All These Moments

All These Moments

Random ramblings in writing.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Dog is Bill Clinton

So, Bill Clinton had a horrible interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace. Watching the interview, Tom Cruise immediately came to mind. (Hence the allusion in the title.)

Whether or not your a Clinton supporter, it is undeniable that he looks bad. He's overly defensive about Bin Laden and too aggressive about criticizing Wallace. He spent what I estimate was five minutes ranting in his defense and cutting off Wallace if he ever tried to get a word in. (Heaven forbid the interviewer should actually be allowed to say anything.) So what was Clinton ranting about? What strong defense did he present? Well, he told people to read a book.

No, he did not tell people about a book. He did not summarize it or present an argument from it. All Clinton did was urge people to read Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror by former national security adviser Richard Clarke. By the end of the interview Clinton managed to mention Clarcke's name eleven times.

Regrettably, Clarcke's book doesn't do so much to validate the claims of "The Comeback Kid". Instead, the book makes Clinton seem quixotic.

Clinton loudly claimed that he came the closest to killing Bin Laden. Clarcke paints a very different picture. According to Clarcke, Clinton was unable to get Bin Laden killed because of feet dragging by the FBI and CIA. It sounds like it would be more of an accident if Bin Laden was nearly killed during the Clinton administration, rather than the triumphant accomplishment of a strong president.

Clarcke also argues that Clinton was weak on terror due to strong Republican opposition. He writes, "Weakened by continual political attack, [Clinton] could not get the CIA, the Pentagon, and FBI to act sufficiently to deal with the threat." This claim also is not harmonious with the image of a strong presidential move against Bin Laden that Clinton wants. (Considering the amount of political opposition the Bush administration has faced waging the War on Terror, I think it is ridiculous to think that there was a strong Republican presence keeping the boot on Clinton's neck.)

This is, after all, a pro-Clinton book, and that is why it weakens Clinton the most. It is someone portraying him in a favorable light, yet still managing to undermine Clinton's revisions to his history.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11

It seems like something should be written about 9/11, but I don't really feel like I can do it much justice. There are certainly a lot of questions to be asked five years later. Should we have gone to war? (Obviously, anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.) Was Iraq the right first step in the War on Terror? (I don't think so.) Are we much now than we were then? (I think so.)

I'm not entirely certain about my answers to these questions except the first. When a nation is attacked like we were, it must respond. An attack on our own soil, a massacre of our own citizens. We cannot just move on with our lives without a response to those who did this to us.

My school actually acknowledged the importance of 9/11 this year, unlike last year. Today our usual moment of silence was in remembrance of the attacks.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Manpower!!

Normally I dislike swim team politics. It's often just gossip, and the drama is predictably petty and not worth the time writing about it. But not this morning.

Here is how is started. This morning, after our 400 push-ups, (I only wish I was exaggerating) we voted on t-shirts and meet suits instead of swimming. The boys and girls teams split and we were given some voting forms that featured cliche swimming t-shirt slogans and a few lines where we could suggest our own ideas. The idea was that we'd pick two we really liked, and then decide on one. Then the boys and girls teams would get together and reach an agreement on what the t-shirt should be. Then, chaos ensued after a simple conversation.

One last important fact: the boys teams is twices the size of the girls.

Someone jokingly suggested that we put Manpower, a joke from last year, on the t-shirt. Someone else realized that the guys team was twice as big as the girls, and that if we voted as a bloc, we stood a good chance of getting Manpower on the t-shirt.

This got us very excited. A pencil was passed around and everyone eagerly voted for Manpower. We sent a diplomat over to the girls team to deliver the documents.

Rebecca Conger, a captain on the girls team, quickly returned looking very displeased. Rather than addressing her grievance directly, she decided to criticize us for not reading the directions. "You're supposed to vote for two phrases," she said, giving me the papers in disgust. I took a moment to read the directions and gave my response. "Actually, it says to vote for 'up to two' phrases, which means we can just vote for one if we so choose." My response, of course, brought heckles and pleasure from the guys. "I wrote the directions!" she told me, becoming more irritated. "Well then, we all vote for Manpower twice." This didn't do much to improve her mood. Rebecca told us that, as a girls team captain, she had veto power over any suggestion and then stormed back to the girls team.

Coach Quindt seemed to be amused by the whole thing, Coach Montague told us we were being immature and that we needed to take this seriously. Of course, we were prepared for this. We unanimously declared that we would refuse to buy t-shirts unless our vote was respected, and that the girls could buy the shirts themselves, at a much higher price since they wouldn't get the bulk discount.

Rebecca came back later, and asked for a "reasonable" guy who would be willing to "compromise" to talk with. Nick, the antithesis of what she was hoping for, was elected for this position by a group chant, nixing Rebecca's plan. I suggested that we get to put Manpower on one side of the shirt, and that the girls could put whatever they wanted on the other side. Joy Turner decided to ask Cris Ray, who she expected to find this behavior immature, what he thought. Cris wholeheartedly supported the shirt-splitting idea, saying the girls could have the front and we could have the back. (I told him we should have the front, and he told me I was too demanding.)

It seemed we were going to get our way, and force the girls to wear a shirt saying Manpower to swim meets. I overheard one frustrated girl tell some of the others, "look, they're gonna get Manpower either way."

So, did we finally get our way? Can you hope to see a girl swimmer wearing a shirt to school one day that says Manpower? Regrettably, it is not so.

Just when it seemed like the girls may have schismed and we would've had our way. Somebody proposed to the coaches that we have girls team shirts and guys team shirts. The coaches agreed. So now, both shirts will have the same design on the back, but the boys shirt will say Manpower on the front and the girls team shirt will say Save Water, Shower Together.

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My name is Jared and I'm an English major at UT. Politically I'm a mix of libertarian and neocon with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Otherwise I'm just a typical nerd.

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