Thursday, August 31, 2006

Five Topics, One Post

Aaaaaand GO.

Oh gimme a break. What a bunch of eunuchs. The only reason they have a chance is because the Republicans are abusing their power and have let the conservatives run amok. (And yes, there is a difference between a Republican and a conservative--though not as much as there used to be.) The fact that the Democrats lost twice--twice!--to George W. Bush, one of the most vulnerable presidential candidates in recent history, speaks volumes as to the leadership and base of the party. And don't gimme that crap about how screwed up the American people and how this country is going to hell. These are the same people who gave Clinton two terms. No, the problem is with the Democrats and the issues in the last election prove my point. Can anyone tell me what Kerry was FOR? Where the hell was the positive thinking, the progressive action, the ideas for the future? NOTHING! The entirety of their message was "uh, we're pro-defense too!" and "Bush sucks!" God knows there was plenty of material begging to be used to slam the Republican Congress and the Bush administration. How about the obscenely bloated Federal budget? It undermines the entire argument of traditional Republican conservatives and indeed has resulted in some friction in the party. Who's doing anything about the decreasing economic mobility of the poor and working classes? Where's the initiative, the Federal mandate, to begin weaning this country from its incredible dependence (and vulnerability) to external sources of fuel? Where are the regulations to prevent the massive fraud perpetuated by Enron, WorldCom, and the dozens of mutual-fund market timers? Who the hell is slamming the Right's fingers in a car-door (rhetorically speaking) over the Terry Schiavo debacle? You know that would find an ear with Americans--polls prove it and the Republicans realized it when they backed away from guys like Delay. My point is that the list of targets is long and ripe. The Democrats are just adrift. Part of the problem is the traditional tug-of-war between the Liberals, who are pretty organized and pissed off at the moment, and the rest of the party. Part of the problem is that Reid and Pelosi are not the types of leaders who will pull them out of this mess. But the biggest problem of all is that lack of direction, the total lack of initiative, and the sense that, inevitably, they are due their turn in Congress or the White House. Fortunately they don't piss me off as much as ...

I wish we'd overshot Nagasaki in 1945 and hit Moscow instead. Okay, so I might be joking. A little. If you've followed Russian events over the last 60 years you know exactly what I mean. Christ, the last 10 years should be enough to justify that first sentence. Do places like Grozny or Abkhazia ring a bell? How about "influence" in the elections in Georgia or the Ukraine? What about threats to neighboring countries in the form of pipeline disruptions and border exercises? How does the phrase "resurgent pan-Slavism" strike you? Which gigantic country was the sole supporter of Serbia while NATO was bombing the shit out of Milosevic and his comrades? Who else besides me remembers the woman who got a state-sponsored syringe full of relaxants in her because, literally, she was upset about the Kursk? For a more recent treat, let's not forget those democratic party members and protesters who were arrested on their way to a rally in Moscow. Lest anyone think my Estonian blood is speaking for my normally rational self (oh wait, I forgot about the open threats made to the Baltic nations during my visit there), I assure you that I am not the only one to raise the alarm about modern Russia. What makes it scary is that they're sitting atop vast energy reserves and a gigantic nuclear arsenal. There may be other places worse off socially or politically, but none come close to exercising the power and having the aspirations that Russia does. There is no civil society, no internal or external balances to government power, no judiciary to speak of, and no bounds to the corruption that permeates all levels of government, society, and the economy. Read the news. It's like the former Soviet Union with a sloppy veneer of capitalism. That's a nice segue in to ...

Alright, check out Mr. ACLU on this one: I agree, in principle, that the NSA should be recording outgoing phone conversations as part of terror surveillance. I'm afraid many of my liberal friends are so vehemently against Bush that they're position-oriented (as opposed to issue-oriented ... thanks Chris!) and short-circuit the entire debate when his name comes in to play. The issue is that the United States, and the West in general, face a serious threat from a determined enemy. This isn't "just" 9/11. This is the USS Cole, the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the nightclub attack in Bali, the transit attacks in London and Madrid, the insurgency in the southern Phillipines, and the numerous busted plots in Germany, Jordan, Britain, Seattle/LAX, France, the Phillipines, Canada, and elsewhere. It's not just a small group of angry radicals (Oklahoma City, 1993); or a threat only to our overseas military (Red Brigade, November 17, Libyans, and Red Army groups in the '80s); or a limited group of whackjobs with some serious weapons (Aum Shinrikyo, 1995). It's a threat to all of us across the globe. There's no doubt at all that these fellas are interested in killing as many Westerners as possible and are pursuing weapons of mass destruction. They did it under Clinton, they've done it under Bush, and they're gonna keep doing it no matter who is in the White House. Besides, other Federal agencies have practiced wire-tapping for decades. Why then the hesitancy on my part? Congress and the special intelligence judiciary do not, to my knowledge, have adequate oversight to the process. President Bush has been reasserting Executive Privelege as a right. It's one of those internal balances of power that shifted to Congress in 1974 as a reaction to Nixon and the entrenched Congressional seniority--and, interestingly enough, to the abuses of Federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies in terms of domestic surveillance. The debate now is if this is a correction to that power balance or a power-grab by the Executive branch. I'm inclined to believe the latter since Bush has shown a tendency to believe that his guys, and his guys alone, know what's best for America. The irony is that they may undermine their own efforts when Congress or the Judiciary unscrews their pooch. So anyway, now that the tough topics are over, let's move on to some lighter fare like ...

The evidence is pretty much complete that human activity is causing a rise in global temperatures. However, the debate is filled with so much overheated alarmist hyperbole that it clouds the very serious and very real threat of "human-influenced climate change". Global warming is as natural and well-documented as global cooling. In fact global warming could very well be a positive thing since the planet is actually in an "icehouse" global climate right now. Using the phrase "global warming" is what leads to so much argument in the first place. The more accurate phrase is "inadvertent climate change" since climate is not so simple--things aren't necessarily going to get hotter. The freaky part is that there's so much contradicting evidence. The Gulfstream could slow down significantly, bringing far cooler temperatures regionally to Europe and eastern North America. Greater cloud cover stemming from higher evaporation rates could actually initiate cooling since the solar reflectivity (albedo) of the Earth could increase. Parts of the American West could become much drier and lead to dust-bowl conditions; alternately the Southwest could experience greater precipitation from a longer monsoon season or a change in El Nino. Melting permafrost could release tons of curently non-decomposing carbon in to the enivronment but alternately a wet Arctic and warmer planet could create massive new carbon sinks leading to cooling. The only given is that things are changing, they're changing quickly, it's likely due to us, and we don't know where it will lead--except that it will have global impacts. Speaking of climate change, there are ...

I am lactose intolerant. Besides the obvious--ice cream, cheesecake, entire blocks of cream cheese--I've discovered, through trial and horrible error, numerous foods that contain lactose.
  • BW3 chicken wings - the sauce apparently has a cream base. I discovered this 25 minutes before Chuck Delacuesta's graduation ceremony.
  • Mashed potatoes at restaurants - again, usually thickened with cream.
  • De Cecco pasta - my favorite pasta noodles have "ferrous lactate" as an ingredient. Ugh.
  • Vegan chocolate cake from Sweet Life bakery - don't believe them when they say "dairy free" ... I discovered this today after two massives slices resulted in me missing several hours of work.
  • "Lactose-enhanced" beer at McMennamin's - DUDE, WTF. I JUST WANT A BEER.
  • Regular air - at this point I wouldn't be surprised.
May your sphincters rest in peace.


Blogger Mr. Nutty said...

When I read this post, I imagine you delivering it as an angry monologue on TV, probably wearing a shirt and tie, sleeves rolled up and tie loosened. You're walking around and the camera is following your movements. You're pretty much screaming by the end of each section, at which point a different camera comes on, you look right into it, and yell the name of the next topic.

That being said, I agree with a lot of what you've said here. Nice job describing the lack of direction within the Democratic party. When your entire election platform is based on something/one which you AREN'T (i.e. George W. Bush) it may be time to re-evaluate your campaign strategy. I'm glad they lost and hope the Republicans are able to come up with a likeable candidate for '08 who will get back to some of the roots of the party. It's high time we got away from all these stupid moral issues the government shouldn't even be involved in and head back to some good old fiscal responsibility.

Russia -- I don't know much about Russia. What you've mentioned here paints an interesting picture, and certainly jives with what I do know. We should really be paying more attention to them. Too bad Slim Pickens has been dead for 23 years. He could take care of those Ruskies. Since he's long gone, I guess my advice would be to watch out for your bodily fluids, and if you meet a Russian on the street, tell him you're not gay.

Wiretapping -- I have nothing to hide. The government is welcome to listen in on my conversations as much as they want. That would probably be a great way for some NSA analyst to get free access to some of the seedier 976 numbers. Hope you guys like 1-800-BARN-SEX, or my personal favorite, 1-800-ASK-4-ASS. That being said, I agree there should be good oversight into any wiretapping program. But I don't necessarily feel that some random idiot like me needs to know exactly what the government is/is not paying attention to.

Global Warming -- Again, I don't know much about it. We need to get away from our dependence on foreign oil, but that isn't all that easy. The big discovery this week in the Gulf will help a few years down the road. I also like the idea of the oil sands in Canada. It's going to be a long while before we can come up with something good enough to replace gasoline/diesel. In the mean time, maybe we should open up a refinery or two to lower the price of gasoline so that I can save some money at the track, assuming my car ever leaves the garage again. As for actual global warming, people generate heat. Body heat, heat from their cars, toasters, computers, crack pipes, etc. More people = more heat. Simple equation. I have no solution for global warming. I'm hoping it isn't too big a deal in my lifetime.

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE -- I'm tolerant of lactose. Knowing that you aren't, I can't help but laugh at all the quesadillas and nachos you put away when we lived in College Park. Not to mention the four to six personal pan pizzas you'd put away every day during the 1999-2000 school year.

3:38 PM  
Blogger tortaluga said...

can i just add that as you deliver this monologue, you should probably stop every few sentences to shake your fist at the sky?

12:47 AM  
Blogger Waan said...

It's more like "I HAVE OPINIONS, RAR RAR RAR RAR", but with lots of frothy spittle and bloodshot eyes.

2:42 PM  

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