Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Galloping Ghost

On the eve of another unheralded anniversary, I'm going to indulge my fascination with military history once more, and take a trip back. A history that an ever-decreasing few lived through, and retain forever seared in their memories and their shared experiences with their living and departed comrades.

There are many such stories, 65 years old now. This is one, lost among the more heralded stories, that I felt worth revisiting. I wish to acknowledge here that the great bulk of my ability to pay tribute to this story comes about thanks to the memoirs of Capt. W. G. Winslow (Ret) and his superb books The Fleet The Gods Forgot and The Ghost That Died At Sunda Strait, recommended reads both.

The USS Houston (CL 30, later CA 30) was launched on September 7, 1929, at Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned on June 17, 1930. Classified a "heavy" cruiser, she sported a main battery of nine 8" guns in three independent turrets, along with eight 5" dual purpose (surface target or anti-aircraft) guns, as well as four quadruple mounts of 1.1" anti-aircraft guns and eight .50 caliber machine guns. She weighed in fully laden at about 14,000 tons, and possessed a top speed of at or just under 35 knots. For the time, she was an up-to-date, first-class fighting ship.

Such was her trim, stately and aggressive appearance, none other than the Commander-in-Chief, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, embarked aboard her for four different cruises, between 1934 and 1939. For a period of time -- September to December, 1938 -- she was the flagship of the US Fleet in the Pacific; with her deployment to the Philippines in November of 1940, she became the flagship of the US Asiatic Fleet.

So she was, on the morning of December 7, 1941, and would remain until the end. An end that came on the morning of March 1, 1942, in a distant place known as Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra. Of her 1015 officers and crew embarked, only 360 survived to be captured by the Japanese.

Only 285 of them would live to see home again.

In her brief but courageous war career, the Japanese reported having sunk the USS Houston so often, her defiant crew nicknamed her "The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast". Granted, the Japanese weren't far from wrong once: on February 4, 1942, the Houston and other ships were enroute to engage enemy naval forces when Japanese aircraft attacked in force. It was here that the gunnery officer of the Houston discovered that many of the 5" shells in their magazines were faulty; Houston took an aerial bomb through her Number Three turret, killing 48 and wounding 50. But due to excellent training and damage control response, Houston survived. Again on February 15, Japanese aircraft attacked the Houston and the ships she was escorting (transports carrying troops); on this occasion, with a fresh supply of newer 5" shells aboard (from the USS Boise), the anti-aircraft fire put up by the Houston was so accurate and intense that not one Japanese bomb scored on any ship in the convoy.

On the fateful day of February 26, 1942, Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman set forth to intercept the large Japanese invasion forces reported approaching the island of Java. His ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) combined force consisted of the Houston; the British heavy cruiser Exeter; the Australian light cruiser Perth; the Dutch light cruisers De Ruyter (with Doorman embarked) and Java; and ten destroyers (four American, four British, two Dutch). Supporting the Japanese invasion forces were at least four heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and at least 13 destroyers, though this strength was not known by Doorman or the men under his command.

From contact in the late afternoon of February 26, until well after dark, the Battle of the Java Sea didn't go well for the ABDA Fleet: Exeter was badly damaged by shell fire, and forced to withdraw; De Ruyter and Java were mortally hit by torpedoes and sunk; three destroyers were also sunk. Reports of damage to the Japanese combatant ships was confused and disputed, but the bottom line was that the troop transports of the Japanese invasion fleet, headed for the island of Java, went untouched.

In Doorman's last moments (before he went down with the De Ruyter), he ordered Houston and Perth to withdraw.

On the afternoon of February 28, Houston and Perth were ordered to clear the area via Sunda Strait, and join up with other ABDA naval forces south of Java. Erroneously, the captains of both vessels were assured that aerial reconnaissance had verified no hostile vessels were within a day of Sunda Strait.

At 2315, as the two ships approached the eastern end of the Strait, lookouts discovered how inaccurate the intelligence report had been: before them lay the Japanese invasion force, heavily supported by the aforementioned (and previously engaged) cruisers and destroyers.

Houston and Perth had no choice; they went to Battle Stations and attempted to fight their way through.

Japanese screening forces filled the waters with torpedoes, attempting to protect the transports; in the process, they hit and sank several of their own ships, as well as provided Houston and Perth with plenty of help in illuminating targets for their ships' guns, which carried out a savage execution of an enemy on all sides.

But the lopsided melee could only have one outcome: at 0020 on the morning of March 1, 1942, the dead-in-the-water HMAS Perth went down fighting, taking more than half her crew, including her commanding officer, H. M. L. Waller. At 0030, shortly after giving the order to abandon his own mortally-wounded ship, Captain Albert Rooks, USS Houston, was killed by a shellburst. At 0035, with a few guns still firing in a vain but courageous attempt to cover the survivors abandoning her, and with her flags flying, the USS Houston joined Perth at the bottom of Sunda Strait.

Houston and Perth didn't stop the Japanese invasion of Java, but they died giving it their best try. Later, several survivors revealed that Japanese interrogators refused to believe that only two Allied cruisers had been present, since 15 Japanese ships (they claimed) had been sunk during the battle.

That was 65 years ago. Today, as then, the spirit, courage and sacrifice of the USS Houston and her intrepid crew deserves tribute and remembrance.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

America's Passtime

Yeah, I know: a sizeable segment of the population is getting their panties in a wad. MLB spring training has begun.


I'm not among them; I'm not a baseball fan. To more than a few of you, that last was akin to rank heresy, I'm sure.

Baseball just never caught my fancy the way the NFL did when I was growing up (and some argue I still am). It's not that I haven't tried to be entertained thus: over the years, I've watched a tad of it on TV. Been to a few (very few) games. The last game I attended about 20 years ago -- between the tickets, hotdog and beer -- I found woulda been better spent taking her to a fine dining restaurant, only to get the same standard "you're nice, but nice guys are boring" at the end of the evening (as I got after the ballgame). On top of that, I didn't eat half as well, got beer spilled on me by some drunken yutz behind me, and the home team got shellacked 15-2.

My own career in baseball/softball was comparably unimpressive. At my father's insistence, I did the Little League thing one summer; it sucked. So did I. I was well-versed on the intricacies of catching that weird-shaped pigskin; I looked more like a member of Charlie Brown's team when it came to fielding and hitting.
In fact, I should have learned a lesson as the ball got smaller, and made the correlation with golf, but I didn't and I digress.

I was a tad better with softball; I even got suckered into playing it on a couple of pseudo-competitive leagues at different times after high school, as well as a few challenge matches with other work-place departments and one local law enforcement agency. In that last, my stellar moment came when I threw out a sheriff's deputy as he motored toward second base. A right field rocket, right behind his right ear. He went down like a sack of grain. I was quickly chastised that "putting someone out wasn't meant literally".

Years later, I still drive with one eye over my shoulder in that particular county. with another sport I dyslove -- basketball -- baseball and I don't dance. I have been known to listen to it on the car radio, when the choice is between that and white noise. White noise wins when I'm trying to take a nap, but while driving that's not such a good option.
So it follows that while fan anticipation for the upcoming season and the Colorado Rockies prospects is on the rise, I *yawn*. The Rockies, in their 12/13/whatever-it-is years career, have made the playoffs once and were eliminated on that occasion in the first round. Since then, they've been the equivalent of a free spot on a bingo card in the NL West (and elsewhere).
This year -- like the last few years -- the talk and anticipation is of a "more competitive, exciting Colorado Rockies" team. A team that tends to pick a month or two to self-destruct, and then does so with gusto.
To be fair and brutally honest here, my criticism isn't based on "what I could do better than" the coaches or players; I, on my best day in my youth, couldn't compete at that level with their worst player on his worst day, period. No, I'd have a better chance in a game with the MLB mascots. Whatever my deficiencies of age, I still have arm enough to throw out the San Diego Chicken.
At a base or behind the ear.
So while yall get excited with the upcoming MLB season, I'll just pass time and patiently suffer through until July.
And the start of NFL training camp.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Pernicious Privy

April Fools' is a month and a half off, yet I think someone's getting an early start on me. Eh; if they can ignore the calendar, so can I.

Just when I am beyond convinced that there is no trick left, no ploy unplayed, no twist or turn left for a Nigerian 419 email scammer to throw in my general comes out of waaaay left field with something that demands my warped attention.

It's not that the scam in and of itself holds anything new and unique: I've seen this general format many times before. It isn't the methodology that stands out; pretty (sub)standard approach. It isn't the geographic location from where it is allegedly originating; I get a lot of 419 crapola from (or purported to be from) the UK.

Nope; it's the name chosen by the scammer that made me glad I wasn't ingesting a beverage when I first perused it.

Mr. Clean John. (

That's not a typo. He repeats it throughout the pitch. Allow me to share a part and parcel of it:

From the Desk of Mr. Clean.John
NATWEST Bank London 4-7 Court
Buston Road London WC3 8NX UK


I am Mr. Clean.John, the head (my emphasis, not his) of accounts and treasury NATWEST Bank of London. With due respect I have decided to contact you on a business that will be very beneficial to both of us at the end (*snort*) of the transaction which demands urgent attention.

He goes on to explain how a German National by the last name of Schranner and his entire family was killed in a plane crash (probably when the plane's toilet hit them at impact), leaving behind some $25 Million in US Dollars (of course; never get killed by a flying dunny in a plane crash without a bank account flush with them US Dollars), and that time is fast approaching that the money will be confiscated by the bank. Unless we take a hand now.

Then he gets around to asking me three key questions:

Can (my emphasis again) you handle this project?
Can I give you this trust?
What will be your commission?

And then there's the usual secrecy clause and "need for urgency with this transaction", yada, yada, yada.

Concluded with Yours Faithfully, Mr. Clean.John

My first thought -- after the *snorting* episode ended -- was, "what a turd".


Witness the following reply (de)composed to Mr. Clean.John, from his prospective partner in getting the business; and wonder, like me, if he'll reply to it:

Dear Clean & Scrubbed John:

"Can I handle this project"?

To use an old cliche, does a bear defecate in the woods?

The mere fact you sent me this email suggests that you harbor few doubts as to my viability for this project. My analysis of your moving effort to wipe my slate clean for the corpse kraut Schmuckenheimerdingerthingee reveals a desire on your part to get to the seat of the issue quickly, accept no tissue of falsehoods, and not strain to accomplish the objective in a manure you think will be lucrative.

There can be but little doubt that if we avoid a critical waste of time, we'll soon be flush with success as anyone could be, what with the poopload of cash you're talking about here. A very charmin amount, indeed.

The sooner we begin movement on this, the sooner we can get dunny.

As for my notion of fees, seize the moment now and we'll worry about my just commission when we're all dung.

Before you get into the bowels of this arrangement, I would be curious to know how you came to select me specifically. With your explanation, I shall see myself clear to acommodeiate you in the manure you are deserving of.

And of course, I will maintain the secrecy you've made me privy to, most assuredly.

Finally, if not totally germaine to this issue, you will remember to wash your hands before you eat, right?


Mr. Pernicious T. Urd

Whaddaya think? Think he'll write back? Or have I had the last turd on this?

*ducking throwd items*

Acronym Dysfunctional

Okay, I admit it: I am not terribly up on acronyms, especially those used on IM chat and text messaging. But I don't limit my ignorance to those areas; I can be kinda dense* when it comes to high tech computer acronyms, too.
I have an acquaintance who is highly-placed with the Denver Better Business Bureau. She forwards me emails about various scams that cross her PC, often containing her own FYI comments, laced with her own endearing, incisive wit.

For example, a recent forward from her -- titled All BBBs: WiFi and ID Theft -- had this as the basic substance of the email: We have a unique question from a print reporter working on a story for this weekend. He wants to know the risk of identity theft via a WiFi network. Does anyone have anything they can share? he claims he's heard of complaints of ID theft and the victim blames the WiFi network. My first thought was, the theft was likely due to the website visited or the lack of anti virus protection on the pc. Anything you know would be greatly appreciated.

Responded one BBBer: IDT from WiFi is all too real and very often involves a technique called "War Driving" Unfortunately the practice is spreading and the knuckleheads who do this stuff are only too happy to share all their techniques. Airports and other WiFi places are hot spots for getting into wireless nets and stealing information. Equipment to do tit is readily available.

Responded another BBBer: I ADORE using the word "knucklehead". Of course, for me, it is a euphemism for asshole (oops. How not very seasoned and sage of me!).

Which drew this response from a prior BBB responder: LOL. You know The Code! An FBI buddy taught it to me. It comes in very handy when addressing groups of schoolchildren or little old ladies. For some reason asshole gets the old gals upset and the kids giggle uncontrollably. Go figure. I'd say anyone who knows The Code is seasoned (OK, salty) and sage.

In sending me this email forward, my BBB friend didn't expect any action on my part regarding the message; it was just an FYI that she so graciously sent to me, in case I'm a user of WiFi (and so should you be, if you make use of WiFi when working, travelling, anythinging).

Then, like a bird house once dun, it 'hit' me: a 'user' of WiFi? *TOING*

Despite my monumental ignorance of many things high-tech, that was one acronym I had a sort-of grasp of. But not one to let a basic understanding get in the way of providing her with a "knucklehead" response sure to having her shaking her head, I fired back this:

I don't use runs against my upbringing to consider using a WiFi. Horsefeathers...I don't have a WiFi, having been a life-long bachelor. If I had a WiFi, I can't conceive of "using" my WiFi. It would seem that using a WiFi would probably get me in trouble with all kinds of rights groups. Now, if I had a WiFi, perhaps it'd be wise to work WITH and not USE her, but this seems a no-brainer to even a thrice-concussed, questionable-brainer like moi. I mean, having to divorce a WiFi is expensive and has all kinds of long-term fiscal and psychological issues attendant. And why should one be scandalized by a loyal WiFi who'd help lowlifes commit against their SpouSi identity theft?

Or am I misreading this, and this is some kind of computer tech acronym for wireless computer systems? If so, please disregard the opening salvo.

In immediate retrospect, I saw the error of my acronyms, and added this postscript with a follow up email:

I are such a my last response to the WiFi thang, I should have used -- in place of SpouSi -- a more fitting and sequitur acronym, "HuBi".

My bad.

I don't know if my BBB pal then shared my (un)learned response with her cohorts; but I'm sure that if she did, more than a few considered me one of her referenced "knuckleheads".

And not without justification ;-)

* especially when I can use it for laughs

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day and Enya

Perhaps you're wondering how I'm going to correlate the two. Then again with me being single, it doesn't matter if I pull it off or not; it's my dog house, whether I'm in it or not.

Back in '05, I listed a twenty-five favored-songs list of mine, wherein the late and adored Karen Carpenter figured highly. Approaching 24 years after she left us prematurely, I can still sit back in a mellow mode, put her music on, close my eyes and imagine she's singing just to me.

Which isn't hard for me to do; remember, I imagine I have a talking pet rock and plutonium snow shovel. Where it's a physical stretch, I have my limits; where it's a mental stretch, I have almost none.

When it's mellow music listening time, I can have that reach with Enya, too. When she sings over my music system, it's just to me.

We can discuss deluded imaginations another time.

Her Watermark and Day Without Rain albums are my two favorites of hers so far; songs like A Day Without Rain, Only Time, Pilgrim, Sunset Dreams and Watermark really hit the spot when I want to mellow down and do a wee bit of escaping from whatever it is I feel the need to escape from. But there is one song in particular on her album from 2000, A Day Without Rain, that, every time I hear it, touches me the same way that listening to Karen Carpenter's For All We Know or It's Yesterday Once More does: I melt. This particular song is titled and sung -- as some of her selections are -- in Irish, or so I gather. The song is Deora ar mo chori:

Ba dheas an la go oiche
Na glortha binne I mo thaobh
'S aoibhnease I gach ait gan gruaim
Athas ar mo chroi go deo

Ma shiulaim o na laetha beo
An ghrain 's an ghealach ar mo chul
Nil uaim ach smaointe o mo shaoil
Deora ar mo chroi go bron

It's short. Simple. And penetrates to the soul, like a soothing caress. Just the kinda song I could sit and listen to while melting with a Valentine ;-)

For those of you what have 'em...the next move is yours. And no, that's not an invitation; I'm still on the shelf.

At any rate, that's my correlation and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Lust, American Style

Wedded bliss.

Beats me what it is; never been there myself. At this point, I doubt it's in the cards for me, either. But it sure seems to befuddle a lot of other folks, too; many of which who have or thought they had been there, once.

I've seen lots of situations stumble over the years, among friends and acquaintances. On occasion, such leave me shaking my head between regret (for friends), wry amusement or mild astonishment. Of course, the old " let he who is without sin cast the first stone" thing rings in my ear before I get too critical: I have (and occasionally still) pull a few that leave me wondering where my head was at the time.

The picture at the right probably answers that to a tee, but I digress.

I have a friend, one I've known for at least 25 years. She was a shirt-tailed young teen when we first met; we met via acquaintance with her older sisters and the soon-to-be husband of one of them. She was spunky, ornery, fun-loving and competitive. She found my sense of humor to it was she found it to be (her older sister referred to it, and still does, as my "case of squirrels"). She never, ever referred to me by my first name; she always called me by my last name.

As time went on, I got to watch her grow up and blossom into a very attractive young woman who retained her spunky, fun-loving competitive spark, with a penchant for calling me by my last name. One of the more amusing things I got to do was, at her request, teach her to shoot a handgun: she turned out to be Annie Oakley with a sharp-eyed sense of humor. Frequently, at least one of her six shot pattern went to a place that made male silhouette targets the world over wince in horror.

She apparently knew something instinctively about the species.

At any rate, I saw that precocious kid grow up beautifully and marry a guy who seemed worthy of her heart and dreams. I and a few others briefly incurred her displeasure with a pre-wedding ritual: we took her soon-to-be to a local, upscale strip club. That was, say, 15-16 long years ago. They got married, and began their journey on the road to wedded bliss.

While I lost touch with her afterward, I was kept up on how they were via her sisters while life and our own personal situations took us in differing directions through the peaks and valleys of our own journeys.

Something happened at some more contemporary point: he came to a fork in the road. One choice was his beautiful wife, their young and budding daughter, a nice home and a very credible career; the other fork took a more inexplicable, incomprehensible path.

And in the words of the old knight guarding the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, "he chose...poorly". He chose lust, American style. In this case, a lust for a social lifestyle. And in this case, totally beyond my comprehension to understand, fathom or ever remotely justify. As I said, I haven't been down the aisle. Perhaps experience changes perspective. But in my case, I doubt this much.

Regardless, whatever he was when we met -- besides lucky as hell that a woman like her said yes to him -- he has changed, if not grown up. Currently, he's living the role of a blithering idiot, trading social "fluff" for the real substance of a loving wife, daughter, and home.

Only recently did I learn some of this still-unfolding story. Some of it from her older sister; some of it from her.

I pretty much hadn't seen her since the wedding (they'd moved out of state for quite a spell). When she showed up at my 50th birthday surprise (not) dinner, I was momentarily nonplussed: she was stunning in appearance, with a smile that genuinely lit and warmed the room. She showed off photos of her daughter with the pride any proud mother would. And she spoke, with both determination and misgivings, about her first steps toward what will likely be an unwanted, but necessary fork in the road for her, too. While the affects of the recent trials and tribulations were masked, the strains and hurts of them peeked through. The hug we exchanged at the end of the evening was as much that of two friends not having seen each other in quite a while, as it was one offering a touch of comfort to one who had need of some.

And you know what? She still calls me by my last name: it was nice to see some things, through all the turbulence and currents of life, don't change.

We stay in touch: she reveals bits and pieces of the puzzle she's trying to fathom, as well as plans for the uncertain future she's trying to forge a certainty in for herself and her daughter.

And me? I do exactly what a friend and kind of a "big brother" should be doing: be there, listen, and offer up all the comfort and "cases of squirrels" I can to keep that radiant smile up, as often as possible. My contribution is minimal at best; I genuinely wish I had more effective substance to offer. I know life isn't fair; it's a test that builds and strengthens our character, yada yada...but in some cases, that unfairness genuinely sucks. I feel that for her right now.

But I have no doubt as to the ultimate outcome here: she bent, but didn't break. Nor will she. I've seen this young, shirt-tailed fireball evolve. She'll come through stronger and better, both for her and her daughter. Her sisters are just as determined in that regard as she is. So are her close friends, including her minimally-contributing "old man" friend of no first name ;-)

In one of my recent emails to her, I threw in what I referred to as a "belated apology": had I had the benefit of a crystal ball that revealed the future many moons ago, perhaps we would have amended our bachelor party plans. Instead of that upscale strip club, we would have taken her groom/fool-to-be to a night out at a Petsmart, planting him in front of a fish tank with a bottle of Yago Sangria and fish food in the shape of tiny $1 bills.

Mighta been better for all concerned.

I concluded that if we ever throw another bachelor party for a potential future spouse of hers, we've learned our lesson: we'll hold it at a Home Depot, and have a clerk do the macarena while watching grout dry on a bathroom tile display.

She laughed. I've heard that's the best medicine.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Don't Challenge Me!

That apparently settles it: I'm mentally defective.

Okay, I heard that chorus of *duh*s out there.

Seriously. I'm mentally defective.

Not because I was hit in the head with a bird house when I was eight; not because I've had three concussions (so far). Not because I chase tornadoes; and not because I have been authentically certified so by a registered psychoanalyst (which, as yet, I haven't). Not because I wasn't born to aristocracy or elistist wealth.

I'm mentally defective because I'm conservative.

So says a 'research' study by a quartet of liberal professoriats, according to the February issue of Psychology Today (Dixit 2007), entitled Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition. Produced back in 2003 by four leading institutionalized thinkers of the liberal persuasion, the leading light of this study and quartet seems to be one Professor John Jost, PhD, an associate professor at New York University.

To wit, Jost and his peers have unchallengingly* concluded that after a meta analysis of a number of previously-done studies, the statistically-culled analysis concludes that conservative ideology is motivated by "dogma, fear and aggression"; and that conservatives are "afraid of change" and are "cognitively inferior".

Jost even 'proves' that Josef Stalin was a conservative, just like his secretly admired adversary, Adolph Hitler.

That last convinces me that Jost is living proof that revisionist history is alive and well in the well-padded walls of Academia among other things, but I digress.

Though I am not capable of having anything substantive to offer in this argument -- because I'm conservative -- I will hazard to lowlight some of the main points Comrade Jost & Co. make in their creation of dubious educedence:

-- the study 'shows' that conservatives have a "clear tendency to score highly on dogmatism (assertion of opinion; arrogance; and we all know that no liberal is arrogantly assertive with their opinions...)

-- that conservatives also score highly on such wonderful traits as intolerance: of ambiguity, of things out of place, of a lack of structure, and for a lack of closure (aka, we expect people to be accountable for their own actions; we allegedly can't see gray areas between black and white; as for not being able to stand things being out of place, the pompous putz hasn't ventured a look at my writing work station; ditto on the 'need for structure' argument; as for closure, I rather like problem-solving; I thought most rational, normal people did. According to Comrade Jost & Co., that's apparently a conservative flaw).

-- that conservatives score very low on being open to new experiences (he's absolutely right here; I am not willing to snort coke) and such things as "integrative complexity".

In other words, we're simple-minded.

Of no less interest than these "unchallenged" findings of Comrade Jost & Co., is the fact that they actually commented about a similar psychological study of liberals; mainly, the 'fact' that there are no comparable statistics for liberals to make such a comparable study useful.

In other words, liberals are superior, and have no such need of study. John Kerry must be one of their cases to their point.

Strangely enough -- though some of the alleged "leading lights" in American psychology are lauding this study, there are other members of the fraternity of shrinks that consider it political psychobabble meadow muffins, and a demeaning smear to the psychological profession.

One such is Dr. Shawn T. Smith, a clinical psychologist and DU (Denver University) professor (and self-professed libertarian, politically). He deconstructs (and systematically demolishes) Comrade Jost & Co. in his response, A Methodology Critique In Defense of Those Wascally Wepublicans (you can read the full text of his response at I can't, in all fairness, provide you with a link to the full text of Professor Jost's study ('cuz I didn't find one); but a Google or Yahoo search of Professor John Jost will get you some excerpts of his 88 page study from sources more ideologically disposed to his conclusions.

What I found particularly revealing about these competing papers and psychology academicians is the fact that Dr. Smith was more than willing to come on The Mike Rosen Show on 850 KOA Radio (Denver, CO), and hold himself and his critique up for analysis and rebuttal; none of the four leading lights of the liberal point of view were willing to come on and stand behind their work. In fact, as Mr. Rosen reported on the air, he tried hard to convince Professor Jost to come on; Jost's response was, "neither you (the host, Mike Rosen) nor Smith (the clinical psychologist) were qualified to pass judgement on my study".

So there.

Now I know that some of my readers fancy themselves as liberals; and I know that some of those same readers would probably not buy into the inane compost that comprises the great bulk of this so-called study. Perhaps some others of you do.

Makes no matter to me; we're all free to have our own opinions on this and a cornucopia of other matters in this, our constitutional republic.

But, in the interests of intellectual honesty, integrity and ethics, I thought all of you who adhere to the liberal persuasion and the "unchallenged" Jost argument, should be left with no doubt: I am a conservative, and according to Jost, beneath you.

I won't take it amiss if you don't wish to lower yourself to visit this mentally defective site further. I won't even take it amiss if you're not ashamed of having such an embarrassingly arrogant-without-substance spokesperson on your side of the ideological divide. You should be, but that's subjective on my defective part. side is stuck with the likes of Pat Robertson. Let's face it: politically, it can suck to be both of us, eh?

But I'm supposed to be too stupid to realize it.

* unchallenged, 'cuz they duck debate on the issue, where they actually have to substantively support and defend their snake-oil conclusions, as noted above