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Well, Wasn't That Special?

For the past few decades, the United States has had two nations that were, by and large, our staunchest allies -- the United Kingdom and Israel. We could almost always count on their support, and we have given them ours. Plus, we have tremendously strong cultural, social, and political ties with them.

But all that seems to be fading, as the Obama administration charts a new diplomatic course. And its unifying theme seems to be "piss off our friends and kiss up to our enemies."

Ever since he's taken office, President Obama has inflicted a whole slate of diplomatic insults on these two nations. The cheap shots against England have been ignored, by and large, because the British seem to be something our own leadership isn't -- made up of grownups. And Israel understands that a healthy portion of their national security is based on our support, so they've likewise ignored the slights.

But that apparently hasn't worked, as now it seems that the Obama administration is doubling down. They are weighing in on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and proposing their own solutions -- which seem to boil down to making demands and denouncing Israel while ignoring or excusing the Palestinians' own provocations.

And now in England, the Obama administration might be going even a bit too far for that fabled British stiff upper lip.

The Falkland Islands have always been a sticking point between England and Argentina. The Brits hold them, but the Argies want them. And they even once fought a war for them, almost 30 years ago.

Well, the Argies are making their push again, this time by legalistic means, calling for "arbitration" on ownership. They want the Organization of American States to get involved in the matter.

The British want nothing to do with any such talks. They say that their claim is indisputable, and backed up by the people of the Falklands themselves -- who are overwhelmingly pro-British and want nothing to do with Argentina.

Well, into this kettle of fish comes President Obama,
saying that he hopes the two sides can resolve their conflict -- and, in the process, tips his hand by using the Argentine name for the islands, referring to them as the "Malvinas."

Remember, this is the "new" diplomacy, the "smart" diplomacy, as crafted by the smartest man in the world and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. That it just might encourage a rerun of the 1982 war is sad and unfortunate and utterly unforeseeable.

But on the plus side, it ought to make several of our foes quite happy, and that's definitely a worthwhile goal.

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Comments (46)

Nothing "new" or "smart" co... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

Nothing "new" or "smart" coming from a dumb-ass. Paddy O'bamalala is hell bent on a pay back for Britain's past colonialism. He can go be the president of Kenya anytime. Actually, I wouldn't wish that on them.

England spanked the Argenti... (Below threshold)
jim m:

England spanked the Argentines and probably would do so again if need be. The Falklands have a population of just 3000. There are no native islanders there and never have been as far as I know. The population has always been 100% Brit and still is. If left to a vote they would vote to remain British.

obama is just acting like the thug dictator that he always wanted to be. He sees a small, seemingly unprotected piece of land and decides that it should belong to whomever can take it by force. Since Argentina is closest he has decided that they could apply force most easily so therefore it should belong to them.

In one election we went from standing for freedom and democracy to standing for thug dictators and totalitarianism. Nice.

'...and, in the process, ti... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

'...and, in the process, tips his hand by using the Argentine name for the islands, referring to them as the "Malvinas." '

I think Barry would tolerate another military "dispute" taking place over the Falklands. Something else to keep headlines focused on issues other than the dreadful economy he has nursed so attentively for the past two years. And it's even better that he gets to poke the British in the eye once again.

I know shrew is a derogatory term used for women and I apologize ahead of time for bringing it up but I really believe this is a term that is quite appropriate for Obama as well.


I have commented before, th... (Below threshold)
Oldflyer:

I have commented before, that it is inaccurate to call Israel an ally. The support has been a one way street. Our support for Israel is more properly categorized as a Moral Imperative. We do not need to cheapen that imperative with false narratives.

We also do not need to push aside other long-term staunch allies in favor of Israel. I am thinking specifically of Canada and Australia. More recently, Poland and other Eastern European countries have supported our military and diplomatic efforts.

None of this is to downplay the importance of the relationship with Israel. Adherence to moral imperatives are the hall- mark of an upright citizenry. But, let's not kid ourselves about the relationship.

I would like to see the UK ... (Below threshold)
Howie:

I would like to see the UK tell the US to discuss with Mexico and the Native Hawaiians on the status of our relatonships. Add in Puerto Rico.

"Malvinas"? That is nothing... (Below threshold)
Coast Watcher:

"Malvinas"? That is nothing short of a slap in the face to the British. One of the more distasteful actions, from a long line of distasteful actions, that O has made is his deliberate, constant destruction of this nation's strongest alliances. I can only suppose this is the opening precedent for his return of the Southwest to Mexico, New England to Canada, and Alaska to Russia.

The support has be... (Below threshold)
Chip:
The support has been a one way street.

Can you provide supporting information for that claim?

I say Israel has been very supportive of the US.

http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=376&PID=0&IID=1795

http://www.suite101.com/content/top-israeli-imports-exports-a59994

Chip, you are demanding pro... (Below threshold)
Oldflyer:

Chip, you are demanding proof of the null case. That is a bit of flim flam that is too easy to spot. The issue is for you to demonstrate one instance when Israel has contributed militarily, diplomatically or financially to the U.S? That is what allies do.

Israel may provide moral support, and vote with us in the UN if it serves their purposes--and granted it usually does. They may or may not share intelligence; you and I can't know for certain. We do know that there are documented instances of them spying on us. Caught and convicted. Is that your definition of an alliance? Pretty broad.

My point is that we support Israel because it is the right thing to do. No need to phony it up by pretending that they are an ally. Friend; sure, when it is in their interest; although the Liberty episode was not too friendly. Or maybe you actually think that was accidental. But, an ally that stands with you on the firing line? No. I do not blame them. They have all they can handle, and we could take care of ourselves up until now. Still, it is dishonest unhelpful, and downright ridiculous to pretend that the relationship is other than what it is.

Again, if you want examples of allies, look to the UK, Canada, Australia and Poland. They have fought alongside of us in wars that did not necessarily benefit them directly; because we asked them to.

Gee Chip. I belatedly went... (Below threshold)
Oldflyer:

Gee Chip. I belatedly went to your links. My, My. Those are your arguments? Political hyperbole from JFK?. Flim flam fits again.

Regarding the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear facility; Israel did not destroy it to benefit the United States, they did it for their own survival.

I think I suggested that our interests do coincide in certain ways. In those cases where it is in Israel's interest to take some action, they will. If Israel has no direct interest in an action, they do not act. That is not an alliance.

Don't get your undies in a wad. I am pro-Israel. I just think that an honest understanding of the relationship is healthy. It is healthy for Israel. A moral imperative is timeless; whereas alliances of convenience come and go. Clearly, Obama does not feel the moral imperative; and he does not see an alliance. We need a new President; Israel needs for us to get a new President. Here, our interests coincide.

Just another example from "... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Just another example from "The Smartest Man in the World". He excels at talking about things he knows nothing about.

Honestly I don't think that... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Honestly I don't think that obama's thinking on international affairs goes any deeper than: White European nation=bad, "minority" nation (i.e. S. American, African, Middle Eastern)=good.

We probably could have found somebody more competent and more aware of historical precedent by going down to the local high school and interviewing the student senate.

This is From the Falklands ... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

This is From the Falklands Island News:
http://www.falklandnews.com/public/story.cfm?get=5989&source=3

June 11, 2011 by J. Brock (FINN)

US/FALKLANDS POLICY: SITUATION NORMAL An Editorial by J. Brock (FINN)
Judson Bergers article for FOX News entitled Obama Administration Backs Argentina over U.K. on Falkland Dispute, published on 10 June 2011 didnt move too many Falkland Islanders to anger when it was published. But it was passed to the rubbish bin along with all the other speculative articles written over the past 29 years about the Falklands thorn in the side of the United States special relationship with the United Kingdom.

For a third of a century the response from America and England has been the same, no matter who tried to fuel discord in the special relationship; and this time is no different. It is US policy to be neutral, siding neither with Argentina, Britain or the Falklands on the matter of sovereignty over the archipelago; and since 1985, at least, the US has backed negotiations to resolve the issue. Britain has no doubts about its sovereignty over the Falklands and champions the Islanders right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter.

This stand-off suits the United States and the United Kingdom, both of which have more pressing problems of State. Given this normal situation, the Obama Administration has not taken sides as this article asserts but carries on the policies begun in the Reagan Administration and carried on through Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. Administrations, just as Britain carries on supporting the Falklands.

Nameless is the one British conservative analyst who called the routine consensus about the Falklands by the OAS, "hugely insulting to Britain." But it mentions by name the US based Heritage Foundation as well as the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, and their representative analyst Nile Gardiner, who also blogs for the UK Telegraph. He wrongly asserts that Britain has taken a beating. I would say the scenario is a good way to shelve the matter ad infinitum.

Note the reference to policy unchanged for 35 years. Note the lack of concern from Falklanders themselves. Note that Jay Tea is just regurgitating drivel from Hot Air.

Note my lack of surprise that Jay Tea has no idea what he's talking about.

Correction: that should ha... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Correction: that should have been 29 not 35 years.

Do a search at the Guardian and BBC and you'll find the Brits are no more upset than the Falklanders. This is manufactured controversy regurgitated by Jay and uncritically hoorahed by various ninnies above.

If they are unperturbed per... (Below threshold)
jim m:

If they are unperturbed perhaps it is because they are by now used to the stupid antics of our epic idiot of a President.

oldflyer, You're t... (Below threshold)
Chip:

oldflyer,

You're the one that made the claim, to call the relationship between the US and Israel as an allegiance was inaccurate, you also stated that it is a one way street. You told me, "The issue is for you to demonstrate one instance when Israel has contributed militarily, diplomatically or financially to the U.S?" I provided my supporting items for my claim. You made the claim and now you can't back it up, but I backed up mine.

Somehow, I knew it wouldn't measure up to your standards, and you chose to ignore the information altogether. Typical, when provided information contrary to your claim, move the goalposts. If providing the US with military equipment and intelligence vital to US interests isn't an allegiance, then apparently, I don't know what is.

You just dont understand.</... (Below threshold)
retired military:

You just dont understand.

Obama wanting to give away half of Israel and the Falklands are just his way of redistributing other people's property.

oldflyer and reynolds ... ... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

oldflyer and reynolds ... the same side of the liberal coin ...

one thinks that Obama likes the British and the other thinks that Israel is not an ally ...

either way, if it served Democratic / liberal political interests they both be ok with going against the UK or Israel ...

Israel and England could ca... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Israel and England could care less what this twit in the White House thinks or proposes. Israels border's will remain the same and The Falklands will remain The Falklands.

Jim:I assume you d... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Jim:

I assume you don't read, but maybe you could get someone literate to explain the following to you:

...but carries on the policies begun in the Reagan Administration and carried on through Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. Administrations...

Real prize readership you h... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Real prize readership you have here, Jay. Rocket scientists all.

Divider un-Uniter... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

Divider un-Uniter

Really Michael?So ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Really Michael?

So please explain where it was the policy of the Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr, admins to insult Britain at every turn? Or perhaps you could show us where any President has EVER referred to the Falklands as the Malvinas? Or ever said that Britain should enter into negotiations to deliver them to Argentina? I think you would have to go back well over a century to find a President so antagonistic to the UK.

You are a deeply arrogant ass to think that you know more than most of the people here. You barely know what you speak of on this thread.

Well said, Oldflyer. ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Well said, Oldflyer.

If providing the US with military equipment and intelligence vital to US interests isn't an allegiance, then apparently, I don't know what is.

Everyone provides the US with military equipment and intelligence when it suits them, i.e., advances their interests. That's called "Realpolitik." Israel providing us with military equipment captured from Soviet clients was every bit as much in their interests as ours, so no brownie points for that.

How do you explain Pollard betraying the US to give our "ally" our secrets? Is spying on us the action of an ally? If Pollard's treason got Americans killed, would that be OK by you?

Israel is not our ally. Israel is a client state (just as, e.g., Syria was of the USSR), and one with which our values and interests are broadly compatible, and that therefore we should help. But if the shit hits the fan, would Israel step up to help us, if Israel had no dog in the fight? I doubt it. I doubt it very much. Where have they helped us where their own interests were not at stake? Answer: nowhere. I don't blame them for that, but the fact is that the alliance is pretty much a one-way street.

I've been to Israel, and frankly, I like Israel. But it's important to be realistic.

PS: I would say our staunch... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

PS: I would say our staunchest ally has been Australia - they've fought with us in every war we've been in since Australia has existed.

Second would be the UK.

It's a sharp dropoff after that. Canada is in there, but a but iffy. No one else really budges the needle.

Israels border's will re... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Israels border's will remain the same and The Falklands will remain The Falklands.

Indeed. Prime Minister Netenyahu has already basically said that very thing with regard to Israel. In fact he did so in such a way as to publicly embarrass obama, a slight that obama was not so clueless as to fail to recognize. In fact reports are now surfacing of obama throwing a fit afterward.

The British Navy apparently believes that there has been a change in policy: "We can no longer rely on the Pentagon to support us in helping the islanders in their wish to remain essentially British sovereign territory," - Adm Sir John "Sandy" Woodward, who commanded the British Task force to retake the Falklands in 1982.

Meanwhile at the British Foreign Ministry, "Officials said that several phone calls were made and an e-mail was sent after the State Department spokesman called the islands the Malvinas."

So obama's betrayal of another ally is not going unnoticed as you so ignorantly claim.

Go read something yourself. Jackass.

Jim:So the people ... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Jim:

So the people who live in the Falklands don't seem even remotely concerned.

But you're hysterical.

Yes, that makes perfect sense. After all, what's their knowledge of their own country when compared to yours? Who knows better, the actual Islanders or some right wing loudmouth on a blog?

Sir John "Sandy" Woodward i... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Sir John "Sandy" Woodward is 79 years old and has been out of service since 1989. Retired for 22 years.

The old gentleman wrote a letter to the editor at The Telegraph.

I gave you quotes from the ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I gave you quotes from the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Two of London's most respected newspapers.

I'm not as hysterical as you are plain ignorant. And while some in the Falklands might not be overly concerned the British government has not failed to notice the significant shift in tone from the idiots in DC.

You libeled me, saying that I do not read. You clearly do not read beyond finding one obscure quote that backs you up. Your postings are dishonest at best and you do not support your arguments well.

Your insult came after I had offered two sarcastic comments on the ability of our government and did not even address specifics of either Israel or the Falklands. Since then I have offered specifics which you have chosen to not refute.

A single quote from a lone person in the Falklands does not establish that all there are unconcerned, but quotes from UK officials does say a lot about how the UK is taking it. In short, you have given little to sustain your argument and I have provided more to sustain mine. You then have resorted to insults and refused to try to shore up your feeble case.

Now you call me hysterical. You are obviously largely ignorant of what you speak otherwise you would defend your position by arguing facts and not by resorting to ad hominem attacks.

By the way, Jim, from the s... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

By the way, Jim, from the same Rupert Murdoch newspaper article you quote, there's this:

A British official insisted that “nobody’s been writing any formal letters”, adding that Britain was “genuinely quite relaxed” about the American position.

The same cannot be said of President Obama’s critics in Washington. The Pentagon official primarily responsible for providing the British Forces “with whatever they needed” in the Falklands campaign in 1982 yesterday accused the Administration of insulting Britain. Richard Perle, then assistant Secretary for Defence said: “I think using the description Malvinas is offensive to British interests.”

In other words, this is a phony controversy ginned up by the usual neo-cons in Washington. The Falklands don't care, the Falklands aren't worried, this is red meat for credulous loudmouths.

This Jim dude is a idiot.</... (Below threshold)
Michael:

This Jim dude is a idiot.

Michael,Perhaps yo... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Michael,

Perhaps you could bother yourself o actually read my comments before commenting on them.

I said that the Falklands are not the important people whose opinion matters in this case t is the British government. I assume that you are intelligent enough (that may be a stretch) to recognize that the Falklands does not have any military and that they are wholly reliant upon Britain for protection. The UK has taken note of the change in tone from DC and has objected to it.

It is the British opinion that matters is issues of state and not that of a few islanders.

If the UK is so relaxed abo... (Below threshold)
jim m:

If the UK is so relaxed about it then why bother with the phone calls and emails after the admin used the term Malvinas?

Sure the official stance is that they do not care. You are a fool to think that they do not recognize that obama uses that term to signal that he has already chosen sides.

The following is a statemen... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

The following is a statement from the Falklands legislative assembly:


“The people of the Falkland Islands have a right to self-determination, enshrined in international law. We fully support the UK government’s current resolute position, which confirms that the issue of sovereignty is non-negotiable. We seek nothing more than neighbourly relations with Argentina and regret that this issue should once again be raised on the regional stage. The OAS maintains a longstanding declaration on the Falkland Islands but we note that the wording in this year’s declaration is the same as in previous years - it has not changed, and nor has anything else”.

See the part about, "i... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

See the part about, "it has not changed, and nor has anything else,"?

Figure that's secret code only you can see through? Because maybe it's just me, but I kind of think the Islanders themselves would be the ones upset if they were in danger.

Yes, and the OAS is backing... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Yes, and the OAS is backing Argentina going to the UN to force a discussion of Falkland sovereignty with the UK. The only purpose to that would be to change who controls the islands. If it were a matter of putting it to a plebiscite that could easily be accomplished and Britain would win in a landslide.

But that is not what Argentina wants. They want to force the UK to surrender the Islands. They are not strategic militarily but they do sit on some oil and gas reserves (although the value of those is disputed).

Pretend all you want that the attitude of 3000 people that cannot defend themselves from armed aggression is all that matters and feel free to delude yourself that Argentina is only pursuing this as a diplomatic formality. Argentina has been agitating about the Falklands for years and recently has ramped up their efforts.

If public opinion were the issue then this would be closed. Argentina is going to pursue the take over of these islands and they don't give a damn about what the people there think. You are a great fool to think otherwise.

Seriously? You post a stat... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Seriously? You post a statement from the Falkland Islands government claiming that they have sovereignty as some proof that Argentina could never take them over?

Wow. I am speechless at the naivete.

Let me give you a historica... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Let me give you a historical precedent for people being stupid in the face of military aggression. Neville Chamberlain went to Munich and signed an accord that would secure "Peace in our time" for Europe. Go look it up. It didn't turn out so well.

People can be very foolish in assuming that treaties and international bodies can prevent military aggression. The fact that the Falklands is appealing to the OAS (an organization that already has decided to ignore what they want and force this issue at the UN) is a pretty good demonstration that they are lead by fools.

Jim:I see.<p... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Jim:

I see.

So the opinions of people who actually live in the Falklands -- the people with homes and family and sheep there -- are irrelevant.

Which is weird when you consider that the UK went to war in order to preserve the essential Englishness of the very people you show such contempt for.

Britain's legal claim in the present day rests on that fact, and on the desire of the settled population - which is entirely of British stock - to remain British.
--- Margaret Thatcher

I find it humorous that in ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I find it humorous that in claiming how important the opinion of the Falkland Islanders is that you resort to quoting the former Prime Minister of Britain the very country whose opinion I am claiming is the one that matters.

Didn't debate much in high school did you?

Jim:Wow. Such a b... (Below threshold)
michael reynolds:

Jim:

Wow. Such a brief statement and yet so packed with stupid. Congratulations.

In 1982 the UK went to war ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

In 1982 the UK went to war to wrest the Falklands back from Argentina. They did so because he inhabitants of those islands were all British citizens.

Today, like back then, Argentina claims the islands as their own, despite never having had any population owing fealty to Argentina on them. The Falklands rests secure in two things: the promises of the OAS (an organization that is already working to betray them) and the military of the UK which may not be able to extend its power to free them if necessary (I suspect that it still can project that power but others believe to the contrary).

It is not the opinion of the islanders that counts. What counts is that Argentina is pursuing control over the islands despite no historical claim to them and is being backed up in its quest by the OAS and now the US.

There is no need for discussion. The people of the Falklands have no desire to change the current state of affairs. The only reason this is an issue is because Argentina is pushing it and they will continue to do so until they get their way. They will push until the OAS sides openly with them. They will push regardless of what the islanders want.

Your naivete to think that the opinion of a few thousand defenseless people will stop an aggressor nation is really charming.

"Packed with stupid"? ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Packed with stupid"?

Not as packed with stupid as claiming that the opinion of the Falklands matters while quoting the opinion of the people that I claim matters thus gutting your argument.

Move the goalposts as far as you want. You lost that one.

Jeff, I would politely note... (Below threshold)
Oldflyer:

Jeff, I would politely note that you are full of crap.

I spoke the truth. Chip wanted me to prove the negative. He wants evidence that Israel is not an ally. I believe I defined in simple terms what an ally is. Then asked him to demonstrate an example of when Israel met the condition. So he trots out various strawmen.

Liberal, Jeff? BS. Is that all you can get from my remarks? Cheap labels? I assume that you ignorantly confuse the term Statist with the traditional term liberal. By liberal with a small "l" I mean the type of liberal that Jefferson, Madison, et al would claim to be. The traditional liberal who would defend our Constitution with his life. Which by the way I did for 25 years of Naval service. In the vernacular of the day, and in terms that you may understand, I am in fact a Conservative in that I support the original intent of the Constitution. I also have some Libertarian tendencies, to the extent that while I recognize that government is necessary, I believe that its power should be tightly controlled and held to a practical minimum.

None of that changes our true relationship to Israel. Friend? Yes. Protector? Yes. Allies in a two way relationship? Hell no.

I for one am beginning to n... (Below threshold)
G.:

I for one am beginning to not worry about what that guys says or does. He is becoming a ridiculous excuse for a leader in the world and an embattled president of this country with little grip on reality as well as ability to govern or lead. He heads an administration of inept buffoons as incompetent as himself. I believe at this time he has little chance of being re-elected to office by a majority of the citizenry(who are now catching on) and even now feels his power to persuade slipping from his grasp.He is in fact his own worse enemy and is busily destroying his chances to stay POTUS.I for one am enjoying the show.

#44Aye! T... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

#44

Aye!

The opposition to run against Obama have to hold at least one debate at a gas station and see if Barry shows his mug or hides like he does from FOX news.

I have taken my time and re... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I have taken my time and read the debate between Jim M and michael. No doubt. Jim M remained the champ. He provided text from reliable sources, kept his cool and patiently went on as michael kept changing the goal posts as a typical liberal will. I am sure michael is just upset that Palin's emails didn't reveal anything. ww




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