Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sorry

The White House is about to send off a U.S. delegation. Their job? Present themselves at a ceremony in Japan that centers around the 65th anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

This was kind of a sudden decision...which was just announced and folks stood there asking questions but it's basically an absolute situation now...with no chance of changing things.

An apology mission? Likely...although we won't hear it until it is uttered.

Some folks got wind of this today and are fairly upset. There's a difference of opinion over history and what happened with the nukes in 1945. Since the early 1960s...there's been this growing US discussion over apologies and terrible feelings how things were done with the nukes.

I sat and pondered over this concept of apology and what history has passed. There are some things to consider.

From the day that Hawaii was bombed...there was this vast number of epic battles in the Pacific which amazed not only the US Navy and Marines....but historians who later went viewing facts.

The Japanese...from island battle to island battle...simply never surrendered until it was a vast and terrible ending. US Marines would come to fight Japanese forces on islands that numbered from the thousands to the tens of thousands.

Each battle consumed horrific causalities for the Americans. As our Marines came to find the remainder of the Japanese force....the Japanese Captains and Commanders were generally always dead...from suicide. They never surrendered and they would not allow their own troops to consider surrender until it was too late.

As Naval intelligence reports came back to Washington DC...this image of a cold-blooded force came to be noted by the leadership in Washington...both military and civilian. Month after month....the direct comments came to paint a very difficult war in the Pacific.

By the end of 1944...there's this growing anxiety building up in Naval circles and the White House.

You've got the anti-Soviet guys who want a demonstration of their 'toy'. You've got the 'end-the-war' crowd who just wants the war to end, period. Then you've got the 'nuke' crowd who spent vast sums of money on this technology and visualize it as a weapon...AND nothing else but that.

So the smart guys have this image. We've fought throughout the Pacific and kinda cleaned up the mess up to the shores of Japan. What now?

If the leadership sticks to the game-plan used throughout the Pacific...then every Japanese citizen is a soldier until his or her death. You could be fifty years old and a baker...but the battle by the invading Americans into your valley will demand that you donate your life for the supremacy of Japan.

So intelligence came to this conclusion...two simple scenarios. You invade with thousands of Marines and Army personnel and spend months...perhaps even a year or two...fighting to the ends of the Japanese islands. The experts figured 100,000 dead Marines and Army personnel in the end. Speculation over the Japanese deaths went way beyond that number.

The second scenario involved a demonstration of nuclear capability. The causalities would be less in nature for both sides. Being sorry using nukes...was the least of the issues to be determined in 1945. Having a 100,000 GI's return home alive...for some reason...was a higher priority.

So months and years have passed. We've progressed as a society...where a segment just doesn't feel good.

They think just being sorry or offering an apology will fix everything.

After you think about this apology stuff...you start to wonder why the Cherokee nation doesn't demand the same kind of yearly apology for the Trail of Tears?

Then you start to think about the Seminoles in Florida and why they don't rate for an apology as well.

Oh, and then there's the southerners affected by Sherman's march through Georgia....where entire towns and farms were burnt to the ground.

Then, there's the Americans who faithfully paid their taxes...only to face Charley Rangel who won't apologize to them for being dishonest and trying to avoid taxes.

After a while...with enough apology burned into your brain...you start to consider why the Romans never have apologized for the crucification of Christ or the Red Sox apologizing to Boston folks for trading Babe Ruth away almost a century ago.

So, in the end...a couple of American guys will fly first class to Japan...sit through a ceremony and look woeful. At some point, one of the guys will stand and say something that will be understood as an apology. Japanese folks stand around and laugh over these stupid Americans who showed up and did a fascinating "sorry" for the photography crowd.

The Justice

For the past month, I've sat and watched the Supreme Court appointment game with Elena Kagan. She will clearly pass and make it to the court.

My impression is that she will find an open door to the Court and friendly justices...but she will probably never fit. She's never served as a judge ever in her life...being only a professor the entire time.

The touted reason for her nomination, which is always flashed by the news media...is that she can engage deeply into a discussion and bring people to accept a different argument. She's supposed to be "the wind" to bring Judge Kennedy back onto the liberal view of the court.

I suspect that as she tries to engage and use her one chief talent...each Supreme Court justice will put on his judge hat and let her know that this type of classroom argument doesn't work well with them. After a few times of playing the professor game....I think Justice Kagan will be wondering how this will all work.

She'll be there for twenty-odd years...with no doubt. But I think she'll eventually agree that she was the outsider from day one and likely never found the inside track.

The Way Things Work

If you have an hour, because it'll take that long to read it....there's this interesting report by John McCain and Tom Coburn over stimulus 'misuse'.

I won't go into many details, because the report is fairly easy to read and fascinating as well.

My favorite of the whole bunch? There was the $71-odd thousand for the study of monkeys and cocaine. The government....as part of the stimulus package to save American jobs....gave this money to Wake Forrest to study doped up monkeys.

I tried to imagine this scene. Professor Bob runs back to the school chancellor, all peppy and happy. The US government, as part of stimulus, finally agreed to fund his monkey project. The chancellor is standing there and trying to understand what exactly this does for the prestigious nature of the university, and eventually gives up.

Then Professor Bob gives Timmy his intern $500 to go out on the street and get some real authentic cocaine. The boys then order a lab monkey from Monkeys-R-US and they proceed to get their test subject "Woody" (the lab monkey) all doped up.

The team, Professor Bob and Timmy then buy a nifty $1,500 camera as part of the $71k deal and record two hours of Woody being doped up.

Professor Bob then probably sits there....writes up forty pages of text over what he thinks Woody is thinking while doped up.

Then Professor Bob and Timmy fly out to Vegas to spend $30k of the money there while discussing the text at a fancy flamingo bar and sipping cheap drinks for several weeks until the money ran out.

The report would be finalized and then published under the fine headline of "Wake Forest Tests Doped Monkey". Several medical foundations would run up and ask how Professor Bob got the money....because they'd like to do some cocaine tests with monkeys as well. Professor Bob would then be forever known on the campus as the guy who helped save jobs on Wake Forest University. Who knows, they might even name a department after the guy.

And the monkey? Well....some guy will be talking stimulus money now about rehabilitation for monkeys from cocaine addiction. We just need another stimulus situation, to start that project.

Saturday Night Supremes

There's a brief suggestion out there in the Senate today of bringing cameras into the Supreme Court. Arlen Specter is the guy suggesting this.

This suggestion hasn't really been picked by many news outlets and I'm thinking that it was one of those wild ideas that Specter occasionally comes up with.

The selling point by Arlene? Well....he thinks the public would find this exchange between the court and lawyers present....would benefit society.

I sat and pondered over this for a while. Frankly, it's hard enough to watch thirty minutes of C-SP*N, but we'd put out hours and hours of the Supreme Court on top of that? I have my doubts.

You'd have to wonder if people would get all intense...like they are today with Republicans and Democrats, and start to question the Supreme Court as well?

Then you'd have to wonder about Judge Scalia. The minute you toss in a camera.....this guy might decide to carry this to the next level and show up in session wearing a British robe and a 60-year old wig that he picked up at a Yorkshire flea market on his vacation last year. He'd look down at some liberal lawyer from Harvard, and probably make the guy start giggling....and throw off his entire concentration.

Heck, this could end up being like some Monty Python crew. Then everyone would want to watch the Supremes in action, and regular C-SP*N with the nitwit House or Senate would lose viewers quickly.

I'm thinking Arlen is expending his last twenty rounds of Scottish humor before forced retirement in January. Scalia can keep his wig hidden from view for a while more.

Just Another Worry in Life

This is a Swedish story....coming from the Local. Completely true.

This guy....who we will name 'Karl'....who was doing a home renovation project around the kitchen. Karl got to messing with the stove, which apparently had a sharp edge. Karl cut open his leg big-time. My honest guess is that Karl was wearing shorts but we won't go into Karl's attire for manly work.

Karl had a big bloody wound and needed medical care. Naturally...he didn't want to call 911 for an ambulance because it just wasn't necessary. He could drive...so he figured he'd just drive to the local clinic.

But it was closed. So he called the Swedish version of 911 and they said it just couldn't be closed....and to poke around to find the emergency room. My guess is that it was probably hidden because the boys just didn't want a lot of business.

They took Karl in, and then sat him in a room. Apparently...he sat there for over an hour, with no one poking their head in.

Karl was a manly kind of Swede, with limited patience. Maybe all Swedes are this way.

So he looked at the table where all the materials had been set out....needle, thread, and bandages. He picked up the needle and thread, and started sewing himself up.

The staff showed up after he finished. Frankly, it wasn't a pleasant thing. They felt they (the medical profession) were the only ones with the gift to sew up folks and they reported Karl to the authorities for use of hospital equipment without authorization. They believe Karl needs to be disciplined.

The curious thing about this....hundreds and hundreds of years....folks have been sewing themselves up. Kids sewed up Dad. Warriors sewed up each other. Barbers in the 1880s sewed up folks who just showed up at the barbershop.

So tonight...sitting off in the wonderland of Sweden is this Karl character. He's probably having a beer and admiring his wound and thread-job. He's probably showing the guys at work or his neighbor the simplicity of his effort. He's probably even bragging that he did this without getting woozy.

The authorities? Well...you can't have folks running around and doing self-treatment on themselves. This would question the necessity for state-run health care and the fantastic amounts of money that is mandated from each citizen. Imagine a community where three volunteer experts on medical procedures could care for a small community.

On the list of 100 things to worry about in Sweden now....are a bunch of bureaucrat and authority folks...working to prevent self-care.

Doomed


Today, Rep Kevin Brady of Texas, who sits on the Joint Economic Committee, finally released a significant report. In fact, it might be the one of the top three efforts of any Representative over the past thirty years. He asked his staff to look at the Universal Health Care bill, and explain how it works.

No one...not CNN, or Fox News, or Bloomberg, or even 60 Minutes...had sat down to analyze the mechanism covering 2,700 pages. This was the curious part over this story. You would have thought that the Wall Street Journal would have even done this.

The result, is available for you to view. It'll make your eyes water....and you might weep over the complexity of this mess. Not even Enron was this screwed up.

The catch to this entire program? Out of thin air, it creates 68 grant programs, which you'd naturally have to fill up with grant money. You can guess how congress will handle this and dispose of your tax revenue.

Then there's 47 bureaucratic entities, which requires a chief of the bureaucratic entity, a staff for the bureaucratic entity, staff-cars for the entity, buildings for the entity, and even travel money to have seminars and special meetings in New York City for the entity.

Then you've got 29 pilot programs, which could be success or failure episodes....but they all require massive funding from congress to even occur.

Then you've got six regulatory systems, begging for regulations and massive government funding which has to be created.

Then you've got six compliance standards which means entire staffs and evaluation teams. Hint: massive government funding which doesn't even exist yet.

Finally, there's these two entitlements that now exist. These often have the power to take off and demand funding way beyond what was originally envisioned. So whatever you thought the real cost of this 2,700 bill was....you can probably double that easily and still be wrong.

What did the Representative's team accomplish? Something that no university staff or news media was capable of. That should make you ask a number of questions. At the end of this list of questions, is this question of 'are we doomed'?

I think you know the answer though.

Moses Would Have Done It Different

There's an interesting piece out of the Indianapolis region today, which makes you wonder about the state of the country.

The local black church called up the cops and asked for a 'presentation'. No one has said the topic of the presentation...so I'd assume it was related to crime prevention. So this Sergeant Matthew Grimes shows up.

Somewhere in the midst of this....a fight breaks out amongst the church members. Most of us would have looked at this for thirty seconds because we've never seen a church fight before, but the 'Sarge' quickly reacted as trained. He jumped into the middle of this, and then got tossed to the ground, then he drew his taser.

Then the fight stopped.

Then the church members stepped forward and admitted the fight was fake. They wanted to know the way that the cop was trained to react.

At this point...the cop admitted he had severe back spasms and was toted off to some local Methodist Hospital. He's basically got a 'million-dollar' injury, if he handles this right.

The good reverend of the church says this was a test of the white officer and how they react.

Naturally, the entire police force and the local authorities are upset about this. You absolutely cannot have a member of the public running around to 'test' cops or firemen.

I sat and pondered over this story. It's a bit unusual. I can't think of too many episodes over the past thirty years where something like this has occurred.

Typically, a church group sits around and thinks about religion, God, and temptation. They might focus on Luke or John. They might examine the mortal purpose of Moses. They might go over one of the 99 salvation stories on Jesus. Heck, they might even pray for rain or for the Republicans to win in November. But to 'test' some cop for his reaction? You get the impression that they left their number one job in life at the front door and have something besides religion in their minds.

This is modern times...and frankly, I'm kinda disappointed. I think the locals need a 'evaluation' of this church...and just see how many Bible scriptures they really have memorized. In the heart of the matter...Moses would have done this differently, and probably tested his own congregation by sending them out for round two of the forty-year march in the wilderness. And Moses's version of the taser? A bit more lively and with consequences.