Saturday, April 29, 2006
Here we go again
Our President is getting ready to invade another Middle Eastern country. But don't worry - he'll talk about diplomatic solutions for a while. And his Press Secretary will probably get advice from Madison Avenue on the best time to break the news to us.
A front page story in the Post this morning describes an International Atomic Energy Agency report confirming "that Iran is accelerating its uranium enrichment efforts and hiding crucial information about its nuclear program." The article goes on to describe our President's reaction:
President Bush said after the report's release that "the world is united and concerned" about Iran's "desire to have not only a nuclear weapon but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon." He said he hoped for a diplomatic solution.Ha! "Bullshit," I thought to myself when I read this. "Bullshit" that our President would hope for a diplomatic solution. "Bullshit" that he didn't have his zealous, hawky pals deeply immersed in military planning - just as we now know they were planning military action in Iraq without evidence of any imminent threat.
For a minute, I stopped myself - maybe it's just knee-jerk cynicism, I thought. But such optimistic glimmers faded quickly as I reminded myself of the depths of this man's insanity, this man who sees his mission to save the world from evil.
And sure enough, as Seymour Hersh painstakingly details in this month's issue of New Yorker magazine, Bush and his merry band of zealots are at it again. Saying one thing ("...diplomatic solution") and doing quite another:
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack....Later in the article, a member of the House Appropriations Committee is quoted as saying about the President, “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.”
...One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
So what are we going to do about it?
New Yorker: The Iran Plan
Seymour Hersh article referenced above, published 4/8/06.
Washington Post: U.N. Body Set to Act on Iraq
Article referenced above, published 4/29/06, written by Molly Moore and Dafna Linzer.
Foreign Affairs: Intelligence, Policy and the War in Iraq
A summary of this 3/06 report: "During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, writes the intelligence community's former senior analyst for the Middle East, the Bush administration disregarded the community's expertise, politicized the intelligence process, and selected unrepresentative raw intelligence to make its public case."
Frontline: Truth, War and Consequences
This 10/03 report, which you can watch on the site, "traces the roots of the Iraqi war back to the days immediately following September 11, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the creation of a special intelligence operation to quietly begin looking for evidence that would justify the war."
Sunday, April 16, 2006
"I work at [insert name of company here]," I said. "I manage part of the Web site."
"But I'm planning my escape."
She nodded politely. Conversation turned to astrological signs.
I haven't written much in this blog about my job, because I don't know how to write about it without being specific about where I work, and I don't want to get in trouble, like so many other bloggers. But if you haven't noticed, this blog has stagnated lately -- and it's because work is what's on my mind. "Work" in the fullest sense -- "work" as in "occupation," as in "my life's work," as in, "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there is your vocation" (Aristotle). Or, to quote the book I'm currently reading:
So I've decided to write about my efforts, past and present, to find work I love. I consider this a lifelong process -- just like a relationship with someone you care about, your relationship with work needs attention if it is to remain vital.
Many people I know -- good friends, casual acquaintances, 20-somethings, 40-somethings -- struggle to varying degrees with how much their work should be an expression of their identity: whether 9-5 should be dedicated to what they love, or just a way to support their life outside of work; whether it's realistic to expect fulfillment from work; whether it's possible to make a living doing work you love.
I don't profess to have answers, but maybe by sharing my story, I can help other people find their path.
First, a quick look at where I've been, so you know who you're dealing with:
- Flash back to college, when I was beset with angst about the challenge of living meaningfully. In retrospect, this existential struggle was probably made all the more desperate by my undiagnosed depression. At graduation, I beseeched my fellow students to recognize the responsibility that comes with a fancy Ivy League degree; I felt a great obligation to give something back, but I had no idea what that was. And it never occurred to me that I should enjoy myself.
- First job out of college: the first day on the job, I learn success is measured in productivity points. People say things like, "let's double-click on that idea." I write angry poetry in staff meetings. I quit after 9 months and take a few months to get my shit together. I decide I want a job that allows me to be creative, and to use my communication skills, while doing something socially responsible.
- Through Google, I find the resume of a local woman who seems interesting - she's worked at NPR, Discovery and the Washington Post. I email her and she writes back immediately, and invites me to meet her for coffee.
- We meet and she introduces me to her colleagues as a friend and content producer. Within a week I am working for a major Web site. Unfortunately, the partnership I'm hired to support never materializes, so I spend my days surfing the Web.
- Another company I'd interviewed with previously calls to see if I'm interested in a job that's opened up. I am. Six years later, I'm still there.
Amanda's library of books on finding meaningful work (listed in the order read):
Zen and the Art of Making a Living
The Artist's Way
The Artist's Way at Work (never finished)
What do You Want to Do With Your Life?
How to Find the Work You Love (reading now - about halfway through)
Also, this blog by Tranquil Space's Kimberly Wilson provides relevant inspiration (just tune out the stuff about being hip and fashionable - there's advice about living mindfully that relates to the search for meaningful work...):
Hip Tranquil Chick
Are there books or Web sites on this topic that you'd recommend? Let me know, and I'll add 'em to the list...
Friday, April 07, 2006
Reasons I love my neighborhood
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Things learned on a yoga retreat in Tobago
2. I can let go of fear.
3. Even though I haven't traditionally been athletic, I can be athletic now. I am strong. "Focus on what you can do," one of my yoga teachers said.
4. Roosters in Tobago (toe-bay-go) start crowing at 2 am and don't stop all day.
5. There is nothing more wonderful than floating in the sea.
6. I enjoy challenging myself.
7. I am a master napper.
8. I love the sound of wind rustling through palm trees.
9. Opening my eyes after shivasana (resting state at the end of a yoga practice) to see a sky full of stars fills me with profound gratitude and feelings of abundance.
10. A week without an ounce of media - no newspapers, no television, no ads - is exhilirating and restorative. I wish I never had to read or send an email again in my life.
11. This mantra brings me peace:
(inhale) Everything I need and desire
(exhale) The universe provides
(inhale) Everything I have
(exhlae) I give away
(inhale) Everything I give
(exhale) Comes back to me ten-fold.