Archive for October, 2006

October 29, 2006

“A calm voice of reason during trying times.”

Today’s Dayton Daily News has a feature piece about SILK ROAD TO RUIN. Because the News requires registration, I’m posting it here:

Former Ohio resident paints Central Asia as political gold mine
By Vick Mickunas
Contributing Writer

Turn back the clock 30 years. A junior-high school student perused a National Geographic magazine in his mother’s backyard in Kettering.

He recalled that moment. “I pulled out a fold-out photograph of a pair of horsemen riding across the steppe. Jagged mountains filled the horizon. The photo had been taken in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, which — as I remember it — the magazine described as ‘the most remote place on Earth.’ “

That day, a dream was born. The young man was Ted Rall. He graduated from Fairmont West High School in 1981. In 1996, Rall traced the legendary Silk Road across Asia for a magazine article. His dream had become a reality.

Today, Rall is a nationally renowned political cartoonist, columnist, war correspondent, media pundit, travel writer and the author of more than a dozen books. Based in New York City, he’s made numerous treks to the countries known as the “Stans” — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Central Asia seems remote to most Americans. Rall is convinced that we need to start paying more attention to it. He decided to write an in-depth political analysis of the region.

Those former Soviet republics may be obscure to most of us now, but Rall expects that to change soon. Why? Because the lands contain vast deposits of petroleum and natural gas. The Russians are interested. So are the Chinese.

Rall has written an eye-opening account, Silk Road to Ruin — Is Central Asia the New Middle East? The book details how the United States is making an effort to forge alliances with the leaders of these nations, most of whom are dictators.

We have competition. Rall sees a future where the “superpowers are vying for control of energy-rich areas.” He suggests that U.S. policy in Central Asia needs to change because “we need to have friendly relations with the people of these countries — not with the tyrants who are keeping them down.”

We squandered one opportunity with the collapse of the Soviet Union, he says.

Rall briefed me on the policy errors that took place. “These states became independent in late 1991. This was really Bill Clinton’s ballgame. U.S. policy toward the Stans was shaped by Clinton, and he blew it. It’s gone downhill since then.”

“Since 9/11, George Bush has really ramped up support for these heinous dictators. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have been equally, blissfully unaware, stupid and wrong when it came to Central Asia.”

Silk Road to Ruin is a masterful blend of history, policy, travelogue and insights. This reviewer found it vastly informative and entertaining. Rall serves up pithy essays that offer readers glimpses of the beauties and the dangers of these exotic lands. Rall’s maps, photos and distinctive graphic cartoons illustrate the text.

He’s a frequent guest on CNBC. “I’m a calm voice of reason during trying times,” he says. He’s also a gifted writer.

Ted Rall will give a multimedia presentation for Silk Road at Books & Co. at The Greene, 4453 Walnut St., Beavercreek, at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Silk Road to Ruin — Is Central Asia the New Middle East? by Ted Rall, NBM Publishing, 304 pages, $23.

October 27, 2006

Fan Mail

Some fan mail makes me tingle. This one from Steve was one of them:

I’ve been reading your book, Generalissimo El Busho, a collections of old columns and cartoons.
I was struck by how right you were in your predictions about the eventual course of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Keep it up,

Pundits, after all, are paid for being right most of the time. It’s a sad statement about the failure of the capitalist system that the most well-paid pundits in the country–Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, Brooks, Friedman, Hitchens, etc.–are consistently wrong. If they were picking bum stocks the way they picked bum pols and wars, they’d get canned. Meanwhile, guys like me and Chomsky–who have been right 95% of the time (my big fuck-up was predicting that Howard Dean would be the 2004 Dem nominee) since 2000–get ignored by many media outlets.

There’s a lot less interest in having pundits get right than in having them parrot whatever happens to be the party line at the time. Fortunately, there are actual American readers, like Steve, who keep score.

October 26, 2006

Ted Rall Interview for Halifax’s CKDU Radio

I discussed SILK ROAD TO RUIN on CKDU radio in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

October 25, 2006

Ted Rall Tonight on CNBC

I’ll be debating the war in Iraq and the upcoming midterm elections with former Texas Congressman Dick Armey and political risk theorist Ian Bremmer on Kudlow & Company on CNBC tonight between 5 and 6 pm tonight, East Coast time. Check your local listings for the channel number.

October 20, 2006

Olbermann: The Beginning of the End of America

In case you missed this powerful cry in the televised wilderness. Eight and a half minutes that every American should watch and, more importantly, listen to.

October 19, 2006

Cartoon Callout

I received the following e-mail today about today’s cartoon:

I have been searching for the text of his letter and cannot find it. It must be pretty whiny for you to call him out like this. Do you have a link to it or just the text? I would appreciate it, as would many others.

Here it is.

October 17, 2006

Updated SILK ROAD TO RUIN Book Tour Schedule: NYC Date Added

The following dates remain on my book tour. Other cities will be added as information becomes available.

I will present an audio-visual overview of the current situation in ex-Soviet Central Asia and why it matters to all Americans, followed by a Q&A discussion and, obviously, book signing. Although the emphasis will be on SILK ROAD TO RUIN, we expect to have copies of my upcoming cartoon collection AMERICA GONE WILD (official publication date: October 15) available at these events as well.

Saturday 11/4, 2 pm – Books & Co. at The Greene, 4453 Walnut Street, Beavercreek, Ohio

Wednesday 12/6, TBD – Barnes and Noble Greenwich Village, 396 Ave of the Americas at 8th Street, New York City

Portland and San Francisco – Pending

DON’T SEE YOUR CITY LISTED?

Generally speaking I do signings in cities under one of two conditions: (1) it has a newspaper that regularly publishes my work and can be counted upon to publicize the event or (2) an organization can support my visit with paid publicity, an travel expenses and honorarium. So the best ways to get me to come to your city are to convince your local editor to publish my work or find a college, peace group, etc. to organize the shindig.

I am currently working on dates in San Francisco, Portland (OR) and Los Angeles. There are no plans at this time to come to any other city to support SILK ROAD, but if you’d like me to come and think you can hook up one of the two requisites to make my appearance worth the effort for everyone involved, drop me a line at chet@rall.com.

October 16, 2006

Minneapolis Star-Tribune Mentions SILK ROAD TO RUIN

There’s a not very thrilling description of SILK ROAD TO RUIN in today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

October 16, 2006

Updated SILK ROAD TO RUIN Book Tour Schedule

The following dates remain on my book tour. Other cities will be added as information becomes available.

I will present an audio-visual overview of the current situation in ex-Soviet Central Asia and why it matters to all Americans, followed by a Q&A discussion and, obviously, book signing. Although the emphasis will be on SILK ROAD TO RUIN, we expect to have copies of my upcoming cartoon collection AMERICA GONE WILD (official publication date: October 15) available at these events as well.

Saturday 11/4, 2 pm – Books & Co. at The Greene, 4453 Walnut Street, Beavercreek, Ohio

December – Time and Date TBD – Barnes and Noble, Sixth Avenue at West 8th Street, New York

Portland and San Francisco – Pending

DON’T SEE YOUR CITY LISTED?

Generally speaking I do signings in cities under one of two conditions: (1) it has a newspaper that regularly publishes my work and can be counted upon to publicize the event or (2) an organization can support my visit with paid publicity, an travel expenses and honorarium. So the best ways to get me to come to your city are to convince your local editor to publish my work or find a college, peace group, etc. to organize the shindig.

I am currently working on dates in San Francisco, Portland (OR) and Los Angeles. There are no plans at this time to come to any other city to support SILK ROAD, but if you’d like me to come and think you can hook up one of the two requisites to make my appearance worth the effort for everyone involved, drop me a line at chet@rall.com.