Monday, October 10, 2005

Kevin Drum Channels Monty Burns

I'm sorry. I can't help but picture Kevin Drum tapping his fingers together and looking very Burns-like as he wrote the post below. I added a sound effect for, well, effect. :)

From the Washington Monthly:
MIERS....Speaking about the Harriet Miers nomination, John Podhoretz tosses out this unsubtle warning today:
IT'S GETTING WORSE [John Podhoretz]
The White House needs to know this. Really. It's getting worse. Trust me.

Excellent. [ed: added sound!]

Monty Burns and Kevin Drum: Separated at Birth?

(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

We Have Excellence and Service. Where's the Integrity?

As an active duty veteran of the Air Force, I am proud of my military service and proud of those who continue to serve in uniform stateside and in theater. I encourage my students to join the military; despite the obvious dangers today, it can be an excellent career, with a decent enough benefit package and a way to gain discipline in yourself and pride in your country. I am most certainly a minority in this view, but the semi-fascist side of me believes that serving your country in some manner should be a requirement for elective office at the very least, if not for the franchise. The rational, liberal side of me wishes to put that other side in a locked room with combat disabled veterans. All of that being said, recruiters who mislead or lie to recruits are some of the lowest scum in the service. From the Boston Globe:

Brian Shepard thought he had the perfect plan: a special program, offered by a Marine Corps recruiter last spring, that would let him finish four years of college before he faced active duty.

Instead, the 18-year-old was notified last week -- less than one month into his freshman year at New Hampshire Technical Institute -- that his Marine Reserve unit will be sent to Iraq early next year, a development that Shepard said his recruiter never told him was possible.
I will grant that this young man should have read the (very) fine print, but it is up to the recruiter, I feel, to ensure that there are absolutely NO misunderstandings prior to signing that paperwork. This is young person's life we are talking about here, not an automobile lease. The enlistee needs to go in with eyes (and mind) open. In a related topic, the recruiters should also make recruits aware of the whole concept of Stop-Loss. When I was Stop-lossed a few years ago, I couldn't believe they could do that. Fortunately, it was only a couple of weeks. Integrity, Excellence, and Service Before Self was the motto of the USAF when I was in. Recruiters need to start paying attention to the Integrity part again.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

Bombing Them Back to the Smurf Age

From the Telegraph by way of Reason:

It seems that Unicef has begun a new antiwar campaign, emphasizing the impact on children.

Philippe Henon, a spokesman for Unicef Belgium, said his agency had set out to shock, after concluding that traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers. "It's controversial," he said. "We have never done something like this before but we've learned over the years that the reaction to the more normal type of campaign is very limited."

I find it kind of disturbing that people would be more bothered by a crying Baby Smurf and a devastated Smurf Village than by, you know, actual death. The ad campaign could have been even more gruesome:

Julie Lamoureux, account director at Publicis for the campaign, said the agency's original plans were toned down.
"We wanted something that was real war - Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no."

And the very first comment over at Hit and Run is this, which reminds one of a Fox News pundit at the least:

"If you are going to to there, you need to show the whole story. We need to see "Beloved Papa" and his roving death squads, disfigurment of Smurfette when she gets out of line, and mysterious happenings in Handy's garage. It could be nothing, but there is an awful lot of unaccounted for fungicide ..."

Check out the Hit and Run bit here. Original article here.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

A Bitter End to the Red Sox Season (But You Just KNEW It Was Coming!)

So I guess it's time to focus on the Patriots.

Damn Graffanino. He fields that groundball and we at least do not get swept. I almost got thrown out of freaking Alehouse for cursing at the TV that night.

Oh well, still a Red Sox fan until I die. And Go Angels.

The Church Speaks: 'The Bible is NOT a history or science text!'

So it is perhaps time to give props to the Catholic Church, church of my forefathers and source of much supression of knowledge and science in the not-so-distant past. Recently, it seems, the Church has declared that the Bible may NOT be 100% accurate when discussing science and history, a response to the recent upsurge in calls for a fundementalist or literal interpretation of the Holy Book of the Christianity, particularly in the United States. In discussing what is to be interpreted literally and what is intended as a spiritual lesson,

"...the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.” "
It is refreshing to see the Catholic Church taking a stand for science as well as for faith, rather than supressing either. It is unfortunate that many of those in the United States that should heed these words tend to view Catholicism and the Vatican as a false church with some good ideas at best and the 'whore of Babylon' at worst.
H/T Andrew Sullivan!

(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

Greetings from the Land of the Almost Dead

Hi! Well, it's been great fun so far this year, being a full-time doctoral student as well as a full-time high school teacher. And of course, my wife has been gone almost 6 weeks writing insurance claims. I have been trying to post some stuff, but hey, you know, I am enjoying my current laid back and stress free existence!
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