A News and Politics Blog, With a Smattering of Sports

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

7:00 AM: 
A kinder, gentler flack for Bush:
"He [Scott McClellan] has had to deal with a wide array of issues, from the politically sensitive subject of the president's views on homosexuality"
Politically sensitive? To who? Homosexuality is not a primary issue for practically anyone, other than perhaps the mainstream media. Christians are against it, to varying degrees, and Democrats are for it, but it simply is not anything that causes the public to vote one way or another.

6:32 AM: 
From the same article:
"Thomas had lately developed a passionate interest in politics, after accompanying his uncle Stuart to a Merseyside Stop the War Coalition meeting last autumn. He travelled to London to join the national demonstrations, heckled Jack Straw in Southport, picketed Geoff Hoon in Connahs Quay and even received a standing ovation for a speech that he made at a rally in Liverpool's St George's Hall...
She wonders whether his concern for the children of Iraq was subconsciously related to his own experiences at school. "All he ever wanted was peace. He hated the thought of kids getting killed in Iraq.""
Of course, having the main male influence in his life be someone filling his head with propaganda, leading him to hate how 'unjust' his own country is, probably didn't help.
"Sandra [his mother] is cautious about fixing herself in the role of tragic heroine"
As well she should. She was complicit in her own son's death. That might be harsh, but it is a fact.

6:27 AM: 
School starts today, and the Corner pointed me to this sad story about bullies:
"There were reasons for that singling out, numerous and at the same time insufficient. Thomas was a highly articulate child, well-spoken, and without the usual local slur. He was overweight. He was easier with adults than children, and more confident around girls than lads. He preferred the Human League to Eminem. And because of this he was bullied, relentlessly. And because of that, on the afternoon of July 2, he took an overdose of painkillers and died later that day. He was 11 years old.
Sandra Thompson sits on the edge of the sofa, while her mother Shirley makes tea. The neat family living room in Wallasey, Merseyside, is amply furnished. It's all on the HP, she says simply, but she has always tried to give her kids everything she can. Sandra parted from Thomas's father, Andrew, soon after their son was born, although the boy maintained some contact with him."
The story goes on and on about the inexplicability of it all, but the part I excerpted jumped out at me due to my own experiences. From the time I was an infant until 4th grade, I lived without a father in my everyday life. And like the boy in the story, I was articulate, I was more comfortable with adults than kids, and I was unmercifully bullied.

When my mother remarried, my stepfather took me under his wing. He taught me how to protect myself, but more importantly, and seemingly without any conscious effort, he taught me to be a male, a man. Just by having him around, seeing the way he did things, the way I went about my life changed. By the time I was in high school, I was no longer being picked on. By the time I went to college, I was 'a people person', even becoming class President.

Fathers matter. They matter tremendously. Abortion may be the greatest tragedy of modern life, but the prevelance of single parent families and the commonality of divorce is not far behind.

Monday, August 25, 2003

12:32 PM: 
Thomas Friedman has a mostly good piece in the NY Times which he blows in the final few paragraphs:
"So, the terrorists get it. Iraqi liberals get it. The Bush team talks as if it gets it, but it doesn't act like it. The Bush team tells us, rightly, that this nation-building project is the equivalent of Germany in 1945, and yet, so far, it has approached the postwar in Iraq as if it's Grenada in 1982.
We may fail, but not because we have attracted terrorists who understand what's at stake in Iraq. We may fail because of the utter incompetence with which the Pentagon leadership has handled the postwar. (We don't even have enough translators there, let alone M.P.'s, and the media network we've set up there to talk to Iraqis is so bad we'd be better off buying ads on Al Jazeera.) We may fail because the Bush team thinks it can fight The Big One in the Middle East — while cutting taxes at home, shrinking the U.S. Army, changing the tax code to encourage Americans to buy gas-guzzling cars that make us more dependent on Mideast oil and by gratuitously alienating allies.
We may fail because to win The Big One, we need an American public, and allies, ready to pay any price and bear any burden, but we have a president unable or unwilling to summon either."
I love how Friedman pretty much admits what we have always suspected about Democrats-- they do not want people to have wealth because people may choose to use that wealth in ways the Democrats do not like (in Friedman's case, he fears that people will use their tax-cut money to buy automobiles that are not as fuel efficient as they would otherwise).