An old-school reporter at the Detroit Free Press once remarked that he would rather write a straight news story (who, what, when, where, why) each day for a month than write a single monthly column.
Not that anyone particularly gives a damn, but this is what my life as a columnist of over 300 opinions in this community looks like. I roll myself onto my left elbow and reach for my morning jay upon awakening before 7 a.m., turn on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and am flooded with information from a variety of smart people.
Throughout the day I tune in to cable, bouncing from FOX to MSNBC until the Comedy Channel relieves me from the pressures of the day. The middle of the day is spent reading books and sucking in information like some desert-dry sponge so I can figure out what it all means. Like some self-styled Oracle, I try, the best I can, to break complex ideas into everyday words understandable by all without requiring a rush to Webster’s. Sometimes my mind gurgles and bubbles to the stretching and breaking point and I am forced to write a column such as this – a potpourri of ideas not yet well-researched or properly evolved enough, on which I have 750-1,000-word opinions.
To complicate matters, I am unable to do this without my muse, Angéla. So I twitch on the floor with brain strain and pain until my able assistant and muse arrives to assist in these column-writing endeavors.
Hence, below find a series of disconnected thoughts and opinions.
I would enjoy hunting. But only if animals were well-armed and good shots. This would be sport.
Now that I have your attention ...
THE 10-YEAR IRAQ WAR
The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq was 4,488. The number of wounded totaled 32,223, many of whom wish they were dead.
Of our treasury, we have spent almost $3 trillion – most of it borrowed from China.
The Brookings Institute reports we have “lost and unaccounted for” over $9 billion and, according to ABC News, that includes 190,000 guns, 110,000 of those being AK-47s.
On the 10-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion – what George Bush the Younger would declare a “victory” – 56 people were killed in Iraq. Not much of a celebration.
According to a representative of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, 97 percent of VA claims are still on paper, not yet processed. In 2012, 10,000 veterans from these doomed wars die while waiting on claims. One veteran last year committed suicide and his claim was approved two weeks later. On average, there is a 600-day wait between the time veterans’ benefits are applied for and received. This is an average. Some veterans wait almost 1,000 days. At least one vet kills themselves every day while waiting for benefits.
What’s wrong with this picture?
The blighted war in Afghanistan must end and must end as soon as our veterans can be safely processed home. Trust me, at this point it is nothing more than an American Occupation.
We did not learn from the British failure to occupy Afghanistan, nor did we learn from the Russian failure to do the same. Hackneyed but as true today as when he said it, according to Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
RED AND BLUE MAKE PURPLE
Allow me to begin the discussion with the both obligatory and heartfelt GO CARDS!
Thanks to an intercollegiate debate scholarship, I was able to attend the University of Kentucky. However, I also served on the Board of Overseers and taught a graduate-level political science course at the University of Louisville.
So I bleed purple.
Although athletics are important to the people of this state, personally, I don’t give a hang. However, many people do, and though passion runs deep with UK and U of L., it seems reasonable that Louisvillians should support UK (after all, we live in Kentucky) and people living in the other 119 counties should support the University of Louisville (after all, it is Kentucky’s largest city). You may even find some cosmopolitan Highlanders who would agree.
Before the Louisville Cards rolled to their NCAA victory, sport loyalty seemed provincial and parochial outside Louisville. Had you asked any convenience store sales clerk in one of the other 119 counties to name her favorite basketball team and she would have replied with a passionate Southern drawl, “I’m for the University of Kentucky and any team that plays Louisville.” Like the War Between the States, the Commonwealth is sometimes divided within families, making Thanksgiving all the more fun.
But all found it heartening – we Louisvillians, of course and especially – to see a Commonwealth that was united, rejoicing as one village when U of L kicked ass. This urban-rural solidarity, dear readers, was anticipated and expected when our Commonwealth Founding Fathers convinced the Mothership Virginia to allow its Fincastle County to break away and constitute its own state. And we Kentuckians chose as our state seal an image of a frontiersman and a city slicker shaking hands and our motto remains “United we stand, divided we fall.”
But to more important things. I just had to get that off my chest.
ISLAMIC PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
As one FOX wag put it, we should rename the Middle East the Middle Ages because the Islamic spring has become the Christian Nuclear Winter. Recently in Libya, Christians were killed at the behest of the Libyan government. Keep going east and you will find a prominent Christian minister imprisoned in Iran and denied medical treatment.
In March, Secretary of State John Kerry released $250 million to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, head of the Muslim brotherhood. Christians were tortured by members of the Muslim brotherhood for their faith. The United States has also given F-16s and scores of tanks to Egypt, notwithstanding their ties to Iran and efforts to change the Constitution to Sharia Law. This is despite growing intolerance of the Christian faith, not only in Egypt but in the entire region. In this Zeitgeist of Arab intolerance of Christians, let me remind my Muslim brothers and sisters, Muhammad married a Christian woman to demonstrate tolerance.
IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE.
Speaking to the recent CPAC conference, Kentucky senator Rand Paul said, “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss covered ... Now I’m not going to name names.”
Mitch McConnell, my Ancient Enemy, represents all that is wrong with my beloved party. The good news is, he is very unpopular. According to a recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll, his opponents outnumber his supporters in this fair Commonwealth. Further, the New York Times on February 19 of this year opined, “Mr. McConnell’s biggest challenge likely rests in a Republican primary.”
I am but the Bugle Boy.