Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Day After

Things slowing down in Crabland. For inexplicable reasons (we've been good but not that good) little damage. Unfortunately, lots of flooding and crabs will be seen in places where crabs have never gone before! There were tornadoes, too. So, we had a HuriQuakeNado week.

Life is like a game of Angry Birds. What do the Birds Gods have in store for us next?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting the Beatles Back Together

This from my nephew, a musician.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Taking a Hostage

The use of other human beings in armed conflict, as well as taking humans as hostage in, say, a hijacking or other type of terrorist attack, goes to the very core of what it is to be civilized. While the use of civilians as hostages is probably as old human conflict, it was the practice of Khrash by the Mongol hoards that may be the most odious:
A commonly used tactic was the use of what was called the "kharash". During a siege the Mongols would gather a crowd of local residents or soldiers surrendered from previous battles, and would drive them forward in sieges and battles. These "alive boards" or "human shields" would often take the brunt of enemy arrows and crossbow bolts, thus leaving the Mongol warriors safer. The kharash were also often forced ahead to breach walls.
It is likely that this was used in the siege and destruction of Baghdad in 1258. For students of irony, one should perhaps compare this to the "Shock and Awe" attack on Baghdad by "allied" (i.e. American) forces in 2003. Lost in the glorification of that massive bombardment was that fact that innocent civilians lived there. Baghdad just can't cut a break.

There is no doubt about it, Boehner, Cantor and friends took the American people hostage in the recent Debt Limit debacle. There are still politicians, nay, presidential candidates, who feel America should have been let to default on their debt. That these supposedly intelligent candidates are still flourishing, nay, are considered lead contenders, speaks volumes to the level of political discourse in this country.

The basic idea is that when there is a conflict between the leaders of two groups, threatening members of the opposing groups with harm (the leaders, e.g. Saddam Hussein, Boehner, Cantor remain unscathed) has become, if not acceptable, then a common means of attaining one's end. Using the above examples, it is an observation that this method is used either when one of opposing forces is either overwhelmingly powerful with respect to the other (Baghdad then and now) or the attacker is basically powerless (terrorism). Perhaps one should lump both of these together under the rubric "terrorism" and simply say that "Shock and Awe" was a form of State Terrorism. Israel's invasion of Gaza with the subsequent loss of civilian life could be discussed in these terms.

One alternative is compromise. Since 1938, the word "compromise" has come to signify cowardice. If it is one thing that most humans fear. It is being labelled a coward or an appeaser:
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. It has been described as "...the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous."
Alpha males don't compromise. To make their point, they sometimes even march across the fields of Gettysburg  and get slaughtered. John Boehner and Eric Cantor view themselves as alpha males. They view Obama, as one who seeks compromise and is therefore weak. Thus, Boehner after using the American economic welfare as hostage in the recent Debt Limit debacle, felt that he had gotten 98% of what he wanted. That was not a compromise, it was an appeasement. The long term effect on politics will be to, as they wanted, severely weaken the American's view and conception of Obama. Though probably unintended, it reinforces the stereotype of the black male being subservient to the white male, with that relationship somehow natural and acceptable. Racism runs deep in our Country.

Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope. The recent plunge in the polls of Boehner's approval may mean that Americans have seen through the hostage ploy. I do know that none of us ever want to see it used again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Part of the Grand Capitulation, i.e. the "deal" that Obama negotiated with Boehner and McConnell, was setting up a committee of six Democrats and six Republicans to come up with a plan to slash the Debt by $1.5 Trillion. Today, McConnell and Boehner named the six Republicans. Each of these six have:
"signed a pledge to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform that they will not vote to raise taxes."
Why even have a committee that is doomed to failure from the start? How can we possibly get out of this mess without raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, or at least rescinding those tax cuts put in place by George W. Bush?

We have become an illogical country.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Just a little Error

Apparently, behind one of these windows, there is someone with a calculator. That someone made a mistake. A two trillion dollar mistake. To paraphrase Everett Dirksen:

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
I thought it ironic that a commentator named Emily on one of my favorite blogs (JSBlog), linked to an advertisement for that calculator:

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

Note that there is both sunshine and rain. BIG drops.

Hailey told me this was a "Christmas Crab." ??????

Whose behind those Foster Grants?

Don't ask.

James has hidden the body well.

Trice has been watching the Ravens too much.

Local talent. Very nice young lady. Working her way through college. I wish I had this enthusiasm.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What Iceberg?

After legislative extortion of an unparalleled magnitude, the House has finally passed a bill that would raise the Debt ceiling. It will also do a number of other things that many of us predict, will not help the country at all. Lost in the shuffle was the whole question of jobs. No matter how much one cuts from the Federal Budget, unless there are increased revenues (from taxes, from those who have jobs), we will never even come close to that fiscal Nirvana of a balanced budget (which, we had, by the way, under Clinton only to be destroyed by Bush II and his two tax cuts. Tax cuts that were supposed to help the "job creators" but simply transferred a large amount of wealth into the pockets of the obscenely rich. But you knew that.)

The Senate has yet to vote on this bill but it is said that it is a foregone conclusion that it will pass. Mitch McConnell is already gloating and talking about the members of the "super committee." Excuse me, Mr. McConnell, since when were YOU Majority Leader of the Senate? Was this simply a vote or, as many of us suspected, a coup d’etat.

We used to think of bailing out to Vancouver or Ireland. Those options have had their own problems recently. Why leave in any case since the theater is so good and the second half promises to be full of surprises.