Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Most Eloquent Statement

Governor Jerry Brown of California commenting on Senator Ted Cruz:
"That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data.  It's shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office."

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Best Ever Advice for a Writer

“I can’t write with those people on my shoulder, I just have to do my work.”

     --Cheryl Strayed



Sunday, March 01, 2015

Unintended Consequences

The Republican's attempt to prevent the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana turned the District into the "best place in America for marijuana aficionados."  According to the Washington Post,

The GOP efforts to block marijuana sales have created great conditions for dope-smokers: no taxes, a black market flooded with product and the ability to grow your own ganja legally.
 In the process, the mayor also got in some licks against DC's semi-territorial status.
[Mayor] Bowser secured national attention for the District’s lack of full self-governing rights. National media that yawn over the city’s quest for budget autonomy were gripped by the spectacle of GOP representatives warning the mayor in writing that she could face prison for allowing a voter-approved law to take effect.
Not what they had in mind, I'm sure.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

What Elizabeth Says

Senator Elizabeth Warren has an op-ed piece in the Washington Post today that lays out a strong case against the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement now being negotiated, largely in secret, by the US and Asian trading partners. 

Warren sums up the whole thing nicely:

Replacing the U.S. legal system with a complex and unnecessary alternative — on the assumption that nothing could possibly go wrong — seems like a really bad idea.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Half Past Winter Velo News

Along with the usual wet, foggy weather Olympia gets this time of year, we've had some very nice sunny days for cycling.  Today was one.  It started with a morning fog and clouds but all that was gone by the time I got out at one.  The air was a bit chilly to start but I warmed up pretty quickly.  I rode south on the Chehalis Western Trail, across SE Olympia and North Tumwater. out to The Evergreen State College and back through NW Olympia and downtown.  was never at all cold. The wind was blowing hard from the northeast so a few of my climbs were more challenging than normal.  Total miles today: 25.8.

Friday was even warmer.  I got out for a short 10 mile ride in the afternoon.  I rode in shorts and without my fleece earband.  I don't believe I've ever dressed so lightly for a February ride.  Last week was mostly rainy but Sunday offered some clear weather early on so I was out by 9:00.  Mist was rising from many places as the early morning began burning off the the previous days' moisture.

So far I've ridden every week in 2015 and have a total of 184 miles on the year.  That puts me two weeks ahead of schedule toward my annual goal of 1040 miles.  2015 will be the year that I break 10,000 miles on my bike computer although probably broke 10,000 on the bike a year or two ago.  My previous computer died at 1,500 or 2,500 miles so I can't say for sure.

Last year's cycling totaled 1,046 miles.  I eked out my annual goal with about 6 miles to spare despite missing 8 weeks after my hip surgery.  I ride with no joint pain in my hip these days.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

We Never Do Learn

Today's BBC front page juxtaposes the commemoration of the American-British firebombing raid on Dresden in 1945 and news of continued fighting in Ukraine even after world leaders announced a truce.  A visitor to Dresden says it all:
"I can't believe that we learn nothing from all this. Ukraine, the Balkans. The world learns nothing."

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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Reading accounts of the diplomacy--all the shuttling, meeting, back-and-forthing--surrounding the separatist rebellion in Ukraine reminds me of the run-up to World War I.  Merkel and Hollande have gone to Moscow.  Ministers, Secretaries and even US Senators meet in Munich.  Unlike WWI, though, the guns are already firing in Ukraine.  The fight is on. 

I would like to think that today's diplomats and world leaders can do better than their 20th century counterparts.  On big difference from then is the addition of a woman to the discussion.  Angela Merkel's statements are a change of pace from the usual military solutions and reality.

The BBC has the best quote: 
Mrs Merkel said she could not "imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily".
An accompanying analysis added that in her remarks to the Munich Security Conference she insisted that more arms would lead to more victims.  The analysis notes that there was "...significant applause at these remarks, though noticeably neither US Vice-President Joe Biden or the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko were clapping."

The Washington Post expands on the debate.
In one exchange, Sen. Corker (R-Tenn.), who is among more than a dozen members of Congress at the conference, challenged Merkel about German reluctance to agree to provide Ukraine lethal, defensive weapons.

She answered the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee bluntly: “Well you see, I am firmly convinced that this conflict cannot be solved by military means.” If weapons were provided, she said, Putin would likely up the ante, providing far more superior weapons to separatists. “I understand your viewpoint and also the discussion that is going on, but the progress that Ukraine needs cannot be achieved by more weapons,” she said.
I don't know if or how much Merkel's gender affects her thinking.  She understands that war has victims, which is the first step toward ending war.  I just hope that she's sufficiently skilled to turn her views into effective policy soon.  The American dogs of war are barking, Ukraine understandably feels threatened, and Russia under Putin is paranoid and expansionist.  It's a toxic mix.

And while all this talking is going on the guns continue to fire.

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