Saturday, November 29, 2003
Lots of stuff in the blog world about Bush's trip to Baghdad, especially on Rantingprofs. My take: it was pretty neat. Critics, I'm sure the White House staff was aware of the political capital to be gained, but the fact is anytime you do something right, something good, you win politically. The President did a good thing. He should get the credit he deserves.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Lions 22, Packers 14. F****ng TURNOVERS!! Harrington had a good game, they stopped Ahman, F****NG TURNOVERS!!!
I have to admit, I'm getting tired of listening to commentators kiss Favre's ass. I love the guy, and I believe, with them, that he's the man you want on your team in a tough spot. Just all right, already.
Green needs about 100 more rushing yards to break the all time Packers record of 1474, set by Jim Taylor in, oh, 1654.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
One more thing before I catch a nap (big game today). I posted earlier about gay marriage. Not sure that I sufficiently stressed that it seems to me to be a debate more about the word 'marriage' than anything. Further, I'm deferring judgement on the idea of gay couples adopting, or producing children through artificial insemination or the like. Reason being, a heterosexual couple provides both a male and female adult role model. Of course those situations aren't always perfect either, and I can produce no arguments that definitely exclude gay couples from child rearing. I'm waiting.
Anyway, I want to draw attention to Dahlia Lithwick and David Brooks, both of whom have recently written excellent posts supporting gay marriage.
And yes, I know no one is reading this. I just wanted to save the links.
Okay, that last entry was a little petty. But still, I don't see how the number of extranationals being caught at the border now reflects the number that are already in Iraq.
Again, if the generals are selling, I'm buying; I'm sure there are plenty of disaffected, unemployed Iraqi men available to recruit insurgents from, I'm just not so sure who's doing the recruiting.
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Front page of MJS: ‘Few attacks by non-Iraqis, generals say.’ Subheading: ‘Number caught slipping into country contrasts with larger Bush estimates.’ Well, the ones who get CAUGHT certainly aren’t carrying out the attacks.
MG David Petraeus, 101st Airborne CO, says about 20 people have been caught trying to cross since May. What about before that?
They’re probably right that most insurgents are Iraqi leftovers, but…
If those guys say the insurgents are mostly Iraqis, well, they're on the ground, they're reading the reports and seeing what's going on. I have no reason not to believe them. I have no reason not to believe that their coverage of border areas isn't as good as they say it is. But there was plenty of time before that when the border wasn't being watched by Americans; plenty of time before, and especially during, the war for extranationals to enter Iraq in preparation for a jihad. Certainly there was a lot of talk about such things from hardcore Islamists. So how does this really contradict Bush's assertion? Just asking.
Again, it isn't the ones who get caught that I'm worried about.
Friday, November 21, 2003
The other day, I caught some of a CNN interview with anti-war/anti-Bush person Bianca Jagger (Bianca Jagger?). She said all the usual things; illegal war, no WMD, embarrassment, quagmire, should have gone to the UN, etc. Here's the thing: can't these people get some new ideas? These old bromides must have sentimental value.
Had the UN held Iraq to the 1991 ceasefire agreement, maybe this wouldn't be happening. Had certain members of the Security Council not acted in bad faith (yeah, I'm looking at you, France) regarding Resolution 1441, it might not be happening. As it is, Hussein was allowed to frustrate the inspectors for years, and the Council was split by nations less interested in pressuring Hussein to comply, and more interested in obstructing the efforts of the U.S. and others to do so. I can only speculate as to their reasons. France (told you) is especially culpable; when Colin Powell went back to the UNSC seeking a new resolution to replace 1441, one that would spell out Iraq's obligations and specify penalties for noncompliance, France declared that it would veto any resolution containing a trigger for the use of force, thus rendering any passable resolution useless, while at the same time making a de facto admission that Hussein was unlikely to comply anyway (if they believed that Hussein could be made to disarm peacefully, they could have backed a resolution that included said trigger expecting it never to be used, thus saving everyone a lot of grief).
So lets talk about terrorism. No links to al Qaeda or 9-11? Fine. Let's talk about bounties paid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, or the attempt on Bush Sr.'s life when he visited Kuwait in 1993, or the Iraq army unit dedicated to the assassinations of enemies of the regime, both in Iraq and abroad.
Lets talk about the UN. Wait, we already did. As long as certain other members of the Security Council are obsessed with promoting themselves as world powers at the expense of the USA, the UN is going to be useless.
Lets talk about WMD. There was good reason to believe it was there. It was there in 1991. It was still there in 1998, when the inspectors were kicked out. Why should we believe that it was no longer there in 2003? Why would Hussein pretend? Don't tell me there was no proof; it was Hussein's task to provide proof. Why didn't he?
It's true that the administration spun things, so much so that they wound up feeding ammunition to the opposition. They emphasized WMD (and again, there was good reason to believe that it existed, even though it hasn't been found). They mentioned Iraq and al Qaeda in the same breath countless times, to link those things in American minds. They did these things to the exclusion of other, better reasons, eschewing a more sophisticated argument for a simpler, more provocative one (that sort of condescension toward the American people has been, IMO, the President's greatest weakness). But that better argument is there for the seeing.
So please, all you well-meaning pacifists, all you liberals pissed off about the election or Halliburton or whatever, PLEASE find something else to complain about. The old stuff doesn't resonate with anyone but you. If you want to change minds, change your own first.
By the way; if you really think Iraq is another Vietnam, it's only because you want it to be one.
Let me get this off my chest. Yesterday, there was another bombing in Istanbul. Big news, right? Well, the front page of the local paper contained articles about Michael Jackson, square-dance lessons, and the YMCA planning to ban cell phones in the locker room. Whew.
By the way, cell phones in the locker room? What for?
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Well, I'm having some trouble writing. Finally got a blog, want to use it. It's a hobby, and it's supposed to give me practice writing, which would alleviate said trouble.
Part of the problem is I've been trying to write about the things I think about most; Iraq, terrorism, war, especially North Korea. They're harder to write about because I think about them a lot.
That said, let's talk about gay marriage. What bugs me most about the debate is this: people saying they're against allowing homosexuals to marry, but they're in favor of 'civil unions.' To them, I'd like to say: THEY'RE THE SAME THING. A civil union, presumably, would give gay couples the same rights and responsibilities that married people have with respect to one another. So in the eyes of the government, what's the difference?
If I get married and we decide not to have a religious ceremony, say go to a judge or even skip the event entirely and just sign the paperwork, is it still a marriage? If we then decide not to have children, is that still a marriage? I think most people would say yes, even though it’s missing two important aspects of marriage: religious sanction and procreation.
[The ‘two important aspects’ bit is based on what I hear from others, especially opponents of gay marriage. My own opinion is they’re not that important.]
So lacking those two pillars, what’s left? I’m guessing again, but I think most people would say something like “love” or “commitment” or both. So the question is, why is this good enough for hetero, but not homosexual couples?
In public dialogue, the arguments tend to be either religious or just anti-gay (recent polls show that a majority of Americans think homosexual activity is wrong). To the religious people: those arguments only work on people who already share your faith. Imagine someone trying to convince you to give up religion; that’s how you look to me. To the anti-gay: telling them they can’t get married isn’t going to stop them from forming relationships or from having sex, and letting them get married isn’t going to produce more of the same.
The local paper today suggested that government should stop with the ‘marriage’ business and just hand out ‘civil union’ licenses to any two people who want one. Then they would be free to make of it whatever they want. Not a bad idea. Kind of boils it down to what is apparently (referencing my first paragraph) the heart of the matter; namely, a fight over the word 'marriage.'
Sunday, November 16, 2003
Friday, November 14, 2003
Hi. I've been trying to decide what my first post should be about; I've concluded that I should be writing whatever's on my mind. There are lots of things I want to comment on, but there's even more time in which to comment, so it's good. Here goes.
The local paper had a bunch of letters from high school students yesterday. They were all members of a Latino studies history class, and their teacher had them read a newspaper piece as an assignment. The piece was apparently arguing against giving rights to illegal immigrants.
The letters were all very well written (especially for a bunch of teenagers). They were, however, very poorly reasoned (forgiven for a bunch of teenagers). I say this because every single one asked that the writer of the original article consider the other side of the coin - that is, the viewpoint of the immigrants themselves - but not one of them did the same. Each defended the immigrants and expounded on their reasons for coming, illegally, to this country. I am going to try to do otherwise.
First, I understand that these people are trying to make their lives better. And I appreciate that they came to the USA to do so. That's a compliment to my country, that they thought America offered the best chance. Further, I hate to see anyone go without medical care, education for their children, or any of the many opportunities I enjoy. These are important to note, and the students' letters stressed them.
However, to quote Dennis Miller, the reason I'm opposed to illegal immigration is: IT'S ILLEGAL. Those IIs who find jobs do pay taxes. Most live good, law-abiding (except for the one thing) lives. I have no statistics, but on the other hand the concern that IIs cost society more in social services than they add in taxes is a valid one, and the statement that most of the jobs they take are ones that most Americans do not want needs proving.
What are the requirements for citizens of other countries to enter this one legally, and to work here? Are they too harsh? Should they be amended? I conclude that instead of adding rights for illegal immigrants, those requirements should be revisited, and if found to be unfair they should be altered.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Here I am. I don't have time to write a lot now, but I intend to post at least a couple times a week, and more as I get more comfortable writing. It's probable that no one will ever read this, unless they happen upon it accidentally. If so, enjoy.