Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday night

Another cold one. After I got home from work and the dentist's, I didn't bother to change out of my heavy cotton slacks, flannel shirt, hoodie, and leather jacket before heading over to Starbuck's for a coffee, sitting al fresco while reading this (so far, so good). There were other people sitting outside, too.

This morning while walking to the bus stop and then walking the few blocks to work downtown (and it was windy, as it often is, since the Bay's right there), I had the hood pulled over my head, as well. Also when I was waiting for the bus after work and after the dentist appointment. Tomorrow I might even wear my ski gloves. I fished them out of a drawer tonight.

Watching Keith Olbermann. He just said Bush spent a third of his time in office on vacation. Last night I tried to watch Chris Matthews, but Pat Buchanan was on, more bilious than ever, mongering fear and sounding alarms about Obama--on the day he was inaugurated, no less. (The country already made its mind up about all that.) I couldn't watch it. Now, especially, after the abject failure of right-wing government in every respect, right-wing pundits have nothing to say to me. I do like watching Olbermann and (sometimes) Rachel Maddow, since they refuse to give right-wingers air time, except when they're skewering them, which is all they deserve now. One reason I could never stomach watching Bill Maher was he had the right-wingers on there spewing their venom, especially Ann Coulter, who was a frequent guest. (Whether she still is, I wouldn't know.)

It's about time to go back to the gym. I considered going back tonight, but I'd taken some Valium before going to the dentist's. My cold is long gone. It's getting a little boring around here after work, plus I'm starting to deteriorate.

Right now I'm wearing shorts, a short-sleeve shirt, and Gucci--I mean, Goofy--slippers. (Coincidentally, B. had Pepé Le Pew.) Lucky's afraid of them (a little). He'd never seen me wear them before.

Now they're talking about torture and closing Guantanamo. About torture, as a layman I'll say this: I can't imagine anything more inimical to our country's values. Our entire justice system is based on arriving at the truth, and our courts don't even consider coerced confessions. Furthermore, I can't see how gaining false or unreliable information by torturing people is going to make our country safer. And I've not read that the prospect of being tortured in any way deters terrorist activity -- the people who want to do us in are determined to do anything to advance their cause, including blowing themselves up, and they most likely come from countries where torturing prisoners is the norm (look what happened to the guy who threw the shoes at Bush in his new and improved Iraq). Torture seems to serve no purpose other than as punishment. Will punishing captives in cruel and unusual ways (which, by the way, is unconstitutional) burnish our image and ultimately make our country safer from attack?

When I was an exchange student in Germany, I talked to former German soldiers who had been captured by the U.S. during WWII and sent to POW camps back in the U.S. Their remarkably humane treatment in our POW camps gave them a positive impression of the U.S. which they held to that day. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as they say. I see no value in giving your enemies reason to hate you more than they already do. How counter-productive is that? (Maybe it would be better to give them reason to like you.) Plus, it gives them justification to torture our own captured soldiers in retaliation. There are good reasons why torture is against both U.S. and international law.

P.S. I just turned the heat on to get the chill off the place, but it doesn't seem to be working. (I think I've had it on once the whole time I've lived here, almost seven years.) I guess I need to get that fixed. It did work the last time I turned it on.

P.P.S. Tonight on one of the shows, they had photos of front pages of newspapers from around the world. I saw one in German, which read, as closely as I can recall, "Americans vote for hope over fear."

P.P.S. The right wing (and Bush himself) touts how we haven't had another terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11 and that therefore the Republicans can best be trusted to protect our country against terrorism. (Pat Buchanan was making this argument yesterday on Chris Matthews.) The only problem with that argument is that -- HELLO -- 9/11 happened on Bush's watch. And after he'd been explicitly warned about it but had already begun channeling his energies into attacking Iraq, shortly after he took office. Does this need to keep being repeated? I'm sure Obama knows what the priorities are when it comes to the threat of terrorism, and he will not ignore, as did the Bush Administration, imminent threats. He's not blinded or distracted by the Neoconservative agenda -- and personal revenge -- as was Bush. And attacking Iraq, without any provocation, was not in this country's best interest. It has only radicalized the region more and made the situation more of a danger to our security here at home. (Al Qaeda did get into Iraq--after Bush destroyed the country.)

P.P.P.S. I just have to say that the bankrupt ideas of the right wing have resulted in -- bankruptcy. The bank is broken. Unrestrained capitalism is a thing of the past, I hope, unless they fool us again. (Watch out!) It has not only proven to be a serious threat to our way of life here in the U.S. but has also rocked the entire world order. Many more thousands of people here are being laid off. Just remember that Republican fiscal dissoluteness precipitated this horrible mess, just as it did the Great Depression. Which the Democrats had to come in and mop up, just as we're having to do now.

P.P.P.P.S. I should not have had that coffee at Starbuck's (better an Earl Gray tea). Also I shouldn't have had a snack tonight, but I was hungry (spare ribs and sauerkraut). I'll be OK, though.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I reserve the right to make changes to this post but am getting tired now and must go to bed. Good night!

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