Cool boss

I has a cool boss. Got back to office today and discovered his Xmas gift to me was a nifty replica of the Star Trek TMP-era Enterprise — the best-looking Enterprise of all, in my opinion. Nerd dance ensured.

(We’re both Trek geeks. Now I have to get him a napkin with Leonard Nimoy’s DNA on it or something.)

(Yes, the above was a Big Bang Theory reference.)

Update on TSA nominee

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will force the confirmation of a Transportation Security Administration chief back into motion as soon as the Senate reconvenes on January 19th.

Talking Points Memo reports: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will schedule a formal Senate roll call vote on the nomination of Errol Southers,” the Obama appointee who Republican Senator Jim DeMint has blocked for the past four months over worries about TSA employees being able to unionize. Reid will file a cloture motion to overcome DeMint’s block.

Reid’s promise to act comes in the wake of widespread Democratic outrage over DeMint’s continued politicization of the confirmation, even after the recent terror attempt on a trans-national airliner headed to Detroit.

Who’s in charge at the TSA?

One of the people who might rightly come under questioning and criticism in the aftermath of the failed Christmas Day plot to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit is the head of the Transportation Safety Administration… If there was one.

President Obama had nominated Errol Southers — the former top cop at LAX and counterterrorism official in California — to head up the TSA, but he hasn’t been able to take his position. That’s because Republican Senator Jim DeMint has placed a hold on Southers’ appointment.


Southers has refused to pledge he would stop a unionization effort at the TSA so DeMint has put the brakes on the nomination. Because there might be a move to bring in a union, DeMint believes we’re safer not having anyone in charge of the TSA while terrorists are trying to sneak bombs onto planes.

And that’s why no one’s in charge at the TSA.

The politics of instant gratification and the public option

I’m noticing something interesting.

President Obama was never forceful about the public option. In fact, that was something for which a lot of progressives slammed him. During the campaign, he hardly mentioned the public option at all, and barely supported the idea when the health care debate started.

But the meme has changed. Now that the public option is apparently out of both the House and the Senate versions of the health care reform bill, Obama’s being slammed for having “promised” a public option at all costs.

Both memes cannot be true. But that’s not stopping the progressives from engaging in the same kind of Obama Derangement Syndrome we see on the far right — bashing Obama no matter what he does.

Maybe the real story here is that when all is said and done, perhaps this country is impossible to govern. We’re too divided, too ready to pounce, unable to accept incremental steps forward, wanting all or nothing, total glory or absolute destruction, and all of it right now.

In today’s culture, Martin Luther King’s followers would turn on him for daring to say, “I might not get there with you,” as they scream at him, “Whaddya mean? We’re not going to get there TODAY? You’re a COMPROMISER! YOU’VE FAILED US!”

The right wing will never go along with the left wing. The left wing cannot go along with the right wing. The centrists are becoming as volatile as the fringes. The right is turning on itself, as is the left. The moderates are learning not to care.

Maybe the culprit here is our consumerist culture of Instant Gratification. It has now corrupted our political will. Perhaps it has destroyed the possibility of good government and wise leadership — not because there are no wise leaders, but because we wouldn’t have the patience for them.


Avatar = win. I know James Cameron gets no respect, but the bottom line is that he hasn’t made a movie that failed to entertain me. The director’s cut of The Abyss is still his best in my opinion, and Avatar is another winner. Yes, the story is old, but the spectacle more than makes up for it. Zoe Saldana did the best acting in the flick, even though you never actually see her. See it in 3D. Don’t wait for the DVD.

Will it “change the way you see movies” as the hype-line says? Perhaps. At the very least, it will make you realize that given enough money there’s nothing they can’t put on screen anymore. Anything, any book, any story, any wild imagining, can now be shown.

The Grove L.A. = fail. Making people stand in line, in the cold, when there was no crowd, and then letting everyone in too late to get snacks. Big, big fail.

Hot 19-year-old chick sitting next to me = win.

Hot 19-year-old chick sitting next to me calling me “sir” = massive fail.

The reason for the season.

Let us now somberly remind ourselves of the true reason for the season.

His birth was announced by a bright star in the east on December 25th. Three wise men came to him. His mother was a virgin. He died, and was resurrected. He was the Son of God.

Jesus? Uh, no, Horus. Horus did this before Jesus, like, way back in ancient Egypt.

Let’s try again.

He had twelve disciples. His mother was also a virgin. He walked on water. He fed five hundred people with a small amount of food. He went around healing the sick and performing miracles.

Jesus? No, sorry, that was Buddha. Again, predates Jesus by about 500 or so years.

Damn, let’s try again.

His mom was, you guessed it, a virgin. He was the son of a carpenter. He was baptized. He went around performing miracles and even raised people from the dead. The authorities persecuted him, finally succeeded in crucifying him. But he came alive again on the third day, and then in front of many witnesses, ascended to heaven.

Jesus? Heh, don’t get ahead of me. No, this one was Krishna. His story predates Jesus by about a thousand years.

Okay, let’s see if we can get this right. I know you’re getting upset.

He was born on December 25th, attended by shepherds. He had twelve disciples. Went around doing miracles. They called him “The Lamb.” He was also called “the way, the truth and the life.” Some other names he was called: “Logos,” “Redeemer,” “Savior,” “Messiah.” He died, and was resurrected on the third day. He was the Son of God.

That’s GOTTA be Jesus! Nope, sorry, that was Mithra. And Mithra’s story was told about 600 years before Jesus.

Alright. We’ll try again next year.

Obama on the public option

President Obama on the public option:

I’ve been in favor of the public option. I think the more choice, the more competition we have, the better.

On the other hand, I think that the exchange itself, the system that we’re setting up that forces insurance companies to essentially bid for three million or four million or five million people’s business, that in and of itself is going to have a disciplining effect.

Would I like one of those options to be the public option? Yes. Do I think that it makes sense, as some have argued, that, without the public option, we dump all these other extraordinary reforms and we say to the 30 million people who don’t have coverage, “You know, sorry. We didn’t get exactly what we wanted”? I don’t think that makes sense.