Obama’s Nobel: Ignoble?

No one was more surprised than I was when Barack Obama received the Nobel Prize shortly after taking office. After all, he hadn’t had a chance to do much of anything yet and I’m not sure a few months of grappling with the large bag of burning dog poo left on his doorstep qualified him to be the bringer of world peace.

I Am Curious Not George

I thought then, as I do now, that Obama got the nod not so much for advancing peace as he did for not being George Bush. An honor for not being someone else isn’t much of a prize. Still, I thought it odd, but not troubling.

Although the Messiah-in-Chief donated the $1.4 million prize to charity, I would have preferred he politely decline it on the grounds he hadn’t done much peacifying yet. I think that would’ve been the classier move, but it was what it was and even John McThuselah supported the award.

Now Bolivian President Evo Morales and the Vice Chairman of Russia’s Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, are agitating to take it away for attacking Libya. Being the great advocates of human rights they are certainly qualifies them to pass judgment – at least they think so.

Indian-giving peace prizes is petty, stupid, and more image destroying than awarding the prize to someone ill deserving it in the first place. That even goes for George McMakepeace Bush even in the highly unlikely event he had won it – or, if Newt Gingrich wins it after President Carebear shuffles off his mortal throne.

If this issue – and I use that term loosely – goes according to the usual form, a thousand nattering nabobs will rise up and feel obliged to make this into a latter-day flag pin drama. The only thing more surprising than Obama winning the award would be if the Republicans didn’t propose a Constitutional amendment disallowing Muslim Kenyans from becoming President. Maybe Sarah Palin will make a stern statement like, “That Russian guy Moldevort, thinks Nobama didn’t deserve it, and he’s a lamestream COMMIE. Didja know I can see Russia from my front porch? (Psst, I’m REALLY running for President. I just make a lot of money giving speeches saying I’m not.) You betcha…wink…wink. I’m a maverick rogue.”

There, I’ve said my peace so go ahead and say yours.

Just do it quickly please. We’re going to hell in a hand basket whether he deserved the award or not.

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Going to War: Let Every Pie Hole Sing

If there’s one thing Barak Obama and George Bush have in common, it’s the uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Today’s Exhibit A: Libya.

In a single clumsy flail, Super O has gone both too fast and too slow. Talked too much and too little. Been the soul of diplomatic discretion and a bumbling, unrepentant war monger. He wants the US to lead his new Coalition of the Inept and drop out of it by dinner time. And, he wants Kadafhi dead so he can invite him over for a BBQ on the South Lawn.

The list, as every pissed off American with a pie hole says, is endless.

To be fair, where the hell were the asscakes railing against him now when Moses George wandered off into the desert in search of the Burning Bush, only to turn into a burning Bush instead? And that advise and consent thing? Who the hell are you kidding? There hasn’t been a declared war since WWII. Hell, Bush couldn’t even figure out what to call his before settling on the zesty, “War of Error” moniker.

The list of hypocrisy, as every pissed off American with a pie hole says, is endless.

The Secret Kenyan Goes George Bushy
Still, the secret Kenyan clearly hasn’t thought this through. If he knows the endgame, he’s gone all George Bushy in his inability to explain it. By not having a clear set of goals, a way to know you’re done, and how to pack up and get the hell out of Tripoli, you can start reading the ever-growing list of poor plans having come back to bite us: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Iraq II, and Afghanistan to name a few.

Then, there is the war fighting on the domestic front. Republicans just hope he fails at everything. Liberals want the US to run out and save the world every time some tin pot dictator gets rambunctious. And cost? Phht, we haven’t paid off the last two bloody walkabouts yet and the lobby for cutting funding for them is slim and none. Libya is our next supplemental budget item.

To successfully manage policy, one has to start before the events do. Instead of propping up the Mubaraks and Kadafhis of the world, how about we pick and choose our strong men better? In business terms any overstuffed CEO could understand, the cost benefit ratio of removing one asshat and replacing him with another is no way to maximize our investments and incentify the world to peace.

1, 2, 3, 4, What’re We Fightin’ For?
We also need some vague idea of what we’re fighting for before we go. If it’s to defend defenseless civilians, how about the dozens of other places where people try to beat nonsense into each others’ heads with radar-guided sticks. Do we go to the wall for oppressed Norwegians or downtrodden Guineans?

Going to war, a police action, or a no-fly zone is messy business. Rarely are the situations clear. Something will come back to haunt your decision. Going to war is as much, or more, about the future than the present, so it behooves us to think about what we’re going to do before the time comes to do it.

The biggest single thing that pisses off the rest of the world is that every 4 years the US changes foreign policy from unilaterally nuking our perceived enemies until they glow to crawling on bended knee to every insane, Third World megalomaniac to ask forgiveness for not having given him an extra $2 billion and change as a tax for their often specious support.

And the rest of the world has a point. So, lets gear up, keep our heads low, and try to get this thing finished before it turns out a bigger muddle than the two we already have.

As a nation, want can’t take much more fighting someone else’s battles for freedom before we end up having to refight our own here at home.

Viva la common sense!

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Common Corporate Sense

Common Sense

Sad, But True

Half a world away, a tiny band of workers is trying to save their country from a nuclear meltdown. Closer to home, 11 people died and tens of thousands more lost their livelihoods when an oil rig caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico. Even closer, my local news carries daily accounts of how a gas line explosion that left 8 dead, 50 injured, and 40 families homeless could have been prevented.

All of these events have two things in common – they’re accidents. No one got out of bed one morning and said, “Gee, I think I’ll go out and kill someone today.”

The other is that with some common sense and honesty, all of them could have been prevented or at least their risk mitigated by prudent action – even when a tsunami rolls ashore.

Cutting Corners to Keep the Dividends
For years, all the companies involved told their governments and the public things were just peachy. “Safety is our top priority. We’re responsible citizens” as if by top priority you mean cutting corners so the dividends keep on rolling in. Their inability to follow the rules is ample proof.

It’s de rigueur these days to lament the crushing weight of regulations on business, a not wholly inaccurate charge. The popular refrain is that unnecessary regulations kill jobs and stymie innovation, progress, and plenty. However, fewer point out that a job isn’t much good if you, your family, or your neighbors end up in the morgue waiting to be identified by their dental work or the ash pile that is their DNA.

All of these events, like thousands before them, will generate new regulations. The throngs don’t take kindly to being blown up while watching American Idol and they’ll push their government to do something and do something now.

Score 1 for K St.
The gears of government will turn. There will be a cacophony over just how far the regulations should go. In the end, lobbyists will win out and the resulting regulations will, more often than not, benefit the companies and not control their stupidity. Score 1 for K St.

That doesn’t matter much anyway. Government won’t enforce the laws and will cut back on the agencies that are responsible for that because someone needs a tax cut. The companies will continue to have accidents and all will be right with the world until the next tiny band of workers is irradiated or killed for simply going to work at ones of those nifty jobs that were generated by the cutting of corners and ignoring of regulations – the same regulations that tried to legislate common sense into people who have none of their own.

In the end, these events aren’t about small government or big government. They aren’t about deregulation or over-regulation. They aren’t about the gulf between the haves and have nots. They are about the ultimate failure of holding companies responsible for what they do.

Just as CEO’s don’t get out of bed in the morning plotting on who to kill today, regulations don’t come about needlessly. They come about as the result of someone not doing something that should have.

Unfortunately, you can’t legislate common sense into a thick corporate skull. And, we’re all the worse off for it.

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