Category Archives: The Us

Summer Vacation 2013

This summer, our vacation was a little different. Instead of flying directly to the US from Copenhagen, we flew to Frankfurt first, where we had a five hour layover before flying on to Denver.

A five hour layover is something I would have liked to avoid before I had kids, but a layover is your friend when you’re traveling with energetic little people who are used to being able to run around all day long.

Vacation! Waiting in Copenhagen for our flight to Frankfurt Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Waiting in Frankfurt for our flight to Denver Got a bassinet on the plane (whew!)

Except for a few minutes of icy fear caused by “ESTA” (the for-profit private agency that handles US Visas) when they refused to let Lisbeth board the flight despite the fact that she had a valid visa, it was a pleasant time. But the best part of this itinerary was that once we made the long flight to the US, we were done. That’s a lot nicer than having to face a domestic flight after the Atlantic flight.

Denver, staying with Sarah and Troy Denver, staying with Sarah and Troy Denver, staying with Sarah and Troy
In Denver we stayed with my cousin Sarah and her husband Troy. Read More →

Pay your taxes, loser

I’m sick and tired of hearing conservatives bitch and moan about having to pay taxes. It boils down to this: conservatives take all the credit for the success they have. To a conservative, if you’re poor, you’re a loser and you’ve gotten what you deserve. Likewise, if you’re rich, then you worked your way up, without any help from anyone, and you deserve to keep every dime you make.

This is, quite simply, bullshit. And the reason I know it’s bullshit is because of my own life.

I’ve done well for myself. I’ve exceeded expectations. I’ve worked hard, and I have a rewarding and interesting career. But I’d be the biggest most arrogant type of narcissistic asshole to claim that I’ve done it all on my own and that I deserve to keep every dime that I make.

Why? Read More →

The latest war

If there is one thing that we can depend on from the American Right, it’s this: they use fear to motivate their base, and the solution for the fear is always a war. During the eighties it was the fear of drugs, which lead to the War on Drugs. During the Clinton years it was the fear of immorality, which lead to the war on Clinton. After 9/11 it was the fear of Islam, which brought us the War on Terror.

Recently, now that ten years  have past since 9/11, it’s time for a new war. Voters only stay afraid for so long, you see.  So the war or terror has given away to the war on debt and government. Right-wing media is hysterical with the specter of record-breaking dept. Pundits and politicians tell us we’re broke. They say we’ve never been so far in dept. And they say that only savage and immediate cuts will save us.

Federal debt as percent of GDP by president (Source: Wikipedia)This chart puts things into perspective. You’ll notice first that, as a percentage of GDP, we’ve certainly had more debt before. We have yet to reach post-WWII levels. And that’s significant because now we’re fighting two wars (some would say three) and the effects of a major recession. The second thing is that debt went up significantly under Reagan and both Bushes, and yet we’re led to believe that Obama pretty much invented the concept of debt. Naturally neither of these facts that are mentioned on Fox news or in the Wall Street Journal. Read More →

One day, at the border

Native: Name?

Columbus: Christopher Columbus.

Native: And how long will you be staying?

Columbus: Oh… quite some time I should think. Quite some time. I’d say indefinitely.

Native: Uh-huh. And how many are traveling with you?

Columbus: Well me, and my crew. And some other boats. And then… well, later… a lot. Just… really a lot.

Native: I see. And your business here?

Columbus: Well, trapping and trading at first. Later some mining and logging. Oh and some crops. Lots of crops. Conversions. Did I mention the slave labor?

Native: No, you didn’t.

Columbus: Oh yeah, slaves. Lots of slaves. They’re cheap you see, and, well, why pay for labor if you can get it for free, ya know?

Native: Yes, naturally. Any fruits or vegetables?

Columbus: Oh yeah, we’ll need fruits and vegetables. And meat. Oh yeah. So yes to the food, thanks.

Native: And have you had any exposure to diseases?

Columbus: Ha! Oh man. I mean… well, no.

Nuclear delusions

This is the kind of logic that makes me despair for the nature and future of the human race:

On the other hand, if the Japanese are able to contain the core at the Daichi plant, which will be determined over the next day, it could invigorate the call for more nuclear power plants.

“If we don’t get a meltdown, it will be fair to point to this as a success in nuclear power. You had a 40-year-old nuclear reactor withstand an earthquake and a tsunami and it kept the core intact,” Cirincione said. “If that is the scenario that will be used as an argument to say look nuclear power is safe even this 40-year-old plant could take a one-two punch from mother nature and survive.”

Umm… no. The only “fair point” is that mother nature will continue to catch us off guard and that we simply cannot foresee every possible way in which disaster might strike, making nuclear power unacceptably dangerous, particularly close to tectonic fault lines, where we know that earthquakes are not only likely, but inevitable. Read More →

I am a tea partier

I am a tea partier. I believe in America. I believe in liberty. I believe in freedom. And I believe that these things are being taken away by sinister forces working to destroy American from within.

I am a tea partier. I believe in paying virtually no taxes, and yet somehow maintaining the greatest country in the world.

I believe it was fine to spend a trillion taxpayer dollars to invade and occupy a foreign country for bogus reasons, but I’ll be damned if I’ll stand for a trillion dollars being spent to stabilize the American economy or create American jobs. I’d rather see the American economy collapse than see my taxes go up.

I believe that living with laws that induce businesses to reduce how much energy they use or how much pollution they produce is exactly like living in a totalitarian regime.

I believe in liberty and freedom. Except the freedom to decide if or when to become a parent. Or the freedom to decide when and how to die. Or the freedom to marry the person who you love if I don’t like your preferences. Or the freedoms of Muslims to build places of worship. Or the freedoms of dark-skinned people to move around freely without having to show their immigration papers. All those things should be forbidden. But otherwise I believe in liberty and freedom.

I believe that “the environment” is an imaginary invention of radical leftists and therefore affects me in no way whatsoever, and never will. Read More →

A passion for prohibition

It seems crazy, but the US has given a huge gift to criminal gangs: virtually unlimited profit. Furthermore, the US has given this gift more than once.

In 1920, alcohol was banned in the US. The idea was well intentioned but wrong-headed. Supporters of an alcohol-free America naively thought that making alcohol illegal would make it go away. There is little evidence to that effect. Passing a law does not magically change appetites.

What the change in law did do was put legitimate bar owners, merchants, truck drivers, and brewery workers out of business and simultaneously opened up vast new business opportunities for outlaws. Suddenly, instead of providing a living for legitimate, law-abiding people, it was a criminal enterprise.

This period saw explosive growth for gangsters like Al Capone, who went to work putting together bootlegging networks. Inevitably, turf wars started, and violence followed. Additionally, since it was outlaws making the stuff, there was no regulation or safety inspection. People died and went blind regularly during this time due to bad batches of home-made spirits. Read More →

Dear Mexicans

We would say we’re sorry, but we’re not. We have our country, and you have yours. It’s not our fault that your country sucks. So nice try – trying to take our country away from us — but it’s not going to work. We’re going to beat you back across the border, whatever it takes, so you might as well get moving along now and make things easier for yourself.

Naturally, there are bleeding hearts here that constantly stick up for you. These are the same people that are determined to ruin our great country with tolerance, consideration, empathy, compassion, and a bunch of other stuff that can only lead to communism. These are the same people that say things like “this country was built by immigrants”, and “doesn’t the constitution say that all men are created equal and that we all have a right to pursue happiness?”

That’s just stupid. Everyone knows that what they meant was that all citizens are created equal. And even though it says “all”, they really meant all white citizens. That’s what they meant, but they didn’t feel that they had to spell it out because at the time America was all white, and they couldn’t imagine that it would ever become the way it is now.

The founding fathers never meant to include Mexicans, or blacks, or communists, gays, atheists, Muslims, or any of the other people that want nothing more than to destroy our country. These are the same people that elected Obama, and after we’ve run you out of the country, we’re going to run them out too. Read More →

Spill, baby, spill

So now we’re awash in pictures of oil-slicked wildlife, and the satellite images of a massive plume of toxic sludge swirling around the Gulf of Mexico. It’s depressing for the obvious reasons — that it’s a crime against nature — that it’s a devastating blow to both wildlife and to humans. There are no winners in this situation.

But it’s also depressing to read reactions and rationales. From Rush Limbaugh opining that the explosion on the oil rig was sabotage by liberals for political gain, to Newt Gingrich blathering about how it is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t stop us from expanding off-shore drilling. To Rand Paul, who apparently feels that being critical of a company that is responsible for the largest oil spill in US history is “Un-American.” Read More →

The audacity of ignorance

When we arrived in the US for vacation last month, we stayed in a hotel in Albuquerque the first night. It had been a rough night, and Ellen was especially tired and jet-lagged. She was fussing at breakfast, so I took her for a little walk.

I was walking past the pool area when a man in his late fifties approached me and said, “That was me — twenty seven years ago, I was walking around with my infant son at this very hotel.” We chatted a bit about being parents and such, and I mentioned that we were jet-lagged. He asked where we came in from. I told him we were visiting from Denmark.

“Denmark! Wow, they’re having big problems there!”

I didn’t know what he meant. I wondered if something terrible has happened since we left. I tried to think. There’s the economic crisis, but that’s not just in Denmark… maybe he was talking about the Mohammed cartoon crisis… but… that was almost four years ago… but that is typically the only thing Americans actually know about Denmark. So I said, “Yeah… I guess…” Read More →