Friday, August 26, 2005

Sorry, I am not in right now. Leave a message at the beep.

I will be leaving in a few hours, and will not return until 8/31. Any posts will be dependent on computer access, which is not too likely. If you want to know why, check here. Keep the faith!


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Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Answer Is Protest Babes!

The question is: How do we win this War ?

Patrick Ruffini feels that we are not telling the right story.
pinkshirt1.gifFor two years now, the dominant conservative frame on Iraq has been to point to the steady, unheralded progress ignored by the media. Schools being built. Troops being trained. Elections. The economy picking up. By definition, these kinds of transformations don’t happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
This narrative served us well for a time, playing into widely held suspicions of media bias, but now something different is called for.


This narrative is nothing new: we had it for a while in the spring, and now it’s time to get it back. It’s simple: everything – EVERYTHING – pivots around the Iraqi woman with purple ink-stained finger, or the Revolution babes in Lebanon, or the jailed democracy protesters in Egypt. That’s why we are being viciously attacked. That’s the narrative. That’s the first three quarters of the policy speech. It’s not that we shouldn’t be talking about progress on the ground. It’s that there's a better way to talk about progress than as fingers.jpga whiny alternative universe the media won't cover. Use the progress to explain the violence, and by talking about the progress you implicitly talk about the violence too. It's not pollyannish either: extreme violence provoking extreme evil -- both can be given their due in one construct. The level of violence is not the success criteria; our will to defeat the inevitable opposition we will face is.


He presents a well written argument on how we should be discussing this War, and thus the path to Victory.

Read the whole thing.

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WOW! Combat Report, Must read!

Michael's report. MUST READ!

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Hip Waders, And You're All Set

bullshitprotecter.jpgThis was shamelessly stolen from Nashville Is Talking, as it's too good to not pass along.

Printable PDF cutout available here.

For other designs, including PG, visit Wiseass.org

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Cause and Effect

This news article concerning mistaken or disregarded boundaries on areas to be logged, and the subsequent logging of trees in a protected area, exposes a serious problem (bolds mine).
GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- The Forest Service admitted Wednesday to making a "serious" mistake that allowed the logging of 17 acres inside a rare tree reserve as part of the salvage harvest of timber burned by a fire in 2002.

The logging inside the 350-acre Babyfoot Lake Botanical Area, created in 1966 to protect Brewer spruce and other rare plant species in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, was discovered last week by environmentalists after the timber was harvested and a forest closure intended to bar protesters was lifted.

It appears that once the forest service made the decision to allow logging of the burned timber areas, defined the area allowed, and issued the necessary permits, that they then failed to monitor the process. The loggers, by design or error (I don't claim to know one way or the other here), crossed over the boundary. Sometime AFTER the logging had ended, environmentalists surveyed the area, and discovered the ( pick one: error/criminal activity). These same environmentalists are criticizing the Forest Service for not allowing process monitoring.

Barbara Ullian, conservation director of the Siskiyou Project group that discovered the damage, said the mistake demonstrated the importance of allowing the public to monitor logging operations in national forests.

What prompted the Forest Service to close the area to the public during the logging? This explains:


The Forest Service closed the area to the public in March after protesters attempted to block logging roads and sit in trees.


The protesters were attempting to block not just logging in the Reserve, where it was not supposed to happen anyway, but ANY logging (Examples here and here). In their efforts to stop all logging, they effectively removed any chance that they had to exercise any control. Sounds like the Siskiyou Project needs to rethink their strategy.

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Call For New Standards

HOT SPRINGS, N.C. -- A magnitude 3.8 earthquake rattled homes in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia but appeared to have caused little serious damage, officials said.

The minor quake, which struck at 11:09 p.m. Wednesday, was centered about 2 miles southeast of Hot Springs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center.

Rocks crashed down on N.C. 209 in Madison County, but the road remained open. The quake also damaged the foundation of a mobile home and knocked pictures off walls in western North Carolina, but there were no reports of injuries, officials said.

Good thing this wasn't The Big One! If a 3.8 quake can damage the foundation of a mobile home, think of the massive and widespread damage that would take place if this had been a large quake. We are woefully unprepared!

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The Saga of Paddy and the Underdog Railroad

Reminiscent of the feel-good movies about lost pets trekking through the wilderness for hundreds of miles to finally arrive home safely (i.e. The Incredible Journey, et al), and alluding to the Underground Railroad, this LA Times article is an interesting read. It explores the problems of unwanted pets through the travels of the dog Paddy, from Tennessee to his new home in California.
Paddy's no show dog. He's a mid-size, aging brown mutt; shaggy, with white eye rings that give him a worried look, and a smell that's hard to ignore.

Dogs like Paddy abound at animal shelters across America. He was once a pound dog himself, back in Tennessee. But that was before.

Now he lives in California with a woman who saw him on the Internet and just had to have him. His 60-hour passage from east Tennessee to Silverado in the Orange County back country, involved a blues singer, a bartender, a retired orchestra conductor and 21 others who drove shifts across six states and four time zones to get him to what rescuers call a "forever home."

Most of those who transported Paddy never met his Tennessee rescuer, his new owner in California or each other. They were part of a vast, loose-knit movement known to animal rescuers as the "canine underground railroad." Linked by the Internet, cellphones and fervid love of animals, thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada and Europe go to enormous lengths to save strays like Paddy.

A good article, highlighting the efforts of Petfinder.com to place unwanted animals.

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Bear Claws

No, I'm not talking about the pastry. I'm talking about REAL bear claws:
mauling4_small.jpg(image credit: Asylum Eclectica)

These are the claws of a Grizzly Bear, allegedly the one who killed a pair of rafters camping beside the Hulahula River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). From the Anchorage Daily News:

Officials discovered the bodies and an unused firearm in a tent at a campsite near the river.

The couple, whose names were not released, were believed to be in their late 50s or early 60s, North Slope Borough police said. They were from Anchorage and had been on a recreational rafting trip down the river, Alaska State Troopers said.

The impetus of this post is not that bears attack and kill people, as it happens quite often, but to highlight a website that I found while doing some research. That site is Morbid Fact Du Jour (Where BAD THINGS Happen to GOOD PEOPLE). It also told the story of the bear attack, referencing the Daily News article, AND provided pictures of the dead bear, and the victim's bodies.

After printing the story, here is the disclaimer:

And here's the best part - through the generosity of <anonymous> sources, I was able to obtain for you photographs of the couple as they were found at the campsite, along with an image of the slain bear! Ah, be still my bloody morbid heart! Warning: the pics are...
I have left the images very large because I figure that you, like me, want to be able to zoom in on the ghastliest of details. Consequently, the files are over 800 kb in size. If you'd rather look at the smaller overview version, I have provided links to those as well. Enjoy, sickos!

If you're up to it, visit. Check out the archives. Heh, enjoy, sickos!

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Channeling Pat Robertson

I'm sure that by now anyone with a televison and at least half alive has heard about the incident, later denied, then kinda admitted and apologized for, wherein Pat Robertson called for Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to be taken care of. If not, here's a link.

But that's not the point of this post. Rather, how about a thinly-veiled suggestion that what Pat suggested for Chavez might, just might, be appropriate elsewhere. I realize that assassination of foreign leaders by United States personnel is illegal. I also realize that some people just need to go. Or be sent on their merry way. Terminated with extreme prejudice.

One such person has been a thorn in the side of our efforts in Iraq from the beginning. First with armed opposition, now with efforts to hinder and derail our mission. That person is Muqtada al-Sadr (info here, here, and here).

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Clashes erupted between rival Shiite groups across the Shiite-dominated south Wednesday, threatening

Iraq with yet another crisis at a time when politicians are struggling to end a constitutional stalemate with Sunni Arabs.
The confrontation in at least five southern cities — involving a radical Shiite leader who led two uprisings against U.S. forces last year — followed the boldest assault by Sunni insurgents in weeks in the capital.


Trouble in the south began when supporters of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tried to reopen his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, which was closed after the end of fighting there last year.

When Shiites opposed to al-Sadr tried to block the move, fights broke out. Four people were killed, 20 were injured and al-Sadr's office was set on fire, police said.

That enraged al-Sadr's followers, who blamed the country's biggest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI.

Internal Iraqi politics, that we should stand back and let them sort out amongst themselves? I think not. Muqtada al-Sadr has got to go, and soon, lest we have more of this:

Hundreds of American soldiers and Iraqis died in the two uprisings, which ended late last year. Since then, al-Sadr's top aides have been released, the murder charge effectively dropped, and the fiery young cleric has emerged as a major political figure

The time is long past to render this fiery young cleric fiery indeed! He has got to go! Let him claim his 72 goats!

Targeted assassinations are possible, but would cause a lot of political backlash here on the home front. Since Iraq IS a war zone, and al-Sadr is demonstrably an enemy, this process would not be illegal. But then again, it may not be the most desirable event.

Rather, Coalition and Iraqi forces could begin staging numerous massive operations near where he and his supporters are known to be located. More than likely, he and his supporters would respond in unhelpful (Thanks, Rummie!) ways. Stuff happens during combat. Actually, now that I think about it, just a show of force nearby would provoke them into a foolish and regrettable incident.

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You Want To Have My Child?

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Billionaire television producer John de Mol, behind the pioneer show Big Brother, will test the limits of reality TV with a program in which a woman searches for a potential sperm donor to conceive a child.
This is... unusual? Well, not in today's television world, I guess. I confess that I watched Survivor in the first season, but other than that I have not followed any of the so-called reality shows. It does appear, however, that these producers had found a solid market for them. Are ratings now beginning to drop to the extent that they need a boost? This might do it:

"Afterwards there will be artificial insemination," said the woman who was identified only as "Yessica" and who has bought a house with a room for a child.
On camera, I wonder?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Light in the Darkness

The Light? Melanie Morgan (bio), and KSFO Radio. Here's part of an article by Melanie Morgan from from Lucianne.com:

We finally broke away from Camp Victory, where 8,000 troops are stationed north of Baghdad. After asking repeatedly to go into Baghdad and away from relative safety, Central Command (CENTCOM) relented, and we were on our way.

Thus began a trip to Iraq sponsored by Move America Forward to tell the story of war on terrorism directly from the men and women serving in our armed forces. With five other talk show hosts, we were determined to get the truth out without the normal liberal bias that seems to cloud coverage by the mainstream media.

The Darkness? San Francisco and the Bay Area. The city that did this:

SAN FRANCISCO - The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific.
Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival.


USS IowaBut city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

(image credit: czbrats)

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

And this:
[...] In a unique form of opposition, some protesters at the Federal Building staged a "vomit in,'' by heaving on the sidewalks and plaza areas in the back and front of the building to show that the war in Iraq made them sick, according to a spokesman.


stop_the_war.jpgon041r.jpgAnd the Minions of Darkness and their MSM Lackeys, constantly staging sceens like this:

(image credit: indybay.org)

Thank you, Melanie Morgan! Thank you, KSFO!

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original pointer to Riding Shotgun Along The Highway Of Death)

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USS Winston S. Churchill

Two Norfolk-based guided missile destroyers collided off the coast of Jacksonville, on Monday afternoon while conducting exercises, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
No one was injured and damage was minor, Cmdr. Conrad Chun, a Navy spokesman in Norfolk, told The Virginian-Pilot.

USS McFaul
Is 'Oops' a valid excuse?

(Thanks to Free Republic for original link)

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This Is... Strange

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif.(AP) A Hollywood producer found dead in his car suffered a heart attack, then fell on top of his young daughter who suffocated, according to a coroner's report.

Read this story, then visit Free Republic and read the coments. Even though autopsy reports show he died of a heart attack, and the daughter from suffocation, many, many more questions here. Very strange!

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On Passing...

Since December of last year (2004) I have attended a total of nine funeral services. None of these have been military, or related in any way to Iraq and Afghanistan. For that I am thankful.

All have been family members, or acquaintenances, ranging in age from 17 to 90-something. All have been within driving distance, the farthest being about four hours away.

I am about to attend my tenth.

My last remaining aunt passed away last night at the age of 80-something. She leaves five living children, numerous grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren. Please offer prayers for these family members.

Unfortunately, this funeral service will require that I fly, and will consume nearly all of my emergency credit card resources. Although you might consider this a shameless Bleg, today I put up a Paypal Tipjar, located on the right sidebar. If you are so inclined, hits would be appreciated.

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Google Talk

Seems Google is getting into everything these days. They have just announced GoogleTalk. Give it a try.

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Judges are SUPPOSED to make laws

According to Erwin Chemerinsky and Catherine Fisk, judges are supposed to make laws, not merely interpret them.
Misleading and silly slogans about what judges do are dominating the debate about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

President Bush and Republican politicians constantly repeat, as a mantra, that Roberts is a desirable choice because he won't "legislate from the bench" and will merely "apply the law, not make it."

But every lawyer knows that judges make law - it's their job. [...]

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Punishing Disobedient Wives

I could make a very long post concerning this, as I'm sure you could also, but instead will offer it without comment:

I find it unacceptable when some people twist the meaning of a particular verse in the Holy Qur’an — especially the one which permits a husband to beat his disobedient wife. Those who do the twisting must understand that the permission is only given under certain circumstances and that the beating is intended as a remedy for specific situations. It is unfortunate that some well-known and respected Muslim scholars have either willingly or unwillingly joined a campaign seeking to distort the meaning of that particular verse.

In many cases, they have given a different meaning from the one actually intended. The verse — number 34 in Surah IV — reads as follows: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore, righteous women are devotedly obedient and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. And to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first) and (then) refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means of annoyance.”


The controversy over the beating of disloyal and rebellious women is part of the campaign against Islam. If beating disobedient wives was advocated by Western scientists, it would have been widely supported by the same people who criticize Islam and special centers would have been set up all over the world to train husbands on how to beat their wives.

Read, and ponder.

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original link)

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God's Gift

From Robert Mandel at Mandelinople:

So, here's my proposal for a freedom center.
It would have:

1) a musket
2) a mast and sail
3) a chain
4) a top hat, a wheel chair, and a cigar
5) a steam engine
6) a dollar bill
7) a loaf of bread
8) a model of the statue of liberty
9) a pint of blood
10) a flag


10) The US flag. We are God's gift to the world. We are the shining city upon a hill, the beacon of light and hope for the world. Providence indeed guides our fate. The flag is but a small symbol of that.

Go read it all. Now.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Great News - Iraq (Updated)

Update: (08/23/05 10:38 PM CDT) I posted previously, and mentioned here, concerning worries about not hearing from Michael Yon. He informs me that he is double checking facts, and expects to post within 12 hours. Can't wait!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Thank you, Blackfive, for the publication, and pointer to, this very welcome piece of news:

Published: August 23rd, 2005 12:01 AM

Army Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla arrived at Madigan Army Medical Center late Monday for treatment of wounds he suffered Friday in a firefight in Mosul, Iraq.

Officials said Kurilla, commander of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, was shot in the arm and leg and suffered a broken leg.

He was reported in stable condition.

This is great news.

I am aware the Col. Kurilla is merely another flesh and blood man, subject to all of the same forces that the rest of us are. He is also merely another of the fine personnel of our armed forces. But I have this mental image of him, gained through reading dispatches from Michael Yon. that does not conform to the probable reality. For instance, Michael describes this scene:

We had left the prisoner in the open. Bullets are snapping, and I'm crouched on a knee behind a Stryker. When I look back again, I see Kurilla standing out there, alone, next to the terrorist on the sidewalk. Bullets are kicking up dirt and Kurilla gives us a look: What the hell! You left the prisoner!

Combat 2n1 original.jpgThe reality? A hot, bright, dusty, noisy, chaotic scene, men crouched behind cover looking for and responding to attackers. Illustration provided by Michael's photo:

My mental picture? More like this.

ffcolr29.jpg(image credit: gallery)

OK, OK, that was juvenile. Still...

At least give him a cape!

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Recycling Slogans

From Mythusmage Opines, in it's entirety:
August 22, 2005
Red Fridays

You will soon see a lot of people wearing Red on Fridays. Here's why.....

The Americans who support our troops are the silent majority. We are not "organized" to reflect who we are, or to reflect what our opinions are. Many Americans, like yourself, and all their friends, simply want to recognize that Americans support our troops. Our idea of showing our solidarity and support for our troops is starting Friday and continuing on each and every Friday, until this is over, that every red-blooded American who supports our young men and women, WEAR SOMETHING RED. Word of mouth, press, TV -- let's see if we can make the United States, on any given Friday, a sea of red much like a home football game at a University. If every one of our memberships shares this with other acquaintances, fellow workers, friends, and neighbors, I guarantee! That it will not be long before the USA will be covered in RED. and make our troops know there are many people thinking of their well-being. You will feel better all day Friday when you wear Red! So let's get the word out and lead by example; wear RED on Fridays.

I sent this out to everyone on my email list; hopefully, you will too.

Wear Red on Fridays ...

I got the above from Gary Gygax on the Gygax Games mailing list (Yahoo). I'm presenting it here in the hope it spreads around the blogosphere and inspires folks to wear red on Friday. Red shirts, red caps , red hats, red pants, red shoes, so on and so forth. Let's show the media how many we are, and tell them where we stand.
Good idea. I have plenty of red to wear, beginning this Friday. Join up.

Since the old cold war slogan of 'Better dead than red' has been hijacked by some mealy-mouthed lefties, lets use, instead, Better RED than dead!

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Darwin Award Candidate?

So you're driving along, minding your own business, visions of a soyburger dancing in your head, when in the road ahead you see this poor, helpless animal attempting to cross the road. So far, so good. You peer through the windshield, and determine that it is a SNAKE.

Being the concerned, ecologically-conscious, friend of the universe that you are, you do the natural thing. You slowly roll to a stop, exit the vehicle, place bright orange traffic cones at the front and rear, and a third exactly 150 feet (measured) behind your vehicle. You then meditate for exactly 10 seconds to ensure the proper attitude for human-animal (sorry, animal-animal) interaction.
Stephen Sodones spotted it along the edge of Route 23 in Jefferson, a snake just starting its precarious slide to the other side of the highway.

So the 62-year-old animal lover picked it up, hoping to carry it to safety. But in doing so, Sodones quickly learned one of nature's more important facts: Snakes bite.


You're OK with this, since he (the snake... ) is only doing what comes naturally. But upon further reflection (and biting...) you decide that maybe you should approach this from a different tack.

What bit Sodones three times on the arm Monday night was a copperhead, which can grow to 4 feet and have fangs like hypodermic needles. No one is quite sure how big this one was.

copperhead.gif(image credit: Tigerhomes.org)

(Try: Big enough. And think: poisonous!)

Sodones, who lives in the Newfoundland section of Jefferson, remained hospitalized last night in the intensive care unit at Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains. His condition was listed as critical, but improving, a hospital spokeswoman said.


At first, Sodones didn't think much about the bites. But about four hours later, when he felt woozy, Sodones called 911, police said.

By then, the snake was long gone.

"It was a good thing to do, but the wrong way to do it. I wouldn't recommend anyone touch a venomous snake unless they know what they are doing," Abene said. "What the heck was he thinking?"
Lets see, now where did I put those Darwin Award applications?

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original link)

Update: After posting, I got to wondering... How does a person live for 62 years doing things like this. And why did it take that long to learn that snakes (and other animals) BITE?

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Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn

I'm sure vast majority will recognize the title as a quote from Gone With The Wind. It's one of the most recognized movie quotes ever, actually rated Number One.

Now, from Brutally Honest, comes this contender for the title of Greatest Movie Quote Ever.

Art does reflect reality!

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Poet Laureate

Question: What is a Poet Laureate?

Answer: Poets Laureate, appointed by the Librarian of Congress, are entrusted with raising the status of poetry in the everyday conscience of the American public.

I'm sure that you're already wondering where I'm going with this. Have patience, I'll get there. First, a little history, shamelessly borrowed from essortment, along with the italicized text above:
In 1616 King James I of England granted playwright and poet Ben Jonson a pension, thereby establishing the informal position of Poet Laureate. Jonson died in 1637 and a like pension was bestowed to William Davenant.

In 1668 the post of Poet Laureate was officially established as a royal office. As first decreed by Thomas Shadwell, the Poet Laureate of England's sole responsibility was to compose birthday poems and a special New Year's ode for the Royal Family. For more than 150 years this tradition was strictly adhered to until the dignity of the post began to erode to the point where both poet and royal were just going through the motions. Queen Victoria ended the sham and changed the honorific to a recognition of achievement in poetry. If the Poet Laureate feels the urge to compose a verse or two for the royal family, it is still looked upon favorably.

In the United States some local Poets Laureate were recognized in their communities in the 19th century but it was not until 1937 that a similar position to that in England was established in America. The American equivalent was the Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress, a job that carried an impressive title but no pay. In 1985 the United States Congress created an official post with the creation of the Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress.
The Poet Laureate, in addition to legitimacy, now received an annual monetary stipend, currently $35,000. The money was funded by a gift from Archer M. Huntingdon, son of one of the quartet of founders of the Central Pacific Railroad that worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. Huntingdon was not similarly inclined to business and spent his life in philanthropic pursuits. "Wherever I put my foot down, a museum springs up," he once said.

British Poets Laureate serve for life and since 1668 there have been only 19 poets so honored (no women). In the United States, the Poet Laureate is appointed by the Librarian of Congress to a single term, serving from October to May (there have been many women Poets Laureate). In making the selection, the Librarian of Congress seeks the consul of past and present Poets Laureate and other distinguished poetry critics.

The official duties of a Poet Laureate are few. There is one annual lecture and a poetry reading but little beyond that. The general mandate is to raise the status of poetry in the everyday conscience of the American public. Each Poet Laureate is free to pursue an individual agenda which are predictably diverse. During his service, Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky spearheaded a movement to place poetry in airports, supermarkets and hotel rooms. Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks spent her tenure meeting with elementary school students encouraging them to write poetry. Poet Laureate Robert Haas sought to integrate poetry into the fabric of the community with his "Watershed" conference that united novelists, storytellers and poets to talk about their work.

Clearly, the position of Poet Laureate has come a long way since the days when a poet was expected to string together a few rhymes for a royal birthday party.
That's a good beginning. However, for the suggestion I'll make in a bit, I think a more legitimate authority should be engaged, hence, the Library of Congress (bolds mine):

The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress serves as the nation's official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.

That seems to establish the legitimacy of the position. Now, how are Poets Laureate nominated and chosen? From Wikipedia.
[...] In making the appointment, the Librarian consults with former appointees, the current Laureate and distinguished poetry critics. [...]
This conforms to the information contained in the first quoted passage. From these, I gather that it's up to the Librarian of Congress, James Hadley Billington, to consult with those named, and appoint the Poet Laureate. Therefore, here's my proposal.

To Mr. James Hadley Billington, Librarian of Congress:

I hereby submit for your consideration as the next Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress the author of the following poems:

The Unknown *

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know


Happenings **

You're going to be told lots of things.
You get told things every day that don't happen.
It doesn't seem to bother people, they don't—
It's printed in the press.
The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.
Everyone's so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story's there
That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven't happened.
All I can tell you is,
It hasn't happened.
It's going to happen.


Clarity ***

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.
And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.

In addition to authoring the above poems, this man also exemplifies another requirement for the position, that of the nation's official lightning rod. Who could possibly be better suited for the position than ...

Donald H. Rumsfeld

* —Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
** —Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing
*** —Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

Thanks to Chris Regan at JunkYardBlog for the timely reminder that The Donald (forget that Trump guy!) is a true poet!

Update: I missed the link to the original Rumsfeld poetry article. Here is it, at Slate.
The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Dancing with Bush

I find it difficult to follow Indian politics, and so cannot decide if this represents political pragmatism, or something else. (bolds mine)
NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi's trip to the US is off. Last week, the Congress party sent its regrets to the Clinton Foundation in New York. The foundation would have been her main host for a conference of world leaders.
The official reason is that the visit from September 10-17 would clash with an AICC session and a Congress chief ministers' conclave. In fact, however, the rescheduling has been necessitated by the concern to avoid giving offence to the Republican establishment in the US with which the Manmohan Singh government has important business to do.
The Congress chief appreciated the view in the government that it would have been odd for her to travel on a Democrat invite and then want to meet the Republican Bush. The Republican tango with India is now well known as Bush has gone the extra mile to sign a path-breaking nuclear agreement with India.
What is obvious, though, is that Indian reporters have a nice command of idiom.

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Remember the guy in Arkansas with the snake problem? Well, add in this, and you have to ask: What's going on here? Is Michael Crichton going to write a new novel titled Snake?
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- They're coming into his yard at an alarming rate, probably from a nearby creek bed. But Shawn Schreiner said when he told animal control about his snake infestation, he was told he was on his own.

Unless you suffer from Ophidiophobia, read the whole thing.

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The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and I agree.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- An online thesaurus struck a listing Monday for the word "Arab" after Arab-American groups complained the entry listed derogatory synonyms.
Now, had this been initiated by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), I would have dismissed it at the headline as yet another whiney, sniveling anti-American page in their normal agenda.

But it wasn't, so I read on, and discovered this:
The entry, which appeared on thesaurus.com, listed the word as a noun meaning "beggar," and gave 16 pejorative synonyms including "homeless person" and "welfare bum."
Yeah, that ain't right. Thesaraus.com removed all of the derogatory references. Good for them.

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Packin' Mud

BELGRADE (Reuters)- Security guards protecting what is left of Serbia's once mighty Bor mining and smelting complex are being overrun by thieves stealing mud that contains traces of gold, silver and platinum, a Belgrade newspaper reported.

Bor police have filed charges against persons unknown for the theft of about 700 kilograms (1550 pounds) of valuable anode mud from the bankrupt, state-owned company in southern Serbia, Danas said in its weekend edition.

The paper quoted security company chief Ljuba Milovanovic as saying thieves stopped at nothing to get at the mud, carrying it off in bags, sacks, bottles, clothing and even in pockets.

The paper said 200 kg of the mud would yield about one kg of gold and six kg of silver, plus other potentially valuable metals. It was probably processed in "private, well-hidden smelting plants."
(bolds mine)

Anode mud, or anode slime as it's sometimes called, is the results of electrolytic processing of metal ores. So here's this stuff laying around, containing .5% gold and 3% silver - seems like it would be fairly valuable. This company is bankrupt? No one guarding the gold? Sheesh! No wonder.

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This is ludicrous

So where we stand now a bartender may be liable for serving alcohol to someone later involved in an accident. And now the Tennessee Supreme Court says that selling gasoline to a drunk driver exposes vendors to risk. (Knoxville News Sentinel, reg. req.)

I realize that there was more to this case than simply selling gasoline, as the convenience store had already refused to sell alcohol to the individuals due to obvious impairment. However, the foot is in the door. What restraints are there to the next case where just gasoline is involved? If past history is any indication... none.

If you are talking to a driver on a cell phone, and that driver is involved in an accident, are you liable for being a distraction, and a cause of the accident? How about the manufacturer of the cell phone, for enabling this dangerous behavior?

Should all auto dealers (and individuals!!) refrain from selling vehicles to persons who they know have previously driven drunk? If they've done it twice, they've established a petternpattern of drunken driving. General Motors, financially troubled though they are at present, still represent deep pockets, and an inviting target.

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The specter of condemnation

Connecticut's WTNH is reporting that the United States Supreme Court has refused to reconsider the Kelo v. City of New London emminent domain case.

I think that they WILL reconsider this case, rather sooner than they expect, and regardless whether they want to or not. Their decision just went too far to be allowed to stand.
[Justice Sandra Day] O'Connor, whose decision to retire created the opening that Washington lawyer John Roberts now seeks to fill, wrote in her angry dissent of June that "the specter of condemnation hangs over all property." [...]
Justice O'Conner is correct, the specter of condemnation does hang over all property. She did not go far enough, however, as the specter of condemnation now hangs over the U.S. Supreme Court over this decision. It was wrong, wrong, wrong!

(Thanks to Free Republic for original link)

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For those few of you out there that might know me personally, read this and enjoy! Others that don't know me, be advised that I really enjoy playing with telemarketers. If a unique response doesn't present itself, I usually fall back on this generic technique, which I call 'Milk 'em till they quit'. Simply ask them to repeat some information that they have given you a few sentences previously. Example:

ME: Hello.
TM: Hello, my name is Mr. Telemarketer, with ABC Company.
ME: Uh huh.
TM: And the reason I'm calling you is you recently applied for a home refinance... ME: OK.
TM: ... loan, and we have completed our...
ME: What did you say your name was?
TM: Pardon Me? Oh, my name is I'm Mr. Telemarketer.
ME: OK, go on.
TM: Sure. You see, when you recently applied for a home...
ME: Which company do you work for?
TM: I work for ABC Company.
ME: OK, go on.
TM: uhhh... the loan that you applied for has been approved by our Finance Department at a very low rate...
TM: ...4.3%. But I do need to get some information...
ME: A loan?
TM: ... uhhh, yes, you applied...
ME: What kind of loan?
TM: ... a refinance loan, to enable you to get...
ME: OK, go on.

et cetera

Surely you get the idea, keep them backing up and off balance, and by all means keep them on the phone as long as possible. Somebody is paying for the calls, and it isn't you.

I gave that as background, so that you will understand how disappointed I was that I didn't think of this first:

The phone rang as I was setting down to my anticipated evening meal, and as I answered it I was greeted with, "Is this William Wagenhoss?"

This didn't sound anything like my name, so I asked, "Who is calling?" The telemarketer said he was with The Rubberband-Powered Freezer Company or something like that and then I asked him if he knew William personally and why was he was calling this number. I then said off to the side, "Get really good pictures of the body and all the blood." I then turned back to the phone and advised the caller that he had entered a murder scene and must stay on the line because we had already traced this call and he would be receiving a summons to appear in the local courthouse to testify in this murder case.

I then questioned the caller at great length as to his name, address, phone number at home, at work, who he worked for, how he knew the dead guy and could he prove where he had been about one hour before he made this call. The telemarketer was getting very concerned and his answers were given in a shaky voice.

I proceeded to tell him we had located his position at his work place and the police were entering the building to take him into custody. At that point, I heard the phone fall and the scurrying of his running away.

My wife asked me as I returned to our table, why I had tears streaming down my face and so help me, I couldn't tell her for about fifteen minutes.

My meal was cold, but oh-so-very enjoyable.
Hmmm, my daughter emailed this to me, but I see it has already started making the rounds. Andy's Blog, J Moran Coyle's AOL Journal, Ankle Biting Pundits, you will shoot your eye out, and I'm sure many others. Still, it's good, and I'm not gonna waste my typing!

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Don't Know Much...

Juan Cole don't know much about many things, according to Lisa Ramaci-Vincent, widow of Steven Vincent. This post of an email from Lisa Ramaci-Vincent to Juan Cole is a must read, at Murdoc Online.

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Wow! Ain't Science Great?

Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping has a good write-up of a simple solution to an age-old problem, clean drinking water.

Gizmag is touting the LifeStraw as possibly the invention of the century. That is an astounding claim, seeing as how we're only into the 5th year of the century. But as a self-powered 25 cm long by 29 mm diameter plastic tube capable of providing an individual a years supply of safe drinking water (700 liters), at an individual manufactuing cost of around $2.00 USD, that may not prove to be an outrageous claim. Gizmag suggests possible vehicles for acquisition and distribution (emphasis mine):

If we (as in the big WE) can find a way of manufacturing and distributing one of these to each human at risk, every year, we could save countless lives (now there’s a noble outcome for the tech blogs and mags of the world to work together to promote this). Each LifeStraw lasts for one person’s annual needs of clean water – a simple straw costing a few dollars will ensure that one at-risk person will not die for a year - now that's a donation we can all make with a serious kicker!

Mr. Sensing offers additional distributive networks:

This sounds like the kind of device that American churches could easily buy and supply to churches overseas for distribution.
I'm wondering how many lives might have been saved in the aftermath of last years' Indonesian tsunami disaster. I don't have any figures at hand relating to illness/death attributed to waterborne diseases during that period, but if memory serves there were numerous reports of outbreaks in the weeks and months following.

In addition to Third World usages, the LifeStraw also sounds like an item that needs to be added to standard disaster kits.

Additional information on the LifeStraw available here.

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Has Michael Been Silenced?

In his Aug 20 dispatch, Michael Yon ended with this postscript:
Post Script: The operation has begun. The Commander of Deuce Four, LTC Erik Kurilla, was shot three times in combat yesterday in front of my eyes. Despite being seriously wounded, LTC Kurilla immediately rejoined the intense and close-quarter fight that ended in hand-to-hand combat. LTC Kurilla continued to direct his men until a medic gave him morphine and the men took him away. I was right there. When I returned to base, I was actually "ordered" not to write about the fighting until given clearance, and was told that my phones could be confiscated. I will ignore such "orders" at my own discretion. I am preparing a dispatch now.
Postings referencing Michael's post quickly surfaced at Blackfive, Brutally Honest, Blaster's Blog, etc. Since then... nothing.

I have been waiting and watching for further information, and none has been forthcoming. I've seen no news reports of increased activity nor noteworthy incidents from the Mosul area. Assuming that Michael has been inundated with emails, I have refrained.

One commenter on Brutally Honest, HarryTick of the blog Walking the Dogma, opines:
"I will ignore such "orders" at my own discretion. I am preparing a dispatch now."

I wouldn't be surprised to see Mr. Yon stateside soon. The Army has certain procedures for situations like these. One is notification of next-of-kin in the event of injury or death. Circumvention of the procedures in those instances is not usually looked upon kindly by the level of authority of officers who would be in position to make the decision about whether or not he remains embedded or even in Iraq. I'm sure if he reads his agreement that he signed prior to being embedded, the ROE was clearly outlined.

I don't care how good his information is, or that his "offense" isn't as grievous as Geraldo Rivera's, he needs a time-out.
As a fan, supporter and advocate of Michael's work in Iraq, I have mixed feelings about this. One, I would not like to see OpSec violated, and would not want family to learn of injuries/deaths via media reports. On the other hand, Michael's work should be used as a model for how to report from the field. I am anxiously waiting to see how this plays out.

(Trackback: Mudville Gazette)

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he'e holua

The headline screams at you:

Hawaiians Revive Lava Sledding Tradition

Lava sledding? Ancient Xtreme sport? This sounds really wicked, conjuring up images of streaking down long stretches of glowing, flowing lava, trailing streamers of sulphurous fumes and a rooster-tail of hot pumice particles. Where the losers really get smoked.

Oh. Nevermind. Turns out the lava has long since cooled. However, it still sounds like it would qualify as an extreme sport, inherently dangerous:


Wearing just a tank top and shorts and reaching speeds of up to 70 mph on a sled standing only 4 inches above the ground, [Tom "Pohaku"] Stone once ran into a steel post sticking up from the grass during a demonstration on a slope on Maui, tearing an 18-inch gash in his left thigh.


Read the whole thing, then answer this question: Does 'Pohaku' mean 'Dude! You're crazy!'?

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Camp Sheehan Time Warp?

Very interesting description from Catfish the Texican Tattler of a visit to the Crawford 'ditch' hosting the summer's must see, tell-your-grandkids-you-were-there protest event, now minus Cindy.


The first thing you see as you enter Crawford from the north is the Crawford Peace House. It’s a hovel on the side of the road, and it was packed. More on this later. As I crossed into Crawford proper, the first thing I noticed was the number of pro Bush and pro troops signage. From what I could see, the folks in Crawford are barely tolerating the demonstration, but thankful for the money that it is infusing into their little town.


As I walked back to my car, I couldn’t help but notice the sheer professionalism of the protestors. I wonder how many of them do this for a living? As I mentioned earlier, this was not a spontaneous event. This was well organized and well managed. Frankly, those of us on the right could learn quite a bit from them when it comes to organizing demonstrations. I also couldn’t help but wonder if the explanation for the smaller number of pro-Bushie’s is that we actually have jobs and a life with responsibilities while the anti’s flit from one Grateful Dead concert to another?
That little [...] stuck in there represents a lot of good stuff, go read it.

One interesting thing he mentioned was this:
[...] It was almost as if I had been transported back to 1972 and in fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some of the same folks back then. [...]
This struck home with me. In the early seventies, I was living in Northern California, attending college, wearing my hair and beard long, driving a very old, raggedy pickup or sometimes a Beetle. Many people there at that time conformed to the image that is now known as hippie. I fit right in.

This past July on a long drive from Point A to Point B in Northern California, I made an observation to my wife, son, and son's girlfriend, and pointed out many examples. Today there are still many people there who dress the same, make their living the same way (don't ask, I ain't tellin!), and generally conform to that same hippie image. Guess what? Same people!

(Thanks to Daisy Cutter for the link)
(Trackback: Mudville Gazette)

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Warning: Orphans Beware!

In a posting lauding this decision by the Austin, TX, City Council,

AUSTIN - Texas' capital city became the first in the nation Thursday, according to Planned Parenthood, to prohibit a pharmacy from refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, emergency contraceptives and other medications.

Twisty at Bitch, Ph.D. expresses disdain of the chain:

I know because I was forced to darken the cheap ugly crappy stoop of a Walgreens yesterday, on accounta the hippy-dippy People’s Pharmacy was out of my prescription. I will do so again only if the building is on fire and there are blind orphans inside, and then only if the blind orphans owe me money. The experience was, on every level, crushing.

On second thought, disdain might be too mild. (Note to orphans: Lend money to Twisty, quick! Or stay away from Walgreens. Your life may depend on one or the other.) It seems Twisty dislikes the architecture, stock, employees, dress, and corporate culture of Walgreens. The employees are even rated lower than petty bureaucrats at the DMV.
[...] And the pharmacy clerks--it took no fewer than five of them to bring my drug deal to a conclusion; who knows how many it takes change a light bulb-- are quite the little rays of sunshine, too. Their skin is grey. Their shoulders are hunched. Their expressions are hollow and dull, lacking even the smug spark of pure evil one so often sees flashing in the eyes of petty bureaucrats at the DMV. [...]
For what it's worth, I have no opinion on Walgreens, or any other chain drug store. They're just... there. On the other hand, I do agree with the Austin City Council (and Twisty), that Pharmacists should be required to fill legal prescriptions, regardless of personal opinions.

Check out the blog.

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American Soldier

From Betsy's Page, a pointer to Blogotional, and a MUST READ description of an American Soldier! The spirit, dedication, professionalism, and perserverance of these young Americans is truly astounding.

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