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The iron chef's soup opera
I was curious to see what pecunium might have to say about the killing of Osama bin Laden. Two things stand out for me.

What I don't think it was is "justice". It was revenge. Which is, in it's way fine. A lot of people feel better now. Ok.

But justice, justice would be him in chains, in court, the evidence for his deeds laid out, and a chance for him to rebut them made available.

We begin with the ongoing – stereotypically left-wing – confusion between the war model and the law enforcement model. In the war model, Osama bin Laden (OBL) is considered to have declared war on the US, and prosecuted it. This has been his declared intention, and the war model merely takes him at his word. In war, soldiers are allowed to kill the enemy. There is no presumption of innocence because war is not a crime, at least as long as soldiers observe certain rules. Soldiers who surrender can be detained in prison camps without trial, because the purpose of detention is to keep them from prosecuting the war. You don't need to prove the soldiers were at war, because they declared themselves to be at war by, among other things, wearing the uniform of their country's military.
Now, under what circumstances can an enemy soldier be summarily shot on sight? (Let's assume the worst possible case -- he was offering no resistance.) Hugh Hewitt raised the question with "The Smart Guys" on his show. John Eastman pointed out that under the Geneva Conventions, OBL would be considered an "illegal combatant" and therefore subject to being shot on sight. I had to turn off halfway through Eastman's response, so I never heard Chemerinsky's point. I'll have to pull up the podcast. Nevertheless, at least one law school dean opined that the summary execution of OBL was perfectly legal. I think that's enough to consider it an open question.

In the law enforcement model, you have a presumption of innocence because it hasn't been established in court that a person has committed a crime. In this case, it's appropriate to administer Miranda warnings, and other Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment protections apply. Treatment of a criminal is distinct from treatment of a war prisoner, in that the object is punishment and not mere restraint. And even that occurs only after a judicial finding of guilt. Certainly, summary execution is not allowed under US criminal law.

The second thing I noticed was a distinct lack of excoriation. Obama receives much more gentle treatment than Bush ever did. Gone are the vitriolic adjectives heaped upon Bush and his administration. The most he says about Obama (on a slightly-related topic) is:

That's the sort of thing which makes me wonder if he deserves to be president, because it's the sort of thing I complained about his predecessor doing, and it's no different when Obama does it than when Bush did it, or some tinpot dictator does it somewhere else.

In other words, he still supports Obama, gives him the benefit of the doubt, and will need to be talked out of supporting him. He never supported Bush, gave him no such benefit, and considered him evil from the get-go.

This is his political bias, and he's certainly entitled to it. But it's essential to keep this filter in mind while reading his posts. They are not unbiased down-the-middle reporting.


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From CATO:

Liberals: If you think declining to defend DOMA is the right decision, how will you feel when a Republican administration declines to defend in a school prayer case? Or an abortion case? Or on Obamacare itself?
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Newly published on Kindle

Official Manual for Spice Cadets

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Here, within this circle, we shall learn the dance of the Lady, Mother of all things, and her beloved, the Lord of Death and Resurrection.

This dance is ancient beyond time, yet eternally new. It is the dance of atoms and of particles that flicker in and out of existence in a wink. It is the dance of the sun and the moon. It is the stately dance of galaxies in their courses. It is the birth and death of our universe itself - the breath of the Gods. This is the unbroken circle, the Wheel of the Year. The circle is never broken, and its movement is never-ending.


The tale of the Lord and Lady is told again and again by every voice in all of time and space. Everything in the universe, from the largest to the smallest, relates the story in its own way and its own time. Their story rings across space and time, and in all the worlds that spin their way through eternity.

We shall follow this dance, in its many intricate steps. Indeed, we shall see this dance as many different dances, woven together into a tapestry of space and time, of light and life, and of mystery. We shall follow the story of birth and growth, of discovery and mastery, of age, ripeness, and decay. We shall pursue the twin mysteries of death and resurrection, and of love, without which none of the other mysteries would take place.

(From the introduction)
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The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society is holding a memorial service for Bob Null, who died of cancer on June 22.

The memorial will take place at the LASFS clubhouse:
11513 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91020

Date: Saturday, August 17 14, 2010
Time: 11:00 AM. to 4:00 PM (not a hard end time)

Bring your stories to share; Bob's family will be there.

The event is a potluck. Eylat Poliner is coordinating, or leave a comment here or at the Facebook event page linked above. The point is, we don't want everyone bringing desserts.
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A case being tried right now in Chicago involves a police detective who allegedly tortured a suspect.

Instapundit notes:
I suspect this would be getting a lot more attention if it had happened at Guantanamo instead of in Chicago.

UPDATE: Reader Matthew Heiman writes: “It would get a lot more play if it was Mayor Bush, Deputy Mayor Cheney, and Police Commissioner Rumsfeld. Otherwise, there is no grand dereliction of duty by the political establishment, it’s just bad cops.”

Maybe Terry Karney will read about this and add it to his list of causes. In the mean time, I find it hard to resist the impression that he doesn't care about torture unless he can blame it on George W. Bush.
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Note: This response is being posted as a main post in my LJ because the logical place for it is no longer available to me. Comments from my account in Terry Karney's LJ are no longer allowed. So, instead of being buried thirteen pages down in a comment chain only four people are still following, I'll post my response here.

For the past several years, Terry Karney has been accusing George W. Bush of war crimes. Why? Because he advocates "torture".

"Torture", in this case, is all of the enhanced interrogation techniques that have been used in the war on terror, up to and including waterboarding. (Oh, he goes into fits over waterboarding.)

His latest tirade, he writes:
George Bush admitted to more crimes.

Specifically he said he'd had Khalid Sheik Mohammad tortured, and would do it again.

And in conclusion, he advocates:
Ok, so what does this mean? It ought to mean we try him, haul the evils he caused to happen into the harsh light of day, and (in a just world) sentence him to live the rest of his (I'd hope very long) life in prison.

If not, we can hope he is foolish enough to accept an invitation to Spain.

For really poetic justice someone might, while he's visiting Poppy in Kennebunkport, decide to invoke the "Noriega Doctrine" his father created, and swoop in and kidnap him to the Hague.

None of those, sadly, are going to happen. Therefore I shan't buy the champagne just yet, but a person can dream.

Well, in all fairness, I figured I'd point out there's another side to the argument. In particular, now that the techniques in use have been made public, Marc Thiessen has written a book explaining what came from using those methods. One of the things revealed was that, according to the religious beliefs of the Islamists, Allah will triumph over everything, no matter what. Therefore, a warrior is required only to resist to the best of his ability, and after that, all restrictions go away – no more resistance is required.

If we're going to call these techniques "torture", it would seem they work.

Now Terry has been arguing all along that "torture doesn't work", and has defined "torture" as "any physical or mental coercion – any". About this point, there's very little I feel the need to add to my open letter from three years ago. About the only thing to note is he has finally responded to my criticisms of this definition. He offered a source.
Nonsense. You ignore that I keep citing the source of my definition: The Geneva Conventions of 1948 [a ratified treaty, therefore in equal stature with the Constitution; supported by the International Convention Against Torture [signed by Reagan, ratified; and so also of equal standing} and the War Crimes Act of 1996 {passed by a Republican Congress} US Code TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 118 > § 2441)

OK, so I followed the link to the US Code title he referenced. Of particular interest:
(d) Common Article 3 Violations.—
(1) Prohibited conduct.— In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:

(A) Torture.— The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.

Note: Torture is not "any physical or mental coercion" – it is the infliction of severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

After reading his linked citation, I remarked that comments in the thread about the importance of reading comprehension "deeply ironic". Karney's response:
That's it.

You admit the lack of citation you refer isn't an actual lack, but rather a rhetorical trope (unless you decided at this remove, after year of citation that this time it was worth your time).

I'm not willing to continue allowing you to be a dishonest actor.

So, not because I am incapable of dealing with dissent (certainly years of forbearance here ought to prevent such a charge from having traction), but rather because you admit to dishonesty in your practice, I'm putting paid to your account and closing the book on you.

Actually, I "admit" no such thing. I "admit" the citation doesn't say what he thinks it does, and offers no support to his definition. Thus, the irony of his and his followers' insistence on the importance of "reading comprehension".

The section of Title 18 he linked does not support his definition. Not at all, not even approximately. His definition remains his own, made up by him, and unworkable. As I've mentioned, even the act of keeping detainees detained is coercive, and by Karney's definition must be counted as "torture". I had thought as much, when he first offered his definition. Now, it's plain his definition is made up – it's what he wants the law to say.

The Geneva Conventions are referred to in the US Code. If the definition of torture is in any inconsistent with the Convention referenced, there is no indication. And I don't see any place in the text of Article three where torture is actually defined. Commentary at the ICRC site notes that such a definition is not easy to come by:
The word torture has different acceptations. It is used sometimes even in the sense of purely moral suffering, but in view of the other expressions which follow (i.e. inhuman treatment including biological experiments and suffering, etc.) it seems that it must be given here its, so to speak, legal meaning -- i.e., the infliction of suffering on a person to obtain from that person, or from another person, confessions or information.

When terms like "severe pain or suffering" or even, for that matter, "suffering" come up, we wind up having to draw lines. How much pain is "severe" pain? At what point does pain or even discomfort become "suffering"? Someone has to draw a line somewhere.
One line, also from Karney's comments, seems to be, "are you willing to endure it?"
If you are willing to have it done to yourself, or your loved ones, if they are suspected/accused, then, just maybe, you have a morally defensible (though disgusting) position.

I offered my response, and a professional logician offered his in the comments to my open letter. I see no need to add to it.
For legal purposes, since Terry's preferred definition is silly and unworkable, someone has to draw a reasonable line somewhere. One attempt to determine on which side of the line various interrogation methods might lie was offered by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, but Karney will no doubt call him Evil Incarnate and deem anything he has to say as unworthy of notice.
The interested reader is invited to follow the link and read the letter -- it's only six pages – barely a third of a percent of the Health Care Bill.

In sum:

Terry Karney's definition of "torture" is absurd, unworkable, and unsupported by any of the links he's offered as support.

Terry Karney does not have very good reading comprehension, and uses text as a pretext from which to launch a tirade, rather than a source of information.

Replies to Terry Karney from me are no longer accepted on his LiveJournal, so any defense against his charges of dishonesty and worse must be posted elsewhere. Like here.
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After my copy of the "Shoggoth on the Roof" soundtrack disappeared (following the six-car pile-up on the Grapevine),  I finally decided to track down a vendor and buy a replacement copy.  I made the purchase over the vendor's website on June 10.

On August 2, I contacted them to find out when I could expect to receive it.  I was told it was mailed on June 12, but the Post Awful had no record of delivery -- they'd submit an inquiry.

Well, I've been giving them room to work -- I've sent two e-mails asking for a status report.

Just now, I sent an e-mail asking if anyone else carries the CD.

Unfortunately, payment was made with a debit card, so I don't have the ability to dispute the charge.  (Would I have that ability after more than three months, merely because I haven't received the product yet?)  

I can understand not wanting to spend money on a possible duplicate shipment, but maybe someone ought to sit these people down and introduce them to the concept of "customer good will".
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Fire up the street!Karen Anderson has evacuated her home, as have her neighbors on the cul-de-sac where she lives. This photo is a view up my street. The dark cloud of smoke is in the same direction as her house.

Her neighbors thought she was crazy when she loaded essentials into her car Saturday night. Now her neighbors think crazy may have its good points.
Water dropThere are at least two of these guys working the Seven Hills area, where Karen lives.
Less smoke is good...After half an hour of their attention, the situation was looking a lot better.

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A mere three years after it's published, Lulu is now listing The Official Manual for Spice Cadets on Amazon.com

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Rabbit season!
Tax season!

Oh, never mind.

I burned a vacation day today, so I don't start losing them.  Since I was taking the day off, I gathered up my paperwork (including print-outs from several websites) and took them down to my tax preparer.

This year, I remembered to bring copies of my pay check, so I knew exactly what my union dues cost, and remembered that I pay for parking.
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One of the canards that gets wide circulation is the claim that "torture doesn't work". The point of this canard is that torture is useless, and so there's no valid reason to engage in it.

One of the shrillest proponents of this view is pecunium. By his lights, torture is never OK. I'm actually willing to agree with that, but he insists on taking it off into left field and into absurdity.

Firstly, he offers an unprovable "utilitarian argument" -- since torture never works, there's no need ever to use it. This argument is also disproven, since I've found cases where treatment he considers "torture" did, in fact, obtain usable information in a timely manner. Granted, that's disproven to anyone except to those whose understanding of debate is to scream at contrary evidence until it goes away.

Frankly, I think he gets into serious trouble when he attempts to offer a "utilitarian" argument in the first place. Such an argument is only as strong as your data, and the reliance on utility implies you're willing to change your argument if the data change. The fact that he throws hysterical fits when anyone dares to question his assumptions tells me utilitarianism is the farthest thing from his mind.

The second point has to do with what he considers "torture". He is on record as defining "torture" to be "any physical or mental coercion – any". Unless "coercion" is a term of art used by interrogators, that means the process of detaining a prisoner is "torture". And indeed, it would be hard to list any procedure in use in our criminal justice system that doesn't qualify as "torture" under this zany definition.

Now, though, I find a situation where he would be perfectly willing to use torture:
Well guess what... the people who rationalised, the people who authorised, the people who organised, and the people who carried out the regime of torture our president, vice president and their consiglieri admit they set into motion... those are some uncommon criminals.

If I were given the authority to deal with them (which, thank God I will never be given), I’d toss them in an oubliette. Being less than kind, I’d let them have unlimited water, and; not quite enough, food. Slow starvation. Years of wasting misery to contemplate how far they’ve fallen. Time to ponder the sort of disgust required to make the effort to keep them in such squalor and misery.

I don’t hate them. I despise them. I loathe them. I will not shed a tear when they die, but I don’t hate them. They are so far from my ken that, like rabid dogs, they aren’t something one can identify with enough to hate.

Torture works just great as a form of punishment, and apparently at least one interrogator heartily approves of that use.


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David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy has posted a link to a document, scholarly analysis of international law as it applies to Israel and Gaza.

One major conclusion running through the document is that the people who are declaring Israel absolutely guilty of war crimes are, at best, concentrating on the answers they like best.

For instance, the claim that Israel provoked the missile attacks from Gaza by illegally blockading the borders may not be as unambiguous as presented by those making it:
Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip, such as withholding fuel supplies and electricity, does not involve the use of military force and is therefore a perfectly legal means of responding to Palestinian attacks, despite the effects on innocent Palestinian civilians. The use of economic and other non-military sanctions as a means of disciplining other international actors for their misbehavior is a practice known as “retorsion.”78 It is generally acknowledged that any country may engage in retorsion.79 Indeed, it is acknowledged that states may even go beyond retorsion to carry out non-belligerent reprisals, non-military acts that would otherwise be illegal (such as suspending flight agreements) as counter-measures.80 Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade of fuel or anything else with the Gaza Strip, or to maintain open borders with the Gaza Strip, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion, even if intended as “punishment” for Palestinian terrorism.
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From the Wall Street Journal:


The coming movie "Star Trek" is meant to completely reboot the science fiction franchise -- which may be why the title doesn't sport Roman numerals. Director J.J. Abrams recruited a new crew of actors to portray characters that have long been linked to the cast of the original "Star Trek" TV series, which first aired in 1966. Inheriting the role of space explorer Capt. Kirk from William Shatner is relative newcomer Chris Pine. Zachary Quinto, best known as a villain on the NBC series "Heroes," plays Mr. Spock, a half-human alien who champions logic over emotion. The character was first embodied by Leonard Nimoy. The new movie focuses on the volatile youth of Kirk, Spock and their crewmates. The stakes are high: The property has been moribund on screen since the TV series "Star Trek: Enterprise" was canceled in 2005. In separate interviews, we spoke to Messrs. Pine and Quinto.
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(Copied from my other blog)

This came over the transom last night. After I degaussed my irony meter, I decided to share this with my loyal readers -- all six of them.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SoCalPagans] "I am Woman" -- Demonstration at Sarah Palin Reception in Newport Beach, Sep 25 Evening

"I am woman ... hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore,
And I come back even stronger, not a novice any longer,
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul!"
--words/music by Helen Reddy/Ray Burton
_Thursday, September 25_

TIME: 5 pm meet (see below for more information about carpooling from TEMPLE)
COST: no cost
DESCRIPTION: The Director of The TEMPLE passionately invites you to join her in full sisterly support of the women organizers of an Orange County public demonstration: *"I am Woman!"* ... at a fundraising reception for Sarah Palin at the Island Hotel (formerly the Four Seasons) at Fashion Island. The event for Palin is hosted by the Lincoln Club of Orange County. Organizers of the protest share: /"Sarah Palin is coming to Orange County on Thursday, September 25^th . She doesn't speak for us! Let us show her what Helen Reddy really had in mind when she wrote, 'I am Woman.' Join us in protest of her run for Vice President. Rally for women's rights to choice, for separation of church and state, to end the war, protection of the environment and more. Come with your signs, banners, flags, flyers, kazoos and drums, and join us as we peacefully protest with a ROAR!"/
/ /
NOTE from The TEMPLE: Also recommended: very comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, and a no-drip jar candle to hold. TEMPLE will provide signs for some women to hold, and/or bring your own.

I'm not giving the carpool or contact information. I figure those who are interested can join the mailing list and find the info in the archives.

What strikes me is, a group of women is gathering to sing about strong, invincible women in order to protest a .... strong .... invincible .... woman.
Go figure.

Current Mood: amused amused

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I've seen any number of ads and posters that seem to depict Barack Obama as the savior of humanity. He's the second coming of JFK and MLK, and his mere presence in the office of President will heal all wounds, reconcile all opposing factions, cause swords to be beaten into plowshares, cannons into church bells, and nukes into powerplants.

Another Messianic comparison shows up at the top of this post:

Pilate was a Governor

Jesus was a community activist.

Let me know when he walks on water.
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Happy Llamas!
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An interesting review of Batman: The Dark Knight can be found at the Herald Sun. There are spoilers in the review, so click through at your own risk.

Film unmasks Bush as the real Batman

FINALLY Hollywood makes a film that says US President George W. Bush was right. But director Christopher Nolan had to disguise it a little, so journalists wouldn't freak and the film's more fashionable stars wouldn't walk.

So he hides Bush in a cape. He even sticks a mask on him, with pointy ears for some reason.

Sure, when the terrified citizens of Gotham City scream for Bush to come save them, Nolan has them shine a great W in the night sky, but he blurs it so it looks more like a bird.

Or a bat, perhaps.

And he has them call their hero not Mr Bush, of course, or even "Mr President", but . . . Batman.


Mind you, the same excuses for violence, and for defying the public's will, is used by vigilantes and tyrants. And Nolan is so careful to sugar his pill that some critics, and not only of the Left, have taken his film as an attack on Bush instead.

Take Variety.com's deputy editor, Anne Thompson, who seizes on the scene in which the Joker taunts Batman: "What would I do without you? You complete me . . . To them (the public) you're just a freak. Like me."

Concludes Thompson: "The film-making suggests the Joker has, like a Shakespearean fool on PCP, hit on a harsh truth: Batman has more in common with his killer-clown foe than with the normal people he means to protect. So should we conclude The Dark Knight argues that Bush and bin Laden are two sides of the same coin?"

Answer: are you kidding? In fact, the Joker is saying that without Batman's great good to oppose, his great evil would never be realised in its horrific glory.

It would be like Hitler being allowed to exterminate nothing more than mosquitoes. Who'd care?

What's more, Batman clearly has more in common with the people he tries to protect than does the Joker with people he tries to destroy, or the audience wouldn't be cheering him, and the next film in the series wouldn't be Batman III but The Joker II.

No, the cinema audience understands what the Gotham citizens do not - Batman's dilemma and the awesome imperatives of responsibility. And they are with him, not his critics.

So why don't Americans in particular leave the movie cheering Bush as they cheered Batman?

Because in leaving the cinema they stopped being that audience and re-entered their own real Gotham City - with a real Batman they once more feel driven to hate for all the hard things he's had to do to protect them.

They have become the citizens of Gotham they were watching just minutes before with contempt.

But Bush would understand. As Alfred says: "He's not being a hero. He's being something more."
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(sort of)

I pre-ordered Secret Voyage by Blackmore's Night a couple of months ago.
Now I've downloaded it from the newsgroups.

I was curious to see which would get here first, the CD or the pirated download.

(Though I won't be canceling the order through Amazon.)


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Purple Slinky has a list of the 20 deadliest plants on the planet. You'll be surprised, at first, how many are in gardens around you.

The top 20 are:
Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)
Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna)
Jimson Weed (Datura Stramonium)
Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia)
Monkshood (Aconitum variegatum)
Yew (Taxus Baccata)
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
Water Hemlock (Cicuta)
Moonseed (Manispermum)
Privet (Ligustrum sp.)
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
Yellow Jasmine (Gelsemium semperivens)
Larkspur (Delphinium)
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
Daphne (Daphne Sp.)
Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis)
Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

The Doll's Eyes is a particularly strange looking plant:

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Their work has always been worth listening to.

Secret Voyage

I'll be able to listen to this in July.
I look forward to it.


Well, it displays properly here.
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A post is up at the Usual Suspect defending Barack Obama's choice of pastor.

My post:

A blogger styling himself "Instaputz" writes:
Putz's latest "IN THE MAIL" offering looks innocuous enough at first.
It turns out that the author, Thomas Woods (see also here) is a founding member of the League of the South, a fringe, separatist organization...
Why would Putz --- or anyone for that matter --- publicize a book authored by a founding member of a hate organization like LOS? It's precisely behavior like this (other incidents highlighted here) that has prompted accusations of racism at Putz.

Reynolds' blog entry, in its entirety, reads:
IN THE MAIL: 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask.

UPDATE: No, I haven't been a fan of Woods' work in the past. However, after I posted this link he emailed to say that earlier claims that he's a neo-confederate are false. So there's that in his favor.

(I don't know when the update was added. When InstaPutz read it, it may have been just the one sentence.)
You then cite this as evidence that Reynolds is a "racsist".
So if a racist mails a copy of his book to you and you say anything about it, you have "promoted a racist"? People could have all kinds of fun with "logic" like that.
For the record, Reynolds has reviewed at least one other book by the same author. He trashed it.
Maybe it's another example of how we draw lines in different places, but I think one should have to work just a little harder to acquire the stain of "racist". (Or even "rascist".)

So what is "rascist"? Presumably a typo.
But it seems to fit his modus operandi: read to the point where you've found something to be furious about, and then type ahead in a fit of temperment, and devil take any mistakes you make along the way.

And of course, we have a truly silly attempt to draw a moral equivalence between someone who occasionally reviews a book by a (presumed) racist and someone who thunders racist lies from the pulpit to a church filled with cheering followers.

Jeremiah Wright's statements have been well documented, and made in extremely public ways – both from the pulpit and in recordings and DVDs. And we also have to consider that while Reynolds has received occasional books to review from accused racists, and may have linked to their sites, Obama chose to attend Wright's church for twenty years. Wright baptized Obama's children and was a close friend, mentor, and spiritual counselor for that time. This is a level of involvement that raises the question of "What did Obama know, and when did he know it?"

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Current Mood: cranky cranky

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I guess I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
At least with newspaper ads, or with most sites, the person placing an
ad has to leave identifying information.

Police offer amnesty to people who stole from Craigslist
hoax victim
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_032408_news_craigslist_hoax.1ffb2c9c>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

I guess I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
At least with newspaper ads, or with most sites, the person placing an
ad has to leave identifying information.

<blockquote>Police offer amnesty to people who stole from Craigslist
hoax victim
ffb2c9c.html> >
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
By AP and kgw.com Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. -- Police say belongings removed from a Southern
Oregon man's property have begun slowly reappearing at his home, a day
after a pair of hoax ads on Craigslist cost Robert Salisbury much of
what he owned.
And police said people who return the items voluntarily will not be
The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville
home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including
a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County Sheriff's
Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.
But the ads were a hoax. Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave.
The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from
a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.
On his way home he stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders,
lawn mower and weed eater.
"I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff
back," Salisbury said. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told
me they had the right to do what they did."
The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he
spotted other cars filled with his belongings.
Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his
barn and front porch.
The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off.
"They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was
true," Salisbury said. "It boggles the mind."
Jacksonville police and Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrived but by
then several cars packed with Salisbury's property had fled.
He turned some license plate numbers over to police. By late Monday, s
ome people who learned of the hoax began to return items taken from the
home. Authorities weren't able to say how much or what had been
returned, but did say that by late Monday afternoon, items were
"starting to piling up" in Salisbury's driveway.
Michelle Easley had seen the ad that claimed Salisbury's horse had been
declared abandoned by the sheriff's department and was free to a good
"I can't stand to see a horse suffer so I drove out there and got her,"
Easley said. "The horse didn't look abandoned. She is in good shape for
being 32 years old."
But it looked odd, so she left a note on Salisbury's door explaining the
ad. She then decided to call to make sure the ad was legitimate when the
second similar ad appeared.
"I feel bad because I was a part of it," Easley said. "It felt right to
call the police."
Fagan praised Easley's honestly but said prosecution was likely for
anybody caught with Salisbury's property.
Officers were still contacting people who were seen leaving Salisbury's
house with his stuff. If they return the taken items, no charges will be
filed. But people who don't return what they took may face charges.
Items can be returned with no questions asked, Fagan said.
Detectives have contacted Craigslist's legal team to try to trace the
Meanwhile, Salisbury could not even relax on his porch swing -- someone
took it. </blockquote>
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Here is a link-rich post describing a major PR coup on the part of the
producers of the film "Expelled". Unfortunately, it turns out to be a
major coup for the other side.
As you have undoubtedly heard, a group of evolutionary
biologists and evolutionary biology supporters attended a showing of the
movie Expelled, in the Twin Cities, last night. This group included the
very famous Richard Dawkins and the only slightly less famous PZ Myers.
PZ and Richard, in fact, were together in line, along with PZ's spouse,
a daughter, and a future son in law. Other evolution supporters and at
least one local evolutionary-type blogger were also in line.
While waiting in line and minding their own business, PZ was spotted by
the Expelled! production staff, and EXPELLED from the theater!!!!
Richard Dawkins and the others were not picked up by this anti-truth
security dragnet, and were able to attend the show.

Since the premise of the film is that academics are being suppressed,
oppressed, repressed, and depressed for failing to toe the party line on
evolution, it is ironic, to say the least, that the producers would, in
turn, expel a known critic of their position. Even more ironic when
this critic is featured in the film and prominently listed in the
Here is Myers' account, from his own blog:
I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda
movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried ... but I was
Expelled! It was kind of weird - I was standing in line, hadn't even
gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman
pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of
course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically
instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also
told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him
that I wasn't going to cause any trouble.
I went back to my family and talked with them for a while, and then the
officer came back with a theater manager, and I was told that not only
wasn't I allowed in, but I had to leave the premises immediately. Like
right that instant.
I complied.
I'm still laughing though. You don't know how hilarious this is. Not
only is it the extreme hypocrisy of being expelled from their Expelled
movie, but there's another layer of amusement. Deep, belly laugh funny.
Yeah, I'd be rolling around on the floor right now, if I weren't so dang
You see ... well, have you ever heard of a sabot? It's a kind of sleeve
or lightweight carrier used to surround a piece of munition fired from a
gun. It isn't the actually load intended to strike the target, but may
even be discarded as it leaves the barrel.
I'm a kind of sabot right now.
They singled me out and evicted me, but they didn't notice my guest.
They let him go in escorted by my wife and daughter. I guess they didn't
recognize him. My guest was ...
Richard Dawkins.

Richard Dawkins offers his comments on the episode.

The blogs are ringing with ridicule. Mark Mathis,
duplicitous producer of the much hyped film Expelled, shot himself in
the foot so spectacularly that the phrase might have been invented for
him. Goals don't come more own than this. How is it possible that a man
who makes his living from partisan propaganda could hand so stunning a
propaganda coup to his opponents? Hand it to them on a plate, so
ignominiously and so UNNECESSARILY.

Now, to the Good Friday Fiasco itself, Mathis' extraordinary
and costly lapse of judgment. Just think about it. His entire film is
devoted to the notion that American scientists are being hounded and
expelled from their jobs because of opinions that they hold. The film
works hard at pressing (no, belabouring with a sledgehammer) all the
favourite hot buttons of free speech, freedom of thought, the right of
dissent, the right to be heard, the right to discuss issues rather than
suppress argument. These are the topics that the film sets out to raise,
with particular reference to evolution and 'intelligent design' (wittily
described by someone as creationism in a cheap tuxedo). In the course of
this film, Mathis tricked a number of scientists, including PZ Myers and
me, into taking prominent parts in the film, and both of us are
handsomely thanked in the closing credits.
Seemingly oblivious to the irony, Mathis instructed some uniformed goon
to evict Myers while he was standing in line with his family to enter
the theatre, and threaten him with arrest if he didn't immediately leave
the premises. Did it not occur to Mathis -- what would occur any
normally polite and reasonable person -- that Myers, having played a
leading role in the film, might have been welcomed as an honoured guest
to watch it? Or, more cynically, did he not know that PZ is one of the
country's most popular bloggers, with a notoriously caustic wit,
perfectly placed to set the whole internet roaring with delighted and
mocking laughter? I long ago realised that Mathis was deceitful. I
didn't know he was a bungling incompetent.

And it seems the film was pretty bad, too.
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