Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Day Before T-Bird Day

-- If you are considering putting something besides the swollen, roasted carcass of a domesticated animal in the middle of your table tomorrow, Grist has some options. One of them -- not the Tofurkey but the Quorn -- sounds like it might even taste good. (We'll be hitting the scrumptious buffet at the Elegante' in Beaumont ourselves.) I also drooled over this recipe for turning your leftovers into turkey gumbo. I'm going to do this the next time I buy a rotisserie chicken that I can't seem to finish before it goes bad in the fridge.

-- The incessant "Black Friday" bargains on teevee -- and I'm not talking about the commercials, I'm talking about the CNN and the network breakfast talking heads -- drive me nuts. The 'get out there and buy something in order to save the economy' message is so out of touch with what's happening for so many families across the country that it makes me nauseous. We're going to maintain our new tradition of spending the day at the Texas Renaissance Festival on Friday. If I'm going to put myself in a throng with thousands of freaky people it might as well be with a turkey leg in my hand.

-- Not as sad a story as you might initially think. This part is best ...

He thought about the "Five Remembrances" that some Buddhist monks chant each day: I will lose my youth, my health, my loved ones, everything I hold dear and, finally, life itself by the very nature of being human. Smith said those remembrances told him that the transient nature of life does not mean people should love others less but more.

Read it and don't weep. (Or go ahead if you'd rather.)

-- Barack Obama is about to be a war president. He's taking ownership of Afghanistan, which to my thinking is the greatest mistake of his presidency yet. Only time and circumstances somewhat outside of his control will tell if he pays a political price for it. With everything on his plate, he has no room left for error anywhere. And if something unforeseen happens -- another Ft. Hood, another economic belch, some international incident, an earthquake, a hurricane, anything -- he, and us, are going to teeter a little farther over the abyss.

-- I find the idea of a war surtax entirely appropriate at this time.

Dubbed the “Share the Sacrifice Act,” the six-page bill exempts anyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan since the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as families who have lost an immediate relative in the fighting. But middle-class households earning between $30,000 and $150,000 would be asked to pay 1% on top of their tax liability today ...

Read the details. I'm convinced it will never pass, but the discussion compels the conservatives in both parties to go on the record "supporting the troops" with money they say we don't have for health care. Let's have that debate and have that vote, Speaker Pelosi.

The fact that there will be fewer than 75000 soldiers and reservists as an immediately-available national defense force after this surge in Afghanistan also disturbs me greatly.

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

According to information compiled by the U.S. Army for The Washington Independent about the deployment status of active-duty and National Guard Army brigades, as of December 2009, there will be about 50,600 active-duty soldiers, serving in 14 combat brigades, and as many as 24,000 National Guard soldiers available for deployment. All other soldiers and National Guardsmen will either be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan already or ineligible to deploy while they rest from a previous deployment.

Do you remember how loudly Republicans were whining in the mid-'90's about our "broken military" because of the Clinton administration's missions in Bosnia and Kosovo? Neither do they.

Jim Hightower reminds us that Stanley McChrystal is being duplicitous and dishonest about Afghanistan. A historical parallel exists between McArthur and Truman; I wonder when Obama will fire him and bring our army home. 2011? 2012?

-- And just so I don't leave this post with you feeling a little grim ...

Spurred by an administration he believes to be guilty of numerous transgressions, self-described American patriot Kyle Mortensen, 47, is a vehement defender of ideas he seems to think are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and principles that brave men have fought and died for solely in his head.

Kyle Mortensen would gladly give his life to protect what he says is the Constitution's very clear stance against birth control.

"Our very way of life is under siege," said Mortensen, whose understanding of the Constitution derives not from a close reading of the document but from talk-show pundits, books by television personalities, and the limitless expanse of his own colorful imagination. "It's time for true Americans to stand up and protect the values that make us who we are."

According to Mortensen—an otherwise mild-mannered husband, father, and small-business owner—the most serious threat to his fanciful version of the 222-year-old Constitution is the attempt by far-left "traitors" to strip it of its religious foundation.

"Right there in the preamble, the authors make their priorities clear: 'one nation under God,'" said Mortensen, attributing to the Constitution a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which itself did not include any reference to a deity until 1954. "Well, there's a reason they put that right at the top."

Read the whole thing; it's another Onion classic.

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