Evolution may favor religious diversity, but the tail does not wag the fish.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

No "Mission Accomplished"

Bush Team Rethinks Its Plan for Recovery [Washington Post]

"The Iraq push culminated the rockiest political year of this presidency, which included the demise of signature domestic priorities, the indictment of the vice president's top aide, the collapse of a Supreme Court nomination, a fumbled response to a natural disaster and a rising death toll in an increasingly unpopular war. It was not until Bush opened a fresh campaign to reassure the public on Iraq that he regained some traction."
Would you be surprised to learn that it took more than half the year for the Bush administration to pare down its State of the Union goals and accept the war in Iraq as its lasting legacy?

Iraq as albatross or standard bearer for G.W. Bush, we will enter into 2006 with much changed in an embattled presidency. It seems a new language and vision is in order. We have moved from foreign policy (jingoist and jihadists) to deficit domestic policy. For a time, we waltzed with executive powers over how best to "keep us safe" (cf. enemy combatants, wiretaps), but one way or another, we have returned to three branches of government in defiance of a "mad King George" monarchy.

Will anyone remember the name "Harriet Miers?" mused Trent Lott. Will anyone remember Mr. Bush's domestic agenda, which included a State of the Union message of "No Doping"?

I look toward the new year and the State of the Union 2006 with that same sort of dismal fascination that we greeted Y2K. There we were, gathered under the voices of Peter Jennings and others for views around the world and of Times Square.

And we watched the ball fall, not quite sure what we expected to happen next. Did it go dark? Did civilization end?

Quoting a Millennium character, Jose Chung:

Well, all's well that ends well. Though that's easy for Shakespeare to say -- he'll be around for another millennium. But what of our own millennium? Will it all end well? No one can know, but that of course doesn't stop anyone from guessing. And the nature of those predictions always revolve around the usual suspects: salvation and/or self-satisfaction. With that in mind, I humbly add my own prophecy of what the dawn of the new millennium shall bring forth: one thousand more years of the same, old crap.
--Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense

How unimpressive and yet dismally fascinating the first half decade of this millennium has been.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Judged in Time for Christmas

Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design' :

"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom," [Federal Judge Jones] wrote.

In a marred travesty of merry-go-round, in which science and religious faith were conflated rather than respectful of their disciplines, the town of Dover had to turn to judicial proceedings of what is lawful within the public science classroom.

At least it did not succumb to disgraceful outbursts and violence (cf. Prof. Mirecki of University of Kansas).

It would not be in keeping with the season:
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy Holiday.

Other Articles:
Flawed Methodology at the Outset
Full Text of Court Ruling (PDF FILE)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

When in doubt, give a speech

Thursday's Election Won't Stop Violence in Iraq, Bush Says
[New York Times]:

Mr. Bush, who does not often take questions after his prepared speeches, was asked by one member of the audience why he invoked the attacks of Sept. 11 as a justification for the invasion of Iraq when "no respected journalist or other Middle Eastern experts confirm that such a link existed."
The president responded that "there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein, 'You're a threat,' and the Sept. 11 attacks extenuated that threat." Mr. Bush added that "knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again."

This is Mr. Bush's third speech to rally flagging support for the war in Iraq by being more forthcoming about the the situation on the ground and realistic about the sacrifice and cost. The first two speeches were criticized as bulletpoints masquerading as strategy and a coherent plan. Mr. Bush followed his prepared remarks with a rare Q & A session in which he answered a direct question about the number of Iraqi civilian and military casualties. He estimated them credibly at approximately 30,000.

But the question and response quoted above has me stymied.

I heard an NPR report recently that the most common word looked up on the internet for the past year was the word "integrity". (You can draw your own anecdotal conclusions about American culture from that). But if you look up the word "extenuate", does that render Mr. Bush's response any better? Or would the next word that comes to mind be "obfuscate"?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stocking Stuffer to Think About

This is the very first image to be uploaded and posted on this site. It seems wholly appropriate to give advanced praise for this upcoming book, written by bloggers Jerome Armstrong (MyDD) and Markos (DailyKos) Zuniga, from reputable Working Assets Publications.

While this book could certainly be cast as partisan, I prefer to back the progressive activism expressed.

$25 Advanced Limited Edition Copies available here.

Click on the cover to order.

I know that the "people-powered" movement, which has expressed itself time and time again throughout history in world events, also has had a particular expression and impact in my life and others.

Online activism, blogs, RapidResponse Networks, action-alerts, etc. have galvanized a movement, harnessed accesible technology, and turned disengagement, mistrust, and apathy into inspired and committed citizenry.

Hats off to my wife, who introduced me to the online progressive movement, for getting me involved in Dean For America and MeetUP in May 2003, for pointing me to DKos, for getting me started on StreetProphets, and for keeping me informed by her consistent commitment to progressive politics, sensible debate, and deep faith.

More Links: