Anne and I just completed the 18-hour drive from Chicago to Nashua, N.H.. I will resume my normal blog posting frequency tomorrow.
You've got to hand it to USMC Chief Warrant Officer James Averhart: he's doing his part in the war on terrorism by tracking down Vietnam-era deserters:
A man was being held in a US military prison yesterday for deserting from the marines 38 years ago after being caught on the American-Canadian border amid a new drive to track down Vietnam-era deserters.
Since he took over the marine corps Absentee Collection Centre in 2004, Averhart has reopened cold cases and claims to have tracked down 33 deserters. "I have a different leadership style than the guys who have had this job. My job is to catch deserters. And that's what I do," he told Florida's St Petersburg Times.
Legal observers said the new drive to hunt down Vietnam deserters is designed as a deterrent for soldiers being sent to Iraq.
I mean, really.
The President's job approval is at 33% today, according to Pew.
And Garrison Keillor has a scathing op-ed as well.
Larry Johnson over at Talking Points Memo Cafe posited what Sunday's activity in Baghdad might look like if it were in New York instead. I have changed the numbers to reflect the relative sizes of Iraq and the U.S.:
03/12/06 AP: A roadside bomb hit a police convoy in White Plains, New York, 35 miles northeast of New York City, killing 8 patrolmen and wounding 32 others, police said
03/12/06 AP: U.S. forces also clashed with gunmen Sunday afternoon in New York City's upper West side, Interior Ministry Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said.
03/12/06 AP: In Newark, about 20 miles south of New York City, gunmen ambushed and killed a police major as he headed to work, police said.
03/12/06 Sixty four bodies were found with their hands tied and gunshot wounds to the head in Mineola, a suburb in eastern New York City, police said.
03/12/06 Reuters: Gunmen ambushed and killed a local football player (Vinny Testaverde) in Elizabeth City 40 km (25 miles) south of New York City, local police said.
03/14/06 Reuters: At least 320 people were killed and up to 1,000 wounded in three apparently coordinated car bombs at two markets in the Jewish section of Brooklyn on Sunday, police said.
These events actually happened in Baghdad on Sunday. This is our legacy in Iraq. The image of massed armies wearing blue and grey uniforms clashing on the fields outside Manassas should not guide our views of Iraq. It is a real civil war: neighbor against neighbor, multiple factions struggling for control, deaths by the hundreds.
Yesterday the President apparently blamed Iran for supplying some of the explosives that are being used in the ongoing Iraqi civil war:
"Iraqis have shown the world that they want a future of peace," Bush said.
Bush also accused Iran of providing material support to the insurgency in Iraq and vowed to continue to pressure Iraq's neighbor.
"Such actions, along with Iran's support for terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, are increasingly isolating Iran, and America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats," he said.
Apparently he forgot that 350 tons of explosives went missing after we invaded, because the battle plan didn't leave time to guard them.
Occam's razor, Mr. President.
This habit he has of treating the American people like idiots may explain his 36% approval rating.
The Census Bureau estimates that as of the last week of February, world population exceeded 6.5 billion. They estimate also that the U.S. population will hit 300 million around November 25th. (Actually, they have a current estimate and a rate, which I used to compute a date. So check back in October to see how close this is.)
We were in Boston on Saturday. The weather was perfect. So naturally I took a photo of the Massachusetts State House:
Very interesting op-ed in today's New York Times: Slavoj Zizek calls athiests "Defenders of the Faith":
Fundamentalists do what they perceive as good deeds in order to fulfill God's will and to earn salvation; atheists do them simply because it is the right thing to do. Is this also not our most elementary experience of morality? When I do a good deed, I do so not with an eye toward gaining God's favor; I do it because if I did not, I could not look at myself in the mirror. A moral deed is by definition its own reward. David Hume, a believer, made this point in a very poignant way, when he wrote that the only way to show true respect for God is to act morally while ignoring God's existence.
My incredibly brave wife got into a Piper Warrior with me today, and we flew from Nashua to Portsmouth, N.H. I last flew in January 2005, also with Anne, so I was excited to get back into the cockpit.
Landing in variable 8-to-12 knot winds—variable, in this context, meaning direct crosswind to tailwind—was not the most fun I've ever had flying. But it was still tons o' fun, and we still got Anne home on time.
I lost my ID case last week here in New Hampshire, and had Anne overnight my passport to me so I could go home. It turns out, I needn't have been so paranoid, as reported on Bruce Schneier's security blog:
According to the TSA, in the 9th Circuit Case of John Gilmore, you are allowed to fly without showing ID -- you'll just have to submit yourself to secondary screening.
Here's a link to the 9th Circuit decision (pdf).