Monday, May 28, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 492 - Memorial Day

May 28, 2007, 10:03 a.m.

Memorial Day

For my own little blog entry contribution to Memorial Day I offer a couple of links to others' creations, and a quote from a political rally yesterday as confirmation of, and a lead in to, a reprinting of a couple of pieces of mine -- one an earlier blog entry, the other an op ed column.

"Speaking of Faith." One of my favorite "Sunday church services" is the radio program, "Speaking of Faith," created and hosted by Krista Tippett. Yesterday she ran a repeat of her 2006 Memorial Day program. You can listen to it, for free, from her Web site, where it's now featured as "The Soul of War." (As the site describes it, "With Iraq veteran and chaplain Major John Morris, we explore how war challenges the human spirit and the core tenets of a life of faith.") I found it as informative as moving in my personal probing of the depths of what Memorial Day is designed to honor.

Mouths of Babes My next offering is a video sent me by Cindy Asner. It's a six-minute speech by a 13-year-old girl to a United Nations' gathering, a plea to the grownups to do a better job of governing. The current Iraq war puts all the sacrafice on the troops and their families (and the Iraqis). No rationing, no wartime excess profits tax, no war bonds, no victory gardens, no pay-as-you-go taxation. Instead of such sacrifices after 9/11, his suggestion, President Bush simply proposed, "Here are some tax breaks. Go shopping." So we did. Since we're putting the $2 trillion cost of this war on our grandchildren's credit card, we probably do owe them at least a respectful listen. Here, then, is Severn Suzuki:

When winning isn't "the only thing." Packers coach Vince Lombardi is most often credited with the line, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing" (though it may have first been uttered by UCLA coach Henry "Red" Sanders).

Upon learning the Democrats were continuing to insist they were trying to stop the war (a war they had earlier voted to start) while simultaneously voting to give President Bush an additional $100 billion to keep it going, I began a blog entry, immediately following one updating the Mary Gilchrist case, with these two paragraphs:

And speaking of Mary Gilchrist, I earlier repeated her comment that, "I think one has to do the right thing, and the consequences cannot be the major factor that determines what one does." Nicholas Johnson, "Pounding Nails" in "UI Held Hostage Day 486 - Secrecy Issues & Other UI Items," May 22, 2007.

I'm reminded of it this morning as I'm reading the Washington Post's account of yesterday's war funding bill. Shailagh Murray, "Congress Passes Deadline-Free War Funding Bill; Measure Includes Benchmarks for Iraqis," Washington Post, May 25, 2007, p. A1.

. . .
Nicholas Johnson, "Ending the War" in "UI Held Hostage Day 489 - Hines, Gilchrist & War's End," May 25, 2007.

I was reminded of Lombardi and Gilchrist again yesterday, in a shelter house in the Iowa City Park, where the Johnson County Democrats had gathered for a picnic, and to listen to Senator Joe Biden. See, Hieu Pham, "Biden Defends War Funding," Iowa City Press-Citizen, May 28, 2007, p. 3A. (My own photos of the event are available at

Whatever you may think of Biden as a presidential candidate -- and he certainly made a forceful impression -- or of his positions on the war (unlike Senators Clinton and Obama he voted for the $100 billion and, as the photos show, there were anti-war protesters at the event) -- he uttered a line that caused me to take out my Palm and make a note of it:

"There are some things worth losing an election for."

What a concept! It's one I don't think I have ever before heard coming from a win-at-any-cost elected official. It is so contrary to what I was bemoaning in that "Ending the War" blog entry: politicians willing to continue to fund an unnecessary and counterproductive "war of choice" -- with all the human and economic costs that involves in deaths, lifetime disabilities, and destruction of Iraq's basic infrastructure -- rather than risk being seen as sufficiently "weak on terrorism" that they might actually lose their next election.

And finally, . . .

"Counterproductive" War Why do I call it a counterproductive war? For the same reasons I outlined before Bush sent in the troops: Nicholas Johnson, "Ten Questions for Bush Before War," The Daily Iowan, February 4, 2003, p. 6A. This was an analysis that is not, of course, as detailed as those now coming out that were provided to the Administration by intelligence officers at the time -- but it is fully consistent with them. It's just further evidence that figuring out what was likely to happen was not rocket science; it was even obvious to a communications law professor in Iowa. That, too, is something worth reflecting upon this Memorial Day.

UICCU and "Optiva"

The UICCU-Optiva story is essentially behind us. There may be occasional additions "for the record," but for the most part the last major entry, with links to the prior material from October 2006 through March 2007, is
"UICCU and 'Optiva'" in Nicholas Johnson, "UI Held Hostage Day 406 - March 3 - Optiva," March 3, 2007. Since then there have been two major additions: Nicholas Johnson, "Open Letter to UICCU Board" in "UI Held Hostage Day 423 - March 20 - UICCU," March 20, 2007, and "'Open Letter': Confirmation from World Council of Credit Unions" in "UI Held Hostage Day 424 - March 21 UICCU," March 21, 2007.

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[Note: If you're new to this blog, and interested in the whole UI President Search story . . .

These blog entries begin with Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search I," November 18, 2006.

Wondering where the "UI Held Hostage" came from? Click here. (As of January 25 the count has run from January 21, 2006, rather than last November.)

For any given entry, links to the prior 10 will be found in the left-most column. Going directly to will take you to the latest. Each contains links to the full text of virtually all known media stories and commentary, including mine, since the last blog entry. Together they represent what The Chronicle of Higher Education has called "one of the most comprehensive analyses of the controversy." The last time there was an entry containing the summary of prior entries' commentary (with the heading "This Blog's Focus on Regents' Presidential Search") is Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search XIII -- Last Week," December 11, 2006.

My early proposed solution to the conflict is provided in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VII: The Answer," November 26, 2006.

Searching: the fullest collection of basic documents related to the search is contained in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search - Dec. 21-25," December 21, 2006 (and updated thereafter), at the bottom of that blog entry under "References." A Blog Index of entries on all subjects since June 2006 is also available. And note that if you know (or can guess at) a word to search on, the "Blogger" bar near the top of your browser has a blank, followed by "SEARCH THIS BLOG," that enables you to search all entries in this Blog since June 2006.]

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Media Stories and Commentary

See above.

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1 comment:

BJ said...

Hey-since you’re a YouTuber, you might want to check this out… There’s a video company that’s recruiting YouTubers and if they like your stuff, (and they should) they will actually pay you when your video gets a hit. Here’s their link… It’s about time the people who make the videos get some of the money instead of it all going to YouTube!