Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Update: BBC has a Katrina In Depth section on its website: articles, links, message areas.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Jerry Markling, chief of the Gaming Control Board's enforcement division, said he believes enforcing a dress code would run afoul of a state law requiring that gambling be conducted in the public eye.Uh, right.
(Do I laugh or cry?)
It is on the www.nola.com website, which bills itself as "Everything New Orleans" and which has other disaster information as well.
There is also Jon Donley's Nola View blog with neighborhood information, contact info, reports from readers, etc.
Michelle Malkin is doing a good job of Katrina coverage and of linking to other sites and resources.
I'm listening to Fox News in the background, and they are just now reminding that Katrina isn't done. We're looking at tornadoes and floods up through state after state northward.
Monday, August 29, 2005
The local taxi drivers call them "caracoles" (translation: snails) and honk at them.
The Spanish car rental company is called Blobject. It has recently opened a second office in Seville. The Blobject cars come equipped to provide GPS-linked tourism information in Spanish, English or French.
The cars themselves are Gems, or Global Electric Motorcars, made in the US by a division of Daimler-Chrysler.
Mr. Boyd's article here.
Semi-related previous Suitable For Mixed Company post about using something other than the standard automobile or truck to get around town here.
I have to admit that I like this part of her "about me" message quite a lot:
...I am setting up this blog primarily to highlight media inaccuracy, and also to point out some first class examples of investigative journalism and reporting.I think too many people have fallen into the rut of only pointing out the bad reporting, and aren't giving enough thought to highlighting what gets done right.
Pinto has been active in prolife campaigning for the last five years, she says. She seems to be UK-based, from what I see in her links and from I'm reading in her posts.
hat tip: ProLifeBlogs
Update: Fiona confirms via the comments that she's in the UK. She's updated her profile to make that clear.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
B. Austin Higgins is wondering Who in the international community will help us?
At this point, we can't know how bad it's going to be, but it's a scary, scary big storm.
He provides some suggestions for the UK in its future dealings with the EU, with an eye on the success of the countries that have struck special deals with Brussels. By standing somewhat apart, the members of the European Free Trade Area (Efta) - Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein - are doing much better than EU members, Hannon notes.
And he easily dispenses with some of the lines put forth by "Euro-apologists" too:
...You can't compare us to Iceland," they say, "Iceland has fish." So, of course would Britain, but for the ecological calamity of the CFP. "We're nothing like Norway," they go on, "Norway has oil." Indeed; and Britain is the only net exporter of oil in the EU. Then my particular favourite: "But Switzerland has all those banks." Yes. And London is the world's premier financial centre - although it is, admittedly, being slowly asphyxiated by EU financial regulation...hat tip: Orrin Judd
Eric Cohen is editor of the New Atlantis and resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
He came across very well, I thought, and the broadcast itself was more even-handed on the subject than I've come to expect from public broadcasting.
Liz Sayce, of the Disability Rights Commission, was given a chance to put in some good points, including that nondisabled people shouldn't be making assumptions about how 'awful' life is for someone with a disability - that once a person adjusts to a disability they can have a great quality of life.
Charles Wilkes, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference, was allowed to explain why the bishops held back their support for Burke's legal campaign (short answer: in their view, as presented, it opens the door for euthanasia).
Dr. Graeme Catto of the General Medical Council, and Dr. Michael Wilks of the British Medical Association were also interviewed, and expressed their concerns about patients being allowed to ask for more than was good for the patient or the system (I'm paraphrasing, and perhaps not charitably. After all, it would be impossible to cover all patient requests, if the law enshrined patient wishes as the end-all and be-all of allocating resources. But I do think they're over-reaching in this case. Burke simply wants to have food and water guaranteed for as long as his body can deal with it. It's not like he's asking for anything fancy, hard to get, or experimental.)
Transcript and video
I only have a couple of quibbles with the broadcast. First of all, it refers to "artificial nutrition" - a term I think is ridiculous and harmful, since getting food by tube isn't that drastically different than getting food and water by mouth - it's still basic nutrition, nothing artificial about it. And, secondly, it assumes, as do most media reports sadly enough, that end-of-life care is hugely expensive and therefore drains the overall health care budget - which I concede is possible, but not if what people are fighting for, like Leslie Burke, is to die of natural causes instead of having their death imposed by dehydration. If a person isn't demanding extensive care, but only wants to spend their last days in peace, there's no way that's hugely expensive. We're back, I think, to the initial, honest hospice idea, where the idea was to fend off the doctors, hospital administrators, social workers, et al, and be more sensible, sane, and caring during someone's last days.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
On the other hand, according to the lawsuit, UC has approved credit for "A study of Western Caribbean Culture," "The 60's: A Closer Look," "Existential Literature," "Gender, Sexuality and Identity in Literature," "Intro to Buddhism," and "Feminist Issues Throughout U.S. History," and dozens of other courses which the complaint contends are narrower and more specialized than Calvary Chapel's courses.
This whole discussion started with a jab by Daniel Akst that novelists would do anything - including running for office - to help sell books (a dubious claim, I'd say). But, putting that aside, this gives you an excuse to speak up for favorite authors that seem to fall into this category. (Caveat: You do know there is sometimes a substantial difference between a writer and his and her fiction, yes? We shall take pains to not take ourselves too seriously, no?)
Having said that, I'd probably vote for Jan Karon, if it came to that. She comes across as classy and good humored, seems to understand people, appears to keep things in perspective, and can handle hostile television interviewers.
I just finished reading Hard Bargain: How FDR Twisted Churchill's Arm, Evaded the Law, and Changed the Role of the American Presidency by Robert Shogan (1999 trade paperback, ISBN: 0813336953). It's a good read, but not a fast one. I'd recommend it for history buffs, WW II military buffs, and anybody trying to get a handle on how the United States government morphed into its present shape and size.
Up until the last chapter it's a pretty straightforward, well-documented look at history as it unfolded rather than any sort of advocacy book. (In the last chapter Shogan gives an overview of what he sees as oversteps made by more recent Presidents using FDR's actions as precedent, and lets loose with what he thinks we should take away as the main lessons from all this, and what he thinks we should do about it.)
Shogan provides analysis, but is amazingly even-handed overall, as far as I could see. As it says in the Author's Note:
...Those who seek either to sanctify or demonize Roosevelt will find little support here. Neither angel nor devil, FDR emerges from these pages as a politician, seeking after the light as he saw it, but also seeking after reelection. This is not the story of villains against heroes, etched in black and white. The fundamental contest here is between principle and expediency, which can be glimpsed only in various shades of grey. It is my hope that the past seen through this prism can help to illuminate the future.I don't know about the future, but I kept running into bits and pieces that seemed to help explain some of what is going on these days.
This book has extensive endnotes - a fact I didn't tumble to right away because the text isn't littered with numbers. There's also an extensive bibliography (roughly four pages for books, two pages of other sources), as well as an index.
The book is full of interesting vignettes, fascinating people, information that has come to light since the declassification of World War II documents, and quotes from contemporary sources. I find myself wanting to follow up on people and events to which I was only introduced here: "Wild Bill" Donovan and his unofficial-official end run around Joseph Kennedy, the situation around Trinidad during the war, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter's active role in advising people in the administration and also all those proteges he steered into the executive branch, and also, surprisingly enough, I'd now like to learn more about British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. (Yes, I knew about Neville Chamberlain, but I didn't know FDR sent him a I-think-you're-right cable after the Munich meeting where Britain and France agreed to let Hitler have his way with Czechoslovakia. Wait a minute, let me find the text. Ah, here it is, page 48. FDR cabled: "I fully share your hope and belief that there exists today the greatest opportunity in years for the establishment of a new order based on peace and law." Both men, of course, found out soon enough that their hopes were ill-founded.)
Hard Bargain was originally published 1995. The 1999 edition was issued with a new preface on "Clinton and the Bombing in Kosovo."
More on the author: 'Bad News' is an August 21, 2001, NewsHour transcript of a discussion by Robert Shogan, Richard Reeves and Terrence Smith about how well the media covered the 2000 elections in the United States, which used Shogan's ninth book Bad News: Where the Press Goes Wrong in the Making of the President as its starting point.
The posters were designed to be used in the Spiritual Adoption program at the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Archdiocese has examples of ways the posters are being used.
This isn't over. According to Sidoti, the panel must send its final report to President Bush by September 8. He can go any of three ways: accept, reject, or send it back for revisions. Then Congress gets a shot at vetoing the plan in its entirety, if it feels like it. Then, once we get a plan, there's about six years of changes in store as the plan gets put into effect.
Earlier this month, to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the internment camp where he died, Chinese officials participated in laying a wreath at his grave. Spencer also provides the story of what happened to Liddell after the 1924 Olympics - where he became famous for not running his best distance because the heats were on a Sunday. (As Spencer explains, Liddell later moderated his views about sports on Sunday, when he began working with teens who were getting into trouble when they didn't think they had enough to do.)
Another nice thing about the Chinese ceremony? Fireworks exploded into parachutes, representing the American servicemen who jumped from a B24 to liberate the camp on August 17, 1945. Thank you, city of Weifang, China, for honoring some of my countrymen like that.
Friday, August 26, 2005
hat tip: lengilroy
August 26 marks the 85th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted America's women the right to vote. Washington women had achieved this a decade earlier -- but not without a long struggle dating back to the Territory's first legislature. Speaking of which, agitation for the separation of Washington from Oregon formally began on August 29, 1851, with a little gathering at Cowlitz Landing. It climaxed three years later, but only after Congress changed the new territory's proposed name of "Columbia" to Washington in order to, we kid you not, avoid confusion with the District of Columbia.They must be kidding. I don't care what they say, they must be joking.
Hmmmm. Here's HistoryLink's article with the relevant information (bottom of article). Hmmmm. On Feb. 8, 1853, House Resolution Number 348 to create Columbia Territory passed out of committee and onto the House floor for debate. During debate, Rep. Richard H. Stanton of Kentucky proposed the name change, to prevent confusion and to honor "The Father of the Country." The House redrew the boundaries, tripled the size of the territory, and passed the bill, with the name change, on Feb. 10. On March 2 the Senate passed what it needed to pass and sent the matter to the President, who also agreed to the plan.
Eek. How could they see that "Columbia" would be confusing (which it would have been), but not understand that "Washington" would be worse, if anything?
All right, perhaps we can agree that those politicians didn't quite think things through as well as they might have. What's the excuse for the folks in power when it came time for statehood? States don't have to have the same names as the territories that preceded them, do they? Surely by November 11, 1889, the downsides to having a state and a national capital with the same name were becoming obvious?
hat tip: The Anchoress
Jack Kelly, writing at Jewish World Review, has what the New York Times missed. Amazing stuff.
It gets worse. I've just looked at the New York Times article from August 14. (Printer-friendly version here.) (Regular version here.) Mr. Moss thought it a good idea to not only moan about imperfection, but to publicize where the bottlenecks are in the production process and to note which companies make the special fiber needed for the vests, etc. Sheesh. Maybe he'd like to go paint a target on a building or something, so the bad guys don't waste their time trying to guess where they can do the most damage with the least effort.
hat tip: Bookworm Room
National Public Radio (NPR) has several related stories. Panda Cam Panders to Panda Fans by Kitty Eisele has the title story, plus links to previous stories and web resources. (For the record, I think that the headline stretches the meaning of "pander" just a weeeee bit. I can't see that liking to watch pandas is a weakness, a vice, or vulgar -- and according to the two dictionaries I just consulted, one American and one British, you have to be encouraging or exploiting a weakness or vice or sordid tastes to "pander." In case you didn't know.)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
And, more importantly, the post explains the difference between two world views that are bumping heads with each other in America right now, as put forth in the following book:
Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles
Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution
The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values
In short, although fans of classic science fiction might like it, I suspect that many people who wouldn't be caught dead in the sf/fantasy section of a bookstore would like it, too.
Harrison takes a world in which a shepherd who (in our world) saved the day at a key battle between Muslim and Christian armies back in 1212 got captured, tortured and killed instead. As a result, the Muslim troops won the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa and went on to capture the Iberian peninsula. From here the world's history veers - or, rather, some of it does.
Harrison starts us off in this familiar-yet-strange world in 1973 and carries us through many years, everything a bit off-kilter. There are atomic subs, but their courses are charted by "Brabbage engines" [sic] (see: Charles Babbage). There are telephones, but not the design we know. The rich show off by driving massive steam vehicles down gas-lit streets. England colonized the New World, but it wasn't in the wake of Christopher Columbus or the Conquistadors (if Spain doesn't arise, neither does Spanish-sponsored exploration or colonization), so the relations with the Indians are different. And so on and so on.
In this world, the American colonists lost the Battle of Lexington, and George Washington was shot by a firing squad for treason. All these years later, Augustine Washington is trying to restore the family name, and therein lies the main plot.
Gus (as he is known to his friends) intends, in fact, to restore his family name and make America proud of itself at the same time. While other former colonies have gained their independence from England, America is still colonial, and it rankles. His pathway to personal and national honor is as an engineer. Not just any engineer, though. He's going to help design and build a train tunnel under the Atlantic. He is faced not only with technical obstacles to overcome, but political and financial ones as well, as well as the occasional spot of sabotage and several would-be assassins. This is not to mention that he is up against just about the world's most cantankerous and stubborn potential father-in-law.
It's an odd book - sort of Jules Verne meets Dick Tracy meets David McCullough meets James Bond meets NASA meets British sit-coms meets Victoria Holt meets Agatha Christie meets MacGyver - with wild and abrupt changes of pace and style. Even given the occasional bout of mental whiplash, overall I had a blast reading it. I guess I should note that I really enjoyed the history and technology inside jokes and the Baby Boomer inside jokes: it's a good read for Baby Boomer geeks, in other words. But, then too, it's got some just plain wild adventure, that might carry the day for teen boys just hoping for action. And it's almost entirely clean fun, too. (Yay!) There's some violence and several deaths (industrial accidents as well as hand to hand combat), but the bad stuff is kept reined in remarkably well, especially given that many of the characters are navvies and much of the action takes place in isolated but bustling seaports and given all those would-be saboteurs and assassins running around.
According to this Harry Harrison bibliography, this book was also sold under the title Tunnel Through the Deeps. It's out of print now, but there are still some used copies floating around for sale. My Tor paperback copy (second printing, September 1981) suffers from a significant number of typos, which was annoying. I have no idea if other printings had better proofreading, but I hope so.
But even with the typos, it was an unusual and intriguing read. I mean, hey, how many times are you going to find an engineer portrayed fictionally as dashing, brave, formidable and heroic as well as smarter, more loyal, and better-mannered than the average fellow? Gus Washington is a guy it's fun to root for.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
This next book is the last in the Mitford series. Sort of. Jan Karon is already working on a new series, called The Father Tim Novels, which of course will be related to the Mitford books. Too fun.
Light from Heaven
If anybody reading this is involved in an upcoming book-related event of a "suitable for mixed company" variety, drop a note in the comments on how to get more information. I love helping to publicize stuff like this.
Hagelin says that when a girl comes to her home wearing immodest clothing, she tells them that when they are in her home she wants them to dress in a way that reflects the treasure they are - and then she lets the girl pick out clothes to wear while she's there. Hagelin says they might gasp at first - but then they get it. (Don't laugh. I've seen this work.)
And, a bonus. Girls who switch to dressing with self-respect have the fun of seeing a difference, an improvement, in the way men and boys treat them. (I know. I know. This is so basic it's not funny. But somehow along the way we've raised a lot of girls and women who never got the memo. Obviously.)
Hat tip to Colleen Hammond.
Rosalind says she's written a note of appreciation to the author, and I think I'll follow suit, with maybe a note to the editor. It's so nice to see a newspaper run a story like this. (This is not to mention that the story itself is full of good news.)
Hat tip to Danny Carlton for steering me to Robert J. Avrech's blog.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I get the feeling the day of my birth was not a celebration.To:
No one ever said, but I have a hunch my birth announcement had an invisible PS that everyone could see, In lieu of balloons: Bring a hankie.
My midnight arrival was like a cold shower to the unsuspecting obstetrician. With no prepared speech for such a tragedy he blurted out, "Your daughter is going to live I am sorry to say." Thats what my dad recollects.
One more thing: I recognize that God has given me a voice for the endangered species - babies in utero with birth defects - the ones targeted for a medical abortion because they will never have a quality life. I welcome any and all opportunites to challenge that misconception with stories from the life of Judy Ann.Thank goodness she was blessed with a mother who saw her as a daughter - not as an embarrassment or, worse yet, some sort of commodity that was subject to quality control measures, if I can put it like that.
For another bit of Blogger technical savvy, see What is the "Flag" button? for an explanation of that little "Flag?" box up in the navigation bar.
Update: I've been playing with the new "word verification" feature in comments, and I've stumbled across one potential problem. Once (just once, so far) I wasn't quite sure what the letters were I was supposed to type (they were a little too run-together and wavy, as it happened). One easy solution for that is to back out and try again because the program generates a new password each time. Let me know if you have any problems with this.
And, of course, the reporters also found some people who, kneejerk fashion, were offended. (Sigh.)
Please see the update at my previous post for Martin's comments, including the text of his demand for a correction in The New Yorker. He makes a persuasive case, I have to say.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Flat Tax Revolution: Using a Postcard to Abolish the IRS
A New Song
And, also just so you know, the following is also now available in mass market:
Both series have sold great guns in trade paperback, to the surprise of a number of people (who thought the larger format and higher price - not to mention the reputation of trade paperbacks for being niche market publications - would drive away just all sorts of potential customers).
Some toy. In the hands of the bush pilots in the Alaskan National Guard on Iraq rotation, it's moving a lot of cargo and troops. U.S. Army Master Sgt. Lek Mateo reports.
And what's a Sherpa? Well, a modified Shorts regional airliner, apparently. See here, here, and here for some basics.
As I remember it, my friends and my brothers and I had sometimes-long, sometimes-heated discussions on whether "synthetic music" was good or bad - but at the same time we couldn't wait to get our hands on a Moog and dreamed of owning one of our very own...
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Roundabout hat tip to Open Book, which led me to the nuns' blog.
Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty
Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea (image not available from Barnes & Noble at post time)
Of the two books, Buruma finds Becker's assessment more intelligent.
As Buruma notes, Becker is also the author of Hungry Ghosts (Henry Holt, 1998), about Mao's man-made famine in China.
Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine
hat tip: Don Boudreaux at the Cafe Hayek blog.
UPDATE: Author Bradley K. Martin feels he was misrepresented in the New Yorker review. He left the following in the comments section, but I didn't feel it would be fair to leave it to chance that people would check out the comments section on something this substantial. So:
Whether because of his ideological preference for Becker's approach or for some other reason that I don't know about, Buruma falsified the thrust of my book by misquoting me. I have sent the following letter to The New Yorker demanding a correction, and am awaiting satisfaction:
Ian Buruma repeatedly plays fast and loose with quotations in assembling his malevolently creative summary of “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader” (“Kimworld,” August 22). Several such instances seem to involve a disgraceful effort to gin up evidence backing his theme of gullibility among foreign observers with whose views he differs. To imply that I saw the rulers’ charisma as somehow offsetting evil deeds, he lifts a phrase, “there might be two sides to the story,” from my argument against unnecessary demonization of Kim Jong Il. This he mendaciously juxtaposes with a remark about Kim Il Sung’s personal magnetism, which appeared nearly 500 pages earlier in the context of the elder Kim’s pursuit of women. So that he can cluck that it is “naïve” not to realize that a “warm handshake will not explain why an entire people submitted,” he deceptively paraphrases the middle of a sentence in which I wrote that Kim Il Sung’s engaging presence was one factor that inspired loyalty. Deleting “one,” so that this appears to be the only factor, he ignores my chapter-length exploration of other factors including the biggest, the indoctrination system. As for Buruma’s suggestion that I struggled too hard for “balance” (the quotation marks are his) in evaluating the Kims’ regime, I actually wrote, “There was precious little on the positive side of the ledger page to balance the horrors” of the gulag. Ultimately Buruma, objecting to my refusal to frame the history of North Korea as a simple morality tale, seeks to portray me as a pushover for smooth-talking despots. Nothing doing, Ian. Pointing out the danger of being taken in by a Great Schmoozer, I observed of the Japanese politician Shin Kanemaru that Kim Il Sung “charmed his pants off.”
Buruma also distorts my reference to Andrew Holloway’s description of Pyongyang residents’ kindness and modesty, leaving readers to imagine that Holloway’s was a recent observation. That enables the reviewer to offer a glib contradiction—although in fact, as I noted, Holloway lived in Pyongyang almost two decades ago. In the very next paragraph I wrote that the subsequent famine severely tested North Koreans’ altruism, and in a later chapter I wrote that by the late 1990s their “fierce struggle for survival” required them to replace collectivist morality with self-interest. At Louisiana State University I’ve been teaching students that writers who refuse to let the facts get in the way of a good story are the bane of the journalistic trade. Buruma could do with matriculation, but I imagine he’ll have to pay out-of-state tuition. In any case, I want a correction.
Bradley K. Martin
Friday, August 19, 2005
Book sizes have grown and shrunk and shifted through the years, and most older paperbacks used to be slightly taller than more recent offerings, so this is more or less a swing of the pendulum I guess.
Luckily, all our shelves both at home and at the store ought to handle the new format side by side with the standard mass market format without any problem. (A few years ago we had to redo the layout of our bookstore because new hardbacks got too tall for our previously-standard shelving. If anybody wonders why most of our hardbacks are on top of the shelves, that's why. It was either that or buy new shelves...)
Lost City: A Kurt Austin Adventure
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Hat tip: Cindy Swanson at the notes in the key of life blog.
Author of the popular books, Poem Portraits, Garden In My Heart, and Poems for Children, James J. Metcalfe now offers his readers this new collection of verse from his daily newspaper column, syndicated throughout the United States, and in Canada, Mexico, and Ireland.This guy was internationally known? I start to feel silly that I don't know him already.
His philosophical lines stem from the rich and wide experiences of his forty-five years, including the dangerous days of his gangbusting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, his exciting expose of the German and German-American Bunds for the Chicago Times, and other phases of his colorful career as a journalist...That does it. Any guy who can stare down gangs and Nazis and still maintain a charming outlook on life is my kind of guy. This is the kind of guy (if this description is right) to whom I would erect a statue if I were in charge of erecting statues. This is an American par excellence, in other words.
Oh, wait. Down the Foreword a ways, after saying that his verse is inspired by his wife Lillian and their three children -- the oldest of whom left college at age seventeen to join the Navy (on second thought, maybe we should put up a statue of the whole family?) -- after saying that his rhymes are based on his "typical American home life" with his wife and their children, comes this:
Jim Metcalfe, who was born in Berlin, Germany, and Lillian, a native of Stavanger, Norway, met at a high school dance in Chicago. For some years now the Metcalfes have been making their home in Dallas, Texas.That does it. Immigrants make good. The best of America, personified. I am really embarrassed to not have known about him before this. I'd love to hear from anyone older than myself who was a fan back when.
There's more. The Foreword concludes by saying that the poet's fan mail pours in when he writes poems about love - and that despite his international acclaim he is humble and grateful to God for blessing him with his ability to write.
Add him to my Great Americans list. Out here in the West some of us still adore the ability to say "Aw, gee shucks -- I'm just a lucky guy with a lot of blessings, that's all" and mean it. I know I do.
Skipping around the Internet looking for more I find this, which has some information and a link to this, which tells me that Metcalfe Aid International, Inc. was founded in his memory in 2000 to help needy people all over the world.
(Oh, sure. I not only didn't know about a colorful bit of mid-20th century American culture, but I've missed something that's happened in the 2000s, too? Am I out of touch or what?)
Oh, good. That website's home page lets me know that nine books of Metcalfe's Poem Portraits will be available soon. (So I'm not the only one who thinks that people today would enjoy his work? How about that? So I didn't miss all the boats, apparently.) Some of his poems are available to read on the website. Too fun.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Many booksellers (ourselves included) sell through more than one retailer website (Amazon and Alibris and Biblio and abebooks.com and Barnes & Noble, for instance), and each selling site has different lag times between when you send in a 'sold' notice and they get the listing delisted, so my guess is that that copy is sold, and just isn't out of inventory lists everywhere yet. Yikes. Seventy-five bucks. (And yes, very often the more expensive copies go before the lower priced copies, if they are in better condition or are being offered by a bookseller the buyer knows and trusts.)
Used book prices are notoriously changeable. By tomorrow (or next week, or next year) there might be a flood of copies brought to market which will tend to push the price down, or we might see the market shrink to two copies that might soar in price. You never know in this business. (Which is why it's so interesting.)
So I pop over to see if this website has classics - as in those wonderful old black and white movies with wit instead of raunch - or anything else along those lines. Oops. I never get past the welcome screen, which informs me:
Sorry, but as of May 2, 2005, Movielink no longer supports Windows 98 and ME operating systems. Movielink also does not support Mac or Linux.That leaves me out. But you guys with Windows 2000 or XP, feel free to have fun without me ;-)
In order to enjoy the Movielink service, you must use Windows 2000 or XP, which support certain technologies we utilize for downloading movies.
(I say as I eye my small DVD collection longingly, wondering if I have time for Fiddler on the Roof and/or a Zorro flick today. Or maybe "Sabotage" by Alfred Hitchcock? Have you seen any early Hitchcock films, where he's toying with techniques for which he's famous later on but is still bowing to convention as well going for the occasional cheap laugh? Intriguing stuff, Hitchcock films. But Sabotage? I don't know. Based on Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent", it centers on bombings in London. Maybe too close to reality just now... For that matter, Jews being forced from their homes...could I bear to watch Fiddler on the Roof right now? Hmmm.... Zorro! Fighting for the little guy just because you can! Justice! Honor! Fantastic horsemanship! Sly but charming heroes! Truly shiveringly-bad bad guys! Humor here, swordfights there - sometimes humorous sword fights, for that matter... Hmmm...)
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Aug. 15, 2005 — The weight of their body armor combined with the strain of having to lift a jackhammer over their heads makes their arms quiver like jello. Sweat pours down their faces and burns their eyes, but they won’t stop now. They can’t.Full article
One after another, they connect four-foot stainless steel rods together and drive them further below the surface of the earth. Thirteen rods and 52 feet later, the rods refuse to be driven any further.
The engineers assigned to Multinational Corps-Iraq then cover the exposed tip of the rod with a custom access cover and insert a fluorescent orange sign to indicate the location is ready to be surveyed.
The team of U.S. and British Army geodetic surveyors has successfully established another reference point along the road to reconstruction in Iraq, one of many in the first Iraqi Geospatial Reference System that identifies geospatial locations using names or numeric coordinates.
The joint coalition team began working on the project in April, which is modeled on the National Spatial Reference System in the United States.
By the time the project is completed around June 2006, the Iraqi Geospatial Reference System will be comprised of six hubs called Continuously Operating Reference Stations and about 300 different reference points known as High Accuracy Reference Networks that are geographically located throughout Iraq.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Iraq, Aug. 15, 2005 — A group of over 100 scouts and adult leaders met in Hasar, Iraq, Aug. 4 to learn cooking, teamwork and other skills from the community’s growing co-ed International Scouting Program.Full article
The fledgling program, known as Kashafa, began July 7 when U.S. soldiers of the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s Task Force 1-148 Field Artillery and leaders from the community of Hasar, Iraq, celebrated a ribbon cutting and inauguration of the program. By that time, leaders had been trained, uniforms distributed to participants and weekly meetings planned.
Working with local leaders to establish community-building programs in the province of Kirkuk is part of the 116th Brigade Combat Team’s mission while deployed in north central Iraq. The unit’s mission also includes assisting Iraq’s new government, supporting economic development, facilitating communications and improving security and stability in the region.
hat tip: Murdoc Online
It appears that Keiichi Tsuneishi, professor at Kanagawa University, has found two declassified documents in the U.S. National Archives that suggest that between 150,000 to 200,000 yen was handed to unnamed members of the unit led by military doctor Shiro Ishii (believed responsible for the deaths of something like 3,000 people - mostly Chinese and Russian as I understand it, as if nationality matters in a case like this). Both documents are from July 1947, and were either compiled or written by Brig. Gen. Charles Willoughby, who headed intelligence unit "G2" of the postwar occupation forces in Japan.
Historians (and others) already knew that the U.S. had offered to drop war crimes charges in exchange for information. But what it looks like now (if I read this correctly) is that after the war crimes charges were waived, the investigators had to turn to offering money, food, gifts and entertainment to entice cooperation from the pathologists.
Sigh. I understand (or think I understand) that every society that survives any length of time has had people running around doing shady things behind the scenes, but that doesn't alter the fact that I'm always quite pleased when the United States comes up with a more civilized and/or honorable and/or aboveboard way of getting the job done, and am always a bit saddened when we sink to the same techniques as less idealistic nations. But wooing folks who had used other human beings as lab rats seems rather worse than the usual techniques, doesn't it? Yuck.
Monday, August 15, 2005
In a related development, police in northern Greece arrested a man who claimed to have received a telephone text message from a passenger. The man — identified as Nektarios-Sotirios Voutas, 32 — told Greek television stations that his cousin on board the plane sent him a cell phone text message minutes before the crash saying: "Farewell, cousin, here we're frozen."Augh. If the police are right, I'm glad they figured it out early like this. "Garbage in, garbage out" applies to crash investigations just like everything else.
But authorities determined he was lying, and arrested him on charges of dissemination of false information.
hat tip: Pat in NC at Pawigoview
Update: USGS recent quakes - click on map for specific quake. There are no watches or warnings in effect for Alaska to California.
Update: This quake is roughly 220 miles NNE of Tokyo, 100 miles SSE of Morioka (Honshu, Japan), 85 miles ENE of Fukushima (Honshu, Japan), and 50 miles ENE of Sendai (Honshu, Japan). I spent part of 1984 in this area, visiting a friend who was teaching English in a private school there. When I moved into the apartment where I lived for the duration, all the doors in the building closed and opened all right. By the time I left, earthquakes had shoved the building out of square and we could no longer use the closets or completely shut off the bedroom from the living room. And that was just a little quake compared to this one. It's funny how personal it is when a quake hits somewhere you've been, especially somewhere you've been and liked.
Update: CNN reports. The tsunami might be a no-go, with an ocean wave of about 20 inches reported but nothing more than that, at least at this point. There are injuries and damage reported at Sendai, where a roof collapsed at an indoor swimming facility, and subways and trains are shut down.
Update: The USGS is now listing the quake at 7.2, with an epicenter 60 miles E of Sendai, 90 miles ENE of Fukushima, 100 miles NE of Iwaki, and 220 miles NE of Tokyo.
Update: ABC News Online (Australia) has more information.
I saw Elian Gonzales on television not long ago, in the spotlight at some graduation ceremony, standing at a microphone and spouting that he and his friends were the future of communism, while Fidel Castro himself beamed encouragement at the child.
Castro uses the boy as a poster child rather too often for me. I wonder sometimes how the agents sent in to rip Elian from the arms of his relatives in Florida feel these days about what they did. I wonder sometimes if Bill Clinton and Janet Reno ever kick chairs behind closed doors over how things turned out, or just shrug and let it go?
hat tip: Marc at American Future
Katie would like to find more good books like this - any recommendations, anybody? (Go here for her post and to leave comments for her.)
No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City
Friday, August 12, 2005
Alma, Arkansas, cops are making another push on this case. They've released an age-enhanced picture of what Morgan might look like at age 16, and a composite sketch of a suspicious man who was seen in the area around that time. (Of course, there's no way of knowing if he's the kidnapper. Keep your mind open.)
If anyone knows what has happened to Morgan, the good folks of Alma need to hear from you.
America's Most Wanted, which has a section devoted to missing children, has more here, including pictures.
Morgan's mother, Colleen Nick, started the Morgan Nick Foundation to help find missing children, reduce the number of abductions (by educating families and children), to serve as a support team for families of missing children, and to help law enforcement. For more information specifically on Morgan's case, see Morgan's Story.
Settlement: Historical American documents can be taught in Cupertino schools - Alliance Defense Fund
In any case, the policy is now in writing and the case is closed. From The Alliance Defense Fund :
The settlement agreement puts in writing district policy that "allows teachers, no matter what their religious beliefs, to use appropriate educational material (including supplemental handouts of historical significance) during instructional time that has religious content" and also allows teachers "to teach students during instructional time about matters involving religion" so long as the content is compliant with district-prescribed curriculum and is not used to influence a student's religious beliefs.Sounds healthy and reasonable to me.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
French trade minister Francois Loos defended the restrictions and challenged retailers to find suppliers in the Mediterranean region in Europe.Nice guy.
"This is evidence that the measures from the European Union on the initiative of France are effective," he told AFP.
"They are causing problems for retailers and I invite them to look towards companies in the euro-Mediterranean area.
Even if the stores could find suppliers that could manufacture a fresh line of clothes and fit them with the department store labels, etc., and deliver them in the next week or two or three (an impossible task, surely) with what does M. Loos suggest French retailers pay for the replacement stock? They've got substantial money tied up in the clothing they planned on stocking, after all.
France isn't the only EU country with this particular problem. See full EUbusiness.com article for more.
Previous post: Fashion clothes for millions stranded in harbour stocks
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Update: He is also hosting what has turned into a discussion on the greatest movie Westerns of all time, if that's a genre you know and enjoy.
hat tip: Josue Sierra at Latino Issues blog.
As an aside, I'm glad it's working, but I have to wonder why it has taken so long and so much research and so much jargon to learn how to do what millions of parents and teachers do on a day-to-day basis? That is, notice the small achievements along the way instead of saving all the kudos for reaching grand goals. I think that's more or less what a lot of this seems to boil down to. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Wait. I might know part of the answer to my own question. A wonderful bit of perspective from Jane Jacobs just came to mind. In her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), in the introduction (at least in the edition I read), she noted that much of what was wrong with urban planning was in part due to the fact that earnest and well-meaning planners - good men, you understand, who cared deeply about their cities - had gone to great pains to learn what the sages of urban planning taught about how cities ought to work. The problem was not with the intentions or the lack of professionalism of the planners - it was that the received wisdom they were spending years and years learning wasn't based on how human beings actually interact with each other and their environment. Worse yet, having invested themselves heart and soul into learning this complicated specialty, whenever reality seemed to contradict what they'd learned, the reality usually wound up being shoved aside as a fluke. (Humans will be human, after all.)
Here's my favorite part of the explanation: Jacobs likened urban planning as it stood in her day to the state of medicine in the heyday of bloodletting. No, seriously - and it makes all the sense in the world, as far as I'm concerned, the way she explained it. Bloodletting was based on superstition, but it was bolstered by elaborately learned rituals. People who spent year after year becoming experts in bloodletting, learning just which vein to draw from for which symptoms, among other things, got enmeshed in the handed down fallacies. Bloodletting physicians ridiculed, and sometimes ruined, physicians who dared to point out where draining blood didn't make sense and might even be killing people.
I have a theory, just a hunch, that much of what's wrong with modern culture is that just enough people are invested in some modern variation of bloodletting - truly dangerous stuff - and don't know how to assimilate evidence that contradicts what they've so painstakingly learned about how things ought to work, according to their sages.
We all have blind spots. But those doggone blind spots that we've acquired through earnest effort are especially difficult, I think. At a guess. Yes?
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
hat tip: Let's Scrap UK Land Use Planning at the Out of Control blog.
Blogosphere Note: The Out of Control blog has moved. Old url. New url.
For a sensationalized lead-in to the Florida story, see WKMG TV's 3 Bears Terrorize Central Day Care. Excuse me? Terrorize? The bears were eating in the trash cans on the property, the kids thought they were cute and wanted to go pet them. The grown-ups had enough sense to keep the kids inside. The folks who trap bears in live traps have set up a trap and baited it with spoiled meat and Doritos, the story says, and now everyone is waiting until the too-tame bears manage to trap themselves. This is not terrorizing, at least in my book. It's bad, it's worrisome, it must be dealt with, but... (The video isn't quite so over the top, thank goodness.)
Sigh. It's enough of a story by itself, straight up, no embellishments. Why in the world do people feel a need to "punch up" a story like this?
Most historians agree that dropping the uranium and plutonium bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortened World War II, thereby avoiding an inevitable Allied invasion of Japan and its predicted carnage to both sides. There are historians and ethicists who hold a dissenting opinion, but Japanese aviator Mitsuo Fuchida is not among them.Full article
Fuchida, Tibbets says, approached him at a military reception sometime after the war and said, “I’m Fuchida. Shall we talk about it?”
Apparently recognizing that the American aviator did not understand what he was talking about, Fuchida told Tibbets that he had led the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
“You sure did surprise us,” Tibbets recalls saying.
“What the hell do you think you did to us?” Fuchida replied.
The two war-hardened aviators and survivors chatted a few minutes when Fuchida confided to Tibbets, “You did the right thing to drop the bombs. Japan would have resisted an invasion using every man, woman and child, using sticks and stones if necessary.”
“That would have been a slaughter,” Tibbets says. “I believed at the time, and I believe now, that President Truman made the right call.”
He also suggests that there are two essential books for understanding what happened - Japan's Longest Day, written eight years after the bombings by Japanese historians, and Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire by Richard B. Frank.
Sensing provides some perspective I hadn't quite grasped before this. He also has a link to the text of the initial BBC announcement of the bombing at Nagasaki. Reach his post here.
Sensing links to Amazon in his post. For the Barnes & Noble information on the books, click on the book covers below.
Japan's Longest Day
Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
Monday, August 08, 2005
Charles Krauthammer thinks Frist is right, but warns Stem cell research without limits is a bad idea.
Tim Chapman at the From the Bleachers blog links to Kansas Senator Sam Brownback's op-ed in which he points out, among other things, that embryonic stem cells haven't led to one promising treatment while adult stem cells have 65 published treatments.
If you missed it before, see also Paul Greenberg's "A Modest Proposal", which discusses how we've been down similar paths before, with, for instance, medical experiments done by the Japanese on prisoners of war "who were going to be worked to death anyway, so why not put them to some scientific use?" Greenberg knows why not. (And I agree with him.)
Fr. John's book Sacred Meals talks to the rare art of enjoying meals as a family, and includes "over 140 family recipes - from Southern-style "soul food" and Lenten meals to authentic Mexican cuisine and backyard barbecues."
Saturday, August 06, 2005
See also Blazes near Interstate 90 still dangerous, officials warn, by Tristan Scott.
I just did a quick look at some of my favorite books on the shelves near my desk, and find that most of the novels I've kept lean toward good first paragraphs or pages, but the first lines themselves aren't anything to stand up and be noticed.
So far the only one that stands out is from Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling (there's no sense asking people to guess that title, even if it is by Kipling). It has both stories and poems. There's a poem and then the first story begins:
The children were at the Theatre, acting to Three Cows as much as they could remember of Midsummer Night's Dream. Their father had made them a small play out of the big Shakespeare one, and they had rehearsed it with him and with their mother till they could say it by heart...I don't know why, but I like that very much, especially when you combine it with the rest of the first paragraph, which is rich in detail. I have the Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics trade paperback edition (ISBN 0140183531), which has helpful end notes that tie the text to history and fable and compare The Strand versions against various other published versions.
Here's an online version, which has the first story all part of the same chapter as the first poem.
Here's a counter-intuitive tip from their section on freezing animal products:
Cured meats such as ham and bacon can only be frozen for a short period of time (1 to 3 months) because the salt in them hastens rancidity.I thought the salt was a preservative? Hmmm. This calls for further research, I think.
I almost never freeze fresh veggies because commercially frozen vegatables are so cheap and, for that matter, are usually better quality than the fresh veggies at our local grocery store. But, for those of you who want to try it, the discouraging information is that:
Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture.I wish I knew who started the myth that homemaking is unskilled labor...
Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size. Underblanching stimulates the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching. Overblanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals. Follow recommended blanching times...
hat tip: Sherry at Semicolon
Friday, August 05, 2005
As the Churchill Downs bugler played "My Old Kentucky Home," an emotional Pat Day officially hung up his saddle today during a press conference at the Louisville, Ky. track, where he is the all-time leading rider with 2,481 wins, including 155 stakes wins.Full article
Day retires with 8,803 career victories, which ranks him fourth behind all-time leader Laffit Pincay, Jr.'s career total of 9,530. Day is the all-time leader in career earnings by a jockey as his mounts earned $297,912,019.
Day won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in 1992 with W.C. Partee's Lil E Tee. His Triple Crown resume includes a record five Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and three wins in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He rode in a record 21 consecutive Kentucky Derbys, a streak that ended when hip surgery forced him to miss this year's renewal.
The Colorado native said he would immediately focus his energy on his work with the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America, a national organization of chaplains from U.S. racetracks that serves the spiritual, physical, emotional, and social/educational needs of the workforce at those tracks.
In addition to speaking at chaplaincy fund-raising events, Day said, he wants to spend time walking through the backstretch with Racetrack Chaplaincy of America's 58 sanctioned chaplains and then giving a message of eternal hope to groups of backstretch workers....
Via A man worthy of our esteem - and a superb witness by Miss O'Hara.
Pat Day famously had drug and alcohol problems before he became a born-again Christian in the early '80s. It's more common for men to become heroes and then go to ruin, but with Day it was the other way around. He went from being a bad example to being a caring, winning guy. For more, see Wikipedia/Pat_Day.
See also Pat Day’s “What a Difference a Day Makes Tour” at RTCA.