Thursday, February 22, 2007

Further Evidence that the Bush Administration Foreign Policy is Determined by a Chimpanzee with a Dart Board

In a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations revealed today that (surprise!), Iran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of a UN resolution. Also not completely shocking is what the UN is going to do about it: sanctions. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that sanctions work in getting countries to stop making weapons. North Korea is a great example of a country that seems to enjoy sanctions as much as Britney Spears enjoys doing coke and having babies with guys you wouldn't hire to clean your swimming pool. Some might argue that the reason we didn't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is because of UN sanctions, but that's a topic for a different post.

The interesting thing about how the Bush Administration has responded is how differently they have handled this situation compared to Iraq. Iraq was a country that we couldn't prove definitively had a weapons program, and that we now know probably didn't have anything like what we're seeing in Iran. Iran has not denied the fact that they are enriching uranium, although they claim it's to make electricity. Iran's position, which is not completely insane, is that if the US and UN are allowing other countries to enrich uranium without sanctions, why should Iran be held to a higher standard?

If you look at the countries with known nuclear weapons programs, and you hold them to the same standard that we held Iraq to before we invaded, the last couple years of the Bush Administration could be pretty scary. If you look at non-allied countries with nukes, you have China and North Korea. If you look at countries where the government is of questionable stability, you have the same two countries. If you look at nuclear countries with documented ties to terrorism, both Pakistan and Israel fit the bill.

Apologists for the Bush Administration will argue that each country is a little different and each situation warrants it's own unique strategy. But the inconsistent nature in which the Administration handles their foreign policy makes any strategy look random, at best. Perhaps if they had been honest about why we invaded Iraq in the first place, this inconsistentcy would be more understandable.

Instead, we're left wondering if Iran is next on the docket. The sad thing, from a military standpoint, is that even if we needed to invade Iran to avert an imminent nuclear threat, we are so deeply involved in Iraq, that we don't have to forces to commit. The Iraq situation is so deeply screwed up, that there is no long range strategy that will produce a positive outcome as long as US troops are there. If you feel that there is an exit strategy, feel free to share it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oh, so THAT'S why I don't ride the train after 7:00 p.m.

I ride the train to and from work every morning. It's a pretty good deal, as my job pays for it, I don't have to pay for parking at the train station, and I save a lot on gas. Plus, it gives me time to get caught up on some reading, or PSP or DS playing. However, I was reminded tonight of why I shouldn't ride it after business hours.

I met up with a friend after work tonight at an Irish pub that's next to a train stop. We had a couple of Guinesses and chatted, and then around 7:45, I went down to the train stop and sat down. According to the schedule, I had about five minutes. It was a fun five minutes too.

I sat down next to some random dude. Here's how the conversation went:

Him -- 'You know when the next red line is comin'?'
Me -- 'In about five minutes.'
Him -- 'Great, thanks. It's my lucky day. Praise the Lord.'

(long pause)

Him -- 'Praise Jesus.'

(long pause)

Him -- 'Hallelujah.'

(long pause)

Him -- 'So, my friend, are you a Christian?'
Me -- (long pause)
Him -- 'Ahhh, so you're not.'
Me -- 'Well, I have nothing against Christians. I just try to live by the golden rule.'
Him -- 'Yeah? And what rule is that?'
Me -- 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
Him -- 'EXACTLY. Sounds kinda Christian, doesn't it?'

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Me -- 'Maybe.'
Him -- 'Yeah. So, do you believe in God?'
Me -- 'Uhhh ... I don't know. He might be out there, or he might not be. I don't know either way, but I'm okay with not knowing.'
Him -- 'Oh, okay. That's cool.'


Him -- 'I just said a prayer for you, for Jesus to find you and show you the way toward enlightenment.'
Me -- 'Well, that was nice of you.'

Seriously, what else do you say there?!?

At night, the Dallas train is either full of homeless people, lunatics, or gangsta-wannabe high school students who try to steal my PSP. And yes, I've stopped playing my PSP on the train after 6:00.

So, I've decided that the next time I get on the train, I'm gonna start saying, 'Praise Darwin!' or 'Praise the nothingness!' until people scatter out of my way.

At least I know I'll get a seat to myself.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Greatest and Best Disaster Preparedness Plan in the Universe

And then we'll hit Best Buy and Car Toys....

The Department of Homeland Security wants me to be prepared for a disaster. Hurricanes, pandemic flu outbreaks, terrorist attacks, you know, all the things the Bush Administration is terrible at dealing with. They even have the website to help me to prepare for a disaster.

Here's a link to a checklist that we should all complete to help us in the event of a disaster. You'll notice the kit doesn't tell you to get a personal firearm. I don't own a gun currently, but I think that a gun and a box of shells is about the only disaster preparedness kit I need.

The fact is that you don't need to stockpile food and batteries and flashlights, because none of those things will protect you from terrorism or a super virus or a hurricane. The whole idea of disaster preparedness is what Tyler Durden would refer to as the "Illusion of Safety". The best actual way to prepare for a disaster is to develop what I call your "Plan that maps out which stores you will loot when all hell breaks loose." Homeland Security won't endorse my plan, but I can tell you that it's as good a bet as drawing a map for your kids. You want to help little Timmy survive the next zombie attack or Chinese invasion? Teach him how to use a chainsaw.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Leaving Las Vegas Day

Someone edited together clips from my favorite Valentine's Day movie to the tune of Jeff Buckley's 'Lilac Wine.' I liked it. Maybe you will too.

So, did Ben love Sera, or did he just love alcohol? Maybe he loved Sera, but he needed alcohol more? If they'd have met sooner in life, would it have worked out for the two of them?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kansas: It's Evolution Baby!

Just when I thought there was no way that Kansas could redeem itself, it seems that they have. The Kansas State Board of Education ruled today that teaching creationism as science (aka intelligent design) is basically like teaching your kid that Jesus was the first President of the United States. Despite what George Bush might think, George Washington was actually the first President of the US.

Intelligent design is not science. Science would be much easier to perform if all the other problems were as easy to solve as saying "God made it that way." Such thinking has not at this point yielded a cure for any disease or solved our dependence on foreign oil from those evil Muslims. The main reason intelligent design could never be considered science is that it dismisses the burden of proof that comes with any scientific problem. Oh, and that whole lack of emperical data thing, as well.

Supporters of intelligent design use arguements that in order for evolution to have occurred without divine intervention would be like a tornado going through a junk yard and assembling a Boeing 747. God then, to use Richard Dawkins analogy, is literally the ultimate 747. What will immediately cause a blood vessel to pop in every single Darwin-hater's brain, is when you ask them "Who made God?" If God is the ultimate, all-knowing, all-powerful being, far superior to anything that exists on Earth, then why doesn't the same standard of proof apply to how God came to be? If evolution is to be denied based on it's lack of probability, I would imagine that the probability that God just came to be is quite a bit less. And we are in science class, so "Have faith." is not an appropriate answer.

You can see the problem with trying to bring religion into the scientific arena. The standards of proof in science are much higher than they are in Sunday School. Religion should not have to answer such questions, but religious people are subjecting it to such scrutiny when they pass it off as science.

Do us all a favor. Believe whatever you want to believe. Just don't try to teach your religion as science, unless you're prepared to subject your religious beliefs to the same high standards that science has been meetings for centuries.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How do you say 'Bling Bling' in Farsi?

Isn't there a Western Union in Iraq? Or did it become part of the glass parking lot?

Shameful amounts of U.S. government waste located here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I want to be an astronaut when I grow up

What if you went to bed with this...

and woke up next to this

I learn something new it seem like each and every day. What I learned today was that you should never, ever take an astronaut home from your local bar. For one thing, it's obvious that NASA must have some completely superior beer goggle camera technology in order to pull off that first photo above. Despite the fact that both pictures are of astronaut Lisa Nowak, the bottom one looks like one of those "Don't use meth" billboard pictures.

The story, for those of you who live in a cave in West Virginia (there's your shout out, Steve), is that Lisa Nowak fell in love with fellow hunky astronaut and certified sex machine William Oefelein. Sounds like the makings of a fantastic love story that if it were made into a movie would star Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Problem number one is that Nowak is married to another guy (could be played by Tom Arnold) and has three kids (cast Dakota Fanning, the fat red-headed freckle-face kid from Sandlot, and that satanic little girl from the Welch's grape juice ads).

Oefelein, by the way, is like the world's master pimp. He's single and an astronaut. I bet his astronaut suit has the word PLAYA printed on it. He hooked up with every female astronaut in one weekend at the International Space Station, even the Russian cosmonaut who completely looks like a dude.

Problem number two is that Nowak decided to drive to Orlando from her home in Houston to confront Oefelein's non-astronaut girlfriend before her flight to Houston. The details of the story from this point are hilarious. I'll let the take this part:

"Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers so she wouldn't have to stop to urinate, authorities said.Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry."

I wish I would have been wearing diapers when I read that part of the story, because I laughed so hard, I almost dropped a deuce. The next time they show the astronauts taking the walk of glory to the space shuttle, I'll just be thinking "They're all wearing Huggies with leak-guard."

Nowak confronted the woman at the Orlando airport and sprayed her with pepper spray, while the woman hid in her vehicle. The woman called police, and Nowak was arrested. The creepy part of the story:

"During a check of the parking lot, an officer followed Nowak and watched her throw away a bag containing the wig and BB gun. They also found a steel mallet, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing, $600 and garbage bags inside a bag Nowak was carrying when she was arrested, authorities said."

I'm not sure they sell a body dismemberment and disposal kit down at the Home Depot, but if they did, I'm fairly certain that the Deluxe Edition would include all of the items that police found in Nowak's possession.

The moral of this story is that you should not, under any circumstances, date an astronaut, unless you're ready for his jealous astronaut girlfriend to attempt to abduct you and kill you at your local airport.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Now HERE'S a man of the cloth.

If church was more like this, I'd be there every Sunday.