Thursday, October 23, 2014

Too Bad about that whole area...

Too bad we air dropped arms to the wrong side in Kobani.  Too bad we don’t have an ally somewhere close … you know that might share a border so we could send in arms overland.*
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Oh well…
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* Sarcasm Alert. This is an ironical statement.  We do, in fact, have an ally right across the border in Turkey.  Turkey, however, hates the Kurds and would rather have us airdrop supplies to the enemy than allow us to send supplies across a border they control.  Just an example of the toxic stew of hatreds and conflicting ethnic battles the United States is trying to work within.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It has to settle

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't love Renee Zellweger, but cut the gal some slack. 
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So she had a lift and went out too soon. She looks pretty. Sure, not like Renee, but pretty. Sometimes it takes a while. Look at Nicole Kidman, she looked wound too tight for a few months and now looks great. 
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As a public we trash female stars when they wrinkle and when their "fixes" are too obvious.  It kind of sucks. I would hate to be judged solely on my looks. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reviews Off Broadway: Billy & Ray Sheds Light and Laughs on Double Indemnity


My Review of the new play, Billy & Ray - a rift on the creating of Double Indemnity.
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Reviews Off Broadway: Billy & Ray Sheds Light and Laughs on Double Indemnity...: Larry Pine as Raymond Chandler and Vincent Kartheiser as Billy Wilder Billy & Ray, now at the Vineyard Theater, tells of the ...
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Vincent Kartheiser as Billy Wilder, Sophia von Haselberg as Helen and Larry Pine as Raymond Chandler in Billy & Ray

Serious Post: Defining something as "Terrorism" limits your response

“ISIL is a terrorist organization pure and simple.”  That is what the President said, and I realize that saying anything else in this environment is politically red-meat to Republicans and anyone else looking to score points off the President.  But it is a simplistic and impossible to act upon.
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But we, as adults, shouldn’t be limited to the sound bite pace that politicians and news media must cleave to.
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What does that mean, terrorism pure and simple?  Terrorism, despite what the 24 hour news cycle would have you believe, is a tool towards a political end.  A blunt, nasty, evil tool that utilizes attacks on civilians, but a tool towards a desired end result. So what is ISIL desired end result.
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For the moment, let’s put aside that ISIL decapitates people.  I mean that is horrible and terrible, but is not really the cause for a multinational air and ground war, right?  Some of our allies decapitate people.  We put criminals to death all the time. Outrage is not useful here.  What is their political end game – and why are we so dead set against it?
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ISIL is trying to carve a new nation in the middle east.  It is trying to take land from Syria and Iraq for this.  They became a horrible enemy, which we HAD TO stating fighting, only when they took land from Iraq.  When they were fighting Syria only, most nations were okay with this.  So, we are not fighting ISIL because they are “intrinsically evil”, we are fighting them now because they threaten Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. 
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I don't know who this is from, so I can't give credit, but it is nice and seems kind of USA Today-y.
Iraqi Kurdistan is an altogether more interesting beast.  Like ISIL, “Kurdistan” has been carved out of a current country and that situation was ok with most nations.  In the case of the Kurds, their homeland in Iraq was basically self-sufficient.  The allies supported the Kurds against Saddam Hussein, and we (the United States) have maintained this support.  Support for the Kurds is NOT uniform across the region, since Syria, Iran and Turkey all have significant Kurdish minorities.  So Iraqi Kurds are our (US) allies and boots on the ground, but are considered terrorists in Turkey (and were recently bombed inside Turkey).
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The reason I bring this up is as follows.  What is the end game here?  Do we want to be sure that ISIL cant’ hold any territory as a government or nation? If they contain themselves to Syria, are we okay with that?  I think the ISIL is an artifact of a civil war between two competing versions of Islam, Sunni and Shia.  The United States (and most other countries) are locked into viewing this through the prism of current nation states and boundaries.  The problem is that I don’t think there is an answer that would please us within the confines of the current nations and borders.
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I get borders must be thought of as inviolate from outside interests, but what in the case of a civil war?  If we say ISIL cannot exist, then why can Kurdistan?  
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'"And why is any of this our problem?  That is a rhetorical question, by the way.  I don’t think it is our problem.   And, I don’t think there is a solution.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Beaches of St. Barts

Well, the beaches were great.  And lovely and free - which is impossible to believe given how everything else in St. Barts cost an arm and a leg (sorry La Arn and Le Leg).
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The beach at St. Jean where we ate lunch.  PS - The yellow bouys - part of the airport take off strip - no swimming.

A drive down the empty south coast

Saline Beach: Great!

This was the view from beach after beach.

This was Colombier beach.  I loved it.  You had to hike there and it was beautiful (or yacht there).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Lovely St. Barts


Last week's extended vacation can be divided into 2 parts.  The pre-Gonzalo and post-Gonzalo periods.  Here are some really cool pictures from our trip.
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This was the pool (and view) from our Villa.

This is Gustavia - named after a Swedish King when they ran S.t Barts for a while.  This was pre-Gonzalo

Me and the pool

The view, the first night.  Heaven(ish)

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Would Like to Add my Very Reasonable Voice to the Discussion About Ebola

For our friends outside of the United States, a little background.
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About two weeks ago, a man came from West Africa with Ebola.  He flew to Texas.  Went to the hospital - where they took his temperature and said, you have a fever, go home.  (A reasonable diagnosis in Texas where 32% of the population  - over 4 million people have no health insurance (reference link - Texas Medical Organization).)*
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So he goes home.  Where 3 days later he is way sick, with Ebola.
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He dies.
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A few days later one of the EMTs who responded at the house gets sick.  Two days ago the nurse at the hospital where he was first admitted gets sick because the hospital had no procedures for this.
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All of this (should) lead to reasonable precautions.  Better hospital care (btw - done).  Checkpoints at airports where planes from West Africa land (btw - done).
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Watching people who came in contact with the patients (occurring).
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A calm measured response.
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HA HA HAHA.
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A school in Ohio closed because the sick nurse was on a plane and a student at the school flew on the same plane later int he day.
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Talking heads on TV shooting about the end of the world.
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Texas politicians on Congress who want to quarantine West Africa - whereas 2 of the patients are Texas and I think we should quarantine that state.
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Why?  Why does a knowledgable country descend into panic.  One guess.  We have  an election coming up and they can all crow about it on TV with free advertising - without mention they cut moneys to the World Heath Organization, the Federal Emergency Management Fund and the Center for Disease Control.
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John McCain has asked for an Ebola Czar.  "But Scott," you say, "doesn't the United States have a Cabinet Level Post of Surgeon General?"  Well yes, but since Obama nominated someone months ago the Senate hasn't bothered to give any hearings to him because - you know, they hate Obama.
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So I have these words of wisdom.
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It is Panic, Scream, Run Around, Scream Again, and then fall over exhausted to watch more Ebola Porn on TV.  NOT Scream, Panic then Run Around before settling in for more 24 Hours News Ebola Porn.

* - Funny story. This year Texas turned down $100,000,000.00 (one hundred million) federal dollars to cover uninsured in the state because it was socialism to cover the uninsured.  

Which means their emergency rooms over overly full of people with low fevers, aches and pains, because in the United States emergency rooms - cannot turn anyone away.

Which means turning away a black man with an accent and a temperature of 102 degrees is actually the proscribed procedure.  

Thank God they turned down the Affordable Care Support so 16% of their minors can be uninsured (#1 in the nation! Go Horns!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Home

I could bitch about the slog to get from St Bart's to the French side of St Martiin to the Dutch side of St Marten to flying to Atlanta to the (wait for it) delay to the flight to JFK to driver who- despite written and repeated directions, tried to take us to 22nd instead of 42nd. But I won't.
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I saw the devastation in French St Martin made me thankful for what I have. 
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