Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Well, at Least Kerry Wasn’t Fired

I have no love for Kerry, or any professional job seeker for that matter, but what follows deserves to be disseminated.

The headline: Clark Aims to Pull Rank on Kerry in N.H.

A quote from Clark from the linked article above.

“It’s one thing to be a hero as a junior officer. He’s done that, I respect that,” Clark said. “But I’ve got the military experience at the top as well as at the bottom.”

I’ll say, Clark can’t get much farther from the bottom after being fired.

Headline link via Drudge.

Reality via Billy Beck.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/20 at 03:31 PM
(2) CommentsPermalink

Spreading the Word

While digging around today looking for something appropriate to post at The Atlasphere’s Ayn Rand Meta-Blog, I stumbled upon the International Society for Individual Liberty website.  What interested me, while looking around, was a notice stating “Year of Ayn Rand” Book Project Launched.  Interesting.  Taking a page from The Gideon’s playbook, the project’s stated goal, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rand, is,

The long-term goal of the project is to introduce the works of Ayn Rand and her philosophy to Russian-speaking countries, and to make these ideas a part of the intellectual mainstream of the culture. To accomplish this, we intend to print and sell millions of copies of Rand’s works throughout the Russian-speaking world.

I wish them success.  Hopefully Rand’s works will become more dog earred than the Bibles I find in hotel rooms.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/20 at 01:06 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

I’ve Got News for Reporters

In this article, from Reporters Without Borders, reporting on the death in April 2003 of two journalists at the Baghdad Hotel, the reporters have this to say.

Reporters Without Borders called today for the reopening of the enquiry into who was really responsible for the US Army’s “criminal negligence” in shooting at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 and causing the death of two journalists - Ukrainian cameramen Taras Protsyuk (of Reuters news agency) and Spaniard José Couso (of the Spanish TV station Telecinco).

As you read further into the article, you find these statements.

The US shelling of the hotel was not a deliberate attack on journalists and the media. It was the result of criminal negligence.

And this.

At the bottom level, Capt. Wolford and Sgt. Gibson reacted as soldiers in a battle situation. They directly caused the death of the journalists and wounded three others, but should not really be held responsible because they did not have information that would have made them aware of the consequences of firing at the hotel.

And this.

Their immediate superiors - battalion commander Lt. Col. Philip DeCamp and brigade commander Col. David Perkins - also appear not to blame. Their reactions and the accounts of embedded journalists indicate they too had not been properly informed by their own superiors.

Which leads the reporters to conclude this.

It is inconceivable that the massive presence of journalists at the hotel for three weeks prior to the shelling, which was known by any TV viewer and by the Pentagon itself, could have passed unnoticed. Yet this presence was never mentioned to the troops in the field or marked on the maps used by artillery support soldiers. The question is whether this information was withheld deliberately, out of contempt or through negligence.

At the top level, the US government must bear some of the responsibility. Not just because it is the government and has supreme authority over its army in the field, but also because its top leaders several times made false statements about the incident. They also talked regularly about the dangers journalists faced in Iraq.

So, if I understand this correctly, journalists think that the military high command should be briefing the troops in the field as to the whereabouts of reporters, especially if they are highly concentrated in one area, to facilitate the reporters’ safety during periods of intense conflict.  If, said reporters, who mingle both with coalition troops and those opposing them, happen to be in an area of a fire fight, coalition troops should refrain from protecting themselves until they can assure reporters’ safety.  Whether the troops realize said reporters are in the area or not, which of course they should be aware because, afterall, they are reporters you know.

I refer you Reporters Without Borders, and possibly common sense, to the following words of Colonel Hal Moore, as delivered in the movie We Were Soldiers, to the reporter Bill Galloway.

I can’t guarantee your safety.

If Reporters Without Borders desire safety for their club members, they should consider being reassigned to the entertainment desk, say in Des Moines.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/20 at 08:09 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

This Parrot Could’ve Been a Sailor

“F*** the Nazi’s, F*** Hitler, so says Churchill’s parrot which is still alive, believe it or not, and enjoying its one-hundred and fourth year of life.  Cool.  Give that bird the biggest damn cracker you can find.

Via PrestoPundit.

UPDATE: 03.27.2009 - Unfortunately, the rumor was not true that this was Churchill’s parrot, but there was indeed a foul mouth parrot.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/20 at 07:43 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

The Flimsiest of Connections

In the Telegraph this morning we are greeted with this headline, Cannabis is blamed as cause of man’s death.  Naturally, I was drawn to such a bold conclusion, wondering, if a one ton bale of primo African skunk, or more common variety Hawaiian, had inadvertantly been dropped on the individual.  Perusing the article, alas, I find this statement.

Michael Howells, the Pembrokeshire coroner, said Mr Maisey was free from disease and had not drunk alcohol for at least 48 hours. Post-mortem tests showed a high level of cannabinoids in his blood.

He recorded a verdict of death by misadventure because Mr Maisey had died while taking part in an illegal activity. The death led to a warning about the changing strength of cannabis, which is to be reduced to a Class C drug on Jan 29.

According to the above, because the deceased ”...showed a high level of cannabinoids in his blood” the coroner was able to record ”...a verdict of death by misadventure…”

So, what killed Mr Maisey, cannabis or misadventure?  The link between Maisey’s death and cannabis is as tenuous as a rolling paper in the presence of a match.

Via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/20 at 06:55 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Monday, January 19, 2004

What Flyfishers Do In The Winter

During the winter months, fly fishing is, well, slow to non-existent.  At least here in the state of Michigan.  I get in the water a couple of times during the winter, but I usually have nothing to show for it except quite close to frost bit toes.  Damn those toes hurt as they warm back up.  I love it.  Anyway, during the winter months, since I’m more than likely not in the stream, I spend a decent amount of time at the tying vise so I have more than an adequate supply of flies when Spring rolls around.  Besides, it seems you can never have too many flies to tempt a trout, or just to have in your box.

Up north, where I spend most of my time chasing hatching mayflies and the trout that feed upon them, ice fishing becomes the panacea while the trout hold in the streams in a state of almost suspended animation.  My friend Rusty Gates, lodge owner, fly fishing god and fountain of knowledge in regards to local mayfly hatches, updates what’s up up north.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 07:41 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

History in Photos

I noticed this post by Greg Ransom of PrestoPundit this morning.  Greg’s post alerts us to the WWII Aerial Reconnaissance Archives at Keele University, which, per Greg, were supposed to go online today, January 19th.  Here’s the link to the archive.  I’ve been trying to get in off and on all day to no avail.  I’d wager that the archive is being bombarded with the same intensity of Dresden’s blacker days.  Greg also provided a link to this BBC article announcing the launch, which also has a couple of photos to view.

Click on the first link in this post though and look at the photo Greg posted.  It’s of prisoners lining up at Auschwitz for roll call.  Remind me again why no country seemed to give a shit about this then, but today they’ll raise memorials to the travesty.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 04:04 PM
(3) CommentsPermalink

‘The Passion’ and the Pope Provoke Distress in Frank Rich

Yesterday, Drudge linked to a Frank Rich article titled Chutzpah and spiritual McCarthyism, published in the International Herald Tribune.  This piece was also published in the New York Times but with the more innocuous title of The Pope’s Thumbs Up for Gibson’s ‘Passion’  I’m not certain if this is because the NYT headline writers did not want to mix Jewish and Catholic terms, chutzpah and pope, or because the phrase “thumbs up” is so closely related to movie reviews and utilization of the term may sell more papers as people may think that Roger Ebert has reviewed the film.

The above does not overly concern me though, and neither, in all honesty, does the fact that Frank Rich has his panties in a knot over the pope’s “endorsement” of Gibson’s film The Passion.  What interests me is the vapidity of Rich’s distress.  A few examples, with my comments following each example.

The beginning of the second paragraph of Rich’s piece.

In what is surely the most bizarre commercial endorsement since Eleanor Roosevelt did an ad for Good Luck Margarine in 1959, the ailing pontiff has been recruited, however unwittingly, to help hawk “The Passion of the Christ,” as Mel Gibson’s film about Jesus’s final 12 hours is now titled.

I’m not certain if Rich is upset that the pope is out bizarring Eleanor, or, that even though the pope is ailing and unwitting he is reviewing movies.  Either way, I think the pope’s auction type nod of approval is rather humanizing to the old guy.

Further into Rich’s piece, the fourth paragraph if you are following along, we find this statement by Rich.

Since I am one of the many curious Jews who have not been invited to press screenings of “The Passion,” I have no first-hand way of knowing whether the film is benign or toxic and so instead must rely on eyewitnesses.

A couple of thoughts on this.  Rich appears to be pissed that he didn’t get an invite to view the film.  Well I didn’t get an invite either Rich, and you don’t see me pissing and moaning.  I guess we’ll both have pay $7.50 or so to get in with the rest of the riff raff.  As for relying on eyewitnesses, well, that’s all and good, in a criminal trial I guess, but it’s more akin to suspending your own judgement in favor of someone else’s dogma.  My experience with this suspension of judgement has been less than satisfactory and I would counsel you to not rely on “eyewitnesses,” as you call them, before passing judgement on a film.  Save that type of reliance for the courtroom.

Rich’s screed goes on and on.  Four pages in the IHT or two pages in the NYT, take your pick, they both read the same.  Meaning, Rich’s piece is the mere whining of a wannabe member of the movie club.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the book mentioned in the sidebar, left, requires my attention once again.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 01:17 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Are American Muslims Protestantizing?

Just stopped by Gene Expression and read a post, written by Razib, titled Islamicization, American style.  According to the post, Razib comes from a Bangledesh family of moderate Muslims now living in America and within the post Razib examines how living in America has affected their piety.  The concluding statement from Razib’s post.

Addendum: Though the secularization of the orthodox Jewry in the United States is common knowledge, the re-confessionalization of secular anti-religious Jews is not. I have read that levels of God-belief actually increased among Jews after their assimilated into American culture, as they formed a “Jew” to slot into the “Protestant-Catholic-Jew” trichotomy. My major point is that Muslims in the United States are re-organizing along Protestant lines, where my parents took Islam as a given during my childhood, they are engaging in pro-active indoctrination with my siblings, directly mimicking the church-going of their suburban neighbors. As has been noted before on this blog, French “Muslims” actually resemble French “Catholics” in their religiosity, a secularized majority and a devout minority. I think Islam in this country is going through a period of “Americanization.” Some Muslims will become absorbed into the secular-bobo cultural complex, some will form their own Protestant-like Muslim denominations and some will probably find a genial liberal Islam. I think the the fact that Muslim immigrants to this country are selection biased for education means that more will shift toward “low tension” religious groups than might otherwise be the case.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 09:50 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Dali Life

Was pointed to a blog I was not familiar Musings of The Geek WithA.45.  Musings’ has a post up titled The Surreality of It All…. that, basically, explores moving from thinking like a child to thinking like a man, with an emphasis on, instead of a surreal America, America in reality.  From the linked post.

When I was perhaps nine or ten years old, I envisioned that the world in general and the government in particular was run by enlightened, virtuous men and women who proceeded forward in a wise and principled manner, striving to uphold lofty ideals, placing the interest of the People before the interest of the State.

{Pause to allow catcalls, smirks and hooting to die down….tapping feet….waiting patiently….looking at watch….beseeching heaven….ahem. Now I'll continue.}

Obviously, the experiences of my life have taught me otherwise, but nonetheless, I do not begrudge my younger self’s naivete. That experience, even illusory, provided me with a precious and irreplaceable gift, something that far too many people will never have. For a few brief shining years, I was old enough to understand high ideals, and inexperienced enough to see how their implementation falls short in the world. In that state, I saw America not as it was, but as it should be, its promise completely and utterly fulfilled. The dazzle of its full glory will never fully leave my eyes.

I’ll be adding this blog to my bookmarks.

Via Music for Misanthropes.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 09:35 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

A Related Post

Saturday I posted some brief comments, with links, under the title Black Sabbath or Chopin?  Here’s a related post, entitled But Is It Art which, though not discussing Black Sabbath or Chopin, delves into the art fallacy surrounding some proponents of Objectivism, including Ayn Rand.  Great post.

UPDATE: 03.27.2009 - Unfortunately, I cannot find an operating link to this.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 09:20 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

The Corruption Awards

Tyler Cowen, at Marginal Revolution, points to a Washington Times article which ranks the states by corruption convictions.  DC would have won, no surprise there, but of course is not a state, it’s more like a graduate school for criminals.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 09:01 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

A Lesson in “Goblin” Eradication

Kim du Toit discusses home invasion by “goblins” in a post entitled Resolve.  The catalyst for Kim’s post was the following email, posted by Kim, from a reader.

My first instinct is to agree that all households should be armed; yet I have a question about it. If a goblin comes strolling into my home in the middle of the night and I come out of the bedroom loaded for such, isn’t it possible that I have created a distinctly more dangerous situation for me and my family if I don’t/won’t have the resolve to drop the scum bag? I mean, most good Americans like me have never shot anybody and I am concerned that I may get stage fright. Practicing at the range is fine for honing the technical aspect but what about the emotional end? If this is an issue, how do I prepare for it should the situation arise?

As Kim says, it is “an excellent question.”

Kim provides an excellent answer.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/19 at 08:35 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, January 18, 2004

No Crutches

The headline reads Time Europe defended itself -EU military official.  These words were uttered by the EU’s top military official, what

that title means is open to interpretation, Finnish general Gustav Hagglund.  I say about time.  Haven’t enough of my dollars been misappropriated already to line the pockets of the European “nations” just in case some bully pushes them around?

But the thing that really sparked my attention, as I read through this article, is this analysis of what this supposedly means.

U.S. forces would handle high-intensity operations involving terrorism and weapons of mass destruction while Europeans would concentrate on sustained low-intensity crisis management such as conflict prevention, he said.

Which, I think, means that the EU is nominating the U.S. as the black hatted Top Cop and strong armed cudgel bearer while the EU members will muck it up to the best of their limited abilities while wearing the white hat and playing the good cop.

The article ends with this additional statement by Haaglund.

We don’t know if the United States will have forever the resources, or the interest, to defend Europe,

A classic understatement.  I lost interest ages ago, and, as for the resources, I’d just as soon not give any EU nation one more thin dime.

Via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/18 at 04:29 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

I Don’t Know - An Individual Observation

Prior to beginning my current read, listed in the left sidebar, I read Bill Bryson’s book *A Short History of Nearly Everything.  Bryson is an entertaining writer and he provided more than a few laughs when I read his book A Walk in the Woods, a tale of hiking the Appalachian trail.  *A Short History of Nearly Everything, while not quite as humorous a tome, does present a large helping of complex science in an understandable manner.  He presents his subject matter in a sort of sitting around the campfire shooting the shit kind of way.  One fact within the book particularly struck me though.  I was struck by the re-occurring statement, uttered by various scientists and physicists, in various fields of study, of “I don’t know” or “We don’t know.”

Now don’t get me wrong.  The field of science, the state of knowing, does have a body of facts that puts the study of theology to shame.  I am continually amazed at the body of knowledge we are privy to.  Yet I am struck by this “We don’t know” statement.  In fact, as I read Bryson’s book I came to the conculsion that disagreements among scientists are argued with the same passion of theologians drawing the sword of God to enforce their particular dogma.

Why do I bring this up?  I bring this up because science, in presenting their theories, for the most part, presents theory as fact.  And though science does have a massive body of factual evidence, the body of facts still does not present the complete picture for many of the working theories.  In many instances, in fact, what science presents to us as fully knowable, is, in fact, still a working theory, which, as the body of scientific knowledge grows, may cause the theory to be thrown out the window or modified so drastically it bears little resemblance to what was intially theorized.

I do not present this observation as an argument for individuals to fall into the patently false dogmas of organized religion.  I present my observation as an incentive to continue questioning everything that is presented to you as fact.  I accept scientific fact and appreciate the continued searching out of facts to support various scientific theories, but do not attempt to tell me that all the scientific theories being investigated are FACT.

I don’t know all the answer’s.  Evidently, at least in reading Bryson’s most recent book, scientists don’t know all the answers either.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/18 at 10:45 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink
Page 316 of 329 pages ‹ First  < 314 315 316 317 318 >  Last ›