I'm wrapping things up and just about to leave my current consulting position, in which I've worked for the past five months. It's been a good experience, and although the work has been hard and at times stressful, I'm pleased with a job well done.
I'd like to thank my supervisors and co-workers, who are a bright, motivated and talented crew indeed. They've made my tenure here easier with their generous help and much more pleasant with their graciousness.
Fear not; I begin a new consulting position Monday morning. Posting may be sporadic through the weekend and until I get settled; I'll provide updates as I can.
As I said on the Washington Monthly comment thread, first off, the capture of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is a Good Thing, all politics aside. If this guy is connected to the embassy bombings, it's high time he was caught, and I look forward to his trial and conviction.
That said, I don't think this announcement is going to be a bombshell at all, although it's sure to be hyped by the GOP. It isn't bin Laden or even someone associated with the USS Cole, whom I'm sure would be a genuinely high-profile capture.
The fact that the announcement of his capture was evidently delayed to coincide with Kerry's speech is suspicious indeed. (As commentors on the thread pointed out, the announcement was made at about midnight local time -- a fact that surely seems aimed directly at US media consumption.) But if this is the best the GOP can muster for a July Surprise, perhaps we can put our tinfoil hats away after all.
The blogs certainly seem to be aware of the, ah, coincidence. I'm not following news coverage closely enough to see if the awareness that they may be being played for chumps has leaked into the so-called "liberal media" -- but then again, it never seems to, does it?
Check out Where Was Bush?, a guide to the still-unanswered questions about Bush's National Guard service courtesy of the Democratic Party.
While we're on the subject, how about the case of the Amazing Disappearing, Reappearing pay records that still don't back up Bush's claims that he fulfilled his requirements? Frankly, the Bush apologists' repeated pointing to his honorable discharge is becoming an increasingly threadbare excuse. Like the SEC investigation of Bush's alleged insider trading at Harken, it merely indicates that, for whatever reason, the authorities decided not to press charges.
I've been meaning to mention how strangely affecting it's been to have the Doonesbury character B.D. -- who emerged from the first Gulf War unschathed and even managed to get through Vietnam pretty much intact* -- lose his leg in the current Middle East fracas. (For pity's sake, they even removed his helmet!) But it's been a while, so I wasn't sure how to bring it up. However, I can use this recent Rolling Stone cover story as a hook, so there it is.
*If memory serves me right, B.D. was taken prisoner by the VC guerilla Phred after getting lost on patrol. After returning to his unit, he was awarded the Purple Heart for a wound he received in the experience; the punch line is a thought balloon in which B.D. sheepishly admits he cut his hand on a beer can.
To build that kind of world we must make the right choices; and we must have a president who will lead the way. Democrats and Republicans have very different and honestly held ideas on that choices we should make, rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our role in the world. Democrats want to build an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities and more global cooperation, acting alone only when we must.
We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.
They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all wanted to be one nation, strong in the fight against terror. The president had a great opportunity to bring us together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in common cause against terror.
Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice.
Clinton lays out how the Democratic platform makes America "safer, smarter, and stronger," and the Republican plans, well, don't. And, of course, it's a pure pleasure to hear a leader speak who doesn't give an embarrassingly mangled performance.
"Strength and wisdom are not opposing values." Brilliant!
Some genius is compiling a list of reasons -- 81 so far and counting -- to vote against Bush the Lesser in the upcoming election. A sample:
The Bush administration did not inform Congress that the prescription drug bill passed in 2003 would cost $139 billion more than was revealed before the law was approved. Richard S. Foster, the nonpartisan Medicare actuary, says he was told that if he disclosed the true cost of the legislation to Congress, he would be fired. The Bush administration paid actors to pose as journalists in televised video clips that praised the law. The source of the videos is not provided in the clips.
Of course, listing the failures and dishonesty of this Administration can be a full-time commitment, as The Poor Man, among others, can attest.
I didn't mention that we were in New Orleans to celebrate my grandparents' (on my mother's side) 60th wedding anniversary. 60 years! Wow!
My contribution -- aside from hauling the family from Indianapolis to New Orleans and back -- was writing a piece for the scrapbook my sister put together. To my surprise, it turned out to be in verse. With warm filial congratulations to my grandparents on their remarkable achievement, I reproduce it here.
On a 60th Anniversary
We gather here to celebrate A love among the all-time greats For sixty years you’ve shared a life As wife and husband, man and wife
Sixty years! Imagine that To your love I tip my hat Through good times, bad times, even war, You’ve shown us just what love is for
You’ve shared much warmth and many joys You’ve raised a girl and three fine boys Looking ‘round, I hope you see Your proud and loving family
Children, grandchildren, even greats Share your warm and noble traits Your wisdom, love and kindness true Show in the whole D’Antoni crew
Birthdays come, and now so many You greet them all and don’t miss any Your thoughtfulness and kindness ample Set us all a good example
Through many summer vacations hot You’ve hosted kids, and quite a lot Thanksgivings see the gatherings And all the warmth the season brings
And through it all, your love stayed true With steadfast faith and joy anew Each one standing by the other As the finest father and mother
So lift a glass, congratulate The two who we now celebrate For sixty years, a time so long We must applaud their love so strong
I hope my lovely wife and myself can also be so fortunate as to celebrate 60 years together.
We got back from New Orleans at about 1 this morning. I did have some connectivity over the weekend, but it was spotty and opportunities to use it infrequent, so obviously the blog has lain fallow for a few days (longer than that, really --ed). I'm catching up on a few things, but hope to pick back up here by sometime this evening.