Iranian monkey experiments–can puppies be next?

From California simian correspondent Bill (who’s apparently branching out in the evolutionary tree), ‘Germ Warfare’ fear over African monkeys taken to Iran[*1] (Times of London):

Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments.

An undercover inquiry by The Sunday Times has revealed that wild monkeys, which are banned from experiments in Britain, are being freely supplied in large numbers to laboratories in other parts of the world. All will undergo invasive and maybe painful experiments leading ultimately to their death.

Because, you see, Muslims don’t like dogs.  It’s a joke, Son![*2]

Seriously, what are those wacky Mullahs in Tehran up to now, hmm?

. . .unable to resist ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ joke

Boingboing brings to our attention the naked man who hijacked a Las Vegas city bus[*1] .

On Tuesday morning, Charles P. Sell, 35, stole a beer from a Las Vegas 7-Eleven and then hijacked a bus. He was buck naked at the time. He is charged with robbery, grand larceny, and malicious destruction of private property.

I can’t wait to see the next commercial from the Vegas tourism folks.

An Ah-Ha moment

Occasionally, you read something that lets you better understand somebody else’s thinking.

Obama, as quoted at Gateway Pundit[*1] :

–I think you are privatizing something that is what essentially sets a nation-state apart, which is a monopoly on violence

Of course, the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment is all about ensuring that the state in fact does not have a monopoly on violence.  Should the state become sufficiently tyrannical, it is the right (and, perhaps, the duty) of the people to dissolve it–that comes from the Declaration of Independence.

States very seldom dissolve peacefully.  Just ask the Iraqis about that.

Braaaaaains! Primate Braaaaaains!

Primates evolved larger brains at least twice, says Science Blog[*1] :

“The result is clear: early fossil members of both the New World and Old World anthropoid lineages had small brain sizes, thus the larger brain sizes seen in both groups today must have arisen independently,” says Flynn. “Documenting that large brains evolved separately several times within Primates will enhance understanding of the timing and pathways of brain expansion and its effects on skull growth and shape, and may lead to new insights into the genetic controls on encephalization.”

Braaaaains!  I just like typing ‘braaaains!’


“I am become ‘THEM'”

We all know about THEM.  Those people.  Not us.  The ones upon whom we can safely blame all which is wrong with the world.  Because, you see, they’re THEM.  Not US.

A mil-blogger stationed in Iraq discovers to his horror that he may be becoming one of THEM[*1] :

I have had the most terrible realization in the whole time I have been here in Iraq. Since I moved up to Baghdad and began working for MNSTC-I[*2] , I have become one of the people at the “Puzzle Palace”. I’m one of the guys at the Head Shed. I’m part of the “they” as in “they @#$%ed things up, back there in Baghdad” as spoken by people in the field (I know, I was one of ’em).

Oh no, I might become one of “THEM”!

Cue the cheezy 1950’s sci-fi/Psycho movie shreeking violins. Shreek! Shreek! Shreek! Shreek!

Indentured Servitude

Also known as “Mandatory National Service.”  A really, really bad idea.  But Armed Liberal over at Winds of Change[*1] floats the insidious trial balloon once more:

I’d like to see this principle extended, and based on raising my own sons, think that taking a year or two between high school and college to do some kind of public service would be a good thing for most kids. Some might choose to join the military. Others would perform other kinds of community service. Those who needed it might attend two years of an academic boot camp, designed to make sure they could read and calculate effectively when they got out. We’d have a surplus of undertrained 18 year olds afoot, and we’d have to figure out things to do with them. Parks need supervision, community organizations need workers, much of it – like the WPA – will be make-work. But to a big extent, that might be a better thing than paying universities to babysit them.

My response, as posted in the comments on Winds of Change:

Indentured servitude by any other name . . . evil ideas are no less evil because pretty names are contrived for them, or lofty aspirations are assigned to them.

“Hell is paved with good intentions.”  Welcome to Hell, here’s your accordion.

The fundamental problem is that the entire underlying theory of the political system of the United States is that the individual citizen is sovereign, and all powers of the government derive from the sovereign individual.  Indentured servitude (or “mandatory national service”) completely inverts this relationship–to advocate it, you must concede that every individual’s life belongs to the state. That leads directly to serfdom. (Now, it’s given that almost everybody has forgotten this inconvenient truth about the American political system, but it still hanging on, if only by a thread.)

Practically, the assertion that “taking a year or two between high school and college to do some kind of public service would be a good thing for most kids” may or may not be true.

But is it important enough to you that it’s worth advocating a form of indentured servitude?

And, also practically, no one can guarantee that all of these young serfs will not be used for purposes which are in the long run destructive to the body politic.  Government has a pretty bad record of ignoring unintended consequences.  I do not think that subjecting all people from ages 18 to 24 (or whatever) to two years of mandatory “service” will be nearly as beneficial as some may think it will be.

There are some ideas which reach the level of “horrifying” for anyone who believes that freedom and liberty are worth aspiring to.  Mandatory national service is at the top of that list.