Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Race is On

OK, I have somehow managed to keep from dumping a ton of posts about the presidential race, though there have been multiple causes every day for the last year and a half. Now we are half way through the Democratic National Convention and a mere five days from the Republican National Convention. My challenge to any who may come by here is this: Comment here with an affirmative reason for voting for either Obama or McCain.

Now, I am not that easy to please. In making such a comment, make no reference to the other major candidate and no reference to the other candidate's party. These must be affirmative arguments only.

In case you were wondering why I put this challenge out there, consider negative ads. I have yet to see one ad for McCain that meets these criteria, though I have seen such ads for Obama. Conversely, the DNC has included more than a couple shots at McCain, including Sen. Clinton's (and others') appeals to support Obama because we can't afford McCain, precisely the kind of argument I don't want to get here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Every. Four. Years.

The summer games are always entertaining. Even many of those who don't care much for sports find events enthralling. Of course, there are the controversies—stepping on ankles (not so much), smashing of knees, blood in the pool—and who can turn away from such great drama?

This year, of course, we are looking at the age of four Chinese gymnasts, collectively clinging to four individual and team gold medals. Should they be too young to compete (they must be sixteen in the Olympic year), those medals may be stripped, and everyone else will come up a slot in the standings.

We could look at which reporter found what on official sites or which hacker broke into what system to dig up more information, but until this is resolved, that won't do much for anyone. Let's, instead, consider the issues in play if China did cheat:

  • They are the host country, so cheating looks worse when they do it than when others, like the North Korean shooter, get tossed (fair or otherwise, who really expects North Korea to play by the rules?).

  • Going into the games, the Chinese were taking a lot of heat for not improving the nation's human rights record, though the IOC admits that part of the reason it awarded the games to Beijing was to get improvements in that area.

  • Some people think the U.S. is whining or that the U.S. gymnasts will be shamed by losing to girls so much younger, ignoring the fact that youth is an advantage; however, I wonder how bad it looks that a country feels it has to cheat in order to compete against people who are, in terms of the sport, heading out of their prime.

  • Finally, China's women's gymnastics team might get barred from the London games in 2012.

All of this because of a couple of years? I find it a tragedy that any government would result to such tactics (if in fact China did) to win a competition that purports to be based on the highest values of sportsmanship and honor. I find it worse when the country so doing is hosting the world at a competition lasting more than two weeks.

It truly is a sad day when China is taking morality lessons from our current administration. I had hoped they were better than that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgia on My Mind

OK, so yesterday we had Dubya come out to condemn Russia for attacking Georgia and disrupting its government, which is, we are supposed to believe, not acceptable in the 21st century. Mind you, it appears such actions are only unacceptable when the country being invaded is a "neighboring" country, so it's OK that we invaded Iraq.

The real kicker, of course, is not our lame-duck President's comments yesterday, but rather the comments of Sen. McCain, who reports that he spoke to the President of Georgia and said that we Americans are, today, all Georgians. This calls to memory the response of the surgeon who was to remove a bullet from Reagan, when Reagan asked if the surgeon was a Republican: "Today, Mr. President, we are all Republicans."

There is, of course, the more subtle connection to the state of Georgia, which, despite having given us Jimmy Carter, is not known for its progressive ideals. There is yet another, perhaps even more appropriate read, however: Georgia (the state, not the country) was named for King George III, from whose reign we declared independence as a nation more than two centuries ago and whose tyrannical reign has been echoed for many in our current president's terms in office.

I choose to view this, then, as McCain's reaffirmation of his belief in many of the policies championed by Dubya. While it is true he takes a different approach on some issues, I hold out little hope, under a McCain presidency, for any real movement toward rational governance.

Thank you, Senator. Today, we have once more seen your stripes.

(NB: I am fully aware of the fallacies inherent in much of what I have posted here. If you can't recognize that well enough, especially after reading this disclaimer, to keep you from making an idiotic comment against me or my post, please burn your voter registration card now or find a way to end your life before election day.)