Military Madness 3/06

My father was a US Navy hospital corpsman for 23 years. He took a bullet in the back in Korea, recovered physically, and eventually took another bullet by his own hand after years of depression. He was a proud sailor and strong proponent of national defense.

He would be pissed as hell to see Republican politicians using men in uniform as window-dressing for their political and fundraising events as shown in the picture with this article.

Josh Marshall covers the story here . . . and points out that the offensive winger practice is not just bad taste - it's also illegal.

My Letter to the Editor

In response to Bruce Henderson's article, Preserve land sales opposed:

This unprecedented sale of our National Forests has been proposed to close a gap in funding for rural schools. This gap was created by the reduced revenues earned from logging these same forests. At what point does selling off our land base this year assure us of higher logging revenues next year?

Will our government simply continue to sell off our National Forests until there is nothing left? This is a band-aid solution that does not address the long-term needs of our rural schools, but will cause irreparable damage to our National Forests.

One more definition . . . hillbilly

This story is all over the wires . . . the sort of soft AP news that little papers and websites love to pick up. I grabbed this from

Encyclopedia of Appalachia tackles 'hillbilly' stereotype

Encyclopedia of Appalachia co-editor Rudy Abramson wanted a reference book that went beyond the stereotypical images of hillbillies and poverty.

"The place has this reputation of being just a different nation of poor people and strip mines and that sort of thing," said Abramson, an Alabama native and retired Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Paradigms and Slippery Slopes

This isn't all that important, but following up on my George Will post, I just wanna say: when you hear the words "paradigm shift" or "slippery slope," it's time to pay real close attention to the speaker. He or she is likely trying to pull a fast one.

"Paradigm shift" is often used to emphasize the importance of a change—"it's not just a shift; it's a paradigm shift!" The speaker could say "big shift," but then they would lose the self-satisfaction that comes with using a rare word with roots in science and philosophy. The problem is that it isn't what the word means. The definition to keep in mind is "A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline." That means "big" the way that "stupid" means "Republican." There may be significant overlap, but that isn't identity.

One of Will's Weakest

I don't always
disagree with George Will. Some days—like
even understand him. His general point seems to be that John Edwards
doesn't understand two things: poverty and politics.

Regarding poverty,
Will says there's been a paradigm shift in the way we understand
poverty, from a 1930s understanding to a modern understanding. This
sounds plausible, and if Will had stopped there, I might believe him.
But here's his new paradigm:

An Update On That Accountability Moment: As Predicted, We Missed It.

(crossposted at DailyKos)

I posted a diary here at the time, but you may have missed it or forgot it, so I’ll remind you:

On Thursday afternoon after Hurricane Katrina hit, House members got an e-mail that the House was convening in special session the next day to pass emergency Katrina relief. The e-mail gave a big wink and nod that we didn’t really need to come, that there would only be a voice vote so no one would ever known whether we showed up or not.

It wasn’t convenient, but I kind of thought it was my job to show up, and Raleigh is only 40 minutes or so flying time from Washington, so I went.

We had a quick debate and a voice vote, and then other members were allowed to speak after the vote. I wanted to express my sympathy for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, especially since many North Carolinians have suffered greatly from hurricanes in the last decade.

As I listened to what other members said, I changed my mind about what I was going to say. I had heard Scott McClellan say on television the day before that “now is not the time for finger pointing.” And then I heard Republican after Republican say exactly the same words on the House floor, almost like they were not exercising independent judgment, but mindlessly parroting talking points prepared for them by someone else. Almost.

So when it was my turn to speak, this is what I said:

“…Mr. Speaker, I share the anger of many Americans at how shamefully inadequate our government’s response has been. Tens of thousands of Americans are living outside the walls of civilization. They are without food, they are without water to drink, they are without medicine or medical care, they are without effective shelter, they are without the protection against violence that law provides.

“The failures that led to that are not the failures of the last four days; but of the last four years.

“There have been repeated warnings that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were vulnerable to precisely what has occurred and yet our government was stunningly unprepared.”


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