blather is words.
bunches of words,
strewn about in a twisty
tangly web of pontification,
insight and nonsensical delight.
but really it's an experiment
to see what shape this will take
when left at your mercy.
U.S. Soldier Suicides Spiked in January
There was a sharp increase in U.S. soldier suicides in January, with seven confirmed and 17 suspected suicides, Army officials said Thursday.
If all 24 cases are confirmed as suicide, the toll would be greater than the number of U.S. troops killed in action in January in both Iraq (four deaths) and Afghanistan (12 deaths), Agence France Presse reported.
Last week, the Army revealed that suicides among active duty soldiers reached a record high in 2008 for the second year in a row. There were as many as 143 suicides last year and 115 in 2007.
"The trend and trajectory seen in January further heightens the seriousness and urgency that all of us must have in preventing suicides," Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, said in a statement, AFP reported.
Last week, Chiarelli said special army-wide training sessions to boost
suicide awareness among soldiers and their leaders would begin Feb. 15.
BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Pope Benedict XVI to
make a "very clear" rejection of Holocaust denials after a former bishop was
rehabilitated by the Vatican.
Her rare and public demand came amid increasing outrage among Germany's Roman Catholic leaders over the pope's decision to lift the excommunication of British-born Richard Williamson, who questioned whether 6 million Jews were gassed during the Nazi Holocaust.
Merkel said she "does not believe" there has been adequate clarification
of the Vatican's position on the Holocaust amid the firestorm of controversy
that broke out after Williamson's rehabilitation by the German-born pope.
Benedict last week expressed "full and indisputable solidarity" with
Jews and warned against any denial of the horror of the Holocaust, but several
leading German bishops have decried the German-born pope's decision and called
for Williamson's rehabilitation to be revoked.
"I do not believe that sufficient clarification has been made," Merkel said.
The Vatican moved quickly to counter Merkel's suggestion.
"The pope's thinking on the subject of the Holocaust has been expressed very clearly," said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.
He cited Benedict's visit to a synagogue during his first visit to Germany as pope in 2005, a visit to Auschwitz in 2006 and his remarks during last week's general audience.
Lombardi quoted from what he called the pope's "unequivocal words" at
that public audience. "I hope that the memory of the Shoah leads humanity to
reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of men,"
he quoted the pope as saying. "May the Shoah be a warning for all against
oblivion, against denial or reductionism."
Lombardi said that during the audience "the pope himself clearly explained the purpose of lifting the excommunication, which has nothing to do with any legitimization of positions denying the Holocaust, which were clearly condemned" by Benedict.
Merkel's stand was out of the ordinary, said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the New York-based American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
"When the German Chancellor admonishes a German-born Pope it is an extraordinary message," Steinberg said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
"Together with the expressions of outrage emanating from German and Austrian bishops, these developments have ironically strengthened relations between Germany and the world Jewish community."
The issue is particularly sensitive in Germany, where denial of the Holocaust is a crime and Roman Catholic leaders have worked hard to restore relations with the Jewish community.
As a young man in Germany, Benedict, then called Joseph Ratzinger, served briefly in the Hitler Youth corps.
Earlier Tuesday, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the bishop of Mainz, called for an apology from "a high level."
"There must also be consequences for those who are responsible for this," Lehmann said in an interview with broadcaster Suedwestfunk of the decision to rehabilitate Williamson.
Williamson was consecrated by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent. The Holy See has said that removing the excommunication did not imply the Vatican shared his views.
Williamson, in an interview broadcast last month on Swedish state TV,
said that historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been
deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler."
He cited what he called the estimates of the "most serious" revisionists
that "between 200,000 and 300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber."There are sufficient eyes and ears on Williamson and his cohorts and followers. HenryFordRules is so outrageous that some will follow him for easy sport. But who will watch and listen for tuneman144, who has no friends, no subscribers?
(Thank you, Buckeye Surgeon.)
It’s quite possible that the folks at the New York Times were sitting on this obit for a while, waiting for Styron to kick the bucket. After all, Vincent Canby’s infamous Bob Hope obituary appeared three years after Canby himself had expired. Even so, it’s something of a shock to see that Michiko actually liking a novelist. Go through her archives and you’re not going to find a rave for a fiction book until her February review of Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document.
So what are we to make of this? Is this a critic who can no longer feel
the thrills of ficitve immersion? I’m not against negative reviews (far from
it). And Michiko has had no problems these days passing plaudits for nonfiction
I’m not asking for Michiko to turn into a Harriet Klausner. But
when a critic goes nine months without actually liking anything, one must ask
why she bothers to cover fiction in the first place. Sure, there are a lot of
dogs out there right now. (Lisey’s Story, I’m looking at you!) But this being
the autumn publishing season, there are any number of books to be enthusiastic
about right now.