Some headlines really make you wonder whether or not you are dreaming. The latest bits of absurdity to cross my path in recent days, in no particular order:
Today Barack Obama signed another START treaty with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev. Guess what? MSNBC reports tonight that Republicans in general are opposed to the treaty. In the past, these types of arms reduction treaties passed in the Senate by margins of 98% or more. This time it might be tough to get enough Republicans to sign on to make the two thirds majority needed for ratification. It’s another example of the just-say-no strategy of the GOP but it is also complicated by a recently revealed change in our own nuclear strategy.
With the exceptions of Iran and North Korea, for example, we have pledged not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear state. This departs from our traditional approach of “all options on the table” with anyone. What it translates to by my way of thinking is that we are acknowledging the grave responsibility involved in the use of nuclear arms and we are pledging to use them only in the most dire of conflicts. We can always depend on some imbecile from the right to get the message wrong and give it a wild spin. So one half of the Bachmann Palin Overdrive suggested today that this new approach is equivalent to the kid in the school yard saying “punch me in the face, I’m not going to retaliate”. Someone desperately needs to tell the half-wit half-term Governor of Alaska that the new approach is the same as the kid in the school yard saying “punch me in the face, I’m not going to blow you away with an AK-47.” It’s called reasonable and proportionate response.
We can only hope that the Senate Republicans depart from their singular obstructionist agenda long enough to ratify this important step in controlling the use of nuclear weapons.
Dumb and Dumber in 2012
Yes gang, in Minnesota this week Fox News’ Sean Hannity broached that nightmare scenario most of us dare not contemplate. He asked an audience of unstable Minnesotans how they would feel about a Sarah Palin – Michele Bachmann ticket in 2012. Predictably, the crowd roared. Now it is well-known that Sarah is crazy like a fox (no pun intended) and the millions she’s raking in on one deal or another attest to that. Bachmann on the other hand is just plain crazy. Whether it’s investigating which members of Congress are real Americans or worrying about census takers tallying up the folks who will be put in internment camps, Michele is, as Ron Reagan put it, a few McNuggets short of a Happy Meal. One also has to wonder from Bachmann’s comments if she has as much of a crush on Palin as Rich Lowry does.
The real nightmare is … what if I’m totally wrong? What if the majority of Americans find this pair of bobble-heads sufficiently appealing to vote for them? I can’t bear to think of it further. Let’s move on.
Was the Pipe Really Worth It?
I guess no one made it clear to Qatari diplomat Mohammed al-Madadi that smoking is not allowed on domestic American flights. I would further suggest that no one made it clear to the diplomat not to behave like an arrogant prick when confronted with his non-compliance. Trying to out do Gilbert Gottfried in the obnoxious humor department, Madadi told a flight attendant that the smoke she smelled coming from the bathroom was his attempt to light his shoes on fire. Poor Mo didn’t understand that in the aftermath of Richard Reid and Umar Abdulmutallab, we don’t find jokes about setting shoes on fire particularly funny. Qatar is bringing its comedian, ehhh, diplomat back home.
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Some in the Arab community are saying Madadi was profiled. I’m sorry gang but when you make a joke about setting your shoes on fire while on a plane several thousand feet above the Earth, you’re lucky not to get the stuffing beaten out of you. I don’t care where you come from.
Billy Bob, the Civil War is Over and You Lost
My understanding is that if you ask the average German about the Holocaust, he’d prefer not to discuss it and if pressed, would express shame. In fact modern-day Germany views that atrocity as a terrible stain on its history. So, could someone please tell me why the South still celebrates the Confederacy?
Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell stepped in it big time when he issued a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month and neglected to mention that minor element that brought the Confederacy into existence: slavery. Now this response did not really shock me terribly. When I visited Atlanta about 15 years ago on business, one of the first things I found on the hotel TV’s tourist channel was an advertisement for tours of plantations. No where in the advertisement did it say “join us in an examination of a shameful period in American history where Africans were kept against their will and forced to work for no wages.” On the contrary, it looked almost like visiting Frontier Land at Disney World. So I saw first hand that at least some Southerners feel no shame about their checkered past. In fact, they are still angry that they “lost” the war. A few weeks ago, Georgia Representative Paul Broun referred to the Civil War as the “Great war of Yankee aggression”.
Yup, in 2010 there are still Americans who talk about “Yankee aggression”. I’m not sure Broun ever backed off his rhetoric (he is a birther after all) but McDonnell had the good sense after a day or so to re-write the proclamation declaring slavery as a cause of the Civil War and an “evil, vicious and inhumane practice”. Ya think?