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Current Affairs

The National Moment of Remembrance

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Through the magic of story scheduling:

The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.

Simian-blogging: US stops breeding chimps

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U.S. stops breeding chimps for research:
The NIH's National Center for Research Resources cited financial reasons for its decision this week to permanently cease breeding of government-owned chimpanzees for research. A breeding moratorium on NCRR-owned and supported chimpanzees had been in place since 1995.
I'm going to have to start a new category just for simians, aren't I?

The Lutheran Menace

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Iowahawk reports the results of a disturbing survey of the Lutheran jihad in our midst:

Although a majority 87% of respondents agreed that "The world should be brought to submission under global Lutheran conquest and eternal perfect rule," there was a great deal of disagreement on the means to accomplish it. More than 95% supported "pancake breakfasts" and "popcorn fundraisers," but support dropped to less than 80% for "cow tipping" and "T-P'ing infidel houses." Support dropped even more dramatically for more violent means of conquest, such as "suicide bombing" (28%), "decapitation" (24%), and "running over Presbyterians with my Ski-Doo" (23%).

"Taken as a whole, the results show that Midwest Lutherans emphatically support a moderate, mainstream path to world domination," said Kohut. "These folks are well-assimilated into the broad fabric of American society, and unless you are Presbyterian, there is probably very little here to cause concern."

Kohut said that optimism about the results should be tempered by the grim economic realities faced by many in the Lutheran community. Nearly 65% of female survey respondents said they lived more than 30 minutes from the nearest outlet mall, while a strong majority of males said they were "often" or "sometimes" worried about having enough money for green fees and Leinenkugel.

(uh, YEAH, it's parody.  Sheesh.  Where's the coffee and sweet rolls?)

Creating a hostile work environment--by gossiping?

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Four women fired for gossiping:
Four town employees with 46 years of service between them were fired, in part for gossiping and discussing rumors of an improper relationship between the town administrator and another employee that Hooksett residents now agree were not true.

The administrator complained, and after an investigation the town council fired the women, finding, "Gossip, whispering, and an unfriendly environment are causing poor morale and interfering with the efficient performance of town business."
Or:  four women fired for telling lies about the boss.  Let's be careful out there.

Chihuahua 1, Paula Abdul 0

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Paula Abdul breaks nose in dog mishap
"I took a nasty fall ... trying not to hurt my dog. I bruised myself on my arm ... my chest, my waist all the way down to my hip. All from my little chubby Tulip," Abdul said.
If Paula Abdul did not exist, it would be necessary to create her.  Just for the laughs.

What winning looks like, part II

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Dems set war bill without Iraq timeline
While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising veto fight between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Those who favor victory in Iraq, including President Bush, win this round against the forces of defeatism.

But just this round.

Thinking about Iraq

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There's not enough good thinking about Iraq going on.  Tigerhawk tries to foster a rational conversation about what the best U.S. policy towards Iraq might be in the months and years ahead.  As Babylon 5's Morden might have asked:  What do we want?
Anyone who is not trying to gain partisan advantage should think seriously about the best Iraq policy for the United States in the coming months and years. The purpose of this post is to propose a framework for considering both the Bush administration's policy and alternative policies offered by both the right and left. Toward that end, I offer a series of minimalist assertions, delightfully free of evidence and supporting linkage. Each assertion or question is numbered; please comment below with reference to the corresponding number. (Background note: Newer readers may want to look at the most recent edition of my "victory conditions" post, published about a year ago at The Belmont Club. It includes my basic thinking about the intersection of al Qaeda and rogue states.)

The answer determines what the world will look like in the years ahead.

What winning looks like

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A recent study indicates that one person, repeating the same thing over and over, is almost as effective as multiple people saying the same thing.
The studies found that an opinion is more likely to be assumed to be the majority opinion when multiple group members express their opinion. However, the study also showed that hearing one person express the same opinion multiple times had nearly the same effect on listener's perception of the opinion being popular as hearing multiple people state his/her opinion.
Take, for instance, the statement "we're losing in Iraq."  which, of course, started before the Iraq war even began.  It slowly gained traction, and now it's the majority opinion.  The vast majority of reports we hear from the mainstream media is a context-free body count ("4 U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb" followed by "38 Iraqis were killed by a suicide bomber.")  Drip, drip, drip.  The overriding context within which these stories are reported is "Democrats say 'the surge' has failed."   Of course, at this writing, 'the surge' isn't yet fully in place, let alone doing what Gen. Petraeus wants it to do.

But occasionally, if you look in the right places (which sadly does not include most of the mainstream media) you can find stories which go against the grain.  This story in OpinionJournal for instance shows what winning in Iraq looks like:
I lost my head somewhat and ran at the rampart to look over the top but was thankfully tackled and stopped. The visiting sheiks crowded into the community hall. Mr. Chalabi never ceased talking to the TV camera, demanding help for the village. The second shell landed closer and behind us and fine yellow earth-dust floated over us. The sheiks were herded outside as a direct hit would have killed them all. It seemed the enemy had hit the structure before, maybe even had its GPS coordinates. The chaos intensified, the fighters now ducking from incoming fire. It was frustrating not to see the full picture. Two U.S. choppers flew overhead toward the opposition. The third mortar detonated, quite close this time, perhaps some 30 yards to the left, behind shuddering mud-brick structures, making my clothing flicker in the blast and my breath drop out. The tank fired again. The sheiks ran around ascending their SUVs with help from villagers. I counted three shells in all but some say six landed. It was hard to tell in the confusion. Suddenly a shout rose up and the fighters danced up and down below the ridge and came running down to us laughing. They'd destroyed one of the targets, it seemed.
. . .
We later found out, though, that the combined sound of gunfire, added to by bodyguards, had impressed the attackers--they apparently feared the presence of a much bigger force. They stopped, at least for now, which gave us the chance to leap into our vehicles, with Mr. Chalabi in his blue Parisian suit and poplin shirt pleading to the last in front of the cameras, before being bundled off to safety.

As we drove away from the village along the raised earth road, I looked back to see perhaps a hundred SUVs, a mile long, belting along behind carrying the elders. An Iraqi Army Humvee with mounted machine gun charged past us to the front. They'd been helping to guard the last bridge to Baghdad. But now, one felt, the villagers could guard it handily. They no longer felt isolated and forgotten by the world, as the television sets showed this night all over the Mideast.
Winning doesn't mean that the bad guys are all killed.  Winning doesn't mean that crazy people don't do brutal things.  Winning means that the good guys beat the bad guys most of the time.

We're winning.

Winning also means that these stories of victories in Iraq get out.  It is here where we are losing the war.  The stories are there, but you have to want to find them.

And so, we're losing.