Wednesday, August 24, 2005

From the Rocky Mountains

Our regular readers (!) may be wondering why we haven't posted anything on this blog for awhile. Well, at least part of the explanation may be that three of us are currently up in the Rocky Mountains enjoying some camping and hiking. So sorry for the lack of new entries. I don't have time to write much now, but I did find one thing worth recommending while I was browsing recent magazines in the library the other day. Bill McKibben has a nice article in the latest issue of Harper's Magazine. You can read a lengthy excerpt here. For the whole article, look here. Given the recent (and justifiable) uproar over Pat Robertson's insane remarks about killing the democratically elected leader of Venezuela, it is refreshing to read something from a fellow Christian that makes sense!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bush Meets the Moms

From the Eric Boehlert post linked in the title above, a glimpse of President Bush in his interactions with two mothers of soldiers killed in Iraq.

Dolores Kesterson told White House staff that she wanted to have a private talk with the president so that she could share her belief that her son died in an unnecessary war. She was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly:
Kesterson: So actually, you know, it did come about. They put me into a cubicle by myself, took everything away from me. I also came prepared with a letter to give to the president about how I felt about the war and, you know, the loss of my son, my only child for a cause that I thought, you know, was not worthwhile at that point in time.

And so president Bush came marching in, to make a long story short, came marching in to the room, got right in my face, eyeball-to-eyeball, nose-to-nose this close, toe-to-toe and he said, "I'm George Bush, President of the United States, and I understand you have something to say to me privately.' And I said, 'Yes, I do respect the office of the presidency of the United States, but I want to tell you how it feels to lose your only child in a cause that you don't believe in, in an unnecessary war. And, you know, we talked about it from there just like you and I are talking about.

O'Reilly: Was he respectful to you?

Kesterson: Yes, yes was. But he did, you know, come at me a few times with trotting out, 'Delores, do you realize we've been attacked on 9/11?' Who doesn't [realize that]?

O'Reilly: He hugged you at the end, did he not?

Kesterson: Well, yes, he asked if he could hug me and I said, 'Well, that's a human thing, you know, I'm human.' And I agreed to it. But my personal feeling is that he really doesn't have a conscience about all this death and destruction. That was the essence I took away after looking him in the eyes and meeting with him—there's just no conscience there.

Cindy Sheehan, who has made headlines by camping out outstide of Bush's Crawford ranch in an attempt to meet with the president, described her first brief encounter with him at the White House during an interview with Wolf Blitzer:
He wouldn't look at the pictures of [my son] Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.' Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Good Economic News?

After several pessimistic posts on the economic prospects of the country, I would be remiss to not note the recent trend of better economic news: US consumer spending and income up slightly, inflation not increasing appreciably, durable goods and factory orders up. All this is nicely recapped in this post from Macroblog, along w/ links to some more pessimistic readings of the data, such as this from Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture. In a nutshell, the pessimistic view is that yes, the economy seems to be moving out of 'soft patch,' but the better monthly and quarterly numbers can't hide continuing huge structural problems that will ultimately have to be reckoned with. Still, at the macro level, the economy seems to be doing better lately.