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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Back In One Piece

As a (very =)) few of you may have noticed I disappeared for a week or so. I had a perfectly good reason...skiing in Utah! The mountains are amazing and we all had a great time. The whole group took a ton of pictures and, as usual, I am disappointed by the camera's inability to transmit the true majesty of the landscape. I guess it's really a blessing in disguise since it makes everyone go there in person to get the full effect. If you ever get the chance, take it! You won't be disappointed.

Here are a few of the pictures we managed to take in between skiing through the trees and catching our breath. As it turns out, even relatively in-shape sea-level lungs are still just sea-level lungs =). Who knew?

The drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon Posted by Hello

The switchback on the way up Big Cottonwood canyon. Posted by Hello

Me with some of Brighton in the background. Posted by Hello

Riding up a high-speed quad at Brighton. Posted by Hello

View from the top of Brighton across Big Cottonwood Canyon. Posted by Hello

If you're ever looking for us on the mountain, enter here =). Posted by Hello

Action shot of yours truly. As usual, pictures just can't seem to convey the terrain. Posted by Hello

The first of three shots just prior to moderate disaster. From left to right: Kurt, Me, Hal. Posted by Hello

2nd of 3 shots just prior to moderate disaster. From left to right: Me, Hal. Note the orange poles. They signify something important that neither of us had picked up on when this image was captured. Posted by Hello

The last of three pictures just prior to moderate disaster. It had just dawned on me that there was a 10-foot drop directly in front of us that ended in a very flat cat-walk. Unfortunatley, my uncle Hal realzied this just a moment too late, did a Superman dive off the drop and dislocated his left shoulder. While it could have been worse, it definitely was not good. But not to worry too much... Posted by Hello

...he returned... Posted by Hello

...and he did not stand still =). Posted by Hello

We all had a great time and everyone survived. I know I said it before, but the mountains of Utah are absolutely beautiful. Combine that with the fact that their state's license plates don't lie and you've got skiers' paradise. Until next year...


Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Thank God...

...Captain David Rozelle is on our side:

NRO: If Americans could know only one thing about why we are in Iraq, what would you want that to be?

Captain Rozelle: Freedom. You don't know what it is until you lose it. We are giving it back for the first time in most of their lives.

NRO: If there was only one thing Americans could know about the enemy, what would you like it to be?

Captain Rozelle: They are cowards that hide behind women and children. We will destroy them.
I do not envy the enemy having to face our warriors.


Great Victor Davis Hanson Piece

You've got to read this piece of Victor Davis Hanson. I'd excerpt it but there are far too many great lines, so read the whole thing. You won't be disappointed (unless, of course, you happen to be an 'internationalist').


Saturday, February 12, 2005


New HIV Strain

There has apparently been a new strain of HIV discovered that is particularly nasty:

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- New York City doctors have discovered a man with a previously unseen strain of HIV that is resistant to three of the four types of anti-viral drugs that combat the disease, and progresses from infection to full-blown AIDS in two or three months, the health department said.
I've got to admit that I'm always a little conflicted when it comes to things like this. I really do feel for the people who have contracted HIV. Although it's not the death sentence it once was, life is not easy living with the disease (and the treatment) and it certainly does shorten one's life.

However, the other side of me sees HIV for what it is. HIV is the most preventable diseases known to human beings. Victims of bad blood transfusions, children born to HIV-positive mothers and women in places of the world where they honestly don't have a choice as to with whom they have sex are among the only cases that are not the fault of the infected individual. I know that someone out there just came down with a case of boiling-blood at my apparent callous disregard for the majority of HIV-positive people out there. Well, what can I say other than...face reality.

In the US we have the power to stop the vast majority of HIV transmission. Although the answer may not be popular, it's right there nonetheless. I don't suppose people are going to stop having multiple, anonymous partners any time soon. But just remember, although we certainly should sympathize with this man who has the new strain of HIV, he absolutely, 100%, could have avoided it.


Thursday, February 10, 2005


Morris: Draft Condi

Dick Morris wrote a piece for The Hill yesterday discussing the pros of a Rice bid for the Presidency in '08. He suggests that although she is not planning to run for President, a grass roots 'draft Condi' movement might convince her to give it a shot. The reason I bring this article up, aside from that fact that I would vote for her in a heartbeat, is that Mr. Morris really hits the nail on the head towards the end of the piece when he writes:

Condi Rice is a work in progress. Her rise has been impelled by her merits and achievements rather than any efforts on her part to curry favor in the media. She is still working and still progressing. But keep your eye on this political star. It is rising and may one day be ascendant.
That is exactly right. She has made it to where she is today based on her extremely impressive intellect, work ethic and resulting achievements. This is in stark contrast to the vast majority of politicians (and one in particular -cough-Hillary-cough-) who have made their way of the political ladder by, well, playing politics (and -cough-marrying the 'right' person-cough-). I think this would be a huge benefit come November 2008. There would obviously be attacks against her citing the WMD issues, etc. But I think that, on balance, she would run a clean, upbeat and politely devastating campaign. In the end, I think that the nation would choose Condi over Hillary, easily.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005


A Theory Of Exclusion

A few days ago Michael Behe wrote an Op/Ed for the NYTs to explain Intelligent Design to the masses (via A Physicist's Perspective). In this piece Behe describes ID in terms of "four linked claims".

The first claim is uncontroversial: we can often recognize the effects of design in nature.
...the second claim of the intelligent design argument: the physical marks of design are visible in aspects of biology.
The next claim in the argument for design is that we have no good explanation for the foundation of life that doesn't involve intelligence.
The fourth claim in the design argument is also controversial: in the absence of any convincing non-design explanation, we are justified in thinking that real intelligent design was involved in life.
Dr. Behe tells us that first two claims are uncontroversial while the third and forth provide fodder for debate among reasonable people. I agree that the third and fourth are the most controversial, but I would mention in passing that the second is not to be taken for granted as he phrased it. Had he said: the physical marks of apparent design are visible in aspect of biology I would have agreed. To state that marks of design are evident in biology is to imply that some active and intelligent force put them there...which is the crux of the whole issue.

Now, as for the third and fourth claims...

The third claim states that we do not have an acceptable explanation for the complexity of life. I agree it is likely that neither Darwin's original concept of evolution nor our contemporary neo-Darwinists have it right. Obviously, the fossil record shows the concept of gradualism to be false (the Cambrian explosion, for example). This does not, however, exclude the possibility that something like Gould's punctuated equilibrium, or something similar, might be responsible for these relatively fast leaps in complexity. This, however, is not the point I want to make with this post...

Behe's fourth claim is the one that ultimately makes my scientific side quake with righteous indignation. Here's how it put it in the Op/Ed:

The fourth claim in the design argument is also controversial: in the absence of any convincing non-design explanation, we are justified in thinking that real intelligent design was involved in life.
So, what Behe is really endorsing is a theory of exclusion. The basic form of his argument is:

1) Current theories fall short of explaining the complexity of life
2) Life is so complex that it appears to be designed
3) Therefore, Life must have been designed by an intelligent force.

But, you might ask, what about positive evidence that an intelligent force designed life? Since Dr. Behe explicitly states that Intelligent Design does not make reference to a supernatural being...then we must assume that he has some natural being in mind. So who is it, Dr. Behe?

Aside from the fact that I don't like theories of exclusion, belief in ID is tantamount to giving up...unless you have some positive evidence in support of it. As I have said many times before, ID is worse that useless as a scientific theory because it actually stifles scientific inquiry...unless there is some positive evidence in support of it. After all, if we've resigned ourselves to the idea that some intelligent being was responsible for the design of life...why keep looking for a more mundane (or even far more interesting) answer? All we need to do is look (depending on your religious bent) into space, or into our souls to find the answer.

In the end ID is truly unsatisfying if you happen, as I do, to like actual answers to questions. If Dr. Behe, or anyone else, could show me a shred of hope that the question of who designed us is answerable, I might be willing to listen. Until then please, let's keep the quasi out of the scientific.


Churchill's Stand

It appears that Ward Churchill is not going to go quietly into the night (via Little Red Blog):

Boulder - Met by wild applause Tuesday night from hundreds of supporters, controversial University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill strongly attacked Gov. Bill Owens and the CU Board of Regents and said he would never back down from his comparison of some 9/11 victims to Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
"I do not work for the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. I do not work for Bill Owens. I work for you," he told the CU audience.
Umm...actually Ward, I think you sort of do work for Colorado taxpayers. Or maybe I misunderstand the funding of a public university. From whence does you salary come, Ward? I suppose it grows on the money trees that you all keep hidden in that ivory tower you're so dang proud to occupy?

In any case, I do think that the freedom of speech guaranteed by 1st Amendment should be limited to speech that does not directly call for American deaths. But hey, that's just me.

To be fair, I should also mention that he has...qualified...his statement. Here's what he originally said:

"If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way [than the attacks of 9/11/01] of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it."
And here is how he begins to waffle:

"No I did not call a bunch of food service workers, janitors, children, firefighters and random passers-by little Eichmanns," he said. "The reference is to a technical core of empire - the technicians of empire ... obviously I was not talking about these people."
Well, I for one am glad to know that the food service workers, janitors, firefighters, random passers-by and children didn't deserve to die. But who, might I ask, were these "technicians of empire"? Were they the accountants? Investment bankers? Insurance company employees? Who?

Regardless of whom he might pick out of the crowd, the fact is that he not only condoned the attacks of September 11, 2001 as of "visiting some penalty" on the guilty, but he is calling for further such attacks. So, it's apparently ok for the good guys (Islamofascists) to kill the innocent in retaliation for the US being (supposedly) responsible for the deaths of Iraqi children...which were a direct result of the UN sanctions placed on Iraq after the first half of the Gulf War in the 90's. Humm. Last time I checked there was an Oil for Food program set up to prevent just such innocent deaths. Of course, we all know how that turned out...and who was to blame. But hey, Ward doesn’t need to back down because once, a long time ago, some Indian friend of his told him:

You understand our ways, you understand the values, you understand the issues. It's your job to take that which the creator gave you. and you follow that path. You make your words your weapons, and ... you never, ever back down,
Well, there you have it.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Potential Bioterrorism, The Russian Mob, And/Or...

...bad reporting.

While it is entirely possible that a virus was actually used in this relatively bizarre incident, the news story gets their facts completely mixed up. They start out saying:

Money that has been contaminated with a virus...

According to law enforcement sources, after counting the seized cash, troopers began feeling ill and one trooper was even hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.
They then go on to state:

Sources tell CBS 3 that tests on the cash counter revealed the presence of a toxin derived from the bacteria staphylococcus.
For anyone who's interested, neither the bacterium staphylococcus, nor its toxin, could possibly considered a "virus."

This is important for a number of reasons. Both bacteria and viruses can be used as transmissible bioterror weapons. In other words, (some) bacterial and viral infections can be passed from person to person. Toxins, on the other hand, can certainly cause damage but are limited by the amount actually present (since a toxin is not capable of replicating). So, even the worst-case scenario involving a toxin is generally better than the worst-case scenario for the release of viruses or bacteria. The relative 'badness' would, however, depend on just how much and what type toxin, bacteria or virus are present, of course.

Adding to the general confusion of this article is the fact that I cannot think of a Staphylococcal toxin that would cause a 'flu-like syndrome' through skin contact alone. Generally, Staph causes problems in a number of ways. They can produce toxins in foods that are then ingested (food poisoning). These bugs can also release toxins and superantigens that cause scalded skin syndrome and toxic shock syndrome, respectively (more info here, scroll down). While none of these are pleasant and can certainly cause severe disease and death, I find it difficult to believe that we're dealing with anything like that here.

I guess we'll have to wait to see if more info becomes available.


License To Kill

The name's Wilmut, Ian Wilmut.

Unfortunately this is seriously unfunny:

Dolly Scientist Gets Human Cloning License

LONDON (AP) - The British government on Tuesday gave the creator of Dolly the Sheep a human cloning license for medical research.

It is the second such license approved since Britain became the first country to legalize research cloning in 2001.
Wilmut and motor neuron expert Christopher Shaw of the Institute of Psychiatry in London plan to clone cells from patients with the incurable muscle-wasting disease, derive blank-slate stem cells from the cloned embryo, make them develop into nerve cells and compare their development with nerve cells derived from healthy embryos.
Here we are, folks. The British government has officially crossed the line from using the ones we already have to creating embryos for the sole purpose of studying them.

The British government now, officially, sees life as a means rather than an end in itself.


Contrast the above with this story about laboratory monkeys and their alleged mistreatment. While I am certainly not advocating the torture of monkeys for scientific research, there certainly seems to be more space given to the plight of the monkeys than was given to the plight of the human beings being destroyed in the cloning story.


Monday, February 07, 2005


Here It Is

It was just a matter of time before something like this came out. Did anyone honestly believe that the Iraqi election was going to go perfectly? Considering the number of allegations of imperfection we get in this 200-year old democracy, I certainly hope not. The best we can hope for is that the results of the Iraqi election will be validated/accepted to the point that they can be comfortable with the results. It is imperative that the incoming government officials be seen as legitimate so that the democratic process, flawed though it may be, has a chance to get off the ground.


More From Arthur

Arthur has posted Part 9 of his Good news from Afghanistan series. Check it out. Impressive as always.


Friday, February 04, 2005


That'll Teach 'Em

No good deed goes unpunished...

Durango - Two teenage girls decided one summer's evening to skip a dance where there might be cursing and drinking to stay home and bake cookies for their neighbors.

Big mistake.

They were sued, successfully, for an unauthorized cookie drop on one porch.
Just as dusk arrived a little after 9 p.m., Taylor and Lindsey began their mad spree. They didn't stop at houses that were dark. But where lights shone, the girls figured people were awake and in need of cookies. A kitchen light was on at Young's home.

Court records contain half a dozen letters from neighbors who said that they enjoyed the unexpected treats.
But Young, home with her own 18-year-old daughter and her elderly mother, said she saw shadowy figures who banged and banged at her door. When she called out, "Who's there?" no one answered. The figures ran off.

She thought perhaps they were burglars or some neighbors she had tangled with in the past, she said.
Young left her home that night to stay at her sister's, but her symptoms, including shaking and an upset stomach, wouldn't subside. The next morning she went to Mercy Medical Center.
So the woman who just couldn't get herself under control after there was some knocking on her door at night gets $900 to cover her medical costs. What a wonderful legal system we have.

Now, I must concede that I would not advice two young girls to go knocking on doors even late-ish at night...especially if those doors belong to other than close, personal friends. On the other hand, these girls were essentially convicted of scaring a woman by knocking on her door. This just seems ridiculous to me. Although I would also disagree if they had been convicted of trespassing, at least that is a definable offense. This decision, on the other hand, does nothing more than continue the long-developing trend in our legal system of blame someone else.

As some unsweetened icing on this fine bit of judicial cake, the poor, scared woman apparently didn't even need the cash to pay for her expenses. No, she had another purpose in mind...

The families had offered to pay Young's medical bills if she would agree to indemnify the families against future claims.

Young wouldn't sign the agreement. She said the families' apologies rang false and weren't delivered in person. The matter went to court.
"The victory wasn't sweet," Young said Thursday afternoon. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."
Ah yes, the age-old lesson:

Never do anything nice for anyone you don't know.

I hope some day to teach my own children just that. Maybe I should find a copy of the decision just to keep it fresh.


Social Insecurity

Hannity had a montage of various Democrats from past and present tell us, alternatively, that Social Security is in crisis (Clinton and Gore in the 90's) and that it's just fine (the usual suspects following the SOTU). While the waffling (don't you miss the waffler?) brought a rueful smile to my face, I was left wishing there were a convenient and permanent illustration of this amazing, bald-faced hypocrisy. I must have been thinking pretty loud because the NE Republican has provided just what I was looking for:


Yesterday, some Democrats booed during the State of the Union Address while President Bush was talking about Social Security. They specifically booed while he was stating that Social Security will go bankrupt by the year 2042. Besides being crass and childish, the booing showed these democrats to be the hypocrites that they are.

To back up this point, I went back and looked at all of President Clinton's State of the Union speeches. Here is what he had to say about Social Security during his presidency:


Secondly, the only change we are making in Social Security is one that has already been publicized. The plan does ask older Americans with higher incomes, who do not rely solely on Social Security to get by, to contribute more. This plan will not affect the 80 percent of Social Security recipients who do not pay taxes on Social Security now. Those who do not pay tax on Social Security now will not be affected by this plan.
Now why would he want to change Social Security if there is nothing wrong with it?
There's more. Check it out.


Ward Churchill Getting The Boot?

It looks like Ward Churchill (previous post 1 and 2) may be paying the piper for his idiocy:

AURORA, Colo. - University of Colorado administrators Thursday took the first steps toward a possible dismissal of a professor who likened World Trade Center victims to a notorious Nazi.

Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano ordered a 30-day review of Ward Churchill's speeches and writings to determine if the professor overstepped his boundaries of academic freedom and whether that should be grounds for dismissal.
Of course, there were some at the meeting, and elsewhere, who support this guy. From my point of view, it's too bad that he is currently employed by a public institution. If he were a professor at a private university, they would have every right to fire is sorry butt.

The question really is where we draw the line on academic freedom and, to some extent, the Freedom of Speech itself. I say to some extent because no one is demanding that Ward be quiet. The issue here is whether or not he can/should be fired for his comments. Personally, if I were in charge he would already be picking up his personal belongings from the dumpster outside the cafeteria. Unfortunately I have not received a call from any dean at UC seeking my sage advice. Still, I wonder what the response from Ward Churchill's supporters would be if he said that the victims of Ted Kaczynski deserved what they got. After all, Ted targeted people, at least in part, because he thought they were hurting the environment. Do you think he'd get any support at all? The only reason this guy might hold on to his job is because to fire him could be seen as disrespecting extreme, radical Islam and we know that will only make them mad. After all, Ward really feels for the poor, oppressed people of the Middle East...but only when they're being oppressed by the evil United States. Surely he never lost a second's worth of sleep over the hundreds of thousands raped, tortured and fed feet-first into plastic shredders. Yep, you've certainly got it all figured out Mr. Churchill. Keep up the good work.

Oh, and yes...I'll take fries with that. (Just thought he could use the practice).


We all know he's a dirtbag...but is he a pitiful liar too?


Thursday, February 03, 2005


Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Today Ann provides ever more evidence to back up Rush's theory that the only requirement to be a successful Liberal is to be wrong, wrong, wrong. Here are just a few examples:

In September, former president and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jimmy Carter said on NBC's "Today": "I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the election in January ... because there's no security there."
Democrat moneyman George Soros said in a speech to the National Press Club last fall: "All my experience ... has taught me that democracy cannot be imposed by military means." (But see: Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and El Salvador.) Of course Soros' "experience" consists mostly of liberating billions of dollars from the captivity of other people's bank accounts. He's a regular Douglas MacArthur, that Soros guy.
Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK) told an audience in October 2004: "The chances of (January) elections are fading faster than water running into the desert." He said it was a "lie" that the allies were creating "an oasis of democracy with its center in Iraq."
And so on and so on.



...sort of.

Drudge leads with this headline, but it really doesn't mean anything. He starts out insinuating that American Idol was watched by more people than the SOTU:

The U.S broadcast TV audience would rather watch freaks sing out of tune than President Bush and Democrats wax politics, overnight ratings show.

One hour of IDOL on one network pulled a higher ratings average than 2 hours of STATE OF THE UNION -- on three networks, combined!
But that doesn't really mean anything. First of all, if the SOTU had been only one one channel, then everyone who wanted to watch it would have tuned in to that one station. So of course you have to combine the ratings of the networks. Then, consider this:

Flying solo without Democrats during the 9 PM [ET] hour, Bush did top IDOL...
But when Bush left the stage, and the Democrats and media analysis took over, the numbers faded.
Yep, that's when I stopped watching too. Who cares? The point is that people watched the SOTU and -gasp- felt like the didn't need anyone to tell them what to think (and/or, they were tired and ready for bed like me).

Finally, Drudge concludes with:

All numbers do not include cable news coverage of the Washington event.
Oh, so since I watched the SOTU on FoxNews I didn't get counted in this analysis.

I don't say this often, but I will now. Matt, what are you doing?


Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Evolution vs. ID: Round (Lucky) 13

David recently responded to a post from Whispers in the Airstreams concerning the issue of evolution vs. intelligent design. His post got me to thinking and something came to me that I don't think I have expressed in quite this way before.

I think some of the problem I have with ID is that, in part (and as I've argued before), I believe that God 'plays by the rules.' It is certainly possible that 'the rules' include His direct creation of each species individually. As we have established, there is no direct evidence for or against evolution or ID (since we have never observed a true speciation event). So, when pressed I choose evolution because there is not a single other example in science illustrating God's direct intervention. Why? Because God's direct intervention is defined as a miracle and, since it is unrepeatable by humans, such occurrences (if they occur) are outside the realm of science.

In the end I ask myself a question: Reality as I know it appears to play by a set of laws. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, we can select for traits (and therefore genetic combinations) that we find desirable (dogs, etc.) to name just two microevolutionary examples. So, why would God decide that He needed to 'break the rules' (as we know them) to mediate the Creation of Life?

My answer is that I can't think of a single good reason why He would while every observation I make and every bit of science I know* argues that there is not one reason why 1) He would or 2) He would need to.

Finally, as I have argued previously, I think that evolution is at least generally, and perhaps exquisitely, compatible with the Bible. I know that David disagrees with me, but I have yet to be convinced that I am in error (although, as always, that is entirely possible).

So, the question I would ask David is: Can you cite one reason why you believe that God 'broke the rules' to directly Create each and every species on Earth?

(And if anyone is going to suggest the evolution is incompatible with Genesis please read the consider my argument here in response to David's "first post").


*While there are obviously problems with the theory of evolution, I am still not convinced that the spontaneous genesis of Life and its subsequent evolution are impossible.


Not What Makes America Great

I just ran into an interesting Op/Ed by Mark Brown that made a few impressions on me (via Drudge). First off, I hope that he is representative of his liberal cohort and the successful (and largely peaceful) voting in Iraq will at least begin to bring President Bush's opponents around to his side. But the thing that struck me most was the general feeling I from reading the piece. Specifically, that the attitude Mr. Brown displays in this piece is not what made this country great. He starts out ok with:

But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?

It's hard to swallow, isn't it?
All right, I can deal with that. So he realized his mistake and, although it's difficult to admit when you're wrong, at least he seems to be heading towards just that. Maybe...

He then spends a good deal of the article saying things like:

For those who've been in the same boat with me, we don't need to concede the point just yet. There's a long way to go. But I think we have to face the possibility.

I won't say that it had never occurred to me previously, but it's never gone through my mind as strongly as when I watched the television coverage from Iraq that showed long lines of people risking their lives by turning out to vote, honest looks of joy on so many of their faces.

Maybe the United States really can establish a peaceable democratic government in Iraq, and if so, that would be worth something.

Would it be worth all the money we've spent? Certainly.

Would it be worth all the lives that have been lost? That's the more difficult question, and while I reserve judgment on that score until such a day arrives, it seems probable that history would answer yes to that as well.

I don't want to get carried away in the moment.

Going to war still sent so many terrible messages to the world.
And finally...

If it turns out Bush was right all along, this is going to require some serious penance.
I believe that it would be safe to classify this piece as an official example of hemming and hawing. I understand that topic may fall into the category of "things [that] must be done delicately or you hurt the spell" in order to not offend his liberal pals (after all, you don't want to be disinvested to the most POSH stand-up parties in town). Regardless, this 'wait and see' attitude is not useful. Standing back and waiting to see how things turn out before deciding whether or not an action was justified is worse than useless, it's dangerous.

For far too long pundits have been second-guessing President Bush's decision to go into Iraq. Come to think of it, they were doing the same thing about Afghanistan...until it became a stunning success story, thereby relegating it to the status of Media Memory Hole.

So, while Mr. Brown's piece does engender some respect his admission of the existence (faint though it may be) that he could possibly be wrong, I find his the ends justify the means only if things work out ok in the end attitude to be, simultaneously evasive, spineless, worse-than-useless, and actually dangerous.

Remember, we didn't crush the Barbary Pirates because Jefferson said, "Well, I can't really do anything about it because I don't know how it's going to turn out." No, instead (after considerable debate and delay, much like the current situation) he finally sent the fledgling Marines to solve the problem. They proceeded to the shores of Tripoli and kicked some Barbary butt, effectively ending the threat to our shipping by, for the first time, raising the American flag over a fortress in the Old World.

The same lesson holds true today. Leaders make decisions based on the information they have...and then they kick up the dust and lead. Pundits "reserve judgment" until the dust settles and then pompously declare whether or not the results of the leader's decisions were worth the costs.

But then I suppose that's why Mr. Brown is a columnist and GW is President.


Increasing Military Death Benefits

Although there is no mention of the HEROS Act in this article, the apparent outcome is good:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Under pressure from lawmakers for better treatment for U.S forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon plans to increase survivor benefits for families of service members killed in war, a Pentagon official said on Monday.

The proposed increase would effectively double to $500,000 the amount that survivors receive in government payments and life insurance benefits, The Washington Post reported.

Defense officials will ask that the higher payments be retroactive to October 2001, when the war in Afghanistan started. About 1,500 U.S. forces have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.


More On Ward Churchill

More On Ward...or Moron Ward?

Not too long ago I linked to a story about a U of Colorado professor who wrote an essay about how the people killed on September 11th, 2001 deserved what they got. Now, this shining example of ivory tower academic pathology has decided to step down as chair of the school's ethnic studies program. Sounds like maybe he learned his lesson, right?

"It's not in the interests of the department that they be synonymous with me," he said.

By resigning 2 1/2 years into his three-year appointment, Churchill said, he will lose the $18,000 that department chairs are paid, but still collect the $90,000 he receives as a tenured professor.

"The truth is, I never wanted the job in the first place and was sort of drafted into it," he said. "I'm not especially reluctant to do this, because it kind of gets in the way of my work.

"I welcome the opportunity to get back to being a faculty member, and doing my research and writing. That has all suffered, as a result of the demands of the chair's position, so there's no real regrets."
So, his idiocy has cost him $18,000 and a job he didn't want in the first place. Boy, we really showed him. Well, I hope that the U of C College Republicans and (potential) protesters at Hamilton College, NY (where he is to speak this Thursday) have some effect. I don't hold out any great hope, but I would like to have a face to face (or ...to fist, perhaps) with this dirtbag. Why? Well, besides the obvious I just learned something from this article today:

Churchill is being taken to task at Hamilton, at CU, and on airwaves from coast to coast for a 2001 essay, since published in book form, voicing the opinion that the U.S. invited the Sept. 11 attacks through a long history of violent domination of other cultures.

That essay, authored the same day as the terrorist attacks, cited the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children in the wake of U.N. sanctions placed on Iraq after the first Gulf War as a reason why Americans should not have been surprised to be targeted.
So, while four piles of rubble and plan debris were still burning in NYC, Maryland and Pennsylvania, this highly-sensitive, ivory-tower, America-hating, scumbag sat down and penned an essay stating:

"As for those in the World Trade Center," the essay said, "well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break."
Freedom in America is important. But then so is identifying and ostracizing America-haters. Thanks for making our job a little bit easier Ward.


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