Archive for June 20th, 2011
At Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi has noted a huge split amount conservatives. Not all of them want to be seen as hawks anymore:
It’s been interesting, watching the seamless transition many conservatives seem to be making now, from brainless war-drum-beating to Randian isolationism. Six or seven or eight years ago, I seem to remember, anyone who even hinted that not using military force to resolve any foreign policy dispute, no matter how trivial or how imaginary the justification, was to be considered a traitor.
You all know how NASA eats up a huge portion of the federal budget, and that’s why we need to cut lots of NASA fat, right? Actually, that’s a misguided public perception–many people assume that NASA accounts for 20% of the federal budget. In reality, NASA only accounts for half of one-percent of the federal budget; for this past year, the NASA budget amounted to $20 billion.
What else can you get for $20 billion? How about this? According to Steve Anderson, a retired Brigadier General who was General David Petraeus’s chief logistician in Iraq, the United States spends $20 billion every year air conditioning U.S. military tents and other temporary living quarters in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two starkly unnecessary wars, and even a small portion of the expense of these wars equals the total budget for NASA, which, for decades, has inspired all rational-thinking people with its space exploration missions.
Priorities like this force me to conclude that our leaders are functional psychopaths.
The Onion has just released a video review of the new superhero movie, “Green Lantern.” Actually, it’s a satirical review of blockbuster movie reviews, and it’s worth a view even if you are not acquainted with the comic book character, Green Lantern.
Now for a serious moment, allow me confess that I have been a huge fan of Green Lantern, ever since I read my first Green Lantern comic books back in the mid-1960’s. I am no Johnny-come-lately (like those people mocked by the Onion). When I was a boy reading comic books, Green Lantern was actually test pilot named Hal Jordan who had been appointed Guardian of the space sector containing Earth by the Guardians of the Universe (there are numerous Green Lanterns protecting their respective space sectors throughout the universe). More recently, I followed a well-written Justice League television series in which John Stewart was the Earthling who filled the role of Green Lantern. There is a long history to this superhero character, who has played in the shadows of better known superheroes such as Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Wonder Woman, until now.
I’ll end this post with the oath Green Lantern used for recharging his power ring:
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!
One more less-than-serious note: The Onion is making a play to win a Pulitzer.
I recently came across the following quote by Noam Chomsky:
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
It occurs to me that the scope of the quote can be expanded beyond public opinion and media if you make a small substitution:
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the their meaningful choices at election time, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.