Friday, February 29, 2008

Keeping Up With the Joneses

You know the stories you hear of neighborhood rivalries? The Smiths buy an Explorer, and the Joneses counter with an Escalade, etc?

It's not just greedy, rich, white Republicans playing anymore. From California . . . (where else?). . . (and no, I did not make up the name of the city) . . . (and all parenthetical snide remarks are my additions, not from the article).

SUNNYVALE, California (AP) -- In an environmental dispute seemingly scripted for eco-friendly California, a man asked prosecutors to file charges against his neighbors because their towering redwoods blocked sunlight to his backyard solar panels. . . After more than six years of legal wrangling, a judge recently ordered Richard Treanor and his wife, Carolyn Bissett, to cut down two of their eight redwoods, citing an obscure state law that protects a homeowner's right to sunlight.

As for who cares more about the environment, must be the solar guy, right?

Vargas (solar guy) says the law protects his $70,000 investment in solar power, and he believes it should be strengthened."I think it's unfair that a neighbor can take away this source of energy from another neighbor," he said.

Well he's obviously seen the light. . . er . . . been enlightened . . . has a sunny outlook on . . . stupid puns . . . LOVES the environment. But wait, the Redwood couple counters with . . .

. . . Treanor and Bissett (Redwood couple), who drive a hybrid Toyota Prius, argue that trees absorb carbon dioxide, cool the surrounding air and provide a habitat for wildlife. (in the middle of San Fran/Oakland/San Jose's 3 million people)

A Prius, countering global warming, and wildlife habitat, all in one sentence! It's the Trifecta of Green-ness! Take that Vargas, you tree-hating, gas-guzzling corporate sell-out !!! But, hang on, what's this?

Vargas, who recently bought a plug-in electric car, counters it would take two or three acres of trees to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as much as the solar panels that cover his roof and backyard trellis.

No mere hybrid for him! His new car plugs in. You can take your majestic Redwoods and 2 more acres full, chop 'em down and burn 'em . . . compost 'em! (or just transplant them 'where the sun don't shine'). Zero-emission, solar-powered self-righteousness FOR THE WIN!

This sounds like the new Rock, Paper, Scissors. It used to be that paper covered rock, rock crushed scissors, and scissors cut paper.

Now, Redwoods cover solar power, solar power crushes redwoods, and windmills cut birds

(I know, it doesn't make sense, so sue me! I had to get the bird link in somehow)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fidel Castro is "Retiring"

I apologize in advance for all the "irony quotes." Also for the length of this post. Few things set me off like communism.

Fidel Castro is "retiring" as head of the Cuban government. He won't accept another term even if Cuba's admiring "legislature" votes for him in the upcoming "elections."

Here's a contrast for you - my thoughts versus those of the BBC.

Me: Good riddance, too bad he's not dead. Not like Communist dictators ever "retire." Is he going to move to The Villages ("Florida's friendliest hometown!") and golf free for the rest of his life? What new leader isn't going to ask Castro's permission before taking any action? But at least we're one small step closer to the end of an inhumane, brutal, murderous regime.

The BBC:
Since I can't read this all the way through without puking, I'm going to intersperse my commentary with the quotes. Click the link if you want to enjoy the non-sarcastic original in all it's brown-nosing glory.

The retiring leader will be remembered as one of the most distinctive and enduring icons from the second half of the 20th Century, the BBC's Paul Keller writes.

With his olive green fatigues, beard and Cuban cigars, Fidel Castro was the original Cold Warrior.

A distinctive and enduring icon? The original Cold Warrior? -- What is he a fashion model? A comedian? A jazz musician? this makes him sound like a trendsetter, a chic trailblazer whose presence in society will be greatly missed. (although, judging by all the Che t-shirts I see . . .)

Under his leadership Cuba established the first Marxist-Leninist state in the Western hemisphere, almost within sight of the US coastline.

Embracing communism and the patronage of the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro transformed Cuba economically and socially but had to struggle when it collapsed.

I'll say he transformed it. The same way the Nazi blitz "transformed" Europe, or the atom bomb "transformed" Hiroshima. Too bad about that whole collapsing USSR thing. But he struggled along anyway - what a trooper!

This is utter crap. Aside from the illogic, (if he transformed Cuba, why did the USSR's demise matter?) to portray someone who would rather keep a whole nation enslaved while stubbornly resisting any possible change to benefit them as engaged in a "struggle" is perverse.

The civil rights movement was a "struggle." World War II was a "struggle." Castro's "struggle" was nothing more than a blind, pig-headed thirst for power. Even after all the other Communists gave up on communism, Castro "struggled" on. That's not a visionary leader, that's just being blind to reality.

He leaves his country with universal free healthcare and a much-admired education system, which has produced doctors for the developing world, but also a failing economy.

Healthcare . . . check. Education . . . check. Economy . . . Oh well, two out of three ain't bad. Even granting that this is true, (it's not), what good is free healthcare and an education if you have no money, no job, no prospects, decaying infrastructure, no civil rights and insufficient food? As much good as a can opener with no cans, or a life raft in the middle of the desert.

Note the distinct lack of negative adjectives and verbs in the above quote. He is "distinctive" and "enduring", "original", he "transformed", "struggle[d]", "embrac[ed] communism." Cuba's healthcare is "free" and "universal", its education system "much-admired."

Let me add a few adjective and verbs of my own for the sake of balance. His victims are "dead" his opponents "tortured" and "imprisoned" or "shot." His people are "under surveillance" and "oppressed." Many are "refugees" (2.4 million in the U.S. alone - about 18% of the population) or "poor."

So yes, Happy retirement Fidel, may it be short, and then may you rot in hell alongside Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and the BBC reporter responsible for this fawning, nauseating tribute.