Friday, July 05, 2002

Here is something that is a bit worrisome for bloggers. A Danish court has just ruled "deep linking" to newspapers illegal.
There is an excellent piece in Slate about the ever expanding incursions on the Bill of Rights with the full complicity of the Supreme Court. In this case the recent SCOTUS decision that warrantless (even probable-causeless) urine tests of HS students is just fine. As long as you can find any sufficiently unpopular demon (drugs, child porn, terror) than anything the government claims will be effective in combating it is AOK. Using the excuse of enemies real and imagined to chip away at the rights of citizens is almost textbook (that's if you consider Machiavelli a textbook).
After the dimunition of the Constitution 40 years of the War on Drugs has wrought I shudder to think what the result of a few years of the War on Terror will be. For an excellent book on this subject read Robert Higg's Crisis and Leviathan. (Slate link via TurkeyBlog)
Garrett Moritz comments on my post about the Interaction Publishers Islamic course for 7th graders. I mostly agree with his comments but I would like to clarify that I don't think that either this course or the 'Under god' in the pledge is unconstitutional. With regards to the pledge I almost completely concur with Max's comments which is why I posted nothing about it myself. My 'dig' at the Ninth Circuit and this course was more a general dig at the current leftist multiculturalism tendencies to not only regard all cultures equal but in most cases all cultures superior to ours. I agree with Garrett that roleplay may be a very good way to learn history (although I have always found books quite sufficient and I think teaching history through roleplay rather than books just adds to the general dumbing down of American education. Instead of instilling a love of learning through books we have added another MTV experience). Now granted I am judging only by the course description but I am mostly annoyed by what I perceive as not roleplay aimed at educating but rather proselytizing. It seems to me they are promulgating a specific point of view (the evil expansionist West subjugating the rest of the world theme so popular with the Chomsky crowd). There is no mention of other children acting as the Christian Europeans who participated or why. No mention of the crusades purpose to retrieve Christian holy places taken by the Muslims or defending against European incursions of Muslim invaders. That is not to say that there weren't Christian atrocities, there were, as were there Muslim ones. My point is that it is a complex subject with many nuances and this course seems to reduce it to comic book level with a very specific point of view whose purpose seems to win young students over to that point of view rather than to get them to think critically about the events. (This is another reason we teach through books which are much better at handling complex subjects than a few weeks of roleplay).

Thursday, July 04, 2002

A great (I know, it's becoming redundant) piece by Lileks for the Fourth. Please go read it and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
Jane Galt explains the libertarian preference for free market vs government solutions. I couldn't have said it better myself (which is why, of course, I am pointing you to her post).

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Good piece on GM crops at TechCentralStation. The friend who sent me the link commented:

"Global group calls fire a hazard to mankind. Sets up commision to regulate use."

That about sums up current attitudes which call for overregulating everything.

Daniel Pipes reports on a 7th grade course which encourages children to:

"Become a Muslim warrior during the crusades or during an ancient jihad." Thus read the instructions for seventh graders in Islam: A Simulation of Islamic History and Culture, 610-1100, a three-week curriculum produced by Interaction Publishers, Inc. In classrooms across the United States, students who follow its directions find themselves fighting mock battles of jihad against "Christian crusaders" and other assorted "infidels." Upon gaining victory, our mock-Muslim warriors "Praise Allah."

The Interaction unit contains many other controversial elements. It has students adopt a Muslim name ("Abdallah," "Karima," etc.). It has them wear Islamic clothing: For girls this means a long-sleeved dress and the head covered by a scarf. Students unwilling to wear Islamic clothes must sit mutely in the back of the class, seemingly punished for remaining Westerners.
Interaction calls for many Islamic activities: taking off shoes, washing hands, sitting on prayer rugs, and practicing Arabic calligraphy.

Students study the Koran, recite from it, design a title page for it, and write verses of it on a banner. They act out Islam's Five Pillars of Faith, including giving zakat (Islamic alms) and going on the pilgrimage to Mecca. They also build a replica of the "sacred Kaaba" in Mecca or another holy building.

It goes on. Seventh graders adopt the speech of pious believers, greeting each other with "assalam aleikoom, fellow Muslims" and using phrases such as "God willing" and "Allah has power over all things."

They pronounce the militant Islamic war-cry, Allahu akbar ("God is great.") They must even adopt Muslim mannerisms: "Try a typical Muslim gesture where the right hand moves solemnly... across the heart to express sincerity.""

Where is the Ninth Circuit Court? I guess open promotion of religion in schools doesn't count as long as the religion is not Judeo-Christian.
Robert Samuelson with a mostly sensible piece about the current accounting scandals and the market in the Washington Post.
John Walker Lindh is complaining that he has not been well fed. According to this article he was given "pork chops, beef stew, rice pilaf and fudge brownies while under U.S. military custody in Afghanistan". Huh? Pork chops? Didn't he convert to Islam? Maybe he missed that lesson while he was listening to the "Kill the American and Israeli pigs" speeches from the local Imams.
The Europeans and Israelis are upset about this Hitler anti-Euro ad. But I have to say I kind of find it funny. And true.
Just a reminder for the Fourth (you can also read some history here):

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Today in the Washington Post, they have a story about how Arafat fired his West Bank security chief and his Gaza police chief. The paper calls this "a major step toward reforming his security services." Yeah right. It looks more like Arafat is kicking out two of the people most likely to offer him a significant challenge in a future Palestinian election. The following section is key:

"Rajoub is one of the most powerful figures in the West Bank but has had a falling out with Arafat. During a previous incursion into the West Bank, Israeli forces destroyed Rajoub's headquarters. He ordered the men inside to surrender, forcing them to lose face among many Palestinians."

In other words, Arafat hated Rajoub because it looked like he was positioning himself as a more "moderate" alternative to Arafat. One definitely more acceptable to the West. In fact, Rajoub is the man that Arafat pulled a gun on several months ago in some sort of paranoid fit.
Hamas chatroom. I sort of suspect that this is a spoof, but you can't tell anymore. I tried to locate the Hamas website but couldn't find it (it's most likely in Arabic). (via Transterrestrial Musings)
After taking on Tolkein's Elves, Garrett Moritz now comments on Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I am still holding out some hope for #10 "Crossroads at Twilight" (I am, at heart, a cockeyed optimist), but I have to agree with him that the last 3 or 4 have been more endurance test than exciting and pleasurable reads.
Eric Raymond has added the final essay to his fine series on Islam. I particularly liked this snippet he included from an email correspondance with one of his readers:

"I don't want to appease them, I don't want to understand them, I don't want to let them reap the benefits of our liberalism while plotting our destruction. Like most Americans, I would have been more than happy to let them pretend the last 400 years of progress never happened, as long as they didn't force their warped-vision goggles on anyone else. But since they brought the war to us, let's pave the middle east with outlet malls, fast food franchises, and Disney Mecca. Let's infect their entire population with personal liberty and dissension and critical thinking. And if that doesn't work, let's flood them with porn spam."
In response to Max's post: actually the government loves cigarettes. The government makes far more money from cigarette sales than the tobacco companies do. On average 82% of the cost of a pack of cigarettes goes to the government in the form of various state, local and federal taxes. This does not include the payments already made and still to be made in the big tobacco settlement. The pols just get like to get points for vilifying the big bad tobacco companies and I'm sure their take from nicotine water is a lot less than 82%. (Notice they always praise the tobacco farmers, can't lose those farm state votes).
Walter Williams has a good piece on accounting practices which would make the partners at Anderson blush. Here is the link to the Rettenmaier report mentioned.
So the government hates cigarettes and apparently hates it when people try to provide healthier ways of getting nicotine.
There is an interesting article in the NY Times about one of the great unsolved problems in mathematics: The Riemann Hypothesesm and a conference going on at my alma mater. (**Geek Alert** I am by training and inclination a mathematician, so this article might not be as interesting to all of you).
Looks like Arafat is striking back.
Natan Sharansky, one of my favorite Israeli politicians and individualists, has his own plan for peace.

"Just as Germany and Japan had to undergo a process of rehabilitation in order to rejoin the international community following World War II, so today Palestinian society must undergo a transformation. I hope that we will not be sidetracked once again by accepting Arafat's phony promises of reform or legitimating his call for snap elections. This will only serve to perpetuate dictatorial rule that will preclude the possibility of peace. Everyone who genuinely wants peace in our region should now heed the president's call and work toward reforming Palestinian society. For only if the Palestinians are truly free can we hope to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East."
Lileks reveals Saddam's diary contents.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

A lawyer is suing Diner's Club because they refused to authorize a credit card purchase he was trying to make. He claims he was publicly humiliated and is seeking libel damages. The Onion won't be able to survive much longer if the real news continues to be weirder than the stuff they can make up.
More PC nonsense. The word 'Oriental' is added to the list of offensive words by dopes in Washington. Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom is annoyed by the decision too. (Andrea Harris and Ben Thornton also add their two cents).

I guess now we need to add Agatha Christies 'Life Terminating Activities on the Trans-Asian Express' to our list of PC book titles.

Also someone should inform the folks at the Institute for Oriental Culture at the University of Tokyo and the Institute for Oriental Study in India. They should know how offensive they are being to people of Asian extraction.
Fine post on ColdFury on the problems with the Left and the Rights positions. Although indirectly, it addresses a point I have made many times, that the old labels 'Left' and 'Right' are meaningless. I think the correct labels should be 'Statist' or those who believe in the ability of governments to solve problems and group rights vs 'Individualists' those who believe that governments do far more harm than good and that individuals should be left alone to do what they want for the most part. He also points out a contradiction I have often puzzled over myself: liberals hate and mistrust the government as much or more than those on the Right, constantly pointing out it's nefarious deeds along with numerous theories of others unproven, but they always want more of it. And the anti-government, ex-60's types are the worst of the bunch. There seems to be no problem they think can't be fixed with some boondogle government program despite ample historical evidence to the contrary. By the way if you want to see where you stand in this spectrum, try this quiz. (I sit on the very top corner).
Victor Davis Hanson on our 'good friends' the Saudis and why we should dump them as soon as possible. (via Harrumph)

"BY ANY modern standard of civilization, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a bizarre place. In an age of spreading consensual government, the House of Saud resembles an Ottoman sultanate staffed by some 7,000 privileged royal cousins. The more favored are ensconced in plush multi-million dollar palaces and maintain luxury estates abroad in Paris, Geneva, Marbella, and Aspen. All 7,000 haggle over the key military and political offices of the kingdom—normally distributed not on the appeal of proven merit but more often through a mixture of blood ties, intrigue, and bribes.

Polygamy is legal, and practiced, among the Saudi elite. Everywhere in the kingdom, women are veiled, secluded, and subject to the harsh protocols of a sexual apartheid. A few female Saudi professionals who in 1991 drove cars as a sign of protest mostly ended up arrested and jailed. Women who have traveled to the West remain under the constant surveillance of the Committee for the Advancement of Virtue and Elimination of Sin, a Taliban-like government watchdog group of clerics and whip-bearing fanatics.

There is no religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia for creeds other than Islam; in our State Department’s own muted nomenclature, “Freedom of religion does not exist” there. The Wahhabi strain of fundamentalist Islam—over 30,000 mosques and growing—is prone to occasionally violent spasms. The Saudi constitution is defined officially by governmental decree as the Qur’an, and the legal system is the domain of clerics who adjudicate by an array of medieval codes and punishments. Presently the UN Committee Against Torture is asking the Saudis to curtail flogging and amputations; so far, they have answered that such punishments have been an integral part of Islamic law “for 1,400 years” and so simply “cannot be changed.”"

If Bush wanted to get really serious about states sponsoring terrorism we would start withdrawing our troops and let the House of Saud fend for itself with a clear message that we will consider any attempt by any future government to withhold oil an act of war (also another reason to open up ANWR). And while the troops are still there any female soldiers should remove the veils they are forced to wear in public and the chaplains should start holding regular services for any Christian, Jewish, Hindu or other faith servicemen who wish to attend them. (end of rant)
Superb piece by Den Beste on why the US shouldn't, indeed can't join International Criminal Court:

"The United States cannot and will not compromise on the International Criminal Court. Commentary from various European governmental representatives and blathering heads are, for the most part, talking around the reason why. Either it's because they're disingenuous or because they truly don't understand us and our system. For instance, the BBC comments:

To its European and other critics, United States opposition to the Court seems to be based on a fundamental unwillingness to limit American sovereignty in any way.

That makes it sound like we're petulant children unwilling to compromise because we're stupid, ignorant and stubborn. (Where have we heard that before.) Sorry, but it's much deeper than that.

We keep running into this. Again and again, in international treaty negotiations, the Europeans would come up with some grand idea for a treaty clause which had the slight flaw that it violated the US Constitution. They'd then apply pressure to the US to agree to such clauses, and US negotiators would refuse, and the US would get denounced for being stubborn, unilateralist, not a team player. Never mind that stupid Bill of Rights; it's just a piece of paper. National charters are a thing of the past, obsolescent; we're moving past that into postmodern internationalism and trying to form a world confederation, and the only way we can do it is if every country gives up its own sovereignty and becomes part of that process. Now, are you going to play along, or what?"

The whole piece is well worth reading.
Another one for the multiculturalists. Again, where is the NOW crowd? Where are the UN commissions to stop this sort of thing? Oh, right, it is just a cultural difference we dim, sexist, racist, chauvinistic Westerners just don't get. (via LGF)
Even though investors are puking biotech, the promise is still there. Here is a story on how an experimental Genentech drug is restoring vision in nearly blind seniors.
How Despair is Transforming Israel by Yossi Klein Halevi in the New Republic notes that even Israeli leftists are starting to get the message:

"But today Israelis fear the transition is happening in reverse. "The suspicion slips into the heart that maybe the ultra-Orthodox were right when they warned that a sovereign state for Jews would annoy the nations and bring annihilation on the remnant of the Jewish people," wrote Peggy Cidor, a former left-wing activist, in Kol Hazman, a secular Jerusalem newspaper. "The state of Israel, which was intended to give the Jews an entry ticket into the family of nations, didn't deliver the goods. We're still being judged by separate standards; there is still no proportion between our actions and the responses around the world.... It was nice to feel like everyone else for a while, but that seems to be over.... The state of Israel has turned into the `Jew' of the nations."
But now the world is closing up again. I know Israelis who hesitate to write their home address on their luggage when they travel to Europe. When some Norwegian supermarket chains recently announced plans to mark Israeli products so customers could consider boycotting them, a spokesman for the normally understated Israeli Foreign Ministry caustically suggested that the chains use yellow stars."
Good piece by Thomas Sowell on vouchers.
Curmudgeonly and Skeptical has a great post on how to get through those buzzword-filled office meetings.
Milton Friedman on vouchers.
Bob Geldof opposes the Euro! I loved him in The Wall.
Here's a good reason not to fly America West (besides the terrible customer service and frequent cancellations/delays).
Here is the big "duh" headline of the day: "Study Warns of Stagnation in Arab Societies". That's what happens when you refuse to let half your population advance their own development.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Okay here is something funny (and maybe a winner of a Darwin award, well if the NRA had one anyway). A guy in Wisconsin tried to rob a gun store..... with a knife. Needless to say, he got shot. I would have just loved to be a fly on the wall for that scene. I bet the guy behind the counter had a really puzzled look on his face and said "uhhhh, you do realize this is a GUN store right?" Thanks to Best of the Web for that link.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is assuming the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union July 1, said he agrees with a recent U.S. call for the Palestinians to replace Yasser Arafat as their leader. Go Denmark!
Jonah Goldberg comes to the defense of the stupid and lazy.
1 billion PC's and counting!
Brazil wins World cup. And people snickered when I posted this two weeks ago.
Is building a better lightbulb as good as building a better mousetrap? Thomas Alva must be smiling now, whereever he is.
Bureau of Unintended Consequences

One wonders what the resulting fire did for biogical diversity in the forest?

"The U.S. Forest Service approved a plan to thin trees and remove volatile debris in parts of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on the Mogollon Rim in September 1999, according to court records. The plan was halted after the Center for Biological Diversity appealed the decision, then sued in May 2000, claiming the Forest Service had not followed regulations.

The matter is still pending in federal court.

Environmentalists say they can't be held responsible for the fires raging out of control in Arizona. But the lawsuit all but halted any kind of fire prevention work in the Apache-Sitgreaves forest, said Pat Jackson, regional appeals and litigation officer for the forest service in New Mexico. About 90 percent of the management area where forest thinning was blocked by the lawsuit has burned, he said."
Bat Ye'or comments on jihad in NRO.
Looks like the security personnel at airports aren't doing a very good job stopping weapons from getting through. That's a shocker. They probably spend too much time looking for toe nail clippers and congressional medal's of honor. They give retards a bad name (not that I would actually use that term to describe the mentally disabled, but you get my point).

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Sergei Rakhmaninov.

I lived in the early Twentieth Century and was well known for my compositional, conducting, and piano skills, yet I am melancholy despite this talent. My famous works include my nearly-impossible piano concerti.

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

According to the Washington Times Rep. Diane E. Watson, California Democrat, proclaimed W. has an IQ of 88. I think this is becoming my favorite pet peeve. Call your opponents names instead of discussing his ideas. Is he ugly too? Something to note is that Bush got better grades in school than Al "I Invented the Internet" Gore and John "Just Call me Dorian" Kennedy.
Another personality test. Find out what Dead Russian Composer you would be. (via TurkeyBlog)

My Results?:

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Igor Stravinsky.

Known as a true son of the new 20th Century, my music started out melodic and folky but slowly got more dissonant and bizzare as I aged. I am a traveler and a neat freak, and very much hated those rotten eggs thrown at me after the premiere of "The Rite of Spring."

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

You should check out the excellent series (now 4) of essays on the mirage of moderate Islam by Eric Raymond at Armed & Dangerous
Nice article in the Washington Post on WorldCom.
An armed society is a polite society.
--Robert Heinlein
They can afford to buy MIGs in Sudan, but we should fork over more aid. Yeah, right.
Sounds like this guy has issues way beyond the Pledge.
Mammograms by satellite.
I didn't get quite the overwhelming response I expected to my call for other suggestions of PC titles in response to the announcement of the new production "Bellringer of Notre Dame". Anyway I have come up with a few more of my own:

Alternative religion practitioners of Eastwick
Snow White and the Seven Vertically Challenged Gentlemen
Ali Baba and the Forty Socially Separated Men
Little Womyn
The Merry Life-Partners of Windsor
The Under-Attractive Duckling

and as a bonus here are the politcally correct versions of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs
Here is a good Peter Huber piece on telecom deregulation.
Make sure to wear your high boots when tramping through the jungle.

Sunday, June 30, 2002

Rand Simberg deconstructs some anti-US rantings by John Simpson at the BBC.
Very good piece in the London Times about the rise and pervasiveness of anti-semitism in the world and the danger of anti-semitic conspiracy theories and lies:

"I was aware, as we all are, that the Palestinians hate the state of Israel. What has surprised me is the virulence of this new anti-Semitism throughout all the Muslim countries. It is frenzied, vociferous, paranoid, vicious and prolific, and is only incidentally connected to the Palestinian conflict. Hope, the familiar bromide, seems to have little to do with it. The moment of high hope following Camp David saw a surge, not a diminution, in the tide. It is a singular phenomenon; there is nothing comparable to it in relation to Arabs or Muslims.
Who could be naive/crazy/malign/misguided enough to disseminate such fabrications? The effluent is from official sources, newspapers and television in Arab states, from schools and government-funded mosques, from Arab columnists and editorial writers, cartoonists, clerics and intellectuals, from websites that trail into an infinity of iniquity. The appearance of modernity in the Arab media is illusory. More important than the presence of the hardware is the absence of the software, the notion of a ruggedly independent self-critical free press. CNN will film American bomb damage in Afghanistan; al-Jazeera and the Middle East stations would never dream of talking to the orphans and widows whose loved ones were blown apart by a suicide bomber. An Arab critic of America and the coalition is always given the last word. How could people be so susceptible to misinformation? Well, conspiracy theories simplify a complex world. The absence of evidence is itself proof of plot: missing records at Pearl Harbor, missing bullets in Dallas, missing bodies in Jenin. Preconceptions are outfitted in fantasy. Contradiction by authority is mere affirmation of the vastness of the plot: so he’s in it, too. Conspiracy and rumour bloom, especially where the flow of news and opinion is restricted and illiteracy is high."

Funny piece about what would've happened if scientists working on the Manhattan Project had an online chatroom. (via C&S)