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The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Light blogging

Light blogging for the next few days. I just haven't had much to say.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Just carrying out the sentence

The Belmont Club:
Podhoretz lays out the themes of Bush's policy speeches side by side with their implementation and concludes the President has founded his strategy on four pillars.

The idea that Western civilization is worth fighting for in a contest with an ideology which aims to destroy it;

That regimes which abet this hostile ideology will be destroyed or reformed;

That America has the right not merely to respond, but to pre-empt enemy action;
That the Arab-Israeli issues will be judged by their contribution to the goal of creating democratic institutions in the Middle East, and not upon any grounds of historical entitlement.

Taken together, these pillars implied a revolution in international affairs, not simply because they overturned the institutional framework of the last half century, but because they introduced a normative standard into what was previously the absolute prerogative of nation-states. Woven through his account in ways that almost become a personal history are Podhoretz's recollections of how the Left, of which he was once an adherent, suborned, subverted and distorted -- at times almost fatally --the American response to each of the challenges it faced.

While schematically relegated to the background, the machinations of the Left in the World War IV article repeatedly threaten to upstage the notional villain, radical Islamism. By placing the War on Terror in serial with World War 2 and the Cold War (World War 3), the article makes it hard to wholly escape the notion that the West has been gripped by one auto-immune crisis after another, first against monsters of its own conjury (the Nazis and the Communists) and this time, against a parasitic infection spreading over its weakened corpus. Watered by the defeatism of Jimmy Carter and egged on by the Western "intelligensia", radical Islam appears less a malevolent force in its own right then the longed-for "exterminator" which will carry out the sentence of guilt which the Left has passed.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Is Kofi high?

Annan: Attack won't end work
GENEVA - The bombing that wrecked U.N. offices in Baghdad and killed 22 colleagues a year ago was agony for the United Nations, but terrorist threats won't deter it from helping the victims of conflict, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday at a memorial.

"I lost 22 wonderful, talented friends and colleagues whom I had sent to Iraq," he said of the attack, which stunned U.N. employees and set off wrangling within the world body over its security failings.

"We will long feel the pain of the trauma we have all been through," he said. "But our belief in the cause of peace is undiminished, our sense of mission is intact, and our work goes on."

Uhh, Kofi: The attack did end your work. The UN practically packed its bags and left Iraq the next day. Does the UN ever judge itself by results instead of rhetoric?

You see the same old crap today in Darfur, as Kofi really lets the mass murdering bastards have it, elevating his "stern criticism" to a powerfully worded "condemnations."

That is the UN's "work," and it never ends. Unfortunately, it's all on paper in New York.

If Darfur is going to be solved, it will have to be dealt with like Kosovo was: a big brash coalition of nations, acting unilaterally, without a UN mandate.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Band of brothers?

So much for this "band of brothers" crap:

Thanks to the New England Republican, who got it via Daly Thoughts, who got it from Iowa Presidential Watch.


Bait and switch

Jim McGreevey's soul-searching, sexual identity crisis has generated a lot of sympathy for him the Garden State, and it has diverted attention away : from the real issue: he was crooked.

New Jersey has gotten to the point where they are completely unfazed by the corruption of their public officials.

August 16, 2004 -- TRENTON, N.J. Gov. Jim McGreevey's approval rating has not suffered from his disclosure that he had an affair with another man and will resign in November, according to a Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll released yesterday.

Among 400 adults polled by telephone after McGreevey's announcement, the governor's approval rating was 45 percent, or 2 points higher than it was in a poll conducted two weeks earlier.


Terrorist bunny

Strange story:
LONDON (Reuters) - A rabbit set alight by a bonfire at a British cricket club got its revenge when it ran burning into a hut and set it ablaze destroying costly equipment, the club said on Friday.
Members of Devizes cricket club in Wiltshire, western England, were burning dead branches when a rabbit caught up in the waste sped burning from the flames spreading a fire which destroyed lawnmowers and tools worth $110,000.

"After it had been going 5 minutes, the rabbit shot out of the bonfire on fire and went into the hut which is our equipment store," club chairman John Bedbrook told Reuters.

Two fire engines were called to extinguish the blaze. The rabbit's skeleton was discovered in the charred hut.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A divine plot?

Wacky, right wing nutjobs, first seen on LibertyBob.com:
Burnell, 28, is one of the founders of ChristianExodus.org, a group that hopes to gather conservative Christians for a series of mass moves to South Carolina. The goal is to bring enough voters to the state to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments and conservative Christian values.

And if the federal government doesn't like it, Burnell said he and the other members of the board have not ruled out the possibility of the state seceding from the United States.

Just when you thought South Carolina was getting too liberal, something like this happens.

Someone should point out to Burnell that the last time South Carolina seceded from the Union, things didn't work out too well.

What is it with that state?

Of course, we shouldn't rule out the possibility that this is some sort of divine plot: God might want to get 'em all in one place so he can hit 'em with a hurricane.


Moore:Reagan made me fat

Michael Moore talks about his weight problem.

In typical Moore fashion, it has to be someone else's fault: you know, the greedy corporations that made the cheap, starchy fast food that Moore was forced to eat during his rough times of unemployment in the '80's:
I grew up in a Midwestern industrial city: Flint, Michigan. If you were to fly there today, get off the plane, and walk out of the airport, you would say to me, "Mike, you're one of the skinniest people here." I wasn't an overweight kid, but in the mid to late 1980s I was collecting unemployment, about $99 a week. When you are on such a low income, you end up eating foods that are cheap, fast and starchy because they fill you up. I put on the bulk of my weight during that time, and it didn't come off. I've read everything and done all the things everybody does. Then I started to think, "Maybe I should put all these diet books away." My sister gave me Fit from Within, and it's made me think that instead of starting on the outside appearance—you know, the pants size—what if I just forget about that? I read a chapter a day. I love the one titled "Get Up, Get Dressed, Get Going." I've started to do some of the things the book suggests. I think it's important that we take care of ourselves mentally and physically. All the things I want to do, well, they don't mean anything if I'm not here to do them. This life is a gift, and to reject that gift or abuse that gift is not human and not worthy of us.

There are several things wrong here.

First, there is no way in hell that Micheal Moore could ever be considered the one of the skinniest people in Flint, Michigan (where Moore says, falsely, that he grew up). That's just impossible.

Second, when Moore made "Roger and Me" in the late '80's, his weight was still reasonable: his weight has ballooned since he became rich and moved to his pricey suite in Manhattan.

Third, there is no explanation why an unemployed Moore had to eat "fast" starchy food. I mean, he was unemployed and he had plenty of time. And beans, fruits and vegetables are, believe it or not, much cheaper than a box of Ho-Ho's.

But no, Moore sticks by his story: Reagan got me fat.

Thanks to the Southern Conservative for the quotes and analysis.


He voted for the power of negotiation...this week

The New York Times plants the seeds of a fallacy:
We're sure Mr. Kerry is right in claiming that the White House, in its negotiations with the Senate, played down the possibility that the vote would lead to actual conflict. That does not mean the public will be satisfied with an explanation that he authorized an invasion under the presumption it would not happen. After nearly two years of working with the Bush administration, Congress had a very good idea of how Mr. Bush viewed the world, what advisers he listened to, and what he was likely to do with American troops if Congress gave him a broad authorization to go to war. It was for precisely that reason that some senators, led by Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar, struggled unsuccessfully to narrow down the resolution. Senator Biden says Senator Kerry worked with him behind the scenes.

Yeah, Kerry voted to give the president the authority to go to war so that war would be avoided.

Uh huh.

The Senate had no illusions about the vote it was casting. There was little hope that Iraq was going to cower before the might of our diplomats. On the contrary, there was an understanding that any agreement signed by Saddam Hussein wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. Public opinion had been gauged and it was generally pro-war. The UN believed Saddam was in violation, and it had given him yet another toothless warning.

John Kerry stuck his finger in the air, checked the wind, and he voted for war because he believed the voters wouldn't take him seriously if he didn't (and he was right).

Now he says he just wanted to improve our bargaining position (and the Times is subtly helping him out). But he would have voted to go to war anyway, even if he'd known Saddam had no WMD, or so he says. This week. But he would've done it differently: the vast armies of France (who have been kicked around the planet for a century) would have done it for us, if it was necessary, unless he determined at some later point that the war was wrong.

Complete bullshit. This guy is a mess.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Isn't irony delicious?

Israel to help build European separation fence
After European representatives launched a campaign against Israel's separation fence, and voted against Israel at the UN general assembly, the EU is planning a separation fence of its own. The EU plans to build a fence to separate its new members - Poland and Hungary - from its new neighbors - Russia, Belarus and Ukraine - to prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter the EU.

Israeli companies that specialize in the construction of warning fences and security systems will participate in tenders to build hundreds of kilometers of fences along the EU's new eastern border.


Oh yeah, that bias

The New York Times outdoes itself. A Yale economist says that his econometric model -which he has been using for years - (unfortunately) predicts a Bush victory.

For such blasphemy, he gets a grilling from a NYT reporter: Questions for Ray C. Fair: Bush Landslide (in Theory)!

((Reporter:)But the country hasn't been this polarized since the 60's, and voters seem genuinely engaged by social issues like gay marriage and the overall question of a more just society.

(Fair:) We throw all those into what we call the error term. In the past, all that stuff that you think should count averages about 2.5 percent, and that is pretty small.

It saddens me that you teach this to students at Yale, who could be thinking about society in complex and meaningful ways.

I will be teaching econometrics next year to undergraduates. Econometrics is a huge deal, because it is applied to all kinds of things....

...Are you a Republican?

I can't credibly answer that question. Using game theory in economics, you are not going to believe me when I tell you my political affiliation because I know that you know that I could be behaving strategically. If I tell you I am a Kerry supporter, how do you know that I am not lying or behaving strategically to try to put more weight on the predictions and help the Republicans?

I don't want to do game theory. I just want to know if you are a Kerry supporter.

Backing away from game theory, which is kind of cute, I am a Kerry supporter.

I believe you entirely, although I'm a little surprised, because your predictions implicitly lend support to Bush.

I am not attempting to be an advocate for one party or another. I am attempting to be a social scientist trying to explain voting behavior.

But in the process you are shaping opinion. Predictions can be self-confirming, because wishy-washy voters might go with the candidate who is perceived to be more successful.

It could work the other way. If Kerry supporters see that I have made this big prediction for Bush, more of them could turn out just to prove an economist wrong.

How can an editor can let such bias slip through in an interview?

"It saddens me" that you are some kind of "Republican," and even if you're not, you are helping them with your apostasy!


I don't live in Manhattan, so I can see it is very probable Bush will win in November. I think its practically a given.

But a landslide of this proportion seems a little hard to believe.


The Mother Jones Acid Trip

Whenever I want to understand the far left mindset, I head over to Mother Jones. It's always a strange trip. It's a world where facts are turned upside down, and blanket statements - easily refuted by opinion polls or balance sheets - are called facts. You learn, for example, that everyone in the world hates us (especially in Iraq and Afghanistan), the economy sucks, our rivers are trickles of toxic sludge, nothing is wrong with Social Security or Medicare, everybody wants political "change" except for the Bible thumpers and the corporate crooks, and people are only benefitted by more government spending, not lower taxes.

I was once a liberal. In some ways, I still am.

Part of the problem with contempary liberalism is its propensity for creating such a fantastic world of tragedy. Driven by these hallucinations, the far left spends its time proposing ways of dueling the fantasy demons only they - the lefty believers - can see.

It leads to extremely bad policy.

There is no better example of this than Campaign Finance Reform. It was taken on faith that the US spent too much on its elections. No one bothered with numbers. The US GDP was $11 trillion, and the elections of 2000 cost $300 million. That is, electing our leaders in 2000 cost about 5% of our national spending on dog food.

But for the left - which bizarrely sees mandatory government control of electioneering as its ultimate goal - this was TOO MUCH MONEY. So we got Campaign Finance Reform, which the idiot president signed. It has only made the "problem" worse.

How many other such "solutions" are out there in lefty land?

Just check out the pages of Mother Jones.


The poor lazy dears

'Hard-working' job ad banned to protect the lazy

A businesswoman has been banned from asking for 'hard-working' staff in a job ad because it discriminates against the lazy.

Beryl King was told by a Jobcentre that her advert for warehouse workers discriminated against people who were not industrious.

Beryl, 57, told the Daily Mirror: "I couldn't believe my ears. Has our world gone mad?

"I've been running my business for 27 years and it's getting harder to find people who want to do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.

"How long before someone says you can't pay people for working because it discriminates against those on benefit who are paid for not working?"

Sssshhhhh! Don't give the anit-discrimination lawyers any ideas!


The re-enlistment "problem"

It is stated with irritating frequency that there is no way that US can continue to tackle all of its commitments abroad with a volunteer force.

Some politicians call for the draft to be reinstated; others says we just bring the soldiers home.

You'd think that they'd pick up a newspaper once in a while: Army on track to meet goal of re-enlisted soldiers

Friday, August 13, 2004

An American Hiroshima

What's this? Nicolas Kristof, on the opinion pages of the New York Times (!), admits that maybe there is something to all of this war on terror nonsense:
Dragonfire's report was wrong, but similar reports - that Al Qaeda has its hands on a nuclear weapon from the former Soviet Union - have regularly surfaced in the intelligence community, even though such a report has never been confirmed. We do know several troubling things: Al Qaeda negotiated for a $1.5 million purchase of uranium (apparently of South African origin) from a retired Sudanese cabinet minister; its envoys traveled repeatedly to Central Asia to buy weapons-grade nuclear materials; and Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, boasted, 'We sent our people to Moscow, to Tashkent, to other Central Asian states, and they negotiated, and we purchased some suitcase [nuclear] bombs.

Of course, it has the obligatory "Iraq war was a distraction" meme - Kristof can't get his mind around the concept that Arab tyranny is the major reason for the hopelessness that cultures terrorism - but the article is a serious study of the enormity of the task before us: preventing a nuclear sneak attack on our political and financial centers of power.


Iranian belligerence

Dale Franks at QandO does an excellent job exposing European diplomacy at work. The scary Iranians, driven by religious fanaticism, are building nuclear weapons that will someday be used to kill millions of people. The Europeans are attempting to get the Iranians to stop, by telling that although Europe looks like a cute and harmless little bunny, it has really sharp teeth - somewhere. The Iranians aren't buying it:
So, essentially, the meeting went like this:

Euros: You must stop developing nuclear technology.

Iran: OK, number one, screw you. Number two, give us your nuclear technology. Here's a list of what we'll need. Now, get out.

The Euros aren't gonna take this sitting down, though. Even as we speak, they are preparing to slap the Iranians with a very strongly worded note.

You gotta hand it to those Europeans, boy. When they take charge of something, it gets done, huh?

I'll bet Lord Kitchener is spinning in his grave like a machine lathe.

And the pitiful thing is this: this parody is pretty much how it really happened.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Fred's enema

I present the very funny story of Fred the Cat, getting an enema to remove an intestinal blockage, via Cbeck
As you can see in this photo, Fred was not a sweet and loving cat. He was feared and avoided by everyone around him (except me and sometimes Ed).

This touching story should be read by everyone.


You first, Schwartz

From Fuki Blog: A Glimpse Into the Mind of a Madman.
It has long been argued by Socialists that the moral reasoning behind the forced extraction of wealth from producers is the altruistic redistribution of that wealth for the greater good. Indeed, just over a month ago, Hillary Clinton was heard to utter the phrase "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." This has long been the mantra of those desiring control over members of society that are more talented and successful than themselves.

However, it seems that these old dogs are learning a new trick, or at least a variation on an old one. Apparently taking note of the fact that those producing wealth were not just readily emptying their pockets and dismayed that Socialists have been unable to convince the general public to join in their class jihad, Professor Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore College has put forth a new approach to enslaving those with wealth. He is telling them that reducing their wealth by 90% will make them happier.

Of course, Schwartz makes no mention of his own personal jihad to reduce HIS income by 90%.

That's because it isn't going to happen. Schwartz isn't going to ask for a pay cut or sell his house. Even he doesn't believe the socialist crap spewing from his mouth.

There is some validity to the idea that true happiness is found when possessions are divested. I have often thought that winning hundreds of millions of dollars in a lottery might just be one of the worst things that could happen to my family. My wife and I - eventually - would be likely to take up lives of sloth and leisure. Our new self-absorbed, lazy and bored lifestyles might be disastrous for our marriage and our children. As it is, we are disciplined because we have to be. And we like ourselves that way.

Reducing our income by 90%? That is another thing entirely: we would have to sell the house, ditch the cars and quit a job (because the kids would have to leave day care). We would have to find a place to live and food to eat on a few hundred dollars a month.

Sounds like .... happiness?

If this is Professor Schwartz's idea of happiness (and it isn't), there is nothing to stop him from pursuing it. This is after all, a free society. Being an intellectual, he has surely considered (and ruled out) this option. But that won't stop him from deciding that it is the perfect way of life...for everyone else.

This is socialism in a nutshell. This is why confiscatory socialism never seems to be very popular at the ballot box - especially in America.

Socialism is forced to creep up on its victims, and it currently has the American Democratic Party in its snares.

I think that most people understand - deep down - that money doesn't buy happiness.

But then, neither does poverty.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Modern art garbage

This man collects New York City garbage, puts it in a hermetically-sealed, clear plastic box, and tries to pawn the shit off as modern art:

Since most modern art is trash, it is likely to fit right in. Our young entrepreneur is unlikely to much money doing this, though.

The problem is not what he's selling. Such trash would sell well if it was embossed with the signature of an artist like Andy Warhol. Warhol and his ilk exposed the modern art fetishists as nothing but metrosexual autograph hounds years ago.

Unfortunately, the snobby modern art clique will turn up its collective nose at these "Justin Gignac Originals." They will think that someone is making fun of them.


Consistent inconsistency

Why Kerry Will Lose The Election:

Kerry has clearly indicated he was always against the war, but that was after his vote in favor of the war, but not for war funding, which should not be understood as support, and in any case he would have done it much differently. His concern is now a lack of any real coalition and U.N. support, but when the United States had the backing of the United Nations and a real international presence in Desert Storm after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Kerry voted against that intervention. That information should clear it up for all those undecided voters who really wanted to know.

I agree. And then there's this, via Esoteric Diatribe:
John Kerry will lose this election, and he will do so decisively. The defeat will go down as perhaps the only thing this candidate has ever done decisively.



Our brave allies

Oriana Fallaci is the bravest woman in Europe. She is saying things that the PC establishment would prefer not to hear.

And unfortunately, she is right:
In 1974, former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne said in a speech at the U.N.: 'One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere to go to the northern hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.' In other words, says Fallaci, what Islamic armies have not been able to do with force in more than 1,000 years can be achieved in less than a century through high birth rates. She cites as evidence a 1975 meeting of Islamic countries in Lahore, in which they announced their project to transform the flow of Muslim immigrants in Europe in 'demographic preponderance.'

The 'sons of Allah,' as Fallaci calls them, do not make a secret of their plans. A Catholic bishop recounted that, during an interfaith meeting in Turkey, a respected Muslim cleric told the crowd: 'Thanks to your democratic laws we will invade you. Thanks to our Islamic laws we will conquer you.'

The European response to the people who will seize its soul: Whatever you do, don't hurt us!


Campaign finance - reformed

I'm so relieved that campaign finance has been reformed. Now things have become less complicated.

Groups File Complaint Over Anti-Kerry Ad:

The (Swift Boat Veterens for Truth) bought $500,000 worth of airtime to run the ad in Wisconsin, Ohio and West Virginia.

In the complaint to the Federal Election Commission, the watchdog groups argued that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth should have used only limited contributions from individuals known as hard money on the ad and should disclose its donations and spending in reports to the FEC.

'We this think is open and shut, that the only purpose of this group is to influence the presidential election,' said Fred Wertheimer, head of Democracy 21.
Mike Russell, a spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, said the ad is legal because it does not tell viewers which candidate they should vote for in the presidential race.

'The ads are not meant to influence the presidential election. The ads are meant to tell the truth about John Kerry's service record so people can make their own decisions,' Russell said.

The veterans group said it has at least 5,000 new contributors and has raised more than $230,000 since the ad started running last week.

Are the ads meant to influence the presidential election?

Of course they are.

But why a privately-funded group cannot air its views - views of men who were in Vietnam with Kerry and who are very strongly opposed to him - in the court of public opinion is a mystery to me.

Is the squelching of inconvenient opinions the purpose of this reform?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Dave Matthews craps on tourists!

Dave Matthews Band driver denies drenching:

The bus driver for rock star Dave Matthews called from the road Monday to say his luxury coach was not the one responsible for dousing passengers on a Chicago River tour boat with foul-smelling muck over the weekend.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports: Witnesses on the architectural sightseeing cruise told police they saw a long black tour bus dump liquid waste Sunday afternoon as their boat crossed under the Kinzie Street bridge.

About two-thirds of the passengers seated on the upper deck of Chicago's Little Lady were soaked with the "brownish-yellow" substance.

One witness gave Chicago police an Oregon license plate number that belongs to the 2003 Monaco Royale Coach driven by Jerry Fitzpatrick, who has been Matthews' tour bus driver for three years.

You expect this stuff from Green Day. But from the Dave Matthews Band?


Won't you be my neighbor?

OK, so the guy just isn't that photogenic:

Aww gee. This confetti is for me?


Nordic marriage dying?

I don't know if I buy the main premise of this article: bluntly, the authors believe that same sex marriage is largely at fault for the decline of marriage in Northern Europe.


But this information is striking: Death of marriage in Scandinavia:
Data from European demographers and statistical bureaus show that a majority of children in Sweden and Norway are now born out of wedlock, as are 60 percent of first-born children in Denmark. In socially liberal districts of Norway, where the idea of same-sex registered partnerships is widely accepted, marriage itself has almost entirely disappeared...

....scholars note that many family changes that eventually sweep the West show up first in Scandinavia, probably because of Scandinavia's unusually large welfare state and its notably strong secularism.

There is something special about marriage that is regrettably being lost here.

My relationship with my wife and children is the most important thing in my life, and I think it is sad that others cannot see the value in such a simple, but vital, commitment.

Shouldn't children be more than the responsibility of the woman? Or worse (and more frighteningly: the responsibility of the state? (I think the excessive welfare states of the Nordic countries shoulder a lot of the blame here.))

After all, marriage is the method by which modern society advanced. In primitive societies, men's sexual appetites were free: they impreganated any woman they could, and any resulting offspring were the sole responsibility of the female. Women were (and in some cultures still are) bought and traded like cattle.

Marriage linked one man to one woman for life, and it elevated the importance of women to the point where - throughout the West - we now view men and women as equals.

It is ironic that hardcore feminists view marriage as such a sexist burden. The dissolution of the instituion of marriage would be a huge setback for women. A woman with children but no husband (or generous boyfriend) is usually doomed to poverty: daycare, health care, food and housing are huge expenses, and they are not easily paid for with a single income.

Children also benefit from having two role models in the household. Parenting, which is hard enough, is easier when it is a shared responsibility.

The psychological effects of this Nordic experiment will be seen in the next few decades.

Here's a bet that the children will have suffered.

Liberals will be shocked: there are some things that the state cannot do.

Replacing absent fathers is one of them.


Florida follies? Never again!

Thanks to Espresso Sarcasm


France in decline

Non! Non! Says this Frenchman:
"I would say it is not that France is in decline; it is that it has stagnated during a rise of globalization," he said. "There is a feeling that all of the action culturally and economically and politically is happening around us, but not within France."

Non! We are not in decline! Everybody else is just getting ahead of us!

OK...than how about we call it relative decline, Frenchy?

Frenchman: "Alors. Oui."

Monday, August 09, 2004

My dinner with Bill

If I had to sit down and have a few beers with one our recent ex-Presidents, my choice would be Bill Clinton.

It seems odd, as I would never vote for him again. I voted for him once (in 1992 - I kinda regret that now). In my opinion, he was an OK president, and he is trying valiantly to pull his party away from the special interests, the silly socialism and the protectionist tendencies that have recently come to define it.

Clinton just seems more human than the competition, like somebody you could actually have fun with. I think that's how he got elected. The current Bush is too uptight, and I have a feeling that neither he or his father would be all that personable. Reagan? Too distant, too old. Carter? An idiot moralist.

But Clinton....Clinton could let his hair down. That dickhead could tell "a secret" to the thousands of people who had come to hear him speak - without a touch of fakeness.

I could ask him all manner of questions after he was good and buzzed, and as long as it was "just between you and me," and there were no reporters around, I imagine he would tell me all kinds of juicy stuff. And he would do it in that raspy, aww-shuucks country boy voice.

Good ole Bill.

I could ask him, for example, whether he really did inhale, and I imagine Bill would just start chewing the fat like he was standing around the cracker barrel:
"Shit man, I smoked so much reefer I swear I saw clocks runnin' backwards! Back then, in those days, it was what you did - you got together with some friends, dimmed the lights, played some Zeppelin or Floyd...But Hillary, she never went to those parties.

You know, you're not believe this, but Hillary's a little serious. No really! I mean, man, she can let her hair down, but she can be uptight sometimes. But I love her that way, you know, and she's awful good to me and Chelsea. Hell, I'd do anything for her.

That's what got me after that Monica Lewinsky thing. People were saying I didn't love her and all that. Hell, that hurt. But it's like I was saying - she's just proper. And she brought that kinda attitude to our relationship - you know, and the physical aspects of it.

Twenty five years without a BJ? I didn't sign up for that gig! Hillary's so tightly wound - I couldn't even get her to give 'little Bill' a kiss! We had sex only about ten times before she got pregnant with Chelsea, and then only once or twice after that.

I mean. I am only a man."

Bill would laugh those guffawin' country boy laughs at anything I said, smile that big old smile and look at me with those earnest eyes.

And at the end of it all, he say something like this:
"Aww, John, I have just had a great time. This has just been one of the greatest days of my life, just sitting here with you - great food, relaxing over a few beers. This is the kind of thing I have been missing, and I think I'll remember this dinner for a long time. Thank you for taking the time to have dinner with me. It's been great, and I really mean that."

And I'd be honored, flattered and amazed at what a human being Bill was.

Until the next day, when Bill would have forgotten all about it all.

Bill Clinton. Lovable asshole.


Excessive legalism

When I was a kid, one of my friends used a stepstool to dunk a basketball.

Showing off, he hung on the rim. Because NBA players did not go to our school, the rim was not reinforced to handle the weight: it broke and the bolts pulled out of the goal.

My friend told us all that he didn't think he would get in trouble. He said that he checked the student rule book, and - low and behold! - there was no rule against breaking basketball rims by hanging on them.

Of course, he was wrong. The school had an all purpose rule against destroying school property, and he got in plenty of trouble.

It is a pity that national legal systems don't work as efficiently.

A case in point: A Dutch man has been making a nuisance of himself, licking women's toes on a beach:Proposed Dutch law would ban unsolicited toe-licking

He's been doing this for quite some time, but he could not be prosecuted, because the Netherlands had no rule forbidding uninvited toe licking.

Well, they do now.

My question: why couldn't "toe licking" be viewed as simple assault?

What would be wrong with that?

Why do they have pollute the legal code with a stupid law forbidding one individual's weird obsession?

Friday, August 06, 2004


On the anniversary of Hiroshima, it is important to remember the weapon that destroyed that city:
A Uranium bomb (which weighed in at over 4 & 1/2 tons) nicknamed 'Little Boy' was dropped on Hiroshima August 6th, 1945... The point of total vaporization from the blast measured one half of a mile in diameter. Total destruction ranged at one mile in diameter. Severe blast damage carried as far as two miles in diameter. At two and a half miles, everything flammable in the area burned. The remaining area of the blast zone was riddled with serious blazes that stretched out to the final edge at a little over three miles in diameter....Estimates from physicists who have studied each atomic explosion state that the bomb used had utilized only 1/10th of 1 percent of (its) respective explosive capabilities.

A better designed bomb might look something like this:

Radius of destructive circle: 1.7 miles

At the center lies a crater 200 feet deep and 1000 feet in diameter. The rim of this crater is 1,000 feet wide and is composed of highly radioactive soil and debris.

Nothing recognizable remains within about 3,200 feet (0.6 miles) from the center, except, perhaps, the remains of some buildings' foundations. At 1.7 miles, only some of the strongest buildings -- those made of reinforced, poured concrete -- are still standing. Ninety-eight percent of the population in this area are dead.

These are important things for people to understand today.


The distance from Capitol Hill to the White House is 1.5 miles.

A well timed explosion could take out the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Pro Temporare and possibly even the Secretary of State.

The FBI, Department of the Treasury and the Justice Department - all vaporized.

What would that do to our government? Our economy? In the confusion, the value of the dollar would plummet and the world economy would be sent into a new form of the dark ages.

It might take generations to recover, if we could do it at all.

We find it hard to consider these things possible.

It is possible, though it would be difficult to pull off.

And the dream of doing this - or something like it - is what motivates Al Qaeda.

Defusing these terrorists is the most important issue in our world today.

Bar none.


Saddam's innocence

Just keep telling yourself: Iraq had nothing to do with terror, nothing to do with terror:
Iraq Evidence Led Feds to Albany Mosque:
Last summer, U.S. troops discovered Yassin Muhhiddin Aref's (search) name, telephone number and address in a book left behind in a vacated terrorist training camp, a U.S. official told FOX News. The book also revealed that Ansar al-Islam, the group running the camp, had given Aref a title: "the commander."

Aref, 34, is the Imam of the Masjid As-Salam mosque in Albany, N.Y. He and one other mosque leader were arrested Thursday and charged with helping an undercover informant posing as a weapons dealer who was plotting to buy a shoulder-launched missile that would be used to kill the Pakistani ambassador in New York City.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Not going anywhere

Like most Americans, I'm a little confused by what to do with the detainess in Guantanamo. On one hand, I'm certain that among these men, there are some who are being held who pose no threat if released.

But, as we all know, there are others who are very dangerous, some who continue to maintain that they will kill Americans:U.S. reviews shed light on detainees.

I think it's a safe bet that most of these detainess will endure a life in prison, regardless of what foreigners and human rights groups think.

No president - not even John Kerry - will take the chance of releasing them.


Alan Keyes for Senate?

Oh brother:Illinois Conservative Politics

I think Mr. Keyes is about to find out that his countrywide support is barely an inch deep. This is why pundits should never run for office.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


After 9/11, I was amazed at the reaction of the world Muslim community to the attacks. It was underwhelming.

I kept imagining what the response would have been if fundamentalist Christians had perpetrated a similar attack on Mecca. Americans would have been horrified. Churches would have collected millions to help the victims and the reconstruction. The Pope would have done backflips apologizing to anyone who would listen. And the US would have deported any fundamentalist suspected of cooperating with the murderers.

From the world Muslim community after 9/11, the US got: we're sorry but...

And then we Americans heard nothing but criticism: you Americans are preventing us from slaughtering the Jews, you Americans have troops stationed near our holiest sites, you Americans support an embargo against Iraq that is killing 5000 Muslim children a month...

And we saw the mindset that refused to believe that Saddam was killing his own people, believed zealously that suicide bombers are martyrs, and continues to maintain that the government in Darfur has an absolute right to slaughter non-Muslims.

It's nice to hear from an Iraqi who knows what real contrtion sounds like:tell me a secret:
as a religious Muslim, i am very terrified, and ashamed more than i can describe, and really really sad, because of what happened to the churches in Iraq, it is the most terrible thing that can happen, the criminals who are attacking the houses of God, as we call them, should be given the maximum punishment, that is not enough at all, but i cant find the words or ideas to deal with this, i wish i can apologize to every Christian, i wish i can protect every church, but sadly i say that i can't, i cant protect the mosques or the churches, and i don't know what to do about it

Here's to a world where everyone's faith (or lack of faith) is a private matter.


The force is not with us

Picture of one of Saturn's moons, courtesy of the NASA"s Cassini spacecraft and the Radical Cowboys:

"That's no moon. It's a space station."

We don't have a chance.


Oh yeah, that war

Check out this interivew I first saw on Patterico's Pontifications:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Taxes, first words out of President Bush's mouth yesterday in his speech were, they're going to raise taxes, we are not. You said in your speech on Thursday night, we won't raise taxes on the middle class. Is that a rock hard pledge?

KERRY: Rock hard.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No matter what, no new taxes?

KERRY: Absolutely solid. No new taxes on the middle class. . . .
. . . .
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But I'm trying to get here at what happens if circumstances change, if the economy slows down, if your plans end up being more expensive than you think. Are you saying no matter what, the middle class isn't going to get a tax increase?

KERRY: That's what I'm saying.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No matter what.

[Stephanopoulos then starts to move on to a new topic, and Kerry has a second thought:]

KERRY: Let me make one caveat.


KERRY: War, obvious national emergency.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we're at war now.


Rock hard. Got it.

With caveats. OK.

Like we can't be having a war or anything. What happened to "rock hard?"

Rock hard. Like frozen butter. It just can't be exposed to warmth.


Evidence of idiocy

Oh my God.New Strategies To Defeat New Threats:
Iran claims that its nuclear program is only to meet its domestic energy needs. John Kerry's proposal would call their bluff by organizing a group of states to offer Iran the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes and take back the spent fuel so they cannot divert it to build a weapon. If Iran does not accept this offer, their true motivations will be clear.

Their true motivations are already clear, asshat: they are making a bomb. Why else would oil rich Iran "need" a nuclear program to meet its domestic energy needs? Christ, they even brag about it.

Their main impediment is getting enough enriched uranium. Suppose they refuse to return the spent fuel and use it to make a bomb? Their motivations clarified, they now have exactly what they need to achieve their ambition.

Why don't we give them ICBM's and advice on improving yield, while we're at at it?

My hunch is that this will disappear from the Kerry website really soon.


Trade not aid

Andrew Cassel:
Charity is fine, but all the charitable donations in the world can't help people escape poverty as effectively as trade. No amount of private or public aid can give a poor nation a functioning modern economy, but access to markets and freer global commerce have already proved their effectiveness in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

News of the weird

They take that celibacy thing seriously in Africa:

Priest, Nun Convicted After 'Sex Act' in Car:
BLANTYRE, Malawi (Reuters) - A Malawian court convicted a Catholic priest and a nun of disorderly conduct Thursday after they were caught engaged in a sexual act in a parked car with tinted windows.

The Malawian priest, 43, and the 26-year-old nun from neighboring Zambia spent the night in police cells after being caught in the act Wednesday, police said.

A court in the capital Lilongwe handed down suspended jail sentences of six months with hard labor after the pair pleaded guilty to charges of idleness and disorderly conduct.

'These people were caught in a sex act,' Assistant Superintendent Kelvin Maigwa told Reuters.

Officials in the Roman Catholic Church, whose priests are barred from sex or marriage, declined to comment.

Passers by alerted police at Lilongwe International Airport after the parked Toyota Corolla, which had tinted windows, began shaking in what police described as 'a funny manner.'

At least they weren't buggering little boys.


Michael Moore must be proud

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Shown on Prime Time TV in Cuba:
U.S. director Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was shown on prime time Cuban state-run television on Thursday after playing to packed cinemas for a week.

Kim Jong Il will follow suit, once he sells enough opium to procure the rights to broadcast the movie.

Thanks to Collision.



Recently, many people have alleged that the network blackout of 9/11 films works to Kerry's advantage: It allows the nation to forget that day and listen to Kerry prattle on about outsourcing or some other nonsense.

Maybe, but after talking about this with a friend at work, I'm not so sure.

The films of the planes hitting the buildings, people jumping out windows and the screams of terror will make the TV again. The 9/11 anniversary is coming. And if that will not suffice, I'm fairly certain that Bush's campaign ads will not flinch from using the images (I don't think they will be intimidated by the Kerry's campaign's admonitions against doing so: the mere fact that Kerry is protesting is indication that his campaign knows that such images are a Bush slam dunk.)

When the images do show, their effect will be enhanced by the fact that most people haven't seen them in awhile.

Seeing them all them time would make people numb and desensitized.

They are a potent reminder of threats out there that cannot be ignored.


Another disappointing rock star

Pink Floyd! I can't hate you!

Oh Roger.....You're brain has been truly fried.

From Bill's Big Bloviating Blog


An Iraqi speaks out

Can you answer the question what will be the response of Iraqis towards these horrible attacks? I'll help you; These victims came to volunteer to serve their country as IP members and this is not the 1st time this happens and the response of Iraqis to such attacks was always more volunteers and longer lines. What does that tell you Philippine and Spanish government? If this is bravery and wisdom, then how should your actions be labeled? Maybe it?s not your business? That would?ve been a more honest answer had you said it, but you?re not just cowards or stupid, you?re also hypocrites. This include all the 'anti-war' crowd with all the clowns there such as Michael Moore and George Galloway and their likes. You make me SICK when you support the 'Iraqi resistance' and call these killers a revolutionists. Did you watch your 'resistance' today? This is what you support and this is how history will view you; supporters of murderers and criminals, and for what? Fame and money! Enjoy it. It won't last, as the truth will soon be revealed and you'll be exposed to all as the disgusting parasites you are.

I doubt that we can forgive you all for your cowardice, stupidity and hypocracy just as we'll never forget the sacrifices and the help of the Americans, Australians, British, Italians, Japanese and all the other coalition members.

See! Everyone in Iraq hates us.


The lost story

This story has just vanished: Jordan 'was chemical bomb target'
An official involved in the inquiry in Jordan told AFP news agency: "We found primary materials to make a chemical bomb which, if it had exploded, would have made nearly 20,000 deaths ... in an area of one square kilometre.

"The target of this bomb was the headquarters of the Intelligence Services," situated on a hill in the western suburb of Amman, he added.

The question should be: where did those materials come from?

Anybody report any missing chemical weapons-related materials recently?

Monday, August 02, 2004

More educational nonsense

According to Parade Magazine:
High speed internet access is the most important educational advantage you can give to your child.


This is a little like saying if you want you kid to be a great woodworker, the most important advantage he can have is a hammer.

The most important educational advantage you can give your child is a love of reading and books. Young children need to be read to frequently. Older children need to be told to turn off the TV (It is often in boredom that kids pick up books, or at least that was how it worked for me).

Good old fashioned novels open up the imagination and teach kids to dream. Books give children a dialogue with great minds that you can't easily get (or distinguish) on the web.

Technology won't make a disinterested kid smart. Interest is fueled by a imagination.

Imagination has no web address.


Doctors Without Borders blames US, wants Taliban back

Chrenkoff at his best:
Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Frontiers), the well known international humanitarian organisation, is pulling out of Afghanistan and - you guessed it - blaming the Americans. The lead paragraph in the London "Independent" will give you some idea of the left's glee:

"It survived Soviet occupation, civil war, the Taliban and US-led invasion. But after 24 years of aid work, Médecins sans Frontières has been forced by the American military to flee Afghanistan."

Forget for the moment the not-so-subliminal message that the American military is worse than the Red Army and the Taliban; simply ask yourself how did they Yanks manage to chase MSF out of the country?

"US military tactics have made it too dangerous to operate there... MSF claimed the American military had endangered the lives of humanitarian volunteers by blurring the distinction between soldiers and aid workers. Five MSF workers were killed last month."

No, they weren't killed by the American soldiers, but by the parties unknown; either Taliban remnants or opium growers. But the US is to blame because as Kenny Gluck, MSF's operations director, says:

"The US-backed coalition has consistently sought to co-opt humanitarian assistance to build support for its own military and political ambitions... MSF denounces attempts to use humanitarian aid to win hearts and minds. That jeopardises the aid to people in need and endangers the lives of humanitarian aid workers ... These soldiers are often out of uniform. It's hard to know what nationality they are."

In other words, no one knows who killed the MSF personnel or why they were killed - but they must have been obviously targeted because they were mistaken for American soldiers doing humanitarian work. But the article gets even worse:

"Aid groups' concerns centre on the actions of combat troops trying to win over villagers in areas afflicted by guerrilla warfare. Despite years of work by organisations such as MSF in the country, many villagers now confuse aid workers and soldiers, Mr Gluck claimed. 'We have seen military people with weapons and in white cars providing health care. How can you expect Afghans to distinguish?'

"Aid workers particularly criticise US special forces teams who sometimes operate clinics to win over local populations or distribute sweets and toys to village children."

Those damned American soldiers doing their humanitarian work! How dare they!

Of course, it's another no-win situation for the US; if they don't do anything but simply engage in military operations, the critics will accuse them of losing "hearts and minds"; if they do try to win "hearts and minds", the critics will accuse them of ulterior motives and undermining "genuine" humanitarian efforts.


An idiot who's right, or an intellectual who's wrong?


The chimp-faced idiot managed to read from his cue cards recently, raving on about his ridiculous security fears. It looks different in print; you can't hear him stumble over words, and you can't see that feigned earnesty in his eyes. But still, his words reveal his dreadful ignorance of the real problems that America faces: job outsourcing, low education funding and access to health care.

Here, he tries to explain the ridiculous reasoning that led his doofus mind into thinking that Iraq (of all countries!) might possess very dangerous weapons:
After September the 11th, we had to look at the threats in a new light. One of the lessons of September the 11th is we must deal with threats before they fully materialize.

The September the 11th commission concluded that our institutions of government had failed to imagine the horror of that day. After September the 11th, we cannot fail to imagine that a brutal tyrant, who hated America, who had ties to terror, had weapons of mass destruction and might use those weapons or share his deadly capability with terrorists was not a threat.

We looked at the intelligence. We saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and they saw a threat.

We went to the United Nations, which unanimously demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs or face serious consequences. After 12 years of defiance, he refused to comply with the demands of the free world.

When he continued to deceive the weapons inspectors, I had a decision to make: to hope for the best and to trust the word of a madman and a tyrant, or remember the lessons of September the 11th and defend our country.

Given that choice, I will defend America every time.

In short, I was a stupid paranoid idiot. I overreacted, and I will do it again next time.

As Teddy Kennedy so eloquently put it: "The only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush!"

Yes Teddy. That is the ONLY thing we have to fear.


I will be faced with the same choice I had in 2000:

Then, it was the intellectual Al Gore (who acutally failed out of divinity school)telling me things I knew were simply wrong. This guy was actually trying to tell me there was a "lock box" somewhere containing the trillions of dollars of Social Security revenue, and he was going to protect it from the Republicans, who wanted to give it to their corporate buddies (Gore was using a clever rhetorical devices, his aides explained, but his central message was there was no need to reform Social Security - hee hee!). He insisted that America was being overrun by evil corporations, the very corporations that had created all the jobs that he said HE was proud of creating. And he said that government, which had taken in more tax money than it spent, was just going to spend more: you know, sorry about the error but we are going to buy some voters!)

And there was this guy from Crawford Texas who was as dumb as a post, but he didn't try to insult MY intelligence by telling me such blatant falsehoods.

For me, it came down to this:

Would you rather have an idiot who's right?

Or an "intellectual" who is wrong?

In 2004, I have the intellectual Kerry telling me that he is really worried about outsourcing and education.

And the idiot believes that there are people in the world who have an intense desire - and will soon have the means - to kill millions of Americans. He says that is an overriding concern.


Thanks to the New England Republican, where I first saw the excerpts of Bush's speech.


Waiting for the Multilateralists

Contrast the methodical wickedness:
On the morning of July 12, hell descended on the village of Donki Dereisa. Shortly before sunrise, Fatima Ibrahim, 28, awoke to the deafening sound of exploding ordnance falling from the sky. As she emerged from her mud hut with her 10-year-old daughter, she saw fires blazing all around and scores of heavily armed men on horseback attacking from every direction. With bullets whistling past, Ibrahim and her daughter ran for their lives, ducking into a nearby ravine, where they hid without food or water for the next two days.

From the ditch, Ibrahim witnessed a horrific avalanche of violence that will haunt her for life. With Sudanese foot soldiers at their side, the mounted attackers shot the panicked and unarmed villagers in cold blood. Approximately 150 people, including 10 women, were killed. But the worst was to come.

Ibrahim told Refugees International about a week after the attack that among those captured during the assault were four of her brothers and six young children, including three of her cousins. As Ibrahim watched in horror, several of the attackers began grabbing the screaming children and throwing them one by one into a raging fire. One of the male villagers ran from his hiding place to plead for their lives. It was a fatal error. The raiders subdued the man and later beheaded him and dismembered his body. All six of the children were burned. Ibrahim's four brothers have not been heard from since.

With the bureaucratic compromises necessary to get everyone onboard. Multilaterally:
The United States watered down proposals for a UN resolution yesterday after Muslim states refused to threaten sanctions against Sudan for failing to curb Arab militias accused of ethnic cleansing.

The US, backed by Britain, dropped the word "sanctions" from a draft resolution in order to secure broad agreement on a text that could be adopted by the UN Security Council today. The move will give Sudan more time to comply with demands from the UN, which described the situation in the western region of Darfur as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Behold! Yet another toothless UN resolution that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Anyone who believes that UN can make countries work together to solve international crises need to take a long hard look at Darfur.

Thanks to Josh Harvey


Out of the mainstream senators

We are going to be hearing more and more of this from Bush:
That's why last September, when our troops were in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I proposed supplemental funding to support them in their missions. The legislation provided for body armor and vital equipment, hazard pay, health benefits, ammunition, fuel, spare parts. In the Senate, only a handful of what I would call out-of-the- mainstream folks, that would be 12 senators, voted against that legislation. Two of the 12 are my opponent and his running mate.

The desire to cut and run by defunding troops engaged in battle is going to hurt Kerry badly, particularly in one area he really needs to win: the Midwest.

All the people who are really excited about Kerry the candidate need to remember that.

The reason that so few Senators have been elected to the presidency in recent years has a lot to do with the fact that their voting record - on issues of national importance - in on display for everyone to see. Dumb politically motivated votes like this are obvious, while time makes other votes like amazingly short-sighted or stupid.

Governors, by contrast, can dodge the large national issues without ever going on record.

Thanks to New England Republican for the quote.


More Bush Administration paranoia

Border Security Gaps Worry U.S. Officials:
July 30, 2004 — The U.S. government has become increasingly concerned that al Qaeda might try to exploit security gaps at the nation's borders, especially the Mexican border, ABC News has learned.

Concerns about border security were highlighted on July 19, when officials at McAllen-Miller International Airport in southern Texas arrested a woman suspected of having ties to al Qaeda.

Farida Goolam Mohamed, who had an airplane ticket to New York, was stopped when a Border Patrol agent noticed several pages of her South African passport had been removed. Officials also said her clothing was dirty and muddy, suggesting she might have recently crossed the nearby Rio Grande, the river separating Mexico and Texas.

There has to be some kind innocent explanation for this. An attack on New York? Why would anyone want to do that?

Farida Goolam Mohamed? With a name like that, she must a Presbyterian.


August Reads

I'll be checking out these blogs in August:

Patterico's Pontifications
Bill's Big Bloviating Blog
Fuki Blog
Quibbles and Bits
Bunker Mulligan
The Southern Conservative

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