Archive for July, 2007

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Please, Everyone, Show Some Common Decency

July 31, 2007

Unfortunately, when the news broke that Chief Justice John Roberts fell ill today, some very ugly comments began to appear on a few lefty blogs.  The one that got the most attention was this one left on Wonkette:

Chief Justice John Roberts has died in his summer home in Maine. No, not really, but we know you have your fingers crossed. [Talking Points Memo]

I’d just like to state for the record that no matter how I feel about Mr. Roberts’ politics, this comment is way out of line.  This wasn’t a random user posting in the comments section either.  This was on the blog’s main page. 

Wonkette wasn’t alone, however.  Texas Rainmaker managed to capture this type of crap in the comments sections of DU, Crooks and Liars and The Huffington Post.  User comments are anonymous, of course, and could have been left by anyone, but it doesn’t diminish their ugliness.  

There has been quite a bit of talk lately about the level of hate that comes from the blogosphere.  I’ve noticed it myself, and I’ve also noticed a lot of finger-pointing going on over it.  It saddens me, and I wonder what effect it may have on the level of political discourse of this country.  So, I’d like to make an appeal to bloggers and netizens everywhere…

I’ve been around the blogs on all sides of the political spectrum long enough to know that this type of stuff comes from the left and the right.  Many will claim that the other side is more ‘hateful’ than their own (I see it ALL the time), and will try to prove it by grabbing comments from blogs when these little hate-fests occur, but I think in the end both ‘sides’ are equally to blame.  

The flaw in finger-pointing by cherry-picking from comments sections

If you think about it, using these “gotcha” comments like the ones Texas Rainmaker linked to can encourage mobys and impostors to “plant” offensive material. The phenomenon can snowball, as the more importance is placed on them, the more incentive there is for netizens to resort to that type of subversion. Eventually they become meaningless and only serve to taint legitimate political discourse.  What you wind up with is more of a mud-slinging contest than anything that could be considered productive debate.  That, and it doesn’t really prove anything.  (Of course, comments that appear on the main blog entry are different, which is why I pointed to Wonkette) 

Just so you know, I’m certainly not suggesting that all those comments about Roberts were ‘planted’ by people who wanted to make those blogs look bad, but there isn’t anything to stop someone from doing that.  I’m just pointing out that, in the big picture, the finger-pointing exercise itself is counterproductive.  It appears to be happening more frequently lately, too.

So, instead of finger-pointing, let’s agree to categorically condemn the hate (wishing death on someone, especially) whenever and wherever we see it via the comment sections.  Many bloggers already do this, but it wouldn’t hurt to encourage their deletion as well.  It shouldn’t seem like a novel concept. Perhaps I’m just dreaming. But…Maybe, just maybe, we can all tone it down a little.

Also see my post Comments Do Not Necessarily Reflect The Views Of…

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Memoirs Of The Dumb And Insane

July 30, 2007
#369 Charles 7/28/2007 9:08:19 pm PDT

re: #351 ChenZhen

Ok, I’m done with you. That was so convoluted and twisted that I’m ready to admit I was wrong when I said you weren’t dumb.

Never mind the fact that I was right, but less than 24 hrs later…

#263 Charles  7/29/2007 8:20:29 pm PDT 

ChenZhen is trying to turn this into a conspiracy smear.

I’m done with him, and it’s too bad. I thought he had a chance to be sane. I was mistaken.

It’s a miracle I’m able to function. 

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Iraq Wins Asia Cup

July 29, 2007

Talk about a fairytale:  Iraq defy odds to win Asian Cup

When the final whistle sounded, the Iraq players collapsed to the ground in a mixture of shock and an unbridled emotion, kissing the turf and embracing each other after their country’s finest sporting moment.

Saudi Arabia were outplayed by an Iraqi team riding high on a wave of national support.

The Iraqis created a string of chances, only to be denied by sloppy finishing and extraordinary saves from Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem.

It will be interesting to see if this stimulates a feeling of national unity that actually makes a difference over there. 

BTW- The final score was 1-0.

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Buy Stock In Prosthetic Manufacturers, I Guess

July 28, 2007

Ever wonder what happens to the injured in all these car bombs that take place in Iraq?  I do, and I imagine that it isn’t pretty.  I doubt they’ll report this on Fox News: Amputations bring health crisis to Iraq

In the north of Iraq, the Red Crescent Society and the director general for health services in Mosul have told US forces, there is a requirement for up to 3,000 replacement limbs a year. If that estimate is applied across the country, it suggests an acute and looming long-term health challenge that has been largely ignored by the world.

Don’t ya just love war?

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Is The ‘Left’ To Blame For The Release Of Gitmo Prisoners?

July 28, 2007

Another night, another heated debate on LGF.  You know, one where it’s me vs. the entire Lizardoid Army.  So, as promised, I’m posting a thread here to continue the discussion (threads on LGF tend to move a lot faster).  Anyway, here’s the LGF post:
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Good work, lefties. How many people have died because of your bleeding-heart crusade to get the jihadis at Guantanamo released? Freed Guantanamo inmates take up arms.

AT LEAST 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.

They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq, a US Defence Department spokesman told The Age yesterday.

Commander Jeffrey Gordon said the detainees had, while in custody, falsely claimed to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-arms merchants, low-level combatants or had offered other false explanations for being in Afghanistan.

“We are aware of dozens of cases where they have returned to militant activities, participated in anti-US propaganda or engaged in other activities,” said Commander Gordon.

Thirty dedicated mujahideen can kill a lot of people.
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After an intense firefight that started with this statement:

I suppose if you think hard enough you could find a way to blame the left for just about anything.

I finally left my concluding statement on comment #351:

Look, either you can blame the ‘left’ for the release of the scumbags or you can’t. So ask yourself: Who made the decision to release them? It seems pretty simple to me. The whole idea of Gitmo was it’s there because it can operate outside of US laws. It’s Bush’s baby, and if he wanted to shut it down tomorrow he could. So, to me, blaming the ‘left’ for something that ultimately the military or the DOD or whoever decided to do is ridiculous. Bush hasn’t given much of an inch to the left on Gitmo, unless his hand was forced (like the aforementioned SCOTUS ruling), and that was only to change their status, not to release anyone.

But I doubt Charles will change his post no matter what I say, so for tonight I’m done. Maybe I’ll start a thread on my blog and we can continue the discussion there and you can prove me wrong.

So am I wrong? 

Update:  LGF isn’t the only one making “blood on your hands” accusations.  Here’s the technorati link to follow this story.  Keep in mind that the article makes little mention as to why these guys were released (beyond fooling US officials), so I guess the assumption is that leftist mind rays sprung them loose. 

So, lets see if we can do some fact-checking, shall we?  According to the DoD:

There are ongoing processes to review the status of detainees.  A determination about the continued detention or transfer of a detainee is based on the best information and evidence available at the time.  The circumstances in which detainees are apprehended can be ambiguous, and many of the detainees are highly skilled in concealing the truth.

Interesting.  Wait, there’s more:

The investigators said that some criminal suspects against whom they had good evidence have been among the 340 detainees released, because they were citizens of Great Britain or other cooperating countries who made diplomatic deals with the United States. Citizens of some 40 nations are still at Guantanamo.

Yep.  Lefties fault. Blood on hands.  Damn those mind rays!

Anyway, that would be 30 out of 340 (as of last year) have been confirmed to have returned to the battlefield.  Less than 10%.  Of course, it would be preferable if we were able to be omnipotent enough to determine who the bad guys are and who are just farmers (or something) 100% of the time, but nothing is perfect. 

Update:  Michelle Malkin, to her credit, gives a much more objective and less vitriolic assessment of the article, although she still managed to take a swipe at the Dems in closing.

Update:  Newshoggers looks at the story another way, and points out that 90% of those released appear to be peaceful (as well as shooting holes in “the left is to blame” argument).  Oh well, here’s Wizbang.  Lefties again.

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Al-Maliki Asks Bush To Replace Petraeus (Update: Lies I Tell You! Lies!)

July 28, 2007

The man that seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders right now isn’t getting along to well with Iraq’s prime minister: Iraqi leader tells Bush: Get Gen Petraeus out

It doesn’t look like a personality thing, rather a dispute over tactics:

Although the call was rejected, aides to both men admit that Mr Maliki and Gen David Petraeus engage in frequent stand-up shouting matches, differing particularly over the US general’s moves to arm Sunni tribesmen to fight al-Qa’eda.

One Iraqi source said Mr Maliki used a video conference with Mr Bush to call for the general’s signature strategy to be scrapped. “He told Bush that if Petraeus continues, he would arm Shia militias,” said the official. “Bush told Maliki to calm down.”

So, while Bush is telling America to “wait for Petraeus“, it appears that al-Maliki isn’t so patient.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I’m guessing that al-Maliki’s opinion probably carries more weight than those here at home when it comes to what might happen in Iraq over the next few months.

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Update:  Al-Maliki has apparently corrected the story, acknowledging disagreements but saying the request for Petraeus’ departure was false.

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I Hereby Coin The Phrase “Brobdingnagian Factcheckathon”

July 27, 2007

Brobdingnagian factcheckathon – First used here, it describes a phenomenon of “citizen journalism” employed by bloggers on a massive scale, usually with the intention of debunking a story that has appeared in the mainstream media (MSM).  It is characterized by a high level of cooperation between blogs and a reliance on reader tips sent in by email or in the comments sections.  During these events it is not unusual for individual bloggers to pull “all-nighters” in an attempt to get a scoop on the story.  Typically, the story is of a politically sensitive nature, and leads the event to be conducted primarily by bloggers on one side of the political spectrum (see Rathergate, Jamil Hussein, and Scott Thomas Beauchamp ).