Review – When a Crocodile Eats the Sun

My review of Peter Godwin’s When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa is up over at PopMatters.

According to a Zulu legend, “a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun. This celestial crocodile, they say, briefly consumes our life-giving star as a warning that he is much displeased with the behavior of man below. It is the very worst of omens.”

There is much life being taken away in white journalist Peter Godwin’s book When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa. Years after Zimbabwe’s independence, President Robert Mugabe declares war on the white farmers, causing many to be killed along with their families and black supporters at the hands of squatting War Vets or “wovits” as they are called. Through his actions, Mugabe appears hell-bent on destroying the country he helped free from British rule in order to remain in power.

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Repbulicans Threaten to Leave Michigan Unless Demands Are Met

In a long, rambling, press release, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis announced that if a tax increase is passed by the legislature and signed into law this year, his party would be willing to vacate the state. Democrats have pushed proposals to increase revenues, including either through a hike in the income tax or sales tax, have been discussed in order to plug the $1.8 billion hole in the state’s budget, but none appears to have a consensus of support behind it.

Anuzis said in part, “We want real reform FRIST before discussion of any tax increase. So no talking about taxes until REAL reform!!!?! Not a word…nothing. Republicans always open to partisanship…open to compromise…on size of tax and budget cuts.

“Republican State Committee passed resolution demanding government reforms and tax cuts BEFORE tax increases are even thought about. It was unanimous.”

According to the Detroit News, one angered GOP member who wished to remain anonymous, said, “It’s unprecedented for a party chairman to dictate policy to legislators of his own party.”

Rep. Lorence Wenke (R-Galesburg) said, “It seems he is setting the new low standard.”

According to the press release, Anuzis doesn’t agree. “From day won I have vowed to fight any an all tax increases unless reforms! Moving is last resort…last itch effort to save state.

“I don’t want GOP to lose our brand, don’t lose image that attracts people to vote for us, image that works for us.”

Republican Dick Devos lost by 14 percentage points in last Fall’s gubernatorial election to the incumbent Jennifer Granholm, and Democrats gained control of the State House from the Republicans.

“Moving has been under discussion for some time, and only know am I telling everyone. This decision not taken lightly…it very serious. but if tax increase is passed and signed into law this year, I am willing to lead Republican Party out of Michigan to greener pastures of Mississippi. Mississippi is PRO-growth and has already offered us more ‘flexible’ labor environment, more ‘friendly’ business climate, more ‘friendly’ voting environment, and tax incentives.

“As Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said, ‘It doesn’t make sense for [Governor Granholm] to go out and recruit jobs when there isn’t an environment here for making a sizable investment.’ And it won’t make sense for us to recruit Republicans here if there won’t be environment for making a sizable recruiting effort. A sure sign of a hostile Republican environment is a tax increase. States that embrace tax increase aren’t Republican enough. We must hold line…stay true to our ideals.”

Anuzis also complained that there appeared to be too many Republicans willing to compromise with the Democrats on some form of a tax hike. An action that he claimed would tarnish the Engler Legacy.

He ended with an ultimatum: “Bottum line is no tax increase or Republican Party leaving.”

Whether the party chair will make good on his threat, remains to be seen. But insiders believe he’s serious. From the Detroit News again,

Richard McLellan, a Lansing attorney and Republican activist who was a close adviser to Gov. John Engler, asked: “What is Saul doing? Somebody is going to have to tell him to knock it off.”

Luciano Pavarotti Has Died

It’s been reported all over the place: Luciano Pavarotti died earlier this morning.

This saddens me, as I’m a big opera fan. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to see and hear him perform live. I have only heard him on recordings. (I’m going to be putting on Puccini’s Turandot, performed by Pavarotti, Sutherland, Caballe, and Guiaurov, conducted by Mehta just as soon as I’m done typing this post. My not-quite-three-year-old son likes to sing “Vincero!”)…Pvarotti’s voice had such a beautiful effortless power.

The abundantly knowledgeable Opera Chic has a very nice tribute to one of the greatest opera tenors.

Forgotten Literary Treasures

[Note: Now that most of my technology problems have been resolved, I return to my irregularly scheduled commentary on books, politics, and culture.]

Great, just what I need: another list of enticing books to read that I’ll never be able to get to. Groan.

Far from the fame and glamour of the Booker and bestsellers is a forgotten world of literary treasures – brilliant but underrated novels that deserve a second chance to shine. We asked 50 celebrated writers to nominate their favourites.

From the Guardian, of course. You didn’t really think the New York Times or the L.A. Times (or any other U.S.-based periodical) would put together something like this, did you?

New MacBook, New Problems

I am the lucky new owner of a MacBook. It’s fast. It’s sleek-looking. It’s got all the wonderful grace and beauty of a well-made Apple product. It’s replacing my now officially dead iBook G3.

There was just one problem: I could not connect my MacBook to our wireless DSL router. AT&T is our DSL provider.

So I called AT&T, who after much time and a couple of people eventually threw up their hands and said I needed to call Apple. No matter what I tried to do, I could not connect my MacBook to our 2Wire wireless router. I had no problems connecting using the Ethernet cable. But wireless: nada.

Frustrated, I went and searched for possible solutions on my own. Lo and behold there are plenty of people out there who have MacBooks and Macbook Pros with Airport Extreme cards that have problems connecting to wireless networks, either at home or in public. The culprit appears to be the OS X 10.4.10 update. You can read about it here, here, and here. Many had success rolling back to 10.4.9. There is reportedly a fix in the works, but no hint as to when the fix will be released. Doing nothing meant continuing to hook up my laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable. Knowing that an update (10.4.11) is apparently a few weeks away, I decided to try to live with the problem.

But I could not let the problem rest. I bought a laptop because I wanted a laptop. Not a desktop.

This morning I found this solution by poster JrummerJ. I went into the Home Network Wireless settings and changed the Wireless Mode of the 2Wire router from 802.11b/g to 802.11g. and now I’m connected wirelessly. Woo-hoo!

Of course, since the wireless card on my wife’s IBM Thinkpad is 802.11b, that means when I’m connected wirelessly, she can’t connect wirelessly. Which means I’ll have to switch the Wireless Mode depending on when my wife is home.

So…I still have to wait for Apple to fix this problem. Can’t say I’m happy about that.

P.S. My 4th Gen 20GB iPod is about dead, too. I had to restore it for the 3rd or 4th time a week or so ago. It needs a new hard drive. As soon as I get this airport wireless problem fixed, I’ll bu a new hard drive and install it.