Monday, July 10, 2006

Random Thoughts

♣ OK, I'm getting to this story late. Susan Estrich and Michelle Shinghal have divergent views on the case of an alleged sexual relationship between a 25-year-old high school teacher and an 18 year old student. I tend to agree more with Estrich than with Shinghal. There should be some reasonable criminal penalties, not only because the power imbalance between student and teacher opens the door for sexual harassment or retaliation, but because of the potential that she would favor her "special" student over the others. For all the snickering about how "lucky" the student was to "score" with a former Miss Texas contestant, keep in mind that statistically speaking, the majority of teacher-student sex cases involve a male teacher and a female student. Morally and spiritually, sex outside of marriage is still sinful and a violation of God's commandments, but if Amy McElhenney was not a school teacher, the government would (and should) stay out of it.

♣ What a difference sixty years makes. During World War II, the Superman character was urging comic book readers to "slap a Jap" by buying war bonds, but the most recent Superman movie intentionally left out "American way" from the list of things Superman defends. Now, Superman stands for "Truth, justice, and all that stuff." I tend to view this move as just more politically correct silliness, and nothing to really be concerned about. I'm more concerned with the decision to revamp the Superman character as a deadbeat dad, stalker and wanna-be adulterer, with the example that sets and how it is a reflection of an increasingly amoral culture.

Pat Buchanan has a good column about North Korea and the threat it poses. We really do need to re-evaluate why we still have soldiers stationed in South Korea and what national security interest we have there. Political support for missile defense will certainly rise in the wake of North Korea's missile test, and I agree with Buchanan that economic sanctions are not the best way to respond.

♣ I've been playing Final Fantasy Chronicles. I never did get Final Fantasy II (actually the fourth game in the series, but the second and third games were never released for the NES in the U.S.) for the Super NES, and have found that either FF IV or Chrono Trigger alone are well worth the cost of the set. I also think it is highly amusing that the evil kingdom your characters are fighting against in FF IV is named Baron.

♣ The Associated Press reports that "U.S. officials are concerned that the alleged rape-slaying (of an Iraqi teenager) will... increase calls for changes in the agreement that exempts American soldiers from prosecution in Iraqi courts." If American soldiers did commit this atrocity, the soldiers must be punished, preferably with death. Under no circumstances, however, should American soldiers ever be subject to the jurisdiction of any foreign court. That would open the door for a flood of Jihadist hoaxes for which American soldiers are lynched.

♣ The New York Times reports that "an unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief." Hmmm. I thought all those tax cuts for the rich were the reason for the budget deficit?

♣ While signing Ben Wallace as a free agent will benefit the Chicago Bulls in the short term, I think the Bulls will regret getting rid of Tyson Chandler in the process. Chandler is in many ways a younger, bigger version of Wallace. P.J. Brown is a great player, but Chandler could have benefited from a few years playing with Wallace. The Bulls will need to make some noise the next couple years or make some additional roster changes, because they have gotten older with their personnel moves this summer.