Monday, January 30, 2006

Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves

Popular songs about prostitution:

Private Dancer
Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves
Wild Thing (Tone Loc version)


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hawks, Doves, and Chickenhams Part II

I have been meaning to post about this Nightline piece saying how it is difficult to get performers to sign up for USO tours. The news report is a not-so-subtle swipe at conservatives because conservatives support the war, but are supposedly too cowardly to serve in it or even do shows for the troops.

For this Nightline piece, Sylvester Stallone is deemed to be a conservative, just for having played Rambo in the movies. Stallone has given money to pols ranging from Barbara Boxer to John Ashcroft, but he is not known for his politics.

The one good thing about the Nightline story is that it gives me a chance to link to my earlier piece on Al Franken's multiple trips (and multiple mentions of those trips) for the USO.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hope, Despair, and Perspective

Check out this story on Flint, Michigan. Seems that the Agence France-Presse wire service thinks that Flint has fallen "even further into despair" since Michael Moore's Roger and Me was filmed.

I think the reporter should check out Michael Wilson's film, Michael Moore Hates America.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bargain, Trade, and Coincidence

Following the demands of terrorist kidnappers, the U.S. is releasing some female detainees in Iraq. Whether it was a coincidence or a convenient excuse, the result is bad. We have sent the message that there is something to be gained through terrorism. Expect more on the horizon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ready, Aim, and Fire Part II

Another open thread. What topics am I missing on this blog?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Republican, Democrat, and Incumbent

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving the right of judicial candidates in Minnesota to speak to partisan functions and mention party endorsements. The ethics rule, recently struck down by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, was ripe for challenge.

Opponents of frequent candidate Greg Wersal would criticize him for his association with the Republican Party. But the rules prohibited him from responding. In addition, candidates could speak to groups across the ideological spectrum, from Planned Parenthood to the NRA, as long as the groups were not "partisan." In this way, the ethics rule was both overbroad (prohibited more than it needed to, thus violating the First Amendment), and underinclusive (did not reach all of the supposed evil is purported to address).

More of my thoughts here and here.

Here are my predictions:

1. New task force by the bar association on how to "deal" with the ruling.
2. Breathless predictions of despair and destruction by retired and incumbent state court judges.
3. Some new rule that attempts to regulate just as much, thus getting around the ruling.
4. Without a hint of irony, harsh criticism of the federal judges who ruled in favor of Wersal, coupled with high-minded statements about judicial independence (for state court judges).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fireplace, Fast Forward, and Doorknob

Why don't we have a more creative name for the fireplace? It's not like this is a new invention. Sure, the word is perfectly descriptive. This is the place in your home where you light a fire. But is that the best we can do? No Latin derivation? How about pyroforum? Or something completely creative like splotzum?

I can live with "fast forward," since it is only as old as the cassette tape. But we need to do something about "fireplace."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Airports, ID, and Technology

Remember this report from Channel 5 news in the Twin Cities? A reporter said that he made it through airport security without showing identification.

Now the state is considering the use of biometric facial examination on drivers' licenses. How much do you want to bet that airport security has other ways of identifying you besides your photo ID?
1800, 6:00, and Misconceptions

Here is another military misconception: people think that everyone in uniform regularly uses military time. While it is true that most can do the conversion from civilian time to military, there are many servicemembers who do not use it regularly.

There was a scheduling controversy during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. An American boxer missed his bout, or some such. The schedule was in four-digit military time. I remember the commentators saying that he and his coaches were in the military, so of course they did not misread the schedule.

Those athletes in the military who are Olympic caliber perform their duties at a special training facility in Colorado. While I am sure that they are highly disciplined, their precision in military time is probably less than, say, the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown.

Even people in the military can misread "1800 hours."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Left, Right, and Left

There is a little bit of absurdity in the coverage of the senseless and tragic Everson murders. The 20 year-old is accused of entering his parents' home with a shotgun, murdering his mother, and attempting to do the same to his father in the bedroom. Mr. Everson heard footsteps, got his pistol, and crawled out a closet window to safety.

This is a minor point in a very disturbing story, but consider this bit of journalistic insight:

Marsh Halberg, a longtime friend of Tom Everson's and the family spokesperson, said Tom is a Vietnam vet with military training who reacted quickly to the situation inside the house.

His wife went to investigate a noise. Moments later, he hears a shotgun blast and footsteps coming toward his bedroom. Was it military training 35 years ago that caused him to grab his pistol and look for an escape route out of the house? Or would a non-vet have done pretty much the same thing?

This is part of a larger trend of misunderstanding the military, generally, and Vietnam veterans, specifically. In the past, the misunderstanding was thinking that they all suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and are destined to become homeless or worse. Now, as the left vows to "support the troops," Vietnam vets walk on water. More on this in later posts.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Academy, My Agent, and My Manager

Why is there no award show for conservative movies and television?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

1A, 4F, and Monthly Goals

In comments to the post below, Marty Andrade mentions that the military has met its recruitment goal.

This is an important issue, but not for the way that people use the data. Ask yourself this: would your opinion about the war be different if the Army did or did not meet its recruitment goals in a given month? Of course not. And this is an issue where one can spin it either way. If recruiting is down, the right can blame the left for "talking down" the war. The left can blame it on the right for getting us stuck in a "quagmire." Further complicating things is the fact that we have a popular invasion (Afghanistan) and one that is less popular with a segment of the American public (Iraq). Is the potential recruit turned off by Afghanistan, Iraq, or just that whole march-in-a-straight-line stuff?

That the military is either a little above or a little below the recruiting goal each time it is reported tells us something important. We will not need a draft for the war on terror. If recruiting got so bad that it affected our ability to carry out the mission, we could simply lower the standards toward where they would be if we DID have a draft.

The armed services have requirements of high school completion ranging from 90 to 100% of recruits. In recent memory, the Air Force required 100% high school graduates, for example. During the draft, I am sure that this was not the case. If dropping out of high school were a ticket out of Viet Nam, there would be a lot of dropouts. In reality, college deferments caused the opposite effect in those days. The point is that we would have to lower the standards in order to institute a draft. But lowering the standards without a draft would accomplish the same goal. People who want to join the military, but do not have the academic background to qualify, can fill slots under lowered standards, if need be. I would rather serve with a volunteer dropout than a drafted college graduate. In any event, there is not going to be a draft.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ready, Aim, and Fire

I am going to try this "open thread" thingy. Give me stuff to blog about and links to feature. Put them in the comments section below. Do it!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bork, Dujack, and Alito

After the failed nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, a new verb was coined. To "bork" generally means to attack a presidential nominee viciously. Depending on one's perspective, the attacks are either deserved or undeserved. Even the most charitible definition of borking involves challenging a nominee based on his or her prior writings.

In the case of Judge Alito, Stephen Dujack was set to attack the Supreme Court nomination. Unfortunately for Dujack, the he had written some radical things in the past. This is particularly relevant, given that Dujack was to testify that Alito was an extremist, or at least belonged to an extremist organization. We ought to know what passes for extremist in Dujack's mind. That the charges against Alito are false is not the only noteworthy thing about the Dujack situation.

Dujack laments the Internet, which he claims exposed his public writings (but the Internet also allows him to respond instantly and report that he had already apologized). In a Los Angeles Times op/ed piece, we learn that this was going to be a big moment in the life of Dujack. Never mind the constitutional duty of the senate, the litigants who will come before Alito, or the right of Alito himself to be treated fairly, Dujack thinks this is all about Dujack. Funny thing is that he is complaining that being borked -- in this case, having old writings come back to haunt him -- prevents him from borking Alito. Seems that he can dish it out, but can't take it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Flak, Literal and Figurative

It seems Senator Clinton is taking the Bush Administration to task for body armor that fails to protect certain parts of the wearer's body. Specifically, the (formerly) secret Pentagon report stated that 74 Marines who were killed in Iraq had been hit by bullets or shrapnel in the torso or shoulder.

In 2004, I wrote to Powerline and in this blog that I noticed in 1998 that Special Forces troops seemed to have more advanced body armor that protected less of the neck and shoulders. This was likely a tradeoff for more mobility or shifting the weight to plates that could actually stop a round (rather than just shrapnel or a ricochet).

Senator Clinton's complaints are wrong for a couple of reasons.

1. It fails to take into account the restriction on mobility that covering the shoulders would involve. Less mobile troops could lead to more casualties.

2. It is doubtful that you could create anything wearable that would protect the shoulders from a direct hit.

3. If they were shot in the torso or shoulders, was that the only place they were shot? Is it the case that but for a different flak vest, the Marines in question would have survived?

4. The old body armor did cover parts of the shoulders. They replaced the old body armor with the ceramic plate kind that was more likely to stop a direct round.

5. Now the enemy knows where to shoot.

I fear that this is another effort to get to the right of the Bush Administration on national security, while not offending the anti-war left.
Rummy, Clark, and 2005

Computer problems and general laziness prevented me from presenting the SwanBlog Man of the Year award in 2005. I resolve to do better in 2006.

Man of the Year is somewhat of a comeback award. I was thinking about Donald Rumsfeld. Then I saw Dick Clark on New Year's Rockin' Eve.

If I were going to wimp out and award it to a group, I would call it "Volunteers." With Jim Lodoen and Dan Corcoran helping out hurricane victims, I can see the group photo now.

I would promise a blockbuster Man of the Year post in 2006, but that is contingent on people actually doing good. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Blois, Brodkorb, and Blogs

I am back from hiatus with a new laptop. I posted a couple of comments over at Minnesota Democrats Exposed concerning the defamation lawsuit filed by Blois Olson.

To recap, my understanding is that Buck Humphrey approached the U.S. House campaign of Colleen Rowley looking to do political work. There is a dispute over exactly when this meeting took place. Blois Olson of New School Communications contends that it was before Humphrey worked at New School. Minnesota Democrats Exposed contends that the meeting happened while Humphrey was in Olson's employ. Moreover, MDE hints that there is some sort of conflict of interest for Olson to criticize the Rowley campaign. The implication is that Olson was punishing Rowley for failing to hire New School Communications.

The facts about the dates of Humphrey's employment seem to favor MDE. So the only thing that might be false about the report would be that Humphrey was acting on his own, or that Olson's criticisms were not motivated by Rowley's failure to hire him.

Check out the posts at MDE and my comments. Bottom line is that I question whether Olson can prove his case.

Monday, January 02, 2006

On hiatus this week. Check back next week for some GREAT stuff!