Sunday, February 28, 2010

Here's some good thoughts:

I don't often rely on other people's blog posts, but there was one which began as an invite in the St.Petersburg (FL) Times, asking people what they would do to fix the economy. One woman sent in a humdinger. It got printed, and since then has been circulating around the net. I received my copy of this from David Wagie, a friend of mine who likes giving me the conservative perspective on things. Here's the blog/editorial, written as though it were a letter to the President. I loved it, and I think you'll enjoy it too.


Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America's economy. Instead of giving
billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties
and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the "Patriotic
Retirement Plan":

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million
apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis

It can't get any easier than that!!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes...

Mr. President, while you're at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and
Medicare. I'll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!

If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know..

If not, please disregard.

Proud Military Mom of
SPC Joseph Siekert
PVT Zachary Siekert

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tea Party Convention & Lots Of Other Stuff

So much yet to talk about. I mentioned how much there was in my last blog post, and so much more worth blogging about has happened since. It's a little bit like the rat race my school studies have been lately -- I'm constantly playing catch-up.

For example, I've realized that now is the worst possible time to buy gold. Seriously! You can't turn on any conservative program, radio or television, without getting bombarded with advertisers exhorting people to buy gold. The idea of course, is that Obama's taking us all to Hell in a rather oversized handbasket, and that means that only those who own gold will have any real money during the forewarned apocalypse. But truly, the signs of economic recovery are getting stronger. The 2010 census is about to begin, which will put tens of thousands of inner city youth and vacationing college students to work, clearing up the job market so much that not even illegal Mexicans will be able to depress it. And with the President willing to enact a spending freeze in the years to come, the dollar will be secure, especially as wind and solar jobs begin to emerge. The mighty Toyota has fallen -- oops! Sorry, I meant to say, sped on by. That is, unable to stop it's downward P.R. trend, or put the brakes on its increasingly negative image. You couldn't have gift-wrapped the opportunity better for GM! It will be nice to actually export American cars again.

So buying gold right now, while the price of it is artificially inflated by the sky-is-falling mentality of gullible conservatives, is stupid. The price of gold has nowhere to go but DOWN, and those who are foolish enough to invest heavily in gold will find themselves financially issued a balloon of lead. On the other hand, dealers in gold will be, well, golden.

One of the other things that I wanted to talk about was the Tea-Party convention, which largely was comprised of neocon hacks who attacked Barack Obama for using a teleprompter -- while themselves, well, using a teleprompter! (Sometimes you can't even make it up!) Everyone noticed that Sarah Palin had levied this same teleprompter insult against our Trophy-President, despite having had clearly written her notes onto her hand! Now, seriously, folks, THIS is the person some people would feel would make a better president than Obama? This chica who can't even invest in ONE 3 x 5 notecard?!?

When I observed how the crowd gathered seemed to really love this woman beyond measure, and simultaneously saw just how grey-haired this crowd was, it dawned on me what this movement truly is. It's the return of the 1994 backlash voter-bloc known as the "angry, white male." Yes, their nominal leader is a female, but they themselves are mostly old men who have deluded themselves into thinking that they still have enough testosterone left in their shriveled gonads to start one last fight. And let's face it, if there's one thing Sarah Palin can do, it's make testosterone flow! She's their Great White Hope; the symbol that their contingent might not be so dead or dying that it must settle for an Arizona senator who's too old and sick to dare attempt a sun-tan.

Or be so desperate that it must cast its lot with a Mormon.

Or rely a former vice president who's cardiovascular system is so coagulated that he's just recently survived his fifth heart attack.

Just as an aside, let's think about that for a minute. His FIFTH heart attack! Dick Cheney had his first heart attack when he was in his 30's! (That's what you get for chumming with tobacco lobbyists.) Such a feat is truly amazing, especially when one considers just how much better off our nation would have been without him. The Hand of Providence has given him every possible opportunity to utter an onomonopaetic amphibian word, check out early, and in so doing, spare us all the skillful sweeps of his wrecking ball. But damn it all, that bastard keeps right on surviving! He's worse than Fidel Castro that way! I could credit this refusal to kick the proverbial fluid receptacle to some sort of stubbornness on his part, but upon more sober reflection, I must concede that we really shouldn't be surprised. You see, Cheney, much like Fidel, HAS government-paid health insurance! And has benefitted from it for decades!

Back to the Tea-Party convention, I noticed something else (besides the amazing lack of melanin in the audience). With all the irrational cries of socialism and near-shriek-level liberalism-bashing, I came to realize that nearly everyone in the audience almost certainly has read the entire Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye. Which prompts me to issue a challenge to Tea-Partiers everywhere: Just fucking admit it! Come on, admit it! You believe Obama is the Antichrist! You think he's Nicolae! You think the reason he won't produce his birth certificate is because it documents the birthmark in the shape of a "666" on his ass! You're already looking for some former airline pilot to lead an underground movement for when he enacts a one-world-government. Grow a pair and admit it!

One expects Hal Lindsey might be hiding up on the catwalk, ready to swing down onto the stage like Tarzan and predict something having to do with China.

And everywhere at the convention was the mantra that privatization and free market is good, while government health care is bad. Free market good, government bad. (Four legs good, two legs bad...) But it's dawned on me (and I'll hammer more on this in later posts) that we have the ultimate standard of the conservative ideal. That's right, there's a nation out there which has privatized nearly everything about itself, from health care, to police and fire protection, and civil service, there really isn't anything about this country that isn't privatized and left entirely to the free market. Naturally, given what conservatives today are constantly telling us, one would expect this country to be absolutely rolling in cash -- the epitome of wealth and prosperity without liberalism or government programs to hold it down. What is this great nation?

It's Mexico!

That's right, Mexico, which privatizes everything, and has government programs for virtually nothing. Building of roads, sewers, electric power grids, or anything else is left to private interests.

And Mexico's economy is so strong that its primary export is its own citizens!

So stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

Anyway, it isn't just conservatism which has been screwing things up lately. In the interest of being an equal-opportunity shit-kicker, I thought I'd point out how certain liberal screw-ups have been highlighted recently. Most notably, this has been in regard to the American missionary goofballs who were arrested trying to make off with Haitian children to give them better lives in the United States. Now, putting aside the issue of fundamentalists being so desperate to have youngsters they can convert to their religion (because every little mind too young to defend itself is a virtually guaranteed proselyte), there's the obvious point that if these people really wanted to adopt black children, they could have looked to their own back yard and rescued some kids from the inner city! Was it really all that necessary to dip into the well of foreign babies? Did they really have to take advantage of a natural disaster to become parents?

Well, the answer, sadly, is yes. Because had they tried to rescue some inner city black children they would have found those children yanked from them by some wrongheaded leftist judge who would just give them right back to their crack-whore mothers, all so that black children can have black parents -- a profoundly racist standard by any measurement. It shames me to admit that such lunacy from the bench could actually be thought of as traditionally liberal, but there it is.

So, as a direct result, the earthquake strikes, and there go the missionaries, taking advantage of tragedy just to have a black kid that won't get dragged away by the American "justice" system to have its life ruined right under the caring family's nose. Should we at all be surprised?

There's so much more to rant about. So much more to get off my chest. But I have to leave it there for now.

But just wait until I tackle the whole thing about the suicide pilot in Texas.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Ceiling for Diaper-Evangelism

There's so much in the news to talk about, but it would take so very long to write out that I should probably put it off until I have more time to really do it all justice. In the meantime, I thought I would share a recent epiphany that I've had regarding an interesting phenomenon -- a phenomenon which, arguably, is the very reason religion is so pervasive among us, even today.

Childhood indoctrination. It is the heart and soul of every major religion. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." So says Proverbs 22:6. Christians who ignore everything else the Bible might say will at least obey that particular passage of scripture. And why? Because it is the most successful means of evangelism ever known! Hard numbers are hard to verify on this point, but at least 80% of all children raised in a particular faith will hold to that faith as adults.

Now that's effective preachin'!

And the fact that this works so well is even more impressive, given that being raised in a particular faith is undoubtedly the worst reason for embracing it! What, your religion assaulted you while you were still in the cradle, and so you're prepared to believe its tenets? Are you NUTS?!?!

Well, no, people who believe what they were raised aren't nuts. They're just caught up in a particular aspect of human psychology which was probably designed through evolutionary processes to help us survive. As Richard Dawkins points out, a child who refuses to accept an adult instructing them not to play in the open field because there are leopards, or not to swim in a particular river because there are crocodiles, is a child who probably won't live long. As such, children may disobey from time to time, but they generally embrace what their elders teach them wholesale. As such, a child who is raised to embrace certain ideas ends up becoming an adult who simply does not question them.

And here is where I try to explain something to people, and they often don't realize the scope of what I'm telling them: Because if you raise a children to believe in pink unicorns and feathered elephants, send them off to pink unicorn & feathered elephant Sunday schools, put them in pink unicorn & feathered elephant private schools, and raise them in an environment where all their teachers, peers, friends and immediate family all believe in pink unicorns and feathered elephants, then those children will grow up to become young adults who will argue and argue with their college professors about why there really are pink unicorns and feathered elephants! Yes, it's really that insanely powerful!

(At this point, the reader must ask, are there any pink unicorns or feathered elephants I believe in?)

Now, the fact that certain religions take full advantage of this flaw in human software, and the fact that they prey upon the youngest and most vulnerable in order to do it, are both very obvious displays of the inherent weakness of those faiths. Yet shame does not factor into the equation for such creeds, and the most successful religions in the world utilize this tactic with frightening efficiency. The Catholic Church, for example, emphasizes the lack of birth control to the point of maniacism, precisely because they know that Catholics who have large families are the key to the survival of the Catholic Church in the future. The Mormon religion evangelizes almost exclusively using this technique, because in spite of sending out hordes of 18-year-old missionary boys every year, it is through the large families that they raise that they truly make their converts. Thus, the Mormon church grows at an impressive rate, in spite of being the biggest joke in terms of veracity. And let's not forget the Muslims, whose current plan of conquest involves settling in every nation of Western Europe and literally breeding themselves into political prowess. So far, it's working! Already, there are enough Muslims in Europe to turn even Amsterdam on its head!

It's a frighteningly effective tactic. Just do the math. A religious family that has only five kids effectively doubles the number of people in that faith in one generation. If repeated the next generation, it doubles again. Repeated again, with each of those kids having five or more of their own, another doubling in size. In only several generations, this can amount to a gargantuan number. 2 x 2 = 4. 4 x 2 = 8. 8 x 2 = 16. 16 x 2 = 32. 32 x 2 = 64. Over 150% in less than one century! And consider: Most religious families of the variety named above have way more than just five kids! If trends continue along these lines, the future will be a clash of three civilizations: Catholics, Mormons, and Muslims.

And here we come to my epiphany, because while these numbers are staggering, they come at a time in our world history when our population has nearly reached maximum possible size. Our globe can only handle so many people, and if global warming trends continue, it may be that we will lose a significant amount of farmable land, meaning that we've already exceeded our maximum population size. Granted, we don't feel the pinch of the population crunch in this country for the simple reason that we're so damned wealthy. But third world nations know the pangs of hunger caused by too many mouths to feed all too well! We're about to bump our collective heads on the population ceiling.

Well, that population ceiling will turn out to be a ceiling on diaper-evangelism as well. People will bitch and moan about reproductive rights and the oppressiveness of governments forcing sterilization, contraception, and the limiting of family size. But we simply will have no choice at some not-too-distant point in the future. Faced with forcing population controls or watching billions starve, the nations of the world will collectively band together to cap the size of every family. It's as predictable as night following day. Count on it!

Well, my friends, WHEN, not if, that happens, weakass religions will no longer be able to force their hapless faith upon as many poor defenseless preschoolers anymore. Only so many children per household will mean that the populations of religions will be capped, every bit as much as the populations of everything else. And those who question and depart from their faith will take a steadily increasing percentage of each generation until a natural equilibrium point is reached. Advantage: Agnostics/Atheists! And what's more, once religion is lost, it tends to STAY lost, meaning that the natural equilibrium point favors the non-religious more than the religious. Advantage again: Agnostics/Atheists! Eventually, with religions no longer able to breed themselves into prominence, the natural state of populations will be non-religious, and peer-pressure and societal expectations will render religion a thing of the past!

Thus I prophesy!

Of course, it's just possible that religious nuts will succeed in dismantling our hard-won democratic freedoms before this happens. It's possible that the planet will be driven into anarchy by the population crisis, and thus any governments capable of enacting the all-saving population controls would collapse. It's possible that religious chaos will win over secular order. Whether or not this happens will largely depend upon how strong and populous the secular, freedom-loving population is at the time it occurs.

So, basically, it's a foot-race. Who will win? Will the secular world be able to maintain order long enough? Or will religious insanity out-breed and overpopulate us fast enough to overturn everything we've worked so hard to build? I don't know the answer. But I do know this: the non-religious spread by horizontal transmission (that is, adult ideas competing with other adult ideas) rather than vertical transmission (adult passing ideas onto child). That means those atheists who are getting in people's face just a little bit more, such as Dawkins or Hitchens, are engaging in exactly the right tactic, at exactly the right time!

We won't appreciate it now, but they may well be the salvation of us all.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Problem Thinking

The following was sent to me by a friend -- I didn't write it. But it's clever, and witty, and entirely within the Sacred Cow Wursthaus tradition. Enjoy!

It started out innocently enough...

I began to think at parties now and then -- just to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself – but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally, I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent the night at her mother's.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss.

"Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking."

"I know you've been thinking" she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But, Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip quivering. "You think as much as a college professor, and college professors don't make any money. So if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

"I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye.

"Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster. It is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job and things are a lot better at home. Life is easier somehow, now that I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Entertaining Entertainment.

Ah, yes, it's that wonderful time of year when entertainment gets, well, entertaining. The nominees for the Oscars have been released. Not surprisingly, Avatar is the odds-on favorite to win. It would be the first time a sci-fi film would be the winner, to which I say, about fucking time, and a big, fat middle finger to those who didn't nominate Empire Strikes Back. But there really should be no surprise. Avatar has all the hallmarks of a winning film: It has a former lead trying to restore an acting career, it has a maverick director, it has a plot which is about as predictable as Titanic, and, most importantly, it meets the minimum three-hour-long requirement for oscar-worthy films. I'd complain about the latter with a witty statement, something which points out how I would need to go see a gerontologist after the film because I'd developed arthritis sometime after scene 177, but honestly, I can't complain about the length of the film if I've paid $8 to see it. Seriously, for $8 I should be able to use the theater as a make-shift hotel room for those long road trips! Actually, I doubt I can even joke about that, because it's probably not far off in the future, at the rate we're going. It will cost less to take a hooker to a Motel 6 than it will to go see Avatar 3. One might as well walk out to the concession stand, grab a refill on popcorn, and a clean towel for the in-house shower.

But we've also had the Superbowl! Ah yes, and a very entertaining (Who dat?!) time it was, with a (Who dat?!) nice game which ended with a (Who dat?!)... Oh, fine! I submit to my inner voice cheering for the Saints! That's right, SAINT'S! As in, 'Saint Peyton Manning's year! Ho, ho! WHO DAT say dey were gon' beat 'dem Saints?!

Of course, that also means we have Superbowl TV ads -- also known as the one time out of the year ad writers do their damned jobs. Soon after, those same writers will go back to their endless games of Halo, World of Warcraft, and their cheezy poofs, leaving the rest of us to suffer through their endlessly repeated work all during the long baseball season. I deeply desire vengeance upon them for this, but all I can do is wish them high cholesterol.

And then we have people all over our great nation sitting on the edge of their seats, counting the seconds down for the very latest episode of Lost. I'd say something about that but, I, well, um, lost it.

Anyway, I get my permanent internet hook up back tomorrow, and then, there's no stopping me from turning my scalding gaze upon the deepest recessive corners upon the world! Entertainers, be warned!



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Polls, Abstinence, and Republicans

Let's talk poll numbers.

A recent federally funded study, as published by the Washington Post, has revealed that abstinence-only sex education programs result in fewer teens having sex. This, according to many conservative pundits, has confirmed what they've been saying all along: that absinence is the best form of sex-ed.

Well, not so fast. Sure, fewer teens ended up having sex (about one third, as opposed to one half who were involved in other forms of sex-ed programs). But whether or not teens are having sex really isn't the issue, is it? Yes, I'll risk offending people by saying it (and, in fact, that's sort of the point of this blog), but I just don't care if teenagers are having sex or not. That statistic doesn't worry me. The statistic that worries me is the rate of teen pregnancy.

Teen pregnancy is the stat we want to bring down, and that statistic really is independent of the rate of sexual activity among teens. There is some correlation, of course, since one needs sex to get pregnant, but if only one third of one group of teens are having premarital sex and not using much protection (which is often the case if those kids have been taught abstinence-only!), while half of another group of teens are having premarital sex and always using protection, the number of teen pregnancies will be lower in the latter group. Of course!

You see, the goal is to put as many barriers to teen pregnancy in place as possible. What liberals sometimes try to do is completely decry abstinence in sex education, perhaps out of some misguided hippie-style "free love" attitude toward sexuality. And what conservatives try to do is fight against 85 million years of evolution by persuading young people to not engage in sex at all until marriage -- a technique which didn't entirely work even in the prudish 1800's, and which encourages young people to start bad and/or doomed marriages out of lust. The sad result of this needless tug of war is that some barriers to teen pregnancy get ruled out in certain schools. This is unacceptable! We need teach contraception, show teens how to use it, AND remind them that the only 100% effective birth control method is abstinence. These two lessons must always go together.

Let's face it. It's a different world. Back when abstinence was the rule (like, before the roaring 1920's), teenage pregnancy was prevented by making sure teenagers got married! It wasn't at all unusual for 16 year old girls to marry 17 year old boys. If a boy got a girl pregnant, they were hastily married to avoid scandal. But teenagers can't get married today -- it's just economically stupid, even if the ages of 16 and 17 weren't so infantile in terms of being prepared for our hyper-technology era. And let's not forget that it is also a different world from the 1960's. Back before HIV, and when gonorrhea was not resistant to penecillin, it made perfect sense to sleep around indiscriminately. But today, there is a slight risk that unprotected sex could kill you!

What changed the game forever were two things: The rubber condom, and the pill. Ever since then, abstinence as a primary means of birth control was doomed. After all, abstinence was used as birth control prior to that point because -- well, there really was nothing else for it! There were rudimentary technologies using sponges attached to ribbons, or horribly smelly things made from sheep intestines, but these were only marginally effective. Abstinence-only was the primary means of birth control in the olden days only because society had no other choice! Now that we have a choice, going back is laughably stupid.

So for kids who can abstain, let them abstain. And for those who are hell bent on not abstaining, let's provide the means of protection they damned well need. We're not giving permission, but we're damned well not taking chances, either!

Oh, and by the way, as a biology teacher, I'm certain to be tapped to instruct on such matters. I intend to teach that if one engages in sex, that one should always use the "double protection" technique. If he says he's using protection, or if she says she's on the pill, that's not enough, especially for teens. BOTH need to use protection. Every time.

This ties in rather well to another poll released almost concurrently with the first one, showing the tendencies of Republican voters. These numbers have been generating a firestorm because they show some remarkable trends in conservative thinking. In relation to the above poll, 51% of Republicans think that sex education should not even be taught in public schools. Apparently because they think that if kids aren't taught about sex, they won't lust after each other or sneak off to experiment on their own?

And there are other shocking numbers. 63% of Republicans feel Obama is a Socialist. (!) 36% think Obama wasn't born in the United States, and 22% aren't sure. 39% think Obama should be impeached. (For what, I wonder? He hasn't been getting blow jobs from interns, you know!) 24% think Obama wants terrorists to win, and 33% aren't sure about that one! 21% thinks that ACORN stole the 2008 election. (55% aren't sure!)

To paraphrase something Bill Mahr said about the 2004 election, it wasn't stolen. But it did fall off a truck!

53% feel that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Barack Obama.

Naturally, because intelligence is an undesirable quality in a politician! We don't want our representatives to be smarter than us!

31% believe that Barack Obama is a racist who hates white people. 33% aren't sure!

23% think their state should cecede from the United States. (Go ahead! I dare ya! Texas, you first!)

77% think that same sex couples should not be allowed to marry. There's the nanny-state for you!

Here's an interesting one: 73% think that openly gay men and women should not be allowed to teach in public schools. As if we don't have too few qualified teachers already! Apparently, Will & Grace can teach our kids at night, but not during the day?

The same percentage, 77%, think that public school students should be taught that the Bible explains how God created the world.

Because, presumably, the Christian view should be presented non-optionally to a captive, non-Christian audience? Because Christians get to force children who don't belong to them to learn their religion against the wishes of the actual parents?

When asked if contraceptive use should be outlawed, 31% of Republican respondents said yes.


34% think that the birth control pill is abortion. Which explains the above number.

76% feel that abortion is murder. No shock, there. The survey did not ask at what stage of a woman's pregnancy abortion might be considered murder, however. Pity.

91% support the death penalty. Interesting.

67% feel that the only way for an individual to go to heaven is through Jesus Christ.

But there is one encouraging statistic within this study: 37% of respondents were over the age of 60. 70% were over the age of 45. That means that these hair-brained opinions are grey-haired. And someday soon, they'll die off. When they do, we'll perhaps at last be rid of some of this nonsense. Whether this will happen before Obama's presidency has ended is another matter.

If they succeed in derailing health care reform, they'll die off a lot quicker! How's that for poetic!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

So it's recently out how the policy of "Don't ask, don't tell," implemented in our military as a cop-out compromise to Bill Clinton's efforts to outright allow gays and lesbians in the military, is about to be rescinded. I know our military will take a hit in terms of troop morale on this one, so I had mixed feelings about this, until I heard a stunning statistic. Check this out:

We've lost about 10% of our military's translators of Arabic and Farsi due to the anti-gay policy the armed forces currently holds. (This, as reported on Rachel Maddow's show.) That means that some of our most critical personnel are missing at precisely the time our soldiers need them most.

Now, I'm always cautious of statistics. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics fall even beneath them, as Mark Twain would remind us. I'd like to confirm this. But this statistic makes sense. Fluent native speakers of the dialects of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan would leave their cultures to help us, why? Precisely because a homosexual lifestyle would result in death for them back home! Better to be shunned than dead! So they may choose to change sides to help us in exchange for amnesty, right? But how many more key translators and cultural attaches would we gain if we went from merely shunning gays and lesbians to tolerating them outright? How stupid is it if we refuse to allow them into our military because of homophobia?

Again, I would like to confirm this statistic. But it really is a moral imperative to give our soldiers in uniform every possible tactical advantage needed to achieve victory. And here is a situation where barring gays from the military could literally get our sons and daughters killed, either because they would not have a key translation of imminent danger, or because they might be unable to pick up on local unrest before things get out of control.

I'm always intrigued when there is a conflict between two conservative values. Or two liberal ones, for that matter. Which side one chooses in the dilemma tells a great deal about which values are most important to the individual. For example, conservatives are in favor of private health insurance as opposed to government control, and are opposed to partial birth abortion. Yet private insurers are forced by competition to try to cut costs by denying pregant women under the age of 35 certain tests for mosaic disorders, such as tetrasomy 14, thus putting more women in situations where partial birth abortions are necessary. Which value is more important? Opposition to partial birth abortion, or to nationalized health care? Or for liberals, who are in favor of recycling, even though recycling greatly increases the use of fossil fuels to both transport and remake the recyclable materials. Which value is more important? Environmentalism, or, well, environmentalism?

In like manner, conservatives have a dilemma: Which value is more important? Opposing servicemembers serving with fags, or opposing servicemembers coming home in a pine box?

It'll be interesting to see which one wins out in the end. But I, for one, hope the military has to put up with the fags so that more of our soldiers can come home alive.