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

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

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


Friday, June 29, 2007

Ross Douthat reviews Christopher Hitchens' new book, God is Not Great

... in the latest Claremont Review of Books:

[Like] most apologists for atheism, he evinces little interest in the topic of religion as it is actually lived, preferring to stick to the safer ground of putting the godly in the dock and cataloguing their crimes against humanity.

In this vein, he is exhaustive but largely unpersuasive. I remain unconvinced, for instance, that religious practice has no significant effect on moral character, though all I have to support my intuition is a heap of academic studies suggesting that churchgoing boosts marital happiness, private generosity, and various other indicators of a life well lived, while Hitchens has the devastating rebuttal that Robert Ingersoll, the noted freethinker, was a better husband and father than the Catholic Evelyn Waugh.

Ouch. But well deserved, in my opinion. Or, as Ross writes his opening line:

Every talented writer is entitled to be a bore on at least one subject, but where religion is concerned Christopher Hitchens abuses the privilege.

Do atheists come in any flavor other than "jerk"? And that's not a rhetorical question, BTW. I'm genuinely curious to know whether anyone has actually met a humble atheist. Have you? I'm in complete agreement with Chrissy's brother Peter Hitchens:

Christopher is an atheist. I am a believer. He once said in public: "The real difference between Peter and myself is the belief in the supernatural.

"I’m a materialist and he attributes his presence here to a divine plan. I can’t stand anyone who believes in God, who invokes the divinity or who is a person of faith."

I don’t feel the same way. I like atheists and enjoy their company, because they agree with me that religion is important.

I, too, like atheists and also enjoy their company, basically for the same reason. But I'll be damned if I can get that appreciation returned!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Michael Yon update - "Our guys are winning"

Well, mostly winning, since PR problems persist. Half the dispatch is devoted to inside baseball journo issues.

I'm starting to think Mike's best move here is to bite the corporate bullet and take a job with one of the cable news outfits. It's obvious to me that this independant, citizen-journo thing is taking its toll on ol' Mike. Witness:

There are serious technical problems that I have brought up privately to high-ranking PAO officers over the past nearly two years which persist today, despite that any one of them could be easily resolved with better planning on the part of PAO. I’ve found that communicating with them privately is generally useless. (Obviously, as the problems persist.) A person has got to tell a million people before they are heard. Since it will affect how the news from here gets reported, and since I know the other writers here are often afraid to speak up about this stuff (one senior PAO officer actually threatened to kick me out a few months ago), I’ll take the heat on telling the million people...

He didn't used to write this way.

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Limited government, anyone?

Two great columns mentioned on the Corner this morning:


Ian Murray -

The US Editor of The Times, Gerry Baker, has a scathing essay in today's paper on what has happened to Britain:

At root of this nonsense is, of course, the sheer scale of government. The reason you can’t be allowed to eat an egg is that, because of the lack of real choice in healthcare provision, you’re no longer responsible for the financial consequences of your own actions. If you get heart disease from too much cholesterol, the State, collectively known as the NHS, will have to treat you; and that costs the State more and more money so the State will have to stop you from doing it in the first place.

This is the self-perpetuating logic behind the unstoppable momentum of the expanding State. The bigger it grows, the more it intrudes into our lives, and the more it intrudes into our lives, the more dependent we become on it.


Seconded by Jonah Goldberg -

Heh, I wrote much the same thing two weeks ago:

Britain still subscribes to a system where health care is for the most part socialized. When the bureaucrat-priesthood of the National Health Service decides that a certain behavior is unacceptable, the consequences potentially involve more than scolding. For example, in 2005, Britain’s health service started refusing certain surgeries for fat people. An official behind the decision conceded that one of the considerations was cost. Fat people would benefit from the surgery less, and so they deserved it less. As Tony Harrison, a British health-care expert, explained to the Toronto Sun at the time, “Rationing is a reality when funding is limited.”

But it’s impossible to distinguish such cost-cutting judgments from moral ones. The reasoning is obvious: Fat people, smokers and — soon — drinkers deserve less health care because they bring their problems on themselves. In short, they deserve it. This is a perfectly logical perspective, and if I were in charge of everybody’s health care, I would probably resort to similar logic.

But I’m not in charge of everybody’s health care. Nor should anyone else be. In a free-market system, bad behavior will still have high costs personally and financially, but those costs are more likely to borne by you and you alone. The more you socialize the costs of personal liberty, the more license you give others to regulate it.


Preach it, brothers. Preach it.

Of the two columns, Jonah's is the stronger. (But I'm biased. I read everything he writes and tune in three times a week to watch him duel with Beinart.) In related, socialized medicine news, this documentary is being touted as the anti-Mike Moore. It's not bad. I watched it the other night.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Domestic bliss

Water meter activity plus sump pump activity equals leak. I just did the math.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Time for my annual acknowledgement of James "I root for hurricanes" Wolcott

Not since Frankie and Annette frugged on the beach in those summer romps made during a more innocent, moronic time has there been a nerdier nerdfest than the conservative hootenany over the new Hollywood comedy Knocked Up.

There's a hootenany? As a card carrying right-winger I'm pretty sure I'd've heard something about it. Or maybe James is just exagerating again. That must be it.

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A late night rumination on wine connoiseurship

That stuff in the box? It gets the job done.

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Domestic bliss

I'm such a bad parent. I let the grass do pretty much whatever it wants. It's a bit enabling, I suppose, but I feel like I have to make allowances for youth, ya know? But starting tomorrow I'll set healthy boundries and a new sprinkler system that, along with weed control, will hopefully muster some can-do spirit in that spoiled fescue. If I don't encourage some moral rectitude now when she's young... well let's just say that the neighbor's lawn is in some rock band. And I can just see those two eloping in Vegas in a tattooed, drug-fueled stunt-marriage designed to piss me off.

Not on my watch, missy. No siree bob.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Heed the rules, friends...

... lest chaos ensue.

(Via: HA)

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