Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

It's Open Thread Friday. Comments on the topic of your choice below. One possible topic is the sitcom this reminds you of.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Razzle, Dazzle, and That's the Fact Jack

There is some controversy over whether or not the captured British sailors fought hard enough against the Iranians. To me, that is a little premature and a little like blaming the victim.

It does, however, bring to mind a scene from the movie Stripes, where the troops go after the missing EMV truck, mistakenly ending up in Czechoslovakia. The troop truck is stopped by the Warsaw Pact border guards, resulting in a standoff between East and West. The Americans point their M-16s at the guards for a split second, when John Candy's "Ox" character thinks better of it, handing over his rifle and telling his comrades to do the same:

Here you go. There you go.
Hand them off there, boys.

Now that is an example of a quick surrender.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Faye, Stuart, and the UK

Mario Loyola of National Review Online predicts that this image will spur the UK to take action against Iran.

He also makes reference to this image:
Anyone remember that video of Saddam visiting the western hostages in the run-up to Desert Storm? Saddam made the bad mistake of sitting a British child on his knee; the child looked terrified, and the British public woke up the next morning ready for war.

ME: The boy's name was Stuart Lockwood. I also remember a picture of a captured British pilot with facial injuries (possibly from ejecting from the plane). One Fleet Street newspaper headline said, "You'll Pay!"


Monday, March 26, 2007

Shame, Shame, and Shame

I heard a new (to me, at least) song with the Bo Diddley beat. It was "Shame, Shame, Shame" by Shirley and Company. As disco one-hit wonders go, it was not bad. Listen to a snippet and see what appears to be the album cover here. The purported album cover suggests that this is an anti-Nixon song.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (3-23-07)

Open Thread Friday is spreading like wildfire. The Star Tribune's Big Question blog is doing it. Add your thoughts on your preferred subject in the comment section.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Training, Training, and Training

Somehow I missed this one. California has a new law requiring supervisors at private companies to undergo two hours of sexual harassment training, every two years.

Any thoughts, readers?

UPDATE (3-22-07) I should link to my other blog on this topic, and the website on the effort to end the requirement for Minnesota lawyers.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Luke, Brubaker, and Prisons

I don't have much to add to Powerline's obituary of Stuart Rosenberg, director of Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman's performance as the title character is part of movie history. The film is also notable for its use of Christian imagery.

Stuart Rosenberg's other prison film is the underrated Brubaker (1980). Instead of being a philosophical tale about the classic anti-hero, Brubaker is truly about prison and not much else. It is based on the true story of Tom Murton, who blew the whistle on corruption and horrible conditions in the prison farms of Arkansas.

It is a testament to the late director that he could make two movies that are seemingly about the same subject, but are completely different in style, tone, and message.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Walter, John, and Dick

So I am reading this story about Walter Reed, right? The story talks about how there are problems handing over the hospital to the private company that is supposed to run it. Then I read this excerpt about the private contractor:
IAP is owned by a New York hedge fund whose board is chaired by former Treasury Secretary John Snow, and it is led by former executives of Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary spun off by Texas-based Halliburton Inc., the oil services firm once run by Vice President Dick Cheney.

IAP finally got the job in November 2006, but further delays caused by the Army and Congress delayed work until Feb. 4, two weeks before the Post series and two years after the number of patients at the hospital hit a record 900.
Read that again. Is the information about Cheney helpful? The company formerly run by the Vice President had a subsidirary with some executives who left, and those former executives now head a different company that recently took over operations at Walter Reed (post-scandal). Walter Reed is Vice President Cheney's fault! I knew it.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (3-16-07)

It's open thread Friday. Give me your thoughts on the topic of your choice in the comments section below. Two possible topics:

1. If Attorney General Gonzales, who serves at the pleasure of the President, were to be fired under political pressure, how would that be different from firing U.S. Attorneys, who serve at the pleasure of the President, for political reasons?

2. Is there a rash of ATV gangs in homeowners' associations? Is that what the street toughs are riding nowadays?


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Capra, Imams, and You

Powerline's Scott Johnson has a piece about the John Does listed in a lawsuit against airline and government officials by several imams. His reference to Frank Capra's 1941 classic, Meet John Doe, is very fitting. This speech is from a scene when the bum (recruited by the newspaper to pose as John Doe) really begins to believe his words. It may describe the average citizens who apparently did the right thing in reporting the unusual behavior of the imams. It certainly describes the individuals on Flight 93.

He's the man the ads are written for. He's the fella everybody sells things to. He's Joe Doakes, the world's greatest stooge and the world's greatest strength. Yes sir, yes sir, we're a great family, the John Does. We are the meek who are supposed to inherit the earth. You'll find us everywhere. We raise the crops, we dig the mines, work the factories, keep the books, fly the planes and drive the buses, and when the cop yells, 'Stand back there you,' he means us - the John Does. We've existed since time began. We built the pyramids. We saw Christ crucified, pulled the oars for Roman emperors, sailed the boats for Columbus, retreated from Moscow with Napoleon, and froze with Washington at Valley Forge. Yes sir, we've been in there dodging left hooks since before History began to walk. In our struggle for freedom, we've hit the canvas many a time, but we always bounced back because we're the people - and we're tough. (Applause)...
They've started a lot of talk about free people goin' soft, that we can't take it. That's a lot of hooey! A free people can beat the world at anything, from war to tiddlywinks, if we all pull in the same direction.

I know a lot of you are saying, 'What can I do? I'm just a little punk. I don't count. Well, you're dead wrong. The little punks have always counted because in the long run, the character of a country is the sum total of the character of its little punks.
But we've all got to get in there and pitch. We can't win the old ball game unless we have teamwork. And that's where every John Doe comes in. It's up to him to get together with his teammate, and your teammate, my friends, is the guy next door to ya. Your neighbor - he's a terribly important guy, that guy next door. You're gonna need him and he's gonna need you, so look him up. If he's sick, call on him. If he's hungry, feed him. If he's out of a job, find him one. To most of you, your neighbor is a stranger, a guy with a barkin' dog and a high fence around him. Now you can't be a stranger to any guy that's on your own team. So tear down the fence that separates you. Tear down the fence and you'll tear down a lot of hates and prejudices. Tear down all the fences in the country and you'll really have teamwork.
I know a lot of you are saying to yourselves: 'He's askin' for a miracle to happen. He's expecting people to change all of a sudden.' Well, you're wrong. It's no miracle.

...Yes sir, my friends, the meek can only inherit the earth when the John Does start loving their neighbors. You'd better start right now. Don't wait till the game is called on account of darkness. Wake up, John Doe, you're the hope of the world.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Problems, Solutions, and Gripes

Over at Minnesota Democrats Exposed, there was a challenge issued in a comment to one of the posts. In order to prove that conservatives who objected to the proposed restroom access act do not lack compassion, MNObserver was going to match any donations to the Crohn's and Colitis Federation of America.

All well and good. To review, the proposed law would require private businesses to open up their restrooms to people with certain illnesses (like Crohn's), even if the restrooms were for employees only. Some conservatives objected, saying that the law was an unnecessary intrusion on property rights, and that you can't legislate compassion and decency.

In response to the dare/challenge, I wrote this:

Does the CCFA lobby for things such as the legislation we are talking about here?

I think that people will object to being dared/shamed into donating just as much as they object to government mandating it.

Comment by Peter S. — March 1, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

I think this is a reasonable question, given the controversy over the legislation. In general, people should check out the charities to which they are contributing. But MNObserver did not respond. She waited until the donation time had expired and then wrote this attack on my compassion:

There were some responses, though, so I don’t think we can assume they missed the challenge. There was Peter Swan showing his compassion in the comments insisting that he objected to being shamed into doing the right thing.

I don't know MNObserver, but I do have some friendly advice. You have left yourself open to charges that you are more interested in the issue than the solution. By posting it only in the comment section of MDE (and on a leftist blog) and by not responding to some legitimate questions, it almost looks like you wanted no one to contribute so you could confirm your accusation against conservatives. If you really want to help find a cure/treatment, work with conservatives rather than setting them up.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Hairnet, Powder, and Purse Strap

This site debates the best super hero weapons of all time.

I have some nominations for the worst. This 1956 Batman comic introduces Batwoman.

Beware the cosmetic powder and the purse straps... well as the hairnet.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (3-9-07)

Kathy Kersten dislikes open threads. Please give me your thoughts on this and other matters in the comment section below.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Combat, Hostile Fire, and Kosovo

The breathless Star Tribune headline tells us that the military "may cut" the pay of troops in Kosovo. If you read this in combination with the story, you will find that there are specific criteria for hostile fire and imminent danger (combat) pay. It is not as though people in the Pentagon were sitting around and someone said, "I've got an idea. Let's pay our military less money."

When I was stationed in the Balkans in 1998, there was a distinction between hostile fire pay and imminent danger pay. It was something like $100 per month for the former and an additional $100 per month for the latter. Now, it seems as though both hostile fire and imminent danger pay qualify for $225 per month. One solution to the controversy would be to once again separate the two dollar amounts to recognize the difference between, say, Iraq and Kosovo.

Of course, there might be a story here about military success in the former Yugoslavia and how it is possible to keep ethnic and religious divisions from erupting into civil war. Nah!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dole, Shalala, and You

Not much time to write, but I want to say something about the Walter Reed situation.

As I understand it, these are patients who are healthy enough to be released from the hospital, but not quite ready to be discharged since they need continuing outpatient care. I also believe that in previous wars, such patients would be sent to the VA system much quicker.

My initial take is that the complaints in the Washington Post story (follow up here) fall into three categories: genuinelyterrible conditions, misunderstanding of the military, and legitimate practices that ought to continue. For example, I wonder if the requirement that higher ranking patients supervise the lower ranking ones is a strategy to speed the recovery of the former. Give them something to do, and all that.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Right, Wrong, and In Between

Cherokees vote to weed out descendants of former slaves from their tribal rolls. Where is the outrage?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (3-2-07)

Any thoughts on this snowy Friday? As always, enter them into the comment section.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Men, Women, and Family

Here is the actual card that is the subject of discussion at Minnesota Democrats Exposed as appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.