Category Archives: Politics

Rants, rants, rants.

The Dance Begins


Tomorrow, the Iowa caucuses will be held, and we get the first peek at who might be the Democratic nominee for the upcoming presidential race. Easily, one or two could drop out, depending on the results. It looks like Edwards is gaining momentum, and I think that’s good.

Of course, Kerry’s military background is strong, and I think that’s an important quality in the Presidency. I suspect it’ll come to a three horse race by the time the Southern primaries come in early February: Edwards, Dean, and Kerry.

And, so it begins…..

Bananas are Yellow, and So Is the DefCon

After announcing that we would be at “orange” until the end of January, the Homeland Security folks have taken back down to “yellow”. I have to admit I’m surprised, and I wonder what drove that change.

I still get a little spooked with I hear Ridge’s department use the word “homeland” as part of their official title. Too many movies probably, but that word to me elicits images of Nazi Germany, the almost zealot reverence to the nation that was engendered in so many of its citizens, and the crimes committed in the name of that nation most foul.

I love my country, and I just don’t want to see us slip down that slope. We don’t have anyone as charismatic as Hitler to lead that charge, but it seems, at times, that we are drifting down that slope with little or no leadership, and slaloming around some of the same flags.


Today, I watched a fair bit of the Democratic Presidential debate from Iowa. I am struck by a few thoughts.

I think Howard Dean is not the most honest person in the race. He just seems to be getting caught up in defending his own words, and pandering to whatever audience he is speaking to. I would respect him more if he were just himself at all times, and let us figure out if we want to elect him.

The most entertaining candidate is Dennis Kucinich. He was quick of wit, and funny to boot. However, I don’t think funny and big ears is enough basis for a presidency.

I still like most of what I hear come out of John Edwards’ camp. Maybe, being a Southerner, I just identify with his Southern delivery. I know what I’ve heard him say makes sense to me. I just don’t think he can pull off a successful candidacy, and probably won’t even make the ballot when it comes time for Missouri to vote.

I still think there’s way too much in-fighting, and far too many candidates for anyone to mount a successful charge at President Bush, and that’s disappointing. Four more years at war (or in a warlike posture) is not a pretty picture to me.

So, here’s my plug:

Where’s the Beef?

Today, in light of the BSE scare here in the States, nine nations, including some our biggest beef export customers, have placed a ban on US beef.

As I understand it, we don’t typically eat the parts here in the States from which you would likely contract the human form of BSE — the brain and spinal cord. In fact, I can’t imagine eating those at all! (Although I do know that pig brains scrambled in with eggs is well enjoyed in the South.) We eat the muscle tissue, which doesn’t carry BSE, as it is a neurological disorder.

So, I guess tht means more steak for me.

What’s been weird is the number of politicans that have jumped on the bandwagon in the last 24 hours, indicating that the scare isn’t going to deter them from a nice steak for Christmas. Steak for Christmas?! I thought folks did turkey and ham for Christmas! I guess you jump on whatever bandwagon promotes your particular cause de jour.

Oranges Are Good For You

Sec’y Ridge raised the terror alert level to orange today. (If it’s still that way, enjoy the Ernie and Ashcroft alerts on this page. If it’s not, enjoy whatever we are at right now.)

Ridge claims that there is the strongest “chatter” about attacks since 9/11. Apparently, the chatter is that Al Queda is wanting to use passenger aircraft again as missles against US targets before the end of the year.

There is some speculation that Al Queda agents are now pilots of flights to/from overseas and that may be how they could infiltrate US airspace again. I also heard that LA, NYC and DC are places are taking extraordinary defensive postures, presumably due to inside information given themir leaders.

Ridge has indicated he will leave the alert level at orange until at least the end of January.

I heard a story of an airline passenger at LaGuardia Airport who, after hearing that the alert level was raised, and that passenger planes were potential weapons, wanted a refund for his ticket. The airline told him that since the alert level wasn’t red, they couldn’t do that. He travelled anyway.

I still think it’s crappy, though, of the airline to not respect the fears of the public. I know they’ve got bottom lines to deal with, but the number of refunds would surely be small, and there is likely much PR to be gained from being the “nice guy”.

Given their statement about what they would do if the alert level were red, I wonder if part of the red level is the grounding of the passenger fleet.

Libya… Where’s Libya?

Man, has it been a while since we’ve heard about Libya, but today, they shocked the crap out of me, and probably many other folks.

Colonel Qaddafi (remember all the confusion about how to spell his name?) is voluntarily stopping all WMD production and research. How amazing is that? A known terrorist state voluntarily giving up on programs that could undoubtedly be used to advance their agenda. Instead, as the President said, they’ve taken the first step to being accepted by the community of nations.

I can remember in ’86, being at Keesler AFB when we raided Libya, and wondering where we were headed as a country and a people. There was a sense of heightened alert, as there would be a few weeks later due to some fun in Panama, and I couldn’t help but wonder if my time in the USAF would be action-packed, and a little less peaceful. As it ends up, my watch, ’86-’90, was pretty uneventful in the big scheme of things, and helped lead to the “fall of communism” in Eastern Europe.

I know I did nothing personally to cause that to happen, but I take some pride that I was serving my country as the collapse unfolded. Certainly makes me feel like I wasn’t just marking time.

Ding! Dong! Saddam’s Gone!

We woke this morning in the hotel to the news that Saddam has been captured!

I really thought it was a misprint in the scroller at the bottom of the screen, but on every channel (and in the hotel, there was two of each of the major networks) was a talking head and a politician giving their spin on the capture of Saddam Hussein.

It still seems like a dream — people at the resort were buzzing about it, and were hopeful that this is the turning point that will help bring our troops home.

What astounds me is that we got him without a fight. I mean, no fight of any kind. He just emerges from a hole in the ground, and wants to negotiate, almost as though he was in a position of power. I’m very surprised that he didn’t take his own life in the hole, leaving the Iraqi people without the satisfaction of a trial, and many questions unanswered.

My own opinion is that he is nucking futs, and isn’t likely to make much sense at trial, but I still stand by the decision to let the Iraqi people have him. They can mete out far more emotional penalties than the US ever could.

That, somehow, seems appropriate.

While on the way home from Lake of the Ozarks, we saw four bald eagles circling high over the Bagnell Dam. We quickly drove up to an AmerenUE observation point, and stood in ankle-deep snow, with howling winds, watching these four graceful giants circle above our heads, dive into the lake, and play in sky. It was almost as though they knew we were a little freer, a little safer, and wanted to wing into the winds to celebrate. They were very beautiful to watch, and fun to listen to as they cried in the wind. Gorgeous creatures, and I’m thrilled that we and Sio got to see them.