Friday, April 30, 2004

It's Friday, wherin I reserve the right to talk about whatever the heck I want.

What's the deal with people who like Michael Jackson?

Seriously, I want this question answered. The LA court where his trial is going to be held has to put up metal barricades to keep his fans back. FANS?! How is that possible? He's a creepy, plasticized freak who has a penchant for hanging around young boys. If it were anyone else, they'd be in jail. Instead, something close to half the population of Japan falls at his feet like his last name is Hirohito and the year is 1936. I don't get it. Even in the States there are tons of people who worship this sleaze, using their last brain cell to kiss his feet.

It's sad, b/c he used to be awesome. You listen to that young MJ singing 'ABC' or his later works, and you can't help but love it. But then, it all went bad. My wife says it happened when his hair went ablaze during the Pepsi commerical shoot in 1984. She thinks the jeri curl in his hair leeched into his brain. I am sure that's possible, but undoubtedly, having your head catch on fire changes a man. Apparently into a vague feline-looking manequin.

This 9/11 Commission is important...except for right now

Illuminating the sheer idiocy of the 9/11 Commission is the latest revelation on the actions of its members. Yesterday, Bush and Cheney were questioned at the White House. Now, the Commission, especially the Democratic members, had been haranguing the White House to give them an interview for months, saying how important it was. They finally got their wish yesterday. So what did they do?

Well, two of the members, both Democrats, LEFT EARLY! This supposedly important interview that was so critical to the commission apparently came in second best to Bob Kerrey and Lee Hamilton. Both left an hour early. Kerry went to hit up Congress for more money for his employer, New School University. Hamilton boogied on over to the Woodrow Wilson Center, of which he is chairman, for a ceremony.

Wow. This supposedly critical information must not be that critical. And this apparently important commission must not be that important. I guess unless you can score points off the Administration in public, it's suddenly not that big a deal.

Can we please finally shut down this joke of a commission? It does America no good because it doesn't focus on this issues, just partisan bickering.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Remembering past heroes

In all the electoral noise, it'd be easy to forget that the new World War II Memorial in Washington, DC officially opened today. From the pictures I have seen, it is a beautiful and majestic tribute to that generation of men and women who stared evil in the face and beat it back. My grandfather was in the 82nd and 101st Airborne at different points during WW II. He suffered a couple of wounds and spent a few weeks in a POW camp. It does my heart good to see his sacrifice, and those of his fellow soldiers, finally honored at last.
The devaluing of elections

On one of the blogs I visit, we got into a massive discussion about the 2000 Election (aka The Vote that Wouldn't Die). This election is one of the reasons I despise Al Gore so much. And it's not even because of the vote itself, but of the result it had on the Amercian psyche in relation to elections.

As we all know, the original vote had Bush winning by a narrow margin, and Gore asked for a recount. Which he deserved under state law. The machine recount gave the election to Bush by little more than 600 votes. At this point, Al Gore could have accepted his loss like thousands of other candidates who lose close elections every year. Instead, he decided to litigate. He brought in lawyers, tried to pick and choose what ballots he wanted examined and HOW they should be examined. He went so far as to ask for a NEW presidental election in Palm Beach County. In the space of little more than a month and a half, he turned the election into a court case.

Why revisit this? Because this travesty, this mockery of the system led directly to an even larger disaster: The California Recall.

Gray Davis was a lousy governor. Bad management skills, couldn't turn the fiscal tide, pretty much a smaller Jimmy Carter. But he won an election. The people voted him in. So they just have to wait until the next election, right?

Wrong. Some dolt digs up an obscure recall mechanism that will actually allow the people to fire the governor. It's supposed to be used in cases of corruption and/or law-breaking by the governor. Here, it's being used because some people want a do-over. Just like Gore wanted a do-over in Florida. So the recall passes, and a circus ensues before the Terminator gets elected Governor. The only saving grace is that the Democrats didn't immediately start a recall movement of their own, as some had threatened to do.

So here are two elections where the election didn't matter. People took it upon themselves to subvert the popular will to engineer a result they wanted. Now precedent has been set. What if we have a too-close-to-call vote in Illinois this November? Or Maine? Or Florida again? Will the candidates accept the standard recount and gracefully conceed? Or will they break out the lawyers and litigate their way to the White House?

Thanks a lot, Al. You single-handedly trashed the finality of a popular election. Way to go.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

You leave town for a few days...

So much to talk about, so little time. I guess the first thing to mention is the death of 64 insurgents in Najaf. This is an excellent result for the coalition forces. It also was encouraging in that they are beginning to use the 'heavier' elements in their arsenal, in this case the AC-130.

In Vietnam, it's precursor was called "Puff the Magic Dragon." Essentially, the AC-130 is a flying weapons platform. Flying with sophisticated electronics on the inside, one side of the plane's exterior bristles with weapons. These include rotating Vulcan cannons, 20 mm cannons, recoilless rifles and similar weaponry. The plane circles the target area with the weapons side pointed down and pulverizes anything within it's radius. It is an awe-inspiring sight to behold. The Spectre gunship is a valuable tool to suppress these insurgents and protect our troops. It is high time it got some use in Iraq.

Slightly more depressing is that more armored Humvees and the new Stryker armored vehicles are not yet in Iraq. The Army is scrounging up the Humvees as fast as possible, and they are ramping up production of the Stryker to get it to Iraq faster. But shouldn't these steps have been taken a while ago, especially the armored Hummers? The Defense Dept. had to know we'd need a lot of foot patrols on the ground. The armored Humvees should have been gathered and sent over to Iraq a long time ago. This isn't negligence on a Les Aspin/Mogadishu scale, but Rumsfeld should know better. These vehicles save lives. Our men and women over in Iraq deserve the best equipment available, and they deserve it NOW.

Medals, ribbons...how about WHO CARES?

All this blah-blah crap about Kerry and his medals is ridiculous, as both sides look silly. The Republicans must be semi-suicidal. Why bring up military service just after you finally quashed the Bush/National Guard/AWOL questions? This just brings it up again. And Bush just doesn't match up well with Kerry in that comparison. Two sons of privilege: One does time in the ANG, the other earns a Bronze AND Silver Star in Vietnam. If I am a Republican, I let it lie.

At the same time, though, Kerry has a lot of gall. Whether it was ribbons, medals or licorice he threw over that gate, he symbolically trashed those decorations he was awarded. For him to trot them back out now to use as badges of honor in an election is the height of hypocricy. Either you are proud of them, or you aren't. Kerry turned his back on those awards in 1971. He shouldn't try to salvage them now.

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