Saturday, January 25, 2003

In another example of the complete moral bankruptcy of the UN, in two separate incidents Iraqi men tried to enter the UN compound seeking asylum. One ran in screaming "Save me!". The UN inspectors promptly turned them over to Iraqi police where they are being tortured and murdered, er, interrogated. (via lgf)
GOC has a fine fisking of comments made by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.
First they passed laws outlawing possession of all defensive weapons and prosecute people who defend themselves from criminals, then they tell police to stop investigating burglary, vandalism and assaults unless they are easy to solve. Now in the latest attempt to turn the UK into a Mad Max movie the police are sending polite letters to career criminals asking them to please not commit any crimes this year.

Friday, January 24, 2003

VodkaPundit asks where French greatness has gone.

With the exception of Peugeot USA, we’ve been subsidizing French stupidity since 1945, and now we wonder why there’s so much more of it? We’ve made anti-Americanism a winning proposition, a gamble without a downside. If you tell me that my pair of nothin’ will trump your full house, you’re damn right I’ll raise the bet. What’s the house max?

Thanks to our subsidy, France is now as pretty and as useless as Marianne, their national symbol.

France is playing a game we rigged for them. They’ve come to expect that our benevolence is endless, and that our gullibility is, too. It’s no wonder that they also expect to compete in a world economy when competition is all but outlawed at home. It should come as no surprise they think they can get national defense and power projection with a tiny army and a laughable aircraft carrier. Nod knowingly when France hamstrings our efforts to fight Islamofascism abroad, when they won’t even tackle it in their own capital.
My first comic strip is up at Stripcreator.
Daniel Henninger argues, in todays WSJ, that instead of arguing over racial preferences at elite universities the real problem of the abysmal preparation of minority students in the nations high schools should be addressed.

So it strikes me as more than a little ironic that this country's political leadership, which bears some responsibility for this human ruin, has entertained us over the past week or so by arguing over affirmative action and "diversity" in the admissions policies of such exquisitely selective, upper-atmosphere places as the University of Michigan, Harvard, Berkeley, Yale and the other Ivies.
What we know and have known for a very long time is that nearly half of America's black teenagers haven't a hope of attending even the least-known two-year community college anywhere. What is the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson doing about this scandal? He is calling George W. Bush "the most anti-civil rights president in 50 years." Given those shameful graduation rates, one wonders what the "pro-civil rights" presidents were doing the past 50 years.

Nominally, the issue here is whether there is a quota system for minority admissions to the University of Michigan, arguably one of the top 25 schools in the country. It is remarkable how often the combatants in the debate over college affirmative-action default to the notion that nothing proves one's commitment to "diversity" more than one's willingness to adjust the entry requirements to a Harvard, Yale or Michigan. For instance, New Jersey Rep. Robert Menendez ripped into Mr. Bush last week over his legacy admission "into the Ivy League." Yale? The average black child attending high school in Newark, Camden, Paterson or Jersey City can barely hope of getting into, say, Rutgers.

Below the level of the most selective institutions what affirmative action in college admissions has come to mean in large part is providing remedial, high-school-level English and math classes to inner-city freshmen. In 1990, Baruch College in New York City lost its accreditation from the Middle States Association for what Middle States called low student retention rates, meaning that ill-prepared minority students were dropping or flunking out. In a meeting at our offices, the head of Middle States said explicitly that colleges were obligated to provide remedial classes to teach black students what they hadn't learned in their high schools. She argued, and it is an interesting argument, that because the high schools were an admitted wasteland, colleges had a moral obligation to help minority children get a real secondary education. If so, where's the outrage over the wasted billions spent in America on unionized teachers' salaries in inner-city schools? Senator Lieberman?
Go Scrappleface!!!

In an apparent tribute to Austin Powers, a Japanese hedge fund, the Eifuku Master Fund (yes, that's Ei-fuk-u) lost it's entire $300Million dollar funding in only 7 days. I know it sounds like something from the Onion, but it appeared in todays WSJ Heard on the Street. The article says that "Eifuku" means good fortune.
Iraq says it can't force its scientists to submit to interviews by weapons inspectors. What a load of bull. This is a country with no civil liberties, where they feel they can force their people to do whatever the government wants them to do.
Michael Fumento has an interesting piece in TNR on ADHD and Ritalin prescriptions. Max and I have posted items about Ritalin in the past. My main concern is that it has become a automatic diagnosis for any behavior problem. While I agree that there is ample evidence that the condition actually exists and is helped by Ritalin. I do worry that, like tonsillectomies which were done at the first sign of a sore throat, Ritalin is being pushed too quickly and easily. Fumento says that there have been studies that show while it is over-prescribed in some parts of the country it is under-prescribed in others. It's hard to judge the validity of these studies, especially since ADHD diagnosis is largely subjective.
According to the Guardian, we are going to war within weeks:

President George Bush is determined to go to war with Saddam Hussein in the next few weeks, without UN backing if necessary, according to authoritative sources in Washington and London. The US president is "to turn up the heat" in his state of the union address on Tuesday.

"The pressure comes from President Bush and it is felt all the way down," a European official said. "They're talking about weeks, not months. Months is a banned word now."

Mr Bush wanted the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, to force the issue of military action by presenting evidence of Saddam Hussein's violations of UN resolutions immediately after weapons inspectors give their report to the UN on Monday. In Washington circles such an event is being referred to as the Adlai Stevenson moment.

The "Adlai Stevenson moment" has become Washington shorthand for the US presentation of its intelligence case. Stevenson was the US ambassador to the UN at the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, who dramatically confronted the Soviet envoy with vivid aerial photographs of nuclear missiles being unloaded in Cuba.
Check out this white paper written by the White House on Iraq's failure to comply with the UN. Here is just one example:

The UN Special Commission concluded that Iraq did not verifiably account for, at a minimum, 2160kg of growth media. This is enough to produce 26,000 liters of anthrax -- 3 times the amount Iraq declared; 1200 liters of botulinum toxin; and, 2200 liters of aflatoxin, a carcinogen.
from Scrappleface

Rumsfeld Sorry for 'Axis of Weasels' Remark

(2003-01-22) -- U.S. Secretary Defense Donald Rumsfeld apologized today for referring to France and Germany as an "Axis of Weasels."

"I'm sorry about that Axis of Weasels remark," said Mr. Rumsfeld. "I didn't mean to dredge up the history France and Germany share of pathetic compliance with ruthless dictators."

The Defense Secretary said he was "way out of bounds" with the comments.

"I should have known better than to remind people that these two nations--which live in freedom thanks only to the righteous might of America, Britain and their allies--that these nations are morally and politically bankrupt, and have failed to learn the lessons of history," he said. "It really was an inappropriate thing to say--you know, the Axis of Weasels thing. I really should not have called them the Axis of Weasels. I think it's the 'Weasels' part that was most know, when I said that France and Germany form an Axis of Weasels. Of course, I'm so sorry."
"...if Joe Leiberman wins, he will not be the first Jewish-American to hold the presidency in his hands; that, of course, was Monica Lewinsky."
-- Jay Leno
Here is an interesting piece by Scott Simon I came across. It's a bit old, but perhaps even more topical now.

Some peace activists, their judgment still hobbled by shock, seem to believe that the attacks against New York and Washington were natural disasters: terrible, unpredictable whirlwinds that struck once and will not reoccur.

This is wrong. We know now that there has been an ongoing violent campaign aimed at bringing down diverse nations, with none being more gloriously speckled than the U.S. People who try to hold certain American policies or culture responsible are trying to decorate the crimes of psychotics with synthetic political significance.

In 1933 the Oxford Student Union conducted a famous debate over whether it was moral for Britons to fight for king and country. The exquisite intellects of that leading university reviewed the many ways in which British colonialism exploited and oppressed the world. They cited the ways in which vengeful demands made of Germany in the wake of World War I had helped to kindle nationalism and fascism. They saw no moral difference between Western colonialism and world fascism. The Oxford Union ended that debate with this famous proclamation: "Resolved, that we will in no circumstances fight for king and country."

Von Ribbentrop sent back the good news to Germany's new chancellor, Hitler: The West will not fight for its own survival. Its finest minds will justify a silent surrender.

In short, the best-educated young people of their time could not tell the difference between the deficiencies of their own nation, in which liberty and democracy were cornerstones, and a dictatorship founded on racism, tyranny and fear.

And what price would those who urge reconciliation today pay for peace? Should Americans impose a unitary religious state, throw women out of school and work, and rob other religious groups of their rights, so that we have the kind of society the attackers accept? Do pacifists really want to live in the kind of world that the terrorists who hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon would make?

Thursday, January 23, 2003

John's post on them eliminating the cigarette in Paul McCartney's hand on the Abbey Road cover because they don't want kids to start smoking really pisses me off. It makes me want to found a band called "Nicotine" with the first album called "Smoke All You Want To" showing little kids really enjoying cigarettes on the cover. On the back will be a 16 year old boy looking cool smoking a cigarette surrounded by girls in bikinis. I really really hate this politically correct nonsense. Yes, cigarettes are addictive (I know, I'm an on and off smoker) and yes, they are bad for you. But the entire point of our society is being able to enjoy things that other people think are bad for you as long as you aren't directly hurting someone else. Can't we put all these politically correct people on an island (other than Manhattan please) and just let them live in their perfectly correct and boring society?
Check this out from the New Scientist:

Three-dimensional tubes of living tissue have been printed using modified desktop printers filled with suspensions of cells instead of ink. The work is a first step towards printing complex tissues or even entire organs.
There is a very good piece in the Observer on Oriana Fallaci who is having her life threatened because she wrote a book on Islam. She sounds like an amazing woman. And check out her description of a conversation she had with Ariel Sharon, which helps paint him in a much more human light:

Last April, she said, Ariel Sharon phoned her to praise an article she had written in the weekly Italian publication Panorama about the problem of European and Arab anti-Semitism.

She said she answered the phone and said, "‘Hey, Sharon! How are you? Are you as fat?’ Because I know him. Sharon said, ‘Oriana, I called you to say, "Damn, you have guts; damn, you are courageous; damn, do I thank you."’ I said, ‘Ariel, you thank me—I apologize with you. I was too tough to you 20 years ago.’ And he was, as usual, a gentleman."

The night before the phone call, there had been an attack on a kibbutz.

"I said, ‘Listen, dear, I know what happened last night in that kibbutz. Will you please permit me to express to you and to your people my condolences?’ Sharon started crying. I don’t know, I didn’t see the tears. But the voice was of a crying man, and he started to shout: ‘Oriana! You are the only one who says the word condolences! Do you know, these bloody heads of states, I just spoke with the British and the Americans’—meaning Blair and Bush—‘they did not say that word to me.’ And then with broken voice he said, ‘Do you know who were the dead last night? One was the grandmother who was in Dachau and who still had the number on her arm. The second one was her daughter, who was seven months pregnant. And the third one was the child of the daughter, who was 5 years old. And they are all dead! All dead! All dead!’ He was crying."

Some parents are upset because of a game of tag at a Danish scout camp where the kids were made to wear stars of David and evade the camp counselors who were Nazis. With so many things to be upset about in the world, I really can't get my underwear in a bunch over this. And personally, I can't think of anything that would make me run faster than thinking a Nazi was chasing me. Okay, maybe a werewolf.
This one is so true it hurts. The Onion has a piece on how great the dot com days were.
David Perlmutter explains why the Palestinians garner support from so many of the worlds regimes.

...As far I can tell no journalist has ever informed the Palestinians (or the Americans) that the former are but only one folk in a long and mottled line of national, ethnic, regional, religious and political groups who, if they got their wishes and fulfilled their dreams, would be sitting members of the United Nations.

Which leads to a follow-up question, also never asked by the hard-hitting foreign correspondents and news anchors: why exactly do the Palestinians deserve a state ahead of all those others? After all, American and Russian presidents, leaders of Europe, everyone spends late nights worrying about how to give the Palestinians what they want. Who does that for the separatist Christian Blacks of Sudan--against whom oil money has financed a Muslim-executed genocide of several million in the last few decades?

We might ask more pointedly why should the Palestinians, who have no separate religion, culture, history, national identity, ethnicity, or language from other Arabs be given a homeland ahead of say, the Kurds (an independent ethnic nation for thousands of years…or for that matter many American aboriginal peoples. Likewise, David Yeagley, a professor who teaches at the University of Oklahoma and is a descendent of the Commanche war-chief Bad Eagle, commented to me, "My people existed as a separate nation before the Ottomans invaded Europe...Why aren't we getting airplay for a homeland while some thug in Jenin is a media-darling?"

Read the rest of the article for the answer. (via lgf)
There's a good article at Reason (via Heretical Ideas) on the increasing misuse of the power of eminent domain to sieze property for commercial use or the achieve dubious public policy results.

Eminent domain has a long history, and it isn’t likely to go away. After all, it’s enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the constitutions of all 50 states. What distinguishes the current era is the degree to which local governments are willing to use this power to achieve all manner of public policy goals. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they’re driven back by public protest or the courts. But they’re unquestionably pushing the boundaries.
In the current climate, many of the traditional constraints on public takings of private property seem to have disappeared. Most redevelopment laws, including Arizona’s, explicitly acknowledge that land can be taken even if the beneficiaries will be other private parties. This principle is even articulated in federal law, through the 1954 Supreme Court decision Berman v. Parker, which allowed local governments to condemn land for urban renewal and then transfer title to private parties. Even then, local governments didn’t have carte blanche; they had to justify the taking as a way to mitigate "urban blight." But over the years that term has become little more than a name for property a government wants to take. Today redevelopment agencies enjoy more discretion than ever, and eminent domain is becoming their tool of choice:
Jeff Jacoby discusses the appointment of Libya to chair the UN Human Rights Commission and the moral bankruptcy of the UN as an institution.

Despite its name, the United Nations is not a fraternity of peoples. It is an association of governments, and it makes no distinction between those that rule with the consent of the governed and those that rule through force and fear. Inside the UN, a bloody despotism is every inch the equal of a liberal democracy. A government that respects human dignity has exactly the same vote as a government that tramples it. And while lip service is routinely paid to the high principles of the UN Charter, those principles are irrelevant to the UN's decisions and deliberations.

If the Human Rights Commission were really concerned with human rights, the accession of a ghoulish regime like Libya's to the chair would indeed be a scandal. But the commission's true purposes are to give Third World bullies a venue for grandstanding, to harangue Western democracies, to ensure that the world's cruelest rulers escape condemnation, and, of course, to bash Israel. There's nothing in that agenda to disqualify Libya. Or, for that matter, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, China, Syria, Sudan, or Zimbabwe - each a notorious human-rights violator and each a commission member in good standing.

(via American Realpolitik)
The PC police are beginning to look more and more like the Stalinist archivists who removed undesirable references from historical photos (as documented in the very interesting book The Commisar Vanishes). The cigarette in Paul's hand on the Abbey Road cover is being removed lest any impressionable youth be led to a lifetime of smoking because of it.
The prospect of US attack is emboldening the opposition in Iraq.

OPPOSITION within Iraq to President Saddam Hussein’s regime has surged in the past few weeks, with anti-Saddam graffiti and literature appearing in areas supposedly under Baghdad’s control, the Foreign Office said yesterday.

Citing interviews with Iraqi asylum-seekers arriving in Britain, officials claimed that the modest but significant unrest in central Iraq has unnerved the authorities, who have taken steps to shore up their flagging support and to crush dissent.
Anti-Saddam slogans, such as “For how long will the Iraqi people sleep?”, have been daubed on statues and photographs of the Iraqi leader. Leaflets predicting Saddam’s downfall have also been circulated. The campaign of dissent, which is punishable by death for anyone caught, has apparently been co-ordinated by two opposition groups emboldened by the prospect of a looming war. The Iraqi authorities are said to have cracked down on suspected opponents. But they have also attempted to buy the loyalty of people close to the regime with payments and increased rations of food.

(via Andrea Harris)
Well it seems there are some little bursts of light at Berkeley. Blogger Russell Wardlow aka Mean Mr. Mustard, reporting from the front explains his astonishment at the document explaining class content in a poli-sci class titled "Marxism and Fascism in the Far East" which he is taking this semester to finish up course requirements.

The purposes of this course include the inculcation of a principled skepticism among students who have been trained to accept any claims whatsoever as long as such claims are communicated with conviction (the product of an epistomological relativism that has been characteristic of the academic community for at least thirty years).

The presentation of materials in the course of lectures will be predicated on the studied conviction (on the part of the instructor) that contemporary social science has been sadly remiss in teaching young people how to deal with the contemporary political, social, psychological and moral universe in which they live. In effect, the course will not be conducted in a politically correct manner - which means that some students may find the treatment offensive. If you are among those who cannot tolerate alternative opinion, who feel that any departure from the prevailing folk-wisdom of Ethnic Studies or left-wing posturing is objectionable - do not take this course.

The professor's name is A. James Gregor and yes he is a professor at Berkeley.
Check out the comic I just created at It was really quick and easy.
The Brothers Judd suggest, in light of his recent arrest for attempting to solicit a minor, that Scott Ritter's transformation from one of the most hawkish Iraqi inspectors to one of Saddam's biggest defenders might have something to do blackmail by Iraqi agents. Of course, the $400,000 the Iraqi's put up for Ritters 'documentary' might have something to do with it too.

UPDATE: Phillip Murphy concurs.
Bjorn Lomberg defends himself against the increasingly shrill and baseless attacks on him by the Luddite enviro-nuts.

I am Danish, liberal, vegetarian, a former member of Greenpeace; and I used to believe in the litany of our ever-deteriorating environment. You know, the doomsday message repeated by the media, as when Time magazine tells us that "everyone knows the planet is in bad shape." We're defiling our Earth, we're told. Our resources are running out. Our air and water are more and more polluted. The planet's species are becoming extinct, we're paving over nature, decimating the biosphere.

The problem is that this litany doesn't seem to be backed up by facts. When I set out to check it against the data from reliable sources--the U.N., the World Bank, the OECD, etc.--a different picture emerged. We're not running out of energy or natural resources. There is ever more food, and fewer people are starving. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 30 years; today it is 67. We have reduced poverty more in the past 50 years than we did in the preceding 500. Air pollution in the industrialized world has declined--in London the air has never been cleaner since medieval times.
Zell Miller, a Democrat, has a great piece in the Wall Street Journal. I wish more politicians were like him:

I think it's time to turn up the volume on the theme from "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and begin a forced march to reality. In this time of competing tax cuts, we ought to remember why the people don't like taxes in the first place. When I was a boy growing up in the tiny town of Young Harris, my mama was the mayor and folks came to our house to pay their taxes. And I remember hearing them grumble each time when they turned over their hard-earned dollars. What it taught me was that people don't complain about taxes because they are selfish or stingy. They complain because they simply don't believe they're getting their money's worth.

No one has ever spoken about taxes more eloquently than that great patriot Thomas Paine: "It is not the produce of riches only, but of hard earnings of labor and poverty. It is drawn even from the bitterness of want and misery."

Congress forgets all too often that there is no such thing as "government money." There is only "taxpayers' money." I got into government because I've always believed that government can help people. But good government doesn't mean big government. Good government means providing basic services efficiently. Good government means not just asking how to make a program more efficient, but asking what would happen if we got rid of the program entirely. Why waste time making something more efficient if we don't need it? There's a whole herd of sacred cows grazing in the lush green pastures of the federal government. Even though many of them quit giving milk long ago, we still fund them. I say take 'em out and shoot 'em.
Michael Kelly has a very good piece in yesterdays WaPo on the reflexive anti-Americanism of the left and the seeming absence of any new ideas or any of it's professed principles.

What was the left going to do? A pretty straightforward call, you might say. America has its flaws. But war involves choosing sides, and the American side -- which was, after all, the side of liberalism, of progressivism, of democracy, of freedom, of not chucking gays off rooftops and not stoning adulterers and not whipping women in the town square, and not gassing minority populations and not torturing advocates of free speech -- was surely preferable to the side of the "Islamofascists," to borrow a word from the essayist and former man of the left, Christopher Hitchens.
The debate is over. The left has hardened itself around the core value of a furious, permanent, reactionary opposition to the devil-state America, which stands as the paramount evil of the world and the paramount threat to the world, and whose aims must be thwarted even at the cost of supporting fascists and tyrants. Those who could not stomach this have left the left -- a few publicly, as did Hitchens and Rosenbaum, and many more, I am sure, in the privacy of their consciences.

Last weekend, the left held large antiwar marches in Washington, San Francisco and elsewhere. Major media coverage of these marches was highly respectful. This was "A Stirring in the Nation," in the words of an approving New York Times editorial, "impressive for the obvious mainstream roots of the marchers."
International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is a front group for the communist Workers World Party. The Workers World Party is, literally, a Stalinist organization. It rose out of a split within the old Socialist Workers Party over the Soviet Union's 1956 invasion of Hungary -- the breakaway Workers World Party was all for the invasion. International ANSWER today unquestioningly supports any despotic regime that lays any claim to socialism, or simply to anti-Americanism. It supported the butchers of Beijing after the slaughter of Tiananmen Square. It supports Saddam Hussein and his Baathist torture-state. It supports the last official Stalinist state, North Korea, in the mass starvation of its citizens. It supported Slobodan Milosevic after the massacre at Srebrenica. It supports the mullahs of Iran, and the narco-gangsters of Colombia and the bus-bombers of Hamas.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

As many others have written, the peace protests this weekend were organized by ANSWER, a front group for the Workers World Party. You really should go to their website ( One thing I noticed is they don't really publish a detailed platform on their site explaining all the things they would do if put in charge. Instead, they make your trudge through issues of their "magazine" in order to figure out what they really stand for other than smashing capitalism, as well as how out of touch with reality these people are. So I immediately went to an article on North Korea and found the tidbit below:

The Koreans had every reason to be alarmed. From 1950-53 they had suffered a catastrophic invasion by the U.S... The Korean War, which broke out in 1950, saw U.S. troops and forces of the Syngman Rhee dictatorship in the south pitted against the Korean People's Army and southern partisans who fought to free their country of foreign domination.

Talk about historic revisionism. The article never mentions that the war started with an invasion from the North. It either mentions that the US invaded the North mercilessly or that war simply "broke out", like it was something spontaneous. Are they that brainwashed, or did they simply go to public schools? And what is trully interesting is that the organizers of the peace protests aren't really for peace at all. They obviously promote war to further their own ends.

And then check this out about Cuba:

Two important events in November showed the high morale of the Cuban people and their country's leading role in the struggle against imperialist globalization.

The first was a mass mobilization on Nov. 18 against the Cuban Adjustment Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1966. It encourages Cubans to risk their lives on the open sea by offering them almost automatic residency if they reach the United States.

More than 150,000 people gathered here in Havana to protest this law, which promotes perilous and illegal emigration.

I just love the phrase "perilous and illegal emigration". So workers are allowed to own the means of production but aren't ever allowed to leave their little island??? And if the people of Cuba are so happy with their system then why are you so afraid to let them leave?

I could go on but there is just too much.
Something funny from Drudge. I love the comment from the Republican staffer:

A C-SPAN camera zoomed in on Sen. John Edwards Tuesday night during a dinner marking the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision -- as he was popping and chewing gum.

The presidential contender attended the event in Washington, DC with fellow democratic hopefuls Kerry, Dean, Gephardt, Leiberman and Sharpton.

The camera zoomed in Edwards causally chewing gum as rivals made their pitch.

"I couldn't believe John Edwards is running for President chewing gum on the stage on CSPAN!" one top TV producer e-mailed the DRUDGE REPORT.

"At least he was not chewing and spitting tobacco," joked a republican senate staffer who watched the telecast.
Walter Williams has a good piece on myths about the source of poverty around the globe:

A typical belief among the world's foreign aid agencies is there's a "vicious cycle of poverty" that makes economic development virtually impossible for the world's poor nations. This idea holds that poor countries are poor because income is so low that savings cannot be generated to provide the kind of capital accumulation necessary for economic growth.


The vicious cycle of poverty theory can't even pass the straight-face test. After all, how did countries such as the United States, England, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and others break that cycle and become rich? Were they simply "born" rich? That's a big fat no.

So how in the world did these once poor and backward countries become wealthy without what today's development experts say is absolutely necessary for economic growth -- foreign-aid handouts, and World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans? Maybe part of the answer lies in the fact that there were no foreign-aid handout programs and economic development experts around during their economic development.

According to a recently released report by Heritage Foundation policy analysts Paolo Pasicolan and Sara Fitzgerald, "The Millennium Challenge Account: Linking Aid With Economic Freedom," despite decades of economic aid, most recipient nations are poorer now than they were before they first received development assistance. What foreign aid usually achieves is the enabling of Third World tyrants to retain power by having the resources to build grandiose projects that make little economic sense, pay off cronies and buy military equipment to suppress their people, not to mention setting up multimillion- and even multibillion-dollar Swiss bank accounts.


The latest mythical explanation for Third World poverty is globalization and multinational corporation exploitation. Peaceable trade and contact with other nations have always raised the potential for higher living standards. In fact, Third World countries least touched by the West, whether the contact was in the form of imperialist conquest, trade or multinational corporations, are among the poorest of the poor -- countries like: Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan in Asia, and Ethiopia and Liberia in Africa.

Poverty is mostly self-inflicted -- indigenously created. What are some of the most commonly held characteristics of the non-poor world? In non-poor countries, people tend to have greater personal liberty, property rights are protected, contracts are enforced, there's rule of law and there's a market-oriented economic system rather than a socialistic one
Andrew Sullivan on the difference between men & women:

Men are far less sensible. I realized this when it dawned on me that I found Mr Millionaire far more attractive when I realized he was a construction worker. Maybe Fox should do a gay version where the contestants for the guy's, er, heart are first told he's a construction worker and later given the awful news that he's a millionaire merchant banker. They'd be crushed.
Maureen Dowd has another "good if you just ran out of toilet paper" column. As usual it's about as cohesive as a David Lynch plotline. I don't really have time to pick it apart so let me just focus on one thing that she says:

"But isn't it un-American if the University of Michigan or Yale makes special room for the descendants of alumni but not the descendants of the disadvantaged?"

Oh wow, that makes so much sense doesn't it? It just makes affirmative action seem to fair. But when you look into the details you can see that Dowd is smoking something, or just plain twisting words like the good Goebbels she is. I love the term "descendants of the disadvantaged." Because it means that the person being helped doesn't actually have to be disadvantaged in any way and may never have actually faced discrimination. It's her way of legitimizing helping children of African-American doctors and lawyers get preferential admissions treatment over children of poor white teamsters solely due to the color of their skin. I also love that term because it makes it sound like its helping all "descendants of the disadvantaged." Hmmm, last I checked it actually helped some at the expense of others. One could definitely argue that the main victims of affirmative action, "over-represented" Asians and Jews are such descendants. And exactly how far back can you go to show you are such a descendant? If you are a descendant of French Hugenots who were victims of the St. Bartholemew's Day Massacre, does that count? And what exactly constitutes being disadvantaged? I knew plenty of nerdy kids who were severely disadvantaged while playing kickball and dodgeball when we were younger, can that help them get into Michigan?
So it looks like it isn't just German companies who are wiping Israel off the map. The Korean company Samsung has done the same. Check out their map of service locations below:

Also, note that the idiots can't even spell proper country names correctly. Note "Palastine", "Yeman", "Baharain" and "Labanon". And when exactly was "Istanbul" made into a country in the center of Turkey? I'm glad I only buy Sony products.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

So I finally found out why we are going to have to dial the area code even for local calls in Manhattan. Yes, it's because of the government:

In 1996, in order to simplify things and make it easier to foster competition in the local telephone service market, the Federal Communications Commission began requiring cities with overlaid area codes (i.e. cities where there aren't distinct boundaries between area codes) to use the area code when dialing locally.

New Yorkers did not take the requirement lying down. The New York Public Service Commission and the Consumer Federation of America asked for a waiver. The F.C.C. turned them down, but they appealed and were overruled in 2001.
Close to Home

My uncle writes us that my cousin Roger, a 30 year old reservist, has been called for as much as a year of active service beginning in March. When he ships out, he will be leaving behind his toddler daughter and newly pregnant wife.

Roger is the apple of my uncle's and aunt's eye, a then late-in-life gift to a couple who thought they couldn't have kids without adopting. This is my uncle's response to my e-mail that included a link to a Veteran's Day essay that I read thanks to Merryl Yourish.

"Peace, security and freedom is essential for the happiness of our children and future generations. While there are many good intentioned who think peace can be achieved by loving your enemy under all circumstances, history proves otherwise. Support from people like you is what gives our young people the courage and desire to assure the security and freedom we all cherish."

Our prayers are with you, Uncle Eugene, Aunt Jean, Roger and family!
Check out this link. It's a video of an AC-130 in action against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. It takes a little while to get started so be patient (from Grouchy Old Cripple)
Too funny not to post. Yes I know it's a bit sick but I always hated disco anyway (from Curmudgeonly & Skeptical):

Below is the 10 day forecast for Manhattan. Where is the global warming??? It's colder than my friend Dante's ex-wife (he would argue that it's still not that cold).

Jan 21 Partly Cloudy 25°/12°
Jan 22 Mostly Sunny 24°/12°
Jan 23 Flurries / Wind 22°/11°
Jan 24 Partly Cloudy / Wind 25°/13°
Jan 25 Partly Cloudy 26°/17°
Jan 26 Partly Cloudy 32°/24°
Jan 27 Partly Cloudy 34°/21°
Jan 28 Scattered Showers 36°/28°
Jan 29 Mostly Cloudy 39°/26°
Jan 30 Partly Cloudy 36°/27°
Mark Morford, a particularly noxious columnist for the SF Gate, has a particularly idiotic screed, decrying SUV owners with snide side-references to the 'War for Oil' so popular with the clueless left these days. It's the usual ignorant drivel. It's amazing how little the man knows. Because he sees an engine with cylinders and pistons he thinks nothing has changed. The fact that every car and truck sold in California (and elsewhere) meets extraordinarily stringent pollution standards while getting more horsepower power per cubic inch of displacement and with far better gas mileage than even a decade ago is past his blurred and hateful vision. He knows nothing about the electronic safety features such as electronic skid control, antilock brakes, traction control, and other features that are common in many cars today including Hummers that were unimagined 50 years ago. Don't even mention variable valve timing, high compression engines that can run on regular fuel, amazingly tight tolerances between engine parts made possible by robotic machining processes and on and on. The author's simple minded comparison between an auto and a vibrator exemplifies the depth of his engineering knowledge. When you know how to make nothing, everything is possible and easy.

His vituperative approach is what I have come to expect from holier-than-thou progressives. They know not only what's best for everyone else (because of their superior minds and hearts) but also how people use their SUV's. Of course he sees what he wants to. I see SUV's around here towing horse trailers with one, two or four horses aboard. Try that with his beloved compact car. I see SUV's stuffed full of his saintly bicycles as the occupants head off to enjoy the outdoors or filled with half a dozen
children as parents take a kids to play baseball, basketball, soccer or hockey. But this is all beyond Mr. Self Righteous because his real motive is bashing people he doesn't like -- the President and those people who live a family lifestyle. If you scratch the author hard enough you might even get him to admit that he calls these people "breeders" the derogatory term used by the radical leftist community to disparage the traditional family. His hatred of oil is pathological. What does he think modern medical equipment is made of? How does most of the country heat their house. It's either natural gas or number 6 fuel oil. Airplanes use what to get off the ground. Hint it's not peanut butter.

This article confirms a theory read once that leftists hate evolutionary change. For them only the revolutionary change is acceptable. Perhaps that explains why the governments they are fondest of march large portions of their populace off on death treks to reeducation camps where the evolutionary character of humans can be quickly modified to meet the socialist ideals of the new man, or else. Is there any doubt from the tone of this authors diatribe that he would condemn large vehicle owners to the
killing fields for their crimes. It's people like him that make me ever more supportive of the Second Amendment.
Looks like the Netherlands could have a Jewish Prime Minister if polls hold up. I wonder how long he is in office before he is shot?
This is interesting if true. The Economist is reporting (sorry, it's a pay link but you can also see this report from CNN) this week that while Mugabe was out of the country on holiday, members of his ruling party had approached the opposition about the possibility of forming a power-sharing government without him. This article (and here) says that government officials have denied that such negotiations took place (but considering how Mugabe's thugs treat the opposition, you would expect it to be vigorously denied). I only hope that it is true.
Daily Humor

The History Of Casual Day

Memo No. 1: Effective immediately, the company is adopting Fridays as Casual Day so that employees may express their diversity.

Memo No. 2: Spandex and leather micro-miniskirts are not appropriate attire for Casual Day. Neither are string ties, rodeo belt buckles or moccasins.

Memo No. 3: Casual Day refers to dress only, not attitude. When planning Friday's wardrobe, remember image is a key to our success.

Memo No. 4: A seminar on how to dress for Casual Day will be held at 4 p.m. Friday in the cafeteria. Fashion show to follow. Attendance is mandatory.

Memo No. 5: As an outgrowth of Friday's seminar, a 14-member Casual Day Task Force has been appointed to prepare guidelines for proper dress.

Memo No. 6: The Casual Day Task Force has completed a 30-page manual. A copy of "Relaxing Dress Without Relaxing Company Standards" has been mailed to each employee. Please review the chapter "You Are What You Wear" and consult the "home casual" versus "business casual" checklist before leaving for work each Friday. If you have doubts about the appropriateness of an item of clothing, contact your CDTF representative before 7 a.m. on Friday.

Memo No. 7: Because of lack of participation, Casual Day has been discontinued, effective immediately.
It seems that Scott Ritter, in addition to being a shill for the Saddam Hussein, is also a pedophile. He and Saddam must swap great chlld rape stories when they get together.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Another brilliant essay by Bill Whittle is up at Eject!Eject!Eject! This time he takes on our spoiled, sheltered, clueless, self-involved, hypocritical, narcissistic celebrity class. It's a long piece, so rather than include long excerpts here's just a taste. Follow the link and read the entire thing.

Woody, Woody, how we adored your lovable naiveté behind the bar, trading one-liners with Sam and Cliff and Norm and Frasier! Now all the lovable is gone, and look at what’s left.

I don’t know where to begin, so I won’t. I do have a special love for I'd revive the Chemurgy movement, which made the farmer the root of the economy, and make paper and fuel from wheat straw, rice straw and hemp. Yes, making the farmer the root of the economy… I mean, you do have to admire the vision of the man. Why take us from the Information Age back to the Industrial Age, when you can regress TWO entire civilizational leaps and make us all hemp farmers again?

It should also be noted that Woody Harrelson is a well-known Hemp Activist. Yes, when people come to their senses once again, and realize that they can get a rope of twice the weight at a quarter the strength of nylon for only three times the price, well, prepare for gridlock in the Home Depot parking lots across the fair republic. Perhaps he’s advocating burlap and burlap accessories. Or perhaps it’s the entire hemp family that he is advocating.
Michele at Small Victory is running a fun contest, take two movie titles that share a common word and put them together to create a new movie and plotline. I've made a few contributions. A collection of essays and articles by the Worker's World Party. I could only read about three pieces before my neck started hurting from the violent shaking of my head in disbelief. I don't know if these pieces are written by agents of the various dictatorships as propaganda or whether these folks are so deluded that they actually believe the stuff they are writing. The article about the wonderful achievments of Kim Il Sung continued by Kim Jong Il and this one describing how China was justified in the massacre of those horrid, anti-revolutionary students in Tienemen Square almost made me barf.
A small Appalachian bible college has just gotten a new phone number and they want it changed. It seems the new prefix is 666. For those who haven't seen 'The Omen' or read Revelations, here is why this is troublesome to the folks at Kentucky Mountain Bible College:

Revelations 13:18

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

(via Cut on the Bias)

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Why I love the Rolling Stones (aside from their being the best white blues band ever). Here and here.
Victor Davis Hanson discusses the current tendency toward equivocation among those on the Left.

Some of the blame can go to a certain deductive, anti-empirical view of the universe that has become institutionalized in our schools and popular culture. Timidity and the fear of losing our comfortable lifestyle may play a role as well. Clintonism and the idea that Americans did not know what "is" really meant left an unfortunate legacy.

In the new orthodoxy, for example, all cultures are a priori equal, so any evidence — like a public Iranian stoning, racist Saudi op-ed, or Sudanese genital mutilation or two — that, in fact, there exist vast civilization fault-lines has to be qualified. Force is presumed always wrong in our enlightened, postmodern world, so any proof that it actually solves problems — such as Milosevic or the Taliban — must be qualified. The United States is across the board dubbed unthinking, clumsy, and often sinister, so any evidence — such as its efforts in Afghanistan — suggesting that it is, in fact, sophisticated and benevolent, requires prevarication.

Life in the West is easy and good. So any course of action that calls for sacrifice and danger — higher gas prices, treasure and lives risked, and terrorist reprisals — is de facto wrong. Our enemies are usually seen as poor and less educated rather than as medieval, so that when they murder, explode, and terrorize us they are to be understood, rather than detested, opposed, and defeated. Oppression and exploitation are deemed reasonable pretexts for terrorism, so when multimillionaires like bin Laden carry out — and pampered Sheiks fund — terrorism, qualification and nuance are required.
Read the excellent article by Peter Oborne in the Spectator on Mugabe's horrendous rule in Zimbabwe. Most of my predictions for 2003 were pretty upbeat with the notable exception of #8 where I predicted that deaths due to Mugabe's manufactured famine would number in the hundreds of thousands. After reading Oborne's piece I am afraid that may have been a too optimistic.

But this kind of corruption is almost a side issue. The main point is how the state marketing of grain is used as a mechanism to punish Mugabe’s political opponents. Mugabe has forbidden any private movement of maize. Zanu-PF thugs set up roadblocks on all main routes. Anyone carrying maize will have it confiscated. Vehicles travelling from Beitbridge in the south to Victoria Falls in the north are frequently stopped and searched as much as a dozen times in the course of the journey. The purpose is to prevent food reaching opposition areas. In Beitbridge, notwithstanding widespread starvation in the surrounding district, the government has impounded a 132 metric tonnes of maize delivery brought in by the MDC. It now sits rotting in a compound, surrounded by barbed wire.
Senator Boxer who has consistently opposed SDI wants missile protection for airliners. Why not both Barbara?
Jon Ray has a choice quote on the current doomsday predictions by the environmental 'experts' by one of my favorite iconoclasts, Kary Mullis. (If you want a great and fun weekend read, get a copy of his autobiography "Dancing Naked in the Minefield".)

But there just aren't any convincing data to support predictions of environmental disaster. It's all conjectural, and even if environmental change is on the cards, 'What's the trouble with something being out of balance if the natural state of that thing is change?' So-called scientific advisers and media mavens cry up imminent disaster because it's easier to get funding that way. Watch out: these people are manipulating you. And some of the worst of the gloom merchants aren't even proper scientists: 'They are parasites with degrees in economics or sociology who couldn't get a good job in the legitimate advertising industry.'
HappyFunPundit has obtained some of the emails being sent to Iraqi generals and civilian leaders to convince them not to support Saddam when the shooting starts.