It’s A Bitch


Scrounging, sleeping, scratching and fighting. Life goes on.

This is Hyena’s year. She doesn’t know this, and even if someone told her, she probably wouldn’t grasp the implications. For though she possesses a low-to-the-ground sort of wisdom, she doesn’t speak Thai, English or any of the Chinese dialects. The last time it was her year, in 1994, she would’ve been just a pup, or smaller still—pre-cellular.

IHT ThaiDay

{Complete story follows}


This is Hyena’s year. She doesn’t know this, and even if someone told her, she probably wouldn’t grasp the implications. For though she possesses a low-to-the-ground sort of wisdom, she doesn’t speak Thai, English or any of the Chinese dialects.

The last time it was her year, in 1994 she would’ve been just a pup, or smaller still—pre-cellular. Hyena carries no identification, and no one celebrates her birthday. In any case, the intervening years have been less than kind, and she wears them like a matted coat. She’s never seen the inside of a Thong Lot doggie spa and she never will.

Her teats sag. All 10 of them. Her health is dubious. s men who spend their days at the pier, chatting and count- She has mange. She could certainly stand to par on a few pounds.

Her companions, two fat, floppy-eared sisters, obviously hog all the food. Their coats are shiny, by comparison, and whereas Hyena cowers, they are social butterflies. The old men who spend their days at the pier, chatting and counting the minutes until the boat arrives, pet the sisters with their feet. Few dare touch Hyena. She slinks into the shade under the concrete bench and puts her head m between her paws.

She stays there, most of the time.

Sometimes one of the sisters picks a fight with her, unprovoked. She is no match, and the bigger dog, growling, digs her teeth into Hyena’s neck until one of the men stands up and kicks them apart. Only Hyena appears chastened.

The family here is somewhat dysfunctional. Does Hyena dream of running away? She looks like she ran away long ago; she has the manner of a once-gorgeous prostitute scarred by street life. If she has borne litters, they have not stayed to protect her.

Still, it could be worse. The newspapers these days are full of bad news concerning canines. There was the five-year-old man-child in Bangkok, reportedly “torn down by 10 stray dogs.” And in Phuket, the local press raised fears of “mass dog poisonings” by men driving around in a garbage truck after dark. The unfortunate creatures were not even strays. What kind of world is it where a dog can’t even walk the streets of her own town.

At night, an entirely different pack takes over the pier. The motorcycles are gone, the boats have stopped running. A group of four to six ridgebacks, looking young and athletic, encircles those who stray into their turf. At night, their turf. Hyena must go elsewhere. The sisters, too.

The howling from the street keeps me awake.

Food-For-Fighters-Deal


Mission Indefinite.

These agreements provide an affordable way for countries like Thailand that lack a developed defense industry to obtain military equipment…

In 1996, when Thailand bought eight F-18 fighters from McDonnell Douglas, the company accepted part of its payment in rubber, fruit and frozen chickens.

IHT ThaiDay

The New Wave


The Voice of America is being drowned out by a mix of pop-flavored propaganda.

Voice correspondents have historically felt some pressure to advocate for U.S. policy, but under the current administration, the pressure is barely disguised. The current Voice director, David Jackson, is a former Time reporter who left in 2001 to create the Pentagon’s p.r. Web site, DefendAmerica.gov. In 2004 he demoted the Voice’s popular news director, Andre deNesnera, who shortly after 9/11 had broadcast an interview with a Taliban leader. The interview led many, including William Safire of The New York Times, to attack the Voice on the ground that this was not the time to know thine enemy.

Columbia Journalism Review

Blog-Gate


Many important questions from ‘Memogate’ remain unanswered – often because they were never asked.

Ultimately, we don’t know enough to justify the conventional wisdom: that the documents were “apparently bogus” (as Howard Kurtz put it, reporting on Dan Rather’s resignation) and that a major news network was an accomplice to political slander.

Columbia Journalism Review (PDF)

My Tax Paradise


In which I attempt to set up an offshore corporation.

Less than two hours after I shot my fax off to the Bahamas, I received a message from a woman named Lourdes Segovia in Trident’s Atlanta office. Her company has branches all over the world. It also has a reputation: Over the years, Trident has been accused of laundering money for characters ranging from Nigerian bankers to Brazilian presidents.

The American Prospect

Terror And Hate


An early attempt to parse the difference between two crimes of intent

The definition of terrorism sets the boundaries of America’s new war and determines which countries we attack, whom we investigate and who gets basic legal rights such as due process.

Although that definition is tough to nail down, the direction of the government’s investigations so far suggests that who people are and whom they associate with — not what they actually do — makes them terrorists.

The American Prospect