Thursday, March 20, 2014

evil empire redux or is Cuba the next Crimea?

Russian sphere of influence:  neighboring countries and parts of former U.S.S.R. and Russian Empire, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Syria, various vassal states from the past with oil and sea access being major attractions 

Russian non-U.N approved military actions in the 21st Century:  Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine (Crimea)

U.S. sphere of influence:  the Western hemisphere (see Monroe Doctrine), Asia, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and really anywhere in the entire freaking world with oil or anything else that we value or find strategic

U.S. non-U.N. approved military actions in the 21st Century:  Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan (partial list? who knows for sure?) 

What would the U.S. do if political unrest and street protests caused the Cuban regime to teeter and fall?  Is it possible that U.S. troops might find their way to Havana and Santiago to make sure that the next group of leaders are more friendly to U.S. interests? After all the U.S. has maintained an embargo against Cuba for over 50 years and has a strategic naval base there (like the Russians in Crimea).  The U.S. intervened militarily in Haiti at twice in Haiti in the 20th Century the last time in 1994, so why would Cuba be any different?  The U.S. is not likely to annex any territory soon, but neither is the U.S. going to let the "opportunity" of unrest in a coveted territory be wasted without wielding as much power is necessary to achieve a favorable outcome.

I am not trying to justify what Russian has done in Crimea.  It is opportunistic and not all that surprising when viewed through the lens of great power politics.  It is not radically different from actions taken very recently by the U.S.  Might may not make right, but it often does make reality.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sharing the Sidewalk

I am having trouble with an urban conundrum.  Here is the scenario.  There is a group of people coming toward me that is taking up the whole width of the sidewalk.  I move all the way over to the edge of where I can still move forward without walking into a tree or a parked car or traffic or some other immovable or dangerous obstacle.  I try to make eye contact and smile, but still they just keeping coming at me.  They are usually gabbing away and oblivious, but sometimes I can tell that they see me and expect me to vanish into thin air.  This seems to happen several times a week.  What is a hapless pedestrian to do?

I just cannot bring myself to step into the gutter or wait patiently behind a shrubbery.  Why should I have to stop when I just need a sliver of sidewalk and they are using the whole damn thing?  Be aware of your surroundings and have some courtesy for crying out loud.  I mean, really.

I am a big guy and when in a foul mood I have been known to drop a shoulder and plow right on through, but that does not seem to be a viable long term solution.  There is too much possibility for escalation and unwanted consequences.  Plus, it may feel good for a brief moment, but I will inevitably feel like a jerk later.

Recently I have tried stopping in my tracks when they get about 10 feet away and then saying "look out" in a firm but non-hostile voice when they get within a few feet without changing course.  Surprisingly, more than half of the time someone still walks right into me.  They sometimes even tell me to watch out after walking into me while I am standing still.  This standing still strategy is not working out.

Maybe a different kind of noise would help.  I could ring a bell or honk a horn or spray them with mace, but I don't really think carrying these items around with me at all times is very practical.  I have been considering trying out a Road Runner "meep meep."  I need to work on it though since I have a low voice.  I could try loading it one of those little handheld playback devices.  I already have one that plays several Mr. T catch phrases like "I pity the fool" and "Stop your jibber jabber." I could attach it to my key chain and give a try.  It might not be loud enough though.  I could shout out, "Hey dillweed, get out of my fracking way!" or start barking like dog, but these could have similar consequences to going linebacker.

I don't see myself moving into a Ted Kaczynski cabin in the woods any time soon, so I am seeking feedback, constructive or otherwise.


Evolution

Obama, thank you for finally having the balls to tell it like it is.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mitt Romney's Gratitude List

I, Mitt Romney, am grateful for:

  • Speech writers
  • Aqua Net
  • A dad who could lend me money
  • Offshore accounts
  • Super PACs
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Caviar
  • Dog crates and bungee cords
  • My tan
  • Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum for making me seem almost acceptable by comparison
  • A low marginal tax rate
  • My tailor
  • My jawline
  • Yachts
  • Vacation homes
  • 8 car garages
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Private jets
  • Fox News
  • Trees that are the right height
  • Tax shelters
  • Cigars
  • Goldman Sachs
  • American flag lapel pins
  • Those who are not paying attention

Brené Brown

I really like what BrenĂ© Brown has to say.  I have only listened to her TED talks and her interview with Smart People podcast.  I have not read any of her books yet, but I plan to soon.  She is a research social worker who talks a lot about vulnerability, shame, worthiness and connection.  I won't say much more because I cannot say it as well as she does.  I think you will be glad you looked into this more.

I will leave you with one quote, "The one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we're not worthy of connection."

I don't miss Aaron Rowand

Sorry to be a hater, but I really do not miss Aaron Rowand.  Why?

  • his bloated contract
  • his .230 batting average
  • his I-really-need-to-pass-this-turd batting stance