Thursday, November 23, 2006


"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am increasingly distrustful of the material accretions that more and more seem to encumber me, and mindful of the rich blessings of fellowship with people such as you. So far, even where I have found people to be wrong-headed or disagreeable, I have been able to come away from each encounter with some new piece of an idea or perspective and I have been richer for the experience.

Thank you for sharing the experience of your life with me, and for sharing mine.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Never Wanted to Hear Him Tell Me About VietNam

I feel the need to vent my feelings about Dubya sharing his insights on comparisons between the VietNam War and the war in Iraq. "We'll succeed unless we quit," my ass.
How are the wars different?
For starters, Dubya ducked one and started the other. With him it's about his mouth writing checks for other asses to cover... I guess that's a similarity, too.
For another, I think that VietNam has a homogenous primary culture, and we got involved to prevent the foreseeable outcome of their self-determination. Iraq has/had three primary cultures artificially combined eighty years ago and held together only by dictators... and we succeeded in removing the dictator. ("Mission Accomplished") All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
How are they similar? We lost a lot of good people in pursuit of a foregone conclusion... but we aren't done yet in Iraq.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Political Observation

When I sat down to think about this post the only thing I really wanted to say was that I think those who are saying that Republicans lost the recent elections because of Dubya are shifting the blame.
I don't believe they lost because Dubya betrayed them. I believe they lost because they betrayed their constituents.
I know several of you give Dubya more credit for brains than I do, but in any case he couldn't have done what has been been done without the consent of the governed in the guise of our representatives to Congress. It's supposed to be all about the constituents, and Congress blew it.

Then I got down to where the piece mentioned a "crankiness that sets in with any administration after six years," and I was struck by another thought: there are differences between the Republican and Democratic parties!
Don't laugh! I'd never thought about it! I haven't kept registration in a political party since 1964 unless I had to choose for a primary election. PACs I've worked with have focused on specific issues. I have no idea what differentiates a moderate Republican from a moderate Democrat.
Ike probably would have been reelected in 1960 despite his failed diplomatic policies in Europe and Cuba because he was Ike. (We liked Ike!) Nixon was disgraced by the Watergate cover-up. Reagan had his Iran-Contra problem. Clinton got busted for lying about shtupping an intern. Dubya is afflicted with his dumbass blind denial of error in the GWOT.
It is possible that these differences are as much personal as political since many of the same people have been involved in the Nixon, Reagan, and Dubya trainwrecks, but I have to say that there seems to be a tendency toward megalomania on the part of one party. Not for nothing, but for me I'm more put off by uber-nationalism and the abridgment of civil rights than I am by womanizing.

P.S. Crankiness? I'm no journalist, but I don't believe I would have dismissed this as "crankiness."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Piece I Wish I'd Written

Please take a minute and read this posted by an Army medic. (Hat Tip to Sean at Doc in the Box)
I had some things I wanted to share about my experiences with Red-Staters during my drive in September, but Sgt. Haibi does a much better job at pointing out the superficial nature of our alleged differences. We despise one another and make war for what; and years from now not even anthropologists can tell the bodies apart.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans/Remembrance Day

We say "Remember", but so often it feels as though we don't.
Memorial Day, originally in remembrance of Civil War dead, is now the "Unofficial Beginning of Summer."
Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day as it is known in other countries, has become the new start of the Holiday shopping season ("Get a Headstart on the Thanksgiving Weekend Holiday Sales").
This is okay; life goes on as it was meant to.
VA Secretary
Jim Nichols suggests that if we wore our medals and ribbons all day as veterans do in other countries it might make society more aware of our presence among them and of our contributions. My sense is that the gesture would be lost on nearly everyone except our brothers and sisters in uniform and their loved ones.
In the U.S.A, we do what we do... or what we did... for however long, and then the more fortunate of us just try to get on with our lives; and that, too, is as it should be. Whatever brought us into the military, I've never met anyone who joined in order to be remembered on Veterans Day.
Still, it would be nice if people would take a moment today on their way to Macy's to remember that none of this came for free.

Friday, November 10, 2006

"Your Face Looks Vaguely Familiar"

A Hat Tip to Rain for sharing this site.
It's humbling... I was hoping for Harrison Ford... James Coburn maybe... Donald Freaking Rumsfeld? That's just wrong!

Happy 231st Birthday!

Happy 231st Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!
Semper Fi!

How Important is Political Correctness?

Once again my eye is drawn to an item I would normally consider completely irrelevant... except that, instead of these people being left to stew in their own juices, they are being pilloried.
A Houston couple with a landscaping business notified a household that they would not be putting in a bid to do their project because the couple requesting the bid was gay... and I still think the English language needs that word back.
This isn't a pharmacist refusing to provide legal contraception. This isn't a public safety agency refusing to preserve life or property. This isn't a fair housing issue. This is a couple in a very crowded service business so blinded by their bias that they'd rather go hungry than go to work for a same-sex couple. Evolution is going to deal with this couple.
My concern is with the public reaction to their refusal. Death threats? Threats against their children? Getting booted from the landscapers' club? Isn't it possible that folks are taking landscaping just a little too seriously?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Couple of Early Thoughts

I have a couple of thoughts I'd like to share.
As I was getting ready for work this morning I heard a political commentator remarking the disarray among Democrats, many of whom had been "forced to run in the center" to win election. I'm just a guy speaking for no one but myself, but I believe that Ms. Pelosi would be making a mistake to assume that a victory was won by the Democrats. A defeat was delivered to the Republicans in large part, I believe, by independent voters.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will enjoy a second term as governor because the Democrats chose to run Phil Angelides against him despite Steve Westley's commanding lead in the polls. If I didn't live in California I'd say that it served them right to lose, but in the process California also lost.
I care no more for the Democrats than I do for the Republicans. I care about issues; and if it's necessary to clean house again in two years that'll be fine by me.
Speaking to Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation, I won't miss him; but Robert Gates to succeed him?
Dr. Gates enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the CIA. He served with Bush, Sr. in the CIA and in the first Bush administration. Nowhere in his C.V. do I see where he knows one damn thing about the military and its operations. He's a friend of Dubya's father and probably a committed public servant, but he doesn't look like a Secretary of Defense to me.
Is this how it's going to be? Rummy gets prepped last weekend to take the fall if the election goes badly and these people move in a shill to take his place?
As of this morning my biggest issue was to knock off the signing statements from the White House. As of this evening I'm wondering if maybe impeachment hearings might not be in order.
That's just me.

A Quick Note

I'm a pretty happy camper this morning. I'll have more to say later about my hopes for the House.
Today I just want to observe that one knows one is voting in Rowland Heights when one poll worker speaks English, one speaks Spanish, one speaks... I think it was Taiwanese, and one speaks Korean. I was first in line yesterday, and watching them get set up and "organized" was... entertaining.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What I Think This Election Is About

I had several things in mind for blog posts this past weekend... especially some questions on California ballots... but as I tried to write them it kept coming to me that, although they are critically important to Californians, I'm not going to be here when it's time to pay the piper, and if the ones who are going to be here sleep through this election then shame on them.
The Administration's braying about Saddam Hussein's guilty verdict and sentencing haunts me. I keep remembering that picture of Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein shaking hands in December, 1983.
Hussein is
convicted for the deaths of 148 Shi'ites in 1982. Mr. Rumsfeld says in 2002 that he spoke to Hussein about the use of chemical weapons at their meeting... although contemporaneous reports do not support that... and the U.S. continued to support him.
This midterm election is not about the Foleys or the Haggards or the DeLays. This election is about what it ultimately means to be an American.
Who are we? In what direction does our moral compass point? Do we have a moral compass? Do we stand for anything?
We talk about gay marriage, but we let complicity in ongoing crimes against humanity go unchallenged. Who explains this to the grandkids? Is this where we just say, "It's complicated?"