Monthly Archives: January 2006

The State of the Union (and Democratic Response)

Not a lot to say, so I’ll say it in list form:

  • I was watching it on ABC and someone made the best snide comment ever. Right before the speech, when the President was up in front, they announced him and everyone applauded. One of the talking heads on TV actually said something brilliant, “As if they didn’t already know he was there.”

  • Less applause than applause-happy last year. Very good thing. It made the State of the Union address unbearable last year.
  • I like the theme of keeping America competitive. Dead serious. That’s my goal. Keep America on top.
  • As much as I’m not a fan of pork, the line item veto is not the solution. It’s the legislature’s job to legislate, not the President.
  • Thank you for acknowledging immigration, but the guest worker program is a horrible idea
  • Cindy Sheehan is a joke.
  • When Bush mentioned troop withdrawals, I thought that maybe we won’t have troop withdrawals in ’06, like I’ve been predicting

I don’t have much to contribute to this discussion. There’s not much worth mentioning. However, the Democratic response: I know it’s not a big thing and no one listens to it. But speaking as a Republican, people like Governor Kaine are dangerous. Not to our country like the defeatists are, but to the Republican party. If the Democratic party was led by people like him instead of that idiot Howard Dean, the Democrats would have a chance. The Democrat’s problem is national security. I’ve been saying that ever since Kerry lost. Governor Kaine didn’t appear weak on security. He focused on the methods, which have been questionable on Bush’s part, at times. However, the Democrats are probably too dumb to realize this, and I seriously doubt they’ll make many gains during the midterm elections.

Almost Strangers

After six weeks away from JHU, argh I can’t think straight because I’m tired that was a long flight but I think you get the picture from my title that it’s kinda weird being back and the names of those bazillion acquaintances I worked to acquire probably have escaped my mind.

Call Iran’s Big Bluff

If you know your opponent’s bluffing, why try to scare him away from the table? If he bets big into you, why would you raise and make him suspicious? Or even worse, why would you fold and walk away from the table?

Is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad enough of a madman? When the chips are down, would he really attack Israel with a nuclear weapon? If there’s an explicit (or implicit), “You use a nuke, and we destroy your whole country,” threat from the US, the answer is no.

That’s called the stick.

However, unlike what some neocons may think, stick diplomacy isn’t very useful. You also need some carrots.

Play along with Iran’s game. You want peaceful nuclear energy? Fine. Face it, according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we gotta let Iran do what it says it’s proposing. So, we will.

The best way to make sure Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons is to keep a close eye on their nuclear program. It’s that old adage: keep your friends close, and Keep your enemy closer. I like that article very much. We’ll let Iran develop their peaceful nuclear energy program, which actually will help the people of Iran. I think if we do it right, we can make it even harder for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

Of course, it’s a dangerous game, letting them enrich uranium. However, we must face the reality of the situation. No amount of carrots will deter Iran from pursuing this program. Using a stick at this stage in the game is just overkill. It makes no sense for the US to attack now, and China and Russia certainly will veto anything in the UN.

Now, let me unite the diverse strands of these strings of musings. We let Iran develop peaceful nuclear energy. We must because of international law, and there seems to be no way to deter them. However, as they do this, we must keep a very watchful eye. We give Iran carrots, economic incentives, in order to get them to agree to certain safeguards. Moreoever, what we do in Iran can provide valuable experience for future nuclear non-proliferation efforts. It may also give valuable skills which may transfer to the commercial sector in the future.

Ever looming throughout this process is the stick. Since we’re involved in the process, we can figure out if Iran is doing anything wrong. If it is, then maybe we can get the UN involved. China and Russia aren’t really in a great political situation at that point if there’s proof to the rest of the international community of misconduct on Iran’s part. (Notice that at this point in the game, Iran isn’t really doing anything illegal.)

Even if the UN doesn’t jump on the boat, there’s still the safeguard of the US military. An attack now would stretch the all-volunteer US army to its breaking point. Later on? Later on, we might have viable democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our boys will have come home. This approach gives US forces time to recuperate.

One side note, the US military could take out Iran right now, even as we are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. We defeated Germany and Japan at the same time. We occupied both countries at the same time. However, it would require a draft. The all-volunteer army could not do it. Whether or not we could politically get that done is another question all-together and beyond the scope of this entry.

After that side note, there’s not much else left to mention, except the BIG stick. That says even if Iran manages to get a nuke, if they use it, they are assured of destruction, while only hurting Israel, not outright destroying it.

At this point in the game, Iran holds nothing. We can extract much more value from the game by calling, especially politically, instead of trying to outmuscle or appease them. In the meantime, we put ourselves in a situation where we get to peak at their cards. Not a bad arrangement, as long as we remember to use both carrots and sticks as we continue to deal with Iran.

A bit of heresy

I’ve been pondering a bit of heresy, lately. At least, it’s heretical for a conservative of my flavor. Perhaps we didn’t win the Cold War. Russia’s not exactly a bastion of democracy at the moment. Even in countries that formerly belonged to the USSR, we aren’t seeing much to be lauded. All this is a lesson to be learned in our current war against Islamofascism.

Sandcastles on the Beach

You go down the beach and find the perfect sand. Not too wet, not too dry. This is building sand. As you pack it together, a marvelous structure begins to take shape. This is your creation. This is your sandcastle.

When you are putting the finishing touches on this castle, you notice the ocean. The water rises onto the beach, and retracts back into the ocean at large. It is beginning to come lethally close to your beautiful sandcastle. You know it is futile. Yet, you build walls to stave off the attack of the water. The ocean is relentless. You dig moats. The ocean rises. The walls crumble; the moats fill. The landscape becomes smooth, slick sand, with no defects. Eventually, the water overtakes the sandcastle. It becomes a gross lump. A little bit later, and it’s as if your sandcastle was never there.

All of humanity’s creations are but sandcastles on the beach. Mere sandcastles compared to the awesome fury of Mother Nature. I still think of the devastation that was caused in New Orleans last year. We wonder if we should rebuild. We also wonder how we can save Venice, which is sinking.

No matter how strong we build our levees, the mighty hand of God will always humble us. New Orleans, Venice — they are but sandcastles on the beach. As the Earth heats up (whether or not you believe humans had a hand in this heating up makes no difference), the ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise. New Orleans will be completely underwater.

In Santa Barbara, my friend was telling me how one beach was eroding away. They bring in sand to keep the beach from disappearing. This is but another example of a sandcastle on the beach.

All I can think of when I hear of things like this is a child futilely attempting to save a sandcastle on the beach. That’s not to say we shouldn’t build sandcastles. Or attempt to save them. I know I have done this many times. However, humanity should not delude itself into thinking every structure can be saved. A sandcastle is what it is because it will eventually be wiped away. That’s just part of building a sandcastle.

Do I have a point with all this? A policy suggestion? No. It’s just an interesting perspective to ponder. Perhaps I should’ve written a poem.

Hands off Iran

I’ve been doing some thinking about Iran. After talking with my friend Jason, I’ve been pondering whether a hands off approach might be the best approach to Iran. More on this tomorrow.

Iran Riddles

Riddle me this, Batman. Why is oil-rich Iran insisting that it needs to enrich uranium in order to develop nuclear power?

Before you answer this, let’s take a trip into recent history and have you solve a few other mini-riddles.

America has invaded Iraq, a country which Bush named as part of his Axis of Evil. Iran has also been named as a member of the Axis of Evil, but has not been invaded. Mini-riddle number 1: What would be the best way to deter a US invasion? Hint: North Korea is in the Axis of Evil and hasn’t been invaded.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, has denied that the Holocaust ever happened, and has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Mini-riddle number 2: What would be the best way to wipe Israel off the map? Hint: How did the US make Japan surrender, during WWII, without invading?

The answer to both mini-riddles: nuclear weapons. Now, let’s go back to the main riddle. When you put two and two together, I think it’s obvious that Iran wants nuclear weapons.

However, the real riddle is: Will the international community let Iran get away with it? The likely answer to that is almost too scary to contemplate. I don’t know about you, but every day, I’m on the edge of my seat.

Air Pollution and Taxis

Ugh, I am so grossed out after reading this article, “Pedestrians Inhale Less Pollution than Passengers.” Out of various forms of ground transportation, walking exposes you to the least air pollution. You’d think being in this big metal enclosed box on wheels would keep air pollution away, but nope, you’re wrong. According to the article, you’ll inhale the most pollution via taxi ride. As if taxis weren’t already disgusting enough. In retrospect, it makes sense. I mean, your air conditioning is sucking up the air from the exhaust pipe of the car, or diesel truck, in front of you. I’m having difficulty breathing just thinking about this stuff.

Suggestion for Gov. Schwarzenegger

Many Republicans have been whining and screaming about illegal immigration for years. Don’t let my diction fool you. I’m one of those people, sans the “for years” part. Illegal immigration is a serious problem; two governors have declared a state of emergency.

Anyway, I came across this story after watching The O’Reilly Factor and then doing a quick Google search: “Arizona Gov. Targets Illegal Immigration.” In summary, Arizona Governor Napolitano is sending National Guard troops to the border in order to help the Border Patrol, and is asking the federal government to pay for it.

First off, I applaud her. Secondly, she shouldn’t have to do this. This is a federal issue, but unfortunately the federal government isn’t doing its job. I guess Bush is too busy trying to court the Hispanic vote for the Republican party. That’s besides the point, let’s move on to Schwarzenegger.

After all of Schwarzenegger’s initiatives failed in the special election, the California governor has moved leftward. In doing so, he has left the right alienated (wordplay intended). Soon, Schwarzenegger will be up for reelection. Arnold (I am so tired of typing Schwarzenegger) is a Republican. Without courting the base of the Republican party, he has absolutely no chance of getting reelected.

So, here’s my suggestion for Arnold. Follow Gov. Napolitano’s example. Clamp down on illegal immigration, and you will have the right leaping into your arms. One may argue that this will cost Arnold votes rather than help him. Guess what? Any people this move alienates are probably going to vote for the Democratic candidate for governor anyway. Remember, Arnold is a Republican. I think it might help Arnold to remember that too.


I stood before my opponent. Our swords glistened in the sunlight. A light breeze rustled the green leaves above. Winter had given way to spring.

“I am unstoppable,” I told him. I was calm, steady. There was no tinge of boastfulness. I could have told him that the sun was going to rise tomorrow, or two and two made four.

He quietly scoffed. In the next instant, his sword lashed out, reaching for mine. He wanted to prove that I wasn’t unstoppable. He wanted to show me his power. I’m sure he meant to follow through, but in that instant, he lost sight of the goal. In that instant, he thought of something other than killing me.

In that instant, I became like water. My sword slipped away silently. His sword swished through the air while mine slid through his heart.

I repeated, “I am unstoppable.”

growing up

I don’t want to. but it seems as if childhood isn’t really going to be around any longer. guess I have to. it’s just hard to push myself forward. to force myself to decide. i’ll figure it out.

New Description for the Agnoiologist

Just changed the little line below the “Agnoiologist” title from “agnoiology: n. the study of human stupidity. This is the weblog of an agnoiologist — fighting the mythocracy, especially within myself.” to “agnoiology: n. the study of human stupidity. This is the weblog of an agnoiologist, making sure you and I aren’t stupid.”

I’ve decided that my goal is to explain, convince, inform, and explore. News and life.


How can one learn how to deal with a racist?

Tactfully, I mean. And not someone who’s racist towards you. Maybe not even someone who’s a belligerent racist, but you can still tell what’s truly in his/her heart. Someone you’ll have to deal with again and again.

Two New Year’s Resolutions

Last year I only had one new year’s resolution: Seize the day. This year, I was once again planning on having one. However, I soon had two resolutions I couldn’t decide between and then I realized, “Hey, it’s okay to have two.” So, I have two New Year’s resolutions this year. Here we go!

Number 1: Smile. It’s a very simple resolution, and one I think I can keep. It’s very important to smile. It makes you more approachable, it makes you look more confident, more friendly, more positive, more everything. The act of smiling can even make you happier.

Number 2 is a bit more esoteric, I guess you could say, although I feel like I’m using the word incorrectly. Let me elaborate: It’s more out there, harder to understand — not the type of resolution the general populace tends to make. My resolution: Every move is a killing move.

To understand my resolution, you must compare it to sword-fighting. It’s an analogy. Let me present to you an excerpt from The Book of Five Rings: “First of all, when you take up the sword, in any case the idea is to kill an opponent. Even though you may catch, hit, or block an opponent’s slashing sword, or tie it up or obstruct it, all of these moves are opportunities for cutting the opponent down. This must be understood. If you think of catching, think of hitting, think of blocking, think of tying up, or think of obstructing, you will thereby become unable to make the kill. It is crucial to think of everything as an opportunity to kill. This should be given careful consideration.”

This resolution is an evolution of my old seize the day resolution. This one is more focused, more on target. This resolution does not allow the seizing of whims. It’s goal-oriented rather than day-oriented. Every move is an opportunity to make the kill, so to speak. Thus, it forces me to commit to making the kill in the first place. It forces me to choose a goal. That’s why I can’t seize whims.

One last thing. This is not a New Year’s resolution. This is just some general commentary for today. From The Book of Five Rings: “When fighting enemies, if you get to feel snarled up and are making no progress, you toss your mood away and think in your heart that you are starting everything anew. As you get the rhythm, you discern how to win. This is ‘becoming new.’ Anytime you feel tension and friction building up between yourselves and others, if you change your mind that very moment, you can prevail by the advantage of radical difference. This is ‘becoming new.’

So, I’ll forget all my old troubles of 2005. I’ll focus on my new resolutions. I’ll have faith that I can accomplish all that I want to accomplish. I have not messed everything up beyond hope. I can still make the kill. On this first day of 2006, I become new.