“A house divided.” Lincoln, right?

May 12, 2008

You’re a good student of history. You know that when someone says, “a house divided,” they’re talking about Lincoln’s famous, troubling speech from June 1858. Right?

Look below the fold.

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Turkey opens up to WordPress blogs?

May 12, 2008

Last time we seriously checked in with Jim Gibbon it was for the haiku contest on research papers.

Comes this missive from Gibbon now, which suggests that the Adnan Oktar ban on WordPress blogs in Turkey was lifted as of May 3.  True?  Mr. Gibbon is in Turkey, I gather, which would put him in a position to know.

Was this a predictor of Oktar’s sentencing on May 9?

Hey, Turkey!  Welcome back!

Armed Forces Day, May 17 – Fly your flag

May 12, 2008

Flag etiquette reminder: Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday in May, this year on May 17. This is one of the days Congress suggests we should fly our flags. There may be events near your home.

Armed Forces Day 2008 poster


Censorship in the oddest of places

May 12, 2008

I think it was Euripides who said, “Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.” Evidence of the madness sometimes is small compensation for bearing the burden of having to deal with the madness of others.

Iaian Murray’s book is getting accolades from some of the odd sources you’d expect to rave over the book without ever having seen it or giving it a moment’s analysis as to accuracy, relevancy, or morality. I stumbled into a bunch of such sites looking to see why Murray took after me, and what I had said that he quoted, to earn me a place in his index.

One would not expect to run into a censorship buzzsaw at a site that proclaims itself to be free enterprise. But Bloodhoundblog has frustrated all my attempts to correct their errors on DDT, in a post “Cleaned by Capitalism: Our professed love of nature is an artifact of our enormous prosperity.” Perhaps I shouldn’t complain — the offending language on DDT was removed eventually. The extolling of Murray’s book remains, however, in an odd screed against public roads and compact fluorescent lightbulbs (go read the site — can you tell what the guy thinks about CFLs?)

Can the irony get much deeper?

Humorously, there is an ill-informed discussion of fascism vs. socialism as communism in the thread — the discussants blithely unaware that totalitarian censorship is a sin under any fair government scheme.

Was it just that they don’t want to discuss the science of DDT? I’ve corrected a minor error in history, too, in a later comment; will that comment hold up? You might want to check out the comments. Do you think the existence of public lands encourages their abuse? It seemed to me the discussants didn’t understand at all that much of our environmental trouble has occurred on private land, often problems of toxic pollution created by the owners of the land.

Ardent and loud “capitalists” often are the first to sell out. They fall for censorship, they fall for hucksterism — just so long as they still get to wave their flag, insult the academy, and a promise they can make some money doing it. Businesses didn’t stand up to fascism in the early 20th century — nor much of any other time business was promised a license to continue operations.

The issues are not simple. If we insist FedEx not do business in China, do we miss a great opportunity to insinuate a capitalist enterprise as a wedge into a crumbling structure of oppressive politics? If we allow China to host Olympic games, do we strengthen their oppressive structure, or weaken it?

Should we stand idly by while the Chinese government censors the internet (and this blog) to its own people? Should I not kick a little when Bloodhoundblog censors my comments?

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