Friday, November 11, 2011

One Good Thing About Military Conscription

Back around 1970, American college campuses saw substantial unrest over the Vietnam war. Today, there's zero campus unrest over our current sand wars, probably because no one's being drafted -- not directly, anyway, although our crap economy could be regarded as a kind of not-quite-official near-draft. But, if students don't get upset about wars that they don't have to go and fight, at least they do get upset about something:
Chanting "We want Joe" and damaging lampposts and parked vehicles, Penn State students flooded into downtown State College late Wednesday to protest the university board of trustees' decision to fire football coach Joe Paterno.

At least two young women were hospitalized, one who got gasoline in her eyes after a TV van was pushed over, and another who was hit by an object thrown from a balcony.

Police would not confirm making arrests, but at least one person was seen being taken into custody.

Students crowded by the hundreds into the area of the borough known as Beaver Canyon, where students in 2008 rioted after a victory over Ohio State. In addition to their cheers for Paterno, they shouted "We are Penn State" and "One more game."

"The board of trustees has no loyalty," read sign held by one student. "We will not be quiet." Police were out in riot gear.

A lamppost was ripped down about 11:30 p.m. Police later reported two others were pushed down. Officers attempted to guide students back onto the sidewalks, but then a TV van from Altoona station WTAJ was tipped over. A car also was overturned. Students rushed the CNN van, but police turned them away.
Well, that's America, the 2011 edition: we don't sweat the small stuff -- the wars abroad, the police-state stuff at home, the absolute corporate ownership of government. Maybe if there was an active draft, middle-class people's priorities would be different. But instead, we save our outrage for the truly vital things, like a college football coach getting fired.

For me, it's another Murray Sperber moment. I'd love to see big-time intercollegiate athletics disappear. I'd love to see the end of the "athletic scholarship." I'd like to see the pursuit of research grants end. In short, I'd love to see the American university dedicate itself to undergraduate education, first and foremost. I'm sure it's not going to happen. I certainly wish it would, though.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

And Your Point Is ... ?

Shock! Surprise! Embarrassment! Sarkozy tells Obama that Netanyahu's a liar!
"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation.

"You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you," Obama replied, according to the French interpreter.

The technical gaffe is likely to cause great embarrassment to all three leaders as they look to work together to intensify international pressure on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
In other late-breaking news, film-based cameras caught Vito Corleone in a gaffe, telling his key assistant Tom Hagen:
"Tattaglia is a pimp. He could never have outfought Santino. But I didn't know until this day that it was Barzini all along."
It was not known if this gaffe will cause great embarrassment to these three leaders as they work together to squeeze out the rest of New York's Five Families, or not.