~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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.


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Reuters anti-american? Nahhhh...

I know I'm not the first to stumble across this today, but this has got to be the most blatant example of Al-Reuters-speak I've seen yet.

"AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch woman who swears by a daily helping of herring for a healthy life celebrated her 115th birthday on Wednesday as the oldest living person on record.

Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher, was born in 1890, the year Sioux Indians were massacred by the U.S. military at the Battle of Wounded Knee."
Huh? Is that the most germaine factoid that they can gin up for a story on a Dutch centagenarian?

Google the results for "1890 Netherlands" and I bet you'll come up with something more suited. "Born the same year as the death of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh" perhaps?

UPDATE: Opinion Journal was thinking along the same lines as they point out that "The swipe at America seems especially gratuitous given that 1890 actually was a big year in the history of the Netherlands: the year Queen Wilhelmina, age 10, ascended to the Dutch throne."

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Diary, 5

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

June 1, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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"The darkness at ground zero just got a little darker."

I sooooooooooooooooo want to smack this guy.

"Somber, oppressive and clumsily conceived, the project is a monument to a society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness. It is exactly the kind of nightmare that government officials repeatedly asserted would never happen here: an impregnable tower braced against the outside world."

"The earlier twisted glass form... lacked grace or fresh ideas. The new obelisk-shaped tower, standing on an enormous 20-story concrete pedestal, evokes a gigantic glass paperweight with a toothpick stuck on top. [...] The temptation, of course, is to dismiss it as a joke... Unfortunately, the tower is too loaded with meaning to dismiss. For better or worse, it will be seen by the world as a chilling expression of how the United States is reshaping its identity in a post-Sept. 11 context."
What in the hell are you trying to... Oh! You think it's UGLY! Why didn't you just say so? And by extension, Americans are ugly, as well?

"The effort fails on almost every level. As an urban object, the tower's static form and square base finally brushes aside the last remnants of Libeskind's master plan, whose only real strength was the potential tension it created between the site's various structures."
Potential tension?

"The alleyway, [in the original design] was fraught with tension; it is now a formless park littered with trees."
Fraught with tension!? Oh my!

"The author of this critique, in the original design, was fraught with pretentiousness; alas, he is now a formless object of ridicule littered about with empty Starbucks containers."

America hasn't "turned it's back on cultural openess" by approving a memorial you find aesthetically unpleasing, you self important poseur. Our cultural openess over the past two hundred years has been a key contributor in producing a society wherein someone like you is free to publicly lament how an ugly memorial is "an ideal symbol for an empire enthralled with its own power, and unaware that it is fading."

Pour another latte, Chicken Little. Relax.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse thinks the author should be commended for finding words to write about architecture. And I see her point. Writing about such a visual medium is difficult. She also admits that his assumptions about his readers' politics is "grating." Well, put me in the "thoroughly grated upon" category. I can't see past his pessimism which I most definately do not share. The memorial tower could be shaped like a thousand foot Barney the Purple Dinosaur (an uglier image I could not fathom) and still I would insist America's future remained bright. One ugly building does not a crumbling "empire" make.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Diary, 4

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

April 5, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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Presidential address

On the whole, good. But then again, I support our President, the Bush doctrine, and our mission in Iraq. So hearing that I liked the speech (transcript, video) is a bit predictable.

Couple of moments gave me pause, though...

The line, "And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces" made me bristle a bit, though I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason why. Derb spotted it, too.

"That would ring a little less hollow if this country's ruling classes were better represented in the military. In fact the military is a lower-middle-class and working-class occupation, which U.S. elites avoid like the plague."
It's a good point. The leisure class of Mr. Derbyshire's native Britain (at least at one time) considered civil service, especially military service to be the most honorable of pursuits. Our leisure class seems more, um, nebulous in trying to pin down it's values when it comes to service. Now my knee-jerk reaction is to rebut him (I'm mixed up, I know) by pointing out that the President is working-class, at least in lifestyle if not in fact. That's why U.S. elites hate him. Perhaps I felt a frisson go through me, imagining all the snobs who'll surely mutter, "There he goes again. Recruiting other people's kids for his illegitimate war."

Here's my favorite part. Bush on the nature of the terrorists: "They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq — just as they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001."

As subtle dig at those in the media obsessed with reporting only the bad news coming out of Iraq? Perhaps, perhaps not. I never expected him to come out swinging in this speech and explicitly condemn certain terrorist sympathizers here in the western media. And I was right, he didn't. But he did highlight how the bad guys manipulate our free press. Why pay for your own propoganda machine when American and other news acgencies will quote you verbatim? The only way the enemy will win this war is to turn it into another Vietnam. But the only side who has the power to create another Vietnam is our side.

On the whole, good. I liked it. Predictable, huh?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Diary, 3

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

April 10, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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Nailed it!

From a caller on Limbaugh yesterday regarding SCOTUS' disasterous eminant domain decision.

"You can't even have freedom of speech if you don't have private property rights then the government can retaliate against you expressing your opinion by taking away your property. Private property rights are the most important of all rights because they are the ones that protect every other right."
Bingo. You can hear a replay of the call here.

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New Michael Yon report

Walking the Line III

Here's your choice quote:

"Luckily the Puma did not crash, leaving the theory of the ripped-off arms untested."

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Diary, 2

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

August 12, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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"Americans Dissatisfied With Press Coverage of the Military"

Ya think?

NRO's Media Blogger (the "Name This Blog" contest is still open apparently) Stephen Spruiell continues his streak of spot on analysis concerning public reaction to bad military reporting.

"These [new] numbers combined with declining favorability ratings for all news media suggest that it is time for a reorientation in the way the press covers the military. This study suggests that almost half of the population thinks that press coverage of the military — suspicious, cynical, focused on the negative — is weakening the nation’s defenses."
There are 24.9 million veterans in the United States with direct experience of life in the military. Add to that number relatives of veterans, friends of veterans , and co-workers of veterans casually talking around the the water cooler and you can see why the public has a vested interest in accurate reporting.

Previous posts here, and here.

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Still think we don't need tort reform?

Lee Harris (to whose excellent, clear writing you may remember I was only recently introduced) goes one further, arguing that we as Americans may be undermining our "fundamental right of free people to govern themselves" with too much respect for law.

"The moment the American courts decided that they had the authority to review how the Boy Scouts should operate their own institutions, from that moment on the courts had placed themselves in the position of having the final say so over how the Boy Scouts could operate, thereby flinging the door wide open for future meddling and interference. So what if they take the side of the Boy Scouts this time? Next time they could just as easily take the other side. In short, once the principle has been established that the courts have a right to decide other people's problems, then the people whose problems are being decided have forfeited their fundamental right to work out their differences without fear of the intervention of a third party possessed of virtually unlimited power to compel obedience."
It's an interesting argument, though a little hyperbolic in my opinion. He's trying to identify the underlying motivations for anectdotal accounts of abuses like those in The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard. Well, good for him. It's a thorny question for the sharpest of philosophers, and Mr. Harris is certainly sharp.

For myself, I'm willing to accept a certain amount of friction between government and the people, as long as that friction manifests itself publicly and not in some secret, back room resistance movement. The fact Mr. Harris' article is published openly is proof that our friction here in America is still public. For that matter, the Supreme Court doesn't operate in secret, either. Let the debate continue...

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More good news from Iraq

The indespensable Arthur Chrenkoff has his weekly roundup of under reported news from the front. Now he's on week thirty! If you appreciate the service he's done for us, please consider hitting his tip jar.

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World's largest optical illusion

My geekitude may be showing, but I don't care. These pictures are beautiful.
"It can put a man in space, land a probe on Mars, but Nasa can't explain why the moon appears bigger when it's on the horizon than when it's high in the night sky."
Besides... optical illusions fascinate me. I admit it... I went to Space Camp as a child. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Diary, 1

*** Pages from the journal I kept during my time in Iraq.

May 8, 2003

Diary,1 Diary,2 Diary,3 Diary,4 Diary,5 Diary,6 Diary,7 Diary,8 Diary,9

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Site's all wonky

Looks good in Mozilla, but the margins are off in IE. Since I know just enough code to be dangerous, it'll be interesting to see if I can fix it...

UPDATE: Think I found it.

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Slow news day indeed

Slow enough to put my ugly mug above the fold on page one.

Bloggers let the world see their thoughts

Notice how the first pic seems shot around midnight and the second around noon. Actually they were both shot just minutes after 1 PM. But I don't want to quibble, they specifically asked if they could photograph me in the act of blogging. Action packed drama, right? A visually dramatic picture? Of blogging?

I wasn't certain I'd even be in the piece so imagine my surprise when my mother called me this morning that I was on the front page.

My thanks go out to Mr. Coomes and Mr. Clevenger, for the kind article and pictures.

UPDATE: If you're looking for my post about the "highly one-sided story concerning Marine recruitment efforts" quoted in the article it's located here.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Houskeeping update

I've punched up the page topper. I think it looks a little better now. Here's the original.

And Operation stump removal has now been renamed "Operation Build a Planter Box Over It." It's simply too hot to work out there. Think I'll have a nap, now.

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Friday, June 24, 2005

The Friday Penguin beckons

After a week like this, it's always best to heed the somber stare of the Friday Penguin:

*click for more solemnity*

(Louisville blogger bash tonight at Flanagans on Baxter - 6:30 to 8:30)

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Kit Jarrell's "Conversation With A Fallujah Marine" is now available

It's a real piece of work. I especially like the way she chooses to end the interview.

Just before he leaves, I ask him if there is anything he wants me to add to the story.

“I’m nothing special,” he says. “Add that.”
Infantry Marines like CPL Aaron Kuck are the guys that kept P.O.G.s like me from dying in that far-off land. My hat is off.

And thank you, Kit, for the kind account of what a combat veteran thinks about Iraq. All Marines swagger (I sure as hell do) but mostly we're a bunch of soft spoken, confident Americans like CPL Kuck who "just do what Marines do." Spot on.

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Outrage! Gitcher fresh outrage! Hot off the press!

Linda Foley issues non-apology apology. Lot of that going around lately...

Confronting right-wing hysteria
... the essence of my message is: Don’t kill the messenger. I should have said it that way in St. Louis. Instead, I decided to draw a parallel between the assault on journalists for their work and the assault on journalists covering Iraq. I used strong words and said it rather clumsily, but the St. Louis crowd got the point.
"In essence, I regret the fact that you're all too stupid to see the subtle, nuanced message cleverly hidden in my baseless accusation that US soldiers asassinate journalists, which we should all know to be true. At least the smart people in St. Louis got it."

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Pointless quiz time!

Better dead then Red!

What pisses you off?

(Via: Bluegrass)

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New report from Michael Yon

He's at it again. Making sense all over the place.
it's doubtful that catching Zarqawi will have any real effect on the direction of this war. Despite the media's pronouncements about his critical leadership role, he's just a single sting in a clump of nettle. Pluck him out and another might replace him, but either way, the terror network here is so fragmented that few are likely to notice his absence. Yet when it comes to guarding these terminals, there probably is no greater mission in Iraq. Another terminal cannot just pop up and replace the loss.
I think there's still practical value in high profile captures of terrorists. But he's right. That would be for us here in the US. Not there in Iraq.

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Balance Sheet beat me to it

Cranky received the same automated email from Senator Durbin that I did. I was going to tear it apart line by line, but he beat me to it. Though he does a fine job of expressing my own sentiments, I wanted to stress this point:

Why did this automated form letter take six days to reach my inbox? Hmm? Did your server go down due to volume? Or did you need a few days to formulate a response to your offensive gaff? I don't see a third possibility here, though I'm fairly sure you could explain it to me. I'll check my inbox in about six days.
I sent this question (along with a copy of my initial email) to Senator Durbin's new address. After his non-apology apology, I'm not exactly holding my breath. I mean, he is a Nazi, after all.

Note: If it turns out that the facts prove I'm wrong about Mr. Durbin being a Nazi, I'll issue an automated email response soon. ("Soon" being defined as "on or around the six day mark.")

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ron Shock is on the radio!

I'll explain why later... You gotta tune in.

Louisville WHAS 840 AM (Click on 'Listen Live')

UPDATE: Ron is one of my favorite comedians from ten years ago. Last I'd heard he'd been killed in a car crash. Now I learn that he's still alive! His web site is here. (Note the tag line at the top.) I have ten years of catch up to do. Let's see, how much cash do I have to spend on back CDs? One, two, three... umm... three and a half...

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Michelle reports on more seccesionist talk.

I've been there. Remember that old Texas tourism slogan? "Texas... It like a whole 'nuther country." Well, Hawaii is living that dream.

I know, beause for two years I was stationed on the island of Oahu. During that time I was issued numerous official warnings not to visit the North Shore after dark as an identifiable Marine (Hali with a short haircut) for fear another service member would be murdered by gangs. (A rare occurence, but the fear was palpable.) I conducted a frantic four-week search for an apartment close to base that met a basic standard of cleanliness before my sweetheart flew out to marry me. I drove my car listening to nationally syndicated talk-radio that never mentioned Hawaii, but when I tuned into local radio, the US military were never mentioned except for issues surounding our impact on the local economy. My wife was told at work that because she got her college degree fom a mainland school, she was likely to be passed over for promotion, despite the fact that with her mid-western work ethics, she was a top earner for the company.

Eventually I fell into a "live and let live," trance-like mode. Many Hawaii residents I met were genuinely open and friendly, and I sought out their company. I learned to dismiss the passive agressive reactions of the pro-native faction. Every time a store clerk at the Alamoana Mall in Honolulu would roll her eyes and drop her smile when she realized I couldn't afford a $300 shirt ("Damn. He's not a rich tourist. He's one on those mainlanders staioned here.") I would thank her for her time and make a bee-line for the exit. It became routine. Once, after a year, dropping countless hundreds of dollars at a grocery up the street, the propriator threw in a free bag of boiled peanuts. I remember feeling elated that I'd finally been accepted as a "local."

How pathetic is that?

UPDATE: Wow! That was a bitter post. My main point is that Hawaii is filled with beautiful sights,

beautiful people,

and a culture that consistantly gives the impression to outsiders that they'd rather keep that beauty as a private paradise for themselves. Nice place to visit, wouldn't want to live there. (Again.)

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Smart man blogging

This article by Lee Harris on the dangers of moral relativism is nothing short of amazing.
"The intelligentsia have no idea of the consequences that would ensue if middle America lost its simple faith in God and its equally simple trust in its fellow men. Their plain virtues and homespun beliefs are the bedrock of decency and integrity in our nation and in the world. These are the people who give their sons and daughters to defend the good and to defeat the evil. If in their eyes this clear and simple distinction is blurred through the dissemination of moral relativism and an aesthetic of ethical frivolity, where else will human decency find such willing and able defenders?"
But equally impresssive is the way See-Dubya can bridge the gap between the casual nature of the way bloggers speak and the formal tone of a magazine like Policy Review. His introduction to this article is the only link I'll provide. It's too good for a throw away hat tip at the bottom.

See-Dubya calls himself a fan of Mr. Harris. Now? ... I'm a fan as well.

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The continuing war on personal choice

Frederick Ochsenhirt highlights a modest proposal by DC Council member and anti smoking ban advocate, Carol Schwartz, Ban Smoking in Bars? Let's Just Ban Bars!

Read it all, for it is good. Especially his ending. "And remember, it wasn't long ago that those fighting for individual liberty were called "over the top" for predicting that fast food restaurants would be sued for making people fat."


High court OKs personal property seizures

"At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for 'public use.'"

Apparently "public use" means shopping malls and office buildings now. Sheesh.


The flag. I'm on record as saying that, as a matter of constitutional principle, anyone may do anything they choose to a flag. When I die, my coffin will be draped in that flaq that I fought under, but I don't remember raising my right hand and swearing to protect and defend the flag, but rather the Constitution.

Captain Ed thinks we're Addressing The Symptom And Not The Disease. "[The] push for this amendment comes from Congress' (correct) impulse to push back against an activist court that creates new rights and laws out of thin air." Yup. In a country of over 300 million we are garunteed to find a few who want to shock and offend the majority by burning a flag. What is that in comparison to a runaway judiciary?


To paraphrase Penn Jillete, "Life is not made of nerf. And the sharp edges are going to cut you from time to time."

Personal choice, not government regulation, has made us the richest, most powerful country in the world, proving that a free republic works. Now that we're comfortable, no longer the underdog, no longer the upstart troublemaking thorn in some monarchy's side, and finally in a position to spread the gospel of freedom to those peoples less fortunate, are we going to chip away at that success from within?

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Trying for trackbacks...

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

UPDATE: HaloScan has been removed because it didn't transfer old comments over to the new system. Anyone know of a way to add trackbacks to Blogger without removing old comments?

UPDATE: Ok. Think I figured it out...

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

In Vino Veritas

Booze in the news...

- US threatens wine war with Europe

"French producers are showing off their ideas for conquering the United States."


- Two men risk lives to go for a pint

Sounds perfectly logical to me.

- The Maker's Mark Embassy

"I, as a Maker’s Mark Ambassador, do pledge to introduce those who have not yet had the pleasure (poor souls) to the smooth taste of Maker’s Mark bourbon."

I've been an Ambassador of Bourbon for 'bout ten mo- --*hic* about ten mon- -- *hic* about a year now.

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It's been slow today, I know

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Private accounts dropped from plan

Apparently the President can prove he has the wherwithal to visit 60 cities in 60 days, but not to save the option of private accounts. He caved. Plain and simple. Why did he even bother?

Not even a tiny reprieve from the mandatory savings program with the famously crappy rate of return. *sigh*

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There are no good reasons to burn the flag...

... but there is one overpowering reason to keep it legal. Helpfully, that reason is listed as number one, way up at the top.

But some of our elected representatives don't see it that way.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

All the abuse that's fit to print

New Bonfire of the Vanities!

The writers of It's A Pundit have done a bang up job this week. And if they hate me, well... it's because I deserve it.

I especially enjoyed these entries:

- BJ "There was a time (no pun intended) when the weekly news magazines were anticipated and read thoroughly without considering the accuracy or bias conveyed."
She asks, "what's in a woman's last name?" And what's up with traditional media crapping all over tradition?

- Brian J. "Hefeweizen is German for "half urine." The name comes from the very light yellow color, as well as the speed of passage through the body."
My wife (who was kind enough to take my name) adores Hefay-Vice-en... though I'm not exactly sure why. Must have been a habit she picked up in Europe.

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I'll never understand Lileks

File under "Pointless Blog Wars"
And this is from Eno’s “Apollo,” a soundtrack to a film of spacecraft footage. This is what I mean by stillness and presence. (I’ll never, ever forgive the filmmakers of “Trainspotting” for defiling this piece. Ever.)
James Lileks is THE smartest blogger I'm aware of. But Eno? And what's with the offensive hatin' on "Trainspotting?" Them there's fightin' words.

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The continuing saga of Kerry's military records...

... finally comes to an end? Last night the Powerline guys posted scanned images of all three pages of Kerry's Form 180, and I noted that it was an undeleted release. We'll soon see what the L.A. Times reporter who secured it finds out.

Previous post.

UPDATE: Scott Johnson remarks, "When the Globe's Michael Kranish reported on Kerry's records earlier this month, I noted that Kerry was either the world's worst politician or that something was missing from his records. I believe that observation still applies."

I think this has gone as far as it ever will, and in the final analysis, we'll just never know what was in Kerry's closely guarded records. Scott's right. Unsatisfying? You bet. But it's time to let it go.

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Two brave men

The Washington Times highlights the comments of a very brave man:
Douglas Wood, an Australian engineer held hostage in Iraq for nearly seven weeks [...] apologized for his televised plea for coalition forces to withdraw from Iraq. [...] "Frankly, I'd like to apologize to both President Bush and Prime Minister [John] Howard for the things I said under duress ... I actually believe that I am proof positive that the current policy of training the Iraqi army ... works because it was Iraqis that got me out," he said.
And, in the same article (ostensibly for that "balance" newspeople are always striving for) another man is quoted:

Australia's top Islamic cleric, meanwhile, said the military operation to free Mr. Wood could have endangered the lives of two Iraqis still being held by the kidnappers. "The stupid action that was taken last week has exposed the fathers of these families to death," Sheik Taj El Din al-Hilaly told reporters on his return from Baghdad, where he had tried to secure Mr. Wood's release.

Now Mr. al-Hilaly is also a brave man. Brave to have traveled to Iraq to meet with terrorists, certainly, but also brave to bad-mouth the operation that achieved what he couldn't. The swift and painful reprisal for his criticism will surely... what? We don't do that to people who criticize Coalition efforts? You mean to tell me he can say whatever he wants? What kind of right-wing, Christian theocracy are we running here?

(Sarcasm off)

UPDATE: Tim Blair has been all over this affair from day one.

It now appears that claims the raid that freed Mr Wood had damaged the rescue hopes for two other Iraqis are also unfounded, as the men were killed several weeks ago.


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Monday, June 20, 2005

Quote of the Day - Atkins Edition

At an unprecedented time in history where Leno makes nightly cracks about America's obesity epidemic, Mark Steyn hits the nail on the head concerning Gitmo:
"It’s the first gulag in history where the torture victims put on weight..."

(Via: Michelle)

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Going to war under false pretenses...

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow veteran yesterday. We met at a local Radio Shack. Both of us arrived about fifteen minutes before start of business, and so, with nothing else to pass the time, we talked.

He was moving from Texas to Maine in a giant U-Haul and needed to buy a phone charger to replace the one hoplessly buried under all his earthly possesions. (I was there to buy an RF converter for my new DVD player.) I symapthized with him over the difficulties of cross country driving, and related my tale of getting out of the Marine Corps and driving from L.A. to Louisville last year (with a jaunt into Oregon to see some friends.)

"Marine Corps?" he asked. "What do you think about our involvement over in Iraq? Just so you know, I used to be Army infantry." After telling him that I spent seven months active duty over in Iraq, I told him, "I think things are going amazingly well," and went on to explain why I thought so.

He went on to agree with me about the usefullness of a genuinely friendly arab government in the mid-east, before confessing that he "did not support the invasion of Iraq" though he supports "finishing the job now that we're there."

"Oh?" I asked. "Why didn't you support our going into Iraq?"

"Well, Iraq wasn't directly tied to 9/11 the way Afghanistan was and of course the issue of missing WMDs weighs heavily on my mind. I just feel we went to war under false pretenses."

"That's funny," I told him. "I, too, feel like we went to war under false pretenses."

"Really?" he asked.

"Yeah. I thought I was fighting in Iraq to make America safer with the added bonus of freeing 25 million Iraqis. Turns out that in retrospect I was freeing 25 million Iraqis with the added bonus of firming up claims of WMDs. But for some reason, I don't feel duped or betrayed. All I feel is, well... pride."

I never got his name, but I hope he safely completes his journey to his new home in Maine.

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I'm a little late getting started tday...

Laundry, dishes, a computer virus (my own stupidity for clicking on a suspicious link) have all contributed to my recent silence.

Check out these excellent links while I get myself together:

- "If John McCain truly thinks that we need to try the detainees at Gitmo, I think he'd better get a grip on reality. [W]ould McCain have wanted to be tried by the Vietcong when he was a POW? [...} Where are the level-headed grown-ups? Who's in charge of the daycare center we call Congress anyway?! Can we hire a history and civics tutor for these dolts??"

Amen, Dawn.

- Am I Crazy, Or Is It Impossible to Capture a Terrorist Using "Art"?

"Look, we all do things we don't want to do. If you're a writer or sculptor or whatever, and you want to serve the not-very-high-paying counter-culture, I'm sorry, take a day job or mix up your transgressive works with some commercially viable stuff. You can do the commercially-viable stuff under a psuedonym if you like."

Amen, Ace.

- Git ‘R’ Done

"Someone should tell the weenies that if we do more of what’s below and less “omg GITMO!”, we might actually get out of Iraq in this lifetime."

Amen, Kit.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

To do today:

Call Dad.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Walking the Line"

Michael Yon has another excellent report from Iraq.
"I have temporarily departed Mosul to travel Iraq, Kuwait, and the North Arabian Gulf, with a top US soldier. I have been asking this soldier for six months to allow me to accompany him while he checks on the troops of all service branches: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and others."

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"Glazed chicken for the prisoners tomorrow"

I stop and ask myself, "Have these crazy accusations of detainee abuse at Guantanamo gotten out of hand?"

Paul Drabek says yes. Yes they have. He watched Rep. Duncan Hunter rip up Human Rights Watch on Fox News Sunday (transcript) in a trainwreck of free Korans, gourmet cooking, and other assorted abuses and then provides us with a little compare and contrast:
Now if you want to be really offended at how much money we're throwing down the gullets of those who would fly planes into buildings to murder you or me let's compare how much we're spending per meal for the terrorists to how much we spend on our most valuable asset, our children with the National School Lunch Program
After you're finished at Paul's place, check out the weather forcast at Club Gitmo.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

A modest proposal

From the new ScreedBlog -
Here’s the deal. We decide what constitutes torture, and identify it as the following: insufficient air conditioning, excess air conditioning, sleep deprivation, being chained to the floor, and other forms of psychological stress. The United States is free to use these techniques against hardened terrorists. Those who disagree with the techniques sign a register that records their complaints. When the terrorist finally spills the details of a forthcoming attack, on, say, Chicago, the people who signed the register and live in Chicago are required to report to the Disintegration Chamber. Very simple. Everyone’s happy.
Works for me. Any takers? Didn't think so.

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PBS - Two opposing views

I love PBS. I grew up without cable and PBS instilled in me an intense love for documentary films and do-it-yourself shows. I created countless science fair projects based on NOVA programs, and even today I fix up my hundred year old house using inspiration gleaned from a lifetime of watching This Old House.

My only problem with PBS is that it takes tax payer money and preaches liberal dogma at me. A liberal world view is fine for individual Americans, it is a free country after all, but I bristle at being forced to fund it.

A good friend sent me a moveon.org dispatch pleading for the rescue of Big Bird from the talons of the Republicans:
A House panel has voted to eliminate all public funding for NPR and PBS, starting with "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," and other commercial-free children's shows. If approved, this would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting, threatening to pull the plug on Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch.
I'm on record as one who doesn't respond well to "For the Children" arguments.

The cuts would slash 25% of the federal funding this year--$100 million--and end funding altogether within two years. The loss could kill beloved children's shows like "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Arthur," and "Postcards from Buster." Rural stations and those serving low-income communities might not survive. Other stations would have to increase corporate sponsorships.
I'm also not one to be moved by invoking the holy demographics ("Rural" and "low-income" communities.)

My knee-jerk reaction is to advocate for the withdrawl of federal funding. Let it stand on it's own in the free market. Even though liberal, PBS is still a quality product so let it be vindicated with commercial success, I say.

Peggy Noonan, writing for the Wall Street Journal, argues effectively against that reaction:
Conservatives argue that in a 500-channel universe the programming of PBS could easily be duplicated or find a home at a free commercial network. The power of the marketplace will ensure that PBS's better offerings find a place to continue and flourish.

This I doubt. Actually I'm fairly certain it is not true.


At its best, at its most thoughtful and intellectually honest and curious, PBS does the kind of work that no other network in America does or will do...Such programming would be expensive, demanding, and a ratings disaster...But some great work came from PBS's detachment from marketplace realities. And it has even been work--such as "The Civil War"--that helped our country by teaching our children the things they must know to go on to become adults who love their country. This, in the world we live in, is no small thing. It's huge.


Art and science and history. That's where PBS's programming should be. And Americans would not resent funding it.
Read it all, for it is good. A reasonable agument in favor of continued federal funding. But it's all predicated on the assumption that PBS will willingly drop all political content and the cynic in me just doesn't see that happening. PBS as it stands today is a public institution. As such it enjoys a protected status much like Social Security and dozens of other programs I'd like to see reformed. I'm afraid that Noonan's desire (which I share) for an apolitical PBS is just wishful thinking without a funding cut. Perhaps the motivation for reform will start in PBS's pocketbook.

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Another random thought from a Marine who's out of the service now

The Kentucky Air National Guard pilots are getting in their monthly flight hours by flying low and loud over the house this afternoon.

Funny how reassuring that sound is now, considering how much it bothered me while I was trying to sleep in the barracks...

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"Turtles all the way down"

Jonah Goldberg remembers his father, Sidney Goldberg, in a touching memorial.

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PETA workers charged with animal cruelty

Putting unwanted animals to sleep is one thing. Sad but all too often necessary. But tossing the corpses of dogs and cats into a dumpster under cover of night? (Link includes video) Please... I won't allow another PETA member to lecture me morally about anything ever again. This is truely the last straw.

Look at these two.

No degree of "compassionate head tilt" will undo the damage they've done to their beloved cause. PETA's PR is screwed. And not in a gentle "make love, not war" sort of way. I mean in a "full on, bend over, kiss your credibility goodbye" sort of way.

(Via: Drudge)

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Take a picture, it'll last longer...

As I type this I'm being photographed for possible inclusion in a Courier-Journal article on local bloggers. (This is where I pretend to be blogging something important while Mike snaps away on his digital camera.)

I'll update if anything ever comes from this...

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More on the Axel Cobb recruiting story

Stephen Spruiell posts emails about the Seattle Post Intelligencer's craptastic scare story. I'm quoted as is another Louisville veteran who states:

I note that Axel Cobb is reported to be 18 years old. I was in charge of enlisted recruiting for Navy Recruiting District Louisville in the early '90s. I had over one hundred recruiters in 41 stations in four states working for me. I don't doubt that those Marine recruiters did their best to politely ignore the mother. Legally she has no say. I fielded many calls from concerned parents wanting to know details about Johnny's enlistment. I tried to be tactful, but bottom line: it's none of their business. Indeed, it is a violation of the privacy act to discuss it with them. But then we treated 18-year-olds like adults.
I wish I knew this person's name. I'd love to shake this person's hand and thank him for cutting to the heart of the matter: The Seattle PI and other leftist outlets continue to sell this wrong-headed idea that our military sends kids off to die. That is so erroneous as to be offensive. The truth is that there ain't no "kids" in the military, only adult volunteers. We send our brave and patriotic volunteers off not to die, but to win! And to date, they've never failed us.

Earlier post.

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Quick links - with an anti-Seinfeld bent

In which I attempt to give my readers a taste of the good stuff around the Blogosphere today... while maintaining my virulent hatred of all things Seinfeld.
"Neurotic white people living in New York? Nah. It'll never be a hit."
Howard Stern uttered those fateful words (or words similar) many moons ago. If only he'd been correct:

Lileks - "One of the mantras you hear invoked from time to time is 'words mean something.' But they obviously don’t."

I blame Seinfeld.

Smash - "Nobody signs up for the military with the expectation that they will never have to go in harm's way. This is absurd, and an insult to the intelligence of everyone who has ever worn the uniform."

Me? I blame Seinfeld.

Cavuto - "It’s not an American slavery memorial or “what we’ve done wrong in the world” memorial. It’s meant to remember people killed on Sept. 11, period — end of story." (Includes link to video)

Hey! Seinfeld's insiduous influence rears it's ugly head again. 'magine that.

Aylward - "N.Z. Bear's TTLB has been redesigned (and re-plumbed) from top-to-bottom, and it's better than ever. Check it out."

*sigh* Another perfectly good website succumbs to an almost Seinfeldian desire to update.

Penn - [To a gathering of Iranians] "I understand the nature of where [the "Death to America" chant] comes from and what its intention is. But I don't think it's productive because I think the message goes to the American people and it is interpreted very literally."

Hey, Sean? Does it ever occur to you that some people do mean it literally? You've been watching those re-runs again, haven't you. You know the ones I mean. Figures.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Douglas Wood freed!

Australian Douglas Wood freed after being held hostage six weeks in Iraq.

This is great news indeed. Congratulations to Wood and his family. And, hopefully as a sign of more good things to come, Wood was discovered and rescued by Iraqi Soldiers conducting a preplanned sweep. Good on them.

The CNN article (appropriately IMO) ends:
"There are nearly 30 people still being held hostage in Iraq, including the American Jeffrey Ake."
Well, it looks like we have our work cut out for us, then. Doesn't it?

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Shatner can do anything

Even the last scene from SEVEN... playing every part.

That's because he's a "super dense ball of infinite coolness."

(Via: Jonah again)

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More to the story than Seattle wants to hear

Or rather, more than Seattle's reporter Susan Paynter wants you to hear.

Stephen Spruiell of NRO's new Media Blog expands upon what he wrote last Friday about a highly one-sided story on Seattle's Marine Corps recruitment efforts. The original column indiscriminately throws around inflammatory language like "desperate" efforts and even "kidnapping."

I did a little digging of my own. This same reporter has written columns about our military before without quoting a single military source. In fact, she seems to favor one-sided accounts from those civilians who've become disillusioned with the military, especially widows and parents of dead Soldiers and Marines. I found these three columns from the last year in about ten minutes. Not one quotes an active duty american military member, all focus on the grief and worry of civilians.

A soldier's wife blasts Bush for 'backdoor' draft
October 18, 2004

A mom's internal struggle when her son decides to enlist
September 20, 2004

A folded flag can't cover the wounds of war
June 21, 2004

It would seem to me that Paynter has a history of telling just one side of the story.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bonfire of the Vanities #102

A self-submitted list of the week's WORST posts. It's so bad, it's good. (Yes, I'm in there.)

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Operation Slugger

DHL is delivering more than half a million dollars worth of sports equipment for the troops downtown at the Louisville Slugger Museum right now. Think I'll pack up the blog for a bit and go join them. Maybe I'll snap a few pictures.
"Operation Slugger came about after Louisville Slugger received numerous e-mails from U.S. soldiers requesting baseball bats and gloves to replace equipment that had worn out from repeated use or for those troops who didn’t have any sporting equipment."
UPDATE: As promised, here's some pictures from this morning's send off ceremony.

It was a small but fun gathering. USA Cares, who helped organize Operation Slugger coordinating between the Army, the VFW, Louisville Slugger, and DHL had a cameraman taping individuals thanking the troops. I got a few seconds of face time, perhaps I'll be included on the DVD they're producing for each care package.

Mayor Jerry was there and at his signal, the DHL drivers fired off air cannons loaded with streamers. That was a crowd pleaser. I can't believe my luck in finding out about this ten minutes before it started! Wish I'd known about Operation Slugger earlier. Baseball in the desert... hmmm. Beats the hell out of the "Hammer Hole" we played for hours on end in 2003. (It doesn't take much imagination to guess the rules of that game. Dig hole. Back up. Throw hammer in hole. Repeat.)

(Tracked on the Gazette - Thanks Mrs Greyhawk!)

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Poor Saddam!

I missed this one yesterday.

Video of Saddam's Questioning Released
Unlike Saddam's combative appearance at his arraignment on July 1, 2004 - the last time he was seen on video - the new tape reveals a man who appears a shadow of his former self.
Awwwwwwww... Wonder why? Poor widdle Saddam hasn't murdered anyone since 2003? Shucks. Being a deposed dictator must be a real drag. And he still has his execution to look forward to.

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FEC to run roughshod over bloggers, part 2

FEC Commissioner Brad Smith, interviewed by Tech Central Station's Nick Shulz.

Here's Smith waxing hysterical on the disturbing trend towards regulating political speech online :
"We are starting to turn the purpose of regulation on its head [...] That is to say that the Washington Post website, well, that's probably exempt. What about Slate, which at one time was owned by Microsoft? Well that's going to be exempt. Why? Because Slate kind of looks and it feels like a newspaper. ['Feels' like a newspaper?- Ed.] It comes off the web rather than delivered by paper to my door, but it just has that look and feel and has that kind of sense to it. [There's that word again. 'Feels' Why does that make me nervous every time I hear it?- Ed.] And then people are going to say, what about maybe a blog such as that run by Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit or something like that? Well maybe that gets the exemption. But after that it's less clear.

Therefore we are saying if you are a big powerful cooperation, we are going to give you a press exemption for your Internet activity, at least if you are a press operation. And as we work down the line we are not going to give you that exemption. As a result you are going to be stifling the activity of the most grassroots, casual type of political action, rather than that of the big press corporation."
Here's Smith on what to do about it:
" [*chirp chirp*] "
That's right. Nothing. While I could find no fault with the questions asked in this interview, the answers seemed to be lacking something, ummm, important? Like maybe a solution to reversing the current trend of all regulation, all the time? It's not that the Commissioner doesn't understand the dangers of internet regulation, what scares me is the way he proposes nothing that could avert that danger. In fact, a cynic such as myself might even start to think that he's again trying to ingratiate himself to us "little bloggers" in yet another "don't worry about it, we share your concerns" sort of way.

I challenge you to prove me wrong, Mr. Smith. Prove me wrong. I'd love nothing more than to eat the words I've just written.

Previous post.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Jackson verdict imminent

Of course, the only question that will be cleared up is whether Michael is a strange, socially challenged man who sleeps with children or a criminally strange, socially challenged man who sleeps with children.

God I didn't want to get sucked into another celebrity trial.

UPDATE: Whewwww! Glad we cleared that up.

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What Grampa would call, "a little light yard work"

At one time when I was obviously insane, I wanted to live on a farm.

One stump removal (half completed) later, the full extent of my former affliction has become terrifying clear. The end of the weekend finds me with an aching back, sunburn, and a yawning void in my backyard. Had the roots gone any deeper, I'd have a new water well by now. (I typed these words as best I could with the blistered, crabbed claws that used to be my hands, so please excuse any typos.)

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Seed From Ancient Judea Sprouts

"Israeli doctors and scientists have succeeded in germinating a date seed nearly 2,000 years old."

NYT (free subscription required. Bugmenot is your friend)

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Good News from Iraq, part 29

More indispensable Chrenkoff.

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Media bias: root causes and hypotheticals

Jay Rosen digs deep.
"When I’m Reporting, I am a Citizen of the World.”

That's a quote from CNN's Bob Franken. A tour through his press think shows why I ask the Big Journalism Deans: if schools like yours are supposed to spread the gospel, how do they know they have the religion right?
A careful and thought provoking article follows with an extremely interesting comment thread. (Ignore Olliver Willis, though. He's spouting gibberish again and if you call him on it, well, you're somehow a racist.)

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Another lame photo protest

Tim Blair has spotted a return of the "compassionate head tilt."


This one is my personal fave.

"Korean Government, please not whaling"

Nice to see that college education paying off.

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'Nuther Friday tearjerker

Old Vietnam War Friends Meet in Grocery

I love this story.

(Via: Michelle)

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Here goes nothin'

Testing a new layout...

Whadda ya think? (Special request for those readers out there who are more tech savy than I am. I know just enough HTML to be dangerous. Would you poke around and point out any bugs that you can find?)

All comments, however, would be greatly appreciated.

(Bumped to the top for a while)

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We have a winner!

And the award for best negative example of web design goes to...

* Click *

(Be sure to view in both IE and Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox for maximum effect.)

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Broken fang all better now

The dentist says I can go back to business as usual.

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Outrage at gound zero

Yesterday Charles Johnson highlighted a WSJ editorial condemning the way powerful liberal action groups are co-opting the 9/11 memorial for a museum of human atrocities. (subscription only but this free link will work for another six days. If you're reading this past that deadline, contact me and I'll email it to you.)
Rather than a respectful tribute to our individual and collective loss, they will get a slanted history lesson, a didactic lecture on the meaning of liberty in a post-9/11 world. They will be served up a heaping foreign policy discussion over the greater meaning of Abu Ghraib and what it portends for the country and the rest of the world.

The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man's inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich's Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona.
This morning Bill Bennett interviewed the author, Debra Burlingame. Listen here.

(Via: The Corner)

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Kerry's records: Comments and reactions

The Boston Globe says there is nothing new. After stonewalling since at least May 2003, Senator Kerry was damned if he did release them, damned if he didn't. Had the records reflected, as many of his opponents suspected, a less than honorable discharge then he'd would've been further villified by the right. Now that they've turned out to be inoccuous (maybe not! See update below), even praise worthy, he's sure to be castigated by the left who'll scream, "Idiot! Why didn't you put this issue to bed last year and win the damn election?"

Also included with the released records are college transcripts that show Kerry earned slightly lower grades than Bush. As Harry Forbes points out, "The delicious part of this revelation will, of course, be hearing some Kerry die-hards excusing his mediocre grades and being certain in spite of such evidence that their man is far “smarter” and that his opponent remains an imbecile" and also adds this very reasonable caveat lest we gloat too much: "Younger readers should be aware that Kerry and Bush attended college in an era before students were treated as customers by colleges, and when many college professors believed that challenging their students’ sense of self-esteem was an important part of their education."


John Podhoretz - "At some point, he decided to stand on principle about the privacy of his records. It was politically stupid and tactically, but Kerry's dubious political instincts are nothing new."

Scott Johnson - "In the words of the great Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is?" Either Kerry is the world's worst politician, or something is missing from his file."

Jay Tea - "I've heard some speculation that Kerry held this back because one of his biggest strengths in the campaign was his perceived intellectual superiority to Bush, and [the inclusion of his transcripts] would put a big dent in that image."

American Spectator - "Some Democrats with an eye to 2008 are interested in seeing Kerry taken down a couple of notches, taking him out of play for another run at the White House."

Mark Coffey - "This raises the excellent question of why Kerry would be so stubborn and obstinate regarding the signing of Form SF-180. Why didn't he release the records during Campaign 2004, when it might have made a difference?"

Others are skeptical of the Globe's claim to have all of the records.

Lorie Byrd - "If there is something that he is hiding, and he was not sure whether or not the information was contained in the files, he may have decided to accept the criticism received for not releasing the records, rather than take the risk that the information was contained in the files. That is my personal belief."

USS Neverdock - "I doubt we will ever see Kerry's "full" military record."

Michelle Malkin - "Skepticism does seem to be warranted. The author of today's Globe piece reporting the news of the release is Michael Kranish, co-author of 'John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography By The Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best.'"

Danny Carlton - "My guess is, someone at the Globe simply asked the Navy for Kerry's records, got exactly what they've always given, because they still don't have Kerry's 180, and then they wrote the article, wording it such that people will think that A is connected to B, when they aren't."

Captain Ed - "Interestingly, though, Kranish remains silent on several points of controversy that the secrecy of the files helped stoke."

Kit Jarrell - "If [Kerry] stood up tomorrow and said, “I made some mistakes back then. I was wrong. I got kicked out of the military. I’m sorry - here are my complete records, and I make no excuses for what I did,” I still wouldn’t vote for him - but I would at least respect that."

Matt Margolis - "In fact, later in the story, there appear to be some vital things missing..."


John O'Neil - In response to a request for a comment from the Swift Vets, John tells Matt Margolis:
We called for Kerry to execute a form which would permit anyone to examine his full and unexpulgated military records at the Navy Department and the National Personnel Records Center. Instead he executed a form permitting his hometown paper to obtain the records currently at the Navy Department. The Navy Department previously indicated its records did not include various materials. This is hardly what we called for. If he did execute a complete release of all records we could then answer questions such as (1)Did he ever receive orders to Cambodia or file any report of such a mission (whether at Christmas or otherwise); (2) What was his discharge status between 1970 and 1978 (when he received a discharge) and was it affected by his meetings in 1970 and 1971 with the North Vietnamese? (3)why did he receive much later citations for medals purportedly signed by Secretary Lehman who said he did not know of them; (4) Are there Hostile Fire and Personnel Injured by Hostile Fire Reports for Kerry's Dec. 1968 Purple Heart (when the officer in charge of the boat Admiral Schacte, the treating Surgeon Louis Letsos, and Kerry's Division Commander deny there was hostile fire causing a scratch) awarded three months later under unknown circumstances.
UPDATE: The closer I read this Globe article, the hinkier it seems. It may well be an artful suggestion that they have Kerry's full records.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

ScreedBlog has arrived

Another daily read from Lileks for the sidebar. (Damn I need to do another housekeeping update. Maybe tonight...)

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Iraqi stories from the inside

Author Michael Yon is in Iraq and is sending back amazing photos and even more amazing stories.

I was particularly impressed with his tutorial on how news of American casualties comes to us. It starts with gunfire, contact with the enemy, then a radio call, an emailed report which is forwarded to Baghdad, a government press release, ending up on your doorstep with a florid headline and sketchy details.
And now, for the rest of the story....

From a media executive's perspective, where the CFO can occupy the same tier on the organizational chart as the managing editor, the math is easy: send a dozen journalists to Iraq, or hire one cheaply to live in Baghdad. The media gets a bargain rate on instant credibility from their "embedded journalist in the heart of the Sunni Triangle," who spends a few minutes a day paraphrasing media releases, then heads downstairs for a beer at the hotel bar.
My hat is off, Mr. Yon. Real journalism takes work, dammit.

I don't know how I missed this guy before.

(Via: Hugh)

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Greatest optical illusion ever.

Squares A and B are the same shade of gray. (Explanation.)

(Via: waxy)

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Good news from Afghanistan, part 13

The indispensable Chrenkoff.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

More draft nonsense: HuffPo edition

The Huffington Post is all atwitter over the non-existant draft. The "what if" handwringing begins with lunatic peacenik Jim Lampley. Jim boldly pats himself on the back for resisting the draft during Vietnam arguing that "the draft was the ultimate in racism and economic discrimination." But today, (long past conscription age himself, mind you) he claims the all volunteer Army is even worse [Worse than 'ultimate'? - Ed. Apparently] and is championing the return of the draft as a way for "greater penetration of the social fabric across the board, and with all parents having to consider at least the possibility of their children having to go."

End war through forced conscription? That's what I call parody-proof writing.

I know, I know. What you really want to know is how fears of a returning draft tie in with stem cell reasearch, right? Me too. Luckily, Bree Walker doesn't leave us hanging. "If Bush were to encourage California's stem cell agency to work faster and more furiously, we could crank out battallion after battallion of cargo gear-clad soldier wannajoins eager to be all that they can be." Tah dah! Problem solved in a single incoherent swipe of the pen.

Next up is Bill Diamond, who admires Lampley for his "testosterone" in burning his draft card, and remembers "feeling deeply conflicted" in the late 70's when his time came to register for the Selective Service. He further wonders "...given all the talk about the possible reinstatement of the draft, why aren't we hearing more from the nation’s campuses?" Indeed! Where are all the campus activists? Bill concludes with two possibilities. 1) "[C]ollege-aged students have become so narcotized by our entertainment-obsessed culture that they don’t see what may be headed their way" or 2) "[What] I’m perceiving as complacency and apathy is actually tacit approval" adding "But it sure doesn’t feel that way." [There's that word again. 'Feel' - Ed.]

Eugene Volokh proposes a third possibility, of course, and one I happen to subscribe to. Namely, "Perhaps college students aren't scared of the draft because they don't really trust the people who are trying to scare them."

Preach it, Eugene.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

I'm putting journalism on notice

Does Newsweek ever read Michelle Malkin? They should. It's the weekend's must read.
...investigation found 15 cases of detainees mishandling their own Qurans. "These included using a Quran as a pillow, ripping pages out of the Quran, attempting to flush a Quran down the toilet and urinating on the Quran," [Brig. Gen.] Hood's report said. It offered no possible explanation for those alleged abuses.
Michelle wonders this AP story is headlined, "US Confirms Gitmo Soldier Kicked Quran."

I'll call it for what it is. The Associated Press and most other international news agencies don't regard themselves as reporters, but comentators. As Citizens of the World rather than of any one country, they see it as their duty to help America feel the sting of that "valuable lesson," as Michael Moore puts it, delivered on 9/11. Nothing gives them greater pleasure than to see the racist, imperialist United States taken down a peg or twelve. And if that means inoccent people have to die as a result of their reportage, well, it's somehow the fault of America for forcing them into their role as watchdogs.

Elitest, arrogant, fear mongering propoganda artists. And they call us bloodthirsty. If my analysis seems black and white, well it is. As much evil is caused by the actions of these Islamist cheerleaders, they're not evil people. Most of them, anyway. But until the western media can break out of this Anti-American chic that's poisoning our thousand year old western culture, I will continue to treat their actions as those of evil men.

Reporters all over the world, you're on notice. As long as you continue to hate me because it's fashionable, I will continue to return the favor you hypocritical death merchants. Stop supporting destruction and get on board the solution train. Or do you truly hate America more than the peace you profess to love?

UPDATE: I'm not alone in my distrust, either.
The Gallup organization noted that public trust in television news and newspapers reached an all-time low this year, with 28 percent of responders expressing high confidence in them.
(via: LGF)

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Friday, June 03, 2005

2Lt Pantano resigns and I feel sick to my stomach

Slander from the mouth of a dishonorable Marine: Is there a more despicable offense in the culture of the American Military? Today I can't think of one.

Kit Jarrell brings us the sad news that 2Lt Ilario Pantano will resign his commission after having been cleared (cleared!) of wrongdoing. False accusations from petty individuals have halted the careers of good men in the past, and will undoubtedly do so again. But every time it happens, it cheapens what it means to be a Marine and is rightly a cause for grief.

Ilario Pantano will surely excel at whatever endeavor he decides to pick up next. Here's to the hope that his worst days lay behind him forever. Semper Fidelis, sir.

Thank you for your service.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Who's creating the fear of a draft?

It's clear from this one article that the Washington Post doesn't even want to trust it's own government. Why should they? Conspiracy theories have been paying their wages since at least WaterGate.

You don't even have to read the article. I'll sum it up for you.
US Government: There will be no draft. The all volunteer Army works.

WaPo: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But the fear of a returning draft is on the rise. How do you explain that?

US: There is no draft.

WaPo: But peace activists are having to go around the country speaking to people on how to win concienceous objector status. Why do they feel they need to, huh?

US: There is no...

Wapo: And the front page of the Selective Service website seems to going out of their way to calm distressed mothers and...


WaPo: Yeah. But we're just sayin'... what if... ya know?

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ten Most Dangerously Influential Books

[Note: After comments and emails informing me of some clarity issues, be advised that I have revised this post quite extensively.]

Human Events Online, the conservative weekly publication, has put up their list of "The Ten Most Harmful Books" of the last two hundred years. A quick Technorati search will let you see who's upset over this list.

Liberal reactions range from the fuming to the bemused to the incoherent, with screaming headlines like "Book burning ahead!" and "Quick! Read all of these before the right-wingers ban them."

My reaction? Human Events has made a tactical blunder in calling the books themselves "harmful," when (giving them the kindest interpretation) they simply meant that their collective influence has been "harmful" to society. Viewed in this light, the list seems to be a cry of dismay, rather than a dire warning. They seem to be saying that the damage has already been done. And with few exceptions, I'd agree. This list succinctly illustrates the organization's opposition to big government ecomonics, communism, facsism, and anti-christian ideologies (feminism, atheism, and imodesty.)

All of which *I* also oppose. [And responding to an emailer who objected to "imodesty being on the list ("..privacy of their own bedrooms... right to privacy..." etc.) Private bedroom activities cannot, by definition, be imodest. Modesty means appropriate dress for public locations. Bikinis at the beach, not the office. Get it?]

I fail to see any outrage here. I see no call for mass book banning/burning. I see no call for the installation of a right-wing theocracy.

To all my left leaning bretheren with images of evangenlical lynch mobs storming the local public library... Chill. Seriously. The reactionary screaming over this list is hurting my ears.

Your precious "banned" books are perfectly safe. Don't believe me? I'll prove it. I'll pop down to the main branch right now to check and see that a copy of every book on the list is available. Back in about an hour.

UPDATE: Here are the results of my twenty minutes (including drive time) at the Louisville Free Public Library:
1. The Communist Manifesto
Authors: Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels

Two copies available

2. Mein Kampf
Author: Adolf Hitler

On hold at the Main Branch, but available at the Bon Air, Fern Creek, Crscent Hill, and Western branches.

3. Quotations from Chairman Mao
Author: Mao Zedong

No listings under that title, but 17 other works include compilations.

4. The Kinsey Report
Author: Alfred Kinsey

Not at the Main Branch, but available at either the Highlands or Shively branches.

5. Democracy and Education
Author: John Dewey

Alas, no listings, yet 58 other works to choose from

6. Das Kapital
Author: Karl Marx

Three copies available

7. The Feminine Mystique
Author: Betty Friedan

Two copies available

8. The Course of Positive Philosophy
Author: Auguste Comte

No results for author or title

9. Beyond Good and Evil
Author: Freidrich Nietzsche

One copy available

10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Author: John Maynard Keynes

Two copies available
Conclusion: I was able to lay hands on a copy of five out ten in twenty minutes. I had mutiple locations where I could find two other titles, and only three were not in the library system computers. Censorship! Alert the ACLU! I don't think so.

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