Politics, technology, and society. And the seasonal incursion of pro cycling.

Year: 1999

And that’s that

45-55 and 50-50 ~ Of course we're all glad that it's over. Almost as if you want to just pretend it never happened. That's what I'd like to try to do. Get back to railing on about defense spending and education spending and . . . .you know, the usual. As as soon as I think I can do that, I hear another clip about the impeachment. Just another little twist. On NPR, Henry Hyde tells us has "no personal animosity towards" President Clinton. What the fuck!? You think the man is screwed up enough to remove him from elected office, but you have no personal animosity? You should hate him with every bone in your body if you think he's done to this country what you told the Senate he did. *I'd* hate him. ~ So you see? I'm trying, but it's hard. But I think I've got it figured out. I won't say anything till the next election as long as I can  say something nasty to Linda "I'd do it again" Tripp next time I see her. Cool?

41 times

*bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* 41 times. And I bet you don't even know what I'm talking about. But if I mentioned the word "niggardly", you probably would. Oh, the outrage. It's enough to make a man  . . .develop some prejudices.

The Hashemite King

I wonder why I'm sure the (impending) death of King Hussein won't be covered as the tragedy it will be. Okay, he's not a princess, blond, or beautiful.   Pretty much cuts out all American interest in royalty, no? But do you see the incredibly sad story that it is?   A man who's worked all his life towards a goal, only to see it slipping away just before his death?  Not knowing whether the country he's worked to hold together for nearly 50 years will crumble the moment he dies?  Whether anyone can begin to take his place in slowly bringing stability to the region? I can't quite explain why I'm thinking about this so much.

State of the Union – Live!

Update: I was going to flesh out my notes, then I read last year's notes. How sad. ~ State of the Union- Poor Robert Rubin. Can you imagine how bad he wants to get out of there? How can the Republicans not clap at the "State of our Union is strong"? That's a Democratic issue or something? Aging of America . . .hey, I'm all for octagenarian euthanasia- oldest first- make way for Strom, 'kay? Social Security. Yawn. What?! Remove earning limits on SS recipients? Guaranteeing the soundness of Medicare? Lord, y'all are so screwed if even just those eligible right now take advantage of it. Affordable prescription drugs? Do you have any idea how many of these folks retire from Congress to pimp for pharmaceutical companies? Where would they find the money to provide retirement paths if this happened? Universal Savings Accounts? I'll keep it under my mattress, thank you. Tax credit of a thousand to deal with aging? How nice, that'll pay for a 1/2 a month of care. (Baby boomers- if these folks try to claim the same amounts of benefits seniors do now . . .) I'll have to give credit on the HOPE Tax credit (which still ain't a GA Hope Scholarship, but . . . ) Oh, who cares about being connected to the internet when the teacher can't spell, herself? Ending social promotion. Umm, there's no explicit policy in place . . . whaddya gonna do? (Triples funding for summer school and after school . . . very good idea) (Year round schools would be a better step . . .) (Umm, how much of this gonna happen? I mean, for all the local hollerin' bout it, the federal government doesn't have much pull . . .) Issuing report cards on every school . . .umm, I hear a commission opening. Quick, someone order the cherry desks. (Where are the local newspapers?) Raise the minimum wage . . shouldn't that just be a recording by this point? Equal pay for equal work? What an impossible albatross . . . Protecting the privacy of medical records. I like the idea, but why does that make me nervous? The Justice Department is gonna take the tobacco companies to court . . . hee hee ha ha hoo hoo . . Income gap= skills gap. No shit. But that you for pointing that out. In fact, forget college financial aid- open up some real trade schools. Who the needs English Lit when you're still working slinging boxes at a warehouse? Cutting the welfare rolls nearly in half. Traitorous bastard. Wait for this rubberband to snap. Dick Armey. Please add him (again) to the list of people I'd love to smack. "Bring it back to the farm . . . crop insurance and income assistance" . . . oh my ()*@#@ god . . if I was ever for just leaving it to the free market . . . Y2K. Solving the Y2K problem? Social security checks on time . . . (Work with us . . . so, we're gonna pass a bill banning the advancement of time . . . ) The rest of the world is in recession . . .um, yeah. This is a really really weird thing. While the rest of the world is going to hell in a handbasket, we're paying 200 for shares of Yahoo. Trade has divided Americans for too long? Lord, thank you. Will you please help explain this issue? I mean, let the shit jobs get exported . . .if we can provide bridging trading . . . no one is this country should have to be fighting to protect the right to shovel pig shit. Ugly, but important, argument. (Janet Reno and her one blue dress) (Oooh, Japan bashing may be back in style . . ) Ahhh . . . banning child labor ... how . .. brave! (Hey, nearly an hour in before the first drink . . ) Did he say lasting peace in the middle east? Was that a straight face? Nuclear treaties . . hmm, sounds faintly familiar . . . . Iraq. Get over it. (Oh my god who picked Capt. Taliferro for the family gallery?) Time to reverse the decline in Defense Spending in 1985? 85!!?? (you sorry hypocritical bastard) Pay our Dues to the UN (you keep teasin' me, baby . . .) "Stability can't be bought at the expense of liberty"? Oh lord, if we could apply that here . . . 100K more community police officers? Did you increase the internal affairs budget, too? Brady Bill has stopped 250K felons from buying guns? What bullshit . . . 50K more police . . . can we make sure they aren't all knuckledraggers? Digital mugshots. Ooh, how technically advanced. If you stay on drugs, you stay behind bars. Wow, more bravery. Extend ban on gun purchases to minors. Umm, so I beat the hell out of someone when I was 13, and I lose a Constitutional right as an adult? Leaving this land an even better land for our descendants than it was for us . . (what I'd love to hear next is "so I'm outlawing suburbia") A one billion dollar livability agenda? Okaaayyyy (Umm, did I tell y'all about TEA-21? Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century . . good stuff) AmeriCorps!!!!! Warms my black little heart. Rosa Parks. Excuse me while I get goosebumps of pride. And Barney Frank, as much as a wacko as he is, is the man. Immigration. Lord, I really wish this would be national issue, and not just one left to the border states. Either shut the doors and focus on urselves or stop setting up recent immigrants for failure. Honoring Hillary. Whatever you think about them, that's a hell of a story if ever there was one . . . Nationally recognized millennium community- preserve part of the past- embalm Strom now! A more perfect union. I really wonder . . . He . . or She . . (I'm thinking Hillary . . ) ~ Republican Response . . . Proposing a 10% cut in taxes. Yawn. Spending the surplus for social security doesn't work? How in the fuck is that spending? "I'm a single mom." I'll vote for a Republican when they sit someone up there who says "I'm a single transvestite (preop) father". Give working Americans a choice to invest funds in private accounts . . . umm, yeah. Didn't I just hear that? I married my high school sweetheart, a cheerleader, . . I was a football player . . (I'm choking on laughter) "I had to ask someone what GOP stood for after I was elected". (I'd like a grand jury please . . .) "Preserve the notion that true liberty and freedom come from God, and that the way we act toward God depends on that . . " (Happy Ramadan). Oh my god, we're calling for Star Wars all over again. Partial Birth Abortion . . what, no graphics? "At the heart of free enterprise, is an education" . . .(well, that explains why we didn't clap at any of the propose education initiatives, eh?) Oh, sure, lets scrap the IRS code. Of course, you know that all of the code is that complicated to provide easy ways out for all poor people and their accountants to get out of, right? Invoking Dr. King. That takes balls on his part . . . uh huh. "The word congress, is made of two latin words, which mean . . ."(Did Farrakhan write this?) The body is strong . . . the heart needs attention . . Invoking Vince Gill for national guidance. BLACKS AND WHITES? (let's not get started) ~ "It was a boffo performance . . ." (Bill Kristol)

Big Ol’ Jet Airliner

Delta Flight 578 touched down at National Airport about 10 minutes late, and the guy in 2A was the last one off the plane. ~ It's the end of my high (and more importantly- free) flying days. I'm figuring it's been nearly a quarter million miles flown since 1990.  In that time, I've learned a lot of things:
  • You don't need to show up at the gate till 10 minutes before the flight.
  • Never, ever, ever check luggage.  With a bit of planning, anyone can live out of a pull along for up to a week and look good.
  • Pleasant words and a sincere smile for flight attendants pay off in the most unexpected ways.  Payoff or not- be nice.  They deserve it.
  • It's very easy to get very drunk very quickly at 32,000 feet.  If it's not a trans-oceanic segment- count your drinks.  Test it by how you feel, and you're probably going to end up ripped.
  • Virgin Airlines Upper Class is the ideal way to get across the Atlantic.  Skilled massages, 30 movies, and full sized couches make it more comfortable than hanging out at home.
  • Don't joke with customs.  At all.
  • Small children may be cute.  They may be charming.  They should be at the other end of the plane.
  • Make good use of the aromatherapy mists available in the overnight kits they pass out.
  • Avoid Dallas-Fort Worth at all costs.  National has been a blessing.
  • You can't carry handcuffs on international flights.  But the flight attendant will hold them for you, giving you a smile that makes even the shameless embarrased.
  • It's better to take an inconvenient flight and get business class than sit in [r/c]oach.
  • Free and easy flights create a social network that has nothing to do with where you live.  While you've still got free and easy flights- no problem.  When you take that away, it's not so great.
  • Little things like getting a gate assignment closest to the arrival/departure curb makes a huge difference.
  • You can fly Atlanta to Gatwick, get the Thameslink to St. Pauls, have breakfast and a bit of shopping in London, and catch the flight back in time to get to bed.  Early, even.
So, those are a few of the things I've learned.  Of course, I'll have a few opportunities to develop these lessons later this year. Interviews will necessitate a few domestic flights.  I've also got some travel ambitions, which I'm sure I can make on the summer off-season.  Of course, I'm convinced that mentioning that dooms them now.  One used to be Constantinople.  Think that counts?

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