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Random Thoughts

Drilling offshore and in ANWR will NOT lower gas prices

Bush came out today and said that congress should lift the ban on offshore drilling. McCain gave a speech on the environment last night saying the same thing.. This is nothing more than a political ploy similar to the ridiculous gas tax holiday proposal. Let’s take a closer look:

  • We don’t have a supply problem. Demand is high, but oil supply is still meeting demand. Have you seen any long lines at the pump lately? I didn’t think so.
  • We DO have a speculation problem. Oil is so expensive because middle men are buying up oil futures and causing the price to skyrocket.
  • It will take AT LEAST 5 years, maybe more to develop Anwar and/or offshore rigs to the point that they start pumping oil into the market, and that’s if the oil companies got right to work. It’s very likely that the oil companies that purchased these leases would sit on them until the market was much worse just for the sake of profit.
  • Even if they could start pumping oil out of these areas today, we would only be supplementing a small percentage of the US oil consumption. The price of oil would still be determined by the global market and the speculators. But the oil companies would be making even MORE money because they don’t have to go through the middle east to get their oil before they sell it to us for the same price.

It pisses me off when Republicans tout these ideas as “solutions”. It anger’s me even more when I think about how many Americans will be duped by this suggestion. We’re in this mess with oil because we didn’t regulate the oil companies like we should have. We’re in this mess because we spent the last eight years pumping money into Iraq instead of into researching alternative energy.

We need to face the fact that there is no quick solution to the skyrocketing price of gas. The only way we’re going to get cheap gas is to make it irrelevant by offering hydrogen, electric, and biofuel alternatives. Drilling offshore and in Anwar is just another gift to the oil companies and that’s the last thing we need.

Steroids, Baseball, and our misguided Congress

It’s big news. You can’t have missed it unless you’ve been living under a rock the past decade. Baseball players are using STEROIDS! Oh, the horror! Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds (alleged), Roger Clemens (alleged), Mark McGwire (alleged), etc, etc. They’re all doping up! Something must be done! This has got to stop!

I agree… sort of.

Okay okay, I don’t really care. It’s baseball… it’s a sport. Sure, using illegal performance enhancing drugs is uh… ILLEGAL and baseball is America’s pastime, but can’t they handle this matter internally? Aren’t private and police investigations enough?

Why the HELL does Congress have to get involved? Why are we having congressional hearings to investigate who’s doping in Baseball? Why are we wasting federal tax dollars on this? Doesn’t congress have better things to investigate? I sure think so. Let’s look at some of the unresolved ILLEGAL activities that our Congress has yet to prosecute fully:

  • The Valerie Plame CIA leak: Sure Scooter Libby took the fall for this, but what about all of the other KNOWN players? Why is Karl Rove still a free man?
  • Illegal Wiretapping: Bush authorized it, NSA executed it, and multiple telecom companies were complicit. It was ALL illegal. Has anyone been prosecuted? No.
  • Waterboarding: It’s torture, any idiot can see that. So why haven’t the perpetrators been brought to justice?
  • Suspension of Habeus Corpus: We are illegally detaining people all over the world under the dubious suspicion of terrorist activities and branding them as enemy combatants in order to revoke their right to due process. Habeus Corpus is one of the KEY rights built into the founding of this country. Why is our government so afraid of prosecuting these “criminals” using due process in an American court of law? Why the hell isn’t our congress doing anything about this?
  • Lying us into a war in Iraq: We know quite well now that there was no connection between Al Quaida and Iraq. We also know that the Bush administration knew this when we went to war. The Downing Street Memo is a smoking gun: “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”. Why aren’t we investigating this? Where are the impeachment hearings?
  • Lying under oath: When Clinton does it, it’s a big multi-million dollar investigation brouhaha. He lied about cheating on his wife. Alberto Gonzales lied about the U.S. attorney firings. Has anyone brought him to justice? No. At least Chuck Schumer is trying. I applaud that.
  • Abu Ghraib: The highest ranking officer convicted of a crime in relation to this scandal was a Sergent. Are we expected to believe that nobody of higher rank in the Army or our Government was aware of these abuses? Congress let everyone off the hook. I’m looking at you Mr. Rumsfeld.

This list goes on and on, but to me, this short list seems like MORE than enough to illustrate that Congress has more important things to focus it’s efforts and our tax dollars on than who’s doping in Baseball.

I mean, COME ON…(sigh)

This book condones the death of innocents!

I recently saw the following article on MSNBC.com:

Oklahoma lawmakers object to donated Qurans

Basically, the article says that some Oklahoma lawmakers have been returning donated Quarans because they object to the violence against innocents described in it. The books were donated by a diversity council that is trying to promote cultural and religious understanding.

Now I’m no fan of the Qaran, but I’m no fan of the Bible either. Using the argument that the Quran promotes violence against innocents is dodgy and hypocritical at best. These are the same lawmakers who legislate with a Bible in their hands and tried to put Intelligent Design courses in the public schools. Let’s review some of the Bible’s finer moments:

  • What is the penalty for working on the Sabbath? Being stoned to death! (Exodus 35:2, 15:32-36)
  • How should parents treat a stubborn and rebellious son? Stone him to death! (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9)
  • What happens if you are not a virgin on your wedding night? You get stoned to death! (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
  • What does the Bible say about witches? Kill them (stoning method optional)! (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27)

I could go on and on. The Bible (particularly the Old Testament) is full of passages that advocate mass killings, child sacrifice, misogyny, polygamy, and other acts that most modern societies would condemn as immoral. Yet you don’t see any lawmakers ANYWHERE returning any donated Bibles.

This isn’t about condemning a book because it features acts of violence. It’s about condemning a book that represents a religion other than Christianity. It’s religious discrimination, pure and simple, and anyone who claims to be a public servant of the free American peoples should be ashamed of such behavior.

PS – Before you start posting arguments defending the Bible, consider the fact that the same arguments could just as easily be used to defend the Quran.

Bow down to the Poker God! (yeah…)

So I went down to Club Savvy’s poker night* last Wednesday only to discover that it was finals night in the tournament. I’d only played a few times before. I usually ran out of chips before the first break but I did get one top 10 and one top 5 finish in during those weeks.

Anyway, I dealt the first table which sucked because I was so nervous about dealing correctly that my play suffered. When we went to two tables I got on a roll and won a number of big hands. I went to the final 10 table about fifth in the chip rankings. By this time, the blinds were so high that most people were close to all-in if they even call the blind. One losing hand could be fatal. I have two in a row, but then somehow survive 3 successive all-in’s dark on the big blind. Later on I go all-in with A3 on a 234 flop. I’m called and lose to a 3/4 and limp away with just 3 chips (I need 10 for the big blind). Then I suck out again, and again dark on the blinds. After that I actually have a large chip stack and use it to bully the other two opponents out of the game. I win the final hand with pocket 5’s.

Now I’m well aware that luck was the primary factor in me taking first. I won an unusual number of hands in the dark. However, that is the nature of the final table. If you’re not the chip leader, you’re pretty much all in on any hand you play, which makes it damn hard to work any skill into your playing. But I digress… My prize for finishing first is a certificate good for a $100 bar tab.

Behold! For I am a POKER GOD!!**

*The Savvy’s Poker God tournament is a free poker game down at Club Savvy’s on most Wednesdays at 7pm. There is no actual money involved. Everyone gets a chip stack and we play tournament rules. The sponsor and the club provide modest prizes to the top finishers every week and some pretty nice prizes on finals night.

**Well… technically a Savvy’s Poker God Tournament Champion… until the next finals.

Check out THIS setup…

My friend Damien and I created the design for a three-piece shale board poker top that would rest on top of my pool table. I came up with the idea. Damien did most of the designing and assembly work. I picked the materials and purchased the supplies. A couple weeks later we had this:

Pretty cool huh? It can seat twelve and each player gets their own chip tray and cup holder. I use twelve counter-height stools as seats for the players. The two end pieces weigh 50lbs and the center piece weighs about 35lbs.

Holy crap, I’m 30

The thing that strikes me most about being 30 is that I’ve always somehow associated it with formally becoming an adult. You know, like one of those “old” and “mature” people. Well, I’m not. Sure, I’ve got a decent head on my shoulders and I’m well aware of the responsibilities of adulthood. I make the minimal effort necessary to keep up the impression that I’m on top of things, but really… I’m still a kid at heart.

So long Al…

Today was Al Franken’s last day on the air at Air America Radio. I’ve been listening to him regularly during my lunch hour for the last several years and I’m going to miss his B quality SNL legacy humor and his neverending “um’s” and “ah’s”. And of course, I’ll miss nodding and thinking “oh yeah, you go Al!” as I perpetually agreed with JUST about everything he said. Oh and:

So why is the star of the now bankrupt radio station signing off permanently? Is Air America radio doomed? Hardly. I believe that progressive radio is here to stay and the lineup of progressive talking-heads is stronger than ever. The truth is that Air America doesn’t need him any more.

Besides, Al has much bigger fish to fry. He’s running for Senate!! Go Al! I would vote for you, you know… if I lived in Minnesota. Want to keep tabs on Al and his Senate bid? Go to his new site: www.alfranken.com.

So long Al… It was a good run


*Ok, the segment didn’t really win any Peabodies

Quit dumping your crap on my lawn!

Ever come home and notice a “newspaper” in your driveway? I don’t subscribe to any newspapers so I know every single one of these is just a bunch of advertisements. Now I know everyone with something to sell is desperate to get my attention, but at least have the decency to pay postal fare for it and put it in my mailbox. That way I can just conveniently throw it away with the credit card offers and the pleas to save the starving children of Africa.

In my mind, this is nothing more than littering and should be illegal. Maybe it is illegal and the advertisers just don’t care. Shame on them! Shame on them… (sigh).

The pic above is of a house in my neighborhood. It is currently unoccupied so it is easy to see the cumulative effects of this wasteful dumping. I say to the following:

  • coupons and advertisements disguised as newspapers
  • phonebooks (honestly, who uses these anymore?)
  • door-hangers and leaflets shoved in door-jams

You are all EVIL and you are all officially on notice! If I ever find out where your lawn is, rest-assured… I’ll leave some steaming crap of my own on it.

White Trash Astronaut

You expect this sort of behavior from the delinquents of society… and celebrities. But an astronaut?

  • Suspect – 43 year old Lisa Marie Nowak
  • Weapon – A BB gun and a can of pepper spray
  • Motive – Jealousy in love triangle with 2 other astronauts.

Read it and weep: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16997958

My response? Just a solemn shake of the head. What is the world coming to when America’s number one profession (according to kindergarteners everywhere) has been reduced to this?

Teen Angst Kills!

I hate teen angst. That whole “Life is so hard. You just don’t understand!” outlook on life just drives me bat-guano crazy. Get this:

  • Suspect – 16 year old Louise Egan Brunstad
  • Weapon – Mercedes Benz (obviously she’s rich)
  • Motive – She was denied lesbian fun-time with a classmate at her private Holy Innocents Episcopal School

Read it and weep: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15349057

My response? Oh boo-fricken-hoo! Sure my life growing up wasn’t all peaches and cream, but I was grounded enough to know better than to believe that my life was horrible and nobody else understood me.

Before they send this little tot to jail, she needs a good spanking and a healthy dose of reality!

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