Mr. Hodges – R.I.P.

For the Labor Day weekend, Agricolae demanded an impromptu excursion away from the familiar environs of Charleston.  After assenting, I was advised a few hours later that we would be visiting Beaufort for an overnight stay. We went, we saw, we spent (my apologies to Caesar).

Upon leaving Beaufort, we came upon Hodges Vegetable Stand, located on Highway 17, just north of the Gardens Corner intersection. Still having a few dollars in my pocket, I further assented to a stop for a vegetable purchase. Hodge’s is a well-built, organized, and fully stocked produce stand, and we gladly bought fresh vegetables, jams, and such for our larder. Mr. Hodges could not have been more friendly, helpful, and patient as we peppered him with questions about his products.  After 10 minutes or so, he carefully added up our bill, including sales tax, and made change.  I noted, during the exchange, that he and I were of the same generation, in that we both learned how to make change by counting back, starting in the smallest increment.  We both chuckled, sharing a nice moment together, and the Agricoli loaded into the car and drove off.

Today, I read in the paper that Mr. Hodges was shot dead yesterday in an apparent robbery at his vegetable stand.  It passes beyond my comprehension that such a nice, pleasant man should be murdered for the $100 or so he held in his cash box, and that our world is now deprived of yet another gentle soul. A good man, working hard, selling the fruit of his work for a fair price, and laboriously recording state sales tax so as to not run afoul of the law…….whose life is taken in the random collision of good and evil.

I still have his sugar-free Peach Jam, which is delicious.

God rest his soul, and God damn the person (or persons) that took the life of this gentle man.

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Teachers Need to Teach – And That’s All!

From The Corner comes linkage to an unbelievable story on education issues in Norway.  Speaking as a "stand-up" kind of guy, your scribe hopes this trend remains peculiar to the Scandinavian countries…..what will they think of next?

One has to ask the question, given our preceding post: But can they read and write?

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Education in South Carolina – A Contradiction in Terms?

Today’s Wall Street Journal (no link) Editorial page has a piece on the state of public education in our beautiful state. I hope the WSJ will not take offence at my extensive excepting:

Change Comes to a Carolina

South Carolina civil-rights advocate Dewey Tullis explained to reporters a few weeks ago why he’s supporting a Republican running for the state’s top education job, Karen Floyd: "Frankly, I’m tired of seeing our young black men graduate high school without knowing how to read and write."

Mr. Tullis is joining more than a dozen African-American Democrats in the effort. Also crossing party lines to support Ms. Floyd is State Representative Harold Mitchell, Jr., from urban Spartanburg.

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Ahmadinejad Meets The Foreign Policy Establishment

American Future reports on Ahmadinejan’s meeting, in New York, with the poobahs of Foreign Policy, known as the Council on Foreign Relations.  An organization that does not consider itself a mouthpiece for, of friend of, the Bush administration, the CFR has long been at odds with the stated goals of the Bush foreign policy team.  Imagine, then, the unease the group must have felt after having an opportunity for an "exchange of ideas" with the Iranian president.

This excerpt serves as an indication of the tenor of the event:

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s habit of answering every question about Iranian policy with a question about American policy was clearly wearing on some of the members, but at the end they acknowledged that he was about as skillful an interlocutor as they had ever encountered. "He is a master of counter punch, deception, circumlocution,” Mr. Scowcroft said, shaking his head. Mr. Blackwill emerged from the conversation wondering how the United States would ever be able to negotiate with this Iranian government.

"If this man represents the prevailing government opinion in Tehran, we are heading for a massive confrontation with Iran," he said. [emphasis added]

The NYT has more…

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Update: Revolt of the Generals

Westhawk, a blogger that should be in everyone’s favorites list, posts today on an article in the most recent Proceedings on a subject we have addressed on more than one occasion. Anyone interested in the future of our military, the issues, and the possible outcome should read the story.

A tease:

Three schools of thought have emerged from the recent Revolt of the Generals. The one that wins out will shape the future of the military long after the current administration is gone.

For the record, consider this former sailor firmly in the camp of the Introspective School….

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Chavez Addresses the UN

In a display worthy of Kruschev’s banging shoe episode, Hugo Chavez is addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations.  His personal attacks on President Bush, his astonishing insults hurled towards the United States, indeed, the entire premise of his speech, thus far, is insulting, embarrassing, and indicative of overweening egotism, paranoia, and delusional thinking.  And this is the kind of UN that our enemies wish to create by altering the structure of the Security Council and the UN in general?  I don’t think so……

I’m certain that more informed, erudite bloggers than I will have far more to say on this subject.

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President Bush and The Geneva Conventions

From the UK, courtesy of Samizdata, comes a British perspective on the McCain/Warner/Graham attempt to hamstring our effort to collect information from captured terrorists/enemy combatants.

Some excerpts:

"Undermine human dignity" – this is the sort of language that the Geneva Convention is written in. Very noble to want to stop such things no doubt, but what do the words actually mean? Is it undermining human dignity to make enemy captives dress in prison uniforms? Some of the IRA prisoners in Ulster certainly thought so – and starved themselves to death to make their point.

How about being questioned by a women – Islamic prisoners may well hold that to be undermining their dignity. What is a tough interrogation and what is torture? Should the line be left vague (perhaps to be decided by some international "court" hearing a case against American interrogators later) or should the line be set down clearly in law in advance?

And this:

As for the arguments of Senator McCain and company – they are uniformly worthless.

"President Bush wants to modify the Geneva Convention" – no he does not, he wants to define what its vague words mean in terms of law.

"The United States does not define treaties in terms of its laws" – wrong, it has done so many times.

"The world will hate us if we do this" – the "world" (i.e. the leftist establishment) has hated the United States since President Truman decided to be Joe Stalin’s door mat. And this is not going to change – no matter what the United States does or does not do.

"If we do this American prisoners will be treated badly by their captors" – American prisoners will be tortured and killed regardless of whether Islamic terrorists are put into orange jumpsuits or whatever else is done. The idea that by being nice to the Islamic terrorists (or whoever) they will be influenced to be nice to Americans is crap.

If Americans do not wish to be tortured or killed they had better avoid being captured, nothing that America does or does not do will influence their treatment in any way.

This whole effort to achieve some sort of moral high ground, as if such an achievement would increase our standing in the world, is utter nonsense.  According to virtually every survey taken that gauges US standing in the world, we are either hated or despised by a substantial majority of respondents.  That we undertake the defense of liberty and democracy means nothing to Western Europeans, and is virtually unreported in the Muslim world.

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