Wednesday morning open thread

This is not proving to be a day for blogging, as I have a lot of family business that needs my attention.  I’ll be back this afternoon, but until then . . . yes, it’s Open Thread time!

And just to get things rolling, here are two posts to think about:

I’m looking forward to seeing Act of Valor this Friday, as are all of the boys in the neighborhood.  On the liberal side of the political spectrum, though, there’s a lot of anger at a movie that portrays our military favorably.  (Never mind the fact that Obama views the SEALS as his go-to guys and as his greatest PR opportunity.)  I suspect that, if these same liberals had a gang of Taliban or al Qaeda killers headed their way, they’d be the ones shrieking most loudly for military aid.

Considering that Iran has repeatedly said that it wants to wipe Israel of the map, and that large segments of its military and political community are actively strategizing ways to accomplish that goal, how much longer can Israel wait until she views Iran’s drum banging as war itself, rather than just throat-clearing?

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  • jj

    Israel may have waited too long, and I don’t know what they were waiting for – Bailout Boy to pull his head out?  I thought one of the last days of the Bush administration would have seen them bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities to powder.  The Bush family and the Saud family relate pretty well, and W. could have set it up – because it’s a mission that’ll require a lot of support.  Iran’s a long ride from Israel, most of it in enemy airspace, and they can’t do it without help from Arabs.  Everybody who speculates about when they’re going to should put a little time into how they’re going to.  This is going to require three anyway, probably four, midair refuelings, F-16s can’t even get there on what they can carry.  They have no slightest chance of getting there and home again.  Even if they were just doing it as tourists, no ordnance, they couldn’t do it.
    Bush could have winked at the Saudis, who could have mysteriously had their radars shut off for a few hours to clean sand out of the dishes or something, or all been on pomegranate-juice breaks, or whatever.  The Israelis could have passed over them west-to-east unseen, refueled over their heads unseen, and passed back east-to-west with another refueling rendezvous – all unseen.  Doing something else, y’know – the radars were pointed in the wrong direction – whatever.  The Saudis would have gone along because they don’t want Iran a nuclear power, either.  So I figured the last days of Bush would have been the time.
    But they didn’t.  And now I don’t think they can.  The Saudis aren’t going to be cooperative with Ding-Dong as they would have been with Bush, for many reasons.  One big one is that they know he cannot keep his goddam mouth shut when he feels a need to beat his puny, hairless chest.  I cannot tell you how many military personnel I know who themselves cannot believe that their own goddam CINC ran his mouth to the whole wide world about exactly what equipment was used to get bin-Laden, exactly what unit pulled the mission, exactly how long they watched, and exactly how they set it up.  All of this stuff used to be what is known as “classified,” but not in the regime of Shitwit.  Not when he feels a need to look tougher than his wife.  So what he accomplished was to paint a target on the SEALs – and the Saudis have noticed.  They know he won’t be able to keep his goddam yap shut if they lend their airspace and are complicit on not seeing where the Israeli F-16s are going or where they refuel.  Which’ll translate to them having an even bigger target on their backs than they already do.  So forget it.  I see no chance Israel does this, because they can’t – unless we lend them a B-52 or a Bone.  Not much chance of that, either.

  • beefrank
    Saw this on Drudge this morning.  Another $400M and change of federal money wasted on the boondoggle ‘green’ industry.  Brings a new meaning to sh**ing bricks.
    Notice how ‘green’ has been missing from Obama’s campaign speeches?  ‘Green’ has been ‘blacklisted’ and rightly so since the premise is mythical.  I was reading a couple of articles which scientifically  challenges the original theory that petroleum is the product of fossils, therefore, tagged as ‘dirty’, ‘finite’ and ‘nonrenewable’.  It is another Leftist balloon that is being popped.

  • Charles Martel

    If the polls go south for Obama, I could see him escalating matters into an open war with Iran. It would save the easily manipulated Jewish vote and draw balled Americans of both sexes toward him, and it would save a chunk of the military vote. (The plantationized black vote is a gimmee.) Our nancy boy fool has already so gummed up the works with the Arabs that he really wouldn’t take much more of a hit than he already has in that savage quarter.
    Remember, this president is even more amoral than Bill Clinton. The deaths of Israelis, Americans and Iranians may be regrettable, but they could serve the noble cause of giving him a second term. 

  • Ymarsakar

    It’ll also kill a bunch of Americans and Marines, who Obama will enjoy seeing die.


  • Ymarsakar

    Btw, if anyone thinks otherwise, they’d better come up with an argument for why Ayers wouldn’t be partying it up if his bomb to blow up American wives and service members worked. Try that out for size. For once.

  • 11B40

    Greetings: Earlier today, I came across an article in which it was reported that the US Department of Education has issued a report indicating that Catholic schools in the US invariably out-perform public schools. As this is an issue that is of some significant concern to me, I would like to add the following.  
    Being the beneficiary of 13 years of Catholic education (with no repeated grades), this comes to me as no surprise at all. The history of the Catholic parochial school system in the USofA, as amazing as it is, is something that seems to be studiously avoided by both academia and what we have for the media these days.  
    I grew up in the Bronx of the ’50s and ’60s. My first 8 years (skipped kindergarten and I don’t think “pre-school” had yet been invented as either an entitlement or a requirement) were spent in our parish’s walk-to grammar school which was supported by the Archdiocese and our fellow parishioners. My class was the first to graduate from a brand new school building in a neighborhood that was destined, over the next decade, to find itself sliding into ghetto status. Back then, there was no tuition charged; the school was supported primarily by what the locals put into the collection baskets at Sunday Mass. The new school building, itself, had been funded by special financial pledges that began a couple of years prior to the actual construction, thus avoiding a heavy debt burden.  
    In the eighth grade, we took a standardized (oh, the horror) high school entrance exam on which one designated which Catholic high schools one was interested in attending. Some high schools were affiliated with specific parishes, (usually the wealthier ones) others were run by the Archdiocese or specific orders of priests or nuns. Some high schools had stronger academic reputations than others, but all were thought to be a better alternative than the public schools, if for no other reason, the surety that the student would be disciplined as necessary. My high school tuition was $15 per month at a time when our 3-bedroom apartment’s monthly rent was $50, so it was made clear to me that this was a significant familial investment in my future betterment.  
    (Speaking of the necessity of educational and behavioral discipline, allow me this side note. My father worked in New York City’s construction industry as a truck driver. In the latter years of my grammar school adventures, his company was involved in the building of the Bronx High School of Science, a new high school with a Sputnick-era emphasis on math and science. He was much impressed by the number and sophistication of the school’s science laboratories and argued somewhat strenuously in our family discussions for me to take advantage of that opportunity. My mother, alternatively, much believed in effective discipline which, even way back then, was known not to be much available in the public school realm. In one of the few instances in my early life wherein I felt I had to abandon my father, I went for the Catholic school option… primarily for its basketball team.)  
    My high school’s principal was a firm believer proven educational techniques. Our freshman class was segregated (Did I just say “segregated” ???) into three sections by academic ability. All in the “A” section were expected to get into college, some in the “B” section, but all, even the notorious “C” section (who truly knew how to enjoy their notoriety) were expected to graduate, if only by any means necessary.  
    In pursuit of those goals, one Saturday each fall, the student body reported to school to take the Iowa Test of Educational Development, another oppressive standardized test. In sophomore year, we also took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, followed, the next year by the actual Scholastic Aptitude Test as part of the college admission process. In our school’s effort to continue its oppressive ways, in our senior year, we took the New York State Board of Regents’ standardized tests in various subjects in order to get a “Regents’ Diploma” which was considered superior to either a high school’s own diploma or the dreaded “general diploma” the academic equivalent of our military’s “general discharge”.  
    My high school studies contained 0% academic fat. There were fours years each of Catholic religion, English, Mathematics, science, history. To help us understand that not everyone everywhere spoke Bronx, we had two delightful years of Caesar’s Latin and three of a foreign language (Francais, pour le “A” and Espanol para el rest). I was allowed to pick only two courses in my four years, one on Shakespeare’s plays (from which I’m almost recovered) and the other on electronics (such as they were in those days).  
    Such was a Catholic education in the joy of my youth. I continue to be very much disillusioned by our polity’s ability to ignore this educational history and its effectiveness while pursuing all sorts of academic distractions of little real value. The “back to the basics” concept seems to have been permanently expunged from our collective educational intellect which has been overwhelmed by the lure of the new and unproven. From “whole word” reading, to “fuzzy math”, to too much technology (calculators, computers), to too much socio-political indoctrination, the leaders of our public educational systems seem to have a proven ability to prefer the latest educational cul-de-sac to the proven.  
    If only they were as good at educating their charges as they are at feathering their own nests.

  • Bookworm

    11B40:  What a delightful insight into a (sadly) vanished era.  Thank you so much for taking the time to share that.  My San Francisco public school education did not match the solid parochial education you got, and that despite the fact that I went to some of the best schools the city had to offer.

  • JKB

    I just found this Youtube channel, Smarter Every Day.  Great place to eat up your time, with learning as well.  Well, if you like science.  

    Here is a video where they guy initiated the Gambian space program.  He also, unlike Obama, understands Luke 12:48  “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

    Also, isn’t it interesting how Obama conveniently left off the second part.  Anyway, I think you’ll find this video inspiring when you see kids get the space bug 


  • Ron19

    11B40 brought back some memories.

    After 6 years at my local parish grade school (no kindergarten) I “made the grade” to attend the Bishop’s Covington Latin School.  Only the seminarians had to do 7th and 8th grade before attending.  We had 7 classes a day and a final period of mandatory study hall.  I didn’t have to attend Mass at school for my 3rd year because I was the Altar Boy at 6:30 am Mass at my parish, every day.  The priest at that Mass, a very mild mannered guy, would give me a ride to school, where he was also my history and German teacher, and spiritual mentor.  I never have figured out how to use that available function.  And I struggled through all three years, academically.

    However, I finally flunked out by failing both 3rd year Latin and 3rd Year Greek.  I could have repeated the year, but agreed with my headmaaster that it probably wouldn’t be any better, and left for the junior and senior years at my local public high school.  They had never had a student from the Latin School before, and didn’t know what to do with me.  For instance, my transcript only showed one year of algebra, followed by geometry.  So they put me in second year algebra, which was a total repeat of the second half of the algebra course I had already taken.  5 easy classes a day, and walk to and from school.  This school had girls(!) and I was near the top of the class from the get go.  So much so, that for legitimate reasons all, I missed about 1 class per day average for my entire senior year.  I worked for the school newspaper and was in the literary writing club and science club.  I went to all home and most away football and basketball games, went to all the school dances and all of my parish dances.  Had several steady girlfriends, and dated or danced with others in between.  And yet, I consider myself a laid-back kind of guy.  My father thought so, too.

    Late high school at the public high school was not an academic challenge, and I even made the top ten percent of my graduating class even though my poor record at Latin school was included in the calculation.

    The nuns at grade school lived above the school, and had plenty of time to discuss the students every day.  The priests at Latin school had about as much time to get together at lunch as my public high scool teachers, plus had all the usual parish duties to perform, but most of them had graduated from the Latin school.  There was a huge community connectedness at my parocial schools that barely existed at the public high scool. 

    I had the opportunity to sample both systems, and the parocial system was definitely better if you wanted your kids to get a good education.  The parochial grade school did take all levels of student abilities.  Even so, the public schools back then were far superior to most of what I have seen in my own children’s public schooling.  One difference between then and now was far better discipline and teacher authority back then, and more basics and less of the frills that we see now.  And more parental involvement in disciplining students instead of blaming teachers that you didn’t like (by students and parents).

    Ahhh, thoose were the days!

  • jj

    Altar boy – now there’s a fund of stories…

  • 11B40

    Greetings:  especially “JJ” at #10

    Are we talking hard charging, bell-ringing, cassock and surplice-wearing, bi-lingual Latin-spewing, throat-tapping with the Communion paten, 360 degree thurifer-swinging ALTAR BOYS or some sort of modern day English-speaking altar server(ettes) ???

    I heard one story about a couple of ALTAR BOYS in the Bronx who were sent on a bus ride up to the Sisters of St. Ursula convent to pick up a couple of boxes of Communion hosts, not just those little bitty everybody hosts but also those magnificently molded altar hosts that no female would ever taste. And then on the bus ride back with the goods, the Spirit of Satan inhabited them and while sitting across from the whitest haired, pinkest faced Grandmama of Oyrish heritage they took out two of those aforementioned of the second part altar hosts and after a brief pause to make sure that Grandmama had the opportunity to experience the full emotional brunt of their perfidy, in as anti-christian a manner as their inhabitation permitted, broke apart and consumed the hosts before a most observant bus driver who could recognize even undercover ALTAR BOYS and who had had them under his nun-like surveillance for the whole of their ride, snatched them up by their collars and deposited them in a most ungentlemanly, but probably a bus-driverly way on the nearest sidewalk while proclaiming his intention to drive his bus directly to the Rectory to tell the good Fathers. and probably the good Sisters, too.

    Those kind of stories ??? 

  • jj

    Yes, and also the ones where the first five rows of the congregation were on the floor wetting their pants while Brian and I attempted to maintain decorum in the face of a pretty big wasp, which I swung at and missed, and then Brian swung at and missed, whereupon it went up his sleeve, causing him to rapidly shake his arm and whisper in panic: “where is it?  Where is it?” which led me to forget myself to the point where I whacked his sleeve where I thought it was, by which time Father Ryan had stopped what he was doing and turned in disbelief to join the congregation in watching the floor show, when it crawled out of Brian’s sleeve and I knocked it to the floor, a little groggy – so he picked up the bell-set and belted it one, squashing it and producing a racket somewhat less melodious than usual, incidentally earning us a spontaneous round of applause from the front rows.  Ryan looked at the two of us like we were something unknown to science, shook his head and said: “You got me, men – (he always called his altar-boys “men,” very regimental) – I have no idea what to say to this.  So now, with your permission, we’ll move on.  Okay?”  I don’t know what Brian did, but I nodded and mumbled “okay.”  And we did.

  • Ron19

    Are we talking hard charging, bell-ringing, cassock and surplice-wearing, bi-lingual Latin-spewing, throat-tapping with the Communion paten, 360 180 degree thurifer-swinging ALTAR BOYS???

    Yep, that was me you saw.  Mea maxima culpa.

  • Ron19

    Hmmm.  the strikethru didn’t work.

    Are we talking bell-ringing, cassock and surplice-wearing, bi-lingual Latin-spewing, throat-tapping with the Communion paten, degree thurifer-swinging ALTAR BOYS or some sort of modern day English-speaking altar server(ettes) ???

    The mea maxima culpa was for the trhroat bashing, although no one ever complained.

  • jj

    Domine, non sum dignus, ut inters sub tectum meum….  
    “Well, men – you got that part right, no argument there!  Now, would somebody like to explain to me how my sacramental wine seems to have turned into a bottle of 1954 Chateau Latour?  I’d like to say I thought this was a miracle – but what I really think is that somebody killed the supply that was here, and replaced it with a bottle swiped at random from their parent’s liquor cabinet.  Any thoughts about that….?”

  • Ymarsakar

    Only the government can strike through laws, the constitution, and their debts. The regular peons of America are not given such authority.