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« Sweet Baby James | Main | As seen on teevee »

Sep 13, 2009


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Good'un, dawg.

David Hoggard

Why does our little buddy yawn?

Is he tired of the way things are? Or, is he just waking up and realizing the world has passed him by and that there is not a thing he can do about it but belittle anyone and everyone who doesn't see things his way? (As he will do to me right after he reads this)

It was a very good column, Ed.

Pearl Harbor solidified Americans with pretty much a single mind that was all about unselfishness. 9-11 started out doing the same thing - for about a fortnight. I wish it had lasted much much longer, too.


"Is he tired of the way things are?"

I'm tired of reading smarmy, pretentious puff pieces which marginalize real and substantive differences, things that the writer blows off with supposed literary artifice.

I'm tired of reading things written by a writer whose works are usually some prattle to his narcissistic conceit, born out of a great love of reading his own words.

That's why my initial one word response was more than adequate for a response.

It's not worth the time and effort to deconstruct the whole thing line by line. From past experience, we know that sort of thing is futile.

It's a shame that Davenport has to share the column space in the N&R.

Jeffrey Sykes

The column is fine as a literary device. The writer has a deft touch.

Ed, what do you think of the tire tariff and the ensuring Chinese response?


i wish it had lasted longer than a fortnight, too, but i grew weary of the same people jumping out of the same buildings, franklin mint twin tower sets and parachute peddlers presenting their wares on national talk shows for people who work in tall buildings. It was a horrible human tragedy where hucksters made a platform, from Ann Coulter tiring of the 9-11 widows to Michael Moore the capitalist hater, capitalizing on spurious facts and spontaneous fears. Now we have the new regime hucksters exploiting new fears. The official 9-11 narrative now has healthcare reform built right in. From the same people who didn't see it coming we have the clear results of something that is certain to occur if only Congress would submit a bill for the executive to sign. Fortunately, reelection is the main concern for anyone daring to submit their signature on such a bill. Current social mood indicates that such an act would imperil incumbency based on the nation's first real million man march not held on a workday.

Joe Killian

I'm at Disney World this week on vacation.

And I swear, no joke, one the highlights of the first day for me was The Hall of Presidents, featuring animatronic versions of every U.S. leader from Washington to Obama.

There is also an IMAX style documentary about the American presidency narrated by Morgan Freeman.

The featured presidents in the documentary were shown in defining moments and all of them put in the best possible light. When they came to George W. Bush the clip showed him atop the rubble at Ground Zero with a bullhorn in his hand.

Someone in the crowd says he can't hear the president.

"I can hear you!" he shouts. "I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you...."

And then they cut away before he finishes with "...and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

And I felt really torn about that.

Because I remember that moment. I watched it live. And it was huge. And the last part -- the "I want vengeance" part -- was a huge component of that. I think most of us felt it.

And a lot of us did feel a kind of a "we're all in this together", WWII sort of civic duty, felt that everything did have to change...then the whole country tore itself apart over how.

A lot of what followed in the country made me ill and I wish we hadn't blown the moment so terribly by concentrating mostly on the "I want vengeance" urge we all felt rather than the "we're all in this together" feeling that might have made us examine and change our daily lives as much as we did our foreign policy.

Part of me blames the president for not asking more from us, for sort of being the anti-FDR. He could have asked us to sacrifice, but he asked us to go shopping instead. He could have told us not to fear, but instead tried to sell us on a color coded terror alert system people within the administration now admit was used for politics. He could have made decisions that showed the world the best of America, and instead he ended up compromising core American values and villifying anyone who disagreed with his doing so.

But the thing is -- most of us bought it, even those of us who voted for someone else. Because it was easier to be gluttonous than to sacrifice. Because it was more comforting to fear and hate - be it anyone we could tie to terrorism or the president himself - than examine things in a measured, rational way. Because compromising ourselves was so easy and sticking to our principles in the face of tragedy and strife was so hard.

So we all deserve a bit of the post 9/11 blame.

Also, the animatronic Obama has his voice but they don't yet have the mannerisms down.

Jeffrey Sykes

Joe I give you an A+ for admitting that the national failure goes far beyond the weakness of the last president and extends to each of us, primarily for our habit of relying on the easiest path.

However, honesty dictates we examine this phrase:

"He could have asked us to sacrifice, but he asked us to go shopping instead. He could have told us not to fear, but instead tried to sell us on a color coded terror alert system people within the administration now admit was used for politics."

First, I agree that the last president was a poor leader, but we all know that the only growth in the economy has been from consumer spending for the last decade and that the global economy had come to rely on the American consumer for growth. Bush was merely reflecting the geo-economic reality as it existed at that time. Sort of like with Greenspan, they both were in a no win situation. Greenspan could have prevented the housing bubble by raising interest rates, but he would have crushed consumer spending along the way. In retrospect that seems like it would have been a good idea.

Second, no one "admitted" that the color system was "used for politics." Ridge's editor emphasized in a book that he felt Rummy and Ash were blowing things out of proportion but that he resisted the idea and ultimately their wishes prior to the election in 04 were denied. Ridge has since clarified that no one directly pressured him.

If we are going to move toward an honest and direct national conversation, let's start now. The Bush admin has enough real failure under its belt without inventing bogeymen.

Steve Harrison

"Ridge has since clarified that no one directly pressured him."

Maybe Brad or Britt can back me up on this, Jeff, but if I recall his recent radio interview correctly, he said the matter was brought up in two different meetings, and both times he told them it was a bad idea or something along those lines.

Knowing Ridge's position from the first time, the second time amounts to pressuring him, in my book.

Ed Cone

I think it was fine for Bush to say from the rubble that we were coming after the perps. It was the subsequent overreach, at the expense the original project, that got us into trouble.

Lots of people, including consumers, share blame for the bubble culture. But some leadership in the direction of shared sacrifice etc would have been helpful. Think back to Bush I in his speedboat as we prepared for the first Gulf War -- the prevailing fiction is that we can do everything and pay nothing. Look at the way "tax and spend" has been turned into obscene language, when in fact it's one of the two responsible alternatives -- the other being "spend less." Instead we get the irresponsible alternative, "borrow and spend."

Don't know enough about the specifics of the tire thing to comment intelligently, but in general pulling a single thread on trade causes knots and runs elsewhere.

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