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

My Photo
Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

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


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

House juggling

Sorry for the light posting. We're getting down to the wire on changing up homes. I'm likely to remain busy all the week.

Domestic Bliss Update: Did you know that state building codes after Katrina now require something called "hurricane clips"? In Kentucky? That's what I call taking global warming fears a bit too far.

But maybe I need to rethink my definition of "hurricane":

The Surgeon General has warned that exessive
consumption may lead to "raising the roof."

<< Home |

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On patriotism

Ace writes (neatly and succinctly):

That's a point that isn't made enough -- patriotism isn't just flag-waving or love of country. It's essentially a self-defense social compact -- you look out for me, I'll look out for you, together we'll look out for each other. Some people reject that social compact, believing it's more moral for them to evaluate situations on a case-by-case basis before committing themselves to a spirit of joint defense -- they'll make certain they believe in the morality of a specific instance of self-defense before upholding their end of the compact.

Which means it's not a compact at all.

I just wish that people who thought like that would sign a legal document with the state specifically repudiating that compact -- so that Coast Guardsmen and mountain rescue teams could check to see if their names are on the list of the Not Quite Willing To Commit To The Defense Of Their Fellow Americans before bothering to put their lives in danger to save them.

You really shouldn't be allowed to be free-riders on the social compact that binds most of us if you're actually still dickering over terms.

I don't disagree with this definition of patriotism. I'm a big fan of the social compact model of patriotism. In my ideal world, no man would have any rights but those he could successfully defend, or what he could negotiate with his fellow countryman. But I know this puts me well to the Right of most Americans, it puts me out of the Mainstream, and I've tried to make my peace with the case-by-casers.

In the end, I choose to be bound by a larger humanitarian compact that prevents me from abandoning drowning swimmers or lost hikers.

This, I hope, bridges the (rather large) gap between me and the Left, and explains my defense of Christianity in general, though I'm not particularly religious. The story of the Good Samaritan goes a long way towards summing up my ideas about "patriotic service." Wishing for punitive repercussions over our social compact smacks too much of "punitive liberalism," something I'm on record as opposing.

<< Home |

Jonah Goldberg hates children

... and in the way he means it, so do I.

In truth, I do love kids. But it’s the “the” in The Children that’s the problem. It transforms children into a principle for which any violation of limited government is justified.


The idea was as simple as it was brilliant: By making The Children the beneficiaries of welfare rather than the adults, the left could portray any attempt to curb the welfare state as "anti-child."

This is a long-time pet peeve of mine. Republicans want to kill Big Bird? A "no" on Kyoto means throwing kids in front of trains? Can we please put a stop to this nonsense?


One of the tragic consequences of Bill Clinton’s success in the 1990s is that Republicans decided to mimic it. This is where "compassionate conservatism" and the No Child Left Behind Act come from.

I guess not. If compassionate conservatism means regular conservatism minus the limited government part (kinda essential IMO) then I guess this nonsense will just continue unabated.

Hillary has declared her intention to run, so all of you with children, get ready to welcome another mommy into your household. And even if she doesn't win, the Republican alternative won't likely leave you alone, either.

<< Home |

Crane technique

Found while worshipping at the alter of the Cool, a video twofer:

Sweep the leg, Johnny.


<< Home |

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bacon, cheese, beer, Johnny Cash

It's been a number of years now since I joined up with The First Church of Bacon, and while a few nattering naysayers may call it a "cult," I maintain that it's only enhanced my life. Monday was bacon-wrapped filet, Tuesday was BLT night at the Kadnine house, and this weekend we're doing bacon beer cheese on toasted points of rye bread. (Couldn't score any soft pretzels, they must be out of season or something. I hate winter.)

Rev. Cash? Take us out please:

<< Home |

Hitchens on Steyn

I haven't rushed out to buy Mark Steyn's bestselling new book, America Alone, because I already listen to him on Hewitt's show, I read his columns, I watch him on CSPAN and generally think I grasp the gist of his thesis.

Christopher Hitchens, however, brings a few new elements in his review of the book:

Yet Steyn makes the same mistake as did the late Oriana Fallaci: considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). Little binds a Somali to a Turk or an Iranian or an Algerian, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes—seeking asylum and to build a better life. A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties. These are all points of difference, and also of possible resistance to Euro-sharia.

The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen.

[Emphases mine]

Steyn has, in my opinion, done yeoman's work highlighting the dangerous demographic trends of Europe. These trends are undisputed here at the Kadnine blog. But they only partially explain the problem of Islamism in the West, and Hitch has put his finger on the missing dimensions. (1) Our failure to acknowledge the fractured nature of Islam, (2) our lack of support for Islam's dissidents (those who dissent from the jihadists, that is,) and (3) a multi-culti attitude that elevates jihadists as "authentic." These are the other puzzle pieces that, along with demography, describe our dilemma.

Read it all, for it is good. You'll be intrigued by his 8 point plan at the end. I was, even though I didn't agree with them all.

Both Steyn and Hitchens recognize the long term nature of our fight, and are among the most eloquent in describing it. Hitch concludes:

The Islamist threat itself may be crude, but this is an intricate cultural and political challenge that will absorb all of our energies for the rest of our lives: we are all responsible for doing our utmost as citizens as well as for demanding more imagination from our leaders.

You want to read this.

<< Home |

Friday, January 19, 2007

New model kid

But you know what they say, they drop in value like a stone as soon as you drive them off the lot.


(Via: Mitchieville)

<< Home |

Retro Kadnine

This still hits me in the gut.

<< Home |

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bill O'Reilly on the Colbert Report

Even funnier!

Bill: We Americans make mistakes, but...

Stephen: Wait! We Americans may make mistakes but we never admit them. Am I right?

Bill: No, we admit mistakes, of course...

Stephen: We do?

Bill: ... of course, it's a mistake me being here right now!

but Stephen gets the last laugh (it's his show):

Bill: I'm, you know, sensitive. It's all an act...

Stephen: Wait. If you're just an act... then what am I?

<< Home |

Stephen Colbert on the O'Reilly Factor

The funniest thing I've seen all week!

Video later. Crooks and Liars has the video.

<< Home |

Blogging odds and ends

- It appears Jeff Goldstein is again at the helm of Protein Wisdom.

- Michelle is back from Iraq. Don't miss Bryan's analysis.

- This is painful. I like Pink.

<< Home |

Frank talk about education

Charles Murray stares down a few die-hard education myths in an excellent three part series at the WSJ Opinion Journal.

Part one - Intelligence in the Classroom
Half of all children are below average, and teachers can do only so much for them.

Part two - What's Wrong With Vocational School?
Too many Americans are going to college.

Part three - Aztecs vs. Greeks
Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise.

These essays are remarkable for both their toughness and for their sensitivity. From the first essay:

To say that even a perfect education system is not going to make much difference in the performance of children in the lower half of the distribution understandably grates. But the easy retorts do not work. It's no use coming up with the example of a child who was getting Ds in school, met an inspiring teacher, and went on to become an astrophysicist. That is an underachievement story, not the story of someone at the 49th percentile of intelligence.


That says nothing about the quality of the lives that should be open to everyone across the range of ability. I am among the most emphatic of those who think that the importance of IQ in living a good life is vastly overrated.

... but not arrogant. That's a difficult act to pull off in a series of essays pointing out intrinsic differences between one's fellow Americans. Murray does a pretty good job, without being obsequiously PC.

These are definately worth a read.

UPDATE: Talk radio host Michael Medved is discussing Murray's series right now. It's also worth a listen. (Audio link later, assuming it'll be available online here.)

UPDATE: Edited for clarity. Thank you, Gonzo.

<< Home |

Kadnine Focus: 2007

As I've noted before, the Kadnine blog is chiefly an exercise in charting my own progress as I research different political philosophies. In a broad sense, I know where I stand vis-a-vis the most controversial issues of the day, but there's still much ground to cover:

Free markets rock, "fair" markets aren't - See Friedman. Keep government interference to a bare minimum, and I'm a happy camper.

I'm moderately pro-choice, pro-stem cell research, pro-right to die - These are topics I want to explore further in 2007. I've been reluctant to dip toes into these waters due to the subjective nature of the debate. Nonetheless, they're important issues and I'm looking forward to learning more about them. If any reader would like to recommend source material, it would be much appreciated. Know any magazines, books, or websites that deal seriously with these (or related) matters?

I'm pro-division of government powers - Accusations abound regarding Judicial activism, Congressional usurpation of Executive authority, and Executive overreach. In general, I think these fights are a healthy thing in a democratic republic. But to my mind, accusations of Presidential "abuse of power" are much exaggerated in these post-Nixon days, whereas the other two charges are backed up by solid evidence.

I'm pro-tradition - Traditions need overturning every once and while (the tradition of slavery, for an obvious example) as our society evolves. But equally important is the Law of Unintended Consequences. We can't be "all revolution, all the time" or else we'll never be able to build upon our past successes. This may be the primary reason I consider myself a conservative.

I'm against multiculturalism - I'm very much in favor of pluralism, the melting pot model. One culture, many flavors intermingled. But the philosophy of multiculturalism, many cultures living side by side, is a recipe for disaster.

I don't see anything wrong with partisanship - It's how serious people (politicians are people too) advance serious goals. An America ruled by blue ribbon, feel good, do nothing, bipartisan committee isn't an country I want to live in.

I'm pessimistic, yet pro-victory on Iraq - I don't think I've covered any topic as extensively as this one. That's not likely to change, but after I update to the new Blogger software this week, I'll add tags to group the Iraq posts together for anyone who wants to discuss this topic in depth.

This isn't an exhaustive list and I'm open to suggestions. So, for anyone interested, break out your scalpel and we'll dissect these issues and more.

<< Home |

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

To surge or not to surge?

William F. Buckley Jr., founder of the greatest conservative magazine ever, says that were he a Republican congressman he'd vote "no."

There are several sins of omission and a few half-truths in WFB's short analysis. (I'm allowed to call him "WFB" because I pay for the privilege. I'm a subscriber.) Let me address three of them in turn.

WFB: "America has been at war in Iraq for nearly four years. No sacrifice of a corporate character has been asked of the American people."

Me: Incorrect, Sir. America has continuously been at war in Iraq since February 1991, starting with Desert Storm, continuing through containment, Desert Fox, more containment, OIF, and through our occupation, our final and decisive phase of a war lasting a decade and a half.

WFB: "If success in Iraq would bring an end to the movement of which Iraq is now the apex, the answer [to surge] would clearly be yes. Has the president persuasively argued that it would do so? No."

Me: Those of us who supported our land invasion of Iraq in 2003 also want "an end to the [terrorist] movement of which Iraq is now the apex." And noting the Administration's communications problems is, frankly, ground already well covered... by both Left and Right, doves and hawks. Is success in Iraq without value for its own sake? Especially when you touch on -

WFB: "The sectarian character of the Iraqi population, which is the source of divisiveness extending beyond any dislike or resentment of America.

A geographical division of Iraq is inevitable. The major players are obvious. It isn't plain how America, as an outside party, could play an effective role, let alone one that was decisive, in that national redefinition."

Me: I don't agree that a division is inevitable. The Iraqis are more nationalistic than we give them credit. Yes, by western standards they're very tribal and yes, sectarian strife is real, but our goal isn't to create a simulacrum of a western democracy. Rather, the goal is to enable them to defend against their domestic and foreign enemies, which will, as an intentional side effect, make the US safer. I honestly don't know if the additional troops Bush wants to send will have this desired effect. Effective? We'll have to wait and see.

<< Home |

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gitcher geek on!

Via Tim Blair, comes this awesome clip of a guy who draws perfect circles... with elan!

Also, check out the The Athanasius Kircher Society where Tim found this. From the Society's info page:

The Athanasius Kircher Society was chartered to perpetuate the spirit and sensibilities of the late Athanasius Kircher, SJ. Our interests extend to the wondrous, the curious, the singular, the esoteric, the arcane, and the sometimes hazy frontier between the plausible and the implausible — anything that Father Kircher might find inspiring if he were alive today. Records of our proceedings are maintained for the public’s edification.

Mmmmmm.... now that's some good geek right there! How do I sign up?

<< Home |

More on "New Anger"

Plus a clarification on my pledge not to indulge in New Anger this year.

New Anger, as author Peter Wood coins the term, is a recent trend based on the premise that anger somehow enhances the legitamcy of one's aruement. That sheer nastiness is required to prove one isn't half-hearted. New Anger says self-restraint is an overrated virture, and that politeness is for losers. New Anger says that wimps who can't take the heat, must be deficient on their merits, too.

Sad to say, I bought into that for awhile. I will not, in the future, indulge in the practice out-angering an opponent to win an arguement. It's self-righteous, self-serving, and ultimately, unflattering to yours truly.

That doesn't mean I've sworn off disagreement. That doesn't mean I've sworn off nuanced labeling of people or ideas. Liberals are still liberals, Democrats are still Democrats, and Charlie Rangel is still anti-military (and proved it again today.) It doesn't even mean I've sworn off sarcasm or name calling, though I'll try to make my insults clever.

Most importantly, this pledge of mine doesn't mean that I consider all opinions and ideas and cultural institutions, etc, to be morally equal. No. What it means is that I no longer consider my anger to be a moral boost to my position.

And that's all.

For example, this post I wrote last year:

... 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...

Whoa! Now that's New Anger. Yesterday I wrote this:

That the mainstream press is jealous of it's adversarial role, and would sooner compromise national security before risking its independent image? Not news. That an old media employee said so on CNN? That's something.

Same sentiment, different wording.

I'm not looking for any congratulations on this epiphany of mine. I'm just happy to have experienced it. Would that it had come to me sooner... seriously. I wish it had come much sooner.

<< Home |

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The circle is complete

Behold. New media (Instapundit) noted today that new media (cable news) featured an old media guest (UPI's Pamela Hess) saying what new media (blogs) have been noting for years. New media (me) waited until I could steal the nut without stealing traffic! In a discussion over Bush's commitment of an additional 20,000+ troops to Iraq, the money quote:

"[I]f as a reporter you do ask the national security question, all of a sudden you're carrying Bush's water."

That the mainstream press is jealous of it's adversarial role, and would sooner compromise national security before risking its independent image? Not news. That an old media employee said so on CNN? That's something.

Glenn Reynolds breaks the story, Hot Air has the video.

I would have linked this earlier today if it wasn't for Glenn's "brevity is the soul of wit" style. His minimalist style makes it difficult to quote the nut of his exclusives without robbing the entire content of his post. Lucky for me he's expanded his post. And now he's updated with this Gerard van der Leun quote:

As always in these times, both the Right and the Left are wrong, have been wrong for quite some time, and will continue in their error since the object of their policies is neither victory abroad or security at home, but the mere destruction of the other in political terms. It is a small and ignoble goal, but it seems to be all our pundits and politicians are capable of at this time. The times demand heros and giants but we are only seeing pygmies and cardboard figures. This is likely to continue until some deeper shock wakes us from our sleep.

No doubt that graf jumps out to Glenn's libertarian mind, (he's written in the past that the time's right for a third party to emerge strong) but if I had to pick my favorite graf from Gerard's excellent essay it would be this one:

In sum, we have one "noble goal" (a Democratic Iraq) and three "needful things" ( secure oil supply, regime shakiness in the Middle East, and strong basing in the region) that are the fall out of the last few years of meddling about securing our interests and advancing our ideals. Absent the securing of Iraq's democracy, I'd say the War has had some successes that are not yet appreciated. But they will be. Probably sooner than later, but sooner or later in any case.

But read it all, and let me know what you think.

<< Home |

Friday, January 12, 2007

Domestic Bliss: A Tip

If you take apart the thermostat to paint the wall behind it, knowing how it goes back together is a handy bit of knowledge to have. Especially in winter.

In related news, Home Depot carries new digital thermostats for just $28.95! Go ahead, ask me how I came by this little nugget of wisdom.

<< Home |

Boxer's blunder


January 12, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Condoleezza Rice came under a shocking Democratic attack yesterday - as a childless woman who can’t understand the sacrifices made by families of U.S. troops in Iraq. In a bitter personal assault on the secretary of state during her appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, anti-war Sen. Barbara Boxer fumed that Rice didn't com prehend the "price" of the war.

"You're not going to pay a particular price, as I under stand it, with an immediate family," Boxer (D- Calif.) ranted.

"Who pays the price?" she repeatedly demanded during Rice's Capitol Hill grilling.

"I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young . . . So who pays the price? Not me, not you."

Boxer continued:

"You can't begin to imagine how you celebrate any holiday or birthday. There's an absence. It's not like the person's never been there. They always were there, and now they're not, and you're looking at an empty hole."

The unflappable Rice responded at the packed hearing that she well understood the sacrifice of service members and families.

"I visit them. I know what they're going through," said Rice, who has never been married and has no children.

"I talk to their families. I see it. I could never and I can never do anything to replace any of those lost men and women in uniform, or the diplomats, some of whom..."

At that point, Boxer cut her off.

"Madam Secretary, please," Boxer said. "I know you feel terrible about it. That's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions."

Boxer's over-the-top broadside stunned lawmakers and congressional aides.

Congress could find the cure for cancer this month and we'd never know it because Barbara's insult will likely overshadow everything positive.

UPDATE: JPod was thinking along the same lines this morning, and compares it to Gingrich's Susan Smith gaffe. It's a fair comparison.

<< Home |

Warren Bell always makes me laugh

Check it out.

<< Home |

Thursday, January 11, 2007

UC Santa Cruz - Here we go again

You know what? I'm starting to think that there must be something in the water in Santa Cruz that makes people hate uniforms.

My best friend from Middle and High School hangs his hat in S.C. I need to ask him what's up.

[Previous S.C. maddness here, here, here and here.]

<< Home |

Michelle in Iraq

Safe landing.

<< Home |

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Presidential address on Iraq


Text here. Video later.

UPDATE: Hot Air has video highlights. I remain unimpressed. I still think more advisors is the ticket. Special Forces for training Iraqi Army and police, engineers for training Iraqi engineers. But no. Bush says he'll send more GP troops. La-dee-da! Some days I don't think we're serious.

<< Home |

Read the go-to guys

The President will address the nation tonight about our approach in Iraq, and how he plans to alter it. I'm almost guarunteed to be disappointed.

The real story of Iraq comes courtesy of independant reporters embedded with the troops. Bill Ardolino has another dispatch at The Examiner as well as a companion post at his blog. You want to read these. Trust me.

Meanwhile, Michael Yon, the original New Media superstar, is again walking the line. It really is pathetic that Mainstream Media is consistently outshined by these independants. But I'm extremely glad to have them!

<< Home |

Everyman Economics

"Mandatory wealth redistribution." That phrase either warms your heart, or sends shivers up your spine. No other issue better demonstrates the difference between conservative thought and progressive thought. Conservatives argue for equality of opportunity while progressives argue for equality of result.

Equality of opportunity is value neutral, but the argument for equality of result requires a belief that anyone who thinks differently is somehow supporting evil. It's in the handbook.

For example, Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post takes Senator Baucus (D-MT) to the rhetorical woodshed for not being a "real" Democrat. Why? He's not onboard the wealth redistribution train.

With Wall Street hot shots and corporate chiefs raking in obscene amounts of money, and with pay in the bottom half of the workforce barely keeping up with inflation, you'd think raising the minimum wage for the first time in a decade would be a political and economic no-brainer for the new Democratic Congress.

But you'd be forgetting about Max Baucus.


You'd think Baucus would have learned his lesson in 2001, when he won the enmity of Democrats everywhere by striking the deal that led to passage of the Bush tax cuts, including the phase-out of the estate tax. Apparently not. For on the very day the new Democratic House is set to push through a long-overdue minimum-wage increase, over in the Senate, Baucus has called a hearing on how to offset the "economic hardship" caused by the higher minimum wage with yet another round of business tax breaks.


Real Democrats know that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do -- economically, politically, morally.

[Emphasis mine]

What did Baucus do to deserve this excomunication? He dared to disagree, therefore he can't be a "real" Democrat. Pearlstein brands the senator from Montana as inauthentic and morally suspect. For conservatives, economic policy is mostly amoral, but for progressives it's a religion, and woe to the Democrat who strays from his faith.

<< Home |

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shock! Clear thinking from the WH, plus... I'm a thick-headed idiot

Peter Wehner remains the clearest head at the White House with his editorial yesterday (reprinted today in the WSJ) on the nature of our jihadist enemies:

Why They Fight
And what it means for us.



The enemy we face is not Islam per se; rather, we face a global network of extremists who are driven by a twisted vision of Islam. These jihadists are certainly a minority within Islam--but they exist, they are dangerous and resolute, in some places they are ascendant, and they need to be confronted and defeated.


Their brand of radicalism is theocratic, totalitarian, illiberal, expansionist, violent, and deeply anti-Semitic and anti-American. As President Bush has said, both Shia and Sunni militants want to impose their dark vision on the Middle East. And as we have seen with Shia-dominated Iran's support of the Sunni terrorist group Hamas, they can find common ground when they confront what they believe is a common enemy.

The war against global jihadism will be long, and we will experience success and setbacks along the way. The temptation of the West will be to grow impatient and, in the face of this long struggle, to grow weary. Some will demand a quick victory and, absent that, they will want to withdraw from the battle. But this is a war from which we cannot withdraw. As we saw on September 11th, there are no safe harbors in which to hide. Our enemies have declared war on us, and their hatreds cannot be sated. We will either defeat them, or they will come after us with the unsheathed sword.

His is a clarion call. Read the whole thing. I'm more than a little distressed the WH can't manage to be this clear and communicative all the time! Which is something I noted the last time I linked one of Wehner's excellent editorials.

[Me:] Mr. President? More like this, please. And keep 'em coming...

Wehner, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives, then proceeds to demolish these [Iraq War] myths utterly. And notes, "These, then, are the urban legends we must counter, else falsehoods become conventional wisdom." Well, to a large extent they already have become conventional wisdom, thanks to the steady drumbeat of doom and gloom in the press, as well as the silly antics of anti-war congress critters.

Stephen Spuriell calls this op-ed a good start.

Conservatives have been making these arguments over and over, but with this op-ed the White House has provided a keystone to which supporters of the administration's policy in Iraq can return whenever we hear one of these tired attacks dredged up. I hope we're seeing the beginning of a revitalized communications strategy within the White House.

I hope so, too.

Well, I'm done "hoping." Now I'm seriously afraid that if Bush can't get over his deadly serious communication problems, the American public will cement his legacy as a "do-nothing" president during one America's most perilous periods. It may be an unfair characterization considering all the good things he's done, but he'll have no one to blame but his own, lock-jawed self. "Explain, persuade, and inspire." These are just as much a part of his job description as "listen, decide, and delegate."


Which brings me to something else. An apology from Yours Truly.

From the comments the last time I linked Peter Wehner:

Gonzo wrote -

Its not cynicism, its exhaustion from the constant, never ending battering I feel constitutes the current political discourse these days.

I can understand people disagreeing with how the nations business should be transacted. You can read of many times congressmen verbally fighting, passionately on the floor of the House to meet later for drinks and laughs because business is business, its not personal.

What got to my was not only the PERSONAL level of vitriol over political disagreements but that both sides try to one up each other in the extremest of accusation they invent to use on each other. And leave the rest of us battered in the middle.

Enough is enough.

Angel wrote -

Finally, it doesn't seem that I'm so crazy because I notice the pure vindictiveness and vitriol of today's political debate.[...]

Political discourse in this country is officially a shit pond in which we're still trying to find the bottom, that's why I've bowed out.

Lee wrote -

I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed this. It seems to me that some of the even some bloggers even more ideological than me are getting tired of it all. I'm on a political hiatus. It won't last long, but I'm not going to go diving in the shit pond anytime soon.

At the time, I honestly didn't understand these sentiments. I thought it was a matter of perception and personal grievance. But over the holiday I read Stanley Kurtz' review of the new book, A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now, exploring what author Peter Wood calls "New Anger," as applied to blogging.

America’s New Anger exchanges the modest heroism of Gary Cooper’s Sargent York for something much closer to the Incredible Hulk. New Anger is everything that Old Anger was not: flamboyant, self-righteous, and proud. As a way to “empowerment” for ethnic groups, women, political parties, and children, New Anger serves as a mark of identity and a badge of authenticity. The Civil War, and America’s past political campaigns, may have witnessed plenty of anger, yet not until recently, says Wood, have Americans actually congratulated themselves for getting angry. Anger has turned into a coping mechanism, something to get in touch with, a prize to exhibit in public, and a proof of righteous sincerity.

Blogging Anger

New Anger is nowhere more at home than in the blogosphere, where so far from being held in check, look-at-me performance anger is the path to quick success. Wood’s section on the “proud maliciousness” of bloggers (titled “Insta-Anger”) will stir debate, yet it’s far from a blanket indictment. The Insta-Pundit himself is off the hook, for example. “[Glenn] Reynolds’ comments are often sardonic but seldom angry,” says Wood. On the other hand, Atrios explaining “Why We Say ‘F***’ a Lot” (expurgation most definitely not in the original) fares far less well at Wood’s hands.

In a fascinating interview with Wood, Noah Millman (of Gideon’s Blog) Wood says, “Yes, I think bloggers are overly contemptuous of political opponents.” That is the question. Is the affected contempt that characterizes New Anger a good thing? It is not, thinks Wood.

[Emphasis mine]

I don't know what it says about me that it took a stranger's book review to realize what my friends and colleagues have already told me, but it can't say anything good. Perhaps I needed the distance a stranger provides. I don't know.

New Anger is real. An objective phenomenon. I get that now. And my stubborn refusal to see it was, more than anything else, responsible for me getting so frustrated I actually quit blogging for a while. Had I recognized this trend earlier, I could have avoided several unnecessary fights with some close friends and colleagues. And for that I apologize. I was consumed by the very thing I denied existed.

Finally, I pledge to write with restraint this year, and not to indulge in the petty, shallow pleasures of New Anger. I'm taking the high road, and welcome any who wish to travel with me.

<< Home |

Monday, January 08, 2007

Domestic Bliss: 2007

As some readers already know, the fetching Mrs. Kadnine and I are pulling up stakes. We're leaving the historic neighborhood of Germantown in Louisville, KY and moving to scenic La Grange, KY in the next county. She loves her work too much not to follow it to the new headquarters.

This, of course, means painting. I hate painting, but it's going well now that I have a friend helping. He's quite knowledgable and working together, the results have been amazing.


... after.

Our new house won't be completed until April, so that gives us a few more months to enjoy the charms of Germantown. Especially Flabbys, which features a chicken gizzard basket to die for, Nord's Brown Bag Deli & Pub, deli to the masses, and Check's, the place to go for fried fish sandwiches. And before you ask, the answer is yes. I have put on some pounds since moving here.

<< Home |

Feeling wonky?

Try some Milton Friedman streaming video from IdeaChannel:

In honor of Milton Friedman, we are streaming the ground-breaking Free to Choose series as it originally aired in 1980 as well as an updated 1990 version. Also watch for a biography, "The Power of Choice" which will air Monday, January 29 on PBS. This date has also been declared as Milton Friedman Day.

Free markets are good for people, especially, as it turns out, poor people. Here the acclaimed economist explains why as only he can. I'm about halfway through the series and I'm utterly fascinated. I'm really kicking myself that I never had the chance to meet him before his death last year at age 93.

<< Home |

Friday, January 05, 2007

On the value of embedded reportage

Bill Ardolino's first dispatch from Iraq is up at the Examiner:

[Navy Corpsman Jerad Jurgensmier:] "I do a lot for [new Iraqi policemen] and give them a lot of medicine. Some of these guys have seen a doctor once, maybe twice in their life. I’m getting a guy medicine for his mother’s diabetes; another guy medicine for his kid who has been sick with the flu for about a week. I’m doing it not only to help them, but because if I help them they feel like they owe me something, and that’s good for the team. They come back with information, they’ll turn someone in or actually start doing their job. I’ve had it happen a couple of times — one guy brought in a list of names of possible insurgents in the area and where they live. In the beginning I just wanted to help them, but it turned out that they have an impressionable mentality. If you do something for them, they feel obligated to do something in return. And when it gets in their head that we’re here to help them, they start helping us."

[Emphasis mine]

That paragraph alone was worth the trip, Bill. I can't remember the last time I read such a succinct plan for victory in an American news organ. This one Corpsman has a better grasp on the way to win than most of our DC eggheads combined. This is the stuff that doesn't often make it out of the Green Zone, folks. This is why most vets won't trust the media to report from the battlefield.

What's the value of embedded reportage? Warm and accurate quotes that showcase the savvy intelligence displayed by our men and women in uniform and refute the boneheaded pronouncements of anti-military politicos like Rangel and Kerry. That's the value of embedded reportage.

<< Home |

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hiatus pictorial no. 1

*click for larger*

<< Home |

Monday, January 01, 2007

Kadnine's back

A new blog for a new year. Thanks again to all those who stopped by last year. I have big plans for the Kadnine blog in 2007, so stay tuned...

<< Home |