Snakes In The Trousers

Lately there have been a series of curious stories in the news about people trying to smuggle rare animals and birds by storing them on their persons.  Such conduct violates the Lacey Act, which prohibits the smuggling of exotic animals.

The weirdest attempt, in my view, was by a man in Miami who tried to board a plane with seven — seven! — snakes in his pants, as well as three tortoises.  The guy had the snakes and tortoises in nylon bags in his slacks.  It is not clear whether the creatures were drugged so that they would remain immobile during the flight.  In any case, the man’s illicit pants cargo was detected by an advanced imaging technology machine as he went through security.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to try to smuggle seven snakes and three tortoises in your pants, but just imagine what it would be like to sit next to the guy on the plane and notice his unusual trouser activity if all of those animals suddenly started moving around.

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The Feds, Below The Mendoza Line

Cristobal Rigoberto (“Minnie”) Mendoza played for the Minnesota Twins in 1970 and hit .188 for the year.  That threshold of futility has come to be known in baseball as the “Mendoza Line.”  If you start the season in a slump and begin to pull out of it, crossing the Mendoza Line and getting above .200 is the first step back to respectability.  If it’s mid-season and you cross the Mendoza Line going in the opposite direction, expect to find a ticket to the minors in your locker.

When it comes to public perception of business and industry segments, lawyers probably set the Mendoza Line.  For whatever reason, most people don’t like lawyers.  In the media, lawyers are often depicted as conniving, duplicitous, arrogant, money-grubbing, and unscrupulous, which are not exactly endearing characteristics.  As a lawyer myself, I think the common characterizations of lawyers are profoundly inaccurate, and I regret that the general reaction to my profession is so negative — but there is no denying the statistics.

I therefore found it interesting that, in a recent Gallup Poll, the federal government crossed the lawyer Mendoza Line and ranked the worst in terms of public perception of 25 different business and industry sectors.  Lawyers were viewed positively by 29 percent of respondents and negatively by 45 percent, for a net score of -16.  The federal government, in contrast, was ranked positively by only 17 percent and negatively by 63 percent, for a net score of -46.

If I were in the federal government right now, I’d be looking for that ticket to the minors.

 

Please Say it Ain’t so O(bama)

So now that I have a laptop at home and I am semi-retired I spend most of my daylight hours reading by the pool or working at the Windward Passage and when I come home at night I like to surf the internet.

Tonight while surfing the internet I was quite disturbed when I came across the following article US-troops-may-stay-in-Afghanistan-until-2024.html. If this article is in fact true it looks as though we are in talks with Afghanistan to sign a contractual agreement that would supposedly allow American military trainers, American special forces and American air power (estimates of 25,000 American soldiers) to remain in Afghanistan until 2024.

One of the biggest reasons I voted for the current president and the change he was offering was because I was hopeful that he would get us out of the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan once and for all. My thinking was there was a much better chance of that happening with Obama as president as opposed to McCain. To my dismay this hasn’t happened yet.

From what I have read our current cost right now to support 100,000 troops in Afghanistan is $1 billion per day. So if we agree to  keep 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan until 2024 you can do the math, we’re talking about a lot of money that we quite frankly don’t have.

I think the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan said it best when he said “Afghanistan needs many other things apart from a permanent military presence. It needs economic help and it needs peace, military bases are not a tool for peace”. Well said Mr ambassador. When I see a picture like the one above I am outraged that we are doing what we are doing, isn’t anyone else outraged ?

Can any Republican, Independent or Democrat, anyone for that matter give me a logical reason as to why we need to be in Afghanistan for thirteen more years ? Bin Laden is dead and we need to get the heck out of there as soon as possible. If this deal is signed I will have no choice but to write in Ron Paul for President in 2012 since he is the only candidate who has promised to bring all of our troops home.