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Friday, February 19, 2016

Killers from space.

Just an FYI: this post has nothing to do with Killers from Space, either the thing or the movie by the same name. I just used it to draw your attention to an even more immediate problem: Killers from Underground!

Say what you want about Big Green. Sure, we may not be the most successful band around. And true enough, we don't perform very much ... or even at all, really. And it's fair to say that we spend much of our band time recording stuff in the basement, releasing the resulting tracks buried in incomprehensible podcasts. Further, you wouldn't be wrong to say that we are gaunt, pigeon-toed freaks with bad builds and gray hair. Right ... are you done saying what you want? This is getting depressing.

Oh, yeah - my point is simply that, even though we don't deliver on a lot of what you might expect from an indie rock band, we try to be useful in little ways. Like giving you pointers on how to handle a disgruntled mad scientist. Or tips on personal robot assistant maintenance. Or best practices with regard to the care and feeding of man-sized tubers. I think you'll agree that there's value in that. And you can listen to music while you learn. That's the kind of service we provide.

You may be on to something, Marvin.Anyway, some of you may recall our Journey to the Center of the Earth a few years back. For highlights, just look back a few years in this very blog. (If you find it buried in the madness, let me know. I can't freaking find it for the life of me.) Well, we have had indications that the Morlocks are planning some kind of attack. How do we know? For one thing, Marvin (my personal robot assistant) has an electronic earthquake monitor built into his water works, and it has been turning out some disturbing data ... data that suggest a veritable army of Morlocks digging their way to the surface. Either that or someone is fracking in the neighborhood. We're opting for the far more likely Morlock scenario.

Trouble is, with our luck, they'll probably break through the earth's crust right in our courtyard or in the basement of the mill. We're trying to prepare for that eventuality. Matt's got a shovel handy. I'm ordering a couple of pizzas. Carrot and stick, friends.

Flyover country.

I'm going to take a break from my wall-to-wall election 2016 coverage to talk about one of those very serious issues that were already septic when Obama took office in 2009 and have remained that way throughout his presidency. One of the big ones is Korea, which this president is handling pretty poorly, though perhaps marginally better than his predecessor, who chose to include North Korea in his "Axis of Evil".

Scare tactic Obama hasn't gone that far, but with all that's at stake on the Korean peninsula, it is reckless merely to follow the same path as even some of your more sane predecessors in office. It's late in the game, but a real effort should be made to defuse this confrontation before someone makes a mistake. Mistakes in Korea can cost hundreds of thousands of lives in a very short time; no policy of either containment or rollback is worth that level of risk.

I raise this now because over the last week, Obama flew some nuclear-capable stealth fighters over South Korea in an obvious demonstration of our willingness to "go there" - this in response to a missile test by Pyongyang. I guess the annual joint exercises we do with South Korea every March is not enough, though the well-rehearsed maneuvers are designed to mock an amphibious invasion of North Korea. With something like 50 U.S. military installations in South Korea, effective operational control of Seoul's armed forces by the U.S., and plenty of American war planes and troops on the premises, it's little wonder that North Korea wants a deterrent.

It's probably wise to recall that the North was bombed to a fare-the-well during the Korean War. They have a living national memory of what it is like to be annihilated. It's a large measure of what makes them kind of crazy. I know we have a tendency to shrug off other nations' concerns about our saber-rattling, but in this case we're dealing with a country that has already been blown up by us once. When we fly nuclear-capable aircraft over the peninsula, the intended threat has some resonance. Their dispute is more with us than with the South. When they go out of their way to get attention, it's to get OUR attention. Given all that's at stake, we should talk to them ... like, now.

Next week: Scalia and the election.