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February 10, 2010

Reading is Fundamental

It helps one avoid prodigious acts of self beclownment like this:

Stop Panicking, Liberals writes Cassandra at Villainous Company in response to Sullivan...

My post is here. Note that nowhere in the post - nowhere - do I refer to "liberals" or "panic". Nor do I imply that "liberals" are "panicking".

What I do say is that if you want to make the spurious claim that someone "waterboarded" a child, it is generally helpful to know what waterboarding actually consists of and even more helpful if the facts in the story support this claim... which they don't:

Tabor spoke to a Yelm police officer and said that he and his girlfriend had “held her down on the counter and submerged her head into the water three or four times until the water came around her forehead and jawline.” He said that she was face-up when her head was in the water. He added that they gave this punishment for the 4-year-old “refusing to say her letters.”

Now I may not be the brightest light bulb in the old knife drawer, so perhaps someone at the Atlantic can explain to me how one simulates drowning when every orifice capable of admitting water to the lungs is out of the water? Think about it for a second. I'll wait.

Of course none of this matters if the question is, "Is this man accused of abusing his child by handling her so roughly that she was covered in bruises, and also of intentionally exploiting a phobia?" It does matter - very much - if you insist upon calling her abuse "waterboarding" because the whole purpose of waterboarding is to reproduce the actual physical sensation of drowning. And I've never yet heard of a person who drowned without having water enter their nose and/or mouth. It's just not possible, even for the wordsmiths at the Atlantic.

Unless, of course, we want to redefine drowning too. But writers who are untroubled by making things up out of whole cloth are unlikely to be troubled by something as trivial as making up entirely new meanings for words.


Posted by Cassandra at February 10, 2010 11:39 AM

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I wonder if Keller's tinfoil resonated with just the right frequency such that he heard "Reading is Fundamental... BOY!

Posted by: bthun at February 10, 2010 12:22 PM

They (Liberal/Progressives), may be running low on intelligent, educated and attractive women to belittle. At least don't get caught writing on the palms of your hand...

Posted by: vet66 at February 10, 2010 02:54 PM

Came across this at Lex's blog. I drew the short straw of bringing your attention to it.

Ed. Note: fixed now :)

Posted by: RonF at February 10, 2010 04:53 PM

Howdy RonF, I hate to point it out, but your this is no linky good...

BTW: Since you are active in the Boy Scouts, I figure you may know that the American Legion magazing has a good deal of info on Scouting and the support given by the Legion to the Boy Scouts in this month's issue. OK, if you didn't know, here's a pointer for an FYI.

Happy Birthday Boy Scouts.

Posted by: bthun at February 10, 2010 05:08 PM

Thanks, Ron. Will read.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 10, 2010 05:15 PM

The Sons squadron at our Post hosted a special dinner in honor of Boy Scouts 100th birthday/anniversary last Friday. The commander (a young, ambitious college student) did a very good job on it.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 10, 2010 07:22 PM

Thanks for the BSA links! My first year in Scouting as a youth was during the 50th anniversary. I spent the evening of the Centennial at our District's annual Recognition Dinner. As District Commissioner I was an "honored guest", but I got to actually honor some people by handing out some awards later on. Two of them were to people I've been active with. One of them was the man I started our Scout Troop with.

He's been with us since the very first Troop meeting. He drives the truck and trailer, gets the gear fixed, works with the kid and never looks for attention. He's been to every campout and meeting but since he pretty much confines his activities to the unit (instead of doing things like running training courses or working at the District or Council level) no one knows who he is. So I decided it was time he got some recognition. He's not real comfortable in front of crowds, but that's O.K. - I did all the talking, spent some time telling them what he's done and made sure that all the suits knew what a real Scouter looks like.

Posted by: RonF at February 10, 2010 11:58 PM

At the dinner this past Friday, one of the Scout Masters had to have been a WWII vet. I didn't get to talk to him, but he was there with his Scout uniform on...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 11, 2010 12:25 AM

Honorary Brigade Mom of the Arctic Wolves, serving from Fort Wainwright Alaska, who served in Iraq, including Track Palin.

Happy Birthday Sarah Palin, "Happiness Is A Warm Gun Momma"


Posted by: keyboard jockey at February 11, 2010 11:08 AM

Technically quite a few have died from drowning without water entering via mouth or nose.

Posted by: Argent at February 11, 2010 08:42 PM


I'll take your word for it :p No explanation or evidence required.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 11, 2010 08:54 PM

Fears an explanation that might include some variation on the Π Δ jετς Fraternity initiation ritual of alcohol ingestion via enem... Ah, never mind*

Posted by: Bluto Blutarsky at February 11, 2010 09:09 PM

lol you are a smart lady so I left it to you. The flu is an example. In this case the fluid forms in the lungs.

Posted by: Argent at February 11, 2010 09:34 PM

I could be mistaken but, I've never heard of a doctor refer to the flu and afflictions such as pulmonary edema as drowning. I've even had a pretty severe case of pleurisy, including excessive fluid in the lungs, following major surgery. Never once during that miserable time did the doctors tell me I was drowning.

I suspect that not even County Coroner Forrest Gump would document that a person who succumbed to the flu or pulmonary edema died from drowning.

On second thought, our gub'ment seizes wealth, increases taxes and regulations, spends US taxpayer monies with foreign firms and calls it stimulus. And darned if a certain percentage of the population don't agree. *looks around desk for BillyBob Jefferson Clinton First Edition Dictionary & Thesaurus set*

Yup, I'd bet that even George Orwell would be dazed and amazed when considering the quality and quantity of Newspeak being babbled these days.

Come to think of it, this tack is not dissimilar to a graduate from the Curly Howard School of Critical Thinking claiming that some sick bastage who held a small child down in a sink full of water was "water boarding" the child as per the CIA instruction manual".

Posted by: bt_CurmudgeonsЯUS_hun at February 12, 2010 09:17 AM

It's difficult in a hysterical polemical atmosphere to keep attention focused on calling things by their right names and assigning blame to the actual wrongs that were done, rather than to other crimes that they may superficially resemble. I've always disliked arguments along the lines of, "Well, what he did was as bad as terrorism. In fact, isn't what he did the true terrorism, just as much as what Hamas is doing, if not worse?" It's a statement that makes sense if the bad guy in question was acting in secret to spring violence on an unsuspecting noncombatant for the express purpose of making a political point via inspiring terror. It's not a statement that makes sense if the bad guy in question was doing a very bad thing that does not, in fact, have anything to do with terrorism.

It can't be helpful to start using words like "terrorist" and "Nazi" and "child molester" as all-purpose insults.

Words can't easily describe my horror at the idea of a father who would exploit his daughter's phobia of drowning as a disciplinary tool at a time when he had clearly lost his temper, if not his mind. But it's child-abuse, not torture of military or espionage prisoners. And calling one by the name of the other is just a cheap way of saying, "See, the waterboarders are exactly the same as crazy dirtbag fathers who abuse and traumatize their own very young, defenseless children" -- but without being able to back up such a ridiculous claim with logic or fairness.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 15, 2010 11:45 AM

"It's difficult in a hysterical polemical atmosphere to keep attention focused on calling things by their right names and assigning blame to the actual wrongs that were done, rather than to other crimes that they may superficially resemble."
That, IMHO, should be inscribed on a brass plate, affixed to a walnut, desktop plaque, and distributed to all folks upon graduation from...
middle school.

A lesson learned the earlier, the better.

Ahhhh, what a wonderful world it would be.

Posted by: bthun at February 15, 2010 06:17 PM