Playboy Foundation Announces the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards

Playboy Scientists:

The Playboy Foundation has just given a "First Amendment Award" to the Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood. Although ironic, the award is deserved. Aftergood publishes Secrecy News, occasionally cited by Grim's Hall, a publication that works to keep the citizens as informed as is reasonable and legal about the projects the government classifies. While respecting the need to protect such secrecy when American lives and interests are at stake, SN also believes that the citizens have a duty to be aware of, and therefore able to control, the government's activities. As I agree with that sentiment completely, I congratulate Mr. Aftergood on his newfound award.

Yahoo! Mail -

In Iraq:

It's short both in length and detail, but the Naval news has a clip from the commander of the 2/2 Marines, 1MARDIV, I MEF. He says:

These Marines work under incredibly austere conditions, under the constant threat of lethal engagement, and they make miracles happen. Because of that, I know we're winning the fight against Terrorism. I know it because of that, and because I see it in the eyes of the Iraqi children.
Just a sound bite, of course, but it's good to know he feels that way.

Hat tip to JHD, who has been sending lots of emails loaded with good stuff lately. I'm still in the midst of moving, so light posting for a few more days.

UPDATE: The piece has moved to a new location. You can also find the archive of all past news videos if you like.

Getting Out the Vote:

Getting Out the Vote:

Everyone knows it's an election year, and everyone probably remembers what happened to military absentee ballots in 2000. For those causes, the USMC has established a voting homepage for Marines and those interested in USMC issues. Any of you who are planning to vote by absentee ballot will find all the necessary forms and information there. Vote early, and read the FAQ to make it as hard as possible for certain officials to have your ballots disqualified.

Hat tip to JarHeadDad, who is doing Yeoman work in keeping us all on the ball about these issues. Thanks for that.

DefenseLINK News: New Commands in Iraq to Replace Combined Joint Task Force

Keeping Things Straight:

Now that we have two new commands in Iraq instead of CJTF-7, how are we going to keep them straight in our heads? It's worse since they have such similiar names: Multinational Corps Iraq and Multinational Force Iraq.

Kimmitt explained that Multinational Corps Iraq will focus on the tactical fight -- the day-to-day military operations and the maneuvering of the six multinational divisions on the ground. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz will command the corps. Meanwhile, Multinational Force Iraq will focus on more strategic aspects of the military presence in Iraq, such as talking with sheiks and political leaders, and on training, equipping and fielding Iraqi security forces.
So, to recap, the Corps will be doing most of the fighting. Hmm... maybe that won't be so hard to remember after all. :)


The Belmont Club:

I'm finally getting around to doing what I should have done a while ago. I'm adding the Belmot Club to the top of the "Other Halls" list. Wretchard's is some of the best thinking out there on Iraq and elsewhere, and his analysis has been excellent at least since the start of the siege of Fallujah. I have mostly posted links to the things he writes with which I disagree, but it's worth noting that all of what he says is of high value.

Today he has several pieces that are worthwhile. I especially liked the reference to Greenmantle. I read Greenmantle while living in the People's Republic of China. The PRC pretty much bans English-language fiction written more recently than a century ago. As a result, during my time there I read a lot of classics that I hadn't gotten around to before--Moby Dick, Greenmantle and The Thirty-Nine Steps, the Arabian Nights, some of Shakespeare, and a lot of other things too. It was extremely valuable being cut off from popular culture for so long.

Greenmantle is a candid look at the mindset of First-World-War Britian. It was written by a fellow, John Buchan, who was the Tom Clancy of his day. It's filled with what John Derbyshire calls "the same mixture of disgust, paternalism, and respect that one finds in Kipling -- that was, in fact, normal among thoughtful, humane Englishmen at the height of the Empire." At first it strikes a modern American as ugly, encompassed as we are in a culture that forbids expression of disgust for cultural differences. Perhaps because I encountered it while living myself in a foreign nation, dealing each day with the clash of cultures, I came to appreciate what was indeed humane and valuable in that attitude. It's almost a necessary stance, if you're going to be able to deal respectfully with people whose culture includes and encourages things your own finds repulsive--including, especially, the treatment of women.