Detroit succumbs to Light Rail Mania

Originally posted elsewhere on 10/20/2010 Take a look at this ReasonTV video about a light-rail project in Detroit that’s slated to begin next year. If you haven’t been following Detroit’s sad decline, you should know that portions of Detroit resemble scenes from a post-apocalyptic movie because so many of the homes are vacant. In areas where entire city blocks have been drained of people, the city has actually demolished these homes allowing their lots to revert back to prairie… urban prairie. The population in Detroit is half what it was in 1950.

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Obama’s paradoxical stance on becoming militarily involved in Libya

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 3/29/2011

The Military Mission

The key paradox of Obama’s address is encapsulated in this excerpt:

Because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.

Why is this a paradox? Our military mission does not encompass the overthrow of Muammar Qadaffi. Yet the people who are rebelling against Qadaffi’s rule will not be safe as long as Qadaffi is in power.

Although Obama stresses that the U.S. will pursue the “broader goal” of remvoing Qaddaffi from power, he makes it clear that he intends on working toward regime change in a non-violent manner. He is quite explicit about this, saying:

… there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

Qadaffi’s regime is not the first tyrranical regime that we have tried to undermine through non-violent means. But despite years of sanctions and strongly worded statements of disapproval directed at various regimes, I can’t say that this approach has been particularly fruitful. Furthermore if our fervent wish is for Qadaffi to leave office without us taking up arms against him, why on earth are we simultaneously stating that International community is going to arrest him and his sons and charge them with crimes against humanity? How is that encouraging him to leave office of his own accord? I’m just not seeing the “smart diplomacy.”

Which branch of the federal government is responsible for authorizing military force against another nation?

In 2007 Senator Obama is on record as saying:

The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

Senator Obama was referring to the fact that the U.S. Constitution invests the legislative branch, not the executive branch, with the power of deciding whether to take up arms against another nation. In his Libyan address, Obama makes the case that:

To brush aside… our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are… And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made it clear that he does not believe the Libyan situation constitutes a threat to the U.S. or our vital interests. When this is the case, it should be left to Congress to decide what our responsibilities to our fellow human beings are. The president also stated:

…after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Again, the U.S. Constitution invests the entire Congress with the power of authorizing military action. Chatting with a subset of Congress and then taking unilateral action is operating in direct contradiction to the Constitution as Senator Obama himself pointed out.

Replacing Congressional Authorization with International Authorization

Obama also made the case that U.S. military intervention was required to preserve the prestige and efficacy of the United Nations. As he stated:

The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security.

Again, shouldn’t it be Congress who decides what course of action we will take, if any, to preserve the prestige and efficacy of the U.N.? Furthermore, it is Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter that states that the U.N. Security Council:

… may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Note that this passage of the U.N. Charter is explicitly about maintaining international peace between member nations while respecting an individual nation’s sovereignty. But it seems that the meaning of this passage has changed over time. At any rate, I am alarmed that Obama feels it is important to get buy-in from the international community for our attacks on Libya, but it’s not necessary to get buy-in from the Congress or the American people.

If you missed Obama’s address, a full transcript of Obama’s Libya address is located here. A video of his address can be found at YouTube.

Related Posts

What could be on Obama’s birth certificate that he doesn’t like?!?!?

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 3/28/2011

Recently Donald Trump was on The View. When Joy Behar asked Trump if he was a “birther”, Trump responded:

Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.

Wow! When I heard this I was wondering what on earth it could be. But then I discovered that Qadaffi had recently published this open letter to Obama. Among other things, it says:

To our son, his excellency, Mr Barack Hussein Obama. I have said to you before, that even if Libya and the United States of America enter into a war, god forbid, you will always remain a son.


Prof. at Northwestern Univ. approves live sex show for his students in after class “lecture”

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 3/3/2011

Psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey teaches a class in sexuality at Northwestern University. He apparently hired Ken Melvoin-Berg to give an after class lecture on bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM). Although students were not required to attend the lecture, the university paid Melvoin-Berg between $300 and $500 to share his expertise. He apparently brought along a couple of members of the BDSM community, Faith Kroll and her sex partner, Jim Marcus. These guests watched a classroom video on female orgasm which Kroll believed to be excessively clinical. In order to provide the students with a more realistic portrayal of female orgasm, she offered to demonstrate her own orgasm to the class. By the way Kroll’s particular fetish is that she gets off on being the center of attention, so in effect the students would be participating in her arousal by watching their sex performance.

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Strange whooping during Tuscon Memorial

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 1/13/2011

I only watched a small part of the Tuscon Memorial for the victims of “alleged” shooter, Jared Loughner. Why didn’t I watch the whole thing? The behavior of the audience seemed… well… unseemly. I couldn’t quite fathom their response to the shooting, or lack of decorum. There was much hooting and whooping. I see that Michelle Malkin has a snapshot of the University of Arizona’s press release about the event in which university officials expressed their hope that the memorial would “lift spirits”. They apparently succeeded… I guess. They were successful if you disregard the rally’s insensitivity toward those who had lost their loved ones during the shooting spree. And yes, I am calling it a “rally” rather than a “memorial” because of the audience’s behavior. Continue reading “Strange whooping during Tuscon Memorial”

Power and the Credentialed Class

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 02/02/2011

The very triteness of the phrase tends to obscure its truth:

It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.

This is the only reason people aspire to attend those universities that are charmingly referred to as “elite”. You occasionally hear of some middle class kid who racks up huge debt while preparing for a career as a primary school teacher at Yale. What can I say? A person who would seek out an elite university to pursue such a profession is either rolling in dough or a rube, possibly one who has been badly advised by secondary school counselors who are also rubes. If you intend on pursuing a career where your advancement does not depend on mingling with the wealthy and powerful, there’s no point in sinking to your eyeballs in debt. The elite universities will serve you best if your professional success is strongly dependent on how well-connected you are, as it often is for individuals who go into law, politics, investment banking, and business consulting.
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Seattle has Superheroes???

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 01/05/2011

Over Christmas break my family finally got around to renting the film, Kick-Ass, about people with no special powers dressing up as superheroes and fighting crime. Imagine my surprise to learn that this is actually happening in Seattle. The band of costumed do-gooders belong to the “Rain City Superhero Movement”.
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