Welcome, dear readers, to yet another goosebump-raising edition of Ask Boomer With Attitude, live from Charlotte, where the county manager can rack up a string of bad decisions and still get a big fat bonus. One of the questions this week is made up; maybe you can spot it.
Dear BWA: I was very disappointed that Creative Loafing did not endorse Anthony Foxx for mayor, and I didn't like your calling Foxx and Lassiter Tweedle-black and Tweedle-white. -- Lifelong Democrat
Dear L.D.: Gee, I'm sorry. First, CL doesn't usually endorse candidates and if it did, it would be up to the editor, not a columnist like myself. During much of the campaign, Foxx and Lassiter seemed, to me, like the Uptown Corporate Twins, thus the Tweedle-white/Tweedle-black comment. As the election neared, Foxx started separating himself from Lassiter in terms of giving in to developers, and over the course of the debates, it became clearer to many that Lassiter represented the same old same old, while Foxx seemed prepared to at least try new ideas.
Dear BWA: You can laugh at conservatives like Glenn Beck all you want and call him paranoid, but seriously, don't you think the federal government has too much control over our lives? -- Gingrich in 2012
Dear Gingrich: It'll be tough condensing this answer into the available space, but here goes: Yes, the feds have too much control, but not in the areas conservatives usually mention. For instance, it's a real stretch to say that government services to U.S. citizens -- Social Security, unemployment insurance, veterans' services, interstate highways, food inspections, etc. -- are the same as "controlling our lives." On the other hand, warrantless wiretapping of citizens' phones, trolling through our bank statements and computers, nullifying habeas corpus, checking up on which books we get from the library, and the myriad other outrages perfected by Bush & Co. and, to a large degree, continued by Obama, are genuine infringements of Americans' rights, and forms of control over our lives. Generally, conservatives, for some reason, don't see these as threats to liberty. Their viewpoint, summarized: Paying for Mom's cancer treatments? Tyranny! Keeping an eye on my Internet habits? Patriotism -- U-S-A! U-S-A!
Dear BWA: You've mentioned being Catholic in your column and elsewhere, so what do you think of the Vatican holding a conference on extraterrestrial life? -- I'm A Believer
Dear I'm: Actually, I've mentioned being a conflicted Catholic, but yes, a Catholic nonetheless. Rev. Jose Funes is the Vatican's astronomer and author of "The Extraterrestrial Is My Brother" (an article that is rumored to have led to restricted access to communion wine for certain priests). Last year, he announced that it was possible there were alien life forms, and that believing they exist is OK by the Church. Boy, what a relief for Catholics everywhere to have this issue, so relevant to their daily lives, finally resolved. Telescope sales boomed in Catholic countries, and Italy saw a spike in the number of newborns named Alf. Meanwhile, Catholics worldwide were able to take their minds off other topics weighing on them, such as "Genuflecting with knee replacements," or "How can I feed all these kids?" As for the conference, it was a great idea, and it just so happens that we've obtained a document naming some of the topics discussed at the meetings. Here's a partial list: Apparitions of Mary -- UFOs, or what?; Do aliens get their own Jesus or can they use ours?; Aliens, the new altar boys?; and, Since they're not those lowly human women, can female aliens be priests?
Dear BWA: I read your last piece about Afghanistan and partially agree with it, but the military seems to think it can get things under control there, so why shouldn't we let them? -- Trying to Figure It Out
Dear Trying: The most obvious answer is that the military's job is to implement administration military policy, not to make the policy. Moreover, history is littered with the remnants of countries whose leaders relied on sorely mistaken military leaders' opinions. I question the praises and hoopla the press has been showering on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the guy who's trying to convince Obama to go for broke in Afghanistan, aka Graveyard of Empires. McChrystal is said to have political ambitions, like some generals before him (namely Gen. MacArthur, fired by President Truman), but here's a guy who clearly committed perjury during his June Congressional confirmation hearing when he denied approving "harsh interrogations" (torture) by soldiers under his control; and probably committed it again when he denied filing fraudulent paperwork in the Pat Tillman case, claiming he was unaware that Cpl. Tillman had been killed by "friendly fire." If military officials continue their current public pressure, rather than indicating that they know their proper role, the president should publicly address McChrystal's perjury before Congress, as well as his public disagreements with Obama, as a warning shot to military brass who never seem to tire of wasting our national resources in Third World hellholes.
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