Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Next Afghan Decade, Furries, Plushies, and UFO's in Denver

Henry Kissenger
Maureen Dowd
Howard Dean Debates Newt Gingrich

"The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post 'Thou shalt not steal,' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' and 'Thou shalt not lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." - George Carlin

If you have the time, reading the articles linked above may prove interesting. Maureen Dowd is always clever and funny. The Henry Kissenger piece made me glad that people like him and John Bolton are no longer influential. They are like your crazy, long-winded uncle that always tries to dominate the conversation at get-togethers during the holidays, too full of himself and never willing to listen to you... The longest article is the transcript of the Health Care debate with Howard Dean and Newt Gingrich. Newt loses...

Pundits are now predicting that the US presence in Afghanistan may last at least another 10 years, as reported in the Washington Post: "As the Obama administration expands U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, military experts are warning that the United States is taking on security and political commitments that will last at least a decade and a cost that will probably eclipse that of the Iraq war.

Since the invasion of Afghanistan eight years ago, the United States has spent $223 billion on war-related funding for that country, according to the Congressional Research Service. Aid expenditures, excluding the cost of combat operations, have grown exponentially, from $982 million in 2003 to $9.3 billion last year."
Financially it looks like we cannot both support this war and Iraq and health care reform, time to be choosing one or the other...

And once the country is stabilized with an Army and relatively honest police force of its own, we will have created a state dependent upon US aid: "Afghan forces will need $4 billion a year for another decade, with a like sum for development," said Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine who has chronicled the Iraq and Afghan wars. Bing said the danger is that Congress is "so generous in support of our own forces today, it may not support the aid needed for progress in Afghanistan tomorrow."

"We are looking at two decades of supplying a few billion a year to Afghanistan," said Michael E. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow and military expert at the Brookings Institution, adding: "It's a reasonable guess that for 20 years, we essentially will have to fund half the Afghan budget." He described the price as reasonable, given that it may cost the United States $100 billion this year to continue fighting.

"We are creating a [long-term military aid] situation similar to the ones we have with Israel, Egypt and Jordan," he said." On the positive side, people will be able to travel there like the four Americans vacationing in Kurdistan did...

The city of Denver is hosting some offbeat conventions, the first is the furries, from the Denver Post: "The 2009 convention drew members from across the country who dress in either full or partial animal or cartoon animal costumes. The participants attended workshops that included a Hoofer Stampede, Designing a Fursuit, Project Furban, Fursuit Care and Maintenance, and Furry Fictionary games.

Although Rocky Mountain Fur Con is relatively new, organizers said the animal costume movement started 30 years ago and gained popularity after people began posting on early Internet bulletin boards. Since then, the Furry population has grown, with Pittsburgh holding the largest anthropomorphics convention in the county.Some people connect Furries with sexual-fetish behaviors, but festival organizers said this weekend's event is clean fun."
Yeah, sure. This is mostly a weird mid-western thing that hasn't spread to the coasts. It's interesting that after 30 years of plushy erotica, being attracted to the plush toys that were given to you as a child, it has reached mainstream? Would you want to visit someone who dressed like that at home or to go out for coffee?

The other is the Mutual UFO Network convention, also in Denver:
"What it isn't, is a tongue-in-cheek convention of Trekkies or costumed attendees donning pointy tinfoil caps.

"This is the largest civilian UFO research organization in the world," said MUFON treasurer Barry Roth, a national account manager for Hertz. "A lot of the presenters have doctor in front of their names. Nobody is dressed up as a Vulcan."

One of the presenters, nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, criticized the "pseudoscience of anti-ufology." "There are a number of demonstrably false claims which have been put forth such as there is no evidence, one can't get here from there, governments can't keep secrets, if aliens were visiting they would want to talk to me or land on the White House lawn," Friedman said."
I knew Stan and one of his ex-wives many years ago in California, when I was attending the local junior college. He was your average kooky guy employed by the space industry. I liked him because my father was similarly employed and I enjoyed researching the kooky topics they enjoyed. One of my favorites was a manuscript my dad brought home once from work on the hollow earth theory, that the earth is hollow and there are opening at the poles, which is where UFO's are based and aliens live...

And whenever Sarh Palin is not in the news, there is always Michelle Bachmann, from Politico: "Bachmann has long been on the receiving end of pointed jabs on liberal blogs like Daily Kos, where one commenter wrote a few weeks back, "After having just returned from a trip to Minnesota, I shake my head that such a beautiful place would be represented by such an ugly individual as Bachmann."

Ask Democratic officials in the state about Bachmann, and they can barely contain their anger.

"She is a bizarre news story of the month every month," said Brian Melendez, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party." Some people's embarrassment is other folk's entertainment. I say we keep Michelle and Sarah as national treasures, because they can always be counted on to say something outrageous, some funny, perverted twisting of political issues that news outlet and bloggers can take endless delight in reporting and making jokes. God bless you, ladies...

"Michele Bachmann is just nuts," said Jeremy Powers, a local DFL chair in Bachmann's district. "She is just an utter embarrassment."

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