Saturday, August 30, 2008

And before we even get started . . .

Yesterday I learned of a meeting between district officials and the high school principals regarding student first amendment rights. Regulation 3220R. In this board regulation the district asserts severe limitations on students' first amendment privileges. While I believe this is aimed particularly at the three high school newspapers/newsmagazines, there are also limits on student plays (which I believe may be more aimed at groups such as ER's Hypocritz.) You can examine this regulation here

This is a nasty business. There is a process for both prior approval of the paper's content as well as prior restraint of its distribution. The regulation calls for the principal to review the content of the paper and return it within 24 hours with deletions, corrections whatever. The adviser becomes the first line of censorship.

This is horrifying news. The question is what to do? I believe the regulation presents two problems (beyond the needless compulsion to limit student self-expression.) First, material that is subject to censorship is vague and way open to interpretation. It's a disciplinary action waiting to happen. This must be clarified to work effectively with the policy until, hopefully, it is rescinded or changed. Secondly, we must devise a strategy for enlisting allies that will aid us in overturning this abomination. Dunno exactly what this will look like, but we'll have to figure it out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Choice is Biden!!!

Yippee!! This is the best choice Obama could make for Vice President. He brings the kind of senatorial experience and foreign policy expertise that this campaign needs. Yeah, Joe talks a bit too much sometimes, but he's smart, he's direct, and he'll provide a few of those turnipseed moments Joe Klein likes so much. Biden was my first choice for the veep, so Obama must have been channeling my handful of brain cells.

I know there will be some, like my beloved wife, who were holding out a secret hope that Hillary would appear on the ticket. Unfortunately, the Hillary package included Bill, a walking turnipseed moment, who unfortunately would only have made things worse. I don't think Biden will be the most popular choice, but he is exactly what Obama needs for a great presidency. Let's get out and win this thing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Direction(s)

I haven't posted on this blog in ages. Why? 'Cause I don't really know what I want to be about. Well, I've decided. It's gonna go in whatever direction I want it to go at the moment. If I want to write about books, I'll write about books. If I want to write about the ghastly Mariner's season-then by god expect to see pictures of Jose Vidro and Richie Sexson. If I want to talk politics-expect to see some Obama and McCain bashing.

While we're on the latter topic-today's column is about Iraq, judgment, and The Surge. I've spent the last few days listening to John McCain once again drag out the Obama didn't and doesn't back the surge argument. While I won't go so far as to say that he's questioning Obama's patriotism, but I think this is a bogus argument that Obama needs to focus on forcefully

1. I think it is foolish to allow McCain to make his argument that Obama used poor judgment on the surge, when McCain used poorer sense to follow the president and plunge the country into this war in the first place. The cost in lives and dollars has been too high for war that was not in our national interest. It is plunging our country further into debt, as the good senator has chosen to go along with the White House in not paying for this conflict, or even minimizing its costs.

2. McCain has fixed on Iraq as a surrogate conflict for his generation's own failings in Vietnam. He is scared to death that the United States stands to lose another war-not because the armed services have failed, but because another generation of leaders have chosen not to stick it out through all the bloodshed and cash thrown at a war with that has been fought at times with questionable behavior. What were our goals in Iraq? A friendly government, or one that can be controlled by the US? What will security for that country look like? What will the the remaining military footprint look like, and how will we pay for it? I believe this war, regardless of the military outcome is already lost, because it is has left us so much weaker economically, and less able to deal with needs at home, and a new confrontation from Russia.

3. The situation in Afghanistan remains dicey. We have plunged far too many of our manpower and material resources into Iraq instead of giving the Taliban the knockout punch and polishing off Al Qaida in Afghanistan. Now we must depend on the good offices of Pakistan (like that will happen) and increased support from NATO in order to continue progressing on this front. Right now we only seem to be holding our own.

4. The surge seems to have worked. So well, in fact, that today the Iraqi government announced agreement on a timetable for U.S. withdrawal. This measure was called for by Obama, al-Maliki, GW, everyone it seems except McCain. Regardless of the success, that doesn't make the war any more justified, or its results any more excusable. Photo is courtesy of Andrew Sullivan's (a good conservative) Atlantic Monthly blog