Who or What Succeeds “Big John”?

 

The word out of the Navy Department is the nation’s next nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, CVN-79, will be named in honor of John F. Kennedy.

This makes sense for several reasons: there already has been a JFK in the fleet — the now-decommissioned CV-67, America’s last non-nuclear carrier, known affectionately to its crew as “Big John”; Kennedy was a Navy man and a decorated WWII vet; President Kennedy’s use of a naval blockade during the height of the Cuban missile crisis is the reason why carriers are built: to project American will and muscle.

On Memorial Day

 

Remember, Lord, the fallenWho died in fields of war,In flaming clouds, in screaming crowds,On streets that are no more,That we today might wakenAnd greet this day in peaceWith grateful prayer for those who bearThe storms that never cease.

Remember friends and strangers,And those forgotten now,Whose names are known to you alone,Before whose love we bowAnd ask that you surround themWith mercy’s endless lightThat they may live, and we forgiveThe foe they went to fight.

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This news item is a bit difficult to discuss while adhering to our Code of Conduct, but if the New York Times can report on it (somewhat inaccurately), we can dive in. Here’s the deal: Rep. Anthony Weiner, the outspoken — some might say mean-spirited — Democratic representative of the 9th district of New York, […]

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When Yale announced that it was punishing DKE fraternity because a boorish group of the fraternity’s initiates had chanted obscene slogans in the Old Campus, one might be inclined to say, “huh-what?”  One would have reason be puzzled because this is the same institution where, at least in the mid-nineties, some were wont to post pornographic […]

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So Andrew Breitbart is exacting revenge upon Representative Weiner for what the Democrats did to Mark Foley.  Apparently, a picture of someone’s crotch wearing boxer briefs was posted on his Twitter account, directed at some random girl in Seattle.  If you squint your eyes, you can kindof make out an erection. It’s a very small-bore […]

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DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on Face The Nation yesterday where she was asked whether the Democrats had any plan at all to save Medicare from impending bankruptcy. She responded: Like I said, the Republicans have a plan to end Medicare as we know it. What they would do is they would take the […]

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I started this a moment ago and it disappeared and I am afraid with the new server system it may have been posted. I was watching TV this afternoon while eating lunch and the only thing on that I could find of interest was Shannon Bream on Fox News presenting a story about She Who […]

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From The Sidney Morning Herald by way of Anthony Watts’ excellent climate blog comes the news that France, Russia, and Canada have indicated that they will not sign up for a new round of Greenhouse Gas reduction targets once the current Kyoto agreement expires next year. And if you remember, the United States under both Presidents Clinton […]

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Calling James Lileks: Australia’s national radio broadcaster this morning reported something which, the Internet now tells me, is actually old news. That is, apparently you learn better when reading if what you read is printed in a horrible font, like Comic Sans Italic, or Haettenschweiler.Could this be true? Should Ricochet switch to Monotype Corsiva? Preview […]

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21 Steps

 

In movements that embody the term “military precision,” it’s the number of steps that members of the Old Guard take behind the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington. At the end of the black mat, the sentinel faces east, pausing for 21 seconds before facing north for another 21 seconds. Executing a perfect “shoulder-arms” movement, the sentinel moves his weapon to the shoulder furthest from the Tomb thereby placing himself between the Tomb and any threat. Another 21 steps to the opposite end of the mat and the process repeats itself. Why the number 21? The 21-gun salute is the highest military honor that can be bestowed, hence the number’s preeminence in a ceremony that honors those who gave not only their lives for their country, but their very identity. No loved ones greeted their return home, no hometown processions took them to their rest. Today they lie in honor, in the company of heroes, guarded by impeccable soldiers who stand watch regardless of the weather or hour. Odds are, however, that it isn’t where the Tomb’s occupants wanted to wind up.

For many who serve at the pointy end of freedom’s sword, their work is not accompanied by the sharp click of heels marching in precise cadence, but rather by the chaotic and violent concussion of battle. Their uniforms aren’t characterized by perfectly placed medals and spotless white gloves, but by layers of dirt and the salt-white residue of sweat. The warrior hears his orders not as crisp commands echoing off silent walls, but rather as one voice among a cacophony of voices and sounds. The predictability of a military ceremony is replaced by confusion and split second decisions where a single step can be the last. The sentinel who places himself between the Tomb and any potential threat is also the warrior who without a moment’s hesitation gives his life for his brothers in arms. The goal of the warrior is simple. Accomplish the mission, eradicate the threat, and bring your comrades home like good airline tray tables, …in the upright position. But there are times when it doesn’t quite work out as planned.

Poetic Justice?

 

Thanks to our “progressive” law schools, we live in the age of the class-action lawsuit. But, as they say, what goes around comes around – and I read that Anna Alaburda, a 2008 honors graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego who has had some difficulty in finding employment as a lawyer, has initiated a class action law-suit against her alma mater, charging that it has engaged in “fraudulent and deceptive business practices,” including “a practice of misrepresenting its post-graduation employment statistics,” and that “the disservice TJSL is doing to its students and society generally is readily apparent.”

I know nothing with regard to the accuracy of Ms. Alaburda’s claims. But it has been widely reported that, in seeking to attract students, law schools all over the country have misrepresented the likelihood that their graduates will find employment as lawyers, and, of course, these same law schools have assiduously trained their students in how to make a living from corporate folly of the very same sort.

BREAKING: Israel Wakes Up to the Power of Twitter (Sort Of)

 

Baby steps.

The diplomatic “tsunami” (Ehud Barak’s term) expected to accompany the Palestinians’ push for statehood at the UN in September has spurred the Israeli Foreign Ministry to jump into the social media. “We are intensively preparing ahead of September,” says Chaim Shacham, head of the information and Internet department at the Ministry. That preparation will entail “constantly monitoring the blogs, tweets and insofar as possible, Facebook entries too,” according to Haaretz. 

What are the Limits of Citizens United? The Case of Direct Corporate Contributions

 

The highly controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC concluded in no uncertain terms that it was improper to prevent corporations from using their money to engage in activities that supported or opposed particular candidates for public office within 30 days of an election.  The logic of the decision is that so long as individuals are allowed, as they must be under the First Amendment, to voice their views on electoral candidates, corporations must also be entitled to the same protection.

I think that this decision made perfectly good sense for the following reasons. First, it is a mistake to assume that all corporations will come out on the same side of any issue. The division of sentiment could easily lead to an increase in the total expenditures on an election, but not necessarily to a difference in the balance of wealth between the two sides. Second, it is not clear whether most corporations want to get involved in election campaigns, given that they will get more bang for their buck by targeting particular legislation and administrative rules that have a direct impact on their business.  Third, there is little concrete evidence that this practice results in any corruption, and we are not likely to come by any so long as other forms of legislation that impose restrictions on bribery and direct corporation contributions to electoral campaigns remain in place.

1967 Reference Stricken from G8 Statement on Israel/Palestine

 

Allegedly at the insistence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, a reference to the 1967 lines as a basis for a future border between Israel and Palestine was removed from the G8’s statement calling for the resumption of negotiations. Harper has declined to confirm or deny his hand in the deletion, but Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu is reported to have phoned Harper the day before the G8 summit. “The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” a European diplomat said.

Other members of the G8, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have endorsed President Obama’s citing of the 1967 lines. 

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After days of focusing on the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world, Obama pivoted to the intimate domestic task of acting as healer-in-chief. He was visiting survivors from the worst tornado in decades, which tore through Joplin a week ago leaving more than 120 dead and hundreds more injured. At least 40 remain […]

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