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Category: Thinking Out Loud
Posted by: an okie gardener
For centuries Euopeans were captured and enslaved by Muslim corsairs operating from North Africa. The author of the book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 estimates that over a million Europeans suffered this fate in the time period he examined. Book summary.

In history, the impact of a story depends in large part on when the story begins. For example, if the story of the bombing of Hiroshima starts with the Manhattan Project, then the U.S. looks like the bad guy. If the story begins with Pearl Harbor and includes the Bataan Death March plus atrocities committed by the Japanese in their conquests (ask the Chinese), and also relates how the defenders of Iwo Jima and Okinawa fought to the death against hopeless odds, then the decision to drop the Bomb appears more reasonable.

I am not defending colonial empire building in all its forms and in all places. But, the French, Italian, and Spanish conquest in North Africa does not seem as depraved if the story begins with centuries of pillage and enslavement suffered by Europeans at the hands of the Muslim corsairs.
As I write, Texans are being rescued from the high waters caused by Hurricane Ike.

Every one of these people chose to remain behind in spite of orders to evacuate. They made a bad choice.

So, who will pay for their rescue? I suspect you and I and all taxpayers will through Federal disaster relief money.

But, is there not some personal responsibility to cover at least some of the cost on the part of those adults who freely chose to ignore the evacuation order, remained behind, and needed plucked from rooftops?

I think the same thing about people who deliberately build in flood plains and on the coast of Hurricane country. Why should I help pay for people in New Orleans to live below sea level? For people to live in condos on the ocean in Texas or Florida?
Just watched the first segment of the Palin-Gibson ABC News interview.

An Aside: I predict it will be the highest rated network news show in ten years.

Quick reaction:

Not very good. Palin struck me as too strident, breathless, and unsteady. She was talking way too fast, which I took as a sign of nervousness. Gibson was smug and patronizing (but understated enough that he will probably get by without too much grief). But all the "are you sure you are ready" questions seemed a bit gratuitous. Asked and answered. Move on counselor.

She was a bit too scattered (sort of a like a shotgun). And a bit too staccato (like an M-16).

Sometimes she was non-responsive and visibly rattled.

However, for a first time out, I am not sure she gave any mortal answers. She was a bit too anxious to give Israel unqualified support (which will not go over well with the MSM--but pro-Israel positions always make sense to the heartland). She was also a bit too ready to court war with Russia over Georgia and/or the Ukraine. Again, this will draw some snickers and gasps from the striped-pants crowd, but potentially okay with hardhats, farmers, and hunters.

She didn't remember the "Bush Doctrine of 2002" (which, honestly, I couldn't quite get my mind around either on the spur of the moment). It was preemption. I am not sure if Gibson made her look bad on that one--or if he just looked like a pompous know-it-all, pulling out obscure questions to trip up the candidate.

But, as I say, if there is nothing there that plays as a lethal YouTube soundbite, she is probably okay. Even if it was highly watched (relative to the normal viewing audience for the evening news), the vast majority of voters did not tune in--and will not really care.

Not good--but, hopefully, not devastating.

But this probably signals the end of our glorious thirteen-day run and the beginning of a rough patch. This campaign is going to be nip and tuck, up and down, and down to the wire.