It’s been five years since 9/11 and, while it may be safer to fly, I’d have to say that our country has changed, and not for the better, in these five years. Simple freedoms are no longer simple and we face the “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality of those who seem to have no problem at all with usurping those simple freedoms.

We didn’t just lose family members, friends and co-workers, we lost the very essence of what this country stood for on that day. And, while new structures emerge from the ashes of what once stood tall and proud at Ground Zero, a darker, more sinister birth is taking place as well.

We find ourselves entrenched in a “war on terrorism” against everyone BUT the people responsible for the WTC attacks. Osama bin Laden remains at learge in a country OTHER THAN where we’ve lost the lives of 2,666 American servicemembers in this so-called war. We invaded a country that was not involved in the WTC attacks, have caused the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, have put on a show of just how badly we can treat prisoners, have encouraged thousands of sympathizers to join forces with al Qaeda and, for what?

I’ve heard the argument “to liberate the people of Iraq from oppression.” OK, so when do we go into the Sudan? When do we de-throne Chimpy to liberate US from oppression? We can’t clean up someone else’s back yard when our own front yard is a wreck.

Moxie Grrrl has a graphic on her web site that contains the caption “I would rather someone was wrapped in the Constitution burning the flag than wrapped in the flag burning the Constitution.” I echo those sentiments.

It is not only our right but our responsibility as citizens of this country to offer dissenting opinions, and to hold our government accountable for its actions. To sit back in silence is dangerous and offers a breeding ground for dictatorship and what we’re supposedly fighting against over in the middle east.

Chimpy is supposed to give a speech at 9:00 tonight and supposedly has promised not to make it a political speech. No calls to action or crap like that. I’ll believe that if/when I see/hear it. Although, frankly, I’d rather watch the football game than the George W. Bush comedy hour.

As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

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In week one of the NFL, Jake Plummer ended up dead last in quarterback rankings with an anemic 26.3. Seems that Denver really needed someone to install a handle on the ball yesterday, as they couldn’t seem to hang onto it.

And, as I’ve said all along, all Charlie Batch needed was a good offense around him. Filling in for the now appendix-less Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie lead the NFL in quarterback ratings with a whopping 126.3, throwing three touchdown passes, no picks, and just generally getting the job done in an efficient manner. Daunte Culpepper, on the other hand, looks like he needs to settle into Miami’s offense a bit better.

In the battle of the Manning brothers, little brother Eli out-generaled older brother Peyton, with a 88.7 QB rating compared to Peyton’s 78.9. But, alas, QB ratings don’t win games. Points win games and older brother Peyton’s team scored more of them. It was a really good game, though.

Yeah, sure, Buffalo was ahead 17-7 going into the half but, as I told Joe, Buffalo’s greatest skill is at blowing leads and losing games and, true to form, they lost by the safety scored against them. And the critics thought that Jim Kelly was a schmuck? Hey, he took them to the superbowl 4 years in a row. Sure, they didn’t win, but they at least showed up. Life after Kelly hasn’t been any better to Buffalo than life after Elway in Denver or life after Marino in Miami.

On the other hand, Green Bay may actually look better in their life after Favre years, given Favre’s performance in the past couple of years. Shut out yesterday for the first time in his career, and only 170 passing yards for the whole game. This just goes to prove what I’ve said all along — a quarterback is only as good as the receivers on the other end. And, when you’ve got great receivers, they make a quarterback look great. Look at Charlie Batch up in Detroit — he had no decent receivers and had no running game (after the great one retired) and looked mediocre at best. Then look at his performance Thursday night with excellent receivers like Heath Miller, Hines Ward, and even Willie Parker.

Don’t think I’ll be staying up late to watch the San Diego/Oakland game tonight, as it doesn’t even start until 10:15. Minnesota and Washington play tonight at 7:00 so we might actually get to see all of that game.

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My Aunt Wanda verified this weekend that Le and Vanessa have “disappeared.” Their trailer is empty, and the neighbor said that they’d been moving out for a couple of weeks. I think they’re in Corning or Elmira and I’m pretty sure that Le will still be taking classes. Poor Vanessa, taken away from everyone that she knew, her friends, her family, neighbors, classmates.

I’m so angry with Le I could spit nails.

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