Saturday, March 08, 2003

The Onion has it's own obituary of Stalin.

"Who Will Crush Our Spirits and Destroy Our Will to Live Now?" Ask Distraught Citizens.

Well, they had Kruschev and Brezhnev and the rest of the Politburo to do it for a few more years, but I suppose it's a matter of degree. Anyway the Onion spoof was much more sensible than the actual NYT obit that Max already pointed out:

Stalin Rose From Czarist Oppression to Transform Russia Into Mighty Socialist State
Andrew Sullivan points out this article by Paul Varnell. It explains why "Queers for Palestine" makes as much sense as "Lesbians Against Bush".

LET'S TAKE A QUIZ. No peeking at the answers directly below.

1. Which Middle Eastern country has no sodomy laws nor uses vague charges such as "offenses against religion" or "immoral conduct" to prosecute and imprison gays and lesbians?

2. Which Middle Eastern country has a variety of gay organizations which safely conduct gay advocacy efforts?

3. Which Middle Eastern country has a gay and lesbian community center in its capital city?

4. Which Middle Eastern country holds annual Gay Pride parades?

5. Which Middle Eastern country has members of parliament who actively support and speak out on behalf of gays and lesbians?
Mrs. du Toit is going on a long hiatus and has ask everyone linking to her to remove the links so I have complied. We'll be happy to re-add the link when she's back.
Here are some interesting comments made by Lawrence O'Donnell on NPR's Fresh Air (as transcribed by Susanna, you can read more of it by following the link).

Host: Did you identify with the policy wonks of the Clinton administration?

O'Donnell: That's a hugely exaggerated notion, that President Clinton was a policy wonk or anybody working in the West Wing was a policy wonk other than Gene Spurling. That's just the rap, that's just the image they wanted for themselves, the positive rap they wanted for that president, he was no more a policy wonk than any other president.

From my experience in the Oval Office with Bill Clinton, he knew about an index card worth of material. Let's put it this way, I was never in a meeting with Bill Clinton and the senators where Bill Clinton was not the single most ignorant person in the room. And I don't say that as a criticism, that's normal. He's from out of town, he's just come from a governorship... These governors that we make presidents, it's like taking the president of Avis and making him the president of Warner Brothers. What do you think he knows on the first day? They know nothing.

But the image that Clinton easily achieved was that he knew more than most presidents. That's because up against the White House press corps that's a really easy thing to achieve because no one's allowed three follow up questions in a row...
(via Cut on The Bias)

This reminded me of heated arguments I had with friends during the 2000 elections about the relative intellects of Bush and Gore. It always felt strange because I didn't think Bush was any great intellect but I was astounded at the widespread acceptance of the propaganda that made Gore out to be this towering intellectual with almost no empirical evidence. Gore's personal background is almost identical to Bush's and his academic background was a even worse than Bush's. Actually one of the reasons I preferred Bush was that he seemed to realize his own limits and surrounded himself with very smart people to whom he actually listened (He's a CEO, not a scholar, check out Dean's comments about Bush's administration). Gore, like Clinton, actually seemed to believe his own hype and surrounded himself with sycophantic yes-men who would conform all his 'brilliant' thoughts on a subject.
Gerald Posner compares the current anti-war protesters with those (including himself) who protested the Vietnam war.

Three decades later I have no pride in the memory of those protests. Rather, I wonder how it was possible to be so mistaken about real politics and world events. My political gullibility is an embarrassment. The so-called peace movement had completely deluded itself, conveniently ignoring any evidence that countered its agenda. How was it not possible to have seen that the North was a convenient tool for the Soviets to bleed the US and that it represented one of the most repressive old-line communist dictatorships since Stalin? What were we marching for three decades ago? Certainly not for the right of North Vietnam to invade neighboring Cambodia, killing tens of thousands of civilians in a brutal war of submission. Nor did we raucously protest so that two million Cambodians could be exterminated under the Khmer Rouge. Not many of us would have been so enthusiastic in Sproul Plaza had we known that the North Vietnamese secret police would imprison, torture, and kill tens of thousands of political prisoners in a futile, but barbarous, attempt to “cleanse” the country of western influence. (via Dean's World)
Mark Steyn adds his two cents on the human shields.

The only consolation is that the anti-war crowd is having an even harder time keeping it up than I am. The "human shields" are leaving Iraq, disenchanted after discovering that their Iraqi "co-ordinators" wanted to deploy them not at "humanitarian" facilities but at military bases. One fellow said he was used to working with young children and would have preferred to be deployed at an orphanage. Pity the poor Iraqi official who had to explain to the guy that the orphanage has already got all the human shields it needs: they're called "orphans".

The bewildered Brit seemed to find this hard to follow: here's a man who's convinced that Bush and Rumsfeld are slavering to drop a bunch of daisycutters on Iraqi moppets, but thinks they'll cease and desist just because some droning Welsh Leftist is sitting among all those inviting underage targets.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Some of the 'human shields' are becoming disenchanted with their Iraqi hosts.

At least 30 of the so-called human shields, including several Britons, were on their way home last night. Their departure brought a dispiriting end to their heady arrival in Baghdad two weeks ago.

The activists accused the Iraqi authorities of trying to use them as pawns in the war with America. More defections are expected in the coming days.

The bitter flight from Iraq follows a showdown with the Iraqi authorities who demanded that they decamp from their hotels in central Baghdad and take up their self-assigned roles as civilian protectors.

Iraqi authorities trying to use them as pawns?? I guess the positive aspect is that it shows that even the stupidest people are educable, albeit very slowly. (via Andrea Harris)
Rachel has returned from her hiatus. Glad to have you back.
Oh this is shocking, the French are still supplying Iraq with military parts.
Yesterday I wrote a post about how the United Nations has been relatively useless in terms of promoting collective security. Ryan responded with this comment:

I think the fact that you don't remember the UN ever having done anything of use is more due to your fauly memory that to reality. Fortunately the UN has a web page that will remind you, in facts and figures, about some of the organisation's finest achievements.

Admittedly many of these acheivements involvbe things like the environment, human rights, poverty and refugees. Not issues close to your heart, maybe.

Since my post was in regards to the UN promoting peace, I don't think I have to refute their achievements in environment, human rights, poverty and refugees, since they have nothing to do with my original post (though I probably will at a later time). But I can refute their claims of promoting peace. Check out what they list as their achievements in that area:

Maintaining peace and security - By having deployed a total of 42 peace-keeping forces and observer missions as of September 1996, the United Nations has been able to restore calm to allow the negotiating process to go forward while saving millions of people from becoming casualties of conflicts. There are presently 16 active peace-keeping forces in operation.

If my memory serves me correctly, UN peacekeeping forces are notoriously ineffectual from stopping violence. UN peacekeepers did nothing to stop Serbs from massacring muslims in so-called "safe havens." It took NATO bombing to stop the violence. And in Lebanon, Hizbollah launches rockets against Israel a hop skip and a jump away from UN outposts.

Making peace - Since 1945, the United Nations has been credited with negotiating 172 peaceful settlements that have ended regional conflicts. Recent cases include an end to the Iran-Iraq war, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, and an end to the civil war in El Salvador. The United Nations has used quiet diplomacy to avert imminent wars.

The Iran-Iraq war ended because there had been a total of a million lives lost and very little change in border by either side after 8 years of fighting. The Soviets had to withdraw from Afghanistan because the war was costing them dearly and there system was on the verge of collapsing. And the civil war in El Salvador ended because the Communist world collapsed. I don't see how the UN can take credit for these.

After Iraq is liberated how about a free and independent state for the Kurds. Perhaps we can reward the Turks by including that portion Turkey in which the Kurds are the majority. It seems to me that the Kurds are more deserving of a home than the Palestinians.
George Will reminds us that France's coddling of terrorists is hardly new having refused any U.S. overflights in the bombing of Khaddafi in the 80's. The bombing which France openly opposed did change the Libyan leader's outlook on violence against American interests. But then again France seems to learn little from history.
Daniel Henninger wants to start an anti anti-America movement.

Reflecting a view of American intentions widely heard the past few months, Vladimir Simonov of Russia's RIA-Novosti news agency asserts that the U.S. purpose in Iraq is to "signify the official transformation of the USA into the center of a global empire in which Washington weighs the fates of governments, divides up others' economic riches and institutes democracy as it, the USA, understands it."

I believe most Americans couldn't care less how Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Mexico or anywhere else chooses to organize itself, were it not for the fact that U.S. citizens inevitably have to die or pay to clean up the mess their dysfunctional economics and politics so often create. Europeans elites don't like having World War II or the cemetery at Normandy thrown back in their faces, but why not? Hitler didn't rise to power on America's watch. The Serbs by now would have slaughtered every non-Serb in the Balkans if the Americans hadn't gone over. The men of France didn't volunteer to die so that South Korea could thrive free of the crazy North. And most of the billions of dollars that the IMF poured into helping Russia stagger through its post-Soviet corruption came out of the pockets of American taxpayers.
Two of Bin Laden's sons have been captured according to reports.
Asparagirl responds to the Lysistrata Project, named after the Greek comedy by Aristophanes about a group of women who withhold sex from their husbands to get them to give up their constant warfare.

Steven asks about the women being urged by the anti-war activists to go chaste for peace: "What if they actually support this war?"

Well, the solution is pretty obvious, really. Personally, I plan on dedicating tonight's hot-and-heavy boink with my fiance to the Lysistrata Project chicks. Who says political protest should only be defined by denial and inaction? And why not have more fun than the peacenik gals at their own inane game? And this way, there are much better slogans too: Fuck For Freedom! Make Love And War! Have You Hugged a Hawk Today?

And what would their rallying cries be? Frigid For Feckless Foreign Policy? UNdersexed for the UN? My Cunt Belongs To Saddam?

And it's not enough for these "feminists" that sexuality, or even specifically female sexuality, be used as an oxymoronic anti-war weapon, but that it must be denial of female sexuality that is the weapon, that very special tool for keeping their social order and their status quo intact. Sex, after all, should only be given up in the appropriate manner and to the appropriate person, and woe to they who disagree...waitaminute, this is starting to sound kinda familiar...

What also galls me is that these women are claiming not only sex, but femininity itself as a uniformly passive, gentle, loving, pacifist attribute. What rubbish. I shouldn't support waging war on a mass-killing dictator because as a woman, my place is to elevate discourse and consensus and eschew "manly", messy action? They're even implying that if I am not a peaceful, good-mannered, right-thinking woman like them, a woman for peace, then perhaps I am not really a woman at all? And these are the women who are telling me this?
Oh what a travesty, Helen Thomas was snubbed at the press conference. Considering she is no longer a White House correspondent and is simply a syndicated columnist I don't see why they let that dried up hag into the building.
Ralph Kinney Bennett describes the history and trade-offs between SUV's and passenger cars.

Thus there is an inherent incompatibility between cars and SUVs. Different profiles, structures and weights have inevitable consequences in accidents. And guess what? Vehicles with higher centers of gravity will generally roll over easier than those with lower centers. These are simply facts of what we might call automotive diversity. When someone shows up in Central Park walking a Mastiff, those who are walking terriers and poodles may be wary and the Mastiff walker, it is hoped, will act responsibly. That's just the way it is, folks. Should drivers of SUVs be more attentive to the possible effect their vehicles might have on smaller vehicles? Sure. But then, driver attentiveness and particularly courtesy is always a good idea whether behind the wheel of a Geo or a Suburban.
What a farce. Castro just got re-elected. He was, of course, unopposed.
Another interesting piece from Bernard Lewis. Why does none of this surprise me:

In 1940 the French government surrendered. The French-mandated territories in Syria/Lebanon remained under the control of Vichy, which means that they were totally open to the Axis, and became the major base for German activities and propaganda in the Arab world. It was at that time that the Ba'ath Party was founded, with branches in Syria and in Iraq where of course there was the unsuccessful attempt of Rashid Ali to establish a Nazi-type regime. More recent attempts to establish Nazi-type regimes have been more successful.

The ancestry of the Ba'ath may be found not in the Middle East, not in Islam, not in Arabism but in the Nazi Party and the Communist Party, two sources of inspiration which mingle very well in Ba'athist practice - the party as part of the apparatus of government, concerned more particularly with indoctrination, surveillance and repression, and failing every test of government except survival.
The ever brilliant James Lileks on yesterday's press conference:

My favorite question came from Terry Moran - and whoever named him bought the wrong vowel.

“Thank you, sir. May I follow up on Jim Angle's question. In the past several weeks your policy on Iraq has generated opposition from the governments of France, Russia, China, Germany, Turkey, the Arab League and many other countries, NATO and the U.N., and drawn millions of ordinary citizens around the world into the streets in anti-war protests. May I ask, what went wrong that so many governments and peoples around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power? “

Ideal response:

“Oh, many things went wrong, Terry. We failed to understand the extent to which the French are economically entwined with Iraq, and how this war would make their knees vibrate like orgasmic hummingbirds. While we realized the power of Anti-Americanism as a cudgel with which to beat the rest of Europe into accepting a Franco-German hegemony, we didn’t think they’d screw us this hard for short-term political gain. We misunderestimated Turkish protestations of support - although, as you no doubt noted from my earlier comments supporting their EU membership and lauding their role in NATO, we’re certainly not going to kick them in the nads in public like some of our allies have done to us. And while I agree that ordinary citizens have protested our government in foreign capitals, I’d ask you why American security should be determined by 26 year old Belgian college students, and I’d also note that these rallies have been organized by people who’d dance in the street if someone set off a tactical nuclear device in the lobby of the Monsanto corporate office. But more to the point, Terry, I’d ask: What went wrong in your education that you believe that the disapproval of China constitutes failure?”
Check out this great piece on the history of Arab nation-states.
Oxymoron alert. A sensible French politician:

The chorus of voices rising in this country to denounce the position of the United States, Britain, Spain or Italy seem to be forgetting on which side France stands. The choice we have to make is not between war and peace, as those who protest against war say, but whether to enforce international law or not.

Saddam Hussein is a terrible dictator. He has invaded two neighboring countries and used weapons of mass destruction and chemical gases against his own people. Since seizing power in a coup in 1979, he has made daily use of torture to stay in office. Even before the vote on U.N. Resolution 1441, conditions were ripe for military intervention.

The allies had no hesitation in doing so, and in fact have had to bomb Iraqi military installations over the past few years. But these sporadic interventions are clearly not enough. To bring down this despicable regime, France helped in obtaining a unanimous vote on a new resolution, 1441. This step at the U.N. was necessary before any intervention took place. It made it possible to renew the legal framework that has to accompany any military action. France has thus played its role, but let us now take action to get rid of Saddam rather than give him more alibis to hang on in power.

Forget about Saddam for a minute and think of all the heads of "rogue states" who are observing this trial of strength in silence. If we give in to the dictator of Iraq, what can we expect from the dictator of North Korea? And what of all the other states that are far from being models of democracy but who the international community now prevents from subjecting neighbors or bothersome minorities to an equally unenviable fate? Will they behave?
Here is an interesting piece on why feminists don't seem to care about the oppression of muslim women:

Take the pervasive example of "gender feminism," whose adherents include everyone from "Vagina Monologues" author Eve Ensler to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Gender feminists divide the world into men who cause all things evil -- wars, child abuse, the dearth of day-care openings -- and women, who are the source of all good -- reason, tolerance, "maternal thinking," health care and peace on earth.

Gender feminists are not interested in drawing attention to the plight of Muslim women because it would threaten their preoccupation with pointing out male wickedness closer to home. (Not to mention revealing their own complaints as astonishingly trivial.) They oppose military action in Iraq, just as they did in Afghanistan, because they view all war as an expression of male violence, specifically male violence against women.

There is no need, in their minds, to distinguish between Osama, Saddam, and Bush: They're all suffering from testosterone poisoning. Nor do they need to argue that a tyrant like Saddam Hussein can be contained or deterred; the point they are set on making is that male- driven war is the horrid opposite of female nurturing, one captured perfectly by the theme of this year's IWD -- "Women Say No to War: Invest in Caring, Not Killing."

Postcolonial, or multicultural, feminists who tend to congregate in the universities have a different reason than gender feminists for not wanting to speak up about the oppression of women in the Muslim world. For them, the guilty legacy of imperialism has made any judgment of formerly colonized peoples an immoral expression of "orientalism" and a corrupt attempt to brand "the other." If Muslim men could be said to oppress their women, it is in any case the fault of Western imperialists, or more specifically, Western men. "When men are traumatized [by colonial rule], they tend to traumatize their own women," says Miriam Cooke, a Duke professor and head of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies. The postcolonial feminist condemns not just war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but any instances of what Columbia professor Gayatri Spivak calls "white men saving brown women from brown men."

The Vortex Theory

I got this website via spam today. At first I thought it was supposed to be a spoof, but I think they are serious. It's pretty funny anyway. You have to give folks with crackpot theories some credit, they usually have an enormous amount of enthusiasm and self-conviction in their own overriding genius.

This revolutionary vision changes everything we know: 
Einstein’s theory of relativity is now obsolete

Quantum mechanics is obsolete. 

The end of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics renders the scientific disciplines of physics, chemistry, and astronomy obsolete. Shockingly, every science book in the world that deals with anyone of these subjects is obsolete!

Every college science text that deals with any part of anyone of these subjects is obsolete!

Not only will a billion books throughout the world have to be discarded and rewritten, but every science course in every school, college, and university will have to be modified. Unfortunately, millions of students are paying billions of dollars for science and engineering educations that are now obsolete!

I couldn't find much on their site that explained exactly what the 'Vortex Theory' is (I didn't spend lots of time studying it either), only claims that it explains everything at a fundamental level. (They want you to buy their e-book to find out). The whole thing reminds me of Alfred Lawson's (?) Theory of Suction and Pressure which was described in Martin Gardners classic Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Lawson believed that everything was easily explained by either Suction or Pressure (Gravity sucks, Rockets exert pressure, etc -- you get the idea). I don't think he elaborated much more than this, he merely listed all the things which could be explained by Suction and Pressure. (I may be a little unfair here, I don't have Gardner's book in front of me so I am doing this by memory and it's been 30 years since I read it. I will check the book at home this weekend and correct any egregious errors). Lawson also believed he was the greatest genius who ever lived and stated so unequivically whenever he got a chance.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Al-Qaeda's Agent 007

"In some ways, he was al-Qaeda's Agent 007: suave, well educated, a trilingual globe-trotter who mixed easily in other cultures, who engaged women and intrigue with savoir faire and deadly expertise."

Yup, suave with savior faire, sure looks it.
In an apparent effort the keep to the Left of the NYT op-ed page, the Guardian is now publishing opinion pieces by that great socialist humanitarian and multi-millionaire Fidel Castro. Tim Blair has some comments
A little snippet of middle east history.
“[T]he so-called “occupied territories” were formerly parts of Jordan and Egypt. When those countries decided to join others in attacking Israel, they wound up losing some of their turf. That's the way it works: When you start a war and lose — you lose.”
Burt Prelutsky
Some great French jokes from Curmudgeonly & Skeptical:

"France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes."
---Mark Twain

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me."
--- General George S. Patton

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion."
--Norman Schwartzkopf

"We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it."
---- Marge Simpson

"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure"
---Jacques Chirac, President of France

"As far as France is concerned, you're right."
---Rush Limbaugh,

"The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee."
--- Regis Philbin

"The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know."
--- P.J O'Rourke (1989)

"You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."
---John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona

"You know why the French don't want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates America, he loves mistresses and wears a beret. He is French, people."
--Conan O'Brien

"I don't knowwhy people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get the Germans out of France!"
---Jay Leno

"The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag."
--David Letterman

How many Frenchmen does it take to change a light bulb?
One. He holds the bulb and all of Europe revolves around him.

Next time there's a war in Europe, the loser has to keep France.
Good piece on how you don't need people of different color to have diversity:

A few years ago, I was an Executive Story Consultant on the Dick Van Dyke series, "Diagnosis Murder."

There were five on us working in the writers' room. We were, by most measures, a fairly diverse group of individuals. Two of us were born in New York, one in New Orleans, one in Chicago, one in a small town in Utah. Three of us were Jews, ranging from Conservative down to merely cultural; one was an ex-Catholic; one was Mormon.

Four of us were married, one was a confirmed bachelor. Three of us had been married more than once; one of us had been married five times. Between us, we had seven children, one adopted, ranging in age from five to twenty-eight.

Two of us believed in G-d, one was an atheist, one was agnostic, and one of us suspected that the higher power was none other than Dick Van Dyke.

Two of us believed in capital punishment, two were opposed, one wasn't certain. Three of us were college graduates, two of us weren't. Three of us voted for Gore, one for Bush, one for Nader.

Two of us had been journalists, one of us had been a bartender, one had been a West Point cadet, and one had been an aspiring actress.

Two of us rooted for the Yankees, one for the Red Sox, and two of us thought the other three were nuts for liking baseball.

In my opinion, in spite of the fact that we were all Caucasians, all of us in our fifties, and all of us TV writers, we were as different as a random group of five adult Americans is likely to be.

Hardly a day went by that we weren't arguing about something --- and it was only rarely about a story point or a murder clue in one of our scripts.

However, there are those people who would insist that because none of us were black or Hispanic, we couldn't possibly be a model of true diversity in the work place.

Doesn't it seem peculiar that liberals who are so fond of quoting Martin Luther King's remark about judging people by their character, not the color of their skin, are the very ones these days who are so totally hung up on pigmentation?
The US is considering pulling out its troops from South Korea completely. Given the rampant anti-Americanism in South Korea I don't think it is such a bad idea. It seems like a no lose situation for the US. Either the US pulls out and nothing happens and we can use those forces where they are more needed or we pull out and North Korea attacks and we give the South a big "I told you so" as we liberate it again. As Communism is about as much of a threat as the Cincinatti Bengals passing game, we don't have to worry as much about what would happen if parts of South Korea are taken by the North. All victories by them will be temporary.
Skiing may curb leftist tendencies

We found something that our daughter will do with enthusiam, tenacity, and purity of purpose exceeding that which she typically exhibits when arguing with her mother!
More PC idiocy. The head of a school in Yorkshire has banned the story "Three Little Pigs" in classes from fears it will offend Muslims. Showing far more sense than the head of the school, a local Muslim group said she was a complete idiot (well not exactly, I was using editorial discretion).

She claimed it had been school policy for seven years to avoid telling the stories to young Muslim children, following complaints from Muslim parents, and that the books had been removed after a teacher had accidentally breached the policy.
Last night Yorkshire Muslims condemned the move as "nonsense", as their holy book, the Koran, permits followers of Islam to talk or read about pigs as long as they do not eat their meat.
Bradford magistrate Bary Malik, an Ahmadiyya Muslim, said: "Every day Muslims recite passages from the Koran.
"As the Koran mentions pig, Muslims must say that word. All the Koran says you should not do is eat pork, but there is no harm in using the word or reading it.
"This school has gone too far – what will they do next, ban the word cow because Hindus believe the cow is sacred?
"In this world there are many extremists who do not like Jews or Muslims – does that mean that we should ban the words Jews or Muslim out of respect for their views?
"Really it shows a lack of religious understanding. It's nonsense."
(via Best of the Web)
A Swedish environmental group is arguing that burning cardboard, plastics and food leftovers is better for the environment and the economy than recycling.

The Swedish group said that the "vision of a recycling market booming by 2010 was a dream 40 years ago and is still just a dream".

The use of incineration to burn household waste - including packaging and food - "is best for the environment, the economy and the management of natural resources", they wrote in an article for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Technological improvements had made incineration cleaner and the process could be used to generate electricity, cutting dependency on oil.

I personally believe that recycling is a complete waste of time and money and does nothing for the environment. There was a long detailed article in the NY Times magazine in 1996 by John Tierney and an earlier Reason article by Virgina Postrel (sorry it's from 1991 and their archives don't go back that far so no link) that pointed out just that. My wife (no starry-eyed Green), however, has been swayed by the propaganda and feels the garbage guilt. She gets annoyed if I toss plastic bottles in with the regular trash. As someone who believes in the market, I will be convinced that recycling is worthwhile when it is cheaper to recycle it than to landfill or incinerate it and make a new one.
Here is a list of the victims from yesterday's bus bombing (from

Yuval Mendelovitch, 13, from Haifa

Staff Sgt. Barry Oved, 21, from Rosh Pina

Staff Sgt. Eliahu Lacham, 22, from Haifa

Abigail Leitel, 14, from Haifa

Daniel Harush, 16, from Safed

Kmar Abu Khamed, 13, from Daliat al-Carmel

Mitel Katav, 20, from Haifa

Assaf Zur, 17, from Haifa

Tom Hershko, 16, from Haifa and his father

Mordecai Hershko, 41

Marak Takash, 54, from Haifa

Semadar Firstetter, 17, from Haifa

Tal Kirman, 17, from Haifa

Miriam Attar, 27, from Haifa

Elizabetha Katzman, 16, from Haifa

Yes, that's right, 9 of the 15 were officially children. And only 2 were over the age of 30. Note how the press usually decries the Israeli's if any Palestinians under 18 are killed and nobody seems to care that these terrorists specifically targeted innocent kids. And also note that one of the victims is a 13 year old arab child who was riding the bus. They don't seem to care if they kill their own as long as they can kill Jews.
Here is an interesting piece on how the peacenik's position on appeasement is actually far worse than Neville Chamberlain's:

Which was precisely the position that Neville Chamberlain was in.

He was in charge of a country that wanted to avoid another World War at the cost of almost anything short of outright capitulation. He was terrified of what the Luftwaffe could do to London and other English cities; he knew, too, that the English army was absolutely no match for what the Germans would be able to field. Yes, England had a far superior navy—but what good is a Navy in defending Czechoslovakia?

It is easy for us to imagine what we would have done if we had had the present American military force at our disposal at Munich, but Chamberlain did not have this, and he knew just how weak the position was that he had to play from.

And yet there came a point where even Chamberlain knew that he had no choice but to play the cards in his hand, and this came when Hitler refused to meet the English ultimatum to pull out of Poland, at which point Chamberlain declared that a state of war existed between England and Germany.

I offer these reflections not to justify those who are asking us to appease Saddam Hussein, but to condemn them. Had Chamberlain possessed the might of the U.S., and the collective will of its people, Hitler would have been obliterated long before Munich. To make excuses for tolerating an evil on the order of Saddam Hussein when you possess the military might to crush him is not appeasement, but blind folly. The more clearly we understand Chamberlain's position, the more clearly we can see what men like Jimmy Carter are asking of us.
Fred on snow penises at Harvard.
We went to hear the Kodo Drummers at Carnegie Hall last night. It was a great concert. I have about a 8 or 9 recordings of theirs but this is the first time I got to hear and see them in person. It is an amazing experience. They play a large variety of drums but the most impressive are the Miya-Daiko which are large barrel shaped drums the biggest of which was over 4 feet in diameter and over 800 pounds. They play them with rolling pin sized sticks and the performance is beyond virtuositic, it's athletic. When the drums pound you can feel it in your chest. I once had an apartment in NYC on 40th Street and 2nd Ave. It was a so-so apartment but one advantage it had was that the terrace looked over the East River and had an amazing view of the Fourth of July fireworks which they launched off a barge somewhere near 39th Street so the fireworks would literally explode right outside the window so that you could feel the shockwave from the blast. The pounding of the large drums has a similar visceral effect. Buy one of their recordings and go see them the next time they are in town. We didn't bring the kids but I think we will next time. There were several children near us about 7-10 (ours may still be a little too young) who were fascinated with the whole show.
The New York Times is whining about how terrible it would be for the power of the UN to be ruptured over Iraq:

The rupture in the Security Council is not just another bump in the road in the showdown with Iraq. It could lead to a serious, possibly fatal, breakdown in the system of collective security that was fashioned in the waning days of World War II, a system that finally seemed to be reaching its potential in the years since the end of the cold war. Whatever comes of the conflict with Iraq, the world will have lost before any fighting begins if the Security Council is ruined as a mechanism for unified international action.

Note what they are actually saying. When they say "a system that finally seemed to be reaching its potential in the years since the end of the cold war" they are admitting that it was completely useless for its first 45 or so years of existence. So it's not like it was keeping the peace in the world for the last 50 years. I don't think I remember it ever doing anything of use actually. Other than clearing the way for US intervention in Iraq the first time.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Lesbians Against Bush

Don't these people read their own signs?
Here is a great analysis of the peace movement:

Soon it became clear that the "peace movement" was not opposed to all wars, but only to those that threatened the U.S.S.R., its allies and its satellites.

For example, the peaceniks did not object to Stalin's decision to keep the entire Chechen nation in exile in Siberia. The peaceniks did not march to ask Stalin to withdraw his forces from Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. When Stalin annexed 15 percent of Finland's territory, none of the peaceniks protested.

Neither did they march when the Soviets annexed the Baltic states. Nor did they grumble when Soviet tanks rolled into Warsaw and Budapest, and a decade later also in Prague. But when America led a coalition under a U.N. mandate to prevent North Korean Communists from conquering the south, peaceniks were on the march everywhere.

The movement targeted Western democracies and sought to weaken their resolve against the Soviet threat.

Over the years nobody marched against any of the client regimes of the Soviet Union that engaged in numerous wars, including against their own people.

The wars that China's Communist regime waged against the peoples of Manchuria, Tibet, East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia, lands that were eventually annexed and subjected to "ethnic cleansing," provoked no protest marches. Even when China attacked India and grabbed Indian territories the size of England, the peace movement did not budge.

In the 1960s the movement transformed itself into the campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Here, unilateral meant that only the Western powers had to give up their arsenal, thus giving the Soviets a monopoly on nuclear weapons.

The peaceniks spent much of the '60s opposing U.S. intervention in Vietnam.
I'm sorry posting (from me anyway) has been a little light. We just got back from our vacation Monday night and I have been swamped in the office catching up with emails (about 3000) and configuring a new faster computer which is a real pain in the ass, find all the disks for every piece of software you use, re-install then go to the websites to get the latest service packs, updates etc. Anyway I should be back to normal by weeks end. In the meantime here is a very nice picture of my girls taken in back of the house we were staying at. Gorgeous, aren't they?
Michael Barone addresses the critics who argue that Iraq couldn't handle a democratic government.

What is most important about Iraq is not military victory but what comes after. Bush writes, "The United States is guided by the conviction that all nations have important responsibilities." The responsibility of the United States is to build a peaceful, democratic, independent postwar Iraq. Bush has spoken eloquently about the need for democracy and the rule of law in the Middle East, and members of his administration have made serious preparations for setting Iraq on a path to democracy. But he has not said enough yet, at this writing, to prepare the American people for this task. It will not be easy. Many people said in the 1970s that Latin Americans were unsuited for democracy, in the early 1980s that East Asians were unsuited for democracy, in the late 1980s that Eastern Europeans and Russians were unsuited for democracy. Many people worried in 1945 that the Germans and Japanese were unsuited for democracy. There were reasons for their doubts and fears. But the United States took chances on democracy, transforming Germany and Japan into decent independent nations we can live with and helping to move Latin America, East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia in the same direction. We have no choice now but to do the same, first in Iraq and then in other parts of the Middle East.
"Do I remember what I majored in in college? I hate to guess. I think -- I mean, I'm going to guess it was political science, but I'm not sure. It might have been history. I'll check. I hadn't thought of that one."
-Former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D.-Ill.) when asked what her college major was (quote from

I wonder how many newspapers would dare call her a corrupt brainless idiot as they would immediately be called racist. She probably lied about going to college in the first place.
One more thing on Uncle Joe. Could the New York Times have had a more positive obituary of him back in 1953? It makes me sick. Just check out what it says in the header:

Stalin Rose From Czarist Oppression to Transform Russia Into Mighty Socialist State
Dictator Ruthless in Moving to Goals

He Furthered Socialization and Industrialization of World's First Marxist Nation

Led World War II Effort

Hard, Mysterious, Aloof, Rude, He Outlasted the Dreamers and Solidified Power

It's the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death! I think it's time for a song:

Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!

Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She's gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Witch is dead!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Can France be trusted with nuclear capabilities? Has France become a rogue nation and the purveyor of WMD to the totalitarians of the world?
Sometimes actions that are unappreciated when undertaken are warranted for their long term benefits. Did you know that the Israeli astronaut that perished in the Columbia tragedy participated in the raid on the Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981?
An sinus clearing piece in the Independent.UK on the anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin. As you read this remember that the "anti-war" protest organizers ANSWER are proud and staunch Stalinists. (thanks Andrew Sullivan)
Interesting piece from Stratfor on the Chirac-Iraq connection.

French President Jacques Chirac is a pivotal figure on the international scene, whose views on Iraq are of vital concern. Those views are not driven simply by geopolitics, however. The factors that shape his thinking include a long, complex and sometimes mysterious relationship with Saddam Hussein. The relationship is not secret, but it is no longer as well known as it once was -- nor is it well known outside of France. It is not insignificant in understanding Chirac's view of Iraq.
According to a French paper, France has all but ruled out using it's veto to stop a US attack on Iraq, knowing it to be pointless.
They found a North Korean warhead in Alaska! Now isn't this a valid pretext for war? They did just attack Alaska after all.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Will the Universe end in a "Big Rip"?
North Korea is such a scary place:

So tight is the information blackout that defectors report that they believed that their country — one of the world's poorest — was wealthier than South Korea and that the United States donated rice as a form of tribute to the powerful Communist state.