Saturday, April 14, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

The monument the North Vietnamese created at Khe Sanh resembles a forgotten tombstone. Like some worn slab withering in a lonely corner of some remote rural cemetery, the writing on it is fading, its surface pitted and cracked, and the base crumbling. Red clay has been smeared on it so it seems blotted with dried blood and graffiti crudely etched into the concrete have made the text difficult to read.

What this deteriorating slab marks depends on your perspective, but all involve endings. It marks the deaths and even in some cases the last resting places of those who fought there almost half a century ago. It marks that in the ground beneath and around it there may be more exploded and unexploded ordinance than perhaps any other place on earth. It marks the largest battle of the Vietnam War and by extension probably the largest since then. It marks the last major trench warfare and conventional artillery confrontation in history.

Endings on the order of Khe Sanh signify important historical turning points. Khe Sanh definitely marked a major transition in not only the Vietnam War but all warfare. In that it shares a distinction going back to Agincourt and Waterloo as a major shift in how we fight wars. The current war in Iraq has all the signs of being another major transformation.


A Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer is seized by U.S. Forces and locked up for one year. The U.S. refuses to bring any charges. When American military spokesmen suggest their "suspicions" in interviews with the media, virtually all of them are exposed as false within a matter of weeks. No matter. He is still held.


It's not Baghdad alone where we're witnessing a Bush-inspired surge. The President holds ultimate responsibility for an escalation unfolding in Washington as well: namely, the rapid proliferation of administration scandals and outrages now finally finding the light of day (deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; politically-driven purges of U.S. attorneys; FBI abuses of National Security Letters, and the list goes on and on).


Why do Republicans have to wait until it's too late to admit that Bush screwed up? Like, after they're dead. This week's post-deathbed confession is from Jean Kirkpatrick. Most strikingly, she argues that the war--with respect to bringing democracy to Iraqis--did more harm than good.


A U.S. attorney in Wisconsin who prosecuted a state Democratic official on corruption charges during last year's heated governor's race was once targeted for firing by the Department of Justice, but given a reprieve for reasons that remain unclear. A federal appeals court last week threw out the conviction of Wisconsin state worker Georgia Thompson, saying the evidence was "beyond thin."

There are a thousand important topics in this country that beg for discussion, debate, and consensus – real issues that would improve our security, advance the cause of liberty, promote the economy, and guarantee that the words contained in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution actually mean something.

The Duke rape case logs in around 975.

I place as much importance on this case as I do the disappearance of a pretty white girl in Mexico or perhaps the latest horror story about a pleasure cruise from hell. A story of local prosecutorial misconduct in a college town just doesn’t deserve the kind of “all in” news coverage on cable nets and the internet that this story received. In fact, if one were to look at the case honestly by stepping back, taking a deep breath, and thinking about it for 10 seconds, one would have to admit to themselves that it is just plain loony that this story got as much play as it did in the first place.


Take a nation of do-it-yourselfers, add a ready supply of cheap nailguns and what do you get? About 37,000 nailgun injuries a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 1991, nailgun injuries have risen about 200 percent, the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.


The Indian government has decided to get out of the unseemly business of asking women civil service employees about their menstrual cycles. You may be tempted to congratulate India on making the right decision. Fight that impulse. It was the only decision to make.


A counterfeit memory like "I still remember when I first got my library card" can easily be assigned to someone else. A real memory like my long-held prejudice against all librarians and the petty tyranny that led me to it cannot. This leads us to the deeper phoniness that hobbles the assembly-line anchorperson-commentary racket CBS News has been running for decades. If person A is going to express a personal memory or opinion on behalf of person B, and person B is not someone who identifies publicly with specific positions on matters of public debate—something network news anchors (outside of Fox, anyway) are discouraged from doing—then person A will hew carefully to anodyne sentiment. The result is commentary devoid of any substance or interest.


Hey, Lefties, Let's Make a Deal: I'll trade you universal health care in return for a ban on abortion.

What say you to that?

Or is it that butchering unborn children is too important to get conservatives to sign on to health care for all children?

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