Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Easy Answers!

Opinions are easy.  Do this.  Do that.  I think this.  I think that.  You’re right.  You’re wrong.  We have an opinion about everything.  Never ending.  About one a minute – or more.

Being responsible for the decisions we make, for the actions we take, isn’t so easy.  Especially if what we do has an impact far beyond ourselves.  I was particularly conscious of this reality as I read a bunch of opinions by self-styled experts today.

About Syria:  Crimes against humanity require a response.  Using chemical weapons require a response.  Diplomacy is still the best path.  Take action, Obama.  Do something.  Bomb their airfields.  That isn’t enough.  Kill Assad, that’ll make a real difference.  Be careful what you wish for – it’ll be worse for Syria, and for us, if Qaeda-led rebels take over.  History will judge us harshly if we don’t act.  Wait for the U.N.  Don’t wait for the U.N.  If we do nothing, Iran will benefit.  If we do something, Iran will benefit.  Etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam.

About Egypt:  Call a coup a coup.  A military dictatorship is better than an Islamic state.  Democracy can wait.  Democracy can’t wait.  What happened to the people who care about civil rights?  We still have influence.  Don’t cut off arms aid.  Stop arms aid.  We have no influence, so giving aid or not will make no difference.  Wait for the Egyptian people to take charge of their own future.  Forget the future, people want jobs now.  Etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam.

About Iran:  Give the new government a chance.  The new leaders may speak sweetly but won’t be different than the old ones.  New government or not, more sanctions will get the job done.  Less sanctions will get the job done.  Let the Israelis do it.  Only the U.S. can stop them.  They’ll be ready to make a bomb in less than a year.  It’ll be several years before they pose a real threat.  Etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam.

What do we know for sure.  Opinions without responsibility won’t change anything.  And there are no easy answers. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Surprises or Not!

Two America’s Cup races were held yesterday (Kiwis v Luna Rosa) and – surprise – neither boat broke down.

The Egyptian generals – no surprise – have let Mubarak out of jail.

San Diego Mayor Bob (Can’t Keep His Hands Off the Ladies) Filner – no big surprise – is going to resign.

Bo Xilai, on trial in China – surprise – is defiant in court.  Bad form for a show trial.

Bradley Manning – small surprise – wants a sex change operation.

Hewlett Packard – no surprise – says it hasn’t yet turned around its sinking ship.

Ichiro – no surprise – gets his 4,000th hit.

Giants – no surprise – lose 12-1 to the Red Sox.

Circumcisions in the U.S. fell by 10% over the last 32 years.  Surprise?  Don’t know, you choose.

The most recent Fukushima water leaks – no surprise – are worse than authorities have revealed.

Mugabe – no surprise – was sworn in for another term in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


What’s happening in Egypt is really distressing.  I have no love for the Muslim Brotherhood, but a reversion to heavy-handed, violent means by the ruling Egyptian military to put down dissent is intolerable.  Is there nothing that can fill the vacuum between radical Islam and a right-wing dictatorship? 

I’m sure there are millions of Egyptians who would prefer jobs, a strong economy, education and peace, but will they make themselves heard?  And what about the rest of world?  I can hear the tut-tut, cluck-cluck, sounds of disapproval from Washington and elsewhere, but all that cluck-clucking will change nothing.  It’s enough to make one cynical.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What's Wrong With This Picture?

A photo on page 1 of today’s Wall Street Journal is titled:

A Wanted Terrorist Steps Into the Spotlight

Under the picture is the caption:  “Hafiz Saeed, the founder of extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, surfaced to lead prayers at a mosque in central Lahore on Friday to mark the end of Ramadan.  It came as the U.S. shut its consulate in the city after a terror threat.”

Let me see if I’ve got this right.  We promise to pay $10 million for the capture of a guy.  This guy then sticks a poker in our eye by making a public appearance, basically saying “Fine, here I am, let’s see what you’ve got.”  And on the same day, in the same city, we close our consulate in response to a terrorist threat.

A bit ironic I would say.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

In Case You Missed It!

They’re calling it a “Googleburger.”  It is synthetic meat grown in a lab (funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin) from cattle stem cells.  They tried cooking and tasting it in London on Monday.  Verdict:  Not too wonderful.  I’m sticking with ground chuck.

Beginning this week Uruguay’s “Marriage Equality Law” permits gay couples to wed.

All for a bigger butt.  Some women are undergoing black market procedures to improve the look of their buttocks.  It’s risky.  Deaths from these injections have been reported in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New York.

Is it true that as we grow older we build up immunity to the viruses that cause colds?  The doctors equivocate.  Maybe, but not likely, they say.

The Perseid meteor shower will peak on Aug. 12 and 13.  What is this Perseid thing, you ask?  It is the dust and debris left in the wake of Comet Swift-Tuttle slamming into our atmosphere at 132,000 miles per hour.  You’ll need a very dark sky to see these fireballs.

Staying in outer space, the lunar cycle has been blamed for many things that are more myth than fact.  But now researchers say they have found evidence that the lunar cycle may affect sleep patterns.  Tests show that deep sleep is at its lowest when the moon is full.  Responses to this startling revelation range from “OK, so what?” to “OK, so what?” 

A bad news story:  Two boys in Canada, 5 and 7 years old, were killed by a python while sleeping over at a friend’s apartment.  Apparently the snake escaped from a pet shop, made its way through a ventilation shaft and ended up in the boy’s bedroom.  Investigations are underway.

Better news:  Disney is going to lose $190 million on “The Lone Ranger.”  A well-deserved result.