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Saturday, June 18, 2005


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Hart Williams

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

In the following post, I erroneously attributed accuracy to the NEW YORK TIMES. It was by another writer. The error of reporting factually has now been corrected.

June 22, 2005
After Four Days, a Boy Scout Missing in Utah Is Found Alive

"PARK CITY, Utah, June 21 - After a four-day search by about 3,000 volunteers, an 11-year-old Boy Scout was found dazed and dirty on Tuesday, on a trail about a mile and a half from where he was last seen in the Utah wilderness."
Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.



Well, there are a couple of breaking stories as I write this that, once more, point out the lack of education and manners, and the intellectual sloth that's come to characterize our Yew Essay culture.

The first one is that the Utah "Boy Scout" has been found. The eleven-year-old has been found. Which bothered me since for the past couple of daze, he's been alternately a "Cub Scout" and a "Boy Scout."

I was both. When I graduated to Boy Scout status at about that age, my uniform looked like a Russian general's: I had every legal bit of frill, frump and frippery embroidered to my uniform shirt that was allowed. (In fact, I had additional stuff, but it was more than was allowable -- extra arrowheads, both silver and gold, the Cub Scout equivalent of merit badges).

Well, according to the AP's earlier coverage, the boy "[who had] not yet graduated from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, was visiting the camp with a friend, whose father was volunteering at a three-day session for 1,400 older scouts."

But, in hundreds of newspapers, around the world, and even the local DESERET NEWS in Salt Lake City identify the boy as a "Boy Scout."

Now, considering the utter SIMPLICITY of the story, and the very few facts involved -- the spelling of the name, the location of the Scout camp, and the (estimated) number of people searching for the lost boy, you'd think that more than one or two reporters would be able to make the distinction between a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. But no.

Worse, initial reports CORRECTLY identified the boy as a 'cub scout,' but, evidently, the intellectual strain of a "cub scout" visiting a "boy scout" camp was too much to keep focused on for three days, and, if you will GOOGLE the tale, virtually every news story now identifies the "boy scout" as having been found. It is a small but telling distinction. If you can't keep your simple, easy facts straight, how on earth can you be trusted to analyze actual stories, which are compounded of a series of facts.

Astonishingly, the NEW YORK TIMES actually managed to get it right, if third hand: "The hunt for the boy, a Cub Scout who was visiting a Boy Scout camp with a friend whose father helped lead an annual event there, drew more volunteer searchers with each passing day. About 3,000 volunteers showed up to canvass the rugged area surrounding the camp on Sunday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune."

Facts are stubborn things, said John Adams, but they are no match for the intellectual sloths that populate our news media.

Jefferson, Madison and Adams all recognized that the bulwark of a viable democracy was education, and education has ALWAYS been seen as the route to the "American Dream." But these journalism school graduates not only got it wrong, but they TYPICALLY get it wrong. Just ask anyone who's ever been the subject or a quoted source in a newspaper article. They get it WRONG all the time.

Now, there is a point here, and I'll meander for a moment: when education fails, the Founding Fathers warned, democracy would fail. And the Bush Administration touts their exportation of "democracy" around the world? We can't even maintain it here, with hundreds of years of tradition. As our functional literacy vanishes -- and how can we claim to be literate when we can't even tell the difference between a "cub scout" and a "boy scout" in a simple story about a lost child? -- then democracy fails. Which brings us to ...

Second moron story of the day?

Senator Dan Durbin (D, Illinois) apologized today on the Senate floor for telling the truth.

Here's the AP story: "Under fire from Republicans and some fellow Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other historically infamous figures.

'Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line,' the Illinois Democrat said. 'To them I extend my heartfelt apologies.'

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

"'They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them,' he said.

The apology came a week after Durbin, the Senate minority whip, quoted from an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the Naval base in a U.S.-controlled portion of Cuba as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.

"'If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime-- Pol Pot or others-- that had no concern for human beings,' the senator said June 14.

"The comment created a buzz on the Internet and among conservative talk radio hosts, but Durbin initially refused to apologize.

"'This administration should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure,' he said the day after his initial comments."

William Kristol, the Faux Nooz stooge ended up on the CBS News website yesterday (fallout from Rathergate, perhaps) writing this hideous screed, for which NO ONE will demand an apology: "Newt Gingrich, my friend Hugh Hewitt, and others have suggested that Sen. Durbin should be censured by the Senate. His comments are, to be sure, deserving of censure."

Well, it's too bad that balls aren't much in evidence in the Democratic opposition these days. Give 'em the Sudentenland, what do we care? Give 'em Austria, what do we care? Hey: who cares about Norway? About Poland? We have to remain POLITE at all costs.

I've got news for the Democrats: Barbarians don't give a fig about napkin rings, nor do they hold out their pinkies when bashing in skulls.

These ARE barbarians, and what Durbin OUGHT to have said was this: "I apologize for being entirely too polite about this Administration. What I should have said is that they're vicious, unscrupulous bastards who wouldn't know what the truth was if it bit them in the ass -- which, according to the latest polls, is just what it's doing."

And Dick Durbin would have been a hero to add to the sparsely populated pantheon currently occupied by Barbara Boxer and John Conyers.

But, instead, progressives continue to follow the deadly path of accommodation, and appeasement.

These people are running a CONCENTRATION CAMP, dammit! The analogies to the Gulag and to the Nazis are not only apt, they are ACCURATE! And what do the right wing weasels say? Why, HOW DARE YOU! Our torture is MUCH LESS horrible than THEIR torture! These are BAD people!

Begging the question, of course. If no charges are preferred, and no evidence is produced, how do we know what these people are? SOME may well be actual terrorists. Even this "all-thumbs" gaggle of Keystone Kops might occasionally get it right, of course. BUT, absent the millennia-old Western KEYSTONE of trial by jury, we don't know that. We only know that the only terrorists we can point to with certitude are the selfsame utilizers of fear, of terror, of scare-tactics that have cowed Dick Durbin into apologizing.

Good Ghod.

One APOLOGIZES to those whom one has offended with INACCURATE and HURTFUL remarks. Consider that these weasels were behind the "Swift Boat" slanders and then ask yourself how on earth that they might be deserving of a "tearful" apology.

Good Ghod.

"'All of us, I believe, who have had the opportunity to serve in public life from time to time have said things that we deeply regret. I know that I have. I would like to say that the senator from Illinois, he did the right thing, the courageous thing, and I believe we can put this issue behind us,' said Senator John McCain, (R)-Arizona." (AP)

Forgetting, of course, that McCain was among the attack-dogs calling for an apology, managing to once more pull the sleight-of-hand distraction that pulled the attention of the country from the Torturers of Gitmo to the Syntax of Durbin.

These are NOT civilized men, kiddies. These are BARBARIANS! And they are using OUR sense of civility, of polity, to cow us into apologizing for daring to criticize THEIR barbarity.

Hell, Dickie Boy, why not just go whole hog: "Dear Mr. President, Mr. Majority Leader, and all the Ships at Sea, I apologize most profusely for putting my eye in the way of your fist, my stomach in the way of your knee, and my testicles in the way of your steel-toed boot. I hope that they are not harmed in any wise by my inexcusable actions, and I tearfully beg for your forgiveness. "

The story continues: "The words of a decorated military hero, Vietnam POW John McCain, may go a long way toward healing the wounds of Durbin's words. But, some other GOP leaders have to weigh in first, like President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "

Oh dear Lordie, Lord.

Finally, that acrobatic troupe, The Whining Schindlers have dusted off their tights for one more encore. After having fought Michael Shiavo for ten years in court, having enlisted every power available to accuse him of monstrous crimes, accuse the judges of monstrous behavior, having cast every aspersion possible on Shiavo, and, having then screamed about his decision to cremate the corpse, having screamed about the autopsy and demanded other, favorable opionions they are upset, angry, and call Michael Shiavo "unkind."

AP: Michael Schiavo angered his late wife's family Monday by not notifying them about the burial beforehand and by inscribing on her bronze grave marker the words 'I kept my promise.' ... David Gibbs, an attorney for the woman's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, decried the inscriptions on the marker. 'Obviously, that's a real shot and another unkind act toward a grieving mom and dad,' Gibbs said. ... 'We're hopeful that there was some effort here to show some kindness' to the Schindlers."

These are the poster children for the New Barbarians. Too damned bad that they're upset. But you have to admire their glacial persistence. Rust never sleeps and neither, evidently, do The Whining Schindlers.

I fully expect that they will still be complaining as the World Ends, Jesus comes and goes, and Bush ascends into Heaven in a Flaming Chariot.

Or, at least, a flaming Iscariot.


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