Today’s theme, half-assed. But then I can’t even stay on that topic for a whole article. But in a way I did, because I half-assed wrote this article on the topic. See. So did I just blow your mind? 🙂
- End the war in Afghanistan? Or stay the course? President Obama decided that we have done so much good in Afghanistan that we can withdraw…..SOME of the troops. In trying to make a decision that would represent a compromise, Obama managed to find a half-assed position that seems to have please exactly no one. War hawks say the decision provides comfort to the enemy. Anti-war folks are okay with reducing troop levels, but think the withdrawal timeframe is way too slow. Military brass are okay with reducing troop levels but think the withdrawal timeframe is too quick. (Actually I guess the military industry is probably pretty pleased. Score one for Obama?)
- Me, I don’t agree with Obama’s position on this but I don’t get as upset with him here as I do with some of the other decisions. He said even before he was elected that Afghanistan was the “right war”, so I can’t be too surprised when he doesn’t pull the plug on it immediately. It was my fault that after eight years of Bush, I sometimes heard what I wanted to hear in regards to Obama and didn’t take his “right war” talk seriously. Still when President Obama says that goals like “no safe haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks” are achievable, I can’t help but wonder how steeped in reality such goals can be. Can we even keep the United States itself safe haven free, much less a foreign nation?
- More frustrating for me is Libya. So we have taken action in Libya to protect…um the rebels or civilians? I’m not really sure. But it’s an half-assed action that looks like will only guarantee a perpetual state of civil war. And why the half-assery? Apparently so Obama can claim that our actions are not hostile. Ah, see, we are not launching missiles of destruction, we are launching missiles of diplomacy! So Libyans, just know that those have died did not die out of hostility, but through explosive negotiations!
- In fact, President Obama says our actions are so half-assed, he doesn’t even have to seek Congressional approval to extend operations past 30 days as required by the War Powers Resolution. It may well be our first non-military military operation ever!
- Congress is upset about this, but also don’t want to be out-half-assed by Obama. So they decide to have two votes. In the first vote, they deny authorization for the Libya operation. But in the second vote, they approved funding for that very same operation. Pretty impressive half-assedness! You know, I think Obama could argue that the approval of funding IS approval for the operation, at least implicitly. (Edit: Just read a Glenn Greenwald article that explains that the reason why some in the House voted against authorization but also voted against the de-funding was that the de-funding bill itself was half-assed and in fact had provisions that would provide funding for the Libya operation. Due to those provisions, some house members felt that voting for the bill would actually provide that implicit approval that I was talking about.)
- A small group of nine Congressmen have taken a further step and sued President Obama. I would like to see this heard in court.
- The Supreme Court ruled that a large class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for sexual discrimination could not move forward because the 1.6 million women bringing the suit should have not been certified as a class. I’m no legal expert, so I can’t really speak toward the correctness of this decision. But isn’t it funny how often these decisions just happen to work out for big corporations? Also, Justice Scalia‘s reasoning that since “Wal-Mart’s announced policy forbid sex discrimination” and since Wal-Mart allows its lower supervisors so much discretion, it simply cannot be shown that Wal-Mart operated under a general policy of discrimination, is baffling. Does Scalia really think that a company is going to literally have a written policy that says “We not only allow discrimination, we encourage it.”? Or corporations can remove itself from all accountability if they allow employees to make decisions?
- So I’m at Taco Bell the other day and I’m looking at a sign for its new XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito. And the sign explains how it’s their biggest burrito ever and stuffed with all these ingredients. And then I see listed “reduced-fat” sour cream and that just cracks me up. Sure, our burrito is huge and over 800 calories all by itself. But hey, the sour cream is “reduced-fat” so it’s ok. See, moderation!
- Apparently bears have decided that Birmingham is a nifty place to visit. Yes, bears! A bear was spotted just last night within the city limits. This just a few weeks after another bear was captured roaming through another part of town. Last night’s bear is still on the loose, as he has obviously proven to be smarter than your average bear!