Sunday, November 13, 2005

Interesting Comments Re: School Shooting 

I direct your attention to the comments on the below post about the Campbell County school shooting.

I was actually really skeezed out when the first comment was posted by someone who accused the school's principal of being at fault, so I was glad to see someone add their own opinion to the mix. I know little nothing about the situation there other than what I have seen reported, so I'm in no place to judge the veracity of the comments.

In the days and weeks to come, as CCHS recovers from the tragedy, I think all of us want to gain a richer understanding of how and why this happened. One can only hope, however, that we won't see this devolve into petty politics or an attempt to excuse the situations that made the events possible.

Friday, November 11, 2005

"We Do Not Torture" 

In a classic post for Bob Harris, he notes that Bush's "We do not torture" comment is reminiscent of surrealist art, or at least of Nixon's "I am not a crook" line.

Go read it, and be simultaneously educated and amused. He is a very funny man.

I'm traveling this weekend, so blogging will be light to non-existent.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Campbell County Mourning 

Putting aside the rather disturbing comment someone left below, I'd imagine that these are tough times in Campbell County. Scott Barker has a good overview of the reaction in today's paper.

Thinking back not too terribly long ago to when I was in high school, I don't think I could imagine three of the school's leadership being shot, and one dying. In some ways, administrators take on an almost immortal feel in a lot of high schools. Students sometimes love them and sometimes hate them, but they have an air of immovable objects. They were there when you got there, and they'll be there when you go.

I'd be interested to see how the students' reaction differs in the death and injury of administrators in this fashion versus the same thing happening to other students. Regardless, this is a harsh mark to leave on the lives of people who are in a stage that means so much.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm So Glad I Got My Religion In Time... 

Last night, Democrat Tim Kaine was elected Governor of Virginia in a win over Jerry Kilgore.

While Kaine spent a lot of time smartly riding the coattails of the uber-popular current Governor, Mark Warner, he also took a tack that more progressives and liberals should take: he didn't lay down when challenged on moral issues. The Washington Post today highlights Kaine's use of faith as his shield against an amazingly underhanded GOP attack on the death penalty:
Kaine defended himself against Kilgore's attack on the subject by saying that it is his beliefs as a deeply religious Catholic that lead him to oppose the death penalty and abortion. But he also said he would follow the law on capital punishment and advocate laws that protect the right to abortion.

"The elite never really got that argument," said David Eichenbaum, one of Kaine's media advisers, referring to columnists and others who wondered how Kaine could be, in his words, "morally" opposed and yet pledge not to try to change the law. "But people who heard him got it."
What "the elites" didn't get is that it is, in fact, possible to separate your faith from your duty to serve the people. Liberals have been so soured on the prospect of faith by years of harassment at the hands of fundamentalists that they have lost sight of this most progressive of tenets.

A George Mason professor is also quoted in the story:
"I think this is an interesting test case for Democrats to see if you can run a faith-based campaign focused on values and do so as a progressive candidate in a Southern state," Rozell said.

It worked, Rozell said, because of Kaine's frequent reference to his service as a missionary in Honduras while in law school and his familiarity with the language of religion. "It did not come off as calculated," he said.
And there's the point. It works if it is real. As liberals, we accept people of all faiths and lack thereof. You don't have to be religious - Christian or otherwise - to be a good candidate. But if you are a religious progressive, then don't be afraid to say so, especially in the South.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Assistant Principal Dies In School Shooting 

Ken Bruce, Assistant Principal at Campbell County high school has died from wounds inflicted in today's school shooting - it's being reported on WATE.

Another assistant principal is in ciritcal condition and the principal is in serious condition at UT Hospital.

This is not what anyone would expect to happen in Jacksboro or Campbell County.

Frist: Open Mouth, Insert Foot 

Watching CNN this afternoon has been an exercise in the political incompetence of Bill Frist. First, CNN reported that he and Dennis Hastert had called for a new leak investigation, this time into who gave the Washington Post information on our country's secret European torture facilities.

Clearly, they made a stink about this in the hopes that some Democratic official might be outed for a national security leak. Putting aside the relative merits of exposing illegal prisons and torture as opposed to outing an undercover spy for political retribution against her husband, this was pretty silly from people whose argument against the Rove/Libby investigation was that "leaks happen all the time". The strategy to nail a Democrat for something is interesting though.

Woops! Turns out it was probably a Republican who leaked it! Sen. Trent Lott, no friend to his successor as majority leader after he endorsed a return to racism, announced that the information in the Post story came almost word-for-word from a Republican Senatorial policy briefing.

I'm sure that First and Hastert will continue to press just as hard now that we know it was probably a Republican leak...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Comfort Food 

It shouldn't have surprised me, seeing all that orange.

Yet, as my friend and I walked into the Cracker Barrel in Kokomo, Ind. this weekend, we were a bit taken aback to see an entire restaurant filled with people like us - wearing orange, looking downtrodden and seeking comfort in some biscuits and sawmill gravy.

I was once again in beautiful Indiana over the weekend, this time for the Tennessee-Notre Dame game. The game itself aside, It was a tremendous college football experience.

The welcoming spirit of the folks at Notre Dame is just as advertised. From the parking lot attendants and bus drivers to fans we met along the way, I don't think we met once person who didn't welcome us to the University and ask if we needed anything. I had always heard about how nice Notre Dame people were, but it was truly a unique experience.

Of course, the campus was gorgeous, and I was struck by the beauty of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. All the traditions were everything you'd expect. Once you've been, you can see why such a small stadium can still be so intimidating. If you haven't been, go.

But back to that comfort food. As my friend and I drove back from South Bend to Indy, it was late and we were hungry and bummed about the game. Each of us remembered the Cracker Barrel we had passed in scenic Kokomo on the way up Highway 31, and decided it'd be worth a stop. Seeing all of the Tennessee fans inside gave us a chuckle. Our waiter said he had never seen so many people wearing orange all at once.

It seemed appropriate, though, that Tennesseans would seek a little food from home that far away. I wonder if we all instinctively knew that the best place we could be after a day like ours was our hometown restaurant away from home. Regardless, the comfort food did its job, and we headed back to Indy high on pancakes and country ham.

South Knox TL... 

Well, I'm back and writing to you from my new home of Knoxville! I'm a bit unsure how this will change the nature of my blog, as I still want to keep a close finger on the pulse of Chattanooga, even from a few miles up the road. I'm sure it'll be a while before I am totally steeped in Knoxville knowledge as well.

I do see why Bubba and others love South Knox so much, and I already get why they don't entirely love the idea of the Chattanooga illuminati building things on their waterfront. But, there's time to learn more about those issues and others.

While I've been gone, the Bush ship has pretty well begun sinking, which makes me happy, though I do think that in the case of Alito v. Myers, the devil we didn't know may have been way preferable in spite of her total lack of qualifications. Libby should definitely spend some time in the pokey, and I can only hope that Rove will head that way soon too.

But, I am back, in Knoxville, and ready to get back to blogging regularly now that I am settled in.

Knoxvillians, what do I need to know now that I am here?

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