Almost forty years ago, the US Armed Forces used Agent Orange to devastate the forests of Vietnam so that the opposition wouldn't have cover or sanctuary to maintain their guerilla style tactics. Normally, not only does that mean that soldiers would have no place to run, but a short a while later, that also meant that farmers and peasants had no means of income, as entire crops would be destroyed.
However, and more menacingly so, the rate of birth defects rose significantly since the spread of dioxin-filled Agent Orange, and each generation inherits the defects from the past. And what are the odds that those born of birth defects did not come from families of soldiers, but from civilians instead? Click the jump to see the video report.
The policy of the US government is that the nation isn't responsible for these crimes, as they were cleared in 1975. However, in the face of science and the human condition, that defense doesn't hold up, and the US has agreed to lend aid to the devastated regions (and really, to do the crime is one thing, to deny it in the face of evidence is a shady thing to do all around).
Even forgetting the politics that lead to the failed invasion of Vietnam, the fact remains that there are people whose sole crime was being born of a certain family line and caught in the crossfire between two powers that were never concerned with them. They need whatever help they can get, so I post this up:
The mission of the Vietnam Friendship Village Project is to cultivate reconciliation and heal the wounds of the Vietnam War by uniting veterans and caring citizens through international cooperation in the building and support of the Village of Friendship, a living symbol of peace.
No Man is An Island, but They Made Their Own
In honor of the great Ricardo Montalban of Star Trek, Fantasy Island, and Spy Kids fame, who recently passed away: arguably the smoothest car commercial ever made. We in the 21st Century have our commercials of BMWs, Mercedes, Infinitis, and Audis, with their orchestras and ground breaking special effects, but none reach the class, comfort, and luxury of this commercial right here, courtesy of the great Montalban:
I'm just surprised that no car company had tried to retain him. Perhaps Congress forbade Montalban from joining any car manufacturer as a spokesman for fear of monopolizing the auto industry.
And here is a video in honor of Patrick McGoohan, who also recently passed away. He starred in The Prisoner, one of the quintessential 1960s Brit shows, and downright just weird and freaky (which makes it so delicious in the first place), playing the clever but perhaps doomed Number 6, trapped on a mysteriously surreal island and was perhaps the precursor to Lost:
How many times have we all wanted to say things like he does, speaking out for the cause of individuality, free-will, and non-conformity in the face of mindlessly and endlessly bureaucratic monoliths like the DMV, college registration, and credit card companies?
Ultimately, what applies to McGoohan's iconic counterculture character of Number 6 can also apply to Ricardo Montalban: neither of them strictly conformed to a prevalent trend, but instead took one and made it their own, bringng memorable strength, style, and (dare I say) poise to new heights. They didn't make the pack, they lead it.