Man Throws a Log at a Bear, Killing It.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 24, 2007

HELEN, Ga., June 23 (AP) — When a 300-pound black bear raided a family’s campsite, the father saved his sons from harm by throwing a log at it, killing it with a single blow.

The father, Chris Everhart, and his three sons were camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia on June 16 when the bear took the family’s cooler and was heading back to the woods with it.

When the youngest son, 6-year-old Logan, hurled a shovel at it, the bear dropped the cooler and started toward the boy, Mr. Everhart said. A former Marine, he grabbed the closest thing he could find — a log from their stash of firewood.

“It happened to hit the bear in the head,” Mr. Everhart said. “I thought it just knocked it out but it actually ended up killing the bear.”

Mr. Everhart was given a ticket for failing to secure his campsite, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Odds are, tonight Stephen Colbert will single this guy out as a national hero.
I'll probably be alone in considering this the most important article of the day.
Thank you, Damon Jones, for ending this game, this series, and my adventures with high blood pressure.
Retract my earlier post:
Artist's family asks Google to take down today's `painted' logo

By Elise Ackerman
Mercury News

After angering authors last fall with a wide-ranging book-copying project, Google may now be alienating some visual artists as well by allegedly reproducing famous works in drawings on the search giant's home page.

Today, the family of Joan Miro was upset to discover elements of several works by the Spanish surrealist incorporated into Google's logo. Google has since taken the logo off its site.

The Artists Rights Society, a group that represents the Miro family and more than 40,000 visual artists and their estates, had asked Google to remove the image early this morning.

``There are underlying copyrights to the works of Miro, and they are putting it up without having the rights,'' said Theodore Feder, president of Artists Rights Society.

In a written statement to the Mercury News, Google said that it would honor the request but that it did not believe its logo was a copyright violation.

``From time to time we create special logos to celebrate people we admire,'' the statement said. ``Joan Miro made an extraordinary contribution to the world with his art and we want to pay tribute to that.''

Google has changed the logo on its homepage to commemorate events such as the Olympics or Albert Einstein's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Miro's birth in 1893. He died in 1983.

[ . . . ]

Google's logo allegedly incorporated images from Miro's ``The Escape Ladder,'' 1940, ``Nocture,'' 1940, and ``The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers,'' 1941.

Feder said the society receives hundreds of requests each day from media organizations who are interested in reproducing a copyrighted work in some form. He said the authorization process is simple: all Google needed to do was send an e-mail asking permission to use the images.

``We would have asked the estate or the family, and they would have said yes or no,'' he said.
Of course, the Mercury News includes a screenshot of the offending Google page. Go look at them violate the Miro estate's copyright; I'm happy just violating theirs.
I prefer shore diving over boat diving, partially because my streak of anti-authoritarianism makes me sullen and resentful towards a few rare dive guides, partially because I prefer to start my diving day on my own schedule (i.e., after lunch) rather than on someone else's, and mostly because I am so cheap and four dollars and ninety-five cents a tank suits me more than $150 for a two-tank boat trip. Of course, reading stories like this, from the April Undercurrent, doesn't help:
Undercurrent subscriber Russ Woolery (Dallas, TX), eight other divers, and a snorkeler got a lot more excitement than they expected when they went diving with Vance Cabral's Advanced Diving in Placencia, Belize. On December 29 Woolery and his fianceé, an inexperienced diver, signed up for Advanced Diving's Glover's Reef trip. No one requested their c-cards.

The boat departed at 9:30 a.m. and, while motoring to the first site, struck a piece of reef. Russ says Vance, who was running the boat, didn't even slow down, which is probably just as well as he said there was no spare prop on board. There also was no orientation to the boat, no working radio, no oxygen, and no first aid kit. There were no flares or running lights.

After the first dive, the group went to Glover's Reef for tea and bologna or peanut butter sandwiches, but Vance had not packed enough for all 10 customers. Then they waited three hours for the ten tanks to be refilled, at last departing at 3:30 p.m. After the second dive, they left for home at 5:20 p.m., with the sun sinking over the horizon. There was no GPS, the compass was not illuminated, and there was no flashlight on the boat. Luckily, Russ had 2 flashlights, and shined one on the compass so Vance could attempt a westerly heading, but apparently Vance's compass navigation skills fell short. An hour later, there were still no signs of lights from South Water Cay or Placencia. And Vance said that he was "about out of gas" except for a 5-gallon reserve can. The boat held 80 gallons and apparently had been under-fueled.

Understandably, the group began to get anxious and asked for the life jackets. There were only two for the 12 persons aboard, so folks started filling BCDs [Buoyancy Control Devices: inflatable vests -- d'H]. The divers pressed Vance to call and alert someone to their situation. Two times he called, "Mayday, Mayday, this is Advanced One," with no response. This was not a surprise since earlier in the day a diver had received a shock from the antenna when he brushed up against it, a sign of malfunction.

But the real fun had yet to begin. About 7:30 p.m., the sound of breaking waves grew louder and one smacked the 30-foot boat. The next one rolled it over. Some divers found themselves between the reef and the capsized boat (with its motor still running full tilt), while others were washed onto the reef. Still others were momentarily trapped under the overturned craft.

Vance seemed flummoxed and surveyed the situation while standing on a shallow reef. He didn't ask if anyone was injured but did ask them to help right the boat, but it was impossible. So folks crawled onto the overturned boat to wait it out. The two small flashlights were the group's only means of signaling help.

Fortunately, two friends who were waiting on shore began to worry about the group's absence, and they contacted Turtle Inn, where Russ was staying. About 10 p.m., the Turtle Inn dive boat set out in search of the group and. thanks to the divers' flashlights, found them at 3:00 a.m. They were ten miles offshore and fourteen miles south of their intended route.

The U.S. Embassy in Belize has requested a formal investigation. The Belize Ministry of Home Affairs announced that the operator's license had been revoked pending and investigation. At press time, however, Advanced Diving was still operating out of the Barefoot Beach Bar.
At the end of her post on the new horror story from the war on terror, Unfogged's new blogger Alameida highlights the following assessment of guilt:
"He was probably associated with people who were associated with al Qaeda," one U.S. government official said.
Guilt by association -- that works, right?

I'm glad to know that our national security establishment has discovered that most useful of tools, the Bacon number.
Also (this time from Joyce Wadler's Boldfaced Names):
"What up, G!" shouted MARISKA HARGITAY, elegant in a sleeveless black and white polka dot gown, at ICE-T at Entertainment Weekly's Academy Awards viewing party at ELAINE's.

"What up, gangster!" Mr. T responded.
To be fair, Boldface Names is as much an ironically distant comment on gossip columns as it is a gossip column, and it is quite likely that this is as much a comment on as an example of the Times's tendency of calling the singer Meat Loaf "Mr. Loaf" on second reference; however, isn't the preferred style not to split up hyphenated names? I mean, I'd pity the fool who called Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff "Mr. Korsakoff."
From today's New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 - Airplane passengers are going to have to leave their cigarette lighters home, under a policy announced on Monday by the Transportation Security Administration.

The ban, which takes effect April 14, will also prohibit lighters inside checked baggage for safety reasons. Passengers will still be allowed to carry matches, at least for now.

"The ban is not an attack on smokers," said Yolanda Clark, a spokeswoman for the agency. "This is a serious security measure that is intended to reduce security vulnerabilities."

The ban is required under a provision of the intelligence overhaul bill that Congress passed late last year. It was motivated by the case of the so-called shoe bomber, Richard C. Reid, who tried to light an improvised explosive device while on a plane to the United States from Paris in December 2001.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is said to have concluded that if Mr. Reid had had a lighter, instead of matches, the bomb probably would have been set off.
That would be called "ruining it for the rest of us."
Jim Holt examines the perils of psychoanalyzing our Intelligent Designer by reverse engineering His Creation.
While there is much that is marvelous in nature, there is also much that is flawed, sloppy and downright bizarre. Some nonfunctional oddities, like the peacock's tail or the human male's nipples, might be attributed to a sense of whimsy on the part of the designer. Others just seem grossly inefficient. In mammals, for instance, the recurrent laryngeal nerve does not go directly from the cranium to the larynx, the way any competent engineer would have arranged it. Instead, it extends down the neck to the chest, loops around a lung ligament and then runs back up the neck to the larynx. In a giraffe, that means a 20-foot length of nerve where 1 foot would have done. If this is evidence of design, it would seem to be of the unintelligent variety.
To be fair, this sounds no more kludgy than the semi-intelligently designed Windows 95.

Later in the Magazine, Rob Walker writes about hyperrealistic "reborn dolls."
But why do people want to buy an extremely realistic baby doll? For some, Gernand speculates, it's a means of reminiscing -- perhaps they have saved their actual children's clothes and enjoy dressing up the reborn doll to recapture a happy time. Garma says she thinks some others might want the dolls to ''fill a void,'' perhaps because they could not or did not have children. And there is probably the simple aesthetic attraction, heightened by the fact that many people just plain love babies. ''Some collectors have whole rooms set aside as a nursery,'' says Mitchell, the Doll Crafter editor.
"Once you get past the creepier aspects of all this," Walker writes, and I never did. It's even weirder when you read it with the misconception that these dolls were being commissioned, the motivation of cloning applied to the Cabbage Patch. However, Walker does not mention that the makers of these dolls are, in fact, taking orders to match actual specific babies. Yet.
I don't turn to The Plain Dealer for deep insight; indeed, this morning I merely skimmed across the shallows of Chuck Yarborough's gossip roundup. But I was forced to stare into my own abyss by the following:
The New York Post asked a handwriting expert to examine the scrawlings of hotel heiress Paris Hilton. The samples were her love letters to an ex-lover, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. One discovery: no lower loops, which indicates a complete lack of imagination. Surprised? Anyone? Anyone at all?
While I am dumbfounded by the concept of a grand epistolary romance between Paris Hilton and Nick Carter -- certainly it really took place between Paris's social secretary and a representative of whatever agency it is that provides beards to closeted celebrities (the Church of Scientology handles this in-house) -- what really brings me up short is simply that my handwriting doesn't have lower loops either. And while I knew this made it very difficult for me to mind my gs and qs, I never before realized that it was symptomatic of my lack of imagination!

Since I have always envied the imaginative, from now on I will endeavor to finish all my descenders with gargantuan, florid ellipses. One might think that something so personal as handwriting would be difficult to change, but there is precedence: I stopped using uppercase Es in my print handwriting after I read an article in which it was claimed that President Clinton writes with loopy Es so that he can finish the crossword faster, and I started crossing my Zs and 7s after I realized that I'm a precious and pretentious ass. Indeed, I've often thought that there should be a category of self-help literature dedicated to self-improvement through graphology. Certainly if something so malleable so rigidly reflects your character, you ought to be able to easily change your own essential self through just a few strokes of your pen. And, Google reveals, this idea is not only extant but on sale at Wal-Mart.
A graphic representation of the mental tendencies that shape our thinking, our handwriting naturally changes when our lives are dramatically altered. Now Vimala Rodgers demonstrates that the reverse is also true: when we purposefully change our handwriting, we develop new, more positive attitudes toward life.

A simple assessment test helps readers figure out what personality traits need to be worked on. Lessons covering every letter of the alphabet pinpoint how picking up a pen can solve a variety of problems. For example:
-- Modifying the letter "T" can help dieters stick to their diets
-- Trouble with your mother can be soothed with a change in Cs
-- Those suffering from writer's block should work on their Gs
(My own Gs are just fine, thank you very much.)

I suppose that one could not apply the same techniques to all other forms of character-divination -- it is hard to go back and change the day on which you were born, for example -- but I do think that there is a niche waiting to be filled by a self-help book based on the principles of phrenology. "Instead of just beating your head against the wall," it could say, "use it to knock open the doors to fame and fortune!"
Justice League Unlimited just totally ripped off "Soul Purpose".

***
Rick James has died at age 56 of natural causes. Though one would assume with Rick James that it wasn't so much natural causes as a long, polyrhythmic concatenation of extraordinary causes.

I was thinking about Rick James a few days ago, even before I heard of his passing, as I was reflecting on "lost albums," those records which were made but never released. Certainly the lost album I most wish to hear is the album James made with his mid-sixties Toronto band The Mynah Birds. The Mynah Birds were, with Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, one of Berry Gordy's first salt-and-pepper signings in his attempt to find an interracial group that could, like Booker T. & the M.G.'s, bridge the gap between soul and rock markets. The group came down to Detroit and recorded an album, but the album was stored away after it was revealed that James, the group's lead singer, was at that point AWOL from the US Navy. Gordy always demanded that his artists maintain a certain image of wholesomeness, and he suggested to James that he go and serve his debt to society; there might be a place for him at Motown when he had fulfilled his other responisibilities. It took James twelve years to return to Motown; in the meantime, his bassist and guitarist, Bruce Palmer and Neil Young respectively, decamped for California where they hooked up with Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield. At least one person who has heard the album has called it "Holland-Dozier-Holland with twelve-string guitars." Others have said that you can't hear much of Young's guitar on it at all -- of course, I'd rather listen to the Funk Brothers anyday.

A different album has recently reappeared from the mists of memory: the album John Kerry made with his high school garage band The Electras (certainly one of the three or four greatest surf bands ever to come out of New Hampshire) will be hitting stores soon. From what I've heard of his bass playing, Kerry is competent if unremarkable; of course, he recorded the album in 1962, well before John Entwhistle and Larry Graham emerged with the idea that a rock bass player could be more than competent if unremarkable. Tom Feran (who ends his column with a pun unbefitting a former editor of The Harvard Lampoon) asked a local Cleveland DJ and a local garage band to review the album; their reaction could be summed up as "Kerry was a root note bassist - pretty simple, but that's what you're supposed to do with that style." Entertainment Weekly got The Hives to offer another review:
The bassist is a solid foundation, a good person. Maybe bass players don't have the strongest leadership qualities, but they are good at negotiating, they have a basic fairness, which is very important if you're gonna run a country.
All of which I'd be fine with at this point. But though I don't want to seem overly enthusiastic about Kerry, I do have to point out that occasionally the bass player turns out to be Bootsy Collins.

Bootsy's Rubber Band: "Psychoticbumpschool (Live)" (YouSendIt.com)
A few entirely random thoughts:
  • Libertarian-standing-tall Jim Henley calls "libertarian"-on-his-knees Eugene Volokh out for his complaint that the Supreme Court has created the possibility that "our enemies may use our freedoms against us." At the end of his post, Henley refers his readers for more to presumptive neoliberal Brad DeLong, the Social Democrats and academic Marxists over at Crooked Timber, and that extradimensional crustacean with plans for world domination, Fafblog's Medium Lobster. Politics really does make for strange blogfellows.

  • While driving down a rural highway in Michigan today, I saw a rickety shed made of saplings strung together with a hand-painted sign attached to it. I only read the top part of the sign, which must have read in full "Hunting blind for sale," but my urban/suburban conditioning led me to expect from the first lines that the complete message would be "Hunting blind can cost lives. Be sure to hunt only with a properly trained guide dog." I suppose, though, that the sign would be effective only if it were in braille.

  • The top story in the Arts section of Wednesday's New York Times treats the new bevy of skyscrapers going up over London. In my last couple of trips to London I've been flabbergasted by the new arrivals on the skyline -- I had thought that there was a municipal regulation preventing buildings from standing taller than the city's most famous and revered landmark. The article is accompanied by a spectacular computer rendering of the Thames behind Tower Bridge, surrounded by all the proposed new skyscrapers (though the Vortex, my favorite of the batch of unrealized buildings, is not to be found, the Times taking a more skeptical view than the Guardian on this issue at least).

    Walking between [livejournal.com profile] rahael's house and her local supermarket, one must take a pedestrian bridge over one of the major motorways. This bridge affords a great view of the Gherkin, London's most recent hot skyscraper; on a clear day I could see even St. Paul's and the Millennium Eye. Rah and I got into an unintentional habit of timing our return from grocery shopping to coincide with sunset, though our last shopping expedition had us leaving the store just as the summer rainstorm ended and the sky was filled with a gigantic double rainbow, arching clear and completely across the eastern sky.
Interesting juxtaposition:
Bush did apparently reiterate the firmness of the June 30 handover of sovereignty to Iraqis and likened it to riding a bicycle.

"He talked about 'time to take the training wheels off,' " Rep. Deborah Pryce (Ohio) said. "The Iraqi people have been in training, and now it's time for them to take the bike and go forward."
-- Washington Post.
President Bush suffered minor abrasions after falling off a mountain bike while cycling on his Texas ranch on Saturday, the White House said.

The 57-year-old Republican president had cycled 16 miles of a 17-mile afternoon bike course when he toppled over while riding downhill on what the White House described as soil loosened by recent rainfall.

"He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, his nose, right hand and both knees," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters.
-- Reuters.

And, for an ideological balance that you won't find here that often:
Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, "Did the training wheels fall off?"
-- Drudge, according to Josh Marshall.
Bush's rival in this year's presidential election, Democratic candidate John Kerry, who fell off a bicycle and grazed his hand earlier this month, wished the president well after learning of Saturday's spill.
-- The Reuters story linked above.

Just a quick reminder that nation-building is hard whether it's done with liberal or conservative intentions. Harder, I suspect, than falling off a bicycle.

ETA: Ted Barlow at Crooked Timber points out something interesting:
Last year, I fell off my bike, and had to have my arm in a sling for a couple of days. I don’t care, even a little bit, that Bush had a spill. It happens.

But if the White House is going to come out and blame the fall on “what the White House described as soil loosened by recent rainfall”… (Here’s the quote: “It’s been raining a lot. The topsoil was loose.”)

Well, I can check that. There hasn’t been any rain in Crawford all week. The last day with more than an inch of precipitation was May 1.

Again, not a big deal, but why would they say that? And do you share my suspicion that Caren Bohan, who wrote the Reuters report from Crawford, knows perfectly well that there wasn’t any rain?
This, if true, is disgusting:
Bill Nevins, a New Mexico high school teacher and personal friend, was fired last year and classes in poetry and the poetry club at Rio Rancho High School were permanently terminated. It had nothing to do with obscenity, but it had everything to do with extremist politics.

The "Slam Team" was a group of teenage poets who asked Nevins to serve as faculty adviser to their club. The teens, mostly shy youngsters, were taught to read their poetry aloud and before audiences. Rio Rancho High School gave the Slam Team access to the school's closed-circuit television once a week and the poets thrived.

In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being "un-American" because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its "No child left behind" education policy.

The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.

Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal.

After firing Nevins and terminating the teaching and reading of poetry in the school, the principal and the military liaison read a poem of their own as they raised the flag outside the school. When the principal had the flag at full staff, he applauded the action he'd taken in concert with the military liaison.

Then to all students and faculty who did not share his political opinions, the principal shouted: "Shut your faces." What a wonderful lesson he gave those 3,000 students at the largest public high school in New Mexico. In his mind, only certain opinions are to be allowed.

But more was to come. Posters done by art students were ordered torn down, even though none was termed obscene. Some were satirical, implicating a national policy that had led us into war. Art teachers who refused to rip down the posters on display in their classrooms were not given contracts to return to the school in this current school year.

The message is plain. Critical thinking, questioning of public policies and freedom of speech are not to be allowed to anyone who does not share the thinking of the school principal.
(Bill Hill, writing in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, May 15, 2004. Stolen from a commenter in [livejournal.com profile] marykaykare's journal.)

I attended a high school so liberal that I believe one could have been disciplined for praising President Bush. (Admittedly, times were different then, as were Bushes.) The concept of a school having a military liaison is so foreign to my experience that were the idea to be included in a nostaligic, corny film looking back at the 1950s it would would strain my credulity. Yet the idea that high schools contain martinets whose first impulse is to censor seems as natural as apple pie. Even my touch-feely principal, dedicated to letting his students learn in their own ways, once seriously suggested that he preapprove stories for my school newspaper. Of course, we had spent a fair amount of time in journalism class going over the relevant Supreme Court decisions, and weren't that happy with either Hazelwood or prior restraint. (Of course, the large majority of the newspaper staff had lawyers in their families.)

I still wouldn't describe my high school as censorious, though. This was in the days before the world wide web, when if someone had something he wanted to say but no one particularly interested in hearing it, he could still type up four or five pages of blather and masking-tape them up in inappropriate locations. They'd usually stay put until the janitor got around to cleaning the walls, and occasionally they'd even garner comments. It truly was the poor man's LiveJournal, at least for rich kids with an unbounded sense of privilege.

I had been occasionally expressing myself in this way as early as Junior High School, where I do remember running into one actual martinet who decided that my anarchist placards for the "Lunacratic Army for Penultimate Societal Emancipation" (always proceed from acronym to nym) was an incitement to communism, although I was a fetal capito-anarchist and my exemplar at that point was Thomas Jefferson (and the whole thing was a complicated jape at my Latin teacher anyway). Much of my eighth grade year was spent in shouting matches and this was no exception; I engaged this self-appointed bulwark against the forces of anarchism in a loud discussion of free expression and the First Amendment. I was for them. He taught social studies, too. Oh well, I have been led to believe of late that a few bad apples do not indict the entire institution.
As I mull over a possible autumn trip to Iran, I have been much consoled by Nicholas Kristof's recent columns (1, 2) reporting that its inhabitants are strikingly pro-American. This doesn't surprise me in particular, because when I'm travelling international I rarely run into anyone who even expresses resentment towards the US government, much less holds me responsible. In fact, I spent my first few days in Egypt, when the administration was at the height of its sabre-rattling about Iraq (but a few months before the actual invasion), dissembling my nationality whenever asked. I soon stopped this, partially because I realized no one was so ungracious as to conflate me with President Bush, and partially because I grew tired of hearing "Canada Dry!" every time I mentioned my adopted homeland.

In any case, Kristof speaks of a great warmth felt by Iranians towards America, and even towards our current administration. It is notable that he writes these columns during the midst of the Abu Ghraib revelations. That they seem to have had no effect might be explicated by this post by Ogged at Unfogged:
At Least They're Consistent

My mom finally got a hold of one of our relatives in Iran to ask him what he thought about the Abu Ghraib business. Turns out, he had only seen the picture of the guy hooked up to the electrodes because Iranian TV won't show nudity. She pointed him to the Internet; I'll report back when I hear from him.
Ogged also points out that the clerics are developing a sense of purposeful irony:
Iran's hardline Guardian Council has approved a law banning police from using torture to extract confessions from criminal suspects.

The council, a 12-member cleric-dominated panel that approves or rejects Iranian legislation, had in the past quashed similar legislative attempts to protect prisoners from custodial abuse.
Avedon Carol links to an article explicating the spiritual messages of Buffy. Some excerpts:
Not so long ago, Ken Kuykendall stood before a group of Mormon teens in an Atlanta suburb, dressed in starched white shirt and dark tie. He was there, he said, to talk about serious things.

Then Kuykendall literally ripped off his shirt to reveal a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" T-shirt and carefully laid out the moral values of the popular television show, featuring a sassy blonde in a micro-mini skirt who goes one-on-one with the world's nastiest demons.

The Mormon leader told his gum-chewing audience that Buffy was not too unlike them. For the most part, she was a spoiled, rich teenager in southern California who loved nothing more than shopping and shmoozing and clubbing in a place called Sunnydale. That is, until she discovered that dark forces were everywhere and only she had the supernatural powers to thwart them.

"The safety of the world routinely rests on her attractive, usually bare shoulders," Kuykendall told his startled audience. Time and again she had to sacrifice her own desires to save humanity and the planet.

And that is what Jesus Christ wants us to do, too, Kuykendall told the teens.

[ . . . ]

Still, the show depicts a world where evil never goes unpunished and doing good is its own reward.

"It's a medieval morality play -- only with skimpier clothes, wittier dialogue and cutting-edge music," says [religion scholar Jana] Riess, author of the just published What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide.

[ . . . ]

The characters explore notions about sin and forgiveness, friendship and failure, redemption and self-worth -- lightened up by puns and sarcasm and playfulness. And that's spiritual, too.

"I know every slayer comes with an expiration date, but I want mine to be a long time from now. Like a Cheeto," Buffy says in one episode.

Riess argues that the show, created by an avowed atheist, also abounds in Buddhist parallels.
Speaking of the Department of Defense taking steps to control the free flow of information, Mark A. R. Kleiman points out that the Pentagon has forbidden employees from reading the Taguba Report.

Basic math

May. 8th, 2004 07:30 pm
Two:
I might be getting transferred within the next week to anotehr post. At the very least, KBR is not allowing any private computers on their system for the next ninety days. There might be one other option, but if you don't hear from me for a while...God, I don't know what I'll do about the kitty.
Two:
Many of the incriminating photographs appear to have been taken on a digital camera by a soldier in the 372nd Military Police Company who is now facing a court-martial. From there, they appear to have circulated among military personnel in Iraq via e-mail and computer disks, and some may have found their way to family members in the United States.

[ . . . ]Digital cameras have become so ubiquitous in the military that many relatives of personnel in the 372nd and other units in Iraq said they routinely received photographs by e-mail.
Four.

Update: This may be overblown. [livejournal.com profile] ginmar explains.

Abu Ghraib

Apr. 30th, 2004 06:06 pm
I am saddened and sickened by the news from Abu Ghraib (scroll down to "Appalling" if the permalink isn't working). I realize that between the news from Virginia, Sinclair Broadcasting Group's craven show of disrespect for our troops, and some singularly awful news from one of the brightest and funniest people on my friends list, this has been lost in a tumult of crappiness over the last twenty-four hours. (I am slightly heartened that the comments threads at some stalwart warblogs have been universally condemnatory of the actions of our troops -- even to the point of awakening some sympathy within me for those young men and women who find themselves in a situation they are ill-prepared for.) It comes as no surprise to me (or to Henley and Silber) that the first casuality of war is the belief in a unitary humanity, but I crumble at the sight of it so clearly demonstrated.

My typical reaction to anything overwhelming is a quip, a humorous distraction, a mollifying jape. This really deserves better, but I am not capable of better, so I'm just going to take some really cheap shots at Glenn Reynolds. (Who does express a suitable outrage at the story.)

Unfortunate Juxtaposition At InstaPundit #1

PHOTOBLOGGING: Here's a gallery of beautiful photos from Vietnam.

Unfortunate Juxtaposition At InstaPundit #2

RYAN BOOTS has his weekly roundup of the Iraqi blogs, which he's calling the Carnival of the Liberated. It's a must-read.

Unfortunate Juxtaposition At InstaPundit #3

ARE WE GOING TOO SOFT IN IRAQ? Some people think so. It seems that way to me, too, though I'm reluctant to make a judgment at this distance. But in my lifetime, at least, the United States has generally erred by not being violent enough, rather than by being too brutal.
Uncle Walter speaks:
"Our arrogant stand in nearly all our diplomatic approaches to the rest of the world with this administration has been such as to deeply embarrass the United States," declared Cronkite. His sarcasm was quietly withering. "Of course it's nice to know that Hussein is in jail," he noted. "I sit there and nod agreement when the president frequently mentions that. ... And then of course when poor Secretary of State Powell had to go before the U.N. and make that plea with intelligence we now know, at the most generous, as inaccurate - - that doesn't help at all."

Cronkite can be trusted to say things like this all the time now. After declaring himself a "registered independent" in the first of his newspaper columns in August, Cronkite has consistently derided what he calls "the Bush administration's facade of self-righteous certainty." He says he feels liberated to speak his mind, to "vent my rage and let the chips fall where they will." Cronkite doesn't hesitate to crank up his Moses-like rhetoric, in speech and in print, drawing on his deep well of journalistic gravitas. But he's just as likely to caper now as to thunder.

Just before railing against the Christian right's objection to gay marriage -- "That's about as obnoxious a thing as has ever happened" -- Cronkite was asked at the Ritz to what he attributed the longevity of his own marriage to Betsy.

"I do think one of the factors was we were of different sexes." He looked delighted as the laughter billowed around the room. "That doesn't mean I wouldn't have been happy to be married to several friends I had of the same sex," he followed. "It just never came up in our particular relations."
"Facade of self-righteous certainty." I think this is what I find most alienating about the current administration, and, in fact the public, political face of the religious right in general. It's also what drives me nuts about neoconservatives like Perle and Frum. Of course, it also bothers me when I see it in paleoconservatives, neoliberals, the pro-war right, the anti-war left, the Green Party, Randians, Spike-fans, Spike-haters, people who are pro-Israel, people who are pro-Palestinian, Heinleinian libertarians, Nation readers, the Ohio Republican Party, the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, the authors of Issue 31, and myself.

A facade of self-righteous certainty is bad. This I am sure of. Don't like that? Bite me.

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andrew_jorgensen

April 2009

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