Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does He Imagine That Some Wisp of Cloud Reveals the Signature of Things to Come?

Motherfucking Obama:

The United States has begun launching drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen under new authority approved by President Obama that allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known, U.S. officials said...

U.S. officials said that Obama approved the use of “signature” strikes this month and that the killing of an al-Qaeda operative near the border of Yemen’s Marib province this week was among the first attacks carried out under the new authority.

The decision to give the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) greater leeway is almost certain to escalate a drone campaign that has accelerated significantly this year, with at least nine strikes in under four months. The number is about equal to the sum of airstrikes all last year.

The expanded authority will allow the CIA and JSOC to fire on targets based solely on their intelligence “signatures” — patterns of behavior that are detected through signals intercepts, human sources and aerial surveillance, and that indicate the presence of an important operative or a plot against U.S. interests.

Until now, the administration had allowed strikes only against known terrorist leaders who appear on secret CIA and JSOC target lists and whose location can be confirmed.

Congressional officials have expressed concern that using signature strikes would raise the likelihood of killing militants who are not involved in plots against the United States, angering Yemeni tribes and potentially creating a new crop of al-Qaeda recruits.

Silly Congressional officials: that creating a new crop of al-Qaeda recruits? That isn't a danger, it's the motherfucking point.


Dana Gioia

Sometimes a child will stare out of a window
for a moment or an hour—deciphering
the future from a dusky summer sky.

Does he imagine that some wisp of cloud
reveals the signature of things to come?
Or that the world’s a book we learn to translate?

And sometimes a girl stands naked by a mirror
imagining beauty in a stranger's eyes
finding a place where fear leads to desire.

For what is prophecy but the first inkling
of what we ourselves must call into being?
The call need not be large. No voice in thunder.

It's not so much what's spoken as what's heard—
and recognized, of course. The gift is listening
and hearing what is only meant for you.

Life has its mysteries, annunciations,
and some must wear a crown of thorns. I found
my Via Dolorosa in your love.

And sometimes we proceed by prophecy,
or not at all—even if only to know
what destiny requires us to renounce.

O Lord of indirection and ellipses,
ignore our prayers. Deliver us from distraction.
Slow our heartbeat to a cricket's call.

In the green torpor of the afternoon,
bless us with ennui and quietude.
And grant us only what we fear, so that

Underneath the murmur of the wasp
we hear the dry grass bending in the wind
and the spider's silken whisper from its web.


  1. I saw Jane Siberry play a little club on campus back in the 80s. She's very short.

  2. Yes. Saw her a bunch of times in the 80s (before she changed her name to Issa and, unfortunately, seemed to have run out of ideas), two special times, once at Goucher during *The Walking* tour she and her band were terrific and then seeing her solo her at Hilltop's Gaston Hall. I still dig her first six albums.

  3. She's doing salons (fan-organized home concerts) between nights supporting K.D. Lang this May and June.

  4. She and Lang have been friends for years, and Lang covered Siberry's *Calling All Angels* to some success.

    The Gaston Hall show was for Siberry's *Maria* tour, the album when she tried a jazz turn (though she did a spookily wonderful Calling All Angels that, in spooky Gaston Hall, was chillingly beautiful). That came after *When I Was a Boy,* which the last and my favorite of her original six. After Maria she did a kid's album and changed her name. I've nothing against who she was or what she was trying, I just didn't care much for the new sound. From what I read she's happy where she is. I hope so.

  5. You can chop down Siberry.

    Also: remember your manners. Thunder gave you a lovely present that, coincidentally, demolishes your entire worldview with its awesomeness. Now thank the nice octogenarian.