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Monthly Archives: May 2004

Memorial

May 31st, 2004 - 11:02 am

Abraham Lincoln, speaking at Gettysburg:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Some things just can’t be improved on — unless maybe they’re read aloud by Johnny Cash.

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Blogger Bash

May 28th, 2004 - 12:49 pm

In honor of tonight’s hostilities — er, festivities — I started carbo-loading three hours ago. Do you have any idea how many martinis one can drink after sucking down 4,000 calories worth of pasta? With all that energy in my system, I could either take on an extra four or six lovely adult beverages, or run a marathon.

But people look at me funny when I try and smoke cigars during a marathon.

See you at sevenish or so.

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It’s interesting this morning to look around at the non-reaction to the frothing-at-the-mouth speech Al Gore gave yesterday. Flipping through the home pages of the Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times, you’ll see hardly a mention of the speech, in which Gore called for the resignations of virtually every Bush Administration cabinet secretary (the Post has a small blurb well below the main headlines; the others don’t mention Gore on the front page at all).

Why the silence? We’re talking about the last vice president of the United States, and a guy who was just 548 votes shy of being the president right now. This ought to be a big story, particularly for papers that had been very supportive of Gore in the past. Is he now considered irrelevant? Does the media think he’s become a nutbag, and thus unworthy of coverage? Could they be embarrassed by Gore’s descent into MoveOn.org moonbattery?

Heck if I know; maybe the answer is “all of the above,” but the coverage of Gore’s rant, or rather the lack therof, is more than a little curious.

UPDATE: Well, Gore isn’t being ignored by everybody…

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Cheers

May 26th, 2004 - 10:27 pm

Damn.

There was so much I wanted to get tonight, before the Weekend From Hell begins. The WFH isn’t a bad thing, far from it. Tomorrow, we get to watch the daughter of two of our best friends graduate from high school. Tell me that isn’t worth driving to Denver at oh-dark-thirty.

Friday, we — finally — get to start spending the HELOC money on our kitchen. With a bit of luck, it will be finished before the big Independence Day Bash. Followed, of course, by the Blogger Bash that night. (For those keeping score, that’s two trips to Denver in two days.)

Saturday? BBQ with the in-laws. Sunday, another BBQ with the Dinner Party Gang. Monday is. . . I forget what Monday is, but I’m pretty sure it involves fixing all those dead spots on the lawn. The drought wreaked hell on us last year.

But tonight I’d planned to do some real work. Write up a glowing Amazon review on Virginia Postrel’s new book. Write next month’s food column for GX magazine. Put the finishing touches on an Alternate History essay I’ve been working on all week.

If you must know, the essay looks at What Might Have Been if Alexander of Macedon had lived five more years, to the ripe old age of 38. I wrote most of the thing on Monday, and have spent the last couple of nights poking holes in it, trying to make it suitable for public consumption.

(Did I claim I’m on summer vacation this week? I don’t know from vacation. We have got to get our not-nearly-tan-enough asses down to Mexico before we go insane.)

Anyway, none of the things I wanted to get done tonight got done, because. . . well, I’ve been working my ass off my entire pseudo-vacation, and one night off won’t stop the world from turning.

Have a happy, pleasant, and friend-filled Memorial Day weekend. I’ll see you on Tuesday.

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Parrothead Alert and Drink Recipe

May 26th, 2004 - 1:18 pm

Jimmy Buffett’s Atlanta show begins in five hours. Drinking (at least my drinking) will commence in approximately one hour. You do the math.

You can listen to the show live at Buffett’s excellent web radio station, Radio Margaritaville. It pains my Mac-user soul to admit it, but the Windows Media stream is by far the best quality of the three options. I’ll be making my own bootleg at home via AudioHijack software. Show starts at 8PM Eastern, for those who tune in, I’ll be the drunk guy yelling out requests from the lawn section.

Tonight’s Parrothead Tailgating cocktail will be the Fruity Rum Drink (TM), invented by Tom Slappey (his real name) in 1995. The recipe, for those of you playing along at home:

Get a large juice pitcher.

Fill up 2/3 of the way with ice.

Pour in one coffee cup full of dark Bacardi rum, followed by 1/3 coffee cup of Malibu rum.

Fill up with Minute Maid Citrus Punch.

Stir.

Drink.

Repeat as necessary.

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Memo to the Europeans: this isn’t the way you learn how to fix stuff:

The Government and European space chiefs yesterday refused to publish the full report into the loss of the Beagle 2 Mars probe, even though British taxpayers contributed more than

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Andy has a favor to ask:

Could you put up a post asking those bloggers who are planning to attend the RMBB this Friday to e-mail Zombyboy and provide the URL and a brief description of their blog? If we have time, we’ll put together a little flyer about the bloggers to have for distribution.

Now that’s a good idea. Each time I go to one of these blogger things, I meet several interesting people with worthwhile blogs, have a fourth martini, and then can’t remember half the people or a third of the blogs.

If all goes to plan (and everyone going tells Zomby in advance), then at Friday’s Bash we’ll each get a lovely flyer — a veritable Who’s Who of the Greater Rocky Mountain Blogging Community Who Made It to The Denver Press Club That One Time.

Anyway, it beats name tags.

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Notice

May 24th, 2004 - 11:26 pm

Gorgeous weather, lots of projects to take care of, and we don’t have a weekend day left unscheduled until sometime in August.

That last item is no exaggeration. Sigh.

So I’m taking what’s left of May off from blogging — and that’s my summer vacation this year.

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Crushing Of Dissent In Atlanta

May 20th, 2004 - 11:41 am

This is one of the more outrageous things I’ve read in quite a while. The public statements of one Vera Rorie, the Assistant Dean for Campus Life at Emory University in Atlanta, recently found their way onto the internet. Ms. Rorie subsequently received a critical email (gasp!) from an individual not associated with either the university or the local College Republicans chapter. Upon reading said email, Rorie abruptly cancelled a meeting with the CR leadership, and has refused contact with them ever since (nearly three months ago now).

Rorie’s “logic” in cancelling the meeting? Here are her own words, in an email to the CR representatives:

My office had offered to assist the College Republicans in planning an event that would bring a conservative speaker of your choice to campus. In light of the attached email and link it is clear that you are not interested in practing [sic] community. The information you provided to outsiders is the source of the enclosed personal attacts [sic] on me. I am rescinding the offer to meet.I will not participate in email name calling or personal assaults.

You got that? Here we have a high-profile college administrator, whose job is to oversee the “campus life” of students saying, in effect, “If you dare tell anybody else what I’ve said, and they respond to me in a way I don’t like, I’ll cut you off completely, you miserable little fascists.”

Folks, I submit that somebody this immature and thin-skinned has no business dealing with even 18-year-olds. Ms. Rorie should clearly look into a line of work more in line with her sensitive nature. Like, say, kindergarten teacher.

Kudos to Erin O’Connor, Jonah, and Emory’s Dr. Harvey Klehr for getting this story out. Here’s a complete rundown of the story from a mirror of the Emory CR website (the actual site is jammed; just keep scrolling down).

Oh, did I mention that there’s been absolutely no word of this in the local paper? Nah, why bother–you probably already guessed that.

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Still Breathing

May 19th, 2004 - 1:09 am

Just busy as all get-out — whatever that means.

Light blogging until (let’s be honest) I’m back to having no life.

Cheers!

PS That was a joke, OK?

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Notice

May 17th, 2004 - 12:08 pm

Busy day — we’re closing again on the HELOC (don’t ask) in a few minutes, and I’m still not done getting the garage organized for Summer Project Season.

On a bright note, my bride tells me she wants to learn how to use the miter saw. How cool is that?

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Notice

May 17th, 2004 - 1:02 am

Long, fine weekend. But I’m beat.

See you in a bit.

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Ouch

May 14th, 2004 - 10:24 am

Michele, at her best.

And with that, I’m taking the day off from the blog.

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Required Reading

May 14th, 2004 - 8:12 am

Now this is interesting. . .

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Notice

May 13th, 2004 - 9:18 pm

There was a big dinner out tonight, involving martinis.

See you in the morning.

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Instalanche This

May 13th, 2004 - 6:15 pm

Heh.

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Jeff Goldstein interviews Ted Kennedy.

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Now That’s Real Money

May 13th, 2004 - 3:57 pm

The latest scandal involving a do-gooding international body:

Corrupt use of World Bank funds may exceed $100 billion and while the institution has moved to combat the problem, more must be done, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday.

Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, charged that “in its starkest terms, corruption has cost the lives of uncounted individuals contending with poverty and disease.”

He commended World Bank President James Wolfensohn for bringing greater attention to the issue, but said, “Corruption remains a serious problem.”

Corrupt Enron went broke, allowing reputable firms to have their markets and workers. That’s how capitalism functions. The World Bank, of course, has no such restraints on its behavior.

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Meanwhile

May 13th, 2004 - 1:58 pm

The Congress Party is back in charge in India. What this means for India and Pakistan’s attempts at reproachment, I have no idea.

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The Way of the Dinosaurs

May 13th, 2004 - 12:42 pm

Andrew Sullivan:

In the blogosphere, we are sometimes in tune with national moods. My gut tells me that the Nick Berg video has had much more psychic impact in this country than the Abu Ghraib horrors. I even notice some small evidence for this. Every political blog site has just seen an exponential jump in traffic – far more than anything that occurred during the Abu Ghraib unfolding. My traffic went through the roof yesterday, and, according to Alexa, so did everyone else’s. People who have tuned the war out suddenly tuned the war in. They get it. Will the mainstream media?

Much as they publically despise it, the mainstream media still lives and dies by the profit motive. So they’ll eventually have to get the war — or die ignoring it.

UPDATE: Steven Taylor comments.

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Fact-Checking the New York Times

May 13th, 2004 - 12:10 pm

Elisabeth Bumiller writes in today’s edition:

But as the scandal widens and deepens, Mr. Rumsfeld is said to weigh every day whether he can continue to effectively run the world’s largest military.

Wrong.

The Chinese Army numbers around 1.5 million people — not counting their Air Force and Navy. What’s left of Russia’s active-duty armed forces still outnumber America’s, and even India’s Army dwarfs our own. In five minutes of research, I was able to confirm that the US Armed Forces are, at best, the world’s fourth-largest.

Perhaps Bumiller meant the US has the world’s most powerful armed forces — that’s a fact no one would dispute. Not willingly and on a battlefield, anyway. In other words, size and strength are two very differnet things. But that concept, apparently, is beyond Bumiller’s grasp.

Still, Bumiller’s sloppy reporting shouldn’t come as any surprise, given what we’ve read (and haven’t been allowed to read) the last few years.

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Required Linking II

May 13th, 2004 - 11:45 am

Nick Berg, media bias, and why Big Media is losing market share.

With all that in one tasty post, you just know it has to be the Instapundit.

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Required Linking

May 13th, 2004 - 11:42 am

An open letter to blogosphere newbies.

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From David’s Medienkritik:

German Foreign minister Fischer lectured Colin Powell and Conti Rice during his visit this week in Washington on how to humanely treat prisoners.

The German media were shocked – shocked! – by the “torture” of Iraqi prisoners.

All hell broke lose when the pictures of naked Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison were published. Almost by default the German media took the moral high ground, blaming the US army, George W. Bush, the US government, and “Amerika” for the “betrayal of our values“.

Well, it turns out, “our values” were betrayed in Germany too. Let’s see what Amnesty International had to say about the treatment of asylum applicants in Germany. . .

Click over to David’s for the rest.

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“Uncharted Territory”

May 13th, 2004 - 10:38 am

Jim Dunnigan reports on declining troop morale:

The U.S. Army, which is taking the bulk of the casualties in Iraq, is still getting more volunteers than it needs. Standards have remained high, but the numbers needed have gone up as well. With over 6,000 casualties in Iraq during the last year, the number of new troops needed this year has been increased from 72,000 to 77,000. Most of the wounded troops return to duty, but all are out of action for days, or months, or forever in the case of the dead and crippled. This is all uncharted territory for the army, as it has been over 150 years since it was in a long war with an all-volunteer force.

Wow.

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Too Hot for TV

May 13th, 2004 - 10:25 am

Via Ed Lambert, comes the shocking photograph the major media outlets won’t let you see.

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Ralph Peters on our “victory” in Fallujah:

QUIET isn’t the same thing as peace. As a column of Marines paraded through Fallujah this week, it was done at the sufferance of our enemies. We lost the battle of Fallujah. By surrendering.

The Coalition Provisional Authority insists that quiet streets are what matter. But the streets were quiet under Saddam. As they may one day be quiet under religious fanatics. Is that our sole remaining goal in Iraq? A phony calm that leaves terrorists in power?

We bragged publicly that we would avenge the mutilation of those four contractors at the hands of Fallujah’s thugs. We told the world we would not stop until the city was cleansed of insurgents. And, of course, we swore we would never negotiate with terrorists.

What did we actually do? We negotiated with terrorists, re-empowered Saddam’s thugs in uniform and ran away as quickly as we could go. The Marines insist they could have won, had they been allowed to fight. That’s unquestionably true, but, as North Vietnam’s senior general once pointed out about a different war, it’s also irrelevant.

If Bush is playing politics with the Iraq reconstruction, to look better in the general election, then the war is as good as lost.

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Stupidity Begins at Home II

May 13th, 2004 - 9:23 am

Australia’s Tony Parkison compares the media’s general refusal to run the Berg video with their enthusiasm for showing (real and fake) prisoner abuse pictures:

The mainstream media was right to withhold publication of images of a knife being put crudely to the throat of Nicholas Berg. But the ethical questions remain profoundly troubling. Do we accept that sometimes the truth is too obscene, too confronting? Do we accept there are good reasons to expose readers and viewers to inhuman savagery on this scale?

If the answer to both questions is yes (as it surely must be), we need also to acknowledge that by imposing selectivity for the best of reasons, we create the risk of a distorted view of how this conflict is playing out. If we are prepared to be shocked and scandalised by some images, but not others of a more graphic nature, is there a danger we are shielding our eyes from germane if deeply unpleasant facts, that might better inform our understanding of the realities and our choices for what lies ahead?

Read the whole thing. Please.

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Questions

May 13th, 2004 - 9:19 am

Some doubt the authenticity of the Nick Berg video:

Revolting millions around the world, the video footage of an American citizen’s execution has also raised numerous questions concerning its authenticity.

Even at first glance, internet bloggers were asking on Thursday why Nick Berg was wearing an orange jumpsuit

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(Don’t) Roll the Videotape

May 13th, 2004 - 1:56 am

I did the same thing with the Nick Berg video that I did with the Daniel Pearl agitprop from two years ago — I downloaded, archived it, and then refused to watch it.

Whatever you decide to do with the damn thing, you can download it here.

UPDATE: I’m told the Zip file has gotten corrupted somehow, so I’m removing the link for now. Strange — it worked just fine for me.

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