Monday, February 26, 2007

Grade 5 Intelligence

This is a hit & run blog, but it's just too good to pass up.
On Tuesday, will start a new game show. "Are You Smarter than a Grade 5?" or something like this. I know I haven't got it right, nor do I care.  The show, as the title describes in earnest, will be about grown people being asked questions straight out of a grade-5 text book.
Laughs at general populace ignorance will surely abound. Although it probably won’t be quite as asinine as the screening interviews for the next American Idol. In any case, it promises to make one feel much better about him or her-self, at watching someone of, obviously, dubious intelligence.

But is it really quite so obvious?

I’m not going out of my way to watch this new show. The reason is simple: it will be depressing. There’s just no way around it.

Let’s say our contestant knows none of the answers and merits the dunce cap and 10 minutes of humiliation. What does this mean?

I want to break it down an extra level to illustrate the point: let’s assume for a minute that our contestant isn’t some rube but is, in fact, a nuclear scientist - fat chance, but let’s just say – this means one thing: that grade-5 subject matter is, in effect, totally useless to our scientist type.

Let’s take the rube now: would having grade-5 knowledge change anything to his or her life? Maybe, but if the nuclear scientist is anything to go off of, I doubt it. Go figure.

Now let’s see, if the contestant does answer all or a majority of the questions correctly: This demonstrates great memory on the part of our contestant, or maybe it just so happens that this grade-5 knowledge is used daily life, or at least often enough to warrant remembering.

This is almost hopeful, inasmuch as our current grade-5 educational programming is not totally useless to life at hand. Almost.

Our contestant will then proceed to win gagillions* of dollars and the respect of a nation of Nielsen viewers.

And for what? For the grasp of grade-5 subject matter?  

High praise indeed!

Like I said, depressing.

*gagillions: pronounced “gag” …

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fellow Blogger

I have a friend who "thinks" he's sarcastic, but he needs to be slapped upside the head. *grin*

So here's my own result:

You're Totally Sarcastic

You sarcastic? Never! You're as sweet as a baby bunny.
Seriously, though, you have a sharp tongue - and you aren't afraid to use it.
And if people are too wimpy to deal with your attitutde, then too bad. So sad.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

War - Part 4: Know Thy Enemy

This has been a recurring concept throughout my dissertation on war. And again in recent exchanges with my friend.

To wage a successful battle, violently or not might I add, depends on means of course, but more importantly I think it depends on strategy. Your strategy is inextricably linked to the enemy you are fighting.

Seems obvious, but apparently, this is a concept that is totally misunderstood by millions of modern peaceniks worldwide.

Note, that I will be a little facetious here, because, well, because it’s fun.

I will use, in effigy, the nasty British Empire. They were trundling all over the world for a hundred years colonizing this and that and the other thing; big bad meanies that they were.

Along comes a genius by the name of Ghandi. This warmonger wants to liberate India from the British overlord. He gathers a following of millions and hunkers down to wage an almighty battle. Remember, he is a genius and he understands his British enemy.

He toes the line with his millions, the war machine is looming, all hell is going to break loose. And…

Nothing. He does nothing. Actually, he does more than nothing, he tells his army to stay quiet and peaceful. What the fuck?

The Brits are totally taken by surprise by this new-confounded attack strategy. It will be years before their confusion is sorted out that Ghandi has actually won.

You see the British Empire is essentially a moral one. Based on human-life principles and Ghandi knew this. So his strategy was simply to bring out that moral human and let England back down, from inducing death and mayhem, at its own pace.

Ghandi knew full well that his enemy was not prone to genocide. He knew that fighting was a normal course of action for the Brits but then so was diplomacy. Finally, Ghandi was well aware that the British Empire was there to colonize, not invade or overrun through arms but most importantly they weren’t there to annihilate anyone.

He knew his enemy better, maybe, than they knew themselves. Make no mistake, there were casualties, but a damned sight less than there could have been.

OK, so he figured out the Brits were fighters, diplomats, colonizers, and moral.  Not genocidal and not barbaric.

Now, if Ghandi had tried the same thing with, let’s say, Hitler there wouldn’t be anyone left to tell the tale.

Would there?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Guilty As Not Charged

I was exchanging emails with a good friend of mine yesterday, and I was reminded of a few items that I wanted to record. This is in the vein of the almighty-gubmint acquiring power through snow jobs over their constituancy. This is just a sidebar to my -War- exposé.

Abuse of power is the word of the day, and due process is the victim.

A guy I know (first hand), was caught up in a scandal several years ago. He was a puny business man involved in lower levels of government. He and his wife owned a small shop as well. In other words, not a "huge cheese", just a regular joe.

Being somewhat in politics, I’m sure there were some things that would be deemed scandalous by the general population if it got out. But who’s to know? Here’s the rub: someone of unknown origin and by unknown design sicked the police on our man to dig up some dirt.

To make a long sordid story short, the cops seized everything: moneys, the kids’ computer, assets, basically turned his life and that of his children completely upside down and inside out. The investigation went on for months, if not years really. Under such brazen attack he was forced to resign and his business was totally washed out.

He was, and in a sense still is, ruined.

He was treated as a common criminal. His rights were disregarded and in effect he was prevented from defending himself. They broke him, pure and simple.

The cops found nothing. NUH-thing. Nada. Squat. Dick. Goose egg. Zilch.

It is my firm belief that nobody can be that good at hiding stuff from such an investigation. So if the police didn’t find anything, that’s because there was nothing to find.

To this day it is unclear why this civil weapon was levelled against out man. He was a minnow in a basically meaningless position. I suspect, through ulterior knowledge, that it may have been drug-running related, and he needed to be removed from his post because he was unlikely to play ball. This is speculation of course as no evidence was ever turned up.

The point I am trying to make is that he was deemed guilty from the onset. In Canada we have the philosophy of innocent until proven guilty, which guideline was clearly lacking in this case. Who the hell needs due process and jails when you can ruin someone just as effectively with well placed police action.

It could be argued that he could take the gubmint to court over something like this, with a simple slander case for example, but against who? Anyways, he no longer has the means. Dare I say, the lesson has been learned, a few more threats from the cops and he would fold like a deck of cards. He would be insane not to. Shocking though the case may be, no one would be stupid enough to independently take it on because it just doesn’t have any sex-appeal.

And oh joy - oh bliss, he wasn't the only one being targetted, so he needn't take it personally. (I'm not sure whether this makes it better or worse really!)

There is no real and effective check and balance for something like this. Sure Mr. Arar pulled it off but only because he got lucky that a major-newspaper reporter got hold of insider information. Otherwise, his injustice and suffering would have been in silence. I won’t speak further to Mr. Arar’s case because I just don’t know what really happened.

I have another story of identical ilk, which I will not discuss openly. The common thread is that if you are standing alone, you are well and truly fucked, and David kisses Goliath's ass.

Anyway, let’s just say that guilty until proven innocent was the order of the day in all these cases. Examples abound. Reminds me more of third-world dictatorship than civilization.

Due process is totally unnecessary, and often is counter, to a good business case. It’s much cheaper to ruin someone and just as effective. For criminals, hell it’s what they deserve! But for the rest of us? It’s a hell of a price to pay, assuming it was a mistake; I still contend it was Machiavellian manipulation.

This is a round-about example of why I despise allowing the gubmint to acquire more powers over its people, and it’s worse in my opinion if it’s under the auspices of security. They already have more than enough as it is.

Besides, they can’t even use it properly; an example that I’ve used before: About a year ago there was some sort of violence by youngsters against an elderly couple (I’m not sure of the details of the attack any more). But firearms were involved, and I’m immediately thinking to myself, “oh yeah baby, throw the book at them, on the firearms related charges ALONE they could be put away for 20 years apiece! Go for it!” Nah. Never happened.

But a bona-fide, honest-to-goodness middle-manager and storeowner? Woohoo, let’s go to town on his ass!