Jackasses at the Helm, Part Two

A strange thing happened this past January. The inauguration of the new Democratic majority should have been a cold day for the Iraq War hawks in the Republican Party and the White House. The Democrats rode a wave of discontent about the war to victory in the midterm elections of 2006. There was much high rhetoric and bold pronouncements that the end, if not all that near, was at least foreseeable. Continue reading “Jackasses at the Helm, Part Two”

One Giant Leap Backwards

Today, the X Prize Foundation announced its latest competition, the Google Lunar X Prize. In a follow-up to 2004’s Ansari X Prize, which was awarded to a team that successfully launched a privately funded suborbital manned flight, the foundation would seem to be raising the bar. The finish line in this latest competition is the moon itself, the conditions calling for a robotic rover, similar in concept to those exploring Mars today, to land on the moon, travel more than 500 meters, and transmit high definition video and images back to earth. No easy task. The $25 million prize more than likely will not cover the cost of development and execution of a successful mission, but it has never been the goal of the X Prize to make money for the competitors. Instead, the competitions are meant to foster innovation and development, leading to the betterment of mankind. That being said, the Google Lunar X Prize does none of this. Continue reading “One Giant Leap Backwards”

Sand in Your Eye

We’re six years in. This day, this September 11th, always a shitty day for as long as people remember the attacks. No coincidence that Petraeus and Crocker find themselves on the Hill, hocking the president’s wares. Hell, Petraeus may even believe it. If we had gone in with 500,000 troops, and a plan for what would happen after the Iraqi tanks were all gone, Petraeus is the man we should have had at the head. No one is denying that. The man is the poster child for American counterinsurgency. Continue reading “Sand in Your Eye”

Big Red Elephant Say, “No Gays!”

Soliciting sex in a public restroom is gross. And it is illegal. That type of lewd behavior has no place in society as a whole, much less the Senate. Although we like to maintain that our public institutions are beacons of upright moral behavior, we all know that our elected and non-elected officials are as fallible as the rest of us, and placed in a position of power, quite possibly more so. When Senator Larry Craig allegedly propositioned a man in a men’s room stall, he betrayed the trust of his constituents to uphold the law, and for that, he should be pilloried, to a degree. But Senator Craig is also in the unfortunate position of living in a time when being a homosexual, and a public figure, means never being given the chance to say you’re sorry. Continue reading “Big Red Elephant Say, “No Gays!””

Danny, We Hardly Knew Ye

St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery was completed and consecrated in 1799. It is one of those old buildings you come across all the time in the city. More prominent than most, its architecture and the skewed angle in which it sits next to Second Avenue ensures it will not ever fade into the background. In a city that boasts thousands of buildings competing for the eye’s attention, anything that busts through the mold has an instant leg up on the competition. Continue reading “Danny, We Hardly Knew Ye”

Turd Blossom Hits the Bricks

If ever there were evidence that President Bush has become a lame duck, it would have to be Karl Rove’s departure from his administration. A man Bush has referred to as “the architect,” Rove was exactly that. Where Vice President Cheney wields immense power in the foreign policy sphere, Rove managed what he so lovingly called the “permanent Republican majority” here at home. Alas, that did not come to pass. Continue reading “Turd Blossom Hits the Bricks”

Bugle Call?

Draft. There’s that word again. From the mouths of generals to the souls of babes, a military draft has about as much weight to it as any other subject in this country. And for good reason. In many respects, being forced to serve in a nation’s military is the most vile form of subjugation. A normally peaceful person can be forced to pick up arms, fight and kill for a cause for which they have no belief. But, in the face of existential threats, a military draft becomes necessary to ensure the survival of the nation. The sacrifices that we demand of the draftee become secondary to the fate of all of us. That’s quite a burden to place on a person who did not sign on the dotted line voluntarily. And that is why there has not been a draft in over thirty years. Continue reading “Bugle Call?”

Morning Ritual

We pulled into Union Square and the doors slid open. Two-thirds of the passengers all swarmed the doors. There was no mad rush, however. How could there be? No room. But there was a press. An inexorable shove. Anxiety grew with every half second still stuck in the car. Every one of these ticks was one closer until the conductor would hit the switch, and the barnyard door would try to snap shut, about a hundred pounds of torque on anyone who hadn’t quite made it through. One second, two seconds, three, and any progress towards the waiting platform is impeded by the asshole with the book and the iPod blocking half the doorway. Continue reading “Morning Ritual”

Do Not Trust Them

The most benevolent government on the face of the earth still needs laws and restrictions to prevent it from abusing the rights of its citizens. In a democracy like the United States, these restraints are doubly necessary, due to the transitory nature of our leadership. Successive administrations are subject to the same laws. Removing the levers of power from angels does the same for demons. Continue reading “Do Not Trust Them”

Collateral Damage

Terrorists set off explosives among a civilian throng celebrating the Iraqi national football team’s semifinal victory in the Asia Cup, and dozens of civilians are killed. American warplanes bomb a suspected terrorist gathering, which turns out to be a wedding reception or any such innocuous event, and dozens of civilians are killed. What is different about these two circumstances, and scores like them over the past years? Continue reading “Collateral Damage”