Monday, December 8, 2008

Eric Shinseki, American hero

Buncha things today:

1. I keep thinking about Gen. Eric Shinseki, President-elect Obama's choice to head the Veterans Administration, and what a vindication that appointment is for a man who had the courage to speak truth to power and as a result lost his career.

You remember that in 2003, before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Gen. Shinseki, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned publicly that the U.S. would need many hundreds of thousands of occupation troops while his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, blithely claimed just 100,000 and a lot of "shock and awe" would do. The general turned out to be right.

We need more soldiers like this admirable man.

2. If you have any knowledge about flowers, please check out the December 8 and December 7 entries on my other blog.

Stupidly I did not write the blossoms' names in a notebook when I took the photographs. Typical thoughtless amateur, I am.

Maybe you will recognize the blooms and can tell me what they are.

3. The Tribune Company, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, seems to be marching toward bankruptcy.

I am astonished at how rapidly this huge, often prescient and excellent, often blind and arrogant company has fallen, even in terrible economic times. Sam Zell's vaunted golden thumb, forged in real estate, has turned to lead in journalism.

We should have seen it coming a few months ago when his management crew, recruited from the ranks of cable broadcasting, remade the paper with a pop entertainment format and very likely drove away many of its remaining older readers.

4. The Lady Friend and I decided to pull the trigger and booked that train trip on the California Zephyr to Take the Waters in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, in January. (See the December 2 blogpost below.)

We shall, of course, report thoroughly -- in pictures as well as words -- on our trip.

It most likely will be the last one we take for a long while as gloomy economic times further envelop the world.

5. There is something else but I've forgotten what it was. I'll probably remember later in the day.


  1. 1. General Shinseki - been there, done that and has the wounds to prove it. A Vietnam vet with political courage to call a spade a ### shovel.

    3. Tribune - the Col. has spun so much in his grave, that you could hook a generator to him. A shame for what once was a national / international paper (even though they were the "competition"). Took Zell and his finance / TV guys and gals one year to wreak it. Want to scrape togther a couple of bucks and buy the Cubs from bankruptcy court?

    4. Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy. Look forward to peering over your shoulder (so to speak) and hearing about someplace new and your adventures.

    5. Memory? What memory? I needed to make a note of the things in the post that I wanted to comment on.


  2. Mike, if you remember what I forgot, please let me know.