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6.16.2006 ||>   "It's a number," says Tony Snow, Press Secretary

No, Tony, 2500 dead is not just a number.

They are 2500 husbands, wives, daughters and sons that are dead. They are mothers and fathers that will never see thier children again. They are 2500 families that are wracked with a grief that will never go away.

While some of us are getting tax breaks. Why should any of us non combatants suffer?

Here are the names of the men and women killed. That is to say, they are names and faces and lives. They are certainly not a "number".


Sepra was livin' easy on 8:55:00 AM || Site Feed ||

6.14.2006 ||>   Best Article of the Week

... Goes to Speigel Online for their article, "Czechs on American Bud: 'It's Missing the Taste of Beer'." Anheiser Buch is sponsoring the World Cup in Germany, but the problem is that both German and Czech beer are better. Furthermore, "Budweiser" is originally Czech, and that version tastes a million times better than the watered down crap here in the States. Here's a snippet:
A lifelong drinker of the American version of Bud, US fan West Interian's palate is hardly what one might call discerning. But on a hot afternoon, in a town who's name every one seemed to have trouble pronouncing, Interian became a convert.

"I've drunk Bud my whole life, and this tastes better," he said after a gulp or two. Then he paused. "Hell, this is warm, and it tastes better. Try this, Rex."

Rex Corbett grabbed the modest green bottle: "Hmmmm, that is good," Corbett agreed. The bottle never made it back to Interian.
The Czechs had the best lines though:
"It's cold," Novak ventured, helpfully. "But it is missing, um. I don't know how to say. It is missing ... um, yes. I miss the, uh, typical taste of beer.

You know?"

He took another swallow. "Yes! Yes! I miss the typical taste of beer!"
Go see for yourself.

In other World Cup news, today Spain kicked Ukraine all over the field and won 4 to 0. Yesterday, Brazil met expectations by beating Croatia, South Korea beat Togo and France and Switzerland tied. Later on, it's Tunisia battling Saudi Arabia and Germany gets its second game on with Poland.

Sepra was livin' easy on 11:48:00 AM || Site Feed ||

6.13.2006 ||>   Why Grieving Women have a Say

Over the course of the last week or so, I have seen quite a few back and forths over Coulter's bitch fight with the 9/11 widows. Her supporters always go on about her "larger point" that:
"[W]hen the left has no message, they drag out victims who are unassailable because of their pathetic circumstances. Republicans can't engage Cindy Sheehan or the 9-11 widows in meaningful debate because their victimhood overshadows everything. They are bulletproof."
- Beagle via Media Matters
As the author of the above point mentions, this idea uses flawed logic. I normally would give no attention to Coulter or her ravings, but I noticed it has been a topic of conversation on a social level while going out, and it's disheartening because she has no point in her ravings.

From the official MADD website:
In 1979, five-and-a-half-month-old Laura Lamb became one of the world's youngest quadriplegics when Laura and her mother, Cindi, were hit head-on by a repeat drunk driving offender traveling at 120 mph. As a result of the crash, Cindi and her friends waged a war against drunk driving in their home state of Maryland. Less than a year later, on the other side of the country in California, 13-year-old Cari Lightner was killed at the hands of a drunk driver. Two days prior, the offender was released on bail for a hit-and-run drunk driving crash. He already had two drunk driving convictions with a third plea-bargained to "reckless accident." At the time of Cari's death, the drunk driving offender was carrying a valid California driver's license.

Enraged, Cari's mother, Candace Lightner, and friends gathered at a steak house in Sacramento. They discussed forming a group named "MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Drivers."
Since it's inception 26 years ago, this organization, founded by grieving mothers, is involved in reforming laws and policy. It had a hand in changing the drinking age to 21. It has also reduced traffic fatalities by 43 percent and reduced the instance of alcohol-related fatalities by 17% (from the website). Were these women experts on substance abuse? No. Were they experienced policy makers? No.

They were also not "bulletproof" by any stretch. There are many people who disagree with their aims. Their new policy proposals are vigorously debated and their grief and anger do not make them above accusations of turning our country into a "nanny state." However, although there is disagreement on the points, it can be agreed that they were certainly not unfit to have a hand in federal policy. They became experts in what they were passionate about, and changed the country.

Going further back in history, in the 1840s, insane asylums were a mess. As per this Wikipedia article:
the early asylums which were little more than repositories for the mentally ill - removing them from mainstream society in the same manner as a jail would for criminals. Conditions were often extremely poor and serious treatment was not yet an option. The first known psychiatric hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam), was founded in London in 1247 and by 1403, had begun accepting "lunatics". It soon became infamous for its harsh treatment of the insane, and in the 18th century would allow visitors to pay a penny to observe their patients as a form of "freak show".
When another woman, Dorothea Dix witnessed the conditions of jails where inmates were being housed for the mentally ill, she was so consumed with horror, that she began campaigning for improvements in jails and asylums. She accomplished what other people would never have imagined, setting aside space for the mentally ill and treating them in order for them to get better.

Was she an expert in psycology? No. That does not make her contibution any less nor did it take her out of the debate. She was passionate, involved and painstaking in her records of how the mentally ill were treated. Her ideas were also debated. Ultimately, however, the legislation she pushed changed conditions in America for the better.

In the case of the 9/11 widows, conservative pundits are right on one point. They are not experts in counterterrorism or national security. However, it has been proven over and over that people who are not "experts" (whatever that means) not only can participate and change the debate, but should.

This does not mean that we should agree with them because they are grieving. We should agree with them because they are lightning rods for change that America needs. They represent transparency, a focus on real national security and counterterrorism that works. They have turned their grief into knowledge and passion. To not utilize their assets in the national debate would only serve to weaken us. Like MADD and Dorothea Dix, they can change our country for the better, if only we keep to the debate.


Sepra was livin' easy on 10:01:00 AM || Site Feed ||

6.12.2006 ||>   No life during the World Cup

Of course the big news is that the Czech Republic beat our asses today 3 to 0. I have hung my head in shame since. In our group, Italy also beat Ghana. Big surprise there. Why did we have to go up against the Czechs to begin with?

In other groups, the Aussies beat the Japanese 3 to 1 today. Yesterday the Netherlands beat Serbia and Portugal beat Angola 1 to 0 while Mexico beat Iran 3 to 1. Viva México! All I want is for the USA to beat Mexico in a match. Please.

On the personal level, my sister is having a boy. I was a bit worried that she would name him Junior, but it turns out she likes "Jack" more. I was surprised he wouldn't be "John" and then nicknamed, but I guess it's a new trend to name your kids nicknames.

Sepra was livin' easy on 4:54:00 PM || Site Feed ||