Archive for August 2003

Hamas Vows Revenge for Attack

Headline: Hamas vows revenge for attack.

What’s the worst Hamas can do? Blow up another bus filled with women and children?

Burn The Jews – at the Springsteen Show

A friend of mine and his buddies went to the Springsteen show last night. During a lull in the concert, he and his friends got to discussing Judaism – not unusual since they are all Jewish. A fellow concert – goer sitting in front of them, drunk, stoned and obviously stupid, turned around and said “Jews? Hitler should have burned them all!”

My friend and his friends were so surprised by the obvious stupidity of the speaker, as well as his comment, that they didn’t react. The speaker himself quickly realized that he said something really stupid, smiled sheepishly, and turned around.

To all of you who thought it was behind us – it’s not.

Speaking of anti-semitic asses, the French are raked over the coals by Steven Den Beste. While you are there, also check out his view of the US as Gulliver. Den Beste is having a good week so drop on by the USS Clueless.

A Trip to DC

Just got back from a trip to DC and neighboring Alexandria Virginia. Our first stop was to the Pentagon. We took the Metro to the station, exited, and then walked around the building. The day was grey, overcast and quite humid but no one seemed to mind. Eventually our walk took us to an area where the windows of the building looked new. Beyond that side, there was a lot of construction in the parking lot, and the entire area was walled off and guarded with a very polite guard carrying a very rude-looking large caliber automatic. “You’ve probably been asked this a million times,” the Wife said, “But is that where the plane hit?” The guard nodded and smiled. “Yes, ma’am.” The trepid adventurer that she is then asked, “Can we go over there?” The guard, still smiling said, “No, ma’am.”

The facade was new but the workmen did an excellent job of blending the stone in to conceal the damage. But the scar remains. Eventually the stone will weather and perhaps even match the other four sides of the building. But no amount of weathering will ever mask the terror of September 11.

I looked around the horizon, viewing the same buildings that the passengers on that doomed plane saw out there windows in their last moments. I hoped that they didn’t know when the end came. I have seen the footage taken by a security camera at a nearby parking lot of the plane slamming into the building. It appeared to me to vaporize on impact.

I thought about the way everything changed on that day, the way that my country awakened to its enemy. It was a good start to a very enlightening day.

Next stop, the Lincoln Monument. To me Lincoln and his memorial exemplify everything that is good about America. Lincoln recognized the peril that confronted our nation “A nation divided against itself cannot stand.” He recognized the humanity of the Southerners and viewed them as “our brothers”. But he then acted to preserve the unity of the United States and to end the abomination of slavery. To do so cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of American men.

On the steps of his monument, African-Americans have called for freedom; Jews have called for the creation of a state of Israel; women and gays have called for equality and Martin Luther King called for unity.

Nearby lays the Vietnam War Memorial. There are actually two of these; the wall along with three larger than life statues, one carrying an M-16 rifle. Both are noteworthy, but the Wall is something else.

In 1985 a replica of the wall toured the USA. I remember seeing it in Chicago and seeing large bear-like men weeping like girls. It scared me at the time but brought home the point that this monument was something special.

The beauty is in the details. A toy car with a boys name wrapped in plastic. I zippo from Cu-chi. A Distinguished Service Award. Large men – grey now – still teary-eyed after all these years. I’ll be honest, I wept too.

I came away with the feeling that every president, no matter his or her political or ideological orientation, should visit the wall before giving the order for deploying the troops. The Wall should be the acid test. The President must judge if the objective is worth a wall full of names. She or he must then honestly do everything in his/her power to keep the list of names as short as possible.

There are objectives worth such a sacrifice, and those men did not die in vain. There will no doubt be more names and more walls, but we must hold our leaders to the standard that the Wall presents us.

I Support Gay Marriage

I support gay marriage. I do not think that it weakens the institution. The people propping up the Pope have come out against it – which is just as well since it does contradict Church teachings. But like Andrew Sullivan, I find it a bit hard for Rome to speak out on the issue while the Papacy is tainted in scandal. I would prefer that the Church simply ignore this issue – just as they ignored such other issues like child-rape by priests and the Holocaust. But hey, I’m not Catholic – anymore and for reasons such as this.

As for the political aspect of it, it just doesn’t move me in the same way that taking out Saddam does. And the idiots who are calling for a Constitutional Amendment “to protect marriage” would do better to spend their energy on keeping mens flies zipped up since adultery is a greater threat to marriage than gays. After all, lesbians are much more monogamous than straight people.

Also, a quick plug for Steven Den Beste who has an accurate assessment on evolution – a concept near and dear to an ex-chimp chaser like me. He touches all the right bases, and for anyone who wants an explanation of evolution that is accurate yet easy to read, this is it.. He even gets the nature=Darwinian and culture=Lamarkian that so many screw up. Good stuff.