My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bob, I'm working on it

Yeah, so I haven't written hardly at all this winter. There's a couple reasons for that. A lot of the interesting stuff that's been going on in my life has to do with my job, and I'm just not going to blog about that. We've had visitors coming out like every other week for the last two months. Also, I'm really lazy, as a rule.

But the big thing is, I've been a little burned out. The things I've been talking about - the disappearing neighborhood, the Bush administration, the downward spiral that is American culture - it's just all been so depressing to me of late. I'd just rather not think about it all the time. I mean, I'm waiting for the moment to arrive when we can stand up and do something, but it just doesn't seem to be in the cards. The destruction of Pilgrim Baptist Church (pictures will follow soon) and the possible impending doom of the Artful Dodger building have me this close to giving up on preservation in Chicago. And the weakness and ineffectuality of the Democratic Party in the face of an obviously impeachable President just makes me want to puke - like the guys in the "Too Much Light" skit where they sit down to read the paper and start spewing fake vomit everywhere(sorry Trope I had to).

So I've been taking a break, thinking about less depressing things - if reading about Vietnam and watching humanity dwindle towards extinction on Battlestar Galactica count as less depressing. (There will be a BSG post in my future, probably once the current season wraps on March 10. The recent run has been a mixed bag, but the last couple have returned the show to its rightful place as the best show on television.)

I am also working on a real answer to Bob's question about the wiretapping issue. I was surprised today to look at my blog for the first time in weeks and see that there are six new comments on this issue since the last time I was here. I didn't mean to ignore you guys it's just, like I said before, I've been a bit burned out on the real world.

The short version is that I am not opposed to using wiretaps to spy on possible terrorists. I think it's a good idea, and it might help stop people from flying airplanes into buildings. What I'm adamantly opposed to is first of all doing so without a warrant, secondly the government blatantly lying and saying they cannot obtain warrants because they have to act quickly (warrants can be obtained retroactively up to 72 hours, so that's a non-issue), and most of all by the government's assertion that it's above the law and isn't constrained by Congress, the Courts, or the Constitution - in the words of Dick Nixon, "If the President does it then it isn't illegal."

This country was founded on the principle of "the rule of laws, and not of men." I thought this concept was a bedrock of our civilization, something that didn't need to be defended or even mentioned because it was a value everyone shared - standing somewhere between "slavery is bad" and "we would all prefer not to be nuked this afternoon." But if we all shared this principle this government would not be making the arguments it is making, so apparently the rule of law does need defending after all. I'm not really prepared to make the case today, but I'll dig out my copy of the Federalist Papers and start working on it. Right after Battlestar Galactica.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

intensive diplomacy

The other day on the way to the gym we were listening to public radio go back and forth about the Iran situation. The announcer said the Administration had no plans to attack yet, and instead was beginning a process of "aggressive diplomacy." It sort of sounded like an oxymoron to me, and made me laugh. Then I wondered if there might actually be hope that Bush could achieve some kind of deal with his even more dumber counterpart in Iran, if only they would put their rock-like heads together somehow.

Here is an outline of such a deal:

* Amedinajad agrees not to nuke anybody.

* Bush agrees to stop calling them "Moo-Lahs"

* Shrub admits that the reason Iran has not been a democracy for the past 50 years is that back when it was a democracy, the CIA overthrew it and installed a repressive monarchy.

* "Crazy A" admits that the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is a hoax, and the Holocaust is not.

* "Shrub" apologizes for backing Saddam when he used poison gas against Iranians

* "Crazy A" apologizes for taking the staff of the US Embassy hostage for a year and half back in 1979-81.

* "Shrub" agrees to publicly announce that his foreign policy will not be guided by prophesies of the End Times.

* "Crazy A" agrees to publicly announce that his foreign policy will not be guided by prophesies of the return of the hidden 12th Imam.

* "Shrub agrees to reduce funding to Israel every time the IDF carries out a military operation that kills innocent civilians.

"Crazy A" agrees to reduce funding to Hamas and Islamic Jihad every time they carry out a militant operation that kills innocent civilians.

* Both guys publicly admit that they are on the same side in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have all the same friends in the region, so they're just going to have to get along in public for the sake of the children - er, the Iraqis.

* Both guys privately admit that they're not smart or sane enough to be President, but pledge to do their best not to get anybody else killed for the rest of their terms.

Sounds simple, right? But people assure me it's not - I guess that's why I gave up my dream of working for the State Department so many years ago. Answers are easy - it's the people who are so fucking hard.