8/2001 Timeline: Bush vacations while Tenet's Raising Terror Alarm

While reading a piece in the New York Times today on the summer of
2001, it occurred to me that this was just about the time that Bush went
on the first of his unusually long vacations.


Consider first
what href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/28/politics/28PANE.html">the Times
said today:

March 28, 2004
9/11 Panel Provokes a Discussion the White House
Hoped to Avoid


WASHINGTON, March 27 - In the summer of 2001, according to
witnesses interviewed by the independent commission investigating the
Sept. 11 hijackings, President Bush was told repeatedly of terror
warnings pouring into American intelligence agencies, mostly about
threats overseas.

The director of central intelligence, George
J. Tenet, who briefed Mr. Bush on threats almost daily, "was around
town literally pounding on desks saying that something is happening,
this is an unprecedented level of threat information,"
said Richard
Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, who was quoted in a
Congressional report last year.

But even as the warnings spiked in June and July that year, there
appeared to be little sense of alarm at the White House,
officials of
the Central Intelligence Agency told the commission. It was not until
Sept. 4
that Mr. Bush's national security team approved a plan intended
to eradicate Al Qaeda and not until Sept. 10 that Mr. Tenet was told to
put the plan into effect.

Now let's look back at what Bush was
doing about these warnings from Tenet:


From href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/august01/2001-08-03-bush-
vacation.htm">USA Today, August 3, 2001

White House to move to Texas for a while

By Laurence McQuillan, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Six months after taking office, President Bush will begin a
month-long vacation
Saturday that is significantly longer than the
average American's annual getaway. If Bush returns as scheduled on Labor
he'll tie the modern record for presidential absence from the White
House, held by Richard Nixon at 30 days.

I think these facts speak for themselves.


Goodbye Louis Mackey, A wonderful teacher, scholar, wit

I heard via the email grapevine that Louis Mackey has died. As far as I
know now, he died after a long and grave illness on Wednesday, March 24,
2004 in Austin, TX. He was, I believe, 78 or 79 (b., 1926). Louis was
one of my graduate professors of philosophy at the University of Texas
at Austin (I was there 1990-1997). Mackey was the chair of graduate
admissions when I got in to UT so he may be the reason I am in
philosophy altogether.

In addition to taking Louis' 12th Century graduate seminar, I was his
teaching assistant for both Knowledge and Reality and Introduction to
Philosophy. I sat in on his American Philosophy: Puritans to
Transcendentalists and his Medieval Philosophy courses, too.

I guess I knew Louis the way a lot of graduate students did; I
considered him a friend but I did not know much about his personal life.
I still don't. But we shared a sense of humor which is based on the
sense that life is manifoldly and manifestly ridiculous, obscene, and
sacred all at the same time. Often one could find Louis in the David L.
Miller conference room, our lounge, eating lunch at 12 every day. He'd
hold court there, quietly and without ceremony, telling dirty jokes or
bantering about literature to whoever was at the table. He somehow
managed to be both acerbic and approachable.

Louis was by far the most popular professor at UT while I was there.
Everyone wanted him on their committee and until his later years he
seemed to always say yes. He had "groupies" from all over the
campus--art history, english, comp lit graduate students would sign up
for his seminars and it was virtually guaranteed that there'd barely be
a seat open by the end.

Louis Mackey was one of the most brilliant and creative minds I have
ever met. Exceptionally well read, Louis had a take on the history of
philosophy, the history of religion, and, it seemed, all of literature.
Everything he absorbed became part of his vision, and he made that
vision sparkle for us. It was a lens we could try to peer through to get
a better perspective on the puzzle of existence. Louis never promoted or
proselytized this vision; rather, it pulled you along after it, like a
comet, and made you want to find out what it would be like to tag along,
to go where it was going.

And now the Comet Mackey has passed. What
a loss this is for all of us. What a great subtraction from the cosmic
mix. There will never be another. How thankful I am to have known Louis