06/08/2005: Catching up on reading; a quick blogaround
These things struck me as interesting as I took a look at all the blogs I'd neglected while on last weekend's trip:
- Bryan at Why Now? had a couple very good posts on GULag:
The American system lacks the procedures, and time limits that were part of the Soviet system: the Bush system isn't as bad, it is worse than the Soviet system with fewer checks and protections for prisoners.and on the true problem concerning the church-state separation problems at the U.S. Air Force Academy:
In the Soviet Union you had to be accused of a "crime" and be tried by a "court" before you were sent to the GULag for a stated period of time. You were given an attorney to represent you at trial and you were "released" at the end of your sentence. While it is true that the "crime" was political, the trial was to hear you "confess your crime", your lawyer was to assist you in writing your confession, and the fact that you were usually forced to live in Siberia after you finished your sentence, there were more "protections" for the individual than under current system. Those sent to the GULag were not subjected to torture, only harsh living conditions.
Where are the protections for "enemy combatants"? Where are the terms of imprisonment? The American system needs many changes to take it to the level of the Soviet system. Such a system does nothing to "spread democracy".
The Soviet GULag system was harsh, repressive, and despicable. It is sad that the United States can't even make it over that obscenely low level of legality.
There is already a tacit policy of allowing bullying in military academies. Some fool felt that humiliation and abuse builds character, and anything that is done for more than a year is considered an honored tradition. For whatever reason clannish groups tend to practice some form of the omerta code, and view revealing the bad/criminal conduct of any member of the group is a heinous crime. This is reinforced by a desire to belong to a group that is inherent in humans and emphasized by the military.
If you look at what happened to the helicopter crew that reported the My Lai massacre, the Army sergeant who blew the whistle on Abu Ghraib, and the reaction of some to the identification of Deep Throat, you can see the reaction by too many is that the whistleblowers are somehow worse than those who committed the crimes they reported.
General Rosa is still dealing with the sexual assault problems, and now religious discrimination. I don't find this at all unusual given the actions of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard Myers. When the person at the top is a political flack, those below him/her will see that as the path to promotion. Under George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld the only people advancing are those that slavishly agree. Disagreeing with the current administration leads to unemployment and personal attacks.
The way things are going even if we start up the draft, we won't have officers capable of leading the troops. Yet another Bush disaster to add to the growing list.
- My favorite recovering lawyer and poet, MadKane, gives us an attempt by the Supreme Court justices to justify their recent medical marijuana decision, in verse....
- tgirsch at Lean Left finally explains the disconnect between conservative values and the things that the New Testament told us Jesus said: Jesus was only joking!
- Here's one for the creationists to ponder (credit, Newsrack): if we're the product of divine creation, but our tendency towards evil is a result of the corruption of our natures by The Sin of Adam, how come we've observed an instance of prostitution among capuchin monkeys? Dammit, I knew Karen and I should have been watching more closely when we visited the zoo.
- Hmmmmmm. Do I want to triple boot my computer? Chris Lawrence at Signifying Nothing passed on the (to me) interesting news that Apple is apparently going to go ahead with plans to port the Mac OS X operating system to Intel processors. Apparently, though, Apple will now be selling Macs with Intel processors; according to other reports Apple has no plans to make OS X available generally for installation on hardware not sold by Apple.
- South Knox Bubba, currently travelling across The Great American West, makes an observation that Karen can confirm from her own experience:
Not all wi-fi or other "high-speed internet" is as advertised. Lots of places say they have it but then you find out they don't have it in all rooms. Other places forget to mention that they charge for it. Best Western has been consistently reliable and free, except for one place that didn't have it in the dog friendly section.
- No good deed goes unpunished. Apparently Zach, a Memphis area teen, finding the courage to come out to his parents as being gay, has been "rewarded" for his courage by being forcibly sent to a "homosexual de-programming camp". E.J. at Cherry Blossom Special broke the story, and it's been picked up by most of the liberal Memphis blogosphere (not me because... well if you've been watching this space the last two weeks you know what I've been doing). You can check various angles on this story from: The Pesky Fly, Dr. Abby (who's created a Gmail account so people can send Zach some support), and The River City Mud Company (whose proprietor, autoegocrat, has lit the "Bat-Signal" in the hopes of calling more attention to Zach's plight).
- Captain T at Thursday Night Fever knows the real reason to go see Cinderella Man, Ron Howard's biopic of James J. Braddock:
But as with any Ron Howard film, the greatest pleasure comes not from the film itself, but in waiting for the inevitable appearance of Ron’s little brother, Clint Howard. Clint, of course, has appeared in every film Ron Howard has ever made, dating all the way back to his first short film “Old Paint”, progressing through his first theatrical release “Grand Theft Auto” and continuing through major successes like “A Beautiful Mind” and "Apollo 13”. And Ron certainly didn’t let us down with “Cinderella Man”, giving Clint perhaps his biggest role ever as legendary Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. And while Clint doesn’t make his first appearance until late in the film, the final act revolves entirely around a knock-down, drag out 15 round brawl between Clint and Russell Crowe.
Len on 06.08.05 @ 03:50 PM CST