Quote of the Night

From Michael Steele, the chairman of the RNC (which is second in charge of the Republican Party right behind Rush Limbaugh) on global warming:

“Thank you, thank you,” he said. “We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.”

Did Reagan Try to Convert Gorbachev?

From The Wall Street Journal:

Gorbachev deflected this question. He insisted that religion was not a serious problem in the Soviet Union. According to the notes, Gorbachev told Reagan that “he, himself, had been baptized, but he was not now a believer, and that reflected a certain evolution of Soviet society.” There might have been some “excesses” in repressing religion immediately after the Soviet revolution, Gorbachev said, but times had changed. His program of perestroika was designed to expand democratic procedures, and it would extend to religion. Reagan then ventured further, taking a step that quite a few Americans would have found objectionable. The president switched from seeking to persuade Gorbachev of the value of religious tolerance to promoting a belief in God. Reagan did so by telling one of his trademark stories. According to the notes of their meeting:

The president said he had a letter from the widow of a young World War II soldier. He was lying in a shell hole at midnight, awaiting an order to attack. He had never been a believer, because he had been told God did not exist. But as he looked up at the stars he voiced a prayer hoping that, if he died in battle, God would accept him. That piece of paper was found on the body of a young Russian soldier who was killed in that battle.

Gorbachev tried to switch the subject. Perhaps the United States and the Soviet Union might open the way for greater cooperation in space, he told the president. But the president wasn’t to be diverted. According to the transcript, Reagan told Gorbachev that space was in the direction of heaven, but not as close to heaven as some other things that they had been discussing.

As the meeting ended, Reagan became even more direct and personal. He noted that his own son Ron did not believe in God either. “The President concluded that there was one thing he had long yearned to do for his atheist son. He wanted to serve his son the perfect gourmet dinner, to have him enjoy the meal, and then to ask him if he believed there was a cook.”

*facepalm at the logic in the last sentence*

(via Kottke)

Question of the Day

Would you not read a book because you disagree with the author’s politics?

Update:

It seems the question wasn’t phrased correctly because people are giving Ann Coulter as an example when she is not an author but just a professional troll.

I don’t really think about the author’s politics much when I’m reading they’re books. For example, I read Ender’s Game knowing that Orson Scott Card was a hard right wing douche bag and was willing to put my feelings about him aside to read a book that is highly regarded in scifi and even enjoyed it. Most of the time I’m not even aware of the author’s political beliefs when reading their novels.

Hugh Thompson – Hero

From Wikipedia:

In the early morning hours of March 16, 1968, Thompson’s OH-23 encountered no enemy fire over My Lai 4. Spotting two possible Viet Cong suspects, he forced the Vietnamese men to surrender and flew them off for a tactical interrogation. Thompson also marked the location of several wounded Vietnamese with green smoke, a signal that they needed help.

Returning to the My Lai area at around 0900 after refueling, he noticed that the people he had marked were now dead. Out in a paddy field beside a dike 200 meters south of the village, he marked the location of a wounded young Vietnamese woman. Thompson and his crew watched from a low hover as Captain Ernest Medina (CO, C Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment) came up to the woman, prodded her with his foot, and then shot and killed her.

Thompson then flew over an irrigation ditch filled with dozens of bodies. Shocked at the sight, he radioed his accompanying gunships, knowing his transmission would be monitored by many on the radio net: “It looks to me like there’s an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain’t right about this. There’s bodies everywhere. There’s a ditch full of bodies that we saw. There’s something wrong here.”[2]

Movement from the ditch indicated to Thompson that there were still people alive in there. Thompson landed his helicopter and dismounted. David Mitchell, a sergeant and squad leader in 1st Platoon, C Company, walked over to him. When asked by Thompson whether any help could be provided to the people in the ditch, the sergeant replied that the only way to help them was to put them out of their misery. Second Lieutenant William Calley (CO, 1st Platoon, C Company) then came up, and the two had the following conversation:[3]

Thompson: What’s going on here, Lieutenant?
Calley: This is my business.
Thompson: What is this? Who are these people?
Calley: Just following orders.
Thompson: Orders? Whose orders?
Calley: Just following…
Thompson: But, these are human beings, unarmed civilians, sir.
Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I’m in charge here. It ain’t your concern.
Thompson: Yeah, great job.
Calley: You better get back in that chopper and mind your own business.
Thompson: You ain’t heard the last of this!

Thompson took off again, and Andreotta reported that Mitchell was now executing the people in the ditch. Furious, Thompson flew over the northeast corner of the village and spotted a group of about ten civilians, including children, running toward a homemade bomb shelter. Pursuing them were soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, C Company. Realizing that the soldiers intended to murder the Vietnamese, Thompson landed his aircraft between them and the villagers. Thompson turned to Colburn and Andreotta and told them that if the Americans began shooting at the villagers or him, they should fire their M60 machine guns at the Americans:[4] “Y’all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!” He then dismounted to confront the 2nd Platoon’s leader, Stephen Brooks. Thompson told him he wanted help getting the peasants out of the bunker:

March 16, 1968 – My Lai Massacre

From Wikipedia:

Soldiers went berserk, gunning down unarmed men, women, children and babies. Families which huddled together for safety in huts or bunkers were shown no mercy. Those who emerged with hands held high were murdered. … Elsewhere in the village, other atrocities were in progress. Women were gang raped; Vietnamese who had bowed to greet the Americans were beaten with fists and tortured, clubbed with rifle butts and stabbed with bayonets. Some victims were mutilated with the signature “C Company” carved into the chest. By late morning word had got back to higher authorities and a cease-fire was ordered. My Lai was in a state of carnage. Bodies were strewn through the village.

Chaos at ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Audition in Manhattan

Some background about the clip:

Two days after a stampede derailed the New York auditions for America’s Next Top Model, theories continue to fly as to what caused the chaos.

A clutch of the reality TV show’s hopefuls claim the crush, which put two people in hospital, began after an overheated car drove past the queue of aspiring models. One contestant reportedly saw the vehicle and shouted, “there’s a bomb”, causing the thousands of applicants to panic and surge away from the car.

Other reports say the 10,000 women assembled outside a midtown Manhattan hotel trampled one another after someone yelled “fire”.

Accounts from some contestants suggest a fight broke out and that as chaos ensued two men leapt from a car and grabbed at the contestant’s purses adding to the panic.