Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Not The Least Bit Sorry

Bush Maximus
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Erik at No Pasaran has found a new site where despite how sorry some Americans are, they're grateful we're not changing administrations. Not too many entries yet, but the site does point to an even better site where Americans express their pride in reelecting George W. Bush. One of them even made this lovely picture to explain his or her feelings about it. Isn't it precious?

A GMO Plant Even A Green Could Love

Cool minesweeping plant spotted over at Boingboing. This is the kind of thing I had hoped scientists were working on. Good work, boffins!

Powerful Medicine

Check out this fantastic tribute to the troops Gerard at American Digest found. Takes a while to load, but absolutely worth it.

For Every E-Dog You Virtually Pet, A Real Dog Goes Unpetted

Like Gerard, I find this adorable, but there's something distressing about it unless you're on a space capsule or something. There are far too many strays out there to make virtually petting an imaginary dog anything but kind of sad. You could both do better . . .

New Study: Quit Your Job or Die

Stress is a killer, and an ager too. Yes, ager is a word today. Anyways, stress can age you at the genetic level. So stop stressing, dude. We have robots now, and it's time they got to work.

Monday, November 29, 2004

My New Favorite Site

Narco Nympho
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I came across this Boingboing post today, and ended up spending about an hour looking at hilarious old paperback covers here. Picking just one of the literally hundreds of priceless book covers to post here took a while, but it was fun.

Some of my favorite subheads from other covers:

"Primeval Passions Lured Them to Lust's Outlands!"

"She Lusted in Sin Orgies and Reefer Brawls!"

"They Came from Filthy Slums - Where Even Their Dreams Were Dirty!"

"Reckless Desire Ruled Their Shame Cult!"

"They Sailed on Boiling Seas of Depravity!"

And finally, from a book on the cover of which is depicted a naked woman being beaten with a broom by an unseen hippie, "Life Was an Orgy for These Passion Bums!"

Best Comic Ever

One of the better Achewood strips is up today. Loves it.

Now That's a Rule I Can Live With

From Drudge, the Japan High School Baseball Federation has forbidden a very particular fashion statement, though the why of it is not really explained in the story. That's a shame, there has to be a reason to do such a thing. Doesn't there?

Voting Didn't Work, Now Let's Try Dumb Stuff

Little Green Footballs has come across a really dumb anti-Bush plan. And if THAT doesn't work, they're going to scowl at him, and maybe flip the bird.

Seems like a fair amount of liberal energy goes into apologizing and other symbolic but completely ineffective modes of dealing with ideological failure, and not much is set aside for choosing a decent candidate, or platform. Which is fine by me.

Crazy, Baby, Crazy

Check out this Japanese sex manual from the '60s on Boingboing. I like the way they use a real woman and a mannequin to show sexual positions but won't actually show them touching.

The Price of Honor

Over at Power Line they've discovered that the one member of John Kerry's Swift Boat crew who spoke against him is in trouble, and it looks a little fishy.

Even More of a Disaster than We Thought

Instapundit points us to a fine continuation Alexander the Great movie bashing on Belmont Club. Some really fascinating stuff in the comments.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Now I'm Just Like All the Other Suckers

I just started reading The Da Vinci Code, which everyone seems to like. I worry that it will be like Michael Crichton, where you can really see the guy really flailing away behind that curtain, but so far it's decent. A little clumsy at times. Just finished reading Combat Camera Man by Jerry Joswick and Lawrence A. Keating, a fascinating account of one of the pioneers of aerial combat photography doing a whole lot of harebrained and dangerous things in WWII. Joswick was taking baby and wedding pics in the US when he got caught up in WWII and became part of the 9th Air Force Combat Camera Unit, flying with bombers and even fighters (tucked in behind the pilot without a parachute) and capturing what was then the best aerial war footage ever.

Joswick took part in the raid on the Ploesti oil fields, the only cameraman of 16 to survive it, and ran around in the desert with British Commandos and Ghurkas, collecting Nazi ears and shooting up advance airfields among the sand dunes of Africa. Later in the war, he landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and survived the hedgerows and later the Battle of the Bulge, where he shot pictures of the Nazi execution of American prisoners at Malmedy, and became a first-time paratrooper during a combat jump into Germany. Some interesting points in his book:

Running around with Rangers on D-Day, Joswick finds that some of the snipers giving Allied troops trouble are French, and even takes fire from a French woman. Some days later, he watches some Paratroopers knocking out bunkers from the cliffs above by attaching dynamite to ropes and swinging it into firing ports by trial and error, successfully, and with an Airborne corporal, finds a cache of French and German money, which they immediately lose to an officer walking by. Frankly I could go on forever with Joswick but will stop here, there are probably a million other fascinating WWII memoirs and I've only read about 100 of them. Will report on the next one soon . . .

After the Da Vinci Code, that is.

And Dan, Just One More Thing: I Hate You

Ding frickin' Dong, Dan Rather is leaving us in March. Ever since I read Bernard Goldberg's Bias and learned that Rather was known as "The Dan" and acted a most Godfather-like part in protecting and projecting his version of reality, I've wanted to sjambok him on the nuts. The trust people put in the word of a major network anchor is thoroughly unreasonable, and nowhere can a man or woman bend the minds of others to their will more easily than from that seat of informational power, the anchor desk. When you abuse it, you must be sjamboked on the naughty bits.

Serendipitously, Gerard at American Digest points to this post by Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping to reinforce my feelings on the topic.

Remind Me Never To Make A Movie Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities Doesn't Like

Wow that smarts. I figured this would be mediocre at best, they can't do justice to a life like Alexander the Great's in any film, but I had no idea it was so awful. Read Jeff's roundup of commentary, it's far more eloquent than anything I could add.

P.S. My little sister no longer finds Colin Farrell interesting or attractive, and is apparently grossed out by him. How the hell did THAT happen? Is it because he's a filthy man whore?

UPDATE: Do read the Victor Davis Hanson review Jeff links to, it's priceless. Why do they keep fucking up biopics when there's so much fantastic material to work with? I've been thinking about what a great movie could be made about Americans flying for the RAF during the Battle of Britain, and now it's being made with Tom Cruise, and I'm terrified it's going to a) suck and b) leave out all the good stuff, like "Alexander" apparently has. Sheesh.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Holy Smokes

This will shock and dismay you. It should.

What the Deal Is With That One-Point Safety

Texas played Texas A&M yesterday, and scored a one-point safety. I had no idea such a thing existed. Beldar explains.

Even after this magical event, Cal is ahead of Texas in the BCS. That sound right to anyone?

Friday, November 26, 2004

He Knows of What He Speaks

H.L. Mencken: "A man's women folk, whatever their outward show of respect for his merit and authority, always regard him secretly as an ass, and with something akin to pity. His most gaudy sayings and doings seldom deceive them; they see the actual man within, and know him for a shallow and pathetic fellow. In this fact, perhaps, lies one of the best proofs of feminine intelligence, or, as the common phase makes it, feminine intuition."

Heartwarming and Beautiful

Dean's World links to a really nice Thanksgiving photo essay at One Hand Clapping.

Just People Like You and Me

Well, not exactly. Charles at Little Green Footballs has a post that will nauseate and infuriate you, about genital mutilation among European Muslims. When Islamic law trumps the law of the land, that's what you call a clash of civilizations. Welcome to the second Hundred Years War, just 75 more to go!

Right in Front of Your Face

Powerline points out a photo essay about goings-on in Fallujah that should not be missed. There really are bad guys in the world, and we're killing them in Fallujah. Good riddance.

Good Eye, Gerard

Gerard at American Digest has found something interesting in his past. VERY interesting.

Maybe It's Just Resting

Instapundit notices that capitalism is dead. I had no idea, but it makes perfect sense.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Nutty Asian Products

From Boingboing, an odd cellphone trend that I sincerely hope makes it to America.

The Same Old Bitchy Story

Check out this post from Jessica's Well for a trip down memory lane. Things really don't change much over time, I guess.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I passed 1,000 visitors today, thanks everyone. Hope to continue this for a while, and I appreciate people tuning in from time to time. If you read this blog and don't have your own, think about it. It can take up as little or much time as you like, and frankly some of the best blogs are ones that post infrequently. Don't hesitate to send me things you find interesting, I'll post what I like and credit you.

And if you enjoy this blog, spread the word. I really enjoy the comments people have left, keep doing that. Tell me what you're doing where you are. What you're wearing, baby. The weird stuff.

So let's get naked!

Fred and His Girlfriend

Mid-Toss Fred
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Meet Fred's girlfriend, otherwise known as one or the other of a pair of cylindrical throw pillows my wife keeps on the bed. Fred tends to dominate one or the other, biting it and sort of mounting it (it's not very big, so it doesn't really work out ergonomically, not that it stops him from trying). He then picks it up by the remaining tassel (we're down to one on each) and gives it a shake.

He gets very excited about it, and growls like a little monster the whole time, which gets choppy when he's really whipping it back and forth, kind of like a starter motor. This picture is mid-toss, and features Fred's flying ears, He seems to have almost totally recovered from his back injury earlier this year. Yay for Fred!

Yes, Virginia, Most Iraqis Hate the Insurgents

Natalie Solent posts about a London Times story about how Fallujah residents felt about the assholes who have been flocking to the city to get killed by coalition forces. Here's a niblet:

As US and Iraqi troops mopped up the last vestiges of resistance in the city after a week of bombardment and fighting, residents who stayed on through last week's offensive were emerging and telling harrowing tales of the brutality they endured.

Flyposters still litter the walls bearing all manner of decrees from insurgent commanders, to be heeded on pain of death. Amid the rubble of the main shopping street, one decree bearing the insurgents' insignia - two Kalashnikovs propped together - and dated November 1 gives vendors three days to remove nine market stalls from outside the city's library or face execution.

The pretext given is that the rebels wanted to convert the building into a headquarters for the "Mujahidin Advisory Council" through which they ran the city.

Another poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hardline cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.

Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.

Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels.

The people who perpetrate such atrocities are what Michael Moore calls "minutemen." Did I remember to thank him for helping W get reelected?

Bottom Feeders On Parade

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities (who I have until now failed to blogroll, unaccountably) has another amazing post today, this one about Kevin Sites, the cameraman who shot the footage of the Marine who capped a wounded, unarmed insurgent in Iraq a while ago. He is defending the fact that the bad guys are using his footage to rally the enemy thusly:

No one, especially someone like me who has lived in a war zone with you, would deny that a solider or Marine could legitimately err on the side of caution under those circumstances. War is about killing your enemy before he kills you.

In the particular circumstance I was reporting, it bothered me that the Marine didn't seem to consider the other insurgents a threat -- the one very obviously moving under the blanket, or even the two next to me that were still breathing.

I can't know what was in the mind of that Marine. He is the only one who does.

But observing all of this as an experienced war reporter who always bore in mind the dark perils of this conflict, even knowing the possibilities of mitigating circumstances -- it appeared to me very plainly that something was not right. According to Lt. Col Bob Miller, the rules of engagement in Falluja required soldiers or Marines to determine hostile intent before using deadly force. I was not watching from a hundred feet away. I was in the same room. Aside from breathing, I did not observe any movement at all.

Fuck you, Kevin Sites. It's not your place to judge that kid, and fuck you for putting yourself and your work on a par with that young soldier, who is defending your right to carry a camera while he is asked to carry a rifle and be shot at, and his work. No one deserves a camera peering over their shoulder, especially when the footage encourages the enemy. Stop being a moral relativist when it suits you and an absolutist when you want to sit in judgement, Kevin.

Like Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities so eloquently says, "he (Sites) comes off as an unremarkable narcissist of the Oprah generation, for whom the most important aspect of any situation is how it makes you feel. The burdens of war are unforgiving for all of us, Sites intones, as if we care about his private conflicts. The only important things are the effects of releasing his video - people will be killed - & its implications for the misguided concept of embedding moral relativists in life & death struggles."


Ha-Ha (like Nelson, the bully from the Simpsons)

Sounds like maybe Australia can stop being so rude and snotty about how fat we are, because they're fatter! From Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine.

Instant Religion

Gerard at American Digest has a riddle that will evoke a powerful reaction when you learn the answer. I still haven't stopped jerking involuntarily and I saw it 5 minutes ago.

The Best Video Game Ever

Over at the Llama Butchers they're linking to a list video games that reminds me what the Best Video Game Ever was, and probably still is, if I could find one somewhere.

More Unintentional Hilarity

Power Line posts a link to a site called Apologies Accepted, a response to this idiocy that is, if anything, even more offensively stupid than the original.

I just can't get enough of seeing people in China and North Korea tell us how awful our government is, and how stupid the majority of Americans are for not seeing through George W. Bush. I guess you can see other peoples' problems better than your own, eh what?

Reasons to Be Happy? There Are Many

Jay Tea at Wizbang has a heartwarming list of reasons to be happy today. Good stuff.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Jacques Chirac, Dickhead Extraordinaire

The indispensable Christopher Hitchens takes Monsieur Poopweiner to task, as should all decent humans. If ever a person revoked his or her own right to blather on about how the world ought to be, it was Jacques Chirac. As author C.S. Forester (of Hornblower fame) once titled a novel, Death to the French!

Well, not all of them, but at least Chirac:

Here is a man who had to run for re-election last year in order to preserve his immunity from prosecution, on charges of corruption that were grave. Here is a man who helped Saddam Hussein build a nuclear reactor and who knew very well what he wanted it for. Here is a man at the head of France who is, in effect, openly for sale. He puts me in mind of the banker in Flaubert's "L'Education Sentimentale": a man so habituated to corruption that he would happily pay for the pleasure of selling himself.

Here, also, is a positive monster of conceit. He and his foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, have unctuously said that "force is always the last resort." Vraiment? This was not the view of the French establishment when troops were sent to Rwanda to try and rescue the client-regime that had just unleashed ethnocide against the Tutsi. It is not, one presumes, the view of the French generals who currently treat the people and nation of Cote d'Ivoire as their fief. It was not the view of those who ordered the destruction of an unarmed ship, the Rainbow Warrior, as it lay at anchor in a New Zealand harbor after protesting the French official practice of conducting atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific. (I am aware that some of these outrages were conducted when the French Socialist Party was in power, but in no case did Mr. Chirac express anything other than patriotic enthusiasm. If there is a truly "unilateralist" government on the Security Council, it is France.)

We are all aware of the fact that French companies and the French state are owed immense sums of money by Saddam Hussein. We all very much hope that no private gifts to any French political figures have been made by the Iraqi Baath Party, even though such scruple on either side would be anomalous to say the very least. Is it possible that there is any more to it than that? The future government in Baghdad may very well not consider itself responsible for paying Saddam's debts. Does this alone condition the Chirac response to a fin de regime in Iraq?

Alas, no. Recent days brought tidings of an official invitation to Paris, for Robert Mugabe. The President-for-life of Zimbabwe may have many charms, but spare cash is not among them. His treasury is as empty as the stomachs of his people. No, when the plumed parade brings Mugabe up the Champs Elysees, the only satisfaction for Mr. Chirac will be the sound of a petty slap in the face to Tony Blair, who has recently tried to abridge Mugabe's freedom to travel. Thus we are forced to think that French diplomacy, as well as being for sale or for hire, is chiefly preoccupied with extracting advantage and prestige from the difficulties of its allies.

Fuck that guy, and France in general. Talk about pissing in the pool . . .

. Thanks to Beautiful Atrocities for the heads up

It's About Time They Paid Us Back for All That Fish

For all we've done for the dolphins, finally they do something for some of us. I guess maybe we shouldn't eat them now.

Look, Robin, the Bat Signal

bush help us
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
It's hell in the Ivory Coast these days. I hope somebody helps this guy, because the French and UN sure won't. Sorry, kid, we're all tied up in the Middle East. Try to hang on . . .

Picture from a fantastic post at Freewillblog.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Ultimate in Geek

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
From this lovely post on Boingboing. If you ain't got dis shit, you ain't even tryin'.

Come to Jesus, Teen Wolf

This site is "dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities." I have no response to that.

From Boingboing

I Don't Think He Had the Right License for That

A terrible story today about a dispute over a hunting spot that ended in a slaughter. Here's the beginning:

BIRCHWOOD, Wis. (AP) - A deer hunter shot and killed five people and injured three others in northwestern Wisconsin following a dispute about a tree stand during the hunt's opening weekend, authorities said.

The 36-year-old alleged gunman, who lives in the Minneapolis area, was arrested Sunday afternoon, Sawyer County sheriff's officials said. Jake Hodgkinson, a deputy at the county jail, identified the suspect as Chai Vang but would give no additional details.

The incident began when two hunters were returning to their rural cabin on private land in Sawyer County when they saw the suspect in one of their hunting platforms in a tree, County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle said. A confrontation and shooting followed.

It's not known who shot first, Zeigle said.

Both hunters were wounded and one of them radioed to the cabin a quarter mile away. Other hunters responded and were shot. About 20 shots were fired, but it's unclear who shot them, he said.

The dead included four males - including a teenage boy - and a woman, Zeigle said. A father and son were among them, he said. Some of the victims were shot more than once.

All five, from the Rice Lake area, were dead when officers arrived to the area in southwestern Sawyer County, he said. Authorities found two bodies near each other and the others were scattered over 100 yards.

``It's absolutely nuts. Why? Over sitting in a tree stand?'' asked Zeigle.

Zeigle said the suspect was ``chasing after them and killing them,'' with a SKS 7.62 caliber semiautomatic, a common hunting weapon. Wisconsin's statewide deer gun hunting season started Saturday and lasts for nine days.

Surely the "gunman" can be upgraded from "alleged" to something stronger, hmm? What a godawful scene it must have been. I hope the families of the victims can find a way to forgive me for making light of a truly tragic experience. I can't help it, baby, it's just the way I am.

Don't Make Us Come Up There and Invade You

Damn these people need a hobby. It's one thing to not understand the world and how it works, but entirely another to ask the rest of us to stop getting things done while you figure it out. Feel free to form your own remedial class about the war, just don't slow the regular class down, hmmkay?

From Little Green Footballs

Death Warmed Over

While attending Lew B's birthday party last night, I ate something dodgy. Have spent most of the morning vomiting up things that smell like Liquid Smoke and kerosene and being otherwise displeased. More later on this dark, rainy day in Austin.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Finding Your Political Voice

Through vandalism, as part of a class project at a California university. I swear, the kids today, with their clothes and their hair, and that godawful music! Not to mention all the meddling . . .

From Pejmanesque

Now that You've Decided to Smoke Crack, Whatever Shall You Call It?

Sure, you've made the leap; you're a crackhead. But there's a lot more to it than being dissheveled and having a crazy look in your eyes; you need to know the lingo, too. If some other crackhead asks, "You want some of this tragic magic?" you should know that means crack dipped in PCP.

From the indispensable Coolgov.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Sure Hate to See This

But in the context of the last 228 years, I'm not sure a high incidence of rare blood infection is anywhere near the worst thing the American Fighting Man, or Woman, has endured in terms of exotic disease. God bless those fine people and let's hope the lab coats crush this one.

Hoax or Not, This is Creepy

Boingboing has a very strange link today, to a guy who purports to be drinking nothing but Pepsi Spice for 45 days straight. Seems likely to be fake, but still pretty riveting reading, if you like to know about the medical misfortunes of others. I know I do.

Friday, November 19, 2004

One of the Best Things about Friday

The keyboard stylings of Dr. Victor Davis Hanson. Here's a taste:

Oddly, our enemies understand the long-term strategic efforts of the United States far better than do our own dissidents. They know that oil is not under U.S. control but priced at all-time highs, and that America is not propping up despotism anymore, but is now the general foe of both theocracies and dictatorships — and the thorn in the side of "moderate" autocracies. An America that is a force for democratic change is a very dangerous foe indeed. Most despots long for the old days of Jimmy Carter's pious homilies, appeasement of awful dictatorships gussied up as "concern" for "human rights," and the lure of a Noble Prize to ensure nights in the Lincoln bedroom or hours waiting on a dictator's tarmac.

In the struggle in Fallujah hinges not just the fate of the Sunni Triangle, or even Iraq, but rather of the entire Middle East — and it will be decided on the bravery and skill of mostly 20-something American soldiers. If they are successful in crushing and humiliating the fascists there and extending the victory to other spots then the radical Islamists and their fascistic sponsors will erode away. But if they fail or are called off, then we will see Days of Sorrow that make September 11 look like child's play.

We are living in historic times, as all the landmarks of the past half-century are in the midst of passing away. The old left-wing critique is in shambles — as the United States is proving to be the most radical engine for world democratic change and liberalization of the age. A reactionary Old Europe, in concert with the ossified American leftist elite, unleashed everything within its ample cultural arsenal: novels, plays, and op-ed columns calling for the assassination of President Bush; propaganda documentaries reminiscent of the oeuvre of Pravda or Leni Riefenstahl; and transparent bias passed off as front-page news and lead-ins on the evening network news.

It's all that good. Read it and look for him every Friday at National Review Online, which you should read regularly just to counterbalance the brainwashing a little.

I'm Naughty

I haven't been blogging worth a damn this week, and it probably won't get much better until Monday. Wife and I have been working on the house (with some help), changing the lighting and about to do some wood flooring and tile. Lots of shopping, which hasn't been too dreadful so far.

Anyways, will blog a little tomorrow and Sunday, and then be back up to speed Monday. Zippity doo!

Now take a look at this if you've got nothing better to do.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

What's Wrong with UK Gun Policy

Dr. John Ray's Gun Watch ran a story last week about how the UK is doing with gun crime since the post-Dunblane laws have taken effect. Much as I expected, the situation has not improved:

Levels of violent crime recorded by police soared by 11 per cent in the second quarter of this year, Government figures showed yesterday.

Recorded gun crime rose by three per cent to 10,590 incidents in the year to June - an average of 29 a day and more than double the rate when Labour took power - although firearm killings were down.

You have to like that last part, but the idea behind the gun crackdown in the UK was to lower all of these numbers. As with most attempts to ban a social wrong, bad guys have as much or more access to guns as ever while decent people don't have any. If the Concealed Carry laws passed in US states are any indication, an armed populace is a deterrent like no other, and just outlawing something has no effect on those who live outside the law.

It's a terrible idea to punish use instead of abuse, my father always says, as the bad guys are not discouraged while the good guys are. Now the UK is banning "assault knives" and axes in what must be an increasingly desperate hope that doing the same thing that failed everywhere else will magically work there. Good luck with all that.

My Favorite Athlete

Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi set another record Saturday, eating 69 Krystal Burgers in eight minutes. The nearest competitor was Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, with 46.

Kobayashi weighs about 130, and he is the undisputed master of power eating. It's amazing to watch him whip guys who are over 400 lbs. by double or more, and he has perfected hotdog eating to the point where it's useless to go further. As Dave Baer of the International Federation of Competitive Eating says, "Kobayashi has proven he's not the Lance Armstrong of competitive eating, but that Lance Armstrong is the Kobayashi of cycling."

I'll go along with that, having seen them both in action. If Lance wins the Tour by a week next year, he might be able to reverse that sentence.

Not Wild About This Idea

Remote-control hunting seems a little crazy, since someone has to go dress the dead beast, assuming you even kill it from your home or office. I liked "The Jackal" only because of the remote sniper system (I can't stand bad Irish accents like Richard Gere's in that film) and have occasionally considered putting four or eight such devices on the outside of a house and building a reinforced panic room from which to control them if the world goes completely to shit, but I'm not sure this is a good application of the remote rifle concept. Isn't a rifle advantage enough? I say deer hunting should be done with a large knife in an enclosed space. Even the odds a little, what?

On the Right Track

Boingboing posts a neat story about the digitizing of 30 million pages of public domain newspapers printed between 1836 through 1922. Eventually there will be no reason to go anywhere to research any printed material, and while that's sort of a shame on some level, it sure will make it easier to get work done.

Odd Goings-On in North Korea

Over at Power Line, they've noticed something strange going on over there.

Your Good Deed For the Day

Instapundit brings us the opportunity to adopt a sniper. I'm way behind this, and all support of our soldiers. Let's reverse the Viet Nam trend and start treating these kids like the heroes they are.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Much Ado About Nothing In Iraq

On the topic of the tape of the American soldier dispatching a wounded and unarmed enemy soldier with a rifle shot to the head, Instapundit makes an excellent point, as does My Pet Jawa, and most definitely Beautiful Atrocities, quoted here:

"If enough prone terrorists have fired at you, you learn to kill prone terrorists before they can pick up another gun.  Simple as that.  In short, you react to the tactics of your enemy, not to ethical hypotheticals—and no simpering retrospective sanctimony should obscure that very real fact."

Amen brother. Insty's right; if Kerry deserves a Silver Star for doing the same thing while beaching his craft against SOP, this guy deserves at least that if not more.

UPDATE: I should have known Captain Ed would have more, including this:

"About a block away, a Marine was killed and five others wounded by a booby-trapped body they found in a house after a shootout with insurgents."

No shit.

How Much Fun Is This

I like it when people get really creative. You'll find a lot of that at Boingboing.

I Did Not Expect This

In an unexpected turn of events, this happened at the Vibe Awards. I am alternating between agog and gobsmacked.

ABC apologizes for steamy intro to ``Monday Night Football''

How absurdly crappy is this? Terrell Owens getting busy with a naked Nicollette Sheridan and then scoring three TDs against Dallas? I thought it was the best thing on Monday Night Football since Dennis Miller left. I hate it when the NFL gets all huffy and conventional.

I really do miss Dennis Miller, although I'm aware many hated him there. I don't think Madden is interesting any more. I'd rather see Frank Caliendo do an impression of him at this point.

Miller was the bomb on MNF. Fucking LOVE that guy. Miller for President.

Oh Great

Skinny Bean in Denver sends this reminder that it ain't over, baby. A niblet:

A key al-Qaeda operative seized in Pakistan recently offered an alarming account of the group's potential plans to target the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, senior U.S. security officials tell TIME. Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan, has told his interrogators of "al-Qaeda's interest in moving nuclear materials from Europe to either the U.S. or Mexico," according to a report circulating among U.S. government officials.

Masri also said al-Qaeda has considered plans to "smuggle nuclear materials to Mexico, then operatives would carry material into the U.S.," according to the report, parts of which were read to TIME. Masri says his family, seeking refuge from al-Qaeda hunters, is now in Iran.

Masri's account, though unproved, has added to already heightened U.S. concerns about Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met publicly with top Mexican officials last week to discuss border security and smuggling rings that could be used to slip al-Qaeda terrorists into the country. Weeks prior to Ridge's lightning visit, U.S. and Mexican intelligence conferred about reports from several al-Qaeda detainees indicating the potential use of Mexico as a staging area "to acquire end-stage chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Thunderdome Party, part 3

Thunderdome 3
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
See here and here for the first two installments of the tale of Richard Garriott's Beyond Thunderdome party, held July 3rd some years ago on Lake Austin. When we last saw our hero (me), he was recovering from burnt feet (from the fire walk that was not actually open to partygoers, not that it stopped us) by soaking them in Lake Austin and watching the fireworks close overhead.

Not long after, the masochists came out to play. First a guy whose predicament I can hardly describe (I really wish there were a picture) came out with what must have been 50-100 5-foot-long steel spears imbedded in his skin, all held together in a frame over his head with the tips bouncing above him with every step of his strange dance. Blood was plentiful but less than I would have expected, and he even had a couple of apples speared at some of the tips to give them extra bounce. The girl at top left of the collage was towing a guy behind her with the large fishhooks in the skin of her back, which is apparently where you hook a person before hanging them from something, or using them to catch Orcas I guess.

Native Americans used to perform something called the Sun Dance, which was portrayed in the film "A Man Called Horse" and consists (among other activities) of sticking two large wooden pegs through the flesh of the pectoral area, whereupon the frame they are dangling from is raised by twisting the whole affair and pulls the sufferer off the ground. I watched a very weird video once of an University professor (can't remember which one) who performed this act and said he "met all the gods." He had to prepare himself by sticking a smaller peg through just the skin of his chest and, by pulling back from where it was attached, rip it from his flesh. This got his endorphins cranking to the point where the actual suspension didn't kill him. Sounds great, doesn't it?

These days they use steel fishhooks, starting with more and progressing to as few as one, which we saw at the party. Not having seen a suspension show before, I didn't know if it was common to be hung from bungie cords, but it was kind of wild to watch these guys bounce around, often banging into each other, all painted up and bloody, and looking pretty crazed. Actually, it was pretty horrifying, as you can see from my expression in the middle of the collage.

It was a thoroughly demonic scene after dark, with weird music pounding from the PA system, spooky lighting and bloody pierced people hanging in the Thunderdome and running around. But still, one of the best parties I've ever attended. Thank you Richard!

Underestimating Kofi Annan's Greed

Roger Simon has a fine post about how much worse the UN Oil-for-Food scam was than originally thought. A hint: think double.

What does the UN do other than ruin things?

It Just Gets Sorrier by the Minute


Something You Should Know about Dick Cheney

Holy smokes. I have no words, but Wizbang does.

Dog Toy or Marital Aid?

Boingboing has a fun (if naughty) quiz for you.

Bone-Chilling Revelations

Another Power Line essential, a large post about Arafat's legacy. Truly frightening info toward the end, in a long quote from a former Romanian Communist intelligence:

During the last six years of my other life, as a Romanian intelligence general, the main task of the Soviet bloc espionage community was to transform Yasser Arafat’s war against Israel and its main supporter, the United States, into an armed doctrine of the whole Islamic world. America was our main enemy, and a billion adversaries could inflict far greater damage on it than could a mere one million. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep. Our task was to convert its historical hatred of the Jews into a new hatred of the United States, by portraying this land of freedom as an “imperial Zionist country” financed by Jewish money and run by a rapacious “Council of the Elders of Zion,” the Kremlin’s epithet for the US Congress.

According to KGB theorists, the Islamic world was a petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hate. Islamic cultures had a taste for nationalism, jingoism and victimology. Their illiterate, oppressed mobs could be whipped up to a fever pitch. Terrorism and violence against America would flow naturally from their religious fervor. We had only to keep repeating, over and over, that the United States was a “Zionist country” bankrolled by rich Jews. Islam was obsessed with preventing the infidel’s occupation of its territory, and it would be highly receptive to our dogma that American imperialism wanted to transform the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom.

Yikes. The worst is yet to come.

Go Norm Go

Go read Power Line's Oil-for-food update and pray with me that the UN is at the very least reformed, if not utterly destroyed. It has outlived its usefulness and is now part of the problem.

Touching you-ooooooooh

I absolutely LOVE The Darkness. Frankly I'm more of a jazz/funk/'70s R&B person than a rock person these days, but these guys have the right attitude. Justin Hawkins, the lead singer/guitarist who sounds like Robert Smith of the Cure with his nuts in a vise, is one of the few modern musicians with a sense of humor. Hey, I didn't just like the original Van Halen for the guitar, although I did love it; I liked David Lee Roth's attitude too. Rock should be a little menacing, sure, but above all fun and irreverent, and ever since Grunge showed up it's been one self-loathing set of adolescent malcontents after another (don't even get me started on Linkin Park and the like, or death metal - ugh).

So when I read this story on Drudge this morning, I laughed my arse off. Bob Geldof is doing another Band Aid recording of "Do they know it's Christmas after all" featuring mostly new performers (most of whom I don't know), including Joss Stone who thinks Geldof's last name is Gandalf (she's 17, what do you expect) and Hawkins of The Darkness, who was asked to perform the line "and tonight thank God it's them instead of you," which Bono performed so memorably in the original but didn't do so well this time. Upon finding Hawkins' version better, the producers are considering using it instead of Bono's. Bono is said to be unhappy.

But last night an angry Bono was said to be on his way to the UK to re-record the line, after his management insisted his version had to be included, even if it was only the performance from 1984.

'Bono's people say he definitely has to do that line,' said one insider. 'Justin's version was brilliant, but they are adamant.'

Hawkins said last night: 'I did it and I did it better than him. So, his management kicked up a stink. It obviously means a lot to him. It's a valuable line for him, he needs it, so I think he's going to fly back and try again to beat me.

'If not, they're going to use the original one he did when he was my age.'

Hilarious. They guy's got balls like Eminem, but he's more interesting. I will always love Justin Hawkins for saying about The Darkness' first visit to Los Angeles, when asked if he knew if any American musicians would see their show, that he thought Eddie Van Halen was coming, and after he saw Hawkins play he'd have to "hand over his tiara."

And I will always regret that the first time in maybe eight years I actually bought tickets to a concert (my wife and a number of friends work in the music business, so I see a lot of free shows), it was for The Darkness, and I missed it because I had to have surgery that night. Still have the tickets on my fridge.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Arafat's Legacy

What a complete bastard. From a fine Frontpagemag.com article.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Mantle Twins' Favorite Website

Pregnant Man
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Coolgov links to a very weird and sometimes outright creepy site called "Dream Anatomy," which describes its raison d'etre thusly:

"The interior of our bodies is hidden to us. What happens beneath the skin is mysterious, fearful, amazing. In antiquity, the body's internal structure was the subject of speculation, fantasy, and some study, but there were few efforts to represent it in pictures. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century-and the cascade of print technologies that followed-helped to inspire a new spectacular science of anatomy, and new spectacular visions of the body. Anatomical imagery proliferated, detailed and informative but also whimsical, surreal, beautiful, and grotesque — a dream anatomy that reveals as much about the outer world as it does the inner self."

Here's a link to the image gallery. Probably best not to view this before bedtime.

Stop What You're Doing and Read This

Belmont Club has a thoughtful post that is one of the best things I've read in weeks, and not just because it links to and quotes this excellent column by Australia's Cardinal George Pell. From Pell's bit:

But think for a moment what it means to say that there can be no other form of democracy than secular democracy. Does democracy need a burgeoning billion-dollar pornography industry to be truly democratic? Does it need an abortion rate in the tens of millions? Does it need high levels of marriage breakdown, with the growing rates of family dysfunction that come with them? Does democracy (as in Holland's case) need legalised euthanasia, extending to children under the age of 12? Does democracy need assisted reproductive technology (such as IVF) and embryonic stem cell research? Does democracy really need these things? What would democracy look like if you took some of these things out of the picture? Would it cease to be democracy? Or would it actually become more democratic?

To which Wretchard adds:

When the Founding Fathers created the framework for procedural democracy it was unnecessary to spell out its ends because those were largely provided by the moral, ethical and religious consensus of the underlying society. When that underlying civilizational consensus has been destroyed or diluted, as is the case in Western Europe and to a lesser extent the United States, what intrinsic ends does a value-neutral democratic mechanism serve? The answer possibly, is whatever it can be put to, like a Turing Machine which adopts whichever persona the loaded instruction set demands. Then Dutch democracy becomes the Muslim right to chuck a hand grenade out the door at policemen come to arrest them for plotting to blow up a public landmark. Democracy becomes a vehicle waiting to be hijacked; a metaphor for the old saw that someone who believes in nothing will believe in anything.

Damn that's good stuff. So good it makes me want to quit blogging, a little. An instructor once told me the thing to remember about martial arts is that while there's always someone better than you out there, it's not about competition with others. I have to keep reminding myself of that when I read a site like Belmont Club or American Digest. There's room for all of us in this wonderful world . . .

Just Like Overtime

Wizbang has a fun post about how they decided a tied city council race in Florida. I guess every vote does count, and when that isn't enough to make a decision, we revert to childhood.

The Indispensable Victor Davis Hanson

From Little Green Footballs, another gem by VDH. Hanson never fails to get at the hidden root of the matter:

But perhaps the greatest paradox is here at home, where our world has been turned upside down. Much of what the media reported about the campaign was false — from suspicious exit polls and biased projections to forged documents. Grassroots populists got out the Republican vote; mercenary workers did less well for the Democrats. There was no new youth landside vote, much less a novel dynamic 18-to-24-year-old Kerry surge. The Hispanic vote was neither huge nor overwhelmingly Democratic. The Republicans were swamped by Democrat fat cats in raising outside 527 soft money, designed to circumvent liberal reformist law. Blogs, talk radio, and cable news were not only more influential, but often more intellectually honest than CBS, NPR, and the New York Times. The former represented blue-collar America, the latter the sophisticates of the Ivy League and East Coast. Such is our strange society in which democratic populism is now defined by pampered New York metropolitan columnists, billionaire heiresses, financial speculators, and a weird assortment of embittered novelists, bored rock stars, and out-of-touch Hollywood celebs.

Under such conditions dialogue is almost impossible — and so rarely occurs, as the medicine is always worse than the disease. We have over ten million illegal aliens here in this scary age without borders, when we have also lost confidence in assimilation and legality. In response? Mexico demands more emigration, eager to damn the United States as “nativist,” if not “racist,” in hopes it can earn even more billions of dollars in worker remittances and export ever more millions of future economic and political dissidents from its heartland. The problem is not that we cannot stop the influx, but rather that we can’t even discuss it — given our own race industry and an intrusive, hostile Mexican government.

Bookmark this guy.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Super Gerard

Gerard at American Digest is so essential that I link to him with the assumption that anyone who ends up here would necessarily read his page too, but here goes anyways. First, the garment of choice for those who believe the 2004 vote was rigged, and then a really choice gaggle of mini-posts, which include a bit about an article that examines recent claims of 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties since the war began. An excerpt:

Imagine reading a poll reporting that George W. Bush will win somewhere between 4 percent and 96 percent of the votes in this Tuesday's election. You would say that this is a useless poll and that something must have gone terribly wrong with the sampling. The same is true of the Lancet article: It's a useless study; something went terribly wrong with the sampling.

The problem is, ultimately, not with the scholars who conducted the study; they did the best they could under the circumstances. The problem is the circumstances. It's hard to conduct reliable, random surveys—and to extrapolate meaningful data from the results of those surveys—in the chaotic, restrictive environment of war.

However, these scholars are responsible for the hype surrounding the study. Gilbert Burnham, one of the co-authors, told the International Herald Tribune (for a story reprinted in today's New York Times), "We're quite sure that the estimate of 100,000 is a conservative estimate." Yet the text of the study reveals this is simply untrue. Burnham should have said, "We're not quite sure what our estimate means. Assuming our model is accurate, the actual death toll might be 100,000, or it might be somewhere between 92,000 lower and 94,000 higher than that number."

Not a meaty headline, but truer to the findings of his own study.

To which Gerard astutely adds, "In the waning days of the election, one big gun fired without stop over the heads of the voters was the '100,000' dead citizens of the Iraq meme. Besides the obvious fact that we have not seen the 186 funerals every day reported for even one day, the study on which the lie was based was also deeply flawed. For political purposes? Almost certainly. After all it is much easier to hide bias inside statistics than to hide it in editorial columns." (emphasis mine)

Devastating. Before logic, the witchcraft that liberals bring to bear on the issues of the day melts away. If the mainstream press were genuinely interested in giving the American people the tools to separate useful from useless, such nonsense would be much harder to perpetrate.

He Flew for the Fuhrer

Just finished reading "I Flew for the Fuhrer" by Heinz Knoke, a German fighter pilot in WWII. What struck me immediately about Knoke's story is that he apparently flew the first successful mission to bomb a bomber formations from a fighter plane, something I had never heard or read about until this week.

The Messerschmitt BF-109 was able, just barely, to carry either one 500-lb. or four 100-lb. bombs. By attaching a 15-second fuse and placing his plane 3,000 feet above a formation of B-17s, Knoke knocks a wing off one and startles the others, breaking up their formation so he and the other German pilots can pick them off separately instead of braving the massive fire of a tight group. Until rockets are adopted, this air-to-air bombing continues for a while. Desperate measures.

As with just about every fighter pilot from that war who started early in the war and lived through it, Knoke goes through a series of horrifying near-death experiences that he mentions in passing as if describing trips to the supermarket. I suppose when you face violent death daily while challenging enormous bomber formations with small flights of fighters, often six or more missions a day for weeks on end, while your comrades disappear one by one, you either learn to compartmentalize or go crazy.

I've read a fair number of first-person accounts of combat, and all of them acknowledge that there are some among us who belong in war, who thrive on the chaotic possibilities and only really seem alive during battle. These men (and women, on the Eastern Front) are few, and even they cannnot survive the emotional strain of modern war forever. Fighter pilots in the World Wars, however, seemed to have another impetus, the sheer joy of flying what at the time are the most sophisticated and performance-oriented machines ever made for the air. Long after Knoke has ceased enjoying shooting down Allied planes, he still loves to fly.

He seems to be thoroughly ignorant of the real state of world affairs except in his assessment of Russian intent; even as late as the failed plot against Hitler he believes in the Nazi cause, and if he is to be believed only loses faith after Germany surrenders. This is a common theme in German war accounts, and I believe some of it. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and his subordinate Hans von Luck (who wrote a really interesting book of his own) both claimed to have been too wrapped up in fighting to see Hitler for what he was until far too late, and it is certainly possible that much of the German population of 1945 was genuinely ignorant of the true evil of Nazism. Then again, as my father points out, running a camp the size of Buchenwald would require an enormous number of civilian workers, not to mention the cattle cars full of people coming in regularly and the smell of burning human flesh around the clock. I suppose people know what they want to know.

Anyway, here are a couple of quotes from the book. First, another pilot's motto: "Swearing is the laxative which purges the soul." and a longer quote from Knoke about the rear-echelon soldiers who had been occupying France for four years but are offering hardly any resistance to the Allied forces as they drive toward Germany in late 1944:

I am sick with disgust at having to watch our occupation forces pack up without any thought of resistance after years of being stationed in France. Personal safety seems to be all that matters to the civil administration and military government staffs . . . For years the officers and administrative officials of these units have been enjoying a life of parasitic luxury in France . . . Their vehicles are loaded with crates full of personal provisions and loot. Often their French girl friends travel with them to share in the spoils.

If we should lose this campaign, the conduct of the French women must bear a major share of the responsibility. Nights of passion and debauchery have undermined the morale of our officers and soldiers. They are no longer ready to sacrifice their lives to the glory of the Fatherland, thanks to the enthusiastic collaboration of those amateur and professional harlots.
(emphasis mine)

I just assumed those bitches were just Nazi-loving whores who deserved it when their sorry heads were shaved. What was I thinking? Sounds like they did as much damage as the real Resistance.

Mike's review: 2.5 out of 4 stars, not detailed enough for me and very little opinion on the meaning of it all. But worth a read for the combat accounts.

Not Much Blogging Today

Pretty busy and getting the house ready for my wife, who is returning from Costa Rica tomorrow. Dog appointments, carpet cleaning, all kinds of fun. Will post a little later today.

Oh My

Someone's pissy and needs a rhino dart in the neck. Poor thing must have guzzled the KoolAid and is deeply disappointed he didn't wake up on the Mothership. I say he because no woman would be so crass.

This guy doesn't get why the Civil War happened or why Bush won this time, and with this attitude it seems unlikely he ever will. Good; people like this guarantee that Giuliani will cruise to a win in '08.

Sent to me by my good friend Scott C. in the Windy City

Knowing Your Place

From Little Green Footballs, a very interesting post on European dhimmitude at the Arafat funeral, where though many tried no European was allowed to attend. A snippet:

Defined by Jihadwatch.org's Dhimmi Watch, Dhimmitude is defined as

the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians. Dhimmis, "protected people," are free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Qur'an's command that they "feel themselves subdued" (Sura 9:29). This denial of equality of rights and dignity remains part of the Sharia, and, as such, are part of the law that global jihadists are laboring to impose everywhere, ultimately on the entire human race.

The dhimmi attitude of chastened subservience has entered into Western academic study of Islam, and from there into journalism, textbooks, and the popular discourse. One must not point out the depredations of jihad and dhimmitude; to do so would offend the multiculturalist ethos that prevails everywhere today.

Little hints everywhere of what would happen if the Islamofascists get their way, and thank God for LGF for taking the time to find and point them out.

UPDATE: I like this comment, from Scott in East Bay: "The only thing good about what's happening to Europe is that the US will, once again, soon be getting the cream of the crop of their populations. Their best and brightest have already begun coming here for the economic benefits. Pretty soon, when it starts to get really ugly, we will see a very sharp increase in European immigration to the US. Welcome them, for they come to us for refuge."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The More I Look at This, the More I Like It

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
From Mookie, a picture that chilled me to the bone when I first saw it, but after some reflection makes me wish we could put Bush and Kerry in the machine that made Jeff Goldblum and that housefly into a monster. As one of Mookie's commenters observes, this is a better looking guy than either of the originals. Maybe a better president too, for all I know. John Kerry can't be all bad, can he?

From Llama Butchers

A Big Part of the Problem

From Mickey Kaus, a really fine column by New Republic editor Martin Peretz that describes an enormous Democrat hurdle if they want to play this democracy game and win:

"But the problem is that many Democrats have a downright hostile attitude to the flag, to patriotism itself, which is thought by some in the party to be a retrograde sentiment. And they have, at best, a queasy disposition towards religion. To tell the truth, it gives many of them the creeps. You can't really do much with that, can you?"

No, you can't. The tragedy of liberalism is that it's undemocratic and can't stand the average person. Reading Marx will do that to you, and believing that garbage only makes it worse. Let's hope the democratic party can be rescued from its keepers soon.

The Funniest Thing I've Ever Seen

Go right now and look at this. Make sure to listen to the song, for God's sake. Anyone who goes to that much trouble for a laugh deserves an enormous audience.

The Horror Show that is Mrs. Arafat

I've never had an interest in Suha Arafat, but this post by Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities makes me think I should have. She's way scarier than Imelda Marcos, although not as scary as Winnie Mandela. And check out that getup. Ca-reepy.

Ronald MacDonald has a Saucy Daughter

Ronald MacDonald's daughter
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Watch this Japanese MacDonald's commercial and ask yourself what the hell is going on over there. Or over here. One of the two.

From Boingboing

Well Said Sir

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe has written the best Arafat column I've seen today. Check it out. Here's some:

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.

Thanks to Charles at Little Green Footballs for the heads up.

UPDATE: Professional pain in the ass Jimmy Carter wants you to know what a powerful human symbol Arafat was. Good God almighty.

Unbelievably Cool

American Digest wants to tell you about the next big thing in transport.

More of This, Please

One of the great crimes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is the liberal monopoly among professors and administrators in higher education. This Chronicle of Higher Education article has a lot of interesting things to say about it:

Some fields' very constitutions rest on progressive politics and make it clear from the start that conservative outlooks will not do. Schools of education, for instance, take constructivist theories of learning as definitive, excluding realists (in matters of knowledge) on principle, while the quasi-Marxist outlook of cultural studies rules out those who espouse capitalism. If you disapprove of affirmative action, forget pursuing a degree in African-American studies. If you think that the nuclear family proves the best unit of social well-being, stay away from women's studies.

Other fields allow the possibility of studying conservative authors and ideas, but narrow the avenues of advancement. Mentors are disinclined to support your topic, conference announcements rarely appeal to your work, and few job descriptions match your profile. A fledgling literary scholar who studies anti-communist writing and concludes that its worth surpasses that of counterculture discourse in terms of the cogency of its ideas and morality of its implications won't go far in the application process.

No active or noisy elimination need occur, and no explicit queries about political orientation need be posed. Political orientation has been embedded into the disciplines, and so what is indeed a political judgment may be expressed in disciplinary terms. As an Americanist said in a committee meeting that I attended, "We can't hire anyone who doesn't do race," an assertion that had all the force of a scholastic dictum. Stanley Fish, professor and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, advises, "The question you should ask professors is whether your work has influence or relevance" -- and while he raised it to argue that no liberal conspiracy in higher education exists, the question is bound to keep conservatives off the short list. For while studies of scholars like Michel Foucault, Michael Hardt, and Antonio Negri seem central in the graduate seminar, studies of Friedrich A. von Hayek and Francis Fukuyama, whose names rarely appear on cultural-studies syllabi despite their influence on world affairs, seem irrelevant.

That last part is a great example of the problem: things that work in the real world are often ignored by academics, as if the gritty reality of life was somehow distasteful, and they would rather live in a world of ideas. There's snobbery in there, a contempt for the average person and his earthly struggle. And into these people's grasp we send our children when they're building their worldviews.

Article from Instapundit

Ding Dong

Finally, Arafat's dead. I think he's been dead for a while, but there it is. Just saw some footage of what appeared to be a state funeral-level reverence while carting that SOB to the plane for Egypt. I wished as hard as I could that the dudes holding the casket would just dump it and walk away wiping their hands in disgust, but it didn't happen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Double Standard for Compassion and Caring

Roger Simon has a question for American artists.

50 Good Reasons to Hate America

One of the great things about reading No Pasaran daily is that Erik posts in English and French side by side, so you can get some learning done while you're reading his excellent posts. Of course, considering the subject matter of this post, you might not want to go to France to try your skills any time soon.

Some people don't think france has ever been our ally. I don't think that's true, but some of the evidence is pretty hard to refute.

Metrosexual Tarot Cards

Skinny Bean sends this link to an interesting deck of Tarot cards. Instead of "Death" and "The Hangman" we get "Abs" and "The Decorator."

Ignore the Woman behind the Bad Wig

The Daily Recycler posts an interesting video that will take your breath away if you're still operating under the illusion that you must be pretty smart and together to get anywhere in major network journalism. ABC News Senior Correspondent Carole Simpson lays down a startlingly ignorant and offensively biased argument for not letting states decide social issues for themselves. Is there a law like Godwin's that pertains to slavery instead of Nazis? If there is, she's violated it permanently.

One Last Gloat

Fun pics at The Backer, posted here. Just a little more schadenfreude, can't resist. I promise to do better next week.

The Kind of Thing that Doesn't Happen in Texas

From Little Green Footballs, a thoroughly nauseating story titled "Jihad at San Francisco State," another installment in the long-running series near-riots involving College Republicans at American universities and those who support the Palestinian cause (or just hate Israel). Check out the third picture, in which students wear black and white keffiyahs just like their hero Yasser Arafat, and the looks on those kids' faces.

This is the kind of thing you don't see on the University of Texas campus, where people have a reputation of taking matters of justice into their own hands (Charles Whitman, the UT tower sniper, got return fire from police and civilians alike) and don't tolerate rioting mobs of any kind. I heard a couple of stories about Arab students celebrating 9/11 around the campus, near which I worked in a real estate office at the time, but never did see anything of that kind. I attended the rally on campus the weekend after 9/11, and while pacifism at all costs seemed to be the only topic (no retaliation, feel the pain of your enemies, an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, etc.), there were no outright anti-American behaviors that I saw other than the idiotic ranting of Robert Jensen, who blathered a bunch of nonsense from a bullhorn and ran away when a friend and I asked questions he didn't want to answer.

I guess San Francisco is filled with gentle people, at least among the College Republicans.

Octopus Porn, or When Pearl Diving Gets Freaky

Boingboing has a very odd post about weird things people do when no one's looking, and sometimes when they are. Some of the links are pretty graphic, but this one is just hilariously weird, as are all of the entries in Dr. Kilmarnock's Obscure World of Victorian Erotica. Like I always say, using Victorian as an adjective that means sexless and repressed is very silly.

It's freaky out there, baby . . .

Robot News Thingy

Gerard at American Digest has a neat post about a news robot you can enslave to serve your evil purposes.

UPDATE: Don't forget to try Wordcount and the not work-safe Querycount for more interesting fun. My first name is the 48th most-searched word on Wordcount, it appears.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Art of Making Cameron Diaz Seem Wise

I don't have a problem with Madonna. I really like that one picture of Madonna in her "Sex" book, the one where she's hanging naked from a trapeze. I also find her music not that repellent at times, and think she's a good businesswoman. I find her new accent ridiculous, not to mention her last 15 looks, but she has managed to stay off my poop list by not being much of a Dixie Chick during the war. Some, but not much.

That was then, baby, and this is Madonna now:

"I just don't want American troops to be in Iraq, period," she said on BBC Radio.

"My feelings are 'can we just all get out?'," said the 46-year-old star, who lives mainly in London with British film director husband Guy Ritchie, who said she believes the US-led war will not help in the fight against terrorism.

"Global terror is everywhere. Global terror is down the street, around the block," she said.

"Global terror is in California. There's global terror everywhere and it's absurd to think you can get it by going to one country and dropping tons of bombs on innocent people."

Schnagged from here, where Ace makes his distaste for the Material Skank known.

Fallujah Notes

Check out Wretchard's latest post on Belmont Club about the big battle in Fallujah, and how well we're doing despite the enormity of the task. From an earlier Belmont Club post:

"From UAVs wheeling overhead to Marines going through alleys linked by their intra-squad radios (a kind of headset and boom-mike operated comm device), the US force is generating lethal, real-time information which is almost immediately transformed into strike action. Against this, the jihadis have no chance. This doesn't mean (as I pointed out above) that there will be no American losses. The battlefield is too lethal to hope for that. But it does mean that terrorism has unleashed a terrible engine upon itself. Capabilities which didn't exist on September 11 have now been deployed in combat. It isn't that American forces have become inconceivably lethal that is scary; it is that the process has just started."

Hat tip to Power Line for the quote

UPDATE: Check out Beautiful Atrocities on the topic, and especially this post by a Blackhawk pilot blogging from Iraq:

What if the Coalition planners decided to let them set up a "safe" operations center that would, over time, develop such an appeal to all enemies of the coalition, that local insurgents and foreign extremists alike would come running from all parts of Iraq to "consolidate and organize?" Sort of like grabbing a megaphone and shouting "Attention all ye Ba'athists and Islamofascists!!! Safe area in Fallujah!!! Bring your friends!!! Anyone interested in killing children and/or driving car bombs welcome!!!!"

Now, instead of having them spread throughout the country, we have the bulk of them holed up in one "popular" spot. Like a roach motel. Insurgents check in, but they don't check out. Doesn't sound like such a failure now, does it?

Another Great Reason to Home School

Frontpagemag, which you should subscribe to (for free) so they send you updates of their article releases, has a great essay on Dickinson College's recent contest, in which they invited educators from across the United States to submit lesson plans about 9/11 that would help students “confront and make sense of, the horrific events of that day.”

As you might imagine, the winning entries had a common basis: It's all our fault. Read it and weep for the children.

Another Myth Debunked

From Instapundit, a new study by JFK School of Government Research professor Alberto Abadie, in which he finds that terrorism does not stem from poverty, but rather from a lack of political freedom. Seems kind of obvious now that you've heard it, doesn't it? Here's a chunk:

Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors. However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation's wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences.

"In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism, as previous studies have shown, but perhaps more surprisingly also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin," Abadie said.

Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.

Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Winners and Losers

From Ipse Dixit, a fairly reasonable and unbiased NY Times roundup of Election '04 winners and losers. I say fairly unbiased because they put the Swift Boat Vets in the loser column, which is about as wrong as it gets.

Three Steps to Success

Viking Pundit has some good advice.

What Smart People Can Do with Modern Technology

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This really rocked my biscuit, and should be gone over by as many people as possible. It came from a Peeve Farm post that is similarly fascinating.

Pictured here is one of many maps made at the University of Michigan to reflect US voting in ways that give us a better understanding of election results. This particular map is a US county map scaled for population, although I think it looks a little like a mutating cat that's about to yak up New York like a hairball. Brian at the Farm makes an excellent point:

As best I understand it, the point of the electoral college is to make the election depend not so much on population, but on geographical regions' collective wills, regardless of how populous those regions are. Just as the Senate overstates the importance of sparsely populated states by giving each one two Senators, the House—whose representation is wholly population-based—overstates the impact of populous regions with respect to rural areas. Advocates of a pure popular-vote system would seem to have the interest of fundamental democracy at heart, but there's more to representation than the number of votes a state can cast: there's also the desire to give a farming town of 1,000 a voice that can be heard amid the clamor of cities of millions. So rural areas' importance has to be overstated beyond their raw population numbers. (Brian's emphasis)

Well said sir.

Not All Michaels Are Fat and Stupid

Especially not this one. Michael Barone is one of the smartest political analysts we've ever had in this country, and he is encyclopedically well informed. If enough people read post-election stuff like this, we'll be a lot better off next time around. Here's a niblet:

The line among political insiders was that turnout would increase from 2000 and that higher turnout would favor John Kerry. Right and wrong. Turnout was up 11 percent, but Bush's total votes were up 18 percent from 2000, while Kerry's were up just 10 percent from Al Gore's. The Democrats relied on labor unions and billionaire-financed 527 organizations for their turnout drives. They depended primarily on paid workers, some of whom were very good and some very poor; one in Ohio signed up Mary Poppins to vote and was paid with crack cocaine. The Bush campaign built its own organization and relied primarily on volunteers, some 1.2 million of them. Volunteers were given varied tasks and numeric goals and were repeatedly tested. They delivered on Election Day.

On election night, most observers were focusing on central cities to see how many votes the Democrats would roll up. Working for Fox News, I concentrated on smaller counties in Florida, Ohio, and other target states in which all or nearly all the precincts had reported results. I found a clear pattern in state after state. In small and medium-sized counties, turnout was up, by 10 percent, 20 percent, even 40 percent in fast-growing areas, and the Bush percentage was up as well, by 2, 4, or even 8 percentage points. Aggregate those increases, and you have more new Republican votes than new Democratic votes in Cuyahoga or Broward counties. That, repeated over and over again, is the story of this election. Karl Rove's strategy of concentrating on increasing Republican turnout worked.

The rest is even better. Read or Die!

I saw this a number of places, but the last one I remember was Instapundit

Making Mary Kay LeTourneau Seem Morally Upright

Drudge links to a story that shocked even me, a 29-year-old woman banging an 8-year-old boy, and she's in love. I'm not sure I had that much mojo at 18. Yikes.

Checking in with the troops

Go read Beautiful Atrocities' new post with tons of links to blogs of soldiers serving in Iraq. A must read for anyone who thinks we owe our freedom and quality of life to these brave men and women.

Mysteries of the Mind

Boingboing brings us a post about Kim Peek, the inspiration for the movie "Rain Man," who is being studied by NASA these days. There's something truly amazing about Peek, and a little bit of that something is in all of us.

Now that's what I call despicable

Gerard posts something so nauseating I am reluctant to advertise it in any way: dickheads are ripping off the "Livestrong" bracelet idea so they can sell you one that advertises that you didn't vote for Bush, the "Notme" bracelet (I won't link to this, but Gerard has so you can see their site there). And instead of charging $1 and giving it all to charity like Lance Armstrong, they're charging $5 and giving some small amount to Democratic Underground, the online cesspool of liberal thoughtlessness, and something called the Human Rights Campaign.

This is no way to let the healing begin.

The Hits Never Stop at Steynonline

What is to be done about the inability of the Democratic Party to see this election clearly? I have no idea. Mark Steyn doesn't seem to know either, but he has some suggestions. At this point in the process, we're still at Step 1: "I admit my powerlessness over the thought process of the American People and that I am clueless in the extreme about what motivates voters." Or something:

In my time, I've known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain's House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America's coastal elites. And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford Dem-style contempt: A seat in the House of Lords is for life; a Senate seat in South Dakota isn't.

More to the point, nobody who campaigns with Ben Affleck at his side has the right to call anybody an idiot. H. L. Mencken said that no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Well, George Soros, Barbra Streisand and a lot of their friends just did: The Kerry campaign and its supporters -- MoveOn.org, Rock The Vote, etc. -- were awash in bazillions of dollars, and what have they got to show for it? In this election, the plebs were more mature than the elites: They understood that war is never cost-free and that you don't run away because of a couple of setbacks; they did not accept that one jailhouse scandal should determine America's national security interest; they rejected the childish caricature of their president and paranoid ravings about Halliburton; they declined to have their vote rocked by Bruce Springsteen or any other pop culture poser.

I have high hopes for liberals in this country, and out of it, with respect to their ability to pull out of this self-defeating funk and be honest with themselves about how politics really works, and what motivates the average person. I credit the American and international press with laying off Kerry so much in the runup to the election and keeping it close, because if we had had the kind of hard look at Kerry that Newsweek has given us recently, it wouldn't have been nearly as close. I'll say it again, Evan Thomas was probably right when he said that having most of American journalism on his side was worth 15 points for Kerry, and that it would have been an utter blowout otherwise. I may never forgive them.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Heavy but really good for you

Read this fascinating article about the history of Muslim-Christian relations, from an interesting Belgravia Dispatch post that is equally interesting.

Getting to Know You before You Die like the Dog You Are

Little Green Footballs presents one of the best Arafat articles I've ever read, by Bret Stephens. The background is fascinating, and the piece does an excellent job of revealing who Arafat really was, and what role he played in the world's problems with terrorism:

Around 1960, Arafat co-founded Fatah, or "conquest," the political movement that would later come to be the dominant faction of the PLO. Aside from its aim to obliterate Israel, the group had no particular political vision: Islamists, nationalists, Communists and pan-Arabists were equally welcome. Instead, the emphasis was on violence: "People aren't attracted to speeches but to bullets," Arafat liked to say. In 1964, Fatah began training guerrillas in Syria and Algeria; in 1965, they launched their first attack within Israel, on a pumping station. But the bomb didn't detonate, and most of the other Fatah raids were also duds. From this experience, Arafat took the lesson to focus on softer targets, like civilians.

So began the era of modern terrorism: the 1972 Munich massacre, the 1973 murder of American diplomats in Khartoum, Sudan, the 1974 massacre of schoolchildren at Ma'alot, and so on. Yet as the atrocities multiplied, Arafat's political star rose. Partly this had to do with European cravenness in the face of the implied threat; partly with the left's secret love affair with the authentic man of violence. Whatever the case, by 1980 Europe had recognized the PLO, with Arafat as its leader, as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people. The U.S. held out for another decade, but eventually it too caved in to international pressure under the first Bush administration.

For the Palestinians themselves, however, this was not such a good development. If Arafat's violence against Jews and Israelis was shocking, his violence against fellow Palestinians was still worse. In the manner of other would-be national liberators, he did not look kindly on dissenters within his ranks. In 1987, for instance, Palestinian cartoonist Ali Naji Adhami was murdered on a London street; his crime was to have insinuated in a drawing that the ra'is was having an affair with a married woman.

Arafat has always been the worst kind of scumbag, the ideological offspring of Adolf Hitler. Good riddance.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

My God What is Wrong with These People

Silly sorry person
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Here's another batch of sorry people. Go see Ace's post for some photoshop fun with it. Why they think making a sign about how they didn't vote for Bush and posting it on the internet helps I don't know, but it seems like the least effective, easiest way to pretend to some noble gesture. What they should be doing is writing signs apologizing for not giving a crap while Saddam slaughtered, raped and tortured as fast as he could for decades.

I should go on record as being behind this girl to the right 100% about Travis County. Let's leave that one out of any terrorist retaliation plan, hmm? It was the only county in central Texas to go for Kerry.