Sunday, April 24, 2016

Brexit to Nowhere

We are now beginning to see political ads running on the television because Indiana’s primary is coming up soon. While I was visiting my parents this afternoon, a series of them came on and I complained to my father that we were going to be subjected to this until November.

“The UK is going to have two campaigns over and done with by the time our campaign season is done!”

Normally my dad doesn’t concern himself with foreign politics so he surprised me when he asked me if I was referring to Brexit. If you don’t know, the United Kingdom is holding a referendum in June. Voters will decide whether they want to exit the European Union or remain a member.

President Obama recently weighed in on the issue and is urging the UK to stay. Usually I would rather not have us meddling in the political affairs of another country just as I would not want another country meddling in ours. I do think that this is a special case though.

My Dad probably can’t find much common ground with President Obama but all three of this are pretty much on the same page. The UK would not do well to leave the European Union. Let’s take it from the American perspective. The US has been pursuing trade agreements in Asia (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and in Europe (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The President is quite right to say that a seceding UK would be put on a back burner as the US would be looking to these two larger markets. Sure, a lone UK could secure a free trade agreement and perhaps bring about an economic Anglosphere. However the agreements with Canada (NAFTA) and Australia (AUSFTA) took the US years to negotiate and finally ratify.

Then there are the uncertainty issues that an exit would create. What does it say about EU integration? What are the repercussions? 

As an American, it actually puzzles me as to the reasons why the UK wants to leave the EU. I think that the biggest argument is that Brussels is riding roughshod over their interests. If that is the case, isn’t that more of the UK’s fault than the EU’s? The UK is the third largest member of the EU after Germany and France. When it comes to the table, it has a large voice and it’s not like it hasn’t used its weight to carve out special deals for itself. Now, however, the UK punches way below its weight when it comes to manipulating policy in the EU. It shows up but it doesn’t play the game. The Brits have the potential to be a super player in EU, directing and shaping the largest economic and political union in the world. Why would they want to walk away from it?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Re: Prince. Am I missing something here?

News broke at work that Prince had died. My officemate seemed a little upset as she and her husband seem to be big fans. Me, not so much. I wasn't into much of his music.

Towards the end of the night, I got into a conversation with a UPS driver while his truck was was being loaded. We got onto the purported cause of death being the flu. He was under the impression that Prince was gay and that he had AIDS.

Now I can understand the perception that Prince was gay. His flamboyancy and androgynous features had made that impression on me years ago too. I must admit that the cause of death being the flu did cause me to think of a compromised immune system. By now, however, I have learned enough about Prince to doubt that he was gay or that he had AIDS. Drugs are what came to my mind.

As I watch some of the tributes roll in on facebook and other sites, I am a bit bothered especially by those coming in from the queer community. You see, I think that Prince was rather a homophobe. He was against gay marriage and even brought up Sodom and Gomorrah-that God was justified in killing gays. His death doesn't seem like it is something I need to get worked over.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Wonder Woman is With Me

I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and I was not impressed. It’s hard to admit since I have wanted to see Batman and Superman together in a movie ever since I watched the Justice League cartoons. If Marvel could bring together comic book heroes in The Avengers, couldn’t DC do it too? As much as I was hyped about Batman and Superman, it was surprising that it was Wonder Woman was the one that I found the most interesting.

The movie starts out a year and a half after the events of Man of Steel. The people tend to either love Superman or fear him. Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis to see the death and destruction caused by Superman and General Zod’s fight. He sees Superman as a potential threat-an unstoppable being that he cannot control. Clark Kent/Superman is troubled by the fact that his heroic deeds also come with costs-often collateral damage. Lex Luthor decides to use Batman’s cynicism to engineer a showdown between the two heroes so that he can eliminate Superman.

Batman reminded me of the Dark Knight movies so there wasn’t really anything new to me about him. I’m not happy about the version of Superman that is tortured and conflicted. What I really wanted to see was more of Wonder Woman who, maybe, has ten minutes of screen time. Fortunately, she will be given her own movie next year.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Something about chickens... and roosting?

After years of using boogeyman issues, the Republicans seems to have distilled them into a real person: Donald Trump. The party's primary race is fascinating as Trump has been gone from being novel curiosity to panic-inducing threat. Watching both establishment and hard-core conservatives losing their minds over this guy has been amusing.

Trump has a plurality of support with the majority of republicans backing the other candidates. Sen. Cruz has made an appeal for those people to abandon those candidates and unite behind him. Basically if you feel "anyone-but-Trump" then Cruz is your man.

So let's say that Cruz takes on all the supporters of Rubio, Kasich, and of the candidates who have already dropped out. Cruz is poised to beat Trump at the party convention. Despite his earlier promise to the contrary, I think that Trump would make a run as an independent candidate. He'd see it as a stab in the back and would not have any reason to keep his word.

Which party's supporters are going to be siphoned off by Trump running as independent? Uh huh...

Pass the popcorn, Hillary.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Canada On My Mind

I've made a decision that I want to make a road trip to Canada this summer if I can find the money.

A few weeks ago as I was looking through some old computer files, I came across a copy of a story that I had saved. A series of books following this guy named Will Carter, who was largely based in Ottawa, had me captivated. It actually helped me along to calm myself in my coming out process. I ended up reading the entire series again, having completed the last book a couple days ago.

Also a couple days ago, as I was watching some YouTube videos on old 90s TV shows, I thought about Due South. It was about this RCMP constable that comes down to Chicago. It's a crime show as he teams up with an American detective but it is also comedic. I remember being drawn to the character of Benton Fraser because he was intelligent, kind, persistent,... and damn hot in that Red Serge uniform.

So with Canada on my mind, I think I should go. It has been a long time since I've been there. Not that I really visited it last time since it was only to hop across the border to get a better view of Niagara Falls. I've contacted two friends and asked them if they would like to come along. I figured we'd spend three full days. One at Niagara and Toronto. Second in Ottawa. Third in Montreal. I'd like to go further to Quebec City but I'm already intimidated enough driving in English Canada. I'm not too keen on driving through French Canada.

Cross your fingers for me. I hope that I will be able to do this.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"I don't want you to be discouraged."

I learned today that I will not be offered the lead position that I applied for. It has been offered to someone outside the company. That concludes this round of job hunting.

My former supervisor broke the news shortly before my shift concluded. He wanted me to hear about it before the new guy starts on Monday. He knows how much I want to get out of where I am at and move on and he told me that I shouldn't be discouraged. It is hard to take that in when I am already there.

The company is considering putting in a third shift. If and when that happens, I will be putting in some more applications.