Friday, September 24, 2004

With regard to the windsurfing ad, way back in February I said that Kerry needed to watch out about his dumb photo ops. Boy, I love quoting myself when I am right.

I don't think Kerry windsurfing looks as bad as Dukakis in the tank. But he is a little fey. Remember the Philly Cheesesteak flap in the primaries? He survived that one, and still seems to be leading in PA, meaning Philly must have forgiven (because the Pennsyltucky part of PA will never consider him). And there have been attempts throughout the campaign to link other photo-ops to the dreaded tank. None have stuck yet. This new ad is the closest it's come. Careful, John, careful.
Bravo again, Michael Moore. Bush is the flip-flopper, not Kerry. Did I mention I hate George Bush? Hate him. With a passion!
I love it. Cheney says that Kerry 'dissed Allawi. All I can say it, it takes one to know one. God I hate them! I hate every last person in that administration with a vengeance.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I must put in at least one jab on our boy GWB today: It's interesting that the only retort he has about the war now is that people who are simply reporting the truth on the ground as they see it are "pessimistic." LBJ made that same mistake, namely denial. And GWB uses 9/11 whereas LBJ used "10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1."
Today my wife and I have a heavy heart. Renee, our beloved cat of sixteen years, left us last night. We had to make the call and put her down. I've been fortunate enough thus far to have not experienced the sudden loss of someone I was close to in fourteen years. And that day was yesterday, fourteen years ago, same as the day Renee was put to sleep.

I first met Renee as a ten year old, when she crawled through my wife's childhood bedroom window and curled up under my arm one hot summer's night in Rochester, NY in 1998. She was born in the closet in that very same room when my wife was 13 or 14. We decided to take her out with us to California that summer of '98 and she had probably spent about half of that time since either on my chest, giving me head butts on my chin, or under my arm. On Sunday mornings it was almost like clockwork: I'd open the newspaper and here would come Renee, poking her nose right under the paper as if to say "the news of the world is not important right now. Remember me?" And that is how I feel today. The news of the world, beheadings, more dead soldiers, more lies from Bush and a refusal to accept facts by blanketly saying "they're guessing," none of that matters to me right now as much as the memory of our cat.

And I am trying to drown out the sadness of events during the past couple of days and summon my memory of head butts, purrs, good night's sleeps with Renee under my arm on one side, and my wife curled up next to me on the other. On any given night during these past few months, she would be there as I watched the Oakland A's fall, rise, and seem to fall again. I was hoping for another season of football to share with the best cat in the world by my side. But we knew this day would come eventually. Still, some may say "who cares, it's only a cat," but the hell with all of that. I am feeling what I am feeling, a huge emptiness that was not there two days ago.

To all who may be reading, please raise a glass for Renee, the best cat in the world!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Since the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire last night, the subject of the 2nd amendment has been floating around again. Remarkably, in most articles that talk about the subject, it is assumed that the 2nd amendment was written and ratified as a specific protection of the individual’s right to keep and bear any type of “arm” that they want. Not many people in modern discussions of that amendment even call this into question. But as this account of the constitutional convention illustrates, the second amendment is not that clear cut.

It’s a long, academic article, but what issue worth getting to the heart of doesn’t ultimately lead to this? The gist of the argument begins here:

VIII. THE DEBATE IN CONGRESS AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE AMENDMENT (just copy the above phrase, then to ctrl+f, once on the page).

Some things I find noteworthy:

First, it explains to me why the Rehnquist court (well, okay, none in a major way since 1939), has not touched a case involving the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Why? Because Justice Scalia is a proponent of an “original intent” test when interpreting constitutional issues, so by that logic, he would support a position more directly linking the “right to keep and bear arms” clause to that of the collective, “well regulated militia,” and not of the individual right to buy any type of assault grade weapon he wants, because the overwhelming majority of the framers believed that. And I don't suppose that would make the current rulers of the other two branches in the Federal Government very happy. And why do I get the feeling that he would make an exception to the "original intent" test here (do I hear a flip or a flop in the distance)?

Second, notice the legions of unrecognizable names that have faded into the obscurity of history on the side of the anti-federalist argument against the creation of “a more perfect union,” well in the minority during the time of the constitutional convention (Thomas Jefferson excepted, though we don't hear from him on the 2nd). And then there are the Federalists, names like James Madison, John Jay, George Washington, known by most everyone. Supporters of the individual right to keep whatever firearm they wanted for whatever reason were on the radical fringe, as this account shows in overwhelming detail. It wasn’t until after the civil war that this began to change.

I will leave with a direct quote near the end of the article (prescient in terms of other hot button issues we’re dealing with today such as gay marriage), and the amendment itself, the ambiguous wording of which is the sole source of today's controversies:

“Oliver Ellsworth, who would later be Chief Justice of the United States, found the whole notion of specific protections of liberties silly. Frustrated by the constant demands for an endless laundry list of amendments, he argued that

‘There is no declaration of any kind to preserve the liberty of the press, etc. Nor is liberty of conscience, or of matrimony, or of burial of the dead; it is enough that Congress have no power to prohibit either, and can have no temptation. This objection is answered in that the states have all the power originally, and Congress have only what the states grant them.[193]’”

The 2nd Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

P.S. I am not for banning all guns, but I do support the use of guns that are "well regulated," especially for the ones that can do the most serious damage.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Excellent article, just in time for football season to start. Hooray for football. Might I add Jim Marshall of the ViQUEENS to the list of wrong way runners! GO PACK!

Friday, September 03, 2004

I wonder if anyone has commented on the irony that Clinton had a heart attack yesterday, coinciding with Bush's speech? Just wondering...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

So, dear reader, why have I stopped compiling statewide polls from realclearpolitics? Because this website does a much better job.
Bush excerpts are in already, at the NYT. One that stands out is this one:

"This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family, and have a rewarding career. And government must take your side. Many of our most fundamental systems - the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training - were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow. We will transform these systems so that all citizens are equipped, prepared - and thus truly free - to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams."

My translation: We are bankrupting the treasury so that the next generation will be forced to abandon social security, medicare and medicaid altogether. Then you will be on your own. So long as you're born into a family that has already made it, you will be okay. But if you are born into a family without the resources to pay for health care, a 401K, or a simple savings account, you're shit out of luck. This is the closest Bush has gotten to admitting the truth, that the GOP is going after the New Deal, and have been all along. What a fuckin' douche!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

My good friend Jason asked me earlier in the week to tape some of the speeches of the GOP convention this week for his arrival back to the Bay Area just in time to take care of our cats. But I am boycotting the convention. I refuse to throw things at the TV which is something I usually only reserve for Packer games. Instead, I will leave him a printed packet of the speeches and the extra Eric Chavez Babooshka I acquired at the A's/Rangers game back on July 25th. Oh, and the detailed instructions on how to take care of the cats.

I began the week by sending a copy of this article to my list of friends and I also included the GOP leaning members of my family, a practice I usually eschew. Lakoff says many of the things I've been thinking. And I would add to it that it's always the people who benefit the most from government who complain about it the loudest.

My mother forwarded the link, along with my comments, to an old friend of hers from her neck of the woods. I was floored by the following letter in response:

Dear [My mom],

This e-mail came today from the old oil company and might have information that could be of help to you since you are a cell-phoner now.

I REALLY liked the article you sent. I can see right now your Bill is my kind of guy. It seems to me the political world is such a wilderness now, filled with grotesque creatures who use words to soothe and lure us but who have little regard for America or its people.

We have been taught a new vocabulary that seems too closely tied to that black beast of mind control, “1984”. Here it is twenty years after that cautioned date and we have Clear Skies programs that remove restrictions for pollution and Healthy Forest programs that open public lands to loggers. And that is just the beginning. We tolerate ads that twist words and contort intentions. We buy politicians like cornflakes off the shelf and then seem stunned when in the silence of our own homes we find the box more than half empty with stale, outdated goods. We allow lies to stand and truth to be trampled. We take bullheadedness for strength and make fun of “nuances” as if it were some kind of fault to be found thinking. We let people of heathen fruit define Christianity for us always leaving out Christ’s admonishment to care for the weak and provide for the poor. Like Herod in Auden’s “For the Time Being” we pray for a Messiah with the caveat “but let him be weak and ineffectual like us”.

I really do feel a kinship with your Bill because among so many things about him that I admire there is the welcome strain of sophisticated political thought. That is rare and to be highly treasured.

I will not send on the article because it would go straight over the heads of most of the good people I know. Thank you so much for passing it along to me. I have read it and will re-read it again before long.

With affection, E.

And then she sent me a link to the latest Garrison Keillor article on the GOP which was even more eloquent: http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/979/

I am not much of a "Prairie Home Companion" listener, but I love reading his words! All of this made my day both yesterday and today. And I am glad I am filling my thoughts with these words and not words of Mr. "Girlie Man." For those who are worried on the Dem side, this too shall pass, and pass it shall soon. "Carpe 9/11" does not have sea legs.