I do hope that you have a nice weekend. As is our new habit, please do treat this as a semi-open thread to share issues of concern, fun factoids, stories that may have gone under the radar, or other matters which you think deserve more attention.
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On Friday, I took my monthly sabbatical/sanitarium visit to the local casino. They do not give patrons colonics and/or serve them Kellogg breakfast products as way of stopping their onanistic and other energy wasting behavior.
But, I do love the bus ride. The people watching is fun. Yes, I tried to play "The Cooler" with a few folks. My move backfired: an older black woman won 12,000 dollars as she pulled a Street Fighter 2 style reversal on me. The Fates do not like selfishness. I have learned my lesson.
I told my mother about my lucky gambling compatriot. She offered up some of her early in the seven decades of life wisdom, telling me that "either the woman needed it or money likes money and she is there every day. Your call. I am happy for her. When am I going to go to the casino and get a big hit?"
My mother always finds a way to make it about her. I am more modest with my narcissism.
My grand total of winnings as a degenerate gambler? 9 dollars. I play the percentages. I hit on 40 percent of my slot machine plays and called it a day at 10 dollars. Folks may laugh at my system; I usually end up winning. Remember folks, the slots are usually going to pay out about 12.5 percent of plays--not total money put into the machine. If you are significantly above that percentage, and have not gotten a big hit, please walk away.
Some other thoughts.
Renisha McBride's murderer was found guilty. This is a good thing. But what of other police and vigilante madness where naked black women are dragged outside of their apartments, thug constables on patrol arrest Eric Garner's friend during the latter's funeral, state police mount a woman MMA style and beat her damn near to death, and the local paramilitaries shoot black people dead who are holding pellet guns in Walmart while they yell "it's not real!"
President Obama has decided to attack ISIS in order to prevent the genocidal of the Yazidi, a regional Iraqi ethnic group. ISIS are barbarians. But, what about all of the U.S. allies who, for decades, have been given billions and billions of dollars to act as American proxies in the region? Are they not capable of bombing pickup trucks and thugs?
The reluctance of the American backed militaries in the region to deal with ISIS is a classic free rider problem.
Example. You bought a friend a new Mercedes, put gas in it every week, and put out money for a long-term service plan. But, when you need to get a ride to the corner store to get some milk and candy they say "no". Yet, you continue to pay their car note and for gas. What lesson are you teaching them?
Obligatory question: does my analogy hold?
Another Iraq intervention related question. The ability of militaries and governments around the world to use euphemistic speech in order to mask, dissemble, obfuscate, and twist the truth is fascinating to me. Obama and the Pentagon used the world "kinetic" to talk about the new action in Iraq. Apparently, said language is some type of recent COIN terminology. What the heck does it mean? Why not say, "we are going to kill people and break things with our billions of dollars of military gear and ISIS will be made to temporarily suffer."
A second Iraq intervention question. There are American (or American hired) soldiers "on the ground" in Iraq. They have been there for weeks or months. Do the combat air controllers, para jumpers, Special Forces, "black" CIA types, in theatre ready reaction forces, and contractors get upset when a President tries to pretty up a foreign intervention by talking around that obvious fact?
Obama's efforts to stop genocide in Iraq remind of 1) how young the United States really is, and 2) how ignorant, as an American I am, about the many ethnic/religious groups that are present in many others parts of the world.
Who are the Yazidi? I know they are "related" to Zoroastrians (I almost enjoyed some special company with a Zoroastrian sister once, but she told me that guilt and fear of consequences meant that she had to get off of Space Mountain mid ride. I am nothing if not a gentleman) but what else should we understand about their position in Iraqi society, and how it influenced Obama's decision-making?
The armchair historians, pundits, professionals, and those who have to make a deadline and get attention with a pithy title, keep suggesting that the world is on the cusp of another "World War One".
Yes, there is global instability. But, the analogy does not hold in my eyes. World War One was "World War One". Why do folks feel the need to shoehorn contemporary events into a framework that is interesting, but which may not really apply?
On that note. World War One factoids still compel me. America is not on a war footing, even as some of its forces attack ISIS. 100 years ago, when World War One was birthed onto the world stage, matters were very different.
To point Politico has a nice, short piece, on how World War One changed Washington, D.C. which you may find of interest.
This passage is particularly rich:
American politicians fought bitterly over how much power Uncle Sam would have to conduct the war. And though his fellow Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Wilson hardly controlled them. Time and again, Wilson had to rely on sympathetic Republicans to push through policies—like conscription, a federal takeover of the railroad industry and war-bond provisions that favored big banks—that many in his own party thought would turn the United States into the autocratic Prussian state Americans were battling abroad. Wilson succeeded in ramming legislation through Congress, but—by alienating his own party without winning over the GOP—conflict shaped the rest of his second term.
The political tension spilled onto the streets—and the fights could be vicious. Just hours before Wilson’s speech in early April, a delegation from the pacifist Emergency Peace Federation rushed to Washington to oppose it. Among them was Alexander Bannwart, a 36-year-old minor league baseball player from Boston who buttonholed Republican Massachusetts Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge in a Senate hallway and, in something of a departure from his group’s pacifist principles, pummeled the senator with his fists. The 66-year-old Lodge won the fight—and didn’t change his vote.Christopher Capozzola wrote the Politico essay. He is someone I will definitely be reaching out to for Season Three of the podcast series.