Measured Extravagance

29 May 2004 - 8:56 a.m.

Didn't know old Straus [NYT; registration required] was a Rhode Island native named after Roger Williams. Feeling oddly cheered up by the fittingness of this. (I never met Mr. Straus, but once had dinner with Jonathan Galassi and Elisabeth Sifton - of which I remember very little other than enjoying it very much, and that Mr. Straus' legendary parties were discussed, as was finding time to write and work...)

Feeling apprehensive about Iyad Allawi's nomination to be the new prime minister of Iraq, having heard on Marketplace about his reputation as easily bought. In fact, not having tracked the story beforehand (as in, before I ascertained that the decision was reached via the Governing Council rather than outright appointment), my dismay was such that I was cursing silently but vehemently all through my grocery shopping and mentally composing a rant about how I don't want to become a conspiracy theorist, but what is it about this administration insistently and persistently backing people unfit for their jobs. . .

But, I feel marginally better about the news having read a bit more about the costs of lobbying in DC and the history of corruption in Iraq. Not in terms of the lobbying/corruption itself (to sum up: system = seriously fucked up) but in terms of acknowledging degrees of gray and not rendering allegations of corruption into automatic deal-breaker (after all, neither Clinton nor Dubya got into La Maison Blanc with their reputations white as the driven snow. . .)

From Nicholas Riccardi's report, about the difficulty of telling apart the guilty from the clean:

“We are dealing with devils,” Kashmoola fumed. “We cannot see God, but we know there is God. We see this person, he looks like a devil, but we don’t have the evidence.”

I also worked off some of my temper preparing dinner for the BYM and our houseguest: chicken flavored with mustard and sage, carrots roasted in the schmaltz, beets, and bread. It was a good meal. . .during which Frod brought us up to date on reports of corruption in Detroit. . . sigh. Went to bed early and read Marge Piercy's "The Art of Blessing the Day" for solace:

What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can't bless it, get ready to make it new.

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