Some random thoughts that have been rattling through my head for the last few weeks:


If you are uncertain how the current administration will react to some situation, just identify the action most likely to increase the government’s size and power, and you will know exactly how the government will act.


Posters have appeared at my work telling us when and how to wash our hands. Since I work at a company that hires people for their smarts, this seems to be a bad sign.


The call to shoot the Somali pirates was the right call to make, and kudos to Pres. Obama for making that decision. But why is the President making such a tactical decision?

And speaking of the President making a tactical decision, the military once had Osama bin Laden in its sights, but because President Clinton stalled and didn’t make the decision, that golden opportunity was lost. Read Dereliction of Duty for how that happened.


<joke>
Pres. Obama didn’t actually order the attack on the Somali pirates. What he called for was “a tax” on the pirates.
</joke>


Why does Hollywood think it is a good idea to take a wonderful story and change it into a terrible movie? The Dark is Rising is a great book by Susan Cooper, but “The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising” is a trés crappy movie.


If the President asks a mix of Democrats and Republicans for their opinion, and their response comes along party lines, then the issue is a political one, and the President may respond politically. But if the response comes back unanimously, then it isn’t a political issue and shouldn’t be handled politically.

The current CIA director and five of the past directors, appointed by Republican and Democrat Presidents, responded unanimously to Pres. Obama that releasing the memos outlining the enhanced interrogation techniques would be a bad idea. Obama ignored their united advice and released the information anyway. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.


I’ve noticed some people are saying that the recession is showing signs of bottoming out, and we may come out of it this year. If that’s the case, can we please repeal all the “stimulus” sections of the budget that haven’t even kicked in yet? There’s no need to saddle future generations with debt over a stimulus package that is no longer needed.


The more I read about President Obama and what he says, the more I realize that this nation has elected a n00b.


People claim that President Obama is a skilled orator. I wouldn’t know because I don’t listen to him. In matters political I have long preferred to read, rather than hear, the things people say. After all, I’m much more interested in content than in form.


I delete any email I get that ends with a call to forward it on to everyone I know. I see that plea to forward it on as an acknowledgement that the content isn’t worth forwarding on its own.


In other news, even though the depression in the yard has been filled in and no longer becomes a pond after a hard rain, the ducks returned once this week. And again the female duck was hogging most of the bread.

Hungry ducks

I think it’s time to post some more random thoughts that have been bouncing around in my brain but have been too small to develop into a full article.


It’s amazing how good you feel after some simple exercises. I like seeing that my treadmill regimen is getting progressively harder, and I’m able to handle it.


There is nothing intrinsically wrong with chewing gum, but don’t chew it while you are on the phone. The poor person on the other end will get an earful with every chew. And speaking of loud gum chewing, I recently sat about 50 feet away from a kid in a meeting, and I could clearly hear him chomp away. Apparently he hadn’t yet mastered the difficult task of chewing with his mouth closed.


The family reunion is coming up, and it’s a great time to catch up with the folks I just don’t see too often. I prefer the reunions that aren’t too structured. As long as there are enough games and activities to keep the young kids active and happy, I’m content to sit in the shade and gab. I am now officially an old fart.


The lovely and talented wife is two states away taking some college classes. While I miss having her close, I’m glad that she can take these classes. After years of happily-married life, being a bachelor again during these weeks is not fun. Happily, the full five seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD arrived in the mail. I now have 110 episodes to watch to keep myself entertained.


I guess I should do the dishes one of these days.


Since people have crossed a lion with a tiger to create a liger (Napoleon Dynamite would be so proud), has anyone tried crossing humans with chimps or other primates? I’d guess our DNA would be similar enough to create a hybrid, but this would bring up a mess of ethical issues. Is it ethical to monkey with human DNA like that? (Pun most certainly intended.) If a human/chimp cross were successful, would the resulting hybrid be entitled to a measure of “human rights,” since it would be 50% human? Any further breeding of the hybrid with chimps would produce offspring that were 25%, 13%, 6%, and 3% human in subsequent generations. At what point is a living thing “not human enough?” Believe it or not, our society has already wrestled with this question as it pertains to race.


I’ll do the dishes after I watch this next Babylon 5 episode.


Since I’ve been thinking Sci-Fi for a bit now, which do you think would have a greater effect for good or ill on the human race — free and plentiful energy, or instant teleportation? Hmm…


Is there something wrong with pondering “what if” questions? If so, is it doubly wrong to ask “what if” questions about “what if” questions?


So the Watergate icon, “Deep Throat,” has finally been revealed to be the then-#2 man at the FBI, W. Mark Felt. The major media seems practically orgasmic about the critical role a whistleblower can play. Funny how the same media sang a very different tune when Linda Tripp was the whistleblower.


I have no problem with people jumping into their hot tubs. I have no problem with people jumping into their hot tubs between midnight and 4 am. But I do have a problem with people in their hot tubs when they are right next to my bedroom window, and they are very loud. I guess people either don’t know or don’t care that their voices carry much farther in the stillness of the night than they do during the day.


Are people fundamentally different in 2005 from the people of 1505 or 1005? Or are the basic goals of power, fame, and money the same driving forces for all humanity throughout the ages?


If you could see the past or the future with complete clarity, which would you prefer? I think I’d be more interested in viewing the past.


OK, I think I’d better do the dishes now.

Here are some random thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a while now. Some are current events, and others are just pulled out of the aether.


Bakersfield, California is yet another site of people misunderstanding the First Amendment and succumbing to the current–and very wrong–idea of the separation of Church and State. The local YMCA, which stands for Young Men’s CHRISTIAN Association, had the audacity to print up some fliers for an upcoming basketball camp with the terror-inducing phrase: “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build spirit, mind and body for all.” Oh, the horror! The Bakersfield school district banned this flier from its campuses because, as so wrong-headedly stated by a district lawyer, it violated the separation of Church and State. What part of “Congress shall make no law” applies to the school district of Bakersfield?


I love to read books. I love to reread books. Some people have asked me why I often read a book over again because they cannot understand why I do it. Even my wife will tease me and ask if the book is different this time. But I understand. Some of the best times I have with good friends come from just sitting around and recalling shared memories. Rereading a good book is like visiting a good friend.


The Supreme Court upheld as constitutional most of the ‘soft-money’ ban passed by Congress last year and signed by President Bush. They did strike down the law that prohibited people under 18 from contributing to political campaigns, calling it an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. But at the same time the schizophrenic Supreme Court upheld the banning of special interest groups from advertising 60 days before a Presidential election. Did you catch that? Kids may contribute money to their favorite politicians and this is called “speech,” but try to spend your money to speak out for or against someone, and this genuine speech is not allowed.

Dear Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, who voted this way, what part of “Congress shall make no law. . .abridging the freedom of speech” are you just too stupid to understand?


Shauna Rohbock, I do not care that you have Olympic gold medal potential. You are a member of the Utah National Guard, and your unit, 115th Engineer Group, has been called up for active service. Shut up and soldier, soldier.


Working and pulling down a paycheck is much better than not. Working for a company that actively supports me and gives me the tools I need to perform my job would be a welcome change.


Politically, I am pretty conservative with a heavy streak of libertarianism. I believe that the Constitution is more than the law of the land, it is the Law of the Land, with plenty of emphasis needed. Hearing people who have not a clue (Hello, Supreme Court!) rendering wrongheaded judgments about what the Constitution means just makes me pull out my hair. And I do not have enough hair left to waste.


Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary, said in a town hall meeting in Florida, “The bottom line is, as a country we have to come to grips with the presence of 8 to 12 million illegals, afford them some kind of legal status some way, but also as a country decide what our immigration policy is and then enforce it.” Now I understand that illegal immigration is a very serious issue. I do not care what country these law-breakers come from; I do not welcome them here. If they are willing to break the laws of our country to enter, how conscientious will they be in keeping any of our other laws? Granting amnesty every few years is not the solution. This only encourages people to sneak over our borders and hide out until the next amnesty program is announced. Why do things legally when you know the government will just holler “Ollie Ollie oxen free!” and let all the hidden people reap the rewards of their sneakiness?

Secretary Ridge is right when he said our country needs to decide on an immigration policy and enforce it. There are times when I become so angry at the flood of illegals pouring through every border that I would support a policy of branding illegals on the forehead for the first offense and never letting them into the country ever again.


“Quinn’s First Law — Liberalism generates the exact opposite of its stated intent.”

Ever since I first heard Jim Quinn declare this law, I have recognized it in action more and more. One of these days I will sit down and write up a full-sized comment on this principle.


Terrorists are bullies, so how do you best handle a bully? Sure, you could buy him off and hope that the cost of this Danegeld is less painful than the beatings, but how long will it last? Ask Saudi Arabia about the bombings in Riyadh and how well their payoff of al-Qaeda has worked. You could suck up to the bully and become a hanger-on or sycophant in the hope that you can avoid a beating by being a yes-man, but I have no desire to join the “religion of peace” and blow people up.

Or you can confront the bully and beat on him until he cries for mercy and leaves you alone. President Bush understands that this is the right way to handle a bully.


The countries who called America baby-killers for invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein are now raging again. Since the Little Red Hen has baked the Iraqi bread, all the lazy countries who did not lift a finger to free Iraq are now incensed because President Bush has denied them access to the primary contracts for rebuilding Iraq. France, Germany and Russia all sat on their collective thumbs while the U.S. prepared and then invaded Iraq, so why should these countries benefit from the lucrative contracts to rebuild? I hope the Bush administration stands firm and tells them to sit and spin.