|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, March 21, 2008
The Obama's Passport Incident
1) That this story is out there is dog-whistle politics that insinuates that there must be something worth looking at in those files, if the government agents were looking at all. Regardless as to whether or not this is true to any degree, people who are predisposed to believe that Obama is a scary black radical with Muslim ties are going to use the mere existence of the story to believe the old "where there's smoke, there's fire" adage.
2) The same thing happened with Bill Clinton in 1992, where it was leaked that some bureaucrat under GHWBush had looked at his passport files from the 1960s. You know, back when he was a draft-dodging radical hippie.
3) I don't believe in accidents. I believe in coordinated efforts to release stories at the point of most political advantage. I don't think it's arguable that this is the correct time for something like this to leak.
4) When agents within the government, even those rogue bureaucrats acting on their own accord without direction from above, misuse information that is protected by the Fourth Amendment in an attempt to cast aspersions on their political enemies, it becomes very clear that government agents should not be trusted to handle information without oversight and appropriate warrants.
5) When agents within the government, even those rogue bureaucrats acting on their own accord without direction from above, misuse information gathered without warrants on American citizens, it becomes very clear that government agents should not be gathering private data on Americans without warrants, because we cannot trust them to handle this data appropriately.
This is an illustration of why the minimal safeguards erected in the 1970s in the wake of Watergate are required. This is an illustration that government agents, even those rogue bureaucrats acting on their own accord without direction from above, should have no access to private data on American citizens which was not gathered or controlled without appropriate oversight.
This will happen to your guy someday too. Make no mistake about that.
(Also, speaking of coordination, the McCain-Fires-Staffer-For-Racist-Video thing? Gee, you don't think that was totally fabricated and coordinated by his campaign, do you? In one fell swoop he gets to point to an oh-so-despicable video that ties Obama to Malcom X, and then position his campaign as the true post-partisan non-racist campaign of hope, now that the scary black radical Christian Muslim can't quit talking about race. Nice timing McCain.)
Sunday, March 16, 2008
It Was What I Thought It Was
Doesn't that just make you giggle? Apropos of nothing, this sign does too:
Probably could come in handy in Middle Eastern countries under Sharia law.
Anyway, I hit Daddy with a message when I saw the Meat Bingo sign on Friday, and he immediately called and begged me to go.
"You like gambling, and you like meat. Why wouldn't you go?"
So I went. I thought I'd get a story out of the day, but you know what? It's difficult to see an event like this as anything but a little sad. The church isn't in a great neighborhood, and because it's bingo you end up seeing a lot of elderly women showing up. I guess what I'm saying is when you begin to realize that the people are largely showing up because they wouldn't be leaving the house otherwise (he-says-without-looking-in-mirrors), it's hard to mine this stuff for irony or absurdity.
I mean, it's bingo where the prizes are meat. Here, take a peek:
Anyway, I got there at noon, but didn't know that they wouldn't start things up for an hour. I also didn't know that you didn't have to bring a cooler, because they weren't handing the meat out as winners were declared.
Frankly, I think that would have added to my enjoyment.
I sat down at a table with a few elderly women (as if I had an alternate option), and answered the "whatcha got in the cooler?" question a half dozen times. When I told them it was for the meat, they all had a nice little laugh. "You're counting on winning today then?"
Uh, lady, I'm a semi-professional gambler. I drank tinny water out of a bucket at a bar for money once, and have bet on more waitresses' birthdays than you've had birthdays.
One them advised me that it'd have been nice if I had Bailey's Irish Creme in the cooler, and I'm not going to argue that notion. I think I'm going to need to be drunk if I'm going to do something like this again.
The room filled up quickly, and we were near-capacity by the time the first ball was pulled. A quick estimate had 175 people playing anywhere from six to twelve boards during the main games, and one to twelve for the "bonus" special games in between. I played six cards during the main games, and foolishly attempted to play twelve for one of the specials.
The lady sitting to my right asked me, "Would you even know if you had a bingo playing this many?"
No ma'am, I don't think I would. This was brutal to keep track of, and I went back to playing three cards at a time shortly thereafter.
So 175 people were in attendance, playing multiple cards, all in chase of something like 21 prizes. Without doing the math, that's something like a 12% chance that I was walking out of there with meat.
If the Catholics were getting the meat on donation, they were raking in the bucks with this event. I plunked down $10, which I'd guess was about the average. They also ran a snack bar with sausage, turkey bbq and baked goods, which I'm sure accounted for another $300+ in clear profits.
Hand over fist.
I ended up getting my butt kicked through the first intermission, not even coming close enough to really get upset as chicken legs and ribeye steaks were awarded around the room. I kinda felt like packing it in and going home, but there were only another ten games left to go, so I stuck around.
Glad I did. Game 13? BINGO.
Aw yeah baby, bringing the cooler was a smooth move. To go and play, let alone win, let alone win pork makes it all worthwhile. Yes, I spent $10 plus $2 in bottled water to win $8 in meat with a $2 bottle of bbq, but I'm still a winner goddammit.
So yeah, meat bingo. It's literally what you think it is, it's just as sad as you've imagined, and winning pork does make the whole thing worthwhile.
I just wish I could have gotten a better story out of the whole damn thing. I really wasn't that entertained though. Besides the winning part.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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