Sunday, March 27, 2011

republican primaries

The 2012 Republican Primaries are basically starting, or, at least, the posturing has begun. In Iowa there was a convention of conservatives recently. Here is my quick wrap-up of where things stand:
Tim Pawlenty- So, to sound more tolerable to the base, he's begun speaking with a southern drawl, and, of course, is anti-gay as far as one can be. Including calling transgendered people "deranged cross dressers".

Newt Gingrich- Thrice married, anti marriage equality Newt has one position he keeps consistently, and that is to say that whatever Obama is doing is wrong, regardless, even if it means contradicting himself. He also believes we can un-lift the gay ban (like T-paw) on the military. So, I guess all the gays who come out will either go back in the closet and all the straight people who know about them will pretend not to know anymore?

Michele Bachmann- Besides all her usual crazy, this is a woman who thinks if she reads it online, it's true.

Haley Barbour- Other than just being ridiculously boring, he seems sane enough other than the usual anti-gay stuff....oh, there was all that semi-racist stuff and lying about basic facts of the civil rights era.

Mike Huckabee- He recently called on "spiritual warriors" to protect America from "falling into the hands of those who would enslave us" and holy and to protect those things "that are pure and that are just." He was, of course, talking about keeping gays out of the army and from marrying.

Mitt Romney- Obamacare is bad, but the same thing from his own state when he was Governor was good...?

Herman Cain- He wants to be President, but simultaneously says he will not appoint any Muslims to any position because that would lead to Sharia Law. Nothing says "America" like blanket excluding people due to their religious beliefs! Oh, he also called the Democratic party a "plantation"...because, you know, personality politics and infusing race into things is in line with Conservativism.

So there you have it folks. A whole pack of people who think a large portion of Americans aren't deserving of rights (gays, atheists & Muslims) but who want to lead this country and everyone in it. Because nothing says "America" like dividing us into "real" and "fake". Maybe they should just change the saying from "out of many, one" into whatever is latin for "unless you're one of us, get out."
Kansas Public Radio is really great. If you ever come to this state, be sure to listen to it. Their coverage of local politics is really amazing and some of the best I've heard. The other day there was a story about the Kansas State House passing a bill which would basically zone out strip clubs and require strippers to remain about a billion feet from any customer. They played clips of all the debate and explained the measure.

My favorite clip was one which, I think, quite aptly demonstrates the thought process of 1/2 (give or take) the Republican Party today, wherein on the one hand, government isn't the solution, it's the problem, but on the other hand, we need government to control our personal lives. Representative Forrest Knox said,
We don't need government to be our Momma. But, there's another American principle that's just as important--traditional family values.
So, there it is in a nutshell folks. We don't need government to do things like regulate how much we pollute the environment, track which toys have lead in them or protect workers from unsafe environments...but saving us from our own sexual vices? That's what government should be doing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The most trying times in my life, I've gone through with family, but alone emotionally. What I mean to say is, when my dad was dying, there were three couples--my sisters and their husbands, and my mom and dad--and me, alone. Later, as I was trying to decide if I should stay at West Point or not, and weighing my options, I was not only alone, but I didn't let my family know that I was thinking of quitting or why.

This is how I've learned to deal with life--alone. Not only that, but I've also made myself the "go to" for my mom and sisters. While they may deny this, or at least not really see it, it's been that way, and I don't mind. In fact, I like that they can come to me. But, having built those walls, it's very difficult to let them down and ask someone else for help or accept help when given.

I prefer, or at least am more comfortable with, saying, "there's nothing wrong" and dealing with it on my own in the privacy of my room and blog. Now, however, there are family issues, a few of them, and I have someone here. It's strange. I'm not sure how to deal with this.

There's a part of me that thinks, "well, this is nice..." but there's another part that wants to completely push away and say, "hey, can you come back in a few weeks when I've got this all figured out?" It's kind of sad, I think, that at thirty I've developed the emotional response of shutting people out because alone is the only way I'd ever dealt with life before.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From what I gather in the news, it seems to me GOV Brown is doing some good things in California. To sum it up, he has made some cuts (some difficult ones) and is asking the state to vote on raising taxes. It's a fair way to do what is hard to do, and it should be an easy enough proposition--do the voters want to tax themselves to close the budget gap, or would they rather reform entitlements and spending to a degree largely unseen in the state. Republican lawmakers, however, are holding up a vote, deciding that they know better than the people.

Now, I know this may seem a hypocritical way of looking at things, considering my applauding the Senate Majority leader of Illinois for doing just this (being smarter than the voters). However, when someone prevents a vote on individual rights and freedoms, that, to me, is good governence. When someone prevents a vote on funding and budgets--that's obstructionism. Context matters, and in the case of California, it's time we were allowed to vote.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the 7% problem

I was listening to KPR (which, interestingly, is probably the best NPR affiliate I've listened to) this morning and switched for some reason to the local top 40 station. They were interviewing Bradley Cooper, who seems very smart, and the female radio personality asked him if he would want to take a pill that would let him use 100% of his brain.

This is where the conversation went somewhere that confused me--she then answered her own question with, "I wouldn't. If God wanted us to use 100% of our brains he'd have made it so we do it automatically." anyone else confused by this? If one attributes our brains to God, as well as our use of those brains, then wouldn't it mean our lack of use of them is either laziness or poor design? I really can't think of a good way out of this conundrum.

If anyone else can, please let me's been bothering me since this morning.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

sane conservatives

If you've been reading me for a while, you've read my pleas for a sane conservatism which can actually temper left wing extremism--one that is not so ridiculously right wing that its ideas are easy to dismiss without contemplating them.

The Big Tent Revue Blog seems to be that. I don't agree with it all, but most of it is rather well thought out and, if it takes off, could possibly save the Republican Party from itself.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bradley Manning...

I've been thinking a lot about this kid and the hullaballoo surrounding him. I'll try now, because it's lunch and I can, to write some of my thoughts on the situation.

The first reaction I had was one that is colored heavily by my own job in intelligence. I know that Manning signed statements swearing to never release classified information on pain of life in prison or other punishments. That being said, point 1 goes to the US Government.

The second thing I had to do was ask myself, "but what if that information proves illegality by the US govt/military?" I gave Manning some (not a lot, but some) leeway in that case. I say only "some" because there are precautions built into the system for "whistle blowers". What I mean is, if I see something illegal happening (as a Private or a General) there are systems built into the Army which allow me to bring that to light. Now, if I give Manning the benefit of the doubt and assume that he worked through those systems and nothing was done (which I doubt since there would be evidence of that), then I guess you could say the next step would be some sort of civil disobedience where you say that your dedication to the rule of law is higher than your oath to not release classified information. So, this one--and I stress only because I give the kid the most outrageous benefit of the doubt, for argument's sake only--goes to Manning.

However, the third issue for me is--even if I give him the benefit of the doubt above, then it still doesn't justify his releasing thousands upon thousands of diplomatic cables. That definitely ISN'T "civil disobedience" by any means--point, US GOVT.

Now, he's released the information and is put into prison pending a trial. Having signed the waiver saying exactly this would happen, I have no pity for the boy. He loses, point Army.

As for his treatment in prison, this one's difficult. It seems as though the govt is doing a piss-poor job of PR, to say the least. If I give Manning the benefit of the doubt again, and assume that everything he's written is true and take it all in the most flattering light for him and negative light for the Army, then yeah, point Manning...however, I don't know if I can.

From what I've read, a lot of his allegations aren't founded, and aren't verified by any source outside his letters. Take, for example, the allegation I read recently that he was "forced to strip naked and stand at parade rest". Which was followed by an explanation that all prisons are told to stand at parade rest for morning inspection, and that Manning chose to strip off his clothes. That would change the situation completely and instead of being some sort of forced torture on the part of the Army into an attempt by Manning to "get" the guards, and having it backfire.

So, I guess my overall understanding is that Manning is an idiot (for breaking a fairly simple oath he signed) but that the government is doing its best to turn what is a clear-cut case of subversion into a martyr. Sometimes a tactical win can be a strategic loss, and in the case of public relations, the treatment of (or, more appropriately, perceived treatment of) Manning might turn out to be such a case.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

silly closeted politicians

Proving that anti-gay hypocrisy isn't strictly a Republican thing, a Democratic State Senator from New York who helped to "protect marriage" in the state last cycle has just pled guilty to corruption. After taking a million dollars of bribes, the closeted-gay politician had his live in boyfriend launder the money for him. But, as things go, at least we know that God's holy institution of marriage is protected, right?

Friday, March 11, 2011

dispatch maryland

In case you were wondering what your legislators were doing today, here's a dispatch from Maryland, where marriage equality passed the Senate and has a Governor willing to sign the bill into law. Should be easy, right? Wrong.

Why? Because one Democrat objects to the term marriage and will not vote for the bill now. She tried to amend it so that it was a "civil union" because,
It's all about the word of God. It truly is."
Apparently, her God can be placated by semantics. I mean, she doesn't want to change the law, just the title. I imagine her standing at the pearly gates saying, "Oh, no God, it wasn't marriage it was a civil union...see?" That doesn't even get into the fact that this woman thinks her view of what God wants should have ANYTHING to do with what my government allows me to do or not do. There's a difference between letting your faith influence you and letting it dictate politics.

After her comes a Republican who, from what he says, wants marriage equality...just not yet. He says that allowing it to be a "civil union" would be a "bridge" to equality. Baby steps, right? But why? Why bother? If you think that something is right, if you think that it's inevitable, why bother throwing up road blocks? He's acting like a three year old gripping the hand rails on the way to bed because he doesn't want to go to sleep yet. The only difference is instead of a child pissing himself, he's a grown-assed man who is supposed to be legislating--protecting minorities instead of oppressing them.

NYT epic fail...

This article in the New York Times about the brutal gang-raping of an 1l year old girl is everything that is wrong with how we view rape. Here's a paragraph describing an 11 year old victim of gang-rape:
Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”


Here's an interesting chart explaining why eliminating poison control centers, firing teachers, breaking unions and cutting off prenatal care for the poor is "necessary". Obviously an $8.9 BILLION dollar cut in taxes on vacation homes is a good offset for the money save by cutting low income housing programs...can I get an Amen!?

why hello random train...sure I'll take a ride...

This is a random post, but I have some time because I came into work early (yeah, I'm a bad-ass terrorist fighting mo-fo with the work ethic of a horse!...or, I forgot to turn in my slides yesterday and had to be sure to get them in before 9...but either way)...

I got my teeth cleaned yesterday and had them write a referral to get my wisdom teeth removed. I figured they don't bother me, but might as well do it now while I have free dental care. The doctor mentioned not once, but thrice, that it was "harder to recovery now that [I'm] older." I'm not sure why he felt the need to mention that so often...are wisdom teeth harder to lose than appendixes (or is it appendices?)

The woman who cleaned my teeth remarked that my gums were better than most, but that I brush too hard so they are receding on the back of my bottom front teeth. Here's where I get crazy...

You see, when she said, "but" I immediately forgot that she said my gums were better than most and I thought, "Oh man, I have fucked up teeth!" And then, I walked around the rest of the day convinced that I have bad teeth and that I need to take really good care of my teeth so that I can be on par with everyone else around me who, I had now convinced myself, had better teeth than me.

I do this all the time. Another example: A couple of weeks ago I spent an awesome four day weekend in DC with friends. I borrowed a fall coat from Will and wore it most of the weekend as I'd forgotten mine in my truck in Kansas City. Day two, another friend of his came by and said, "I wore that coat last week, it looked better on me." He was mostly kidding and it was a good natured ribbing, but I immediately thought, "shit, he's right. I look stupid. I should change...or lose weight...or put on muscle...maybe I need a haircut??"

I'm not sure where my low self-esteem came from. It's odd, because I'm also arrogant. How you can be arrogant AND have low self-esteem, I'm unsure, but I manage to do it (I also manage to be simultaneously skinny and fat, so I guess I'm just a walking contradiction.)

I've been going to the gym a lot, and am almost back up to my prime in reps and weight. Oddly, however, my body isn't anywhere near when it was at it's prime. While I watch what I eat (I'm at sub 2000 cal a day now), I'm still putting on weight. It's not muscle weight either because my waist is some 2.5 inches wider than when I was at my sexiest. It's kind of annoying...and by "kind of" I mean I obsess about it quite a bit. My friend Will (a different one than the aforementioned) who is in ridiculously good shape (I hugged him the other day and his arms feel like my hip bones in terms of density) said, "You're older now. Either you watch EVERYTHING you eat meticulously or just accept being pudgy." It was one of the BGO's (brief glimpse of the obvious) my old boss referenced.

Lastly, I bought two new pairs of awesome black and gold "kicks". That's what I'm planning on referring to them as since they're both pretty loud, pretty obnoxious high tops. I figure loud and obnoxious high tops aren't done justice with the name "shoes" so "kicks" might just be pretentious enough for them...I'm pretty excited to wear them this weekend.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I've been slow in posting, and now, two about Gingrich in a row? Strange. Anyway, he made a funny. Here's his explanation about why he, as a thrice married anti-marriage equality politician explains why he divorced/cheated on his first two wives. If you guess "I'm just so damned patriotic" you win.

There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

Friday, March 04, 2011

protect I can have three of them!

I'm not usually one to comment on the morality, or lack thereof, of politicians or anyone else--mainly because I don't care. However, when someone spends $200,000 of his own money to help oust the judges in Iowa who brought equality to the state in the name of "protecting marriage" I think it's worthwhile to note that said politician is on his third marriage, after leaving his first wife (with cancer) for his second, whom he later left for a campaign staffer whom he met while impeaching President Clinton for having sex with Monica Lewinsky.

Why is it worth mentioning? Because hypocrisy disgusts me, and it's clear that these people's beliefs have nothing to do with morality and everything to do with visceral disgust for people (gay and lesbian people).

The best part is, he's a new Catholic, so this third marriage is "real" the first two never really happened, and yet, he still feels the need to legislate for others whom they can and cannot marry in civil weddings, which he religiously doesn't recognize to begin with. It would be like me trying to set the rules for what Catholics do or do not do in Church when I don't believe in the Catholic God--but the opposite.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I was about to write about Sara Palin's latest tweet and how she has NO CLUE what the First Amendment means, when I stumbled upon an article that wrote exactly what I was about to. I'm not sure how to feel about that--was my thought original, even if simultaneously thought of by someone else? A simple internet search showed that I was not "original" insofar as someone else had already thought AND written about it, but still--why bother rewriting something now? In any case, the article is here. Bluf:
Under Palin's interpretation of the First Amendment, criticism of public figures threatens free speech, but peaceful protests she doesn't like should be banned.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

In reading my last post, I finally came up with a good analogy.

Years ago, I was visiting a friend in Montana. I had to fly into Seattle and his grandfather picked me up at the airport and drove me to Missoula. The drive was long, and slightly awkward. He was a nice old man, and was very interested in West Point. He asked me, "So, they let girls in now, huh? How's that?" I explained that it was...what it was. I didn't know any other way, and women have always been in the Army as long as I've been in, so it makes no difference to me--and most of the strongest cadets I knew were women.

He thought about it a bit and said, "Yep, I can see that. Good for them." I thought, wow...this old man "gets" it. Then he paused and added, "I do have one question though...West Point is a leadership Academy, right? So...why do women want to go anyway?"

I think of this old man when I hear people say things (like the USC quarterback) like, "I'm not homophobic and have nothing against gays, I just don't think they should marry." These people honestly don't THINK they're homophobic...they honestly don't THINK they have anything against anyone...they honestly don't KNOW that they're making peoples lives difficult.

But, they are. Unlike the old man, however, I can't just ignore it and laugh it off as good natured old-man thought. I have to fight it when I see it...and you should too.