I can’t, or more likely don’t want to, believe that there are still six and a half months to go before the U.S. presidential election is held. My usual approach to such election years is to tune out everything until early in the actual year in which the election is held; I steadfastly refuse to pay attention in calendar years before that one (so I wasn’t paying attention to the campaigning that happened in 2003). I take a surface reading of the situation as the party conventions approach, and between conventions and election, I dig into the positions of the two candidates, tolerating the flying mud in the process.
At least, that’s the usual plan. This year, though, the race is basically settled and the muck is already thick in the air. Is Kerry more or less of a flip-flopper than Bush? Which candidate has the better or worse economic plan? Who will be a better or worse leader in the “war on terror?” Who can tell? If I believed everything each side said about the other, I’d probably conclude that my clear duty as a patriot was to practice my sharpshooting and plan to attend both party conventions. Or else flee the country.
Not that the latter idea hasn’t already occurred to some who are being made to feel a lot less welcome these days. (Thanks for the pointer, Phil.) I wonder: would gays be willing to give up the right to marry if conservatives gave up the right to divorce? ‘Cause most of those leading the fight for “family values” have had more than one family, and apparently believe so deeply in the “sanctity of marriage” that they’ve gone back for more sanctity, if you catch my drift. I’ve also sometimes wondered if women would give up the right to abortion if those opposed to abortion would give up the right to reproduce. It seems like a place to start negotiating, anyway.
The media, as usual, isn’t helping in the slightest. Know how much Bush’s plan to go to Mars will cost? No, you don’t. The trillion-dollar figure we’ve heard so often is about as accurate as Percival Lowell’s maps of Martian canals, and based on math that makes about as much sense as planning to cut deficits by raising spending while reducing revenue. So while getting to Mars certainly won’t be cheap, we’ve all been handed a thoroughly false picture of just how not-cheap it might be. What else is getting lost in the shouting?
I do have to wonder how many times we’re going to see former Bush administration officials claim that the priorities there are or were sorely off kilter, and then have those still in the administration dismiss the critics as partisan, wrong, irresponsible, mentally deficient, or (more usually) all of the above. (See: Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill, et. al.) I mean, sure, every boss has former employees that don’t like him, but there does seem to be sort of a trend emerging. When it’s paired with the recent statements by current and former IAEA officials, the brow does furrow with a bit of concern. But hey, the IAEA site uses valid XHTML and CSS for layout! So that’s cool!
Should I be worried that the valid IAEA site seems like cause for celebration?
I do feel oddly proud that I suspected it was a validating, tableless site the instant I laid eyes on it, and my diagnosis favelets simply confirmed that impression. It’s an odd thing to get a feel for the underlying nature of a page just by looking at it. If only I could translate that skill to evaluating investment opportunities.