Friday, May 28, 2010


Finally there is progress on repealing "Don't ask, don't tell." A year after the Big O took office and promised to support the repeal, it's going to happen. Okay, so he has had a lot on his mind.
The House has voted "to allow" the Defense Department to end DADT.  The Senate Armed Services Committee has also voted for a similar measure. The House provision passed due to a little compromise, saying that repeal wouldn't take effect until the Pentagon concludes its report on how to best effect the repeal.
Note that the Pentagon isn't considering whether to repeal DADT, but how to implement that repeal. Military intelligence at last. Of course one wonders about why a major study is needed on how to do it. Don't you just say, "Okay, you can stop now?" But hey, whatever works.
The big brass at the Pentagon are concerned about doing it in a way that doesn't disrupt our armed forces. Yeah. Ask the Israelis how allowing gays to openly serve has disrupted them. Whatever you might think about Israel's policies, you have to admit their army is pretty effective at doing the things armies do.
Even a handful of Republicans broke away from the "NO" machine to vote in favor of the provision. Of course there were dire predictions from the Repubes about chaos in the military, and how the American people don't want DADT to end. It's just wonderful how they can ignore the fact that 75% of Americans are in favor of repeal. But then Republicans are not known (lately, at least) to have any respect for facts, truth, or reality.
They just want to keep living in their alternate universe, and just visit their vacation homes in reality once in a while.

If only there were an end in sight to the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. So far the "top kill" strategy has not been declared a success—but one sincerely hopes it will work. Rachel Maddow had an interesting (and depressing) segment on her Wednesday night program showing how a disaster in 1979 in the Gulf is so similar to the one now. And the only way that one was stopped was through drilling relief wells. It took nine months for that.
Everything BP is trying now, was tried then. With no effect. The really depressing thing about this is that after 30 years, in spite of incredible advances in drilling technology, there has been no comparable advance in technology in preventing or fixing disasters. Must not have been much profit in working on that aspect of the undersea drilling operation. That's your unregulated free market in action, folks.
The technology for getting oil from out under the ocean floor is up there at space shuttle level. The technology for fixing those "Oops—we have a spill" moments—down at dishcloth level.
Oh, and that 1979 disaster was from a well only 200 feet below the surface. This latest one? Five thousand and counting.
Folks, it's time to think about what you are willing to give up in your life, so that we don't need to use so much energy. Sell your house and move closer to where you work (if you still have a job)? Stop putting up strip malls and convenience stores every 50 feet or so in urban areas? Turning off lights and the damn computer once in a while?
Wearing more sweaters in the winter, sweating a little more in the summer? Dig up the lawn and start a garden? Deciding you don't need to drive everywhere? How about supporting a wide ranging and efficient public transportation system?
The future—it's not going to be easy, and may not be pretty.
I'll end on that note.
Keep smiling, everybody.

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