"With increasing cost of college loans and health care and the fact that the buying power of the teacher dollar is no more than what it was 20 years ago, we're pretty much back to where we were when I started teaching in the 1960s. I had to work in the summer to eat." – Cheryl Umberger of the Tennessee Education Association. (May 23 Tennessean)
When I first heard the audio transcripts of the now-famous RFK quote, my impression was that she was identifying herself with Bobby Kennedy. Then all this hubbub about an alleged subliminal "I have to stay in the race cuz Obama might get shot" message broke out. I heard her quote a few more times, and stuck with my first impression. Hillary was slandered - and Rich Lowry of National Review, for one, agrees.
Why did she mention the assassination? Without a Vulcan mind meld one can't be sure, but the most logical explanation is this: when talking about someone, it's not uncommon to blurt out the first thing everybody thinks about when hearing that name. Bobby Kennedy is most famous for getting shot.
But how could they miss the context? Keep in mind that the slanderers tend to be Obama supporters, or leftists in general. Many of these people think "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is talking about a right of states and not a right of people.
The "I have to stay in the race cuz Obama might get shot" interpretation doesn't even make sense. You think if Hillary dropped out of the race and Obama were killed sometime before the convention that Edwards would un-suspend his campaign, and claim the nomination with his seven electoral votes?
Revolutionary War (1775-1783) Wars on the Barbary Pirates (1801-1805, 1815) War of 1812 (1812-1815) War Between the States (1861-1865) Mexican-American War(1846-1848) Spanish-American War (1898) China Relief Expedition (1900-1901) Pacification of Nicaragua (1912-1913) Interventions in Mexico (1914-1917) World War I (1914-1918) Pacification of Haiti and Dominican Republic (1915-1918) Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (1918-1920) World War II (1939-1945) Korean War (1950-1953) Vietnam War (1964-1973) Hostage rescue mission in Iran (1980) Lebanon peacekeeping mission (1982-1984) Counterinsurgency mission in El Salvador (1980-?) Liberation of Grenada (1983) Invasion of Panama (1989) Iraq War (1990-1991, 2002-present) Somalia peacekeeping mission (1992-1994) Attack on USS Cole (2000) Afghanistan War (2001-present)
Nice mid-episode cliffhanger - The Oceanic Six are split into four separate locations. Sun and Aaron are on the freighter, Sayid and Kate are captives of Richard Alpert's band of Others, Hurley is at the Orchid Station with Locke and Ben (and the commandos to whom Ben has just surrendered), and Jack and Lapidus are on the way.
I guess Ben figures that if he can manipulate his previous captors, he can manipulate Keamy's team. He is probably counting on some secret about the station that he knows and the commandos don't. Turns out that that was the Orchid logo on Ben's parka when he surfaced in Tunisia. Could be that his escape will happen during the two-hour finale and not sometime next season.
We still don't have a clue as to what "move the island" really means. I don't think it means to change its geographical location. That would be too obvious, and I don't see how it would stop Keamy's mission - unless he needs the explosives on the ship to carry it out. He also needs something at Orchid Station - what? An earthquake would constitute island movement, and it would indeed be dangerous - maybe a highly localized quake to swallow Keamy's team?
(Come to think of it, a quake could explain the statue ruins.)
Faraday knows about the Secondary Protocol - Widmore's Plan B that involves "torching the island" - and Charlotte doesn't. That the Orchid logo appears in the journal containing his time travel notes suggests that he learned about the Protocol, or at least the Orchid Station connection, through time travel.
Lostpedia has an article on that journal, complete with images. The journal has several references to real-life scientific concepts: the Lorenz Invariance, the Kerr Metric, and Eddington-Finkelstein coordinates. Have fun, all you amateur physicists out there.
Subliminal Hurley Number alert: check out the Coast Guard plane's ID -- 1+7+1+7 = 16.
Great flashforwards. Kate is free to move about without a Federal Marshal escort. Sayid is reunited with his long-lost love Nadia - but that won't last long. (Why was Nadia killed by Widmore's people? Was Sayid - or Nadia herself - snooping around too much in Widmore affairs?)
We see the beginnings of Hurley's and Jack's growing madness. The island makes early contact with Hurley, first through the mysterious whispers and later by displaying The Numbers in the Camaro's odometer and trip counter. (Over 400,000 miles on that car? Yikes.) Jack learns that Claire is his half-sister - that's gotta hurt.
Sun gets the Khan Noonian Singh Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold Award for using her Oceanic bribe for keeping quiet about the island settlement to buy controlling interest in her father's company. Paik Heavy Industries has ties to both the Hanso Foundation and Widmore - this opens up some interesting possibilities. One hopes that Sun will learn a little something about Widmore while she's on the freighter, so she can start connecting the dots...
I have two prediction about the finale: Faraday will survive, and Lapidus will not - the latter will die from a Keamy-inflicted gunshot wound.
Update: The Orchid logo is on the cover of the folder containing the Secondary Protocol - see this Lostpedia image.
I just received an e-mail from Republican Internet strategist David All touting McCain's liberal blogger outreach.
It is titled: "McCain: Model of effective blogger outreach" and touts the Washington Times article:
I wanted to share with you a story that quotes me running on the front page of today's Washington Times which reports on John McCain's willingness to reach beyond his likely allies in the blogosphere to disarm his critics on the left and further amplify his message with niche bloggers.
We've seen many examples of pre-crash connections between the Lostaways. Now we learn that both Widmore operative Matthew Abaddon and the never-aging "Other" Richard Alpert have long had an interest in John Locke. The latter shows up after the yet-unborn Locke and his mother survive her being run over by a car, and the former when Locke survives an eight-story fall.
The two react to Locke differently. Abaddon is the one who puts the idea of a walkabout in Locke's head - did Abaddon somehow know that Locke would crash on an island that his boss Widmore is looking for?
Alpert is there when Locke was born, and visits him a few short visits later. (Ooh, young Locke can draw the Smoke Monster!)Alpert presents a rather odd test. "Which of these items belong to you" may actually be asking Locke to pick the items that identify him. The objects may each have a different symbolism:
Baseball mitt - sports
Book (the Baha'i Book of Laws) - faith
Granules - ?
Compass - exploration, or leadership, or knowing one's way
Mystery Tales comic book - science, or perhaps the island itself (click the link and look at the cover)
Knife - combat
Young Locke picks the granules and the compass, and disappoints Alpert with his selection of the knife.
Alpert's employer Mittelos shows renewed interest in Locke when he is a teenager, though - Locke turns down an opportunity to go to a "summer camp" for youths with a knack for science.
In the present, Locke sees in a dream DHARMA employee Horace Goodspeed, the man who got Ben's father the job with DHARMA. Horace tells Locke to find his body to get the directions he needs. Locke travels with Hurley and Ben to the mass grave, where Hurley learns what happened to DHARMA and Locke finds blueprints to Jacob's cabin and its immediate surroundings.
The three find the cabin, but only Locke chooses to enter. There he finds "Christian" and Claire. (Why couldn't Locke have been curious enough to ask his last name?) The late Dr. Shepard (if that's really him) says he's not Jacob, but he speaks for him. Locke is instructed to not tell anyone about Claire, who is quite at peace with the situation. (Apparently Jacob intends to protect Claire from the gathering storm personally. But why not the baby, too?) Locke is then given instructions which he conveys to his traveling companions thus: "He wants us to move the island."
It appears that all the commandos were taken to the Kahana in one trip - so it seems that Lapidus lied about its capacity a few episodes back. According to Lostpedia, the helicopter is a Bell UH-1B, which Wikipedia says holds 7 passengers. Possible explanations:
Damage to the helicopter really did limit its capacity.
It was carrying some very heavy cargo (that somehow Des and Sayid didn't discover during their trip).
Lapidus wanted to minimize the number of Lostaways he'd be bringing back to the freighter (my pick).
The island changed the laws of gravity that day.
The time distortion makes another appearance. Doc Ray, who was found dead on the island two episodes ago, is alive on the freighter - but not for long.
Frank Lapidus and Captain Gault get the Heroes of the Week award. Both try to prevent Keamy from going back to the island with his team (minus the one who died on ship from his Smokey-inflicted injuries). The captain is shot dead, but Lapidus has a backup plan, which involves dropping a satellite phone with a homing beacon fixed on the chopper into Jack's camp. That woudl naturally drive the Lostaways to go toward the chopper, which hopefully is away from where the commando team will be heading once it lands. Perhaps Lapidus plans to wait at the chopper for them as Keamy goes out into the jungle.
Gault also earns his posthumous medal for arranging Sayid's departure from the freighter. Des stays on board, certain that Penny is coming to the freighter, as Sayid leaves in a Zodiac inflatable raft with outboard motor. He follows a specific heading, apparently the only safe approach to the island. Looks like the raft will be responsible for ferrying the Oceanic Six to the outside world. But what fate awaits those who stay on the island? Stay tuned...
Update: Locke's mom was that skinny when she was six months pregnant?
Update: As I think about it, what must have caught the attention of Alpert's people was not that a pregnant girl and her baby survived being hit by a car, but that a baby survived being delivered three months premature - in the late 1950s.
"It is wonderful to be back in Oregon," Obama said. "Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it."
A casual observer might suggest that he meant to say 47 instead of 57; he visited 47, planned to visit one more, did not have our noncontiguous states on the itinerary - that adds up to 50.
The DNC would like you to think that. The truth is that Obama let slip a top-secret plan intended to guarantee the Democrats a permanent legislative majority: to add 10 states to our union.
It's no secret that the Dems want the District of Columbia to become a state. But where will the other nine come from? After Obama's appearance, a portion of these plans were left next to a dumpster in back of the Heritage Foundation's offices. These plans reveal that five of these new states will be carved out of our major US Territories:
U.S. Virgin Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The source of the other four future states remains a mystery. We can rule out the eleven Minor Outlying Islands; they have a collective population smaller than that of Obama's home church (that is not an exaggeration), none of which are permanent residents, so they don't qualify for statehood.
Canada is a possible source for one of those states. It would be impossible to carve up the entire nation in a manner that produces more blue states than red. But the Dems don't need all of Canada. They can create a pretext for war, and seven minutes later after it is won they can give Canada back its independence back - minus Quebec and the territories to its east. The Dems make Quebec a deal; if its voters vote to become our 51st state, the US will give Quebec all the other captured territories (except for New Brunswick, which would be annexed by Maine), and guarantee that it would allow the state government to institute French as its official language.
Mexico is out of the question; taking Mexico by force would drive Mexicans (and Mechistas) away from the Democrats (unless the Dems could find a way to blame the GOP for the war), and the Mexicans really don't want to shed their independence.
What we do know is that these other four states are places that Obama has visited. Karl Rove is on the case; from his secret headquarters he has dispatched operatives to determine Obama's complete travel history. In the linked post, Tammy Bruce mentions two of them: the Bahamas and (of course) Kenya. I have my doubts about Kenya, but the Bahamas are a good choice. Maybe they could be bribed persuaded with the promise of federal earmarks.
Haiti's in our neighborhood, and I bet it coudl use some earmarks, too. Forget Cuba - its people would remember the party affiliation of Castro's long line of American sycophants; statehood would move Cuba from Communist red to Republican red.
History Rhymes With Itself, Banana Republic Edition
Remember what happened to the proceeds of the "We Are The World" Ethiopian famine relief effort? The government seized the relief shipments for itself. Why? Because Ethiopian maximum leader Mengistu Haile Mariam was instigating a pogrom against the people for whom the didaster relief was intended.
Somethign like that is now happening in Myanmar/Burma. There is (I believe) no progrom this time, but Myanmar, like then-Communist Ethiopia, is the sort of government that views its citizens as expendible, that the State exists solely to provide comfort to the ruling party.
I thought of the religious broadcaster's old quote classifying feminism as a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians" when I saw this headline:
Verses 1-10 involve adultery laws; punishment for violations involve lashes. At least that's what the Koran says:
Lashes for adultery? Then why do some Islamic states sentence adulteresses to be stoned to death? Because of a hadith that says that the Qur'an originally mandated stoning for adulterers, but the passage somehow dropped out. Umar, the second successor of Muhammad as caliph, the leader of the believers, explained: "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, ‘We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,' and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed."
Umar didn't want to see that happening, so he lent his own weight to the legitimacy of stoning for adultery: "Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession." Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle [that is, Muhammad] carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him."
If anyone wonders how Muslims can get away with this spin, I have one word: abrogation. In this case, the Koran is abrogated by a hadith.
Verses 11-20 and a related hadith explains the origins of the Sharia law concerning sexual crimes. Conviction requires four male witnesses - or, as Spencer points out, self-incrimination:
[I]f a woman accuses a man of rape, she may end up incriminating herself. If the required male witnesses can’t be found, the victim’s charge of rape becomes an admission of adultery.
Read the whole thing.
Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.
So, Smokey's attack didn't take that many casualties, if it was deadly at all - why did it leave survivors?
The chopper capacity is four, the commandos number five, so Lapidus took two trips to get Keamy's team from the ship and will take two to get them back. Which two or three will stay behind during the first trip, and will their wait be eventful?
The old saying that doctors make the worst patients definitely applies to Jack. Perhaps the I've-got-to-be-in-control-of-every-situation mindset is common to surgeons. The appendectomy is successful, but Rose raises an important question: why didn't the island's healing properties keep Jack's appendix healthy? We've seen this conundrum before - Ben's spinal tumor.
What are Jack and Ben doing wrong? Jack remains close-minded about the hints of paranormal/sci-fi activity on and off the island, but Ben knows better than that. Ben appears to be resisting the island's direction in another way, however, by setting his own agenda rather than taking the island's leadership.
What is so special about Charlotte? Each of the others has some sort of unique talent - Lapidus is a pilot (and knows too much about Flight 815), Naomi was a trained commando, Faraday experiments with time travel, Miles communes with the dead (and is probably there to "interrogate" the island's dead witnesses about the Purge and perhaps other matters - like knowledge of the island's location, something Widmore wants dearly). Charlotte assisted with dismantling the chem warfare apparatus, but dammit Jim, she's an anthropologist, not a chemist. What is her mission?
And does the fact that she speaks Korean suggest a connection with Mr. Paik? Here's a fun speculation: she is infiltrating Widmore's organization for Paik. That would provide an avenue to explain how Jin comes to start working for his old boss once again.
If all the "ghost" sightings are all manifestations of the mysterious island intelligence (Miles' contact with the dead is genuine, and is purely "audible" and not visual), why does it come in the form of Christian Shepard to both Jack and Claire? "Cuz the elder Dr. Shepard is the father of both - duh." But almost all of the other "ghosts" are people who actually set foot on the island at one time. Almost. The exceptions are Hurley's island encounter with Dave, and Ben's vision of his mom before the Purge.
The Island has some sort of mission for Hurley and Jack after their rescue. The island appears to be trying to protect Claire. Last week she called Sawyer "Charlie" when he pulled her out of the wreckage - did a vision of Charlie direct her to a part of the house where she would be safe from the rocket attack? Why would the island come in the form of Charlie on one occasion and Christian on another? (If they are actually two different entities, they are working together - Jack's conversation with Hurley at the sanitarium confirms this.) And why does it want to separate Claire and Aaron?
(When Sawyer yelled for Claire at the end of the episode, did everyone else think of Michael's repeated cries for Walt?)
Here's something worth noting about the drug that Jack gets his associate to prescribe for him: "Clonazepam is however, one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs." We know from last year's season finale that he will eventually progress to oxycodone, he will be separated from Kate by then, and that someone watching over Kate would not want her meeting with him...
Update: I completely missed a key plot development in the episode Ji Yeon - the Jin-and-panda sequence was a flashback, not a flash-forward. (Hat tip to Bill at Thinklings for cluing me in.) The odd thing is, this doesn't eliminate the possibility that Jin could leave the island while presumed dead and start working for Paik again; weirder stuff has happened on this show. Come to think of it, if that were to come about he probably wouldn't be going back to Korea where all sorts of people would recognize him.
Then there's the possibility of Jin staying on the island to work for Mr. Paik...
Orson Scott Card is not sympathetic with her case against the publisher of an unauthorized Harry Potter lexicon:
Well, heck, I feel like the plot of my novel Ender's Game was stolen by J.K. Rowling.
A young kid growing up in an oppressive family situation suddenly learns that he is one of a special class of children with special abilities, who are to be educated in a remote training facility where student life is dominated by an intense game played by teams flying in midair, at which this kid turns out to be exceptionally talented and a natural leader. He trains other kids in unauthorized extra sessions, which enrages his enemies, who attack him with the intention of killing him; but he is protected by his loyal, brilliant friends and gains strength from the love of some of his family members. He is given special guidance by an older man of legendary accomplishments who previously kept the enemy at bay. He goes on to become the crucial figure in a struggle against an unseen enemy who threatens the whole world.
This paragraph lists only most prominent similarities between Ender's Game and the Harry Potter series. My book was published in England years before Rowling began writing about Harry Potter. Rowling was known to be reading widely in speculative fiction during the era after the publication of my book.
I can get on the stand and cry, too, Ms. Rowling, and talk about feeling "personally violated."
The difference between us is that I actually make enough money from Ender's Game to be content, without having to try to punish other people whose creativity might have been inspired by something I wrote.
It's an entertaining screed, but there's just one problem: it has nothing to do with the lawsuit in question. The case involves not the borrowing of somebody else's plot, but the for-profit publication of an encyclopedia about an author's specific literary creations. It's one thing if I write about a giant monster that repeatedly defends Dallas from other giant monsters and inflicts lots of collateral damage in the process; it's another if I start selling Godzillapedia without Toho Group's permission.
The Telegraph reports: Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel, Germany, said: "The IPCC would predict a 0.3°C warming over the next decade. Our prediction is that there will be no warming until 2015 but it will pick up after that."
He stressed that the results were just the initial findings from a new computer model of how the oceans behave over decades and it would be wholly misleading to infer that global warming, in the sense of the enhanced greenhouse effect from increased carbon emissions, had gone away.
The IPCC currently does not include in its models actual records of such events as the strength of the Gulf Stream and the El Nino cyclical warming event in the Pacific, which are known to have been behind the warmest year ever recorded in 1998.
Not mentioned in the article is that there hasn't been any global warming since 1998.
This week I talked to a young man, an Irish-American to whom I said, "Am I wrong not to feel anger about Wright?" He more or less saw it as I do, but for a different reason, or from different experience.
He said he figures Mr. Wright's followers delight in him the same way he delights in the Wolfe Tones, the Irish folk group named for the 18th-century leader condemned to death by the British occupying forces, as they say on their Web site. They sing songs about the Brits and how they subjugated the Irish and we'll rise up and trounce the bastards.
My 20-year-old friend has lived a good life in America and is well aware that he is not an abused farmer in the fields holding secret Mass in defiance of the prohibitions of the English ruling class. His life has not been like that. Yet he enjoys the bitterness. He likes going to Wolfe Tones concerts raising his fist, thinking "Up the Rebels." It is good to feel that old ethnic religious solidarity, and that in part is what he is in search of, solidarity. And it's not so bad to take a little free-floating anger, apply it to politics, and express it in applause.
He knows the dark days are over. He just enjoys remembering them even if he didn't experience them. His people did.
I know exactly what he feels, for I felt the same when I was his age. And so what? It's just a way of saying, "I'm still loyal to our bitterness." Which is another way of saying, "I'm still loyal." I have a nice life, I'm American, I live far away, an Englishman has never hurt me, and yet I am still Irish. I can prove it. I can summon the old anger.
Is this terrible? I don't think so. It's human and messy and warm-blooded, as a human would be.
The thing is to not let your affiliation with bitterness govern you, so that you leave the Wolfe Tones concert and punch an Englishman in the nose. In this connection it can be noted there is no apparent record of people leaving a Wright sermon and punching anyone in the nose. Maybe they're in search of solidarity too. Maybe they're showing loyalty too.
Peg, Revrend Wright is not summoning the old anger. He is summoning whackball bigotries and conspiracy theories of the present.
Which ain't the job of the church, I might add. The church is supposed to heal the rifts between humanity and God and those among humnans. Wright acts contrary to the latter mission.