To the Otherwise Capable Lady Who, For Reasons Unknown, Felt the Use of the Handicap Door Button was Necessitated

There are two types of handicap door buttons.  One is easily and effortlessly pressed on your normal route to the doorway and operates so swiftly that by the time your approach ends an open door enthusiastically awaits your entry.  And then there’s the recalcitrant button.  This particular species lies tucked away somewhere off to the side of the door, safely outside any possible direct path, and after a two second delay operates the door at a speed so slow you have no choice but to assume its objection to your insolence rivals only the Cave of Wonders’.  It is this second button, more specifically your iniquitous use of it, which I would like to address.  There are really only three copacetic uses for this button:  you are, as the picture above said button implies, confined to a wheelchair; you are utilizing crutches or some other prosthetic which significantly hinders your ability to walk and use your arms simultaneously; or you are holding, pulling, or pushing some inordinately large – and preferably heavy – object.  But despite your seemingly obliviousness to this apparent fact, pushing this button and then standing in front of the door in increasing tedium merely because you are too corpulent and/or lazy (usually both) to manually open the door is not socially acceptable behavior.  It is certainly not becoming.  Far from it, you are subjecting yourself to ridicule and disdain from those behind you whose only goal at the moment is to enter or leave the building in some fashion remotely resembling a respectable manner.  And it is well deserved.  I know it’s difficult.  Those doors weigh so much and the effort is so physically and mentally draining.  But if you are, in fact, one of the indolents who prefer this misallocation of sympathy towards those actually physically impaired, you likely belong to a crowd most in need of even the modest caloric expenditure opening a door provides.  The American lifestyle may be sedentary compared to the most immobile bovine, but that does not excuse your unusually emphatic embrace of it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Misanthropy

Jay Cutler Stops by Practice before Confronting Lazarevic

Jay Cutler stopped to talk to the press today, doing his best Nathan Drake impression.

Jay Cutler is Nathan Drake

Jay Culter: "Glad we signed Roy, sad to see Greg go, and Sully really is an ass."

Among other things, he told Dave Haugh he was glad the November 7 game in Philedelphia is a night game so he has “time to rest after finding Iram of the Pillars.”

Thanks to the Chicago Tribune for the break. You can read the real story here.

Leave a comment

Filed under sports

Cubs Trade Fukudome, Ask “Please Sir, May I Have Another?”

The Cubs unloaded (female) fan favorite Kosuke Fukudome today, making my #1 blue alternate a collector’s item. In exchange for Kosuke’s services, the Cubs get a pitcher who can’t pitch in AAA (.450 ERA), and a hitter who can’t hit in A (.244 BA, with a 0.18/1 walk-to-strikeout ratio since 2010). They sure are some shrewd barters. In fairness, the Tribune’s Phil Rogers thinks the hitter, Abner Abreu, could potentially be a solid outfielder – he does have 12 homeruns this season. But his article states that Baseball America doesn’t rank him as one of the Indian’s top 30 prospects, so don’t paint me excited.

But don’t take the Cubs for suckers. In exchange for two no-name minor league guys, they also get to pay 83% of Kosuke’s contract. So there’s that.

**update** According to the Chicago Cubs press release, Abner Abreu is in his fifth professional season. So if he continues this blistering move to the majors, we will be fortunate enough to see him strikeout 30% of the time at Wrigley in about 2021. I’m waiting with bated breath.

Leave a comment

Filed under sports

Independence Day

Admittedly, my snarkish language on politics paints me as an ultra liberal ideologue.  But the truth is I hate the hyper-partisan environment created by Washington to win elections and cable news to sell airtime.  And the message they convey – that we’re the greatest country in the history of mankind but really, totally, completely screwed – is one of inherent incongruity.

What’s worse, politics has become less of what people believe, and more and more what’s wrong with what other people believe.  It’s no longer necessary to present your own real ideas and solutions; rather you can win much more easily by just saying how terrible the opponents’ is.  This is all to apparent in the “we love the Constitution, and you’re not us, so logic follows you hate the Constitution” talking points of the Tea Party.  But the far right is nary the sole offender; indeed there is some truth to the GOP rhetoric in Congress that Obama and the Democrats, if they hate their budgets so much, should publicly release a counter budget.  Of course, that doesn’t make any political sense.  If most Americans hate, for example, that Ryan’s budget is going to shred Medicaid and that is a boon to your poll numbers, why release a budget proposal which undoubtedly is also going to contain some unpopular proposals?

I hesitate to say politics is the worst it’s ever been, or the most toxic, or the least functioning.  The predominance of extraordinary hyperbole and complete loss of context is part of what’s created this environment.  But it does seem to be that politics has mostly devolved into, “My position is . . . wait, what’s your position?  I’m against that.”

Perhaps the most disheartening truth is that releasing a budget would not be bad for the right and the center . . . but bad for the base.  By showing what they want to do, they’re in effect conceding to all the things they had to give up.  And in today’s hyper-partisan political makeup, compromise is no longer a satisfactory option.  A perfect example is this past year’s budget.  A compromise was reached, money was saved, a shutdown was averted.  Everybody should have been happy.  Instead nobody was, because even though everybody got something they wanted, nobody got everything they wanted.

This isn’t unique to the budget; it permeates American politics.  The starting points have moved from what we agree with to what we disagree with, whether it be the budget, or tax subsidies, or environmental issues, or abortion.  Ideas opponents agree on are actually more toxic than those mostly favored by the minority extremes of both wings.

Maybe this year will be different.  Maybe this year political ideology will play an important role in pragmatic compromise, instead of dictating the end result of any debate.  Because if we can’t do something as basic as making sure we’re able to pay the bills we’ve already voted to pay, how long can we honestly continue to blindly accept the nationalistic mythology of historical exceptionalism?

Leave a comment

Filed under politics

Music in the Cloud: Google Music Review

After a month, I finally received an in invite to Google Music.  I’m not sure if that’s par for the course, or how many people they’re inviting to use the service before it becomes subscription based.  I can say that I use Android, Chrome, and gmail (among other g-products), so while I hesitate to claim they give Google whores a better spot in line, I’m sure it didn’t hurt.  I’ll get into some detail about the nuts and bolts of the thing in a minute, but for those just looking for a quick service grade, I’ll start there (and try to be as unbiased as I can).

So far, I’ve really enjoyed Google Music.  The website streams music with impressive speed, and the operation is intuitive.  The initial upload, while an exceptionally easy process to undertake, takes a long time – a very long time, actually – and that might be a concern to some people.  However, you can begin using the service while the upload is still taking place, and it didn’t have any noticeable impact on Netflix’s streaming service or my wi-fi speed at home.  Once the songs are available from, the connection and playback was very, very fast; much faster than I had anticipated.  The Google Music program you must install on your Android is smooth and pretty, but otherwise pretty average with a few annoyances (which I’ll address in the Android section); more than adequate for what it does, but nothing to get excited about.  Playback was only marginally slower than on my laptop when using a wi-fi connection, although very poor with Sprint’s 3G service; the song has to completely download before playing, sometimes taking a minute or longer, and more often than not it wouldn’t play at all.  That being said, the cache and offline features seemed to work very well, so while that obviously limits the service to a great extent, it does provide more than adequate playback capabilities for what’s available off-line.

There are some alternatives to Google’s cloud music service (which I get into at the end of the article), and if you don’t live in a thorough 4G area – or aren’t lucky enough to never seem to be out of wi-fi range – it’s not going to completely replace physical storage for portability.  However, at a storage capacity of 20,000 songs (which doesn’t seem to be dependent upon file size; wonderful for people who prefer minimal compression), it’s a very sexy option if you want to have access to your library anywhere there’s an internet connection.

Now for the fun stuff . . . 

The Setup

Google Music, if you don’t know, works as a streaming music service to provide you with the music you already own.  In the past, there have been services which scan your music folders, then cross-reference them with digital copies of songs on file (which is the premise of Apple’s matching service due out this fall).  That sounds awesome, but it’s not how GM works.  Instead, you have to actually upload all the songs you wish to store on their servers, which can take quite a long time, and then you stream the copies you’ve uploaded to your computer.

The upload process works with Google Music’s PC client, Music Manager (Google is nothing if not clever about naming conventions).  The program installed both very easily and very quickly, and really makes the upload process about as painless as possible.  During the installation process it asks where you want the program to point to – My Music, iTunes, or Windows Media’s library – and will automatically start uploading the first 20,000 songs from that location.  It will also start uploading any new songs as soon as you rip them to your computer.  So if you have less than 20,000 songs all stored in the same place, you’re done.

I do not have less than 20,000 songs and really didn’t care to upload the first 20,000 alphabetically, so I had a perfect excuse to get my hands dirty.   The biggest problem with the program was initially discovering it; though you can find it in Windows Start Menu, the program resides in the Taskbar while running.  It’s actually a nice feature . . . once you find it.

Music Manager in the taskbar gives you quick view of your progress, and allows you to open both the program (via “Options”) and the web client.

Upon opening, Google’s minimalist philosophy makes use very transparent; there are literally two functional screens and no menus.  To start uploading, I moved a “first wave” of priority music into a temporary folder and pointed Music Manager to it.  This was easy enough, but not really necessary; the Music Manager has a very convenient drag-and-drop feature.

The first page of Music Manager, which allows you to point to the path you wish to upload from.

As I said, if you do have a folder you want it to point to continuously, it will upload newly added songs automatically.  However, you can also set it up to upload in pre-specified time intervals (hourly, daily, or weekly) or manually.  So while it can take autonomous control of the uploading process as a matter of convenience, it does allow a high level of user control if that’s your preference.

The second page of Music Manger.

Now, as for upload times:  I started with a “priority list” of a few less than 9000 songs.  Using my home’s wi-fi (approx. 3 Mbps average upload rate), this took about a week to finish off.  This wasn’t a continuous week, mind you, but probably at least a solid 100 hours.  So not too quick.  (Part of that can be attributed to bottlenecking from my wireless router; a positive from this experience is I finally got enough motivation to replace it.  But I digress.)  As I implied earlier, this didn’t bother me . . . too much.  Netflix (Ethernet to PS3) wasn’t affected at all, and browsing the internet on my laptop (which was also handling the uploading responsibilities) via wi-fi didn’t seem to have any noticeable speed degradation.  In fact, I would venture to say using the internet and Netflix had a much greater impact on my uploading speed than vice-versa.  Further, Music Manager seamlessly starts and stops the upload as the computer or network is turned on or off.  So unless you’re the type that just can’t get past the knowledge that your computer is still uploading your music (which isn’t entirely unjustified), I don’t think it’s more than a minor inconvenience.

One final thought on the setup, and I really saved the best for last . . . at the end of the installation it asked if I wanted any free music.  It offered a nice list of genres to check, of which I selected probably about eight thinking I’d get some up-and-coming or indie stuff which was begging for extra exposure.  You know, the type of stuff that comes with your cell phone.  Much to my surprise, Google Music provided me with 140(!) songs, many of which were quite well known with extensive radio play (“Champaign Supernova” and “Chop Suey”, for example).  Awesomesauce.

Accessing Your Music Online Via a Computer

The interface for listening to your Google Music at

Once the music is on Google’s servers, it works extremely well.  I tried accessing music at home and at work, and in both locations the quality of playback was very good and the delays were minimal to non-existent.  I expected there to be some decent gaps between when I selected an album and when I could select a song, and then anther gap before the song would actually play.  Much to my surprise, the response time was actually comparable – maybe even a bit faster – than my computer’s hard drive (which is no slouch).  There often is a slight delay with the first song once booting up the website – we’re talking one or two seconds here – but as soon as it gets going selecting new songs or albums, sorting through the lists, and even searching your library is pretty much instantaneous.

Aside from the quality of playback, the actual client is pretty slick, especially considering what it’s trying to accomplish.  The client conforms to Google’s minimalist tradition, but the layout is intuitive and attractive (though hopefully in the future it allows the option of customizing the color scheme).  It imports playlists automatically, creates some “intelligent” lists, and the search feature is fast and accurate.  It maintains a “New and Recent” list of recently added material; one of my favorite features of Windows Media Player for XP which Microsoft inexplicitly decided to eliminate in its otherwise far superior Win 7 player.  The layout of music is actually quite similar to WMP; artists and albums are shown with the multiple album covers, while your complete collection of individual songs takes a list form.  Definitely not as aesthetically impressive as iTunes, but you’re not surrounded by all the arbitrary mucky-muck, either (can you imagine trying to load iTunes as a webpage?).

In all, I think the online experience is superb; a definite A.  Only two complaints would hold it back from an A+ score:  First, the resolution of the album covers leaves a bit to be desired.  I totally get why you’d want smaller resolution pictures when you’re trying to load a bunch from the internet, so I hate to complain about it, but . . . Secondly, some cleanup was required.  There were a few instances where albums were split up into two or three “separate” albums, even though all the information seemed to be the same.  Fortunately, pulling the album up under the “Artist” tab seems to correct the issue, so playback isn’t affected.  And upon closer inspection using the “Edit album info” menu I was able to locate some small difference which caused the splitting to occur.  Sometimes that happens with WMP, so I’ll chalk that up to meta-data inconsistencies.  However, with WMP you can sync up the albums by manually forcing an automatic update (if you can forgive the oxymoron); since you can’t do this with Google Music you have to go in and manually find and fix the problem.  Further, many albums with the “problems” were read just fine in other music applications, so that’s something that needs to improve going forward.

Your Android and Google Music

Google Music uses a proprietary app on your Android device to access Google Music called . . . wait for it . . . Google Music (though, in theory at least, it should work via your phone’s web browser).  It’s a free download from the Android Market.  I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a bar code on the PC website to scan with your phone to automatically start the download.  You would think someone in the supply chain would’ve thought of it; I guess they’d prefer you actually visit the market.  Not a big thing, really, but it would’ve been nice.

Google Music works very well with Google Music.  The app is actually a full music player for your phone, so it’s available and completely functional without the cloud service.  As I said in the beginning, it works very well if you’re connected to wi-fi.  The service is a touch slower than on a PC; though album information pops up on the screen almost immediately, there is a second or two delay before a song starts to play once it’s selected.  When you skip from song to song you also experience this delay, but once started the songs play all the way through with no interruptions, and move fluidly and delay free song-to-song when listening to an album or playlist.

I, unfortunately, have not had a lot of opportunity to try it with Sprint’s 4G service; based upon the experience I have to this point with browsing, I would expect a slightly longer delay (maybe an additional one to two seconds) before a song starts playing, but would be surprised if there was any interruptions or delays before the next song once it starts going.

However, as I said, with 3G the streaming is poor at best and non-existent at worst.  For all practical purposes it just doesn’t work.  Android does cache songs which have recently been streamed, and you can select albums for off-line availability.  These allow for quick and seamless play when you don’t have wi-fi or 4G available.  In all, however, this service is definitely going to be much more enjoyable on your phone tomorrow than today.

The ability to play the music I’ve uploaded is, in my opinion, far and away the important part of Google Music.  As long as the app isn’t a train wreck I’d be pleased if it simply worked.  That being said, I do have a few words about the application itself.

First, as a basic music player, it’s pretty good.  The backgrounds, pretty much just a collage of similar colors which alternate as you progress through screens, is basic enough to avoid any strains on your phone’s resources but nice enough to make the app look good.  There are some features I like; most noticeably the ability to use a single screen touch to backtrack either to the album, artist, or main menu once you’re in a song.  The phone panel’s native “Back” button is never more than two presses from your Home page, which took some getting used to but is a pretty good idea.  And it has a search function; vitally important when you’re trying to scan through a few thousand songs to listen to, say, “Wasted” by Zebrahead.

Other than the speed on 3G, I do have some complaints about the software.  The app seems to want to repeat songs you select by default.  If I skip ahead to the second song it will start playing the whole album, so at least you don’t have to skip after each song.  But you shouldn’t have to at all.  Also, the problem with multiple album listings for the same album (referred to earlier) is present, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to combine the songs excepting making a playlist; you have to go to the website to fix the issue.  As a person who prefers to listen to an album, in order, beginning to end, this is a grave offense.

A relatively minor inconvenience is it doesn’t allow you to skip or pause songs on the phone’s welcome screen.  You have to unlock the phone to do anything with the program.  Being a program written by Google, this absolutely baffles me.  Since there’s at least two other programs which give you basic controls without unlocking the phone, this should have been a given from a Google app.

One final complaint is the app doesn’t recognize music you have already saved on your memory card; music from your card appears exactly like music from the cloud, and if they are present in both locations they show up in duplicate.  Ideally, if you have the same song on your card and in the cloud, it should only show said song once and play from the card by default.  That may be an unreasonable request at this point, but it would be nice if they threw some sort of symbol up next to music which is accessed from your phone to differentiate.

Comparisons to Other Cloud Services

Google Musics main competitors are iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud.  All three offer different attributes, and will work best for different people depending on their needs.  It’s not really possible to compare price point because Google hasn’t released that information yet.  However, it’s probably a good bet it will be free for a certain amount of storage, and increase to a price comparable to Apple’s iTunes Match at 20,000 songs, which is $24.99 per year.  A lot of the following comparisons might become a moot issue in the near future; I strongly doubt Google has given up on working out licensing deals with the publishers just because they decided they’ve waited long enough to release their cloud service.  But in the meantime you’ve got to go with what they offer, and this is it.

The benefit of Apple’s service is three-fold; since it scans your iTunes folder and then matches the music to its database the amount of uploading required is minimal, the storage is essentially unlimited (more correctly, non-existent), and lesser quality music is automatically “upgraded” to the better AAC format iTunes uses.  If you’re already an Apple person with iTunes and an iPhone and whatnot, this service is probably the way to go.  However, there are a few downsides which may make Google Music a better alternative.  First, obviously, for it works only with Apple portable products; if you have an Android you’re out of luck.  Secondly, though iTunes Match works with “any computer”, it really works with your iTunes account on a computer.  Personally, the fact that you have to use iTunes at all is a big negative.  Aside from my own biases, if you’re on a computer without iTunes you can’t use it – and good luck getting your company’s IT people to allow you to install it at work.  Since Google Music works off a website and not a program, it can be accessed on any device with a browser – including, in theory, an Apple product (I tried it on my boss’s iPad; it logged on but wouldn’t play music, which could be caused by a range from a temporary hiccup to a side effect of Apple’s neutered internet capabilities.  But it did look like Google Music was trying to play, so while a playback problem could certainly be Google’s fault I doubt it was intentionally blocked from their end.).  My overall feeling on iTunes Match is it’s a great service if you already use iTunes a lot, but not necessarily worth starting if you don’t.

In terms of Amazon’s cloud service, there are four positives:  First, it’s free up to 5 GB, 20GB for one year if you buy an album from their .mp3 service.  Second, any .mp3’s you purchase directly from Amazon will automatically be available from your cloud without counting towards your storage limit.  Third, it’s available anywhere you have an internet connection.  Finally, and this is actually the thing that really sets it apart from the other two, the storage is good for any kind of files, which is great if you want to back up your computer or access other types of files remotely.  However, this service does not come cheap; the cost is a rather astonishing $10/GB.  At 20,000 songs, and no other types of files, you’re looking at least $50 per year, which isn’t too expensive in the grand scheme of things but twice the cost of iTunes’ unlimited service (which is probably much closer to Google’s cost than Amazon).  You can store up to a TB, but that comes at an absurd $1000 a year.  For that cost, you can buy ten 1 TB hard drives and just haul one around with you.  Though I really, really like where Amazon is going, what you get for free and what you have to pay after that places their service a distant third.

My biggest issue with iTunes Match and Amazon is if you’re going to pay for online access and for individual downloads, why not just purchase an unlimited subscription-based service like MOG or Rdio?  (I suppose the same argument might be made against Google Music, depending on what their subscription costs end up being.)


Mind you, this is a beta, and many of the issues I pointed out may be fixed by the time the service comes out of beta mode.  (If so, I’ll update the review to reflect that.)  In fact, assuming Google isn’t just resting on this release, Google Music should be a monster service going forward, and a real boon to both the company and cloud computing as a whole.  In the meantime, it’s still a great service if your biggest concern is remote access to your library, especially if you have ready and nearly universal access to high-speed internet.  And despite the shortcomings on an Android device, I do think this is a very decisive and positive step towards making Android a better platform for portable music.  Highly recommended for all but the heaviest iTunes users.

1 Comment

Filed under Technology

Cantor: Unemployment Is the New Mark of Fiscal Responsibility

Today Twitter (specifically, GOP Representative Judy Biggert), in all its social media goodness, alerted me to “You Cut”.  You Cut, put in place by Eric Cantor, is admittedly a brilliant idea.  By allowing average Americans to come up with and vote on ideas to cut the federal government, it’s the GOP’s ingenious plan to expand democracy by decreasing its largest propagator.  As an added bonus, it combines two of American’s favorite pastimes:  irreverent online polls and complaining about Washington.  Who couldn’t love that?

You Cut is, evidently, over a year old, so I guess I’m a little late to the game.  Though I’m not exactly its target demographic.  Still, I signed up for Judy Biggert’s twitter feed for a reason, so I guess I should pay more attention.

Anyway, this, er, “round” there are three options on the table.  They all mostly sound like partisan political fodder at first glance, but one of them – eliminating the Economic Development Administration – was recommended by Obama’s Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission, making it a bit hard to argue against; while the other – terminating the Weatherization Assistance Program – is presented as a way to eliminate fraud and misuse in the federal government, which I think everybody can agree is a goodly goal.  Of course, one could argue it’s possible to eliminate the fraud and misuse without terminating an otherwise useful program, but I digress.

The third option was to “reduce the number of federal employees by 10 percent through attrition”.  Not saying that this, um, “round” is fixed, but this option was not only listed first, it claims a savings of over 30 times the other two options combined.  So the more cynical amongst us might ever so subtly suggest that this was the preferred, uh, “winner”.  And why wouldn’t it be?  After all, “the failed 2009 stimulus bill showed that government-funded employment is no substitute for real market-driven private sector job creation”.  I guess that’s debatable, but what’s not debatable is that the private market has not been able to create jobs, whereas the federal government has provided much needed relief to the nation’s unemployed.  How do I know this?  Because Eric Cantor said so:

“Since the economic downturn began in December of 2007, the private sector workforce has shrunk by more than 6 percent. Over the same period, the federal government’s workforce (excluding Census and Postal workers) grew by nearly 12 percent, adding 230,000 new federal employees, to a total of more than 2 million workers.”

So how does that stump speech go?

“Remember how the economy sucks and people can’t get jobs?  Private sector jobs decreased by six percent.  Six percent!!  About the only place where it’s been easier to get a job is the government, which has actually increased its work force, providing much needed employment to 230,000 workers.  That just doesn’t seem right.  After all, with the budget crisis being what it is, it’s simply more responsible to pay unemployment premiums than full salaries for the nation’s out-of-work.”

Of course, Eric Cantor would never actually say that.  I mean, can you see the second in command of the House Republican majority using the word “sucks” in a speech?  Oh, my whimsy has once again gotten the better of my sensibilities.

These are not lower-income, underpaid, scratching-to-survive jobs perpetuated by the “food stamp President,” either.  These are solid, middle class jobs with good benefits.  The kind that support the backbone of America.  The kind that provide real spending power to boost the American private industry while also contributing meaningfully to US tax revenues.  These are jobs people want and can’t find.  I know there’s an argument that maybe these jobs are too middle class, though that evidently doesn’t apply to people who work for Eric Cantor.  And certainly I don’t mean to imply that the federal government should overtake the private sector as the main engine for job growth; it shouldn’t even come close.  But one has to wonder how, with all the employment problems we already have, the US economy could handle arbitrarily jettisoning one of the best job markets.

Now, in fairness to Eric Cantor, he says he wants to lower the employment by attrition, so it’s not like he’s proposing to lay a lot of people off.  At least not directly; “reductions can be made . . . by hiring only one new federal employee for every three federal workers who retire or leave federal government”.  The “leave federal government” part is open to interpretation.

And he does stake a pragmatic claim alongside the overtly partisan rhetoric:  “Government spending to support federal jobs has a crowd-out effect on private employment.”  Which is true.  As any captain of industry will tell you, it’s just so hard finding good help these days, what with the federal government eating up so much of that 9% unemployment rate.

Leave a comment

Filed under politics

John Bolton Goes Nuclear

John Bolton had an interesting op-ed in the New York Times, today, decrying the ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as the New START Treaty.  For those of you who forget who John Bolton is, he’s the brilliant international strategist who said that the United Nations should be eliminated . . . right before becoming the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.  He also has the world’s coolest mustache.  (No, seriously.  That’s not a jab.  I really, really love that moustache.)

So the article is titled “Why Rush to Cut Nukes?”  And immediately I’m thinking this would be some fun dissertation on the security that nuclear warheads provide.  For the record, I disagree with the sentiment, but also recognize the historical veracity of the claim and find the argument quite fascinating.  However, his sole argument against nuclear disarmament, whose brevity cannot be overstated, is that Russia still has quite a bit more than the United States.  He ignores that America’s nuclear weapons are stronger and far more numerous than we could reasonably use, but that’s not an especially damning omission.

No, that would be his arguments against the Senate’s “resolution of ratification” adopted by the Foreign Relations Committee.  Evidently, “the Obama administration’s main strategy is likely to emphasize . . . that resolution, which supposedly addresses concerns about missile defense and modernization of the nuclear arsenal.

“The Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution contains various ‘conditions,’ ‘understandings’ and ‘declarations’ holding that New Start doesn’t ‘impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses’ or dilute Congress’s aspiration to defend the nation from missile attack. A second understanding exempts conventional weapons systems with a global reach. A third affirms Congress’s commitment to the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.”

The problem, according to John Bolton, is that this doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.  The language is what the language is, and these are “mere policy statements that attempt to influence future treaty interpretation.”

Fair enough, except, in the next paragraph, he tells us that the President’s “understandings and interpretations of treaties typically have (and should) predominate.”

Got that?  So we shouldn’t enact the treaty because the interpretations which Obama has endorsed don’t mean anything, and Obama is free to act upon the treaty in whatever way he chooses.  Evidently, the interpretations he endorses are different from those he, you know, endorses.  I believe in the world of international diplomacy they call that the “Pants on Fire Colloquy”.  Of course, Bolton could be saying that, constitutionally, Obama can’t do what he wants when it means ensuring adequate national defense, but he’s given free reign over all the stuff he wants to do to weaken it.  Glad to know.

As an interesting side-bar, the Senate and the President can’t interpret a treaty anyway they want (except when they can), but Bolton is evidently free to do so.  He contends, “Its preamble accepts an unspecified ‘interrelationship’ between nuclear weapons and defensive systems.  Politically, even if not in treaty language, the Russians get what they want:  no significant United States efforts on missile defense.”


By the way, another reason to be fearful of New START’s long term effect on the country’s defense capabilities?  “[A future] President can, after all, completely withdraw from a treaty on his own.”  Not sure how that proves his case, but I guess if he’s willing to throw me a bone I might as well take it.

Oh, and evidently the Continental Congress of 1789 specifically warned us against nuclear non-proliferation.

To be fair, he thinks the treaty could be amended to make it palatable; but first it needs to eliminate restrictions on nuclear launching devices and Congress should approve the development of additional nuclear warheads.

However, in its current state, this piece of legislation is a travesty of international diplomacy (something which I think we can assume he is very, very familiar with), and “the Senate should heed the will of the voters and either reject the treaty or amend it so that it doesn’t weaken our national defense.”  Which is fair.  I don’t know about you, but if I heard one more political campaign rant about New START last October I was going to have a fit.

What a complete tool.

1 Comment

Filed under politics