April 30, 2004

focal points

I’m not inspired to be my usual gloomy and caustic self this morning – too geriatric-sore from a long day of outdoor chores yesterday, including a very hard fall (fortunately on very soft ground), the result of hauling on a tough cluster of vines that, instead of slowly uprooting, gave way all at once and without warning. The laws of physics being what they are, the sudden release sent me toppling over backwards, landing with such force it flung my sun-helmet at least ten feet, and prompted both my dogs to come on a dead run, then carefully sniff me from head to toe to make sure I was alive and unhurt. These are big dogs, a Rottweiler/Labrador and a Brittany/Springer, and their concerns are not easily dismissed at any time, but at this moment, as I lay on the ground marveling at my own foolhardiness, their attentions were especially welcome – and comforting.

Hence in deference to sundry aches and pains I’ll take a break from the usual presentation of outrages, miscarriages of justice and subversions of libertarian principles, and focus instead on a story that made me grin from ear to ear. It is, of all things, a thoroughly positive report about a welcome achievement by the business community in Utah – the kind of story a Chamber of Commerce touts with pride and preserves in its portfolio, but it is also precisely the sort of thing a towel-headed mullah for some moronic band of Islamic terrorists would brandish as ultimate proof of “the evil decadence of the Great Satan” and absolute justification for genocidal jihad. Indeed, it is my belief the achievements of these Utah entrepreneurs explain exactly why it is Muslims so hatefully wish us dead and so maliciously plot our extinction – that this little news item out of Utah says more about America and why Islam demands its destruction than all the millions of words of politically “correct” analysis written by all the cadres of alleged experts. Thanks to the selfsame modern technology the Taliban would banish, you can see for your self how resourceful Utah folk defy Muhammad and his murderous minions – and how they do it so naturally and so well, they probably don’t give the Islamic threat much more than a moment’s thought. I’m not from Utah – have never even been there, in fact – but I hope you glean the same fierce nationalistic pride and cultural delight I got from this story, available here.

Speaking of pride, I have never made a secret of the fact I am a used-to-be newspaperman, and I remain proud of the stories I covered, the governmental misconduct I exposed and the awards I won, though I am ever more ashamed of the extent to which journalism itself has deteriorated into a propaganda apparatus for the hate-America Left. But – thank all the gods that are – there remain outposts of newspapering’s Old Ways. With great thanks and a wolfen grin of appreciation to the Lucianne.com contributor who goes by the screen-name of Allegra, what follows is something to savor over a good cup of coffee, an opinion column by a genuine old-school editor (a man I would be proud to work for and am surely proud to claim as a colleague), available here.

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posted by at 01:18 PM : Comments (0)
April 29, 2004

focal point

Tentatively – because this entire site is a work in progress – what were formerly “picks” are now “focal points.” Which could change again, but might not. Hence this, a focal point:

Most of us are happily far removed from the venomous hatreds of the present-day Left. We are aware those hatreds exist, and if we know something of the political history of America or perhaps even of the world, we know that a Left built on an epicenter of pure hatred is a unique phenomenon -- that hate-based political movements were something formerly limited to the very far around-the-bend Right: Nazis, fascists, Ku Klux Klanners. Whether in the Germany of Hitler, the Spain of Franco or some Klavern headed by a local Grand Dragon, it was the Right that spewed unabashed hatred, and the Left that responded with reason and rhetoric and ideology: the Manifesto versus jackboots and fists; dialectic materialism versus the fury of a legion of Horst Wessels; freedom songs versus burning crosses. Such was the picture of reality in the time of my childhood, the 1940s and the 1950s – especially growing up as I did in a leftist household, where political discussion was as much a part of the daily fare as bacon, eggs and coffee at breakfast. The Right was ignorance and stupidity and hate; the Left was knowledge and wisdom and love.

To be sure, the love was sometimes Armed Love, for the Left had teeth indeed: the teeth were called the Red Army, and its fangs were those of the Russian Bear– the Bear that, once enraged, had not stopped attacking until he had devoured the German eagle whole. The Red Army was an army of heroes who had saved the world from fascism. As it says in “Song of the Plains”: “heroes go riding across the prairie/ yes it’s the Red Army are the heroes...” In the time of my childhood, there was probably not a leftist household in America that did not have -- quietly tucked into a corner behind the 78 rpm albums by the Ink Spots and Carmen Miranda and Dinah Shore -- a plain dark red cloth-covered binder of a half dozen exceptionally thick records lettered in Cyrillic, blue on the red cover, silver on the blue paper labels at the centers of the disks themselves: the Red Army Chorus, violent hope of all the leftist world, terror of the capitalist boardroom. (“Let us all now rise and sing...”) But there was no hatred in it – anger, yes, but mostly solidarity and pride, and no hatred at all – or no hatred that I ever saw, and as a child I was especially wary of such things.

The Left today, with its manifesto trashed and its hatreds manifest, is thus much more like the Right of yesteryear – one of the primary reasons I stopped identifying with the Left – or considering myself a leftist – many many years ago. Undoubtedly the Left’s present-day epicenter of hatred and hatefulness is the legacy of its history: the demise of Marxism, the subsequent rise of victim-identity cults: feminism (especially the Nazi-influenced brand of feminism I call “matrifascism”), which was the first and is still by far the most dominant; “Afrocentricism,” which is no more “African” than Richard Nixon’s ghost, and thus in truth should call itself “Negrocentricism” but does not have the requisite honesty; various other groups (for example MEChA) that all stridently assert the claim, “I am more victim than thou.” Matrifascist or MEChAnoid , they all agree that the ultimate Axis of Evil is the dread alliance between the brain and the penis of the White Male. But it is the matrifascists I blame most of all, for it was their ideologues who first voiced the morally imbecillic shibboleth that “the personal is political”– and so licensed an entire subculture to legitimize its cowardice, hysteria and infantile rage.

As I noted at the beginning, most of us are happily removed from all that. We served out our enlistments, and now we no longer have to carry the obligatory spare handkerchiefs to wipe the pacifist dung and matrifascist spittle from our faces, whether metaphorically or otherwise. But the hatred we have escaped lives on, and even thrives, like maggots on a secret corpse or roaches beneath the drainboard, and now that we are at war again, it has festered itself back to its Vietnam-era intensity -- dung, spittle, subversive malice and all. The following, from the student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts, exemplifies the leftist malevolence I am talking about and is available here. It’s author’s website is here.

And please, tell me your reaction to occasional postings like this. I am both proud to have ferreted such material out and ashamed that it exists at all, but I believe it is essential reading if we are to truly know our enemy – a knowledge I think is prerequisite to victory. What do you think?

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posted by at 03:33 PM : Comments (2)
April 28, 2004

Another shaving taken from the First Amendment

Check this out.

First and foremost -- listen up!
The writers of this blog do not advocate criminal activity. Should criminal activity come to our notice, we will not emulate the French, we will report it to authorities. We work very hard at presenting interesting news items that support our closely-held belief that our civilization is in danger of erosion by both internal and external forces, and our main goal is to wake folk up and provide alternatives to mind-numbing mainstream media so that the people of this Nation we love can make their own decisions, free of bias.

That said, I think it's great that the FBI is keeping an eye on the scuttlebutt going around the Web. After all, even Hizbollah posts their manifestos, and it seems logical that a canny investigator can catch wind of criminal plans before they occur, and work to squash them.

Nevertheless, I want clarification of the FBI's definition of the term "hate group". If I were to say, "I hate Joe Blow, and I think he needs to get his ass kicked from here to the Mason-Dixon line," would that constitute a hate crime that could result in this blog being shut down? If so, we're in trouble. Deep Trouble.

Or would investigators have enough common sense to recognize venting as opposed to premeditation? The example in the previous paragraph was an emotional outburst designed to express frustration with someone. Premeditation, on the other hand, is rather more specific: "I hate Joe Blow and I think he needs a good ass-kicking. Let's get together at (insert time and place) with (weapon of choice) and deliver it personally."

That, Virginia, is a hate crime. A hate crime is also committed when the violence is premeditated not because of anything poor Joe Blow said or did, but because of his skin color, religion, or political platform.

Linda's Incomplete List of Hate Crimes
Nazis exterminating Jews in the 1930's and '40's? Hate crime.
Matthew Shepherd's murder? Hate crime.
Oklahoma City? Hate crime.
9/11? Hate crime.
Palestinians blowing up buses filled with Israeli school children? Hate crime.
Burning crosses on the lawns of a family who happens to be black? Hate crime.
Planning the murder of someone with a different ideology? Hate crime.

What is not a hate crime is saying, "This pissed me off," or, "I hate this person because they did (this) to me...", or "I think you're an idiot for saying...." Those are not hate crimes, even if the recipient of the statement happens to have a religion or skin pigmentation differing from your own.

So, in order to make sure that guidelines are clear for law enforcement personnel watchdogging "hate groups," get on the horn with your Congresscritters. They won't defend our Liberties unless we make them.

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posted by Linda at 06:29 PM : Comments (0)

Abortion Revisited

I just got an email from Loren a little while ago, suggesting that I should have a look at this little gem by Kathleen Parker.

This is the best part: "Is it really in women's best interest to thwart or destroy the creative force with which they are uniquely endowed?"

No, it isn't. Thwarting the supreme act of creation deeply impacts, and can even scar, a woman's body and soul.

Yet, I hold my position: regardless of where individuals stand on the (increasingly ugly and ad hominem) abortion debate, it is a moral decision, and not one that the government has any place to legislate.


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posted by Linda at 04:45 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

I know of no one else who has dared say it in print -- for the gag imposed on mass media by “multiculturalism,” “diversity,” and politically “correct” censorship is truly suffocating our minds -- but the implicitly obvious revelation of Claudia Rosett’s galaxy-class reporting on the Oil for Graft scandal is that the United Nations itself has deteriorated into a typically corrupt and murderous Third World oligarchy. That this has occurred under the leadership of Kofi Annan, who is of course himself a Third Worlder, is surely no coincidence.

Meanwhile, Rosett has unearthed new, profoundly disturbing evidence that OFG’s ultimate objective – almost certainly in the mind of Saddam Hussien but maybe also in the hate-America, down-with-Western-Civilization mentality of the Third Worlders who under Annan have come to dominate the U.N.’s vast and obscenely powerful bureaucracy – was to bankroll Islamic terrorism and create an impregnable infrastructure to guarantee an endless supply of both money and materiel. These disclosures – of a network so huge and diabolically intricate, it seems to me it could just as easily hide weapons of mass destruction as clandestinely transfer them -- are available here.

Next, as if to underscore the ubiquitous nature of the Islamic threat, I have found (thanks to Lucianne.com, for which see the "news site" links below) a second story -- this one from the disturbingly uncritical “celebrate-diversity” perspective of a Washington Post reporter named DeNeen L. Brown -- about how the Canadians are allowing their resident Muslims to impose a limited form of sharia: the Qur’an-based law under which, throughout the Islamic world, women suffer genital mutilation, are stoned to death and slain in “honor killings.” Of course the Canadian government claims these atrocities won’t be allowed in Canada, and its spokespersons angrily dismiss all objections to the imposition of sharia as racist bigotry, never mind it is now undeniable the theocratic Islamic camel has gotten his nose ominously far into the proverbial tent of North American religious and political freedoms.

The real issue in the sharia-in-Canada controversy – an issue not even the most dense and perfumed smokescreen of political “correctness” should be allowed to obscure – is the horrific fact that our northern neighbor has now officially begun to abandon the liberties that are the very wellspring of Western Civilization: liberties arduously distilled from a 5,000 year admixture of Pagan reverence for life, British tribal customs, Greek philosophy, Roman concepts of governance, Nordo-Germanic common law, Judaeo-Christian belief in Free Will, and -- most of all -- the blood of patriots dating all the way back to the age of Standing Stones and the legendary Tuatha de Danaan. Brown’s sympathetic account ignores all these critical points, but nevertheless contains vital information, not the least its unspoken (and ultimately subversive) enthusiasm for sharia itself. Brown's report is available here.

Not to let the suicidal cult of “moral equivalence” have the final word, I will close today’s rejoinders with a line from a poem called Preiddeu Annwm, an invocatory celebration of transcendent bravery by the eloquent Taliesin, whose work derives from British myth at least as ancient as Stonehenge:

“I will not allow praise
to men of drooping courage...”

(Think of skirling pipes, a rising Moon, and mist blowing amidst tall stones.)

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posted by at 01:24 PM : Comments (0)
April 27, 2004

Spirit of America

Spirit of America is a non-profit organization manned by volunteers dedicated to helping the war effort abroad by taking contributions by caring citizens like yourselves and using them to help our servicepeople fulfill humanitarian requests that will bolster the spirit and will of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

All contributions are tax-deductible. Give what you can, if you are able. (Which is why Civilization Calls is a little late posting this... I don't ask you to do anything I haven't already done myself.)

Please visit the site, read about their mission, review the requests made by our Marines, and help any way you can.

(Thanks to Citizen Smash and to Blackfive for the head's up.)

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posted by Linda at 07:37 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

Involuntary euthanasia has become so commonplace in Holland, elderly people now fear going to the hospital even for relatively minor procedures, lest they return home in a coffin or by way of a crematorium. How these dismal circumstances came about -- how a modern democracy embraced the Nazi solution to the “problem” of aging -- is discussed in a provocative essay here, which warns that in the U.S. we are already taking gradual steps in the same direction...steps that will surely quicken into a headlong dash if our nation adopts socialized medicine.

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posted by at 11:47 AM : Comments (0)
» Spacecraft links with: Alternatives To Getting Old
April 26, 2004

Happy Birthday SGT Hook!

Thank you. May you and your men come home safe.

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posted by Linda at 06:23 PM : Comments (0)

picks of the day

Yesterday thanks to Lucianne.com (see news-site links below), I read a story about a Pennsylvania school official who, with some help from an Associated Press writer, has deftly tied together nearly the entire feminist hate-America agenda – everything but abortion, that is -- in a screed focused against the Second Amendment. According to the report – these lines are lifted directly from its text – rural schools in Pennsylvania are becoming more violent because of a gun culture, family instability, demographic changes and limited mental-health services...hate groups are adding to violence in rural schools...children have access to guns and they know how to use them...more minority populations have settled in rural areas and more rural households are now headed by women...rural districts are not prepared for these societal changes...some children are not receiving the support they need. In other words, what we have here is almost the Full Gospel according to matrifascism: rural is bad, armed is worse and liberty is intolerable. The official’s solution is not spelled out but is obvious nonetheless: forcibly disarm the people, disenfranchise all white males, restructure the family so that all households are headed by women, and impose a No Child Left Unbrainwashed/No Male Child Left Psychologically Uncastrated act, the latter enforced by matrifascist-indoctrinated ''guidance counselors,'' with prescription-drug-writing authority of course. The AP dispatch – which had my blood pressure still off the scale hours after I read it – is available here.

You won’t learn it from AP (or any other source under politically “correct” censorship), but in the down-with-liberty sweepstakes, the Pennsylvania official’s Hispanic surname becomes an issue too. According to a Financial Times report published last week, a growing number of Hispanic peoples in Central and South America now distrust democracy so thoroughly, they would enthusiastically endorse a return to dictatorship if it improved their economic circumstances. (Unfortunately I don’t remember if this was a majority or just a rapidly expanding minority. I had tagged the report as a possible “pick,” and in any case something I wanted to study thoroughly, because it seemed obvious that -- once again -- the viciously totalitarian legacy of the old Spanish Empire was raising its ugly head. But then when I returned to the report, I discovered that re-linking it requires a paid subscription.) Meanwhile, in the U.S., 71 percent of Hispanics say they believe imposition of gun control is “extremely important” or “very important.” While the precise meaning of “gun control” is not defined in the data cited, use of the adjectives “extremely” and “very” generally indicate opposition to the Second Amendment and support for prohibition of the private ownership of firearms. The source of the 71 percent figure is here. The significance of such information is that it supports the claims of those who say the uncontrolled influx of Hispanics, especially illegals, is subverting American cultural values – including our nation’s historical commitment to individual liberty.

Demographic data aside, obviously not all Hispanics support MEChA’s plan to turn the Western U.S. into “Aztlan”– a province of Greater Mexico – or seek to topple the U.S. Constitution and impose the Democrat/matrifascist version of the Marxist “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Special Forces Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez, the son of a Texas share-cropper, was a Hispanic and an American patriot of the first order. He is also a genuine American hero, a man literally of the stature of Leonidas, or the legendary warriors Beowulf and Cuchulainn. The account of M/Sgt. Benavidez’ astounding bravery and how by sheer willpower he rescued a number of his comrades from certain death is as gripping as anything of its kind I have ever read, whether in modern military history, Homeric hexameters or bardical celebrations of the Spartans, the Celts and the Norse. Anyone else who reads it cannot but applaud – as did I – the fact that M/Sgt. Benavidez’ courage was at long last acknowledged with a much-deserved Congressional Medal of Honor, executive-ordered and personally presented by President Reagan. The story of M/Sgt. Benavidez should be required reading in every eighth-grade classroom in America, but – especially if certain bureaucrats of Pennsylvania pedagogy have their way -- it will no doubt be censored in the name of pernicious “anti-violence conditioning” (which in most public school systems has long since morphed into a wholesale war against the First Amendment). The Benavidez epic is available here. (It may be necessary to provide zip code, gender and birth year to activate the link.)

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posted by at 11:32 AM : Comments (0)
April 24, 2004

pick of the weekend

First the bad news. If you are an American unfortunate enough to suffer from chronic pain, you probably already know you are for all intents and purposes accursed, and that your accursedness is entirely because of the War on Drugs and its obscenely puritanical attitude toward pain: better you suffer unspeakable agony than be allowed proper pharmaceutical relief. Thanks to this zero-tolerance viciousness, government-intimidated doctors are generally terrified to prescribe the painkillers you need, and if – in agonized desperation – you persist in trying to obtain such drugs, the Authorities gleefully await the opportunity to pounce and maliciously destroy your life. Linked below is just such a story. The facts alone are an outrage, the portrait of an atrocity by vindictive prosecutors and a compliant judiciary. The unspeakable horror the report leaves out is that the victim has almost certainly been given a defacto death sentence: he is white, has no criminal background whatsoever, has neither Mafia nor Aryan Nations connections, and once in prison is thus sure to be repeatedly gang-raped by predatory blacks, many of whom are AIDS carriers delighted to deliberately infect “whitey” as “a revolutionary act.” The relevant link is here.

Now the good news, especially for those of us who believe the ‘’global warming” hypothesis – the favorite shibboleth of the Luddite faction of the environmental movement – is at best questionable: more knee-jerk emotionalism and subversive ideology than diligently postulated science. The likelihood that the "global warming" hysteria is based on incomplete evidence and is thus at least premature is the underlying message of recently discovered data on the Ordovician Ice Age, which is throwing a curve into some of the favored notions about greenhouse gasses and planetary heat retention -- largely because this particular global freeze-out occurred when the atmosphere contained five to 10 times the standard pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide. This report, which summarizes the unknowns of the Ordovician mystery, is a follow-up to the global-warming story Linda posted on the 22nd and is available here.

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posted by at 01:51 PM : Comments (0)
April 23, 2004

Friends of Saddam Weblog launched

Friends of Saddam is a new weblog launched to keep us apprised of the scandal surrounding Kofi Annan and the UN Oil for Food Program.

I quote from the article, "The Oil for Food Scam: What Did Kofi Annan Know, and When Did He Know It?" by Claudia Rosett. (Original link pulled from the blog cited above. Note that all emphasis will be mine. -- L.)

It worked like this. Saddam would sell at below-market prices to his hand-picked customers—the Russians and the French were special favorites—and they could then sell the oil to third parties at a fat profit. Part of this profit they would keep, part they would kick back to Saddam as a "surcharge," paid into bank accounts outside the UN program, in violation of UN sanctions.

By means of this scam, Saddam’s regime ultimately skimmed off for itself billions of dollars in proceeds that were supposed to have been spent on relief for the Iraqi people. When the scheme was reported in the international press—in November 2000, for example, Reuters carried a long dispatch about Saddam’s demands for a 50-cent premium over official UN prices on every barrel of Iraqi oil—the UN haggled with Saddam but did not stop it.

Beyond that, Saddam had also begun smuggling out oil through Turkey, Jordan, and Syria. This was in flagrant defiance of UN sanctions and made a complete mockery of Oil-for-Food, whose whole point was to channel all of Saddam’s trade. The smuggling, too, was widely reported in the press—and shrugged off by the UN. In the same period, Saddam imposed his own version of sanctions on the U.S., demanding that Oil-for-Food funds be switched from dollars into euros. The UN complied, thereby making it even harder for observers to keep track of its largely secretive and confusing bookkeeping.

Compelling evidence, which serves to make the UN's involvement in any humanitarian effort suspect. Also damning considering that the press no longer makes a single peep about activities they were formerly outraged over.

Can anyone say "manipulation of public opinion"?

Add Friends of Saddam to your blogroll to keep abreast of this putrid matter.

(Hat tip to David at Ripples)

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posted by Linda at 05:10 PM : Comments (2)
» Spacecraft links with: Friends of Saddam

picks of the day

Another twofer. The morgue of the Bethany College student newspaper reveals a younger John Kerry with his trousers at half mast, denouncing American liberty as “a farce,” available here, and a British journalist accurately describes the United Nations as a “ship of fools” – and the worst possible solution for the problems of Iraq, linked here.

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posted by at 12:52 PM : Comments (0)
April 22, 2004

More data on the global warming meme

This article from Tech Central Station offers objective review of the global warming argument and why the common arguments for the phenomenon deserve open-minded scrutiny.

My opinion on the matter is that sensationalism has become the new religion, and its fiercest petitioners are typically bereft of both logic and reason. I urged my representation to oppose the Kyoto Treaty due to its irresponsibility.

I urge my readers to gather all facts on all issues in order to decide for themselves.

It's really the civilized thing to do, no?

(Hat tip to the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.)

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posted by Linda at 05:15 PM : Comments (0)

picks of the day

Two picks today. One is an unusually vivid portrait of the long-suffering Iranian people, and how part of the agenda of terrorist Islam is to rob the Iranians of their ancient (and surprisingly libertarian) pre-Islamic heritage. While this sort of legacy-thievery is surely not new to scholars, who struggle with the residue of its Christian variant whenever they attempt to study the great cultures and civilizations of pre-Christian Europe -- the true and unimaginably ancient foundation of Western Civilization – it is nevertheless a kind of deliberate cultural genocide most Americans (with the tragic exception of American aboriginals) have never encountered. Though the Taliban wantonly destroyed the antique Buddhas of Afghanistan, the cylinder of Cyrus yet lives, and its 25-century-old ideals have come back to terrify the mullahs, just as reported here. The second pick, from a New Zealand newspaper, shows just how clearly the folks Down Under comprehend the terrorist nature of Islam and the magnitude of its threat – a much more accurate understanding than is typically allowed past the politically “correct” censorship of North American media. The New Zealand report is available here.

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posted by at 11:30 AM : Comments (0)
April 21, 2004

pick of the day

Thanks to computers, I collect stories and hoard then against times of need. The Village Voice ran a superbly thought provoking essay on outsourcing a month ago, and I clicked it aside as a possible pick, then shunted it to the bottom of the pile as other developments took precedence. But today is a slow news day -- nothing more than the obligatory denunciation of the usual suspects and the predictable rehash of the usual scandals – so the best, most complete, a-plague-on-all-their-houses discussion of outsourcing I’ve seen anywhere is now available here.

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posted by at 12:06 PM : Comments (0)
April 20, 2004

From Slate: The Depressive and the Psychopath

An article from Slate explains the real causes behind the Columbine murders five years ago. "The Depressive and the Psychopath" explains the psychiatric definition of a psychopath well.

I remember saying it at the time: "The murders had nothing to do with acting out, and everything to do with remorseless evil." I still believe that today.

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posted by Linda at 08:52 PM : Comments (0)

Neat: CPOD

Even in the face of politics, international intrigue, and philosophical debate, I just think that this is neat.

Innovation. Invention. Devices that serve mankind. The best of the human spirit is still alive and well at NASA.

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posted by Linda at 06:23 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

Regular readers of this site have probably already guessed that I am harshly critical of the present-day U.S. public education system – that I believe it has been “dumbed down” not accidentally but deliberately – and that the dumbing-down is part of a much broader, mostly feminist-directed effort to subvert American liberty, destroy Western Civilization and thus overthrow “the white male patriarchy.” An essay by Alan Caruba makes many of these same points, says a lot more too, and is available here.

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posted by at 01:54 PM : Comments (0)
April 19, 2004

picks of the day

Two picks today – one about the War, the other about the 9/11 commission.

The first link is to a report by Niall Ferguson, a historian who is both a professor at New York University and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Ferguson’s piece is in The New York Times and may require registration, but the hassle is well worth it, for The Times, though presently the captive of a cult of anti-American leftists under Pinch Sulzberger, is nevertheless still our national newspaper of record. And this essay -- which, by the way, urges ruthless suppression of the Iraqi uprising – discuses a vital aspect of Iraq history most Americans probably don’t know: that the British ruled it, first directly and then indirectly – and by necessity with an iron hand -- from 1920 until 1955. Alas, the entire chain of command running U.S. operations in Iraq is apparently ignorant of this critical history -- a profound indictment, breathtaking in its implication the conditions exposed nearly 50 years ago by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer in The Ugly American still cripple our foreign policy today. The Ferguson piece is available here.

The second link is to an essay about increasing partisanship on the 9/11 commission and how it is compromising the commission’s credibility, with author John Carlson approaching the issue from a refreshing new perspective: instead of damning the commissioners who have already become notorious for their partisan demagoguery, Carlson focuses on the most non-partisan member of all, Commissioner Slade Gorton. Carlson notes that though Gorton was a Republican U.S. Senator from Washington state for 18 years, Gorton's questioning of witnesses is both unique and exemplary in its cool objectivity, an essential characteristic for all other commissioners to adopt -- that is, if the commission is to achieve the ends for which it was officially convened. I agree – and suspect Gorton’s example is likely to be ignored (if not deliberately suppressed) by the national media -- but I post the essay for another reason too: Gorton is not well known outside of Washington state. For example, few non-Washingtonians know that he is man of uncompromised principles – a gentleman of the first order. He is also a true defender of the Second Amendment, and before he was elected senator, he was probably the finest attorney general in the state’s history -- one of Gorton’s accomplishments was to give Washington the toughest, most user-friendly consumer protection law in the nation. After winning his Senate seat and two re-elections, always by easy margins, his defeat by Maria Cantwell in the 2000 election was a loss not only for Washingtonians but for all America. Gorton was beaten by only 2,229 votes, one of the many dismal consequences of the takeover of the state Republican Party by genuinely Talibanic Christian Fundamentalists during the 1990s. By their intolerance of all other viewpoints – especially their advocacy of defacto theocracy – the fundamentalists drove some 60,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents out of the GOP and into the Libertarian camp. The Democrats – in Washington primarily a party of the far (and often venomously anti-American) Left – have securely dominated the state ever since. The lesson – and its application to November 2004 – should be obvious. Hence this link to introduce readers of Civilization Calls to Gorton, and thereby illustrate something of the magnitude of the loss that – thanks to the authoritarian fundamentalists – we Washingtonians sustained in 2000 election.

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posted by at 11:41 AM : Comments (0)
April 17, 2004

pick of the weekend

This weekend’s pick is actually a foursome of contemplative readings: Two essential essays by conservatives who recognize the necessity of the Iraqi front in the war against Islamic terror, but pull no punches in pointing out the glaring Bush Administration follies that led to the present crisis, available here and here. British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s forthright defense of the urgent necessity for victory in Iraq, a truly eloquent presentation, (in contrast to which, our own officials’ breathtaking inarticulateness seems ever more shameful), available here. And last but surely not least – as if to renew our memories of the dreadful cost in blood that earned the very freedoms we now all too often take for granted -- the poignant story of the archaeological work that has revealed so many of the secrets of the ill-fated C.S.S. Hunley, the world’s first operational submarine, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, and yet another proud testimony to the determined ingenuity that was so characteristic of the doomed Confederate States of America, here.

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posted by at 12:36 PM : Comments (0)
April 16, 2004

pick of the day

Once in a while, even the nation’s most deliberately mediocre paper can successfully defend the public interest, and with the disclosures linked below, USA Today has done just that, whether by accident or as a harbinger of a major format change remains to be seen.

Though it is almost an aside, what adds a man-bites-dog dimension to this whole story -- or more precisely, the story behind the story -- is that USA Today is generally regarded as the very antithesis of serious journalism, a national-circulation version of the typically mercenary Gannett local daily. I knew several people who worked for Gannett papers, and based on their (fairly constant) complaints, Gannett editorial personnel are routinely either singled out for fast promotion to the business-side of management or reduced to the operational status of clerks: they were hired as journalists, to be sure, and they were maybe once proud of their talents and achievements, but unless they have the desire and aptitude to become bottom-line types, they are soon forced by the economic realities of the Age of Monopoly Media to accept defacto demotion to the singularly unfulfilling role of information-industry production-line workers, demoralized men and women whose uninspiring duty is merely to pack the spaces around the day’s advertisements with copy crafted to retain the patronage of the advertisers. The costs of this MBA-ruled approach – the cost to an informed public and especially to truth itself – are obviously ruinous. But Gannett is not alone in this sad malfeasance; it is more-or-less evident at most U.S. newspapers today, and it is gravely intensified in the many newsrooms oppressed by word or story quotas. The recent journalistic scandals – Jayson Blair et al – are merely one of its predictable consequences. The hate-America bias of so many of today’s reporters and editors, inflamed by newsroom working conditions and encouraged by upper management as part of a devil’s bargain to minimize labor costs, is another. The most glaring result, however, is the steady deterioration in both the quality of reporting and the significance of the reports – a deliberate decline in which Gannett has surely been one of the leaders.

In any case it thus came as a huge surprise to me to discover, courtesy of the always-reliable Lucianne.com (see link in "News Sites," below), a USA Today story that is not only of major significance, but could actually be pivotal in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Moreover, it centers on a decidedly troublesome and potentially infuriating revelation: the fact that merely because of one antagonistic essay written by a lone Brookings Institution academic who is hostile to America’s survival and therefore terrified of American power, the Senate is now making plans to shackle the U.S. military’s special operations capabilities with the same crippling chains that already bind the nation’s intelligence apparatus – the lessons of 9/11 be damned. USA Today’s report is available here. A summary of the academic’s manifesto is available here, while this links to her professional biography. Let us hope the major media – especially the conservative media – grow this story the legs it deserves.

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posted by at 02:38 PM : Comments (0)
April 15, 2004

Lileks observes.

Lileks put up a great Bleat today about why 9/11 would make a great movie, and why it'll never be made.

Don't blink so owlishly at me. Would I suggest you read anything that would marginalize that horrid day?

Just go. Read. Now.

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posted by Linda at 06:02 PM : Comments (1)

pick of the day

The abrasive arrogance of Jamie Gorelick – a high ranking member of the erstwhile Clinton Administration who now sits on the 9/11 Commission – is so overwhelmingly huge it is evident even in the briefest glimpses of her televised performances. There is a smirking, self-congratulatory quality about Gorelick unlike anything I have ever witnessed on the part of any American official male or female, a smugness disturbingly reminiscent of Stalinist bureaucrats, Mafia dons and untouchably corrupt Third World dictators. Not that I am particularly surprised. The glaring elitism evidenced by Gorelick’s demeanor was endemic in an administration notorious for its brazen commitment to matrifascist ideologies of political “correctness,” victim-identity cultism and war against the “white male patriarchy” -- so hypocritically respectful of Islamic terrorists’ rights, it facilitated the outrages of 9/11 just as surely as it murdered Branch Davidians and persecuted firearms owners. But even those damning facts pale in light of the always troublesome but now ever-more-disruptive conflict of interest between Gorelick’s former command role in the Clinton/Reno Justice Department and her present position as a commissioner. The Wall Street Journal explores why Gorelick should be forced to resign from the Commission in disgrace and then subpoenaed before it as a hostile witness, with a summary of her thoroughly compromising but curiously unpublicized history available here.

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posted by at 12:01 PM : Comments (0)
April 14, 2004

pick of the day

I did not have a lot of time to sort through the day’s news because of the demands of a grave crisis in my personal life – the ongoing dissolution of a relationship turning suddenly even more sour than usual, and the attendant, growing possibility I will soon be without a home or even the kind of Internet access essential to continue my contributions to this site. Hence my participation in this blog may soon become erratic or may even end entirely, a likelihood for which I apologize in advance, especially to those faithful readers who visit this site daily. Meanwhile, from last night’s much-abbreviated survey of on-line news, here is a pointed commentary by a veteran newsman who properly denounces the Democrats for poisoning the 9/11 commission with malicious partisanship.

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posted by at 03:48 PM : Comments (3)
April 13, 2004

The August Memo

Following is the text of the presidential daily briefing everyone is talking about. (Link takes the reader to FOXNews.)

(Readers: please click the link, or follow the Permalink, to expand.)

Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997' has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service. An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [deleted text] service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.

I think it meet to pause for a moment to clarify: "[deleted text] service" in this context means that the information came from a protected source. Even the media should understand that those resources remain anonymous; after all, the AP lives and breathes by their "unnamed sources".

In case anyone is interested in a transcript of Bin Laden's 1998 statements, it can be found here. (Note: it is both fascinating and revolting. He is convinced of his own rhetoric and rationalizations. It goes to illustrate that real villains are not the simplistic creatures Hollywood paints.)

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Ladin's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that Bin Ladin lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own US attack.

Ressam says Bin Ladin was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Before anyone starts crying out, "Why weren't these men apprehended before the fact," I feel I should point out a couple of details. First, Ahmed Ressam was convicted for the foiled Millennium plot targeting Los Angeles International Airport in 1999. (PBS has an interesting chronology of his activities here.) It should also be noted that when asked, he did not recognize any of the 9/11 highjackers from photos, but did identify other sleepers within US borders.

Osama bin Laden hadn't been within the borders of the United States for years, and so fell outside legal jurisdiction. The same is true for his closest lieutenants. In retrospect, it seems logical that assassination would have been a good idea. However, President Ford instituted a policy against assassination in 1976 with Executive Order 11905.

(Note: No, Virginia, the EO does not cover the well-publicised deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein. They were combatants, as explained in this article on Slate.)

Although Bin Ladin has not succeeded, his attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Ladin associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

There is a key phrase in the preceeding quote: "...he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks." There is no question that available intelligence indicated that he was planning something. The problem was that no one knew when or how he planned to deliver his strike. From this report, and by the statements delivered in his 1997 and 1998 interviews, we knew that Osama bin Laden meant us harm. The real issue is the fact that the US Intelligence agencies were underfunded and understaffed by -- wait for it -- former President William J. Clinton. Moreover, this article by Lisa Meyers on MSNBC outlines several opportunities to nab Bin Laden that were missed or passed over by the Clinton Administration.

We knew he was planning something, but the newly-elected President Bush did not have enough information with which to act. He ordered stepped-up intelligence, but alas, it was too late.

Al-Qa'ida members — including some who are US citizens — have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa'ida members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

This is the most heartbreaking part of the report. I have taken the liberty of boldfacng the relevant phrases.

Read and re-read the blockquote above, and let the relevance sink in. The. Enemy. Was. Living. Among. Us. For. Years. Intelligence knew about it. Clinton did nothing to dismantle their support structure for the eight years he was in office.

I find it laughable to think that anyone could have expected President Bush, within his first three hundred days of office, to defuse a situation that was almost a decade in the making.

But wait, there is more:

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar' Abd aI-Rahman and other US-held extremists.

The reading comprehension-challenged are encouraged to look at that paragraph again. "We have not been able to corroborate..." usually means that the rumor was mentioned, but no one else could be found who had heard the same intelligence. Such leads are usually flagged for follow-up, but without hard evidence showing that a hijacking was imminent, there was little agents could do besides investigate and pray that they caught the criminal/s in time.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

Note the lack of hard evidence. Again, no one knew the specifics, only that there was an increase of questionable activity. Damnably, there wasn't enough evidence at that time to arrest anyone.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.

An anonymous tip was paid to the US Embassy in the United Arab Emirates in May of 2001. No specifics were mentioned; no one was named.


This memo does not give any hard, actionable data. It is merely an outline of Bin Laden's past activities, avowed intentions, and rumors of gathering danger. In no way does it specify that on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a group of Muslim terrorists would highjack four of our aircraft and effect the deaths of nigh 3,000 of our brothers and sisters.

Reasonable people will stop for a moment, and put themselves in President Bush's shoes, imagining themselves with the memo in hand on that morning in August, 2001. The empathetic will be able to understand something of the urgent concern he must have felt as he quietly gave orders to find out, for God's sake what that crazy bastard in Afghanistan was planning, and what we could to to prevent it.

It was too late. There was no time to gather the scattered bits of data and collate them into a cohesive whole that clearly stated the who would be involved in the time, place, and method of attack.

No matter what I write, the partisan finger pointing will go on, with some assigning the blame to President Bush, and others like me trying to point out that Clinton had just as much information, and did nothing about it for eight years.

Finger-pointers seem to miss one fact, which I will try to state simply: No matter who was derelict in their duties to protect America, no matter whether or not those attacks could have been prevented, they still happened. This is a past-tense fact. It cannot be changed or undone.

Politically speaking, I hope the 9/11 commission comes back with suggestions that may seem obvious: (1) never again hobble intelligence agencies with lack of funds, staff, and cooperation; and (2) let there be no-holds-barred in addressing threats to this nation and her people.

Regardless of the Commission's findings, the tragedy opened the eyes of many of us. We cannot undo it. But we can move forward with determination and fortitude to do what we must to ensure that such evil is never again perpetrated upon our countrymen. This means making hard choices. It means following-through with our promises: those who have, and would, attack us must be brought to justice, or have justice brought to them. We cannot falter now. To do so would only seem like a weakness, and invite further attacks of the nature that Spain now sees.

We must move on. The War on Terror progresses, but it is not won. Not yet. We must win. For the safety and security of us all, we must be victorious.

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posted by Linda at 06:55 PM : Comments (1)

pick of the day

Having witnessed the Washington state gubernatorial candidacy of theocracy-advocate Ellen Craswell in 1996, I no longer doubt that authoritarian Christian fundamentalists truly are plotting to overthrow the Constitution of the United States, and like anyone else who follows contemporary politics, I strongly suspect at least some of those plotters have found a comfortable home in today’s national Republican Party. Craswell’s nomination surely made the GOP-fundamentalist connection clear in Washington state, with ruinous consequences for Republican Sen. Slade Gorton’s re-election campaign in 2000, when conservatives of secular values and non-traditional spiritualities abandoned him in droves. More recent events suggest the authoritarian fundamentalists are busy at the federal level too. Last month President Bush revealed his opposition to homosexual unions and his support for a draconian Constitutional amendment that could nullify the right to privacy (see "Dreadful Alternatives," for which you must scroll down to March 8). Just a few days ago, The Baltimore Sun reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft is waging nationwide war on pornography – a massive effort that will divert untold manpower and uncounted millions of dollars from the fight against Islamic terrorism. Lost in the hurly burly of the initial press reports is the frightening probability Ashcroft’s Porn War could be the death knell for the First Amendment, with dire implications for the rest of the Bill of Rights as well. This truly alarming analysis – by attorney Eugene Volokh, a leading authority on Constitutional law – is available here.

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posted by at 11:33 AM : Comments (0)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: From so far Beneath the fold it's off the Page...
April 12, 2004

Alternative reality: Preventing 9/11

Some widows of 9/11 are asserting that President Bush should have acted on the vague data given him in an Aug. 6, 2001 memo, claiming that the memo gave the, "who, what, where, when, and how" of the attacks.

The article explains why this isn't necessarily true, and posits an alternity in which the Administration did act upon what information they had.

My deepest sympathies are forever with those who lost loved ones on 9/11. There is still a wound in our collective souls. I know that if the Bush Administration could have prevented it, they would have. Can you imagine how maddening it was to know that terrorists were planning to murder our citizens, but not having enough information to determine where, when, and by whom?

That is why it is more important to focus and pull together to make sure that 9/11 never happens again. It's going to take a lot of work, focus, and determination. It means making hard choices that are not comforting on the surface. Nevertheless, we must take the long view and think not of what feels good today. We have to fight with an eye to the futures of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Never Forget.
Never Again.

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posted by Linda at 05:07 PM : Comments (1)

A Bit of Perspective on the Crisis in Iraq

by Loren Bliss

While I freely acknowledge the strategic necessity for invading Iraq and have never doubted our ability to prevail in Iraq militarily, even before the invasion I was troubled by the fact our post-World-War-II history of attempts to manage the non-military aspects of foreign policy is one of chronic failure – failures typically caused by a ruinous combination of ignorance, arrogance, misguided optimism and a neurotic craving to be loved rather than feared and respected. It makes no difference which party is in power; Republicans and Democrats are equally inept -- think not only Cuba, Vietnam and Southeast Asia in general but most especially Iran and China and Eastern Europe.

More to the point, examination of every one of these foreign-policy debacles demonstrates conclusively that – whatever the other causative factors may have been – each of the disasters were ultimately manifestations of a basic flaw in U.S. society itself: an aggressive, sometimes vicious anti-intellectuality expressed in an appalling ignorance of history, geography and foreign language that was endemic to the United States even when its public education system was controlled by militantly patriotic conservatives in the years immediately after World War II. It is an ignorance as crippling as nationwide illiteracy – a mind-withering, liberty-eroding ignorance that has radically worsened with the capture of public education by the hate-America, down-with-Western-Civilization cult of the post-Marxist, feminist-dominated Left.

Hence I was profoundly skeptical about the non-military aspects of the Iraq operation from the very beginning – all the more so because the apparent (and sometimes strident) anti-intellectuality of the Bush Administration was a veritable microcosm of the selfsame factors historically responsible for all the other post-World-War-II U.S. foreign policy failures. My awareness of the thoroughly disheartening results of a Brookings Institution study of 33 U.S. foreign policy crises between 1946 and 1976 merely intensified my skepticism: this study, cited by Walter C. Clemens Jr. in America and the World, 1898-2025, found that in the "short-run some three-fourths of the outcomes were favorable, but that, three years after the initial show of force, the success rate dropped to less than one-half. Beyond the initial success, American policy failed to achieve goals in nearly two-thirds of the incidents."

Nevertheless, despite my skepticism, I had fervently hoped the Bush Administration would prove the exception to the rule, that it would not duplicate the abysmal foreign-affairs records set by its Democratic and Republican predecessors in all the years following the epic triumphs of reconstructing Germany and Japan. Thus, except to sometimes complain that I thought we were being far too gentle a conqueror in Iraq, I remained mostly silent about my doubts.

No more. While mass media is busy playing sophomoronic “gotcha” games in its ongoing vendetta against the Bush Administration, not one single columnist or commentator seems to have grasped the horrific significance of the past few days’ events. The obvious intelligence failure that left the U.S. and allied troops unprepared for the Iraqi uprisings, the uprisings themselves and the fact they are so widespread, the concurrent unraveling of the Iraqi provisional government – all of these are symptoms of an impending failure not merely of the Vietnam class but rather a region-wide disaster approaching the 1949 loss of China in magnitude and consequence.

In this context, to be silent -- or to reflexively support President Bush with stubbornly mindless, cheerleaderish denial of the overwhelming evidence of the administration's ruinous mistakes in Iraqi governance -- is merely to worsen the crisis. Indeed, what the administration needs most of all is criticism that is both outspokenly harsh but patriotically beyond question. Perhaps then the administration will adjust its policies accordingly, so that we may (once again) subdue terrorist Islam, just as Charles Martel did at Tours in 732 and John Sobieski did at Vienna in 1683. For if we fail -- if by our own folly we are driven from Iraq and from the Middle East -- the global caliphate will indeed become a reality, and humanity will face the darkest and longest dark age ever, perhaps one lasting for all the remainder of human time.

That said, let me add that I passionately support President Bush’s re-election. While I have major differences with the President on domestic policy (and many libertarian concerns rising from the coterie of authoritarian Christian fundamentalists with whom he surrounds himself), the fact remains that Kerry and his hate-America followers have already pledged they will, in effect, surrender the world to terrorist Islam – this by treating Islam’s 1300-year war against civilization as a mere crime problem. Bush's re-election is the only antidote to that awful prospect. But Bush’s re-election is doomed unless there are radical improvements in Iraqi governance.

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posted by at 01:24 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

Today's pick adds another dimension to the above commentary on the Iraqi crisis; it is a discussion by Chidanand Rajghatta in The Times of India recalling The Ugly American, the once-influential novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer that prophetically documented U.S. foreign policy failures in Southeast Asia, thereby prompting President Eisenhower to make a sincere (but ultimately ill-fated) attempt to reform the State Department and the diplomatic service. While Rajghatta's work has a distinctly angry flavor and makes several points with which most conservatives would probably disagree, it nevertheless provides an interesting perspective on how the war with terrorist Islam appears from much shorter range. Rajghatta's assertion that from one U.S. presidential administration to the next, "There is...very little institutional record or memory, and even less inclination, that can help U.S. mandarins learn from past mistakes," is an undeniably justified indictment. His complete essay is available here.

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posted by at 12:54 PM : Comments (0)
April 10, 2004

pick of the weekend

Sometimes – given a skilled writer – a “mere” book review becomes a vehicle for profound insight, and this weekend’s pick is a rare example of just such an essay. It is ostensibly Asia Times contributor John Parker’s critical review of a volume entitled Anti-Americanism, by Jean-Francois Revel. The book is a French intellectual’s formidably logical condemnation of the world-wide hate-America cult – no, your eyes are not deceiving you – but Parker's splendid review is, in its own right, a mercilessly ironic deconstruction of anti-American hysteria. Parker's writing is as caustic as anything by H. L. Mencken, and it is quite possibly the best such work I have ever seen. Here is a sample passage:

Indeed, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say that in 2004, anti-American sentiment has become the biggest single obstacle to human progress. It sustains repressive dictatorships everywhere; excuses corruption, torture, the oppression of women, and mass murder; provides ideological oxygen for vile, stupid "revolutionary movements" like the Maoist insurgents in Nepal; and has even promoted the spread of disease (as when, for example, Europeans haughtily dismissed Bush's AIDS initiative as insincere - God forbid that they should concur with any policy of the wicked Bush, even at the cost of a few million more African lives). By focusing monomaniacally on "why America is wrong", instead of asking "what is right", the global anti-American elite has massively failed to fulfill the most fundamental responsibility of the intellectual class: to provide dispassionate, truthful analysis that can guide society to make proper decisions. And it has contemptuously cast aside the irreplaceable, post-Cold War opportunity to irreversibly consolidate the "liberal revolution" praised by Revel - in which inheres the only true hope of lasting, global peace and development - all in the name of redressing the gaping psychological insecurities of its members.

Parker’s review is not a quick and easy read, but like the book that is its subject, it is a long-overdue antidote to a toxin that is notorious for paralyzing the intellect. Parker's writing is deliciously sarcastic and delightfully thought-provoking, something to relish, contemplate and share with friends, available here.

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posted by at 12:42 PM : Comments (1)
» Common Sense and Wonder links with: Anti-Americanism
April 09, 2004

Picnic Rock: 100% contained and other matters.

Fourth degree arson charges are pending for the man responsible for the Picnic Rock fire. It's a misdemeanor. He could get a $1000 fine or up to one year in jail.

That's all I'm going to write about that.


Am I the only person around here who has had it up to here with politicians like Byrd, Kennedy, and Kerry?

Here we stand, with renewed fighting in Iraq, and they're sneering about Vietnam, and how we shouldn't have gone to Iraq in the first place. Hypocrits, the lot of them. On one hand, they pontificate nasally about supporting the troops. On the other hand, they vote to cut funding to the military, which means that our armed services are put in a position in which they have to buy body armor out of their own pockets. Don't believe me? Go read this right now.

Seems to me that those men want to create another Vietnam with divisiveness at home. They marginalize the great victories we have already achieved in the War on Terror, and pooh-pooh the fact that we have a long way to go.

So, here's my question: what is it that men like Kennedy and Kerry have to lose if terrorism is stamped out for good? Why would they want to resist success in that vein? If they were wise and benevolent as they want us to believe, it seems to me that they'd be the loudest supporters of any platform that puts an end to groups practicing so many horrible human rights violations.

I'm just asking. Anyone? Bueller?


In regard to current events In Iraq, I note that I have read plenty of ghoulishly gleeful reports in the press, but little mention of the real reasons behind it:

It is obvious to me, a civilian, that the violence in Fallujah, as well as the activities of al-Sadr's thugs, are all geared toward one thing. They wish to derail the democratic process in Iraq through insurgency and civil war. They would rather tear their own country apart than allow it to live in peace and prosperity.

I rather hope there is a hell for such men to burn in.

Also, a pause in fighting is not a cease fire. Our troops are committing no wrong by responding in kind to hostile fire.


I've been a touch really burned out lately. My lack of posting has a great deal to do with work/life imbalance. So, not being one to sit on my (un)manicured little hands doing nothing, I've applied for A Job. A really, REALLY Cool Job.

Here's hoping I get at least an interview. (It would be the sort of job that ensures that (a)not only is my family beautifully taken care of, but (b) I would have more disposable income and time to devote to my favorite charities, and (c) we would also be able to have money in savings.)


Have both a happy and a watchful weekend, all. Send lots of prayers up for our Coalition troops, and for the innocent souls in the Middle East. Pester the hair off the heads of your elected representatives to get them rallied behind the cause of Freedom and Justice For All. And remember, as Bill Whittle wrote in his wonderful essay, POWER:

There is loose in the world a cancer, a cult of death and destruction, a force that loves nothing but destruction and pain and revenge for slights real and imagined. We face people whose hatred and rage sends them into fits of ecstasy at the thought of their own children being blown to bloody shreds so long as they can kill as many innocents as possible. And the higher we build the more fervent and hardened their desire to bring us down.

It is a sickness, it is a disease – it is, in fact, the last animal howling of rage and impotence at a new idea of humanity that is, at a long, bloody and terrible price, fighting and winning a war against racism, sexism, religious extremism, tribalism, conformity and slavery."

Em. mine. -- Linda

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posted by Linda at 09:53 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

Compulsory wearing of the Burka is only one of the outrages women face under Islam, and it is a mere inconvenience compared to the horror of female circumcision – removal of all or part of the clitoris, often with a shard of glass wielded by some dirty-fingered crone who was similarly mutilated during her own girlhood. Hence it seems profoundly contradictory that so many Western-world feminists – especially the female supremacists who are properly labeled “matrifascists” – enthusiastically support Islam and its terrorists. Surely these women are aware of Islam’s epicentral and overwhelming misogynism, even if they are ignorant of the doctrinal connection between Islam and clitorectomy. But the ugly fact of the matter is that matrifascists are so envenomed by their hatred of American liberty and Western Civilization in general, they reflexively regard any “enemy of the white patriarchy” as a suitable ally with whom to make common cause. Moreover, the matrifascists believe that the forces of “herstory” are irrevocably on their side – that Islamic triumph and imposition of its global caliphate will inevitably lead to worldwide revolution -- a final, epic gender-war in which all forms of patriarchy or even positive male identity will be banished forever. Once patriarchy is toppled and slain, the victors would impose “gynocracy,” a female-supremacist system based on the combination of an all-female version of the Nazi ubermenschen and Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat: a matrifascist utopia complete with extermination camps to rid the world of all males save those deemed essential to sperm banking. (And no, this is not dementia; see Grace Shinell’s “Women’s Primacy in the Coming Reformation,” Heresies, Summer 1978 -- that is, of you can find a hard copy, since Google has conveniently censored Shinell's essay from its on-line version.) Meanwhile,
is a Dutch report that documents Islam’s endorsement of the mandatory savaging of female genitalia.

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posted by at 12:09 PM : Comments (0)
April 08, 2004

pick of the day

Terrorists are not the only perpetrators of Islam’s 1300-year war on civilization. It is also fought by a vast and often clandestine army of lawyers, academics and lobbyists, united in their malevolent determination to destroy the “infidel” cultures of the Occident and the Orient, and on the ashes impose a global caliphate – the harshest, most mercilessly vicious regime the human mind has ever contrived. Exaggeration? Alarmism? Neither. Note carefully the following quote:

“Islamists in Canada have recently set up an Islamic Institute of Civil Justice to oversee tribunals that would arbitrate family disputes and other civil matters between people from Muslim origin on the basis of the Islamic Sharia law. This is the first time in any western country that the medieval precepts of the Sharia have been given any validity. One can imagine that the Islamists will use this as a lever to work for similar recognition in many other western countries. After all, if Canada is prepared to recognise Sharia law in this way why not every other country in the west.”

The writer is a Canadian feminist named Azam Kamguian, who has been rudely awakened to the profoundly subversive dangers of multi-culturalism – the very ideology that has already prompted the human-rights outrage of Canada rejecting the liberties born of 25 centuries of Graeco-British law and imposing a modified form of Sharia on all Canadian Moslems. Like too many feminists, Kamguian is not a particularly inspiring writer – the matrifascist prejudice that prosodic excellence is a concession to “patriarchal oppression” is clearly evident in her work. But her words, available here, are nevertheless worth reading, especially as a terrifying omen of what the multi-culturalists and their Moslem allies might attempt even in the United States. And for anyone who seeks the truth about Islam, the site on which Kamguian is featured is a Must Read, well worth exploring in depth.

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posted by at 12:17 PM : Comments (0)
April 07, 2004

pick of the day

The Left constantly compares the war against Islamic terrorism – especially the fighting on the Iraqi front and sometimes even Israel’s struggle for survival – to the Vietnam War. The leftist position is that Vietnam was a classic example of failed “American imperialism,” that because of the courage and determination of the Viet Cong and their Communist-block allies, Vietnam became first a deadly quagmire for the American soldiers and finally the one great disaster in United States military history. There is no doubt Vietnam was a dreadful loss, both for the U.S. and for our South Vietnamese allies, but the leftist version of how this came about -- as we shall see here -- is a self-serving revision of history that borders on outright falsehood, a fact that becomes ever more relevant as the Left becomes ever more strident in its claims that the debacle of Vietnam is repeating itself in the Middle East.

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posted by at 11:55 AM : Comments (1)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: From so far Beneath the fold it's off the Page...
April 06, 2004

Picnic Rock 95% contained. (As of Wednesday.)

Officials are anticipating 100% containment by Wednesday.

8,900 acres have burned, costing $1.9M. Residents are being allowed to return to their homes. 400 firefighters are still fighting the blaze, with support from five engine crews. For now, only the south side of the fire will be air-patrolled.

Scattered rain helped a little, but it certainly wasn't five days of precipitation as previously forecast. The area is supposed to see more scattered moisture over the next day or two. I know I'm not the only person with fingers crossed.

The scary thing? This one fire has depleted the Emergency Fire Fund set up by several counties in Colorado to fight emergent wildfires. That means that as the summer (and fire season) progresses, counties like mine will have to rely on the state for emergency funds to combat wildfires. There are plans to ask FEMA to reimburse the county-based fund, however, and they have said that they will help, with some very reasonable caveats.

I know I'm repetitious: but all this because of one person.

The other thing that saddens and frustrates me? There are still people out there who won't learn from this. Someone else will carelessly burn in the open. Others will fail to observe fire bans, and then fail to put out their campfire properly. Someone else is going to flick a cigarette butt or roach out the window while they careen down a mountain road. So on, so forth; ad nauseum. Do people ever learn? Sometimes it seems like the uncaring folks are outnumbering those of us who really love this land.

95% contained.

Six firefighters have been injured so far. Thankfully, the most recent injuries were quickly treated. Management of the fire is expected to be turned back over to local crews this morning.

A few structures have been lost, including a house which was recently placed on the market. There is an address on the site linked above, if interested parties would like to help out the couple in question.

Crews anticipate 100% containment sometime today, if all continues to go well. Remember, containment merely means that the fire isn't creeping outward any longer. Inside the perimeter, it may continue to smolder for days or weeks to come. Fire crews will be around until it's out.

At least things are controlled enough that conservationists and wildlife experts can begin to talk about erosion control to keep sediment and ash from washing intot he North Fork of the Poudre River. Those waters ultimately make their way to Seaman Reservoir, which serves Greeley.

There's been no mention whether the person who started all this is to be charged with anything. I don't think I need to assert my opinion on the matter.

One more thing, and then I promise not to talk about this again for a while:
Obey the rules!

Larimer County enacted fire restrictions Tuesday. The measure bans open cooking and campfires; smoking outside of vehicles, buildings or a 3-foot-diameter space cleared of flammable debris; and the use of torches with open flames. Here's what is allowed under the ban:

*Fires in camp stoves or grills, fueled by bottled gas or pressurized liquid, and specifically designed for cooking or heating purposes.

*Fires in permanently constructed stationary masonry or metal fireplaces specifically designed for combustion.

*Fires in large, commercially operated wood- and/or charcoal-fired grills designed for cooking.

Fireworks banned

Fireworks include any article, device or substance prepared for the primary purpose of producing a visual or auditory sensation by combustion, explosion, or detonation.

Fireworks do not include toy caps; highway flares and other emergency signal devices; educational rockets; and fireworks used for research.
For more information


Even though Nature always prevails, the hills up there will be scarred for years to come. That's hurtful.

The tragedy is that people were injured, and yet others lost property thanks to this.

It will be a crime if the guilty party isn't charged with something.

Just my opinion -- but what else is a blog for?

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posted by Linda at 05:12 PM : Comments (1)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: The DailySpam!&trade - The unfair and imbalanced "News" source...

pick of the day

The Council on American-Islamic Relations aka CAIR bills itself as a kind of Muslim anti-defamation organization, but it is in fact a wealthy and influential lobby dedicated to the defense of the religion whose name literally translates as “submission,” and it is venomously outspoken in its condemnation of any slight against Islam, whether real or imagined. CAIR is also one of the primary sources of the deliberate falsehood that Islam means “peace” – a lie eagerly embraced by millions of non-Muslim Americans whose abysmal ignorance of history makes them easy prey to all such happy-face fabrication -- especially the politically “correct” denial that the atrocities of 9/11 marked the resumption of Islam’s unspeakably bloody, 1300-year war against the civilizations of the Occident and the Orient. If CAIR’s repeated protests against actual (or more often imaginary) expressions of anti-Muslim prejudice were accompanied by resounding condemnations of Islamic terrorism, CAIR might make a vital contribution toward reducing the growing suspicion with which non-Muslim Americans view their Islamic neighbors. But CAIR remains stonily silent on this crucial topic, and at long last a major U.S. journalist – in this case Joel Mowbray -- takes the group to task for its outrageous hypocrisy. Mowbray’s report is available here.

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posted by at 09:56 AM : Comments (0)
April 05, 2004

The Price of Appeasement

This is what happens when you try to appease terrorists.

That would happen on US soil if we gave up and tried to play nice and just "understand" terror organizations.

This is why we will continue forward. We will make the world safer for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

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posted by Linda at 10:41 PM : Comments (0)

Picnic Rock Blaze 50% contained

This from the county's website:

06:38 AM - Apr 5: A perimeter map of the fire boundary as of 10:00 am on Sunday, April 4 has been posted to the web site. Updated maps will be posted as they become available.

06:48 PM - Apr 4: Size: 9,158 acres. Containment: 50%. Cost $1.5 million. The public information center will be open on Monday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Grey Rock and Hewlett Gulch trails are closed indefinitely due to safety concerns. There are approximatley 10 miles of line left to be built. A firefighter was air lifted to Poudre Valley Hospital by Greeley Air Life this afternoon. No further information is available at this time. Earlier this afternoon another firefighter med-evac was completed by aircraft assigned to the fire. That firefighter was ambulanced from the ICP helibase on Highway 14 and transported to Poudre Valley Hospital. The firefighter was treated and released.*

There are bound to be injuries when something like this happens. Many of the firefighters have been pulling ungodly hours up there. The facet of this situation that really angers me is the fact that this is all the direct result of human carelessness.

I can't help but think of it as criminal.

*All emphasis is mine -- L.

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posted by Linda at 03:45 PM : Comments (0)

Picks of the Day

Two interesting picks this first Monday of 2004 daylight saving time:

Number one is another story from the Australian press, this one an exclusive interview with a private-sector spook who says the secret, unacknowledged reason for invading Iraq was to pressure Saudi Arabia to stop financing Islamic terrorism. This report also notes that while Iraq “is the most strategically located nation in the Middle East,” the difficulty of explaining such realpolitik – even to some supporters – prompted the Bush Administration to settle on the “weapons of mass destruction” rationale. The story doesn’t say so, but here is yet another expression of a singularly American problem: thanks largely to leftist domination of public schools, our people have been deliberately dumbed-down into the most abysmally ignorant population in the industrial world, so benighted that a real dialog between citizens and elected representatives is increasingly difficult. Thus the ruinous reduction of complex matters to sound-bites and bumper-stickers, complete with the danger such oversimplifications will trigger crises of their own – just as the WMD issue has already. Even so, the report, available here, says President Bush had no other choice. It is a compelling read, not the least because it supports my own view of why the war is so necessary.

Number two discusses an often-overlooked aspect of the 2004 presidential campaign – the strong, sometimes bitter opposition of Vietnamese immigrants to John Kerry. Many of these immigrants are now citizens, and when they cast their ballots in November, they intend to vote against the man who – as far as they are concerned – betrayed them twice, siding with the Communist enemy not just during the anti-war movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s but again as recently as 2001. Here is the story, complete with commentary noting – once again – how a Kerry position is marred by curious and ultimately damning contradictions.

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posted by at 10:23 AM : Comments (1)
April 03, 2004

pick of the weekend

Remember the mummified Scythian woman that archaeologists dug up in Eastern Russia 11 years ago? Unless my memory is playing tricks, the preliminary reconstructions of what she had looked like when she was alive portrayed her as a striking red-haired beauty with Eurasian facial features. Buried as she was – dressed in thigh-high suede leather riding boots, sheer silken blouse and woolen skirt, accompanied in her grave by six horses – she was clearly an aristocrat, undoubtedly an accomplished horsewoman and most likely someone who in today’s world would be applauded as “a woman who runs with the wolves.” Apparently – or so the people in the region surrounding her grave believe – she was also much more: a priestess, perhaps a uniquely powerful sorceress. Citing the curious difficulties archaeologists had in opening her 2500-year-old grave and the series of earthquakes that have rocked the region ever since, locals folks say her spirit is angry, and that she will not rest until she is returned to her tomb. Here is a link to an entertaining Australian newspaper story. For more authoritative information on this topic, including an unusually frank admission by archaeologists that disturbing psychic phenomenon accompanied their work on the site where the woman was found, here’s a link to a NOVA program-transcript.

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posted by at 11:49 AM : Comments (1)
April 02, 2004

Picnic Rock Fire update

I already have an update to the situation. A quick conversation with the Red Cross let me know that they're in fine shape with food and water. They need nothing else at this moment in time, although I shall post again if their needs change.

Also, FEMA is on hand, and their people have taken charge of providing food and water to the firefighters. Additionally, a re-evaluation of the fire takes the toll down to 5,600 acres consumed.

The fire is about 15% contained at the time of this writing, and officials are hoping for 30% containment by this evening. The fire crew has swelled to 300. Their numbers are bolstered by the Rifle Icemen, a Department of Corrections crew made up of minimum security inmates.

There is a pre-alert in effect for the Hewlett Gulch area. Residents are encouraged to begin evacuating animals and packing their vehicles, just in case the evacuation order must be given.

UPDATE: 8,000 acres.

There is good news. The temperature outside has dropped to 59 degrees, and there is a hint of humidity in the air.

The fire teams are still hoping for at least 30% containment by tonight. Also, five minutes ago, while I was outside for a break, I heard the sirens from more fire trucks, headed up the hill.

As an aside for posterity, my husband called me a little while ago. Earlier this afternoon, while he was outside the county offices, he saw a huge plume of smoke rise from the fire that resembled a mushroom-shaped cloud. He saw that from about 30 miles away. No matter who or what you revere, please spare thoughts and/or prayers for the residents of the canyon, and the heroes battling the blaze. We can only watch, wait, and pray for relief from Ma Nature, now.

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posted by Linda at 06:32 PM : Comments (0)

6,000 Acres

By the time I left work last night, the Picnic Rock Fire had swelled to 3,500 acres. By roughly 8:00 a.m., thanks to the wind, it almost doubled in size: 6,000 acres, and growing.

The cold front is expected to roll in later today. Meteorologists are calling for up to a foot of snow in the high country.

As I drove home last night, I could see the smoke from the fire in the northwest. It looked like a bloated, sickly grey-and-orange cumulous cloud. Last night, after the sun set, my husband and I stepped onto the front porch and could see the ugly, distant reddish orange glow. The wind has offered us one boon: the smoke wasn't hanging over the valley so thickly when we left this morning.

S. was raised in these mountains, and knows them intimately. He selected the spot we were married in. (Imagine a half mile hike in a wedding gown and heels -- there are many reasons why I shall never forget that day.)

Disussing the fire last night, we agreed that we hope criminal charges are brought against the man who started the fire (he was burning without a permit). Disgustedly, my husband commented, "I don't care if you've lived here six months or sixty years. It doesn't take long to notice that weather can change in minutes in the hills. Drought means dead, dried-out vegetation. Fire can get away from you fast if you don't know what you're doing." He paused, and I could see the outrage on his face, "The thing that gets me is that his house is probably still standing, while his neighbors had to be evacuated, and lose land and such."

Whereas it's true that only one home and garage are lost so far, 23 homes and 70 other structures are currently endangered. That number may swell -- more property may be lost -- due to carelessness.

Again, anyone in the area who wishes to help out can contact the local Red Cross at (970) 226-5728. They're serving meals and providing shelter at an area church and an elementary school.

Also, the Salvation Army is still accepting donations of eye moisturizer, Gatorade, bottled water, and bandannas for our firefighters. We've got 227 men at the scene, so every little bit will help. Front Range residents can either contact their community Salvation Army, or drop off donations at 3901 S. Mason Street in Fort Collins.

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posted by Linda at 06:06 PM : Comments (0)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: The Electric Koolaid Poison Test...

pick of the day

Christopher Hitchens has repeatedly distinguished himself by being one of an exceptionally small group of outspokenly pro-war leftists. Hitchens’ ideology is libertarian enough that he understands the nature of the Islamic menace and why the religion whose very name means “submission” is so infinitely threatening to American liberty – and anathema to all civilization whether Occidental or Oriental. Hitchens thus recognizes that Islam must be stopped at all cost, lest it succeed in its tyrannical dreams of enslaving the entire planet as Caliphate Earth. In this essay Hitchens discusses the significance of Fallujah – implying, in his concluding lines, that what an Islamic mob did in Fallujah is just what an Islamic mob might do to "infidels" in Baltimore or Denver or Atlanta -- that is, if the global caliphate were to become reality.

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posted by at 09:25 AM : Comments (0)
April 01, 2004

Fire in the Poudre River Canyon.

The Poudre River Canyon has been one of my playgrounds since I came to Colorado. It's a beautiful place, trout-rich, and dotted with little communities all the way up and over Cameron Pass.

On Tuesday, a newcomer to the area decided to burn off some brush around his place. He didn't have a burn permit. Apparently, he didn't stop to think about the fact that we've been in drought for the last seven years, and so from the way things turn out, I intuit that he didn't have a rake, shovel or water close at hand.

At the time of this writing, the Picnic Rock Fire has claimed almost a thousand acres, forced evacuations in some areas, and has other residents poised to go at a moment's notice.

I live miles from there. My house is nestled against the foothills. People familiar with the area can see Horsetooth Rock clearly from my yard. Even with so many miles and the foothills separating me and mine from the fire, the air quality around my house was so poor this morning, that I'm seriously considering sending my daughter to stay with her grandparents for a few days -- at least until the smoke can dissipate somewhat.

With this entry, I thought about railing against the carelessness that has led to such ruin. I thought about ranting to try and drive home a point about drought conditions and fire. But no, I won't.

Instead, I shall try to educate. Taken from the article linked above, here are the county rules for open burning:

Pile debris in open areas away from standing timber and structures.

Piles should be no larger than 8 feet wide and 6 feet high.

There must be a minimum of 3 inches of snow cover around piles.

Winds should be less than 10 mph. Check the weather forecast to avoid burning during high winds or extremely dry conditions.

Always have water, a rake and a shovel available.

Attend all fires until completely out. All burning must be extinguished by nightfall.

Always check your county's rules for open burning, and obtain necessary permits before burning off brush and refuse around your house. This situation is one of the reasons why.

UPDATE: As of roughly 1500 hours, the blaze has consumed 2,000 acres, and forced the evacuation of a second subdivision. If you're in Colorado, and would like to help out, please contact the Red Cross, or Salvaton Army. (The Salvation Army in particular is accepting eye moisturizer, bottled water, Gatorade and bandannas for the firefighters.)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the cold front expected this evening. I hope the drop in temperature makes the fire lay down. In the meantime, we're praying that we don't get the expected 35-40 MPH wind gusts preceeding the front. The fire would be really hard to fight if it races into the more inaccessible areas of the canyon.

Gods bless our firefighters, and keep them safe.

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posted by Linda at 04:16 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column in The Wall Street Journal is one of my favorite daily must-reads, but Tuesday’s edition was among the best ever. Not only does Taranto excoriate the terrorists of Fallujah, he denounces Bill Clinton for cravenly withdrawing from Somalia after the similar incident there in 1993. Then he comments on several other matters relevant to the war, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s curious belief that diversity and multiculturalism will somehow convince terrorists to be less terrible, and the woefully under-reported Saudi Arabian tactic of waging war against the “infidels” by hiking oil prices -- yet another expression of Islamic vengefulness against the Bush Administration, the people of the United States, and civilization in general. Here is the link.

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posted by at 09:56 AM : Comments (0)