And the sentry moves not, searching Night for menace with weary eyes

Too bad that Thomas Young didn’t have television networks in the early 19th century perhaps he would have made the talk show circuit as a gadabout who knew a lot about many things and a little about everything, The Last True Know-It-All

What are we to make of Thomas Young (1773-1829), a man who contributed 63 articles to the Encyclopedia Britannica, including 46 biographical entries (mostly on scientists and classicists) and substantial essays on “Bridge,” “Chromatics,” “Egypt,” “Languages” and “Tides”? Was someone who could write authoritatively about so many subjects a polymath, a genius or a dilettante?

Maybe if he had just learned Latin he could be described as a dilettante, but since he managed to pick up Greek, mathematics and philosophy we’ll just have to be magnanimous enough to give him his due. I would have admired him had we been friends, but anyone giving scientific write ups at the age of twenty to the Royal Society of London would have also gotten on my nerves a little, especially if he started playing with his eye while I was in the room.

Later in his life, when he was in his forties, Young was instrumental in cracking the code that unlocked the unknown script on the Rosetta Stone, a tablet that was “found” in Egypt by the Napoleonic army in 1799 and has been on display in the British Museum since 1802. The stone contains text in three alphabets: Greek, something unrecognizable and Egyptian hieroglyphs. The unrecognizable script is now known as demotic and, as Young deduced, is related directly to hieroglyphic. His initial work on this appeared in his Britannica entry on Egypt. In another entry, he coined the term Indo-European to describe the family of languages spoken throughout most of Europe and northern India.

I’m not sure that cynical is the right word, the one I was going to use to describe that phenomenon whereby so many people in this world are so easily manipulated. Cynical might be inferred to mean to hold a certain prejudice when what I have come to think came about as an observation of how not all, but too many people react with fear to certain situations. Afraid of losing their jobs, afraid of losing their spouse, afraid of losing their savings and when they had the perception that they were physically threatened. All situations where some fear may be justified and easy to understand, and deserving of our compassion. Its when others exploit fear that my cynicism sets in and my disappointment with a general human condition that allows that fear to be exploited. I doubt that it is a new phenomenon that some of those that are being exploited actually enjoy it and become part of what might be termed the pyramid scheme of fear, selling as much of it as they can. Its easy to get an idea what I mean, just watch a tape of the Republican Presidential Convention of 2004, or Faux News or read a right-wing blog. Frank Rich seems to think the glory days of the exploitation of fear and cultivation of paranoia are over, Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out

What makes the foiled London-Pakistan plot seem more of a serious threat — though not so serious it disrupted Tony Blair’s vacation — is that the British vouched for it, not Attorney General Gonzales and his Keystone Kops. This didn’t stop Michael Chertoff from grabbing credit in his promotional sprint through last Sunday’s talk shows. “It was as if we had an opportunity to stop 9/11 before it actually was carried out,” he said, insinuating himself into that royal we. But no matter how persistent his invocation of 9/11, our secretary of homeland security is too discredited to impress a public that has been plenty disillusioned since Karl Rove first exhibited the flag-draped remains of a World Trade Center victim in a 2004 campaign commercial. We look at Mr. Chertoff and still see the man who couldn’t figure out what was happening in New Orleans when the catastrophe was being broadcast in real time on television.

No matter what the threat at hand, he can’t get his story straight. When he said last weekend that the foiling of the London plot revealed a Qaeda in disarray because “it’s been five years since they’ve been capable of putting together something of this sort,” he didn’t seem to realize that he was flatly contradicting the Ashcroft-Gonzales claims for the gravity of all the Qaeda plots they’ve boasted of stopping in those five years. As recently as last October, Mr. Bush himself announced a list of 10 grisly foiled plots, including one he later described as a Qaeda plan “already set in motion” to fly a hijacked plane “into the tallest building on the West Coast.”

That’s the thing about having an administration built on secret prisons, secret renditions, and secret programs that not even the Senate is fully informed of, if they have actually scored any real counter-terrorism victories only the kool-aid drinkers believe them and then sans any concrete details. Startling that the single most powerful person in the world keeps catching the biggest bass anyone ever saw and yet didn’t take a single picture.

GOP hopeful trying to put killing behind him

A Laveen businessman running for the statehouse in Phoenix was charged with murder three years ago in the death of a woman in rural Arizona.

Daniel Coleman, now 35, was indicted by a grand jury on one count of first-degree murder after he shot 35-year-old Annette Chalker in the face in 2003. But the case never went to trial. Two former prosecutors who worked on it said that evidence of a murder was lacking and that a conviction appeared unlikely.

To this day, Coleman calls the shooting a tragic accident. Whatever their suspicions, prosecutors couldn’t prove otherwise.

Coleman did settle a civil lawsuit for wrongful death that was filed by Chalker’s family, although the award wasn’t publicly disclosed, under details of theof the agreement.

So Coleman has an O.J. moment and manages to escape the consequences of committing a felony though he was convicted of a DUI, but here’s the kicker,

“Basically, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong,” Coleman said of the shooting when contacted by The Arizona Republic. “It was an accident. It was a tragedy. I don’t understand necessarily why any of this is coming up.”

To understand why ” any of this is coming up” he would have to have a conscience.

With the lust of a man’s first strength: ere they were rent,
Almost at unawares, savagely; and strewn
In bloody fragments, to be the carrion
Of rats and crows.

And the sentry moves not, searching
Night for menace with weary eyes.

from The Trenches by Frederic Manning