Not the least obeisance made he

Not a minute stoped or stayed he
But, with mien of lord or lady,
Perched above my chamber door...

It's been a busy few weeks since I've posted here last. Despite symbolic dissent and the official confirmation that we have better chance of finding water on Mars than WMDs in Iraq, the inaguration of what's-his-face went on as planned. Ah well. At least he had the grace to throw less parties about it than Bubba Clinton. Meanwhile, according to some rumors, some government-types are getting antsy about Iran's possible WMD programs - stop me if you've heard this one before. Pledges for tsunami assistance from governments and individuals has soared; we all hope it makes it to those in need as fast as possible (funny thing about government pledges... but no, I'm too cynical, sometimes). And despite FCC chair and cabinet-son Powell resigning from his post, we're working towards a nipple-free Super Bowl halftime show, G-d willing.

And for all this and more, you've had to get your news from reputable sources. Shame on me. As much as I'd like to blame this on my car breaking down and my relative emergency of having to find a new one, I'll admit that I've just been lazy with the place. But don't mind the dust bunnies - make yourself at home. I hear there's a nice perch available just above my chamber door.



It's been a while since any updates, despite there being lots going on in the world and in my backwards mind worth commenting on. More CogVom for you soon.


Get thee back into the tempest

"The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn’t just bad for you and me — it is bad for the entire state," says the Republican candidate; the Democrat blithely fires back: "It’s irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don’t like losing this one."

Proving that neither side really cares about the truth unless they benefit from it, gubernatorial candidates in Washington have been trading barbs and legal challenges about their recent election, machine recount, and manual recount. That's almost as hypoc ironic as Bush responding to accusations about missing explosives by saying, "A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief." I'm not making this up. He actually said this - with a straight face! Dubya may not be a person I'd want as my commander in chief, but he'd sure make one hell of a Bridge partner.

Meanwhlie, back in the Ukraine, domestic and international observers complained loudly of widespread and presumably state-sponsored fraud in the original elections. Desperate for a safe analogue to vent our discomforting ideas of election fraud, the American media actually paid some attention. After three separate votes, Pro-West Viktor Ydidupoisonme was announced the victor (hah!) by all appropriate bodies. Proving he's got the brass of another Dubya, caught-cheating Moscow-leaning Viktor Ydontyoulikemykgbfriends went on record to state... you know, I don't think I can point out the amusing hypocrisy any better than the Turkish Press:

"Today our main task is to successfully defend our choice and the choice of Ukraine at the central election commission and the supreme court," Yanukovich told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Kiev.
Denying increasing pressure for him to resign, he said: "I will not submit my resignation on principle."
The prime minister was stripped of victory in an earlier presidential runoff in November because of widespread fraud.

No matter what side of the fence or world they're on, politicians will be politicans.



I can't imagine many reading this haven't heard this news, but I feel the need to write something about it.
An undersea 8.9-magnitude earthquake caused massive tsunamis across much of Southern Asia, completely wrecking the surroundings and causing significant damage as far west as Somalia. Note that the Richter scale is logarithmic, meaning this was 10 times as powerful as a 7.9 quake and making the recent Florida hurricanes look like a sunny day in Pittsburgh. At least 27,000 individuals are confirmed dead; that number could easily double, even before risks like disease are considered.

I'm sure any support would be appreciated - you can give yours through the Red Cross, any of these groups, or here.


Give me back my hockey, dammit

Neither of you reading this probably care too much about the hockey season; most Americans probably couldn't say where the nearest franchise is, let alone name the team. I could get on my high horse and make grandiose claims about why hockey is better than other major league sports - but I won't, because that's just my opinion, and I know it wouldn't be productive. If only the owners and union could do the same.

Given so little to cover and no season in sight, NHL.com has been relegated to daily coverage of a fantasy hockey bracket. Sad times indeed.

With the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement after last season, the NHL and the NHLPA (players' association) have been making halfassed attempts at negotiations and spending more time bickering than the staff of Crossfire. With the season slipping away, the union made the first proposal since the season was slated to start, which was quickly shot down. That's fine, it's part of negotiating... but FFS, there needs to *be* some negotiation. By the tone of Commissioner Gary Bettman's response, that sure as hell ain't the case:

"If the Union does not come forward now, it proves that the Union leadership knows full well that under the Union's proposal, the fundamental failures of our current system will not change and we will be right back where we were in, at best, a couple of years."
"So if we cannot make an agreement with such a modest gap to bridge, it must be because the Union does not believe that the system will reduce costs to the 56.6% level and keep them there."

Yes, if we can't negotiate, it must be their fault!

"By its offer, the Union finally has acknowledged the magnitude of our losses. Despite all of the Union's rhetoric to the contrary, the Union has confirmed the accuracy of our financial reporting. There is no other rational explanation for a $269-million reduction on contracts for this season."

Soo... just by being willing to compromise, they must be proving you right. Great spirit there, bub.

Per a poll listed on the CBANews site, most Canadians back the owners. I just have a hard time believing much from a site more biased than Fox Sports Pittsburgh (where I heard the color commentary guy say, paraphrased, "I hate the Rangers; I hope they lose 7-1 and die of venerial diseases"); and with wonderful pages like Daly on NHLPA distortions, how am I supposed to take them seriously?

Honestly, I don't know how to make the damn system work. I'm not convinced that a salary cap would be bad. I think the owners should take more responsibility for their business decisions. I'd like to see the price of seats go down, the attendance and viewing go up, and more people actually giving a shit about the sport I love. Most of all, I just want my hockey back, dammit.

But if it doesn't come back this year - and we all doubt it will - feel free to blame me. In '94, I was a huge Rangers fan; they won the Cup, and there was a lockout. Having moved to Orlando, I started following the Lightning; they won the Cup, and there was a lockout. Sorry :(


And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor

Our electoral system may be more flawed than Clinton's logic on sex, but at least we don't poison our candidates. While Monday's electoral vote drew some attention to our process and results, it was with a twinge of discomfort, nervously laughed at and hurriedly passed on. For some, it was another chance for sheer bravado, with logic somewhere between "The more proud I tell everyone I am, the more they'll ignore my blatant mistakes" and "My mom says I'm the cutest kid in school!"

For me, it was a time to think about how my watch-it-like-a-car-wreck mentality has burned me out on the whole thing. I'm still interested in the process, the analysis of what went wrong (and a number of things did undeniably go wrong), and what we may do to fix it - as long as it doesn't jeopardize those doing the fixing.*

What I'm looking at now are the interchangably amusing and disturbing continuing stories of the election. I try to distance myself from the results, finding ways that war, economy, health care, Social Security, and freedom won't affect me personally. When that fails, I find solace where I can.

* (Interesting note towards the end of that article, where Dems are unlikely to accept an idea in Cali to make it less of a winner-take-all electoral vote for obvious reasons. Overall, I think it's a great idea that should be instituted nationally - that will never be done for reasons like this).


To what end?

Is the primary purpose of America's military to help those in need, or is it to further our own ends? Either is acceptable - but we should be clear about which is the case. If it's altruistic, we need to continually check to be sure we're doing the right things for the right reasons. If it's self-serving, we need to stop pretending that we're always the good guys.

No matter what the case, the men and women serving abroad deserve our support. Here are some ways we can show it:

DoD list of ways and sites
DefendAmerica.mil support
Operation Dear Abby - If you can read this, you can do this.
Red Cross donation - $20 sends a gift package.
Operation Shoebox - Items to donate that the troops want, like Gatorade and WalMart ties.

Please feel free to contribute your own links or info!