Item 1. When Falwell died, several tried to defend (well, sort of) his initial response after 9-11, noting that he apologized for blaming liberals and abortionists. Yet right before he died, he essentially restated it:
Welcome to Ethics Daily.com!: "But days before his unexpected death May 15, Falwell told CNN's Christiane Amanpour he stood by his original statement. The interview airs tonight in the last of a three-part series on "God's Warriors" examining the link between religion and politics and the effects of Judaism, Islam and Christianity on politics, culture and public life.
In a video clip on the series Web site, Amanpour reminded Falwell he sparked controversy by suggesting that the Lord was removing his protection from America in 2001.
"I still believe that," Falwell said.... "We're killing a million babies a year in this country by abortion. And I was saying then, and I'm saying now, that if we in fact change all the rules on which this Judeo-Christian nation was built, we cannot expect the Lord to put his shield of protection around us as he has in the past."
"So you still stand by that?" Amanpour asked.
"I stand right by it," Falwell replied."
Item 2. George Bush. Just how bad is he as president?
AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Bush's Bid for a Death Penalty Fast Track: "The Bush administration is preparing to speed up the executions of criminals who are on death row across the United States, in effect, cutting out several layers of appeals in the federal courts so that prisoners can be 'fast-tracked' to their deaths.Fast tracking executions. Got to kill them faster, and Bush thinks that will make him more popular?
With less than 18 months to go to secure a presidential legacy, President Bush has turned to an issue he has specialised in since approving a record number of executions while Governor of Texas.The US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales -- Mr Bush's top legal adviser during the spree of executions in Texas in the 1990s -- is putting finishing touches to regulations, inspired by recent anti-terrorism legislation, that would allow states to turn to the Justice Department, instead of the federal courts, as a key arbiter in deciding whether prisoners live or die."
I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
But we aren't done with Bush. I mentioned this yesterday, but his invocation of Vietnam just boggles the mind. Happily, I am not the only one with a historical eye who thinks so:
Dan Froomkin - The Analogy Quagmire - washingtonpost.com: "'"Historian Robert Dallek, who has written about the comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam, accused Bush of twisting history. 'It just boggles my mind, the distortions I feel are perpetrated here by the president,' he said in a telephone interview.And let's not forget the most obvious part. If Bush really thinks that we didn't do enough to win Vietnam, then where the hell was he? Drunk, I realize, but as President to be browbeating people for not fighting hard enough in Vietnam is unbelievable. Even for this guy.
"'We were in Vietnam for 10 years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldn't work our will,' he said.
"'What is Bush suggesting? That we didn't fight hard enough, stay long enough? That's nonsense. It's a distortion,' he continued. 'We've been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It's a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out.'""
I was reminded of his delusions of grandeur and wondered aloud last evening if Bush remembers himself as a VN hero. When that man gave Bush the Purple Heart he earned in Vietnam, I really was stunned that he took it. Imagine the reaction if instead he responded like this: "that award was for wounds you suffered in service to our country. I am so very flattered that you would give this to me, but I did not earn it. You did. And so have all the fighting men and women who have been wounded in battle today, blah blah."
Nope, this one took it as if he deserved it. We have learned a lot about the character of our last couple of presidents. We knew that Clinton had many flaws in his, but also many good parts. We knew that Bush Sr. had many flaws, but also some reasonableness. I am still looking for any positive character in W at all. Any.