Archive for November, 2005

At approximately 6:45 this evening I checked my word count and — lo and behold I was at 50,014 words! So I did some quick wrapping up (the story’s so disjointed it’s not even funny), went to a meeting, and came home and verified it. verified my final word count at 50,312.

Congrats to Ross, who finished just a few minutes later (but got to validate first!).

Anyone notice the massive jump in wordcount today? That’s right, I jumped from 21K+ words to go to just under 10K words to go. Some of it was written at home over Thanksgiving, but I wrote over 8,000 words today.

I just had to brag.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

My unwinding has begun at my parents’ house, where I just had a chance to read Newsweek. What a luxury, right?

Anyway, this column by Jonathan Alter isn’t really news, but it is in the same vein as a lot of the recent discussion here.

Time to go eat turkey.

That sigh of relief comes with the onset of Thanksgiving Break. I am very thankful.

I haven’t quite unwound enough to have anything interesting to say, but I just wanted to say hi. Hi.

I applaud the espoused sentiment behind this column by John Edwards in today’s Washington Post. He writes:

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn’t make a mistake — the men and women of our armed forces and their families — have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

I think this is the right direction to go with the rhetoric — focusing on “We made a mistake, how can we recover from it?” rather than “Who tricked us into this?” It’s also a good alternative to the administration’s stance, which appears to be, “There was no mistake and everything’s dandy. Quick — look over there.”

Edwards proposes a three-fold plan that includes reducing our military presence in Iraq, implementing a “more effective training program for Iraqi forces,” and pursuing “a serious diplomatic process that brings the world into this effort.” I think these are good ideas — although I don’t know about reducing our military presence before replacing troops with competent Iraqi forces — but can they actually be implemented? I mean, they sound like the same ideas that have been there all along, which makes me think either the administration hasn’t even tried, or implementation is impossible. Or, I suppose, that the current leadership isn’t competent but someone else could do it.

It seems to me that the broad ideas are covered — although, as I mentioned, it is good to hear a Dem accepting responsibility for a mistake and at least saying that he wants to move on to focus on a solution — but specifics are, as always, lacking. What does a more effective training program look like? How can we convince other countries to get involved?

I certainly don’t have any ideas, and it’s probably naive of me to ask a politician to offer any real solutions, but all of this — the blame game, the acceptance of responsibility, the statement of broad objectives without steps for how to achieve them — still won’t help.

I’ve been meaning to post about the whole “France is burning” thing for a while now, but felt like I could write ten pages on it because, well, I did write ten pages on it (okay, seven), and I wanted to collect my thoughts a little better. But it has finally occurred to me that I am not going to be doing that anytime soon, so instead I’m just posting the paper. I wrote it in the spring for a Comparative Politics class and haven’t cleaned it up, so it’s slightly out of date and probably needs to be edited. But if I wait to fix it, it’ll never get uploaded.

So here it is:

Islam in France: Balancing Laïcité with Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood

Happy birthday to the best sister in the world.

Welcome to your 20s!

Google’s quote of the day today:

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.
– Paul Dirac

Dover has a new school board.

All eight incumbents were defeated by eight challengers one year after a policy change by the Dover school board included a statement about intelligent design in its science classes.

From the Washington Post:

The Internal Revenue Service has warned a prominent liberal church that it could lose its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon a guest preacher gave on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, according to church officials.

So…enlisting churches to help with the re-election of the president is okay.

Giving a sermon about the fundamental tenets of Christianity — “Thou shalt not kill” and all that — is not?

I’m not sure about The Middle America Chronicle’s assertion that as long as a church “doesn’t specifically say “Vote Republican” or “Elect Democrats,” it shouldn’t be intimidated by the IRS,” but certainly a church’s tax-exempt status shouldn’t be called into question simply for preaching a sermon that extrapolates values to real world issues.

The sermon is archived on the church’s website. It is certainly critical of Bush, and does say things like, “When you go into the voting booth on Tuesday, take with you all that you know about Jesus, the peacemaker. Take all that Jesus means to you. Then vote your deepest values.” At no point, though, does it actually endorse Kerry or any part of his “plan”.

Clearly I’m not an expert on tax-exempt rules, and I am probably a bit biased in this particular case, but I think this is okay. It’s certainly a far cry from paying for an advertisement, which the Post cites as an example of activity conducted by a church that previously lost its status. And I’m sure there were much more blatant endorsements coming from less prominent pulpits that Sunday.