Wednesday, August 31, 2005

15 Minutes with President Bush

Gallup Poll (08-31-05) asks 1007 people selected randomly from across the country what they would say to President Bush about the Iraq war if they had 15 minutes of his attention. Ok, polls may have limited value and may too often irresponsibly employ rhetorical device - I'll give you that, but this video presentation nonetheless effectively captures what Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport calls "the fabric of American public opinion on this critical issue."

An interesting turn in this report is that reader-listeners are encouraged to survey the verbatim answers actually provided in the polling process - an inclusion of data not usually accommodated by the Gallup folks. The idea is that Gallup is inviting its audience to draw its own conclusions and to hear (read) for themselves what Americans have to say about Iraq. Bottom line: 41% say "Get out of Iraq now!"

Listen to the American people, Mr. Bush. Bring our troops home now.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Politics of Changing a Light Bulb

How many members of the Bush administration does it take to change a light bulb?


  1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed
  2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed
  3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb
  4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for eternal darkness
  5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb
  6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner "Bulb Accomplished"
  7. One administration insider to resign and in detail reveal how Bush was literally "in the dark" the whole time
  8. One to viciously smear No. 7
  9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along
  10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.
From Jack (Via Tamar). Thanks.

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Two Kids in Uniform

First, the GOOD NEWS to share (from one very happy mom): My son Abe just received confirmation of his assignment to a NON-DEPLOYING unit ... He's staying home! Yes, I know he has time left in the uniform, and yes, I know you can never be absolutely sure with the Army, but I'm celebrating today. Abe is staying home!! And I'm living in this day believing he'll be here when Tommi comes back, and she will come back. We'll be together again. Abe is staying home!

The shadow behind my celebration is in reading again of the internal/emotional struggle it is for Tommi to continue in her work as the days crawl by at the gate in Iraq. The competing expressions of "Tommi" are fighting for attention, and as difficult as it can be to struggle with those currents when you're safe at home, I can only imagine the challenge of navigating the swirls of conflicting interests from a theater of war.

So, yes, I'm celebrating today (Oh, yeah ... Abe doesn't have to go!!) and I'm remembering Tommi, too ... only 140 days to go, or Mr. Bush only thought he had trouble with Cinday Sheehan.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Red States, Blue States: Politics and War

(Via Daily Kos)
This map represents the geography of U.S. fatalities in Iraq as of August 1, 2005.

This map represents Republican and Democratic voting for the 2004 presidential election.


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Saturday, August 13, 2005

There Is Only One Tommi

I have grown to appreciate the insight of Elaine at Kalilily Time: she seems so rarely to drop a beat or miss a thread in writing the human fabric. I rest when I read there, and I find a friend and mentor in a woman whom I've never met.

Elaine is overseeing her mother's journey into and through the challenges of Alzheimer’s and the wearing-thin of a body. Courageous women both, they model the determination, patience, and compassion necessary to negotiate such a passage. I am instructed and often encouraged in facing my own difficulties.

Today I was reading at Kalilily Time - reading about a single meteor/wishing star, a sisterhood of hummingbirds, and a one-in-a-million blueberry pie made with berries picked by a one-and-only grandson. I was drifting with the poetry of the words and didn't notice the next thought coming:

Sometimes, when you only have one, and he is sent off to be killed in a war without reason, without purpose, without WMD, you become so angry, so betrayed, so brave, that you dare to stand up, stand out, speak out, cry out. Shout. SHOUT! Praying all the while that your pain will break through the plague of public denial.

And then it occurred to me - believe this - it occurred to me for the first time: Tommi is a one and only, the only daughter I have or ever will birth. She is irreplaceable and her loss would be insatiable. And I don't know how I would go on, but (with thoughts turned to Beckett) I would go on ... maybe I would go on. Elaine feels that way, too, sometimes, and she writes, "I can do this. I can do this." And maybe that would be all there would be left for me to do if I lost my one-and-only daughter (here I trust my sweet daughter-in-law, Jennifer, to read wisely).

And then ... and maybe it's just the day, but I didn't see it coming, Elaine turns the conversation in remembrance of Cindy Sheehan, offering as she does a rebuttal to the awful things that are being said about Cindy, things impugning her regard and respect for her son, her integrity as a mother, her decency.

There are other mothers joining Cindy, people coming from all over the country right now, and whatever can be said, whatever will be said, know this: Casey Sheehan was a one-and-only, and because of the military action in Iraq, he will never be again! He will never have the opportunity to be what he could have been (Doctorow). When, as a nation of citizens, we are willing to say, "It is worth it," are we really stopping to measure the value of each and every, single one-and-only that is being spent in this war? not just the American one-and-onlys but all of them? Would we still say "It's worth it"?

If you can answer “yes” to that – and I’m supposing some of you will, then tell me: Would you be willing to tell me it was “worth it” if the one and only one you were talking about was my one-and-only? Would you be willing to tell me it was worth it to spend Tommi?

(Thanks to Winston for the link to the Doctorow letter)

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Armed and Dangerous

Tommi had an opportunity to travel outside the gate on a visit to Camp Victory (closer to Baghdad proper - her base is more "in the burbs" of Baghdad). This is one of my more favorite photos she sent back from the trip. Ok, it's not duststorms that Pat is telling about at Six More Months, but she obviously ready for the flies when they return. Go gettum, Tommi!

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Harper's Index: Statistics

The Harper's Index chronicles a number of interesting statistics, information packaged for rhetorical vollies flavored to your liking. These are a few that catch my attention:

· Estimated amount spent lobbying Congress last year: $3,000,000,000 [The Center for Public Integrity (Washington)]

· Number of former members of Congress or federal-agency heads who are now lobbyists: 240 [The Center for Public Integrity (Washington)]

· Total value of congressional earmarks to appropriations bills last year: $32,700,000,000

· Factor by which this exceeded the amount in 1998: 3

o Percentage of U.S. auto travel that occurs on two-lane roads: 28 [The Road Information Program (Washington)]

o Percentage of traffic fatalities that do: 52

· Number of U.S. public-school districts that have adopted a class in which the Bible is the primary textbook: 301 [National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (Greensboro, N.C.)]

· Rank, in the current line of succession to the U.S. Presidency, of the first non-Christian: 16 [Harper's research]

· Number of America’s nine “Founding Fathers” who denied the divinity of Jesus: 7 [Frank Lambert, Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.)]

· Minimum number of illegitimate children had by the nine: 9

o Percentage of the 651 fatal or wounding terrorist attacks worldwide last year that took place in Iraq: 32 [National Counterterrorism Center (Washington)]

o Percentage that took place in India: 44

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