Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas Wish 

As a man who lives in appreciation of his blessings everyday, I have little to want for. I have a wonderful wife and two precious children. I honestly have asked my wife to not get me anything this year but some time with my family.

But, I giggle every time I think of this sketch monologue by Steve Martin on SNL. My wife and I can make each other laugh by saying "If I had two wishes..."

Here it is:

If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be that all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace.

If I had two wishes I could make this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace. And the second would be for 30 million dollars a month to be given to me, tax-free in a Swiss bank account.

You know, if I had three wishes I could make this holiday season, the first, of course, would be for all the children of the world to get together and sing, the second would be for the 30 million dollars every month to me, and the third would be for encompassing power over every living being in the entire universe.

And if I had four wishes that I could make this holiday season, the first would be the crap about the kids definitely, the second would be for the 30 million, the third would be for all the power, and the fourth would be to set aside one month each year to have an extended 31-day orgasm, to be brought out slowly by Rosanna Arquette and that model Paulina-somebody, I can't think of her name. Of course my lovely wife can come too and she's behind me one hundred percent here, I guarantee it. Wait a minute, maybe the sex thing should be the first wish, so if I made that the first wish, because it could all go boom tomorrow, then what do you got, y'know? No, no, the kids, the kids singing would be great, that would be nice. But wait a minute, who am I kidding? They're not going to be able to get all those kids together. I mean, the logistics of the thing is impossible, more trouble than it's worth! So -- we reorganize! Here we go. First, the sex thing. We go with that. Second, the money. No, we got with the power second, then the money. And then the kids.

Oh wait, oh jeez, I forgot about revenge against my enemies! Okay, I need revenge against all my enemies, they should die like pigs in hell! That would be my fourth wish. And, of course, my fifth wish would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. Thank you everybody and Merry Christmas.

If you had one holiday wish, what would it be? If you had two holiday wishes?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not Paying for Harvard 

Harvard has announced it will drastically cut tuition prices soon. You can read the details in this New York Times article.

An alum of Harvard has a very interesting take on the proposal. You can read his comments here. The important paragraph is below.

On this plan, Harvard would simply collect (for the sake of argument) 1% of the student's income for the thirty years after graduation. Those going to hedge funds and law firms will pay more while those pursuing teaching or public interest work will pay less over time. To avoid perverse incentives, one would probably have to ensure that everyone falls prey to this system--lest the people who know they want to be investment bankers would try to opt out of the system by securing alternative funds. Of course, that point generalizes beyond the pool of Harvard applicants too, but my guess is that enough people want the branding that at the time of application to college, they would be willing to authorize paying an additional Harvard college (or law school) "tax" for the years after graduation. Meanwhile, it would place the burden of paying for higher education on the person who benefits most directly from the education: the student, rather than the parents.

Think about this just for a moment. You have 2 children. Both go to the school of your choice (state university, ivy league, private). Both get a 4 year bachelors degree. Both have 4.0 grade point averages. Now ask yourself what did the education of your children cost and how does that compare to what they will earn?

Can't do it? Oh, but the one critical factor left out was what will your children study. One child will study polymer science and one will study elementary education. Now, what did a college education cost and how does that compare to what your child will earn?

The point being that education in the US has evolved into something artificial. I have so grown tired of the complaint about newly graduated college students. "They don't know anything about the real world." Duh! What makes you think anything they have been taught since Kindergarten is about the real world. In the real world, risk has rewards or is avoided. I cannot walk into a bank and get a business loan for a venture that will not pay for itself. The bank will not loan me money unless it is very certain that my venture will be very profitable or that I will create assets that it can recover should I not be productive. What is the equivalent in education? There is none.

Think about education in the US. Do we really follow a path that will create productive citizens?

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Men and women are different 

Men and women are different. Actually, my whole thought is men and women are different and only in some circumstances does that actually matter.

Read this post on women in combat roles by guest blogger Kingsley Browne, author of Co-ed Combat. There are 9 related posts and you can follow the link very easily. The summation post is here.

Before you have an emotional reaction to the topic, read this excerpt:

I should emphasize that my arguments are not an indictment of military women, although I do not believe that many women are suited to combat, especially, but not only, ground combat. But, in researching my book, I was struck by the high regard that most military men I spoke with have for military women outside the combat context – even though most of these men opposed women’s participation in combat. One can simultaneously appreciate military women’s service to their country and also believe that all-male combat forces are more effective than mixed-sex ones.

I have a close friend whose daughter served with the Air Force as an officer in a security police unit multiple tours in and around Iraq. I am grateful and thankful for her service. She performed well and deserves nothing but my gratitude.

I concur with the author's position and will most likely buy his book. I will let you know what I find and give a recommendation later.

Briefly, I agree that there are many and varied roles that women can and do serve in the military. With very few exceptions and only for very justifiable reasons should women be excluded from any role in the military. My reasoning is sound. Men and women are different.

Several years ago, one of the big 3 channels had its morning anchor interview the first all-female firefighter crew. If memory serves me, the crew was in Washington or Oregon. The striking observation is that the women on this crew were extreme physical specimens. They were able to pass the physical strength and agility test easily. They were not normal women. They were superwomen. Specifically, they passed a practical, physical test to the same standard as the male firefighters. Without question, they were a fully capable firefighting team. They could carry the equipment into a fire and carry victims or fellow firefighters out.

Yet, how many women would have been able pass the test to serve as firefighters? It was not a symbol of how far society has come or a wonderful legal act or legislation to allow or a valiant decision by a determined official. The women on that firefighting team were there because of enormous physical training on the part of each individual to overcome an inherent physical weakness. Women are not as physically strong as men. More men are firefighters because more men can pass the physical test to qualify as competent, able-bodied firefighters.

The point. What am I trying to say? Why are we so afraid to say men and women are different?
Co-ed Combat starts from the premise that policies concerning sexual integration of combat forces should be measured first by their effects on military effectiveness. Other goals, such as expansion of women’s opportunities, must give way to the extent that they impair combat effectiveness. Although the premise is contestable, it is a foundation upon which virtually all political discussions of the role of women in the military rests. Advocates of sexual integration of combat forces seldom argue that military effectiveness must be traded off against equal-opportunity concerns; instead, they contend that there is no tradeoff at all.

I will post more later on the subject. For now, think about what the education system in the US would look like if we truly accepted that boys and girls are different?

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