A Cautious Man
June 29, 2005
 
"Hail to the Chief, He's the Chief and He Needs Hailing"
Remember that movie "My Fellow Americans"? James Garner and Jack Lemmon play the two most recent ex-Presidents (one a Democrat, one a Republican), who join forces to stop a plot by the aides to their feckless successor.

I was just thinking about that movie today, for some reason.


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War
What is it Good For ...

There's no really original commentary in favor of the President's speech last night (wonder why?) and some interesting insights by those who disagree with some of its premises. For myself, it seems that despite the fact that it was a mistake to invade, the very act of invading has now created the place in which we have to fight. Apparently (according to the President), Iraq is now the place where potential terrorists go to learn their stuff - and if they are there, then we have to be there, too. I am not so well-versed in literature that I can come up with the appropriate analogy, to describe where we are - basically, in a hell of our own making.

That does make me consider the wisdom of some statements made by others. I keep being reminded of a lyric by Steve Earle, in the song "Warrior" on his "The Revolution Starts Now" album. The narrator is an unidentified and unexplained presence, who may be a warrior or who may be War itself. Although is point may be extreme, it is a reminder that we should demand more substance and justification than the simple calls to war we are still being provided by the Administration -
Take heed for I am weary, ancient
And decrepit now and my time grows short
There are no honorable frays to join
Only mean death dealt out in dibs and dabs
Or horror unleashed from across oceans

Assail me not with noble policy
For I care not at all for platitude
And surrender such tedious detail
To greater minds than mine and nimbler tongues
Singular in their purpose and resolve
And presuming to speak for everyman
And, while you are free to disagree, I find no difference between the above sentiment, and the simple statement of the man now known as Pope Benedict XVI -
There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a "just war."
(From a May 2, 2003 interview)(Yes, that's the quote that headed the sidebar here for a while). Sending our troops off to fight should be the last resort, and the Iraq war clearly was not the last resort. The war was not necessary to defend our nation (it wasn't even the best way to deal with Saddam Hussein). The decision to send them was not respectful of their readiness to defend our nation. So, I guess the response to the President is found in Mr. Earle's song - "Assail me not with noble policy/For I care not not at all for platitude".

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June 28, 2005
 
"Memorizing Politics
Of Ancient History"

The President addressed the nation tonight (well, he went to a hall filled with our troops, and gave a speech to them which the rest of us watched, but more on that later) trying to justify the choices which have resulted in our country's current situation in Iraq.

As he reached the conclusion of his speech, he uttered the following -
I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.
I don't know about that. My personal opinion? There's a good chance that history will remember the night the President tried to hide behind our troops, in a vain attempt to keep people from pointing out that he betrayed those same troops by having no good reason to start, no strategy to conduct, and no idea how to end, the misbegotten war in Iraq.

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June 27, 2005
 
Check My Look in the Mirror ...
... and the dang Blogger seems to be messing up how we look, now. All of a sudden, the text doesn't start until after the right-hand menu. At first, I blamed the "cat blogging", but I tried it out on a test site and it's messed up there, too.

This thing is formatted using one of the pre-set templates ("Bluebird", in case you know anything about this), with some color and font adjustments. That's about the limit of my programming ability right now. I don't know why the Blogger empire messed with things on their end. In the meantime, I may carry on, but I won't be happy about it ...

(Edited to add) Hold the phone - I found a suggestion on a discussion board at this link, to insert a line in the template code, that seems to have solved the problem. Apparently, when the new picture function became available, they changed some code that affected everybody with a similar template (even those without photogenic felines).

Let's see how long this works ...

(Edited again to add) Well, it works for Internet Explorer, but might not for Mozilla. Although, when I just checked this post, it seemed to be okay.

I really wish Blogger didn't expect all of us amateurs to have to figure out how to do these things. Oh, well, I guess you get what you pay for.

;-)

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June 25, 2005
 
"Tryin’ Out His Attitude on All the Cats"
In addition to not posting much lately, I haven't been paying attention to Blogger's features. Apparently, it's now easier to post pictures (no Google-related plug-in needed now).

That means that I can now engage in that favored activity of personally-published online commentators everywhere -

Cat blogging!




Yes, these are the two "Cautious Cats".

(Thanks to So May It Secretly Begin for the tip)

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June 21, 2005
 
I've Been One Poor Correspondent ...
... and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind.

: )

Okay, so there haven't been a lot of posts, lately. I went through a job change in April (a good one), and have been focused on that, some events going on in my hometown, and other things.

But, I think I'll try to get back to this, because as I wrote in my first post here, it's better than just talking back to the television.

And to top it all off, the patron saint of "A Cautious Man" has a new album out, which means more songs from which to extract obscure lines for post titles (instead of the one used for this post).

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"Called in That Jury and a One Two Three ..."
A letter in today's New York Times, needs no other introduction -
When the Supreme Court threw out Thomas Miller-El's death sentence (on the grounds that blacks were systematically excluded from serving as jurors in his case), the court paved the way for it, or a future court, to examine a more substantive question: whether any death penalty trial can ever be a fair one.

No defendant in a capital case in the United States - black, white or other - is afforded a fair trial under our current system. Each is tried by a jury from which the state has excluded anyone who says he or she opposes the idea of a fellow human's being put to death.

When do you suppose the court will acknowledge that barring potential jurors on such grounds is no different from excluding them on the basis of race, religion or gender?

Frank McNeirney
National Coordinator, Catholics
Against Capital Punishment
Bethesda, Md., June 14, 2005
It's the simple truth. That's what makes it so tragic.

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