Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Things That Are Good for the Spirit
It's been an extraordinarily busy day here at my dining-room table, as all of my clients seem to have awakened from a long winter's slumber at the same time, so I have been forced to do remunerative labor instead of blogging--which is not a bad thing. I need the money, and the glorious benefit of blowing the dust out of certain cobwebbed regions of my brain can't be understated, either.

I had to drop in this afternoon, however, to point you to a most unusual news article from the Associated Press, written by Nedra Pickler, about the White House response to Al Gore's criticisms of the illegal spying program. Pickler is often highly critical of Democrats in stories that are not intended to be opinion pieces--for which she became infamous during the 2004 nomination fight. But note the ninth paragraph of her story today, in which she takes an uncharacteristic whack at Scotty McClellan, essentially calling him out for distorting Bill Clinton's record on domestic spying. It's a beautiful thing, really, and utterly unlike not just Pickler, but mainstreamers in general. Imagine providing context for a remark instead of just parroting whatever the administration says and leaving it to the reader, ill-equipped though he may be, to decide.

Mmmm, smells like journalism.

Amongst the other stuff I've done today, I did find time to visit a blog called Unqualified Offerings, which I suggest you visit also. The post that brought me there is a discussion of the fabled "ticking time bomb" scenario, which is often used as a justification for torture. The scenario goes like this: If you knew that a terrorist was going to blow up a city full of white women and babies and make Jesus cry, wouldn't you be justified in torturing the terrorist to get information on the attack? The answer is usually yes, and that's how lots of people justify the use of torture. But Jim Henley's twist on the scenario is so simple that a simpleton such as I should have been able to think of it, and well worth the click.

On a completely different matter, Henley's also got a list of free software that does some of the same things Microsoft and others make you pay for, or replaces stuff by Microsoft and others that doesn't work as well. (For what it's worth, I used ZoneAlarm's free firewall on my old desktop computer, and found it to be better than the McAfee firewall I am paying for on the laptop. I also use AdAware anti-spyware and recommend it, along with Spybot and Spyware Blaster, which are not on the list, but are also good and easy to use. And yes, I suggest you use them all, as they tend to catch different things.)

Another thing I like about Unqualified Offerings is that Henley calls his wife "Mrs. Offering." I'd ask my Mrs. if she'd like to be "Mrs. Aneurysm," if I didn't know the answer already.

I have also been spending time at mp3 blogs (and I wrote about a couple of my favorites last week at The Hits Just Keep On Comin'). Today, The Number One Songs in Heaven has posted a breathtakingly gorgeous Southern soul tune called "Nothing Takes the Place of You" by Toussaint McCall. It's soul music in the most uplifting, good-for-the-spirit sense of the word. In fact, I am convinced that it could heal the sick and raise the dead. Even if you don't feel like you need it now, download it anyway. In a world such as this, you'll need it eventually.

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