Transition of power in Fallujah
The US Marines currently on station in Fallujah are reportedly going to hand off the situation to an Iraqi military force to be built by some of the former generals of the Iraqi Army. The thought is that the Iraqis should be better able to persuade the militia inside the city to lay down their arms. Certainly sounds reasonable and I have no issue whatsoever with letting Iraqis step up and handle the security arrangements of Iraq. That’s a better deal all around if the new Iraqi Army can actually produce results. In this case, results = militia stand completely down and Mr. Sadr the cleric surrenders to the Iraqi courts. And I don’t mean in a year, I mean now.
My only concern in all this is making sure we don’t send the message that we’re actually running away. I don’t want the people who have been taking shots at our soldiers to be given the idea that we got afraid and that we needed the Iraqi Army to save us. That’s an image that would cause us lots of trouble down the road and not just in Iraq. If it can be made very plain and very open that we’re doing this out of respect for the civilians of Iraq and for the new Iraqi Army as well as to avoid needless destruction, then I’m all for it. Can’t wait to see those Iraqi troops with their new flag on their shoulder!
The Abortion “Debate”
The recent march of 750,000 supporters of reproductive rights here in DC has spurred more so-called “debate” on the topic than is usual. Certain people and certain venues I’d never have expected to see engaged in the matter have been in the past few days. Some of the talk I’ve been seeing stretches to the point of breaking the concept of “debate.”
The definition of debate, according to Webster, is “Pronunciation: di-’bAt, dE-; Function: noun; : a contention by words or arguments: as a : the formal discussion of a motion before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure b : a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides.” Not included, but certainly implied, is the concept that one actually listens during a debate as well as speak. It’s not required by debating that one be convinced at all, but when the opponent makes a statement or proposition it usually is considered appropriate to at least acknowledge that they have done so. Further, in the spirit of debate, one should consider the statement given and judge it for it’s validity. Is the statement accurate? Is it relevant? If it is used in support of an argument, does it convey the necessary information or refer to a previously accepted conclusion?
In a debate, one does not hear the opponent make a statement and then proceed on with one’s own arguments as though the statement was not made. And if it’s the accuracy of the statement that is the source of an objection, address it. Don’t simply pretend it was never proposed. Communication failures do happen, and differing accepted definitions of terms can cause problems. True debate demands that one confirm that both the opponent and oneself are speaking the same language when these happen.
What happened here in DC last weekend was not, in any respect, a debate. Even when opponents on the issue met, they weren’t debating. What we saw was advocacy – a visible and audible sign of the opinions of the participants. These 750,000 people were there to show they felt a specific way on the subject, not to actually debate the topic. When I ran into the groups of people talking about it later in the week, they were also showing their advocacy, not actually debating.
The process of debate becomes even more corrupted when people are disingenious about their choice of terms and in how they attempt to frame the opponents’ arguments. I was asked, for example, was I pro-choice or anti-abortion. I replied, both. That earned me a dumbfounded look. Make no mistake: I don’t like abortion. For everyone to be honest, I think it must be admitted that no one likes it, period. There are no such things as pro-abortion people or so-called “abortionists.” None. The attempt by the alledged “pro-life” movement to brand anyone not agreeing with their side of the issue as “abortionists” is simply a matter of injecting an emotively-charged word in their speech in the hopes that the opponents will lose face in the eyes of the undecided. It is a trick, a gimmick. It is most certainly not a valid point of debate. The pro-choice side tends to allow their opponents to make up the labels and sit at a disadvantage for doing that. Their opponents call themselves “pro-life” and “anti-abortion.” Well, who isn’t? Those terms sound great on paper and allows the adherants to that viewpoint to look good on camera as well.
I am pro-choice. What I believe is that the question of whether to have an abortion or not should rest in the hands of the woman facing the pregnancy guided by her doctor, not in the hands of legislators and law enforcement. That is all I am saying by claiming to be pro-choice. The so-called “pro-life” movement is the one with the wrong name. Their real point is that they do not believe that choice should be allowed to the women citizens of this country. That’s what they’re fighting to accomplish, regardless of what they say about saving lives or anything else. Their proper name should be “anti-choice” and that’s what I intend to call them from this point on.
A young family member of mine got pregnant way ahead of her schedule and faced this very choice. She made it, with medical and spiritual advice, and carried the pregnancy to term. She’s placed her daughter with an adoptive family. There was no thought in her mind about the State and Federal legislators who expound on the topic in the State houses and halls of Congress. There was just her voice, turning over the decision with the information provided by doctors and parents and priests. When she made the call, it was her call, not Senator Whatshisname from East Blowhoe, Idaho. Our female fellow citizens have hard decisions to make and, in the end, they are the ones living with their decision. I trust them to make the right call for their situation.
Signs of Aging
As seen and laughed over at Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Briefing, I give you “the list”:
1. Your house plants are alive, and you can’t smoke any of them.
2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
5. You hear your favorite song on an elevator.
6. You watch the Weather Channel.
7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of hook up and break up.
8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as “dressed up.”
10. You’re the one calling the police because those damn kids next door
won’t turn down the stereo.
11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
12. You don’t know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
13. Your car insurance goes down and your payments go up.
Continue reading “Signs That Say, Sadly, You’ve Grown Up”… »
14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonalds leftovers.
15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
16. You no longer take naps from noon to 6 PM.
17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather
than settle your stomach.
19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and
20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer “pretty good stuff”.
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
22. “I just can’t drink the way I used to,” replaces, “I’m never going to
drink that much again.”
23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
25. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that
doesn’t apply to you and can’t find one to save your sorry old butt!!
Thanks to Sgt. Mom!
White writer banned for expressing same opinion as black one
Compare the content of these two quotes written in columns published in newspapers in the US:
|Space Here||“I think blacks should be more careful in deciding whom they choose to support. They need to grow beyond the automatic reaction of defending someone because he or she shares the same skin color and is in a dilemma.”||Space Here|
|Space Here||“Blacks ought to be more thoughtful about whom they choose to rally around, ought to be less automatic in leaping to the defense.”||Space Here|
Pretty congruent, aren’t they? If you’re already starting to bristle about the concept of whether the black community needs to follow the advice written or about to voice the opinion that some other community needs to do the same, put it on hold. That’s not what this post is about. The issue today is that 1 of the statements above got someone fired, the other was welcomed. By the same community. Now why would that be? After all, the statements make the same suggestion and neither is filled with any more invective than the other.
The reason is that 1 of them was written by a white author and the other was a black author.
A college senior in Oregon, David Williams, was fired by the editor for writing the 1 statement, published in a college newpaper. The black students on campus were apparently angered enough to protest and the editor reacted by firing Williams. The second statement was written in a column by Leonard Pitts, a black author. Both writers were addressing the concern that the black community appears to immediately leap to the defense of an accused black person – regardless of the crime or scandal in question – without really weighing the particulars of the situation. They support those so accused based on the color of their skin. Mr. Pitt’s column was welcomed and drew no controversy at all. Mr. Williams’ drew protests and got him fired. Quoting from the article on the topic:
|Space Here|| Black leaders on campus disagreed with Williams’ firing but admit they protested against the article and didn’t take the same action for Pitts because of their different races.
Williams “does not know the experiences African-Americans have gone through. He will never know that,” said Lauren Smith, president of the university’s Black Student Union.
They didn’t take the same action because of the difference in the authors’ races. That, ladies & gentlemen, is racist, no matter how you care to spin it. It’s appalling that such actions are not only tolerated, but are lauded as correct by the very people who scream loudest about being the victims of racism themselves. The concept that because I’m not such-and-such color or that I’ve never held a particular job means that I cannot possibly understand something is bigotted drivel. If a white author doesn’t understand something simply because he’s not black, then perhaps the black community isn’t trying to explain it well enough. That’s not Mr. William’s fault, either. The only thing that making that kind of comment ever achieved was convincing the party who “can’t understand” that maybe it’s not worth trying to understand. And if that’s the lesson learned, whose fault is that?
Mr. Williams should be granted his job back, the editor should file a written apology on the front page, and the “Black Union” on campus should be given mandatory racial sensitivity classes. They clearly need them.
Yeah, everything’s Bush’s fault…
As noted from Right Voices, sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.
|Space Here||COURTNEY Love knows whom to blame for her troubles. The rocker – who has gone broke, been arrested for drugs, and is fighting for custody of her daughter, Frances Bean – somehow blames President Bush. “The last thing I want to say is that I’m a victim, but I am,” Love told Rolling Stone. “I believe it’s a trickle down from Bush,” she said, particularly of her financial situation. “I should have done an audit. But did I bring it on myself? I don’t think so.”||Space Here|
Please. Do drugs, fail to watch your finances, and it’s someone else’s fault? Right.
Mr. Pope, you’re starting to piss me off
You know, after I get caught in an embarrassing “whoopsie” situation where I was caught doing something I shouldn’t have been doing, I tend to keep a low profile. I sure don’t charge around drawing attention to myself by demanding actions of everyone and threatening dire consequences if they don’t capitulate. Seems the Vatican doesn’t share my ethic, however, feeling that they’ve recovered enough respect from the American People over the conspiracy to hide pedofiles in their ranks that they can come 2 steps shy of threatening excommunication against those of us who are Pro-Choice. Priests everywhere have been admonished to not grant Communion to Pro-Choice Catholics. I can understand the Church’s taking a stand on abortion, and I don’t have a problem with “them” taking the other side of the issue from where I stand. My stance is pro-choice, after all. To toss down the moral gauntlet of threatening to somehow remove my ability to have a relationship with God, however, is just a bit too much of a hypocrisy given the state of their affairs, thank you.
I’ve already started to have dialogs with members of my church on the pro-choice/anti-abortion issue and, yes, even with the priest. It’s amazing how you can actually hold a civil debate when everyone tries. Those that don’t try aren’t worth my time.
At least we’re talking.
Paul Tillman was the Arizona Cardinal who turned down a $3.6 million contract to play football in the NFL to join the Army after 9/11. He went into the Rangers and was deployed to Afghanistan. There aren’t many details, yet, but the news is out that he was killed in action today.
My heart goes out to his family and I salute his bravery and willingness to serve. A true hero and role model.
I’ve started a new contract with a government agency here in DC this week. This is a good thing because being unemployed sucks. The bad part is the security.
Oh, they’ve always had security here. That’s not the issue. The problem now is the extreme amount. Until my full badge comes in, I am not allowed to go anywhere by myself. Yes, that includes the bathroom. Yes, that means my escort has to come into the john with me and stay until my “business” is complete. So I get escorted in to the lab I’m working in and dropped off by the escort. Now I’m stuck until that escort comes back. Assuming he does.
No problem, right? Just login and get to work. Oh, that’s right – I don’t have a badge. Which means no login ID. Which means no login. So, here I sit at the 1 “unclassified” terminal in the lab with an internet connection I know with 100% certainty is being monitored. Woo-hoo. Fun city.
More to come later.
Progress in Iraq: Judge for yourself.
I’m reading more and more stories that are implying or outright stating that Coalition efforts at reconstruction in Iraq are at a standstill. Judge for yourself and read the report from the USAID paying special attention to the “Highlights this week” in each section. The report is dated 13 April, so we’re not talking ancient history.
Doc’s back up
Doc in the Box is back on-line after several days without power. The Corpsman is bending his talents to electrical work in an effort to keep the lights on and what cooling the tents have up. He makes a suggestion to anyone sending a care package over: consider a solar shower. Sometimes there are water problems and some of the troops are showering by holding bottles of water over their heads. Solar showers are much better.
As for myself, I’m involved in a new contract which has me reading 10 megs of documentation just to get up to speed on what the project’s about. That’s been taking my time but I hope to be able to post more regularly.
This just in: Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle just signed a law into being allowing Wisconsin’s teachers to demand students get an HIV test if they feel they’ve been exposed. Go read the story over here, especially if you’re from WI. Sometimes laws like this get passed and the State’s own citizens never hear about it.