Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (6/8)

If you can read this and not be a little jealous of this 5 year old, there might be something wrong with you. After stumbling across the set of The Avengers, he got photos with quite a few of the cast. I may need to go get my own Captain America shield and carry it everywhere, just in case.

Testing testing testing. That’s almost all schools do anymore. In the meantime, actual skills, like cooking or building things, aren’t being taught at school or at home. And we wonder why we have problems with obesity and a lack of engineers.

It has been a rough week for President Obama (I seem to be saying that a lot). One of his earliest supports has defected to the Republican Party. May had a very bad jobs report. June looks rough. Bill Clinton keeps undermining him. His claims to be reducing spending keep running into pesky things called facts. And Maureen Dowd at the New York Times had this to say:

In depressing imagery for the start of the summer campaign, cable channels carried the red Dow arrow pointing down while Obama spoke; the Dow wiped out all of its 2012 gains.

The president who started off with such dazzle now seems incapable of stimulating either the economy or the voters. His campaign is offering Obama 2012 car magnets for a donation of $10; cat collars reading “I Meow for Michelle” for $12; an Obama grill spatula for $40, and discounted hoodies and T-shirts. How the mighty have fallen.

And that doesn’t even include Wisconsin, where Governor Walker became the first governor in American history to survive a recall election. It was a fight the Democrats picked and still lost. And not only lost, but by slightly a wider margin than Walker won the first time and the same margin by which Obama defeated McCain in 2008. And that huge Walker money advantage you may keep hearing about, well, it doesn’t include union money.

Romney, meanwhile, keeps indicating that he’s more interested in winning than in running a campaign that Democrats respect. This distinguishes him from both McCain and Dole.

As a follow up to last week’s story about drone attacks, Charles Krauthammer points out the schizophrenic nature of the strategy:

This administration came out opposing military tribunals, wanting to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in New York, reading the Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights and trying mightily (and unsuccessfully, there being — surprise! — no plausible alternative) to close Guantanamo. Yet alongside this exquisite delicacy about the rights of terrorists is the campaign to kill them in their beds.

You festoon your prisoners with rights — but you take no prisoners. The morality is perverse. Which is why the results are so mixed. We do kill terror operatives, an important part of the war on terror, but we gratuitously forfeit potentially life-saving intelligence.

This just on the heels of news that drones killed Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader in Pakistan.

And in addition to drones, the military is now also reviving blimps.

So the LA Times is just discovering that single parenthood is bad for women, children, and men. And it leads to stories like this.

A few weeks ago I wrote about some of the problems in David Barton’s new book on Thomas Jefferson (and engaged with one of Barton’s former research assistants in the comments). Here is an interview with the author of a new book on the religious beliefs of the Founders. What I particularly appreciate about this is his care to not lump them together into one group, but rather to examine each individually.

For any of our readers with spaceships, here’s some good advice: avoid naming your ships after tragic classical heroes. Icarus, for example, probably isn’t a good option. Nor is Prometheus. “If you must use a classical Greek name, take a tip from the mid-20th century, and go for one of the gods who usually won out in the end. Apollo, for instance—that’s a good one. (Just don’t name it 13. Trust me.)” Extra points for those who recognize the byline...

And finally, here’s an intro to army training during the Korean war. Oh, and that’s my Grandpa!

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