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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Yanqui Mike: "Meltdown"

Please caption this photo, won't you?

Thanks to Yanqui Mike for this great cross-post - THANKS MIKE!

The back burner is both a wonderful and treacherous place as any cook will tell you.

The US President returns Thursday to South America to lift the lid on his south-of-the-border concoction that has given him fits in recent years.

Long gone are the waiter-in-chief's euphoric descriptions from his first Summit of the Americas in Quebec back in April of 2001,

"Amigo y amigos, it's an honor to be here. We have a great vision before us,
a fully democratic hemisphere bound together by goodwill and free trade. That's a tall order. It is a chance of a lifetime. It is a responsibility we all share."

In September of that year, another "chance of a lifetime" apparently pushed that item off the menu.

Exactly 12 months after the Summit, his administration was wiping egg of it's face for cheering the short-lived ouster of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

He kicked off 2003 with a State of the Union speech that failed to even mention Latin America. His best buddy, Fox, took a beating in the Mexican mid-terms. Soy, corn, beef, sugar and other commodities figured prominently as China became Argentina's biggest export market in June and July and, during the first eight months of 2003, Brazil's exports to China jumped 136 per cent to reach nearly $3 billion. The Neo-liberal souffle began to collapse as one-by-one the left began to take the presidencies of South America.

Bush closed 2004 by going to Chile to try to change prevailing tastes toward US arrogance and neglect of the region. He ended up trying to whip some Chilean security guards in the presidential palace.

Bolivia's Democracy Center released a statement in 2005, "With the arrival of soldiers so close to Bolivia's border, people here are understandably worried that the US is cooking up something even more drastic" as the US deployed troops to Paraguay. Almost simultaneously Bush garnished the Summit of the Americas in Argentina as human piƱata.

Less than 90 days later, the Bush franchise lost a couple of stars when elections brought to the table Chilean Socialist President Bachelet and the self-described "US's worst nightmare", President Morales of Bolivia.

Maybe Bush can save this big pot of Latin America Bush by simply stirring things up!

The centerpiece of this week's tour of South America will be another attempt to peel-away yet another Mercosur common market nation.

This time, tiny Uruguay which has been feeling the heat from Argentina over the European construction of a pulp mill too dirty to be allowed in Europe. The mill's location on a shared river across from Buenos Aires has been causing indigestion for more than a year.

Bush's fat will be held to the fire, however, by Argentina's guest chef, Hugo Chavez, who has been invited to hold a public demonstration on the Uruguayan border.

That big pot of Latin America has been heating up the kitchen for a long time now. The world watches to see if this is too much heat for Bush.

- posted by Yanqui Mike