Friday, April 28, 2006


In the grand tradition of taking an intended insult and turning it into a badge of pride (e.g. "Yankee Doodle", "geek", and even the pink triangle), we now have ...

Now this is something I can enlist in. There aren't many combat posts for someone with flat feet, a bad knee, and an argumentative personality that would be sand in the gears of a hierarchical command structure. Moreover, it makes me suspicious that the only people eager to complain about my failure to join up also seem to think the war in Iraq, the Armed Forces in general, and American Armed Forces in particular are Bad. (so, they want me to help them fail? Not clear on this.) More importantly, the real live soldiers what actually are out there getting shot at don't agree -- they aren't asking folks to enlist, but to, you know, support them and their mission. I can do that!

Courtesy of Captain's Quarters, one of the instigators of this grassroots-snark-rebellion, here are some fun facts about Chickenhawks.
- The largest of its family: Yes, well, I'm working on that.
- Vigorously defends its territory, even more agressively when conditions are harsh: Absolutely. I mean, I'm a conservative living in the Seattle-metro area. Those conditions are pretty harsh! Unfortunately for the moonbats, all their shrieking did was drive me to join Protest Warriors. And I'm not usually, see above, a joiner.
- Adapts to all climates: With some complaining, yes. I just don't see the point of solid water; never have.
- Feeds on chicken: (see first item) LOTS of chicken.

I know the real point of the Chickenhawk slur is to accuse people like me, who support the war but are not in the military, with cowardice. Not just the physical cowardice of avoiding pain and death, but the moral cowardice of sending others to a danger I would not, allegedly, face myself. I know for myself what my courage is. I doubt I could ever prove to those accusers that they are wrong. I've faced pain and imminent, life-threatening situations; I've stood alone and voiced my opinion against a crowd and held it. They cannot tell me who I am.

"Yes, Fezzik?"
"I hope we win."

UPDATE: for those wishing to lead the exciting life of danger that is the everyday experience of the Fighting KeeBees, the signup procedure appears to simply be appending a comment to the centered post linked above, at Captain's Quarters. No word yet on the pension plan or PX priviledges.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oh, for the love of little green apples ....

(under the influence of a gravitational field that is proportional to the mass of the apple ma, the mass of the Earth me, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their respective centers of mass.)

We need an army of cluebatters to hunt down whoever thought up this little gem. Quotas for Math and Science. That is one of the most logically bankrupt ideas I have ever heard of. It ranks with trying to legislate the value of pi to equal 3.0 because "it's easier." It may be easier, but it is also completely WRONG.

They are from the Department of Education, and they are here to help. Quick, bolt the lab doors and hide the computers! They have deduced, much in the manner of Inspector Clouseau, that women in math and science courses are subtly made to "feel unwelcome" and that is why there aren't very many of them. And it sounds like they are going to keep looking and poking and asking questions until someone confesses to subtlety.

Now, I don't have government credentials (I'm not even a journalist!) but I do have a science degree. A PhD in Physics, to be precise, which means I spent approximately TEN YEARS working in math and science, and I was female all the time. Sometimes I even taught those courses. You know what "feels" good? Standing at a blackboard and showing a bunch of my colleagues, using math and rigorous logic, that I'm right and they are wrong. Does wonders for your self-esteem. No quotas needed. All quotas get you are different statistics and increased resentment -- they don't solve the underlying problem.

I think there is a problem, but searching for bad vibes in the grad student lounge sounds remarkably like searching for your car keys where the light is better instead of where you actually lost them. In science, you are supposed to collect your facts before you come up with a theory. Therefore, I would like to hear the official "Feelings" explanation for why, if that's the only thing holding women back from sweeping the Nobel Prizes, I saw at least twice as many women in chemistry than physics at my university. Was the Unwelcome-O-Meter set to a different level in that department? (I've been to their seminars and the coffee and cookies are just as bad as ours, so it can't be that.)

The disparity in numbers made me curious, and I asked some of the women chemistry students -- who were often doing research on concepts at least as complicated as I was -- why they picked chemistry instead of physics. They all said "the math requirements." Note that these women were just as intelligent, driven, and capable as I was. And they weren't saying "math is hard" like some plastic toys and deans have been known to do. It was the prerequisites. The background. I, on the other hand, was taking calculus in high school. The way our public education system is structured it is very easy to opt out of higher math classes -- and by the time you realize you need to live and breathe differential equations to succeed in your chosen field, it can be too late to catch up. There's no point in shoving someone into a calculus class if they don't understand algebra yet, and it is manifestly unfair to deny boys math and science education just to make the numbers look good. We need to start making math much more prevalent earlier in the K-12 curriculum, and encourage girls there to take more math courses.

Oh look. Something the Department of Education could do that would actually be useful. Think they'll figure it out?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Good Lines

Commenter Kerri gave me an idea, for in the comment left was the interesting line of movie dialog:
Gunga Din, 'You disturb me greatly and I ignore the both of you'

I delight in this (I saw the movie, many eons ago and did not remember that line) and want more. So, I encourage, extort, and evoke my other readers (I think I'm up to five or six now!) to come up with other cherished lines of movie dialog. NOTE: the entirety of Princess Bride is encorporated by reference. No cheating. Besides, we want to uncover hidden treasure.

My contribution comes from The African Queen.
"I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution!"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Why I love the Blogosphere

Because beautiful storylines, all polished and rammed down the reader's throat by the MSM, can run into ugly little blogs with facts and other interesting tidbits that throw sand in the gears.

So now we are hearing all about a group of retired generals that think it is time for Rumsfeld to spend more time with his family. Speaking only for my flawed self, any news article that repeats something I have read on a moonbat protest sign gets an automatic -10 points. I don't think the Secretary of Defense can walk on water or is incapable of making a mistake, but I would like to hear the whole story before charging over the Cliff of Conclusions. For example:

A former spook's take. The argument that Rumsfeld must go would be much more convincing if a retired general could be found that had this level of discontent and did NOT already have a grudge against the guy.
From inside the gearbox Jason van Steenwyk has a nicely dispassionate take on How Things Get Done Now.

This is the kind of information I like. Why can't the MSM include this in their analyses, hmm? Aren't reporters supposed to go find out information only known to insiders and explain it to ordinary folk like me? Exactly what are they getting paid for again?

When you make a decision, take one fork in the decision tree, you don't get the opportunity to go back and try the other one to see if that works better. At least, not in the real world. Maybe the Iraq war would have gone more smoothly if there had been more troops available. We don't know for sure, despite the general's stated opinions, because we didn't do that. However, those generals also don't know that the situation would not have been much, much worse if we had followed their suggestions. Naturally, they don't think so. But they don't have proof.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, Iraq!

Three years, and wishing many more. The difficulty being, as with three-year-old humans, you've almost got the walking without assistance thing hammered out, you have no difficulty expressing your desires and feelings, and you can see things could be better and want it right now. Absolutely understandable. Sitting safe in my own house, with nobody shooting at me, I don't have any right to criticise their impatience. Impatience is a good thing, it motivates change. All I can say to the complaints is, this, or Saddam. Those were the choices. And put those goalposts back where you found them, thank you.

I can be patient even with the messiness that exists in Iraq today because I remember the passion and delight in the Iraqi blogs when it was finally made clear that they were free. One I still remember is from Iraq the Model. Proving to his neighbor Saddam was gone by cursing him in a public street, which would have been a death sentence before. (Note to moonbats: That is how a true fascist dictator behaves. How many times have you cursed, libeled, and made anatomically implausible suggestions about the current President? Have you been killed for any of them? Didn't think so.)

And now Zeyad of Healing Iraq is coming to the US, to study journalism! He needs to raise funds to do it, though, so please go to his site and click the donation button. We desperately need some counterbalance to Yale's Taliban Man, I'm thinking. Zeyad can do it. I know for a fact he approves of pretty girls in public view, so that's a huge improvement right there. Plus he's funny and intelligent and will politely stick up for the truth, even when it makes people uncomfortable.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ports in the news: MY port

Um, whatever port security we have, we evidently don't have enough. Twenty-one people in a shipping container and the first time anybody notices anything wrong is after they get to Seattle, break out of the shipping container, and try to scale the fence around the dock. THEN a security guard sees them and stops them. From the sounds of things these were just some mainland Chinese trying to find work (they should have gone to Mexico and crossed the border there.) But what if they hadn't been humans? What if they had been something that went tick-tick-tickBOOOOM? Are there ANY adults in charge?

This is a job for .... EVIL OVERLORD!!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Judgement of Paris

Which, strangely enough, has nothing to do with the French. The Paris in question was some poor Greek slob minding his own business when three goddesses told him he had to chose which one was the most beautiful. (A subject often painted by the classical artists because you had an excuse to paint three nekkid ladies instead of just one.) As I recall, he didn't even make an attempt to judge on the merits. Oh no, it was all about what each goddess promised him if he picked her. Venus promised Helen, and we all know what happened then.

And this is connected to the recent release of the journalist Jill Carroll. I'm not going to get into her actual motives/intent/political alignment or whatever. (I would suggest that anyone going into a known dangerous situation have, in addition to a current will, a pre-arranged set of signals or codewords that will indicate coercion is being applied. Can't let the military have all the good ideas, right?) Anyway -- the first video comes out, and it is all mujahadeen-positive and so on, and there are some pretty strong reactions. Right-leaning opinion tends towards "oh bleep, another setup", goodwill having been severely strained by the idjits who couldn't even be bothered to thank the coalition forces that rescued them. However, there are some who point out being held captive for three months by verified killers might lead a prisoner to adapt a conciliatory tone. Some Left-leaning folks jumped on this and denounced the very idea that she wasn't freely expressing her true opinions.

So now it seems she *was* coerced, that she was very much aware she was in danger, she *was* threatened and in fear for her life (and since they had killed her interpreter, reasonably so).

What I want to know, as the truth unfolds, is exactly how the Left makes its judgements in these situations. Because their outrage, their sensibilities, their delicate feelings, seem to be entirely swayed by what they get out of it. Excuses are always found for unpleasant behavior by anyone opposing or disliking the US, while we are held to impossible standards. Even by her original, forced account Ms. Carroll was treated worse than prisoners in Gitmo -- so why weren't there any protests about her?