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Just a Few Weeks
There's not been much content here, it's not that we don't like you, or that we're not strongly opinionated people. It's just that paying for all this stimulus stuff takes some time. It maybe a little sparse for the next few weeks, but we'll try to get the ball rolling in a little while.
Really? Waterboarding isn't surfer slang? I guess no one informed me. Now one informed Nancy Pelosi either. Well, maybe she was informed, but it was second hand - or she was briefed by someone who wasn't informed. Or someone who was informed but not completely briefed.
Either way, while the Bush administration was lying to you, the CIA was lying to her.
Assuming she's right - why would she tell us? After all, if what they're best at is waterboarding and lying...
Of course if you want to talk about a lack of information and 'misleading', how about the Stimulus bill? Voted on before it could be read, in spite of promises that it would be made public.
I guess Speaker Pelosi's next career move could be the CIA.
Perhaps we should be interested in an informed opinion?
In the story that just won't stop, Carrie Prejean arguably lost the Miss USA competition because of her answer to a gay question from a homosexual judge:
We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.
It wasn't the horrible grammar, but the content of the answered that offended judge Perez Hilton, and perhaps cost her the title. Those tolerant of 'same-sex marriage' don't seem to be tolerant of anything else. Getting to the bottom of the issue, Miss USA franchise owner Donald Trump says she holds the same views on gay marriage as President Obama:
It's the same answer that the president of the United States gave, she gave an honorable answer.
Nicely played by the Donald. But the Administration bites back as David Axelrod - chief advisor - says that when picking the first family's dog, Miss California was a runner up.
Now That's Funny
Forget our witty look at current events, if you want funny just drop in at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Wanda Sykes pulled out all the stops, theorizing that Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker on September 11th, but missed his flight because of the Oxycontin.
That's almost as funny as buzzing New York City for a photo op.
Then she asked:
l hope this country fails?" I hope his kidney fails!
Pretty classy stuff. Yet this joke needs an apology.
No longer in a secure location, former vice president Dick Cheney is anything but silent. Feeling that he'd rather criticise the President then watch his country be dismantled, he's out there claiming that what the last administration did protected this country, and what the current administration is doing will weaken this country and put us all in danger.
If I don't speak out, then where do we find ourselves? Then the critics have free run, and there isn't anybody there on the other side to tell the truth. So it's important.
Time to Retire
Justice Souter will be leaving the bench, so it won't be long before all the drama of a new appointment. If current legal appointments are any indicator, it won't be pretty.
If we could pick someone who should retire, it would probably be Arlin Specter.
After switching parities, two Democrat contenders for the Senate nomination dropped out, but the Senate hasn't given him any help with seniority - at least until after the election.
But Specter's given the Democrats a taste of what it's like to have him at the party. He's already voting against the party, and gave his support to Norm Coleman - of the Coleman/Franken election. Of course he took that support back just a little while later - so maybe he's already picking up on how to be a Democrat.
A happy Mother's Day - and we'll catch up next week.
[Note: This covers the last two weeks - so enjoy the fortnight in review]
After September 11th, no one ran from the buildings of New York City fearing another attack for the rest of our last President's two terms, almost 8 years. 100 days with the new President and like everything else - that's changed.
Last week Air Force One (well, not at the time technically) flew over New York City - for a photo op with the Statue of Liberty. One small problem - nobody knew it was happening. So when New Yorkers saw a 747 flying around Manhattan, they were more than a little concerned.
Perhaps no one at the White House has heard of photoshop? Perhaps faking the shot seemed too disingenuous to this administration. I doubt it.
Or maybe they were trying to clear out the financial offices, hoping that if everyone just went home our current economic situation wouldn't get any worse.
If that was the goal, they should have buzzed the capitol.
Stay at Home
Who cares about the environment? Drive your SUV, and take that private plane. Vice President Joe Biden says stay off planes and subways (what about trains?).
His office says he was referring to travel to Mexico - although he specifically said he wasn't. Janet Napolitano - White House wordsmith - says that if he could do it again, he would have said, "if you're sick" - while that's clearly not what he meant.
So wash your hands when you shake hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. I know it sounds trivial, but it makes a huge difference.
Of course he's not a doctor, and he didn't reference a doctor, but why would that matter - he speaks, we believe.
Watch That Border
Perhaps the best part of Joe Biden's warning was that you should avoid closed containers. There's not many scenarios I can think of that fit that, other than the scenarios that involve crossing our border illegally.
You hear that Canadians? Because in our ongoing contingency operations against man caused disasters the one border we need to watch is the Canadian border. Because that's where the 9/11 hijackers may have come from according to Janet Napolitano.
Canada, England, France - I'm glad the international crowd all loves us now.
Not quite the event Michael D'Antuono hoped for, the planned unveiling of his Obama as the Messiah painting titled 'The Truth' was canceled. Turns out even the Christians can be offended. Who knew?
Well, he's really sorry - and you should be too. Sorry that there are people who would put that much hope in a man.
While the last story might seem like torture to some, the newly released torture memos just drag on. First there would be no prosecution, then prosecution for some, then maybe prosecution by someone else. So who really knows?
On thing is for sure, all this concern about how those who want to destroy us are treated, while the Supreme Court tries to determine if school students can be abritrally strip searched just doesn't seem right.
In Other News
A Judge orders the defendants mouth taped shut, wow, isn't that torture - cold fusion may be possible, good thing the scientific consensus is always right - a Russian politician resigns after learning his election was rigged, obviously not from Chicago - Cheney's on the loose, and yeah, that's the way we like him - the President puts his own economic advisor asleep at the credit meeting, no wonder Fox wouldn't run the last press conference - Biden is less popular than Cheney was, but let's wait until he shoots someone - GE shareholders aren't too happy with the company's MSNBC, and why would they be?
We all do it. Sometimes it's obvious hyperbole - such as, "I'll never get out of work" or "5pm will never come." I'm not talking about that kind. I'm talking about the kind that's used to get a reaction or to get someone to do something that they normally wouldn't do if it wasn't exaggerated.
People will sometimes exaggerate to get sympathy. They will make their situation worse than it actually is so that the person feels bad for them and comforts them. Kids are great at exaggeration and often use it to get their way. One of the worst things a parent can do is exaggerate the consequences of their kid's actions. It may seem convenient as it allows them to keep their kid from disobeying or doing something harmful to themselves. While warning your kids is important, if you exaggerate the results of said actions, it plants the seeds of distrust in the kid's mind. Once they get older and realize it wasn't true they will start to doubt the other warnings and throw them off as too harsh.
The media is awesome at exaggeration. Sometime I don't even think they mean to, as they are just looking for attention-grabbing content. But it's desensitizing us to real problems. We've heard about swine flu now for a few days and the media is covering it like it's already the Bubonic Plague. To be sure, there certainly is a risk for pandemic and nobody really denies what COULD happen. But I'm also hearing people say that it will DEFINITELY be nothing but a short-lived fad... it's just the media is hyping it up.
We do want to be informed. We do want to take precautions. But let's both keep this in perspective and also let's not denounce it just because the media is attention crazy (which is kind of like saying that Wal-mart is sales-happy... it's their business). Most thinking people will take precautions based on cost/risk analysis. If we locked ourselves in our houses for the next year we'd be pretty safe, but who would do that? The cost is too high. But the other side is also dangerous - purely dismissing any and all threats just because the media is making a big deal of it. All pandemics start small and I'd venture to say (not being an expert) that they will evolve as they spread - just because we have a treatment now doesn't mean it will always be treatable. Panic? No. Deny? No.
Until the chances of dying from Swine Flu exceed the chances of dying in my car on the way to work tomorrow, I'm probably not going to change my lifestyle much. Could it hurt me? Yeah, but that's part of being human and living in a harsh world.
Taking a break this week - but don't worry, next week will have a double layer of buttery goodness.
American History 101
The decade of the 1940's was one of the most destructive in the 20th Century. Yet it is the most forgotten in terms of remembrance. True, we have Veterans Day, the Holocaust Museum, and the World War II Memorial, but the truths and ideas that made the 1940's so destructive have crept back into our society and even into our families. The Holocaust was one of the most publicized mass annihilation of a single race of people.
The Third Reich in Germany, courtesy of Adolf Hitler, began as a social reform movement. Adolf Hitler had bigger plans though. The engines needed for the change he planned were already in place; engines like bias, discontent, poor economy, and big promises of new leaders - sound familiar? Hitler told the people of Germany, who elected him, that the reason life was so difficult was because of 'wrong' people having the majority of the money. They were told these people had gotten this wealth by taking advantage of the German people.
Hitler told the Germans that as a people they needed to unite in this time of need. The bias that existed in their hearts against those better off than they or those who were simply different, began to grow into a sentiment of social isolationism. Out of this came the beginning of this epoch came in the form “Kristal Nacht” - Night of the Broken Glass. This was the first major outward demonstration of violence against the Jewish people. Many Jewish synagogues, shops, and businesses were destroyed, as well as many Jewish people beaten, robbed, and killed. All with the mute consent of the German police and other authorities.
One year later, the mass concentration and destruction of the Jewish people began. While it began small, it blossomed into one of the greatest genocides in history. Yet, the seeds of the genocide are as old as history itself. Frightening as it is, they are appearing again in society.
Bias is an ever existent component of society and has long been the cause of conflict around the globe. In recent time, discontent has merged with a fear of the poor world economy. Big political promises are so common, people won't buy into them unless it is an election year. Even then, they only believe the promises that they want to hear. As in Germany, we today enjoy having a “jew” to blame, because it makes us feel like it is not our fault - as well as allows us to feel like we are helping “fix” the situation.
The men who became the most despicable killers in the holocaust were regular, average people. Store owners, shopkeepers, clerks, bankers, farmers, college students, reserve soldiers, politicians, and religious people. The people of America are prime targets for anything the political leaders of today would ask them to do.
Do I think that the next great genocide will be in America? No. But we are at the stage where we don't think for ourselves but instead believe what we are told and follow along like “we are supposed to”. The patriots that began this country thought about what was being demanded of them, and as a result began one of the most world-changing events in history. Perhaps we should go back to the old ways, and think carefully before we act! Think about that.
Taxes & Texas
It's over. At least I hope it is. I wonder if Treasury Secretary Geitner did his own taxes this year. But the big non-news is the tea parties. CNN says they aren't family viewing, and of course CNN's Anderson Cooper knows all about family friendly.
In an interesting timed report, the Department of Homeland Security warns of "rightwing extremist activity". Although they have no specific information, things like illegal immigration, gun control legislation, and a lessening of nation defense tend to encourage those radical rightwingers. Maybe it's just because those things don't seem to get anyone at Homeland Security concerned.
Of course, that doesn't bother Texas much. They just might just take their big hats a leave. While some say the Texas Governors reference to secession is extreme - is it really more extreme than the federal government buying up the finical markets, subjecting our economy to a global oversight, or
Making The Rounds
We already knew that Castro is a big fan of President Obama - and that Democrats are are big fans of Castro - but now it's on to other world leaders as President Obama mixes it up with Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. But remember, it's not what's accomplished at these things, it's all about the 'atmosphere'. At least he got a brand new anti-American book. I'm sure that'll be a good read.
Level Playing Fields
It's just not fair that the terrorists don't know what to expect, so the administration has released the memos detailing different interrogation techniques. Not only will the terrorists now have a good idea of what their up against, our allies probably won't be as quick to share information with us - who knows where it'll end up.
But the administration has stated that there will be no prosecution of CIA personal that followed the approved guidelines, making this all one unnecessary exercise in pointlessness. Except for the terrorists. They win.
Three good - okay, amazing - shots left the same number of dead Pirates and a single free Captain. The SEALs were cleared to take the shot if the Captain's life was in immediate danger. Really? What exactly is the norm for being held captive by pirates - just semi-danger?
But now the pirates are out for revenge. Maybe the the whole negotiate with them 'playbook' was a mistake. Do they think piracy is a business and they've been wronged? Don't they realize that using the potential confiscation of property and wealth as leverage to force some kind of payment is the Governments job?
A little light on articles this week. We'll try to make it up to you. So as always, tell your friends. And if you have something you want to say, let us know.
Where's You Money?
Remember all that open accountability that went along with the stimulus bill? When it comes to finding out where all the money went, your best bet - and anyone else's - is Google:
Local news has been by far the best source of information so far. If you want to know how a local government is going to spend the money, Google around, Lexis-Nexis a bit.
That's good to know.
The Bridge Bill
If you're still looking for specifics, you can google a project using $11 million of the stimulus. Just search for, 'microsoft campus bridge'. We'll be splitting the cost of the bridge with Bill Gates, for a walkway spanning the highway dividing the Microsoft campus.
Microsoft 'traffic' will account for less than 50% of the walkway use, so I guess they're paying their way - but even then, the stimulus is building a bridge? They say it will create jobs for 18 months. I didn't realize that we only needed the new jobs to last a year and a half. Well, I guess then we could just spend another trillion in 2011.
The Wizard of Ob
President Obama told his fans on the other side of the world, that his followers on this side of the world - or his 'friends' in the press - wanted to know why he hadn't solved all the world's problems in his first international tour. Nice thought. Turns out what they really wanted to know was why he hadn't made any real progress on any of the major situations we face.
I guess you just shouldn't look behind the curtain.
North Korea launched a satellite into orbit. Unless you don't live in North Korea, then it's more like they built a really big Estes model rocket, which unfortunately landed in the water. Guess they won't be able to use it again. I hate it when that happens.
Some say this shows they're not a threat. Yeah, it's just that they could end up hitting anyone. It's like giving a flamethrower to a drunk monkey - you know someone is getting burned, you just don't know who.
Sticks and Stones
In light of the mixed results on North Korea's science fair day - President Obama has announced that in the future, words must mean something.
"Words must mean something."
But that's not all - check out what his other words mean:
...as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. We have to insist, "Yes, we can." ...we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same...
Of course there are some that don't see a future world filled with bunnies and singing chipmunks. Not only do we use nuclear weapons to deter other nuclear powers from using theirs - we use them to deter non-nuclear threats as well. Yes, we are the only nation to use a nuke, and we used it to end a war that would have had an even greater cost in American lives had we not used 'the bomb'.
Israel uses nuclear weapons to deter conventional warfare every day. And I don't think President Obama will be able to convince them to 'disarm'.
So with the Obama administration wanting to dismantle our nuclear warfare, as well as cut back on 'old' conventional warfare - what exactly will we be left with? Spitballs?
But he has words for those that oppose his idea as well:
Now, I know that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a broad agenda. That's how wars begin. That's where human progress ends.
Very true, as long as his ideas go unchallenged, there won't be war. It'll be surrender. Because, as we all know from the playground, words will never hurt you.
Remember Swiss Family Robinson? Them's some nasty looking pirates. And they're still around. For the first time in more than a hundred years - according to Attorney General Eric Holder - pirates took a ship flying the American flag. It seems like the pirates could have made a better choice, but with times changing, I assumed they were just hopeful.
Although the pirates got away with the captain, the crew did take the ship back. That's a mistake some experts say:
...offer no resistance; this could lead to unnecessary violence and harm to crew.
It seems it would do little to dissuade future attacks, but I guess it leads to becoming an expert on pirate captivity.
Not Too Bright
A few others learned a lesson about choosing a victim this week. When looking for a dog to kill, don't pick the dog Marcus Luttrell - the only survivor of a 200 man attack on his 4 man SEAL team - was given to help him cope with the loss of his men.
Which I'm sure they realized after he chased them across three counties, into a police roadblock.
Of course they should thank the police, because that's better than meeting Luttrell's two Berettas.