Friday, September 16, 2011

American Flags: The New Lawn Darts

Remember back in the 1980s when thousands of people worldwide succumbed to the terror of "death by lawn dart?"

Well, I don't either, but that did not stop the federal government from outlawing the toys for use by anyone, not just children. Think of the children. We have to keep them safe.

Two, not one, but (at least) two separate so-called institutions of learning have deemed American flags to be safety hazards. Conservative clubs found their requests to place flags for 9/11 commemorations denied on safety grounds. Now a New Hampshire middle school has denied an autistic student the right to carry a small flag because the rod might be a safety hazard.

I am certainly glad that educational institutions are finally waking up to the mortal dangers posed by American flags. They have killed and maimed so many students in the past, it is a wonder why they waited this long to act.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dumb Security, Brought to You By the Left

Wednesday morning, Democratic congresswoman Lynn Wolsey (from California, of course) rose to speak. She had five minutes to speak to the Speaker Pro Tempore, some cameras, hundreds of seats, and whoever else happened to be there. She gave an impassioned speech about what she called "Smart Security."

First, she called for the removal of all troops from Afghanistan. Pretty typical anti-war stuff, really. And, honestly, since Obama won't let our troops fight and win, maybe that is an alternative. But Wolsey understands that this is a dangerous world that we cannot disengage from. So far, so good. But this IS a Leftist, so you know something crazy is coming.

She proposes that, once the troops are out, that we send in a "civilian surge" to build roads, power infrastructure, and other big ticket, demand side investments. Lyndon Johnson figured that such programs would save South Vietnam forty years ago.

But even LBJ was not naive enough to propose taking the troops away first! Wolsey has never heard of the term "soft targets." Nor does she understand that the Taliban want to kill Americans and destroy whatever we build. They would love a surge of unarmed civilians on construction projects to kidnap or just kill outright.

Wow, Congresswoman Wolsey. That's real smart.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Debating Debates

Personally, I am sick of debates.

Debates mean nothing. They are highly artificial and stylized dog and pony shows that pass for real and reasoned argument. They pander to our love of competition and the media's desire for a quick, witty, or dumb sound bite.

Debates emphasize shallowness over substance. How does a person quickly and smartly answer a question? Does this really have anything to do with a man or woman's capacity for leadership? Does it tell us anything about whether or not these people can make sound decisions at crucial times? No. So why even watch them? Why even hold them?

A better format would be to put the candidates into enclosed rooms and hand them questions. By themselves, with no assistance from staff, they should formulate their answers. Then the debate should be their defense of, and questions about, the answers from the other candidates. This encourages judgment and reason over glibness and might even give us some real insight into their principles and ideas.

Of course there will be fewer gaffes, fewer mistakes, and less overall silliness. Or maybe more, actually, because the candidates have to answer on their own without help. In any event, they would be a vast improvement over what we do now.