Thursday, July 27, 2006

New Link

If you look to the right, you will see I have a new link to a blog called, Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny. It is just that, very funny and an absolutely enjoyable read. I totally recommend it.

Also, NoBrotherofConsequence, who is an extremely funny guy on his own, has been bandying about the idea of starting his own blog. I hope he does. He is a character and a half.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Death of an American Hero

I have been super busy with work and haven't had the time to write, but Carl Brashear died and he is someone worthy of our respect. He was the first black U.S. Navy diver. He was a ground breaker. He had a will and drive to succeed that most men can not comprehend.

The guy was so cool they made a movie of his life, which is why you see Cuba Gooding pictured with him. Read his Wikipedia entry here.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chess, not checkers...

I absolutely do not have time to get involved in breaking down the terrorist/Israeli crisis that is currently taking place in northern Israel and Lebanon. However, I read something online today that caused me to respond with a comment, which I rarely do anymore. Then the author took the time to respond to me... and rather than keep the discussion going there, I am bringing the whole thing here and stealing it for a blog post. I posted the flag because I don't want there to be any mistake who I support. Feel free to check in on some of my past Arab/Israeli conflict writings here.

Here is what I read. Take some time to read it if you can. It is thoughtful and well written from an informed and educated person about the conflict.

This is what I wrote in response:

While your post is strongly written and certainly somewhat analagous to the situation, I think you are talking about checkers in a chess game.

You are clearly a well informed and insightful person, but take a gander at the whole board.

Isn't it convenient this whole thing started relative moments before the G8 summit? I think it is.

What has overtaken the entire G8 agenda? Israel-Hizbollah

What has been pushed to the backburner for the G8? Iran's impending nuclear capability and proliferation in the region.

What happens if Iran reaches nuclear capability?

Gd only knows, but you are 100% correct that if unconventional weapons are employed, Israel will have no choice but to respond with retaliatory strikes. Damascus and Tehran will in all likelihood be scorched with nuclear fire.

The Hizbollah are nothing but pawns of an Iranian insanity that could kill millions.
If that maniac gains the capability, I believe he will launch. Right now, he is just sacrificing pawns to Israel to buy himself enough time to make a run at check mate.
Maybe I am wrong, but the whole world seems to be falling for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's gambit of "hey look over there."

The author of the blog, responded:

No1ofconsequence... You may be right. What the heck, you are probably right. But that doesn't negate the fact that Israel has to respond to the source of the attacks. If We were to attack Syria or Iran right now and ignore Hezbollah, the world would (justifiably) condemn us for an unprovoked attack. Yes, this is likely a proxy war... but just because the G8 are preoccupied don't think for a minute that Israel has taken its eye of Syria or Iran.

Here is the problem with that response. Of course Israel has not taken its eye off of Syria and Iran. I am sure Israel is poised to deal brutal and crippling blows to Syria right now should they even blink in Israel's direction, however, Israel does not have ability to bring Iran's nuclear program to a halt. Only the G8 and the UN can do that.

Of course the questions remain, what should Israel do, or what should they have done? There is no easy answer. Israelis are prepared for dead soldiers. They are hardened by years of conflict. Israelis are not prepared for missing or kidnapped soldiers. The unresolved nature of a kidnapping gnaws at the collective soul of a people that have been fighting for survival since the 40's. They had no choice but to respond with overwhelming force, because not to, would have most likely brought down the Olmert government.

However, I believe that to continue to meet each poke with a sledgehammer blow is not prudent to the long term security of Israel when faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran within 2 years. Doing everything possible to make sure the G8 doesn't lose focus on Iran is the key. Hizbollah could have kidnapped those soldiers at any time. Why do it on the eve of the G8?

To disconnect from the emotion of the loss of these brave young men is difficult, unbearable. However, wouldn't the chess move, the strategically victorious move be not to act. To say Kaddish (the prayer for the dead) for their souls and cry out to the UN, the G8 and anyone else who would listen and say, "We sacrifice for peace and choose restraint. We leave it up to the world community to disarm Iran and choke off their support of terror. Iran and Syria support Hizbollah. Iran and Syria acted against our sovreignty. Iran is building nuclear weapons as we speak. You must act against Iran, you must act against the threat of nuclear terror, because if you don't, we will. We don't have that many young men to sacrifice for the greater good. This act of restraint will be the last act of restraint."

How could the G8, which already had nuclear proliferation in western Asia and IRAN on the top of their agenda, fail to act in the face of Israel's sacrifice? Iran's misdirection play may have failed.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe it wouldn't have worked and those brave boys would have been lost in vain. However, if I am right, I think there could have been major movement from the world community. Chess requires seeing the whole board and thinking 12 moves ahead. If Iran puts a nuclear warhead on a Shahab 3 missle Israel will only have one move and Gd help us all if they are forced to make it.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Happy National Ice Cream Month

In 1984, because he really had nothing better to do, Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month. Yesterday, the third Sunday in July was declared National Ice Cream Day. In commemoration I enjoyed a scoop of chocolate oreo from my local Brusters.

Yes, while Reagan was dottering through his presidencies, selling guns to Saddam Hussein and arming the Taliban as well as fostering the cocaine economy in all of South America he took time out and said hey, "We need to recognize the creamy goodness that is ice cream."

Enjoy National Ice Cream Month... go out and support you local ice creamery today!!


No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The World Cup is annoying

I will admit to you, I watched the World Cup after the Ivory Coast was eliminated, but not until the semi finals. I enjoyed the games. I have come to appreciate the strategic nature of soccer and have always known that these guys are amazing athletes. Their conditioning is really unmatched. The NBA athlete is the only thing that comes close and even then basketball games are half as long.

I am not a fan of France under any circumstances, but I even found myself rooting for them against the Italian team. I found the Ribery/Zidan relationship touching, Ribery having idolized Zidan as a youth and then being able to play with him in his final World Cup.

Also, I am a fan of Thierry Henry, actually knowing who he was before the World Cup. He and many of the ethnic minority players that play in Europe are forced to deal with indescribable prejudice and horrifying treatment from the Neo-Nazi fan groups that permeate the circuit.

So all those little human interest stories actually had me rooting for France. What happens? Not only do they not convert in overtime after totally outplaying a tired Italian squad, Zidan turns out to be a jackass and Ribery and Henry are subbed out right before the penalty kick phase.

Zidan's headbutt has to be one of the worst things I have ever witnessed in sport. Blunt trauma to the sternum can result in a loss of heart function. What that means? Hitting an already exhausted guy in the chest like that is basically attempted murder.

The French lose on penalty kicks. Not because the Italian goalie made some spectacular save or anything, but because one of the French guys hit the crossbar. What an anti-climactic finish.

I said finishing the World Cup on penalty kicks was like the NBA finals being decided on a free throw shooting contest.

Annoyed said it was like deciding the Super Bowl on a football tire throwing contest.

Jon Stewart said it was like deciding the NBA finals on a game of horse. (Editor's Note: Sorry, it was Stephen Colbert who made the horse comment)

Include your own "deciding the world cup on penalty kicks is like," analogy in the comments. I will publish any and all of them later in the week and include a link to your website if you like.

No 1 of Consequence

Because if you can't make fun of C list celebrity suicide...

One of the actors from As the World Turns committed suicide. I don't watch As the World Turns and have never heard of this particular guy, but I have to relate a conversation that surrounded his untimely demise.

Me: Hey, did you see this actor from As the World Turns shot himself?

No Brother of Consequence (without missing a beat): He'll be back

That, my fine friends, is comedic timing.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

NASA loves me too.

Back in space, as it should be.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love NASA. They are a bureaucratic mess, I know this, but they are incredibly important to our world standing and they are part of the vision for the future that we need for this country.

I watched NASA TV today as the Discovery went through its final paces before liftoff. I don't care if you are a fan of space travel or not, but listening to the mission control people go through all the departments and get a go or no go for launch you can't help but get excited. I found myself sitting forward on my couch watching the tail assembly of the shuttle as the steam and exhaust began to increase. My heartbeat quickened as I heard "we have main engine start" and the flames blasted out of boosters and main engines of the shuttle. I cheered as "we have liftoff" came into my living room and I held my breath because it is the first 10 minutes or so when everything can go wrong. The NASA pilot Mark Kelly (from West Orange, NJ, right next to my hometown) completed the roll maneuver that is required for the shuttle to reach orbit. I was yelling "Go baby go! GET UP THERE!" to the TV. Up there they went, into the wild blue yonder, returning the US to space on Independence Day. Very fitting.

Next stop Mars! For thos of you who say we shouldn't go there, I give you the words of the great Aaron Sorkin, through Sam Seaborn.

Sam Seaborn: There are lots of hungry people in the world, Mall, and none of them are hungry because we went to the moon. None of them are colder and certainly none of them are dumber because we went to the moon.
Mallory O'Brian: And we went to the moon. Do we really have to go to Mars?
Sam Seaborn: Yes.
Mallory O'Brian: Why?
Sam Seaborn: Because it's next. Because we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is on a timeline of explorations and this is What's next.

Have a great day!!

No 1 of Consequence

Happy Birthday USA

Many of you have never read the Declaration of Independence. I thought you might enjoy it.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.