Tarry for the Nonce

November 30, 2004

Down With Bush . . . or Whatever

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 1:01 pm

Hopes for early mass protests in the streets of Ottawa on the eve of Tuesday’s visit by US President George W. Bush fizzled out, as journalists outnumbered demonstrators . . .

The first demonstration — of Palestinians and sympathisers of the Palestinian cause opposed to Washington’s support of Israel — attracted less than 40 demonstrators.
According to a quick head count by journalists, the protest attracted 39 demonstrators, 42 journalists and television crew members and three police officers.

A second, ostensibly larger, demonstration scheduled for the midst of the evening rush hour — was called by a group calling itself Students Against Bush.

Nobody turned up.

I guess not all Canadians sympathize with Carolyn Parrish. Or maybe it’s just too cold.

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November 29, 2004

The Tenth Brother

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 12:26 pm

The Kerry saga continues for Steve Gardner:

Gardner’s story is one that bears telling. He volunteered for the Navy, enlisting on his 18th birthday in February 1966. After training, he was shipped to Vietnam and served for two years as a gunner in the swift boat division. His superior, for four months, was none other than Lt. j.g. John F. Kerry.

“I had confrontations with him there. He nearly got us rammed by the VC one night because he wasn’t watching the helm. I heard the motor coming close, turned on the spotlight, and the boat was only 90 feet away, coming fast. The VC was aiming an AK47 at us. I shot him out of the boat. We pulled a woman and a baby off the boat. Kerry wrote it up that we captured two VC and killed four more on the beach. None of that was true. The only thing true on Kerry’s report was the date. The woman was catatonic and wouldn’t call her baby VC and there were no VC on the beach. If we had seen that report before Kerry sent it up the chain of command, he would have been court-martialed and never allowed to run for office. And that’s just the San Pan incident. There was much more. He is a self-aggrandizing bold-faced liar. I believe he caused the extension of that war.”

Gardner told this story and others to radio stations and he wrote a piece for the local paper. Then, he says, he received a phone call from John Hurley, the veterans organizer for Kerry’s campaign. Hurley, Gardner says, asked him to come out for Kerry. He told Hurley to leave him alone and that he’d never be for Kerry. It was then Gardner says, he was threatened with, “You better watch your step. We can look into your finances.”

Next, Gardner said he received a call from Douglas Brinkley, the author of Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War. Brinkley told Gardner he was calling only to “fact check” the book — which was already in print. “I told him that the guy in the book is not the same guy I served with. I told him Kerry was a coward. He would patrol the middle of the river. The canals were dangerous. He wouldn’t go there unless he had another boat pushing him.”

Days later, Brinkley called again, warning Gardner to expect some calls. It seems Brinkley had used the “fact checking” conversation to write an inflammatory article about Gardner for Time.com. The article, implying that Gardner was politically motivated, appeared under the headline “The 10th Brother.”

Twenty-four hours later, Gardner got an e-mail from his company, Millennium Information Services, informing him that his services would no longer be necessary. He was laid off in an e-mail — by the same man who only days before had congratulated him for his exemplary work in a territory which covered North and South Carolina. The e-mail stated that his position was being eliminated. Since then, he’s seen the company advertising for his old position. Gardner doesn’t have the money to sue to get the job back.

Other than his inability to decide whether or not he considers John Kerry a coward, I pity the man. No one likes to be a scapegoat.

What Cell Will I Be When I Grow Up?

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:59 am

A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood . . .

They said it was the world’s first published case in which a patient with spinal cord injuries had been successfully treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

Huzzah for positive advancement in stem cell research!

[T]hese stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood have emerged as an ethical and safe alternative to embryonic stem cells.

Clinical trials with embryonic stem cells are believed to be years away because of the risks and ethical problems involved in the production of embryos — regarded as living humans by some people — for scientific use.

In contrast, there is no ethical dimension when stem cells from umbilical cord blood are obtained, according to researchers.

Additionally, umbilical cord blood stem cells trigger little immune response in the recipient as embryonic stem cells have a tendency to form tumors when injected into animals or human beings.

To use Eleanor Donlon’s expression – mutlifarious huzzahs for the ethical preservation of human life!

November 25, 2004

And Speaking of Food

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 8:23 pm

Fear Factor is truly gross:

“Fear” assistant production coordinator Josh Silberman is behind the intestinal dishes, the buffalo testicles, the flies-and-blended-maggot liquid concoction — he taste tests everything.

“If I can’t keep it down, then maybe it’s not edible,” Silberman says . . .

[Producer Scott] Larsen boasts that everything the gross department does “is either a delicacy someplace in the world or certified as safe by professional entomologists” . . .

“Our insects are all lab-raised,” Larsen says. “These are good-quality, clean maggots. They aren’t dangerous to you but healthy.”

The point being: Nothing fed to contestants on the show will hurt them. “I’m not saying it tastes good, but you won’t die from it,” Larsen says. “Most of the illnesses from our contestants are psychological. No one’s been hospitalized.”

I would venture to say that there are deeper psychological issues to be confronted.

Turkeys and Corn

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 8:18 pm

Do you wish to debunk some Thanksgiving myths?

Actually, I remember learning all of this in school, but I needed something in honor of the day.

Curse Subjunctive Mood!

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 8:15 pm

Check your grammar.

From Abelard to Nietzsche

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 1:09 am

This evening, I have been enjoying some lectures on Modern European Intellectual History.

November 24, 2004

The Head

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 10:47 pm

I completely missed World Toilet Day!

Dave Barry appreciates it and there are web sites – actual web sites – dedicated to the cause, including worldtoilet.org and urinal.net.

A passing fancy, I’m sure.

Deep Impact

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 10:29 pm

Want to see a meteorite hit the earth?

The photograph was taken by keen amateur photographer Wayne Pryde as he stood near the Darwin Cenotaph on The Esplanade and looked down to Fort Hill Wharf on Monday evening.

The meteorite, which could have been as small as a grain of sand, would have been travelling about 30,000km/h.

Mr Pryde believes a tiny piece of space rock hit the top of a 20m lamp post on the wharf.

He said the explosion on impact could be seen clearly in the photograph.

No Sacred Honor

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 10:17 pm

A California school has banned the Declaration of Independence:

A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence . . .

Among the materials [principal Patricia Vidmar] has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s journal, John Adams’ diary, Samuel Adams’ “The Rights of the Colonists” and William Penn’s “The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania.”

Why stop there? I’m sure there are many European documents that make similar references . . .

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