Category Archives: Politics

Rants, rants, rants.

I’m Tryin’ Not to Be a Cynic, But….

Man, the world is getting weirder by the day, and I can feel the effect on me growing.  It’s exactly that effect that I shed successfully in the ’04 Dash through the Desert vacation.  As a refresher, for two weeks, I paid no attention to the world — no news, no newspapers.  The only newslike thing I paid attention to was The Weather Channel to ensure that we would be safe for the next day’s drive.

And the world got along just fine without me nursemaiding it.

Two years later, I’m back to some of my old ways:  I’m paying attention again.  And, ugh, is the world an icky place right now.

There’s talk of plans for using tactical nukes against Iran.

Gas prices keep eating more and more money out my budget.  It’s up about 60 cents a gallon since this time last month.

Precious metals are being gobbled up by folks that are proclaiming the end of financial civilization as we know it.

Global warming — despite the best attempts by the Bush loyalists to deny it — appears to really be having an effect on the climate.

More and more jobs that require the use of brains, not braun, are going overseas, including an incredible number in my current industry.

The US has just about everyone in the world ticked off at us for one thing or another:  Kyoto, Iraq, Gitmo, SUVs, capitalism.  And there’s a new cause and someone else to add to the list of Enemies of the State on a daily basis.

I don’t like it.  I’m very nervous about where we are as a globe full of mammals, not unlike the early 80s when I endured the weight of the Reagan administration upon my young brain, and what I thought was inevitable mutually-assured-destruction with the Soviets.

So I’m trying not to become a cynic… again.  I’m trying to avoid watching the news, as it’s all contentious, depressing and frankly, is not much more than opposing viewpoint holders yelling at each other incessantly.

I need to focus on what gives me joy — my family, my photography — and try to ignore the impact of the world upon me.  I need to ensure that what gets me down doesn’t encroach on what gets me up, and that I allow those things that are good for my soul and spirit to take root and grow.

Bush Speaks!


Tonight, the President took to the airwaves from New Orleans. I’m not convinced he’s written a check that his kiester can cash. In truth, it’ll probably be his successor — along with other Republicans — that’ll pay the piper for Bush’s ambitious directives.

I like his idea of using unused federal lands as a sort of urban homesteading. That’s a cool use of space, and if done right, could be a great opportunity for folks trapped in poverty from that region. The lottery thing for getting the spaces would be a little weird, but I suppose that’s as fair as it can get.

I wasn’t jazzed about expanding the federal authority and broadening the role of the military during a disaster like this. The talking heads I listened to after the address thought he might be referring to federalizing the National Guard, who report to the state governors. Apparently, he tried to do that in the days following 9/11, and that was received with a ton of screaming and hollering from the governors, Republicans and Democrats alike.

And of course, he promised rebuilding of the area, including bringing New Orleans back to life. That’s a noble and good goal. He also addressed the plight of the poor, indicating that they were proof of past racial injustice. While I think that there were challenges with this in times past, I think the bigger problem with some of the poor there — and elsewhere — is this notion that you can hold your hand out, and the government will put something in it. After a generation or two of this, there’s no real incentive to find and hold a job, and folks are in a circle of poverty.

I realize my view is vastly over-simplified and probably shaped by what I’ve seen and what I’ve lived, but I just can’t fathom that there’s no jobs out there if you happen to live in the South, and happen to belong to a given race or culture. I’m not saying that everyone should be handed a cushy desk job, but on the other hand, if you’re gonna rebuild a city and its infrastructure, it seems to me that there are tons of opportunities to learn skills, build companies and provide for families. My two cents.

So, how much will it cost, and where will the money come from? Well, Bush was tightlipped on that. Already $60B has been allocated, and the total bill may well be over $200B. I think it’s gonna be difficult to keep $80B+ in Iraq for troops, and still come up with that kind of money. And, of course, the money’s not there now, so it’ll have to be borrowed, and we surely couldn’t withstand another disaster on any kind of magnitude approaching Katrina.

Yup, I’m skeptical. Not so much of the intentions, but of laying the burden of moving boatloads of money into other countries, and pushing a ton of financing into our children’s future. That doesn’t seem like a cool deal to me.



Today, the head of FEMA stepped down. His is the head that will be figuratively lopped off to preserve the respect of the government.

In truth, there’s probably tons of blame to go around, but the federal response didn’t exactly show off the ability of a government to handle a big event. You’d think that they would’ve learned much from 9/11.

So where from here? Well, FEMA needs someone who knows how to handle a big emergency, and has some experience with that. Rudy Juliani? Maybe. FEMA needs better planning, and to me, that means getting it away from the DHS. Let the DHS work on the “war on terror” that Bush has us mired in, and let FEMA work on helping the people here at home. My two cents.

It’s cool to hear that the airport is open again, and that the power is starting to come on. Even the streets are drying up. That’s all terrific news, and I can’t wait to see how the city is reborn.

I just hope that it all works out for the folks down South. They need a break, and maybe this move in the beauracracy will help.



I’ve had a day to sit and stew over the latest heinous animal attack, this time on London. It’s obvious that July 7th will carry for Britain a similar shadow that March 11th does for Spain, and September 11th does for those of us in the States.

This morning, I read the text of the statement of those who claim to have done this act in the name of God. They didn’t do it in the name of my God — my God doesn’t condone the slaughter of innocent people in His name.

From the text, they appear to believe that if they warn opposing governments, dictating to those sovreign nations how to run their affairs, these crazy people somehow are absolved of their crime because they sent a warning. Telling someone that you’re gonna commit a crime, minor or heinous, doesn’t excuse you from the responsibility and consequences of that act.

Diversionary or not, these yahoos have now “warned” Italy and Denmark that they may be next. Of course, given the utter disregard these groups seem to have for human life — their own suicide bombers to the average man on the street — I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just so much hot air.

Anyone who knows me knows London owns a good chunk of my heart and psyche. For a little over three months in late 1998, I lived and worked there, and really fell in love with the place. In fact, for many years I tried to find a way to move there within my company. It’s a beautiful place, with a warm people and steeped in the history of mankind and the civilized world. It just crushes my heart to see it in such turmoil and pain after this crazy, senseless act of violence.

Watching Tony Blair yesterday morning, I was moved by his off the cuff remarks before leaving the G8 in Scotland for London. He was obviously shaken. His composure and resolve came through however, and it was clear that he was incensed with this bombing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this bolster his support at home. I have a lot of respect for him, and wouldn’t mind seeing him retained as PM for a while longer.

I’m not a big fan of the ill-defined War on Terrorism, but if it would eliminate these kinds of acts, I’d be behind it 100%. There’s just no cause strong enough to warrant this kind of disregard for life, and if those so-called causes disappeared into the night, that’d be fine with me.


I haven’t written publicly about the tsunami that took place the day after Christmas. Frankly, nothing I could write would help anyone involved with the tragedy cope, nor would anything I could write would help me comprehend. This should be a time of herculean humanitarian efforts to help those millions in need, and those mammoth efforts are underway. I can’t remember mention of any greater human tragedy in the last several hundred years, and I couldn’t imagine any way that this horrible event could possibly be turned for anyone’s advantage.

Tonight, however, NBC News is reporting that an arabic media outlet (can’t remember if it was in print or television) blamed the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on nuclear testing from the United States, India and Israel. That someone could think that is incomprehensible to me. That someone could then parade that as truth is even harder for me to get my arms around. There’s even reports that this earthquake and tsunami are the fault of United States — as I understood the newscast tonight — because of our celebration of Christmas and “bad thoughts” toward arabs and/or muslims.

I am incensed. I am offended. And, most of all, I can’t believe that this level of hatemongering and inflammatory posturing is taking place in light of one of the worst human tragedies in a very, very, very long time. And to what end? Simply to stir the pot, and perhaps, incite someone to do something stupid on our soil.

I don’t care what your beliefs are in God, religion, politics, science, creation, abortion, operating systems or camera manufacturers are or are not — I do expect folks to act rationally, and to exercise their best side when faced with tragedy. I don’t expect folks to try to capitalize on human misery and tragedy, and I certainly can’t abide that.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

We’ve Lost our Colin!


So, Colin Powell has left the post of Secretary of State. This is so unfortunate, as I sure felt he was a moderating force for Bush’s incredibly aggressive foreign policy. I have a ton of respect for Powell, and have since he rose to prominence during the Gulf War a decade ago.

His replacement, however, doesn’t engender that kind of respect from me. Condoleeza Rice has been tapped by the President as his choice for Secretary of State. Were I a diplomat or head of state, sitting across the table from her, I would have no faith that I could trust anything said by her. Her actions have made her appear as being above the law, and not having any compunction about flaunting that, not entirely unlike John Ashcroft’s actions over the last few years.

I’m not so sure that the nation will moderate under the likes of Rice and Gonzales, and I’m not so sure that I can stand too supportive behind this gang as they carry us forward through the middle years of this decade. I definitely get the impression that whatever season of gentile conversation and compromise is over, and the administration’s rally cry may well be that “you can run with us, or be run over by us.”

Changing of the Guard

A couple of days behind, and a couple of changes on the planet.

John Ashcroft has resigned. He resigned. Were it not for whom his named successor will be, I’d be thrilled. I think Ashcroft has set back privacy in America as far back as anyone in my memory, and had me believing that the McCarthyism was alive and well, and flourishing in Washington. However, his replacement, Alberto Gonzalez, has made some comments that lead me to believe he may be no better. His support for suspect detention without access to attorneys or courts, and stated believe that unilateral, case-by-case suspension of treaty conditions concerning torture and protection of prisoners is within the United States’ rights seem to go a long way toward making me think that this might be a trade down, insofar as the Attorney General office is concerned. Don’t get me wrong — I still think Ashcroft is dangerous in his ineptitude, but I think Gonzales is just downright dangerous.

If we, as a country and government, cannot stand behind the minimum treatment that we would demand of our prisoners of foreign soil, how can we be taken credibly? Doesn’t that make us as criminal as those we fight against?

The other change comes in the PLO, with the death of Yassir Arafat last night. Obviously, he had no control over this, but I do believe that this may serve to destabilize the region just that much more if infighting and factionalism begin to show in the Palestinians. I know folks are polarized on Arafat — he’s either a demon or a saint, depending on where you sit — but I fear what might come next, and the unrest that might come with what’s next is of concern to all of us, as it would be entirely too easy to start sliding down a slope toward Middle Eastern choas and war.

I guess you could say that we already have slid down that slippery slope with our work in Iraq. Unfortunately, we Americans voted for four more years of the same. Kerry said that, if elected, he would be forced to finish what Bush had started. Imagine what the next President will be forced to cleanup and endure….

Four More Years

Well, for the Republicans anyway. They will be running the table for at least the next two years: the Presidency, and a simple majority in the Senate and House.

Part of me is surprised that America would vote Bush back in, but another part of me isn’t too surprised that America did not elect Kerry. I was surprised to hear that moral issues drove the biggest part of this election. While I recognize that’s important, I really thought the fears of war, and war — at least as Bush has defined it — brought to our shores one day, would galvanize a fair part of the voting public away from Bush. I was dead wrong.

A really good thing out of this election, however, were the numbers of people that voted. Locally, it was between 65-85% of all registered voters, and that’s such a change from previous elections. Of course, the turnout is bigger when there’s a presidential election, but huge is huge!

Myself, I don’t know that Bush being elected is the end of the world. I do feel strongly that his being elected will keep us in the Iraqi morass for much longer than we should be, and should guarantee that we will be “in a state of war” for the next four years. That probably increases the liklihood of some form of attack upon our soil during his next term. I just hope and pray that that can be averted.

And, in 2008, it will be a free-for-all, with Bush hitting the term limit. Who’s next in line? Chaney? Hardly. Will John Kerry make another run? Will John Edwards? Is there some dark horse, just over the horizon, who will make a successful run?

I dunno. I’m just glad that the mudslinging has stopped, and I can get back to watching car and ED commercials! 🙂

And the Winner Is…..

…. Well, we don’t know.

Bush is claiming victory, but is officially one electoral college vote shy of re-election, although appears to be ahead by 100,000 votes in Ohio. Kerry isn’t conceding, and is wanting to wait until the provisional ballots are checked out and counted, as there could be as many as 250,000 of them in Ohio. That process could take eleven days.

It’s deja vu, all over again.

I imagine that, for the next two weeks, there will be jostling for position, spin put on the results, litigation filed about whether to count the provisional ballots (and probably many, many challenges on individual ballots), and no clear winner.

Suddenly, I feel like I’ve gone back in time! 🙂

Civic Duty

This morning, I have exercised my freedom, and voted my choice and conscience.

I’d never seen voting lines like I encountered this morning. I got to the polling station a couple of minutes after they opened, and there must’ve been a hundred or more folks waiting in the rain to vote. An hour later, I had voted, and was on my way.

As I stood in line, I listened to a reservist talk about his recently completed active duty time in the service, and spotaneously, a woman ahead of him thanked him for his service to our country. What a wonderful thing to observe. I’m reminded of a show in Branson I attended years ago, in which all vets were asked to stand up and be recognized. That was a humbling and honor-filled moment for me. I’m sure this Army reservist felt the same.

Of course, big public gatherings attract folks from all walks of life, so there was also someone there in a Moonbase Alpha jacket and pseudo-uniform (from the 70’s TV show, Space: 1999). It does take all kinds! 🙂

It’s just amazing to me that as many as 130 million people will have their say today, and in not even 24 hours, that voice is heard, counted, and reported. That the process works as well as it does is truly a testament to those who plan and run the elections in this country.

Terrorists put patriotism back in the American vocabulary, and as someone on the news said last night, Bush and Kerry have returned citizenship to our vocabulary. It’s nice to dust off a couple of the classics!