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03 August 2009



Ok so wow after YEARS of reading your blog, I have finally managed to put a name and a face to it.

I never knew you were so highly connected as well!! Al Gore...wow.


You're Al Gore!? Colored me surprised.

Two things.

1) That graph is incredible. I am definitely going to post it on the office corkboard for my field-visiting colleagues.

2) Your comment about Laura Ling and Euna Lee is a tad mean. Lots of people watch Vanguard Journalism, and some of its segments (like the one about Russian skinhead culture) have won prizes and lots of acclaim for being really, really good pieces of journalism about important topics that don't make headlines (the watery deaths of Somali boatpeople trying to reach Yemen, child prostitution in Oakland, CA, US support for Iraq-based Iranian Kurdish resistance groups, and so on). Ling and Lee weren't trying to sneak into North Korea either. They were in an area where the border isn't clearly marked, and, according to the accounts I have read, were there filming a story about trafficking of North Korean women. That's news, real news of value to human life, not the "did Obama ogle that girl's derriere? Our panel of analysts will discuss at five!" variety.


Nice point Transitionland, but I disagree. Even if they had got the story (they didn't), who would have seen it? If someone tells a story and no one watches, does it matter? By the Carpetblog calculation, if one is going to take substantial risks (futzing around in unmarked border areas around Iran or North Korea counts!) the payoff had better be pretty substantial, in terms fame (more than tens of hundreds of people watching) or fortune. Also, one might also want to have a Plan B so one doesn't disappear into the North Korean/Iranian gulags. While certainly hope The Big Dog might come save my sorry ass, I'm not gonna count on it.


Hmmm...but isn't that rationale (no one watches, the masses want fluff)what brought us non-stop coverage of Michael Jackson's death while so many stories that matter were and continue to be ignored?




Always a pleasure conversing with you, Mr. Gore.


Just like the tourist (aka greyhairs) we used to get in Alaska. They would hike around, quietly (like they would whisper) admiring the splendor of nature about them, suddenly coming upon a bear, scaring the shit out of said bear, and being mauled as a result (and thereby shutting down our favorite hiking area for months!) Fucking stupid!

Jayne no-longer-in-Germany

I blawged about your blawg. It's not the first time I've done so.


Stay sassy!


Thanks Jayne!

VBlogger, since writing this post, I have discovered that this analytic framework helps refine decisionmaking in many different realms. "Are my friends going to mock me?" is a powerful deterrent to many different activities. Alternatively, it could mean I need different friends.


After spending years in police, courts and corrections, I do believe that people put their own lives at risk doing nothing of any large merit. People love taking risks and doing the adventuresome to the detriment of those who love them--unfortunately.

In defense of those who do put their lives on the line for a story or an experience that must be uncovered, I guess many things would still be unrevealed if no one ever took a chance.


Excellent chart, CB. It reminds me of something a friends once said, that the cause of all life's miseries can be explained in one or all of the following four ways:

1. It seemed like a good idea at the time;
2. The party got a little out of hand;
3. Everyone else was doing it;
4. Alcohol may have been a factor

I think 1 and 3 apply for working in Kabul. Perhaps 2 applies depending on your security contractor. But 4 doesnt factor into Kabul, and any other of the Crapistans for that matter.


Uh, KPIC, have you never been to Crapistan? Clearly you have have a very narrow - might I say wrong? -- definition.



Dear CB. I beg do differ. I live in a country of which at least one third was in the Holy Roman empire and one fourth was in the Austro-Hungarian experiment. While parts are crappy, other parts have potential. Is not the definition of Crapistan the same as Trashcanistan, that it has to be a place that already ends with a -stan anyway?

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