July 30, 2005

Hube reappears (sort of)

Hube, from whose blog we derived much of our inspiration, has agreed to post every now and then when the urge bites him. He is now in his wife´s homeland of Costa Rica on vacation, and will return in about a week. By then he promises his first post on this blog, including an explanation of what happened with his old site, "Hube´s Cube."

We look forward to it!

Posted by Rhodey at 03:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005

The debate still rages

Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, one of only three surviving members of the Enola Gay -- the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima -- said he "still often finds himself engaged in the skirmish over how history should view that horrific event":

"We killed a whole bunch of people for nothing - that's the attitude you sometimes get today," Van Kirk said Thursday. [But] Van Kirk said the attack - and a second atomic strike on Nagasaki three days later - actually saved lives. He said it spared Americans and Japanese from the carnage that would have occurred if the United States had invaded Japan.

Besides the Gay's Van Kirk, also living are Paul Tibbets, the pilot, and Morris Jeppson, the assistant weaponeer.

It seems that every year that goes by, the debate about the correctness of President Truman's decision gets questioned more and more. There seems to be the view, among the newer generations, that the morality of dropping the A-bomb was unquestionably wrong. Van Kirk concurs:

Enola Gay veterans had planned to attend anniversary events on Tinian on Aug. 6. But [Van Kirk's agent Edward] Humphreys steered them away, saying that he thought the events would turn into a "pity party" for Japanese victims without much acknowledgment of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that had brought the United States into the war - nor of Japanese atrocities in Nanjing, China, or during the Bataan Death March in the Philippines.

"I agree," Van Kirk said.

Those Americans who fought in the Pacific theatre had little doubt of the Japanese tenacity and fighting prowess. Just witness the prodigious amount of US casualties at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Guadalcanal, not to mention the sheer determination of the Japanese to continue battle -- and not surrender.

Unlike some of the more radical "revisionist" historian claims (such as the Japanese were on the verge of surrendering even without the A-bomb or threat thereof ... see folks like Gar Alperovitz, a noted "progressive"), the view that a demonstration of the bomb's power would have been sufficient to scare the Japanese into surrendering seems to be a more popular -- and logical -- view. Even the only historian quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer article, Stanley Weintraub, says that

the atomic attacks and the subsequent Soviet attack on Japanese forces in Manchuria made Japanese leaders see the futility of continuing.

"The Japanese had no intention to surrender," he said Friday from his home in Delaware. "We had to shock them into surrender."

This "shock" doesn't necessarily preclude a demonstration of the bomb's power, however (although this probably isn't Weintraub's opinion). And, I believe this is a legitimate view although I don't necessarily agree with it.

An excellent fiction of "what might have been" was written by Kim Stanley Robinson in his novelette, "The Lucky Strike." Although Robinson appears to be virulently anti-Paul Tibbets (the real pilot of the Enola Gay) he nevertheless offers a fairly plausible scenario whereby the Gay was destroyed during a practice bombing run (and Tibbets thus killed), and the "secondary" bombing crew -- on the plane The Lucky Strike -- would now have to get ready to drop the A-bomb. Capt. Frank January has severe misgivings about using the bomb on populated areas, and, as the actual bombadier aboard the Strike, can do something about it.

Posted by Rhodey at 09:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 16, 2005

Summer of sci-fi

I've caught two summer offerings thus far. The latest was Fantastic Four, the big screen adaptation (finally!) of Marvel's first family. When I saw the trailers on the tube, I admit I found myself doubting the movie from the start. I mean, Julian McMahon playing the world-conquering, mega-maniacal Dr. Doom?? The guy who plays the unscrupulous, womanizing, egotistic Dr. Christian Troy on "Nip/Tuck"? On second thought, yeah -- maybe it'll work!

The movie was about what I expected -- pretty much standard bubble gum fare, but good enough that it should keep Marvel's growing reputation for big-budget offerings alive. The F/X are excellent, certainly, especially Michael Chiklis' make-up as the rocky, lumpy Thing. Hollywood has to take certain liberties, too, as adaptations can't be literal. Dr. Doom, while still being an old acquaintance of Reed Richards, is actually affected by the same cosmic ray storm that gives the quartet its powers. He slowly transforms into a being of "organic metal" (much like the X-Men's Colossus) and develops electricity-zapping powers. (How he came to wear his trademark mask, however, is cheesy.)

A week earlier I caught Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds." This remake remains truer to H.G. Wells' original story than the 1953 movie (which was still excellent in its own right -- way ahead of its time), with the aliens utilizing "tripod" mechanisms to move about, and spraying the "red weed" all over in their attempt to terraform (or should that be "alienform"?) the earth. (I've never read the novel, but I caught Spielberg discussing this on a "Turner Classic Movie Special.") The F/X are boffo, the film's legitimately spooky, and as usual, Spielberg fails to disappoint. (How's that for a double negative?)

Philip's Ratings (out of five):

  • FF: Two and half stars.
  • WOTW: Four stars.

Posted by at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Grassroots Democracy"

Yet another college indoctrination masquerading as a "course": Grassroots Democracy: Race, Culture and Liberation. From the course content description:

Our primary text for this class will be Ron Takaki's A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. We will examine and compare the migration (and immigration) experiences of four major ethnic groups within the United States. Beginning at the origins of the country and continuing through contemporary U.S. society, the course will focus on the way migration and immigration patterns have been bound up with race and racism. The course will focus on the consequences of this history in contemporary society and compare the different outcomes which resulted from the particular ways different ethnic groups were "racialized." (For example, looking at the relative flexibility of the categorization of "whiteness" when applied to Irish immigrants or even some ethnic Asian immigrants, as compared with African slaves.) Special emphasis will be placed on the historical experiences of African Americans, Mexican Americans, selected European immigrants (primarily Irish and Jewish), and selected Asian Americans (primarily Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos). The class may also compare the relevant features of some other ethnic/racial groups (both historical and contemporary) in light of the themes of the course.

Political and economic aspects of migration will be compared, thereby setting the topic of study within the larger social and historical context of the United States, including the place of the U.S. in international affairs. The course will also: 1) discuss the contemporary social and cultural implications of the migration and immigration process and 2) pay attention to issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and class, as well as the role of the state (policy) to the process of immigration and migration. (For example, comparing the relative effects of racism and "internalized racism" on different ethnic groups in society today; examining the interrelationships of various forms of contemporary racism; comparing, assessing, and examining the relationships among racism versus other forms of social oppression.)

Finally, students will also be expected to apply the lessons from the class to understand better their own cultural identities and experiences.

And, how 'bout this from the "Teaching/Learning Method" (my emphasis):

This is a collaborative learning class. One principal learning/teaching method for our collaborative learning will be a process whereby people listen carefully to the ideas, feelings and experiences of their peers.

But of course! How could we forget feelings in our oh-so self-esteem conscious civilization?

And hey -- check out how the instructor's name stretches the boundaries of multiculturalism: Nicky González Yuen.

John Rosenberg has more.

Posted by Felix at 09:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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July 15, 2005

Who "The Colossus of Rhodey" are

HUBE is a native of Delaware, USA. Delaware's claim to fame, such that it is, is that it is the very FIRST state of the United States, having been the first to ratify the US Constitution on December 7, 1787. Hube attended public schools, and then attended the also-public University of Delaware, studying International Relations.

Hube later earned his Masters degree at the University of Delaware, and as a graduate student became a member of the National Association of Scholars (NAS).

Hube worked on a former Delaware House of Representatives' Majority Leader's election campaigns since his first election in 1990. Hube has been, and remains, extremely interested in local and national politics, the United States Supreme Court, education, and contemporary culture. He has taught public school for over 20 years.

Hube is a big sports aficionado, too. He enjoys running, basketball, golf, football (American) and soccer. He at one time was an avid comics collector. Hube also has some musical talent. He is a proficient saxophone player, and is self-taught on the bass guitar. In college he played sax in a local rock band (called Why Not?). Currently, Hube doesn't play either instrument very much (much to his regret).

Hube makes his home in Delaware.

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DUFFY is a decade-long resident of the First State. He is currently politically homeless but is most accurately described as a "small L" libertarian. He is married with kids (one of whom is autistic) and lives in Pencader Hundred. He has been a freelance IT consultant for the past 8 years and has worked in many of Delaware's cube farms. He enjoys soccer, Formula 1, home-brewing and bad puns.

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PAUL SMITH JR., formerly of Gazizza.net and other group blogs, joined The Colossus in July 2010. By day, he works as a web developer for a local internet marketing agency. His past political experience includes serving on the national board of directors of a conservative youth organization, managing a campaign for Mayor of Wilmington, and serving as Vice-Chairman of the Wilmington Republican Committee.

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FELIX is located in the northeast corridor of the United States. He likes to write. He likes politics. Other than that, he prefers to remain highly anonymous. He was a big fan of contributor Hube's former "Hube's Cube" blog. Felix's politics are pretty similar to Hube's -- conservative/libertarian for the most part.

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GOOCH was born and raised in Southwest Philadelphia. He is an avid Philadelphia sports fan, currently holding Phillies and Eagles season tickets. He enjoys SoapBox Derby Racing on the adult circuit, collecting gray things, and jumping large puddles on rainy days. He loves Jack Lemmon, yet hates Lemonheads. He spends what little free time he has reading non-fiction books and watching movies. Gooch is a bona fide Bodhisattva. He has the distinction of being one of only six card-carrying members of the Republican Party to have ever had dreadlocks. He is currently enrolled in grad school and has been focusing most of his energy towards his studies and beautiful new bride.

He contributes behind the scenes doing research and such. Until then, you stay classy, San Diego.

Posted by Rhodey at 09:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Welcome!

Welcome to the Colossus of Rhodey! We're a small "consortium" of folks (which may grow further) whose members will essentially handle specific topics/categories. Although certainly we may deviate from our usual areas, generally it'll be as follows:

Rhodey: Politics, History, Looney Left and Law.
Felix: Culture, Education, Media Bias and Race.
Philip: Entertainment and Humor.

We hope you'll enjoy our commentary!

Posted by Rhodey at 02:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack