Canal Water Review

"To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing." Hypatia "Yeah. That pretty much sucks canal water." cwr

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Crawford Newspaper Endorses Kerry

Our local CBS affiliate (KEYE) had this report earlier in the week. It's just too much fun to pass up the opportunity to point out that irony is alive and well, even in Texas.

A Texas weekly newspaper that bills itself as President Bush's hometown paper
has endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president. The Lone Star
says the Massachusetts senator will restore American dignity.
The Crawford-based newspaper has a circulation of about 425 and endorsed Bush in
2000. Bush's ranch is near Crawford. The editorial says Texans should rate the
candidates not by hometown or political party, but by where they intend to take
the country. The Iconoclast editorialized in support of the invasion of
Iraq and publisher W. Leon Smith backed Bush and the invasion in a BBC
interview. But now the editorial says Americans were duped into believing Saddam
Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. [Edited for punctuation.]

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Growing Pessimism on Iraq

Dana Priest and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writers, provided a grim picture of what's happening in Iraq by listing attitudes and concerns from a variety of perspectives as expressed by "career professionals within national security agencies." They then contrast these assessments with the much rosier picture being painted by elected and appointed officials, including the President. It's pretty much a "rabbit hole" report.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Support the troops

I am mindful of of the constant admonition to "Support our troops!" It makes sense to do so, no matter whether they have been called to fight a just war or that other kind. (Hint: Iraq.) The military in all its branches has a job to do that has to be done in peacetime or in wartime. They protect us by their presence and their readiness in the former time and walk through the valley of death for us in wartime.

I am, however, much conflicted by the kinds of things I am urged to do in support of the troops. I don't particularly idolize someone just because he or she is wearing a uniform. I don't walk up to strangers and tell them: "Good job. We support you!" I do, however, confess to tearing up a bit when I go through an airport and see some poor, tired GI waiting for his chance to go home for a while. I spend a moment thinking about his situation, what he may have been through, how long he's been away from home and family--and wishing him well. But I've always done that. It's something that's been almost ingrained thanks to my late father's great concern for fellow veterans and soldiers, something I witnessed as a young child when he would pick up any hitchhiking soldier and drive miles out his way to make sure that they got all the way home.

I suppose that flying the flag and saying patriotic things might be a way to support the troops, but I am more concerned about how the troops are treated. I was seriously put out to read, during the height of the early fighting in Iraq, that some troops didn't have food. The supply line was too long--and the responsibility of providing meals had been privatized--so the front line was too dangerous for the civilians who would otherwise be providing meals. It was similarly aggravating to think that many troops didn't have the body armor they needed, the right color camoflauge uniforms, and, for all I know, the right weapons for the environment. How do you go to war in a desert with woodlands camoflauge, I wondered, more than a little angry at what looked like some poor logistical planning. And then their combat pay was cut? Sheesh.

But most of my attention to the matter of supporting the troops comes from the sad things that I have discovered while researching some elements of the health care system. When these troops come home--if they don't come home in a coffin--they may get a fine welcome, maybe even a parade. But they won't get much health care. Access to care through the Veteran's Administration was cut more than a year ago and the co-pays charged to those still eligible for care was doubled. And there are more cuts planned in the near future that include hospital closings and further restrictions on access.

Then, too, there's every reason to believe that war is much more traumatic than we've ever admitted in this country. We have more or less blithely sent our men--and now our women--off to war with the expectation that they will do their jobs well and return to praise and thanks, with maybe a few days to rest a bit. After VietNam we began to talk about post traumatic stress syndrome, realizing that it wasn't just a phenomenon of that war, that it had been evident in other wars--without the respect that its devastation on the human psyche deserved. Now we may be seeing that even those soldiers who don't show their distress overtly may nonetheless be suffering--but the help they need is not available.

I know that there are several more instances in which I think we've let our troops down, and I realize that I should be taking the time to document each of these assertions to help support my own veracity. I'm being lazy right now, I know. But it's just that I read something today that made me realize, yet again, how hollow is the admonition to "support the troops." Southpaw ( wrote:

Yet, people like my neighbor with their "Supoort President Bush and the troops" need to scratch out one or the other because it's becoming increasingly clear that you can't support Bush and support the troops at the same time. [Emphasis added.]

Why? The high number of reservists returned from Iraq to find that their jobs are gone, their careers over.

Some folks say that you don't have to support President Bush in order to support the troops. Some folks even say that you don' thave to support the War in Iraq in order to support the troops. All I say is that there's more to supporting the troops than saying "Attaboy!" And, when the war is over, they are still going to need our support.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Another Survivor series starts on Thursday night. This is a much anticipated event in our house. It is something of a guilty pleasure for My Prince and me, but we enjoy the series immensely. We have been faithful viewers since the very first series a few years ago, and we always look forward to the new series when it comes out.

A great deal of our interest in the series is because it reflects some of our own experience in living in East Africa. At different points in time, I lived in Kenya and then in Tanzania. My Prince joined me in Tanzania. The experience was life-altering in some critical ways, but most particularly in giving us a greater appreciation of how luxurious is our material wealth in the U.S. Life here, no matter how hard, is really easy compared to what it is in a third world country.

We have always been a bit thrifty. That comes from having parents who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. We were both taught to treat our possessions with care, to think twice before we spent money. After East Africa, we became avid recyclers. We not only recycle, we re-use. Plastic drink bottles can be cut down to form really neat "bins" for sorting all those nuts and bolts that My Prince has been hoarding for a zillion years. Cardboard boxes are dutifully brought home from the office to be used for storing the books that no longer fit on the shelves (I'm saving them for my retirement, when I hope to re-read each one!). One old shampoo bottle has been re-used for several years to hold the watered-down shampoo that is doled out from the large-economy-size-on-sale stuff that is much richer than what is actually needed to get one's hair clean.

It's not that we're inordinately cheap--it's more that we have seen what it is like to do without on a fairly grand scale. We know how to purify our water. We know how to entertain ourselves without television or newspapers. We know how to look at "trash" and see what other use something can be put to.

In Dar es Salaam, when we could get margarine, it came in a tin can. How do you keep the flies out? Get a lid! But where? We actually asked our parents to send us old plastic lids in various sizes from the food containers that they were through with. It worked wonderfully. And now we know that we don't have to buy a special lid for the cat food cans--just use the lid from bean dip. (BTW, margarine is whipped oil. It is white--unless the yellow food coloring is added. It did take some getting used to to put white "butter" on bread, but bread was so hard to get, I guess any color would have done just fine.)

So we enjoy watching Survivor these days just to see how Americans can figure out how to live in an impoverished environment. Sometimes we see some really inept responses to the situation; sometimes we see someone who can make a fairly good go of creative use of the environment.

But Survivor is not actually about survival. It's a test of human relations. A group of strangers is placed in a stressful situation and challenged to be the last one standing. We never tire of looking at how people treat each other in this kind of situation. We do understand that each person is "edited" to present them in a particular kind of way. Some perfectly nice person may have a couple of quirks that are then highlighted in the few minutes of footage presented about them, and you'd never know by watching the show that that's a perfectly nice person. But getting past the individuals, we see the group dynamics. We always wonder how the women can't seem to band together to defeat the men. We see the division caused by age and recognize it for a reflection of something going on in our own life. We see how the presentation of self can differ radically from what one is really thinking and can deceive regarding intentions.

We are always amazed to see how much the group dynamics on Survivor highlights some of the problems in society at large. The fear of the "other" that crops up in racism and other -isms is well reflected in Survivor. As often as not, it's the ethnic folks that get voted out sooner rather than later. Although one black woman and one hispanic woman have won a Survivor series, they seem to be exceptions in surviving group dynamics. An Asian woman who quite validly ate parts of a chicken, I think, that most Americans consider inedible was reflecting her culture--and a wise use of protein in a protein-poor environment--was viewed as "gross," "weird," "scary." A native american who knew a few tricks about overcoming hunger and who also knew how to be alone with himself was accused of cheating and eliminated--quite simply because he didn't fit in to the lazier group culture. Interestingly enough, the gay folks who were "out" in the various series seem to be less of an "other" than the ethnic folks.

And, of course, we enjoy watching Survivor because it's just plain fun to try to figure out who is going to win. We always end up having our favorites. Sometimes My Prince and I agree on a favorite, sometimes not. We watch each week--together or separately (sometimes I work late and catch it at the office)--and then talk about our perceptions. We criticize the bumbling survival activities. We analyze the group dynamics. And then we just have a good time trying to figure out who's deceiving the others, who is getting along well, who might be vulnerable to an elimination vote. We tend to like those who work hard at keeping the camp running. We tend to like the ones who are honorable. We are both fairly disgusted with the bimbos.

Thursday night is "date night" at our house. It's best not to call between 7 and 8, cuz we'll be watching Survivor. I can hardly wait!


When My Prince and I got married, there were some adjustments. One thing became immediately clear: The grocery store was no longer on his list of places to go. (My not taking out the garbage seemed a fair trade.) So, for 26 years, I've been the one to go out and forage for food.

When my work gets hectic, supplies can get pretty low. My Prince will, when faced with imminent starvation, pick up some lunchmeat and tortillas--but never anything that could actually end up being a family meal.

In the past year, my ability to handle the grocery shopping has declined. I start out well enough, but the cart gets pretty heavy pretty quickly. Pushing it up and down the aisles becomes quite wearing. A few times, I've had to sit down and rest before I could continue. Several times I've need help to get things out of the store. When a complete stranger walked over one day to push my basket and help me unload things into the car, I realized that I had to do something.

I tried eating before the trip to the store, but I still seemed to run out of steam before I finished. I nibbled on the samples when they were being offered and still ran out of steam. For a while, when the grandson was living with us, I conned him into going to the store with me. He was a huge help, pushing the basket, loading and unloading the car. When he moved out to share an apartment with friends, I made one more trip to buy groceries alone. It didn't work well. I just ran out of available glucose before I could get the basket to the door much less to my car.

So I explained to My Prince that we needed to add the grocery store back to his itinerary. Today was our first try at shopping together.


First, you have to understand that the old boy is darned near deaf as a post. Even with his super duper hearing aids, the background noise in a grocery store creates massive communication problems. Second, you have to understand that it is in the nature of our relationship that we will always have different ideas about how to get any given task done efficiently. And, third, you have to understand that he would rather be anywhere than shopping for anything.

So he likes to make lists. I make lists, too, but I generally lose them and have to go from memory. I make lists to get myself ready to shop, but the real shopping is done by going up and down the aisles and thinking about what we might need, what's a good deal, what will make a meal. I look at the things he puts on the grocery list that hangs on the refrigerator door as suggestions.

Today, however, we took the list. He only asked me three times if I had it and, remarkably, stopped asking after the third "yes." Of course, he then started asking about the coupons. Now I generally don't shop with coupons. Most coupons are for brands that we don't buy. Whenever possible, I buy generic or house brand. And coupons are as hard to keep up with as the darned grocery list. Me, I want to shop, not fiddle with paper.

Today, we took coupons. It did happen that there were a couple of coupons in the Sunday paper that actually fit our needs, so I clipped 'em. And My Prince collects Paw Points from the cat litter box. (Since the cat will only use one kind of litter, it's only fair that we get a free box now and then.) I had to keep them in my hand along with the grocery list throughout the entire shopping adventure so I wouldn't forget them at checkout. Only later did I realize that my ever faithful reminder system (i.e., My Prince) would surely have asked me for the umpteenth time if I had the blasted things.

So we started shopping. We start at the middle of the store, where the soft drinks are. We drink a lot of 'em. He's a Diet Dr. Pepper fan. I go for Diet Coke. But we buy the house brand of DDP in 3-liter jugs. Diet Coke has to be on sale before we buy it. Otherwise, I drink the DDP-taste-alike, unless I cheat and buy some 1.5 liters bottles of the real (diet) thing because I just want to. So I cheated today, big time. We cleared the shelf of the stuff. And tossed in some 3-liter jugs for My Prince. So the basket got pretty full and pretty heavy right off the bat.

Our route then led to the far end of the store where the non-edibles are kept. We went up and down several of those aisles, skipping the items on the list that are cheaper at the discount warehouse where we buy them in bulk quantities. Having the list and noting the antsiness of my cart driver, I skipped the aisles where I knew we didn't need anything. We had a full cart by the time we made it to the other end of the store, but we still had to buy perishables.

Parking cart#1 and getting cart #2, I turned him loose on the vegetables and fruits. He says he's going to eat more fruit. I let him pick up a whole bag of apples, but it's strictly "wait and see" on my part. I really want to see whether he will eat that many apples or whether we'll have to rely on the grandson being a bottomless pit (which he basically is). On through the meat department, where we had to discuss the merits of pre-cooked chicken breasts and the frozen-but-uncooked kind. The crisis was averted when I reminded him that I actually knew how to cook something from almost scratch and he could survive on the already cooked kind when I was elsewhere. Another small crisis came at the dairy section, when I started to pick up a gallon of milk. It was on the list. In his handwriting. I just didn't know that he had actually ventured out to a nearby convenience store and purchased a gallon (at a premium price) a couple of days ago. Oh well.

We finally made it through the entire store--and I guided him back to the cash registers while avoiding the ice cream aisle. Then came the issue of how to sack the groceries. After years of experience, I have a fairly quirky set of specs for the sacker. Put the perishables in plastic. Put everything else in paper. I actually hate plastic bags. They are awkward. Things spill out. There's not much in bag. But, if the perishables go in plastic, those are the bags that I unload first. I can pop the stuff that needs to be refrigerated into the fridge right away and, best of all, leave the rest for later unloading by whichever of the menfolk I can con into it.

The only problem is, you have to make it really simple for the sacker, or he/she will invariably put the cheese in with the cereal. It's definitely the pits to go out to unload the car a few hours later--or even the next day--and find that the cheese has been sitting there the whole time. So I unload all the cold stuff from the basket first. Then I put a divider between the cold stuff and the non-perishable items. The theory is that any idiot can then follow my instructions about sacking and not mix things up. Not that the theory always works. I usually have to check things pretty carefully before I leave anything in the car for later unloading.

So there's the semi-deaf Prince at his first major grocery haul in a quarter of a century. He doesn't know why I'm separating the groceries. It looks to him like I'm going to pay with two checks. And where are the coupons, he asks again. After some shouting and some gestures, he managed to act like I had things under control and waited to let me and the checker get things done.

Then there was a convoy of baskets to the car. Fill the car. Drive home. Start unloading. With the two of us, we managed to get everything out of the car, but once I got the perishables stored, I was too pooped to cook anything. (We ate sausage wraps, finishing off the sausage that I had picked up in Elgin on my way home on Sunday.) There are still several sacks that have not been unpacked--after the news, I took a four hour nap!

Happily, we won't have to do this again for two or more weeks. We'll have to go to the discount warehouse in the interim, of course. And, since we pick up things for various family members (including things to fill up the ever voracious grandson), it's bound to fill the car up again.

Equally happily, I think this will be fun. I do recall being somewhat disappointed all those long years ago that we wouldn't be grocery shopping together. I'm not too happy that it took a screwed up pancreas to get us together behind a shopping cart, but I'm glad we're there. Look for the short round woman shouting at the grumpy old fart the next time you go to the grocery store. We're having a blast.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Self Criticism in Arab Media

Self criticism in Arab media is apparently now happening with the horrifying aftermath of the hostage taking at a school in Russia. Finally, terrorists have crossed a line that no one can stomach.

I guess I was there a long time ago. William Kole talks about extremists aiming for maximum attention and the escalation to soft targets as opposed to government buildings and such. The thinking now seems to be that such targets as schools and other civilian structures will become the "vogue" for terrorists, that after 9/11 only such targets will get our attention.

Funny, I thought there were plenty of soft targets when the American embassy in Nairobi was blown up. I thought there were plenty of soft targets at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. And there were a fair number of soft targets at the Thirty Two Degrees North Pub in Belfast when someone rammed a backhoe filled with flammable materials into the front of it--yesterday. The latter event came within days of yet another attempt to shore up the often-broken "cease fire" in Northern Ireland, where soft targets have been hit for decades.

It's good that Arab media are looking at the fact that most of the terrorism in the world today seems to come from extremist Muslims. It's good that they recognize that such acts do more harm than good to any world concern for the issues at stake.

What I'm waiting for is their Ghandi. Their Martin Luther King, Jr. Maybe he/she is there, but we don't see? Dunno. But I'm glad that the discussion of tactics is now happening in Arab media. I only hope that it continues--and that some of those media actually reflect the views of their viewing audience.

Survival of the Fittest

George Lakoff, a noted linguist, writes about the frames used by President Bush in his acceptance speech. This is the fourth of his series about the frames used in major speeches at the Republican National Convention.

On Day One of the convention, the frame, he says, was : All terror, all the time (The global War of Terror defines our lives and our generation).
On Day Two: Pull yourself up by your bootstraps--if you can afford the boots (With enough discipline, all Americans can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become prosperous).
On Day Three: Red-meat night frames Kerry (Kerry is weak, unpatriotic, antimilitary, against national security, without resolve, soft-hearted, confused, and totally unfit to be commander-in-chief).
And Day Four, the President's frame: Freedom, liberty, freedom.

The concept of frames is itself an interesting one. Something like the paradigms we talked about in the olden days, the concept is meant to explain how we view things, how our perspective literally shapes our perception. A photographer "frames" a shot by selecting what portion of his 360-degree perspective to capture through his lens. All else is ignored because what is seen through the lens is all that can be seen. A painting is "framed" by its outer boundaries. Whatever else may have motivated the painter is unseen. In making our case for any particular point, the frame is provided in large part by our values, especially clearcut, bedrock values that can be stated in black and white terms. At least that's how I'm understanding frames right now without having read Lakoff's book on the subject.

That being said, there are a couple or three paragraphs in Lakoff's analysis of Bush's speech that are striking:

Conservatives have long sought to destroy Social Security and Medicare, for two reasons: First, from their moral perspective, all social programs take away the need for discipline and create dependency. Since discipline is seen as the basis of all morality, all such programs are immoral. Second, there is a business motive. Businesses can make more money if they can get their hands on all the Medicare and Social Security money as investments in them, not in the people whose health and future are insured. The conservative solution is to privatize both programs, creating "personal accounts." More freedom.

The motivation for government-run Social Security was that each generation would pay for the next. In Medicare, as in any insurance program, the lucky (those not injured or diseased) would pay for those less lucky. In addition, there were the twin motivations of economy of scale and of protection, from stock market declines, bad judgment, and from an individual's squandering. But in conservatism, those not sufficiently disciplined deserve what happens to them. If you're undisciplined enough to squander your personal savings account or not shrewd enough to invest wisely, then you deserve to lose your health and retirement money.

After all, conservatism posits a natural moral hierarchy of winners and losers. Conservatism gives you motivation (a pathway) to win. If you lose, your loss is a motivation to win in the future. If you're not disciplined enough to take advantage of the opportunities, too bad for you. You just won't make it in the opportunity society. And you don't deserve to.

I'm thinking that the frame here is "survival of the fittest" of the most crudely Darwinian sort. If you do not make it the opportunity/ownership society, then you are not fit to survive. How Christian is that?

Another perspective is that wealth becomes an indicator of superiority with the implication of worthiness. In other words, the wealthy are the "chosen people." Now that's more Christian--or at least Judeo-Christian. Just the wrong Testament.

Nervous Democrats

Ruy Teixiera at Donkey Rising tries to comfort the Nervous Nellies in the Democratic Party about Bush's post-convention bounce and some apparently anomalous polling results from Time. It's useful to have someone who takes the time--and apparently knows a thing or two about polling--to analyze the results as they come in so that the rest of us don't turn into blithering idiots as we panic about the election.

The absolute worst thing that could happen is for committed Democrats to think that the election is already over when the race has just truly begun.

I think the nervousness has some basis, however. As the 2000 election played out, I followed the polls intently. Some network news site had a helpful line graph, tracking polling results over the weeks and months of the campaign. I kept watching as those red and blue lines moved up and down, moved closer together and eventually crossed in the last days of the campaign. Despite the complicity of the corporate media in supporting Bush and bashing Gore (yeah, they were--it's called "Goring" now), it seemed that the voters were finally getting the message that Gore would be the better president. It looked like he would win, if only by a slim margin.

Well, he did win--the popular vote. And Bush took the electoral vote only after some seriously questionable events in Florida.

That, of course, is old news. Bitter news for partisans. From my perspective, it's something else altogether.

I had the sad experience of watching Bush as governor. I had seen the difficulties caused in Texas because of his administration--and knew of worse to come because of the policies that he had pushed through. I also knew about the things that he didn't care about and wouldn't do anything about--and to have him find a national forum in which to exercise that disregard would be a disaster for the things that I cared about.

During the campaign I was in a position that made me a potential resource for others who cared about a particular issue. One national-but-niche magazine called me to find out where Bush stood on the issue while he was governor. All I could say is that he didn't--do anything, say anything--he just didn't care. Another noted newspaper called and eventually asked for dirt. I was not connected enough to have any. All I could say is that he just didn't care. In a state with fairly conservative values, not caring was the same as opposing.

I was seriously concerned about the election outcome. I watched the election returns avidly. All night long. Only when Tom Brokaw had to get some sleep at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning did I, too, finally give it up and try to sleep. The next few weeks were a waking nightmare.

And so has the Bush administration been such a nightmare. I see how his personal beliefs and political agenda have become exactly the disaster I feared for the things that I care about most. I see how funding is cut--with profound effect on peoples' lives--in life and death matters. I see how he has actually used the issue to present himself as compassionate--for others, not Americans. And I see that even that use has been falsely presented, since his promises, even for others, have not been fulfilled except to advance his personal beliefs.

And now my concerns are broader. Thanks to his tax cuts, my take-home pay is $30 more each month. But my mother will now have a 17% increase in her Medicare premium this coming year. Thanks to his tax cuts, I am told that I'm not going to have the promised level of Social Security when I retire in the next few years. (Yes, I saved--but a little problem with a big stock market crash and companies like Enron and WorldCom have made Social Security a much bigger issue for me.)

It concerns me that Bush is a warmonger, that he is willing to lie to make the case for war, that he appears to use war to satisfy his own personal agenda. It concerns me that even our staunchest ally--Britain--is backing away from us. It concerns me that his rabid Christianity--which doesn't seem to involve actually going to church--leaves no room to understand that there are other belief systems in the world, that those belief systems deserve more than token respect.

It concerns me that we are told that there is no need to worry about inflation, because it's all under control. But gas is nearly $2.00 a gallon--still. And food costs more. And soon electricity and other necessities will cost more. Propane--in a natural gas producing state--is now $2.00 a gallon.

It concerns me that . . . well, this list goes on. Regardless of the nonsense of name-calling and mudslinging that is all the campaign that anyone seems to care about, there are some serious issues facing this nation--and some of them affect me and the people I care about. For some of them, it is even a matter of life and death. I'll be following the polls very closely in the next 8 weeks, and I'll be sitting up late on election night.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Mercurochrome and Purple Hearts

Republican conventioneers are apparently engaging in a massive attempt to mock Senator Kerry's medals by wearing bandaids with Purple Hearts printed on them. Just a little lighthearted give and take in the campaign? A spontaneous grassroots expression of opinion? Official collusion to promote the position of the Swift Boat Veteran's for Truth?

Whatever it is, it's sick. It's disgusting. It's disrespectful of all of those who have earned a Purple Heart in service of our country.

Should we now start lobbing bottles of mercurochrome at Bob Dole?

Will some sobsister reporter demand that Kerry disrobe to show his scars?

I am so angry with this whole debacle. The Purple Heart is awarded based on specific criteria: If John Kerry met those criteria and chose to accept the award, then the discussion should be closed. Those who have objections to the award should have voiced them 35 years ago.

If having a wound that only needed mercurochrome got Bob Dole his first Purple Heart (and he accepted it) is enough for him to hold his head up high, where does he get off criticizing Kerry's first Purple Heart? Maybe Dole should give his medal back if the wound was so insignificant.

Or maybe folks should figure out that the law that defines the conditions under which Purple Hearts can be given (even to civilians) is where their problem is. Maybe they need to start lobbying Congress to limit Purple Hearts to injuries that require a minimum of 20 stitches or attendance by two surgeons and an anesthesiologist or an undertaker.

Hell, in Texas you can get a license plate that indicates that you earned a Purple Heart( The applicant only has to show proof that the Purple Heart was awarded. There's no question about the severity of the wound. Should we now get DPS to start stopping all those PH plates and ask: "License, insurance, scars?"

If Purple Hearts have no value, then I suppose it's okay to stick on a silly bandaid and laugh about someone's injuries. But, if they have value, if they reflect our nation's gratitude that someone has served us in time of need and been injured because of it, then those bandaids are not so silly. They're pretty much like someone wearing a button showing a liquor bottle and saying, "Let's have another, George!" How about a bumper sticker that says: "Jesus died. Get over it."

It's said that in the heat of battle, soldiers sometimes do things that they would later be ashamed of. This campaign has become too heated. Shame on the Republican conventioneers.