In One Eye

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Readers of this blog may want to know that I've joined the staff at Daily411. Come on over and join the fray.

Monday, October 24, 2005
From today's Altercation:
Right about the war, but um, “second–rate.”

Quote of the Day, I: “In those tense months, the mark of second-rate minds was absolute certainty one way or the other.” —George Packer, who supported the Bush/Cheney war in Iraq.

Quote of the Day, II: “It’s pretty interesting that all the generals see it the same way, and all the others who have never fired a shot, and are hot to go to war, see it another. … We are about to do something that will ignite a fuse in this region. [We] will rue the day we ever started.” —Major General Anthony Zinni, (ret.) former chief of US Central Command, October 2002, and a “Second Rate Mind,” according to Mr. Packer.

Let’s not make this personal. Off the top of my head, a collection of those deemed to have “second rate minds” by Mr. Packer would have to include: Alan Brinkley, Garry Wills, Stanley Hoffmann, Walter LaFeber, Jeffrey Sachs, Charles Peters, Robert Reich, Al Gore, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Thomas Powers, James Fallows, Todd Gitlin, Tom Geoghegan, Arianna Huffington, Eric Foner, Tony Kushner, Robert Kuttner, James Mann, Mike Tomasky, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Josh Marshall, Paul Krugman, Harold Meyerson, Michael Kazin and Barack Obama.
Although I certainly have no place in the aforementioned illustrious group, I nevertheless would like to take credit for having the kind of "second rate mind" they possess.

For those who've depended on this blog to acquire the latest Connecticut opinions, I encourage you to bookmark Colin McEnroe's new blog. He says many of the things I'd be commenting on—only he says them appreciably better.

More echoes of Vietnam.
Eager to demonstrate success in Iraq, the U.S. military has abandoned its previous refusal to publicize enemy body counts and now cites such numbers periodically to show the impact of some counterinsurgency operations ...

During the Vietnam War, enemy body counts became a regular feature in military statements intended to demonstrate progress. But the statistics ended up proving poor indicators of the war's course. Pressure on U.S. units to produce high death tolls led to inflated tallies, which tore at Pentagon credibility ...

The Vietnam experience led U.S. commanders to shun issuing enemy death tallies in later conflicts, through the initial stages of the Iraq war. "We don't do body counts on other people," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in November 2003, when asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether the number of enemy dead exceeded the U.S. toll.
Now that the Iraq fiasco is evident, the Bushies will grasp at any straw to demonstrate that some progress is being made. Surely, the conviction that there's a light at the end of the tunnel cannot be far behind.

(I realize that this post kind of gives the lie to the previous post, but the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam in this story are so palpable that I couldn't resist.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005
This blog, which really began as a cry in the dark against a foolish and unjustified war, has usually been fun to write. Lately, though, it's become a bit of a chore as I find myself saying the same things over and over again.

It seems to me that the mainstream media and/or previously cowardly politicians have finally gotten a little gumption and come to reasonable conclusions regarding topics I've blogged about—specifically:
There are others, but these are the big issues I've tried to follow. As I say, I'm gratified that, in many instances, people are coming around to the attitudes I have and have articulated about them.

Since this is the case, I'm going to be taking a break from the blog. I assume I'll chime in every so often with "a slightly skewed view of the world," but I'm finding that with the big news of the day—Plamegate, the Miers nomination, the DeLay arrest, etc.—being discussed so much better by Digby, Marshall, Legum, et al, that my two cents really are worth just about that.

I have to admit, though, that blogging has been a heck of a lot of fun and really has allowed me to keep up with the news of the day in a much more detailed fashion than I have in more than thirty years.

Friday, October 21, 2005
I know that he hasn't been inappropriate with his players, and I know that an investigator has just cleared him, but Jack Cochran is still a scumbag.
An investigator for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference reported Thursday she found no evidence that New London High School football coach Jack Cochran recruited players.

Last month, New Britain High School Principal Thomas Reale charged that Cochran approached three New Britain students about relocating to New London after Cochran accepted the head-coaching job there last March ...

Investigator Pat Llodra told the CIAC's board of control she found no evidence that Cochran initiated [the three players'] move to New London.

Llodra said she investigated the charges for 23 hours over the course of two weeks and interviewed 11 people, including players, coaches and administrators. She said she made two visits to each school.

She also interviewed Cochran, who denied ever asking or trying to influence Reed or other players to leave New Britain for New London.

Cochran could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The last paragraph is probably the least surprising. Cochran has always placed himself above the law or policy, and eventually it'll spell the end for him.

He's still being investigated by various entities—including the state attorney general. It may well turn out that recruiting players will be the least of his problems.

Thursday, October 20, 2005
Don't miss this excellent piece by Digby concerning the foxes who are guarding the henhouse.

Damn. Looks like we might get a little wet on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The entire blogosphere is atwitter over the published story that Dear Leader knew of his brain's involvement in the Plame leak in 2003. If this is true, then our president would be shown to be—horrors!—a liar.

Not surprsingly, Josh Marshall has the best early take on the ramifications of the story.

Now, I'm not condoning this, but there sure have been times ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
In case anyone had any doubt, here's the smoking gun:
Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment banning abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, according to material given to the Senate on Tuesday.
This surely is no surprise, is it?

It's with a heavy heart that I note that
General Motors Corp. reached a tentative pact Monday with the United Auto Workers union to reduce its healthcare costs by about $3 billion annually as the automaker unveiled plans to sell control of its profitable financing arm to raise cash ...

The agreement with the UAW would also slash GM's long-term healthcare liabilities for retirees by about $15 billion, or 25%, from its current level of more than $60 billion.
I know it's simplistic to yearn for the old days when labor unions had some clout and a giveback such as this one would never have even been imagined, much less countenanced. Nevertheless, while this agreement may be what's good for General Motors, it's certainly not good for the country's workers.

Meanwhile, more servitude is evident as
[a]lmost a quarter of the state's National Guard troops - about 1,000 in all - will be deployed in the next few months, most of them heading to Afghanistan, state Guard officials say.

Connecticut's Guard is seeing the return of its last troops from Iraq and for the first time may soon have no personnel in that conflict. But next year, it will make up about 5 percent of the U.S. force in Afghanistan, which currently totals more than 17,900.
Of course, we're assured that while
"1,000 is a pretty formidable number," [according to] Maj. Gen. Thaddeus Martin, leader of the state's Guard ... "We'll be OK with regard to being able to cover our state missions."
Are we to understand, then, that the state's National Guard is overstaffed? This seems hard to believe.

At any rate, given these two stories, it certainly seems as if the oligarchs have won.