Sunday, May 06, 2007

This and That

Didn't make the weekly ride with the Hiawatha folks. Missed it as I was helping around the town home association. It was our annual clean up day. I spent about six hours using a high pressure sprayer to clean the dust and grime off the building siding. They look quite a bit better when its all said and done. I was quite surprised. We rented a pressure washer, but it was pretty weak, so I just used a high pressure nozzle on a standard hose that was able to shoot a narrow (quarter inch or so?) stream of water to near the top of the building. Other folks took out any crummy shrubbery and planted some new plants and such around the entrance sign. I'm not sure why, but they left sort of a skeleton of the tree in the front. I'm thinking a rental chain saw would make short work of it.

Twins lost today, although it started bad, they made a game of it. Hitting is still anemic. Pitching isn't too hot either. Sure don't expect them to pull the award winning run they did last year. They have to be in contention the normal way or they'll finish out of the running.

Bought a Brita water cooler. Its like your regular water cooler except all the water is run through a pair of Brita filters. Yields cold
good tasting water. Then last winter it began leaking. Have been trying to figure out what the blazes is wrong with the thing. Turns out it isn't leaking. It's over flowing. The water container you fill with tap water, then flip over and put on top of the thing leaks somewhere on the bottom. This allows the water to free flow and overflow a reservoir. You'd think a chemical engineer could figure that out faster. I've got to go somewhere that has a air compressor to find the leak. The water leaks out too slowly to find it. I think I'll have to pressurizes it and dip it in a tub of water to see bubbles. I own a compressor, but its at the exes. Maybe someday.

Came across this in the New York Times. Its not going to be available to read after the 9th or so, so try to read it quick. Its about an apparent bill the Shrub has submitted to congress. He wants expanded wire tapping and spying tactics so he "can catch the bad guys." Gee, we've heard that the FBI or CIA or whomever abused the current law and spied on folks that really had done anything wrong. I sure hope this doesn't make it past congress in some fit of fear mongering the GOP is so good at. They can't catch Bin Laden, and they sure didn't catch anyone before or after the 9/11 attack. Now I know there hasn't been any attacks, but what I don't see are anything high profile which suggests to me, there aren't any or they didn't catch them anyway.

Here is the dilemma in my mind. A free society is supposed to be free to both sides. For example, we encourage or at the very minimum don't discourage the marches and such of the followers of Martin Luther King. Likewise, even the marches that are onerous must be permitted in a free society. For example the skin heads and the KKK. Foul? Absolutely. And hopefully the majority will see them for the dunder headed ridiculous people they are. Marginal groups will always attract followers. The lesson we should learn from Hitler for example is that if you make the lowest class so dissatisfied that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from rebellion; you create a group that might overtake the society in a ruthless way with awful consequences.

So if we are free to speak and protest, then at some level we have to expect and predict that some of those marginal folks are going to acquire a firearm and shoot up the place like this poor student in Virginia. I don't condone what he did. I wish we had more firearm laws. I wish the ones we had were better utilized. Virginia is so afraid of any limitations on obtaining firearms that they don't participate in a national database of people of concern. So even though the lad was thought to be unfitting to be a firearms owner, their system didn't prevent him from buying, training to shoot, and then carrying out his apparent plan. Like a fellow that was involuntarily committed to a mental program because he was thought to be a danger to others or himself.

Do I think Virginia deserved this? Not at all. The point is we can't have it all. If we allow and encourage everyone to conceal and carry, we'll have the old west and be far closer to anarchy. Innocent people will die in places other than gang and drug traffic areas.

Likewise if we choose to have freedom, we have to expect those that dislike us to abuse our own freedoms and hijack a plane and crash it into a building; passengers and all. Sure there were laws against foreigners doing some of the things they did, but they also were crafty. They studied. They observed. They learned and used our freedom against us. The question to ask is why didn't they apply that perseverance and hard work toward benefit of themselves? Could they have owned a successful business? I think so. If they'd taken the cash and worked as a group who knows what they could have done in a legitimate proposition. Its exactly what my ancestors from Finland did. They came to America for opportunities that simply weren't available there. Spectacular success, no, but their contribution to this country has been a heritage of contributors to society. In general hard working, honest, citizens that participate in the society as intended.

So why did the young men pursue the method of attack they did? What lead them there? I don't know. I know only what I read in the media. That some sects of the Muslim religion see us as the great White Devil. Well, when you are the big kahhuna, you do expect the people that want to get on top to take a shot or two at you. The rhetoric in the middle east against the US and some other "Christian" nations has been strident for a long time. Surely more than two decades when the "students" overtook the US embassy in Iran and held the personnel hostage. It was one of the contributions to the single term for Jimmy Carter. Somehow I have to believe we aren't doing ourselves any favors in the middle east. And haven't done for a long time.

By that do I mean cease supporting Israel? Surely not. We could support the Palestinians better though. I don't sense we do anything for them. They in some areas are squarely under the thumb of Israel. We fought 200+ years ago for independence, we supposedly are bringing democracy to Iraq (that's a joke son) and we should be arguing more for them with Israel. Are we creating our worst hardened enemies by keeping them so poor and dissatisfied that we created in effect the same as Hitler and the brown shirts that pursued the Jewish as the fault of all their problems. Only this time it isn't the Jews, its the Christians. We're no more to blame than or now.

So the Dems finally get going and tack on a few limitations to the spending bill. When was it that the GOP said, "Hey just don't complain about the war, tell us a better plan." So the Dems do, and the stubborn Shrub vetoes it with the same old rhetoric, "cut and run" and "abandoning our troops", and "politicians advising the military." Wait, just who is "the decider"? Well the Shrub thinks it is him, but I agree with the late Molly Ivins, its us. The voters. And that we should be discussing and telling our congresspeople what we think of the "Commander in Chief" or the "the decider". He sure doesn't seem to be listening from the previous election.

I just can't believe the man can't see how we're fucked. If we stay in Iraq, we only bring more chaos. We're providing the best recruiting poster for the insurgents. Bombing and attacks continue to escalate. What was that you dick (meaning Cheney), "this is just the last throes of a dying insurgency." I'll never figure out how that man sleeps at night. Oh, yeah, with Fox news playing in the background. If we leave Iraq, it will descend into chaos just like South Vietnam did when we left.

The politics of Iraq is something we don't understand. Its foreign to us. The same goes for Afghanistan. They have to settle it for themselves. It won't be any prettier than our own Revolution or the Civil War, or as some moron southerners would have you believe, "The Insurrection from the North." Sore losers. Can we prevent what will happen in Iraq? I don't see how. We depend upon technology and they depend upon the will to fight for what they see as the land they rightly own. We simply can't match that passion and that willingness to go to any lengths.

In Vietnam, it was a terribly corrupt government that the public wouldn't support. There never was stability there either. The Northerners simply had more passion for reuniting with their countrymen. There was ugly slaughter after our military left. We lost the war. We treated our returning troops terribly. It was never their fault. They were never equipped to fight that kind of war and all the bombs and agent orange and napalm didn't mean a thing.

Now I read in the NYT that less than 50% would tell on their fellow soldiers or marines if they saw them abuse the POWs. Part of the Geneva Convention was based on mutual treatment. Just why shouldn't we expect them to behead people on video tape when we have secret prisions, hold people without habius corpus and all the other lawbreaking that our "decider" has done. I just would love to see him brought to war crimes trial for what he has done. See I don't blame the troops for feeling the way they do. They are in a war they are ill equipped for. It hurts them to see what has transpired. The innocent that are killed with suicide bombers. I always believe that it starts at the top somewhere that influences how the soldier behaves. Shrub is a ruthless, stubborn lawbreaking President with no precedence since Nixon and he still believes history will see him as a hero.

Nixon did too until caught at Watergate. He didn't want to get out of Vietnam. He was pushed. Sure he crushed McGovern in the election, but McGovern and the congress tied up the funding for the war that was never a war. They asked for a timetable? I'm serious, if you go listen to the passionate speech made by McGovern on the Senate floor, you just might cry. Essentially he said the blood of every dead US soldier was on the hands of every congressman who continued to support that war with no end in sight. That it was frightfully easy to wrap yourself in the flag when it wasn't you that might die, when it wasn't your children that might die, then you had to rethink your position in another way. That to let it continued unchecked was egregious. And he was right, but it doesn't seem to be what he'll remembered for. For getting his head handed to him in the '72 election by a crooked president that was so paranoid that he spied on his opponent's campaign election committee. When he didn't need the leverage. And likewise the Shrub doesn't need to steal any more of our freedoms to continue to fight this war on terrorism. He's just greedy and paranoid.

Heard Richard Thompson was coming to town. This time with a band, and the photo shows him holding an electric guitar. I've seen him live at least three times, but always performing alone, just RT and a guitar. Really excited to see him with a band. If you are a music head at all, then you know of Richard from his Fairport Convention work, or possibly his recordings with his former wife, Linda Thompson. Maybe you knew Teddy Thompson was their son. If nothing else, everyone should own the recording, Shoot Out The Lights. Although both parties deny it, it was recording during the period of the disintegration of their marriage. To me it is haunting. To someone going through a divorce it either might hit too close to home, or make you scream the lyrics out loud. A pal has ordered tickets and I'm really looking forward to this show.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Seriously nice rant, Gordo.

Unfortunately, I won't buy that album because it's RIAA (well, used would be okay) but, what do you know! My favorite local library had a copy on the shelf! I listened to it twice last night whilst reading Harry Potter (cut a deal with a friend, shut up) - good stuff. Some of it's a little dated but still.

Funny you should mention it, though, because Stacey recently mentioned Linda so I'd heard of Richard only because of that and had read their story.