Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More from Cassini

It's time for another Saturn photo from Cassini, this one's another of the A ring.

Waves and small particles in Ring A

Click on the image for a bigger picture and description.


Sitemeter tells me that this place has had almost 80 visits today, which is probably about 79 hits more than this little blog merits. A year and four months to get 1,000 visits, then almost 700 this month alone ( Instapundit gets more visits between keystrokes, so don't get cocky - ed. ) Most of the visits seem to be the result of various Google searches, so I'm wondering what magic combination of words/phrases is generating the traffic. I wonder what sequence of words would get me a hundred? Maybe :

Hilary Clinton
Cookware blogging
Puppy Blending
rock and roll
George Galloway
Revenge of the Sith

What kind of sentence could be made out of this?
A Puppy Blending wingnut was watching Hillary Clinton filibuster cookware blogging while George Galloway was pitching sex, drugs, and Soviet rock and roll to the BusHitler while getting his political platform from the Revenge of the Sith.

I'd sure give a lot for some creativity roundabout now... . At least there's no audience out there that will notice this. Couldn't I be funny just once. Could I just win the damn lottery while I'm at it?

Shut Guantanamo Down

That's the best thing the US can do with detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, according to Thomas Friedman (registration required). He makes the expected arguments about the bad press from cases of prisoner abuse (most of which did not happen at Gitmo, but I digress), saying that the existence of the camp and reports of abuses do more to create more terror and terrorists than detaining these people is worth:
Guantanamo Bay is becoming the anti-Statue of Liberty. If we have a case to be made against any of the 500 or so inmates still in Guantanamo, then it is high time we put them on trial, convict as many possible (which will not be easy because of bungled interrogations) and then simply let the rest go home or to a third country. Sure, a few may come back to haunt us. But at least they won't be able to take advantage of Guantanamo as an engine of recruitment to enlist thousands more. I would rather have a few more bad guys roaming the world than a whole new generation.
He's really making the argument that we shouldn't detain terrorists unless we have enough evidence to convict them in a criminal court, since it Gitmo isn't adequate, neither is anywhere else the US is detaining these people. The fact is evidence gathered from the battlefield or from interrogation is not likely to be up to normal civilian standards and will likely to permit a whole lot of dangerous people to walk, allowing them another chance to kill our people. If he isn't saying that, what should we do with them?

One more question that puzzles me - if we can't detain these Al Qaeda folks, what is the likelihood that fewer prisoners will be taken in the first place? If the Coalition soldiers have to operate under a "catch and release" system, what incentive do they have to take prisoners, if these same people are going to be eventually come back and get another chance to kill Americans. It might in the heat of battle seem more sensible to just shoot them on the spot, thus saving American and Iraqi/Afghan lives in the future. Would that make better world opinion?

Monday, May 30, 2005

On this Memorial Day

I lack the words (and talent) to properly express my gratitude to those who gave up their lives in service to our country, as well as those now in harm's way. So, all I can say is this: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Here are a couple of Memorial Day links.

A story about the first American combat soldier to set foot on occupied Europe in 1942.

Michael Carlson's legacy and essay.

Bill Moyers, Redux

Bill Moyers was featured on this Sunday's Op Ex front page, explaining at great and unnecessary length why conservatives are out to get him. According to him, it's his hard-hitting, excellent reporting exposing conservative failures.

I think conservative displeasure may have something to with stuff like this. Or maybe this. (last link via Power Line)

Remedial Reading for Linda Foley

This is for Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild, whose memory needs refreshing.

It is the soldier, not the reporter
who has given us the freedom of press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us the freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
and who allows the protester to burn the flag.

"The Soldier"~ by Charles M. Province

Either provide evidence to back up your claims Ms. Foley, or apologize to those whom you have slandered.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Conservatives are Irrational,

silly, and dangerous, and apparently so are the majority of American voters last year. At least, that's what this gentleman implies in a Star Tribune opinion piece. Based on this piece, Professor Oluoch should perhaps rethink his arguments somewhat. For example:
While individual faculty cannot do anything about the liberal-conservative ratio, they should be offended and dismayed by colleagues who grade arbitrarily. So the real free-speech concern is what opinions should be protected on our campuses.

Maybe because of the prevailing political climate in the country, more and more students are showing up on campuses with the idea that an opinion is an individual person's point of view or belief.

Opinions are not right and wrong; they don't need to be evaluated; they are people's positions and feelings about things. This is what the ordinary person believes about opinions -- usually without having given the matter much thought.

If you think about it for a moment, you'll see that we need to evaluate opinions. Public policy, religion, social conventions, even the law are touched by the opinions citizens have.

First. isn't this condescending? Compared to the good professor, the other (non-academic) citizens are 'ordinary' folk who don't understand that opinions can be correct or incorrect. Gee, thanks professor for educating me on that fact. I would (as a non-academic) never have figured that out on my own... . Oh, and opinions are constructed of points of view and belief? Astonishing! What else are they made of? Past-freshness-date Twinkies, drug-induced illusions, Marmite, radio transmissions from Alpha Centauri perhaps? Are yours made up of something else we've never heard of , professor?

It's also an amazing flash of insight provided when he informs us that opinion affects such obscure things as public policy,law, religion and social custom. Damn, I would never have thought of that! To think that I was just voting for the fun of it these past twenty years or so.

The good professor goes on to say:

In a democracy, the opinion of the majority wins the day. Imagine the horror if that majority is routinely in the habit of thinking uncritically. In such a case, the majority might very well express irrational views and make irrational choices -- mistakes its members would likely never notice because of their majority position as well as the like-mindedness of the politicans they'd likely elect.

This is how you explain the time in American history when the majority thought women should be barefoot and pregnant (and not agitate for the right to vote or work outside the home), that blacks should stay at the back of the bus, or even that gay people should not be legally married. An idea may still be ridiculous even if a lot of people embrace it.

So, not all opinions are equal. Some opinions have proved themselves over time to be dangerous, silly or irrational.

The task of higher education is to sift out which ones, and that of higher-education professionals is to courageously make judgments.

From the life of my favorite philosopher, Socrates, we learn that once an idea has been shown to be irrational, it is intellectually dishonest to maintain it as personal belief. If it turns out that the prevailing political ideologies do not fare well on college campuses, so much the worse for those ideologies.

These paragraphs are just amazingly wierd (or arrogant). He attempts to illustrate the problem of irrational majorities making irrational choices by highlighting three things: women's rights, racial equality and gay marriage. Interesting choices, those. Two of them were settled long ago, and if I was willing to take the time, I could doubtless find 'higher education professionals' of those times who made 'reasoned' arguments that women and black folk were inferior and did not merit full rights. (They were wrong, of course.) The use of the gay marriage in comparison with the other two is interesting because the professor treats it as a matter long settled,and opposition to the idea is irrational. Like same-sex marriage or not, in reality this is not true by any stretch of the imagination, as shown by last year's political campaigns. At best this treatment of same-sex marriage is presumptuious, at worst dishonest.

Professor Oluoch then deigns to let us know that the task of higher education professionals to determine which opinions are irrational, silly, or dangerous. and that those political ideologies which do not fare well on campus fail because they are dangerous, silly, and irrational. I would just point out that if those ideologies are not even seriously presented for evaluation, how the hell would he know?

Katherine Kersten's Debut

Katherine Kersten's first column in this May 26th garnered a variety of reactions, but this one was the most interesting:

It was not a particularly auspicious debut for new Metro section columnist Katherine Kersten. Not only did her May 26 piece oversimplify and misrepresent recent comments of Archbishop Harry Flynn, but also she committed one of the cardinal sins of journalism: She failed to check her facts.

First, St. Gregory is not for sale (we are negotiating a lease with a charter school for the use of the building) and selling is but one of the options being considered for St. Therese. Second, all the parishes in our archdiocese are independent corporate entities and as such are not owned by the archdiocese. While the archbishop is the chair of the corporate boards, and conceivably could direct that the proceeds from any sale be given to the poor, it is not typical of Archbishop Flynn to intervene in the affairs of individual parishes.

The proceeds from the lease or sale of either of these properties will be used to help finance the cost of constructing the new facilities that our parish needs as we move into the future. If Kersten is wondering why the proceeds will not be given to help the poor, I will be glad to share with her what our parish community is currently doing to help the poor.

The Rev. John M. Bauer, pastor,

Lumen Christi Catholic Community, Churches of St. Gregory, St. Leo and St. Therese, St. Paul.

Well. As she is the sole locally-appearing conservative columnist at the Star Tribune, it is the opinion of the staff here at Million Monkeys Typing that she needs to work on the accuracy thing a bit. It wouild a shame if she were to grow up to be Nick Coleman.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Strib and NPR

If the Strib doesn't think that there is some liberal bias at PBS, perhaps they should read this. Not that the Strib's editorial board could recognize it if it hit them with a 2x4... .

Today's Cassini Photo

This one's a close-up (relatively speaking) of Saturn's A ring. The image was created from radio waves sent through the ring.

Small particles in Ring A
The Star Tribune ran another piece about George Galloway today, giving this loathsome fellow even more undeserved attention, mostly so they can publish negative stuff about Senator Norm Coleman. Do we get reasoned argument? Well, we get stuff like this:
Maybe Coleman wasn't already choking on the hypocrisy of having asked for the resignation of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan over the oil-for-food fiasco, when Coleman stands mute over his the fact of his own party's leadership having so grossly mismanaged both the lead-up to 9/11 and the intelligence behind the case for war. Without the slightest apparent willingness to acknowledge such details, Coleman called to testify one of the chief critics in Britain of the invasion of Iraq, on oil-for-food charges he had already successfully refuted in the British legal system.

I would like to point out something to Mr. Scott. First, the intelligence people who generated the "mismanaged intelligence" were Bill Clinton's. Responsibility for the acts of 9/11 belong to the homicidal Islamic fanatics who carried out the attacks, not our leadership. Last, the charges made against Mr. Galloway were not disproven because he won his lawsuit. In fact, the court did not rule on the accuracy of the infomation discovered by the Telegraph at all, and the Telegraph stands by the documents and its story.

Smith goes on to claim that Galloway cleared his name in front of the Senate, and that Galloway was right about Iraq:
There was something immeasurably sad about the fact that 200 years after we told the straight truth to an out-of touch England, it took a Brit to tell the straight truth to us: "In everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies."

This is from the man who supported a dictator who attacked more than one of his neighbors, sponsored terrorists, and dotted Iraq with the mass graves of his own people, building palaces while starving the citizens of Iraq. Tell me Mr. Smith, what is it like to be a lickspittle sycophant of a toady to tyrants?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Stem Cell Restrictions Un-American?

Chris Nolan argues that by not being sufficiently supportive of embyonic stem cell research, President Bush is "Un-American". I have objections to some of what she's written which leave her argument unconvincing to me. Before she can make her main argument, she dismisses the ethical concerns of opponents thusly:
Now, I have a great deal of respect for people who argue that destroying the day- or hours-old embryos is, in essence, the destruction of human life. But I also believe they are wrong.

What is her opposing argument?
Life begins gradually; it's a subtle process that none of us should take for granted, one to which we should give careful thought. That's why we have ethics.

Well, life is a subtle process, to be sure, but it does have a beginning and an end. Ms. Nolan's statement on when human life begins leaves a question. What is the point once crossed we can proclaim a life exists? Based on her ideas it's pretty easy for people to arbitrarily pick a time based soley on the researcher's convenience. The people who favor this kind of research (and abortion, for that matter) all seem to be a little vague on this point. If we can't define this basic starting point, isn't it ethically and morally safer to assume conception as the starting point? Even if it is inconvenient?

Ms. Nolan then likens the death involved in cloning research to those of the astronauts in the space program. Her comparison misses the mark simply becuase the people involved in the space program never conducted a mission where the plan included the death of the astronauts sent on the mission. This is unlike embryonic stem cell research, where the intent is to destroy human embryos to extract stem cells. Is there some reason the intent doesn't matter?
(via Instapundit)
Update: I neglected to add the appropriate links to Ms. Nolan's post. The oversight has been corrected.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Why Do They Hate Us?

The very question folks at the Newspaper Guild should be asking themselves. In case they have here's an example supplied, as luck would have it, by their very own president Linda Foley:

According to a tape of her remarks, Foley said: "Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or … ah, or … ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um … in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq."

Foley continued, "They target and kill journalists … uh, from other countries, particularly Arab countries like Al -, like Arab news services like al-Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios with impunity. ..."

Try this reason - making accusations of atrocities or other criminal acts, smearing the reputations of a group of very good people (the United States military) - all without actually presenting, like, evidence. And you wonder why some of our soldiers view reporters with hostility? It just might have to do with how this unattributed, hateful garbage is going to make a hard job in Iraq even harder, just because some educated-and-promoted-beyond-her-intelligence "journalist" can't control her bigotry. I guess Terry Moran was right, the press really does hate the military.

Want some good, basic advice even if it doesn't come from a journalist? Before you accuse someone of murder, make sure you can back it up. Otherwise, just shut up.

- via Andi's World and (who else?) the Instapundit.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

From the Compost Heap

This is a first attempt at what may become a regular feature of Million Monkeys, inspired by my first extended perusal of Arianna Huffington's collection of celebrity bloggers now known here as Huffington Compost. The moniker was inspired by a couple of items posted by Bill Press, who wrote:
Newsweek relied on faulty intelligence to write a magazine article. George W. Bush relied on faulty intelligence to start a war which has cost over $200 billion, and which has taken the lives of over 1600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Here's the difference.
Newsweek didn't know its intelligence was phony. And Newsweek apologized.

Which translates to: Bush lied. How do we know this? Because Bill Press said so. What do I say? Who's Bill Press, and why should I give a single, solitary damn what he says?

The other item is this one, from Kathryn Ireland:

"Can anyone tell me, are they going to bring back the draft? I have three sons -- all nearly teenagers -- and am terrified that they will. Why don't they make it that just Republican kids get called up?"


This reaction, from Chelsea Piretti:

I agree! Yes.

Children should die!

I choose to take that as sarcasm... .

The Strib's First Pulitzer isn't in the Mail,

and after reading their editorial on the Newsweek Koran-flushing story, I can guess why the Strib won't be seeing one soon. I expect the folks at the Pioneer Press won't have any sleepless nights worrying about the quality of the competition either. The Star Tribune's editors apparently consider the following journalistic practices to be OK:

  • Using a single, anonymous source for an imflammatory story. Confirm the info elsewhere? What a unique concept!
  • Using the Daily Kos as an information source. (Nick Coleman must be tearing the remainder of his hair out over the use of one of those "extreme bloggers" oh, wait....)
  • Treating lack of comment as confirmation.
By the standards endorsed by the Cabal of the Clueless at the Star Tribune, I would be following acceptable journalism practice publishing the following:
Through an unnamed senior staffer, Million Monkeys Typing has learned the Star Tribune editorial staff regularly smear themselves with chocolate and whipped creme just before attending midnight meetings of the Rush Limbaugh Fan Club at the state DFL headquarters.

Of course, that was the purest BS - Rush Limbaugh fan club meetings aren't held at DFL headquarters - but it had as much confirmed factual information as the Newsweek Periscope item.

Of course the Strib then attempts to change the subject to Iraq:
Besides, the White House itself committed much more egregious errors in the way it so casually used dubious intelligence to make a case for going to war in Iraq.

The problem is, as bad as the WMD intelligence turned out to be, more effort was made to fact check the WMD information than Newsweek made to check theirs. No dice, guys.

For all of its flaws the editorial did give me some insight into the Strib's standards. Judging from that insight, I would be better off reading Newsweek.

P.S., before the Strib pronounces themselves the experts on journalistic practice, they might try reading this guy.

Update: This post has since been edited for spelling and punctuation, and the sentence about WMDs was reworded to be a bit more readable. No meaning was changed during the course of this edit - ed.

Monday, May 16, 2005

100 Greatest Americans

The Discovery Channel has embarked on a kind of useless excerise to determine who the greatest 100 Americans are. Given the value of the list, I decided to match it with the general lack of talent here and comment on it anyway. The major change will be the deletion of sports figures and entertainers, because they are over-represented in the list. I expect this post will be expanded over the next few days, so your suggestions and comments are welcome.

Here are the A's:

  • Retain: Susan B. Anthony
  • Add: Project Apollo (Neil Armstrong would a sentimental favorite, but he didn't get to the moon on his own)
  • Delete: everyone else


  • Retain: Alexander Graham Bell
  • Add: General John Buford (he made it possible for the Union to win at Gettysburg, by allowing the Union to occupy the high ground), Daniel Boone, Clara Barton
  • Delete: everyone else
  • Honorable Mention: George W. Bush, depending on how his Middle East policy turns out.


  • Retain: Andrew Carnegie, George Washington Carver, Cesar Chavez
  • Add: William Clark and Meriwhether Lewis
  • Delete: everyone else


  • Retain: Frederick Douglass, Walt Disney (yes, an exception to the no entertainers policy, he just had too much influence on the culture to ignore.)
  • Add: Debs, Eugene
  • Delete: everyone else


  • Retain: Thomas Edison, Dwight Eisenhower, Albert Einstein
  • Add:
  • Delete: everybody else


  • Retain: Benjamin Franklin
  • Add:
  • Delete: everyone else
  • Could've been a Contender: Henry Ford, execept for his bigotry


  • Retain: Bill Gates, John Glenn, Billy Graham
  • Add:
  • Delete: everyone else
  • Honorable Mention: Rudy Guiliani

What Media Bias?

Via Purposeful Dreamer, this link to a December 2004 study by professors Timothy Groseclose(UCLA) and Jeff Milyo (University of Missouri) attempts to discern and quantify political bias in journalism. Hosted at UCLA's political science department web site, no less. Not exactly the definition of a conservative school except when comparing it with Berkeley, I guess. Here's an interesting conclusion:
At least four broad empirical regularities emerge from our results. In this section we document the regularities and analyze their significance for some theories about the industrial organization of the news industry.

First, we find a systematic tendency for the
U.S. media outlets to slant the news to the left. As mentioned earlier, this is inconsistent with basic spatial models of firm location such as Harold Hotelling’s (1929) and others. In such models the median firm locates at the ideal location of the median consumer, which our results clearly do not support.

Another item from the discussion section suggests that liberals may be barking up the wrong tree when they make the claim that conservative ownership of news media results in a conservative slant to the news:

A third empirical regularity involves the question whether reporters will be faithful agents of the owners of the firms for which they work. That is, will the slant of their news stories reflect their own ideological preferences or the firm’s owners? The conventional wisdom, at least among left-wing commentators, is that the latter is true. For instance, Eric Alterman (2003) entitles a chapter of his book “You’re Only as Liberal as the Man Who Owns You.” A weaker assertion is that the particular news outlet will be a faithful agent of the firm that owns it. However, our results provide some weak evidence that this is not true. For instance, although Time magazine and CNN’s Newsnight are owned by the same firm (Time Warner), their ADA scores differ substantially, by 9.4 points. Further, almost half of the other outlets have scores between the scores of Newsnight and Time Magazine.

By professors' analysis, The Wall Stree Journal news section, the CBS Evening News, and the New York Times news section were the most liberal, Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume and the Washington Times were the most conservative. It was also interesting to note that the more liberal outlets were more liberal than the two conservative ones were conservative. I interpret that as meaning Fox News and the Washington Times were both closer to the center than the most liberal outlets (NYT, etc. ).

A surprise result is that a favorite conservative whipping boy, NPR, turns out to be a good deal less liberal than portrayed in the conservative press (although still left of center).

I don't have the background in statistics and in designing studies to be able to assert this study is definitive, but it sure is interesting....

Saturday, May 14, 2005

As reported by the both Twin Cities papers (this link is to the Strib's version), Sgt Gerald Vick, murdered early Friday morning, had twice the legal limit's concentration of alcohol in his blood when he was killed. This has sparked controversy, as many of his family and fellow officers took exception to this information being released to the public. The Strib ran a story about that reaction, one that surprisingly enough I mostly agree with.

The discovery that Sgt. Vick was intoxicated at the time of his murder raises unavoidable questions. Some are vary painful to his family and fellow officers, who understandably (and rightly, I think) wish to protect Sgt. Vick's reputation. The fact of his intoxication does not change his long record of meritorius and courageous service to the citizens of St. Paul. One that includes the Medal of Valor for rescuing kids from a burning house. Nor does it make him any less worthy of the honors given to him at his funeral, or less deserving of his family's love and respect.

Unfortunately, the questions about drinking have to be resolved, especially if it turns out to be a contributing factor to his death.

Politicians Saying Dumb Things Department

The Minnesota DFL party thought it could score political points on Gov. Pawlenty via this press release (I've taken the liberty of reproducing it here because I couldn't find a permalink to it at the DFL website.):

Want a Minnesota Fishing License? You’ll Have to Call Tennessee. Pawlenty outsourcing Minnesota jobs.

While Governor Tim “Photo Op” Pawlenty travels north for the annual governor’s fishing opener, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party revealed that Pawlenty’s Department of Natural Resources has been exporting license sales to a call center in Tennessee. In repeated phone calls to the DNR licensing toll-free number – 888-MN-LICEN – calls were routed to a call center located in Tennessee, according to the operators reached.

According to the DNR’s website (www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/agents.html) licenses for “hunting and fishing licenses, cross-country ski passes and snowmobile trail stickers, and . . . hunting lotteries” may be obtained through this service. A $3.50 “convenience fee” is levied on those who call the toll-free number to obtain a license.

Governor Pawlenty’s decision to export these Minnesota jobs to other states is a part of a large job loss problem during his time in office. Under Governor Pawlenty’s failed leadership Minnesota has fallen behind the national pace in job growth for the first time in several decades,” said DFL Party Chairman Mike Erlandson.

Minnesota, with 2.7 million workers, netted only 1,000 new jobs in the first quarter of 2005. This falls far short of the national average and even the Governor’s own employment projections, which would require 2,500 to 3,000 new jobs each month. Department of Employment and Economic Development reported that unemployment claims are up 13.3% over one year ago. [DEED News Release, 5/5/05]

Erlandson added, “Minnesotans love fishing and the opener, but we should not be misled by ‘Governor Photo Op’ that Minnesota is going in the right direction; under Pawlenty, it is not.”

There's only one problem with all this. It is factually challenged , as the linked article in the Strib (kudos to them for going against their instincts and highlighting dishonest DFL partisanship, for a change) points out:

<>Upon further review, though, the accusation about Pawlenty outsourcing fishing licenses may not hold much water.

The company, Automated License Systems, handled about 7,100 Minnesota DNR license transactions in 2004, representing less than one half of 1 percent of all licenses purchased through the DNR. About half of those transactions were for fishing licenses, and two-thirds of those were from out-of-state anglers.

DNR spokesman Mark LaBarbera said the contract was awarded six years ago under the Ventura administration and only after no Minnesota company stepped forward to bid on it.

Surely Mr. Erlandson, you can do better than that before your successor takes over... .

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yes, Another Cassini Photo

I'm posting another link to a Cassini Saturn photo for no other reason other than I think they are awesome. This thumbnail is a link to a picture of Mimas, one of Saturn's moons with a view.

Mimas Blues

As always, the link points to a larger version of the photo, plus an explanation of the scene. One of the things worth spending tax money on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Star Tribune Pettiness Department

This nit-picking piece demonstrates the Strib's complete inability to cut the President a break. Yes, his remarks are inaccurate in the sense that the Russian steppes were the scene of the greatest land battles and yes, the Russian front was the primary focus of Nazi conquest. The Russian people made terrible sacrifices to resist and eventually defeat the invaders. Unfortunately, those sacrifices were made for leaders that did not merit them, and Putin is their direct political descendant. It is also in a sense true that for the countries occupied by the Soviet Union, the war did not really end until democracy triumphed just under 45 years after the first fall of Berlin, when a wall came tumbling down. A fact which Putin needs to be reminded of from time to time.

However, consider the President was speaking to a Dutch audience. If one confines the scope of the President's remarks to Western Europe, they are accurate. In addition, one of the main reasons the Russians were able to make a comeback was the food, fuel, and truck transport (and even some tanks) provided by the United States to the Soviet Union, at considerable cost counted in the lives of Allied naval and merchant sailors. All while fighting a second war in the Pacific and Asia.

In any case, the President was not denigrating the Russian people, as the Strib implies. He was praising the Western Allies, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Homo Superior (Not!)

Garrison Keillor must have a tough time tearing his eyes away from the mirror in the morning. Via Arts and Letters Daily I find a piece where he expounds on his taste in radio and his nostalgia for what he calls "neighborhood radio". As it happens, I agree that some of what existed on the old 'CCO was a good thing I am sorry it's gone, and I too like Tommy Mischke. Unfortunately, he then decides to opine on conservative talk radio. First, he explains to us proles what it is made of. Apparently the primary feature of talk radio (conservative division) is the abuse of dental work:
People like Tommy Mischke, a nighttime guy on a right-wing station in St. Paul and a free spirit who gets into wonderful stream-of-consciousness harangues and meditations that are a joy to listen to compared with the teeth-grinding that goes on around him. Not that teeth-grinders are to be disparaged: I enjoy, in small doses, the over-the-top right-wingers who have leaked into AM radio on all sides in the past twenty years. They are evil, lying, cynical bastards who are out to destroy the country I love and turn it into a banana republic, but hey, nobody's perfect. And now that their man is re-elected and they have nice majorities in the House and Senate, they are hunters in search of diminishing prey.
But he does like it, in small doses. Hallelujah! Then he deigns to inform us why right-wingers are so popular as opposed to the low-ratings district at Air America or other liberal talk radio:
The reason you find an army of right-wingers ratcheting on the radio and so few liberals is simple: Republicans are in need of affirmation, they don't feel comfortable in America and they crave listening to people who think like them. Liberals actually enjoy living in a free society; tuning in to hear an echo is not our idea of a good time. I go to church on Sunday morning to be among the like-minded, and we all say the Nicene Creed together and assume nobody has his fingers crossed, but when it comes to radio, I prefer oddity and crankiness. I don't need someone to tell me that George W. Bush is a deceitful, corrupt, clever and destructive man--that's pretty clear on the face of it.
Naturally, he can't get through the article without taking a personal shot at President Bush and those who voted for him. Does that cross the line, Mr Iggers? And it is edifying to know those of us who are politically to the right of Mr. Keillor (most of us, based on the last two elections - ed. ) are uncomfortable here in America, and just can't enjoy and appreciate a free society, because you have to be an enlightened liberal to do so. If that's so, why is it that the liberals are the ones who are shoving their agenda down our throats via the courts?

Lastly, he takes some time to describe (and dismiss) the audience for conservative talkers:
I don't worry about the right-wingers on AM radio. They are talking to an audience that is stuck in rush-hour traffic, in whom road rage is mounting, and the talk shows divert their rage from the road to the liberal conspiracy against America. Instead of ramming your rear bumper, they get mad at Harry Reid. Yes, the wingers do harm, but the worst damage is done to their own followers, who are cheated of the sort of genuine experience that enables people to grow up.

How nice. How condescending. What cow excrement. Gar, it's nice to be aware that the talk radio listeners among us whom you dismiss are merely suffering from a case from retarded development, and all we had to do was listen to public radio, vote Kerry and nod our heads to be cured.

It does illustrate one of the problems the Democrats face: with supporters like these, who has time to worry about the GOP?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Left-wing Hate Speech

Jeremy Iggers wrote a follow-up article (oddly enough, the online text does not seem to match the printed version) to his 4/30 column (still not online, but here's an earlier post of mine about it) decrying what he considered Ann Coulter's hate speech at two of the local universities. In it he states:

Actually, I want to distinguish four different categories of public discourse:

a) civil and respectful ( a rare commodity these days);

b) harsh but in bounds (like the readers who called me a hypocrite);

c) harsh and out of bounds (attacking somebody's personal appearance or mental capabilities), and

d) harsh and way-out-of-bounds (hate speech; encouraging violence or bigotry.)

So, by my tally, Coulter and Savage do come off as worse offenders than Franken and Keillor. But I am trying to keep an open mind. I have heard a lot of accusations about hate speech from the left, but so far I have seen very little evidence. I invite readers to send their worst examples of out-of-bounds political commentary (specific examples, please; not just second-hand allegations) from Franken, Moore, Keillor, Coulter, Hannity, etc. to www.startribune.com/ethics, where we can continue the conversation.

Well, here's some examples that should meet your criteria, Mr. Iggers. First from Randi Rhodes, broadcasting on Air America radio last May:
Comparing Bush and his family to the Corleones of "Godfather" fame, Air America host Randi Rhodes reportedly unleashed this zinger during her Monday night broadcast: "Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing and phuw. "

Rhodes then imitated the sound of a gunshot.

In "Godfather II," Fredo Corleone is executed by brother Michael at the end of the film.

(link via NewsMax and hat tip to Michelle Malkin)

Or perhaps the Kill Bush items that were until just recently for sale at CafePress. Again, from Michelle Malkin.

Or, this Air America broadcast (again on the Randi Rhodes show) where:

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."

The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.

"Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... we are taking this very seriously," a government source explained.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan called the clip "very inappropriate and over the line."

Once again, via Michelle Malkin.

Is that enough, Mr Iggers?

Update: We also shouldn't ignore that fellow in charge of the DNC, who said:
"I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization," the failed presidential hopeful told the crowd at the Roosevelt Hotel, where he and six other candidates spoke at the final DNC forum before the Feb. 12 vote for chairman.

- Howard Dean, 29 January 2005
(via Say Anything).

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Me, a Prototype!?

It seems the reasons I get the Strib/Red Star/Star&Sickle make me a prototypical McClatchy future customer (we'll ignore the fact that I actually am a current customer- ed.). Who would have thunk it? Will they pay me for my anticipation of future trends, my detailed customer research? Nah. In any case, that post seems to have made this place the beneficiary of a Fraterslide (sorry, but I think the -lanche modifier is overused). Thanks to St. Paul over at Fraters Libertas (aka Liberty Brothers?) for the link.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Musings in a Minor Key

The Minnesota Legislature passed a raise in the minimum wage rate yesterday. A little thought should have allowed me to be unsurprised by the highly-caffinated Bob Davis' meltdown over it this morning. For all his caterwauling about how this will ruin the country, I just don't see how the lowest paid of us getting an extra 40 bucks a week is going to turn Constitution Avenue into Red Square, so to speak. In a way I think it is good that we set a floor for what a human being's time is worth, albeit a low one. I am well aware of all the arguments why a minimum wage is supposed to be bad, but with the emphasis capitalism and the free market place on getting every last bit of production for the least possible compensation, do we run the risk of going to the same dehumanizing place the via the slow road that the Marxists reached via express train? I hope not, but I wonder.

I see via Instapundit that there is now a vaccine for the human
papilloma virus. He also notes the Family Research Council is agin' it. I have a one word opinion of their position. Dumb. Just in case I wasn't clear, Dumb, Really Dumb. What kind of idiots think that denying people a vaccine against a fatal disease is a good idea? Even if they are right about vaccination encouraging sexual experimentation (also a crock o'crap in my opinion), they would consider preventing a small amount of premarital sex something worth deaths from cancer to achieve? Someone at the FRC should really reconsider the morals involved in that decision. Idiots.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Why do I get a newspaper?

St. Paul over at the Frater's place wrote about the decline of newspapers today. Now, since I am not in any way an especially learned fellow, the most intellect I could muster on the subject is "Why do I still subscribe to the Star Tribune?". After all I do spend a lot of electrons, bits, and bytes criticizing it, why subject myself to the aggravation? Near as I can tell, these are the reasons (in no particular order):

  • I like their sports section (well, maybe not Sid). I would miss the Twins coverage, and Patrick Reusse's columns.
  • I prefer their comics page that that of the Pioneer Press.
  • I like newspapers in general. I just like sitting with a cup of tea and a newspaper in the morning or evening. I suppose it's a sign of creeping fogeyism, but no matter. I know this is the age of the Internet and all, but I just like paper. I find it to be easier on the eyes than computer monitors, requires no power supply, and if it gets lost or damaged, I'm out about 40 cents rather than the cost of a notebook PC.
  • When I'm done reading it, the paper makes a fine dropcloth for cleaning the guns the Strib's editors would rather I did not have.
  • The used newsprint makes an excellent starter for my charcoal grill.
  • The Strib only nags me 4 times a year, which I find less annoying than pop-up ads.
  • Last but not least, after reading their editorial pages I have incentive to work on my writing skills in order to complain, rebut, and otherwise opine. They in their way are the prod that got me started blogging. (Ok, that's maybe a strike against them... .)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Cassini Picture Day

Today's photo is one of Titan's upper atmosphere.

Titan: 'Complex Anti-greenhouse'

The gases creating the pretty colors are methane, ethane, acetylene, and other hydrocarbons. Talk about a source for "fossil" fuels... .

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Truly Harmful Religion

This story in Sunday's Star Tribune is one of the kind that persuades me the newspaper is worth getting. Admittedly, I rip on their editorial and opinion columnists a lot for unfairness and bias, but they do from time to time print a story that truly does educate and inform. Here's the intro:
She is tiny and fairy-like, with silky blond curls and sparkly skin. Her name is Ana, and while no one else can see or hear her, she is a very real presence in the life of Kasey Brixius, an 18-year-old Minnesota college freshman struggling with the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia, as well as compulsive overeating.

Best friend and bully, Ana tells Brixius when to eat and when to exercise. She applauds or mocks Brixius' grades and weight. And she demands obedience and devotion. Brixius regularly reads or recites the Ana Creed or Ana Psalm she found on the Internet.

"Ana is definitely a higher power, not higher than God, but higher than myself," said Brixius, who is from Hot Springs, S.D., and attends Minnesota State University, Mankato. "That's how it is for a lot of people."

In the secretive, Internet-driven subculture of those who embrace anorexia, there's a disturbing new twist: anorexia as religion, or something close to it.

The double-sided nature of the Internet is illustrated here:
Brixius, who developed anorexia in high school, said she spends about 90 minutes a day surfing some of the most popular sites.

"It's comforting," she said. "You can ask any questions you want, and there are dozens of people going through the same thing. It's not just about to make yourself throw up. It's about how to make yourself healthier."

Brixius also found the Ana prayer, commandments and creed on the sites.

One version of the creed reads: "I will devote myself to Ana. She will be with me wherever I go, keeping me in line. No one else matters; she is the only one who cares about me and who understands me. I will honor Her and make Her proud."

For those who want a more extreme devotion, directions are just a click away. One of the best-known pro-anorexia sites provides six pages of directions for a ritual involving an altar, offerings and signing your name in blood as a contract with the anorexia deity.

Read the whole thing.


Yep, this site finally received its one thousandth visitor yesterday. Since this thing has been here since January 2004, the time required to get one thousand visitors says a lot about the quality of the content here - mostly about the wisdom of not quitting that day job.

To those people who've visited here, thanks! I hope that your 39 seconds (average time according to Sitemeter) spent here were not too badly wasted.