The war just got a great deal more personal for me: my little brother left today for the Middle East, first to Kuwait and then to multiple locations in Iraq.

Not to shoot anybody — to play piano.

He’s in the Army Chorale band, and volunteers to go on these USO tours with Al Franken and a motley assortment of country music stars, WWF wrestlers, and professional cheerleaders. Yes, really. On the first one, shortly after the invasion, he got to stay in Saddam’s palace. He’s amused by it all and always brings back hilarious pictures and stories.

But the mess over there has only gotten messier, and now it looks like Bush might double down. Asshole.

Anyway, if you’re the praying type — I’m not, but days like today I wish I were — throw the Big G-Man a shout-out for the USO tour staying safe.

And just to make this somewhat environmental, let’s ponder yet again what kind of …

  • improvements to the nation’s electricity grid,
  • development and deployment of electric cars,
  • development and deployment of high-speed rail,
  • R&D for renewable energy

… we could have gotten for $2,000,000,000,000.