Posts Tagged ‘News and Commentary’

Perspective on the world today from a World War II Era Woman

I was in downtown Boston over the weekend and had the chance to talk with a very long time resident.

When I say long time I really mean it in this case. She moved to Boston at age 20 during World War II!!

I asked her a lot of questions obviously but one of her answers sticks in my head. I asked her what she thought of the world today versus other periods in her life. Her answer was interesting and frightening: “It is far more dangerous.”

I of course had the immediate follow up of why do you think that…

Her answer was long so I am going to paraphrase but this is close….

Today we have North Korea, Iran and to a lessor extent China all being openly aggressive or in the case of China diplomatically aggressive. Her other concern was it took years for people like Hitler to come to power. In the modern day it can happen in months. From Junior Senator to President. (She nor I am saying President Obama is Hitler it is merely an example of rapid rise to power).

Now here is the other concern she had. Weapons and day to day tools are far more dangerous than they ever have been before. Airplanes flown into buildings can kill on the order of the same number of people as an organized attack by a large part of the Japanese Navy did at Pearl Harbor.

Here is her final concern: Celebrity Politicians have gotten worse. She cited John Kerry (to a lessor extent unless you are here in Boston), Hillary, Palin. Many to all of which are more concerned with their ‘brand’ so they can sell the next book than they are with world peace. She was very big on world peace and her dream that one day armies were unneeded (I’m sure all military members hope that day comes until then they proudly serve).

I have to say this was the most intersting and frightening random conversation I have had in a very long time.


Hard to admit Cosmo made me think about teaching kids

Ok I hate to admit this but I was flipping through a copy of a magazine my wife had. An older copy of Cosmo. There was an article that made me think.

The premise of the aritlce was what does television teach our kids. Specifically with reference to reality television shows such as ‘Real wives of ____’ and ‘The Bachelor’.

Not ever having seen an episode of Real Wives of whatever for fear of losing brain cells I have to admit I have seen an episode or two of The Bachelor a few seasons back.

The basic thing we are teaching our kids is when you think you are ready to get married magically you get a ‘menu’ of women (or men) to order from. What kind of lesson is this?

I suspect it isn’t a good one. I think kids will continue to lose contact with the way the world should work. I hope that somewhere we start to get back to the core values which allow a country to flourish…


Obama gets advice from Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro?

I was reading on the drudge report today that Fidel Castro sent a note to the press about how President Obama can sow up the 2012 election.

1) Nuke Iran
2) Attack North Korea

Well, I agree both Iran and North Korea must be dealt with I think this is evidence that Fidel doesn’t understand our President. I think he’ll negotiate with both contries. I hope he will at least. I don’t think nuclear weapons are the answer to Iran.

I think provoking North Korea is bad. I certainly think they should be dealt with due to the sinking of the ship. I think if they further attack the South that South Korea should be defended. But re-start the Korean war? In the middle of a recession with two other active conflicts currently going on? How thin can our military get?

Just food for thought…


Underwater Oil Leak, A Scientist Perspective

Ok, I have remained silent on the oil leak.

I do have a few things that have been on my mind about it.

As a scientist I want to point out that fixing a leak that is a mile below water is really hard. This is not an area that you can just dive to. This is specialized undersea vehicles of which there are not many. You must get one there, then get the right guy to drive, then of course make sure the right equipment is with him.

Now let’s throw in the extreme pressure seen in that environment…The extreme temperatures (pretty cold)…Now let’s throw in fast flowing jets of foreign material (oil) being thrown about. This is anything but an easy fix. This is not just something you can say ‘fix my leak and I need the pipe for the weekend’ (using a loose broken car analogy).

So what do we do? That is a good question. It is clear that it isn’t going to get fixed quickly. So let’s triage. If I were in charge I would get some folks moving on cleanup and keeping the oil away from the shore right now. Without delay. Throw lots of resources at that.

Second, get some guys fixing the leak. The right guys. Quit interviewing them, quit dragging them up to DC for questions. Just let them work…..

Not sure how I would react if I were the President. Its one of those times I’m happy to not be that guy.

One interesting bit is some of the media trying to come to his rescue saying not his fault…He couldn’t do anything. Nancy Pelosi even blamed Bush. The man has been President for a year and a half. I have to say that if Bush had been President and this happened oh good lord the backlash that I think would happen. I was no Bush supporter but this is bad. I have noticed a few guys ticked at Obama on the left. That is a start.

Now logically would I blame the President for this? No…I wouldn’t. Accidents happen and this is a really bad one. But let’s play equal opportunity if it was a republican there would be hearings, the word Haliburton would come up a lot…

Let’s leave politics out of this one though and just let BP fix their mess….

North Korea, South Korea and potential fighting

I have been watching carefully the goings on in Koren political world between the two Koreas. If the destroyer that went down two months ago really was a torpedo launched from a Submarine this leaves us with a couple of possibilities.

1) North Korean leadership ordered it. This would be very bad because it means they are getting more bold and possibly preparing for a real move toward the South. If they (or China) have figured out how to get through our minefield separating the two Koreas this would be a mess. This would be especially problematic given that a large chunk of our combat troops are busy. How do we help South Korea (which I think we are bound to do by treaty)…This would be a mess.

2) It was a rogue Captain. This would be bad as well. It means that the North has lost control of its military. It also means that the leadership is not the most radical group in the country. It means that there is a faction in the North that wants to finish the Korean war, or take on the US more than the current set of guys.

Either way I don’t see an option 3. The two options I see are with the assumption that it was a torpedo from a North Korean sub. If it really was a leftover mine from a bygone war then that is a different story. However given what is being said in the news media it appears to be a torpedo. So I don’t see an option 3. If anyone would care to leave a comment about what option 3 is I would appreciate it.

Over the next few days I am going to think about how these two options play out and post something.

For once though I think it is important for the President to do exactly what he is doing. Let Clinton handle it for a while and stay very quiet while he is, I am sure, being briefed on what is going on. This could turn out to be a very dangerous situation given the close ties of North Korea and China.

Sean Hannity lost credibility with me even though I don’t agree with President Obama

Ok I am far from a great supporter of the President. I wasn’t even a fan of the last guy in some ways. Although in others I respected him (And our current president).

But Mr. Hannity recently just rode it off the rails. Anyone of his fans who doesn’t see this bit of hypocrisy deserves whatever names they get called. I have even occasionally agreed with him but at this point I have to call him on the carpet.

Just in case let us define hypocrisy:

1 : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
2 : an act or instance of hypocrisy

What Mr. Hannity did was just beyond reproach.

I am going to paraphrase as I am sure if I try to quote it someone will say he never said exactly that…The words are different his meaning and actions the same. Remember I am not defending the President here just saying Mr. Hannity has just gone to a bad place. I think his intentions are good. He wants his side to win elections but we must be honest as he continually says.

Midway through President Obama’s first year in office Mr. Hannity slammed the President over and over for being over exposed. This was because he was doing too many prime time press conferences, too many speeches, etc. Now these comments coming from someone who has a 4 hour per day syndicated talk show on radio and a 1 hour per day TV show calling someone overexposed are a bit of a leap but Mr. Hannity and the President have different jobs so we’ll let that go.

This week President Obama held a press conference for the first time in a while, the topic of which was the oil spill in the gulf. I could dissect the Presidents statements scientifically and perhaps I will but not now. The point is that when Mr. Hannity heard about this press conference he again slams the president for not having enough press conferences.

Come on Mr. Hannity. What would make you happy? You have gone to a place that is bad. No matter what President Obama does you are going to take the opposite position. I implore you Mr Hannity to listen to your friend Mark Levin. When he slams the president it is on substance. He backs up his critical statements with facts. You sir, Mr. Hannity, just want to slam the president for anything he says. Stop it…That is not how you, or any intelligent person, should advance their agenda. Intellectual exchange, as you have said, is the best way to do it. So give your own advice a try..


The President Does Not Understand The Military????!!!??

I have been a member of the military. I have watched military events for a long time. I read military history books when I have time….

I now think we have a commander in chief that just absolutely doesn’t understand the military. He doesn’t understand why you keep one.

There is a discussion going on at the level of the President to start a military award for showing ‘restraint’.

Restraint as in when under fire in Afghanistan did you only shoot as many people as you had to. I am here to tell you that the military doesn’t go ‘people hunting’. They don’t like to kill. You have to but it isn’t something you go out looking for.

I think his though may be that the military is full of thugs who have to be kept on a chain or civilians get hurt. I say to you Mr. President. Wake up!!! Smell some coffee…Not foo foo Jamaican Blue Mountain Frappawhatevers…

Have some WWII vets come in and discuss what life is like under fire..Do so with Korean war vets, Viet nam vets…I am not discounting those with more recent military service such as myself. Merely these guys have had years to make their peace with it….They can give a more detached view….

I for one say Mr. President…Get a grip. Realize the military is there to kill people and break things but they don’t kill or break more than they have to. Ok there are a few rare exceptions to this but there are exceptions when dealing with any group of people that large.

I think this award is coming from the right place in his heart, he means well…He just doesn’t get it…

One term? Could this finally drive it home? To all but the far far far left? I don’t know but this one just makes me roll my eyes and say what’s next.

I want to find something I can be supportive of him on but he is NOT going to memorial day at Arlington Cemetary because he is going to a Paul McCartny concert…So is the military just an annoyance to him? Help me Mr. President. Do something I can get behind.


I am with Mark Levin, I just can’t take it anymore

There appear to be two types of people in this society. I for one am with Mark Levin the talk radio host. I just can’t take it anymore.

He has two groups he calls out. I have my own two groups. Those that do and those that pile onto those that do. Then of course those that pile when the persons that do can’t handle the pile point fingers and blame. Then of course say do more but I’m going to restrict your resources. So here is two the doers.

This rant is not just political this rant is sociological.

I am not pissed off at people with legitimate handicaps. My heart goes out to them and I believe they should get help from those that can.

I am pissed off at those that can and won’t. The inherently lazy. Those that beat the people pulling the cart. I for one am going to start building whips (metaphorically speaking I am NOT condoning violence) and beating back at those that say pull faster so I can relax here in the cart. Its over. If you can’t pull your weight don’t stick your hand out to me.

Pull your weight. Play time is over boys and girls. This is for keeps.

Nuclear Weapons and President Obama – Some minor agreement

I have been listening to talk radio rip President Obama’s policy on no nukes even to defend the US.

A couple of things talk radio can spin anything any president says to make it sound stupid so let’s just get that out there.

Next, he is the commander in chief and he gets to choose how to defend the country. Agree or disagree right now he is the guy. Plus we have seen he will flip flop when needed so let’s just assume he reserves the right to change his mind on 30 seconds notice depending on which reporter or policy maker he is talking to.

Finally as a scientist I want to remind people of something. A nuclear weapon is just a great big bomb. Kilotons is an equivalent mass of TNT. If you put a huge pile of TNT in place and set it off you get the same effect minus the radio activity. LOTS of work has gone on to increase the effciency of chemical weapons. The MOAB (Mother of all bombs see wikipedia) was a conventional non nuclear weapon with roughtly the same yield as one of the two weapons used on Japan in WWII. So why bother with the radioactive fall out. Just use REALLY big conventional stuff….

I may not be a huge fan of the current president but on this policy I have to say that I agree with what he is doing but I wouldn’t have advertised it to our enemies.


Health Care Law and Racism? Tanning Salons?

Ok I have been looking at this health care package since the start.

The news media, lawyers, and some others are just nuts. There is a discussion going on about the health package being racist. I may not agree with this bill, now law but I wouldn’t say racist.

They are trying to argue that because there is a 10% tax on tanning services that the law is inherently racist. There is now going to be a lawsuit.

The argument is just because the majority of customers for tanning services are caucasian women. Usually college age. They are saying due to the tax singling in on one ethnic group its racist. Argh.

Is it just me or is this lawsuit just crazy and a way for people to get their name in the news.