Monday, November 29, 2010

Mysteries of the Unknown

I admit that this week's goofy (If we DO know something, then it can't be a mystery, right?) title comes from some cheesy TV show from long ago. But the things written about are the latest in a long series of things I just don't get.
First, there's the football team. Which team, you ask? Why, the Iowa team - the same one that made Michigan State look like New Mexico State just a few weeks ago. This year's outfit finishes the regular season at 7-5, losing 4th quarter leads in four of the five losses. Total up the margins of ALL the losses, and you get - 18 points. That's it. The saddest part was the regular season final, lost to (gag!) Minnesota, which had already fired their coach and started the game with a desultory 2-9 record. As they say up North about such things, Uff Da! So what caused things to slide downhill so sadly? I dunno. It's a mystery. At least they get one more chance at winning a bowl game - probably the Fish Bowl.

The North Koreans are at it again, wrecking havoc on their southern neighbors without any easy motive or goal. And it wasn't just one or two planes coming in to strafe the locals, either. That means there had to be some kind of reason. To me it's funny that when there's an international incident of some kind, the folks who seem most sure of their own theories are the ones who've not only never been to another country, they haven't had to negotiate anything more serious than a spat on the local playground. Anyway, I read one theory that says the North Koreans are essentially holding their own people hostage, shouting at the world something like "I'm desperate! Give me food now or these people get it between the eyes - from YOU!" If the rest of the world were to reply by saying "Yeah, pal. We've all got problems. Right now, mine is deciding which wide screen TV I need most. Talk to me after Christmas and we'll see." Then what would the Koreans do? Pitch a fit by lobbing shells over to Seoul? It's another mystery, but I have to admit wondering just whose job it is to keep that little peninsula as peaceful as possible. Our turn has now gone on for over 50 years. Any volunteers? Mexico? Nigeria? Singapore?

Finally, there's the Wikileaks thing. This outfit is not American in any way, so our ability to threaten them is pretty limited. They've gone ahead with their plan to release a quarter million or so diplomatic communications sent over the years to and from Washington. Our current government is doing just what the last one would have done, howling that these releases put American lives in danger. The trouble is that we've heard it all before, and are less inclined, whoever sits in the White House, to simply take "This doesn't concern you. Go away" as an adequate answer. The tendency of governments, whatever their political alignment, is to paper over mistakes by keeping them secret for about a thousand years while gleefully leaking successes as quickly as possible. Are people now lining up at the State Department seeking new identities in places like Shreveport, LA because of some sardonic crack about a local strongman in a telegram sent ten years ago? Once again, you heard it here first. I don't know.


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