February 12, 2006 - February 5, 2006
Saturday, April 30, 2005
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Friday, April 29, 2005
Enlightenment in Danger!
Robert Kuttner is concerned. Concerned that the Enlightenment itself is under
We agree. But the culprits are a bit closer to his Boston home than he might appreciate. Mr. Kuttner
seems to think that the seige works have been constructed by "Fundamentalist Christians." He is very
We would like to suggest he travel over to Harvard to inspect the state of the Enlightenment. All the
sons of Kant and continental philosophy have been tenured at the venerable institution where the Enlightenment
is regarded as an aborted English project with no basis in fact -- since there are no facts. We'll be
writting more about this in upcoming posts, but if you'd like a little primer -- get yourself a copy of
Stephen R. C. Hicks for a very readable history of the ideas that have brought us to this perilous state
of affairs so feared by Mr. Kuttner.
UPDATE: I'm not kidding.
Out the anonymous haters.
THE MISFORTUNES OF
. Yesterday's entry
was no publicity stunt. I'm serious. Now they're going after Zell
. Read here
I'm calling on Instapundit
, Michelle Malkin
contact info is incorrect: it should read firstname.lastname@example.org), Hugh Hewitt
, and everyone else who
claims to care about the tone of our political discourse to help with
this counter-offensive against the vermin who rejoice at the physical
ills of their enemies. Wake up. This kind of nonsense won't stop until
we make it impossible to post such poison anonymously. I call on all
our readers to pester the big blogs to take a stand. Email them, phone
them, do whatever is necessary to make them pay attention. And then go
to Democratic Underground to help force the louts out of their
comfortable closets. You think you can't make a difference? This is one
instance where you can.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
"Try something more
worthy of a man."
knew it would happen. As soon as I heard about Laura Ingraham's health
situation, I knew the maggots of the left would emerge from the dank
underside of the Internet to wish her ill. Michelle Malkin signalled
the beginning of the onslaught
with a link to this odious comment
(one of many) at DemocraticUnderground.com. It's written by a person
who calls himself Tom_Paine, as if he fancies himself a noble champion
of humanity rather than a vicious bully. I wondered what the real Tom
Paine would have thought, and so I searched out an account of
him that included some personal details, including his own response to
a sly and dishonest attack upon himself:
Before Paine's arrival in America, the
excitement on his approach had tempted a canny Scot, Donald Fraser, to
write an anticipated "Recantation" for him, the title page being
cunningly devised so as to imply that there had been an actual
recantation. On his arrival in New York, Paine found it necessary to
call Fraser to account. The Scotchman pleaded that he had vainly tried
to earn a living as fencing-master, preacher, and school-teacher, but
had got eighty dollars for writing the "Recantation." Paine said: "I am
glad you found the expedient a successful shift for your needy family;
but write no more concerning Thomas Paine. I am satisfied with your
acknowledgment -- try something more worthy of a man."
That's how I'd expect a gentleman to address a personal adversary. The
is worth reading because every paragraph demonstrates the price that
will always be paid by those who express their dissent bravely in the
I also wondered what the decent-minded of the Internet might do to
confront those who creep out of the dark places at such times, and I
hit upon an approach that might carry some weight. There is no need for
invective, name-calling, cursewords, or scatologies. What I propose is
that you and every like-minded friend go to this and similar links
identify specific comments which require acknowledgment. Reply to each
with a single demand: Take
responsibility for your words by giving your real name. If you can't do this,
look into the mirror and see the face of a coward
. Then, try to feel the shame you have
Note that you don't have to be a conservative or a Republican to
participate in this accounting. If you know of any similar response to
the misfortune of Peter Jennings, for example, pursue the perpetrators
in exactly the same fashion. (Interestingly, I haven't seen or heard of
any such ugliness.) All such people are the equivalent of obscene phone
callers, and those of us who congregate in this electronic realm do
have a responsibility to maintain some
standards. There is a profound difference between combativeness,
satire, and ridicule on the one hand and bitter hatefulness on the
other. Wishing disease and death on those who disagree with you is over
the line, as even the unbalanced Randi Rhodes
been forced to concede.
Events like this prove that there is more than one kind of cancer in
the world. The cancer that afflicts the Internet may not be organic,
but it is -- if left to flourish in the dark -- a potentially fatal
pathology. The very least we can insist on is that the carriers stand
up like men and identify themselves by name.
Please also take the time to wish Laura
a speedy recovery. Perhaps a flood of wellwishers can do a
little to allay the hurt of the brutes who spoke up before we did.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Trying to be a Chosen Nation, Even if it Kills Them
One of the best things about the Cold War was that when Chernobyl blew up last time -- nineteen years
ago today -- the Soviets didn't
want to tell anyone, so everyone got the news when a radioactive cloud drifted into countries that
didn't mind telling people that a nuclear power plant was experiencing a minor meltdown somewhere.
Now, it is completely different. Now, the newspaper in the Ukraine is telling the whole world that
the next disaster at Chernobyl will be worse than the 1986 meltdown -- costing, well, you figure
Balancing the News
It takes fancy footwork and nicely
sports and popular music there's an almost constant generational
turnover. Cal Ripken, Jr., takes his great record into retirement to
make room for youngsters like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, who have
their own assignations with destiny. Bruce Springsteen steps aside from
the spotlight (mostly) so that newer poets of despair like Eminem can
charm and inspire their own peers. But for a long time now, network
news has seemed curiously immune from this natural relay race of the
generations. The anchor
and women seem to have taken their designator literally,
attaching themselves to their illustrious chairs as if they had become
as immanent as Mount Rushmore. Tom and Peter and Dan kept sitting there
year after year after year. At 60
, the crown jewel of the Tiffany network, that obsolete
pocket watch counted seconds but never years as Mike and Ed and Morley
imperceptibly ossified into fright masks. Over at the PBS/NPR fort,
Bill and Dan
held forth and out against all pretenders, secure and invulnerable
behind their rich, fruity, and oh-so-superior voices.
All those graying faces seemed like the Great Wall of Broadcast News.
but now, suddenly, there are cracks in the wall and new hope for rising
stars. This fact was driven home to us by the latest round of Media
Research Council Awards
, published last Friday. Yes, there were
plenty of greybeards among the winners, but even some eye-popping
performances by Dan
, and Bill
could not conceal the fact that these three gentlemen were
delivering their swan songs. Moreover, the recognition accorded to such
giants as Morley
, and Mike
seemed reminiscent of the Motion Picture Academy's Jean
Hersholt Award, a kind of consolation prize for old-timers who are glad
to be remembered at all.
Make no mistake: new blood is surging into the body of broadcast news.
We note with pleasure the attainments of rising network stars like Keith
, and Byron
. And we're positively delighted at the growing corpus of
female talent, including some veterans like Katie
, of course, but more importantly some faces and voices that
were quite new to us.
Two in particular we'd like to single out for special attention,
because they appear to be offering the kind of balanced perspective
that will rebuild the foundation of the mainstream media in ways that
are appropriate for our new century. First up is a member of the print
press, Deborah Horan of the Chicago Tribune. On May 24, 2004, she wrote
this little gem during a visit to Iraq:
The Sami sisters, ages 17, 15 and 11,
listen to Madonna and Britney Spears. They read Agatha Christie novels
and watch movies starring Russell Crowe. They also rarely venture
outside their upscale home in central Baghdad out of fear of explosions
and violence....Their teenage world was simpler when Saddam Hussein was
in power. Back then, they said, they hung out with friends at the
Pharmacists Club, a swanky place with a swimming pool to which their
father, the vice president of Iraq’s Pharmacists Union,
belonged....Iraq’s new freedom — or chaos, depending on your point of
view — has imprisoned the girls.
People have been saying the newspapers can't compete with TV or the
Internet in attracting younger consumers. Well, not unless they know
how to write stories that will touch the hearts of our beloved kids.
That's what Deborah Horan knows how to do. How could anyone capture
more brilliantly the sorrow and the pity of post-Saddam Iraq? Not even
television could give us a more vivid image of the consequences of
American imperialism than this word portrait of fine young women
deprived of the freedom to hang out with their equally cool young
friends at the club. It's more like a cold hand at your throat than
anything. We look forward to great things frm Ms. Horan in the future.
We're even more impressed by our second spotlighted newcomer, Kimberly
Dozier. CBS News had the smarts to snap her up early and put her on the
air in its national newscasts. In her most notable performance, she too
reported from Iraq and found a perspective on the fall of Saddam that
too few Americans have the wit to appreciate. We were especially struck
by balanced insights like this one from her December
16, 2003 report
about the capture of Saddam:
...But Saddam Hussein also gave Iraqis
dignity and pride. He became a symbol of defiance across the Arab
world, never backing down from a fight....
You can view a more extended excerpt here
Like us, you may be bowled over by what you see and hear. It struck us
so forcibly that we did some research to see if we could find any
precedent for such penetrating foreign policy analysis. Amazingly, we
stumbled on a 50-year-old bit of newsreel film narrated by one Virginia
Dozier and filed from the
tragically downhearted nation of Germany just after the American
colonial adventure called World War II. You can (and really should) see
it possible that Kimberley has inherited the mighty torch of
truthtelling from a precocious grandmother? We would like to think so.
For some reason, Virginia never filed another report from Germany -- or
anywhere else -- and we found no explanation for her eclipse other than
intimations and a cryptic reference to footage that had been omitted
from the U.S.
she used as a source in her report. The following still
was cited as representative of that footage.
Thankfully, Kimberley shouldn't experience the ill treatment suffered
by her putative grandmother. As far as we know, there was no film of
massed dead bodies taken in the Saddam regime. CNN and company had the good
to refrain from such sensationalistic journalism. We hope and
believe that Kimberley will go on to enjoy the kind of career Virginia
Party on, Deb and Kim. We salute you.
Monday, April 25, 2005
There Will Be Things
An article in The
Charlotte Observer (Source Archive)
last week seemed to conjure images
of our reading this week in Adam.48. The
favorite? The virtual girlfriend named, Vivienne. And, so it goes.
Lots of Really Big Casualties
Ninety years ago a battle began that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of
soldiers in one of Britain's worst military disasters -- Gallipoli.
thousand people turned out today for a memorial service.
It is said, that at the height of the fighting, the waters around the peninsula were reddened with blood as far
as 50 metres from the shore. We didn't want you to forget.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Big Fisherman, Alias the Pope
"Cardinal Ratzinger's writings, which are full of intellectual nuance and shadings of meaning, show a ready
acknowledgement of the changes in the church's positions over the years -for example, turning away from the idea
that it is a sin to enjoy sex, or that woman are inferior."
The NY Times seems to specialize in incredibly empty-headed statements like this, although the
generally interesting and seems somewhat fair and accurate . . . although they made need to upgrade their
Speaking of editors, I've been sending in just a ton of exceptional material to you guys, why such sporadic use of
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