Chicken Hawks and War Doves

Wednesday, 29 September 2004, 20:45 | Category : Politics
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Who served when:


Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-’47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star
John Edwards: did not serve.
Howard Dean: did not serve
Joe Lieberman: did not serve
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-1953.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII, receiving the Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart


Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
House Whiip Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
Dick Cheney: did not serve.
John Ashcroft: did not serve.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve.
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as aviator and flight instructor.
George W. Bush: Air Nat’l Guard commitment
Phil Gramm: did not serve.
John McCain: Air Force, Vietnam, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart
Chuck Hagel: two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, Vietnam.
Duke Cunningham: nominated for Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star, Air Medals, Purple Hearts.
Jeff Sessions: Army Reserves, 1973-1986
Tom Ridge: Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam

You read this list, it’s understandable why Republicans make such a big deal of George Bush’s service in the Texas ANG – from their perspective, he’s a seasoned military veteran.

Altoids just got better!

Monday, 27 September 2004, 20:52 | Category : Other Stuff
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One of those weeks

Saturday, 25 September 2004, 0:03 | Category : Geek Stuff
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You wonder what would happen if you just got in your car and started driving, just pick a direction and go. How long would it take for someone outside your immediate family to notice you weren’t exactly there? How long would you have to drive before your mind was emptied of all the drudgery that sent you off in the first place? Why, exactly, do we put ourselves through this? When your job begins affecting your life, where do you find the incentive to keep rolling along? What’s the point of all this rushing about?

Several years ago, the job I had at the time sent me to Washington, DC on a regular basis. I would ride the Metro morning and evening, and what I saw constantly was people who seemed to have this sullen irritation at the life they were forced to lead. I rarely saw someone on the Metro who seemed happy. I didn’t understand how people lived that way. I don’t want to ever understand that way of living and working. But I’ve also worked around people who became high-maintenance, whose attitude was so raw that those around them were always on edge. There was a guy we called the Volcano, because of his tendency to get mad and boil over. The explosion was never pretty. He would quit, then come back a few months later. Good programmer. Lousy co-worker. I don’t want to understand that way of living and working either. So, whatever this funk is, wherever it’s coming from, I have to figure out a way to deal with it, small answer or big answer.

There’s No Geek Orthodox Priests

Wednesday, 22 September 2004, 17:42 | Category : Geek Stuff
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But maybe there should be. And no, I didn’t mistype “Greek”. I meant “Geek”. The computer types out there know what I’m talking about. You reach a point where what you’ve been doing isn’t working, you’re not sure why, you just know you’re burned out and bummed out and bored out of your skull. The technology complexities that used to fascinate you now feel like the rock of Sisyphus. You wake up in the morning, and more than anything you want to just roll back over and go back to sleep, because the things you’re going to deal with today are the same things you dealt with yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. It’s like one of those rooms where you look in a mirror and see a mirror across the room reflecting the image of you looking in a mirror seeing yourself looking in a mirror on and on and on into infinity. And when you’re in one of the earlier waves of computer professionals, there’s not many aging role models to light your way. So you just slog on, trying to figure out if you’re just tired, or at a point where you really need to make a serious change. And you find yourself taking long detours on the way home, trying to figure out how to figure things out. So it would be nice to have some Geek priests with whom you could have those long, rambling, philosophical chats with, where you solve all the ethical issues of the world, except for the one you’re dealing with. Where you explore the nature of truth, and faith, and honesty, using every argument you can recall from your college philosophy class, making no more sense now than you made then. But at least when it’s over, you can focus a little better, cope a little longer, and play the string out just a little further. Maybe you’re no better off than you were, but you’re not as aware of it, so you are a little better off than you were. And the next day, you start it all over again.

The Stillness Of A Place Out Of Time

Sunday, 19 September 2004, 21:47 | Category : Other Stuff
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If you drive southwest from Clinton, Mississippi, along the Natchez Trace, an hour’s drive will bring you to the town of Port Gibson, near the Mississippi River. Leave the Trace and drive a few miles further west, and you’ll stumble on a reminder of another time. Had you been here in 1861, this is what you would have seen:

This was the Windsor mansion, built in 1859 and 1860 by a landowner who, ironically, died just a few weeks after it was completed, only 34 years old. For 30 years, Windsor was visible on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River (the river moved west over the next century, which confuses people who try today to envision the view from Windsor). But in 1890, a fire destroyed the home, leaving the ghostly visage that greets visitors today who venture a bit off the beaten path.

Only the columns remain at the place known by locals as the Ruins of Windsor. I was there last on a bleak, lonely, overcast December day a few years ago. For about an hour, I wandered the site, alone except for the hints of ghosts that seem to pervade it on a winter’s day. It has the stillness of a place frozen in time, the past clinging to the air around the stark columns. You feel like an intruder; after a few minutes, you find yourself looking behind you, unable to shake the feeling that someone is watching. It’s also one of those places that has a power – “I once meant something” – that makes you want to stay silent. It’s a rare treasure, a side trip worth the taking, even if it does leave you with a feeling of sadness that may take an hour or two to shake. The columns will eventually crumble and fall, and be swallowed by the kudzu that has devoured so much of this part of Mississippi. Maybe then the spirit of the place can finally rest.