Listening To Lyrics

I’m one of those unusual people who actually listens to lyrics.

Just tonight, I was listening to (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. I like the song, but whenever I hear:

And this loneliness won’t leave me alone

I think: “Make up your mind! Do you want to be left alone, or not?”

I realize that this might have been intentionally ironic, but it bugs me.

Also, from the Bread songIf“:

If a man could be two places at one time I’d be with you

Tomorrow and today, beside you all the way


Isn’t that being in one place at two times?

Am I the only one bothered by stuff like this?

Is The Coalition Making Progress in Iraq?

Kieran Healy at Crooked Timber cited this article (titled: Bush Says Attacks Are A Sign of U.S. Progress) with a blog entry lampooning Bush’s comments as Orwellian (“War is Peace,” etc.)

While it may seem counterintuitive, I think the recent attacks are an indication of progress.

Here’s what I wrote in the Comments:

I think Bush is right that these attacks indicate progress on our part and desperation on the attackers’ part, and these Orwellian eferences
are silly.

When they attack the Red Cross (Crescent), the average Iraqi knows that these people are not on his side. It’s clear that they are attacking people who are there to help Iraqis, not oppress them. It seems that they have given up on trying to rally popular support and are pinning their hopes on driving away helpers before the imminent political changes can become irreversible.

That seems like desperation to me.

Mocking Religion

Jacob Levy has a great post today at the Volokh Conspiracy that started from a discussion about whether displaying the Darwin Fish is inappropriately disrespectful of other people’s religious beliefs.

I think I agree with everything Levy said, so I might as well just leave this as an encouragement to go read his post.

Waiting for the Consequences

This Philadelphia Inquirer article quote has already made the rounds, but it’s just too good to not repost:

Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush – living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge – told his top officials to “stop the leaks” to the media, or else.

News of Bush’s order leaked almost immediately.

Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he “didn’t want to see any stories” quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used.

Uncle Wes Wants You!

Retired general and Democrat presidential hopeful Wesley Clark has unveiled his plan for a “Civilian Reserve”.

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with using the wide array of talents of citizens to help in times of crisis. But, I do think there’s something wrong with this form of the idea. For one thing, this struck me as suspicious (emphasis mine):

Members would be offered the opportunity to serve as the need for their skills arose. And the call to serve would, in almost all cases, be voluntary. For the most part, Civilian Reserve members could choose whether or not to accept the call to action.

Under circumstances of grave national emergency, the president would have the authority to issue a mandatory call-up. But this would be exceedingly rare.

I’m afraid that what starts off voluntary (“For the most part”) will become mandatory, and not just for what all of the volunteers would agree is a “grave national emergency”.

But, what bothers me more is that Clark seems to think of patriotism and service to our country as synonymous with placing our lives and freedom under the control of the government. That might be the type of service he chose for himself, but he should understand that this country is much more than the government. The government is supposed to be our servant, to protect our rights in cases where the use of force is appropriate. It has become much more than that, of course, but that’s a bad thing. Many good, patriotic, citizens will stay vigilant against rising government power, and not blindly relinquish their liberties to the whims of future representatives.

So, while I agree that there are great resources that could be used more effectively in times of need, I’m leery of the government organizing it and formalizing commitments that can be expanded at the whim of politicians. I’d prefer collaboration with private organizations that marshal genuine volunteers to help when they agree it’s needed.