Saturday, June 18, 2005

Books, Etc.

Andi at Andi's World sent me an email, warning me that I had been tagged for the ubiquitous book meme. Sure enough, Dymphna at Gates of Vienna stuck it on me.

I have been dreading this moment.

First, I have dreaded this because, if I chose to comply, I would be forced to reveal some details that I'd really rather not talk about. Secondly, because I would have a hard time picking just who should be the recipient of my own tagging largesse.

But, what the Hey! Why not?

Dymphna stated with an uncanny exactitude how I, my wife, and my two children are about reading. We do it. All of the time. Anywhere and everywhere. I was chuckling as I read Dymphna's response, and called my wife in to read also.

Read-a-holics cannot resist the printed word: It starts with cereal boxes at the breakfast table or newspapers abandoned in the restaurant booth by whomever ate there before you and continues into reading your high school English lit books the day you get them. This is not virtue. A therapist once posed the question: “so when did you discover that books were a neurotic escape?”

Motto: never leave home without a book. You never know when you might be trapped somewhere with nothing to read. Horrors.

A room without a bookcase is boring. Walking into a room with a bookcase is permission to look at someone’s soul.
My wife agreed wholeheartedly, especially with the Motto. She and I both read, for knowledge, edification, and most certainly as an escape mechanism. Same with our two children.

My wife related to me, once again, that as a child she would spend her infrequent 'allowance' on books, rather than the normal items purchased by other children. Take into account that she grew up as one of the younger children of a fairly large (6 children) family. A relatively poor farm family, where the children had to work in the fields to help make ends meet. Although her father was not a sharecropper (he owned the small parcel of land), the situation was similar. It was during her childhood that the transition was made from plowing with a mule, to using a tractor, and she was a teenager before they had access to indoor plumbing. There was little leisure, little cash, and educating children was a burden on the family. Thankfully, she escaped the looming future, and I attribute that to her constant drive to read.

My situation was different, in that my father was not a farmer, instead he was a carpenter, a cabinet maker, a park ranger, a boat-builder, and a fisherman, and as far as I can remember, we always had indoor plumbing. I, too, spent part of my allowance on reading materials, but mostly comic books (does that count?). One of the family rules was 'No reading at the dinner table'. There developed so much contention over that rule, that by the time my younger siblings (all nine of them) reached reading age, it had been chucked. A meal without reading materials was like a day without sunshine! I developed such an attraction to books that once, in the fourth grade, I stole a book from the school I attended. I can still remember that story! (This fact is one of the items I'd rather not reveal, but I think it's germane to the subject.)

Update: In order to illustrate how reading is viewed in my family, I decided to stick this in. We have one and only one decorative item in the room we ALL refer to as the reading room. Here it is:
bear_stool.jpgThis ceramic figurine is approximately 1 1/2 inches tall.
Another aspect that I don't really want to talk about, but will, is the intimidation factor. I have read of lot of responses to the book memes, and usually am left feeling somewhat inadequate by what I read. Kind of like a 10-year old kid with a pair of 10-power binoculars at an astronomy convention. You can follow the conversation, but... WOW!

And the third thing that I didn't want to mention is the financial wherewithal to buy all of the books I'd like to read. I have been unemployed since November, 2001. Household and living expenses have been cut to essentials only, with little disposable cash left over for purchase of reading materials. This may change in the future, but in the meantime I have to make do with what I can get. Preamble finished, let's get into the meme...

Total number of books owned, ever:
I have no idea. I retain books only as room allows, so most are sold, given away, traded, etc. I would guess that I have about 200 at the present.

Last book bought:
This one I know, it was Tom Clancy's Executive Orders. Or The Bear and The Dragon. One of those two.

Last book I read:
This one is easy, it's sitting right beside me... David Grinspoon's Lonely Planets. I borrowed it from my daughter.

Five Books that mean a lot to me:
Hmmm, this one is difficult. How do I evaluate the meaning of the books? First, I'd have to say the Bible, as it's indispensable. Other than that, I couldn't say. Most books I read for escapism value, to immerse myself in the story. For instance, I have read L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth completely through nine times. Does that mean it has a lot of value to me? Well, it certainly is good escapist literature. Same with Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor, although I've only read it through four times.

I could have done as Dymphna, and instead listed authors important to me, but would have been left with the same problem - which to select. Or genres - same problem. I like history, alternate history/universe, mystery, western, philosophy, hard science fiction (as opposed to fantasy), adventure, biographies, etc., equally.

Five books I've given away recently:
I don't remember.

Who do I tag:
I want to get people that have not been previously tagged, if possible. Spread the wealth, so to speak. Then this meme can die an ignominious death, or spread like wildfire.... only time will tell.

First will be Mandelinople. I like his views, and even attended his alma mater, a little before his time.
Next will be Grim's Hall., just because.
Then, Pudgy Puppy, for foolishly listing absolutely nothing under Currently Reading: category.
And fourth will be Choose Honor, because Mr. Bray, having failed to win the post he was after, needs something to keep him occupied for a bit.
And last but not least will be B.L. Ochman at Whats Next?, because I find her blog tremendously interesting (not that the others aren't!).

So, that's it. To those I've tagged, just answer the five questions, and pass along to five more bloggers. Sort of like a pyramid scheme!

Update: I hate spell checkers that give the go-ahead on words I do not mean to use. I need a spell checker that's smarter than I am!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Debt of Honor

Charmaine at Reasoned Audacity posts this tribute to the officers and crew of the USS Bonefish, written by her husband John.

[W]ar turns civilization on its head. In peace, sons bury fathers. In war, fathers bury sons.

It is a weighty debt. A debt of honor due. [...]

A must read, and ponder. Thanks, John.

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New Planet Discovered Orbiting Gliese 876

Update: (06/17/05 11:30 AM CDT) added to bottom of this post.

This is cool:

Arlington, Va.– Taking a major step forward in the search for Earth-like planets beyond our own solar system, a team of astronomers has announced the discovery of the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected. About seven-and-a-half times as massive as Earth, with about twice the radius, it may be the first rocky planet ever found orbiting a normal star not much different from our Sun. [...]
I am somewhat puzzled, though:

[...] The newly-discovered “super-Earth” orbits the star Gliese 876, located just 15 light years away in the direction of the constellation Aquarius. This star also possesses two larger, Jupiter-size planets. The new planet whips around the star in a mere two days, and is so close to the star's surface that its temperature probably tops 400 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit (200 to 400 degrees Celsius)—oven-like temperatures far too hot for life as we know it.
"This planet answers an ancient question," said team leader Geoffrey Marcy, professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. "Over 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Epicurus argued about whether there were other Earth-like planets. Now, for the first time, we have evidence for a rocky planet around a normal star." [...]

Two planets in our own solar system are more closely related to Earth; Mars and Venus. I don't think a star as large as this new one, orbiting as close to it's star as it does, can be properly characterized as 'Earth-like' Also, Gliese 876 is an M-Dwarf type of star, unlike our own G2 sun. More star information than you probably want to know here..

Still, nit-picking aside, this is cool. Our abilities to reach out in scientific terms keep growing.

Update: It seem that there is reevaluation happening about the ability of planets of this type to harbor life. Over at the Speculist some discussion is happening:
[...] But now the SETI folks are reevaluating the possibility of habitable planets around small stars. [...]
Tidal lock, planetary systems, and defining of habitable zones... it's all there. Go read it.

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Hmmm... Let 'Em Eat Bugs?

This article just begs for some kind of flippant commentary:

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Like many people in his town in the southern Mexico highlands, Gerardo Carrillo looks forward to harvest time in August. That's when he can pick greenish caterpillars off the trees and boil them with a little lime.

``They're good,'' says the 53-year-old gardener. ``They taste a little like grasshoppers.'' [...]

At least he didn't say that they taste a little like chicken! The article goes on to discuss several aspects of 'bug eating', ranging from the difficulty of getting the poor farmers to harvest them for sale rather than for personal consumption, their (the bugs) tastiness and nutritional value, and that the additional nutrition available from insect consumption allows farmers to avoid pesticides and bio-engineered crops (Greens should like THAT).

Somehow, as culturally indoctrinated as I am, I don't think this would make it past my 'eeeeeewwwwww' filter. But, to paraphrase what someone once said: 'Let them eat bugs'.

We'll leave this subject with another quote from the article:

Seventeen-year-old student Ariel Elurdoy, waiting for a 65-cent taco at a Mexico City street stand, said he would happily try bug food. He, like many Mexicans, has eaten grasshoppers and would be willing to try the rest of the insect and worm kingdom.

``People should be open to trying these things,'' Elurdoy said. ``They're good.''
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A Perfect (Immigration) Storm

Matt Towery writing at townhall.com, says "There is a storm brewing on America's horizon..." Any of you that have read my previous posts will know that I agree with Matt. Further, he says:

I'm talking about rampant, uncontrolled immigration. It's a problem that is coming to a head in this country. It will either be dealt with now with realistic assessments of its extent and levelheaded policies to solve it, or it will fundamentally change the nature of our society and political system.
There is currently a bipartisan bill before Congress that takes realistic aim at getting a grip on illegal immigration. Among other provisions, it would allow the issuance of three-year work visas to undocumented workers.

Opposition to the bill illustrates the problem in seeking a political solution. Those on the right don't want to grant any sort of legal status to immigrants who have broken the law to get here. But this proud position is no longer realistic. Their presumed answer, massive deportation, would trigger equally massive social unrest and political polarization.

Those on the left don't want to acknowledge that there is a problem at all. (Some for altruistic reasons, and some for political reasons -- they want more people voting Democratic.) They assign the label "racist" to anyone who so much as suggests a serious effort to limit immigration. This too is unrealistic.

As is nearly always the case, the force needed to break this political logjam is an angry majority of citizens. That day is coming, but not because of folks having to read Spanish billboards or fly to India for affordable health care.

It will come when the U.S. government, for security reasons, is forced to keep a tight administrative tab on every last one of us. Call it national ID cards or something else, it amounts to a guarantee of safety and security coming at the price of privacy. And when that seemingly inevitable day comes, Americans are not going to like it.

Their initial response will be resentment toward immigrants. Their eventual reaction will be to toss out their elected representatives for new ones. And those new ones might be extremists ready to exploit anger for votes.

Decision time is coming, one way or the other. President Bush and Congress need to make that time soon. If they don't, the eventual answer may be closed borders. Either that or -- in effect -- no borders at all.

I am assuming that Matt is referring to this bill that Senators McCain and Kennedy have introduced to allow those already here to remain while they apply for legal status, among many other provisions (discussion of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 here, here, here, and here).

Samantha Levine at the Houston Chronicle says:
WASHINGTON - Immigration reform likely will jump to the front burner in July when President Bush unveils plans for border security, enforcement of immigration laws and a guest worker program, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Monday.[...]
'Bout time, sez I.

Senator Cornyn's proposal supposedly would not allow illegals to stay. The Secure America legislation would encourage, I think, those that come here just to be able to send money out of the country, making the United States/Mexico relationship somewhat akin to the city/suburban bedroom community environment, writ large.

We need immigrants, not commuters. We need those commited to becoming Americans, adopting the American culture, and sinking roots here.

Matt worries that "[]Now many foreigners are getting advanced degrees in the United States and then taking their American-given knowledge back to their homelands." I don't think that this is a problem. Our educational institutes are well regarded internationally and domestically. Foreign nationals who come here for an education receive not only academics, but also an education in the American culture. If and when they return to their homelands, that serves the cause of spreading American culture. It is much better to have doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers as foreign proponents of our values than it is to depend solely on diplomatic and military means. Besides, many will remain here.

Whether we decide to allow illegal immigrants to remain, or not, is not really relevant at this time. But the issue of open or closed borders is important. As long as there remain cultures in this world willing to physically attack the United States, open borders will beckon to them. We must close the borders now! Our lives and safety depend on it.

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Ollie North, And The Tards

Ollie North, writing at RedStateUSA.com, has established that the Mainstream Media, the MSM, the purveyors of more misinformation than you ever want to hear, are following well established traditions.

The right of the American media to publish classified military information -- such as that in Time magazine's "exclusive" account from Guantanamo -- is well established. During World War II, the Chicago Tribune divulged that the Battle of Midway had been won thanks to the code-breakers at Station Hypo in Hawaii. Though Americans fighting for their lives in the Pacific theater died because the Japanese immediately changed their JN-25 naval code, no one was ever prosecuted for revealing the secret.

Nor will anyone at Time magazine be arrested for publishing classified data on U.S. military interrogation techniques at Guantanamo. But there should be no doubt that the material detailed in the periodical is now being incorporated in the next editions of training manuals used to indoctrinate members of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, et al. That begs a broader question about the whole controversy surrounding the Guantanamo detention facility: Does our so-called mainstream media have a "death wish"?

Go read his article. He makes some good points. I'm not going to detract from his points by repeating them here. I just wanted to add this little tidbit.

Above I used the phrase 'well established traditions'. This type of publication does indeed have a tradition, by now, of skewed reporting. Interestingly, today I ran across a comment to a post wherein the commenter mispelled tradition as 'tardition'. At the instant I read that, it hit me... these media organizations are tards!

If you have spent much time on the net, then surely you have run across the word 'tard' prior to this. Originally typed as 'tard, it was short for retard, but has now come to mean a stupid person, a clueless person, an annoying person... just about anything you want it to mean, as long as it is said in a derogatory manner. Many times a modifier will be stuck on the front end, a common result being f**ktard, a REALLY stupid AND annoying person. Or organization.

Time Magazine, New York Times... publishing classified materials: Tards!
Newsweek publishing Koran story: Tards!
Rep Dennis Kucunich demanding we 'Bring the troops home': Tard!
Sen. Dickie Dustbin comparing U.S. Military to Nazis, etc.: Tard!
Those lefty people who do not listen to logic and reason: Tards!
(They already have a name for those on the right that behave the same way: Right Wing Nuts)

Yeah, I know it sounds like name-calling, but I prefer to think of it as a description instead. I could go on and on and on... but it's bedtime for me. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Again, go read Col. North's article. And thanks to Free Republic for the initial link.

(FYI only: tardition, misspelling of tradition, commenter Tiredofl Iberals in this post:
You are, in part, correct that the appeal to tradition (or "prejudice" as Burke would call it) was an important part of the reason why many on the libertarian right, including folks like Glenn Reynolds believed that Congress overstepped its bounds.

That said, conservatism is also part and parcel of a moral tardition that dictates that the preservation of individual life should be given priortiy whenever possible. In this case, the religious conservatives argued that it should not be man's (Micahel Sciavo's, the court's, whoever's) decision to determine whether Terri's life had suffiecient value to require its preservation. Instead, they argued that life, in and of itself, is precious and should be preserved.

This part means nothing, unless you wanted to know where I got it, so disregard subject.)

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Chemical Warfare?

I have written previously on the modus operandi of the mainstream media in foisting their agenda on the American public. Here is an example dealing with the Iraq campaign of the Global War on Terror. The current debate and manufactured controversy over the detention of illegal combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is another good example. A media organization (say - Newsweek) will publish a story (I'm not going to legitimize it by calling it a report - it's a story, i.e. fiction) about a subject (like maybe ill treatment of prisoners, or desecrating a supposedly holy object) that is later discredited.

This process happens all of the time. It may be, as in the cases above, about large organizations correcting errors, or something as small as an elementary school student having homework corrected. Errors are made, and corrected, and we move on, having learned from the mistakes. Sometimes the corrections come from within, as in self-correction or editorial correction. Sometimes they come from without, from teachers, fellow students, new information sources, the public at large, etc. No big deal.


When the intellectually dishonest continue to advance the discredited information, when the truth receives little or no attention, the discredited information becomes part of the generally accepted conventional wisdom. Perception IS reality! Now it IS a big deal. The rising debate over Gitmo is a good example of this process.

Now we have another little item that will fit into this category. On May 22, 2005 the New York Times published an editorial titled Inside The Kill Zone. It starts out nicely enough:

There is a park outside New Orleans with rows of old oak trees and the ruins of a colonial plantation. It is a pleasant place to take a stroll -[...]

But then gets right into the meat of the subject:

[...] and it would be an ideal staging ground for a terrorist attack on Chalmette Refining. An attack on the refinery, which has 600,000 pounds of hydrofluoric acid on hand, could put the entire population of New Orleans at risk of death or serious injury.

So far, so good. Undoubtedly, we need to protect our infrastructure, and population. The editorial presents facts and figures that I'll grant legitimacy to for the sake of this post. And at the conclusion it offers some good advice:
[...] Those who live near one of the 15,000 chemical facilities scattered across the country - that is, most Americans - have an important stake in this fight. They should urge their senators and representatives to pass a tough law that keeps America safe from the weapons of mass destruction hidden in its own backyard.

However, (You knew there'd be a however, right?) in the body of the editorial comes this:

[...] The security holes at chemical facilities are glaringly obvious. On a recent visit to Chalmette Refining, a Times editorial writer had no trouble standing in the nearby park for 15 minutes with a large knapsack. At two plants in Dallas that use large amounts of chlorine, the same writer parked a car on the periphery and milled about for more than a half-hour without being stopped. The fencing was minimal - far less than at a nearby automobile factory. It would not have been hard to explode a bomb or fire a weapon near the chlorine. [...]

This leaves the distinct impression that all or most of our chemical infrastructure is only minimally protected, that no one is paying attention to possible hazards, and that 15,000 locations are sitting there with large bullseyes painted on them. Simply call your local Terrorist Travel Tours Agency and book a cruise. One way ticket to the target of your choice, a room booked overlooking your target, continental breakfast provided, tour of facility before attacking it, box lunch, and tour guide available for those who might be spatially handicapped.


But wait! There's more. There are some people that dispute the impression given by the Times editorial. Will Franklin at WILLisms reports that ExxonMobil challenged the N.Y. Times on the editorial. A letter written to the Times says, in part:

What the Times first failed to report -- and when confronted with the facts, refused to report -- was that the Chalmette refinery security manager walked outside the gates and across a road just outside the park to confront the writer after observing him in the park. He advised the writer that refinery security had him under surveillance while he was in the park adjacent to the refinery and that his presence was causing concern.

When ExxonMobil contacted The New York Times to ask why these important facts were not included in their editorial, we were told in an e-mail response from your deputy editorial page editor that these facts were "not relevant." ExxonMobil also provided your paper with photographs of the writer in the park, which were taken with a hand-held camera while the writer was under surveillance by security. Your editor dismissed the photos as simply "proof that our writer was there." While the Times does not deny the writer was challenged, the Times e-mail stated that your editorial did not result "in any omission in reporting that created an inaccurate impression."

We couldn't disagree more. The challenge by the security guard and the photographs are proof that the writer was under surveillance in the park. It certainly appears that the Times wanted a report on lax security at the Chalmette refinery to support your editorial, so your paper simply suppressed key facts. The action taken by our security personnel was appropriate and professional. Despite your paper's denial of a correction, clarification, or retraction, we continue to strongly believe your readers and especially the citizens of Chalmette, LA, deserve to know this full story. For this reason, we are sharing these facts with our Chalmette employees.
You should read the whole letter, and the response from the Times, and of course, Will's commentary. He even has pictures of the writer in the park, Stephen Spruiell reporting for National Review has also weighed in with commentary on this. (Update: Forgot to add The Conspiracy To Keep You Poor And Stupid, for the commentary, and the original point to this story.)

Hard, factual evidence has been presented that the N.Y. Times editorial presents an erroneous view of the security situation surrounding some, and by extension all, chemical facilities. Evidence is there to show that the N.Y. Times knowingly allowed this erroneous impression to remain. Therefore, their premise has been discredited.

Or has it?

Due to the imbalance in readership between internet entities and the N.Y. Times, more people will be left with the impression that we are at great risk because of security failures than those people who know that the initial editorial has been debunked. In a month, or two, or a year, someone at the N.Y. Times (probable) or another MSM outlet (possible) will report or opine that something did or will happen, and that the fault lies with current officials failing to adopt adequate security, and offer this May 22 editorial as proof. This I predict.

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A Speech Too Far

(Note: Updates below)

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack comments on this piece from James Taranto at Best Of The Web Today (WSJ OpinionJournal). James Taranto's piece:

Durbin Supports the Troops
Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, took the Senate floor yesterday and likened American servicemen to Nazis (link in PDF):

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [at Guantanamo Bay]--I almost hesitate to put them in the [Congressional] Record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.

We are fighting an enemy that murdered 3,000 innocent people on American soil 3 1/2 years ago and would murder millions more if given the chance--and according to Dick Durbin, our soldiers are the Nazis.

Huh? Dick Durbin? A United States Senator? Yep, checked his web site, and sure enough he is! After standing in my kitchen this afternoon, yelling and cursing at the TV tuned to FNC showing the Neil Cavuto interview with Dennis 'Bring The Troops Home' Kucinich, after listening to Harry 'We Have Saved America' Reid prattle about the meanness of the nasty ole Republicans, after hearing Robert 'My Daddy Believed In Lynching, And It's Good Enough For Me' Byrd referred to as an ELDER STATESMAN, now this? And don't forget Teddy 'Let's Go Skinny-Dipping, Mary Jo' Kennedy. If these people truly represented American values, I would hang my head in shame.

But we're talking about Dickie 'U.S. Military Be Real Bad Nazis' Dustbin here. Don't let me get sidetracked! Back to Jimmie at Sundries Shack:

Be very sure of what you read here. Dick Durbin, a US Senator, just compared our soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Communist butchers, and the man who killed millions in Cambodia.

Watch carefully who defends his statements and who criticizes then (and the qualifiers they use when they do). Watch them and remember what they’re defending.

Do you know any soldiers? This Senator - one of your elected officials - just compared them to three of the most amoral and muderous regimes that have ever existed.

Remember that next time Senator Durbin, or any member of his party, tells us how they support the troops or cry when someone questions their patriotism.

I’ll tell you this right now - and you can quote me on it tomorrow or in a hundred years. If any American compares our soldiers to those who committed mass slaughter, they are unpatriotic. Period.

Dick Durbin ought to be ashamed to call himself an American right now. No American who had any desire to see this country strong and great would have made this accusation.

I’m afraid that he, like so many other Democrats, have fully fallen over the edge and value their political status more highly than they do their citizenship and their duty to our country. He needs to be denounced in the strongest terms possible and shamed into a public apology.

Nothing less that that ought to be acceptable.

I think that Jimmie doesn't go far enough. Dustbin should be shamed into resigning, immediately. If a resignation is not forthcoming, then he should be thrown out of the Senate, and the balance of the Senators should pass a bill apologizing to the people of Illinois for allowing this travesty to go on so long. Nothing less that THAT ought to be acceptable.

I'd not be surprised if the <expletive> at Newsweek are gloating tremendously over the ride their manufactured controversy is getting in the Mainstream Media and Washington, DC.

Update: (06/16/05 12:08 PM CDT) Captain Ed offers his take on Dustbin. Also Scott at Power Line
al Jazeera too!

Update: (06/17/05 3:05 PM CDT) Hugh Hewitt has much, much more on this here, and here. As far as I'm concerned, this is the money quote:
BTW: If you don't "get" this, you are really far removed from the country's center. It isn't a Democrat-Republican, left-right thing. It is an American-anti-American thing. Period.

And check out Michelle Malkin. She, too, has some pertinent links and commentary.

Update: (06/17/05 3:52 PM CDT) Hah! Don't know how I missed this. Sen. Durbin has been awarded the coveted V-Q Award for his performance on the Senate floor. And while you're there, DO check out Robert's commentary on teaching US History to our children.

Yet another update: (06/17/05 4:30 PM CDT) Hmmm, nice reasoned response by Dirty Harry at Jackson's Junction:

If this were a real country What-a-Dick Durbin wouldn't be asked to apologize, he'd be shot. Along with the the editors of The New York Times, Newsweek, and those punk bitches in Congress demanding a withdrawal date.

The whole group of traitors should be tried on national television and then shot on Pay-Per-View with all proceeds to fund more leashes, hoods, and little dikey looking broads who find Muslim penises worthy of an on-camera chuckle.

We are at war and these son of a bitches are lying. These son of a bitches are blatant propagandists for the enemy. These son of a bitches are doing everything they can to give aid and comfort to the enemy. [...]

You really need to see the photo accompanying these words.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I was just watching Neil Cavuto interview Dennis Kusinich on FNC. He kept saying, over and over again: "Bring the troops home". This guy doesn't have a clue. I doubt that he could buy a clue. Totally ruined my day.

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What He Said!

J. B. Williams , in Canada Free Press:
[...] The ability to shape public opinion is powerful. Intentionally shaping it against one’s own national security interests is an act against one’s own country. Where is the public outcry about that?

What he said!

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Hijacked! - or I'm A Neo-Blogger

I've been wondering for a while now about the social process of a word getting hijacked. For instance, when I was much younger the word gay meant:
1 a : happily excited : MERRY b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits
2 a : BRIGHT, LIVELY <gay sunny meadows> b : brilliant in color
3 : given to social pleasures; also : LICENTIOUS

And today it also has the added definition:
4 a : HOMOSEXUAL b : of, relating to, or used by homosexuals <the gay rights movement> <a gay bar>

Actually, the first three usages have fallen into disuse. Don't get me wrong, as I'm only using that as an example. After all, some of my best friends are of that (#4) persuasion.

Specifically, I am thinking about the prefix neo-. I'm not speaking of the film role Neo, the acronym NEO, or the programming Neo, just the prefix. Now Merriam-Webster defines neo- as:

Main Entry: ne-
Variant(s): or neo-
Function: combining form
Etymology: Greek, from neos new -- more at NEW
1 a : new : recent <Neogene> b : new and different period or form of <Neoplatonism> : in a new and different form or manner <Neoplatonic> c : New World <Neotropical> d : new and abnormal <neoplasm>
2 : new chemical compound isomeric with or otherwise related to (such) a compound <neostigmine>

This prefix is commonly used as Neo-Nazism, Neo-Fascism, Neo-Paganism, Neo-Luddism, Neoplatonism, Neo-Liberalism, Neo-Conservativism, and many more. Obviously, the pefix is quite useful. Look over the list I've presented here, and ask yourself this question: "Overall, do these terms have a negative, neutral, or positive connotation when I hear/read them"? I think you'll have to agree that mostly they represent a negative connotation. Usually a newer form of something is considered better, or positive (unless you consider yourself a Neo-Luddite). In today's common usage, however, neo-(insert concept here) is a term of derision and condemnation.

It appears that neo- is well on the way to being hijacked. The latest slur will be to insert neo- before whatever insult you would normally hurl at a person or group. I think I'll be the first Neo-Blogger!

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