Saturday, 29 September 2007

All Fred, All the Time

Here is a New York Times story about Fred Thompson. Jo Becker should be careful, because Fred can kill a reporter just by spitting on his or her byline.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Hired Gun Fetish,” by Paul Krugman (column, Sept. 28):

I am writing to express my grave concern with the use of private security contractors in Iraq. This Bush administration move to privatize the military is a grievous and immoral mistake. It has serious implications for the future of both foreign and domestic policy.

If the United States is pursuing legitimate national security goals in a foreign country, in actions in which people risk death and are being authorized to kill for the sake of our nation, our military must take responsibility for and be in complete charge of all the forces involved. The president must be the commander in chief, not the contractor in chief.

And Congress must step up to openly authorize payment and include the expenses in the budget, not defer the financial burden to the next generation through weak-willed acquiescence to an executive out of control.

Congress is abdicating its constitutional and moral authority in this matter. If the employees of organizations like Blackwater USA want to serve their country, let them sign on with the armed forces.

John Varner
Amherst, Mass., Sept. 28, 2007

The Ethics of Driving

I have decided to dedicate the remaining years of my life to a cause: that of inspiring people to use their turn signals. It’s appalling how many people switch lanes without signalling their intent to do so. For the record, the purpose of turn signals is to let those around you know of your plans. This will help them adjust their own plans. For example, if you plan to move into my lane at 70 miles per hour, I will plan to (1) move over, (2) reduce my speed, or (3) increase my speed. See how it works? It’s really quite an ingenious system, when you think about it.

Maybe it’s no longer cool to use turn signals. If this is the reason so few people use them, then the solution may be to Make It Cool, and how better to do that than to come up with catchy slogans, which could be placed along highways? I thought of a few on the way home from Waco this afternoon:

I blink; therefore I am.

He who fails to blink is lost.

Blink now or forever hold your peace.

A nonblinker and his life are soon parted.

A blink in time saves nine.

Where’s the blink? (Apologies to Wendy’s and Walter Mondale.)

Blink unto others as you would have them blink unto you.

Feel free to add others.


The editorial board of the New York Times is ridiculous. Read this. My favorite sentence is this one: “The division into rigid blocs is unfortunate, because it makes the court seem more like a political body than a legal one.” Actually, what makes the court seem more like a political body than a legal one is the Times itself, which (1) repeatedly criticizes rulings on the basis of whether they accord with progressive values and (2) opposes or supports judicial nominees based solely on their (supposed) political morality. The Times is result-oriented, which is to say, lawless. Law is about process, not outcomes.


Newt says no. If he gets behind Fred Thompson, he could be our next vice president. Would Newt accept such a position? It would put him a heartbeat away from the presidency. It would also give him access to the president, who is the most powerful person in the world. Newt is brimming with ideas, many of which, I am sure, he would like to see become policy.


During today’s bike rally in Waco (report to come), my friends and I stopped at the Mars factory, which sponsors a rest stop. Employees of the factory set up tents and tables on the grass to supply goodies to the riders. There are boxes of M&Ms, Snickers bars, Skittles, Starburst, and other sweets. I ate two small bags of M&Ms with nuts. I stuffed a couple of other items in my jersey pocket. On the way home, cruising along Interstate 35W with my air conditioner on, I ate the Starburst candies (having already consumed my Taco Bell bean burritos). I allow myself candy once a year—at this rally. One of the albums I played on my car’s compact-disc player was the first Beatles album, Please Please Me (1963). The songs are short and sweet, like the Starburst candies I was eating. Here is a song list:

I Saw Her Standing There
Anna (Go to Him)
Ask Me Why
Please Please Me
Love Me Do
P.S. I Love You
Baby It’s You
Do You Want to Know a Secret
A Taste of Honey
There’s a Place
Twist and Shout

Some of these songs, such as “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Love Me Do,” brought back pleasant memories. I was only six years old when the album was released, but I heard the songs many times while growing up. I have the first five Beatles albums on compact disc. I need to buy the others.