Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
"I can tell you, very frankly, I am not aware of any financial interest or position he has with respect to Blackwater. When these ugly rumors started recently, I specifically asked him. I do not believe it is true that he is a member of the advisory board that you stated. And that's something I think I need to say." - 14 November 2007, Krongard's testimony before Congress.
State Department Inspector General Howard J. Krongard, who has
been accused of improperly interfering with investigations into private security
contractor Blackwater USA and with other probes, resigned
... In a separate resignation letter to President Bush, he said
that he was troubled by "inherent structural and conceptual defects" in the
inspector general's job. He also expressed concern about the "grave threat to
public service posed by current rancor and distrust" among political parties,
the government, the media and interest groups.
Last month, Krongard recused himself from investigations regarding Blackwater after it was revealed in a dramatic appearance at a House committee hearing that Krongard's brother was on a Blackwater advisory board. Krongard had denied that his brother, Alvin B. Krongard, a former No. 3 official at the CIA, was connected to Blackwater until he was confronted at the hearing with paperwork indicating that his brother served on the board.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Late last month, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and Customs and Border protection released a promotional film created by Disney (gratis) meant to persuade foreign tourists to come enjoy the United States. Problem is, Disney annexed part of Canada to do so.
"AN EFFORT by the US government to persuade foreign tourists to come and enjoy the country's natural beauty has backfired slightly, after a promotional film made by Disney for the campaign annexed part of Canada.
The film, released last week by the departments of state and homeland security, highlights majestic American landscapes, from New England's colourful autumn foliage and the Grand Canyon to the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii's pounding surf.
... About four minutes into the seven-minute production, viewers are treated to the impressive sight and sound of water roaring over Niagara Falls before the scene shifts to the Lincoln Memorial in the capital.
In showing the natural wonder, Disney's filmmakers, however, chose the Horseshoe Falls, the only one of Niagara's three waterfalls to lie almost entirely on the Canadian side of the border separating western New York state from southern Ontario province.
Making matters worse, a visitor to the US would not even be able to get the same view of the falls in the video because the scene was shot from a vantage point in Canada, according to Paul Gromosiak, a Niagara Falls, New York, historian and author. "This is not the United States, this is 100 per cent Canada, shot from the Canadian side," Mr Gromosiak said after reviewing the video. "This is an insult..."
You can see the video here:
(list from the AP story)
If you're going to watch the video, watch it from the State Dept. site. The discoveramerica site (a soon-to-appear government tourism agency? What the hell?) is missing about 1/3 of the video, and the stream quality is pod-awful! Read Karen Hughes post to see the why and how. Karen Hughes? Yes, that's the President's buddy, back up from Texas, whose been working as the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at DoS- at least she was, until she resigned the position 5 days after this blog entry was posted.
I did finally see the 2 or 3 seconds of the Niagara Falls images after viewing it twice. It wouldn't have hurt this promo one bit to have cut out that part once it was revealed that they were showing the falls on the Canadian side and not the falls on the American side.
The U.S. Department of State has started its own blog, "Dipnote," which it describes as an "opportunity for participants to discuss important foreign policy issues with senior Department officials." Although blogger Wonkette thinks the name is "sort of begging to be mocked," Craig Hayden at the University of Southern California's Center for Public Diplomacy thinks the blog "has the potential to be a positive development as far as advocates of dialogue-based public diplomacy are concerned," because comment postings from outside the U.S. might give State Department officials a "healthy exposure to life outside the United States, the bubble of U.S. news coverage, and the rhetorically truncated world-view of the Bush administration's talking point."
Oh, say it isn't so! Would we make fun of our government? Bubble bubble, toil and trouble...
It's not even illegal here. ;P
"Uh, guys. The DipNote name is a shining example of your serious disconnect from the world of public discourse. Believe me, “Diplomatic” is not the word that springs to mind when hearing/reading ‘Dip.’ It’s ‘Dipstick.’ Look that up in The Urban Dictionary.”
"... lay off the blog name, okay? Sorry that we gave it a name that actually meant something to us--you might have learned something about the State Department and the work of diplomacy rather than just churlishly mocking us for a term of art that we actually use in the field. Maybe typical for the 6th grade developmentally challenged crowd that appears to have been trolling this site. If you don't care about what we do, don't bother reading our blog; it's easy, right? That'll leave you more time to fiddle with yourselves in the bathroom."
Comments from Wonkette
If a "dipnote" is something that DoS employees "use in the field", then perhaps there ought to be some sort of an explanation somewhere for the rest of us sixth graders. "If you don't care about what we do, don't bother reading our blog." Oh! It's your blog! How pedestrian of us to think you worked for us.
Actually, "dipstick" isn't the first word that come to my mind either, but neither was "diplomacy". I spent several very confused moments trying to figure out wth "dip" would have to do with a government blog. Then I finally made the connection, and I was right back to the not-dipstick word again.
"My friends tell me that LOLState is next."
Do Not Tempt Me.