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Showing posts from November, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

The immegrant's holiday. When we lived in California I asked the couple who owned our favorite Chinese take-out place if they were celebrating Thanksgiving and they said, No. What a pity. Of all the holidays Thanksgiving seems to me to be all about coming to America and everything that America represents. Traditionally we talk about pilgrims and turkeys and while the first Thanksgiving is important (and for the record, it was celebrated by a diverse community, the settlers together with the natives for a big feast) but in the end it was just a party. New immegrants are actually CLOSER to the pilgrims than any of us. They came from somewhere else to America for opportunities, for material blessings, for the freedom to worship or live without oppression. The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of freedom and, yes, wealth... the new settlers had finally gotten over that extremely fragile time when they weren't sure they'd make it through the next winter. They had enough extra

Demanding Panic, Global Warming and Proper Motivation

When I was in school we were supposed to be in a panic about the hole in the o-zone layer. A decade later my sister was supposed to be in a panic about an oncoming ice age (I actually don’t remember this, I think I was reproducing at the time and suffering brain-death by hormones). A decade later (now) we’re supposed to be in a panic about global warming. What I want to know about is how those environmental models (I’m not certain they *have* models, but...) deal with this… Robin McKie, science editor Sunday November 10, 2002 The Observer Earth’s magnetic field - the force that protects us from deadly radiation bursts from outer space - is weakening dramatically. Scientists have discovered that its strength has dropped precipitously over the past two centuries and could disappear over the next 1,000 years. The effects could be catastrophic. Powerful radiation bursts, which normally never touch the atmosphere, would heat up its upper layers, triggering climatic disruption. Navigation an

Better Plans for Iraq

The most amazing thing to me... Suppose America had made our plans taking into account the long history, the unfamiliarity of the Iraqi people with concepts of equal protection under the law (more important, actually, than democracy, which can still abuse minorities) and we made our plans differently. Different than we did. Are there any plans that would have transformed the assumptions and attitudes of the Iraqi people in three or four years? Let's get some liberal social scientists on this one, okay? How long to tranform... given a "psychological program"... how long to transform attitudes? Consider the age of the population, quite young, flexible, how long until children have never really known any different? Oh yeah, we screwed up because we didn't have a plan that would do all that in THREE FREAKING YEARS. So let's give up... leave them to figure it out themselves, since it's ultimately up to them. At the same time, let's explain why we have *any* soc

DRAFT - The same old song.

Rangel is at it again, and like usual no one is taking him seriously. He doesn't want a draft of course, he's just trying to make a point about social justice. Anyhow, to the extent that poorer people join the military it's because they see it as an opportunity. JUST like anyone else. The Heritage Foundation numbers compared geographical demographic areas, by fifths, and found that only something like 13% come from the poorest area (20% of the population by definition). High school drop outs or anyone with police involvement or who can't pass a urine test... don't get in. I think that the reason why blacks are killed in Iraq at lower than their numbers in the military is that, particularly in the Army, you get to chose your MOS and blacks don't chose combat specialties at an equal rate as they enlist. My guess... maybe there's numbers someplace to test it. If blacks are viewing military service as an opportunity it makes sense to chose something with more o

Demanding Loyalty

I don't know about you, but I find this really creepy. It's creepy on two levels. First, what is said about Pelosi and the new Congress. Second, what it says about Eleanor Clift. Eleanor isn't my most favorite person ever, but I don't spend any effort whatsoever disliking her either. I do have to say though, that as she talks about Pelosi and demands of loyalty it does make me wonder about her assumptions. Frankly, the idea that *anyone* should be *loyal* to the House Leader is just simply weird. I mean *any* House Leader from any party. There's an element of compulsion in the language that I find disturbing, as though Pelosi has been installed as some sort of tin-pot dictator over her new little kingdom. This is something I'd expect coming from a conservative blogger who can express just about any negative opinion without repercussion... but it's Eleanor Clift, who isn't conservative, isn't a blogger, and doesn't appear to th

Education and Freedom vs. State Enforcement of Rightness

I homeschool. The other day on a forum on which I participate someone asked... "Do you think you should have the freedom to not educate your children?" Our local troll/expert in everything no matter what, added to that honest question... "Or teach them pseudo-svioence creationism ionstead of real science? Or bible myths instead of history? Or Jesus Jingles instead of music? Or God Ads instead of literature? Or biblical maths (1 + 1+ 1 = 1) instead of real maths?" My reply: Yes. Because I don't want to live in a world where thought is controlled. I don't want to live in a world where someone decides what is best for me and what I must know and what I am allowed to believe. I don't desire the power to enforce others to teach or believe what I know is true, the approved curriculum, a tyranny of experts and those who qualify for ideological purity. It doesn't matter if those tyrants are in agreement with me and if they implement everything t