Double Standard in the Isis Fight

Under the radar this week in world news- Egyptian jets attacked Isis targets in Libya in response to the killing of 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians. The story wasn’t under the radar, we all heard about that. The Obama administration response however…

White House press secretary Josh Earnest, when questioned by reporters about our support, passed on the question. US officials have been quoted on the subject that we neither condemn nor condone the attacks. Part of the issue, the Egyptians didn’t tell the US in advance that they were taking action against an enemy on their border, killing their citizens. Contrast this with Jordan, where the head of state himself, King Abdullah took the cockpit and attacked Isis targets in Syria… That action we endorsed whole heartedly, as we should have.

The juxtaposition of allies, and given our $40 Billion dollar investment in the Egyptian military I’d say we are allies on paper anyway.. the juxtaposition of our two countries fighting different wars against a common enemy is crazy. Follow this up with the comments that the Obama administration has made saying that there should be a “negotiated” settlement to the ongoing civil war in Libya, and that Egypt attacking targets in Libya doesn’t help the situation..

We are talking about Isis here. If I didn’t know better it certainly looks like the Libyan version of Islamic Terror is more palatable to Obama than the Syrian/Iraqi version?

Last week Netanyahu’s speech before congress certainly made headlines in the US and in Israel. The timing was horrible, John Boehner was certainly playing politics by bypassing the President to give him the podium in Congress. I get all of that. While I don’t agree with Netanyahu on almost anything, the points he made during the speech, I found little to disagree with.

  • Iran is an aggressive state that is looking to expand it’s hegemony in the region.
  • They are currently destabilizing no less than four countries in the Middle East; Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain. They’d like to add Libya and Egypt to that list.
  • Iran is at least partially to blame for the current situation in Gaza, and I’m talking about the situation between Hamas and Egypt. In case you missed it, last week Egypt declared Hamas a Terrorist Organization. In addition since the summer war in Gaza Egypt has tightened their blockade of the strip by forcibly removing all Egyptians within two kilometers of the Gaza border. So far they’ve destroyed 1200 homes in the process. Egypt has also closed the Rafah border crossing, the only border crossing into Gaza that doesn’t pass through Israel. Iranian weapons and material, which had been smuggled into Gaza for years, not just rockets and parts mind you, but small arms, ammunition etc. Those weapons are finding their way in the Sinai Peninsula where they’re being used against Egyptian troops.
  • Iran’s leaders have consistently threatened Israel’s existence at every opportunity over the last 30 years they’ve been in power. Not simple “if they do this, we’ll do this” threats these are “Israel aka the Zionist Entity needs to be destroyed. As in eliminated from the world.
  • While they negotiate with the west and the US in particular, there are still rallies on the street of Tehran call for Death to America.

So how we think that this regime would bother to hold themselves to any treaty regarding centrifuges and nuclear development is beyond me.

At the end of the day, in my opinion, Kerry and Obama have made a series of mistakes in foreign affairs. They comprised where the shouldn’t, like in Iran, and in Turkey. And they haven’t compromised where they should have- Ukraine and Russia. They’re on their way to going down as the worst administration, from an international diplomacy perspective since Carter. Frankly, 6 years ago, after Obama’s Cairo speech he should have leaned on Netanyahu hard to stop settlements and to negotiate with the Palestinians. The calculus on the ground would have changed where today Hamas would probably not be in control in Gaza. He probably could have come to a negotiated settlement in Syria as well that, while would have been negotiating with a tyrant would have saved the lives of 150,000 Syrian civilians and eliminated the conditions that brought Isis to power.

In my opinion anyway.

 

 

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Blah Blah

Well, the kids visit has come to an end and man am I depressed about it. 

I’m also depressed because I’m sick as dog with a rib-brusing chest cold that’s kicking my ass. I blame the 4 year old that I visited with on Saturday. Little germ bags, they’re a menace to public health. 

Blah blah blah

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Big Fun Time Visit Time

Fun With Children

I think it’s perfectly ok, upon learning that I’m going to be introduced to one of my children’s new “special” friends, to ask if said friend has any visible deformities that I should be aware of before I meet them. I don’t want to be shocked. Again. 

Staring is bad. 

Speaking of kids, it’s been a gas and a half having the kid home from Israel. He’s definitely not the kid I sent over there back in 2013. For one thing, he’s a Republican now. Or as he describes it “pragmatic”. Good for him, that now he has an opinion about politics. 

Cutting Hair and Taking Names

“It’s not horrible”. 

Mrs S’s response to my haircut today. (Barber BTW, is me) “It’s not horrible” is what I want to hear when I get diagnosed with something with an unpronounceable disease not after a haircut. 

Then again, it’s better than “It’ll grow back”. I’ve certainly heard that one too. 
Well, the good news on hair it will go grow back and when people look at me, the hair is not the first thing most folks find um.. unattractive. 
Team Sankary and Friends had an excellent weekend. Started on Wednesday night when we were at the Timberwolves game to see the return of the Big Ticket, Kevin  Garnett. Magical evening and all that. Thursday the lad and I headed to to the International Market in the old Sears building in Midtown. That’s a great place, the old retail space has been divided up for small food services and stores. It’s probably the best place in the Twin Cities to get Mexican food. It may not be as exotic as some places around but you know, personally, I’m not interested in tongue tacos. I don’t like the idea of my food tasting me back, know what I mean. My Dad used to like tongue. He’d occasionally bring home a beef tongue.. disgusting looking thing folded over in the refrigerator, damned tastebuds looking like little anemones on a rock, waving at me.  But if that wasn’t disgusting enough, the old man liked head cheese too. Lips and assholes as he used to say. Meat vomit in jelly in my opinion. 

Friday and Saturday night he wanted to something together as a family. When he says “do something” he means go out and do something. When Mrs S and I say “do something” we mean fall asleep on the sofa. I had to explain that I would love to do “something” but I jus don’t know what to do. “What do you guys like to do?” he asked. Well, we sit around and say “I dunno, what do you wanna do” at each other until finally someone gives and goes back to reading. 

We are pathetic. 

Fact is, this week went really really fast. Hardly started and now it’s about over. SAD. 

I’m back to work on Monday, he’s back to Israel on Tuesday and we’re all back to Nesting Empty. Good news is Auburn kid comes home in two weeks. Fun all over again. 

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The Dude’s Homecoming

The Lad is home from Israel. Very nice to have him around the house.
He’s not the kid we sent to Israel 18 months ago. That kid had never voted, didn’t know a think about politics, did’t really talk much about world affairs.. and now? All he does is talk politics. Somehow he’s become a pretty staunch republican, certainly no fan of the president, who he keeps referring too as Oh-bammy. He’s also got a very conherent view on the Middle East and Israeli politics in general.
He also works all the time, don’t know where he got that from. He’s been quite busy doing something with an optimization model that apparently requires a PC and a Mac to be running at the same time. This evening I think the project even went out to his mom’s iMac as well. Three comupters cranking away on something to me look liked a drunk spirograph.
He’s optmizing, running a bunch of math and spinning processors and hard drives. Three computers, that’s a lotta optimizing. He does a lot of some some pretty advanced mathematics, you might say hes fluent at math.  Enough that he’s become something of a math snob if you can believe that. Now I’m certainly no math genius, more of a math moron truth be told. but I’m not so dumb that I didn’t get laugh when I suggested that his brother was also quite the math wiz and he replyed with the following:  
But he’s biologist and biologists don’t do real math. 
<<quizical look from me>>
They don’t? You never did organic chemistry? That’s a lot of math n’est pas?
Clincher- Biology math is “there are 5 ants on a stick and one falls off, how many ants are left?” 

I found it funny. 
It is nice to have him home, even it’s only for a short time. 
The lad brought home a few food items from Israel that I love; halavah, tehina, Arabic coffee. Mmmm. I’ve learned a couple things about the lad. For one thing he eats a ton of halavah. As a matter of fact I think that’s where most of his nutrients come from. 
Halavah.. I don’t quite understand how he’s can be 6’0 and 120 pounds eating stuff that’s as dense as rock. 
The tehina has been the base for the salad dressings he’s been making for his breakfast salads. 
We’ve certainly been burning through the tomatoes around here. 
And cucumbers. 

And beer. Which is partially my fault. 
Mmmm beer. Homer Simpson

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Boredom Ahead

This a NASCAR year that the Casa Del Sankary. If you look at my viewing pattern over the last several years I like to watch NASCAR in odd numbered years. I take the even numbered years off because frankly the season’s too damn long. I need a break.

I also need to be motivated because, and I’m dropping the f-word again here, frankly NASCAR is one of those things that I really want to like. But unfortunately the actual activity of watching NASCAR doesn’t live up to the hype of the idea of watching NASCAR. And unfortunately for NASCAR, my sentiments are very common. Their fan base has been dropping faster than a Tony Stewart Pole start.

But what the hell, I was bored and this is the week before the Super Bowl of Racing, the Daytona 500 so, I thought I check in on the qualifying on Sunday. Now typically, as in every other year, qualifying for the 500 involves a 20 lap race with some forced pit stops, followed by two lap solo qualifying runs later in the week, and wrapping up with a Thursday night race for last spots in the grid. Complicated? Sort of but the basic rules are the winners of the first race get the pole and first few spots, the solo runs fill out the rest of the field, and I’m not sure what the last couple races are for. Fill the stands for another day I think.

This year however the qualifying process changed dramatically. Now they’re doing “group qualifying”. Jeff Gordon won the pole. I couldn’t tell you how, I have no idea how it worked. Apparently neither did anyone else including the other drivers, the whole process got ripped in the press. They’re really trying everything to add interest to the sport. Good luck.

So for all my muted excitement about NASCAR, fact is I’m really only good for about 10 races or until our first 60 degree day happens on a Sunday in Minnesota. After that I find better things to do than watch for 4 hours every weekend. If you follow NASCAR at all you know their ratings have been plummeting year over year to what Neilson calls “historic lows” as “rating before we were on national TV” lows. Attendee at races, also down. Most tracks are removing seats, installed during the glory days in the mid 2000’s to keep prices up and now show masses of empty seats on race day.

Boredom.

That is the problem with golf too. I used to play a lot of golf back in the day. Even had some idea that I enjoyed it. But really.. it was a lot of long afternoons chasing a ball around course that typically left me feeling worse about myself after putting out on 18 than before I teed off on the first hole. Who needs that, not to mention I was usually about $100 lighter. Golf is dead if you ask me. The bearded hipsters I see all over the place have no interest in the game. It certainly doesn’t help that when they get to the golf course they find themselves on the home turf of the very people they despise, the country club set that gave them shit all through high school. But they do like a nice walk in the park on a sunny day, so, bless the little bitter beer swilling underachievers, they created a golf alternative, Disc Golf. I would have called it frisbee golf, but apparently that dates me more than my wristwatch. But truth be told Disc Golf is a handy little sport for those kids. You can typically play for free, you can certainly carry a beer or a dube with you while your out there, and the difference between great and mediocre is much narrower than it is in real golf. Not that the hipsters haven’t allowed themselves to be sucked in to merchandising, as one guy I work with tried to explain to me the differences between a “driver” and a “putter” when it comes to what are essentially plastic plates. Me thinks the differences are in his mind and he probably throws the discs differently because the name stamped on them, but that’s just me.

The other appeal to frisbee golf is you can complete a round or two in 20 minutes (give or take an hour) get back to your LARP League or your magic cards. It’s better that way given that they all have vaccine induced ADD/ADHD anyway.

All this collective ADD in society has also killed baseball, one my favorite sports. Baseball today actually is killing me as well. Seems to me that when I was a kid a baseball game was about 25 minutes long. Seemed like that anyway. OK so really it was about 2 hours long, plenty of time to have a beer and take in some sun with 20K other office slackers on a Wednesday afternoon.

Now, feels like games are longer than cricket matches, which I’m told can take 3 days to complete. Well in Britain no one works anyway and folks have days on end to spend at a match drinking beer, and then sobering up in order to drink even more beer. But here in US, we got shit to do. Sitting on my ass at a Twins game for 5 hours.. (and paying $20 for a a beer) games are horribly long and drawn out. These days we have to endure not one, but TWO national anthem breaks, the field guys come out every inning to groom the infield as opposed every Sunday when I was a kid, we have to stop in the middle of innings for TV breaks and character races, recognize the firefighter who rescued a cat out of a tree.. and pitchers… pitchers today take minutes between pitches. I so miss Rich Reuschel when he was pitching for the Giants games were 1:50. Almost felt like I wasn’t getting my monies worth. Big Daddy was the last of the efficient pitchers in my book. he didn’t want to be there any longer than he had too. And he threw fast, meaning he’d get the ball back from the catcher and BOOM deliver the next pitch. Part of that was Rick wasn’t overpowering per se, but I think he realized that if he threw fast and mixed it up.. batters would be confused, and it worked. For him and for me.

Now a days I couldn’t get my kids to baseball game.. the hate the game. They think only old men watch it. And no one plays it either in this country so I’m declaring it dead.

Which leaves me with a huge gaping ADD issue this summer, how to keep me interested and engaged in something longer than 15 minutes. Suggestions? Send a note to Mrs S, she’s worried.

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Little Check In

Hey all, hope you have been well while I’ve been on hiatus. I’m blaming work once again, and lots and lots of travel. Since my last post, I’ve been to Harrisburg PA, Philadelphia PA and Portland OR. 

I could live in Portland, very nice out there. Lots of great beer and better coffee. Weather wasn’t to bad either. Rain of course, but 50 degrees in February is nothing to complain about. 

When I’m home I’ve been concentrating on doing family stuff to make for all the nights I’m out. Tonight Mrs S and I had dinner with a fellow I used to work with at Target and his wife. Really nice time, think we made some new friends. 

Funny, i’ve made more new friends since my pronouncement a few years ago that “I’ve met everyone in my life I care to meet, don’t need to meet anyone else thank you”. 

Never say never I guess. 

Was supposed to head up to the cabin this weekend for some R&R and ice fishing. 5 below is making me rethink my trip. I’m feeling too old to get up on the lake at those temperatures. 

Not that I’m not motivated to get out there though. I do love some lake time in the winter. 

We’ll see, look for an update here on Sunday. 

We have talked about going to a couple youth hockey games this weekend. Neighbor kids games. Don’t want to go to too many because A) looks like we’re creepy old stalkers and B) people might think we don’t have anything to do. While I woud argue we’re not creepy old stalkers, in the most strict legal definition of the same, we do have nothing to do these days. All part of tha empty nesting bullshit that sounded good a few years ago but in reality is a tish boring. 

Tish anyway. 

One way to keep yourself busy and your mind occupied is to volunteer. Until a month or so ago I was volunteering in town a couple time a month helping folks coming out of prison or ending in patient rehab with resumes and interview skills. Very rewarding work frankly. Now they don’t want to do this deal in the afternoon and since i actually have a job and can’t be available on their schedule… I think I’m fired, but I don’t know for sure. However, as we know from life experience, nature hates a vacuum so in the mean time I’ve been meeting with several former friends and colleagues from Target who are finding themselves out of work thanks to the layoffs over there. 

I was a good person to meet with before this, and often helped folks I knew, now my dance card is filled up enough that I’ve had to create a filing system for all the people I’m talking to to make sure I have keep their info straight. Its certainly been interesting to work with those folks. Good news is, the job market seems to be pretty good right now and most people shouldn’t have any trouble finding new work. Bad news is, they’re probably going to take pay cut of some kind. Still better than the alternative. 

That’s about it for right now. Stay warm this weekend and until next time, ciao baby 

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Welcome 2015- go away now

I hate 2015. Just say’n. I’d be ready to fast forward to 2016 except at my age I don’t know how many years I have left, so I sure hate to waste them on B.S. But if my history is any indication while the year may not be wasted on skipping the next 11 months I it will be wasted on angst and workaholicism.

Peh…

On the good news side, the oldest kid is coming home for a couple week at the end of February. Bad news is with my travel schedule I won’t see much of him (cue Cat’s in the Cradle). This is his first trip home since he left for Israel in August 2013. The kid is doing amazing things at the Technion. His work is being presented at the University of Texas in Austin in May. There’s a pretty good chance they’ll send him here to present and if that that happens rumor is there will be many Sankary’s in the audience. Including my Dad’s brother whom he’s never met.

The kid at Auburn is also doing very well. He’s plugging away in his Jr. year, working on his microbiology degree. I wish I was half as smart as he is… greatness skips generations.

The girl in meantime is also doing excellent academically. Another National Honor Society candidate. Later this year we start thinking about colleges. The empty nest is fast approaching… yeah empty nests.

Not lost on me is that there seems to be a lot of academic success for one batch of children. Ironic because I certainly did have much, maybe more of an effort problem than intellect problem. Can’t help it you find everything dreadfully boring.

The other secret to success around here, let’s just say personally, if I was bringing my grades home to Mrs S… they would have been a lot better than they were. She scares me and I don’t report to her.

Much.

I’ve started about 20 blogs in the last 6 weeks, and none of them were worthy of publishing. To lame, whiney, negative.

Peh…

Alright, that’s where I’m at. Midlife blahs and long work weeks. I don’t see much changing in 2015, but you never know, I may get a grip.

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