Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Now's the time for bladder control

It looks like Bruce Fein needs to join William F. Buckley et al in getting a fresh change of drawers in light of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Writing in the Washington Times this morning, Fein picks late February '06 as good a time as any to declare Iraq unwinnable.

Sam Heib has a good post linking to a Roger Simon piece that takes note of the grand pronouncements of the armchair generals (I don't exclude myself from that group.)

My question to Fein and others is in the spirit of the William Morris quote Simon uses: What happens if we pull out by early '07 and then have to turn around a go back in early '08? Or, what if we have to go in under a Democratic administration in early '09? Where's the plan for that?

Relegate them to the dustbin of history

Just read on Little Green Footballs that Salmaan Rushdie and Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali are among twelve signers of a statement making a resounding denunciation of Islamism. Here's a jarring left hook:

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

LGF links to the Agora blog, which provides the translation of the letter that appears in Jylland Posten, the one Danish newspaper I know by name. Short bios of all 12 signers appear at the end of the post.

McCain praises UAE as an ally

Did a little channel surfing this evening and caught the end of John McCain tipping his hat to the UAE during a Senate hearing on the port deal. He called the Gulf state a staunch ally in the war against terror. He offered General Tommy Franks as a reference.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Barney Fife moments

It took a little time to get around blogging on this one. Don Knotts leaves many of us with a lot to celebrate. The Andy Griffith Show is the first TV I remember watching. Barney Fife is one of those characters I don't ever remember not remembering. That about says it all so I'll finish with some, but certainly not all, of my favorite Barney Fife moments:

Giving Otis a Rorschach Test.

Being held hostage with Floyd by the women convicts.

Giving Otis a driving test with toy cars.

Barney and a deputized Gomer chasing each other around a big tree on the hunt for an escaped convict.

Hitting Otis with a tomato while checking his reflexes.

Driving the station wagon and pulling the camper with the crooks inside from the trailer camp to the courthouse.

Giving Otis a stamina test.

Dictating a semi-bawdy poem to Opie that unknowingly was going to Helen Crump.

Standing in as the bride in the ruse to prevent Ernest T. Bass from stopping the wedding of Dud Wash and Charlene Darling.

Finally, attempting to hypnotize Otis to find the location of a still that ended up being in the haunted house.

RIP Don Knotts

A bad moment reported well

I think the local coverage is the strongest part in the News and Record machine. A house burned down on Haw River Road between Oak Ridge and Stokesdale yesterday. Nothing particularly remarkable about that, but Tina Firesheets's reporting proves there's more to it than that. The current owner of the 96-year old farmhouse was born there so was his neighbor witnessing the house's end. Firesheets gets some good quotes from them and others on the scene providing a freeze frame of a little slower time in Guilford County. The editorial page is another story, but I better dismiss journalism 101 on that note.

Iraqi civil war: the Iranian angle

Austin Bay writes at Strategypage that he does not foresee a Sunni against Shi'a civil war in Iraq. In fact, he believes the attack on the Golden Mosque will lead to a more determined crackdown on al Qaeda in Iraq. If there is an internal war, Strategypage contends it will be between pro-Iranian and anti-Iranian Shi'as. The Sunnis will not enter a civil war because they would be crushed by the numbers game.

The pro-Iranian forces are better armed. The Badr Militia and the Mahdi Army, which is led by Moqtada al-Sadr are both Iranian-supported. Bay writes that most Iraqis do not desire existing as an Iranian puppet state. While not as well armed as the Badr and Sadr factions, the anti-Iranian forces have the bigger numbers, according to Bay.

The whole struggle is complex. However, if Bay proves prescient, it leaves no doubt as to which side the US will support.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lest we forget this struggle

Proving you can't contain strife to one part of the globe or into a single conflict, ugliness broke out in Dublin, Ireland today. IRA protestors rained down bottles, bricks and other objects on would be participants of a Protestant parade and the police attempting to protect them. Marchers abandoned what was hoped to be the first ever event of its kind through the Irish capital city. A Protestant politician said the protestors were mainly from Catholic areas of Northern Ireland and praised ordinary Dubliners.

I find the headline misleading. The article did not contain any information on Protestant brawlers.

Pro Denmark rally a pleasure

I want to commend Sam Wharton for holding a successful pro Denmark rally downtown today. The numbers may have been small, but the company was very good. Good posts here, here, here and here.

Guilford senior on the Cartoon War

Guilford College Senior Hatice Dogan pens a piece for the News and Record concerning the Muhammad cartoons. The N & R does not identify Dogan as a Muslim, but she uses the pronoun we as she describes Islam's beliefs concerning images of the prophet.

She blames the bulk of the dispute on Western world domination. A well worn theory on most world events commonly heard on college campuses around the country. She calls for dismantling "the system of Eurocentric/Western dominance and oppression," and starting from "scracth." I'd like to know what scratch is. Even with all its faults, it's hard to see a more open and tolerant cultural alternative out there than the one developed by western culture over centuries of strife, blood and prosperity.

I don't agree with Dogan's take. I blame the problem on the radical Islamist disbelief in a sense of humor and belief that they have an absolute divine right to destroy apostates, but I admire a college senior who gets an article published in the local newspaper. Considering my writing ability at that time of life, no way I could have pulled it off.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What's in a name?

I didn't get any blogging done yesterday after a buddy called me at the last minute and invited me to tag along with him to the Rhino Times Schmoozefest at Hemmingway's. Good times usually come when least expected and this was no exception. I'd never been to one of these before. At first the crowd was packed a little tighter than I usually like. However, everyone around seemed pretty stress-free. You could hear a lot of laughing. The visual stimulation overpowered me at times. I never fails to amaze me how many pretty women live in Greensboro.

I admire the Rhino for publishing the Muhammad cartoons. It's approached this like it has everything else. The paper seems appropriately named. It's a scruffy and gritty sheet that never tries to pretend to be anything else. Why start apologizing now? I usually pick up a Rhino every week, but sometimes miss it. I don't always agree with how it approaches some stories, but I respect the staff for putting out a good product. I've worked at a weekly. We weren't scruffy and gritty, but we busted tail to fill the paper with as much original writing as we could. I know it's hard work and I'm glad to see it pay off here. That's good for the Rhino and Greensboro.

Commercial controversy flies under the radar

I was unaware of this story until I read a Washington Times editorial yesterday. The Democrat Farm Labor Party of Minnesota is demanding that television stations refuse to continue running a commercial from a group called Midwest Heroes that features members of the military who served in Iraq and family members of fallen soldiers and Marines calling for a successful conclusion to the war. The DFL essentially claims the commerical is "un-American" because it falesly connects the 9/11 attacks to Iraq.

Watch the commerical here and see if you have the same reaction as Brian Melendez, the Minnesota DFL chairman, who said:

Minnesota has the chance to take a stand against this kind of misleading propaganda...Right now, our state is a testing ground for this particular ad, and we can be sure that many more will follow this election season. Minnesota TV stations should pull this ad and send the message that we will not tolerate this kind of swiftboating anymore.

And Laura Bracella, front page editor of AlterNet, who after giving a brief synopsis of the ad, made this recommendation:

Watch for yourself... then feel free to Puke. Rinse. Repeat.

You can read a DFL e-mail concerning the anti-commerical campaign here.

Melendez likes to use "swiftboating" as a verb. It may stir up negative feelings in some, but it's an inspiring verb to me. The Swiftboat vets inserted citizen power as decisively into a presidential campaign that I ever remember seeing. I think this ad falls in the same category. I can't think of any reason a television station wouldn't run it unless it usually cowers to the DFL or is biased against the message.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It's State/Carolina Eve

Less than 24 to go until the NC State/Carolina rematch. I listened to a little of Mark Packer's show this afternoon and the "Packman" sensed a lack of confidence among NC State fans. Durnig the mid '70s, this game went beyond war. I remember the family riding home from Wednesday night church on game night and my dad tuned in the pre-game on the Carolina network. Dean didn't come on to do his customary pre-game interview with Woody Durham for fear that Stormin' Norman had a radio tuned in inside the Pack's dressing room. DT, Towe and Burleson made sure Norm prevailed without resorting to espionage.

Selling the ports: the local takes

It may be a big national issue with more than enough to read from the big boys, but some of the local guys have interesting points of view on the port deal.

Joe Guarino got on the issue the same day Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff dropped the story on the Sunday morning TV talk circuit. He doesn't think much of the deal as presented by our D of HLS.

David Boyd has two posts on the topic. One questions whether Democrats and the left can argue against the sale without being accused of profiling foreigners. The other raises serious doubts about whether GW Bush stands on any solid ground if he vetoes congressional legislation that stops the deal.

Sam Hieb comes to some conclusions about prospects of political battle after linking to the NY Times story on the from Dubai with love saga. He predicts Bush will fight to get the deal through even if he has to face down conservatives and other Republicans.

Ed Cone provides a variety of links covering the Rumsfeld connection and the veto possibility. He also links to an article that mentions the historical tie between protectionism and racism in America.

Turning to the airwaves, Allen Handleman had a good segment on his FM Talk 101.1 show this afternoon. No security experts or bonified talking heads were needed. The portion I heard contained nothing but even-handed and reasonable discussion between Handleman and his callers. The show continues to impress me.

I'm a bit torn on the issue. I think this story started rolling much faster than the Bush administration anticipated. It has to be explained why the deal will not be a security risk to not only his base, but also to what I think is a signficant number of Americans who would like to love Bush a little more while they still contribute to his negative performance ratings. There's also a chance to engage opponents in reasonable discussion.

However, this is not all on Bush. Democrat and Republican opponents must make a case that the sale of the port to a UAE-based company compromises national security. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats can avoid stereotyping Arab businesses in making its case. Republicans will have to prove they possess surperior wisdom to Bush on matters of national security. A tall order, I think.

I appreciate the story because it has plenty of the elements of political theater. (Have John McCain or Joe Biden found a microphone or reporter yet?) Part of it is a struggle between the legislative and executive branches and between the executive branch and state governments. It also has yet to be determined if the issue becomes more political or if it is a security concern deserving of the highest priority. Finally, I think the American public is out there looking at both sides of the issue. It is fascinating watching serious issues of national security having to navigate the stormy waters of free poltical debate.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Then there's Kosovo

As the seventh anniversary of the Kosovo War approaches, Serbs and Albanians held UN-brokered talks today about the future of the UN-adminsitered province. Kosovo Albanians, who comprise 90% of the province's population, want independence, while the Yugoslav government wants minority Kosovo Serbs protected. No dramatics were reported. A second day of talks is scheduled for tomorrow in Vienna.

Germany's Deutsche Welle has a good background piece on the talks. Many Serbs died in an outbreak of violence in 2004 that UN peacekeepers were unable to prevent. Serbs are not only concerned about ethnic violence, but also want Christian churches and monastaries protected. The DW article sees the deck stacked in favor of some sort of decentralized independent Kosovo. The picture at the top of the post gives a glimpse of the Kosovo countryside. Very pretty.

Hemric ready to pass wand to Redick

Via the accbasketblog, former Wake Forest star Dickie Hemric has nothing but praise for Duke's JJ Redick who is about to break his all-time ACC scoring record. Hemric seems satisfied that his record stood for 51 years. He said he's watched almost every Duke game this year and has enjoyed Redick's play. The News and Observer story also contains a funny story about Lefty Driesell stomping all over Hemric's fractured foot as the latter powered his way to 44 points in a victory over the Lefty's Blue Devils.


Sportscaster Curt Gowdy died today. I can't say he was ever my favorite, but his is one of the first voices I ever remember calling all the big sporting events. Gowdy manned the mike during my earliest memories of the World Series, Super Bowl, Rose Bowl and Final Four. I remember my grandfather loved the Monday night baseball broadcasts he did with Dizzy Dean. I appreciate Gowdy being there at the beginning of my love affair with sports.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chavez blows Condi kiss during televised remarks

Hugo Chavez used his weekly television show to demonstrate what a suave caudillo he is:

Chavez has taken potshots at Rice since she called last week for an international "united front" against Venezuela and described the leftist leader as a "challenge to democracy" in Latin America.
Chavez fired back last week by calling Rice "the imperial lady," and on Sunday deliberately mangled her name as "Condolencia," Spanish for "Condolences."
"She messed with me again," he said in his weekly "Hello President" television show. Chavez blew a kiss to the chief US diplomat, but added: "Don't mess with me, girl."

I say Condi kicks his ass, especially if she's wearing the black boots. I'd gladly pay to see it happen.

Cigars and bolero not mentioned in Cuba/Iran banking deal

Apparently hoping Fidel Castro will still be alive when Iran brings the capitalist infidel pigs of the west to their knees, Cuba Foreign Bank signed an agreement with the Iran Export Development Bank. As part of the arrangement, the Iranian Bank agreed to loan money to Cuba. In January, the Iranians agreed to buy sugar from Cuba and the Cubans backed Iran's quest to develop peaceful nuclear technology.

Update: Castro met with the speaker of the Iranian Majlis in Havana over the weekend.

United Front Against Israel confab set for tomorrow

The leader of Hamas, Khalid Meshaal is set to meet with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini tomorrow in Tehran. They plan to chat about "various political, regional and international issues."

Matt Doherty's new team closes home schedule with win

The Florida Atlantic Owls, coached by former UNC coach and player Matt Doherty, won its game last night. It looks like Doherty has done a good job getting the program off the floor from its disappointing 10-17 record last year. The Owls are in a three-way tie for third place in the Atlantic Sun after being picked to finish eighth this year. The squad is at 13-12 overall.

Right now things are looking up for Doherty. Even though I'm not a Carolina fan, I've always liked Doherty, and it's not because of the 8-20 season in '02. I think he's a good coach. I can't understand the way Carolina showed him the door. Even though it was probably a good idea that Doherty step down, I found the Dean Dome press conference shocking, considering Doherty played a big part in bringing one of the national championship banners that was hanging above the gathered crowd. It had the feel of being outside the prison in Paris during Robespierre's reign of terror. It seems even more absurd now as it turned out he recruited the bulk of the team that won last year's national title. Why not issue a press release or hold a low-key news conference in the athletic office. There's got to be some bad karma in way the chancellor and AD handled the situation. Maybe it will catch up to the Heels. If things continue going well at FAU, I would love to see Doherty get back to the big-time. A Coach Doh return gig in the ACC would be a gas. Maybe the karma theory will be put to the test.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The war according to Pyle

That would be Ernie Pyle and war would be World War II. I caught the about half of "The Story of GI Joe" this morning. Released in July 1945 just a couple of months after Germany's surrender and two before Japan's, the movie is based on journalist Pyle's bestselling accounts of American GIs fighting in North Africa and Italy. It includes a strong performance by an up and coming Robert Mitchum who earned the only Oscar nomination of his long and productive career for his acting job. Burgess Meredith is outstanding playing Pyle. He even had Pyle's hairstyle.

The movie humanizes the American soldier. There is some good combat footage, but the most powerful part of the movie is the interaction between the soldiers. As is usually the case in war, the soldiers ultimately fight for each other. Most of the movie was filmed on a sound stage, which gives it a great theatrical feel. The closing scene is one of the most powerful I've ever seen in a war movie. Here's a good site if you like thorough background from someone connected to the movie.

The American public loved Pyle's accounts of the average foot soldier fighting in North Africa and Italy. Pyle died from a sniper shot on Okianawa just before the movie's release.

Viewing "The Story of GI Joe" reminds me of Michael Yon's blog reports from Iraq. I hope Bruce Willis is successful in bringing Yon's story of the Deuce Four to the big screen. This non-movie goer would pay the cineplex ticket price to see it.

What happened to the stack of Rhino Times?

I usually don't get around to reading the Rhino Times until Saturday morning. I usually drop by the Coliseum Cafe and they almost always have a few left. I walked in today and none were there. The waitress said apparently someone from the Rhino came by and removed the stack. I talked to the owner who says she saw the stack one minute and it was gone the next. They stay pretty busy in there and it would be easy for someone to come in and take the stack. Was the current issue that much in demand for publishing two of the Muhammad cartoons? Was someone playing a trick? They did have a copy behind the counter that I read so I haven't been looking for it any other place. It will be interesting to see if there's any follow up on the boycott calls by local Muslims even if the mysterious disappearance of the Rhino stack from the cafe is completely unrelated.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pappy won't get a UW statue

Sorry to hear this. The University of Washington Student Senate voted against erecting a statue honoring WWII flying ace and UW alum Pappy Boyington. To say he brought nothing but honor to the school is absurd to contemplate. They need a history lesson at UW.

Does any contemporary politician have a little Andy Jackson in him?

The Weekly Standard's Dean Barnett gives a favorable review to H.W. Brands's "Anderw Jackson: His Life and Times." Barnett says the country would benefit during these current times from a leader who knows emperically that you sometimes have to fight for your country:

While honoring Indian fighting may seem offensive to some modern-day political sensibilities, there is no denying Jackson's accomplishments. He is the Godfather of our democracy as surely as Washington is the father of our country. Jackson's life is perhaps best summed up by a famous George Orwell quote that modern day Marines cherish: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

Good read for Old Hickory fans, detractors or those who just enjoy good history. (Barnett provides a good description of Jackson's duel with Charles Dickinson). Read it all.

The Sports guy likes Redick

David Boyd posts on the Sports Guy's take on JJ Redick. TSG likes him and sees a decent NBA career in Redick's future.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Great bobcat pictures, but its not the local NBA squad

Dharma Burns blogs on sighting a bobcat in the wild in Washington the state. Great photos and story to go with it.

Cincy blogger predicts a Rudy presidency

Cincinatti blogger Seldom Wrong predicts that not only will Rudy Giuiliani be the GOP presidential nominee, but he will need to get used to hearing the band strike up "Hail to the Chief." He cites polarization among Democrats as the stop leaving the door open for Guliani. He also believes Giuliani's style will sit well with most Republicans. I think a Rudy victory is quite plausible.

Court will hear anti-lottery suit

Yesterday, Judge Henry Hight set March 20 as the date to hear arguments on the merits of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of how the NC General Assembly approved the state's lottery. He also rejected the state's motion to throw out the suit and dismissed petitions that sought to stop the state from making preperations for the lottery set to begin on March 30.

Read it.

Wake schools redistricting confusion

The Wake County Schools have a redistricting circus of their own. Like Guilford County, it sounds like the Wake bureaucracy plan looks muddled to many. The system plans to redistrict more than 10,000 students for the '06-'07 school year.

The system also hired a new superintendent from within.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Steyn on Australian MP Danna Vale's abortion view

During the Australian Parliament's debate over RU486, the "morning after pill," Liberal PM Danna Vale contended that "Australians are aborting themselves out of existence." Of course the comment elicited a chorus of outrage among the better set of Aussies. Mark Steyn pays tribute to her willingness to call it like she sees it and offer his view that North America and Australia will soon be home to many European expatriates who will tell us of the folly of cultural suicide.

Brit's quip

I just heard Brit Hume tell of encounter he had on the White House lawnwith some network news people following his exclusive interview with VP Dick Cheney about the bird shot. Paraphring on my part, Hume said some people from the big networks asked him if he got the interview because of Fox News' conservative connections. Hume said he replied by saying I guess they wanted to put it on the network that most people watch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Super lobbyist suing Canadian blogger

I got to this guy's blog indirectly through Instapundit. One of Canada's top lobbyist is suing blogger Mark Bourrie for $600,000. Bourrie has decided to fight. He publishes the entire claim. Some of the recent Wikipedia trickery is involved as well.

Civilizational Balkanization: a different view of the Cartoon War

Instead of accelerating a head-on collision between Western and Islamic civilizations, Daniel Pipes sees the furor over the Muhammad cartoons driving the two cultures further apart. He doesn't see this development as welcome, especially where the Muslim world is concerned:

Disengagement will only worsen the Muslim predicament. Reduced contact with the world’s most modern, powerful, and advanced countries would likely cause Muslims to do even worse in those indices and lapse deeper into a condition characterized by self-pity, jealousy, resentment, anger, and aggression....Especially when contrasted with Muslim successes in premodern times, these traumatic circumstances help explain the crisis in identity that often causes Muslims to seek solace in radical Islam. For everyone’s sake, it is important that Muslims begin more successfully to negotiate their path to modernity, not to isolation.

Read the rest of it.

Clear, blue and a little white at the Rock

Caught a ride to Hanging Rock with a buddy this afternoon. Nothing beats a clear winter day for a great view in the Piedmont high country. There were still some large patches of snow on the drive all through Stokes County. Also saw some long icicles on a rock face in a shady curve on NC 89.

We drove around the perimeter of the park on Hall and Mickey roads. You could see plenty of snow and ice glistening in the sunshine of the rock outcroppings. As usual, the Mickey Road panorama was spectacular. You get Moore's Wall on one side and the Virginia Blue Ridge on the other. You could see at least 40 miles into Viriginia today. It was my first trip to Hanging Rock since early last December when I did a little low-speed luge down a footpath. It did turn out to be a workout. The place is a jewel and full of good memories.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'll blame it on Schultz

Believe or not, the History Channel aired two Hitler shows last night. I missed "Hitler's Family," but caught most of "Hi-Tech Hitler." I got sucked in by the fact that one of the show's top talking heads was Robert Proctor, author of "The Nazi War on Cancer," a book I read several years ago. Proctor focused on the Nazi obsession with health and how the German people bought into the Nazi's totalitarian idea that the body belonged to the state. It served as the impetus for giving up drinking and smoking to take up a healthy lifestyle complete with a high-fiber, low-meat diet. German scientists, many of them not members of the Nazi Party outpaced the rest of the world in many areas. However, as Proctor and "Hi-Tech Hitler" maintain, the Nazis merely inherited a scientific culture that had been thriving throughout the twentieth century. After these views, I'm even more grateful we beat those guys.

It's impossible to pinpoint where I began my ascent, or perhaps descent, into WWII geekdom. I suspect the tube had something to do with it. I have vague memories of watching "Combat" and "The Rat Patrol" (mesermized by all the camo), but I've never watched either of those shows in reruns. I'll have to admit "Hogan's Heroes" did stick with me and I still watch the repeats from time to time. I know I didn't get into it like Leslie Campbell Rampey did in this piece written in 2000, but it doesn't sound like a bad gig. I think I read the Mad Magazine spoof Rampey refers to, but I can't verify it. She does reveal some interesting information about some of the cast members real-life brushes with the Nazis.

I never tire of reading about the war. The greatest work I've read is "Stalingrad, the Fateful Siege" by Antony Beevor. What a stark story of evil versus evil and I read it over Christmas a few years ago. The siege included Christmas Day. Beevor gives a mystical protrayal of the doomed German Sixth Army observing the holiday.

I guess the more I learn about WWII, the more I have to quote "Hogan's" Sgt. Schultz as played by John Banner, "I know nothing, nothing."

To scratch or not to scratch

Judge Henry Hight said today that he will rule later this week on whether the NC General Assembly approved a new state lottery unconstutinally. Arguing for the plaintiffs, former NC Supreme Court justice Robert Orr maintained that the lottery represents a tax revenue bill. Under the state constitution, any tax revenue legislation must be passed by roll-call votes on separate days. General Assembly leadership allowed one roll-call vote and a voice vote on the same day to approve the lottery. The state argued that the lottery is not a tax because its purchase is voluntary and therefore did not require separate-day votes. I'm no fan of state lotteries, especially the way this one was passed, but I'll concede a slight advantage to the state here. We'll now have to wait on Judge Hight. The state says it hopes to have everyone start scratching on March 30.

Logjam or Logtown

Somebody who should know told me today that the News and Record misnamed a recent drug bust operation in Rockingham County. I posted yesterday on an article revealing that a murder victim in Reidsville last week was the top suspect in a Rockingham County sweep of drug dealers. The News and Record identified the sweep as "Operation Logjam." I asked about it today and was told it was in fact called Operation Logtown, but that is not officially official. Logtown is an area outside Eden just inside the Virginia line long known as an entry point for illegal drugs into Rockingham County. In fact, US News and World Report featured the notorious locale on its pages about ten years ago. Today they'll let you read the lead, but you'll have to pay to read the rest. I thought about buying it, but they won't allow me to transmit it electronically. Here's what I can link to.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'll admit I was wrong about JJ

I'll have to admit I now find myself an admirer of Duke's JJ Redick. When Redick burst onto the scene during his freshman year, I never thought I would reach the point where I would praise him in a blog post. I shrugged off his early success to the Duke system, complete with favorable officiating, especially in Cameron. However, performances such as yesterday's against Maryland have me watching Duke games, something I've rarely done in the past. I haven't seen anyone stop his shot consistenlty. The only way to stop him is to deny him the ball and Coach K's schemes seem to prevent that from happening.

I'm interested to see how Redick will perform in the NBA. I think he has a shot to be the best pro from Duke during the Coach K era. I don't see any reason to think he won't have as good a chance as anyone coming out of this year's draft to be a very good NBA player, maybe even an all-star. Most importantly, he won't be playing for Duke anymore.

Speaking of favorable officiating, Birkel at the accbasketblog has some interesting thoughts on how the refs called the Maryland game. He concludes that the Duke haters got their wish. The Washington Times has the Terps' perspective covered.

I'll wind up the ACC talk by mentioning I finally witnessed a Wake Forest victory yesterday. Too bad it won't count in the confernce standings considering the next game is at Cameron. Being the current last place team, maybe the Deacs can file an appeal with the league to count it as the second Carolina game which won't be played for the second straight regular season. The Deacs did beat the Charlotte campus of Carolina. They need to play 22 ACC games, but I'm sure the coaches don't even want to hear about it.

You never stop learning

Last night after the Wake game, my parents treated to me dinner at the K&W on Healy Drive in Winston-Salem. My dad said the food tasted better after a victory. I won't argue with that. I'll have to say I astonished myself by not realizing the Greensboro and Winston-Salem roots of the cafeteria. I don't know how almost 45 years passed without me knowing this. As a kid, the place fascinated me. I remember sliding the tray past the green jello, fried chicken and roast beef more than anything. It's about the only time my parents would allow my brother, sister and me to get dessert when we were eating out.

To help assuage the bemusement created by my ignorance, here's a big hat tip to the country-style steak, on which I did not even have to consider lifting a knife, fried okra, mixed fruit bowl, the melon was surprisingly sweet, jalapeno cornbread and coconut creme pie. I somehow refrained from the sweet tea. I'll have to admit the collards weren't up to the usual highest standards, but I didn't leave too many in the bowl. Further props for surviving more than 60 years in the volatile resturant world without changing the product.

Gunshots claim Operation Logjam's top suspect

Eden Police Chief Gary Benthin revealed that a fatal shooting in Reidsville last week killed the top suspect in a Rockingham County drug crackdown. Benthin said Jamal Baruch Whitaker was the top suspect in Operation Logjam, a cooperative effort between Rockingham County law enforcement agencies and the feds. Benthin said those targeted in the probe were the most dangerous of any susptects targeted in previous joint anti-drug efforts.

I find the name of the operation interesting. Anyone vaguely familiar with Eden likely has heard of Logtown, a community outside town just inside the VA line with a rough reputation. My knowledge of Logtown is almost all anectdotal, but if true, it's reasonable to assume it was somehow related to this investigation ergo the name Operation Logjam. Maybe I can find out more this week.

Old Man Winter awakes from his nap grumpily

Apparently miffed that we took him for granted during January, Old Man Winter proves he has not mellowed. I just took the dog for a walk in Lake Daniel Park. I did enjoy the spitting snow blowing in my face. Just take one look at my dog Boomer's coat and you will see it was a day made just for him. I also layered up and felt very warm by the time we got back home. It looks like OMW is especially taking pleasure in reminding our northern neighbors that he will not be jilted.

Toons and the future of Western Civilization

Via Real Clear Politics, Mark Steyn and John Leo see the cartoon controversy as much more than a disagreement over free expression.

Steyn's lead (it gets even better from there):

From Europe's biggest-selling newspaper, the Sun: ''Furious Muslims have blasted adult shop [i.e., sex shop] Ann Summers for selling a blowup male doll called Mustafa Shag."

Leo seeks the proper question and arrives at a vital one:

Is the biggest issue in the cartoon controversy free expression, sensitivity or fear? One vote here for none of the above. The key question may be this: Are Muslims in Europe going to live by the rules of the West, or by the rules of Islam?

This reading leaves me with two questions: First, how can a civilization that produced Shakespeare, Mozart, Gibbon, Voltaire, Wilde and Peter Sellers bow in the hot wind of a group who has given little hint that it possesses traces of a sense of humor? Second, if you rid Europe of its crucifixes and images of Dante through whatever means necessary, what would lead you to think that it would stop there?

Taunting clueless Democrats and scorning Bush

Also via RCP, Joan Vennochi of the Boton Globe rightly sees Democrats as clueless on national security, but she doesn't attempt to even barely hide her disdain for GWB:

Average citizens smirk, and Democrats scoff. Bush never fails to entertain. This time, he referred to the West Coast target as the ''Liberty Tower" instead of the ''Library Tower."
But until Democrats come up with a post-9/11 strategy, the Bush White House and the GOP get the last laugh.

Read the rest.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Ayatollahs Khatami speak on the Cartoon War

Threatswatch links to posts chronicling the tales of the unrealted ayatollahs Khatami concerning the Cartoon War.

First the progressive Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami, the immediate predecessor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims Islam is ready for liberal reform. He also adopts the pose of the more high-mined mainstream media by not directly addressing the cartoon issue. He made his comments outside Iran.

Next, the less than progressive Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami in his Friday sermon called for continued protests only without embassy damage.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Halftime Stones

Being in a crowd at Greene Street during the Super Bowl, I didn't hear much of the Rolling Stones halftime show, but I got a good look at it on the big screen. Some of the professional commentators showed disdain for the show. Nick Sylvester of the Village Voice's Riff Raff blog got down right ugly not only with the Stones, but the entire event itself:

But however much Jagger was in on the joke of his skin flailing about in the Detroit wind or the irony of old bitch Britain entertaining cornfed America on its most cornfed, most American day ever, this performance was good proof that comedy and tragedy share a bloodline, and no number of lucky charms stuck in Richards's hair can fend off the fates.

Stones fans come to the band's defense in the comments, many of them matching Sylvester's caustic tone such as Susan:

Jealous eh? Let's see you or any of these "wanna be rocker punks" have that much stamina when you are 60+...hell, you couldn't hang for one song, much less a set, much less a concert or tour. Who do think paved the road to rock...Tiny Tim? Last time I checked (Super Bowl evening) the Rolling Stones were announced as "The Greatest Rock 'n Roll band in the World"...you're an idiot.

and Larry:

I don't care what snobby publication you write for...who are YOU to slam what people enjoy, and then justify the talentless Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake? Where will THEY be in 40 years? Forgotten.

I liked the show. Not hearing it too well didn't bother me much. "Start Me Up" and "Satisfaction don't top my favorites list. I'd have to give the new song a good listen to be fair with it. I did enjoy the visual, especially Charlie Watts. The only band member willing to show his white hair and to stay in a long-term marriage, he hammered away at the drums. I couldn't help but appreciate that. It inspired me as my 45th looms on the horizon.

The Grammys: A victory of the prophets?

The fan website @U2 gets biblical in the afterglow of the band's strong Grammy showing. @U2 posts an interview with Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, an American-English translation of the Bible. It turns out that Peterson's translation is Bono's chosen text. The interview centers on Peterson's impression of U2 as prophets and it's a positive one:

U2 doesn't seem to be calculated in what they are doing. It just comes out of who they are, and maybe that's why people respond to them, because they are so unconventional in the rock music world. ..

Not a fan of rock and roll himself, Peterson sees the power of faith in the band's message:

For example, in the song "Peace on Earth": "Jesus sing a song you wrote, the words are sticking in my throat." Well, I start paying attention to that. And I love this line: "But hope and history won't rhyme." They are saying to me that I can't separate life into religious and secular, spiritual and ordinary: the dissonance between hope and history are the context in which we live life honestly and courageously, not by eliminating one or the other but by feeling or hearing that dissonance and living in a way that bring them into harmony.

Whether into rock, religion or both, it's a good read.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'd almost forgotten it was winter

Really, I hadn't, but I'll admit today's weather caught me off guard. I awoke hearing the Rock 92 morning crew talking about driving to work in the snow. I got out of bed and looked out back. There it was, even more than I'd anticipated. I guess I'm still southern enough to consider this morning's dusting a snowstorm. It did set the tone for what felt to me like the first day of real winter we've had since mid-December. I didn't dress warmly enough for a night-time walk with the dog. Standing on the porch talking to my neighbor it didn't feel too cold, but as soon as I stepped onto the sidewalk I knew my fleece and ankle-hugging socks weren't going to be enough to insulate anything. That made the walk short, but I appreciated breathing in the cold, semi-humid air. Even though I've missed that this year, I had no problem getting used to the spring of January '06. If the long range forecast holds up, the chill will last for a few more days, but by this time next week we'll be back to early spring.

U2 wins song of the year Grammy

Two-hour delay this morning, why not do some early-morning blogging.

I didn't watch one second of the Grammy Awards last night, but I was glad to hear this morning that U2's Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own won song of the year. Bono wrote the song for his father who had just lost a long bout with cancer. There's more to the song than Bono's vocals. The Edge lives up to his name, while Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen provide the usual solid floor to hold it all together. I haven't heard any comment from Jesse Helms yet.

Hindus, Sikhs unite in Britain

Care for the souls of the dead has brought Hindus and Sikhs together in Great Britain. Both religious groups are petitioning the city of Newcastle, England for the right of open-air cremation. Currently, British law requires all cremations to take place in gas-powered furnaces. Both Hindus and Sikhs do not prefer this method because it leads to mingling of ashes, which they believe impedes the soul on its journey to its next life form.

You never know what you'll get with multiculturalism. At least this one shouldn't lead to calls for the downfall of the government. The number of Hindus and Sikhs in Britain surprised me as well. Hindus number just over 500,000 and Sikhs just over 300,000. I expected the numbers to be larger for both.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Cartoon War and the US Civil War: The parallels

I was discussing the cartoon flap with a friend last night when some interesting parallels to the US Civil War came up. One of the flashpoints for our war came from the rhetoric during the 1850s uttered by both sides. More than ten years of trading insults culminated in our country's ultimate cultural bloodbath.

An interesting and sardonic example comes from D.H. Hill, who went on to serve as a solid general in the Confederate Army. In 1857 while teaching mathematics at Davidson College, Hill authored an algebra textbook with these quirky problems:

A Yankee mixes a certain number of wooden nutmegs, which cost him 1/4 cent apiece, with a quantity of real nutmegs, worth 4 cents apiece, and sells the whole assortment for $44; and gains $3.75 by the fraud. How many wooden nutmegs were there?

In the year 1692, the people of Massachusetts executed, imprisoned, or privately persecuted 469 persons, of both sexes, and all ages, for alleged crime of witchcraft. Of these, twice as many were privately persecuted as were imprisoned, and 7 17/19 times as many more were imprisoned than were executed. Required the number of sufferers of each kind?

In the year 1637, all the Pequod Indians that survived the slaughter on the Mystic River were either banished from Connecticut, or sold into slavery. The square root of twice the number of survivors is equal to 1/10 that number. What was the number?

Don't expect these puzzlers to show up on the NC end of course tests soon.

Prominent northerners also engaged in the loose talk. In a famous speech on the floor of the US Senate, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts who had this to say about SC Senator Andrew Butler's choice of lovers:

...the Massachusetts senator charged him (Butler) with taking "a mistress . . . who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean," added Sumner, "the harlot, Slavery."

The performance earned Sumner a beating at the end of the cane of Butler's nephew Preston Brooks, a congressman from SC. The beating rendered Sumner unconscious and left him incapacitated for a lenghty time. Brooks, 37 at the time of the incident, died soon there after.

How does this tie in with the current crisis? We have to confront an issue that we in the west have been trying to avoid from the outset. The struggle we face with radical Islam is culutural. The radicals do not fear our military might. However, as long as we show signs we are loath to use it, they will not back down. It's an ugly situation. We have to avoid a catastrophic war, but completely disavowing the use of force will only make that possibility more likely.

The Cartoon War: Moderate Muslim takes

One of the complaints stated by many Muslims over Western coverage of the violent reaction to the Danish Muhammad cartoons is the lack of coverage given to the moderate Muslim perspective. With a big hat tip to the worldwide web and Google, I found two very good posts on the topic.

The first comes from Amir Butler, a Muslim engineer and writer who blogs from Melbourne, Australia. Butler finds the cartoons offensive. However, instead of taking to the streets in mob fashion, he believes a statement of reasoned outrage by Danish Muslims would have suited the situation and would have relegated the cartoons to their fifteeen minutes of Warholian fame:

...by reacting in this fashion, the editors, newspaper and cartoonists have been transformed into martyrs for free speech — the Salman Rushdie effect — and will undoubtedly be feted by European talk shows and columnists for months to come. The cartoons, which might otherwise have been condemned to obscurity in a Danish newspaper, have been run by several other European publications and are now scattered across the internet. If the intent was to remove these offensive images from circulation then it has been a miserable failure — unless, of course, Muslims are prepared to boycott any country that ‘dares’ reproduce the pictures.

I found a second take written by Sheila Musaji at alt.muslim. She also finds the cartoons offensive, but condemns the reaction in the same light:

The cartoons are a repeat of old anti-Semitic drawings, complete with hooked noses and swarthy complexions. The cartoons ARE offensive - but the response by many Muslims is more than offensive. Death threats, armed men taking over offices, threats against places of worship, etc. ARE offensive, illegal, immoral, unjust, and against the very spirit of Islam. Threatening to blow up churches in Palestine because a newspaper in Denmark (which is a predominantly Christian country) ran offensive cartoons means that these clowns are saying that every Christian in the world is responsible for the actions of anyone in the Christian world. This is madness just as much as those who hold the same attitude towards Muslims and Islam.

I did find this take a bit naive:

In fact, if the goal was a discussion of free speech, why not commission cartoons attacking some cherished aspect of Christianity. Why not commission cartoons of Jesus? If they truly believed that "their" cherished value of free speech was being threatened by Muslim reactions to what Muslims considered blasphemy, what better way to show their own tolerance than by attacking their own religious beliefs. It is difficult to believe that they did not consider the possibility that in the current political climate these cartoons might be seen as a direct attack on the Prophet and on Islam, and that it might be an incitement to violence and an encouragement for a "clash of civilizations".

Unfortunately, I don't think there's enough repsect of Christianity left in Europe for protestors on its behalf to even create a ripple.

Overall, Musaji's article is very informative and even-handed. She also provides a list of good endnotes.

Butler and Musaji both represent Muslim opinion from a western perspective. I have not yet come across any similar writing within the Middle East. Maybe someone can help out on that one.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cartoon war claims casualties in Afghanistan

Proving that not all Muslim countries are averse to quashing the cartoon protests, Afghan police and International peacekeepers killed four demonstrators earlier today. This group of protesters attacked a NATO base manned by troops from Scandinavian countries. It was reported that Norwegians were struggling against the mob along with the Afghan police. The Norwegians claim they only fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd. The government suspects that al Qaeda and Taliban may be using the cartoon flap to incite violence against the US-backed Afghan government though they have no solid proof. Today's shootings brings the cartoon war death toll to six in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Iranian have revived one of their most successful tactics, overrunning embassies of western nations. Ayatollah Khameini offers his usual sage advice as well.

Steelers show off their 5th Lombardi: Super Bowl thoughts

Pittsburgh ended an impressive run with its Super Bowl victory over the weekend. Sitting at 7-5 following NFL week 13, the Steelers caught a wave that brought them to shore standing tall. I can't say the game agaisnt Seattle will go down as an epic. Not a lot of sharp play, but that doesn't matter in P'burgh today as the party continues.

I viewed the game at great party downtown at Greene Street. Good food, fun and scenery. Too much stimulation to pay constant attention to the battle on the big screen. It was definitely a Steelers crowd, but I think that was the case about everywhere. I've never seen such a darling team going into a Super Bowl.

I'll admit, I respect the Steelers begrudingly. A Cowboys fan back in the '70s, the Steel Curtain broke my heart too many times. Since then I seem to come across new Pittsburgh fans every few years. I had an uncle who was into them big-time. I wish he could still be here to see this one. I guess that's what it comes down to, the Pittsburgh fans. I admire their loyalty. The Rooney family runs the team as a family operation. They've only hired two head coaches since 1969, and they don't bail out when the times get lean and neither do the fans. I also understand why Charlie Daniels used Steelers fans on "In America" as he spit in the eye of the Soviets and ushered in what would become the Reagan years. (I can still mix politics and sports with the best of them. Too bad for Lynn Swan the GOP primary is still a few months away.) The team and fans earned the party. There are a lot of happy people around the country this week. That's good for all of us.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

February 6 birhtday trifecta

For those who like keeping up with famous birthdays or who won big on Pittsburgh's Super Bowl victory, tomorrow we celebrate a winning trifecta. There are many ways to label it. Perhaps it's the homerun, conquering the evil empire and ganja Aquarian convergence. Maybe we should call it straight. Ruth, Reagan and Marley were given to us on a February 6.

The Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth entered the world on Feb. 6, 1895 in Baltimore as George Herman Ruth, Jr., the son of George Herman, Sr. and Kate Ruth.

On Feb. 6, 1911 when George H. was finding his own as a pitcher and catcher for St. Mary's Industrial School for boys, Ronald Wilson Reagan made his earthly debut in an apartment in Tampico, Illinois, the son of Jack and Nelle Reagan.

As Ruth faced the last years of life and Reagan earned a reputation as a hard-working Hollywood actor, Robert Nesta Marley joined the journey Feb. 6, 1945 in Nine Miles, Saint Ann, Jamaica, the son of Englishman Norval Marley and Jamaican Cedella Booker.

I admire all three. A tip of the hat to them all for making my life more entertaining and helping me appreciate the beauty of living. They all had to overcome early obstacles to reach greatness. Ruth's family turned his custody over to St. Mary's when he was 7. Reagan overcame growing up with an alcoholic father. The family of Marley's father rejected the relationship that brought him to be.

Also a tip of the hat to my buddy Noel who made me aware of this birthday factoid. He should know, he entered the fray Feb. 6, 1961. Happy Birthday to all.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Son of El Duce passes

The last surviving child of Benito Mussolini died late last week. This is the first I'd heard of Romano Mussolini, a well-known jazz artist in Italy. One of his daughters, Alessandra, heads a right-wing political movement in Italy. I have a vague memory of hearing about that.


"Grandpa" Al Lewis exits stage left. Most famous for his role on TV as Herman Munster's father-in-law, Lewis lived the life of a renaisance man. In addition to finding a career beyond vaudeville, he earned a solid reputation as a NBA scout. He ran unsuccessfully as the Green Party candidate for governor of New York. All in all, it looks like a great run as he gives us 95 years.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Beautiful day

I was lucky enough to have most of the afternoon off today. I took the dog for a walk in Lake Daniel Park. A lot of other people there and almost all seemed in good spirits. It must have been the heat of the sun, which felt good on me. I came home and just parked myself and the backyard and listened to some Ray Price. I haven't paid any attention to temperature reports, but it had to be well into the 60s. Alas, the forecast says we'll soon receive a re-introduction to winter.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lt. Governor Perdue speaks at state education conference

NC Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue addressed the North Carolina Safe School and Character Education Confernce at the Koury Center today. Many political analysts believe she wants to only drop the Lt. from her title in early '09. Perdue makes up one-third of an expected Democrat big three that will seek to succeed current Democrat Governor Mike Easley. North Carolina's state attorney general Roy Cooper and state treasurer Richard Moore comprise the other two-thirds of the triumvirate. All three are serving in their second terms and rose to power through the NC General Assembly.

Even though it's still very early, it's hard to see how she or either one of the other two will be stopped in the general election. The NC GOP's inability to mount strong charges in two runs against Easley baffled me. George Bush won NC handily in the same elections, and in '04, US Senator Richard Burr won a solid victory, making Erskine Bowles a two-time senate wannabe. Easley did not seem that formibidile. I don't think his being a Huntian politican juggernaut is what made him unbeatable. The campaigns of Richard Vinroot and Patrick Ballentine in 'oo and 'o4 respectively disappointed me. Also, it's a head scratcher as to why the Tar Heel GOP has not been as successful as Repubs in the bordering states (SC, VA, GA and TN) who each enjoy a slight political advantage.

Perdue's speech avoided political content even though she made sure to note that the state's public school teachers don't make enough money. Perdue praised school systems' and educators' efforts to create successful character education programs. She pledged the state's support in the continuation of the movement. Overall, I found her a low-key keynoter. If it does turn out to be Perdue, at least we'll have an attractive governor. Nice smile.

Easley's poker faces reveals doubt

Apparently, Mike Easley has found some gambling of which he doesn't approve. The vice-Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee told the press Easley will reject the tribe's bid to allow live poker and blackjack at the casino on its NC reservation. However, The chief says the decision is not final:

But Principal Chief Michell Hicks said Wednesday that while the governor's legal advisers have indicated that Easley is concerned about card dealers, no final decisions have been made.

Easley has to worry about gambling and staying away from Howard Dean as Sam Hieb notes today.

Some Muslims don't believe cartoonists are great Danes

David Boyd has a good post on the Muslim outrage over the Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. It's hard for this infidel to see the outrage. Here's a list of numerous Muhammad drawings thorugh the ages I found posted on Little Green Footballs. Most of it is good art.

UN Holocaust commemoration

Forward runs an article on the first ever UN Holocaust commemoration. I was never aware the UN didn't note the episode, the story caught me by surprise. Of course the Iranians had something to say:

The Iranian mission to the U.N. issued a statement on the observance day, condemning genocide against any race, ethnic or religious group as a crime against humanity. But, the statement added, "rendering political judgments on such events and closing the door to any scientific inquiry on their characteristics, scope and extent would seriously undermine the sincerity of the endeavor."
"Regrettably, the Zionist regime has routinely attempted to exploit the sufferings of the Jewish people in the past as a cover for its crimes being perpetrated today against Palestinians in the occupied territories, including massacre, demolition of houses, properties and farmlands, as well as acts of state terrorism," the statement said.

Kofi Anan surprised me as much as learning there had been no previous official Holocaust rememberance by the world's foremost international body. Anan's quote:

"Remembering is a necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated," the U.N. secretary-general said. "Holocaust denial is the work of bigots. We must reject their false claims whenever, wherever and by whomever they are made."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Big blast shakes Morganton, Burke County

I'm a little late on this, but I heard the tail-end of the story while I had news playing in the background. An explosion at a plant manufacturing paint and water treatment chemicals injured 14 employees, two seriously. One was flown to the burn center at NC Baptist Hospital. The blast shook all of Burke County. It could be heard throughout Morganton and even as far south as Lincoln County. It also caused extensive damage to a nearby church. Authorities still have not determined the cause.

The Morganton Times-Herald has several good stories, a photo gallery and video.

Her his is the same and other thoughts

Not to make light of the situation, but I found the Times-Herald attribution to Kou Her, a neighbor of the Syntron plant as gender-bending reading:

Kou Her, who said he lives about 200 yards from the plant, said he heard the explosion and saw "like a mushroom cloud" rise from the facility.
The woods on the opposite side of Amherst Road were also on fire. The explosion apparently blew the windows out of a house next door. Her said his electricity was out.

I'm glad this hasn't turned out to be worse. It shows that many people still work in potentially dangerous jobs. We've been re-aquainted with the hazards of coal mining. Also, a worker died from burns he received from an explosion sparked by a dust fire at a Purina mill near Statesville. I tip my hat to all who work in dangerous professions.

Back to Burke County, if you've never had the chance to visit, it's worth the trip. It's Piedmont meeting the mountains. Whenever I allow myself the time on a trip to Asheville, I love to exit I-40 at 64 West in Morganton. It's a beautiful ride from there to Rutherfordton. From Rutherford I drive up to Lake Lure and hit NC 9. Then it's on to Bat Cave, Chimney Rock into Black Mountain and back to 40. It's very good for the head.

Duke/BC not a bad game so far

I don't usually get into watching Duke basketball, but the BC game has interested me. Duke took a hard shot early and looks like it might have started getting its way. I have come to begrudingly respect J.J. Redick. I 'll be interested to see how well he does in the NBA. He could be a star. Back to the present, we'll see how this game turns out.

Update: Right now it looks like Duke is welcoming BC to the ACC in typical Duke fashion.

BC withstands the Duke onslaught and makes a game of it, but falls short.

Hey, hey, ho, ho, George Bush has got to go

I wonder if they chanted this in downtown Greensboro last night? It sounds like it was more than clever use of the f-word in public as Greensboro Police arrested 7 people at an anti-Bush rally. Some of the protestors apparently wanted to do more than vent verbally, or at least may have wanted to leave that impression:

About 9:45 p.m., police said, Detective E.L. Cuthbertson, who was "monitoring the demonstration," was pushed by protestors and struck in the chest and elbow. One of the people arrested had a collapsible police-style baton and another had a lock blade knife. Neither of the weapons was used in the scuffle.

I see that one of those arrested has my old Mendenhall St. address. I don't know if any plots to overthrow Ronald Reagan were ever hatched while there, though my memory could have failed. Can you help me out Sam?