Sat. Dec 09, 2006
The ISG, DNC, RNC, APD, and Busy Me
It’s become the familiar ritual around here this year. I post to say how busy I’ve been (I spent two hours on the road yesterday, yet never got outside the I-285 perimeter of Atlanta … to do ten minutes of photography). I then proceed to say short snarky things about miscellaneous news items I’ve been too busy to write about here.
One change is that, while I used to find time to read various sites and news articles but couldn’t find time to write about them here, I now find myself short even on time to read about what’s going on. I open up a dozen tabs with pages I want to read, but by day’s end few have actually been consumed. I’ve been so busy that I may have Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on TV, but my focus is such that I don’t even really absorb their unique delivery of the day’s events.
Yeah, it’s that bad. But this is the web, where we don’t let a mere lack of knowledge inhibit our whining and opining.
For example, we have the long awaited report from the Iraq Study Group. I’ve not had time to read the report, nor the voluminous reaction to it. From what I’ve seen of the reaction, many on the right hate it, and many on the left think it represents a search for a “field of ponies” in Iraq that does not and will not exist.
And experience shows that when both extremes dislike a report or plan, it is sometimes because the report or plan is a reasonable attempt to look at a problem in a non-partisan and realistic manner. And it fits my personal and cynical feeling that if both sides don’t like it, there’s got to be some good in there somewhere.
But I do know this. It was reported that during October, 80 to 100 Iraqis were being killed per day. Just before election day, even Rumsfeld sent up a memo saying, in effect, more of same will bring more of same. Meanwhile, the Iraq Study Group, um, studied. The President appoints a new Secretary of Defense, and points out that the ISG report is just one of three reports he will take into account. Word is he hopes to give a speech with “the way forward” before Christmas.
Christmas. Perhaps 90 days after it was announced that 80 to 100 Iraqis were being killed per day. While politicians in DC dither and those in Baghdad jockey for position, Iraqis are subject to the cumulative math. 90 times 80 is 7,200; 90 times 100 is 9,000. That’s a death toll about equivalent to a 9/11 each month.
But my favorite absurdity came from the podium of the White House press room. When a reporter asked about the ISG report’s suggestion for more military personnel that speak Arabic, Tony Snow responded that’s all well and good, but you don’t grow those translators overnight.
Because apparently the need for those translators just became obvious yesterday. Not when the plans to invade Iraq began in latter 2002. Because it would seem in four years, you ought to be able to grow a whole battalion of translators. But, no, Mr. Snow, not overnight.
Elsewhere in the news and on the web, it seems an absurd amount of time is being spent worrying about who is going to take office … in January, 2009. I mean, c’mon, people, I haven’t even done my Christmas shopping yet. Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourselves?
Here’s a little reminder to settle you down. Let’s think in terms of the 2004 election. Think about the December before that election. At that time, the unassailable Conventional Wisdom was that Howard Dean was unstoppable. People were laughing at John Kerry because he’d taken out a second mortgage on his home to keep his campaign afloat. Political allies begged him to drop out and not embarrass himself, as he might not even win his home state, with Dean next door.
The truth is that no one knew what the hell they were talking about.
And comparatively, right now we are one year before that December. Right now the Conventional Wisdom is that Hilary can’t be beat, and if she can, it’s by Obama. On the Republican side, Conventional Wisdom anoints McCain or Guliani. But if I had to put a hundred dollars down today, I’d put it on “none of those four will be our next President.”
Certainly, when someone says Clinton’s a lock for the Democratic nomination, you should laugh at them. Followed by the Howard Dean yell.
When John Kerry says he’s thinking about running again, you should laugh at him. Because apparently his ego was not sufficiently crushed in 2004.
In fact, when someone says that any Senator is going to be the next President, you should laugh at them. And point out that the last time a former Senator won a Presidential election, the Beatles had just completed their second short tour of America.
You might as well wish for the Atlanta Falcons to have two winning seasons in a row. It’s a feat that seems eminently reachable. But it ain’t gonna happen.
Locally, more is slowly coming on on the shooting of 88 year old Kathryn Johnston. We’ve heard there is a second tipster who was busted about 4pm that afternoon for pot. He immediately claimed he’d seen a kilo of cocaine in a shoebox in that house just an hour before. Just before 6pm, the judge signs a warrant stating that a second informant was witnessed by a cop making a buy of cocaine at that house.
Immediately afterwards, police said they’d found narcotics in the home. What was it? 1.93 grams of marijuana, about enough for one joint. Where did they find it? Wedged inside an exterior door to the basement of the house.
Despite the fact three officers were hit in a total of five locations, Ms. Johnston fired once. Talk about your magic bullet. Other reports say a total of around 100 shots may have been fired. Ms. Johnston was hit by five or six rounds. I would only note that in the recent shooting in NYC, within 24 hours it was not only known exactly how many rounds were fired (51), it was known which officers fired how many (one guy fired 31 rounds). Publicly known. Not so in Atlanta, weeks later.
And it will likely be weeks more before anything like a comprehensive report is released.
Maybe I’ll even have time to read it.