Friday, February 01, 2008

The Strange Math of al Qaeda

What's the chance?
Al-Libi was described as a senior al Qaeda leader believed to have plotted and executed attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, including a February 2007 bombing at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney.

He was on a "most wanted" list of 12 accused terrorists which was issued in October by the Combined Joint Task Force-82 -- an anti-terror unit in Afghanistan.

Earlier, a knowledgeable Western official and a military source confirmed al-Libi's death to CNN. The same official said al-Libi is "not far below the importance of the top two al Qaeda leaders" -- Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
So, let's see ... not far below the top two - would that make him another number three? Granted, every time we eliminate a number three, number four is going to get promoted but what are the odds that we always get the number three guy? Either al Qaeda has experienced some truly bizarre exponential growth or we ought to take this show to Vegas; we'd make a killing.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Channelling Hillary

They thought she was dead - or maybe they just willed that it were so. But, at least now we know how the pundits got New Hampshire so wrong .... they were channelling the wrong Hillary.

Attempting Relevance

Sadly that could be about so many of our leaders but it happens to be about this:

I just had to use a screen shot of this dyslexic headline as it matches so well with Kerry's campaign (c'mon - I voted for it before I voted against it?).

Supposedly in the works for weeks, Kerry's endorsement was delayed because he wasn't sure how it would "affect the campaign" - so, he held of 'til after the New Hampshire Primary (because after that it should be a done deal and voters shouldn't have a say anyway).

Elections should be about the electorate and it really pisses me off when pols throw around their endorsements to influence the vote one way or another.

I was very disappointed in Al's coming out for Dean in 2004 and I don't know if Kerry's support is meant to tank his own running mate (I can't understand why we think of politics as crass) or derail Hillary but I hope it has the same effect as Gore's endorsement of Dean.

Maybe Kerry thinks if he endorses Obama before, say, a victory in South Carolina, it will make him relevant. It won't.

It's not good enough that the voters are extending this election in a more meaningful act of democracy - they can't keeps their hands off.

In the same article:
“Of all the candidates running, the easiest to rally around is Barack Obama,” Mr. Daschle said in an interview. “Because of his newness on the scene, he has not created the political opposition and enemies that come with extensive service in politics. He is a clean empty slate.”{my bad}

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Who Can be Bought?

Iowa Democrats apparently - Iowa Republicans, not so much.

Obama spent 3 times what Edwards spent in Iowa; Huckabee spent 1/8 of what Romney spent.

But how is anyone considered a winner when more than 60% voted against the 'frontrunner' - with under 40% approval rating, aren't you considered to be 'tanking'?

Obama bought and paid for - and those kids didn't do the buying, you should be concerned about who did.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dear Iowa,

In 2004 you resuscitated Kerry's campaign from a near death experience and that resulted in another presidential race close enough to be stolen (unlike 2000 at least some Republicans went to prison for their deeds) and another four years of Bush.

So this time, please ... don't go for the conventional 'inside track' Hillary.

Okay, Bill did a few good things (welfare reform, economy turnaround) but others (sitting on the sidelines in Rwanda genocide) not so great - and, Democrats, did you notice what was done to your party? We now have the DLC and great {{{sarcasm}}} representatives like Rahm Emanuel - in other words, the Republican wing of the Democratic party.

Never mind the conventional wisdom that says she will not be electable in the general election - it's a lose lose proposition for our democracy and our party. Displeased with congress? Check out her endorsements from them (did you catch, Mikulski's asinine floor speech on protecting the telecoms that illegally spied on us?) those should be reason enough to not caucus for her.

Secondly... Obama as change? Please. The only thing new about Obama is his nouveau pandering. Yes, he was against the invasion of Iraq from the start but he wasn't there to vote for it was he? I see no pattern in his voting record since he's been in the senate to indicate that he would have voted any differently than Clinton (or Edwards, or Dodd, or Biden) had he been in the senate at the time of the Iraq vote. He has consistently voted to fund the adventure and while criticizing Clinton on her vote on the Kyl/Lieberman Iran amendment, he failed to vote at all. Yes, the convenience of Obama -for the tough issues he'll step aside. It seems that this may represent a previously established pattern. Try this on for a slogan if he's your guy: Obama, he'll be there when you need him he needs you.

So give us Dodd or, if you must go with one of the top three, Edwards.

It's true that either way we can't end up with four more years of Bush but do you want to see Romney, Huckabee, Guiliani or McCain in office?

Let's face it we've reached a point where any of the Democratic candidates would be a better option than any of the Republicans (maybe Gravel and Paul would be a toss up but ...) but please don't fall for the 'electability' thing again. Maybe Hillary is (though I'll never cast a vote for her and I know of many other progressives who also will sit it out), maybe not. But don't kid yourself, even if Obama were an outstanding candidate (and I don't think he is), he can't win in the general. Four words: white Christian male vote. Won't. Happen.

So, Iowans please elect someone who really cares about democracy. Clinton and Obama both supported Joe Lieberman in a primary race (which he lost and then decided he was an Independent) in Connecticut in 2006. Joe Lieberman, who is indistinguishable from any Republican and has endorsed John McCain. Help put a real Democrat on the path to the White House. We've had enough of Republican dysfunctionality, imitations won't be much of an improvement.

And for those of us not in Iowa or New Hampshire, start electing representatives who care about the election process, who will support public financing and the institution of a National Primary Day in May so that everyone can participate in a meaningful way in our democracy.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn,


'night, Dan.

I graduated from high school way back in '74 and we used To the Morning from Dan's first album (Homefree - and I do mean album) as a soundtrack for our baccalaureate (all girls' catholic school - for all the good it did) slideshow.
Watching the sun
Watching it come
Watching it come up over the rooftops.

Cloudy and warm
Maybe a storm
You can never quite tell
From the morning.

And it's going to be a day
There is really no way to say no
To the morning.

Yes it's going to be a day
There is really nothing left to
Say but
Come on morning.

Waiting for mail
Maybe a tale
From an old friend
Or even a lover.

Sometimes there's none
But we have fun
Thinking of all who might
Have written.

And maybe there are seasons
And maybe they change
And maybe to love is not so strange.

The sounds of the day
They hurry away
Now they are gone until tomorrow.

When day will break
And you will wake
And you will rake your hands
Across your eyes
And realize

That it's going to be a day
There is really no way to say no
To the morning.

Yes it's going to be a day
There is really nothing left to say but
Come on morning.
While that song will always remain my personal favorite, our children were sung to sleep by many a Fogelberg 'lullabye'. Before he had turned two our son would request his favorite almost nightly, "Sand and Foam, mommy ... Sand and Foam" - and so I would sing Sand and the Foam from his Age of Innocence LP. an angel
Lights on the step
Muting the morning she heralds
Dew on the grass
Like the tears the night wept
Gone long before
The day wears old.

Times stills the singing
A child holds so dear
And I'm just beginning to hear
Gone are the pathways
The child followed home
Gone, like the sand and the foam.

Pressed in the pages
Of some aging text
Lies an old lily, crumbling
Marking a moment
Of childish respects
Long since betrayed and forgotten.

Times stills the singing
A child holds so dear
And I'm just beginning to hear
Gone are the pathways
The child followed home
Gone, like the sand and the foam. an angel
Lights on the step
Muting the morning she heralds
Dew on the grass
Like the tears the night wept
Gone long before
The day wears old.

Times stills the singing
A child holds so dear
And I'm just beginning to hear
Gone are the pathways
The child followed home
Gone, like the sand and the foam
Gone, like the sand
Gone, like the sand and the foam.
Oh Danny boy the pipes called much too soon.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Unintended Profundity

Thursday I was reading the Paul Krugman article on whether after all of the rhetoric (which has been heard since Truman) health care would become a reality with a new administration -and this was at the end of the article:

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Before Bip ...

who knew the imagination, wit and clarity with which silence could speak. The silence, now mute.

'night, Marcel [my emphasis]

Almost 27 years ago, our eldest had been with us only a couple of months and we brought her everywhere, including a Marceau performance at the Northrop Auditorium at the U of M (the M being Minnesota).

We had excellent seats and, thanks to Mr. CJ, I even got to keep mine for the entire performance.

Young, naive, new parents we brought our daughter many places and she'd never been bothered by anything. She placidly observed the goings on when awake and serenely slept through the rest.

Awake albeit sleepy as we we took our seats, she was unperturbed by the tremendous applause that greeted Marceau's appearance on stage and a moment later was fast asleep. However, several minutes into his performance the spontaneous (but repetitive) eruptions of applause startled her and she let her displeasure be known.

Mr. CJ (bless him), knowing the amplitude of my anticipation of this performance and the near fanaticism of my appreciation for Marceau, took our wee one from me and went to watch the performance on a video monitor outside of the hall.

The applause was so thunderous and frequent that our babe was not able to get back to sleep until the car ride home so Mr. CJ never returned to his seat. Now I'm not going to suggest that this is the only reason Mr. CJ and I are still together today but ...

Marceau was, as always, amazing and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience his genius in person. What a tremendous loss. 'night, Marcel.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It Comes But Once a Year

Yes, it's 9/11 once again but while I don't mean to diminish the personal loss of many Americans, as a country we have lost much more in the days, months and years that have followed. We've been in a downward spiral since December of 2004 when our first stolen presidential election was legitimized by five and 9/11/2001 was merely one point of many along this destructive path.

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