True to the predictions, it's snowing in Indy. It doesn't seem to be too heavy so far, but we've managed a couple of inches of accumulation since twilight. It's quite pretty, and much brighter than this picture would indicate. It'll be a pleasant evening of sipping bourbon by the fireplace and wrapping the last few gifts.
If I were to tell you the true story behind the unmaking of that ring...that ring!...you would think me mad. Horrors such as are scribed in ancient tomes of eldritch evil cannot compare to the terror...the cruel, cold, braincrushing terror!...that we felt in the lair of that foul spirit which raimed itself in arachnid form, that vile scavenger, that horrid arcane leech lingering at the border's of Sauron's Black Land...
-The Ring-Journal of an Anonymous Hobbit, by H.P. Lovecraft
We were 20 steps from the exit when the giant flaming Balrons first appeared over our heads. These weren't your normal giant flaming Balrons but some sort of interdimensional Maia that would sit and spin in mid air before dissolving before your very eyes and sneaking up behind you. Gandalf had the pipe and I had the ring which, so far, I had been able to resist trading to the local drug lords for another package of white. Gandalf was shouting random Macrohydration spells while simultaneously trying to not trip over his robes and fall face first into the local pools of goo. Legolas took another drink from his flask and, once again, began explaining how elves were different than humans and much, much mellower.
Afghanistan: an early victory in the War on Terrorism, except that al-Qaeda is moving back in, and our troops are getting killed.
Pakistan: A valuable ally in the pacification of Afghanistan, except that the al-Qaeda forces that are drifting back into Afghanistan are based in their territory. Their nuclear weapons are not currently considered a threat, even though their intelligence service has a history of cooperation with Muslim extremists, their current ruler is a military strongman who was responsible, in the past, for sending regular army troops into Kashmir, and they have traded nuclear technology to North Korea.
Yemen: An ally in good standing, who are perfectly entitled to their shipment of North Korean scuds, in light of their valuable cooperation with the war on terrorism. Which must come in some form other than letting the United States use their airspace, cooperating with us in apprehending terrorists, or doing much to capture them on their own, since they aren't doing any of that.
North Korea: Having obtained plans for a working bomb from our ally in Pakistan, they have now reactivated their reactor, and broken the U.N. seals on their equipment for extracting weapons-grade plutonium, in violation of several agreements. A cause for concern perhaps, but Donald Rumsfeld opines that diplomacy "seems to me a perfectly rational way of proceeding".
Iraq: Has no nuclear weapons, and no immediate prospects of getting the requisite fissile material. Their military is a hollow force which presents no immediate threat to any of its neighbors; their trade is heavily restricted. An immense threat which must be dealt with immediately, by military action.
Yeah, actually...exactly why are the Republicans considered "strong on defense"? Surely their claims can't arise solely from their willingness to spend ever-increasing sums on projects of dubious military value?
It seems that, despite his groveling to BET, Lott still doesn't think he really did anything wrong...no, his dizzying fall from the Majority Leader post the Republicans elected him to before Lott's views became a matter of widespread knowledge was due to his falling into a "trap":
There are some people in Washington who have been trying to nail me for a long time. When you're from Mississippi and you're a conservative and you're a Christian, there are a lot of people that don't like that. I fell into their trap and so I have only myself to blame.
I do, however, think it's important to call attention to what I believe Lott is referring to when he says "Christian." (And if I'm wrong, I'll cheerfully stand corrected.) Having been raised Catholic, I was shocked to realize that there were some who didn't consider me a "Christian," that to some, the term doesn't refer to the billion or so people who adhere to some demonination of Christianity, but rather a particular philosophy whose belief that its members are the only True Believers rivals the Inquisition-era Catholic Church. I consider Lott's comments indeed a code word, intended to link the universal widespread condemnation of his racist statments and the attitudes they imply with an assault on conservative, evangelical Christians.
I'm hardly the most religious guy in the world, but I believe Jesus would have no truck with racism...he reached out to Romans, Samaritains, and others. I think any true Christian should be incensed at Lott's clumsy attempt to tie his bigotry with his professed Christianity.
One reason I like Time's pick more than my good friend Dodd's is that these women each attempted to confront or call attention to the wrongdoing, corruption or ineptitude within their organizations, and at considerable personal risk (not to life and limb, of course, but now is sure a lousy time to be out of a job...). Bush has demonstrated that he isn't willing to do any more about the problems than necessary to avoid political risk.