A Hero's Grave

A Hero's Grave:

Via Dad29, who notes, "That wacko shrink was not the ONLY Muslim in the US Armed Forces."

CPL Khan joined the Army precisely to show that Muslims could be loyal Americans. He died in the service, in Iraq, being posthumously promoted from Specialist to Corporal.

The promotion to Corporal in the Army is a "lateral" promotion -- that is, it is from the pay grade of E-4 to the pay grade of E-4. It is nevertheless extremely significant because it is the point at which a soldier enters the ranks of the noncommissioned officers: the leadership class. It is granted only to E-4s who show other soldiers the right way to serve by their personal example.

For that reason, the poshumous promotion was exactly appropriate. Given that it was his reason for service, and the cause of his death, it is likewise appropriate that we should remember him now.

Speculation on Hood attack

Ft. Hood:

By now you'll have heard of the horrible attack at Fort Hood. The reports are suggestive, though early reports are often wrong. Nevertheless, it seems clear now that the shooter killed was a Major named Malik Nadal Hassan, who was a psychiatrist from Maryland.

Speculation in the press seems to be that he was angry about being deployed, which perhaps he was. Still, these early reports suggest a more specific motive than 'anger.'

If the facts in the press right now prove to be accurate, the attack was executed on a unit in the last phase of pre-deployment. As a result, it would be likely to attack the morale and, therefore, the operational effectiveness of the unit once deployed. That motive, to produce a psychological effect on the unit, would be consistent with a psych-doctor being involved in the planning and execution of the attack.

If it was an attack on a unit deploying to war, intended to blunt the effectiveness of the unit, that would make this attack a form of 'levying war against the United States.' Treason by an officer of the United States military is almost unknown.

We'll have to see if these reports pan out; and if so, what might have moved an officer of the United States Army to treason and murder. If I do not mention it, someone will point out his recent conversion to Islam; but whether that was the key issue or not remains to be seen. Likewise, I have heard that there were other soldiers arrested and multiple shooters -- that is not confirmed to my satisfaction at this time, but would make the situation much more dire if true.

UPDATE: Looks like we might get a proper hanging after all. The allegations of others so far aren't proving out. Also, it turns out he may have been a lifelong Muslim, not a recent convert; but there are new reports of radicalism from officers who had served with him.

Still, I've known a few radical-sounding Muslims I didn't mind to have dinner with; just having a strong opinion doesn't make you an enemy. Of course, mostly they were Iraqis, and I reckon they have a right to some mixed feelings in spite of the good we always meant to do. We did our best, and I think we did both well and good overall, but a certain number of them have a right to some hard feelings in spite of the best we could do.

The Drive Begins II

The Drive Begins:

After three years on the Etowah River, the time has come to move on. We'll still be in Georgia, but closer to the Oconee and South Broad rivers than the Etowah and Amicalola country. I love the country where we have lived; the Amicalola river country is home to me, more than anywhere else. Still, there are good reasons for what we're doing, including being able to get enough land out that way to do something with.

I'll be out of touch for a few days, more likely than not. Once we're settled, I'll be back.

The Drive Begins I

Marine Team Update:

As the post above explains, I'll be of even less use to the Marine Corps Team over the next few days. I'd like to remind everyone to check in with Team Leader Cassandra every day until Veteran's Day -- though I hope we'll have the competition won well before the Birthday. In the meanwhile, here is today's update from her. Push on to glory.

Tale of the Tigers

Tale of the Tigers

A friend of ours has a new book. Juliette of "Baldilocks" has published a novel called Tale of the Tigers.

We talked about Lars Walker's book recently, too. I wonder if any of the rest of you have written anything? I might have to start a sidebar section for readers' books, if this keeps up.

End of the Trail

End of the Trail:

For today.


You Know Who's Excited Tonight?

A certain Geek is probably not blogging because he's busy dancing in the streets.

Cass seems pretty happy too. And she lives in bandit country... er, "nearby Maryland."

UPDATE: Good news for Dr. Pelosi in New York, though. House Democrats can go into 2010 with confidence that they can hope to retain their seats, if they can convince the Republican to spend a million bucks on her campaign, and then drop out and endorse them before the election.

Lesson learned for conservatives: lifelong members of the political parties like each other better than they like you.

Marine Team Post

Marine Corps Team Post:

Poor Cassandra! The Army's success at closing the gap in the VALOUR-IT contest is causing her to tear out her hair. Like all Marines (and Marine wives), she loves to win -- so let's help her out.

Here are some inspirational posts from around Team Marine Corps today:

A love story of an unusual kind.

On the Devil's Anvil with WWII Marines.

A former Marine teaches civility at the Washington Post.

Electoral Destiny?

Biology = Electoral Destiny?

Open Left produced a very interesting graph (h/t Cassandra), alongside commentary on the subject of how the 2008 election would have played out under older models of voter eligibility.

They're reading a vote for Obama as an endorsement of 'more progressive' politics, which is questionable; it would be like my asserting that a vote against Obama in 2008 demonstrated that you were a social conservative. Doubtless many people who voted against Obama are social conservatives, but that was hardly the only reason that someone might vote against him. By the same token, a fair number of Obama voters in 2008 may have simply been moved by his rhetoric on reducing partisanship in Washington; or out of the hope that it might put to bed the racism that has haunted our nation for so long.

Still, what the data appears to show is that the Founders' original voting set remains strongly conservative compared to the electorate as a whole; and that each change to make voting more open has diluted that conservatism. That assumption makes sense, as the whole reason that the Founders chose to extend the franchise where they did was that the group they chose was the one most dedicated to their principles, and therefore most likely to preserve the ideals of the Republic they were creating.

The Open Left folks suggest several additional ways to expand the electorate to further dilute conviction on Founding principles, including allowing felons to vote, and "immigration reform" to "extend citizenship." I take that to mean amnesty for illegal/undocumented immigrants, plus a path to citizenship; but perhaps it simply means allowing more immigration. This is not a new idea: it was apparently the Labour Party's reason for opening the immigration policy of the UK in the 1990s. (One would think that you would realize you were on the wrong side the moment you heard yourself saying, "If only criminals could vote, we'd have a better government," but whatever.)

Now, for those of us who are on the other side -- whose interest is in preserving America's attachment to the Founding vision -- there is an important question raised by all this:

To what degree are the Founding principles stronger in the original voting group because of immutable human characteristics?

If, in other words, being "male" or "white" is the most important marker, that's a problem because there are fewer white men in America these days, relative to everyone else. However, if mutable characteristics like "property owning" or "marriage" are the most important things, much can be done to encourage those institutions' stability (and therefore to build the strength of the part of the citizenry attached to the Founding vision).

For example, men are more often conservatives; but among women, marriage is a powerful marker, at least on the allied question of whether they tend to vote Republican or Democrat. (Rather a different question than attraction to Founding principles! But it's the best data I know of touching the question, and of a piece with the data that Open Left is using.) We could say, then, that "married women" are less reliable as a conservative voting bloc than "men," though very much more reliable than "women" as a whole; but are "married people" a more reliable voting bloc than you can get by making a distinction based on sex?

I'd assume that they are -- in 2004, married voters went 60/40 for Bush over Kerry, while unmarried voters went 60/40 for Kerry over Bush. To get that strong a break out of Open Left's numbers, you have to go all the way back to "Adult white landowning males." The American Conservative argued as much in 2008, putting out data to show that family formation was the key to conservatism. There are clear exceptions to this, though: black voters are an outlier, with strongly coherent voting patterns, and in 2006, at least, the anti-Republican wave broke the married-voter pattern.

Voting against Republicans is not a bad thing, though, and it's a poor proxy for the question that is really interesting. How to encourage an electorate that is more devoted to the Founding principles? That's the core issue.

Pepper Spray And Bells

Pepper Spray & Bells:

"If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies' territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers."

-Edward Abbey

Of course, some people take exception to being the harvest. It pays to come prepared, as long as you keep your head...
A hunter attacked by a grizzly bear two weeks ago in southern Montana also had the misfortune of being shot in the arm by a companion trying to stop the attack.

The incident occurred as Montana wildlife officials have been trying to get the word out to hunters that pepper spray is the most effective deterrent to bear attacks.

It’s also the safest for the bear and the humans involved – as well as the future of bear hunting.
OK, but remember this 2003 post on the subject of how to identify bear scat. It's important to know just what kind of bear lives in the territory you've chosen to trespass.

UPDATE: On reflection, I am reminded of this story.

No Healing

Washington Times: 30 Years Brings No Healing in Atlanta

What a sad story this is:

For decades as white residents fled to the suburbs, Atlanta's black political establishment, led by a string of strong mayors, revived the moribund economy and so revamped the city's image that it earned a national reputation as "Hotlanta."

Ironically, that success - including a winning bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympics and a slew of Fortune 500 companies relocating to the city - has brought white voters flocking back to the city and, for the first time in 36 years, could put a white candidate back in the mayor's office when voters go to the polls Tuesday.

In a race testing racial harmony in Georgia's largest city, some veteran black power brokers say their hold on power is being undercut by their past successes running the city.

"We haven't always gotten the credit for that, no," said former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who oversaw the early days of the city's rebirth during the 1980s. "I brought in 1,100 companies from around the world - $70 billion in private investment - and generated more than a million new jobs.

"But most people think that's automatic, that that would have happened anyway," he said with a laugh.

Black mayors have occupied City Hall since 1973, but this year, a white City Council member is leading in the polls, even though two black civic leaders urged black voters to unite against her.
I don't know what to make of the claim that "we" don't get credit. Andrew Young, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion d'honneur for his work, has received "some" credit. Maynard Jackson had the Hartsfield International Airport partially renamed in his honor (it's now the "Hartsfield-Jackson" airport). The city, the nation and the world know who they are and have recognized their work.

Neither of them, however, is running for mayor of Atlanta. The candidates who are running have to run on their own strengths, not on the record of Andrew Young.

Isn't it possible that the lady is winning because she is the best candidate? Or is that just not possible, and her support really... well, racial?

No one raised race as a claim in the last debate, although there may have been a proxy used: a claim that Ms. Norwood is secretly Republican. She says she voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since 1996; that shows some poor judgment in the 2004 election particularly, I'd have to say, but it's certainly one measure of her bona fides as a party member.

Ah, well. It's a sad thing to see this kind of attitude on display. I hate to see the calls to "unify" against her, and I hate the idea that she's only winning because of some sort of racist animus on the part of whites. Things seem to be getting worse on that score; I thought we were supposed to have put all that behind us.

Marine Corps Team

Up the Marine Corps!

Cassandra has a post about Marine Corps dogs, and their injuries. It reminds us of the friendship between man and the noblest beasts, most evident with dogs and horses. Some of the dogs serve both in war and in peace.

Freedom Dogs, a San Diego-based nonprofit ...trains service dogs to help Marines coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq to overcome persisting medical and physical limitations.
Dogs understand. The people may not, but the dog that loved you when you went to war will love you when you come back. If he loved you while you were at war, he'll love you at home. They're very natural that way; they move between war and peace without thought, having no artificial barriers to keep them from comfort. They just take what comes.

Meanwhile, a reminder that the VALOUR-IT fundraiser is still ongoing.

This is a rough year for donations, as I well know. Still, if you can help -- or if you know friends or family who might be able to help -- or if your company likes to make charitable donations for tax or humanitarian purposes -- please remember our Marines.

And their dogs.
Georgia, On the First Day of November:

Nancy Ward

One Who Goes About:

One of the early figures of Georgia history was Nancy (Nanye-hi) Ward, a Cherokee "beloved woman" of the Wolf Clan. She earned the title by picking up her husband's rifle during a fight, and leading the group to victory.

Under Cherokee government of the day, a "beloved woman" was one who had the right to sit in council with the men; but, as a group, these women also had the duty of deciding on pardons from the harder parts of Cherokee law. The exercise of this power to save an Englishwoman introduced the arts of weaving and dairy cattle to the Cherokee, changing their society quite a bit.

A statue of Nancy Ward has a story of its own, nearly as interesting as that of the woman it symbolizes.