Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

in case you hadn’t realized

Just in case it’s not mentioned in the press, the latest casualty figures indicate that now, officially, more than 4 times as many US military have been killed in Iraq since the “End of Major Combat Operations” as before. This includes 103 through just 18 days of April, alone.

One goal of the invasion was, I think, to create a unified Iraq, and in that we have succeeded. They all object to being occupied. Funny that.

news conference

According to CNN:
“President Bush holds a prime-time news conference Tuesday night, his first this year and his third since moving into the White House.”
Wow! they’re letting him speak in public, and for the 3rd time in slightly more than three years!!!
Go Mr. President! You’re on!! Break a string!!!

Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy testify before the 9/11 commission

Bush is a puppet

vacation

I almost feel like I’ve been on a mini-vacation the last week. Since last monday, I haven’t had anything I’ve had to do other than go to my main (albeit boring and depressing) job. The twins were sick on Tuesday so we didn’t do scouts, the normal thursday meeting was postponed due to the holiday, the homebrew store was closed on Sunday, and nothing else cropped up to require evening hours. It’s amazing how extended I am with other things. Given how relaxed the past week has been, perhaps too much so. I should probably scale back, but don’t know how to disentangle myself from various commitments.

Other than more worries and disturbing news from the family in florida, which continues to have to deal with my brother’s immature and neurotic estranged wife, it has been a pretty nice week. I just wish they could get to some situation where I don’t have to worry about her again abusing my 75 year old mother.

And, oh yeah, so far 57 American soldiers have died this month alone in Iraq. If we extrapolate this through the month of April, we would end up with more american dead (142 vs. 140) than died in the entire first part of the war, before Bush declared major combat operations over. Of course, it’s just a small faction in Iraq that is opposed to being indefinately occupied. I’d hate to think what would happen if they all objected. Good thing we eliminated all those weapons of mass destruction, which were the justification for the invasion.

[Note: I wrote the above too early in the day. CNN is now reporting that 76 American soldiers have died so far this month, with two more missing. Apparently the counter in the sidebar cannot update quickly enough to keep up. Extrapolated through the entire month of April, this would be 190 dead.]

Nice smirk

Condi RiceWould you trust this face?

Necessary Skills

From CNN:

The president traveled to El Dorado, Arkansas, visiting a community college for a second day of talks about the economy and job training.

“We want every citizen in this country to get the skills necessary to fill the jobs in the 21st century,” Bush said.

I suppose that means he’ll promote funding for classes in Chinese or Hindi, but the article didn’t mention that.

How are the american troops treated?

“George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld care about the troops in the same way that Tyson Foods cares about chickens.”
– Stan Goff, Retired Army Master Sergeant and father of soldier in Iraq

638 american military dead, 39 in the last week, and more than 3 and a half times as many killed since May 1st as before that date, when President Bush declared an end to major combat operations.

Perhaps we should have sent the troops to look for the WMD under the Whitehouse furniture.

to hell with them

You know, to hell with them….

Somehow while giving up my weekend to to train adults in scouting, I managed to piss off the council training chair, by noticing that she was cracking jokes with a friend, to the point of being distracting, while I was trying to teach knots to a very noisy group. Never mind that I was the only one all weekend to show any energy, or do anything to keep this particular group of adult students awake.

People are falling asleep in a lot of these presentations. I’m stuck with the last presentation of a long day, the preceding session was a boring video tape, and before that was dinner. I get to try to cram an hour of knot-tying into a half hour, and notice our ever so important council training chair is cracking jokes, not once, but at least three times, while I try to teach a group of exhausted people about knot-tying. Somehow noticing that, and joking about it, is a big insult to her. She wouldn’t put up with this if she were in front of the room, but apparently the Golden Rule doesn’t apply to her.

Damn it, there are lots of things I could dedicate my time to. I like training and working with adult scout leaders, but I certainly don’t need to deal with prima-donnas’ fragile freaking egos. To hell with them, I’ll find another way to spend my volunteer time.

despair and hope

I am sitting here, feeling completely down. Work is boring, and it is humiliating to have nothing useful to do. I am on staff for scout leader training this weekend, but it is clear that I am not part of the “core” team, and though my contributions are valued, I’m really not part of the main group. Personally I feel useless and unneeded. I continue to worry about my mother, as well as my brother’s family in Florida as they struggle to deal with my disturbed sister in law. In addition, I am never out of the cloud of despair over what is the state of my country. While we have the potential to be the greatest good on earth, we wallow in the paranoia and insecurities of an incompetent administration.

As I sit here, I am watching the end of a movie I have seen perhaps a dozen times, Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks. With it, I am forced to acknowledge not only the inner strength that we as Americans have to get us through troubles, but also the inner strength we as a country have, and the miracles that our grasp of technology can work.

While I am never not moved to tears by this film, for some reason this time it is almost uplifiting. In spite of my despairs, I am reminded that we have resources within us for ultimate good and success, and our technological superiority is an integral part of our resources, not a detraction from them. I’m sure no one who did not live through the Apollo 13 experience can understand the immediacy it has for me, and people of my age.

There is hope. NASA needs our support, for no other reason than to give a solid form to that hope.

Unprecedented Criminal Enterprise

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Republican National Committee launched a wide-ranging legal assault Wednesday on more than two dozen political groups working to defeat President Bush.

The committee says the groups are part of an “unprecedented criminal enterprise” to circumvent federal campaign laws and pour illegal soft money contributions into the 2004 race.

Wow. An “unprecedented criminal enterprise.”
I would have thought driving a country nearly to bankruptcy might be unprecedented, or lying in order to start a war that has so far cost 600 american soldiers their lives might be unprecedented, or giving sweet-heart deals worth billions to your own companies might be unprecedented, or bragging about your military experience after being AWOL might be unprecedented, or exposing a CIA operative under deep cover, and hence her contacts, because her husband criticized you might be unprecedented.

I guess what is unprecedented criminal behavior is having the temerity to object to those things.