Monday, April 28, 2008

Automatic Reverence?

Dear Gentle Reader(s), the Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1485 usage of reverend as a respectful epithet applied to the clergy.

That's very nice.  One wonders, however, about the automatic granting of the epithet to someone who simply qualifies for the clergy.  Mightn't that presume just a bit too much of a certain moral standing for someone, without much verification of that person's morality?

Let us take, for instance, Jeremiah Wright, of the current brouhaha vis-a-vis Senator Obama's campaign.

Exactly why should Mr. Wright be given an automatic Reverend whenever the discussion in the media turns to his sermons and/or his political views?

This "Reverend" business ought to undergo a little scrutiny if language is to have meaning. 

Earn reverence.  Until then, Mr. will do nicely.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ben Stein and OUR Money

Dear Gentle Reader(s), Ben Stein once wrote for the lamented Los Angeles Herald Examiner.  During much of his tenure, he raised the ire of a beloved part of our society, the brave classroom teachers of America's 2nd largest school district with consistent attacks on the local education community.  One day a teacher invited Ben to visit her classroom for a day--just to see how well his impressions jibed with her reality.  He went.  He changed his tune; and, by so doing, he gained some respect from more liberal members of the L.A. body politic.

That was nearly 30 years ago (!).  In the interim Stein has helped give us Jimmy Kimmel as a television personality, another plus in the eyes of some.

Today, writing in the New York Times, Stein comes around to a mildly liberal viewpoint on finances:  Not all regulation is bad.  Actually, what Stein writes is:

It looks to me as if the inmates are running the asylum. One truth, that deregulation is sometimes a good thing, has been followed down so long and winding a road that it has led to an immense lie: that deregulation carried to an extreme will not lead to calamity.

Now, DGR(s), let us raise a toast to the continuing progressive education of one Mr. Ben Stein. 

Trust, but verify.


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Artful Dodger--State Evades

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), diplomacy is a fine art, indeed.  Today, on NPR's Morning Edition, Renee Montagne spoke with David Welch, an assistant secretary of state "for Near Eastern affairs."

At the end of the conversation, Montagne took up the issue of the contradiction between President Carter and Secretary of State Rice where the Secretary said Mr. Carter had been advised not to go, and the President responded that he had received no such advice from Welch. 

Montagne asked, "...can you just clear that up?" Welch sidestepped the issue with, "Well, we've been on the record on this...I'd really rather not get into it any more...I did counsel about our concerns about Hamas...That it is what it is..and I'd prefer to leave it right there."


Note, DGR(s), that Welch did not gainsay Mr. Carter.  State has, indeed, been on the record.  Mr. Carter is also on the record.  Mr. Welch is the only person who knows the truth of the matter, and Mr. Welch is not on the record.   " is what it is..."  That can mean anything as well as nothing.  Was Mr. Carter advised not to go?  Mr. Welch is not saying.

The question remains, who is being more truthful?  Mr. Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner or Ms Rice, a spinmeister for the administration's march to a dubiously warranted war?

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

JC vs CR? Jimmy, hands down!

The New York Times is reporting that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Carter do not agree with what State told Carter prior to his recent trip to the Middle East:

Ms. Rice also affirmed that the State Department had explicitly advised Mr. Carter not to meet with Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist group. Mr. Carter told National Public Radio on Monday that he had not received a clear signal from the Bush administration before leaving on his Middle East tour last week.

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), in a contest of veracity between Ms Rice and President Carter, the President wins, no contest.  After all, Ms Rice is the NSC head who spoke of mushroom clouds in the Bush Administration's run up to the invasion of Iraq.

Why would anyone believe a person so closely associated with the misleading spin of 2002?

Trust, but verify.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Nuclear? Radiation? Extremists?

Dear Gentle Reader(s), you might know of a recent radiation seed implant to resist cancer of the prostate.  What you might not know is that those seeds emit radiation enough to have warnings issued instructing the implanted to avoid pregnant women by a distance of one meter and to eschew children on the lap.

Further, it is counseled that the radiation will not register at airport security check points.  Um, on the last point, there is a question.

On a recent trip "across the pond," a certain person's radiation seeds did not, as suggested, activate any surveillance instruments at either Los Angeles International Airport nor at London-Gatwick Airport.

On the return trip, however, two belt monitors attached to quite polite security officers at JFK in New York did register the presence of radiation as the certain person passed through two checkpoints.  A quick, "Prostate cancer.  Radiation seed implants" was enough to satisfy the guards, so the trip home was not interrupted.

Today NPR's Morning Edition reports a growing concern with security officials of the possibility of nuclear material being used to construct crude weapons.  The sensors at JFK are calibrated to be quite sensitive, the sensors at LAX and LGW less so, at least on April 16.

Perhaps it's time, alas, for all sensors to be set to note the presence of medical radiation.  That would add but a few moments to travel time.  That would be a small price to pay for increased vigilance.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Paris Olympic Protest

Just in case, Dear Gentle Reader(s), you missed it in the American MSM, here's a photo of a logo used by the protesters during the April 8, 2008, protest against the Peking/Beijing Olympics.

Several were painted onto the sidewalks along the Seine.

How did anyone ever think the Chinese could host a non-political event?


Rather catchy, don't you think?  Simple, yet telling.  The Olympic rings as handcuffs. 

En avant, mes amis!


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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Muckroom Follies--4.15.08Another Gold Nugget

Just in time for tax day,  the editors over at the Townhalldotcom muckroom have given us, Dear Gentle Reader(s), another golden nugget of truth.  Whether or not this means we are any nearer to finding that elusive, perhaps mythological, pony in the muckroom is unclear.

Thanks to "The Three Trillion Dollar War: An Interview," by Bill Steigerwald, we learn that the true cost, spread into the future, of this military miasma, this military bungling by the Bush administration, will cost the United States Taxpayer $3,000,000,000,000! 

Remember when we were told the Iraqis would pay for the war out of their oil funds? 

One wonders if the other Townhalldotcom writers read columns which are written by others, because they, tax cutters almost to a person, generally still support the Bush administration, and they hope for a McCain victory in November in order to continue the legacy of the neo-con stealth attack of 2000.

As Andrew Sullivan often says, you get what you deserve if you vote for Senator Clinton.  Well, Andy, buddy, the same applies if anyone votes for a Republican candidate this fall.

And if a Republican tells you this war is worth the cost,

Trust, but verify

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Tricky Dick Revived

Dear Gentle Reader(s), spring is in the air, and there is foolishness all around. 

For example, there's a picture of Veep Cheney in sunglasses, and there's a mini brouhaha about what is reflected in those sunglasses.

You have the link, should you deign to check it out, but the answer to why Darth Cheney is smiling is the same reason why Tricky Dick smiled for all those years, and, yes, we did buy the metaphorical used car from him.  Dick II is smiling because, so far, he has gotten away with it.  Most probably he will totally get away with it.

That smile must be Cheshire Cat like in private.  (Public decorum, you know, plays a part.)

Dick Nixon.  Dick Cheney.  Separated at birth.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Little Vacation Goes a Long Way

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), Andrew Sullivan has benefited from a few days off.

Last week Sullivan turned his blog over to his assistant and some friends while he took some time to himself.  On April 8 he posted this title, "Right, Left, Britain and America." 

Sullivan has been toying lately with labels such as conservative and liberal and libertarian.   He has just about reached a conclusion with which most can agree:

Bush Republicans are big-state and internationalist. Does that make them left? Libertarians are secular and small-state. Where does that leave them? I'd be mainly "left" on this count, along with many British Tories, except for big-state politics. "Harder to locate than they were" is an understatement. It may help to abandon these labels for a while, especially across countries, until they actually mean something again.

Internationalism aside, it seems lately, too that labels are dysfunctional these days.  Are there really leftists who do not advocate personal responsibility?  Are there really rightists who are willing to step over the bodies of ill people lining sidewalks?  Where is the fiscal accountability of borrow and spend any sounder than tax and spend? 

Good for Sullivan.  Now, if he could just learn to stop trying to influence the Democratic Party's nomination process.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

And Whose Fault Is That, Exactly?

Sometimes Frank Rich can be annoying, but maybe that's his point.  How often have you heard lately, Dear Gentle Reader(s),  something like The electorate doesn’t want to hear much anyway about a war it long ago soundly rejected?  Rich wrote that, and it's exasperating.

DGR(s), are we truly tired of hearing about this war?  Surely we want to know that our service men and women are doing their jobs, that our generals and civilian leaders are doing their jobs.  Surely the nation's good thoughts are bent towards the end of this military endeavor.  Does one suppose that there has been a poll asking about "too much" coverage?  How many letters to the editor has anyone seen protesting the "ink" given to the military effort?  Little to none.  Or none to none.

So, why, then, do Rich and others often speak of a lack of public interest?  Why does Rich write about the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America needing to protest the lack of press coverage?

We buy newspapers and tune in to electronic media because we want information.  If the war information is not on the front page or at the top of the news broadcast, how is that an indication of a lack of public interest?  It seems more like a decision on the parts of editors and publishers more so than on the part of the general public.

The media needs to examine its own attitude towards the Iraq and Afghanistan battle fronts.  Therein lies the true "war fatigue." 

Don't blame the public.

The public is able, though, to insist on more war coverage and more "front page" coverage at that.

Mr. Olberman ends his broadcast with something like "Day x since the declaration of Mission Accomplished."  (Roughly 30 days x 59 months)  Other members of the media should do no less.

Trust, but verify.

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