Saturday, May 21, 2011

... and I feel fine

It's now 1am EST so things are going to get pretty hairy about 17 hours from now, right?.  (Apparently the end of the world is going to start promptly at 6pm local time as the rapture rolls round the world.  Who knew total devastation was so punctual?

By now you've no-doubt heard about this craziness. The only part of this story that grabs my attention, though, is how much people are talking about it - even ordinarily-sane friends of mine. As a New Yorker I'm used to running int oone of these end days loons every couple of weeks but, for some reason, this time it's gone viral.  Maybe it's twitter's fault.  Or sun spots.  Or maybe some old, rich lunatic is dumping a ton of gullible money into advertising it and with Bin Laden dead what else is there left to talk about?

Come Sunday the "true believers" should feel absolute shame and embarrassment at still being alive.   But they won't.  You'll see.  They'll use the lack of the apocalypse as a sign of their god's love, mercy and patience rather than what it really is: just another day where we don't get to lock them up for spouting their nonsense simply because it involves a 2000 year-old, dead hippie rather than three-headed monsters or alien abductions.  (When you think about it, doesn't religion sound an awful lot like aliens? powerful creatures we don't understand, tremendous powers, people vanishing into thin air, genital mutilation, etc.)

In fact, on the subway this evening there was a man ranting on this subject for the full half hour I shared a car with him.  Even through my noise blocking headphones (try commuting in NYC for a month and you'll want them too) some of his words slipped through especially the part about God not punishing people for being wrong or for making wrong predictions. What a *convenient* piece of scripture, huh? "The world is ending!  God says so!  But if not, well, uhm, God is still awesome and loves me for being a panicky liar."

As I've often said you can't argue logic against magic.  Magic will win every time because it's bullshit and therefore infinitely flexible. I didn't even bother trying.  I was too tired for a good argument anyway.

If this is the end, well, it's been fun.  If not I'll just chalk this up to another batch of collective absurdity.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guns don't kill people... Seals do.

A good hunter has a process: He chooses his weapon with the utmost care, learning it inside and out and practices with it until it's almost an extension of his own being.  When it's time to hunt he waits patiently for his prey to come into view, using all information available, and when it does he fires his weapon hoping that all of the preparation and diligence pay off.  The hunter and the weapon both deserve credit when all goes well.

Last Sunday night President Obama ordered an attack on Osama Bin Laden which resulted in the death of the world's most wanted criminal after almost 10 years of searching.  Obama was the hunter.  Seal Team 6 (the same titanic bad-asses who killed the Somali pirates just over two years ago) was the weapon - probably the most lethal, accurate, surgical-strike weapon on the planet.  The majority of Earthlings rejoiced at the news but there were some American right-wingers who insisted he deserved no credit, instead laying it at the feet of George Bush (who famously said he wasn't too concerned about Bin Laden or his whereabouts only SIX MONTHS after the brutal attack) or anyone else who happens not to be named Barack Obama.  Even former President Bush himself had the grace and basic dose of clue to applaud Obama's move, but many on his side said otherwise, showing them to be not just unpatriotic but antipatriotic.

As the (rabidly right wing) NRA likes to say "Guns don't kill people.  People kill people."  In this case "people" covers both the person giving the order as well as the boots on the ground.

There's plenty of credit to go around and I'm not saying that the President deserves all of it - far from it. But he was the one who made the decision to proceed and it would have fallen on his shoulders had there been another Blackhawk Down moment, or a replay of Jimmy Carter's failed attempt to Iranian hostages which permanently stained his presidency, virtually ensuring his loss to Ronald Reagan.  The buck stops in the oval office and to deny Obama the credit he earned by showing off his huge brass balls is to lose all grasp on reality.

I used to say that President Obama could walk into the Rose Garden with the head of Osama Bin Laden on a pike and the GOP would bitch that he'd bloodied the Whitehouse carpet.  I thought I was exaggerating to the point of absurdity but it turns out I wasn't as far off as I should have been.  Most of the GOP either was able to drop their partisan slant for a little while or they read the political winds and realized that criticizing the President here would be a career-limiting move, but the remaining craven idiots?  They're beyond all hope.  And don't get me started on those who claim that torture provided actionable information that happened to take SEVEN YEARS to unfold (I'm looking at you Steve King).

"Absurd" is too good for them.  They're just, plain sick.

The chess master strikes again

In my last post I said that six months from now I'd look back and better understand why President Obama released his long-form birth certificate when he did.  (Go ahead and check - I'll wait.)

Six months?  It wasn't even six half-days.  As he released his birth certificate, toured storm-ravaged areas in the south and cracked wise at the Whitehouse Correspondent's Dinner he knew there'd be the mother of all news stories coming in a few days that would wipe everything else off the front page for weeks.  Imagine the thoughts running through his head during those events!

So after demonstrating what a publicity-hounding jackass The Donald (who the hell gives themselves such a pompous nickname??) really is, and making sure the birthers looked as stupid as humanly possible President Obama grabbed the headlines with both hands and made sure that their 15 minutes was over.  Birthers and Trump's presidential ambitions: relegated to already-forgotten footnotes.  If we see either again it will be purely for comic relief.

The entire choreography was nothing short of brilliant.  As I've said, this is easily the smartest man we've had in the Whitehouse during my lifetime and I'm proud to have helped put him there in my own, small way.

Absurd?  Naaa.  Not this time.


PS: Camera in-hand, I went down to the World Trade Center Monday night after the announcement of Bin Laden's death.  If you'd like to see the pictures I took you'll find them here.  If you'd like a higher resolution shot just e-mail me.