Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Following the Interesting Instead of the Important

Today I was getting ready to write the daily blog and I started canvassing the headlines, newsletters and intelligence bulletins trying to find something suitable and interesting. What I found was a lot of small stuff that seems to get by without much notice, but shouldn’t. There are a lot of little things happening out there that we should be taking notice of but we don’t. I guess it’s a question of data overload. Most of us have a tendency to just concentrate on the “big” stories and the interesting stories and let the others slip by almost unnoticed. For example, I have found myself watching the Casey Anthony murder trial on TV. It is very interesting and I am anxious to see what happens. It’s kind of like watching a soap-opera that makes you want to tune in for the next episode. 

The question I have to ask myself is “why?” There are a lot of other things happening out there and I don’t need to watch every witness and see every piece of evidence. I am not on the jury. Whatever happens, I won’t miss it just because I wasn’t watching it live –the media has been playing and replaying every second of it. I guess it is just human nature. Seeing it lives gives us a feeling of connection and involvement –even if that is pure fantasy. Besides, let’s face it, it is far more interesting than reading about the deficit and tax code problems.

Well, OK, just to make up for my human frailty, here are a few of the things from the headlines that may have slipped by, but shouldn’t have.

First up, here is one of those headlines that just piss you off. A suburban Washington councilwoman who was convicted this week of corruption is planning to remain in office until she is sentenced in October – a move that would allow Leslie Johnson to collect nearly $28,000 more of her taxpayer-funded salary, which is $96,000 a year.

Johnson, the wife of former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson, pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to cover up bribes by flushing a $100,000 check down the toilet and stuffing nearly $80,000 cash in her bra as federal agents knocked on the door of the couple's home. (My, what big lungs….)

The guilty plea by Leslie Johnson was the latest embarrassing development in a lengthy federal probe that has revealed widespread corruption in the wealthy Washington suburb.

Johnson is the first current officeholder to be convicted of corruption. When she and her husband were arrested last November, he was still in office and she had been elected but not sworn in. Her attorney said Leslie Johnson intends to remain in office until her sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 13.

"I look forward to continuing to serve and making a positive difference in the lives of people in need," Johnson, 59, said in a brief statement outside court without taking questions. "I made a mistake for which I today accepted responsibility," Johnson added. "I only ask not to be defined by this mistake." And if she gets away with those comments and collecting her salary until sentencing it will only prove how stupid the rest of us are.


Here is another one that chapped my feathers when I read it. The Washington Post reports that Iran has increased arms shipments to both Iraq's Shiite extremists and Afghanistan's Taliban in recent weeks in an apparent attempt to pressure American and other Western troops operating in its two strategic neighbors, according to senior U.S. and European officials.

In Iraq, Iranian 240mm rockets, which have a range of up to 30 miles and could significantly change the battlefield, have been used recently by Shiite extremists against U.S. and British targets in Basra and Baghdad. Three of the rockets have targeted U.S. facilities in Baghdad's Green Zone, and one came very close to hitting the U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital.

The 240mm rocket is the biggest and longest-range weapon in the hands of Shiite extremist groups, U.S. officials said. Remnants of the rockets bear the markings of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and are dated 2007. The Tehran government has supplied the same weapon, known as the Fajr-3, to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia.

I know the questions you are asking about now. Why do we not confront Iran directly about this? If nothing else, why not take the evidence to the United Nations and expose the Iranians for what they are? I don’t know. I just do not understand how we can allow our troops to be killed by weapons supplies specifically by that purpose and not do anything about it. –and remember, these are the same guys that are getting very close to getting their blood stained hands on nuclear weapons. Something else we are doing damned little about.

Live Long and Prosper....

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