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Saturday, February 16, 2002

"There is a capacity of virtue in us,
and there is a capacity of vice to make
your blood creep."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Moira Breen writes beautifully about happy ramblings across Texas; with pig-deer, astronomy, kind-hearted waitresses; and culminating in microwave pizza...

...And that is the story of one of the happiest Christmas feasts I have ever eaten - in the parking lot of a convenience store, with a can of beer that I would have found utterly tasteless under different circumstances, and a limp-crusted, processed-cheese pizza, under a sky of hallucinatory starriness.
The best meals come by surprise, when you are starving! She mentions a splendid example of Forest Service Gothic. Oh frabjous delights! I love those buildings most desperately. Visit any of the older State or National Parks, and you are likely to see architectural wonders.

Many were built in the 1930's by the CCC and the WPA. They are national treasures.
... The hand crafted, and sometimes intricately decorated, architecture and natural landscape planning evolved from talented designers and often unskilled laborers who lavished their work with love that only the lack of deadlines, the motivation of an empty stomach, a belief in the benefit for their fellow countrymen and the need to build with on site materials can produce. These buildings are truly "green buildings" before the term and recent politically correct notion became fasionable...
This quote is from an amazon review of a superb book: Park and Recreation Structures, by Albert H Good. (the review is by Bill VonRosenberg, a Texas architect.) I have that book, and it's fascinating and beautiful and (for me) haunting. Good was an architect with the CCC, and his book is a massive compilation ranging from hotels and lookout towers to rustic privies and refuse pits.

What does it profit us to bestride the whole world, if we can no longer build things like this?:

CCC Picnic shelter

I just went to, and was, as always, pelted with recommendations. Unlike most Internet advertising, these are worth attention -- they are often good picks. (And, if you want to take the time you can modify the list of past purchases from which they extrapolate your tastes.)

Sometimes they throw me the oddest curves...they once tossed me the music of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, though at the time I had never bought anything similar...thanks, Amazon, I loved it...

Just now amazon presented me with a Listmania list called: So You Dislike the French?. Fine, fine, but HOW DID THEY KNOW ????

I've never bought any books like The Xenophobe's Guide to the French; or even
Orgasmic Days in the South of France...

There's only one answer -- They are reading this weblog ! That's so clever of them...I'm looking forward to those implanted Amazon chips they are working on...(I don't really dislike the French, I just like to complain about them...)
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Megan McArdle has good thoughts on what's the fuss about the academy being skewed to the left?

"Well, there's two ways to respond to that. The first is to ask how you would feel if Oral Roberts and their ilk were the gateway to the good life for your children?...

...Of course if you're on the left, having a mostly left academy feels nice'n'comfy. But that's not an education, it's brainwashing. And if that's what you want for your children, I guess I'm not going to convince you it's a bad thing....

...The total dominance of the left is encouraging intellectual complacency, shutting down debate in many areas, and in general creating an unhealthy atrophy in the intellectual atmosphere of many humanities departments -- just as it would be if 94% of the academy hailed from the right. Homogeneity does not breed sharp thinking in any atmosphere. That is why the best conservative writing is the writing aimed at a general audience; it assumes nothing, proves every point, and offers genuine insight instead of complaining..."

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Friday, February 15, 2002

From a press release of the Indian Trust Lawsuit (Cobell v. Norton)

The Cobell plaintiffs have filed a new motion with the court asking that the Secretaries of Interior and Treasury be found in contempt for suppressing evidence and advancing legal arguments that they knew to be false.

The motion charges that government attorneys sought a favorable ruling from Judge Lamberth, claiming that the General Accounting Office had performed an accounting of IIM trust accounts.

Government lawyers did not reveal an Aug. 27, 1999 letter from GAO stating that "our records do not establish that GAO conducted a final‚ GAO comprehensive audit of IIM accounts, nor do they establish any regular practice of auditing IIM accounts."

A senior Interior Department official, John Berry, distributed the GAO letter to the department's Cobell litigation team, but said nothing to the Indian plaintiffs or the judge.

"It was not until December 4, 2001, 15 months after the GAO Letter was transmitted to Mr. Berry, that the Special Master and plaintiffs were made aware of the existence of the GAO letter.'"

The plaintiffs‚ motion filed today contains a fascinating historical account (on p. 13) of the true state of IIM accounting:

On February 8, 1933, Senator William King of Utah delivered a fierce condemnation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs...King also addressed flaws in individual Indian moneys. As he had traveled to Indian reservations with a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the subcommittee had become accustomed to endless queries and complaints by individual Indians and by tribes of Indians having to do with their stated inability to obtain from the Indian Bureau an accounting for their money, individual and tribal, which is held and administered under trust.

The motion is available here, PDF. It makes for some very interesting reading. Novels should be so good. The letter in question was finally handed over, but buried in a mass of unrelated and trivial documents where it could easily have been overlooked. Another report detailing widespread destruction of documents was handed over by accident! ...and our taxes pay for this...
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(this doesn't display rignt in some versions of Netscape...sorry)

   Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay,  
   That was built in such a logical way
   It ran a hundred years to a day,
   And then, of a sudden, it -- ah, but stay,
   I'll tell you what happened without delay...
Swen just quoted some Robert Service, which put me in mind of The Deacon's Masterpiece by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Scaring the parson into fits,
   Frightening people out of their wits, --
   Have you ever heard of that, I say?
The poem is about how the Deacon builds a carriage, but at the same time it's about systems, such as systems of thought, that seem to go on and on without breaking until...
Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.
  Georgius Secundus was then alive, --
  Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
  That was the year when Lisbon-town
  Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
  And Braddock's army was done so brown,
  Left without a scalp to its crown.
  It was on the terrible Earthquake-day
  That the Deacon finished the one-hoss shay...
The catastrophic Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 was for many in its time the moment when unquestioned beliefs suddenly collapsed. Voltaire's Candide was about this...
Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
  There is always somewhere a weakest spot, --
  In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
  In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
  In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace, -- lurking still,
  Find it somewhere you must and will, --
  Above or below, or within or without, --
  And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
  A chaise breaks down, but doesn't wear out...
In our time too we have systems that seem so solid that no one imagines they could break down. The Iron Curtain for example...
 ...The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees,
  The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
  But lasts like iron for things like these;
  The hubs of logs from the "Settler's ellum," --
  Last of its timber, -- they couldn't sell 'em,
  Never an axe had seen their chips,
  And the wedges flew from between their lips,
  Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
There was an interesting piece in OpinionJournal recently, about how the Democrats are a party without new ideas; simply defending with blinkered stubbornness programs that date from FDR's administration.
...Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
  Deacon and deaconess dropped away,
  Children and grandchildren -- where were they?
  But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay
  As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake-day!
I think we learned a lot of bad lessons from WWII. It seemed to triumphantly confirm a system where the power of the state, mobilized by bureaucrats and intellectuals, could solve any problem...
FIRST OF NOVEMBER, -- the Earthquake-day, --
  There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
  A general flavor of mild decay,
  But nothing local, as one may say.
  There couldn't be, -- for the Deacon's art
  Had made it so like in every part
  That there wasn't a chance for one to start...
Perhaps September 11 was our 'Earthquake Day.' A number of solid things seem to be liquifying. ...
...First a shiver, and then a thrill,
  Then something decidedly like a spill, --
  And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
  At half past nine by the meet'n-house clock, --
  Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
  What do you think the parson found,
  When he got up and stared around?
  The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
  As if it had been to the mill and ground!
We are now staring around and finding Europe otiose, the NYT a joke, Harvard and our intellectuals somniferous...
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
  How it went to pieces all at once, --
  All at once, and nothing first, --
  Just as bubbles do when they burst.

End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
  Logic is logic. That's all I say.

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Weblogging Tip:

I wrote earlier about hacking URL's. Be careful not to mistake an archive link ( for a link to the whole weblog, and add it to your Bookmarks/Favorites.

I did that once, and then wondered why the person wasn't adding any new posts. Was he sick? Maybe DEAD! You may point out that this is obvious, but I've made many a blunder in my life just because people couldn't be bothered to point out what they thought was obvious.

Someone wrote to me about really hacking URL's, like for getting into places you aren't supposed to be. Someone from a certain subcontinent, but I won't say who. They used to say that skill with a billiard cue was a sign of a misspent youth. Now we might say that about the ability to rummage through someone elses hard drive.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

"This latest affront to our sovereignty makes it clear we must get out
of the WTO if we hope to avoid further international meddling in our
domestic affairs. The WTO is not about free trade, but rather
government-managed trade that benefits certain corporate interests.
The Constitution grants Congress, and Congress alone, the authority to
regulate trade and craft tax laws. Congress cannot cede even a small
part of that authority to the WTO or any other international body, nor
can the President legally sign any treaty which purports to do so.
America's Founders never intended for our nation to become entangled
in international trade agreements, and they certainly never intended
to have our laws overridden by international bureaucrats. Congress may
not object to being pushed around by the WTO, but the majority of
Americans do." --Rep. Ron Paul
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I sure hate it when I feed the dog or the cats, and they just stand there and stare at me, as if to say: This slop is supper? You CAN'T be serious... Eat it, you spoilt brats; if this were China you'd be supper...

Thursday, February 14, 2002

"A government that is big enough to give you all you
want is big enough to take it all away." --Barry Goldwater
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Next question: Why isn't there a Special Prosecutor in the Curious Case of the Missing Indian Moneys? We have here at least a real possibility that billions were stolen by people in the government. Where's the FBI? Where's the Justice Dept.?

Actually we know why. Special Prosecutors are intended to embarrass the other party, and thereby aid in getting grubby paws on the levers of power. No one's going to use such a weapon where it might discredit government itself. Same with Suman's suggestion of IRS audits.

It's like Sauron being unable to even imagine that Gandalf would want to destroy the ring, rather than wield it.

Swen suggested employing Ken Lay and the Enroners to investigate this mess. Yes.

Update: (via Swen)

:...The turning point in Elouise Cobell's 25-year crusade to force the federal government to fix the broken trust system came on a trip to Washington, D.C., not long before she brought her lawsuit in 1996. She and several colleagues thought they had arranged an audience with Attorney General Janet Reno. Instead, they were met by Justice Department lawyers who, she says, told her "not to come in here with false expectations."

"I said at that meeting, 'I want a special prosecutor,' " she recalls in measured terms that mask a steely determination. "They all looked at me and laughed. And it gets to the point where they've humiliated you so much that you say, 'I'm going to get you.' And at the end of that meeting was when I said I'm going to sue."(good article in USA Today)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Washington Monument Ploy, by the way, refers to times when the National Park Service, faced with budget cuts, has let it be known that they would probably have to close the Monument. Pure blackmail of course. And pure bluff.

I was about to say that this was like public schools getting rid of sports, or the band, or the library, when money is short. But that's different; they really do get rid of them. You might think it's because they are ruthlessly defending the basics of education, until you notice that they never ever ever ever get rid of any of those hard-working folks in the administration.

I've heard (I don't have actual figures) that many public school systems have as many administrators as teachers. Private schools have far less. So when you hear of teacher's unions blocking any and all reforms, it's not teacher's jobs they are protecting.

Swen Swenson had this Bon Mot recently:
‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach organize teachers unions.’

Sam: Pepys imageIn Samuel Pepys's time, St Valentine's Day was celebrated by choosing ones Valentine, a sort of mock-betrothal. Sometimes Valentines were chosen by lot, sometimes they were the first person one saw that day. Elizabeth Pepys once had to hide in her room to avoid seeing first the painters working on their house!

Much flirtation and laughter ensued. The girls often took the initiative in choosing, and they always got a gift. In the Diary we can see the modern Valentines, with its emphasis on Valentine cards, beginning to emerge. On 16 February, 1667, Pepys visited Mrs Pearse, where her little daughter drew him as her valentine. "But here I do first observe the fashion of drawing of Motto's as well as names...what mine was I have forgot; but my wife's was Most virtuous and most fair."

Valentine's Day could be expensive; the Duke of York once gave Frances Stuart a jewel worth £800.

(15 February 1669) To my cousin Turner's, where, having the last night been told by her that she had drawn me for her Valentine, I did this day call at the New Exchange and bought her a pair of green silk stockings and garters and shoe-strings, and two pair of jessimy-gloves, all coming to about 28s. -- and did give them to her this noon.
This holiday has now become so ludicrous and tacky, that I look with favor on Suman Palit's suggestion: Replace it with World Drinking Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

UPDATE: [not important; nothing has changed yet...]

WASHINGTON (AP) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton asked a judge Wednesday for more time to fix a flawed system that handles $500 million annually in royalties from Indian-owned land.

But after five years of presiding in a lawsuit alleging the mismanagement of $10 billion in Indian money, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth was skeptical, noting he had heard similar reform promises from Norton's predecessor.

"Secretary (Bruce) Babbitt sat right in that chair where you are and assured me of a great plan and all this was going to happen and none of it happened," Lamberth said. "How do I rely on what you ... are telling me now and how is it different from what Secretary Babbitt told me?"

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Andrew Dodge of Dodgeblog found this oddity (at Middle East Media Research Inst.):

The article contains something that is so bad as to be almost laughable. It seems that even on a suicide mission a woman needs a chaperone!

"A few days later, Sheikh Yassin amended his position,
saying that a woman going out to wage Jihad must be
accompanied by a male chaperon only "if she is to be gone
for a day and a night. If her absence is shorter, she does
not need a chaperon."(13)"

It then goes onto descibe a debate between clerics about whether or not she needs a chaperone on a suicide mission. If it weren't these men were talking about the rules for young women to go kill innocent Isreali citizens, this could be seen as laughable.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Swen Swenson (Coyote) notes that the Dept of Interior has released the royalty checks they've been sitting on for months. I hadn't yet gotten around to blogging this issue. The judge ordered them to fix the system, so DOI has been punishing those unruly redskins by shutting it down altogether. (This is a seperate issue from shutting down Internet access)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

NortonNorton to Testify on Trust Funds [Today ]

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton could become the third Cabinet secretary in three years held in contempt of court for continued failures to repair the management of a system of American Indian trust funds...

...Although much of the alleged wrongdoing occurred during the tenure of her predecessor, Bruce Babbitt, Norton and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Neal A. McCaleb are on trial as the current officials in charge of the trust fund.
Doesn't matter, the contempt verdict just means that one branch of the gov't pays a fine to another.
... The Indians' attorneys claim the government owes 300,000 Indian account holders more than $10 billion.
Well quick, let's do something. To ENRON. (But not to Global-Crossing, they're too close to the Democrats. And the Democrats, as we all know, are for the people; just ask Barbara Streisand.)
They want responsibility for the trust stripped from Interior and assigned to a receiver outside the department. Norton has proposed creating a new bureau within the department to manage the money, although that plan has been met with stubborn resistance among Indian leaders.
Resistance? Forsooth! No new bureaus! (which would, of course, be staffed by experienced personnel, such as those who are already doing the job. They can't be laid off you see, that would be unthinkable. I'm afraid those Libertarian whatchamacallits are right: Republicans are for big government, Democrats are for VERY big government
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

"We had strayed a great distance from our Founding Fathers' vision of America. They regarded the central government's responsibility as that of providing national security, protecting our democratic freedoms, and limiting the government's intrusion in our lives -- in sum, the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They never envisioned vast agencies in Washington telling our farmers what to plant, our teachers what to teach, our industries what to build. The Constitution they wrote established sovereign states, not mere administrative districts for the federal government. They believed in keeping government as close as possible to the people." --Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

I found (via Dane Carlson) this article: Seven tricks that Web users don't know

It's intended for web developers, which I'm not, except as a spectator. (Much more interesting than the Superbowl.) But I am fascinated by the simple things people don't know. An example from the article:

7. Second browser windows
I've saved this one for last because it's especially hard to believe -- some people can use Windows applications for years without understanding the concept of task switching. (When I point to the task bar and ask them what it's for, they can't tell me.) Thus, spawning second browser windows can completely throw users off track because it removes the one thing they are sure how to use: the "Back" button.
My good wife Charlene, who is exceedingly intelligent, never opens more than one browser window at a time. In fact, I don't think I've seen her open more than one program at a time. (This on a Mac with 384 Megs of RAM.)

Other things people don't know: You can hack the URL in your browser window. In a URL, all those words between those front slashes reflect the structure of the site. If you see, you are seeing something like a cross-section of the site, with folders one inside another. Delete furniture/chairs and hit Enter -- that will take you back up to the products page. Very useful if you follow a link to a 404 Page Not Found.

Also, if you have a link to a particular blogspot post (, just delete everything after the .com and you have the main address.

Many people don't know the difference between privacy and security...Or don't know that clicking on a company's logo will take you to the company's home page... Don't know the purpose of Stop, or Refresh.

(There are, of course, lots of things I don't know -- I bump into them all the time. Feel free to point out my various mistakes.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I found (via that crazy guy from Kolkata) a new warblog: Give War a Chance, by Hawkgirl. (already I like it...)

... Vladmir Putin feels "any use of force by the US against Iraq 'should be justified' and have the backing of the international community". Call me blood-thirsty, but I always felt that cleaning the clock of a ruthless dictator viciously starving his own people and attempting to secure chemical and biological weapons in order to hold the entire planet hostage might actually be considered "justified". But more about Cuba later.
Don't you love the way she just throws away that line...

PS: re: previous post. Me still heap pissed. If anyone feels like blogging this and kicking it around a bit, do feel free -- I'll be your friend forever (or at least many moons of Internet time)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday, February 11, 2002

I'm painfully angry and bitter thinking about the Indian Trust Fund Scandal. I got angrier as I wrote about it, and then Charlene read my post and hit the ceiling (she hadn't heard about the mess), which set me off again...

It makes me furious to think of our government self-righteously dragging Enron bosses over the coals, probably sending them to jail, while at the same time losing billions of dollars belonging to some of the poorest people in the country. And here's our President blathering about the Mother Of All Volunteer Programs, so we can be led by wise bureaucrats out of our squalid selfishness into the ways of charity. Phoooey. If I ran the circus a whole bunch of Interiocrats would be heading out to the reservations for some real volunteer work. Let 'em live in a hogan for a while. (And I might contract with Fidelity Funds to handle the trust.)

At the very least they ought to be laid off. The people at Enron lose their jobs and their retirement money, but at least the problem ends. But the people at Interior will never lose their jobs or their retirement benefits or go to jail, and the problems will go on and on.

I've been in government offices, and I've seen these people. I hate them. The lazy toads will be sitting sitting sitting at their endless rows of tin desks until it's time to toddle off to retirement. They're all Democrats, and their only priority is for their trust fund, the US Government, to keep paying forever.

From The Washington Post, by: Neely Tucker. December 5, 2001 (available here)

...In effect, there is no trust," said Dennis M. Gingold, lead attorney for the 500,000 Indians represented in the class action suit. "It means the accounts are open. Nobody has any idea of where the money is, if it's going to the right people. It involves hundreds of millions of dollars for which there is almost no audit trail."An Interior Department spokesman declined to comment on the report yesterday.

The lawsuit was filed by Indians who say they are owed up to $10 billion because of widespread accounting failures. Two years ago, Judge Lamberth ruled that the program was beset by incompetence, neglect and mismanagement. He ordered the department to clean up the accounting problems.

Norton took office in January, portraying herself as an energetic reformer of a system she inherited from Clinton administration officials. In November, she said she would appoint an assistant Interior Department secretary who would directly oversee the trust fund. The new office, called the Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management, would overhaul the accounting system.

But Lamberth has shown impatience with her attempts to find a solution. Norton is facing a contempt-of-court trial next week, at which she will defend herself against charges that her department has lied to Lamberth about progress in overhauling the trust fund.

Especially grating to the court is the fact that the government's new computer accounting system, which has cost millions of dollars, is almost completely useless in monitoring the trust fund.

The trust, established in 1887, is built from proceeds derived from 11 million acres held in trust by the U.S. government. Concessions or rights to oil, gas, timber and mining ventures on those lands are channeled into accounts managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

But government records have been destroyed or lost through the years, and there is now little accurate accounting of where the money has gone, or is now going.The Interior Department's basic computer accounting program -- and the new system which began to be deployed in 1999 -- are both unable to provide even a modicum of computer security, the report said, citing 30 previous government or private audits that showed similar results...
I wish I were eloquent enough to do justice to the subject. Maybe no one is -- some of these problems were pointed out at least as early as 1928! You can find out more at The Plaintiffs' web site.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Coyote writes: However, I see that the Dept. of the Interior people are still off-line. The DOI was ordered to shut down the internet connection to their ‘computers containing Indian Trust Fund info.’ It appeared to me that they could have cut the line at any number of locations. They chose to shut down all their internet connections, apparently agency-wide. This was on December 7th. They’re still gone. Over two months now! That is more than strange.
This really is puzzling. Could it be incompetence? Could it be some variant on the old Washington Monument ploy? Anybody know what's going on? And the Trust Fund scandal itself is stupefying. Are we ready to discuss Bureaucrat Term Limits?

UPDATE: someone sent me the suggestion that they are keeping people from hacking for information useful in the lawsuit. In that case they presumably shut the whole system down to conceal that they didn't want access to certain sensitive parts.

In an earlier post today there appeared scoundrell savages. Perhaps some DOI bureaucrats should be turned over to the savages who could teach them to be in tune with Nature and the Great Spirit. Of course such lessons would likely be painful, maybe fatal, but they would surely be politically correct...
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day,
Give a man tech support, and you'll be helping him for the rest of your life.

-- Anon.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

"Back in antiquity, when I was a public high-school student in upstate New York, we were really shortchanged in our education. The faculty and administration forced us, against our collective will, to read Chaucer, Shakespeare, 'The Iliad' and 'Paradise Lost.' We had teachers who made us learn algebra, geometry and trigonometry, and memorize Newton's laws and Bernoulli's Principle. We started each school day with the pledge to the flag and a prayer, and were taught that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, et al., were honorable men and the nation's Founding Fathers. And then, after beating all this information into our thick heads, they had the audacity to test us on how much of it we had actually learned! Worse yet, if we didn't know enough, we would, dare I write the word, fail!" --Oliver North

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

In John Adams' time, vaccination for smallpox had not yet been invented. They did have innoculation, where a small amount of actual smallpox pus would be rubbed into a scratch. It was a dangerous procedure, the patients had to be kept isolated for weeks, and would be quite sick -- some would die. Abigail Adams had herself and the children innoculated during the war, while John was away with Congress. She was quite a person.

Our armies suffered cruelly from Smallpox in 1776-77; especially the men retreating from the disastrous invasion of Canada. John Adams writes to Abigail in June of 1776:

The Small Pox! The Small Pox! What shall We do with it? I could almost wish that an innoculating Hospital was opened in every Town in New England. It is some small consolation that the scoundrell savages have taken a large Dose of it. They plundered the Baggage, and stripped off the cloaths of of our Men, who had the Small Pox out full upon them at the Cedars. [where hundreds of Americans had surrendered to a force of British and Indians]

Sunday, February 10, 2002

WORD NOTES: There is an old phrase: The exception that proves the rule. It doesn't seem to make much sense, unless you realize that the old meaning of prove is to test. This meaning survives in the name of the famous Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where the army tests weapons. You might want to update the phrase and say: The exception that tests the rule.

Charlene spent part of her Army-brat youth at Aberdeen, and remembers it fondly. It had four seasons! [unlike her later homes in Bakersfield and San Francisco] leaves in fall, snow in winter, flowers in spring and humidity in summer...
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Richard Bennett has added something new to his gazette; he's given one-word descriptors to all his blog links. DailyPundit is Chainsaw, Kepple is Humor, Suman Palit is Eminent; and me? I'm Manliness!

I guess I'll take it as a compliment, and not enquire too too closely as to whether he's pulling my leg.

Anyway, I like his style, and I've added him to my list of links. That's not a club that is easy to get into, by the way. You can't buy your way in. Well, actually you can, but it's not cheap. Even a wealthy playboy like Dawson found the price's similar to that club, The Twelve True Fisherman in one of Chesterton's stories ... maybe twelve should be my absolute max...
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A new gazette worth looking at: JOHNELLIS, the "Digital Matters" columnist for Fast Company Magazine, who wrote an article on blogging and then started one of his own.

He has interesting stuff on the coming elections; and on how the NYT may be ignoring the involvement of JPMorganChase and CITI in the Enron mire because they are important advertisers.

He also links to his own article:The (Life) Science of War, a very interesting piece on the importance of Genomics and Proteomics (blocking genomic attacks) in wars to come:

...If you're the president of the United States, you have exactly two options: You can either hope that it [smallpox] never happens or preemptively inoculate everyone in the country. That doesn't seem like a terribly difficult decision until you realize that if you choose the second option, there will be serious side effects, such as vesicular rash and postvaccinial encephalitis, for 0.09% of all Americans. That's roughly 253,000 people -- just about the entire population of Louisville, Kentucky. And for a small number of Americans ( up to six per one million ), the vaccine will be fatal...
This seems to be too all-or-nothingish. What if part of the population were vaccinated? This might slow the spread of any outbreak enough to make smallpox much less attractive as a weapon. An option might be to urge voluntary vaccination. Also, are the side effects less likely for those, like me, who were vaccinated long ago?
But the next generation of warfare will be about genetic instruction sets. The winners ( or the ones who have the upper hand ) will be those who know the genomes of the attacking agents and the proteomics of blocking them. The losers will be those who don't...
Hmmm...If journalist heavies like Ellis all start weblogs, will us amateurs be sidelined? Well, the 'marketplace' will decide.
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Charlene found an interesting article: Is Globalization Christian? at

...Was it just random chance that the West took the lead? Or is it possible that, however perverted it sometimes became, the missionary impulse—which Christians trace back to a commandment explicitly given by Jesus—played a part in this outcome? China, remember, faced no internal contradiction by contracting. The Chinese found much of the world backward and boring, and the emperor had no "great commission" to uphold. To this day, Christian missionaries continue to take the gospel to such "backward" people, often introducing technology and raising their standard of living in the process. As for Islam, missiologist Andrew Walls has shown how the "translatability" of the gospel and the "cross-cultural diffusion" of Christianity contrast with the dynamics of Islamic expansion.

Granted, it is important not to minimize the reality of greed as a motivating factor. But it is at least a plausible hypothesis that Christianity's missionary instincts helped prepare the soil from whence globalization eventually sprang...
That article is partly a review of Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. It's a book I haven't yet read. but it sounds good:
...Not so fast, say our classical liberals. The thesis of A Future Perfect is that globalization, on the whole, is tugging us in the right direction and hence needs to be "not only understood but defended stoutly." With characteristically witty Oxbridge prose and a raft of subtitles, they set out to do just that: explain and defend globalization against its enemies and, more important, its erstwhile friends. Globalization, they argue, has been badly (and under-) sold by free-market types, American enthusiasts, and center-left politicians the world over. Nearly every camp has giddily embraced one or more of the refutable myths about what they call "a process rather than a fact..."