This is one of those "wild card" kinds of  columns. This is the last thing to be written and I'm already 16  hours past my deadline to get the paper into the printer on time. My fingers are hitting twice as many keys on the keyboard as I want them to and the devil is whispering in my ear to just place a recipe in the column. Who's going to read the darn thing anyway? Yet, some semblance of journalistic integrity forces me to write something of large or minute import so that I can become  reacquainted with the bed I haven't seen in quite a while. (How many more words to I have to go?)
      On the local front, I have to say congratulations to Agnes Cammer, the 2006 recipient of the James C. Wright  Human Rights award. Agnes, a native Filipina who once worked for General Douglas MacArthur, has been quietly -- and sometimes not so quietly  -- been working on social justice issues since the late 1960s. It  seems that she has co-founded half the organizations in Madison for people  of color including the Wisconsin Women of Color Network and the Wisconsin Organization for Asian Americans. She probably had a hand in founding other  organizations I'm not even aware of.
      I'm not always sure if Agnes retired or not. She is 80 years old, but one can still find her helping to organize events and helping with the logistics. If there were 4-5 more people in Madison like Agnes, Madison would be a better place to live for people of color. But then again, we might have four times the organizations. Agnes, congratulations! It is well deserved.
      Well, I can always write about the Mideast and what a fine mess that has turned out to be. In the scheme of things in the Mideast, Saddam Hussein for all his despotism, cruelty, and excesses, was probably our de facto ally. His regime kept a check on Iran and he wasn't pushing for a fundamentalist state. I guess the problem was that he wasn't the U.S.'s Saddam Hussein while he sat atop all that oil. And the control  freaks that we are dictated that we go in and replace him with someone who is more amenable to U.S. desires and wishes. Yet, we were blinded by the  black gold and didn't realize that we were just playing into bin  Laden's plan.
      For the past several years, our presence in Iraq has been fueling the passions of fundamentalism and we have served as the greatest recruitment asset that bin Laden could ever ask for. And now that we are fully immersed in Iraq with a weak government, Iran can freely begin to exert influence over Iraq and we are pincered in between Syria and Iran.
      Now that Israel has invaded Lebanon and Iranians are now volunteering to fight in Lebanon, and Hezbollah and Hamas are fighting Israel on two ends and Saudi Arabia's plea for a cease-fire is falling on deaf ears, I can see bin Laden rubbing his hands together in delight. If the Bush  administration isn't careful, it might end up with a fundamentalist Mideast united against Israel and no black gold. This is a scary one for  anyone who has been paying attention these past few months.
      The Bush administration has always walked with a swagger and has had an arrogant  attitude. I think that it is learning that although the United States is the only superpower left in the world, even lone superpowers have limitations and things don't always go their way. We may have too many irons in the fire all over the world -- someone told me the other  day that we have a military presence in over 140 countries -- and our citizenry may not be willing to go without and make sacrifices. We may get  dragged into a Mideast War because we are not willing to wean ourselves  from oil and accept limitations on our lifestyles.
      Things are starting to reach a breaking point overseas and that could have real implications for  those of us at home. I hope not, but we shall see.
      I've read that a CBS poll found that 60 percent of Americans think George Bush is not respected by world leaders. I can't blame them. After the U.S. repeatedly rejected their help at the beginning of the Iraq War, why should  world leaders respect Bush? The only surprise in this poll is that 100 percent of Americans don't feel that Bush is respected. He hardly  gave respect when he got us in this mess and didn't  follow their  advice. You can hardly expect them to respect Bush now, tens of thousands of lives later.
      Well, it is time to say goodnight and end this rambling.  Take care!
July 26, 2006
stories/columns


*
Need help with anything at MATC?
by  Dr. Paul Barrows

*
El fin del conflicto Israel-Hezbola no esta en la punta del fusil,
por Alfonso Zepeda-Capistran

*
Jan Einstein Lim,
by Heidi M. Pascual

(
www.asianwisconzine.com)

How to impeach a president,
by Ben Freund

*
Shanghai (Part 2),
by Jonathan Gramling

*
GHC's Narrissia Harrison interview: Army life in the desert,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Dane Dances! volunteers make it happen,
by Laura Salinger

Random Order: Confronting three-letter words (Part 2),
by Tracie Gilbert

Voices: Advocating for democracy,
by  Dr. Jean Daniels

*  Campus-Community Connection:
-
The Great Divide: Going home and getting a degree,
by Keme Hawkins
-
United Council: Preparing tomorrow's leaders,
by Pam Pfeffer

* For the love of the children,
by Jonathan Gramling


*
Armando Contreras: Brilliance despite all odds,
by Jonathan Gramling

* Percy Julians in the making,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
The Witness Project,
by Jonathan Gramling




* Happenings

* Global Connections
Vol. I No. 10                                         July 26, 2006
CONNECTING TO COMMUNITY
MATC's Associate Vice President Maria Banuelos
REFLECTIONS/ Jonathan Gramling
What to say?