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January 20, 2004

I'm a little depressed. This morning's NPR Morning Edition featured a report that 'since we'll clearly be needing more troops to occupy and patrol cities in the future, we need to expand the size of our permanent army.'

I mean, I'm just so over the whole, 'Look! We can kill people!' thing, aren't you?

And I found this story of what went on "inside" of one of the Iowa caucuses rather cloying.

It tried really, really hard to be a sweet, human interest piece. Really, really, really hard. At moments it's an interesting look at the different candidates' supporters, but mostly it tries really, really hard to convince us that a baby dressed in red, white, and blue and sporting a badge for one candidate is just amazingly precious or that we should have sympathy for a woman who cried when her candidate didn't score big. (Okay, the story hit me wrong.)

Dick Meyer's coverage of the results is full of sports metaphors, some of which I don't understand, but he's brave enough to try predicting what's going to happen next, a thing I'd imagine most of the hey, I fell on my face prognosticators are going to be a little nervous about for a while.

Let's take a moment out to discuss the question of, "electability," boys and girls. You probably didn't know this, but it's a bad, bad word*, and you shouldn't use it.

By allowing "electability" to be treated like a serious issue, we not only put the candidate under impossible pressure (no one knows who is electable until they get elected) but we automatically weaken the case of all of the potential nominees by the unspoken assumption that they're all weak and we're just looking for the least weak among them.

We also allow attention to shift from the real issues and what each candidate believes and create a sort of year-long popularity contest where the pattern on one guy's sweater or someone else's hairstyle becomes ridiculously important.

I hate to break it to you, but this isn't high school. We're not electing a Prom King or Prom Queen. What matters is what's inside their heads and what their track record of votes shows us they'll do if elected.

Okey dokey?

( * On the other hand, I sometimes use bad words, so I reserve the right to discuss George Bush's unelectability, should the mood strike me.)

Also, while we're on the subject, I'd like to request that the media stop "handicapping" the candidates as through this were a local racetrack. Quit telling us what we're supposed to be thinking, okay? (Do read the article, though. I like their approach.)

That Norwegian ship rescue seems to have been successful in that the three people heard trapped inside the vessel were rescued. However, the other 16 missing crew members might not be so lucky.

I didn't know there was a prison standoff going on. (Guess I should read something besides the political news sometimes.)

A prison standoff on the western edge of Phoenix dragged on into its third day Tuesday as two inmates continued to hold a pair of correctional officers captive in a guard tower stocked with weapons.

A friend of mine is traveling to Phoenix in a couple of days. I hope this is resolved (peacefully) before then.

The report says the authorities are refusing to say what the prisoners want. In one way, I approve. Giving people publicity only encourages this kind of behavior. In another, I don't. Without publicity, there's no transparency. I wonder if we'll ever know what happened? Maybe the prisoners have legitimate grievances.

There's a war on drugs going on, but the combatants aren't who you think.

Prepare yourself for the State of Disunion speech. I do wonder what he'll say about the past year and what he'll pretend he's doing to do for us next.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:03 AM