Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bush's lack of gravitas

Here's an email I just send to the President:

I disagree with a lot of your policies, but let me point out something that I think annoys a lot of Americans - OK, a lot of Democrats - that you can and should change, and would make you less objectionable.

When you talk about serious matters, you always end up with a chuckle in your voice - as if you are saying "why don't you people get this? you people are just too dumb to understand my point." You don't seem to take these serious matters seriously. You lack gravitas.

You did it yesterday, at your news conference - commenting first on the large number of soldiers who died there, in the helicopter crash, etc - and then explaining what you see as the vital, long-term objective. And I AGREE with you on that. But the chuckle turned me off. And if I was one of the family members of the soldiers who had died that day, I would have found that chuckle disrespectful.

Try to keep the chuckle out of your voice, and I might be able to stand listening to you talk about serious matters.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Be careful what you ask for

Seems to me the law can be pretty stupid at times. A while back, the Supreme Court ruled that the Guantanamo detainees had the right to invoke the habeas corpus law in asking federal judges for relief. Now, a Federal District Court judge has ruled that the detainees could not be granted what they had asked for - writs of habeas corpus. He made a distinction between the right to FILE for a habeas corpus petition before a judge and the right to OBTAIN one.

Remind me to never get arrested.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Arab states' miserly donations for Tsunami relief

Did you see the reports that the rich Arab states in the Middle East have pledged relatively little for Tsunami relief? Qatar and Saudi Arabia each pledged $10 million. UAE has pledged $20 million. Kuwait has pledged $10 million. There was an editorial in a Kuwaiti paper criticizing these govt's for not pledging enough. Kuwait has a budget surplus of $10 billion, and just distributed $700 million to its own citizens as a sort of dividend. And of course much of the effected regions are Muslim, like the Middle East.

The news reports did say that charitable contributions from Muslim citizens have been made difficult since we made them shut down so many of their "charitable" organizations. But my complaint is not about the individual citizen's donations, but about the official government donations.

On the Today show today, Matt Lauer interviewed the UN guy who called the western countries stingy - he was misquoted in that his comments were not specifically about Bush and his initial pledge of $35 million. And the news of that criticism sure has been over-reported - I saw one of the networks ask Jeb Bush about it when he landed in Asia. Anyway, I sent the Today Show an email saying they should report on these low pledges by the Middle Eastern countries.

Oh - one other thing - some Muslim charities were advertising for donations for Muslim victims. The Kuwaiti paper criticized this, and published a special religious ruling that it was OK to donate to non-Muslims.

Take a look at