This was a quiet, family weekend; walks by the river with the dogs, shuttling the big girls to their various events, and spending quality time with baby Sol, our 16-month old who's the only one who'll watch football with me. The bad news about quiet weekends though, is that there's plenty of time to read everything, and get angry with a lot of it.
Like the almost pointless prosecution of the war in Iraq, which the president refuses to call a civil war despite the fact the UN Secretary General and almost every other world leader recognizes it for what it is. This weekend ten more GI's died, bringing the total military casualties to 2,889. My only hope is that the 'significant changes' expected Wednesday from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group; include the redeployment of our troops to defensive positions, a call for a plebiscite by Iraqis on whether or not they really want us there, and a declaration that yes, Virginia this is a civil war.
And while each of us is disgusted and repulsed by the savage, uncivilized, barbaric, low-life behavior of Al Queda and the warring factions is Iraq, who torture, terrorize and even behead their enemies, is there anybody out there who approves of the way we treat enemy combatants like Jose Padilla? Is it remotely necessary to keep prisoners like him in blindfolded, chained, shackled and isolated? A federal judge has already dismissed the most serious charges against him. He's only facing two charges that carry a maximum of fifteen years, so what can possibly justify these dehumanizing conditions? Are we trying to be like the bad guys?
And speaking of bad guys, the so-called New Black Panther Party held a rally here in New York over the weekend, around the corner from where the groom-to-be was killed on his wedding day in a 50-shot barrage fired by the cops. Members of the notoriously violent, drug-dealing Crips and Bloods street gangs joined them in urging a boycott of local businesses; a really stupid idea. Thankfully, the vast majority of New York's minority community rejects the radicals and is willing to trust that the mayor and prosecutor will do the right thing.
But no one can deny that race matters in criminal justice, and that being young and black means you're usually going to be treated differently. The latest videotaped example, police sergeant Chuck Schoville in Tempe, Arizona who lets two black guys avoid a littering ticket by performing an impromptu rap, videotaped for the officer's amusement. Can you imagine the cop asking some Irish American to do a little jig? Or a Jew, some standup comedy? How about an Italian whipping up a bit of pasta or a cannoli?
And finally, among the weekend's most irritating news, the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who went to the same school my daughters do, bashing America, and talking about how much better life is in Britain than in the United States. Saying that the English actually have a brain and something interesting to talk about, Ms. Paltrow, who dropped out of the University of California at Santa Barbara, expressed the opinion that Brits are more civilized and intelligent than Americans. The wealthy actress backed that up by saying she lives near the other fake Brit, Madonna of Michigan.
At least Solicita and I had fun watching Dora the Explorer, and the football games.