succumbing to peer pressure

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Good Times

Besides the whole cat drama, the past few days have been good. (tangential story: Knowing that Cleo used to be a stray, I always tend to think of her as a pretty tough kitty who can take care of herself, and try not to worry about her too much. But finding out that Cleo had been shot, and seeing how thin she looks with her sides shaved, I suddenly see her as kind of fragile. Last night I had a horrible nightmare about her, the kind that's so vivid and upsetting I had to go track her down in the apt and assure myself she was really ok. Sheesh. If it's like this with a cat, how do people ever handle kids?) Anyway. Aside from all that, it's been good. Got up early yesterday and went running (even if I totally sucked and was the last to get back to our starting point, I'm still feeling pretty good about dragging my butt out of bed and going running at 9:30 on a Saturday). Managed to accomplish everything on my To Do list yesterday and spent some quality time with friends last night. Thus far today I have managed to prepare for my first teaching experience coming up on Wednesday, post flyers for the "Zell Doesn't Speak for Us" rally with Kathy (go to to find out more about it, if you're in the atl area) and meet some pretty cool new people who are starting up a local chapter of Active Minds on Campus (a branch of the non-profit my friend Ali started to raise mental health awareness on college campuses). Also, I noticed that this year's DayDreamer's Guide is out, so I picked up a few copies and skimmed through my section. Pretty cool. (April - yes, I picked up an extra copy for you) Now on to the weekly (or sporadic) wrap-up of political and otherwise interesting articles I read while at work:

First we have Kerry's statement to Congress in 1971 (the link is fairly long, Kerry's statement is toward the beginning, then some Q & A between him and the senators follows). Whether you're for him or against him, it's a really interesting read, and although I do think it's way past time to move past this whole Vietnam issue and focus on more pertinent issues in this year's election, I also think that what with all the excerpts taken out of context of this speech, it's important to read the entire thing. My personal take - a truly thoughtful and emotional appeal from a particularly articulate young man that does not in any way disgrace himself or others who served in Vietnam. Rather, it places blame, rightly so, on those who sent them into war.
And here's an editorial from Krugman regarding the current treatment of this statement. Bottom line:
Let's hope that this latest campaign of garbage and lies - initially financed by a Texas Republican close to Karl Rove, and running an ad featuring an "independent" veteran who turns out to have served on a Bush campaign committee - leads to a backlash against Mr. Bush. If it doesn't, here's the message we'll be sending to Americans who serve their country: If you tell the truth, your courage and sacrifice count for nothing.

More scary stuff about flawed electronic voting technology. This time in Alabama.

An old quote from Condoleeza Rice regarding how we should handle rebuilding Iraq:
So Ambassador Bremer has been talking about a seven-step plan: constitution, followed then by elections and then by the transfer of sovereignty. And it makes perfectly good sense to do this as soon as possible, but to do it in a way that is responsible. And I think that the -- as all of us have said, the French plan, which would somehow try to transfer sovereignty to an un-elected group of people, just isn't workable.

If only this administration would take it's own advice (emphasis mine; quote via atrios)

Why Why Why Why is the executive producer for a fake news show the only one asking this question?!
George W. Bush has put a moratorium on talk about his behavior under the age of 40 and everyone [in the press] is abiding by it. 'Were you or were you not an alcoholic or did you just have a drinking problem?,' 'Were you or were you not a drug abuser?' Meanwhile they're debating whether [Kerry's war] wounds drew blood or were they superficial, or occurred in the same day, or whether he shot a guy wearing a toga. . . . How is that possible?

Obviously, a comparable list could be compiled of Bush statements and excerpts used by the Kerry campaign, but just in case anyone needs a reminder to do their own research rather than believing everything they hear, check out this article. My personal favorite spin:

"Yes, I would have voted for the authority [to use force in Iraq]. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have. But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has. My question to President Bush is: Why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?" -- Kerry, Aug. 9

"He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, the Massachusetts senator now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power." -- Bush, Aug. 18

And some good news! Yet another court has declared the 'partial-birth abortion' dilation and extraction ban to be unconstitutional. Thank goodness judges still believe that medical decisions should be made by a doctor, not the DOJ.

I just love this quote:

"A friend of mine said there are only three good sequels," says Matt Damon, who stars in Ocean's Twelve. "The New Testament is better than the Old. Huck Finn is better than Tom Sawyer, and Godfather II is better than The Godfather."

With the latest poverty statistics, I was re-reminded how few people realize just what the Federal Poverty Line is. This phrase is tossed around a lot, as if people who are not below it are somehow doing ok financially. The Federal Poverty Line for a family of four is $18,810. So if you're raising your kids on $19,000 a year, you're 'doing ok.' This would be laughable if it weren't so cruel and sad. Also, the inflation-adjusted median income stats are one more way to highlight social inequalities along race lines in this country:
Hispanics - $32,997
Whites - $47,777
Overall median (all races) - $43,318

Another one of those times when I want to hug Senator Byrd.

The Constitution of the United States of America is sheer genius captured on parchment. The delicate balance of authority -- the system of checks and balances and separation of powers -- has served as the foundation for our liberties, providing for the flexibility needed to accommodate two centuries of change and growth while also inspiring people around the world to strive for liberty.

The Constitution is designed, as Chief Justice John Marshall observed, "to endure for ages to come." But our national charter is being threatened as never before by reckless disregard for its wisdom.


Let President Bush speak for himself. "I'm the commander," he told journalist Bob Woodward for the book, Bush at War. "See, I don't need to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

In this country, the people are sovereign. The first three words of the preamble to the Constitution are "We the people." The people are always owed an explanation by those who serve them. For any public servant to believe otherwise is arrogant in the extreme and can be costly at home and abroad.

All right, enough from me. Time to head over to the boys' place for some free laundry, brownies, mojitos, and MXC.