Win without war–petition

I’m generally skeptical about the usefulness of Internet petitions. However, I think the organizers of the petition to Let the Inspections Work at MoveOn.org have the right idea about how to make a petition useful. They’re taking out a full page ad in the New York Times on Monday, and they’ll be including the number of petition signatories in the ad.

Take a minute and go to the petition. I think the petition letter below and at the link sends a balanced message about the situation in Iraq:

TO: President Bush
CC: Secretary of State Powell and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan

SUBJECT: Please Let the Inspections Work

Dear Mr. President,
On October 11, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution on Iraq that authorizes you to use war as a last resort — if and only if diplomacy fails to accomplish the U.S.’s national goals.

We are concerned that you found Iraq’s response “not encouraging” when the inspectors had only been at work for a week and so far had not encountered Iraqi obstruction.

In this context, we are also concerned by your Administration’s repeated attempts to frame Iraqi anti-aircraft fire within the no-fly-zone as a material breach of the resolution. As U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other U.N. diplomats have pointed out, the resolution clearly excludes such events from its jurisdiction.

The United States has made a commitment to approaching the danger that Saddam Hussein poses through the international community. The resumption of the inspections regime is a triumph for the U.S., international law and multilateralism. But the United States will lose all credibility with its allies if it appears that it will go to war regardless of the inspections’ success. And by alienating and infuriating allies through unilateral action, the U.S. could throw the success of the campaign against terrorism into jeopardy.

Mr. President, it appears that your administration is looking for an excuse to go to war, when a peaceful and just solution may be at hand. We ask that you live up to your word and give diplomacy a chance.

We can win without war.

A farewell to arms, specifically, economic loose cannons

The only possible question that can be asked about the resignations of Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey today is: what took so long? Did our president wake up this morning and say, “The economy is in the toilet. Guess I better do something”? Was that news to him?

I like the New York Times’ coverage best, including the list of O’Neill’s gaffes. “If you set aside Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the safety record of nuclear is really very good.” Is that like saying, If you set aside unemployment, deficit spending, and recession, the economic record of the second Bush administration is really very good?

Virginia Bowl Watch

It’s getting to be that time. That time when almost all the games have been played. When Virginia has played Virginia Tech (and the less said about that game the better). When all’s over but the shouting. And the bowls.

Ah yes, the bowls. The great holiday tradition: pissing off one’s spouse by parking immobile in front of the tube for several straight days to see the best in college football. Why do we care?

Why, because there’s a chance the Cavaliers might come to Seattle. Yes, Virginia, there is a Seattle Bowl. And right now it is one of the bowls that might extend an invitation to the Cavaliers.

Now the rest of the Virginia fans might not be happy about this—in fact, according to the fan poll on the Virginia Sports page (no permalink, look in the right nav at the bottom and vote), Seattle is about the last choice for a bowl for Virginia to go to. But it’s my first choice. Instead of ticking off my wife by sitting at home in front of the TV, I could freeze my ass off at the football stadium and cheer on my team instead. You bet I’m keeping my fingers crossed…

Fog and shades

My “excitement” over the rain beginning again on Wednesday was premature. Today we’re back to sunshine. And fog. I usually come in at the southeastern side of campus, which runs alongside low ground next to Marymoor Park, and this morning the fog was still heavy along the whole drive despite the morning sunshine.

Our friend Bethany was in town on business this week (she“s on Senator Murray’s staff). We met her for drinks last night. Which is to say, Lisa met her for drinks and I followed about half an hour later, having got stuck in traffic on the 520 bridge. In the meantime, they had moved on to Nordstrom’s for some boot shopping. As I said before, they both have impeccable taste, so it was quite a sight to watch the two of them run through Nordstrom’s inventory. Afterwards I ran back to work for a rehearsal of “Accidents Will Happen” (more on that shortly).

Why is this a houseblog entry? Because this morning I stumbled out of bed and downstairs to hang our newly arrived blinds in our front bedroom. Nothing like hanging blinds first thing in the morning to really get the day going. The only difficulties I ran into were a broken drill bit (the tip of one of my two 1/16th-inch bits broke off in the wood, fortunately leaving me enough to work with to finish the job) and a small problem with the measurements. I had measured inside one section of the frame, but then our window contractor came back and used that to put in the screens (since the windows swing out, the screens have to be installed inside the windows). So I had to go one molding section out, and as a result the blinds don’t fit as snugly as they might. But they’re installed and they work great.

Tonight is our housewarming. I hope to have some good pictures to share.