Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Iraq stay or leave

I must admit I'm in a quandry trying to understand what the policy of our country is regarding committment to Iraq. Firsat I hear we are there forthe long term and will not commit to or ever discuss a timetable for withdrawal of our troops. Seems the reason given was that would only encourage the "bad guys" to stay the course. That sounded logical to me. Us being there and all. Plus seems to reflect the truth of the statement attirbutred to Colin Powell to the effect that you broke it you own it.

But then I open the paper the other day and find, to my suprise, a statement from the top general in Iraq that a major troop withdrawal is expected by next spring. Announcement was almost coincident with a "surprise" visit to Iraq by Rumsfeld.

Wonder if related. Wonder if the timing of the reduction of troop strenght in Iraq is at all related to the mid-term elections? But I mainly wonder what happened to the we will not annouce or commit to any timetable for wiwthdrawal.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A life story writ large and well

Was directed by a extremely gifted and insightful blogger Skippy San to explore another website. I surfed over to Helen and was blown away but what I found.

Started with her letter to herself as a younger person. While lot of advice was expected ; the delivery and impact was not.

This letter moved me to surf her site. To say I was impressed and moved is an understatement.

Do yourself a favor and travel to Helen's blog you'll be glad you did.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Four More Days

Come Friday at about 5 or 7 PM a most interesting 2 weeks will, hopefully, end. One of my associates has surgery. She was expecting to be out a little over a week. Unfortuatley she had complcations and damn near bleed out. Change of plans and she will be out a little over 5 weeks. At least that's the plan.

Then over 4th week end my other associate gets admitted to hospital for indeterminate stay.

Result: I'm alone doing a VERY busy practice by myself. BTW we cannot schedule our worklaod. Just have to slog on and on and on.

Needless to say been arriving home beat to a frazzel. Could not have succeeded so far without help of my wife who agreed to come to work to handle lot of the rote, routine, work. She has been wonderful.

As an aside the squirrels continue to find ways to steal the birdfood. Most amazing creatures. Very persistent.

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4th & War of the Worlds

A moist interesting analysis of the two "War of the Worlds" this 4th of July season. From the "New York Times"

The Two Wars of the Worlds
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Published: July 3, 2005
ON the morning after George W. Bush spoke to the nation from Fort Bragg, Americans started marching off to Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds." Both halves of this double feature invoked 9/11, perfectly timed for this particular holiday. Ever since "Jaws," a movie set on the July Fourth weekend, broke box office records 30 summers ago, Independence Day has come to stand for terror as much as for freedom.
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Decide for yourself if "War of the Worlds" is more terrifying than "Jaws." Either way, it's scarier than the president's speech. Yet the discrepancy between Mr. Spielberg's ability to whip up fear and Mr. Bush's inability isn't merely a matter of aesthetics. On Independence Day 2005, this terror gap is an ideal barometer for gauging the waning political power of a lame-duck president waging what increasingly looks like a lame-duck war.
As we saw on Tuesday night, doomsday isn't the surefire hit it used to be for Mr. Bush. Now that the rhetorical arsenal of W.M.D.'s and mushroom clouds is bare, he had little choice but to bring back that oldie but goodie, 9/11, as the specter of the doom that awaits us if we don't stay the course - his course - in Iraq. By the fifth time he did so, it was hard not to think of that legendary National Lampoon cover: "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog."
Planned or not, the sepulchral silence of Mr. Bush's military audience was the perfect dazed response to what was literally a summer rerun. The president gave almost the identical televised address, albeit with four fewer 9/11 references, at the Army War College in Pennsylvania in May 2004. It's so tired that this time around even the normally sympathetic Drudge site gave higher billing to reviews of "War of the Worlds." Fewer TV viewers tuned in than for any prime-time speech in Mr. Bush's presidency. A good thing too, since so much of what he said was, as usual, at odds with reality. The president pledged to "prevent Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban" a full week after Newsweek and The New York Times reported on a new C.I.A. assessment that the war may be turning Iraq into an even more effective magnet and training ground for Islamic militants than Afghanistan was for Al Qaeda in the 1980's and 90's.
"War of the Worlds" makes as many references to 9/11 as Mr. Bush did. The alien attack on America is the work of sleeper cells; the garments of the dead rain down on those fleeing urban apocalypse; poignant fliers are posted for The Missing. There is also a sterling American military that rides to the rescue. Deep in the credits for "War of the Worlds" is a thank-you to the Department of Defense and some half-dozen actual units that participated in the movie, from the Virginia Army National Guard to a Marine battalion from Camp Pendleton, Calif. Indeed, Mr. Spielberg seems to have had markedly more success in recruiting extras for his film than the Pentagon has had of late in drumming up troops for Iraq.
That's not the only way that "War of the Worlds" shows up Mr. Bush. In not terribly coded dialogue, the film makes clear that its Americans know very well how to distinguish a war of choice like that in Iraq from a war of necessity, like that prompted by Al Qaeda's attack on America. Tim Robbins - who else? - pops up to declare that when aliens occupy a country, the "occupations always fail." Even Tom Cruise's doltish teenage screen son is writing a school report on "the French occupation of Algeria."
Mr. Spielberg's movie illuminates, too, how Mr. Bush has flubbed the basic storytelling essential to sustain public support for his Iraq adventure. The president has made a tic of hammering in melodramatic movie tropes: good vs. evil, you're with us or you're with the terrorists, "wanted dead or alive," "bring 'em on," "mission accomplished." When you relay a narrative in that style, the audience expects you to stick to the conventions of the genre; the story can end only with the cavalry charging in to win the big final battle. That's how Mr. Spielberg deploys his platoons, "Saving Private Ryan"-style, in "War of the Worlds." By contrast, Mr. Bush never marshaled the number of troops needed to guarantee Iraq's security and protect its borders; he has now defined "mission accomplished" down from concrete victory to the inchoate spreading of democracy. To start off sounding like Patton and end up parroting Woodrow Wilson is tantamount to ambushing an audience at a John Wayne movie with a final reel by Frank Capra.
Both Mr. Bush's critics and loyalists at times misunderstand where his failure leaves America now. The left frets too much that the public just doesn't get it - that it is bamboozled by the administration and won't see the light until it digests the Downing Street memo. But even if they couldn't bring themselves to vote for John Kerry, most Americans do get it. A majority of the country view the Iraq war as "not worth it" and going badly. They intuitively sense that as USA Today calculated on Friday, there have been more U.S. military deaths (roughly a third more) in the year since Iraq got its sovereignty than in the year before. Last week an ABC News/Washington Post survey also found that a majority now believe that the administration "intentionally misled" us into a war - or, in the words of the Downing Street memo, that the Bush administration "fixed" the intelligence to gin up the mission.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Squrrels 12: me 1

I have been striving valiently to feed the many birds that frequent our home. Cardiunals, finches, goldfinches and many others I am trying to identify.

Enter the little rodents. They empty my feeders almost as fast as I can fill them. Not to mention they tend to dissuade the birds from feeding. Therefore I have engaged in battle with the pesky litte rodents. A battle they seem to be winning. Although I do claim victory. From time to time.

I learned that trick from my President.

As from the above photo one can see my victory celebration was a little premature. But in the true American tradition I will continue in my victory until I achieve final victory.