Friday, November 18, 2005

"I was for medicare before I was against it"

Late last night, those 20-odd GOP congress buckled under pressure and the budget passed, sans ANWAR. Like the 1993 budget, this was a completely partisan affair with no support from one party, which predicited dire results.

This time, the naysayers are right. Why does the GOP-controlled congress feel the need to screw poor people so openly, not to pay for Katrina, but to pay for $70 billion in tax cuts for the rich? There couldn't be a starker contrasts between the parties right now. I am ever so proud of Democrats, conservative and liberal sticking together on this one.

Especially Utahs most popular politican--Democrat US Rep. Jim Matheson! Well the poll isn't that great becuase the stats are suspect to a degree. The margin of error in each congressional district was 8 percent and the number polled was really low--130-145. So perhaps Governor Huntsman is more popular. But Matheson is much more popular than Chris Cannon or Rob Bishop, who hover around 50 percent. Of course, part of that is a high number of people who don't know who they are. Yet those morrons still get reelected because they are Republicans. Amazingly, Bush has a a disapproval rating of 36 in Utah, which is about his popularity rating in the rest of the county. Below is a more detailed run down.

Someday, I hope Jim runs for Senate, I would love to have him suceed Watergate waterbody Bob Bennett and horrific hypocrite Orin Hatch.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

the corruption of fame

Woodward and Bernstein--it used to be the phrase that meant all that is good about journalism. The kind of team of truth seakers that would be willing to take down a Presidency if that's where the truth lead them.

But the very act of causing Nixon's dismise was the at once the pincle and downfall of Woodward's journalistic career. He became a celebrity, someone to go on Larry King Live and to write bestseller after bestseller, getting in so close to those high up in power.

The price he paid was his journalistic integrity, and in my opinion, his soul. To write a slightly nasty book about the Iraq War, he first wrote a bootlicking love letter to the George W. called "Bush at War." To maintain this access, he was a waterboy for Colin Powell, who wanted to erase over his UN speech or other duplicious acts in support of the War. Woodward was a water carrier for Libby and Cheney, obstructing a grand jury investigation to stay cozy with his sources.

People died and our national security was placed at grave risk so that Woodward could rake in some more money selling books. He even pre-wrote his Deep Throat book to keep Bernstein from co-authoring the book on how they worked with the man and go the story. What a self-serving prick.

Woodward to me symbolizies everything that is wrong with Washington--who you know and can talk to versus what they actually have to say. How much you make versus what you have do to make that money. Opinion and "balance" over truth. Having power versus helping people. I agree with those who say most senators are grandstanding fools who don't know anything beyond what their staff just wrote for them, Woodward is a grandstanding fool who should know better given what he once achieved.

I just hope that the Post fires him and that Bernstein writes the book about what it was like to work with Woodward during the story of the century. Something tells me that Bernstein did all the work, while Woodward did all the ego stroaking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

notes from a patriot

one of the would be 3Ls at my law school was called up to serve in Iraq. I believe he was Army ROTC in college and he kept telling people that he knew this was part of the deal when he signed up.

For veteran's day, the students have been trying to send out a care package to him. Here are portions of his reply, edits were made to keep him safe:
Fortunately, we don’t need much of anything here. So many people have sent care packages that we have toiletries to last us a decade. The amenities are great too. I’m fortunate enough to be based out of [redacted], a state of the art military camp that even has two swimming pools, a movie theater and [...a] basketball court [...]. Food is plentiful; we have stores; we have everything we need.

Don’t get me wrong. Frankly, Iraq sucks. I much rather take a civil procedure exam from [redacted] than convoy through some of the streets here. (1Ls, you will shortly find out what I mean). But this is a war, and for all its savagery, things aren’t so bad.

Instead of asking for something for himself, our student asked us to do something else:
First, Vote!!! Vote on any election you have the right or privilege to cast a ballot. Whether municipally or nationally, vote. For better or worse, we are here now and we are going to make the best out of it. But having seen the conditions under which most Soldiers are serving here, and having been through two years of Socratic grilling at the U, I can’t help but question whether we came for the right reasons at the right time. At bottom, we reason that the American citizenry voted in support of attacking. However superficial, this logic is the best we got. So vote!

Second, and more pragmatically, instead of sending us stuff, send small toys for us to distribute to the local kids. It’s amazing how far a toy goes. I’ve had the opportunity to travel along on many civil affairs missions and I can tell you that even if only for a minute a toy seems to take these kids away from this ravaged place. These missions have obvious tactical advantages too. But more importantly, they give us the opportunity to put a different face to the coalition. Animal beanie babies are the safest bet, given cultural sensitivities. Hard candy, pens and crayons are also helpful. UofU stickers will also help us broaden our fan base.

Well, I am sure that it is more likely that Sunni and Shia Muslims of Iraq can unite as Ute fans than Cougar fans.

Personally, I have a lot more respect for this student now than I ever did when he was at the law school whining about pens and bubble sheets every 5 emails.