Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Why? Put simply… because buying terribly expensive distracting electronics for clumsy, absent-minded, flighty, malicious and devious adolescents is a *stupid* idea. Millions of dollars flushed, not only in direct expenses, but in lost opportunities (you put a laptop in a kids hands, what do you think he’s going to do with it in class? Classwork? Pfah!).

If you, as a school district, want all the kids to have laptops, there’s an effective way to get it done: issue a directive to the parents: “If you want your kid to graduate, make sure that he/she has a functioning laptop or netbook or Ipad or what ever that can run the programs listed on the next page.” That’s it. Thus if the kid breaks the laptop? Not the schools loss. If the kid uses it to download porn, or has outdated security software? Not the schools responsibility. If the kid forgets it, loses it, sells it for crack? Tough titty toenails.

“But what about the poor parents,” you ask? A few simple solutions:

1) Send an official to the petitioning poor families home to talk to them about options. If there is, say, a flat screen TV on the wall… why, right then and there, offer up a direct trade. Beer, smokes, bling: if they got ‘em, they don’t need assistance getting a $300 computer for Junior.

2) Hold a bake sale or something.

3) Does the school have an athletic program? Boom. Right there. There’s the money you need to provide loans to “underprivileged” families to help ‘em buy a laptop at the nearest pawn shop. If not by cutting back on athletic program funding, then by the simple act of charging $10 admission for everyone who wants to see Junior play basketball or football or whatever. Look askance at anyone who claims they need assistance getting a laptop yet is willing to pony up $10 to watch some of the worst sports in the world.

You know, there just might be a reason why some westerners are leery of any acceptance of sharia law by western courts…

Isis ‘ordering female genital mutilation’ in Iraq – UN

An edict was *apparently* released stating that all women between the ages of 11 and 46 in the city of Mosul must undergo the procedure. There is some question as to whether the edict was legitimately put out by ISIS, or whether it’s a hoax designed to make ISIS look bad. But like Poes Law, it’s one of those things where even if it’s a hoax, the reality is so bad that the hoax is entirely believable.  The Pope declares mandatory FGM? Nobody’d believe it. Obama orders it? Nobody’d believe it. Glenn Beck called for it? Nope. Putin? Castro? Hobby Lobby? How about an Islamic cleric with newfound political power? Weeeeellllll….

Every city has its problems. Every travel guide worth a damn should tell you about not only the general sort of problems a city might have (“avoid XYZ area after dark, due to muggers”) and more specific ones (“avoid ZYX area at all times, due to radioactive hippies”). So it’s not surprising that this online guidebook to Moscow, Russia, has some warnings about people to avoid. The weird thing? Who some of those people are:

Moscow Russia Insider’s Guide: Nazi Skinheads

Russian Nazis. Let that sink in.

(O_°)

(Yes, I’ve touched on this mind-snapping weirdness before.)

Keepin’ up that facade of “Europe is more civilized than those wacky Americans:”

European Politicians Condemn Anti-Semitic Demonstrations

… participants at anti-Israel demonstrations across Germany have frequently used anti-Semitic slogans and also called for Jews to be gassed… In France, pro-Palestinian youths have clashed repeatedly with police, and on Sunday set fire to cars, pillaged stores and attacked two synagogues in the Paris suburbs.

I wonder if the US is going to see another influx of Europes Best and Brightest, as we did in the days before WWII?

 

So, the Israelis and “Palestinains” are at it again. The Gazans are launching the better part of a hundred rocket a day into Israel; the Israelis are doing their best to blow them out of the sky with the “Iron Dome” system, and then trying to smash the launch sites. With the exception of the Iron Dome system, it’s the same old, sad, boring story, once again.

But how about if the Israelis switched it up? Here’s my proposal:

1) Pump up Iron Dome. Add lasers and CIWS as necessary. Do whatever feasible to destroy every single Gazan rocket.

2) Do *not* otherwise respond. No blowing up the houses, no artillery, no sending in troops. Just close the border, cut off all supplies and utilities to Gaza.

3) Count the incoming Gazan rockets. Keep a running tab.

4) Let this go on for, oh, two  months or so. And then total up all the Gazan rockets… and return them. Not over the span of two months, but over the span of two minutes. If the Gazans launch 50 rockets a day for 60 days, you launch 3000 rockets in two minutes.

Use rockets as similar as possible to the Gazan rockets. Same basic weight, performance and warhead. Same lack of guidance and minimally precise aiming.

Who could *honestly* object to this, unless they have first objected to the Gazan rocketing of Israel?

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Another new Weird Al music music video. This is “Foil,” a parody of “Royals” by Lorde. I found it to be fairly “meh…” for the first 1:16 or so. And then it goes kinda hilarious.

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TANGENTIAL RANT: I can’t stand “Royals.” Not because the tune or execution suck, but because the *message* sucks. At its heart it’s a lament that “boo hoo I’ll never be a princess.” Well… not only “well, duh, grow up,” but also “royalty sucks.” *Any* caste system – of which aristocracy is obviously an important player – is  about as anti-human an idea as I can imagine. I have no problem with people passing their wealth down to their offspring. But passing political power or position to their offspring? Really? Really?? No.

Wanting to be a Duke or a Baron or a Queen or a princess means that you want to have the right to force lesser people to live according to your whims. You want the right to have the taxpayers fund your lifestyle.

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THIS VIDEO pretty much encapsulates it for me (slightly NSFW language, so turn it up, man!).

Ask yourself when it’s ever cool for a cop to respond to a complaint with:

“When you’re wearing that, what do you expect is going to happen here?”

Juuuuust a bit of a different tone.

Yesterday:

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Back in the day:

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Thirty years ago, it was a “massacre” and a “crime against humanity” that “must never be forgotten,” “violating every concept of human rights.” Yesterday, “it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.” And then he proceeds to blow off allies (“our first priority” was to “determine if there were American citizens on board”), tell jokes and fundraise.

Pictured: Police find MISSILE in haul of illegal weapons at Dukinfield home

This is the hoard of firearms – including a missile – which were found at a home in Tameside.

Ummmm… firearms? Missile?

unnamed GUNSRECOVERED2What I see here are a whole bunch of old, rusty, empty (and in some cases, sawed in half) artillery shells, some brass cases, what appear to be two fake missiles and a bunch of… well, crap. So, my questions:

1) How is any of this “firearms?”

2) How is any of this illegal?

Assuming that the artillery shells are indeed demilitarized, they are no more weapons than any other inert chunk of steel or brass. So are these things nevertheless illegal in Ol’ Blightedly?

George Takei recently gave a speech in Kyoto Japan where he described his history of being locked up by FDR during WWII for the crime of being of Japanese ancestry. It’s a really good presentation:

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He ends it with pointing out that, after all that happened, he’s a proud American.

Many people, American and otherwise, often point to Americas failures and flaws, the times when we did not or do not live up to our ideals, and say that that shows that America is bad. But this is where they are wrong. The only way you can fall short of your ideals is if you *have* ideals in the first place.

The US is fairly unique in human history in that it was a nation founded more or less out of whole cloth, based on ideals. France, Germany, Romania, Japan, China, India… these are nations formed from *tribes,* with borders defined by what they could conquer and hold. Can a Frenchman move to Japan and *be* Japanese? Well, not really. Can a Japanese move to the US and *be* an American? You bet. Anyone can. Doesn’t depend on ethnicity or religion, just so you see what the American ideals are and decide “that’s for me.”

Americans have traditionally seen the US as a place of destiny, a place with a role in the world. Not to conquer it; we went through our imperial phase more than a century ago, snapping up the Philippines, Cuba and so on… then we cut them loose.  We have often seen it as our role to spread the ideals of Americas founding principles to the world at large. Those principles are easily looked up in the Declaration and the Constitution. What are the founding principles of Sweden or Belgium, though?

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