Target Centermass

8/31/2006

Public Perceptions and Reality

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:51 pm

These days, the American public is pelted by story after story from “our” media about lack of progress, quagmire, pending doom and outright tragedy. Unsurprisingly, polls show that American attitudes have been negatively affected in several areas, but do these effects match reality or merely the impression that the media is spoonfeeding?

Here are four postings I’d invite the reader to examine:

All are good reads that present evidence that the predominant feelings of the American public are not grounded in reality or, in the global warming case, not based on solid scientific procedures.

How can I explain any discrepancy between perception and reality? Well, that’s quite simple: the mainstream media, our information gatekeepers, are generally failing to bring us all the news thats fit to print, opting instead for all the news that fits their agenda or their mindset.

Without alternative means to get information, I have to wonder how many times in the past that the will and attitude of the American people were shaped by shoddy reporting, misinformation, selective coverage and outright bias. Tet, of course, springs to mind — a huge victory that was painted as defeat and eventually was the trigger of our ultimate demise in Viet Nam.

Trekkies, Intriguing News for Ya

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:08 pm

The Original Series is coming back … sort of.

Star Trek purists, take a deep breath! On Sept. 16, the iconic ‘60s series will return to syndication for the first time since 1990, but with a startling difference: All 79 episodes are being digitally remastered with computer-generated effects not possible when Gene Roddenberry created the show 40 years ago. The news could cause Roddenberry loyalists to have a collective cow, but the longtime Trek staffers in charge of the makeover say they’re honoring the late maestro’s vision, not changing it.

“We’re taking great pains to respect the integrity and style of the original,” says Michael Okuda, who spent 18 years as a scenic-art supervisor on Star Trek films and spin-offs. “Our goal is to always ask ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today’s technology?”

[…]

The upgraded episodes — to be shown out of order and one per week — will kick off with “Balance of Terror,” a big fan favorite “that gives us a chance to really show off the ‘new’ Enterprise,” says Okuda. “The exterior of the ship now has depth and detail, and it will fly more dynamically.” Painted backdrops will also be brought to life: Once-empty star bases will have CGI people milling about, while static alien landscapes have been given slow-moving clouds and shimmering water.

Okay, I’m in, as long as it doesn’t conflict with BSG.

Hat tip to Cranky over at the Buffet, who adds the following after noting that the intro theme will also be redone:

No word yet whether the da-ta-da-da-da-da-DA-dot-tot-DA-da hand to hand combat music will be affected.

I believe that he is referring to this:

College Football Is Back

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:44 pm

Sweeeeet.

The 2006 season officially launched today, and I’ve already grabbed a bit of couch-tater time this evening watching South Carolina down Mississippi State 15-love.

Full-scale madness starts Saturday, although I’m not hoping for much of a game for my Aggies in their opener against Citadel.

Ah, but I do love this time of year.

Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:34 am

Well, at least it’s safe to say that putting the latest musings from Ralph Peters into practice would certainly make the recent Texas congressional redistricting brouhaha look like a fun-filled day at the state fair, complete with funnel cakes and corndogs for all.

International borders are never completely just. But the degree of injustice they inflict upon those whom frontiers force together or separate makes an enormous difference — often the difference between freedom and oppression, tolerance and atrocity, the rule of law and terrorism, or even peace and war.

The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East. Drawn by self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers), Africa’s borders continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants. But the unjust borders in the Middle East — to borrow from Churchill — generate more trouble than can be consumed locally [my note: great freakin’ line].

While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone — from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism — the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region’s comprehensive failure isn’t Islam but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats.

As I’ve repeatedly stated, I have long found the efforts of Mr. Peters to be worth highlighting, either for their thoughtful nature, actual value or intriguing look at possible futures. With the above intro, Mr. Peters launches into a bold area — a one-man redrawing of the national borders currently found in the cauldron that is the Middle East. Indeed, he even creates some new countries, though not with the arbitrary capriciousness that led to many of the current borders. Here are his before and after maps, though I do highly recommend reading the article for a wealth of reasoning and history.

Is the plan realistically feasible? Quite possibly yes, with the hopes of a very positive global effect. Is the actual implementation of the plan realistically feasible? Probably not without a vast degree of bloodshed — and maybe even radiation — in the region, which would probably require an entirely new drawing of the map based on surviving populations.

Hat tip to CDR Salamander, who rightly calls out Mr. Peters for cheesing out on the following tidbit:

But the issue of the territories surrounding Jerusalem, a city stained with thousands of years of blood, may prove intractable beyond our lifetimes. Where all parties have turned their god into a real-estate tycoon, literal turf battles have a tenacity unrivaled by mere greed for oil wealth or ethnic squabbles. So let us set aside this single overstudied issue and turn to those that are studiously ignored.

I’m going to have to side with Salamander here, as it is quite the cop-out when included in such a broad vision. After all, the West Bank and the Palestinians have historically been a wee bit of an issue, somewhat of a speedbump on the roadmap to peace. Tom Clancy had an idea: let the supposedly-neutral Swiss Guards handle the multi-religion holy ground juncture that is Jerusalem. I have another idea: let’s go really neutral. The Swiss Guards can monitor the transit points into and out of Jerusalem, a truly neutral party — like say a committee of Bhuddist monks — can administer the city, and the Brothers Earp and Doc Holliday can keep the Jerusalem clean of weapons.

Hey, I’m just brainstorming.

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