December 30, 2006

The Fading Power of the Press

Dean Barnett over at Townhall has taken exception to the attitude the MSM has toward the blog o sphere. Notably the recent editorial of JOSEPH RAGO of the Wall Street Journal and his subsequent comments in an interview with Hugh Hewitt. What he failed to note however is this attitude is not a new and this phenomena predates the blogger.
Many years ago, when I was still employed in the "newspaper bidness", I was invited to attend an off site brain storming session to discuss ways to improve our paper. The director of the classified department suggested that they include an automotive "how to" article on the front page of the weekly auto section.
Our managing editor became visually outraged that the classified department would even suggest adding any sort of editorial content to the paper. The journalistic elitism was palpable as he made clear that no one would broach the barrier between the members of the Fourth Estate and us mere mortals.
Not that the classified director was not capable of pulling some filler piece off of the wire and pasting it on the page, but rather he had violated editorial's role as gatekeeper of the news and the power that the position holds.
It is the uncontrollable loss of power that the new media brings that causes people like Rago to lash out. Coupled with the resulting plunge in circulation and revenues we see an industry in a real quandary.

Newspapers Death Spiral

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to All.

The Christmas Story, According to Luke:

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

December 21, 2006

Only Three Days Until Chistmas... Shopping

I believe that my holiday ritual of last minute shopping is the only way to go. Crowds have dwindled to just my fellow procrastinators, shoppers whose demeanor's are much more cordial than those frenzied fools that don't even wait until the turkey has settled to hit the malls. No we are much more relaxed, deliberate and at peace with the season. Probably because we have all stopped for some fortifiction on the way to the stores.
As the following story illustrates we are also much more in tune with the meaning of Christmas, illustrated by 0ur gift wrapping techniques.

Gift wrapping tips for men.
This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. "These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper.
If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throw it away, but Mary said unto him, ‘Hold it! That is nice paper! Save it for next year!' And Joseph did roll his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."
But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:
1. They were wise. And...
2. They were men.
Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know. One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it."The other is Gene, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. "No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Gene said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."
I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never completely wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of Cards and put it in the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.)
On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt. My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men.
That is why today I am presenting: GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN
Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.
If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning. YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree? YOU: It's a gift! See? It has a bow! YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower.YOU: I also got you some myrrh.
In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.
Male Author Unknown~ I think he got killed.

Thanks once again to my favorite sister in law for this wonderful piece of Christmas cheer.

December 19, 2006

Dennis Miller on Defeatism

The Worlds Smallest Twin Engine Aircraft

The French designed Cri-Cri (cricket) has been a home built favorite in Europe for over 30 years. Some intrepid builders have even powered this ultralight, aerobatic, aircraft with twin jet engines.

Movie Review: Apocalypto

My wife and I ventured to the local cinaplex on Sunday (a rare event for us) to see Mel Gibson's new release "Apocalypto". If you can say one thing about Gibson's film making style it is his penchant for realism. If you found yourself squeamish during the crucifixion scenes in "The Passion", "Apocalyto" may be too much for you. Many scenes are bloody, brutal and graphic.
Gibson's use of the native language was unique and the subtitles surprisingly limited, letting the action tell the story.
As for Oscar quality, it was every bit as good as "Braveheart" in realism and story line although at one point the story turned into a long predictable chase scene.
The choice of the title was not revealed until the final scene and it was my astute wife that had to point out to me the symbolism in the ending. She also commented that the suspense kept her riveted and squeezing my leg for the whole two hours.
We would both give it a big thumbs up.

Now a movie rant: If there is one thing I detest it is the feeling that I have been screwed without a kiss, and that is one reason that we ( and I can assume from the sparse crowd in the theatre.) don't bother to go to the movies on a regular basis.
First is the prices at the concession. $15.00 for a couple popcorns and two sodas. OK so I'm becoming tight in my old age but when they get done investigating Exxon for price gouging they need to come down on the popcorn stands.
Second is the twenty full minutes of commercials before the start of the show. I don't mind a few previews of upcoming attractions but if I wanted to see two ads for "Soprano" reruns I would stay home, watch TV, and pop my own damn popcorn. The trailer for Will Smith's latest movie was so long I'm sure I could write a review about it without actually ever seeing it. At one point they turned down the lights and as I settled in for the feature we got another trailer and when the movie did actually begin it took me a couple minutes to realize that the one I paid to see was running. I'm still waiting for the kiss.
Whew; Glad I got that one off my chest.

December 12, 2006

Words of Wisdom

1600 Pennsyvania Blvd.
Washinton DC.USA

Dear GW,
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
T. Roosevelt

Deja Vu.

I came across a speech by Oliver Wendall Holmes delivered for Memorial Day, May 30, 1884, at Keene, NH, titled "In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire"
I was struck by the following passage because it sounded very similar to a line in the 1960 inaugural address of JFK. is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return.
Oliver Wendall Holmes


Cook Inlet, in winter.

Sunnis and Shiites.

1) Who are the Sunnis and the Shiites?

They are the two main sects of Islam. And generally speaking, they’re not crazy about each other.

In the middle east its hard to tell the players with out a program.
King Salmon, Dean Barnett at Townhall breaks it down in this FAQ post.

December 09, 2006

Remembering Herb Brooks and the "Miracle on Ice"

Several months ago I had the opportunity to see the HBO documentary “Do You Believe In Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team,”
The film was interesting in that it did not simply trace the path of the US team, but it placed the events into the historical context of the United States in the 1970’s. Malaise had gripped the nation with the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate,and inflation. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and President Carter’s threat of a boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow took a further toll on the psyche of the nation. The movie showed how the young skaters and their battles on the ice became symbolic of the Cold War for a nation badly in need of a win.
It was the man behind the team that gave the US that victory that was also amazing.
Herb Brooks was chosen to coach the US team that year. In 1960 Brooks himself was on the Olympic team but was cut just days before the Olympics started. That was the last year that the US won Olympic Gold in hockey. The Russians had dominated the sport for the next four Olympics and Brooks was determined to end that streak.
He assembled a team of young collegiate skaters from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. He drove them hard, mentally and physically. Bringing in new players and threatening the teammembers with replacement until just before the games were to begin. What he did next was pure genius.
A week before the start of the Games in Lake Placid, New York, Brooks scheduled the team to play the Russian National team in Madison Square Garden. These were the men that had won four straight Olympics gold medals. The Russian Army Team that had beaten the US and Canadian pro teams. The team that Brooks touted to his skaters as the best team in the world. The team that could not be beaten. Needless to say, the kids on the US team were demolished.
With only a week to go for the start of the Olympic games Brooks began to change his tune about the Russians. They were old. They were slow. They were funny looking. When the two teams meet again the Russians are over confidant but the Americans are ready to play. At the final buzzer,with the US ahead 4-3 announcer Al Micheals declares "Do you believe in miracles?" and the chant U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A. lifted a nation.

I was reminded of this story when I read that Herb Brooks, who was killed in a car accident in his native Minnesota in 2003, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame November 13, 2006.

Here are the final two minutes of that game and the celebration that ensued. It is interesting to note that after the game was over Brooks can be seen walking back to the locker room alone. Leaving the ice to his kids that made the miracle happen.

Cool Pic

Oshkosh 2006

December 08, 2006

Gates bids farewell.

From my favorite sister in law, an alum of A&M. S.

Forwarded From: "Dr. Robert M. Gates"
December 7, 2006

To the Aggie Family:

The United States Senate yesterday voted to confirm me as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. I will be sworn in and take office on December 18th, and will resign as the 22nd President of Texas A&M that same day.
And so it is final. My last official act as President will be to preside at the commencement ceremonies on December 15-16.
You already know that I am leaving this incredible University reluctantly and with a heavy heart. By the same token, Aggies - more than anyone else - understand why I must do so.

Our University is in good hands and on an upward course. All the major initiatives - expanding the faculty, new undergraduate degree programs, greater diversity, more than half a billion dollars in new construction - 90% of it for academic facilities, and unprecedented involvement of faculty, staff and students in decision-making - are on track, taking us to new heights of academic excellence. It is now also evident that our athletic program is on track to reach a new level of national competitiveness.

As the end of my service as President draws near, please know that: for the rest of my life I will always be an Aggie. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, as long as I live I will bleed Maroon.

A final request to all in the Texas A&M family. Never forget who we are and where we came from. Never forget the Aggie Code of Honor. And never forget the obligations of duty and honor and country.

God bless all of you, God bless Texas A&M, and God bless America.

Gig 'em Aggies.
Until we meet again.
Robert M. Gates
Texas A&M University

December 07, 2006

On the Lighter Side of the Baker Commision

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
Washington, D.C., December 11, 2006

After nine months of intensive deliberations, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group has finally released its long-awaited Iraq Study Group Report in which the prestigious think tank concludes: "The Iraq Study Group will offer $25 million to anyone who can come up with a viable solution to the Iraq quagmire because, frankly, we're stumped". President George W. Bush is said to be "real happy" about the findings...
..."It was my choice to go into Iraq three and a half years ago, and it's my job to start thinking about coming up with a plan for eventually getting us out of there," President Bush said at a White House Rose Garden press availability timed to coincide with the report's release. "And that's what Jimmy [James A. Baker III] and the Iraq Study Group have been doing."...
..."We're very proud of our report," James A. Baker III said, "in particular our cool logo. Do you see how it's part camel, part eagle, depending on where you focus your eyes? That required real artistry to create. Reminds me of those Magic Eye things I can never get to work right. Must be my myopia."
According to Mr. Baker III, the Iraq Study Group Report "really only took about a day to write. The other nine months – the 'gestation period' of the report, if you will – were for typing, logo design, and fine-tuning the recommendations until the midterms were safely over."

Entire story here.
Thanks to Avant News

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me,and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said
"Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed,
"That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son.
"Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Posted with a request by a service member to pass this along and to remember those that are holding the line during this Christmas season.
Thanks to

Flying Humor

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign, Speedbird 206:
Speed bird 206: "Top of the morning, Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the active runway."
Ground: "Guten Morgen. You vill taxi to your gate."
The big British Airways 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop. Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by a moment, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now." Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you never flown to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes I have in 1944, but just to drop something off. I didn't actually stop."

Explain this one to the boss.


December 05, 2006

Cool Pic

100 Posts

A milestone of sorts was reached this week here at the Salmon. The 100th post made its way to this blogging endevour.

The Flying Imams.

The last word on this story. I promise.

We Have Been Here Before.

As you may remember, we were having the same debate about another ideology 25 years ago. At that time a man came along at the right moment in history with the vision and tenacity to say, "Enough". We were going to dismantle our 30 year old doctrine of containment and meet the challenge head on. It was going to be expensive and potentially perilous but he made us believe that we had the will and the power to prevail, and we did.
As so often happens in history another man, not through great vision but driven by great events was thrust into the position of choosing between continuing the containment of an ideology that had been waging its own cold war on the west for 30 years or saying " Enough". Once again it was going to be expensive and perilous. There is nodoubt we have the power. The only question is do we have the will to see it through?

Victor David Hanson contrasts the two sides of the debate on the War on Terror. According to Hanson, a majority believe we have neither the power or the will.
Interview excerpts with Hugh Hewitt.


Faulkner on Writing

...Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.He must learn them again.

He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths, lacking which, any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.

The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Willaim Faulkner (1897- 1962)
Nobel Banquet Speech, 1950

December 03, 2006

Flying Imam Update

In a civil society you don't yell fire in a theater, you don't yell hi to your friend Jack at the airport You also don't spit into the wind, pull on the mask off the Lone Ranger, and you dont mess around with Jim. Everything we do has consequences. If you are going to act like a terrorist in an airplane you also have to accept the conesquences.
Here is the latest from The New York Post.

Realists Part II

Charles Krauthammer has a follow up to yesterdays post about the realist tag of the Baker Commission.

December 02, 2006

The Baker Commision

Not being versed in the nuances of International Relations I was intrigued when the media began to attach the term realist to Secretary James Bakers title at every opportunity. It seems, from what has been leaked so far that the suggestions are not so much a realist foreign policy but instead the commission members are realists because what they are suggesting reinforces the position that the media themselves has staked out for the past three years.
Charles Krauthammer has am interesting foreign policy primer here.

Surfing the Tube So You Dont Have To.

Some helpful hints to get you safely through that "time of the month". I recently heard it was called PMS because the name Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

Maps of War

If there has been one constant throughout history, especially in the Middle East that constant has been change.
Check out other moving maps here at Maps of War