Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bad Ass Weather

Returning to my humble abode on Friday, after a full two weeks without power, was a feeling akin to what it must be like to win the lottery. I was fortunate to have no structural damage or burst pipes. That was some bad ass weather.

Gratitude is expressed in no particular order:

Thank You to friends and co-workers who listened to my whining as it became clear that I would be the very last one to have power restored.

Thank You to Sara for doing my laundry.

Thank You to Rita for taking me to lunch and baking me chocolate chip cookies.

Thank You to my sister for taking in hordes of toddlers and various bored and rowdy kids and their parents and managing to maintain a sense of humor through it all.

Thank You to the workers at McDonalds, Shoney's and the Heritage for being so kind and feeding me for the last two weeks.

Thank You to the two nice (and good looking) young men who sawed up the big mess of limbs in my front yard for $40.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Power Of Language

I followed a link from Crooks & Liars to an thought provoking post at The Fear of All Sums. The blogger finds himself in "enemy territory" at a New Year's Eve party -

Anyway, I have nothing against these folks. They seemed damned decent to me and I liked them. They didn't strike me as partisan political junkies at all. They were ordinary folks who, like anyone else, were reacting to the news of the day. But the conversation was peppered with vintage BushCo talking points despite the fact that I didn't get the feeling these were rabid Bush supporters. Still, they were riding the "fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" horse like Willie Shoemaker...

My opening came when one of the guests mentioned that our involvement in the war was now longer than our involvement in World War II. That factoid seemed to surprise some of the others in the room and that gave me the opportunity send up my trial balloon.

"That's true," I said, "but when you really think about it, it's not really a war so much as it is an occupation," I offered helpfully."I mean, there's not really a line of troops with tanks, air support, attack chopper and gunships facing our guys over there," I added.

I finished it off with what I admit was a bit of superficial rhetorical camouflage, "So, if you look at it in terms of other occupations, it's not really that long at all."

Everyone reacted positively to that one, to my pleasant surprise, agreeing that it was more like an occupation than a hot war like WWII or even Vietnam...

But something happened in that room when I managed to get people to acknowledge the true nature of what's happening in Iraq. Once they accepted the idea of it being an occupation instead of a war all the talk of "victory" ended abruptly...

So here we see how language, the words we choose to use, effects the direction and tone of the debate -- a fact that I promise you is not lost on the Bush Administration. The power of language is why our media establishment is so squeamish about naming the obvious civil war that is taking place in Iraq. They insist on calling it all "sectarian violence" because "civil war" just seems too damning for their tastes and those of the White House. They would be even more squeamish about labeling our presense there an occupation if any significant pressure to do so even existed.

It's a long post, and I encourage you to read all of it and today's follow-up post.

All too often, when I find myself in social situations, I wind up pissing someone off, if not the whole room, so I have some serious lessons to learn from this guy.

Blue Girl, Red State commented today about the right-wing criticism of the profanity in the lefty blogs in her post Un.Fucking.Believable. Frank Luntz, making the rounds promoting his new book, chastizes left-wing bloggers for being angry. I'm right there with Blue Girl in my reaction to the events of the last six years. But my goal is to harness the power of language, to reach a few people in my sphere of influence.

Easier said than done.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Big Brother Scores Another Point

President Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act into law December 20th.

Included in his signing statement is the following:

...The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection. ...

Read the complete signing statement

Apparently, we can construe this to mean the government may now open our mail without a warrant if the mood strikes them.

What's next? A little mini-camera in each room of the house?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Step Up To The Plate

Keith Olbermann stepped up to the plate and hit another home run. Crooks & Liars has the transcript and link to video of Olbermann as he rips to shreds the newest Bush theme for rallying the public to his planned escalation of the Iraq conflict.

Olbermann: If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene? Would you at least protest? What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them? What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them — and was then to announce his intention to sacrifice hundreds, maybe thousands, more?...

and concluding -

Sacrifice, Mr. Bush?

No, sir, this is not "sacrifice." This has now become "human sacrifice."

And it must stop.

And you can stop it.

Next week, make us all look wrong.

Our meaningless sacrifice in Iraq must stop.

And you must stop it.

This gutsy, geeky sportscaster shoots from the hip. No wonder the radical right put him at the top of their list of bad guys.

Mr. Bush, Sir, you have been outgunned. Now, how can we get you to surrender to the will of the majority of voters and military leaders and move toward ending the fiasco you have created in Iraq?

All of us, every single one, must step up to the plate, if we are to stop this madness. Sacrifice a moment of your time. Write a letter to your senator and representative, comment on a blog, start a blog, or make a whopper of a sign and take to the streets.