Wednesday, October 20, 2004

RIP Deloris Whitmer 

My grandmother passed away yesterday. It's a blessing, if you believe in that sort of thing. She had almost completely lost her mind over the last several years, which was terrible to watch because, growing up, she was a strong woman. She graduated from the top of her class in her small high school, and was a working woman before that was an acceptable thing to be. She met my grandfather and they moved to Texas.

It's a strange feeling because I've missed her for some time now, only rarely catching glimpses of the woman I knew as a child in a few moments of lucidity she could force when I would visit her in Houston. Now, I can go back to remembering her as she was before she fell into dementia. I can remember my grandmother, instead of the woman I would go visit who was so frightened all the time.

And now my dad, who has been nothing short of heroic in caring for her, and protecting her from herself, can rest a little as well. I hope he finds peace in this as she has done.

RIP Grandma.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bob Harris 

Has a new blog.

He used to guest post regularly over at Tom Tomorrow's place.

Check it out.

Funny Headline (sorta) Alert 

It's been awhile, and not surprisingly this one is political. Not really a headline, but I think the CNN crawler counts.

Via the Salon War Room



The Talent Show on Religion 

Okay...traditional disclaimer about how I like my friends who are religious and all that.

But everyone who actually pays attention to what I say or write (i.e., nobody, really, but who's counting?) knows that I find jokes undermining religion to be funny, so here's a nice little quip from Greg at the Talent Show while discussing astrology:
Sorry guys, no astrology post for you. It probably would have been funny, but it just wasn't worth reading through all the crap about star signs and moons over my hammy. If I wanted to subject myself to vague metaphysical nonsense based on the pseudo-spiritual writings by people who don't understand science and are just looking for an easy way to explain the world, I'd go to church.
Ouch...nice one.

Major Speech on Terrorism 

Bush's major speech on terrorism, as anyone with a brain knew beforehand, was really a ruse to get a campaign speech aired for free by cable news.

Well Ezra at Pandagon delves into how much Bush talked about terrorism in this major, important address on that very subject.

Did a quick term count in yesterday's "major" speech on terrorism. The results, amazingly, are even more ridiculous than I expected:
• Frequency of John Kerry (with the terms "Senator", "Senator Kerry", or "my opponent"): 41

• Frequency of "Saddam Hussein": 4

• Frequency of "Al Qaeda": 1

• Frequency of "Osama bin-Laden" or "bin-Laden": 0
The verdict? For a guy everyone claims is so serious about fighting terrorism, he sure doesn't talk about it much in his "major speeches on terrorism."

Monday, October 18, 2004

Kerry and the WoT 

More good stuff from Kevin Drum in response to Dan Drezner, who's 80% vote-for-Kerry certitude has wavered to 70% in light of people saying the same shit they've been saying for 3+ years.

It's incomplete, and I don't have time to add to it right now with a midterm looming, but it's a start.

I think that tactically the key is the state actor vs. non-state actor view of the WoT.

I think that philosophically the key is democracy building from the top down vs. democracy building from the bottom up (i.e., grassroots).

On both of those points, I side with John Kerry.

Redisctricting at the SCotUS 

I have to say, I'm surprised to hear the SCotUS is touching our little redistricting battle down here in Texas. Apparently, they've forced reconsideration.

It'll be interesting to see how that pans out.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Staying the Course of To Be Provided 

I just want one thing from those who are generally liberal, but support Bush because they think that Iraq was a valid front in the broader "War on Terror" and that those who deny this fact are misunderstanding the broad (and, really, liberal) underpinnings of the broader war as one of liberalism against facism.

The one thing I want? Admission that the Bush administration has fucked up the prosecution of the Iraq war drastically.

Give me that and I won't understand your vote for Bush, but at least I can be certain that it comes from deep convictions about something other than the man receiving the vote...

I say this after reading this article from Knight Ridder. The important part:
WASHINGTON - In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."

A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions.

In fact, some senior Pentagon officials had thought they could bring most American soldiers home from Iraq by September 2003. Instead, more than a year later, 138,000 U.S. troops are still fighting terrorists who slip easily across Iraq's long borders, diehards from the old regime and Iraqis angered by their country's widespread crime and unemployment and America's sometimes heavy boots.

"We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.
Now everyone knows I think the war in Iraq was a mistake from the get-go. But even if you think it a valid military adventure, can we at least all agree that the method of its prosecution, from the PR-blitz style of the run-up to the total lack of post-war planning, has been flawed to the point of making what may have been a step forward a step backward. In other words, I feel very strongly that even those who support the Iraq endeavor in theory must reject it in fact, or at least demand that something other than "stay the course" be the plan to fix the country we broke.

"Staying the Course" of "To Be Provided" is never a good idea.

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