Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What did they expect?


The latest embarrassment caused by U.S. Secret Service agents in Amsterdam did not surprise me. Yes, drinking to the point of passing out in a hotel hallway is embarrassing and inappropriate behavior for any adult.  But, I ask again: what did they expect?

When you specifically hire people who are big, strong, fighting men highly trained in the skills to stop an assault on or draw fire away from America’s leadership, the testosterone is bound to leak and trigger behavior unbecoming of a federal employee.

I’m not saying I approve of their drunken behavior. What I am saying is that it should not come as a surprise.

These guys, and I assume they are all guys in this case, are on high alert for long hours and must sleep when the opportunity presents itself. After being on high alert, it takes time to get adrenalin levels closer to normal. Add to that their already elevated levels of testosterone and you got trouble.

Many cops have substance abuse problems, I believe, because of similar pressures. They need to stay hyper-alert on duty, but when they go off-duty it’s hard to let that go. Their friends and families want them to be their “normal” selves and to enjoy life while they’re still wired to defend and protect.

I don’t know if people with these kinds of jobs go through regular debriefings. Perhaps psychologically-retuned methods of debriefing could speed up recovery from everyday tensions that go with these jobs. Would meditation be laughed-off by these macho guys?

I clearly have no training in mental health care, but there just has to be a better way than drinking oneself into oblivion or paying for sex after every shift.


[Shame on me -- I just thought about Woody Allen’s film, “Sleeper” and one of the distinctive house’s special features.]

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Get a life, CNN!

Speculation and sensationalism seem to be all CNN is interested in most of the time.  There is so much more going on in the world and the U.S.A. that there should be no shortage of stories CNN could report.

Instead, they are fixated on the disappeared Malaysian Air jet.  OK, it's a hugely mysterious, dreadful event, but I don't want to be reminded of it every minute with more speculation than actual news-worthy information.  Repeating dramatic footage of grieving people is overkill at worst and distasteful and insensitive at best.  Since most of them do not speak English, it's the equivalent of sticking a mic in their faces and asking them how they feel, something CNN reporters are seldom reluctant to do.

Come on, CNN!!  Can't you report on something more relevant and current and wait for real information to be revealed rather than regurgitating the same stuff over and over gain?!

P.S.  I confess that my husband is a news junky and I leave the room soon after he tunes-in CNN.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Return of the Honkers


During the past few nights, I have been awakened by flocks of Canada Geese flying over. They make quite a racket. It’s as if they’re all backseat drivers.

Lying in bed, trying to get back to sleep, my imagination kicks in -- putting a grin on my face and further delaying my return to sleep.

The goose at the head of the V (I’ll call him Ralph) has to be frustrated out of his mind with all the jabbering behind him.

Goose Millie: Hey, Ralph, ya gotta turn a little more east.

Goose Stuart: No Ralph. If you turn too far east, we’ll end up running into the Government Printing Office. We’re heading for Constitution Gardens, right?

Goose Ralph: Na, we’re heading for the Tidal Basin. It’s tradition.

Goose Judy: Hey, guys -- we have to make a pit stop. Remember, some of us are ready to pop eggs!

Goose Annie: Why not stop at Constitution Gardens? There’s plenty of stuff to eat there. Besides, the tourists love to see us there and feed us popcorn and bread.

Goose Gilbert: I don’t care what the tourists like, but we have been flying for a long time and need a rest. Let’s stop on the lawn at the Federal Reserve.

Goose Simone: Yeah, Ralph -- we’re sick and tired of following you everywhere with no concern for the distaff side.

Goose Ralph: Ok, Simone, you come up here and take the lead! See how long you last leading this bunch of complainers. I can see ahead and there are white caps on the Tidal Basin, so we’ll detour to Constitution Gardens. Are you all happy now?!

Honk, honk, honk, honky tonk, honk .   .    .   ......

 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The "Domino Theory" Rides Again


Back in the 1950s and 60s this theory was used to justify our involvement in conflicts involving other nations. I associate it most strongly with President Eisenhower who worried about Asian nations falling into communism like a row of tumbling domino pieces. Corruption of ancient values played a role in tipping nations off ethical paths.

Right now, it would appear that Vladimir Putin and his Russian buddies are trying to reconstitute the old Soviet Union; one country at a time. It started with Georgia and Chechnya, relatively small fish in the scheme of things. Ukraine is a big fish with strong manufacturing and food production capacities important to the region.

Once Putin saw that his invasions of Georgia and Chechnya didn’t rile the rest of the world enough to get involved, he decided on a bigger goal. Sadly, the president of Ukraine was a Putin-puppet and readily turned-over the reins.

In no way do I suggest that the U.S. should send G.I.s into Ukraine or Crimea even though Putin thumbs his nose at our diplomatic efforts. He really could not care less what we think about his actions. Besides, whenever the U.S. has supported insurgencies in other countries, they have turned around and bitten our collective posterior. Supporting Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein against Iran and Afghan rebels (Taliban) against the Russians are just two examples.

Are we still so afraid of communism and the Iron Curtain that we have to react every time Putin throws his weight around? I think it’s dreadful that Ukraine's civilians and military are taking a beating. It reminds me of the atrocities in Serbia and Croatia not so long ago. Still, the U.S. is stretched way too thin trying to police the world.

The United Nations is oxymoronic [not sure that’s a word but it works] because member nations seldom are united on anything. The U.S. is its main financier yet is outweighed in the Security Council by nations that contribute far less. Regardless, it should be the U.N., not the U.S. that stands up against Russian intrusion. Diplomacy has its place, but it’s time for member nations to roll up their sleeves and go after the bullies. Strength in numbers is the only way to stop bullying before the bullies get too sure of themselves.

Unlike some believe, the United Nations does not have it’s own army. It depends on member nations volunteering their troops for U.N. peace-keeping missions. I believe there is a chance that a U.N. mission to Ukraine and Crimea might halt the conflict before it gets really ugly.