May 032015

The War on Poverty After 50 Years

Boils down to this graph:


In short… the poverty rate had been plummeting since just after WWII. The plummet stopped and leveled off once the Great Society wealth transfer “War on Poverty” programs kicked in, and the poverty rate has remained constant ever since. However, spending on these programs has skyrocketed. Since 1964, the US has spent (in 2012 dollars) more than 22 TRILLION dollars on anti poverty programs… NOT counting Social Security and Medicare.

How many comets could we have dropped on Mars to terraform the joint into a second Earth for even *half* that amount?

 Posted by at 12:12 am
Apr 262015

Surely this will lead to the greatest fighting force in history.

Army ROTC program allegedly pressured cadets to walk in high heels for ASU event

Note: there seems to be some confusion… the article describes Arizona State U, but links to images from the Facebook page of the Temple University ROTC program… which is in Philadelphia.


The cadets were reportedly threatened with some substantial repercussions unless they spent their own money to buy high-heeled shoes, spray paint them bright red and then wander about for some “Walk a Mile In her Shoes” political activism thing. Several issues spring to mind:

1a) The Army pressuring troops to engage in political activism? Really?

1b) If the cadets weren’t threatened, and volunteered willingly… political activism while in uniform? Really?

2) Ummm… in the Army, wouldn’t “Her Shoes” be the same combat boots the men wear?

3). Dude. Dude! Really??

4) I’m not an expert in such things, but are civilian high heeled shoes appropriate attire while wearing active duty military uniforms? Here’s a 304-page US Army Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I bet it has something to say on the subject.

The “walk” is in support of sexual abuse awareness, which is a valid enough issue on college campii these days. But wouldn’t a far better approach for an ROTC department be to offer the women on campus training in hand-to-hand combat and firearms use? Along with training the men on campus how to have some damned discipline? Rather than making the cadets feel like fools, doing something actually *useful* seems a better approach. But maybe it’s just me.

And whether this was mandated or entirely voluntary… the image of the future officers of the US Army in high heels seems unlikely to inspire fear in our enemies.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Apr 232015

Songs by Star Trek enthusiast played in court in bid to clear loyalist flute band members of playing sectarian tune outside Catholic church

Best as I can tell, some Brits played a tune that offended other Brits, and were arrested for it. I gather that the tune was entirely instrumental (flutes or some such), but the lyrics – which seem to involve Scottish people annoyed by Irish people – have been declared “racist” by a Scottish court. If the Irish and the Scots are different races… then what are the Irish and, say, Nigerians? Different phylum?

Getting arrested for playing a tune on a flute. Yeesh. Bad and goofy and politically correct as the US is… we didn’t part ways with the UK a minute too soon.

 Posted by at 3:31 pm
Apr 222015

Appears to be an S-300 (NATO: SA-10 “Grumble”) surface-to-air missile demonstrating what happens when the pneumatic launch system poots the rocket out of the launch tube, but the main rocket motor fails to ignite.

This is not exactly an unprecedented event:

If only *all* the Russian anti-aircraft missiles worked this way, maybe there’d be one more Malaysian 777 in the world…

Of course, it’s difficult to beat *THIS* classic:

 Posted by at 9:23 am
Apr 212015

So there I was, typing in another award-worthy blog post when suddenly I couldn’t save it. Opening another window, I found that the blog was unavailable. And that the website as a whole was unavailable, yanked off ye olde interwebs.

Long story short: there were some problems with some of the files in the innards of the blog. And the anti-malware alert went off at the web hosting service, so they shut down the entire website (including until I resolved it. This took many hours, but everything *seems* to be back up and running now.

Not really how I wanted to spend the night, but there it is. If anyone encounters anything wonky, let me know.

I need a nap.

 Posted by at 7:32 am
Apr 192015

Wow.  Some people just really, really suck at the “parenting” thing.

When Catholic Homeschooled Kids Get Lonely

The author is the parent of a pair of homeschooled children. Why are the children lonely? Because the parents are driving home the message that the child’s sole purpose in life is to, in essence, be Jesus’ slave, and that any other interest – music, TV, friendship – is not only secondary, it takes time and energy away from the attention that the child is supposed to be devoting to Christ.

The worst of it is the “letter from Jesus” that one or other of the parents left for the daughters to find. This supposed missive from the almighty is a whiny complaint that the child is a disappointment.

Ye gods.

Maybe if you stop and think about this, this will give you an idea as to how I feel watching you give to others all that you were created to give to Me. You were created by my Father for Me. He brought you into this world for one reason, and one reason only: to be My friend.

And yet, Me you have ignored while longing for human friendships instead. You were brought into this world by My Father to love Me. And yet, you have given that love to your toys, your DVDs, your music, the pleasures of this world, and most of all to yourself. But to Me, you have given no love. You were brought into this world by My Father for Me, not for yourself or for man. Why, then, do you cry for man, long for man, and search for man night and day?

Yikes. I gather that “guilt” is a big feature of the Catholic culture, but dayum. This seems like a prescription for a horror show.

 Posted by at 7:53 pm
Apr 162015

College Apologizes for Serving Mexican Food During Sci-Fi Event

In short: Stevenson College in Santa Cruz, CA, held a sci-fi themed “Intergalactic Night.” Along with a “well, i guess they tried” series of sci-fi decorations, they had food. In the form of  buffet. Of Mexican food. Because even in a sci-fi setting, tacos are awesome. But guess what? People got all offended. I gather the illegal aliens on campus got in a snit about the association between Mexican food and science fiction aliens.

So, of course, sensitivity training all around.

Kinda curious how this effort to separate Mexican cultural elements from science fiction would play into the recent effort to enforce diversity in the Hugo awards… hmm…

 Posted by at 9:48 pm