Continued Ambiguity

In today’s Opinion Journal, Daniel Henninger writes:

The first thing to be said in defense of the Bush/Ashcroft military tribunals is that if nothing else they make it clear we are in a war.

Well, perhaps, but the best way to make it clear that we are in a war is to have a declaration of war–an action that the Congress still refuses to take, or the Administration to seriously request.

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways…

At Liberty Log, fellow Michiganian Chris Pellerito notes:

Speaking of Reuters, they also report that the US is the world’s sexual superpower. This claim is based entirely on poll data, in which nobody has any incentive to tell the truth. This point is so totally lost on Reuters that they diligently report:

“Men appeared to be more sexually active than women, claiming a frequency of 102 times a year against 91.”

Somebody explain to me how that is possible …

Well, possibility one is that, as Chris noted, they’re being a little parsimonious with the truth, as men have a wont to be in matters sexual (“Really, honey, that is eight inches…Really, honey, I can readily survive for over five minutes without breathing through either my nose or mouth…”).

Possibility two is that the male/female ratio in some of the reported encounters was something other than one to one.

Possibility three (also highly likely) is that the number of partners for men is not necessarily the same as the number of partners for women.

Possibility four is that not all of the encounters were heterosexual.

Possibility five (almost certainly the most likely) is some combination of all of the above.

Bottom line–don’t try to draw any conclusions, useful or otherwise, from sex surveys…

Educational Disaster

I don’t often whine about our educational system, because it generally seems so beyond hope (though that’s not rational, because it doesn’t really differentiate it much from most of the other things that I whine about–maybe it’s just because it’s so much more important).

But I ran across this piece in the Atlantic by Elinor Burkett, that I had to share. At the age when most are seriously thinking about retirement, she decided to go back to high school as a journalist, and find out what was going on there. Based on the experience, she wrote a book entitled Another Planet: A Year in the Life of a Suburban High School, published in the last month.

I haven’t yet read the book–I don’t know if I can bear it. It brought to mind the conclusion of the report almost two decades ago by the commission on education that stated something like, “if a foreign power had imposed on our nation the educational system that we have, it would justifiably be considered an act of war.” Nothing of significance seems to have changed in the past twenty years. The interview almost brought me (a relatively tough guy) to tears over the (mis/non)education of our nation’s youth.

Read it.

Stupid Teaser of the Day (If Not The Week) Award

Well, OK, maybe I can’t really judge, since I haven’t seen every channel continuously, but this has to be right up there. I occasionally watch Hannity and Colmes on Fox, but tonight I was channel surfing, and I just happened to catch their teaser for the next segment. Alphonse D’Amato was sitting in for Hannity. Now, to begin with, I always thought that Senator D’Amato was an exemplary example of the Peter Principle–never the brightest bulb on the Senatorial string (not that there’s a lot of competition). But I heard him say, honest, in attempting to entice people to watch the next segment, something like “An American has been killed in Afghanistan. Is the price of the war too high?”

No other comment.

Trying To Impress The Virgins?

In reading a piece describing the carnage after the prison revolt in Mazar-i-Sharif in The Guardian, this little bit caught my eye.

Unlike their Pakistani counterparts, dressed in flimsy salwar kameezes, the Arabs wore expensive fleece jackets and trousers. One Talib corpse sported a San Francisco 49ers football sweatshirt; another a zip-up Dolce & Gabbana top.

Osama bin Laden’s fighters may have rejected the west’s relativist ideology, but not its fashions.

Casualties To Date

There’s some kind of irony that, so far, we’ve lost more journalists (eight) than soldiers (one, or zero if you don’t count CIA operatives as military) in this war. Given their performance to date, I’m having trouble feeling very bad about that. But I suppose that’s not fair–the ones in danger aren’t the problem–it’s the ones sitting safely back here on their behinds, getting the vapors about quagmires, who are putting in the truly-disappointing performance.

“It’s” baaaaaccckkk

What a difference a few months make. According to Wired, Dean Kamen’s er.. device, code-named “Ginger” and hyped by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, will be unveiled next week. Somehow, I’m having trouble caring, unless it really does turn out to be an energy-efficient personal-transportation device, in which case I’ll pick one up to avoid flying…

“It’s” baaaaaccckkk

What a difference a few months make. According to Wired, Dean Kamen’s er.. device, code-named “Ginger” and hyped by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, will be unveiled next week. Somehow, I’m having trouble caring, unless it really does turn out to be an energy-efficient personal-transportation device, in which case I’ll pick one up to avoid flying…

“It’s” baaaaaccckkk

What a difference a few months make. According to Wired, Dean Kamen’s er.. device, code-named “Ginger” and hyped by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, will be unveiled next week. Somehow, I’m having trouble caring, unless it really does turn out to be an energy-efficient personal-transportation device, in which case I’ll pick one up to avoid flying…

More Handwringing Over Saddam

The quagmirers and murkers have clearly moved on to their next concern–keeping Iraq safe for Saddam and other living things. The latest is this piece by the normally semi-rational (if a little overexcitable) Chris Matthews.

A couple choice quotes:

To topple Saddam would take a half-million to a million U.S. troops. It would require an occupying force capable of policing a civilian population that would be embittered by a brutal bombing campaign. It would cast us in the role of the aggressor.

Ummmm… do you have some data to support that troop estimate, Chris?

I didn’t think so.

And speaking of embittered populations, I hear that the Afghan people are for the most part thrilled with our bombing over there. Do you really believe that Saddam has more domestic support than did the Taliban? The media over here may not know who’s been starving the Iraqi women and children to build palaces and weapons, but it’s no secret to the Iraqi people.

Bush must certainly know that an all-out invasion would put the United States on one side, Iraq and the rest of the world on the other. I doubt that even British Prime Minister Tony Blair would back an attack on Baghdad.

Well, unlike Chris, I don’t know whether Bush knows that or not. I don’t think that even I know that. I wonder why Chris thinks that he does. At a minimum, I actually do suspect Mr. Blair can be persuaded to go along, and Russia can be bribed with some oil deals, and no one else really matters. So, even if true, it brings to mind (albeit in an entirely more benign context) Stalin’s rhetorical question, “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

The hunt for Osama Bin Laden was an easy sell. A war with Iraq would not enjoy the same authenticity. We would be attacking a nation based on what it might do: use biological or nuclear weapons against another country.

Well, actually, Chris, we’ll be doing it for Saddam’s complicity in what happened on September 11–he was one of Osama’s accomplices. Or have you already forgotten that little meeting in Europe between Mr. Atta and the Security Minister of Iraq? We just haven’t been making the case strongly, because we didn’t want to have to deal with Iraq until we get Afghanistan well on its way to civilization.

But even if it is only preemptive, given Saddam’s track record, that is sufficient justification in itself. It’s not about what Saddam might do–he has already used chemical weapons against Iran and his own people. There should be no doubt that he will do so against us if he finds it advantageous.

Try and take slower, deeper breaths, Chris–I think you’re a little oxygen deprived.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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