First, you may notice that I have given a new name to the Comments area, at least, the Comments area provided by Blogger as opposed to my Haloscan comments area. I called it "Fractal Musings" since I have a random mind and thought that, since the name of my blog is Mandelbrot's Order From Chaos, I may as well have something on my site aside from the "Why the Name" stuff on the sidebar that references Benoit Mandelbrot, though this site has far more to do with politics than math. In fact, I think I only have one or two math-related sites in my Cool Links area, and that is the extent to which my site is about mathematics.
Second, I would like to welcome four new sites to my Cool Blogs area. HomoCon is a blog run by a conservative gay person, and I think he (I'm assuming he's male) has some interesting things to say. Donal's Ex-Liberal is another interesting conservative blog run by a man who may be disabled in body, but certainly not in mind. His is one of the best I've run across lately. The Cassandra Page is yet another interesting blog with a more libertarian bent but with some undeniable elements of conservativism. If I were gay, I could kiss the guy who runs that, well, that and the owner of HomoCon. The final site that is getting a link is Michael Yon's Online Magazine. He is an independent observer reporting from Iraq, and provides an interesting and different perspective on the goings-on there than we may see here in the States. This site was recommended to me by a fellow reader of Iraq The Model, and upon my own reading of the commentary and reporting posted on that site, I have to agree.
Third, I feel the need to go back to Cindy Sheehan again in light of the last of those new links. I understand that her son is dead, her marriage is disintegrating, and her family is increasingly wanting to have nothing to do with her. I understand that she's in pain, and that she was unhappy with her son's choice to re-enlist 5 months before his death. That being said, she's far from alone in that pain. Perhaps her time and efforts would be better spent going to grief counselling, talking to people from both sides of the aisle who have lost loved ones in Iraq. However, she's already made it abundantly clear that she doesn't want to listen to views that oppose hers from people who have lost as much as she has in this war. It is this unwillingness to listen to or even consider the possibility of differing viewpoints that strike me as a touch disingenuous. I wonder if she would be willing to talk to wounded soldiers who served in Iraq much like her late son, though given her statements, I find that unlikely at best. Grief makes people do stupid things. That's a lesson I know well. The one thing I can suggest is that she be allowed to grieve in peace.
Fourth, as I watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I was struck by two thoughts. The first was, although they've helped numerous families in the process of doing their shows, I wonder how much larger their actual impact has been. I wonder how many normal people that show has inspired to contribute their time, money, and resources to Habitat for Humanity and other related charities, or to otherwise contribute to the betterment of their communities. I see the show as setting a very positive example, one we would all do well to follow. The second thought, of course, is a question of how many megaphones they've lost from them being shoved up Ty Pennington's ass. I think he's a great television personality, and probably a pretty okay guy, but that megaphone of his would get old after about two minutes. I seriously wonder how much of the outtakes we don't see involve struggles to forcibly remove the megaphone from his hands. If I were there, I would probably be among the first in line for just that thing.
Finally, I want to make it absolutely clear that I'm deeply in love with the South. It's the home and birthplace of generations of my family, and though the history here may not always be proud, at least we face it bravely and without too many attempts to sugar-coat it. The land is lush and green, the people to a decreasing degree with the exodus of people from the North to this region are warm and courteous, and the food... The food is what gives us a connection to the generations that came before. I've seen serious arguments started over whose potato salad and fried chicken was best, and the first lesson every kid learns is to never spark that type of argument. lol I feel the need to express this love of my home region as I'm seeing that, to an increasing degree, we're losing much of that which makes the South different and special. I understand and, indeed, welcome the many positive changes that have been made in the South in even my lifetime, but I'm struck with the sense that, in getting rid of most of the bad, we've also lost much of that which is good. One thing I admire about the Japanese culture is that, while they've evolved as a nation and a people, they've managed to do so in a way that hasn't deprived them of their identity as a people. It is with great sadness that I find I'm less able to say the same about the South. The only thing I would not miss about the South if I were to leave it for another region of the nation is the climate. The summers are too hot and last far too long. Also, hurricanes scare the everlasting hell out of me, and if you've ever had a Category 3-4 bearing down on your home, you would understand exactly what I mean. That doesn't mean that I hate the South. That means simply that I recognize that some things about my region could be better, and yes, there are some aspects of it that I hate.
And on that note, good night.