Category Archives: Politicized

Maybe the best way to support the troops is to have less of them

It appears that the US is set to start raising mercenaries:

The Pentagon’s manpower chief says a measure to legalize young immigrants who came to the county illegally is an obvious way to attract more high-quality recruits to the armed forces.

Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, says it would be unconscionable not to enact the so-called Dream Act. It would give hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants brought to the United States before the age of 16 a chance to gain legal status if they joined the military or attended college.

Perhaps the problem isn’t that we can’t get enough high-quality recruits

Clearly what we need is more of these guys around.

into the armed forces, it’s that we need so many of them in the first place.  No one seems to consider this.

How many bridges, college degrees and medical care would, say, half of this year’s $600 billion that is siphoned to the Pentagon buy in the US?

Now, in general, it seems to me that government expenditures are not “wasted”; someone uses it, somewhere.  It’s mostly Americans building the armaments and transporting the troops to their training grounds and manning the KFCs in the base towns, so to a large extent, that money isn’t disappearing, it’s cycling right back into the economy.

But billions do disappear, one way or the other.

It seems to me that any reasonable person who wants to talk about cutting the cost of government has to put the Pentagon on the chopping block with everything else, too.

It is strange to me that patriotism in this country has come to be strongly identified with “supporting the troops.”  Strange that we feel it so necessary to constantly state that our freedoms are upheld by loaded weapons and the men  carrying them.  Strange that it is so little thought of that perhaps the best way to support the troops is to have less of them.

Screw the royals

By which I do not mean the hapless baseball franchise.  No, that archaic institution belongs in a living history museum, at best. (The king and queen, I mean. Not the Royals. Even if they do play like it sometimes.)

‘We confess to having more respect and honour for the raggedest child of the poorest labourer in Ireland today than for any, even the most virtuous, descendant of the long array of murderers, adulterers and madmen who have sat upon the throne of England.’

Although King Friday is okay, I guess.

Via China Mieville.

Why people in this country founded upon the overthrow of monarchical tyranny take any interest in the doings of these inbred winners of the genetic lottery is beyond me.

Tax Day postscript: Tea Party in a public park

Thursday night is Story Time at the library.  The scionness and I drop the scionness mama off at class and now that the weather’s nicer, go to the park for half an hour or so.  There’s an orange turtle there the scionness likes to climb on.

Yesterday the part of the park by the playground had been taken over by teabaggers.  Damned if I was going to deny the scionness her date with the turtle, so we went on ahead and played anyway as crap country music (and I say this as someone that loves country – real country) blared from the speakers and a small clump of palefaces gathered to protest Tax Day.  In a public park.  Paid for by taxes.  I think it’s safe to say the irony was lost on them.

It's lost on them, too.

Not unrelatedly, 2010 likely marks the first year more minority babies than white babies will be born in the US.  The teabaggers don’t like it.  Good.  If everything goes smoothly, the scionness mama and will be doing our part to overthrow the honky hegemony come November.

As the scionness and I were betaking ourselves to the public library (paid for by you-know-what) some cowboy hat had the mike, talking about how this isn’t the country he grew up in anymore. He’s right.  It sure ain’t.

Suck it up, teabaggers

Steve Almond writes fair-to-middling short stories but he’s come up with knee-slapper of a column for Tax Day.  My favorite parts:

You dittoheads know how it works: Every April 15, millions of decent, hardworking Americans get shaken down by the IRS, whose sadistic geeks make them fill out really complicated forms, then send checks. This moolah is handed directly to welfare queens and illegal immigrants, who are required to mate in the hopes of producing a Mongrel Super Race of Criminal Freeloaders. If there’s any dough left over, it goes into the Super Secret Christian Baby Abortion Fund. …

1. Tax Day Forced Me to Get My Fiscal Shit Together

As has been clear to everyone in my life for a very long time, I am super-disorganized and (more insidiously) I am deeply invested in my disorganization, which I consider to be a cute, writerly affectation, à la Dickens, but which is really more like an excuse for being lazy and inconsiderate.

My wife, who is also a writer, helpfully pointed this out shortly after our wedding, in late March of 2006. My refusal to keep records of any kind, my blithe yen for guesstimating figures, my rakish refusal to pay estimated taxes — all these quirks, she argued, might land me in prison. “A little time in the hoosegow wouldn’t be so bad,” I said. “Think about it: lots of free time, almost no overhead.”

My wife, pregnant at the time, did not find this funny. …

2. Children, It Turns Out, Are Extremely Fragile

This hadn’t occurred to me until I had two of my own. I now spend a lot of time worrying about stuff that I never used to worry about. Such as: the quality of my drinking water and food and local public schools and parks and playgrounds and roads. And thus the notion that my taxes actually pay for things required by my fragile children has managed to burrow its way through my thick American skull. Paying a small portion of my income for these collective benefits is not only a basic civic duty, in other words, but it is in my interest.

Funnily enough, paying taxes also forced me to get my fiscal shit together.  Well, that and returning to America and having a kid and getting a job and trying to buying a house and then working on having another kid.  But also Tax Day.

The takehome: suck it up, teabaggers, and pay your taxes.