This column exerpt from USN&WR Columnist, Bonnie Erbe, lamenting the ever-expanding blogosphere and "self-appointed, abecedarian pundits:"
"Internet punditry has many strong points. But it lacks at least one element that makes old-fashioned print punditry so vastly superior: editing. Nothing can replace a second set of eyes or a third or fourth rewrite. Writing improves when writers are asked how and where they get her facts and whether this or that point is a bit off the wall. Internet punditry has opened the pipeline but diluted the quality of the product."
More is not always better. But more is what we have.
Ms. Erbe describes herself this way:
Bonnie Erbe has covered Washington politics since God was a baby. Because of that, and the fact that she's a native New Yorker, nothing much surprises her anymore. She has covered Congress, the Supreme Court, the Justice Department, and occasionally the White House for radio and television networks. She also hosts PBS's weekly news analysis program, To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe, and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column for Scripps Howard News Service. "To the Contrary" will allow you to lift the curtain of partisanship for a refreshingly non-partisan perspective on politics, the environment, religion, and issues that affect the lives of women, families, and communities of color.
Since God was a baby??? Wouldn't you say that descriptor is "a bit off the wall," Bonnie? How many rewrites, I wonder, did it take to write that? Or is this what you would classify as "vastly superior old-fashioned print punditry" that offers a refreshing perspective on religion and the lives of women?
Okay, I admit it, I had to look up "abecedarian." Here's what Dictionary.com had to say:
4 results for: abecedarian
View results from: Dictionary | Thesaurus | Encyclopedia | All Reference | the Web
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source
a·be·ce·dar·i·an /ˌeɪbisiˈdɛəriən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ey-bee-see-dair-ee-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun 1. a person who is learning the letters of the alphabet.
2. a beginner in any field of learning.
–adjective 3. of or pertaining to the alphabet.
4. arranged in alphabetical order.
5. rudimentary; elementary; primary.
[Origin: 1595–1605; < ML abecedāriānus. See abecedary, -an]
Dear Ms. Erbe: If your message is that bloggers are beginners, have only a rudimentary understanding of events, with only elementary understanding of the world around us, or are somehow alphabetically challenged, I'd respectfully suggest you rethink your...abecedary assumptions. Your comments have the pungent aroma of arrogance and contempt for the rest of us "rogues." It's okay to think that way, but if you write it, you own it...and then you may as well wear it, as the rogues with looms would say....I leave you with this classic tale from Hans Christian Anderson (as you recall, there is a moral to the story!):
One day two rogues arrived in town, claiming to be gifted weavers. They convinced the Emperor that they could weave the most wonderful cloth, which had a magical property. The clothes were only visible to those who were completely pure in heart and spirit.
The Emperor was impressed and ordered the weavers to begin work immediately. The rogues, who had a deep understanding of human nature, began to feign work on empty looms.
Minister after minister went to view the new clothes and all came back exhorting the beauty of the cloth on the looms even though none of them could see a thing.
Finally a grand procession was planned for the Emperor to display his new finery. The Emperor went to view his clothes and was shocked to see absolutely nothing, but he pretended to admire the fabulous cloth, inspect the clothes with awe, and, after disrobing, go through the motions of carefully putting on a suit of the new garments.
Under a royal canopy the Emperor appeared to the admiring throng of his people - - all of whom cheered and clapped because they all knew the rogue weavers' tale and did not want to be seen as less than pure of heart.
But, the bubble burst when an innocent child loudly exclaimed, for the whole kingdom to hear, that the Emperor had nothing on at all. He had no clothes.
Now whom do you suppose might be the emperor in this story?
As for us bloggers, well, you can just call us "Rogues with Looms...."
Amelia Earhart's Passport...issued in 1932. There's something to this photo that is at once both profound and remarkable in its simplicity. Look closely. Right above her signature, in her own handwriting she lists her occupation as simply, "Flyer"
Isn't there a lesson in that passport for all of us?
What would you put on your passport if they asked for it?
Given Scotland Yard's apparent conclusion that Alexander Litvinenko's assassination was state-sponsored by Russia, carried out by Andrei Lugovoi, the question of whether a formal indictment will actually be handed down is in the court of the British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)--and 10 Downing Street....
Scotland Yard has handed a file on the investigation into the death of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The 43-year-old, a fierce critic of the Kremlin, died in hospital in London in November last year. His body contained the radioactive substance polonium-210.
Former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi told the BBC that he considers himself to be a victim of radiation poisoning.
He has been at the centre of the investigation into the poisoning.
Police have said they cannot reveal the contents of the file.
Prosecutors will now consider whether there is sufficient evidence to charge anyone over Mr Litvinenko's death.
Mr Litvinenko is reported to have fallen out with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the late 1990s.
At the end of last year, Scotland Yard officers travelled to Russia to question witnesses in the case.
Mr Litvinenko, a former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, met three other former Russian secret agents just before he fell ill in London - Mr Lugovoi, Dmitry Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko.
They have denied any involvement in his poisoning.
Mr Lugovoi said he remained a witness in the case, and not a suspect.
"I was and I still am a witness in this case. There has been no official statement suggesting that I am a suspect, not a witness.
"When I do see or hear any official accusations, then I'll be happy to answer those.
"I consider myself to be a victim in this case because me, my friends, my family are attacked in the UK.
"And now it's up to the British police, and to the British prosecutors to establish how it happened and who did it."
Mr Litvinenko's friends have accused the Kremlin of ordering his assassination in response to his criticism of President Vladimir Putin. The Russian government has rejected the claims.
Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, an acclaimed British expert on Islam, professor at the British Defense College (he's also an Anglican Priest and a former Muslim) outlines radical Islam's timetable for the Jihad. Their goal, he says, is the restoration of the Muslim empire, or caliphate, that achieved the height of its power during the 16th Century. Radical Islam claims that empire was ended by European colonialism in 1923. "All land conquered by force beome the God-given property of the Muslim community as a whole for all eternity," Dr. Sookhdeo said, explaining the Islamic extremist view. "If such lands are lost, it's imperative that they are restored to the Muslim community." Dr. Sookhdeo believes Al Qaeda plans to establish the caliphate in 2016. At that point, he says, the jihad (or "struggle") begins "to restore Islam's glory, power and dominion and to create a universal Islamic state. This 'state' would be ruled under the Shari'a or God's religious law."
2000 to 2003: Provoke the West into Conflict
2003 to 2006: Period of Recruitment
2007 to 2010: Spread of Attack Throughout the Middle East, and Against Israel
2010 to 2013: Collapse of Governments in teh Middle East and End of Western Influence in the Region
2013 to 2016: Declaration of Caliphate. Finally a Period of "Total Confrontation" Between Muslims and Non-Muslims.
Dr. Sookhdeo said that today half of the failed states in the world have a Muslim majority. Further complicating matters is that these failed states have a distorted view of the western culture. These distortions are creating fertile ground for Islamic extremism. He proposes several solutions to combat this trend:
-Supporting the liberal and secular minority who are trying to reform Islam.
-Encourage Muslim states to tackle the theological, ideological and social problems that breed terrorism.
-Push mainstream Islam to suppress the potential for violence and oppression.
"Those involved in strategic and tactical planning must focus not only on the radical Islamic terror groups, but use the whole plethora of information on Islamic theology, history and contemporary development."
This All Things Considered interview between Robert Siegel and Michael B. Oren, author of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present offers an interesting historical view of our involvement in the Middle East. CLICK HERE to go to the NPR site.
Wasn't it Ma Bell that used to say "Long Distance...the next best thing to being there?" Well, being there just got closer with this new invention that Time Magazine nominated as Best Invention of 2006: The Hug Shirt. The red patches on the the Hug Shirt are actually sensors that pick up data about pressure, skin temperature, heart rate, and duration when you touch them.
The Hug Shirt can be washed. The smart technology pads (containing sensors and actuators), placed under each red area that you see in the picture, can be removed for washing and placed back in afterwards. The Hug pads are plug and play, so that you don’t need to be an expert to place them and make it work! The Hug Shirts are available in many colors, so that you can move the smart pads from shirt to shirt and remain fashionable.
When touching the red areas on your Hug Shirt your mobile phone receives the sensors data via Bluetooth (hug pressure, skin temperature, heartbeat rate, time you are hugging for, etc) and then delivers it to the other person.
The hugs shirt is Bluetooth and works with mobile phones on any bandwidth (900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and so on). Runs on rechargeable batteries. The sensors transmit the data to your cell phone, then delivers the data to the person you're "hugging." The Hug Shirt is built using RoHS components--so the Hug Shirt is lead-free and non-toxic.
Why the Hug Shirt?
The Hug Shirt is not meant to replace human contact, but to make you happy if you are away for business or other reasons and you miss your friends and loved ones! It also has some very interesting applications in the medical field with the elderly and children. And is fun to use and very soft!
Interfaces and systems must be intuitive, natural, and compatible with our emotional status. Combining emotion and technology should be part of every design process. An increasing mobility of humans throughout the globe, due to business or study reasons, has brought family members to spend most of their time apart from each other. Humans need physical contact with each other. Technology should allow for a pleasant Human-Human Interaction.
Adults, especially elderly people living far away from their families, deprived of tactile contact for a long period of time will tell you just how depressing it feels. A hug, a handshake, a pat on the back, and a kiss are all very important and bring us close to others. People need to be touched at least 70 times a day! Start noticing how many times you shake hands or hug a friend, and you will see that it really makes you feel good, and if you didn’t get enough hugs give us a call and come visit!
If the Hug Shirt is looking for a good marketing blurb, why not borrow from Ma Bell? The Hug Shirt...Just Like Being There!