Of Nobel Peace Prizes and attack submarines

At first glance it seemed a bit odd to commission an attack submarine and name it in honor of a president whose humanitarian work has been honored with a Nobel Peace Prize. This is the case with the third and most advanced Seawolf class submarine in the US Navy's fleet. With more reflection it makes sense to name a submarine for the only US President ever to be qualified in submarines. Carter graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946, serving as a commissioned officer and then as commander-in-chief while President.

Wonderful new gift to the William S. Boyd School of Law

Today is another monumental day in the short history of the William S. Boyd School of Law. The school's namesake today pledged an additional $25 million gift to the school. The gift brings current pledges to the law school to $75 million. The school will complete it's seventh year this spring. In less than a decade the generosity of Boyd and others has made it possible for a top-100 law school to be created in a state that previously didn't have a law school. It also sets the bar even higher for what people can strive for in public-private partnerships to make our educational institutions world class.

Science gives way to hype

The Hubble telescope is coming to the end of its run. Next year will mark the 15-year life-span originally planned for the super-important craft. NASA says it will move on in favor of return trips to the moon and beyond (Mars). It is unfortunate, while the idea of going to the moon again may have a popular appeal, the money spent could be used to do much more, truly scientific work that has substantial value in uncovering the history of the universe.

Airport security

Andy Bowers of Slate has an article about the problems related to the ease by which someone could get on an aircraft without having their true identity checked. He suggests the problem is simple to fix. I'm not so sure. As Bowers notes in the articles there are plenty of tech savvy, intelligent people out there who might like to do harm. They can easily, as Bowers did, modify a boarding pass in a few minutes. They could, however do much the same thing with a traditional boarding pass, not just the home printed one, or with slightly more effort produce counterfeit government documents. Anyone who has been around a college for long knows that the ability to get one's hands on fake id's is not limited to international spy-masters. Changing the homespun printing of boarding passes will, for a time, possibly make travelers believe they are more secure. It is all really mostly illusion anyway. The name-based no-fly-list is based on a fallacy itself that a terrorist would use their name or noms de plume to purchase tickets in the first place.

A grassroots boycot

A grassroots (apparently) movement is afoot to make January 20, 2004 "Not One Damn Dime Day". The website got rolling when Jesse Gordon, a self-described 44-year old progressive activist, received an email with the basic suggestion. The protest suggests not spending any money on January 20th, Inauguration Day, in order to bring more attention to the view that the war in Iraq is "illegal and immoral."

Grodon says success would be getting President George W. Bush to acknowledge the protesters point of view.

Will it bring our troops home any sooner?

What will the protest really accomplish? I'm game for anything that will advance the question. The problem lies in defining a solution. A rapid withdrawal will likely leave the several factions of the Iraqis engaged in conflict with one another and strengthen the terrorist training camps and havens that exist today. Iraq is a quagmire and one we shouldn't be fighting. Owing in part to our misplaced aggression the people behind the September 11th attacks remain free.

I would like very much to bring our troops home. Too many, both Iraqi and Americans have died in bringing about the end of a tyrant's regime. The United States is engaged in trying to force a form of government on another country. It is a form that has served us well but not one that can be easily forced on another country. A key difference with the Declaration of Independence, is that in that historic document it was the people of a country establishing their own country and later government. Notably, even that dedicated group of people took more than a decade to form the foundation of the government we have today.


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