October 28, 2004
October 23, 2004
You know who's not registered to vote? My brother. He registered in his college town back when he was in school, and he procrastinated and didn't leave himself enough time to re-register in his new city. He figured he'd just have to drive back to his college town on 2 Nov, but when he called the board of elections, they told him they'd removed him from the list. Apparently they sent him something in the mail that he didn't reply to, so they crossed him off. So now he can't vote.
Michelle Malkin reports that many states have trouble removing the names of people who have died or moved away, and that that voter list can often dwarf the population count. Illinois was sure quick to remove my brother though.
So a terrorist will be voting, but my brother will not.
Why oh freaking why don't we have to provide identification when we register to vote? At many places you have to show an ID to check into a hotel or rent a movie. (Hell, I have to show ID to Soldiers with M16s when I want to buy groceries; ID is just a way of life for us.) In the US, a driver's license is proof that you're who you say you are, and at least in Illinois, if you don't drive, the DMV will make you a valid ID card instead. No one is disenfranchised. No one is discriminated against if they don't drive. And no freaking illegal alien terrorists will end up on the lists!
Every poll known to man shows Bush ahead right now, but I ain't sleepin' easy when Mary Poppins and Nuradin Abdi are registered to vote.
October 18, 2004
Chapter 13: Classification/Division starts with Act 2 from Shakespeare's As You Like It, the "all the world's a stage" monologue. The following is a "question on meaning and technique":
4. What characteristics typify the soldier? Are these characteristics typical of soldiers today? Why or why not?
OK, here's what Shakespeare wrote:
Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the 'pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.
Maybe someone else can help me decipher that, because I am not completely sure what the heck the old bard was saying. I've never been a huge Shakespeare fan. The reason I even stumbled across this question is because I absentmindedly flipped open the instructor's manual during breakfast last week and found the jaw-dropper sample response to what typifies a soldier. This is the instructor's manual answer to question #4:
The soldier is swaggeringly masculine, wearing a bristly beard and uttering swear words. He is also ambitious to earn some honor on the battlefield, even if doing so means death. Yes, soldiers today--especially regiments like the marines--are seen as having considerable "machismo." However, many young people today hate the army because it represents war, which is no longer a chance for honor but rather for annihilation of the human race.
You have to learn to laugh at stuff like that...otherwise you'll cry your eyes out.
I hate this f-ing textbook.
October 11, 2004
In KlempererÂ’s book thereÂ’s an anecdote about a professor who is talking with some colleagues, telling jokes. Hitler goes to heaven. He talks to Moses, and says so, you can tell me. You set the bush on fire yourself, didnÂ’t you?
HeÂ’s reported. He goes to prison for ten months.
And, as Klemperer notes, he was Â“an Aryan.Â”
Ah, but donÂ’t we have the Big Lie? The WMD debacle? This is one of those things that makes me just turn off the radio or TV or hit the back button or whatever it takes to decamp.
I did it with Stalin back when I was reading The Gulag Archipelago:
I dare anyone who thinks the Patriot Act is killing democracy to read this book, where the first person to stop clapping at a tribute to Comrade Stalin, after 11 minutes of straight clapping, was sent to the gulag. Or the woman who happened to walk past a truck full of bodies. Or the man who had doodled on a newspaper photo of Stalin. All of them gone.
It's a crying shame that I can't visit a concentration camp without the smug satisfaction that today's Bush-haters have no idea what they're talking about. I don't want to think about Bush at a concentration camp. I don't even want the Bush=Hitler thought anywhere near my head, because it's completely demeaning to the real people of that era who died for nothing. I've seen a lamp made out of Jewish skin; how DARE anyone make that comparison to President Bush.
It's disgusting, and I'm disgusted that every time Hitler comes up, we find mental ways to disassociate him with Bush. I think that's revolting.
October 09, 2004
Now we just need some good news of our own in November!
October 08, 2004
So I clicked on the link to the petition. Heh. It's not a petition against the draft; it's a petition to Demand Honesty. The aim?
I demand to know how George Bush plans to guard the homeland, protect against threats abroad, and stabilize and occupy Iraq -- without resorting to a draft.
Yes, we need troops to fight in Iraq. We need lots of them. Many of my students are leaving in January for their second year in Iraq, and of course that sucks. But I've listened to John Kerry -- god help me -- and I don't see how his plan is going to require any less boots on the ground.
Kerry said in the debate last week:
That's why, in my plan, I add two active duty divisions to the United States Army, not for Iraq, but for our general demands across the globe. I also intend to double the number of special forces so that we can do the job we need to do with respect fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly.
Two active duty divisions is an addition of roughly 40,000 people. Where are they going to come from? More active recruitment? Tell that to Michael Moore, Kerry; since you parrot him on other issues, you might want to review his segment on the recruiting Marines. (Oh, and the money will come from cutting crucial defense systems and weapons programs. Way to go, Kerry.)
Kerry has also disingenuously suggested that he would start pulling troops out of Iraq in January. What he specified in the debate last week though was
I didnÂ‘t say I would bring troops out in six months. I said, if we do the things that IÂ‘ve set out and we are successful, we could begin to draw the troops down in six months.
And the thing he's "set out" is to bring more allies to the table to share the load in Iraq. The problem is that he keeps repeating that, knowing full well that Allies Not in Formation on Kerry's Troops Plan: Nations have a hard time supporting his proposal to use their soldiers to fill out the force in Iraq:
"Some Europeans are rather concerned that Mr. Kerry might have expectations for relief [from abroad] that are going to be hard to meet," said one senior European diplomat in a statement echoed in several capitals.
The French and German governments have made clear that sending troops is out of the question. British officials have made no such categorical statement, but they have expressed concern that their troops are overstretched.
Although Japan has supplied a 550-member noncombat force as a symbol of its international commitment, analysts there see little chance the nation would agree to send more.
Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, ruled out a commitment of troops. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say," Denisov said.
So Kerry is simply smoking crack if he thinks that he's going to get allied forces to replace our troops on the ground. There won't be anyone replacing the troops already there, so his plan won't work. It's all bogus. (And I think he knows it too, but that's a story for another day.)
Kerry also said during the debate that he would support sending troops to Darfur, Sudan if needed:
Right now all the president is providing is humanitarian support. We need to do more than that. TheyÂ‘ve got to have the logistical capacity to go in and stop the killing. And thatÂ‘s going to require more than is on the table today.
But IÂ‘ll tell you this, as president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, IÂ‘d be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.
So our troops do not seem to be more likely to be in garrison (that means staying at their home bases) if Kerry is elected. That's a misrepresentation on his party's side. Kerry's plan -- only leaving Iraq if we're replaced by other allies, deploying to Sudan if necessary -- is not a benefit for our troops. It will not reduce the number of deployments or make extra soldiers or Marines any less necessary.
Maybe we should also be worrying that Kerry might need a draft. After all, it was two Democrats who initiated the draft legislation in the first place...the same legislation, I might add, that was voted down 402-2.
There's not going to be a draft. The last thing anyone who cares at all about the American military wants are ungrateful punks ending up in the ranks. Let the adults handle the job of defending America; the frat boys and hippies can stay at home.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
And so here's my problem. I find myself in an enormous conflict between Roark and CavX.
Roark's philosophy was not that he was going to try to get others to see architecture the way he did. He just kinda thought you were born with it. If you saw things his way, you had common ground. If not, he didn't want to have anything to do with you. Not in a rude way, but in a matter-of-fact, we-have-nothing-to-discuss way.
On the other hand, CavX, through patient perseverance, has managed to covert many lefties that he works with. He lays out the facts, over and over, until the people admit that there can just be no other way of looking at things. And they're won over; CavX has created right-wingers.
So which way is right?
Lots of people thought that President Bush lost the debate last week. They say he's a horrible debater (whereas Kerry appears to be a Master Debater. Sorry, couldn't resist.) But I understand completely where President Bush is coming from: he's Roarkian. I imagine that Pres. Bush was wondering why on earth he had to debate Kerry -- a man who spends most of his time debating himself on the issues -- to prove that he'd be a good President. I imagine he thinks that if his track record doesn't speak for itself, then what else can he say? If you have no common ground at all, where do you begin? The Bush Doctrine has liberated two countries, forced Libya to disarm, unraveled the enormous Oil-For-Food scam, and brought the hope of democracy to millions of people; if he has to sit down and explain to you why that's good, then what's the point? That's why he looked like he was "smirking" during the debate; it pains him, just as it pains me, to hear the string of nonsense that comes of of Kerry's mouth. He tries, but he just can't understand the way Kerry looks at the world. I completely understand that, for that's the reason I have spent a year trying to grok. These things are self-evident to me and to President Bush; if a majority of Americans and voters can't see that, then maybe they don't deserve to have him as their president.
I admire CavX's style, because it's so unlike the way I think. He's methodical and patient; I fly off the handle and want to either rip heads off or end the conversation. I wish I had his skills of persuasion; then maybe my co-workers would stop trying to convince me that Bush is bad.
Which brings us full circle to The Draft. When we get emails like this, or when our co-workers praise Fahrencrap 9/11, what is the proper response? I can't help but think of a passage from The Demon-Haunted World:
Imagine that you enter a big-city taxicab and the moment you get settled in, the driver begins a harangue about the supposed inequities and inferiorities of another ethnic group. Is your best course to keep quiet, bearing in mind that silence conveys assent? Or is it your moral responsibility to argue with him, to express outrage, even to leave the cab -- because you know that every silent assent will encourage him next time, and every vigorous dissent will cause him next time to think twice?
Sagan ends this section with "Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom." I just don't know what to think anymore. On the one hand, I think that some people will never see what I see, no matter how articulately I might lay it out, and it's not worth my sanity to try to beat them over the head with Truth. On the other hand, people are going to be voting next month based on bullcrap like this email forward on the draft, and unless we make a serious effort to counter the media and the junk science, we run the risk of losing President Bush.
If that happened, he would likely go home shaking his head, wondering why people just couldn't see what he saw. He shouldn't have to sugarcoat two toppled regimes and almost the whole deck of cards out of the picture.
My ballot is already in the mail; it's a bit late to be thinking about this topic. But who are we going to be over the next three weeks, Roark or CavX?
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