Thursday, March 31, 2005

Post #1




I’ve been down in Central Florida attending the funeral of a friend’s mother. I made a wrong turn in Polk County (Haines City) after leaving Orlando and cruised down State Road 17 instead of taking U.S. 17. It was a lucky mistake; I drove through, around and in the vicinity of many orange groves and it was a beautiful sight. Not only that, their fragrance permeated the air. Luckily, State Road 60 in Lake Wales was a good route west and got me to Bartow in good time.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about Bartow in the coming days.

UPDATE: I found a website at southeastroads.com on scenic Florida roads that makes me feel better both about taking that wrong turn and for recognizing that it was a scenic roadway:

Northbound Florida 17 (South 10th Street) approaches U.S. 17-92 (Hinson Avenue) in Haines City. Somewhat confusingly, Florida 17 intersects with U.S. 17, and several signs in this area attempt to clarify the difference between the state road and the U.S. highway. Use U.S. 17-92 southwest to Lake Alfred and northeast to Davenport. To return to U.S. 27, use U.S. 17-92 southwest.

They have some photos on that website but they don’t portray the groves at all; just basic roadway shots.

31 mar 05 @ 6:43 pm est

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Post #2




Gerard Van Der Leun is on a roll and has the GOOD NEWS:

Unexpected beauty rising in the center of all you can see. Take your eyes away and then look again and its gone. But the day goes on and the light rises around you and you know, with an abiding faith, that beauty will surprise you again when you least expect it, out of the dark on a rush of wings. There are many ways of this world and that one is not the least of them.

I thought for a moment about turning on the news to see what had transpired in the rest of the world while I slept. I decided against it. Held halfway between a death and a life, between Good Friday and Easter, I'd already learned the news of the day.


26 mar 05 @ 9:10 pm est

Post #1




Gerard Van Der Leun thinks so:

IN THE END, it is never a matter of law, but a matter of what you believe. It is clear that Americans today have two sets of beliefs. The first group believes:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


The second group believes:


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Government and their Laws with many legislatable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Which one you believe determines who you are. And you must choose.

On this Easter weekend, another persuasive post. This is a comment I made on the thread:

Unlike Gerard, I'm not sure we have to choose in that fashion. The post is right on the money -- I think the choice that must be made is more refined than you indicated, Gerard. Or, perhaps I've just assumed too much.

Where the choice has to be made, it seems to me, is whether or not you acknowledge the foundation of our laws and culture, the basis for the founding of this model republic.

The particular tenets don't necessarily have to be yours [you are free to be agnostic, atheist, Bhuddist, even anarchist, etc]. But you must, it seems to me, CHOOSE to be intellectually honest and not only acknowledge the Western Civilization that gave birth to this nation but the centrality of that culture to our beliefs in certain "inalieanble" rights and from whom those rights are derived.

That's where Europe has lost its way, as has the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

They chose poorly.

I pray that America will not follow their lead.

26 mar 05 @ 9:04 pm est

Friday, March 25, 2005

Post #1




Bill Kristol on the evident conclusion of the Terri Schiavo case:

[O]ur judges deserve some criticism. But we should not be too harsh. For example, it would be wrong to suggest, as some conservatives have, that our judicial elite is systematically biased against "life." After all, they have saved the life of Christopher Simmons. It would be wrong to argue, as some critics have, that our judges systematically give too much weight to the husband's wishes in situations like Terri Schiavo's. After all, our judges have for three decades given husbands (or fathers) no standing at all to participate in the decision whether to kill their unborn children. It would be wrong to claim that our judges don't take seriously legislation passed by the elected representatives of the people. After all, our judges are committed to upholding the "rule of law"--though not, perhaps, the rule of actual laws passed by actual lawmakers. And it would be wrong to accuse our judges of being heartless. After all, Judges Carnes and Hull of the 11th U.S. Circuit told us, "We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children."

So do we all. They deserve a judiciary that is respectful of democratic self-government and committed to a genuine constitutionalism. The Bush administration should nominate such judges, and Congress should confirm them. And the president and Congress should lead a serious national debate on the distinction between judicial independence and judicial arrogance, and on the difference between judicial review and judicial supremacy. After all, we are a "maturing society," as the Supreme Court has told us. Perhaps it is time, in mature reaction to this latest installment of what Hugh Hewitt has called a "robed charade," to rise up against our robed masters, and choose to govern ourselves. Call it Terri's revolution.

People keep talking about an overreach by Evangelicals, Christian Conservatives, etc. I think they are missing the boat – just as they were deluded into thinking they could keep repeating the line that the Swift Boat Vets for Truth were “sliming” John Kerry and think that would settle the matter. They were wrong. John Kerry was and still is a lying opportunist who violated one of the fundamental rules of a fighting man – do not try and get over on your mates.

The problem with the so-called “husband” in the Schiavo case is that we all know he is not her husband in any commonly understood sense. It is, in fact, offensive to me to be battered by this assertion. He is shacking up with another woman that is his common law wife, has fathered two children by that woman, and people keep deferring to him as Terri’s husband.

Mickey-fickey, please. Terri Schiavo has no husband. Still, the robed masters are not the problem (although I agree with Kristol – there is a drift in the judiciary that favorably contemplates lecturing the public and lawmakers).

No, the problem here is that the Florida Senate blinked – now the question is what will be the legacy of that “blinkering” during a time for action.

25 mar 05 @ 10:21 am est

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Post #2




Gerard Van Der Leun at American Digest:

To me the lessons that should arise in our souls out of this sorry spectacle are twofold.


The first is that, more clearly than any moment I can recall, this case calls up the ancient demand of Deuteronomy:


"I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live.... [Deuteronomy 30:19-20]. "


As a country we have, in this case, chosen death.


All our legal institutions have chosen death. The husband has chosen death. His lawyers have a long history of choosing death. The judge chose death and all the judges above the judge have now affirmed death. Death is where all our laws and all our "justices" have taken us.

That’s a sobering thought. But he’s not done:

The second lesson of Terri Schiavo is that, in this instance, the country has chosen evil over good, law over love.


It is well understood, though usually unmentionable, that in a society which has turned its morality over to lawyers, and made as many misdemeanors into felonies as it can find, the system churns out decisions every day that, while legal, are evil. In a society where secular law determines "right," and justice is often obtained with fees and remissions, evil outcomes are not only unavoidable, but desirable. Religious symbols such as The Ten Commandments lurking about the courts and the legislatures only serve to shame the legions of lawyers and judges, and hence must be expunged in order that evil can be forever hidden beneath the grimy robes of what is "legal."


Last week, Peggy Noonan wisely asked about the Shiavo case: "What good will come from killing her?" There has been no good answer to that question because there can be no good answer. The answer given this week by our society and our system is, "So that the law and evil and death can triumph over love and over life; that our will and not Thine be done."


One could say that God will punish those among us who created and who revel in this answer, but -- as I have noted elsewhere -- He already has. They've made their cultural casket. Now they will die in it.

That’s a tough assessment and likely goes further than I would . . . but it speaks to my core, and it is persuasive.

24 mar 05 @ 8:14 pm est

Post #1




Matt Conigliaro at Abstract Appeal makes the point and sounds the right note:

Judging Courage


I'm disturbed. I've just finished watching a round of television programs where Judge Greer was once again assailed as lawless, power-grabbing, and out of control. On a mission to kill, it's said.

This is horribly difficult to watch. I cannot help but think that well meaning, honest Americans are home watching these programs, thinking there must be some truth behind the repeated assertions that a single judge or two have turned the justice system upside down. The public deserves better.

Florida law told Judge Greer what he had to do here. Once fate chose him as the judge in the case, he was responsible for following the law laid out by both the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Legislature, all of which said that where those close to the incapacitated person cannot agree on what the ward would choose to do, then the court should resolve the matter.

Judge Greer is a Republican and a Southern Baptist. No doubt he has his own views about what he thinks he would do, or what he thinks might be in Terri's best interests. But he was charged with deciding only what Terri would do. He found the evidence presented at trial clear and convincing that Terri would choose not to have her life prolonged by the affirmative intervention of modern medicine. Three appellate judges unanimously affirmed that decision.

I receive email after email telling me that no judge has the authority to end someone's life. That life must be preserved where there is even unreasonable hope, or where there is any uncertainty regarding the person's wishes. That oral evidence can never be clear and convincing. That removing "life support" is okay, but removing a feeding tube is barbaric and unacceptable. Perhaps those sentiments are noble, but they are not the law, and it was not within Judge Greer's power to make them the law. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with the law on these points, but to condemn the judge for following the law as it exists is irresponsible and contrary to the basic principles on which our government, with its separate branches, was created.

I continue to emphasize that I have no opinion on whether the trial judge reached the result Terri would truly want. I did not attend the trial, and having not seen the witnesses and heard them testify, experience has taught me that I am insufficiently informed to second-guess the decision -- no matter how many facts I learn about the case. I do know that a decision was made. I also know that the judicial system offers the checks necessary to ensure that the law has been properly followed. Judge Greer is part of that system, and he operated within it to perform his required role. Those who condemn him, and the judiciary that has thus far upheld his decisions, do not know what they do.

This case is really turning out to be something of a perfect storm for demonstrating the checks and balances of our branches of government AND how each branch has specific roles to play with priorities unique to each branch. Far too many Americans, including reporters, don’t seem to grasp how these branches of government interact.

The key player here was the Legislative branch not at the federal level but the state level. Congress, in essence, tried to show the Florida Senate what it SHOULD have done. The Florida Senate, in its infinite wisdom, was not persuaded.

That’s how politics works. By the way, Matt looks to have a very interesting blog – check it out.

24 mar 05 @ 7:52 am est

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Post #3




Surely, the Terri Schiavo case has exposed a fault-line in American politics more curious than I would have expected and (I suspect) I am likely not alone in this assessment. For instance, Dale Franks at Q and O Blog makes my point:

I have to say, though, I am somewhat surprised that the Schindlers' request for injunctive relief hasn't been granted at least temporarily. After all, if Ms. Schindler was a convicted felon on Death Row, a fresh appeal like this would instantly put the kibosh on any plans to execute her, until the appeal reached a final disposition. In this case, if Ms. Schiavo dies before the final disposition of her appeal, the case is mooted, and there's no way that the Schindlers could be made whole. Granted, after three runs at the Supremes already, there's probably no real chance of getting any relief from them either, but still, if she was a convicted felon, there's be no question that her life would be spared.

Unfortunately, Ms. Schiavo didn't butcher a carload of tourists with a hatchet, so we can apparently just let her die, and make her whole case moot. I mean, irrespective of whether or not you believe Congress exercised its authority inappropriately in this case by ordering the de novo review, the clear intent of Congress was to spare Ms. Schiavo's life through mandating another round of review.  Too bad they couldn't find a way to make that explicit in the text of the act.  Apparently, the judiciary is coming over all originalist now, and deciding that, if it's not in the text of the act, it isn't required. 

Still, it's odd that Ms. Schiavo doesn't even receive the same courtesy a convicted felon would receive.

Strange, strange stuff. This is, in part, my response to Dale’s post on his website:

A de novo review means de novo review—and the Schindler’s are the focus, not some squire shacking up with another woman and raising a family with his shack-mate while still (wink, wink) claiming to be Terri Schiavo’s husband.

No, at this moment I am not sympathetic to Michael Schiavo. Not at all. If that was my sister, and my family had made the determinations that the Schindler family obviously has made – I’d be mad as hell.

23 mar 05 @ 2:54 pm est

Post #2




Michelle Malkin has a good post on the subject, including this sampling of columns:

Isn't it reassuring to know that Terri Schiavo, a woman being deliberately starved to death, retains her privacy rights?

In this week's column, I argue that the MSM's coverage of the case has been abysmal. I focus in particular on ABC's coverage, including the biased poll that Ed Morrissey deconstructed on Monday. More questions about ABC's coverage here.

Not surprisingly, other columnists weighed in on Schiavo as well:

Charles Krauthammer: "There is no good outcome to this case. Except perhaps if Florida and the other states were to amend their laws and resolve conflicts among loved ones differently -- by granting authority not necessarily to the spouse but to whatever first-degree relative (even if in the minority) chooses life and is committed to support it. Call it Terri's law. It will help prevent us having to choose in the future between travesty and tragedy."

Kathleen Parker, "When is a husband not a husband? That's the question that keeps scratching at the back door of the hospice where Terri Schiavo lay slowly dying of starvation through the weekend."

Linda Chavez: "If a court can order Terri Schiavo to be slowly starved to death on the wishes of an estranged husband, who will be next?"

I think many Republicans are right to focus on the invidious “culture of death” that surreptitiously slinks throughout this whole 15-year ordeal. It is a slippery slope and people are right to be fearful that we are lapsing far too much onto the “death” side of the ledger.

I liken this slippery slope to a particular difference between American English and British English related to our different cultural histories. I was listening to BBC America news on television this morning and the anchor said something to the effect of “Pakistan are . . .” rather than “Pakistan is” and that’s when it struck me – the culture of life vs. culture of death is a similar type of difference. Subtle, but often determinative.

How so? Our understanding of government has lead us to a grammatical modification of the language while Britain (still holding onto the remnants of its imperial colonial heritage) maintains the standard: “the United States are” [British English] rather than “the United States is,” [American English]. An American listening to a British broadcast immediately hears these types of linguistic oddities, and vice-versa.

Given this fact, I’m not sure I will be able to agree with Charles Krauthammer (who wrote an outstanding column that I otherwise agree with) when he said the action by Congress was a travesty.

To the contrary, we may look back on this time and instead focus on the actions by the Florida Senate and indict them for blinking when bold action was required. House Bill 701 and Senate Bill 804 are the two pieces of legislation in Florida that seem to be the only remaining hope for Terri Schiavo and both are tied up in the Senate.

In my mind, I’m filing this episode under the “limits of human reason” category.

23 mar 05 @ 8:54 am est

Post #1




Who the heck is Randi Rhodes? A Palm Beach County radio personality, apparently. Check out that interview link – then read this update, making sure to click on the comments and read them, too.

Here’s a picture of our fellow Floridian in action, apparently at the Democratic National Convention:

 Randi Rhodes

Soon, she may be known as the “infamous” Randi Rhodes.

23 mar 05 @ 8:45 am est

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Post #4




An all-time Gator Great, David Little, has passed away much too soon in Miami:

 David Little

The shadows that enveloped David Little always appeared to be immense.

He grew up and played football in the same city as his older brother, Larry, an All-Pro guard with the Miami Dolphins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When he was drafted by the Steelers in 1981, he backed up perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Jack Lambert, another Hall of Famer, before replacing Lambert in 1984.

But Little never let that bother him. He never tried to ride his brother's fame. Nor did he try to emulate Lambert or any of the other great Steelers linebackers.

"David was his own man," his wife, Denise, said. "He never let anything affect him. He never got caught up in anything."

Little, 46, who played 12 seasons with the Steelers until he was released in 1993, died Thursday while working out alone in his Miami home.

He wore the Orange and Blue during my years in the Army, 1977-80. God speed, David Little.

22 mar 05 @ 6:25 pm est

Post #3




Is the commissioner spinning or will we get more Super Bowl's in Jacksonville?

"I think everyone feels the Jacksonville Super Bowl was a big success,'' Tagliabue said at a news conference following the first session of the league's annual March owners' meeting. "The city handled it very well. The host committee was very effective in getting things done and delivering on the concept they had. I would say the way some people said it to me was that there were ancillary aspects of the weekend apart from the game itself that maybe were not ideal, but they were certainly workable. It was a very enjoyable and very successful weekend.''

And what “ancillary” things might that be Mr. Commissioner?

"Taxis were hard to get. Some of the cruise ships leaving early (7 a.m.) on Monday so people couldn't leave at noon, things like that.''

Of course, the Miami Dolphins are trying to raise the bar and lock down South Florida as a semi-permanent host. I’m not betting against the Dolphins and South Florida; the game probably SHOULD be there on a semi-permanent basis.

22 mar 05 @ 7:01 am est

Post #2




Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine had a long piece on Roland G. Fryer Jr., a native Floridian from Daytona Beach with ties to Bethune-Cookman. He’s something of a prodigy, 27-years-old and already a force at Harvard.

Roland G. Fryer Jr. is 27 years old and he is an assistant professor of economics at Harvard and he is black. Yes, 27 is young to be any kind of professor anywhere. But after what might charitably be called a slow start in the scholarly life, Fryer has been in a big hurry to catch up. He was in fact only 25 when he went on the job market, gaining offers from -- well, just about everywhere. He abruptly ended his job search by accepting an invitation to join the Society of Fellows at Harvard, one of academia’s most prestigious research posts. This meant he wouldn’t be teaching anywhere for three years. The Harvard economics department told Fryer to take its offer anyway; he could have an office and defer his teaching obligation until the fellowship was done.

Now that he is halfway through his fellowship, the quality and breadth of Fryer’s research have surprised even his champions. ‘‘As a pure technical economic theorist, he’s of the first rate,’’ says Lawrence Katz, a prominent labor economist at Harvard. ‘‘But what’s really incredible is that he’s also much more of a broad social theorist -- talking to psychologists, sociologists, behavioral geneticists -- and the ideas he comes up with aren’t the ‘let’s take the standard economic model and push a little harder’ ideas. He makes you think of Nathan Glazer or William Julius Wilson, but with economic rigor.’’ Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard humanities scholar, says that Fryer is ‘‘destined to be a star. I mean, he’s a star already, just a baby star. I think he’ll raise the analysis of the African-American experience to new levels of rigor and bring economics into the mainstream area of inquiry within the broader field of African-American studies.’’

Go ‘head, fella, go ‘head.

22 mar 05 @ 6:59 am est

Post #1




I haven’t had a chance to really sink my teeth into it but it looks as though Mark D. Roberts has an interesting follow-on to the recent TIME Magazine cover story on the Protestant Mary. This is how he breaks out the series:

Table of Contents

Part 1

A TIME-ly Coincidence

Part 2

The TIME Cover Story: An Overview

Part 3

A Pro-Marian Tipping Point? Evaluating the Evidence

Part 4

The Influence of La Virgen?

Part 5

The Virgin Mary in the Bible: A Brief Overview


Mary in the Bible - The Biblical Passages

Check it out.

22 mar 05 @ 6:58 am est

Monday, March 21, 2005

Post #3




What can you say – Villanova matched up well against us, I assume (76-65 speaks for itself). The little bit I did see – their big men seemed to be able to get their way. I saw Noah get completely used on one play and the box score says he only played two minutes. Billy must have seen that play and said to himself, “No way.”


Official Basketball Box Score

Villanova vs Florida

3/20/05 1:15 PM CT at Gaylord Entertainment Ctr, Nashville, TN

VISITORS: Villanova 24-7

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

02 Foye, Randy......... f  6-17   1-4    5-6    1  3  4   3  18  1  3  0  2  36

34 Sumpter, Curtis..... f  3-4    1-1    1-1    2  4  6   1   8  1  0  0  0  10

50 Sheridan, Will...... c  2-5    0-0    0-0    3  4  7   4   4  0  1  1  1  20

12 Nardi, Mike......... g  1-6    1-3    0-0    0  0  0   2   3  3  2  0  2  38

14 Ray, Allan.......... g  0-6    0-3    7-8    0  1  1   4   7  3  4  0  2  29

13 Lowry, Kyle.........    7-11   0-0    1-3    0  5  5   3  15  2  1  1  3  31

20 Fraser, Jason.......    5-9    0-0   11-17   9  6 15   3  21  0  2  1  0  30

21 Charles, Chris......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   0  0  1  0  0   3

44 Austin, Marcus......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  1  1   3

   TEAM................                         2  3  5

   Totals..............   24-58   3-11  25-35  17 27 44  23  76 10 14  4 11 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-33 45.5%   2nd Half:  9-25 36.0%   Game: 41.4%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-7  28.6%   2nd Half:  1-4  25.0%   Game: 27.3%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  7-11 63.6%   2nd Half: 18-24 75.0%   Game: 71.4%    3



HOME TEAM: Florida 24-8

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

01 Anthony Roberson....    1-8    1-4    2-2    0  0  0   4   5  1  2  0  0  26

02 Corey Brewer........    3-7    2-4    3-5    0  1  1   3  11  1  4  0  1  28

04 Adrian Moss.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   2   0  0  0  0  0   3

10 Cornelius Ingram....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   1

11 Taurean Green.......    2-5    1-2    4-6    0  1  1   1   9  1  3  0  1  22

12 Lee Humphrey........    1-2    1-2    1-2    0  0  0   1   4  0  2  0  0  16

13 Joakim Noah.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  0  0  0  0   2

24 David Lee...........    7-12   0-0    6-7    7  3 10   5  20  2  3  3  3  33

32 Chris Richard.......    2-4    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   3   4  0  1  0  0  15

42 Al Horford..........    0-1    0-0    0-1    1  4  5   4   0  1  0  1  1  22

44 Matt Walsh..........    4-13   2-6    2-2    1  8  9   5  12  3  4  0  0  32

   TEAM................                            3  3

   Totals..............   20-52   7-18  18-25  10 24 34  30  65  9 19  4  6 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-25 40.0%   2nd Half: 10-27 37.0%   Game: 38.5%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-8  37.5%   2nd Half:  4-10 40.0%   Game: 38.9%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  9-14 64.3%   2nd Half:  9-11 81.8%   Game: 72.0%    2



Officials: Richard Cartmell, Larry Rose, Edwin Edsell

Technical fouls: Villanova-None. Florida-None.


Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total

Villanova.....................   39   37  -   76

Florida.......................   32   33  -   65


Look at the box score carefully; Matt Walsh was our leading defensive rebounder (in fact, the leading defensive rebounder in the game). Meanwhile, look at Horford and you will see all you need to know. Shooters (Walsh and Roberson) will sometimes be on and sometimes off. Both of our primary shooters were off yesterday. We had to have Horford (and Noah) come through for us.

David Lee played well but what many people don’t seem to understand – David Lee can’t carry a team. Fine player, and he goes down as a Gator great, but he’s never been able to carry our team – and those facts are incontrovertible. Yes, he had great stats yesterday – but his responsibility was the paint and Villanova imposed themselves on us right there. Horford will put a halt to that in years to come but not yesterday. So ends an era in Gator basketball; bring on the next era, the Al Horford era. I think it will be a better one for the Orange and Blue.

Oh, and about those five brackets I entered on ESPN? All of them have been absolutely BRUTALIZED! Time to kick back and just enjoy the games.

21 mar 05 @ 9:56 am est

Post #2




Arthur Chrenkoff comments on the apparent answer to a question that has occurred to me as well:

As I wrote yesterday, on the occasion of the second anniversary of the start of the liberation of Iraq, "I can't find any mention of Iraqis protesting their liberation, and neither can I find any stories about anti-war and anti-occupation rallies anywhere else throughout the Middle East (with exception of several hundred people protesting in Turkey). Perhaps they're all too busy rallying for democracy and against their own governments."

And Good Old Wretchard signals (along with Greg Djerejian) that not simply is the so-called Iraqi “insurgency” dying, even the New York Times reporters are writing stories about it. Wretchard summarizes the apparent status quo two years after the launch of the War in Iraq:

Reviewing the posts from about the month before the Iraqi elections to the present suggests a qualitative change is taking place. Iraqi forces are becoming more numerous and effective. Insurgents are being captured in larger numbers. Bigger weapons caches are being discovered. More importantly, the trend against the insurgents has been increasing over time. No one has yet had the sand to declare the 'tide turned' but General Sattler evidently feels a certain confidence.

Two more months will reveal whether a trend against the insurgents has actually been established. In that event, its political effect once that perception filters down to the mainstream media readers will be interesting to watch. There will probably be some damnation through faint praise, but in general it will be met by a change of subject.

Change the damn subject. Go right ahead, please. Wretchard has another update on the tide having turned which is posted today based on a Robert Burns article in the New York Times:

When most roads in central Baghdad are choked with traffic, there is rarely more than a trickle of vehicles on Haifa Street. At the day's height, a handful of pedestrians scurry down empty sidewalks, ducking into covered walkways that serve as sanctuaries from gunfire - and as blinds for insurgent attacks in one of Iraq's most bitterly contested battle zones.

American soldiers call the street Purple Heart Boulevard: the First Battalion of the Ninth Cavalry, patrolling here for the past year before its recent rotation back to base at Fort Hood, Tex., received more than 160 Purple Hearts. Many patrols were on foot, to gather intelligence on neighborhoods that American officers say have been the base for brutal car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations across Baghdad.

In the first 18 months of the fighting, the insurgents mostly outmaneuvered the Americans along Haifa Street, showing they could carry the war to the capital's core with something approaching impunity.

But American officers say there have been signs that the tide may be shifting. On Haifa Street, at least, , insurgents are attacking in smaller numbers, and with less intensity; mortar attacks into the Green Zone have diminished sharply; major raids have uncovered large weapons caches; and some rebel leaders have been arrested or killed.

People are saying the tide turned with the January 30 elections; the fact of the matter is that it turned back last summer with the successful June 28, 2004 transfer of power that was pulled off without incident. THAT was when it was confirmed in my mind.

21 mar 05 @ 6:34 am est

Post #1




Thanks to Jack Kelly for some much-needed perspective on the subject of Army recruiting. After noting that the last time the Army missed its monthly recruiting target [in Y2K], the downtown was made up during the same year and the yearly target was met. Kelly then notes:

[African Americans] and Hispanics still have a higher propensity to enlist than whites do, and more young people are willing to join up now than before the war on terror began, the study also indicated. These facts didn't make it into Burns' story.

Overall, 6 percent of blacks, 7 percent of Hispanics and 5 percent of whites surveyed in 2004 said they definitely would serve in the military. An additional 17 percent of blacks, 15 percent of Hispanics and 9 percent of whites said they probably would serve.

In 2001, only 11 percent of all young people surveyed said they would definitely (2 percent) or probably (9 percent) enlist. Last year that figure rose to 15 percent (5 percent definitely, 10 percent probably).

[RattlerGator: so, to state the obvious – 24% of African Americans say they likely would serve in the military while the number for Whites is 14%]

Since the economy is stronger now than it was in 2001, and good economic times typically are hard times for military recruiters, a 36 percent increase in the proportion of young people willing to consider enlisting since the war on terror began says something good about our young people that Burns, apparently, is not eager to have you hear.

Burns notes with alarm that the proportion of young people who cite fear of combat as a reason for not joining the military nearly doubled (from 14 to 26 percent) between 2000 and 2004. He quoted the study again: "In the past, barriers were about inconvenience or preference for another life choice. Now they have switched to something quite different: fear of death or injury."

But is it all that astonishing that fear of death would be a bigger consideration during time of war than it is during peacetime?

Money for college was the principal reason young people gave for a willingness to enlist, followed by "duty."

Proportionately more blacks and women enlist for the economic benefits, while a higher proportion of white males give duty as a reason for joining up.

So blacks and women who enlisted primarily for the benefits are being replaced by white males who enlist primarily to serve their country. That's not such a bad thing.

Nope, not bad at all. But it does represent lost opportunities for quite a few African Americans.

21 mar 05 @ 6:33 am est

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Post #1




First off, I haven’t seen much basketball this weekend because I’ve been assisting my wife with her Artists in Bloom Festival here at Florida A&M. I’ve been attending to the needs of Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s daughters. And, man – what can I say – other than, WOW.

 Ilyasah Shabazz!

Tall (at least 6 feet, perhaps 6’1”), personable . . . AND beautiful.

With all of my running around I didn’t get to hear her lecture but the FAMU students did turn out in force to welcome her to The Hill. She and her two companions loved Tallahassee, our Chez Pierre restaurant, and the FAMU campus. And that’s good enough for me.

20 mar 05 @ 8:11 am est

Friday, March 18, 2005

Post #2




Job well done, Gators. I will gladly take a 67-62 victory with no complaints.

18 mar 05 @ 7:08 pm est

Post #1




My Florida Gator bracket, that is. I entered five different pools on ESPN, with five different champions [Illinois, Duke, the Mighty Gators, Wake Forest, and Kentucky]. Here's how it looks after the first day:






Tallahassee RattlerGator








Tallahassee RattlerGator




Duke Blue Devil Fans




Tallahassee RattlerGator




Florida Gator Fans




Tallahassee RattlerGator




Wake Forest Fans




Tallahassee RattlerGator




Kentucky WILDCATS!



That Florida Gator bracket may be my worst opening ever. Hopefully that’s a good sign for the Gators (I don’t think I ever pick the tournament winner).

18 mar 05 @ 6:46 am est

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Post #1




I made five separate entries on the ESPN tournament website; my five different selections for National Champion are . . . 1) Florida [of course], 2) Wake Forest, 3) Duke, 4) Kentucky, and 5) Illinois.

In the bracket where I picked the Gators, here are my picks – region by region:


 Syracuse Region picks


 Chicago Region picks


 Albuquerque Region picks


 Austin Region picks

Final Four and Championship Game:

 Final Four picks

Read ‘em and weep, baby, read ‘em and weep!

17 mar 05 @ 11:02 am est

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Post #3




Race isn’t just a social construct after all. Or, so says Armand Marie Leroi in the New York Times:

The dominance of the social construct theory [RattlerGator: that race has no genetic basis] can be traced to a 1972 article by Dr. Richard Lewontin, a Harvard geneticist, who wrote that most human genetic variation can be found within any given “race.” If one looked at genes rather than faces, he claimed, the difference between an African and a European would be scarcely greater than the difference between any two Europeans. A few years later he wrote that the continued popularity of race as an idea was an “indication of the power of socioeconomically based ideology over the supposed objectivity of knowledge.” Most scientists are thoughtful, liberal-minded and socially aware people. It was just what they wanted to hear.

Three decades later, it seems that Dr. Lewontin’s facts were correct, and have been abundantly confirmed by ever better techniques of detecting genetic variety. His reasoning, however, was wrong. His error was an elementary one, but such was the appeal of his argument that it was only a couple of years ago that a Cambridge University statistician, A. W. F. Edwards, put his finger on it.

The error is easily illustrated. If one were asked to judge the ancestry of 100 New Yorkers, one could look at the color of their skin. That would do much to single out the Europeans, but little to distinguish the Senegalese from the Solomon Islanders. The same is true for any other feature of our bodies. The shapes of our eyes, noses and skulls; the color of our eyes and our hair; the heaviness, height and hairiness of our bodies are all, individually, poor guides to ancestry.

But this is not true when the features are taken together. Certain skin colors tend to go with certain kinds of eyes, noses, skulls and bodies. When we glance at a stranger’s face we use those associations to infer what continent, or even what country, he or his ancestors came from - and we usually get it right. To put it more abstractly, human physical variation is correlated; and correlations contain information.

Seems like common damn sense to me.

Genetic variants that aren’t written on our faces, but that can be detected only in the genome, show similar correlations. It is these correlations that Dr. Lewontin seems to have ignored. In essence, he looked at one gene at a time and failed to see races. But if many - a few hundred - variable genes are considered simultaneously, then it is very easy to do so. Indeed, a 2002 study by scientists at the University of Southern California and Stanford showed that if a sample of people from around the world are sorted by computer into five groups on the basis of genetic similarity, the groups that emerge are native to Europe, East Asia, Africa, America and Australasia - more or less the major races of traditional anthropology.

Of course, the author has to state the obvious (because it isn’t so obvious, and surely attempts will be made to use the information in the following disclaimed manner):

The identification of racial origins is not a search for purity. The human species is irredeemably promiscuous. We have always seduced or coerced our neighbors even when they have a foreign look about them and we don’t understand a word. If Hispanics, for example, are composed of a recent and evolving blend of European, American Indian and African genes, then the Uighurs of Central Asia can be seen as a 3,000-year-old mix of West European and East Asian genes. Even homogenous groups like native Swedes bear the genetic imprint of successive nameless migrations.

The fact that certain folks, learned and not so learned, will seek to use the information to lord over others certain unpleasant simplifications should not stop or delegitimize the research. Here’s why:

[RattlerGator: here, the author is analogizing racial identification with the physical topography of the Earth’s landscape] To navigate it, you need a map with elevations, contour lines and reference grids. But it is hard to talk in numbers, and so we give the world’s more prominent features - the mountain ranges and plateaus and plains - names. We do so despite the inherent ambiguity of words. The Pennines of northern England are about one-tenth as high and long as the Himalayas, yet both are intelligibly described as mountain ranges.

So, too, it is with the genetic topography of our species. The billion or so of the world’s people of largely European descent have a set of genetic variants in common that are collectively rare in everyone else; they are a race. At a smaller scale, three million Basques do as well; so they are a race as well. Race is merely a shorthand that enables us to speak sensibly, though with no great precision, about genetic rather than cultural or political differences.

But it is a shorthand that seems to be needed. One of the more painful spectacles of modern science is that of human geneticists piously disavowing the existence of races even as they investigate the genetic relationships between “ethnic groups.” Given the problematic, even vicious, history of the word “race,” the use of euphemisms is understandable. But it hardly aids understanding, for the term “ethnic group” conflates all the possible ways in which people differ from each other.

In fact, this seems to accord to my understanding of who I am as an American. Physical basis: as an African American, I belong to a minority racial group; as a heterosexual, I belong to a majority sexual group; as a righthander I belong to a majority physical group, etc. Cultural basis: as a native of Northeast Florida whose maternal and paternal lines trace back to Georgia, I’m a Southerner and a regional minority in the United States; as a pecan-brown Negro in the South, I am Black and belong to a minority sub-group of a regional minority in the United States, etc.

The author of the piece does have one extremely curious statement in the piece when he discusses an isolated tribe in India affected by the recent tsunami:

They look like African pygmies who have wandered away from Congo’s jungles to take up life on a tropical isle. But they are not.

Don’t be so sure, Armand Marie Leroi. Don’t. Be. So. Sure.

15 mar 05 @ 11:12 am est

Post #2




Max Boot supports my contention that a modern phalanx of Americans have no apparent ability to review warfare (what it involves . . . and necessarily includes) in part because of an incomplete historical review:

On Feb. 19, 1945, 30,000 Marines splashed ashore on a small volcanic island in the central Pacific. After four days of bitter fighting, a small patrol reached the peak of Mt. Suribachi, where it planted a U.S. flag in an iconic scene captured by photographer Joe Rosenthal. This famous image was hardly the end of the battle. Iwo Jima would not be secure until March 26. Almost all of the 21,000 Japanese defenders elected to die rather than surrender. Rooting them out cost more than 6,000 American dead and 20,000 wounded, making this the costliest battle in the storied history of the Marine Corps.

It is right and proper that there should be 60th-anniversary commemorations of these heroics. For, as Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz famously said, “ … on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Yet it would be a mistake to bury this battle in a haze of “Greatest Generation” sentimentality. Our awe at the bravery of the Marines and their Japanese adversaries should not cause us to overlook the stupidity that forced them into this unnecessary meat grinder. Selective memories of World War II, which record only inspiring deeds and block out all waste and folly, create an impossible standard of perfection against which to judge contemporary conflicts.

Max Boot concludes with this proper context:

In modern parlance, you might say that Iwo Jima was a battle of choice waged on the basis of faulty intelligence and inadequate plans. If Ted Kennedy had been in the Senate in 1945 (hard to believe, but he wasn’t), he would have been hollering about the incompetence of the Roosevelt administration, which produced many times more casualties in five weeks than U.S. forces have suffered in Iraq in the last two years.

No such criticism was heard at the time, in part because of the rah-rah tone of World War II press coverage but also because Americans back then had a greater appreciation for the ugly, unpredictable nature of combat. They even coined a word for it: snafu (in polite language: “situation normal, all fouled up”). It’s a shame that so many sentimental tributes to the veterans of the Good War elide this unpleasant reality, leaving us a bit less intellectually and emotionally prepared for the trauma of modern war.

Roger that.

15 mar 05 @ 11:08 am est

Post #1




Stanley Crouch rightly notes that the Grand Old Party has cunningly targeted the modern heirs of the civil rights movement while the Democratic Party is stuck in concrete with the ossified remains of the civil rights establishment:

Establishment icons such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, for instance, have earned reputations and made careers out of racial injustice and resentment. Both are committed Democrats — a no-no during the some of the most dramatic days of the civil rights movement, when its leaders realized that their constituency's problems transcended party affiliation. Color, they knew, would remain a concern, no matter which party controlled the White House.

Today, however, changing demographics are undercutting the civil rights establishment's power. People with no history of legalized discrimination and infused with that good old immigrant drive are arriving in this nation. And some of them are black people from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

These new arrivals highlight a problem with one of the main legal remedies people have used to fight the legacy of segregation: affirmative action. This tactic was intended to help the descendants of slaves. But it is so loosely interpreted today that many blacks whose forebears were not American slaves demand and receive a boost from affirmative action.

You mean to tell me . . . our political leaders used to KNOW that their constituency's problems transcended party affiliation? Hell no, that can’t POSSIBLY be true. How could they do that and still be authentically black.

As a Christian, Bush seems to believe that he can create a new grass-roots black leadership similar to the one that preceded the civil rights movement, which was rooted in churches and often opposed the aggressive nonviolence that called out the dragon of racism. The president also must know that black Christians tend to be conservative on issues of personal liberty and might well support his attempt to amend the Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage — a possibility that has already stirred rumblings among gays who believe that black evangelicals are prepared to make them the new universal pariah.

Whether or not Bush's overtures to black church leaders are successful, conditions and goals are shifting on the horizon of color. If the civil rights establishment doesn't step away from its Democratic partisanship and make itself more open to the values of both political parties, its relevance will continue to erode.

Charge hard, Mr. President.

15 mar 05 @ 11:06 am est

Monday, March 14, 2005

Post #4




I want to change my logo at the top of the page and the image I want to use is this:

 RattlerGator image N.E. Florida Coast

Will that fly, I wonder?

14 mar 05 @ 5:10 pm est

Post #3




[Update posted below] Exhibit A in the ongoing communications revolution is on display HERE, via InstaPundit and (to me) it conclusively proves that our language and attitudes have not kept pace with the evolution of media technology. Based on the old way of thinking, journalism professional maintain that slippery slopes are everywhere. I contend, however, that in a nation completely comfortable with advertising “spin,” the supposed slippery slopes no longer exist in the manner originally conceived. Look no further than this quote:

It is fair to say that the wholesale use of others' work is a major part of modern journalism. But news officials are quick to distinguish that from plagiarism. In a mini-scandal at the San Diego Tribune, a reporter's story was cancelled when editors noticed that it looked very much like a story that had already appeared elsewhere. At first, presumably, it was thought that the story had been taken from the other publication. Then it turned out that both stories were simply near-verbatim versions of a press release. According to the Tribune's deputy editor, that wasn't plagiarism. "If you look up the definition of plagiarism, it is the unauthorized use of someone's material. When someone sends you a press packet, you're entitled to use everything in there."

Plagiarist, defined:

·                    someone who uses another person's words or ideas as if they were his own.

Plagiarism, defined:

·                    a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work

·                    the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own

Interestingly, the newspaper editor quoted above seems to assume there is a duty owed only to the writer – not the reader – in the context of a plagiarism charge. That may certainly be true (but I doubt it) in an academic sense . . . but for a media company? More particularly, a newspaper?

The answer is: yes. The standard is higher in academia than it is for media. All of our news providers are best thought of as brands with no substantive difference from corporations that advertise. But no, I don’t think we need to go the British route and abandon a communal pressure to stay with the “objective” truth. America in the 21st century requires a middle ground and that is what we are witnessing right now: the development, via the marketplace and technology, of a middle ground that includes acknowledged partisans swimming in the information stream alongside ideally neutral parties.

Blog swarms (it seems to me) are the vehicle presently used to enforce that desired middle-ground; when an ideally neutral media party commits an error perceived to be egregious, bloggers move in. Let the revolution continue.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has a post up today related to this subject. Commenting on a New York Times puff piece giving ink to various envious complaints by liberal bloggers:

“The way we perceive it,” [a liberal blogger, Bob Fertig] said, “is that right-wing bloggers are able to invent stories, get them out on Drudge, get them on Rush Limbaugh, get them on Fox, and pretty soon that spills over into the mainstream media. We, the progressives, we don’t have that kind of network to work with.”

Ah, Bob, there was a story attached to Rathergate, Jordan’s demise, John Kerry’s Christmas-Eve-Not-in-Cambodia etc.  Even the small beer story of Jeff Gannon got coverage, but the necessary ingredient in a blog-swarm leading to an opinion storm is a real story.  Conspiracy fevers don’t count.

As the white kids used to say back when I was in high school, “yepper!”

14 mar 05 @ 11:06 am est

Post #2




Barnett delivers the cold, hard facts:

[H]ere's the biggest reason why she can't be elected president: she's single and she's never been married. Americans simply won't elect that person in this day and age, and they're right not to. Voters want to see that personal connection to spouse and kids. They trust that. It says powerful things about who the person is and how they can be expected to think about the larger world and act within it. It's not just image, but the soul of the person that's reflected in family. Rice is as alone as alone can be, and Americans don't get that, don't like that, don't trust that.

Ask yourself: would you really trust someone who's married to his or her career to be president? Someone who's never be exposed to any of the things all must learn in marriage and parenthood? Someone that single-minded? That uncompromising? That self-defined?

Personally, I don't see things I trust in that sort of life, not when I'm considering the presidency. Frankly, I see things I've always feared about myself--expressed to the n-th degree. And I think, deep down, so will the vast majority of Americans. They simply won't recognize themselves in this person, no matter the qualifications on paper.

Yes, Rice is very talented and yes, she's had an amazing career, and yes, her stint as SECSTATE is going well. But no, she is not a serious candidate for anything in her current incarnation. She is not the anti-Hillary, she is the anti-candidate.

He’s right, of course. I disagree with Barnett on some of his other pronouncements on why she can’t be elected. He’s wedded to a particular script, it seems to me, that requires criticism of the National Security Adviser for a perceived failure in Iraq that doesn’t look like a failure to me and I doubt if the President or his inner circle sees it as such.

Now . . . if she marries former San Francisco 49er Gene Washington, things change big-time in my mind. I have no idea, however, if that relationship is real or something others dreamed up, or is a public relations cover, etc. Whatever the case, I think Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post nailed it recently when he wrote on February 8th:

Condoleezza Rice is nothing if not different. She's not a Democrat, though most African American women are. She's certainly not a liberal. She obviously is race-conscious, but she puts that consciousness into a box that's more deeply hidden than the one most of us African Americans use to store race when we're on the job. People see her walking next to President Bush and there are ugly snickers of the Jezebel sort; but when Rice is escorted at social events, it is usually by Gene Washington, the former professional football player, a black man.

She is, in short, sui generis -- just like every black woman in America.

Ain’t that truth. But when I saw that outfit she wore in Europe when she was with the troops, all I could think to say was “Go 'head wit ya bad self GIRL!”

The Force is with Condi!


14 mar 05 @ 9:37 am est

Post #1




This one basketball game made my season; we needed to come up against U.K. to slay the dragon and that’s exactly what happened. Way to go, Gators!

 Matt Walsh!


Official Basketball Box Score


03/13/05 1:00pm ET at SEC Men’s Tourney-Finals - Atlanta, GA


                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

02 Corey Brewer........ f  4-7    0-1    0-1    2  3  5   3   8  2  0  0  2  30

24 David Lee........... f  4-11   0-0    1-2    3 14 17   2   9  0  4  0  0  31

42 Al Horford.......... c  2-5    0-0    3-6    5  4  9   3   7  2  0  1  2  20

01 Anthony Roberson.... g  3-11   2-5    2-2    0  0  0   3  10  3  3  0  1  33

44 Matt Walsh.......... g  8-17   5-11   5-6    0  2  2   0  26  1  4  0  1  38

04 Adrian Moss.........    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   3   2  0  0  0  0   5

10 Cornelius Ingram....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0  0+

11 Taurean Green.......    0-2    0-2    2-2    0  1  1   1   2  4  1  0  0  17

12 Lee Humphrey........    0-1    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   6

13 Joakim Noah.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  1  0  0   1

32 Chris Richard.......    2-5    0-0    2-2    3  3  6   2   6  0  0  0  1  19

   TEAM................                         2  2  4             1

   Totals..............   24-60   7-20  15-21  16 32 48  18  70 12 14  1  7 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-36 36.1%   2nd Half: 11-24 45.8%   Game: 40.0%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-11 18.2%   2nd Half:  5-9  55.6%   Game: 35.0%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  6-8  75.0%   2nd Half:  9-13 69.2%   Game: 71.4%    2




                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

24 Azubuike, Kelenna... f  8-13   0-3    1-2    1  1  2   4  17  0  3  1  1  24

44 Hayes, Chuck........ f  0-4    0-0    4-4    0  3  3   3   4  2  1  2  3  28

33 Morris, Randolph.... c  2-6    0-0    2-4    2  8 10   2   6  0  2  1  0  27

04 Rondo, Rajon........ g  0-3    0-2    0-0    1  0  1   2   0  4  1  0  1  17

22 Sparks, Patrick..... g  2-8    0-6    0-1    1  1  2   1   4  2  2  0  2  33

01 Stockton, Brandon...    0-2    0-2    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   2

02 Moss, Ravi..........    1-4    0-3    1-2    0  0  0   3   3  0  1  0  0  13

03 Bradley, Ramel......    0-5    0-1    2-3    0  1  1   0   2  1  0  0  1  17

05 Carrier, Josh.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

10 Obrzut, Lukasz......    0-0    0-0    0-2    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

12 LeMaster, Preston...    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1

13 Perry, Bobby........    2-4    1-1    2-2    0  0  0   0   7  0  0  0  1   8

21 Alleyne, Shagari....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

23 Thomas, Sheray......    2-2    0-0    1-1    0  0  0   2   5  0  1  0  0   8

32 Crawford, Joe.......    2-3    1-1    0-0    1  4  5   3   5  0  3  0  0  16

   TEAM................                         1  5  6

   Totals..............   19-54   2-19  13-21   8 23 31  21  53  9 14  4  9 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-24 37.5%   2nd Half: 10-30 33.3%   Game: 35.2%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-8  25.0%   2nd Half:  0-11  0.0%   Game: 10.5%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  7-11 63.6%   2nd Half:  6-10 60.0%   Game: 61.9%   3,1


Officials: Gerald Boudreaux, Doug Shows, Mike Stuart

Technical fouls: FLORIDA-None. KENTUCKY-None.

Attendance: 24408

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total

FLORIDA.......................   34   36  -   70

KENTUCKY......................   27   26  -   53


That is one beautiful box score!

14 mar 05 @ 12:25 am est

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Post #1




Down goes Bama, Down goes Bama, 68-62!

That was a great, gritty effort from the boys in Orange and Blue; two down and one to go . . . then, it’s time to dance.

And oh yeah, way to “man up!” David Lee.

David Lee Man


Official Basketball Box Score


03/12/05 at SEC Men's Tourney-Semi-Finals-Atlanta,GA


                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

02 Corey Brewer........ f  3-4    0-1    4-4    2  6  8   3  10  2  2  0  0  28

24 David Lee........... f  9-18   0-0    2-3    3  4  7   4  20  3  2  0  1  32

42 Al Horford.......... c  0-2    0-0    2-7    3  5  8   4   2  2  1  2  0  28

01 Anthony Roberson.... g  5-15   3-9    0-0    0  1  1   0  13  2  1  0  2  33

44 Matt Walsh.......... g  4-12   3-8    6-6    0  2  2   2  17  3  1  0  1  32

04 Adrian Moss.........    0-2    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   5

11 Taurean Green.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  1  1  0  1  16

12 Lee Humphrey........    2-2    2-2    0-0    0  0  0   1   6  0  0  0  0  10

13 Joakim Noah.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

32 Chris Richard.......    0-1    0-0    0-0    1  3  4   2   0  0  0  0  0  14

   TEAM................                            1  1

   Totals..............   23-56   8-20  14-20   9 24 33  16  68 13  8  2  5 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-27 37.0%   2nd Half: 13-29 44.8%   Game: 41.1%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-14 42.9%   2nd Half:  2-6  33.3%   Game: 40.0%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  1-2  50.0%   2nd Half: 13-18 72.2%   Game: 70.0%   3,1




                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

01 Davis, Chuck........ f  4-12   0-0    1-3    3  3  6   4   9  1  3  1  1  36

03 Winston, Kennedy.... f  8-19   1-8    2-2    2  2  4   2  19  1  4  0  0  33

33 Davidson, Jermareo.. c  4-6    0-0    2-2    4  7 11   4  10  0  1  2  0  31

05 Shelton, Earnest.... g  3-11   0-4    0-0    1  2  3   2   6  0  1  0  1  27

22 Steele, Ronald...... g  2-5    1-3    0-0    0  5  5   1   5  3  2  0  1  37

21 Brock, Evan.........    1-2    0-0    0-1    3  2  5   0   2  0  0  1  1   9

23 Felix, Jean.........    2-8    1-4    6-8    4  4  8   3  11  1  1  0  0  26

24 Reese, Jason........    0-0    0-0    0-1    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   0

44 Jonus, Justin.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1

   TEAM................                         1     1             1

   Totals..............   24-63   3-19  11-17  18 25 43  16  62  6 13  4  4 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-29 31.0%   2nd Half: 15-34 44.1%   Game: 38.1%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-7   0.0%   2nd Half:  3-12 25.0%   Game: 15.8%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  2-4  50.0%   2nd Half:  9-13 69.2%   Game: 64.7%   2,2



Officials: John Clougherty, Joe Lindsey, Doug Sirmons

Technical fouls: FLORIDA-None. ALABAMA-None.


Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total

FLORIDA.......................   27   41  -   68

ALABAMA.......................   20   42  -   62


Points in the paint-UF 26,UA 36. Points off turnovers-UF 11,UA 11.

2nd chance points-UF 5,UA 18. Fast break points-UF 8,UA 4.

Bench points-UF 6,UA 13. Score tied-2 times. Lead changed-5 times.

Last FG-UF 2nd-00:28, UA 2nd-00:04.

Alabama outrebounded UF 43-33, thanks to 18 offensive rebounds, but the Gators countered by locking down the perimeter. Alabama went 3 of 19 from the 3-point line. Earnest Shelton, who hit 8-of-11 3-pointers against Mississippi on Friday, went 0 for 4, and Kennedy Winston went 1 for 8.

That helped Florida survive a scoring drought of 7:33 that began with 3:58 remaining in the first half.

Now the Gators get Kentucky, which they beat 53-52 in Gainesville last Saturday to snap an eight-game series losing streak.

"No [Florida] team has ever gotten here back-to-back and that's exciting," Walsh said. "We've only been here five times in our history. I think it's a testament to how good our team is."

I agree, Matt Walsh. There’s always a focus on the negative and this is a time to focus on the positive.

Go Gators! It’s time to slay the dragon.

13 mar 05 @ 8:28 am est

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Post #5





It gives me great pleasure to print this box score this morning. I just hope I can print another good one this afternoon!



                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

04 Roberts, Lawrence... f  2-8    0-1    4-4    1  4  5   3   8  2  2  0  1  26

21 Power, Shane........ f  1-5    0-3    1-2    1  2  3   2   3  2  3  0  1  22

31 Harper, Ontario..... f  7-12   2-5    0-0    0  2  2   0  16  1  2  0  4  32

11 Ervin, Gary......... g  1-3    1-2    0-0    0  0  0   1   3  3  2  0  0  17

23 Frazier, Winsome.... g  2-7    1-6    1-2    1  1  2   2   6  0  3  0  1  18

01 Rhodes, Charles.....    2-4    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   1   4  0  0  0  0  11

03 Begley, Billy.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1

05 Edmondson, Jamall...    5-7    3-5    1-2    0  0  0   0  14  1  0  0  0  22

12 Cannon, Seth........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

20 Boler, Michael......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

22 Slater, Dietric.....    2-5    1-2    0-0    2  0  2   3   5  3  2  0  0  21

25 Morgan, Wesley......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   1   0  0  0  0  0  12

41 Stelmach, Piotr.....    1-2    1-1    0-0    1  1  2   1   3  0  0  0  0   4

42 Sharpe, Walter......    1-2    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   2  1  0  0  0   8

50 Campbell, Marcus....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

   TEAM................                         2  2  4

   Totals..............   24-56   9-25   7-10   8 18 26  14  64 13 14  0  7 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-26 42.3%   2nd Half: 13-30 43.3%   Game: 42.9%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-10 20.0%   2nd Half:  7-15 46.7%   Game: 36.0%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  5-6  83.3%   2nd Half:  2-4  50.0%   Game: 70.0%    0




                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN

02 Corey Brewer........ f  7-12   3-4    0-0    2  4  6   2  17  3  2  0  3  30

24 David Lee........... f  4-6    0-0    4-4    2  7  9   2  12  4  3  0  2  26

42 Al Horford.......... c  1-2    0-0    4-4    2  2  4   0   6  0  0  2  1  26

01 Anthony Roberson.... g  8-18   3-6    0-0    3  2  5   0  19  2  0  0  0  29

44 Matt Walsh.......... g  5-12   5-10   0-0    0  4  4   3  15  2  5  0  2  32

04 Adrian Moss.........    2-2    0-0    2-2    4  3  7   2   6  1  2  2  0  13

10 Cornelius Ingram....    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2

11 Taurean Green.......    1-4    0-2    0-0    1  1  2   0   2  0  1  0  3  15

12 Lee Humphrey........    1-2    1-2    0-0    0  0  0   1   3  1  0  0  0  12

13 Joakim Noah.........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  0  1  0  0   5

32 Chris Richard.......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   0  1  1  0  1  10

   TEAM................                            2  2

   Totals..............   29-61  12-24  10-10  14 27 41  13  80 14 15  4 12 200


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 17-37 45.9%   2nd Half: 12-24 50.0%   Game: 47.5%  DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-11 54.5%   2nd Half:  6-13 46.2%   Game: 50.0%   REBS

F Throw % 1st Half:  6-6  100 %   2nd Half:  4-4  100 %   Game: 100 %    0



Officials: Gerald Boudreaux, Doug Shows, Bert Smith

Technical fouls: MISSISSIPPI STATE-None. FLORIDA-None.

Attendance: 19938

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total

MISSISSIPPI STATE.............   29   35  -   64

FLORIDA.......................   46   34  -   80


Points in the paint-MSU 18,UF 32. Points off turnovers-MSU 15,UF 20.

2nd chance points-MSU 4,UF 15. Fast break points-MSU 6,UF 12.

Bench points-MSU 28,UF 11. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-0 times.

Last FG-MSU 2nd-01:26, UF 2nd-03:03.

It looks as though Billy has turned things around and the future looks very, very bright again. I L-O-V-E reading reports like this, in the Florida Times-Union:

The Gators’ game plan was to make Roberts uncomfortable by forcing him further away from the basket.

“Lawrence Roberts is a problem for most people,” UF coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought we just did a good job of early post defense of trying not to allow him to catch the ball where he wanted to catch it, and then once he did catch it try to come with quick and hard early double teams. He’s a real hard guy to keep off a double-double. I thought we did a pretty good job in Starkville and he still had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“Collectively, Al Horford and Moss and Chris Richard and the guys that lined up against him did a pretty good job defending against him.”

Especially Horford, who blocked two of Roberts’ shots.

“We were just trying to play hard defensively, make him work for everything,” said Horford, who had six points and four rebounds. “I don’t know if he was frustrated or not, but I know I felt like we did our job.

“We were trying to shut him down. That’s what we did.”


The Gators were tough on both sides, Richard said, which makes them much different than the past several seasons.

“It makes everybody respect us more,” Richard said. “Before [other teams would say], ‘We’re going to get what we want on offense and all we got to do is try to stop them defensively.’

“We play defense now better than we did.”

Hell yeah! And . . . we thank you, Larry Shyatt.

12 mar 05 @ 8:35 am est

Post #4




Not really. But it does look as though we have a window of opportunity to get a greater share of the work. The Orlando Sentinel has the story:

The Orlando subsidiary of a leading video-game maker will probably expand even faster now that the company has changed the way some of its California workers are paid, a company official said Friday.

Electronic Arts Inc.’s Tiburon studio, which had planned to add about 100 jobs a year over the next four years to a staff of 400, could grow more quickly than that as the result of new policies announced this week at its Redwood City, Calif., headquarters.

What policies? Reacting to rule changes, more of their creative professionals will have to be treated as salaried employees and given overtime pay.

Hello, Florida. Read the whole story; it was my understanding that this sort of stuff was being targeted by Arnold Schwartzenegger but it may be beyond his reach.

12 mar 05 @ 8:32 am est

Post #3




This Jacksonville school hasn’t quite knocked ITSELF out yet, but it sure has tried mighty hard:

In a ruling that will keep the doors of Edward Waters College open, a federal judge decided Friday the private Jacksonville college can keep its accreditation while it sues the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The decision answered a key question about the college’s future because it means seniors likely will graduate with accredited degrees and students will keep their federal financial aid. Only students at accredited colleges may receive federal aid.

The EWC story is a sad one and I am very conflicted about it.

12 mar 05 @ 8:31 am est

Post #2




The Gainesville Sun has the news:

Construction of an $85 million building at the University of Florida meant to cultivate breakthroughs in genetics and cancer research hit a mid-point milestone Friday.

University officials joined more than 250 workers on the site for a barbecue lunch in a traditional topping off celebration commemorating the completion of roofs on the two massive structures at North-South Drive and Mowry Road.


The northern-most building rises six stories, the bottom of which will house UF’s forensic investigation unit. A second building to the south of the first is five stories.

The H-shaped structure is expected to become the new home to some of UF’s top genetic and cancer scientists, now spread among numerous colleges and departments, as a way to spur collaboration.

My timing is obviously improving; I had a post regarding this building yesterday.

12 mar 05 @ 8:27 am est

Post #1




Thomas P.M. Barnett smacks down Mr. “Anonymous“ of the CIA:

Oh-oh. Michael Scheuer wants to both take credit for the rendition program of sending terrorist suspects to states we know will torture them and blame any problems all on White House-types like Sandy Berger and Richard Clarke. Scheuer originated the program at the request of the Clinton administration and ran it in its first, formative 40 months.

Man, didn’t both Clarke and Scheuer singlehandedly win the global war on al Qaeda before penning their best sellers describing their stunning exploits and victories? If they start turning on one another, then where will we be?

Scheuer doesn’t want any hounding of CIA personnel over the program. Why? First, the politicians called all the shots. Second, the program was/is a huge success. I mean, it stopped al Qaeda in its tracks and prevented 9/11, right? Third, the CIA was/is only following orders.

If there’s any blame, give it to Clarke, Berger and Clinton, or the current crew, but the CIA is blameless. Take it from Scheuer, because he’s the guy who so successfully ran the agency’s counter-terrorism effort across the 1990s.

It’s really hard to believe what a dumb-ass that Scheuer guy is, and even harder to believe what an important position he had in the CIA. Don’t even get me started on Richard Clarke.

12 mar 05 @ 8:25 am est

Friday, March 11, 2005

Post #3





Recent press release from the Republican National Committee:

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman Announces African-American Advisory Committee

Washington, DC – Republican National Committee Chairman (RNC), Ken Mehlman, today announced the formation of an African-American Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to bring together respected community leaders, who meet regularly with the RNC leadership and provide a sounding board to assist in strategy implementation of the RNC’s outreach efforts in the black community.

“This is an endeavor I take very seriously and I look forward to working with this outstanding group of individuals to share ideas, grow our party and continue to achieve progress for all Americans,” Mehlman said.

The distinguished group represents members of the business, faith and grassroots sector. They include:

Harry C. Alford – National Black Chamber of Commerce (DC)
Renee Amoore – The Amoore Group (PA)
Rev. Vivian Berryhill – National Coalition of Pastor’s Spouses (MS)
The Honorable Kenneth Blackwell – Ohio Secretary of State (OH)
The Honorable Lynette Boggs-McDonald – Nevada Board of Commissioners (NV)
Bishop Keith Butler – Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center (MI)
John Colon – Florida Federation of Black Republicans (FL)
Rep. Jennifer Carroll – Florida State Representative (FL)

Christopher Garrett – Impact Strategies, LLC (DC)
Ed Gillespie – Quinn Gillespie &Associates (DC)
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson – HUD Secretary (DC)
Kay Cole James – Former OPM Director (DC)
Dorsey Miller – Florida Federation of Black Republicans (FL)
Robert Shumake – CEO, Inheritance Investment Group (MI)
The Honorable Michael Steele – Maryland Lieutenant Governor (MD)
Rev. Joe Watkins – Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church (PA)
JC Watts – CEO, The J.C. Watts Companies (DC)
The Honorable Michael Williams – Texas Railroad Commissioner (TX)
Winston Wilkinson – National Committeeman (UT)
Bob Wright – CEO, Deminisions International (VA)

The Advisory Committee will meet monthly with Chairman Ken Mehlman.

It will be interesting to determine if this is a substantive group given to more than simple posturing. One certainly hopes so.

11 mar 05 @ 7:00 pm est

Post #2




Victor Davis Hanson reflects on the quick to panic crowd in America, in full throat posturing just a few short months ago:

Without much appreciation that error is the stuff of war, that by any historical benchmark the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein was nothing short of miraculous, that our ongoing assessments of success and failure changed hourly within the fluid 24-hour newscycle, or that acrimonious hindsight was often used to save face about earlier wrongheaded pronouncements, we continued to tally up the “I told you so’s.”

Then, some perspective:

Lost in all this self-examination and lamentation was any appreciation for the extraordinary things that went right — often against overwhelming odds and in the face of sharp criticism and mistrust. In the past, I have cited the ostracism of Yasser Arafat and the withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia — both controversial at the time — as key events that began to change the calculus of the Middle East in our favor. But there were other developments that are likewise scarcely mentioned today that have made all the difference between sure failure and our present achievement.

We were attacked on September 11. A mere 26 days later on October 7, the United States had already struck back in a fashion that would topple the Taliban in a mere six weeks. Few militaries now or in the past, without any advanced planning and in less than a month, could pull off an invasion of a country of 26 million, and 8,000 miles away.

This can’t be stated enough, apparently, because so many are still working so hard to not see the truth of the matter. And what about the odd argument that this war was either all about oil or weapons of mass destruction, Hanson jabs with the facts:

In the lead-up to Iraq, obtaining Senate approval for the invasion was critical — unlike the situation in Serbia when Bill Clinton neither sought nor obtained congressional sanction. Thus the Senate on its own cited 23 causes of action, well beyond the issue of weapons of mass destruction, and thus established bipartisan agreement on several grounds for removing Saddam.

I’ve been harping on the fact that it is likely true that the United States didn’t want or need the unwilling Europeans or the United Nations heavily involved in Iraq for the simple reason that they would have provided the enemy far more opportunities to screw the damn thing up:

The absence of the U.N. during the elections was positive. However tragic the circumstances of its exit, the United States was free to use its own carrots and sticks leading up to January 30 to ensure successful voting — without Jimmy Carter, the Europeans, or the blue helmets appeasing the forces who wished to destroy democracy. Most international bureaucrats either would have called for full Sunni participation or, in West Bank fashion, assured the world that a coerced election was in fact fair.

And who could forget the breathless opinions from the educated fools, so cocksure that it was Dubya who was the fool:

We also rejected the communis opinio of the CIA and “experts” such as “Anonymous” or Richard Clarke. Instead, the administration rightly listened to a much deeper wisdom promulgated by the likes of Fouad Ajami, Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Amir Taheri. Their correct view was that failed autocrats deflected popular outrage onto Americans in state-censored media, often through a devil’s bargain with Islamicists. The latter were given subsidies or freedom of action to whip up hatred of us — in exchange for keeping their terrorists distant from a royal family, Saddam Hussein, Assad dynasty, Iranian theocracy, or their kindred spirits in the other Arab dictatorships. This larger American embrace of a radical and systematic political solution was the most debated of all the decisions of this warand the most criticalsince democratic reform alone led to the only antidote to the entire Arab cycle of failure.

Imagine that. Hanson also correctly cites other important crossroads, such as:

·        the promotion of good transitional figures like Hamid Karzai and Ayad Allawi,

·        the demolition of the Sadr militia,

·        the determination to retake Fallujah,

·        the trust and confidence given Ayatollah Sistani,

·        the resolve not to postpone the January election,

·        the careful cultivation of the British, Australians, Italians, and Eastern Europeans,

·        and the simultaneous efforts to steer the stalwart Sharon in a fashion that would enhance Palestinian reformers.

Of course, Hanson next notes a curiosity that Democrats and the left-wing will be a long time dealing with:

How odd that conservatives, usually derided for their multicultural insensitivity and blinkered approach to the world abroad, had far more confidence in the Arab street than did liberals at home and Euro elites who patronized Arabs as nice “others” who were “different” rather than oppressed by murderous thugs in the manner of former Russians, Hungarians, Bosnians, and Afghans.

Again – imagine that!

America’s daring, not its support for the familiar — but ultimately unstable and corrupt — status quo, explains why less than three years after September 11, the Middle East is a world away from where it was on the first day of the war. And that is a very good thing indeed.

Even if George W. Bush drops dead tomorrow, he goes down in history as one of our greatest Presidents. That’s a hell of an accomplishment for which he deserves tremendous praise.

11 mar 05 @ 6:58 pm est

Post #1




Of course, Palm Beach County is the focus:

First, the problem was a lack of land to accommodate the huge biotech industry predicted for Palm Beach County with the arrival of The Scripps Research Institute.

Now that Scripps has pledged its future to Mecca Farms, the problem may be entirely different. The Briger parcel, the Florida Research Park, and the Vavrus Ranch are on track to become biotechnology research parks, too.

That could either propel Palm Beach County into the ranks of the largest centers for biotechnology in the world, or put taxpayers’ investment in Mecca Farms at greater risk.

In all, nearly 9,000 acres of land could be labeled “research park” in northern Palm Beach County, if landowners and elected officials follow through on plans now in the works.

That’s in addition to Pratt & Whitney, and several other large industrial tracts already striving to find commercial tenants.

By comparison, the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina — the model Palm Beach County hoped to achieve — is about 7,000 acres.

Have no doubt: they will get that “problem” figured out – if it’s a genuine problem at all. In Gainesville, however, the University of Florida has its own big-time plans and is nearing completion (in the Spring of 2006) of this building:

 New Cancer Research & Biotech Bldg.

What is it? The University of Florida Genetics and Cancer Research Center/Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, Gainesville.

• Budget: $85 million.
• Size: 350,000 ft.
• Completion date: Spring 2006.
• Description: This facility will house research, training, and administrative operations of the University of Florida Genetics Institute and Shands Cancer Research Center. It will also be the home of the UF-based Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, a statewide resource serving more than 800 scientists with lab services such as DNA and genome sequencing and genetic analysis. Features include a biotechnology lab pavilion, a rooftop greenhouse, a vivarium, and the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, a forensics facility.

Governor Bush has made this (biotechnology) a point of emphasis in the state and challenged different components within the state to push forward. At U.F., these challenges will be met through the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research (ICBR) on the University of Florida campus, the Sid Martin Biotechnology Development Incubator (BDI) adjacent to Progress Corporate Park in Alachua, and the newly launched Center of Excellence for Regenerative Health Biotechnology (CERHB). Collectively, they have been given a mandate to . . .

•Energize and strengthen all aspects of molecular life science research;

•Teach Biotechnology theory, techniques, and applications;

•Champion the growth and development of Biotechnology throughout the State University System;

•Facilitate the transfer of Biotechnology from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Science-wise, things are getting ready to really jump in the Sunshine State.

11 mar 05 @ 1:52 pm est

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Post #3




Peter Schramm of No Left Turns recently posted a curious “shout out” of sorts to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina:

No Lincoln Day dinners in So. Carolina

I just heard this on CNN. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said this: “We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina. It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things.” Usually this stuff isn’t charming, but this one is.

Post by Peter Schramm
 |  Link to this Entry  | 3/8/2005  4:29 PM

In the comments to the post, I’ve made two responses. First, I asked:

Did you say charming? Forgive me, but I fail to grasp the charm in that statement.

Needless to say, the post generated the kind of response you might have expected (and is that why it was posted in the first place?). North versus South stuff; white Southerners writing in as if white Southerners ARE the very definition of Southerner (and yes, that is where I fault Senator Lindsey Graham – last I checked, his constituency is at least one-third African American). So . . . my second entry (but first, the post immediately preceding it):

Comment 16 by Edward Crenshaw

One last thought -- who do you suppose is holding this country together at this point...blue or red America? Most of the political pressure to 1) protect individual rights, 2) reduce the size/burden of government, and 3) maintain our traditions (e.g., religion) comes from the Southern and Western states. If were up to the political descendents of “Father Abraham” we’d all be living in “Europe Lite” by this time. The Civil War has never ended.

Link to this Comment  | 3/10/2005  1:22 PM

And my weary (you do get tired of having to make these obvious factual statement but anything associated with race relations remains a minefield) response to a post that should not have been posted:

Comment 17 by RattlerGator [E-Mail]

Edward, Edward, Edward -- chill pill, man. For the record, a question: “Why would anyone expect any Southerner to celebrate Lincoln?” You mean WHITE Southerner, don’t you? Still, I know many that do -- right along with justified celebration of Robert E. Lee. I know Lincoln the man had warts, and was likely complicated. Who among us doesn’t suffer from such a condition, and who isn’t afflicted with curious contradictions? I know that white Southerners have been unfairly scapegoated regarding racism. I know that racism is not contained within regional boundaries, nor even cultural or racial ones. I also know we live in an interesting time of transformation -- racially, culturally, and economically. Still, there’s nothing charming or slightly humorous about the intransigence that remains in South Carolina (my wife’s home state) and across much of the Southland. And what of those Red State patriots presently serving in our military and defending this nation so well? A healthy number of them are non-white, of course. I’m surprised (and disappointed -- but not offended) to see it noted here so approvingly.

Link to this Comment  | 3/10/2005  1:55 PM

There you have it. Your friendly Buffalo Soldier signing off . . . for now.

10 mar 05 @ 2:42 pm est

Post #2



If you’re in the Tallahassee area March 18-20, come on up to The Hill and check out the Artists in Bloom Festival 2005:

 Artists in Bloom at Florida A&M

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will be hosting its third annual Artists in Bloom Festival (ABF) on March 18th – 20th 2005. The mission of the ABF is three-fold: To celebrate the arts, promote literacy, and encourage healthy living.

The ABF acts as an Open House invitation for one and all to visit our campus. At this “open house” we will be displaying the talents and skills of local (FAMU, Tallahassee and surrounding areas) artists but will also invite artists with state, regional, national, and international reputations.

Valencia Matthews, coordinator for the event, said “Our philosophy is that Art, in its broadest definition, is a principle related to all human creativity and production and the work of all skilled labor. Every human being is an artist in some fashion, because everyone is skilled at some form of creativity or production. As such, we seek to involve every facet of our university community in this festival and we depend upon their subsequent outreach to the larger world off-campus to bring in a variety of artists and artisans. We’ve found that this model works and makes for a very good and unique festival.”

10 mar 05 @ 1:33 pm est

Post #1





Hang in there with me as I try a different look or two over the next few days.

10 mar 05 @ 8:26 am est

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Post #1



Gerard Van Der Leuen says we shall know our long racial nightmare is over when . . . we see this:

Johnny Depp as Malcolm X

Good one. Damn good one.

Actually, I think we will know our long racial nightmare is over when African Americans born and raised in this country and here since slavery days increasingly see more and more of THIS:

When the Miramar three got elected, other immigrant groups and political watchers took notice.

Caribbean-American leaders hoped that one or all of them could be part of a farm team groomed for higher office.

And some Broward's Jamaicans felt, politically speaking, they had arrived -- at least on the local level.

Jamaican-Americans also hold local office -- but not majorities -- in Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill and Southwest Ranches.

In Miramar, a city of 100,000, not one race or ethnic group -- including whites, Hispanics, American black and West Indians -- can claim the majority of the population. West Indians make up about 25 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census.

Jamaican-Americans? Caribbean-Americans? One thing I can unequivocally state – it is an incredible struggle to get black people from cultures outside of the United States to identify with or even appreciate the struggles of African Americans in this country.

They have no problems, mind you, taking advantage of programs ostensibly set up to alleviate the remnants of discrimination suffered by black folks in this country. No, no, no. But these folks are quick to see the worst in African Americans and quickly remind you that they are Haitian, they are Jamaican, they are Dominican, they are Trinidadian – anything but African Americans. Unless you’re talking about a governmental program, of course.

This is yet another reason why Florida is THE bellwether state in America. Because the ultimate conflict in this country, race, has not been confronted in California, Texas or New York as it is about to be confronted in Florida.

Black folks in the Deep South are the heart and soul of African America. Not Harlem or anywhere else. Certainly not that Southern City that tries so hard to not be a Southern City, Washington, D.C. And make no mistake about it, Miami is in the Deep South.

Because of what I see developing in Florida – it’s becoming more and more self-evident to me that these categories are going to have to go away vis-à-vis governmental program awards.

How it occurs, and how fast it occurs is all that remains to be determined. I suspect it will be sooner rather than later. And Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s speculation about a 25-year period is at the end of the spectrum, not the beginning or the middle.

8 mar 05 @ 11:50 am est

Monday, March 7, 2005

Post #4



Mighty Kentucky has finally been shown (again) that they can’t just come strolling down Alligator Alley – these Gators have sharp teeth and a big man named Horford who is going to be an impact player in the SEC!
Horford Rules the Paint!

Of course, Roberson ain’t chopped liver either.

Roberson scores!

David Lee goes out a winner against the Wildcats and the Gators head into both tournaments looking good and primed for the future. Let the madness begin!

7 mar 05 @ 8:56 pm est

Post #3




Social Security is never going to be as good of a deal for today’s young people as it was for their grandparents, or even their parents. With people living longer, and fewer younger people having been born to pay into the system, the demographics just won’t allow it, and we’re coming up fast on a time when there simply won’t be enough money available to pay out like we’ve been paying out for the last several decades.

The time is going to come--and we can argue about when this will be, but it is going to happen one day--when we can’t keep the old promises any more without either cutting benefits, or having a huge tax increase, or realistically, doing both. That’s a pretty rotten thing to do to people who’re paying money out of their paychecks every day to support the current system, and reasonably enough think they ought to get a decent return on their money.

What private accounts can do, but the pay-as-you-go system can’t, is grow the pot of money available for people to retire on. The government can’t grow money, all we can do is tax or borrow, but the market can. With a private account that’ll grow for the next 35 years, a 30-year-old will have a cushion against the benefit cuts that will have to happen at some point in their lives--not tomorrow, not next year, but someday--to keep the government from going broke and their taxes from growing to Swedenesque levels.

We can’t tax ourselves out of this problem. There aren’t going to be enough people to tax. But we can use time and the market to give people a fair shake. We just have to start now, or the situation is only going to get worse.

Works for me. Don’t miss James Lilek’s take on a new moral equivocation associated with the “Social Security is A.O.K.” crowd. Here, he quotes from an article in the paper he writes for, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune – “Deciphering the ‘Crisis’ Code” – but the story is unavailable online without registration/subscription:

[quoting the article] “The no-crisis school believes the emphasis on workers per retiree neglects an important factor. The workers in the 1960s were supporting fewer retirees but many more children.

“Dean Baker of the Washington-based
Center for Economic Policy Research calculates that the ratio of all workers to all dependents – including children, retirees and adults who don’t work for wages – is close to highest it has ever been. This so-called ‘total dependency,’ approach covers a multitude of unknowables, such as the cost to a worker of supporting a child vs. a Social Security beneficiary.

“‘But if you’re looking at the strain on today’s workers of paying to support the nonworking population, it’s much lower than it used to be,’ said Baker, author of ‘Social Security: the Phony Crisis.”

[Lileks] Wow. Wow. Get it? They’ve just made the costs of raising your own kids and the taxes paid to support “adults who don’t work for wages” morally equivalent, part of your general responsibility as a citizen. Apparently your obligation to fund the sunset years of Theoretical Gramps is ethically indistinguishable from your obligation to the kid across from the dinner table with your chin and last name.

If the latter is the case, it’s nice they’re out in the open about it all, no? They believe that the obligation to tend for your family is indistinguishable from your obligation to keep Theo. Gramps in meds and bingo chits. But it’s not. I have a greater obligation to my family than to strangers. Note the clumsy attempt to equate retirees with all welfare recipients – “dependents” becomes your kids, someone’s gramps, and adults who don’t work. All equal, presumably, in their claims on your pocketbook.

This is the lamest argument I’ve heard for the do-nothing-ever-nowhere-anytime approach that seems to characterize the opposition these days, but at least it tells you where some opponents of private accounts reside. It’s not Social Security they love, I suspect, it’s what it represents. It’s not socialism as they’d like, but it’s all we’ve got. In their vision of society, all obligations to one another are equal – at least that’s the presumption from which their ideas flow. You’re permitted to take of your own first - as long as you understand that this bond doesn’t have any real ideological basis for its special status. It’s a privilege we keep around until it withers on the vine.

Do I have an obligation to others? Of course. But I would prefer the freedom to express it as I see fit, thank you.

This social security debate is going to be one very interesting and educational battle royale. Lileks casts the debate within the “freedom” context and I assume the President is holding back his ace (the “it’s your money” angle) for later. People have forgotten that social security is funded through a grant from the people known as the payroll tax. Because the purpose of the program is personal AND social, I have a feeling Dubya will pull the debate back to its origination as a grant from the people AND THEN engage in a full-throttle focus on its personal nature – because the Democrats only know how to discuss its social nature. That will likely be their fatal flaw.

7 mar 05 @ 8:52 pm est

Post #2



Jim Geraghty, in part quoting the Ace of Spades blog, highlights a recent discussion among editors of liberal publications. When Vanden Heuvel blames the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for the tarring of the word “liberal,” Geraghty says hold on a minute there, sister:

There’s a problem here – when you insist that the reason liberalism is disliked is solely because of an “assault by the right wing,” you overlook the fact that the right-wing argument is resonating with a certain segment of the non-right-wing public. This argument assumes that those non-right-wing voters are a bunch of weak-minded fools, somehow easily influenced by the right but oddly deaf to the arguments of the left.

Right. And because it requires that assumption, the Democrats suffer from the widespread belief that the American electorate is stupid. Don’t dare question their patriotism, however, or call them arrogant. But how can you not when you reflect on this pre-Afghanistan scenario:

In a radio debate (actually, not much of a debate at all) between Katha Politt and the once-relevant Andrew Sullivan shortly before the invasion of Afghanistan, Sullivan repeatedly asked Politt if she didn’t support an invasion and explusion of the Taliban, but also agreed that “something should be done,” what, on earth, was she suggesting that “something” be? And she continuously dodged the question.

Actually, she kept answering she wanted Option C: the option where there is no invasion or military action (or even sanctions!) and yet the Taliban agrees to not only turn over all Al Qaeda suspects within the areas it controls but also peaceably departs to start a new organizational life as traveling hookah merchants.

I don’t remember any such “Option C” being readily available in October 2001.

And the left continues to choose Option C on Iraq. Given that the French and Russians (and to a lesser extent, the Chinese and Germans) were Saddam’s patrons and protectors (and business partners), we had only two options.

Option A: defy the wishes of the pro-Saddam coalition of the unwilling; destroy a corrupt and brutal regime, freeing millions, but with limited support, and at the expense of alienating world opinion and bearing most of the costs of war ourselves.

Option B: join with the coalition of the unwilling, united in opinion, and speak with a single voice, telling Saddam “You can pretty much keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll do absolutely nothing at all about it.”

It’s been two years since the process which led us to war in Iraq began, and the left keeps refusing to answer the question.

They still want that [expletive] Option C, and they’re not going to shut up about Option C until the sun flickers and fades and the earth freezes into a gray and lifeless rock.

That’s my experience as well. It’s hard to find Democrats now who admit to opposing the action in Afghanistan – though many of them did. They will argue with you for hours and hours based on false pie-in-the-sky premises divorced from any known reality in the developing world. They will go on and on about abuses at Abu Ghraib while knowing that greater injustices are committed EVERY DAY in prisons throughout the Arab world. Yet, I’m supposed to believe Abu Ghraib was some great crime?

So sorry, but that ain’t gonna cut it. I don’t believe in the fantasy existence Option C and unfortunately for Democrats, that’s all they seem to have.

7 mar 05 @ 8:48 pm est

Post #1



No Left Turns has a good post up that I reproduce in full below:

The Democratic Party’s dilemma

This New York Times article is not especially good, but it cannot hide the fact that there is a growing rift among Black church leaders: More and more have become Bush and GOP supporters. Democrats are realizing this and are, in my humble opinion, in a near panic over it. Clarence Page (not a Republican) reflects on all this and says he is happy to be wooed by both parties. Both articles, interestingly enough, make reference to Bush’s faith based initiative as a “new form of patronage,” (for Blacks, I presume). There is much political significance to all this, and I prophesize that the GOP will pick up more and more black voters in the next many election cycles. I don’t think that moving from 8% support to 11% among Blacks for the GOP is what scared the Dems. What shook them is that Bush got about 16% of the Black vote in Ohio (and 13% in Florida), and the fact that Blacks are ever more publicly questioning their past absolute support for the Dems by noting the appeal of the GOP based on some principle.

Blacks are not the only group within the Democratic Party that is being picked off by the GOP, of course, but this group has a greater moral and symbolic value than any other. The Demos can’t find a way to keep their factionalized Party together at a time--even more so now than in Van Buren’s time--when there has been a GOP call for a national and principled view of the Republican Party for many decades. In short, the Democratic Party, born of a need to give formal voice for the people in a way that is disciplined in a party (rather than upholding a constitutional and principled view) that acted as an intermediary between government and society, can no longer be held together as it once was. For example, FDR’s emphasis of programmatic rights and entitlements and the federal government acting as the guarantor of social and economic welfare meant that he used the Democratic Party to support the centralized welfare state, and each part of the Party would benefit. That arrangement was thought to be permanent by the Demos (and most Republicans during the last century).

The Democratic Party was useful to 20th century Progressives and Liberals as long as it supported the progress of Progressive democracy (Croly’s term); the older form of patronage was petty compared to what the new Democratic Party wrought. But this could only last as long as the older constitutional view of a political party did not reassert itself. Well, it has reasserted itself both in theory and in practice, and now the Democrats can’t figure out what holds them together as a party. The loss of those vital links is especially painful for them because they had thought--from FDR on--that those links were permanent. It should not surprise us that the debate over Social Security reform, moral issues, and the needed principled clarification of what America stands for in a post 9/11 universe, is causing havoc within the Democratic Party. And the slow but certain movement of Blacks away from the Demos, reveals the heart of the problem.

I couldn’t have said it better.

7 mar 05 @ 8:39 pm est

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Post #2



Because our entire formal structure in this country is geared towards Europe, Mark Steyn’s perceptive sayonara to the centrality of Europe in American foreign policy generated some understandable blowback. But the man was unquestionably right and one of the Asian readers of Belgravia Dispatch takes pains to remind Gregory Djerejian of the big, wide world beyond the borders of Europe. This administration has done such an incredibly good job that our pathological focus on Europe has obscured the fact. Nevertheless, folks are noticing:

Sanjay Krishnaswamy writes in:

While I love the items on your scorecard--and who couldn't be thrilled? (Don't answer that; I know)--I think you're way under tally. The simple fact is that while the administration has achieved great things in the Middle East, despite its naysayers, I still am actually more impressed with Bush/Powell/Rice's maneuvering in Asia, and that too has borne a lot of fruit in the last month. I think that Japan's agreeing to militarily support the US in defending Taiwan against China is-- well, intellectually it is as amazing as elections in the Middle East, even if it's not as thrilling. And I think Bush decided early on to handle North Korea (which, let's not forget, may be the biggest problem in the world) by starting to build a sort of new Asian security group--and that paid big dividends too last month. I still think that the biggest foreign policy miracle of this administration is the simultaneous improvement of relations with Pakistan, India, China and Japan --- so much so that those last three were actively pulling for Mr. Bush's re-election. It's not to downplay the amazing stuff in the Middle East; only your scorecard has to look at global success stories and there've been no small number this past month outside of the Arab world.

Score another one for Mark Steyn and our 21st Century future as well as the high-performing Bush Administration – including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

6 mar 05 @ 6:23 pm est

Post #1



Jason Van Steenwyk links to a Tom Philpot article in Stars and Stripes on the 41% reduction in African American enlistments into the United States Army since 2000. Van Steenwyk adds:

And why is it blacks don't feel like they're part of this war, too?

That's a huge problem.

But you know what?

I think that's as much a problem for the leadership of the black community to solve as for George Bush.

I agree. There has been a relentless attack in the black community on the policies of this administration. As usual, we will lose out as a result. What do you want to bet that most all of the shortfall in black enlistments has been replaced by Hispanic enlistments?

No single factor explains the drop, Rochelle said, but clearly the propensity of black youth to enlist is impacted by the war and increasingly by views of parents, teachers, coaches, clergy and other “influencers.”

No – it’s popular culture. It’s Chris Rock making a joke about not fighting any damn body, even if they’re rolling down Madison Avenue. At least, that’s the way I remember the joke. And it wasn’t funny to me. Also, the pussification in this country has affected black folks, too. Except we are more easily fooled by it and affected by it.

6 mar 05 @ 3:07 pm est

Saturday, March 5, 2005

Post #3



This “neoconservative journal” is on its last legs. Brooks writes a fitting tribute, highlighting their ahead of the curve focus on returning to the basics. First, addressing our schools:

To the extent that schools could change things, it was the ethos of the school that was crucial: Are expectations high? Is there a nurturing - and disciplined - culture?

It occurred to several of the editors that they had accepted a simplistic view of human nature. They had thought of humans as economically motivated rational actors, who would respond in relatively straightforward ways to incentives. In fact, what really matters, they decided, is culture, ethos, character and morality.

But this wasn’t true just for schools:

Human beings, or governments, are not black boxes engaged in a competition of interests. What matters most is the character of the individual, the character of the community and the character of government. When designing policies, it’s most important to get them to complement, not undermine, people’s permanent moral aspirations - the longing for freedom, faith and family happiness.

Culture, ethos, character and morality – these are likely the primary ingredients in our continuing search for freedom, faith and family happiness. That’s a good column from David Brooks and an important historical marker. It makes me reflect on how arrogant an individual or a culture must be to presuppose an end to history and it also demonstrates another limit to human reason.

5 mar 05 @ 8:50 pm est

Post #2



Mickey Kaus, in a March 2nd post on the ridiculous “story” at Harvard on Jada Pinkett Smith versus the transgendered crowd, makes this important point:

Part of being a minority in a democratic society with a clear majority is that you don't find yourself validated and celebrated all the time everywhere, no?

Exactly. The attempted pussification of America, however, has obscured this basic fact. And at this very moment I can’t help but think of the Robin Burk post at Winds of Change that I commented on earlier this week. To my knowledge, she hasn’t engaged my question and neither has Joe Katzman, at least not directly.

5 mar 05 @ 10:39 am est

Post #1



The interpretation of the latest New York Times poll is the subject:

What's the pro-Bush number in the latest NYT poll story--"New Poll Finds Americans Actually Despise President They Just Re-Elected," or something like that--that Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder don't tell their readers about?  You know it's there somewhere! Answer: Bush's approval rating for "handling the campaign against terrorism." 61% approve; 38% disapprove. ... That's a 10 point net gain in a little over a month. ... P.S.: Matthew Yglesias says "the poll doesn't find much support for the notion that a dash to the right on cultural issues is the way out" for Democrats. I'm not so sure. What percent of respondents thought gay couples "should be allowed to legally marry"? Answer: 23%, virtually unchanged from March, 2004. Whether or not gay marriage is right, those numbers don't say "winning issue" to me. Why doesn't the Times ask voters, in its loaded way:


Do you have confidence in the Democratic Party's ability to make the right decisions about the legal status of gay couples, or are you uneasy about its approach?


I bet the answers would skew at least 60% for the second option. ("Uneasy" is the biasing word here. It's easy to be "uneasy!" Even about people you strongly support. Has the NYT never heard of anxiety?) 2:04 A.M.

More and more people are on to this game and are COMPLETELY uninfluenced by it. I think the Democrats are being set up for another sucker punch by the “misunderestimated one” on the Social Security tour, too.

The “negative” trend so hyped on this issue in the last few days seems to reflect “anxiety” to me for a populace ready to be convinced that their ACTION President is on the right track yet again. Sixty stops in sixty days. As Bishop T.D. Jakes might say – get ready, get ready, get ready!!!

5 mar 05 @ 9:40 am est

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Post #4



Mark Steyn in the British Spectator remembers the “hope for American failure” crowd of just a few months ago and how they are handling things now:

The other day in the Guardian Martin Kettle wrote: ‘The war was a reckless, provocative, dangerous, lawless piece of unilateral arrogance. But it has nevertheless brought forth a desirable outcome which would not have been achieved at all, or so quickly, by the means that the critics advocated, right though they were in most respects.’

Very big of you, pal. And I guess that’s as close to a mea culpa as we’re going to get: even though Bush got everything wrong, it turned out right. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? In a few years’ time, they’ll have it down pat — just like they have with Eastern Europe. Oh, the Soviet bloc [the Middle East thugocracies] was bound to collapse anyway. Nothing to do with that simpleton Ronnie Raygun [Chimpy Bushitler]. In fact, all Raygun [Chimpy] did was delay the inevitable with his ridiculous arms build-up [illegal unprovoked Halliburton oil-grab], as many of us argued at the time: see my 1984 column ‘Yuri Andropov, The Young, Smart, Sexy New Face Of Soviet Communism’ [see the April 2004 Spectator column ‘Things Were Better Under Saddam: The coalition has destroyed Baathism, says Rod Liddle, and with it all hopes of the emergence of secular democracy’ — and yes, that really ran in these pages, on 17 April, not 1 April.]

Incredible. It sure reads like some kind of April Fool’s joke. Then again, so many of these folks are all talk and no action. For instance, Steyn writes:

The other day I found myself, for the umpteenth time, driving in Vermont behind a Kerry/Edwards supporter whose vehicle also bore the slogan ‘FREE TIBET’. It must be great to be the guy with the printing contract for the ‘FREE TIBET’ stickers. Not so good to be the guy back in Tibet wondering when the freeing thereof will actually get under way. For a while, my otherwise not terribly political wife got extremely irritated by these stickers, demanding to know at a pancake breakfast at the local church what precisely some harmless hippy-dippy old neighbour of ours meant by the slogan he’d been proudly displaying decade in, decade out: ‘But what exactly are you doing to free Tibet?’ she demanded. ‘You’re not doing anything, are you?’ ‘Give the guy a break,’ I said back home. ‘He’s advertising his moral virtue, not calling for action. If Rumsfeld were to say, “Free Tibet? Jiminy, what a swell idea! The Third Infantry Division go in on Thursday”, the bumper-sticker crowd would be aghast.’

True dat.

3 mar 05 @ 10:49 pm est

Post #3



Wretchard the Cat discusses a debate between Victor Davis Hanson and Dartmouth Professor Ronald Edsforth on the War in Iraq, quoting Hanson and then asking a philosophical question in response to the debate:

“Human nature is set,” he [Victor Davis Hanson] said—it was “primordial, reptilian,” adding that man is always “governed by pride and fear and envy.” He cited Thucydides, who wrote that his works would remain valid through the ages precisely because human nature is unchanging. “We have not reached the end of history.”

[Wretchard’s comment:] It is well that we have not, as Dr. Hanson put it, “reached the end of history”. While man struggles on, his final chapter is postponed for yet a little longer. Man may be reptilian, yet the snake was always destined to be crushed beneath his heel; pride and envy may rule yet always be at war with man’s better nature. The more interesting philosophical question is whether we could abolish war without abolishing ourselves. The possibility of heaven is purchased at the risk of hell and the gift of fire balanced by the danger that we should set ourselves ablaze. The Leftist impulse is at heart a longing to be rid of the burden of freedom. What was the dreamed-of Worker’s Paradise except the same old places repopulated by the New Soviet Man?

1) Pride, fear and envy. I’ll have to remember that; 2) To be rid of the burden of freedom – that immediately has the ring of truth.

3 mar 05 @ 10:19 pm est

Post #2



Robin Burk at Winds of Change has posted an interesting topic expressing a political concern she has that I’ve somewhat taken issue with in the comments to the thread. Her concern centers on Evangelical Protestants dancing too closely to the slippery slope of conflating God, their particular faith tradition, and their particular brand of conservatism as “the” guiding lights in 21st Century American politics. At least, that’s my interpretation of her concern. Read the piece for yourself; it’s a good question. She raises it in response to a post by blogger Matt Margolis about an upcoming conference referenced in this February 28th post by Hugh Hewitt:

GodBlogCon I is now on for October 13-15, 2005, on the campus of Biola University in La Mirada, California, under the guidance of Dr. John Mark Reynolds.  Very good news indeed. I’ll post more info as it becomes available, but save the dates. 

In order to understand my response below you’ll have to read Robin’s initial post at the very least, but here is my second comment in the thread:


You said, “it’s natural for those who sincerely hold Christian beliefs to lay claim to the name of God when discussing their activities as Christians.

Keep that in mind when you read the next paragraph”

And I assure you that I understood you the first time and did, in fact, keep that modification in mind. That was the very reason for my response, in fact. Unfortunately, it seems to me that you’ve given a detailed response but not addressed “what I don’t get.” Do you or do you not suspect the discomfort you feel is based on the perceived majoritarian ascendance of evangelicals?

You seem to place great weight on a bifurcation of 1) activities undertaken as Christians, and 2) activities undertaken in the political sphere. In fact, you state “I moved that question to the political sphere because I do see signs that many evangelical Christians, in particular, see themselves as being the core and/or the main part of the conservative movement - and blur the religious and political spheres.”

It occurs to me, however, that an evangelical will not make that bifurcation and you seem to want to deny said evangelicals that viewpoint. That’s the extremely curious thing to me. That non-bifurcation viewpoint is likely central to their understanding of their personal faith yet there is expressed in this thread “discomfort” with evangelicals organizing accordingly.

“And that’s exactly why I am cautious about making too explicit a link between one such tradition and political events.” Fine, Robin -- from the outside keep that caution. Who would begrudge you that right? It likely will prove to be a good counterbalance. However, all politics reduces down to multiple coalitions of the willing. And from within, evangelicals (as one part of the coalition) must consider it mighty strange indeed that a discomfort from outside their faith tradition but inside the political coalition, and based on a bifurcation of faith and politics that they likely don’t ascribe to, should require a change in naming protocols so that non-evangelicals in the coalition won’t be made to feel discomfort.

Respect their faith -- that is my point. “But is it wise not to hear the concerns that Matt and I, in different ways, raise?” Of course not. I’m simply requesting (and it seems entirely reasonable to me) that you and Matt consider the possibility that your concerns first and foremost require further personal introspection.

“My theological concerns are not lightly adopted or stated casually.” Of that I have no doubt. All the more reason, it seems to me, for my question. Because in this one quote:

“At least in its current nascent form, it appears that it’s really pretty much just EvangelicalProtestantBlogCon. A perfectly fine and good thing to have. But maybe under some other name than the one being advertised.”

I think you betray the need for further personal introspection. Pretty much just? Evangelical Protestants, I’m fairly certain, have a personal relationship with God and to them and many others your initial question, “Who owns God in politics and the blogosphere?” no doubt seems inapposite.

We all own God. Including Evangelical Protestants. So there is no “pretty much just,” right?

This seems so straightforward to me but I suspect others will not view it the same.

3 mar 05 @ 12:57 pm est

Post #1



From the Chair of the Journalism Department in the J-School at U.F., William McKeen:

“Dude!” It’s an old friend. Though we haven’t spoken in years, I know his voice instantly. He’s a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. “Hunter’s dead. He killed himself tonight.” Pause. “I thought you’d want to hear it from a friend.” Then he’s all business, asking me about Hunter Thompson and his place in American culture and journalism history. I shake off my grogginess and bark a few words of benediction and semischolarly wisdom into the phone.

McKeen, it turns out, wrote one book on the man and helped him with a literary anthology but admits he knows little about the man. This one line from his column, “Thompson was his own worst enemy because he fed that caricature,” seems to capture the essence of what I’ve read in the aftermath of his death.

In that sense, I guess we can safely say not only that he was niggerized but that he was self-niggerized. A Southern boy, naturally (Louisville, Kentucky). Didn’t finish high school, taught himself to professionally write in his own unique way. McKeen gives a curious insight on Thompson, or so it seems to me:

He rode with the Angels for a year, got stomped by them when they demanded a piece of the book profits, and had his first national exposure, as that lunatic reporter who went on the road with those outlaws.

He had a lot in common with them. He called himself an outlaw journalist because he didn’t follow the same rules as everyone else. His journalism was usually about journalism: No matter what he started off writing about, he ended up writing about Hunter Thompson trying to cover a story.

No, I think he called himself an outlaw journalist because he was an insecure outsider, a perpetually insecure outsider . . . and excessively narcissistic. Consider this McKeen quote:

Thompson told me this in one of our interviews: “As a journalist, I somehow managed to break most of the rules and still succeed. It’s a hard thing for most of today’s journeymen journalists to understand, but only because they can’t do it. . . . I am a journalist, and I’ve never met, as a group, any tribe I’d rather be part of or that are more fun to be with - in spite of the various punks and sycophants of the press. I’m proud to be part of the tribe.”

Yeah, I bet. Few other "tribes" allow you to create your own universe so easily. But there’s this little thing about your history that follows you around:

Thompson became estranged from Louisville for many years after his arrest in 1959 on a robbery charge while a high school senior. Given the choice of going to jail or joining the military, Thompson enlisted in the Air Force and earned his diploma while there.

But for the real clue that this self-niggerizer was forever battling with, and insecure about, his youth is this quote:

Lewis Mathis of Shelbyville met Thompson when both were teenagers. Mathis said Thompson showed some signs of the person who would later become famous.

“He was a likable guy, but he was liable to say anything to anybody,” said Mathis, who is now a lawyer. “I was afraid he would get me in trouble.”

And don’t think for a second that Hunter didn’t sense that, know that. Nevertheless, he subsequently had a damn good ride, no doubt about that. He surely wrote extremely well although I have no recollection of reading any of his material. However, if James Lileks gives him props . . . , well – that’s good enough for me.

McKeen went on to note Thompson’s irresponsible death fantasy and concludes by writing, “I may know a lot about Hunter Thompson, but I don’t know why he did this.”

Well, I suspect that McKeen does know why he did this. He probably knows that Thompson realized a bit late in life that he was part of a minstrel show of his own making. The self-niggerizer slowly but surely became self-aware . . . and it was simply too much for the irresponsible control freak who never matured.

Yes, yes, yes -- I’m guessing he’s a control freak just like I’m guessing about all of this. I didn’t know him. Hell, the author of a book about him says he knows a lot ABOUT him but doesn’t admit to KNOWING him. So my opinion, it seems to me, is as good as any.

And my conclusion is this: true to form, the man saw that the jig was up but this narcissist had to be the center of attention one more time, even if in the most gruesome and inconsiderate way possible. Therefore, his friends and acquaintances should not blink when they stare into the abyss of Hunter S. Thompson: his ending was a case of nihilistic sickness, pure and simple.

3 mar 05 @ 12:55 pm est

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Post #4



Jason Van Steenwyk spots a conundrum for the Democrats based on a February press release from Congressman Dennis Kucinich:

“Social Security benefits have increased over the years because they long have been calculated to wage increases, which on the average go up 3.6% a year. So Social Security benefits increase with rising wages. The Administration wants to change all that. They want to index Social Security benefits based on a price index, not wages.

Understandably (given this press release), Jason has a simple question for the Democrats:

Ok, the Democrats and Naderites have been arguing for an entire generation - since Reagan took office, at least -- that “real wages have remained stagnant.”

If real wages have, indeed, remained stagnant or fallen, thaen it would follow that indexing Social Security to prices, rather than wages, would actually increase benefits, not reduce them. Real wages cannot be stagnant if
prices do not increase as fast as wages. Both statements are mutually exclusive of one another.

So, are the Democrats lying now? Or have they only been lying to us for the last 25 years? Which is it?

I think we know that answer. THEY WERE LYING BACK THEN. We also know we’re still waiting for some Democratic honesty on the Social Security question. The program has deviated from its historical roots AND the program is not viable as presently constituted; those are two known facts.

2 mar 05 @ 9:54 pm est

Post #3



From Pejman Yousefzadeh, yesterday:

Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.

--Le Comte de Buffon

The man, Georges-Louis Leclerc, is the cause of an interesting historical footnote that I immediately wondered about when I saw the name:

He was created Comte de Buffon in 1773. His tendency to be wrong led to his name's being turned into an derogatory noun. He died in Paris 1788.

Nevertheless, he was obviously a great thinker in his time and this quote from Pejman is right on the money.

2 mar 05 @ 1:20 pm est

Post #2



How can you lose when you have Arthur Chrenkoff interviewing Victor Davis Hanson? Answer: you can’t. Here are the two snippets I most want to share. First, on the subject of America and Europe:

Look, the more we talk about past “shared values” and a once “common heritage,” the more we know the present problem: a postmodern Europe doesn’t want to spend any money on defense, and is furious that the US doesn’t follow its multilateral lead in a policy that could be described as moral sanctimoniousness while millions die and the West totters—whether that is a matter of Milosveric, Darfur, the Taliban, or Saddam.

So we are on to them at last; here is the rule regarding these strange folk who peddle weapons to communist China, whitewash Hizbollah, fund Hamas, and looted Iraq: the degree to which Europe is amoral by either its commission or negligence is directly proportional to the degree we see in its media and state spokesmen moral posturing and invective against the United States.

So... we sit tight, praise them, and keep our powder dry, looking to see the fallow out from Islamicism on their shores, and whether they curb anti-Semitism, get their birthrates up, rearm and make a real alliance, avoid antagonizing a surrounded Russia, and buy off an Iran or crazy former Soviet Republic. We cannot do much in all that and so should expect very little from them and get ready for some pretty crazy things coming out of Europe in the next few years. NATO as we know it is dead, and we have no idea what will follow—so we praise it to the skies.

Second, on the subject of American stick-to-it-iveness versus a return to isolationism:

George Bush’s biggest problem is not democratization of the Arab World, but convincing the American people that these seemingly ungracious people are worth the effort in our blood and treasure—and that general rule applies also to NATO, the EU, the UN etc.

An American gets up, reads his paper, turns on her computer, watches his TV, and gets hit with “why did Dick Cheney wear a parka at Auschwitz? why was Bush in Texas during the Tsunami? why are Americans “stingy”?—all this in-between images and sound-bites of some third-world tyrant or half-witted UN functionary lecturing about morality, a Middle Eastern thug threatening us, and a subsidized European explaining to the world how awful the US really is.

And the reaction from us? Increasingly, it is to say, “Heck with these lunatics; let them be”—especially when an American’s empirical sense is something quite different: ‘why do they keep coming here? why do they keep copying our popular culture? why do they keep expecting our help when the weather, or nature, or enemies act up? and why are they becoming more like us than we like them?’

So for the greater good, the President must hold his temper, go against his Texas nature, calm us, and make us endure the petty slight for the greater good to come later—but it’s hard and all of us at times tire of a mostly hypocritical world outside our shores.

In my case, I’ve met in America, mostly on campuses and among students, one too many Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, Arabs, or Koreans who after becoming a naturalized US citizen or a legal resident alien, begin praising the country they under no circumstance wish to return to while damning the country that they most certainly will not leave under any circumstance. I am sure the psychotherapists have various names and classifications for this sick syndrome; but abstract identification of it does not make it any easier to stomach in the here and now. So that is the burden of our diplomats and so far they are doing wonderfully.

Amen, amen, amen.

2 mar 05 @ 11:58 am est

Post #1



In the continuing saga of Mark Steyn vs. Austin Bey, chalk up another one for Mark Steyn in this piece from Reuel Marc Gerecht:

[T]he European proclivity towards rapid concessions--and the near-total absence of will to even allude to big sticks--has disappointed the administration. Iran's ruling mullahs have now brought the EU3 talks to an impasse; European concessions, unsurprisingly, are not enough. In a classic case of mirror-imaging, the Europeans believe the clerics are economic "realists" who truly want accession to the World Trade Organization. For 26 years, however, the ruling mullahs have compromised economics at home and abroad to fortify clerical dictatorship.

Gerecht sees even more conflict between America and the presumed Big Three in Europe – Britain, Germany and France, while lamenting the fact that things could have (but have not) progressed differently:

But this is not the direction we are going in. The odds are, Mr. Bush is not going to do Libya again. And the French and Germans are not going to take America's advice. The two-decade old strategy of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the influential former president and the driving force behind Iran's nuclear weapons program, is soon likely to come to fruition. The Islamic republic will have successfully played divide and conquer against the west. If this leads to a clerical A-bomb, or to a pre-emptive United States strike amid a chorus of European outrage, the odds are good that the bonds holding the United States and Europe together will further fray. One day, perhaps after the EU lifts its arms embargo on China and France supplies sophisticated radar and torpedo technology to Beijing, they will snap.

The sooner Eurocentric Americans admit this obvious reality, the better.

2 mar 05 @ 10:09 am est

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Post #2



Thanks to the present-day skilled manipulation of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and the equally unskilled present-day lack of application of basic political realities, we African Americans have self-segregated ourselves into a Third World polity.

For instance, Mark Steyn (writing for his British audience) noted the interesting reactions around Africa and Arabia to the changing realities in the Middle East:

Four-time Egyptian election winner - and with 90 per cent of the vote! - President Mubarak announced that next polling day he wouldn't mind an opponent. Ordering his stenographer to change the constitution to permit the first multi-choice presidential elections in Egyptian history, His Excellency said the country would benefit from "more freedom and democracy".

Of course, that wasn’t the only reaction:

Meanwhile in Damascus, Boy Assad, having badly overplayed his hand in Lebanon and after months of denying that he was harbouring any refugee Saddamites, suddenly discovered that - wouldja believe it? - Saddam's brother and 29 other bigshot Baghdad Baathists were holed up in north-eastern Syria, and promptly handed them over to the Iraqi government.

So, we have one status prior to the American-led invasion by the Coalition of the Willing – and a quickly morphing NEW reality thereafter. The earlier reality involved so-called "elections" lacking any meaningful choice ending with a candidate receiving 90 to 100 percent majorities.

Who, pray tell, in the United States of America votes (by unfettered choice!) at the 90 percent level for a certain political party’s candidate? That’s right – us folks known as African Americans.

Job number one for us if we want to be treated as something other than a Third World polity – quit acting like one.

1 mar 05 @ 9:57 am est

Post #1



InstaPundit grabs a hot topic and posts a range of responses that gives you the info you need. I’m still not sure how the hell he compiles this stuff, but . . . he does a damn good job of it. Here’s his quick overview on the startling news coming out of the Middle East (by the way, yet another supposed Mission:Impossible task that may not be quite so impossible):

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS wonders what happened to the Arab street. I guess that Josh Marshall was right all along:


In their view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. . . .


In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism.


He said that like it was a bad thing. Or like it was some sort of secret, when some of us found the approach to be self-evident. Even Iraqis.


UPDATE: Zach Barbera notes that he had figured some stuff out a couple of years ago.


ANOTHER UPDATE: Gregory Djerejian says that lots of people are noticing.


MORE: Heh.


STILL MORE: The Lebanese seem to have figured it out!

The man is amazing; and has a sense of humor to boot.

1 mar 05 @ 9:03 am est

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