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Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Hump Day odds & ends

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 09, 2017 10:35 am

I generally agree with the right's complaints about the Great Google Manifesto Debacle. If you actually read the document, you should see that it is not sexist in any way — it's not even close. Now-fired software engineer James Damore does not disparage inclusiveness or diversity. In fact, he goes out of his way to praise them and merely says that Google should try doing them a better way. Neither does he say that women are "psychologically unfit" for tech jobs. He does make the obvious point that there are biological differences between men and women that we need to start taking into account instead of ignoring. All the critics who are freaking out are pretty clueless, agenda-driven, and/or flat-out lying. And Google, which claims to welcome diverse viewpoints, comes off looking like a bunch of hypocritical corporate weasels.

But having said all that, I completely get why he was fired. There is such a thing as biting the hand that feeds you. It is generally not acceptable to go around bad-mouthing the people who sign your paycheck, and that's exactly what Damore did. This was not a case of someone bringing up a problem at a meeting or going to HR with a complaint. He sent out an internal memo, and even if it hadn't gone viral, it still gained wide circulation within the company, creating just the kind of strife Danore probably intended.

If you want to seem some level-headed, non-hysterical responses to Damore's memo, check out these reactions from four scientists.

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OK, now the Norks are making me a little nervous. It is getting harder to dismiss Kim Jong-un as the same kind of empty-threat blowhard his father was. The country seems to be further along in its nuclear program than we imagined it was, and Kim is just crazy enough to use his arsenal, never mind that it would result in North Korea being blown off the planet. I'm starting to get the same sick, uneasy feeling I had during the Cuban missile crisis that the world as we know it could end at any minute. But I was a kid back then, and kids are scared of everything. In retrospect, Nikita Khrushchev was a belligerent bully, but at least he wasn't an absolute loon. We can only hope hindsight will give us the same impression of Kim.

Looks like the American people are getting a little nervous, too. For the first time in the history of this polling question, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs finds that a majority of people are willing to engage if Kim attacks not only us, but South Korea, Japan or any of our other allies in the region.

 A majority of Americans say the U.S. military should defend South Korea if North Korea attacks, according to a new poll released Monday.

It's the first time that more than half of Americans say troops should be deployed to help South Korea, according to the survey done by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which has been polling the issue since 1990.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they support military action against North Korea if it attacks the South, up from 47 percent in 2015.
Both Democrats and Republicans show similar support for increasing sanctions against North Korea, with 84 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats approving of them.

There are a few caveats, of course. A majority supports only a retaliatory strike. Support for a preemptive strike falls to 40 percent. And we're only talking air strikes. Support for a ground incursion — boots on the ground, as they say — is only 28 percent.

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The Senate must end the tyranny of the minority and abolish the filibuster. Mitch McConnell's lame excuses are getting harder and harder to stomach. It's obvious he is more loyal to the Senate as an "institution" than he is to the people who elected him. It's remarkable how much President Trump has gotten done without the congressional obstructionists of his own party — imagine what he could do with them. And it's time to stop using the Democrats as a reason not to drop the filibuster — if we do it now, they'll do it when they're in the majority. Democrats have already shown they will do whatever it takes to get their agenda passed. If Republicans do any less, what good are they?

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Naturally, as soon as I confess giving in and getting a couple of small tattoos, there is this article saying I have a tattoo problem — actually, he says the whole damn country has a tattoo problem. His main objections seem to be: 1. Getting a tattoo used to be an act of defiance or rebellion, now it's one of conforming; 2. People with tattoos are telling us things about themselves we really don't want to know; and 3) All you tattooed freaks are going to get sick and tired of your tats, you know you are. This guy is a conservative, but it sounds like typical leftwing holier-than-thou preaching to me.

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There is now a "transgender camp" that welcomes children as young as 4. "Gender specialists say the camp's growth reflects what they are seeing in gender clinics nationwide: increasing numbers of children coming out as transgender at young ages. They credit the rise to greater openness and awareness of LGBT issues and parents tuning in earlier when a child shows signs of gender dysphoria, or distress about their gender." This is child abuse, plain and simple.

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This just in: Philadelphia's tax on sugary drinks has made soda more expensive than beer in that city. A study finds that — shock of shocks — the 1.5-cent per ounce tax has fallen short of revenue projections, cost jobs and forced some Philadelphians to drive outside the city to buy groceries.

But not to worry. Protectionist trade policies being considered in Washington could increase the cost of aluminum. American breweries say that means you'll end up paying more for a can of beer.

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Scientists appear to have debunked The New York Times' claim it was leaked a secret, gloomy climate change report which it published amid fears President Trump would suppress it. It's pretty hard to suppress something that has been been online and available to the public for months. As for what's actually in the report, well, go ahead an panic if you wish. I might give it some thought once North Korea stops threatening real climate change.

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Yes, I'll probably ooh and aah over the solar eclipse, even though the daytime darkness will just last a few minutes in between hours and hours of night on either end of the phenomenon. But, honestly, the announcements states are making about it and the stories about it make it sound like some kind of horrible natural disaster.

Several counties in Idaho and Oregon have already issued emergency declarations. Local officials are citing increased public safety risks, financial damage, and excess costs of cleanup and property damage for the alerts.

On the East Coast, officials in South Carolina are reportedly stocking up on bottled water and port-a-potty services to prepare for the influx of tourists. The Red Cross is also setting up emergency shelters in the 12 affected states to help with possible emergencies that may overwhelm local governments.

Jeez, lighten up, people. 

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