Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Morning Blog

Obama is expected to make a speech on Wednesday concerning the scope of the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. I think it's high time we leave. If nothing else, we've left it a nicer country than it was when we began our occupation. Granted, that says very, very little. We are after all, talking about Afghanistan. But still, it seems a marginally better place. Why the decapitation rate alone has plummeted and you hardly ever hear about someone being stoned to death of late! Senators who wrote a letter asking for a shift on Afghan policy sum it up nicely:

"Given our successes, it is the right moment to initiate a sizable and sustained reduction in forces, with the goal of steadily redeploying all regular combat troops," the senators wrote. "The costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits."

Again, "successes" are pretty relative things when you're talking about this particularly blighted hell hole. But still, progress has been made. As to benefits...Wait, we were supposed to be getting benefits out of this thing?

Speaking of Afghanistan, their Finance Minister has announced that he's "run out of patience" with the IMF. Certainly, it poses a grave financial crisis for the rest of the world when an economic powerhouse like Afghanistan gets fed up. Undoubtedly, they'll stop funding the IMF and see a total collapse of the central banking system. How on Earth will the world of finance survive without fabled Afghan largess?

Come on now, Ireland. At this point, you're just being silly. I mean seriously, it's time to move on, don't you think?

Interesting article about the lack of anonymity on the internet. Admittedly, that's a bit like discussing the lack of penguins in the Sahara but still it's worth reading particularly because everyone is so completely aware of it. Everyone knows that the internet is very, very public (well, maybe Anthony Weiner missed the memo). What you put up there always has the potential to become known to basically everyone on the planet. And everyone seems pretty content with that. There's certainly no shortage of people uploading things to YouTube or what have you. It seems as though Maslows hierarchy of needs may require an additional category to traditional ones like food and shelter: recognition.

Speaking of which, Here's some recognition people would probably rather avoid.

Kacee Bait: What, no whiskey? It makes you feel better!

While we're on the subject of snake oil, here's an expose on the seedy underbelly of nutritional supplements. A doctors response to the bill pushed through by Orrin Hatch that basically lets supplement companies claim that their products do...well, everything, is available here.

And as long as we're talking about whiskey...

Never thought I would say this but... Wow. Clarence Thomas is right. His dissenting opinion in this case is completely correct: People facing jail time regardless of the reason, absolutely have a constitutional right to representation.

Having found myself in agreement with justices Thomas, Scalia and Alito, I now look forward to seeing flying pigs.

Also find myself agreeing with the GOP on this one (though I believe they're clearly fighting about this or purely partisan reasons): Obama's defense of the Libyan war is utter nonsense. I'd love to dismiss it as merely typical duplicity from a politician but the bottom line is that it severely undermines the checks and balances that dictate how are country is run. It is unbelievably important that a single person not have the terrible power to rush us into a war. That is not the sort of decision one person can ever be entrusted to make alone. Whether or not you feel that the fight in Libya is a just one, Obama's strange insistence that we are somehow not involved in hostilities represents an enormous and terrifying expansion of executive power and must be curtailed.

But just as I find myself saying something cautiously nice about the Republicans, they turn around and act all crazy again. The GOP manages to put the "grand" into "grand theft auto".

2012 Watch: Unelectable candidate Rick Santorum continues to whine shrilly from the wilderness. In all seriousness though, I think that this is typical of the GOP. At some point, they chose to abandon being a party of ideas instead opting to be a party of idea. They've pushed the concept of doctrinaire, ideological purity to the point where they're only capable of one thought at a time. Candidates stepping outside of the party ordained box do so at their peril.

Speaking of whining, a study has confirmed that it is the most irritating sound. Children should clearly be seen and not heard.

It's all fun and games til...

Dad Bait: Here's some grist for your mill Pop: The sad state of American healthcare. Looks like taxpayers will be paying for it one way or the other.

I agree with the founder of Tumblr: Kim Jong Il looking at stuff is brilliant.

Alright, alright! I get it already! Smoking is bad! Is anyone unaware of this? Enough already. I think the next step will be requiring convenience store clerks to wear black cowls and laugh maniacally during every tobacco sale.

I'm a big fan of Rene Magritte. He's my favorite surrealist. Evidently, T-Rex fans really like him too.

A Harvard researcher has figured out how to produce LSD from bakers yeast. In an extraordinarily weird coincidence, he shares his name with the insane artificial intelligence, Wintermute from the sci-fi classic "Neuromancer".

Word of the Day: Ruinenlust. Trust the Germans to come up with a fabulous noun like that.

Well, this is interesting. And I truly have nothing else to say about it.

Let's file this under required viewing. Anyone know if the entire film is available online anywhere?

Well, it's the summer solstice I'm told. Longest day of the year. I'll be working of course. Lovely.

Nothing to see here. Please move along.

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