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Dean Barnett

Sad news in the blogging world: Dean Barnett has passed away. I never met him, or so much as exchanged emails; I knew him only as a guy who often guest-blogged for Hugh Hewitt (see HH's tribute here). But Barnett's writing popped off the computer screen. There was never anything mannered about it -- he was smart, clear, funny, and rather gentle as political bloggers go. Most bloggers are eminently skimmable, but a Barnett post always earned a thorough read. Even if you didn't agree with him (he was very conservative), you had to admire his wit and his mastery of the language.

He suffered from cystic fibrosis, and wrote an essay about his struggles. Here's an excerpt:

"I came to view serious and progressive illness as an ever constricting circle with oneself at the center....At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter: family, faith, love. These things stay with you until the day you die. At the very end, because the circle has shrunk down to its center, they're all you have left. But as we approach that end, we finally realize that all along, they were what mattered most. As a consequence, life often remains beautiful and worthwhile right up until the end."

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 27, 2008; 4:34 PM ET
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Sad indeed. People who say things in ways worth paying attention to, regardless of political orientation, are far too uncommon in the blogosphere.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 27, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

My pastor adds these words at the end of each memorial service he leads:

In the climb for success it is important to be sure your ladder leans on something solid, something important. The most important things in life are the three "F"s, Faith, Family & Friends.

Posted by: VintageLady | October 27, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse


A sort of typical selection.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 27, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you are a class act. This kit shows that that you really can have political and philosophical differences with a person and yet still respect them.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 27, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

He had CF and lived to be 41. That's progress on the disease, though we still have a long way to go.

Posted by: slyness | October 27, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I have never been good at writing on serious matters except war, treachery and desperate adventure.

I have never read Dean Barnett, but the paragraph posted by Joel makes me take my cap off in respect for a searcher of the truth.

Posted by: Braguine | October 27, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Very nice post Joel.

This is scary, must say not looking forward to this next week of your election.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 27, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I have never been any good at serious stuff. Nor have I ever read Barnett

After Joel's comments and reading Barnett's paragraph, I take my cap of to a seeker of truth.

Posted by: Braguine | October 27, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Move over bears and overhead projectors, McCain/Palin are taking aim at fruit flies now. I don't even know how to begin to respond to this....
*shaking head and then just giving up and letting it hang hopelessly*

On-kit, some of the most informative basic research on cystic fibrosis has been done with Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism.

A comment on McCain/Palin versus science from Christopher Hitchens:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 27, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow, fangs from Hitchens. Well said, although inflammatory.

That said, I think THEIR party has some serious explaining to do about why they want to target science so much for their policies and rhetoric. Is there some kind of anti-science cult out there that I'm unfamiliar with? And I don't refer simply to the so-called "creation scientists."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 27, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl... Great Guardian link. You should have seen the gasp from Dr G when I read him what Pain said about the fruit fly research.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 27, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

New kit! With pictures!

Posted by: -TBG- | October 27, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

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