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By Asides and Current Events

The Great Iraq Swindle: How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury (from Rolling Stone)

In a much-ballyhooed example of favor­it­ism, the White House ori­gin­ally installed a clown named Jim O’Beirne at the rel­ev­ant eval­u­ation desk in the Department of Defense. O’Beirne proved to be a clas­sic Bush vil­lain, a mor­on’s mor­on who judged applic­ants not on their Arabic skills or their rel­ev­ant expert­ise but on their Republican bona fides; he sent a twenty-four-year-old who had nev­er worked in fin­ance to man­age the reopen­ing of the Iraqi stock exchange, and appoin­ted a recent gradu­ate of an evan­gel­ic­al uni­ver­sity for home-schooled kids who had no account­ing exper­i­ence to man­age Iraq’s $13 bil­lion budget. James K. Haveman, who had served as Michigan’s community-health dir­ect­or under a GOP gov­ernor, was put in charge of rehab­il­it­at­ing Iraq’s health-care sys­tem and decided that what this war-ravaged, mal­nour­ished, sanitation-deficient coun­try most urgently needed was … an anti-smoking campaign.

By Asides and Music

Jon Lusk on Fat Freddys Drop, just played at Glastonbury (from The Guardian):

The band’s laid­back, island-time ambi­ence is unmis­take­ably a product of its envir­on­ment, but that seems only to have enhanced their appeal to British listen­ers. Though Mu’s beach­front home has just been sold, the new own­ers have agreed to let him to work­ing there for the time being, and it is just the right set­ting for the band’s calm, cool, mari­time style. 

I think this is the same Jon Lusk who was Programme Director at Radio Active when I star­ted back in 1986.

By Asides and Cinema

Mark Ravenhill on the curse of Robert McKee’s “Story” (from The Guardian):

Writer deliv­ers script, goes in for meet­ing. “I’m miss­ing the ini­ti­at­ing incid­ent on page 23,” is a note that you’re very likely to hear in our Story-centred world. Rarely, “Why are we mak­ing this” and cer­tainly not, “Are we chal­len­ging any ideas about form?” Recently, a play­wright told me that he was advised by one major theatre to read McKee’s Story. This is a book about writ­ing a Hollywood movie! It’s frus­trat­ing for us writers. But it’s dis­astrous for you as an audi­ence mem­ber or read­er. Gradually, our cul­ture is turn­ing into the equi­val­ent of the McFlurry. And that’s got to be bad.