I have written several rants in the last 24 hours about some severely stupid things that have happened around the globe. I've gone off on tangents, gotten pissed about things I have no control over, and shouted at the idiocies of the people in charge. Let's take them one at a time.
1) A woman by the name of Susie Orbach (a U.K. psychoanalyst) is planning on suing Weight Watchers because she claims that she gained back all the weight she lost. Well, duh! Here's a hint, Suze, if you can't skip the extra helpings and want to sit back and watch "Vs. Graham Norton" or "Wheel of Fortune" instead of taking that walk around the block, then of course you're going to gain back that weight. Try a simple exercise called "Push-backs" - when you have eaten, and before seconds or dessert is served, you Push yourself Back from the table. Another suggestion: Just Say No!
2) A related issue is some pond-scum ambulance chaser suing McDonald's for making kids fat. I must have missed the massive arrests at these fast food restaurants, where the kids were kidnapped from their parents supervision, sedated, strapped to gurneys, and forced to gorge themselves on french fries, Big Macs, caramel sundaes, and hot apple pies. I'll say it again: Just Say No!
3) North Korea, who managed to bamboozle that adulterous philanderer and admitted perjurer (I'm sorry, I meant to say "President Clinton") and his idiot lackeys (Sorry, I meant to say "Madeleine Albright") into paying off the DPRK government into hiding its nuclear weapons development programs more thoroughly (sorry, I meant to say "to stop development of WMDs") by giving them half a million tons of fuel oil and the same amount of food every year. Now they have admitted that they have been violating that agreement from the very start, and are saying that if we don't start sending the payoffs again that they will consider it an act of war.
Fine. I think a surprise strike by a few nuclear-tipped Tomahawks into Pyongyang, followed by a quick MLRS strike across the DMZ (which North Korea has repeatedly violated, while claiming saying that any responses by South Korea or the US is a cause for war), and a carrier air strike against what's left of the command-and-control facilities of the "People's Army" would pretty much settle matters. I know that it's just a reactionary fantasy by a guy who is sick and tired of nations who feel free to violate every agreement they've freely signed, and threatening the other nations into further extortions, but I also think that the President is taking just the right line on this by being "willing to talk, but not to negotiate" with North Korea. Throwing a tantrum didn't work for me when I was growing up, because my mother just refused to hear it. I learned to use logic and facts to support my position, and got very good at it. I just wish that nation-states would earn that lesson.
4) The recent disclosure that Iraq has purchased equipment that is (at least theoretically) capable of jamming GPS-guided munitions, such as the JDAM (Joint Directed Attack Munitions, which means that the bombs guidance system is guided by the GPS satellites to be accurate within less than 10 feet). Iraq must not realize that the JDAMs have alternate means of guidance, such as inertial systems that are still accurate enough to take out a building, and Tomahawks (which use TERCOM) can pick which window they want to hit.
I think Iraq is hoping that they can jam the JDAMs and cause them to hit civilian targets instead. They can use the resultant casualties in the propaganda war against the US. A question: What makes them think that we're going to start off with those weapons? You see, they have to transmit at relatively high power to spoof the systems, and those high-power transmissions can be detected and traced. Hey, Saddam, can you pronounce HARM (High-explosive Anti-Radiation Missile)? They are designed to take out radar and radio transmitters, but they can be adjusted to detect and target any other kind of transmissions as well, and we won't have to worry about our satellite array, because they are located about 125 miles straight up, not inside some building in downtown Baghdad. Even if we don't get the controlling box, we get the antenna, and then have a free shot by following up the HARM strike with the JDAMs five minutes later. The US military invented the idea of sharpshooting, and perfected the concept of "Simultaneous Time on Target", where several different munitions (fired from widely separate locations) arrive on a target within a few seconds of each other. Maybe the North Koreans will see what kind of secret weapons we've developed over the last ten years and realize that they will be able to last about as long as a fart in a windstorm.
5) The Democrats who say that the tax cuts proposed by the White House are benefitting the "rich". I have yet to hear a single one of them define what "rich" means, nor how they would do things better than the "Robin Hood" technique they have always espoused, but I found a story at a conservative website that explains it fairly well. If I had been thinking, I would have just linked the URL, so the original site could get credit, but I did manage to copy it down, and I reproduce it here, just because I can:
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing;
The fifth would pay $1;
The sixth would pay $3;
The seventh $7;
The eighth $12;
The ninth $18.
and the tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement-until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."
So now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.
The first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six - the paying customers?
How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being *paid* to eat their meal.
So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59.
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.
But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. "But he got $7!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were $52 short!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore."