An afternoon cup: Monday, November 22, 2010

The debate over airline passenger screenings continues in full force.  Do you or don’t you want to get zapped by the full body scan?  Rather be felt up?  I’d like to share some links with you so that, if you are traveling over Thanksgiving, you can take this all in stride by knowing that cooler heads will prevail, just probably not this week.  First, Thomas McNamara’s Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s L.A. Times, “To find the needles, reduce the haystack”, illuminates the futility in believing we will ever be 100% safe from terrorist threats anymore than we can raise a child free from harm if only we make him wear bubble wrap clothing and eat nothing but fresh fruits and veggies.  Terrorists are imaginative and nimble.  Being more so gives us our best chance of gaining the upper hand.  Second, no one really does know the effects of the radiation emanating from the scanners.  My friend Nadine sent me this link, which refers to concerns from the University of California San Francisco, a top medical school.  Third, the entrepreneurial spirit is never far.  A Colorado man has developed and is selling fig leaf underwear to cover your private parts should you decide on the full body x-ray.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia left this morning for the U.S. for medical treatment, raising issues of his succession.  I think it raised awareness of just how great our medical care CAN be in this country.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is trying to assist Congress in deciding whether to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell before the end of the holiday recess by releasing the long awaited study one day early.  This debate makes my head spin.  One day early?! Golly, thanks Robert.  That’s going to be the difference deciding the fate of this controversy.  When they speak of DADT and its repeal (and it will be repealed, dammit), they’ll speak of Gates’ bold move.

The American people, or at least those who read the New York Times Week in Review section, came up with about 7000 ways to fix the budget deficit in this country.  Look at the results and then recall the study done in September where the majority of Americans agreed with the administration that the Bush tax cuts should NOT be extended for the wealthy, and then try to understand why Obama is considering capitulating to the GOP on this matter.  It boggles the mind.  Write your rep in Congress and tell them how you feel.

This seems to be the year of the miners, both good and bad.  The latest: 29 miners were rescued today from a flooded coal mine in China, while 29 other workers were still trapped in a coal mine in New Zealand.

I didn’t see The American Music Awards last night, but watched a few clips this morning.  Billboard gives you what they consider to be the top five moments from the telecast, including a pregnant Pink strutting her stuff.  How cool a mom will she be?  And if Justin Bieber annoys you and you don’t know why, watch him perform so you have something on which to base your opinion.  His hair really bothers me.

Bush continues his revisionist history tour, but now Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wants to clear up a few things. He disagrees with the former president’s claim that it was NATO forces’ unwillingness to fight in Afghanistan that was the problem, and not Bush taking his eye off the ball to focus on Iraq.  It’s important to get history right so we don’t repeat it.  Let’s not be bamboozled.

I know how the country can reduce the deficit.  Make “Harry Potter” movies, or at least have J.K. Rowling (also known as “Jo”) write more books to turn into movies.  The latest, part one of the final installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, made $330 million here and abroad, collectively, this weekend.

What happened 47 years ago today?  If you guessed my friend Marco was born, you’d be correct.  Also, JFK was shot and killed in Dallas. has a haunting recap of that day’s events.

Football fans: the Minnesota Vikings fired their coach, Brad Childress, earlier today.  A midseason firing appears to have worked out well for the Cowboys.  Let’s see if a change is all that Brett Favre needs.

Ladies, are you like me and crave chocolate just before a certain friend arrives every month?  It has to do with serotonin levels in our brain and reading Dr. Judith J. Wurtman’s explanation comforted me, though not as much as Dove’s silky dark stuff.

Pulchritude is a horrible word for beauty.  (Thanks Janet.)

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