Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Watching paint dry

I'm spending the holidays in Arizona, and my only connection to the internet is by dialup. The result is that I devote most of my online time watching a blank screen, waiting for the meter on the bottom to creep across before the image of a new page appears.
So, I won't be posting for a week or so, until I can get back to my DSL modem, which is surely no cable hookup, but it beats the hell out of sitting here doing nothing but grinding my teeth.

Meanwhile, I recommend you check out life in the new Baghdad, as told by Riverbend. From what she describes, my travails aren't worthy of complaint, not at all.

Monday, December 22, 2003

"Dishonest Dubya" Lying Action Figure

I'm getting ready to take off for Christmas. ... And by take off, I don't mean to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier. ... See y'all later. Thanks to Pete for this link to the #1 item on my Santa list:

"Dishonest Dubya" Lying Action Figure

"And when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
-- George W. Bush

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Beat the clock

No less an authority than the Congressional Budget Office, the official surveyor of federal income and expense, predicts disaster for the nation's purse unless drastic steps are taken to decrease spending and increase revenues to the treasury (read higher taxes). The crunch is not far off, given the imminent growth of demand upon the federal fisc in the form of dramatically higher numbers of social security claimants as boomers begin to retire.

"Failing to act would drive the accumulated federal debt to unsustainable levels, said the study, released Friday. 'Taken to the extreme, such a path could result in an economic crisis,' including the possibilities that foreign investors would pull out, the dollar's value plunge, interest rates and prices soar and stock markets collapse.

"'The longer that lawmakers delay acting to counter an unsustainable budgetary situation, the larger the spending cuts or tax increases will eventually have to be,' the 60-page study warned."

I can just see the White House folks, praying they can put off the catastrophe until the election. For my part, I hope the slide into disaster starts soon, so the blame may be laid at Bush's feet, where it surely belongs, and so we have a chance to elect someone who will take steps to alleviate the inevitable pain of Bush's no-tax-much-spend policies.

Time to place a call to Yap?

About this war – the one in Iraq, you know – it’s worse than I thought it was going to be. I pictured running gun battles in the streets, with the Iraqis having a frustrating home field advantage. But I also thought it would have a beginning, a horrible process, and an end. I figured at some point, before too long, we’d beat them. Superior troops, weapons and tactics. I didn’t think it would linger on like this, so much like Vietnam.

I saw on CNN a day or two ago that the 200 mark had been hit. 200 American dead since the aircraft carrier speech. And I don’t think we’re much closer to neutralizing the insurgency than on that day – a day that will live in stupidity. Pulling Saddam from his lair won't do it, friends. They still hate us, and they're still willing to do violence.

This war has been an exercise in monumental arrogance. The aftermath of “major operations” has been an orgy of hypocrisy. We can start with the fact that Halliburton – and for that matter the U.S. Government – is just as guilty of dealing with Old Shaggy Bunkerbutt than the countries that have been precluded from rebuilding contracts for fraternizing with the dictator. If every country and company that ever dealt with Hussein were locked out of rebuilding deals, Iraq would get rebuilt by the Masai and the Federated States of Micronesia.

I guess it boils down to the obvious. Leadership is needed to end the insanity. And nobody currently in office is up to the job. … Dis-appoint Bush in ’04!