August 10, 2005
I found it a couple of years ago while surfing a military surplus web site. It only took me a few seconds to decide I had to have one. It's a working circa 1950's Civil Defense Geiger counter -- $15 plus shipping.
When it arrived my long-suffering wife, Sue, shook her head in wonder. Ever since I discovered I could buy stuff online she has become accustomed to all manner of things showing up in our mailbox.
A few months ago I got a panicky call from my local postmaster. "Hey, you have package here that smells and is making a lot of noise. Can you get down here right away and pick it up?"
It was 25 chicks (the feathered variety) I had ordered online.
But this delivery was a real head-shaker.
"What the hell are we going to do with a Geiger counter?" she asked.
It was a fair question. And, I had a good answer, though I was not so sure I wanted to share it at that moment. Instead I made something up.
"Hey, it's a collectable," I said. "Look, it even has the Civil Defense logo on one side. It's a great conversation piece."
She shrugged, shook here head one more time and gave me "that" look, the look that only I and my fellow Homer Simpsons know.
But, as I said, I did had a real answer to the "why do we need this," question. And here it is:
Item #1: Mushroom Cloud Crazy Mullahs
Today Iran removed the IAEA seals from uranium-processing equipment at its plant in Isfahan, and that activities there would resume. They didn't do this in secret. On the contrary, it was a full blown, "in your face" action as I.A.E.A. inspectors stood by watching, and did nothing. Iran has also finished testing it's own solid-fuel long-range missile, the one they redesigned to accommodate nuclear-sized payloads. Oh, and did I mention that the guy they just elected President was one of the student leaders of the US Embassy hostage episode. And he has not mellowed with age. "Death to America," is still his favorite tune. He's also an Islamic fundamentalist and like all religious fundamentalist, he's a nut.
Item 2: Nuclear Armed Lying Bastards
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is helping the Taliban again. Pakistan originally supported, some say even created, the Taliban as a way of controlling neighboring Afghanistan. Since 9/11 Pakistan has been pretending to be on our side since the alternative was getting the same treatment as Taliban next door. But Pakistan's army security services continue to train, protect and supply Taliban forces hiding from us on the Pakistan side of the border. And General-President Pervez Musharraf, has only the most tenuous control over his country's notoriously independent intelligence services. The same goes for his control over Pakistan's nuclear assets and experts. So, commonsense tells me that it's only a matter of time before the radical Muslims in Pakistan's intelligence service gives or sells nuclear materials and know-how to bin Laden and/or Taliban forces. Wanna bet?
Item 3: Two words, North Korea.
That's why I bought that little yellow Geiger counter. How did we get to this point? Ask George.
First Bush correctly identified two real threats, North Korea and Iran, as members of his "Axis of Evil." Iraq was the third member of George's Axis because everyone knows you can't have a two-legged "axis." Saddam had tried to kill daddy Bush, so Iraq was added. The trouble is Iraq was just a WMD poser of the group – a Drugstore Cowboy – all hat and no WMD.
But wait, it gets better. Which one of the three members does bush attack? The wrong one --the one that had abandoned it's nuclear programs a decade ago.
The result is that now nearly all America's military is tied down in Mexico with Mosques, and the rest of the world is furious at us about the mess we've created.
Meanwhile the real bad guys, Iran and N.Korea, are free to go their merry way developing nukes, because there's not a thing we can do about it. What's George going to threaten them with, calling up the Salvation Army, putting bell-ringers along the DMZ and Jamboree Irans Mullahs to death?
Make no mistake about it, if Pakistan, Iran or North Korea "let'" a nuke get into the hands the jihadists some American or European city will be toast. And when – not if – but when that happens the guy we need to go looking for to hold accountable will be George W. Bush.
In the meantime all I can do is make sure there is always a fresh D-cell in my trusty little yellow Geiger counter. It's my adult version of "duck and cover."
As I have noted before in this space, it's impossible to satisfy religious fundamentalists. Nothing is ever "pure" enough for them. No matter how much you placate them they always find Satan's hand at work someplace else.
To wit: John Roberts. Even as Democrats try to figure out whether or not to oppose Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, religious conservatives have already decided that he's not crazy enough for their taste.
Satan's hand first appeared when they learned he had worked free for gay activists fighting discrimination in housing and the workplace. I find it hard to come up with an explanation other than that the far right wants the right to discriminate.
Now the White House looking for other words or actions by Roberts that might stir up their religious-nut base.
"While the White House plays catch-up in studying Roberts's past, it is facing complaints from some of its conservative supporters about what they feel has been a stumbling campaign for the nominee...Sean Rushton, director of the conservative Committee for Justice, said in the days after the nomination "there was a drop-off of message and focus."..."Merely saying 'He's a lawyer's lawyer' isn't enough," Rushton said. "This is the moment to explain why so many of us feel so strongly about the judicial system in ways that can change hearts and minds of swing voters who could be added to the Republican column." (Full Story)
So what should Democrats do? How about nothing? After all that's something we know they do well, so they should play to their strength. And for once it might be the right thing to do as well. After all, they can't stall every one of Bush's Supreme Court appointments in the hopes of running down the clock on the Bush presidency. Vacancies on the Court must be filled and will be filled. And, if not Roberts, who?
If the Dems are smart they will keep the powder dry for Bush's next Court appointments, because he will actually have two, not one, more. First he will soon have to find a new Chief Justice since the current one has one foot in the grave and the other on banana peel. My guess is Bush will move Scalia to Chief Justice, a move that will require hearings and Senate approval, which he is likely to get. Then Bush will have to fill Scalia's Associate Justice seat.
And it's that seat the Dems should be ready to fight. Because by then Bush will owe the religious right big time. First they are less than thrilled with Roberts. Then, (though none of them will say it out loud) they really do hate the fact that Scalia is a Papist – one notch from full Anti-Christ status. So Bush will have to throw his Christian Taliban base a bone – a true-blue, Grade A, USDA certified religious fundamentalist.
That will be the fight worth fighting -- not Roberts.
But hey, no one ever listens to me. (So don't come around asking to borrow my Geiger counter when the shit hits the fan.)