Bookmark me or the Baron will pull my heart plug thingy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why I love the Brits.

Over at the UPC Cernig has posted a theory about why Americans are against the EU. He thinks the unspoken reason is fear of a rival superpower. The idea of a French-led coalition being super anything without an "in-" (as in incompetent or incontinent or incoherent or insane) in front of it is kind of funny to most Americans, but C doesn't see that. More important, he doesn't get the fact that Americans just plain LIKE Brits. We are against the EU because they are a threat to the people we love.

When I managed a youth hostel I LOVED Brit customers, especially the English. They were friendly, polite, and suave. The Irish were friendly, polite, and drunk every night. Loved them too, though not as much. We didn't have any Scots, more's the pity. Many Americans perceive Brits the way French think they should be perceived- smart, sophisticated, worldly, and cool in a David Bowie kind of way. (While the French remind us of that ugly fat girl with b.o. who believed nobody would ask her out because she intimidated them with her beauty.)

One might ask, if you think the British are so great- why don't you resent them? Well, because they are also silly as fuck. Without further ado, via Ace of Spades...


Monday, May 30, 2005

Post of the day involves US torture tactics.

Yes. We do torture. Yes, we do murder. This is a must-read. Via Instapundit: Click here to read it. It about exactly sums up my feelings on this subject.

Update: Also, read the comments. Some really excllent stuff in there, too.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Kauai Polynesian Festival!

For more of these pics, the keiki ones are especially cute, click here to go to the UPC write up and scroll down. Posted by Hello

As night fell the dancers got older and the dancing got hotter.  Posted by Hello

Steyn on the EU referendums:

Click Here for the Whole Thing Steyn is the master of "We laugh because it is funny and we laugh because it is true." humor. (2 points for whoever names the movie. Once you've aquired 17,430,826 I have to buy you a new car. Seriously.) Excerpt:

I haven't seen the official ballot, but the choice seems to be: "Check Box A to support the new constitution; check Box B for genocide and conflagration."

Alas, this tactic doesn't seem to have worked. So, a couple of days before the first referendum, Jean-Claude Juncker, the "president" of the European Union, let French and Dutch voters know how much he values their opinion:

"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again," "President" Juncker told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Got that? You have the right to vote, but only if you give the answer your rulers want you to give. But don't worry, if you don't, we'll treat you like a particularly backward nursery school and keep asking the question until you get the answer right. Even America's bossiest nanny-state Democrats don't usually express their contempt for the will of the people quite so crudely.

Juncker is a man from Luxembourg, a country two-thirds the size of your rec room, and, under the agreeably clubby EU arrangements, he gets to serve as "president" without anything so tiresome as having to be voted into the job by "ordinary people." His remarks capture precisely the difference between the new Europe and the American republic.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

a question for readers from livejournal

All of a sudden people from livejournal started coming over. You are all very welcome! I'm curious, though, about what sparked it?

An MSM'er that gets it.

If more Main Stream Media reporters were like the lady who wrote the post you can click here to read, more Americans would think the MSM was reliable and fair. The post regards Linda Foley's Eason Jordan-esque claim that the US military murders journalists. An excerpt:

I take my membership in the Guild very seriously. That's why I was dismayed to learn that you, the president of my union, made a speech on May 13 in which you asserted that the US military has deliberately killed journalists. The relevant portion of the speech was videotaped and is available for viewing here.

Since then, you have failed to provide supporting evidence for your remarks, but neither have you retracted them. I spoke with you at
11:10 AM today by telephone; union secretary-treasurer Bernard Lunzer was also on the call.

When I told you that I would publish your response to me on the Internet, you declined further comment--except for the following: "I am not going to discuss this with you on the eve of Memorial Day weekend."

This remark strikes me as extremely odd. I can't think of a better time to redeem the honor of the
US military by beginning a serious investigation of outrageous conduct on its part. If our soldiers are deliberately killing journalists, it's our duty to publicize it, so that such a terrible stain on our nation's integrity may be quickly cleansed.

If, as I believe, your charge is false, I can think of no better time to retract this slander.

Me either!!! But what I find more disgusting than her unproven accusation is the fact that the majority of the media is giving her a pass, or pretending nothing happened. Paula Abdul may or may not have had sex with an American Idol contestant, (lucky him if he did!) and that warranted an expose special on ABC. But there's hardly a peep about this.

I got this via Instapundit- which might make you think- why post about it? Well, I think some of my leftist brethren don't go there. You'll not find me over at Kos, you know?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Knives don't kill people, people kill people.

But knives do make it easier. According to the Guardian, some Brits are trying to do something about that!

Families whose loved ones have been stabbed to death launched an emotional appeal yesterday, urging Tony Blair to jail those who carry knives as weapons for at least five years...

The relatives are backing a campaign by the independent charity, Victims of Crime Trust. It claims that a child dies from stab wounds every two weeks in the UK and that knife killings outstrip fatal shootings by three to one.

"It's as quick and easy to kill with a knife as a gun. My son died with one stab wound to the chest. Knife crime should be treated the same as gun crime and the government should be doing a lot more."

According to the BBC though, many feel that banning the carrying of knives is not enough. ANY long knife, ANYWHERE, is a threat! Click here to read the article with the following excerpts:

The researchers say legislation to ban the sale of long pointed knives would be a key step in the fight against violent crime.

"The Home Office is looking for ways to reduce knife crime.

"We suggest that banning the sale of long pointed knives is a sensible and practical measure that would have this effect."

They don’t have baseball bats in England, but they do have Cricket bats. And they do have rope- twine- for now. Those are easily regulated and/or simply outlawed. In fact every potential weapon can, conceivably, be outlawed. But Brits also have bare fists, and there is the rub. Technology may provide a solution. Perhaps in 50 years Brits will be required to have their hands surgically altered so a man can neither beat nor strangle somebody to death. If they go far enough, fast enough, people throughout Britain will be allowed to have NO self-control whatsoever. It will be a sort of padded asylum where everybody runs around trying to bash one another’s heads in- forever foiled by the bumper car bumpers surgically implanted into their hip bones, and by the jelly injected into every sharp and/or hard part of their bodies.

Everyone will be safe! Then it will be time to regulate what people can say, as sticks and stones will no longer be allowed, and so will no longer break bones, but words could still hurt feelings. Maybe they will draft regulations saying you can't say bad things about people... oh wait... I think they've already started that.

For those of us who grew up reading Shakespeare modern day Bridget Jones Britain is such a disappointment. Sob!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Noonan with the post of the day.

The other day I posted about the filibuster deal, mentioning specifically Byrd's ridiculous claim that the 14 moderates "saved the Republic." (did he really say that or am I subconsciously quoting Revenge of the Sith? I think he really said it.) Today Peggy Noonan wrote a great article about self-congratulatory politicians. Click here to read the whole thing. Excerpt:

I think everyone in politics now has been affected by the linguistic sleight-of-hand, which began with the Kennedys in the 1960s, in which politics is called "public service," and politicians are allowed and even urged to call themselves "public servants." Public servants are heroic and self-denying. Therefore politicians are heroic and self-denying. I think this thought has destabilized them.

People who charge into burning towers are heroic; nuns who work with the poorest of the poor are self-denying; people who volunteer their time to help our world and receive nothing in return but the knowledge they are doing good are in public service. Politicians are in politics. They are less self-denying than self-aggrandizing. They are given fame, respect, the best health care in the world; they pass laws governing your life and receive a million perks including a good salary, and someone else--faceless taxpayers, "the folks back home"--gets to pay for the whole thing. This isn't public service, it's more like public command. It's not terrible--democracies need people who commit politics; they have a place and a role to play--but it's not saintly, either.

(You know, if things continue to trend this way politics will become like rap in the late '80's. Remember when almost every single rap song's main subject was how great its writer/performer was? Like EVERY song could be summarized thus: "I'm the best."

Then in the early 90's and De La Soul and Digital Underground and some others ascended with something new and beautiful and wonderful- a sort of hippy mystical sensibility that somehow worked in this format!- and then Gangsta' rap quashed it, murdered it, like Annakin destroyed the younglings... sob...)

56-43 ... Owen to the federal bench.

Oddly enough, Hitler did not rise from grave and fly around the world proclaiming his day was at hand.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Rainbow Party at My House!!!

Not. I'm married. But why the hell was this term invented AFTER I went to high school??? A rainbow party is when guys get 7 women to perform oral sex on them, each wearing a different colored lipstick, so that their magic-sticks look like rainbows.

A book called Rainbow Party, for teenage girls, is now hitting the market. I find that a bit odd. Michelle Malkin is a bit fuddy duddy for me, but I agree with her take on this book, which you can read by clicking here. For the USATODAY review, which I'll be talking about, click here.

A couple things about the USATODAY review/article pissed me off. Here's an excerpt:

Elly Gore, a buyer for Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in Milwaukee, concedes that the book is "edgy" but will stock it mainly because, she says, "I knew that if I skipped it, I would have been censoring it. ... I couldn't do that."

Excuse me, dumb itch, but the fact is you are INCAPABLE OF CENSORING. You can't censor because you aren't a government. Choosing not to stock a book in not censorship. Anyway, your claim that you won't stock a book because you respect the marketplace of ideas (which is what you would have said if you weren't such a tool) is a transparent and obvious lie. Here is a title I'm absolutely sure you would NOT stock: "Hating N------s and Loving It." (Picture a lynching on the cover.) And you would be right not to stock that. If you think it is moral to stock Rainbow Party go ahead, but don't hide behind the censorship card.

Another excerpt:

Suzanne Kelly, a buyer for the Chester County Book and Music Co. in West Chester, Pa., which will stock a limited number of Rainbow, agrees. She says the book's message that oral sex "really is sex" and that teens can contract STDs through such sexual practices far outweigh the controversial story line.
"I can't imagine anyone reading this book and saying, 'Hey, what a great idea. Let's send out invitations,' " Ruditis says.

Um... What if they don't read the whole thing? What if they pick out the parts they like and don't read the other parts? What if, kids being kids, they just share the cool fun parts with each other? This woman buys books for a living but she doesn't know kids do that? Has she never shared a book or parts of a book with a friend??? She doesn't know people do that? Hey, I haven't read the book, and I won't, so I can't say for sure whether the book promotes Rainbow Parties or not- but the cover certainly does- it certainly doesn't make it look like Rainbow Parties spread STDs.

What I found most odd was this:

Ruditis says the book was never meant to sensationalize sex parties. "We just wanted to present an issue kids are dealing with," he says.

Judy Blume books used to do that, remember? Like- whoa I'm bleeding I'm having my first period! How do I deal with that? Or whoa I'm having these feelings of attraction towards boys- how do I deal with that? Or- whoa my younger brother's a dickhead is it okay for me to beat him? No? (I wish my sister had read that one.) Then how do I deal with him? These are pretty common themes for young women.

But "Whoa everybody is having these sex parties and I don't know what kind of lipstick to bring for when I suck a bunch of different guys' cocks! How do I deal with that?" is not a common problem for most young women. It isn't an issue most kids are dealing with. Or is it? Maybe I'm just behind the times... hmmm.

Here are some other issues I didn't realize most young women are dealing with, and some prospective titles. I think I'll email these to Simon Schuster and ask if they'd be interested in manuscripts. First I'll write the issue to be dealt with, and then I'll write the prospective book title:

"Whoa that gerbil is stuck in there- how do I deal with that?"
Gerbil Party Up In There
"I can't freeze the banana hard enough to insert it. How do I deal with that?"
The Coldest Love I Ever Knew
"I can't stop my jaws from clenching when I'm being done from behind and I'm giving head at the same time. My master says the biting hurts in a bad way. How do I deal with that?"
When I Do This Like a Dog, I Do that Like a Dog
"My pimp used to take 70% of my take, now he takes 90% because he's on crack. Plus he found my snatch pocket! How do I deal with that?"
My Pimp, My Prosecutor
"I don't know what color lipstick to bring to the party where 7 of us will suck a bunch of guys' dicks, how do I deal with that?" (Oh wait; they already published a book about that! It inspired this post! Whoops!)
Rainbow Party

Monday, May 23, 2005

The filibuster deal is GOOD for republicans.

According to MSN, a deal has been struck. Click here to read the article.

"Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush’s future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

And we can certainly trust that dems will not invoke "extraordinary circumstances" in less than extraordinary circumstances. Right? I mean democrats never exaggerate or use hyperbole, right? Here is Senator Byrd, via Michelle Malkin:

Sen. Byrd: We have kept the Republic. I'm very proud of these colleagues of mine on the Republican side and the Democratic side. We have lifted ourselves above politics and signed this document in the interest of...freedom of speech, etc. Thank God for this moment and for these colleagues of mine.

You kept the Republic!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Great. I thought McCain was busy ending free speech in America. Oh, wait... this is obviously and directly related. HiGLISH!!! (My made-up onomatopoeia word for barfing is "HiGlish" fyi)

Wait a second...

At first I thought "All this deal does is give the democrats more moral authority!" But maybe it really just gives them rope to hang themselves with. I suppose... maybe it will turn out to be just that. Given this deal, the only reason to filibuster judicial nominees is avowedly "extraordinary circumstances." I suppose this does move the burden of proof over to the democrats, and I suppose "extraordinary circumstances" is quite a high burden to meet. If the democrats cynically abuse the phrase it should be obvious and move moderates to the right...


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Who will be 10,000?

There can be only one...


It was pacbell.net at 8:26 AM. He/she came to read about the Raiders.

10k... YESsssss!!! The Instapundit gets 10,000 every 10 minutes, but I'm taller.

I kicked this fat boy off in December of 2004- (I'd posted before that but that's when I started really blogging) so I'm averaging about 2k posts a month. Some highlights:

Getting my goof poem published by Powerline.
Getting to meet Cerning and the rest of the UPC, and becoming a founding member of the UPC.
Getting my Why Join the UPC post linked to by Dean's World.
Getting linked to by Slate.

I've enjoyed this blog quite a bit, and don't plan to quit anytime soon. Some changes are in store. Ideally I'll start linking to my site where I sell my novels soon. I keep waiting until my 3rd one is finished but that's taking forever- probably partly because I spend so much time blogging. Ideally I'll also switch off blogger to a more controllable site. Ideally I'll have some professional quality pictures of some insane and nearly impossible to get to Shangri-la Kauai shots. Ideally the next 10,000 won't be as long coming as the first 10,000.

Thanks so much to my regular readers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Plunkett was the best Raider QB ever.

Rich Gannon is retiring and the Raider Nation is trying to find his place in our Pantheon. The early consensus seems to be that Rich and the Snake should sit side by side at the head of the quarterback table. I assume Plunkett and Lamonica and Hoss and then- well- let's leave it at that lest I be accused of using cuss words.

Everybody has their own way of evaluating quarterbacks. There is no absolutely right way of doing so. Rather than argue that I’m right and everybody else is wrong, I’m just going to lay my way out there for consideration.

Stabler, Plunkett, and Rich Gannon each QB’d a Raider dynasty. Here’s how I’ve broken them down.

Stabler: 1973-1977 Record: 65-13-1 81% SB Rings 1

Plunkett: 1980-1985 Record: 61-28-0 69% SB Rings 2

Gannon: 2000-2002 Record: 37-18-0 67% SB Rings 0

Based on the above, for me, Plunkett is the best. SB rings count more than winning percentages. And winning percentages count way more than pass completion percentages, or interception to touchdown ratios, or whatever. But to be fair you have to ask how responsible each QB was for their dynasty. In order I’d rank them like so:

Gannon Weak team. Without him they would not have been contenders. I don’t think anyone will argue this. Gannon ran for many, many 1st downs, and constantly made great passing choices. The style of offense he ran not only put points on the board, it made up for a relatively weak defense by keeping opposing teams off the field. And he battled to make the entire team more disciplined and better prepared.

Plunkett Strong team. Without him they would have been contenders, but not champions. Marc Wilson and/or Dan Pastorini would have had the job. ‘Nuff said.

Stabler Legendary team. Without him they would have been contenders, and maybe champions. This is tough, well, impossible to prove, but I look at all the incredible players- I think of the O-line, I think of the Ghost, I think of the D-Line, I think of Tatum and – what’s the point of making a list, there are just too many great players to name. I’m not saying Stabler wasn’t great. He was. I wouldn’t trade him for anyone playing at that time, just because he WAS and IS the Raiders. But I remember Stabler snapping the ball, turning his back to the line of scrimmage, sitting down in a Lazy Boy recliner after it was carted onto the field, relaxing as he enjoyed a coffee (or a beer at the night games) and a cigarette and the funnies, and THEN getting up to look around and make a throw. To who? To one of the best tight ends, and THE best possession receiver, and one of the best burners (arguably) of all time. A lot of QBs thrive in that offense.

So we have a QB who lost a SB on a team that would not have made the playoffs without him, GANNON, vs. a QB who won a SB on a team that may have won a SB without him, STABLER, vs. a QB who won TWO Super Bowls on a team that probably would have made the playoffs but not the SB without him, PLUNKETT. So what do you get? Well, Super Bowl championships are what it is all about.

Sorry, Rich. If that SB was the best game of your career, rather than the worst game of your career, I’d say you were our best ever. But it wasn’t.

Sorry Kenny. You belong in the Hall of Fame, but you don’t belong at the head of the table.

Congratulations Jim.

1. Plunkett

2. Stabler

3. Gannon

Let me add this… My opinion on this is not set in stone, and I’d love to hear other’s opinions, either below in the comments or linked to the Raider Board, or whatever. Also, please let me know if I’m wrong on any of my numbers. I’ll make the necessary corrections.


Other Harkonnendog Raider articles (I would have many more but they stopped making stupid mistakes like those discussed below... or at least I stopped catching them):

And yes MORE incompetent Raider reporting! 3/17/2005

More incompetence from the Bay Area media 3/4/2005

Monte Poole and Tim Kawakami = Sad but Funny 2/24/2005

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I'm getting nutty.

I'm one of those people who are mildly schizo- I have occasional swings- manic to depressed- and one of the things that marks the start of a manic swing is a weird connection to music or a movie. Romeo and Juliet - I went CRAZY for that movie- I mean the modern gun toting version, to the point where I was suspected for a while that I was in love with a woman I DIDN'T LOVE, and she thought I loved her too though I never said any such thing (we hardly spoke at all, that kind of relationship) I did the same thing, except MORE SO, for the Moulin Rouge, except I wasn't getting any then so I didn't have any confusion. I mean I cannot describe the pure joy coursing through my body as I watched that flick, and the after-glow lasted for weeks and weeks.

What's got me going now? This is the craziest yet. I mean those were 2 great manic movies, or 2 great movies for manics, or both, so anyway anybody could go crazy for them, if not as crazy for them as a manic, right? Well, right now I'm going crazy for this song:

click here to listen to crazy song

Seriously. I've got it playing continuously on my Windows Media Player and have for the last two hours... and there is really no other possible reason for me liking this song this much. I'm getting nutty. This is the good part of it though, the manic part.

My wife has never experienced me when I went through one of these phases. (They come every few years.) I wonder if she'll dig it. Let me ask her mentally through this blog.

Can you dig it, baby?

I knew that you could.

Post of the day

can be read by clicking here.
Scary stuff, brutally rendered. And true. I'm not going to exerpt it because it should be read entirely.
Then click here to read this one by Christopher Hitchens.

The first talks about a general idea- the second gives a specific example. And they were written at about the same time. Interesting.

Maybe it ISN'T Isikoff's fault!

Anne Coulter blames Newsweek's editorial board. Click here to read the whole thing, but here are some exerpts:

When ace reporter Michael Isikoff had the scoop of the decade, a thoroughly sourced story about the president of the United States having an affair with an intern and then pressuring her to lie about it under oath, Newsweek decided not to run the story. Matt Drudge scooped Newsweek, followed by The Washington Post.

When Isikoff had a detailed account of Kathleen Willey's nasty sexual encounter with the president in the Oval Office, backed up with eyewitness and documentary evidence, Newsweek decided not to run it. Again, Matt Drudge got the story.

When Isikoff was the first with detailed reporting on Paula Jones' accusations against a sitting president, Isikoff's then-employer The Washington Post -- which owns Newsweek -- decided not to run it. The American Spectator got the story, followed by the Los Angeles Times.

So apparently it's possible for Michael Isikoff to have a story that actually is true, but for his editors not to run it.

Why no pause for reflection when Isikoff had a story about American interrogators at Guantanamo flushing the Quran down the toilet?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pwn3d by lil_hasset in the Fillibuster Debate

Over on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu bulletin board I frequent there is a politics section. We debate. We argue. We name call. Usually I do well in these little arguments, but today I was PWN3D (I know it is childish to type "PWN3D." That is why I do it!)

Background. "CK" and "lil-hasset" were arguing about the filibuster and judicial nominees in a thread called "This says it all." lil_hasset said Frist was a hyprocrite because he claims he wants all judges to get an up or down vote even though republicans blocked Clinton's nominees in commitee.

I jumped in. Speaker is in normal type, comments made are bolded:
stopping people in committee, because u own congress, is not the same as using a fillibuster. in 1 case the majority is asserting its majority power, in the second case the minority is thwarting the majority. not the same. y let the judges out of the commitee when they'll just be voted down by the majority anyway?

This is just semantics, Frist's position is that every nominee deserves an up or down vote, period. Holding people in committee prevents an up or down vote. The bottom line is that the republicans avoided a full vote in the senate. The democrats are just doing the same. One of the reasons Bush was able to appoint so many judges was due to open spots that clinton wasn' able to fill b/c of the republican's tactics.

Your ponts about minority v. majority is irrelevant, the Senate is supposed to be about protecting the minority, hence the two seats per state rather than seats determined by population.

It isn't semantics at all. Frist is not for an up and down vote of every single nominee a president nominates, any more than he's for an up or down vote for any bill any congressman comes up with. That's crazy. Commitees decide what comes out of commitees for a vote. This is a culling process. If a commitee finds someone or some bill unworhty of a vote or finds a vote would be a waste of time the committee holds it or dumps it. SOP. And it makes sense because majorites in congress are reflected by majorities on commitees.

The filibuster is completely different.

At this point everybody thought I pwn3d the debate. In fact various right wing jiu jitsu guys declared I'd won and offered to bear my children and such. Which only made the following retort by lil-hasset all the more devestating!!!

This is ridiculous, follow the links, the judges were found fully qualified, and yet were still denied a vote.

I worked in the senate judiciary committee; I understand how the process works. The committee's role is to provide a recommendation to the Senate, not bottle up the process. And will all due respect CK, I stand by this.

If you follow the links, you will read about one example where a judge was denied a vote for four years. After he finally got it he was quickly confirmed. This wasn't about people who were unqualified being culled out. Read the links, some judges waited for years and NEVER GOT A HEARING; please explain to me how this is a "culling process."

You can try to spin this, but it is the same. The republicans didn’t allow a large number of Clinton’s nominees to get an up or down vote.

Besides, I think First has implied that every nominee should get an up or down vote. see below:


"If Senators believe a nominee is qualified, they should have the opportunity to vote for her. If they believe she is unqualified, they should have the opportunity to vote against her." (From Firist's website, implying the proper culling mechanism is a vote on the Senate floor)


“Republicans believe in the regular order of fair up and down votes and letting the Senate decide yes or no on judicial confirmations free from procedural gimmicks like the filibuster, and I hope Senator Reid and others knows our door is always open to reasonable proposals for fair up or down votes for judicial nominees.”

Finally, by your logic, democrats could've used the same tactics to hold up Bush's nominations in committe - BUT, the republicans changed the rules, making that much more difficult. See below.


"In large part because Hatch changed the rules of the Judiciary Committee. When Clinton was president and Hatch controlled the committee, a judicial nomination could be put on permanent hold if a single senator from the nominee's home state objected to its going forward. But in 2003, Hatch changed the rules to make it harder for a single Democrat to block a Bush nominee. Under Hatch's new formulation, "blue slips" couldn't stop a nomination unless both senators from the nominee's home state submitted one - and he wavered on whether he should consider himself bound by the "blue slips" at all."

There it is... One of the severest and bloodiest massacres in the history of jiu jitsu political debate. Lessons learned:
1. don't talk a big game when you don't know chit
2. don't assume your opponent is as ignorant about the subject as you are, and that you can therefore win with a couple rhetorical tricks and a confident demeanor
3. the quiet ones (quiet on a bulletin board should probably translate as "open to reason") are the one you really have to look out for
4. don't mess with lil_hasset.

I linked to a song to commemorate this PWN3GE: click here to hear it

Monday, May 16, 2005

South Park and the flushed Koran

I can't wait for South Park to do Isikoff... Maybe Cartman will convince a reporter a deadly virus is going to kill everyone unless the mayor shoots Mr. Garrison dead. After she kills Mr. Garrison Cartman will say he had two sources, some guy he overheard talking and Chef, who refused to say whether it was true or not.

Flashback to some dude saying AIDS is an epidemic and gay men are more likely to catch it, and Chef telling Cartman he was too busy to talk.

The best think about this is watching and reading and hearing the lefties scream "Much ado about nothing! No story here!" Abu Ghraib was the invasion of Poland but this ain't nothing. Rumsfeld should be quartered and hung because he didn't foresee the need for more armored Humvees early enough but Isikoff couldn't be expected to know anything bad would happen. Bush = Hitler because John Bolton put his hands on his hips and yelled at an incompetent ass once but the brouhaha about inflaming the "Arab Street" (oh yeah that doesn't exist anymore, not since it turned out that the street WANTED the US to invade Iraq but was afraid to say so when Saddam's lackeys would have killed them for saying so) is just a rightwing attempt to mask the REALLY IMPORTANT news of the day which is that there are some places in Iraq that still suck, though less than they sucked 3 years ago, but who cares because Bush said it was about WMD alone (even though that's a stupid lie).

The left is always wondering why it loses elections- never seeming to grasp that putting its hands over its ears and screaming doesn't stop the ELECTORATE from hearing the other side of the story.

Left- There's no leftwing bias in the MSM.
Right- Dude, look at Isikioff's decision to-
Right- (under his/her breath) Geeze.
Electorate: Screw these democrats. They're nutballs.

Left- Gays should have equal rights to marry.
Right- But gays can marry people of the opposite sex, same as straights. And straights can't marry people of the same sex either... We're talking about redefining the defini-
Right- (under his/her breath) Oh great... come on I'm trying to talk-
Electorate: I'm for gay marriage but not if I have to put screaming Deanies into power. Ugh...

Scream away my lefty friends. After all, you're in a hole so the best thing to do is continue digging.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

UPC gravitational pull up- heroes and villains.

The topic is here.

Villain... It's tough. I mean there are so many to choose from... The big 3 though, are Hilter, Stalin, and Mao. Hitler, though he's probably received the worst press, doesn't really compare to Stalin or Mao when it comes to killing one's own people... So Stalin or Mao??? Hmm... what do these two have in common? Oh yeah- they both read and believed and tried to institute the teaching of Karl Marx... I'm going with Marx.

Hero... It's tough, yet again. You've got all those WWII hero types... Chruchhill, Roosevelt, Inouye (called it for the home team)... But I'm going with Reagan.


Yep, Reagan. Reagan set out to bully and bankrupt the Soviets out of existence, and it happened. People can argue over alternative histories all they like, but the facts are he
1. said he would do it
2. he did it

And how many American lives did it take to destroy Marx's great champion? None. It just took huge balls and faith.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Jane Fonda? I don't get it.

I'm a conservative, conservative populist, enterpriser, mainstream republican (if you believe in such things) moderate righty (again if u don't consider moderate righty the equivalent of bunny rabbit), et cetera et cetera.

I'm not going to see any movie with Jane Fonda in it.
I'll see a Sean Penn movie. He's an idiot about politics but he's great actor.
I'll see a movie with... aghhh... the guy in The Shawshank Redemption, married to the lady that used to have great breasts... Tim Robbins! I'll see his movies because he stars in a lot of great movies even if he isn't a great actor and even if he is an idiot about politics.
But Jane Fonda is a mediocre actress. She's never in great movies. She had a bod and now it is 60 years old... So I won't see her movies because she's an idiot about politics. If she was in a De Niro or a Pa Cino or a Harriss Ino flick okay. But Jennifer Lopez doens't have that kind of pull. (Maybe if her ass was as big as it was back in her In Living Color days, but she worked that booty off, and my heart melted away with the buttocks fat.)

I'm not part of a national boycott or anything. I'm not calling for one. I just don't like Fonda.

I watch probably 10-20 movies a year, depending on the movies and the circumstances (read: who watches the kid.) I'm probably very representative of the 51% who voted Bush, which are, what, 20% of all people who are voting age? (I pulled that number out of the air, but the air around me is better at guessing than you would guess.)

So why would anybody cast this dumb bitch? There are tons of hottie older ladies who could have played this role just as well or better who didn't striptease atop tanks to tittilate the AK toting totalitarians in Vietnam. If you're determined to cast a lefty oldie there is still no shortage. What about those ladies from that '80s show about interior design... you remember- the one with 4 white southern ladies and Anthony the Slave... er, Anthony the ex-con laborer. Any of them could have done it.

Or how about Mr Kotter's wife? She was fine! How about the brunette from Three's Company? You'd get a lot of nostalgia mileage off a casting job like that. What about Kathleen Turner- she still has the sexy voice if nothing else. What about- if you want a freak for publicity- what about Zsa Zsa Gabor! If William Shatner can make a comeback Zsa Zsa can too! The mom from Family Ties! (I'm freaking out here I'm so excited!!!)

Anyway you get the point. Why cast Jane Fonda? I don't get it.

Byrd is the word.

Click here, via the great Radioblogger, to listen to Senator Byrd's filibuster Esther Bible speech. Conservatives are laughing like hyenas listening to this speech- but I have to say I find the guy's voice and manner and accent hypnotic. Byrd may well have hypnotized, Haemonized, Simonized, Lookintomyeyes, HearTheDove'sCries, BigMac&Fries, LittleWhiteLies, FatMeatyThighs, NoWhereforesNorWhys, Shepard'sPies, AThousandVirgins'sSighs, SheAlwaysDenies, FailuresThatWereGoodTries, OhMeOhMys, Scandalize, Scintillize, LookintomyeyesLookintomyeyesLookintomyeyes, his way into office.

Listen to it and the above will make sense. Anyway, is Byrd doing Dean Martin doing Strom Thurmond or is he doing Foghorn Leghorn on quaaludes? What's going on with the dems??!!??

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Harkonnendog supports Condoleeza Rice for President

Harkonnendog now supports Condoleeza Rice for President. I'm going to go stream of consciousness to explain why...

dude she thinks gun rights are as important as free speech plus what a way to say screw you to Muslim countries that think women have to be in bhurkas are u kidding? and it would finally end the bullchit dem myth republicans care about color and she's a moderate she won't let the evangelists control the party and if they block her putting in conservative minority supreme court justices SHE can play the race card! hah! what a joy that would be! plus what an example for young blacks and young women generally plus she looked kind of hot in those boots and i've got this thing now for vonzell from american idol and it's like transferring to condie 'cause they're both black plus the boots also judging from her facial expressions she can be a bad motherf- SHUT YO' MOUTH! i'm just talkin' about Condie and if she went president that would maybe be a great moment of healing a social, cultural ahievement equvialent to the technological achievement of going in a 100 years from horse and buggy to flying to the moon in a 125 years going from a country that allowed slavery and women couldn't vote to country with a black woman president happy happy joy joy and she's an expert in foreign affairs which SHOULD remain the focus it won't be the economy stupid until the islamists (ed... not Muslims, islamists- terrorists!) are all dead and they've been eaten and shit out by pigs a la hannibal not that a president should EVEr be focused on the economy president should always be foreign affairs first wouldn't it be awesome to see the nytimes try to paint hillary as champion of blacks while they lie and distory Condie's life and beliefs u think the msm is exposed now as hypocrites Condie would nail its coffin down and bury it in concrete!!!

This is just part 1 of what will be a series. Condie for President!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What's your morality meter?

Click here to find out. This is a really interesting test. It isn't perfect, but I really liked the way it distinguished between coercion and disapproval. Take the test, for fun and to be familiar with it, and then read my results and comments below. Then please post your results, and thoughts, in the comments section. (If you read my results and comments it will probably skew your own test scores, so take the test 1st, please.)

Taboo - My Results


Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.43.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Your Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

What do these results mean?

Are you thinking straight about morality?

There was no inconsistency in the way that you responded to the questions in this activity. You did not evaluate the actions depicted in these scenarios to be across the board wrong. Where you have judged an act to be morally problematic, it is likely that you did so because you think that what makes it wrong comes from God or some other source of morality external to nature, society and human judgement. You indicated that an action can be wrong even if it is entirely private and no one, not even the person doing the act, is harmed by it. So, in fact, had you thought that the acts described here were entirely wrong there would still be no inconsistency in your moral outlook.

My moralising quotient is about average. But my universalising factor is off the scale. That's because I believe in universal values, probably because I'm a Christian. (I think my moralising quotient is average because I'm an it's all about the Gospels, these guys had mystic experiences but weren't directed by His hand kind of Christian.) That universality thing can be scary because people might object with:

1: He's judging me!
2: He therefore thinks he can make me do what he wants me to do!

But for me, and I think for the vast, VAST majority of Christians, those objections are easily answered. The answer to objection 1: "He's judging me!" is I judge the sin, not the sinner. This may seem cliche or simplistic, but in practice it is profound and complicated. Try it. (By the way, I have to do this. Otherwise I'd hate myself- nobody can live up to Christ's example.) The answer to objection 2: "He therefore think he can make me do what he wants me to do!" is a bit more complicated.

I don't believe in coercion. I hate it. Whether it is in the form of high taxes, government land grabs, IRS audits to harass dissenters- whatever. There is lots of room in the Bible for Christians to wiggle- we don't have to coerce non-believers into believing, or acting like they believe as we do- in order to be good Christians. Give unto Ceasar and all that... And there's a LOT of all that.

But for fun i asked myself which I would choose if I had to choose. If there was NO wiggle room, would I choose to defend free speech or prosecute blasphemy? Would I support Christian-ONLY prayer in schools or separation of church and state? Would I back the mullah saying Jews drink Muslim baby's blood, or the bishop saying that mullah should be put in jail?
I choose free speech, separation of church and state, and free speech again. I reject coercion.

The VAST, VAST majority of Christians would answer the exact same way. This is why I believe the (now ebbing) Christian bashing was hysterical, and why I think Andrew Sullivan is the suck.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Great FREE program... AutoStitch

This is from near the top of the Sleeping Giant or Nouno ridge. Wow this autostitch is cool. You can download the demo version by clicking on this link. That's all I've used to take the pics from my hike last month and put them together. Free good shit simply can't be beat. I can't wait to take pics with this program in mind!!! It says you can do full 360 degree panorama shots! Plus, if you click on the link, you'll see how you can do a checkerboard patter of shots so you don't get the long rectangle affect you'll see in these 3 panoramas I'm showing today.
Anyway, I've got 'bout 50% of the Eastern shoreline of Kauai in a single picture made up of 8 different pictures in the above shot. Click on it to enlarge it. (It is much more spectacular on my computer... I can't seem to make the detail equally available to you via Picassa, or maybe the fault is Blogger's... no complaints... more free good shit.)
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stitch a full 180 much less 360 degree shot... I didn't have enough connecting shots and the program refused. But still it is pretty cool. The next two pics are from pics I took as I turned to my right. However, they were not all taken from the same spot. (I'm pretty sure I could have stitched them togther if they were). Posted by Hello

Now I'm facing South East... That ridge roughly parallel to the ocean is the Nouno range... that ridge in the far distance is the Haupu range.  Posted by Hello

Turning a bit more left, so that I'm facing South.  Posted by Hello

Kauai Photoblogging 5

This is the view from about a mile into the Kalalau trail, which begins at Ke'e beach at the end of the road on Kauai's north shore. From here the trail goes down into Hanakapiai valley, where you cross a river and then continue another 9 milies to get to Kalalau, or turn left and go another 2 miles to reach Hanakapiai falls, or turn right and go down to Hanakapia beach. Either way it just gets prettier. Posted by Hello

A contrail, I think. This was taken on the same day, but on the way out, when it had cleared up a bit, as opposed to on the way in, above, when it was cloudier. I dig contrails. These are Elph pics... my A95 is much better. Posted by Hello

An interesting hill. This was taken from Hanakapiai beach, so we turned right at the river to get here. If you look closely at the bottom of the pic you can see a couple tiny people, to give you some scale. I'm standing on beach sand, though my feet are being washed by cool mountain stream water, as I take this picture. Swimming in the ocean at Hanakapiai is a bad idea for tourists. The river creates holes in the sandbars, which the waves go over evenly, but then the ocean gets sucked through the holes at terrific speeds on the way out, creating rip tides and such. Hanakapiai is bad news because there are no lifeguards, no phones, and worst of all, no surfers...
During the summer Hanakapiai beach is a wide, long, golden crescent of sand, but after winter's first huge swell all the sand disappears until summer.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

New Sisyphus responds to Newshog

Last Friday I wrote a post on the UPC, click here to read it, which linked to this post about the elections in Ireland and terrorism. For original political commentary New Sisyphus, the author of the post, a State Department employee, is by far my favorite blogger.

So when fellow Unpaid Pundit Corps member Newshog, another blogger I respect a lot, commented that New Sisyphus was wrong, and either ignorant or "blinkered," I copied Newshog's comments and posted them in New Sisyphus's comment area.

New Sisyphus has replied, in a timely, classy, and comprehensive fashion, in an update to his original post. I've cut and pasted his commentary on Newshogs commentary below:

A regular reader, Harkonnendog, posts in the comments section a reply from a Scot friend regarding this post. We post that reply here, along with our own responses. (We have taken the liberty of correcting small spelling errors in the post, since they are obviously the result of haste and not a lack of basic grammatical knowledge.)

I read the post you linked to, and I have to say the author is either blinkered by his own agenda or knowingly filtering the facts to fit that agenda.

We have no agenda except the defeat of terrorism. In Northern Ireland, this means opposition to both physical force tradition Republicans and so-called “Loyalist” terrorists. We did not knowingly leave out any facts, though, as we will spell out below, we welcome any facts our Scottish friend can add to the debate.

The simple truth is that the DUP are as connected to Unionist terrorists as Sinn Fein are to Republican ones. Both the UDA and they are simple criminals, hiding their money-making schemes of drugs-dealing, arms trafficking and extortion rackets in the streets of Ireland behind the sectarian cloak of Protestant vs Catholic and Unionist vs Republican.

We are in full agreement with our correspondent on the point that Sinn Fein are connected to terrorists. On the DUP point, we are much less sure. There is no doubt that the more rapid elements of the DUP, including its leader Paisley, harbor no deep regret at the existence of Loyalist terror. That said, we also have never seen any evidence of coordination or cross-membership. If the DUP is merely a Loyalist terror front, then why the PUP and other openly Loyalist parties? Sinn Fein’s leadership is co-existent with the IRA’s Army Council, as has been widely known for years. Certain elements in the DUP may take pleasure from Loyalist acts, but do not—so far as we know—direct them. If our Scot analyst has established facts to the contrary, we would dearly love to see them demonstrated.

The failure of the latest accord is purely down to one fundamentalist politician with close ties to terrorists. Ian Paisley of the DUP demanded that photos of the destruction of IRA weapons be a condition of signing the accord, a move that his own Protestant faction would never have agreed for the weapons of the UDA, their own terror group. His cynical demand would have meant the humiliation of his enemies, a move to which he knew they would never agree. The backlash from that demand took certain IRA extremists out of the control of their central leaders for a while. Paisley's actions were in perfect keeping with the profile of a man who has made famous the phrase "we will never surrender, never, never, never."

We are at a loss to explain why a demand for physical evidence of decommissioning is extreme, regardless of source, or how one man from a (formerly) minority party could wield such all-encompassing power. Sinn Fein/IRA freely signed up for the process, as one may recall. If Sinn Fein/IRA was going to be spooked by some posing by the “reverend” on this point, they were never very serious to begin with. Note especially that this really boils down to excuse making: Sinn Fein/IRA did not live up to its freely undertaken obligations under the Agreement because Paisley was embarrassing them.

Interestingly, Mr. Paisley likes to style himself Reverend Paisley. His doctorate is an honorary one, bestowed by the Bob Jones University, in South Carolina, famous for it's rule against interracial relationships amongst it's students, the anti-Catholic zeal of founder Bob Jones and that same founders letter of congratulations to President Bush on his re-election which exhorted Bush with the words "you owe the liberals nothing". Ian Paisley is certainly the ideological peer of Bob Jones. When Dublin's Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, invited him to breakfast at the Irish Embassy in London recently, he insisted on having two hard-boiled eggs, which he could break open himself. This, he explained to Mr Ahern, was to ensure that he couldn't be poisoned.

Okay, we get it: you don’t like Paisley. You’re not alone on this judgment. In fact, we share it. Yet, your argument never deals with the whys and wherefores of how, exactly, almost the entire Unionist community has been driven into his party’s arms. Could it be that the shameful appeasement of both the Irish and British Governments have driven a community that took a true leap of faith for peace into the arms of a man who told them all along they would be played for fools?

You see, it is idiots like this on both sides who have ensured the political divide has widened for their own self-aggrandizement.

The “a pox on both their houses” stance inherent in this statement is just more avoidance of the adult moral responsibility to make judgments. Fact is, the Unionist community made a clenched-teeth move for peace and supported a leader who could take them there. This fact was judged as weakness by both Labour and Conservative residents at No. 10 as well as by the IRA. The result, as we noted above, is clear: the Unionist community now knows it is all alone, that it has no partner for peace and, thus, has reached for the most anti-Agreement leadership it could find.

As for the "Clinton-sponsored" peace process...the fact that Clinton had anything to do with it was scarcely registered in Ireland or the UK. The same goes for Bush's intervention more recently. Both are regarded as amusing attempts by the Big Guy O'er the Water to pretend he knows what the fuck is going on in the Old Country.

We agree so far as Bush is concerned; however, all sides have stated publicly and often that the Good Friday Agreement would not have been possible without the direct, personal intervention of President Clinton. No serious observer of the political process would agree that the President’s involvement “was scarcely registered in Ireland or the UK.” A simple Google search on the relevant terms will reveal facts strongly to the contrary, and readers are invited to investigate and judge for themselves on this point. To cite just one obvious example, former Senator George Mitchell, Clinton’s personal envoy, was the main mediator during the final and crucial stages of the Agreement’s drafting.

Americans, according to the extremists on both sides, are good for money but don't expect them to understand more than the surface appearances or, heaven forbid, make sense.

We have no doubt that this is a widespread belief in the British Isles, which goes a long way towards explaining why such little real understanding of American or American political goals exists there.

We may or may not be making sense, but the fact is an election has just been held and both parties that brought about the Good Friday Agreement have been wiped out. This is either due to the fact that the Agreement was not sufficiently thought-out or enforced, as we argue, or because one minority party leader was a big old meanie.

You be the judge of which is likelier.

This is an example of what the UPC is meant to do- bring left and right together in civil debate- counteract the blogosphere's tendency to become a place where people preach to the choir- seek capital T Platonic Truth whether we believe in it or not- and, you know, so on and et cetera. Huge kudos to New Sisyphus, whose blog I urge you to bookmark and read every day. And huge kudos to Newshog for remaining civil while disagreeing vehemently- not that I'd expect any less from him, of course.

I hope you'll keep the debate going, Newhog.

Friday, May 06, 2005

How movement effects government.

I hate my county council. I despise my mayor. Around 1986 Kauai's rulers basically decided to stop building infrastructure so that Kauai would:
a)stay green
b)not turn all haole (haole here meaning white mainland style)
c)not change at all

So, since 1990, while the population has increased by about 2/3rds, the infrastructure has stayed about the same. The council tweaks this and that to let steam out of the pot when issues come to a boil, but that's about it.

So we have daily traffic jams. If there's an accident on certain roads traffic simply stops- STOPS- until it is cleared. People are living in groups of 8-10 in 3bdrm 2bath houses so the sewage pipes overflow whenever it rains before hightide- the pipe's can't hande the load so you get interesting smells at various spots along the highway.

We have a housing bubble that's insane. Average Kauai salary is 25k a year; (that's right, AVERAGE) a piece of junk house costs 500k. I'm talking about the cheapest houses on the island- 500k! Be fantasy-land generous, and say it costs $500.00 a month to pay every 100k of a 30 year loan. That's 30k a year. Two parents working 40 hours a week apiece (throw in another 5 hours a week for traffic jam travel time) bring home 50k a year, maybe 35k (again in fantasy land) after taxes, so they can live off the 5k if they want to own a shack of a house in an industrial area.
The council has responded by getting funding for "emergency trasitional housing," which means that when you're homeless 'cause you can't pay the $1500.00 a month median rent they'll put you up for a couple of months in some government built condo. In the meantime the measures that created the housing bubble- the measures that make it impossible for people to subdivide their land to sell it off in lots- the measures that make it impossible for developers to turn a proft unless they are selling multi-million dollar homes- remain in place. The council and mayor TRUMPET these measures- BRUISE themselves patting themselves on the back.

The council and mayor decided the way to treat crackheads is to have private homes in good (but not rich, of course) neighborhoods become amateur-hour drug clinics. That's right. If you get caught stealing a car to buy crack the judge gives you a choice... jail or live in a 'clinic' (which is just a house) in a neighborhood. Best of all, the amateurs who run the clinic can't force you to stay in the clinic, as that would violate your civil rights. So you get free run of the neighborhood.

The council and mayor decided the way to help "at risk" families is to pay their rents in nice (not rich) neighborhoods so their neighbors would influence them. So now neighborhoods where kids used to roam freely and safely, where people NEVER locked their doors, where there was a sense of community, are under what is basically a state of siege. And when long time residents call the people running the program to complain, the bureaucrats who answer the phones are sympathetic, genuinely sympathetic, but they can do nothing to help.

Why do people continue to vote for the same government (different faces, same ideas) year after year after year? It is simple. Those people who want to own their own homes, or not suffer through smelling feces while they're stuck in their car for the 45 minutes necessary to travel 3 miles, or who won't tolerate having their taxes pay for crackheads to move next door, have left.

It is brilliant, really. Dr. Evil would be proud.
"We will make the island so miserable for middle class working people that only the rich enviromentalist California retirees/2nd home summer folk, and the state employees, and the dirt-poor welfare folk, will be able to comfortably live here! The poor will vote for us for handouts, the rich will vote for us to keep the island uncrowded, the state workers will vote for us to get pay raises, and the rest of them will move away! WE CAN'T LOSE!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

I HATE the mayor and the council.

Anyway, click here to read this article from Radio Netherlands, which says that the same sort of thing is happeneing in the Netherlands, though for entirely different reasons. To an entire country!!! My reaction to this: KEEP THOSE PANTIES OUT OF THE U.S. We don't want nor need skilled people who don't have the balls to fight to fix their homeland. (I don't feel the same way about the people who have left Kauai, though. They are leaving pretty much right after they get the power to vote.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Best Post of the Day Ever

Wow wow wow. That is a great read. That makes sense of that which makes no sense. That, if it were read more widely, would pull a lot of heads out of a lot of asses. Couple excerpts:

This common identification of 9-11 as an act of war arises from a deeper unquestioned assumption — an assumption made both by Chomsky and his followers on one hand and Hanson and National Review on the other — and, indeed, by almost everyone in between. The assumption is this: An act of violence on the magnitude of 9-11 can only have been intended to further some kind of political objective. What this political objective might be, or whether it is worthwhile — these are all secondary considerations; but surely people do not commit such acts unless they are trying to achieve some kind of recognizably political purpose.

Behind this shared assumption stands the figure of Clausewitz and his famous definition of war as politics carried out by other means.


I would like to pursue a line suggested by a remark by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in reference to 9-11: his much-quoted comment that it was “the greatest work of art of all time.”

Despite the repellent nihilism that is at the base of Stockhausen’s ghoulish aesthetic judgment, it contains an important insight and comes closer to a genuine assessment of 9-11 than the competing interpretation of it in terms of Clausewitzian war. For Stockhausen did grasp one big truth: 9-11 was the enactment of a fantasy — not an artistic fantasy, to be sure, but a fantasy nonetheless.


What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.

And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy — a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view — for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not. They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics, but theater; and the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve, but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. In short, he was acting out a fantasy.


For us the hijackings, like the Palestinian “suicide” bombings, are viewed merely as a modus operandi, a technique that is incidental to a larger strategic purpose, a makeshift device, a low-tech stopgap. In short, Clausewitzian war carried out by other means — in this case by suicide.

But in the fantasy ideology of radical Islam, suicide is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Seen through the distorting prism of radical Islam, the act of suicide is transformed into that of martyrdom — martyrdom in all its transcendent glory and accompanied by the panoply of magical powers that religious tradition has always assigned to martyrdom.


n the initial aftermath of 9-11, President Bush continually spoke of al Qaeda not as terrorists, but as “evildoers” — a term for which he was widely derided by those who found it offensively simple-minded and childish. Evildoers, after all, are characters out of fairy tales, not real life. Who really sets out for the deliberate purpose of doing evil, except the wicked dwarves and trolls of our childhood fantasies?

Bush’s critics — who seem unfortunately to have won the semantic battle — were both right and wrong. They were right in observing the fairy-tale provenance of the phrase “evildoer,” but they were wrong in denouncing Bush’s use of it. For, whether by instinct or by cunning, Bush struck exactly the right note. The evildoer of the fairy tale, after all, is not motivated in his conduct by his wish to change the way other people act: His objectives are not to persuade or cajole or threaten others into doing as he wishes them to do. Instead, other people exist in his eyes only as an opportunity to do evil: He doesn’t want to manipulate them for his selfish purpose; rather, his one and only purpose is to inflict evil on them — evil and nothing more.

Rather than interpreting 9-11 as if it were a Clausewitzian act of war, Bush instinctively saw it for what it was: the acting out of demented fantasy. When confronted with the enigma of he was able to avoid the temptation of trying to interpret it in terms of our own familiar categories and traditions. Instead of looking for an utterly mythical root cause for 9-119-11, or seeing it as a purposeful political act on the Clausewitzian model, he grasped its essential nature in one powerful metaphor, offering, in a sense, a kind of counter-fantasy to the American people, one that allowed them to grasp the horror of 9-11 without being misled by false analogies and misplaced metaphors. How much wiser Montezuma would have been if he had said, “I do not know who these white-skinned strangers may be, or where they come from, or what they want. But that they are here to do evil I have no doubt. So let us act accordingly.”

The essay is long but leaves you wanting more. Brilliant! Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Rottentomatoes.com helps propogate the big lie about the Crusades.

I was thinking of seeing Kingdom of Heaven. I dug Ridley Scott's Gladiator. So I went to Rottentomatoes.com. They have 100s of reviews amalgamated to give you an idea of whether a film is good or not. They feature around 10-15 snippets of reviews on each movie's main page. And they feature one small snippet of one "Featured Critic" in the top left corner.

The featured critic of Kindom of Heaven is Hollywoodreporter.com's Kirk Honeycutt. (no idea whether or not that's his real name)

The featured snippet of the featured review isn't even about the movie. It is an editorial judgement about the crusades, and it is a lie-

Kingdom fulfills the requirements of grand-scale moviemaking while serving as a timely reminder that in the conflict between Christianity and Islam it was the Christians who picked the first fight.

Er, no, it doesn't serve as a timely reminder of anything, because Christians didn't pick the first fight. The Crusades were a response to Muslim aggression. This should be common fucking knowledge, thank you very much. But, apparently, it isn't. Here are some links to educate those of you who are ignorant regarding this:

Link 1:
Christianity has been on the defensive against Islam almost from Islam's very beginning. From medieval Muslim aggression to present-day aggression in America, Sudan, Armenia, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., jihad (in the sense of "holy war"; the word itself simply means "struggle") is an historical and extant Islamic reality. Samuel Huntington, in his flawed but interesting book "The Clash of Civilizations", says:

"Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders."

Paul Fregosi writes in "Jihad":

The story begins around 650 C.E. with the first, unsuccessful siege of Constantinople, and continues with the invasion and occupation, sometimes for hundreds of years, of many European countries. Italy, Sicily, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Rumania, Wallachia, Albania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, the Ukraine, and eastern and southern Russia were all battlefields where Islam conquered or was conquered in violent conflicts marked by cruelty, bloodlust, and a fearful loss of life, spread over considerably more than a thousand years.

For over a century and a half the world had forgotten this fact, since most Muslim countries were politically impotent and ruled mainly as the colonies or protectorates of European powers.

… European history has remained transfixed on the Christian Crusades of the eleventh to the thirteenth century, it has largely ignored these Muslim attacks and invasions...When accusing the West of imperialism, Muslims are obsessed with the crusades, but have forgotten their own longer and more gruesome Jihad.

The Crusades were a series of defensive wars against Islamic aggression in the Middle Ages and attempts to recapture the Holy Land from Muslim conquerors in order to allow safe pilgrimage and to protect and maintain the Christian presence there. Jerusalem had been Christian for hundreds of years when Caliph Omar seized it, and following that victory, Muslims warred their way into Egypt, other parts of Africa, Spain, Sicily, and Greece, leaving Christians dead and churches in ruins. They stole lands in the area now known as Turkey, destroying Catholic communities founded by St. Paul himself. They siezed Constantinople -- the "second Rome" -- and threatened the Balkans. They warred their way as far north as Vienna, Austria and Tours, France.

Link 2:
"With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt--once the most heavily Christian areas in the world--quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of Western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

"That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be consumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

"Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne'er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders' expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were not just a front for darker designs.

"During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to "store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt." They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love.

Link 3:
In any event, because it was the closest geographically, Palestine was the first Western non-Arab area invaded in the Muslim imperialist, colonialist, bloody conquest and subjugation of others. At the time, Palestine was under the rule of the so-called Eastern Roman Empire, ruled from Istanbul by Greek speaking people, and was Eastern Orthodox Catholic. The Eastern Orthodox rule was despotic and the Eastern Roman Empire was in serious decline. The Eastern Orthodox rulers were despots, and in Palestine had subjugated the large population of local Jews and Monophysite Christians. Because the Orthodox were imperialist, colonialist, and bloody, and majored in religious persecution to boot, the Muslim imperialist, colonialist, bloody conquest and subjugation of Palestine, and then Egypt, was made easier. Because of Orthodox weakness and the relative speed of the conquest of Palestine and Israel, I have often seen this Muslim, imperialist, colonialist bloody conquest described by Muslim and PC writers as "peaceful" or "bloodless." This statement is simply not true.

The Muslim imperialist, colonialist, bloody conquest and subjugation of Palestine began with a battle, the August 20, 636, battle of Yarmk (it is believed that 75,000 soldiers took part -- hardly bloodless). With the help of the local Jews who welcomed the Muslims as liberators, the Muslims had subjugated the remainder of Palestine but had not been able to capture Jerusalem. Beginning in July 637, the Muslims began a siege of Jerusalem which lasted for five (hardly bloodless) months before Jerusalem fell in February 638. Arabs did not sack the city, and the Arab soldiers were apparently kept in tight control by their leaders. No destruction was permitted. This was indeed a triumph of civilized control, if imperialism, colonization, and bloody conquest can ever be said to be "civilized." It was at this conquest that many significant hallmarks of Muslim colonialism began. The conquered Christian and Jewish people were made to pay a tribute to the colonialist Muslims. In addition, Baghdad used the imperialist, colonialist, bloody wars of conquest throughout the life of its empire to provide the Caliphate with a steady stream of slaves, many of whom were made eunuchs.

Link 4:

Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West's belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world. While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East. The event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of Christian Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Christian emperor in Constantinople, faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in fact.

Pope Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095. Despite modern laments about medieval colonialism, the crusade's real purpose was to turn back Muslim conquests and restore formerly Christian lands to Christian control. The entire history of the crusades is one of Western reaction to Muslim advances. The crusades were no more offensive than was the American invasion of Normandy. As it happened, the First Crusade was amazingly, almost miraculously, successful. The crusaders marched hundreds of miles deep into enemy territory and recaptured not only the lost cities of Nicaea and Antioch, but in 1099 Jerusalem itself.

Link 5
Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful
Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman’s famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Well, there you go. If you want more, there is more info out there. Ten minutes on google would be enough... If you're the kind of dweeb who learns about nuclear reactors from watching the Simpsons then you probably haven't read this far, and STILL believe the Crusades were not defensive wars, so of course you won't bother looking. So why am I addressing you?

I don't know. Why did I email Kirk Honeycutt, tool extraordinaire, to let him know? I don't know. I'm certainly not expecting a response.

My penis is majestic. My penis is studious.

My wife recently attended a showing of The Vagina Monologues. She didn't invite me and I didn't invite myself. She gave it a thumbs up, but in a sort of damned with faint praise kind of way. I think she liked it out of respect for her gender, mostly. I think she assumed it empowered some other woman, or women, so she supports the play. I wonder if that assumption is the reason behind all the plays support.
I would have asked, and I was all set with other snarkey comments/questions, but she let me know this was a no-snark zone so I held back. I'm a grown-ass man, dawg. I don't make snarky comments to the wife, no matter how snark-viting the topic is, once the wife has declared a subject snark-shielded. I'm married, and such compromises come with the territory.

The conservatives students at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island do not have to make such compromises. This is A GREAT READ. It is hilarious. Quick excerpt:

The campus conservatives artfully (in the college sense of "artful") mimicked the V-Day campaign. They papered the school with flyers that said, “My penis is majestic” and “My penis is hilarious.” The caption on one handout read, “My Penis is studious.” It showed Testaclese reclining on a couch reading Michael Barone’s Hard America, Soft America.

“Testaclese” tipped the scales when he approached the university Provost, Edward J. Kavanagh, outside the student union. Apparently taking him/it for a giant mushroom, Provost Kavanagh cheerfully greeted him. But when Testaclese presented him with an honorary award as a campus “Penis Warrior,” the stunned official realized that it was no mushroom. After this incident, which was recorded on videotape, the promoters of P-Day were ordered to cease circulating their flyers and to keep Testaclese off campus grounds. Mindful of how school officers had never once protested any of the antics of Vagina warriors, the P-warriors did not comply. The Testaclese costume was then confiscated and formal charges followed.

Note the double standard. Gigantic walking and talking and devouring vaginas are not confiscated like Testaclese the animated penis, they are instead honored.
Note the differences in style. The lefties are sincerely crying out for self-empowerment and recognition of victim-status. The righties are laughing their asses off.

Now note that in the movie Animal House the good guys at Faber College were the Deltas. They were liberal, stupid in a David Letterman kind of way, fun-loving, prosecuted by the university administration, inclusive, and funny. Tag line: "I'm a zit! Get it?" The bad guys were the Omegas. They were conservative, self-serious, arrogant, tied in with and coddled by the administration, exclusive of those not their kind, and humorless. Tag line: "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

In real life at at Roger Williams University the good guys are the college Republicans. They are conservative, stupid in a David Letterman kind of way, fun-loving, and prosecuted by the university administration. Tag line- "My penis is studious." The bad guys are the lefties. (There may be some overlap, but I guarantee you that the majority of V-Day celebrants are lefty.) They are self-serious, arrogant, tied in with the administration, exclusive of those not their kind, and humorless. Tag line- "My vagina is huggable."

Look at what happened to the two parties, and to conservatism and liberalism in general, in the last 25 years. They flipped! The liberals became the Omegas, and the conservatives became the Deltas. Bill Clinton won because he was a Delta despite the fact that he was a liberal. George W. Bush is also a Delta. Kerry, Gore, Dole, and George Bush Sr. are all Omegas.

Liberals and conservatives need to take heed of this, The Animal House Effect. Hillary, after all, is an Omega. She can't win. What conservatives are Deltas? I can only think of Jeb Bush. Condi Rice might win, if she wore those high-heeled black boots a lot. They Delta-fied her quite a bit. Both parties have Dean Wormer's. The left's Wormers have been running things for quite a while, and the right's Wormer's, mostly Christians, are agitating for more power. Hmm... Maybe I should run.