PICTURE POLITICS

Politics, Photographs, and Stories from the Road

Presented & Analyzed by

Gwendolyn Stewart

"AS PITHY AS A PHOTOGRAPH"

"It is the photographs that gives one the vivid realization of what actually took place. Words don't do it."
-- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, May 7, 2004

All photographs by Gwendolyn Stewart; copyrighted 2014; all rights reserved.


LIST OF SUBJECTS (Partial & Growing)


More (The Blog)


FIFTY YEARS ON

John

SENATOR JOHN F. KENNEDY (D-MA) PHOTOGRAPHED ON TV DURING A 1960 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

The

PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S GRAVESITE AND ETERNAL FLAME, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

November 22, 2013:   Gone, but not forgotten, it seems clear.   It is fifty years today since U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (b. May 29, 1917) was assassinated.


RELIGION & ART

'Unfinished': Work in Progress on the Roadside on Bali, Indonesia,
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

UNFINISHED RELIGIOUS OBJECTS SEEN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD ON BALI, INDONESIA

November 3, 2013:   Religion & Art:   Work in Progress?


BECAUSE WE CAN? OBAMA AND THE NSA

Statue 
of the Boy Barack Obama (Barry Sutoro), Jakarta, Indonesia, Photographed 
by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

STATUE OF THE BOY BARACK OBAMA ("BARRY SUTORO"), JAKARTA, INDONESIA

November 1, 2013:   The statue of Barack (Barry) Obama as a boy at one of his elementary schools in Jakarta, Indonesia, has a butterfly perched on his left hand and a surveillance camera above his head.


CAR CRASHES THROUGH TIANANMEN SECURITY; THERE ARE CASUALITIES

PORTRAIT OF MAO ZEDONG PHOTOGRAPHED AT NIGHT ACROSS TIANANMEN SQUARE BY 
GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

THE FORBIDDEN CITY AND THE PORTRAIT OF MAO ZEDONG PHOTOGRAPHED AT NIGHT ACROSS TIANANMEN SQUARE, DRESSED UP FOR THE 18TH CONGRESS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY

October 28, 2013:   A vehicle identified by some as a Jeep drove through the barriers in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing and crashed and burned, killing the three occupants and injuring pedestrians and security personnel today.   Whether or not this was an accident is yet to be determined.   I have been a pedestrian there myself.

People Walk by the Tiananmen Portrait of Mao Zedong at Night, 
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

Update:   There are now reported to be at least two more fatalities, one tourist from China and one from the Philippines, and thirty-eight injured.


THE 2013 APEC SUMMIT, BALI, INDONESIA, below (more on Indonesia here)


CHINA AT THE BALI APEC

XI 
JINPING AND PENG LIYUAN WELCOMED TO THE BALI 2013 APEC SUMMIT GALA DINNER, 
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c.2013; All Rights Reserved

CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING AND HIS WIFE PENG LIYUAN ARE WELCOMED TO THE BALI 2013 APEC SUMMIT GALA

October 7, 2013:   With the U.S. President Barack Obama a no-show, Chinese President Xi Jinping is center stage at the 2013 APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia.


THE BALI APEC HOST

Susilo    The

October 6, 2013:   Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hosts the 2013 APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia; the handover to China is symbolized at the Gala.


THE DANCE OF BALI

Danced at the Gala Dinner, APEC 2013, Bali, Indonesia, 
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

October 6-7, 2013:   The "Kul Kul Night & Dance Performance" is dress-rehearsed and then performed at the APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia. (More on Indonesia here.)


BALI APEC

ON THE ROAD FROM BALI AIRPORT Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 
2013; All Rights Reserved TROPICAL TRAFFIC & EN ROUTE TO NUSA DUA Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 
2013; All Rights Reserved

ON THE ROAD TO NUSA DUA AND THE 2013 APEC

October 2, 2013:   The 2013 APEC Summit is opening in Bali, Indonesia.


DRONES R US?

DRONE MODEL PHOTOGRAPHED BY GWENDOLYN STEWART
c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

DRONE MODEL EARLY ON

May 23, 2013:   President Barack Obama goes public about drones. In the spirit of The Best Defense is a Good Offense, the President said right up front, "The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a President and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism."


IT'S OFFICIAL

XI JINPING PHOTOGRAPHED BY GWENDOLYN STEWART
c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

XI JINPING

November 15, 2012:   The Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party is announced in the East Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.   Newly confirmed General Secretary Xi Jinping makes an address; takes no questions.   The English text of the speech is here.


TIANANMEN STYLE

HU JINTAO REPORTS TO
THE 18TH CCP CONGRESS Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved   TIANANMEN SQUARE DECORATED FOR 
THE 18TH CCP CONGRESS Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

        HU JINTAO                                                           TIANANMEN SQUARE

November 8-9, 2012:   On the first day of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China, Hu Jintao, the outgoing General Secretary, reads the Report ("FIRMLY MARCH ON THE PATH OF SOCIALISM WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS AND STRIVE TO COMPLETE THE BUILDING OF A MODERATELY PROSPEROUS SOCIETY IN ALL RESPECTS") from the podium of the Assembly Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, surrounded by flowers.   Outside on Tiananmen Square the next night, floodlights pick out a fantasia of flowers celebrating the "Shiba Da," the "18 Big" Congress.


THE 18TH CONGRESS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY OPENS

HU JINTAO AND JIANG ZEMIN STAND 
APPLAUDING Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

HU JINTAO (l) AND JIANG ZEMIN (r)

November 8, 2012:   At the start of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China, Hu Jintao, the current but soon to be former General Secretary of the Party, and Jiang Zemin, the former General Secretary, stand applauding, above.

HU JINTAO BOWS TO THE DELEGATES; 
JIANG ZEMIN HOLDS HIS APPLAUSE Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved   HU JINTAO BOWS TO JIANG 
ZEMIN; JIANG APPLAUDS Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

When he came forward to begin his Report to the 18th Congress, General Secretary Hu Jintao first bowed to the assembled delegates in front of him; others of his comrades on the dais applauded, but not former General Secretary Jiang Zemin (sixth from the left).   When Hu repeated his bow, this time towards the dais and specifically in the direction of his predecessor, Jiang gave him his applause.

Hu Jintao is in the foreground, bowing, in both photographs; left to right on the dais: Li Peng, He Guoqiang, Xi Jinping, Jia Qinglin, Wu Bangguo, Jiang Zemin, Wen Jiabao, Li Changchun, and, in the left photograph, Li Keqiang.   The empty chair is Hu's.

A video of the opening ceremony of the 18th Congress can be found here.


WELCOME TO THE 18th CONGRESS

ILLUMINATED

AT THE PRESS CENTER FOR THE "18TH DA" IN BEIJING

November 6, 2012:   The world media comes to Beijing for the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.


THE FIRST TELEVISED U.S. PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

RICHARD M. NIXON AND JOHN F. KENNEDY
Photographed from a television transmission by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

RICHARD M. NIXON AND JOHN F. KENNEDY DEBATE IN 1960

October 22, 2012:   In honor of the last of the three 2012 presidential debates today, a look back at the first ones televised.


AT THE DMZ

STANDING ON THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF THE 
KOREAN DEMILITARIZED ZONE Photographed By Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights 
Reserved

LOOKING NORTHWARD

September 14, 2012:   Standing on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), seeing what there is to be seen.   High-power binoculars provided.   For a price.   No photographs allowed at the wall, or for several feet in front of it.   Hold high the camera.


NORA EPHRON DIES

NORA EPHRON Photographed
by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

NORA EPHRON IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES

June 27, 2012:   Author-journalist-screenwriter-director-producer Nora Ephron (b. May 19, 1941), died today.   More on a project on which she was working (with Tom Hanks) when she died, here.


February 4, 2012:   Slogan of the Day:   "Power to the millions, not the millionaires."


ANDY ROONEY DIES

ANDY ROONEY Photographed
by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

ANDY ROONEY AT THE 1988 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

November 5, 2011:   Long-time CBS "60 Minutes" Commentator Andy Rooney (b. January 14, 1919), died today in the hospital to which he had gone for "minor surgery."   CBS has a long appreciation here.


THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY (CCP) TURNS NINETY

JIANG ZEMIN Photographed
by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

RUMORS SWIRL ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF

FORMER CHINESE PRESIDENT JIANG ZEMIN

July 1, 2011:   The party for the Party reached its grand climax in the usual grand setting in the Great Hall of the People.   (For a look at the presentation of the setting of the First Congress, July 1, 1921, see the posting under July 1, 2009, below.)   Yet the buzz afterwards seemed to belong to former CCP General Secretary and former PRC President Jiang Zemin, who was not there.


NEWT GINGRICH PULLS THE PIN

NEWT GINGRICH Photographed
by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2012; All Rights Reserved

FORMER SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH

May 11, 2011:   Newt Gingrich formally announced for the presidency today.   More Newt here.


GERALDINE FERRARO

WALTER MONDALE & GERALDINE 
FERRARO PHOTOGRAPHED AT THE 1984 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION BY GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 
2011; All Rights Reserved

GERALDINE FERRARO & WALTER MONDALE ARE CHEERED

AT THE 1984 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION IN SAN FRANCISCO

March 26, 2011:   Geraldine A. Ferraro, born on August 26, 1935, died today.

In 1984, then Representative Ferraro (D-New York) was the first, and until John McCain chose Sarah Palin for the Republicans in 2008, the only woman nominated to the national ticket of either major U.S. party.   Ferraro and Palin were both picked as vice-presidential nominees by the men who had already clinched the top spot.

Ronald Reagan and George Bush beat Mondale and Ferraro in 1984.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden beat McCain and Palin in 2008.

None of this prevented more loose talk about glass ceilings cracking today.

And as for the presidency....


ELDER BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU?

DELEGATES 
DEPARTING THE 17th CONGRESS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY Photographed by 
GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

DELEGATES TO THE 17th CONGRESS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY

LEAVING THE FLOOR AT THE END OF THE CONGRESS (Beijing, October 2007);

ONE (upper right) LOOKS TO BE CHECKING HIS MESSAGES

March 3, 2011:   Now the authorities will be using the twenty million cell phones of Beijing to monitor all users in "real time" and "detect and prevent protests."


FAREWELL ADDRESS OF A SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

GRAVESTONES

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY WITH THE PENTAGON IN THE BACKGROUND

February 25, 2011:   Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' West Point address today invites several turnings of the kaleidoscope.   Whom is the SecDef emulating?   With whom does he wish to be compared?   George Washington, even?   No entangling-regime-change-land-wars?

Most immediately striking of course is the "Never Again" quote:   "in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it."


STABILITY, HARMONY, & JASMINE

HU

HU JINTAO TAKES PREEMPTIVE ACTION

February 19-20, 2011:   On February 19, Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China, and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, gathered his ministers and provincial leaders together to emphasize the need to " build a socialist social management system with Chinese characteristics...."   On February 20, they sent in the "troops" (police in this case).


PROMISES, PROMISES

BARACK

BARACK OBAMA & THE WOUNDED WARRIORS' CAREGIVERS

February 15, 2011:   Promises & Pretty Speeches.   Oh, yes.   Results?   Oh, no.   President Obama makes sure to cover himself with the flag (see above), but deeds matter, not just words and symbols.   As to the actual results, you can find some of the reporting here and here.

Speaking as an Army brat, and a caregiver (not of one of the current Wounded Warriors; no direct personal "special interest"), I find this most unfortunate, even reprehensible, but as one who has seen Pentagon promises (and presidential promises) broken before, unfortunately not surprising.

Speaking as a political scientist and student of leadership in organizations, I can even "understand" it.   There will always be another war, hot or cold, and its needs will be -- or seem -- more pressing than combat/missions five or ten or twenty or thirty or more years in the past.   And then there is always the need for more military hardware just to keep up with (and surpass! even more) the Joneses or the Wangs....

But shame!


ZHONGNANHAI

The Front Gate 
(

THE SEAT OF THE CHINESE AUTHORITIES

February 14, 2011:   CHINA OVERTAKES JAPAN AS THE WORLD'S NUMBER TWO ECONOMY.   OFFICIALLY.


February 1, 2011:   BORIS YELTSIN WOULD HAVE BEEN EIGHTY TODAY.   Somebody has apparently decided to "honor" the first president of Russia by erecting what appears to be a gargantuan statue in his hometown of Yekaterinburg, the former Sverdlovsk, of which Yeltsin used to be the Party boss.   The current (and third) president, Dmitry Medvedev, did the unveiling; Yeltsin's widow, Naina, and both daughters attended.   Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's immediate successor, did not.

To see the more human side of Boris Nikolayevich, go the April 23, 2007 posting,   Boris Yeltsin Photographed in Harbin, China, in 
November 1997, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2011; All Rights Reserved   below.   Surrounded in the former Manchuria by admiring Russians, particularly older Russian women, calling out to him enthusiastically, Yeltsin was obviously touched, and softened.


January 29, 2011:   THE VISUAL IS VISCERAL.   To get a real feel for how long HOSNI MUBARAK has been president of Egypt, see the May 14, 2009, posting   Ronald Reagan and Hosni Mubarak Hold a Press 
Conference on the White House Grounds, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart 
c. 2011; All Rights Reserved   below.


PLACIDO DOMINGO

Placdio Domingo Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart,
c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

AT CONSTITUTION HALL, WASHINGTON, D.C.

January 21, 2011:   BRAVO! to Placido Domingo, born January 21, 1941, and singing today in his native Madrid.


JOAN BAEZ

Joan Baez Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB

January 9, 2011:   Hail to Joan Baez, the "queen of folk music" -- back when that really mattered -- born January 9, 1941, twenty-eight years to the day after Richard M. Nixon.   She is seen above in what now, after three-score-years-and-ten, might properly be thought of as her middle period.


WHAT WAS HE THINKING?

WHAT IS PUTIN THINKING?

Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY IN HIS HEYDAY AS 'THE RICHEST MAN IN RUSSIA'

December 30, 2010:   The sentences of Khodorkovsky and his "business partner," Platon Lebedev, were extended from eight to fourteen years.


BOSTON POPS MAESTRO ARTHUR FIEDLER

Arthur Fiedler
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

IN HIS OFFICE AT SYMPHONY HALL, BOSTON

December 17, 2010:   Arthur Fiedler was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 17, 1894, and died at home in Brookline, Massachusetts, next door to Boston, on July 10, 1979.

These bare facts conceal a far more peripatetic and complicated existence, and so does the quick summary of his accomplishments.   For over half a century he led the Boston Pops Orchestra, with enormous success and acclaim.   But -- like a beauty who wishes to be known for his/her brains? -- he apparently hungered for more:   acknowledgment of his musicianship and his gravitas.

His daughter, Johanna Fiedler, wrote of his story (and hers) in ARTHUR FIEDLER: Papa, the Pops and Me (1994).   The New York Times in its obituary called Arthur Fiedler "grandfatherly," and said that he "projected a jolly, unsnobbish image."   Perhaps so, but that there was more to him was clear already from the time I spent photographing him.


LARRY SUMMERS SOON TO LEAVE WASHINGTON FOR HARVARD AND BEYOND

Lawrence H. Summers Photographed by
Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS AS PRESIDENT OF HARVARD

November 30, 2010:   Lawrence Summers, born on this date in 1954, Director of the National Economic Council for the first two years of Barack Obama's presidency, is soon to decamp again for Harvard.   For some commentary, see here.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE HAS A BIRTHDAY AND A BOOK

Condoleezza Rice Photographed by 
Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

CONDOLEEZZA RICE AT THE PUTIN-BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE 2006 G-8 SUMMIT, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

November 14, 2010:   Condoleezza Rice, born on this date in 1954, has written a personal memoir first, before tackling the hard issues of her time and performance as President George W. Bush's National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.

Rice, an erstwhile Soviet scholar, is shown above at the first, and so far only, G-8 summit to be held in Russia, talking to her counterpart, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.   To her far right is Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Russian Security Council (national security adviser); to her immediate right is Stephen Hadley, Rice's successor as U.S. National Security Adviser.   Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett sits behind the Secretary of State.


ANOTHER OF THE "BIG FEET" OF THE YELTSIN ERA IS GONE

VIKTOR CHERNOMYRDIN 
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

VIKTOR CHERNOMYRDIN

November 3, 2010:   Former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Stepanovich Chernomyrdin (born April 9, 1938) dies.   He was Boris Yeltsin's longest-serving prime minister:   "We wanted better, but it turned out like always."   Two appreciations, here and here.

November 5, 2010:   Chernomyrdin is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, "beside his wife."   The AP headline:   "Putin chokes back tears at Chernomyrdin's funeral."


TED SORENSEN DIES

THEODORE SORENSEN Photographed by 
Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

TED SORENSEN
At a Forum on
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
At the John F. Kennedy Library

October 31, 2010:   Thedore C. Sorensen, speechwriter for and confidante to Senator and then President John F. Kennedy, born May 8, 1928, died today in New York.   It was not long ago that he was called on once again to contribute his memories of working with Kennedy, this time in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy-Nixon TV debates.


GORBACHEV CRITICIZES SUCCESSORS NOT NAMED YELTSIN

October 27, 2010:   Mikhail Gorbachev calls the ruling United Russia party, the party of the "Tandem" of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a "bad copy of the Soviet Communist party."

Mikhail Gorbachev Presiding over the 28th Congress 
of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, July 1990, Photographed by 
Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

UNDER A MAMMOTH LENIN, MIKHAIL GORBACHEV PRESIDES OVER THE 28TH, AND LAST, CONGRESS OF THE "REAL" SOVIET COMMUNIST PARTY


PRESIDENT KENNEDY GOES ON TV FOR THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

October 22, 1962:   U.S. President John F. Kennedy   Film Image
of President John F. Kennedy Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c.
2011; All Rights Reserved   goes public with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

From the Anthony Lewis piece in the New York Times:

"Washington, Oct. 22--President Kennedy imposed a naval and air 'quarantine' tonight on the shipment of offensive military equipment to Cuba.

"In a speech of extraordinary gravity, he told the American people that the Soviet Union, contrary to promises, was building offensive missiles and bomber bases in Cuba. He said the bases could handle missiles carrying nuclear warheads up to 2,000 miles.

"Thus a critical moment in the cold war was at hand tonight. The President had decided on a direct confrontation with--and challenge to--the power of the Soviet Union."


JIMMY BRESLIN TURNS EIGHTY

Jimmy Breslin Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

JIMMY BRESLIN AS THE HARVARD COMMENCEMENT CLASS DAY SPEAKER, 1971

Jimmy Breslin, born October 17, 1930, in 1986 won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.   The citation lauds his "columns which consistently champion ordinary citizens."


JOHN UPDIKE IS ARCHIVED AT HARVARD

Front Page of the New York 
Times of June 21, 2010, With a Photograph of John Updike by Gwendolyn 
Stewart c. 2011; All 
Rights Reserved   John   John

June 21, 2010:   "In Archive, Rabbit Revised":   The New York Times runs a long piece by Sam Tanenhaus on John Updike's archive at Harvard.   It is previewed on the front page with a photograph from that archive taken by Gwendolyn Stewart.   A copy of the photograph can be seen below in the January 27, 2009, posting, with links to more Updike.

John Updike to Gwendolyn Stewart, May 25, 1972:   "They're all really great, very alive. It's hard to choose. But I took two, one head, the 'straighter' head [above, and on the front page of the June 21, 2010, New York Times], though the other is well-night [sic] irresistible, and the one of Mary and me where there is a glint of hope that we may reconcile our differences."


JERZY POPIELUSZKO IS BEATIFIED

Nowa Huta Church (Cracow, Poland)
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights 
Reserved

INTERIOR OF THE THEN NEW CHURCH AT NOWA HUTA, KRAKOW (CRACOW), POLAND, IN 1981, IN THE TIME OF SOLIDARITY

June 6, 2010:   Father Jerzy Popieluszko, the "priest of Solidarnosc" (Solidarity), was beatified in Warsaw; he had been murdered in October 1984. An accounting and an appreciation is to be found here.


IN HONOR OF THE LIBERATION OF ROME

The Arch of Titus, Rome, 
Italy, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights 
Reserved

LONG AGO NOW, TWO MEN MEET BESIDE THE ARCH OF TITUS, ON THE VIA SACRA LEADING TO THE ROMAN FORUM

June 4, 2010:   On June 4, 1944, Rome became the first of the Axis capitals to fall to the Allies in World War II.

The Arch of Titus is, we are told, "The oldest surviving arch in Rome"; it is also "the simplest, has only one opening, and is perhaps most well-proportioned of the arches still standing." It is the model for the Arc de Triomphe, "which maintains the exact proportions of the Arch of Titus, though several times larger." (Two academic discussions of the Arch of Titus can be foundhere and here.)

The Narva Triumphal Arch in St. Petersburg, in turn, was designed in answer to the Paris Arc de Triomphe, and in celebration of the Russian victory over Napoleon.

I ended up photographing the Roman Forum on an excursion from Germany as an Army brat in the Cold War. Who the two men were and what they were so engrossed in discussing is one of the retrospective mysteries of photography.


PATRIOTS & POLES & MORE PLACES TO PARK U.S. TROOPS

Polish 
Soldiers Parading at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, Poland, Photographed by Gwendolyn 
Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

POLISH SOLDIERS PARADE AT THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, WARSAW, POLAND, 1981

May 26, 2010:   On May 26, 2010, AFP reported that Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich "formally welcomed the 100-strong US unit that had arrived at a Polish army base in the northern town of Morag at the weekend, and viewed the three unarmed Patriot missile launchers which Polish troops will be trained to use.

"'Your arrival here in Poland has two dimensions, political and symbolic. Politically, it's about Poland's security. And symbolically because on Polish soil, for the first time, US soldiers will be stationed long-term,' he [Klich] said."   [italics added]


May 25, 2010:   Two Hundred Posts and Counting: THE PICTURE OF THE DAY to be found here


BERKELEY STREET SCENE

Berkeley, 
California, Street Scene Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All 
Rights Reserved

May 9, 2010:   Seen on the street in Berkeley, California:   a vignette -- and the rest of the story?

Berkeley,
California, Street Scene Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All
Rights Reserved


SUNDAY IN THE PARK IN WEST GERMANY, IN THE EARLY YEARS OF "FULL SOVEREIGNTY"

West Germans 
Enjoying Sunday in the Park, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; 
All Rights 
Reserved

May 5, 2010: On May 5, 1955, the Federal Republic of Germany, "West Germany," was declared fully sovereign; four days later it joined NATO.


NIKITA SERGEYEVICH KHRUSHCHEV

Khrushchev Memorial
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

April 15, 2010:   In commemoration of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader born on this day in 1894 and known for his contradictions, captured in the memorial on his gravesite.

Khrushchev died September 11, 1971; the New York TIMES obituary can be found here.


OBAMA & THE SCREW UP

Barack Obama 
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2010; All Rights 
Reserved

BARACK OBAMA

LOOKING FOR THE CULPRIT

January 5, 2010:   Obama aides let it be known that the president knows there is a problem.


A REVOLUTION IS NOT A DINNER PARTY

The Site of the First Congress of 
the Chinese Communist Party, July 1, 1921, Shanghai, Photographed in 1981 by Gwendolyn 
Stewart, c. 2010; All Rights Reserved

BUT A PARTY CONGRESS MAY BE A TEA PARTY

July 1, 2009:   July 1, 1921, is celebrated as the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.   Its First Congress was held in Shanghai, and the photograph above shows the presentation of the site in 1981.


THE TOMB OF THE UNKOWN SOLDIER

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, 
Poland, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

WARSAW, POLAND

June 14, 2009:   June 14 is Flag Day and Army Day in the U.S., and there is related material on these subjects elsewhere on this site.

Today, unknown soldiers from another land are honored here, with flowers in the red and white national colors of Poland, in the year of Solidarity, 1981.  


THE DAY OF RUSSIA

Boris Yeltsin Returns to His Car 
after Voting in the 1991 Presidential Election, Moscow, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

BORIS YELTSIN

June 12, 2009:   On June 12, 1990, Russia, in the guise of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, and under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin, declared sovereignty -- while still part of the USSR.   One year later, on June 12, 1991, Russia held its first election for president, and Yeltsin won.   By the end of the year, the Soviet Union was no more.

June 12 was later designated Russia's National Day, the "Day of Russia."

To show that he was closer to the people than his rival, Mikhail Gorbachev, the head of the USSR, Yeltsin allowed people to literally come "up close and personal."   In the photograph above Yeltsin is returning from his polling place to the car (for a photograph of Yeltsin holding his putting-the-ballot-in-the-ballot-box pose, look under June 12, 2006).   Some of the fervor he inspired, and the scrambling to get near him, can be sensed.   Boris Yeltsin has the car door in his hands; his chief bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov, has his back.   And the crowd is pushing, pushing.

Subjecting himself to a popular election won Yeltsin a meeting with U.S. President George Bush in the U.S. nine days later, and then, on July 30, a courtesy call by President Bush on President Yeltsin in his new Kremlin office (a photograph of the meeting can be found here).

Today, June 12, 2009, George Bush turned eighty-five and went sky-diving in Kennebunkport, Maine.


"THE BEST & THE BRIGHTEST"

Robert S. McNamara
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

ROBERT S. McNAMARA
At a Forum on "13 Days"
Lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis
At the John F. Kennedy Library
Boston, Massachusetts, October 1, 2002

June 9, 2009:   Robert McNamara, who turns ninety-three today, came out of the Harvard Business School and World War II a Whiz Kid, and whizzed his way up to the presidency of the Ford Motor Co., just in time to be plucked to become Secretary of Defense for President John F. Kennedy.

Apparently, and not just by his own account, he played a cautionary role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.   Those who have not lived through the crisis may not appreciate how close we seemed to come to nuclear war then.

But he was anathematized for Vietnam; he remained Secretary of State when Lyndon Johnson became president and escalated the war.

In early 1968, McNamara decamped for the presidency of the World Bank.   There he remained until he retired in 1981 at sixty-five.   The World Bank is certainly not without its critics, but his colleagues credit him with transforming "the institution from being a 'bank' into being the world's premier development agency," in order to concentrate on fighting poverty.

In 1995 he published (with Brian Vandemark) In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, uncorking a new round of controversy:   He admitted mistakes; was he sorry enough?

Then in 2003, Errol Morris released The Fog of War:   Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.   He found McNamara surprisingly approachable, and willing to talk.   And talk.

But we are once again at war, again fighting enemies who favor "asymmetrical" warfare, and an old "metric" from the McNamara/Vietnam era has come back, and gained currency:   The Body Count.   The military, and Donald Rumsfeld, had turned against it in Iraq.   But now we are being told -- seriously -- that it is good to use in Afghanistan.

David Halberstam named his Vietnam book The Best and the Brightest, and bridled afterwards when some did not realize he meant the term ironically.   Are we in danger of another Best and Brightest moment?


A CLASH OF RIGHTS

June 6, 2009:   STRUGGLE IN THE AMAZON.   THE PERUVIAN AMAZON.   The conflict between the government of President Alan Garcia (pictured) Peruvian 
President Alan Garcia Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved and indigenous protestors has turned deadly, for both protestors and police. Peruvian
Police in Lima During the Time of the APEC 2008 Summit, Photographed by Gwendolyn 
Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   An earlier report on the subject here.


IF NIXON CAN GO TO CHINA II

June 5, 2009:   Update to May 18-19, 2009, item:   According to the U.K. Telegraph, Barack Obama is now also on record with the Nixon-Goes-To-China analogy for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

"Israeli analysts said Mr Obama had effectively given Mr Netanyahu the choice of alienating his Right-wing coalition allies and imperilling his fragile government or alienating Israel's most powerful ally.

"But Mr Obama, in an interview with regional newspapers, said Mr Netanyahu's Right-wing stance was an advantage. He compared him to the former President Richard Nixon whose impeccable Right-wing credentials made possible his outreach to Chairman Mao's China in the early 1970s."


GM GOES BUST

A Car in the 
Neighborhood, Nanjing, China, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; 
All Rights Reserved

THE WHEEL TURNS TO ... CHINA?

NANJING, CHINA, 1981

June 1, 2009:   More and more there is talk about China becoming the new giant in the automotive industry.

So, a look back to the reality on the ground, literally, just over a generation ago, in 1981 in Nanjing.   Private cars were forbidden.   The blue number above doubtless belonged to one official -- cadre -- or another, or more properly, to the official's work unit.   Curtains in the windows encouraged privacy.

Somebody Important must have come in that car.

To be continued.


JFK ON THE GINZA

Image of John F. 
Kennedy Photographed on the Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2011; All Rights Reserved

AN AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL ICON ... IN JAPAN

IN HONOR OF JFK, BORN ON THIS DATE IN 1917, IN BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS

U.S. PRESIDENT, JANUARY 20, 1961-NOVEMBER 22, 1963

May 29, 2009:   In 1981, en route to China for my first visit there, I had a chance to dash downtown to Tokyo for an hour-and-a-half, and grabbed it.   I was back in the country where I lived for a year as a child (in the town of Sasebo), and where, at age eight, I had taken my first photographs.   And what did I see but an image of our slain president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in a store front window on the Ginza -- being used to sell glasses.

Such is the power of icons and the mystery of iconography, and of cross-cultural exchanges.



TO THE BELL TOWER

Bride and 
Groom, The Bell Tower, Qingdao, China, 1994, Photographed by Gwendolyn 
Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

May 27, 2009:   OTHER WEDDINGS, II   Red is the traditional color for brides in China.   But though the young woman in this couple is dressed in white, in a "Western" gown, tradition has not been altogether neglected.   Observe the touches of red.

Here, in 1994, a video camera is also coming up the stairs to the heights of QINGDAO's famous Bell Tower.


AT LENIN'S FEET

Wedding 
Couple at the Feet of Lenin, Novosibirsk (Russia), USSR, 1984; Photographed 
by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

May 26, 2009:   OTHER WEDDINGS   As June is almost here, and with it the wedding season in the USA, two weddings from other countries, other cultures:   In today's photograph a newly married couple in the Siberian city of NOVOSIBIRSK comes in 1984 to be photographed at the foot of the Lenin statue in the heart of town.


FULL MILITARY HONORS

Full Military Honors at 
Arlington National Cemetery Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights
Reserved

May 25, 2009:   HE'S NOT HEAVY....   Arlington National Cemetery, In Honor of Memorial Day, with Caisson and Riderless Horse.


JOHN KING FAIRBANK

John King 
Fairbank Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved

May 24, 2009:   Honor Is Due.   John King Fairbank, Harvard Professor, the "Dean" of American China studies, was born on May 24, 1907.   Here he is pictured at home in the Winthrop Street house he shared with Wilma Cannon Fairbank until his death on September 14, 1991.


A RAINY DAY IN THE PROVINCES

Lenin Billboard & 
Car, Rostov-na-Donu (Russia), USSR, 1984, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

May 23, 2009:   Thinking Again About Communism, III.   The USSR on the Eve of Perestroika:   Lenin Billboard & Car, Rostov-on-the-Don (Russia), USSR.   "To Us the Most Precious Is the Preservation of Peace -- V.I. Lenin," the slogan on the billboard says.   The year is 1984.

Lenin died in 1924.   (More in HERE BE GIANTS)


SHIFT CHANGE

SHIFT CHANGE IN A 
KATOWICE COAL MINE, POLAND, 1981, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; 
All Rights Reserved

Katowice Coal Mine, Poland, 1981

May 22, 2009:   Speaking of the fall (or not) of communism (see "All Rise," May 21, 2009, below), we are in the primetime of the twentieth anniversaries of the fall of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe.

The year 1989 saw the second "Springtime of Nations."   In astonishment, and uncertainty, the outside world, and even the political actors within the various members of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, watched as events unfolded and limits were pushed.

Now, twenty years later, the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, serves as a stand-in for all the regime changes that year.   And the violent climax of the downfall of all the Soviet-bloc regimes in Eastern Europe came on Christmas Day, in Romania, when the just-deposed former leader Nicolae Ceausescu -- and his wife -- were executed by firing squad.

But the Polish story should not be overlooked.   Timothy Garton-Ash believes "to this day that the Round Table -- that is to say, the negotiated revolution -- was a particularly Polish discovery, and is in a way Poland's gift from 1989 to the world."

The backstory includes the founding of the Solidarity trade union in Poland in August 1980, and its rise and rise until it was crushed in December 1981.   When I took photographs all over Poland in the summer of 1981 (including the coal miners in Katowice, above), it was obvious how entrenched Solidarity was in the workplaces, and in society more generally.   At its height, there were said to be ten million members, out of a population of thirty-some million.

That summer, and into the fall, there was nervous speculation as to whether the Soviet Union would invade; it was the era of Leonid Brezhnev and the Brezhnev Doctrine ('what we have, we hold').   But in the end, on December 13, 1981, Poland's own leaders imposed martial law.   Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders were thrown in jail.

Solidarity came back to life again after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in Moscow and seemed to embrace the possibilities of reform in other communist countries besides his own.   Still, as Garton-Ash testifies, "You have to remember that nobody knew what would happen next and nobody knew what the Soviet Union would accept."


ALL RISE:   COMMUNISM FALLS?

16th Congress of the Chinese
Communist Party Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights
Reserved

The 16th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

May 21, 2009:   Today, in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama made a rather strange statement for someone who is supposed to be so bright, and who is in charge of the national security apparatus of the U.S.

Here is the wind-up: "Fidelity to our values is the reason why the United States of America grew from a small string of colonies under the writ of an empire to the strongest nation in the world."

Okay.  Then:   Enemy soldiers...strong alliances....

Then, "It's the reason why we've been able to overpower the iron fist of fascism and outlast the iron curtain of communism, and enlist free nations and free peoples everywhere in the common cause and common effort of liberty."

"...outlast the iron curtain of communism...."

Oh, yes? The People's Republic of China, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, has fallen? (and the regimes in Cuba, and North Korea, and Vietnam....)

Twenty-five years ago, President Ronald Reagan came back from his first trip to what he previously had been pleased to call "Red China" and spoke of the "so-called Communist China."   This was in 1984, five years after the Carter administration had recognized the People's Republic of China, and Reagan had attacked the president for doing so.

In the fall of 2007, at the time of the most recent Chinese Communist Party Congress, I showed an American in Beijing a copy of the photograph above, taken at the previous Congress, the 16th (November 2002).   He looked at the giant hammer and sickle and said, Oh, Russia.

Whatever one may think of what has happened since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Communists have not ruled there since December 1991, while in China they go on and on.   So far.


IF NIXON CAN GO TO CHINA

RICHARD M. NIXON On TV in the Debate 
with John F. Kennedy, Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

NETANYAHU CAN...

May 18-19, 2009:   Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu comes to Washington.   The "Nixon-to-China" cliches come out again.

If Richard Nixon can go to China, perhaps Bibi Netanyahu can --   Fill in your chief wish for an Israeli prime minister.

For a recent example:   "Just as it took a Richard Nixon to go to China, it will take a Netanyahu to enforce a peace settlement that will require a withdrawal from most of the West Bank settlements." -- Kishore Mahbubani, Japan Times, Sunday, May 10, 2009

But Netanyahu has been here before, and so have we.

He was Prime Minister the first time from 1996-99.   "He wants to be Nixon going to China and still be honored by the John Birch Society," we were told.   By Thomas L. Friedman, in the May 19, 1998, New York Times.   Friedman was asking, "Who Is Bibi?"

We might ask, why do we keep falling back on this cliche?


INDIA VOTES

May 17, 2009:   India went to the polls, and surprised the pollsters and the experts.   The Congress Party won an "emphatic" victory, seen as clearing the way for the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to enact further economic reforms.   The Prime Minister (left) is pictured here   Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 
and Chinese President Hu Jintao Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All 
Rights Reserved   with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Chinese President Hu Jintao.


RED STARS

Soviet & Chinese 
Communist Red Stars Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved

May 16, 2009:   Twenty years ago today the Communist giants met, in Beijing, for the first time in three decades. Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, made the trip to China for talks with Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader, and Zhao Ziyang, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

The leaders met in the Great Hall of the People. In the ceiling of its vast auditorium is the red star of communism (above, right).   The Soviets were the seniors in revolution, the Bolsheviks having taken power in Russia in 1917; the People's Republic of China was not founded until 1949.   As can been seen in the sample of a Soviet red star (left), the USSR placed special additional emphasis on its contribution to the victory over the Fascists/Nazis.

Gorbachev was himself a star when he came to Beijing -- to the outside world, certainly, for the reforms he had undertaken back in the USSR -- perestroika and glasnost'.   He also had admirers among the Chinese, including some of those demonstrating in Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing, when he arrived.

The story of the Sino-Soviet rapprochement brought the international media, and the Tiananmen demonstrations provided a dramatic story just waiting to be broadcast. The denouement was the crackdown of June 3-4, 1989.

Zhao Ziyang lost his post, and lived out his life under house arrest.   His memoirs are just now being published.

Mikhail Gorbachev went back to Moscow to continue his attempts to reform the USSR.   The USSR dissolved into its constituent parts ("Republics") at the end of 1991.

Jiang Zemin was brought from Shanghai to be the new General Secretary, and Deng Xiaoping remained the power behind the throne unto death.   The People's Republic of China is due to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary on October 1, 2009.

Arguments raged about which path to reform was superior, the Soviet or the Chinese. Which was the brighter "Red Star," Gorbachev or Deng?


WHITE SANDS

WHITE SANDS, New Mexico, 
Photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

May 15, 2009:   A PLACE OF BEAUTY, AND OF THE "TRINITY" SITE OF THE FIRST DETONATION OF AN ATOMIC WEAPON


A SUNNY DAY AT RONALD REAGAN'S WHITE HOUSE

U.S. President Ronald 
Reagan Hosts Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House; Photographed by 
Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

AMERICAN PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN HOSTS EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT
HOSNI MUBARAK AT THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 27, 1983

May 14, 2009:   This week President Reagan's unabridged diaries go on sale.   They reportedly offer an "unvarnished look at people ranging from Pope John Paul to Mother Teresa to Mikhail Gorbachev."

It should be interesting to look up the date of this meeting (above), and see what kind of comments Reagan offers (there is an official transcript of the report and their meeting and brief Rose Garden Q&A).   Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, and died in 2004.   Hosni Mubarak is still president of Egypt.


MAO ZEDONG SLEPT HERE

Mao

MAO ZEDONG'S CAVE RESIDENCE IN YAN'AN, CHINA

May 13, 2009:   This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the final stage of which was a campaign fought north to south by the People's Liberation Army.  This was a victory years in the making.

As we have seen with more recent guerrilla movements, weak governments which cannot control their peripheries can be threatened by rebel groups which seize power in the borderlands or "badlands."

So it was with the Chinese Communists, who escaped the "bandit extermination campaigns" waged by the KMT, or Nationalist, Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek by making the daring, desperate, Long March (1934-1935), which brought the remnants of Mao Zedong's forces to Yan'an, China.

There a residence could properly be a home in a cave carved into the hillside, and the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) leadership shared a compound of such houses.


THE HORSE MAO RODE IN ON

MAO ZEDONG'S HORSE 
On Display in Yan'an, China, Photograpshed by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2013; 
All Rights Reserved

MAO ZEDONG'S HORSE ON DISPLAY IN THE MUSEUM IN YAN'AN, CHINA

May 12, 2009:   In this year of the sixtieth anniversary of MAO ZEDONG'S leading the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army to victory over Chiang Kai-shek's KMT, a look at one of the icons of the era before Mao seized power.   Mao's horse (see above) seems to have been lovingly preserved.

Yan'an was the site of the revolutionary base Mao Zedong and the other leaders of the Chinese Communist Party established at the end of the Long March (1934-1935).  


MOTHER & CHILD & HORSE

Photograph of MOTHER & 
SON & 'HORSE' in Lima, Peru, by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2013; All Rights Reserved

May 11, 2009:   PERU SCENES, the video-slideshow, is now up on YouTube.  

From travels in Lima, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, and Cusco, Peru, at the time of the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit:   1. The Ghostly General   2. Looking for the "Leader of the Free World" at the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit, Lima, Peru   3. Bring Me the Head of John the Baptist   4. Standing Guard over Machu Picchu   5. Mother & Christ Child   6. Mother & Child & Horse   7. The Lovers   8. Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus   9. A Family Dinner Out   10. Standing Guard over Lima at the Time of APEC   11. Playing Out the Leaders   12. Our Car & Their Car   13. A Stony Beauty   14. Night Falls in Machu Picchu the Town   15. Mt. Salcantay   (More PERU SCENES)


HERE'S TO THE LADIES

Photograph of TWO LADIES & THEIR ROSES IN HARVARD SQUARE by 
GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

May 10, 2009:   Happy Mother's Day!   "Any nose/May ravage with impunity a rose." -- Robert Browning


STALINGRAD TANK & BOY

Photograph of BOY & TANK & Other World War II BATTLE OF STALINGRAD 
MEMORIALS, Volgograd, Russia, by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved

May 9, 2009:   Today is Victory Day in Russia, the equivalent of V-E Day for the U.S. and Europe, where it is celebrated on May 8 (different time zones).

Pictured above, a Soviet boy playing on one of the tanks in one of the memorials to the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the turning points of "The "Great Patriotic War," or World War II.   By this boy's time the city had lost the "Stalin" in its name, and as "Volgograd" now honored the river Volga and not the former Leader of the USSR.

It was 1984, and I was wandering around the Soviet Union for seven weeks by myself, exploring and taking photographs.   By the time I arrived in Volgograd, I was quite cut off from the outside world.

So it was left to an angry woman in this city in which, as the Soviets saw it, they helped save the world from the Nazis, to inform me that President Ronald Reagan had threatened to bomb the USSR.

The Cold War had newly heated up.   It was the summer of the Los Angeles Olympics, and the Soviets were staging a tit-for-tat retaliatory boycott of those Olympics.   We had devastated them by boycotting their 1980 Moscow Olympics after they had invaded Afghanistan.

The Chinese could not have wanted their Olympics more than the Soviets wanted theirs.

Into this time of tension, Ronald Reagan let fall his "joke," in the warm-up to one of his Saturday radio addresses.   He declared "Russia" an outlaw nation and announced that the bombs would fly in five minutes.


"MOTHER RUSSIA" IS IN DANGER

Photograph of

May 8, 2009:   "Mother Russia" (officially, The Motherland Calls!), the giant monument to the World War II Battle of Stalingrad, is in danger.

The statue sits on top of the hill called Mamayev Kurgan in the Russian city now known as Volgograd.   When it was built, four decades ago, it was the tallest in the world; now it is sinking, and, possibly, in danger of toppling.

The size of the monument is breathtaking.   This representation of what after all is meant to be human leaves actual human beings creatures of a totally different scale.

The scale of the killing in the killing fields of the hill "Mamayev Kurgan," and in Stalingrad as a whole, is likewise hard to grasp.   It is estimated that two million people perished in the battle.


NORMAN ROCKWELL

Photograph of NORMAN ROCKWELL by 
GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

May 2, 2009:   The painter Norman Rockwell's studio is re-created in the museum honoring him in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Given that Rockwell (1894-1978) has been gone for more than thirty years, it is fascinating the number of times his name still comes up, and his work is used as a ready point of comparison.   Shorthand:   "something a Japanese Rockwell might paint", or "In the Norman Rockwell version, Dad and the kids...", or "Norman Rockwell type Americans who believe in Chevys and Apple Pie."


FOREST PETRIFIED; STIMULUS DOLLARS AT WORK

Photograph 
of THE PETRIFIED FOREST by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

April 30, 2009:   The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, including its Blue Mesa trail, will benefit from some federal stimulus funds ($441,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it is reported).


BORIS NEMTSOV OBJECTS

Photograph of BORIS 
NEMTSOV by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

April 28, 2009:   Al Gore "used to be the next president of the United States of America."

Boris Nemtsov never came as close to being president of Russia as Al Gore did of the U.S., but once upon a time he seemed the clear heir apparent.   A Young Reformer, with some of the same qualities as Barrack Obama, he had a rapid ride up the political ladder.   And down.

Once (in the nineties) governor of Nizhny Novgorod, and then First Deputy Prime Minister of all Russia (illustrated), he came in a distant second in the mayoral race in his native city of Sochi this past Sunday.   Now he is contesting the conduct of the election.

The interesting question is not so much why the authorities made Nemtsov's race as difficult as possible, as why they let him make the race at all (others were muscled out).  


SOCHI VOTES

Photograph of THE 
SOCHI SEASHORE, RUSSIA, by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

April 26, 2009:   Sochi voted for Mayor today.   This city by the Black Sea will host the 2014 Winter Olympics -- and is a great favorite of Vladimir Putin's.

With gubernatorial elections out in Russia, these mayoral elections are about the most important -- or the only -- "local" elections left.

Boris Nemtsov, hometown boy, lost.   Officially, crushingly.   In his heyday, in Boris Yeltsin's time, he lived life near the top.

Of course, he served at the whim of the president.   Photograph of BORIS NEMTSOV & BORIS YELTSIN 
by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   Eventually, that president, Boris Yeltsin, tried out other heirs apparent, and when the game of musical chairs stopped, Vladimir Putin, and not Boris Nemtsov, won the prize.


AL PACINO & THE BASIC TRAINING OF PAVLO HUMMEL

Photograph of AL PACINO Starring in David Rabe's Play, THE BASIC TRAINING OF PAVLO 
HUMMEL, by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

April 25, 2009, in honor of Al Pacino's birthday:   There is talk of reviving David Rabe's play, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel.   Pacino starred in the Theater Company of Boston's production in Boston (shown here) in 1972, and in 1977 on Broadway.   Leonard DiCaprio is said to be interested in taking on the role; Pacino won a Tony for it.   Will it keep its setting in the Vietnam War?


THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT FALLS

April 2, 2009:   Exit the Prime Minister.   Today ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI, head of the government of Malaysia for a half dozen years, met with his King, offered his resignation, and was succeeded by his deputy, NAJIB RAZAK.   That makes two APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) leaders out in a little more than four months since their last annual meeting in Lima, Peru.


WHERE ARE WE GOING IN AFGHANISTAN?

March 27, 2009:   In his speech on "AFPAK" today, BARACK OBAMA sounded eerily like GEORGE W. BUSH.   In trying to explain what we were doing in Afghanistan, and why we were doing it, Obama was repeating some of the same phrases that Bush used -- so much for "Change!"


NICHOLAS HUGHES, R.I.P.

March 23, 2009:  FRIEDA HUGHES today announced the death by suicide of her brother, NICHOLAS HUGHES, and one wonders if there is not more than one unquiet grave tonight.

"Sylvia Plath's Son Dies" seems to have been the prevailing theme for the headlines.   Nicholas Hughes' father, TED HUGHES, who was Poet Laureate of the UK, gets a mention, somewhere in the articles.

Unless the author uses the occasion of the death of the poets' son to slam and damn Ted Hughes again.


LEONARD BERNSTEIN & WEST SIDE STORY

March 19, 2009:   "Tonight, Tonight," West Side Story opens again on Broadway, with a twist.   The Spanish speakers sing in Spanish.   Sometimes.   And they speak in Spanish.   Part of the time.   A success?   Maybe, maybe not.

But there seems no question:   The music of LEONARD BERNSTEIN rings out.


HONORING OUR VETS?

March 18, 2009:   Or, CLUELESS?     That almost-decision on not covering service-related injuries sounds like the work of Technocrats, or of someone with a Tin Ear.   And this is someone who, even before working out a plan for what exactly they are to do, has ordered an additional 17,000 men and women into harm's way in Afghanistan.   (More on Barack Obama; more on Veterans.)


WEN JIABAO IS WORRIED

March 13, 2009:   Chinese Prime Minister WEN Jiabao is "concerned about the security of our assets," all those U.S. Treasuries China has bought.


WU BANGGUO SAYS NO

March 9, 2009:   No to "indiscriminately" copying "the Western system" in "the political sphere."   Okay:   Who (except perhaps for knock-off artists) is in favor of "indiscrimately" copying anybody?   But:   "We will not," said Wu to the National People's Congress, "have multi-party rule, or the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers."

WU Bangguo is Chair of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which is, officially, China's legislature.   He is also officially number two in the Chinese Communist Party.


HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

March 8, 2009:   Would you believe, in your lifetime, or your mother's lifetime, in these United States of America, a man who had work to hand out could feel perfectly comfortable asking a woman if she were married.   Because if she were, he would give the work to a man instead, because he had to feed his family.


AMERICAN LEADERS & RUSSIAN LEADERS; YOUTH & YOUTHINESS

March 5, 2009:   NATO agrees, barely, to resume a formal relationship with Russia.   Presidents Obama and Medvedev are expected to meet on the "sidelines" of the G-20 summit next month in London.

Barack Obama's election four months ago unleashed a lot of chatter about the two "young" presidents fated to be facing off against, or working with, each other.

It also triggered memories of George W. Bush's comments on his relationship with Vladimir Putin at their second meeting, at the G-8 in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001.   (The first was the one that had him looking into Putin's soul.)

At Genoa, Bush pronounced himself and his Russian counterpart to be "young leaders" wanting to "seize the moment and lead."   (You may remember that George W. Bush talked a lot about Leading, especially in the early days.)   And what goal were those two young leaders said to be striving towards?   "Forging a more peaceful world."

The tantalizing question seemed to be, who were the old fogeys these two bright young things were rescuing us from?   Surely not their two immediate predecessors, Yeltsin and Clinton.   Boris Yeltsin might suit, for he was sixty-eight when he left office in December 1999.   By contrast, in July 2001, his successor, Vladimir Putin, was forty-eight, and George W. Bush had just turned fifty-five.   But Bill Clinton is six weeks younger than his successor, and was only fifty-four when he finished his second term.

That would seem to leave us the pairing of Boris Yeltsin and George Bush (yes, George Herbert Walker Bush), like Yeltsin, sixty-eight when he departed the presidency.

SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
PUTIN & BUSH & BUSH & YELTSIN

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George 
W. Bush at the 2006 G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2009; All Rights Reserved  
(Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in St. Petersburg, 2006, and George Bush and Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin, Moscow, 1991)

Perhaps George W. Bush, in promoting the Young Leaders in the summer of 2001, was thinking of Brezhnev, or Andropov, or Chernenko.   Perhaps he had forgotten, or not thought about, the fact that the Soviet Union had been gone for nearly a decade, and that its last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, was hailed as a young leader himself when he came to power.   And did Bush the Younger throw in an American?   Reagan??

This Bush was the same Leader who declared that 9/11 meant that the U.S. was no longer safe behind its oceans, as though intercontinental ballistic missiles had yet to be invented.

Youthiness can be overrated.

Dmitry Medvedev has Barack Obama beat in the "young" stakes by more than four years.


DMITRY MEDVEDEV MARKS AN ANNIVERSARY

Photograph of Russian 
President Dmitry Medvedev by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved

March 2, 2008:   It is one year since Dmitry Medvedev was officially elected president of Russia.   A protege of then President Vladimir Putin, Medvedev promptly named Putin to his old (pre-presidential) post of Prime Minister.   Speculation as promptly began that one person held the office, and the other the power.

A year on, speculation seems to be rising, as oil prices are falling, of a split between mentor and mentee.


HILLARY CLINTON DOES ASIA.   SOME OF IT.

March 1, 2009:     Hillary Clinton     is on her second trip abroad as secretary of state.   Such an enormous fuss was made about Clinton's first trip's starting with Asia, but what Asia?   Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, China.   "Old Asia," with a twist, a double twist?   Indonesia added on as the country with the largest Muslim population, and one of the new president's boyhood homes.

But not the world's largest democracy (and its second most populous country, period):   Not India.


JAPAN AS NUMBER ONE -- TO THE WHITE HOUSE

February 24, 2009:   Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso     comes to the White House today, the first foreign leader to be welcomed there by President Barack Obama.

There is some question that Aso will manage to continue as Prime Minister much longer.    


BARRACK OBAMA DROPS IN ON CANADA

February 19, 2009:   Barack Obama makes his first international trip as president to Canada today (unlike George W. Bush, who made a big point about going to Mexico first -- and made promises he did not keep).   President Obama, however, while giving this pride of place to the U.S.'s biggest trading partner, will reportedly not be staying to supper.

Waiting to meet President Obama will be Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shown here at the 2006 St. Petersburg G-8 Summit, walking with his wife Laureen to dinner at the Peterhof Palace,     checking to make sure his tie is straight before he arrives at the palace, where Vladimir and Lyudmila   Photograph 
of Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   Putin are waiting.


THE LESSONS OF AFGHANISTAN?

February 15, 2009:   Twenty years ago today, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev,   Photograph of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev by 
Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   the last Soviet troops crossed the bridge out of Afghanistan.   (More Gorbachev)

When the Americans invaded Afghanistan, they shook off any lessons from the Soviets' failure; they were sure they were so superior.   They would be swoft, and would never be bogged down like the Soviets.

Date of the U.S. invasion?   October 7, 2001?   Status more than seven years later?   Yet to cross that bridge out of Afghanistan.


BARRACK OBAMA & THAT LINCOLN THING

February 12, 2009:   When does someone who is at least a semi-grownup give up dressing up in the trappings of some heroic figure?   Even if that heroic figure be Abraham Lincoln.   Or perhaps, especially if it be Abraham Lincoln.


"THEY CAME TO DO GOOD, AND STAYED TO DO WELL"

February 4, 2009:   -- I first heard this said of missionaries who went to Hawaii.   It does seem that Tom Daschle came to Washington to do good.   And, when deprived of his Senate seat, and his Senate Leadership post, he stayed to do well.

How many case studies have been written about the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton's attempt at health reform?   And if, a full sixteen years later, this early failure to get Obama's chosen health reform czar seated leads to yet another substantive failure, how many more case studies will be written?   And how many more hardships endured?


JOHN UPDIKE IS GONE

Photograph 
of John Updike by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

January 27, 2009:   The protean double-Pulitzer-prize-winning John Updike died today.

Additional photographs of the author at home and at Fenway Park with the World Series Trophy, plus some observations of John Updike, and by John Updike, can be found here.   (Updike famously wrote of Ted Williams' last game at Fenway Park in "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.")


INAUGURATION DAY

January 20, 2009:   Why such a strident tone to the Inaugural Address?   To the new President's reading of it?


"SLIP SLIDIN' AWAY"?

 Photograph of Barack Obama
by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

January 18, 2009:   What it seems George W. Bush may be doing under the Obama administration.   More about Barack Obama)


"HELLO, I MUST BE GOING"

Photograph of George W. Bush
by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

January 17, 2009:   Final Days.   It turned out later that Dick Cheney had been pressing Bush for a last-minute pardon for his faithful "Scooter" Libby, but the President decided to take a stand.   No pardon.   No!   (More about George W. Bush)


SEASON'S GREETINGS

Photograph of Mr. &
Mrs. Claus by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

Dcember 24, 2008:   Hope Santa Claus knows how to find you this year....   And Mrs. Claus too.


LOOKING FOR THE "LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD"

Here President Bush is with some of his fellow "leaders" from the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit recently in Lima, Peru.     More APEC.   More from Peru.

December 12, 2008:   George W. Bush, who likes to call himself "The Decider," has a chance to prove that he has not become Irrelevant in the latter part of his presidency (the same charge Bill Clinton had to fight off).   He has let it be known that he will "consider" tapping the Wall Street bailout money to help Detroit.


AHTISAARI WINS THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

December 10, 2008:   Former Finnish President MARTTI AHTISAARI, shown here welcoming Russian President Boris Yeltsin   and U.S. President     Bill Clinton to the Helsinki Summit in March 1997, today received the Nobel Peace Prize.


THE DEATH OF A PATRIARCH

December 5, 2008:   The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia   Photograph of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexei II by 
GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   Alexei (Alexy) II died today in Moscow.   He was a prominent public figure in Russia, as seen here in this photograph with President Boris Yeltsin, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, and other dignitaries at the celebration of Moscow's 850th anniversary in 1997.  


FORCED FROM OFFICE

December 2, 2008:   Somchai Wongsawat,   Photograph of SOMCHAI WONGSAWAT 
by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2008; All Rights Reserved   Prime Minister of Thailand, was forced out of office today.   Other leaders, including Nikita Khrushchev and Mikhail Gorbachev, suffered similar fates while they were off on trips (Gorbachev temporarily recouped).   But the two Soviet leaders suffered by going off to vacation.   Prime Minister Somchai, in office only a few months, was gone to an APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Lima, Peru.   Trying to return home, he was blocked from Bangkok and forced to land in Chiang Mai instead by masses of demonstrators.

For details of the immediate events precipitating the Prime Minister's resignation, see "Thai protesters to end airport blockade" in the International Herald Tribune.

(December 12, 2008:   Update on what happened after Somchai Wongsawat was forced from office, and a look at the broader context of Thai politics and economics, courtesy of the BBC:   "Thailand reverts to old-style politics.")


"I HAVE BEEN HER KIND"

Photograph of Anne Sexton 
by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

November 9, 2008:   ANNE SEXTON, the poet, would have been eighty today.   More about  Anne Sexton.


WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

November 2, 2008:  "Money makes the political world go around"   The end does not justify the means.   Breaking the system of federal financing for presidential elections just because "Yes, We Can" is going to have consequences.


TONY SNOW

July 12, 2008:   TONY SNOW, sometime presidential press secretary and political commentator, today lost a "long" battle with cancer.   Here he is seen (L) with Russian presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov (R) at the St. Petersburg, Russia, G-8 summit in 2006.   Photograph of presidential press secretaries Tony Snow and Andrei 
Gromov at the 2006 G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, by Gwendolyn Stewart, 
c. 2010; All Rights Reserved   More Snow.


KISS & MAKE UP?

June 28, 2008:    Photograph of Senators Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and Hillary Clinton 
(D-NY) in Unity, New Hampshire, June 27, 2008, by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; 
All Rights Reserved    More from BARACK OBAMA and HILLARY CLINTON in Unity, New Hampshire.


"UNITY"

June 27, 2008:   BARACK OBAMA and HILLARY CLINTON fly to a field     of dreams of Unity (New Hampshire).     Photograph of Senators Barack Obama 
(D-Illinois) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in Unity, New Hampshire, June 27, 2008, by 
GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved


ROBERT F. KENNEDY

*JUNE 4-6, 1968:   Snippy comments about Hillary Clinton notwithstanding, these are dates burned into the memory.   Some of the memories live in ROBERT KENNEDY REMEMBERED, a film by Charles Guggenheim   Photograph of a frame of 
the film ROBERT KENNEDY REMEMBERED, by Charles Guggenheim, with Robert F. 
Kennedy (L) & John F. Kennedy (R); still photograph of the frame by GWENDOLYN 
STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   (shown here with his brother John F. Kennedy).


GRACIOUS LOSERS, SORE WINNERS?

June 4, 2008 -- the day after the Democratic primary season ended.   Enough of pushing this 'Why can't she be a Graceful Loser' tripe already.

JIMMY CARTER     Photograph of ALT=   was so eager to be a graceful loser that he conceded defeat to RONALD REAGAN in 1980 even before the polls closed in California, never mind points west.   And what did it get him?   Or his fellow Democrats?   GEORGE W. BUSH did not play graceful loser in 2000.   He sent in JAMES BAKER.


A BIG STATE

April 22, 2008:   Hillary Clinton wins Pennsylvania.   Photograph of HILLARY 
RODHAM CLINTON by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved     The race goes on.


JANIS JOPLIN

Photograph 
of JANIS JOPLIN in the Spotlight at her Harvard Stadium Concert, by GWENDOLYN 
STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

January 19, 2008:   Janis Joplin would have been eligible for Medicare today.   (More about Joplin and her last concert)


TIP O'NEILL MAKES A POINT

December 9, 2007:   Tip O'Neill (Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.), would have been ninety-five today.     Photograph of THOMAS P. 
(

As the current presidential campaign buzzes with excitement about the possibility of the first female president or the first African-American president, and shortly after Mitt Romney's Mormon speech has had commentators digging out their John F. Kennedy comparisons again, it seems appropriate to report an observation his fellow Massachusetts Democrat made.   Everyone talked about Kennedy's being the first Catholic president, but he was still also the only Catholic president -- as true now as when O'Neill made the remark, thirty-one years ago.   (More about O'Neill)


IN HONOR OF VETERAN'S DAY

Photograph

November 11, 2007:   ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY   (More about Veterans)


CHINA ANNOUNCES THE NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS

AN HEIR     Photograph of XI Jinping,
c. Gwendolyn Stewart 2009; All Rights Reserved     AND A SPARE?     Photograph 
of LI Keqiang, c. Gwendolyn Stewart 2009; All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2007:   XI Jinping (left) and LI Keqiang (right) were presented at the unveiling of the new Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, in the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, in slots positioning them to the next President and Prime Minister, respectively.

October 27, 2007:   Xi's replacement as party secretary for Shanghai (YU Zhengsheng) was announced.

October 29, 2007:   Li's replacement as party secretary of Liaoning (ZHANG Wenyue) was announced.


CHINA'S MILITARY "MODERNIZES"

September 26, 2007:   If you are interested in "Three Things about China's Military Modernization that Worry the Pentagon," and are in the Boston area this Friday, September 28, you are invited to attend the China Current Events Workshop at the Fairbank Center at Harvard.   (Co-Chairs:   Gwendolyn Stewart & Thomas R. Gottshang)


THE WISDOM OF W

August 21, 2007:   Out of the mouth of -- GEORGE W. BUSH:   "And the fundamental question is, will the government respond to the demands of the people?   And if the government doesn't demand -- respond to the demands of the people, they will replace the government."     (More about Bush)


TOLKIEN'S WORLD

July 22, 2007:   We interrupt the current round of Pottermania to bring you Tolkien's World, with a cover photograph by Gwendolyn Stewart.     Cover Photograph of 
RANDEL HELMS' TOLKIEN'S WORLD by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights Reserved     J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS is on stage as a "mega-musical" at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, and is reviewed by The Guardian here.


THE DECIDER, MARK II

July 19, 2007:   And The Decider is   --   "David"!   "David Petraeus"!   "General Petraeus"!

Oh, yes, you thought it was the President?

What?   Because he said so himself?

Oh, no.   We have it from George W. Bush directly.   (More about Bush)

Meanwhile, some of the troops themselves have reported:   "Mom, we killed women on the street today.   We killed kids on bikes.   We had no choice...."


REMEMBRANCES & REMEMBERING

July 4, 2007:   As we commemorate our Independence Day and celebrate our successful struggles against England (now, as the UK, our closest ally), and against a king named George, something a little lighter about remembering:   "The Remember Song," ("Remember?"), written by Steven Walters and performed by TOM RUSH.   Photograph of TOM RUSH by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved


THE CIA & THE FAMILY JEWELS

June 24, 2007:   Tomorrow the Central Intelligence Agency is to unveil the "family jewels," a "693-page file amassed on CIA's illegal activities by order of then-CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973," according to the National Security Archive.   Photograph:   James Schlesinger in 2007.   Photograph of JAMES SCHLESINGER by GWENDOLYN 
STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved


JANIS JOPLIN & THE SUMMER OF LOVE

June 21, 2007:   The New York TIMES opens an article on "Another Summer of Love" by invoking the image of Janis Joplin:   "JANIS JOPLIN looms large in Kim Matulova's consciousness -- not least Ms. Joplin's free-form hair, flounced frocks and fingers choked with rings."   For a look at the real thing, go here (below) and here; this latter site includes a photograph of Joplin and her Full Tilt Boogie pianist, RICHARD BELL, much praised, who died last Friday.


GEORGE W. BUSH BIDS FAREWELL TO TONY BLAIR

May 17, 2007:   The President and the Prime Minister hold their final press conference, in the White House Rose Garden.   The President makes nice, lecturing the reporters:   "you don't understand how effective Blair is, I guess, because when we're in a room with world leaders and he speaks, people listen.   And they -- they view his opinion as considered and his judgment as sound."   And so on.   You can read the rest of it for yourself here.

Cannot help remembering a sample of how Bush talked to Blair, and vice versa, when they did not realize the microphone was on:   "YO, BLAIR,"   the president called out.   Read on.


THE LONG GOOD-BYE OF TONY BLAIR

May 10, 2007:   The Long Good-Bye of Tony Blair begins its end --     Photograph of TONY & CHERIE BLAIR by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All 
Rights Reserved   TONY & CHERIE BLAIR, hand in hand.


BUSH VETOES BILL TO BRING THE IRAQ WAR TO AN END

May 1, 2007:   May Day, Again   -- who is in denial, again, and who pays, and pays, and pays?


BORIS YELTSIN DIES

Photograph of 
BORIS YELTSIN by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved

April 23, 2007:   Boris Yeltsin, first president of Russia, dies (born February 1, 1931).   For more on Yeltsin, see "The Phoenix";   "Yeltsin's Farewell"; "Bill & Boris & Vladimir & George:   America's Russia Policy"; and Chapters ONE and TWO of RUSSIA REDUX.


"ROVE E-MAIL SOUGHT BY CONGRESS MAY BE MISSING"

April 12, 2007:   ROVING E-MAILS?     Photograph by GWENDOLYN STEWART 
c. 2009; All Rights Reserved


BILL BRADLEY

March 28, 2007:   Former Senator and presidential candidate BILL BRADLEY   Photograph of BILL BRADLEY 
by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved     has a new book promoting The New American Story, and Charlie Rose has an interesting interview with him (on the March 26, 2007 program).


OH, YES?

May 20, 2007:   GEORGE W. BUSH:   "My choice is to make sure that I safeguard the ability for Presidents to get good decisions."


CHIRAC TO BOW OUT

March 11, 2007:   Jacques Chirac   Photograph of French 
President JACQUES CHIRAC by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   announces his upcoming retirement as president of France (a lively, full-bodied appreciation here).


GUILTY?

March 6, 2007:   "Scooter" Libby is found guilty -- and the unindicted co-conspirator is?


PETER O'TOOLE UP FOR AN OSCAR

February 26, 2007:   Well, Peter O'Toole did not win the Oscar, but here is a salute to him anyway, for highly memorable moments on film, with a photograph of him in earlier days.     Photograph of PETER O'TOOLE by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; 
All Rights Reserved


"SUPPORT OUR TROOPS"

February 18, 2007:   A good slogan, a great aspiration; but check out some of the realities on the ground ("Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility").   And Folks, who is going to be wanting to be paying for this war, and its wounded, a generation or even two from now?


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

January 20, 2007:   Two years until the scheduled inauguration of the next president of the United States of America.


WHAT CAN YOU BUY FOR $600 BILLION DOLLARS?

January 14, 2007:   According to the Los Angeles Times, "By the time the bill for World War II passed the $600-billion mark, in mid-1943, the United States had driven German forces out of North Africa, devastated the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Midway, and launched the vast offensives that would liberate Europe and the South Pacific."   And in Iraq?


WHAT NOW FOR THE "SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP"?

January 7, 2007:   A British poodle no more?    According to the Telegraph, Gordon Brown, expected to be the next U.K. Prime Minister, "vowed yesterday to take on President George W Bush and the Americans over foreign policy as he spelt out plans to break from Tony Blair's approach to the 'war on terror'."


A CONUNDRUM

January 6, 2007:   An investigation by the Los Angeles Times indicated that a "Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation."   (An earlier version of the piece on line said:   "The world's largest philanthropy pours money into investments that are hurting many of the people its grants aim to help.")


AND GEORGE, YOU'RE NO HARRY

January 5, 2007:   Re George W. Bush's comparing himself to Harry S Truman:   see remarks under November 12, 2005.


DEATH COMES FOR THE DICTATOR

January 4, 2007:   John Burns of the New York Times, on the January 3, 2007, Charlie Rose Show, on Baghdad and Iraq after the execution of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi authorities:   Dual TV Images of John 
Burns of the NYT (PBS) and the Imminent Hanging of Saddam Hussein (Boston 
Channel 7) photographed by GWENDOLYN STEWART, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved

"What we saw there was a glimpse into the soul, I'm afraid to say, of this new government.

"They controlled this, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Maliki, controlled this event.

"He wouldn't, I'm sure, have planned it this way, but what we saw had a kind of terrible beauty about it.   It expressed, absolutely, in full degree, the nature of the American problem here in Iraq -- the inability of the people that the United States is trying to work with, to rise above the urge to revenge, the sectarian passion, and to turn towards the conception of a civil society."


WANTS CLOSER TIES WITH U.S., SAYS GERMAN CHANCELLOR

Photograph 
by GWENDOLYN STEWART of German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL holding hands with 
U.S. President GEORGE W. BUSH at the 2006 G-8 Summit; c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved

January 3, 2007:   Here German Chancellor Angela Merkel is shown holding hands with U.S. President George W. Bush at the 2006 G-8 summit.


*JANUARY 2, 2007:     Interesting, if sad, to speculate on the overwhelming concentration on "decency" as the defining characteristic of Gerald Ford:   more a tribute to the president now gone, or a polite way to comment on the deficiencies of the present one?


*JANUARY 1, 2007:     Lula again:   Photograph 
of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; 
All Rights Reserved     President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil was sworn in for a second term today.


*DECEMBER 29, 2006:     "Waist deep in the Big Muddy!   /   And the big fool says to push on!"   --   Pete Seeger, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"


*NOVEMBER 24, 2006:     "And all the news just repeats itself   /   Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen."   --   John Prine, "Hello In There"


*OCTOBER 10, 2006:     President GEORGE W. BUSH photographed by GWENDOLYN 
STEWART, c. 2009, All Rights Reserved     FIVE YEARS ON....  


*SEPTEMBER 28, 2006:   After twenty-seven years of blisteringly hot growth, China now has, by some measures, the second largest economy in the world.   Can it keep it up?   What will China look like in twenty years?   If you are in the Boston area on September 29, you are invited to come join in a discussion "Forecasting China's Economic Growth over the Next Quarter Century" at the China Current Events Workshop at the Fairbank Center at Harvard.


*SEPTEMBER 26, 2006:   Junichiro Koizumi resigns as Prime Minister of Japan of and strides into history.     Japanese Prime 
Minister Junichiro Koizumi photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009, All 
Rights Reserved


*SEPTEMBER 6, 2006:   "NEVER FORGET" --     Photograph of the World Trade Center after 9/11, 
photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009, All Rights Reserved     -- and never forget the "First Responders," the people who came to help, and now the evidence is coming in still more strongly, are still paying for it with their health.
*November 12, 2009, Update:   A "cluster of cancer deaths".



*JULY 17, 2006:   Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush march to the Expanded "Family Photo" session at the
G-8 in St. Petersburg, Russia --     Photograph of Presidents 
Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush at the 2006 G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, 
Russia, photographed by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009, All Rights 
Reserved  (More about Putin)   (More about Putin and Bush "Alone Together")


*JULY 9, 2006:   "Oh, to go to Moscow, to Moscow!" -- the wish of Irina in Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters.   This week it is not the Three Sisters, but the G-8 who are coming, and not to Moscow, but to St. Petersburg, Russia's "second capital" and the home place of President Vladimir Putin.   "To Peter, to Peter!", then:   the statue of the Bronze Horseman, Peter the Great --     Photograph of the 'Bronze Horseman' 
statue of Tsar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg, Russia, photographed by 
Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009, All Rights Reserved


*JUNE 25, 2006:   More than half a million Americans killed?   That is the American equivalent of the fifty thousands Iraqi deaths now reported by the Los Angeles Times as a minimum since the invasion.   A U.S. equivalent of five hundred seventy thousand, the paper says.   (The Iraqi population is usually estimated as about twenty-five million; the American population is now approaching three hundred million.)

It is from official Iraqi sources that the L.A. Times has arrived at the count it has.   But even this is a conservative figure.   The actual Iraqi death toll is acknowledged by Iraqi officials to be higher.

It does no good to stick our heads in the sand -- what we may not want to know, the Iraqis will surely know.


*JUNE 22, 2006:   Close enough for government work?   George W. Bush comes to Budapest to commemorate the passing of half a century since the Hungarian Uprising --- four months and a day early.

So why the rush on the not-quite-fiftieth anniversary?

As it happened, it was just in time to get in a few digs before Russia hosts the G-8 summit for the first time, in the face of calls for the U.S., or at least President Bush, not to show up.   And, it might be added, in the face of much ignorance (willful or not) of how Russia came to added to the G-8 in the first place.

As for the event itself, Prof. Charles Gati has some sharp comments about what did and did not happen in Hungary in 1956:

"The truth is that at a critical juncture in the Cold War, when Hungarians rose against their Soviet oppressors, the United States abandoned them.   After 13 days of high drama, hope and despair, the mighty Soviet army prevailed.   For its part, Washington offered a sad variation on 'NATO': no action, talk only.   The Eisenhower administration's policy of 'liberation' and 'rollback' turned out to be a hoax -- hypocrisy mitigated only by self-delusion.   The more evident, if unstated, goal was to roll back the Democrats from Capitol Hill rather than liberate Central and Eastern Europe from Soviet tyranny."


*JUNE 21, 2006:   George W. Bush, the self-proclaimed "war president," June 21, 2006:   "The United States is -- we'll defend ourselves, but at the same time, we're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy."

George Orwell, nearly sixty years ago, in the book, 1984, names "the three slogans of the Party:   WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."


*JUNE 15, 2006:   "It's a number...." :   George W. Bush's press secretary Tony Snow speaking today of the Pentagon's announcement that American deaths in Iraq had reached 2,500.   No name has yet been attached to this "number," to make sure that his (or her) family has been notified first.   For one day, at least, " The Unknown Citizen," just "a number."

"Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:

"Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard." --   W.H. Auden

On the other hand, President Bush informed us only yesterday that "... I'm a high-value target for some."

"And," the president continued, "Iraq is a dangerous place."

In which 18,940 American service members were reported to have been wounded.

The BBC has a brief riff (with good, detailed maps) on the problem of trying to determine what Iraqi casualties have been.   It reminds us that President Bush himself gave a figure of about 30,000 Iraqis having been killed -- already six months and three days ago.

Nobel Prize winner in Economics Joseph E. Stiglitz has tried to puzzle out " The True Costs of the Iraq War."


*JUNE 14, 2006:   Today is Flag Day in the United States.   A lot of money was made today on the sale of four Revolutionary War precursors to Old Glory.


*JUNE 13, 2006:   The Stunt of the Day:   Shocked!   Shocked!   Could everyone really have been as surprised as they were said to be (even Bush cabinet officers!) by the president's sudden de-camping for Baghdad?   If the thought that it was time for another lightning trip to Iraq could flit through my mind, as it did, surely it could flit through others'?   Now we will see if the serious work gets done.


*JUNE 12, 2006:     June 12 is Russia's national holiday, the "Day of Russia," and this year marks fifteen years since the first Russian presidential election (won by Boris Yeltsin)   BORIS 
YELTSIN photographed by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   on June 12, 1991.   (Boris Yeltsin casting his ballot, June 12, 1991 )   The election day was chosen to honor the declaration of sovereignty the year before by the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, as Russia was then known as one of the fifteen republics of the USSR.   (For more on the story and the significance of June 12, see chapters 6-8 of Sic Transit by Gwendolyn Stewart, Harvard University Ph.D. dissertation, June 1995.   For more on Boris Yeltsin, see Chapters One and Two of Russia Redux.)

Today the event was celebrated both in the Kremlin and on the street.


*JUNE 9, 2006:   John Updike   JOHN UPDIKE 
photographed by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   has a new book called Terrorist, which USA Today calls "a thriller," and one which "leaves the reader ripping through the book to its finale, desperate to find out what happens."   (More on Updike)


*JUNE 8, 2006:   Turn the Tide:   A new way to say "turning point"?   Today President Bush announced that "Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al Qaeda.  It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle."   Strange then that in giving the New York Times the tick-tock, or chronology, of the handling of the news of the "termination" of the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, this point was emphasized:   "Officials also decided to proceed carefully and not repeat mistakes of the past by referring to the capture as a turning point or an end to violence in Iraq, which is expected to, if anything, increase in coming days."   The warning about violence can easily be seen to smack of CYA, of course, but, sadly, has also already started to come true.

Philip Kennicott has a thoughtful meditation on "A Chilling Portrait, Unsuitably Framed":   " The frame surrounding an image of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's head, revealed to the world as proof the terrorist is dead, is bizarre. When the picture was displayed at a U.S. military news briefing, Zarqawi's face was seen inside what appeared to be a professional photographic mat job, with a large frame, as if it were something one might preserve and hang on the wall next to other family portraits."   (more)


*JUNE 7, 2006:   Iraq "begins to look more and more like a Terminator world." -- John F. Burns, New York Times Bureau Chief, on The Charlie Rose Show, PBS, June 7, 2006.


*JUNE 6, 2006:   TEAR DOWN THIS HIGHWAY!     FREDERICK SALVUCCI photographed by GWENDOLYN 
STEWART c. 2009; All Rights Reserved     Tip O'Neill has a tunnel named after him, and Frederick Salvucci, the "Father of the Big Dig," sees his dream come true.   Now, Boston, will it all be worth it in the end?


*JUNE 5, 2006:   Tip O'Neill    Speaker Thomas P.(Tip) O'Neill, Jr,   has a tunnel named after him.   (More about former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas ["Tip"] P. O'Neill, Jr.)


*JUNE 4, 2006:   "That's right, it's come to this, yes, it's come to this...."   U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is in Vietnam today, and for what?   His former senior China-Taiwan adviser Dan Blumenthal has written an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that "A nascent defense relationship with Vietnam may over time provide the American military with what it needs most in Asia -- more bases."   And against whom?   (See May 11 entry)   And against whom were we in Vietnam fighting a war in the first place?


*JUNE 1, 2006:   Out of the mouth of ... unilateralists:   " ... if they continue their obstinance, if they continue to say to the world, we really don't care what your opinion is, then the world is going to act in concert":   George W. Bush re ... Iran, June 1, 2006.


  NOT AN ICON?    Liberty's Light,   ("Liberty's Light," from a photograph by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved)

  Homeland Security funds for New York City are to be cut:   "A worksheet made by the federal government to explain the decision, obtained by The Associated Press, said the city [of New York] had just four major financial assets at risk, and no national monuments or icons... "


*MAY 11, 2006:   The U.S. and China:   The Summit is over, the presidents have moved on.   What of the future?   We have this assessment from the Pentagon's 2006 strategic review:   "Of the major and emerging powers, China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages absent U.S. counter strategies." -- Quadrennial Defense Review Report (February 6, 2006), p. 29.  

If you are in the Boston area this Friday, May 12, you are invited to come join in a discussion of "The Chinese Military and U.S.-China Relations" at the China Current Events Workshop at the Fairbank Center at Harvard.   Topics include "The U.S. and the Rise of China," "China's Grand Strategy: Managing the 'Rise of China,'" and "The U.S. and China's 'Ambiguous' Nuclear Arsenal."


*MAY 10, 2006:   Without Comment, II:   Headline in the Washington Post, II:   " Jeb Would Make a 'Great President,' Bush Says."  


*MAY 1, 2006:   May Day   Today's "turning point" in Iraq (so declared by George W. Bush on the third anniversary of "Mission Accomplished") as the new "light at the end of the tunnel"?


*APRIL 27, 2006:   Without Comment:   Headline in the Washington Post:   " GAO Says Government Pesters Wounded Soldiers Over Debts."   The details:   "long-recognized problems with military computer systems led to the soldiers being dunned for an array of debts related to everything from errors in paychecks to equipment left behind on the battlefield."


*APRIL 26, 2006:   Twenty years to the day after the disaster at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Russian President Vladimir Putin re-routed an oil pipeline designed "to pump Russia's oil to markets in Asia."   It should not, he decreed, be built so close to Lake Baikal, the gem of Siberia.


*APRIL 25, 2006:   Water Crisis in China?   Photograph of Sunset in Shanghai by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All 
Rights Reserved   China's thirst for gasoline -- and its effects on the rest of the world -- have been all over the news.   What about its thirst for water?   If you are in the Boston area this Friday, April 28, you are invited to come join in a discussion of "Water, the Environment, Public Health, and Public Policy in China" at the China Current Events Workshop at the Fairbank Center at Harvard.


*APRIL 19, 2006:   The mountain comes to...   Photograph of Chinese President Hu Jintao by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 
2006; All Rights Reserved   ... President Bush, bearing gifts:   As the Times of London puts it:  

"OH, NOT The Art of War again.   When President Hu Jintao of China meets George W. Bush today, he will hand the American president a copy of the classic work on military strategy by Sun Tzu, the Chinese 6th-century philosopher, according to the South China Morning Post.

"The book, a favourite gift in diplomatic encounters, has supplied generations of politicians and writers with a garnish of profundity, through its insights such as 'winning without fighting is the best strategy'."


*APRIL 13, 2006:   Donald Rumsfeld as the new Robert McNamara?   (Seen here at the JFK Library.)    Photograph of 
Robert McNamara at the JFK Library, by Gwendolyn Stewart, c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved   George Walker Bush as the new Lyndon Baines Johnson?


*APRIL 12, 2006:   The best defense is a good offense -- again.   Having been caught by the Washington Post (belatedly) as a multiple mis-stater of facts regarding the "biolabs" in Iraq, the Administration faced the unenviable choice of admitting to either ignorance (i.e., incompetence) or, to put it politely, misrepresentation.   The White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, chose ignorance with a vengeance, denying that the President had any knowledge of such an important matter dealing with his war, and turned to attack the messenger.


*APRIL 11, 2006: What have they learned?   What have we taught them?   One answer came today:   "Iran has joined the nuclear countries of the world," said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.   (More Iran)


*APRIL 10, 2006:   "... STRATEGY, SECURITY, DEMOCRACY, AND RECONSTRUCTION.   Photograph   WE HAVE LEARNED...."   Have we?   Has he?   (More Iran)


*APRIL 9, 2006:   While the Administration is apparently contemplating military strikes on Iran (a report in the Washington Post joins the one in The New Yorker), a "somber portrait" of Iraqi "discord" is reported in the New York Times.   Carrying the battle into Iran in spite of, or because of, the difficulties in Iraq?   (More Iran)


*APRIL 8, 2006:   "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."   --- Seymour M. Hersh, "The Iran Plans: Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?" The New Yorker, April 17, 2006 issue.   (More Iran)


*APRIL 7, 2006:   The non-denial denial, as struggled through by the White House.   Summarized by Time:   "If a former adviser's testimony is wrong and President Bush did not authorize the leak of intelligence information to counter attacks from a critic of the Iraq war, the White House isn't saying so."

Question:   When is a leak not a leak?

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean --- neither more nor less.'

"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

"'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master --- that's all.'" --- Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass


*APRIL 6, 2006:   The Leaker-in-Chief?   "Scooter" Libby Squeals.   The document in the case, here.


*MARCH 21, 2006:   The Legacy President & The President's Legacy:   Iraq:   How many more years?   You can read it for yourself, here.


*MARCH 20, 2006:   Vladimir Putin goes to Beijing and takes "800 People" with him to launch China's "Year of Russia" -- interesting analysis in the The Moscow Times.   On the agenda:   oil and gas and the "unipolar" (read: U.S. the only superpower) world.


*MARCH 19, 2006: "Landslide Lukashenko"?    Photograph of Belarus President ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO (Alyaksandr 
Lukashenka) by GWENDOLYN STEWART 2009; All Rights Reserved     Alexander Lukashenko is said to have won more than eighty percent of the vote in his run for a third term as president of Belarus.


*JANUARY 1, 2006: A very happy new year to all --


*NOVEMBER 28, 2005:   When is it news that a state governor -- or in this case, a provincial governor, drinks a glass of tap water?   (Boiled tap water, to be sure.)   When a city of nearly four million, the city of Harbin, in Heilongjiang Province in the northeast of China, has had its water supply ruined by benzene released by an explosion in a neighboring province.   Here is a photograph of that governor, Zhang Zuoji, setting the example.   The Russian city of Khabarovsk waits to see what the onward flow of the river will bring it.   (Map)


*NOVEMBER 27, 2005:   The trial of Saddam Hussein is set to begin again on Monday, November 28.   Now comes word that the first post-Saddam Hussein prime minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, is charging that human rights abuses under the new regime are as bad or worse than under the old.   The charges are detailed in the British

Observer of November 27.   So what is going on?   Either the charges are literally true, or Allawi, described as having been "a strong ally of the US-led coalition forces," is bringing them for a reason.   He lost in the last election, but is running again in December.


*NOVEMBER 26, 2005:   Coming: Public opinion and the war and the bet the Administration made.


*NOVEMBER 25, 2005:   How We Got Where We Are:   Out of the horse's mouth -- or out of one of the horse's mouths -- to wit, from "Counselor to the President" Dan Bartlett -- comes a telling glimpse into the mindset, the code, and the S.O.P. of the White House.   The former White House Communications Director and alumnus of the Austin firm of Karl Rove and Company tells us that "if you spend enough money and repeat the charge enough, the old political axiom in Washington can come true:   that charges left unanswered can stick."


*NOVEMBER 18, 2005:   Patrick Fitzgerald strikes again; announces that he will call a new grand jury in the CIA leak investigation case.   The White House worries.

Thoughts on the Woes of (Bob) Woodward's Ways here.


*NOVEMBER 17, 2005:   Milestones and Signposts of a Certain History coming.


*NOVEMBER 16, 2005:   Democracy in China?   Today George W. Bush was in Kyoto, Japan, talking about the topic.   Friday, November 18, 2005, you are invited to come join in a discussion of it at the China Current Events Workshop at the Fairbank Center at Harvard.


*NOVEMBER 15, 2005:     Back to the Land of Wink and Nod (a.k.a. the Supreme Court) again.   The Washington Times broke the story of Samuel Alito's "statements against abortion and affirmative action" in an application for a position with then Attorney General Edwin Meese.   But today it is reported that Judge Alito is playing down those strong statements of his of twenty years ago.   Not to worry; he was just piling on in order to win the job.   And now, when the job he is applying for is Associate Justice of the Supreme Court?   (More on the Supreme Court)


*NOVEMBER 14, 2005:     The "coalition of the willing" shifts again:   America's erstwhile ally, Uzbekistan turns to Russia.   In the Kremlin today Presidents Islam Karimov and Vladimir Putin signed a military treaty.

There are questions still to be answered: The Washington Post reports that "Human rights groups say the Bush administration has transferred terrorism suspects to Uzbekistan, which has a long history of employing torture in its prisons."   If these allegations are true, is Uzbekistan now discontinuing this "aid" to the U.S. also?


*NOVEMBER 13, 2005:   When Americans and the world "discovered" poverty in the U.S. after Katrina, and the costs mounted, the Republican leadership in Congress made a bold decision -- to take from the poor to give to the rich.   Finally, some pushback by other Republicans in the House and Senate.


*NOVEMBER 12, 2005:   Veteran's Day, Part II:   Some people have no shame....


*OCTOBER 31, 2005:     So-o-o-o -- George W. Bush can be kicked in the teeth -- from the Right -- and he will take it and heel.   Samuel A. Alito, Jr. (a.k.a. "Scalito" or "Scalia Lite") is named to Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court.   (More on the Supreme Court)   (More on George W. Bush and the Right)


*OCTOBER 30, 2005:   The Unindicted:   Fancy last-minute lawyering for The Turdblossom (George W. Bush's own nickname for Karl Rove) explained in the L.A. Times.


*OCTOBER 29, 2005:   A piece on Putin-Speak.   (More on Vladimir Putin)


*OCTOBER 28, 2005:   Is this year's October surprise the fact that the White House intends to pick itself up after the five indictments and subsequent resignation of Lewis Libby and ... go on as though nothing had happened?


*OCTOBER 27, 2005:   Harriet Miers has fallen on George W. Bush's sword.   Could have known there was trouble when economists and not just late-night comics made jokes about the nomination.   When the president proposed having Ben Bernanke succeed Alan Greenspan as head of the Federal Reserve, one economist is reported to have cracked that "everyone's happy it wasn't Bush's accountant."

The Miers Supreme Court nomination fiasco brought out starkly the savage anger of some of Bush's conservative "allies" -- revealing an enormous sense of entitlement -- especially to this Supreme Court seat -- and a willingness to disparage this president -- vociferously reminding him that they elected him.   How well is George W. Bush likely to take this?


*OCTOBER 26, 2005:   As Gazprom, "the world's largest producer and exporter of natural gas," is in the news today, so is Photograph of 
SAKHALIN by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2006; All Rights Reserved   Sakhalin, the island so far east in Russia that it is just north of Japan; some background.


*OCTOBER 25, 2005:   Cheney at the Center?   The New York Times has it from "lawyers" that the "journalist" I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Jr., learned of Valerie Plame's identity from was his boss, Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The Iraqi constitution has officially been reported as passed.

The U.S. has passed another milestone, two thousand killed in Iraq.   It is also reported that more than fifteen thousand Americans have been injured there.   Estimates of Iraqis killed are said to range from thirty thousand to one hundred thousand.   (More Iraq)


*OCTOBER 24, 2005:   Alan Greenspan   Photograph of Alan Greenspan by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights 
Reserved   is going.   (Photograph by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved)


*OCTOBER 23, 2005:   Bush Family Values:     Mutual disrespect of father and son?   Especially "43" re "41"?   Ditto for Mentor & Mentee -- Scowcroft v. Rice?   And Cheney the "anomaly"?   Answers promised in the Hallowe'en issue of The New Yorker, due on newsstands tomorrow.


*OCTOBER 22, 2005:   George W. Bush goes out to California and tries for the Reagan mantle again.


*OCTOBER 21, 2005:   The CIA leak investigation grand jury expires in one week, on October 28.   With nothing known for sure and a lot of what President Bush calls "opining" going on, there are reports of preparations for "What If" -- what if Karl Rove or "Scooter" Libby is forced out by an indictment?   "Senior GOP officials are developing a public relations strategy to defend those accused of crimes and, more importantly, shield Bush from further damage...."   Already this week there has been an attempt by "White House aides" to protect the president by leaking " a story that Bush was furious with Rove back in 2003 for the clumsy and inept way Rove had tried to discredit Wilson."

The office of Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald now has its own website:   WATCH THIS SPACE.


*OCTOBER 20, 2005:   Russian oligarch -- former oligarch? -- Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been sent to begin serving his eight-year sentence in Siberia, near Krasnokamensk in Chita, not far from China.   (Map)


*OCTOBER 19, 2005:   Two people in the news today were once in the news together:   Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein.   Donald Rumsfeld is in China on his first trip there as George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, in advance of Bush's first trip there as president, due in November.   Saddam Hussein was brought in for his first trial in his old Baathist party headquarters in what is now the Green Zone in Baghdad.

James Mann tells the story of the day their paths crossed in Rise of the Vulcans (New York: Viking, 2004, p. 124):   "Many years later, when Rumsfeld was questioned in Congress about his amicable 1983 meeting with Saddam Hussein, he emphasized that he had been a private citizen at the time and that his goal had been to eliminate terrorism in Lebanon.   The answer was misleading.   He was in Baghdad as the representative of President Reagan, and the declassified cables show he was seeking not just Iraq's help in Lebanon but broader cooperation between the United States and Iraq to offset the power of Iran and Syria in the Middle East."   (More Saddam Hussein)


*OCTOBER 18, 2005:   The man sometimes known as "the father of perestroika," and a one-time exchange student at Columbia University, Alexandr N. Yakovlev, died today in Moscow   Eduard   (shown here [L] with then Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze; more on Yakovlev).


*OCTOBER 17, 2005:   While there is so much focus on Bush's "Brain" and Cheney's "Scooter," let us not forget their principals, and our principles.


*OCTOBER 16, 2005:   The Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou VI and its two-man crew have landed safely.

The fate of George W. Bush's Karl Rove and of Dick Cheney's "Scooter" Libby is still up in the air as special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald keeps his secret over the possible prosecution of who leaked Valerie Plame's secret.   Meanwhile, the New York Times puts on its hairshirt again over the Judith Miller affair.


*OCTOBER 15, 2005: Photograph   "I'll say it again: there is no litmus test."


*OCTOBER 14, 2005:   In honor of LEONARD BERNSTEIN, gone fifteen years today:   Photograph of LEONARD BERNSTEIN by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All 
Rights Reserved   (A bit more about Bernstein)


*OCTOBER 13, 2005:   In Russia today, trouble in another republic in the Caucasus -- Kabardino-Balkaria, home to Mt. Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe.   Armed "fighters" or "militants" or "bandits" estimated to number variously in the dozens, scores, or even hundreds carried out coordinated attacks on Nalchik, the capital.

In Iraq today, at least thirty people were killed by a suicide bomber in Talafar.   It was reported that in the country as a whole almost four hundred fifty people had been " killed in violence over the past 18 days."   (More Iraq)

In the U.S. today, the veil over the stage management of presidential "news" slipped in a visibly scripted video-conference featuring George W. Bush and one Iraqi and ten American soldiers.

In the U.S. today it was announced, "Plurality Now Sees Bush Presidency as Unsuccessful."


*OCTOBER 12, 2005:   Launched: China's second go at human space flight -- in low-earth orbit -- on the Shenzhou VI -- almost exactly two years after the first launch -- the outward and visible manifestation of China's quest for status, for its rightful place.


*OCTOBER 11, 2005:   Where is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not going on her 2005 Central Asia Democracy Tour?   To Uzbekistan Photograph (pictured: Bibi Khanyum Mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan).   Uzbekistan is the most populous Central Asian state, and an "ally" of the United States after 9/11, providing a U.S. air base at "K-2" (not the mountain, but the former Soviet air base of Karshi-Khanabad).   Its president, Islam Karimov, was even rewarded with a White House visit.   But a bloody government crackdown in the Uzbek city of Andijan in May of this year did draw a U.S. call for an international investigation.   In retaliation, permission for the base was withdrawn.   And so, "We are not going to reward them with a visit after they have stiffed us."

Today Secretary Rice, after a welcoming ceremony picturesquely involving a falcon (photograph here) did win a "formal agreement" from the new leadership of the neighboring Kyrgyz Republic for "open-ended use" of the airfield there -- at an increased price, of course.


*OCTOBER 10, 2005:   Gerhard Schroeder (shown here with Bill Clinton) bows out.   Photograph   Angela Merkel becomes Chancellor of Germany.


*OCTOBER 9, 2005:   With a wink and a nod?   The Supreme Court again:   "Mr. [James C.] Dobson, the influential founder of the conservative evangelical group Focus on the Family, has said he is supporting Ms. [Harriet] Miers's nomination in part because of something he has been told but cannot divulge.   He has not disclosed the source of the information, but he has acknowledged speaking with Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, about the president's pick before it was announced."   (More Supreme Court)   (More Karl Rove)


October 8, 2005:   Who should be buried in Lenin's tomb?   Photograph

Suddenly, this week in Moscow, this is a hot topic again.   Several years ago Boris Yeltsin tried but failed to have the leader of the Bolsheviks removed from his mausoleum on Red Square.   Now the question is whether Vladimir Putin is floating a trial balloon in the same direction.


*OCTOBER 7, 2005:   Shocked! Shocked! at the sight of poverty in America?   Have a look here: "World's Highest Standard of Living:   There's no way like the American Way" -- a photograph captured by Margaret Bourke-White while she was covering a flood in 1937 for Life Magazine.   Vicki Goldberg tells the story in Margaret Bourke-White: A Biography (New York: Harper & Row 1986, p. 186):   "In January of '37, the Ohio River swelled over its banks in one of the worst floods in American history, pouring into Louisville, Kentucky, at an unprecedented height and killing or injuring nine hundred people."   (The photograph is reproduced in the book as plate #31.)


*OCTOBER 6, 2005:   Osama bin Laden is back.   In George W. Bush's address today to the National Endowment for Democracy, in any event.   There have been foreshadowings in recent days, hints and foreshadowings.   The president reminded us two days ago in the Rose Garden that we were "at war."   In that same press conference he resurrected some old rhetoric, declaring that one of the missions of the American troops in Iraq was "to track down the Zarqawis and his affiliates and bring them to justice."

We have heard this before.   George W. Bush to reporters on Osama bin Laden, September 15, 2001:   "If he thinks he can hide from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.   ...   We will smoke them out of their holes.   We'll get them running, and we'll bring them to justice."


*OCTOBER 5, 2005:   The Iraqi National Assembly folded, and the Sunnis will now have a chance to make a difference in the October 15 referendum on the constitution.   Tom DeLay is still in the news, as a federal investigation of Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist, may involve the former and perhaps future Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

Looming after the Iraqi referendum is the trial of Saddam Hussein, scheduled for October 19th.   It has been reported that the trial " may be delayed until after the Iraqi elections in December...."


*OCTOBER 4, 2005:   What do Tom DeLay and the new Iraqi political elite have in common?   They are all in favor of democracy -- as long as the playing field is tilted to favor themselves.   DeLay is under double indictment in Texas for his alleged conspiracy and money-laundering to fund the Texas delegation and thus the Congress of his choice.   The Iraqi National Assembly is under attack -- or at least, castigation -- by the UN for rigging the referendum rules for that much-promised October 15 vote on the constitution.

Your tax dollars -- and your American troops -- at work.   Blood and treasure.


*OCTOBER 3, 2005:   It is all a matter of qualifications.   HARRIET MIERS, nominated to the Supreme Court by George W. Bush today, once told someone that " the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."


*OCTOBER 2, 2005:   HEADS-UP:   The Washington Post, under the byline of Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus, has today been willing to go this far in its analysis of the White House-CIA leak potential criminal conspiracy case:   "As the CIA leak investigation heads toward its expected conclusion this month, it has become increasingly clear that two of the most powerful men in the Bush administration" -- that is, the President's own Karl Rove and the Vice-President's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- "were more involved in the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame than the White House originally indicated."


*OCTOBER 1, 2005:   National Day in China -- fifty-six years of the People's Republic of China.   Due later this month: China's second space launch, Shenzhou VI (two men, five days; scheduled for the 13th).   Back on earth, the ruling Politburo on Friday issued a declaration reflecting, it is said, " growing awareness that widespread dissatisfaction over glaring economic inequalities is a potentially troublesome political issue."


*SEPTEMBER 30, 2005:   The other shoe has dropped:   "U.S. Commander Doubts Iraq Troop Cutbacks," says the headline.   (More Iraq)


*SEPTEMBER 29, 2005:   Seven hundred:   That is the number of Iraqi soldiers -- one battalion's worth -- who can operate on their own in battle.   This assessment comes from not from some opponent of the war in Iraq, but from General George Casey, the American commander there.

Seven hundred.   The plan is to build up the number of Iraqi forces so Americans can come home.   The number of American forces in country is given as more than 140,000.   The number of Iraqi soldiers being trained is said to be 106,000, and the number of Iraqi police officers being trained, 84,000.   But the result of the previous three months of training is that the number of independent-combat-ready battalions has gone down, from three battalions to one.   Seven hundred.

Another stark number from General Casey's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee today:   defeating the average insurgency of the last century took nine years.   "And there is no reason that we should believe that the insurgency in Iraq will take any less time to deal with," he added.

Two-and-a-half years gone.


*SEPTEMBER 28, 2005:   You (that is, We) Have Been Warned   --   by The President, in the Rose Garden, September 28, 2005:   In Iraq, "Two key elections are fast approaching.   As these milestones approach, we can expect there to be increasing violence from the terrorists."   (Source: The White House)   (More Iraq)


*SEPTEMBER 27, 2005:   CONSUMER CONFIDENCE PLUNGES "by the most in 15 years" as CONTRACTOR CONFIDENCE SOARS:   "As fiscal hawks surrendered, would-be government contractors were meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building to figure out how to get a share of the money.   A 'Katrina Reconstruction Summit,' hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and sponsored by Halliburton, among others, brought some 200 lobbyists, corporate representatives and government staffers to a room overlooking the Capitol for a five-hour conference ...."   What was happening fifteen years ago?   Under President George Bush, "oil prices were rising after Iraq invaded Kuwait and the U.S. was preparing for war."   (More on the U.S. and the invasion of Kuwait)


*SEPTEMBER 26, 2005:   "BETTER CONSERVERS OF ENERGY"?   BETTER LATE THAN NEVER?   The President, U.S. Department of Energy, September 26, 2005:   "Two other points I want to make is, one, we can all pitch in by using -- by being better conservers of energy. I mean, people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they're able to maybe not drive when they -- on a trip that's not essential, that would [be] helpful."   (Source: The White House)

Yesterday was Gold Star Mother's Day; today was Arrest a Gold Star Mother's Day.   (More Iraq)


*SEPTEMBER 25, 2005:   Today is Gold Star Mother's Day.   A Proclamation of President George W. Bush.


*SEPTEMBER 24, 2005:   "Make Levees, Not War," said the sign at the Washington rally today.


*SEPTEMBER 23, 2005:   In the face of Rita's imminent arrival on Port Arthur's doorstep, a gift tonight of one of Port Arthur's own, JANIS JOPLIN, from her last concert.   Photograph of JANIS JOPLIN by GWENDOLYN STEWART 
c. 2009; All Rights Reserved   (Photograph by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved.   MORE PHOTOGRAPHS OF JANIS)


*SEPTEMBER 22, 2005:   "The cash needed   Photograph of George W. Bush Televised from New Orleans,  Gwendolyn 
Stewart 2009; All Rights Reserved   to support the armies of compassion is great."


*SEPTEMBER 21, 2005:   Ah -- are we perhaps glimpsing something of the thought, and the action program, behind that extraordinary image from President Bush's New Orleans speech -- "Along this coast, for mile after mile, the wind and water swept the land clean"? Clean? Not in the photographs and the pungent descriptions of the effects of Katrina, the mess and the muck.   But now comes reporting that some Republicans see the hurricane as a force that gives them a "clean" slate on which to experiment with social programs they have been brewing up for some time.


*SEPTEMBER 20, 2005:   George W. Bush, Folgers Coffee Plant, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, September 20, 2005:   "But progress is being made. As I said in Mississippi, I was pleased to see the progress being made on the ground.   There's still a lot of work, but they're making progress. And they're making progress here in New Orleans, too."   (Source: The White House)

Milestone of the day:   Over 1900 American service personnel killed in Iraq since the invasion.   And counting.   (More Iraq)


*SEPTEMBER 19, 2005:   "OVERWHELMED":   Photograph of George W. Bush Televised from New Orleans, c.
Gwendolyn Stewart 2009; All Rights Reserved   "Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well-coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days."


*SEPTEMBER 18, 2005:   The watchword should be:   PROPORTIONALITY.


*SEPTEMBER 17, 2005:   Bill Clinton apologized for the American slave trade. Well, it did not happen on his watch.   George W. Bush famously has difficulty apologizing.   Having had certain realities thrust on him by his aides in a DVD after Katrina, he did finally acknowledge the existence of "some deep, persistent poverty" in "the Gulf region."   Yet on his watch, poverty has increased by a reported seventeen percent in the entire U.S.A.


*SEPTEMBER 16, 2005:   White House Press Conference, September 16, 2005:   Q "Mr. President, with billions of dollars flowing out of Washington for hurricane relief, some Republicans are worried that you're writing a blank check that will have to be paid by future generations. Who is going to have to pay for this recovery, and what's it going to do to the national debt?"

PRESIDENT BUSH: "And so, you bet, it's going to cost money. But I'm confident we can handle it and I'm confident we can handle our other priorities. It's going to mean that we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean we don't do -- we've got to maintain economic growth, and therefore we should not raise taxes."   Source: The White House


*SEPTEMBER 15, 2005:   Government by ad-hoc-cracy:   New Orleans and the "Gulf Opportunity Zone" are now in for major re-development money. What of other parts of the country, and other needs? And the next disaster?

PRESIDENT BUSH, Jackson Square, New Orleans, September 15, 2005: "Along this coast, for mile after mile, the wind and water swept the land clean [sic]. ... It was not a normal hurricane.... Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well-coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days. ... This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. ... They remind us of a hope beyond all pain and death, a God who welcomes the lost to a house not made with hands."   (Source: The White House)


*SEPTEMBER 14, 2005:   On September 13, 2005, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House and informed the world that "Now our fight in Tall Afar proved that the enemy is going to be weakened and low morale. The fighting in Tall Afar was easy to defeat the terrorists and to liberate the town."   (Source: The White House).

On September 14, 2005, the "weakened" enemy of low morale, in a coordinated series of attacks across Baghdad, killed more than 150 people and wounded almost four times as many.   (Source, with map locating the attacks: The Times of London)


*SEPTEMBER 13, 2005:   The question of the day (italics added): "Q Mr. President, given what happened with Katrina, shouldn't Americans be concerned if their government isn't prepared to respond to another disaster or even a terrorist attack?"

PRESIDENT BUSH (quoted in full): "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government. And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong. I want to know how to better cooperate with state and local government, to be able to answer that very question that you asked: Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack or another severe storm. And that's a very important question. And it's in our national interest that we find out exactly what went on and -- so that we can better respond.

"One thing for certain; having been down there three times and have seen how hard people are working, I'm not going to defend the process going in, but I am going to defend the people who are on the front line of saving lives. Those Coast Guard kids pulling people out of the -- out of the floods are -- did heroic work. The first responders on the ground, whether they be state folks or local folks, did everything they could. There's a lot of people that are -- have done a lot of hard work to save lives.

"And so I want to know what went right and what went wrong to address those. But I also want people in America to understand how hard people are working to save lives down there in not only New Orleans, but surrounding parishes and along the Gulf Coast."   (Source: The White House)


*SEPTEMBER 12, 2005:   The image so meticulously constructed and laboriously maintained for George W. Bush is being deconstructed by events.  Photograph of George W. Bush, 
by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved  


*FEBRUARY 12, 2005:   Picking up the pieces?  Photograph of Dr. Howard Dean, by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009;
All Rights Reserved   Howard Dean is elected Democratic National Committee chair.


*FEBRUARY 5, 2005:   Pointing to 2009?   Photograph of 
Senator John Edwards, by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; All Rights Reserved  John Edwards visits New Hampshire to make a speech.   (October 30, 2005:   Update on the Edwards presidential ambitions.   November 13, 2005:   "I was wrong":   John Edwards' mea culpa on Iraq.)


*FEBRUARY 1, 2005:   Boris Yeltsin Turns 74.   A review of his memoir, Midnight Diaries.


*OCTOBER 31, 2004:   Yalies   Photographs of Senator John Kerry 
and President George W. Bush c. 2009 by Gwendolyn Stewart; All Rights 
Reserved   Have at It:

Photograph of 
Yalies George W. Bush and John Kerry in Their First Televised Debate, 
c. 2006 by Gwendolyn Stewart; All Rights Reserved


*OCTOBER 19, 2004:   COMING: October 25, 2004, in Philadelphia: A joint Kerry-Clinton appearance.


*OCTOBER 17, 2004:   An update on Bill Clinton reveals that his recovery from heart surgery has been slower and the pain greater than generally anticipated (except perhaps by those who have actually had major surgery or have known someone who has). The Washington Post gives some of the details and forecasts what Clinton can do for Kerry in the remaining sixteen days before the election. Someone is talking up the contributions Clinton has already been making to the campaign.


*SEPTEMBER 6, 2004: The Old Maestro is back, negotiating the Bush side of the crucial debate rules. A look at JAMES A. BAKER, III.   Photograph of JAMES A. BAKER III by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009. 
All Rights Reserved


*SEPTEMBER 6, 2004 (p.m.): The former president is out of surgery, and the surgery is said to have been successful.

Photograph of President BILL CLINTON Emerging from the Cathedral at
the 1999 G-8 Summit, Cologne, Germany, by GWENDOLYN STEWART c. 2009; All
Rights Reserved

"YES! (Made It!)"

(Photograph by Gwendolyn Stewart c. 2009; all rights reserved.)

*SEPTEMBER 6, 2004 (p.m.): It sounds as though the problem was caught just in the nick of time. There have been earlier warning signs, warning signs which were not stark enough to get him in for testing before, but which portended a major heart attack-in-the-making.

*SEPTEMBER 6, 2004 (a.m.): Former president Bill Clinton is currently undergoing heart surgery in New York. The surgery is expected to last until about noon EDT.


*SEPTEMBER 4, 2004: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had announced yesterday that there would be no more information given out about the former president's condition until after the surgery, expected to be undertaken the first part of next week. (She and daughter Chelsea had both come to be with Bill Clinton at the hospital.)

But -- how typical! -- Bill Clinton himself broke the information quarantine by calling the Larry King show last night. "I guess I'm a little scared, but not much," he said, and acknowledged that he probably had himself to blame, at least in part. (There is also family history.)


*SEPTEMBER 3, 2004:   IRONY? Today Bill Clinton entered New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He had complained of chest pains, and is said to be facing multiple-bypass heart surgery. Unlike Boris Yeltsin (or Dick Cheney), he is said probably not to have suffered a heart attack, though there may be further information on that subject later. Yeltsin and Cheney both had heart trouble already in their thirties, and have had long careers afterwards, it should be noted. Bill Clinton is fifty-eight.   MORE BILL CLINTON ILLUSTRATED

BACKGROUND:   Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton suddenly burst onto the national scene at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta with an agonizingly long speech, which sent him scrambling to the Tonight Show to poke fun at himself afterwards.   It was the first sign of the Comeback Kid to come.

In March 1997 President Clinton was riding high, and Boris Yeltsin was down, way down, after multiple-bypass heart surgery. Eager to press his advantage on NATO enlargement, Bill Clinton very kindly allowed his summit with Yeltsin to be held in Helsinki, to make traveling easier for the Russian president. But it was Clinton who had to suffer being delivered from Air Force One by a Finn Air catering truck (he had injured himself coming down golfer Greg Norman's stairs in the dark, it was reported). Boris Yeltsin triumphantly descended from his new presidential jet under his own power. He did, nonetheless, however reluctantly, acquiesce in NATO enlargement.   MORE ABOUT BILL CLINTON & RUSSIA



LIST OF SUBJECTS

RUSSIA REDUX: THE YELTSIN FILES

IN THE NEWS:   RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN AND FIRST LADY LYUDMILA PUTIN CALL IT QUITS

LYUDMILA PUTIN  hereand here; with VLADIMIR PUTIN, here and here and here

THE 18TH CONGRESS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY see November 2012 entries

GEORGE McGOVERN DIES

HOSNI MUBARAK (and RONALD REAGAN)  here

JEROME COHEN & CHEN GUANGCHENG  here

BARACK OBAMA STORYBOARDED   here

RICHARD LUGAR  here

MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY   here and here, and DMITRI MEDVEDEV talking tough re KHODORKOVSKY earlier, here

B-BOYS AT THE PALACE   here and here

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi    Afghanistan    Martii Ahtisaari    APEC   Arlington National Cemetery   Taro Aso    W.H. Auden

Leonard Bernstein     Big Muddy   Osama bin Laden   Tony Blair    George H.W. Bush   George W. Bush   Jimmy Carter   Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton    Howard Dean   John Edwards     John K. Fairbank    G-8   Mikhail Gorbachev     Alexei Gromov    Halliburton   Hu Jintao   Ted Hughes

Humpty Dumpty   Saddam Hussein    Iran    Iraq   Janis Joplin     Katrina    John F. Kennedy    Robert F. Kennedy   John Kerry   Vladimir Lenin

Li Keqiang    Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva   Robert McNamara     Dmitry Medvedev   Angela Merkel

Boris Nemtsov    Benjamin Netanyahu    Richard Nixon    Barack Obama     Tip O'Neill   Patriarch Alexy II

Peru    Petrified Forest    David Petraeus    Poland    Lyudmila Putin    Vladimir Putin    Ronald Reagan    Condoleezza Rice

Karl Rove    Tom Rush   Sakhalin   Santa Claus   Gerhard Schroeder   Anne Sexton   Tony Snow   Sochi    Somchai Wongsawat

Statue of Liberty    Supreme Court    Tolkien     John Updike     Veterans    Wen Jiabao    Wu Bangguo    Xi Jinping     Boris Yeltsin    




GWENDOLYN STEWART is both a photojournalist and a political scientist specializing in political leadership in Russia, China, and the U.S.   A former Bunting/Radcliffe Fellow, she is an Associate (and former Post-Doctoral Fellow) of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, as well as an Associate in Research of the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.   For the Fairbank Center she co-founded and co-chairs the China Current Events Workshop, a forum for examining pressing issues in Greater China.  Her Harvard Ph.D. dissertation (SIC TRANSIT) dealt with the role of the leaders of the republics, especially Boris Yeltsin, in the breakup of the Soviet Union.   She is currently writing RUSSIA REDUX, the story of Russia under Yeltsin and Putin: part political analysis, part travel-memoir.   Imagine wandering over the largest country on earth, not in the train of a railroad, but in the train of one of the most powerful and contradictory men on earth.   Or all by yourself.

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