On Daily Show

In an amazing display of cultural hipness, The General will be appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight. As Stewart quipped last night, ‘I have no idea why’. Ostensibly, The General is out promoting his memoirs, In the Line of Fire [currently # 3 on amazon! {check out the non-partisan reviews (also, when did amazon start comments on reviews?)}].

The memoir is hot especially for this bit of non-news: After 9/11, Dick Armitage told The General that Pakistan will be “bombed back to the Stone Age if it failed to help Washington” – which is not a meaningless threat especially if you’ve _seen_ Dick Armitage.

Armitage claims that it is a classic case either of ‘selling wares’ or ‘lost in translation’. According to accounts,Mahmoud Ahmad told The General over the phone from Washington: “Wo hamari einth sey einth baja dey gain” – a beautiful bit of colloquialism meaning ‘they will dismantle us’. It is this news which is all over the internets and interwaves of homistan [though there are other bits of interesting info]. Obviously, it plays nicely with a crowd that has about had it with The General. The recent ham-handed killing of Bugti, the ‘pact’ with the Taliban in Waziristan and more bomb-shells [literally] of A. Q. Khan and it is evident that The General needs good P.R.

I should note, that there was another general who wrote his memoir while in office – General Ayub Khan [ruler dictator of Pakistan 1958 – 1969]. His book, Friends not Masters, a political autobiography was published in 1967.

The writing, as they say, was on the wall.

live-bloggin’ the show: JS offers The General tea! Jasmine tea! Mush is wearing a pakistani pin – looking relaxed and casual. Nice suit.

– JS sets up a softball. “How has it been to hold it together?” “It” being the shiteshow of Pakistani domestic and foreign policy.

– Dick Armitage. Mush says he wanted to make sure Pakistan’s national interest was upheld.

– “We did take into consideration a confrontationist approach”!

– Defends his agreement in Waziristan w/ the Taliban factions. Gives an ethnicity lesson. Studio audience asleep.

– “We have eliminated them from our cities” Them = al-Qaeda.

– Break. OK. I think pretty softball all around. JS being super deferential. Mush is a superstar when it comes to dealing with the Western press.

– “It has led certainly to more extremism and terrorism around the world.” The IT is Iraq. Man, Bush is not sending any Xmas gifts to Mush.

– “Who would win a popularity vote between GWB and UBL in Pakistan?” “They will both lose miserably.”

– Over. The Iraq bit is nice news. I bet it gets picked up at dailyKos. What with all the NIE chatter.

– PS. Colbert is _so_ good.

War on Terror: Health Watch

mush2450.jpgThe health of leaders is at no time more important than when there’s a war on. Nations, ethnic communities and loosely affiliated gangs of rag-tag warriors depend upon the physical and psychological well-being of their chiefs for morale and direction. Several players in the War on Terror have been in the news lately for health reasons. Let’s check in on them:

1. Musharraf: Fit as a Horse

President Musharraf recently underwent ‘routine medical testing’ in Paris, Texas, of all places, where he has a cardiologist friend. Ambassador Durrani, in a block that metaphor! moment, assures us that this was purely routine, and that the CEO of Pakistan is ‘fit as a horse’ and that ‘all systems are go’. Dawn reports that the visit to the cardiologist set off rumors that a) Bush had noticed during their meeting that Musharraf seemed unwell and recommended he visit a physician in his native state of Texas, and/or b) a simultaneous power outage in Pakistan signalled a regime change in Islamabad now that Musharraf was out of the country and unwell. It should also be noted that his mental health is probably in excellent condition due to the fact that his well-placed promotions of his memoir (out today!) have paid off and as of this moment place him at #17 on amazon.com. Continue reading “War on Terror: Health Watch”

Q: My GPA is horrible. Where can I buy a new one?

381104_oher132.JPGToday’s NYT Magazine cover story by Michael Lewis, The Ballad of Big Mike, relates a rags-on-the-way-to-riches tale about a young football player at Ole Miss. Only the most compulsive Sunday NYT readers will have actually made their way through this dull yet strangely disturbing tale of an inner-city lad weighing 334 lbs. (which figure could only be discovered when he was placed on a cattle scale), who was informally adopted by a rich family in Memphis. This ‘adoption’ led to his magnificent transformation from an underprivileged under-educated refrigerator-sized semi-zombie into a privileged semi-educated refrigerator-sized football player.

The real pay-off for reading the entire article comes right near the end when everything is in place to get him admitted to Ole Miss to play football except for the fact that all his grades are D’s and F’s. This is of course unfair, to expect passing grades of a young man who functions as a human barricade to anyone who tries to get past him on the football field, but such is the arcane bureaucracy of college admissions, even at institutions with a strong investment in organized sports. Much drama ensues and his grades go up during his senior year with the help of a round-the-clock tutor, but it is still quite difficult to get him interested in anything academic. The family is stymied by his inability to identify even with literature that speaks directly to his own most deeply felt experiences, such as Great Expectations and Pygmalion (who wouldn’t want to identify with Pygmalion?). Continue reading “Q: My GPA is horrible. Where can I buy a new one?”

One Fine Day

I hate my birthdays and this one provides more to hate than most recent ones. Yet, I am loving this one. Because I get to see my brother in a few hours [haven’t hugged him since 2001!]. Rosh Hashanah _and_ Ramadan are here, as well [shalom and mubarak!]. So, joy to all and sundry.