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096jimmycarter.jpgFirst let me say that for all of President Jimmy Carter's failings, I always believed he was at least a very moral man who made a sincere effort to be a good president. However, regardless of what we once thought of President Jimmy Carter, he has now objectively lost his ability to think rationally.

In a recent interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, President Carter said that the Revolutionary War was "the most bloody war we've fought" and that it was also "an unnecessary war." The discussion was a bizarre attempt to draw a parallel between the current war in Iraq and the Revolutionary War about which President Carter wrote a book that came out a year ago, The Hornet's Next: A Novel of the Revolutionary War. Matthews and Carter made a fumbling attempt to compare the two wars and how bloody and unnecessary they both were. Unfortunately, all President Carter wound up doing was proving that he knows next to nothing about history--even history he's written about--and/or, worse in my opinion, that he is willing to attempt to revise history to further his current political goals.

First, the Revolutionary War is notable for the fact that it is one of our nation's least bloody wars, the exact opposite of what President Carter alleged. The numbers most cited include 4,435 killed and an additional 6,188 wounded. Compare this to World War II where 292,131 U.S. soldiers lost their lives and an additional 670,846 were wounded. In gross numbers, or even as a percentage of population, the Revolutionary War casualties don't even come close to the casualties suffered in other wars fought by Americans. The only reasonable conclusion is that President Carter is an outright liar or he's gone insane. I think it's giving him the benefit of the doubt to say that his mind is rotting, rather than his morals.


Second, while obviously much more subjective, I believe the assertion that the Revolutionary War was "unnecessary" is equally absurd. Carter compares the United States to Australia, Canada and India and states that if there had not been an unnecessary Revolutionary War we would still now be free, "having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way." It is very questionable whether any or all of those nations would have still gained their independence or gained their independence as soon if the American colonies had never broken off from Great Britain. Further, given India's independence in 1947, it would appear that Carter is willing to trade 171 years of freedom and independence for there not to have been a Revolutionary War. Even with modern day hindsight that independence would eventually come a century or two later, I'll join with our Founding Fathers and stand by the belief that the Revolutionary War was very much necessary.

Finally, the suggestion that the partitioning of India and Pakistan from the former "British India" was nonviolent ignores conservative estimates of the dead numbering a quarter million as Muslims fled India and Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan. Anyone who could characterize the establishment of these two independent nations as "nonviolent" has got to be ignorant, lying or insane. I've explained my choice, now you choose.

Here is a portion of the Hardball interview:

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you the question about-this is going to cause some trouble with people-but as an historian now and studying the Revolutionary War as it was fought out in the South in those last years of the War, insurgency against a powerful British force, do you see any parallels between the fighting that we did on our side and the fighting that is going on in Iraq today?

CARTER: Well, one parallel is that the Revolutionary War, more than any other war up until recently, has been the most bloody war we've fought. I think another parallel is that in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.

Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial's really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.

I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.

Posted by Don | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 29 2004

Autumn Blaze Maple

Some leaves from one of our Autumn Blaze Maples (Acer X Freemanii). A cultivar of red and silver maples, the patented Autumn Blaze Maple has brilliant orange-red color, dense and healthy branching, and vigorous growth that protects from insects and disease. But, most importantly, it has "superior crotch angles" and that is always a good thing.


Posted by Don | Comments (20) | TrackBacks (0) |

Apparently the most boring thing to an 11 month old is pumpkins. Thousands of pumpkins of all different kinds and sizes, a hundred photos and not one smile or hint of interest.


Posted by Don | Comments (12) | TrackBacks (0) |

092blogger.jpgAs Blogger users are no doubt already aware, the default Blogger setup only allows comments to be made by other people with a Blogger account and by people who don't mind posting anonymously. While I have on occasion posted anonymously, I generally don't see the point. If I'm going to take the time to post a comment, I don't want it to be anonymous. Certainly there are those who don't mind commenting anonymously, but wouldn't you like to know who's posting and also open up your comments to the much larger viewing audience of non-Blogger users.

091haloscan.jpgWhile I'm sure there are many ways to allow non-Bloggers to post in an easy and identifiably fashion, the way I see most often on Blogger blogs is through the use of HaloScan comments. From their website:

HaloScan.com provides a free, easy to use commenting and trackback system for weblogs and websites, allowing visitors to leave instant feedback. By copying and pasting just two lines of code into your site, you will enable your visitors to easily leave their feedback, opinion or a comment on the subject at hand.

So do all of us non-Blogger users a favor and check it, or something else that does the same thing, out.

Posted by Don | Comments (15) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 25 2004

Grandpa & Me

This is one of my most favorite photographs: me and my grandfather sometime around 1970 on his farm in Goltry, Oklahoma. Survivor of the Oklahoma dust bowls, he was an incredible man. As an accomplished farmer and mechanic he could grow, raise, fix or build anything in the middle of nowhere relying only on his own hands, hard work and ingenuity. As a small child I was in awe of his talents and skills which were surpassed only by his gentleness and kindness.


Posted by Don | Comments (14) | TrackBacks (0) |

Don't get me wrong, winning the Nobel Prize for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, or Economics is an incredible honor. But the Nobel Prize for Peace...is a complete joke.

089wangarimaathai.jpg2004: This year's recently announced recipient, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, was awarded the price, "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace." The Norwegian Nobel Committee should have stopped there but, instead, they continued on, "Maathai combines science, social commitment and active politics." Science? OK, here are some of Ms. Maathai's statements which show her understanding of science:

"Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that."

"In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare."

"It is a tool to control (black people) designed by some evil-minded scientists."

Ms. Maarhai deserves the Nobel Ignorant-Paranoid-Delusional Award!

088shirinebadi.jpg2003: Last year the Nobel Peace Prize winner was Shirin Ebadi of Iran who is nothing more than a tool for the Ayatollah government advocating non-existent reforms meant to pacify the Iranians against complete rebellion. Worried that the U.S. will turn its attention to Iran next, this woman is Socialist Europe's poster girl because she opposes any sort of regime change in Iran.

When asked about the issue of Islam and modernization, Ms. Ebadi responded that Islam "needs to be better understood and to be interpreted more intelligently." Well, at least here we agree. I am way too stupid to understand radical Islamofacists' need to blow up people and cut heads off. But, accordingly to Ms. Ebadi, if I could just interpret Islam more intelligently, I would understand why the middle-east practitioners of Islam won't come out of the ninth century and learn to live peaceably in the world community. Consistently, in her acceptance speech Ms. Ebadi took the opportunity to launch into an anti-West, anti-American, anti-Israeli screed.

2002: Two years ago, President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Gunnar Berge, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee since 2000, expressly admitted that the award was meant as a slap in the face of President George W. Bush for initiating war in Iraq. When asked if the selection of the former president was a criticism of President Bush, Mr. Berge, replied: "With the position Carter has taken on this, it can and must also be seen as criticism of the line the current U.S. administration has taken on Iraq."

The list goes on but, of course, no criticism of the ridiculousness of the Nobel Peace Prize would be compete without mention of the 1994 award given to Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO which sends suicide bombers into civilian areas for the express purpose of murdering and maiming as many innocent women and children as possible.

Just to sum things up...Nobel Prize = Good...Nobel Peace Prize = Joke.

Posted by Don | Comments (10) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 22 2004

Chin-Lee Passed Away

032chinlee.jpgMy sister called this week to tell me that she had to put her nineteen year old cat, Chin-Lee, to sleep. It's unbelievable that he'd been around since 1985...the Soviet Union was still an Evil Empire, New Coke came out followed closely by Coke Classic, the Titanic was located, we watched Breakfast Club and Back to the Future while listening to Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas and USA for Africa's We Are The World...and I was a lifeguard and freshman in college. Chin-Lee was a great cat. One of the five fastest land animals in his youth and one of the orneriest cats in his old age.

One of the funniest stories was one time when my sister got Chin-Lee a new cat pan. He proceeded to stand in it, stare at my sister, put his butt over the edge and poop on the carpet...making it abundantly clear that he didn't approve of the new pan. This continued until my sister retrieved the old pan from the garbage. Eventually, she solved the dilemma by putting old filthy poop-filled litter in the new pan and slowly changing out the old litter for new over the course of a few days. Chin-Lee will certainly be missed.

[Update: Yes, I realize

Posted by Don | Comments (7) | TrackBacks (0) |

087cross.jpgThe wife of my friend and co-worker, who offices next to me, was pregnant with twin girls due in December--Autumn Grace and Lauren Elizabeth. About four weeks ago she lost one of the girls, but was still carrying her. Then last week she lost the other. After a half-day in the office on Friday, Mary, Drew and I drove to Illinois for the wake, stayed for the funeral on Saturday and then drove back Saturday night so that I could work Sunday getting done what I didn't finish on Friday. It was all very tiring and emotionally draining.

It was important for me to attend not only because I was the only person who would be attending from work but also because I remember how much it meant to me when my friends, that I hadn't even contacted, showed up at my father's funeral last December. Not only did their showing up mean a lot to me, but also the fact that they just hung around for what seemed like a couple of hours really helped that day. If at all possible, I wanted to do the same.

The trip was Drew's tenth out-of-state journey in just eleven months. He's a great traveler.

Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |

Drew showing how happy he is to wear his train shirt and showing off his mouth full of teeth and chipmunk cheeks.


Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 14 2004

Google Desktop

googledesktop.gifGoogle has just released what may be the most useful software program since the spellchecker! Google Desktop allows you to search your own files using the Google search engine.

You can search files in all sorts of formats including AOL Instant Messenger, Excel, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Outlook Express, PowerPoint, Text and Word. Finally, a useful method of searching Word files. This just made my job significantly easier as I frequently have to search through literally hundreds of thousands of Word files using only the limited and very slow Word or Windows Explorer search functions. Often, I wind up having to reinvent the wheel because I can't find the right document. In Google's own words:

After downloading Google Desktop Search, you can search your personal items as easily as you search the Internet using Google. Unlike traditional computer search software that updates once a day, Google Desktop Search updates continually for most file types, so that when you receive a new email in Outlook, for example, you can search for it within seconds. The index of searchable information created by Desktop Search is stored on your own computer.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 11 2004

Website News

Finally, after much effort, experimentation and exasperation, the upgrade to MovableType 3.11 is complete--or, at least, as complete as it's going to be. MT Blacklist and comment notification still don't work due to some bizzaro interaction and/or lack of capabilities between MT and the Windows 2000 servers of my host ReadyHosting. But, at least, I have the option of comment registration should I so choose and the other benefits of MT version 3.11.

Interestingly, MT Blacklist or something must be working as I just found two spam post which didn't show up on the website but did show up when I listed all comments administratively and they weren't from IPs I've banned.

Danzfamily.com has amazingly jumped to number two in the search results for "danz" on Google.

Despite the Google climb, the Alexa ranking for Danzfamily.com has dropped to 1,255,481.

Also, corrected some miscellaneous problems that were occasionally interfering with page loading.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |