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Storytelling

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If you like football, read this piece by Gregg Easterbrook. It’s long, but it is worth your time. It’s called Tuesday Morning Quarterback. He writes one these every week…wow.

If football isn’t your thing, he tucks in some other commentary. Like this:

Ships, bridges, spacecraft -- they should bear inspirational names of great men and women, leaders and artists, or of important historical moments. Instead, increasingly they bear the names of insiders and political hacks.

Personifying Palin

Neo-neocon concisely summarized the essential challenge Sarah Palin would face in a run for President:

Yes, she’s got name recognition, all right. But people have made up their minds about her, and her negatives are both high and seemingly set in stone.

Pretty but stupid is the perception. She’s not a person, she’s a punchline.

The particular kinds of stupid Palin suffers from seem correlated with one’s location in political space. The Progs think she’s a creationist simpleton reading from a cartoon Bible. The establishment righties think she’s not sufficiently sophisticated for the nuances of national and international politics. Somebody could probably accurately map the political space using opinions of Palin as coordinates.

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Vote Now or This Fetus Gets Whacked

A pregnant couple from the suburban Twin Cities is putting a question to the internets: Birth or Not?

The abortion issue has been a controversial topic for decades that reaches to the core of every person in America. Often voters will even base their entire choice on this one topic alone, disregarding everything else the politician has to offer in the vain hope that their “chosen one” will be able to effect change on this issue.

We all like to think that our opinions matter, but so often there is no effective outlet for our beliefs to change lives. While most people have a definite opinion about abortion and take a stance as being either “Pro-Life” or “Pro-choice”, very few have an opportunity to do more than voice their concern to their elected representative. The concerns that we voice to those around us don’t seem to change the status-quo. Unless you are put into the position of having to make this decision in a setting that actually makes a difference, the debate does not affect anything.

Voting is such an integral part of the American identity. We vote on everything. We vote on things ranging from the best singer on American Idol to who the next leader of the free world will be. Wouldn’t it be nice to voice your opinion and have it actually make a difference in the real world? Why not vote on whether to continue or abort an actual pregnancy? Your vote can help a real couple to make a decision on this issue. 

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It’s Not the Train’s Fault

As a rail fan, I was pleased that Hollywood was made a movie about a train: Unstoppable. The trailers make it look like an action picture, and that curbed my enthusiasm. I prefer actual acting and cinematography to special effects. But every so often I can look past the explosions and enjoy the rest of it. So I planned on making one of my rare ventures into the world of first-run film for Unstoppable.

Not anymore:

True to the title, the train is unstoppable. It defies its brakes, it blasts through an RV, it flips over several police cars, it flips a train in front of it which then explodes with the blast of the Manhattan Project, ignores a SWAT team shooting assault rifles at it (really) and not only rides right over the Automatic Derailers, it shoots them off the tracks where they take out some more police cars.

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Poppies

Why are they selling poppies, mother? Selling poppies in town today?
The poppy, my child, is the flower of love for the men, who marched away.

Why did they choose a poppy, mother? Why not a beautiful rose?
Because, my child, men fought and died in the fields, where the poppy grows.

But why is the poppy so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child, the blood that our soldiers shed.

The heart of the poppy is black mother. Why does it have to be black?
Black is the symbol of grief, my child, for the men, who never came back.

But why, mother dear, are you crying so? Your tears are like winter rain.
My tears are my fears for you, my child, for the world is forgetting again.

—John F. Willcocks

Scare Tactics

Halloween still offers plenty of scares—and not just doughy women who really can’t pull off their trampy costumes. But we’re not scaring the kids so much anymore. It has become a day to frighten parents:

When courts or cops set up a free x-ray station for kids' candy, they send the message that we should really be worried about foreign objects in the loot.

Are There Any Real Polar Bear Pics?

An iconic image of global warming, a polar bear adrift on a chunk of melting ice, published by Science magazine to accompany a letter from 255 scientists complaining about the attacks on their credibility, was a fake. This kind of visual storytelling is nothing new:

Remember the image of the bear struggling in the waves circulated by an environmental group awhile back? The waves were from the prop wash of the helicopter overhead.

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The Tea Party Feeling

One of the Chicago Boyz, with a nom de blog of Lexington Green, figured out what Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally was all about:

Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking.

Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them. Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that.

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No tool chest is complete without a Notch Remover and a Kink Wrench

Over at Sippican Cottage, they know about labor. The kind that makes your body sore. The kind of labor that the workers we’ve forgotten used to do. Due to that work experience, Sipp knows about tools, too. And he can spot it when someone knows little about either one:

Popular Mechanics doesn't disappoint with their: Tools Everyone Should Own. It's a terrific, haphazard mess of twenty arbitrary thingamabobs, written in the breathless prose usually reserved for paperbacks with pictures of Fabio on their cover and the tears of countless overweight data entry clerks dappling the pages.

An Open Question

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Patton’s America

TJIC links to a retelling of General Patton’s famous speech:

Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

This is the culture I was born into.

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Big Bird Would Rather Take His Chances With More Drilling

Forgive me for being hung up on the bird body count. But as I was scanning some more context-free reporting, I thought, “Hey, what about those windmills that are supposed to be part of the Clean Energy Economy. Aren’t those just giant bird grinders? How many of our feathered friends are beaten to death by clean energy every day?

To the Google!

Turns out George Will made some remarks about this over a month ago, when the birdy count was in the single digits. I don’t care what Will said; I am claiming this as an independent thought. But his comment led to some handy research:

The American Bird Conservancy estimated in 2003 that between 10,000 and 40,000 birds were killed each year at wind farms across the country, about 80 percent of which were songbirds and 10 percent birds of prey.

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AP Goes Tabloid

The Associated Press is running a story headlined “Gulf oil spill becomes wildlife apocalypse”. Nothing sensationalist, nothing alarmist about that, huh?

Well, maybe something truly, umm…apocalyptic, happened since yesterday.

Nope:

After six weeks with one to four birds a day coming into Louisiana's rescue center for oiled birds at Fort Jackson, 53 arrived Thursday and another 13 Friday morning, with more on the way. Federal authorities say 792 dead birds, sea turtles, dolphins and other wildlife have been collected from the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline.

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Pelican Perspective

The Boston Globe has some excellent oily bird pictures that support the Hate BP narrative. And the Google suggests the birdy body count is well over 300:

So far 300 birds, the bulk of them identified as Brown Pelicans and northern gannets have been found along the US Gulf Coast during the first five weeks of the BP oil spill, and 31 have survived. They are currently being counted as casualties because of the proximity in time and location to the spill, but are being tested to confirm results. The mortality rate is expected to rise sharply since this is the middle of breeding season.

With a population of 650,000, this just isn’t that big of a deal. We’re talking about maybe five hundredths of a percent of the pelican stock.

Relatedly, the current President is having shrimp for dinner. Cobb did a little research, and we’re not running out of shrimp, either:

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It was a Military Mission

A commenter at TJIC reveals the scale of the foiled Hamas resupply flotilla:

The 15,000 tons of humanitarian goods that were (allegedly) aboard the convoy are not much more than the roughly 14,000 tons that crossed the Israel-Gaza border in a typical week in May:
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=175858

In 2009, Israel sent nearly 740,000 tons into Gaza. Not counting the diesel fuel, the medical supplies and so forth.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=175858

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Copernicus-Goldwyn-Mayer

When the sound stages and backlots of Hollywood were not enough to tell their stories, movie producers found they could simulate most of the world somewhere in southern California:

Map of scenic substitute locations in California

This map, found on the site Strange Maps, is from 1927:

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Chicken Little Blew it Again

A month after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Big Media is finally getting some pictures of oily birds and mucked-up shoreline. It’s the story they wanted to tell:

When it began April 20, Louisiana and the world feared a quick and dramatic result, a black tsunami washing over one of the world's most productive and valuable coastal ecosystems. Expecting a disaster with iconic images to rival the environmental mugging of Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez, the planet's media rushed to the scene. Within days fishing towns like Venice and Hopedale became datelines in newspapers from Paris to Hong Kong, which painted pictures of a culture bracing for ecosystem Armageddon.

It is certainly true that valuable and delicate things are being harmed. But this is unfolding not so much as a major disaster and more like an accidental tragedy:

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Passive Activity

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.

Quoted from: G. K. Chesterton

Lifted directly from Neo-neocon

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Nothing to be Proud Of

The stereotype of the Catholic church as haven for perverts has no basis in fact:

Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations. Insurance companies that cover all denominations, such as Guide One Center for Risk Management, which has more than 40,000 church clients, does not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. "We don't see vast difference in the incidence rate between one denomination and another," says Sarah Buckley, assistant vice president of corporate communications. "It's pretty even across the denominations." It's been that way for decades.

Every group has a share of abusers. Catholics are not an exception, neither worse nor better than anyone else. They are a big group, so the raw numbers may lead to more frequent headlines. The Church of the SubGenius for example, with maybe 10,000 members, just will not include that many pederasts or yield many headlines about abuse.

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War is Hell

As I contemplate my response to the final straw being broken (Unicorn Care), I realize that whatever I choose, somebody I care about will get hurt. Even if I choose to do nothing, the execution of the law will hurt people close to me.

And choosing no action violates my own integrity. So, to be my own whole self, I may have to confront loved ones and hurt them to keep them from hurting others.

We’re not at the point of brothers on opposite sides of a skirmish line. I am not talking about muskets and swords. But the harm is just as real, if not so immediately brutal.

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