TWN in Australia: The Obama-Rudd Hawaii Chuckle

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Kevin Rudd Steve Clemons Invitation.jpg
Last night at the gala 800 person dinner of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, I was able to connect with the impressive Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and chatted with him about his and Barack Obama’s side chatter about Hawaii.
At an AALD reception in Washington a year or so ago, Rudd was then recounting to some of us that “The Dialogue” of which he was a founding member was the first activity that brought him to the United States. His wife, Therese Rein, hauled off and hit the newly minted Prime Minister in the arm and said, “Have you forgotten our honeymoon in Hawaii?!”
Given Barack Obama’s affinity and family roots in Hawaii, I thought this anecdote about Rudd would be fun for America’s new President and made sure that President Obama was informed about Rudd’s humorous stumble.
And last night, Rudd chuckled to me that not only did he hear about this incident of lapsed memory about Hawaii and its inclusion in the USA from Obama but also a lot of other folks as well.
Today, the American delegation of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue will be treated to a barbecue at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Kirribilli House, in Sydney.
Then tonight, speaking of Hawaii — I am off to Honolulu — and then tomorrow Tokyo.
On other fronts, Barack Obama is not underscoring that Hawaii is his most favorite vacation retreat in the world by choosing to take his family during the last week of August to a 28 acre estate on Martha’s Vineyard.
Martha’s Vineyard? That was where Bill Clinton put his presidential vacation stamp.
Note to President Obama: If someone asks you — whether through an interpreter or not — anything about President Bill Clinton and if you chatted with the former President about his favorite Vineyard nooks, please do not get huffy and say:

“You are asking me about Bill Clinton? YOU…..are asking me to channel Bill Clinton?? Bill Clinton is not the President now. I am the President. . .”

All in fun. . .
— Steve Clemons

Comments

26 comments on “TWN in Australia: The Obama-Rudd Hawaii Chuckle

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    Outraged,
    I was tempted to link to some gorgeous pictures of
    our fjords ( live in that part of the country, 40
    feet from the sea), but I won`t – it would look
    like tourist spam.
    I grew up in Ethiopia (9 years), playing with kids
    from India, USA, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, UK,
    Ethiopia and Eritrea (but no Australians!). So you
    could say that my “political correctness” actually
    came after my fundamental experiences. I had a
    great time. When I was five, I spoke three
    languages fluently (and forgot two of them
    completely when I was six and we went back to
    Norway – after the first period in Africa).
    I still miss that kind of environment. I think
    this is one of the reasons why I now enjoy
    communicating in English at TWN, while living in
    Norway. It`s a different context from our
    homogenous and peaceful corner of the world. Now I
    live in a country with a superb health care
    system, surrounded by a homogenous white middle
    class suburban society, spectacular nature and the
    most expensive beer in the world – except for
    Quatar. (Personally, I`m poor, in a Norwegian
    context, and have to work extra hard to afford
    travelling abroad.)
    It`s nice to live here – and rather boring. I`ll
    try to compensate this in the future by spending
    several weeks in Ethiopia during the barbaric
    winter months – as I did last winter. From mid
    september, Ethiopia is a lovely place after a long
    rainy season.

    Reply

  2. Outraged American says:

    Parts of Arizona are very beautiful. I’ve had a lot of friends from
    around the world visit, and I don’t know what the attraction is,
    maybe because I was raised here, but friends whom I met
    traveling, especially the Germans, just kept raving about how
    beautiful it is when they saw Monument Valley, Sedona and the
    Grand Canyon.
    I actually prefer southern Utah. Zion National Park. God’s own
    country 😉 That’s where it’s at. Go backpacking up in the
    northern part of the park. I also love all the other western
    states, except for California.
    The part of Phoenix I live in is actually quite nice. It’s where the
    old citrus groves were so still gets water and is very green.
    Our guest apartment is up right next to Squaw Peak. Very nice
    view. It’s now called Piestewa Peak after the first Native
    American woman who died in our second invasion of Iraq. What
    an honor. She was a Hopi and she was captured with Jessica
    Lynch.
    Believe it or not, and if you come to Arizona you’ll see if for
    yourself, a lot of Native Americans are VERY military-oriented
    and they get nothing back in return.
    The Native American reservations are in the same abysmal state
    they were back when I was growing-up.
    Otherwise Phoenix is this blob of nothingness. It used to have
    character when I was growing-up, but now it’s just full. And I
    mean full.
    LA really is a blob of nothingness, unless you’re doing an eating
    tour, in which case LA is one of the most amazing culinary
    experiences. Koreatown alone is worth spending a year in just
    eating.
    When I was in New Zealand, on the South Island, it was all about
    Fjordland (am I spelling it correctly?) All I can say was it was
    gorgeous, so if Norway is anything like that I’m all for visiting.
    How cool that your parents adopted a child from Ethiopia!
    I don’t know how long we’re going to keep the guest apartment
    in Phoenix, but we’ll probably have an apartment in LA.
    One of the things that all the people I met traveling who came
    to visit the US was that when they actually came to the US, after
    being raised to hate US foreign policy (for good reason), was
    that Americans were so friendly, and they were shocked by that.
    That’s why I hate governments. If they want wars give the
    leaders pistols and let them fight it out.
    And that’s why I hate the corporate media in the US — they are
    just whores for the military industrial terrorism racism prison
    complex
    When people actually meet each other, and leave behind their
    cultural indoctrination, they actually tend to find common
    ground.
    I don’t hate Israelis. I’ve worked extensively with Israeli peace
    groups.
    I do hate Australians. A flaw but there you go.
    The sun shines in Phoenix something like 300 days a year.
    REALLY shines. “Winter” here is gorgeous, so if you ever need a
    break just come on over.

    Reply

  3. Paul Norheim says:

    That`s a very generous offer, Outraged, and I would love to see
    Arizona – especially in wintertime, when it`s too cold and dark
    here in Norway, and less hot where you live than during the
    summer months.
    Summer is lovely here. (If you ever go to Norway, then ask for my
    email address from Steve).
    Actually, my Ethiopian sister (she was adopted by my parents in
    the early 1970`s) has a sister in San Francisco, who`s married to
    an Air Force guy. My sister and I have been traveling together
    before, in Africa, so perhaps one day we could take a trip to
    California and Arizona… That would be great!

    Reply

  4. Outraged American says:

    Paul, you’re welcome out to Arizona anytime. Not only do we
    have a guest room, but right now we have a guest apartment.
    We might be also getting one in LA, and you’re more than
    welcome to stay there if we do.
    Just don’t steal the silverware.
    And I think that your grasp of the English language is beyond
    admirable, as well as your grasp of US foreign policy.
    You have to understand that after all the crap I’ve seen and been
    through (Hollywood is brutal, much more brutal than being in a
    warzone 😉 I just think that the most important thing to do in
    life is laugh.
    And try to help others out.

    Reply

  5. Chari says:

    Re: your last line about channeling Bill Clinton. With all due respect, Secretary of State Clinton was not “huffy”. She was responding in a diplomatic manner to a question that was possibly translated incorrectly, but was clearly a sexist question.
    If a man had responded that way, I seriously doubt anyone would have accused him of being “huffy”. Had it been a man, no one would have asked him what his wife thought about an issue.

    Reply

  6. Paul Norheim says:

    “…what are you doing?”
    Right now I`m struggling with the English language.
    A dinner with a fellow poster sounds like fun.
    TWN American Idol style?
    Kervick, WigWag and POA would be on my top three list. I wish
    there was a group portrait of these commenters, but I know that
    would be impossible. Not only for geographical reasons, but also
    due to a certain degree of mutual embarrassment among the
    three!

    Reply

  7. David says:

    OA’s experiences and resulting perceptions have to be accounted for in any comprehensively honest assessment. I was aware of the severity of the racism toward the aborigines, and tended to see it as comparable to the racism of my experience as a young person in the apartheid South and what I am aware of regarding apartheid South Africa. I guess the major difference from my Southland would be that the aborigines have no political power or place in the community, whereas blacks were part of southern life, which ultimately helped immeasurably as the South moved away from apartheid. Racism still exists, especially among aggressive rural Southerners, but it is by no means pervasive, as many working class black and white southerners work side-by-side and grant respect to each other for their character as workers and as loyal friends.
    My life spans the complete shift from when my friend who was a crew boss for a terrazo company made a black crew member get in the back of the flatbed so I could sit in the cab. He was belligerent about it. I was a kid with a summer job he needed, but I was stunned that my friend would do that. I had started to climb onto the back because the black guy was a veteran crew member and I was a newbie. I think the black guy could see in my face that I did not think it was right. He got in back because he had no choice if he wanted to keep his job, and there was really nothing I could do at that moment that would mean anything. I think the memory of that moment helped urge me on when I had the opportunity to help organize the first civil rights action at the Universty of Florida.
    Seven years after that experience, I began my life as a teacher at a newly integrated high school in Central Florida. The change had to be forced on Floridians, but forced it was, and because of the wise words of the principal and the integration of the faculty (token at first, of course) we integrated smoothly, and segregation and racism no longer enjoyed social sanction.
    It sounds like OA’s experience was that racism toward aborigines still enjoyed social sanction. Had I experienced what she describes, I would feel the same way she does.
    I do wonder about what changes might be afoot. I was heartened by the election of Australia’s current prime minister. His predecessor can go piss up a rope.
    And Steve’s experiences must also be accounted for in any assessment of Australia, of course.
    My brother-in-law was stationed at an Air Force facility in the Outback about 25 years ago. He is of straight Japanese ancestry, so much so that when he used to go into local bars here in Central Florida back in the 60s, he experienced hostility from some of the drunk WWII vets. Of course, they were taught to hate the Japanese. Dad had an Army Air Corps training manual from WWII entitled “How the Japs Fight.” The point of the manual was to instill hostility so soldiers would be willing to shoot Japs, of course. The manuals had a permanency in the minds of some of those vets.
    He’s never mentioned what the Aussies were like toward him. I’ll have to ask.
    Ah well, the Essene Jew was crucified for daring to suggest universal human brotherhood. Wonder how he would fare today.

    Reply

  8. Outraged American says:

    Well, you asked for it Paul 😉 Phoenix in the summer is like
    Siberia early February. You only go outside when you feel like
    risking your life.
    Another poster on here and I are going to dinner very soon.
    We’ll commiserate about all of you.
    We could do an American Idol style thing and have call-ins to
    my cell phone to vote for their favorite poster.
    I vote for you, Paul. But you better work for it, man. Get it
    together. Sing Baby Sing.
    My Canuckstan born spouse is meeting with a movie studio
    right now, what are you doing?

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Wow, that was a long post.

    Reply

  10. Outraged American says:

    Australians aren’t a race. I was there for a year and worked
    there as a journalist, a bar tender and a waitress. I also free-
    lanced in PR for Hill & Knowlton (fake Kuwaiti incubator story,
    but I had nothing to do with that).
    I didn’t bop in and out of Australia for five days.
    My mother’s family, who are all relatively dark-skinned, and my
    half-sister, have lived in Australia since the 1960s. They could
    tell you stories about racism and sexism far more than what I
    just typed.
    Ever been Down Under yourself?
    My rule of thumb is not to comment on a country until you’ve
    been there for at least six minutes. Of course, you can always
    comment on their foreign policy and Australia’s and Israel’s
    sucks.
    And Israelis, backpackers, have their own guest houses in Asia
    because a lot of guest houses in Asia won’t take them.
    A lot of the Israeli backpackers have just gotten out of the IDF
    and are full of aggression.
    Two for instances: I was in Singapore staying at this huge
    backpacker dive and this Israeli woman came in and at that point
    I’d been there for a few days so had become friendly with the
    owners. They wouldn’t let her stay there because they said
    Israelis were too much trouble.
    Another, Trok Rong Mai in Bangkok. It’s where the backpackers
    stayed. I was at a guest house and it was almost empty. I was
    sitting with the owner and two Israelis came in and she said that
    the guest house was full and that they should go down the
    street to the Israeli guest house.
    This Thai woman really needed the money, she’d just been
    telling me about her money problems, yet she wouldn’t let
    Israelis stay.
    Another for instance: Paharganj in Delhi, backpacker haunt yet
    again. I got back from Nepal late at night and ended up having
    to stay at the Israeli guest house, which travelers from other
    countries shunned, and it really had NOTHING to do with “anti-
    semitism.”
    In fact, most of the German travelers I met were still in a
    perpetual state of guilt over WW II. Even though they had only
    been a gleam in their grandfather’s eye when it happened.
    All the other backpackers from all over would be sharing a meal
    and a laugh and the Israelis would keep to themselves. They
    traveled in packs too. I met so many people traveling from all
    over, some of whom I’m still in touch with, and we would travel
    together for months. The Israelis were not friendly. Not once
    did I have an exchange with an Israeli.
    Well, once, when I tried to stop an Israeli from beating up a
    skeletal rickshaw driver in Udaipur over a few annas. Less than
    a penny at that time.
    Sometimes real life experience, like working in entertainment for
    14 years, or in Australia for a year, or living in India for 7 years,
    trumps political correctness.
    And as for Arizona: we had one freeway (well, two but they were
    one) and one area code total when I was growing-up. Sure
    there were jokes about wet backs and Japs and being straight off
    the rez, but there was no, in my experience at my grade school,
    racial hatred.
    That’s not the whole history of Arizona of course – it’s violent —
    but in the 1970s that was my experience. I hate the way Native
    Americans have been treated, but I was in Australia in the late
    80s and every person I met would talk about the “abo problem.”
    “Bloody abos.”
    The people who owned the restaurant I worked in in Crows Nest
    (Sydney) were Armenian and they were also called wogs by their
    customers.
    My cousin, a female one, wore contact lenses and stayed
    completely out of the sun to avoid being called a wog. I
    remember thinking WTF, because I was so used to everyone
    being treated equally. She emigrated from Australia to the UK to
    get away from them.
    I think that way too much emphasis is placed on race and
    gender. For instance Obama being the first black president vs.
    Hillary being the first female. That just sets up divsiveness.
    I think that people should be judged on their merits alone.
    But cultures do turn out different results. The Australians pride
    themselves on being the descendants of convicts. If they’re an
    actual descendent it’s like one of us being a Daughter of the
    American Revolution.
    Israelis live voluntarily in a constant state of siege, if not actively
    beating-up their neighbors. From childhood they’re trained to
    be aggressive.
    I lived in Cali for decades and went through more than 11,000
    earthquakes (Big Bear, Landers, Northridge and its aftershocks) I
    don’t live there anymore, but to this day I mentally check myself
    before I put anything breakable on the top shelves of the
    kitchen cabinets.
    I know I’m safe now, but sometimes can’t process it. I think
    that’s what the problem was with the young Israelis I met
    traveling. They were always on high alert and it made them
    unpleasant. PTSD.
    I wouldn’t trust India with any nuclear technology and I’m a half-
    Wog from Calcutta. Is that racist? I lived there for a year as an
    adult and watched the political process. NO FRIGGIN’ WAY
    should India have the bomb.
    No one should for that matter, but India is such a mess with the
    caste system and the deadly Hindu – Muslim hatred and the
    rivalry with Pakistan.
    I simplify things when I’m writing here because I kind of hate
    the intellectual nattering on, but I lived this life and got a lot of
    experience and have really heaved political correctness out the
    window.
    I just really hate Australians. And Indian men, but that’s because
    I (and every other thing with a vagina) was sexually assaulted
    there about 45 times a day. They call it “Eve-teasing.” Go figure
    why Hindus would use that word…
    How many times over the course of a year would you be able to
    put up with “F*ckie, f*ckie me, madam?”
    If it’s any consolation I hate Tibetans too. SO not “spiritual.” If
    you didn’t buy something they’d physically surround you and
    attack. To be fair, that was in Lhasa and Shigatzu.
    But I did get kids attack me and try to steal my camera in some
    remote Tibetan village on the road trip back out to Nepal. Little
    kids, five-year-olds.
    Whereas in Arizona you go into the Circle K and the ex-meth
    head clerk is like, “Find everything you needed ma’am?” or
    “How’s the weather out there?”
    If it’s 103 in Phoenix in the summer you feel like you need to
    put a sweater on, so who knows why the weather is a constant
    topic of conversation.
    Same with Canucks: they’re obsessed with the weather. And
    artificial plants.
    I hate Canadians too and I’m married to one. They’re so
    passive-aggressive, but get really funny when they’re drunk.
    I was down at the Salvation Army because they have some really
    cool stuff there ( seriously — amazing, unique stuff) The two
    clerks were Native Americans, one Hopi, one Navajo (and if you
    want to talk about a blood feud…) Turns out that I went to high
    school with one of the Navajo’s family members. We have a rug
    made by his grandmother. It’s like people here used to just get
    along without all the racial BS.
    And if anyone wants to bring up the MLK Day brouhaha I’m more
    than willing to expound on the reasons for it.
    I’m going to start calling it the Racism / Industrial Complex.
    I like the Irish. The Japanese — they seem to have been tamed
    by the war. The British. The Germans. And the Kiwis (New
    Zealanders) Had a wonderful experience hitch-hiking through
    New Zealand. LOVED hanging-out with the Maoris.
    So, it’s all good. But if I hear an Australian accent, or see an
    Indian man, it’s time to get out the ax and start grinding…

    Reply

  11. Kathleen says:

    MSNBC reporting Obama to go visit Teddy… David..thanks for the book suggestion…I’ll check it out…heavy title… OutragedAmerican…sorry about your unpleasant experiences in Austrslia…I’m not sure I agree with your perception that Arizonans are indifferent ro race, though. I’ve spent a lot of years working with Hopi and Navajo and perhaps have a more detailed account of life in AZ for Native Americans…. a pity racism is alive and well and living among us, wherever we are.

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry to hear about your bad experiences, Outraged,
    but your rants against “the Australians” and “The
    Israelis” are getting hard to distinguish from
    Nadine`s bigoted rants against “the Arabs”.

    Reply

  13. Outraged American says:

    Wanted to add about Australia: when I first got there the same
    cousin who got beaten so severely that half his scalp was pealed
    off got me a job at Hyde Park Plaza hotel in Sydney as a bar
    tender. I was working my way around the world.
    We’re Eurasians, Anglo-Indians to be exact. In the weird way
    that genes work I look Swedish and he looks Greek. The hotel
    was right next to a police station and the police would come
    over to get drunk at lunch. “VB”
    They asked me why an American “sheila” was working there, and
    I told them that my cousin was the clerk at the front desk. They
    asked, “You’re related to that wog?”
    My cousin is about the most mild-mannered person on Earth
    and he’s since become an accountant and yet he was a “wog.”
    I heard the world “wog” over and over when I was in Australia.
    When my half-sister, who has European features but is dark,
    first went to Perth, she was treated like dirt. She’s self-
    conscious about her coloring to this day, even though Australia
    has become much more multi-cultural.
    And then the way Australians treat Aboriginees. Unspeakable.
    When we left India, we came to “the States” but my mother’s
    family went to Australia. I grew-up with Native Americans and I
    swear no one called them wogs or niggers, like, no one cared in
    Arizona what race you were, while in Australia anyone who
    wasn’t spotlessly Caucasian was denigrated for their skin color.
    The country is gorgeous. The beaches in NSW spoiled me for
    Cali beaches.
    And the Australians were also SO lazy. They have this whole
    thing there about the “tall poppy syndrome.” Tall poppies get
    cut down.
    I had just left a very high pressure job in the mainstream media
    in Manhattan, but because I was just used to working hard I was
    resented by the other journalists at the magazine. This was
    because I would come in over the weekend and stay late to
    make the deadline, which constantly changed because no one
    ever got their work done.
    I’m all for a casual lifestyle: I spend 99% of my life barefoot
    outside with kids and dogs. But when you have a job you need
    to do it and do it well.
    Australians did not grasp that. They seemed to have almost no
    work ethic.
    And the politicians were just outrageous. Just wild cards. I used
    to think that our politicians were the most corrupt dimbulbs
    until I went there. It made me question if Australians could read
    a ballot. But then Dubya came along,so we too have a lot to
    answer for.
    At least Australians are too lazy for imperialism.

    Reply

  14. Outraged American says:

    In Australia, I covered the states of NSW, Queensland and
    Victoria for a mag that’s now defunct. At night I worked as a
    waitress in Sydney, Crows Nest. I have lived in four countries
    and traveled in about 28. I have never met ruder people than
    the Australians.
    Well, except for the Israelis.
    My half-sister lives in Perth and I spent a few months there too.
    My niece, who has a uni degree in psychology and her friends,
    would talk about the “abos” as if they were Neanderthals.
    My cousin, who lives in Sydney, was beaten-up by Oakkers ( you
    know that term, right?) one night while coming home from work
    and almost died.
    They called him “nigger” and “wog” while they beat him.
    My uncle in Melbourne, who is a teacher at a prestigious school
    there had “Wog” spray-painted on his fence.
    I was almost raped by a man I met in a pub among a group of
    people, who then followed me home, unbeknownst to me until I
    got off the train and say him standing there. I had to throw
    myself in front of a cab to get away from him.
    Friendly, yes, but it’s completely fake. Australians pride
    themselves on being the descendants of convicts, and they sure
    act like it.

    Reply

  15. jonst says:

    Eli,
    You wrote: “Whether it registered or not Martha’s Vineyard has long been a vacation place for affluent African Americans, esp. Oak Bluff. That was one of the reasons Clinton went there”
    Tell me, do you REALLY believe that is one of the reasons Clinton went there? Just curious.

    Reply

  16. Steve Clemons says:

    Outraged — you must have reasons for your views, but the political, business, social leaders I met – – and the diverse crowd of “youth” in the Australian American Youth Dialogue program were informed, diverse, progressive, thoughtful — and nothing like the rather blunt depiction you offered.
    I loved Australia and its people and look forward to going back. all best, steve clemons

    Reply

  17. Kris says:

    Just a response to “Outraged American”…I’m an American currently living in Australia and have to disagree with you..yes, racism does seem to be a big problem in Australia but calling everyone here an a**hole and racists? That’s the same frustrating and harmful generalization that people make about Americans. I’d like to defend the Aussies I know, who are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met – they are NOT sexist and NOT racist and definitely not rude.

    Reply

  18. David says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, Kathleen.
    Thanks for the Chris Hedges excerpt, samuelburke. He is absolutely correct. For anyone who hasn’t read it, his book WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANINING is, in my judgment, a must.

    Reply

  19. Kathleen says:

    I love islands…as a child I spent time on Block Island because my Dad was Captain of the ferry that sailed there every day, so my cousins and I spent some great summer time there growing up…
    I’ve been blessed with a good friend with a beatuiful place on the Big Island just up from the Pua Honua O Honaunau, “City of Refuge” in English…a very interesting concept…it is a temple where the women, children and elders of warring clans were kept safe, with the responsiblity of caring for the survivors assumed by the victors. seems like highly civilized warfare…this friend connected me with Lt. Ehren Watada’s father.
    I prefer Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard…less croweded…most exotic islands I’ve visited have been Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Aeolian islands, tiny quasi volcanic islands sprinkled in the Tyrhhenia Sea…Stromboli, Vulcano, Lipari, to name a few…very underdeveloped and a giant step back in time…great hot springs right at the edge of the sea…the stuff of Homer’s Ulyses.
    When I stayed with a family in Sardinia, they were cooking in a fireplace in clay pots they had made..they sifted grains and flour in baskets they had woven and washed clothes in the river. I learned how to weave a certain kind of basket…they had an interesting way of hunting wild boar…no weapons were allowed…you had to dig a huge pit with spears poised in the bottom and cover it so well, the wild boar wanders out over it himself…he is then cooked in the same pit and he must be shared with all the villagers who are invited up into the mountains for the pig roast. Dick Cheney would starve to death there.
    By contrast, the northern coast of Sardinia is rather poshly developed. The Costa Esmeralda… strictly the international yachting class…where Jackie O went when she left the Vineyard…
    beatiful underground emerald grottos and rivers and the world’s largest stalgtite or stalagmite, I can’t remember which is which..it grew up from the ground…in a cave that was like a giant geode, crystal walls, that a small group of people could walk into…enormous…a little old couple lived in a tiny cave outside the opening and were paid by the Italian gov’t to take people in and make sure they didn’t break any crystals off the walls….
    Oh yeah, and a big NATO base, where the last G8 summit was supposed to be held. until it was moved to earthquake country…
    I suppose I like Hawaii and Sicily because they both have very active volcanos….there’s a different kind of buzz in the air when you’re that close to an opening to the center of the earth…and can witness molten lava and rocks speweing out… the awesome booginess of it all…dynamite… One nightime drive along the eastern coast of Sicily from Catania to Taormina and you instantly understand why Ulyses thought he saw a one eyed firey monster, hurling rocks down on his ship…I’m so glad my first glimpse of Etna was late at night…much more of the impression of being near an ACTIVE volcano than seeing it in daylight…it’s just a snowcapped mountain with a plume of smoke….
    I’ve been spewing…transparency on presidential vacations…pinch me, I must be dreaming.

    Reply

  20. ... says:

    i guess everything is public with presidents including where they go for holidays… too bad this same kind of disclosure isn’t also available for the really interesting events that happen, and shape the usa…

    Reply

  21. samuelburke says:

    “Objectivity, the sacred creed that Jones and the old elite hold up as the highest good, has as often been used to blunt truth as disseminate it.”
    By Chris Hedges
    I have spent most of my life locked in the embrace of two of the most sanctimonious institutions in America—the church and the press
    The newspaper elites, like all dying elites, have built ideological and physical monuments to themselves—look at the new $600 million New York Times headquarters—in the same way the pharaohs decided to construct massive pyramids to their own immortality at the very moment Egyptian civilization fell into irrevocable decline. These elites celebrate a past greatness and era of moral probity that never really existed. Those running newspapers remain blind to their own systemic flaws, which saw them serve as propagandists for the invasion of Iraq and consistent apologists for the criminal class on Wall Street. They have proved unable to adjust to a changing landscape and have become objects of ridicule, as “The Daily Show” illustrated when it visited the offices of The New York Times.
    http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/20090813_chris_hedges_on_alex_s_jones_losing_the_news/?ln

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  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I lived above Honolulu for a time. St Louis Hieghts. I got Island Fever something terrible after about six months. Oahu is really quite a tiny spit of a place.
    And I was really young, teaching myself that mixing LSD and body surfing isn’t a terribly ingenious way to survive until tomorrow. I’ve often wondered what my life would be like had I of stayed in Hawaii. I don’t think I woulda lasted long over there, the earthly delights were just too intense.

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  23. David says:

    Both of my sisters and my Hawaiian brother-in-law of Japanese descent (first generation American in his family) all live in Honolulu. A cyber aloha from all of them to you – I regularly keep them posted about what I glean from TWN.
    OK, I’ll admit it, I’m just a tad envious.

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  24. Outraged American says:

    I worked as a journalist in Australia. Nuke it. Neutron bomb:
    because the country is beautiful, the people are…a*sholes. Racist,
    sexist, rude pigs. And the politicians make our politicians seem
    civilized.

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  25. Eli Rabett says:

    Whether it registered or not Martha’s Vineyard has long been a vacation place for affluent African Americans, esp. Oak Bluff. That was one of the reasons Clinton went there. It’s another one of those things, that if you know the history means something, but if you don’t just flies over the radar

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  26. Kathleen says:

    Teddy’s right nearby on the Vineyard…could be the last time Obama can spend time with his patron…just so long as he doesn’t skip over to any parties on Chappaquiddick…

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