Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It start out has a horrific cannibal nightmare. Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating some Kurds!
When she saw how horrified I was, Little Miss Tuffet said, "Don't be silly. I would never eat another human being. These are very clever soy products that look like them. I'm eating Bean Kurd."
Monday, October 29, 2007
One night, the fiance and I were at El Dump holding a long vigil at a table outside, waiting for my beer and her dinner. (At this point, I was already past the stage of ordering dinner there.) Neither of us knew why we were there - we were just there.
And so was a little dog. A mutt who looked to be part beagle, with some of all the other breeds mixed in. A very loyal little dog on a blue leash knotted around a barstool near the front entrance. As we waited for Sarah's baked gristle, the dog watched the glass door leading into the restaurant and waited. Waited. Waited. Waited for some sign, any sign, of his friend to appear. Tiny beating heart as wide open as his eyes, every part of him waiting.
Time dragged itself along on paralyzed legs. Sarah's food didn't appear. An investigation produced a strange alibi: it had been delivered to somebody else's table. Would she like it to go? Yes, please, we have somewhere to be. Cook the food and put it in a box.
The little dog's composure was melting away like Sarah's blood sugar level. The panting sped up to frenzied hyperventilation. Every muscle in the dog's body was rigid, as if it were physically WILLING his companion to appear. It had been more than half an hour since we had arrived, and the dog had already been waiting there.
We moved over to sit near the dog and keep him company. By then, he was barking and pawing at the glass door. Okay, fella, your buddy's in there watching the soccer game, lost track of time. He'll be out soon. But the dog would not be consoled.
A woman passing by had stopped to give the little guy a stroke on the ears and watch the situation, feeling angry and horrified that the little feller was being left out here for going on more than an hour, obviously frantic and probably needing to pee.
The wait staff, which had by this time told us that our takeout order had, accidentally, been cancelled and would not be coming out, had no idea who belonged with this dog. What to do?
The passer-by had an idea. She said, This is what we're going to do. You're going to untie this boy's leash, I'm going to open this door, and we're going to go in there with the dog and see who he runs to.
And that's just what we did. The blue leash was released from the barstool, passer-by opened the door, and in went the dog, questing for its human, sniffing around desperately and tracking. It's hard to imagine many things that would be considered disruptive in a crowded, noisy sports bar serving up cold brews and hot plates of microwaved cholesterol with parsley, but this was it.
The owner was found by his dog, and the happy reunion was only darkened by the arrival, within seconds, of the woman who had been passing by. She had words for him.
And as Sarah and I walked away from El Dump, without her dinner, I could still feel the verbal lashing he was getting back there.
May every dog in this world find a companion who truly loves them, for few human beings really deserve the love of a dog.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Moreover, he says that we should never torture. And he can say that because, according to his moral calculus, when we do it it isn't torture. It's "aggressive questioning" when we do it, and only torture when our enemies (e.g., I suppose, the Japanese military during World War II) do it.
Please read Joe's commentary for more, including some historical perspective.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Yes, officer, I need to report stolen toast.
Yes. My fiance asked me to make her peanut butter toast.
Peanut butter toast??
Yes, she has that every morning. It's very important.
And it's gone. I went to check on it, and the toaster is empty. No obvious signs of forced entry.
If you can just send someone quick. My fiance is in the bathroom getting ready for work. If she comes out and there's no toast, I'm going to get clobbered; but if I can at least tell her that police are on the job--
Sir. Your fiance took the toast and did it herself.
You were reading the news and didn't even notice her walk into the kitchen and spread peanut butter on her own toast.
Oh. Is that right?
You'd better believe it.
You're really good at what you do, aren't you?
Quick, buddy, go and ask her if she needs anything else. Call me back if there's trouble.
Thanks, I'm new at this.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Green Party is not polluting the news with a contentious primary race of its own; but we are having a nominating convention in July, and I suppose a Green candidate for president will be named. Ralph Nader has dropped word of his interest in running yet again.
Interestingly, Ralph has never consented to be a member of the Green Party, despite looking to us to support his campaigns over and over. Ralph may view us, like much of America, as a catch-all liberal-left party, an alternative to the Democrats, without a distinct platform and identity of its own. If Ralph wants to be the Green candidate, can we put him up on a stage and ask him some questions about the Green Party? Simple challenge: can he name the Ten Key values?
My wish is that the Green Party preserve its identity and stick to its values and mission, and work on expanding the number of local offices it has while running, perhaps, a candidate or two for the Congress. Establishing a Green in the United States Congress would be a much better beachhead for us than running a presidential candidate and having the quadrennial fight about spoilers and access to debates. Whether we succeed in that or not, the campaign allows us to talk to people about the Green Party and register new members without getting people all in a pother about the presidential contest. We could even bring up the "spoiler" issue ourselves in these conversations and educate people about the necessity of Instant Runoff Voting.
By and large, the Greens don't want to hear that.
Here is my plea, then, since the Green Party is moving forward with plans to vet presidential candidates in Chicago next summer:
If we are going to expend resources and energy putting up a presidential campaign - and there are good reasons not to do that - we don't need Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney (yes, her name came up in 2003). We don't need a celebrity candidate and won't necessarily be served well by them.
Let us promote a candidate who is a mature person, who has learned a trade and does it well, who values the land and small places; who trusts democracy, who isn't afraid to use the language of patriotism in promoting the ten key values of the Green Party; someone the press will have a difficult time portraying as a nutball; someone sensible, likeable, and brave.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Roger Tilton: I want to know if right here, right now, once and for all and without nuance, you can say that war authorization was a mistake. I, and I think a lot of other primary voters — until we hear you say it, we're not going to hear all the other great things you are saying.
Sen. Hillary Clinton: Well I have said, and I will repeat it, that knowing what I know now, I never would have voted for it. But I also (applause), I mean obviously you have to weigh everything as you make your decision. I have taken responsibility for my vote. The mistakes were made by this president who misled this country and this Congress into a war that should not have been waged.
Senator Clinton ducks and weaves to avoid saying she, Hillary Clinton, was mistaken. Note the bright line made between being fooled and her judgment being wrong. Note the shift of blame away from herself and her vote, back on to the hateful president. At first, I suspected this might be because the Senator feels - as George W. Bush does - that it is unpresidential to admit error or uncertainty. But no, silly, it's more obvious than that. She shouldn't say her vote was a mistake because it was not a mistake.
In 2002, Senator Clinton knew everything I knew - and probably more. She knew damned well that Iraq could not possibly have a nuclear weapons program in operation that had escaped detection. She knew damned well that Iraq had not attacked the United States of America on 11 September 2001, had no means to do so, and had no reason to collaborate with Osama bin Laden (an ideological enemy, and a threat to his regime). She would have had better access than I did to the information that our own intelligence agencies were in dispute over any link between Iraq and the events on September 11, that already there were whispers about crooked intelligence and a premeditated agenda on Iraq. This was all in circulation in October of 2002.
For her to call her vote a mistake would be every bit as preposterous as Senator Larry Craig trying to withdraw his guilty plea months after the fact. To paraphrase Judge Charles Porter, Hillary cast her vote "accurately, voluntarily, and intelligently."
Her vote was not a mistake. She did her moral calculus and, no doubt, her domestic political calculus. Given the uncertainty about the administration's intentions and its judgment, she voted her conscience and if she refuses to say it's a mistake, I suppose that means it wasn't.
Which brings me back to McGovern's endorsement, and his indulgence of Clinton's war vote. If she won't call it a mistake, he doesn't get to call it a mistake either. Mistakes can and should be forgiven; mistakes bring about improvement when something is learned from them.
If Hillary did not make a mistake five years ago when she cast her vote for this disastrous invasion, we have to assume her acquiescence was voluntary and deliberate.