Wednesday, December 14, 2005

International Rice Skating

In the world of ice skating national champions compete for international recognition. They are judged on a combination of skills—the confluence of technical and interpretive skills that culminate in a memorable and worthy performance.

Condoleezza Rice is currently America’s ice skating champion, lifted into the international arena by overwhelming partisan support. But out on the ice she stands alone, save for an isolated partisan crowd, and faces European judges inherently critical and wiser and older than she.

As the music swells she begins her routine cautiously, defensively but then quickly builds up her energy. Starting with some easy but crowd pleasing double toe-loops and salkoes she gathers momentum before launching into a spin. The pace now quickened she proceeds to the footwork section, traversing the ice with dazzling changes of position and direction before finally lining up for a double-triple combination capped with a camel spin.

The scores are posted. On both technical merit and interpretation the European judges are less than impressed. Rice’s "Rendition Rhapsody", and her originality, though recognized counted against her.
With disappointing scores Rice’s response was to attack the judges—not a tactic that will turn them around any time soon.

Will she be back next year to finally clinch worldwide acclaim and financial nirvana? Or will she be relegated to the exclusively American professional ice-skating circuit, performing "oil’s Well That End Well on Ice" or "Rendition Rabbit Saves Christmas"? Only time and millions of wasted dollars will tell.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The (Military) Children Are Our Future

Apparently it’s not enough for President Bush and Dick Cheney to justify their Iraq policy to captive audiences of serving military personnel, now they have to appeal to their kids too.

But instead of the childlike POTUS or the scowling "VEEP" delivering the message, it is Mrs Cheney who has been tapped to explain to elementary school children at two Washington-area Marine Corps bases in Quantico and Fort Belvoir, Virginia how 21st Century Iraq is just like 18th Century America.,,-5476471,00.html

Who better to explain to these likely future recruits the historical importance of their parents’ mission than a woman best known for a novel about barely concealed lesbianism in the Wild West?
``Two hundred and seventeen years ago, we held our first vote under our Constitution,'' Vice President Dick Cheney's wife said. ``We started then on the path the Iraqis are walking now.''

Never mind that the new Americans didn’t have to risk their lives to cast their votes, that they weren’t under occupation, that the Constitution specifically rejected the role of religion in both government and law.
The new Iraqi Constitution does( in common with the US Constitution) allow for amendments—an aspect that Lynne Cheney said provides ``a very important historical parallel'' with America's early democratic struggle.

``We did much the same thing in terms of our Constitution,'' she said on CNN.
``Many were reluctant to ratify (it) until they were told there would be amendments. ... So there are indeed many parallels and I look forward to talking with kids about it.''

Well that much I suppose is true: the paths are parallel…meaning they don’t converge in any way whatsoever. But draw two horizontal parallel lines on a chalkboard and any elementary schoolchild will recognize it as "equal".

It seems we can no longer rely on the old adage "History is written by the winners". From today it seems it should be replaced by "History is written by those who write it first, and re-write it later". As the military kids grow up and stumble across another old chestnut "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" which history will they remember? The history written after the fact or the history crafted before the fact?