Friday, December 4, 2009

Newsflash: Extra-Marital Affairs Happen

Normally, I have nothing to say when a celebrity or politician gets caught having sex with someone who is not their spouse. But I'm really tired of the media's obsession with a certain golfer who was caught being human.

Here's the simple fact: extra-marital affairs happen. I'm guessing that they started shortly after the first marriage, but there wasn't a media to obsess about it (unless there's a cave drawing somewhere that I'm not aware of). No one should care except the parties involved. Some things were never intended to be a spectator sport.

Maybe it's my liberal view, but whatever happens between consenting adults is nobodies business but the persons involved.

Except toe sucking...toe suckers are perverts who should be publicly shunned.

Boobies on the Rocks

Blog friend Lockwood of Outside the Interzone left a link in the comments to a National Geographic video, explaining how to make boobies sexier: don't let them have sex. Most entertaining.

Minor Frustrations

The past couple of days have hit me with a few frustrating situations. Not major, but thing that leave you grumbling with an urge to kick somebody.
I bought myself a new refrigerator, as my old one is dying. Bought online, taking advantage of post-thanksgiving sales. Only one minor problem: it doesn't all. I suspected there might be a problem when I was taking out of the (very beat up) shipping carton, and found a large oil stain at the bottom. So a wonderful series of calls with the charming people at "customer service" later, I'm nearing a solution. My desire was rather simple: take the defective fridge back, and give me a working one. Apparently, that's awfully complex. First, having worked some tech support in the past, I understand their urge to start with basics, like "is it plugged in?" and "is the outlet working?", but at some point they should understand that I have RTFM'd and covered all the basics. No, I don't want a refund; I want a working refrigerator. After talking to several different departments, and holding for a long long time, I think we've got it taken care of, but there's still the potential for additional screw ups.
Then there's cars. I offered to take care of a minor repair on a friends car, a newer Chevy sedan. Dear Chevy: when did you decide to use the oddest size bolt heads imaginable? I know you want buyers to use dealerships for even minor repairs, but some of these were ridiculous. 13/32's? That socket hadn't been used in the 25+ years in my toolbox. Having some metric and some standard bolts on the same housing? What are you thinking? Repair completed, but they sure made it harder than it needed to be (especially when it was 26 degrees outside at the time).
Which brings me to a certain lady friend with a computer problem, specifically the "blue screen of death". I should know better than trying to explain to someone who's computer illiterate that the only solution is drastic: the "nuclear option". She didn't like that answer, and kept demanding that I find a simpler solution. She even offered multiple sexual favors if I could find an easier way to solve the problem. But sometimes reality bites. She's currently trying to find someone else who'll tell her what she wants to hear. Good luck with that.
And it's 8 degrees outside. Not exactly inviting.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Judd Gregg, Obstructionist

The health care reform bill has become a question of what (if anything) can be passed over the republicans obstruction. And to put to rest any doubt about the republicans intentions, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) put out a letter clearly describing a variety of obstruction tactics to be used:

Sen. Judd Gregg, (R-NH) has penned the equivalent of an obstruction manual -- a how-to for holding up health care reform -- and has distributed the document to his Republican colleagues.

Insisting that it is "critical that Republican senators have a solid understanding of the minority's rights in the Senate," Gregg makes note of all the procedural tools the GOP can use before measures are considered, when they come to the floor and even after passage.

He highlights the use of hard quorum calls for any motion to proceed, as opposed to a far quicker unanimous consent provision. He reminds his colleagues that, absent unanimous consent, they can force the Majority Leader to read any "full-text substitute amendment." And when it comes to offering amendments to the health care bill, the New Hampshire Republican argues that it is the personification of "full, complete, and informed debate," to "offer an unlimited number of amendments -- germane or non-germane -- on any subject."

The details of Gregg's outline are a clear reflection of the extent to which Republicans are turning to the Byzantine processes of the Senate chamber as a means of holding up reform.


Considering the already lethargic pace of health care reform, this is an illuminating reminder of how Republican's are putting their energy into dragging out the process rather than affecting the legislation.

(bolds are mine. complete text at the link)

Needless to say, this is not about policy or reform; this is about stopping any form of legislation out of fear that it might help the democrats. Sen. Gregg and his cohorts have no interest in serving their constituents; they only care about a partisan victory. Self-promotion trumps governance in their minds.
And, as a result, the senate has become completely dysfunctional. It's one thing for a minority party to oppose a policy by trying to modify legislation to reflect a different set of ideals. It's quite another thing to try to prevent the body from taking any action at all.
If we had an informed electorate, any senator engaging in this type of behavior, regardless of ideology, should and would be removed from office. To so blatantly say "I want to stop the government dead in it's tracks", rather than trying to govern in a way that you prefer, proves that you are unfit for office in government. Democracy, for all its flaws, requires that elected officials, in some fashion, represent the people who elected them. It's perfectly respectable to vote against a policy you disagree with; it's downright Un-American to prevent that vote from taking place.
(this is completely seperate from the debate as to what kind of health care reform would be best-I'm discussing the efforts to prevent any action at all)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Now the Shoe's on the Other...

Slightly delicious irony of the day: the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at shrub is now on the receiving end of a shoe toss:

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush has himself become the target of a shoe thrower.

While speaking at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, was nearly hit in the face by a shoe thrown by what appeared to be another Iraqi man.

(video at the link)

If shoe tossing ever becomes an Olympic event, bet on the Iraqi's.

Speech Response

I'm going to disagree with my friend Justin a bit about Obama's Afghanistan speech. Not that I'm sold that the plan for Afghanistan is a good plan; it isn't. But it may be the 'least bad' plan that can realistically be implemented at this time.
Obama inherited a complete disaster in Afghanistan. The original goal of destroying Al Qaeda was abandoned in favor of a war in Iraq, and our forces in Afghanistan were left floundering for years without a strategy or the resources to carry out a plan. The puppet government is both corrupt and impotent, and the history of regional tribalism limits the potential for local allies. In short, we're in a hell of a mess.
But simply leaving Afghanistan would be even more dangerous. Aside from the humanitarian disaster that would follow, there is the very real threat of a terrorist haven on the border of a nuclear state that is itself unstable. Abandoning the Af/Pak chaos would greatly increase the risk of future attacks around the world.
So the situation is simply: damned if you leave, damned if you stay, damned if you escalate, damned if you draw down. Obama's plan has some of each; an escalation followed by a draw down, an increased focus on Pakistan, and an attempt to create a working government in Afghanistan. Stabilization, followed by a transition out of Afghanistan.
The speech itself was classic Obama. The tone was clear and somber, with a somewhat intellectual emphasis. While there were the requisite platitudes and rhetoric, Obama articulated his plans and goals with a level of clarity and honesty that the previous president was incapable of. As speeches go, it was strong and effective, and it probably pleased no one. Criticism is already pouring in from both the left and the right.
Will the strategy work? We'll see, but what we had been doing clearly wasn't working. Given the options currently available, Obama's choice is quite plausible. We'll see if it's workable.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Cuban Umpire

I was tempted to title this post "Umpire Defects", but for baseball fans the discussion of defective umpires would be endless.
No, this post is about a Cuban umpire who's defected to the U.S. We've had a lot of Cuban players come here for fame and fortune, but this is the first umpire that I'm aware of:

Baseball might be one of the strongest arguments for moving toward more normalized relations with Cuba after 50 years of embargo. The Cuban people are passionate about the game, and the repression of the Castro brothers regime has driven their finest players to defection. If relations were more normalized, those players would return money to their home country, like Venezuelan and Japanese, etc. players do. An open baseball exchange would be a "win-win" for both the U.S. and Cuba.
And, lord knows that we could use better umpires.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anatomy of a Shrub Up

As more information comes to light, we're reminded that a 'shrub up' goes much further than a 'fuck up' in terms of damage inflicted. Some of us knew at the time (despite the media's obfuscation) that shrub's mismanagement allowed Bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora. Now we're getting told exactly what transpired:

The report, based in part on a little-noticed 2007 history of the Tora Bora episode by the military’s Special Operations Command, asserts that the consequences of not sending American troops in 2001 to block Mr. bin Laden’s escape into Pakistan are still being felt.

The report blames the lapse for “laying the foundation for today’s protracted Afghan insurgency and inflaming the internal strife now endangering Pakistan.”

Couple this with the British investigation into the lead up to the war in Iraq, and the dishonesty that shrub and the poodle engaged in to sell the war. Here's some official bombshells:

The military timetable for an invasion of Iraq in 2003 did not give time for UN weapons inspectors in the country to do their job, the former British ambassador
to Washington told the Iraq inquiry in London today.

Sir Christopher Meyer said the “unforgiving nature” of the build-up after American forces had been told to prepare for war meant that “we found ourselves scrabbling for the smoking gun”.

For the first time in history, the entire world contemporaneously saw the blatant hypocrisy of war. The best PR money could buy was unable to convince the global audience that even a shred of legitimacy existed in the imperial invasion of Iraq. Only the most fearful Americans even bought it, though as usual that’s more than a majority. Plus of course Israel, to give credit where it’s due.

As usual, Scott Ritter tells the straight truth, and as usual, it ain’t pretty.

As if the 'shrub ups' hadn't done enough damage,not there's Draft Dick Cheney 2012. Just what we need.