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Saturday, September 23, 2006
Up in the air
I'm flying out of town this morning, going back to near where I grew up.
I don't have any serious childhood trauma, so I'm not experiencing dangerous flashbacks, or mixed feelings. It should be a good time, and I'll likely see some people that I've not seen in years.
I'm told that the high school I went to has been torn down and replaced, to which I asked, "Even the new building?"
The new building was built in the 1950s.
The school used to have three separate structures, all built as the student body increased, the most recent built over fifty years ago, the one before was built in the 1920s, and the oldest put up around 1890. I think they left the oldest one intact, as it's on a historical register or something.
The new school was built in a different location nearby, so all that is left is an empty field. This is an image in my head which alternately amuses me, and makes me feel a lot older than I am. If I have time, I'll probably drive over and take a look.
"No school today, kids! It done been blowed up!"
The large city in the Midwest where I was born and raised is a great place, but it has certainly seen better days. The area of town where I grew up is in sad shape, I hear, which is too bad, since I always thought it had a lot to recommend it. If anyone ever wants to see what decades of White Flight can do to a perfectly nice area, I'll be happy to direct your sociologists to where I grew up.
I fly out this morning, and I don't know exactly when I'll be taking my tour of the old stomping grounds. My guess is that given my lack of sentimentality, it won't be depressing for me, but you never know. It'll never be anything but home, no matter how bad it has gotten.
And besides, I don't live there anymore.
posted at 8:05 AM
I'm going to be out of town for a little while, so it may be a few days before I put anything down here. I'll probably get bored and find a computer at some point, and we'll see what happens. Then again, I may be so full of White Castles that I am unable to think, let alone write. It's a little while before I leave, so I'm just getting my excuses in early.
The sky's the limit for Kid Wonderful.
posted at 9:18 PM
"Unacceptable to think"
Those of you who are unfamiliar with the context of this particular quotation are probably not surprised to find that it came out of the mouth of George W Bush. As you know, our president has never been overburdened with cerebral matters, preferring to "know something in his heart" as with the competency of Harriet Meirs in regard to her nomination to the Supreme Court of The United States, or in regard to Vladimir Putin, former KGB chief, and current president of Russia. The Cold war may be long over, but I still vaguely recall that agents of the Soviet secret police were often quite comfortable using any method necessary to deal with "enemies of the state."
The context of Bush's comments in responding to former Secretary of State, Colin Powell's remark that "the world is beginning to doubt our moral basis in the fight on terror" are as follows:
"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."
The president, again trying to justify immoral behavior by Americans, by comparing it with the actions of radical Islamists, who may not be the most reprehensible people in the world, but are certainly in the Top 5, both AP and in the CNN/USA Today coaches poll.
Any consideration toward trying to hold ourselves to a higher standard than terrorists? When your response to charges of illegal torture and interrogation on our part is to say "They did it first!" Obviously, we have lost our way.
More disturbing, at least to me as I watched an increasingly agitated president last Friday, was for him to assert that it is "unacceptable to think that..." and follow it with anything. You don't get to tell us what is acceptable to think or not to think. You are not a king or a god. You are the President of The United States. This is America, and we get to think any god damned thing we want, any time we want. For example:
I think torture is wrong, no matter who does it.
I think that winter is better than summer.
And honestly, I think George W Bush's years and years of drug and alcohol abuse have caught up with him.
His press conferences are increasingly Must-See TV. This is a man who cannot stand the press. He loathes them. Bush would probably never give another press conference if not for the fact that for some reason, his approval rating ticks up slightly afterward. I suppose it is just the sheer joy on the part of Americans to see him doing something other than vacationing in Texas, for his performances alone cannot be the cause.
Watch the next one with me, and keep a clock handy. He's usually pretty good for about 10-12 minutes, and then the irritation starts to become apparent. By about 20 minutes in, he is clearly angry, and the bullying tone and righteous rhetoric are on full blast. At last Friday's press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Bush reminded me more of a person with early-stage Alzheimer's than anything else. And I'm not simply referring to his infamous inarticulate way of speaking. I'm talking about the mood swings, his inability to focus on a task, and the general disconnect from reality. It hasn't always been this way.
George W. Bush declares that viewpoints other than his are not just unacceptable to voice, but now even to think. This is not America.
Our president looked at a man like Vladimir Putin and declared, "I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country." In his former job, Putin ordered torture, and most certainly participated in it during his career. For George W. Bush to see Putin's soul and spout such a thing certainly speaks volumes. Since I don't believe that George Bush is "evil" then it can only be that he is incompetent, addled, or both. Giving this man continued free rein with our military and policy decisions is simply suicidal. It is time for a change.
posted at 8:09 PM
posted at 1:23 AM
We are once again being assaulted by a Republican party, which is predictably goose-stepping in unison to GOP-approved talking points. "Goose-stepping" is a loaded term, meant to convey thoughts of Nazi soldiers during the Third Reich. How dare I invoke such a thing!
Indeed, I will not do that. The president and his minions, most notably Rumsfeld and Cheney (powered by the machinations of Karl Rove, no doubt), have decided that the best way to distract Americans and the citizens of the world from our failed Iraq policy, is to compare Osama bin Laden to Adolf Hitler, and al Qaeda to the Nazi Party.
I resent this. As a matter of fact, I am completely offended by it.
Time and time again, for decades now, any time some perceived threat comes to light, the perpetrator must be compared to Hitler. You may recall that comparisons of this type were levied against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and 1991. He had committed atrocities, and was bent on world domination, we were told. "Another Hitler" we were warned. I suppose that makes Kuwait the Sudetenland, or possibly Poland. But I don't really think so. Not being old enough to remember, I can only guess that Ho Chi Minh must have received similar Nazification from American politicians bent on destroying Vietnam's nationalist movement. Perhaps just being communists was enough for our demagogues, but nothing would surprise me.
And those on the left are guilty of it as well. I have seen online, short-lived (and apologized for) ads where George W. Bush is morphed into Hitler. Let me just say this: George W. Bush is very likely the worst president the United States has ever had. He is without conscience. He has no concept of work, or how working people live. He, calling himself Christian, is the very worst type of hypocrite. In spite of all of these things, and dozens more, he is not Adolf Hitler.
I am sick of arguing this point. I expect neocons to be without conscience and to have no holds barred in their specious arguments, but I expect better from liberals and progressives. If you are confused, I would encourage you to visit the United States Holocaust Museum Memorial in Washington DC. If you can descend through this documentation of the absolute worst that humanity has to offer, and still believe that any living person can rightfully be compared with Adolf Hitler, then you may very well be the stupidest person alive who has somehow managed to not yet choke to death on your own spit.
To make arguments such as these is to render the Holocaust banal. I will not let attempts to make it so pass without comment.
While these spouted idiocies may suit the true beliefs of good fundamentalists like George W. Bush, it puts him in league with people like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran. This is not the sort of company which our leaders should aspire to keep.
To those of any political stripe, I will say to you, do not give in to the easy temptation of using the man who may easily have been the worst person that ever lived in order to make a point to which there can quite obviously be no comparison. The millions that died at his hands, and the millions more who died in defeating him deserve better than to be trotted out for the sake of political convenience.
posted at 6:58 PM
Best part of the thing.
posted at 12:20 AM
I'm not really sure that anyone could sum up the Bush administration's war on the American people any better than Keith Olbermann did this week. Have a look:
If you aren't watching his show on MSNBC, it is your loss.
Good night, and good luck, indeed.
posted at 4:41 PM
Tool (not what you think)
Went to see this band tonight.
I don't know who thinks up music like this, and I don't know how people manage to play it. Their albums are astounding, and the live versions are better still. I'm not a musician.
Learn to swim...
posted at 2:05 AM
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