Sunday, June 03, 2007

Day 3, 2007 Book Expo: Partying with librarians & Liberians & Plame....

Regarding librarians: At around 4:30 pm each day, the Book Expo changes flavor and the champagne bottles and cocktail shakers come out. Somebody handed me a glowing concoction in a green-stemmed glass shaped like it might contain a Margarita and I was almost done for. But no. I'm not supposed to drink! So I thrust Satan from me -- but just barely.

"Champagne?" No thanks.

"White wine or red?" Neither. But boy was I tempted. Everyone around me was laughing and partying and actually GIGGLING. I giggled too. And when I finally boarded the cross-town bus to go home, I was accompanied by a bunch of happy, tipsy librarians. I love this expo!

There was a man sitting next to me on the bus ride home and we got to talking. His name was David Andelman and he had just written a book called "A Shattered Peace". He handed me his publicity blurb (and of course I handed him a blurb for my book, entitled "Disaster: A Personal Journey Through George Bush's Middle East". Sorry, I couldn't resist getting in that plug if anyone wants to publish it....)

"Who came to Paris in 1919," said his blurb. "Ho Chi Minh, Lawrence of Arabia, Felix Frankfurter, John Maynard Keynes, Elsa Maxwell and Marcel Proust." And of course we must blame most of the troubles in the Middle East today on the horrendously disastrous policies of George W. Bush, but that whole tangled mess actually started back with the Treaty of Versailles. Rep. Ron Paul was right. 9-11 WAS a blow-back effect -- a blow-back from almost 90 years of European and American greed and mismanagement and trying to play God in the Middle East. Sigh. Now I don't think even God can sort that mess out.

And speaking of God, our bus-full of happy librarians just passed St. Patrick's Cathedral. And there's St. Barts. And the New York Public Library, a book-lover's holy grail. At that point, all the librarians got off the bus.

And now it's Day 3, the last day of the 2007 Book Expo. "Jane! Please!," whispered Jimminy Cricket in my ear, "Don't get any more books!" Good advice. I'll never make it to JFK airport if I do. And then I'll be forced to haunt the Jacob Javits Convention Center forever or else throw myself on the mercy of Donald Trump.

Regarding Liberians: Earlier today, I talked with Brendan Gullifer, an Australian journalist. "Well, since you've been kicked out of Iraq" -- all I did was blog what I saw! Honest! I practically gushed with praise for our military and only dissed Bush and Cheney, who obviously needed dissing! -- "why don't you go to Liberia instead? They just elected a 64-year-old grandmother as president. And she plans to clean up all the corruption."

Hey. I'm a 64-year-old grandmother too! And if she can clean up Liberia, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, then maybe I could go over there and get some ideas on how to clean up US-occupied Iraq -- it's really really corrupt, outdone only by Myanmar and Haiti. But how would I get to Liberia? I'd have to eat hecka lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to save up to get over there. Plus what airline even goes to Liberia these days?

"Do they have oil in Liberia too?" I asked.

"Yes." Well, that explains the corruption. The pattern always seems to be the same these days -- the Rule of Law falls by the wayside whenever oil is involved.

Maybe President Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia is an example of the new wave to come. Maybe it is up to the women of this world to get out their brooms and clean up its messes.

Regarding Valerie Plame: I was standing in line waiting to get the author of "Band of Sisters" to sign my book, when I started chit-chatting with the librarian next to me. We talked about the new book -- about the female soldiers in Iraq. "I was in Baghdad last month," I said, "and I was totally impressed with all the female soldiers I met. They were professional and top quality -- as were all the American soldiers I met in Iraq." It's not the soldiers in Iraq who threw me out of Iraq -- it was the State Department under Cheney, Rice and Bush who did it because they didn't like my politics. At least that's what I've heard.

"That sounds like the same thing that happened to Valerie Plame," commented the librarian. "She spoke yesterday. Apparently the CIA is holding up the release of her new book 'Fair Game' from Simon & Schuster because they claim it contains classified information. Plame explained that the info hadn't been classified when she wrote the book -- and that the CIA is only trying to re-classified it now because of what she wrote. Plame said that this attack on her book -- and herself -- has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with the Bush/Cheney political agenda."