The Underground Restaurant Movement

27boar_600 Melena Ryzik in the NYT:

The passionate enthusiasts who have opened dozens of unlicensed restaurants in apartments and other private spaces in recent years do not generally aspire to become traditional restaurateurs, with overhead and investors and the health department — a k a The Man — telling them what to do. They are not in it for the money or for Buddha Bar-size crowds; instead, they say, they are in it for the community and the creative freedom. It’s hard to imagine even the most adventurous legitimate restaurant encouraging customers to hack the hindquarters off a boar’s carcass. And underground restaurants have found their niche. Stringing together the farm-to-table movement and a bloggy kind of interactivity, they have gained a following among food lovers, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who have an opinion on local versus organic, prefer intimate and casual to grand and ceremonial, and are open to meeting people and building connections in new ways. No doubt a lot of them are members of a Facebook fan club for bacon.

“Any night of the week you can go out to dinner, but this is unique,” said Jeremy Townsend, a founder of Ghetto Gourmet, an early underground restaurant based in Oakland, Calif. “People want to get out of that cookie-cutter experience and have a shared experience that has some meaning and authenticity, and some story behind it.” Mr. Townsend’s Web site,, tracks the movement; the number of underground restaurants has doubled in the last year, to about 70, he said.

Who are the citizens of Europe?

Alfred Grosser in the Rheinischer Merkur, translated in signandsight:

The Irish referendum raises many questions. Now I don’t mean the ones concerning the circumstances of the ‘No’ vote. Questions such as: Was the economy slowing down instead of thriving on EU assistance as it had been until recently? Or: Was the advertising for the ‘No’ campaign funded by conservative anti-European Americans of Irish descent? No, the issues I want to discuss are commentaries which say: This is what happens when you disregard the people and submit a treaty which has been drawn up undemocratically and is incomprehensible to boot! Philosopher Jürgen Habermas also recently expressed his doubts about democratic practice in the EU. He suggested combining next year’s European elections with a European referendum.

My first counter-question would be: Who are the citizens of the EU? The current phrasing of the treaty says: “Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace national citizenship. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby.”

A small number of citizens of the union have decided for everybody. This does not mean to say that national referenda are illegitimate. In France, the accession of Ireland, together with Britain and Denmark, was sanctioned on 23 April 1972 by a referendum initiated by President Georges Pompidou. However, it attracted little public interest. Sixty-eight percent said ‘Yes’, but only 60 percent of citizens actually went to the polling booths.

An Interview with Vivian Gornick

Gornick2 In the Boston Review:

What drives you to read a particular book?

There are people who feel obliged to read right up to the minute, whatever’s new and talked about. I’m not one of those people. I have never read with an agenda. But I do feel that I have my job as a reader, to engage fully with whatever I’m reading, that’s the only thing that matters.

How do you see your job as a critic?

I feel about writing criticism as I would about writing out of imagination. It has exactly the same responsibilities as any other kind of writing. Criticism is a window through which the writer looks and sees the world. What’s most important is those particular eyes and that particular vision and that particular way of seeing. Which, if you’re lucky, grows more and more coherent as you grow older. It’s a way of looking at things that I’ve found myself applying, not mechanically, not by virtue of agenda. So that there are all kinds of things I don’t feel obliged to read because I don’t feel they will deepen my way of seeing the world.

zagajewski is having trouble writing about milosz


I had read Milosz for many years before I met him in person. In the late Sixties and in the Seventies I didn’t believe I’d ever meet him. He was then for me a legend, a unicorn, somebody living on a different planet; California was but a beautiful name to me. He belonged to a chapter of the history of Polish literature that seemed to be, seen from the landscape of my youth, as remote as the Middle Ages. He was a part of the last generation that had been born into the world of the impoverished gentry (impoverished but still very much defining themselves as gentry): he grew up in a small manor house in the Lithuanian countryside where woods, streams, and water snakes were as evident as streetcars and apartment houses in the modest, industrial city of my childhood. His Poland was so totally different from mine—it had its wings spread to the East. When he was born in 1911 he was a subject of the Russian Tsar; everything Russian, including the language which he knew so well, was familiar to him (though, as his readers well know, he was also very critical of many things Russian). I was born into a Poland that had changed its shape; like a sleeper who turns from one side to another, my country spread its arms toward the West—of course only physically, because politically it was incorporated into the Eastern bloc.

I grew up in a post-German city; almost everything in the world of my childhood looked and smelled German. Cabbage seemed to be German, trees and walls recalled Bismarck, blackbirds sang with a Teutonic accent.

more from Threepenny Review here.



Wind-bells tinkle and cypresses sway in the breeze. The sun casts sharp shadows across an undulating landscape. There are strange concrete forms everywhere: giant open vaults, painted half-domes with strange crests, an amphitheatre ringed by buildings with giant circular openings, little houses sunk into the hillside. Healthy-looking, vaguely hippy-ish people, young and old, stride about in dusty jeans and T-shirts. Beyond are the scrub-covered hills of the Sonoran desert. This not your typical American settlement. In fact, it’s not your typical Earth settlement. For one thing, there are no cars or roads. Everything is connected by winding footpaths. Nor are there shops, billboards, or any other garish commercial intrusion. It looks like the set of a sci-fi movie designed by Le Corbusier. Round the next corner, you might expect to bump into Luke Skywalker, or Socrates, or a troupe of dancers doing Aquarius.

This is Arcosanti, 70 miles from Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a curious taste of what an environmentally friendly US town could look like, but probably never will.

more from The Guardian here.

silent and slow and heavy and dead


When I was in Iraq, I might as well have been circling the earth from a space capsule, circling in farthest orbit. Like Laika in Sputnik. A dog in space. Sending signals back to base, unmoored and weightless and no longer marking time. Home was far away, a distant place that gobbled up whatever I sent back, ignorant and happy but touchingly hungry to know. And then I was back, back in the world with everyone else, but not returning all the way. Still floating like Laika among the regular people in the regular world.

For me, the war sort of flattened things out, flattened things out here and flattened them out there too. Toward the end, when I was still there, so many bombs had gone off so many times that they no longer shocked or even roused; the people screamed in silence and in slow motion. And then I got back to the world, and the weddings and the picnics were the same as everything had been in Iraq, silent and slow and heavy and dead.

more from the NY Times Magazine here.

Wednesday Poem



Dear Pelican
Kathleen Miller
Stepping across and into the creek, dear pelican, you find the strangest ways
we turn over on our sides and let the windows breathe a little
sitting in the middle of a driveway looking up at the stars
and kicking at small particles with our feet,
we can hear the cars go by on the freeway and imagine them as water moving

Dear pelican, unconcerned with forward movement unconcerned with the cars
sounding like water and the swing abandoned due to the season of all things
beginning again, we move as the light moves, chasing it across the sawdust
near the creek and plotting ourselves in the middle
taking care is pelicans is water moving and we are unconcerned
with the forward falling of cars and swings and light and pelicans

We just chase the light chase the creek chase the particles in the driveway
moving not backwards moving not like water unconcerned, move like pelicans
plotting and taking care, move like the abandoning of swings due to season
due to all things beginning again like pelicans

*     *      *      *      *      *      *

In anticipation of sudden shifts in weather, we pelicans sit up on the roof top
with the chimneys and the solar panels, borrowing each other’s sweaters
and ignoring the allergies due to the changing of the seasons
beneath the solar panels and next to the chimneys, we pelicans climb up
between the stacks, searching for unimportant documents
concerning books, concerning transportation and we pelicans

The days are filled with pinecones and chimneys and seasonal allergies
The days are filled with solar panels and unimportant documents and pelicans

In the workplace, we tape pictures of lake systems to our hard drives pretending
to river raft while we boot up in the morning
we hang on our cubicle walls pictures of zebras and a garage sale poster of James Dean
we pelicans walk around the block on our lunch break and kick at the leaves so,
wishing them still bright and hanging, thinking intently about the changing
of the seasons and the allergies, thinking about the chimneys and the solar panels
and the endless search for unimportant documents

Wishing the pinecones and lake systems and hard drives
wishing them still bright and hanging
wishing them bright and still hanging
wishing for pelicans and solar panels unchanged by the changing
of the seasons, bright and hanging

Read more »

How to Disown a Body Part

From Science:

Body Here’s a trick to make a rubber hand come to life. Hide your right hand under a cloth and stick the rubber hand where your right hand should be. Now have someone stroke your right hand and the fake hand at the same time. Before you know it, you’ll begin to “feel” sensation in the rubber hand. But what happens to your real right hand? New research suggests that your body begins to disown it. Psychologists have used the rubber-hand illusion for years to study how people perceive body boundaries. How, for example, does your brain know where you stop and a bicycle begins? Brain scans reveal that the premotor cortex, the part of the brain that integrates vision and touch, helps the body adopt the rubber hand, but no one had looked at what was going on with the hidden, real hand.

Lorimer Moseley, a neuroscientist who studies pain at Oxford University in the U.K., and colleagues repeated the rubber-hand experiment on 11 volunteers, but they added a twist: They took the temperature of the hidden hand. During the 7-minute illusion, the researchers found that the average temperature of the hidden hand dropped 0.27°C in all participants; the temperature of other body parts, including the person’s other real hand, remained the same. The researchers also tried stroking the rubber hand and the experimental hand asynchronously, a trick that diminishes the illusion. In this case, the hidden hand cooled down but slightly less than when the hands were stroked at the same time. The more strongly volunteers rated the vividness of the illusion, the colder their hidden hands became, the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More here.

The Teen Brain: A Work in Progress

From Harvard Magazine:

Teen_brain Your teenage daughter gets top marks in school, captains the debate team, and volunteers at a shelter for homeless people. But while driving the family car, she text-messages her best friend and rear-ends another vehicle. How can teens be so clever, accomplished, and responsible—and reckless at the same time? Easily, according to two physicians at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School (HMS) who have been exploring the unique structure and chemistry of the adolescent brain. “The teenage brain is not just an adult brain with fewer miles on it,” says Frances E. Jensen, a professor of neurology. “It’s a paradoxical time of development. These are people with very sharp brains, but they’re not quite sure what to do with them.”

Research during the past 10 years, powered by technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, has revealed that young brains have both fast-growing synapses and sections that remain unconnected. This leaves teens easily influenced by their environment and more prone to impulsive behavior, even without the impact of souped-up hormones and any genetic or family predispositions. Most teenagers don’t understand their mental hardwiring, so Jensen, whose laboratory research focuses on newborn-brain injury, and David K. Urion, an associate professor of neurology who treats children with cognitive impairments like autism and attention deficit disorder, are giving lectures at secondary schools and other likely places. They hope to inform students, parents, educators, and even fellow scientists about these new data, which have wide-ranging implications for how we teach, punish, and medically treat this age group. As Jensen told some 50 workshop attendees at Boston’s Museum of Science in April, “This is the first generation of teenagers that has access to this information, and they need to understand some of their vulnerabilities.”

More here.

Gut Reactions

Lisa Margonelli in The Atlantic:

Screenhunter_02_aug_27_1052For more than a hundred million years, termites have lived in obscurity, noticed only by the occasional hungry anteater or, more recently, by dismayed home­owners. Other social insects, such as bees and ants, are celebrated for their industriousness and engineering feats, but popular culture has not gotten around to cheering on termites for theirs—even though they build mounds as tall as 20 feet, which may be oriented north-south as accurately as if plotted with a compass, in order to maximize heat from the sun. The extraordinary powers evolution has bestowed on termites—some protect the mound by spraying chemicals from nozzles on their heads at intruders, while others have snapping mandibles that can decapitate invading ants—have similarly failed to elevate their status. On the contrary: last year, scientists at the London Natural History Museum called termites “social cockroaches” and proposed reclassifying them, in a paper brusquely titled “Death of an Order.”

The more closely one examines the termite, the more mysteries one finds. In some species, if a termite discovers a contamination in the mound, it alerts everyone else, and a hygiene frenzy begins. As a disease passes through a mound, the survivors vaccinate the young with their antennae. When a mound’s queen is no longer capable of reproduction, the workers may gather around her distended body and lick her to death.

More here.

A Man or a Girl’s Blouse?

Jeremy Harding in the London Review of Books:

3008eu2At the time of the parliamentary elections in Serbia earlier this summer, the possibility that Radovan Karadzic, once the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, might be handed over to stand trial at The Hague seemed remote. The acquittal of the former KLA leader Ramush Haradinaj in April had stunned opinion in Serbia and added to the sense that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was a Serb-grinding machine which spat out Bosnians, Kosovo Albanians and Croats intact. The idea of any more Serbs going on trial was not popular: even someone like Karadzic, born in Montenegro, long resident in Sarajevo and regarded by many as a ludicrous figure. His arrest late last month illustrates how rapidly things are changing in Serbia, and how keen the new pro-European leadership is to drive its policies forward. The process of EU accession has long been conditional on the delivery of the big three: Karadzic, Goran Hadzic, a Croatian Serb wanted for the massacre of Croats in Vukovar in 1991, and Ratko Mladic, the hands-on commander at Srebrenica. But the capture of Dr Karadzic – psychiatrist, poet, New Age healer, telegenic bigot and mass murderer – is the greater public relations coup.

More here.

Seyla Benhabib on the public sphere


SB: For me, Habermas’ s most important contribution has been his reformulation of the concept of rationality, in terms of communicative rationality. He sees communicative rationality as reason-giving; as concrete practices of answering, response and interrogation. For me as well this concept of rationality is a foundation and a premise. I would say that all my work presupposes the validity of that transition to communicative rationality. I have been most interested in the connection of communicative rationality to ethics and deliberative democracy and in this sense the public sphere concept has been crucial. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere was so significant because it also contained his exchange with, or distancing from, Hannah Arendt. For Arendt, the public sphere is dominated by a visual metaphor. It is a metaphor of those we can see, who are united in a public square; it is the metaphor of citizens being present to one another. Habermas disembodies the public sphere from the Greek model by saying that the public evolves into the reading public with the advent of Enlightenment and modernity. This is more a virtual community of authors, readers and writers, and one does not need to be present to one another physically. But this reading public is at the same time also the embodiment of critical public opinion. The book, however, is about the structural transformation of the public sphere of the 18th century into the 20th and towards the end he describes a further transformation where there is s shift from the ‘reading public’ to the ‘culture consuming public’ with the rise of the mass journalisms and radio. Because the book was published in 1962 the electronic media is not discussed, but already the emergence of mass journalism with daily circulation, radio and to a lesser extent, television, are commented upon. In a mode quite typical of Theodor Adorno’s thesis on mass culture, Habermas presents this transformation as a kind of decline. We often forget the really negative evaluation of this transformation in the second half of the book.

more from Reset here.

empson on wit


I have been trying to build a theory about the way complex meanings are fitted together in a single word, especially the “key word” of a long poem, in which one would expect to find some­thing worth examining. I thus approached the Essay on Criticism rather coolly, as a specimen likely to provide crude examples; but I now think that the analysis improves the poem a great deal, and lets us recover the way it was meant to be read. Critics may naturally object that the Augustans did not deal in profound complexities, and tried to make the words as clear-cut as possible. This is so, but it did not stop them from using double meanings intended as clear-cut jokes. The performance inside the word wit, I should maintain, was intended to be quite obvious and in the sunlight, and was so for the contemporary reader; that was why he thought the poem so brilliant; but most modern readers do not notice it at all, and that is why they think the poem so dull.

more from Empson’s 1950 essay at Hudson review here.

Double first for Large Hadron Collider

From Nature:

Control_room Champagne corks popped at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) this weekend after one of the facility’s four giant particle detectors tasted its first authentic data. Crammed into a stuffy control room on the afternoon of Friday 22 August, physicists tracked the debris produced by protons that had struck a block of concrete during a test of the €3 billion (£2.1 billion) collider’s beam-injection system.

Some 15 years in construction, the LHC is based at the European particle facility CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, and is due to fully switch on its proton beams on 10 September. But the LHC’s particle detectors have been recording hits from cosmic rays for several months — and Friday’s test now marks the first time particle tracks have been reconstructed from a man-made event generated by the collider. “It’s amazing to have seen the first LHC tracks,” Themis Bowcock of University of Liverpool, UK, who led the team, told Nature. “It’s quite overwhelming actually.”

The first useful physics data is expected to come in October, when the two counter-rotating beams of protons racing through the LHC’s 27-kilometre-long tunnels are made to collide, packing sufficient energy into a small enough space to produce fundamental particles from thin air. Full high-energy collisions at a combined energy of 14 trillion electron volts will begin next spring, exceeding the energies accessible to the current world record holder — the Tevatron at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois — by a factor of seven. The LHC’s high-energy collisions will allow physicists to search for new particles such as the fabled Higgs boson, which is thought to be responsible for conferring the property of mass on other particles.

More here.

painting and what’s important


Why would 21st century bird-watchers – to say nothing of doctors or architects – still consult watercolors and gouaches for information? It seems odd that painting would have anything to contribute to our accumulated trove of megapixels, much less that it would be a preferred medium among fact-seeking insiders. But painting offers something the mechanical methods don’t – a sophisticated technology of its own for showing us what we really need to see. And although Audubon himself (a fierce innovator) would probably be surprised to find his technique still going strong, his drawings provide an excellent example of just what makes painting so irreplaceable.

Looking at the many handsome examples in the new “Audubon: Early Drawings” – due to be published this fall by Harvard, this is the first book to collect and reproduce the pastel, ink, and watercolor studies from early in his career – it’s not hard to glean the first principle that makes his illustrations so effective: spareness. Although Audubon usually sketches in some contextual clues – a tree stump, some sand, three or four leaves – his pages are remarkably blank. What he is really studying is the bird, so Audubon surrounds the specimen – the osprey, the bullfinch, or the linnet – in white, letting his notes take care of the habitat, migration patterns, and the rest. Audubon preemptively limits the context, isolating and foregrounding the more salient details so we know at a glance what’s important and what isn’t.

more from Boston Globe Ideas here.

The novel is changing. James Wood, not so much.

Our own Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:

Morgan_in_hatHow Fiction Works isn’t actually about how fiction works. To be obsessed with the mechanics of words and sentences, to see literature as essentially an enclosed system with internal rules, is to be a formalist, and James Wood, for all his formality, isn’t a formalist. He admits as much. In the Preface to How Fiction Works Wood writes, “when I talk about free indirect style I am really talking about point of view, and when I am talking about point of view I am really talking about character, and when I am talking about character I am really talking about the real, which is at the bottom of my inquiries.” For James Wood, fiction is about the world, not about itself.

Wood calls his book How Fiction Works for two reasons. The first is that he’s a cocky son-of-a-bitch at the top of his game and he’s ready to make serious claims. He is in full confidence and he should be. Nobody else is writing about literature with anything like his pop and verve. The second reason is that he’s really using the word “works” in a secondary sense of the term. He isn’t using the word in the sense of “operates” or “functions.” He isn’t meaningfully interested in technique. Instead, he’s using “works” in the sense of: “Darling, that dress really works on you,” or, “I wouldn’t know what to do with that chair but it really works on this veranda.” “Works” here means something more like “comes together” or “does what it is generally meant to do.” The biggest clue — other than what Wood actually says in the book — that this is what he means by “works” is the title on the front cover. It isn’t How Fiction Works, but How Fiction Works. Already right there, in that emphasis, Wood is telling us that he’s after something bigger than mere technique. He is out for metaphysics, for an argument about the nature of reality and what it means to be a human “self.” That’s what Wood really cares about, and it just so happens that literature is in a special place to deliver the goods. Literature, to put it bluntly, has a special relationship to truth.

More here.

Sex and the Olympic city

Matthew Syed in the Times of London:

Cook385_386791aI am often asked if the Olympic village – the vast restaurant and housing conglomeration that hosts the world’s top athletes for the duration of the Games – is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is. I played my first Games in Barcelona in 1992 and got laid more often in those two and a half weeks than in the rest of my life up to that point. That is to say twice, which may not sound a lot, but for a 21-year-old undergraduate with crooked teeth, it was a minor miracle.

Barcelona was, for many of us Olympic virgins, as much about sex as it was about sport. There were the gorgeous hostesses – there to assist the athletes – in their bright yellow shirts and black skirts; there were the indigenous lovelies who came to watch the competitions. And then there were the female athletes – literally thousands of them – strutting, shimmying, sashaying and jogging around the village, clad in Lycra and exposing yard upon yard of shiny, toned, rippling and unimaginably exotic flesh. Women from all the countries of the world: muscular, virile, athletic and oozing oestrogen. I spent so much time in a state of lust that I could have passed out. Indeed, for all I knew I did pass out – in a place like that how was one to tell the difference between dreamland and reality?

It was not just the guys. The women, too, seemed in thrall to their hormones, throwing around daring glances and dynamite smiles like confetti. No meal or coffee break was complete without a breathless conversation with a lithe long jumper from Cuba or an Amazonian badminton player from Sweden, the mutual longing so evident it was almost comical.

More here.  [Thanks to Asad Raza.]

Tuesday Poem


A Blade of Grass
Brian Patten

You ask for a poem.Image_blade_of_grass

I offer you a blade of grass.

You say it is not good enough.

You ask for a poem.


I say this blade of grass will do.

It has dressed itself in frost,

It is more immediate

Than any image of my making.


You say it is not a poem,

It is a blade of grass and grass

Is not quite good enough.

I offer you a blade of grass.


You are indignant.

You say it is too easy to offer grass.

It is absurd.

Anyone can offer a blade of grass.


You ask for a poem.

And so I write you a tragedy about

How a blade of grass

Becomes more and more difficult to offer,


And about how as you grow older

A blade of grass

Becomes more difficult to accept.


Ahmed Faraz dies: poetry loses a voice, people a friend

From Dawn:

Faraz Islamabad, Pakistan: A famed and eminent career in Urdu poetry and a life lived richly in the pursuit of progressive ideals has come to an end. Acclaimed, admired and widely sung, his poetry was rich in romance and progressive ideas on the side of the great unwashed and the downtrodden of the earth. His voice was unwelcome in the halls of power. He opposed usurpers and dictators alike. His reward was exile during the regime of Gen Ziaul Haq, who could not tolerate his association with the PPP government when he became the head of the Pakistan Academy of letters. Upon return of democratic rule, he was appointed head of the National Book Foundation. He earned recognition as a poet early with the publication of his first collection of verses. Successive books of poetry added to his stature as a leading poet of the country and the Urdu language.

His name is reckoned with among the great of his contemporaries — Faiz, Rashed, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi. He had a strong bass and a plaintive Sing-song style of his own in which he recited his verse to adulating audiences at mushaeras that made him a household name among lovers of poetry. In the last decade of his life largely during general Musharraf’s regime he had a hard time keeping his job as head of the national book foundation that he ultimately lost. His subdued disclaimers had then no holds left and he came out openly against military dictatorship and returned the national award that had been conferred on him. Since then in all of his public appearances he was strong in his opposition to the unlawful regime. He gave his full support to the lawyers movement for the restoration of judiciary.

Although he will live in the romance and passion of his lyrical poetry, his death will e widely mourned, because in him the weak and the poor of the land have lost a friend.

(Note: Dedicated to my sister Dr. Atiya Khan and brother in law, Dr. Tariq Khan who were Faraz Sahib’s dearest friends. The entire Raza clans deeply mourns the loss of this beloved and great personality from our lives).

More here.

Obama’s Convention Acceptance Speech: An Advance Copy

Michael Blim

I am printing here an advance copy of one half of Barak Obama’s upcoming convention acceptance speech.

For the record, I obtained it through a family friend who labors in the bowels of Chicago’s Daley Democratic Machine. I am calling him Billy here so that his gift to me doesn’t bring down the wrath of Richie Daley on his head. Billy has a no-show job at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. I don’t ask him what he does there, because I am pretty sure he doesn’t do anything.

The only time you can be sure of finding Billy is at his apartment in the 42nd ward two weeks before every Election Day. He’s a precinct captain. And now I guess you understand why he has a no-show job. I heard via a mutual friend that he spends most of his time in Las Vegas running a strip club.

Billy sent me the speech in a PDF. He had gotten it from his sister-in-law who does clerical work inside the Obama inner sanctum in Chicago. She had given Billy the PDF because she figured that he wouldn’t be watching the convention, with the Sox and Cubs in tight pennant races and all. Billy wrote me that she sent it on to the whole clan in Bridgeport. He thought a scoop like this might generate interest in my column, given that he thinks nobody reads it, and he is a loyal friend and wants to see me make out as a writer.

Given that the whole Bridgeport clan has this part of the speech, and most of them are connected, I decided to put this out, and see if I can pick up a reader or two.

The following is the part of Obama’s acceptance speech that concerns foreign policy:

“The Republicans say that I talk a lot about change, but I don’t say what I want to do.

Not true, but just so there is no mistaking what I intend to do as president, let me lay out my new direction for American foreign policy.

I am going to make big changes.

First, the Iraq war was the biggest mistake America has made since the Vietnam War, and it has cost over 4000 men and women their lives. Tens of thousands will carry grievous wounds around for the rest of our lives. Countless tens of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives, suffered terrible injuries, or are worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein.

I intend to pull out our troops by the end of the first year of my term. There is already a consensus in the country that this is the best thing to do. There is no guarantee that a McCain administration, once they get in, will do it.

I will. And I will not leave garrisons of American troops on Iraqi soil after the combat pullout. They would be a provocation for Iraqis and their neighbors who wish to govern themselves without American interference. Their resentment would put our troops constantly in harm’s way.

Everybody is coming home. You can count on it.

Second, I favor engagement – not war or isolation — with Iran. Only war could possibly stop them from building nuclear weapons if they choose to. This would be a disastrous course of action. Even a cold war with Iran would fail. We couldn’t stop friends like Pakistan and India, so what gives us the confidence that our hostility will change their minds?

My administration is not going to war with Iran. It is better to establish a relationship with them. It would be even more important if they develop nuclear weapons.

Some argue that we must use force and eliminate Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities to support and protect Israel. I ask you: Since when has Israel ever needed defending? The certain knowledge that Israel would use its A bomb against Iran is deterrent enough. Deterrence worked between the former Soviet Union and us during the Cold War, and it seems to be working between Pakistan and India. Let’s leave Iran to decide its own fate.

Third, we should leave the Israelis and Palestinians to sort out their destinies. Our involvement doesn’t help. Instead, it hurts the chances for peace. Because the United States has given Israel our unconditional support, Palestinians believe they cannot trust us to be even-handed, and they are right. Our constant pressure drives them further away from making peace. Israel too, given our total support, has no real incentive to make peace. We provide each of an excuse. In the long run, they are locked in a deadly and ruinous embrace.

The Palestinians and the Israelis must make their own peace, and their chances of success increase if we get out of the way.

Fourth, we had better acknowledge that we face a new cold war if we do not find better ways of coexisting with Russia. We can blame former President Putin and his governments for making it more likely. But it takes two to make a cold war.

We never stop to consider Russia’s position. We told them to make an American economy out of the shambles of the failed Soviet system. After years of trying and failing, they went back to their old ways of doing things. At least for the time being, their new arrangement works.

When they were down, we lorded it over them. Our plan didn’t work, and the Russian people suffered terribly.

So the state once more controls Russia’s massive corporations, and Russian citizens enjoy what we consider a limited set of civil liberties.

This is their affair. Just as we would resent former President Putin lecturing us about how we eliminated many of our civil liberties after September 11, they find it irritating too to be told how they should run their society.

We also don’t seem to get it about why they are becoming more aggressive. How would we feel if Canada became a close ally with Russia – a second Cuba in other words? We are expanding NATO, the historic bulwark against Soviet ambitions, to their very borders. We would never stand for it, and they won’t either.

How would we feel if Russia put missiles of any sort in Canada or in Cuba again? John Kennedy wouldn’t stand for it, and once more today, neither would we.

We would risk war, and that is the point. If we want to work with Russia, we need to understand its motives – not prattle on about how the Old Russian bear is returning. We need to help find a new détente that will strengthen the treaty obligations that we, the Europeans, and the Russians agreed to when we ended the Cold War. We need to find ways among all of us to make peace and cooperation more desirable.

The bottom line: Nobody needs a new cold war, least of all our friends in central and Eastern Europe. For their sake, we need to support mutual respect and understanding on the part of all the nations of Europe, including the Soviet Union, and avoid unwittingly encouraging Russian aggression.

Fifth, we need to become again, as Franklin Roosevelt put it, a good neighbor to countries near us and to nations around the globe. We consider America great humanitarian, and we are. But we are also quick to tell others what to do, and to back it up with force.

We have military bases in 153 countries. We have half a million soldiers and their dependents stationed permanently abroad. We have an array of weapons and the ability to project deadly force on the ground within 48 hours anywhere in the world.

We need to turn this around. We need to pull back, and give up the bases. They are only an incentive to our meddling in the affairs of others. If nations need our help, we can provide it quickly and efficiently. And we have much to do at home. Our neighbors need the freedom to pursue their own paths to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sixth, the threat of terrorism. I believe we have accomplished more to defeat terrorism with intelligence, with vigilance, and with stealth than with our military operations. Terrorists do not form armies. They are not even revolutionary guerillas wanting to take over nations. They are persons who want to make the world suffer for what they believe are its sins. They seek vengeance and believe wrongly that violence converts people to their cause.

Let us continue to treat them for what they are: international criminals whom we must pursue relentlessly until they are ours. No war can successfully destroy a small group or a network of the angry and unappeased. Smart police work and counter-terrorist initiatives can — and will under my administration.

Finally, we should support the United Nations, and help it have greater impact on the world’s many crises. Let us recall that the United Nations was America’s idea. Franklin Roosevelt made its creation part of the post-World War II settlement. We need to reaffirm his noble vision by helping to make a stronger United Nations.

Mankind’s success as a species depends upon the existence of a grand arbiter such as the United Nations that protects the concerns of all in the management of our world.

To get America moving in a new direction, it must start with us. Let us help the United Nations grow. Let it discover a new role as the arena where peace is made, and agreements undertaken observed.

Let us grow too. Let us find a new way of being a great power. Let us use our power for good rather than our power for war. Let us work together with all peoples and nations of good will, and make the world a better place.

This, my fellow Americans, is change you can believe in. Americans young and old have heard the call. They hunger for changes that will be more than promises. They want changes that revolutionize our ways of life and that of citizens of the world wherever they find themselves.

More of the same will not do. Look at our performance over the past eight years. Does anyone want four more years like the last eight?

John Kennedy once quoted an ancient Chinese proverb that said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

If I become your president, I will help us take this new step together. Let us work to build a world of peace and prosperity for us – and for our global neighbors. “

Wow, helluva speech! Change I believe in.

Glad too that I could reproduce it here, as I know that outside the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, many of you have teams in pennant races and such.

So I say thanks to Billy’s sister in law for the sneak peak and the scoop. I have pennants on the mind too, so go Cubs – and Barak too!