Lively, witty presentation and totally awesome photos at Catalogue of Organisms' Circus of the Spineless #28. Above, Jennifer Forman Orth's clearwing butterfly. Our fave was the assassin bug's trick of donning the empty exoskeletons of its ant victims to fool predators. There was something so political about it. Say what, Hillary?
"I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but let's do it anyway," PJM alpha male Richard Miniter is telling a Fox News babe late afternoon [rough drive-by transcript]:
This is a woman who's tied to money scandals, political scandals. Many are asking why is the Bush administration pushing this woman as someone [who could be helpful to Pakistan's future as a democracy]? She was not very popular. That we were trying to impose her [into the electoral landscape] was deeply resented.
That jibes nicely with the post incubating in the febrile blogging mind this very moment. Our gut response when we learned yesterday morning of former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto's assassination was -- as we wrote in the comments at Gates of Vienna, who seemed to be on the same page -- WW IV?:
The assassination of the Archduke [considered by historians to have triggered WW I] was the first thing that came to mind. The second was the Taliban's assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud just before 9/11.
We know as little about Pakistani history and politics as the average bear, but somewhere in our alleged mind there lingered a faded memory of Bhutto's having been a corrupt -- if brilliant -- all-about-me astroturf-roots socialist "savior" of her downtrodden people. Ralph Peters's "Not what she seemed to be" in today's NYPost brought it all into focus. A few excerpts (Be sure to read the whole thing):
For the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto [See below for a delicious example of the genre, Ariana Huffington's frothy if fascinating homage to her longtime friend].
Her country's better off without her. She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life . . . She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.
In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency . . .
But she always knew how to work Westerners -- unlike the hapless Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who sought the best for his tormented country but never knew how to package himself.
She was at Oxford. I was at Cambridge. And by a strange coincidence I became president of the Cambridge Union and she became president of the Oxford Union. The anomaly of two foreign women heading the two unions meant that we ended up debating each other around England on topics ranging from British politics to broad generalities about the impact of technological advance on mankind.
"I asked her to blog before she returned to Pakistan and blog she did," writes Huffington. Quite a "get," albeit a self-justifying bit of spin on Bhutto's part:
I long ago realized that my personal life was to be subjugated to my political responsibilities. When my democratically elected father, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested in 1977 and subsequently murdered, the mantle of leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, our nation's largest, nationwide grassroots political structure, was suddenly thrust upon me. It was not the life I planned, but it is the life I have. My husband and children accept and understand that my political responsibilities to the people of Pakistan come first [God help the children], as painful as that personally is to all of us. I would like to be planning my son's move to his first year at college later this month, but instead I am planning my return to Pakistan and my party's parliamentary election campaign.
I didn't choose this life. It chose me.
Boy, the Reagan Diaries are great. I had read Reagan In His Own Hand, and what he had that I'm not convinced the current crop of candidates have is that lifelong commitment -- and commitment to the right things. I mean Hillary's got a lifelong commitment, but."
Commitment to the right things. We suppose it depends upon what your definition of right is.