of righties. and Arianna Huffington doing her own thing.

shortly after the invasion was over, Miller was asking about our responsibility to provide all new infrastructure to Iraq. Information was starting to trickle in that the infrastructure was in far worse shape than expected and that the costs of putting in a new power grid, water system, sewer system and phone system for an entire country was going to run in the many billions. Miller seemed to think that the US taxpayer shouldn't have to bear that cost.

I started yelling at my radio. As Atrios points out today, the US Govt in Afghanistan has recently discovered that young men who have no jobs in a country that's totally beat down will get into trouble. wow, what a shocker.

i still cannot believe that the US wasn't running job fairs nationwide the very next day after the invasion was complete. there was a golden opportunity there to put iraqis to work rebuilding their own country, and we ... erred.

Are you enough of a native to pronounce Baltimore as a two-syllable word that sounds almost (but not quite) entirely unlike Baltimore?

Slarti: no. never. I am from Boston, but my actual accent is -- well, I think I don't have one, but I suppose everyone does. Let's just say that my Dad is from California and my Mom is Swedish. And I have been in Baltimore for four years, and do not plan to adopt its accent ;)

There's a line in the Maryland state song: 'she spurns the Northern scum.' Obviously, the weather is the primary method by which she does so, and, consequently, I take hot days -- and today looks to be worse than yesterday -- as a personal affront.

Seriously, it's really too bad for Iraq that the primary goal of the opponents is breed discontent amongst the populace by creating awful conditions. It is a personal affront there, and there's really not much that can be done about it, by the ordinary citizen, except wait the whole thing out.

WAY off-topic, but I'm watching the shuttle get ready to launch; video here. Scroll down, look for the Yahoo logo, and click "Watch NASA TV..." link. About 8 minutes to go, I think.

Up, up and away, Junior Birdman! :D

Also off topic, but of marginal interest, maybe: Salam Pax has a small piece on visiting Las Vegas in the new issue of Black Book magazine. The photo is the first I've ever seen of him. He writes about how fascinated airport officials everywhere were by his Iraqi passport and how strange the Vegas nighttime crowds seemed after Baghdad, where most people try to get off the streets after 7PM.

There's a "fear and loathing in Las Vegas" remark to be made here somewhere.

i'd rather have snow than the Arizona heat
i'd rather have rain than another sunny day
i'd rather be skinny than famous
but i got fat anyway...

Sympathies, hilzoy. But you do recall summers in Tucson do you not? Death in the desert is an everyday event... and few are even shooting at you (unless, of course, your skin is brown). Balmier than Balmer, Merlyn? It got to 122 in Parker, AZ last week... and it wasn't even a record.

Unbearable heat, kidnappings, high crime rates and Iranian trained militias enforcing theocratic values are proof that freedom is on the march!

Only liberals are incapable of seeing that!

All I know about Baltimore is what I saw on H:LOTS and The Wire. But I'd imagine it can't beat Houston when it comes to heat and humidity. ;)

It's certainly a frustrating position we're in when it comes to the Iraqi infrastructure. It wouldn't be in as bad a state if it weren't for the insurgent attacks on pipelines, etc., and I hate that we're the ones getting the blame.

But ultimately, the buck stops with us. We occupied the country, and we have a responsibility to set it back on its feet. I'm definitely wishing we could have scraped together 300,000 or so troops for the occupation.

I'll go off-topic first--those of us who criticized or went along with criticism of Juan Cole for linking 9/11 (2001) with Israeli atrocities in Jenin (2002)a week ago might want to take a look at the article by Max Rodenbeck in the New York Review of Books, where he says that bin Laden may have tried to use Jenin as a retroactive justification for 9/11 in the timing of an announcement he made when Israel was killing hundreds of civilians in the West Bank (though only 22 at Jenin). Maybe Cole was referring to this when he made the connection (and either did it in a confusing way or got confused himself.)

Now back to the topic at hand. It's interesting how much more interest there is in the state of Iraq's infrastructure is getting now that America has to deal with the anger of Iraqis over it--back in the first Gulf War it was the US which deliberately blew up Iraq's infrastructure hoping to cause discontent and rebellion (see Barton Gellman, Washington Post, June 23, 1991). Same tactics by people trying to overthrow the government, and the same suffering by ordinary Iraqis--the main difference is that Iraqi engineers under Saddam and sanctions seemed to do a better job jury-rigging repairs than has happened under the occupation.


"It's miserable where I live..."

"Why this is Hell, nor am I out of it."

Michael Barone thinks you're exaggerating. What about all the good news?

The good news is: if you invest now in inland real estate in Labrador, in a few decades you could find yourself in possession of prime beachfront vacation property.

OTOH, depending on what happens, you might find yourself on the leading edge of a new ice shelf.

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