Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kelo and the Power of the Purse Strings

I just heard on the television that a bi-party group of Congressmen is proposing legislation that would deny federal funds to any government entity that abused the power of eminent domain a la New London.

Nancy Pelosi was the only one fretting about it on camera. ('But that would tend to nullify the Supreme Court's decision,' she said, or words to that effect, radiating concern, looking confused, and as if that was not the main point - indeed the openly stated point - of the proposed legislative move, and as if the control of the purse by Congress isn't one of those "checks and balances of power" factors that is supposed to kick in now and then.)

More later, when I have time to follow up.

UPDATE: Not the legislation, but a Resolution, from June 24, 2005, "Expressing the grave disapproval of the House of Representatives regarding the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in the case of Kelo et al. v. City of New London et al..."

UPDATE: This story by Todd J. Gillman of the Dallas Morning News tries to paint this as a Tom DeLay anti-judiciary project (augh!), and it stabs at DeLay for trying to save Terri Schiavo's life (double augh!), for that matter it describes that battle as "the fight over Terri Schiavo's feeding tube" ("augh" isn't strong enough for what I think about that dehumanizing crack), but it's the best I've come up with so far. And it does relay something I think is key to this matter:
Backlash to the eminent domain case, though, is far more broad-based.

Some of Congress' most liberal members have signed on. The lead sponsor is Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., but Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is also on board.

So is Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who said she's more worried about the "outrageous" threat to home owners - especially the poor and powerless - than about abetting DeLay's anti-judge agenda.

"Your home is a precious possession and it should be protected by government, not taken to give to a private party," she said. "For those who would like to use it as a political bludgeon, that's their politics, not my politics."
How would you like to be a grabby urban planner facing down this coalition? Correct me if I'm wrong, but to me this looks like a very, very broad-based coalition.

UPDATE: Here's a Fox News story. As of post time, there was also a video link.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has comments and links. Betsy's Page has a Pelosi post and a follow-up post on newspeople tidying up Pelosi's remarks for publication and a link to a New York Times article on eminent domain.

UPDATE: Mike Allen and Charles Babington of the Washington Post file a report.

Do Justly: In defense of life... without reference to God

Actually, the Do Justly post is primarily a link to a pro-life post at another blog, but I appreciated the Do Justly introduction to the other blogger, so...

Suitably Flip: Freedom Tower Redux

A New Yorker weighs in on the new Freedom Tower design.

Who Are the Pro-Americans?

Columnist Anne Applebaum, appearing in the Washington Post, says:
So familiar are the numbers, and so often have we heard them analyzed, that the release of a new poll on international anti-Americanism last week caused barely a ripple. Once again the Pew Global Attitudes Project showed that most Frenchmen have a highly unfavorable view of the United States; that the Spanish prefer China to America; and that Canadian opinion of the United States has sunk dramatically. And once again the polls told only half of the story. After all, even the most damning polls always show that some percentage of even the most anti-American countries remains pro-American. According to the new poll, some 43 percent of the French, 41 percent of Germans, 42 percent of Chinese and 42 percent of Lebanese say they like us. Maybe it's time to ask: Who are they?..
Full column

US Census First Ever Report on Information and Communication Technology Expenditures

For whatever reason, the feds now are trying to estimate how much money U.S. businesses are spending on computers, printers, monitors, "mouses" (that's what the press release says), keyboards, etc.; telephones, modems, answering machines, etc.; electronic devices used for medical purposes; and computer software - broken down into 19 separate economic sectors. (Use title link for the press release, which includes a link to the PDF file "Information and Communication Technology: 2003.")

Port St. Lucie is fastest growing city in U.S.; San Jose edges Detroit out of Top Ten

The Census Bureau has some new estimates out, including the ten fastest growing large cities (100,000 or more population), biggest cities overall, and cities that gained the most people overall. Use title link.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Supreme Court Nomination Blog: Take a Moment in the Quiet Before the Storm

SCOTUSblog has a sister blog devoted to upcoming Supreme Court nominations. In this post from Sunday, Tom Goldstein says that:

Predictions are necessarily uncertain, but I think that this blog is going to become more relevant in the next few days. If and when it does, upon the retirement of the Chief Justice, attention will shift immediately - too fast - to the question of whom the President will nominate and the effects of that nomination on the Court and the nation.

Likely somewhat lost in the shuffle will be reflection about and appreciation for the Chief. The retirement would mark the departure from the Court of a historic figure. William Rehnquist has devoted most of his professional life to public service and a commitment to the rule of law. The fact that so many of the Chief's solo dissents of the 1970s now represent established constitutional doctrine is a testament of the power of his ideas to persuade...
Full post

WorldNetDaily: Supreme Court justice faces boot from home?

The subhead is "Developer wants 'Lost Liberty Hotel' built upon property of David Souter".

A fellow by the name of Logan Darrow Clements has faxed a request to the appropriate code enforcement officer, I guess. He says he's not joking.


Until I can get my burning desire for cosmic justice to cool down long enough to remember that two wrongs don't make a right, I think I'll refrain from saying anything more.

Use title link to read the article.

Jane Austen fans, unite

I enjoy Jane Austen's books, but I read them with less fervor/fervour than the folks at either Austensorium or The Republic of Pemberley. For instance, see the "newbie" page at the Republic of Pemberley, which begins:
We, all of us, remember only too well the great relief we felt upon discovering this haven for Jane Austen Addicts. If your eyes did not widen, if you did not gasp in recognition, if you did not experience a frisson of excitement when you discovered a whole campful of soldiers - er - a whole websiteful of fellow Jane Austen Fanatics, then this place may not be for you. We are The Truly Obsessed here and have been known to talk for weeks about Jane Austen's spelling quirks and Mr. Darcy's coat ("No, no - the green one.") ...
No, I don't make the cut, I'm afraid, but I think I know some folks who might (you know who you are), so - just in case you didn't know about these sites yet - have fun :)

Monday, June 27, 2005

National Fire Maps

This webpage has a variety of maps for the United States, from large fire locations to temporary flight restrictions due to firefighting operations to drought monitoring to...

Betsy's Page: Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation

I guess Barack Obama complained that the Emancipation Proclamation was "more a military document than a clarion call for justice." To which history and civics teacher Betsy Newmark says, "Well, d'uh."

Being a history teacher, she goes on to explain why Lincoln used his authority as Commander in Chief for that situation.

She recommends the book Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation by Allen Guelzo. Gas station owner cashes in 1.4M pennies

You know the old saying about saving your pennies? Edmond Knowles has been doing it for thirty-eight years. The article says that after a while, customers at his gas station helped him out, giving him pennies to toss into his 55-gallon drums. Just for fun.

You have to hope that the people at the bank were in the proper frame of mind when Mr. Knowles showed up with that many coins at the same time. That sounds like the sort of thing that could either be very fun or very not fun, depending on your attitude.

Badger Blogger: Two dozen shootings in 12 hours

Perspective. (Use title link.)

Not your average fish book: Cardinal Tetras by Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod

What an interesting stack of books I'm wading through tonight... Here's another find, rather unexpected. From the cover, it looks for all the world like a standard 'how to take care of your pet' book from T.F.H. Publications, which does a lot of pet care books. The author is Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod. We've sold a lot of fish care books by Axelrod. The title is Cardinal Tetras, which from the cover photo is a type of fish. So far, no surprises. The copyright is 1980. The ISBN is 0-87666-517-2.

I leaf through the book to get a general idea of condition and to make sure it's not all full of underlining, etc.

Oops. Not a pet care book. It looks more like a 'real-life Indiana Jones-type goes into Brazil in hopes of breaking a monopoly on fish imports into the United States' book. And that's just for starters. Adventure. Travel. Memoirs. A little science. Some history. And, oh, a little bit on fish care, in the form of stories about early attempts to raise and breed cardinal tetras in captivity.

Ah, look, here's a story about the author taking his first trip to Brazil in 1955 to find discusfish (whatever they are), going way, way upriver, not being to find a place to stay, being sent to the church - and finding it is run by a priest who could converse with him in German, and who was a fish hobbyist. What are the chances of being rescued in the back beyond of South America by a priest who has already scoped out the local wild fish scene for potential aquarium fish? So here are two grown men, one in cassock and sandals, one in pants and sneakers, wading out into a river to find fish for local kids to capture for them.

It appears to be an interesting compilation of a book, with a bit of this and a bit of that, loosely mixed. I feel compelled to mention it because the publisher is known for one type of book, and for whatever reason made this one look the same as their usual fare. Even a different title would have helped. You know, something along the lines of 'The Cardinal Tetra Adventures' or 'My forays in the fish business' or 'The ones that didn't get away'. Well, okay, so I'm not hitting home runs with titles off the top of my head. But. Almost anything but simply the name of the fish, please, would have been nice, I think. I wonder how many people who would have enjoyed buying this book when it was in print didn't think to look inside because they weren't fish fanciers interested in that particular type of fish as a pet? A pity. Maybe somebody will retitle it and reissue it for the fans of 'men exploring the jungle' books? Or for fans of 'dueling scientists' books? Just a thought.

Update: There seems to be some question about the authenticity of some of the tales told by Herbert Axelrod. Rats. Leaving open the possibility that this book is about real adventures, I have to admit the strong possibility, given the other claims, that it might contain some 'fish stories' of the other variety (aka fabrications). Rats. I like a good tall tale, but not one passed off as fact.

My thanks to the person who took the time and trouble to bring this to my attention by leaving a comment.

Homer Price & Emil and the Detectives

I was cleaning and pricing a stack of used books today, and I came across Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey, which, upon investigation, I find is still in print...

Homer Price
Homer Price is a sequel, by the way.

Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price
Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price

So, after Homer Price, the very next book in the stack was Emil and the Detectives, by Erich Kastner, translated by May Massee, illustrated by Walter Trier - which I find is also still in print (although it doesn't say whether it's the same translation):

Emil and the Detectives, Level 3, Vol. 3
Emil and the Detectives, Level 3, Vol. 3

As it happens, Barnes & Noble publishes a version, also currently in print.

Emil and the Detectives
Emil and the Detectives

I just thought I'd let you know in case you loved them as a kid but hadn't thought about them for a while...

Power Line: You Want Property Rights Defended?

John at the Power Line blog notes that Judge Janice Rogers Brown, recently confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is one of the people who understands the importance of protecting property rights. You can read part of her dissent in San Remo Hotel v. City and County of San Francisco in this post from last Friday. (Use title link.)

Wood's fellow hostage hires bounty hunters - World -

Swede Ulf Hjertstrom is going after his former Iraqi captors.

Hat tip: Instapundit

CBC Arts: Voices behind Tigger, Piglet die

The two actors who provided the voices of Tigger and Piglet in the Winnie the Pooh films have died within a day of each other.

Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger, died Friday morning in his sleep at his home in California. John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, passed away on Saturday...


UPDATE: For more, see here for Mr. Winchell and here for Mr. Fiedler.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

College Students on 3 Simultaneous 3,000 Mile Pro-Life Walks

There are college students walking across the United States, west to east, talking to people they meet en route about the value of human life. From this article from Christian Wire Service:
"Life issues are considered by many to be taboo, but we have found that most people, at the very least, respect the moral courage it takes to stand up for what you believe in rather than the indifference that tends to plague society today," said [Crossroads] Northern Walk Leader Matthew Maes, of Atlanta, Georgia. "We are not trying to force our values down anyone's throat, it's quite the contrary, we have a very simple message about the sanctity of all human life. We have listened patiently to the other side. Now it is our turn to be heard."
This weekend the walkers are more or less halfway through their walks. There are three different groups, traveling three different routes. They plan to meet in Washington, D.C. on the steps of the Capitol, and from there travel to World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.

For more, visit the Crossroads home page or read the Crossroads 2005 blog.

People of the Book - New Blog of Note

Jim Manney, who has been in Catholic publishing since the mid-70s, bills his new blog People of the Book as "A Blog for and about the Catholic Book Publishing Community." He's only been at this a couple of weeks, but so far, so good - lots of good info already.

Hat tip: Amy Welborn at Open Book

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Our Blue Castle: Pure happiness

What makes for a great day? Really? (Use title link to see one boy's take on the world.)

Slobokan's Site O' Schtuff : Dylan and Shasta Groene : An Update

There's nothing much to report on Dylan and Shasta Groene, the children who disappeard mid-May from northern Idaho after their mother, brother, and their mother's boyfriend were murdered - but the blogger "Slobokan" thinks it's time to get their pictures out again, to remind people to keep looking, and I'm happy to help. Use the title link to see his post, which has pictures and recent news reports.

America's Most Wanted has additional pictures and information. As of post time, Dylan's file was here and Shasta's file was here.

The Chaucer Pedagogy Page

This website of the University of Alaska - Anchorage provides "Online Assistance for Teachers and Students of Chaucer and the Later Middle Ages." Lots of links.

Been there, done that, wasn't acceptable

Paul Greenberg: A modest proposal takes a look at how some people these days seem to be going down paths that led to no good before. He starts with Arlen Specter's justification for subsidizing stem cell research on human embryos, and goes from there.
...Remember the various experiments the Japanese performed on prisoners of war during the 1940s? These subjects were going to be worked to death anyway, so why not put them to some scientific use? Back then we could see through such rationalizations. Not even the records of those experiments would be used.


All seemed to understand what didn't have to be said back then: This research was . . . unclean. To touch it would be to defile oneself, and risk infection by the same ethical absence that motivated the experiments in the first place.

There is no scientific explanation for such a feeling; it is just there. Call it the wisdom of repugnance...
Read the rest of the column

Between The Rinse And Spin Cycle: The Darlings Have Decided

Jasmine and family just moved into a new house, and her kids looked at the big, empty house with no toys in it and their response was... : Tag, You're It!

I'm just tying into another branch of the book tag here, in part because it takes me off to blogs I haven't known about before. I also think it's an interesting list.

It contains a regional book I hadn't heard about - A Nickel's Worth of Skim Milk by Robert Hastings. "This book is a treat from my home town. It’s the story of life during the Great Depression through the eyes of a child," blogger Jason S. Evans says.

Lifenut : Bittersweet

Ouch. This post is from a expectant mother who has just found out that one of her unborn twins is dead and the other isn't doing well. She's asking for prayers.

Notes in the Key of Life: It's my brother's birthday...

Cindy Swanson's brother celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday - in Iraq, where's he's training Iraqi policemen. She has a moving post, and a reprint of an e-mail he sent to her last fall about what it's like to train Iraqi cadets.

Wittingshire: Bitten by the Book Meme

Another book tag entry. Amanda at Wittingshire has some experience with teens, and it shows. She has an emphasis on what they might find appealing (without dumbing anything down).

The Anchoress : Re-arranging my bookshelf with recommendations

The Anchoress has some book recommendations (with a DVD thrown in for good measure). I'm still dreaming of the day I can write so much review with so few words. The lady has a flair, what can I say?

DurhamPortfolio - Photography by Kathleen Connally

Just for fun, here's another nice photography website...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Schiavo Gravestone A Virtual Copy of Cruzan Memorial

When I heard about Terri Schiavo's gravestone I thought, "This is unheard of!"

Then I saw this.

What sort of people are we dealing with and how many of them are out there?

Publishers crossing over

The World Magazine cover story for the July 2, 2005, issue (on the internet now - use title link) is called "Out of the ghetto" and is about changes in the publishing industry. The subhead is "Christian publishers reach for a share of the secular market, mainstream publishers jostle for Christian market share—and readers win from the competition." The reporters are Gene Edward Veith and Lynn Vincent.

Letter from the Continental Congress to the Inhabitants of Canada; May 29, 1775

This letter was written 230 years ago "To the oppressed Inhabitants of Canada":

Alarmed by the designs of an arbitrary Ministry, to extirpate the Rights and liberties of all America, a sense of common danger conspired with the dictates of humanity, in urging us to call your attention, by our late address, to this very important object.

Since the conclusion of the late war, we have been happy in considering you as fellow-subjects, and from the commencement of the present plan for subjugating the continent, we have viewed you as fellow-sufferers with us. As we were both entitled by the bounty of an indulgent creator to freedom, and being both devoted by the cruel edicts of a despotic administration, to common ruin, we perceived the fate of the protestant and catholic colonies to be strongly linked together, and therefore invited you to join with us in resolving to be free, and in rejecting, with disdain, the fetters of slavery, however artfully polished.

We most sincerely condole with you on the arrival of that day, in the course of which, the sun could not shine on a single freeman in all your extensive dominion. Be assured, that your unmerited degradation has engaged the most unfeigned pity of your sister colonies; and we flatter ourselves you will not, by tamely bearing the yoke, suffer that pity to be supplanted by contempt.

When hardy attempts are made to deprive men of rights, bestowed by the almighty, when avenues are cut thro' the most solemn compacts for the admission of despotism, when the plighted faith of government ceases to give security to loyal and dutiful subjects, and when the insidious stratagems and manoeuvres of peace become more terrible than the sanguinary operations of war, it is high time for them to assert those rights, and, with honest indignation, oppose the torrent of oppression rushing in upon them.

By the introduction of your present form of government, or rather present form of tyranny, you and your wives and your children are made slaves. You have nothing that you can call your own, and all the fruits of your labour and industry may be taken from you, whenever an avaritious governor and a rapacious council may incline to demand them....
Full document

Castle Coalition: You can make a difference

The title link is to a page that lists successful fights against eminent domain abuses. The key word, unfortunately, seems to be fights.

The same webpage has an Eminent Domain Abuse Survival Guide, and information on action that can be taken outside the courts.

TCS: Tech Central Station - They Can't Take That Away From Me... Unless They Can

Ugh. I give up. I've been trying (against the odds and contrary to my initial gut reaction) to find solace in the fact that the Supreme Court, in the Kelo/New London case, had decided to not decide on a few points. You know, 'hooray that the feds aren't stealing every decision from the states and local governments'? It's no good. It's not working. It was likely pathetic of me to try. I apologize for trying to be optimistic in the face of disgusting developments. The Supreme Court was handed the responsibility of protecting citizens from galloping abuse from city officials - and didn't. Now I'm back to my original bummed feeling: You can't pretend you have property rights if the only time you're safe is when politicians and bureaucrats deem you worthy (or profitable, which isn't the same thing, not that it matters in this case).

Use the title link for Stephen Bainbridge's take on what's just happened.

Debate Central : The Classical Liberal Concept of Individual Rights

The National Center for Policy Analysis has a background paper for high school debaters that looks at what sorts of rights people are supposed to have, with a tie-in to American history:
The Bill of Rights proclaims that individuals have “rights.” But what does it mean to have a right? Are some rights fundamentally different from others? Where do rights come from? How can they be defended? These are some of the questions we seek to answer in the following discussion of the classical liberal concept of rights – a concept that permeates the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and many other documents produced by the people who created the American system of government...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Top Court's Less Than Landmark Ruling -

Dan Ackman, writing for Forbes, says that:

NEW YORK - The U.S. Supreme Court is often vested with awesome power--the last word, the final arbiter and all that. Once in a blue moon, that's true, but mostly it's a crock, and the "takings" case the court decided today shows why.

In the case of Kelo v. City of New London, the court ruled 5 to 4 that a city may take control of private homes and use underlying land for an economic revitalization project, provided, of course, that the city pays the home owners "just compensation."


But the court didn't really decide that the scheme was public. More accurately, it decided that it would not decide, nodding to its "long-standing policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field."...


Everyone agrees that the state cannot take land to confer purely private benefits. But the "hard question of when a purportedly 'public purpose' taking meets the public-use requirement" really wasn't for the justices to judge, Stevens said.


Reacting to the decision, Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice, which argued the case for the home owners, seized on this idea that the lower courts hold most of the cards. In a statement, he said, "The majority and the dissent both recognized that the action now turns to state supreme courts, where the public-use battle will be fought out under state constitutions." He added that "today's decision in no way binds those courts."

Mr. Ackman is swimming against the tide of headlines here. All around the world, it's being interpreted as the United States Supreme Court giving the green light for cities to bulldoze smaller taxpayers to make way for bigger taxpayers. (And, no doubt, in city halls across America there are champagne corks in the wastebaskets tonight, because that's what they think they got told.) But do read Mr. Ackman's take on this. It at least gives us something to fight back with.

Full Ackman article

Deroy Murdock on Manners on National Review Online

In a column called "How Rude!" Deroy Murdock gives a beginner's course for people who have never been taught any manners.

Exultet: She sings silly songs by the seashore

Oh, oh. Rosalind over at Exultet is getting people going on silly riding-in-the-car or camp songs. Feel free to share your favorites here as well as there.

I (ahem) spent hours dancing to and singing along with a Homer & Jethro record as a child. Is there an award for parents who don't strangle children upon hearing Mairzy Doats, and Music Goes Round and Round, and Three Little Fishies, etc., for the three thousandth time (each) from a child who is not blessed with superior singing powers? I'd like to nominate my folks, thanks. (I did close all the doors to the living room to minimize the distress to others, honest.)

For the story behind "Mairzy Doats", go here for the low-down from Dennis Livingston, whose dad, Jerry Livingston, wrote the music.

I also seem to remember something about a song with "Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant" in it that was a massive hit at my grade school. Oh, yeah, some guy named Frank Sinatra sang it too.

Bannockburn: the Scots victory over the English

Today in the year 1314, Edward II's English army was heading into battle at Bannockburn thinking they'd crush the Scottish uprising once and for all. Robert the Bruce and his Scots, outnumbered 3 to 1, just plain outsmarted them, if I understand this account correctly. (Of course, this is a Scottish account...)

The National Trust for Scotland preserves Bannockburn today.

"A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885" is available here.

Military History Online has a look at it, in The Bruce, Bannockburn and Independence, by Lori M. Barrett.

The Bruce Family website weighs in on it here, including the poem "Bruce's address to his captains before The Battle of Bannockburn", written by John Barbour c. 1375, presented in the original and in a modern English version.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

me autem minui: Bookbinding, redux

James Quinby has been reading up on bookbinding, and he shares links that have been useful to him.

Measure for Measure: Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to remake California's government

Writing for Opinion Journal, Pete du Pont, former governor of Delaware and currently chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, looks at California Gov. Schwarzenegger's efforts to reshape California's government, with a focus on what's coming in a special election this fall:
...A week ago the governor called a special election for Nov. 8 to vote on three policy changes that the Democrat-controlled legislature has refused to consider: stronger state spending restraints, higher standards for public school teachers, and retired judges rather than legislators drawing legislative district boundaries.


Two other emotional proposals have already qualified for the November vote--parental notification and a two-day wait for unmarried girls 17 and under to receive an abortion, and requiring a public employee's written consent before a union can spend his dues money for political contributions.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has not endorsed the abortion measure, but it will bring a great many people to the polls on Nov. 8. An April Fox News poll showed 78% support for parental notification--and no wonder. Under existing California law 14- to 17-year-olds need parental permission to use tanning machines or to get their ears pierced. How does one then argue that a young girl's abortion requires no parental notification?

Full column EU speaks with one voice on Iraq

From a report by Andrew Rettman:
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The EU has put aside its bickering over the budget and the constitution to put its weight behind the international effort to rebuild Iraq, but Wednesday's (22 June) summit did little beyond expressing optimism for the future of the war-torn country.

"Europe has been split down the middle, but people are now willing to put the divisions of the past behind them", UK foreign secretary Jack Straw said, referring to last week's Franco-British row over the EU's 2007-2013 financial plan.

His comments echoed earlier remarks from the Irish, US and eastern European delegations that the talks were marked by a forward-looking spirit on all sides, with French, Iranian and Syrian diplomats declining to revisit former jibes at the US and UK's intervention in the region.

"We are now in a different phase", a western European diplomatic contact noted. "And that's - stuff it! We didn't like what you did but now we'll have to get together and help, to work for a good cause".
Full article

A Life in Pages: Author Angela Hunt's blog

Author Angela Hunt started a blog just a couple weeks ago. To go to the current post, go here. To go to her first post, go here. Her webpage is

Hat tip: The links list at Notes in the Key of Life.

Raising Boys

Blogging mothers talk about raising boys. See Wittingshire: Raising Men and Mommy Life: More on Cinderella Man - and boys.

In the Wittingshire post, Amanda says:
When my boys were three and four, they spent a good bit of time patrolling the perimeter of the back yard with stick guns. One day they were making particularly gruesome sound effects and my feminine squeamishness, which I try to keep tamped down while mothering boys, got away from me. "I really don't like you pretending to shoot people," I told them.

"We're not pretending to shoot people," my older son said. "We're shooting pretend people. Dangerous ones."


A Fistful of Euros: Bonfire Of The Textbooks?

Is it time to admit that the old economic models in textbooks just aren't holding up well in the real world, especially when you factor in China? Edward at A Fistful of Euros has a discussion going. (Use title link.)

Growing Scott Timber

From Sharon Ward, writing for the June 22, 2005, Scotsman, comes this story of a young man who took on a big challenge at age 18:

...Since he became managing director in 1990 at the age of 18, [John] Scott, 34, has transformed his family's sawmill business. A turnover of £96,000 and a trading loss in 1987 has been converted into more than £47 million in sales, while the workforce has increased from four to more than 500.


His father, James, an estate agent, and mother Chris, a nurse, bought their new home in Gargunnock, near Stirling, in 1987, with an old sawmill attached. As a hobby, John's father would tinker with the mill and he spent school holidays working on the site making fences.

"After school, I began working full-time until I could decide what I wanted to do," said Scott.

"We weren't making any money, the company had turnover of only £100,000 and was trading poorly.

"Unfortunately, my dad fell ill and within three years he had died so I was left on my own.

"The first year was tough because we had a particularly bad winter and no-one was buying fences. We decided to move onto making pallets because this was a year round business."

The gamble paid off and Scott was able to persuade BP in Grangemouth to sign a deal for 500,000 pallets a year.

"Giving us that chance put us on the map," he said.

"It was just over 25 per cent of our business and doubled our turnover.

"Alongside three of my school pals, we worked seven days a week for a year. BP opened doors for us and we haven't looked back."


Full article (Headline: Scott Timber reveals plans for further expansion into Europe)

FIRE - The Cost of Growing College Administrations

Here's an interesting thing to consider. How much of the increase in college costs is due to the increased overseeing of "student life" on campuses? From Harvey Silverglate:
Alan Charles Kors and I ... in our book The Shadow University... noted the extraordinary increase in administrative staff on the student life side of colleges and universities. We attributed this in large measure to the vast increase in the university’s control over and interference in students’ non-academic lives, under the rubric of the university’s resurgent in loco parentis role. This development, commencing in the 1980s, coincided with the entrenchment of the notion that students in the newly diversified American university could not learn to get along without administrative micro-management, “sensitivity training,” imposition of forced “civility” with the aid of speech codes, and other such devices...


A good part of the problem perceived by Professor Vedder could be solved, it seems to me, by restoring liberty to our campuses and relying more on the good sense and good faith of students to learn how to get along, without parent-substitutes seeking to micro-manage their every interaction. Surely it’s worth a try. Those of us who have substantial interactions with college students will, I think, agree that the average student has a healthier and more robust view of human relationships than the typical student-life administrator.
Full article. Hat tip: PowerBlog

For Barnes & Noble's information on the book referenced in the article, click on the book cover.

The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses
The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - Foot Of Hail Hits Colorado Springs

This was the first day of summer, no?
COLORADO SPRING, Colo. -- A slow moving thunderstorm dumped up to a foot of hail Tuesday along this city's southeastern edge, forcing officials to use snowplows to clear a route through a major thoroughfare.

The storm also brought about an inch of rain that left up to 4 feet of water in the middle of streets, trapping dozens of motorists, and turned a sleepy creek into a torrent that peeled the pavement off a bridge, said Lt. Carl Lyman of the Colorado Springs fire department.

One rescued motorist was treated for hypothermia, but nobody was seriously injured, Lyman said...

US CATHOLIC NEWS - Is the Faith Dead in France? Not Quite

There's good news and bad news out of France as far as the Catholic church is concerned, as Sabrina Arena Ferrisi explains in this page one story for the June 12-18, 2005, National Catholic Register. (Also at Use title link.)

Notes in the Key of Life: Baby-boomer reminiscing...

The title link will take you to a list of things that you probably remember if you're a baby boomer.

CBC News: Microchip inventor dies

Jack Kilby has died at age 81.

...He built the first integrated circuit using borrowed equipment in 1958. The "integration" consists of adding all of the components of a chip onto one paper clip-size piece of semiconductor.

Until integrated circuits miniaturized technology, computers were room-sized machines with bulky switches and vacuum

Kilby held more than 60 U.S. patents, including one filed in 1959 for a circuit made of the element germanium. Bob Noyce, co-founder of chip maker Intel Corp., later mass produced the chips using silicon...

The Common Room: Challenges, journals, six-year-old boys

Another entry in the 'what would we do without six-year-olds?' category. (Use title link.) Working on the railroad

Okay, so what would you do after flying airliners? Jayson Jacoby of the Baker City Herald found one former pilot who now helps run a narrow gauge railroad in eastern Oregon.
...Six months ago [Dale] Olsen piloted a vehicle that could hardly be more different from the Sumpter Valley Railroad's steam-powered locomotive.

He flew 747 jumbo jets.

Olsen, 60, retired last year. He lives in Palmer, Alaska, and he has worked as a volunteer on the Sumpter Valley Railroad since 1983.

On this sunny May morning Olsen is the fireman on the seven-mile, 45-minute run from McEwen to Sumpter Valley Dredge State Park. On board are a few dozen eighth-graders from Vale Middle School. Olsen, as his job title implies, runs the oil-fired boiler.

With one lever he diverts oil into the boiler to stoke the fire, and with another he dumps in water to generate the steam that powers the Mikado No. 19 locomotive's two cylinders.

There are no computers on the Mikado, in stark contrast to a 747, which hauls around enough megabytes to bury New York City in e-mail.

"This is going from one extreme to the other," Olsen says as he peers at a glass window behind which water sloshes.

This instrument, which shows the water level in the boiler, resembles a medieval weather instrument you might find in an English castle. Like the locomotive itself, the water-level gauge is a rolling antique...
At a wild guess, something like 90 percent of the guys reading this will be at least a teensy bit jealous of Mr. Olsen. Yes? (Not that you couldn't volunteer at a historic railway site yourself, you know.)

New Book: Is the Reformation Over?, by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom

Is the Reformation Over? - Books & Culture is a long essay at by Mark Noll, McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, and Carolyn Nystrom, a writer in Wheaton, Illinois. The essay is from their soon-to-be-released book Is the Reformation Over?, published by Baker.

For more information on the book, see Is the Reformation over?: An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism, at Barnes & Noble. - Missing Scout found alive in Utah

Good news!

Hat tip: A Certain Slant of Light

Australian Bush Classics: The RM Williams Collection

Sunday, I was listening to Cowboy Corner on our local radio station. As he often does, Red Steagall read a cowboy poem - only this one was a bush poem from Australia, a slight variation on his usual offering. There aren't many poems that prompt me to break out in laughter, right out loud, but this one did: it was just too, too true about the funnier side of human nature. So I went in search of the book in which this poem is published.

Debbie Bowman, Assistant to Red Steagall and event coordinator for The Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering, was kind enough to help me after I ran up against a blank wall on my own. Between what she gave me and some sleuthing on the Internet, I've determined that what I'm looking for to stock in the store (assuming the price isn't out of line) is The Australian Bush Classics: The R.M. Williams Collection, ISBN 9780957970, published 2001 in Australia. My husband has also run across mention of an audio book version. So far, though, we haven't found any supplier in this country that actually stocks this title (sigh). Ah, well, we're not horribly shy about pestering publishers, if it comes to that...

I've also discovered that the late R.M. Williams seems to be a well-known person in Australia. See here and here for example.

The Burr in the Burgh: Playing Book Tag: 5 to 10 I'd Recommend to Youth

Yet another player in the book tag I started June 16 and bolstered here and here. I was afraid I hadn't planted enough seeds for this to take hold. Now, less than a week into this, already it's become impossible to track. I was kind of hoping for this, but am pleasantly surprised anyway. Thanks, everybody. You've dredged up some pleasant memories, and sent me in search of books I haven't read yet.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mommy Life: Too beautiful for words

Barbara Curtis has a link to a picture "too beautiful for words."

Recommended Reading from Just Read, Florida!

Here's a suggested K-12 summer reading list from the Florida Department of Education.

The same website has reading lists from various school districts here. Makes Top Ten in Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

I just checked out the new version of The Truth Laid Bear (there's been a top to bottom redesign of the site and a shift in focus) - and I see that this afternoon ProLifeBlogs (of which I am a member), has made it into the top ten blogs - that would be the Higher Beings list, for those of you to whom this sort of thing matters. Rankings change constantly, of course, but at the moment Pro-Life Blogs has 2,408 links, which makes me suspect that they've got some staying power. We can only hope.


UPDATE: I realized I had a couple typos, so I've fixed those and slightly changed the title at the same time.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Khaleej Times Online: Ordeal of a Nobel winner

In a commentary for the Khaleej Times, Mohammed A.R. Galadari notes the 60th birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent much of her life fighting for democracy in Myanmar (Burma). And, at the end of this piece he says:
Dear readers, George Bush has now become the champion of democracy around the world, and his deputy Condoleezza Rice the campaigner for that cause. Myanmar must get their due attention in this campaign. The super power should help make the success of Suu Kyi in Myanmar an example for the rest of the world to follow, especially those in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the third world. By making Myanmar's freedom and democracy movement a success story, Bush can make others confident of the chances of their success in their respective countries.
My goodness, what times we live in.

The future of conservatism -

Colin McNickle, editorial page editor for the Tribune-Review, talks to Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee about what conservatism is, and where we ought to go from here.

McNickle argues Republicans should "reject liberalism-lite and return to the Goldwater standard."

Hat tip: From the Bleachers

A Certain Slant of Light: Professional Golf's Equivalent of "Rocky"

We watched a little of the U.S. Open golf championship yesterday on television, and I was fascinated by Jason Gore. I didn't know who he was, he doesn't look like a golfer, at least not a pro golfer, and he was there with all the big names I do know, in a huge tournament.

What I didn't know was Gore's background story. For one thing, he's ranked 818th in the world, and today he was to be paired with Retief Goosen, currently number 5 in the world. And:
The unflappable defending-champ Goosen is no surprise whatsoever, precision ball striker and putting artist that he is, but one would have expected Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh or Phil Michelson to be teeing the ball up with him at 3:00pm today, not a round-belly guy who drove to the tournament in a car without air conditioning and had his and his wife's clothing, along with his car stereo, stolen along the way. They even stole Jason's underwear, which he laughed about saying the thieves would find his size boxer shorts a bit disappointing. Were that set of circumstances not unsettling enough, his 8-month old son has infections in both ears! Have you ever been out-of-town with a sick baby on your hands trying to find a doctor who will make a house call to a Best Western motel? Talk about being up against it.
Full Gore post at A Certain Slant of Light

UPDATE: Gore and Goosen both had a bad golf day, but were good sports and gracious losers. Gore even got Goosen to laugh out loud on one hole, after it was clear neither had a chance of winning. According to the television commentator, Gore reportedly asked Goosen if he'd like to play the next hole for ten bucks, just to make it interesting. Gotta love these guys - especially since you know neither one is likely to let this particular defeat matter in the long run.

But the nicest bit of the day was that Michael Campbell of New Zealand came almost out of nowhere and played tremendously well, to win the tournament to tears and cheers all round. Great game. And Campbell comes across as such a nice guy, too. I love it when champs are gentlemen as well as superior athletes.

United Press International: Basque ETA announces end of attacks

Yes, well, we've heard this before, for all intents and purposes. ETA is saying that it will no longer launch attacks on politicians in Spain:
In a statement reported by Basque newspaper Gara, the group said the "front" against politicians was closed due to the changing political climate.

The Spanish government has offered to negotiate with the group if it agrees to disarm, but the group said it would talk, but will not give up its weapons. The statement issued Saturday said ETA was waiting for Spanish and French authorities to "respond positively to the will" it had displayed.
I hope for the best, but if I were a Spanish politician I wouldn't stop looking over my shoulder.

Saying 'I do' benefits dads, research shows

I suspect most people know this already, but it is nice to have it spelled out from time to time: marriage can make a big difference as far as guys are concerned. From a June 19, 2005, Washington Times article by Cheryl Wetzstein:
Pastor Carl Rawls walks the neighborhoods of Selma, Ala., looking for men he can turn into good fathers and husbands. His own family experiences motivate him.

"My parents were married and had eight kids," he said. "I saw my father work hard and take care of the family. He took me to work with him when I was 12."

Today, as a married father of four, Mr. Rawls talks to an endless stream of men who are fathers but not married. Many of these fathers are good providers, dedicated caregivers and satisfied with living together with the mothers of their children, common-law style, he said.

But marriage is better, and it can happen in a low-income family, he said. "You just need to do it." Mr. Rawls' viewpoint is both supported by research and dogged by controversy.

Researchers such as Steven L. Nock argue that marriage is good for fathers because marriage is good for men.

In general, married people have better health, higher earnings, longer life spans, better mental health, better sex lives and more happiness than unmarried people, according to Mr. Nock, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia and author of the 1998 book, "Marriage in Men's Lives."

Men, however, gain something especially beneficial from marriage: identification as a competent, capable adult male, Mr. Nock said. Historically, mature masculinity is defined by three things -- fatherhood, working hard to provide for a wife and children, and protecting the family and estate.

He added that marriage has long served -- and still serves -- as the ideal entree into these core dimensions of masculinity, and marriage confers a powerful new set of social expectations on men...
Full article

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Scottish Poetry Selection - Contented Wi' Little and Cantie Wi' Mair

Robert Burns wrote this title-linked "self portarait" in 1794. I'd have been lost without the glossary tagged to the end - but once you get it translated, it's a pretty fun poem, I think. Very upbeat.

The Avalon Project : Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh : 1584

I remember reading, years ago, a historian's contention that world history shifted dramatically, and for the better, because in the 16th century Queen Elizabeth made a point of having her colonies ruled by laws instead of giving her colonial leaders authority to do what they wanted - and because she put it in writing so there wouldn't be any question about it. And, no, I can't remember his name off the top of my head. Sorry.

But I do find the contention interesting. And aren't old documents interesting, anyway?

From the 1584 Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh (emphasis mine):
ELIZABETH by the Grace of God of England, Fraunce and Ireland Queene, defender of the faith, &c. To all people to whome these presents shall come, greeting.


...And wee doe graunt to the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignee, and to all, and euery of them, and to all and euery other person, and persons being of our allegiance, whose names shall be noted or entred in some of our Courtes of recorde within our Realme of Englande, that with the assentof the saide Walter Ralegh,his heires or assignes, shall in his journeis for discouerie, or in the iourneis for conquest, hereafter trauelle to such lands, countreis and territories, as aforesaide, and to their, and to euery of their heires, that they, and every or any of them, being either borne within our saide Realmes of Englande, or Irelande or in any other place within our allegiance, and which hereafter shall be inliabiting within any the lands, Countreis, and territories, with such licence (as aforesaide) shall and may haue all the priniledges of free Denizens, and persons native of England, and within our allegiance in such like ample manor and fourme, as if they were borne and personally resident within our saide Realme of England, any lawe, custome, or vsage to the contrary notwithstanding.

And for asmuch as upon the finding out, discovering, or inhabiting of such remote lands, countreis, and territories as aforesaid, it shal be necessary for the safetie of al men, that shal aduenture them selues in those murnies or voyages, to determine to line together in Christian peace, and ciuil quietnes ech with other, whereby euery one may with snore pleasure and profit enjoy that whereunto they shall attaine with great Paine and perill, we for vs. our heires and successors, are likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents do giue and graunt to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignee for ever, that tree and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may from time to time for euer hereafter, within the said mentioned remote lances and Countreis in the way by the seas thither, and from thence, inane full and meere power and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, gouerne, and rule by their and euery or any of their good discretions and pollicies, as well in causes capital, or criminal!, as ciuil, both marine and other all such our subjects as shall from time to time aduenture themselves in the said iournies or voyages, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite any such lances, countreis, or territories as aforesaide, or shall abide within 200. leagues of any of the saide place or places, where the saide Walter Raleqh, his heires or assignee, or any of them, or any of his or their associates or companies, shall inhabits within 6. yeeres next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes and ordinances, as shall bee by him the saide Walter Raleqh his heires and assignee, and euery or any of them deuised, or established, for the better government of the said people as aforesaid. So always as the said statutes, lawes, and ordinances may be as neere as conveniently may be, agreeable to the forme of the lawes, statutes, governement, or pollicie of England, and also so as they be not against the true Christian faith, nowe professed in the Church of England, nor in any wise to withdraws any of the subjects or people of those lances or places from the allegiance of vs. our heires and successours, as their immediate Soueraigne vnder God.

For the full 1584 Raleigh charter, go here. That website, for the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, features many other documents "relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government."

BreakPoint | The New Swing Kids

Mark Gauvreau Judge, writing June 9, 2005, for a Christian website, says very good things about the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom - and the New York City public school program it chronicles. He also thinks most of the movie critics miss the wonderful lessons in the film. You know, little things like "it takes hard work to achieve fulfillment," the importance of manners, dignity, respect, that sort of thing.
Overall, Mad Hot Ballroom is jaw-dropping for Christians, at least in small ways. In once scene, a remarkable teacher named Rodney Rodriguez notices that the boys are filing into class with their shirts untucked.

“You know what?” he says, tugging his own shirt out. “I think I’m gonna teach class like this. I’m going to dance like this. How’s that look?” After several seconds of silence, the kids respond: it looks stupid. “That’s right,” Rodney says. “Now tuck them back in.”

In another scene, a female teacher watches closely while her young charges look for dresses to wear in the final competition. “Forget it,” she tells one who likes a Britney Spears outfit. “You’re not wearing anything that shows your belly button.”

Not only do the teachers instruct students about proper dress, they also give practical advice about failure. One group of students is seen weeping after losing an early round of competition. “Buck up,” a teacher tells them. “It’s part of life.”

Do they still let teachers have this much authority, and wisdom, in public schools?
Hat tip:

New York City says "Yes, you should - no, you can't" to taxi operators

Isn't this just like the government these days? (Sigh.) New York City had a special program to promote the use of cabs that ran on natural gas or were 'hybrid' technology, i.e., ran on a combination of gas and electricity. Some folks bought the special, discounted licenses offered as a key incentive in the project - and then found out that the folks in charge of approving vehicles for taxi use wouldn't approve alternative-fuel vehicles. Different bureaucrats, different causes, you know.

This would be funny if it weren't so sad and infuriating.

The New York Times has the story at Hybrid Taxis Encounter Catch-22 of Regulation.

Hat tip: Out of Control

North Sea Diaries - A weblog of European politics: The European Punch and Judy show

DaveVH has another collection of press and political reactions to current events in Europe, plus analysis. (Use title link.)

Stories from around America

Here's another round of hidden-in-plain-sight stories from America's smaller papers, starting with a story out of Alabama in the Eufaula Tribune, about a proud military family. The reporter is Susan Walworth.
With family scattered all over the world, reunions are rare with the Diggs family. In fact, the last time they all got to be together was in 1996.

The reason the Diggses have difficulty getting together is because much of their family is too busy serving their country.

Lonnie and Willie Frank Diggs, who live just outside the Eufaula City Limits, have six children-one girl, Jertha, who lives next door to her parents-and five boys, all of whom are serving or have served in the military.


...Willie Frank received some comfort last December when two of her sons had a rare reunion in Iraq. In a base camp of thousands, Charles, who is an executive officer, was making preparations to send troops to Baghdad. Unknown to him, his brother, Willie, preparing for his second tour of duty in Baghdad, was in the same camp. A soldier who had contact with both men had noticed the mutual last name. After questioning one Diggs about the other, he discovered they were brothers. A lieutenant colonel set up a place the brothers could meet and saw to it that Willie's stay at the camp was extended before his next mission so he could see his brother. Once the brothers got together, they called their mother on Charles' cell phone....
From Georgia, Stephanie Schupska of the Cordele Dispatch reports:
CORDELE — When Georgia’s governor hops on a helicopter on his way to Crisp County, it’s an unusual day. It’s even more unusual when he clears his calendar to make room for a business expansion.

Only this is no ordinary expansion. With it’s new addition, Norbord’s Cordele location will be the largest oriented strand board (OSB) mill in the world.

“That’s how huge this is,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said. “... we’re not just focused on going and getting something out of town. We’re taking care of our existing companies.” ...
From a Massachusetts online paper, a story by Ed Symkus, about a small, family-run audio book business aimed at kids:
Lawrence Kelley is a busy man up in Portland, Maine. He works with a company that rents cubicles and offices to businesses by the hour, month and year; he's a partner in the Irish pub Brian Boru; and he's involved with an eBay consignment shop where people bring items in for the company to sell. He's in the middle of putting a band together in which he'll sing Frank Sinatra standards, and he's still brushing himself off after an unsuccessful run for city council.

But most of his time is taken up in keeping kids entertained. Kelley is the president of Eye in the Ear, a children's audio label that was started 20 years ago by his parents, Frances and Allan Kelley. The company creates, packages and sells cassette tapes and compact discs that are aimed at an audience between the ages of 3 and 12. A series of titles have been released under "Stories to Stir the Imagination," "Living Adventures from American History" and "Living Adventures from the Bible." All were written by Kelley's father, all were performed - in a plethora of voices - by his mother...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Free Lectures - Einstein's 100th "Anniversary"

The Teaching Company is offering two free lectures on the history of physics to anyone who wants to listen, either by streaming over the Internet or by downloading. The offer expires July 31, 2005. (Use title link.)

Tag, We're All It! - Acton Institute PowerBlog

Well, if I'd known Jordan J. Ballor was the sort of man who wanted to play book tag, I'd have tagged him in person. (I find his posts quite interesting.) The title link is to his response to the big book meme out there right now, plus he has links to other blogger's responses.

Okay, Mr. Ballor, you're tagged for my new game - and since it just started yesterday you're practically a charter taggee. At the risk of being repetitious (I know, I know, this is the third time already, but I don't want people to have to dig through my other posts for this), the new tag is:
Imagine that a local philanthropist is hosting an event for local high school students and has asked you to pick out five to ten books to hand out as door prizes. At least one book should be funny and at least one book should provide some history of Western Civilization and at least one book should have some regional connection. The philanthropist doesn't like foul language (but will allow some four-letter words in context, such as expressed during battle by soldiers). Otherwise things are pretty wide open. What do you pick?
Everybody else - feel free to consider yourself tagged if you read this. I'd appreciate it if you would leave a note in the comments section if you pick this up and run with it, so we all have links to follow.

Notes in the Key of Life: My interview with Lisa Samson

The title link is to excerpts from a radio interview of author Lisa Samson by Cindy Swanson.

Samson's latest book is:

Club Sandwich
Club Sandwich

OpinionJournal: Dad Ran the Hippie Squad

William McGowan, in the June 17, 2005, Opinion Journal, writes about a police program in New York City that rescued more than 300 runaways in the late 1960s.
So what did you do in the 1960s, Daddy?

For more than a few boomer men, such a question would ruin an otherwise pleasant Father's Day, calling up memories of antiwar anger, countercultural folly and bad hair. But in my house it was always the start of an enjoyable generational exchange. My late father, a Navy vet who retired in 1972 as a detective captain after 25 years in the New York Police Department, always had a striking answer when one of his eight children (or their children) asked him about those days. "I ran the Hippie Squad," he would say.

During his long NYPD career, my father guarded Fidel Castro, held down the fort in "Fort Apache" and taught Telly Savalas how to answer the phone for "Kojak." But leading the 20 or so young undercover detectives in this real-life "Mod Squad" was his favorite assignment...
Full article

Books for Door Prizes, June 2005 edition

Yesterday, I started a new book tag:
Imagine that a local philanthropist is hosting an event for local high school students and has asked you to pick out five to ten books to hand out as door prizes. At least one book should be funny and at least one book should provide some history of Western Civilization and at least one book should have some regional connection. The philanthropist doesn't like foul language (but will allow some four-letter words in context, such as expressed during battle by soldiers). Otherwise things are pretty wide open. What do you pick?
Of course I shouldn't ask without being willing to play the game myself, so here goes.

Roadside History of Oregon
Roadside History of Oregon

The Bear in the Attic
The Bear in the Attic

Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives
Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives

Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives
Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

Roadside Geology of Oregon
Roadside Geology of Oregon

John Adams
John Adams

The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries
The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

Crocodile on the Sandbank
Crocodile on the Sandbank

Jim the Boy
Jim the Boy

And, yes, the above list is a very odd combination. There's a tendency these days to try to arrange it so all kids at any event wind up going home with essentially the same prizes. I can't see where that's any fun at all. I want some lively discussion afterward about who got the best prize. I want the kids to be able to razz each other a little over who won what. I also want to tempt a few of them from their computers long enough to notice that we're surrounded by, you know, an actual physical landscape. How'd I do? :)

I guess I should note that I haven't actually read The Bear in the Attic - but Patrick F. McManus has been very popular with local teens (and adults) with his earlier titles, so I'm banking on his reputation. And I haven't read the Laura Schlessinger books either, except for the jacket copy - but I couldn't resist. I don't know too many people who would much like to have somebody hand them either "Ten Stupid Things..." title as a gift, but as a door prize I think they're a hoot. (Put them down in the icebreaker category, if you'd like.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Roma Locuta Est: A New Cause for Canonization (for G.K. Chesterton)

David at the Roma Locuta Est blog wants to know why efforts don't seem to be underway for possible canonization of G.K. Chesterton. He's assuming that initial petitions should be made to the Archdiocese of Westminster. Yes? No? Maybe? Does anybody have any answers for this young man? (Use title link.)

I've nosed around a bit (I have to think the idea has come up before), but so far the best thing I've found with any relationship is The Essential Chesterton by David W. Fagerberg, from the March 2000 issue of First Things, which is interesting in a roundabout way but doesn't tell me what I'd like to know. (Like, was Chesterton previously investigated and found lacking in some essential of sainthood? Case closed?) Otherwise I'm just finding usually-humorous suggestions that Chesterton be named the patron saint of the blogosphere, etc. (Personally, I'm having trouble wading through the thickets of results that show up on Google. Everybody and his country cousin quotes Chesterton when posting about saints, it seems like, and I haven't figured out ways to sort the wheat from the chaff yet...)

I'm not planning on spending much more time on this, but I thought some of the rest of you might be interested.

HistoryLink Essay: The Seattle Times fires E. B. White on June 19, 1923.

I wonder. Are we teaching our youngsters that often even the best men fall flat on their face (and/or have to be kicked in the seat of their pants a time or two) before they become successful and/or worthy of respect? I guess an alternate way of saying that is - are we making it clear that sometimes it isn't that the world is against you, it's that you haven't learned to pull your own weight yet?

Before he became a writer for The New Yorker and author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little and Elements of Style (with William Strunk Jr.), among other books, E. B. White was apparently the sort of young man who quite frankly needed to be fired from his job.

Use the title link to read a short article on what White called his "Years of Wander."

Book Tag

Slobokan has tagged me for one of the book tags that's been going around. I've been wondering how to answer this, and have decided that the only honest thing to do is to say that the answers change regularly. Daily, even. Sometimes more than daily. I spend day after day working with books, and my heartstrings get tugged by new discoveries all the time.

Number of books owned: Thousands probably, and that's personally. Through the bookstores, I don't even want to think about it. Since we sell mostly used books, there sometimes isn't as clear a distinction between our books and store books as you might think. Books go back and forth and back and forth all the time (you'd think I'd be immune to seller's remorse by now, but no...). I try to pare the personal library to no more than two hundred at a time, but I (ahem) notice that I'm back up to roughly five hundred again.

Last book purchased: For myself, specifically ordered and not just plucked from inventory: The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914, by David McCullough. I read a library copy of this years ago, and wound up checking it out more than once. I finally decided to get my own used hardback, so I could dip into it when I wanted, partly for pleasure, partly for background for a project I'm working on.

Last book I read: This is embarrassing, but I'm about the only person I know who hasn't read the Narnia series. I recently decided I needed to remedy that. The last two books I've read, in order, are therefore The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. (I'm reading them in the order C.S. Lewis recommended, not the order of publication.)

Five books that mean a lot to me: I'm finding this surprisingly hard to answer. So, how's this? I'm going to hedge. Instead of five books that mean a lot to me, here are five books that have made a difference or have mattered to me. That's easier to answer. Almost at random:

1. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell. My parents bought us kids a junior library of some sort that we were supposed to share and share alike - but each of us was allowed to claim one book as our own. One of my brothers nabbed Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard, and I staked out Black Beauty and read it and read it and read it, and cried, and cheered and marveled, and was fiercely proud of it being my first big book that I could call my own.

2. The Harvard Classics: The Five-Foot Shelf of Books, circa 1965. Okay, so this is really cheating, since it's 51 books all told (which, by the way, take up rather more than five feet of shelf space), and I've only dipped into it here and there. But it's helped me discover some great books and authors and history, and I've had untold hours of great fun reading bits of it here and there. The first thing I think I read in it was The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - which was nothing like I expected and turned my concept of early American history on its ear. It also made the Founding Fathers real to me. This set has sentimental value, as it happens. It was one of the first things my husband and I bought as a couple. We found it in a thrift store, couldn't afford it, not really - and bought it anyway and had to be frugal for a while to make up for it. How could I not love it?

3. Drink to Yesterday by Manning Coles. I think this was the first book by "Manning Coles" that I read, and it introduced me to the incomparable (if fictional) Tommy Hambledon - and also to the intelligent and occasionally off-the-wall talent of Cyril Henry Coles and Adelaide Frances Oke Manning, the pair behind the pen name. I read their books mostly for fun, but also for the substance behind the farce. History and insight along with wild adventures - what's not to like? (Okay, so they were prolific authors and not everything they wrote rises to the same high standards as the rest. Don't be so picky. I love these authors, warts and all.)

4. Washington Goes to War: The Extraordinary Story of the Transformation of a City and a Nation, by David Brinkley. Hand this book out to high school students instead of the dreck they tend to get for history books, and they'd not only have more fun but maybe they'd learn a thing or two about the real world (for better and worse). Civilized but unflinching.

5. Don't laugh, but The Penguin English Dictionary, 2nd Edition (ISBN 014051533X). This dictionary covers "English" in its Australian, British, Canadian, North American, Northern English, New Zealand, South African, and Scottish forms, all in the same book, regionalisms clearly marked. As an American who loves British fiction, and as someone who reads online newspapers and blogs from around the world, I've found this invaluable. Not perfect (the second edition has a few misfires, I think), but invaluable.

Oh, oh. This list will never do. It doesn't have The Screwtape Letters, or a book with Mark Twain short stories, or anything by Joseph C. Lincoln, or The Third Life of Per Smevik by Ole Rolvaag, or...

Okay, I guess I have two options. Either I run with what I have here or I wait until I'm feeling more ruthless and focused and can trim the list back to its proper five. (Pause while blogger considers the options...) Ah, what the Sam Hill - let's go with the extended list. (I plead illness. I've been one sick puppy the last several days. Who wants to concentrate when they're only half-recovered? And, yes, thanks, I do seem to be mending. Somewhat. If I didn't work at home, I wouldn't be back to work yet, let's put it that way.)

Rather than tag anybody with this particular book tag, I think I'll start a new one. (Does anybody else start feeling particularly contrary after they've been sick a while, or is it just me?)

New book tag: Imagine that a local philanthropist is hosting an event for local high school students and has asked you to pick out five to ten books to hand out as door prizes. At least one book should be funny and at least one book should provide some history of Western Civilization and at least one book should have some regional connection. The philanthropist doesn't like foul language (but will allow some four-letter words in context, such as expressed during battle by soldiers). Otherwise things are pretty wide open. What do you pick? I tag Bookworm, Dev, and Headmistress, and anybody else who has read this far and wants to run with it.

UPDATE: I seem to have unleashed something. Oh, hooray. Lots of books I didn't know about before now...

UPDATE: Another participant, who has, by the way, remembered that door prizes can include booby prizes - an important point that I forgot to clarify. And she's reminded me of Hendrick Van Loon - who helped me fall in love with history. I haven't read any of his stuff for years, but suddenly I want to go find a copy of something of his and reread it.

Feel free to leave a note in comments if you've participated on your blog. I'll be happy to have the link.

UPDATE: Mama Squirrel joins in.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts: The Gioia of Jazz

Nat Hentoff, writing for Opinion Journal (a free site provided by The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page), notes that the current chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia, is working hard to bring jazz to American audiences - and into American schools.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Recent World Earthquake Activity Map and Information

There was an earthquake off northern California this evening which was large enough to trigger tsunami warnings and watches along the west coast of the United States and Canada. The tsunami warning has now been called off, and it looks like everybody's lucked out. (Whew.)

The title link is to a USGS website that marks earthquakes as they happen, and maintains a map of quakes that have happened in the last week. It has links to tsunami bulletins and sometimes to news stories, so it's a pretty good basic resource for this sort of potential emergency.

Done With Mirrors: Father to the Man

File this under Media Watch:
If you need to know any more about the news media in this country these days than you've already seen, consider where the people in the media turn to get their news when they're not doing their jobs. As I walk around my newsroom, I often see this site up on computer screens...
Use title link for more.

Done With Mirrors: Flag Day

Here's a look at American history, and the American flag, and the American anthem - including quite a bit I hadn't read before. (Use title link.)

Hat tip: Bookworm Room

Slobokan's Site O' Schtuff Book Review: Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer

Michael T. Barrett, who blogs under the name Slobokan, really likes this book. Use title link to read his review. Click on the book cover for the write-ups at Barnes & Noble.

Levis Will
Levi's Will

First ever Cuban film festival comes to Jamaica - JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM

The Cuban Embassy and the Friends of Cuba are staging a Cuban film festival in Kingston, Jamaica this week:
During the five-day run, the festival will screen five films and three documentaries free to the public, and stage workshops where Cuban film maker, Rigoberto Lopez Pego, and celebrated Cuban writer, Omar Gonzalez Jimenez, will meet and discuss mutual interests with Jamaican film makers and industry personnel.
More - 100 Meter World Record Broken

Asafa Powell of Jamaica has run 100 meters in 9.77 seconds.

Monday, June 13, 2005 World of Words, with author Heather Vogel Frederick

The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed
The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed

Education of Patience Goodspeed
Education of Patience Goodspeed

The title link is to an April 8, 2005, feature story on the author of the Patience Goodspeed books, in which she talks about herself and her books, and tells grade school kids what they need if they want to be a writer (her tips might surprise you).

Welcome Beemers

The annual BMW Chief Joseph Motorcycle Rally is scheduled for June 15-19 (Wednesday through Sunday) in John Day, Oregon. We always get a kick out of this event. There are some great folks with this group.

The Tree of Liberty -- Charles Harpur

By Australian poet Charles Harpur (1813-1868), reprinted here just because I like the spirit of it:
The Tree of Liberty

WE’LL PLANT a Tree of Liberty
In the centre of the land,
And round it ranged as guardians be,
A vowed and trusty band;
And sages bold and mighty soul’d
Shall dress it day by day:
But woe unto the traitor who
Would break one branch away.

Then sing the Tree of Liberty
For the vow that we have made;
May it so flourish that when we
Are buried in its shade,
Fair Womanhood and Love and Good,
All pilgrims pure shall go
Its growth to bless for happiness—
O may it flourish so!

Till felled by gold as bards have told,
In the Old World once it grew,
But there its fruits were ever sold
And only to the Few:
But here at last, uncurs’d by caste,
Each man at Nature’s call
Shall pluck as well what none may sell,
The fruit that blooms for All.

By gold ’twas felled as bards have held
In the Old World where it grew,
But here the power that there dispelled
Its life shall be its dew:
The evil bout of Time is out,
And gold no more a thrall,
Shall here but build for Truth and gild
The fruit that blooms for All.

Then sing the Tree of Liberty,
And the men who shall defend
Its glorious future righteously
For this all-glorious end—
That happiness all men to bless
Out with its growth may grow—
Our Southern Tree of Liberty
Shall flourish even so!
For more Charles Harpur verse, use title link. UK to come with pro-business agenda for presidency

This June 9, 2005, article by Honor Mahony begins:

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Britain is set to push a largely pro-business agenda tackling major proposals that have been sitting in the EU legislative pipeline when it takes over the presidency of the bloc next month.

A briefing note sent to political group leaders in the European Parliament ahead of their meeting with ministers from the British government on Friday (10 June) outlines the strong priority given to cutting red tape and making life easier for businesses...
Granted that a UK government person's ideas of making life easier for businesses might not go as far as my ideas on making life easier for business men and women, this is still encouraging news, I think. Use title link for full article.

For related commentary, see Can the UK rescue the EU with a bit of 'europragmatism'? by Peter Sain ley Berry.

David's Daily Diversions: The Foster State

It seems like every time I turn around these days I see another government agent or agency that's frightening parents. The title-linked story is a case in point, for parents in the UK.

Bookworm Room: There's nothing new about craven appeasement

The Bookworm Room blog has reprinted a political cartoon from the early 1940s that has some parallels to today. (Use title link.)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Scam Alert: "Top Hat Lotto" and "Golden Lotto Mega Bucks"

The Oregon Lottery and Oregon State Police are warning that a nationwide scam is underway - one which is using the Oregon Lottery's actual post office box and street address as cover. (That's cute.)

Use your head, folks. Nobody legit is going to put you through the following scenario. From's June 9, 2005, article called Unclaimed lottery winnings scam targets elderly :
...The scam has claimed at least seven victims in Georgia, Florida, California and Pennsylvania who combined have lost about $30,000, Detective Rich Dennis of the Oregon State Police said Wednesday.

Here's how the scam works: A letter arrives in the mail on letterhead from fake Salem firms Golden Lotto Mega Bucks or Top Hat Lotto, Dennis said. It encourages recipients to call a toll-free telephone number that begins with 866 in order to claim up to $750,000 from last year's shared lottery winnings.

After calling, they are told they will receive in the mail a check equal to 1 percent of their winnings that must be used to pay for insurance on the funds. After depositing the check, they are asked to withdraw the same amount of money, then wire the funds back through Western Union.

A day or two later, the victims, thinking the rest of their winnings are on the way, receive a call from the bank saying the check from the Salem company has bounced.

At that point, they've lost thousands of dollars, Dennis said. The most a known victim has lost so far is almost $7,000, he said...
Please don't fall for this kind of stuff. The Oregon Lottery is asking people who get such letters to call the Oregon State Police at 503-540-1409.

Suitably Flip

Another newish blog of note to take a peek at: Suitably Flip's tagline is "On money, politics, and life's other frivolities." Flip's been online since April, and he's got more substance in his posts than you might expect from either the blog name or the tagline.

The Reader's Advisor: "Bio-Adversity"

Bio-Adversity? I hadn't heard that term before. Hmmm. Interesting.

The synopsis for the title-linked web page is "Enjoy biographies? For motivation and inspiration, read about individuals who have overcome physical challenges and carried on to lead successful, productive lives. Heroes, after all, know no boundaries!" Okay, we're on the same page with that. There are even some books on this list that might provide good background material for those of us fighting to protect disabled people from the 'quality of life' brigades. And, besides that, there are some really interesting stories here, it looks like. (Each title is briefly described.)

Parents please note that this list appears to be mostly wholesome, inspirational and adventure-filled stuff but it does include a couple books I'd put in the PC-crowd column. Vetting is advised.

The list is compiled by Joan Kepins, Reference Department, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, New York. My thanks to the lady.

A Few Euros More: Surplus Bicycles

The European Union doesn't like the avalanche of cheap bicycles being unloaded in Europe by China and Vietnam. (Use title link for more.)

A Fistful of Euros: US Trade Numbers Are In (And So Are China's...)

Edward at A Fistful of Euros thinks the dollar will hold and the euro looks to be in trouble. Also:

...I wish someone who really knew about this would write something, but my educated guess is that Chinese import penetration in Europe is now big and getting bigger by the month. Hence the row about globalisation in the French referendum. Basically what I am saying is that having this kind of issue in the Free Trade US of A is one thing, having it in the more anti-globalisation European core is going to be quite another. China the global imbalance to end all (im)balances.


I think what people need to get their minds round is the immensity of all this. We are talking about an economy which could be five times the size of the US one when it is all up and running, which is of course years away, but I’m sure you get the point. And as we run up to these levels of economic activity, then fluctuations in capacity, and output, and prices will be large, and the financial consequences of these fluctuations will be too....

A Fistful of Euros: Visegrad Group Meeting

The prime ministers of the the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are working on a common response to the recent votes against the EU 'constitution'. And they've invited the Ukrainian prime minister to their meeting. Use title link for more.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Union Leader: Vive la Ste. Marie! Too bad we can't write of such things

I missed this when it came out on May 20, 2005 - but it's delightful enough to run a bit late, I think. It's an editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader called "Vive la Ste. Marie! Too bad we can't write of such things" which begins:

NEWSPAPERS WRITE only about what is wrong with the world, so we won't say a word here about this being the 125th anniversary year of Ste. Marie parish in the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

Not so much as a sentence will be printed here about the devout and devoted working class parishioners, many of them mill workers and most of them of French Canadian stock, who helped build a strong and enduring parish community on the city's West Side...

State uses trespass law against illegal immigrants - Yahoo! News

Two towns in New Hampshire are trying to find a way to deal with the illegal immigrants that they can't get the feds to take seriously...

Hat tip: Jayson at PoliPundit Hospital Ship Returns Home to San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- The hospital ship USNS Mercy returned home from Indonesia after treating thousands who survived the tsunami in December and thousands more who survived an earthquake in March.

The floating medical center and 270 crew members docked Wednesday at Naval Station San Diego to the cheers of families waving signs and balloons. The ship left port on Jan. 5...
Full story by Seth Hettena, Associated Press

See also "Finally home from tsunami relief work" at Murdoc Online

Roundtable Interviews: Karen Woods, Director of the Center for Effective Compassion

The title-linked interview begins:

The Roundtable:

What do you think of the federal Faith-Based and Community Initiative now, given your perspective on it?

Karen Woods:

Part of the thing that concerns me is that there's a real difference between what I would call social services and Christian charity.

With welfare reform in '96, and certainly the waivers that preceded that in certain states, there was a change in the way that we looked at social services. Suddenly, work was valued, not just in the sense of an economic value, but a personal value. You're not viewed by the system as saying, "Well, we have to help you because you can't help yourself," but saying, "Guess what? There are a lot of things you could do for yourself and let's focus on that."

We've got all these people in the system -- three and four generations of people who've been on entitlement systems that don't know how to work. The parallel issue with that is that you have three or four generations of people who do not know how to help -- and many of them sitting in church pews and in religious congregations across the United States...

Katie Wernecke: Texas versus her parents

Have you heard about this? Texas authorities issued an Amber Alert so they could track down and take a 12-year-old away from her parents because the parents disagreed with doctors about what cancer treatment the girl should undergo? Or, more specifically, what further cancer treatment the girl should undergo right now. She's had chemo. The parents weren't sure radiation was a wise move just now and were setting up visits to another doctor. And so - essentially because some doctors said so - the state took not only the girl but the other kids in the family away from the parents? Do I have this right?

I'm still in the early stages of tracking down info on this - the first I heard of it was this afternoon on The Big Story on Fox, when Judge Andrew Napolitano was interviewing talk show host Mike Gallagher about it. According to Gallagher, the other kids in the Wernecke family have been released from foster care, but Katie is still in 'protective custody' facing forced medical care. Gallagher said that now that people are getting more of the facts there seems to be a shift in public opinion toward the parents (I would hope we'd favor parents over doctors who don't approve of second opinions). Personally, I'm not finding much right now when I do Google searches, etc. I did find this. Use title link for another, slightly older news story from KRIS TV.

UPDATE: I'm still finding that most news sites are simply running whatever AP feeds them. There is this, though, from The Times in the UK. I should add that Gallagher said that the 'blood transfusion only from the mother' bit is a side issue, since the mother is a good match and since the girl doesn't need a blood transfusion right now.

UPDATE: I also found this, which also discusses the right to refuse medical care.