Friday, January 21, 2005

Bush's Second Inaugural Address


I liked Bush's second inaugural address, which argued for the cause of freedom around the world, very much. I also liked his first inaugural address, which sounded very moderate, spoke of justice, tolerance, and aid to the poor, and pledged to work together with everyone. However, I also remember that his performance in is first term reflected very little of his pretty words.

My view about Bush's second inaugural is quite similar. Who could be against promoting the cause of liberty around the world? There were phrases in this speech that could have come from Woodrow Wilson or, for that matter, Jimmy Carter. The real questions are (1) whether Bush means what he says, and (2) whether he has the competence to carry out his promises.

After all, we are currently in a very difficult war in Iraq because Bush insisted that he knew what he was doing in responding to a threat from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, weapons that turned out not to have been there. As it became increasingly clear that the weapons were nowhere to be found the President shifted gears and informed us that all along his primary and real goal had been to bring democracy to Iraq and hence to the Middle East.

But let us assume that the President is completely sincere, and that the experience of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has shown him the light, so that he truly does understand that the promotion of freedom around the world is and should be his primary goal. Good for him. Still, if I were to trust anyone to carry out this goal, I would not choose George W. Bush based on his first term performance, a performance that has sufficiently stretched our economic and military capacities that we are practically unsuited to make realistic threats of force anywhere else in the world that would make our diplomacy effective. The problem is that because of Iraq, all we can do is talk big, but do little. Very much, I fear, like Bush's second inaugural itself.


Nice piece. Did you see the recent op-ed in the New York Times, "The Speech Misheard Round the World"
(January 22, 2005) by Orlando Patterson? Among other things, it noted:

'In the 20th century two versions of freedom emerged in America. The modern liberal version emphasizes civil liberties, political participation and social justice. It is the version formally extolled by the federal government, debated by philosophers and taught in schools; it still informs the American judicial system. And it is the version most treasured by foreigners who struggle for freedom in their own countries.

'But most ordinary Americans view freedom in quite different terms. In their minds, freedom has been radically privatized. Its most striking feature is what is left out: politics, civic participation and the celebration of traditional rights, for instance. Freedom is largely a personal matter having to do with relations with others and success in the world.'

First Drunk Driving Conviction
The first time you are arrested in the State of Texas for drunk driving you will receive a fine up to $2,000. You will also be confined to jail for no less than 72 hours and no more than 180 days. Your drivers license will be suspended for no less than 90 days and no more than 1 year. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at your own expense.

Second Drunk Driving Conviction
The second time you are arrested and convicted of a
DWI in Texas you will be fined up to $4,000. You will also serve a minimum of 30 days in jail up to 1 year. Your drivers license will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months or up to 2 years. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at your own expense.

Third Drunk Driving Conviction
The 3rd conviction for a DWI in Texas is considered a 3rd degree felony. You will be fined up to $10,000 and serve no less than 2 years or up to 10 years in the penitentiary. Your drivers license will also be suspended up to 2 years. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at your own expense.
The State of Texas prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by drivers with a .08 percent or above blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The .08 limit is used across the United States as the benchmark for the "impaired" driver. Texas has lower limits in place for commercial drivers (.04) and for drivers under the age of 21 (.02). The Texas DWI law also makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other intoxicants


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