A couple of casual observations to start the weekend.
Lately, Rachel Maddow has been asking why Congress isn’t debating President Obama’s military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It’s surely odd that Congress, which interferes with or tries to block everything else the President does, is allowing him free rein to conduct the war as he sees fit.
I think there are two reasons for this. One, neither party in Congress wants to wind up on the blame line for future Middle East disasters — let Obama take the heat; it’s nothing to do with us. Two, after years of opposing any kind of legislation that might make Obama look good, Republicans on the Hill have arrived at the point where they’re not willing to engage with the President at all. They’ve worked so very hard to trivialize Obama they don’t dare engage him in serious debate over ISIS and the Middle East lest they be seen to be taking him seriously. Jesus, what a contemptible lot.
I DVR’d the first episode of the Syfy Channel’s 12 Monkeys last night so I can watch it tonight while fast-forwarding through the ads. While it was taping I watched Fargo — the original movie, not the recent TV series. This has probably been said before, but I’ll say it anyway because it hits me so strongly every time I watch Fargo: there’s something deeply biblical about that movie.
Speaking of ads, they’re ruining regular TV for me. There probably aren’t any more ads than before, but the older I get the more intrusive they become. And you can hear the volume being jacked up about one second into the first commercial of a block of ads — didn’t we pass a law against that a few years ago? Thank goodness for streaming TV, I say, and the DVR.
Now, what to do about those content-blocking ads on YouTube and news websites?
Listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR yesterday, I heard a journalist guest argue that traditional media is the best place to get the news because professional journalists can be relied on to explore all sides of an issue and ask tough questions. Say what? Have you ever watched Meet the Press? Traditional media jumped on the bandwagon and helped Bush & Cheney lie us into a disastrous war in Iraq. Traditional media was silent when Obama abandoned his promise to keep single-payer health care on the table during the policy negotiations that led to Obamacare. Traditional media is ignoring the massacres in Nigeria today. Traditional media — Rachel Maddow excepted, as I noted at the top of this post — isn’t asking questions about the conduct of our current campaign against ISIS.
If it weren’t for non-traditional media — news and political websites and blogs, for example — tough questions would never be asked. Over on the right sidebar I have a blogroll of sites I visit daily or weekly. One of those is a political blog called Hullabaloo. If you don’t go anywhere else on the internet, go there. Wonkette’s not bad either, if you don’t mind sponsored content disguised to look like news (I use an RSS reader to view Wonkette because it cuts out the fake articles, similar to the way Amazon streaming TV cuts out the ads on The Sopranos).
Donna’s away until next Thursday, staying with our grandson Quentin in Las Vegas while our son and daughter in law take a short vacation in Florida. She left Thursday while I was at the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, so I came home to an empty house that night. Well, not entirely empty: there were three hungry critters waiting for me.
I have plenty of prepared food, which is good because I never feel like cooking from scratch when it’s just for me, and I’m slowly catching up with the streaming TV shows I like but Donna doesn’t. There’s a book club meeting this afternoon, a Hash House Harriers run tomorrow, and my museum tours on Wednesday. Monday or Tuesday I’ll probably take the motorcycle out for a long ride. Time flies, and Donna will be home soon.
Oh, one last thing. Last week I took a new vision prescription to Costco and ordered new glasses. I didn’t take Donna with me because I wanted to pick my own frames. This time I decided to go with tortoise shell. The glasses came in yesterday, so Donna hasn’t seen them yet. I don’t know whether she’ll like them or hate them, but I think I like them. Here they are: