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Just You and Me Today, Bucko

Two is a pretty lonely number as well, but since you're here.......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, November 23, 2005.

One of the few benefits I have from applying two or three monitoring devices to keeping statistics, pursuing goals of their own, applying a digital thumb to my public’s wrist, emotional outlook, heart rate, and fiscal turgor, is that I know after twenty-four years of tabulating your every move that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is, without question, the least listened-to commentary I give all year. Think about that. Depressing? That’s insufficient. It’s just you and me, today, bucko. You know it. I know it. And since your time is obviously worth nothing, I don’t know if you’re of sufficient merit I should even bother.

But just as my hair curls from a sense of duty, I will again elevate your existence with my thoughts. I’m just that perfect a human, willing to selflessly mingle with you Little People.

For example, today is Harpo Marx’s birthday. That would seem rather passé, I admit, given he’d be 118 years of age and missing for about a third of them, but there is something tone perfect to celebrate with Harpo today when Al Kamen of the Washington Post decides to celebrate the great job FEMA did in Hurricane Katrina, and notes it as one of the Department of Homeland Security’s triumphs.

There is also something Harpo-ish about Tom DeLay’s lawyers trying to weasel out any way they can from having their client be tried in their client’s home state by his peers, or at least by the best-educated citizens of that state in the capital Austin. God forbid that educated people be on the jury judging us. They might understand the charges and the extent of the crime.

But it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, and surely there is much for which you, and even I, can be thankful. We can be thankful that even his own protectors of the last ditch were justifiably mortified when Pat Robertson tried to call down the wrath of God on York, Pennsylvania. York had just voted off their school board all eight of the members up for re-election who were for the laughable Intelligent Design as a substitute for science. Robertson has chosen to interpret the wrath of God through His Instruments of Hurricanes, as directly linked to the deity’s hatred for Gays, among others, in the past. It is unclear if Robertson will take this message to the Gulf Coast over the holidays while the happy residents enjoy the festivities, so that he can be within earshot and arms length of those he will point out, are damned and deserve their bad fortune. Lord, let your messenger take his message there that justice be done.

We can be thankful for the numerous soldiers, past and present, who love their military branch, love this nation, and still love the truth above all, and will not be silenced by shrewish harpies in the Congress nor hypocritical men in the administration who have been religious in their own avoidance of danger while enthusiastically encouraging others to risk death for unclear goals with uncertain blowbacks for dubious public profit. And then lying about it. Whether in Iraq today in flack jackets that don’t meet the manufacturers’ own standards in their unarmored vehicles, or in Afghanistan enjoying a Himalayan horror of a winter surrounded by who knows what, and both repeating the same missions again and again because we don’t have enough soldiers to keep the ground they take, we thank them for their devotion to a duty that should be more worthy of their skill and patriotism, and far less wasteful of their efforts and lives.

We are probably thankful that sometimes the least romantic, least clean, least likely efforts pay off. For example, today in Bosnia, the parties who were held apart by the UN and NATO have calmed down and arrived at a peace and government that all three sides support. It cost no US lives, and saved a bunch of theirs. There were never any photo ops on aircraft carriers for posturing politicians but, ironically, it was here and not Iraq that the mission was accomplished.

We can be thankful that the pontificating powers of the free media have taken a pounding of late and, all told, have reacted fairly well and are openly trying to do better. They have produced mea culpas and detailed, if less than totally convincing asides about how reporters who lied, pandered, made grotesque mistakes were not caught until later. Still, the media it was who exposed its own, not the government. The government is under attack for similar lies and cover-ups and it is the media that leads that war, mainstream and bloggers both. We can be grateful for many of them, and should be.

We can be grateful that so many of our natural disasters are miniscule, really, compared to what other nations undergo, even First World. This date, in 1980, over 4k Italians died in one earthquake. Italy has about 20% of our population, so that’s the equivalent of 20k Americans dying, say, during hurricane Katrina. Imagine how hysterical, with reason, we would be had that happened. If the Bushies are allowed to reduce support for the agencies that prevent such things, and staff them with arrogant incompetents to save money to give back to those with inherited wealth, it will eventually happen here.

Let no one say it won’t. But for now, let’s be thankful.