Lying in State

Rosa Parks' body will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda.

I think that this is a fitting tribute for the woman who sparked the Civil Rights movement, though not everybody agrees.

Some peopole complain that htis is setting the bar too low for precedent for such an honor, though this is doesn't seem too much of a problem to me. I don't expect to see Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or or John Kerry given the same honor. This is a rare event, and will remain reserved for true heroes of the republic and for presidents.

Rosa Parks might not have done an extraordinary thing by keeping her seat on the front of the buys, but that simple act sparked a great movement. She might have been exploited by the NAACP and others to become a symbol of oppression, but she remained dignified in the situation and throughout her life. She was an unassuming person and accepted the notoriety heaped upon her humbly. She is a true example of what Americans can do when they grasp at the opportunities afforded them. She helped others to a better life, and I don't know whether she was able to parlay the fame of the movement into a pile of money, but I get the sense that she didn't. (I think I would have preferred if she had.) Once the goals of the movement were accomplished, she went back to her private life and lived quietly outside of the limelight.

The only regret I have about Rosa Parks lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda is that I will not have an opportunity to show my respects there.

Lie to Me

Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted for perjury and lying to investigators.

The point of the investigation was to find out if any laws were broken in revealing a covert CIA agent's name to the press. Apparently the answer to that question was no, because there were no indictments for that. But they were able to indict Libby.

I don't know what evidence they have against Libby, but I do hope that the charges are false. The fact that he was possibly covering up something that wasn't even a crime is very sad. One would think that he would have been able to take the 5th or get thorough testimony without having to lie about anything.

It has been pretty clear from the start that although outing a CIA agent is a terrible thing, it was not illegal in that instance, and it actually did help to put straight misinformation that the woman's husband was spreading. But that is not an excuse for revealing her identity. Not knowing that she was supposed to be covert does mitigate the incident, and definitely keeps all parties on the right side of at least the law.

But this much was already known when the grand jury was seated, so one is wondering why Libby thought it necessary to lie (if he really did.) Who was he trying to protect and what else is going on that we don't know about. If he was actually lying during his grand jury testimony, then he does desrve to be punished for that. I am not sure about ther obstruction of justice, since the grand jury presumably already knows the truth or they would not have known what Libby was lying about, and they still didn't get any other idictments. This pretty much tells me that even if Libby had been truthful the entire time, there would not have been any other indictments, which means that Libby did not really obstruct justice.

Libby's lawyer has already stated that he is totally innocent of all charges and will fight them, but I see a plea bargain in the future. If that happens, it will be really difficult to find out what really happened in the imroglio.


2000 OR SO

It was officially announced on Tuesday.

The vote count for the nationwide referendum on ratifying the Iraqi Coinstitution is complete, and the measure has passed. The citizens of Iraq now have a structure for their democracy, and a vote to replace their interim government with a pemanent one will take place in December. Once that vote is complete, the first item of business will ber to amend the Constitution they just approved.

This might seem laughable but it is not unprecedented that a new constitution won its ratification only because of promises to make immediate changes if it were passed. A good example of this can be found by looking to New York City circa 1789.

The new Iraqi constitution has its problems. Though it does sy many of the right things about religious and other freedoms, it also pays too much homage to sharia law. It sets up a democratic government for the Iraqi people, but this is probably not a Constitution I would prefer to live under. The point of the matter is that I don't have to live under it. The people who do have voted overwhelmingly to pass it, and that is another milepost along Iraq's road to freedom.

I am truly amazed at how muich Iraq has progresses in such a short time. That country could have a very bright future, and might just halp democracy illuminate the entire region.

Rarely, however, is progress acheived withyout a cost. On the same day that the Iraqi Constitutions ratificatrion was announced, the AP reported that the number of U. S. servicemembers to die in Iraq had reached 2,000. The Department of Defense puts the number slightly lower, but this did not sop many opponents of the war to bemoan the cost in human life. The problem with them is that the number is their only argument that the operation is a failure.
Too many Iraqis now have their freedom, and we continue to advance democracy in the country. We cannot pull out of there now without the strong possibility of a breakdown in the area, which would have much more dire consequences for the U. S. than continuing the work until we are certain that the new way for Iraq has taken root and the country can take care of itself without our assistance.


Tips on Happiness part IV

Last time that I delved into this topic, I tried to establish that you will be much happier if you don't take offense too easily. This time we will flip that coin over.

If you want to be happy, you should try not to give offense to others. I am not saying that you should be all PC all the time, but you should treat others with a certain modicum of respect. Don't use offensive language, don't use racial epithets, don't use ethnic slurs. Do speak your mind honestly, but defend your thoughts with at least a little bit of logic and try not to belittle people who are attempting the same.

How does treating others respectfully make you happier? It helps you to avoid conflict, and assists in your relations with others. It makes life a lot easier to navigate if you don't go out of your way to find trouble, and you will find that others are a lot more likely to be helpful if you treat them nicely, and God knows that we all have times when we can use all the help we can get.

A couple of caveats here. Respect means treating other people as they should be treated, which doesn't necessarily mean how they want to be treated. As an old platoon sergeant used to be fond of saying, (paraphrased to avoid vulgar language) If a guy is an excrement bucket, I'm gonna treat him like an excrement bucket. Some people are deserving of derision and contempt, but these people are much better left ignored if possible.

Yes, people, the Golden Rule is a good starting point on the road to happiness.