Those Who Do Not Know History....
I remember a very telling point from Ken Burns's Civil War documentary.
A Union soldier asks a Tennesee share-cropper why he was fighting the Union. The share-cropper didn't own slaves.
The share-cropper responded, "I'm fightin' y'all because y'all are down here."
Progress of Racial Justice
The Christian Science Monitor has an important article on the state of racial justice today and how it compares to the state of racial justice during the famous Bakke decision which outlawed racial quotas 25 years ago.
From that article:
- In 1978, the life expectancy of a black child was five years shorter than that of a white child. Today it is six years shorter.
- Twenty-five years ago, a black child's mother was three times as likely to die of complications during childbirth as a white mother. Today she is 3-1/2 times as likely to die during childbirth.
- The infant mortality rate for blacks was twice that for whites. Today it is slightly more than twice.
- In 1978, four times as many black families lived with incomes below the poverty line as white families. Today, that ratio remains unchanged.
- For black adults, the unemployment rate was twice that of whites, and for black teens it was three times. Today, both statistics remain unchanged.
- The median income of a black family in 1978 was 60 percent of the median income of a white family. Today, it is 66 percent of white-family income.
- In 1978, blacks represented 11.5 percent of the population, but they were only 1.2 percent of the lawyers and judges, 2 percent of the physicians, 2.3 percent of the dentists, 1.1 percent of the engineers, and 2.6 percent of college and university professors. Today, blacks represent 12.3 percent of the population, and are 5.1 percent of the lawyers and judges, 5.6 percent of physicians, 4.1 percent of dentists, 5.5 percent of engineers, and 6.1 percent of college and university professors.
Yet, rather than find the cause of this disheartening disparity in a economic and political system that has disenfranchised blacks for over 300 years, conservatives are still blaming the victim.
"The question underlying the University of Michigan cases is why are so few African-American 17- and 18-year-olds academically competitive with white and Asian 17- and 18-year-olds," says Mr. Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity.
"The answer to that question is not discrimination," Clegg says. "The answer is extremely high illegitimacy rates, poor public schools, and a culture that too often views studying hard as 'acting white.' "
He adds, "Those problems are not going to be solved by racial and ethnic preferences."
At some point in the future, I'll address this in more detail. But of course, we have a war going on now.
Why Mute Dissent in Wartime?
I believe that the support the troops argument goes along these lines.
- The key factor in winning a war is breaking the will to fight among the populace of the nation-state.
- If an enemy sees weakness in their opponents will to fight, that enemy's own will to fight will grow stronger. Thus, the stronger the enemy's will to fight, the longer the war, and the greater danger to our troops.
- In democratic societies, vocal dissent among large portions of the citizenry are perceived by the enemy as weakness.
- Thus, it follows that mass dissent endangers the troops by prolonging the war and delaying victory.
Therefore, if you support the troops, you should mute dissent (at least until after victory.)
Though I was against the war for a wide variety of reasons, it is hard for me to deny the force of this argument.
Kilroy Was Here
Where is Van Riper?
The analyst that I would like to see is former Marine general Paul Van Riper.
For those of you who might not remember, Van Riper was the Marine Corps general who, playing Iraq during the last major wargame exercise Millenium Challenge 2002, defeated the Joint Forces Command through a mixture of innovative 'guerilla' type tactics that circumvented some of the technical advantages of the JFC.
From the Army Times:
Retired Ambassador Robert Oakley, who participated in the experiment as Red civilian leader, said Van Riper was outthinking the Blue Force from the first day of the exercise.
Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders, negating Blue's high-tech eavesdropping capabilities, Oakley said. Then, when the Blue fleet sailed into the Persian Gulf early in the experiment, Van Riper's forces surrounded the ships with small boats and planes sailing and flying in apparently innocuous circles.
When the Blue commander issued an ultimatum to Red to surrender or face destruction, Van Riper took the initiative, issuing attack orders via the morning call to prayer broadcast from the minarets of his country's mosques. His force's small boats and aircraft sped into action
"By that time there wasn't enough time left to intercept them," Oakley said. As a result of Van Riper's cunning, much of the Blue navy ended up at the bottom of the ocean. The Joint Forces Command officials had to stop the exercise and "refloat" the fleet in order to continue, Oakley said. "
Now this is a television analyst I'd like to hear from. Maybe some online magazine can ask him for some analysis?
Pledging for Dean
Here's an idea for grass-roots, viral, campaign marketing.
NPR is having their fundraising drive in the near future. (It's next week for KQED in San Francisco). One of the thigns that they do in these pledge drives is ask for groups to volunteer to answer the phone. In return, the anchors plug the group during the pledge drive.
This might be a good grass roots way to get Howard Dean's name out to the demographic most amenable to his message. If at every public radio station doing the pledge drive thanks 'Volunteers for Howard Dean' at each one of those 5 minute breaks, it might get some play.
I've already contacted KQED in San Francisco about it. Maybe other folks should pick up the charge at other radio stations.
(Note: The Volunteer Services guru at KQED mentioned that there might be some FCC recommendaiton against this. I should know more later.)
Dean For America
In the midst of a war and with over 20 months to go until the next Presidential election, I know that it may be early to think about which candidate you will support. However, I'd like to take a moment of your time to try and convince you to contribute at least $10.01 to Dr. Howard Dean's campaign.
Howard Dean is the former Governor of Vermont. Elected five times as Governor, Dean balanced the budget, made health care for every child in Vermont a reality, raised the minimum wage twice, created a "rainy day" fund which, even through three years of recession, is preventing Vermont from having to go through the type of draconian cuts that face us, and signed the civil union bill, giving homosexual partners the same rights as married couples. You can read more about Dr. Dean's biography here (http://www.deanforamerica.com/dean.cfm?section=about&page=biography).
While his record has impressed me, I've been even more impressed by his fire and candor on the political trail. At the DNC winter meetings, Dean launched directly into his speech, asking, "What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic leadership is supporting the President's unilateral attack on Iraq?"
In Sacramento, at the Democratic Party State Convention, Dean fired up the crowd by angrilly declaring, "I want my country back!"
In listening to Dean, I've been convinced that this is a man who can win the White House and who can push the policies that we need to put our country back on the right track.
I know that you will probably need more than my endorsement to make an informed decision about whether or not to contribute at least $10.01 to Dean's campaign. So please take a moment to review the following pages and video clips.
- Dean for America (http://www.deanforamerica.com)
- Video of Dean Speaking at California Democratic State Convention
select Road to the White House, and scroll to 24 minutes into the
- Dean's Speech on Foreign Policy
- Salon Magazine, On the Campaign Trail with the Un-Bush
- Washington Post Article on Dean
- Howard Dean on NPR's Morning Edition
If after listening to Dean, you feel as I do, please consider donating at least $10.01 to Dean's campaign at http://www.deanforamerica.com/dean.cfm?section=involved&page=contribute . March 31st is an important milestone for Federal Matching Funds, and if you can donate $10.01 now, it will go even further than you might think.
Regardless of how you might believe, if you could take a second and let me know what you think about Dean, I'd really appreciate it.
GWB Military Table Timeline
This was originally on uggabugga's blog, but I can't seem to find a copy up. I got this from Google's cache.
skippy the bush kangaroo links to this well-writen piece about Bush's Texas National Guard service (actually, his non-service). We felt compelled to organize the material into a table:
|Did not choose to join the full time active duty miltary|
|Chose to enlist for duty in the (Texas) Air National Guard |
|Waiting list of 100,000 nationally at the time|
|17 Jan '68||Took the Air Force officer and pilot qualification tests || |
|May '68||Graduated from Yale||1/2 million men fighting; dying @ 350/wk|
|Years 1 & 2|
|27 May '68||Sworn in|
|after 6 weeks of basic airman training||Received a commission as a second lieutenant|| |
|Assigned to flight school|| |
|'fast tracked' into the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, a standby runway alert component of the 143rd Group||Over those on the existing pilot applicant waiting list|
|Trained to fly the missile-equipped supersonic F-102 Delta Dart jet interceptor fighter|
|Racked up approximately 300 hours of training flight time in the F-102|| |
|Jul '70||Earned his wings|
|Applied for a voluntary three month Vietnam tour||Was turned down for this volunteer active duty option||Air Force needed additional F-102 pilots to fly reconnaissance missions.|
|Left to fly as a "weekend warrior" in the Texas Air National Guard out of Ellington AFB near Houston|
|3 Nov '70||Promoted to 1st Lieutenant||by Brig. General Rose|
|Jun '70 |
|Credited with 46 days of flight duty|
|Jun '71 |
|Credited with only 22 flight duty days||14 days short of the minimum 36 days owed the Guard for that year|
|Apr '72||Flew for the last time in the cockpit of an F-102||All the overseas and stateside miltary services began subjecting a small random sample in their ranks to substance abuse testing for alcohol and drugs. |
Pentagon had announced its intention to do so back on December 31, 1969
|15 May '72||"cleared this base" according to a written report by one of his two Squadron supervising officers, Lt. Col. William D. Harris Jr.|
|24 May '72||Requested in writing a six-month transfer to an inactive postal Reserve unit in Alabama||If Bush had been temporarily transferred there, he would not have continued flying until he returned to Texas, because the Alabama unit had no airplanes|
|31 May '72||Transfer request was denied by National Guard Bureau headquarters|| |
|Aug '72||Scheduled physical||Could have been subject to selection for a random substance abuse test|
|either: ||Release of Bush's miltary service record would resolve issue.|
|1 Aug '72||Suspended and grounded from flying duty on verbal order of the TX 147th Group's Commanding Officer for "his failure to accomplish annual medical examination." |
Two years left of remaining National Guard service.
| ||Country at the height of the Vietnam (air) War|
|5 Sep '72||Ordered to start serving three months in an active but non-flying administrative Guard unit, the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery, Alabama, for four certain duty days in October and November|
|29 Sep '72||In memo to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force, Major General Francis Greenleaf, then Chief of the National Guard Bureau in Washington DC, confirmed the suspension of 1st Lt. George W. Bush from flying status.|
|Oct/Nov '72||No official notation in his service record that Bush ever showed up for this assigned duty in Montgomery, Alabama. |
Bush: "I was there on temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekends at one period of time. I made up some missed weekends. I can't remember what I did, but I wasn't flying because they didn't have the same airplanes. I fulfilled my obligations."
The Bush campaign conducted its own search of Bush's miltary records, and could not find evidence that Bush performed any duty in Alabama.
|General William Turnipseed and Lt. Col. Kenneth Lott, who commanded the Montgomery, Alabama, base at the time said that Bush never appeared. "To my knowledge, he never showed up," Turnipseed said.|
|Nov '72 |
|May '73|| |
|22 May '73 |
30 Jul '73
|Bush was credited with 35 "gratuitous" inactive Air Force Reserve points -- in other words, non-attendance inactive Reserve credit time||No one in the Texas Air Guard at the time, has stepped forward to say they saw Bush in person on a single day between May 22 and July 30, 1973|
|1 Oct'73||Prematurely discharged with honors from the Texas Air Guard.||This leaves Bush without a single legitimate Texas Air National Guard service day for his fifth and sixth years of service to his Texas Air National Guard discharge.|
|26 May '74||Scheduled discharge.|
|Nov '74||Final inactive Reserve discharge with honors.||Bush was attending Harvard Business School as a full-time student by that time|
NOTE: We are not familiar with miltary procedures or Bush's record and cannot vouch for the accuracy of this table. All we did was take the elements in the piece, and organize it so that the timeline may be better understood. (A critical review of some elements is available here.) This presentation is intended as a starting point for discussion.
UPDATE: We came upon this BuzzFlash Reader Commentary on Bush's miltary service (written on 25 Oct 2002), and this Washington Post story which fills in a few details (dated 28 Jul 1999). The Post story has a revealing picture of Bush while he was at Harvard Business School.
And while we're at it, this site: awolbush.com is devoted to the issue.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Mother Jones has a timeline as well (with a few additional details).
An Essay I found on Tom Tomorrow's website
The picture sits on top of my tv. A handsome young man, in a Marine Corps dress uniform, hat (cover, they call it in the military) tucked under his left arm, his right arm, right hand with white glove, encircling a stunning young woman. When the photo was taken at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in 2002, my son Ben was enrolled at the University of Maryland while serving as a member of the Marine Corps Reserves. A little more than one year earlier, he had been at his reserve unit at Anacostia Barracks in Washington, D.C., on the morning of September 11, 2001, and saw the smoke rising across the Potomac in the West from the Pentagon crash site. After the tragedy of September 11th, he expected to be called up any day.
Days went by, then weeks, then months, but his reserve unit wasn't called up. Eventually Ben realized that he would have to go on with his life, his classes at the University, and his training for the Marine Corps.
Meanwhile, Vice President Cheney, supposedly ensconced in an undisclosed location for purposes of National Security, twice visited a billionaire's plantation here in South Georgia to hunt quail (not Dan).
During Christmas break in 2001-2002, Ben went to NBC school- no, not television-Nuclear Biological Chemical warfare school- to learn how to protect himself and his fellow Marines from weapons of mass destruction, if such a thing is possible. In the Spring of 2002 he went to a U. S. military survival school in Southern California to learn how to deal with therigors of a hostile environment.
And President Bush and Congressional Republicans proposed eliminating the tax on the estates of millionaires and billionaires, ostensibly to help save small family owned businesses and family farms from being sold to pay the tax. Since the surplus from the Clinton Administration had miraculously turned into a hundred sixty billion dollar deficit in less than 24 months, I wondered why they didn't just exempt small family businesses and family farms instead of eliminating the tax entirely, throwing out billions of dollars in revenue -and deepening the deficit.
From June through August of 2002, Ben went to Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia. While his classmates at Maryland were enjoying their summer vacations, my son was helping train college ROTC students from around the country who would become Marine Corps Officers upon their graduation. Although Ben was technically also a student, he had already been through boot camp at Parris Island two years earlier- he was selected from the 500 recruits
to be the Company Honor Graduate- and the instructors at OCS relied on him and others like him to help train his fellow officer candidates in drill and other essentials to becoming a Marine.
In the summer of 2002, the Bush administration continued its public opposition to increasing fuel economy standards (CAFE) to reduce our dependence on oil from the Mideast, and argued that SUV's and pickup trucks shouldn't be subject to the same CAFE standards as cars. Vice President Cheney fought the public release of records of his Enron executive laden committee to set a National Energy Policy. Documents coming out of the collapsing, bankrupt Enron Corporation revealed that the company had helped manufacture a false energy shortage in California the year before in an effort to jack up prices and increase profits.
Last month Ben's unit was called up to active duty. Ben had four months and a few courses to go to get his B. A. degree in History and Government. He had a smart and beautiful girlfriend who was planning to go to graduate school. He was looking forward to becoming a Second Lieutenant upon graduation, buying a new car (he's been driving the 12 year old sedan I loaned him after he got out of boot camp in 2000), and starting his life as a productive adult. All of that is on hold now. He spent a month on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean with several hundred other Marines, headed to the Middle East. He and his girlfriend agreed to break up because they had no idea when- or if- they would see each other again. He withdrew from college. He's a sergeant, and will remain an enlisted man past the May 2003 date when he would have received his commission. (He's okay with that- and it bodes well for his future in the military that he will have had a significant opportunity to follow orders before he's asked to issue them.) And he had to say goodbye to his family and friends as he gave up his normal life as a college senior. As I wrote those words, he was crammed into the troop ship, sharing a room with a dozen of his fellow Marines, bunks stacked four high. The one time I was able to speak to him, he told me that he would be spending the next few weeks on board helping train his comrades for the dangers and hardships they will face in the months to follow.
Back here on the mainland President Bush called for tax relief for the rich who have to pay a single tax on the corporate dividends they receive. The President told us that it was unfair to tax the same dollar twice, once from the corporate end, once from the stockholder's end. Infigure I'll probably save about $150 on my taxes next year if the proposal is passed. President Bush and Vice President Cheney will probably save about $500,000 in taxes on the dividends from their blind trusts.
Meanwhile, as for Ben, who has given up his girlfriend, his family, his education, his commission, his friends, the comforts of home- each dollar of his pay- like every wage earner's pay- is taxed four times: once for federal taxes, once for Social Security, once for Medicare, and once for State taxes. And he pays taxes on the taxes- he doesn't get a credit for the part already taken for federal taxes when he pays his Social Security tax, and so forth.
It's funny- not the laughing kind- how our political leaders have no compunction about calling on ordinary Americans in the military and their families to make sacrifices of all we hold dear- including, God forbid, the ultimate sacrifice. But ask the wealthiest among us to pay taxes on their estates and their stock dividends to reduce the deficit or pay a decent wage to the members of our military sent overseas to protect us? Not a chance.
When Email Goes Bad
Great article on how to manage your email. Putting it here so I can find it later.
When Email Goes Bad
Michael Walzer details a credible alternative to the "big war" that Bush is pushing for. (You can also find a copy of this article in The Stacks.)
After listening to Bush's simplistic and incompetent speech last night (analyzed very well by the always insightful William Saletan of Slate), I can only wish that we could have the level of discourse and thought that Michael Walzer provides at the highest level of our government.
The Seven Deadly Sins
Here's a great article on the seven warning signs of bogus science (The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science). In this age of UFO worshipping cults claiming the ability to clone humans, everyone should make themselves aware.
- The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
- The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.
- The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
- Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.
- The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.
- The discoverer has worked in isolation.
- The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.