Tuesday, June 28, 2005

That's a lotta books

Without moving too quickly past my rant about Karl Rove, I will finally heed Russ' call and do the book thing:

1. How many books to you own?

Surprisingly, not alot. Maybe 150 to 200. I'm a big magazine guy, and I frequent the library a good bit. Plus my knees must be horrible seeing how I'll stand in Barnes & Noble and read half of a 400-page book in one visit.

2. Last book read?

Hmmm ... I'm toward the end of Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America, but not finished yet. I honestly don't know. I read like eight books at once, and skip around in my non-fiction ones, so it's really too difficult to say.

3. Last book purchased.

The Gospel According to RFK

4. Name five books that mean alot to you.

• The Bible - As Russ said ... for obvious reasons. I enjoy the books of Micah, Luke, Romans, Peter's letters and whatever book features discussion of the Year of Jubilee (forget which Old Testament book that is ... little help here).

Friday Night Lights - Best sports book ever written, and much more than merely a sports book.

To Kill A Mockingbird - As James Carville said, a must-read for any Democrat. Again, when you write the Great American Novel on your first try, might as well call it quits.

• Ethan Frome - My favorite book.

Nothing To Fear: The Collected Speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt - His 1936 acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention is an intellectual, passionate and spirited defense of the New Deal. Awesome.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Why bother?

I haven't written anything about Karl Rove's comments last week in New York City partly because I know the only reason Rove said such disparaging things about liberals was because:

• President Bush is tanking in the polls;

• Support for the war is at an all-time low;

• Conservatives just got reamed in the battle over judicial nominees;

• The public ain't buying the administration's Social Security plan.

It's bait-and-switch, pure and simple. Heck, if I was getting as much bad news as the administration, I'd want to change the topic too. They probably did a jig in the Oval Office when the media picked up the Michael Jackson verdict because it meant they weren't the lead story on the news again.

But, despite what I have said here, I do have to vent just a tad about Rove's ignorant comments and the completely illogical defense of what he said by damn near the entire GOP establishment.

This country was united in compassion, grief, sorrow and anger in the aftermath of 9/11. To suggest otherwise, as Rove did, is completely foolish. To suggest that the overwhelming majority of liberals — and Democrats, as he implied, despite all of his wiggling in the past few days — didn't realize that some entity, be it a terrorist organization or a hostile nation, was now at war with us is foolish. To try and clarify that you only meant Moveon.org, as Rove and his defenders are asserting, is to intentionally mislead the public and succumb to pride by failing to admit that you committed a verbal gaffe in the speech.

To suggest that those who share a different ideology, a different political philosophy, are sympathetic to terrorists is foolish, ignorant and are merely the remarks of a stupid man who is ever-so-slowly losing his grip on power.

Truth be told, this liberal - rightly or wrongly - watched the towers crumble and, in one of the many thoughts and emotions racing through my head, kept thinking 'we're going to kick somebody's ass.' Like my friend at Thought Struggle - who isn't a full-fledged liberal, but is my no means conservative - I cut out an editorial cartoon depicting Uncle Sam, his legs being the smoldering ruins of the towers, hoisting up his sleeves and preparing for a fight. Like Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts - again, a liberal who is no fan of this administration - I hung up his column written in the wake of 9/11 which contained this passage:

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.

You tell me Karl Rove ... do these sound like the words of someone who desired moderation and counseling for our enemies?

Perhaps that's what I resent most about this administation - that they saw the country come together, they despised it and sought to split it into a million fractious pieces for cheap, political gain. They saw a unified nation, people of all types of political and philosophical persuasions, and worked hard to undermine that unity through divisive actions on the domestic and international fronts.

Karl Rove doesn't know me. He doesn't know the people of New York City either - perhaps the most liberal city on the planet - because if did, he would have thought twice before uttering such a pathetic excuse for propaganda. He doesn't know the millions of liberals - moderate ones and far-left ones - who backed this nation's assault on Al-Qaida. He doesn't know the countless numbers of liberals who make up the ranks of our Armed Forces, and who are dying daily in a conflict we created in Iraq.

Karl Rove doesn't know me ... and he better be pretty damn glad he doesn't.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Hey, I'm St. Augustine

Always fun to play What Christian Theologian are you? ... one of the more entertaining games out there. Kudos to Bored Athenians for the link.

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Becky here at work is liberal Swiss theologian Carl Barth. She doesn't know much about him, nor do I ... but she finds the initial results of her research quite promising.

UPDATE: Apparently I'm also ...

The countdown has begun ...

I can't find a release date yet, but promotions for NCAA Football 2006 have started. Looks awesome, though I say that every year.

New for 2005? You can create a player and follow him from high school football camp through his collegiate career ... where you can then choose to either take a coaching job somewhere or, if you're good enough, pursue a career in the pros (Madden 2006). Recruiting is much more thorough with the addition of year-round recruiting, fall weekend visits and summer prospect camps. Plus you can build pipelines to high schools and regions (as Georgia does with places like Parkview and Charlton County).


It begins with Batman Begins

I was reluctant at first, but boy was my timidness silly. Batman Begins is, without a doubt, the best comic book/superhero movie I have ever seen. Makes Spiderman look like a junior high project. Flagpole's Drew Wheeler is on the money with this:

Not only the authoritative Bat-film, Christopher Nolan's adult, character-driven Batman Begins sets a near impossible standard for successive superhero films.

It's deep, dark, brooding, funny, dramatic and heroic. Check it out.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I know you are, but what am I

One of my little pet peeves has recently popped up again in recent days.

Being more liberal, ideologically speaking, than conservative, I visit a good number of left-leaning web sites. Some, like Matthew Yglesias' blog, are very in tune with my thinking these days - center-to-left leaning Democrat. Other, like Daily Kos are much more to the left than I typically am (though the argument could be made that the site's primary administrators - Kos and Armando - are more centrist than the readership there).

On the more left-leaning blogs, one often runs into a discussion about religion. And one often runs into some individuals who are anti-religion at all costs, particularly anti-Christian. Now, despite my own faith and my disagreements with those individuals, this is a perfectly legitimate position for some people to have. My buddy Eponymous openly states that he is very untrusting of all religions, and we've had plenty of discussions about this. We disagree - politely and respectfully more often than not - but hey, free speech right? And he's always been honest in his views, but fair to mine as well. So he's an example of a person I can have an intelligent conversation or debate with over these matters, even if I fail to see eye-to-eye with him or his rationale.

What bugs, though, are individuals who increasingly fall back on the 'Gosh, I'm more Christian than some Christians' argument. This is something that I wouldn't say I have been guilty of in the past, but I have made allusions to that in earlier discussions. True to self-evaluation, I have done some serious thinking about what that statement means (of course, actually being a Christian, I also think it's different because it's a discussion within the faith, but that's another matter). And I've determined that it's implausible for a non-Christian to even make such an assertion.

The argument itself is more than just shallow, it's also just insane. Even on the surface, it fails - a person who admittingly isn't a Christian is automatically disqualified from drawing this comparison because by simply not being a Christian, it's logically impossible for them to be more Christian than a Christian.

But, some would say, the argument is more centered on Christian practices of charity and love and peace. That, however, is still too narrow of a parameter. For instance, a non-Christian X might argue they are more Christian (in practice) than Christian Y because X gives money and time to a homeless shelter, while Y hordes all of their money on yachts and Cristol and shows an obvious indifference to the poor and sick. However, Y may be a loving father and husband who is maddeningly devoted to his wife and family, while X may be a twice-divorced individual whose marriages ended because of X's own infidelities. How are we to even out the grand karma of this comparison? Who, ultimately, is more Christian? Both are following the commands of Christ, but both also are knowingly rejecting others.

Furthermore, doesn't the sheer fact that X is arguing, even boasting, they are 'more Christian' - or, in terms relative to Y, better - than Y make them guilty of pride? The last time I checked the Scriptures, Christ didn't say 'feed my sheep ... oh and then go brag about you doing simply what I asked you to do anyway.'

That's why these sort of comments are so incredibly foolish and naive. If a non-Christian wanted to legitimately argue they are more charitable, or even more loving and compassionate, than a Christian, that would be perfectly acceptable. There are numerous non-Christians who are very loving and very charitable and very concerned about the plight of the downtrodden and less fortunate in our society, and their efforts should be lauded.

But it's nonsensical to claim they are better meeting the commands, requirements and obligations of a faith they knowingly reject than someone who is actually a believing member of said faith.

Ruling the old Confederacy

Via numerous other people ... we learn that I haven't been out much.

create your own personalized map of the USA

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Some observations

• It appears someone else has decided to try their lack in the ongoing drama that is the 2006 mayoral race in Athens-Clarke County. I'm sure that Charlie Maddox is a great guy — and he's got a heckuva resume — but throwing your hat into a ring already crowded by this many local power players seems kinda futile. With two commissioners seriously pondering challenging Heidi Davison in States McCarter and Tom Chasteen, one has to wonder what Maddox thinks he can accomplish.

(Maddox's) vision includes strengthening property rights, raises for police officers and involving more people in decisions, he said.

He also loves puppies.

But seriously, all Maddox does is divide the field even more and further solidify Davison's base. Considering we now have three 'anti-Heidi' candidates, Davison should be able to rally up support from the key organizations that backed her run in 2002 (Grow Green Athens and BikeAthens come to mind) and, if someone popular like McCarter emerges as her top challenger, if she splits the neighborhoods she should pick up a second term.

What about the Chamber and the business community you ask? Who knows. But, with the possible exception of Maddox, it's hard to see who they'd get behind. Rumor has them friendly to McCarter, but that seems mighty odd to me. They'll probably be split into fractions as well and get trumped by name recognition among other, more well-known candidates.

I'm still leaning Heidi.

• Speaking of the Chamber, someone needs to help me out on the latest rift that has emerged between them and the Athens-Clarke County Commission. Apparently the two groups are feuding again, this time over some rezoning issues and changing parts of Hawthorne to three lanes.

Commissioner David Lynn gave the Chamber a verbal smackdown for its stance on rezoning a tract of land near Oliver Rubber Plant from office and industrial to multifamily residential. The rezoning was approved in 2000 with little fanfare, but plans to develop the tract never got going and the rezoning eventually lapsed. So the commission decided to redo the zoning and give it another go, thinking the Chamber wouldn't object as they didn't make much noise about it last time.

But the Chamber doesn't like that idea this time around, but Lynn feels it's a bit late for that kind of change of heart.

"I really can't see the chamber asking us to say to a private property owner, 'Even though you've spent $3 million on your plans, we're going to zone you back,' " Commissioner David Lynn said Friday. "It's not consistent."

Switching stances on zoning amounts to government taking of property, Lynn said, something the chamber usually abhors.

"That's the irony of it," Lynn said.

Always liked that guy.

Anywho, the commission approved the residential zoning. But in other news, there's also a flap over turning Hawthorne Avenue from Oglethorpe Avenue to Prince Avenue into a three-lane road plus a center turn lane and some bike lanes. The Chamber, again, doesn't like that plan and wants to fight it.

Chamber spokesperson Tom Wyatt - as a side note, had a few classes with that guy and always liked him ... we disagree on almost everything under the sun politically, but he ultimately seems like good people - tells the Banner-Herald that businesses are very unhappy about the proposal.

Now, without being snide, what exactly can the Chamber do here? It's pretty much the least popular entity in this community ... and that's saying something. It was embarrassed in the 2004 elections and holds little political clout. There going to fight the conversion? Oooo ... maybe they'll circulate a petition at a mixer or something.

Sorry, just a tad frustrating because there are plenty of good folks - conservative, liberal and independent - in the Chamber who work hard to advocate for not only the business community in town, but also the community in general. It's just disappointing to see a promising organization flounder about like they do as they attempt to advocate for business, but end up playing bitter partisan politics just for heck of it.

Anyway, as I pull back from that tangent ... I'm torn on the proposed three-laning. Hawthorne is a mighty wide street and seems to work just fine as a four-lane road. Commissioner Elton Dodson told the Banner-Herald that this whole thing isn't about bike lanes, which I want to believe but am a tad skeptical. It's hard to rationalize why else they'd want to make such a change considering there appears to be ample room in the current setup, but I don't know. It'd be nice to include bike lanes on Hawthorne, but I'm not sure it's worth it considering what may happen with traffic.

Monday, June 20, 2005

True, true

Matthew Yglesias is, by far, my favorite blogger. And not just because he's a good centrist Democrat who's a lot smarter than me ... but also because of things like this.

The comments that follow concerning 'TomKat' or as I like to refer to them - 'Crulmes' - are funny. My favorite one being:

Anyway, I much rather think about freeing Katie in dramatic commando fashion. Lots of rappelling, my wise-cracking friend holding off Scientologist hordes with a hand-held M-60 while I go one on one with the 75 million year old alien spirit who had recently been possessing Tom Cruise (whose physical body succumbed during the first round of our epic bout). After I defeat the alien spirit with my buddhist fist, my wise-cracking friend will appear with a pilfered Huey and I will carry an unconscious and unviolated (thanks to our commando heroics) Katie in one arm while firing my .44 magnum pistol at Travolta and Kirstie Allie.

But Yglesias brings up a good point ... what TV show do you identify with the most from your youth? He, being in his early 20s, argues for Dawson's Creek, but I don't know about that. That said, I didn't really get into the Beverly Hills 90210 thing either. I do love Buffy, but that wasn't until my sophomore year in college.

Tough call.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Divine intervention

As if Florida State's football program wasn't struggling enough to keep up with the rising talent level in the ACC, the Seminoles have apparently gone and released God.

So Wyatt Sexton wandered around, under the influence of some unknown agent ... not like it's anything Jeremy Thomas didn't do. But the best part of the whole story is this:

Police said Sexton's roommates told them that Sexton had been at a Dave Matthews Band concert in Tennessee with them earlier Monday.

Dave Mathews Band concert. Makes sense.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bidding farewell

Everyone give a rousing send-off for one of the last stalwarts from my heyday as a sports writer with the Banner-Herald. Young Charles Shepard is heading for greener ... er ... completely different pastures in Jackson, Miss.

Chaz was hired as a copy editor during my final year as prep sports editor and worked his way up the ranks to cover the Georgia men's basketball beat (if that's working your way up or not is a whole different story). A bit sad to see the lad go. The ranks of those willing to grab a beer with me are dwindling.

Where have you gone Lancaster and Rosecrans and Texas?

The price of fame

Not that I really expected a jury to find Michael Jackson guilty, but what does a celebrity have to do to get convicted in this day and age? I mean, Robert Blake damn near confessed to murdering his wife, and he was found not guilty. Kobe Bryant?

Martha Stewart's the only one who actually goes to jail - and by jail I mean minimum security prison - and she's rewarded with her own version of 'The Apprentice' when she gets out.

Something quite odd about all of this I say ...

Friday, June 10, 2005

A damn fine movie

You know, while compiling my recent post on movies I had seen, I inadvertantly omitted one of the best films I've seen in a quite a while ... Hotel Rwanda.

Now, I'll be honest - it was brutal to watch. Not so much for the violence - there is actually minimal blood in the film - but for the content and situations presented in the story. And it becomes that much difficult to watch when you realize it's based on a true story.

Short version of the film:

The Hutu militia, which is not officially the army in Rwanda, but is more or less given free run by the country's government, begins a systematic extermination of the rival tribe, the Tutsis. Both groups had been feuding for years following the Belgian colonization of Rwanda, and it bubbles over when the Hutu ruler of the country is killed - allegedly, but never proven - by Tutsi rebels. The Hutu (which, by the way, control the radio stations and all day, every day, spew hateful rhetoric against the Tutsi) then launch a genocidal campaign to kill off all the Tutsis (known as 'cutting the tall trees') and the entire country spirals into anarchy. Tutsis are dragged from their homes and hacked by machetes in their front yards. Special attention is paid to the children, as the Hutu militias work to eliminate the next generationof Tutsis.

The movie focuses on the efforts of Don Cheadle's character and his family (he is a Hutu, his wife a Tutsi). As the manager of a well-known and very posh hotel run by some French company, his hotel is one of the few safe havens in the country. It's overflowing with foreign (white) visitors and even had a U.N. contingent there which had worked to foster a peace deal between the two groups prior to president's death. Cheadle pays for his family's life, and - over time - the lives of more than 1,000 Tutsi refugees to stay in the hotel. All the while, he is confident that someone from the West would come to help ... and when they come to take only the white, foreign dignitaries, Cheadle's faith is rocked.

Since I don't want to give too much away, I'll just say that it truly was an incredible movie. I cried at three different points in the movie, and then for a solid five minutes after the film went ... hard. I don't even know why I was crying (though I was thankful that the wife was in bed at the time), but I suppose it was just hard to process all of that in two hours.

During the Rwanda genocide, more than one million people were killed in just three months ... and it went unnoticed by the rest of the world. And I'm not harping about international assistance in terms of sending troops - though I believe we should have sent an international peacekeeping force - but also from help from non-profit, non-governmental, charitable agencies. Only the Red Cross stood fast throughout the crisis, and they faced threats each day.

Cheadle's character at one point, feeling lost and hopeless, just says 'no one cares ... we don't have oil, we don't have diamonds, we don't have banks.' And sadly, that's the perception when it comes to African aid. I don't have all the answers, but I do know the answers to fighting the poverty, the disease, the hopelessness on that continent are out there.

I just hope we find them soon enough.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Now it's a party

As announced by one of the worst headlines in Athens Banner-Herald history, States McCarter is pondering a run for mayor in 2006, already adding to a (potentially) crowded field. The commissioner from District 8 announced in the wee hours of the morning toward the close of a commission meeting that he would resign his seat in 2006 and pursue a position of higher authority in government ... which is code for mayor most folks agree.

With McCarter sticking his toes in the mayoral water, we now have five possible candidates in current mayor Heidi Davison, McCarter's fellow eastside commissioner Tom Chasteen, local community activist Keith Johnson, tax commissioner Nancy Denson and McCarter. And there's always the possibility that someone like former mayor Doc Eldridge, who was defeated by Davison three years ago, would decide to jump back into the mix.

Now, realistically, all five candidates won't run. I think it's safe to say that Denson will sit this one out and, if she's thinking of pursuing a different office, would do so at the state level as an Athens-Clarke County representative. If McCarter runs, it's hard to figure that Chasteen would run since that would split the eastside vote. One would probably decide to seek the mayoral post, and the other would work to build a base for the candidate. From all the indications I can gather, I feel pretty secure in saying that Davison will seek a second term. And Johnson? I don't know much about the guy, so I really can't say ... but I don't see him as a viable candidate with local heavyweights like Davison, McCarter and Chasteen all sniffing around.

I've heard rumblings from folks that the business community - that monolith which, good or bad, packs little punch in Athens-Clarke County - would possibly rally around McCarter. This a bit unusual considering McCarter is one of the leading advocates for the quality-of-life ordinances which many folks in that sector are unhappy with, but I suppose with the anti-Heidi backlash that is going on in the business sector, McCarter (or Chasteen possibly) would appear to be alternative.

As for who's got the advantage? Hard to say. McCarter is a very popular and savvy politician. I've always been most impressed in my encounters with him. Regardless of your opinions of his views and ideologies, McCarter is a tireless worker who attends damn near every event, dinner or other community function he's invited to. He was the most outspoken supporter of Interfaith Hospitality Network on the commission (save Alice Kinman who is a church coordinator and, during the CDBG process, took a more behind-the-scenes approach to helping us out) and has done much for our organization. So, despite some differences on the issues, I do like McCarter.

That said, I'm probably one of the few people whose opinion of Davison has changed for the better. I voted for Eldridge in 2002 and was underwhelmed by Davison's first year in office. She spoke at lengths about addressing poverty and affordable housing in the community, but I felt - right or wrong - that her actions didn't match her rhetoric. But, as I have gotten to know her better and observed what she has done in office, I've seen her grow more comfortable in her role as mayor. I was most impressed with her handling of the smoking ban issue where she cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the compromise and then postponed discussion on repealing said compromise until a year's time had passed and the community could analyze who effective or ineffective the partial ban was. I witnessed, in my brief interactions with her during the CDBG process, her committment to community involvement and finding solutions for poverty. Like McCarter, she has been supportive of our organization. And, as I mentioned in a letter to the editor a while back, I thought she handled the issue with Ethelyn Simpson and Kay Giese quite well (typically being alone in that opinion as I learned from my few, dedicated readers).

So it's hard to figure who I'd support. I'm a bit partial to Heidi right now to be honest, though I'm sure I've got plenty of friends from across the political spectrum who would strongly disagree with that.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Movie Galore

I'm about to let you in on a most unusual secret — I don't really enjoy watching movies. This is unusual because, for a large portion of my time in college, I wanted to become a screenwriter. Heck ... I still want to become a screenwriter. So it's not so much that I don't enjoy movies, but rather that I don't enjoy investing the necessary two hours to watch a movie. Guess I'm all about maximizing my time, or something.

So it's quite remarkable that the wife and I have doubled as Ebert and Roper the past week.

Sideways - Been wanting to see this since the hoopla surrounding the Academy Awards. I liked it, and Paul Giamatti was absolutely wonderful in it. The film is the perfect mix of screwball comedy and a thorough examination of disturbingly deep depression ... so kudos to them for pulling that off. A little too much unexpected full frontal male nudity for my taste, but few movies are perfect.

Meet the Fockers - Did you like the first one? Watch it again. This is the same thing plus Dustin Hoffman acting obnoxious and a little humping dog.

In Good Company - Excellent. Did a superb job capturing what it must feel like to be a 51-year-old who is sort of at the end of the career line and all of a sudden has a boss half of his age ... and also what it feels like to be a 26-year-old who is all of a sudden put in the position of managing men and women who are twice his age. A lot heavier than I thought. Good stuff all the way around. Got two thumbs up from the wife and I.

Spiderman - Never saw the original three years ago, and Tivoed it from TBS. Was pretty good. I don't know if I'd call it the 'best superhero movie ever made' as some reviewers have said, but it was strong. It's hard to beat Superman and Superman II, but it was strong. The best part of the film, as the reviewers did rightly note, was the internal struggles Peter Parker had to go through as he was given this extraordinary gift. Most superheroes just pursue truth, justice and the American way like it's no big deal ... and Spiderman really attempted to give some analysis to the conflicts and fears Parker had to endure.

So ... what have you seen lately?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Better late than never?

Johnny, oh Johnny ... why?

Former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry, decided to release all of his military records ... about eight months too late.

Surprise, surprise ... nothing is out of the ordinary. From the Boston Globe story:

The records, which the Navy Personnel Command provided to the Globe, are mostly a duplication of what Kerry released during his 2004 campaign for president, including numerous commendations from commanding officers who later criticized Kerry's Vietnam service.

The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry's military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.

But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him.

So, as we already knew, the Swift Boat Liars were full of it. And, lo and behold, they actually recommended him for several of the medals he received. Apparently that whole thing really was partisan.

Like Kos I ask ... why, oh why did he wait so long? If he had simply released the full records, then it would have shown that they were nothing but liars and put that issue to rest. Kerry claims that he didn't want to stoop to their level, but he eventually responded to their allegations anyway ... so why not release the records?

And considering the latest ABC News poll shows President Bush's numbers at an all-time low, with nearly 60 percent of the country thinking the president doesn't care about their problems, instead focusing on insignificant issues and partisan bickering ... it's frustrating to wonder what might have been.

But alas, I have given up on Sen. Kerry. I wish him continued success as the junior senator from Massachusetts, but my lot for the 2008 election - barring a Hillary run - is firmly with either John Edwards or Wesley Clark (as of now, I lean toward Edwards though I think Clark has come a long way in his political seasoning and I like his ideas on national security).


For the first time in a month, I update the collaborative site The Athens Sports Scene with a post on the denied admission of Jamar Chaney to the University of Georgia. I think it's unfortunate he didn't get in, so I write about it.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Some interesting things ...

Come across a couple of interesting items the past few days ...

• The New York Times tells us that the hyper-rich are a lot better off than you and me, though I suppose we already knew that. It's the latest in their series analyzing class in America, and is quite interesting.

• Armando at Daily Kos, after defending moderate Democratic senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, takes issue with some statements from NOW president Kim Gandy, who remarked:

"The Democratic Party can't seem to decide whether it wants to be Republican Lite." Calling out liberal figures like John Kerry (for saying we need to elect more pro-life Democrats), the left evangelical Rev. Jim Wallis (the previous speaker, for his support of "faith-based" initiatives), and Bono (for "crossing the line" to seek collaboration on Africa with pro-lifers), she said this: "If this is what it means to be a big tent...then I say let's keep the skunk out of the tent."

OK, Gandy's a moran ... a short-sighted moran. But that's a whole different story. Glad that Armando took some issue with her statements, while appreciating the need for discussion on these issues. His defense of Nelson - which, logically enough, amounted to saying Nebraska is a conservative state so a conservative Democrat makes sense - was gutsy and, of course, elicted tons of irrational responses from the Kos Community. I'm a partisan Democrat more often than not, but ideological purity at all costs frustrates me.

• Fresh from his brand spanking new blog, Matthew Yglesias comments on the commentary surrounding the Koran abuse allegations, and offers this gem:

It's all been said before, but it bears endless repetition -- it's a strange form of moral clarity indeed which argues that America's conduct in the world should be judged in accordance with the lowest depths of human depravity.

Been meaning to post something I've already written about the Newsweek fiasco ... could do that soon.

• Speaking of Newsweek, the departing Baghdad bureau chief is all over the situation on the ground in Iraq. Scathing stuff:

The four-square-mile Green Zone, the one place in Baghdad where foreigners are reasonably safe, could be a showcase of American values and abilities. Instead the American enclave is a trash-strewn wasteland of Mad Max-style fortifications. The traffic lights don't work because no one has bothered to fix them. The garbage rarely gets collected. Some of the worst ambassadors in U.S. history are the GIs at the Green Zone's checkpoints. They've repeatedly punched Iraqi ministers, accidentally shot at visiting dignitaries and behave (even on good days) with all the courtesy of nightclub bouncers--to Americans and Iraqis alike. Not that U.S. soldiers in Iraq have much to smile about. They're overworked, much ignored on the home front and widely despised in Iraq, with little to look forward to but the distant end of their tours--and in most cases, another tour soon to follow. Many are reservists who, when they get home, often face the wreckage of careers and family.