Jay Bullock (3-0)

Drucilla B. Blood (0-1)

Current Battle: Election 2004

Keep dinosaurs extinct, help The Chairman upgrade his PI computer:

Dan Champion (1-0)

Vinod Valloppillil (1-1)

Blitz Battle Winners
Mike Pridemore
(BB #1)
Mustang Bobby
(BB #3)
Michael Spires (BB #4 & #5)
Weepboy (BB #7 & #9)
Pineapple Girl (BB #8)
Former Challengers
Ara Rubyan of E Pluribus Unum
Pineapple Girl of Politics at Pineapple Girl
Ralph Stefan of Ralph's Garage
Former Iron Bloggers
Robin Pratt (1-0)

The Agonist
Eric Alterman
BOP News
Juan Cole
Daily Kos
Brad DeLong
Emerging Democratic Majority
Steve Gilliard
The Hamster
Lean Left
Left OverAnger
Liberal Oasis
Lucifer's Condiments
The Moderate Voice
Musing's Musings
NDN Blog
Nightmares For Sale
Pacific Views
Talk Left
Talking Points Memo
Tom Tomorrow


04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004   05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004   05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004   05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004   05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004   05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004   06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004   06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004   06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004   06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004   07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004   07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004   07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004   07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004   08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004   08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004   08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004   08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004   08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004   09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004   09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004   09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004   09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004   10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004   10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004  

Friday, July 16, 2004

Blitz Battle: Corporate Corruption!

From Iron Blog regular Thief:

So Martha Stewart got her sentence today, with more now-infamous executives like Kenneth Lay of Enron, Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom, Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco and Frank Quattrone of CSFB headed for the dock.

This, of course, raises all kinds of interesting questions. How much responsibility do these executives bear for the crimes they've been accused of? What does this mean for the future of American business? Are these kinds of cases preventable, and if so, how?

Battle on, brothers and sisters!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Blitz Battle: No Elections for You!

So the big tin-foil hat thing spreading around the Left Bank of Blogostan this past week was the notion that the government might see fit to cancel the November elections should there be a terrorist attack or some other national emergency. See, we here on the Left consider November 2 this year to be holy, almost--the chance to re-defeat Bush elect John Kerry is our Grail. And the U.S. has never cancelled elections, not even during the Civil War, so it really, really upsets us that an administration with a tenuous grasp on re-election would consider postponing their Waterloo.

Now, word came out yesterday that, heh heh, they, er, didn't mean it. But this "official" consideration of putting off elections follows months of trumpeting from the right that terrorists want John Kerry to win anyway. Not to mention the administration's willful misinterpretation of the Madrid 3/11 bombings' effects on the Spanish elections:
According to the conservative conventional wisdom, Spanish voters, in an appalling act of cowardice, reacted to the terrorist bombings in Madrid by ousting the party that had loyally supported the Bush administration's war on terror, and especially the war in Iraq. [. . .] The Aznar administration compounded the Popular Party's renewed problems by prematurely and tenaciously attributing the bombings to the radical Basque separatist group ETA. When evidence continued to mount that Al Qaeda, not ETA, was probably responsible for the atrocities, a good many Spanish voters concluded that the government was manipulating the tragedy for its own political advantage. They suspected (with good reason) that Aznar and his associates were trying to blame ETA to conceal the reality that the attacks were a payback for Spain's support of Washington's Iraq policy. Not surprisingly, voters did not react well to such attempts at self-serving political deception. Those Americans who accuse Spaniards of appeasement exhibit a lack of respect for the workings of Spain's democratic system. [. . .] The outcome of Spain's election was a referendum on Iraq policy, not policy toward Al Qaeda. Allegations of appeasement are a despicable slur against a population that has already suffered grievously.
All of this adds up to a very frightening possibility: The Bush administration, since it cannot win this November on the issues (have you seen the list of speakers at their convention? How many of them support Bush's reactionary social policy?), is attempting to scare people into voting Republican, or not voting at all this November. This is the only time in my (admittedly short) lifetime that I can remember such a distinct emphasis or fear as a campaign tactic. (I'm discounting Willie Horton, as that appealed more to a more garden-variety paranoia about crime, rather than, you know, terror. But note that, again, we have Republicans playing the fear card!)

So, my questions: Should we really consider postponing elections in the case of terror? Are Bush et al. trying to "scare up" votes out of fear rather than support for the administration's policy? If so, is that appropriate? Do the terrorists really want a take-no-prisoners, Harley-riding-without-a-helmet, Purple-Heart-winning John Kerry at the helm? If terrorists struck between now and November, would your vote change?

Respectfully submitted,
Jay Bullock, Iron Blogger Democrat

A Note From The Chairman

First, I must announce that our scheduled battle has been rescheduled due to reasons both technical and medical. Cody Hatch and IB Libertarian will battle the week of August 15th, with a different topic.

That means that this week we will be having Blitz Battles as posted by our former Challengers and our Iron Bloggers. Cody may participate in creating Blitz Battles as well, if he wishes. Please remember, no more than one a day per poster.

Also, last week was Rosemary's last battle as Iron Blogger Republican, though she may be returning in the future for a couple featured 'special' battles we have in the works, and she has generously volunteered to Judge if needed. We thank her for her hard work and service she has given this blog. Her shoes will be very big to fill.

But Big Dan, formerly of God In The Machine and now of Popping Culture has very big feet, and so it is my great pleasure to announce Dan Champion as our new Iron Blogger Republican. May his reign be long and glorious.

He will see his first battle as IB Republican next week, as he takes on big-name Daily Kos regular and Jim Newberry for Congress campaign staffer Sterling Newberry. He'll have to be ready for a hard fought battle as his debut as IBR will be a true trial by fire.

Lastly, we are once again putting out the call for Judges and Challengers, though the latter are more in need. Think you've got what it takes to topple an Iron Blogger? Drop me an email, today!


Battle Patriotism - Verdict

This last week's battle has been, beyond a doubt, my favorite here at Iron Blog. Again, the scores were so close that the last round of posts determined the victor.

And now, for the Verdict.
The first all-female battle at Iron Blog, Battle Patriotism saw some real fireworks. Challenger Pineapple Girl pushing the snark to a new level, testing Iron Blogger Republican Rosemary Esmay's talents like never before. We never got the flag-bikini mud wrestling, but things certainly got hot.

Who takes it?

Whose spleen vents supreme?

Iron Blogger Republican, Rosemary Esmay

It's the Iron Blogger! The Queen Of All Evil's swan song is a triumphant one! Let's look at the scores.

Judge Joel C scores it 80-77 for The Challenger
Judge Stacie scores it 70-68 for the Iron Blogger
Judge Jheka scores it 64-57 for the Iron Blogger
and Judge Urthshu scores it 58-50 for the Iron Blogger

Only a 14 point difference overall, and Pineapple Girl gets the highest single scorecard score in Iron Blog History with 80. Another great battle!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Battle Patriotism - Judges' Comments

The closing arguments are up, the debate is done, the Battle is ovah!

On the panel for this battle:

On the Left, Joel C. of Nightmares for Sale and Stacie of The Vast Dairy State Conspiracy.

On the Right, Jheka of The Daily Blitz and Urthshu of Urthshu.

Let's see what the Judges have to say.

Opening Arguments


(Challenger) An expansive, pointed, rambling, sometimes confusing and always entertaining post from The Challenger. The wit on display- particularly in the opening and closing paragraphs- is magnificent and the sourcing and education is quite impressive. The Challenger offers up some very intriguing thoughts and does so in an engaging manner. There is no single point that comes across as groundbreaking, but the post as a whole strikes the reader as unique and insightful. There is also an underlying sense of weariness that works wonderfully. The Challenger covers a variety of points in a persuasive manner, though the points are at times somewhat unclear until she explicitly states them. This is really a fascinating opening argument.

(Iron Blogger) This is an excellent opening argument. Rosemary lays out clear definitions and arguments and does it in a way that is incredibly easy to follow. She makes strong and effective points. One can sense her ideological position, but she also allows flexibility and makes it clear that dissent exists and should be allowed to exist within patriotic individuals. The post could have been a little more entertaining, but the studied gravity works well in its own right. However, there are certainly some portions of her argument that are open to challenge and it will be interesting to see what The Challenger does with them.


(Challenger) What I liked: This post is well-supported and well-cited; it's clear The Challenger did her homework. She also writes with quite a bit of humor, which helps to overcome some of the post's shortcomings. And while I probably wouldn't pay to watch The Challenger mud-wrestle Iron Blogger Republican in flag bikinis to Lee Greenwood (no offense to either of these patriotic ladies), I appreciate the sentiment.

What I didn't: The structure of the post, though readable, became a bit precious over time. "This is the first part," etc., is something we're taught to avoid when we write five-paragraph essays with three-point theses. Also, The Challenger's description of "yes-men" and "minions," in the same paragraph as a definition of "ad-hominem attacks," struck me as a bit hypocritical - isn't calling your opponent names ad hominem in itself?

(Iron Blogger) What I liked: Iron Blogger Republican presents a lucid argument, clearly defining what patriotism means to her, and offering examples of patriotic dissent. At times, she ventures beyond the traditional Republican comfort zone and discusses what she considers patriotic and treasonous dissent. That she defines patriotism in terms of things she (presumably) disagrees with is impressive.

What I didn't: Overall, the Iron Blogger Republican's style and structure could use some work - she isn't jumping all over the place, but she does tend to leap from A to C to E - in a logical order, but with gaps. Also, attacking the audience doesn't help endear any writer to that audience; telling them they're wrong is acceptable, but telling them they failed history or had lousy teachers is unnecessary.


(Challenger) I don't have to agree with the arguments made to recognize that they were presented coherently and with a good mix of humor and thoughtfulness. After reading her opening, I know exactly what she will try to prove. One problem: The challenger says: "But regardless, a true act of treason is so rare these days that we can safely stipulate that it's a non-issue in the discussion." A stipulation requires agreement from both sides. Call me when Ms. Esmay agrees with this statement and I will look out my window for the other three horsemen of the apocalypse.

The summary sentences are a simply great touch. Other competitors should run, not walk, to steal this technique. Not only did they summarize the positions nicely, but they broke them up into manageable chunks in what was a very (very) long opening. Which is my one beef. It's too long and it's overlinked. Every time there's a link, a reader is likely to click on it. That breaks the rhetorical rhythm of the post. Sometimes that's necessary, but not always. Links to google search results and other information which is not central to the challenger's arguments could (and should) have been left out. A post full of little blue links looks impressive but, as with everything, there's a limit at which a good thing becomes too much of a good thing.

(Iron Blogger)
I note at the outset that the battle is "Patriotism" and not "American Patriotism." It's a distinction that both combatants have chosen to ignore. Too bad.

The IB does not attempt to define patriotism. Rather, she gives examples of what is not patriotic (i.e. supporting the killing of U.S. troops). The IB also makes quite a few assertions without evidentiary support (i.e. the definition of jingoism, assertion as to Hitler's motivations for starting WWII, assertions as to America's foreign policy goals, etc. (saying that we are acting for the right reasons doesn't make it so)). Essentially, the IB boils down a very big topic to "do you support our troops" as a litmus test for patriotism. That seems a tad simplistic to me. Also, the IB claims that we have to support the President in a time of war and then refers favorably to a woman who emphatically does not support the President. Which is it?

The "Rebecca" link lead to a very interesting read. Plenty of WWII and Revolutionary War education. Some interesting info in the links.


(Challenger) It was clear she had a position and outlined it. It made internal sense, even if it made no outward sense. It stood on it's own.

This was Satire, obviously, so I judged it that way.

She attempted to source quite a bit, but many of her links were either useless [Google searches are difficult to use to prove a point unless they're quite narrow] or actively countering her own argument.

(Iron Blogger) IB has made a good case for her POV, made a post that stands on its own, and addressed pitfalls. It works and is clear. An enjoyable, if short, read. It included drama without being ponderous. Links were informative and balanced. They were lighter than the bombardment from the Challenger, but more effective for that.

First Rebuttal


(Challenger) This is a fairly strong rebuttal, but the post feels almost too lost in the rebuttal stage. I realize that is supposed to be the focus, but I wish The Challenger would have rounded out the post with a bit more of her own beliefs. I do like the wit on display in the opening of the post and enjoyed the extended Patrick Henry quotation at the end. Also, I liked the way The Challenger used the IBR's own example in Sue to attack one of her positions. That was a nice twist.

(Iron Blogger) I had an issue with IBR claiming that The Challenger made a broad assertion that dissent was patriotic, as the quote she took from The Challenger's post simply did not say that. Aside from that one bothersome element, this is a very strong rebuttal. I felt Rosemary did an excellent job of both fleshing out and clarifying her arguments while also actively rebutting The Challenger's claims. Particularly, I liked IBR's focus on establishing that there really are certain behaviors that can be labeled as unpatriotic, as that seems to be a weakness in The Challenger's arguments. The post had great sourcing from a variety of strong sites. Furthermore, it was entertaining and kept my interest from beginning to end. A fine effort from Rosemary.


(Challenger) What I liked: Impressive use of the Patrick Henry quote to rebut the Iron Blogger. Strong, point-by-point dissection of the Iron Blogger's argument. She avoided personal attacks and stuck to the argument at hand, and showed an admirable economy of language.

What I didn't: The Challenger relied too heavily on dictionary definitions as citations for her positions, and veered too closely into "cute" territory this time. Emoticons, snark, and references such as "Iron Blogger MOTO" made the post enjoyable on a sophomoric level, but detracted from their overall quality.

(Iron Blogger) What I liked: The Iron Blogger made a very coherent argument in this post, pointing out the weaknesses-- and, especially, the errors, in the Challenger's opening statement and first rebuttal.

What I didn't: The Iron Blogger spends too much time attacking her opponent personally -- her youth, especially. Also, she relies too heavily on secondary sources, such as message boards and blogs, rather than the primary sources.


(Challenger) First, let me say: "Iron Blogger MOTO" ... that made me chuckle. The challenger makes a couple of major and, for her argument, fundamental assertions which are not supported and are not in any way obvious. The first is that Patriotism is an emotion. As she had done in her opening, the Challenger lets fly with the links but nowhere in her links could I find support for this assertion. ...This is important because it is from this unestablished premise that the next unsupported assertion flows: "It (patriotism) simply cannot be quantified." Now, the challenger may be right in saying that we cannot precisely, numerically establish the level of any particular person's level of patriotism. If that were her assertion, then I'd have little difficulty with it. However, her assertion goes quite a bit farther than that. She asserts that patriotism cannot be measured at all. Now, if you're going to tell me that I cannot, with perfect confidence, say that Pat Tillman and John McCain and my cats are (or were, in Tillman's case) more patriotic than Ted Rall and Michael Moore and Peter Arnett, well, you're going to have to prove it to me with something more than unsupported assertions.

With respect to the Challenger's attacks on the IB's arguments, once you get past the snark (and let me just say, there was too much snark, if only because these arguments are long enough as is and, with the links, take quite a bit of time to read ... I hope that, in the future, challengers and IBs can reign it in a bit and concentrate on the debate topics), she makes some very good points. The fact that Sue Niederer does not support the President is clear and undeniable and the Challenger was correct to point that out. If support for the President in a time of war is to be the measure of patriotism, as the IB suggests in her opening, she picked a very poor example of a dissenting patriot in poor Ms. Niederer. The full Patrick Henry quote is a very nice touch as well.

What happened to the summary sentences that I liked so much? If you have a good hook, stick with it. The challeger's best points (the actual rebuttal) were left for last while her weakest (and the snark) were at the beginning. Points for taking on the IB's arguments head on. No one can accuse Pineapple Girl of being contact-averse. Point for turning the IB's own argument back on her and point for focussing the argument back on the IB via the Patrick Henry quote.

(Iron Blogger) I was worried while reading this rebuttal that it would focus solely on the Challenger's opening and rebuttal and would not expand upon the IB's own opening, which was somewhat light on substance. Luckily, the IB does eventually get to expanding on and giving good examples for her argument in what can best be described as the "Jeff Foxworthy" section. The IB also gives numerous examples of what isn't patriotism. Frankly, it would have warmed my cold, shriveled heart to see a few examples of actual patriotism, rather than focusing on it's absence.

Nevertheless, the IB clarifies her position nicely and addresses the arguments made by the challenger thoroughly (though I bet she still regrets giving the Challenger the slow, fat pitch that was Sue Niederer). In any case, the IB does an excellent job of rebutting the Challenger's assertion that patriotism cannot be measured at all.

I have a complaint that applies to both the challenger and the IB. Every time there is a link included, the reader's rhythm is broken as he goes to check out the link. Every time. For that reason, links should be to something important and highly relevant. For the life of me, I don't see the benefit of repeatedly linking to the dictionary definitions of common words such as "love," "hate," "contempt," etc.

As a rebuttal, this was excellent. The IB fully addressed the points made in both the challenger's opening and 1st rebuttal (no small task) and even went after the difficult points made against her. She turned the challenger's arguments around several times with concrete examples and managed to end by throwing down the foxworthy gauntlet, leaving the ball in the challenger's court.

As I mentioned, the tone at the start was unpleasant and unpleasant to read. I wish that the IB had not risen to the bait. Luckily, it is largely absent from the balance of the IB's rebuttal. Otherwise, the style was very good and, aside from the unnecessary dictionary and Wikipedia examples, the links were helpful. The IB did a nice job of educating the reader. However, as I mentioned, in a debate about patriotism, I would have liked more examples of what patriotism is, rather on what it isn't.


(Challenger) The opening rambles & is unclear. What is she on about? Get to the point. It was less clear as it went on what she was trying to point out, although she had spots of logic in it. Too bad they didn't connect to much. She did try to rebut the IB's arguments, so I'll give her that.

(Style was) Rather tedious, I have to say.

One challenge was made- Are Liberty and freedom actually synonymous? From her links- almost so. But she started me into looking at it and figuring it out. They can be parsed, but the difference is subtle. One of her links would not load. I expected to see a link to the entirety of the PH speech, but she didn't do that, leading me to suspect a dodge here, since her point was to "read the whole speech" and to imply the IB was misleading through omission.

(Iron Blogger) Snarky and very coherent, it spoke to point and made a very tight case- there is nowhere the Challenger can go, since the IB painted her into a corner. Bonuses for: Turning the tables, active rebuts, turning points against the challenger.

Yay! She skewers the main thrust of the Challenger's argument right from the outset! And continues to savage the rebuttal! w00t!! This reminded of a particularly nasty Gwar video segment starring Corporal Punishment...! :-O

A decent, though not stellar educational value. I bookmarked one for later analysis on my own, perhaps to be used in the future for a post. She backed up every point and turned up the heat.

Second Rebuttal


(Challenger) The Challenger really hits the ball out of the park with this second rebuttal. She actively engages her combatant, taking her various points head on. She clarifies her positions and strengthens her position in doing so, all while addressing what IBR had to say about her opening argument and first rebuttal. Furthermore, she is able to deftly and wittily turn IBR's point about profanity back against her. She entertains throughout, links well, and offers up sources that provide quite a bit of background information about a couple of fascinating and important events. Truly a great post.

(Iron Blogger) Rosemary lets loose with an effective second rebuttal that counters many of The Challenger's points. She begins with a great tactic, once again bringing home her point of there being lines that can be drawn. Ultimately, the post boils down to rebuttals that often emphasize a simple and valid difference of opinion. Therefore, it would have been nice if the IBR had included a bit more of her own case in the post, much as she did right at the beginning. That would have helped to emphasize their differences and shed better light on which opinion is the more persuasive. Overall, this is certainly a good post but it could have been better with some stronger arguments for her case from Rosemary interspersed with the counters to The Challenger.


(Challenger) What I liked: Overall, this post is quite well done. Solid structure, and ample examples of turning the IB's own words against her. Pineapple Girl's style is (to borrow from the movie critics) Laugh-Out-Loud Funny�, and only occasionally delves into snark territory without good cause. She also seems to be declaring an end to the "girl-on-girl/catfight/mud-wrestling" references she started, which is good, as it was wearing thin.

What I didn�t: I have few quibbles with this post. It may have benefited from some speaking-to-her-point
sources on the Right (other than the Little Green Footballs reference), to balance out the use of the Left, but this is a minor point.

(Iron Blogger) What I liked: Strong structure; good use of the Challenger�s numbered points against her. She also put up a spirited defense of her previous sourcing and its bias. Rosemary�s writing, as always, is amusing and easy to read.

What I didn�t: The intro and conclusion are both weaker than we�ve seen from the Iron Blogger. The implicit comparison of NAMBLA members to people who veer from the �reasonable person standard� about patriotism doesn�t sit well with me. (Is there a Godwin�s Law for pedophelia?) More links, but fewer dictionary definitions, would have contributed to a stronger post.

(Challenger) The challenger reasserts her position that no one can judge another's patriotism in an objective fashion and that all judgments re: an individual's patriotism are nothing more than opinions.� Again, there is no objective support for this position beyond the Challenger's assertion.� I am completely, utterly unconvinced.

Let me be clear on this.� I am not criticizing the Challenger from having a position that I disagree with.� I am criticizing the Challenger for staking out what appears to me to be a very radical (in the non-political sense) and difficult position and then basing it on little more than her own assertions.� Whether she didn't prove it because she didn't make a sufficient effort or because it's impossible to prove, the fact remains that she didn't prove her central argument that opinions as to an individual's patriotism can not be objectively judges wrong or right.

The discussion regarding what constitutes violence and whether or not certain individuals have been attacked in the name of or for lack or patriotism seems, to me, to be an entirely off-topic tangent, unless we are arguing "is patriotism good," which does not appear to be the topic at all.� The Challenger's discussion of the Plame affair seems to be a symptom of the Bush-obsession discussed above.� The question before us regards the nature of patriotism, treason, etc.� While the Plame affair may (or may not) be illustrative of treason or lack of patriotism (a highly dubious proposition to be putting forth with respect to a case that remains under investigation), mere reference to it does little to advance the discussion or answer the questions that have been put forth.�

The second rebuttal was much longer than necessary, due in large part to some unnecessary tangents (how on earth did the Jehovah's Witnesses get dragged into this?).� Numbering the arguments was a nice touch, though. Points for addressing the IB's arguments.� The final line was rhetorically clever but the IB did not suggest that anyone who swears in anger is unpatriotic, as the Challenger seems to suggest.�

I was very happy to see the tone of the argument improve.� The Challenger is a very good writer looking for her inner editor (aren't we all?).� As I mentioned, the final line was rhetorically very clever, if not entirely on-point.� The sourcing was entirely adequate, if unspectacular.�

(Iron Blogger) I don't know.� Maybe two rebuttals is one too many.� The arguments appear to be losing steam as the participants go about covering old ground.� However, the Iron Blogger does make a very relevant point in discussing the Reasonable Person Standard.� Her answer to the Challenger's stipulation challenge is also, generally, on point (though, as discussed below in the "sourcing" section, I have a MAJOR problem with one of�the links used to drive this point home�and a smaller problem with the other).� Unfortunately, this debate went off on some very strange tangents and, maybe inevitably, the IB follows it there (is smashing up a mosque violence?� Is it just vandalism?� What on earth does that have to do with the price of patriotic bananas?)The IB does score a good point by throwing the Challenger's words about Lt. Smash back at her (though, to be fair, Lt. Smash is about as much a Democrat as I am.� He is a self-described Independent who registered as a Democrat for strategic voting reasons)).

Well structured.� Numbers, bold face.� Really helped me focus after pages and pages of argument.� Now I've run out of things to say on this subject.� Yay for bold face.

A couple of points about sourcing.� First, the "reasonable person standard" link was very good.� However, if you're going to talk about Bull Conner, please give me a link that does more than mention him in passing half way down a long article.� Second, I really, really, really wish I didn't have the NAMBLA website URL floating around in my harddrive.� Man, I can't stress this enough.� I really, really wish�the IB�had found another way to make her point.� I'm sure that everyone who connected from their work computer also appreciate the link.� I can just see that conversation with the company IT guy (if they're lucky).� I also really, really don't think that that's a trackback that the Iron Blog wanted any part of.� Geez, Rosemary, what were you thinking? ��

(Challenger) Mostly a defensive, lawyerly rebuttal, this was a well-done post. In retrospect, probably the only defense she could have raised. Partisan on the links, in some respects, but well done.

(Iron Blogger) Mostly a rehash and expansion, with needed clarifications of disputed items. One hole cleared. It did clarify Rosemary's position better through expanding on it, but little new material was added.

Suffered mainly because she had to respond to so much dreck. When done, she moved onto a better close.

Sourced self added one or links; could have done more.

Closing Arguments

(Challenger) This is a strong and simple restatement of her argument, in which The Challenger stands by her original points. She does a better job, frankly, of summing up her statements in this closing argument than she did in her opening argument. Stripped of much of the detail and minutiae, she is able to state a stronger and less confusing case than was often present in her other posts. The style is sparse, but it largely works. The quotes at the end are nice, but perhaps unnecessary. It�s the first six paragraphs that really contain the meat of this closing argument. Though short, it holds up very well. Great job.

(Iron Blogger) This is certainly an eloquent post. Rosemary closes with a passionate argument that shoots more for strong narration and emotional appeal than it does for a rehash of the arguments. She returns to her original points, though I would have liked to see a greater focus on her strongest point�the ability and need to draw certain lines, rather than proclaiming patriotism an unquantifiable quality. The prose is very nice indeed and it leaves no doubt that Rosemary is a talented writer. I feel the post could have been stronger if it had done more to address The Challenger�s arguments, but I cannot deny that this is a very strong closing argument in its own right.

(Challenger) What I liked: Good use of quotes that simultaneously enlighten, but don�t introduce new points; they merely reaffirm her original argument that patriotism isn�t necessarily the same thing to everyone. An easy read, as usual.

What I didn�t: This post just didn�t shine; hence the midrange scores here. It spent too much time addressing the Iron Blogger, point by point, for it to stand on its own. Strange logic at times -- I�m not sure that silence equals agreement in every case, simply because it did so in one place. The quotes, while good, seemed tacked on, rather than organic.

(Iron Blogger) WHAT I LIKED: This was a stirring, well-organized post, full of optimism, and quite reflective of the Patriotism topic -- Rosemary�s proud to be an American, and one can see it in her writing. An excellent stand-alone post.

WHAT I DIDN�T: Only minimal references to earlier arguments, especially those of the Challenger. I felt Rosemary�s use of 9/11 was designed to hit someone emotionally, rather than logically, and while appealing to emotion is a valid debate technique, it didn�t fit as well with the other posts.

(Challenger) The substance is a bit sparse ... lots of quotes but not much from the Challenger herself.� Moreover, the argument that "questioning our leaders is definitely patriotic" remains unconvincing.� By that still unsupported logic, based on my previous writings, I am a French patriot (or would become one immediately upon moving to France).� I would also be a patriot if I moved to Palestine (for as many hours or minutes as I remained alive) based on my criticism of the leadership there.� Perhaps "definitely" is not the word that the Challenger wanted.� As to whether dissent can be patriotic, I think that it's clear that there is no disagreement on this point between the combatants.�

The Challenger described the Closing as an opportunity to "shore up" her argument and, being satisfied with it, appeared to go into the task a bit lackadaisically. In all, the Challenger didn't take the opportunity to highlight the many good points that she made in her closing.� Instead, she introduced new quotes and new articles.� Even with quotes, rebuttal is possible by showing the full context (as the challenger so skillfully did with the IB's Patrick Henry quote).� The articles (especially the Krugman article which was�quoted at length within the body of the closing) brought up all kinds of new issues.� If it was worth bringing up, it was worth bringing up earlier.� On the other hand, the Challenger does challenge the reader to think about the nature of patriotism and the IB's depiction of it and casts a shadow on the IB's argument by pointing out that the IB failed to rebut all of her points.

The Challenger is a terrific, witty writer.� That's part of the reason that I was disappointed that so much of her closing consisted of other people's words.� I would have liked to see more synergy with the rest of the debate and a stronger wrap up.� That being said, the Challenger didn't back off of her position and she did assertively restate her original thesis. All in all, a nice job by the Challenger.� Congratulations on a worthy effort.

(Iron Blogger) Really good Substance.� Clear, unambiguous restating of the IB position with many personal examples.� Ignoring the many tangents that the argument had strayed on the IB returns to the question:� What is patriotism.� And then she answers it again, unambiguously.� No one is left pondering what her point is.� Agree or disagree, her position is crystal clear.

Very well put together from a purely structural standpoint.� Direct, hard-hitting sentences.� Distinct paragraphs that make clear, distinct points.��

No new info - check.� There could have been more reference to the previous posts but the IB did do an outstanding job of restating her case.� With fresh, universally accessible examples.� The reader, who is addressed directly, is most certainly challenged, as is the Challenger's contention that Patriotism is an amorphous and unquatifiable emotion.� Stylictically, the best closing I've read on IB to date.� Should be saved as an example for future combatants.� Really, deserves its own soundtrack by Danny Elfman.�

The one major weakness of this closing is that, while it powerfully restates the IB's position, it does not make good use of the facts presented previously.� However, the IB does not abandon her earlier position and the closing is powerful and stands on its own merit.


(Challenger) Bonus for 'leaving doubt on the other's case'; PG wrapped up too quickly for my tastes and made statements that weren't entirely supported by the debate itself. The quotes were nice, but off-target: Nowhere was it argued that patriotism = liking the President, except in her own mind. She tried to guide the reader to judge things her way, which is manipulative, but then I guess thats a strategy. I didn't feel the Quotes backed up her assertions in any major way, and the remainder were overtly partisan. She reaffirmed her stand on the topic that was not being challenged by the IB, so a point was garnered there, although it must be said to be an unusual circumstance.

(Iron Blogger) Nothing new introduced, but a little 'preaching to the choir' going on. She did, however, more clearly & simply differentiate her tolerances & reactions to godd & bad patriotism. Not bad, just not really good. Stuck by original points.

The Judges have spoken, only a short time until the verdict is announced.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Eighth Battle

This week, our Challenger comes from Prudent Politics. When asked who he would like to challenge, he offered this in explanation.
Iron Blogger Libertarian - I have very libertarian leanings, and used to be a member of the Libertarian Party, but they've really dropped the ball with regards to national defense, in my opinion. There are other issues I disagree with "big 'L'" Libertarians on, but that's one of them.
Cody Hatch, I have granted your request.

Iron Blogger Libertarian, Vinod Valloppillil, you have been called to the field of battle. May you once more stand victorious and continue the winning ways of my Iron Bloggers.

If memory serves me right, the death of a very influential President has stirred debate in our country over many topics. The Cold War, Communism, Iran-Contra - indeed the last of those made a cameo appearance in our most recent battle. But these are not the topics I am interested in. No, I am thinking of the one that has the Republican Party divided, the Senate disagreeing with the White House. The Topic for the Battle is this:

Stem Cell Research

Are the Bush standards acceptable? Should more avenues of embryo harvesting be made accessible, as Nancy Reagan has asked? And most interestingly, what should be done with these stem cells? Many talk of a day when organ donation will be unnecessary, as we will all have kidneys on tap, grown from stem cells. Where do we draw the lines? Let us see what our combatants have to say.

Allez debate!


Sunday, July 11, 2004


Battle Patriotism hit a snag lastnight that delayed Closing Arguments. Judges' Comments and the Verdict will be up either very late tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

Our Eighth Battle will be announced Monday afternoon as well.

Sorry for the delays.


Battle Patriotism - Iron Blogger Republican - Closing Statement

Patriotism is love of country. The flying of flags, yellow ribbons on trees, parades for returning troops, flag lined streets and tear streaked faces of neighbors that didn't even know the soldier returning home after making the ultimate sacrifice.

That pure love of country and countrymen is what patriotism is all about. There is another face of patriotism. Those that stand on the street demanding our soldiers come home, that don't want our soldiers to fight and die and want to hold those in charge responsible for mistakes. They believe in peace and whether we all agree or not; that is also patriotism. For they love their country and her soldiers too.

In her opening, the Challenger mockingly pointed out the flag frenzy we have experienced:
“I have confused poignant emotion for nausea, as I observe a society around me that has never jumped quicker to wrap itself in the trappings of "patriotism," even as it narrows its eyes at neighbors, castigating countrymen who don't look or act ‘American enough.’ ”

Are we flying our flag in attempt to stifle dissent or in a phony attempt to seem more American?


It's not a new trend but a very old one with some technological advances. Not only do we fly our flag but also we have t-shirts with flags on them and decals for our cars. People don't fly their flag because they are supposed to, they fly it because they need to fly it, wear it or display it. The need comes from deep within. Human beings need to show their love and during a time when our nation is threatened patriots need to show their love for their country.

Are we sending secret messages to each other? Psst, bad American over there.

No, of course not.

We are sending a message with those flags though aren’t we? Who are we sending our message to? Do you really have to ask? Terrorists. People that hate America and want us all dead. They hate it. They absolutely hate that we are flying those flags. You know what? I say good. If national unity scares our enemies then GREAT! They should be scared because we Americans will not lie down and die because they hate us. No, we will fight for our freedom.

Do some Americans believe that our flag flying is meant to stifle them or any other dissenter? If they do then they do not understand what patriotism is.

I don't care. I will not have anyone shame me into silence. I will not stifle my pride and love of Country because they sneer at me. NEVER.

Patriotism is always revived after an attack on our soil or a war effort is in place. It shouldn't take an attack or a war to remind people that they love their country but it does.


Because when things are going good we don't have think about it. We worry about how to make our own lives better but it doesn't mean we love our country our freedom any less. When push comes to shove patriots will stand together and shove right back.

Do you remember 9/11? I remember every single moment of that day. It was a defining moment in my life and yours as well I'm certain. I wasn't a Republican on that day I was an American. We all were. Do you remember seeing our politicians standing on the steps of the Capitol singing "God Bless America"? Did you sing with them? I did. I sang and I cried. I didn't know a single person that perished that day but I shed a tear for every single one of them, for their family members and their friends.


I cried not only because I'm human but also because I am an American. I cried for the loss of life, the loss of our children's innocence and our Country.

Now I cry because I want our country to be united and it isn't. I cry because another soldier was wounded or killed fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. I cry because I know that they fight there so they don't have to fight here. I cry because I'm proud and grateful to those men and women. Every single time I've met a soldier returning from Iraq or Afghanistan I look at them and say two words.

Thank you.

Every single time I see a veteran of any war I look into their eyes and say two words.

Thank you.

It's all I have to offer most of the time but I feel it is my duty, as an American, to express my gratitude.


Because I am a patriot and I love my Country.

When I see someone protest the war, I stand silently and show my support of the war. Because I have the same right to support the war as a protester has to protest it.

When I see protesters stand up and cheer on our enemy and with gleeful hope that we lose the war, when they cheer that another man has lost his head because that is bad for Bush, I'm not silent. I will not stand by quietly when people actively rally around our enemy and hope for a U.S. defeat. That behavior isn't patriotic. That isn't simple dissent or a difference of opinion. That is at its core unpatriotic and un-American. I will fight for your Constitutional right to speak but I will not support hatred of this country and for what she stands. I will not stand by while you wrap yourself in your Constitutional right to speak one moment and then piss on the Constitution by giving aid and comfort to our enemy. No, I will not.


Because I am an American, I am a Patriot and I'm proud of it.

I want to thank Pineapple Girl for making my last battle so much fun. You have been a worthy adversary and you have earned both my respect and my admiration. That ain't an easy thing to do because I'm rather stingy with both.


Respectfully Submitted:

Rosemary Esmay [QOAE], Iron Blogger Republican

Battle Patriotism - Challenger - Closing Argument

My opponent has spent much energy telling you why she doesn't have to do anything with the definition of patriotism, why a few links to some dictionary sites should be just fine, and that's her case. I asked the Iron Blogger to stipulate to the point that I proved so clearly, and she offered possibly the reddest of herrings we've seen yet -- with references to racism, NAMBLA, and a man raping his wife. Rosemary said, "How do we measure the meaning of any word if not by definition? I think that some things are obvious."

If so, then why are we here? What have we been doing this week? The Chairman asked "What is patriotism?" By the Iron Blogger's rationale, the winner should be the first person providing the dictionary entry, right? Because there's nothing else to say? No, I believe that to hide behind the sentence "a love of one's country" without making an assertion as to what that actually means is slightly invertebrate and dismisses the whole purpose of The Iron Blog.

On my second point, by refusing to differentiate between Rebecca the Socialist Teenager and Valerie Plame, the Iron Blogger all but makes my point about the terms "treasonous" and "traitorous." The college kid was a tempest in a teapot. The longer we as a society allow it acceptable for partisan rhetoric to appropriate perfectly good words, by applying them to some comments disapproving of the war and supporting the Iraqis, equally as they are applied to "exposing clandestine [American] intelligence sources, [ergo] aiding and abetting terrorists" for political gain and to retaliate at those who would question our leaders, the words become worthless.

My opponent never addresses my third and fourth points -- that questioning our leaders is definitely patriotic (and the founding fathers would agree), and that what's not patriotic is the dog-and-pony show and outright oppression being perpetrated by the Bush administration when anyone even slightly disagrees with them. Those were the far more interesting parts of my position, and I'd hoped the Iron Blogger would choose to argue them ideologically, beyond merely disputing the semantics. (Well, to be fair, she does address my example, with Dick Cheney didn't do anything wrong, but look over here, Hillary Clinton was "practically accusing the President of murder.")

Still, as Rosemary shares regarding my second point, "The reason I didn't address it was that I [GASP] mostly agree with the assertion the challenger made."

There you go. If my opponent agrees with everything which she does not address, then it is apparent that she supports much of my salient position.

So, although there's not much for me to shore up here, I'll leave you with some references that might help solidify the points on which we spent less time, for You The Reader.

Paul Krugman's piece in an April 2003 New York Times:
It's not a slur on the courage of our troops, or a belittling of the risks they face, to say that our current war is a mere skirmish by comparison. Yet self-styled patriots are trying to impose constraints on political speech never contemplated during World War II, accusing anyone who criticizes the president of undermining the war effort.

...Anyway, what defines patriotism? Talk is cheap; so is putting a flag in your lapel. Citizens prove their patriotism when they make sacrifices for the sake of their country. [John] Kerry, a decorated veteran, has met that test. Most of his critics haven't.

I'm not just talking about military service — though it's striking how few of our biggest hawks have served. Nor am I talking only about financial sacrifice — though profiting from public office seems to be the norm, not the exception, among those who wrap themselves in the flag. (Mr. Racicot himself accepted the job as R.N.C. chairman only on the condition that he remain on the payroll of Bracewell and Patterson, a law firm that specializes in lobbying.)

The biggest test of a politician's patriotism is whether he is willing to sacrifice some of his political agenda for the sake of the nation. And that's a test our current leaders have failed with flying colors.

In a report by Spanish-language newspaper Libertad-Prensa, the author addressed the Bush administration's oppression of dissenters on September 6, 2001, with supporting quotes from the WaPo, NYT and Houston Chronicle.

From Peter Selby at Episcopal newsletter "The Witness":
It is not an easy time to risk being called "unpatriotic," and those who planned and executed the attacks on New York and Washington are as much responsible for the predictable deaths of Afghan people as they are directly for the deaths of those who died on September 11th.

Yet the risk has to be taken, and for the most patriotic of reasons. Love of country has to include a passionate concern for its values, its hopes and its reputation. No country can flourish if the voice of criticism is silenced in the name of patriotism.

Abraham Lincoln said, "I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

John Quincy Adams said, "And say not thou 'My country right or wrong'/Nor shed thy blood for an unhallowed cause."

Theodore Roosevelt said, "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is unpatriotic not to tell the truth--whether about the President or anyone else."

And finally, from a sermon by the Reverend Paul Strudwick on September 23, 2001 at All Saints Church in Carmel, California:
We need to be vigilant in ensuring that our leaders - those whom we elect - show the same values through their lives and actions. And so we are called to pray for them to have guidance, strength, courage, and wisdom - and especially that cleverness, mentioned before, that we can so easily misdirect.
... Freedom comes with responsibility and it is only free so far as it does not degenerate into anarchy. What we have is freedom to follow the rules. Or to be active in changing them. But we have to be heard if we want change or we don't like what is going on. And not everyone likes what is going on at the moment - inside and outside the country.

Regardless of the decision of this Battle, I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been an honor to debate Rosemary Esmay. I appreciate those of you who have read along, and thank the Chairman for the opportunity to join the distinguished list of Iron Blog Challengers.

Yours truly,


Blitz Battle Winners
Chris in NH (BB #2)
Big Dan (BB #6)
Former Challengers
Jimmie Bisse Jr. of The Sundries Shack
Chris of World Inquiry
Dean Esmay of Dean's World
Big Dan of God In The Machine
Owen of Boots and Sabers
Frank LoPinto of Cool Blue Blog
Bryan S of Arguing With Signposts
Ralph Stefan of Ralph's Garage
Former Iron Bloggers
Rosemary Esmay (2-1)

The Agitator
American RealPolitik
Asymmetrical Information
Tim Blair
John Cole
The Common Virtue
Crow Blog
The Daily Blitz
Ben Domenech
Dan Drezner
Gerbera Tetra
Hugh Hewitt
Sebastian Holsclaw
Kaus Files
The Moderate Voice
Queen of All Evil
Right Wing News
John Scalzi
Donald Sensing
Matt Stinson
Sgt. Stryker
Andrew Sullivan
Transterrestrial Musings
USS Clueless
Matt Welch
Winds of Change


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