Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Famous Last Words

Illinois Senator Roland Burris to Rob Blagojevich, brother of then-Governor Rod Blagojevich, in a phone conversation taped by federal investigators, November 13, 2008:

"I will personally do something. And it'll be done before the 15th of December. And tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would ya?"

In the context of the conversation, "do something" can safely be inferred to mean "write a check."

Burriss denied under oath on January 5 that he had any discussions about the Senate seat with Blagojevich or any of his representatives.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Yesterday’s game between the Orioles and the Blue jays was stopped in the middle of the fifth inning for a Memorial Day moment of silence. Not even I object to the sentiment; the execution left something to be desired.

While everyone stood with hats off, a syrupy Josh Grobin tune was played over the PA system; flowing American flags were shown on the scoreboard. The point of a moment of silence is the silence. Does everything we do now require accompaniment?

I think the issue is PVGD: Post Vietnam Gratitude Disorder. There are a lot of people still around who remember how shamefully the returning Vietnam veterans were treated. These exhibitions of hyper-sentiment are a way to try to make up for that, exacerbated by the fact that, since the draft ended, most Americans do not serve. Those who had “other priorities” show they’re just as patriotic by wearing their gratitude on their sleeves. Just don’t ask them to pay increased taxes to better care for the returning wounded, or for improved survivor’s benefits, or putting proper armor on the Humvees.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Win-Win Scenario

It’s hard to see understand the controversy over closing the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Those who want to play the fear card—which includes 90 senators—act like the Obama Administration is going to drop these guys off in Miami with bus tickets for the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. How placing a couple of hundred alleged terrorists into solitary confinement can endanger a nation of three hundred million seems to be a more relevant question than what Obama plans to do with them. (Shackle them and move them under heavy guard seems a reasonable answer to the latter.)

Here’s an idea that should please everyone: build a facility in Texas. I’m sure Crawford’s economy could use a lift, now that all the media and protesters are gone. It’s too bad Bush is gone, too, but his gated community in Dallas is close enough for him to feel a sense of accomplishment for creating this “all locked up with no place to go” scenario. (Funny how his “just folks” attachment to the ranch disappeared about the time it was no longer politically profitable.)

Here’s where we satisfy the Senate: If Rick Perry has his way, Texas will no longer be part of the United States by the time we get the detainees moved, so they won’t be coming to the United States after all.

I don’t know why they just don’t come to me to settle these things.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For

For years Democrats in Congress refused to deny George W. Bush the finding to do anything he anted. For the last two years of his administration they had the votes; prior to that they have parliamentary procedure to stop any programs they truly objected to, of which they claimed there were many.

Now they have a Democratic president who wants to do something most of them have been claiming they want to do—close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist holding facility—and they’re denying him the funds to do it.

What it comes down to is fear. Which are they more afraid of? Is it the chance one of these 241 alleged terrorists will be too much for the American prison system to handle? That these terrorists, who will be dispersed all over the country to dilute the effects of their less than one-in-a-million status here, will somehow be able to defeat out best efforts to neutralize them? Are these terrorists from Krypton, with superhuman powers that would make them invincible to our military?

Or is their fear of Republicans greater? That one of these guys will do something—run a red light, shoplift a CD—and the Republicans will scream, “See?! We told you it wasn’t safe!”

What scares me most is Harry Reid. Nothing new; I’ve been after Reid’s ass for years. (Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Oh, and here.)The Senate majority leader was rolled on a daily basis when he was the minority leader. Now he has 59 votes, and they still roll him. Here are Reid’s comments on why the Guantanamo detainees can’t be placed into the federal prison system:

REID: I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.

QUESTION: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.

REID: Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.

QUESTION: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? …

REID: I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.

This is someone who could hire James Harrison as his press secretary. Harry’s not just incompetent; he’s senile.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yes, I Am Immature

I have a calendar on my desk at work. Each day has its own little brain teaser puzzle. Some I solve, some I try to solve and fail, and some I don't even bother with. Here's today's:

Put the same three-letter word in each of the blanks below to make three new words.




I've spent most of the morning trying to think of what "assstone" and "assboard" mean.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Know Your Audience

Alaska governor Sarah Palin is writing her memoirs. HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, announced it is slated for release in the spring of 2010, and denied rumors it would be released only in audio format.

Monday, May 04, 2009

False Security

[Agency name redacted] is in the process of issuing new identification badges to all employees and contractors. New photographs, new fingerprints (in case they changed from last time),and the usual descriptive information. Date of Birth. Eye color. Hair color.

(Interesting side note: Two documents are required to prove your identity. Among the acceptable options are a U.S. state-issued drivers license and your current [agency name redacted] badge. No one seems to have recognized I used the former to obtain the latter in first place, so it’s not really two forms of ID, is it?)

My current hair color can safely be described as “mongrel.” When the pleasant young woman taking my information asked, I said, “Take your pick.” She gave me a closer look and laughed. When I was asked to proofread the data for accuracy, I saw “Gray” in the “Hair Color” line.