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Facing down trolls, orcs, and goblins
Hillbuzz is not a blog we read regularly or necessarily always agree with, but we stand by them as lefty goons try to thump them. There are politically engaged people who believe intimidation is a proper political tool to use. Rather it is a threat to all society that deserves to be exposed and laughed into the dustbin of history.
Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 1/21/10; 10:11:41 AM from the Pointers Dept. Permanent link: #   
The choice
The choice is simple: Give up liberty for security -- although the promised security returns you to serfdom such as endured during the dark ages, controlled by the political class such that efficiency no longer matters, which evaporates the wealth, destroying the quality of life supposed to deliver the very security promised in the first place by those who's empty promises are designed win power over your wallet.
Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 7/23/09; 8:45:09 AM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
How time flies
My goodness, how time flies!

My apologies for sparse observations. I've been writing both editorials and longer works that have drawn me from regular entries here. Also occasionally I comment at Tom Maquire's Just One Minute which is a blog whose commenters, with rare exceptions understand the value of community. You are welcome to wander there for edification.

Discuss Posted by Rome Sentinel Webmaster on 7/16/09; 11:46:34 AM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
No more piracy without penalty
Prudence is sensible. Inaction is not. The president can act like Jimmy Carter or Thomas Jefferson. Someimes the threat of power, backed by the will to use it, leads to effective diplomacy. See End piracy.
Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 4/11/09; 11:50:13 AM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
Rome schedules a tax day tea party
Some people in Rome, NY, have scheduled an April 15, 2009, Tax Day Tea Party at Fort Stanwix. We don't know what is on their agenda, but if it is like the other 300+ anti-tax tea parties scheduled for that day -- and like the other dozens of pre-Revolutionary War Boston Tea Party-like events held across the country since President Obama and Congress began forcing change without hope on us -- then there are good ideas worth listening to that the manstream media has yet to cover well.

What kind of ideas? For my view, see: A toast to tea parties.

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 4/4/09; 12:59:26 PM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
John Adams' Final clause
I understand a monumental historical discovery has be made -- the previously unknown final clause in JOHN ADAMS, letter to Abigail Adams, after May 12, 1780, added in brackets at the end:
The Science of Government it is my Duty to study, more than all other Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation, ought to take Place, indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts.˜I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine [... so that, in turn, their Children may forget History, Economics, and Rhetoric and Piss Away all that has gone before, giving up Liberty on a fruitless Alchemist's Search for the Holy Grail of government-imposed Equality sold by Greedy Charlatans as a Free Lunch.]
Discuss (1 response) Posted by Stephen Waters on 3/26/09; 9:56:12 AM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
Parallels in economic history
Flush with success in passing his economic bill in the House of Representatives, Barack Obama postures a parallel to FDR during the depression. More striking is Obama's parallel to France's Louis XIV.

See: The Sun King's stimulus.

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 1/29/09; 12:03:28 PM from the Dept. Permanent link: #   
Happy VI Day!
Happy Victory in Iraq Day!

Of course, there have been several victories in Iraq. The First victories, after Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the 1990s should have been enough, but the United Nations and other nations undermined by the Oil For Food Scandal let that victory go.

Then there was the military victory that toppled the Saddam Hussein government in a matter of days.

Then there was the victory of the raised purple fingers after the peaceful conclusion of the first post-Saddam national election.

Then there was the political victory of turning a squabbling factions into a functional government and the sidelining of the Iranian backed al Sadr Brigades.

Then there was the dismembering of Al Qaeda in Iraq that much of the mainstream media and claimed not to exist.

And, of course, there is the victory that makes it safer to serve in Iraq than it is to live in Chicago.

Imagine how soon these victories would have come had the effort been supported by all Americans!

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 11/22/08; 2:12:03 PM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
Consider this before voting
Just before the election, rather than tell our readers who to vote for or against, we've described some of our political beliefs in the editorial Politics to believe in.

Update: The draft version was Our politics.

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 10/28/08; 4:47:36 PM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
Democrat fingerprints
Before being stampeded by House Democrats to vote on Election Day, consider that Something smells.
Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 9/29/08; 10:32:52 PM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
Nasty election business
Don't let anyone fake you out of your vote. See Who's doing what to whom.
Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 9/20/08; 11:02:29 PM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
The Matrix has become real
In politics, unfortunately, "The Matrix" has become real. And Obama's team is wearing dark glasses. See: Welcome to the Matrix.
Discuss Posted by Rome Sentinel Webmaster on 9/12/08; 3:27:38 PM from the Opinion Dept. Permanent link: #   
Nutroots try strong-arming the press
I don't always support the Associated Press, but one of the nutroots bloggers who will be at the Democratic Convention has called for 15,000 minions to write AP to get them to ditch a writer who wrote an analysis that she, Jane Hamsher, did not like. I won't register to comment on her FireDogLake website [No link because I won't want to give her the favorable press]. I'd probably soon be banned anyway. But her blog entry should not go unremarked.
I'm amused at your misrepresentation of ideal journalism as simply He said/She said. Ron Fournier's AP analysis was labeled analysis -- which means adding perspective to simple facts that without explanation might not otherwise accurately represent the lay of the land. Analysis helps improve the accuracy of people's understanding of the world around them.

Jane, you are upset because you see the world differently than Mr. Fournier. I hate to break it to you, but you are not correct simply because you think you are.

And I'm doubly amused that you think storming the AP is a rational answer. It's an absurd notion to think that repeating a bad idea 15,000 times somehow makes it better.

Ah! I feel better now.
Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 8/24/08; 5:16:47 PM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
Helping MPR understand political parties
Minnesota Public Radio wonders how the Republican party should change. MPR doesn't seem to understand that it's the Democrats who need to change. See: Political party futures.
Discuss Posted by Rome Sentinel Webmaster on 7/17/08; 11:41:02 AM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
On American patriotism
[Obama read a speech on patriotism that others, pointed to on Just One Minute, commented on. Here was my comment.]

America is a great country because of what Americans have done. They changed the world for the better when our founders took into account the failings of all previous government, considered the lessons of history and philosophy, understood the natural self-interest of mankind, and manufactured a durable, flexible, constitution that enabled people, through a free market economy, to improve their own quality of life.

Our government modeled how it could make itself better peaceably through a Bill of Rights. It survived internal dissention to extend liberty to the least among us. It extended the vote to all adults. It spent its own cherished children and wealth to extend liberty to others, asking in return, not empire, but a small place to bury our fallen.

America is a great country because it is a nation that knows it is not perfect. Accordingly, it lets even the least among us suggest a better way, gives them the freedom to try to convince others of it, and codifies our humility forever in regular democratic elections. America does not impose itself on the world, but willingly, gracefully, shares the secrets of our success so that the fruits of liberty shall be available for all.

Our patriotism springs simply from understanding that we have been blessed, and owe our children good stewardship of the liberty earned through the intelligence, community, and sacrifice of those who have gone before.

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 7/2/08; 10:12:58 PM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
No surprise political science misreads blogging
A research paper concludes "Those few people who read both left wing and right wing blogs are considerably more likely to be left wing themselves." A comment misread by many. Not the first time. Not the last. My comment:
Hmm. Mostly, I read to learn -- to check my mental map of reality for consistency. I am not after confirming my own beliefs. As Montaigne wrote, "Why should I not run to embrace the truth when I see it coming."

I have asked at notable blogs populated by liberals for pointers to helpful blogs to read. Their pointers have not panned out. I still look, but feel like Diogenes in search of an honest man.

More to the point. The statistical song and dance engaged in by the aforementioned research paper illustrates why political science is the laughing stock of academia. Research paper, indeed! The leftness or rightness of a blog isn't worth a rat's ass. The quality of thought is the issue.

If more bloggers find quality thought here than elsewhere, well, good for them. The idea that I should venture into arenas of foolish thought and vacuousness to appear open-minded is hilarious.

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 7/2/08; 9:09:01 PM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
NPR = Not Precisely Reporting
NPR, with pretty much a botox face, gave this report, Wednesday, on the housing bailout bill. I nearly choked on my morning coffee and dashed off this comment on their website:
Subject: Naylor should report the useful housing bill background --

Wednesday, NPR's Brian Naylor said, "It may have been pride of authorship, but the Housing Bill's Democratic sponsor, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said, 'The stakes couldn't be higher...'"

Pride of authorship? The key language was taken almost word-for-word from Bank of America, prime suitor for Countrywide, the major failing lendor.

Naylor continued that "Dodd may be guilty of a slight exaggeration...." Dodd got a sweetheart loan deal from Countrywide's CEO, so he and other mostly Democratic senators may be guilty of much more that NPR decided to report. Don't make it so easy for political hacks to succeed.

Discuss Posted by Rome Sentinel Webmaster on 6/26/08; 8:05:05 AM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
Critical Times for Critical Thinking
Elizabeth Scalia writes about the failure of critical thinking, In response, I suggest one of the few ways to make it seem worthwhile to someone.
Karl Popper reminded us the strengh of science is its ability to test falsification, not truth.

It's almost too late for the valuable lessons because no one can be taught anything they don't care to learn. The only way to make the personal advantage of critical thinking accessible to them is through their own experience -- this way: Think of an instance in your past when you thought you were right and got hurt because you were mistaken. That shows that sometimes you think you are right, not because you are right, but only because you are convinced.

If you can be mistaken and not know it, how are you going to discover where? Doubt is important because you bet your future on the quality of your mental map of reality. People who doubt their own certainty willingly interact with others to improve how they understand their world.

This carries over to society. Cultural behaviors may be relative, but the minimum behavior at the edge where two cultures meet is not. We call that edge "society." Just as an individual values doubt, doubt is important for society. The strength of democracy isn't that it gets things right. It doesn't. But democracy codifies the humility we just might be wrong and commits to a process to learn where and try to do better.

Discuss Posted by Stephen Waters on 6/20/08; 5:05:02 PM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
Manufacturing a measure of good and evil
Wretchard asks, "Is there a fundamental definition of evil?" His is really a question of society.
Make a distinction between culture and society and mankind can manufacture working relationships.

Society is the edge where any two cultures (or individuals) meet. Through a culturally-independent thought experiment, the minimum requirements for society can be deduced. First among those requirements springs from doubt -- that in the past we were mistaken when we thought we were right.

From the humility of having been mistaken, and knowing it can happen again, we socialize. We allow others to say things we care not to hear, but need to know.

Society, then, is too important to leave to religion, and requires only our ingenuity -- God-given or otherwise -- to invent. And it is as good for us as its absence is bad.

Hmm. A culturally independent establishment of good and evil. Nice to know it's possible. Mother Nature doesn't care whether we choose to do it, but we, and our unimaginably distant descendants do.

Discuss Posted by Rome Sentinel Webmaster on 6/12/08; 4:29:54 PM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   
What Paglia can do with a sword
I followed a friend's pointer to the latest Salon, which I never read (except for Keith Knight "K Chronicles" comics) and an Op-Ed by Camille Paglia, whom I never read. Now I understand why.

In the early paragraphs she bypasses McCain, asserting it is style, not substance, that matters, and that, after Bush, America needs more style. She bypasses any media criticisms of Obama because the media is in bed with McCain. Besides, she adds, such many and varied criticism must be wrong because it is endlessly repeated.

Obama must be good, Paglia concludes, because his waffling shows he has an open and flexible mind. Obama isn't making things up on the fly; rather he is a "conciliator and synthesizer". And, she says, "his administration will be as good as its appointments" demonstrating her immediate need for eyeglass regrinding, for not seeing the multitude of bodies thrown under the Copperhead Express, Obama's campaign bus.

But the real reason to read the Op-Ed, according to my friend, is the savaging of Hillary and Bill in the sixth paragraph. Ignore the previous five oh-so-predictable libberish grafs and be hit in the eye sockets with the tawdry description of scheming and an over-active libido. It's rapier-like and funny.

But if McCain is disqualified for style-over-substance, Paglia DQ's herself for the same reason. She follows her inflammatory demagoguery in the very next paragraph with a claim to be "shocked and appalled at Hillary's inflammatory demagoguery". No reason to read any further.

Discuss Posted by Rome Sentinel Webmaster on 6/12/08; 8:26:51 AM from the Comments Dept. Permanent link: #   


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  After many years of computers and newspapers and even more years of quiet experience, its time both to learn some more and to give back.
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