The crimson lining

There are few words sufficient to express the joy that one sees in the faces of the children and women in this video. But underlying that joy, one can also see an occasional glimpse of the stark terror of loss in which they have been living for months, if not years. The young woman who completely dissolves into tears after being surprised by the man in the wool hat is perhaps the most revealing example of this. It should be sobering to recall that there are 5,638 American soldiers, many more than were seen in this video, whose flag-draped return to their loved ones would be too painful to watch in a similar montage. The dream of a free and civilized Afghanistan and a free and peaceful Iraq is not an intrinsically bad thing. But even if it was a reasonably obtainable one, it is not in the American national interest and it is not worth the cost in American lives and American blood. It is not even worth tearing these fine men from their wives, children, and loved ones for a time. Bring them home. Bring them home now.

The Home of the Bankrupt

The bankrupt banks are pretending to be solvent. So, it should come as no surprise that the Federal government has been following their lead.

[T]he IMF has effectively pronounced the U.S. bankrupt. Section 6 of the July 2010 Selected Issues Paper says: “The U.S. fiscal gap associated with today’s federal fiscal policy is huge for plausible discount rates.” It adds that “closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 percent of U.S. GDP.”

The fiscal gap is the value today (the present value) of the difference between projected spending (including servicing official debt) and projected revenue in all future years.

To put 14 percent of gross domestic product in perspective, current federal revenue totals 14.9 percent of GDP. So the IMF is saying that closing the U.S. fiscal gap, from the revenue side, requires, roughly speaking, an immediate and permanent doubling of our personal-income, corporate and federal taxes as well as the payroll levy set down in the Federal Insurance Contribution Act.

Such a tax hike would leave the U.S. running a surplus equal to 5 percent of GDP this year, rather than a 9 percent deficit. So the IMF is really saying the U.S. needs to run a huge surplus now and for many years to come to pay for the spending that is scheduled.

The scary thing is that these calculations indicating national insolvency are based on numbers that are ludicrously optimistic. As I have been saying for more than two years now, it’s not a question of if the system collapses, it’s only a question of when.

Pro-science or pro-feminist

One can’t help but notice that the science fetishists who are constantly worrying about the “threat” that teaching Creationism or Intelligent Design poses to school children never seem to make a peep about what one British biologist describes as an actual threat to science in the schools:

In an interview with Horticulture Week, the man in charge of the herbariums at the Natural History Museum, said Britain faced a shortage of naturalists in the future just when the country will need experts to deal with the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss. He blamed the problem on a “lack of teachers who know about the natural world”.

“Even if the Government decided to put natural history on the primary curriculum, how would it do so with teachers who don’t have the basic skills? They are often terrified of the natural world – they scream at the sight of insects and tell the children ‘don’t touch’. The whole point is to engage them, but when people are frightened of handling soil, then we have a problem.”

This presents an interesting dividing line between the Darwinian cultists who are driven by their atheistic ideology, which takes a very pro-feminist position, and the science-driven evolutionists who are non-partisan on ideological matters. If teachers who are afraid of dirt and insects are having such a markedly negative effect on the teaching of natural science, then why haven’t we heard anything from the biology blowhards on the subject?

There has been a similar silence on Title IX science, which tends to indicate that political correctness is much more important to them than science.

Anklebiters Anonymous

In the interest of helping our resident trolls evolve into substantive commenters, as well as assisting non-Ilk readers recognize the usual suspects, I have decided to create a “best of” series which should serve as both amusement and edification. The honor of the first “Beezle” award goes to Cabal, whose epic defense of science he quite clearly doesn’t understand was eviscerated by the merciless duo of Bob Mando and DaveD. Please note that the ellipses are Cabal’s; his award-winning comment is quoted precisely and in full.

“Every single living organism that we know of is carbon-based and all of them require oxygen to live…without exception. And carbon is a by product of oxygen. the relationship between the 2 couldnt be clearer.”
Cabal: 8/10/10 10:37 AM, Science gets it wrong… again

“Pure, unadulterated BS. there are numerous KNOWN organisms which will die in the presence of oxygen.

a – photosynthesis is possible without oxygen, even by carbon based life forms.
b – it is a founding principle of Evolution that cyanobacteria generated the free oxygen that exists in the atmosphere now as waste products.
c – it is a founding principle of Evolution that cyanobacteria ‘evolved’ from more primitive forms of bacteria which did not use oxygen at all in the photosynthesis process.

You are wrong about … well, pretty much everything, really. Carbon is a non-radioactive base element, number 6. Oxygen is also a non-radioactive base element, number 8. Neither of these elements can ever be a “product” of the other without the intervention of fusion or quantum manipulation. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is a compound element which breaks down into one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms through simple chemical processes.”
– Bob K. Mando

“You have shown yourself to be profoundly ignorant of both biology (“Every single living organism….require oxygen to live…without exception.” Except the ones that don’t.) and basic chemistry (“And carbon is a by product of oxygen.”) You haven’t even grasped the most basic elements of the observable world, which you interact with everyday. Why, then, should we pay any attention at all to your ramblings on the more abstract aspects of life and the universe?”
– DaveD

Congratulations to all. The award is named for the banned commenter Beelzebub, whose ability to mangle facts and logic in the process of attempting to “correct” others is unparalleled.

UPDATE – Cabal amused the crowd by accepting his award, but not the chemistry lesson. Cabal: 8/12/10 9:57 AM: “I was not in error. Remove oxygen molecules from the universe and carbon based life becomes impossible.”