Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Too good not to post about: I got Charles Stross' Hidden Family, the second book in the very promising Family Trade series, in the mail today. Stross, whose Iron Sunrise and Singularity Sky were peerless intellectual marvels of 21st century sci-fi, has written a series that he acknowleges right off the bat is very reminiscent of Zelazny's timeless Amber series, which remains my personal favorite series, and in my opinion the best fiction ever written. Stross has taken Zelazny's very beautiful and well-written but solipsistic and (it pains me to say it, but...) simpleminded vision and transmuted it into something gritty and realistic. Zelazny's feudal lords either purportedly did not oppress anyone (nonroyal Amberites are seemingly thrilled to serve the born-to-power royal family for all eternity without representative gov't, in what amounts to a quasi-religious monarchy) or didn't care much if they did (it is written from the point of view of a prince who can essentially create not only servants but kingdoms devoted to himself, after all), and there's little acknowledgment of the suffering such a primitive existence must necessarily have entailed for the peasantry. Where Zelazny reflects a popular romanticized view of pre-Industrial Age societies, Stross (like S.M. Stirling in the also brilliant Nantucketer series) spares us none of the ugly drudgery, brutality and nearly universal grinding poverty endemic to such times.

Anyway, can't wait to read it, and I'll post a review when I finish.

Too good not to link: Lawrence Kaplan has done an excellent rundown of the United States' pro-democratic efforts around the world, including this gem:
The least publicized example of U.S. involvement is Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution. There, in a country most Americans have never heard of--but home to a vital U.S. airbase--Washington flexed its muscle from the back of a truck. As part of his campaign against political dissent on the eve of parliamentary elections in February, President Askar Akayev cut off power to a U.S.-funded printing press--on which opposition newspapers calling for his ouster depended. Overnight, the U.S. Embassy trucked over generators to restart the presses, which, via articles detailing electoral fraud and growing popular unrest, would soon engineer Akayev's downfall.
Kaplan also notes the lackluster response to those efforts by U.S. critics.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The thing that makes me so viscerally angry when Doonesbury and Nightline and others just list the names of the heroic fallen in Iraq is that in doing so they treat them like traffic accident victims. No mention of the cause they died for. No mention of all the good they did while alive. No mention of 25 million people freed from brutal tyranny and given a chance at democracy, freedom, and a better future. Just a name, and an implied "what a waste of a life."

Today we honor those that fought and died in freedom's cause. It cheapens their memory and tarnishes their legacy to act as though they died for nothing. We should not only honor their sacrifice, but also celebrate what they sacrificed for.

For those who don't know, Belmont Club is now at a backup site.

Operation Lightning is getting underway. Initially at least, the Iraqi forces seem to be holding up well, much better than in the past.
In the day's biggest battle, about 50 gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns at a Baghdad police unit in a half-hour battle. The Iraqi forces successfully fought them off, the U.S, military said
It looks an “inside-out” strategy is being implemented: first secure Baghdad (mostly with Iraqi forces), then chase down insurgents through the rest of Iraq (mostly with U.S. forces). It makes sense given the capabilities and limitations of the two forces. Iraqis manning checkpoints don’t generate the civilian resentment a foreign army does and they understand virtually everything about Iraq (language, culture, who's an Iraqi and who's not) better than our guys can hope to without spending a lifetime there. The U.S. forces are better armed, better armored, more mobile, and have their own air support to take out entrenched enemy positions. And of course the Iraqi forces are still growing quickly; as more of them come on-line they can gradually replace U.S. forces while maintaining their hold on Baghdad

This operation won’t be the end of the insurgency, but if it goes well it could be the beginning of the end.

More Gitmo abuse allegations.

This one puts the other allegations in sorely-lacking perspective.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Victor Hanson's thoughts on the media: he says what we're all thinking, but in prose so much more eloquent and articulate than we mere mortals could ever aspire to.

The primary motivation of jihadists in Iraq is apparently (in retrospect unsurprisingly) ignorance created by anti-American propagandizing in Arab countries.

I've seen several interviews now with U.S. and military personnel in which they describe interrogations with foreign jihadis who are shocked and disillusioned at the reality of Iraq. They've been sold the idea the Americans are wantonly raping and pillaging and oppressing Iraqis (perfectly believable when you've spent the formative years of your life in a madrasah being told Israel and the United States are responsible for all evil in the world), and some jihadis even gave themselves up in disgust when they saw multinational troops were actually rebuilding schools and hospitals, exchanging gifts and smiles with Iraqi kids, and generally working hard to create a better life for the people of Iraq, while the insurgents offer nothing but death and destruction.

We're now reaping the harvest we sowed by tolerating Arab dictatorships that buy off religious extremists (I'm looking at you in particular, Saudi Arabia). That might have been a necessary evil in the Cold War, but there's no excuse for it today. Freedom and democracy are the inalienable right of every human being, and at some level all people know this, particularly in these modern times when clear examples of the kind of lives freedom can provide are available to anyone with a satellite dish or an Internet connection. Denial of these rights inevitably creates resentment, and that resentment will find some channel. In Eastern Europe, it fueled pro-democracy movements that brought down the Soviet Union. In the Arab world, anger and jealousy of the West and frustration with a lack of freedom and prosperity have been coupled with violent religious zealotry to create the jihadist movement. But as with the Communist movement, their vision is a systematic propagandized utopian lie built by a few self-interested cynics to seize power for themselves. That system of misinformation powers the jihadi factory that generates suicide bombings across the world, but as with Communism, discovery of the truth throws a monkey wrench into the gears and will someday (hopefully soon) bring it crashing to a halt. If a free, democratic Iraq can thrive and prosper the example will be obvious to frustrated Muslims and lethal to Islamist ambitions.

Friday, May 27, 2005


But eventually sleep wins out over fighting. Posted by Hello


Boys will be boys. Posted by Hello

UPDATE: Yes, he really is kicking his brother in the face, repeatedly, so hard he's actually airborne in this shot, while also biting him on the leg. It's amazing what they do to each other just playing, without any apparent effect. They can't attack me this way; even through two pairs of wool socks it tears skin off and I have to make them stop (they actually have to work pretty hard at not hurting me when they play, which is sort of ironic considering I outmass them by over 10:1). I guess that fur is better protection from claws and teeth than it looks.

Too good not to link: Victor Davis Hanson's latest, in which he tells Europe, like the resentful, obsessed stalker ex-girlfriend they increasingly resemble: just get over it and get a life of your own -- you're boring us.

Forget gun control. The new rage is knife control. No, really.

The money quote:
The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.
I suppose next will come fork control (are those dangerous tines really necessary when a spoon will suffice? I think not), then spork control, then will come laws dictating who can or cannot own a hammer and nails, until finally humanity is allowed to own nothing but rubber houses filled with soft, fluffy pillows.

And then, we'll finally be safe. Except for our fingers, which could be used for strangling, but those can be surgically removed by doctors, assuming they have knives to do it with.

Well, I saw the Hitchhiker's movie last week. I grew up reading the books (I've read the entire quartet plus the short at least four times), and I found the movie watchable but somewhat disappointing in that a lot of what the characters do (in scenes taken from the book) no longer makes sense because the context in which they do it is different or unstated. This must have been a difficult problem for the producers to address, because those making the movie have to be aware of what's going to be confusing to people who aren't familiar with the book. I think they should have either taken every scene directly from the book, or made a wholly new and different story set in the Hitchhiker universe.

The producers also don't seem to realize what stuff from the books translates well to the screen and what doesn't; in particular they tried too hard to make jokes that are great in print work on screen where they just seem out of place. For instance, the dolphin scene at the beginning struck me as uninspired and silly. The Guide entries weren't the most entertaining choices available in the books, and were done in a sort of deliberately primitive animation that evokes 1980s kiddy cartoons rather than, say, graphics from a Nova or Discovery Channel special, which I think would have been a better parody.

That said, the movie does succeed pretty well in some parts, generally where it's being original as when Ford tries to communicate with what he believes is the "dominant species" on Earth. This is a joke taken from the books, but original in how the joke is applied. The special effects are also a big plus, esp the interior shots of Magrathea. And the acting passes muster; all of the characters are fun to watch, esp Zaphod.

Overall, I think Douglas Adams would be proud of the effort. Given that the movie is going to gross over $50 million, I think we'll probably see a sequel. Hopefully they'll learn from the first movie, and produce a superior second movie.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Not content to confine their attacks to humans, the insurgents have begun a campaign of terror apparently intended to infuriate PETA.
In one of the insurgency's most bizarre attacks to date, someone tied a crude homemade bomb to a dog, which exploded near an Iraqi army patrol south of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, police said. None of the soldiers was harmed in the blast.
Deploy the naked supermodels to Baghdad, ASAP!

Glenn Reynolds notes my prediction has been fulfilled, right down to the letter.

Sigh.

UPDATE: Welcome again, Instapundit readers. Thanks for stopping by. To save you some scrolling, here's the prediction (linked above) I made a couple weeks ago:

PREDICTION: Released detainees current and future will falsely claim the Koran-flushing happened, just as their Al Qaeda training manuals instruct them to do. Liberals in and out of the media will cite the detainees and claim vindication, while remaining utterly oblivious to why some people always complain they're working with for the enemy.

IF AN INDICTMENT IS ISSUED AND THE TRIAL, BEGINS, THE BROTHER HAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:

1. At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.

2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The pic says it all. Posted by Hello

Pixy Misa demolishes this astonishly counterfactual and virulently anti-American Newsweek International piece, asking "Can we question their patriotism now?". We could, if they had any.

It's becoming increasingly obvious how the Korangate story was so readily accepted and published despite being totally inaccurate.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Nicholas Kristof has an inspiring story about a Chinese blogger's one-man crusade against crime and corruption, and more broadly on the Internet's effect of creating democratic debate.

I've been arguing for some time that China will inevitably move toward political liberation as its citizens develop a taste for economic liberty. I think we'll live to see Taiwan and China unified - under one democratic government.

(h/t Instapundit)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Many people I usually agree with like John Hinderaker and Ed Morissey don’t like the filibuster compromise, to put it mildly, but I still think it beats the alternative. This issue had blow-up-in-your-face-overreach written all over it.

What conservatives should remember is that a lasting Republican majority in Congress is a fairly unusual phenomenon post-Depression. Both previous times the GOP won control of both chambers, they lost them both the very next term. The rise of alternative media like bloggers and talk radio has helped a great deal in creating and maintaining the GOP’s current majority, but this Republican leadership has also helped themselves by being smart enough to build consensus and avoid creating high-visibility contention that the mainstream media can feed off of. I shudder to think of the ad spots (and gleeful MSM play-along) use of the nuclear option would have generated in 2006.

There was another angle to the rules change that also had a large potential downside. If the Democrats did regain control (and it’s going to happen someday, face it righties), that could have resulted in a nightmare scenario for centrists and Republicans: once Republicans set the "precedent" of breaking filibusters by rewriting the rules with 51 votes, majority Democrats who are far less married to tradition and strict constructionism than Republicans could simply argue national health care, for instance, is too important to allow the GOP to block (much more important than mere judges). If you think that’s farfetched, remember: the NYT was advocating the end of the filibuster in 1995. Don’t count on the media to defend the Constitution, at least not from Democrats.

So for the moment Bush gets three of his judges, and it’s not clear whether the Dems must invoke "extraordinary circumstances" to filibuster the others; at least they’ll now have to justify meeting that bar on future nomimees if not current. It’s also not clear whether the GOP is forbidden under the agreement from simply waiting until the next Congress to codify the longstanding tradition of not filibustering judicial nominees. Of course, the real fun will begin when a new Supreme Court Justice is nominated.

UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge raises some of these same points. Glad to see I'm not the only sane person out there on this.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Iraq has its problems, but it's heartening to see Iraqis still managed to produce the highest GDP growth rate in the world.

Or course, that's relative to a very bad year, but it does show things got a lot better during a period that some people keep describing as getting worse for all involved.

Some things are rolling along despite the problems.
In less than one year, the newly formed Iraqi Stock Exchange (search) has tripled its trading volume, with growth rates unheard of nearly anywhere else.

"The market since it's opening last year is doing very, very well," said Talab Tabuy, a trader. "Excellent, actually."

Tabuy is betting on companies like Baghdad Soda, Hader Marble and Thesar Agriculture. But the real excitement is over Iraq's banking sector, especially Basra Bank (search).

The indispensable GatewayPundit has coverage of pro-democracy protests in Azerbaijan. These people claiming their inalienable right to freedom and democracy deserve our help and support, just as in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Cedar revolution in Lebanon.

If we accept our moral responsibility to promote democracy, this could be a uniquely pivotal time in human history: we can dream that our grandchildren might grow up in a world completely innocent of tyranny and oppression, rather than a world where Orwell's future vision of "a boot stomping on a human face, forever" is all too real for far too many people.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Spending a lot of time at Lambert's, generally well spent I think as I enjoy the different points of view there. Here's one of the best comments I've seen, from Stickwick.
Ian and Tall Dave, your comments lead to two ideas. 1) You can't have equal outcomes between different groups when IQ is not equal. 2) This is an undesirable situation that ought to change without infringing on other people's rights.

The situation can, in fact, be changed, and there is a historical precedent showing how IQ can be increased. At the time of the first world war IQ testing (which was a new thing) was used to determine suitability of people for various jobs. Jews, as a group, scored low. But because Jewish culture reveres knowledge and learning, they filled the libraries, created schools, and learned like crazy.

The inner cities' hip hop culture, however, does not prize these things. It doesn't matter where the inner city culture came from, but it's there and it's destructive. If I'm right and culture is the determining factor we have no choice but to change it.

The political right has made mistakes with regard to this, the biggest of which is the war on drugs which has made the drug culture extremely profitable. As much as I hate drugs, we have to look at the fact that this thing has been a horrible failure and created problems for the inner city. It's time to repeal the drug laws. Now, for those on the political left, if they are honestly concerned about their fellow Americans, they have to acknowledge that blaming and punishing white people doesn't help, and that throwing money at a dysfunctional culture makes the problem worse.

And this relates to what Ben said about the correlation between abortion and crime rates. There are plenty of poor people who produce children who become functioning members of society rather than criminals. Second generation children of poor immigrants from places like the West Indies and Asia tend to do very well in America. It's not a matter of poverty or of race -- the only difference between these people and the ones who abort potential criminals is one of culture.

So if you want to improve the outcome, the question becomes how to change the culture.
My thoughts:
Amen to that. People really need to start talking about the culture issue instead of praising everything good or bad about a culture as multiculti heritage and therefore uncriticizable. Similar to your Jewish example, Asian-Americans have a higher average income/education than white Americans because their culture values hard work and education.

I also agree the drug war has horrible unintended consequences everywhere from U.S. inner cities to S America. People probably shouldn't use drugs, but then there's a lot of things people probably shouldn't do that they're free to do as long they don't hurt anyone else. You can't litigate stupid or self-destructive behavior out of existence. You would think the Right would have learned restricting freedom didn't result in greater societal morality with Prohibition, but apparently not.

One of the worst effects of the drug war is the effect on inner-city culture and economics, as described in "Drug Crazy" by Mike Gray and also in "Freakonomics" which I have on order and am looking forward to.

Friday, May 20, 2005


And they're delicious, too! Posted by Hello


Brothers still make good pillows. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT SEMI-RANDOM RAMBLINGS!

Well, I was over at Lambert's blog, and I happened to run into what is quite possibly the smartest man in the world. He is an expert on Iraq, and he has a solution for the all the problems there. The solution is: have the U.S. leave! And then, finally, things will start getting better. I know what you're thinking: genius. Remember, you heard it here first! But here, let him explain.

The first thing that will happen is that the violence will be reduced dramatically.

1. Occupation forces and their Iraqi proxy troops commit the majority of the violence, and the most devastating violence. That violence will cease immediately as soon as the occupation forces are no longer in the the country to commit it.

2. The Americans have proven their unparalelled ability to take actions guaranteed to destabilize any situation, and cause severe escalation of violence. In fact, they have shown they are experts at making any situation worse. They have also shown their aptitude for deepening existing divisions, and creating new ones where none existed before. It will only benefit Iraq and Iraqis to have their destabilizing influence removed.

3. Despite all the publicity to the contrary, independent studies (most notably the one done by CSIS) have shown clearly that the overwhelming majority of "insurgent" attacks are not against civilians, but against occupation forces and other elements of the occupation. With the occupation over and the occupier gone that violence will cease, or be reduced significantly.

4. With the hated occupation over, public support for violence will decrease significantly.

5. Iraqi security forces will no longer be stuck taking orders from the occupying power, will no longer be used as proxies and cannon fodder for the occupation, and no longer be targets for anti-occupation forces. They will be freed to do the job of protecting Iraqis from criminal and foreign elements.

The Americans have proven beyond question their inability to do anything but make matters worse. From the day they dropped their first bombs the situation has deteriorated steadily as a result of their ignorance, arrogance and incompetence. If they were gone the greatest destabilizing factor would be taken out of the equation. The damage is done, and it will take quite some time for Iraq to stabilize, but the only way to reverse the downward spiral is for the Americans to get out completely.

No word yet on whether Condoleeza Rice has endorsed the plan, but I can only assume such a self-evidently brilliant plan will be implemented as soon as word of it spreads.

UPDATE: But wait, there's more! Our Iraq savant goes on:
Dave, it is no secret that in 1991 the U.S. deliberately and methodically destroyed electrical, water, telephone, and sewage infrastructure. That fact is documented in U.S. government documents.
""There is no democratically elected government in Iraq.""

What you call the "government" was not elected, it was chosen in a non-democratic, and convoluted way. The election held in January did not even meet the minimum requirements for a democratic, free, fair, legitimate election. Therefore, there is no democratically elected government in Iraq.
We bombed sewage plants? The election monitors were wrong? I did not know that.

UPDATE: It's official:
according to test scores I do formally qualify as a genius.
I think we all suspected, but formal confirmation is always welcome.

Gatewaypundit notes rumblings of democratic reform in Syria. I find this very encouraging.

Freedom and democracy are the inalienable right of every human being. People everywhere are beginning to wake up to this reality.

Amity Shlaes notes the CAFTA accord is not receiving the attention it should as a foreign policy issue, and may fall victim to domestic special interests. That would be very unfortunate. Free trade has done far more to lift people out of poverty in the last half-century than all the efforts of the UN, the World Bank and the IMF put together. This is especially important to the people of Central America now: with the election-rigging Chavez arming up and buddying up to the “revolution has no time for elections” Castro regime, the people of Central America need access to U.S. markets, or some may buy into the unfree anti-democratic propaganda offered by the local dictators, which will be unfortunate for everyone involved. As Amity quotes Bernard Aronson: "ordinary people want to know that Democracy can deliver a better life." We need to continue proving that it can, and will.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Speaking of journalistic shame, Dan Rather accepted a media award today, and went out of his way to praise the people behind Memogate. No, I’m not kidding. Speaking about their work on Abu Ghraib (“The Overhyped Story of Our Time”), Rather said:
"It took guts, and they had them."
Well, they had something, anyway, but I think it more closely resembles a visceral hatred of the U.S. military. I think “guts” would have applied more to an Iraqi journalist daring to uncover the far worse Abu Ghraib abuses under Saddam. Because unlike the U.S. military, which promptly apologized for and investigated the abuses and eventually punished the abusers, Saddam would likely have thrown the reporter into Abu Ghraib for some first-hand experience with atrocities.

Gunga Dan went on:
"Never give up, never back up, never give in while pursuing the dream of integrity filled journalism that matters."
No, seriously, stop laughing. He really said that. Could I make this stuff up?
“I don't have a legacy. I'm not going to have a legacy, and I shouldn't have a legacy. I work in news," Rather said.
Unfortunately, you do have a legacy, and will, and should, though given the nature of your legacy I can understand why you’d prefer to think otherwise.

Courage, Dan. Courage.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek lied, people died.

Well, the MSM protestations of the blogosphere's lack of standards have once again blown up in their faces. What happened to those vaunted “checks and balances” and “levels” of editing? I think we know what happened: every one of the editors said “Wow! What a great U.S. military-bashing story! Fits our agenda perfectly! Fact-checking? Who cares! Get that story printed!” This is what happens when 80% of journalists and 90% of editors have the same point of view: the alarm bells of caution are drowned out by the memes bouncing around the echo chamber. Why do we need to check whether American soldiers are really desecrating the Koran when we all know it must be true? Only now, after 30 people (and counting) have been killed, does it occur to them maybe they should have gotten some actual evidence before publishing an inflammatory rumor. It’s not that they didn’t learn from Rathergate (Why do we need to check whether Bush really received special treatment in the National Guard when we all know it must be true?), it’s just that the MSM’s perception of reality hasn’t changed enough to prevent the same kind of mistake from happening again, and probably it never will.

There’s also a less-explored side of this controversy. We have a crucifix – to Christians, the embodiment of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for humanity and the most holy symbol of Christianity – being put in a jar of urine and pictures of Mary – Mother of God to billions of Christians – smeared with feces, and instead of being reviled as “desecrations” these displays are celebrated in museums as “controversial” forms of “art” – with public funding, no less. Think you could get an NEA grant to put the Koran in a toilet or a Buddha statue in a jar of urine? Apparently what’s “controversial” and what’s “desecration” depends on whose God you’re mocking.

UPDATE: Apparently Newsweek decided to go with the story after "implicit confirmation" from a senior military official, "implicit confirmation" in this case meaning "he didn't say it wasn't true." Cute. Brings to mind other phrases like "plausible deniability" or "collateral damage," as in "This implicit confirmation dodge will provide us plausible deniability regarding the collateral damage caused by our shoddy biased reporting."

PREDICTION: Released detainees current and future will falsely claim the Koran-flushing happened, just as their Al Qaeda training manuals instruct them to do. Liberals in and out of the media will cite the detainees and claim vindication, while remaining utterly oblivious to why some people always complain they're working with the enemy.

IF AN INDICTMENT IS ISSUED AND THE TRIAL, BEGINS, THE BROTHER HAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:

1. At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.

2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.

(h/t LGF)

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Powerine has an article by James Bennet up in which he argues the insurgents are the equivalent of Aztecs or mass murderers who kill simply for the sake of killing. I have to disagree.

The insurgents do have concrete goals and ideology beyond merely killing. There are two groups here: the FREs and other wannabe dictators; their goal is seize power by force. Then there are the terrorists; their primary objective is to snuff an idea they view as the biggest threat to their ideology: Arab democracy. Free democracy cannot be allowed to prosper in Iraq, because it may provide a model to disaffected Arabs who the Islamists believe may then move toward democratic reform rather than the Islamists’ religious statism which is currently the only serious political alternative to the status quo autocracies in the region. Both factions believe if they stick it out long enough and make the war unpopular enough in the West, the U.S. will eventually tire of fighting and leave Iraq to them, as happened in Vietnam, Beirut and Somalia (thus the alliance of convenience). At that point they’ll fight it out, as the Viet Cong and the NVA did after the U.S. abandoned S Vietnam.

They are utterly without morals or human decency, but to view them as mere “serial spree killers” is to seriously misunderstand (and perhaps underestimate) who they are and how to fight them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sometimes when you lie down with dogs, you not only get fleas but your ass bitten off as well.

As U.S. Marines clean up the ratlines connecting the insurgents to men and arms in Syria and border areas, it's interesting to note that the FREs (former regime elements) sowed an alliance of convenience with Al Qaeda terrorists, and have now reaped a bitter harvest: the suicide bombings (which kill mostly civilians) are causing even Sunnis to turn against them (as Chrenkoff notes today) where before they might have been more sympathetic to the FRE's cause. Now Sunnis are lining up by the thousands to join the free democratic forces of New Iraq, and one suspects they will vote far more enthusiastically in the coming elections as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Who let Jim Lampley near a keyboard? I mean, seriously, this Huffington Celebrity Blog is like two days old and he's already turning it into a fever swamp. The really scary thing is, I think he really, sincerely believes what he’s writing.

I'm starting to think this whole Huffington gliterati-pretending-to-be-literati deal is going to turn out to be another of those "gee-aren't-celebrities-crazy" semi-spoofs like “The Osbournes,” "The Simple Life with Paris Hilton" or "The Anna Nicole Smith Show," except in those cases the comedy was intentional and arguably quite a bit less cruel. After all, they weren’t asking Ozzy Osbourne to formulate well-thought-out opinions on the Kyoto Treaty or Paris Hilton to expound on the implications of Bush’s visit to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

UPDATE: Lou Minatti notices there are other celeb bloggers on Huffington who are almost as delusional and paranoid as Lampley. If someone were trying to come up with a way to expose the posing-and-preening class as idiots, they'd be hard put to devise a better plan than this.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Cathy Sepp survives a frightening brush with a religious zealot who screams at her for questioning the rationality of his beliefs.

Steve in the comments makse a good point. Teachers meet with parents, and you can bet the teachers unions do everything they can to help teachers make it clear which side of this fight parents should be on (excuse me, which side of the fight is best for the children).

Some of them may be lousy educators, but you can bet they are all great campaign workers. And they've got the lobbying clout to prove it: education spending has doubled even while test scores dropped. To these people, accountability is a four-letter word.

(h/t Michelle Malkin)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Some very, very important science being done out there:

Single malt whisky 'can protect you from cancer', conference told

LONDON (AFP) - Single malt whisky can beat the threat of cancer, thanks to high levels of a powerful antioxidant that kills cancer cells, a medical conference in Scotland was told.
Jim Swan, an independent consultant to the global drinks industry, said that, according to research, single malt whisky contains "more ellagic acid than red wine".

I keep a botle of Glenlivet around, but it's pretty much just for guests. Maybe I'll have to rethink that.

But alas, there's one at every party: the buzzkill.

Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK was dubious.
"There is considerable data documenting the link between drinking excess alcohol and the increased risk of a number of cancers, particularly in smokers," she said.
"Ellagic acid is a powerful antioxidant, but that does not mean it is necessary to hit the bottle," she said, noting that the ellagic acid can also be found in soft fruits.


Figures.

StrategyPage notes we're blessed with stupid enemies.

The war has become 95% of free Iraqis vs. about 5% who want to put themselves back in charge. The "insurgents" are utterly bankrupt of ideology; they don't even pretend to be working "for the people" like leftist insurgencies during the Cold War did. Their philosophy is "we'll kill people till we get what we want."

And why shouldn't they think that way? Hey, it was how Saddam ruled the country for decades. I guess there's a kind of inertial stupidity working there. They don't seem to realize that Iraqis aren't pining for the good old days, and are lining up for the chance to die for democracy and freedom. When your best strategy is to attack the long lines at recruiting centers for soldiers to fight against you, that should tell you something about the popularity of your movement and the likelihood of its success. Especially when the lines re-form right after you bomb them.


Meanwhile, on top of a door... Posted by Hello


You need to admit you have a problem. Posted by Hello