Archive for December, 2004

Off to a family New Year’s gathering

Thursday, December 30th, 2004

“He’s bald and old, . . . no, he’s bald and old.” - Snatch of cell phone conversation by a 30ish woman at LAX awaiting a flight. I’m nursing my (Starbucks) coffee fix and exercising my thumbs typing on my Treo. Now I’m only half way through my life expectancy, thinning but not bald, holding my own if not a ripped hardbody like the 50ish fellow who just walked by in form-fitting T shirt accessorized with sweet young thing. And I’m a confirmed bachelor, so I’m not up on my baby paraphenalia, but I was impressed by the baby buggy swooping into the Starbucks concession with cupholder accessory. Actually two cupholders, so does this presume shared duties or is it about cup and bottle? Read Time for the first time in a year. Actually worth it. More on this later.

Christmas Eve

Friday, December 24th, 2004

Lovely, clear cool weather we’re having in Tucson. The wind died down and the sun warmed up enough for the 1500 or so men, women and children who came to the Gospel Rescue Mission for a free Christmas dinner. A broad cross-section of the Christian community came to serve, some in church groups and others, like me, volunteering alone together. Three hours of serving food while church groups served up music and a brief presentation of the Good News. The staff impressed me with their competence and practical compassion and the food worked out just right, with enough for all and just a bit left over for a smaller meal tomorrow.

I’ve been thinking on volunteering and participation in society. It seems to me that the results of the enormous volunteer effort in the election campaign will only be brought to their full fruit if we sustain participation in a broad range of efforts all contributing to shifting and securing the terms of political and social discourse. Lay the groundwork, set the conditions, control the debate or the patient left will take one step back in elections and two steps forward through the schools, courts, MSM, public and non-profit sector institutions.

HUH?

Friday, December 24th, 2004

Assailants gun down 28 people on public bus in northern Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Assailants claiming to be members of a revolutionary group opposed to the death penalty ambushed a bus filled with people bringing home Christmas gifts and killed at least 28 people, including six children, in an escalation of the battle between gangs and Honduras’ government.

That’s a coherent ideology.

Anti-Inflamitant

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

I think it may be a good thing that naproxin has been identified as a risk factor for heart attacks over the long term. If we are getting to the conclusion that all pain killers are a mixed blessing, then there may be a backlash against the legal leeches of the Left. People will not go without painkillers and manufactorers and legislators may leverage that demand to counter the billionionaire trial lawyers’ bar in meaningful tort reform.

Whose death counts?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

Truck wreck in Iraq kills Tucson reservist

Today the news is full of accounts of a rocket hitting a mess tent in Mosul, killing a number of soldiers and civilian contractors. The fact is that mortar and rocket rounds fall on many bases all the time, usually to no effect. The enemy lights off the rocket or pod of rockets and then scoots — harrassment and interdiction fires. I greatly dislike the media game of only counting U.S. military deaths as worth tracking and reporting. The fact is that modern military operations rely on civilian expertise and support on the ground. But that would “problemicize” the media “frame” of KBR Haliburton as a villian. The dismissal of Iraqi military deaths is a patently political decision by media decision-makers, calculated to trivialize Iraqi commitment and magnify the U.S. burdon by removing a basis of comparison.

A week ago there was a local news story, paper and TV, about a local soldier dying in an accident in Iraq. The accidents don’t make the national news because they don’t add to the combat death body count. The story was familiar — blinding sand storm in southern Iraq, big trucks on small roads, one hits the other. A young sergeant, a mechanic who also served as a gunner in convoy escort missions, Samoan, college girl, American soldier.

Oh, and the rest of the story is that this same unit and this sergeant had been running supply missions daily from a base near Fallujah — no safe route, some of the most dangerous miles, and not a single soldier killed by the enemy yet. A testament to great soldiers, sergeants, and junior officers. And God’s grace.