~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Friday, April 29, 2005

The funny thing about Navy Corpsmen...

... is that for all the grief we Marines give them while in garrison, they have this annoying habit of morphing into superstars during combat.

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Lileks is Zippo blogging!

I don't know why I'm so excited about this. Lots of people love their Zippos. It's just that James has put his finger on the reason why we love them: They gotta chink.
This is my current Zippo. It’s too nice to carry, though; coins scratch the pictures. I recently fixed an old favorite – it worked fine, but didn’t chink when you opened it. And they have to chink. I fiddled with the innards until I got it to chink, and now it’s back in rotation. It’s horribly tarnished, too, which makes it look like something I’ve carried for 30 years. Stopped a bullet in the Congo with this one, I did.
Here's my scratched up, Marine Corps, monogrammed Zippo that I carry everyday.

It was a gift from my future wife on the day I shipped to Paris Island. Airport rules in our post 9/11 world prevented me from taking it with me to Iraq, and so for seven long months I was forced to live as a Bic man, not that I'd call that living. Or worse, when the Bics ran out of juice... MRE matchbooks (shudder.)

But back in the good ol' US of A, I again carry my Zippo with pride. And James has layed out the surprisingly simple reason for that pride. They gotta chink.

[Cross posted at Cardinal Coalition]

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Akbar sentenced to death

Washington Times:
A military jury has sentenced Sgt. Hasan Akbar to death for the 2003 murders of two officers in a grenade and rifle attack at a military camp in Kuwait.
I was driving past the very same Army camp, on our our way to the border, just one day after this disturbed idiot had fragged his own. I remember thinking to myself, "Well, in a couple years I'll be reading about his execution."

Oh, and this:
Akbar is the first American since the Vietnam era to be prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow serviceman during wartime.
Anyone still want a draft? In the thirty years since we've had an all volunteer military, Akbar is the first blue on blue murderer we've prosecuted.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005


Good thing I don't blog for a living. I'm small potatoes. One link from Ace and my average visits per day go from 15 to 73!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

South Park Muslims?

I'm still not sure how I feel about this (english language) joke that I found on an arabic site:
An old Arab has been living in New York for over 40 years. He'd like to plant his garden with potatoes but he's all alone, too old and weak. He emails his son who's studying in Paris:

Dear Ahmed, I'm very sad because I can't plant potatoes in my garden. If you were here you could have helped me turn over the ground. Love, Your Father.

The reply arrives the next day: Dear Father, whatever you do, please don't touch the garden! That's where I hid the thing. Love you too, Ahmed.

At 4 am the next morning the US Army, Marines, FBI, CIA and a SWAT team show up and comb every inch of the garden, then leave disappointed for the found nothing.

Another email from the son arrives later: Dear Father, I'm quite sure the garden has been turned over by now and that you can plant your potatoes. It was the best I could do. Love, Ahmed.
I mean, just a few days ago I railed against young muslims making light of American fears... But, on the other hand, it is a pretty funny joke. And if I consider myself a South Park Conservative, feeling free to make fun of current events, no matter how tragic, doesn't that make the author of this joke a South Park Muslim?

The big question... Is 9/11 safe for satire? I know it's been done... but is it socially acceptable?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Lebanon Update

Ramzi reports simply that "Syrian Army departed at 1000 GMT, April 26, 2005."

And I'm happy to pass on good news like that!

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I'm a flippin' GENIUS!

It's nice to gloat sometimes. Though apparently I don't know much about colons and semi-colons, which is scary, 'cause I write with them all the time ;->

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 100% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 67% on Beginner
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Intermediate
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 46% on Advanced
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 98% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test

(Via: Dodd)

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Arianna Huffington is blogging? OMG!!!!

Much is being made about the new, star studded, lefty group blog about to be launched by the histrionic pundit Arianna. She's lined up big names, big money, free office space... Look out Drudge!

Roger L. Simon reports hearing Arianna speak at a Blogging Panel at the L.A. Times Book Festival:
The subject was, you will be stunned to learn, the War in Iraq, although the panel's title was "Brave New World: Monopoly, Media and the Right to Know." [...] Arianna stepped forward in high dudgeon to complain that some in the media were pronouncing the war a success after the Iraqi elections. No one had been saying this war was about democracy before it was fought, she insisted. At that point I walked out.
I'm with Roger on this one. Anyone still insisting that WMDs were the sum total of reasons to depose Saddam is worthy of a walk out.

Arianna? I point you to Joint Resolution 114 dated October 10, 2002 which lists 19 reasons for going to war, including:

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

1998? Is that before... or after 2005?

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NYT hearts our troops...

... when they're 'Bloodied' and 'scrounging' that is:
Bloodied Marines Sound Off About Want of Armor and Men

The saga of Company E, part of a lionized battalion nicknamed the Magnificent Bastards, is also one of fortitude and ingenuity. The marines, based at Camp Pendleton in southern California, had been asked to rid the provincial capital of one of the most persistent insurgencies, and in enduring 26 firefights, 90 mortar attacks and more than 90 homemade bombs, they shipped their dead home and powered on. Their tour has become legendary among other Marine units now serving in Iraq and facing some of the same problems.
Sounds like an excellent opening line to a highly inspirational story demonstrating that, as always, The New York Times supports our troops. Right?

Nope. Buried in paragraph six.

The actual opening line reads:
On May 29, 2004, a station wagon that Iraqi insurgents had packed with C-4 explosives blew up on a highway in Ramadi, killing four American marines who died for lack of a few inches of steel.

Notice how they have go back to a incident nearly a full year ago in order to make it look like we're losing.

update: Jason Van Steenwyk has a more detailed critique of this article. He even notes (as I did, though I'm too churlish to admit it) that on the whole, "...the Times does a reasonable job here, for a layman's effort, in profiling the challenges of Company E."

Finally, don't miss Arthur Chrenkoff's weekly roundup of Good News from Iraq that you may have missed.

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

The "I got nothin" post

I have family coming in from out of state later today. Gonna be supremely busy. So this is my very first re-post:

"A Little Something I Like To Call The Creepiest Picture I've Ever Seen In My Entire Life"

The war was over, and there we were in Diwaniya, Iraq at the height of summer 2003. Sweating, stripped down to nearly naked, camped atop a grassless, dusty medical landfill, fighting debilitating gastro-intestinal distress, shooing latrine flies from our faces and contributing to post-war rebuilding and security. Trust me, it was a thoroughly miserable three months. One of our few joys was receiving letters and packages from home, a rare event given the remotness of our position. Finally, no longer on the move, mail began to catch up to us on the front lines (well, one step behind the front lines, as we were attached to the HQ Company of a Marine infantry battalion.)

A flood of letters arrived from various elementary school kids, most of which were touching in their naive patriotism, sweet in their unconditional support. These letters and post cards truly made our day, especially when letters from family were absent from the mail bag.

But every so often, an oddball sentiment made it's way through to us. There was the boy from Arizona who lamented, "It's sad that I am here safe while you are 'Over There' and 'In The Way.'" I'm parphrasing because his english was apparently none too good. And then there was the bumblebee picture that I like to call The Creepiest Picture I Have Ever Seen In My Entire Life.

It was hand drawn in bright crayon, a bumblebee crudely rendered in midflight with a big 'ol frown complete with dripping tears and a speech ballon which read, "Farewell, old friend."

We imediately taped it to the humvee in plain sight of the center of our outdoor camp. We indulged in many bemused discussions about what this poor kid's teacher said to convince the artist of our eminent demise. We were truly "In The Way" but not seriously worried about it. I mean, war has a way of hardening the mind when it comes to thoughts of mortality. But this kid was convinced of our doom, unaware of the casual, random nature of wartime unluckiness.

In the end, this letter was no less touching than the uber-patriotic letters from the other kids. Perhaps even more touching. It would be nice if all civillians understood the exact nature of war, the stress, the chaos, the immense satisfaction of being a part of a force for good. Alas, it will never be like that. When a school child displays a warped view of war, it's understandable. But the creepy thing is imagining what his teacher said to convey those feelings. This kid's bleak outlook could've been a result of something innocuous like, "You should honor these men and women for the sacrifices they make." But it could just as easily have been a statement like, "George Bush, your president, is sending these men and women off to die."

Not knowing which comment inspired the weeping bumblebee is what makes it creepy.

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Friday, April 22, 2005


The new Jib-Jab cartoon is up. It is very wrong... and very funny.

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Tori on The Tonight Show

Tori Amos just performed on Leno's show.

It was a fine performance, and even this battle hardened Marine likes her music... But, here's the thing that struck me as odd: the last time I saw Tori on Leno's show he said something stupid like, "You make great noises." And Tori screwed up her face in discust and repeated, "Great noises?" I felt sure that she'd never agree to play Leno again. Anyone else remember that one?


There must have been one HELL of an apology on Jay's part. Oh, listen to me... I sound like an American Idol fan. Well, guilty. (Hanging my head in shame *sniff* I used to be GOTH damnit!)

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bill and Jeff at 3:00pm

Every Thursday I look forward to grabbing a big bottle of bourbon and tuning in to my new favorite Internet Radio Show.

Today's guests are John Cole from Balloon Juice and Michele Catalano of A Small Victory.

Should be good. It's a sort of audio porn for bloggers.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Marines continue to be greeted home warmly in Bangor, Maine

L.A. Times:
Welcome Stop for Warriors
Locals in Bangor, Maine, are on a mission to greet every military plane, at any time, in any weather. Their tally so far: 200,000 troops.
After seven months as a Marine in Iraq, I remember touching down in the tiny Bangor, Maine airport in the middle of the night on my way home, and being greeted by the same group of wonderful supporters. Stephen King's father was there, handing out signed copies of his famous son's latest book. Even at 3 A.M. and with the shops closed, kind hearted ladies made sure we had cookies and coffee and huge coolers filled with iced down Cokes. I distinctly remember that my first Coke back on American soil (all we could get in Iraq was Pepsi) was handed to me by a charming, gray haired lady who's name, unfortunately, I'll never recall because I was so tired!

Apparently they're still at it. And I'm thrilled.

(Via: Michelle)

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Another arabic anecdote

LGF points to this story where the imam doesn't think the blonde haired author speaks arabic. But she does:
Jihad comes to Small Town, USA

At that point, another student took the podium. His name was Khaled, and he began to recount his recent trip to New York City. [...] He told of how uncomfortable his trip up to NYC had been. [...] thought he was the victim of racial profiling.

Khaled and his friends were pretty unhappy about it, and while in New York, they came up with a plan to "teach a lesson" to the passengers and crew. You can imagine the story Khaled told. He described how he and his friends whispered to each other on the flight, made simultaneous visits to the restroom, and generally tried to "spook" the other passengers. He laughed when he described how several women were in tears, and one man sitting near him was praying.

The others in the room thought the story was quite amusing [...] The imam stood up and told the group that this was a kind of peaceful civil disobedience that should be encouraged, and commended Khaled and his friends for their efforts.
Oh what I would've given to have been on that flight...

Chalk it up to my overdeveloped white knight complex, but I would've had no problem confronting Khaled and his punk friends.

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The new hooplah.

In the post-2004-election era there have been several media memes that have captured the imagination of folks hither and there...

- Sandy Berger... If I'd have done what he'd done, I'd still be serving time.

- Terri Schiavo... Done to death. Literally.

- Pope Benedict XVI... Not Catholic, myself. I've no intelligent comment to offer.

That brings us to news of a possible government cover-up of middle eastern connections to the Oklahoma City bombing ten years ago. Now, I'm as big a fan of conspiracy theories as anyone, but I remain unconvinced. I will of, course, continue to investigate but I'm more interested in the anacdotal stories emerging out of this controversy. Here's mine: (from my comment at The Word Unheard who tipped me to an excellent starting point)


I have no doubt that the details surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing 10 years ago are more complicated and involved than what was reported on tv. (Just like 20 years ago my father predicted the space shuttle Columbia Challenger disaster would be blamed on the failure of a single, simple part. Rubber O-rings. Dad was right.)

I believe there's a certain value in reducing the complexity of such stories down to a managable level. Your average American consumer of news doesn't need most of the details. But my chief complaint about the reporting of Tim McVeigh (and I realize I'm shifting the focus of your post from government treatment to media treatment) is that the day of McVeigh's execution in 2000 was the day of my final speaking test at arabic language school. Part of that test is knowledge of current events, both U.S. and international. Constant coverage of the execution here in America blocked out all international news for the entire day and as a result I recieved a lower score on my DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test.)

It's a petty complaint, I know. But it's another example of how pat reporting can harm an average Marine. I look forward to exploring the deeper story behind Oklahoma City, 1995.
And I'm not alone in my nostalgic thoughts. Lileks writes today (scroll to the bottom):
The day the Murrah building was bombed was a few days after I got Jasper; I remember it clearly, because he got sick right after we brought him home, and I spent the day of the bombing watching TV with a listless little puppy in my arms. Ten years later he’s at home dozing while I’m at the bookstore with Gnat. She’s finding a My Little Pony book to read, something about wishes coming true, and I’m looking for “The Third Terrorist,” a book about Iraqi connections to the 9/11 bombing. I’ve heard the author speak on many radio shows, and she’s quite compelling; she speaks in TV news show cadences, but at least they’re long-form investigative report cadences.
I, too, have heard this author speak on many talk radio programs, and admit I'm intrigued. But I suspect my interest has been piqued more by "Where were you on that day?" discussions more than anything else.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

I like stories with happy endings...

... and I absolutely adore stories that end with the words, "21 insurgents dead and 15 wounded. No Marines were seriously hurt."

(Via: LGF)

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

VDH reminds me of something I hadn't thought of in months

Victor Davis Hanson has yet another excellent essay up at National Review. One line in particular struck me...
"Do you suppose that the Bush administration has Osama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?" - attributed to Madeleine Albright.
I remember hearing this crazy conspiracy theory during last year's election campaign, and thinking to myself that it actually sounded halfway plausible. I mean, Bush had been burned by last minute allegations of a DUI in 2000, followed by an extremely close vote count. In my mind it was conceivable he was holding his own trump card as rebutal to any so called October surprises that might emerge in 2004.

Of course, in retrospect, it was an absurd notion, but during the heady days of an election year, I admit I fell for many halfway plausible theories. Whew! 2004 was a roller coaster. I'm actually glad to have a break from the stress.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Houskeeping update

In the news -

--- One class left! Then I can take the test to become a dirty rotten Realtor! I'm so gonna love this new field. Strictly commission, no income limit, less chance of being shot...

--- The Wife and I are going up north tonight to check in on some seldom-seen friends. You know, the river btween Ky and IN has a bridge guys. Ever think of coming down here? :->

--- Laugh of the day is definately at Sharp as a Marble - "Threat Level Caucasion"

--- Lego Church!

--- I'll leave you in the capable hands of the pointy haired one.

              @         @ 
             @@  ..-..  @@
             @@@' _ _ '@@@
              @(  . .  )@
               |  (_)  |
               |   _   |
               |_     _|
              /|_'---'_|             / | '\_/' |             /  |  | |  |  \       


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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Okay, this site is getting too serious

Another Housekeeping Update is in the works, but in the meantime, I, like Ace, weep over the current state of our "democracy" when a fine citizen like Lexington, KY resident Henry Earl is the recipient of such harassment. This man is currently in jail, people! What's it gonna take for the populace to rise up?!

Ya know? I should drive down there. It's only an hour away at optimum swerving speed... and I'm a bit thirsty.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Not on my watch.

John Kerry is soliciting hardship stories from anyone who knows a family with members serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Here's what I sent him:
Dear Senator Kerry,

My story? You wouldn't want it since it describes seven harrowing months, away from my family, at the frontlines making a POSITIVE DIFFERENCE for the citizens of Iraq.

You first, Senator. Sign the damn form. And stop fishing for emotional sob stories from American military families in order to further your political goals, you heartless vampire.
Not my best prose. Mixed metaphors, and my anger shines through. But still, I am angry! I'll be damned if I let him co-opt "For the Troops" the way liberals have co-opted "For the Children." Neither side, left nor right, has a monopoly on "caring."

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Cigars to the Troops!

This man is my new hero.

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Monday, April 11, 2005

The Ronald Reagan Rose

Ronald Reagan Rose Hybrid Tea

I now know which vine I want to replace the insideous honey suckle menace along the back fence. Should go nicely with our plans to grow grapes over the deck trelis.

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TANG rears it ugly head... again.

But then again, it is the NYT.
Mr. Bush had not gone so far as to include on his [iPod] playlist "Fortunate Son," the angry anti-Vietnam war song about who has to go to war that Mr. Fogerty sang when he was with Creedence Clearwater Revival. ("I ain't no senator's son ... Some folks are born silver spoon in hand.") As the son of a two-term congressman and a United States Senate candidate, Mr. Bush won a coveted spot with the Texas Air National Guard to avoid combat in Vietnam.
Oh brother.

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in vino veritas

(Or: Why I will never run for office.)

Today's first post is a wino roundup:

Coming soon to a theater near you, the "Fahrenheit 9/11 of wine." I actually want to see this documentary... rent it I mean.

Ann Althouse points us to a story detailing how the movie "Sideways" is diverting business from merlot over to pinot noir.

Movie review of "Sideways" (in five words or less) can be found at Jeff's place. Come on... it's five words exactly. So short you can't say that I'm wasting your time.

Wine recomendations from this humble blogger:

- Thomas Winery puts out a quality product from the state of Indiana. If ever you're in Nashville, IN be sure to stop in their frontshop and give it the Pepsi Challenge. The Wife and I actually paid fifty dollars (the most ever!) for a bottle of Family Reserve. Worth. Every. Penny.

- Fat Bastard Shiraz. French company. Buy it for the name, and continue to buy it for the quality.

- Night Train (wine flavored malt liquer beverage.) Better than clear beer.

- And, as always, my two favorite brands of booze remain "cold" and "yours."

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Marine recruiters are the good guys?

Recruiting trip puts Marine in the right place
"Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Hampson was out looking for qualified applicants Monday when he found a purse-snatcher instead. No sweat. He just used another part of his Marine training, tackled the guy and held him until police got there."
Reached for comment, these Santa Cruz protestors said, "Ya see? Just another example of the MAN grinding his capitalist jackboot into the neck of a brave new socialist!" and then degenerated into chants of:

Hey hey! Ho ho! Handsome-but-fascist-marines-who-stop-crime have got to go!

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Jeff and Bill will be on the air in just minutes...

Update: Okay. A bargain. I give you the opportunity to have a good laugh at my expense, and in return you agree to read Jeff's and Bill's sites on a regular basis. Deal?

[Full disclosure] Yes, that's me, the nasally-voiced, sycophantic second caller on this week's show. ("Keith in Louisville")

I'm outing myself as a Lizardoid here.

Listen to hourly replays of the show here through the weekend.

P.S. - If you really want to expose me for the drunkkun geek that I am, see here. (Scroll down for more embarassing comments)

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Jonah threatens to "go all Samsonite gorilla"

I am so going to start using that phrase, even if it dates me. That is, until I get too many uncomprehending stares. The reference is starting to age, and not in a fine wine sort of way.

Update: Jonah' on f'n fire with the funny today. He notes from yesterday's Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Ghaleb put himself up for election last year. Then he joined the opposition to the elections and resolved to withdraw, but got kidnapped and missed the deadline to remove his name from the ballot. On election day, he found himself a reluctant winner.

Too bad it's subscription only. The WSJ is culling potentially loyal customers with their pay-per-view policies.

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"Bush, it now seems safe to say, is one of the great surprises in modern U.S. history."

If Hillary Clinton is duly elected as president in 2008 and then procedes to influence the world in a manner as positive as President Bush has done, well, I'm fully prepared to take back every single snide remark I've ever uttered about her.

But are Bush detractors prepared to do the same now that the president has changed the face of the Mid-East in just five short years? Many are not. But a few are... and none are more eloquent than Martin Peretz, writing in the New Republic. (free subscription required)

"If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others...

It's just so nice to know that a few liberals acknowledge the fact that hatred of "Bush the man" is something quite different than "Bush the MAN." (As in, "Never take your eye off the MAN. He's out to screw you. Better keep the ACLU on speed dial")

(via: Roger L. Simon)

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"It messed up the job fair for a lot of people."

The Santa Cruz Sentinel has a very interesting account of protesters disrupting a college job fair in order to harrass a couple of Marine recruiters. There's absolutely nothing in this story which makes the protesters look noble, or even marginally sympathetic.

Michelle Malkin is calling this incident the outrage of the day, but really, the facts of the case don't warrant much anger. It is outrageous that the career fair had to be postponed because of the actions of a few trying to impose their opinions upon the many, but in the end those actions backfired. Big time.

Some choice quotes:
"It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, that has given us the freedom to demonstrate."

"If they want free speech, they should let people speak to the recruiters."

"I wish they would leave."

That didn’t stop the student protesters. About 75 of them pushed their way in, carrying signs and a banner that said "Military Off Our Campus." They chanted, "Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay. Hey, recruiters, go away."

Two Marine Corps recruiters, dressed in street clothes, declined to comment.
We all know who exhibited the most class that day.

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Rapture Index (another update)

Rapture Index currently up to 153 (Net Change +4 / Updated Apr 4, 2005)

I don't know about you, but the index seems awfully stable to me. It has remained in the low 150s since I've been monitoring it.

*sigh* I'll keep watching the numbers and let you know if anything exciting happens... at least until this bit stops amusing me.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

"...at times it began to sound a lot like the 1960s"

That's Chicago theater critic Hedy Weiss writing about last weekend's Humana New Plays Festival in the Sun Times. (full article here) She apparently came down from the windy city and managed to look down her nose long enough to notice this blindingly obvious fact: "the festival [...] often seemed like a temporary blue zone in a decidedly red state."

Nahhh! Ya think so? I decided not to attend the Humana series this year after reading the plot summaries and reviews in the LEO. Way, way, way too leftist for my tastes. And having been out of the theater loop since I left Louisville to join the Corps in 99, I couldn't score any comp tix. If a playwright wants to protest against the war to the point of offending veterans, she's welcome to do so. It's a free country. But I'm certainly not going to pay to see it! Even sophistocated, blue-state critic Weiss was unimpressed, calling Kia Corthron's Moot the Messenger a "long, self-indulgent, shrilly finger-wagging play..." She continues...
"Corthron rails against the war in Iraq, the corporatization of the media, the inequities of racial hiring and firing, the class-based nature of the U.S. military and more."
... thus confirming that my decision to skip the festival was indeed a wise one, at least as far as my blood pressure is concerned.

[cross posted at The Cardinal Coalition]

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The Cardinal Coalition

is a blog devoted to culture, politics and commentary here in Louisville and I've been invited to be a contributing blogger.

Check it out.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Eminent Domain; A question of vocabulary

MoverMike points out a pet peeve of mine that we apparently share:
But as philosopher Ayn Rand observed, "there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals . . . .the idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others."
The peculiar language of real estate leads to all sorts of incorrect usage by those not trained in the field. It's frequently maddening. But I suppose docters, lawyers and physicists get just as upset when I incorrectly reference MRI's, writs, and Schroedinger's Cat.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Bush presents Medal of Honor

Today, President Bush presented the first of what I suspect will be many Medals of Honor awarded for Operation Iraqi Freedom to Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith.

Text of the citation here.
President's remarks here.
Medal of Honor statistics here.

I was privaledged to serve in Iraq alongside heros. While I was fully prepared to give my life in service to my country, I'm grateful that I was able to return safely to my family, due, in large part, to the heroic actions of Paul Ray Smith and others. One of the greatest things about blogging is that it gives me a public forum to record my thanks to all the people to whom I'm indebted.

Thank you, Paul.

Update: View a reenactment of Sgt. Smith's actions. (Flash)

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Quote of the day, wartime edition

The story's just not that interesting, but this quote is hysterical.
At the Pentagon, Mr. Durante says that software cost savings are paying for the switch to thin clients. In part, that's because users now need only two licenses for Microsoft Office—one for their thin client and another for their Internet PC—instead of separate licenses for a host of PCs.

"Getting rid of Office wasn't an option," Mr. Durante notes. "You can't run a war without PowerPoint."
Reached for comment, dead guy and former general George Patton remarked, "I didn't get that memo. Could you e-mail it to me?"

(via: Volokh)

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Just finished watching The Endurance, a spectacular documentary about the doomed, 1914 expedition accross Antarctica. This film has got everything: brave men, sinking ships, faithful dogs, and narrowly averted mutiny. (This list is nowhere near exhaustive.) The DVD comes complete with meaty extra features (always a plus that I look for when buying or renting a movie.) I can heartily recomend it.

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

French, drunk, and out of control

France manages to baffle me... again!

Depressed French wine producers bomb Government offices

Terrorist attacks by radical wine producers on government offices in the south of France yesterday served notice that the country's wine crisis may be spinning out of control.

Sticks of dynamite were thrown at agriculture ministry offices in Montpellier and Carcassonne in the early hours, causing serious damage but no injuries. A car was also burned outside ministry offices in Nîmes.

The attacks, which were condemned by mainstream wine producers' associations, were claimed by a group called comité régional d'action viticole (Crav).

(via: LGF)

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The shocking-but-false story of the Negro Space Progam

I don't seem to be able to stop laughing. Seriously. I need to pee.

"It was a different time... 1957... or 58. America's love affair with racism was in full swing. NASA was no exception."

(via: Ace)

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Mitch Hedberg: Another good one gone.

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A call for seriousness...

Alright, bloggers...

Can we declare a moritorium on April Fool's posting? I mean, really, I can't be chasing down phony news leads this afternoon. I gotta call Mom and ask if her refridgerator is running.

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I'm humbled

... to read this Portuguese poet's thoughts on America. Truly humbled.
One can be American never having been to America. To be American is to wish well for America. Whoever wishes well for America makes it grow? To want to go to America is what there is more of in the world; this craving is an overwhelming good. To wish well for America is to make the world grow.
I forget, sometimes, the enormous impact my country has on the rest of the planet. Paulo José Miranda reminds us of that influence, without the usual European rancor.

Thank you, Paulo. Well done.

(Via: INDC Journal)

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I'm dorkin' it out all over the place... sorry I got some on ya... my bad.

I can't wait to see this movie.

Preview (quicktime.)

I'm an admitted documentary freak. (I own this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this on DVD.) These truly are my friends, my sub-society. I own a kilt. I have worn wode. I am a dork.

I directly attribute my joining of the Marines to the fact that I had only a foggy, disjointed picture of what the SCA was. (I once had a roommate who tried to explain it to me. (Props to you, Wookie.) I was too drunk at the time to understand the genius of it. Six years and one real-life shooting war later, here I am... still a dork, though a deadly one.

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