Saturday, May 28, 2011

Training Rules (review)

Taking a break from grading essays and final exams, I watched a documentary on Netflix Instant today called Training Rules. It's definitely worth a look.

This film's blurb is actually accurate; it "explores the case of Jen Harris, a gifted college basketball player who was drummed out of Penn State's basketball program by Coach Rene Portland for her perceived sexual orientation. Harris's court case against Portland's decision spurred other players to speak out about Portland's harassment and shined a revealing light on the sexual orientation-based discriminatory policies many college sports programs still condone."

The documentary was particularly interesting to me as a Penn State alumna (MA grad 1987). Rene Portland was coach while I was there. I personally didn't know any of the basketball players, but I certainly met softball coach Sue Rankin at party once and I knew people who'd been friends with former players. Rene Portland was thoroughly despised by State College's gay community (in fact, our nickname for her was "Anal Portland.") Portland hated lesbians. Anyone who even remotely "looked" like, "acted" like, or hung out with lesbians would be thrown off the team.

And, of course, we in the gay community know very well that quite often, the persons who hate us most are the persons who are themselves most deeply hidden in the closet. Speculation ran rampart that Portland was a closet lezzie terrified of her own feelings for women. Who knows the truth of that, but I will say this: Rene Portland surely set off my gaydar.

For me, this is a case of someone's religious convictions (Portland is Catholic) destroying her humanity. There are plenty of Christians who reject the fundamentalist/traditional view that the Bible is anti-homosexual. (Let's remember the Bible once was also used to justify slavery in this country.) Portland's hate (self-hate?) and homophobia led her to hurt many outstanding young women.

I was at the NCLR dinner in which Jennifer Harris was honored. She is a courageous soul. What's ironic is that Jen Harris may not even be gay (that's irrelevant). Portland just perceived her to be so. That alone is so over-the-top fearful that you just know something is amiss in the state of Rene Portland's psyche.

Why Things Fall Apart

I swiped this graphic from Mr SponsorPants' page because it reminds me to let go of resentments. Sometimes people just don't feel or act in the way I want them to. Sometimes people disappoint me. But whenever I find myself starting to blame them (they're stupid, they're stubborn, they're lazy, they're inconsiderate), lately I try to pull myself up short. Blaming leads me right to resentment, and when I resent something or someone, that's a trigger for me to drink.

Instead I try to remind myself that no one is perfect (including me), and that honestly? The best things in my life that have happened to me have tended to come about when things didn't go according to plan.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dealing with Relapses

Look, addiction is powerful. It's hard to explain to someone who isn't an addict exactly what it feels like to be a slave to a substance. Cravings become unbearable. White knuckling it is exhausting. Listening to the self-talk of your inner addict ("Go on, one drink won't hurt anybody," "You can too have a drink; you can control it anytime you want," "These fuckers are trying to tell you how to live") makes you feel positively possessed.

Sometimes people give in, despite their best intentions, despite their desperation to quit.

Relapsing isn't okay, but it's certainly understandable.

It doesn't need to be a part of your recovery, but it often winds up being so.

So what to do if you relapse, or if an alcoholic you know relapses?

(1) Put the drink down or help them put the drink down (assist; don't control).

(2) Do NOT judge them or yourself. That doesn't help. We can't exactly help being an addict. Besides, the way the addict's brain works is like this: "Well, fine, if you're going to bitch at me and write me off as a lost cause, I might as well go ahead and be one."

(3) Go ahead and express your disappointment, or feel disappointed in yourself, but remember: "Progress, not perfection." Nobody's perfect, and we're all only human. The important thing is to learn from your mistake so you don't repeat it.

(4) Learn from the mistake, or help them learn from it. Relapses happen for a variety of reasons, but they usually boil down to several common triggers. Remember H.A.L.T.: don't let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Remember to check your resentments at the door. (That has everything to do with anger.) Lastly, how is your faith? Faith is something that needs to be nurtured. You don't find it and then just sort of let it hang there uselessly.

I read somewhere once that AA has a high failure rate--maybe something like 80%. (Nevertheless it is the program with the highest success rate.) Or, people will say that AA doesn't work because on the one hand you're told you can't help your addiction, yet on the other hand you're told you can help your addiction. It seems irrational.

But really, that's a little off the mark. True, addicts CAN'T help their addiction. Their self-will has no power over it. But addicts CAN help their addiction by giving their self-will over to something else that DOES have power over it. We can't have faith in ourselves anymore; we've let ourselves down too many times to know we're not bigger than the grip of our substance. But we CAN have faith in the power of something else. (That something else--or Higher Power--can be God, it can be universal love, it can be your own AA group, it can be anything as long as you can put your faith in that. And I mean whole-heartedly.)

Faith is what saves us. Without faith, without some kind of belief in a greater good, we are all lost. There is no reason to not fall prey to our addiction.

Thus, (5) Pray.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Musings on a Wednesday

Well, it's the last day of the semester and I'm sitting here musing as the last six students fret over their final. They have 50 more minutes to finish up.

And then I need to finish up myself before June 5th (a very reasonable goal) since all I have left to grade are two stacks of essays and one stack of finals. I hope to get those done by the middle of next week.

The photo here has nothing to do with finals and nothing to do with anything, except that I think it's cute! Alas, the Giants got totally spanked by the Marlins last night.

I don't whether it's the stress of the semester ending or what, but I've been troubled by nightmares recently. I dreamed one night about my ex, Beth, and trying to reason with her, but then her ex-girlfriend (whom Beth left for me) materialized in the dream. She was this tremendously large (as in tall and big-boned), imposing woman. In the dream I just listened to her, feeling very confused because the last thing I knew, she wasn't even talking to Beth, but here she was, reading me the riot act and taking Beth's side. I woke up not even knowing what we were arguing about.

It's a weird time. Tornadoes are lashing the Midwest, the Rapture didn't occur (surprise! Duh), and three people--count 'em--three within as many weeks have approached me about getting sober. One person abandoned the idea the very next day (it's interesting how alcoholics will admit they've got a problem when they're drunk, but once they sober up, they realize they're not ready to give it up.) The other two persons are both terrified about how their parents might react if they were to find out they've got a drinking problem.

I figure if you've got an addiction, are able to admit to it, and are willing to do whatever it takes to overcome it (the biggest thing by far is sticking to it), then people have no business judging. There is more than enough evidence that points to addiction having a cause related to brain chemistry, possibly genetically inherited. It's like being gay or left-handed: you don't exactly choose it. Or as Lady Gaga might say: "Baby, I was born this way."

It has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of character or morals or a weak will. I know plenty of immoral jackasses who don't drink at all or drink very little; I know plenty of recovering alcoholics or addicts who are the kindest and most upstanding folks around and who are highly disciplined. What is that Shug tells Celie in The Color Purple about how she found God? "I think it's suffering, Lord, that do it for most people. Feelin' like shit." There's not an alcoholic out there who hasn't suffered profoundly because of their addiction.

I think a heart that's been cracked open by pain does heal, but the wound is a gift: the heart, once closed, is now open.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lithgow Reads Gingrich

OMG, did you read Newt Gingrich's press release after the GOP jumped down his throat for criticizing the Ryan "get rid of Medicare and give 'em a voucher" plan? It's positively Shakespearean. You haven't lived until you've seen John Lithgow do a dramatic reading of it. Full text below the video.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
John Lithgow Performs Gingrich Press Release
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“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

AT&T Park Today; Giants Sweep the A's

The game went into extra innings, but we finally won 5-4 to sweep the series. Such a gorgeous day for a ball game, although I think my face is a little sunburned...Chelle's brother Matt texted Jimmy from Vermont where he was watching the game to say that he saw us on television. I hope I wasn't picking my nose!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Preakness Pick 4

Here's a $16 bet I placed for the Pick 4 (you can cut the price in half by making a .50 bet instead if you like). I singled Paddy O'Prado because he seemed pretty likely to me.

Race 9: 2,6
Race 10: 2,8
Race 11: 4
Race 12: 5,6,10,11

Good luck!

(Update: Sweet! This hit, paid $255)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Preakness Picks

I sure would like to see a horse win the Triple Crown, and I do think Animal Kingdom has the breeding to go the distance in the Belmont Stakes. But the pace of the Kentucky Derby was a crawl--I don't think it will be like that in the Preakness. Dialed In finished well in the Derby but there were those early sluggish fractions. He may do better in this race with more legit fractions. In fact, one handicapper I know says Dialed In actually was finishing faster than Animal Kingdom, he was just too far back, so he is doing an exacta box with these two horses.

Shackleford could also stay for a piece and Mucho Macho Man once again should show up.

Other horses worth considering tossing into trifectas and superfectas: Concealed Identity. Hey, he's won twice over the track and is improving. Midnight Interlude did horribly in the Derby, but so did Lookin At Lucky last year (pinned on the rail); but Baffert did a positive jockey switch from Gomez to Martin Garcia, and guess what. Lookin At Lucky won the Preakness, and Garcia's up on Midnight Interlude this time.

Astrology on the rail is improving, but he's stuck on seconds. Worth throwing in, but not to win. Same for Sway Away, Jeff Bonde's horse. Bonde says this is a better horse than his horse Twice the Appeal, who came in 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Probably won't win, but may very well get up for a piece.

The rest of the field I'm throwing out.

Good luck!

(Update: Superfecta was Shackleford, Animal Kingdom, Astrology, and Dialed In. I had it, hope you did too! Paid $274.00 on a dime bet... I did a $36 superfecta wheel)

If Gay Priests Were Allowed to Be Out

There's gotta be some kind of prohibition in the Bible about that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lucy Gets Tanked

"Are you tired, run down, or listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? Then try... Vegaagaminenanaminimm."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pot, Meet Kettle

funny facebook fails - Casting the First Stone
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Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

I'm one of those persons who has always cared too much what other people think--like most of us, I want to be liked. Hell, I want to be loved! Unfortunately, this tendency hasn't served me well over the years, and I've had to learn the hard way--over and over again--that ultimately it's not good for me to take things personally. That is a surefire way to make myself crazy.

Fortunately, with sobriety came the realization that very seldom is it even about me: if someone has an issue with me and we can't talk it out, sometimes that says more about them than it does about me.

A case in point:  once a coworker got a new girlfriend and was sharing her excitement about that with me in a text message conversation. She said (and I thought she was saying it proudly): "She's got abs! Six-pack abs!"

To which I responded, "Oooh, hot! :-)"

There was a pause and then came her next text: "She's mine! You keep your hands off her."

No smiley, no j/k, so I wasn't sure how to take this. But maybe she was kidding. So I answered, "Um, yeah, I'm married, so I don't think you need to worry." (And I was also thinking, "and not to mention that I don't even know this person.")

And she responded, "Yeah, okay, must be my Scorpio jealousy."

I wished her luck in her new relationship and dropped the conversation.

But in the past, when I was drinking and taking everything personally, which would trigger me to drink even more, I would've gotten upset over the implicit accusation that had been fired at me: I don't trust you to not try to take her away from me. Why would she think that about me? Does she think I don't respect other people's relationships? Does she think I'm a huge jerk? Does she think I'd have sex with any person who had six-pack abs? How shallow does she--how shallow do people in general--think I am?

Today, I look at this conversation and I see that, instead, her implicit accusation had everything to do with HER, and absolutely nothing to do with me. It not only suggests what she admitted to--that she struggles with jealousy--but it suggests she's entirely insecure. She projects what she fears onto other people.

Well, needless to say, her relationship with that person lasted for maybe a year, something like that. And there have been other instances in which I've seen her do a similar thing: take a perfectly innocent statement way out of context, attribute a villainous motive to the poor soul who uttered it, and blow up. Consequently, the day another colleague referred to her as "crazy," I wasn't surprised.

Others have noticed her erratic behavior too.

This is on my mind today because she did it again yesterday--she accused a group of colleagues of being cliquish bullies. The accusation took everybody by surprise, and nobody seems to have a clue what she's talking about. Clearly there is some history in this woman's own mind that makes her assume something like that, but who knows?

I guess it bothers me a little because I saw one of the accused take it personally. However, she chose to let it roll off her, so that's okay.

And really, if you really want to avoid a lot of wasted energy, heartache, and drama, this is the about the only way you can respond to a difficult person like this. Let it go in one ear and out the other. It has nothing at all to do with you--it's their bullshit.

Or, as Chelle is fond of saying, "She's got issues."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Revisiting Step One

The first step in AA is pretty straightforward: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”  And yet, for many, and certainly for me, I couldn’t get past the first step for the longest time, despite several failed attempts to quit drinking and several decisions to abandon AA after some short-lived periods of abstinence.
The problem for me was my self-will. Admitting I was powerless was tantamount to admitting that no amount of determination to control my drinking behavior would ever succeed. And I resisted that: I could control my drinking, if I really put my mind to it. My problem was that I really didn’t want to give up drinking. All I needed to do was make up my mind for real, once and for all, and just stick to it. It was like sticking to a diet, right? Just have some will power, for chrissakes.
That was fine. Usually an alcoholic has to try to control his or her drinking and fail at it numerous times until the ugly truth stares them in the face. It took a worksheet I did in rehab to make the case for me. Every attempt I’d ever made to control my drinking (drinking on weekends only; drinking on vacations only; not drinking before 5pm; switching to beer only; switching to wine only; not exceeding two drinks only, and the list goes on) ultimately failed. They may have worked for a while. Once I’d even gone 7 whole months without a drink. Yet eventually, eventually, I’d abandon the “rules” and find myself back in the old pattern of drinking too much, too often.
You can only recommit and get back on the wagon with the best of intentions—and then fail at it—so many times before being forced to admit that maybe, just maybe, your self-will can’t control what happens to you when you drink.
But other thoughts kept me from embracing the first step. There was that “our lives had become unmanageable” part. Well, I’d never gotten a DUI. I’d never lost a job. I’d never been kicked to the curb by a partner because of my drinking. The worst that had ever happened was that occasionally I’d make an idiot out of myself, or occasionally I’d fall and hurt myself (once I ran smack into a concrete wall and blackened my own eye), or I’d hurt people by yelling things I didn’t mean when I was sauced. But I’d apologize the next day. Oh, and hangovers. Yeah, I’d had some bad ones, but everybody gets hangovers every now and then—that’s hardly unmanageable, as in “my life is spinning out of control.”
But the truth is, for a while there, I just was good at controlling the consequences of my drinking behavior. The truth was, I was mostly a stay-at-home drunk, so I avoided DUI’s by simply not driving. I’d learned to not drink the night before I had to work—and as a part-time teacher, I didn’t teach every day, so this was managed easily enough. Or if I did drink the night before work, I usually chose a day in which I didn’t have to actually teach—it would be a rough draft workshop day, or a day we were seeing a movie. In other words, I planned my drinking so that I wouldn’t have to deal with too many negative consequences.
But even the best-laid plans can go awry when you’re drinking alcoholically over any extended period of time. Eventually, I did drink sometimes the night before I had to teach, and if I woke up with a really bad hangover, I’d call in sick, offering some lame lie of an excuse.  And the sick days started to pile up.
My embarrassing drunk behaviors started to affect my life at home with Chelle. She was sick and tired of me getting plastered, sick and tired of lecturing me and trying to keep an eye on me whenever we were out. She was sick and tired of my apologies. She kept threatening to throw me into rehab.
And I was getting fat. By the end, I’d ballooned up to about 210 pounds from a lean and muscular 145. I was bloated, I felt like shit half the time, I had blackouts at least once a week, and I spent every other day sleeping in the recliner because I had alcoholic insomnia and hadn’t slept well the night before. One day was a drinking day; the next day was a recovery day. And this went on for at least a year.
I finally had to admit that the negative consequences of my drinking behavior had caught up with me, despite my attempts to control them.  I didn’t like who I was anymore.
Here was the truth: once I had a drink or two in me, I couldn’t stop without exerting an extreme amount of effort, and if I was at all successful in stopping, I was upset, uncomfortable, and fidgety.
I couldn’t stop. And my life had become unacceptable to me, at least in some ways, and all of those ways could be directly attributed to my drinking. Without a change, it could only get worse.
Thus, I finally “got” the first step.
It’s a big one. Admitting to powerlessness over alcohol means you finally acknowledge you can’t handle the stuff and that you never will, so you have to give it up--for life. The addict in us does NOT want to accept that.
And yet, once I accepted it, I felt an odd sense of peace. Fine. This is my problem. There is help for me. I can’t run this particular show. But someone else—something else--can help me stop.
With that realization, I was ready for Step Two.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

AA Humor on a Sunday

A State trooper pulls a car over for speeding. As the officer approaches the window, he notices several bowling pins on the seat next to the driver. "What are those for?" he asks. The man tells the trooper that he is a juggler on his way to a circus job and asks if he'd like a demonstration.

The officer says okay, so the man steps out of the car with the bowling pins. On the side of the road, as the trooper watches, the man tosses the pins into the air and juggles them expertly.

At the same time, an AA member and his wife drive past. They notice the juggler with the State trooper on the roadside. The man turns to his wife and says, "I'm sure glad I got sober when I did. Look at what they make you do for the sobriety test now!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Dangers of Living in My Head

"When you're in your head, you're behind enemy lines."

This is one of those AA sayings that used to irritate me (long ago when I hated AA because I thought it was too religious and too cult-like). It annoyed me because it seemed to be saying "don't think." Now, I attribute a good many of the world's problems to either greed or stupidity. So this seemed like idiotic advice indeed.

But, of course, this saying isn't about wandering aimlessly through the world without ever using your head. Rather, it's about the dangers of the alcoholic brain. It's about how alcoholics are able to convince themselves of absolute bullshit--be it rationalizations for drinking, reasons to feel paranoid or persecuted, justifications for acting out.

I read an interview last night with Andrew Zimmern--you know, the world's most bizarre foods guy. He was talking about his former life as an alcoholic/addict and said: "Your alcoholic mind tells you that living like that is acceptable. My brain tells me things that aren’t true, even today. If I act on that, I get myself in trouble; back then, it’s all I was listening to."

I chuckled--and if you're an alcoholic, you'll chuckle, too--because I knew exactly what he was talking about. It was a great big "aha" moment for me in rehab as well, almost two years ago: "Oh my god. Sometimes I just make shit up." And then we have an annoying habit of believing that shit is true.

As Andrew notes, even sober, his brain still does it. The difference is that he knows it does, so he knows to not listen. Or, probably more accurately, he knows to slow down, check himself, and check the facts and see how what he thinks lines up with reality. A situation like this happened to me the other day. I'm sober as a church mouse and yet had convinced myself a dear friend was doing something behind my back that she wasn't doing. We talked about it; she wasn't--something else was going on instead--; we've resolved it. I also apologized for being selfish and for not giving her the benefit of the doubt.

When I was drinking, I would've simply blown up in her face and gone on an accusatory rant and yelled horrible things she'd have a hard time forgetting, or I'd have drunk myself into a stupor and then acted out in some way to hurt her.

It's weird to go through life knowing that I can't always trust my own perceptions. I overthink. I can take something small that anyone else would disregard and create an entire world of illusion around it. Actually, anybody can do this. It's just that alcoholics got so used to doing it when we were using that this became our normal way of thinking. So, we have to unlearn the behavior.

So, I remind myself to not live too much in my own head because frankly, there's a mess in there.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Beatles: "Julia"

In honor of Mother's Day, I post John Lennon's "Julia," which he wrote for his mother, whom he lost when he was young. I lost my own mom when I was six, so I understand the sadness and wistfulness of this song, especially on a day like today.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby 137 Picks

As I said the other day, I don't have a Derby horse this year. The race is a crapshoot. Given that, it's tough for me to get behind the favorite, Dialed In. I wouldn't keep that horse out of Pick 3's and 4's and such (especially given his primo post position in the 8 hole), but I wouldn't bet him to win. There are others who have just as good a shot at much better odds.

A horse I kind of like is the 3, Twice the Appeal. Jeff Bonde took the Mine That Bird approach via the Sunland Derby to get him to Kentucky, and he is even using Calvin Borel on him. Handicappers predictably scoff at the Sunland Derby as being a dull race, but you know... Christian Santiago Reyes, who was up that day, is a dull jockey. Yet the horse STILL won. Put a good jockey on him, and I'm thinking we may be surprised. So, I'm playing him.

Santiva has a shot if you draw a line through his bad showing on polytrack in the Bluegrass.

Soldat LOVES a wet track and it's supposed to rain tomorrow. Just sayin'.

Animal Kingdom is bred to go the distance.

Shackleford was beaten by just a head by the favorite, Dialed In, in the Florida Derby. And he's just had two bullet works over the track.

And Midnight Interlude is hard to ignore since Bob Baffert's filly just won today's Oaks. Still, his top rider, Martin Garcia, isn't aboard, and I don't have the same kind of confidence in Victor Espinoza.

Nehro is a possibility, but he's got a horrible post, as does ArchArchArch on the rail. These are usable in the gimmicks, but not to win.

And because I believe in Chick Power, I will toss a $2 win bet on Rosie, but I don't really believe Pants on Fire will win.

The rest of them I'm tossing out. They're either too slow or not improving or are turf horses.

As I said, a big crapshoot.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kentucky Oaks

Well, looks like it may be an off track tomorrow, but the showers are supposed to be in the morning, so the track shouldn't be slop. Word is Zazu likes a wet track. So she gets a checkmark from me.

I want to toss out Joyful Victory since she's on the rail, but after looking at the Form, I just can't. Not only does she look good on paper, but I also like trainer Larry Jones (I hit the Oaks superfecta the year Proud Spell won); Zenyatta's pilot, Mike Smith, is up; and she is just a gorgeous filly.

I also like Kathmanblu, so there ya go. The three fillies with the shortest odds. Bah! I hate races like this. But there are some others to consider if they look good in the post parade and you hate eating too much chalk. These are Plum Pretty, Daisy Devine, and Summer Soiree.

I will probably cobble together several tickets using variations on these six. (I'll use Joyful Victory and Zazu in my Oaks-Derby Double along with Shackleford and Animal Kingdom.) Good luck! May they all come home safely.

Just Sayin'

Sometimes we need the reminder.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ding Dong, Bin Laden's Dead, and Yes, You Can Give Credit to Obama

I've been silent about Bin Laden's death for a couple days now, listening to the spin (and doing a lot of head shaking) and listening to the cheering (and doing a lot of head shaking), and finally I feel ready to state how I feel about the whole thing.

First off, let me tell you who the REAL HEROES are: the Navy Seals who went in and got the job done. No question about it, they lopped the head off the snake, and Al Quaeda will never be the same. That terrorist organization has lost its leader, its major source of strategy-making and financing, and America has sent a clear message that we will not tolerate terrorists attacking within our borders.

But celebrating the death of anybody is a bit distasteful to me. "Revenge" and "getting even" and "payback time!" are all baser emotions. I don't see the death of Bin Laden as payback. I see it as a logical military action taken to remove a threat (and not a preemptive strike, either, because those terrorists have hit us.)

The most alarming and disgusting thing to me, though, is the crazy right wing spin being put out on Fox News and conservative airways. Now let me be clear. I don't think all Republicans are bad. Many are quite rational and care deeply about this country--I often say we want the same things, we just disagree on how to best accomplish those same things. But the right wing extremists and Tea Party folks are just bleating fools. On the one hand, they're spinning the death of Bin Laden as a great victory for George Bush and policies of torturing prisoners in order to gain intelligence, which, they are claiming, led ultimately to Bin Laden's capture (Obama just happened to be the President when it finally happened, they are saying).

To say it bluntly, I call bullshit. Let me direct you folks to the video above. It wasn't the past torture of prisoners that led to Bin Laden's capture. George Bush even said that capturing Bin Laden wasn't his first priority. Iraq was. President Obama disagreed and campaigned (as the video clearly shows) on a strategy of how to get Bin Laden. It was to stop focusing on Iraq, to double down in Afghanistan, and to deal with Pakistan. I can remember the right wing MOCKING Obama after he laid out his strategy. Senator McCain in this same video goes off on making Obama sound like a big-talking crazy warmonger and the right wing has been saying Obama's just a big talker who is soft on terror ever since. Sorry to inform you, but it was Obama's strategy that led to the capture of Bin Laden. He simply, quite patiently, made good on his promise. (And you can bet if the Navy Seals had actually failed in their mission, the right wing would certainly be blaming the President for that.)

Besides, how can anybody actually get behind a policy of torturing prisoners? That is not America. We don't torture people. We are bigger and better than that. The ends do not justify the means, and that's just ethics. If you support torture, fine, that's your business, but please stop squawking about being a Christian.

This morning, the right wing has moved on to suggesting that Obama was way out of line in killing Bin Laden (now suddenly they ARE giving him credit for the action). They have returned to their standard fear-mongering by asking, "Who's next?" Uh-oh, if you piss off President Obama, he will have you killed. Give me a break. As the video above shows, Bin Laden was a single target, the President announced his strategy regarding him well before he was ever elected, and I will say it again: he simply made good on a promise.

Bin Laden is dead. There is one less terrorist terrorizing not just Americans, but our allies, and indeed, other Muslims. Bin Laden was a radical extremist, a sociopath, a man who believed his way was the only way and everyone not in step with his agenda needed to die. He was to humanity what Adolf Hitler was. We should thank God, Yahweh, and Allah that Bin Laden's power did not get any greater than it was.

An enemy of humanity is gone. We should remember that with sadness and remember the lessons of history. For those who would use this occasion to press their own political agenda and dislike of our own President, shame on you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kentucky Derby 137

Well, hot damn! Or Hot Brown. It's Holy Week and I haven't uttered a word about the Kentucky Derby or the Oaks.

It's weird, but I just don't have a Derby horse this year. For a while, it was looking like Uncle Mo would be the favorite, but now it's probably going to be Dialed In, and rumors are flying Uncle Mo still isn't right after his abysmal performance in the Wood Memorial and will be scratched. And there's a 50% chance of rain forecast (again!) for Derby Day.

As of now, I'm thinking it's anybody's race, so I'm tempted to just bet any horse going off at odds of 10-1 or better.

I don't think the horse will win, but Twice the Appeal will be a tantalizing bet with Calvin Borel aboard. This is a local horse trained by Jeff Bonde, and it's not every day you actually know a trainer who's got a horse in the Derby. Jeff took the Sunland Derby-Mine That Bird approach to get to Churchill Downs, and, well, it worked for Mine That Bird.

When I settle on some actual bets (pick 3's, 4's, exactas, etc) I'll post them here the night before. For sure the 137th Derby will be a good betting race.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Obama Roasts The Donald

If you missed President Obama's roasting of Donald Trump last night at the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, you missed some pretty funny stuff. Obama made Trump his biatch. Trump sits there stone-faced like a bump on a log.