How Much Did they Drink?

Medieval Life, or, Another Argument for the Dogged Preservation of Tradition:

Here is an article from the University of Adelaide on Medieval drinking as a part of the daily diet:

Three examples of temperance from the sixteenth century make the exceptions that prove the rule. The Venetian Alvise Cornaro promoted temperance in word and deed. He wrote a book, Discourses in favour of a sober life, in which he advocated a diet of extreme renunciation, confirmed by his own example; he drank only not quite .4 of a liter of wine a day, which is more than half a modern bottle of wine. In The Life of the Duke of Newcastle, written by his wife, the duke received praise for his temperance; she wrote, "In his diet, he is so sparing and temperate, that he never eats nor drinks beyond his set proportion." His set proportion was three glasses of beer and two of wine a day. The final exception to prove the rule was a temperance society founded at Hesse in 1600. Its members agreed to restrict their drinking to seven glasses of wine with each meal.
A temperence society even I could consider joining. But what of those who were not living the sober life, but merely one of monastic relinquishment?
In medieval England the normal monastic allowance was one gallon of good ale per day, often supplemented by a second gallon of weak ale.
"Saint George for Merry England" indeed!

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IRNA Says We Got Him:

The Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, is one of the state propaganda--er, news--outfits in Iran. They are reporting as of yesterday that Osama bin Laden has been captured. As the story points out, IRNA was the first to report the capture of Saddam.

The spin they're putting on the story can be set aside--i.e., that we captured UBL 'long ago' and that he's being held as a propaganda stunt for the November elections. IRNA is an official state agency backed by the best intelligence service in the region, though. If they've learned of UBL's capture, they might be trying to "get out ahead" of the story by putting up false rumors of evil US/Bush motives.

It's also possible that they're wrong, of course, or spreading disinformation. This is a particularly explosive kind of disinformation for that region, though. I'd put the chances of them having information that makes them believe the capture to be true at better than 1 in 2. The odds of it being correct information are longer, but Iranian intelligence is very good within their region.

Second defendant takes stand in paintball terror trial

Shameful Charges:

I am fully in support of hanging traitors. The government of the United States, however, had better be damned sure of itself before it charges a former Marine with anti-American conspiracies.

A former Marine who traveled to a militant Islamic camp in Pakistan in 2001 testified Wednesday that he came home after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks because his country was under attack.

Seifullah Champman, 31, of Alexandria, one of three men on trial in federal court for an alleged conspiracy to aid the Taliban and fight U.S. troops, took the stand in his own defense Wednesday.
Acquaintances of Chapman who testified for the government during the three-week trial have said they also attended the Lashkar camp at various times in 2000 and 2001 and considered the camp a training ground for holy war around the globe. Some witnesses have said they traveled to Lashkar after the Sept. 11 attacks with the specific goal of training to join the Taliban and fight U.S. troops.

Chapman, though, testified that he viewed the Lashkar camp as a recreation opportunity, to hike through some of the world's tallest mountains and enjoy the scenery.

He compared the Pakistani mountains to U.S. mountain ranges, saying "over here the colors are browns and greens. Over there it's blues and grays. It's a once in a lifetime thing."

He acknowledged that he spent several days training to use weapons and taking target practice, but said he asked to transfer to a different part of the camp where they engaged in strenuous hikes.

While other witnesses testified that they saw blatant anti-American posters and writings at the Lashkar camp, Chapman said he saw none of that and that he had been unaware of Lashkar's anti-American leanings.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Gordon Kromberg expressed disbelief that Chapman had traveled across the world to attend the Lashkar camp with such a limited understanding of the organization. For instance, Chapman told Kromberg he never visited Lashkar's Web site, which depicted a dagger piercing the American flag.

Chapman, who was raised a Catholic but converted to Islam while serving as a corporal in the Marine Corps, was at the Lashkar camp on Sept. 11, 2001, when he heard radio reports of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

His reaction upon hearing the news was that it was "time to come home. The people who were running the camp, I told them I'm leaving."

He said the Lashkar officials understood his reaction and provided a guide who escorted him down the mountain, and another Lashkar member helped him arrange an expedited flight to the United States.

He said he wanted to return to America because of "fear for my family, and my country was under attack."

Asked if he ever intended to use his Lashkar training in holy war against India or the United States, Chapman said, "Never."

Prosecutors do not dispute that Chapman bore no hostile intentions against the United States, but they argue he illegally provided material support to Lashkar, a terrorist group.
Now, there are lots of Marine and former Marine readers here. Put yourself in the situation: it's before 9/11. There has never been an Islamist terrorist attack on American soil. You're out of the Corps, have developed the taste for adventure, and you get a chance to go hiking with one of the old mujahedeen groups that the CIA used to back in the good old days of the Cold War. The camp has beautiful scenery, and the chance to bust a few caps out of some recovered Soviet firearms. Sound good to you? Yeah, me too.

The government admits openly that they don't believe this Marine had anything but patriotic intentions toward the USA. He's just an adventure tourist. They want to prosecute him for having ties to this terrorist group, but the government itself has had ties to it for two decades and more.

This man is a sworn servant of his country, the same as you and I. He showed his patriotism: when America was attacked, he came home right away to serve in her defense. The state should be ashamed for how it treats him. Semper Fidelis ought to work both ways.

Curious about Gay Marriage?

A lot of people seem to be. If you're looking for vigorous debate, FreeSpeech seems the place to be. There are advocates on all sides, arguing a number of points. Del's done a good job of providing a meeting ground for various ideologies, and a lot of pure individuals as well. It's worth looking over, although it's as chaotic as a Western-movie barfight just now.



Doc Russia--the poor fellow is getting a lot attention here today--had a post a while ago about Corpsmen. For those of you who don't know, they are Navy medical men who serve with the USMC, which has no medical corps of its own. They are beloved by all Marines, and they deserve to be.

Doc in the Box is one such, and has a new blog. I welcome him to the links section, under "Other Halls," to the right and down.

e-Prints - Military Analysis

Special Operations:

Quite a few papers have been turned out lately on the post-9/11 role of Special Operations forces. A partial list, with links to the documents, can be found here. Many are from the Army and Navy War Colleges, but others are from places as diverse as George Washington University and the school at Ft. Leavenworth.

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Service Mettle)

Kerry's Medals:

Doc Russia had been asking some questions about this earlier. It appears that Snopes has been looking into it, and gives Kerry a clean bill of health based on what he's seen. I haven't been able to find out more than this through official channels, so I'd credit Snopes' reporting until and unless something new emerges.

Hat tip: Free Speech. - Politics - Kerry Sends Angry Letter To Bush

What did he say?

From Atlanta, we have an astonishing story:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has sent a letter to President George W. Bush, accusing him of using the painful topic of Vietnam for his "personal political gain.
Let's review for a moment this article from the Washington Post:
"Vietnam" in and of itself has become a rock star brand within Kerry's apparent juggernaut for the Democratic presidential nomination. It is shorthand for Kerry's machismo, his foreign policy credentials and his refusal to succumb to the "Republican smear machine" -- ingredients in the magic dust that many believe will make him the most electable Democrat against President Bush.

"This man knows John Kerry from Vietnam," said Virginia state Sen. Henry Marsh of Vietnam vet Del Sandusky of Elgin, Ill., who would introduce Kerry in Richmond, as he has at many rallies across the country. There were more knowing nods and affirming cheers, both for the men -- Kerry and Sandusky -- and for the asset itself, Vietnam.

Sandusky credits Kerry, the commanding officer on a Navy swift boat, with saving his life. He sanctified Kerry as a "great American." A man in the crowd with a "Veterans for Kerry" sticker on his baseball cap screamed him one better: "The greatest American! He proved it in Vietnam!"

Vietnam is Kerry's best offense and defense: He was there, Bush wasn't. And if the Republicans deride him -- when they deride him -- as a "Massachusetts liberal," Vietnam will be his patriotic armor.