Tuesday, August 31, 2004

>Like Screwing for Virginity


Usually I add updates to the end of posts, but this time, it's important enough to merit bringing to the top.

If you read the original post, you notice a series of links to articles and blog entries highlighting incidents, some more recent than others, in which the left's response to individuals supporting the war or the president were, shall we say, less than respectful.

Well, in the comments section, reader and Blogmother Da Goddess alerted me that she would have more fuel to add to the fire, and boy does she ever! Read the whole article at her site.

In checking out her trackbacks, I was led to this article by a Protest Warrior currently on the front lines in NYC. The signs and reactions from the left are particularly telling.

Things are getting uglier and uglier all the time. I think it's time for me to join protest warrior -- we can't let those who hate our country and our freedoms have the street without a challenge. Might doesn't make right, but right certainly makes might. It's time we flex our moral muscles.

Originally posted 11:49 AM, 30 August, 2004.
Thanks for the Memory to MyPetJawa for getting the ball rolling.

Republicans are brutal, right-wing, war-mongering, jackbooted thugs who disdain the First Amendment and resort to violence to supress the voices of dissent which oppose them.

Bear that in mind as you view this.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

And the Beat-Down goes on. So the next time you hear that tired old lie about how oppressive Republicans are, just ask yourself who's resorting to violence. Methinks the left doth project too much.

Anonymous Alcohol

I thought it was hard admitting to my teetotalling family that I liked to imbibe the occasional beer, scotch, or rum and Coke. My father was the son of an alcoholic, and abhorred the stuff. I developed a taste for it in moderation. But I was always diplomatic about the subject around him.

These days, there's a cultural inference associated with one particular alcoholic beverage that makes my next confession even more likely to distress some of my fellow conservatives:

I like wine.

Like beer, wine was for me an acquired taste, but I do like it now. and for some conservatives, especially those of the sort who tend to disdain the hollywood/East coast connection liberal upper crust, view wine as snobbish and pretentious, embodying everything they dislike about the other side.

But I view wine differently. First, my introduction to wines I could actually enjoy was not with immpressive vintages, but with a common, semi-sparkling sweet red from Italy called Lambrusco. Here at last was I wine I could drink -- but not one I could admit to in polite company. Or so I thought.

Then I learned an important lesson that also explains why I can enjoy wine without feeling pretentious. The summer after I discovered Lambrusco, I made a trip up from San Diego to my old stomping grounds in Southern Oregon. While there I made a visit to the tasting room of the Girardet Winery. Phil is from the French-speaking portion of Switzerland, but he's beenin Oregon for decades. He met his wife Bonnie while they were both university students in California. There he decided to get into winemaking. He wanted to start his winery somewhere in the US where the climate, soil composition, rainfall, drainage, all of the factors would as closely resemble his Swiss home as possible. After years of research, he found Tenmile. I met him because his family attended my father's church. Phil was the second most intelligent, friendly man in that town (after my father), and its mellowest.

So there I was in his winery, looking to expand my palate beyond Lambrusco. I was explaining to him what I liked, and in mentioning Lambrusco, I made the apologetic comment, "It's not exactly the best wine, but I like it." Phil got this sly grin on his face, leaned in conspiratorily, and said, "You know Brian, the best wine is the one you like."

*blink. blink. blink*

Well, duh. It sounds stupidly obvious, but so many people miss the point (and not just about wine). I took that advice to heart, and it has governed my view of wine ever since. While I've developed specific tastes and favorites (I love Pinot Noir, especially with salmon), it's all about what I like, not what is the latest craze or fanciest, most impressive vintage not that I could afford that anyway).

And really, isn't that what is important in life? Following your likes and beliefs and convictions, even if they're unpopular?

Parsing "Sages" Older than Time

Update 10 September, 2004

Reader Elisabeth pointed out several errors in my text. It's Humphrey, not Humphreys. News reporting is two words. and yes, it was meant to be others, not ithers.

Of course, if Mr. Humphrey is to be believed, this never happened, since there is no such thing as proofreading on the internet.

Thanks for the Memory to Russell at Mean Mr Mustard 2.

When I read the phrase dottering[sic], clueless Old Media jackass, I must confess that my first reaction was, "Andy Rooney?" But no, sadly, Andy's not the only codger out there with a Word Processor, heart pills, and the "Truth".

So I followed Russell's link to this blog entry. One look at the picture and my second reaction was, "What the hell is George Carlin doing writing a blog for a newspaper in Tennessee?"

But no, this is Tom Humphrey, Nashville Bureau Chief for the Knoxville News Sentinel. And he has his very own blog, courtesy of his employer. Ironically, this newspaper editor has posted a blog entry that, by his own admission, is full of "ramblings." Now, that's a pretty common thing for blogs to do -- ramble, rant, and rave. Nothing wrong with that, and certainly no reason to criticize the man. But when he decides to impugn the quality of writing and newsreporting in blogs, implying that traditional newspaper writers are superior to mere bloggers, while displaying some horrendous writing skills, I just can't let it pass. And so I decided to attempt my first fisking.

Now, to give credit where due, I must say that many of the observations I make have already been made by those who have commented on this entry before I read it, including the esteemed Mr. Lileks. And while in some of those cases I had the same immediate reaction, often they say it better than I can, and so I will acknowledge my peers and/or superiors in these regards. But now, on with the show. Mr. Humphrey's words are in normal type, mine in italics.

Ramblings on Republicans

Let me guess, you don't like us, do you? And you're a journalist? That's newsworthy.

The boss lady of blogs at the News Sentinel has advised that I need to file something for this site on Saturday, though it apparently will not be visible to anyone until activation on Sunday, for technical reasons that are utterly beyond my comprehension. Just a brief will do, she said in the email.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of complex sentences. But there's a fine line between complex and run-on. Mr. Humphrey has snapped it like the tape at the Olympic marathon. The sentence structure is nigh unto incomprehensible, and the information conveyed is as uninteresting as it is unintelligible. Not an auspicious start.

But, what the heck, if I'm going to sit here the evening before deserting my family for almost a week to watch Republican worship ceremonies for George W. Bush, not so long Democratic devotional on caring for John Kerry, might as well ramble a bit.

Wha... huh? What the hell does "not so long Democratic devotional on caring for John Kerry," mean? I'm guessing it's a typo, and I think I know what he meant to type, but this is a newspaper bureau chief we're reading. You'd think he would be familiar with the concept of "proofreading." As for rambling "a bit", that's being demure.

After all, bloggers, I am instructed, do not have to follow those ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such

Have you actually read many blogs, buddy? Have you read their comments section? You know, like the one on yours where you get your ass handed to you? If anything, as it has been pointed out, blogs get fact-checked even more than newspapers. All those readers are just waiting to catch you in an error, and will not hesitate to rub your face in it if you err (especially the ones that dislike/disagree with you). Also bear in mind that we have no Bloggers Union Local 123 to defend us, and there's no such thing as "job security" for bloggers. If you screw up, you get caught, and you lose readers. Period. As for attribution, take a stroll through the blogs and take a gander at that thing called a trackback. Attribution is usually practiced even more religiously, since giving proper credit to another blogger, especially a popular one, increases the likelihood of attracting readers. Furthermore, improper attribution is just as vigorously monitored by readers as is fact checking. Logic? Pot and kettle, buddy. Some blogs display a better grasp of logic than others, a comment that is equally true of newspaper writers.

that burden the daily production of stuff to print by traditionally ink-stained wretches.

Lileks has a great comment on just how cliche and irrelevant and utterly asinine this bit is. go read it.

You can just babble like a talk show radio guy.

Apparently he's taken the "Logic-free" advice to heart, and immediately tosses in an ad hominem dig at talk radio.

Ergo, to babble a bit:

Again, that's putting it mildly.

Tennessee Republicans are pretty darn cocky these days about the presidential race in their home state. It's the one thing they are united about. All on message, got their talking points and so on.

That's a pretty apt description of any politico from a state where the party in question pretty much has a wrap on the presidential race. What Mr. Humphrey fails to do is explain how this makes the Republicans any different, or why anyone outside the Volunteer state should give a tinker's damn. This just sounds whiney and petty.

Otherwise, there's quite a bit of infighting, interspersed with the occasional embarrassment.

Again, how does this distinguish them from any other group of politicians? Shouldn't you have added "irrelevant" to the word ramblings, just to, you know, warn us?

For the most recent embarrassment: Hey, what about that 8th District Republican nominee for Congress, James Hart, the eugenics yahoo who won the primary despite the somewhat belated disavowal of his candidacy by state party officialdom? Check out his website at www.jameshartforcongress.com. Reports circulated last week that Mr. Hart might just show up at the GOP Convention in New York to promote his doctrine of 'favored races.' Beth Harwell, state party chairman, says he will not be welcome.

Good for her. The guy's a dim bulb who doesn't represent mainstream Republican values, and shouldn't be embraced by the GOP. And before any supported of the other party gets smug about this, do a Google search for the words Democrat and Ku Klux Klan.

This would, of course, provide some novelty. Republicans are worried about left-wing yahoos disrupting things in New York. Tennessee's Republicans could find themselves under attack from another direction. That would be special.

Whoops, I guess it's too late to heed my smugness warning. Seen the streets of the city you're visiting, Tommy? Been to DU or Indymedia? Listened to Michael Moor or Kos or any of their ilk screeching away? I wouldn't be too quick to play the extreme elements card.

Hart's candidacy, incidentally, has spurred talk of Harwell being available as a sort of stand-in Republican nominee for governor against Phil Bredesen if no one credible steps forward to challenge the Democrat doing darn well in popularity polls lately. She’s a nice lady, well-spoken, proper credentials, etc. And having her there would assure that no incredible idiot wins the Republican nomination.

Because we know that's all most Republicans are. Once he has that ad hominem ball firmly in hand, he runs for the end zone.

Haven't asked Beth about that rumor, but what the heck, this is blog babbling. Will try to do so in the days ahead, and predict that she will be non-committal, refusing to rule out anything, etc., etc. (Keen insight, eh?)

At least he's capable of making an attempt at self-deprecation, lame as it is.

The Republican infighting is mostly political, though every now and then personal.

That reads like a freaking fortune cookie, not a political commentary.

Heck, you can even get emails from a Tennessee Republican group poking fun at 'part-time Beth' ( that's Harwell, who is also a state representative, a mom, a wife, etc. ) and 'Deputy Bob,' a reference to state party deputy Bob Davis, the former right-hand man to Sen. Fred Thompson and perhaps the most media-shy of all those enclosed in the offices above Amerigo's Restaurant in Nashville (OK, my non-blogging mode would make that state GOP headquarters).

Again, more blather that nobody outside Tennessee gets or gives a damn about.

One email I recall centered on the salaries of Beth and Bob and, when rummaging through disclosure forms recently, I noticed that Deputy Bob makes more than Part-time Beth. If he would talk to me occasionally, I might think he was worth it.

My dear God, that's the most self-important, narcissistic thing I've heard in a while. That's quite an accomplishment.

But I digress, as authorized in blogging it seems.

Ha ha. Back to the little digs about bloggers not being worth taking seriously. Given how glib and sloppily written your schtick has been, my friend, I'd avoid attributing color schemes to kettles.

Back to the aforementioned infighting, political, not personal.

At which point, Humphrey's post continues on with inane insight regarding the nuances of Republican politics which is vaguely disdainful and smug, but again, conveys nothing that cannot be gleaned by reading any amount of conservative commentary already available, and doesn't actually make what we lowly bloggers like to call a point. Really not worth reading. The only other item of note is a Technical note on the side, referring to an earlier version of the post that referred to "web-only" blogs, and was justly taken to task:

The description was modified by a content producer to remove reference that this is a "web-only blog." Familiar with the blogging world herself, she should have known better.

Yeah, you'd think that someone who worked for an institution that has "ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such" would have caught that the first time.

Enough rambling. Time to finish packing.

If you write for the paper as poorly as you write for your blog, the only thing you should be packing is your desk into a box.


The comments section of Humphrey's blog included quite a few really cutting retorts to his post. Some of the commenters expressed concern that the News Sentinel would delete those comments, so I've posted them here:


Laugh riot! Most blogs I read are actually more interested in the truth, rather then putting a spin on the news to bulk up Kerry in the polls. You may not like President Bush, but I bet you would loathe "President Kerry."

PS: you aren't doing it correctly, if you are trying to run a political blog.
Posted by: Porter G at August 30, 2004 08:11 PM

Humphrey: You are either a liar or a fool, and it is obvious at a glance that you did not attribute this alleged "instruct[ion]" in order that a reasonable investigator could determine which.

You're fired.
Posted by: Billy Beck at August 30, 2004 08:18 PM

What a chuckle this is. And by the way "Hey, look at me, I am commenting on a 'Web-only blog'!!!!"

( Must now go google "Gore +invents +"new blogging medium" )
Posted by: Dusty at August 30, 2004 08:49 PM

"After all, bloggers, I am instructed, do not have to follow those ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such that burden the daily production of stuff to print by traditionally ink-stained wretches. You can just babble like a talk show radio guy."

While it's true that bloggers have nobody checking their stories BEFORE they publish them in their blogs, it's NOT TRUE that bloggers have NO fact checkers AT ALL. Blogs have MORE, and better, fact checkers than traditional media.

Bloggers' fact checkers and critics are the blog's readers and commenters. The 'great unwashed', if you will, of people who read blogs and may have more expertise on a subject than the blogger does. If it's a big story, or a large error, there will be multiple blogs all chiming in with corrections.

I don't see the same thing happening in traditional media. Very rarely will one media outlet's error be reported on the others, as happens with blogs.
Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 30, 2004 09:06 PM

I'm sorry but old media has nothing to be smug about when it comes to fact-checking. If this post is any indication, you wouldn't be able to hack it as a blogger.
Posted by: Joel Fleming at August 30, 2004 09:58 PM

Hey Tom,
Those that can, blog.
Those that can't, whine.
...and the readers move on.
Posted by: Don at August 30, 2004 10:48 PM

Couldn't resist, and had to use this as a "the media don't get it" example on my own weblog! http://www.greg-brooks.com/000445.html
Posted by: Greg Brooks at August 30, 2004 11:05 PM

Am I the only one that skimmed through this "blog" and skipped to the comments for feedback to see if the article was worth reading? I just saved myself 15 minutes. LMAO. Tom, your prose wore thin in merely 10 sentences. Enough silliness, I need to get back to real reading.
Posted by: Caleb Charles at August 31, 2004 12:48 AM

Caleb Charles,
No, you're not!
Posted by: Ron Weiner at August 31, 2004 01:44 AM

I've read the 2nd paragraph several times and can't figure out what you're trying to say. This from a bureau chief!

Then this: "After all, bloggers, I am instructed, do not have to follow those ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such ...", followed by rumor, speculation, and innuendo at length without reference. Bloggers (1) publish links to their references; (2) publish all feedback, not just selected "letters to the editor;" (3) did not create Jayson Blair.
Posted by: Jeff at August 31, 2004 07:03 AM

So if this is a "web-only" blog, does that mean my comments are... ON THE INTERNET?

Seriously, Tom, it would appear that you have been hiding in the broom closet for several years. Chris J. hits the nail on the head- bloggers are much better at reporting the real story these days, for the simple reason that readers can call them out when they get it wrong. I doubt your paper would publish the criticism you've received here, meaning this type of back-and-forth can only exist on... A WEB-ONLY BLOG (cue Scooby Doo ghost noises).
Posted by: Rob at August 31, 2004 08:11 AM

I linked from Lileks (at Lileks.com) because he too made fun of Mr. Humphrey, in his gentle, but critical, James Lileks like manner.
For the record - I'm an ordinary citizen - no computer knowledge as such, not a writer, not a blogger, not particularly politically active, etc.
I get all of my hard news from blogger or alternative internet sources. I can fact check that news in seconds.
When I read a newspaper or magazine or even, G-d forbid, watch television news, I can usually spot the lies (intentional slants providing just the information that the media author wants to give you).
However, I have to take it all with a grain of salt, because I have no way to source the material.
Hence, I do not get my news from the old sources.
Posted by: Moishe at August 31, 2004 08:52 AM

Please tell me you're just attempting bad humor, Tom. It's less painful to think of it that way.
Posted by: Prague at August 31, 2004 09:16 AM

Caleb Charles,
Yes, you got it right!
I linked in from Lileks, scanned the first paragraph, jumped to the comments, LMAO, left this comment and then left for the real blogs. (Lileks is first, every morning!).
Old media = chicken-filled weiners
Posted by: Donald Campbell at August 31, 2004 09:32 AM

"...bloggers, I am instructed, do not have to follow those ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such that burden the daily production of stuff to print by traditionally ink-stained wretches."

This guy is Too Much! Although he looks old enough to have been around when the "ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such" might have kinda-sorta applied to his media, those days are long past. Now it's not-too-well-disguised editorializing in the "hard" news, "toe-touches" and outright fabrications (Jayson Blair). Meanwhile, serious bloggers hone their craft through with the help of almost instantaneous (and very public) feedback and fact-check the bejezus out of the "old media" fact-checkers, often with hilarious results.

Speaking of which, something tells me that in the dog-eat-dog world of the blogosphere, Mr. Humphrey and his attributed, fact-checked, logical writers have just donned dog-bone underpants. Should be fun to watch (for those of us that read "Web-only blogs"!)
Posted by: Wylie Merritt at August 31, 2004 09:57 AM

I think it's brilliant:

step one: say something stupid and unverifiable.

step two: Wait for reynolds and lileks to link you.

step three: traffic

He has this blogging thing down.
Posted by: SayUncle at August 31, 2004 10:37 AM

I really do hope the comments and post stick around, but I fear that when the editors wake up there will be some house cleaning.

If it does stay, I expect it will soon be a Wiki object lesson. If it's around in a day or two I may make a "Web-Only Blog" entry to memorialize it.

In the meantime, someone explain to him that one of the nice things you can do with a "Web-Only Blog" is make those URL whatchamacallits in your text body into these things called 'hot links'
Posted by: Tempus at August 31, 2004 10:50 AM

Ah, the irony. I think Mr. Humphrey has just experienced blog-based "fact-checking."

Here's another "AYE" to Caleb Charles. I did indeed slog through a couple paragraphs before jumping down to the comments...
Posted by: Out4Blood at August 31, 2004 11:23 AM

As I read through this "web-only" excrement a couple of dozen pithy comments came to mind. Unfortunately I was too late as more timely commentors beat me to the punch.
Posted by: tim at August 31, 2004 11:36 AM

Unfortunately, I read it all the way through to the end. That the comments make infinitely more sense than the column tells the story: the war is over. Old media lies bleeding on the field.
Posted by: Cato at August 31, 2004 12:14 PM

Whistling in the dark from the moribund old media, and a pathetic demonstration that "journalistic integrity" is now an oxymoron.
Posted by: James at August 31, 2004 12:23 PM

They've already removed the "Web-only" line. I wouldn't be surprised if our comments go bye-bye too.

Not to worry, all of the comments posted up to this point have been copied and pasted at my own "web-only" blog, along with my comments on the article.
Posted by: Brian B at August 31, 2004 01:09 PM

I pointed out the byline change in a comment on his next entry.


In fairness, they posted the explanation for the change when asked about it. (See "Technical Note" in the Nav bar on the left).
Posted by: Tempus at August 31, 2004 01:18 PM

Mr. Humphrey, you're WAY out of your league. It wasn't even a valiant effort. You're not nearly disciplined enough to write a respectable blog. Go back to the op-ed pages, old man.
Posted by: Tyler F at August 31, 2004 07:10 PM

Very good, Tom. I am glad to see that you are seeking "instruction" to remedy your obvious ignorance of the nature and etiquette of the blogosphere. However, a few more remedial lessons may be in order:

1. Don't use the passive voice. Say, "X instructs me" not "I am instructed". The latter formulation violates one of those "ironclad rules of attribution" that you should have learned from your days among the ink-stained wretches. Also, the passive voice sounds weak, stuffy, effete, French ... you get the picture.

2. I applaud you on enabling the comments section on this blog. I actually only browsed to this site to see if you had, since you seem unaware of the way that fact checking works out here. But even those blogs who do not enable comments, such as my own humble effort, can be fact-checked through the use of links. I found your post through Instapundit but evidently James Lileks has also linked to you. By now you probably have several hundred links, as the sampling of comments above should indicate.

3. You have handled the little gaffe about this being a "web-only blog" adequately, but it is traditional to do this kind of error correction in the text of the blog itself rather than in a side-bar. I realize there are aesthetic considerations here, and styles vary on this matter, but it makes it much easier for people to find. And admitting your mistakes forthrightly makes you seem more intelligent (if you caught the error yourself) or more honest (if you didn't).

One final note about self-deprecating humor: lots of bloggers use it and it can be a helpful device in spicing up a post. But, like all humor, you need to be make sure that it is actually funny. Repeating the joke that this is only a blog so the normal standards don't apply isn't all that clever. It sounds too much like you are making excuses. This is more an art than a science, though, so I can't really offer instruction on this point. But a careful review of some of the comments above might give you a clue as to how it is done.
Posted by: R. C. Smith at August 31, 2004 07:19 PM

Monday, August 30, 2004

Quote of the Day

He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose.

- Jim Elliot

Fried, Fried In His Memory

Originally posted 8:58 AM, 27 August 2004

Thanks for the Memory to Beaker's Corner:

A quote from John Forbes Kurtz Kerry regarding the death of the reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"I remember well April, 1968 - I was serving in Vietnam -- a place of violence -- when the news reports brought home to me and my crewmates the violence back home - and the tragic news that one of the bullets flying that terrible spring took the life of that unabashedly maladjusted citizen."

-John Kerry, January 20, 2003

Very eloquent.

However, as Beaker points out, it's important to please bear in mind a couple of things:

1. MLK was assassinated on April 4, 1968

2. John Kerry was sent to Vietnam in November of 1968, 7 months after the assassination of MLK!

There's so much uproar over the implication that one of Kerry's combat wounds may have been self-inflicted, but given the way he continues to shoot himself in the foot, it should come as no surprise.

To quote Christian singer/songwriter Gene Eugene, The trouble with lies is that you start to forget where the real man hides.

Update 08/30/04:

Thanks for the Memory to reader George Turner at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

It turns out that while not yet on the Swift Boats, Kerry was aboard the USS Gridley pulling Plane Guard duty in the Tonkin Gulf during the Spring of 1968, so the accuracy of his memory here may not be as faulty as it would first seem. Waiter, I'll have the Corvus Au Vin, if you please.

On the other hand, like the Swift Boat vets, some of Kerry's former Gridley shipmates are less than glowing in their view of him.

No Torch Relay for Me, Thanks

Thanks for the memory to Brian at Tomfoolery of the Highest Order.

You may be familiar with the "Torch" theory(named for Democratic NJ Senator Robert Toricelli) regarding the Kerry campaign, which comes in two major variants: either the Democrats are waiting for Kerry to self-destruct, at which point a savior (Hillary Clinton is the most common name used) can step in and carry th day; or they're hoping Kerry will lose so that four more years of Bush makes the country ready for a Democratic President.

Apparently now an article on Opinion Journal by Harvard professor Niall Ferguson suggests that Republicans should take a similar tack -- he suggests that Bush is such a bad president that if he wins, the Republicans will lose power for a significantly long time. He further argues that defeating Bush will allow Kerry 4 years of mucking things up so badly that the American voting public will revolt in the other direction and establish a Republican dynasty.

Let's set aside for this post any discussion of the plausibility of the Democratic "Torch" theories, and address this one for a moment. And for the sake of this argument, let's set aside any discussion of how valid his view of the Bush presidency is. Let's even grant him the plausibility of his strategy.

What really about this screed is the attitude towards politics it reveals (an attitude, I must say, that while most prevalent on the left, is sadly by no means confined to it): Political power is its own end. Screw the country, think about what's best for the Party.

Thanks, but no thanks. While I'm sure there are those in leadership in both parties who think this way, I'd like to think that I, for one, vote based on who I believe is best for the Country. I realize that this is a fairly naive point of view, but there it is. This is the kind of thinking that leaves leftists hoping we'll fail in Iraq, or rejoicing in American soldiers' deaths because they hurt Bush's reelection chances, and is bordering on treasonous thinking. No number of years of power for ANY party is worth the potential harm to the country that 4 years of the wrong leader threatens.

Cue Soundtrack: Also Spracht Streisand, or "My God, It's Full of Sh**..."

Originally posted 9:18 AM, 28 August 2004.

Hollywood, that is. Oh, and for those who caught the reference, it is also full of stars. Interestingly enough, those stars are the primary source of the horsedollops that give the place its distinctive eau du merde.

Thanks for the Memory to MyPetJawa for this link to a blog that tracks the latest contributions to the pasture patties that dot America's intellectual landscape:

Singer and actress Mandy Moore is furious at being "outed" as a secret Republican in the new issue of America's Details magazine.

The publication's upcoming September edition lists Adam Sandler, Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Simpson, Shannen Doherty and Moore as silent supporters of current US President George W. Bush who don't join the campaign trail and make their political views known, unlike loud and proud Democrats Ben Affleck and Barbra Streisand.

However, the A Walk To Remember beauty has angrily denied she supports Bush and his party. Her publicist tells American website Pagesix.Com, "Mandy is not, nor has she ever been, a Republican."

I've said it before, I'll say it here to be definitive:

I really see no reason to pay undue heed to the opinions, conservative or liberal, of people who get paid primarily to speak words that other people think of for them.

While some celebrities do prove themselves eloquent on their own merits, most of them are capable of nothing more than parroting the latest screeds handed down ex cathedra from their party affiliations of choice -- except they can do it with feeling.

Thanks for the Memory to Sir George at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Just when I thought they couldn't get any dumber in Hollywood, Tim Robbins opens his yap, and of all sources, the UK Guardian takes him to task. The best quote is this one: "He shows me a scene that he's editing from Embedded that is both pretentious and simple-minded - not a happy combination - and is reminiscent of the worst shouty agitprop."

Both pretentious and simple-minded. That's about the best description of Hollywood I've encountered yet.

Simply Indefensible

Being a good husband means, in part, enduring the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games with your spouse. I made it, but just barely.

The inanity of it all was somewhat mitigated by the fact that the Greeks seemed to actually enjoy themselves putting on this party (and the announcers made sure we knew, ad nauseum, just how good at partying Greeks are). What really got under my skin, though, was the portion of the ceremony concerned with turning the Olympic Flag over to Beijing.

OK, let's look past the canned-sounding Chinese National Anthem that sounded vaguely like the East German one from Top Secret!

Let's look past the Chinese Robert Palmer Girls with their pleasant to the eye but grating to the nerves combination of traditional Chinese miniskirts, Ancient instruments and 80's dance moves.

Let's look past the dance troupe Tai chi/Kung Fu dance number that was so very "Cultural Revolution."

What I CAN'T look past is the fact that the Olympics have been turned over to the Devil. Beijing is one of the most oppressive totalitarian regimes in the world, and their sports program both reflects and is intended to showcase the merits of that system. Children who show promise are taken from their homes and put in government-run training centers from an early age and there they remain -- separated from their families, wards of the state for as long as they can perform. If anything, the system makes the old Soviet system seem like Disneyland.

And you can bet that the games will be a showcase for the merits of a communist system as well -- well-run, clean, and efficient. But at what cost? How brutal will the crackdown be on dissenters to prevent any embarassment of China? Beijing 08 is going to be the Comunist world's answer to Berlin 36.

And I for one hope someone pulls a Jesse Owens.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Last Thing I Needed to Hear

At 4 PM on Friday afternoon: "I just talked to my OB/GYN's nurse, and she said to check in to Urgent Care right away."

This from my 14-week-pregnant wife, who should be getting over "morning" sickness by now, but who is instead throwing up at the rate of 2-4 times per day, has lost 12 lbs. In 5 weeks (trust me, not a weight loss plan I'd recommend), and is feeling light headed and has heart palpitations all of a sudden today.

The doctor at Urgent Care doesn't seem to be TOO worried, they're going to run a few tests (just enough time for me to slip out, eat, update the blog and get back), pump some fluids in her, and prescribe a new drug. The downside is, the new drug is pretty pricey, and money's tight.

I swear to God, as much hell as this child is putting her through now, after it is born and grows, it WILL treat her with a level of regard usually reserved for heads of state and pop singers, or it WILL answer to me!

Quote of the Day

Thanks for the Memory to my friend & coworker Ricky V.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

-- Soren Kierkegaard

Maybe You Shoulda Thought About That Sooner....

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

More sheer insanity from the lips of the erzatz Empress Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Zha Zha Evita Peron Dixie Wetsworth Heinz Ketchup:

Heinz Kerry: Swiftvets Hurting Troop Morale in Iraq

Well, we know of one Swift Boat Veteran whose words and actions long ago started hurting troop morale...

Breaking her silence on criticism of John Kerry's war record by the group Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, Teresa Heinz Kerry said this week that such attacks are undermining the morale of troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I believe that discussions or attacks on [my husband's] service undermine the peace of mind not only of Vietnam veterans but of those now fighting for their country," she told the Dayton Daily News.

"Let us hope that if they volunteer for service their reviews are not going to be so nefarious in the future," she added.

You might want to avoid using the word "nefarious" when discussing the issue of your husband's past, darling.

Heinz Kerry reacted to the Swiftvet criticism after speaking to the AFL-CIO Coalition of Labor Union Women in Ohio on Tuesday.

The Rich Boston Brahmin reacted... after speaking to working women with whom she has nothing in common beyond her gender.

Asked Monday about the Swiftvet criticism by the Gannet News Service, Heinz Kerry responded less forcefully, saying, "I honor my husband's work. I honor his past."

Funny, "honor" and your husband's past don't exactly create a strong association to many of us.

"I may be wrong," she added. "But I have to believe that no veteran today, including those who don't plan to vote for my husband, feels very good about these attacks."

Except, of course, for the veterans making the allegations, as well as, oh, almost every vet I know.

All I can say is, please, please, PLEASE, Milady, keep talking. You're doing WONDERS for the campaign, REALLY.

Which one? Oh, you didn't ask me that.

Starting My Christmas Wish List Early

Just got this email:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. B,

With great pride, we are pleased to announce the release of the long awaited CD, “Mourning in America: Music and Eulogies from the Funeral Services of President Ronald Wilson Reagan.” This official CD, produced by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation will benefit the Ronald Reagan Memorial Fund. While many other unauthorized CD’s of the funeral services have already been released, this official CD, “Mourning in America”, has been sanctioned by Mrs. Reagan. Proceeds from the sale help the Reagan Foundation to fulfill the vision of President Reagan’s life’s work and to ensure that America’s future remains bright for our generation and generations to come. To order the CD, please visit the Reagan Library’s online Museum Store at http://www.reaganlibrary.com/store/ .

This touching CD includes:
• Exclusive remarks by Mrs. Ronald Reagan
• Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band: Ruffles and Flourishes, Hail to the Chief, and My Country 'Tis of Thee
• The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
• U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants: America the Beautiful
• The Honorable Richard B. Cheney
• Dr. Ronan Tynan/U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra: Ave Maria
• Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
• The Cathedral Choir/U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra: Jerusalem
• The Right Honourable Baroness Thatcher, L.G., O.M., F.R.S.
• Armed Forces Chorus/U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra: Battle Hymn of the Republic
• The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, P.C., C.C., LL.D.
• Dr. Ronan Tynan/U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra: Amazing Grace
• The Honorable George H.W. Bush
• U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra/ Congregation: Ode to Joy
• The Honorable George W. Bush
• The Armed Forces Chorus/U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra: The Mansions of the Lord
• Michael Reagan
• Patti Davis
• Ronald Prescott Reagan
• Eric Rigler/Bagpiper: Amazing Grace
• 11th Marine Artillery Regiment: 21-Gun Salute
U.S. Army Band Bugler: Taps

Thank you for supporting the Ronald Reagan Memorial Fund. May we continue to be blessed with your friendship as we work to preserve the legacy of President Ronald Reagan.

-Ronald Reagan, November 4, 1991 at the Dedication of the Reagan Library

Warm regards,

R. Duke Blackwood
Executive Director
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation

I got teary-eyed just reading the email. I can't imagine what it will be like listening to it.

Riiiiiiight.... I'll make sure you get the memo......

Stumbled across this list on funkylady's blog. If you work in an office, you get it:

BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.

PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's up.

MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

SITCOM: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiney.

SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.

IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a prime example.

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

404: Someone who's clueless (from the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located).

GENERICA: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions.

OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.

CROP DUSTING: Surreptitiously farting while passing through a cube farm, then enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust! (leads to'PRAIRIE DOGGING'.)

Top Ten List for Friday, August 27, 2004

From the Home Office in Tenmile, Oregon

Top Ten Reasons I, a Conservative, Still Live in Oregon:

10. What, leave? I just got back!
9. At least it's not California.
8. Three words: Target Rich Environment
7. Beer strong enough to make even Howard Dean calm down.
6. Patchouli makes excellent mosquito repellant.
5. For sheer comic brilliance, nothing beats watching Kucinich supporters and Nader supporters debate.
4. Plenty of "Free Mumia Benefit Sitar Concert" fliers for the fireplace to keep you warm on those rainy Northwest nights.
3. There's entertainment value in asking the dredlocked Barrista for an "ANWR Crude Oil Latte in a Paper cup made from old growth firs" and watching the look on their face.
2. Spotted Owl tastes like chicken, but with less cholesterol.

Cross-Posted at Head West, Turn Right on January 18, 2005.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

You like? I Like!

Frightening likeness:

Now if only John Edwards would bleach his hair, we'd have Pool Boy!

Required Reading

Thannks for the Memory to the Llama Butchers.

The whole controversy regarding the swift boat vets and their Anti-Kerry book Unfit for Command is currently the rage all across Blogneyland. So it seems only fair to let Senator Kurtz Kerry defend himself.

In his own words.

The Things We Do for Love

Like walkin' in the rain and the snow
when there's... No place to G

*sigh* so much for THAT album. Listen, you stupid knownothing pop singer! You wanna talk about the things we do for love? empty and clean your pregnant wife's puke bucket for the umpteenth time, THEN come talk to me about "the things we do for love." Useless git.

Furthermore, whoever named it "morning" sickness should be killed slowly.

Now if you'll pardon me, I need coffee.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

In God We Trust -- Everyone Else Keep Your Hands Where I Can See Them.

Recently my good friend Vic over at Darth Apathy posted an entry that laid out in significant detail his personal philosophy of life. Not long after that, my Blogfather, Rusty Shackleford of MyPetJawa, posted an excellent entry on why he considers himself a neolibertarian. Since I respect both of these individuals, and since we're told that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I have decided to follow their lead and explain my own quirky view of the world.

I would hope that anyone who knows me, as well as anyone who has paid close attention to comments I've made here and on other blogs, is aware of the fact that I'm a Christian. Yes, I'm one of those people who sincerely believes in a Personal God, and all the religious claptrap that goes along with that.

Now, I realize that many of my friends and readers are not Christians, or even theists for that matter. For the purpose of developing friendships, that is fine with me. You can be an atheist, agnostic, gnostic, Pagan, Wiccan, Buddhist, Animist, or tree-hugging dirt worshipper for all I care. I may privately believe you are dead wrong (literally), but as long as you treat me with kindness and respect, I will treat you with equal dignity. If you wish to explain to me the error of my ways, in private, feel free, but expect me to reply in kind. If you are truly curious as to what I believe and why I believe it, and why I believe everyone should, again, in private, I'd be happy to oblige.

However, for the sake of this post, any discussion of the validity of my theism is not appropriate. Like belief in the existence or non-existence of ANY deity, this is a belief reached by faith. And while I believe that my decision to take that leap of faith was reached for reasonable motives, the leap has been made. The only reason I mention this belief is that as an orthodox believer, I acknowledge the Authority of God, as revealed in Scripture, and my philosophy and ethics are intended to be guided by this belief. To quote Dickens, You must remember this, or nothing that happens later will seem wondrous.

Since I view scripture as the authoritative source of God's express will, and as a Christian have chosen to obey (or at least attempt to obey) that will, it stands to reason that when it comes time to formulate a political philosophy, I would attempt to base that philosophy on what the bible teaches me about God's view of politics. I know, this sounds like a "Violation of Church and State," but I have two responses to that. First, that's a sad misinterpretation of the constitution, and second, even if it were, I would have to continue to believe as I do, and be willing to suffer the consequences. Why? Well, we're coming to that.

I must admit that I have never made an extensive study of this issue in scripture. However, I am a lifelong Christian, a Pastors son, and have had enough exposure to scripture to have formulated some opinions based on my understanding of it.

Like many other subjects, the Bible addresses politics differently in the Old Testament than in the New. There are some very important reasons for this, and Paul actually spends a good deal of time in his epistles explaining those reasons, but for the sake of this discussion, it suffices to say that my views are primarily based on the New Testament.

Based on my exposure to the New Testament, I have concluded that there are two political responsibilities enumerated: The Role of the State and the Response of the Christian.

The Response of the Christian to Government is pretty simple. As long as it does not interfere with our relationship with God, we are to obey the laws of the State. The only exception occurs when the Law specifically prohibits us from doing something God commands us to do, or Commands us to do something God prohibits. In those specific cases, we are to peacefully disobey the state, follow God's commands instead, and humbly and meekly accept the punishment the State metes out. God is, in the end, our judge.

The Role of the state is a bit more complex. As far as I can ascertain, two main concepts are expressed regarding the State: Justice, and Righteousness.

The meaning of the first is not the modern leftist doublespeak meaning of the word, "Justice," but rather implies, as I read it, the imperative that the State protect its subjects: From foreign enemies, from each other, and from the predations of the state. In other words: Defense; Order (Law Enforcement); and Ethics.

The meaning of the second is the one that causes difficulty, and has been the source of much trouble and created a great deal of animosity towards Christians due to a misapplication of the concept.

Throughout Church history, Christian civil leaders have interpreted this call for Righteousness as a call for State-enforced Christian standards of behavior throughout society. This has led, ironically, to some of the most un-Christian of activity on the part of those who have called themselves Christians.

However, I have reached the conclusion that this is not what was meant by Righteousness to begin with. And I have reached this conclusion for two main reasons: First, Christ plainly stated, My kingdom is not of this World. The Goal of his ministry, Death, and Resurrection was NOT to establish a theocracy (or at least, not this side of the apocalypse). His goal was to reestablish the relationship between God and His Creations, to establish His Kingdom in the hearts of believers; Secondly, we must view the message of Righteousness in context. At the time, the reigns of State were almost always exclusively in the hands of one person. The Church of the book of Acts was established in the days of the Roman Empire. Prior to that, Israel had been a Monarchy. And so I believe that the call for Righteousness in government in the Bible is a call for righteousness in the life of the Ruler. The Bible states that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom." The Biblical principle is clearly that only a ruler of high moral fibre who strives to do what is right, and pursues righteousness in his own life, is capable of properly administering Justice.

Now, for most of history, the two roles I've mentioned have been pretty clear cut. Christians, as subjects of the state, were to conduct themselves first in obedience to God and secondly in obedience to the state. The State, in turn, administered Justice, in various qualities depending on the government in question. When the government was led by a purported Christian, it also often tried to administer Righteousness, again with varying degrees of success and with varying and often deleterious effects on Justice. In other words, Christian Rulers attempted (usually poorly) to play the role of the state, and individual Christians responded as subjects thereof.

But as a modern American, I am faced with an interesting paradigm. As a member of a representative Republic, I am, at least in theory, part of the state. I may not rule directly, but I vote to decide who does, and in the case of the State and Local level, I actually do vote for the laws themselves. And so I find myself in the position of having both sets of responsibilities, and having to figure out how to balance the two.

In theory, it seems simple: When voting for leaders and on issues, vote for those most likely to promote Justice (again, more on that definition later), and most likely to pursue righteousness. Once the voting is done, abide peacefully by the results until the day comes that they ban my faith. In other words, work within the system as long as possible. The question becomes, how do you choose the right leader(s) and positions on issues to do so? The Devil, whom I believe exists, is indeed in the details. Or at least, in the wrong choice of details.

So let's address both concepts one at a time, this time in the opposite order, beginning with Righteousness. How do I, as a Christian Ruler (yeah, sounds funny, but to a small extent, we're all rulers here), pursue the righteousness called for without oppressively forcing my religion on others? In two ways. The first way is to attempt to practice righteousness in my own life to as great an extent as is possible -- to be ethical, honest, moral, and obedient to God myself, so that any decisions I make in voting are based on sound ethical principals. The second way is to exert my influence as a voter to demand ethical conduct from the government I elect. That's it. I don't believe it is my duty to enforce any moral code on other citizens. Nor is it their right to enforce theirs on me. The only time I would ever use my vote to enforce my beliefs would be in order to prevent the establishment of a law that requires me to do what God forbids, or forbids me to do what God requires.

Now to address Justice. First I must define it. Earlier I said it was protection of subjects, but I believe I have a better definition which encompasses those earlier ideas, but is more accurate a definition: I believe that in its essence, Justice is the right application of consequences. This means ensuring, to as great an extent as is possible, that everyone is held responsible for the consequences of their own actions, and none can force the consequences of their actions on others. In other words, protection for the innocent, punishment for the guilty, and a wall of protection between the two -- Defense, Law, and Order.

Now, in days to come, I plan to expound in blog entries on how I think these principles apply to specific political topics facing me as an American. But in the meantime, allow me to explain the title of this entry, how it applies to this topic, and why I can not be, in good conscience as a Christian, either an Anarchist or a Totalitarian.

The danger of Anarchy is either of the assumptions that: A) Man is basically good and wise and if left to his own devices will eventually sort things out and all will be just and good; or B) Man is an animal and the laws of natural selection apply and if you aren't fit enough to survive, that's the way it goes. I disagree.

One other theological principal that I apply to my political philosophy, and which I failed to mention earlier, is the concept of the fallenness of Man. While I believe we were created in the image of God, and are at times capable of all the good and desirable qualities with which he imbued us, I also believe that the corrupting influence of sin has rendered us capable of incredible evil. Government is a tool intended to protect us from each other, because left to our own devices, we will eat our own young.

But leaving the government in the hands of one or a very few individuals is equally dangerous, since those individuals are capable of the same predatory tendencies the rest of us are, and political power just increases their ability to act on them. This is why I have come to believe that while a constitutional Republic is not inherently more religious than any other form of government, with its checks and balances, it does provide the best framework for pursuing the justice that is God's purpose for government.

I Love Living in Oregon

Reason #973: Rainy Day Sunrises

The sun is casting it's rays between the cloud cover and the mountains. There's something eerily beautiful about a brightly lit landscape under a dark and brooding sky.

Who in the Hell D'you Think You Are?

A super star?
Well, right you are!

- John Lennon, "Instant Karma"

While I've only been blogging for a short while, I've been reading and commenting on other peoples blogs for some time now. Many of those blogs are political, and the discussions can become, shall we say, heated. I have noticed one particular attack on bloggers by commenters that seems quite common, and I have even seen a few bloggers resort to it in reference to other bloggers. The attack begins with a question along the lines of, "What makes you think anyone cares what you think?" The essential charge is that bloggers are self-important proles who think their opinion is somehow of value to others.

And the charge is, to some extent, true. If we didn't think our ideas were original enough, important enough, or well expressed enough to pique others' interest, we wouldn't be blogging them -- we could merely save them to our C: drives in a word processing document and be done with it. But this is nothing new. Almost all human endeavor requires at least a modicum of confidence, even arrogance. Bloggers have that in common with everyone who has ever written a letter to the editor, submitted writing for publication, auditioned for a play or a band, held a concert, submitted a resume, or proposed marriage. They all believed that they had something to offer that the audience would find at least acceptable, and hopefully praiseworthy.

This is an essential feature of the human spirit. Call it confidence, arrogance, whatever you like. I call it hope. Proverbs 13:12 says, in part, Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Without hope, without the belief that we have a chance, however slim, of succeeding at something, we don't even bother trying. And what is confidence, if not self-induced hope?

The thing is, in many cases, we're right. Thank God that John Elway was "Arrogant" enough to believe he could play football, or Handel that he could compose music worth listening to. Imagine if Shakespeare hadn't had the self-importance to publish his writings. And the same is true of the Blogosphere. Just take a peek at the TTLB Ecosystem. There are plenty of blogs out there that get read, on a regular basis. The top few have a significant readership. And even a humble blog like mine gets a small but steady stream of hits. Apparently, there are plenty of us who DO have something worth saying.

Now, I'll admit, there are exceptions to this rule, and there are plenty of overrated celebrities, AND overrated bloggers, who don't deserve the attention they get. Humanity is fickle, and this is an inevitable result of that fickleness. And when that happens, it is altogether fitting that we expose the lack of substance supporting the adulation.

But let's not be so hypocritical as to criticize a blogger just for being so presumptuous as to, you know, blog. If that sort of presumption is banned, blogspot.com will be out of business tomorrow.

And you and I will be looking for something more productive to do with our time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

It Sure Beats Paying for Hammock Time

Thanks for the Memory to Tim Worstall

Not long after Tim and Triticale linked to my Niemoller Post, I saw a significant spike in the number of visitors to my site. So when I went to Tim's blog and noticed that he's blegging for a charity, I cound't resist the temptation to help.

Tom's started a campaign called the Anybody but Sully Project. His goal is to raise more funds than Sully did in his recent blegging campaign. Not orders of magnitude more, not even multiples of, just more than -- even if he only beats Sully by one red cent. All of the money qill go to a charity in Portugal (where Tim lives) that assists handicapped children through equestrian therapy.

Now, the charity alone plays my heartstrings like Jimmy Page. But toss a chance to sully Sully into the pot, and you have an irresistable mix. Go check it out, and if you can, give.

What Would Niemoller Think?

(Originally Posted 23 August 2005 at 9:54 AM PDT)

The other day, I posted a comment to this post on Triticale's blog. In it he recounts a story that's a sad example of just how dumb we've become. One of the reasons I titled my blog as I did is because it's my opinion that the quality of reasoning in America has gone rapidly downhill in recent years -- rapidly downhill as in "like a meteor in a gravity well". And I believe this lack of reason and logic is a major factor in the strident tone of modern political discourse -- because so many opinions are based on emotion and not on thinking, any dissent is viewed not merely as a philosophical difference, but a personal attack.

And so, I made the following comment, with apologies to Pastor Niemoller:

First they came for Logic, and I did not speak out, for I did not think logically.

Then they came for Reason, and I did not speak out, for I did not think reasonably.

Then they came for Thesis and Synthesis, and I did not speak out, for I did not think synthetically.

Finally they came for me, and I could no longer think for myself.

UPDATE 24 Aug 2004:
If you compare the quote above to the original or the ones quoted at Triticale or Tim Worstall, you'll notice that the order is slightly different. Last night as I was lying in bed, I realized that I wanted to put them in descending order from what I perceived as the most advanced of the three concepts, formal logic, to the most foundational, thesis and synthesis. This way, not only is it a fairly deft (if I do say so myself) play on Niemollers original quote, but it also shows the regression than can be observed in modern thought: starting with a lackadaisical attitude towards formal logic and the avoidance of fallacies, and deteriorating through a cessation of any reasonable attempt to make ones arguments correspond with ones conclusions, to the loss of any ability to synthesize original ideas from what you already know whatsoever.

As soon as I had this thought, I realized that if I made the change, and even more so if I explained the change, there would be some who would accuse me of thinking too much. This, of course, cemented my decision.

Swift Boat Tea Party

Thanks for the Memory to Michelle Malkin.

Borrowing insight from Belmont Club and Thomas Sowell, and then synthesizing it into her own piquant analysis, Michelle points out that this controversy represents a very serious threat to the mainstream media's pythonesque (and by that I don't mean Monty) grip on the minds, if not the hearts, of the American public.

For generations the media has constituted a de facto totalitarian regime ruling the realm of discourse in America. But the natives have been restless for years, as evidenced by the popularity of talk radio, the amazing success of Fox News, and most recently, the blogging phenomenon. The Powers That Be knew there were rebellious factions out there, but they managed to maintain control, managed to supress or ignore any story or information they did not approve.

But the Swift Boats issue has changed that. Despite the media's best efforts, the story got out. And ironically, it may have been the actions of their own Viceroy, John F Kerry, that finally made the difference. If Kerry hadn't so actively tried to supress this story, it may have gone nowhere. But by attacking it, he acknowledged it, and the genie was out of the bottle. Now the media must deal with a story they didn't generate, and their damage control efforts are in high gear.

While they may eventually succeed in this effort in regards to this story, the damage is done. A precendent has been set, and like the first shots in any revolution, what matters is not always who wins this skirmish, what matters is the fact that the war has begun.

Moments of Serendipity

Walking past the Red Register Guard newsstand this morning, I noted the following headline, which will be posted online at noon PDT.

Nader campaign says 25,000 signatures collected in Oregon

For those not familiar with Oregon election laws, if true, this means he'll be on the ballot as a presidential candidate, he will NOT have to rely on a write in vote.

Now, I have no illusions that he will siphon off as much of the Democratic vote as he did in 2000, but when you couple the number of extreme left voters in Oregon who WILL vote for Nader with the pro-Bush tendency I noted has been observed among many independents here, and for a Bush supporter, this is very very good news indeed.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Apparently Viagra Works

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

According to this article from NewsMax:

(my interpretation in italics)

Dole Defends Swiftees in Call From Kerry

Bob Dole gives John Kerry the mother of all pimp-slaps

Presidential candidate John Kerry telephoned former Sen. Bob Dole this morning to complain about Dole's demand a day earlier that he apologize to Vietnam veterans for protesting the war, the one-time Republican presidential candidate revealed Monday afternoon.

Presidential candidate John Kerry telephoned former Sen. Bob Dole this morning to whine about something that Dole has no control over, a recurrign theme for the Kerry campaign.

"John Kerry called me this morning, which surprised me," Dole told radio host Sean Hannity.

"I can't believe he had the chutzpah to complain to me," Dole told radio host Sean Hannity.

"He said he was very disappointed, we'd been friends. I said John, we're still friends, but [the Swiftvets] have First Amendment rights, just as your people have First Amendment rights.

"I said John, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You brought it on yourself, now suck it up and be a man!"

Dole told Kerry, "I'm not trying to stir anything up, but I don't believe every one of these people who have talked about what happened are Republican liars.

"Sucks that people who know just what a weasel you are are finally singing, huh?"

"And very frankly, Bush is my guy, and I'm tired of people on your side calling him everything from a coward to a traitor to everything - a deserter."

"When you start slinging mud, you're bound to get some on yourself, jerk"

Dole said he urged Kerry, "Why don't you call George Bush today and say, 'Mr. President, let's stop all this stuff about the National Guard and Vietnam - and let's talk about the issues."

"Why don't you admit that you don't have a platform to run on, and all you have going for you is 'I served in Viet Nam'?"

Dole said Kerry responded, "I haven't spent one dime attacking President Bush."

But the Republican war hero shot back, "You don't have to. You've got all the so-called mainstream media, plus you've got MoveOn.org and all these other groups that have spent millions and millions of dollars trying to tarnish Bush's image."

"Don't tell me you don't know what some of these people are doing," he told Kerry.

"You're not only a hypocrite, John, you're an idiot if you think we can't all see right through it."

"Everybody likes quiet heroes," Dole added, saying he told Kerry, "John, everybody knows you were in Vietnam and the less you say about it, the better."

"If you're gonna remind us every 5 minutes that you served in Viet Nam, it's gonna come back to bite you on the butt."

Dole said he tried to end the tense conversation cordially by telling Kerry, "I wish you good luck, up to a point."

"But hey, don't feel bad, you still have a career as TerAYsuh's gigolo after this is all over."

-- end of article --

In other words, Bob Dole had the chance to say to John Kerry what every truth-loving American has wanted to, TO HIS FACE, and Bob Dole not only stepped up to the plate, he belted one over the center field fence.

Bravo, Mr. Dole.

Ferris Bueller Should Have Stayed in Class.

Thanks for the Memory to Blackfive.

I auditioned as a contestant on Win Ben Stein's Money about 6 years ago. I didn't make it. But while I never won his money, he's won my respect.

First there was this essay, which Stein offered as reason for relinquishing his E!online column in the final installment.

And now there's this from the August 18 edition of the WSJ. Like Blackfive, I'll quote the whole thing:

Strength At Home
By Ben Stein
August 18, 2004; Wall Street Journal, Page A10

(This is a letter I wrote to the newsletter of an Army unit called The Strykers, stationed in Iraq out of Ft. Lewis, Wash. The editor asked me what I would say to make the wives feel appreciated while their husbands are in Iraq. This is what I wrote to one soldier's wife.)

Dear Karen,

I have a great life. I have a wife I adore, a son who is a lazy teenager but I adore him, too. We live in a house with two dogs and four cats. We live in peace. We can worship as we please. We can say what we want. We can walk the streets in safety. We can vote. We can work wherever we want and buy whatever we want. When we sleep, we sleep in peace. When we wake up, it is to the sounds of birds.

All of this, every bit of it, is thanks to your husband, his brave fellow soldiers, and to the wives who keep the home fires burning while the soldiers are away protecting my family and 140 million other families. They protect Republicans and Democrats, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists. They protect white, black, yellow, brown and everyone in between. They protect gays and straights, rich and poor.

And none of it could happen without the Army wives, Marine wives, Navy wives, Air Force wives -- or husbands -- who go to sleep tired and lonely, wake up tired and lonely, and go through the day with a smile on their faces. They feed the kids, put up with the teenagers' surliness, the bills that never stop piling up, the desperate hours when the plumbing breaks and there is no husband to fix it, and the even more desperate hours after the kids have gone to bed, the dishes have been done, the bills have been paid, and the wives realize that they will be sleeping alone -- again, for the 300th night in a row.

The wives keep up the fight even when they have to move every couple of years, even when their checks are late, even when they have to make a whole new set of friends every time they move.

And they keep up the fight to keep the family whole even when they feel a lump of dread every time they turn on the news, every time they switch on the computer, every time the phone rings and every time -- worst of all -- the doorbell rings. Every one of those events -- which might mean a baseball score or a weather forecast or a FedEx man to me and my wife -- might mean the news that the man they love, the man they have married for better or worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, is now parted from them forever.

These women will never be on the cover of People. They will never be on the tabloid shows on TV about movie stars. But they are the power and the strength that keep America going. Without them, we are nothing at all. With them, we can do everything.

They are the glue that holds the nation together, stronger than politicians, stronger than talking heads, stronger than al Qaeda.

They deserve all the honor and love a nation can give. They have my prayers, and my wife's, every morning and every night.

Love, and I do mean Love,


Mr. Stein, a television personality and writer, is co-author with Phil DeMuth of "Can America Survive," forthcoming from Hay House.

Exactly so, Mr. Stein. God bless you for saying it for me.

Twilight of the Gods

Deschutes Brewery is currently offering a seasonal brew called Twilight Ale. Usually I don't like really hoppy brews, but this stuff is ambrosia. I've also tried their Cinder Cone Red, which is also excellent and also billed as a seasonal ale, but aside from their winter-themed Jubal Ale, this Twilight does the most to actually invoke seasonal sentiments -- you can actually taste the late summer still-light-out-at-late-hours, summer starting to fade into fall when you sip it. Or maybe it's just me.

Either way, it's a delicious beer. To quote Ferris Bueller, I highly recommend it, if you have the means.

But where Has He Been Since Then?

Thanks for the Memory to Blogs for Bush.

Did you know John Kerry served in Vietnam? Really, he did. But according to a new poll, most Americans respond to that news the same way I do: So what?

The Rasmussen Reports survey also found that 76% say Kerry's political career since Vietnam matters more than his career in Vietnam. In terms of Election 2004 voting decisions, only 9% take the opposite view and say that Kerry's combat experience is more important.

Let's get one thing straight. The only reason we on the right are responding with such glee to all the trouble the Swift Vets are causing Kerry is because Kerry brought it on himself. He made his service a key selling point of his campaign, and now he has to deal with the consequences.

Quite frankly, I don't care if he was Viet Nam's answer to Audie Murphy. It's the reputation and history he has established for himself in the years since the war that trouble me. Setting aside his military career, the man's voting record (or lack thereof), his blatantly liberal political views, his imperious and thin-skinned attitude, all those are reason enough for me to vote against him. Remember, Benedict Arnold was quite a hero before he stabbed America in the back.

I don't intend to give Kerry a chance to repeat the performance.

Frere Jacques It Ain't

Thanks for the Memory to the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

One of Misha's readers sent him this poem. I couldn't have said it better myself:

A French Poem

Eleven thousand soldiers
lay beneath the dirt and stone,
all buried on a distant land
so far away from home.

For just a strip of dismal beach
they paid a hero's price,
to save a foreign nation
they all made the sacrifice.

And now the shores of Normandy
are lined with blocks of white:
Americans who didn't turn
from someone else's plight.

Eleven thousand reasons
for the French to take our side,
but in the moment of our need,
they chose to run and hide.

Chirac said every war means loss,
perhaps for France that's true,
for they've lost every battle
since the days of Waterloo.

Without a soldier worth a damn
to be found within the region,
the French became the only land
to need a Foreign Legion.

You French all say we're arrogant.
Well, hell, we've earned the right--
We saved your sorry nation
when you lacked the guts to fight.

But now you've made a big mistake,
and one that you'll regret;
you took sides with our enemies,
and that we won't forget.

It wasn't just our citizens
you spit on when you turned,
but every one of yours
who fell the day the towers burned.

You spit upon our soldiers,
on our pilots and Marines,
and now you'll get a little sense
of just what payback means.

So keep your Paris fashions
and your wine and your champagne,
and find some other market
that will buy your aeroplanes.

And try to find somebody else
to wear your French cologne,
for you're about to find out
what it means to stand alone.

You see, you need us far more
than we ever needed you.
America has better friends
who know how to be true.

I'd rather stand with warriors
who have the will and might,
than huddle in the dark
with those whose only flag is white.

I'll take the Brits, the Aussies,
the Israelis and the rest,
for when it comes to valor
we have seen that they're the best.

We'll count on one another
as we face a moment dire,
while you sit on the sideline
with a sign, "friendship for hire."

We'll win this war without you
and we'll total up the cost,
and take it from your foreign aid,
and then you'll feel the loss.

And when your nation starts to fall,
well Frenchie, you can spare us,
just call the Germans for a hand,
they know the way to Paris.

Don Fichthorn, Major USMC (Retired)

It's All (Patriotic) Inside

Thanks for the Memory to my cousin Charlotte via my Mom.

Sears' advertising slogan right now is Good Life. Great Price. I would submit that they should add to it Real Honor.

My Aunt Cousin Charlotte (I have one of each, sorry for the confusion) received one of those feel-good chan mails the other day, which read:

I received this and thought it worth passing on.

I assume you have all seen the reports about how Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up...Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. Suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

Pass it on.

Now, my aunt is the diligent type, and so she emailed Sears and asked them for confirmation. This is the rersponse she got:

Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears.

The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care

That pretty much seals it for me. Sears was already on my good list, as they were willing to extend needed credit to me and my wife despite my spotty credit (mistakes made while still single). Add to that the fact that they're stepping up to the plate for those who defend our freedom, and I am going to make sure I give them as much of my business as posssible. And I intend to make sure they know why.

This Time I'll Make an Exception

Anyone who's read my posts on watching the Olympics knows how I feel about our national anthem. I've also engaged in discussions in the comment sections of other people's blogs, and one of the biggest beefs many of us have had is with the inability of many young athletes to sing the actual words to the Anthem.

Yesterday, the US Men's 8-man crew won the gold in the 2000m event. The first man across the line was Jason Read. As they stood on the medal podium and the Star Spangled Banner played, Jason tried to sing the words, but he just couldn't. This time, I'm inclined to be more charitable.

You see, along with being an Olympian, Jason is a Volunteer Firefighter in his New Jersey community. In the days follwoing September 11, Jason was in downtown Manhattan, helping weith te rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. He saw the worst of it, and it affected him deeply. He poured himself into his rowing to help deal with the emotional and psychological scars. And yesterday, he was the first rower across the line as the US ended a 40-year gold drought in rowing.

So when he tried to sing, it wasn't an ignorance of the lyrics that prevented him. It was the tears and the deep, choking sobs. The kind I found hard to hold back as I watched him. So not only did I forgive him for not singing the lyrics, I sang them for him. We're proud of you, Jason.

In other Olympic News:
Congratulations to Deena Kastor for the spectacular comeback to win the Bronze for the US. Condolences to Paula Radcliffe, and apologies for the shameful way the NC cameraman dogged you as you tried to find a few moments prvacy to mourn. To any Brit who may reasd this, if you punch an NBC crewmwmber on the face, I woun't blame you one bit.

Further Kudos to Justin Gastlin, not only for showing Maurice Greene who's the new champion, but also for showing him how to ACT like one.

Condolences to Gail Devers and Stacey Dragila.

And finally, an Olympic prayer: "Dear God, please let the United States win all its events. But if we cannot win, please let us lose to Australia. Amen."

Do As Oui Say, Not As Oui Do

Thanks for the Memory to my best friend Brian.
From the Worldnet Daily:

EU to build wall after blasting Israel's

Just one month after the U.N. and EU launched a furious campaign against Israel's security fence, culminating in the International Court of Justice ruling that the fence is illegal, the EU announced it's planning to build a separation fence of its own, and invited Israel to participate in the construction.

The fence is being built to separate recently added EU members Poland and Hungary from their new neighbors – Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The EU said the fence is necessary to "prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter" EU territory.

Israeli companies that specialize in the construction of fences and security systems will participate in tenders to build hundreds of miles of fences along the EU's new eastern border.

"It's incredible the EU has no problem building a fence just to keep illegal immigrants out, but when the Jewish State builds a security fence as a last resort for the purpose of keeping terrorists out and saving Israeli lives, we are blasted by them and the U.N.," a spokesman for Ariel Sharon told WorldNetDaily. "Makes you think, doesn't it?"

Israel's publicly traded Magal Security Systems, which participated in the construction of the West Bank security fence, is expected to sign a cooperation agreement for building the new EU fence and its attendant command-and-control systems.

The ultimate contract is estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars. Each kilometer of Israel's fence cost $1 million to build. Bases, sophisticated transit points, and observation and command-and-control systems cost $2 million per kilometer.

In July, the U.N.'s high court ruled Israel's security fence, which is credited with keeping suicide bombers out, violates international law and must be dismantled.

The court, which Israel maintains has no jurisdiction over Israeli matters, ruled "[it] is not convinced that the specific course Israel has chosen for the wall was necessary to attain its security objectives."

A week later, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding that Israel comply with the world court decision and tear down the security fence. Most European countries voted against Israel.

"European hypocrisy is as rank as it is blatant," Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, told WorldNetDaily. "And the EU wall is not even for security reasons, just economic ones."

It's not hypocrisy, Daniel, it's nuance. *spit*

Of course, if anyone other than Israel (or maybe the US) had built a wall in the first place, you would have heard hardly a peep from Europe. But anything Israel does is evil, even if it's what Europe would do in exactly the same situation (or, as is the case here, in an even less dire situation).

In their attempt to camouflage their antisemitism by wrapping it in a cloak of self-righteousness, the Europeans have done nothing but compound it with the additional sin of hypocrisy.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Double Whammy

Today, I get to blog on two of my favorite topics in ONE POST: Oregon AND Politics. This should be fun.

First, I just got out of spending the afternoon volunteering for the local chapter of the Bush/Cheney campaign. My job was to call registered independents and poll them on a couple of topics, including asking if they planned on supporting the President in November. With a few notable exceptions, the overwhelming majority said yes. The west coast may not be as "blue" as people think.

Second, Thanks for the Memory to Macker's World:

Apparently Al Gore was in our fine state and was harassed by some jack-booted brownshirted thug got a speeding ticket for doing 75 in a 55 zone.

Poor Al, things just haven't been the same since 2000, have they?

hee hee


One other piece of info that I learned while at the local Republican HQ Saturday, and this bit will blow the minds of people who know this area (Are you listening, Bishop?). Apparently, the University of Oregon is home to the third largest College Republicans club in the country, with around 500 members.

Does anyone else see a conflict brewing on campuses across the nation between overwhelmingly liberal faculty and increasingly conservative students?

Abandon Ship!

Thanks for the Memory to Blogs for Bush

Just when I thought the chain reaction of hypocrisy, lies, and desperation in the Kerry camp couldn't get any more extreme, I learn this:

Kerry takes legal action against Vietnam critics

Apparently John Forbes Kurtz Kerry has decided to sue the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth. Among other allegations, Kerry's suit alleges that the 527 is coordinating with Bush. As a Kerry Press Release the New York Times puts it, there is a "web of connections" between the Swift Boat group and the "Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush (news - web sites)'s chief political aide, Karl Rove."

Hmmm.... Before Kerry brings up coordination with 527's, he may want to stop and remember this.

Let me get this straight. Kerry's opponent is attacked by a major liberal 527, and the next thing we know, Kerry is hiring it's head as his internet communications director? And that doesn't smell fishy?

The truth is, Kerry's campaign has nothing to run on except his war record, and if that is called into question, he's sunk. He ignored the issue for too long, thinking that since the lapdog press would sit on this, it would die a quiet death. But thanks to the internet and in a great part blogs, the story isn't going away, so now he has to respond. If he had proof that could incontrovertably refute the Swift Boat Vets claims, he could squash this like a bug. But he can't, so he's trying to squelch the story by harassing the Vets into submission.

Kerry's ship is full of self-inflicted holes, and he can't bail fast enough, so he's going to try to board the enemy. But I think it's too late. As soon as the RNC is done, and the president fires his first real broadside, watch the SS Nuance sink like a stone.

The post on the lawsuit isn't the only one worth reading on this topic at Blogs for Bush. They also present their reasons for believing the boiler's about to explode on the SS Nuance.

Update II:
Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ
This may be one of the reasons Kerry's trying to quash the ads. According to a new poll, 44% of Independents who've seen the first ad find it believable or very believable.

Update III:
Thanks for the Memories to the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Commenter Random Numbers over at the Rottie writes:

John Kerry has claimed that Swift Boat Vetrans for Truth is a "front for the Bush campaign." He bases this claim on the fact that some donors to the group - NOT members, founders or managers, just donors - have Republican ties. Let's look over a few 527's and see what their founders and/or mnanagers have been up to:

Media Fund (expenditures-$27,208,905):
Harold Ickes, president and founder (deputy White House chief of staff under President Clinton)

America coming Together (expenditures-$24,196,532):
Minyon Moore (former Chief of Operations, Democratic National Committee)

MoveOn.org (expenditures-$17,435,782):
Zach Exley, director of special projects (former Dean campaign aide, soon-to-be Kerry director of online communications and organization)

New Democrat Network (expenditures-$6,970,070):
Simon Rosenberg, president and founder (former Clinton campaign aide)

America Votes (expenditures-$1,176,590):
Cecile Richards, president (former aide to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and daughter of former Texas Democratic Gov. Ann Richards)

Grassroots Democrats (expenditures-$1,137,544):
Joe Carmichael, co-chairman (former vice-chair, Democratic National Committee)

Bring Ohio Back (no expenditures as of this date):
organized and managed by Gerald Austin (Ohio Democratic strategist)

New House PAC (no expenditure data on file):
Howard Wolfson, co-founder (former executive director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee)
Jonathan Mantz, co-founder (former finance director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee)

American Family Voices (Initial $800,000 provided by AFSCME):
Michael Lux, president (former aide to President Clinton and former political director, People for the American Way)

Progressive Donor Network:
also Michael Lux, president and co-founder (former aide to President Clinton and former political director, People for the American Way)

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (expenditures-$60,403 as of 8/15/04)
Not managed or founded by any RNC politicians or aides.

Yup, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth looks like a front group to me!

Thanks for the Memory once again to Blogs for Bush. Check out their latest installment on this issue, an interesting chart showing connections between the Kerry Campaign and liberal 527's. In a comment on that post, reader Michael in MI quotes an interesting article on Newsmax:

"The Kerry campaign is gloating this weekend over the resignation of Bush Cheney volunteer, former Vietnam War POW Ken Cordier, who's featured in the latest Swiftboat ad - saying it proves illegal coordination between the Swiftvets' 527 group and the official Bush campaign.

But Kerry has no plans to fire Zach Exley, a key campaign staffer who served as the organizing director for MoveOn.org throughout the presidential primaries.

What's more, MoveOn, whose sole mission is to defeat President Bush in November, maintains that Exley is allowed to "communicate" with the 527 group even as he works for the Democratic nominee."