Category Archives: Society

Infuriating comments

From this article

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, for example, is a sponsor of a bill that would call for troops to come home in 180 days and allow for a minimum number of forces to be left behind to hunt down terrorists and train Iraqi security forces.

“Read the Constitution,” Boxer told her colleagues last week. “The Congress has the power to declare war. And on multiple occasions, we used our power to end conflicts.”

This idea is coming to her now? It’s nauseating how we elect these people. There are countless acts of courage and kindness that happen when the cameras aren’t running, but as soon as they start everyone puts their head down and genuflects to the conventional wisdom. Congress gives war making authority to the president, who of course was only enforcing UN resolutions. All to avoid criticism or losing a job, which very few of them need.

That’s an odd thing about American; risk taking is private. That’s good I suppose.

Another Bush comparison

As it seems to be the theme for the week, there are odd similarities between Bush and the Ipod. Both are predictable progressions over what came before, people get far too worked up about them, and people use them to talk about themselves.

Sunday quotes

“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.”


“One of the most fashionable notions of our times is that social problems like poverty and oppression breed wars. Most wars, however, are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances.”

Thomas Sowell

A rise in crime

Personally I think Katrina and meth have something to do with it but Tom Barnett might have it, specifically

the three-strikes and other harsh-penalty laws of the previous decade had surged the prison population, but soon the number of ex-cons being released (about 600k, if I remember) would surpass the number of new cons going in (about 500k). A simple prediction: urban crime was going to go up all across America.

Food for thought.

MLK day thoughts

Since it’s his birthday, I guess I’ll post my impression of MLK. I find it surprising that everyone misses his most singular accomplishment, namely that he he was able to manage a coalition of highly and disparately motivated parties and have them all (more or less) follow a strategy of nonviolence, which is the only strategy that would have worked. As a management endeavor that is staggering.

For more on that, see The Gandhi Game, which explains it all in a game theory sort of way. Put simply, it allows the opposing party to do what you want them to do (usually defined as “doing the right thing”, though it doesn’t have to be that way) and not suffer any violent consequences. If the Palestinians did that, they would be in a much better position than they are now.

Another article that is well worth reading

From John Robb who predicts a coming privatization of security and the basic functions of the modern state

Security will become a function of where you live and whom you work for, much as health care is allocated already. Wealthy individuals and multinational corporations will be the first to bail out of our collective system, opting instead to hire private military companies, such as Blackwater and Triple Canopy, to protect their homes and facilities and establish a protective perimeter around daily life.

Read the whole thing.


I’ve always rejected the notion of Iraq being in a civil war due to the notion that a civil war requires two clearly defined sides and usually territories, be it Davis and Lincoln or Lenin and Kerensky.

While the two defining concepts in Iraq, Sunni and Shia, are clear, the fighting seems to be split up into 14-20 (from what I’ve read) different parties. Also, the fighting does not seem to be for control over the country, but rather ethnic cleansing of the classic variety, that is removing one group from a particular chunk of land.

What do you call that? It’s not quite anarchy, malignant diversity? Failure of integration? What?

Well put description of our times

From Josh Trevino

In warring with a religion, decades of secularism have left us utterly disarmed. We are trained to think of faith as either irrelevant or benign: and when it is undeniably malign, we ascribe its malignancy to “fundamentalism,” which is (in direct negation of the meaning of the word) somehow separable or diversionary from the fundamentals of the faith in question.

On a more practical level these days we treat one’s religion as their race (which is to say involuntary and not subject to questioning or criticism), and we’re already far too touchy about race these days.