Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beef III: The Leftovers

I've posted a couple of rounds of pictures from our recent trip on the Buffalo River, but here are some odds and ends.

Remember how my canoe leaked? This was one of the tests of its
river-worthiness after patching. Dry as a bone.

Our outfitter: The Gilbert Store in Gilbert, Arkansas.
The store's been raht thar for more than 100 years.


Yeah, another waterfall; in fact, the most spectacular one on the river, Hemmed-in Hollow Falls. It's 210 feet high and creates its own little storm system at the bottom, complete with soaking 30-mph winds.

Oh, and remember how my boat no longer leaked? It leaked. My repairs were only slightly better than useless after it had scraped over rocks a few times (bad resin mix, a friend said). So I tried bubble gum on a few of the larger holes:

Believe it or not it worked--for a few hours. After that I was always bailing.

Chuck: She was a magificent sight flying into camp, but other than that a complete bust nobility of nature-wise. Unless food was involved she never moved more than a few feet the whole time we were there. Had some sob story about how the other ducks hated her because
her feet clash with her beak. Just eat your bagel, Chuck.

Update: The Drunkawife demands that I post a pic of the "cute" duck we saw in Spain, in the really cool palm grove in Elche to be exact:

Smug little bastard: Well, Chuck is smarter than this fop, anyway. How'd you like I mess up that beak for ya, pretty boy?

Update II: No, I don't really know what sex the ducks are. Perverts.


Gee, everyone in the National League West has a winning record. Odd.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Newspaper daze

One of the people I met during visiting hours recently was Charles "Red" Nicodemus, a long- long-time reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times who was often teamed in investigations with the unsainted Mike Royko, before (this is my surmise) Royko got too famous.

I'd heard about Red since I was a kid, through his brother and various nephews who lived (and live) in Mason City, Illinois, where some of my family is from.

Retired from the Sun-Times for five or six years, Red (in his early 70s, maybe) and his wife live in Boulder, so a nephew, his girlfriend and I drove up one evening for dinner. The Drunkablog, of course, brought his mini-tapie, notebook and pen, and was wearing his press hat, just in case the opportunity for an interview arose.

I mean, think of the stories the guy can probably tell. An investigative reporter in the old days of legendarily corrupt and roistering Chicago who worked with Mike Royko, himself a legendary roisterer. In later years Red focused on environmental and land use stories, I think, but often wrote on other subjects (check out the Girl Scout cookie scandal he covered, beginning with the inevitably headlined story, "Scouts' hands found in cookie jar." So whether that night or some other, I wanted an interview.

At the restaurant we sat down (me next to Red, natch), and the first thing I asked him was whether he was writing his memoirs. He said he was too busy living. Then I asked if he ever read blogs. Once he'd gained control of the vomiting he concealed his disgust fairly well, but said emphatically that he'd never read a single one. Then I told him I was a blogger. He knew what was coming.

D-blog: I promise I won't bug you--

Red: Thanks.

D-blog: But let me interview you some time.

Red (eyes rolling, grabbing at his chest, gasping for breath): Nooooooooo!

Maybe his reaction wasn't quite so bad. But that was pretty much it. Good old-fashioned reporter: I ain't the story, so fuck off. I forced my card on him and he said he'd look at the blog, but, yeah, right. Worse, his nephew told me later that Ward Churchill is a friend of Red and his wife, and that they like to boast about how Churchill, when he visits, voluntarily goes outside to smoke his Marlboros--something he won't do for anyone else.

Damn. Well, I'll get his nephews to lean on the old man, tell him how when the D-blog doesn't get his way, he starts to lie about people. And not good lies, either. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Update: That "Scouts' hands in cookie jar" headline makes it sound like they actually found a bunch of little girl scouts' hands in a cookie jar, doesn't it? Or is that just me?

Correction: I have been informed by the source what told it to me that I have the most important detail of the "Ward 'n' Red" story wrong. Red and his wife probably don't even know Churchill; it was acquaintances of theirs who told the story. Sheesh, see why the D-blog never claims to be a journalist?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A fine old Namibian name

Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Why, by the way, do I keep thinking of a certain other baby?

Update: Readers if any may be shocked to see the Drunkablog covering celebrity news, but it's not the first time.

Cheerfully yours, Dick

Richard Dawkins in the Sunday Times on the publication of the 30th anniversary edition of his book, The Selfish Gene (don't buy it!):

What are we to make of the following verdict, from a reader in Australia?

“Fascinating, but at times I wish I could unread it . . . On one level, I can share in the sense of wonder Dawkins so evidently sees in the workings-out of such complex processes . . . But at the same time, I largely blame The Selfish Gene for a series of bouts of depression I suffered from for more than a decade . . . Never sure of my spiritual outlook on life, but trying to find something deeper — trying to believe, but not quite being able to — I found that this book just about blew away any vague ideas I had along these lines, and prevented them from coalescing any further. This created quite a strong personal crisis for me some years ago.”

I have previously described similar responses from readers. A teacher reproachfully wrote that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless. But if something is true, no amount of wishful thinking can undo it. As I went on to write, “Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos, but do any of us really tie our life’s hopes to the ultimate fate of the cosmos anyway? Of course we don’t; not if we are sane. . . .

Guess I know what I'm doing today.

(via A & L Daily)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Not Ward Churchill

For Memorial Day the Rocky reruns its January story on the return to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the first Sioux killed in Iraq: Wake for an Indian Warrior. Quote from a Sioux Vietnam vet whose son had recently returned from Iraq: "'In 1876, the Lakota Sioux took that flag from Custer,' he said, nodding toward the U.S. flag near the casket. 'So that flag is ours, too.'"

MIM: the GOCC is taking over

That's the Great Oppressor Cultural Counterrevolution, you soon-to-be-purged right-deviationist freaks! Our old friends at the Maoist Internationalist Movement see it happening in the wake of the Churchill committee findings. And they go to some length comparing this counterrevolution (unfavorably!) to Mao's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR).

Of course, first MIM indulges in a completely bogus analysis of the case against Churchill, claiming that its "heart" was a disagreement over Churchill's extrapolation of the number of deaths among Mandan in the infamous smallpox epidemic.

Um, not exactly.

But they use that argument only to make another point: If Churchill's extrapolation of smallpox deaths was improper, then so are the "extrapolations" of the deaths in China during the Great Leap Forward:
If extrapolation of deaths is "fabrication," you can kiss most of the U.$. China studies people goodbye. In fact, for many of the scholars involved, the error is far worse, because the leading GOCC lights in the China field have made decimal point errors regarding the Great Leap without ever correcting them despite this having been pointed out for years at a time. It's not even a question of extrapolating while nitpicking literalist historians look on.
Yeah, sure. Obviously MIM is nuts, but I might make this trade: "MIM is here to say we're willing to trade the firing of Ward Churchill for the firing of all the China scholars who have extrapolated famines in China in Mao's Great Leap on the basis of less evidence."

They close, as usual, weirdly:
Here in the united $tates, Charles Brennan of the Rocky Mountain News wrote about Ward Churchill's high school football team, ex-wives etc.(1) The only difference is that in China under Mao, the big character posters [denouncing "rightist" scholars and intellectuals] would be written by Ward Churchill's football team and there would be no Charles Brennan selling the stories for profit. We think that says it all right there: where do you think the truth is more likely to emerge, in a proletarian cultural revolution or a bourgeois cultural counterrevolution?
Lemme think about it.

(via commenter G. Knoll at this PB post)

Update: G. Knoll, I've been reliably informed, is a pseudonym for a certain suddenly frequent commenter here who if he pushes will add this site to the (long) list of blogs from which he is banned.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Money well spent

The Daily Camera reports:

The University of Colorado spent nearly $152,000 on its academic-misconduct investigation of tenured professor Ward Churchill, the school said Wednesday, and most of the money went toward attorney fees for the outside legal counsel hired to help faculty panel members.

Also, a sweeping review of the university's tenure policies is expected to cost CU up to $435,000. CU regents called for the review in February 2005 after the release of documents showing that Churchill earned tenure in 1991 without the typical six-year evaluation and probationary period.
Grumble all you want, it'd be cheap at twice the price--as long, of course, as the "sweeping review" (by the way, when does a review begin to sweep?) leads to sweeping changes. No I don't know what changes--how 'bout the kind that prevent the tenuring of dishonest ideologues like Churchill, for a start?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The NDT quit showing up in my mailbox a while ago. I was going to sic the Drunkablog I-Team on it, because even though the newspaper's been "Serving Northwest Denver since 1934," I thought it might have gone out of business--and that would have been a good story (journalism is cold, baby).

But no, it's still publishing. And when I talked to editor Cliff Bautsch (via telephonic device) about not having received it for some months, he was perplexed. "You should tell your mailman it's not junk mail," he advised me.

My mailman is the glowering type, so that was out, but the paper resumed its bi-weekly arrival anyway. Let's see. There's

  • A front-page story on the North High School football team's criminally ratty gear. "Head football coach Paul Kelly holds up shoulder pads and says, 'These are the same pads we used when I played football here in 1979.'" Poor North. The second-worst high school (by graduation rate) in Denver--the worst will close after this school year. But it's quite beauteous.

  • A fascinating story on the Jewish grocery stores that lined Colfax Avenue at the turn of the (last) century. The Orthodox neighborhood is still there; one of its boundaries is Sloan's Lake. The author of the piece, Jeanne Abrams (or "Dr. Jeanne Abrams" as she's bylined--she has a Ph.D in history from CU) has written a couple of books, one of which is the oddly named but undoubtedly riveting Blazing the Tuberculosis Trail. Yippee aye oh ki haaaaaaaack.

  • Speaking of Sloan's Lake, here's another story: "Residents pull filth from Sloan's." Thanks, residents!

  • And finally, Crime Beat, the "column of crime analysis" the NDT runs as a "partner" with the Denver Po-lice.
    Sun Valley Neighborhood

    On May 5th at approximately 2:20 am in the 800-900 blocks of Federal Blvd. unknown suspects spray painted the exterior of several buildings. . . . Through great Police work and determination two male suspects were arrested and charged with Felony Criminal Mischief.
    Signed: Officer Melonhead

  • Update: While the Crime Beat item is real, there is no "Officer Melonhead" on the Denver police force.

    Update II: The Drunkablog has no idea if the above statement is true. There could be multiple Melonheads on the Denver police force. For all the Drunkablog knows, the force might have five heroic brothers, like the Fighting Sullivans, except that they're, you know, the Fighting Melonheads.

    Churchill's response to CU committee report

    Here 'tis. Long, but succinct for Churchill:

    "The May 9, 2006 Report of the University of Colorado (CU) Investigative Committee is but the latest step in CU’s ongoing attempt to fire me for political speech and, more fundamentally, for scholarship which challenges the orthodox “canon” of historical truth.

    The investigative committee abandoned all semblance of due process and equal protection mandated by both the Constitution and the University’s own rules, in the process betraying the most basic principles of academic freedom.

    Rather than assessing my work in terms of the methods and procedures of my discipline, the committee – which included no one with expertise in American Indian Studies – chose to determine for itself the “historical truth” about disputed matters. Unable to condemn my substantive conclusions, it engaged in a detailed post hoc critique of my citations.

    The committee’s recommendation of harsh sanctions appears to have been driven primarily by my “attitude,” not by the specific conduct at issue. I was presented with the “Catch-22” option of apologizing for things I did not do or being condemned for being insufficiently contrite.

    In this process, the investigative committee abandoned its mandate to serve as a nonadversarial information-seeking body, instead taking upon itself the role of both prosecutor and judge. It then did exactly what it accuses me of doing: it tailored its report to fit its conclusions. As a result, the document contains numerous false statements, misrepresentations of fact, and internal contradictions; it suppresses evidence and employs faulty logic to conclude that I engaged in research misconduct.

    A few of the most glaring problems with the report are summarized below:

    Punishment for Constitutionally Protected Speech

    * Since January 2005, University administrators have been trying to fire me for expressing my political opinions, directly violating both the First Amendment and the Regent’s own rules on academic freedom. Having reluctantly concluded that they could not fire me directly for my speech, they resorted to trial by media, soliciting allegations of misconduct to use as a pretext.

    * Some of this involved encouraging the media to generate allegations. Interim Chancellor DiStefano as “complainant” then forwarded these charges to the Committee. Other allegations were directly solicited by CU administrators, including law school dean David Getches, who had already made his bias against me clear. Some came from known political adversaries, but their malicious or frivolous nature was disregarded.

    * None of these were legitimate accusations the University had an “obligation” to investigate; they were simply a pretext to penalize constitutionally protected speech. All of the allegations at issue are based on work I did years, sometimes decades, ago; had there been any substance to them, they would have been investigated long before now.

    * Under University rules, this report was part of a confidential personnel process. The fact that the committee convened a press conference to announce its findings and University officials immediately distributed the full report is but one indication of their willingness to violate my rights, as well as their own rules, in order to chill my speech and discredit my scholarship.

    * Further evidencing retaliatory motivation, just as this investigative phase was wrapping up the University announced that it is initiating yet another investigation into “new allegations” it received over a year ago. The message is clear: if you do not give up, we will investigate you forever.

    The Investigative Committee and Its Process

    Committee Composition: The committee consisted primarily of CU insiders and included no one with expertise in my field.

    * Given the pervasive bias of CU administrators, I requested an outside committee and, because of bias exhibited by law school dean Getches as well as law professor cum columnist Paul Campos, I specifically objected to the inclusion of CU law faculty. The committee, however, was composed of three CU insiders, chaired by law professor (and former prosecutor) Mimi Wesson.

    * The committee’s mandate was to establish whether my scholarship complied with the accepted practices in my discipline, American Indian Studies – a subset of Ethnic Studies.

    * Ethnic Studies programs were introduced into universities precisely because the standard practices of mainstream disciplines (history, sociology, anthropology, etc.) had failed to incorporate historical and contemporary knowledge they found inconvenient, thereby producing inaccurate and misleading “academic truth.” To rectify this, Ethnic Studies not only bases itself in the perspectives of diverse communities, but employs its own set of research practices and methodologies.

    * My job is thus to bring a critical indigenous understanding to my teaching and scholarship. However, the committee included no American Indians and no one with expertise in American Indian Studies, despite the fact that eminently qualified American Indian scholars were available and willing to serve.

    * I was expected to present a defense without knowing clearly which allegations were at issue. Furthermore, during the investigation, the committee expanded the scope of certain allegations without giving me notice or adequate opportunity to respond.

    * I was expected to defend my work before being informed of the standards being applied. The report says American Historical Association (AHA) protocols and other unspecified standards were utilized, falsely claiming that I agreed to AHA standards and never revealing which other standards were applied.

    * I was prevented from speaking directly to expert witnesses, even my own, and was required to e-mail my questions across the room to the committee chair. This caused considerable confusion; allowed the chair to “interpret” what I was asking, sometimes fundamentally changing my meaning; and generally impaired my ability to elicit information.

    * Although the rules allow for extensions of time, the committee denied my repeated requests for an additional 30 days in which to complete my responses, rigidly insisting on a 120-day time frame designed for much more limited investigations. I was forced to spend much of this period trying to determine which charges and standards were at issue, and even more on an apparently futile attempt to introduce committee members to the foundational concepts of American Indian Studies and, more generally, the discipline of Ethnic Studies. As a result, I was prevented from responding to the charges in a thorough manner.

    The Report

    Violations of the Committee’s Mandate: The committee abandoned its responsibility to serve as a nonadversarial fact-finding body, instead retroactively imposing its views as to what and how I should have cited in support of my historical analysis, condemning my attitude rather than my scholarship, and tailoring the report to justify its conclusions.

    * According to University rules, the investigation was to be nonadversarial. Instead, the committee functioned in a prosecutorial manner. Rather than simply reporting its factual findings, the committee asserted a prerogative to recommend sanctions. Having done this, it then tailored its presentation to support its advocacy of penalties entirely disproportionate even to their own findings.

    * The committee’s mandate was not to determine the “truth” of disputed historical matters. Yet the bulk of this report, written by persons without expertise in the subject matter, is devoted to their analysis of the history at issue. Having concluded, in most cases, that I was substantively accurate, they resort to a detailed critique of my use of sources and the nature of my footnotes.

    * Much of my work takes the form of synthesis; in other words, connecting-the-dots with respect to a broad range of information. By definition, one cannot delve into minute detail with respect to each piece or the “big picture” will be lost. Yet this is precisely what the report condemns me for. (Witness the 40 pages of analysis it devotes to the two paragraphs I wrote on Fort Clark.) If this standard were to be uniformly applied, no scholar could engage in the sort of analysis which brings together apparently disparate information to illustrate fundamental problems with the status quo.

    * The committee’s charge was to investigate whether my work comported with accepted practices in my discipline. Instead, it applied standards from a very different discipline, as well as unnamed standards. In some instances these appear to have been the standards used in legal publications; in other cases they seem more akin to “gut” reactions. The bottom line is that the committee retroactively imposed standards in ways that have never been applied to other scholars at CU. Nationally, this has been done in only in a few blatantly political cases, such as those of David Abraham and Michael Bellesiles.

    Distortion and Suppression of Evidence: The Committee disregarded and/or falsely characterized much of the evidence presented, using the slightest of pretexts to conclude that I engaged in significant research misconduct.

    * The committee did not have evidence that I failed to comply with their arbitrarily selected and retroactively applied standards, and it certainly did not meet its burden of establishing that I engaged in research misconduct by the required “preponderance of the evidence.”

    * The first two allegations address my summaries of the impact on native peoples of two federal laws, the Allotment Act and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. In its 20-page analysis, the committee acknowledges that my conclusions may be right but criticizes the nature of my citations and faults me for having failed to publish a response to a particular critic. On the Allotment Act the committee acknowledges that I was essentially correct and my accuser generally incorrect. However, the report accuses me of getting the details wrong, despite the fact that I wrote only a few paragraphs on the subject and, thus, did not address any details. For this I am charged with falsification.

    * The third charge concerns my statement that there is “strong circumstantial evidence” that John Smith introduced smallpox among the Wampanoags in the early 1600s. The committee took it upon itself to decide that this was an “implausible” conclusion and that, therefore, I had not cited to enough circumstantial evidence. This is characterized as both falsification and fabrication.

    * My two paragraph statement that in 1837 the army deliberately spread smallpox among the Mandans at Fort Clark generated 44 pages of analysis on the fourth allegation. While basically confirming my conclusions, the committee expresses displeasure with the nature, thoroughness and, in some cases, the sources of my citations. Although numerous scholars have made the same general point without any citation, I am charged with falsification, fabrication, and deviation from accepted reporting practices.

    * In this connection, it should be noted that all of the indigenous witnesses confirmed that my work conforms to the expectations of native tradition concerning scholarship. An expert from the affected nations confirmed my assertions concerning the oral traditions on the deliberate infection of the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa peoples. Nonetheless, this entirely non-Indian committee took it upon itself to declare that I “was disrespectful of Indian oral traditions when dealing with the Mandan/Fort Clark smallpox epidemic of 1837.”

    * The fifth charge involves the use of material from a pamphlet circulated by a long-defunct environmental group called Dam the Dams, whose representative stated he was happy to have the article used. In my initial use, I gave Dam the Dams co-authorship credit and the evidence I presented that this credit was removed by the publisher is uncontested. In all subsequent use of the material, I gave credited Dam the Dams in my footnotes. For this I am charged with plagiarism.

    * The sixth allegation asserted that I plagiarized an article I had ghostwritten for Rebecca Robbins. The committee concluded that I had not plagiarized it, but that having allowed a junior scholar to take credit for the original piece was a failure to comply with established standards of authorship attribution. This despite the fact that ghostwriting is common practice and the committee could point to no rule or standard that I had actually violated.

    * With respect to the seventh allegation, the committee concluded that I had committed plagiarism by allowing portions of an essay written by Fay Cohen to be published under the name of an Institute of which I was a co-founder, in a volume edited by a third person. The fact that my role consisted only of copy-editing the volume, that Cohen never complained to the publisher, and that she acknowledged having been solicited by the University to make this complaint were deemed irrelevant. Neither Cohen nor the Dalhousie University report on the matter accused me of plagiarism; the committee received no evidence (much less a preponderance) that I plagiarized her material. On the record, my denial that I did so stands uncontested.

    The Message

    I have published some two dozen books, 70 book chapters and scores of articles containing a combined total of approximately 12,000 footnotes. I doubt that any even marginally prolific scholar’s publications could withstand the type of scrutiny to which mine has been subjected. The committee’s assertion that the above-referenced allegations constitute – by a preponderance of the evidence – the sort of serious research misconduct which warrants revocation of tenure, termination, or long-term suspension undermines the most fundamental guarantees of academic freedom as well as the constitutional requirement that similarly situated persons receive equal treatment.

    This is but the latest volley in a national, indeed international, campaign to discredit those who think critically and who bring alternative perspectives to their research. The May 9 report generated by the University of Colorado’s investigative committee is designed to send a clear message to all scholars: Lay low. Do not challenge orthodoxy. If you do, expect to be targeted for elimination and understand that the University will not be constrained by its own rules – or the Constitution – in its attempts to silence you."

    (via (eeewwwww) Try-Works)

    Update: Pirate Ballerina has a point-by-point comparison of the attempted refutations in Churchill's "Summary" and the CU committee's report.

    Update II: Here's the Rocky's (currently front page) story; and the Post's (likewise front page).

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    "This is personal"

    Some things are simply beyond criticism. They are:

    1. Puppy dogs;

    2. Rainbows (heh);

    3. Happy songs;

    4. 24, the TV show about America's least bureaucratic government employee, Jack Bauer; and

    5. (this included for purely political reasons) Fluffy kittens.

    But let's focus for the moment on the TV show, which ended its season tonight with a two-hour special.

    Leave us face it

    The acting on 24, while enthusiastic, is lousy; the writing never misses a cliche (the post's title is from Jack on tonight's show); and the plot requires a reset button on your suspension of disbelief.

    But it sure is fun to watch. Others will wax waxily about that. I'll just note one of the cliches the show didn't miss.

    When the evil president finds out he's been betrayed by his wife (Jean Smart), he grabs her by the wrists and she actually says (all together now), "You're hurting me!" Everybody's seen it dozens of times. It signals that sooner or later the person doing the grabbing (almost always a man) will be killed.

    "You're hurting me!" is a cliche almost on a par with the one the Drunkawife always notes triumphantly when we see it: A character talking to somebody on the phone is hung up on. With varying degrees of concern, fear or terror he or she will say, "Hello! Hello!"--sometimes to an audible dial tone. Why? We all heard the other guy hang up.

    Update: Talk about cliches! The show ends with Jack on a slow boat to China.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006


    Flattering: Check out the nose hairs, man.

    Life had stories on each candidate's campaign. Didn't read any of them.

    But here's Edmund Muskie as a teenager.

    Then the House and Senate races. Check out Shirley Chisholm:

    Every inch a (first Negro) lady: She
    loosened up some over the years, I think.

    William Zinsser follows with a review of the "interrobang," a punctuation mark that combines the exclamation point and the question mark, thus eliminating the perceived need for such abominations as "What?!" He didn't like it, though.

    Then a depressing (?!) Vietnam story ("Beyond the DMZ, a loud stillness"), and the account of the decision to halt the bombing of North Vietnam, told with all the drama of Seven Days in May.

    NBC news guy Edwin Newman is profiled next. I remember his book Strictly Speaking, in which he asked the immortal question, "When does an increase begin to whop?"

    And finally, an expose of Scientology, which, perhaps coincidentally, has been in the news again with the antics of America's sweetheart, Tom Cruise. (Bet you thought I meant her again.)

    The Scientology story: Same old, same old.

    Aye-aye, Captain: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and his daughter. Creepy, all right.

    (Credit: Tom Cruise from the disturbed Worth1000.)

    Wise words from "Newsman Smith?"

    Just noticed that the header for a Friday e-mail update from media site Romenesko reads, "Newsman Smith advises Couric to go f . . ."

    There's a story I'll never read. Why spoil the illusion?

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Colorado--in the news!

    Via, oddly (yeah, right), Tim Blair, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel tells the sad tale of a protestor in an "injured chicken" costume in front of a Junction KFC, and the customers who mocked him.

    And via the Rocky Mountain News, the mayor of Tal Afar, Iraq, pays a visit to the soldiers at Fort Carson:
    "Are you truly my friends?" he asked through a translator. "Yes. I walk a happier man because you are my friends. You are the world to me. I smell the sweet perfume that emanates from your flower of your strength, honor and greatness in every corner of Tal Afar. The nightmares of terror fled when the lion of your bravery entered our city."
    Despite the unenthusiastic phraseology, I believe the man means it.

    Update: Oops, almost missed the best one. Via Romenesko, a woman is suing the Durango Herald for hiding the truth about the 9/11 attacks:

    A Durango woman issued a court summons to The Durango Herald, its publisher and its chairman on Thursday, demanding the newspaper compensate her for her attempt to uncover what she believes is a conspiracy to suppress the truth about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    Judith Pfeif, representing a group called Caring for Our Community, obtained a summons requiring the Herald to appear in La Plata County small-claims court on June 1.

    Pfeif wants $7,500 compensation - the maximum allowed in small-claims court - for expenses incurred researching the attacks and publicizing her view of what happened.

    Pfeif wrote in her petition, "The defendants are guilty of complicity in covering up the truth about the 9/11 tragedy, thus making every one of them accomplices in the greatest crime of this century."

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Return of the Bunyip

    After the longest New Year's Eve party in history, the professor has recovered sufficiently to resume blogging!

    Update: But he's doing it very slowly.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Faint neural sparking

    Way #1130 to tell that you live in the biggish, baddish city: Somebody strolls by your house while apparently doing a little metalwork, and gets rid of the scrap by tossing it in your yard:

    You, of course, quickly (and safely!) find the scrap with
    your handy-dandy metal detector.

    Yes, I should be blogging feverishly about Academician W. Churchill, but I'm still busy with real work like dodging metal projectiles and entertaining friends. Pirate Ballerina has it all covered anyway. Wasn't it sickening the other day how Michelle Malkin was all "Ooohhhhhh, I love you, Pirate Ballerina! Give me a kiss from your scurvy lips!" And Pirate Ballerina was all, "Ooooohhhh, I love you too Michelle Malkin, I want to marry you so I can kiss you all the time! Smooch smooch smooch!"

    He thinks he's so cool.

    Regular posting will resume sooner or later. Meanwhile, here's a double rainbow we saw the other night:

    Anybody know: (a) why the colors of the outer 'bow are opposite the inner's (is the fainter rainbow just a mirror image of the first)?; or (b) why the sky is tri- (or even quad-) toned?

    Update: RMN editorial writer Linda Seebach, who in her spare time enjoys listening to the mellow sounds of The Porch Ghouls, informs us (well, me) via e-mail that Google might possibly, just possibly, be able to answer my rainbow questions. She was probably being sarcastic.

    Rubbing it in, she includes links to a couple of sites that do indeed explore rainbow-related phenomena. In double rainbows, it seems--well, I could explain so you'd really get it, but Ms. Seebach went to the trouble of googling, so I'll just use what she came up with.

    My picture is better than theirs, anyway. See the line running from the lower right corner across all three sections of sky? What the frink is that?

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Heroic dog story

    A yellow lab retriever named Zion rescued an eight-year-old who had fallen out of an IK into the Roaring Fork River. I'm a sucker for good dog stories.

    Update: Tried to get Billy Bob to read about Zion as an example, but no go. Guess he just wants to stay a happy idiot. As for Aspen, the yellow lab who lives in one of the apartments here (with the tenant who owns her, of course, though Aspen sometimes pays the rent), she probably wouldn't get it either.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006


    A Paris suburb has named a street after Ward Churchill's good bud, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    (via a Judd Bros. or reasonable facsimile thereof)

    CU reports findings of Churchill committee

    Got him.

    "Allegation A: Misrepresentation of General Allotment Act of 1887
    Allegation B: Misrepresentation of Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990
    Allegation C: Captain John Smith and smallpox in New England, 1614-1618
    Allegation D: Smallpox epidemic at Fort Clark and beyond, 1837-1840
    Allegation E: Plagiarism of a pamphlet by the Dam the Dams group
    Allegation F: Plagiarism of Professor Rebecca Robbins
    Allegation G: Plagiarism of Professor Faye [sic] G. Cohen

    "Based on its investigation of those allegations, the Committee unanimously found, by a preponderance of the evidence,that Professor Churchill committed several forms of academic misconduct as defined in the policy statements of the University of Colorado at Boulder. . . .

    "1. Falsification, as discussed in Allegations A, B, C, and D.
    2. Fabrication, as discussed in Allegations C and D.
    3. Plagiarism, as discussed in Allegations E and G.
    4. Failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, as discussed most fully in allegation F but also in Allegations A, B, and D.
    5. Serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research, as discussed in Allegation D. . . .

    "The Committee found that Professor Churchill's misconduct was deliberate and not a matter of an occasional careless error. The Committee found that similar patterns recurred throughout the essays it examined. The Committee therefore concluded that the degree of his misconduct was serious, but differed on the sanctions warranted."

    Two of the five committee members voted to suspend Churchill without pay for two years; two voted for a five-year suspension; one voted for dismissal.

    More soon, no doubt.

    Update: PB has the full report.

    Update II: The Rocky's story; the Post's.

    Update III: Despite the gloat at the beginning of this post, Churchill is far from got. As the Post says, the "investigative committee's recommendations are not binding, and the decision on Churchill's future will be made by university officials later this year. Churchill has said if he is fired, he will file a lawsuit, and that process could take months or years"

    He won't wait until he's fired to file suit.

    The important thing is that an official inquiry found Churchill guilty of most everything he was charged with. That finding can't be taken back (though it may, of course, be overturned). Churchill cheated and he (finally) got caught. Whether he gets the two-year or five-year suspension, is fired, or returns to the classroom (unlikely), his "scholarship" is permanently besmirched, and ethnic studies types will cite him at their peril. That, to me, is enough.

    Update IV: Via PB, the Wapo's story on the Churchill committee report.

    Update V: "Besmirched?"

    Update VI: KHOW's Caplis and Silverman have four (maybe even 11) fractured arms between them from patting themselves on the back for the committee report. As usual, they act as if they were, like, totally instrumental in the story. They did a few things which I can't think of at the moment, but Churchill would have been censured without their self-aggrandizing (and, occasionally, unforgivably soft) coverage. Guess I gotta listen to 'em today, though (don't cry for me, Argent, Rod).

    Update VII: Boy, I'm nuts for saying that ruining Churchill's reputation (such as it was) is enough. It's not. Churchill committed plagiarism. He should be fired. Period.

    Update VIII: Churchill Counterpunches (via (d'oh!) PB).

    Update IX: C & S interviews Colorado governor (Bill? Bob? Borp?) Owens: Ward was convicted by a "jury of his peers." Good news for the university, credit to the regents, etc. "I don't think he's going to be suing any of us--"

    Caplis: "Because he's guilty."

    Update X: Video of CU's news conference.

    Update XI: Jeez, 11 updates. That's gotta be a Drunkablog record.

    Update XII: The tutued, peg-legged, one-eyed, be-parroted freak at Pirate Ballerina gets an arrrgh! of appreciation from Michelle Malkin for actually doing what Caplis and Silverman congratulate themselves for doing: "pushing the story forward."

    Update XIII: Yes! Silverman with the gratuitous slam of that "illustrious institution," Churchill's alma mammy (and the D-blog's!), the sadly no-longer-extant Sangamon State University!

    Update XIV: Left two comments over at the Colorado AIM blog asking when they were going to address the latest Chutcharama (ding-dong), but they haven't published either one. I've also poked a small pointed stick at Try-Works a time or two. I think they removed my first comment (at least, I couldn't find it), so let's see if the second remains. It's in the latest post from Wicked Witch. (Sorry, a link would violate the Faith of My Fathers, whatever that may have been.)

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Friends visit; Churchill findings released this week?

    No social butterfly, the Drunkablog since his heroic return from the river has been besieged by vacationing friends from Mason City whom he hasn't seen for (God help him the Drunkablog is old) 25 years or more. They all look fairly normal, which is a relief since it's awkward to have to ask an old friend how he or she acquired that mighty hump, those acid-burn scars, or that teardrop tattooed under one eye. And I say, wasn't your head a different shape when last we met?

    The point, speaking of heads, is that blogging might be somewhat slow (and dull!) while said friends are out here this week.

    But I hope like hell I'm not late to the Ward Churchill blogfront when the double super-secret findings of CU's Faculty Committee on Research Misconduct are made public. Pirate Ballerina, strangely, had all the facts and figures last week. It's not clear when the report will be
    released--supposedly this week, but the university's spokesperson said perhaps May 23 or later.

    Just for the heck of it, here's my guess: The Mandan will rise from their graves to nail Churchill, helped by the plucky anthropologist from Dalhousie. Churchill will be fired, sue (probably not in that order) and lose.

    I may be wrong about all that, of course, but not about this: CU will not "find that the allegations were not warranted and that the university should take steps to repair Churchill's reputation," as the Rocky put it the other day.

    But nobody cares what I think, including me. So I know! Let's ask Jim Paine! Do you dare, sir, to predict the results of the Churchill inquiry? How about your commenters? What are their guesses? I'd love to hear.

    Update: That is, from anyone but former Paine commenter "Snapple," who has proved to the Drunkablog's satisfaction (when he's not taking his meds) that Churchill murdered Jon Benet Ramsey.

    Update II: Paine comments and turns it over to his readers; Snapple asks to be taken seriously in a comment right here.

    Update III: More PB: Churchill's wife quits CU; university committee may release its findings Tuesday.

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Breaking News!

    Please click on the above image for readable enlargement. Thank you.


    Blog reporter extraordinaire


    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Further Beef

    More pics from the Buffalo River in Arkansas.

    Another waterfall. What was that? Did you say something? Oh, I've got lots more waterfall pictures, don't you worry about that, me fine Sonny Jim.

    Eeeeeeeeeek: A spider. It squatted on the mesh outside the tent and stared at the Drunkablog for hours that first rainy night as he (the D-blog) tried to read Glenn Reynolds' An Army of Davids. That's probably why he just wasn't getting into the book, though it might also have been the fact that Reynolds, while a great blogger, is a fairly flat writer. [Crickets.] Yup. A spider.

    Ming and Bubba belly up to a gravel bar. Canoeing tip: Bubba is wearing a "PFD" or "Personal Fartation Device." These ingenious but bulky machines break down potentially eco-hazardous human farts into their constituent elements, cheese and beer. Every serious canoeist should have one. (Yes, a fart joke. Look, conversation among people on river trips (men and women--ask the D-a-W) tends to drop almost immediately to the lowest common denominator, which is, of course, farts. It takes awhile to work back up to normal human conversation (some never fully recover the capacity for it.)

    Update: First Beefalo pics here. Collect all 17,000!

    Update II: That spider is freaking me out. Hell, I took the picture and I still have trouble with the illusion that he's inside the tent, ready to pounce. Just to descarify him, here's the original pic:

    Itsy-bitsy or teensy-weensy? You decide. In any case, he was
    just a l'il fella hiding from the rain.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    The world's best ever blogsitter

    Boy, did the Drunkablog make out on this deal. Caz of the fine Avatar Briefs went way beyond the call of non-duty, keeping this leaky little blog afloat by providing--free, gratis, and for nothing--the super-high-level yucks, neat pictures, and thought-provoking, er, thinking, that I'd grown addicted to on her own blog.

    Consider: In her first post Caz imitated the Drunkablog's schtick so perfectly (except she was, you know, funny) that he was rendered permanently superfluous; she informed you lamebrains of the benefits of direct transcranial stimulation, and sales of nine-volt batteries soared; she tested your knowledge of Australia, and you failed, miserably (D-blog freebie: part 2, question 4, the answer is "d."); she even, bless her heart, posted on Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple, pointing out quite entertainingly a certain doltishness in his recent behavior.

    Now that's good guest-blogging.

    There's no way I can properly thank Caz. I'd offer to return the favor and guest-blog for her, but she'd never be that crazy. Maybe I could offer to clean out her garage or something. All she'd have to do is cover my travel costs Denver to Melbourne. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Update: Uh-oh. I was afraid of this. As can be seen from the gratuitously provocative post below, Caz is attempting to foment revolution among D-blog readers (if any). Now for the suppressing and the crushing and the showwwww trials glavin!

    On the other hand ...

    Drunkablog is home and back to old form.

    But possession is nineteenths of the law, right?

    I’ll fight you for it, ‘eh?


    The better looking blogger

    First Beefalo

    Here's a batch (is four a batch?) of Buffalo River pictures. Yes it is I, the Drunkablog, who is making with the speak.

    The river was angry that day, my friends: looking downstream from the put-in just below Ponca bridge. The river was running high that day too, and it got higher--before we even had our boats loaded it had started to rain, again.

    Hello, hello, hello: The Drunkablog's fellow voyagers imitate him by wandering aimlessly and gaping at stuff (from left): The
    ubiquitous "Mr. B"; that old Arkansas Traveler (by way of Maui and Grosse Pointe), "Bubba"; and the evil leader of these expeditions, "Mingus Eye."

    A waterfall. (Well, duh.) With all the rain they were everywhere.

    Vultures: This picture should be considered foreshadowing.

    More later, obviously, along with various humorous stories about our struggle for survival on the Beefalo. You poor sods. For consolation, a link to the Stooges singing "Hello." No, not those Stooges.

    Update: Full fawn tomorrow, so suffice it for the moment to say that our good Caz is clearly a better blogger than I are. Also funnier. And smarter. And (no doubt) better looking. That she deigned to post at this war crime of a blog was an honor I can only strive to merit.

    Update II: Look, goddamnit, I said better looking.

    Update III: Earlier Beefalo posts here and here. Probably in other places too.

    Update IV, May 17: Howdy, Normatives!


    Any minute now the Drunka will be walking through the door and feasting and merriment will follow!

    Sure, he’s bound to be a bit wet and tired and grumpy, but a hallo of inspiration is certain to come rushing forth as he hits the keyboard to share his adventures and photographs from the canoeing trip.

    He’ll be reliving the glory days for years to come, so don’t feel under any pressure to read everything straight up, and none of that groveling business about being so damned relieved that he’s back and so damned happy that normal transmissions have resumed!

    I will leave you now, with this thought:


    “World’s Best Ever Blogsitter”

    Signing off


    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Virtually Impossible

    “Virtue means doing the right thing, in relation to the right person, at the right time, to the right extent, in the right manner, and for the right purpose. Thus, to give money away is quite a simple task, but for the act to be virtuous, the donor must give to the right person, for the right purpose, in the right amount, in the right manner, and at the right time.” Aristotle

    Waaay, too difficult. Bah, hooey to being virtuous!

    However, checking up on whether or not your neighbors, boyfriend, mother-in-law or employee has always been virtuous has become a much easier business, especially if they’ve served time in a Federal prison in the US. If people offer to give you their FBI identification number, well, it makes your search just a little bit quicker.

    You can “locate a Federal inmate” right now at the Federal Bureau of Prisons web site. On the other hand, if you have friends and loved ones currently in a US Federal prison, you can find out about visiting hours, conjugal visits, and read handy hints on how to behavior during visits, such as: “In most cases, handshakes, hugs, and kisses (in good taste) are allowed at the beginning and end of a visit.”

    Aussie Educational Interlude

    Drunka should be on his way home soon and I have almost totally missed an ideal opportunity to educate his readers about Australia.

    But we still have time!

    • Australians are strong, loyal, trustworthy, and fierce fighters. If for some unimaginable reason you don't own a gun, consider carrying an Australian in your holster instead.
    • Ayers' Rock is an incredibly huge rock that... well... it... um... that is... er... uh... anyway, it's really big, so don't make it angry.
    • Australia was originally a British penal colony for exiled thieves and murderers. It is not to be confused with France, which was originally a British penal colony for the cowardly and annoying.

    You can read more Totally True Tidbits About Australia at IMAO (Unfair. Unbalanced. Unmedicated).

    Once you’ve studied up on everything about us, please feel free to undertake the new Australian Citizenship Test – pinched holus bolus from Aussie blogger Sterne.

    Part One: Political Desirability

    1. Are you a terrorist?

    a) Yes.
    b) Sometimes.
    c) Only when I'm trying to impress my mates.
    d) None of the above.

    2. Are you a Muslim?

    a) Yes.
    b) Sometimes.
    c) Only when I'm trying to impress the religious secret police of the country my family and I are fleeing.
    d) None of the above.

    3. Have you ever attended any of the following events:

    a) Protest rally.
    b) Meeting with Osama bin Laden.
    c) Scout Jamboree.
    d) Filming of Rove Live.

    4. Which of the following phrases best describes you politically:

    a) Relaxed and comfortable.
    b) Pissed off and rioty.
    c) Former high-ranking official of brutal police state.
    d) Kim Beazley.

    Part Two: Ockerness

    1. Australia's greatest historical achievement is:

    a) Mateship.
    b) The Anzacs (mateship of).
    c) John Howard (everybody's mate).
    d) The ute (an Aussie bloke's best mate, aside from John Howard).

    2. Henry Lawson was a leading exponent of:

    a) Bush-themed doggerel.
    b) Chastity belts.
    c) Compulsory tertiary education for the higher apes.
    d) All of the above.

    3. Which of the following best describes your ideal holiday:

    a) A week in Bali shopping for pirate DVDs.
    b) Two weeks in Balie shopping for pirate DVDs.
    c) Twenty years in Bali shopping for pirate DVDs and serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking.
    d) Two nights in a caravan in Bairnsdale with a couple of pirates.

    4. Which of the following lines is not part of "Advance Australia Fair"

    a) "Australians all let us rejoice"
    b) "For we are young and free"
    c) "With golden soil and wealth for toil"
    d) "Get a dog up yer, ya cunts!"

    Part Three: Australian As She Is Spoke

    1. The phrase "Aussie Digger" refers to:

    a) A popular brand of shovel.
    b) A member of the Australian Imperial Force (1914-1919), particularly a member of the frontline infantry.
    c) Anybody who has ever served in the Australian armed forces, up to and including that fucking psychopath you went to high school with who had to join the army after the police rejected him when his psychological profile unfavourably compared him to Harvey Keitel's character in Bad Lieutenant.
    d) John Howard

    2. An "icy-pole" is:

    a) A pole. That is icy.
    b) An unfriendly person from Poland.
    c) Sex without love.
    d) A frozen confection.

    3. When speaking, country Australians generally do not move:

    a) Their lips.
    b) Their brains.
    c) Their bowels.
    d) All of the above.

    4. "Rex Hunt" is:

    a) A venereal disease.
    b) Something that smells like fish and rhymes with "punt".
    c) Annoying as all hell.
    d) All of the above.

    Congratulations on completing the Compulsory Australian Citizenship Quiz. Your answers will be processed sometime in the next decade. In the meantime, please enjoy the many exciting amenities of your razor-wire prison camp. Good luck!



    “World’s Best Ever Blogsitter”


    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Our relatives

    Never work with animals or children, as demonstrated by my post on the Bald Eagle, and then the pelicans ...

    It’s obvious that I shouldn’t attempt this, but I laugh in the face of danger and I sneer in defiance at homilies!

    We humans share around 25% of our genes with dandelions.

    Roughly half of all human genes are also shared with our close cousin the banana, a fact of commonality that is all too frequently quite obvious.

    We have in common with goldfish maybe 75% of our genome (or perhaps it’s only around 45%, I don’t remember). But worms – yes, definitely 75% are shared with wiggly worms.

    With our mousey relatives we share an average of 86.5% of our DNA.

    Are you getting the idea yet?

    The human gene flaunts itself everywhere and in everything; human genes are the ultimate floozies. Yet, we get all excited about this sluttish propensity of our genetic material; it even makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and connected to the universe.

    Our genes aren’t even as spectacularly copious as was once imagined. Before the genome mapping project scientists expected to find at least 100,000 unique genes, if not more. At project completion they’d found a paltry 31,000 genes.

    In Spain the Socialist Party has introduced a bill to include simians in the world of people. I’m not sure if they will be given the vote, but if the bill passes, one assumes that upon adulthood said simians will, indeed, be granted the vote, a drivers license and they will be permitted to drink alcohol – although not necessarily all three at the one time.

    The reason for this? Oh, come on, you’ve already guessed, haven’t you?

    We share 98.4% of our genes with chimpanzees, 97.7% with gorillas, and 96.4% with orangutans.

    The call to legislate simians into mainstream society stems too from The Great Apes Project, which demands fundamental human rights be extended to simians.

    Their declaration states:

    “We demand the extension of the community of equals to include all great apes: human beings, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans.”

    See, the problem is, in our obsessive need to feel all warm and fuzzy about the earth and all creatures under the sun, and how inter-related we all are, and in the political frenzy of insisting that “we’re all just the same” (or just a simian), the fact is, it’s not the sameness that matters, it’s the differences, the fraction of difference that is at the root of chasms that can never be crossed. But we’re not allowed to say that anymore; we haven’t been allowed to say it for decades.

    Differences, tiny differences, often matter more than the commonalities. Especially when it comes to genetics. But don’t say it out loud; don’t tell anyone: you're not allowed to. Which is a shame really, as the differences are magnificent, breathtaking, precious and endlessly fascinating.


    “World’s Best Ever Blogsitter”


    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Photographic Interlude

    As we all know, Drunka has a
    plethora – or pandemonium – of talents, one of which is photography. So, in Drunka’s honor, and for your viewing pleasure, the following photographs have been stolen from Harry, who, unwittingly, is our guest photographer in Drunka’s absence.

    While the first photograph was taken in Sydney, at Rose Bay, late last year, the subsequent photographs were taken in New York, quite recently. Harry, rather conveniently, moved to New York a few weeks ago. I’m not suggesting this was planned to coincide with Drunka’s trip or anything, I’m just saying that it worked out rather well, for us, that’s all.


    Man – At shops of Columbus Circle

    Oh really?

    Fifth Avenue

    With apologies to Harry – pics come up much better on his blog.

    You can see the pelicans better here. Yes, I like the pelicans, okay!


    “World’s Best Ever Blogsitter”