View 737 Thursday, August 16, 2012
The silly season continues. Biden is having lunch with the President as I write this. Biden will now demand Romney’s tax return. In exchange he’ll bring the chains, but he’ll pronounce Romney clean and articulate. Or clean anyway.
There are long lines of dreamy applicants for exemptions from the immigration laws. The exemptions are given in a Presidential Rescript, which apparently has the force of law. For three years he sent no immigration reform law to Congress – including during the two years when his party had majorities in both houses – and now he has issued a rescript proclaiming the prerogative of suspending the law, but which will expire if he is not reelected. At which point the undocumented will have filed documents admitting their illegal status – and that of those who brought them here. And many lawyers will be employed.
I am willing to entertain the notion of a “Dream Act.” I would certainly support a law that says that anyone who serves 8 years in the US military and leaves with an honorable discharge should be eligible to apply for citizenship. I can think of other such obvious qualifications. But these are legislative mattes, not Executive perks to be delivered by imperial rescript.
Khan academy has a new computer science introduction series. http://www.khanacademy.org/ My experience with Kahn Academy is that they have about the best introductory courses in the world, and even if you are enrolled (at enormous cost) in an accredited credentialing so called institute of higher education, you will probably learn and understand more if you take the Kahn Academy approach in addition to what your expensive credentialing outfit teaches. Of course a few institutions of higher learning have actual professors teaching introductory courses, rather than frantic graduate students who may or may not speak comprehensible English, and it is possible that you’ll learn more from them than from Kahn. When I was at the University of Iowa back in the stone age they had some of the best teachers in America doing introductory lessons, and the History of Western Civilization introduction lectures – a required course for all freshmen – by George Mosse were a life changing experience. It is still possible for US institutions of higher learning to do good education. Mostly they are so busy raising their fees and spending money that they haven’t time or attention to spare for teaching, but there are some exceptions; and of course they have a monopoly on credentialing. The Kahn Academy lectures are one form of insurance against wasting all your college education time and money on buying a credential without much understanding. And of course there are other excellent lectures and courses available on line for serious students.
The government continues to pump money into the ‘institutions of higher learning’ and of course they continue to take the money, take in more people, and make accommodations for the increased load and staff and reduced quality of students. Like many US institutions they are addicted to ‘growth’ over quality and consistency – and since they have ‘accreditation’ and thus a monopoly on selling credentials needed for survival, they get away with overpriced inferior products that saddle the middle class with life long debts.
If the goal is to learn a subject, the means for learning are increasingly available for free. Once you know the subject, you can shop for a credentials, determining what you think you should pay for certification of what you know.
The United States of America cannot try the US Army officer literally caught with a smoking gun after killing his comrades at Fort Hood. So far have we come.
Nearly three years after being called the triggerman behind the worst shooting ever on a U.S. military post, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan filed a statement with the court Wednesday saying he was guilty.
Wearing a scruffy beard that has prompted the judge to fine him five times, Hasan entered a motion stating that he wished to plead guilty for religious reasons.
The defense submitted a written motion that the judge, Col. Gregory Gross, quickly denied. Gross, who is barred by military law from accepting a guilty plea in capital cases, said he’d enter a not-guilty plea instead.
Before arguments could be made from both sides on that, a military appeals court intervened, delaying proceedings while it resolves a dispute over Hasan’s beard. The court-martial was to start Monday.
And of course he can’t be tried until the beard question is settled.
The trial for a US army psychiatrist charged in the deadly Fort Hood shooting has been put on hold while an appeals court considers his objections to being forcibly shaved.
All court proceedings for Major Nidal Hasan were put on hold on Wednesday (local time). He had been scheduled to enter a plea.
According to a defence motion, Hasan indicated he wanted to plead guilty for religious reasons. Hasan is an American-born Muslim.
But the judge, Colonel Gregory Gross, said he could not accept a guilty plea on the 13 charges of premeditated murder.
The trial that was to start Monday will be on hold until the army appeals court rules on Hasan’s objection to being shaved.
Gross had previously ordered Hasan to shave his beard or be forcibly shaved before trial.
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
I understand the need for procedures as a means of implementing rights. But is it possible that they can be carried a bit too far? I think there may be a new Iron Law in here somewhere. Expenditures rise to exceed income. Bureaucracies expand without regard to the actual work. Regulations multiply without regard to their purpose. Parkinson codified the first two.
Tom Austin tells me that “Jacket hollowpoints are the single most common bullet design for police and civilian defensive use. They will penetrate less, stop an attacker faster, and pose less danger to bystanders. Advertising and political hyperbole aside, JHP’s do not "explode" – a .357-inch diameter bullet will expand to about .6 inches. They’re very simply the modern standard defensive round, particularly in handguns.”
I am startled to realize that it has been nearly twenty years since I last gave serious thought to such matters.
And we have
Subj: Hanson: No California
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.