Thursday, December 30, 2004

One Other Thing

I don't know if Glenn Reynolds has ever been anything other than a talking head... I'm sure his mom loved him. So he writes in this piece that George W. Bush is really a pretty generous guy after all... in part because he diverted an entire amphibious group from returning to port for some R&R and repair work to disaster relief! Now, I've had my ship turned around before, and I can promise you two things: if they had had a vote the crews would have voted to turn around, but they were not asked for their vote. This is more of Mr. Bush' mouth writing checks that somebody else's ass has to cover.
Again, I have no issue whatever with turning the ARG around... it's clearly a mitzvah... but for that braying ass to take credit for the sacrifice of those thousands of sailors and marines really... and probably inappropriately... chaps my hide.

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Bishop Desmond Tutu

I find that when you're listening to some people... or even reading an interview with one of them... you just can't help but smile. That sounds stupid, I know; but you know that there's nothing but love there... nothing abusive... no vituperation... an occasional loving reproach such as one might expect from a loving teacher or parent. You can just feel that they are at peace.
Maybe it's me... a bias of mine... but some of those angry evangelists you see?... telling me what or who God hates? Well, I think it says a lot about who we are... about who we're becoming... that we've given them such a powerful forum in this country.
The Creator of Life did not create good life and bad life... who would do such a thing as to deliberately create bad life?... just LIFE... and it's all precious. Bishop Tutu knows this, too.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Topical Thoughts

People are dumping on the President for not getting out in front on the tsunami disaster... Hello? Have we not known since 2000 that the man lacks a global perspective? He doesn't know those people and he doesn't care about those people. Fifty two percent of you just reelected him. Deal with it.
Speaking of limiting one's perspective... dumping Jami Miscik at the CIA?... and Mr. Goss has been replacing the professionals with his former House aides?... is anyone else concerned with the nature and extent of American "Intelligence?"
I want to mention bare-handed fishing. I've been berating myself for some of the things I've said about "red-staters" and then I see this. Okay, it's still wrong of me and I apologize. I'd shake hands but... I don't know where theirs have been.
Another thing... I don't like it when people appropriate words. Here I specifically refer to the term "anti-semitic." Anyone with a dictionary ought to know that this refers to a bias against those of mid-East descent, but it has been co-opted by the pro-Zionists to relate exclusively to an anti-Jewish bias. Clearly... to me at least... the European Jews who drove the establishment of Israel don't particularly care for Arabs, and I therefore object to their labeling of anyone as an anti-semite. It's the Judeo-Christians vs Islam. Let's say so and deal with it honestly.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Chaplain's Narrative from Mosul


It's the Holiday Season. Especially this year I'd be the last to try to take anything away from it. That being said I'm also a retired Navy Corpsman who has spent a few holidays eating nasty turkey loaf in a mess tent.
The troops don't pick the wars... you do that... you, through your elected representatives tell us that it's vital to our national interests that we pick up and travel halfway around the world to defend America... that's supposedly why they renamed the Department from the War Department to the Defense Department years back... because we're defending America. Again this year troops are engaged in advancing whatever national objectives took us to Afghanistan and to Iraq... and all the other places we're committed. It isn't politics so far as the troops are concerned... it's their lives.
This link is to the blog of a chaplain who attended to some of the casualties from the bombing of the mess hall near Mosul... 22 dead and 72 wounded. I found it to be a moving but not atypical narrative of a mass casualty evolution. it is real.
Let's try to work it into our Holiday to keep a good thought for the troops. We sent them there.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Thoughts on Today's Bombing

This is the reality. This is what happens during "unconventional" wars. If all you know about war is what you've read then this must come as some horrific surprise... that someone would target a mess hall full of combatants/combat support personnel when they least suspected it. You send your kids over there and maybe you try to reassure yourself that his or her job will keep him or her out of harm's way, but those are your prayers... our prayers. Their prayers - the so-called "insurgents" - are for the strength and commitment to drive us out of there, and they won't pull any punches doing it.
I read about the huge win for democracy in the selection of Karzai to lead Afghanistan - despite reports that he could only campaign in 'safe' zones... and I see a buildup toward the same line of bullshit from Iraq. Someone will be selected at the end of January and Mr. Bush will declare "Mission Accomplished" once again... and men and women will continue to die.

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Friday, December 17, 2004

U.N. Offices Being Bugged!?!

Okay, I can't be jumping in here to post every time I see something like this, but... here's this item where they found a bugging device in the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva.
Hello? We talked about this on Monday! The bugs are most likely American! The whole world (excluding the red states) knows we've been bugging the U.N. phones!
(Who was it who came up with the somewhat ironic twist of having the Republican states identified as "red?")

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Thoughts on Calls for Secretary Rumsfeld to Resign

There's an old saying in management that comes to mind about the futility of trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit...
I am not a fan of Mr. Rumsfeld. My first post on here was to comment on his response regarding the lack of armor on convoy vehicles. Having said that, we're not in Iraq because of Donald Rumsfeld. We're in Iraq because of President George W. Bush who was just reelected last month to four more years in office... and Donald Rumsfeld is the only remaining senior member of this Administration with any military experience whatsoever. I'll grant you that he was a pilot by training and that he served in peacetime, but he did serve... his entire term of obligated service... and in D.C. these days that is saying quite a bit.
That the war in Iraq is a trainwreck is due to the President's decision to fight it. That Mr. Rumsfeld might not be perfectly informed or might misspeak on occasion... well... hello?

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What Can You Say About the Administration?

The insights into the Bush White House just keep on coming...
I'm pretty much over Bernard Kerik... I mean why would anyone want to do a background investigation of the nominee for the Secretary of Homeland Security? I hate the use of "Duh!" as an expression, but...
Today I'm reading where we've continued to do business with a known Russian arms smuggler, Victor Bout... a "Merchant of Death" no less... and once again a Halliburton subsidiary is involved (insert look of surprise here).
The piece that I took a little bit personally was the one about Jenna Bush getting a teaching position in a D.C. public school. I thought about doing that for awhile five years ago, but with a record of reckless driving and DUI convictions in the early 1970s I was kind of "iffy" on whether I could be relied upon to mold impressionable young minds. So... is it me?... is it California?... is it D.C? Is it politics?
I need to mention this business of prisoner abuse... and here... at Gitmo, in Afghanistan, in Iraq?... but it's always the aberrant behavior of a few troops... nothing systemic... and if you do manage to get something out of them by whatever means... well, it would be a shame to let that information just go to waste... Please! We're doing it! Cop to it! Geez, you people in D.C. are worse than my kids about taking responsibility!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Now It's "Intelligent Design"

I'm reading this article about a school district in Pennsylvania that wants to teach Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolutionary theory.
Okay, I may be a little unreasonable about this, but I think you need to answer one simple question: can anything be proven? It comes down to whether you believe that the universe is billions of years old, that fossils have been carbon-dated back millions of years, and that commonalities in DNA demonstrate an evolutionary chain hypothesized by Darwin OR that this entire universe was created over the course of a week just a few thousand years ago.
Listen, I want to be fair and magnanimous about this... If you honestly believe that there's no such thing as global warming, that smoking doesn't cause cancer, and that the human race was designed by an omniscient and omnipotent creator go ahead and teach that to your children. Just keep them away from me because they're going to be stupid.

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Monday, December 13, 2004

Thoughts on Homeland Security

Today is the anniversary of the capture of Saddam Hussein. Do we feel any safer today than we did on December 12, 2003? Seven... eight?... more Marines died in AlAnbar province yesterday. Except for during our invasions of Iraqi territory the only thing Hussein ever did to offend me personally was the missile attack on USS Stark, but we weren't mad at him for that... we were mad at Iran then. Osama bin Laden, of course, remains at large.
Meanwhile last Thursday Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a principal designer of our Middle East policies who never wore a uniform, hosted a Holiday Gala for wounded troops at the Pentagon. (Did he mean to say: "I don't think there's a military in the history of the world that has helped make the country they defend freer and safer and more prosperous and secure.")
Speaking of the uniformed services... the military has now outsourced security screening to a civilian agency under the Secretary of Homeland Security which was that close to being headed by Bernard Kerik.

And the Administration is warming up the machinery to go after the U.N. head of the IAEA, ElBaradei, actually going so far as to wiretap his agency's phones.

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Thoughts on Marriage

I'm seeing posts about marriage... in general and regarding same-sex marriages. For the most part they seem to me to defy logic.
If marriage is a civil state prescribed by law then how is discriminating against same-sex marriages not a violation of those folks' civil rights?
If reproductive capacity is an issue then I have another problem... I'm 57 and my wife is 52. Still Franklin County, Florida gave us their blessing.
I hear about the "sanctity of marriage"... I'm not sure exactly what people mean by that... adultery doesn't seem to be much of an issue... divorce doesn't seem to be a show-stopper.
Honestly, it seems to me that... as much as anything... the anti-gay folks just don't want to see homosexuals leading happy, (otherwise) normal lives. That's what I make of it... pure meanness... and that's sad. Where does that kind of unhappiness come from that one would begrudge the happiness of others?
I've been married four times. I've been wrong before. I mean to do everything in my power to stay by this good woman's side so long as I live... and I sincerely hope that every man and woman on the face of this earth finds, recognizes, and enjoys this kind of happiness.

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Friday, December 10, 2004

An Urge to Say Something

There are things that bug me... I try to let them go but I just can't... How did George Bush get reelected in preference to anyone?... How does Donald Rumsfeld live with himself after throwing off a line like "you go to war with the army you have" as though the war in Iraq was not entirely of our choosing?
I need to articulate some of these things... work through them in my own mind. Read them... don't read them... agree... disagree... These are just my musings... This isn't literature.