Al Gore, Pink Slips and Ted Haggard. (Not in that order, but . . .)

November 03, 2006 by susan

by susan lenfestey

Quick takes: A caffeinated response to this morning's news.

' Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee inserted a clause in a huge military authorization bill, signed into law two weeks ago by the Patriot-in-Chief, to terminate the office overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq. According to the NY Times, the office, headed by Republican lawyer Stuart W. Bowen Jr., had sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrous construction projects by firms like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military could not account for hundreds of thousands of weapons shipped to Iraqi security forces. His reward for vigilance in the face of chaos? A pink slip.

' Paul Krugman writes that Bechtel's contract has run out and the mega-corp is leaving Iraq with $2.3 billion of taxpayers' money (and 52 dead employees) to show for their failed efforts. Their mission -- to build energy, water and sewage plants -- is so not accomplished that much of Iraq in worse shape now than it was under Saddam.

The withdrawal makes it clear that cutting and running is an option only for those with US gold bullion in their pockets, while our poor soldiers remain stuck in the literal and political crossfire -- a tragic lottery to see who will be the last American to die in Iraq for a mistake.

' Your Republican protection squad at work, keeping us safe from monogamy among homosexuals, marauding abortionists, stem-cell researchers and other terrists, inadvertently posted detailed accounts of how to build a nuke on a US government Web site of archived Iraqi documents. They pushed to create this site, hoping to show evidence of the dangers posed by Saddam. Yesterday, after weapons experts raised questions, access to the site was blocked. No elaboration needed '" but hey, good to know that info, along with hundreds of thousands of missing weapons, is floating around in the seriously pissed-off-beyond-all-reason segment of the Islamic world.

' There will be a "global collapse" of fish species, oceans fished out, dead coral reefs, by as soon as 2048, if we don't act NOW. This was reported in a study by Boris Worm, who must have a backstory on how he was drawn to study fish. But it's so not funny and brings me to Al Gore. . .

' . . . who was in Minneapolis yesterday, on the stump for our next MN Senator Amy Klobuchar, and as the keynote speaker at the annual Planned Parenthood dinner. There's good news and bad news here. He was magnificent. Self-effacing, funny, relaxed, charming, showering appropriate praise and gratitude on Walter Mondale and other locals who deserved it. Then he gave a solemn speech about the collapse of democracy, how the current Republican regime substitutes ideology for reason, faith for facts. He noted the fine words printed on the Planned Parenthood program '" courage, truth, dignity, freedom '" and said he'd add one more '" science. He referred to a study done by German scholars after the rise of the Third Reich, and quoted this one line: "All questions of fact became questions of power." I'm not doing him justice, but it was one of the most profound speeches I've ever heard, surely at a rubber chicken dinner, where not a fork clink among the 1200 listeners could be heard.

The bad news is, watching this thoughtful and informed -- and now relaxed -- man, who woulda/coulda/shoulda been president, and thinking about how different the world right now would be, was like winding back a horror movie and changing the outcome, but knowing that this is no cheap movie. If Gore goes for it in 2008, I'm there.

' Finally, into every day a little sunshine must fall. CatchTed Haggard in action. Another Evangelical for Bush bites the all- too-familiar dust, making the Republican party '" as Lynnell puts it '" one of the biggest walk-in closets in America.

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Comments

BJ (not verified) | November 3, 2006 - 4:48pm

I have been on the Al Gore express for a couple of years. Since he's not an entertainer per se, we could couple him up with, say, Stephen Colbert for a 2008 run. Or the more obvious ebullient VP candidate, Barack Obama. Something for everyone. With Gore as the constant, I'm in.

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