Daily Archives: March 16, 2006

Random: GM, Iraq, Commando, Platforms, and Mistakes

GM Bottom?

I’m thinking General Motors’ stock has bottomed. It’s double-bottomed with a higher low and so maybe there’s some support finally. What with GM’s many responsibilities towards its retired workers and to its unionized employees who don’t have any demand for the product they make but are instead buttressed by their states’ congressmen politicking in D.C., GM has a huge debt expectation.

General Motors (GM)

Japan is kicking ass. Honda’s taking over production in the U.S., without the burden of over-capacity.

Oops. We kinda blew that one!

Saddam Hussein Trial

I’m kind of worried about the Hussein trial. Let’s face it. The man’s not dumb. Delusional yes, but dumb no. I think in order to take power while backed by the U.S., reign for multiple decades, and then played a cat and mouse game with the U.S. for so long as its new enemy, you’ve got to be pretty savvy.

But here is Hussein, with plenty of attention placed on him, plenty of opportunity to get his words out. He seems to be full of retorts, the latest of which being the most harmful.

Now he’s extolling the virtues of the Iraqi resistance. About how he’s proud of them, about how the U.S. needs to be stood up to. The Iraqi resistance, now largely Islamicized instead of merely just nationalist, can rally around a more public call for local loyalty and not just loyalty to Allah.

Surely Iraqis don’t see Hussein as an innocent, oppressed soul, but the more he’s up there calling the court a mockery and a joke, describing the U.S. presence as a sham and a disgrace, the less a monster he’s going to appear to be. People have short memories and in Iraq, anyone who appeals to the proud Iraqi heart and mind will endure, if not in character then in words alone.

See, the problem with what the U.S. has done in Iraq is that it’s pursued a pre-emptive policy. Well, that’s all fine except that things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to in Iraq, and now we’re perceived as weaker, less invulnerable. Most importantly, countries will have the courage to call our bluff. It’s sad that policy has come to that, but that’s what you get when you’re seen as a bully. Someone’s going to stand up to you and you better be ready to take them down. I worry that all this pressure on Pakistan and Iran is going to cause something, because really it’s a win-win situation for Iran. If they stand up to the U.S., the U.S. doesn’t really have that many more options and Iran looks good for braving the big bad America. If they get beat down, then they can point out the injustice and hypocrisy of American foreign policy.

This comes as electricity output in Iraq falls to its lowest level in three years. And the anti-coalition forces are maturing their leadership, tactics, and rhetoric. And right on cue, Dubya is stumping to promote the successes of our presence in Iraq. Imagine needing a campaign to convince people things are going well in Iraq.

We’re digging our own hole. And like my tattoo says, “Dig a hole for your brother and you will fall in it.”


My girlfriend requested that I write more personal stuff on the blog. Fair enough! I guess I’m still a bit shell-shocked from the fallout the last time I wrote about personal stuff. But this topic seems easy enough: underwear.

Yes, underwear. I’m like, there’s not even any question. Boxer briefs. I’m in there like swimwear. Why would you wear anything else? Whity tighties are gross. Hell, tighties look stupid. Anything white you have to keep immaculately clean. And a tight fit makes you look like you’re in the high school locker room checking your face to see if you’re growing any stubble on your upper lip yet.

Boxers? Boxers are like wearing swim trunks underneath a wet suit. It all gets bunched up and crushes your wedding tackle even more. There’s no support, which I guess some guys like, because…uh…well I guess so then they can sag their jeans so that when they try to run, they’re holding up their pants and losing the race to the cops. Wearing boxers serves no purpose whatsoever. I mean, I guess boxers are for nasty people who don’t want to stain their pants.

So that leaves commando and boxer briefs. Well, it’s no toss-up. Commando is only sexy on a woman, and then if it’s on a woman then you can’t call it commando anymore. When I think commando, I’m not exactly thinking hot chick naked under her jeans. I’m not even thinking Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “Commando” when he’s busy blasting away chumps at his mountain get-away to protect baby Alyssa Milano. “Commando” brings to mind most Steve-O, running around in “Wild Boyz” naked while escaping from rhinos, cheetahs, and scorpions stinging his skinny white ass.

Arnold and Conan

“Going commando” reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Commando, and boxers remind me of Arnold making fun of Conan O’Brien in boxers.

Boxer briefs. Well-made ones that don’t fall apart with use. Sturdy ones with good stitching and various colors. That’s the Ben Turner way™.

The Dems

The Dems are beginning to unveil their “strategy” (I guess) and it’s pretty weak. One thing that’s happened lately is that opposition to Bush has become a little stronger, so you’re beginning to see different names emerge who aren’t completely loony but only slightly loony. People are beginning to say things that are a little smarter and more successful. But the Dems are still mad. And mostly closet Republicans.

Evidently, the Dems are pushing for a unified agenda, which includes internet access for all. Well, I didn’t hear the magic words, which are government financing of a national wireless broadband plan, or pressuring the telcos and wireless providers to clean up their filthy acts. I didn’t hear about metropolitan wifi hotspots, which would be far too much for the Dems to declare war on cable/DSL/satellite providers. It’s such a kiss-ass thing to do, appealing to the internet and it’s fairly lefty constituency.

Bill Likes Ass

“Energy independence within 10 years” is another goal with no teeth. I mean, what is that supposed to mean? How are we going to achieve energy independence? How should we proceed? Will the government put money into it? Will it encourage green power and discourage dirty power? Will it go back to nuclear power? Will it pressure American car companies to commit to electric technology in an attempt to catch up competitively?

I’m just not convinced. These jokers can’t even hold the Republicans accountable in D.C., and they have all the evidence they could ever need. Heck, half of them might as well be Republican. They voted for the “war”, they support all the bills, they partake from the juicy pie provided by K Street.

In short there’s nothing to be excited about. No one is saying anything honest, constructive, or refreshing. It’s the same ol’, same ol’, which seems odd since there are so many things that could make the tinderbox catch fire right now.

My Platform

I’m working on a public page right now that will state my political platform for an election I will never run in. But I do have a lot of good ideas that have tangible goals and not just general wishes like “no more disease ever again in 5 years!!” So prepare for that to pop up soon.

Platform title banner.

I’m an Idiot

You know, just when I think I’ve got a handle on things and I’m in control and I pay attention to details, I do something stupid. So when I ordered tickets to go see Julie in Montreal, I plugged in lots of different days and times in order to get the cheapest price. When I finally bought my tickets, I thought I’d found a $400 winner.

So I was on the bus in the economy parking lot in Nashville going to my terminal when I looked at my e-ticket. Huh. That’s funny. The tickets are for the same days next month. Hmm. Did I really do that? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, right? Man, I was pissed at myself.

If you use travelocity and orbitz, you’ll notice that when you go to their front pages, the search boxes default to the next month automatically. I’m not sure how it works exactly but I know exactly what happened to me. When I was re-setting my preferences to try other combinations, I forgot to change the month. And as it turns out, since February was a short month, it had the same weekdays aligned with the same day number as March. Shit.

Bad design. User error. Blah. Buying a fucking ticket is so exhausting. And you know what I hate? I hate when American tells you at the end of your flight, “We know you have a lot of choices when you fly, so we’re happy you chose us.” HAHAHAHA GOOD ONE, I FEEL LIKE I’M FLYING SOUTHWEST, THE JOKES ARE FLYING SO FAST.

Let’s face it. American air carriers are only holding up because they fleece the corporate market and the military. I don’t know what this supposed military preference is because I’ve never seen or heard of it working. When you ask for a military discount, the ticket ends up costing $900 MORE for some reason. I think because they’re expecting you to charge it to the defense travel service which will reimburse it. And I think all those high rates on commuter flights are because all those fucking rich people who go travel somewhere for stupid meetings are just going to put it on their expense account so money is no object.

But if you’re just flying on your own, it’s a god damn nightmare. Honestly. I mean, we have two trillion web sites trying to scam us into using theirs to find the cheapest rates. Like, I don’t know, I guess somewhere in Togo there’s a small tribe that makes really cheap plane fares and sells it for five cents each. We should send out conquistadors across the globe in search of the next air ticket quarry.

Airline ticket counter line.

The TSA’s new mandatory line at the airport for turning in your remaining spirit.

So I ended up paying $1450 for a same-day plane ticket. Yes, that’s right. I asked each desk for help and they were like, “Oh I’m sorry, it’s a holiday weekend. And no, no military discounts even though you just went to Iraq.” By the end, I didn’t care anymore and was about to buy one of the last flights available, which included a first-class connection to Montreal. Okay, it’ll cost a lot, but at least I’ll get to fly first-class the first time in my life!!!

At the last minute, the lady said a coach flight opened up for a couple hundred dollars cheaper so I took that. So I didn’t even fly first-class. Unless you mean a first-class business raping!!

The silver lining to this episode was that I switched into army-mode pretty early on. Okay, this is the new scenario and I need to figure out how to deal with it. I never panicked. I knew I’d be flying that day no matter what. I was pretty calm. I just thought it was hilarious. And it meant more than anything that I make it to Montreal to see Julie that night. There wasn’t even a question. So that’s army-mode. You can pretty much deal with the worst situation imaginable and work something out. It makes you quite fearless.

That weekend turned out to be one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. Thank you, my sweetest Julie. =)


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