Sunday, February 29, 2004

“More Gay Stuff”

Karen DeCoster’s More Gay Stuff.  It’s worth a read.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/29 at 03:10 PM
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They’re So Confused

Fiction becomes fact: II

People, it’s only a TV show.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. John McHugh are picking a fight with the fictional West Wing over a scene aired Wednesday night in which an aide discussed closing a real-life New York military base, the Associated Press reports.

Clinton, D-N.Y., and McHugh, R-N.Y., fired off a letter to the show’s deputy White House chief of staff, Joshua Lyman, who’s played by Bradley Whitford.

“We are willing to meet with you directly to address any other concerns that you may have,” the pair wrote, before thanking another fictional person on the show for “trying to save Social Security” in a previous episode.

As reported in The Arizona Republic online edition.

Your tax dollars at work?

Posted by John Venlet on 02/29 at 02:59 PM
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In the Spirit

Two, excellent posts by Roderick T. Long.  At least I think they are excellent.  Roderick has been waxing eloquent in regards to religion.  What I find interesting in regards to Roderick’s posts, is, that many Christians will, in all likelihood, be put off by what he has written.  I think that what he has written would be embraced by people with faith.

The posts are titled Why Jesus is Not God, a title which will definitely raise hackles, and, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Jesus?, a title which will not lower any hackles raised by the first post.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/29 at 11:51 AM
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Buck Up Cowboys and Cowgirls

Imagine my surprise this morning as I read through The Grand Rapids Press and stumbled across the following words uttered by Becky Telzgrow.

When we were kids and were told that sticks and stones can break your bones, but names can never hurt you, we were taught a lie,...

Reading those words I could only think that my parents were liars.  You see my Mum and Dad would recite the above phrase to me when my feelings were hurt from time to time when I was growing up.  As I grew up, and became cognizant of what the phrase actually means, I knew that my Mum and Dad were attempting to teach me that my self worth was not assailable by kids calling me a name.  Or, I guess I should say I thought I knew since Telzgrow now informs me that my parents were liars.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  Calling someone a name can hurt their feelings, but, if the individual being called a name is supported by their family and has been encouraged in embracing self-esteem, words can never harm.

Telzgrow’s comment, above, was taken from an article titled No names allowed: ‘Words hurt, and we want kids to know words hurt’.  The article was penned to herald the first-ever “No Name-Calling Week.”

I am such a dumb ass for trusting my parents, I guess.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/29 at 10:02 AM
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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Oversight?  Nope, Overlooked and Well Greased

Read this story.  I would like to say, “Can you imagine?,” but knowing individuals’ proclivities to milk the system for maximum gain, I cannot.  Pay particular attention within the story to the I’m getting mine so what’s the big deal attitude.

Via Mike Soja, a new contributor to No Treason.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 11:00 AM
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Mano y Mano

I don’t follow wrestling but after reading Wrestle Mania, published in Sports Ilustrated, I almost think I should.  This is not a feel good sport where “everybody plays.”  The story focuses on Iowans who seem to excel in this grappling, individual undertaking.  I loved this comment from the article.

Why does wrestling have such a grip on Iowans? “Because we’re good at it!” says Andy Grove, a sportswriter and former high school wrestler. “Most eighth-place winners in this tournament would probably win in, say, Michigan, but they’d prefer to get eighth here.”

Now that’s a positive attitude.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 10:49 AM
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Diversity and The Welfare State

The Guardian publishes a long essay by David Goodhart titled Discomfort of Strangers.  It’s a two parter, and long, but makes for interesting early morning reading.

Part I.
Part II.  A couple of quotes to draw you in.

The diversity, individualism and mobility that characterise developed economies - especially in the era of globalisation - mean that more of our lives is spent among strangers. Ever since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago, humans have been used to dealing with people from beyond their own extended kin groups. The difference now in a developed country such as Britain is that we not only live among stranger citizens but we must share with them. We share public services and parts of our income in the welfare state, we share public spaces in towns and cities where we are squashed together on buses, trains and tubes, and we share in a democratic conversation - filtered by the media - about the collective choices we wish to make. All such acts of sharing are more smoothly and generously negotiated if we can take for granted a limited set of common values and assumptions. But as Britain becomes more diverse that common culture is being eroded.


Negotiating the tension between solidarity and diversity is at the heart of politics. But both left and right have, for different reasons, downplayed the issue. The left is reluctant to acknowledge a conflict between values it cherishes; it is ready to stress the erosion of community from “bad” forms of diversity, such as market individualism, but not from “good” forms of diversity, such as sexual freedom and immigration. And the right, in Britain at least, has sidestepped the conflict, partly because it is less interested in solidarity than the left, but also because it is still trying to prove that it is comfortable with diversity.

Via J. Bowen at No Watermelons Allowed who linked to this via

Update:  And on a related note, The Sinking Lifeboat Uncontrolled Immigration & the U.S. Health Care System.  Hattip to Greg Ransom at PrestoPundit for the link.

Reminder, it isn’t the immigration, it’s the handouts.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 08:17 AM
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Robert Johnson, Singing the Blues?

Karen DeCoster points to a NYT piece on the Blues which delves into the possibly overblown homage paid to Robert Johnson.  Karen’s post is titled Revisionism and the Blues.

In regards to Johnson, personally, I think he must’ve made a bad deal with the devil since he was only around a short while.

Update:  Accompaniment Lines End Blues WJBIII, 1992.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 07:47 AM
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What if You Had to Pay for it Yourself?

Jonathon Wilde excerpts and points to a Radley Balko piece at FOX News and a post by Andy Duncan at Samizdata.  The first sentence from Jonathon’s accompanying comments.

Any free society requires an individual to bear the consequences of his behavior; otherwise, it’s not a free society. This simple fact escapes the logic of most government intervention.

All links guaranteed non-fattening and non-carcinogenic.  You may need your blood pressure medicine, though.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 07:35 AM
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Starting the Day

Billy Beck posts Notes on “Witness”.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 07:27 AM
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Friday, February 27, 2004


Just returned from my sons’ basketball game.  The lovely Melis has returned from her travels also.  Nice.  I’m sitting in the kitchen while my sons and Melis sit in the LR and click through the five channels the household receives.  A pause in the clicking and I hear, “Tonight’s story The Hurried Woman Syndrome.”  I hear Melis say “Sheesh, another frickin typecast.”  I quietly chuckle.  I hear one of my sons say “That’s crazy.”  I laugh a little louder and say “Did I hear that right, a hurried woman syndrome?”  Yes, I did.

Step right up and get your diagnosis here.  Prescriptions liberally applied.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/27 at 10:01 PM
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Chicken Little Redux - A Serious Inquiry

When I posted Chicken Little yesterday I made light of the concern over the possibility of an catastrophic asteroid strike here on earth in this modern age.  I also heartily condemned calling for tax dollars to fund preventive measures.  Though I recognize the danger of one large metorite possibly wiping out the earth, at least as we know it, I am more interested in the actual risk associated with the possibility, though some would say certainty, of this happening.  Prior to continuing, I must admit my ignorance of physics but reiterate I am inquiring here, seriously.  My thoughts.

The largest meteorite ever discovered intact is in Namibia.  It measures, approximately 9.68 feet by 9.32 feet.  Granted, the type of meteorite strike individuals are concerned with are much larger, but the earth shows little evidence of these striking ground.  Reasons postulated include breakup of meteorites in the atmosphere and erosion action on earth.  Is this type of information include in the methodology which calculates the chances of a catastrophic meteorite strike in today’s world?

Another question.  Angle of attack.  My current understanding is that if an object strikes the earth’s atmosphere at too shallow of angle it “could well bounce back into space.”  Is this information consider in calculations of possible catastrophic meteorite strikes?

The moon.  Does the moon’s gravity provide any natural protection to the earth?

Is the fact that 70% of the earth is covered by water, the large majority ocean water, considered when considering this issue?  Does that fact offer any natural protection?

The additional reading I linked to in my first “Chicken Little” post does not address these questions.

I ask these questions because I think asking for millions, if not billions, of dollars to prevent something that possibly may happen, and I understand some individuals say certainly will happen is wrong.  There is no possible way to eliminate all risk.  I do not think the risk has even been adequately calculated.  I could very well be wrong though and a metorite may strike my home this evening.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/27 at 03:02 PM
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The Wolverine State

Michigan is known as The Wolverine State.  Of course the last time a Wolverine was spotted in Michigan was reportedly in 1837, before Michigan was even a state.  It appears that Michigan’s designation as The Wolverine State may now be more appropriate.  In a news story filed from Bad Axe, Michigan, a Wolverine reportedly has been spotted by a group of hunters and was photographed by one Arnie Karr, a DNR employee.  According to the story, the Wolverine may have hitched a ride from Canada.  In a garbage truck.

Here’s the story.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/27 at 11:02 AM
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Self-flagellation or Just Stupid?

Paul Theroux on his four days as a sexual prisoner in Africa: ‘This was my first true experience of captivity and difference, memorable for being horribly satirical. It had shocked me and made me feel American.’

From ‘Over There’ as posted at Granta.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/27 at 09:10 AM
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Cap’n Arbyte Reports for Jury Duty

Kyle Markley shares his first experience of being summoned as a potential juror.  He dealt with long lines.  The Cap’n states he has a conversation to share later.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/27 at 08:53 AM
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