Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Forced Intimacy

I would be very surprised to find out my reader(s) are unfamiliar with outrageous molestation of passengers by TSA agents. (I could get more links if I wanted. Check out Google Search 1 and Google Search 2).

Imagine how you feel about that sort of personal violation when you fly. Now imagine it as part of your living arrangements -- something to which you are subject 24/7/365.

That's what military life is going to be like if/when Obama repeals the prohibition on gays serving in the military.

By the way, this is NOT an original thought. I owe it to this article on CE.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Clarion Call for Subsidiarity

There's a reason that David Warren's column is in my bookmark and my blogroll. He is an excellent writer who defends the moral, the true, the just, and the beautiful.

Here is a case in point. You should go read it.

And since Mr. Warren doesn't have commentary on his site, come back here and comment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Blast From the Past

This was originally posted August 7, 2007. I got to add a reason, and it's so AWESOME I had to repost the whole thing with the new reason at #37.

The Top 100 Reasons Burt Gummer is Better than MacGyver

Americans have a fascination with how-to, and even more so with improvisational technology. The popularity of shows like "This Old House," "Junkyard Wars," "Battle Bots," and yes, "Tremors: The Series" all reflect this fascination. But, of course, the first show to use improvisational technology as a gimmick was "MacGyver."

But let's face it. MacGyver was nowhere near as cool a character as Burt Gummer, the tough guy of "Tremors." Nothing about the show was as cool as "Tremors." And so, in tribute to Burt Gummer and all the people who've composed and posted their lists of the top 100 reasons why the original and Next Generation Star Trek captains, first officers, science officers, chief engineers, and doctors are better than each other, I'm posting this.

I know, I don't have 100 reasons. But hey, I came up with 30 all by myself in a day or two, and a couple more while typing this up, so I'm sure there must be at least that many. Maybe my four readers, if they've seen both "Tremors: The Series" and "MacGyver" could add some more.

37. There would never be anything like this for MacGyver.
36. Two words: Excessive force.
35. There is absolutely nothing contrived about Burt Gummer.
34. When Burt Gummer meets an obvious nutcase, he says so.
33. Burt Gummer is a serious opponent, while MacGyver is only an annoyance.
32. When something's out to kill Burt Gummer, he kills it first.
31. Other people actually want to be like Burt Gummer.
30. Burt Gummer has backups and reserves of everything.
29. You can readily believe that Burt Gummer could survive naked in the wilderness with nothing more than a Leatherman.
28. Burt Gummer remains devoted to his first wife.
27. Burt Gummer cynically uses the forces he hates against each other for his own benefit.
26. "Tremors: The Series" is nothing like "Knight Rider."
25. Burt Gummer doesn't have hateful animated middle-aged chain smoking DMV clerks lusting after his body.
24. Burt Gummer is not politically correct.
23. Burt Gummer worries more about his own welfare than that of his foes.
22. Burt Gummer likes weapons and is proud of it.
21. The people who turn to Burt Gummer for their safety are nearly as clever, inventive, and tough as he is.
20. Burt Gummer doesn't have to narrate himself to get his exposition done.
19. Burt Gummer's 4 wheel drive would eat MacGyver's Jeep Wrangler for breakfast.
18. Everyone in Burt Gummer's community is a working entrepreneur.
17. Burt Gummer would never wear his hair in a mullet.
16. Burt Gummer can inspire even lifelong federal bureaucrats to take decisive and necessary action in a crisis.
15. Burt Gummer isn't a pansy.
14. Burt Gummer tries simple solutions first.
13. Burt Gummer doesn't need a Babe of the Week to prove his manhood. (warning: that link is to TVTropes!)
12. When Burt Gummer gets stuck with a youthful twerp, he turns the situation to his advantage.
11. Burt Gummer is famous, but he doesn't let it go to his head.
10. Burt Gummer treats lethal menaces as such.
9. Burt Gummer and his neighbors cooperate well, in spite of their diversity and individualism.
8. Burt Gummer doesn't take unneccessary risks.
7. Burt Gummer knows Hollywood tough guys for the idiots that nearly all of them are.
6. Burt Gummer works for a living.
5. Burt Gummer makes contingency plans.
4. Burt Gummer lives in an environment that would kill MacGyver.
3. Burt Gummer sniffed out a secret underground lab from hundreds of miles away by following graboid tracks.
2. Nobody could ever just slug Burt Gummer.
1. One word: GUNS.

If you have more to suggest, oh please oh please DO. If you want to debate any of these, go ahead. But if you want to post the top 100 reasons why MacGyver is cooler, post on your own blog. I'll link to it here. I'll even give you a freebie: If anyone said "maggot DNA" on MacGyver, Mac would point out that maggots are the larval form of flies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Subsidiarity in Anticorruption

I've been reading my way forward in the Uncubed webcomic archives. It's an autobiographical comic by the creator of PC Weenies. He described an encounter with the corruption that is endemic to India here.

When you live in a land where the law rules, as I do, it's really easy to forget that not all lands are so blessed, or the grave harm such corruption does, especially to the poorest of the poor. Imagine having to pay a month's wages to get a doctor's appointment, or a license to do business, or to run a charity, or to get your neighborhood connected to municipal utilities. This is the sad reality in many poor and developing parts of the world, where the Judeo-Christian ethic of government employees owing service to the polity has never taken hold.

I found in the comments a link to a Boston Globe article (which is well worth reading, btw). The article details anecdotes of 5th Pillar's efforts to fight bribery by giving people, especially the extremely poor, zero rupee notes to hand over when a bribe is solicited. There are three significant differences between the zero rupee note and the 50 rupee note: the denomination goes from 50 to 0 (obviously); it is printed on only one side; and the 0 rupee note includes a phrase that the bearer “promises to neither accept nor give a bribe” in place of a claim of legal tender.

Seriously, what is not to like about this? It takes the struggle directly to the people who are most seriously harmed by graft, making it a wonderful act of solidarity with the poor; it does so with a powerful appeal to conscience; it works without government intervention; it's remarkably inexpensive; there are (as yet) NO reports of it not working; and it doesn't get anyone in trouble.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Same Sex Marriage -- Why Not?

Salute to Mark Shea, who only posted the first of these videos on his blog. I'm going to post all 4, which is nearly an hour of video, strictly on the strength of his recommendation; I have yet to watch them through.