Saturday, September 14, 2002

The masterful totalitarian bureaucracies of the EU continue to eat away at the freedoms once considered simple and personal. It is the sign of a declining civilization that more of its activities are focused on regulation and control than on production and manufacture. It's all done in the name of public safety..

Friday, September 13, 2002

The pork barrel deficit spending of Congress needs more exposure as in this piece.
Apparently I am not the only person disturbed by the inconsistances in Rumplestiltskin. I came across this book by an author who was equally perturbed and decided to re-write the story in six different versions. From the Amazon description:

"Why did the miller tell the king his daughter could spin straw into gold in the first place? The story of Rumpelstiltskin is full of holes, says young adult fantasy writer Vivian Vande Velde in the author's note to this delightful group of tales. For instance, why was the dwarf was willing to accept the girl's ring as a bribe when he already knew how to spin unlimited quantities of gold? And why did he want a baby at all? Not to mention the very peculiar ending in which he stamps on the floor, catches his foot in a crack, and in a fit of rage tears himself in two. Excuse me? says Vande Velde.
The skeptical author sets out to remedy these flaws in six different imaginative retellings full of sassy humor that teens will relish. Sticking closely to the spirit and setting of the original, she changes only one or two building blocks in the plot structure and comes up with some surprising results. In one story, the miller's daughter is an obnoxious groupie pursuing the polite and gentle king; in another, Rumpelstiltskin is female; and in a third, the dwarf appears as a troll with a yen to eat human baby who sets up the whole scenario as an attempt to get his hands on a toothsome infant. ("Tastes just like chicken," scoffs his brother-in-law.)"
Tissue engineers grow penis in the lab

"In a remarkable feat of tissue engineering, major parts of the penises of several rabbits have been replaced with segments grown in a lab from their own cells. The animals were able to use the reconstructed organs to mate.

The next step is to try to recreate the entire organ from scratch. The technique could make it possible to reconstruct the penises of men who have suffered injuries or those of children born with genital abnormalities."

My temptation is to make some sophmoric joke, but I am actually too amazed by the actual technology involved to do so. Nah, can't resist: so the next time you get one of those 'what women say behind your back/what women really want/enlarge your penis' spam emails, it may actually be the real thing.
A little color change for the blog since we've been running it for over three months now.
Meryl Yourish has taken the time to explain those Nigerian scam emails we all get spammed with.
This is amusing. In a site listing the Top 100 Monsters of all time (I think gathered from some sort of online vote they conducted), Michael Jackson came in at #11 beating out Freddie Kruger, Pinhead and Leatherface among others. The site also has the Top 100 Cool Actors and Top 100 Sexiest Cartoon Babes (via C&S)
It seems the Earth may have another moon, and it may be new. Originally detected and thought to be passing by us, it seems to be in a 50 day orbit.
In case anyone was wondering when someone used the online smiley face, ":-)", for the first time. Check this out.
A son just stabbed his mother to death in the West Bank because apparently she was in love with a Jew. What a savage.
Here are some reassuring comments from a Saudi prince.
The Libertarian party is really an embarrassment. How hard is it to find sane libertarians to be your candidate? Are all sane libertarians in the Republican party or something?
Looks like the UK is about to deploy armor in Kuwait.
Here is a good column on Chretien's anti-US comments. Below are some selected passages:

Anger and bewilderment blend about this man. When he says, "I do think the western world is getting too rich in relation to the poor world," it's tempting to suggest he's doing his bit to make every Canadian poorer. The Canadian dollar is worth half the American dollar, and our taxes are so high that average Canadians are poorer than they were before Chretien became PM.

...

What's distressing about Chretien's assertions about the causes of terrorism is that they are wrong, wrong, wrong. Poverty does not cause terrorism, nor does wealth of nations. Throughout human history there have been the rich and poor, but never before have there been so many well-off people as there are today.

For the first time in human history, and certainly in the developed world, the middle class outnumber the peasantry. And this is growing.

As for America's "arrogance" and "humiliation" of others, that's also a lib-left myth. When natural disasters strike anywhere in the world, invariably it is America that responds first. No country gives more aid to the world's poor, no nation is more resented because of its generosity.

That Chretien resents America and President Bush may well be because they make him look weak and petty.

Chretien can't inspire others, except those who depend on him for favours. He has disarmed Canada, made us utterly dependent on America for security, and resents it.
According to this article, a discovery by US scientists based at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station that it is much colder over the South Pole than believed has exposed a major flaw in the computer models used to predict global warming. (via Best of the Web)
Penn is now #4 according to the US News College rankings! Woohoo! We were something like #16 when I was going to school there.
"For the 2005 Volume, The Journal of Bisexuality is planning a (double) issue on POLYAMORY AND BISEXUALITY: THEORIES AND PRACTICES IN RESPONSIBLE NONMONOGAMIES. Possible foci are polyamorous practices like polyfidelity, group eroticism, and compersion; polyamorous social and family organizations like triads, quads and pods, primary, secondary and tertiary relationships; as well as polyamorous styles of child bearing and rearing. Possible related topics are vegetarianism, veganism, nudism, naturism, neopaganism, ecology, holism, spirituality, as well as past and/or non-Western models of polyamorous social and family organizations. We are interested in theoretical, critical, and research articles, reports from the field, personal narratives, reviews, poems, and interviews. Please send inquiries, abstracts and/or submissions by January 31, 2003 to Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio, P.O. Box 1941, Mayaguez, PR 00681 (USA)." (via the Corner)

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Here's a good piece in the Middle East Quarterly by Martin Kramer about that all-around Islamic cheerleader, Edward Said who in reviewing Bernard Lewis' book "What Went Wrong" said (as quoted in this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education about some of the newer voices in Islamic Studies):

An "intellectual and moral disaster," he called it, an "ideological portrait of 'Islam' and the Arabs" suited to "dominant pro-imperial and pro-Zionist strands in U.S. foreign policy." He objected to Mr. Lewis's argument, widely cited since September 11, that the Islamic world has become "poor, weak, and ignorant," ruled by a "string of shabby tyrannies" whose principal opponents are theocratic revivalists even more hostile to modernity than the despots who oppress them.

I wonder exactly what part of the above description of the current state of the Islamic world he objects to?
The Green Party defines the "loony left" as this story clearly points out. Only the left could rationalize running an avowed anti-Semite for president. Well I guess they'll get the radical Islamic vote
Sometimes it amazes me about how shallow people can be. The publication "W" is running a story tomorrow about how the Bushes don't throw enough large dinner parties and that because of that the Washington social scene is "moribund." The September 11 anniversary just took place and you are running a story on how Bush needs to throw more parties because Washingtonians are bored??? Aren't we at war??? Whoever wrote this story really should be, as Garfield put it (the cat, not the President), dragged out into the street and shot.
At least Denmark is on our side (from Stratfor):

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated his belief Sept. 12 that while it would be politically wise, the United States probably does not need to obtain a fresh resolution from the United Nations to legally pursue a war with Iraq. "My point of departure is that Saddam Hussein has already broken and overstepped several U.N. resolutions already," he said, according to Bloomberg. Such a statement from Rasmussen holds far more weight now than it normally would, as Denmark currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Looks like I'm not the only person allergic to the Euro.
Okay now I'm not going to get into the habit of posting funny email forwards but this one is just too much for me. I took out everyone's email address since I think the girl who mistakenly hit reply instead of forward has probably suffered enough (but not enough to get me to not post the email exchange). Ahhh the dating scene in New York. Make sure you read from the bottom up:

From: Tripp Murray
To: Christopher R Cattani
cc:
01:38 PM
Subject: FW: All Time Low


Please, read my email first. Then read her email, I think that she was
forwarding my email to a friend but hit reply instead. You will love this

-----Original Message-----
From: Mary B Callahan
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 10:48 AM
To: Tripp Murray
Subject: All time low


Ok first -- here is the e-mail I received from Tripp, the new guy I met last week. If you want to go out, perhaps we can get him to pay for drinks at the Park. Since we have not slept together, he will of course be trying to impress me and will, therefore, do anything I ask. Unlike John, who fell asleep during sex last night. I went over to his place last night around 11:30. We started having sex. When I noticed his eyes were closed for a little too long, I said "John wake up." At which, point he shot up saying "what'd I miss." Yes, I think that is a new low.

Let me know about tonight. I think you need company.


------Original Message-----
From: Tripp Murray
To: Mary B Callahan
cc:
09/05/2002 10:01
Subject:


So are you off to the Bon Jovi show tonight in Times Square? Sounds like it is going to some turnout. What division of audit are you in for PWC? Are you heading out tonight? A friend of mine is leaving for MBA School in France so, he is throwing himself a going away party at Park, ever been? What are the plans for this weekend, recovery from the long weekend or adding just a little more hurt to the situation?

TTFN,

Tripp Murray
Associate
TM Capital Corp.
Possible Darwin Award:

An oil tanker which had spilled 950 tons of oil exploded when a crew member set off a flare to signal for help.
According to this story, "Iraq warned the United States on Thursday it was ready to repel any invasion with every weapon at its disposal, even kitchen knives, sticks and stones." Yeah, kitchen knives against Apache helicopters. Just brilliant. They couldn't even do much damage with the tanks they had in their arsenal. What is next? Are they going to threaten to fart in our general direction and then claim that our mother was a hamster and that our father smelled of elderberry's?
In an interview, the Canadian PM seems to agree with those who say that the US is to blame for 9/11:

"I do think the Western world is getting too rich in relation to the poor world... We're looked upon as being arrogant, self-satisfied, greedy and with no limits... The 11th of September is an occasion for me to realize it even more.''

I think its time we finally invaded Canada. We definitely need a regime change there. I'm sure we have a platoon somewhere who have a free afternoon.
Here is a great piece in the UK's Daily Mirror called "Shame On You American-Hating Liberals". Thanks to Lucianne.com for this piece. Here is my favorite part:

Remember the gut-wrenching tapes of weeping men phoning their wives to say, "I love you," before they were burned alive. Remember those people leaping to their deaths from the top of burning skyscrapers.

Remember the hundreds of firemen buried alive. Remember the smiling face of that beautiful little girl who was on one of the planes with her mum. Remember, remember - and realise that America has never retaliated for 9/11 in anything like the way it could have.

So a few al-Qaeda tourists got locked without a trial in Camp X-ray? Pass the Kleenex.

So some Afghan wedding receptions were shot up after they merrily fired their semi-automatics in a sky full of American planes? A shame, but maybe next time they should stick to confetti.

AMERICA could have turned a large chunk of the world into a parking lot. That it didn't is a sign of strength.
Reno lost in Florida! Woohoo! Ding dong the witch is dead (or at least something that rhymes with witch). I never understood why she picked Florida anyway. This is the state where she used stormtroopers to take a little Cuban boy away from his relatives and deport him to an impoverished Communist country.
There is an old Jewish saying, "when you kill a man, you destroy an entire universe." This is what Lileks concludes in today's bleat:

Tonight my wife was watching a special on the babies born of women who lost their husbands in the attack. They showed acres of happy gurgling infants, interspersed with smiling pictures of their atomized fathers, caught in a wedding-day grin, or laughing on a beach. (It’s horrible how our happiest moments are always drafted to represent our worst.) My wife teared up, overwhelmed. Gnat grew concerned. Don’t cry mommy, she said. I get towel. And she toddled off to the drawer, got a dishtowel, and daubed her mother’s tears away. Don’t cry. Naddie hep.

Just thinking of this makes you realize that those women with babies might actually be the lucky ones; for them their husband still smiles up at them, submerged in the soft depths of a baby’s face. The line goes on in the eyes and the mouths. The flesh remembers until it is washed away by the waves of successive generations. Some men will hide in the coils of DNA, a few atoms that spell red hair, and they’ll flare up for centuries to come like a fire in a coal seam, stubborn and inextinguishable.

But some people ended there and then. The mourners will die; the pictures will end up in a box at an estate sale. They’re dead forever. The terrorists just didn’t kill 3,000 people. Draw the lines into the future, imagine the ways in which they’d split and branch, imagine a million hearts that will never flutter into life.

Goddamned sons of bitches.

Goddamned sons of bitches.
This is freaky, the winning NY lottery numbers yesterday were 9-1-1. I also hear that S&P futures opened yesterday at the 911 level. If these events were not on purpose, its reallys spooky.
I really think that some people in the Pentagon have totally lost their minds. Apparently they saw pictures of Karzai's US Special Forces security detail and flipped. It seems that their attempts to blend in by growing beards and wearing civilian clothes has violated the Pentagon's dress code. Some people really need to remember that these are Special Forces and should not have to follow the same rules as the regular army. Plus, the less they blend in obviously makes them stick out more and also makes them look more like a foreign occupying force. By the way, if you want to read a book about what happens when you are a non-comformist in the armed forces, check out "Rogue Warrior" by Richard Marcinko (who founded Seal Team Six).
Bob Kerrey has a great Op-Ed in the Journal today on Iraq. He really was one of the few Democratic leaders I felt I could at least respect. Here is what he writes at the end of the piece:

"We civilians cannot expect to liberate 25 million Iraqis on the cheap. Just as it has been a terrible and tragic mistake for the U.S. to be in favor of freedom every place on earth except in Arab nations, it would also be a tragic mistake if we do not give our military the resources necessary to succeed. As one of the authors of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, and as one who pushed President Clinton to change our policy towards Iraq, I strongly favor regime change. I also strongly favor asking Americans to participate in some real and meaningful way such as putting in place a more aggressive energy conservation policy that would reduce our dependency on oil, both foreign and domestic. At the end of all of the academic arguments is whether we are willing to pay the price to bring freedom to the people of Iraq. If we are, we will not regret it. If we aren't, we should tell the truth and go no further. As we are fond of saying: Freedom is not free."

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

So we have our first official boycott. My coworker Doug (aka Doogie) is boycotting us for a week because he was offended by my posting the Capitalism song by Oingo Boingo (and by the way, he is young enough that he had never even heard of them). He was especially offended by this passage:

You're just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And you tell me that we've got to get back
To the struggling masses (whoever they are)
You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain
What the hell do you know about suffering and pain . . .

I think he is also the first person to ever be offended by Oingo Boingo. I'm sure I'm going to get a comment from him about my posting this information on the blog once he ends his boycott (or was it just a hunger strike?). But as I keep telling him, he needs to get his own blog so that he can post whatever he wants and embarrass co-workers over comments they make in the privacy of their own offices.
Here is another harsh court decision from the UK. A man has been jailed for 4 months for playing Tetris on his cellphone while on an aircraft.
John writes:

"There is no guaranteed size seat the airline offers. The contract is to provide you transportation from one location to another, not necessarily in conditions you consider comfortable."

I don't think that anyone who has ever flown on an airline has many expectations for comfort. I think the minimum expectation is that you have a seat for yourself and you don't have to share it with someone else. There is no guaranteed size seat. But it is pretty clear where your seat officially begins and the other person's ends. Any marked violation of this demarcation is a violation of the contract between you and the airline. I will admit that there is too much litigation in the system right now but in terms of rankings I don't think this is that bad. The litigation I usually find issue with is that where you sue someone else for your own stupidity. Like when you spill coffee on yourself and then sue McDonald's for actually making it hot. Or when a kid's parents sue because the kid climbed a neighbors 9-foot fence and then drowned in their swimming pool.

According to the article there were no more empty seats on the plane so there wasn't much he could do about it other than leaving the flight completely. And the article did say that he wrote a letter to Delta complaining and they essentially told him to piss off. So obviously litigation wasn't the first thing on his mind. I bet that if the airline gave him a partial refund or even some measly frequent flyer miles that he would have been satiated enough to not file a lawsuit. If you can't tell I'm also very anti-airline. It's like when you get on a plane you enter a fascist dictatorship where you have no civil rights whatsoever. They don't even treat you like a human being anymore. It's almost as bad as public school.
Kim du Toit fisks Nelson Mandela. (via Blog-O-Rama)
Here is an article which talks about how the US government helped Bin Laden's family escape from the United States to Saudi Arabia shortly after the 9/11 attacks without so much as a thorough interview. They were essentially questioned quickly at the airport as they were about to leave the country on a chartered flight to Saudi Arabia.
There are many unpleasant things we have to deal with in our lives. My point about the 'fat' suit is the absurdity of trying to correct ever annoying thing that happens to you with a lawsuit. Usually one that requests a monetary award way in excess of any possible damage done. What would the appropriate remuneration be? Maybe something on the order of the price of the airline ticket as an upper limit, since Max thinks the airline didn't hold up their end of the contract. While the plaintiff 'only' asked for $9500 in the case cited, it still seems to me quite excessive for the inconvenience of having to sit next to a fat guy for a 2 hour flight. And as for the specifics Max cites, there is no guaranteed size seat the airline offers. The contract is to provide you transportation from one location to another, not necessarily in conditions you consider comfortable. You're option if you don't like the service is to choose a different airline or pay more to fly in first class. The article doesn't mention if the man suing tried any other means to rectify the problem either like asking that his seat be changed.
In the post below John compares the suit involving an epileptic man being sued for making scary faces during a seizure with a suit of someone suing an airline for putting them next to a horizontally-challenged-American (sorry I couldnt resist that PC crack). I don't think the two are really comparable. The person suing the airline is not suing the person who they were sitting next to, as is the case in the suit involving the epileptic. Think about it, this poor epileptic who has had to deal with this terrible disease his entire life has to pay damages to someone else simply for having the disease! I don't think the obese guy who was on the plane is in danger of losing a single cent. Plus I think the case does actually have merit. Its a simple breach of contract case. There is an implied contract between the passenger and the airline that they get one full seat, with a physical separation between you and the next person. By not giving the passenger that full seat they breached that contract. It is also a violation, in a way, of your personal property rights as you are forced to let the person next to you put their person onto yours whether you want to let them or not. Its really not pleasant when you are pinned to your seat because the person next to you overflows into yours and given the high cost of flying the airline should at least give you a partial refund for the space they are forcing you to give up to your neighbor.
Kimberly Swygert celebrates some truly heroic dissidents who face real censorship threats (imprisonment, torture, death) and contrasts them to the whining university leftists who cry censorship whenever anyone disagrees with them or points to the fallacies, logical and factual in their arguments.
Another case of tort idiocy, this time from Scotland:

"A man who suffers from epilepsy has been ordered to pay compensation to a student who was upset by his contorted face during a seizure.

In a case described by an epilepsy charity as "like something you would see on the Ally McBeal show", Edwin Young has been told to pay £3,500 to Yvonne Rennie for the mild post-traumatic stress that she suffered."

I wonder what's next, lawsuits by people who find you very unattractive? How about guys suing women who blow them off at bars? People suiing for having fat people sit next to them? (Oh wait, that's already been done)

(via Country Store) (and actually Max had already posted on this a few days ago, I knew I saw it somewhere before)
It seems Florida's new high tech voting systems are less reliable than the old chad-poking ones. (via Joanne Jacobs)

"Florida's first big test of its new voting system since the 2000 presidential election debacle turned sour as soon as polls opened. Ballots were chewed up in the new touchscreen voting system, some polling stations opened late and hundreds of would-be voters were turned away."
CNN has an interview with Richard Butler who basically calls Scott Ritter a liar and perhaps a bit of a lunatic. Quasipundit provided a fair amount of documentation for this assessment.

"Look, I want to make this clear. Until the day he left UNSCOM, Scott was robustly advising me, in writing -- you know, the papers are out there to prove it -- that Iraq continued to retain illegal weapons. He begged me to authorize him to go in and do what he called "kick in the doors and find those weapons." Sometimes, I authorized him to lead inspections; sometimes I rejected his proposals because, quite frankly, they were a little bit off the wall
Okay, this is really really scary. An ABC News journalist was able to smuggle 15 pounds of Uranium into this country from Europe.
Andrew Sullivan deconstructs Susan Sontag.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

This is pretty funny. I have seen links at multiple other bloggers so it is making the rounds. I don't know if it constitutes a new art form but look for yourself at the creative and very amusing Amazon reviews of Henry Raddick. My favorite was the review of 'The Maltese: Diminutive Aristocrat'
Check out these great Oingo Boingo lyrics (thanks to Volokh for pointing them out):

Capitalism

There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with free enterprise
Don't try to make me feel guilty
I'm so tired of hearing you cry

There's nothing wrong with making some profit
If you ask me I'll say it's just fine
There's nothing wrong with wanting to live nice
I'm so tired of hearing you whine
About the revolution
Bringin' down the rich
When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby!

If it ain't one thing
Then it's the other
Any cause that crosses your path
Your heart bleeds for anyone's brother
I've got to tell you you're a pain in the ass

You criticize with plenty of vigor
You rationalize everything that you do
With catchy phrases and heavy quotations
And everybody is crazy but you

You're just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And you tell me that we've got to get back
To the struggling masses (whoever they are)
You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain
What the hell do you know about suffering and pain . . .

(Repeat first verse)

(Repeat chorus)

There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
There's nothing wrong with Capitalism
Here is a copy of Tony Blair's speech before the Trades Union Congress (via Andrew Sullivan). Here is a key passage:

"On September 11 last year, with the world still reeling from the shock of events, it came together to demand action. But suppose I had come last year on the same day as this year - September 10. Suppose I had said to you: there is a terrorist network called al-Qaida. It operates out of Afghanistan. It has carried out several attacks and we believe it is planning more. It has been condemned by the UN in the strongest terms. Unless it is stopped, the threat will grow. And so I want to take action to prevent that.
Your response and probably that of most people would have been very similar to the response of some of you yesterday on Iraq. There would have been few takers for dealing with it and probably none for taking military action of any description."

I think the point he is making is key. It also makes the whole "what did Bush know?" whine kind of moot since the very people who ask that question would have been against him taking any pre-emptive action anyway.
Apparently, in the UK the right to self-defense no longer exists:

Man who killed burglar guilty of manslaughter
(Filed: 10/09/2002)

A father-of-two is facing a jail sentence after being convicted of the manslaughter of a "career burglar" he found in his family's home.

There were cries in the Old Bailey as Barry-Lee Hastings, 25, was cleared of murder but found guilty on 10-2 majority verdict of the manslaughter of Roger Williams, 35.

(via Natalie Solent)
Never underestimate the chutzpah of government officials. In the city of Winona, Minnesota, the city council has decided to tax residents for rainwater runoff due to costs imposed by new Federal regulations.

"Nelson said fees will be based on a complex formula that factors in roof areas, paved surfaces, lawns, wooded areas, agricultural land and other features in determining how much water runs off to be collected by city storm sewers."

I'm sure that will require the addition of multiple bureaucrats to do the appropriate assessments. (via Heretical Ideas)
WhackingDay has some tips on how to be a good Anti-American.

TIP #2: The "Either/Or" method

A tried-and-true tactic is the fabulous "either/or" method: whenever trouble develops in the world, you can immediately begin squealing at the Americans for not doing anything about it, about being isolationists, selfish capitalist pigs and whatnot.

If the americans do act, you can howl outrage about warmongering, American cultural imperialism, oppression of the third world, and suchlike.

(via Cato the Younger who got it from Cut on the Bias)
Okay so I didn't think it was possible but Jane Galt has written something that I disagree with wholeheartedly. She wrote:

"It's an odd truth known among grammar school teachers that you can't get little boys to read books about little girls, not even well-brought up little boys with feminist moms. They'll sit still while the teacher reads A Little Princess out loud, but they aren't interested in childhood classics like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Anne of Green Gables", even though those books surpass the inferior, boy-centered ones they choose by almost any measure."

According to Amazon.com, "Little House on the Prairie" is meant for kids in the 9-12 year old range. Now when I was in that age range I was reading books like 1984, the Foundation series, Huckleberry Finn and Catcher in the Rye (okay, I was probably a little strange). There are few books in literature that are superior (and also readable to someone in that age group) to these, and I find it unlikely that Little House is somehow one of them. Though granted I have never read it (why would I, when it was on TV all the time?). Hell, I bet you wouldn't even find too many people who consider it superior to Harry Potter for heaven's sake. Meg, you really should change the last sentence from the above passage to read "they aren't interested in childhood classics like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Anne of Green Gables", even though those books surpass the inferior, boy-centered ones they choose by almost any of my own personal measures."
How can you have a rational discussion with people who don't believe in the right of others to express their views.
Warner Brothers is now offering some of its movies for download over the Internet for $3.99. I don't know how good the quality is of these movies or anything but sounds like a promising first step.
Another great Mark Steyn piece. Here is my favorite part:

The only change that occurred on September 11th was a simple one. When Osama bin Laden blew up the World Trade Center, he also blew up the polite fictions of the pre-war world. At Ground Zero, they've been working frantically to clear away the rubble. Likewise, at the UN, EU and all the rest, they've also been working frantically not so much to clear away the mess but to stick it back together and reconstruct the great fantasy world as it existed on September 10th, that bizarro make-believe land where NATO is a "mutual defence alliance" and Egypt and Saudi Arabia are "our staunch friends." Even in America, some people are still living in that world. You can switch on the TV and hear apparently sane "experts" using phrases like "Bush risks losing the support of the Arab League."

The easiest way to understand how little has changed is to consider this: A few weeks ago, Libya was elected to chair the UN Human Rights Commission. Washington doesn't expect much from the UN, but why did it have to be Libya? Okay, it's never going to be America or Britain, but how about Belize or Western Samoa? Why did it have to be something so utterly contemptible of reality as the elevation of Colonel Gaddafi's flunkey? If the multilateral world is irrelevant, it's because its organs -- the UN, EU, NATO -- are diseased and it has shown no willingness in the last year to address the fact.
Here is an interesting piece on our current enemy numero uno in Afghanistan. No not, Osama bin Laden, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Here is a good piece by Jim Cramer titled "The Making of a Hawk".
Bruce S. Thornton has a fine article on Frontpage about malevolent Anti-Americanism:

"For example, the doctrine of cultural relativism — the idea that all cultures are equally valuable, that no basis exists for saying one culture is better than another, and that to say one is better is insensitive ethnocentrism or even racism — on September 11 was exposed as a dangerous lie. The perpetrators of that mass murder were the products of a specific civilization's dysfunctional view of the world, a civilization whose values are opposed to Western ones such as sex equality, liberal democracy, individual autonomy and freedom, and a limited political role for religion. We hear endlessly about the American fear of the "other," but the WTC murderers were the real cultural chauvinists, so fanatically convinced of the rightness of their way of life that they were willing to kill themselves and 3000 innocents, including fellow Muslims — an act sanctioned by numerous verses in the Koran.
...
Yes, there exist Islamic moderates who want their civilization to enter the 21st century, but whether or not Islamic culture will or can adapt to the modern, that is, Western way of secularism and individual freedom is a question ultimately to be answered by Muslims themselves. But the question itself is meaningless without some recognition that the Western way is simply superior in key respects, for it creates the greatest freedom and prosperity for the greatest number of individuals; and that cultures that suppress individual freedom and keep millions of its people in penury aren't just different, but inferior.
...
In the months after the attack numerous American and European intellectuals opined that America had in one way or another "deserved" the attacks, that it was reaping the bitter harvest of its numerous imperialist and racist crimes. This irrational superstition, whose ultimate origins lie in communist propaganda, has become a set of cliches and an unthinking reflex fueled by self-loathing, envy, and resentment. Worse, it has no basis in the facts of history.

The truth is, no society in history wielding the cultural, economic, and military power possessed by the United States has been as restrained in using that power. Even if one accepts the usual anti-American indictment — Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam — these alleged offenses pale beside the good America has done in the world, and the blood and treasure it has lost in fighting tyrannies like Nazism, Japanese militarism, and communism. We hear much about Vietnam, but the abandonment of our allies there meant that Vietnam today looks more like the starving police state of North Korea than a free and prosperous South Korea. But the real refutation of America's supposed evil is the sheer numbers of immigrants who risk their lives to live among their presumed oppressors. "

I had to stop myself from just 'excerpting' the whole thing. Follow the link and read it.
From a letter to the WaPo:

My Public Spirit Stops at My Daughter

Sunday, September 8, 2002; Page B08

My daughter began private elementary school this year. Our decision to pay for something not everyone can afford immediately raised painful questions of social and economic class.

"Are you ashamed of us?" my mother-in-law asked my husband. Perhaps her son had become too big for his family's blue-collar britches, she suggested.

But that wasn't it. Our local public elementary school ranks near the bottom of the Anne Arundel County system. Its test scores confirm the stories I have heard from discouraged neighbors: Their children, who had adored nursery school, soon came to dread kindergarten. They were bored by repeating material they had already learned. They wanted to stay home.

The test scores combined with these stories persuaded my husband and me to start looking into private schools for our daughter.

My mother-in-law didn't approve. She said it wasn't right for us to send our daughter to private school. If we kept her in public schools and worked to make the system better, everyone would benefit -- including people who don't have the option of sending their kids somewhere else.

For a card-carrying liberal, I was surprisingly unapologetic about our decision. Why should I sacrifice our daughter's future to an abstract principle? I wasn't up to battling the school system about class size, curriculum and extracurricular activities. And by the time any changes could be made, our daughter would have already missed out on a vibrant education.


One wonders if she still signs petitions opposing school vouchers for the children of those who can't afford to send their children to private school or other measures opposed by the teachers unions which might actually introduce competition into the public educational system. As James Taranto said in the Best of the Web today:

"Here in a nutshell is the definition of an American liberal: one who is willing to sacrifice the future of other people's children to an abstract principle."

Poster advertising a rally by a group of radical Islamists in London to celebrate the 9/11 event. (via Best of the Web)
Bernard Lewis has a great op-ed in the WaPo today.

"The motive, clearly, is hatred, and from then until now the question is being asked, with growing urgency and bewilderment: "Why do they hate us so?" Some go further and ask the very American question: "What have we done to offend them?"

At one level the answer is obvious. It is difficult if not impossible to be strong and successful and to be loved by those who are neither the one nor the other. The same kind of envious rancor can sometimes be seen in Europe, where attitudes to the United States are often distorted by the feeling of having been overtaken, surpassed and in a sense superseded by the upstart society in the West. This feeling, with far deeper roots and greater intensity, affects attitudes in the Muslim world toward the Western world or, as they would put it, the infidel countries and societies that now dominate the world. Most Muslims, unlike most Americans, have an intense historical awareness and see current events in a much deeper and broader perspective than we normally do. And what they see is, for them, profoundly tragic. For many centuries Islam was the greatest civilization on Earth -- the richest, the most powerful, the most creative in every significant field of human endeavor. Its armies, its teachers and its traders were advancing on every front in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, bringing, as they saw it, civilization and religion to the infidel barbarians who lived beyond the Muslim frontier.

And then everything changed, and Muslims, instead of invading and dominating Christendom, were invaded and dominated by Christian powers. The resulting frustration and anger at what seemed to them a reversal of both natural and divine law have been growing for centuries, and have reached a climax in our own time. These feelings find expression in many places where Muslims and non-Muslims meet and clash -- in Bosnia and Kosovo, Chechnya, Israel and Palestine, Sudan, Kashmir, and the Philippines, among others. The prime target of the resulting anger is, inevitably, the United States, now the unchallenged, if not unquestioned, leader of what we like to call the free world and what others variously define as the West, Christendom and the world of the unbelievers."

Monday, September 09, 2002

GOC suggests some tough questions he would like to see the press ask.
100 airport employees were just arrested at Houston's airport for having criminal records or immigration violations. Its been what, a year since 9/11 and they are just acting now??? I feel so safe.
Bigwig wonders if French and German opposition to military action against Iraq has anything to do with the fact that they were the largest suppliers of nuclear components there.
Scientists have developed a computer mouse for the blind.
It looks like the Catholic Church is soft on Nazis, child molesters and now, islamist dictators.
Having trouble finding that perfect mate? Here's a new 'dating' service that matches people in therapy based on their shared problems. Let's see, first put the psychotics in one pile and the neurotics in another. The first dates of the obssessive-compulsives must be a hoot as they each spend the entire time adjusting their dinner silverware.
This is pretty amazing. A self-organizing electronic circuit created by a combination of software using evolutionary programming techniques controlling 10 transistors connected by programmable switches evolved itself into a radio receiver.
According to Israeli intelligence officials, 98% of the known members of the militant wing of Hamas are now either in prison or dead. Terrorism just doesn't pay.
A Swedish politician says there should be more porn on TV to help boost the country's population. Finally, a Swedish political position I can support.
Mary O'Grady has a piece in the WSJ about evidence of Castro's attempts to develop biological weapons Hmmm...didn't our great national boob er, statesman, Jimmy Carter say that there were no bioweapons being developed in Cuba.
Kimberly Swygert posts some comments by a parent on the "New Ageism" prevalent at her child's middle-school:

"While my son is graced with several dedicated teachers, New Ageites abound. His geography teacher pledges to teach him to "think outside the box." Dear woman, the purpose of geography is to teach the box, or at least a flat surface map. Geography once meant learning of cities, rivers and countries blessed with bauxite. Instead, my son will learn Socratic latitude and longitude, environmentalism, and AIDS."
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created an atomic-scale memory using atoms of silicon to store the 'bits' of information. If made practical it would have a storage density about 1 million times that of a CD. [More]
Another great piece on Iraq in the Daily Telegraph.
Here is a great Dave Barry piece. Although admittedly, I couldn't finish it. I can barely get through most 9/11 columns without getting sad. I hope netflix is able to deliver the next movies in my queue by Wednesday since I know I won't be turning on the TV that day.
A Scottish man who suffers from epilepsy has been ordered to pay damages to a woman who was upset by the contorted face he had when he was in the middle of a seizure. And you thought our legal system was messed up.
Arab ministers have warned that attacking Iraq would 'open the gates of hell'. Minuteman suggests that this is a good thing as Saddam has been expected for quite some time.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Here's an update on an item I posted previously about a Russian scientist who claimed to have invented an anti-gravity device. Here is an interview in the Atlantic Monthly with Nick Cook who is a fairly well respected military and aerospace journalist who writes for Janes who has just written a book about 'black' research into anti-gravity. I am still very skeptical, but this is a much more respectable source than the previously referenced Russian scientist who seemed like a bit of a quack. As I said in the previous post anti-gravity is not theoretically impossible but still consider this pretty dubious. Anyway I have ordered his book which looks pretty interesting, I will see if the he can change my mind.
Know your enemies.The barbarians are at the gate.(Courtesy of Lucianne.com)
The Editors at the UK Telegraph get it right about the need for action against Iraq and the morally deficient objectors