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Archive for September, 2007

That’s the title of last night’s segment of Ken Burn’s PBS series War.

Roughly translated, FUBAR means “f#%*ked up beyond all repair,” or “…beyond all recognition.”

Several years ago for no reason I can recall at this moment, I did a good deal of research about World War II. Most of the info has faded now, but that one slang term stuck, probably because it aptly summarizes a governing principle of human life—Murphy’s Law. If anything can go wrong, it will.

This enduring principle as it applied to the subject of warfare first surfaced in my life with a book called Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton. A quite lengthy and detailed recounting of events leading up to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, Catton suggested that the North won the Civil War because the Yanks made fewer mistakes than the Rebs did.

His observations seemed on the mark, as he described one missed opportunity after another. A messenger lost his way and a company of Grey’s was wiped out. A Blue messenger lost his way and by some fortuitous circumstance, the mistake resulted in a victory for the North. It seemed as if Murphy’s Law had its reverse doppelganger. If a Yankee messenger lost his way, in retrospect we see that things were better because of it.

I’ve often related Catton’s descriptions to acquaintances and their responses fall clearly into two groups. Those who believed in the principles espoused by the secessionists found a justification for the CSA’s loss, namely the North wasn’t superior. It was just plain old lucky. Those who supported the North responded just as forcefully that the Union’s ability to adapt in the face of emergencies proved Northern supremacy. Each side had its interesting thoughts, all heavily tinged with North-South emotion.

The argument from adaptability surfaced again as an explanation for the U.S. victory over Japan in World War II. As my American friends argued, the Japanese failed to adapt to changing situations. Japanese culture was too rigid for ready adjustment to American innovations in equipment and tactics. And my Japanese friends’ explanation? The American fighting spirit was not superior to the Japanese samurai spirit. The Americans were lucky.

Whichever way you look at it, World War II seems in retrospect to have been replete with FUBAR’s. One wonders how history will view the totality of the Iraq operation.

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(Excerpt. Complete lyrics here)

Where have all the young men gone?

Long time passing

Where have all the young men gone?

Long time ago

Where have all the young men gone?

Gone for soldiers every one

When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?

Long time passing

Where have all the soldiers gone?

Long time ago

Where have all the soldiers gone?

Gone to graveyards every one

When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?

Long time passing

Where have all the graveyards gone?

Long time ago

Where have all the graveyards gone?

Covered with flowers every one

When will we ever learn?

When will we ever learn?

Excerpt under Fair Use Copyright laws. Words and music by Pete Seeger, 1956. performed by Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger. Also performed by the Kingston Trio.
©1961 (Renewed) Fall River Music Inc.

The Kingston Trio’s version of this song was playing on an unknown radio station as I scanned the dial a couple of days ago. The lyrics piqued my interest. A little researched revealed that Pete Seeger wrote the song in 1956 shortly after he appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1955. HUAC had investigated him as a possible communist and later held him in contempt when he refused to testify. Thus, the song at its inception wasn’t necessarily an anti-war song. Rather, many interpreted it as symbolic of all lives wasted unnecessarily. Then with the advent of the Vietnam War, widespread opposition to the war among young Americans, many of whom left the U.S. for Canada and various other countries to escape military service, the song became widely accepted as a plea against the deaths of Americans in Vietnam. Today, the song is relatively unknown.

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Loop-the-loop
Not all of the loopies live on the streets. Some live in the White House. In November, the U.S. Naval Academy and the city of Annapolis, Maryland, will host a Middle East peace meeting. Condi Rice, famed Stanford provost and political science professor, along with several Arab and Israeli leaders will assemble to discuss terms for establishing a Palestinian state.

That isn’t the harebrained part. The White House decided to use the U.S. Naval Academy instead of the traditional presidential retreats at Camp David or the Wye Plantation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Why? Now here’s the off the wall part. Those locations are associated with Clinton’s past failures at achieving a Middle East peace.

The last time I checked, the Republicans were still associating Clinton with every failure in the history of human civilization, including the earthquake that brought down much of the Bay Bridge.

Given the universality of Clinton’s failures, perhaps Bush might consider abandoning the Oval Office. How could a president of such compassion and principle continue to occupy an office associated in any shape, form, or fashion with all things Clintonian?

2007 President’s Cup
We’re watching this golfing event from Montreal. It’s one of those interesting contests between a United States Team and a World Team. U.S. Team members are wearing red shirts; the World boys black. Is there a Red State bit of influence going on here? The golfing community is known to be quite conservative.

To me the golfers are only about half of the story. The spectators in the background intrigue me. Everyone dresses like a golfer. And every time a golfer hits a good shot, the spectators turn to one another and nod approvingly. Can you imagine a crowd at a hockey match carrying a hockey stick and wearing skates? That’s possible. But nodding in approval? I don’t think so.

Occasionally I’ll spot a really good looking woman in the background. She’s probably the wife of one of the players. Duffers have no time for wives or girlfriends. Watching golf is their life, their psychic rejuvenator. Duffers are proof positive of the old golfing adage, “The older I get, the better I used to be.”

But the best part of watching golf for me is the wide-open space of the course. Even on a course surrounded by skyscrapers, the course seems like a world of its own. And when the cameras in a hovering blimp reveal a broader landscape in the distance, it can be breathtaking. Landscapes and panoramas, how much better can it get? Well, maybe that’s stretching it a little bit…

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Politics is a game of ins and outs. Mike Farrah is in for the moment, but per h. brown the powers that be have moved him from a spacious office next to Newsom into a tiny cubby hole. His apparent sin? He contributed money to the campaign of mayoral candidate Chicken John Rinaldi. Funny, Chicken is actually a Newsom supporter. Even funnier, Farrah contributed five times more bucks to the Newsom campaign. Go figure.

In politics, however, disloyalty is disloyalty, period. No shades of grey. And one of the more common strategies for handling someone no longer in favor is to move them to a crappy office and assign them nothing. Anyone with an ego or a little pride or perhaps a sense of humiliation will get the message and leave voluntarily.

If that fails, the next step may be to move Farrah to an empty warehouse at the far reaches of the Presidio. After that…who knows, maybe a re-written position description with a concomitant reduction in salary. The possibilities are endless.

If Mike is an astute political operative, he knows all of this better than I do. He’s probably looking around already. Maybe he’d make an effective addition to the staff of Ground Floor Public Affairs.

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Yesterday, this site’s hit meter went out of sight,

I wonder why? Could it be that the main post, Sex with Aunty Em, included the word “sex?” Could it be that the title could have been “Sex with a Baboon” or “Sex with a Freshly-Shelled Walnut” and worked just as well? Naw. No one cares about sex. Everyone wants to read about politics.

If you believe that, I have a large body of water in the Sierras straddling the California and Nevada borders for sale.

Since opening this site in April 2007, we’ve categorized our posts under several headings—politics, power, current events, Bay Area Communities, Demographics, humor, war, sex, scandals, Paris Hilton, and more, too many to list here. I’ll give you three guesses which of these draws the most visitors.

Hint: Nancy Pelosi. “Tee hee,” as my best friend would say. Nancy drew about two clicks and one of those was apparently from a congenital Pelosi watcher who proceeded to rip her to shreds. Seems all of the political heat originates somewhere to the right of center on the Lib-Con line.

The seeming lack of political temperature in the L quadrant may mean bad news for the Democrats if the Republicans manage to get a measure on the ballot to change California’s method of counting presidential electoral votes. Now, if someone introduced a proposal to require naked pages in the State Assembly, the L’s would come out of the woodworks.

Do C’s have sex? Below the radar they just might. SFist points out that the man behind the “Create a Republican World” ballot initiative was once sued for biting a woman’s butt in a bar, whereupon he declared that she should have been flattered. A jury later flattered her to the tune of $25,000. Is that the kind of man we want running California? Hmmmmm.

My point here is that Paris Hilton, et al, are necessary to the perpetuation of the blog-o-sphere, yes, but not everyone has the superstructure, beauty, and stupidity to become a bimbo. California, like all states, is filled with those blessed with intelligence. Where are the symmetrical and asymmetrical Mensa members when the L’s need them?

By the way, we fully intend to continue our policy of mixing sex and politics. Remember these words:

To everything there is a season
A time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die.

A time for sex and a time for politics.

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If you’re into the sex scene, you probably know Emily Morse. Otherwise the name may escape you.

She’s the host of a podcast called Sex with Emily on 106.9 FM Saturday nights from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. She’s sort of the modern version of Sue Johnson, Canada’s premier sex conversationalist and counselor we see on Oxygen TV. Only, Emily Morse is younger and better looking. No insult, Sue. That’s just a law of life—people get old. Emily hasn’t reached that stage yet.

According to IMDB, the movie database, Emily acted in the movie I am a Sex Addict and co-produced and co-directed the movie See How They Run. I am a Sex Addict was scheduled for a television showing on TMC, Wednesday, September 26, 2007, at 3:05 a.m., an un-Godly hour if ever there was one.

The more interesting film, though, is See How They Run. According to IMDB, this is a behind-the-scenes look at a “showdown” between Mayor Willie Brown and supervisor Tom Ammiano. The cast of characters reads like a who’s who of San Francisco’s political elite: Willie Brown, Jerry Brown, Diane Feinstein, and Tom Ammiano.

No mention of His Gavness, but the cast also included a slew of celebrities: Kathie Lee Gifford, Arianna Huffington, Jesse Jackson, Bill Maher, Sean Penn, and Regis Philbin.

I haven’t watched any of her film work and probably never will. My only experience with Emily was a brief YouTube clip of one of her radio broadcasts called Emily is Visited by Three Sexy Women on Her Radio Show.

Boooring. To be perfectly honest—and this is just my own personal philosophy—it’s more fun to do it than listen to someone else talk about it or even watch someone else on film or tape. I really could not care less about Britney’s or Paris’s crotch shot.

Well, if I’m not interested in sex, why am I writing about Emily Morse? I did not say I am not interested in sex. I am very much interested in my own sex life. I’m no more interested in other people’s sex habits than I was listening to how many cheerleaders the captain of the football team banged last Friday night. Most people lie about sex anyway.

My primary interest is in the modern cultural phenomenon of young women and not-so-young women who choos careers, if you can call them that, in the sex business. Emily Morse is an example of this phenomenon. Why would a young girl with great intelligence and great promise wish to change the world one orgasm at a time? While orgasms are very pleasurable, I can’t help but wonder if somewhere along the line, they are the root cause of the 6 billion-and-counting over populated world we live in. From the angle of saving the world, it sounds like birth control would be a more fruitful social contribution as well as a promising economic activity. Combine that with the abundance of orgasms at any given moment, and you may have a winner.

Don’t get me wrong. Emily Morse is undoubtedly a nice person. It’s just that she doesn’t look like a sex pot. She looks like that kid down the block who walks past your house to high school. How can a girl pass as a sexpot when she looks so innocent? Actual innocence is something else entirely. We’re talking about appearances here.

One day, she will reach the age of Sue Johnson, the age of knowledge and reason. I’d be willing to bet Aunty Em knew more about sex than Dorothy.

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Today on the Wolf Blitzer show, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said forcefully,

“The Republicans in the Senate have now taken ownership of the war in Iraq. It was President Bush’s war. And now it is the Republicans in Congress’ war.”

Under sometimes intense questioning by Wolf, Pelosi held her ground and made it clear that the Republicans in the Senate have joined Bush and Cheney in blocking all efforts to end American involvement in Iraq.

To underscore her point, she repeated several times the “civics lesson” that all Americans ought to know but few do: Senate rules require 60 votes to end a fillibustrer, a favored Republican tactic. Presently, the Senate is split evenly (49 Republicans, 49 Democrats, 1 Independent) and virtually all of the 49 Republicans stubbornly refuse to budge. Thus, the Republicans are able to prevent the Democrats from pressing forward on withdrawing American forces.

When Blitzer pointed out that Congress had an approval rating among surveyed Americans lower than Bush’s, Pelosi made a telling point. The percentages floating around are approval ratings for the Congress as a whole. They aren’t approval ratings for the Democratic majority in Congress. Her message was clear—the Republicans in Congress are the cause of widespread dissatisfaction and low approval ratings. The Republicans are a drag on Congress, not the Democrats.

Throughout the interview, Pelosi comported herself well. She might become a more popular speaker if she met the public more often. Her refusal to meet with the Code Pink Ladies because they are not her “constituents” is inexplicable. It smacks of a Newsom approach to public relations. She can certaunly do better. For one thing, she is smarter than Newsom. For another, she isn’t quite as antsy under pressure. She remains calm and collected. Her performance today is ample evicence of her grace under pressure.

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