Cynical Synapse

Sat, 27 Feb 2010

Absent Until 8 March

Filed under: Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 6:40 am

I will have very limited Internet access until 8 March. As a result, I anticipate not making any posts this week. Rest assured, I will be back.

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Sat, 14 Nov 2009

Obama to Congress: Butt Out on Fort Hood

Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits police Sgt. Munley in the hospital

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) want to launch Congressional investigations into Army and FBI failures regarding MAJ Nidal Malik Hasan’s views and contacts. MAJ Hasan has 13 charges of premeditated murder preferred against him, but Pres. Barack Obama asked Congress to hold off on investigations until the Army and FBI investigations are complete.

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead.

On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to “resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater.” He said those who died on the nation’s largest Army post deserve justice, not political stagecraft.

“The stakes are far too high,” Obama said in a video and Internet address released by the White House while the president he was flying from Tokyo to Singapore, where Pacific Rim countries were meeting.

zippered lips

What’s Obama’s point? As I see it, there are two investigations needed. First, the forensic investigation by US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the FBI to see to it MAJ Hasan is charged with every crime he’s due. The other is the investigation into why “political correctness” allowed this tragedy to happen. Congress is the right body to investigate the PC issues, I think.

Hoekstra is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. He says the government knew about at least 10 to 20 email contacts between Hasan and a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen. Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA), leading Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, also wants to open an investigation.

Don’t get me wrong. Although I’ve pretty much convicted MAJ Hasan in my mind, I want him to be served with justice in the American tradition. I also know the US military has thousands of Muslims serving with honor. What’s at stake, however, is how many other Hasans are out there? Those situations need immediate action that can’t wait until MAJ Hasan’s case is settled.

Wed, 04 Nov 2009

Blog Surpasses 10,000 Hits

Filed under: Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 6:58 pm

10,000 hits

It might not seem like a big deal, but Cynical Synapse surpassed 10,000 hits today. I want to thank my regular readers and encourage occasional passers by to become recurring visitors.

I like comments on my posts. Unlike some TV or radio talk show hosts, I don’t have a problem with opposing views. Nonetheless, I do consider personal attacks on posters and commenters as bad form. I’m also always ready to take suggestions and feedback by email.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009

Columbus Day is Anti-Chavez Day

Filed under: Behavior, Economy, Government, holidays, Hugo Chavez, Oil, Paradoxes, Politics, Rogue states, Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 7:26 am

Although I tend to support the Leif Erikson discovery of America theory, Columbus’ “rediscovery” certainly brought about the modern era for the two continents. There is a wide varIety of experiences as a result of this. It includes the English east coast of North America, the Spanish influence in southern North America and South America, some French influence, and the Portuguese.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez says “Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity.” Never mind that South American culture and economics has its basis in Spanish and Portuguese development of the region. Never mind that much of the so-called genocide has been perpetrated by dictatorial regimes in Central and South America. Columbus isn’t responsible for that. That part is probably not in Chavez’ book.

Chavez doesn’t represent everyone’s view. Still, Chavez, Venezuela’s “duly elected dictator”, seeks to shape South American politics in his own immage. He is trying to reshape Columbus Day as the “Day of Indigenous Resistance“.

Well, screw Chavez! Without Columbus, the Americas would have been backwaters for centuries. Chavez’ issue isn’t with Columbus, it’s with the United states because the US made something of itself. Shame on Chavez for being an apologist.

Mon, 06 Oct 2008

Traffic Lights Prevent Reduced Dependence on Foreign Oil

Filed under: Driving, Duh, Life, Michigan, Politics, Rants, Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 1:19 am

Every now and then, I have to find a way around the slow/not moving traffic on the expressway. Today was one of those days. But, it’s a mixed blessing. While I was making progress, I had to stop at every fricking intersection! You see, the lights are not timed to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic at the posted speed limit. In fact, the lights in this particular area are so close together that you never get to the posted speed limit before you stop for the next light!

I’m not mentioning any names, but Harrison Ave in East Lansing MI isn’t the only culprit. I live in Oakland County, just north of Detroit, where many intersections are tied into the so-called FAST-TRAC system. This system relies on cameras at key intersections. The problem is, the cameras are aimed at the intersection, so they can’t see that traffic is backed up for a half-mile before the intersection. As a result, the traffic lights happily go through their routine sequences, thinking they’re moving traffic when, in fact, they are the cause of traffic back-ups. These same intersections seem to go through their programmed sequences, regardless of the presence or absence of traffic. Why, for example, does the left turn signal sequence still go through its cycle at 5:30 AM when no one’s in the left turn lane?

I have seen camera controlled intersections turn red for the main roadway even though there are no cars on the other roads. I often have occasion to drive on Southfield Road between I-696 and 13 Mile Road. This 2-mile stretch has 7 camera-controlled intersections that seem to operate independent of each other. Expect to stop at at least three of the lights. Similarly, I have on occasion exited I-696 and taken 12 Mile Road to avoid congestion, only to find myself stopping at countless traffic lights and sometimes taking 2-3 cycles just to get to the light. This inhibits traffic flow; it doesn’t facilitate it. In my opinion, camera-controlled intersections are waste, fraud, and abuse of the taxpayer’s money.

Besides being frustrating, stopping at all those traffic lights wastes fuel! This is the 21st century! We have the technology to time the lights properly, if we want to. Some streets are already well-timed, like Eight Mile, Telegraph (mostly), Woodward, and Mound. Why not the others?

Thu, 11 Sep 2008

Lest We Forget

Filed under: Heroes, holidays, Patriotism, Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 11:00 pm

September 11 is Patriot Day in the USA, a day to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. On that day, we lost nearly 3,000 brethren. Many were US citizens, but 90 or more countries lost citizens that day.

On the seventh anniversary of the attacks that resulted in the Global War on Terror, let us remember those who died, innocently going about their daily routines, oblivious of an evil no less sinister than Hitler’s so-called Final Solution. To the initial roll of the dead, we must add 4,729 military losses (as of Sep 6, 2008) in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Of these, 7 were Michigan Army National Guardsmen. I didn’t know any of them personally, but one is from the city where I live. Regardless of our views on the war, we owe them, and their families, a debt of gratitude.

I personally know about a half dozen Soldiers in theater right now and another half dozen at mobilization stations preparing to deploy to Iraq. I work with at least another dozen that have already been there. I have interacted with Soldiers getting ready for their second, and sometimes third, deployment.

For me, this war is personal. Seven of my comrades are no longer with us. My biggest concern, however, is the lack of engagement I perceive. A lot of people, even military people, have settled back into their routines. The Global War on Terror has become just part of the way things are. It’s a topic of conversation, not unlike the weather, for many people. In government, it’s just one of the things we deal with. There’s an unstated effort to bureaucratize mobilizing our friends and neighbors to make it less personal and more, uh, normal. I agree we should standardize the process and make preparing for deployment the best it can be. At the same time, I think treating mobilization as just another task depersonalizes our Soldiers.

We all have thoughts and memories from 9/11/01. Remember the victims and remember those who sacrificed after them. Neither asked for the initial attack. Nor did they have a voice in decisions made that day or afterwords. But they fulfilled their duty on our behalf. For that, we should be grateful. That’s what Patriot Day is about, whether you agree with the War on Terror or not.

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