Dec 282014
 
A Wish for Obama's Endgame

It’s pretty evident by now that this President isn’t afraid of the so-called third rail. In fact, he has shown a willingness to contradict the prevailing wisdom on issue after issue: DADT, tax increases on the wealthy, financial reform, health care, immigration, regulating carbon emissions from power plants, Israel, Cuba, and many other do-not-touch political quagmires which have been assiduously avoided by his predecessors. As he is now clearly looking at his last two years as an opportunity to make major changes to address entrenched problems, I have one to add to the list. Today, the President declared the war in Afghanistan over. There is a Status of Forces Agreement and we’ll leave behind some trainers and counterterrorism people, but that will be a tiny fraction of the 140,000 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan when he took office. In 2011, similarly, he drew the Iraq war to a close. Of course, […]

Oct 152014
 
HOIST ON OUR OWN PETARD:  The Era of Unwinnable Wars

Let me start here: it really is a dangerous old world out there. The United States does have legitimate strategic and economic interests around the globe; there are those who would very much like for us not to have them. And the biggest military power in the world does bear some responsibility to weigh in when something ghastly is going on, like chemical warfare against civilians or genocide. So I am not going to argue here that the U.S. is always the Black Hat, or that we are a maniacal imperialist juggernaut, or any of the other standard left castigation of American usages of power. I have done so about specific instances of such usage, such as the disastrous Bush Iraq con job/fiasco. Nearly every American use of military force during my lifetime has been a tragic mistake, in my opinion. But I’m not going to argue–nor do I believe–that […]

Oct 112014
 
Election Endorsements for Nov. 2014

It’s that time again, Green Dragon patrons! Elections are coming up, and here are the house recommendations. Please note that I don’t endorse in races where I don’t feel I have enough knowledge to make a call. I have been out of circulation from most municipal-level politics for awhile now. I encourage you to check out conservationaction.org, where you can find report cards on incumbent local officials and endorsements of candidates in races where I haven’t made one. Federal and State Offices GOVERNOR: JERRY BROWN. Though some are grumpy about it, I feel that Brown has been smart and sensible about not going overboard with new expenditures as the state’s budget has recovered from the Bush Recession. I’m not a big fan of his concepts of “realigning” incarceration and child care to local governments, nor some of his labor votes, but overall, he’s done a great job. STATEWIDE OFFICES: vote […]

Aug 212014
 
Mark Your Calendar! Much Ado About Sebastopol

Sebastopol’s unique and wonderful Elizabethan fair returns to Ives Park on Sept. 13 and 14. This event, which pays particular attention to historical accuracy and education as well as being cracking good fun, is is run by the Sebastopol Educational Foundation and its primary purpose is to raise much needed funds for enrichment programs at Park Side, Brook Haven and Analy High schools. I will once again be an actor in the cast of this “Renfaire”, which features veteran performers with cumulative centuries of experience acting in Renaissance Faires all over California and the nation. You will enjoy spectacular 16th century clothing (including those of the court of Queen Elizabeth I), meet characters both common and noble, peruse period-accurate craft demonstrations and wares for sale, enjoy rollicking theatrical, dance and musical performances, and partake of food and drink ranking among Sonoma County’s finest. Since the first Faire in 2010, MAAS has raised over $125,000, benefiting students […]