Friday, November 18, 2005

What the world needs now

I'm late, I know. I was taking off my jacket as the computer was booting up. Mike called me while I was in a cab asking if I'd mentioned that I'd be blogging late. I hadn't. Or seen the need to. But he hadn't either and he's always stressing the importance of blogging regularly so that people know they can count on you and when they visit your site, you'll have something, anything, up.

That's why Rebecca wanted me to fill in for her when she was on vacation. She's built up quite a following and has done that by blogging regularly (and sharing her unique voice and perspective). A "dead site" -- something with nothing new for days and days -- causes people to stop visiting.

I don't qualify as a dead site but I do qualify as a burned roof of my mouth. I went out tonight and the soup was served way too hot. Which you have no way of knowing, of course, until you have the first spoonful. It's a minor thing but it's something that really grates on me. My tongues there now and will be going back to it repeatedly over the next few days before it heals.
Steam was rising when the bowl was placed before me so I waited five minutes and it didn't do any good at all.

Let's move on to Democracy Now! and be sure to check Mike's site for his comments.

"Report: Military Experiencing Shortfall on Recruiting Goals" (Democracy Now!):
The New York Times is reporting a new government study has found the military is falling far behind in recruiting goals for key combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Government Accountability Office says the military has failed to staff 41 percent of combat and non-combat specialist positions. The report says the shortfall was disguised by the overstaffing of other positions in order to meet overall recruiting goals. Derek Stewart, the G.A.O.’s director of military personnel, commented : "The aggregate recruiting numbers are rather meaningless. For Congress and this nation to truly understand what's happening with the all-volunteer force and its ability to recruit and retain highly qualified people, you have to drill down into occupational specialties. And when you do, it's very revealing."

Is there any surprise here? Who expects large numbers of people to sign up for a war that has no meaning, no purpose, no goal and no end in sight? What's the pitch? "Sign up and spend the rest of your life in Iraq"?

Now the mainstream media spent a lot of time propping up both the war and the administration, but the reality seeped through. They can continue to spin but the reality is out there.

A commercial for Target just came on -- she said changing the subject. It was for Eternity which is my favorite of Calvin Klein's men's colognes. They use the song "What the World Needs Now" (is love, sweet love). I've always loved that song.

We reviewed Ken Emerson's Always Magic In The Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era for The Third Estate Sunday Review and I really did not enjoy the book for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons was Emerson's dimissal of "What the World Needs Now" as "sloganeering." It would be bad enough if he had dismissed the lyrics with that critique, but to trash the whole song was dismissing a wonderful melody that moves from sing along solely to sing along and counter melody.

What the world needs today is love sweet love. We're a nation ruled by a Bully Boy, a world held hostage by a bully. So call me a sloganeer or a lover of sloganeers set to music.

I love that song whenever I hear it. Nell Carter and others performed it on Gimmie a Break and that's probably the episode I remember best after all these years.

"Hawkish Democrat Calls For Immediate Troop Withdrawal" (Democracy Now!):
In an important development in the growing Congressional debate over the US occupation of Iraq, a hawkish Democrat who voted to authorize the war has introduced a bill calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania said: "It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraq people or the Persian Gulf region." Murtha is an army veteran with close ties to military commanders. He’s also the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, and has visited Iraq several times since the war began. His proposed bill reads in part: "The deployment of US forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date." The bill marks the first time a resolution has been submitted to Congress calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In response, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said: "Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."

Thanks to Rebecca for noting that I'd be blogging late. I'm tired. I'll note two pieces by Rebecca that are more than worth reading "talking about the common ills" and "little miss run amuck bob woodward" and on Bob Woodward, also check out C.I.'s "NYT: Woody sees his shadow and goes back underground."