Our wonderment was drowned in a bloodbath of ugly news. Censorship, burnings, international horror, met our innocent eyes.
The sheer stupidity, if not complicity, of the past few years emerging internationally with explosions gave us some hope that the red fields of Hopium would be abandoned as the evident treachery and boobery was stripped naked:
Obama’s Middle East Policy Is in Ruins’
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was “deeply concerned” about the attacks on US embassies. He called on the countries in question to protect foreign missions. “Diplomats have to be able to do their work without fear,” he said.
Westerwelle said he could understand the outrage that many Muslims felt about the anti-Islam film. “But this outrage cannot justify violence.” [snip]
On Friday, German commentators analyze the violence and its implications for US foreign policy.
The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
“The murder of an ambassador in Libya and the attacks on US diplomatic missions in other Arab countries is sure to strengthen the skepticism that more than a few Americans feel toward Muslims and the political changes brought by the Arab revolutions. The deeply held American belief that all you have to do is liberate people from serfdom and dictatorship, and then democracy and a market economy will develop more or less on their own, burned to ash in the trial by fire of Iraq. [snip]
The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:
“The attacks on US embassies and consulates in the Arab world can not be justified in any way. If it turns out that al-Qaida is behind the attacks, as some US officials suspect, then they are acts of terrorism committed under the guise of religion. [snip] But that clearly does not help US President Barack Obama very much. He has to bear the political consequences of the recent events by himself.”
“Four years ago, Obama pledged to seek reconciliation with the Muslim world. Now, it is doubtful whether he has succeeded. The US and its European allies now have to ask themselves how much support they still enjoy in the countries of the Arab Spring.”
The center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: [snip]
“America hardly has influence in the region any longer, and now sees itself confronted with anti-American sentiment in places where it no longer controls the dictators. Meanwhile, forces that simultaneously exploit and spurn America are gaining influence.” [snip]
The conservative Die Welt writes:
“US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy is in ruins. Like no president before him, he tried to win over the Arab world. After some initial hesitation, he came out clearly on the side of the democratic revolutions. … In this context, he must accept the fact that he has snubbed old close allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian military. And now parts of the freed societies are turning against the country which helped bring them into being. Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era. It’s a bitter outcome for Obama.”
“Obama was naive to believe that one only needed to adopt a new tone and show more respect in order to dispel deep-seated reservations about the free world. [snip] This image of weakness is being exploited by Salafists and al-Qaida, who are active in North Africa from Somalia to Mali.”
“One thing is clear: If jihadists believe they can attack American installations and kill an ambassador on the anniversary of Sept. 11, then America’s deterrent power has declined considerably. For a superpower, it is not enough just to want to be loved. You have to scare the bad guys to keep them in check.”
The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes:
“It’s lucky for Obama that his opponent Romney is acting in such a hapless manner.”
The financial daily Handelsblatt writes:
“Three years after Obama’s speech in Cairo, which was supposed to initiate a new beginning in the Middle East, the United States now has even less support in the region than before.”
The mass-circulation daily Bild writes:
“Naked hatred is raging against a country that many people in the world regard as a symbol of freedom. When US flags burn, embassies are vandalized, and diplomats are murdered, it is an attack on the West, and not just America!”
“We rooted for the demonstrators at Tahrir Square, and many of us have longed to see democracy in the Arab nations. But democracy includes honoring the lives of fellow humans.”
“The turmoil in Libya, Cairo, and Bangladesh is a return to the Middle Ages, when people were beheaded and stoned to death. No pathetic anti-Islam film can justify hate-filled murder.”
“The West must be tough on terrorism. And it must show that it can differentiate between rabble-rousers and peaceful Muslims.”
So there's presidential race coverage. I'm supporting Jill Stein (Green Party prez nominee) and C.I.'s got info on Dr. Stein's campaign in the snapshot. Now for the big news. Who is one of the last living legends of the silver screen?
That's right, the one and only Lauren Bacall.
I thought I saw Lauren Bacall
I thought I saw Lauren Bacall
In a car jam
Yeah I don't believe it
In a car jam
Ah yeah positively absolutely
-- "Car Jamming" by The Clash
The movie star, the Broadway star, the legend has a birthday Sunday and turns 87.
Because she has talent, her glory didn't stop 50 years ago. "The Walker" is only one example of a classic film she's made in recent years. I noted when I reviewed that film, "Lauren Bacall should be 'Sticky Fingers Bacall' because she owns every scene she's in. She does an amazing job." Of course, in the eighties, she was James Caan's book agent in "Misery." Those are two classic films and her first classic came out in 1944.
"To Have and To Have Not" was her film debut and she co-starred with Humphrey Bogart whom she'd marry in real life. They would co-star in other classics including "The Big Sleep," "Key Largo" and "Dark Passage." 1953 saw the release of her first classic without Bogart, "How To Marry A Millionaire" in which her co-stars were Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and William Powell. In 1956 would come "Written On The Wind" which co-starred Rock Hudson and in 1957, the year Bogart died, she had a hit with Gregory Peck in "Designing Woman."
After Bogart's death, she would move over to Broadway and star in "Goodbye, Charlie," "Cactus Flower" (the role Ingrid Bergman played), "Applause" (a musical of "All About Eve"), and "Woman of the Year." Those are plays she starred in from 1959 through 1981.
She would make films during this time period as well. She starred in the classic Robert Altman film "H.E.A.L.T.H." (the film was largely derided when released, it's time for it to be reconsidered, this film is a classic), "Harper" (Paul Newman is the detective Harper, Lauren hires him to find her husband, Pamela Tiffin, Robert Wagner, Shelley Winters and others co-star), "Sex and the Single Girl" (a comedy that I can watch repeatedly -- Lauren's married to Henry Fonda and thinks he's more interested in his business, Natalie Wood is a therapist, Tony Curtis is in the mix), and "The Shootist" (with John Wayne in his last role).
Among the many films she's made since is 1996's "The Mirror Has Two Faces" which resulted in an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She's great in the role as the vain mother who torments Rose (Barbra Streisand) and then shows her an important photo from childhood. This is a really good film. Three months ago, her latest film came out, "The Forger" in which she co-stars with Alfred Molina, Hayden Panettiere and Josh Hutcherson. Reviewing it for "The Film Police," Armando Dela Cruz noted, "There were solid acts in the movie lead by Lauren Bacall who seemed effortless when doing her craft."
She dazzled in her first film role and she's only gotten better with the passage of years. On Sunday, she turns 87. This weekend, make a point to check out her work via a rental or purchase (or, if you're lucky, pulling a DVD out of your home library).
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"