shorter obama

9/11...blah blah blah...it's all bush's fault...al qaeda is on the run...we need tens of thousands of troops to chase them...even though Afghanistan has 100,000 security forces...don't ask when all the troops will come home because we're trying to turn the page on decades of war

Got it?

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dear facebook

I'm posting this on June 23 at about 7:00am.

Just curious when you'll post it on my wall.

Maybe this is the opposite of the Google beta-update-surprise approach. This is the don't do anything at all approach.

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happy father's day

Hope your dad lives somewhere safe from our nation's freedom producing bombs and liberty promoting prisons! And if you're a dad, hope your kids aren't locked up or six feet under.

Oh wait, sorry, that's not a Hallmark-approved Father's Day Card. Let's return to our regular programming:

Yay for dads, they're awesome, and we as a society are totally supportive of healthy families! We believe in promoting our values all over the world, from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli...in the air, on land, and sea.

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in defense of delta

I've been helping prepare some info at work for a press conference tomorrow on our HVRP program, so I've got veterans on the mind. I checked YahooFinance when I got home, and a story about Delta charging soldiers bag fees naturally caught my attention.

On first glance, it appears pretty outrageous that a big company would tack on fees to members of our armed forces for checked luggage on a flight from DC to Atlanta.

But the thing is, as hard a critic as I am of failures in corporate governance, it's important to observe when the policy under scrutiny isn't actually that terrible. Delta (and the other major airlines) actually have quite friendly policies toward off duty members of our armed forces using domestic, civilian transportation networks. Relevant to this story, Delta doesn't charge any bag fees to checked luggage until the fourth bag, even though they do charge bag fees to other customers on the same routes. Southwest Airlines thinks this is such a huge issue that they've invented an entire television advertising campaign highlighting their policy that 'bags fly free'.

What this demonstrates is one specific example of the economic costs of militarism. There are the direct costs shown on the federal budget, which are astronomical. But then there are the indirect costs on the civilian economy which are even larger. It costs money to fly four bags from DC to Atlanta. It costs money to train soldiers on their return to the US from overseas deployments, on what they should expect right down to the logistical details of how to return home (the military reimburses bag fees). Somebody has to pay for all this.

It's right to be angry.

But in this case, don't be angry at Delta. The problem is DC. When you have Presidents and Congresses that are too deceitful and cowardly to fully account for all of the costs of war, those costs don't simply disappear. They're just externalized onto private actors, from the soldiers themselves to their family members and community to the various actors they encounter in the civilian economy.

And of course, if we weren't deploying troops overseas in Afghanistan, there wouldn't be any troops needing to carry four bags back from Kabul in the first place.

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welcome to the other america

(PR) Uh oh, I'm ranting about politics...

I obviously haven't been paying much attention because I didn't realize the Clinton blowjob of the early 21st century was an ongoing matter. But apparently, former Senator, Vice Presidential nominee, and Presidential candidate John Edwards has been under an actual, real-life, full blown Department of Justice criminal investigation because he did something absolutely no politician ever does, try to portray a false public narrative about himself that doesn't match his actual nature.

I mean, thank goodness our political leaders (and heck, our business leaders, too, for that matter) are such paragons of virtue and family values.

But what intrigues me most is that the Obama Administration isn't happy with the Usual Punishment* for Being Caught: expulsion from the club (publicly). They actually want a felony conviction.

Quick, name the 10 most important people the Obama Administration has prosecuted.

Okay, I'll give you multiple choice:

a. George Bush
b. Dick Cheney
c. Condoleeza Rice
d. Donald Rumsfeld
e. Alberto Gonzalez
f. ...uh, this might take awhile...

It's almost comical. I only met John Edwards once (I was a pretty big fan back in 2007 of his candidacy). He struck me in person to actually be a lot like his reputation: he felt like a rich, sleezy used car salesman. I don't invite used car salesmen to my birthday parties. I don't go to movies with them. But you know what, I bought my car from one. They serve a purpose. Where the purpose overlaps with your purpose, they are valuable partners.

I ain't lookin' for a saint; and heck, even saints are sinners.

John Edwards made his cheesy sloganeering about poverty. Even today, you can say the phrase two Americas and largely evoke a pretty coherent narrative that Edwards was telling. Now, he's living the two Americas. The problem with our two-tiered justice system isn't that people down on their luck don't break the law. The problem is when the full weight of the law is selectively administered.

If I knew him well enough to call him John, I'd be in position to talk about how his life has completely fallen apart. I'd wonder what Cate, his eldest daughter the same age as me, is going through. But I don't know the family, and like any other family with moral, and now legal, complications, their challenges are for them to face, to decide how they want to come out the other end. His sin is against his wife, his kids, his family, his faith.

What I do know is that this has a chance to remind us what the rule of law means. It means no one is above it. All are equal under it. Technicalities are all the law is. Create exceptions, and what you've got is two Americas.

* of course, even being caught doesn't necessarily do it. Heck, people as varied as Rush Limbaugh and Tim Geithner have broken the law. And no one in the world avails themselves of more drugs and prostitutes than Manhattan and DC.

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