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Tuesday, May 20, 2003  

From the news desk

•But does it clash with my purse?

Just looked through my closet to see if I could find something tangerine to wear Wednesday.

The government raised its terrorist threat level back to orange or "high risk" yesterday after concluding that cells of the al Qaeda network around the world have been activated and could strike in this country.

Government officials said they acted after intercepted communications suggested that al Qaeda is planning more attacks on targets overseas and receiving intelligence warnings that recent suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco may be a precursor to a strike in the United States.

The article, partially written by the notorious Steno Sue Schmidt, who brought us Pfc. Jessical Lynch as Helen of Troy, says nothing to really substantiate the suggestion of impending doom from terrorists right here in the U.S.of A. Which leads to a question: Does anyone, including paranoid Right Wingers, take these color-coded alerts seriously?

Not being one to waste anything if it can be avoided, I use the terrorism alerts to help with my fashion sense. The blogger at Smash Tech seems even more cynical.

From the Office of the Homeland Security Director

Jim Olding

May 20, 2003

Over the last several days, our National Weather Service and Veterans Administration have seen an increased volume and level of activity involving paper airplanes with notes on them of terrorist attacks. The information we have does not point to any specific target either in West Michigan or abroad, and it does not outline any specific type of attack. However, the analysts who review this information believe the quantity and level of paper airplanes with notes on them are above the norm and have reached a threshold where we should once again place the public on general alert, just as we have done on two previous occasions since the last episode of Seinfeld.

Rhonda the Weather Girl says it will be kind of warm and rainless (in Pacific Northwest terms) tomorrow. Jeans and that orange striped cotton top should do.

•An Rx for Democrats

E.J. Dionne, Jr., has an interesting opinion piece in The Washington Post about Democrats and defensiveness -- and their need to show some conviction.

Democrats are so obsessed with telling people who they aren't that few voters know who they are.

For two decades Democrats have spent much of their time running away from ghosts. No, the Democrats would say, we're not tax-and-spend liberals, we're not weak on defense, we're not soft on crime, we're not feckless on family values.

Dionne cites a public opinion poll that says Democrats lack a clear vision of what the United States should become. In his opinion:

The Democrats' problem is not about ideological positioning -- an insider game anyway -- but about conviction. It's about picking the right fights and drawing the right lines.

Dionne believes John Kerry's recent speech in which he lambasted the Bush administration for being elitist and interventionist, is an example of a Democrat showing conviction. He casts the difference between Bush and Kerry as that between a libertarian and a communitarian.

Libertarians believe that tax cuts are always better than government programs, that private striving and self-improvement are the central acts of American citizenship, and that where the government and the market are concerned, the government should almost always get out of the way. Communitarians also see the market as useful and private striving as essential. But they insist that preserving the individual freedom that makes both possible is a cooperative endeavor. Self-rule in a democracy demands not just private creativity but also public commitment. Government needs to assert itself when private markets fail, and when markets fail to serve the common good.

At the end of his piece, Dionne warns that if the Bushites are able to pass their tax plans much of what liberals and progressives want America to become will be precluded by empty coffers for a generation. If more people realized this, perhaps there would be a deeper sense of conviction about not returning Bush to office.

•Shut the hell up!

Clarence Thomas has been running his mouth again. (Something he rarely does while sitting his fraudulent behind on the Supreme Court.) He had himself a captive audience of African-American high school students.

Thomas said that with the encouragement of his grandparents, he worked hard and after college moved away from Georgia when he couldn't get a job there. The justice said he still rises each morning about 4 a.m. because he can feel his grandfather's spirit hovering over him, saying, "Get up! Think you're rich?"

So it was hard work that got him onto the Court, eh? Seems to me it had something to do with being white reactionaries' favorite handkerchief head, but that belief must be naivete on my part. And, considering that everything was just fine in Georgia according to Clarence, why couldn't he get a job there?

Methinks the kids saw right through him.

9:42 PM