Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The post in which this week's media obsession leads me to a brief rant

After a sordid week in the news I would like to state for the record that I have as little interest in the sex lives of our heterosexual soldiers as I have in the sex lives of our homosexual soldiers.  And I find none of it to be particularly relevant to the job at hand, fighting and winning wars.

I know that the military has enjoyed a completely chaste reputation throughout all history -- especially sailors on shore leave, renowned for their tendency to attend a brief church service before sipping a cup of tea and returning to their ship -- but I find it hard to fathom that in 2012 A.D. we are tossing generals overboard because of what they're doing with other consenting adults.  It's hard enough to find a good general, so frankly I don't care if he spends his off-hours hanging by his ankles from the ceiling at Mistress Crunchita's House o'Pain as long as he's doing a good job with his chunk of the war.

This seems a good time to remind everybody that by what seems to be our new standard, FDR and Eisenhower were unfit to lead us during World War II.  I'm just as happy we didn't throw them overboard for the second string.

Here's what I think these straying generals deserve: a few months on the couch, some frosty stares from their wives, and a few jokes at their expense.  (Yes, it is fair that "Hey there, hot stuff, want to write my biography?" is now America's favorite new pickup line, finally knocking, "Hey there, hot stuff, let's hike the Appalachian Trail," off its lofty perch.)

I will also admit that I have no idea what to make of the shirtless FBI guy, but as always with these sorts of things, it's mostly a question of whether the photo in question was welcomed by its recipient or unwanted.  Again: consenting adults.

As long as the media and Congress seem to have infinite time and resources to investigate sex scandals in the military, here's a real sex scandal for them:  the Defense Department estimates that 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the armed forces last year, but only 3,000 service members reported being assaulted, and about 240 cases were prosecuted.

There, there's your real scandal.  Go spend some ink on that.

In the meantime, we're still a nation at war, and it would be nice if everybody spent more time focusing on that instead of indulging in all this prurient hand-wringing over these pecadillos.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four quick thoughts on yesterday's election

I have all sorts of thoughts about yesterday's election, but have instead been busy as heck at work all day and am running off to a village water management board meeting, so I'm just going to type like heck for a few minutes and let fly.

1) Congratulation, Democrats.  Don't get cocky.  The GOP somehow managed to nominate the living embodiment of everything that's gone wrong in our economy. Then he ran on a platform of everything that's wrong with GOP economic theory these days combined with a breathtaking cynicism and contempt for the truth.

And we still only managed to beat him by a few percent. More thoughts on what we should be doing better in the future later.

But in the meantime, despite my criticism above I'm extremely proud that we re-elected Barack Obama as president.  All in all I think he did a very good job in a difficult situation during his first four years. And I'm excited to see what he does with the next four.

2) Republicans, you don't want to hear this from me, but you've now been defeated in the popular vote for president in five of the last six elections.  If you want this trend to continue, by all means come away from this election thinking that the problem was that Mitt Romney wasn't nearly conservative enough.

Your real problem is that apparently most of you have abandoned reality for the Fox News / Rush Limbaugh fantasy bubble.  One thing I used to like about conservative opinion was that it prided itself on being a fact-based alternative to the muddle-headed fuzzy thinking of liberals who preferred wish-fulfilment policies to reality. Now the Democratic Party seems to have a monopoly on science and math and reality.

If you bought into your punditry's criticism of the polls or its criticism of Nate Silver's analysis of the polls, last night you got a good dose of how far from reality you've been living over the last four years.  And guess what? It hasn't just been polling.  It's been pretty much everything.  You can either plunge back into denial or you can begin to deal with it like an adult.

You want to compete for votes in the 21st Century?  Here's a place to start: global warming is real and man-made. What should we do about it?  If you want to argue that point by denying climate change or its causes, you're not ready to govern in the 21st Century. You deserve the future drubbings you're going to take at the polls.

3) The gerrymander is alive and well.  I'll do the math later, but the outcome in this race would've looked much different if we had fair and competitive legislative seats at the federal, state, and county levels.  There was a lot of attention yesterday on all the ways that some people were disenfranchised at the polls. But there's not nearly attention paid to the ways in which we're all disenfranchised by the redistricting process before the voting even starts.

3A) The Electoral College must go.

4) For the most part I'm really proud of the way voters cut through a lot of tough decisions yesterday.  But there was one item that made me think that 10,809 voters in my own township need to go back to Remedial Voter school.  From the Spinal Column's Election Results Coverage:

Commerce Township Clerk

Even though township Clerk Dan Munro said he would resign the clerk’s job if elected in the Tuesday, Nov. 6 general election to work in the private sector, voters overwhelmingly chose him over independent candidate Janet Bushey, who Munro is backing. 

Munro received 66 percent of the vote (10,809 votes) to Bushey’s 33 percent (5,376 votes).

Munro has stated publicly that if he was elected, he would resign effective in January 2013 and recommend that the township Board of Trustees appoint Bushey. 

If you voted for Dan Munro for Commerce Township clerk yesterday, you might want to consider that you're letting the "R" next to a name lead you into some bad decisions in the ol' voting booth.  Dan's a good guy, but he took another job, and was only on the ballot because it was too late to get off the ballot.  For Pete's sake, he endorsed his opponent!

And then she lost to him by 33%!!!

I get that I live in a Republican-leaning area and that it was a long, long ballot.  But, seriously, some of you need to pay a bit more attention to what you're doing.

If that ballot was a car, I'd be issuing 10,809 of you a traffic ticket and sending you back to remedial driving school.