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July 2004 Archives

July 5, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

I saw the movie recently. My overall impression was that it was a decent quality film. It had a few snide comments that I could have done without, and it was a bit slow in parts. I also definitely agree with those reviewers who say that the movie is much better when Moore gets out of the way and just lets people tell their stories, rather than getting involved in the film himself. It did however have a bunch of cool shots in it and neat quotes from people. Here’s a bunch of the key bullet points I extracted from the movie:

  • Bush sat in an elementary classroom photoshoot even after he heard about the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center, and even after he was informed by an aide that “the country is under attack.”
  • Bush shipped bin Laden’s family members out of the country via plane on September 13th (at a time when virtually all other planes were grounded).
  • Bush received large amounts of money when he was young and starting an oil business with many failures from the bin Laden family (owners of the second largest fortune in Saudi Arabia)
  • Bin Laden family invested, with the Bush family, in the Carlyle Group, owners of United Defense, makers of many of the assault vehicles used by the US Army, and thereby profited from the invasions of the Middle East
  • Bush tried to prohibit Congress from investigating the events of September 11th, and failed.
  • Bush tried to prohibit independent investigation into the events of September 11th, failed, but classified the reports they produced.
  • 5,000 family members of September 11th victims sued Saudi Arabian royalty. The Saudi’s were defended by James Baker (senior counselor to the Carlyle Group, Secretary of State and Chief of Staff under George Bush Sr., Secretary of the Treasury and Chief of Staff under Reagan, and Secretary of Commerce under Ford).
  • Osama Bin Laden is a Saudi, and so were 15 of the 19 hijackers.
  • 11,000 troops were sent to Afghanistan (fewer than the number of police officers in Manhattan).
  • Bush quote:

Terror is bigger than one person. And, ah, he’s just, he’s he’s he’s a person who’s now been marginalized so I donn’t know where he is. Nor I, you know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, hell, to be honest with you.

  • Bush invades Iraq because of threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), insists upon links to Al Qaida.
  • President makes speech on aircraft carrier in front of professionally printed “Mission Accomplished” banner, saying quote, “the United States and her allies have prevailed” while Osama bin Laden remains at large and American military casualties continue.
  • Military troops in Iraq complain that they are underpowered.
  • Recruiters are out in force (understandably).
  • Bush proposed cutting combat soldier’s pay by 33% and cutting assistance to their families by 60%, opposed giving veterans an additional $1 billion in health care benefits, and supported closing veteran hospitals, while doubling prescription costs for veterans and opposing full benefits for part-time reservists.
  • Brett J Petriken, killed in battle May 26th 2003, was docked pay for the remaining 5 days of the month he couldn’t work because he was dead.
  • This is from a soldier’s letter, read by his mom, received a week before sh got word that he had been killed in action:

Hello. Hey momma, well, sorry I haven’t been able to call. They took the phone seven days ago. I got the letter and box. That is so cool. Your first grandson came the same day your oldest son did. How is everyone? I’m doing fine. We are out here in the sand, in wind storms, waiting. What in the world is wrong with George? Trying to be like his dad, Bush. He got us out here for nothing whatsoever. I’m so furious right now, Momma. I really hope they do not reelect that fool, honestly. I am in good spirits and I am doing okay. I really miss you guys. Thanks for the bible and books and candy. I really look forward to letters from you guys. Well, tell all the family hello and that I am doing fine. We don’t expect anything to happen any time soon. I cannot wait to get home and get back to my life. Tell Spudnik congrats and I’ll see my first nephew soon, as soon as I get back to the states. Hope you guys are doing okay, and keep sending the mail. It makes getting through the days easier. Well I’m on my way to bed so I will write you guys soon. I love and miss all of you guys.

  • Of 535 members of Congress, only one has a son in Iraq.

July 13, 2004

Cliff Notes

I was sent a good opinion piece from the Boston Globe, pulling together a few key observations from the apparent intelligence problems the country has had. The key observation is summarized in the following excerpt:

In plain English, the Central Intelligence Agency was serving Bush large helpings of baloney in the form of summaries of analyses and conclusions that were directly contradicted by the detailed information on which these analyses and conclusions were supposedly based. For those seeking to blame the summaries, including Bush’s own campaign and policy big shots, the desperate finger-pointing works only on the basis of an assumption that is grounds for tossing Bush out of office.

To try to escape accountability by blaming CIA summaries, the president would have to ask the country to believe that he led it to war after reading a few cover pages without once glancing at the backup material (sic) that was sent to him and his top advisers. This view of the Bush style—big picture and full of alleged moral clarity—is grounds all by itself for electing a new president.

July 17, 2004

Food for Thought: Divorce and Religion

I found an interesting reference today. It seems there’s a group out there called the Barna Research Group, a Christian research group that does a lot of research into statistics surrounding religion in America, among other things. One of their more surprising findings, as paraphrased by Freethought Today is: Born Agains More Likely To Divorce . Now, that’s a hell of a claim. But, if you go to the Barna website , it’s true! Back in 2000, they did a study and found that:

Born again adults are more likely to experience a divorce than are non-born again adults (27% vs. 24%).

(It’s on that page under “7 Most Discouraging Results.”) That’s a pretty interesting statistic, and I’m sure I don’t have to say why. They don’t say what the margin of error on their study might be, but it’s still interesting. Now, this isn’t the most recent research. A mere six months later, they performed a more in-depth study , and found that things were not as bad as that. Instead they found that Born Again Adults Less Likely to Co-Habit, Just as Likely to Divorce —in fact, that’s the title of the study. Which means that religion is NOT a deterrent to a stable marriage, thank Heaven. But it certainly doesn’t point to religion being a stabilizing factor.

It occurs to me that the idea that co-habitation is a bad thing is rather debunked by this study as well, regardless of the fact that it’s referred to with such a disappointed tone. If co-habitation is lower in born-again Christians, and yet has no net positive effect on their divorce rates, either cohabitation has no effect on divorce (and thus shouldn’t be regarded as a bad thing strictly for it’s effect on divorce) or something more complicated is going on (such as the difference in religion and co-habitation off-setting each other with a net-null effect on the stability of marriage). Either way, an intriguing factoid.

Something else that’s interesting to point out: Salon , in this article make reference to this statistic (which is what got me interested). Seems rather unfortunate that they use the older statistic, instead of the newer one—-and even that is almost 3 years old now. Kinda makes you wish they provided references for their articles, doesn’t it?

Still, all in all, good food for thought.

July 19, 2004

Revisionist History

revisionist_history.gif An interesting commentary. Gads, I love Calvin and Hobbes—not because I think they're always right, but because they come up with some really insightful observations.

About July 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Kyle in July 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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