Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Odds and Ends

The problem with not posting every day is that the topics I want to write about pile up faster than I have days to post. So I think I'll end up with a lot more "odds and ends" posts in the coming months. Like this one ...

The arguments over gun control continue loud and unabated, with both sides using stupid arguments and neither side willing to give any ground. Gun advocates searching for ways to reduce gun violence that don't involve actually putting any restrictions on guns appear to have reached new heights of lunacy, as documented in this news report: Maryland Armor Manufacturer Introduces Bulletproof Whiteboards. Yes, Dear Readers, schools will now be able to spend scarce education dollars on armor-plated whiteboards that "can stop a bullet from a handgun fired at point-blank range," rather than on books and other school supplies. Along with the armed guards advocated by the NRA, we will now be able to raise a generation of under-educated students who are well-protected in fortified and armed schools that cannot afford books or decent wages for teachers*. Maybe it's just me, but I think this is obscene.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has announced that the so-called "combat exclusion" is going to be lifted, allowing women to serve in all military jobs, including direct ground combat. The good news is that women in the armed services, particularly the Army and the Marine Corps, will now be better able to compete with men for promotion to the highest ranks. The bad news is that they will be able to enjoy all the misery and horror of direct ground combat. As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoyed a full day of being harangued by GOP legislators over last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and several other State Department personnel. The hearings accomplished nothing other than to give House and Senate Republicans (a) a chance to sternly and heroically dump on an administration official in front of the TV cameras, and (b) an excuse to avoid dealing with the nation's economic problems.

International basket case North Korea has announced that it will conduct a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches as part of its confrontation with the United States. Well, I guess if you need something to distract your population from the fact that it's starving, a nice, photogenic mushroom cloud is about as good as anything. According to the announcement by the North Korean government, these actions are part of a campaign against the United States, which is "the sworn enemy of the Korean people." Actually, the United States is the sworn enemy of common sense and rationality, and doesn't give a rat's patootie about North Korea. So there.

All Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger aircraft remain grounded as investigators try to figure out why they tend to catch fire. Oddly enough, none of the world's ten most dangerous airlines appear to be flying 787's ... they are able to be dangerous with less modern equipment.

Winter has arrived here in the National Capitol Region ... yesterday it was colder than a penguin's backside or a mortgage banker's heart, and this morning it's just as cold, plus we've got about a scant inch of snow on the ground. Those of you who live in "The NCR" will know that this means this morning's commute will be hideous. Oy.

That's all for now. Stay warm, carry an armored whiteboard if you go to school, and come back for Cartoon Saturday. I'll be here.


* And it gets even worse in those ultraconservative school districts that reject science in favor of religious dogma.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

I love your cold weather similes. And bullet-stopping whiteboards? I'm sure we'll get them someday.

Congress's hearings on Libya seems to go nowhere to a consensus, and Best Korea will always make noises like an uncle with intestinal gas.

At least the hysteria about Te'o's imaginary gf seems to be abating.

Duckbutt said...

I would have really felt safe being surrounded by bulletproof whiteboards.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Keep warm, Bilbo despite it being as cold as a penguin's backside.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

The fact that women can go into combat now was a big discussion at our home last night.
For whatever reason my husband assumed I would be all for this.
But this issue for me has another element of capture, torture in ways we have not heard of yet. That is what I fear. rape.
Me personally, I would never sign up for this so I suppose if women do they know what could happen. It bothers me more that I call myself a feminist and yet I can't commit to this 100%.

Mike said...

How long before white board piercing rounds appear on the scene?

Bilbo said...

Angel - I have lots of other cold-weather similes, but they're not for an all-audiences blog. And I love your comment that "Korea will always make noises like an uncle with intestinal gas." Classic!

Duck - At my grade school, we were surrounded by mean nuns who took guff from NOBODY.

Heidi - I'm doing my best!

Peg - I'd feel better about it if I thought that the real motivation was shared service and patriotism. Unfortunately, the real motivation for many (not all!) is the desire be more competitive for promotion. Nobody in their right mind wants the "opportunity" to go into combat.

Mike - they'll be here soon. And the NRA will be dead-set against any restrictions on them.

Anemone said...

Neat site. I like your Dumbcon chart.

Amanda said...

It sounds REALLY cold over there. We've just come out of a heat wave and today, South East Queensland is taking measures to avoid a flood over the weekend.

Bilbo said...

Anemone - welcome to the blog! Hope to see you back again often!

Amanda - the floods in Queensland are making news here ... I saw some dramatic footage of a boy being rescued from a raging flood earlier this morning. Be safe!