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  • New Evidence Proves First Flag Made By Betsy Ross Actually Shirt For Gay Friend
  • Colbert Leads Huntsman in S.C.
  • Polish prosecutor 'shoots self after news conference'
  • Jim Rome leaving ESPN. Bonus: Footage of Jim Rome getting attacked by Jim Everett & crying like a baby
  • Broncos, Tim Tebow stun Steelers in OT, win 29-23 in NFL playoffs
  • Video: Remember 2008
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop faces weapon and drug charges
  • Video: Green Bay anchorman loves lamp
  • Video: Rodgers & Raji in the new Discount Double Check ad
  • Jim Rome: out of The Jungle and onto the (horse) farm
  • New IL Law Requires Photo ID To Buy Drain Cleaner
  • Fawn Cuddles Kitten, Hearts Explode
  • The priest who changed the course of history for the worse... by rescuing four-year-old Hitler from drowning in icy river
  • Get Fit or Get Fined: Web Service Offers to Charge You for Skipping the Gym
  • Fine proposed for botching US national anthem
  • Why Best Buy is Going out of Business...Gradually
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Edina boutique takes heat for trashing $4,000-plus gowns
  • Law Student Goes 'Homeless by Choice' Touts Value of Gym Club Membership
  • VIDEO: Snoop Dogg on 'The Price Is Right'
  • Flynn and Out
  • Don't put Bielema on the firing line
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Your end of the season Vikings comment thread
  • Mass. budget motel fights forfeiture by feds
  • Vikings scrutinize downtown Mpls. stadium site near basilica
  • Kelly Clarkson criticized on Twitter after singer endorses Ron Paul for President 
  • Political Predictions for 2012
  • We're All Doing The Best We Can
  • Video Of Little Girl Getting Pissed Off About Pink Toys Will Make Your Heart Swell
  • The 10 best sports-related Hitler Reactions of 2011
  • Happy Endings on the housing crisis
  • Why You Just Got New York Times Spam
  • There Will Be No Friday This Week In Samoa
  • The Most Hipster State In The US
  • Online Merchants Home in on Imbibing Consumers
       [ 1 comment ]
  • On islamic fashion
       [ 1 comment ]
  • Sears as Lampert's 'Mismanaged Asset' Loses Customers to Macy's
       [ 1 comment ]
  • 5 social network predictions for 2012
  • Cheetah, chimp star of classic Tarzan movies, dies at 80
  • The Hottest Things on TV in 2011
  • Beer in cans: It's not just for Bud anymore
  • Seven Packers earn Pro Bowl selections
  • The Worst Angry Christmas Tweets In the World
  • Minnesota cities try to hold back on rented housing
  • Why Iowa Shouldn't Vote First Anymore
  • Some Falcons Players Upset Drew Brees Went For The Record Last Night
  • We've Identified Jilted Packergirl
  • With its 'W' initiative, ESPN tries to solve the equation of serving women sports fans
  • Owner surprised to find cat regularly catches bus
  • Charles Barkley: Skip Bayless Has Surpassed Peter Vecsey As The Biggest Jackass In The History Of Journalism
  • Handicapping the 2011 NFL MVP Race, 2.0


  • August 31, 2010

    Bristol Palin as electoral harbinger

    [Posted by kris]

    With Bristol Palin joining such "celebrities" as the Hoff, Jennifer Grey, The Situation and Kurt Warner on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars, it occurs to me that Palin's performance could be an easy way to predict the November elections.

    While I'm sure some people who watch DWTS base their votes on actual dancing talent, I suspect many more vote on simply which celebrities they like the most. Therefore, it's pretty easy to assume that the type of hardcore liberals who actually vote in mid-term elections won't be calling her number. Likewise, the Tea Party types who love Sarah Palin will probably vote for Bristol even if she has two left feet.

    "Dancing With The Stars" is one of the biggest mainstream hits on television. I suspect its audience over indexes on voting, particularly in non-Presidential years. If Bristol stays longer than her dancing warrants or gets voted off more quickly than she should, I think we can attribute that to political reasons that will likely carry over to the real voting booth. This probably sounds a little ridiculous, but I do feel like the DWTS audience is more representative of what Americans think than the writers of the New York Times or Glenn Beck.

    The only wrench in there is that it's possible that Bristol's personality will override the politics and people may vote for or against based on that. However, based on the 5 minutes she was on TV last night, it doesn't appear that she has a personality (or she was completely scared to death), so I think we're safe.

    Bristol doesn't need to win - clearly this is The Hoff's show to lose - but I don't think it's crazy to think that a strong performance by her might mean more seats in the House and Senate for the GOP.

    Posted by kris at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)     
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    August 30, 2010

    The key to a productive debate

    [Posted by kris]

    One of the biggest controversies in Wisconsin right now is the proposed high speed rail from Milwaukee to Madison. It's just a train, but people are very emotional about it and they project all kinds of nasty characteristics on people who disagree with them. For example, train supporters are clearly dirty hippies who hate America. Opponents of the train, on the other hand, are fat, racist SUV drivers who pollute the countryside with their McDonalds' wrappers. I'm really not exaggerating. Not even a little bit.

    It occurred to me the other day, though, that the debate shouldn't be about the train. That's taking the debate too far down the line. Rather than starting with a solution, we should start with the problem. In this case, the problem is that our transportation system was designed for cars and that may not be sustainable in the future. The question, therefore, isn't "should we build the train?", it's "what should we do?"

    See how that instantly opens up more possibilities? I read one article on the topic that talked about how unlikely it was that you could completely change America's car culture and that, instead of high speed rail, we should invest in things like electric cars. So, then maybe, future transportation projects could focus on building convenient charging stations on the interstate. I dunno. It's just a thought.

    What I like about this is that you end the perception that disagreeing with one solution somehow means you're denying that there's a problem. I think it lets you discuss the problem without the burden of the emotional investment in the solution you like best.

    One of the most irritating things about politics in America right now is that we're so partisan that we're convinced that the other side is committed to the downfall of our nation. There's no concept that each party genuinely wants what's best for America and that they just have different ways of getting there. I think if you start with the problem you are at least more likely to acknowledge that fact.

    I think you can extend this idea into other policy areas. It would have been great, for example, if the health care debate didn't focus on the features and flaws of Obamacare, but rather than on what's wrong with health care in America and how we could fix it.

    Sometimes digging deeper leads to some uncomfortable questions. I think if you go beyond the surface of the Ground Zero mosque debate, the problem is really something like "How can a country with values of religious & cultural tolerance coexist with religious fundamentalism?" That certainly covers more than the mosque (for example - I think the same question ultimately drives debate on things like abortion & gay marriage).

    There are no easy answers and that's what I love about it. "You're racist!" or "You hate America!" isn't an answer, thank God.

    Posted by kris at 08:54 AM | Comments (9)     
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    August 29, 2010

    In from the start

    [Posted by kris]

    While I may not get to watch every Packers game, I do have TVG, so I get to watch Zenyatta, among others. As a horse racing fan, August is one of the best times of the year. The Saratoga and Del Mar meets are in full swing, two-year olds are racing and you never know when you'll catch a future star.

    Yesterday, I glanced up at the TV long enough to watch Uncle Mo, who looks to be a worthy challenger to the current hyped two-year olds Kantharos and Boys At Toscanova.

    Wow. Although he's obviously quick, Uncle Mo may have some distance ability as his broodmare sire is the stamina influence Arch.

    When you catch a horse at the beginning of his career, they're always a little special to you. It's that way with anything - it's always sweeter if you were in from the start. I found these two videos of Mumford & Sons - one from March 2009 and one from this summer. Don't you think the people that saw them on a patio in Austin love them just a little bit more seeing how far they've come?

    Sometimes I make fun of those people that are always chasing the next cool band or the next trend or whatever, but seeing these videos now makes me think that maybe they're on to something.

    Posted by kris at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)     
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    August 28, 2010

    Are you ready for some football?

    [Posted by kris]

    I assume the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

    To celebrate the season I created a pro football pick 'em league on Yahoo if anyone would like to join. You can access the league here. Our info is:

    Group ID#: 37474
    Password: rodgers12

    Posted by kris at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)     
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    August 22, 2010

    The Brett Favre Experience: A Multimedia Extravaganza

    [Posted by kris]

    As I was driving the other day, I heard a song that really reminded me of Brett Favre. I wondered if I could come up with a 20-song playlist that would reflect the Brett Favre Experience. Of course I could! You can see it below (interspersed with some football videos for context).

    The Pre-Packer Years

    As you can see from the picture on the right, Favre was pretty much a hayseed, hence my first track, "Cotton Eyed Joe" by rednex. For his short time with the Falcons, I picked "Zero" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I think these lyrics are perfect:

    Your zero
    What's your name?
    No one's going to ask you
    Better find out where they want you to go

    Try and hit the spot
    Get to know it in the dark
    Get to know it whether you're
    Crying, crying, crying, oh, oh
    Can you climb, climb, climb higher?

    Even Packer fans had no idea who this quarterback we traded for was.

    The Early Packers Years

    Of course, soon we'd never forget Favre. Now, it's easy to remember the bitter end, but I thought "Your Song" (I chose the Ewan McGregor version) was a nice way to remember the start:

    And you can tell everybody this is your song
    It may be quite simple but now that it's done
    I hope you don't mind
    I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
    How wonderful life is while you're in the world

    It's hard to believe it, but that's how we felt about the guy. I chose Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" specifically thinking of the 1995 NFC Championship Game loss the Cowboys. We lost that game, but we all just knew the magical was going to happen - hence the obvious choice of Queen's "We Are The Champions" to represent the Super Bowl.

    The Middle Years

    While Packers loved him, I think the rest of the country didn't get Favre shoved down their throat until after the Super Bowl. Then we heard all about what a "big kid just having fun out there" he was. Can you tell I'm rolling my eyes? Anyway, to represent this period of the Favre Experience, I've got "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations. It's perfect not only because the video from There's Something About Mary features Favre and his "awesome" dancing, but also because lyrically, Favre really did build us up and then let us down in a quest for a second Super Bowl title, didn't he?

    After that, I've got Santigold's "Unstoppable" in reference to his consecutive games streak, followed by John Denver's "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" and Lazlo Bane's "Superman", which I think of as Favre's often fatal desire to win the game all on his own.

    The End of the Packers Era

    The chorus of the Old 97's "Indefinitely" neatly sums up what Favre put the Packers through every season:

    I don't mean no.
    I don't mean maybe.
    I'm indefinitely.
    I'm indefinitely.

    Even though he was starting to be a pain in the ass, we loved him. It was hard to say goodbye. Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye" summed up those conflicting feelings well:

    This is our last goodbye
    I hate to feel the love between us die
    But it's over
    Just hear this and then I'll go
    You gave me more to live for
    More than you'll ever know

    But, like The Eagles' sang, "There's A New Kid In Town" and while Packers fans loved Favre, we also looked forward to what Aaron Rodgers could do.

    The Break Up

    Rilo Kiley's "A Man/Me/Then Jim" was actually the inspiration for this post because of these lyrics:

    She said, "You can sleep upon my doorstep
    You can promise me indifference, Jim (editor's note: or Brett :)
    But my mind's made up
    And I'll never let you in again"

    For the slow fade of love
    It might hit you from below
    It's your gradual descent into a life you never meant
    It's the slow fade of love

    I haven't heard a better way to describe my feelings about Favre in the summer of 2008 than as the "slow fade of love". That's exactly right.

    As for Favre, like The Baby's sang, he was "Back On My Feet Again" in New York City.

    The Betrayal

    When Favre signed with the Vikings, that was it for Packer fans. We were over. Favre didn't get it. But I think our feelings were perfectly captured in Ben Folds Five's "Smoke":

    You keep on saying the past is not dead
    Stop and smell the smoke
    You keep saying the past is not even past
    You keep saying ...
    We are smoke ... smoke ... smoke

    I think of this song and then think about all of the Packer fans burning their Favre jerseys on giant bonfires. Smoke indeed.

    The Heavy's "How Do You Like Me Now?" refers to both Packer fans who hate Favre and Vikings fans who've embraced him. Oh how the world turns.

    But, the more things change, the more they stay the same as Britney Spears' "Ooops I Did It Again" neatly shows. Yep, we all say that interception in the NFC Championship Game coming. :)

    The Future?

    Favre claims this is his last year, but we'll see about that. It may be, but I'm sure he'll string the Vikings along a little bit, which is why Henry Rollins' "Liar" seems appropriate.

    The final two songs on the Brett Favre Experience playlist reflect how I feel about the future relationship between Favre and the Packers will be like. First, I added Matthew Sweet's "You Don't Love Me". I think the fact that he's not immediately re-embraced by Packer fans will come as a shock to Favre:

    What a beautiful moment, the truth comes out at last.
    Once your heart would own me forever, then this passed.
    And what a beautiful moment, as my head comes apart.
    Drunk, and in a manner of saying, wasted.

    'Cause you don't love me, you don't love me.
    You can't see how I matter in this world,
    even though I love you, you can't believe that.
    If you find something you think might make you happy
    then I guess it's OK, I think it's OK
    if you go away.

    Blown right out of my senses, I did not know know what to do.
    Lost, and badly wanting someone to see me through.
    That's why I needed you.

    Finally, I ended with what may be Favre's future redemption song, The Avett Brother's "Shame":

    Okay so I was wrong about
    My reasons for us fallin' out
    Of love I want to fall back in

    My life is different now I swear
    I know now what it means to care
    About somebody other than myself

    I know the things I said to you
    They were untender and untrue
    I'd like to see those things undo

    So if you could find it in your heart
    To give a man a second start
    I promise things won't end the same

    Posted by kris at 05:42 PM | Comments (6)     
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    August 20, 2010

    A marketer's guide to corporate political contributions

    [Posted by kris]

    The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission brought out a bunch of hand wringing about how this was the end of fair elections and from now on seats would be bought by the corporate monoliths.

    One of the major criticisms of the decision was that it bestowed personhood on corporations. The counter argument is that corporations are already people - they're a group of people just like a newspaper or a union or a non-profit organization entitled to the same right to speech.

    To me, the flap over Target's $150,000 donation to MN Forward shows not only that this latter view of corporations is correct, but also vividly demonstrates the pitfalls of corporate political contributions and why the Citizens United decision really isn't the death of democracy after all.

    I think Target's executives decided to make the donation with a combination of thoughtlessness and arrogance. I think they made a personal decision that Emmer's social politics were either a) in line with their own and/or b) were dwarfed by MN Forward's general pro-business agenda. In doing so, they neglected to consider that many of the corporation's shareholders, employees and customers feel exactly the opposite - in fact, a corporation is actually made up on a large number of individuals with different opinions. Gasp. While shareholders empower executives to make business decisions, making political contributions on their behalf is taking that power too far. I expect that many corporations are going to have to write specific guidelines for corporate political contributions. It's not going to be as simple as writing a check to a charity.

    So as a marketer, here are some of my suggestions for corporations considering political contributions:

    • Don't do it.
    • No really, don't do it. How much more than $150,000 has Target spent to deal with its donation? Couldn't those hours have been put to more productive use, especially in the middle of Back to School season?
    • Okay, if you're pretty much a "one issue" company, then go ahead and make political donations. But, I'm defining "one issue" pretty narrowly. One issue isn't "retail" or "food". One issue is something like the example I've gone back to with Churchill Downs. CHDN can probably get away with making political donations to pro-gambling PACs and candidates. But only probably. What if that same pro-gambling candidate opposes anti-horse slaughter legislation? Wouldn't that upset lots of their shareholders and employees and customers? See how messy this gets? Okay, so again, maybe the answer is simply - don't do it.
    • So, to sum it up, don't do it

    Just because we can speak freely and donate freely doesn't always mean we should. That holds for individuals and certainly corporations too. I suspect that many corporations will still make political contributions and plenty of marketing and public relations people will spend much of their time cleaning up the ensuing mess.

    Posted by kris at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)     
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    August 19, 2010

    How can you have fans if everybody hates you?

    [Posted by kris]

    A few weeks ago my nephew posted something on Facebook about how he was "liking" Ticketmaster there for the sole purpose of continually trashing them on their fan page. I giggled and appreciated his consistent desire to fight the power.

    Today, however, I joined him in the fight. I went to purchase a $25 concert ticket and got hit with the following fees:

    • $7.30 convenience charge
    • additional taxes of $.57
    • $4.58 order processing fee

    Add it up and that's $12.47. And that's not counting a $2.50 fee I could pay for the privilege of printing my tickets myself or a new $3.00 fee for will call. (As an aside, why will Ticketmaster mail tickets to me for free? Is there some law that doesn't allow them to tack on a $3.98 envelope fee and a $2.54 postage and handling charge? I can't believe they'd miss the boat that much)

    So, needless to say, I'll go the box office and buy tickets. It might take a half hour and yeah, I value my time at more than $25/hour, but you know what I value even more? Making sure Ticketmaster doesn't get another dime out of my pocket.

    So anyway, the point of this rant is that, clearly, some companies just shouldn't get involved in two-way social media. Ticketmaster has a Facebook fan page, but clearly, it's just another outlet for customer rage.

    I understand that as long as enough people buy tickets, Ticketmaster doesn't really care about that rage. But what I don't understand is why they're bothering with social media in the first place. Bands and venues will promote their shows, so Ticketmaster has no need to be out there providing a forum for people to discuss how much they hate them. I mean, I appreciate the opportunity, but I don't understand it. They're wasting resources on social media that could be put to better use dreaming up more fees. What are they thinking?!?

    As a serious question though, how can they get away with this? The government cracked down on bank fees, why the hell isn't Ticketmaster next in line?

    Posted by kris at 04:43 PM | Comments (2)     
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    August 18, 2010

    When awesome collides

    [Posted by kris]

    Posted by kris at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)     
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    August 11, 2010

    Who is the celebrity of the summer?

    [Posted by kris]

    It's been a golden summer for internet celebrities. We have the double rainbow guy, who spawned what is clearly one of the best songs of the year.

    In July we met Antoine Dodson, who saved his sister from a would be rapist and inspired another great song.

    Then, just this week Steve Slater burst onto the scene and slid down the emergency chute (two beers in hand) and into our hearts.

    Remember when summer used to be about big, expensive action movies and the stars were people like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Will Smith? I think Internet celebrities have completely taken over for these guys. All that's missing is the popcorn!

    Who is the celebrity of the summer?
    Yosemitebear Mountain (Double Rainbow Guy)
    Antoine Dodson (Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife)
    Steven Slater (JetBlue Flight Attendant)
  free polls
    Posted by kris at 08:46 AM | Comments (3)     
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    August 10, 2010

    There's no shame in being a one-term President

    [Posted by kris]

    I was reading an article speculating that Obama might replace Vice President Biden with Hillary Clinton. The thought was that Obama could use Biden as a scapegoat and prevent Hillary from mounting a campaign against him in 2012.

    But here's my question: why do we assume that Obama will even run in 2012? Would you want to be President now? I mean, when times are good, I'm sure it's tough, but fun. But in a long recession, a quagmire in Asia and a looming fiscal crisis, it's gotta suck.

    So, Obama could put himself through another nasty campaign, this time grounded in dismal reality rather than lofty rhetoric, and if he "wins" he'll get to make a bunch of unpopular choices. Awesome.

    On the other hand, he could quit, wrap things up in D.C. and ride the storm out from wherever he wants in comfort & style.

    I wouldn't blame him if he chose the latter option. I think our leaders are in for a tough ride and if that's not your thing, then why not get off of the bus while you still can?

    He could save face with some vague talk about "health reasons" and keep whatever legacy he has intact. Maybe he can even serve the country in some other capacity. But, he doesn't have to be the fall guy for everything.

    Posted by kris at 01:25 PM | Comments (3)     
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    August 09, 2010

    Is new music just for the young?

    [Posted by kris]

    My friend Steve is a thirtysomething father of two. He's also a huge music fan who was lucky enough to go to Lollapalooza in Chicago this past weekend. Inevitably, his friends gave him a hard time about being one of the "old guys" at the festival.

    I think we have this idea that concerts and new music are just for the young. I don't think that's true. I think, rather, that the world is divided into people that actively seek out new music and those that don't. Age doesn't have that much to do with it. In my own family, my 20-year old nephew has no idea what music is new or cool, while his 50-something uncle will make you awesome CDs full of the latest and greatest songs (thanks again for introducing me to Okkervil River's "Lost Coastlines").

    There's this perception that you stay in the pop culture bubble you came of age in. So Baby Boomers like the music of the 60s and 70s, while Generation X's music love should stop at grunge.

    It's because of this that movie soundtracks are full of "classic" 60s songs, the Green Bay Packers play an old Todd Rundgren song when they score and American Idol forces its young contestants to sing songs that are nearly 50 years old. Producers are afraid of alienating their large older audience with scary "new" music.

    To me, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course older generations aren't going to like new music if they never hear any of it. That's why I appreciate the Chicago Blackhawks for making The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" their victory song. And yes, believe it or not, even Hawks fans in their 50s and 60s enjoyed it. Imagine that!

    I've written before about the cultural death grip of the Baby Boomers, but I don't know that I had it right. I don't think the Boomers actually think that music peaked with them. I think, rather, that due to their demographic power, producers and marketers are just afraid to expose them (and by extension the rest of us) to anything too new or out there. It's easier to just have another "Stones night", you know?

    In the meantime, there's a whole world of sounds out there to discover. And it's not just the realm of hipsters. Music is for everyone. We just have to be unafraid to take it, no matter our age.

    Posted by kris at 10:22 AM | Comments (1)     
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    August 03, 2010

    WWBFD (What Will Brett Favre Do)

    [Posted by kris]

    So, Brett Favre is apparently retired again. But this can't be the end of it, can it? Doesn't he owe the Vikings a few more anguished weeks of hemming and hawwing? What do you think will happen next?

    What will Brett Favre do?
    Stay retired
    Unretire next week
    Unretire before the end of training camp
    Unretire sometime during the regular season
    Unretire but then re-retire before the start of the season
    Unretire several years from now so his grandson can remember seeing him play
  free polls
    Posted by kris at 11:23 AM | Comments (7)     
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    August 02, 2010

    I don't want no victory, I just want you back

    [Posted by kris]

    The weekend before last I volunteered at the Mississippi River Challenge. I paddled the event last year and remembered that often the most difficult part of the trip was maneuvering in and out of the rest stops. I was happy then to be put on the "boats" team at one of the stops where my job would be to help paddlers get in and out of the crowded beach. As I was wading out in the water, directing paddlers and pulling in and pushing boats off the beach, I kind of imagined myself as a beach master on D-Day - minus the whole people shooting at me thing.

    I was brought back to that thought this past weekend when I was watching Mason Jennings in concert. Jennings has a song called The Field. It's the powerful lament of a father who's lost a son to a war:

    If I was the president, if I was that brave
    I would take a shovel then dig each child their graves
    If I was the president, and my world turned black
    I would want no victory, I'd just want you back
    I don't want no victory, I just want you back

    We always think of WWII and D-Day in particular as a good war and the that the sacrifices made were well worth it. I don't think that's necessarily wrong, but there's such truth in those lyrics. How many people would have traded that victory for the life of their loved one? All of them?

    And that's with a "good" war. How does someone bear it for a cause they don't believe in?

    I suppose it's a bit unfair to judge a war by that measure - no war would ever be worth fighting, right? But shouldn't that be part of the process you go through to decide whether or not to go to war or support a war?

    At the start of the War on Terror, I think we collectively decided that it was worth risking the lives on soldiers in the Middle East to protect the lives of Americans flying in a plane or working in a skyscraper or hanging out at the mall. But nearly 10 years later, is that reason still valid? Or are we making up justifications as we go along?

    Posted by kris at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)     
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