Posted by Lex, on March 3, 2006
Eight years, four months. That’s what “the Duke” got for selling his office in a time of war. Could have gotten 10 years. Maybe ought to have. But that’s a long fall for a former Navy fighter pilot, Vietnam ace and oh, yeah: US Congressman.
Greek tragedy? Nah. Obscene venality.
In (a) USA Today poll, when asked, “Which comes closer to your view about Arab and Muslim countries that are allies of the United States?” 45 percent of respondents said, “trust the same as any other ally”; 51 percent said they trust these countries “less than other allies.”
That’s a remarkably honest poll result. Let’s face it, Americans have been told since kindergarten not to judge ethnic and religious groups differently from one another; now slightly more than half are willing to come out and say, “you know, I just don’t trust those guys as much as I trust others.”
… There is no upside to doing the right thing – which is to emphasize, as one blogger put it, that there is a difference between Dubai and Damascus. There is tremendous political upside to doing the wrong thing, boldly declaring, “I don’t care what the Muslim world thinks, I’m not allowing any Arab country running ports here in America! I don’t care how much President Bush claims these guys are our allies, I don’t trust them, and I’m not going to hand them the keys to the vital entries to our country!”
…The Bush Administration’s reaction to the cartoon riots was comparably milquetoast. The violence and threats committed over the cartoons shocked, frightened and really, really angered Americans. They want somebody to smack the Muslim world back onto its heels and set them straight: “It doesn’t matter how offensive a cartoon is, you’re not allowed to riot, burn down embassies and kill people over it.”
They’re ashamed that Denmark is leading the fight over this.
Yeah, well. Caution is one thing. But low, base, undignified fear makes for bad policy.
Chaotic Synaptic Activity laments the upcoming “last trap of the F-14 Tomcat.” No doubt it will be immediately preceded by the “last compressor stall” and “last adverse yaw departure.”
It was a rough, ungainly beast and I will not miss it. And as for backseaters? Any pilot who needs one should have one.
Over at her place, FbL points out that there is an on-going need for more help in the VALOUR-IT mission to provide wounded troops with voice-activated laptop solutions that help them start the road to recovery. She held a wonderfully successful fund raising drive late last year, but those funds have all been disbursed. Read here to see what your donation did for those in need.
And if you can spare a bit more, it’d be a nice thing to give of it.
Heard of Daniel Dennett? He’s a professor of philosopy at Tufts who’s made a bit of a career out of trying to convince religious folks that there’s nothing really in it, actually. Big waste of time. His most recent book (reviewed by a critic here in the NYT) contends, based on the approved historical method of “pretty much what I think probably happened” (i.e. “evolutionary psychology) that religion formed as a kind of social networking skill. The “myspace” of the fourth millenia (BCE). Calls those who think like he does “brights,” meaning that the other 80-odd per cent of us are “dims,” I suppose. All for another day, says I, live and let live. People either choose to believe or choose not to, based on evidence that is ambiguous either way.
No, the only reason I bring the back story on Dennett up is that I read an interesting thing quoting him yesterday in the Economist. For an avowed atheist, Professor Dennett seems to spend a lot of time thinking about religion:
TOWARDS the end of his elegant, sharp-minded essay on the need to study religion in a dispassionate way (in other words, just as anything else should be studied), Daniel Dennett teasingly asks his readers whether they have heard of a people called the Yahuuz. Among these exotic folk, he informs us, people who reach the age of 80 are expected to commit suicide, and their remains are then gobbled up by the whole tribe. What we would regard as child pornography, they call good clean fun; they also perform, in hilarious public rituals, the things that civilised folk do in a lavatory. If readers are disgusted, Mr Dennett goes on to suggest, they may finally have glimpsed what many Muslims feel about western countries where people drink alcohol, wear skimpy clothes and ignore traditional ideas about the family.
Good heavens, thought I (no pun intended). What a strange set of people, these Yahuuz must be. Where could they come from? Meaning to ensure I omitted them from my next vacation agenda, I Googled them up *. And was surprised to find out that pretty much the only reference to this strange tribe was from Dr. Dennet’s quotation in the Economist, or in blogs citing that reference. Most of them uncritically.
Because it just sounds so good to some folks that they just want to believe it.
Even absent evidence. Which I just find, you know: Deliciously ironic.
Come back and click this link when you think you’re having a bad day. See, it’s all about perspective.
From an interesting (unclas) brief I recently received:
(A) World War II Strategic Bomber had a CEP (ed. – circular error probable, a measure of bombing accuracy) of 1,744 ft., which meant it took 2,794 World War II 500 lb. Bombs to kill a point target.
This equates to the full bomb load of 175 B-17 Bombers.
If one equates this to a modern fighter bomber (like the FA-18E/F, not so much the Tomcat) and the 4 precision weapons it carries: The modern fighter bomber works out to be worth 700 World War II B-17s in a strategic bombardment roll.
Better bombs, much better accuracy. The slideshow goes on to state that 1 FA-18E with four precision weapons is the equivalent of 163 F6F Hellcat dive bombers, and carries a striking force equivalent (by itself) of two World War II aircraft carriers.
Which I thought was kind of cool.
Well, the weekend beckons. There’s a workout to be had, and a martini to maybe savor.
Y’all have fun!
* 07-12-2018 Links Gone; no replacements found – Ed.