Vin Crosbie's Personal Blog

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The Batu Caves

Back from Malaysia

I returned Sunday from two weeks in Singapore and Malaysia. My round-trip was on the world’s longest commercial airline route: Singapore Airlines’ Non-stop flights between Newark and Singapore. Each 15,349-kilometer (9,593-mile) flight takes between 18 and 20 hours, depending upon weather conditions. The airline uses a four-engine Airbus 340-500 with 181 (rather than the standard 300) seats.

Wishful Thinking versus Reality

Since George Washington was sworn in as president of the United States, 42 men have held that office. I lived through the criminal administration of Richard Nixon, but I had thought the odds were good that I wouldn’t live during a incompetent president (Nixon’s unelected successor, Gerald Ford, although prone to tripping over his own feet, was a competent administrator). When I think about incompetent U.S. presidents, I think about Andrew Johnson, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, or other names from past generations. I’ve however realized that I am living through the administration of who may be the most incompetent president in U.S. history. Andrew Johnson’s administration (1865-69) may have been a nadir, but the U.S. wasn’t the world’s only superpower at that time. The incompetent George W. Bush‘s United States is. Six years into it, I cannot name anything he has competently done. Quite the contrary. Almost five years since the terrorist attack on New York City, the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers is still an empty lot and no one directly involved with those attacks has subsequently been captured, prosecuted, or convicted. Bush quite rightly led the United States to invade Afghanistan after that country’s government refused to prosecute or extradite the people (notably Osama bin Lauden) who openly claimed to the masterminds of the New York and Washington terrorist attacks. The U.S. military conquered most of Afghanistan (the first time anyone had successfully done that since Alexander the Great), but refused (reputably at the White House’s insistence) to send its troops into the Tora Bora Mountains where those masterminds were hiding. Osama bin Lauden and the other masterminds apparently escaped into neighboring Pakistan. No one publicly knows if Bush demanded his extradition. Moreover, widespread evidence arose that the chief of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb project had been providing bomb plans and materials to North Korea, Iran, and Libya (the latter country’s dictator admitted this and turned the plans and materials over to the U.S. government). Yet Bush didn’t flinch when Pakistan’s own dictator pardoned the bomber and continued to shelter the September 11th masterminds. Bush this past week visited Pakistan and called it an “unwavering ally.” With allies like that, we’re in big trouble. Bush then proclaimed a doctrine of ‘pre-emptive war’ and invaded Iraq because, according to the White House, there was ‘slam-dunk’ proof that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction. The […]

27 Years in the News Business

Ah, I’m entering my 27th year in the news industry. I started as a reporter covering cops, fires, and courts for a small daily newspaper in Connecticut. Later, I worked for the old UPI, Reuters, and News Corp. My thanks to Prof. Ben Compaine who at the start of the 1980s interested me in the potential of new media and to venture capitalist Jon Gilbert who in 1993 brought me into new media full-time. I’ve never regretted that move. (By the way, I don’t think the Connecticut State Police really minded that I didn’t return my police pass after 1979 ended. Indeed, I felt it odd being nearly invulnerable to speeding and other motor vehicle infractions during those years. The police departments of many towns and state police barracks knew my auto and wouldn’t stop it in speed traps. Only once was I pulled over, when I was late for work and driving 85 m.p.h. on a 45 m.p.h. rural road. The officer, rather than asking me for my driver’s license and vehicle registration, said , “Has anyone told you the problem we in the police union are having with management?” and gave me a story. Oh, to be a police reporter again!)