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:: Friday, December 17, 2004 ::

Gone Skiing

I'll be back Christmas Eve, and will probably post again the week after Christmas. Have a happy holiday!
:: Morat 11:35 AM :: ::

The Sound And The Fury

THIS is what I've been trying to say about the DLC and about Howard Dean. Ezra get it exactly. (Although I think they don't just sound like mushy moderates, they ARE. But perhaps that's merely rhetoric, but it seems the only party the DLC wishes to fight is it's own....)
:: Morat 10:54 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, December 16, 2004 ::

Well crap...

Well, my company lost the damn contract, which means I'm technically jobless starting in February. It's very common -- almost a rule -- for the bulk of the technical people to simply move to the new company. NASA prefers it that way, as it means they still deal with the same developers and coders, and only management (and theoretically costs) change from year to year.

Somehow that "usually" and "often" and "darn near always" seem relatively cold comfort.

So I'm polishing the resume, which I haven't had to do in four or five years. Any tips? Anyone need an experienced programmer and software analyst in my neck of the woods?
:: Morat 2:24 PM :: ::

:: Wednesday, December 15, 2004 ::

Force Protection: Cargo Flights Added to Cut Risky Land Trips

We no longer control the Iraqi roads:
Responding to the threat of roadside bombings and ambushes of American ground convoys in Iraq, the Air Force is sharply expanding its airlift of equipment and supplies to bases inside the country to reduce the amount of military cargo hauled over land routes, Air Force officials said Tuesday.

Dozens of Air Force C-130 and C-17 transport planes, and contracted commercial aircraft, are ferrying about 450 tons of cargo a day, including spare parts, food, water, medical supplies and other materiel that normally moves by truck or trailer, a 29 percent increase in the past month.
This is a bad sign. A very bad sign. Oh, they're trying to spin it as being smarter than the enemy and all that jazz, but it's bullshit.

We're having to fly in supplies because we can't secure our supply lines. We can't secure the roads. Armed military convoys can't run these roads and we're supposed to have an election there in a month?

There's a reason we don't airlift in supplies regularly. This is a sign of desperation. On the bright side, maybe the military will finally secure the road from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone.
:: Morat 7:53 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 ::

Losing...

It occurs to me that as long as the Democratic Party is playing "not to lose" we have no chance in hell of winning. We're a minority now. A defensive game doesn't do us any good.

Personally, I think the Iraq war vote really cements what's wrong with the current party leadership. Think back to, oh, early 2002. Bush is pushing to invade Iraq. Most of the world is against it, and Bush's reasons are incredibly flimsy. Worse yet, once Blix got in country, it seemed like everything Bush said turned out to be false. People were taking to the streets in HUGE numbers -- both here and abroad -- to protest this thing. Yet the Democrats barely mounted even a token opposition -- mainly a few Congressmen and Senators who were bucking the party to speak out.

The Democratic leadership had decided in early 2002 that they'd support the war. It was the political thing to do. They obviously felt that the "anti-war" people (the ones marching in the streets in numbers magnitudes higher than the usual pacifist crowds) would blame Bush. And they felt that Bush couldn't attack them as being "weak on terror" when they supported him.

So they sold out the millions of Americans opposed to the war, made no effort to convince anyone it was a bad idea -- therefore cementing the war's support -- and figured they'd have their cake and eat it to. If the war went bad, they'd blame Bush. If it went well, they'd take credit. And in the 2002 and 2004 elections, it'd be off the table.

Damn were they wrong. Bush hammered them in 2002 over the war, calling even decorated war hero's "soft on terror". The war went bad, but they found those street marchers were pretty pissed at them too. And for some reason, their support of the war had turned it into -- in the mind of the public -- a bipartisan war.

The albatross wasn't around Bush's neck....but hanging on both parties. Had we opposed it from the beginning, it would have been around Bush's neck alone.

I look at Howard Dean and I don't see a cult of personality or a firebrand liberal. Just a centrist and partisan who happened to be unimportant enough to buck the trend on Iraq (he felt he had no real chance at the candidacy, after all) He -- like a good chunk of Democrats -- went from cautious "The President wouldn't lie about war!" support to outright skepticism to total opposition.

What he found was a willingness to actually oppose set him at odds with the party, and gave all those pissed off Democrats a man to support.

In the end, of course, we went with Kerry. A man saddled with Bush's war, but trying to deny it. The very votes he cast -- against his principles -- to be "electable" turned out to be holding him down, preventing him from really hammering on Bush's mistakes. "Bush shouldn't have started this war!" is a hard sell when the next question is "So why did you vote for it?".

Kerry could talk about threat of force prompting cooperation, about saber-rattling, about trusting the President -- heck, I even believe it. But it didn't matter. It hung the war around his neck too, and nothing he did could shake it. It just played into that "flip-flop" meme.

It's not the centrism of the Democratic Party that's killing us. It's our failure to stand on principle. Not only do we compromise easily, but we often do so for transparently political ends. Which leaves us answering to both the GOP and our own base about our hypocrisy.

We have no leaders. No unwavering principles. No vision. We stand for nothing but a slight moderation of the GOP party line. And we seem publicly willing to toss aside EVERYTHING for a political edge.

We're dying for leadership.

And, of course, as the wheel turns I see that the usual suspects are pushing to move even further right. To abandon even more principle. To hew to the polls even more tightly, as if somehow that will take the place of vision and leadership.

We suffer a self-inflicted credibility gap. Our words and our actions do not match. The American people believe -- and our actions show them right -- that nothing is sacred to us.

Howard Dean has the power he does because we're hungry for leadership. He offers the closest thing we've got. I remember people -- during the primaries -- often scathingly commenting that "the Deanies" were stupid, that they obviously didn't know Dean's record. They were aghast that such super-lefties could follow such a centrist. They never understood.

Most of them still don't. We'll take a leader we disagree with over even the most agreeable pollster-spun image.

(Sorry about the rambling. I'm not feeling my best, so my thoughts are all over the place today!)
:: Morat 1:50 PM :: ::

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