Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: February 2007 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Saturday, February 17, 2007

We're going to be at war forever

On Valentine’s Day, the president gave his first news conference since announcing his planned escalation of the war in Iraq. Naturally, there were questions posed about the troop buildup and the rumors of his planned invasion of Iran. As is his wont, he was evasive on the Iran issue. In the wake of conflicting data from the intelligence community as to the culpability of Iranian leadership in weapons supplied to insurgents in Iraq, dubya danced his usual side-step to answer whether or not we will be invading another sovereign nation any time soon: "Does this mean you're trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I'm trying to protect our troops."

Apparently, protecting our troops includes dispatching another aircraft carrier to the region, even though the insurgents don’t have a navy, and giving the order to execute any Iranians captured inside Iraq.

In addition, the comments of the Joint Chiefs if Staff, who apparently wasn’t briefed on the administration’s talking points, cast some doubt on the culpability of the Iranian government in the conspiracy to provide insurgence with incendiary devices.

"That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this," Pace said.

Does this remind you of anything? Like maybe 2003 when, in the midst of worldwide support and economic stability, the Bush administration used the same tactic to convince lot of people that Iraq had WMDs and that Saddam Hussein was a threat to world peace, thus embroiling us in war without end, and plunging our national debt into a hole that it will take generations of sacrifice to emerge.

If we make the same mistake of believing these cretins again, we probably deserve the fate that befalls us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To My Valentine

I can't fax you my love,
I can't email my heart.
I can't see your face in cyberspace,
I don't know where to start.
I'm light years behind,
from this age they call stone.
I'm just a carbon-based caveman;
just flesh and bone.

If men came from Venus,
and women came from Mars,
then I'd be lunching with my boyfriends,
while you girls talked about cigars.
But that's not how it happened,
evolution took a different turn.
We may be creatures with some unique features,
but we've still got a lot to learn.

Now, we live in this age of computers.
They run everything in the world.
I'm a little behind on this technical climb,
and you are an internet girl.
I've got words but no processor,
I've got feelings but I don't know DOS.
So I just have to go back to basics
to try to get my point across.

I can't fax you my love,
I can't email my heart.
I can't see your face in cyberspace,
I don't know where to start.
I'm light-years behind,
from this age they call stone.
I'm a carbon-based caveman;
just flesh and bone.

Flesh and Bone - Jimmy Buffett

Friday, February 09, 2007

When we become afraid of a cartoon sign,
the terrorists have won.

The city of Boston was shut down last week because of a series of bomb scares.

Apparently, a couple of guys were contracted by the Cartoon Network to place a series of lit signs around town to promote their Adult Swim cartoon, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and were instructed to place the signs where their target audience, males 18 – 26, would see them. So they placed the signs on bridges and in other visible places, and hilarity ensued.

The first device was found at a subway and bus station underneath Interstate 93, forcing the shutdown of the station and the highway.

Later, police said four calls, all around 1 p.m., reported devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, both of which span the Charles River, at a Boston street corner and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

The devices in question look like Lite-Brite sets. They depict a a Mooninite, a character from the cartoon, flying the one-finger salute. But since they also contained wires and a battery, the city of Boston panicked and shut everything down while the bomb squad scrambled.

Never mind that these devices had been in place in Boston and nine other cities for weeks. When Boston officials became aware of the marketing scheme, they vowed to press for punishment to the fullest extent of the law.

Two men were arrested, who didn’t seem to take the situation as seriously as officials would have liked.

Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28, were released on $2,500 cash bond after each pleaded not guilty to placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct for a device found Wednesday at a subway station. They waved and smiled as they greeted people in court.

Outside, they met reporters and television cameras and launched into a nonsensical discussion of hair styles of the 1970s. "What we really want to talk about today — it's kind of important to some people — it's haircuts of the 1970s," Berdovsky said.

While the presence of the silly signs in other cities barely caused a blip on the local public’s radar screen, Boston officials scrambled to save face in the wake of their panicky behavior. They alluded to irresponsible marketing tactics in a post 9/11 world, while even Bostonians called their response “silly and insane”.

Naturally, Cartoon Network’s parent company, Turner Broadcasting, went into damage control mode, apologizing, agreeing to pay their part of $2 million in damages, and even having the head of the Cartoon Network resign.

It’s sad that, in our post-9/11 society, it’s considered unthinkable that someone would display a Lite-Brite sign. Okay, so they had wires, and lights, and batteries. But so does just about every other device advertised shamelessly in our consumer-driven culture. If those had been giant iPods, would there have been the same panic?

Get over it, people. There were just as many dangers in our pre-9/11 world, probably even more. The world has always been a dangerous place, and until 9/11, Americans mistakenly thought they were safe. We can’t let the fear promoted by our current leaders keep us from enjoying our lives, and we can’t give up our freedoms for the false sense of security hyped by these so-called leaders.

When we cower in fear over little things like electronic toys, then the terrorist truly have won.