Monday, November 30, 2009

Almost the Season

Part of the job of this blog is pointing out things you might have missed. It's tough and dirty work, but someone has to do it. In that light, it doesn't matter why I was paging through a copy of Better Homes and Gardens the other day. It really doesn't. But what brought me up short was an ad put in by McDonald's. An elegant-looking mom and her daughter, perhaps three or four years old, appear to be dancing, or just having fun. Fair enough, but why does the "mom's" oh-so-slender left arm have a tattoo on it? I'm sure it's not there by accident, but is this a subtle product placement by the Tattoo Association? Doubtful. A message from the advertiser of some kind? If so, I can't figure what it would be. Maybe it started with the companies that makes the needles or the ink. Anyone have a better idea? December 2009 issue, page 230.

I heard some interesting statistics the other day. It had to do with the annual cost per person (all ages) in a given country for all military spending. In lightly armed Japan, the figure comes out to about $300, while in Germany, it's a little over $500. Can you see where we're headed here? In the US it's more, but how much more? It's $2700 per person, per year, and rising. I'm sure the other countries mentioned find ways to waste money, but what do you think we have to do without in order to shoulder that load?
And speaking of loads, President Obama will be announcing within 24 hours that we feel the Afghans' pain enough to send another 30-35,000 troops in order to train the locals (as if they didn't already to how to shoot) and preserve their tissue-thin hold on democracy.
On balance, I support the president, but fear this decision may be a clinker. If we haven't won over the minds and hearts of the Afghans in eight years, just what is there left to do? Are there goverrnment officials there who haven't become rich off corruption yet? That's hard to believe. What's sadly easy to believe is that Mr. Obama just doesn't want to be known as the guy who pulled out, a decision that would take considerable nerve.
So what should we, the un-enlisted, do? Let your boys play soldier - they'll need the skills soon enough. Ditto computer games with names like "Total Armageddon II", an update from TA I. Dump Spanish and French classes and get them into Arabic, or at least into ROTC, where they'll learn the meaning of words like "Hadji".
And we may as well announce in the Season that future offerings of Economics 375, "Beating Swords into Plowshares", will now be for just one credit hour and taught by the Philosophy and Religion Department every other year by gypsy scholars with no tenure. It will be a prerequisite for.....nothing at all. The Econ Department will continue to offer Econ 376, "The Permanent War-Based Economy".


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