Nothing Special

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This week Great Britain’s parliament handed it’s prime minister a stunning defeat, voting down a measure that would have allowed the UK, as part of a NATO coalition, to attack Bashar Al-Assad’s for an alleged chemical weapons attack he perpetrated on his own people.

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No Lesser Evil

syria-92012For the past two years, Syrian leader Bashar Assad has engaged in a brutal crackdown against his own citizens. What had started as spontaneous popular demonstrations against the government’s response to drought and for civil rights has morphed into a full blown civil war.

The conflict pits Assad’s Alawite Shi’a (backed by Russian arms), Iran and Hezbollah against a conglomeration of rebels who fight under the banner of the Syrian Free Army and who are funded and supplied by Sunni Arab states and, to a lesser degree, the West. Since the war started, over 90,000 Syrians have died (some as a result of chemical attacks) and millions have been displaced.
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American Dreamer

Out on the internet there’s a photo taken in the 1950’s purportedly showing someone’s idea of what the home computer of the future would look like. The photo showed a huge, gray metal monstrosity, covering an entire wall, with dozens of buttons, dials and levers. Pictured also in the photo is the bespectacled egghead you’d presumably have to rent to run the thing.
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Greek Tragedy


In ancient times, the Greeks staged plays which, in part, were cautionary tales. They showed how baser human traits of human nature, like hubris, greed and jealousy led men, inevitably, down the path of ruin. The modern Greek tragedy unfolding illustrates that, no matter what the consequences of ignorance, some lessons are never learned. For our own sake, I do hope we as a nation look to Europe and learn some things about the evils of world government, the culture of entitlement and easy money.
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Julian Assange’s Leaky Wick

Pour a mug of coffee, Google “North Korean Propaganda”, sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll find out that Kim Jong Il is a highly decorated fighter pilot and that on his first golf excursion, he shot a 38 under par, sinking eleven holes in one. North Korea, you will learn, has, for the past fifty years, single-handedly saved the world from the bloodthirsty, snaggle-fanged vampire that is American imperialism. I bet you didn’t know they inflicted two million casualties on us during the Korean War. There’s nothing that quite induces mirth like the view from inside a self proclaimed People’s Paradise abroad…and at home.
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There’s A Little Monster In Us All….

When Michael Vick signed with the Eagles in 2009, I held my nose. Up until a few months ago, coming to terms with my love of the team and Vick’s torturing and killing of dogs in his care didn’t present much of a problem. I felt it was one of endurance: I thought that once Kevin Kolb took the reins of the club, the Michael Vick experiment would be over within the year and the moral dilemma he presented would be the problem of some other team’s fans.
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An Unfriending

Warning….this blog may break the record for the number of times the word “friend” is used in such a small space

“Unfriend” What a funny word. Was it even a word five years ago? To Friend and UnFriend. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

This week I unfriended someone for the very first time.
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Reality TV

Although Reality TV has been with us since the television became a fixture in the American home, the genre took off in the early part of the millennium, thanks in part to a programming void left by a writers’ strike nearly a decade ago. Reality TV ostensibly throws groups of “ordinary” people together to chronicle how they react in usually stressful, competitive situations. Many “reality show” participants find themselves having to choose between acting in their own self interest versus that which is best for a group and a team. The producers of these shows rig them so as to produce the maximum amount of conflict (read: drama) between the show’s participants. The result , through careful editing, is that these individuals (meant to be mirrors of our society), often show up on our screens as very small, mean spirited people guided by nothing more than myopic, short term self- interest.

Life doesn’t get any more “real” than what transpired at the San Jose Mine in Chile over the last two months or so. The mine collapsed in August, burying alive thirty-three miners. For seventeen days these men did not know whether or not they’d be rescued. As a group, they shared very scarce resources and organized so that the strength of the group might sustain group’s individual members. On the surface, valiant Chilean rescuers, aided by people and governments world-wide, labored mightily on what may have been a futile mission. That both groups of people were able to sustain their efforts for 69 days toward the ultimate goal of rescue under the most stressful conditions is, I think, more a testament to the character of humans than anything we see on “reality” TV today.

Quakes

The other day a 3.5 magnitude earthquake..er…rocked suburban Maryland, just outside the city of Rockville. I can imagine that those affected by the tremor were shocked. Earthquakes (strong enough for humans to feel, anyway) don’t happen very often in these parts.

I remember my first experience with earthquakes and, looking back, I probably felt the same as those folks did in Montgomery County. I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but I know I was younger than ten years old, for we still lived on Colonial Street in Philadelphia. The quake, a wee one, occurred in the early morning hours I remember the noise more than the shaking. It sounded to me like a huge truck being driven down the middle of our row of houses.
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The Continued Application Of Flaccid Power

Today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Our president, head of state of the nation responsible for its fall and that of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe and ultimately the USSR, will not be attending. Apparently Communism’s demise, the culmination of an existential struggle between free peoples of the world and those who lived under the iron fist of peoples’ dictatorships, is ancient history and deemed not worthy of a presidential visit.
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