Friday, February 27, 2015

Last Call For He Lived Long And Prospered

The legendary Leonard Nimoy, Mr Spock, has passed at the age of 83.

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. 
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 
Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week. 
His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

This one legitimately left a hole in my heart.  He absolutely will be missed. As Mr. Spock, Nimoy was more than a cultural icon, he was a hero to outsiders and nerds and geeks everywhere. We related to him. One of the best birthday presents I ever got from Zandardad was his autobiography, "I Am Spock".

Think I'll read it again this week.  His final tweet, by the way, was this:

A more perfect goodbye?  That would be...illogical.

It's Both Who He Is And What He Wants

I wasn't aware that Max Boot was still in the game (and writing for Time Magazine no less) until Zandardad emailed me Boot's article yesterday asking for my opinion.

Guess what Max Boot wants?

Back in 2007–08, when al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor, was pushed out of the Sunni-dominated northwest of Iraq, it was by Sunni tribal fighters working in conjunction with American troops. To inflict serious setbacks on ISIS today will require resurrecting that successful coalition rather than flatly refusing, as Obama has done, to put any “boots on the ground.” 
It is in America’s interest to send as few troops as possible into harm’s way and to get our allies to do as much of the fighting as possible. But sending only 3,000 troops and essentially prohibiting them from leaving base, as Obama has done, is a recipe for ineffectiveness. If we’re going to have any impact on the fight against ISIS, we need to take off our self-imposed shackles. 
It’s hard to know now what commitment may be necessary, which is why it’s vital not to pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that would prohibit “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” It is folly to tell ISIS in advance that it has nothing to fear from the best ground troops on the planet. 
Credible estimates of how many troops we should send range from 10,000 to 25,000. Just as important as the troop numbers are the rules of engagement under which they operate. It is imperative that U.S. advisers and joint tactical air controllers be able to operate on the front lines with the local troops they support. This was the formula that made possible the rapid overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.

"But Zandar," you may ask, "isn't Max Boot one of the leading voices that pushed for all-out ground war in Iraq while writing op-eds for the NY Times and helped paved the way for the decade plus and trillion plus we spent there? Why is he still writing articles for Time Magazine, and why is he advocating the same, open-ended Permawar strategy from 2002?"

Good questions. The answer of course is neocons can't be discredited, just the wars they want the rest of us to fight. And it's always the rest of us who pay the price. This time won't be any different either, is my guess.

Just Akin To Return

Guess who's back?  Back again?  Akin's back, tell a friend!

Todd Akin is considering a primary challenge to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2016
“I have not ruled anything out,” the former congressman and 2012 GOP Senate nominee told The Hill in a phone interview on Wednesday.

“I think there is a high level of dissatisfaction among conservatives, that they have to some degree been pushed out of the Republican Party,” he continued. “The sentiment is there. The Tea Party is skeptical and wants some fresh blood, not just the same establishment guys.” 
Akin’s reemergence is sure to be an unwelcome development for national Republicans.

You think Mr. Legitimate Rape might be a problem in 2016 for the GOP?  I do.

During his 2012 race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the Republican triggered a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and fellow Republicans for saying that women rarely get pregnant from "legitimate rape” during a discussion about why abortion should be illegal in all cases, even rape and incest. 
When Akin refused to back down, the GOP essentially abandoned him in the once-winnable race, and his gaffes hurt the party across the board. 
Now, the GOP pariah says if he did run, it’d be to try to move his party away from a singular focus on economic issues, which he says has come at the expense of social issues, like abortion. 
And Blunt, he argues, will have problems with the state’s conservative base. 
“I think [Blunt’s] support among conservatives is weak,” Akin said. “His biggest liability is a third party conservative getting into the race. If I were in Roy’s shoes, that’s what I’d be worried about.”

Oh please run, Todd.  Be on the news as much as possible reminding voters exactly what Republicans think of women and their "place" in America", especially when the odds are very good that a woman will be at the top of the ticket for the Dems next year.

We'll have a way to shut all that down.


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