If I get a terminal illness, instead of wasting away in a bed while my loved ones pace around the house, I would very much prefer to have a nice round of farewells, followed by everyone leaving the room so I can take some compound that will end it. If that is not doable, I am buying a fucking gun.
It wasn't abundantly clear from that last post, but no, I am not dying; someone else is. I am in a chain hotel in a little New England town, hoping to see my friend at least one more time in the morning but staying dressed in case I get the call to rush to their house in the middle of the night. But at some point, for the second time in less than 2 years, I get to sit next to the bed of someone I care about a lot and watch their bodies twitch and shake like an old windup toy that no one knows how to fix, until the spring gives out. Why? Doesn't anybody know how to die suddenly anymore?
1. Hope is stressful, so stop it. If you keep thinking there is a possibility that the person could make it if, say, one more thing were tried, or another doctor were consulted, or your favorite good luck charm stroked, then you're just going to run yourself ragged trying to beat the odds. Plus, it annoys the people around you who know better. Forget it. When they send the patient home with hospice and a big bottle of morphine, the odds are zero. Relax and try not to think too much.
2. No one is going to hand you a medal for trying to stay sober through the experience. I recommend rum and vodka because you can almost always find something to mix them with. A little tot of the morphine is a nice way to take the edge off, too. Just don't guzzle the shit, Hunter Thompson.
The lawsuits seek to answer one of the major questions surrounding the
eavesdropping program: has it been used solely to single out the
international phone calls and e-mail messages of people with known
links to Al Qaeda, as President Bush and his most senior advisers have
maintained, or has it been abused in ways that civil rights advocates
say could hark back to the political spying abuses of the 1960's and
One of the A.C.L.U. plaintiffs [is] Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at
the Hoover Institute . . . .
named as plaintiffs in the A.C.L.U. lawsuit are the journalist
Christopher Hitchens, who has written in support of the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan; Barnett R. Rubin, a scholar at New York University who
works in international relations; Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at The
American Prospect; the National Association of Criminal Defense
Lawyers; Greenpeace, the environmental advocacy group; and the Council
on American-Islamic Relations, the country's largest Islamic advocacy
Emphasis supplied. A nice list of plaintiffs, from across the spectrum.
If you have not done so already, go donate to the ACLU and the CCR right now. No, really. RIGHT NOW.
A bunch of guys of Middle Eastern descent (not Latino mistaken for Arab, as usual) walk into a Walmart and buy dozens of prepaid cell phones. What do you assume is happening? Michelle Malkin assumes they're terrorists who are buying up detonators for bombs a la Madrid or communication tools for a mass attack. Me? I assume they are owners of convenience stores who can get inventory cheaper at Walmart than from their own suppliers sometimes, and who send in lots of people to get around the per-person sale limits. Also watch for Asian people buying large numbers of six-packs of Coke in bottles when they go on sale at the local grocery store; they break them up and sell the bottles individually for $1 or $1.25. Why do you think stuff often says "Not labeled for individual resale" a lot in poor-neighborhood convenience stores?
Ohhhhhh. It's because most Republicans would shit their pants if they were in a poor neighborhood, and wouldn't go into a run-down no-name convenience store run by foreigners if their lives depended on it. They'd rather assume the worst about the swarthy people and fantasize that they will be the ones who will shout "Aha!" while in line at Target and head off the next 9/11. Everyone dreams of being a hero, but only some of us wake up.
Sometimes I think we could make a dramatic improvement in this country if we gave random conservatives paid six-month internships to reality.
I love this clip. I have it on a loop while I am working.
Wolf Blitzer: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who's now pleaded guilty to, uh, bribery charges among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington, should the Democrats who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back.
Howard Dean: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican, every person under investigation is a Republican, every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance camp ... scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money, and we've looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that's true.
"We've looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that's true." What have you been doing there at CNN, Wolf?
Blitzer: [Almost 3 seconds of dead air.] But there ... there ... but through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that, uh, presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.
Dean: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either. There is no evidence ---
Blitzer: What about Senator ... what about ... what about Senator Byron Dorgan?
Dean: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.
Blitzer: [Almost 3 seconds of dead air, then a sigh.] Unfortunately Mr. Chairman, we got to leave it right there.
Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic Party, always speaking out bluntly, candidly.
The Army is full of soldiers showing qualities such as patriotism, duty, passion and talent, writes [British Brig. Nigel] Aylwin-Foster [this week in the U.S. Army magazine Military Review], whose rank is equivalent to a U.S. one-star general. "Yet," he continues, "it seemed weighed down by bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a predisposition to offensive operations, and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on."
Those traits reflect the Army's traditional focus on conventional state-on-state wars and are seen by some experts as less appropriate for counterinsurgency, which they say requires patience, cultural understanding and a willingness to use innovative and counterintuitive approaches, such as employing only the minimal amount of force necessary. In counterinsurgency campaigns, Aylwin-Foster argues, "the quick solution is often the wrong one."
He said he found that an intense pressure to conform and overcentralized decision making slowed the Army's operations in Iraq, giving the enemy time to understand and respond to U.S. moves. And the Army's can-do spirit, he wrote, encouraged a "damaging optimism" that interfered with realistic assessments of the situation in Iraq.
"Such an ethos is unhelpful if it discourages junior commanders from reporting unwelcome news up the chain of command," Aylwin-Foster says. A pervasive sense of righteousness or moral outrage, he adds, further distorted military judgments, especially in the handling of fighting in Fallujah.
Similarly, the Bush administration has mishandled the entire "Global War on Terror" (even down to the name). Bush responded as if 9/11 were Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a military attack on a military target with a military objective, to knock the American Navy out of the Pacific for a year while the Japanese consolidated their hold on the territory they had taken. (The attack failed to achieve its objective, by the way.) Just trying to frame 9/11 in those terms shows how ridiculous it is. So what was the purpose of the 9/11 attack?
The conflict we are in is political, not military. Similarly, Iraq counter-insurgency has a strong political element. But neither the Bush administration nor, apparently, the U.S. Army has the intelligence or training to understand a war in which the task is not to kill as many enemy soldiers as possible every day. Because of that, they are playing right into the enemy's hands. The 9/11 attack was a surprise raid in a political struggle, the objective of which was to topple the government of Saudi Arabia. So far, that hasn't happened. But the Bush administration has ceded far too much ground to our adversaries pursuing an unimaginative, closeminded strategy and, worse, doesn't even realize how badly things are going.