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June 15, 2009
Tales from Downtown MudvilleBy Greyhawk
Funny story from here in Mudville last week: On Monday I glanced outside and remarked to the wife, "look's like it's gonna rain". On Thursday it did, but she still steadfastly refuses to acknowledge my prescience...
But on Wednesday the old man across the street watered his lawn. When one of my neighbors down at the barber shop pointed out how this had verified my rain forecast someone else claimed water from sprinklers was different than rain. Another guy shouted back that my point was the ground was going to get wet... well pretty soon everyone was arguing and others weren't even talking to each other. Now I should rightfully point out that it rains at least once a week around here this time of year, but the funny thing was, the next day when it rained everyone got soaked 'cause they forgot to wear a raincoat or bring an umbrella.
Anyhow, that's the news from Mudville this week. Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, I pointed out that Shepard Smith's claim that the actions of an elderly World War Two PT boat commander armed with a shotgun validated predictions that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans would be recruited by rightwing extremists was pathetic. Now I never said word one about the accuracy of the report, so now let me try to sum it up like this: if my tax payer dollars were going to pay meteorologists to tell me it might could rain sometime soon, maybe because it's rained before and there's still water available I wouldn't in a million years say they were wrong but I'd damn sure think I wasn't getting my money's worth out of that investment. But speaking of strange weather, here in the old blogosphere, it seems I started a sh@tstorm over whether that report was right or wrong or fair or not - and since then it's moved into the pages of the New York Times and other papers and back to television and back to blogs again with pretty much everyone piling on and everyone missing the point. (Which makes me wonder if I never should have brought it up in the first place, but I have to confess it's also been fun to watch what I started turn into whatever it is right now.)
Anyhow, in the latest chapter my friend Matt Burden appeared on Fox News to talk to Neil Cavuto about the whole thing. Now I don't want to get into what I agree or disagree with Matt about (it just wouldn't fit in this post that's already too long), or what he said or what Cavuto said (though when Cavuto says "we" I assume he's talking about TeeVee talking heads, him being one and all...) but I will say that Matt's already acknowledged he owes me cigars for that line about crashing a PT boat into the Holocaust Museum. (I hereby offer my "P.T. Boat captain - just like John F. Kennedy" quote that I used in my update about this homicidal journalist/filmmaker to anyone for the same price.)
And since it's my point in the first place, I have to admit I'm annoyed by the loud noise and distracting graphic that appears in that video right when Cavuto makes the point about whether World War Two veterans are what the DHS really meant when they said Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Since that's the version of the video that appears at Crooks and Liars and Media Matters (where they're determined to prove that the report is prescient - apparently in fear they might still have a reader who doubts that) I can't say whether that distraction was added by Fox News or one of those sites. (I also wonder why none of the various experts on this prescient report anywhere ever mentions that it was "not authorized, has been withdrawn and is being rewritten" - "The wheels came off the wagon because the vetting process was not followed," Ms. Napolitano told the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. "The report is no longer out there," she said. "An employee sent it out without authorization." Funny, that seems like a significant point to me.)
Anyhow, to be fair, I can see where people who call themselves "right wing" could be offended by the report. Imagine the response from the AARP if the Department of Homeland Security declared that "some senior citizens, despondent over nearing the end of their hate-filled, wasted lives, may choose to commit suicide by cop and take out some of their perceived enemies in the process" - a point that James von Brunn's attack on the Holocaust Museum validates. Likewise, I can see where folks who consider themselves anything but right wing would get some false sense of satisfaction from the belief that von Brunn was one of them. But none of that changes the fact that political affiliation alone generally doesn't keep anyone from killing people or hacking computers, let alone come close to addressing what exactly we should do about it.
Anyhow, since I tend to think of these things along the lines of "how could I use this report if I was the intended operational user?" I wondered what I would do if I was head of one of Mudville's Tribal Counterterrorism Task Forces (don't laugh - they brings in the federal bucks) or the Chief of Police. I came up with "arrest the Republicans" but dismissed that quickly - the jail ain't that big. Then I thought we could confiscate the children of unemployed parents and put them in foster homes or re-education camps, since the report highlights that "there appears to be a strong association between a parent's unemployment status and the formation of rightwing extremist beliefs in their children" - but Mrs G said that was a stupid idea and wouldn't even talk about it any more.
So since the Chief of Police and the Sheriff and all the heads of the Mudville Tribal Task Forces had taken advantage of good weather to go fishing that day, I decided to post the report and ask my readers if they could think of any worthwhile actions that could be taken if they were one of those people. And one of them did offer a damn fine idea.
But as far as I know, that's about the only example of anyone anywhere actually contributing something worthwhile to the whole discussion. Oddly enough, that particular post didn't attract near the attention of the earlier one that didn't say anything other than well, Shep Smith sure got that wrong.
And I doubt this one will either - because it's a new week in America, and though the sun might shine mostly, there's a definite possibility that somewhere it probably might could rain.
Posted by Greyhawk / June 15, 2009 6:00 AM | Permalink
Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge just announced that the shooting at the Holocaust Museum - allegedly by an 89-year old WWII veteran - confirms a recent DHS report regarding the threat posed by extremist veterans. Shepard Smith adds "They [DHS] sa... Read More
RE: This Ain't Hell RE: Mudville Gazette RE: Blackfive's Laughing Wolf I was on FoxNew's Your World with Neil Cavuto last week to discuss the latest idiocy around the DHS Memo that claims that we need to watch returning veterans in case they join right... Read More
So, I fired the entire video post-production staff here at Mudville and re-did the latest effort, fixing the bad audio portions and adding a musical soundtrack. Here's the finished product. Challenge: can anyone name all the sings used therein? I'll gi... Read More
Given the small number of military members (as percentage of total U.S. population) today, it seems obvious that we live in an era wherein it can truly be said that never have so many owed so much to so few. But from that it should also be obvious (bu... Read More
"You know boss," I once said to my boss, "in this organization of over two hundred people, anything you can think of, from talent to perversion, we've probably got one here somewhere." - Or something to that effect. Over my career I served with thousan... Read More
Lieberman: General Keane... Do you think that political correctness may have played some role in the fact that these dots were not connected? The first two words of the general's response were "Yes, absolutely". But there were more, including these:But... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com