Someone Else Died This Week

Someone Else Died This Week

Someone you should know.

Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald

Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, who died on June 23 aged 57, was dramatically rescued from the South Pole 10 years ago after diagnosing and treating her own breast cancer.

In the winter of 1999 she was the sole doctor among 41 research staff at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, run by the US National Science Foundation, when she discovered a lump in her breast, and lymph nodes appeared under her arm. Although at first she kept her condition to herself, the burden eventually became too much to bear.

Rescue was out of the question – because of the extreme weather conditions, the station is closed to the outside world for the winter. Jerri Nielsen (as she then was) had no choice but to treat the disease herself. She trained colleagues to care for her, and was in communication by email and via teleconference with doctors based in the United States.

Jerri Nielsen, an accident and emergency doctor based in Cleveland, Ohio, performed a biopsy on herself with the help of non-medical staff, who practised using needles on a raw chicken. A machinist on the base helped her with her IV and test slides, and a welder helped with chemotherapy.

Anti-cancer drugs were parachuted in during a daunting airdrop in July 1999 by the US Air Force in freezing blackout conditions.

In the meantime, as Jerri Nielsen continued with her medical duties, her own doctors in the United States recommended that she return as soon as possible for treatment. “More and more as I am here and see what life really is, I understand that it is not when or how you die but how and if you truly were ever alive,” she wrote in an email to her parents from the South Pole in June 1999.

RTWT, but she also said this:

“Everyone has to get something. Some people are ugly, some people are stupid. I get cancer.”

I like her attitude!

He’s NOT a Liberal. He’s a LEFTIST.

He’s NOT a Liberal. He’s a LEFTIST.

My favorite political cartoonist hits another one out of the park:

For the Leftist, “Government” is the answer to EVERYTHING, and if government fails, it’s because the right person wasn’t in charge, so the solution wasn’t properly implemented. WE MUST DO IT AGAIN, ONLY HARDER!

Wherein Kevin Channels Al Qaeda

Having been recently accused of harboring commenters “little different” from Al Qaeda members, particularly on the topic of homosexuality, I thought I’d offer a preliminary brief comment on something I found via today. (I fully intend to crank out an Überpost on the subject, hopefully this weekend.)

It would seem that two University of Michigan sociologists, Karin A. Martin and Emily Kazyak, have authored a paper, published in Gender & Society, entitled “Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children’s G-Rated Films” (available as a PDF file.) Ms. Martin is an associate professor of sociology, and Ms. Kazyak is a doctoral candidate whose “research interests include gender, sexuality, social theory, and social psychology.”

The link that brought me to the paper came from the decidedly right-wing site in a piece entitled “Team of Researchers Blames Children’s Films for Perpetuating ‘Heteronormativity'”. I’ll admit, my initial response to the piece was that I thought it had to be satire.

Sadly, no.

I Googled “Sociologists for Women in Society,” which is a real organization, and from there it was a pretty simple couple of steps to find and download the source document. Now, I haven’t finished reading it yet, but in the first couple of pages I found some eminently quotable stuff that I just had to share. In fact, the paper opens with a quote from another sociologist, Henry A. Giroux:

The role that Disney plays in shaping individual identities and controlling fields of social meaning through which children negotiate the world is far too complex to be simply set aside as a form of reactionary politics. If educators and other cultural workers are to include the culture of children as an important site of contestation and struggle, then it becomes imperative to analyze how Disney’s animated films powerfully influence the way America’s cultural landscape is imagined.

(Emphasis mine.)

I thought educators were supposed to educate. Here we have a sociologist telling us explicitly (with the implicit approval of the authors of the paper in question, since they chose the quote) that the job of “educators and other cultural workers” is to use the “culture of children as an important site of contestation and struggle.” How Marxist that sounds, doesn’t it? The pertinent question would be “contestation and struggle” against what? This reminds me very much of the daycare teachers that inspired my essay The George Orwell Daycare Center who wanted to use their position as educators to teach children that “a class-based capitalistic society” is “unjust and oppressive.”

But this isn’t a paper about economics, it’s about sociology and sexuality. The next quote illustrates the authors’ position:

Heteronormativity includes the multiple, often mundane ways through which heterosexuality overwhelmingly structures and “pervasively and insidiously” orders “everyday existence”.

(Reference omitted.)

Checking my dictionary for the word “insidious,” I find this definition:

1. intended to entrap or beguile: an insidious plan.
2. stealthily treacherous or deceitful: an insidious enemy.
3. operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect: an insidious disease.

So “heteronormativity” is “insidious.”

Here’s where I go all Al Qaeda on you. Now, one of my absolute favorite quotes comes from Teresa Nielson Hayden, wherein she says:

Basically, I figure guns are like gays: They seem a lot more sinister and threatening until you get to know a few; and once you have one in the house, you can get downright defensive about them.

(Hey, this is a gun blog.) But one thing homosexuals are not is normal, in the original definition of the term as “approximately average.” They are outside the norm. They’ve even adopted for themselves the word “queer,” which is defined as “strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different.” But here we have a paper that seems to open with the statement that “heteronormativity” is “insidious,” (when, in fact, it’s “normal” – by definition) and it’s the job of “educators and other cultural workers” to “contest and struggle” with this insidiousness, starting with our CHILDREN.


(*Ahem*) Excuse me, but fuck THAT noise.

More (much more) to follow, hopefully this weekend, but we’ll see how long it takes for THIS Überpost to spring forth fully formed from my sweat-beaded forehead. Oh, and I’d very much like to hear from the GLBT audience on this. I know for sure that at least two gunbloggers are open and read this blog at least occasionally, Jeff at Alphecca and Zendo Deb of TFS Magnum. Comments?

“Gerbilism” Draws Another Mental Picture Entirely

Instapundit links to an interesting piece at Accuracy in Media, ‘Gerbilists’ In The National Press Corps. The lede:

Doug Bates doesn’t know it yet, but with the help of his daughter, the associate editor of The Oregonian has coined the perfect descriptor for journalism in the Age of Obama: “gerbilism.”
Bates explained the genesis of the term Sunday in a commencement address to future journalists from the University of Oregon. As a child, his young daughter confused Bates’ profession with the name of her favorite rodent in a school report about what her parents did for a living. “My dad Doug works at the newspaper,” she wrote. “First he went to college to learn about gerbilism.”
The punch line no doubt scored Bates a few laughs, but he segued into a serious point:

I’ve decided “gerbilism” is a pretty good word for what’s been going on in the news media these days. Gerbilism is an apt term for something that’s soft and warm and cuddly, safe and timid, with no sharp teeth and no bite whatsoever. Gerbilism, I’ve decided, is partly responsible for a lot of our nation’s problems today.

Soft, warm, cuddly, safe, timid and no sharp teeth or bite — yep, that sounds like much of the national media’s coverage of Barack Obama.

You might be interested in reading the rest, but what came to mind when I read that involved Richard Gere and Habitrail tubes, which I thought was a perfect analogy for what “gerbilists” were doing for the current administration.

Can We Actually TRY This

Can We Actually TRY This?

Joe Huffman takes a look at Dennis Henigan’s latest PSH, his book Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy. Henigan’s position:

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Henigan counters with Ozzy Osbourne’s take on that: “If that’s the case, why do we give people guns when they go to war? Why not just send the people?”

Joe replies (and I’m doing this post to archive this):

Suppose you were to drop Dennis Henigan and Sarah Brady in the woods with all the guns and ammo they can carry. And a half mile away you drop in an Army Ranger or Navy Seal completely naked, one hand tied behind their back and a patch over one eye. If you tell them only one side can leave the woods alive I’m betting that by the next morning, despite being outnumbered 2:1 and out armed, the warrior will be walking out of the woods fully clothed, armed, and wearing Sarah and Dennis’s ears as a necklace.

Gun are tools used by people. Without the people the guns don’t kill, with or without guns people can kill. Guns just make violence against people easier. Sometimes that violence is for good and sometimes it is for evil. Most of the time guns are used for good. Reducing the access of guns to good people enables evil.


Quote of the Day – If the Foo Sh!ts Edition

Quote of the Day – If the Foo Sh!ts Edition

Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress – with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?

One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent – the failure is deliberate. Don’t laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

American Thinker, 9/28/08 – Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis by James Simpson

Interesting read. I am once again reminded of the warnings of Yuri Bezmenov from the 1980’s. And remember Rahm Emanuel‘s “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”

Or that others would thwart, given the time.

(I can hear Markadelphia’s head explode from here!)

Well, That Wasn’t So Bad

Well, That Wasn’t So Bad

My first root canal was this morning. My gum’s a little tender where the needle went in (and in, and in) for the anesthetic, but other than that, no real discomfort. All I’ve taken all day is a couple of Motrin. I can even bite down on my left side with no problem. I was in the chair for about 90 minutes as the doctor had a little trouble finding the roots (very deep in the tooth), but it all came out OK (no pun intended.)

The stock market decline has been more painful for me than this damned tooth.

Update On the $134.5B in Bearer Bonds Case

I first linked to this story on Friday, June 12. Here’s an interesting update from the U.K. Telegraph:

Is this the death of the dollar?

After two smugglers were stopped last week with what at first appeared to be $134bn in US state bonds, the tension and paranoia surrounding the fate of the dollar hit a new high.

By Edmund Conway
Published: 7:32PM BST 20 Jun 2009

Border guards in Chiasso see plenty of smugglers and plenty of false-bottomed suitcases, but no one in the town, which straddles the Italian-Swiss frontier, had ever seen anything like this. Trussed up in front of the police in the train station were two Japanese men, and beside them a suitcase with a booty unlike any other. Concealed at the bottom of the bag were some rather incredible sheets of paper. The documents were apparently dollar-denominated US government bonds with a face value of a staggering $134bn (£81bn).

How on earth did these two men, who at first refused to identify themselves, come to be there, trying to ride the train into Switzerland carrying bonds worth more than the gross domestic product of Singapore? If the bonds were genuine, the pair would have been America’s fourth-biggest creditor, ahead of the UK and just behind Russia. No sooner had the story leaked out from the Italian lakes region last week than it sparked a panoply of conspiracy tales. But one resounded more than any other: that the men were agents of the Japanese finance ministry, in the country for the G8 meeting, making a surreptitious journey into Switzerland to sell off one small chunk of the massive mountain of US bonds stacked up in the Japanese Treasury vaults.

In the event, late last week American officials confirmed that the notes were forgeries. The men, it appeared, were nothing more than ambitious scamsters. But many remain unconvinced. And whether fake or otherwise, the story underlines one important point about the world economy at the moment: that the tension and paranoia surrounding the fate of the US dollar has hit a new high. It went to the heart of the big question: will the central bankers in Japan, China and elsewhere continue to support the greenback even in the wake of the worst financial crisis in modern history, or will they abandon it as America’s economic hegemony dissipates?

Dollar obituaries are nothing new. The currency has been presumed dead more times than Shane Macgowan. But like the lead singer of The Pogues, the greenback has somehow withstood repeated knocks and scrapes over the years and lived on, battered, bruised and a couple of teeth the lighter, to fight another day. In the 1970s and 1980s there were plenty predicting its demise, although at that point the main challenger was the Japanese yen. And in the years preceding this crisis, economists and investors including Peter Schiff and George Soros were lining up to declare the dollar’s demise as the world’s reserve currency. In the late 1990s, the creation of the euro gave dollar sceptics another stick to beat the currency with, and no doubt the European currency has claimed some of the prominence in its first decade.

Now, following the collapse of the global financial system, those warnings have become louder still, and ever more difficult to dismiss – because this time around there are threatening noises coming from those who actually have the power to do something about it. First came a paper from Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), a couple of months ago, positing the idea of introducing the special drawing right (SDR) – a kind of internal currency at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – as an international reserve currency. These calls were then repeated, with more force, by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, who last week declared that the world needed new reserve currencies in addition to the dollar.

There’s more. I strongly recommend that you read the rest, and hopefully I’ll have an addendum to this post later this evening.

UPDATE: (As promised)

Here’s some more interesting stuff on this incident.

On June 16, the site Seeking Alpha put up a list of what was termed “strange inconsistencies” in the story, but here’s the pertinent paragraph (IMO)

Thus far, about the only piece of information that appears to be reliable as reported by various news sources regarding this huge mystery is the remarkable authenticity of the 249 seized bearer bonds in denominations of USD $500 million. If any of the other facts, as they are being reported, are remotely accurate, then the bearer bonds were likely counterfeit. Still, the interesting part of this story, at least to me, is that the smugglers seemed intent on being caught with the counterfeit bonds. This leads me back to my previous question. What possible reason would the smugglers have for wanting to be caught? One of the quickest ways to sabotage and usher in the death of a currency is to raise legitimate questions about its ability to withstand counterfeiting efforts. Prove that counterfeiting is not only possible but highly likely, and the world’s confidence in the sabotaged currency will undoubtedly plummet.

The comments to this piece are even more interesting, including a link to a story about scam run in 2004 using counterfeit $500k, $100M and $500 million-denomination 1934-dated bearer bonds.

And then there’s another speculative post from The Market Ticker from yesterday. This one quotes a Reuters story:

A purported $134 billion in U.S. government bearer bond certificates seized by police near the Italian-Swiss border are fake, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.

“Based on the photograph we’ve seen online, they are clearly fake. And not even good fakes,” said Stephen Meyerhardt, a spokesman for the Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt.

He added that there is only $105 million in Treasury bearer bond securities outstanding, so the $134 billion amount seized far exceeds the universe of outstanding securites.


In the last two years, Italian authorities have seized some $800 million of U.S. bonds in the Como area in northern Italy.

Were they bearer bonds? And here’s the key graph from that Reuters piece:

The forgery determination came a day after the Treasury warned U.S. banks against the potential for increased currency counterfeiting activity and large cash transactions by North Korea in an effort to evade U.N. sanctions aimed at cutting off financing for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Which kind of answers most of the “who, what, where, when and why” questions, doesn’t it?

Except for these, from the Market Ticker piece:

So let’s see if we can try to sort out what we’re “learning”:

  • The bonds are declared fake by the Treasury, stating that there’s only $100 million outstanding and obviously $134 billion have to be fake.
  • Italy claims to have seized $800 million in real US Bonds in the last year.
  • The last legitimate issue of paper US Treasuries (that is publicly admitted to) was in the early 1980s when bearer instruments were outlawed. All are now stated to be electronic (just a serial number and amount.)
  • The two gentlemen are allegedly Japanese, and there are various stories about who they really are – from notorious counterfeiters who have served hard time for previous offenses to Japanese finance officials. Most notably, there has been no public statement from Italy about these gentlemen’s actual identities.
  • It appears from all reports that these two were detained but not arrested, with some reports that they were not only released but took the allegedly-fake instruments with them, even though Italian law precludes both your release and return of your fake instruments if you are caught with fake securities or currency.
This is stuff out of a Tom Clancy novel, and the longer it goes on and the more twisted the “explanations”, the less sense it makes.
I find it incomprehensible that the Italian government released these two if they were actually caught in a massive counterfeiting operation with $134 billion in fake US Securities.
I find it equally incomprehensible that there was not an immediate indictment out of a US Prosecutor coming from such an event and a demand for extradition back to the United States.
And further, I find it equally incomprehensible that if the securities are in fact real, and Treasury is lying, that Italy would not impose the fine.
Only the latter scenario, however, covers what apparently has happened – the two “couriers”, whoever they are, have been released and, according to some accounts, they took the allegedly “fake” instruments with them, and there has been no US indictment issued for counterfeiting the instruments.
Uh, can we have some truth here folks, because none of what is being reported adds up and my BS detector is ringing off the hook.

Mine too. (End of update.)