Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sorry, mediocrity is all there is.

The Onion nails it again:
WASHINGTON—Members of the brilliant, highly trained, and dedicated team of elite professionals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to protect our nation and keep its citizens out of harm's way announced Tuesday that they do not exist.
What gives me comfort is that there aren't any super villains either: All those terrorists plotting against us have to recruit from the same sea of mediocrity and self-interest that is the bulk of humanity. We're all just fallible humans muddling through. Fallible humans with a penchant for mythologization.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flooding in Pakistan is one of the worst disasters in modern history

Folks, this is a much bigger event than the earthquake in Haiti or the Asian tsunami, but it isn't getting the attention of those disasters. Lend a hand if you can. I did this $10 donation by text to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. I'm not sure if that's the best way to give $10, and $10 is hardly an adequate response to such a huge catastrophe, but we should do something.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Failed state haven for dangerous, violent thugs?

No, I'm not talking about Afghanistan or Somalia. I'm talking about Mexico, which seems to be losing its ability to keep the Drug Wars underground. I'm a lot more afraid of violent drug cartels operating just to our south than I am of insurgents and terrorists, most of whose objectives concern places half way around the world. We can (and in most cases should) withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, et. al. I don't particularly want to withdraw from our southern border, because I happen to live not all that far from it.

With a more sensible drug policy, we could reduce a lot of this violence. Let's get one, please. I'm rather impatient with our politics, these days.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Republican anti-Muslim rhetoric way out of line

I haven't posted here for a while, but I do have to perk up and say that the current spate of Republican anti-Muslim rhetoric is really awful and frankly downright un-American (if by "American" we can mean a place that does not discriminate against people because of their religion.) Latest example from Tim Pawlenty (via Sullivan):
"I'm strongly opposed to the idea of putting a mosque anywhere near Ground Zero-I think it's inappropriate," he said. "I believe that 3,000 of our fellow innocent citizens were killed in that area, and some ways from a patriotic standpoint, it's hallowed ground, it's sacred ground, and we should respect that. We shouldn't have images or activities that degrade or disrespect that in any way."
This just makes me sick. The presence of a mosque degrades or disrespects those who were killed in the World Trade Center? Really? Does it degrade the Muslims who were killed there? Does it degrade the community board that approved the project? Does it degrade Mayor Bloomberg, who recently spoke in defense of the Mosque? (Many kudos to him for that, by the way.)

Is it OK for the governor of Minnesota to say things like that these days? Not by me, it isn't. I'm scared, because I don't know where this will end. Are Republicans going to propose that Muslims not be allowed to visit whatever ends up being built at the WTC site? Should Muslims be banned from working in US Intelligence services? The US military? US citizenship? I do hope this just dies down and people find something else to worry about, but I don't want to let it slip by unmarked, unprotested, passively accepted. An angry blog post is the least I could do.

Is there a point at which the Republicans will start reigning themselves in? Many been outraged by this recent burst of anti-Muslim rhetoric, and I'm heartened to hear that outrage and want to add my voice to it. But outrage on Internal Monologue isn't going to persuade Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Tim Pawlenty to lay off the rhetorical Muslim bashing. Lots of respect points to someone on the right who is willing to stand up to this.