Stuff

In a better world, today would not need to be remembered as the 61st anniversary of the dishonorable, indiscriminate slaughter of Nagasaki.

OwensIt would instead be remembered primarily as the 70th anniversary of the day that James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens won his fourth gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin running the first leg of the United States' world-record-setting 400-meter relay.

* * * * *

I missed another important anniversary on Sunday. August 6 was the fifth anniversary of the day that President Bush received an intelligence briefing entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US."

After receiving this briefing, the president, who was on vacation, went out to clear brush on his ranch in Crawford, Texas. The following day, President Bush again cleared brush on his ranch. And five years ago today, two days after receiving that briefing, Bush again continued his vacation and cleared brush on his ranch.

We ought not to speculate whether the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, might have been prevented had President Bush done … something — anything … after that briefing. It's impossible to know whether or not the attacks might have been prevented had he tried to prevent them.

But what we know is this: He didn't try.

(In fairness to President Bush, back in August of 2001 the brush on his Crawford ranch was really getting out of hand.)

* * * * *

Weldon staffer calls police for protection from Eagle Scout.

SPRINGFIELD — A campaign staffer for U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7, of Thornbury, called police Friday to report protesters outside of the Republican congressman's campaign office.

When the responding officer arrived, he found 18-year-old Ross Doppelt standing there. Alone.

Doppelt, a lifelong Haverford resident and campaign volunteer for Weldon's opponent, Democrat Joseph Sestak, said he had shown up for what was publicized as an endorsement announcement.

"I just wanted to hear what they had to say," said the Eagle Scout and National Merit Commended Scholar, who received a Distinguished Scholarship for academic merit to attend Tulane University in New Orleans last fall.

* * * * *

"You would have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I have been overly optimistic," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said last week about his mishandling of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Julia has a Dickens of a time doing exactly that.

* * * * *

Overheard down the shore:

"The thing is Delco has gotten more urban. Maybe not out west in Havertown, where you are, but where I live it's Nairobi."

It was over 100 degrees for much of last week in Delaware County, Pa., but I don't think the speaker was referring to Kenya's climate.

The kicker: The speaker is a judge.

* * * * *

Hall of Shame:

"We've established what kind of people you are, now we're just haggling over price."

* * * * *

I'm hearing rumors that if Joe Lieberman loses the vote in November he intends to continue serving as Senator "as an independent."

What part of "the people have spoken" doesn't this guy understand?

* * * * *

Hawkier-than-thou columnist Max Boot believes that the solution to the civil war sectarian violence in Iraq is a U.S.-led invasion and occupation.

Boot doesn't say where he would find the troops for this future invasion and occupation, what with most of America's armed forces currently bogged down following the current invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Barring a massive increase in troops, Boot advocates:

Reducing U.S. forces from today's level of 130,000 to under 50,000 and changing their focus from conducting combat operations to assisting Iraqi forces. … This is the option favored within the U.S. Special Forces community, in which the dominant view is that most American soldiers in Iraq, with their scant knowledge of the local language and customs, are more of a hindrance than a help to the counterinsurgency effort.

For a more detailed discussion of such a plan, see Rep. John Murtha's Web site.

Of course, when Murtha proposed this very thing, Boot and others like him mocked it as "cut and run."

* * * * *

Love makes you do the wacky.

New friend, a month or so ago, on first seeing the "entertainment center" on which my TV sits:

"Wow, you've got a lot of Buffy DVDs. Is that show any good?"

So far we've gotten through Episode 2 of Season 2.

* * * * *

The Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania is only just now learning to harness the power of the Internets. How? Not for fundraising, or organizing, or mobilizing grassroots supporters, but by freeping online polls:

KQV is running a poll on their website. Today's question asks if the U.S. Senate race were held right now, who would get your vote? Of coure we are all going to vote for Senator Santorum. So please visit www.kqv.com/opinion.php or call 412-333-9190 to vote for Senator Santorum.

I don't think they've quite grasped the whole "netroots" concept.

  • Steve

    Wow, according to that poll, Santorum is leading Casey 73% to 23%, with a margin of error of about 50%.
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060806/D8JB52J00.html

  • Steve

    Wow, according to that poll, Santorum is leading Casey 73% to 23%, with a margin of error of about 50%.
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060806/D8JB52J00.html

  • Steve

    Something funny is going on with the posting system….everything is getting double, triple or quadruple posted. (Just FYI…and so we don’t all have to offer apologies in triplicate each time.)

  • lightning

    Re Bush and the bushes –
    Real Texans don’t clear brush. Real Texans hire Mexicans to clear brush.

  • zzyzx

    8/9 also, of course, is the day that Jerry Garcia died.

  • bulbul

    When did “urban” start to mean “black”?

  • marciamarcia

    When did “urban” start to mean “black”?
    I think that actually came out of marketing speak.

  • PepperjackCandy

    When did “urban” start to mean “black”?
    I think that actually came out of marketing speak.
    I know those words were synonymous back when I worked in broadcasting 7 through 13 years ago.

  • Kriz

    Lieberman actually said *weeks* ago, I think it was, that he’d run as an independent if he lost the primary. He filed his petitions today.
    Now I’m just waiting to see if Lamont’s campaign can handle being attacked for such hideously radical left-wing positions as reproductive freedom, publicly subsidized health insurance, and protection of civil liberties. Oh, and getting out of the war that a recent poll says over 60% of America disapprove of.

  • wintermute

    > When did “urban” start to mean “black”?
    Ah, that makes more sense. Somehow I had the impression that he meant the opposite of “rural”. I couldn’t work out how Nairobi was a better benchmark than, say, New York or London…
    That’s what you get for not growing up in America, I suppose.

  • Scott

    Wal-Mart lifts up the working poor
    Andrew Young
    If we could, we’d end poverty today — this second. Every one who wanted a job would have one. Every job would pay well and come with generous benefits.
    We’re not there yet, but we’re trying. I believe each of us has a responsibility to ensure everyone — especially those in need — has the opportunity to live a better life. Recently, I partnered with Working Families for Wal-Mart because the organization shares my same commitment to opportunity, empowerment and lifting up those who are in need.
    Like me, they’ve seen people from underprivileged communities leaving Wal-Mart stores with carts full of items they need but could not afford to buy anywhere else. Like me, they’ve seen economic growth spurred in communities by the opening of a new Wal-Mart store.
    Like me, they’ve seen parents who were relying on the state pull themselves out of poverty by starting a career and supporting their family with help from Wal-Mart — help that comes by way of a job and by way of low prices. And like me, they’ve seen numerous charitable organizations get the support they desperately need from Wal-Mart….
    …This is welcome news to the majority of Wal-Mart’s regular shoppers who, surveys confirm, have lower incomes and need Wal-Mart’s low prices the most. Surveys also show the overwhelming majority of working families — union or nonunion — shop at Wal-Mart and think the retailer is good for their communities.
    And why wouldn’t they? As the largest corporate cash contributor in the country with a presence in more than 3,800 communities nationwide, Wal-Mart makes 90 percent of its charitable contributions at the local level, where they can have the most impact. The company donated more than $220 million to various causes last year alone and was a major force in the relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

  • bulbul

    I know those words were synonymous back when I worked in broadcasting 7 through 13 years ago.
    One more thing we can blame on the nineties, right? :o)

  • Hagsrus

    Splendid — do they provide health insurance for their employees as well as all those laudable charitable donations? I’ve heard some unpleasant rumors to the contrary — I hope they are untrue.

  • forestwalker

    Good to see you Scott. It’s been a while. I happened to come across a picture of you the other day. You’re looking good.

  • NonyNony

    The problem I have with Murtha’s plan – and with plans like it – is that we leave a small force to work with the current government to assist the Iraqi forces. Okay, that might make sense if we were talking about insurgencies, or “dead-ender” Baathists trying to put Saddam back on the throne, but if we’re talking a civil war, eventually the powers that be in the government are going to have to take sides. The soldiers in the Iraqi military will have to take sides. And whatever side we decide to support, we’ll be fighting in the middle of someone else’s civil war (yes, I know it will be the result of our idiocy, but I’m not sure that two stupids make a smart, especially in this instance).
    This is becoming more and more like Vietnam every day, except that now we’re the French in Vietnam struggling to hold onto what we’ve conquered. That didn’t turn out so well for the French, if I recall correctly, and I doubt that there will be anyone around willing to play the role we played in Vietnam this time around either.

  • Axiomatic

    Actually, America should pack up everything in Iraq and just leave. Completely.
    Then, next week, invade again. I mean, things were looking so optimistic at the beginning of the reign, let’s return to that happier time.

  • Steve

    Wal-Mart lifts up the working poor
    Andrew Young
    I believe it was a Mr. Fred Clark who wrote an article some 7 through 13 years ago in PRISM Magazine that Wal-mart works against the idea of “thrift”. Thriftyness isn’t getting stuff cheap, it not buying frivolously. The idea being you used to have to save up for things, and thrifty-ness was the discipline of delayed gratification. But now, the stuff is so cheap at Wal-mart that the idea is that we can all, even low-income folks, have what we want right away. It works against the idea of thrift. And the quality is crap so it doesn’t last. So having cheap quality stuff so cheap and accessible can actually work against people getting out of poverty by keeping them in a spend for today mode (not to mention the people making this stuff in other countries).
    Need a TV? Well, you can save up for a good quality model, or get the no name brand piece of junk for $49 right now…which might break in a year. Same goes for the coffee table, kids toys, etc.
    I’m sure Fred wrote what he did more eloquently, and I may have gotten the main gist wrong. But this is somewhere in the ballpark.

  • Mike Timonin

    Wal-Mart claims to provide vast sums of money for charities, but much of that charitable giving actually comes from the employees who voluntarily give up part of their (already meagre) pay cheque.
    Also, they are inconsistant in their giving. For instance, my wife was working in a Wal-Mart shortly after 9-11. She suggested to the management that a) the store should make an effort to stock US flags made in the US (not China) and that b) a portion of the proceeds from the sale of US flags (quite high at the time, understandably) be given to the Red Cross, or some simmilar group, if only from the individual store she was working in. She was told that both of these ideas were silly.

  • Garnet

    That, Steve, is known to some of us as ‘The Sam Vimes “Boots” Theory of Socio-Economic Unfairness’:
    The reason the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
    Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in the city on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
    But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
    This was the Captain Samuel Vimes “Boots” theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

  • Duane

    Actually, America should pack up everything in Iraq and just leave. Completely.
    Then, next week, invade again. I mean, things were looking so optimistic at the beginning of the reign, let’s return to that happier time.
    Awesome idea. Imagine all the “Mission Accomplished” photo-ops going into the November elections.

  • Seventh Watch

    Thanks for spreading the word on Curt Weldon and his staff calling the cops on the Eagle Scout “protester”. They appear to be a bit paranoid at this point…and with good reason as the Joe Sestak campaign gets rolling into high gear.
    We’ll keep posting about the Sestak surge and the Weldon wilt at http://www.PA7Watch.com. Thanks for blogrolling us!

  • Corbie

    Re: Sam Vimes — exactly. Fortunately for those of us who pinch pennies but want quality, now there’s Ebay. Amazing how little you can pay for a Coach bag.
    Seriously, though, Michelle Singletary, the Washington Post columnist and author, writes constantly about such choices. She says, re credit card spending for clothing, “If it’s on your a**, it’s not an asset.” Her grandmother managed to save amazing amounts of money despite working for low wages all her life, through thrift and smart management. (I need to get better about following her advice.)

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