I voted. Also, donuts.

Last night we got togeth­er with some like-mind­ed neigh­bors to kvetch about the elec­tion. It was tons of fun, and we are eter­nal­ly grate­ful to the host for track­ing us down (she showed up at our door with an invi­ta­tion, based on our yard signs). Then this morn­ing we got up before the crack of dawn to bun­dle the kids into the car and go vote. We actu­al­ly got there before the polling place opened (6 am!) and there was already a line of forty or fifty peo­ple. We vot­ed, I dropped every­one off at home to get dressed, and I went and got cel­e­bra­to­ry donuts.

It has been a good day so far.

Please, exer­cise your right to vote.

Take your kids to show them how impor­tant it is.

And then get donuts.

The Legacy of Nine Eleven?

Dri­ving to work today, I drove by a home in our neigh­bor­hood where they had mount­ed a huge Amer­i­can flag on a flag­pole attached to a tree. I thought of all the peo­ple who had their lives tak­en from them on 9/11/2001, and all the peo­ple who had some­one ripped from their hearts on that day.

I have vis­cer­al mem­o­ries of watch­ing the tow­ers go down. I was stu­pe­fied, hor­ri­fied, and angered. But above all, I was sad. I felt hol­low to my core.

I also gave thought, this morn­ing, to all the peo­ple who have died in the after­math of the events of that day. I am a Lib­er­al, and so I am pre­dis­posed to dis­like war, but I think every­one can find room in their hearts to decry the end results of the sec­ond war on Iraq, entered into on the pre­text of security/revenge for 9/11, but against a coun­try that was ulti­mate­ly deter­mined to have had noth­ing to do with those attacks.

Let me repeat that.

The Peo­ple of these Unit­ed States went to war with Iraq because we were told Iraq was respon­si­ble for 9/11, except that it turns out they were not. Sad­dam Hus­sein was a ruth­less dic­ta­tor, yes, killing with aban­don and with no fear of ret­ri­bu­tion. But Syria’s Assad is the same, and our coun­try has no will to fight that fight. We were told we went to war with Iraq to avenge, and pre­vent, any fur­ther 9/11s.

This is part of the lega­cy of 9/11:

  • Vic­tims killed on 9/11 itself: 2,977 (source)
  • US Mil­i­tary killed in the Iraq War since 2003: 4,409 (source)
  • Iraqi cit­i­zens killed in the Iraq War since 2003: over 100,000 (source)
    (These num­bers are from var­i­ous Wikipedia arti­cles, fwiw, and that last num­ber is the low­est of esti­mates)

Here’s what I take away from this.

Ter­ror­ists attacked our coun­try, killing inno­cent peo­ple in num­bers stag­ger­ing to behold. Almost three-thou­sand peo­ple died on that sin­gle day. In reac­tion, and for no good rea­son, we sac­ri­ficed almost four-thou­sand five-hun­dred of our bravest men and women, and had a hand in killing or pro­vok­ing the deaths of over one-hun­dred-thou­sand peo­ple, most of them as inno­cent as the orig­i­nal 3,000 who died eleven years ago.

I think today is a day to hang our heads in shame, and in anger. That we were attacked. That inno­cents have died. That we react­ed so child­ish­ly, so vio­lent­ly, with such patri­ot­ic fear. We did the work of Evil for them. We killed thou­sands of our own, and a hun­dred thou­sand inno­cents died because of us.

I am sor­ry.

And I still find myself, on this day eleven years lat­er, inef­fa­bly sad.

Good TV tonight

I absolute­ly love it when my wife claps at the tele­vi­sion. It express­es a kind of deep-felt pas­sion that my… what, my per­son­al­i­ty, won’t let me deliv­er. I fall instead at the snarky end of the spec­trum.

Tonight, she was in fine form as William Jef­fer­son Clin­ton deliv­ered (what might have been) the best speech of his career. He made all the argu­ments we have des­per­ate­ly want­ed some­one to make against the Repub­li­can plan, and in a very pub­lic forum. He crushed, as the kids put it these days.

Let me just say, I’m glad Bub­ba is on our side.


Shopping at jcp this week end

I think I might need to shop at jcpen­ney more now (and we’re going clothes-hunt­ing this week end). It used to be the place we went last, usu­al­ly for a win­ter coat, if we’d bombed out else­where, but I’ve been try­ing to think more favor­ably about them recent­ly, giv­en their Apple-alum CEO. This may just have clinched it for them.

JC Pen­ney Launch­es Father’s Day Ad Fea­tur­ing Gay Dads And Their Kids

Gay Dads whoopin it up for low prices

Gay Dads whoopin it up for low prices

Pic­ture (and sto­ry) found at Joe.My.God.

This is not the religious freedom you are looking for

Atten­tion, reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tives decry­ing the government’s crack­down on your reli­gious free­dom: you’ve got it all wrong. See, you think reli­gious free­dom means you have the right to prac­tice your reli­gion wher­ev­er, and when­ev­er, you like. Not true.

Reli­gious free­dom actu­al­ly means “free­dom from reli­gion.”

Let me explain.

Clear­ly, you are free to prac­tice what­ev­er reli­gion you like. We agree on that. I can­not force you to prac­tice my reli­gion. Like­wise, you can’t make me prac­tice your reli­gion. Nobody is drag­ging any­body into a church here. Your reli­gious free­dom is actu­al­ly the free­dom to not be dragged into my church.

In oth­er words, you (or your daugh­ter) are free to not wear a hijab. Not your reli­gion, so nobody’s going to make you do it. Awe­some. That also means that my kids are free to not pray in pub­lic school. Not their reli­gion, nobody’s going to make them do it. Dou­ble-rain­bow awe­some.

So nobody impos­es their reli­gion on any­one else. Reli­gious free­dom in Amer­i­ca, as the found­ing fathers envi­sioned it. Huz­zah! Don’t you think we should all be able to agree on that?

Please apply this to your own life. And get your reli­gion out of mine. Thanks.

Go Vote

If there was one, sin­gle thing we could do to make our coun­try bet­ter, this would be it: ensure that every eli­gi­ble vot­er has the right, and under­stands the duty, to vote. Every vot­er, every vote. Can you imag­ine the upheaval if our rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment was actu­al­ly elect­ed by every­one it rep­re­sent­ed, not just the ones with the edu­ca­tion, the means, and the empow­er­ment to get out and vote?


In the mean­time, won’t you be sure to vote tomor­row? Even your vote counts for some­thing.


One of the reasons I hate the conservatives

I was bitch­ing this morn­ing to my wife about the recent O’Donnell/Coons debate where she insist­ed the Con­sti­tu­tion did not pre­clude the gov­ern­ment from influ­enc­ing reli­gious pref­er­ence, and about the con­ser­v­a­tive reac­tion to what she said (She’s right! It doesn’t actu­al­ly say “sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State” in the Con­sti­tu­tion!), and my sev­en year-old couldn’t real­ly fol­low me, so I came up with an anal­o­gy. I para­phrase it here for an old­er audi­ence, with Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Coons stand­ing in for the con­ser­v­a­tive response to our ridicule of her, and san­i­ty, respec­tive­ly:

O’Donnell: Is the sky blue?

Coons: Well, sure, but some­times it is pink, and orange, some­times it is black, or a real­ly dark blue, and when it is cloudy, it’s gray, or white…

O’Donnell: So you’re say­ing the sky is not blue?

Coons: Well, it looks blue, but that’s actu­al­ly the light reflect­ing off par­ti­cles in the atmos…

O’Donnell: Is this the kind of per­son you want as your Sen­a­tor? A man who says the sky is not blue?

Coons: Um…

O’Donnell: These are the basic truths that the Democ­rats deny! The hard­work­ing work­ers of work­ing Amer­i­ca know the sky is blue. Yet you and your Gov­ern­ment impose your views on what we know is unde­ni­able. The sky, it is blue!

Coons: Fuck you.

The pre­vi­ous state­ments are not actu­al­ly by Ms. O’Donnell or Mr. Coons, as I think she came off bet­ter in the above than in the actu­al debate.

Up to Date: Morone on Health Care

James Morone on Pres­i­dents and Health Care — Chair of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence at Brown Uni­ver­si­ty, talks with a local KC radio host about Nation­al health care and the Pres­i­dents who have tried (or suc­ceed­ed, in the case of LBJ) to pass it. It is in the sec­ond half of the show, so you might just skip to it, but total­ly fas­ci­nat­ing. He was so inter­est­ing they end­ed up tak­ing just one call.

Photos, Front Pages, and Secrets of the Campaigns

There’s a lot to read out there post elec­tion, about the dys­func­tion­al McCain cam­paign work­ings (imag­ine them run­ning the coun­try), about Obama’s plan (to be patient, appar­ent­ly), about the future of the GOP (no future for you!), etc. But I found a cou­ple of things I like best so far:

Two more since lunch:

Post Election Wrap

First, and I feel I need to get this off my chest: Boo-ya!  Take that, Per­ma­nent Repub­li­can Major­i­ty.  In your face.

Okay, thanks.

We watched CNN most of the night last night, except for one peri­od of time between when they called Ohio and they called the Pres­i­den­cy, when the CNN pun­dits clear­ly knew Oba­ma had won, but were not being allowed to say so.  Most salient dur­ing this peri­od was when John King tried to show how McCain couldn’t win by giv­ing him every sin­gle state left in the Union and show­ing how it didn’t add up to 270, when instead he could have just added Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton to Obama’s total and shown how he had more than 270.  I got so irri­tat­ed by this (I actu­al­ly felt insult­ed by them) that I switched to ABC’s cov­er­age for half an hour or so.

But dur­ing our stay with ABC we only got to hear Cok­ie Roberts once, and George Will less than that, and frankly, see­ing George and Char­lie and Diane each at their Com­mand Sta­tion™ made me yearn for CNN’s crowd­ed Island of Opin­ion™, so we went back.

One of the best cov­er­age com­ments of the night came from James Poniewozik on Time’s live­blog of the event, “God, switch­ing over from the fran­tic cable news to Shields and Lehrer con­vers­ing on PBS is like lis­ten­ing to the Ents talk in The Lord of the Rings. Pon­tif­i­cate faster!”

From stuff I’ve read, it seems none of the Nets had the cojones to call it ear­li­er than the poll clos­ings on the West Coast.  Which I guess is okay, giv­en the need to get vot­ers out for Prop 8 in Cal­i­for­nia.  But real­ly, every­one with half a brain and ele­men­tary math knew it was over.  The Time live­blog not­ed the lack of a Tim Russert, a Big Dog, as they char­ac­ter­ized him, able to buck the con­ven­tions and call it ear­ly.  RIP, Tim Russert.

As for what I thought (beyond my pithy one-lin­er at the top of this post), I had a cou­ple of very ran­dom thoughts as I got ready for bed last night.  I Twit­tered one of them, but I’d like to expand on it a lit­tle.

My boys are 2 and 5.  The two-year-old sees Oba­ma signs in yards (and on my chest) and declares “Rock Oba­ma!”  But the five-year-old under­stands enough to know that Mom­my and Dad­dy were eager to see Barack Oba­ma win.  For my birth­day he drew me a pic­ture of Barack Oba­ma (in a rock­et, I think, I’ll have to find it and post it).  He was hap­py this morn­ing when I whis­pered to him who had won, and gave him a great big hug.  But who am I kid­ding, he doesn’t know what the Hell is going on.  But I do.  I know that he will grow up in a world where black men (men, I real­ize, not women) know that they can be Pres­i­dent.

The world is bet­ter.  In a small, tiny way, I have made it bet­ter.  For my chil­dren.  Damn.

Then, as I was falling asleep, I thought to myself, what is Oba­ma going to do with his web site?  Will the White House site be turned in to a bul­ly pul­pit like barackobama.com?  That would be all kinds of awe­some.  All kinds.