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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Walt’s Words of Wisdom

June 20th, 2010 - 2:37 pm

Walt Erickson has prepared a short list of tips that anyone interested in self-publishing using Word would do well to study. He writes, “Have prepared some general notes on formatting for any BCer who takes me up on my offer. Since you just went through the same agony, and since it is for your readers, I’m sending this draft to you in the event you wish to add anything.”

The best course is probably to turn this discussion into an open thread. Among the subjects on might want to think about in connection with Walt’s suggestions are:


The Unacknowledged Legislators

June 19th, 2010 - 5:17 pm

The bad news about the Internet is that it has reduced the royalties that successful artists who could get published, recorded or filmed used to enjoy. The good news is that it has opened up huge new opportunities for creative persons. Software has given everyone his easel, studio, scribe and crier. Even poetry, a form of art long considered moribund, is making a comeback. When Glenn Reynolds mentioned a book by “the poet laureate of the Internet”, I thought that he was referring to Walt, who comments on this site. But no, he was referring to to Will Warren, whose Unremitting Verse is now available on Amazon. The excerpts on the Amazon site show work of a very high standard, but I must say without thinking any the less of Will Warren that Walt could certainly have given him a run for his money.


Is Amphibious Warfare Obsolete?

June 18th, 2010 - 8:14 pm

When Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal watched the Marines raise the flag over Mount Surabachi he turned to General Holland Smith and said, “Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years.” Recent articles describing the demise of the amphibious mission suggest Forrestal may have been off by more than four centuries. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates recently addressed the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition on May 10 to lay out his vision of Naval warfare and seemed to suggest that amphibious warfare, if not obsolete, was no longer central. Loren Thompson at Lexington Institute sat up and noted that “policymakers are openly questioning the relevance of amphibious warfare to future strategy, and trying to water down the requirements of “forcible entry” — capabilities that are at the core of the modern Marine identity.”


Iron Sky

June 17th, 2010 - 5:16 pm

Although Israeli interception of the Gaza ‘humanitarian’ flotilla has dominated the news, the most destabilizing development in the region is almost certainly the medium range ballistic missile threat to Israel. This is exemplified by the large numbers of Scuds provided by Syria to Hezbollah. It is a threat which has received relatively little attention in the general press.

The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles—placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s nuclear installations all within range of Hezbollah’s military forces. During a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used rockets with ranges of 20 to 60 miles.

Israeli officials called Scud missiles “game-changing” armaments that mark a new escalation in the Mideast conflict. They alleged that Mr. Assad is increasingly linking Syria’s military command with those of Hezbollah and Iran.


The Gulf

June 15th, 2010 - 6:57 pm

The Washington Post reports that President Obama has named a lawyer to supervise oil drilling. “President Obama has selected Michael Bromwich, a partner in the law firm Fried Frank’s Washington D.C. and New York offices, to head the Minerals Management Service, the troubled agency that oversees offshore oil drilling, according to senior administration officials.” Bromwich has no experience in supervising oil drilling, like his predecessor Elizabeth Birnbaum, who was chosen “to head the MMS in large part because of her record of environmental and green-energy advocacy.” Ignorance of the complexities of oil drilling is no handicap. “Shortly after Birnbaum was fired, her defenders told the trade publication Environment and Energy Daily that ‘she had not been ordered to clean house at the scandal-stained agency, but to promote renewable energy.’” It’s isn’t that she wasn’t a specialist, she was just wrong kind of specialist.

While Bromwich has no significant experience with oil and gas issues, he has a reputation for cleaning up embattled organizations. In addition to serving as as inspector general for the Justice Department under President Clinton for five years, he worked as the District Metropolitan Police Department’s independent monitor on the issue of excessive force and as the independent investigator for the Houston Police Department’s crime lab. He also served as an associate counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation in the late 1980s.


United We Fall, Divided We Fall

June 15th, 2010 - 11:24 am

Civil rights activists and the Justice Department are eagerly watching the implementation of a new voting system that allows a single voter to potentially vote six times for a single candidate in order to level ethnic representation in Port Chester, New York’s Board of Trustees. The system was designed to help Hispanics, who make up 46% of the population, but many of whom are non-citizens, to get a ‘fair’ number of seats. The NYT writes: “Latinos made up 46 percent of the village’s roughly 28,000 people in the most recent census, in 2000, though many were not American citizens. About 43 percent of residents were non-Hispanic whites and 7 percent were blacks, according to the census. No Latino has ever been elected to the six-member village board, and the preferred candidates among Latino voters have usually been defeated.” The answer was to let everyone vote multiple times for a single candidate.


Try, Try Again

June 13th, 2010 - 9:27 pm

The saga of Dr. Jayant Patel is that of a man who concealed his incompetence by never staying in one place long enough for consequences to catch up to him.  But though he buried his true track record, Patel took care to bring with him enough social proof to persuade a new set of victims to trust him.  As long as he could stay one step ahead, he was gold. It wasn’t as if nobody suspected Patel wasn’t all he claimed to be. One gets the sense that many of his patients had doubts even as they looked up to him from the operating table, but never enough to challenge him openly; to impel them to say the one thing that would have saved them: ‘I don’t want this doctor, get me another’. And yet the truth was that he was probably trying; trying hard to be a doctor. One of the charges against him was that he treated patients that’s weren’t even his. Maybe he figured he needed practice. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But that didn’t help him because the basic problem was that Patel was incompetent. He should have been something else. And getting an incompetent to try harder only gets you more incompetence.


Whitewash versus Paint

June 13th, 2010 - 2:48 pm

The northern summer months mean winter in the Antipodes so we drove to Anthony Watts‘ presentation in the dark even though it was only 6 pm.  He was the principal author of Watts Up With That?, a climate change skeptic’s blogsite that gets about 3 million hits per month.  And now he was in Australia on a speaking tour. The site has a large following in Australia probably due to two things. The first is his symbiotic relationship with the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt, who is Australia’s blogger/mainstream journalist — a combination you don’t often see — who appears to combine the strongest features of both and who quotes Watts continuously and extensively so that climate skepticism has become as it were, the new occult knowledge. Second, Watts’ focus on the weather taps into a major preoccupation in Australia: crops.


Outrageous Fortune

June 12th, 2010 - 10:18 pm

American Spectator says that Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) has received a notification that her PayPal online account has been discontinued. “[A]fter a recent review of your account, it has been determined that you are currently in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy,” the PayPal e-mail said. “Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.”

Everyone has to take responsibility for what they say. The reason comments on this site are moderated is because there are always lines that shouldn’t be crossed and you try, insofar as you can, not to cross them. But whether or not one agrees with Pamela Geller, it is far from clear that PayPal should be in the business of determining what constitutes “hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.” For example, PayPal as of few minutes ago served Revolution Muslim. I’ve attached a screenshot of the site showing the PayPal button just above the the picture portraying Barack Obama as Hitler.


The (Soccer) Ball is Round

June 12th, 2010 - 2:14 pm

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

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