Archive for December 2006

Saddam Is Dead: What Next?

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Well, the sound heard ’round the world this evening was the sound of Saddam Hussein’s neck breaking, as he was hanged in Baghdad.

One thing you can say about the Iraqis. They don’t believe in letting their death row prisoners grow old in prison before executing them. 56 days from sentence to execution. In the U.S. you’re lucky if you execute a prisoner within 56 months.

Not that I really think that capital punishment solves anything. Nor do I feel that war solves anything either, as you may know.

Quoted AP, emphasis mine: President Bush said that Saddam’s execution marks the “end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops” and cautioned that his death will not halt the violence in Iraq.

Not that our commander-in-chief has ever been a realist, but I’m glad he realized that. Because I have this distinct feeling that, if Iraq isn’t in civil war now, it will be. Starting today.

Gerald Ford: The Medicine Our Country Needed, When We Needed It Most

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

When you’re sick, you take medicine. You pop the pill, and the medicine does its work, and just as quickly it gets dissolved, leaving behind, hopefully, a you that feels better.

It was 1974 and the nation was sick and tired of hearing about Richard Nixon this and Watergate that. Enter Gerald Ford, who probably would have been happy to be Speaker of the House in 1973, but found himself in the position of having to play doctor to a sick country.

Basically, he was the President who cleaned up after two of the nation’s worst messes in recent years – Watergate and Vietnam, both of which came to closure under his watch.

The first prescription that Dr. Ford wrote was strong medicine…pardoning Tricky Dicky for the crimes against the nation he may have committed. And the second prescription he wrote was one that was a long time in coming…the final withdrawal from Saigon that brought the Vietnam War to an end. The medicine he prescribed had side effects and a backlash, which probably cost him the 1976 election.

But now history has looked favorably on Gerald Ford, and now when we think about his legacy, we think about what he did to help the country move on and get back on its feet again. Six out of ten Americans believe that pardoning Nixon, a move much criticized at the time, was, in the end, the right thing to do.

He was a caretaker President, to be sure, but take care he did. And like effective medicine, he left the presidency better than he found it.

Honolulu Marathon: A Different View

Monday, December 25th, 2006

My first vlog entry. I didn’t run the marathon on the 10th due to a knee injury that plagued me for the past few weeks, but a friend of mine gave me the opportunity to see the marathon from the outside looking in. I meant to put this up earlier but didn’t get a chance to record an intro until last night. Music is “Run” by Ehren Starks (Magnatune, cc-by-nc-sa).

If Only All Fire Calls Were Like This

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Was in the middle of getting ready to go to work this morning when I heard fire engine sirens—multiple ones, and smelled something like burnt toast. It didn’t take me long to realize that there was a fire in my neighborhood. I took a detour to Keolu Dr. and passed through a cloud of thick smoke.

As I was going over the Pali I noticed not one, but two fire supervisor cars heading toward Kailua, and as I passed through Nuuanu, another fire engine.

All that, just for one house fire?

Then I got to my parking lot and checked the Advertiser website on my mobile phone, and found out why. Turns out I live about a half-mile (as the crow flies) from the home of a well-known actress. Well, what WAS the home of a well-known actress.

Not that I really follow “Lost” anyway. Sorry, Evangeline Lilly.

Person of the Year: Congratulations!

Monday, December 18th, 2006

It was probably just a matter of time (in fact, one blogger predicted it in advance), but TIME magazine has seen fit to bestow its yearly honor on someone more important and influential than Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Muqtdada al-Sadr, or even George W. Bush.

The 2006 Time Person of the Year is…you. Or rather, we. We who contribute to online communities, blogs, and other user-generated content. We who put the You in YouTube and the My in Myspace.

Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I’m not going to watch Lost tonight. I’m going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I’m going to mash up 50 Cent’s vocals with Queen’s instrumentals? I’m going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

Of course, I’d like to offer my congratulations to some people in particular.

Congratulations to Joy, who writes about everything from affordable housing to rail transit to hot pink Crocs.

Congratulations to Eric, who airs his opinions on travel, marathons, current events and whatever come to mind. And that’s a lot.

Congratulations to Steve, a.k.a. Linkmeister, who won’t stop writing until he’s nailed the current presidential administration to the wall on civil liberties, human rights, and other atrocities.

Congratulations to Richard, who continues to long for a day when Israeli and Palestinians can live in peace, and who is not afraid to say, “A pox o’ both your houses,” to achieve that end.

Muchos congratulations to Ryan, who has probably done more than anyone else in Hawaii to foster the online community, running a message board on all things Hawaii, creating a podcast, and also keeping a blog himself in between all of that.

It’s time to give ourselves a collective pat on the back. We’ve earned it.