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Mike's Soapbox - Best 2005 Rants

1/16 - Sports:  Baseball's new anti-steroid policy - So, major league baseball has unveiled its new "get tough" policy with regards to steroids.

Here it is: a 10-day suspension without pay for a first offense, followed by a 30-day suspension for a second offense, a 60-day ban for a third offense and a one-year suspension for a fourth offense.

What? That is supposed to be tough?

How about this: a first offense is ban for the season, and the second offense is a ban for life.

After all, in MY workplace, if I am found guilty of a drug offense, I get an automatic firing - no suspension, no four-chances, nothing. Baseball should be no less.

Besides, there are a lot of good kids out there who DON'T pollute themselves with roids who would be more than eager to take the place of a baseballer who has skillz that come from a pharmacy.

Baseball: aren't you the game of "three-strikes-and-you're-out"? You might want to adopt that into your drug policy.


1/18 - Politics:  Smoking bans - One of the latest trends in the US it seems is smoking bans.

In Minnesota last year, an attempt to pass a state-wide smoking ban on public places failed in the state legislature. Now, several cities are considering passing bans while the state promises again to take up the issue in the next session.

I am not a smoker, and I do not particularly enjoy cigarette smoke. However, I do feel that it is the right of individual businesses to determine if they want to establish and enforce a smoking ban.

For example, if a particular restaurant or musical venue wants to allow smoking, then I can choose to exercise MY freedom to determine whether or not I want to reward them with my patronage.

However, if a similar place feels that they can increase their profits or not suffer financially from a smoking ban, then they can use their freedom to declare themselves smoke free.

In short, I tend to lean libertarian on this issue; we have enough laws, and we don't need more. Leave it up to individual businesses and the consumers to decide what they want to do.


2/20 - Sports:  R.I.P NHL - So, now it looks like the NHL strike has resulted in the cancellation of the entire season.

And no one really seems to give a crap.

And, as I thought about it, no one really gives a crap anywhere. Like in Phoenix or Dallas, the Suns and Mavericks are doing so well in basketball that no one cares.

Or in New York, where the Knicks are not doing very well, all New Yorkers are fixated on the upcoming Yankees season.

And in Boston, everyone is still so happy about the Sox and Patriots that no one misses the Bruins.

In fact, even here in Minnesota, everyone is so wrapped up in the Timberwolves and their woes that no one has really noticed that the Wild is not playing.

Good job, NHL, way to kill your sport.

Oh, and here's some math for you. 1) Your salary cap will be easy to figure out this year, as it is set the same across the board for everyone at a whopping $0. And for revenue sharing, that's easy also, because no matter how you split it, you'll all get $0 this year.

Unbelievable.


4/21 - Politics:  The Anti-anti-French Rant - So, it has been two years since we ignored the French and invaded Iraq.

And, in those two years, I have witnessed and continue to witness ignorance of our history as people continue to protest the French and bash them whenever possible.

Why do I say ignorance of our history? Yes, it is well-known that the French lost World War II and surrendered without putting up much of a fight. But what about older history?

First, we wouldn't have to worry about the French vetoing the United States' resolution calling for the use of force against Iraq, because without the French, there wouldn't be a United States. The reason we were able to defeat Cornwallis' army at Yorktown was due to the fact that the French navy kept his reinforcements from arriving from England. If the French navy had not supported us, we (British America) would likely be preparing to celebrate Prince Charles' upcoming nuptials (now there's a scary thought)...

And second, let's just suppose we got lucky and defeated the British without French help (say, a hurricane decimated the British navy). The United States would certainly be dwarfed by the large country to the west of us known as Louisiana, which would include all of the Midwest (and the far West would remain part of Mexico). You see, if the French didn't sell us the Louisiana Purchase, the United States would probably have all of the global power of Belize...

So, yes, it is easy to blame the French for failing to support our actions in Iraq (but in hindsight, seeing as how our main reason was WMD and their main reason was to give sanctions more time, it looks like they were right after all), but we can't forget the VERY IMPORTANT role that the French played in OUR history as a nation. And no matter how much we try to make them remember what we did in World War II, we can't also forget what THEY did for US in 1781.


5/30 - Miscellaneous:  Office printer rant - So, I work at one of those office places that has a central printer that everyone prints to. And, as usual, I send my print job to the printer and then have to wait, on average, for about 5 minutes before my print job actually gets printed.

The other day, I sent my print job to the printer. I waited at my desk doing other things while I was waiting, and then after about 6 minutes, I walked over to the printer expecting to find my print out on top of the printer.

Instead, I was greeted by a message "LOAD PAPER TRAY 2." So, I open a new package of paper, and then load up tray 2. Then, over the course of the next half hour, I observed how several hours worth of print jobs had been queued up without anyone going and seeing as to what was going on.

You know, if it's not so important that you can let it sit in print queue limbo for 5 hours, it's probably not important enough to bother printing out!


6/16 - Miscellaneous:  WTF? SERIOUSLY - WTF! - The "Runaway Bride" - that wacko who fled her affluent fiance because the pressure of a wedding with 600 guests and 20 bridesmaids got to her and then fled across country lying about being abducted - inked a movie deal.

Seriously - what the F*CK is WRONG with our country, where we REWARD idiots like this for their stupidity?

If I were the sheriff of Duluth, Georgia, I'd be really pissed, especially considering that she still owes them about $30,000 in fees that they spent in looking for her.

If I were her, I'd watch where I park and ensure that I don't speed; I think the sheriff and company might be looking to recover some of that money one way or another...


7/12 - Politics:  On Karl Rove's alleged leak of classified information and Scott McClellan's tap dance - I can see that Ari, err, Scott McClellan is as big a toadie as his predecessor...

It's too bad the press couldn't have pursued this as vigorously a YEAR AGO, when we might have had a different president as a result.

It surprises me that more people don't see a problem with this.

PEOPLE: A FREAKING POLITICIAN LEAKED NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETS ENDANGERING AN AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE AGENT TO THREATEN HER HUSBAND INTO SILENCING HIS OPPOSITION TO THE IRAQ WAR!

If that's not a a crime (and in my opinion, as much as I hate to sink to Ann Coulter's level, this is one that I believe borders on treason), then I don't know what is...


7/19 - Politics:  The next target in the war terror should be... - So, it was revealed this week that the London suicide bombers had trained for their attacks in Pakistan...

And Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Pakistan...

Pakistan has "The Bomb"...

Pakistani President Musharref did not come to power through democracy, but rather seized power in a military coup and has had evaded several assassination attempts...

So, I have to ask - why are we posturing against Iran and Syria when it appears the real threat from terrorists - and terrorists getting their hands on WMD - is in Pakistan? And, let's face it - Iran and Syria have too much to lose to attack us or support terrorists who will directly attack us. And, we have them under surveillance and effectively "under the gun."

While we trot Pakistan as an example of an ally in the war on terror, it is true that President Musharref is our ally, but that is not a label that can be applied to all of Pakistan. Pakistan right now is about as stable as 1970s Iran. And they are certainly not the model of "Middle Eastern Democracy" that the President keeps advocating as an objective in our war on terror.

If President Bush really has the balls to fight this war on terrorism the way it should be fought - and I believe the way he told the American people it WOULD be fought - he should stand up, tell the Pakistani government to aggressively go after the terrorists within its own borders, or threaten that if they don't, WE WILL. And he should give them a timeline, just like he did with Saddam.

Defeating Saddam Hussein in Iraq certainly didn't make Britain any more safer from terrorism. The real terrorist threats are out there - and they aren't in Baghdad.

(Oh, and Saudi Arabia, I haven't forgotten about Paul Johnson like most of the rest of my fellow citizens. Your time will be coming also if you don't clean up this vermin within your borders as well...)


8/18 - Miscellaneous:  Best name of a research paper - I found this study while researching air traffic control systems.

"What a f-ing system! Send 'em all to the same place and then expect us to stop 'em hitting": Making Technology Work in Air Traffic Control
by Richard Harper, Hughes
http://www.xrce.xerox.com/Publications/Attachments/1991-125/EPC-1991-125.pdf

I just wish my paper had a name as cool as this one when I wrote my Master's thesis!


8/23 - Politics:  Pat Robertson has completely lost it - Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Why? Because Venezuela will become "the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism".

So, first - Pat, the Communists? What, are you still living in the 1950s? The Cold War's over dude, and we won!

Second, what the HELL does Venezuela have to do with Muslim extremists? Are there many Muslims living in Venezuela? Last time I checked the map, Pat, Venezuela was in South America, NOT the Middle East.

Now, everyone join me together as we pray, and I paraphrase Almighty Pat himself: "We ask for miracles in regard to the 700 Club. God, please take care of your alleged servant before he screws things up any worse than they are."

Now, just as Pat said, I am not asking God to do anything too drastic; I'm just saying would it not be possible for God to put it in the mind of this idiot that the time has come to shut the frak up?

Hey, Pat - go back and read your Bible, particularly Exodus 20:13. You might have skipped over that section.


9/1 - Miscellaneous:  Unfreakingbelievable - First, that a hurricane could do so much damage here in the US.

But, secondly, that people could be so outright evil in this situation. I'm talking about the looters, the rioters, the FREAKING MORONS who shot at a National Guard helicopter trying to rescue people.

I feel for the thousands who lost everything, and now have to fight for survival, not only from the water and the diseases, but also the idiots toting AK-47s and starting arson fires.

The media keeps comparing this disaster to September 11th. On that date, everyone came together united and helped one another out. This time, it seems like everyone is out for themselves.

Unfreakingbelievable.

Politics:  Foreign assistance... Who's missing? - I saw in the news that the following countries had pledged to support us in hurricane relief:

Canada, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Britain, China, Australia, Jamaica, Honduras, Greece, Venezuela, the Organization of American States, NATO, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, South Korea, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

So, I have to ask: where the FRACK are our "good friends" the Saudis?

After all, after paying $3.20 at the pump today, they should have PLENTY of money to help us out.

Do I need to remind them of how we saved their asses during Desert Shield/Storm?

Or how they ultimately FRACKED us over when their citizens killed 3,000 of our citizens in an ATTACK on our country?

Or when they FRACKED us over during Operation Enduring Freedom?

Yeah, I guess I didn't expect much from our "friends" the Saudis...

Politics:  Stupidity from the Federal Government - I'm sorry, but I have to rant about the Feds tonight.

First, President Bush said that they could never have imagined that the levees wouldn't hold. WTF? I'm no civil engineer, but even I knew that the levees probably wouldn't hold. You just can't stop mother nature. Then again, this was the same president who didn't expect bin Laden to attack the US despite the report titled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S."

And WTF is with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security? I mean the freaking musicians and actors at NBC had their telethon ready to go BEFORE freaking FEMA had even thought about what to do. And where was the Dept of Homeland Security? Apparently nowhere near the looters who were busy turning New Orleans into Mogadishu.

Speaking of which: I tried to fathom this, but I just can't seem to even grasp a slight bit of why would you shoot at paramedics? Seriously? What is some idiot thinking? "Hmm, those guys look like they are going to save that old lady. They deserve a bullet!" *POP* *POP*

And why wasn't the national guard organized sooner and better? Well, for starters, a bunch of them are either in Iraq or on their way to or from there. And their equipment? Yep. It's in Iraq. If that doesn't make the case for placing the bases AND their equipment into the hands of the state governor, I don't know what does? (The personnel are under the control of the governors, but the base and equipment remain the property of the Federal government.)

And if we can airdrop food into Afghanistan at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, why can't we airdrop food into New Orleans? I mean, it's just unbelievable that in this post-September 11th world, we are NOT better prepared for this type of disaster? What happened to all the Y2K contingency plans? What happened to all the counter-terrorism drills? Hell, people, this was only FIVE years ago!

And if the Federal government does what I think they will do, it will reveal its ultimate stupidity: rebuild New Orleans. New Orleans is between a MAJOR lake and a MAJOR river. Oh, and it is BELOW SEA LEVEL. So, as you can see, it's just begging for a disaster. And when was the last time it was flooded? The 60s.

You can't beat mother nature. Period. So, what you do is this: you just raze the whole city (Adele suggested leaving the French Quarter and maybe some cemeteries walled off as a historical site) and rebuild New New Orleans way over on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain. But, no, I'm sure that the Federal government will let them rebuild it there at the spot. If they do, they better increase taxes, so that we can start a fund to finance the rebuilding after the hurricane of 2045...

Plus, there is NO way I would ever watch a game at the Superdome. People have shit and died all over in there. The whole place is just a mess.

Well, that's about it for my rant. I've pretty much covered all I can say on the subject.

In the end, it's just unbelievable...


11/10 - Politics:  Bush's Next Move? - President Bush - disappointed by his low approval ratings - plans to "hit back" Democrats campaign-style for their allegations that he misled the American people on pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

Well, we all know he DID mislead the American people - at least on those now infamous sixteen words in the State of the Union address.

But here's the thing - instead of going out and trying to improve his rating "campaign-style", why doesn't HE JUST START FIXING THINGS?!

Jobs are still going overseas, the troops are still dying in Iraq, the cost of oil is still high, the Louisiana coast is still in tatters, and Osama is still at large.

President Bush, I just gave you a list of five areas you can make a difference. Come on; pick one, do a good job at, and the ratings will improve. Just pick one and DO SOMETHING!


12/9 - Politics:  Why the concern with the CIA's secret prisons overseas? - Why make such a big deal about the allegations that the CIA operated secret prisons in Poland?

Well, I for one am VERY VERY concerned about this.

And surprisingly, more so the Polish people should be.

After all, we all know what happened the last time a major foreign power operated a secret prison in Poland during a war...