November, 2015 archive
At The Boston Review, Alex de Waal questions the underlying rationale for raining robot death from the skies. A snippet:
Most of the controversy around targeted killing has concerned the legality of using lethal means outside of war zones and the numbers of civilians killed in these strikes. Another source of worry is what will happen when—inevitably and soon—other countries obtain the technology of remote assassination. U.S. actions will as precedents for these other powers.
These are valid concerns, but there are others, even more basic. We should question the logic of the drone in the first place.
Follow the link for the rest. It is worth a look.
Leonard Pitts, Jr., points out that Donald Trump is applying market principles and giving his customers exactly what they want. A snippet:
Keeping the customer satisfied, giving the people what they want, is the fundament of sound business. More effectively than anyone in recent memory, Trump has transferred that principle to politics. Problem is, it turns out that what a large portion of the Republican faithful wants is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, the validation of unrealistic fears and the promise of quick fixes to complex problems.
BadTux points out what should be, but apparently isn’t, the obvious:
. . . anti-abortion activists edited together footage from Planned Parenthood clinics with footage from elsewhere to make it look like Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts. This is, of course, a lie, as has been validated by multiple fact check organizations which have viewed the entire video and validated that the fetal tissues are in fact being provided at below cost to research organizations, and thus cannot by any means be sold. . . .
The thing is, lies have consequences, and dead people is one of the usual consequences.
Image via Job’s Anger.
Politeness is relative.
Deputies responded to the 12400 block of Admiralty Way at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday. They were told an unknown suspect had shot the boy and fled. A K-9 unit was sent out to help deputies track the shooter. “In the process of conducting their search, they determined that it was the older sibling who had been involved, not an unknown subject,” Lt. David Bowman said.
Der Spiegel interviews Michael Flynn, former chief of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, on the origins of ISIS. Whether or not you agree with all of Flynn’s conclusions, it’s worth a read. Here’s snippet (boldface in the original):
Flynn: … yes, absolutely …
SPIEGEL ONLINE: … the Iraq war?
Flynn: It was huge error. As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.
Jeffrey Gillespie thinks that Jeb! is twisting slowly, slowly in the wind. A snippet:
And, even as The Donald continues to lead the ticket despite more and more bizarre comments, there are whispers in Washington that Bush’s only remaining supporters are a handful of old-school Washington insiders loyal to his father.
He has also, inadvertently, become the poster boy for a lack of resistance to the far-right elements that have propelled Trump’s bid so far. That’s unfair to Jeb — God knows, the lunatic fringe isn’t about to take a chill pill administered by anyone who they might consider to be a “mainstream” candidate — but it does show the voting public that Bush’s campaign is stuck in a 1990’s time warp; it is not operating with the lusty visibility that almost always translates to a win in the news cycle.
Jack Ohman spots a pattern:
1. He lies again.
2. He questions the motives of the people who caught him in the lie.
3. He repeats the lie; then he goes up two points in the polls.
More cycling at the link.
Image via Job’s Anger.
No, not on your music player; down at town hall:
The Daily Press reports (http://bit.ly/1jrucBD ) that the newspapers found that more than half of the police or sheriff’s departments wouldn’t provide information about felony incidents, which the law considers public records.
The newspaper says that about 1/4 of local government and school board officers surveyed wouldn’t release the salaries and allowances of administrators, as required by the law.
Much, much more at the link.
As much as my day-to-life is steeped in tech and as much I love making computers do stuff, I have, from the beginning, considered the idea of cyber-schools to be too stupid for words, a pipe dream of those enamored by electrons and exploited by those enamored of new sources of vigorish. They might have some use in areas where the population is too dispersed for regular schools, but the idea that they are some sort of magickal mystickal tool to remake education is hooey of the highest order.
If you want to school people, you need people in a school.
Kids (and adults) have a hard enough time learning in real schools with real teachers doing real things. The idea that turning real schools into “cyber-schools,” further removing students from teachers by interposing a layer of electrons, would somehow make learning easier and more effective while making teaching cheaper was mug’s dream from the start, embraced by those deluded by the cool graphics on their screens and promoted by con artists rapacious for new marks.
(Ask me nicely; I’ll tell you what I really think.)
Politeness is an essential aspect of rearing the young.