By DEB RIECHMANN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.
The full story: Bush teleconference with soldiers staged
We got her off a track in Caliente, Mexico when we were living in Las Vegas. We adopted her through Greyhound Pets of America, an overall good group though some of the folks at the local chapter needed to get a life beyond the dogs. I think it was the late summer or early spring of 1997 that we first got her, a high strung dog who didn't know how to walk on a leash. She would pull and yank, knowing only full speed or sleep, which is typical of a greyhound when they first come off the track. We had a lot of good years with her, taking her hiking, even scrambling up some Icicle Creek trail in BLM's Red Rock Conservation Area just outside Las Vegas. I can remember the first time she sat down in a creek to cool down, just plopping her butt in the water and settling in for a cool rest.
I remember taking her to ocean beaches near Santa Barbara and the northern Oregon Coast. There seems to be little more a greyhound loves than to run. And when Gromit ran with other dogs, she ran right on their shoulders, barking and snarling in their ear, letting them know who was boss and who was gonna run the fastest. But it all caught up with her these last few months. She could barely walk, stopped eating for the most part, and just lay in one place, unexcited by the prospect of a walk or some people-food addition to her bowl. I had a good cry after leaving the Humane Society shelter. I wanted to stay with her until she was put down, but they don't allow that. I couldn't even than the woman who took her from me; the tears were too much. Sometimes I wonder why I love our animals more than a lot of people in the world and my life. I guess because she took and gave love without any questions, without any concerns. If only I could be that kind of animal.
So what happens now? Well, there are still four cats, a rabbit and a sheltie in the house, never mind the fish. There's no shortage of animals. And tonight I'm taking Tobias to the Wallace and Gromit film, more a coincidence or tragic irony than any planned way to say good-bye.
What I was thinking about is how my FYC students had their first draft due by the fourth class meeting.
Today, like thousands around the country, I attended a "Bring Them Home Now" rally, mine in downtown Spokane. I'd say there were about 1,000 people who met in front of the federal courthouse and marched to Riverfront Park for speeches and all that goes with an anti-war rally. We were led by the Big Ass Drum Corp (or a name close to that) which was comprised of some overweight women, most of whom I took to be lesbians, though that doesn't matter at all. Bringing up the rear was a collection of rather rag-tag folks playing wind and brass instruments, not that that matters much either. The crowd itself was a mix, from young anarchists who I suspect don't know their politcal asses from a hole in the ground to some folks who likely were around during Vietnam and Gulf I protests and before. One marcher wore a Korean War Vet hat. Me, I was in junior high school during the height of the anti-Vietnam protests, but never participated, though I marched in some Gulf War I protests in Seattle.
All of this is preface to my thoughts on the sentiments expressed during the speeches. I came away disappointed because all of the speakers painted the war in very stark, black and white terms. I'll be among the last to defend the president over this war and its conduct, but I don't find myself able to embrace the "bring them home now" program. Yes, we should never have invaded Iraq in the first place, but I'm not so torn about our invasion of Afghanistan to rout the Taliban, though the way we've cozied up to Pakistan and their Taliban advisors leaves much to be desired. I'd prefer we'd have kept our focus on the Taliban, Osama and his cronies in Afghanistan, though I also know that American foreign policy, driven by capitalist desires, is a good part of the Taliban's animosity toward America.
Well, today is the first class day of Fall Quarter 2005. I am more or less ready to go, but as always, have a good bit of work to get done, some for the classroom, some for professional development credits (my reading list in particular), and who knows what all else. Still, it's nice to get back in the classroom even though that does mean going back to work. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.
I've never been the most prolific reader in the world, as much as I love reading. I tend to plod through most longer works that aren't school/work related, which I then tend to power-read. However, as classes start in a week, my recreational reading is about to come to a significant slowdown. Here's my reading list from the summer, as best as I can recall it, which I have to do to put in for professional development (how cool is that, having a job and getting a raise because I read novels, histories, and nearly whatever is feel like reading as it's all just about work related). So, here we go, in order of when I remember:
As of late, I have been a very lazy writer, and not much better of a reader. It's not that I've been doing nothing. I've been riding my bicycle a lot, usually a minimum of five days and a hundred miles a week. I've also been kayaking a number of times on various lakes in the region. I've also been on the road a bit, spending time this summer in Telluride, on the Oregon coast around Neskowin, and up at Priest Lake, in North Idaho. But I just haven't been writing. And there have been things I've wanted to write about, but just haven't made time to do it. Oh yeah, I've also been working on landscaping part of the backyard, but that's going pretty slow too.