Category Archives: Unquote"

Notebook: A Kill Team and a HST killer quote

Rolling Stone has produced the journalism other haven’t — or won’t. They’ve tackled the worst known war scandal since Abu Ghraib with their coverage of “The Kill Team.”

The mag published the photos of soldiers posing with their random kills. The photos I haven’t seen in any other U.S publication. The mag wrote about the Pentagon’s efforts to confiscate the photos — an effort to  quell the fallout, which came anyway, and looks worse with the cover-up.

Well, the fallout and great narrative came at the hands of this magazine journalism and a list of muckrakers including the author, Mark Boal, and dating back to Hunter S. Thompson.

Read it.

Unquote” the Good Doc

Reading a punch of prose from Hunter S. Thompson is like downing shots of Wild Turkey. His style wakes you up, makes you feel a bit more alive.

Here’s an Unquote” of his pitch to write for the Vancouver Sun circa 1958:

“The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. [Benign enough start, but keep reading.] I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to write for you.”

An Unquote” worth a drink

The disconnect from this fact in the Libyan war coverage makes The Tank want to pour another shot of Wild Turkey.

In Time, where complacence often reins, this upcoming Unquote” fact was in a story about energy, and probably not alluded to in the old guard’s war “reporting.”

“Libya: The site of the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, the nation remains largely underexplored.”

It’s a fact which makes the Tank think about John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hitman.” He would say this U.S.-led effort wreaks of an ulterior motive to grab at the country’s resources. A strategy he documented from his first-hand experience in the book how similar tactics occurred in Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, and later, Iraq, and others.

Somewhere, the World Bank, the IMF, the Rand Corp., Bechtel and Halliburton prepare business operations and light up for profits in Libya.

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Drum beats louder

Nearly a year  has passed since the Tank made Ecuador a routine dateline, and the former reforestation project we worked at has announced some exciting developments.

Planet Drum, a non-profit based in San Francisco, has been reforesting the coastal ridges of Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador, and a site we worked on has been completed with more than 500 native trees. These species will help the hillsides fight the erosion that devastated Bahia de Caraquez during El Nino more than a decade ago.

They also have a steady flow of volunteers, and this guy still running the show in the field.


Orlando! Todo lo que es el  hombre, err, all that is man.

Orlando and the rest of Planet Drum are planting 4,000 trees this rainy season. 4,000! That’s manly — and womanly.

Feels good to have contributed; feels good to know they are continuing and improving. To read more, go here.

Unquote” Plummer

A great Sports Illustrated article about former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer included his moving quote from his eulogy of former teammate and deceased U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

“I was in the store the other day and I saw People magazine, and it had the cover of the 50 most beautiful people in the world, or America, and there was a picture of Pat,” Plummer said. “It was kind of ironic because I really looked and said, What is beauty? Is beauty a pretty face, a nice smile, flowing hair, nice skin? Not to me, it’s not. To me beauty is living life to higher standards, stronger morals and ethics and believing in them, whether people tell you you’re right or wrong. Beauty is not wasting a day. Beauty is noticing life’s little intricacies and taking time out of your busy day to really enjoy those little intricacies. Beauty is being real, being genuine, being pure with no facade — what you see is what you get. Beauty is expanding your mind, always seeking knowledge, not being content, always going after something and challenging yourself.”

Blogroll update

When the Tank’s links include a connection to a conservative commentator — Robert Novak — who died 18 months ago, the time is ripe to update the list.

People might not click on them, but the Tank is proud to have included Wikileaks years before it reached the front pages and top stories of mainstream news. And Al Jazeera as U.S. cable companies were (and still are) denying the Qatar-based news organization from airing its English TV station on its programming packages.

It’s been a while since the Tank has clicked on them, and was saddened to see Cagle’s best political cartoons through MSNBC either gone or moved. Other casualties include alternative news sources such as Guerrilla News Network and Real News as well as a blog from talented foreign journalist Dahr Jamail.

The Tank was pleasantly surprised to see Owl Farm Blog from Hunter S. Thompson’s wife, Anita, still alive and well. As I listen to new sounds of Chris & Thomas, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Anita posted some Gonzo journalism from its founder, HST:

“Music has always been a matter of energy for me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.”

It’s ironic because when I’m not transcribing interviews for stories during the day, I’m listening to music. I’m with HST, it’s fuel. It was also ironic this evening. While I was checking out “Entertain Me or Else,” a blog from my friend Will A, also still alive and well,  Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks” played through my headphones. It was fitting because we got fuel from that tune in Duluth circa 2009.

Some other blogroll updates include John Rash, a Star Tribune editorial writer, who had this nice observation, “The CNN identity crisis could also be seen in recent appearances of its current star Anderson Cooper. In the course of two weeks, he got beaten up by Pee Wee Herman in a “Saturday Night Live” skit, then took real punches from pro-Mumbarak mobs in Egypt.”

Rash had this too, “USA Today has five foreign correspondents, according to American Journalism Review, and 27 entertainment reporters, according to a leaked staffing chart.”

Another new link is to “The Enlightenment of Gray,” a blog from college friend Blake Hendrickson. He resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it’s certainly enlightening to get his non-ethnocentric comments.

Another final newbie is Basetrack, the Web site the Tank wrote about two weeks ago. It was from journalists embedded with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan before the U.S. government shut them down a few weeks ago. Although it’s stagnant now, I wouldn’t have known about the lack of success of drone attacks without their Facebook link to a Washington Post story.

The story, which brings up some noxious numbers, said 119 drone attacks, costing $1 million each have killed only two senior-level terrorists.

That’s scary, and with a diversified information list — err, blogroll — we now know such things.

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Dos Unquote¨

By Eduardo Galeano:

¨Poverty is not written in the stars; underdevelopment is not one of God´s mysterious designs.¨

¨Perpetuation of the existing order of things is the perpetuation of the crime.¨

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Unquote” Ed Vedder

A fitting lyric I heard from a Pearl Jam song as I traveled in Ecuador:

“It’s wrong to save up on life. You’ve got to spend it all.”

Unquote” Jeff Bridges

In Rolling Stone magazine, actor Jeff Bridges quoted an interesting shamantic teaching from the book “The Four Agreements.”

“One of them is, ‘Be impeccable with your word,'” Bridges said. “What that means is words are very powerful — not only the words you say to other people, but the words that you say to yourself. Those are the most important. They are almost like spells. I was just saying there, ‘Yeah, but you’re a lazy fuck.’ That’s a heavy spell that I’m laying on myself.”

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