Charter Member of the Sub-Media

June 30, 2005

It's Time to Dismantle the CIA « GWOT »

From actively opposing the current administration's policies, to leaking secrets, to assassinations, to torture of suspects, to its intelligence failures (It's a slam dunk, Mr. President!), to a bone-headed kidnapping in a foreign nation, I believe it is time to dismantle the CIA.

Sure, we need its capabilities.

But not its entrenched hubris.

Get rid of all of them, and start fresh. We'd be a little worse off in the short-term, but maybe we could avoid the long-term attitude problems that have hamstrung our foreign intelligence collection over the last 30 years.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:03 AM | Comments (9)

June 29, 2005

Shanghai Vice « China/Taiwan »

An interesting look into crime/punishment and even property rights in China. Warning: some stomach-turning photos.

Then again, handling property rights in the opposite way.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:12 AM | Comments (2)
Plummeting Traffic « Blogging »

I've lost about a third of my normal traffic over the last two weeks. Two weeks ago, my lowest weekly total was 250 hits, on a Saturday. This week, however, my highest peak was somewhat less than 250, and yesterday was barely 225.

...and yet, I'm actually pleased. Why, you may ask?


Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.
Over the last 2-3 months, more than 1/3 of my hits were for variations of searches on "Mentos Bird Commercial". More than half my hits were from search engine hits of any type. And on any given day, I could boost my traffic by 20-50 hits just by linking the GM blog. So although I could boast* of averaging 300 unique visits/day, I realized that less than half of it was from people coming back to see me because of what I wrote. Hence, some of the petulant whining and snarky self-deprecation.

But now, the bulk of my hits are from links coming in from other sites, and "blocked referrers", which to me means someone who has me bookmarked, or perhaps browsing anonymously but still coming to Brain Fertilizer deliberately. Which is good.

I wasn't going to stop blogging in any case, but having more of what I consider "solid" hits certainly helps make blogging more satisfying.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:03 AM | Comments (8)

June 28, 2005

Finally! « Blogging » « Militaria »

I finally got the new blogroll category up:

The Association of Former Military Linguist Bloggers

But since I took so long to overcome my apathy, I've forgotten who originally responded. If you should be in that blogroll, let me know. And if someone wants to come up with a logo for it, let me know. Let me know if you want your MOS/AFSC and language listed, too.

More on this subject soon.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:55 PM | Comments (4)
Unintentional Humor « Politics As Usual »

On two levels, no less!

Check out what the least-useful Democrat Senator* has to say.

The best line had to be the closing one:

John F. Kerry is a Democratic senator from Massachusetts.

With the rest of the article adding perspective, of course the person advocating those views would be a Democrat from Massachussetts. The other thing I found funny was that I was expecting it to continue with "who, by the way, served in Viet Nam".

Read More "Unintentional Humor" »

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Posted by Nathan at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
The Chiefs Don't Need the Law « Kansas City Chiefs »

In fact, we shouldn't even want him. At all.

Here's my thinking:

Last year, the Chiefs were actually pretty good at stopping the run...for 2-3 quarters. If you look at the statistics, teams ran on the Chiefs more than the average team, and they had average or below-average ypc*...

Go for the rest.

Read More "The Chiefs Don't Need the Law" »

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Posted by Nathan at 07:54 AM | Comments (3)
Even More Inspiring Post of the Day « Aphorisms »

Of course, there's also an even more inspiring Latin phrase out there:

Carpe Melonus!

Which means, of course:

Read More "Even More Inspiring Post of the Day" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:46 AM | Comments (0)
Inspiration Post of the Day « Aphorisms »

It's days like this, when I have trouble getting started, that I have to remind myself of that old Latin quote:

Carpe Tax Revenue!

Which, translated into English, means: "Seize the privately-owned land!"

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Posted by Nathan at 06:44 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2005

Untitled « Blogging » « Snarky Self-Deprecation »

Did you know that this blog is #123 in the Milblogger community?

I didn't.

That number is subject to adjustment downward as my traffic/linkage plummets.

Did all of you know I was a milblogger?

...just checking.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:10 PM | Comments (9)
The Supreme Court Continues Assault on Bill of Rights (UPDATED) « Politics As Usual »

[Bumped to the Top]

Way to go, people.

I'll admit, a good part of my pique is that other than Justice O'Conner, this is the same group that thinks you have no right to your personal property. And so, my first reaction is that anything this "liberal bloc" rules should be viewed with suspicion, if not outright hostility. Thanks, Justice O'Conner. Thanks so much.

UPDATE: I feel a little better reading this. But only a little.

UPDATE II: I feel a little better because they allowed some religious displays. I don't feel very much better because the test they seemed to apply is, bottom line:

You can only express a religion you don't believe in.

Non-adherents to Binky the Space Clown rejoiced worldwide.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:14 PM | Comments (2)
Kokonut Pundit « Blogging »

It's cool when the Sitemeter referral log lets you know you are on someone's blogroll. It's even cooler when your perusal of this "new to you" site includes a nice little Greatest Hits summation of some thoughtful opinions.

I also like his term: "Hand-Wringers of America", and enjoyed this article about meeting protestors with shredders.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:19 AM | Comments (1)
Interesting Development in Iraq Re-Construction War « GWOT »

U.S. Officials have met with insurgency leaders in Iraq.

When asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" about the report of the two meetings, Rumsfeld said: "Oh, I would doubt it. I think there have probably been many more than that."

You don't just meet and resolve all issues in one sitting. You send out feelers, low-level leaders meet, passing on messages, gradually building up to high-level meetings in which a breakthrough can happen.

It seems like we are in the midst of this process here.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)
Breaking News: The Sun Rises in the East « Media Distortions »

Civil Rights Groups say Bush abuses Due-Protection Statutes.

Well, of course they do. If they didn't, they wouldn't get any notice from the MSM.

The "money" quote? Glad you asked:

The report, paid for in part by the Open Society Institute, founded by the financier George Soros, charges that many of the men held as material witnesses were ``thrust into a Kafkaesque world of indefinite detention without charges, secret evidence and baseless accusations.''

Ah, "funded by George Soros", the man who proves that Republicans are the Party of the Rich and use billions to purchase election victories. [/snark]

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Posted by Nathan at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)
Sad News « Social Issues »

Winnie the Pooh fans everywhere are mourning the passing of Paul Winchell (Tigger) and John Fiedler (Piglet).

My sympathies and prayers go out to their families.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:08 AM | Comments (2)
Sanguinary Thoughts « Stuff Important to Me »

I've always thought a good slogan for a blood drive would be, "Whaddya want from me? Blood?"

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Posted by Nathan at 06:35 AM | Comments (3)

June 25, 2005

Doing Your Part to Fight Anti-Americanism « Politics As Usual »

I'm not going to my part regarding this, but if you want to, go check this out to find out what you can do to help.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2005

Must Be Why I Don't Lie Well... « Aphorisms »
Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.

-- Samuel Butler

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Posted by Nathan at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)
Religious Intolerance « Social Issues »

Remember my gut reaction to the report that "religious intolerance" had been discovered at the USAF Academy?

When I read the report, I kept thinking: "Isn't preventing students from proselytizing their faith a violation of Freedom of Religious Expression?"

Even someone on 'Team Heretic' agrees with me.

The report found evidence of the "perception" of religious intolerance, though no real religious intolerance. It found "perceived bias" but no real bias.

The Usual Suspects act like, well, they usually do:

Last week, a group of Democrats in Congress tried to pass a measure condemning the Air Force Academy for allowing religious proselytizing at the school before the report was released.
(emphasis mine)

This is just getting ridiculous.

Expect more breathless reports, since this allows liberals to attack two things they hate: the military and Christianity.*

Read More "Religious Intolerance" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)
Property (Lack Of) Rights (UPDATED) [or: I've Got a Bad Feeling About This] « Social Issues »

There's a
great deal of
hyperbole right now
afloat around the
blogosphere in
regards to

this decision.

It's all justified. Well-justified.

The people responsible for this travesty? I'm glad you asked:
John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Not a conservative, out-of-the-mainstream extremist in the bunch. No sign that freeing women to "control their bodies" has any impact on controlling their homes and lives.

UPDATE: More, and even more.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:21 AM | Comments (5)
» Hold The Mayo links with: I Used To Own A House

June 22, 2005

Mistreatment of Citizens « China/Taiwan »

I don't know why, but I react badly to stories like this.

Maybe it's the implication that what is done to this one singular example happens to every single person of faith...which is plainly not true.

Maybe it's the propaganda angle, in which the story really gets pushed if they have a nice "before" picture of a pretty, smiling girl.

I hear rumors that in the United States, in some states, if you are convicted of child molestation, the guards often leave the door to your cell open, and you receive some "justice" far beyond what the judge intended in his sentence. Is that government brutality?

If the sign clearly states: don't spit on the sidewalk, and you deliberately walk up and spit on the policman standing right next to the sign, how much sympathy should I have?

Maybe that's not the case in this story. It's hard to tell without better independent verification. You can read my comments on the post to get a better idea of what I mean.

And yet, there are instances of human right abuses that I do get upset about. Here's a good example of things that make my blood boil:

When petitioners proceed to the various Petition Offices, they may have to run through a gauntlet of special agents from various localities. As they go through, they are threatened (sometimes via physical beatings) to disclose their places of origin and their cases. They may be arrested by the special agents from their localities and then extradited back to their home towns where they may be penalized for their activities. These acts of menace occur in the public under broad daylight.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:11 PM | Comments (1)
Oh, Lord!

The Thought Police strike again.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:13 PM | Comments (2)
At Times « Snarky Self-Deprecation »

Sometimes I think I'm stupid. Sometimes I think I'm crazy. Sometimes I think I'm useless. Sometimes I think my blogging is vapid, trite, and uninteresting.

The rest of the time...

Read More "At Times" »

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Posted by Nathan at 02:42 AM | Comments (8)

June 21, 2005

Pithy, but Trite « Quotes You Can Steal »

Here's the other side of the issue:

The pen is mightier than the sword. The sword merely destroys life. The pen destroys reputation, but preserves life to increase the suffering.
Read More "Pithy, but Trite" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)
Hierarchy of Power? « Quotes You Can Steal »
The pen may be mightier than the sword...but I'd rather have a gun, myself.
--Brain Fertilizer Read More "Hierarchy of Power?" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)
The Death of Western Civilization « Humor »

As if the continued existence of "The Teen Titians" and DC Comics in general weren't horrible enough, we've now got Billy Corgan trying to regroup Smashing Pumpkins.

A world recoils in horror.

...okay, well, at least I do.

Read More "The Death of Western Civilization" »

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Posted by Nathan at 01:08 PM | Comments (11)
Man, I Don't Want To Go To Work Today

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Posted by Nathan at 10:21 AM | Comments (2)
Who Do You Represent? Who/What Gets Your Loyalty? « Social Issues »

Long-time readers know I'm interested in China and have traveled there several times. I go to a Chinese church and have contact with people from another culture there every week. I've deployed overseas with the Air Force several times as well.

One thing is very clear to me in every interaction with foreign nationals: everything I say and do will be taken as a reflection of America, white males, Chiristians, and US military (not necessarily in that order). And maybe a few other things as well.

I can't control their assumptions.

I can't cause them to take my words/actions as just a white Christian male from the US, and ignore the military part. Or a Christian servicemember from the US, ignoring the white male part. Not only can I not control it, I usually cannot even know what they are seeing and assuming.

When overseas, or when interacting with a foreign national, it is very clear to me that the future repercussions and impacts of the meeting are impossible to know. An inadvertant mistake could leave an bad impression that makes things worse for all Americans, and American strategic interest.

And so at the back of my mind, always present, I remember that there is something more important than me: my family back home, and the nation they live in, including the economy, their employment, their energy needs, their unit, which might someday be fighting a battle and need every advantage to win support from the civilian foreign nationals in the area.

It is very clear to me that my loyalty to my nation is greater than to myself. It is very clear to me that my own likes, dislikes, annoyances, needs, etc, aren't all that important, to an extent. And yet, despite all these restrictions, I still have expansive freedom.

I have the freedom to be pleasant. I have the freedom to be friendly. I have the freedom to return insults with smiles. I have the freedom to be flexible, and to try and understand other cultures and their point of view.

That's why I find "The Ugly American" so irritating. That's why I find the military officer who decided she wasn't going to wear a burqa to be so infuriating. That's why I find Dick Durbin to be such an unmitigated jerk.

When you are in another country, you are in someone's home. You may not like the food they eat, or their customs, but you are in their home, and you should learn to fit in. You shouldn't demand others change to meet your assumptions and demands. And even more importantly, you should be friendly, flexible, patient, kind, generous, and slow to anger. Wait until you get home, close the door, and rant about the idiocy of the foreigners if you must, but don't take it out on an actual person. Not only is that an excellent lesson in patience, but you spread good will with every encounter.

When you are in the military, you have signed on to be a warrior for the US' interests. Complaining about something being "demeaning to women" is placing your own culture on such a high level of importance that it must be imposed on others in their own home...that's more than a little selfish. I hate wearing some of the uniforms, particularly dress uniforms. They are uncomfortable, and I'm since I have to "set them up" (Put on all the ribbons in the right location, right order, even and square) so rarely, I'm scared to death of not doing it right and bringing some minor measure of dishonor to my service. But when I have to, I do it. I don't care if I had to wear a bear suit every day to work to please some third-world nation's sense of morality; if the military requires it, I do it. If I can't do it, I am obligated to resign my commission and get out. Or, if it is a legal order, I am required to comply and then take action after the fact. Refusing to wear the burqa is selfishness, pettiness, and placing an agenda above the needs of the military and the US' strategic interests.

And the negative comments about our military by Democrat leaders...[shakes head]. Dick Durbin is getting the attention more recently, but it started long ago. Remember Patty Murray's argument that Osama bin Laden was loved for the good he did in Afghanistan and we should try to be like Osama (and then when given a chance to back that up, she voted against funding to help build schools, roads, and daycares in Afghanistan in a fit of typical Democrat hypocrisy)?

Leaders should lead. As such, they should consider who they are leading, and to where. As has been pointed out, there are ways Sen. Durbin could have criticized the Bush Administration's policies without giving aid and support to our enemies' propaganda system. Howard Dean should be able to find a way to say "Democrats Good" without having to resort to insulting (and wholly inaccurate) stereotypes of Republicans.

Do you ever think of who you represent? Do you ever suppress your natural reaction because of awareness of your status as a representative? Do the groups to which you belong get any of your loyalty, or do you consider your personal right to be a jerk to trump all other considerations? endeth the sermon. Heh.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:10 AM | Comments (2)
» Mark in Mexico links with: 10,000 Angels will swear you were wrong

June 20, 2005

Supply-Side Critics Eat Crow! « Politics As Usual »

Or maybe they don't.

In any case, I missed this recent stark example of the Laffer Curve in action, which incidentally seems to show that "Trickle-Down/Supply-Side Economics" do work.

If you disagree, you can take it up here or at Gilly's World, you choice. But your arguments are going to have to be better than the traditional example of, "But...but...but supply-side economics don't work just can't." Most anti-Supply-Siders would rather credit Astrology than Supply-Side theory...

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Posted by Nathan at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)
Feel-Good Story of the Day (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

It's good to see Seattle Police are serious about terrorism, even if the city's Senate* and Congressional representation aren't.

Lead paragraph:

Police shot a man who had a large backpack strapped to his chest and was carrying what looked like a grenade in a federal courthouse in downtown Seattle on Monday after he tried to get through security.

UPDATE: Suicide by Police?

Read More "Feel-Good Story of the Day (UPDATED)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
Derrick Johnson « Kansas City Chiefs »

I can't tell you how much things like this excite me:

From SI's Peter King:

I visited Chiefs camp last Wednesday, and one player stood out above the rest: Derrick Johnson. He's the rookie linebacker from Texas taken by Kansas City in the first round in April, and he's fast. Really fast. I got a chance to watch him on the practice field, unpadded, as offense played defense in a non-contact, play-installation drill. If he's this good when they put the pads on -- which, of course, nobody knows yet, and it's silly to pretend one workout can portend greatness -- the Chiefs might finally have the really good linebacker they've been lacking since the death of Derrick Thomas.

And from Warpaint Illustrated:

But one player has stood out more than any other.

At the top of the list is the aforementioned Derrick Johnson. Without a doubt, he has the opportunity to be one of the games very best outside linebackers. High praise for a rookie who’s never stepped foot on the field but he’s already the teams best cover linebacker. He’s the only one in OTA’s that has been able to stop tight end Kris Wilson. He has such instinctive skills that he’s already ahead of every other linebacker on the roster including Bell.

Do you realize how one disruptive player can make everyone else better? If opposing teams have to game plan for Derrick Johnson, it limits their playbook. Limited playbooks make for predictable game-plans, and Gunther can tear that up. If you have to account for Derrick Johnson, it effectively removes one more offensive player (holding a TE/RB back to block) from your possible weapons. That frees up Jared Allen, or Eric Hicks, or Scott Fujita to make some big plays.

His speed should help prevent big gains by TEs down the middle. It should stop counter/cutback plays from going 30-40 yards. It should put the fear into Denver and their 'naked bootleg' plays.

No matter what he does in training camp, no one is going to game plan to stop Derrick Johnson until he proves they have to. From what we've been hearing, if DJ is as good as early indications seem, then he might be able to win the first 2-3 games for us single-handedly. Then when teams adjust, the supporting cast has been upgraded enough to win bunches of games the rest of the year.

If I were a gambling man (and I'm not), I'd put money down right now on him being the 2005 Rookie of the Year.

I'm a homer, yes. I want to look at how things could work out well for the Chiefs, rather than obsessing on how they might go wrong. But this is shaping up to be a Season for the Ages. I've been excited about what the offense could do in the past few years; I've been excited about what the defense could do back in the early 90s. I've never been this excited about the possibility about both sides of the ball being dominating.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:58 PM | Comments (4)
» SportsBlog links with: Derrick Johnson
I Disagree « Aphorisms »
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
-- Albert Schweitzer

...but it's cynical enough to be amusing.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
I'm Now a Captain « Militaria »

I know, I told you this last week. But I stood up and gave a speech on the spot, so now I'd like to share it with you:

Every culture has a "coming of age" ritual. The military is no different. It may seem strange for me, at age 37, to be talking about finally completing my "coming of age" ritual, but it's true. This promotion comes at the time that most officers* have completed their obligation to the USAF and the government. I could resign my commission and go be a civilian today.

But by accepting this promotion, I am demonstrating that I am aware of the duties and obligations of military service, and I am announcing that I'm in it for the long haul. Rather than pursue the best job, or the best place to live, I have chosen to dedicate myself in selfless service to my country. My intention is to provide guidance, leadership, and training to those below me, and excellent loyalty and service to those above me.

So help me God.

Read More "I'm Now a Captain" »

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Posted by Nathan at 09:37 AM | Comments (7)

June 18, 2005

WR or DT? (UPDATED) « Kansas City Chiefs »

UPDATE: ...and the Chiefs sign Freddie Mitchell. It's the right move.

Payzone asks a good question in the comments to this post: Now that Az-Zahir Hakim decided to go to the New Orleans Saints (although he reached an agreement with the Chiefs, he had not yet signed the contract), should the Chiefs go after a WR or a DT?

I'd have to say: In a perfect world, you would go for a DT.

Both areas are potential weak spots, true.

However, from the reports, it looks like...

Read More "WR or DT? (UPDATED)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:40 AM | Comments (5)

June 16, 2005

Keeping Your Stories Straight « Stuff Important to Me »

I pulled put my annotated screenplay tonight. Let me remind you of something Obi-wan said to Luke:

When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed at how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.

I count at least three full-blown contradictions with the prequels. much for Lucas' boast about having the whole series already written...

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Posted by Nathan at 10:52 PM | Comments (7)
Rule Of Law « China/Taiwan »

Another step in the right direction.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:51 PM | Comments (2)
Some Good Reviews of GM Products « Car Issues »

I thought about being snarky and leaving the body blank, but GM deserves better than that.

And the new products are, in most cases, jaw-droppingly beautiful in their execution and details.

This may be the writer's taste...but I'm willing to start getting interested. Don't let us down, GM!

Scroll down to below the pictures to read the story.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:22 PM | Comments (1)
...More Than Just a Bunch of Hacks « Media Distortions »
You can make up your own mind about the authenticity of those photographs. To my mind, the most impressive thing was the manner in which the debate was conducted. There exists a core group of media workers who care passionately about their professional work and who are capable of conducting discourse in a rational and dispassionate manner. The rapid response and full disclosure even compare favorably against how the major western media handle problems. Media in China is more than just a bunch of hacks re-printing Xinhua press releases.

The story.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)
Help « Blogging »

Need help changing the look of the address in the
address bar. Does anyone know the HTML code to do

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Posted by Nathan at 10:04 AM | Comments (5)
China/Taiwan « China/Taiwan »

China will not allow Taiwan to officially declare its independency. That's for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is the Asian concept of "Face".

But aside from the issue of logistically projecting enough power to take Taiwan militarily (and the damage that could do to Taiwan's infrastructure), there is one main issue blocking China's absorption of the island:


Hong Kong was subordinate to Britain. No one rising through the Hong Kong power structure ever had any hope of making it very high in the British power structure, and they always knew their position was at the behest of another power. That higher governmental power could be replaced by the PRC, and it was.

But Taiwan has its own power structure, with its own governance, and an undeclared independence...or autonomy at worst. How do you shoehorn that into the Mainland system?

Leaders have power from their position, but also from their supporters (I know that's a no-brainer...I'm going somewhere with it). Leaders do not give up power very easily. They must be forced to give it up, or enticed in some way. Someone who has been building a base and rising in power in Taiwan for their entire life won't be so willing to give it up just because a majority of the population in Taiwan wants to unite with the Mainland (assuming they ever do).

Simply put: The Chinese Communist Party must find a way to force the leaders out (probably through a costly war that would destroy much of what they want from Taiwan), or convince them to step down and support integration with the Mainland (an iffy proposition at best).*

We have the old parable about "not killing the goose that lays the golden egg", but we only cite it when it's obvious someone hasn't learned the lesson. Taiwan is certainly a golden-egg laying goose for Mainland China, what with all the monetary and technological investments flowing across the Strait.

Bottom Line: Maybe the Chi-Coms are smarter than most people give them credit for?

Read More "China/Taiwan" »

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Posted by Nathan at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

We Win When Iraq Wins « GWOT »

And Iraq is winning.

Slowly, to be sure, but surely.

In both cases, the Iraqi forces fought off attacks independently, and their American sister units arrived after the Iraqi units repelled the attacks. These Iraqi units may not meet the New York Times definition of ‘operational’, but they certainly possess the characteristics of an effective fighting force.


The availability of “70,000, 80,000 [Iraqi troops] by the end of this year” to independently operate and maneuver does not bode well for the insurgent’s prospects for victory. This will also free up an enormous amount of American troops for combat operations against the insurgency as well as securing the restive Anbar province.

I've been telling everyone who asks that we'll be down to about half the current US troop levels by the end of January 2006. I've seen nothing to dissuade me from that assessment.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:28 PM | Comments (1)
Terri Schiavo Autopsy « Social Issues »

So the information has now been released.

No signs of abuse, massive brain damage, therapy wouldn't have worked, brain deterioration...


But did she really have to be dehydrated to death to find these things out?

And why couldn't two more experts (one chosen by Terri's family, and one chosen by a separate court) participate? All these assessments were made by an expert hand-picked by Michael Schiavo and/or his attorneys...isn't there a good chance of conflict of interest in that?

Final point: while the reports say the autopsy "report" was released, all I've seen are the autopsy "conclusions". That can be considered a "report", yes...but will other doctors be allowed to see and investigate the actual photos and samples? Somehow, I doubt it. Somehow, I doubt the MSM will mention that aspect.

UPDATE: Someone smarter than me (which leaves out pretty much no one) says:

Terri Schiavo, a profoundly disabled woman who was not terminally ill and who had an army of family members ready to care for her for the rest of her natural life, succumbed to forced dehydration at the hands of her spouse-in-name-only.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)
» The Roost links with: For those that care

This article makes me suspect that Taiwan hasn't even become a truly democratic nation even since martial law was lifted and the native Taiwanese were nominally allowed to participate in politics.

A question: if a people don't really have a voice in their governance, but think they do, is it still democracy? Even more importantly, does it matter if it's not?*

Which, I must say, is why I'm not only not overly concerned about a Congressional attempt to amend the US Constitution to ban flag-desecration, I'm also somewhat encouraged by it.

See, I won't support the amendment, and I'll let my state legislature know about it.

But it is time to return some power to the state legislatures. It is time that we don't take the word of a judge as the final word, but act to change things to be more in line with what The People really want...even if that result is that the people don't really want it.

This bill is good for the exercise of Democracy.

UPDATE: Related.

Read More "Illusion (UPDATED)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:29 AM | Comments (3)
China Interrogation « China/Taiwan »

Not as coercive as you might be led to believe. In any case, certainly not humorous, but also eminently safe for work.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

I Must Be Near Collapse, Then. Heh. « Aphorisms »
Perfection is only achieved on the point of collapse.
-- Unknown

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Posted by Nathan at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)
You Know...? « Humor »

Inexplicably, I'm not on Arianna Huffington's blogroll yet.

...she must be waiting until I become a Captain, right?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:55 AM | Comments (4)
Orenthal, Robert, and Michael « Social Issues »

Found "Not Guilty" by a court of law does not equate to "Exonerated", necessarily.

Also, "Assumed innocent until proven guilty" is for the "eyes of the law", and maybe employers. I don't have to stick to that. You'll forgive me, I hope, if I decide not to trust any of the high profile celebrity defendents found "not guilty" by Los Angeles courts.


Also quite related.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2005

By The Way... « Stuff Important to Me »

This Friday, I will be a Captain (O-3). I'm saying it now, because by the time it happens, it will be Friday evening and no one would notice, so I thought I'd get it out there early.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:31 PM | Comments (13)
Did Nilou Motamed Do Something? « Blogging »

Cuz I'm getting lots of hits from searches for her today.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)
Perhaps, But My Teen Years Would Have Been Much Less...Energetic, Shall We Say? « Aphorisms »
If the effort that went in research on the female bosom had gone into our space program, we would now be running hot dog stands on the moon.
-- Unknown

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Posted by Nathan at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)
Roe Vs Wade Could/Should be Overturned « Social Issues »

And here's why.

It's become a lodestone.

If you really think abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, if you really think that abortion should remain legal for the truly desperate situations, then you should be preparing for the end of Roe v. Wade.

And by preparation, I mean laying the groundwork for a Constitutional Amendment that will establish the right you want beyond the reach of a few newly-nominated justices.

You see, Roe v. Wade has always been tenuous. Anything established by judicial fiat can be removed by judicial fiat. And so pro-Choice advocates have to make sure the social context never shifts against abortion. They have to make sure a conservative President never gets the opportunity to appoint judges who stick to what's actually written in the Constitution. And in struggling to do so, the pro-Choice advocates have become extreme in trying to make sure the "right" to abortion doesn't get eroded. They can pressure any Democrat candidate for President must toe the line on abortion. They expend political power making sure that procedures that disgust most people (i.e., partial-birth abortion) remain legal. The way the MSM fought the terminology battle (when every major news outlet referred to it as "so-called partial-birth abortion") for the pro-Choice advocates was another nail in the coffin of the public's trust of MSM, as well. And it didn't help any when a NARAL spokesperson said someone shouldn't be prosecuted for a murder because "it would set a bad precedent for abortion".

The linked article demonstrates the eroding support.

Pro-Choice advocates depend on certain language eliciting a certain emotional reaction to keep abortion "rights" off-limits. But over time, the semantic framing of the issue has worn thin. "Safe, legal, and rare" worked until people realized that abortion advocates only cared about the first two. Pro-"choice" worked until people realized the only choice allowed was to have an abortion (anything else would be castigated).

I tried to avoid the semantic battle, and always tried to argue against abortion using pro-abortion terms. I felt that if I could use their emotionally-charged terms and still make a decent argument against abortion, my point had more strength. In every conversation I had, I challenged pro-Choice advocates to imitate me, i.e., use pro-Life terms to argue for abortion "rights". Not a single one dared to take me up on the challenge. And I think more and more people are tired of "framing" and "semantics", and are starting to pay attention to what, exactly, is happening. And the result is that 50% of the nation wants abortion to be legal only in the case of rape, incest, or a life-threatening situation for the mother.

The battles and the invective are going to get worse before they get better.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:57 AM | Comments (10)
I Thought Emphasizing Traditional Families Was "Intolerant"....? « Politics As Usual »

And yet, here we have someone mentioned as a possible Democrat candidate for President in 2008 doing just that:

Read More "I Thought Emphasizing Traditional Families Was "Intolerant"....?" »

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Posted by Nathan at 01:33 AM | Comments (1)

June 11, 2005

Advantage: Brainfertilizer! « Kansas City Chiefs »

Remember this caveated prediction?

Don't ever doubt me again.

Yeah, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. I could wish, perhaps, that I'd been more definitive in my prediction, but the main thing that would prevent KC from signing him was if he attracted interest from another team. Lacking substantial interest, the chances of KC signing him approached 100%. I wish I'd made that clear, since it is obvious now.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:36 PM | Comments (7)
Bald Waitresses « China/Taiwan »

The story. Includes pictures. Safe for work.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)
Stupid Criminals... « Politics As Usual »

...who happen to be politicians in Taiwan.

The writer of the article wants to lay this at the feet of 'democracy' in Taiwan, that incidents like this don't do anything to raise anyone's confidence in Asian democracy. I think that's a stretch.

I do think Taiwan is a weird place. I do think that based on the nature of the wounds, Chen Shuibian faked the assassination attempt right before the last Presidential election to drum up sympathy and win.* It seems to have worked.

But things like this are not why China won't embrace Democracy. It's all about power. And it's the same issue (power) that prevents Taiwan from uniting with China: if Taiwan is absorbed, what happens to all the people in the government? They lose power, and are quite probably blocked from aspirations of being top dawg in Taiwan, without having any chance to hold significant positions on the Mainland.

I know I'm getting off subject, but China won't ever accept democracy unless the current leaders are shielded from any payback, and Taiwan won't ever accept unification unless the current leaders are somehow integrated such that they can continue their ambitions.

Read More "Stupid Criminals..." »

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Posted by Nathan at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)
A Historical Consensus « China/Taiwan »

Some scholars from China, South Korea, and Japan got together to write a history book.

Here is a comparison of their take with what the Japanese Society for Textbook Reform came up with. Plus some commentary/explanation included. The difference is quite striking.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2005

True, but... « Social Issues »

People who work sitting down are paid more than people who work standing up. -- Ray Prince

10 Bonus Points to the first person who reads my mind about why this is so.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:57 PM | Comments (2)
On The Other Hand « Car Issues »

And just when I think GM is swinging at strike three and out, Bob Lutz says something like this:

...not to introduce vehicles that are merely competitive, but to really target being the best. This has, frankly, also required some recalibration of the internal culture, especially in the United States. And it’s taken some time to lift ourselves to the best international standard in sheet metal fits. Take a look at the upcoming Chevrolet HHR. I ask you to compare that $15,995 Chevy HHR —- in terms of sheet metal fits, hem flanges, the way all of the panels fit to each other —- to a Lexus GS 400, and tell me if there is any significant difference.

And, don’t forget to spend some time examining the beautiful interior. You could argue that in the past General Motors interiors were a little bit utilitarian. They were easy to keep clean, but they lacked charm, they lacked warmth, and they lacked attention to detail. Not any more. You’ll experience well-crafted interiors, great materials, knobs and switches that feel like they’re on an expensive Japanese camera, even in our inexpensive cars. That is the standard that the public expects –- it’s no longer just a question of: Does it last? Is it reliable? Does it start every morning? Those are givens. That’s the transportation part of the automobile business.

Now, words are just words. Anyone can say things like this. But if he's not just blowing smoke...if GM follows through...if the HHR is even close to the Lexus in quality, and all the vehicles are reliable and last beyond the car being paid off, well, GM's prospects could be really bright. That could make those layoffs be only a temporary measure. I sincerely hope so.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)
Repeat After Me: Demand Should Drive Supply « Car Issues »

This article, and the attitude of many of the consumers dismissing what they think the "average consumer" wants/understands, seems to assume consumers should just accept whatever GM decides to sell.

That's resulted in another planned layoff of 25,000 workers at GM.

But what about their benefits, like getting a discount on purchasing a car? Don't worry, GM's got that covered.

Whew. That makes it okay, then.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)
My Conversation With My Readers « Meme Stolen from Jeff G. » « Snarky Self-Deprecation »

Me: So. How is everyone?


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Posted by Nathan at 01:36 PM | Comments (5)
Interesting. Weird, but Interesting « Music/Guitar » « Social Issues »

Caption Contest? No prizes...

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Posted by Nathan at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)
This is a Good Thing « China/Taiwan »
China has successfully shut down more than 1,800 pornographic websites since the nationwide campaign was launched to crack down the online sex last June, sources with Chinese official online reporting center said on Friday.

The Whole Thing: You Can Read It.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Context (UPDATED) « China/Taiwan »

So I bet you've heard that the Chinese Communist government killed 20 million of its own citizens in the 50s and 60s. You might hear 30 million, the top credible report.

If you point out that it wasn't a deliberate decision of the government as much as overenthusiastic one-upmanship that resulted in three successive years of crop failures...well, you will be told that such a situation is still the fault of the Communist Government, because they were in charge and didn't fix/help the situation.

Interestingly, however, you don't hear the anti-PRC activists admitting that the government of Taiwan is then directly responsible for more than 9 million deaths on the Chinese mainland. Not to mention probably another 30 million people dying from the aftereffects of such disasters, including disease and starvation.

Even though that chart blames it on the People's Republic of China, the dates show that more than 9 million of the deaths occurred during the period that the Nationalist Party was in charge.

So as bad as the Communists have been, the 20 years under an oppressive Nationalist Party (our friends in Democracy!) were even worse.

Not to mention what the Japanese (our friends in Democracy!) did to the Chinese people in their seven years of occupation on the Mainland.

For some reason, we are not supposed to ever forget what the Communist Government did, but we aren't supposed to ever mention what Our Friends in Democracy! did only a few years before. Why is that?

That's why I have no confidence in the "Two Democracies have never gone to war against each other" theory. It depends too much on torturous definitions of "democracy" and "war". Right off the top of my head: Pakistan and India have fought, and both have had democracy (although Pakistan's is currently in suspension right now, as the military conducted a coup several years ago to prevent a Fundamentalist Islam government from taking over).

...which isn't to say I think all is sunlight and roses in China.

But the vast bulk of Chinese citizens aren't being oppressed, and seem to be pretty happy with life. Most have the freedom to get rich, and then to spend that money on whatever they want, and worship where/when they want, and criticize the government, and leave the country, and travel around the country. The level of freedom enjoyed by most Chinese people would more than satisfy 95% of the world.

Put another way: there's principle, and then there's being a dickhead. A dickhead "knows his rights" and in the United States, its resulted in things like mass murderers being set free because they bumped their head when being put in a patrol car. In China, being a dickhead would probably get you a decade of hard labor, true.

The lesson? Don't be a dickhead.

In the United States, we have the freedom to be dickheads. That sure has made rush hour in any big city a pleasant experience. Related, in a way.

No, I'm not seriously saying I think China's way is better. There are serious problems in China. They seriously need the establishment of the Rule of Law there. If some local police bigwig in China decides to overstep his authority with you, you have no recourse, and no method of redress. You could be dead before anyting can be done. That happens in the US, too, but usually something can be done before you end up dead or in jail. Usually. With a slightly lower rate of success when the IRS or FBI get involved.

I guess my point, if I even have one, is that if China were that horrible, the deaths of 1,000 to 2,000 wouldn't deter them in rising up and demanding freedom. If things were that horrible in China, you wouldn't have people wanting to return there to live. If things were that horrible in China, the military would rise up and overthrow the government.

And if things were that great here in the US, we wouldn't have Kent State, Selma, The Watts Riots, abortion (more than 30 million dead over the last 30 years), Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidian Compound...

Just consider, please. That's all. If, after considering, you still feel the same way, fine. But don't just swallow statistics that lend comfort to your prejudices, okay?

Gordon gives me some good-natured grief over here. Feel free to pile on me on this; that's what blogging's all about. [grin]

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Posted by Nathan at 07:51 PM | Comments (8)
» asiapundit links with: 'our friends' bombed pearl harbor
I Should Probably Save This For a Slow Day « Aphorisms »
It doesn't take all kinds -- we just have all kinds.

-- Unknown

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Posted by Nathan at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)
How the Mighty Fall « Stuff Important to Me »

Complaints about George Lucas and what he did with the Star Wars franchise are all over the web, including an earlier post on this site.

Well, do you think that he might have avoided the problems if he'd just watched his own movie a few extra times?

Here's some quotes from Star Wars:

So the Jedi are one of the most influential among the ruling powers of the Republic. They are betrayed and destroyed, sure...but would a mere 20-year gap have resulted in opinions like this?

Hokey religions, and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

[I]'ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field controls my destiny.

Viet Nam and Watergate have more influence after more than thirty years. Maybe he should have had the Jedi betrayed and destroyed earlier, or discredited more completely, or (best) had them been half-legend even when they existed.

And while Obi-Wan calls Anakin one of the best pilots he'd ever seen, there's no reason he had to be one of the most powerful Jedi trainees. Or that Obi-Wan had to be treated as semi-competent (as he was in Episode II and III). Not only does Obi-Wan defeat a Sith Apprentice single-handedly, Darth/Anakin himself seems to indicate Obi-Wan had always been far better than Anakin when he says:

I've been waiting for you Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete; when I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.

And do you think the former home of Anakin/Darth Vader, a place that the elected Queen of Naboo visited more than once, the best place she found to land her disabled ship, could be considered this way?

If there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that is farthest from.

The worst pit of backwardness between Washington, D.C. and New York couldn't be described that way. You'd have to find something in North Dakota or Utah. George Lucas ignored most of the legend/mythos he gave us in Star Wars to make his prequels.

I'll say it flatly: George Lucas is a shortsighted, greedy egoist.

I will revisit this topic again.

Read More "How the Mighty Fall" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:38 PM | Comments (4)
Weird Government Entitlement « China/Taiwan »

This says it all:

Wang Xiuluan, a 68-year-old farmer in central China's Henan Province, and her 70-year-old husband never expected a reward for a decision they made 30 years ago.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:14 PM | Comments (2)

June 08, 2005

Clue Me In « Snarky Self-Deprecation »

Okay, can someone give me a pretty good idea just when my blog jumped the shark?

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Posted by Nathan at 10:34 PM | Comments (8)
My Newsweek/Scrappleface Post O' the Day « Politics As Usual »

Senate Confirms Justice Brown to 2nd Highest Court in the Nation.

That's good news. But let's check out some excerpts*:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said before the vote, "We should reject all nominees who twist the law to their own ideological bent. That's why I'm initiating legislation to impeach Justiced Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer, and Stevens. Otherwise, I might just be dismissed as a hypocritical fool after making such strong and self-serving comments against George Bush's nominees."
"Just as it would be cynical and offensive that Judge Rogers Brown be vilified simply for being a black conservative, it's equally offensive and cynical to suggest that somehow she should get a pass for her outlandish views simply because she's a black woman," Obama said. "Nevertheless, we Democrats will continue to do exactly that. There's nothing more extreme or "out of the mainstream" than being against our interpretation of the US Constitution as a document whose words mean nothing unless interpreted as a right to homosexual marriage and abortion. And there's nothing worse than a black person thinking for himself or herself not echoing the Democrat Party line. Since we can't invent a bogus sexual harassment charge against a woman like we did against Clarence Thomas, vicious slurs and attacks without basis are the only techniques left to us."
Read More "My Newsweek/Scrappleface Post O' the Day" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)
Notice Me! « Social Issues »

Just remember, as you read blog posts about this:



...that I addressed/covered this issue more than a month ago.

The problem is not just that he was convicted of murder. The travesty is that he was charged at all.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
» ResurrectionSong links with: Life in Prison (Updated)

June 07, 2005

Brady Dillon is an Idiot « Humor »

Yes, I'm talking about you,

If you are going to send me a phishing email to get me to log into eBay, it would help if you could code it well enough that it doesn't have your email address in the "from" field. Even better if you don't mis-spell "sing-in" and "virtule-ebay".

What a maroon!

To my dear readers:
If you hate spammers, well, there's an address right there for you to exact some measure of revenge.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:40 PM | Comments (2)
Man With Chainsaw Allowed Into the US « Humor »

When I read this story* sent to me by a friend, all I could think of was:

I guess they must have felt that since he's a lumberjack, he's okay?

Read More "Man With Chainsaw Allowed Into the US" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)
A Fourth Choice « Politics As Usual »

I'm not happy with any of the political choices I have right now. No, not even Libertarian/libertarian/Neo-libertarian.

If I had any power/credibility, I'd start the Pragmatic Party: Whatever Works.
Of course, defining "works" would be problematic at times.

But here's an example:

I'd be okay with whatever mechanism it took to legalize marijuana, because it seems fairly obvious that most people are in favor of legalization. I'd also make sure that there would be a mechanism in place to re-criminalize if there were unexpected problems.
In fact, that would be the main plank of my party: ALL legislation and adjudication subject to a 5-year review. Legislation would get another 5 years after the review, adjutication would become semi-permanent (maybe a 2nd review after 20 years before permanence? Or: review at 5, 20, and 75 years? I'm open to debate on that.

I can understand that some good ideas must be forced on the people for their own good, like giving medicine to a child, or forcing them to try every kind of food on their plate, because sometimes they find they like something by taste they rejected merely on appearance.

I'd be okay with judicial activism, even on lefty goals, as long as a mechanism is always in place to overturn it by the will of the people. Any imposition by a small group of people should NEVER be permanent. The people should be given their chance to ratify.

For instance: If the Civil Rights Act were ruled UnConstitutional today, an amendment to the Constitution would be passed in a jiffy. But not so with Roe v. Wade. Which is why the Democrats guard it so jealously...but shouldn't the people have a right to review the issue now that we've seen the results for 30 years?

It worked with Prohibition. People aren't as stupid as politicians seem to think.

If my Party were in power, we could have saved Terry Schiavo's life without having to make the whole mess some sort of proxy for the battle between Christians and Secularists, or a fight over governmental landmarks. If it works, you do it, and it doesn't have to be considered a precedent if you don't want it to.

Whatever Works.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)
Why You Shouldn't Center Your Life Around Sex « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

Okay, this is pretty much just a message to the guys. I know it may piss off some female readers, but them's the breaks.

Over at Kausfiles, Mickey quotes this anecdote:

[Sen. John] Tower, who was a friend of my father, had attempted to sexually assault me when I was 18 and a college freshman. Embarrassed and ashamed, I had kept this story a closely guarded secret for years.

Do you think she knew the words "sexual assault" when she was 18? That sure sounds like a cognate (if I'm using the word correctly) introduced more recently. Say, in the mid-90s, when it began to be okay for a female who regretted consensual sex to claim "date rape", and to treat such accusations as a convictable offense.

However, as the bio I link mentions, he died in 1991 in a plane he can't defend himself at all. She can, so I'd like to actually explore a little bit what I think happened.

She says he "attempted sexual assault". Well, "sexual assault", if I understand correctly, is the way you describe "attempted rape". So since he only attempted a sexual assault, she is literally saying that he attempted to attempt to force sex on her. That means he didn't actually succeed in trying to force sex on her, right? Chaining that together, it is pretty clear that he made an unwelcome advance, and she said no, and he desisted. She might have had to say no 2-3 times, but by her own words, he didn't actually sexually assault her. But she couches it in terms of criminal behavior.

Senator Tower, being a Senator, had power. Our society (and biology?) has developed so that women generally exhibit attraction to a man with power, and younger women sometimes exhibit attraction to older men. As I'm fond of pointing out, one of my favorite quotes ever was this exchange between female co-workers at a restaurant:

girl 1: Is he...attractive? girl 2 (17-years-old): Atractive? He's 27!

And none of the other girls within earshot reacted, which says something.

So here's the point. Guys want sex, for the most part. It's the way we are wired. But biology is not destiny. If you concentrate on it and work at it, you can move past your more base instincts.

And it would be to your benefit to turn off your focus on sex. For multiple reasons.

First, you don't get in trouble with your SO for girl-gazing.
Second, you don't get in trouble because light flirting with another woman turns into something too serious.
Third, you don't have your body writing checks your heart can't cash (as in, how many guys are in a committed relationship because of the method recounted in this post?).
Fourth, you don't end up mis-interpreting a young girl's admiration as something sexual, and so don't end up having someone make accusations of you attempting a sexual assault.

Even though Senator Tower is dead and can't defend himself, this is the sort of accusation in which what the female feels is much more important that what actually happened. But if you try to defend yourself (or someone else) by saying so, you are castigated and shouted down for having the gall to blame the victim...even if what you are trying to do is question whether she actually is a victim at all. A staggering number of women actually do deliberately lie about these sort of things for their own advantage. An additional staggering number of women are able to convince themselves (each other?) that it did happen so that no longer is a deliberate lie.

Since, under the current societal standards, you can't actually use those last two points to defend yourself, if you find yourself in that situation, you are screwed...just not in the way you had originally hoped. It is better by far to just train yourself to not think about or care about sex outside of a marriage.

I know this is not a popular message, even among Christians these days. But the simple fact is: you will have a far happier, content, successful, and peaceful life if you follow the 10 Commandments to the best of your ability.*

Read More "Why You Shouldn't Center Your Life Around Sex" »

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Posted by Nathan at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
You Heard it Here, First « Politics As Usual »

...or maybe you didn't. Because as near as I can figure, except for about a dozen of you with nothing better to do, my traffic seems to be based on "Mentos Bird Commercial" searches. It's a niche, and I've filled it admirably. [grin]

Regardless, I'm going on record as saying that, no matter what the specifics of political acumen or achievement, there will never be a President Gingrich, simply based on the name alone. Likewise, the United States populace will also never vote in sufficient numbers to elect a "Newt" to the office of the President.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

TVs, Too « Aphorisms »
Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, and paradise is when you have none.
-- Doug Larson

...and maybe cars.

Read More "TVs, Too" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)
Proud to Not be from Washington Anymore « Politics As Usual »

Election fraud successful in Washington state.

Democrats seem to have declared war on Democracy. I'm so glad I don't have to live in Washington state anymore.

The judge seems to have said:

Yeah, the vote total is absolutely bogus. But since there's no evidence Gregoire herself stuffed ballots into a box, then there's no reason not to let her keep doing recounts until she gets the total she wants and then refuse to allow any other recounts...or any independent verification of any of the ballots "found". Even if they've been completely out of the control of election officials for more than 48 hours. Because in the US Constitution, I've found a "penumbra" that says "A tie goes to the Democrats" and I've interpreted that to mean in really important races, even a close loss should be given to the Democrats.

The sad thing is, most of the populace doesn't seem to even blink when Democrats demand (and get!) selective recounts to increase vote totals from heavily-Democrat voting districts.

This whole thing is a travesty.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:50 AM | Comments (5)
PBS Cartoons « Humor »

Okay, I understand that PBS is a liberal institution. I understand they want to "teach" kids. And I have no problem with friendship lessons, and "lying is bad", and "you feel better when you share".

But I do think they went a little far today when the lesson of Clifford the Big Red Dog today was "It's not perjury if it's only about a blowjob".

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Posted by Nathan at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)
The Specials « Stuff Important to Me »

If you've never seen The Specials (and you probably haven't even heard of it, except maybe earlier here), you need to put it onto your Netflix/Blockbuster queue.

It's a low, low budget film, which is a strange choice considering it's a movie about Superheroes. But it's the right choice, because the movie focuses on the people, and the interactions. The friend who recommended it to me said that no one ever uses their Superpowers in the movie (other than a quick sequence of each "power" at the end), but there are actually two demonstrated uses of Superpowers...if you see the movie, come back here and we'll see if you got 'em both. You'll slap your forehead on one of 'em, probably.

It makes some great comments on human nature, but that's a by-product; at least, at the point where it really tries to make a comment, it gets sappy and stupid. But when it is just trying to be funny (and the movie is funny), it shows a depth of understanding and the ability to communicate the understanding.

At one point, a guy and girl end up "getting together". I'm not saying who, because I don't want to give away any spoilers, and who they are is mostly unimportant to the point of this paragraph. The thing I found irritatingly correct is that it is absolutely up the girl. She had given no hint of liking the guy, and he wasn't at her place to make a move and probably never considered it before. But since she offers, he takes. And if the movie continued through real life, he probably would find himself in a committed relationship and then married, because she had decided. And as long as she continues to put the effort into the relationship, he'll probably stick with it. There are some variations for infidelity, and much of that depends on how much the woman decides to maintain her end, how much she establishes and enforces the guidelines against cheating...and if the guy is just plain a selfish jerk or not. Anyway, I'm not sure the director and characters really put that much into that situation; whether they did or didn't, I got that much out of it...inadvertant insight being the best part of Hollywood.

Anyway, go see the movie. It's awesome.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

Freddie Mitchell Playing for the Chiefs? « Kansas City Chiefs »

I first heard this from another KC Chiefs fan, and pretty much discounted it immediately based on Mitchell's character problems.

But it appears I may have dismissed him too easily. Check out this report.

There's a few interesting aspects to this report.

First, KC is actually considering it. They aren't considering Koren Robinson, and the cited reason is his off-field attitude.

But Eddie Kennison also had a history of attitude and character problems, and Vermeil still gave him one last chance to continue his NFL career, right? And except for one controversy before a game with Denver, Kennison has done a good job of not being a problem or distraction, and has outright won several games for us. Lionel Dalton was also on his last chance, and responded well last year.

So maybe Mitchell has some decent character aspects that might make Vermeil willing to let him try; that make Vermeil believe Mitchell could blossom under the current KC system.

There is another reason Mitchell could be quite good for KC.

Carl Peterson doesn't like to just fix a hole short-term without also thinking of the long-term. Mitchell is young (just 26) and was scheduled to only make the league minimum before he was cut. He's just been cut by a team unwilling to pay even that little, so he's already facing what might be his last chance to revive a career on the rocks. KC should be able to sign Mitchell to an incentive-laden contract that will keep him in KC at a reasonable price for years as long as he keeps producing. With the youth of Parker, Boerigter, Horn, Thorpe, McIntyre, Booth, Curry (most of whom will not progress to starting caliber, but some of whom will), KC could be quite well set at WR for some time to come.

Two things have to happen for that, obviously. Mitchell has to sign with KC, and he has to produce at or near the level expected of a 1st-round pick while keeping his nose clean off the field and in the locker room.

One last interesting point (and this might be the most important point), have you noticed how many players are eager to come play for Vermeil and KC?

Willie Roaf, John Welbourn, and Patrick Surtain are all at least solid players who refused to play for their old teams anymore. KC got them all on trades, and how often do you see trades in the NFL anymore? Not often.

We aren't really told how much they wanted to play for KC, but I think it is significant that KC was the recipient of an excellent deal for three solid-to-excellent players. Look what Denver gave up to get Champ Bailey...and what Washington gave up. KC only gave up a 3rd round pick for Roaf, a 2nd round for Surtain, and a 3rd for Welbourn. Those are steals by any measure. And it had to come at least partially from the mutual realization that these players were willing to perform for KC but not for their own teams, and that likelihood that they would play for KC made it clear that KC could give the highest compensation to the original team for them. I know I'm not stating it clearly; I apologize. Let me put it this way: No other team was able to reach an agreement with both the player and the team to be able to get a pro-bowler for a 3rd round pick, another for a 2nd round pick, and a third solid back-up for a 3rd round. That says something about how much players want to play for Vermeil and Peterson.

That might be a gutsy conclusion for me to make, and some might say it is inaccurate...

...except that the first place Freddie Mitchell visits is KC. KC is the one team that gives Jason White (Heisman winning player) a chance to try and kick-start his NFL career (and succeeds in turning it into a contract/opportunity with the Titans). KC sends more players to NFL-Europe than any other team.

Maybe that doesn't mean much, either. But I do think the players notice that KC gives players every chance to prove themselves.

And LJ Shelton is persisting in trying to get the Chiefs to look at him. Yeah, I saved the best for last. Have you ever heard of a player trying so hard just to get on a specific team?!? I can't remember any. There are other teams with more questions along their O-line who might jump at an aging-but-experienced LT who might have a season left. KC has one of the strongest lines in the NFL, and has had one for years...why would someone push so hard just to get on one specific team? Especially since Carl Peterson is known as a stingy skinflint for player contracts.

I mean, you don't see players lining up to play for the other AFC West teams, do you? Heck, I haven't seen players lobbying for chances to try out for even the Patriots (although they will sometimes take smaller paychecks to play for a proven winner).

Food for thought.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:39 PM | Comments (3)
All Too True « Aphorisms »
I'm prepared for all emergencies but totally unprepared for everyday life.
-- Unknown

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Posted by Nathan at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2005

It's 3:00 PM Local Time « Blogging »

You know what that means, don't you?

80% of my hits for the rest of the day will be for variations of "Mentos Bird Commercial". I get in excess of 100 hits a day from that little phrase.

Go, me.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:54 PM | Comments (2)
Some Good Points « Link O' Admiration »

I have to admit, I generally don't like Phillip Carter. He's my ideological opposite in many ways, despite being a former Army officer (which shouldn't surprise me, I guess, but it does).

I kept wanting to pick holes in his arguments in a piece he co-wrote over on Slate. But although I disagree with many of his assumptions and arguments in the beginning part of the piece*.

But then when he actually starts making recommendations on how to fix things, I can't help but agree nearly 100%. We could retain more quality soldiers if we improved Basic Training, to include more effort preparing people for basic training. I know I wasn't borderline or anything, but even though I was practicing doing push-ups, I wasn't practicing correctly, and I would have benefited greatly from a mandatory exercise program while I was on the Delayed Entry Program. It would probably reduce exercise-related injuries, as well. I have several friends who at least wouldn't mind joining the military but know they are too far out of shape to meet even initial standards without help.

And Mr. Carter also argues that the Reserve system needs to be changed, and even makes a suggestion of how to do so. I find both of these to be spot on. Go read the article for yourself. If you are interested in military matters, you won't be disappointed.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)
Maturity « Stuff Important to Me »

One of the coolest things about age is you get wiser and more mature. At least, I have.

Like the other day when I was absolutely nothing. And so, without bottling it in, I managed to avoid blowing up at anyone, went home and did some things that help me recover emotionally, and the foul mood...dissipated. Without harming anyone.

You do have a choice about expressing your anger. It was about 4 years ago that I realized I didn't have to have road rage, and that yelling and pounding my fist actually made me angrier...that there was a split second that I felt a flash of anger that I could give in to it and express it, or let it pass. Note: this is different than the anger/rage I felt a few days ago; a slow, burning anger is different than a momentary flash, and requires different techniques, which I have just learned. To the benefit of not only me, but everyone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really an angry person. I don't fly into rages very often even at the worst of times. But I've reached a new level of calm and outward peace, I think.

The other development (that prompted this post), came this morning.
I've realized that I'm a little more...exuberant than the normal person even in normal times. But now I'm newly-free of a horrible, demoralizing, discouraging relationship that I describe as an emotional wasteland, and I'm newly-transferred out of the worst job I've ever had in my life (yes, worse than McDonald's fry cook) into perhaps the best. It's not that the jobs are objectively good or bad, it's just that my last assignment didn't fit me at all, and conflicts with my boss as to what an officer should be and do. And this one plays to my strengths.

So I have reason to be cheerful and optimistic about life.

But yesterday afternoon was a pretty bad day, quite stressful. We got a last-minute tasking and I ended up staying an extra hour doing thankless work, most of which got cut at the last minute, anyway. Leaving late put me square in the worst of rush hour, and I nearly showed up late to pick up my son. I still don't know what I'm going to do with my son while I'm at work next week (he's out of school and summer camp doesn't start until the Monday after next). The problems just continued right up to this morning, and I showed up late today, and can't find some important paperwork.

And yet, as I walked in to work, I put a grin on my face and a spring in my step. And I realized: I may have good reasons to be in a good mood, but I could still choose to be in a bad mood based on the last 24 hours...and many people do. not. And coming in hard on the heels of that thought was the notion that even when I don't have reasons to be happy, content, at peace, or in a good mood, I can still choose to be in a good mood. Sure, I've known that already...but it's like I just discovered a little button in my psyche/heart and pushed it, and found that it gave me conscious choice over my mood. I'm going to use it, and I'm going to use it to keep my mood positive, so that I can have a positive effect on those around me.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:18 PM | Comments (2)

June 02, 2005

Ecosystem Issues « Snarky Self-Deprecation »

Okay, since I complained that I had dropped out of Large Mammal status for a few days, so it's only fair to acknowledge that the efforts of some of you have gotten my blog moved back up to into the Large Mammal group.


...but what's the deal with "Large" Mammal, huh? Are you saying this blog makes me look fat?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:53 AM | Comments (6)
Preliminary Roster Guesses, 2005 « Kansas City Chiefs »

Every year I try to guess what the final roster is going to look like. I usually have many of the back-ups wrong, and occasionally someone I think is going to start ends up being cut. But I like to make my guesses, anyway. This year is no different, just a little earlier than normal. The backhands to the Denver Broncos are my gift to you, gratis.

But we've got to have somewhere to start. here's the current (training camp) roster for the Chiefs. There are 97 players on that list. Not counting what the Chiefs might pick up after 1 June (probably no one, unless a great DT is available for a cheap price--not likely!), that's 44 players that need to be cut, with 5 of the cut players going on the practice squad. The practice squad is still just 5 players, right?

After doing a few of these, I've found the biggest problem is actually figuring out how many they are going to keep at each position. Every team is different, and sometimes every season is different for each team. KC had so many injuries last season in both WRs and LBs, they really weren't sure what to do. They ended up keeping more LBs on the final roster so as not to cut any that could become healthy, and went into the season with only 5 WRs on the roster, and only 3 healthy and active for the first game. To tell the truth, that pretty much caused the first loss to the Broncos, and sent them into a tailspin they didn't recover from until deep into the season. I hope they don't make that mistake again...but I can't truly call it a mistake, because it was a tough situation to begin with. So I guess I hope they don't have any injury problems that make such choices necessary.

Here, then, are the totals I'm assuming for each position:

K/P/KR 4
QB 3
RB 2
FB 2
TE 3
WR 6
OL 9
DE 4
DT 4
LB 7
S 4
CB 5

total 53

Please note: if I'm off on any of these assumptions right here, it throws off many predictions of who makes the team. But, "He who dares big, wins big", right? All listings are in order, starter to 3rd string, so that's an additional way I can screw up. Woot!

K/P/KR (4): This requires the most explanation, so it comes first. These are the kicking team specialists. Kicker will probably Lawrence Tynes. His kick-offs were good, he missed one important FG, but made at least two others, one a not-easy game-winner (if I remember correctly), so I think he makes the team. Dustin Colquitt makes the team as the punter. Dante Hall makes the team as the PR/KR (obviously), but I think he won't be used much as a WR, so I won't count him as one, even though his talent means he may play up to 10 snaps a game at WR. I left the abbreviation off for long snapper, but Kendall Gammon really isn't NFL-caliber as a TE, but his consistency makes him too valuable to forego.

QB (3): Trent Green, Todd Collins, Damon Huard. No surprises there. Todd Collins always looks decent in the preseason, and does fine in clean-up roles...but Green's durability and Collins' struggles in his first few years as KC's #3 mean that KC isn't 100% sure he can win me, that's why Vermeil insists on a veteran QB for his 3rd String. Casey Clausen was the undrafted rookie last year in camp, was on the practice squad last year, and this year was delagated to NFL-E...but he hasn't exactly been tearing it up there, so it's likely that James Kilian edges him for playing time in training camp and for the practice squad slot. It's just barely possible that Kilian beats out Huard for the 3rd string...but I wouldn't bet on it.

RB (2): Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson. I realize its a gutsy call...but KC carried 3 RBs last year only because they couldn't cut Larry Johnson but weren't sure of him. Now they are. RB is one of the easiest positions for someone to come in off the street and pick up in a short amount of time, so if Priest goes down, they can sign one of the better guys who came to camp, or off their practice squad. Or someone else's practice squad, for that matter. The tough part about this is that it leaves out Dee Brown, who has already been in the league a couple years, and Jonathan Smith, a talented youngster who nearly made the team last year. The 2nd FB last year, Omar Easy, was really more of a 4th RB because he never got that good at lead blocking. Again, another roster mistake I don't think KC will make this year. I'm already talking about FBs because these two positions do blend together, particularly with the players KC has this year. So right on to...

FB (2): Tony Richardson, Robert Holcombe. Both these guys are good blockers (Richardson a Pro-Bowler due to crushing lead blocks), but both can also carry the ball well...both have opened at least one season as the featured back. That flexibility gives KC the chance to go a little thin on the RB position to make room for other positions with deeper talent and more need. Like...

WR (6): Eddie Kennison, Samie Parker, Mark Boerigter, Chris Horn, Richard Smith, Craphonso Thorpe. There's really too much talent here to cut anyone else out. Eddie Kennison had a career-best year. Samie Parker came on strong at the end of last year and by all accounts just picked up where he left off and be a solid starter. Mark Boerigter was looking like a top starter last preseason before he went down with an injury, and I expect him to be fully rehabilitated and take up where he left off; to whit, he's tall and fast and showed excellent hands last preseason. Chris Horn played at a tiny college and shouldn't even be playing at this level; but last year he made a highlight-reel-worthy play at least once each game he suited up--his heart is big enough to make it impossible to cut him and I think he's earned the #4 spot. Richard Smith kicked butt in preseason, but wasn't quite ready for regular season duty. But he's improved this year, and looks ready now. Craphonso Thorpe will have had two full offseasons to recover from his broken leg--by all accounts he is just as fast as before the injury; his sub-par production as a senior scared off many teams, but the scouting reports I've seen seemed to think that was more due to sub-par QB play than Thorpe's ability. We'll see. This leaves off Johnny Morton if he takes a pay cut...he was one of the league leaders last season in moving the chains on 3rd down. It also leaves off Nathaniel Curry, who by all accounts is looking as good as Richard Smith did last year, and leaves off John Booth is having a good year in NFL-E. One or both will probably be on the practice squad.

TE (3): Tony Gonzales (naturally), Kris Wilson, Jason Dunn. The ability of TG may mean KC only carries 5 WRs, I don't know. But the lower string WRs may make the team on special teams ability. Kris Wilson is actually nearly a double of TG: a TE fast enough to outrun LBs, big enough to out-muscle safeties, good hands, and more-than-adequate blocking ability. He won't ever put up TG numbers because he doesn't have TGs All-Pro talent, athleticism, and leaping ability. But he's good enough to make teams pay if they continue to double- and triple TG too much. Jason Dunn has made teams pay somewhat, because he can catch...but his knees aren't good enough to be a full-time pass-catching TE. Still, having these three in at the same time will give Defensive Coordinators nightmares, because they block as well as you'd expect of a three-TE formation, but they can all catch well-enough to consider it a 3-WR formation at the same time. It will be tough to defend. The loss of Kris Wilson in the preseason last year also had a great deal to do with KC's early season tailspin. I don't think there's any way KC carries 4 TEs. I don't remember another NFL team doing so, and so the other 3-4 guys on the roster (all undrafted rookies from minor colleges) are probably just on the roster for training camp practices, although one may make the practice squad for the day when Jason Dunn's knees can't go any more.

OL (9): Willie Roaf, Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann, Will Shields, Jordon Black, Kevin Sampson, Brett Williams, Chris Bober, John Welbourn. The high number is due both to talent and the age of Roaf and Shields. Kevin Sampson was a surprise last year; drafted to be a project, he nearly challenged for playing time at T. Brett Williams hasn't yet developed into the starting T they hoped he might be, but he's an adequate guard. Bober can play any position on the line except maybe LT, but may be best at C. John Welbourn didn't cut it at RT (although perhaps his knee wasn't fully recovered, I've heard), but is an excellent 2nd string RG or RT. That still leaves out Will Parquet a drafted T, Will Svitek, another drafted T who was called the "Sleeper of the Draft" by some scouts, and Jonathan Ingram, who apparently was ahead of Bober to back up at C. Any or all of those last 3 could be on the practice squad or win a full roster spot...I really don't know enough about OL to know, and haven't heard much.

DE (4): Eric Hicks, Jared Allen, Carlos Hall, Jimmy Wilkerson. The only one I'm not sure of Jimmy Wilkerson. He wasn't playing as well as hoped last year. But Khari Long was drafted too low to be a shoo-in. There's also Montique Sharpe who showed some ability at times last year and NFL-E. There are a few other DEs coming to camp...I think the 4th spot is wide open.

DT (4): Ryan Sims, Lionel Dalton, Junior Siavii, John Browning. Lionel Dalton showed he's still got ability, and was probably the best DT last year. John Browning can play all 4 positions on the DL, and makes the team because of that, but is really little more than stop-gap at any one of the positions. Junior Siavii was coming along well last year before being sidelined by injury from an illegal cheap shot*. Ryan Sims has been adequate..which is a synonym for "mediocre", not what you expect from a 1st-round pick. This year is his final chance, probably, so he has some motivation to finally step up. If not, he may be gone by mid-season. The 4th spot isn't up for grabs, but since this is probably the weakest position on the whole team, a talented veteran cut before the season or a rookie that shows something in training camp could steal the #4 spot.

Some of my information came from this report on the competition for starting spots in KC's back 7:
LB (7): Kendrell Bell (OLB), Kawika Mitchell (MLB), Derrick Johnson (OLB); Keyaron Fox (OLB), Boomer Grigsby (MLB), Gary Stills (OLB), Rich Scanlon (MLB). A weakness last year, this unit has become a strength. Mike Maslowski was the field general two years ago. He called the plays and put people in the right position and had the fire. When he was in, KC led the league in takeaways and won several games for the Chiefs in leading them to a 9-0 record. Then he hurt his knee, the defense fell apart and they went 4-4, losing a home playoff game when the defense couldn't get a single stop against the Colts. They were no better last year as Kawika Mitchell wasn't up to starting at MLB yet. Now Mitchell is playing like a starter, Boomer Grigsby has the right attitude and leadership skills (and makes the team for special teams attitude alone), Rich Scanlon is tearing up the NFL-E at MLB...and Maslowski might be healthy enough to play a full season. What do you do? Cunningham likes fast LBs, and Maz is slow...but his knowledge and instincts mean he usually makes the play, anyway. He blows up screen plays with open field tackles. He never played against Barry Sanders, but had he done so, he might have been the unjuke-able defender. Denver never had any naked bootleg success against Maz. I think Maz doesn't make the team, though. You can't depend on someone whose body could give out at any time, and you don't take away a roster spot from one of the above guys for someone you can't know will last the season. Maybe Maz takes the 3rd spot and Mitchell doesn't make the team because despite his strength and ability, he lacks the passion to be the field general Cunningham needs. It also is shocking to me that Shawn Barber and Scott Fujita might not make the team, but they are injured and I don't see any room for them. We should not forget, as well, that Barber and Fujita and Mitchell were all Greg Robinson's choices...Fujita struggled under Cunningham last year, and they both missed tackles and whiffed on plays, contributing directly to the poor defense performances. Gary Stills makes the team because he is a special teams pro-bowl player, and can always play as a pass-rushing DE, even if he doesn't play LB as well as someone who doesn't make the team. I just don't think you ever cut pro-bowl players if they still have ability, and Stills does, uh, still.

S (4): Sammy Knight, Greg Wesley, Jerome Woods, William Bartee. Painful cuts here. We had some good play from some young guys last year. Shaunard Harts forced some turnovers two years ago, and improved last year...but may not make the team. Willie Pile might not have the ability to be in position to make a play as often as Jerome Woods...but when he was in position, he never whiffed. Scott Connot was an undrafted RFA last year who actually made it on the field a few times as Cunningham got desparate...and like Pile, he didn't blow it when he was in position. When tackling is your problem (and it has been for 2+ years), you really shouldn't cut sure tacklers like Pile and Connot. One of the two, or Harts, may make the team if Woods age and old injury have taken their toll...but bringing in Knight appears to have lit a fire under both Wesley and Woods, and I think they both will look excellent. Bartee never made it as a CB...mainly because he never stopped playing like a safety. He did a great job whenever he was asked to cover the receiver out of the slot, because he didn't have to turn his back to the QB. He is a sure tackler and can lay a mean hit...well, he was a Safety that the Chiefs wanted to turn into a CB. But he retains CB speed, and learned to cover adequately, if never consistently enough to be a starting corner. So I have to give him a roster spot based on his ability to be a tweener: a safety that can cover like a CB in running situations, or a nickel back that can lay a punishing hit on a slot receiver in a passing situation.

CB (5): Patrick Surtain, Eric Warfield, Dexter McCleon, Benny Sapp, Alphonso Hodge. The only reach in this bunch might be Dexter McCleon, because he struggled so badly last year at times. Surtain and Warfield are locks. Sapp came in as an undrafted rookie and earned playing time, and didn't disappoint. He is a rising talent who has a good chance of winning the nickel back spot, although his height may prevent him from rising higher on the depth chart, and may prompt Bartee playing nickel in some situations (as I mentioned). The scouting report on Hodge makes him sound like Deion Sanders (lock-down corner who shies from contact), although without the INTs...and the OTC report referenced above makes it sound like he's fulfilling that description. If the coaches have lost confidence in McCleon (who is also short, and a holdover from Robinson), Justin Perkins may grab the last spot based on his reportedly excellent showing in the OTAs. Julian Battle is probably out, I can't see KC keeping him over these other talents and prospects. That probably pleases hardcore Denver fans to no end.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:31 AM | Comments (2)

June 01, 2005

Meme Idea: Call For Responses « Media Distortions »

So here's what I'm thinking:

All next week, starting Monday and continuing through Friday, I'm going to write posts based on the recent demonstration of stringent mainstream media standards.

Meaning, every single post will have a single anonymous source, may perhaps be fake but will still accurately portray an underlying "truth" (without actually describing the assumptions necessary to accept such "truth"), and/or if it might be true, you have to accept my word for it unless you can prove beyond all possible doubt that it isn't true.

So: what do you think? Is 5 days too much? Is one day too much? Is the whole idea stupid? Do you think you want to steal the idea before I have a chance to do it?

Let me know.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:23 PM | Comments (3)
First Thing We Do Is Kill All the Bureaucrats! « Aphorisms »
The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy.
-- Unknown


I can't stand this proliferation of paperwork. It's useless to fight the forms. You've got to kill the people producing them.
--Vladimir Kabaidze, General Director of the Ivanovo Machine Building Works, Moscow, to the Communist Party Congress, 1985

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Posted by Nathan at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)
Liberal Democrats to a "T" « Politics As Usual »

I've been thinking about writing a post on Liberal Democrats emphasis on poverty in the Bible.

I was going to highlight this verse:

"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

Turns out, the previous verses are even better:

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Let's look at that last line again:

He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Yep, that describes most Democrat politicians just about perfectly.

Many thanks to James Taranto in today's Best of the Web.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)
Welease...."Woodolph the Wed-Nosed Weindeew! « Link O' Admiration »

Check this out to see what I'm talking about.


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Posted by Nathan at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
Controlling Speech on the Internet « Stuff Important to Me »

I got this in my email today, from Reid Fox of the Center for Individual Freedom (apparently a non-anti-Christian alternative to the liberal lapdog ACLU):

This Friday is the deadline for submitting comments about the Federal Election Commission’s draft rules for regulating political communications on the Internet.

As a long-time leader in the fight against increased government regulation of free speech, the Center for Individual Freedom will file comments criticizing the FEC’s proposed rules.

I thought you would be interested in a preview of the Center’s position.

Generally, despite what’s been reported in the MSM, these rules pose serious concerns for bloggers and others who use the Internet to publish news or their own comments on political matters.

The Internet is one of the last few arenas for pure, unregulated, unfiltered speech. It is as close as we can come in our modern society and culture to pronouncing our views from a soapbox on a street corner. These rules represent the government’s first foray into regulating online content. And once the government begins to regulate something, it is certain that the regulation will only become more aggressive, wide-reaching and restrictive over time. Even if you accept the FEC’s assertion that the proposed rules will not interfere with bloggers or other Internet content providers (which we do not), there is no guarantee that the FEC or court will not use these rules in the future as a precedent or jumping off point for a much broader regulatory regime in the future. Indeed, based on past experiences, it’s almost certain that someone will do just that.

In addition, with these rules, the FEC is trying to regulate a medium that by its very nature is beyond regulation. The Internet is constantly evolving. Who could have foreseen five years ago that RSS feeds, Moveable Type and other technologies would transform Americans’ ability to announce their views publicly. No one can imagine what the next generation of speech might look like. The FEC’s attempt to regulate the Internet can only end in a patchwork of rules sure to applied haphazardly and unfairly. Some web-publishers will be subject to the rules. Others won’t. But, come election time, everyone will need a lawyer to figure out what they can say and when they can say it.

Most importantly, the FEC’s rules make an even bigger hash of the so-called media exemption. (The exemption provides that media publishers won’t be subject to the speech, content and disclosure regulations in the current campaign finance laws and regulations.) Sure, the FEC concedes that such mainstream web-publication as Slate and Salon will now receive the media exemption. But that conclusion is about five years behind the times. Countless other websites, many with a “staff� of one, are reporting and publishing news and opinion via the web. It’s time for the FEC to recognize this fact and extend the media exemption to a much wider universe of publishers, including bloggers and other web-based media.

The Center’s submission will also address some of the countless other specific problems in the proposed rules.

At this stage, however, we believe it is critical that bloggers and other web publishers begin to once again raise awareness of the proposed rules and make their own voices heard.

If you’d like, please feel free to post or reproduce all or part of this message.

If you’d like to submit your own comments on the proposed rules to the FEC, you can e-mail them to All comments must be submitted by June 3. One important note: comments to the FEC will only be considered if they include the full name and full address of the person submitting the comments.

Here's the thing. I tend to defend China on many of the charges made against that nation. China is no longer a Communist nation (although still run by a nominally Communist Party, to be sure). But one thing I absolutely castigate China for: not allowing free speech, to the point of controlling and censoring the internet.

Bottom Line (and you can quote me):
I'd really hate for us to be as bad as China on an issue of freedom.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)
» ResurrectionSong links with: You and the FEC
More Pics of Hawaiian Beauty « Stuff Important to Me »

Below the fold.

Indubitably work- and even girlfriend-safe.

Pics are pop-ups: click to see larger size. Guys, feel free to make them your desktop background!

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Posted by Nathan at 09:51 AM | Comments (1)