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Awake at 5 AM and pondering…

July 18, 2011

I shouldn’t be awake, but I am…so here’s what’s going through my head: (Now with edits done 12 hours later, when I am consciouser, or something.)

We are being overwhelmed by news trivia. I’m sure this court case of the lady who killed her daughter or didn’t is a sad, sad thing, but does it deserve one one-hundredth the media attention it received? Really? It’s kind of just a big “watching an accident on the side of the road” writ large, isn’t it?

Big old Transformers ship on the moon...

The Transformers movie was big and pretty and loud, just as it should be. Buzz Aldrin is a hoot. The “dark side of the moon” business is crap, of course. But then, flying alien robots destroying Chicago? Gotta suspend your disbelief someplace. It was sad to see the downtown get trashed. It looked worse than after Obama’s election-night victory party.

The new love interest girl has those Angelina Jolie lips that scare me. Are those ever natural?

The CGI of the Apollo stuff was gorgeous. On the other hand the actual physical landing location set, with the LM on the moon, looked really fake! (Come on, if Michael Bay can’t make it look convincing now, how did NASA fake the landing back in 1969, you tinfoil-hat folks?) And apparently the aforementioned Michael Bay thinks he can splice stuff in anywhere and if it’s busy enough no one will care. There’s a car chase that’s supposed to be in the Washington DC area that is plainly set on the Chicago expressways and got moved in editing. (Road signs for I-88, Aurora and Stony Island are kind of a giveaway, dude.)

SPOILERS AHOY: The shuttle launch was cool. The attack on it was something only Bay would have the guts to do, kind of like destroying big downtown buildings – oh, wait, he does that too, a bunch of them – but the imagery is something I remember too well from the real thing in both respects from Challenger and 9/11. Still he doesn’t dwell on it, and he does some of his patented “Coca-Cola commercial” imagery at the end, with Optimus Prime standing tall with a frayed and holed US flag flying behind him. Overall it was pretty good, even though the previous paragraph makes me sound pretty grumpy about it. Hey, it’s an action-adventure comic-book kind of movie, right? I mean, we’re not looking for hard science here.

One question: Do we never get smooth alien ships ever again? Is everything going to be this over-detailed District 9 stuff?

One answer, not to the above question: so the reason we quit going to the moon was because an accountant cooked the books to make it look too expensive. Sounds legit.

New topic: I think the days when the Congrescritters couldn’t do a 15-second sound bite to posture every day actually helped them to get some work done. On the other hand, distracting them so they don’t meddle in our affairs is usually a good thing. Oh, look, something shiny!

If I hear anything more about this debt ceiling stuff I’m gonna puke. Just say no, Republicans. Have some cojones. It’s the first step of a 12-step program to get Obama to quit spending not only our money, but our grandchildren’s money.

Speaking of the Federal budget – oh, wait, we don’t have one – the “guidelines” for one – I went through it last week one night. I could cut $ 400 billion out of this year’s budget, easy, and without even looking at the medical care nest of snakes. Start with eliminating the EPA and the Department of Education. Does that sound too crazy? And yet, until about forty years ago, we seemed to get along fine without them.

The EPA in particular has become an incredible drag on business and seems to be able to pass rules and policies without regard to legislation or the Constitution. I don’t doubt there are issues that need to be watched concerning our environment, but this agency is completely out of control and will kill off business if we don’t kill it first.

And the very concept of a Federal Department of Education is pretty much unconstitutional, friends. It was not an intention of the Framers at all. Leave the business of education to the states and local districts, where it belongs.

I see the various states as incubators of different approaches to living as free people. California should not have to be exactly like Vermont. Let the USA be the United States of America again. Let the states take care of what they should, and get the Federal government out of as much as possible. Yes, everyone should have the right to vote…what they decide to vote on should be left up to them.

I’m not even sure that, if for example, Utah decided the state religion was Mormonism, that the US Constitution forbids that. I think the Constitution keeps the Federal government from doing so, but when the Constitution was adopted several states had at least quasi-official religions.

Now don’t go crazy and say that then, by extension, Alabama could become the KKK state. Nope. Not the same thing. Equal protection, remember?  (And sorry for picking on you, Alabama.) But protection from discrimination is not the same as equalization of outcomes. Mormonism might become the state religion, but it couldn’t prohibit women from voting, for example. (And don’t yell at me about polygamy; if the voters in a state really think that’s a good idea, in terms of womens’ rights, basic economics, and genetics, I say go for it. I can’t believe they would be that crazy. Isn’t the Chinese character for “trouble” that of two women under one roof?)

I don’t know. It’s 5:20 AM. I have to ponder this more…I just like the idea of the states having more of a personal identity than they do. Texas, well, yeah…they work at it. It really is a different culture. People think of themselves as Texans. You could probably divide Florida into two states, South Florida and North Florida, culturally; if not now, pretty soon. Is southern Illinois more like southern Indiana than like northeastern Illinois and Chicago? Yep. A lot of state boundaries are so arbitrarily drawn they have nothing to do with anything anymore. Maybe have a state stretching across Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa…Cornutopia? (OK, too much, there.)

More sometime later when I’m awake. I could cut the budget tomorrow, though, by at least that $ 400 billion. “But what about putting those people out of work?” Hey, nobody in the Federal government worried when my job in education got cut in 1979. Nobody worried when my wife’s got cut last year. In fact, a really good case could be made that the Federal government is the reason more and more private-sector jobs are disappearing, so sorry, folks, you’re not going to get the sympathy you hoped for.

The HUGE positive is that once we get the tax rates under control and the spending under control and the US business engine gets booming again, all those displaced government workers will be able to find new private-sector jobs. We’re going to need them!

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