Which is worse– Jewish or homosexual in the USAF?

You’ve probably heard that the House voted to end DADT.  Smart way to do it, leave the ultimate decision up to the SecDef and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (who will in fact repeal it) for some nice political cover.  Despite all the controversy, this has become a very popular position.  CNN’s latest poll reports an amazingly high 80% support.  Here’s a great Tom Ricks post (Via Big Steve, of course) on the topic.

So, that said, Big Steve also linked to a really interesting story about discrimination in the military (especially against Jews) by right-wing Christians.  They seem to have taken over the Air Force academy, but these problems surely exist throughout the whole military to a degree.  Former Air Force JAG, Mikey Weinstein, is leading the charge against those trying to turn the US Military into a thoroughly evangelical Christian organization.  Here’s the opening:

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein shares his hate mail with both friends and strangers the way elderly people show off photos of their grandkids. He has plenty of it to share. For the past four years, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has been doing battle with a Christian subculture that, he believes, is trying to Christianize the U.S. armed forces with the help of a complicit Pentagon brass. He calls it the “fundamentalist Christian parachurch-military-corporate-proselytizing complex,” a mouthful by which he means holy warriors in contempt of the constitutional barrier between church and state.

“The scary thing about all this,” Weinstein says, “is it’s going on not with the blind eye of the Pentagon but with its full and totally enthusiastic support. And those who are not directly involved are passive about it. As the Talmud says, ‘silence is consent.'”

Obviously, legal discrimination (as it currently is for homosexuals) based on religion in the military will never be the case, but there’s clearly quite a bit of religious discrimination nonetheless.  Here’s to Weinstein’s crusade to end it.

Best ads of the year

Slate’s Seth Stevenson reviews this years award-winning ads.  He’s a little disappointed in the winner, and I’d have to agree with him.  This Old Spice ad was my favorite, I actually laughed out loud:

Given what’s going to be happening in my family for the 4th time, I was pretty intrigued by the premise of the following ad:

Stevenson’s right that it’s too long for a pretty simple point, but it is pretty good.  I have to wonder, though if a lot of kids really do feel like this.  I think it depends a lot upon the age.  Though everybody seems to like that 2-year spacing, toddlers definitely do not like to share mommy.  We haven’t actually told the kids yet, we’re waiting to find out the sex, but I am curious as to the reactions.  Once the baby comes, Alex will surely have the hardest time of it as, developmentally he’s still very much a toddler, and he is such a momma’s boy.

Worst spam ever?

Okay, they actually got their grammar and spelling right, so it comes from Americans, but seriously:

We are presently UPGRADING our NC WEBMAIL, this maintenance might close your
NC WEBMAIL account completely.

To protect your Email Account from being closed, forward your:


North Carolina Webmail Team
Customer Service.

Right– my email will be shut down completely unless I send my email address and password.  Anybody who falls for this probably shouldn’t be using email in the first place.

Colbert on Kagan

This is a few weeks old, but a friend just tipped me off to it since I was discussing Kagan in my Gender & Politics class this Summer term.  It’s more about the way right-wing media reinforces itself in a crazy closed loop (in this case, on Elena Kagan’s sexuality). It’s awfully good:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Confirming Elena
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

[Can’t quite get the embed to work quite right, but if you click on “Confirming Elena” it should work]

Stop signs

Really interesting article on Stop Signs in Slate yesterday by Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic, one of my very favorite non-fiction books of the last few years.  Anyway, the basic point is that stop signs don’t work all that effectively and too many intersections have them where they don’t need them and others would be much better served by roundabouts (we’ve got several functioning roundabouts near campus now and I love them– so much more efficient).    Stop signs are horribly inefficient:

Lauder calculated that the stopping led to a collective yearly loss in fuel and time valued at roughly $112,000. Why not just use a yield sign on the minor approach? Well, at certain times of the day a queue backs up there, and cars have trouble making the turn. So Lauder proposed a hybrid “stop-yield” sign, simply labeled “Take Turns,” paired with the instruction: “If cars are waiting please stop and alternate.”

My proposal, just allow a rolling stop.  A stop sign should mean, “approach the intersection with caution and be prepared to stop.”  Nothing more.  When I drive up to a number of intersections in my neighborhood, there’s great visibility– I can easily see for over 1/4 mile in each direction well before I need to come to a stop.  In such cases, it is entirely safe to simply slow down before proceeding, especially when making a right turn.  Yet, that’s completely illegal (and I’ve got the tickets to show for it).  Presumably, illegal traffic maneuvers have been deemed so to keep us safe, but there truly is nothing any safer about making me come to a full stop before turning from lightly-traveled Willoughby Ln to lightly-traveled Reedy Creek Rd.  Especially at off-peak times of day.  It is dramatically more dangerous every time I merge onto Interstate 40, but that, of course, is perfectly legal.  I’d like to see some evidence that rolling stops actually are dangerous.  (And if its out there, Kim would really like to show it to me).  Until then, I’ll keep at it during daylight hours, doing a quick scan in all directions for police before proceeding short of a full stop.  (Big Steve is not a fan of the full stop, either).

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