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Obama in Cairo

No doubt certain dyspeptic pundits will find something to object to in this speech, but I don't see Obama apologizing to the Muslim world or anything of the sort. Instead he is promoting our ideals, speaking frankly, and calling for the world to heal its divisions.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Your thoughts, please.

Here are a few excerpts -- passages that caught my eye:

"Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words - within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: 'Out of many, one.'

"Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores - that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average....

"Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve....

"Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered....

"No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons....

"I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere....

"There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions...."

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 4, 2009; 9:42 AM ET
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I sure do hope the translation is very accurate.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 4, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Saw half and listened to the other half. Thought it was a great speech.

The "professional" critics have no credibility, and no longer count for anything. One no longer has to even take them seriously: Limbaugh, Gingrich, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin, et al. There is nothing on the face of the earth Obama can say or do to make them happy.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

They'll ignore this speech, complain it's not militant enough, or take credit for making Obama have a spine.

Yeah... whatever.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 4, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The speech may have been given in Cairo, but it was directed at Iran.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Like nearly all of his speeches, this one reflects a fundamental empathy and a profound understanding for the complexity of the situation.

I see only two problems. First of all, many in this region view vengeance for historical wrongs as a virtue, and they have very long memories. So his notion that racial hatred is unjustified may not win many converts. I imagine that many are waiting carefully to see if he dares to offer a similar message to Israel.

Secondly, I can imagine some in the region feeling a bit of resentment towards an American President handing out moral wisdom, again, because of perceptions of past injustices.

But, of course, neither of these two criticisms are avoidable, which is why the whole situation is so difficult.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 4, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I hope this one goes down as one of the greatest speeches of the 21st century, and a marker of the point of change for the better in the Middle East. I won't hold my breath, but I'll hope.

Posted by: slyness | June 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Well, speeches are speeches. The Islamic, and the rest of the world, will judge Obama by his actions.

There is an excellent commentary today by David Ignatius.

I suspect, Obama, like all previous presidents, will cave in to AIPAC and the powerful Israely lobby. Illebal settlements in Palistine will continue.

As long as this root cause of the the problem is not solved, the U.S. is in for trouble.


Posted by: Braguine | June 4, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

It won't be long before the forwarded e-mails from Pa Frost-in-law, who must be on every list generated by the right wing nut jobs, start flying into Mr. F's in-box. The main criticism will be "it's a nice speech, but Obama is known for pretty words, and they're just words."

Words matter! (or why go after Sotomayor for her speech?) President Obama does have a gift, for articulating complexity, acknowledging a multiplicity of points of view, and setting a clearly moral direction that, contrary to the meaningless professional pundits Mudge mentioned, does not cede any US ground.

I'm with Slyness, hoping this is a point of change, but not holding my breath.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Arabs of the middle East will be watching to see his the deeds will match the words next time Tsahal comes kicking doors down in the Gaza strip. Hatred has been running long and deep ou there; suspicion comes naturally.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 4, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Sigh. Just had a comment held, I'm assuming because it used the r@pe word. I'll give it a few minutes, then try again.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 4, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Often wonder, if a waved magic wand solved the "Arab Israeli Conflict" what then would the oppressive regimes of the region use to justify their existence? Many of the radicalized can justifiably be characterized as ignorant, even of their own religion, and manipulated. But, methinks that's how some in power like it, protestations aside.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Also, I hope everyone reads the entire speech. The way it builds is amazing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 4, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Grasshopper... Farewell.


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 4, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I've always had the problem with the linkage of Israel with the goal of peace in the Middle East. Yes, Israel needs to do more to get along with its neighbors, but some elements are intractable in their stated goal of the complete destruction of Israel.

The thought experiment to make is: If Israel were to simply disappear, would that result in the wholesale breaking out of reasonableness and moderation amongst the various Arab and/or Muslim countries? I think not. Israel makes for a fantastic scapegoat and whipping boy, but the more fundamentalist groups have far more serious beefs with The West that go beyond the plight of Palestinians.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I thought his comments on the hijab, girls' education and funding for women entrepreneurs were great.

I'm not chiding him for not having written the speech I'd like to see (indeed, I could not have written that speech), but given the speech's other points, why not bring up other pervasive mistreatment of women in these countries?

When young girls/women are stoned to death *in stadiums*, with onlookers, because she reported being r@ped, this is an egregious human rights violation, no less than others he mentioned.

On the domestic front, I'd really like to see the US government be able to bargain for pharmaceuticals. I just called 6 places to price an Rx for one of the dogz. 50mg, generic, 90 pills. The price ranged from $45-$56 until I called that big box place that Sam used to own: $6. Unbelievable, but welcome.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 4, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

David Carradine is dead. Frostdaddy was PVT Carradine's platoon sgt once upon a time. I see wikipedia has nothing on his life as a Vietnam era soldier, but does claim his death was a suicide.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Must remember to backboodle before commenting, scooped by Scotty, and with a good link too.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

No harm, no foul, Frosti.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 4, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I think we are on the same wavelength here. Israel makes such a great boogey man that if it didn't exist, it would have to be invented.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

That's okay, fb. Happens to me all the time. I Boodled Out Of Order on your 10:53 because my boss wondered into my cube before I could hit submit.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

No mention in the speech of Petraeus nor the covert CIA Predator drone bombings? Peacemaker?

Posted by: laloomis | June 4, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that the Jordanians were all over the Palestinians (in a lethal way) prior to, or concurrent with, Israel's existence. Just like all tribes of Jews are not alike, all tribes of Arabs are not alike and all tribes of Africans are not alike and, well, need I go on? Brag, the crux of this issue is not the new homesteads built by Israelis, although I think it is nutz anyway and it certainly exacerbates the problems. The crux (or cruxi) is/are very complex.

Besides, consider that the Jewish religion and the Muslim religion are in many, many ways very similar -- pork is taboo and men are circumcised via ceremony, along with I'm sure many, many other rituals. Apparently, the early followers of Islam tried to emulate the rituals followed by the Jews in order to entice the Jews to follow the Islamic way of things. Doesn't seem to have worked. Furthermore, there are as many "brands" or factions of Islam as there are of Judaism.

I look forward to reading Obama's speech. I will not, however, pay any attention (as usual) to the punditocracy of any stripe.

So, frosti -- you can look in the other kit about my views of last night's SYTYCD. What did you think?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Two. Better.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

What I meant to add in the context of the many similarities among the two religions is that perhaps the real issue is the old adage: familiarity breeds contempt.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 4, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Greetings from wet wild and wonderful west by god.I was pleased to see my old friend the red tailed hawk as I drove up my driveway yesterday.

I must applaud President Obama's effort in the middle east.An important first step in winning back some measure of trust and honor.Although I feel if an olive branch is offered it may come back burned and smoldering,It still must be done.I see it as the first step in many aimed at better relations in the region as well as the world.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Shukran and As-Salaam-Alaikum, the latter 50 seconds into the speech.
Kefayah...I sincerely doubt that word was uttered once.

Posted by: laloomis | June 4, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

ftb-SYTYCD is all new to me, so I have no basis to form educated opinions-except to say I agree that Mia Michaels is one very creepy judge. She makes Paula Abdul look stone cold sober. I did think some of the women they booted were better than ones kept, and have a keen interest in seeing the Broadway brothers advance.

In my brief time in Jordan in the late 80s the view from the underling US Army officer corps was that neither the Israelis nor the Arabs had a problem with there being a Palestinian state. They just thought that state should be Jordan.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

You call it:

"I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous."

I say he mentioned it, by a different phrase.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

...and before it gets too late in the day:

Today in Nautical and Aviation History:

June 4, 1940: At 3:40 a.m. the “Miracle of Dunkirk” concludes as British destroyer HMS Shikari departs Dunkirk with the last load of troops, ending World War II’s largest evacuation. The Battle of Dunkirk ends with a theoretical German victory and with Allied forces in full retreat. However, 338,226 Allied troops caught in the pocket were successfully evacuated over 9 days by sea to England, including 192,226 British and 139,997 French and Belgian troops. Left behind were 2,000 guns, 60,000 trucks, 76,000 tons of ammunition and 600,000 tons of fuel supplies. In the actual fighting leading up to and surrounding the evacuation, more than a million British, French, Belgian and Dutch military were taken prisoner. The heroes of the day were the sailors and civilians who manned more than 700 “little ships” of all kinds to pull off the evacuation (along with 220 Navy craft). To this day, they are honored by the Little Ships Association.
1942: Japanese and American carriers launch nearly simultaneous air strikes at each others carriers during the main phase of the Battle of Midway. American torpedo bombers are virtually wiped out, but dive bombers catch the Japanese fleet with its planes on deck refueling and re-arming; carriers Kaga and Soryu are sunk and Akagi was so badly damaged she sank before the next sunrise. Carrier Hiryu managed to cripple USS Yorktown (CVN 5, Capt. Elliott Buckmaster) but later in the day was bombed so heavily she sank the next day, too.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Not convinced.

It's a difference akin to saying separate but equal isn't equal and ignoring the lynchings.

Education is a necessary thing, but terrorizing a whole gender under the guise of religion is different.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 4, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

What is "kefayah"? Google Language Tools does not recognize the word as Arabic in that spelling, and I do not speak Arabic myself. Or is it Farsi? Salaam-Alaikum = shalom aleichem, *that* I can recognize.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 4, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The traditional head scarf that devout Muslim women wear. considered less ..whatever.. than the full burka.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Saying that women should be educated is to say that they need to be treated as people. Saying that the education of women makes the country more prosperous is a way to get those who hold the power to accept it, even though their cultural inclination is to keep women as chattel with no social status. It is the camel's nose in the tent with respect to the human rights of women.

Unless pressed directly, I never use the noun "evolution" when I speak about science in the South or in rural areas. They won't listen to me any longer if they hear the word evolution -- I must be the spokesman for Mr. Devil, and my seeming-reasonableness is just a cover. But they trust their own reasoning, as they should, and so I speak about observable facts and itty-bitty step-by-step inferences. They'll come up with the logical answer, if I provide the facilitation to keep them going past the rough patches.

Similarly -- if you say "women are people, and abuses of women are crimes against humanity," people (men) in cultures that do these things routinely will simply stop listening to you. You are clearly talking crazy, threatening to undermine their entire society. So instead, you say "educating your women will make you richer." It may be off the point, but it's true (I guess -- I don't really know if it's true on a national level), and it will start them down the road they need to travel, even if they're not yet ready to accept the destination.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 4, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Also, on the issue of "separate-but-equal, don't worry about the lynchings" -- I think the rather obvious giant difference is that that was within our own country. It was possible to make laws and it was possible for a minority to demand a day in court to enforce the law. In the present case, our President is visiting a foreign country and the only lever he has is the power of his speech and the ability to sketch out a better future if his listeners choose their actions wisely. You can have the satisfaction of denouncing r@pists and monsters and institutionalized evil, or you can work to change a society so that the institutionalized evil fades away. It's probably too much to ask to expect to get both.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 4, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Keffiyeh is more specifically the checkered-looking scarf Palestinians wear, isn't it? Think Yasser Arafat's head covering.

I think the word for a woman's head scarf is more often called hijab, but I may be mistaken.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 4, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Right on both counts, TBG.

Posted by: Moose13 | June 4, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Keffiyeh: male Arab headress

Burka: full body female garb

Hijab: female headscarf

Posted by: engelmann | June 4, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Keffiyah has a number of alternate spellings. It's one of those nasty translitteration problems.

My reference to "you call it" was merely to whether or not Obama mentioned the actual word kefayah/keffiyah, or was just "covering her hair" sufficient to make the same point without using any specific word. I say "covering her hair" was close enough to the point.

Anyway, more "Today" stuff:

781 BC – The first historic solar eclipse is recorded in China.
1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh establishes the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).
1760: A sad day in Canada: The Great Upheaval: New England planters arrive to claim land in Nova Scotia, Canada taken from the Acadians. The Great Upheaval, also known as the Great Expulsion, The Deportation, the Acadian Expulsion, and called by the deportees, Le Grand Dérangement, was the forced population transfer of the Acadian population from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick between 1755 and 1763, ordered by British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council. It led to the deaths of thousands of Acadians. The policy was extremely controversial, both in Canada and England, where opponents of the British government strongly criticized it. As of the late 20th century it would probably be called an "ethnic cleansing."
From the deportation order:
“The destination of the Inhabitants of Annapolis River and of the transports ordered to Annapolis Bason [sic]:
To be sent to Philadelphia such a number of vessels as will transport three hundred persons.
To be sent to New York such a number of vessels as will transport two hundred persons.
To be sent to Connecticut such a number of vessels / whereof the Sloop Dove, Samuel Forbes, Master to be one / as will transport three hundred persons.
And To be sent to Boston such a number of vessels as will transport two hundred persons, or rather more in proportion to the province of Connecticut, should the number to be shipped off exceed one thousand persons.
Approximately 7,000 Acadian were deported during 1755. The deportees were held on prison ships for several weeks before being moved to their destinations, leading to the deaths of hundreds. An estimated 2,700 deportees died before reaching their destination. An additional 10,000 are estimated to have died from displacement during the winter of 1755–1756. There were approximately 23,000 Acadians before the deportation according to provincial records, but based on British records, only an estimated 10,000 survived. Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 Acadians escaped to Quebec, hid among the Mi'kmaq, or were able to hide in the countryside and avoid deportation until the situation settled down.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

and finally:

1769 – A transit of Venus is followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.
1783 – The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their Montgolfière (hot air balloon).
1876 – An express train called the Transcontinental Express arrives in San Francisco, California, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.
1917 – The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.
1919 – Women's rights: The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, and sends it to the U.S. states for ratification.
1939 – Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.
1944 – World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captures the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.

Happy birthday:

1928 – Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author
1937 – Gorilla Monsoon, American professional wrestler (d. 1999)
1944 – Michelle Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas (and actress), about whom I cannot discuss rationally her affect upon my youthful libido, up until approximately last week.

Adios and RIP:

1922 – William Halse Rivers Rivers, English doctor and pioneering psychiatrist who made major advances in what we now call post traumatic stress disorder. Rivers treated poet and hair stylist Siegfried Sassoon and is a major figure in the Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker.
1992 – Carl Stotz, the founder of Little League Baseball in 1939 (when, as you all remember, Lundy Lumber beat Lycoming Dairy 23-8. You all knew that, right? Well, you should.)
2007 – Freddie Scott, American singer and songwriter whose 1963 hit “Hey, Girl” I played approximately 197,000 times (not necessarily in a row) to assuage my longing for the divine MS, about whom I may have blogged previously.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Um...wait a minute. Loomis may have been referring to something else entirely:

Wiki: "Kefaya (Arabic... meaning enough) is the unofficial moniker of the Egyptian Movement for Change (Arabic: el-Haraka el-Masreyya men agl el-Taghyeer), a grassroots coalition which draws it support from across Egypt’s political spectrum to oppose President Hosni Mubarak’s presidency and the possibility he may seek to transfer power directly to his son Gamal.

While it first came to public attention in the summer of 2004, and achieved a much greater profile during the 2005 constitutional referendum and presidential election campaigns, it has recently lost momentum, suffering from internal dissent, leadership change, and a more general frustration at the apparent inability of Egypt’s political opposition to force the pace of reform."

So no, I don't think Obama would have been stupid enough and insenitive enough to mention this, no.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Marc Lynch (the former Abu Aarvark) of George Washington University and Foreign Policy was astonished by Obama's comparison of Jews and Palestinians. So Joel's not the only commentator posting that part of the speech.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 4, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Hello, friends. So busy yesterday, and feeling the effects today. I did not get to hear the President's speech, yet what I've read so far sounds good. I don't believe his speech or the trip should be called an apology because neither is so. It's an invitation to forge a better world and a chance to open an honest dialogue. Both worthy efforts in my book. We've tried the other way, and haven't made much headway, let us see what else works? Both sides fail miserably at trust, but we need to start somewhere, and now is as good a time as any.

Yoki, Scotty, Martooni, Mudge, Slyness, and all the gang, have a great day. *waving*

We're going to the library today, so time to move.

Posted by: cmyth4u | June 4, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

And yes, JA, "blessed are the peacemakers". What a chaotic world we would live in without them. Good kit.

Posted by: cmyth4u | June 4, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Here are two related and very thought-provocating articles from today's newspapers.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 4, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Hello everyone! Sorry I had to work last night. And, blessed are the peacemakers. We all should remember that.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 4, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Moubarak (28 years in power), Bashir Al-assad(39, counting daddy's time), Abdullah II of Jordan(60, counting daddy's and I), the Saudis (60 years too) and assorted other leaders of the area also know that in 3 1/2 years time they may be speaking with Lynn Cheney. Who might have given the job of finding a VP to her father. And we know what could happen then.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 4, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Don't get it, SD. Why would they be speaking with Lynne Cheney (Dick's wife)? Do you mean Liz (Elizabeth) Cheney> And why would they be speaking to her 3 1/2 years from now?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about this speech, the more I begin to understand the strategy behind it. This isn't a vapid declaration of principles, or worse, a rant. This is a way to start a discussion. A way to provide some focus and, perhaps, progress.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 4, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hot diggety! The World Pork Expo opens today in Des Moines! I wonder what they'll have new and exciting at the Pork Chop Pavillion?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The World Pork Expo? Oh dear. Let's hope they don't get wind of that where Obama is.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 4, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Because Liz Cheney is going to defeat Kirsten Gore in 2012.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Kristen will be just barely 35 in 2012, so let's go with Karenna representing the Dems in Network Battle of the Veep Daughters.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

You guys are smoking some truly serious hemp.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: btw, Kristin Gore (and I think I have finally spelled her name correctly) has filed for divorce and is back on the market just in case you have ever had a Gore-girl fetish.

Not that I would know about that.

**glancing around room innocently**

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I meant Liz, his daughter anyway. I'm not up to date on the US first satanic family.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 4, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

But where do the Veep daughters stand on the all-important issue of bodice-ripping -- do they rip? How often? Is it an out-patient procedure? Do they prefer professionals, or enthusiastic amateurs?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 4, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Book of the day: Carol Fisher Saller,
"The Subversive Copy Editor:
Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself)"

I could have used this a decade ago when my job was purportedly to make other people's reports readable. I fairly often saw conflicts between that goal and conforming to every last dictat of the Official Style Book, which was intended for printers. Some of the dictats were rather out of pace with normal American style, anyway.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 4, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The Cairo University got spruced up for the Obama talk, much like the college in Merced, California, got cosmetic changes when Michelle spoke there recently:

Students gossip about the sudden campus makeover: landscaping, new flags, major cleaning and repairs. Some welcome the improvements, even if the motivation is political, while others complain that the money should be spent in the classrooms.

Professors and activists are using the occasion to draw attention to concerns about academic freedom at the university.

Academics and human rights activists have complained for years about interference by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's regime. They describe a climate in which state police are ever present, the curriculum is over-regulated, and self-censorship has weakened instruction in subjects such as politics, religion and literature.

LL: Sorry for the ending h on Kefaya. I was definitely on the run this morning. Just now getting a breather. There were Egyptian activists who very much wished that Obama would just once mention Kefaya during his address. And yes, its mention wouldn't have gone over at all well with Mubarak or those other present-day Arab regimes with long-time rulers whose people wish for more freedoms.

Posted by: laloomis | June 4, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I forgot Khadafi of course, serving his adoring populace since 1967 or so.

Truly, I'm sure these dictators see that non-permanence of the Big Guy in Charge as a serious weakness on the part of the West. The O-man should remind them that this muslim extremism thing developed on their watch. Coincidence?

We learned today that a contractor working for our Record section has been diligently shredding "a goodly number" of our files since March. We'll know more next week. My boss had steam coming out of his hears and was spitting and mumbling incoherently for part of the day. He may have developed a Pink Panther's Dreyfuss-like twitch as well. Hopefully, that will hasten his retirement plan.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 4, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Would just like to remind all boodlers of my close association with a former Iowa Pork Princess. You may calculate your bacon numbers now.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

If there is going to be any Veep-daughter bodice abuse going on, I want it to be Mary doing the ripping. Heather Poe, is hawt.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Cohen at the NYT on Obama's speech:

The president must talk about the cost to Israel — and to U.S. standing in the Middle East — of the occupation and expanding settlements. Campfire Kumbaya about his part-Muslim family and schooling in Muslim Indonesia is not going to win over disaffected Arabs focused on dwindling Palestine. He must be honest to Israel and unafraid to address the issue of justice for Palestinians.

LL: Just to throw this in: San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye won in the children and young adult category for her book, "Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose," the award part of the American Arab Book Awards, the honor very recently announced.

Posted by: laloomis | June 4, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Fellows, fellows!! Lynne Cheney is herself the AUTHOR of a bodice-ripper:

From the Amazon write-up: "Leaves you panting for more!, February 20, 2003
By A Customer

"This story of a Washington wife who leaves her powerful husband to join a womyn's commune is charged with the kind of eroticism you just don't expect from the Second Lady of the United States of America. I was amazed at how graphically Ms. Cheney details the commune's daily "massage classes" and their predictable free-for-all aftermaths, while at the same time delivering a devastating critique of phallocentric discourse in modern culture. I can't wait for the sequel, in which the Sisters declare war against the male-dominated multinational corporation that is threatening to foreclose on their commune. Four Stars!"


"A must read for every woman!, March 25, 2004
By A Customer

"The lusty story of frigid, 19th century house wives thawed only by the gentle, loving caresses of one another. Probes trepidatiously into the sweet, secret delights that await them and brings forth the deep, damp passions lurking in all women as they take their first trembling steps toward their most fervent desires on a tawdry journey of self discovery."


"Sisters" made its debut when Mrs. Cheney was an unknown scribbler, though her words undoubtedly inspired the life choices of her daughter Mary. It is shameful that partisan political pressure upon Lynne's publishing house, as well as her current status as Second Womyn of the United States, keeps this moist, glistening gem from being reissued. Readers across America would find "Sisters" a fine excuse for self-abuse if only this exquisite paean to Sapphic love, as well as to prophylactic-clad heterosexual bonking in the Wild West, became widely available once again! Forty-four bidders attempted to buy a yellowing copy from eBay, yet only one succeeded, at a price beyond rubies."

I think I need a cold shower.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I think it was "moist, glistening gem" that did it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 4, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Who needs the book?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 4, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Is this flippin rain ever going to stop?
I need to get an outdoor fire going and burn some junk. Perhaps gasoline is the answer!!!

I just hope I don't end up looking like Don King.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 4, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Just in time for dinner. Rhubarb recipes a la Kim O'Donnel.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 4, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Not "deep, damp passions"?

Note that mudge is quoting the purple prose of Amazon reviewers, not the book itself.

Here is an alleged excerpt from the actual book:

"The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage -- no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were. She felt curiously moved, curiously envious of them. She had never to this moment thought Eden a particularly attractive paradise, based as
it was on naiveté, but she saw that the women in the cart had a passionate, loving intimacy forever closed to her. How strong it made them. What comfort it gave."

Many more excerpts (including one with the detailed undressing of various obsolete forms of undergarments) here:

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I assume Obama's excellent speech will not be available with a faithful translation to many we like to think should hear it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 4, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Big South Carolina stimulus news:

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 4, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

If Israel both adopted a constitution
and changed its name (gasp!) would that be the "end" of "Israel?" Would that be "wiping it off the map?" I bet it would still show up in satellite photos...

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 4, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Attention copy editors! You can practice on this item from CBS news station in LA --
A big brown bear gave residents of one Upland neighborhood quite a scare Wednesday night when it was caught wandering dangerously close to homes.

Initial sightings reported the bear in Claremont where police there lost sight of it until it appeared in Upland.

The bear was chased into the Foothill Ridge Apartment Complex off the 1300 block of Foothill Boulevard.

The bear was seen temporarily climbing a tree and came down when Fish and Game wardens shot it with a tranquilizer dart.

The bear was later cornered in a tree at Cabrillo Park where the tranquilizer took affect at 11:30 p.m.

Officials said the bear will be released back into the wild because he didn't harm anyone and was not considered a public safety threat.
(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Posted by: nellie4 | June 4, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, that's a good excerpt, but this one's the keeper:

"The young woman was heavily powdered, but quite attractive, a curvesome creature, rounded at bosom and cheek. When she smiled, even her teeth seemed puffed and rounded, like tiny ivory pillows."

Please note that Curvesome Creature is not available as a Boodle handle.

Also, readers are warned that this is an unwise compliment to offer when asked about whether pants fit.

Posted by: engelmann | June 4, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

For Sly and Jack, especially, and Joel (& others) should perk up his readin' ears on this too: one of Charlotte's finest writers has been on leave of absence on a Nieman fellowship, and searching to see WHEN TOMMY TOMLINSON GETS BACK (soon!) I found this. It's probably good to listen to the YouTube song while reading.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 4, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Also: "rounded at bosom and cheek". Is that the boudoir version of "nature, red in tooth and claw"?

I'll leave "tiny, ivory pillows" alone.

Posted by: engelmann | June 4, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

My recollection is that Arthur Waley's translations from Japanese and Chinese put some passages into Latin rather than English, providing the sort of incentive that my mother faced when her parents switched from Slovak to German.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 4, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, RoShea on the rhubarb. I fear I missed the RuParb window. &^%%5#@#$!@

Here is the Literary Review list of purple passion prose that should never have been:

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | June 4, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

So John Updike got a lifetime achievement award in 2008, CqP? ROTFLMAO

Posted by: slyness | June 4, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I think this will burst through the lascivio-meter.

"Faye leaned back on the blanket, arranging her legs in an M of receptivity, and he knelt between them like the most abject and craven supplicant who ever exposed his bare a** to the eagle eyes of a bunch of crows."

From J. Updike's 2005 "Bad S3x" nominee, Villages, a bildsromance of book.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | June 4, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the question is, why? Why write purple prose? Did it ever contribute positively to the telling of a story?

Sorry. I know those are rhetorical questions. Funny how great literature can be bawdy but not pornographic. Don't say anything about Lolita, I don't care.

Jumper, I love Tommy Tomlinson's writing. He's equally as good, if not better, than Kays Gary. Do you remember Kays?

Posted by: slyness | June 4, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Wirty Dird Filter is just having a conniption after having to let all of that stuff through...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 4, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

My oh my my my...

I wonder if they'll need period costumes or any boatwork or a pocket spectrometer or anything...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 4, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear lord, what have I unleashed? *hanging my head in shame*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 4, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to The Big Unit(Randy Johnson) and victory #300.Did any of you folks get to see this game? I am wondering if this will be the last or one of the last 300 game winners.With baseball being so specialized with pitching,the 5 man rotation and so much bullpen specialization.I wonder if the big unit will be the last? Closest active pitcher is 46 year old Jamie Moyer who just got 250 the other night.

Lakers or Magic?I guess the Lakers are the favorite,but I am going with the Magic and their youthful team.

I am still rooting for the Red Wings to grab another Stanley Cup,guess I shouldn't count out the Penguins though.

I can't believe I missed the kit on the buick regal.My big boat was a Buick Centuarian,yes it was as big as it sounds.

Ok back to your regular programming.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 4, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I ashamed to say that the only book on the bad sex writing award list that I have read was I Am Charlotte Simmons. I have to say that the book had some very good writing about bad sex. Which does seem to be different from bad writing about good sex.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Kays Gary was a bit before my time, Slyness. But in checking him out I see I'm sorry that's the case. Here he is with Elvis:,M1

And "The Black Heart’s Owner Creates Our Major Grief":

Tommy on rasslin"!:

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 4, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm busy looking at the Burton Lytton winners from 2008 right now.

There is no such equivalent for bad nonfiction-- nor a subcategory such as:
"Bad science writing"
"Bad history writing"

Of course the judges would have to have iron eyeballs and stomachs of kevlar to judge such writing...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 4, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Late night drug tunes:

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC: neatly ironed eyeballs...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 4, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link to Tommy's blog, Jumper, I always enjoy reading his stories.

You would have liked Kays. His passion was Holy Angels in Belmont, and his stories raised a lot of support for that wonderful institution.

Posted by: slyness | June 4, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, me too, trolling for silly purple or violet patches of prose:

From Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, (a.k.a. Fanny Hill) and is described as

. . . she clos'd her eyes in the sweet death, in the instant of which she was embalm'd by an injection, . . .

Enough! Shall read some nicely purgical book on the history of encaustic and deftware tiles in Holland.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | June 4, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

gwe, thanks for the news about Randy Johnson. He was with the Mariners in their good years - along with Griffey, Vizquel, Martinez (Edgar and Tino), Buhner. Anyway, I once had the pleasure of being at a game that was a no hitter through 7 or 8 innings, I think. Then Gallego got a hit, but that was it - a one hitter, which is pretty darn good. Randy pitched here a few weeks ago but didn't get the win.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 4, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. There are awards for bad sex scenes? Does there have to be a whole novel, or is the sex scene alone sufficient? Perhaps I could get some mileage out of "Love in the Time of Desert Storm".

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 4, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I see now that Gary retired in '86. I moved here in spring '87, which explains it. You aren't the first to express puzzlement over my lack of knowledge of him. Even from the brief excerpts I've explored tonight I can see why he's remembered.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 4, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

A big busy day today, and will probably be so all weekend -- but that's OK.

When I first heard this speech this morning, I came to the same conclusion that RD and others did -- that it is clearly not an end in itself (and certainly won't solve anything by itself), but that it looks to me to be part of the Obama Administration's effort to restart dialogs with nations, governments, and peoples that have come to distrust the United States.

Sure, they're only words at the moment, but isn't that how friendships - and even relationships that lead to vows - start?

And it's better to have these relationships start somewhere rather than nowhere, I think.

Did anyone *not* think Randy Johnson wasn't going to get #300 against the Nats?

I'd add that the Penguins looked very good this evening and the Lakers do, too.


Posted by: -bc- | June 4, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "Did anyone *not* think Randy Johnson was going to get #300 against the Nats?"

Bah, if Strunk or White were within arm's reach, they'd bonk me over the head for that sentence in either case. Deservedly so, I think.


Posted by: -bc- | June 4, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice try Science Tim. Your gore-tex (or is sweaty better?) and kevlar bodice ripping doesn't do it for me.

The Flightless Birds takes it tonight. On soft ice, according to Wing's great Yzerman. The big, very good defencemen of the Wings are are getting bogged down. Good. Malkin and Cosby are shining.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 4, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Randy Johnson was an Expo development project. (He was traded for some other consideration). So he should be a National player by right.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 4, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

And going back to the guys-don't-read-books thread, I've been keeping track of the books I read for a couple of years now. In May I only finished one, and it technically wasn't a whole book.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 4, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I remember Kays Gary, slyness. I always enjoyed his articles. Allen n Norwood, Dannye Romine-Powell (sp?), Tommy Tomlinson, Rich Oppel, Tom Higgins, and many others. After Higgins went into semi-retirement, NASCAR coverage wasn't quite the same on Poole's watch. One of the Oppel clan is at the NYT, and I can't remember if he was at the Observer, or if it's Mr. Oppel's son. In any case, ,I still read Mr. Oppel's work when I find it. We graduated another bunch this evening. Looooong day. I was called to the office a week ago and given the opportunity to transfer to the HS that is just blocks from our home. I took the job, and am looking forward to a change in venue. I once worked with a fellow in Charlotte that had a seven year rule and changed roles accordingly. He felt like seven years in one job was enough. I've been in the same building for ten years...change has a purpose. I read of David Carradine's demise and wondered how someone gets that desperate. How tragic.

Posted by: -jack- | June 4, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Achenbach:

You wrote: "Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful."

Unless you want to believe in the Nazi gas chambers and the six million murdered Jews, take a look at the evidence to the contrary. According to the International Red Cross, the death toll in the concentration camps--Jews and non-Jews--was 271,301, and there were never more than about three million Jews in all of Nazi occupied Europe, most of whom were never sent to concentration camps. Furthermore, the census figures of Jews barely changed including the Jewish estimates.

See Jewish population losses in the German sphere of influence during the World War II
Jürgen Graf
March 2001

The six million figure

This video shows the so-called gas chambers at Auschwitz:

The truth is horrible enough, but who is to blame? Read "Ten questions to the Zionists,"
by Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandl ZT"L
Dean of Nitra Yeshiva

Rabbi Weissmandl believed the wartime propaganda, but he knew that Zionist leaders considered Nazi genocide a necessary evil for the establishment of Israel.

Posted by: markoller | June 5, 2009 3:07 AM | Report abuse

If anyone is offended, there is also such a thing as anti-German hatred and anti-Muslim hatred. The Al Qaeda terrorist plot of 9/11 is the biggest hoax in history and it was a pretext for a holy war against the Muslim World. What do you think the six misplaced nuclear armed cruise missiles were for? It was to be used against Iran.

See B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater
by Wayne Madsen

Furthermore, Nazi atrocity propaganda diverted attention from the truly genocidal Mogenthau plan and Operation Keelhaul.

Posted by: markoller | June 5, 2009 3:33 AM | Report abuse

And there's not even a front page alert. Go figure.

Breakfast is on.
The good: Apple/chicken sausage, egg beater omelettes with your choice of fillings. Iced latte, various forms of iced tea.
The bad: Fresh soft pretzels.
The ugly: Scrapple

Posted by: -dbG- | June 5, 2009 4:17 AM | Report abuse

Some things are so atrocious that they must be rebutted. For example, just yesterday it was reported that there were four times as many death camps as previously thought:

Here are the numbers on the pre- and post-war European Jewish population:

Nearly six million out of nine and a half million were killed. To belittle this number or to try to claim it was exaggerated is despicable and obnoxious. If only one Jew had been deliberately massacred for reasons of religious bigotry, it would have been too many.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse


I appreciate the breakfast!!!

You kill me. I just yesterday looked up scrapple to make sure I had a better understanding of the fine product. I sell it and am one of the few people who know where it is, so I was stopped by a question on that product ... beef scrapple.

It appears that there is a beef scrapple product, but we didn't have it.

BTW, yesterday, (or the day before) I was lurking and caught an all out assault on the Port Convention .... as for turkey sandwiches, I would say that my childhood memories of a good thick country ham sandwich from Iowa still generates yearnings.

Of course, I also learned that hogs are not to be trifled with.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 5, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Ah, crap. We've got a Holocaust denier at 3:07 and 3:33 a,m. Joel, can you get out the zapper? This [expletive] has gotta go. And he's a 9/11 conspiratorialist, too.

Total wack job.

So on that not, Gopod Morning, Boodle. Rain all day here. But the good news appears to be dbG is really on the ball with breakfast in the Ready Room. Scrapple and French soft pretzels. It doesn't get too much better than that.

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

June 5, 1916: Britain’s highest ranking soldier, the great Lord Kitchner, the “Hero of Khartoum,” is lost at sea off the Orkney islands when the ship carrying him to Russia, HMS Hampshire, struck a mine and sank; only 14 survived.
1948: Air Force test pilot Capt. Glen W. Edwards is killed in the crash of a Northrup B-49 Flying Wing he was testing at Muroc Army Air Field, Calif.; the facility’s name is later changed to Edwards Air Force Base in his honor.


1968: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 5, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse


I may have mentioned that my father, before he went too far into the daze of Alzheimer's did accept my hint to talk to me about his experiences during the end of the war where he helped open the camps.

He never once talked about it before that time... only a hint or two.

He was Army Intel and spoke and/or understood many Eastern European languages. He spoke German and Polish.

I appreciate your response to the posts above. It might also be helpful to point out that those camps held more than Jews.

All I can say about those camps and my father's recollection which was deliver through 70 year old tears was that the memories where much more jarring that anything possible... and this from a man that landed at Normandy.

These folks that spoil this internet space with this are so crazy. To be so detached from reality to have invested enough time to miss the basics of history is so... so ...

I just try to picture myself in my father's position of interviewing and helping those folks the first days of their release from their terror. My God, to hear and see the unspeakable.

Yesterday, Obama mentioned the Golden Rule. As he said, it runs through all religions. And yesterday, Cassandra reminded us of Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers ..."

In WW II you could say that we fought a war that we really didn't want and we returned the world to the Golden Rule and to peace. We returned Germany to its people, as much as anything else. For some Germans and for Poles and Russians, it was way too late. For a few, they survived.

For me, peace is a state where we are all able to leave a reasonable life without too much interference from each other or our government, but where we are all able to help each other when needed. We are a people that SHOULD do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Having a solid grasp on reality isn't always a requirement to be part of this nation, but coming within a dozen miles of it is certainly helpful.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 5, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

In Normandy, gratitude is lasting.

This is such a good article, and reflects the attitude of the frenchpeople I met last year, just about this time.

Posted by: VintageLady | June 5, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse


I get Peter Arne confused with Kitchner all the time.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 5, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the fabulous breakfast, dbG! I won't have to eat again till supper!

Yes, Joel, please zap the nutter.

You know, it always bothers me that we don't remember the other five million who died in the death camps. Almost half were not Jewish, but they were also human beings.

When I started in grad school, my first course was Ethics in Public Administration. The book we studied was Hannah Ahrent's The Banality of Evil. Chilling.

Posted by: slyness | June 5, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse


This may make you laugh...

When I was in first or second grade, my father took a sabbatical year and we visited France as part of our time in Europe. It was then that I discovered that my father was freakin crazy.

He had a penchant for climbing up church steeples. My only guess (well he said so, later) that he spent a lot of time up in steeples looking around.

So, he would drag me up there. Hey, I still don't like heights. Some of those were on the "OUTSIDE."

I think I was the youngest person to say "WTF" ... in several languages.

The good thing was that I did also experience the friendship between families where my father had stayed years before and our family.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 5, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Oh, there's plenty of bad science writing out there... *SIGH*

And SciTim, "Love in the Time of Desert Storm" would be a gritty tale, for sure.

Nah, let's leave poor, sad, deluded Mr. Koller (or is it Oller?) up there as a reminder of the need to never let our guard down against the forces of ignorance.

*very-soggy-but-not-enough-to-warrant-sampling-the-scrapple Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 5, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

No. Do not zap. Refute. It's the way free societies operate.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 5, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Yes, over 6 million Poles were killed in World War II, almost half of them Jewish. The others, while a much smaller percentage of the general population, decimated the Catholic Poles and the intelligentsia.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Just had the time to read Obama's complete speech - I thought it was very good, but I agree with all his stated goals.

The holocaust denier earlier is a good example that there will always be people who refuse to acknowledge common sense and facts, but hopefully Obama's speech will reach out to the majority who think rationally and keep the common good in equality and peace.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 5, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

David Brooks at the NYT today giving his views on the Cairo speech. Also a NYT op-ed given to the subject:


The big retreat to realism concerns democracy promotion. The Bush administration tried to promote democracy, even at the expense of stability. That proved unworkable.

But many of us hoped that Obama would put a gradual, bottom-up democracy-building initiative at the heart of his approach. This effort would begin with projects to create honest cops and independent judges so local citizens could get justice. It would make space for civic organizations and democratic activists. It would include clear statements so the world understands that the U.S. is not in bed with the tired old Arab autocrats.

There was a democracy-promotion section to the speech, and given the struggle behind it, maybe we should be grateful it was there at all. But it was stilted and abstract — the sort of prose you get after an unresolved internal debate. The president didn’t really champion democratic institutions. He said that governments “should reflect the will of the people” and that citizens should “have a say” in how they are governed.

Posted by: laloomis | June 5, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Brooks does make a criticism. But he also buffers this criticism with the recognition that Obama is attempting a difficult balancing act between idealism and pragmatism.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 5, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. This is to complement Mudge's history day. The City of Berlin, Ontario Canada, was renamed Kitchener in honour on Lord K. in 1916. They also removed the stink of Berlin at the same time, of course.
Berlin was near London and Paris, Ontario.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 5, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Jack! Congrats on the job change, I hope you enjoy the new assignment. As a person who stayed in the same job for 27.5 years, I can say I was ready to go when the time came. It was time for somebody else to have all the fun.

Posted by: slyness | June 5, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Good luck on the change, jack! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 5, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

RD, my thought was that Obama did what you're supposed to do...when giving a speech, remember your audience. It seems a bunch of folks expected that audience to be US citizens. Cramming the word 'democracy' down people's throats (especially when they've never tasted it before) isn't the way to get them to swallow the concept. Much better to deliver the message in palatable terms, then step away from the buffet, allow them to take a small taste of the ideas put forth. Chances are, they'll come back for a big heaping serving.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 5, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Both my wife and I changed jobs two years ago about the same time. I had been at the same firm 12 years and she had been doing the same thing for nearly 10. The change has been good for both of us. Enjoy the new view.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, RD. Thank you, yellojkt.

I am alarmed by history revisionists who align themselves with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his ilk, but when I read that, I thought, it's nice that I have a chance to see this point of view; I will consider it; okay, now I've considered it, and I'll move on with my day.

When, on the other hand, I see immediate requests for censorship from well-meaning, intelligent people, I feel much more personally threatened. That's scary. Count me as in favor of free speech and liberty in general.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 5, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Good luck in the new position Jack, hope you enjoy it.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 5, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Well, KB,

Free speech has its place, but dangerous speech appears to be on the rise and many are questioning just what limits should be put on the definition.

It is absolutely stunning what has been happening on the fringes of the anti-choice world. We have had decades of so-called free speech facilitating those who raise the level of frenzy about impinging on Americans' rights and liberties, even to the point of killing folks who are living within the laws of the land.

In America today, we have martyrs to the cause very similar to those hiding in Pakistan. Somehow, I am feeling that the dialogue in America is warped.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 5, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Joel, thanks for zapping that trash.

Padouk, you make a good and valid point about not zapping the denier but rather rebutting him. In many venues and on general principles I might agree, but in this particular place -- which to many of us, rightly or wrongly, is not so much a public venue as it is "our home" or our corner tavern -- I just as soon that we not spend the day throwing up post after post documenting the Holocaust and 9/11. It really isn't necessary, and it would just make a lot of us angry and upset, and it would be "piling on," with 99.999999 percent of us against one lone, anonymous, delusional drive-by troll.

Today is the day before D-Day, and the day Bobby Kennedy got shot. So I don't want to spend it dealing with that lunatic.

Vintage Lady, thanks for the link to the D-Day story, which has a photo of Obama's father, who was stationed in a small French town right behind the beach right after D-Day. And yes, good story.

SD, I knew there was a town called Kitchener, but didn't know you folks had changed it from Berlin. That's cool. Likewise, the U.S. during WWI there were a lot of places names as well as people's names that got changed, or "converted" suddenly to Swiss or Dutch. Biergartens and ratskellers closed shop and opened up the next day as Swiss chalets and Dutch restuarants. Same thing at the start of WWII. There used to be two major German-American Bund recreational camps and a biergarten in the township where I grew up in the Philly burbs that suddenly went out of business and switched nationalities and identies. The marzipan disappeared and out came the Swiss chocolates.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 5, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Obama's grandfather, not his father.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 5, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Weed, "dangerous" is in the eye of the beholder, especially when at some point it's treated as synonymous with "disagreeable." You know full well the existing limits on speech are well-grounded, and changing them is fraught with peril.

Warped dialogue can only be met with better speech and reasoning.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 5, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Ellen Goodman has a good take on "dangerous" speech...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 5, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with you, Mudge.

And, since this is our corner in the corner tavern, I must admit (ghastly, I know) that last night I kept switching in the first period from the game (and you know which game it was -- the one played on ice, not the one on a wood floor) to Dick Cavett's interview with Ingmar Bergman (and later with Bibi Andersson, who a couple of weeks ago had a stroke, according to the Swedish papers -- don't know how she is now). During the second period, I kept switching between the game and SYTYCD winnowing down to the top 20. And then, noting the score, I went to bed with a book and read about 25-30 pages before conking out.

I'm really hoping that Pavel Datsyk can start playing again before it's all over. I think my guys are really, really tired. It'll be good to get back to Detroit (can anybody else say that with a straight face?).

Holocaust deniers are completely nutz, especially in the face of all the meticulous records the OCD-type Nazis kept. Like the Limbaughs and the Roves (apparently a grandson of a full-bore Nazi himself) and the Cheneys of the world, facts mean nothing. Just an irritating detail. They will never ever believe anything they don't want to believe.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 5, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I probably need to chime in here because of a pointed joke I made about the error of attributing the same sort of qualities to an entity as we do to people. (I've noted before that it's a common thing to hear "Mexico thinks" or "Russia believes" or "Brazil is jealous" and that such may be kind of silly and more importantly, obstructive to understanding.) And I used "Israel changes its name" as an example that would illustrate this. I hope that in itself is clear enough. Not that I should expect a Holocaust denier to even be able to grasp this train of thought.

I threw in the part about Israel's constitution, or lack of it, because I thought it was interesting. Not being a neo-con, I couldn't care less; my concerns are more related to the tangible effects of death and misery promulgated by unreasonable people on both sides of the regional conflict.

And I have a predilection for dark humor which I need to watch, but I know for a fact I can use it to make a point sometimes which otherwise I might not be able to. An example of my sense of humor that is NOT dark humor is this: "They found out it WASN'T Shakespeare who wrote those plays! It was ANOTHER GUY WITH THE SAME NAME."

So if I said (which I didn't) ((I just self-censored and removed my joke from this graph)) that would be an example of the type of dark humor I intend solely to point out the idiocy of Holocaust deniers, attempting to make the exact same point that yellojkt made at 6:21.

In any case if I somehow attracted pests, I apologize.

I find those who maintain this article to be courageous:

As usual in Wikipedia the action is in the discussion section. The deniers are getting trounced, as well they should.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 5, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree with not spending the day on some whack-job (well, I will be spending the day on me, but I'm a different kind of whack-job). New thought: pushing offensive speech into the shadows doesn't make it stop; it just gives a false sense of security. Knowing that it's out there, who is saying it, and about whom it is said is all valuable information.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 5, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I don't know full well where the line should be. In fact, I find it hard to deal with the fact that we created a Federal Statute to deal with folks like this and nothing happened. As your Goodman reference kindly stated, the gunman didn't really act alone.

The rhetoric can be laced with extreme statements, I am sure. Behind the rhetoric, however, there are also an underlying set of organizations ready to facilitate the actions of the martyrs.

They are every bit as responsible as someone driving a getaway car.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 5, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Dick Cavett was interviewing Ingmar Bergman? What channel was this, ftb? Dang. Sorry to hear about Bibi Andersson.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 5, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

It was on the movie channel with no commercials (TNC maybe?). It was(obviously) a very old show -- from the early 70s maybe? Ingmar Bergman was very charming and Bibi Andersson was, as well (well, of course!). I was listening to their English, as it was (as it almost always tends to be) "Swedified" -- certain idioms in English tend to be pushed through the Swedish template. Very nice to listen to. And then after the interview, there were a long run of Bergman films, which I could not look at (except for a little bit) because they were on so late (and an old curmudgeoness like me hasta get her beauty sleep, yanno). Started with The Seventh Seal, then Wild Strawberries (my favorite), Persona, The Passion of Anna (which has always creeped me out) and a few others. I would like to see these films again, but they've gotta be shown earlier. When I was just browsing over The Seventh Seal before I hit the books, it showed a very (very!) young Gunnar Björnstrand and Max von Sydow and Bibi Andersson. The Swedish was fun to listen to, and the subtitles were appropriately misleading and nonexistent in places. Makes for a lot of fun.

I must say that I really, really *do* miss the Dick Cavett Show. Neither Leno (although I like him) nor O'Brien has never interested me as much. Steve Allen was magnificent, of course, as was, in his own narcissistic way, Jack Paar. And, oh, those Smothers Brothers.

But I digress.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 5, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 5, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

As offensive as I find markoller's comments from early this morning, I am reminded of a New York Times piece by Adam Liptak last week, regarding the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor:

"In a 2002 dissent, Judge Sotomayor said she would have ruled that the First Amendment has a role to play in protecting anonymous racist communications made by a police officer. Saying she found the communications 'patently offensive, hateful and insulting,' Judge Sotomayor nonetheless would have allowed the officer’s case against the police department that fired him to proceed to trial.

She said the majority should not 'gloss over three decades of jurisprudence and the centrality of First Amendment freedoms in our lives because it is confronted with speech it does not like.'"

And as offensive and completely dead wrong as I find them, those comments don't seem to me to be a personal attack and is, unfortunately appropriate to the Kit.

I don't think that we can make this kind of stuff go away by ignoring it. [Hasn't worked so far, has it?]

If it gets zapped, so be it.
But that's up to JA and the WaPo folks, not me.


Posted by: -bc- | June 5, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning all
Cold and damp here in west by god,I would expect there will be flooding today.Hopefully I can get out.

Here is another place that is a little colder,but now may be accesible.,0,7192868.story

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 5, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Celebritology has italics today. In fact, that is all they have.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I have a very limited understanding of the law, but I believe the First Amendment applies to governmental bodies, and official governmental censorship. Individuals and private corporations of course have the right to censor as they will. Or we would face interesting customer service situations.

If some whackjob wants to print up flyers, or set up his own blog, he has the right. But to use my printing press, or the WaPo's servers? Don't think so.

Posted by: Wheezy1 | June 5, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Quite true, Wheezy. If this was, say, a regulatory agency's Web site, we would be discussing outright censorship. Newspapers tend to hold themselves somewhat close to the government's standard in protecting speech -- assign to that practice whatever degree of self-serving motivation you feel is appropriate.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Except that we did make it go away. So it did work, didn't it?

There were only two other choices, to leave it alone and ignore it, which I don't think is a good idea as it tends to give it some validation. Or to spend the day arguing it, which is pointless.

It's not a first amendment issue, and invoking some court ruling is pointless. If markoller wants to rant he has plenty of other places to do it. We don't have to let him come in and pee on our carpet. He's not entitled to run around willy-nilly and lift his leg and mark his territory wherever he wants (sorry, Wilbrodog). He has plenty of other venues.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 5, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Um, the markoller poster has not seen fit to return, but I still see those posts when I refresh.

Even now.

Eh, I gotta get back to work here, but I think you're wrong as to the pointlessness of that Sotomayor case and this here Boodle, Mudge - I believe Scotty has some good insight as far as the news media, the government, and the First Ammendment are concerned. I would add that the Boodle traditionally has let some interesting - and disagreeable - stuff stay.

Having said that, I do hope markoller is gone for good, and peddling that stuff somewhere else. Preferably not at all.

Peace, I'm out.


Posted by: -bc- | June 5, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Kim1 | June 5, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Just in time!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Except for the fact that Holocaust denial is considered by many, many people to be "hate speech." And there's a big bunch of Internet discussion about banning it, which after a lot of controversiy, Facebook finally did. It is also illegal and a jailable offense in (a number of countries; see the Keegstra case in Canada (http colon//en dot wikipedia dotorg/wiki/R._v._Keegstra) and the Zuendel case in Germany (http colon//thelede among others.

And for what it is worth, noted attorney Alan Dershowitz (not otherwise exactly a strict constructionist) agree it is hate speech; see

Also, what's the point of that little "Report Abuse" tag after each post? What's the point of the WaPo rules linked to at the bottom of this and every other kit? Read Rule 1, the bullet point about hateful speech.

Look, if markoller had used the "N" word you'd be all over zapping it in a heartbeat. You know you would (I would too). So let's not get into some foolish, arcane argument about which kinds of hate speech ought to be allowed here, and which aren't.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 5, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I see the loony denier posts are still there...and I see that ftb already mentioned what I would have, the meticulous records that were kept, which make it hard to deny. But not impossible, as we see.

On a brighter note, the Kitchener stitch is used to graft pieces of knitting, primarily toes of socks. It's amazing in that it makes an invisible seam (when done correctly). I thought maybe it was named after the town of Kitchener, and I had heard it had something to do with WWI, and making socks with no seam that would irritate soldiers' feet. But I guess this Kitchener guy actually came up with it (I'm sure dr and others already knew this):

Posted by: seasea1 | June 5, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, well, I see two posts by markoller, so if you say some went away, either there were more than two originally or they have been reinstated.

I understand this is not technically a First Amendment issue, since no governmental body is involved. The principles of the First Amendment are at issue, however. I am in the group that holds that the only way that evil nonsense like Holocaust-denial gets dealt with is if we allow its proponents the opportunity to step out into the disinfecting sunshine and state their piece. That permits people who encounter such arguments to also hear the rebuttals. If we eliminate the Holocaust-deniers from the public square, then the only times that their nonsense is heard will be when there is no rebuttal available. Anyone who is prone to being swayed by such thinking is unlikely to go looking for the counter-argument, no matter how good it is. And once a pernicious idea has taken root in a person's head, it's difficult for any amount of logic or persuasion to fully dig it out. So, I say it's a good thing for the markollers to come out of the basement and face reality, so the difference between their story and reality can be seen by those who are still prone to suasion.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 5, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

And he's announcing sanctions on Israel:

Posted by: MatthewAvitabile | June 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim wrote: "The principles of the First Amendment are at issue, however. I am in the group that holds that the only way that evil nonsense like Holocaust-denial gets dealt with is if we allow its proponents the opportunity to step out into the disinfecting sunshine and state their piece. That permits people who encounter such arguments to also hear the rebuttals."

So let's hear a rebuttle. First, download the comments sections of these articles:

"Extent of Nazi Camps Far Greater Than Realized"

"Dithering Before A Denier"

"Hitler's Terrible Weapon: Publicity"

"Holocaust Denier at the Church Door"

"Death Camps in Poland"

Or, do you wish to conceal the truth, for propaganda purposes?

Posted by: markoller | June 5, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Holocaust propaganda is a diversion. It diverts attention from real atrocities, and criminal blindness makes one an accessory. Alexander Sozhenitsyn said, "You should have made it your business to know!"

In the Internet age it is relatively easy to know. It will still take a great deal of searching and skepticism. Even on the Internet, finding the truth is like mining gold. Every ounce of truth yields tons of slag.

This is one of the atrocities the sheeple are not supposed to know about:

Eisenhower's Holocaust - His Slaughter Of 1.7 Million Germans

Eisenhower was eventually prevented from killing 1.7 million German POWs, but American and French captors killed over one million. General Patton might have been killed to prevent him from talking.

Posted by: markoller | June 6, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

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