Monday, April 21, 2008

The Adventures of Jet Guy.

A Modest Proposal.

The calls for a military draft are in fact calls for forcible enlistment in the anti-war movement, which has suffered greatly from its failure to recruit in the current voluntary political involvement model. The calls for a draft are nothing more than frustrated efforts to bolster the effectively non-existent anti-war movement to Vietnam levels by swelling its ranks with suddenly concerned suburban Americans.

It’s populist anti-war posturing, not based on any kind of political or military reality. One place you’re not hearing much about a draft these days is Congress, which figured out some time ago it was a non-starter, as noted here by Dan K. Thomasson at Scripps Howard. His op-ed underscores the lack of reality, as he rattles on about the unfeasibility of invading Iran, on the erroneous assumption that curtailing the nuclear ambitions and support of terrorism by Iran would entail a massive onslaught of ground forces.

The idea is further detached from reality by the fact that, under Bush or McCain administrations, a draft doesn’t have a prayer. Under an Obama or Clinton administration, presumably it becomes unnecessary as they rapidly pull us out of Iraq and theoretically eliminate the need for a larger military.

But these people take themselves seriously, so it is only right we should consider their proposals with all the seriousness they deserve. There is after all a serious underlying problem, even if it isn’t the problem they are trying to address.

A Creature of Habit.

Ex-leader recalls Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

LODZ, Poland (AP) - Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw ghetto by a handful of scrappy, poorly armed Jews against the Nazi army, becomes emotional when he speaks of the fighters he led.

"I remember them all—boys and girls—220 altogether, not too many to remember their faces, their names," says the 89-year-old doctor, who still works in a Lodz hospital. Edelman will lay a wreath in their honor at the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the uprising.

The Nazis walled off the ghetto in November 1940, cramming 400,000 Jews from across Poland into a 760-acre section of the capital in inhuman conditions. On April 19, 1943, German troops started to liquidate the ghetto by sending tens of thousands of its residents to death camps.

Several hundred young Jews took up arms in defense of the civilians—the first act of large-scale armed civilian resistance against the Germans in occupied Poland during World War II.

Seeing Soviet Russia.

A great collection of travel art from the golden age of western denial about the nightmare that was the Soviet Union.

"Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?" by the Lovin' Superdelegates.

Did you ever have to make up your mind,To nominate one and kick the other's behind?It's often quite sleazy and never refined,Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Did you ever have to finally decideTo nominate one and let the other one slide? There's just so much bullshit and lies you can hide.Did you ever have to finally decide?

Sometimes you're hot for the Hill, an ex-President's honey,With lots of sharp pants-suits, but not too much money,And just when you think she'll John McCain whack,You brain gets drained by some hustler named Barack.

And then you know you'd better make up your mind.Declare you're for one and kiss the other's behind.It's often quite sleazy and never refined,Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Sometimes you really dig the chick who says she's got cred,But without your black voters you are better off dead,Then up jumps his pastor who's not all that divine.... Whoa, you better go home, Dems, and make up your mind!

And then you bet you'd better finally decide...To nominate one and watch your party divide.There's just so much bullshit and lies you can hide.Did you ever have to finally decide?

Abu Ghraib America vs. 9/11 America.

It has always struck me that in terms of foreign policy, Obama appeals most profoundly to people who view the current age primarily through the lens of Abu Ghraib, in which American arrogance and cruelty has caused a great deal of suffering in the world — suffering that has engendered resentment and grievances that must be addressed at the highest levels of government. Perhaps the subtext of the presidential race, assuming an Obama-McCain matchup, will be the cultural clash of the Abu Ghraib Americans versus the 9/11 Americans.

The Pennsylvania Primary.

The Onion has all the key details.

A sample:

While the area's steel industry has struggled financially in recent years, it still wields a certain amount of influence over delegates who are suspended above vats of molten lead.

Pennsylvania has 188 Democratic delegates up for grabs, down from 211 following a tragic mine collapse in 2005.

NORAD Releases 9/11 Tapes.

The Web site says NORAD and U.S. Northern Command "have released a copy of their audio files, telephone conversations and situation room discussions, from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001."

And has posted them all to its site, in .zip files linked within a .pdf document.

Not so Great Moments in Engineering.

We all make mistakes, its just more entertaining when smart people do it.

Can the English-Speaking nations prevent full metrication?

Metrication is unnecessary, unpopular and contemptible. Despite years of metric teaching, the overwhelming majority of people still think, not in metric units, but in miles, feet, inches, gallons, pints, pounds and ounces. They find traditional units of measurement more convenient, practical and efficient because they correspond to the human scale and the mind's perceptions. They evolved naturally out of generations of experience and embody a wisdom that cannot be overlooked in the rush for "progress". Imperial measures are very much a continuing and useful part of our cultural heritage.

Media Myth: Nine Worst Business Stories.

Actually I'm not sure I'd put the Food Lion story on this list since it seems that the allegations of repackaging expired meat may have been true. What tripped up ABC was lying on their job applications. Still it's an interesting reminder how sensationalist reporting can damage reputations, innocent companies, and occasionally lives.

Obama Appeals to Academics and Clinton Appeals to Jacksonians.

In state after state, he [Obama] has carried only a few counties—though, to be sure, in many cases counties with large populations. There are exceptions, particularly in the southern states with large numbers of black voters in both urban and rural counties. But overall, the geographic analysis has pointed up to me a divide between Democratic constituencies—a divide as stark as that between blacks and Latinos or the old and the young—which has not shown up in the exit polls. It's a division that helps to explain the quite different performances of Obama and Hillary Clinton in general election pairings against John McCain.

An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

A Timothy Hsu, friend from my brief career in the insurance industry sent me this. It's hilarious.

Parental Rights, Spanking Bans and Bratty Kids

Have you noticed all of the children making the news these days? To the shame of our society it is for heinous acts of violence, sexual exploitation, theft and vandalism. What happened to the days of Boy Scouts helping little old ladies across the street? Oh yeah, the homosexuals want to shut them down. Those whose relationships can't produce their own boy scouts. The NEA think they can do better than parents. Liberal politicians think that big government is more capable. Well, our youth culture is in a huge mess and getting worse by the day. It sickens me to watch it.

Last week we had to deal with a loser, thief teenage boy who stole my daughter's new, expensive cell phone out of her car. We got it back no thanks to his mother. A police officer acted as a judge and just took it from the little brat and gave it back to us. The kid had stripped it and it was impossible to prove it was ours, yet it was obvious. Only six months before another punk kid stole her ipod and hawked it at a pawn shop. Since she has been enrolled at the public school (1 and 1/2 years) it has been one drama after another. She is getting quite the education...

Let's consider for a moment past generations that produced well-behaved, respectful, and moral young ladies and gentlemen. What did they do that we are missing today? I would say corporal punishment at school and at home. Parents were in charge and cooperated with other adults that were involved in the lives of their children. If I got paddled at school it would only be far worse for me when I got home.

In contrast today, often you see the parents against the school and teachers. God forbid you must speak to your neighbor about their little monster terrorizing your children, pets or property. I have tried to help a little feller out by getting them out of the street before they were flattened by oncoming traffic and warned them of the dangers of playing in the street. Only to have them look me straight in the eye and declare with a Napoleon-like authority, "You're not my Mom!". Uhh, that didn't happened in my day. We would respond with a "Yes, maam or yes, sir".

My children are not permitted to address adults by their first names. However, often adults will insist they do. My kids will say we are not allowed. Then the adult will continue to go against the very clear parental instruction of my children and refuse to allow them to address them in this respectful manner. Children need to be taught respect and be expected to practice it all times. On the other hand these same adults would be very annoyed if my children were unruly and disrespectful.

Yet again Sally Lieber is pushing for an all out assault on parental rights in the California Legislature.

Spanking apparently is headed for another swatting in the California Legislature, as Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, has reintroduced a proposal to effectively ban such discipline, even by parents, according to the Capitol Resource Family Impact organization.

"Last session this same bill received national attention because of its assault on parents rights to discipline their children," said Karen England, executive director with the group. "We succeeded in stopping the bill because parents were so outraged that an arrogant lawmaker thinks she knows better than parents how to raise their children."

Last year's plan as AB755, and this year's, AB 2943, is virtually the same, England said.

"According to AB 2943, a parent who spanks their child would be placed on probation for a minimum of four years, and would be forced to attend a 'nonviolent parental education class' and the child would receive a criminal court protective order 'protecting the victim from further acts of violence or threats' and 'residence exclusion or stay-away conditions,'" England said.

The bill itself dumps parental discipline into categories previously reserve for child abuse.

article in full here has a petition that calls for an amendment to the constitution protecting parental rights. Sadly, it has become necessary.

Nipping teen crime in the bud

* 10 April 2008
* Anna Gosline
* Magazine issue 2651

It's late at night. You're all alone, walking home past the dimly lit park. You feel a sudden chill when you see them. Teenagers. They snigger as you pass, probably about the old lady they mugged that morning while skipping school. Kids today...

From shopping malls banning youths in hoodies to media coverage of the latest teenage stabbing or shooting, there is growing public concern over crime and antisocial behaviour among young people. Politicians and media commentators wrangle endlessly over whether the cause is single-parent families, binge drinking, TV, or simply society going to the dogs, but no one seems to know what to do about it.

I have a suggestion, public caning.