The Middle East conflict

I watched a gentleman on news last night. I wish I had caught his name because he had some of the most quietly brilliant views on the Middle East conflict that I’ve ever heard. If you read this and you watch KRON evening news in the San Francisco area and did catch his name, please let me know what it is.

Meanwhile, this gentleman said things that made a lot of sense, including the fact that he would like to see Sharon and Arafat gone from the picture because both are so concerned with their own egos, their hatreds of each other, that they’ll never work towards peace. If both were gone, perhaps more reasonable people could replace them and peace could be found.

I found this echoed by an article at Time, What are they thinking?, that looks, critically, at Sharon and Arafat. However, a key element in the article, to me, is that both men’s popularity seems to be tied with their more violent actions. Even with Sharon and Arafat gone from the picture, it would take a miracle worker — on both sides of the issue — to bring about peace.

The gentleman on the news also said that we, the United States, could never be a peace broker in the Middle East because we have too much invested in our support of Israel. We are not disinterested.

From CNN today, the Middle East conflict is impacting on our fragile technology rebound. And resulting in higher oil prices. I wish I could say that our government will need to monitor the oil companies in this country to ensure they don’t overly profit from these difficulties, but then I remember whom I speak — Bush and Cheney — and realize that this statement is laughable.

I am not going to focus this weblog on the Middle East conflict, but it does weight heavily on me this week. I don’t see any possibility that war in the Middle East can be avoided. And I don’t see any possibility that the rest of the world won’t get pulled, heavily, into this war. And there will be people in this country who will rejoice the war. And I don’t understand this.

Just Shelley

Earthquake test

Just as I finished the last post, the sirens went off in San Francisco. Not at the usual time at noon on Tuesday. I searched the fog offshore, anxiously. I looked at the Bay Bridge so close to my home.

Then the security guard came on over my condo’s loudspeaker and announced that the alarms were the city’s annual test of the earthquake emergency system.

People Writing

I am nuts about Herb Caen

If San Francisco can be represented by one person, that person is Herb Caen. And this week he is being celebrated: It’s Herb Caen week in San Francisco.

I wasn’t raised in San Francisco, but I know of Herb. And even if I didn’t know of “Herb Caen”, directly, I know of the type of man he was — the ultimate newspaper man. A symbol of days both more glamorous and grittier, weightier and frothier, and somehow more elegant than anything we can hope to achieve today.

In a reprint of one of Caen’s articles, What is San Francisco he wrote:

IT’S THE dramatically sudden appearance of more men in uniform than you’ve ever seen on the streets — symbols of a giant awakening to conflict, perhaps to blot out the peace and loveliness of All This . . . It’s the raucous, stark revival meeting at Third and Mission — where a man yells hysterically that he’s been “Saved!” while all about him drift broken men who’ll never be Saved, and the sightless windows of the surrounding buildings throw his words back at him scoffingly.

Herb Caen — 1940

There will never be another Herb Caen in print. There will never be a Herb Caen in the glossy pages of a magazine. And there will never be a Herb Caen in makeup in front of the camera reading from a teleprompter. However, if you read what he writes, if you read how he writes, then you know that someday, somehow, there will be another Herb Caen…

… and he’ll be here, among us. Another weblogger.

Take a moment and read about Herb:

Making the Rounds in Baghdad-by-the-Bay
Herb’s Homepage
Herb Caen Days
Herb Caen: We’ll Never Go There Anymore
Herb and the Samoans — we know this one — a simple gaff leading to dangerous misunderstanding
FBI hated Beloved San Francisco Columnist
Herb Caen: Once more with Feeling