Saturday, February 14, 2004

Crisis of Faith 

It's dark. I can't see the end. Someone, anyone, everyone, tell me there is worth, that we are not fighting the tide.
Or is it as I fear, that in my struggle to blindly swim towards shore, I've already been swept to sea.
I ache, I hurt. Too long have I strained against the eddies and currents of a morally deficient subculture that claims the moral high ground while wallowing in the tidal mud.
For the love of all that is good and spiritual, tell me that my suffering is for a high purpose, that I am not destined to waste on the rocks of the shore.

Certain documents AWOL 

USA Today has the released documents online. Don't get your hopes up, there's nothing there. I mean, literally, nothing. There are no records for the time period in question, minus one saying: "Not rated for the period 1 May 72 through 30 Apr 73. Report for this period not available for administrative reasons." That's it, from my skimming.

More of my opinion here.

Funny You Should Say That 

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I judge a sense of humor and wit to be a defining character trait. There are very few things that I can't find humor in, and as long as it is done with a modicum of taste and sensibility, there are very few things I won't make fun of. Fairly or not, I judge people by their abilities to do the same. I just don't trust people who can't laugh; not just at my jokes, but at anything, and woe betide you if you try to tell me to serious up. (For an interesting discussion of what's funny and what's not, read this post by Pen-Elayne on January 27.)

The same holds true here in the blog world. Just a casual stroll through all of my blog lists, both TLC and the rest, will show you that all of my friends have a well-developed sense of humor. Some more than others, perhaps, and some are more strident and acerbic than others, but all of them have a dose of humor that puts their writing in perspective. And there are two sites that I've added recently - Jesus' General and Ayn Clouter's Blog - that have brought parody and satire to a level of the old Harvard Lampoon which, in its day, was some of the most finely-honed humor writing in America. I have looked through quite a few right-wing blogs (I took a hot shower afterwards) and did not come across any sites that could parody the left - or even attempt to. If they're out there, I didn't see them. Most if not all had the usual pompous arrogance that comes with a false sense of security and irritable smugness. (We of the left are insecure by nature and therefore don't need to hide it.) Their humor was either cruel or crude, and never self-deprecating, which is the true test - if you can't make fun of yourself, you sure as hell can't make fun of someone else. To be fair, there are some left-wingers out there that are just as humorless. It comes down to this: if you take yourself too seriously, no one else will.

The next nine months are going to be an amazing period in this nation's history, and while I may lack the political wonkishness or skill in point-by-point debate with the opposition, I will never stop looking for the funny side. Life's too short not to yuck it up.

Reprinted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Friday, February 13, 2004

SoonerThought Takes on "The Donald" 

SoonerThought doesn't think Donald Trump's show "The Apprentice" is the end of the world, but it does edge us a little closer.

Ah, yes, the "boardroom." This halfway-elegant setting (not too much gold leaf in there, for once) where The Donald (That is the last time I allow myself to call him "THE") evaluates the losers of each exercise--which is usually something challenging like selling shitty t-shirts at a flea market or wiggling their asses at guys for cash.

Then, like Croesus on Auric Goldfinger's toilet, Trump waves a fey hand at the biggest loser and says "You're fired!" as incidental music apparently stolen from "Days of Our Lives" flourishes in the background and Trump's two judges (two of his top employees--one old guy who looks like an ad for Metamucil and one hot chick biznez woman who looks like she would love to be anywhere else but on TV) cringe in embarrassment.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Will You Marry Me (if the State Approves)? 

I say, if we're going to let the state decide which couples are allowed to marry, let's go all the way. We'll set up a board called the Marriage Approval Board, and I'll be in charge of it because I thought it up. On Monday, I will deny marriage licenses to all same-sex couples. On Tuesday, I'll deny licenses to all opposite-sex couples. On Wednesday, I'll deny licenses to all mixed-race couples. On Thursday, I'll deny licenses to couples whose upbringings vary too much. And on Friday, I'll deny licenses to all couples who differ in height by more than 8 inches.

Also, I reserve my right to reject any couple, at any time, just because I feel like it.

If this sounds reasonable to you 'Defense of Marriage' advocates, then go ahead and pass that amendment, and let me know what time I need to show up for work. Otherwise, get over yourselves already and focus your energy on something important.

(More at edwardpig)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I've resumed my series on physician-assisted suicide over at Respectful of Otters, after some delay. (There are probably good reasons why most people don't try to combine full-time employment and 10 hours of political campaign work per week with a seven-part, research-intensive blog series - you think?)

Get Me a Flight Surgeon 

I want to shed a little light on a part of the whole aWol story - but from a different angle than the press will ever come from. This will be an exploration of personal motivation or the lack of motivation. I hope to open your eyes to what the desire to fly and service to country is really about and why George W. Bush wouldn't know "service to his country" if it bit him in the ass.

Flying was all I ever wanted to do. Exactly what and for whom I wanted to fly evolved over time, but the desire, the need to fly was all consuming. If you talk to nearly any pilot, you'll find similar back stories to their lives as well: the hunger to fly while growing up, doing whatever it took to feed that hunger. For many of us, the route to feeding that hunger was through the military. For many of us, the enthusiasm to fly melded seamlessly with the youthful desire to serve our country; here was a chance to do wonderful things, travel to far away places and fly the most incredible machines ever invented - all while doing something we thought was genuinely good.

This is the kind of people you will find in military aviation all over the world.

The typical hardships of military service usually keep out those who would just get some flight training and disappear and the military services typically require longer mandatory service after flight training to recoup their investment. For my helicopter training the Army invested somewhere in excess of $200K. For a fighter pilot, that investment would be much more; perhaps triple. But what usually comes out of the other end of this process is someone who has sacrificed much, trained hard and is so fiercely proud of their accomplishments that they can - at times - appear brash or arrogant.

All this is to say that someone who goes through such training and who says that they "supported X war" that was happening when they became a pilot would not - under any circumstances - do anything to imperil their flight status and they would do anything they could to put their training to use in a war they believed in.

Does this sound like the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania? He is on record as saying that he didn't want to "go to Canada or shoot out his eardrum with a shotgun," and yet he can still say with a straight face that he supported the Vietnam War. He avoided a mandatory annual flight physical guaranteeing that he would be ineligible to do something so many people would love to do and yet he still maintains that he did his duty and is proud of his service. He used every connection he could to get himself moved ahead of everyone else waiting to get into the Texas Air National Guard - likely ensuring that at least one of those on the waiting list wound up in Vietnam - and then squandered that appointment by shirking his duties. And then, in a move unavailable to nearly anyone else, he "worked it out" with the military to end his commitment as much as six months early.

George W. Bush knows only privilege and entitlement. He has used his power to re-make his own history. The question remains whether that power was enough to completely erase the paper trail that would fully explicate his military service - and whether our press will do the required legwork to find out.

And the larger question remains for our fellow citizens to answer: Do we trust a man who would betray his country's military in such a personal way?

VP Picks 

I've listed my choices for VP over at It's Craptastic!. Feel free to add your choices in the comments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Winter's A-Comin' 

Over at CommonDreams there's a fascinating and startling report on Global Warming (you know, that spooky superstitious stuff that our Worldly and Wise president doesn't believe in?). Turns out, things could be a little worse than we thought. turns out A New Ice Age could be as little as 2 years away.

...[I]f enough cold, fresh water coming from the melting polar ice caps and the melting glaciers of Greenland flows into the northern Atlantic, it will shut down the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe and northeastern North America warm. The worst-case scenario would be a full-blown return of the last ice age - in a period as short as 2 to 3 years from its onset - and the mid-case scenario would be a period like the "little ice age" of a few centuries ago that disrupted worldwide weather patterns leading to extremely harsh winters, droughts, worldwide desertification, crop failures, and wars around the world.

Read the rest at The Invisible Library

Way to Go, Rivka! 

One of our own gets a high-profile plug in TAPPED:
A BLOG OF NOTE. Via Electrolite, I came across this blog called Respectful of Otters, which is quite nicely-written. The author doesn't post enough, but perhaps she will if we all go for a visit. Check out her post on "family values" here.
Congratulations from Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof!

Monday, February 09, 2004

The Times Grows A Pair 

In a refreshing change of pace, The New York Times comes down hard editorially on both Bush and the Republicans, hinting - perhaps - that the leader of the SCLM is finally getting back the cojones that got snapped off back in the heyday of Whitewater, Monica, and the 2000 election.

Read the rest at Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Gay Penguin 2004 

If you're wondering why, click here.