I won't do much commentary on the project just yet. Right now, I'm just familiarizing myself with the background of the very complex matters in the region. Just trying not to make the same mistakes.
The links provided are just some of the reading material I've come across; I urge those interested to read them and to do your own homework as well. And feel free to give me informational links in the comments or send them to me in email or Twitter.
PREVIOUS:The Kenya Project
Please help keep this project going.
UPDATE (9/27/2013): Eight donations for $275 so far, and I'm grateful for that. Please let your friends know about this campaign.
UPDATE (9/25/2013): Excerpt from Arlen's Harem. Language alert.
Can we consider this a bleg? I think we can. What do I need? I’d like fans to help me be able to finish my second novel, tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem.
At the top of the left sidebar, you can see the Go Fund Me image which has an embedded link. The widget doesn’t fit there and it is uneditable but, of course, it will fit here.
What I’m trying to do:
My latest project is a novel
entitled Arlen’s Harem. Its main protagonists are Arlen Tortelli, Cordelia
Okoto and Deanna Desmond. The three are friends and are refugees from
When Arlen’s ex-wife Monica continues to needle him after leaving him for another man, he, Cordelia and Deanna devise a plot to get back at her.
The story is set in Los Angeles and Fullerton.
Arlen’s Harem is my second book. My first is Tale of the Tigers: Love is not a Game. Like Tale of the Tigers, Arlen’s Harem will be a self-published effort in both ebook and paperback formats.
I have six chapters of Arlen’s Harem finished, and plan on having at least fifteen chapters.
I have one person working for me: a graphic artist and maintainer of my book site. [Right now, he’s working for free.]
And, at the link, there’s an itemized list of the things I need to finish this project.
Some immediate needs:
As soon as I get enough additional donations to take care of the two websites and the phone, I will post an excerpt of Arlen’s Harem here and link to it on the Go Fund Me page.
If Adam Carolla can crowdfund a movie, why can’t I do the same for a book? Right? And did I mention that it will be my second book?
And, okay, okay! I have already started blogging regularly again. :)
Horrible horrible horrible news.
With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart.
Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.
We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.
Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.
Say a prayer for Mr. Breitbart's wife and four children. Undoubtedly, they are in terrible pain and grief. We can only hope that in the midst of their mourning they can find some solace in the bosom of their faith and their extended family.
I first read the news over at The Conservatory. After my initial shock--Wait? What? Only 43 years old? How?--I started to look around and see what his friends and allies had to say.
He may have been the greatest genius I’ve ever met, with a keen, intuitive mind. Although he had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder — he had a freewheeling quality about him, and his schedule was quite improvisational – Breitbart was also capable of a laser-like focus on whatever subject captured his interest. There were times you’d be talking to him and, if that spark of passionate interest hit, his luminous blue eyes would glow with an intensity that was almost frightening.
You can read elsewhere all about Andrew's remarkable impact on public communications in this country, helping found Huffington Post and the Drudge Report and then his own developing online empire of Big sites. He was often controversial because his opponents often couldn't answer his stories online, so they went after the messenger.
Andrew loved it. He was one of the few people you encounter in life who bite at every experience, good and bad. Where does that energy come from? You'd get a late-night call with Andrew excitedly talking up a whole package he was about to post. Might as well listen because you weren't going to get a word in.
In person he'd get so excited in an argument that he'd be shouting inches away. You'd raise a hand as if 'OK, Andrew, I'm right here.' He'd laugh at himself and lower the volume. Andrew couldn't stand hypocrisy and lying and hiding.
He also couldn't stand passivity. Friends would describe some awful thing happening and instead of a hug he'd shake them out of wallowing with, "So?" And you'd stop and think, 'Yeh, right. So what am I going to do about it to take control back?'
He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world - knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.
Few people are indispensable to a cause, but Andrew Breitbart was. There is no one else like him around. A good number of commentators have been saying that we should honor him by carrying on his fight using the methods he developed, and they are correct: we must not let his life’s work be in vain because his life’s work was to defeat the malignant forces of the Left and see America restored to the ways of The Founders. However, we have some mighty big shoes to fill, so it will not be easy.
At this crucial juncture in our history, we have been deprived of one of best generals. The long slog just got tougher.
He was an unapologetic conservative, but one who defied the media's template; pro-civil rights, pro-drug legalization, pro-gay rights, to the point of boycotting CPAC when it barred the gay conservative group GOProud. Other than his mainstream pro-life views (he was, after all, adopted) you would be hard pressed to characterize him as a right winger on social issues...
Plenty will be written about Andrew Breitbart in the next few days, some flattering, some not. As for me, I will drink two beers in his honor tonight, and remember him the way he was last December in Venice - a big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball surrounded by his family, basking in the coolness of it all.
What was truly charismatic about Breitbart was his never-ending enthusiasm and energy. He spoke fast because he thought fast. He changed topics quickly because he had six or seven plans in mind at any one time.
He actually did things. He was instinctual. Athletes cannot afford the deliberation of thought. They move by instinct and training and muscle memory. They act.
Why did Breitbart sign a lease for a pricey townhouse in DC? Because, he said, "it feels mischievous." It felt mischievous to establish an Embassy of citizen empowerment in the capital of statist overreach.
He had ten plans a month. He accomplished five of them a month. He acted.
He took over the Weiner press conference because it felt like something he ought to do.
He was brazen. He was bold. The right had no more enthusiastic champion and the left had no more implacable foe.
...I was privileged to sit a mere five rows back from Andrew when he addressed the delegates at Presidency 5 this September. He was mesmerizing from the moment he gamboled out to the podium. What a treat that was and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world in normal circumstances. Who could ever have imagined this day six months later, when dealing with a force of nature like Breitbart?
I can’t. I still can’t.
Like the conspiratorial "dog whistle" of our statist adversaries' nightmares, Breitbart's passing was a call-to-arms for the freedom fighters to ratchet up our defense of the Shining City.
What Andrew understood and embraced as a conservative media activist was that, when his name was in the headlines, it was because he was battling for what he most believed in. He also knew that his enemies, the headline writers in many ways, were engaged - and he was fighting. Andrew, like so many of us, lived for that fight. He understood how necessary it was for the right to engage it.
It's significant that Andrew picked his battlefields as a brave and fearless man. When you are fighting what many conservatives believe to be a biased media in their headlines, you are fighting them on their turf, not retreating, surrendering, or simply musing off in your own little protected, right-leaning corner of the media world.
Andrew Breitbart gave his opponents every advantage by engaging them as he did. And he often beat them.
Read the rest of every one of those pieces. You'll become angry, you'll get sad, you'll laugh and be inspired all at once.
Beyond the shock of Andrew Breitbart's passing, one of the most overwhelming things I take away is the flattening finality of it. I was a fan of his 'Big' websites. "Righteous Indignation" is one of the best political memoirs of the 21st century. His twitter-feed was a long hilarious practical joke on the American socialist movement. Breitbart was like a rolling partisan kegger where the Right could rock out and the Left could buzz off. It seemed like nothing could stop him or his merry-making ways.
Maybe its the suddenness of it that makes this so tough to take. Breitbart wasn't supposed to go this way. He was supposed to be our gleeful prankster for decades to come. The roastmaster general wasn't supposed to be taken seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Breitbart's time in the spotlight might've been tragically cut short but it was certainly not poorly spent. In a way, his career trajectory is reminiscent of a Hall of Fame baseball star. The Major Leagues typically elect two kinds of players into their most hallowed pantheon. The first type is the guy who play for many years. He may not be an overwhelming presence in the sport, but he does well enough and last long enough to have fairly large statistics by the time he retires. The second type is the man who doesn't play for very long, but makes up for it by his sheer overwhelming dominance. Andrew Breitbart has become the Right's supernova, their short-lived hot-burning star.
Gaze in wonder at the innumerable enemies that Breitbart cultivated over the years. In life, they couldn't stop giving him ammunition. In death, he has given the Left a glorious opportunity to beclown themselves. Breitbart probably would've had a great laugh over the irony.
For every liberal who commented on Breitbart's passing with dignity, there were many many more who took the low road. Matt Taibbi, Matt Yglesias and a vast horde of internet lefties all happily danced on Breitbart's casket. While it's hard to read so much bile, the hate on the progressive side is a reminder that their constant calls for ratcheting down political rhetoric is just a cheap ploy to censor their ideological foes on the Right.
The fact that Andrew Breitbart made such strident classless enemies is amazing. What is even more astounding is how Breitbart used the hate thrown at him as fuel for his fights. Many people will tell you that they enjoy being targeted by the Progressive Church of Latter-Day Stalinists. Often, that brave sentiment will melt in the face of a full-frontal assault from liberal media. Not since William F. Buckley have we seen a man who not only sought out spectacular clashes with the Left, but who did it with such joy. All he did was laugh at the multitudes of angry liberals and their constant raaaaacist!/sexist!/homophobe! bleats, then turn the hate back on them.
Which is what we on the Right should always do. For too long, many conservatives played the media's game by their rules. This meant a lot of mewling when a liberal accused them of bigotry or greed or some other doubleplusungood thoughtcrime. Breitbart thought that kind of defensiveness was absurd and would always lead to defeat. Instead, he realized that conservatives had to take back the culture before the Right would ever achieve lasting political victories.
That is the greatest lesson we can learn from Andrew Breitbart's boisterous inspiring life. Breitbart was a warrior in the best sense of the term. His patriotic fervor and unabashed love of the great American experiment was something to behold. The best way we can honor his memory is to remain focused on changing our culture back to one that respects individual liberty in general and the values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in particular. It was his life's work and it should be ours as well.
RIP Andrew Breitbart.
Gone far too soon.
Ever wonder why there doesn't seem to be a lot of genuine stars in pop culture anymore?
Well, John Nolte comes up with a pretty sharp zinger of an explanation.
Any actor who chooses to make something — anything, including their sexuality – a part of their identity, limits how the public will perceive them up on the screen. This is true for straight actors as well, especially those who have made their sexuality a big part of who they are. Beneath all that Barbie doll there might be a genuine actress, but Pam Anderson’s very public sex kitten persona limits her roles. And just to be fair and non-partisan… In his later years, it simply wouldn’t have been possible for Charlton Heston to play an anti-gun ACLU type without harming the audience’s ability to suspend their disbelief. The whole idea would’ve come off as some kind of in-joke, and if that joke wasn’t meant to be part of the overall story you have something of a disaster on your hands.
Read the whole thing. Nolte takes a few whiney gay actors down a peg or two in his piece. Heads up, Richard Chamberlain. "The Thorn Birds" really wasn't all that great.
Nolte touches on something very basic, but something that a lot of entertainers forget nowadays. It's the mystery that keeps people interested in media personalities long after the person has reached their creative zenith. Nothing sustains a career in pop culture more than some strategic obfuscation to keep the audience guessing.
For instance, the private lives of the members of Led Zeppelin were anything but common knowledge back in the 70's. Beyond the fact that three members were married and that they all lived in England, the public didn't have much access to Zep. The band consciously cultivated a nearly impenetrable mystique, which kept people wondering about them. This aura of mystery--along with the undeniable songwriting talent--helped to make Led Zeppelin a massively successful band.
Consider this little nugget about Zep: In 1975 the band released Physical Graffiti, their sixth studio album. Members of the band gave very few interviews to support the release of their album. There were no cameras following Jimmy Page around to document his every move. Robert Plant didn't discuss his political affiliation or his partisan ideology. John Paul Jones and John Bonham were likely to jokingly sneer or angrily snarl at any reporter who asked them who they voted for in the last election. The group didn't mention the causes or charities they support. Led Zeppelin simply let the music speak for themselves.
The results? Physical Grafitti immediately became a massive seller. Not only that, the group's entire back catalogue re-entered the Top 200 as well. The tour that supported the album was incredibly lucrative as well. Led Zeppelin had become the biggest band of the 1970's.
Distance between the musicians and their audience was critical to Led Zeppelin's success. For actors, that sense of mystery is even more important. A rock vocalist is basically playing himself...or at least some facet of his personality...when he writes, records or performs music. An actor is playing a different person everytime he takes on a new role. That means that the actor's real personality can't be so well-known that it smothers the part he's trying to play.
This is not to say that successful actors don't create personas. However, there's a big difference between a 'type' and 'My actual self and my movie self are pretty much the same'. Sean Penn may have been a talented actor back in the Yuri Andropov era, but any role he takes nowadays is overpowered by his off-screen leftwing douchebaggery. The only movie persona Penn has left is the one he plays in the real world--Thumbsucking Liberal Hack/Commie Dictator Apologist/Smug Peace Creep.
To see how a real star should operate, look at Kurt Russell. Russell is a member of the Libertarian Party, but he doesn't make a huge deal about it. Surely the man has causes that he champions, but you don't hear him talk about them all that much. It's common knowledge that he's in a long term relationship with Goldie Hawn, but Russell hasn't put the intimate details of his sexual history into the public record. Consequently, there is no outsized real-world Kurt Russell that fights against the roles he takes.
Look at Russell's performance in the flawed sci-fi action flick "Soldier". Compare that to his work in the more successful comedy "Overboard". Both movies call for very different kinds of acting, but because Russell doesn't have a lot of off-camera drama going on, he's entirely believable as both a near mute futuristic warrior or as a charming modern day rogue. Viewers might not connect with everything Russell does--homeboy is just as prone to the occasional cinematic dud as anybody else in show biz--but his private life never interferes with movie goers' suspension of disbelief.
The modern entertainment business can't seem to grasp the absolutely vital necessity for mystery. Instead, the stars blab about their politics, their personal lives and their STD's at the drop of a hat. As a result, the lack of separation between the performer and the audience has made the art small and the artists even smaller.
Who is Ladd Ehlinger Jr, you ask? He's the guy behind the Dale Peterson campaign ad, viewed by all right-thinking people as the greatest political commercial ever. Check it out.
Anyhoo, AceofSpades gets a great interview from Ehlinger. In a wide-ranging discussion, Ace and the filmmaker talk about everything from the nature of artists to the difference between TV ads and internet spots.
This exchange was really interesting.
Ace: Is there any danger you see of a ghettoization sort of effect, where conservative artists are doing expressly conservative art? And only that, and are engaged in a parallel media universe but not the main media universe?
Ehlinger: I don't think the main media universe has much longer to live. So it doesn't matter. Everything is fracturing and falling apart. The smart money realizes that and is doing what it can now to build a brand before it's impossible to do so any longer.
Ace: I've read a lot that tv's model is unsustainable but there aren't many good alternatives. you mean like that? magazines and newspapers first, then tv, then Hollywood?
Ehlinger: It'll devolve into national tribes. Online tribes. Like your website. And then no one will make any money anymore.
Ace: to some extent I think that's sort of the case now but one tribe -- the one that dominates the media -- won't concede it's tribal even after it consistently goes out of the way to insult the other tribes. You ever watch a movie with no political content at all, just about a human story, and then, pow, out of nowhere, some [conservative-baiting] insult? it's like -- what was doing there? Did they WANT 30% of the audience to walk out badmouthing it?
Ehlinger: Well, it's a case of the cool kids in high school... they eventually get fat, turn into drunks, and get DUI's when they get older. That is their collective media career destinies.
Ya gotta read the whole piece. It is truly elucidating stuff. Seriously. Go now.
Re: Conservative art-I'll be honest. This has troubled me for a while. Maybe not 'troubled', but it's an issue that has certainly puzzled me.
It's sorta obvious that the old media paradigm...a liberal monopoly that runs the big TV networks/large newspapers/national glossy magazines/La-La Land...is circling the drain. For instance, 2008 was probably (hopefully) the last election where MSNBC, The New York Times and a raft of music industry hacks could simply pick up a left-wing presidential candidate and carry his butt across the finish line.
I've basically viewed the crack-up of the old-skool media environment as a good thing. But a part of me has been concerned about what Ace calls ghettoization. What happens when there is no national news/entertainment culture? Do we Balkanize?
First, there's pretty much nothing anybody can do about it, so there's really no point in fretting about it too much. It's almost like worrying about the Sun being hot. Best to get over it and deal with the consequences of any potential Balkanization when/if it occurs.
Now, if the breakdown of the media universe we inhabit is inevitable, then the idea of conservative art has to be entertained. The vast anti-statist/pro-free market tribe is going to need culture. It'll need cultural artifacts like songs, novels and dramatic works. As Ehlinger said, right-wing documentaries have their place, but they're not enough.
Conservatives should do what they can to support right-of-center art and artists. The creators are going to need money in order to...you know...eat. It's one thing to make a great short-length Obama satire that gets thrown onto DailyMotion and has a million views. It's another thing to actually get paid to do creative stuff.
In the long run, how is this all going to play out? I really don't know. The outlines of the new media paradigm are only just starting to form. But in a lot of ways, it'll be better for the Right than it has been in 50 years. Listening to guys like Ladd Ehlinger Jr., one gets a sense of the great possibilities that are available to conservative artists right now.
Before I brain-cramp: I sorta beefed on the whole Balkanization line I was toying with. As I was thinking about it some more I realized I hadn't really explained myself very well.
An interesting facet of the old media environment was that it had created a national culture of sorts. Remember that until the early 80's there were only three TV networks, talk radio was lost in the sauce of the Fairness Doctrine and there were large nationwide systems for distributing movies and music. Thus if you were a consumer of mass culture, you were basically seeing or hearing or watching what everybody else did.
But what did people do before there was a national media culture? There were regional tastes that determined what people did to entertain themselves. Music and musicians patronized in the South was different than what people tended to like in places like New York City or Massachusetts.
My feeling is that once the nationwide system that reigned from the late 1940's till the late 1980's finally drifts into obsolescence, we will see a renaissance of the older more separated cultures. They will be less determined by location and more organized by tastes, age and yes, political ideology.
It will be quite different than what many people are used to. But as I stated before, it could result in a new flowering of right-of-center culture.
Cross-posted at Blog De KingShamus. Thanks, Juliette.
UPDATE: I had a great time talking with Fausta about the novel, about writing and, of course, about politics--in spite of the fact that my laptop decided to overheat while I was in the middle of a sentence. That's why God made cell phones.
If you want to listen to the interview again, go here!
Love ya, Fausta!
My marketing campaign has picked up. Thirteen Kindle Editions, seven copies of the paperback from my book site, and an untold number of paperbacks from Amazon were sold on Saturday alone, dropping my Amazon ranking down under 100K for the first time! There will be no letting up though. However, don't worry about every post having my shameless self-promotion as its subject.
I just want to live my dream while I can.
To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time. --Leonard Bernstein
Marie and Sebastian Stroughter of African American Conservatives and Kevin Jackson of The Blacksphere have collaborated to form the Black Conservative Census, urging conservatives who happen to be black to “stand up and be counted.” Of course, this is in response to the Big Media-driven notion that racism is indicated in the facts that most black Americans are liberal Democrats and that most of those who protest in/sympathize with the Tea Party movement are white.
An absurd notion, is it not? As my friends Mike and Sonja T. mentioned, if all-white groups over two in number were automatically racist, they became an official racist mob when their first-born entered the fray. (They have four. I'm scared!)
Deeming a group 'racist' which labels itself by race/ethnicity or incidentally consists of mostly one race isn’t an idea exclusive to Big Media, however. I recall that, back in 2005, when Jay Tea of Wizbang! was kind enough to publicize the efforts of another black conservative online alliance--the Conservative Brotherhood--a lot of assumptions were made regarding the nature of that group; assumptions which existed solely because we billed ourselves as a 'black' group. Many of us who belong to CB waded into the comments section and tried to dispel erroneous notions about the group, some of which were astonishingly stupid and racist themselves.
As it often goes, however, when people are on the side of the angels, one of the most eloquent defenders of the concept which produced the Conservative Brotherhood was Jeremy Pierce—the husband of one of CB’s members, Samantha. Jeremy is white.
The point of the CB is so more black people will be exposed to their ideas, because those are the people whom these ideas will most directly affect and the ones most commonly ignoring the CB members as Uncle Toms who are in Whitey's pocket.
It's a matter of connecting with those who have similar views from the same background, a group who tends to be ostracized and marginalized merely for being both black and conservative.
As they [band together], they haven't isolated [themselves]. They've just taken note of each other and become allies, with a central location that links to all of them. Then someone comes along and calls them racist, and others say it's immoral and against conservative principles. Why? Because they care about race. If we say it's racist or immoral in some other way to care about race, then we're not going to care about race, and that's going to feed into all the problems that come when you ignore the real racial problems in this country. That's catering to institutional and residual racism. It's thus part of the complex social forces that perpetuate racial problems. It's thus racism.
One of the ways in which discord and distrust have been sown for years by racists of all colors and persuasions is by accepting as valid the perception in which any group which formed on the basis of ethnicity is automatically racist, especially if the group is white—no if, ands or buts. So it is that Wizbang! guests applied the same standard to a black group--ignoring the nuance inherent in the adjective ‘conservative’ and ignoring the CB members' displayed words and actions up to that point in time. These people decided to see something sinister (no pun intended) in anything labeled black or composed mostly of black people.
(It doesn’t feel too good, does it, fellow Tea Partiers? And now you know why I posted the message about my affiliation with the social network, The Professional Black Writer.)
It’s the flip side of identity politics. It replaces thinking. And in acknowledgment that some people don't want to think these concepts through, Jackson and the Stroughters have provided a not-black affiliation field for the census. Understandable.
Admittedly, however, President Obama’s racialism—indicated both before and after his election—has made mere “pride” in one’s heritage even more suspect. That racialism started on the very day of the election and has been officially condoned by the Obama Justice Department. The Obama Administration has planted and continues to plant the seeds of mistrust and discord among American brethren. Simply put, it has painted a target on each of our backs.
I assert that it’s up to all of us to think things through and to recognize the administration's strategy for what it is—a means to destroy the United States of America—and not to buy into the mutually-assured destruction this president offers.
"arguing" with black conservatives, Leftists often describe us as
"self-hating." When you hate yourself, it is manifested when you do
yourself harm. What harm are black conservatives doing to themselves by
subscribing to the principles/ideology of conservatism?
This is not a rhetorical question.
Today I will be on African American Conservatives' Blog Talk Radio program along with Craig DeLuz, Anita MonCrief, Shay Riley and Coby Dillard. Join us at 630 PST while we talk about what it's like to be "self-hating Negroes." You can listen here:
Change of subject: one of my new jobs is managing my friend's social network, The Professional Black Writer. So I have another question: when you saw the description 'black' in the title of the network, what was your immediate reaction?
Don't think; just type.
(Thanks to Mudville Gazette, of course)
I'm on Fausta's Blog Talk Radio Show in 20 minutes.
UPDATE: Well, that was fun though I'm inexperienced with talking
on off the cuff. I need to remember to have more coffee first. Thanks to Fausta and to Sigy of Sigmund, Carl and Alfred.
UPDATE: Here's the recording. The quality of my voice transmission is awful--I can barely make out my own words. Any suggestions for tech quality improvement? I have Logitech headphones.
Sandy Berger, who stole highly classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, destroyed them and lied to investigators, is now an adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Berger, who was fired from John Kerry’s presidential campaign when the scandal broke in 2004, has assumed a similar role in Clinton’s campaign, even though his security clearance has been suspended until September 2008. This is raising eyebrows even among Clinton’s admirers. “It shows poor judgment and a lack of regard for Berger’s serious misdeeds,” said law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University[.] [SNIP]Actually, I'm not too annoyed at these repeat of "breaking" news. The Berglar's role in the Clinton campaign cannot receive too much publicity.
He added: “If Senator Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, at some point she will begin to receive national security briefings that will include sensitive information. At such a point, continuing to keep Berger on board as a key advisor, where he might have access to sensitive material, would be beyond incomprehensible.”
In Ramadi, Michael Totten interviews Lieutenant Colonel Mike Silverman of the 3rd ID, who is greatly admired by his men:
Junior officers and enlisted men nicknamed him “the forty pound brainer,” and admire him for his guts as well as his head. “He went out and spent 12 hours a day in his hot tank,” during the battle of Ramadi one soldier said. “He risked getting blown up just like everyone else.” “I had served with him before,” said another. “When he told me he needed me in Ramadi, that was all I needed to hear. I mean, I didn’t have any choice because the Army gave me my orders, but that didn’t matter once I knew Colonel Silverman was out here.” “I’d do anything for that man,” said a third, “and I don’t like officers.”Here's an illuminating exchange:
“Do you ever meet anyone you suspect was an insurgent?” I said.Read the rest.
“Yes,” he said. “I think some of the guys in the 2nd PSF battalion were insurgents, mostly nationalists who got tired of Al Qaeda. Some were Baathists or belonged to the 1920s Brigade. Al Qaeda started killing them off so they switched sides. One PSF guy in particular knows a little too much about taking IEDs apart. He knows exactly how to dismantle these things, as if he built them himself. I asked him how he knows so much and he said he used to be a TV repair man.” He laughed and shrugged. “But, hey, he’s on our side now. We call him the TV Repair Man and don’t worry too much about it.”
“Did the average Iraqi here switch sides or were most of them always against Al Qaeda?” I said.
“The average Iraqi post-Fallujah was not very happy with us being here,” he said. “If the insurgency only attacked Americans, the people of Ramadi would not have been very upset. But Al Qaeda infiltrated and took over the insurgency. They massively overplayed their hand. They cut off citizens’ heads with kitchen knives. The locals slowly learned that the propaganda about us were lies, and that Al Qaeda was their real enemy. They figured out by having dinner and tea with us that we really are, honest to God, here to help them.”
Bill Roggio's Public Multimedia Inc. (PMI) is a non-profit organization which aims to
provide original and accurate reporting and analysis of The Long War (also known as the Global War on Terror). This is accomplished through its programs of embedded reporters, news and news aggregation, podcasts, and other multimedia formats.
The organization needs your support in order to raise $20,000 in the next three weeks. Several bloggers, including Blake Powers, Bill Ardolino and the BlackFive Joint Special Operations Task Force - Philippines (JSOTF-P) embed team will be making trips to Iraq and to the PI in the coming months.
Writing in City Journal, Adam D. Thierer has some cogent thoughts on the current Golden Age of Media in the Information Age. You really should read the whole thing.
This media cornucopia is a wonderful development for a free society—or so you’d think. But today’s media universe has fierce detractors, and nowhere more vehemently than on the left. Their criticisms seem contradictory. Some, such as Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, contend that real media choices, information sources included, remain scarce, hindering citizens from fully participating in a deliberative democracy. Others argue that we have too many media choices, making it hard to share common thoughts or feelings; democracy, community itself, again loses out. Both liberal views get the story disastrously wrong. If either prevails, what’s shaping up to be America’s Golden Age of media could be over soon.
I've touched on this subject many times previously, in terms of describing how the "impartial media" was a chimera in the first place, a two-generation illusion resulting from the rise of radio and television and the associated costs resulting in a tight media oligopoly. With the radical reduction in the "publishing cost" of electronic media, the oligopoly was broken and the market fragmented. Instead of a monolithic groupthink media establishment, we now have an ever-increasing number of media outlets seeking niche markets. Where the niche media markets of old were based on geography, now they're based on personal preference and worldview.
Thierer's polemical thesis is that liberals want to re-impose the media monolith, on the grounds that we now have too many choices and are too dumb to choose wisely. Democrats in Congress agree.
What information consumes is rather obvious,” Nobel Prize–winning economist and psychologist Herbert Simon remarked in 1971: “the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” Thirty-six years later, confronting a “wealth of information” that Simon could never have imagined, a growing group of left-wing critics warns about its destructive consequences. The titles of recent books by Todd Gitlin and Barry Schwartz—Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives and The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, respectively—capture the anxiety felt by these opponents of media multiplicity. It’s just too much.
The real problem for the left is that they're losing the market-share battle of the media. Given a free market and a cornucopia of choices, consumers are increasingly opting for the media outlets that best fit their own worldviews, and the market share for leftist views and interpretations is proving small.
What unifies the two schools of leftist media criticism, beneath their apparent opposition, is pure elitism. Media abundance (which the scarcity critics must implausibly wave away as a mirage) has meant more room for right-of-center viewpoints that, while popular with many Americans, the critics find completely unacceptable. The fact that Bill O’Reilly gets better ratings than Bill Moyers perturbs them to no end. It’s just not fair!... ...When Rush Limbaugh has more listeners than NPR, or Tom Clancy sells more books than Noam Chomsky, or Motor Trend gets more subscribers than Mother Jones, liberals want to convince us (or themselves, perhaps) that it’s all because of some catastrophic market failure or a grand corporate conspiracy to dumb down the masses. In reality, it’s just the result of consumer choice. All the opinions that the Left’s media critics favor are now readily available to us via multiple platforms. But that’s not good enough, it seems: they won’t rest until all of us are watching, reading, and listening to the content that they prefer.
Not surprisingly, the left's preferred solution is to demand "equal time" in all niche market outlets, in part by restoring the misnamed Fairness Doctrine.
...liberal groups would love to put their thumbs on the scale and tilt the media in their preferred direction. Scarcity-obsessed Dennis Kucinich has recently introduced plans in Congress to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which once let government regulators police the airwaves to ensure a balancing of viewpoints, however that’s defined. A new Fairness Doctrine would affect most directly opinion-based talk radio, a medium that just happens to be dominated by conservatives. If a station wanted to run William Bennett’s show under such a regime, they might now have to broadcast a left-wing alternative, too, even if it had poor ratings, which generally has been the case with liberal talk. Sunstein also proposes a kind of speech redistributionism. For the Internet, he suggests that regulators could impose “electronic sidewalks” on partisan websites (the National Rifle Association’s, say), forcing them to link to opposing views. The practical problems of implementing this program would be forbidding, even if it somehow proved constitutional. How many links to opposing views would secure the government’s approval? The FCC would need an army of media regulators (much as China has today) to monitor the millions of webpages, blogs, and social-networking sites and keep them in line.
That's correct. We're not able to think for ourselves, and allowing us free choice in determining our information feeds will inevitably skew our thinking away from "fairness," so "fairness" in the form of a false egalitarianism must be imposed on us by mandate. At base the argument is an old one, a classic manifestation of American left "liberalism" and the nanny-state authoritarian impulse. We're not capable of making our own choices wisely, so those choices must be imposed upon us by those who Know Better. It's For Our Own Good, after all. We must get our prescribed amount of "balance."
Yeah. Where have we heard THAT before?
[Cross-posted to Stubborn Facts.]
Someone not only forgot to tell the Iraqis there's a civil war on, they forgot to tell them they were better off under Saddam Hussein!
The poll, the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2003, shows that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to Saddam Hussein’s regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of public services.
The survey, published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war.
Gerard Van der Leun, Editor-In-Chief of Pajamas Media, doesn't like Vanity Fair's James Wolcott very much. And since Gerard has solid instincts, except for his unfathomable dislike of polar fleece, it's no surprise that Wolcott has gone all medieval on Claudia Rosett's idea of keeping John Bolton at the U.N.
It's hard to know which droplets of his own stupidity to start flicking back at Wolcott first. His dislike of Rosett, whose intellectual shoelaces he is unfit to tie and whose name he can't even spell? His disdain for Bolton, who dared NOT to kiss the rear end of the U.N. apparatchiks? How about Wolcott's simple allergy to fact checking?
Vanity Fair probably pays Wolcott for his blog. They, and he, are about as high maintenance and pretentious as it's possible to be in print, full of glossy Hollyweird righteousness and secularist superiority. Perfect examples of the old media, which simply can't understand why we don't worship at their thrones of journalistic perfection.
So when Wolcott wanted a small and defenseless blogger to humiliate, he turned to me. Someone must have sent him a link to my embarrassingly wrong election predictions, and my offer to "hold the shoebox" for the collection to pay Bolton's salary. Wolcott breezed over to my blog, glanced at the picture of my son at the top, and tapped out a withering critique referring to me as "he". A perfectly natural mistake, if you're a link-whore and attention hog who posts only pictures of YOURSELF.
(For the record - I can only wish I was the young man in the picture. My oldest son is, unlike Wolcott, a consummate professional and a wonderful human being. He's a firefighter who saves lives, not an out-of-shape, overpaid, pandering pontificator. And he triple checks EVERYTHING he does.)
I've apologized and abased myself for being so wrong about the elections. I'm waiting to hear from Wolcott, who thought that "AskMom's Album" and "AskMom" were synonymous. But I suspect my only consolation will be the rhetorical company of other Wolcott rejects; and with the likes of Rosett, Bolton and Van der Leun, that is marvelous consolation indeed.
Good! Seven out of ten answers were correct.
You have a good grip on reality. No need to see a therapist.
GO TAKE THE TEST. It's FREE.... and fun.
HOT AIR VIDEO
Before this video is banned from You Tube, watch it! It is the blogosphere doing the job that journalists fail to do. Topic? Iraq.
This week I've had fun guest blogging for Baldilocks. I don't know how many people view this blog but I hope somebody is enjoying themselves reading what I'm writing or getting something out of it at least. I know that I can't post consistently enough to have my own blog so I'm appreciative of the graciousness of using Baldilock's space.
Things hit me sometimes. Just like when I first brought my daughters to karate a few months ago it dawned me that my girls are learning about life here. They were learning to be aware and to listen. A parent can't instill some things to their kids. Just like a husband or wife can't tell their spouse somethings sometimes. Once that spouse hears something from a third party though they hear it. Kids are that way. It's not out of disrespect. We may love and care for the ones we are around more often but it is human nature to not hear them as thoroughly I suppose because we hear them so much.
As I wrote about earlier, my best friend and love of my life passed away on July 8th. I am so thankful for what she taught me. There wasn't a way to half way listen to her. One of her qualities was that she was intense. It took me more than a year to get used to her intensity. Well... I'd say I never got used to her intensity. She surprised me through the last month. I learned to like it about her. She made life crazy good. She was creative and full of life. I have paintings in my house that she made and I appreciate so much what she has done for me and what I have learned from her. There are other great qualities that she had but I just wanted to talk about this one right now.
Last week, I mentioned that Joey was voted off of Dancing with the Stars. That left two dancers. The results are in. Emmitt Smith WON !! I was talking to a friend on the phone tonight about Dancing with the Stars. Dancing with the Stars stresses her out. The competition and the losing aspect gets to her. But I see it the other way around. Monique, Joey, Mario and Emmitt were all winners for getting as far as they have. They each had the perspective that they have 1) enjoyed themselves 2) learned so much 3) had such a wonderful time 4) were winners already. The finale and finding out who won is a glorious event when the people involved have such great attitudes. It is similar to the attitudes of those on American Idol the last season. Once you get to that top 3 or 4 singers or dancers, the talent is sooo good that any one of them could've won. And what makes them winners is their attitude and the amount of effort they have put into their craft.
It's inspiring. It is why I just cannot understand defeatist rhetoric about Iraq and the talk about pulling our troops out. I've talked about the negligence of the drive-by legacy media. The New York Times gives us this piece today. In it retired genearls (the same ones asking for Rumsfeld to resign) and Kenneth M. Pollack (an expert at the Brookings Institution who served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration) are all making the case that "redeployment" of our troops would be the wrong thing to do and in fact what we should do is increase troop levels. Is this what America was led to believe Democrats were going to do? Whatever the case, I hope we finish the job in Iraq. We need to be responsible for removing Iraq's government just like after WW2 we stayed in Japan and Germany for 7 and 10 years to reestablish a new government. I believe redeploying would lead to a humanitarian crisis and that would be the worst option.
Let's try to accept what is is ... that we are in Iraq and then all move towards accomplishing and completing the job in Iraq. Is that something we can all do? There may be differences of opinion on how to finish but redeploying is not finishing.
H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer writes an article titled DOE vows to turn up appliance efficiency . Note: Bear with me here - this gets REALLY good.
The first two paragraphs are normal:
WASHINGTON - The Energy Department has agreed to boost energy efficiency requirements for nearly two dozen household appliances and equipment from dishwashers to fluorescent lamps as part of a court settlement after years of inaction. The new standards will be phased in over the next five years.
The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court in New York and announced Monday, settles a lawsuit filed last year by environmental groups, 15 states and the city of New York because of delays in improving federal appliance efficiency requirements.
That's nice. I'm for efficiency. I'm for improving efficiency standards realistically. I don't know if the agreement is realistic because the details are not in this AP article.
What is in the AP article? This nugget of
Critics of the Bush administration's energy efficiency efforts said some of the standards have been long overdue.
How did Bush's name come into the news piece? In Bush's Energy Policy Act of 2005 many of it's bullet points are devoted to conservation but you wouldn't know that the way the drive-by legacy press fails to report. The AP decides to report on a lawsuit against the Department of Energy that has just been settled and has nothing to do with Bush yet slap the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of large bureaucratic government on Bush. Let's see what the NEXT sentence is in this article:
The lawsuit charged that the Energy Department was 13 years late in meeting a number of the requirements, although Congress required that appliance standards be updated.
How do journalists/reporters logically put those two sentences next to each other? 13 years. Bush has been in office 5.8 years before this agreement came into existence and might I add... dealing with one of the worst attacks on our country during much of his presidency. 13-5.8= OK. That means that the Energy Department was 7.2 years late under Clinton in meeting a number of the requirements. That's nearly his entire 2 terms. What was he doing all that time?
I decided to act like a journalist (can I get paid for doing their job) and look up what EPact 2005 has. You wouldn't believe the phrases and sentences I found on page 9 of 12 of one .pdf on the Department of Energy's website:
IF WE ARE TO MEET this nation’s
energy needs in a cost-effective
way, we must increase energy
efficiency and conservation practices.
EPAct contains dozens of provisions
aimed at improving the energy
efficiency of our homes, our businesses
and our government agencies
and for increasing conservation across
the United States. EPAct establishes
energy efficiency standards for federal
buildings and extends the Energy
Savings Performance Contract
program. It also establishes energy
conservation standards for a number
of consumer products, supports a
model building energy code compliance
program and promotes incentives
for smart energy practices.
Key implementation actions to
• Improving the energy efficiency
of consumer products
EPAct sets new minimum energy
efficiency standards for a range of
consumer and commercial products
including unit heaters, air conditioners,
commercial refrigerators and some
Progress: On October 18, 2005,
DOE issued a number of efficiency
standards prescribed by EPAct. And,
on January 31, 2006, the Department
submitted a report to Congress announcing
a schedule for all upcoming
appliance efficiency standards. The report
documents that over the next five
years, the Department will publish new
or amended appliance standards for 23
different products including residential
furnaces and boilers, air conditioners,
ceiling fan light kits, commercial clothes
washers, residential dishwashers, ranges
That was in the DOE .pdf file. In the AP article, the intelligent AP writer goes on:
The court agreement calls for the new standards to go into effect at varying times, the earliest in early 2007 and the latest by June, 2011.
The standards will cover 22 appliances and household equipment, including heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, boilers and motors, dishwashers, clothes dryers and fluorescent lighting.
Isn't that something? Almost the same exact words and phrases in the court agreement just reached as the EPact 2005 passed by Congress that Bush was pushing for since the beginning of his presidency.
I was almost ready to believe the drive-by legacy media for the first time since 1991 (when I converted from liberalism) until I saw that this court agreement (portrayed by the AP writer to look like such a win for environmental groups against Bush's Department of Energy) was in fact the environmental groups getting what they wanted through EPact 2005 (because of President Bush - and the first new energy policy in over a decade).
The only thing I learned from this article is that my distrust of the legacy media is cemented even further into the ground as we are lied to in almost every piece of
news opinion written by them.
I expect H. Josef Hebert's salary for a day. My hand is out waiting ..... ok. I'm kidding. I know I'm not going to get paid for this service........but I could wish...
Pajamas Media is covering the hearings on the legality of the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program. Be sure to check out the 'NSA Files.' meanwhile it appears that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has been introduced to us.
Durbin: What outfit are you with?(Thanks to Roger L. Simon)
[Paul] Mirengoff [of Power Line]: Power Line and Pajamas Media.
Durbin: 'Jamas Media?
Mirengoff: No. Pajamas Media.
Durgin: Oh, Pajamas Media. I'm not familiar with that publication.
[More exchange about Mirengoff's question. Apparently Durbin didn't want to answer]
Durbin: I don't know who you are.
Mirengoff: Well, Dan Rather knows who we are.
[LAUGHTER from the crowd.]
UPDATE: Watch the video.