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The author is an ex-submariner, questioner of authority, cigar smoking fly-fishing fanatic who wants to live to be 103.

Improved Clinch

Friday, January 31, 2003

Abort, Abort, Abort

I abhor abortion, but I do not believe it is something that should be legislated. I have never viewed anti-abortion photos or other propoganda, or, pro-choice, as they like to say, photos or propoganda. Here is the one of the most disturbing photos I have ever seen. The link for this photo comes from this World Net Daily article which I was directed to by J Bowen over at No Watermelons Allowed. Be warned, the image linked is DISTURBING.

John Venlet - 7:48:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, January 30, 2003

God Is An Anarcho-Capitalist
A Heretical Hypothesis on Liberty
Second Post

A few days ago I had this to say about God as an Anarcho-Capitalist. This post did not supply any substantive argument for my statement which I hope to begin remedying here.

Both believers and unbelievers in God seem willing to continuously quote Matthew 22:21 as the basis for secular government, and wisely so in my opinion, as far as government is concerned. The verse linked, which is an answer to a question posed to Jesus about payment of taxes, and references whose portrait and inscription appears on a coin, states,

"They said, Caesar's. Then He said to them, Render then the things that are Caesar's to Caesar and the things that are God's to God."

This reply and interpretation is fine as far as keeping the church out of government and the government out of the church, which are both good things. But I want to go back further, to an Old Testament book that has something different to say and carries a warning about government.

In the book 1 Samuel 8 the people of Israel ask Samuel, a priest, to appoint them a king. This request displeases Samuel, see 1 Samuel 8:6, so he goes and prays to God. God tells Samuel that it is not he they are rejecting, meaning Samuel, but God. God says okay, give the people what they want, a king, but "warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do." What follows is the warning,

And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear
(plow) his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

Looking around me today I see that all of these travails are here and now afflicting us, as they have been for ages. Meaning, the people asked for it and have gotten exactly what they asked for, because they ignored this warning.

Many theologians and others may interpret this book and chapter of 1 Samuel as a basis for the legitimacy of a theocracy, but this would be incorrect and I'll touch on this in the future. I think what is said speaks for itself. Government is not defender of liberty, rather, it is a destroyer of liberty and a thief of individual prosperity. This lesson would be true whether you believe or not.

John Venlet - 3:21:00 PM | Permalink

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

A Report on Bush's Grand Rapids, MI Visit

After admonishments from Melissa not to cause trouble I headed downtown Grand Rapids to observe those who would be out to either support or protest Bush's visit. According to The Grand Rapids Press Bush was scheduled to land in GR at 10:50 AM for a meeting with health officials and then a speaking engagement, so I timed my arrival downtown for 10:45 AM.

Parking, to my surprise, was easily obtained. I then headed on foot over to DeVos Hall where Bush was scheduled to speak at 12:30 PM. Foot traffic was very light as I approached DeVos Hall though there was a long, orderly queue of Republican faithful shuffling into DeVos Hall. There was one lone protestor, in his sixties, standing across from the hall with a small, hand made, 10" X 12", "No New War" sign. Because I had expected more protestors here, I asked a couple boys in blue where all the protestors were and they directed me to Michigan Street, across from Spectrum Health, where Bush was first scheduled to appear. This was a short walk away so I made my way to Michigan Street.

When I made the turn to head up Michigan, I finally saw a group of people gathered across the street from Spectrum Health. The time was 11 AM. My best estimate of the number of protestors at this point in time and in this area is approximately 200. The signs being carried ran from the obligatory "No Blood for Oil" to "Honk for Peace," which about 4 dozen vehicles which passed by did. Other placards carried messages such as "War is Terrorism," "Violence Begets Violence," "Regime Change Begins at Home," "Drop Bush Not Bombs," "Willing to Trade Your Sons for Oil?," and "One World One People." Additionally, there was a large photo head sign of Cheney with blood dripping from his mouth. Unfortunately, the photo/sign was only in black and white so the hoped for effect was somewhat negated. The most interesting sign I obseved was worn as a sandwich board by a woman in her late forties. On one side it stated "Trust our Government? Ask a Native American." On the back side the sandwich board stated "Women Bore Children for Living." The only professionally printed signs I saw either stated "Wage Peace," "Another Family for Peace," or "No Iraq War"and were sponsored or printed by a group called Citizens for Global Peace and Justice.

There were not many Republican supporters in this group. The one lone dissenter I did notice making his way through these anti-war protestors carried a large American flag and he did not stick around very long. Especially after having a short shouting confrontation with a professor from Grand Valley State University with whom I later struck up an interesting conversation.

By the time Bush's cavalcade arrived, at approximately 11:15 AM, the group in front of Spectrum Health had grown to approximately 300 people. The arrival instigated 30 seconds worth of jeers and much sign shaking but was otherwise unnoteworthy. I remained in this area for another 20 minutes or so discussing slavery, reparations and conservative Christians with the GVSU professor and then headed back in the direction of DeVos Hall. In those 20 minutes approximately another 100 or so people showed up, the majority anti-war. I would estimate that the group at Spectrum Health never exceeded 500 people.

As I made my way back towards DeVos Hall I came across small pockets of protestors with other agendas. Some carried signs that proclaimed "Fight Aids Not War" or called for more spending on health care rather than war. Once again all very orderly. I also encountered supporters of Bush and war on Iraq. These groups were small, consisting of 10 to 20 people only, and I only counted 4 of these supporter groups.

When I arrived back in front of DeVos Hall, there was a small group, 50 people or so, standing around with their anti-war or more health care spending signs, and a few support Bush people thrown in for good measure, waiting patiently for Bush to arrive. I did not remain here long and headed back to my vehicle.

In my estimate, there were not more than 1000 people on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids for Bush's visit. Ninety percent of the people I viewed were against war with Iraq or war in general. Suprisingly, I did not see any signs referencing Israel or North Korea. I was also surprised I did not see any signs in support of the Palestinians. Seventy percent of the crowd was under 30. All in all those who were out either to support or protest were orderly, quiet and cold. Not a bullhorn was heard nor was there any real organization to the protests. I would consider it a non-event. Tomorrow I will post some links to articles in The Grand Rapids Press that have covered this event.

John Venlet - 12:38:00 PM | Permalink

Bush's SOTU

Our Canadian friend, Colby Cosh, sums up the address and Bush rather well here. My only comments are in regards to the gallery. Statists of both major political parties at times sat stoically through Bush's speech. At other moments, they played to their constituents, as the cameras panned over them, politely applauding on national television so they could give the appearance that they actually cared about what Bush had to say, and that they were earning the dollars American taxpayers put into their pockets. In actuality, the Senators and Representatives were quickly hatching private plans to use the initiatives Bush suggested for their own personal gain or to send tax dollars into their respective states to further ingratiate themselves with their political cronies. Either that or they were lusting to wield greater power within their respective chambers.

I'm now off to wander amongest the protestors and supporters of Bush, war and what not as Bush will be here in the fair city of Grand Rapids, MI for a round table discussion with health officials and to speak to the Republican faithful at DeVos Hall. I'll report back on this later.

John Venlet - 8:19:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, January 28, 2003


A travesty, no worse, a betrayal of trust - treason. That a bill, HR 124, such as this can even be considered in OUR country, the United States of America. That we allow this to happen, for men to consider this as a benefit to society, epitomizes the depth of idiocy to which we have sunk.

Thanks to Billy Beck for the heads up.

Update Quote:

Oppressors can tyrannize only when they can achieve a standing, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.

James Madison

Quote shamelessly borrowed from the blog Survival Arts.

John Venlet - 7:53:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, January 27, 2003

God Is An Anarcho-Capitalist
A Heretical Hypotheis on Liberty
A Series of Posts

It's been almost two weeks since I've read any news, blogs or posted to this site. Reasons for this are varied, ranging from apathy to dismay but I am drawn to post on the above subject matter by an article that traveled to my inbox from the web group American Liberty. The article, "The Reluctant Anarchist," by Joseph Sobran, relates the story of Mr. Sobran's journey and arrival at "philosophical anarchism." Mr. Sobran states that his arrival at this point "has disturbed some of my conservative and Christian friends. In fact, it surprises me, going as it does against my own inclinations." I can deeply appreciate Mr. Sobran's conundrum. I myself come from a very conservative, Dutch Protestant background where thoughts, such as I hope to express here, and Mr. Sobran's, would be deemed heretical and without merit. I've come to the conclusion that Christians who would label these thoughts as such are only enabling the continued growth of Statism not only within the political arena but the church arena also.

Twenty-four years ago I was introduced to the writings of Ayn Rand. Specifically, "The Fountainhead." Immediately upon completing the reading of this I picked up and devoured "Atlas Shrugged." The words and the philosophy these two books presented have poked and prodded me ever since. I believe that the philosophy of reason, individualism and capitalism suggested by Ayn Rand, combined with the philosophy of anarcho-capitalism, is how men are supposed to live. The liberty men throughout the world are supposed to enjoy and embrace has been bastardized by organized states and religions in order to keep men subjected. It pains me to say that organized religion has been a leader in promulgating the slavery all people suffer under throughout the world. The power organized religion does not wield to deny liberty, they have ceded to the state to wield over us. We have been misled.

What I have to say in this and coming posts about God, anarcho-capitalism and liberty does not require any belief in God. Belief in God is an individual matter and is not required for any person to experience liberty. I only hope to bring to light the fact that God, whether you believe in him or not, is an anarcho-capitalist who embraces capitalism, individualism and reason. God wants men to enjoy liberty.

Update - Quote:

The liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatever, divine or human, collective or individual.

Bakunin on Anarchy, pg. 227

John Venlet - 10:23:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Psst, Hey Buddy Wanna Buy A Cigarette?

Just strolled by Billy Beck's site and he sends me packing over here. According to the Grand Forks Herald, do gooder and confirmed statist Rep. Michael Grosz, R-Grand Forks is sponsoring a bill that,

"would make it a misdemeanor crime to sell or use tobacco. Sellers would face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, while casual smokers or smokeless tobacco users could go to jail for 30 days and be fined $1,000."

Not only is this "pitiful," it's is an affront to liberty, capitalism and individualism.

John Venlet - 2:11:00 PM | Permalink

Abortion, Marketing and Language Police

The hot potato of topics, abortion, is a subject covered today by Jane Galt over at Asymmetrical Information. I have nothing to add to Jane's comments, except that I agree.

John Venlet - 11:29:00 AM | Permalink

Crying Wolf

A recent court case involving rape has been receiving some press because the conviction of the rapist seems to be based on the victims "I have to go home" statement as an adequate means of saying no. Eugene Volokh posted that he believed the conviction was reasonably based. Diana Hseih does not. Read Diana's post here. She provides links to Eugene's post, a FOX news column and the facts of the case as presented in court documents. In other words, thorough. The ending of Diana's post,

Ages ago, when I was a teenager, I was pressured into sex by my scummy boyfriend at the time. I didn't want to, but based upon ambiguous statements he made the night before, I feared that he might overpower and force me. (Scummy boyfriend that he was, I'm quite certain in retrospect that he never ever would have forced himself on me.) By modern feminist standards, I was raped. By reasonable standards, I was just stupid and timid.

John Venlet - 11:14:00 AM | Permalink

What Liberterianism is Not

Over at No Treason Tim Starr has posted some thoughts under the title of "To Secure Liberty, Prepare for War." In the post Tim takes a look at anti-war arguments as postulated by others who may fall under the Libertarian umbrella. The following statement, from Tim's post, sums up rather nicely the title to my post,

Libertarianism is, or ought to be, about how to live freely in a free world and making it freer, not about living as some sort of equivalent of a Buddhist monk who doesn't dare step outside of his monastery for fear of harming some poor innocent living thing. It's not about putting on some sort of moral straightjacket to prevent us from defending ourselves against those who would use our moral scruples against us.

John Venlet - 10:42:00 AM | Permalink

All Hail Sports

ESPN has launched a new ad campaign that has caught Tony Woodlief's eye while riding the Metro. In this post Tony reviews not only the ad's grammar, but the implications of what is being sold. Sports is big here in the USA, but Tony is not out of line when he states,

"To believe that any aspect of character can be more effectively built through the sports experience than through any of a vast array of childhood activities is to be intentionally blind. Character is built through example, through successes and failures and setbacks and a myriad of life's lessons, and through exposure to a moral framework. In no way does the modern sports experience provide these to great degree -- in most cases it inhibits them."

John Venlet - 9:28:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

It Must Be Something in the Water

Glenn Reynolds finds another recent tale of non-thinking police actions. The opening line is, MORE EVIDENCE that we may need to apply gun control to police, first. I don't agree with part of applying gun control but, come on, what is going on with those who are supposed to protect and serve. Glenn points to a story in the Star Telegram with the headline Clerk mistook officer for robber. Here are the first two, short paragraphs for the article,

Police acknowledged Friday that an undercover officer was masked and brandishing a gun when she was shot by a store clerk who believed that he was about to be robbed.

Officials initially disputed witness accounts about the mask, a knit ski-type mask called a balaclava, and said the officer was shot Thursday evening as she and other police went into the E-Z Food Store to arrest a man suspected of selling drugs.

Why does it not surprise me that "Officials initially disputed the witness accounts?"

John Venlet - 1:18:00 PM | Permalink


The above story, "Cut," was brought to my attention by Asparagirl. "Cut" is a short story by Megan Lindhom which has been nominated for a Nebula award and is posted in its entirety here. Take the time to read the story. I think it provides a telling commentary on choices, children, parenting and over legislating of peoples lives.

John Venlet - 12:53:00 PM | Permalink

An Ode

Daniel Medley has penned an ode to Britney Spears and Anna Kournikova. Here's a taste of his words for Britney,

First let's talk Britney. As you know Britney Spears is the chick who has marginal singing talent but, because she built her career playing the barely pubescent, come hither and treat me like a plastic ***k doll card, she managed to build a rabid following of pre and barely pubescent girls trying to emulate said card. She probably did more for the child porn industry than we all care to think about.

Some truth there.

Here's a few words for Anna,

Anna, Anna, Anna . . . You have far more credibility as a barely dressed pin up babe than you do as a tennis player as evidenced in your latest outing.

Read his entire post at Lobowalk.

John Venlet - 10:07:00 AM | Permalink

Don't Forget the Masses

It's not just the State that wishes to impinge on our freedoms. Supposed majorities of public opinion also wish to exert there influence over us. Karen De Coster reminds us of this in her current article at Here is a sampling of the problem stated within Karen's article,

The mass of totalitarians, these days, is composed of hordes of petty, self-elected Führers running around trying to dictate everyone else’s choices and lifestyles to suit their own preferences and comfort levels.

And here a solution is offered,

In other words, get out of our lives, get out of our decisions, and tend to your own attainments. This is not Stalin's Russia.

John Venlet - 8:56:00 AM | Permalink

SUV Hypocrites

Rachel Lucas has the lowdown.

John Venlet - 8:35:00 AM | Permalink

There's A Connection Here

Saddam releases more than 150,000 prisoners

Illinois governor commutes every one of state's death sentences

I leave you to consider the implications.

John Venlet - 8:11:00 AM | Permalink

I Second That Motion

James Lileks is an entertaining writer. He takes the everyday and transforms it into a kaleidoscope for our enjoyment. Today was no exception. One small sentence within today's turning tube lit up my eye with an image I provide below,

People who use children for their sexual gratification should be walled up and left for dead.

Take the kaleidoscope in your hands and turn it yourself.

John Venlet - 7:47:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Why "Public" Should Not Refer to Government Funded Schools

A rather lengthy read from Joshua Kaplowitz published in City Journal. Joshua attempted to be a teacher, after endeavors in other fields, with dismal results not of his making. I hope Mr. Kaplowitz has learned other lessons as well.

Thanks to John Derbyshire for the link.

John Venlet - 2:44:00 PM | Permalink

A Priest with Integrity or An Oxymoron?

Here's a story from the local Grand Rapids, MI rag, The Grand Rapids Press. The story concerns one Reverend David Harpe, a Catholic priest in West Michigan. Father Harpe has just resigned from his parish and here are a few of his stated reasons,

"a leadership structure that is rot with decay."

and speaking further of the church hierarchy Father Harpe had this to say,

"appears to be near totally consumed by self-preservation."

and this,

He criticized leaders for a greater emphasis on rules than spiritual nourishment, and chastised bishops for "years of cover-up, payoff and conspiracy" related to sexual abuse.

Of course the other priests and the bishop interviewed for this article state that the issues Father Harpe indicated he resigned for are either ongoing complaints of his from the past, so are not associated with the ongoing sexual abuse problems within the Catholic church, or that Father Harpe has "authority issues."


John Venlet - 1:49:00 PM | Permalink

How to End an Interview

Thanks to Donald Sensing. The link provided will take you to the post below which I have shamelessly copied and pasted from Don's site.

Women in combat
One fine day at Fort Bragg, NC, I was present when a female reporter from Newsweek was talking to an infantry platoon sergeant, a Sgt. 1st Class, of the 82d Airborne Division. They had a polite and free-ranging discussion about a number of topics; then she pooped the question:

Reporter: So, do you think women should be permitted to serve in the infantry?

Infantry sergeant: Oh, yes, ma'am.

Reporter: You do?!?!

Sergeant: Yeah, I have three sons and I figure that if some female wants to come home in a body bag instead of my sons, I'm all for it.

The reporter wordlessly slapped her notebook shut and walked away.

John Venlet - 11:21:00 AM | Permalink

A Voice in the Wilderness

John Sabotta has posted some comments at No Treason with a title of "To The Easily Offended." A portion,

"And one must remember that the State and the people are not necessarily the same thing; I do not care for the State, or the law, but I can honestly recognise the heroism of the police and firefighters who died trying to save the WTC victims. Patriotism has meant nothing to me for a long time; but I can honestly recognise the courage of US military personnel presently in harm's way in Afghanistan, and I cannot do other than wish them success in their mission - which is to avenge the blood of the slaughtered innocent."

John Venlet - 11:11:00 AM | Permalink

Isn't "Cricket" a Bug?

Brian Micklethwait, over at Samizdata, has a few things to say about the game of cricket, which I know nothing about except that it involves a ball, some players, wickets, I think, and scoring runs. Brian is only using the game to talk about Zimbabwe and the deplorable despotism of Robert Mugabe. Though the situation in Zimbabwe is getting some press, the story itself is really flying below the radar of the majority of people, no matter what area of the world they live in. I'd like to suggest one other reason, besides the ones Brian lists in his post, for the relative obscurity of this story. The people to whom this story should matter don't care. They don't care because they believe what is currently happening in Zimbabwe is only a justifiable aberration, a righting of past wrongs so to speak. Besides, it's only happening to the little people, not to the supposed "enlightened" people who are only trying to make things right. Read Brian's post for yourself, link to it, create a sensation where there is currently none.

John Venlet - 10:15:00 AM | Permalink

More to Ponder

Evolution or creation by God? Reasoning and evidence fall into rank behind evolution. Faith, with scant evidence and which excludes reason, falls into rank behind creation. I do not know the definitive answer but I am always ready to entertain information, theories or postulations for my own personal benefit. David Heddle posts some comments under the title The Day Age View at a blog called He Lives which I recently stumbled upon. A theory with which I am not totally familiar. David's blog has this little blurb about it's author,

Reformed theology from the point of view of a nuclear physicist.


John Venlet - 9:33:00 AM | Permalink


In a time where we have The Cookeville Incident, the Ski Boot People story and a cop cutting off a woman's finger in order to slap handcuffs on her, a story like this, is a ray of feeble light in a world of irrationality. The story is about Laurence S.Cauthorne. A resident of Baltimore who shot 4 police officers who were part of a team executing a warrant to search for drugs. It appears the police did not follow the correct "procedures" in their alacrity to act. Mr. Cauthorne has been released and all charges have been dropped. Much to the consternation of the Police Commissioner,

Acting Police Commissioner John McEntee said today he opposed the decision by prosecutors.

"I would have liked to have seen all available charges prosecuted," he said.

I'm sure he would.

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link.

John Venlet - 8:46:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, January 13, 2003

The Ski Boot People

On Friday, January 10th, I posted some comments on the couple who had put a TSA disparging note in a ski boot that screeners thought may be a bomb. Many people were outraged at this incident and the people who wrote the note, calling them idiots and wishing for them less than the best. I thought it was funny. Additionally, I said this in my January 10th post,

Now, unless the couple were foolish enough to "rig" the ski boots in the manner described above, I think they will be released without charges. If they are charged, a competent First Amendment attorney should take this case as far as it needs to go.

Now comes this story from The Maine Today Press Herald, "Couple freed after charges of packing fake bomb in boot." Notice, please, the desire for sensationalism within the headline. In the third paragraph, within the article, the truth is told,

An L.L. Bean boot with some ordinary household batteries tucked inside it and a power strip next to it appeared to be a bomb to security workers and police when viewed by an X-ray machine. Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu said Friday that "it doesn't look like a bomb when you open the suitcase."

Evidently common sense and reasoning does not exist at the TSA level, or mere words of dispargement within a note causes instant blindness to reality.

Thanks to Opinion Journal for the link.

John Venlet - 4:01:00 PM | Permalink

Condom Mania

I cannot offer much insight into condom use even though I had more than adequate opportunity to stick my wicky into various orifices during my foreign travels as a member of the U.S. Submarine Service. I also remained a virgin until my late teenage years because of the respect my father ingrained in me for women and their bodies. Not that I didn't want to have sex, it's just that my dad made certain I was aware of the responsibilities that one assumes when one randomly dips their wick into any port in a storm, so to speak. Be that as it may, J Bowen over at No Watermelons Allowed has put together a good post, with multiple links, on the current condom brouhaha. The permalink for the post is not currently functional. Here's the link if you're so inclined. The post is called "War on common sense."

John Venlet - 2:09:00 PM | Permalink

Two from Samizdata

Two good posts today at Samizdata. The first, written by Perry de Havilland, goes under the banner "The casual acceptance of coercive politics," and offers this comment,

People like Will Straw, son of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, call education a 'public good' and thus sees that as ample justification for the National Union of Students demanding that students like himself have their education paid for by money taken from others... and yet is not the opening of a corner shop or supermarket a 'public good' as well? It offers not just needed products but also employment. Is not almost any lawful economic activity between two willing parties a 'public good' for much the same reason, as it generates wealth and satisfies needs?

The second post, entitled "The Right Which Dare Not Speak Its' Name," by Dale Amon, looks at jury nullification and offers this insight,

This is why "The System" hates it so much. It lets you, the six-pack drinking slob on the street tell them the Law itself is unjust - and make it stick. It makes you, the citizen, the final arbiter of what is Just.

Good reading.

John Venlet - 12:45:00 PM | Permalink

Red Men

I enjoy stopping by, Dr. David Yeagley's site. Today was no exception. In this post David chronicles the use of the term "red men" as a designation for American Indians. Interesting post to say the least and this portion asks some very good questions,

The sentiment towards the cherishable Indian image, the honor given through the use of Indian names, are clearly expressed in this early encyclopedia. What would the early 20th century Americans think now of the Indian "leaders" who are trying so desperately to remove every Indian image and name from the face of American society? What alien force would cause such a change of sentiment?

Read David's entire post.

John Venlet - 10:39:00 AM | Permalink

Exploring Anti-Americanism

In today's Opinion Journal Victor Davis Hanson has penned an essay that is well worth reading. The title of the piece is 'Bomb Texas' The psychological roots of anti-Americanism. An enjoyable portion to draw you in,

The anti-Americans often invoke Rome as a warning and as a model, both of our imperialism and of our foreordained collapse. But the threats to Rome's predominance were more dreadful in 220 B.C. than in A.D. 400. The difference over six centuries, the dissimilarity that led to the end, was a result not of imperial overstretch on the outside but of something happening within that was not unlike what we ourselves are now witnessing. Earlier Romans knew what it was to be Roman, why it was at least better than the alternative, and why their culture had to be defended. Later in ignorance they forgot what they knew, in pride mocked who they were, and in consequence disappeared.

John Venlet - 8:36:00 AM | Permalink

An Incongruous Image

Yesterday evening, I turned on the television to watch the PBS show Nature. Last night's program was "Under Antarctic Ice." Filmed by Norbet Wu, a plug for the documentary describes it thusly,

Beneath Antarctica's frozen seas lies one of Earth's most stable and vibrant ecosystems -- and one of its most enchanting realms. Visit a fantastic world hidden "Under Antarctic Ice."

and indeed the images filmed by Wu were inspiring. I was struck by one thing though. At the beginning of the show, narrated by Hilary Swank, we are informed of the myriad enviromental scientists who study Antarctic's effects on our global weather. Additionally, we are informed of the pristine nature of Antarctica and it's enchanting beauty. The majority of the images within the program lend credence to this statement except one (1). To illustrate the capricious nature of the winds that can scour Antarctica, the producers filmed a scene within the town of McMurdo. The scene, which runs a total of maybe 15 seconds, begins with the sound of the wind and fine particles of snow moving smartly across the lense of the camera. Then, in a maybe 5 second film sequence, they capture the image of a large cardboard box, which by all appearances a 22 cubic foot refrigerator would fit in, blowing ponderously and uninhibitedly through town. It appears that the environmental scientists and such who visit Antarctica have as little regard for its pristineness as common everyday people who carelessly toss their empty McDonald's and Burger King bags on the side of the road.

John Venlet - 8:09:00 AM | Permalink

Sunday, January 12, 2003

For Your Consideration

"To Reason"

A tap with your finger on the drum releases all sounds and begins the new harmony.
One step of yours, and the new men rise up and march.
Your head turns aside: new love! Your head turns back: new love!
The children sing to you: "Change our fate, overcome the plague, and
begin with time." They beg you, "Raise where you wish the substance of
our fortune and our prayers."
You will go everywhere, since you have come from all time.

From Rimbaud: Complete works, Selected Letters
Translated by Wallace Fowlie

John Venlet - 12:18:00 PM | Permalink

Those Who Shoot Dogs and Cut Off Fingers

A couple of years ago one of my brothers had the idea in his head that he wanted to become a cop. I kiddingly told him he would never make it because he could think for himself. Shortly before he washed out of the testing process, I read an article about standardized police testing and its proclivity for selecting recruits who would only follow procedure, rather than thinking things through. Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact article I am referring to but this one, entitled "DUMBING DOWN THE POLICE FORCE, For Diversity's Sake, Feds Fight Cognitive Tests," published by Investor's Business Daily, will be an adequate stand in. Here are a few points from that article that may shed light on the foolishness of the cops involved in The Cookeville Incident and the Detroit incident where a cop cut off a woman's finger,

If the Justice Department has its way, the police officer of the future will be singing "If I Only Had A Brain."

or this,

Since the late 1980s, the department's Civil Rights Division has been pressuring police forces across the country to abandon "cognitive" entrance exams, which test for basic reading, writing, memory and reasoning skills.

I'd say the reasoning skills are long gone.

An interesting factoid about one of the Nassau county, NY police recruiting tests,

The new exam - developed by a testing firm under the supervision of Justice and the county - replaced written cognitive sections with new ones that relied on videotapes instead of reading.

The new exam also added personality tests for traits like "achievement motivation" and "openness to experience."

Ah, the wonders of the "new age" police. Open to experiences and whose motivation is achieved with trinkets awarded for thoughtless enforcement at the point of a gun.

The entire article makes an interesting read.

John Venlet - 8:58:00 AM | Permalink

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Terrorists in SUVs

Huffington lunacy continues. Here's some additional thoughts on this from Greg Swann and Karen De Coster. Well said.

John Venlet - 2:27:00 PM | Permalink


Updated blog roll links and added link to photo of myself doing what I love best.

John Venlet - 2:23:00 PM | Permalink

Two Timer

On the 9th, I posted some comments under Strong Arm Tactics and linked to this story that related the tale of a woman in Detroit who was sitting in a parking lot, in her van, and some undercover cops who, thinking she was a suspicious character, decided she needed to be arrested. During the arrest, one of the cops, while attempting to handcuff the struggling woman, cut off her left ring finger at the knuckle. Of course the cops state that she was "resisting arrest."

Today, January 11th, I come across this story with the headline "Attorney files $100 million suit against Detroit." It deals with the woman's case mentioned above. Here's the interesting part, the officer involved has a history of excessive force against women,

This isn't the first time Johnson has drawn attention. He shot and killed a 79-year-old disabled woman during a ruckus in her home in 1998, police officials said.

When you consider this story and The Cookeville Incident posted below, you can only wonder what additional perfidies remain hidden from our view as the powers of the State run amuck.

John Venlet - 9:12:00 AM | Permalink

Friday, January 10, 2003

"Theft-free Farming"

I cannot improve on the title of this post. I borrowed it from Samizdata.

The article the post refers to is here.

A portion of the Samizdata post,

To all those who believe that first-world farming cannot survive without the theft of subsidies, please then explain how New Zealand seems to manage with hardly any help from the state.

When will we wake up and realize this is how the U.S. should be farming?

John Venlet - 10:29:00 AM | Permalink

What, You Never Saw a Heated Ski Boot?

Michele at A Small Victory didn't think much of this story, it made me laugh. It seems a couple, who were going to fly from San Jose, CA to Atlanta, GA, were carrying battery operated heated ski boots in their luggage with a little note for the screeners in the boots, just in case the boots raised suspicions,

"To the uniformed puppet opening this bag -- congratulations. You've just brought this once free nation one step closer to becoming a fascist police state."

The note was scribbled on one side of the cardboard torn from a box of Cracklin' Oat Bran.

Here's CNN's headline for this incident "Luggage bomb hoax lands couple in jail"

Note that the CNN article does not say that the ski boots were battery operated heated ski boots like I've stated. They describe the ski boots thusly,

When their bags were put through a bomb detection machine, federal screeners found what turned out to be a snow boot with batteries, wires and an electrical power strip arranged in a suspicious way.

Now, unless the couple were foolish enough to "rig" the ski boots in the manner described above, I think they will be released without charges. If they are charged, a competent First Amendment attorney should take this case as far as it needs to go.

John Venlet - 8:54:00 AM | Permalink

Do As I Say, Not As I Do or "Go Pills"

Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, writing in The Washington Times, are linked to by Drudge under a teaser line that goes like this "U.S. intelligence agencies have uncovered information indicating Russia's foreign intelligence service is covertly cooperating with Iraq spy agencies." I'll bite. So I click the link provided by Drudge and am delivered to the Gertz/Scarborough article titled "Inside the Ring," meaning reports from the Pentagon. I commence reading and the evidence of collusion is presented. Great. Halfway through the article, you come to this,

Speed talking
The Air Force has issued talking points to personnel to defend the practice of giving amphetamines to pilots to combat fatigue on long missions.
The practice of dispensing what the Air Force calls "go pills" has emerged in the "friendly fire" criminal cases against Majs. Harry Schmidt and William Umbach. The two F-16 pilots had taken amphetamines the night they mistakenly bombed a live-fire training exercise in Afghanistan, killing four Canadian soldiers.
The two will cite the use of "speed" as a defense when their pretrial hearing begins Monday at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
On Monday, the Air Force's "Aim Points," a daily digest of news reports, contained seven talking points to defend the practice. The Air Force describes Aim Points as "a daily summary of news, messages and communication tactics to help AF people tell the AF story."
The seven-point defense:
•"Use of prescribed stimulants by aircrew member is completely voluntary." [Inside the Ring: the consent form states that failure to take the pills may cause the pilot to be taken off flight status.]
•"Those who decline to use stimulants face no penalty."
•"Doctors prescribe 'go pills' only in consultation with the aircrew member and the local commander."
•"Aircrew members are ground-tested with the medicine."
•"Decades of study and evaluation substantiate the efficacy, safety and practicality" of giving the drug.
•"There are no reported safety incidents involving aircrew members' use of 'go pills.'"
•"Fatigue and sleep deprivation are especially dangerous for aviators."
Aim Points state that 18 hours of "sustained wakefulness" equals a blood alcohol level of .05 percent.
The Schmidt-Umbach mission had them in the air about 10 hours, making a round trip from the al Jaber air base in Kuwait to Afghanistan.
The next day's Aim Points had this message to officers: "Always be straight with the American people; their support is rooted in trust, understanding and common purpose

Interesting. So, if you're caught on the street dispensing amphetamines, it's off to jail you go, but if you're in the military amphetamines are just another tool. A key statement from the Air Force,

•"Decades of study and evaluation substantiate the efficacy, safety and practicality" of giving the drug.

John Venlet - 7:45:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, January 09, 2003

The Cookeville Incident

I first heard about the Cookeville incident on Saturday. After viewing the video, Billy Beck sums it up best.

Update: Added link to view video.

John Venlet - 7:55:00 PM | Permalink

A Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie story by Greg Swann

Yesterday I posted some comments and a link about a new round of commericals that posits SUV drivers are terrorism supporters. I'm guilty, should I hang myself to restore my integrity or turn myself in as a possible source of intelligence to nab other terrorists? I won't do either. Read Greg Swann's story, here's the link, as Nick and Norm discuss this latest terrorism development.

John Venlet - 1:12:00 PM | Permalink

Strong Arm Tactics

This story from The Michigan Daily makes my police story, see A Police Story post below, look like a nice conversation among friends deciding a cantankerous issue. No wonder I infrequently wander into Detroit. Sheesh.

Thanks to Susanna at Cut on the Bias for the link.

John Venlet - 11:05:00 AM | Permalink

A Submarine of My Own

Wouldn't that be something? Your own sub complete with torpedoes, missiles, a battlestations alarm, one can dream. Here's one possibility. My sympathies to lung. It sounds like design error.

John Venlet - 10:58:00 AM | Permalink

Indian Mascot Names

David Yeagley's blog is interesting site, especially when you consider he is a Comanche. David has various posts on his blog about the Indian mascot name controversy and this one is his most recent. In the post, David reviews the dichotomy between a Sports Illustrated opinion poll on this issue and an American Indian newspaper, Indian Country Today, poll on the issue. SI's poll stated 83% of American Indians had no problem with Indian mascot names. The ICT poll stated that 81% of American Indians had a problem with Indian mascot names. Here's a bit of what David has to say on this,

ICT's poll said 81% of Indians disapproved of any use of Indian names, symbols, or mascots. This is virtually the opposite results of the SI poll, of course. That was the intent of the ICT survey. In their March 22 reference to this poll, ICT admitted that their opinion makers' list comprised their "active students, tribal leaders, educators and other professionals, perhaps people who are of necessity thinking more deeply about the impact of mascots and other identity grabs on our children."

In other words, the rest of us poor, ignorant Indians have to be told, and taught, agressively, of this horrible abuse of our name, or else we might miss it, we might not see it as an issue! ICT said as much: Native Americans' "self-esteem has fallen so low that they don't even know when they're being insulted."

So, if you disagree with the activists, you have no self-esteem. That's interesting. 83% of Indian people have no self-esteem. Darn! Unless you are a university Indian, and have a white collar job, you're too dumb to know when you're being insulted. Think about that, all you dumb Indians out there. This is what your "activist" leaders have said about you. This is what the white Communist American universities have taught our Indian leaders to say about us.

John Venlet - 9:50:00 AM | Permalink

Sometimes You Get What You Ask For

Tim Cavanaugh, also from Hit & Run (see previous post below), laments about cable TV,

(I had always sort of hoped that some obscure station in Minot, North Dakota or Malheur County, Oregon might be an undiscovered Hope Diamond of TV sleaze, but apparently the city by the bay is as good as it gets.)

Well Tim, today I am going to attempt to fulfil your wish. Here in Grand Rapids, MI we have our own little public access channel controversy. The linked article, penned by Doug Guthrie of The Grand Rapids Press, is so bold as to make this statement,

Tuesday's indecent exposure conviction of a Grand Rapids public access television producer -- for displaying a penis on a show broadcast on GRTV -- likely will send a chilling message as far as Hollywood.

Apparently the bay area is not necessarily "as good as it gets."

John Venlet - 9:29:00 AM | Permalink

At the Airport

An article at, by Nicholas Monahan, relates the story of a recent experience he and his wife had at the Portland Airport. Needless to say it has to do with going through security. Jesse Walker, over at Hit & Run, posts a link and some comments about this article by Steve Duin in The Oreganian in response to Nicholas' article. The following bit, from Duin's article, is a statement from Bob Applegate whose details of employment are noted below,

A sample: "If Monahan was randomly searched and his wife's privacy violated, noted Bob Applegate, the senior manager for government and media relations at the Port, 'That happens to thousands of people a day at Portland International Airport. Thousands of people go through the same process every day and don't get upset enough to get arrested.'"

Here is Jesse Walker's response to the above statement,

"America, I submit, can be divided into two types of people: those who could write such a paragraph with a straight face, and those who couldn't.

Which type of person are you?

John Venlet - 9:02:00 AM | Permalink


Yesterday I was introduced to the writings of Karen De Coster, a fellow resident of the state of Michigan, by a Billy Beck post. Karen is a prospect for the Mackinaw Center which is forming here in Michigan. Karen not only runs a weblog, her main site provides links to archives of her published articles, various other writings and other useful sites. Here's a link to an article published in June 2002. The article title is "Why We Are Not Free" and requires your attention.

John Venlet - 8:36:00 AM | Permalink

Old People Are Not Dogs

Rachel Lucas has posted a moving account of her days as a nurse's aide in a long term health care facility. The post reminds me why, when I succumb to the capriciousness of old age, I hope I have the courage to walk into the woods and die an honorable death.

John Venlet - 8:29:00 AM | Permalink

Ah, The French

Taking my daily tour through the blogosphere, I stop on over at Asapragirl's site and find this post. The post informs us France will not recognize certain Jewish weddings that occurred in the West Bank. Interesting. Nothing like veiling anti-Semitism in the guise of righteous indignation because of the plight of the Palestinians. Here's a bit of Asparagirl's take on this,

Should I repeat this part?: "refusing to recognize Jewish wedding ceremonies, including those performed in pre-1967 Israel" because the rabbi now lives in the West Bank. I can't think of any possible justification for this, except for the usual rant about what famous little shits the French are.

Read Asparagirl's post. She has posted within it, the article from the Jerusalem Post that details this perfidy.

John Venlet - 8:06:00 AM | Permalink

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Canadian Core Values

The indefatigable Colby Cosh has a post up that looks at gun control and it's posit as a "core Canadian value." A key portion of the post follows,

No cabinet minister has any better moral claim to define "core Canadian values" than your plumber or your cab driver.

You can substitute Congressman or Senator in the above sentence and achieve the same truth.

John Venlet - 3:39:00 PM | Permalink

Ban Paint Cans

As I previously mentioned, they want to ban toy guns in NYC, can paint cans be far behind? I ask this question because of this AP article, posted at Yahoo, which informs us of how a clerk at a Family Dollar store used a paint can as a weapon to deter an robber who had just held up the store at gunpoint. McGyver couldn't have done better.

Thanks to Laurence Simon at Amish Tech Support for the link.

John Venlet - 9:05:00 AM | Permalink

Testing the Basic Necessity of Government

Now this is interesting. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the Habersham County Commission, in the state of Georgia, has abolished "the county's planning commission, its land-use plan and its building inspection program."
The County Commission had a couple of reasons for doing this but here's the one that matters,

It also was a test of the basic necessity of government, according to Commissioner Jerry Tanksley, who made the motion.


The experiment in regulatory anarchy may not last the week, however.

because, as Commission Chairman Dewey Tench states,

"I think it was probably illegal and we'll have to rescind the action," Tench said. He added that he expects to call a special commission for that purpose today.

I recommend that they stick to their original vote of abolishment and show some integrity.

Thanks to Hit & Run for the link.

John Venlet - 8:29:00 AM | Permalink

I'm a Terrorist Supporter and So Are You

Here's an article from The New York Times that informs me that new television commercials being aired state that SUV owners are terrorist supporters. Modeled on the anti-drug ads which posit that illegal drug buyers support terrorists, these ads state that every time a SUV owner fills up their vehicle, the money from the purchase is being funneled to terrorists in oil producing, Middle East countries. The commercials are, according to the paper of record, the brainchild of Arianna Huffington. How special. As a person who owns three SUV's of various ages, I now await my arrest. You may be next. If the profits from people filling up their SUV's with gas fund terrorists, small car owners, large car owners, trucking companies, aviation companies, the military, boat owners, small plane owners, in fact everyone who purchases a fuel product, is funding the terrorists, so you can't be far behind. Maybe the purchasing of gasoline to run our vehicles is THE root cause that everyone is looking for.

Thanks to Drudge for the link.

John Venlet - 7:45:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

A Police Story

Had an interesting hour or so around here this evening. The post is kind of long. What would you have done?

Tuesday, January 7, 2002 9:34 PM

Well I just had an interesting experience. About 8:30 PM my 16-year-old daughter asked to use the vehicle to go pick up a little known friend. It seems the young girl, 15, was having some kind of problem with her mother and wanted to get out of the house. I said okay and off she went, returning about one-half hour later, little known friend in tow. I thought nothing of it.

At 9:05 PM a local East Grand Rapids officer of the peace shows up at my front door and asks if a girl by the name of ###### is here. I say yes. Why Officer Smith? He relates the tale of my daughter’s driving being called in for excessive speed by an unnamed citizen and then launches into the actual story. ###### has been reported as a runaway and he has been dispatched to pick her up and return her to her home. He then asks to come in. I decline his request. He then asks to see the girl. No problem, ###### comes downstairs with my daughter and another well-known friend in tow. Officer Smith informs ###### he is there to take her home. ###### begins to cry profusely. I inform Officer Smith that there appears to be more to the story than he is sharing with me. Officer Smith states that there is, but he is not allowed to share that information with me and makes to step across the threshold of my home while telling ###### that she has to come with him. I inform Officer Smith that he may not come into my home uninvited and block his entrance. This causes Officer Smith to state he has a right to come into my home because a runaway report has been filed. I ask to see the report. It cannot be produced right now, Officer Smith informs me, because he hasn’t had time to fill out the paperwork. I inform Officer Smith, no paperwork, no kid.

At this point Officer Smith is getting a touch exasperated. He informs me I am interfering with his duties. I tell Officer Smith that unless he has a runaway report with a warrant he may not enter my home. He concedes the point by calling for assistance. Sgt Buikema arrives in a second squad car. I explain the situation to him and he tells me the rest of the story in a very restrained, surly manner. He doesn’t appreciate my questioning of their authority.

Not meaning to be obdurate, I counter-offer. Let me take her home to her mother’s. I even offer to let them follow me there to monitor my performance. Officer Smith informs me he can’t let me do that. He smells alcohol on my breath. I inform him that he should because just prior to his coming to the door I had a shot of Stoli. I ask to perform the stupid human tricks. He declines but offers a PBT. I accept. He postpones by informing me he has to wait fifteen minutes because I took a drink of water after asking the question. I counter-offer again. Let’s call her mother to come pick her up. Sgt Buikema and Officer Smith discuss this and agree.

In the meantime, my daughter’s well-known friend has called her mother, who has 5 girls of her own, to come and talk with ######. Evidently well-known friend’s mom has counseled and housed ###### in the past when there were prior problems and is on her way to my home. Meanwhile the two representatives of the law have called ######’s mother and she is her way to my home also.

Well-known friend’s mom arrives first and Officer Smith and Sgt Buikema, who have been standing vigilant watch at the end of my driveway, intercept well-known friend’s mom. As I am opening my front door to step outside I overhear Sgt Buikema tell well-known friend’s mom to wait in her car while they wait for ######’s mom to arrive. I call out to well-known friend’s mom and invite her in. As Sgt Buikema begins to protest I inform him that since her daughter is here she may as well come in. Sgt Buikema relents and gives me a frowning looking.

Well-known friend’s mom and I converse privately and I get the complete story about ######. ###### does have problems both emotionally and within her family which well-known friend’s mom has dealt with previously. Well-known friends mom then informs me that she is going to have ###### come stay at their home for a few days. Very graciously I might add.

While well-known friend’s mom has been relating to me the complete story, ######’s mother has arrived and is talking with the boys in blue. I step out my front door once again and Sgt Buikema asks me to produce ###### for her mother. I ask ######’s mother to come in because well-known friend’s mom would like to talk with her. Sgt Buikema doesn’t want this to happen and says so. I inform Sgt Buikema that well-known friend’s mom and ######’s mom are friends. ######’ mom agrees to talk with well-known friend’s mom, much to the displeasure of Sgt Buikema.

Sgt Buikema and Officer Smith escort ######’s all the way to my front door and attempt to enter my home with her. I ask them to wait outside. They exchange looks and Sgt Buikema grudgingly releases his grip from my screen door as I politely close the main door. They remain on the porch while well-known friend’s mom and ######’s talk amicably of ######’s problems. Well-known friend’s mom offers her home as a way station and a comfort to ###### for a few days. ######’s mom readily accedes and they discuss certain conditions for this which are settled on quickly.

After well-known friend’s mom, ######’s mom and I exchange good nights, I escort ######’s mom outside. She informs the police that everything is fine, even sharing the details with them. ######’s mom then gets into her vehicle and departs for home.

I shake both officers hands and thank them for handling this so professionally. I don’t think they liked that either but at least they left.

That’s how I ended my evening at home.

John Venlet - 10:41:00 PM | Permalink


Reuters has an article up, posted on Yahoo, that touts "new evidence" that maggots can be medically beneficial when treating wounds. Interesting. I wonder if they recently read some of the stories about prisoners who survived the Bataan death march and how the doctors, prisoners themselves, utilized maggots to treat wounds because they had no other medical supplies. New evidence indeed.

John Venlet - 2:39:00 PM | Permalink

Hiding the Truth with a Fine Point Quill

It appears that Mario Cuomo was on Donahue recently, according to this post on The Corner. Here's a snippet from the show as posted at the link,

Mario Cuomo: "You have Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh tells one side of the story. He exaggerates. He hyperbolizes. He is a master entertainer. There's no question about that. He's very bright. He's probably a very good fellow, too. He does not discuss the issues. He does not debate the issues. He doesn't want to give you a full view of the issues. He won't even entertain a debate. He doesn't want any kind of a debate. And he pleases a lot of people because he says what they want to hear. So does Bob Grant here in New York. So does the Murdoch papers, the New York Post. We don't have counterparts on the liberal side of the agenda.

Donahue: "Why is that, Governor?"

Cuomo: "Because we believe in subtlety. We believe in telling the whole truth. We don't want to exaggerate. Look, they write their message with crayons. We use fine-point quills."

Ah, subtlety, fine point quills, there's a true statement. Subtleties and fine points will get you every time. As for exaggerations, look no further than "telling the whole truth."

John Venlet - 1:13:00 PM | Permalink

The Flag

According to this post at The Volokh Conspiracy, Randy "Duke" Cunningham and John Murtha want to protect the Stars and Stripes from burning by sponsoring an amendment to make it illegal to do so. I'm confused, they want to protect the flag, that to many people in the U.S. symbolizes freedom, by passing a law that circumvents free speech, which is not a symbol, but a tangible freedom. What's wrong with this picture?

John Venlet - 1:00:00 PM | Permalink


So Bush is going to unveil a $674 billion tax plan today as a form of economic stimulus. The number alone will cause most people to tune out or jump for joy in their ignorance. If you want to stimulate my spending, quit taxing me and let the market (read free people) compete for my dollars.

John Venlet - 12:52:00 PM | Permalink

Glenn, Glenn, Glenn and More Glenn

Glenn's, do I need to say Reynolds, site is definitely well known. He blogs relentlessly on a myriad of subjects, has been interviewed by The New York Times, is being interviewed again by The New York Times, and Ken Layne has a post up that appears to be an article by one Felecity X. Denton that mentions Glenn also and there are myriad others who link to him daily or mention his posts. Good on him. What I want to look at is some comments in Felecity's article posted on Ken Layne's site. Here's the comments,

"It's a mob mentality," said Barry Gryer, a media ethics professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. "Instead of the polite conversation we value at an academic level, we have this Rush Limbaugh-style of simpleton thinking they know everything. A properly trained and credentialed journalist is objective, using her or his ethics training to determine the best way to tell a news story."

Many editors at the nation's leading papers agree with this assessment. Some say self-appointed pundits like Mr. Reynolds are akin to a heckler, bringing unwarranted attention to themselves by simply making a ruckus.

So, we are all part of the "mob mentality," unable to participate in "polite conversation," and prone to "simpleton thinking" because we are not "properly trained and credentialed" and "akin to a heckler."

I'm heartened to know that the intelligentsia is so concerned with my personal well being and ability to process information.

Update: Per Tim Blair, the article by Felecity on Ken Layne's site is a parody. Here's what Tim says,

KEN LAYNE has produced a New York Times parody so accurate that the Times will probably add it to their own archives. Genius.

John Venlet - 8:09:00 AM | Permalink

Looking Backwards for Family Strength

Interesting article by James Q. Wilson in the Opinion Journal this morning that reviews the benefits of moms and dads raising their children together. The following sentence from the article has a few truths embedded in it,

But since marriage is a social invention, we have learned how it can be undercut by people who think that their lives will be fuller, their opportunities greater, and their burdens fewer if they are allowed to treat sex as recreation, children as toys, and income as an obligation of government rather than a result of work.

Pay particular attention to the ending of this sentence.

John Venlet - 7:50:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, January 06, 2003

Ship of Fools - Educators

Michele, who blogs A Small Victory and posts regularly at Raising Hell, an online parenting zine, has a post up about how her son's school is handling a bully situation that involves her son. When you read her post, don't be surprised that the Ship of Fools wants to coddle the bully and penalize her son.

John Venlet - 1:56:00 PM | Permalink

Bans on Guns Protect Criminals and the State

Mark Steyn is always an entertaining read. This column is no exception. Mark is writing about a New Year's shooting in Britain, and while events there do not always register on our radar, he makes a very important point in this column which follows,

When you disarm the citizenry, when you prosecute them for being so foolish as to believe they have a right to self-defence, when you issue warnings that they should "walk on by" if they happen to see a burglary or rape in progress, the main beneficiaries will obviously be the criminals.

Will we allow this to happen here?

John Venlet - 8:21:00 AM | Permalink

Sunday, January 05, 2003

On Fighting for Liberty

Gabriel Syme, writing in London for Samizdata, asks the question, "Would you fight a totalitarian state?" A very valid question. It's interesting to note that as I read her essay, I did not realize she was writing this in regards to Iraq until the very last two (2) short pragraphs. I thought she was speaking about fighting for liberty in Britain and the U.S.

John Venlet - 6:48:00 PM | Permalink

The Cain Doctrine

Terrorist acts, Islamofascists who commit them, oil or capitalist greed? What or which of these are reasons for our going to war against Iraq? Is it really any of these reasons? Greg Swann proposes another distinct possibility,

The Cain Doctrine is simply this: The objective the United States seeks in making war with Iraq is not any of those that have been imputed, whether by supporters or opponents of the war. The objective is to scare the hell out of the world, generally, and Islam in particular.

Greg has three (3) additional posts up (here, here and here in the order they were written) in support of this theory and they are interesting reading.

John Venlet - 6:34:00 PM | Permalink

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Killing the Family Dog

This story, from the Herald-Citizen, relates the tale of a vacationing family, driving through Tennessee, who inadvertantly left a wallet on top of their car, as they drove off after gassing up, ended up suspected of being bank robbers, were handcuffed and one of their dogs shot dead. But it was all a misunderstanding, poor communication between police agencies and non-thinking individual police officers and they are oh so sorry for the inconvenience to the vacationing family. Have a nice day and please visit Tennessee again soon.

Thanks to Billy Beck for the heads up.

John Venlet - 3:12:00 PM | Permalink

Friday, January 03, 2003


It appears I did not have enough information when I posted Sick Fucks below. informs me that the story is a hoax. I stand by my statements though in regards to consideration of this as art. My apologies.

John Venlet - 9:42:00 PM | Permalink

Let's Ban Thinking

Ban this, ban that, ban toy guns in New York City. Yep it's true, they are seriously talking about banning toy guns in NYC. Here's a few words from some kowtowing lackey of the sponsor of the bill,

"But the bill is about how [a toy gun] makes people feel. If I feel threatened, I'm threatened."

Feelings, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa feelings. Doesn't anyone remember the old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones?" Okay, so it's not quite pertinent because the ending is "but words will never hurt me," but really, "the bill is about how [a toy gun] makes people feel."

Read the whole article linked above and then go and read Michele's, of A Small Victory, vivisection of the piece. Here's a small incentive, wrapped in a large truth, to draw you in,

Apparently, if one person is not smart enough to make their own choices, none of us are.

John Venlet - 1:56:00 PM | Permalink

Censored and Spanked

Read this press release, posted on the National Review Online site, in regards to one Bill Cotterell who writes for the Tallahassee Democrat. It seems Bill sent a PRIVATE email to a "concerned Muslim" that disparged the Muslims. Here's what Bill wrote,

"Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They've had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to. OK, they can squat around
the camel-dung fire and grumble about it, or they can put their bottoms in the air five times a day and pray for deliverance; that's their business. And I don't give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage while defending itself. So be it."

Bill has been suspended for a week without pay. I don't know who to disparge more for this, Bill Cotterell or the Tallahassee Democrat. Bill for exhibiting a lack of integrity in defending his comments or the Tallahassee Democrat for caving in to CAIR.

John Venlet - 12:45:00 PM | Permalink

The Skinny on Arizona Fat Study

Tony, over at Trojan Horseshoes, has a few words to say about a recent stupid study that looked at which state had the lowest rates of obesity. Arizona won and I think Tony's explanation for their win could have saved quite a few dollars and eliminated a need to make 195,000 phone calls. Here's Tony's analysis,

Look at Phoenix. Average highs of 103, 105 and 103 in the three summer months. Fat people don't want to live in a place that hot.


Add the fat man's propensity to sweat to 105 degree temperatures, and you have a problem. Arizona is skinnier than the rest of the US, because the native fat people leave, and no new ones want to move there. Simple logic.

John Venlet - 10:34:00 AM | Permalink

Slaves or Fools

Theodore Dalrymple pens another interesting essay for The Spectator where he delves into how the powers of the state, in this case Britain, turn people into slaves and slave drivers. I cannot disagree that this is happening in Britain, or for that matter here in the U.S., but I would say we better deserve to be called fools and fool drivers for allowing this to happen. The entire essay is worth reading but this paragraph sums up rather nicely why this is happening,

The organised lying that results from centralised information-gathering not only blunts critical faculties and makes it impossible to distinguish true information from false, but also morally compromises those who participate in the process: everyone is made an accomplice of the central power, and so less and less does anyone feel able to make a stand. The more state employees conform to the rules laid down, the more helpless and degraded they become, which is the ultimate purpose of these rules. When you go to the doctor nowadays, you are not seeking his advice; you are finding out what the government has told him to do. Only appearances remain the same; the reality is changed utterly.

Thanks to David Carr at Samizdata for the link.

John Venlet - 10:14:00 AM | Permalink

2 Blowhards Quote for the Day

They are stupid in the way only very smart people can be stupid ... They think the world's problems stem mainly from the fact that there aren't enough rules and regulations, and enough well-educated gentlemen to enforce 'em. It's something that happens to people at Yale, I think.

The above quote was taken from the novel "Agents of Innocence" written by David Ignatius.

Thanks to Michael at 2 Blowhards for posting this.

John Venlet - 9:40:00 AM | Permalink

Sick Fucks

I am not necessarily prone to using coarse language to get across a point I'd like to make, but I'll make an exception for this. The this I've linked to is a story from the Guardian about an upcoming UK "art" event where one Zhu Yu is going to eat a dead baby on television. A couple of things. First, Zhu Yu is a sick MF. This is not an opinion. This is a fact. Second, Channel 4, the UK television station that is going to broadcast this madness, is nothing more than a purveyor of prurient programming hiding this grotesque spectacle under the banner of "art" with the blessings of a supposed enlightened "intelligentsia." Third, the 'intelligentsia" who can argue for this spectacle as "art" are in fact nothing more than intellectual pretenders to knowledge and enlightment. They are fools, encouraging you and I to embrace their fallacies and drown ourselves in our own spittle as they pull us down into the abyss of their imbecility.

Thanks to Natalie Solent for the link.

John Venlet - 9:11:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Jeff Isn't Just Wrong, He's Delusional

Arthur Silber has a new post up that cites some comments he received from Jeff, who blogs over at Alphecca, in regards to Arthur's stance against the "gay rights" bill which recently passed in New York. Jeff argues that the government and society have a right to legislate how people do business if they deal with the general public. I disagree and I'll let Arthur's final comments to his post explain why,

I believe that a free economy, which depends on men's own integrity -- and their conviction that their integrity and their reputation are crucial to a successful business -- is our best defense against dangerous products or businesses of any kind. It is certainly a much better, and much more reliable, defense than the "government," which means only that bureaucrat who doesn't know your name, may know very little about your business, may understand next to nothing about the new technologies which have made all his regulations already obsolete -- but who is only too pleased to know that he holds power over you, and can make you dance to his tune, no matter how offensive that tune might be to men who want only to be free, free to offer their best efforts and their best work to the world.

Arthur's entire post is worth a read, especially if you still believe in integrity.

John Venlet - 7:47:00 PM | Permalink

Something to Think About

A quote from George Orwell's As I Please series of articles,

For quite long periods, at any rate, people can remain undisturbed by obvious lies, either because they simply forget what is said from day to day or because they are under such a constant propaganda bombardment that they become anaesthetized to the whole business.

John Venlet - 2:03:00 PM | Permalink

Step Away from the Stagnant Water

Contrary to what many people may believe or espouse, we are not more free today than we ever have been in the past. Here's the story of a Connecticut man who turned himself into the police after a warrrant was issued for his arrest for, get this, having stagnant water on his property. Of course the warrant was issued for the protection of the citizens of Connecticut as the West Nile virus scourge continues to confound and spread fear. Unreal.

Thanks to Hit & Run for the link.

John Venlet - 8:32:00 AM | Permalink

A Volunteer

Rangel, fool that he is, wants to reinitiate the draft, for egalitarian reasons,

"A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military," Rangel complains, "while the most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent." The draft would establish a "governing principle" of "shared sacrifice." How trite. He should be listening to these words, penned by David Asman, as he talks about his son joining the Marines,

When I asked him whether he was bitter that the country he was about to serve had fouled up in granting him citizenship, he mused that maybe it was better this way: "Now I can earn my citizenship."

Read Asman's entire piece here and remember no free rides and no draft.

John Venlet - 8:07:00 AM | Permalink

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