The Therapy Sessions
Friday, August 26, 2005
From BostonHerald.com, of all places:
One of the most significant stories of the summer is getting almost no notice among the media elite. The Army is meeting its recruiting and retention goals for active-duty soldiers. Remarkably, units under the most pressure in Iraq are heavily oversubscribed for re-enlistment.
Though newspapers around the country carried wire service stories of the Pentagon's Aug. 10 announcement, there wasn't a peep from The New York Times, The Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times on the subject.
Recruits in July totaled 109 percent of the Army's goal, the second straight month above target. In aggregate, the four services were 4 percent over (the Navy fell 1 percent short).
The Pentagon says the Army will still fall short for the fiscal year, and reserve components are still not signing up enough new members (though re-upping targets are being met by the National Guard units of the Army and Air Force). Still, the enlistments ought to prove that America's young men and women still believe in their country and its difficult mission in Iraq, despite all that Cindy Sheehan and her band of like-minded demonstrators can do.
The New York Post dug a little deeper than the bare-bones announcement. Every one of the Army's 10 combat divisions has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the fiscal year so far. The 1st Cavalry Division was at 136 percent; the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent. As author Ralph Peters noted, ``This is unprecedented in wartime.''
The troops are not doing this for the bonuses - only 60 percent get re-enlistment money, and the great bulk of those are $12,400 a year or less. They are not doing it for loot and booty, to impress the old crowd back home, or to learn a trade.
They are risking life and limb because they care passionately about the job. We wonder what we have done to deserve soldiers of such devotion. They deserve all the best we can give them, in equipment, sound policy and honor.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Keep back, nannies
Oh the busybodies...
The nannies are all around us now, attempting to ban smoking in outdoor areas, including New York's vast Central Park, working to eliminate one schoolyard game after another, including dodge ball (too violent), tag (hurts feelings by turning kids into targets), and just about any game with winners and losers (competition douses the cooperative ethic, and losers can be traumatized for life).
California has banned genetically modified fish from home aquariums, and San Francisco set strict rules for doghouse construction. Alabama banned sex toys. A California legislator introduced a state bill to prohibit use of tanning machines by those under age 18, unless they have a doctor's prescription. A New York assemblyman sponsored a bill to require every car in the state to come with a device that would allow driving only if the motorist blew into a tube and passed a Breathalyzer test. The test would have to be repeated every 30 to 40 minutes, or the car would stop. In North Dakota, a state bill would make it illegal for people who are just turning 21 to drink before 8 a.m. on their birthdays. The goal is to keep the young from rushing out at midnight on their birthday to get drunk.
It's a good idea to stop glamorizing smoking in movies, but the nannies want more. Stanton Glantz, a researcher opposed to tobacco, wants smoking to earn a bad rating for films, maybe an R for explicit inhalation.
Nannyism is a progressive affliction. When the nannies get something from the public, they always want more helmets for tots riding tricycles, for example. Now that the sensible rules against drivers use of hand-held phones have caught on, the campaign against hands-free phones has begun. "Inattention blindness," we are told, is the real villain, and a recent study says that all drivers who use phones-hand-held or not-are four times as likely as other drivers to have serious crash injuries. The logic of this is to ban radios and smoking in cars, and perhaps babies, dogs, and talking passengers, all of which can be distracting. Drive-through fast-food windows would have to close, too.
Or we could all just grow up.
Friday, August 19, 2005
America's newly installed ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, labeled "inappropriate and unacceptable" the United Nations Development Program financing of materials bearing the slogan "Today Gaza, Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem."
Mr. Bolton said yesterday that the UNDP had failed to explain why it funneled money to the Palestinian Authority to back the production of banners, bumper stickers, mugs, and T-shirts bearing the provocative slogan as well as UNDP logos.
Responding to angry reactions from Jewish and Israeli leaders, UNDP officials yesterday said financial support from the agency was intended to help the Palestinian Authority communicate with Palestinian Arabs during Israel's evacuation of Jewish settlers from Gaza.
Oh, he's so mean!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Who said marriage was about love anyway? Wedding cashers:
"Bill Dalrymple, 56, and best friend Bryan Pinn, 65, have decided to take the plunge and try out the new same-sex marriage legislation with a twist--they're straight men. . . . The two--both of whom were previously married and both of whom are still looking for a good woman to love--insist that after the humour subsided, a real issue lies at the heart of it all. 'There are significant tax implications that we don't think the government has thought through.' Pinn said."
From Best of the Web.
Matt Lauer got a surprise answer from a soldier on a recent trip to Iraq. After asking about morale, a few soldiers told him that morale was good. Like any good morning TV show journalist, Lauer was skeptical:
LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?
CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well.
Powell said that he knows the media have a hard time getting out in Iraq and seeing the improvements, but that he's 'satisfied' and 'proud' of the work the United States is doing in Iraq.
Don't you also love how Lauer says, 'What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?' when he means, 'What would you say to Matt Lauer, who doubts that morale could be that high?'"
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Just got done moving the contents of my office.
I found that one of my desk drawers was filled with old papers, unopened envelopes, food wrappers, mustard packets, a couple hundred pens, old photos, long ago paid bills, $14.80 in change....
To make a long story short, I thought my office didn't have enough space, but since this move, it turns out that I have more than enough than I need.
Hell, I even have "room to grow." (Uh oh...)
The next time my wife calls me a slob, I'll know what she's talking about.
And I guess I won't argue the point.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth. Or as the DNC put it:
'While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs.'
Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, 'his cuts to education funding' are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's 'cuts to education funding' are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.
Some of us wish he had cut education funding. By any rational measure, a good third of public school expenditures are completely wasted. But instead it's skyrocketed.
And the idea that Bush is heartlessly pursuing an elite leisure activity denied to millions of American schoolchildren takes a bit of swallowing given that his preferred fitness activity is running. 'Running' requires two things: you and ground. Short of buying every schoolkid some John Kerry thousand-dollar electric-yellow buttock-hugging lycra singlet, it's hard to see what there is about 'running' that requires increasing federal funding.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Reality clobbers the NYT Editorial Board
The New York Times' strange take on reality:
If there's a positive side to President Bush's appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it's that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department....
And on the same day:N. Korea: No Progress Yet in Nuke Talks
North Korea's main nuclear envoy said Tuesday that no progress had been made at talks seeking to persuade his country to abandon its atomic arms, the first public comments from the North after eight days of negotiations.
What shitty luck for the Grey Lady. Oh New York Times! Will you ever win?
And who - outside of the strange worlds of Manhattan and Berkeley - seriously thinks that North Korea is going to be talked out of its nuclear weapons?
A show of hands?
Monday, August 01, 2005
The turd that couldn't keep quiet
I was watching the History Channel the other night.
It says something illuminating about me that a show on cannibalism could have me laughing so hard it brought tears to my eyes.....
The narrator was discussing the Anasazi people, and how controversial their suspected cannibalism was to the anthropological community.
The debate is still brewing.
On one side are the politically correct scientists who earnestly believed the conventional wisdom of twenty years past: the Anasazi were peace-loving people, living in harmony with nature...
On the other hand were the scientists in the field, who seemed to be finding evidence to the contrary.
It began when one scientist found human bones at an Anasazi site. They had been hacked apart. The bones had been ripped open to get the marrow.
He theorized that perhaps the bones were the leftovers of an Anasazi dinner.
The PC scientists pooh-poohed the idea, suggesting that the bones may have been the victims of an attack from a more violent tribe.
Before long, another scientist found similar bones at another Anasazi site. In this case, not only had the victums been hacked to death, they had been cooked. The bones showed charring from fire, and several had been "polished" by boiling in water (similar to bones found in cannibalistic areas in New Guinea - Ummmm, human stock! Great for soups!).
The PC scientists countered. No, they said: the Anasazi were peace-loving people, living in harmony with nature...
Except, of course, when it came to witches.
Then, naturally, they peacefully hacked them to death, cooked their flesh in a fire, boiled their bones, and pulverized the heart.
They did this - of course - with their mouths closed. No eating.
Because they were NOT CANNIBALS.
Just witch killers.
At this point in the debate, an Anasazi elder said that his ancestors might have dabbled in cannibalism once in awhile. He said that it wasn't that uncommon - even Europeans did it. (He said this as he nibbled on his hand.)
The PC scientists were having none of it.
But the Anasazi must have killed A LOT of witches in this way: male witches, female witches, little baby witches....those damn bones kept turning up.
Another site was found, and this one had something special: a corpolite - a pertified human turd. The turd had human myoglobin in it - clear evidence that whoever made the turd had enjoyed a human dinner the night before.
Not only did this seem to prove that the Anasazi were cannibals, it also seemed to prove that they were pre-historic. They were clearly ignorant of one of the most basic rules of human civilization: don't shit where you eat.
At this point in the debate, I thought the PC scientists would give up.
Yes, I am familiar with the ebb and flow of scientific debate, and all avenues must be explored before we can feel we know the truth. But I felt with the unearthing of this interesting turd, all the roads had been pretty well mapped out.
The PC guys had made a good go of it, but alas, the shit was piled against them.
So to speak.
And they would admit it, I thought.
I overestimated them.
The PC scientists now believe that a group of attackers briefly seized the Anasazi land, had themselves a very untraditional Anasazi dinner and crapped near the Anasazi campfire.
By this point, I was laughing my ass off.
Because we all know: the Anasazi were peace-loving people, living in harmony with nature...
Faith as science
To teach faith as science is to undermine the very idea of science, which is the acquisition of new knowledge through hypothesis, experimentation and evidence. To teach it as science is to encourage the supercilious caricature of America as a nation in the thrall of religious authority. To teach it as science is to discredit the welcome recent advances in permitting the public expression of religion. Faith can and should be proclaimed from every mountaintop and city square. But it has no place in science class. To impose it on the teaching of evolution is not just to invite ridicule but to earn it.