What is the definition of victory in Iraq? Lots and lots of purple fingers, that's the definition of victory in Iraq. It is so incredibly moving to watch the Iraqi people lining up to vote in a true election for the first time in decades and how proud and courageous the people are to be risking their lives to do so. For all the naysayers, and those truly hoping deep down for failure in the region, due to misguided raw political ambitions, just step back for a moment, open your eyes and your hearts, and look at the pictures. How could you be so black hearted as to not be optimistic? So selfish not to root for the good in this world and freedom for those other than yourself? I just don't understand it and I hope I never do.
Record numbers of Sunni voters came to the polls. The Sunni leaders got the lesson that if you do not participate in democracy, in free elections, you do not have a voice. Temper tantrums and not voting to spite others is only counter productive in the end. A good lesson to learn, if you ask me. I think the dour looks on many gutless wonders disguising themselves as politicians while doing everything possible to discredit this country's administration to the world wide press say it all. Iraq is well on its way to a new beginning despite their favorite expression of "I support the troops, but not the war". Such a stupid expression.
My friend has received a phone call from her husband and all is well with him. He is in country and doing his work.
Christmas break begins for my son at noon today. Looking forward to the break. Over the break he will be working on a project for his AP English class which involves the use of family photos. Sounds like a really fun kind of project.
Read any of the e-mails released by the governor of Louisiana's office? Seems she and her staff were overly concerned about her wardrobe choices like they were heard to criticize Michael Brown of FEMA. She continues to be a source of embarrassment. She was on C-Span yesterday demanding $230 billion from the federal government - that's your tax money - to rebuild the New Orleans area. The governor of Mississippi, dealing with the complete destruction of many small towns and the city of Biloxi, asked for $30 billions dollars. Quite a difference in attitude, don't you think? He was explaining that Mississippi doesn't expect the federal government to be responsible for all the problem solving.
Most of New Orleans is still standing and slowly opening back up. The lower ninth ward, hit the worst by breaking levees, is the source of debates as to if it should be rebuilt. The governor of Louisiana blames breaking levees for the flooding of New Orleans. Well, yeah. But where does the blame lay that over the period of several decades these levees were not properly maintained or repaired with the federal money sent to the state for such maintenance and repairs? Is it the entire country's responsibility to rebuild a city wrought with political corruption? This corruption relies on the very people displaced by Hurricane Katrina from the poorest section of the city to continue the status quo.
Where does government responsibility end and personal responsibility begin? If the cycle of generational poverty has a chance to be broken, is it not the responsibility of elected officials to block personal political ambitions and strive to do everything possible to break the cycle? The lower ninth ward in New Orleans was government housing. All the usual problems of poverty were present: high out of wedlock births, high drop out rates in schools, joblessness due to lack of training and ambition. These were the same voters being bussed to election polling sites, given a few dollars, and told how to vote. This has been the process for generations.
If the government is going to house, give food stamps to, and keep you on the dole, why should you strive for better? How do you learn to take care of yourself and your family?
The City of Houston is full. That was the word of our mayor yesterday. As of yesterday, the vouchers issued by the city to evacuees providing 12 months of free rent and utilities are no longer being given out. That's right, a full year of free rent and utilities. People are being tracked coming here from the other areas they evacuated to as the word gets out about the sweet deal in Houston. Our city services are struggling to accomodate the new surge in population. Our city, the fourth largest in the nation, is known as a generous and welcoming city. We are proud to be so. However at times our good will is tested. This is such a time.