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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Trolls, Free Speech, and Me

Note: The following guidelines DO NOT mean you can't comment here, or should be intimidated about commenting here, or that if you comment here I and my hordes of zombie-like UCF sycophants will automatically rip you limb from limb.

We like new people - they taste just like chicken.

I'm kidding, of course, I like comments from new people. I am interested in what you have to say, even if you disagree with me. Feel free to comment on anything I've written, but please keep the following in mind. Thanks

-Jim

_______________________________________________________




Regular readers are, of course, familiar with the whole troll issue last Friday.

I'm not going to rehash it here, but suffice it to say that several commenters took exception to something I posted. Exception devolved immediately into classic trolling. This is isn't the first time and probably won't be the last.

Both in the comments (before I shut them down) and in the email I've received since, I've been accused of stifling free speech, being an asshole, a poor journalist, being intimidating, and ... well you get the idea.

A number of folks, at least one acquainted with the troll and an employee of the same organization, asked me why I went after the troll with such a vengeance, threatening to out him to his employers and/or the news media. A couple of folks thought that this was unfair, a suppression of free speech, and just plain mean.

I wasn't going to answer those questions - because I think the answers should be obvious if you know anything about me at all - but I keep getting email and it's starting to get on my nerves.

So, in answer to those questions and for future reference, here's how things work at Stonekettle Station:

_____________________

Ten things to consider before you decide to be a troll here:

1) Me: First, in order to understand my response to trolls, you need to understand who I am. Do NOT assume that you know me, unless you've hung around Stonekettle Station for a good long time. But here are the basics: I'm a retired United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer. Retired is a relative term, I will, for the rest of my life, identify myself as a Chief Warrant Officer - it is an ingrained part of my personality. Navy Warrants are unlike any other rank in any other service. We are selected from a highly competitive group, and we are selected for two things specifically, advanced knowledge combined with experience and a specific personality type. As a group, we tend to be profane, hard boiled, out spoken, and supremely confident in our abilities to get the job, whatever it may be, done. As such we get only the worst jobs, the ones nobody else can do. We are not Officers and Gentlemen - and nobody expects us to be. To help non-Navy folks understand what I mean, allow me to illustrate. When I applied for Warrant I was interviewed by three Navy officers, one Warrant, one Limited Duty Officer, and a senior Naval Academy Graduate - a full Commander. My interview consisted of one question, asked by the Commander: "Let's say we make you an officer, when you join the wardroom you'll be surrounded by real Officers, Academy Graduates (at this point he took pains to tap his Academy ring on the table top so I would notice), and that means three things: one, they are better educated than you. Two, they are smarter than you. And three, they are a lot younger than you. How are you going to handle that?" I didn't have to think about my answer, I said immediately, "I'll buy younger, but not the rest of your points. I believe each member of the wardroom has something to contribute, and if I need to know how to chain a woman to a urinal, tear up a Vegas hotel, or cheat on my engineering exam those officers will be the first ones I ask - other than that they better stay the fuck out of my way." The Commander turned bright red, the LDO remained carefully straight faced, and the Warrant smiled - and the interview was over (no, the Commander wasn't being an ass, the Warrant put him up to it. And it was really the Warrant's decision).

And that is how you become a Warrant, and it should tell you something about what kind of person I am. If you find that story only confirmation of your assumption that I'm an asshole, well you may be right, but you're missing the bigger picture. Do some research into why people like me are necessary to the military, start here. My job was to get the mission done, by hook or crook, come hell or high water. You fight until there's nothing left but ashes, and then you piss in the ashes. Warrants exist solely for that reason. We lead from the front, by example, and we have a well earned reputation for bluntness, duty, honor, courage, and commitment to our people and the mission. I've been around the world, fought in two wars, and earned the respect of fighting men on six continents. So when you troll my site and attempt a personal attack on me or mine, well, that's what you're up against.

2) Journalism: Stonekettle Station is a blog, not a news outlet. I am not a journalist. I post things that I find amusing or interesting. I post things I feel like talking about. Sometimes it's pictures of woodwork or Alaska. Sometimes it's politics. Sometimes it's the military. Sometimes it's a soup recipe. And sometimes it's just videos of Dire Straits. I strive for accuracy, but again I'm primarily expressing my opinion of things I see in the world - if you want news reporting, go to a news site.

3) Disclaimer: There is a disclaimer on the upper right hand side of the main webpage that says very clearly that this site may contain profanity, ranting, and strong opinions - my opinions. If those things offend you, if opinionated people offend you, if profanity offends you - then go elsewhere. Don't comment, just go. The Internet is a big place, and surely if you look long enough you'll find a site more to your liking, someplace with pictures of born again Christian bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows and fly when they think happy thoughts of Jesus.

4) Terminology: If you are unfamiliar with the terminology of the Internet, blogs, or this blog in particular - either educate yourself or go find something else to do. Start with the classic definition of a troll, if you act like a troll then you are a troll - and I will not put up with your nonsense. If you are offended by being dumped under the bridge with the other trolls, then don't act like one. Here at Stonekettle Station I am the sole arbiter of who is and who is not acting like a troll.

5) Free Speech: I believe strongly in free speech. I spent most of my life defending the Constitution and the rights that it guarantees to Americans. HOWEVER, the 1st Amendment does not give you the right to act like an asshole on my site. I do not have to tolerate illiterate, poorly expressed ad hominem attacks. If you act like a troll, I will shut you down - refer to paragraph 1) above. Now, because there seems to be some confusion on this point, let me make myself clear. a) There is a big difference between disagreeing with my opinion, or the opinion of other commenters, and acting like an asshole. When you call my readers morons, you're not addressing the post or another comment, you're engaging in an ad hominem attack. And that is going to earn you a punch in the nose. b) Deleting or moderating your comments on my site does not, in any way, infringe on your freedom of speech. I am under no obligation whatsoever, expressed or implied, to allow you to comment on my site. When you're here, you're a guest - behave yourself or I'll have the bouncers show you the door. This is no different than not allowing you onto my private property so you can call me an asshole. Before you lecture me on the Constitution, try reading it first. c) I don't have to have comments enabled at all, I chose to allow comments because I often enjoy the things people have to say here, however just because I allow comments does not give you the right to say whatever asshat thing you like. d) If you really feel the need to call me an asshole or engage in illiterate blathering, start your own blog. I believe www.jimwrightisanasshole.com is available. Correction, jimwrightisanasshole.com has been taken, you'll have to come up with something else. e) I do not think that just because you disagree with me that you are automatically a troll. If you disagree with something I wrote, then make your case. However, if your entire rebuttal consists of "You're an asshole" or some approximation of the same, then you're a troll and you're going to get punched in the nose. A number of folks, both in email and on other blogs, have accused me of not tolerating disagreement with my opinion. Wrong, demonstrably wrong. Frequent commenter John the Scientist can almost always be counted on to disagree with my views on politics and religion - and yet his comments are polite, well thought out and indicative of a keen mind, professional, and often humorous. We often agree to disagree, or upon occasion he has even changed my outlook on things. I respect his opinion very much, even if I disagree with it. Hell, I once wrote an opinion piece in favor of genetically modified food and every single regular commenter told me why I was wrong, insane, or misguided. They easily convinced me that I was wrong. Not one of them acted like an asshole. They simply said, "You're wrong, here's why." I respect their opinions and knowledge. I was talking out my ass to some extent, and I got corrected by people who knew better. If you want the same respect, then act the same way.

6) You and your employer: I am under no obligation, expressed or implied, to protect you from your employer if you engage in asshatery on company time. If you don't like how I handle that situation, then don't give me power over you, i.e. don't act in a manner that discredits your employer or is contrary to your company's policy regarding Internet access, public relations, and etcetera. Most especially don't do so and then act like an asshole on my site - because I will out your ass just on general principles, see paragraph 1) above.

7) Credibility: If you want to be taken seriously, then take a minute to be professional and to think about what you're saying. If you drop a cryptic one line bit of snark into my comments section - you're not being clever or quizzical, you're just pissing me off. And everybody makes a few typos in the comments section, me probably more than most - but if you consistently don't know the difference between "There," "They're," and "Their," and you are unable to structure a paragraph at least as well as my 12-year old then I'm going to find it hard to take you seriously - especially if you're harping on how uneducated I must be. Additionally, if you use ellipsis in place of a period at the end of every dammed sentence I'll delete your comment out of hand. One final note on this subject: A lot. Two words.

8) Anonymity: I don't like anonymous comments. So why do I have anonymous commenting enabled? Because I want to make it easy for people surfing through without google, blogger, or open ID's to comment if they so desire. However, anonymity seems to give some folks a sense of false courage, and they seem to think they can hide behind it to say any dammed stupid and inflammatory thing they like. And there are far too many of these people on the net these days, and it pisses me off. I am a whole lot more likely to tag you as a troll if you hide behind anonymity. Especially if you're using anonymous posting to hide the fact that you are doing something unethical, like say acting like an ass on company time, see paragraph 6) above. I have the ability to find out who you are, and I will. If you've just got to tell me what an asshole I am, at least have the courage to own what you say.

9) Intimidation: Three people wrote to me and said something along the lines of "I wanted to comment on the whole DSL thing, but I was afraid that you would yell at me. You are too intimidating, you should be less intimidating." I've heard this crap my whole life. Yes, I am loudly intolerant of fools, idiots, and the mentally lazy. Yes, I am confident in my opinions, my abilities, my knowledge, and my experience, those things kept my men and I alive on the battlefield. Yes, I tend to express my opinions in black and white terms. Yes, I have little patience for jackasses and people who are deliberately obtuse or offensive, and people who just argue to hear themselves talk. I am the archetype of the classic Type-A personality - refer to paragraph 1) above. I am not going to change, I don't want to, and I don't have to. If you are intimidated by me, then you have three choices: a) go away, b) keep quiet and bitch timidly about me behind my back, or c) grow a pair of big hairy balls. Good grief, if you're intimidated by some words on a screen written by a guy in Alaska that you don't even know - well, maybe you should take a couple of those self-esteem classes. Or try joining the Navy, it worked for me.

10) Regulars: If you're a drive-by commenter, do a little reading around here first before you start typing, that'll save you the embarrassment of saying something stupid - say like calling me a Bush Republican. Little chaps my ass more than to have somebody accuse me of not doing my research or not knowing what I'm talking about, when it's patently obvious from the comment that it's a case of the pot calling the Stonekettle black. If you're a drive-by commenter and you disagree with me, I may or may not give you the time of day depending on how I'm feeling at that very moment. Regulars get a pass. I know them. Many of them are my friends or acquaintances in one form or another. Don't assume that just because I enjoy snarky comments from them that you get the same treatment. If you want the same respect, stick around, learn the lay of the land, and establish yourself as a credible, reasonable, and intelligent commenter. I'm not saying that you can't comment, or that your comment will get slammed, only that you shouldn't assume familiarity when none exists.

Here's the bottom line: Don't be a dick. There are way too many assholes out there, and frankly I'm just plain sick and tired of it. Every single comment thread under every major news article is full of stupid, poorly thought out and poorly written, illiterate nonsense. Major blog sites are infested with jerks and little surely dipshits who seem bent on making the Internet their personal battleground. Most of these people are obnoxious little blowhards in real life, or mousy housewives who get their worldview from Oprah and those clever little sayings on Starbucks cups, or pimply faced IT dweebs who are still pissed about getting picked on in high school, or depressed insurance salesmen in dead end jobs angry that their football 'career' ended at high school graduation. And the anonymity of the Internet gives them the fake courage to be the jackasses they don't have the balls to be in real life. I will not put up with that garbage here.

If you try it on my site, I will either lock you out, or I will hunt you down and ruin your day - just exactly as the last troll found out. So, again, don't be a dick.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

103 comments:

  1. You know, Jim, I'm not exactly sure I understand where you're coming from and what your opinion of the subject is. You seemed to ramble a bit there . :)

    And I believe you're post deserves a "boo-yeah." Can I get an Amen?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen.

    one addendum:

    "don't act in a manner that discredits your employer or is contrary to your company's policy regarding Internet access, public relations, and etcetera"

    I am a veteran of press interactions at a big company. I'm not talking the Podunk Picayune, here, I'm talking about WSJ and NYT reporters in my face. One thing that was pounded in my head again and again during press training was "you do not speak for this company". Stick to your script, and if you do not have a script, STFU.

    They PAY people to do PR. Here's why: let's say that my team is synthesizing a chemical that was discovered in some plant in the Amazon. This product is a coating that will keep cheap, thin copy paper from being crinkled in cheap HP printers - less paper used - we're going to save the planet! Or at least the trees! I tell the NYT reporter all about the discovery of this chemical by some botanist / adventurer as an introductory spiel about my product. But most of my talk is about how we had to modify the chemical for spraying on paper, and how hard the development team is working.And what's the story the next day in the NYT?

    "Company X Raping the Rainforest"

    In this day and age, the NYT and WSJ search the 'Net when they run out of story ideas. Honest, I've gotten emails from an NYT reporter about my days as an ex-pat in Japan based on comments I made to Sean at The White Peril.

    Your troll still has a lot to worry about if the WSJ or NYT decide to do a Google search while writing a story about DSL. Even if you wipe the page, Google (and others) cache sites.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Asshats beware! Very well said. It's your blog to govern as you see fit. Why don't people understand that?

    Also, where could I get a "born again Christian bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows and fly when they think happy thoughts of Jesus", except maybe with out the religious stuff, or at least one that keeps the religious babble to itself.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh yah, verily.

    That's why I didn't remove anything from the post, there's no point.

    However, since the troll met my conditions by apologizing via email, and I am a man of my word, I will not provide any data other than what is already available. I do know his name, where he lives, his job, and his phone numbers, along with a great of other personal information - but I will not provide any of that information to anybody. Because I said that I wouldn't and I'll keep my promise.

    Trolls in the future may not get the same consideration.

    Oh and Steve? Amem, brother.

    ReplyDelete
  5. WHAT?! This place isn't a subsidiary of Fox News?

    Man, the world just isn't the place I once thought it was.

    Also, I'd like to take this time to point out that although I comment here, I do NOT, in fact, have a pair of big hairy balls. Nor do I wish to grow a pair.

    Just so we're all clear about that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. anyone got a pic of an asshat? My devious brain desires to see what one looks like.

    Thanks for the morning entertainment and diversion from work - oops, best get back at it.

    [figured I better leave a comment since you probably saw my ip address and looked me up - ha!]

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jim, I'm absolutely certain that any minute now somebody will provide a link to an authentic, youbetcha, internet asshat. And I for one look forward to seeing that.

    And I don't look up IP addresses or other information on a routine basis, just when people piss me off. In fact if you're logging in using an ID of any kind, you can be pretty sure that I won't look up your address.

    This is the mistake the troll made by trying to be anonymous.

    Michelle, um, you know, I'm not even going to go there. Oh, and thanks for the postcard, it brightened my day in a major way. I'll get a picture of it up shortly - along with Janiece's surprise gift. Woohoo! UCF loot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry this took so long - I don't type quickly :-)
      Real, official asshats at - where else - www.asshat.com.

      My first and only post as anonymous. I'll sign-up and work my way into your good graces because I really want to be a part of this!

      Delete
  8. Matt, all bunnies fart sunshine and rainbows. Some are even atheists. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think we should all go in together and purchase lifetime ownership of jimwrightisanasshole.com and give it to Jim as a gift.

    He can than decorate it with a permanent under-construction page - with, of course, a background image of the abovementioned rainbow-farting evangelical bunny.

    Oh, and Jim - very nicely said. You don't just tackle an argument - you utterly demolish it. I like that in a guy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jeri, I had absolute confidence when I wrote that bit that the resident Evil, ur, IT guru, Shawn Lightening Bolt Powers, would immediately buy www.jimwrightisanasshole.com on godaddy - and you know I'm good with that, I am. :)

    John, fucking hysterical.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Heh, I was going to leave the plans to buy jimwrightisanasshole.com to Nathan, as it's right up his alley.

    I have to say, I love this crowd. We're all strong individuals across a broad range of personality types. It sure makes hanging with you guys exhilerating. :)

    And if you act like a dick, expect to be called on it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Excellent and informative post, Jim.

    I've been wondering about Warrants for a while now, and your description was enlightening, to say the least.

    And for the record, some of my best friends are assholes. :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. I spent my lunch hour Photoshopping and came up with this especially for you. It's based on a Happy Bunny picture - none of it is original. Feel free to use with your new URL. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, that's going up on this site. You're killing me!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I found these for future reference...

    http://soccerlens.com/guardians-daniel-taylor-doesnt-deserve-to-write-about-manchester-united/3317/

    http://www.planetdan.net/pics/misc/asshat.jpg

    Just in case the need arises again....now we know what an asshat looks like.

    ReplyDelete
  16. although I like John's better!

    ReplyDelete
  17. oh yes - thanks for jiggling the memory - I've seen the first one and I think that must be what the phrase means. hee hee!

    ReplyDelete
  18. See, and I was totally going to go with this picture of an asshat, only to find that other people skipped the low-hanging fruit and actually, you know, came up with photos of asses and hats and cats and things.

    So now I feel lamer than usual. Oh well. I'll get over it.

    Two points of agreement in particular:

    1) Actions have consequences. If you act like an asstard in public, it's nothing but childish to act shocked if it blows back on you. If I get into trouble for something I posted from work during lunch or a slow spell, I have nobody to blame but myself--I know the relevant policies. Your trolls made several mistakes, not the least of which were making their company look bad on company time.

    The irony, as I pointed out in my comments at the time, being that it wouldn't have been hard for them to make their employers look good on whoever's time. They could have been civil, or apologetic, or tried to present an alternate POV in a decent manner. They could have written "I can say we're sorry," or "I'd just like to say that I can see why people would be upset, but I'd like to explain why we had to handle it this way," or a number of other things that would have been better. And, of course, they could have said nothing. They could have gritted their teeth and allowed your post to fade into cyberspace with yesterday's data.

    2) Maybe this is something I should post on my own website as my own rule: anybody who accuses a private individual acting in a private capacity of violating his First Amendment rights already has one strike. The forum really doesn't even matter, but doing it in a privately-owned forum just makes the accuser sound even less credible. For the benefit of those who don't get it: the First Amendment gives you a special relationship to the government. I could, acting as a private citizen, physically gag you, and it might be a tort and it might be a crime, but it would never be a violation of your Constitutional rights.

    The Constitution does not give any person rights in relation to any non-governmental actor, the end. A private individual can censor you, delete your comments, shout over you, drop every word you've ever written off a pier, and in the absence of some violation of statute, there's nothing you can do.

    Anyone reading this: we don't have rights where Jim is concerned--we have whatever privileges or allowances he chooses to give us. And he's in the same boat when he comes to visit our blogs--Jim Wright leaves a comment on your blog, go on and delete it if you'd like. As long as you're not a state actor in a public forum, free speech isn't even an issue. So try not to sound stupid about basic law, eh?

    Sorry about the length. The second issue is a major peeve of mine.

    And I hope this doesn't triple post. Blogger seems to be unwell.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well, one minor correction to what I just wrote....

    I'm an assistant public defender, meaning I work for a state government. So if I did physically gag you, while I was at work and acting in my capacity as a state employee, then it might technically be a violation of your Constitutional rights, specifically the Fourteenth Amendment, which has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to extend the First Amendment's grant of rights (and those of other Amendments) to the States.

    So I should not have used the word "never" in that particular sentence. I probably should have said, "almost never." Yes, if I happen assault you while I'm at work on behalf of my employer, then your rights have been violated.

    Sorry for the error. Large as it is.

    As long as Jim remains retired, that really doesn't apply to him, now does it?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Eric, I was hoping you'd weigh on this - when it comes to legalities I think all of us bow in your general direction - I know I do, or at least in the general direction of the East Coast anyway :)

    as long as Jim remains retired... Yikes! One of my fears is being recalled to active duty. It shouldn't happen, but one of the dangers of having unique skills is that sometimes you are perceived as indispensable - and as an officer I am retired only at the discretion of the Federal Government. In fact I was denied retirement twice - stop loss, just gotta love it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I wondered that about your status as I was writing the comment, actually. "Can Jim be reactivated?" I had no idea exactly how that worked.

    If they did reactivate you, would they send a helicopter up to Alaska to nab you while you were jogging? I know they did that to Clint Eastwood one time, because of his unique ability to think in Russian.

    I kid. They'd make you go to the airport yourself, like anyone else, I'll bet.

    ReplyDelete
  22. They'd make you go to the airport yourself, like anyone else, I'll bet.

    No way. I'm sure he'd be expected to take a herring and a spoon, chop down a tree, hollow it out into a canoe, and then make his own way down to the nearest base.

    And if there is land in the way, well, he can make wheels.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would receive reactivation orders via courier. Then report into a processing center (probably San Diego or Bremerton, WA), then depending on the conditions of the orders be sent via military transport wherever they wanted me to go.

    Let's just hope that doesn't happen.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anne,

    I'll get right on setting up jimwrightisanasshole.com right after I've worked out the bugs on nathangendzierisastupidwhineydouchebag.com

    Priorities, donchaknow.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Re: the likelihood of my imminent reactivation - it's extremely unlikely and more so every day. Just thought I'd mention that, because I know how you people are.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Isn't there some special activation procedure for warrants? Like... build yourself a helicopter out of nettles, spruce boughs, aluminum foil and moose offal, and fuel it on ethanol distilled from moose droppings and crowberries?

    But you could - we're confident you'd rise to the challenge, if recalled. :D

    ReplyDelete
  27. Too late! I am now the proud owner of jimwrightisanasshole.com for a whole year. I am debating between giving it to Jim as a token of my appreciation (I've loved reading the rants and raves over the past bunch of months) or "decorate" it in a particularly girlie and annoying way. Which should it be?

    Natalie -- pseudo-anonymous?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Natalie, I've done an image already for you, linked above on one of my comments. You should *tile* it as a background image, that'd be *nice*. ;)

    Of course, you can certainly use your own theme, but I thought I'd offer. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  29. Girly! Girly!

    With lots of flowery gushing over Bush!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I can't tell you how much it tickles me to know that there is actually a site named www.jimwrightisanasshole.com.


    Now, if it was up to me, I'd make the tag line "The Anti-Jim Wright Site" or maybe "A Safe Haven for those Oppressed by the Heavy Hand of Jim Wright." And, of course, you must publish a weekly picture of sunshine farting bunnies darting about the clouds.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Both in the comments (before I shut them down) and in the email I've received since, I've been accused of stifling free speech, being an asshole, a poor journalist, being intimidating, and ... well you get the idea.

    Jim, I am just in awe of all these awesome powers of yours. And despite the fact that I expect to get hit by lightning any day (for those who may not know because they haven't followed Jim's blog, I'm a Christian and don't always agree with Jim and have said so and am still alive), I laughed at both the phrase "born again Christian bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows and fly when they think happy thoughts of Jesus" and Jeri's quick imagining of it.

    And Scalzi had a similar problem a couple of weeks ago, as I remember. Someone from New Zealand or in that area telling him about violating someone's First Amendment rights. Let me go check.

    Yep, it's here. And the woman was from Australia, not New Zealand.

    If only there were fewer idiots in the world. But then what would we rant about?

    ReplyDelete
  32. You know - if I have some time - I will make you an animated GIF for that site, Natalie. Because there is NOTHING that says trailer trash site like excessive animated GIFs.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Because there is NOTHING that says trailer trash site like excessive animated GIFs...of Britney Spears in a Marlboro halter top and a pair of cutoffs...


    (Well, it is the Anti-Jim Wright site after all, right?)

    ReplyDelete
  34. is like being slathered in a thick coat of ignorant, and then being put out into the sun to dry out before a second coat is applied, which itself will be topped off by a sealant of complete and utter stupid, and lightly drizzled with a glistening varnish of epic fail.

    Good Freakin' Gravy, Vince, how in the hell did I miss that post? That's the best line I've heard all month (admittedly the month is young yet, but still...).

    I caught the Gretchen thing the day before, but completely missed that post. Damn, that Scalzi is an even bigger asshole than me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love animated gifs, to be honest (does that make me trailer trash, if so then cool!). My husband (like many men, I guess) finds the request "pull my finger" and subsequent output to be fairly hilarious. (Oddly enough, I haven't found it funny since the 6th grade.) Anyway, for our 1st valentine's day, he made me a very cartoonish animated gif of an index finger going in and out -- the "pull my finger" gif. It definitely says something about me that I thought it was hilarious and still smile when I look at it. I'll have to include it on the new site.

    If anyone wants to send me links or graphics to include on jimwrightisanasshole.com, send them to neuronmom at yahoo dot com. All submission to reviewed for content and creativity. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hmmmm, I'll see if I can find you a good assholy picture of myself doing something asshole like.

    Oh, and I'd like to be addressed as "Your Assholyness" (It's a Flesh Gordon ref, just in case you all are not up on your 70's Spoof Porn.)

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'll see if I can find you a good assholy picture of myself doing something asshole like.

    You mean your current picture isn't good enough?

    ReplyDelete
  38. You know, the one in the sidebar and comes up beside your posts in Blogger?

    (ducks)

    (runs and hides behind a light post)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh for crying out loud, I can see you, Michelle. Quit giggling. You're right there, behind that post.

    That's it, where'd I put those water balloons....

    ReplyDelete
  40. "Yes, I am confident in my opinions, my abilities, my knowledge, and my experience, those things kept my men and I alive on the battlefield"

    That's a commendable quality. It certainly takes a lot of guts to pull something like that off. Although I hope I don't find myself in a life or death situation, having more confidence in my abilities is something that I am striving for.

    I guess the lack of confidence comes froms a lack of experience. something that I am correcting since I'll be entering the workforce soon.

    Also If I am not absolutely sure about something I won't forcefully express my opinions. Which is a drawback because nothings 100% and you need to rely on insticts as well.

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  41. Hi. =)

    I came by your blog by way of... er, I think John Scalzi's blog? Maybe? I opened the link in a new tab and it took me a couple days to have a moment to check it out.

    Anyway I just wanted to say that I entirely agree with your points here. Hell I DIDN'T serve and I still think I, as well as everyone in the blogosphere (or well, anyone who treats others respectfully, anyway) deserves the bit of consideration you are asking here. What you've said essentially boils down to "This is my corner of the net. Come in if you like, but don't be an effing dick." Sounds good to me.

    Re: Intimidation; that made me laugh. People get so intimidated so easily. I grew up with a father who has an attitude quite similar to how you describe yours (minus serving, just the personality), and it has made me very immune to being intimidated. He can intimidate almost anyone he encounters, and he frequently forgets that I grew up with him and am therefore utterly unfazed by him, which of course gets him even more riled up. Then I laugh. ;)

    Rambling aside, I took the cue upon stopping by to read your "rules" post, and just wanted to let you know that I think they're not only acceptable but should be expected. =)

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  42. Thanks, Monkee, and please feel free to stick around.

    Congratulations on your engagement, and I hope you enjoy living in Belgium (and really, how could you not? It's a great place)

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  43. My god, I'm seriously starting to believe you and I were twins separated at birth.

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  44. Hahahahaha! Pretty amusing folks in Jim's "corner of the Net."

    I know I'm late to this party, but I'm adding on anyway.

    There is, also, the all too common refrain of "But I have a Right to my opinion!" as if being surprised by an opposing viewpoint, thus feeling forced to suffer direct disagreement because someone else dared to challenge dearly held assumptions, is somehow an infringement on said person's right as an American to express an opinion. Um, not relevant.

    In response to Saqib; it is admirable to not present ideas/opinions forcefully when one is unsure. I respect an individual who sees enough complexity to be unsure more than I do blowhards with more opinions than factual information or substantive insight.

    A thinking person honest enough to say he or she has not come to a decided opinion can say so and explain why, offering the different perspectives creating the conflict. Doing so opens the door to discussion and can provide food for thought.

    After research and listening to competing arguments enough to reach a satisfactory conclusion, then one can offer an opinion confidently. I know I'm much more interested in the opinions of people who do that than I am interested in those who merely suffer from knee-jerkism or who project their emotions and personal experiences onto the big picture, while ignoring contradicting information with circular thinking (I don't even call it circular "logic" because I don't think it is logical).

    Confidence alone isn't enough IMO, at least not enough to earn my respect and attention.

    Good luck reentering the workforce.

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  45. Just stumbled accross your blog. I do a similar one, but not nearly as passonate as you. Well done.

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  46. I came to your blog via the J-Walk blog and helped make the "America isn't what you think" post go viral.

    What fun this is - almost as much fun as a Vince Flynn novel.

    I know you think anonymous posters are chickenshit but I am not going to show my name to just anyone who visits a site. If they have the motivation and knowledge let them have at it but I don't like making it easy for people with unsavory motives.

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  47. Anon, you misunderstand - I don't think anonymous commenters are chickenshits. I think anonymous trolls are chickenshits.

    I've got no beef with anybody who comments intelligently, anonymous or not.

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  48. I hope I don't loose the feed I was into just because I wanted to comment sbout the skill of this writer.

    So now, with luck I shall return, where is Lafayette when we need him?

    nem

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  49. I came via DKos for the Hates America post, stayed for the comments, then clicked on your profile. And stopped in my tracks. The picture gave me a jolt - the cowboy hat, the Johnny Cash black. If I saw you, I realized, I'd think you were one of the guys in the truck. Pause for thought, there... Not that I won't register that attire in the future, but now I can laugh a bit and wonder if that guy actually voted for Obama and intimidates tea-trollers with dark humor.

    Great post, great faqs, wonder what goes through your mind when you are assumed to be the opposite of all you are and assume it can't be printed or you can't be bothered. Happens to me, too - thanks for the rib-poke. xoxo-black-female-east-coast-via-west-coast-Hollywood-union-member-elite-school-liberal.

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  50. (Sorry about the "Anonymous" post. I'm looking for a job and don't want politics muddying up my applications when employers do a web search)

    Anyhoo, nicely done, well argued. Looking forward to new posts.

    Also, I'm with Michelle on growing "big hairy balls." No thanks. When I need a pair I just select from the collection I have in my purse.

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  51. Hi Jim, that was very informative. The pleasure is mine finding your blog through Mudflats.
    I'm just a simple confident man with an opinion.
    I don't know how to properly make paragraphs but I do know the difference between There, They're and Their.
    I usually don't have much to say around people that know as much as you but I might voice a word or two. Just want to let you know, I'll be hanging around Stonekettle Station.

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  52. Love your site - and love your take on free speech and people mistaking a strong personality for "intimidation." I am frequently told that I scare the shit out of people - but it's just because I take the time to evaluate people before I extend a friendly hand. Be that as it may, I appreciate your service, your demeanor, and your site.

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  53. Re; Paragraph 7 A lot is two words.

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

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  54. Elizabeth Potter Graham (MsLiz)March 30, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Well written, logical grammatical prose stimulates my brain. I don't mean to insult you, but you would have been a great lawyer. You have an admirer in Alabama.

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  55. Mr. Wright -- I bumped into your 'America' post, thought the follow-ups were just as good, if not better. Nice to know that places such as this exist, and even better that the people that run them haven't decided to forgo making a statement about the things they believe in. I think I'll be sticking around. Have a good day, sir.

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  56. I love your website and your articles. Thank you for putting into eloquent words, many of the thoughts that have crossed my mind.

    In addition, perhaps I haven't been at home in a while and thus hadn't heard of the Downey Savings & Loan story yet, but since I am from Downey, CA, I intend to forward that article to everyone I know. I can't imagine anyone I know ever doing business there again if they can help it.

    Sadly, I think everyone who works at banks in Downey is mentally challenged. I went to the Citibank in Downey once and asked them for a list of their stores in Washington D.C. because I was moving there. The woman who worked there told me she couldn't find anything and then asked me what city I was looking for. I told her Washington D.C. She said, "OK so that's in Washington. Now, what is the city?" I asked for the manager after a few minutes of standing still in shocked silence... Apparently, the manager had never heard of Washington D.C. either, and I spent the next five minutes trying to explain to him that it was the capital of the United States.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, my! That was painful even second-hand. Why do I think they ask people from New Mexico for immigration documents?

      Delete
  57. The one thing I haven't seen in the comments I took my precious time to read is any sort of self recognition. Your article should be as self revealing to some as a Britney Spears limo exit.. myself included I'm afraid. But try as I might, I just can't quit hating that confederate flag.

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  58. What a wonderful set of 'rules'! You hit the topics that irk me - particularly the grammar and spelling errors. Ok the rest are important too, but the butchering of English just lights my fuse and sends me into orbit. Yup, a personal problem.

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  59. Grammar and spelling errors bring out the teacher and proofreader in me.

    They're annoying, of course, but I first get that little brain freeze thing that says, "What? Wait a minute."

    The business of using the constitution as justification or excuse or propaganda tool really and truly irritates, however. Thank you.

    If you really must bring up the constituion, please read and understand the damn thing. It's not merely another piece of paper.

    This category of miscreants includes, but is not limited to, such luminaries as Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Joe the Plumber, and anyone who thinks that God wrote or should have written the thing.

    PDJane

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  60. I am a nasty "elitist" when it comes to proper use of the English language in writing, according to some, so I have no problem with that aspect of your "rules" for posting. I do NOT have a problem with those who didn't get to pursue wanted, but didn't get, a higher education than they received. Education is not necessarily an indicator of intelligence--but wasting the education you did get, and then calling me an elitist because you didn't bother to learn the basics, is a form of reverse elitism I'm seeing too often these days. Bugs the daylights out of me.

    I know many intelligent non-formally-educated people who feel less because of that lack, and I do take pains to point out where their intelligence shows. I also know people who figure, if you haven't had at least their level of formal education, that you are not worth their consideration. I think that's wrongheaded and blind.

    Don't have a problem with anything else, either--makes perfect sense to me.

    The persons complaining about removal of posts by trolls and so on seem to forget that the posters DID freely express themselves. You are not required to keep their words in print, that's all.

    You and many of the commenters I've read would fit in just fine at a conversation or dinner party at our house. Even my teen son can handle social issues, when he's been exposed to the issues at hand. We've tried most of his life to teach him to think about what he hears, to assess it for biases, propaganda, and intent to sell you something.

    I got here via ***Dave's ***Dave Does the Blog, and I've known since 1988. He mentioned your entry, America: Land That I Love, so I read it, went back to read the two that preceded it, looked at your drool-worthy Flickr stream, read the posts about Gabrielle Giffords' and others' shootings, and *finally* read this bit on posting comments. What you've set down are the standards for polite discourse by which I've lived for years. I have, to the best of my memory, never entered into a flamewar, and dropped conversations when I feared I'd make an ad hominem attack, or just waste my time arguing with willful ignorance or outright idiocy.

    Unless I suspect a sales pitch, or request from donation by organizations who donate very little of what they receive, I am polite on the phone. At work, I got called "aggresively polite" because I continued being polite as long as it took to get the person off the line, or accomplish what I needed. I think she meant "persistently", with which I'd agree.

    So I'll be losing sleep, taking the time to read your blog, but that's better than insomnia's way of losing sleep, says the lifelong, hardcore, chronic insomniac.

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  61. i was just recently sent a link to your site, and after reading just this one page, I am already feeling that I am going to enjoy your blogs immensely.

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  62. Jim- I love the set of rules you established for the site. If I end up needing to approapriate them, would you mind,especially if I give credit for the origin?

    Oh, congrats on the CWO thing. I think you were still an E-6 when I left the Det, so it was nice to see you did so well.

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  63. As with all of my stuff, fair usage rules apply. I.e. as long as you give credit, source, and lin, Gary, I don't mind.

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  64. Jim - I just realized you've created the blog I always wanted. Standing on principle is a lost art in the Internet age. I'd salute you but I have no military cred. Great blog.

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  65. OMG. That was hysterical. I wish I could say the things you write. You should definitely consider writing as a career.
    Totally made my night.
    Did the rules work?

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  66. The Rules do seem to work. This page is checked at least a dozen times a day, much more when I write something that goes viral or makes crazy people angry.

    Some folks read them, then the post that brought them here, then the rules, then the post, back and forth, over and over, before they leave without commenting. I'm good with this. Typically, those folks resort to email, bizarre, angry, rambling, incoherent email. I get a lot of email.

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  67. *swoon*
    i was directed here from a tweet regarding loving America as a country (http://www.stonekettle.com/2011/03/america-you-keeping-using-that-word.html). my swoon is in response to your mention of an ad hominem attack. i'm an undergraduate student in history with minors in latin and classics, and it's always pleasant to see people being able to categorize the various fallacies properly. props to you!

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  68. Minors in latin and the classics? Good God, man, I hope your major is Hotel and Restaurant Management or you're going to starve to death.

    ;)

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  69. Hey, I have a degree in Classics. So does J.K. Rowling, but there the resemblance ends, I'm afraid.

    Reflecting on the Confederate flag is always strange; I had relatives fighting on both sides, some from the same family. Just think how much fun holiday dinners could be... What's true is that while I disagree with pretty much everything that the Confederacy stood for, I respect and admire the courage with which men and women on both sides stood by their beliefs. As soon as I come up with a flag for that, I'll put it on my vehicle. Until then the standard American flag will do just fine.

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  70. Wow, just discovered your site, have read the rules -- the long version -- and have only one small protest: isn't "WOOT!" spelled without the "h"? Other than that, I like the cut of your jib, and am now off to see what you have to say. Whether I agree with it or not, I already know it will be a bracing pleasure to read.

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  71. That was one of the most refreshingly honest things I have read in a long time. There are so few people who just lay it on the line like that. I just wanted to say thanks for making my day!

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  72. I can't help myself; I must comment on this portion of Eric's comment, "...the First Amendment gives you a special relationship to the government. I could, acting as a private citizen, physically gag you, and it might be a tort and it might be a crime, but it would never be a violation of your Constitutional rights." As a lover of the Constitution, it thrills me to no end when someone makes a point such as this.

    When people rant about their "rights" under the Constitution and obviously have no idea what they are talking about and have never even read the document of which they speak, it makes me want to rip my hair out.

    I am just reveling in this realm of intelligence. Thank you

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  73. Holy shit. You're Miles Vorkosigan.

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  74. I'm a little taller than the good Admiral actually.

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  75. I came to your site via a facebook post for "Everybody's So Different, I Haven't Changed" and am the better for it.

    I love your commenting rules. I can definitely see it has made a difference in the quality of comments which, I might add, are very enjoyable to read as well.

    I consider myself a fairly intelligent person but I can readily recognize when I'm in the company of those from whom I can learn much. I feel that here in your realm.

    Now I'm off to go back and read the links that were provided in some of the comments. I'll then be devouring some of your other entries.

    Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Kim T.

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  76. I am not sure I understand the rules...I have no problem not posting your stuff heck I havent even had time ti read it because I have spent the last few minutes reading the rules. But you have a share button so you must not have any problem with me sharing your site with my friends right?

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  77. I love your style, but others have expressed my feelings so much better, so I'll just second all of their comments.

    I will add that I look foreward to a commentary site where I don't have to completely avoid the comments section.

    But there was a typo I saw: "Major blog sites are infested with jerks and little **surely** dipshits who seem bent on making the Internet their personal battleground."

    You misspelled "surly" slightly, Sir.

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  78. Hi there, I found your wonderful blog through Crooks & Liars. http://crooksandliars.com/
    I was doing my usual insomniac thing, trawling my emails, then following the links. I got here and haven't left for about twelve hours! This site is so refreshing, well reasoned thought and robust humour. Kudos!
    Weirdly whilst I was here I got this link via email
    http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/03/criticism-dishing-it-out-and-taking-it.html
    Wooo synchronicity!
    Anyway, love the commenting guidelines, the best and again the funniest I've read in a long, long time.
    Thank you very much for brightening my day.

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  79. Thought I would let you know I finally read the rules since I've already posted several tmes before reading them. Bu then I also eat my desert first too. I' m really enjoying reading your blog and also the comments. I'm not feeling quite so lonely anymore.

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  80. Since we have not been formally introduced, I will address you as Mr. Wright. I like your style. I am an 82-year-Old Broad who has been around the block a time or two. You may call me Auntie Jean. I would very much like to read your take on the challenge to the Health Care Bill as being unconstitutional. I understand the Supreme Court is hearing arguments but there won’t be a ruling until June. It doesn’t always hear cases brought before it. Is the bill perfect? Of course not. Nothing is. But it is better than anything we have ever had before. Further it is the cornerstone of Obama’s presidency so far. Also since Obama was a constitutional scholar and professor, you can bet he has gone over it word for word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph for constitutionality.

    But like everything else in life, the constitution is open to interpretation. The Supreme Court is not supposed to be swayed by politics and/or public opinion but....with a right leaning Supreme Court 5-4, the ruling could very well go against it. After all, this same court handed Bush the presidency, didn’t it? I would not care to see us get Bushwhacked again. But maybe my progressive bias is showing, ya think?

    Aloha!

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  81. Aaron W. JohnsonJune 20, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    Hi Jim:

    This is my first time commenting on your site, so I read the complete rules and I found only one thing with which to take exception: "...kept my men and me..." alive (not my men and I). As a general rule, if you can replace the couplet with "we" you say "my men and I." If you can replace it with us, you say "my men and me." In the sentence above, you would say that "my approach kept us alive," so you would use my men and me. I continually thank my 72-year-old former high school english teacher mother for this bit of writing advice. Otherwise, I can tell already that I will enjoy reading this blog and making the occasional comment.

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    Replies
    1. Aaron, be glad he didn't say 'us guys' as Army would, or now of course 'us guys and gals'.

      Delete
  82. Thank you Aaron, that was bothering me like a toothache since I read it. Oherwise- carry on

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  83. You're so eloquent while you're verbally slapping someone upside the head. I hope to learn this skill from you! =D

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  84. A recently-acquired facebook friend has been promoting you. So I came and had a look.
    I just read your commenting rules and while I'm glad I did, I'm really saddened that you - or anyone else - has to point out the bleedin' obvious to the bleedin' thick!

    The whole concept of free speech passes over the heads of many. Why should anyone host the rantings of those who disagree with them? The media don't - look at any extremist media - be it of the left or the right! They don't (with one exception) give space or airtime to their opponents. That one exception is when they wish to mock them and to quote out of context - in other words, to use them for their own ends. Ban, block or delete anyone you wish to, it's your site and you're utterly in charge of the electrons used in running it.

    Beir bua agus beannacht, as we say in Ireland.

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  85. A recently-acquired facebook friend has been promoting you. So I came to have a look.
    And then I had to read your commenting rules. While I like them, I feel (once again) saddened that such things need to be pointed out.
    Why is it that the bleedin' obviousy always has to be pointed out to the bleedin' thick?
    Free speech - in the American sense - is so utterly misunderstood.
    As an Irishman, my take on it is this - who who expect any of the extremes of the US media, be they of the left or of the right, to host intemperate opinions by their opponents? No-one. So why would they expect that your expensive electrons should be recycled to host those who intemperately object to things you say here?

    It would be like opening someone else's diary and writing in it, and then objecting when they told you not to do it again!

    I'll be sticking around to see what goes on here. I'll probably comment occasionally, and anything I do say will not be top-of-the-head stuff or opinion-de-jour.

    Beir bua agus beannacht, as we say in Ireland.

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  86. Saw you on Facebook and had to stop by. You sound like family. My Grandad was in Alaska back in the day. Was your Grandma a slut? Forget I asked that. It's somewhat warmer her in Michigan, so my gene pool got a little stagnant.
    It's a heart warming moment when I run across somebody so contentious and irreverent. We have much in common, but not guns, the Navy or big hairy balls. What I've got is much more durable than testicles. I digress.
    Thank you for a good read! I'll be back for more, especially when I get sick of public blog sites. I'm only mildly insane and promise to follow the rules.

    Culturally appropriate holiday greetings!

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  87. Clear and concise rules. I like 'em, and I agree to your terms (though it will be hard for me to give up using ellipses at the end of sentences. Bad habit, I guess. Oh hell, I just used an ellipses at the end of my "end of sentences" sentence. Seriously. But I corrected it.)

    Like Nanabanana, I stumbled across your blog on Facebook. I liked what I read, so I dove a little deeper into your other posts and discovered an articulate writer with interesting, provocative views.

    Looking forward to reading your future posts.

    Best regards,
    Bill

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  88. I stumbled across your blog, and the fact that I am spitting out my drink laughing over stuff that is 5 years old is proof that you and your commenters (non-troll ones) are relevant, intelligent and witty folk. I love it!

    And I'm not really Anonymous, I just don't have any of those ids. My name is Lisa, I live in Illinois and I am an attorney. I am also a smartass and irreverent person with strong opinions, so I think I will feel comfy here. :-)

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  89. I get it! You won't take any shit and man, you're singing my song. To quote an old weight lifter who wasn't a very good governor, I'll be baaack!

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  90. Your blog.
    Your rules.
    End of.

    It's just that simple ;)

    P.S. I would have commented under my FB account but I didn't see an option for it ~:)

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  91. One of your frequent readers turned me onto your ode to Tom Clancy on my Facebook post about his passing, and she's turned me onto several of your posts. Loved the cats and the trip to Alaska.

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  92. I ended up at your blog when a friend linked to your "Deadlock" post. That was a pretty impressive bit of writing, from where I stand. So I read through your commenting rules, and sharing rules, and now this bit.

    All I can say is that I don't even care what your actual position is on the issues, I do believe I'm going to be visiting quite a bit from now on. Intelligent, educated, plainly spoken, common sense is far too rare, and when it's well written to boot. Well...just count me as a fan. Maybe I'll comment more, after reading some more posts.

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  93. I'm impressed by your candor, enlightened by your information, and I must say a little turned on that you can lay down the rules so cleanly, and with so little backpedaling. I hope you won't mind if I stop in on occasion.

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  94. I am new to your blog...my friend Ruth led me to you...I love it! May not always agree, but you are smart and I like that. I love that in fact.
    Jeanne Nutter

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  95. Hi I just found your blog thank you so much for everything you have to say, its made my day. My grammer spelling isnt always very good.i am so happy to tell you its great to find otherpeople who feel the same way,,. Im am definately be looking out for you in future. Im genuine coran ford

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  96. Looking forward to coming back to your blog again, I dont want to sound over the top but finding your site has made me feel so much better knowing that others feel the same way

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  97. Oh just to letyou know I live in the u.k, if your happy to accept me on your blog I proinse to always be respecful, im told im articulate somtimes struggle my grammer regards coran ford

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  98. Mr. Wright, thank you for the guidelines about commenting on your posts. Right on. The things you've discussed are the exact things that I go through with some of the people who've commented on my posts and my blog posts.
    I enjoyed your post about the reinforcement of a situation in order to create a scandal. I found it to be interesting in the fact that they are employing the same tactics that the U.S. Army employs. Thank you. Michael K. Stichauf

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Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.