April 9, 2007

  • Image:Touched by His Noodly Appendage.jpg

    I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

    Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

    It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

    Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.

    I’m sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don’t.

    You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

    In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Bobby Henderson, concerned citizen.

    P.S. I have included an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget. Remember, we are all His creatures.



March 1, 2007


    The American Conservative

    February 26, 2007 Issue

    The Fall of Modernity

    Has the American narrative authored its own undoing?

    by Michael Vlahos

    We are losing our wars in the Muslim world because our vision of history is at odds with reality. This is a well-established condition of successful societies, a condition that inevitably grows more worrisome with time and continuing success. In fact, what empires have most in common is how their sacred narratives come to rule their strategic behavior—and rule it badly. In America’s case, our war narrative works against us to promote our deepest fear: the end of modernity.1

    A nation’s evolving storyline gives concrete form to an accumulation of success and translates this into an assurance of transcendence. Those that claim to be the grandest societies in their own world inevitably style themselves as empires, not simply as large kingship domains exalted by good fortune but as regnant successors to a universal ideal. Thus the Ottoman vision as successor to the Roman Empire of Justinian, and of the contemporary Hapsburgs as the true heirs of the Western Roman Empire. Thus also Louis XIV, so too the Czars, as sons of Byzantium. This self-styling grows into a collective conviction that the once-national, now-imperial, soon-to-be-universal narrative is not only an inevitable story but is actually coterminous with history itself.

    Later, when threats seem to come out of nowhere, society is surprised, affronted, and deeply apprehensive because the presence of such threats symbolically suggests that the narrative might be false. All threats are then mortal threats—not because they put at risk the viability of the society itself but because they threaten the sacred symbolism of history that has become inseparable from national identity. They are a chilling announcement that the story is about to meet a bad end, or worse—be replaced by someone else’s story.

    Empires in their later stages therefore see threats not only as physical but also as symbolic, and the symbolic threat is always the more important, for it represents existential value—identity itself—and requires a necessarily existential response. It is not simply the actual threat that must be countered: the experience of meeting the threat must reclaim the divine certainty of the imperial narrative for all to see.

    When such attacks come, they come for a reason. Their very existence reveals that the imperial-sacred narrative has become a war objective in its own right. Indeed, because the narrative has become enshrined as a sort of national tabernacle, successfully attacking it can reap as many rewards for an enemy in terms of authority as any material gains.

    The imperial narrative of the grand nation thus becomes its double-edged sword. In day-to-day politics, its celebration reminds the people of their strength and unity. Even more important for external imperial relations, narrative becomes the badge of legitimacy as lead nation.

    But the imperial narrative also makes the grand nation vulnerable to symbolic attack, a weak strategic position because the empire must maintain not only its material interests but also the perfect integrity of the tabernacle—and as a symbolic edifice, the imperial narrative is brittle and relatively easy to attack. Moreover, if it is attacked successfully, regaining lost authority requires disproportionate effort so great as to risk being self-defeating. Even empires that are truly decadent and surely should know better—for whom even the smallest shock might unleash an historical avalanche—have put defense of the narrative above reality. Both Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans did just that in 1914.

    Empires that come to identify themselves with the universal, whose stories are indistinguishable from grandeur and the hopes of humankind, cannot separate from sacred story without destroying themselves. So, even weak and failed, they must fight as if they were still grand. What choice do they have?

    The United States, in contrast to Austria-Hungary or the Ottomans, still cherishes the freshness of its claim as the world’s young hope. Indeed, in 2001, we were not simply the world nation: we were the “hyperpower.”

    Thus the 9/11 attacks were a frontal assault on the American narrative. They were instinctively compared to Pearl Harbor, but we were not the same innocent nation in 2001 that we were in 1941, seemingly minding our own business. In the intervening 60 years, we had built a position that in its narrative splendor was a true world empire. Some even announced that we had triumphantly ended history on our terms. Henceforth only American values reigned.

    The attacks were not simply a violation of the national person—as in 1941—but an affront to all that was right and true. Yet its emotional symbolism had a darker side too—the suggestion, felt but unvoiced by Americans, that the attacks were the first black sign of The Fall of the City, the beginning of the end of the American sacred narrative.

    Simple retribution would not be enough. We had to utterly destroy the prophecy couched in 9/11 and reassert American predestination.

    This grand symbolic response—re-establishing our dignitas and reclaiming history—had to be a Great War narrative. It had to mirror, and in critical ways surpass, the mythic passage of World War II. That war reified the narrative tabernacle, but this war had an even greater charge: the divine final fulfillment of America’s world mission.

    So we are, as our own government tells us, in a war of civilizations—a national testing in which we will emerge triumphant, the true beacon and best hope of humankind or else find ourselves destroyed, the detritus of history. This is not simply inflated rhetoric. It is avowed American policy.

    In the president’s own words, it is nothing less than “the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history,” pitting “progress” and “freedom” against a “mortal danger to all humanity,” the “enemy of civilization.” Moreover, “the call of history has come to the right country,” and “the defense of freedom is worth the sacrifice.” Ultimately the “evil ones” will be destroyed, and “this great country will lead the world to safety, security, and peace,” a millennial world where “free peoples will own the future.”2

    Here inevitably, rather than reflecting actual conditions, it is more important for reality to fit the sacred narrative. So for nearly four years, it has been “the Iraqi people” vs. “the killers,” or more broadly in the world of Islam, “good moderate Muslims” vs. “evil.”

    Does it matter whether we pursue grand drama for wholly narcissistic reasons, as long as we win? What if we don’t? Failure might lead to the collapse of friendly tyrannies like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia or even to economic crisis and an expansion of the war. Longstanding alliances could come apart. But even then our military power, our vast economy, and the strength of the American people would still be intact. Strategic recovery should still be possible. The old narrative might be in tatters, but that might turn out to be a good thing because we could then build a more modest national story.

    Such recovery is foreclosed, however, in a script of civilization and its enemies. Not only did American leaders go for the existential War of History instead of dealing with reality, they chose the worst possible dramatic vehicle for restaging the national passion play. For what we are experiencing is no war of civilizations. It is not even a war.

    Because the national narrative is a sacred retelling of God’s message and His American mission, its periodic restaging always assumes the form of a great war—revolution, civil war, world war. But after 9/11, there was no great war to be had, so we created a simulacrum. Up to a point, we might keep it looking like a war. But at last it will not perform for us. It cannot support the demands of the drama we require. What we needed was a grand yet simple story with easy enemies and a ringing ending called victory. But our drama has shape-shifted from a war into an uncontrollable force accelerating larger world transformations.

    The “war” is revealing the distant contours of the end of modernity.

    Modernity is the world we made for ourselves after 1941, built atop the world of European modernity, much like the ancient Romans built their international system on an earlier Hellenistic world. When we invoke modernity, it is the equivalent of antiquity saying Romanitas. The word sweeps up in its arms an entire civilized way of life: a literary and scientific canon, a political philosophy, a temple city of institutions, a complete identity.

    Moreover, modernity is not simply a generalized Western vision of modern life. It is the old Romanitas reborn. Progress and prosperity, enterprise and free markets, even human freedom—humanity’s best and only possibility.

    Yet it is precisely this possibility, through this war, that has begun to subside.

    American modernity will continue to dominate world culture and affairs for some time to come. It will yet hold even as it slows down. And its passing, if ever finally marked, will like Rome’s seem more a transformation than a collapse, more like continuity than calamity. What we see today is the beginning of its subsidence only. In metaphorical terms, think early Late Antiquity. After all, Romans at the beginning of the 3rd century still had several imperial centuries to go.

    But can this whole claim be serious? Modernity, globalization, and an American world are still inevitable, are they not? Cold War victory made modernity seem unstoppable. A united Europe, a reforming Russia, and the free-market modernization of China and India meant that America’s cause had become humanity’s cause.

    In the 1990s, some argued that modernity was failing whole sectors of humanity. But even critics of globalization saw this as a problem of limits, disinterest, and resistance. Certainly the enterprise reached some natural boundaries. The wretched of the earth could not be instantly accommodated and uplifted. Moreover, Americans were disengaged. Desperate margins persisted in part because we ultimately cared so little for the diehards and holdouts against history living there.

    Then those “dead-enders” shook globalization’s storyline to its very core. 9/11 rattled our faith in modernity. “Draining the swamps” was to right forever the errors of the 1990s. But this grand drama has accomplished the opposite: it has weakened American modernity and puts its future at risk, in three ways.

    First, the American war narrative rejects modernity’s future constituents: its message is that we are foreclosing on them. We do this knowing that American modernity cannot long survive repossessing its promise of a universal vision for humankind.

    Second, American modernity loses authority because our war promotes alternative and resistant communities. Demonizing them elevates them, and their new stature creates competing alternatives to modernity.

    Third, the American war narrative shows modernity helpless in its own defense. Military failure becomes a literal stripping of our world authority, actually pushing the global future away from us.

    “The Promise of American Life” flung out to the world was to be a future of universal human redemption and transcendence. Americans might argue bitterly over how to achieve this, but before the war there was no argument over the desirability of the goal.

    Now two-thirds of humanity is moving away from us and from our vision of one world. While sleek Tom Friedman rhapsodizes new Silicon Valleys like Bangalore, in Planet of Slums Mike Davis writes, “Half of Bangalore’s population lacks piped water, much less cappuccino, and there are more ragpickers and street children (90,000) than software geeks (about 60,000). In an archipelago of 10 slums, researchers found only 19 latrines for 102,000 residents.”3

    Universal integration is no longer the human prospect but a black split between “us” and a “surplus humanity.” Globalization has become the privilege of those lucky few billions in the formal labor market. But what about the other half on their way to becoming the other two-thirds? What happens to our universal redemptive narrative in a world where modernity ends forever at 40 percent of humanity?

    Even during the “slow globalization” 1990s, the story was being rewritten. Robert Kaplan’s The Coming Anarchy helped steer us there. Repelled and horrified by his descriptions of Abidjan and Conakry, the message readers took back was: to survive, keep them all as far away as possible. No human redemption, just human consignment.4

    We were prepped during those years for the answer this war narrative now gives us: redefine humanity. The world of the left behind is the seedbed of the dark side—from drug lords and terrorists to medieval religious fanatics.5

    The Great Muslim War advances this transformation. They say that the dark side is only evil radicals—and their supporters. But listen closely: except for the tiny handful of “moderate Muslims” we anoint, all Islamists and their communities are declared evil radicals.6 And if hundreds of millions so sympathize, then truthfully, is not the dark side the entire Muslim world? To make sure the point is not missed, war commentators are quick to add that Islam’s civilization is decayed and failed.7

    But this is no simple fight with the Muslim world and Islamic civilization. This is a global war, and the very survival of our civilization is at stake. Us versus them is not Americans versus Muslims but civilization and its enemies.8

    Thus our transfigured narrative can keep its titular universalism as it expands the enemy “other” beyond ragtag Takfiris to something really big: the Demiurge, the great Evil. If we are civilization, then the full enemy, in our unspoken logic, is the entire amniotic sea of dark humanity birthing and succoring attackers. Univeralism is bent to the service of grand struggle.

    The Great Muslim War replaces the story of globalization without formally discarding it. This is metamorphosis by association, linking what is wretched with what is evil, transfigured from those lost to modernity to the very enemies of modernity. The world’s left behind morph from our moral responsibility into dark forces we must subdue. Rather than an American story of global deliverance and redemption, this war substitutes its own story of good against evil, of civilization against the night.9 Instead of us reaching to the ends of the earth with the promise of American life, our promise is contingent on submission: “You are either with us or against us.”

    This is promoting strong counter-movements among “the global other.”

    Alternative communities are everywhere, and to us they are the very picture of illegitimacy, deviance, and criminality. There are, for example, 100,000 gang members in El Salvador and Honduras and entire states in Brazil and Mexico ruled by drug lords. In Brazil’s cities, perhaps 20 percent of the municipal core is beyond government control.

    Now spread this Latin landscape to the whole world. To Somalia, where Islamic courts bring some kind of order out of chaos. To the Brotherhood in Egypt, where Islamists offer the only real social services people will ever know, in the face of a ruling class as corrupt as any since late antiquity. To Waziristan, Baluchistan, the Muslim parts of Thailand, the Moros, Chechyna, Aceh, and the Tamils. Even to Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Our clinical term is “non-state actor,” living in a world of “ungoverned areas”—as though their local governance is “unrule,” their living communities “unsocieties.” They are merely human black holes to be mopped up and shut down. We see only our labels of cool acronym and hot “terrorist.”

    Superficially this may look a bit like Cold War days, when every “liberation movement” set off “communist” klaxons. But this is not then. Back then, the dark force was the Soviet Union, Third World seducer.

    The real Cold War analogy is in the Soviet metaphor itself. Thus the “Islamo-fascist” threat equals the Soviet threat, requiring an equivalent struggle. But unlike the Cold War, our survival now depends not on deterrence but literally on destruction.

    This story has remarkable implications for alternative communities. Our Islamofascist branding makes every movement of Muslim resistance an attack on us. Yet most resistance instead speaks to local yearnings. By seeing an enemy of civilization in every Muslim non-state actor, we unthinkingly widen the struggle. Alternative communities are indelible in the “evil” world landscape painted by the global war on terrorism—the ongoing metamorphosis of the global other into the Mordor of our imagination.

    Then there are meta-communities of piety. Modernity’s greatest failure is spiritual—neon-lit in Europe, where old piety has crashed and burned. But among the global other scorched by modernity’s “creative destruction,” it is not that people have abandoned piety but that it has abandoned them. In globalization’s mixing bowl, the meditative power of old ethos has been lost. Yet American modernity offers nothing to take its place: just ask an Afghani or an Iraqi.

    Piety is a cry for meaning in a stripped world. Two movements stand out: the Pentecostalist and the Islamist. Both share a deep repudiation of the Western nation state as the supreme human ideal—not because they are intrinsically anti-Western but because they see modernity as antithetical to what people need. If this seems harsh, just feel the fervor and the fulfillment they offer.

    Calling them throwbacks from a primitive past denies what we need to see: that modernity itself has been stripping, not giving. Denial robs us of insight into what people need, while calling their piety “primitive” encourages us to see the global other as a lesser humanity. We have after all declared that the lowest bar we will accept for Muslims is “moderate Islam,” where we will ratify what is correct.

    Like American modernity, Romans also presided over a humanity left behind, a welter of cults jostling in the social and spiritual vacuum. Romans also proscribed resister cults, defining Christians the way we define terrorists—as threats to civilization.10 Yet then, as now, the spiritual alternatives people sought could not be controlled. The great success stories then were Christianity and Islam. Today’s evangelists reach back to their passionate origins: the martyrs of the early Church and Al Ansar, the brotherhood of Muhammad. We fear to face the passionate fusion of alternative community and transcendental faith because the prospect of true meta-communities of piety leverages and multiplies the energies of local resistance.

    In modernity’s youth, those who resisted simply ended up as notches on history’s belt, the fate of all who stand in the way of progress. What is different today is that resistance grows everywhere in the face of modernity’s “power.” They are fighters—and they know how to beat us. Ideas, visions, and sacrifice meant nothing in the Victorian face of the Maxim gun, but our grand war narrative has endowed a counter-narrative of resistance.

    The Great Muslim War showcases this achievement, creating dramatic stagings that we cannot win and that paradoxically become the gift of transcendence to our enemy. Witness Iraq, Afghanistan, and Southern Lebanon. Botched stagings pressure local tyrant allies—Saudi princes, Pakistani generals, and Egyptian pharaohs. We find ourselves scrambling to prop them up, visibly giving the lie to our public values. Remarkably, our war story makes its sacred centerpiece—modernity—look backward and repressive.

    We declare that “resistance is futile,” yet the opposite is true. The bigger we make the enemy, the bigger they become. Ours is the complicity of backhand legitimization. Whether we admit this or shout the reverse, effectively our war narrative works to set up superpower defeat—even if at first it seems only a drama of defeat played out in the media—because with one stroke, our narrative itself will have become a lie. This is doubly destructive. Not only do we fail myth—what are we? the D-list to the Greatest Generation—but myth is no longer there for us. World War II cannot save us because according to the strictures of our own myth, we are no longer worthy of being saved.

    The bell toll for modernity is victorious resistance through New War.11 Our enforcers have other ways of describing it: irregular war, asymmetrical war, unconventional war, guerilla war, fourth-generation war, anti-terrorism, counter-insurgency. But what do these filtered images tell us about ourselves? This is underhanded war, dirty war, war with those beneath us.

    This is an interesting problem. We want to fight a clean war with those like us. On the other hand, while we pursue the war we like, the other pursues the war that promises survival and transcendence. Clausewitz himself ratified New War’s power. He said that strategy at its most existential “is the use of the engagement for the purposes of the war.”

    The unrecognized armed community seeks to use “the engagement” for its desperate purposes: survival and then realization—to be independent.

    This makes engagement with an unrecognized armed community fundamentally different from battle with another nation state, which is all about negotiating relative advantage within the context of an already well-established relationship. But as we avoid relationships with unrecognized armed communities, we deny their right to exist. This puts us in a difficult position because as we deny them, we unite them. They fight with every fiber, and for us to win, we must be Roman in our ruthlessness. But we are unwilling to kill on that scale.12 Before we even enter into combat, we are weaker and they are stronger.

    Our war is about attacking the objects that define enemy forces with things that go boom. Their war is about their people achieving authority and turning it into legitimacy. Making the war about their goals weakens us.

    War is where the people are, and our “engagement space” is where the people are not: the battlefield where armies and their weapons fight. Their engagement space is the heart of their inmost community. The whole people are the fight, so we are forced to fight them all. Not all are armed, but all are participants.

    Our weapons are sacred things anointed by holy technology. In contrast, they are their weapons. In a city, our weapons cannot be used to full effect because they cannot be used indiscriminately against people. Their human metaphor focuses on the fighter, using all at hand for the fight. Hence the consistently adaptable effectiveness of his IED. The ultimate people-weapon is the suicide bomber, and the martyr-bomb is smarter than any U.S. technology. Unrelenting suicide attacks claim authority within their engagement space over an enemy whose first consideration is “force protection.”

    They will not fight on our terms, they will not fight in our engagement space, and our weapons are ineffective against them. Yet we deny that the enemy dictates the terms of battle. We tell ourselves that we are “taking the battle to the enemy,” but we are really giving the enemy a path to victory.

    Killing them boosts their cause. “Shock and awe” creates an instant transcendental experience for resistant communities—their own London Blitz. Shared sacrifice is a mythic passage of becoming: the way through blood war to a new and triumphant collective identity, as though the energy we lavish on them flows into them.13

    Fighting the Great State is a path to legitimacy. Surviving is not only winning, it is rising and being transformed. The Great One you fight raises you up and speaks your name to the world. We are midwives. Our efforts help birth a future that works against us.

    The United States is actively dismantling its own paradigm of modernity. Someday we may understand what has been lost, but now we unconsciously celebrate our passing. Forever War makes the fall perversely satisfying as it becomes more necessary than modernity.

    We have forced a fateful transformation of our sacred narrative. America is now tasked with bringing the dark side to submission. But of course we have neither the means nor the will to do so. The Great Muslim War will keep us locked in, so the more we thrash within our story, the more we will undo ourselves. Our narrative has blocked every exit. Escape officially equals retreat, and retreat equals utter defeat. We must never quit the fight—meaning we remain willing participants to our final fall.

    This is our defeat-dynamic: We have set up non-state triumph in Iraq, no matter when or how we leave it. We have ensured the eventual collapse of our ancien regime nation-states. We have no relationship with revolutionary communities that will succeed them.

    Tragically, the transformation of the American narrative is no simple, awful misstep. It is no neocon excursion that simply needs to be recalled, at which point a sound course will set things right. We created our inescapable struggle with Islam—and the world’s awareness is unraveling American modernity, whose existence always depended on its confident future. This is finished.

    Years may pass before this becomes clear. So cries for a rejuvenated liberal internationalism will shout down their own irrelevance. They will get all the airtime they want in the national conversation because they are performing an essential service. They reassure national elites that our historical disaster can be reversed by a stroke of policy. But over time, the oratory will wear so thin that reality will at last be naked: our universal story is now chaff to the wind like the grand narratives of all empires.

    America’s destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan mobilized the Muslim world against us, but more than that it put the global other on notice. For much of the West and most of Islam, the lie of modernity as American altruism is dying in Iraq. Americans care about the death of their soldiers but barely a whit for the destruction of a society wrought in the name of “democracy.”

    Our future now veers wildly from the Cold War’s end, when our sacred narrative touched fulfillment. We thought we were moments from finishing the Lord’s work. Now the Lord’s work is killing Islamists.

    A great nation continues to marshal its collective power, but it will face a changed world. There will still be grand nations like China, India, and others. The United States survives, in material terms greater than ever. But its war narrative has helped to birth a changed world and to cast off its claim to the universal. There will also be a weltering of new human combinations and re-combinations.

    The subsiding of modernity may be liberating. Freed from the world center, we might find a safer place to survey an evolving humanity. No longer the object of all attack, we might productively rethink our national purpose. Old modernity’s institutions and practices will be folded into, and thus partly lost within, a new world-cultural mix. This may not be our preferred outcome. But losing our claim to the universal opens the way to new realities. We might take comfort that American modernity will be a part of them.

    We might take comfort too in being history’s greatest midwife to change, if also to our own undoing. 


    Michael Vlahos is principal professional staff at the National Security Analysis Department of The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

    1 CIA Director Michael Hayden’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee should put to bed any lingering suspicion that “narrative” is just the subversive language of Post-Modernism: “No single narrative is sufficient to explain all the violence we see in Iraq today.”

    For more on narrative in culture and history, see D.E. Polkinhorne, Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, (State University of New York, 1988).

    2 Many of these excerpts are from an October 6, 2005 speech and can be referenced here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051006-3.html. Earlier presidential pronouncements cited here are referenced in Michael Vlahos, “Religion and U.S. Grand Strategy,” theGlobalist.com, June 8, 2003, http://theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=a3230.

    3 Mike Davis, Planet of Slums, (Verso, 2006, 172).

    4 Robert Kaplan, “The Coming Anarchy,” The Atlantic Monthly, February 1996, http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations/future/kaplan7.htm. He put the “global other” in the starkest possible terms: “We are entering a bifurcated world. Part of the globe is inhabited by Hegel's and Fukuyama's Last Man, healthy, well fed, and pampered by technology. The other, larger, part is inhabited by Hobbes's First Man, condemned to a life that is ‘poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’”

    5 Ralph Peters, popular thumper of the war narrative, gives us a peek at the evolution of his feelings about the global other in a collection of essays: Beyond Terror (Stackpole, 2002). In 1994, he wrote somewhat dispassionately: “We have entered the second and final phase of the rejection of the West by noncompetitive cultures … They struggled to become those whom they reviled, and failed. Now, inarticulately enraged by the evidence of that failure, these broken states are attempting to do no less than to detach themselves from our history. The ‘apocalypse’ is occurring in the rejectionist states themselves, where demagogic leaders, mass movements, and criminal gangs impoverish their lands and peoples … The new barbarians who have no interest in government or society beyond what they can seize from it are the human apotheosis of the second phase of the rejection of the West” (209-11, 253). By 2000, in “When Devils Walk the Earth,” he writes of a “dark transformation” among the global other, where “the grail of individuals and masses alike will be the quest for an excuse for their failures. They will find it in a return to crude, intoxicating systems of belief and valuation—wronged gods and stolen patrimonies. The result will be intermittent euphorias of hatred, stunning violence, and ultimate failure that then begins the cycle again. Much of humanity is returning to the days of witches, anti-Christ, and self-willed apocalypse” (87). Here, more than a year before 9/11, is the passionate prefiguration of global other as civilization’s dark enemy.

    6 I asked James Woolsey after a speech in which he declared all Islamists to be “totalitarians” if he really meant all Islamists. After all, I said, there is quite a range of Islamist thought, much of it quite moderate. He retreated a bit and admitted it was something of a sliding scale. I followed up and asked if he thought of the celebrated “moderate” Islamist Tariq Ramadan. “He is a totalitarian,” Woolsey replied.

    7 Bernhard Lewis legitimated the notion that Islam is a failed civilization in What Went Wrong: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East (HarperCollins, 2003). More recent iconic portraits are Tony Blankley’s The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations? (Regnery, 2005) and the documentary, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” http://www.obsessionthemovie.com/.

    All give a curt nod upfront to the distinction between the majority of peaceful Muslims and a core of radicals. But that distinction quickly fades before the relentless imagery of chanting Muslim throngs and the fiery mullahs driving them—blending and folding into our memory of the same images of pilgrim crowds in Mecca, of worshippers everywhere: this is Islam, the terror comes out of Islam, the enemy is everywhere in Islam, it is all about Islam. That such savagery is so intimately coterminous and widespread within civilization is the true mark of a failed civilization. Ralph Peters is characteristically more direct: “We are without doubt witnessing something without precedent, the crash of a once great, still proud civilization, that of Middle Eastern Islam. The terrorist problems we face from the Middle East are not America's fault. It's the fault of the extreme failure of Middle Eastern civilization.” http://members.aol.com/gopbias/failedstates.html

    8 Lee Harris’s long essay branded this essential trope of the war narrative. Reader comments on Amazon.com reveal an unconscious conflation of fighters with dark side humanity. For example: “He makes a good and excellent case for acting unilaterally, and for ignoring … masses of impoverished, illiterate, “peasants” that represent potential hoards of human locusts carrying disease, crime, and instability wherever they migrate to … We must reconstitute our society as a fit society with a warrior ethic,” or, “My takeaway from this book is its development of the idea of an opposition between the ‘western team’ against the ‘eternal gang of ruthless men,’” or, “No society can be based simply on rule by a ruthless gang. As a matter of fact, such a gang can't even create a society: at most it can take over a society. Therefore, Harris argues, gangs not only should be driven from the face of the Earth but are inherently incapable of ruling in the long run.”


    9 This is an early version of the official J-5 briefing: Rear Admiral Bill Sullivan, Vice Director Strategy Plans and Policy, “Fighting the Long War—Military Strategy for the War on Terrorism,”


    10 The early Christians were treated by the Roman state as a criminal cult. But by the end of the 3rd century, after two centuries of growth and forty years of complete toleration—“the little peace of the Church” from 260 to 302—Christian society had emerged as the main rival to the traditional pagan governing class. So when state persecution was violently renewed in 302, the old ruling class was taking on a political-civilizational movement already partly legitimated and fully its equal. Christianity had become too strong to be stripped of legitimacy. Its authority was great enough then to engineer the conversion of an emperor — all elegantly analyzed by Peter Brown in The World of Late Antiquity (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971).

    11 “New War” is not new of course: it is simply new to us. Americans have been startled and confounded by “war that is not us” again and again, and we have adapted only to lose that knowledge to memory, again and again. But the grander our vision of the American nation, the less well we seem to want to adapt, if our lamentations over Mogadishu, Iraq, and Afghanistan are any guide.

    12 A very vocal minority clearly thirsts for this path, however. Why? Because their vision of the World War II sacred narrative declares that victory in America's great, long wars comes only after equally great sacrifice, and that the enemy must be broken before he will submit. Thus I have had many “Defense World” conversations that have ended with: “the time may come when we will have to kill millions of Muslims,” or, “history shows that to win over a people you have to kill at least 10 percent of them, like the Romans” (for comparison, we killed or contributed to the death of about five percent of Japan from 1944-46, while Russia has killed at least eight percent of the Chechen people). Or consider the implications of “Freeper” talk-backs to an article of mine in The American Conservative: “History shows that wars only end with a totally defeated enemy otherwise they go on …  Either Islam or us will quit in total destruction.” Or another: “Will it take an American Hiroshima to awaken the majority, to mobilize our masses against the Islamic quest of world domination?” (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/

    13 Martin van Creveld identified the initiation—and implied the completion—of this dynamic, where the strong are slowly sapped by the weak: “If you are strong, and you are fighting the weak for any period of time, you are going to become weak yourself … it’s only a question of time. … The problem is that you cannot prove yourself against someone who is much weaker than yourself. …” “Interview with Martin van Creveld,” World In Focus, March 20, 2002, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/stories/s511530.htm.




February 22, 2007

  • Author Discusses Adam Smith and Globalization

    In the third installment in a series of conversations about the impact of globalization, author P.J. O'Rourke discusses the role of the teachings of Adam Smith in today's economy.
    P.J. O'Rourke
    audioRealAudioDownload  videoStreaming Video

February 20, 2007

  • nyt_logo_sm


    February 20, 2007

    Op-Ed Columnist

    Let’s Start a War, One We Can Win


    AFETA, Ethiopia

    They were two old men, one arriving by motorcade with bodyguards and the other groping blindly as he shuffled on a footpath with a stick, but for a moment the orbits of Jimmy Carter and Mekonnen Leka intersected on this remote battlefield in southern Ethiopia.

    Mr. Mekonnen, who thinks he may be 78, is a patient in Mr. Carter’s war on river blindness. He is so blind that he rarely leaves the house any more, but on this occasion he staggered to the village clinic to get a treatment for the worms inside him.

    His skin is mottled because the worms cause ferocious itching, especially when they become more active at night. He and other victims scratch until they are bloodied and their skin is partly worn away. Ultimately the worms travel to the eye, where they often destroy the victim’s sight.

    Ethiopia has the largest proportion of blind people in the world, 1.2 percent, because of the combined effects of river blindness and trachoma. As in many African countries, the wrenching emblem of poverty is a tiny child leading a blind beggar by a stick.

    As Mr. Mekonnen waited on a bench by the clinic, there was a flurry of activity, and an Ethiopian announced in the Amharic language that “a great elder” had arrived. Then Mr. Mekonnen heard voices speaking a foreign language and a clicking of cameras, and finally the whirlwind around Mr. Carter moved on.

    “Do you know who that was?” I asked Mr. Mekonnen.

    “I couldn’t see,” he replied.

    “Have you ever heard of Jimmy Carter?”


    Yet in remote places like this, former President Carter, at 82, is leading a private war on disease that should inspire and shame President Bush and other world leaders into joining. It’s not just that Mr. Carter’s wars have been more successful than Mr. Bush’s; Mr. Carter is also rehabilitating the image of the U.S. abroad and transforming the lives of the world’s most wretched peoples. (Here's a video of Mr. Carter's trip.)

    On the previous night, Mr. Mekonnen had slept under a mosquito net for the first time in his life, as part of a Carter initiative to wipe out malaria and elephantiasis in this region. And Mr. Mekonnen now uses an outhouse as a result of a Carter Center initiative to build 350,000 outhouses in rural Ethiopia to defeat blindness from trachoma.

    Mr. Carter has almost managed to wipe out one horrific ailment — Guinea worm — and is making great strides against others, including river blindness and elephantiasis. In this area, people are taking an annual dose of a medicine called Mectizan — donated by Merck, which deserves huge credit — that prevents itching and blindness.

    Mectizan also gets rid of intestinal worms, leaving Ethiopian villagers stronger and more able to work or attend school. Among adults, the deworming revives sex drive, so some people have named their children Mectizan.

    Mr. Carter’s private campaign against the diseases of poverty, put together with pennies and duct tape, is a model of what our government could do. Imagine if the U.S. resolved that it would wipe out malaria and elephantiasis (both are spread by mosquitoes, so a combined campaign makes sense). What if we celebrated science not by trying to go to Mars but by extinguishing malaria? What if we tried to burnish America’s image abroad not only with press releases and propaganda broadcasts, but also with a bold campaign against disease?

    So I wish that President Bush could visit villages like this and see what Mr. Carter has accomplished as a private individual. Mr. Bush, to his great credit, has financed a major campaign against AIDS that will save nine million lives, and he is also increasing spending against malaria — but not nearly as energetically as he is increasing the number of troops in Iraq. So I asked Mr. Carter whether President Bush should be pushing not for a possible war with Iran, but for a war on malaria.

    “That would certainly be my preference,” he said. “I thought the war in Iraq was one of the worst mistakes our country ever made, and we’re possibly about to make an even worse mistake by precipitating a war with Iran. But I would like to see us shift away from war being a high priority, to diplomacy and benevolent causes.”

    So, President Bush, how about if we as a nation join Mr. Carter’s war on diseases that afflict the world’s poorest peoples — and are one reason they are so poor. That’s a war that would unite Americans, not divide them. Come on, Mr. Bush, sound the trumpets!

    You're invited to comment on this column at Mr. Kristof's blog, "On the Ground". And, in case you missed it, here's Sunday's column also about Jimmy Carter.


  • murcury


    Small towns paying nearly half of war's toll

    Associated Press

    Edward ``Willie'' Carman wanted a ticket out of town, and the Army provided it.

    Raised in the projects by a single mother in McKeesport, a blighted, old industrial steel town outside Pittsburgh, the 18-year-old saw the military as an opportunity.

    ``I'm not doing it to you; I'm doing it for me,'' he told his mother, Joanna Hawthorne, after coming home from high school one day and surprising her with the news.

    When Carman died in Iraq three years ago at age 27, he had money saved for college, a fiancee and two children -- including a baby son he had never met. Neighbors in Hawthorne's mobile home park collected $400 and left it in an envelope at her door.

    For a year after his death, Hawthorne took a chair to the cemetery nearly every day, sat next to his grave and talked quietly. Her vigil continues even now; the visits have slowed to once a week, but the pain sticks.

    Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing the war's burden. Nearly half the 3,146 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns similar to McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.

    The Census Bureau said 56 percent of the population in 2005 lived in towns of less than 25,000 residents and in unincorporated areas. The 2000 census showed 16 percent of the population lived in unincorporated rural areas.

    Many of the hometowns of the war dead are not only small, but also poor. The AP analysis found that nearly three-quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.

    Some are old factory towns similar to McKeesport, once home to U.S. Steel's National Tube Works, which employed 8,000 people in its heyday. Now, residents' average income is 60 percent of the national average, and one in eight lives below the federal poverty line.

    On a per capita basis, states with mostly rural populations have suffered the highest casualties in Iraq. Vermont, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Delaware, Montana, Louisiana and Oregon top the list, the AP found.

    There is a ``basic unfairness'' about the number of soldiers dying in Iraq who are from rural areas, said William O'Hare, senior visiting fellow at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which examines rural issues.

    Diminished opportunities are one factor in higher military enlistment rates in rural areas. From 1997 to 2003, 1.5 million rural workers lost their jobs because of changes in industries such as manufacturing that have traditionally employed rural workers, according to the Carsey Institute.

    Rural communities are ``being asked to pay a bigger price for this military adventure, if I can use that word, than their urban counterparts,'' O'Hare said.

    As a result, in more than a thousand small towns across the country -- from Glendive, Mont., to Barnwell, S.C., to Caledonia, Miss., and from Hardwick, Vt., to Clinton, Ohio -- friends and families have been left struggling to make sense of a loved one's death in Iraq. It is a struggle that hits with a special intensity in tight-knit, small towns.

    ``In a small community, even if you don't know somebody's name you at least know their face, you've seen them before, talked to them maybe,'' said Chuck Bevington, whose 22-year-old brother Allan, from Beaver Falls, Pa., died in Iraq, after volunteering for a second tour. ``A small community feels it a lot tighter because they've had more contact with each other.''

    Even strangers come up and hug his mother, he said.

    Death isn't the only burden the war has visited on the nation's small towns.

    Entrepreneurs in many small communities have lost their businesses after deploying in the Guard and Reserves, said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. More federal dollars also are needed to ensure that returning soldiers have easy access to veterans health centers, he said.

    ``It's an issue of fairness that these folks are willing to go over and fight wars and put their lives on the line and really back this country up the way they have. . . . We owe it to them to live up to our obligation of benefits,'' Tester said.

    Another fairness issue, raised by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., is the Pentagon's practice of transporting the remains of military personnel killed in Iraq only to the nearest major airport. Stupak said it ``imposes a burden on the family and friends when they should instead receive our support.'' He has introduced legislation to require the Defense Department to deliver the remains to the military or civilian airport chosen by the family.

    While support for the war in rural areas initially was high, there has been a sharp decline in the past three years. AP-Ipsos polls show that those in rural areas who said it was the right decision to go to war dropped from 73 percent in April 2004 to 39 percent now. In urban areas, support declined from 43 percent in 2004 to 30 percent now.

    Marty Newell, chief operating officer of the Whitesburg, Ky.-based Center for Rural Strategies, said rural areas supported the war early on because so many of their young men and women were fighting it.

    ``The reason that support is dwindling now is the same reason that support would've been strong before, and that is that we know a lot more about it,'' he said. ``We know what the real costs are, and we know what the real story is. . . . Every day there's another small town that has one of their own come home less than whole, and there are a lot of small towns like that.''

    As the war drags on into its fourth year, Vietnam War historian Christian Appy said the burden it has placed on smaller communities -- just as it did in Vietnam -- can be an ``embittering experience.''

    ``I think people in many of those towns are deeply patriotic and want to support the country. But as time goes on, it's becoming increasingly clear to those people that their country and its security is not at stake in this war and in Vietnam,'' Appy said.

    Hawthorne is not waiting on history's verdict. She is bitter about a military she said enticed her son with promises of money, then sent him to a war based on a lie.

    When her son's first enlistment was nearing an end, before the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks, Hawthorne said he decided to re-enlist, partly because the signing bonus of more than $10,000 would help pay his bills. At the time, he was facing $600 in monthly child support payments from his failed first marriage.

    When he deployed to Iraq, his sister said, he had money saved and planned to go to college when he got out of the military in 2005.

    He died in Iraq in 2004 when his tank overturned.

    Hawthorne said the military gave her $4,000 for his funeral, but it was not enough to cover the $14,000 expense. The funeral home forgave the rest, and neighbors collected $400 to help her get by.

    ``You don't see anyone who has money putting their children into the military,'' she said. ``I'm all for our soldiers. Without them our country wouldn't be where we are today, but this war just doesn't seem right. Like the Vietnam one. It's not right.''



February 19, 2007



    "I'm very worried about the budget situation.  You know, government
    bonds are not a way to finance spending -- they are a way to postpone
    tax increases -- only when you postpone those tax increases, you have
    to pay interest as well.  So I think that the magnitude of the deficits we
    are running -- both now and, even more, the deficits that are prospective
    -- are a serious mistake for our country.  Republicans and Democrats may
    have different views on spending priorities, they may have different views
    on tax priorities, but they ought to be able to agree that borrowing on this
    scale is a serious mistake for America; it's a serious mistake for the burden
    it's placing on your students, Mr. Dwyer,
    when they grow up and are going
    to have to pay the interest on all of this debt.  It's a serious mistake because
    of the challenge we're going to be facing in the next decade or two, funding your
    retirement and my retirement; it's a serious mistake because much of that borrow-
    ing is being held abroad by foreigners, and, one wonders how long the world's
    greatest power should be the world's greatest borrower.  So, yes, I've got very
    serious concerns about our fiscal policy....Without regard for political parties or
    partisanship, I would hope that we could see that budget deficit come down before
    too terribly long."

    Lawrence H. Summers
    President, Harvard University
    July 13, 2004





    Alan S. Blinder is the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics
    at Princeton University.  He was previously vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve's
    Board of Governors, and before that was a member of President Clinton's Council
    of Economic Advisers.  Below, an excerpt from a December 4, 2003 interview with
    Professor Blinder in his Princeton office:


    "In talking about deficits it's very important to keep the long-run, short-run
    distinction in mind -- and this of course gets completely lost in the public
    discussion -- hopefully students 'get it' and then they grow up to be grown ups
    and they'll still remember . . . It's when you look at what's coming.  We have
    set in motion -- these things are 'built-in,' the word that is used is 'structural' --
    the tax cuts, the spending base, is going to be higher, forever, that is to say, until
    Congress un-does it.  In addition to that, the magic year 2010 is not so far in the
    future.  So, what's the year 2010?  That's the year that the 1940s birth cohort, the
    vanguard of the post-war baby boom turns 65 and becomes eligible for medicare,
    becomes eligible for full retirement benefits under Social Security, and, that continues . . .
    That post-war baby boom is 17-years long -- it gets bigger as it marches through --
    so, what that means is, in the year 2020, and 2025, and 2030, there's going to be
    hugely greater demands on Social Security and Medicare than there are now, even
    if there is no change in the law . . . So, we know that whatever surplus or deficit we
    take into the year 2010 is going to deteriorate badly in the decade that follows -- we
    know that
    -- no matter who is president, no matter what is done, the only question is
    in the details, it has to . . . So that, to me, was the main reason why it would have been
    nice to go into that period with, say, a surplus of 3% of GDP instead of a deficit of 4 or
    5% of GDP which is what it looks like we're doing now.  I think that was a crying shame
    -- it was a great opportunity which fell in our lap -- and we fumbled it . . . and we've
    created a long-run problem that we're going to regret having done."

    Alan S. Blinder
    Princeton University
    December 4, 2003





January 6, 2007

September 5, 2006


    Cal Football


      Greg Van Hoesen
    Greg Van Hoesen

    Player Profile


    High School:

    Height / Weight:
    6-3 / 227



    Fine Arts

    Turned in a strong sophomore season that included his first career starts ... a mobile backer that is a key part of the Bears' still-youthful linebacker corps.

    2005: Turned in a solid sophomore season, seeing action in 10 games ... was in the starting lineup against Sacramento State, Washington and Oregon ... ended the season with 16 tackles ... returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown against Washington State ... had three stops against Sacramento State and Stanford ... slowed mid-season by an ankle injury ... had tackles for loss against Arizona and Stanford and in the bowl win.

    2004: Tallied six tackles, a broken up pass (at Oregon State) and a blocked punt (at Washington) that led to a touchdown ... returned a punt for nine yards at Washington.

    2003: Redshirted while working with the scout teams ... earned freshman lifter of the year.

    High School: A two-way varsity starter for three years ... earned all-league honors all three seasons, leading his school in tackles each year ... led the Falcons in tackles with 91.5, including eight sacks, in being named to the San Jose Mercury News 2002 second team ... recovered two fumbles, caused four fumbles and blocked one kick ... named defensive MVP and team captain ... a 2002 SuperPrep All-Far West choice ... won team's Most Valuable Underclassman award as Saratoga's leading tackler as a junior ... also participated in basketball, track and field, and wrestling.

    Personal: Lists painting, sculpture and playing the piano and guitar among his hobbies ... parents are Rick and Jill Van Hoesen ... both parents and older sister, Lauren, attended Lehigh University ... younger sister attends Maryland ... fine arts major ... a number of his works have been featured during Cal's televised games.

    Van Hoesen's Career Defensive Stats


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    Cal Women's Field Hockey

    Gwen Belomy

    Gwen Belomy

    Player Profile

    Saratoga, Calif.

    High School:
    Saratoga HS



    Cal: Played in 10 games in 2005, starting one ... Recorded one assist in the Miami (Ohio) game on 8/30.

    High School: Selected first team CCS ... Named the 2003 MVP of El Camino league ... Earned second-team CCS honors in 2003 ... 2002 sophomore of the year honoree ... Selected 2001 MVP of team ... Her 2004 team won the CCS championship ... In 2003 high school team went undefeated.

    Personal: Born Sept. 22, 1987, in San Jose, Calif. ... Daughter of Stephen Belomy and Jennifer Small ... Father is a consultant and mother is a real estate agent ... Has one brother and three sisters ... Plans to major in mass communications ... Hobbies include playing chess and the trumpet.

    Year	Games	Goals	Assists	Points
    2005 10 0 1 1



      Kellie York
    Kellie York

    Player Profile

    Saratoga, Calif.

    High School:
    Saratoga HS



    Cal: A redshirt during the 2005 season.

    High School: Earned most valuable forward honors in 2005 ... Selected first-team all-league in 2003 and 2004 ... Named to the San Jose Mercury News CCS first team in 2004 ... High school team was CCS Champion in 2004 ... Also participated in two years of soccer and one year of softball.

    Personal: Born Jan. 13, 1987, in San Jose, Calif. ... Daughter of Jesse and Donna York ... legal studies major.


    Cal Women's Volleyball


      Bryte Nielson
    Bryte Nielson

    Player Profile

    Saratoga, Calif.

    High School:
    Los Gatos


    Setter/Outside Hitter



    CALIFORNIA: Enters her second season as a setter/outside hitter for the Golden Bears...

    as a FRESHMAN in 2005 had 21 assists and 51 digs...tallied a season-high seven digs versus USC Sept. 24...had five assists versus Florida A&M Sept. 8 and versus Akron Sept. 17...had service aces at Texas State Sept. 2, versus Akron Sept. 17 and at Washington State Nov. 3...

    HIGH SCHOOL: Was a standout athlete at both Saratoga and Los Gatos High Schools...in volleyball was a four-time first-team all-league performer and second-team All-Central Coast Section as a senior...as a basketball player earned first-team all-league honors four straight years and was named 2005 West Valley Athletic League MVP...led her Los Gatos High School volleyball and basketball teams to undefeated league records as a senior and was named the school's 2004-05 Athlete of the Year...helped the Vision Gold 18s club volleyball team to a second-place finish at the 2004 Junior Olympics.

    PERSONAL: Bryte Nielson was born June 4, 1987 in Mountain View, Calif....parents are John and Jincy Nielson...grandfather, William Brinck, graduated from Cal in 1951...siblings include Bo, 17, and Hanna, 13...has not declared a major.

    CAREER HIGHSKills: 1 vs. five teamsAttempts: 2 vs. UC Davis, 8/27/05; vs. Morgan State, 9/3/05Assists: 5 vs. Florida A&M, 9/8/05; vs. Akron, 9/17/05Service Aces: 1 vs. three teamsDigs: 7 vs. USC, 9/24/05Block Solos: 0Block Assists: 0Total Blocks: 0

    NIELSON'S Career StatisticsYear M G K E TA PCT AST SA DIG BS BA TB2005 26 60 5 2 12 .250 21 3 51 0 0 0

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    Women's Soccer Header

    Schedule/Results | Roster | News | Archives

      Annie McAllister

    Annie McAllister

    Player Profile


    Saratoga, Calif.

    High School:
    Saratoga HS '04




    2004: Played in 15 games, starting 3... Finished 3rd on team with 7 points (2 goals, 3 assists)... First collegiate goal came against Iona, completing assist from Megan Wall in 56th minute (9/3)... First assist was to Lindsey Raymond in 80th minute at Sacramento State (10/17).

    SARATOGA HS '04: Twice selected as Offensive MVP of De Anza League... Earned first-team All-Central Coast Section honors as a senior captain... Voted as team's MVP in each of last two seasons... Also lettered in volleyball (setter) and track & field (sprints)... Led DeAnza Force club to first State Cup championship... Scored game-winning goal in golden goal overtime during both semis and final of State Cup.

    PERSONAL: Born in Stanford, Calif.... Double-majoring in communication and psychology... Parents are William & Monica McAllister... Given the opportunity to gather three historical figures to a dinner, she would invite Silvia Plath, Rembrandt and Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (character from her favorite movie, Top Gun)... Great grandfather played Doodles The Clown for the legendary Blackpool Tower Circus... Has an odd pregame superstition: always pulls out a small piece of grass and places it in her left sock.



    Stanford Cross Country


      Alicia Follmar
    Alicia Follmar

    Player Profile

    Saratoga, CA

    High School:

    Stanford: A talented cross country, and middle distance runner who will be a major part of Stanford's success.

    High School: The individual state champion in cross country for Saratoga High School ... Central Coast Section (CCS) Cross Country Champion ... Stanford Invitational Cross Country Champion ... Two-time California state champion in the 1600 meters ... A three-time CCS Champion winning the 1600 and 800 meters her senior year ...A three-time DeAnza League Cross Country Champion ... Won ten DeAnza League titles in track and field in the 800, 1600, 3200 and 4x1600 meters ... Named Athlete of the Year at Saratoga High School ... Recognized by the San Jose Mercury News as the "Athlete of the Year" in 2005.

    Cardinal Catalogue: Biology major ... Parents are Ken and Debbie Follmar ... Born July 24, 1987.



    Santa Clara Women's Water Polo

      Andrea Evans
    Andrea Evans

    Player Profile

    Saratoga, Calif.

    High School:
    Saratoga HS





    AS A SOPHOMORE IN 2005: Notched her first collegiate hat trick on Feb. 20 in a 13-1 rout of the UC Davis Club team at the Slugfest Tournament ... had a goal, steal, and assist in a 7-6 loss to CS Northridge at the UCSB Tournament on Feb. 27 ... had consecutive multi-goal games on March 19 & 23, a 15-4 win over CS Monterey Bay and a 9-8 loss to UC Santa Barbera ... scored twice in an 8-2 win over UC Santa Cruz on April 3 ... contributed a goal in a 13-6 WWWPA First-round win over CS San Bernardino ... scored twice in a 10-7 loss to UC San Diego in the WWWPA third-place match

    AS A FRESHMAN IN 2004: Netted 7 goals and 7 assists... saw action in 22 contests.... added 17 steals... scored first collegiate goal at home against Sonoma State... added two goals against La Verne... notched one goal against Hartwick... recorded a goal against Chapman at the Claremont Tournament... posted four steals against UC Santa Cruz.

    HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Saratoga High School in Saratoga Calif... played for coaches Doug Jones and Kelly Frangien... lead team senior year as MVP and captain earning All-CCS honorable mention, first team All-League honors and was a three time All-Tournament player... guided her team to a second place league finish in 2002 and advancement to the CCS quarterfinals in 2001 and 2002... also swam... involved in community service.

    PERSONAL: Parents are Mark Evans and Karen Thompson and step-parents Sharon LaFountain and James Thompson... has three siblings, Nick, Taylor, and Ashley... Grandfather played football at the University of Notre Dame... aunt played soccer for Chico State... cousin Ryan plays football and baseball for Southern Utah University... enjoys listening to music, going to the beach, snowboarding, traveling, and hanging out with friends and her little brother... is majoring in business.

    Evans' Career Statistics

    YearGP-GSShotsGoalsAssistsShot Pct.StealsTOKO AgainstKO Drawn


      Kristin Barnes
    Kristin Barnes

    Player Profile

    Saratoga, Calif.

    High School:
    Saratoga HS





    AS A SOPHOMORE IN 2005: Returned as the Broncos' starting goalkeeper ... recorded five blocks in an 8-7 win over Sonoma State on Feb. 5 ... posted eight blocks, two steals and an assist on Feb. 12 in a 15-6 victory over CS East Bay ... won her second game of the day against Sonoma State on Feb. 12, making nine blocks in an 8-7 win ... recorded eight blocks and allowed only three goals to CS San Bernardino on Feb. 26 in a 7-3 win ... held UC Santa Cruz to only two goals on April 9 while recording eight blocks and two steals in an 8-2 win ... made 12 saves in an 8-7 loss to Cal Baptist on April 16 ... posted 10 saves in 13-6 victory against CS San Bernardino in a WWWPA First-round match

    AS A FRESHMAN IN 2004: Netted 133 saves and a 6.44 goals-against average... posted a 7-4 record in 374 minutes... started 11 matches and saw action in 16 contests... faced 219 shots and allowed 86 goals... added seven steals and seven assists... made collegiate debut against CS Hayward, allowing three goals while recording six blocks and one steal... added seven saves in second-half action against California... registered nine blocks against top-ranked UCLA... added nine saves against Sonoma State at the Slugfest Invitational... posted nine saves and three steals at UC Davis... registered nine blocks and two assists against Whittier... had 13 saves against Chapman at the Claremont Tournament... posted 13 blocks at Sonoma State... added 15 blocks in fifth-place game against CS San Bernardino, including a four-meter in overtime.

    HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Saratoga High School in Saratoga Calif. and played waterpolo for coach Kelly Theisen and Doug Jones... was named MVP in 2001 and 2002... lead her team to an 8th place CCS finish... received first team All-League honors all four years and second team All-CCS finishes in 2001 and 2002... also swam.

    PERSONAL: Parents are Roger and Peggy Bames... has two younger brothers, Brian and Matthew... enjoys reading, writing and taking pictures... is a business major.

    Barnes' Career Goalkeeping Statistics

    2004 16-113742191338677-46.44




July 7, 2006


    Media Credit: Courtesy

    Viticulture and enology

    Viticulture, enology professor dies

    Harold Olmo remembered for his innovation, sense of adventure

    Talia Kennedy

    Posted: 7/6/06

    Viticulture and enology professor Harold Olmo, known for discovering 29 grape varieties used in winemaking, died on June 30. He was 96.

    "The passing of Professor Harold Olmo marks the end of an era for the wine and grape industry," said Andrew Waterhouse, professor and interim chair of the department of viticulture and enology, in a press release. "His breadth of knowledge and his adventurous spirit were critical to the re-emergence of viticulture in California. His lasting imprint will be his tradition of innovation, illustrated by the tremendous collection of diverse Vitis vines that remain a key asset in California viticulture."

    Born in San Francisco in 1909, Olmo earned his bachelor's degree in horticulture in 1931 and his doctorate in genetics in 1934 from UC Berkeley. He first taught at UC Davis in 1938 as an assistant professor.

    Olmo retired in 1977 but remained active in his field. He traveled to several countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India, while searching for new grape varieties and species for his collections, earning the nickname "Indiana Jones of Viticulture". He released 29 grape varieties during his career, including the now widely grown redglobe, perlette, ruby seedless, ruby cabernet and rubired varieties. Olmo donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent royalties from these grape species to the department of viticulture and enology.

    "Dr. Olmo was the world's foremost grape species investigator; his experience and research served as a great help and example for the rest of us," said Vern Singleton, professor emeritus of the viticulture and enology department.

    Olmo earned many awards for his excellence in viticulture, including the Wilder Medal in 1958 and the Award of Merit in 1974 from the American Pomology Society, the Papal Medal from the Catholic Church in 1979 and the Rockefeller Spirit of Service Award from the International Executive Service Corps in 1993. He was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar and a consultant to the United Nations for over 20 years.

    "He was the world's greatest geneticist," said Andy Walker, a professor in the department of viticulture and enology who first worked with Olmo in 1982 as a graduate student. "He was in the department every day, even after he retired. He was brilliant."

    Walker said Olmo's greatest accomplishment was his work on grape variety development.

    "The varieties he discovered are used all over the world," he said. "He's had huge impact. He was doing work that was about 50 years ahead of his time."

    The university library owns the Harold Olmo Collection, an extensive research anthology of reports, articles and field notes about grape-growing, particularly in California and the UC Davis vineyards.

    The department of viticulture and enology has named a scholarship after Olmo. The Harold P. Olmo Scholarship is awarded once a year to an undergraduate or graduate viticulture student.

    A public rosary will be held at Wiscombe's Davis Funeral Chapel at 116 D St. in Davis today at 7 p.m. His funeral service, which is also open to the public, will be held at St. James Catholic Church at 1275 B St. in Davis July 7 at 1 p.m. The funeral will be followed by a celebration of Olmo's life at the St. James Fellowship Hall. Friends and family are planning a memorial service on July 30, which would have been the eve of his 97th birthday.