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catching up

Saturday,  03/20/04  10:57 AM

If you haven't posted for a while - for a long while - you tend to want to do two things: first, you want to make your first post back "big", like it can justify the time you spent not posting, and second, you want to catch up. 

I don't know about "big"; I was just really busy and fell out of my daily habit of blogging.  It wasn't like I was creating this amazing post for you the whole time :)  But as far as catching up, I have over 300 posts saved in my RSS reader which I've flagged for posting.  I won't subject you to all of them, but it has been an eventful eight weeks...

In order of importance:

The Mars Rovers

Boy was that something, watching "NASA TV" when Opportunity landed.  If you haven't watched this movie which shows how the Mars landers make it to Mars, please do so; it is nothing short of amazing.  Really helps you appreciate that these robots are an amazing technical achievement. 

The War on Terror

Eight weeks.  Wow, a lot has happened, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Middle East, and in Europe.  I'd put the Madrid bombing and the subsequent defeat of Spain's President Aznar at the top of the list.  In my opinion this looks worse than it was, I think Aznar was already unpopular and the Socialists might well have defeated him without the bombing.  I have a hard time believing the Spanish people voted for Zapatero thinking it would reduce terrorist activity in Spain.  Stephen Den Beste doesn't, though.

  • Stephen Den Beste suggests the Palestinians are Up Against the Wall.  And subsequent events have proved him right.
  • At least 56 dead in Iraq suicide blasts.  And then, Hajj stampede: 244 pilgrims dead.  Interesting how CNN reports the former as a huge tragedy (presumably one which could have been avoided by alternate U.S. decisions), while the latter is merely a Muslim ritual.  No mention of how many people would have died if Hussein were still in power, either.
  • Citizen Smash considers the al Qaeda memo captured by U.S. forces in Iraq: Please Send Help.  "America… has no intention of leaving no matter how many wounded nor how bloody it becomes."  You bet.
  • Adam Curry visits Iraq, and blogs about it.
  • Command Post: Mass Graves Report.  "So far, 270 mass graves have been found which contained the remains of 400,000 Iraqis."  Amazingly, this is under-reported in the mass media, as is the fact that zero people have been killed by Hussein's government since the U.S. occupation.  Sigh.
  • Glenn Reynolds notes: Bush seems to be falling victim to his own success. We have been so successful in the war on terror that the country doesn't see it as a war anymore. Consider the following, if you were told on 9/12/2001 that by this date:
    • The Taliban have fallen
    • Iraq has fallen and has become a bastion of free press in the Islamic world
    • Libya had given up its WMD's
    • North Korea is in multi-lateral talks about WMD's
    • A majority of the leadership of Al Qaeda are dead or in custody
    • Pro-democracy rumblings are going on in Iran
    • Arafat is isolated
    • Many convictions of domestic sleepers or Al Qaeda members (Portland, NY etc...) and finally

      And all of this has cost less than 1000 dead American soldiers. You'd be thinking "not bad".
  • Tony Blair gave a great speech about the Iraq war, Command Post blogs it.  Read it.  The tradition of great oratory in British politics is wonderful, I wish our politicians were so eloquent.
  • New interim constitution for Iraq.  And here's Stephen Den Beste's analysis... 
  • Zapatero is pulling Spanish troops out of Iraq.  So be it.
  • President Bush gives a great speech: No Neutral Ground.  "There can be no separate peace with the terrorist enemy."  I disagree with him on so many things - gay marriage, for example - but on this, the biggest thing, I agree with him completely.

The Presidential Campaign

Amazingly, eight weeks ago Howard Dean was the leading Democratic candidate for president.  Now he's an also ran, and John Kerry is the manJim Ladd likes him, but I still don't know...  Charles at LGF notes Kerry's record, little doubt what he thinks.  Meanwhile John Edwards came and went.  (Although he might resurface as Kerry's VP.) 

  • Command Post simublogs Bush's State of the Union Speech.  NYT has the full text.
  • And simublogs Daschle's and Pelosi's response.
  • BigWig gives the recipe for a third party candidacy.  At the time I agreed with him, but the steam seems to have seeped out of the Dean balloon.  If he became a third party candidate at this point, I believe it would barely elicit a yawn.  Except from Democrats, who would treat him as they're treating Ralph Nader.
  • President Match chooses your candidate for you.  [ via TangoMan ]  It said I should vote for Lieberman, who knew?
  • Jay Rosen: Why Are You Such a Loser, Dennis Kucinich?  "That's what CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked the candidate after the votes from New Hampshire were in.  How would you answer it?"
  • Jeff Jarvis: Change and Fear.  "The reason Howard Dean (with Al Gore) lost is that they ran a negative campaign.  But the problem wasn't that they were negative about other candidates.  It was that they were negative about America."  I totally agree.  Glenn Reynolds has more.
  • Command Post covers Dean's withdrawal from the race.
  • Nader to run for president.  Again.  Pissing off democrats everywhere.  I think Dave Winer is exactly right: "Nader's run separates the people who 'get' American democracy, and those who don't."  If Nader keeps Kerry from defeating Bush, then Kerry didn't deserve to win in the first place.
  • Arnold thinks foreign-born citizens should be allowed to run for President.  He's biased, but I agree; let the best man/woman win.  What's so important about where you were born?
  • Democratic candidates blast Greenspan comments.  "Greenspan warned a House committee that growing federal budget deficits and the retirement of Baby Boomers will require future cuts in Social Security and Medicare to avoid tax increases that would damage the economy."  The Dems are shooting the messenger; it is what it is, now what are we going to do about it?
  • Tim Blair says It's All Relative.  As Glenn Reynolds summarizes: "5.6% unemployment: 'low' under Clinton, 'high' under Bush!  Go figure."  Indeed.
  • The big news in the California primary elections wasn't that Bush and Kerry won - that was a forgone conclusion - but that Arnold won: California voters OK Schwarzenegger's budget rescue.  Suboptimal, but when you're draining a swamp, things are going to stink for a while.
  • Steven Den Beste nails Kerry as "the tofu candidate", and considers Partial Cures.
    • More Kerry bashing: check out Kerry vs. Kerry.  I'm sure you could do the same with Bush, or with anyone, but it does make you wonder.

Same-Sex Marriage

Yep, in the last eight weeks same-sex marriage has gone from a subject of discussion to a legal relationship in Massachusetts.  Amazing.  And very polarizing.  This feels like one of those things which is just plain inevitable, the people who are opposed are rolling boulders uphill.  I do think you limit marriage to a union of exactly two people, though.

Okay, and there's a bunch of other interesting stuff which happened.  I'm probably setting a personal record for links in a post, if not a world record, but here you go:

Finally, as Tom Coates noted: "The secret of successful weblogging is - it seems - never to pause for a moment."  Scoble took a blog vacation.  A mere week!  What a wimp.  Try taking eight weeks off, and then catching up in one post ;)