Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Choices

Michelle Malkin has gathered info on two ways to react to disaster, the noble and the not so. Should be a tough time ahead, so give 'til it hurts.

Wow

Just check this out. From Double Viking.

Katrina and the Surge

I'm not at all shy about admitting my creepy inclination to hope for the worst in natural disasters. In that I'm no different from newsmen, bloggers and people everywhere; we just want to see what Mother Nature can do when she gets really pissy. I think even the most decent and altruistic among us are fascinated by the raw power of natural disasters, and while there was a collective sigh of relief when Katrina reduced from a Category 5 to a 4 and diverted east from New Orleans, there was also a bit of a groan of disappointment. Not that anyone wanted to see people die, exactly, but there's a reason the possibility of such massive destruction is big news.

That said, I don't think even the sickest among us wanted to see what's happening to New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast now. The human toll is somehow more awful to contemplate and painful to watch in slow motion, isn't it? Even today, 9/11 is so shocking and sudden that people struggle to fathom its effects, but the idea of what it will take for New Orleans and surrounding areas to recover from Katrina is all too vivid.

I suppose we can thank God that puff of dry air knocked the hurricane off course and reduced its fury. And that those of us who don't live there can rejoice that we aren't part of the misery. If you donated to the Boxing Day Tsunami fund, and even if you didn't, please do the same or better for your countrymen and women.

Love That Guy

Dave at Garfield Ridge is truly a mensch. He links to fun stuff like this sodium party and he's a big Washington Nationals fan, and I love the Nats. He's taken pity on my tiny amount of traffic, and even though I'm mainly blogging for some friends and family, I appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks for the blogrolling, homey.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

My Next Car

Best new EBay item for bid: a 1945 M19 twin 40mm cannon carrier. Each barrel fired 120 rounds per minute via a clip system, and the tank carried 352 rounds total. What fun it must have been.

Sure the barrels are plugged. Sure it doesn't run. But at $18,000, who could resist?

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

Harry Hutton took the time to get to know a madman on the street. What a nice fellow Harry is. Excellent comments at the bottom, too.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hitch Making Sense

Christopher Hitchens continues the battle for reason and authentic memory of history on Iraq:

The subsequent liberation of Pakistan's theocratic colony in Afghanistan, and the so-far decisive eviction and defeat of its bin Ladenist guests, was only a reprisal. It took care of the last attack. But what about the next one? For anyone with eyes to see, there was only one other state that combined the latent and the blatant definitions of both "rogue" and "failed." This state--Saddam's ruined and tortured and collapsing Iraq--had also met all the conditions under which a country may be deemed to have sacrificed its own legal sovereignty. To recapitulate: It had invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored and nurtured international thugs and killers, and flouted every provision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United Nations, in this crisis, faced with regular insult to its own resolutions and its own character, had managed to set up a system of sanctions-based mutual corruption. In May 2003, had things gone on as they had been going, Saddam Hussein would have been due to fill Iraq's slot as chair of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Meanwhile, every species of gangster from the hero of the Achille Lauro hijacking to Abu Musab al Zarqawi was finding hospitality under Saddam's crumbling roof.

One might have thought, therefore, that Bush and Blair's decision to put an end at last to this intolerable state of affairs would be hailed, not just as a belated vindication of long-ignored U.N. resolutions but as some corrective to the decade of shame and inaction that had just passed in Bosnia and Rwanda. But such is not the case. An apparent consensus exists, among millions of people in Europe and America, that the whole operation for the demilitarization of Iraq, and the salvage of its traumatized society, was at best a false pretense and at worst an unprovoked aggression. How can this possibly be?


And he's got no love for the CIA, or how the Bush administration has handled the explanation of our policy:

I have a ready answer to those who accuse me of being an agent and tool of the Bush-Cheney administration (which is the nicest thing that my enemies can find to say). Attempting a little levity, I respond that I could stay at home if the authorities could bother to make their own case, but that I meanwhile am a prisoner of what I actually do know about the permanent hell, and the permanent threat, of the Saddam regime. However, having debated almost all of the spokespeople for the antiwar faction, both the sane and the deranged, I was recently asked a question that I was temporarily unable to answer. "If what you claim is true," the honest citizen at this meeting politely asked me, "how come the White House hasn't told us?"

I do in fact know the answer to this question. So deep and bitter is the split within official Washington, most especially between the Defense Department and the CIA, that any claim made by the former has been undermined by leaks from the latter. (The latter being those who maintained, with a combination of dogmatism and cowardice not seen since Lincoln had to fire General McClellan, that Saddam Hussein was both a "secular" actor and--this is the really rich bit--a rational and calculating one.)

There's no cure for that illusion, but the resulting bureaucratic chaos and unease has cornered the president into his current fallback upon platitude and hollowness. It has also induced him to give hostages to fortune. The claim that if we fight fundamentalism "over there" we won't have to confront it "over here" is not just a standing invitation for disproof by the next suicide-maniac in London or Chicago, but a coded appeal to provincial and isolationist opinion in the United States. Surely the elementary lesson of the grim anniversary that will shortly be upon us is that American civilians are as near to the front line as American soldiers.


Definitely worth reading. Link from Ace.

I Give Up


What a Dick
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Why is Superman such a dick? From Dean's World.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Origins of Hazing

Here's a 1930 catalog of hazing devices for fraternal orders (Masons, Lions club, Rotary, etc.), also known as a "fraternalism supply" catalog. Basically elaborate mechanical torture devices to be used on drunk and unsuspecting members.

There's a lot to look at here, including a number of mechanical goats (to be ridden blindfolded by the hazee, apparently), several electrocution devices, and far too many dangerous-looking explosive devices, including this one that shoots the victim in the face with a .32 caliber blank at very close range.

Very weird. And sometimes overtly racist. From Boingboing.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Beyond the Call of Journalism


Three Bullets Reach Flesh
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This is one of the wildest, most vivid and fascinating accounts of combat that I've ever read, written yesterday in Iraq by independent journalist Michael Yon, whose blog is the best source of Iraq news available today. The picture above, which captures the moment immediately after Lieutenant Colonel Erik Kurilla was hit in the arm and both legs by enemy fire, was taken by Yon during the skirmish.

Unlike some people, Yon believes it's appropriate to get involved when fellow Americans are at risk:

I looked back at the two soldiers who were with me outside, and screamed what amounted to "Attack Attack Attack!" I stood up and was yelling at them. Actually, what I shouted was an unprintable string of curses, while Kurilla was also yelling at them to get in there, his M4 trained on the entrance. But the guys were not attacking.

I saw Prosser's M4 on the ground, Where did that come from?

I picked up Prosser's M4. It was empty. I saw only Prosser's bloody leg lying still, just inside the darkened doorway, because most of his body was hidden behind a stack of sheet metal.

"Give me some ammo! Give me a magazine!" I yelled, and the young 2nd lieutenant handed over a full 30-round magazine. I jacked it in, released the bolt and hit the forward assist. I had only one magazine, so checked that the selector was on semi-automatic.

I ran back to the corner of the shop and looked at LTC Kurilla who was bleeding, and saw CSM Prosser's extremely bloody leg inside the shop, the rest of him was still obscured from view. I was going to run into the shop and shoot every man with a gun. And I was scared to death.

What I didn't realize was at that same moment four soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd Platoon were arriving on scene, just in time to see me about to go into the store. SSG Gregory Konkol, SGT Jim Lewis, and specialists Nicholas Devereaux and Christopher Muse where right there, behind me, but I didn't see them.

Reaching around the corner, I fired three shots into the shop. The third bullet pierced a propane canister, which jumped up in the air and began spinning violently. It came straight at my head but somehow missed, flying out of the shop as a high-pressure jet of propane hit me in the face. The goggles saved my eyes. I gulped in deeply.

In the tiniest fraction of a second, somehow my mind actually registered Propane . . . FIREBALL! as it bounced on the ground where it spun furiously, creating an explosive cloud of gas and dust, just waiting for someone to fire a weapon.

I scrambled back, got up and ran a few yards, afraid that Kurilla was going to burn up if there was a fire. The soldiers from Alpha Company were heading toward him when LTC Kurilla yelled out that he was okay, but that CSM Prosser was still in the shop. The Alpha Company soldiers ran through the propane and dust cloud and swarmed the shop.

When the bullet hit that canister, Prosser—who I thought might be dead because of all the blood on his leg—was actually fighting hand-to-hand on the ground. Wrapped in a ground fight, Prosser could not pull out his service pistol strapped on his right leg, or get to his knife on his left, because the terrorist—who turned out to be a serious terrorist—had grabbed Prosser's helmet and pulled it over his eyes and twisted it.


Read the whole thing, and read Michael Yon's blog regularly. It's the least you can do.

From American Digest.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Gets Wronger, but Only with Difficulty

I know there's a way to make this story more creepy, but only if the fishermen were wearing Nazi uniforms while they baited their shark fishing tackle with puppies and kittens.

I guess you'd have to be a pretty devout atheist to fish with baby animals from the pound, but we are talking about French people after all.

Ricky Williams, My Hero

I don't get the nastiness about Ricky Williams' return to the Miami Dolphins. Every interview I've seen this season gives me the impression he's much more together now than he ever has been in the past, and whose business is it whether he plays football or not? The Fins suck and have for years, and his presence or absence last year wouldn't have changed anything about that. To treat his departure as any kind of betrayal of the team, football in general or himself is utterly ridiculous.

Football has always inspired the dumbest kind of macho blather, and there is no shortage of numbskulls who insist on making it a metaphor for any number of silly things, but Ricky Williams is an adult who doesn't owe us or his team anything but the effort he's always made at his chosen profession. He's not a hero and doesn't need to be one to be a successful person. Frankly I think it's been a miserable burden being who he is until now, and he needed some time to himself to get his perspective back. Anyone who felt betrayed by his departure and resents his return needs to take a long look at their own bizarre worldview and grow the @#$% up.

So get crazy out there this season, Ricky. Show the world what you can do when you're enjoying the game you play for the right reasons. You did the right thing.

Words of Icky Wisdom

Most brutal line I've read in a while, from a Vanity Fair piece about porn memoirs:

There are lots of other professions, vocations, and avenues for self-expression that don't entail having your butt pounded like Omaha Beach by relative strangers.


That's comforting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fourteen Months Ago


Kauai Sunset
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I was here, on Kauai. It's time to go back, the heat index here is over 100 again today and seems likely to stay that way. I've posted this before, but it's too loverly to not post again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

And That Goes Double for Me

James Lileks on bad arguments from the left, and sometimes the right. Very good stuff.

The Best Radio Interview I've Ever Heard

Kevin Pollak, one of my favorite standups ever, on Jim Breuer's Sirius Radio show, talking about Don Rickles ripping everyone on the Casino set a new one. Absolutely hilarious.

A Republican in Hollywood

Interesting column by a screenwriter who has found the level of tolerance for Republicans in Hollywood to be nonexistent:

I’m a Republican. A heretofore secret Hollywood Republican. I know men and women who are heavy drug addicts and they have no problem finding employment in Hollywood. I know men and women who are gambling addicts and they work pretty regularly. There’s even a director who was arrested for child molestation and yet was hired by Disney — yes, Disney — to helm a picture, and people defended this decision by saying even child molesters have a right to work. I would bet my bottom dollar that all these people are on the correct side of the political spectrum. They are liberal democrats.


He knows of what he speaks, this Robert Avrech:

Look at Hollywood now. Sean Penn goes to Iraq and apologizes for American war crimes. Hollywood’s patron saint is Michael Moore, its liturgy his package of lies, the movie “Fahrenheit 9/11.” When this film had its Hollywood premiere, the red carpet was choked with stars just dying to make an anti-Bush statement. We’re talking about movie stars who know basically nothing about politics. To call them fools would be generous. I have spent time with too many of these people, and believe me, if you’re not talking about how beautiful or how talented they are, the conversation sort of just dies.

It is, I kid you not, a badge of honor in Hollywood to hate America. These airheads who have amassed millions through the free market economy constantly spout nonsense about the need for a Scandinavian style socialist government. They don’t even know that the Scandinavian countries are economic basket cases. I’m not making this up. They actually cruise Sunset Strip in their Bentleys and accuse Republicans of being greedy.


Not surprising, but still a good read. From Ace of Spades.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Gluttons for Punishment

Instapundit had a post about Dell's customer relations problems as experienced by Jeff Jarvis, and lists some responses to Jeff's posts on the subject. My question is, why are you satisfied with hardware (and an OS, for that matter) that has so many problems that you're required to deal with customer relations with any frequency at all? Sure I'm a Mac zombie, have been since the 512 in 1985. But I've spent a ton of time on PCs and with people who use nothing else, and it's been the same story ever since then. I guess I'm just not willing to spend any time dealing with customer service, which is why I don't own a PC and only have once.

And yet some of the smartest people I know are rabid Microsoft disciples. One guy used to call my computer a "Macintoy." Then he'd try to install a peripheral and spend the next six hours on the phone with a customer service guy, while I'd just plug and play. I never did figure out what he was doing that required the cutting-edge technology he was so proud of being able to use if he wanted to, him not being a programmer or gamer or anything but a word processor/email/AOL user, but I guess some people like the idea of performance they're never going to use and derive satisfaction from tinkering with things that should work without the tinkering but don't.

I'm a realtor, and it's a PC world mostly, but I've gotten away with doing almost everything on a Mac now. And thank God for that: look at the Austin Board of Realtors homepage, on which I connect to the thoroughly essential local Multiple Listing Service:

The computer worm that began attacking computer systems using Microsoft operating systems on Tuesday has also affected WyldFyre. Users can log into WyldFyre and search for listings entered/updated on or before Tuesday, Aug. 16. Hot Sheet reports will work for listing updates made Aug. 16th or prior. However, all picture file downloads are suspended. This service will resume once WyldFyre restores servers to a functioning level.


Wyldfyre is what my office uses every day in case the MLS goes down and we can't hook up to see what's on the market. So tech people have either already had to innoculate the network against this and other worms and viruses, or are going to have to later, or have stopped using Wyldfyre (I have no fear of this worm so I don't use Wyldfyre). I know that they've already forbidden Windows 98 and 2000 users from connecting to said network for fear of infection. Insanity.

What's the benefit of using Windows, exactly?

Friday, August 19, 2005

What's Coming for the Boob Tube

I don't know Bryce Zabel, who is apparently a TV writer/producer, but he left a comment on a post of mine and I checked out his site, and found this interesting examination of the past, current and future states of television. Good stuff.

Very Well Said, Sir

Excellent column on Cindy Sheehan by Mark Steyn here (free registration required):

It was suggested by the columnist Cal Thomas that Bush should agree to a (second) meeting — in public. Cindy Sheehan could let rip, but there would also be other bereaved moms of soldiers who don’t feel as she does, and maybe some bereaved Iraqi moms to tell of their gratitude for the liberation of their country from a psycho regime. It’s a fine idea, and I’m sure the reason Bush won’t do it is because he understands that Mrs Sheehan is having a mental breakdown in public and it would be cruel to take advantage of that. If only the Michael Moore Left had that much decency.


You got that right, homey.

Christopher Walken for President

I had heard about this, but my brother-in-law Fringy sent me the link and I'm even more excited than before. I would love a Walken presidency, even though he seems quite mad in real life. What I'd really like would be a president who was a combination of two Walken characters, Captain Koons from Pulp Fiction ("You see this watch?") and Vincenzo Coccotti from True Romance ("Sicilians are great liars.") That would be frickin' awesome.

He's Back

Gerard of American Digest has returned from vacation. Thank God. I very much liked this essay and this link today.

Prepare to Be Horrified

If you've haven't seen Carrot Top lately, this might just give you the willies. I know I've got them. Permanently.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Stop Exploiting a Mother's Pain, Radicals

Poor Cindy Sheehan. Ten years from now, no matter what's going on in Iraq, she's going to hate herself for being suckered into this nonsense. And Allah's right, this is one of the only things you need to read about her "phenomenon." Shame on the left for using this woman's misery for political gain. If her son were alive, he'd be as disgusted by her as the rest of her family is. Shame on those who twisted her into the person you see on TV today.

Go read Varifrank's take on this story. It's one of the few that won't leave you wanting a shower when you're done.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Casey Sheehan's War

I've been following the Cindy Sheehan story a little loosely, but Michelle Malkin is all over it. Malkin, who Rogers Cadenhead has been dreaming about lately, has a number of excellent links, including an excellent essay from Varifrank, another from Iraq the Model, and a debunking of the idea that Sheehan's son Casey didn't want to go to Iraq. Good stuff.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Genie and Ollie


Genie and Ollie
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I like this one too, a brief pause in the assault. Ollie makes a growling/howling sound the whole time, it's hilarious. Fred can't stand it and barks in a particularly ear-splitting fashion. It's a madhouse, I tell you.

Attack of the White Pig


Assault on Fort Genie
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
My sister Genie trying to defend herself against an assault by Oliver, who's not just clumsy and exuberant but also surprisingly strong and fast. One of these days someone's going to lose an eye.

Plumerias


Plumerias
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
We bought a green stick in a Lowe's a couple of years ago and it's become a Plumeria tree about 7' tall now. This is but one of the flower stalks, conveniently leaned over toward the camera. It smells good too, and the flowers last about three days if you keep them in water. Yum

Move Over, Jackass

Saw a show last night on Fox Reality that made me very happy, something called World of Stupid, which features Jackass-style groups around the world. While the Japanese Shock Boys were vaguely interesting, a Scandinavian trio called Dudeson blows everyone, including Jackass, away completely in terms of stupidity and bodily harm, featuring one member who lost a thumb in a stunt and another who's had his back broken three times. I can't find anything about them online, but they have a large following in Europe.

Part of the show involved interviews with their doctor, who seemed to be having as much fun with it all as they were. Their former manager talked about being pissed on, lit on fire, having his back broken, and then being fired. He kept looking behind him during the interview, fearing an attack from the Dudeson boys I suppose. And one of the three had a hole in his jeans during their interview and his sack was hanging out of the hole for five minutes or more, in full view. Good times.

UPDATE: Found them here, under The Dudesons, not Dudeson. Watch the video provided for samples and endorsements from Steve-O and Bam from Jackass.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Planned Parenthood and NARAL: About as F%cked Up as It Gets

If you haven't seen Planned Parenthood's cartoon in which a superhero kills an abstinence advocate and "anti-choice" protesters in the name of stopping "intimidation and violence," you really should check it out. They've removed the original link but The Dawn Patrol has found a way to play it. Dawn has a bunch of interesting links in her post, check them all out.

And I didn't post about NARAL's "Screw Abstinence" event earlier because I didn't have time, but I've had a number of arguments with people about abstinence, and opponents invariably say "it doesn't work" and "that's all abstinence advocates teach." You've got to have a really low opinion of people to believe that abstinence is an unattainable goal, and nobody gets all their info from one source, so teaching abstinence only in a particular arena like school or church won't prevent children from hearing about contraception.

I don't believe Planned Parenthood and NARAL when they say they're concerned with the health and safety of children; if they really were they'd discourage sexual behavior as much as possible before the age of consent. What they're really interested in is changing sexual morality across the board, and making sex as consequence-free as possible. There's a big difference there, and as someone who's about to have a daughter I'm going to fight them as hard as I can for control of my child's sexual attitudes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Why Indeed

Christopher Hitchens wants to know what's in it for those who, while they don't exactly root for the bad guys in Iraq, refuse to root for the good guys:

How can so many people watch this as if they were spectators, handicapping and rating the successes and failures from some imagined position of neutrality? Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East? Is Abu Ghraib really the only subject that interests our humanitarians?


I don't get it either. It's not as if the coalition effort is perfect, or that Bush is always smart and wonderful, or that people aren't profiting from the war on terror. But none of those are the point of what's going on in Iraq. If you can't sift through all of it and come to the conclusion that what's going on there is far better than what was going on before, you're missing the point.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My Favorite Website


Rat on Cat
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Stuff On My Cat.com makes me wish I still had a kitty to torment by putting stuff on top of him or her. Maybe next year, but meanwhile check these kitties out, they're fabulous. From Defamer.

Bring Back Mike Tyson

I had heard or read a number of these quotes, but some of them are new to me, and they all remind me that when he's free associating, there's nothing nuttier and more hilarious than a Mike Tyson quote:

"I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children."

"There are nine million people who see me in the ring and hate my guts. Most of them are white. That's okay. Just spell my name right."

"I love to hit people. I love to. Most celebrities are afraid someone's going to attack them. I want someone to attack me. No weapons. Just me and him. I like to beat men and beat them bad."

"One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like an infantile retard."


I can't even name one heavyweight boxer today, and if I could, they'd be boring as hell compared to this guy. I guess he couldn't last forever . . .

From Double Viking

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Ultimate Flip Flop

Prominent (former) atheist and philosophy professor Anthony Flew has changed his mind and says he now believes in God:

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives.

"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins," he said. "It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose."


In my opinion the concept of the existence of God is so large and unfathomable that Flew's major mistake was thinking he could figure such a thing out in the first place. If there is a God, and I believe there is, he/she/it will be unrecognizable to human intellect, and thereby undetectable. I can't fathom it either way, so I choose to believe there is a God. What's up, all-powerful one? Drop in any time.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Damn Right

A paragraph from Tom Sowell's latest "Random Thoughts" column reminds us of the reality of baseball star quality:

If anyone ever doubts that Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time, ask him: How many shutouts did Ty Cobb or Barry Bonds ever pitch? Ruth still holds the American League record for shutouts in a season by a left-handed pitcher.


I keep forgetting Ruth was the best pitcher in the Major Leagues before he became the best hitter. Never happened before or since, and that's why he's the man, and forever shall be. Also, he understood that fans were the reason he made so much money, something Barry Bonds never has figured out. Which is just one reason Bonds will never be half the man, and player, Ruth was. Did I mention I hate Barry Bonds?

Makes Sense, Mostly

Vaguely silly but fairly accurate descriptions that fit both college football teams and rappers. I'm not familiar with all of either, but the ones I know do make a certain amount of sense. From the Thighmaster.

You Dirty Bitches

Didn't you just know there was something fishy about the Jackson jury? When that ridiculous old woman said, "I didn't like it when the accuser's mother snapped her fingers at us. I said, 'don't you snap your fingers at me,'" like an irrational old bat looking for any bullsh%t excuse to let him off the hook. Well, surprise surprise. It was all a sham:

Juror Eleanor Cook says she smuggled a medical text into deliberations to show "Jackson fit the book's definition of a pedophile to a T." Other jurors later held it over her head to "intimidate" her into voting for acquittal, she says.

Cook admits she frequently winked at Jackson's mother Katherine in court and "exchanged wardrobe tips" with the entertainer's mom, which resulted in them wearing the same colors on certain days. "She [Cook] intimated that she communicated with Katherine Jackson, in some manner, during the trial," said Brown.

A gang of three female jurors were such rabid Jackson fans that they cooed, "Not my Michael . . ." when the panel discussed the felony charges against the pop idol. Both Cook and juror Ray Hultman "said these three women formed a bond, and their minds were made up about one-third of the way through the trial," Brown said.


What a goddamn travesty. The whole jury should be tortured for a week and then shot as an example of what happens to people who tamper with the legal process and knowingly endanger the lives and safety of children. Dirty bitches.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

MilArt


Satan's Sandbox
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Cool collection of art by "those who served" from Digital Brownshirt.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Not What I Wanted to Hear

Some people, including radio talk show host Joseph Farah, believe al-Qaeda already has nuclear weapons, possibly in this country. Here's his theory:

Several reporters and top intelligence analysts -- people including me, Yossef Bodansky, the former terrorism guru to the U.S. Congress, Paul Williams, author of the upcoming book, "The Al Qaeda Connection," and others -- have been working quietly and independently for years on this issue of al-Qaida's acquisition and plans for nuclear weapons. What's happening is that this independent work has led to surprisingly similar conclusions -- that al-Qaida has nuclear weapons, probably many of them, and that some of them, according to a variety of sources, have already been smuggled into this country using our porous borders and with the help of criminal enterprises like the MS-13 gang.

There is no question, based on captured documents and captured al-Qaida leaders that Osama bin Laden has been planning his "American Hiroshima" for many years -- long before Sept. 11, 2001. When you hear U.S. officials -- from President Bush, to Vice President Dick Cheney, to the head of the FBI and Homeland Security all telling us about the "inevitability" of a terrorist attack on the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, this is what they are talking about. They haven't come right out and made the announcements about what they know is the threat because they have determined it might create a panic. We're not reporting anything the White House doesn't know. We're not reporting anything the CIA doesn't know. We're not reporting anything the FBI doesn't know. We're just reporting what the American people don't know. And since the government is doing next to nothing to protect the American people, it seems appropriate to let them in on the dirty little secret.

There is a major threat to the U.S. civilian population from al-Qaida's existing nuclear arsenal -- and, based on the evidence, I believe some of that arsenal has already been delivered to this country.


That's the first I've heard of it, and if it's true (which I doubt), I can't imagine what could be done about it. The nature of our enemies is such that even if one was set off in a big city here, we'd be hard pressed to know how to effectively react. Let's hope it's not true, or that we get lucky and avoid such an event through sheer dumb luck. You listening God? Help us out, homey.

Stating the Obvious

Gerard at American Digest has gathered some sentiments that should be universal, but aren't. Here they are in their entirety:

1. "[J]ihadist terrorism has been carried out from Bali to Casablanca to Madrid to London to New York City to Washington by young Islamic men of North African, Middle Eastern and South Asian origin. This is not a stereotype. It is a simple statistical fact. ... But the overwhelming odds are that the guy bent on blowing up your train traces his origins to the Islamic belt stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia. Yet we recoil from concentrating bag checks on men who might fit this description." --Charles Krauthammer

2. "Though evidence shows that the terrorists are interested in acquiring nuclear weapons to use against our cities, a learned writer for the New York Review of Books insists that the real weapons of mass destruction are world poverty and environmental abuse. Of course, world poverty is rarely mentioned by terrorists, and those known to be involved have almost all been well fed and are well to do." --John Leo

3. "[T]he most dishonest argument about security cameras, searches, profiling, etc....is that they won't stop terrorism. Well, no one thing will stop terrorism. But to conclude, therefore, that we shouldn't do anything -- that's not an argument, it's an excuse. And a bad one." --Jonah Goldberg


And finally, a wakeup call by the hand of Gerard himself, whose fantastic site American Digest should be at the top of your favorites as it is in mine:

After clearing the border the Tecate Truck followed Highway 94 north to Highway 8 at La Mesa, California, and then drove west to Highway 5. It pulled off the road at a rest stop where it picked up a technician in a Tecate uniform who was carrying a case with the necessary electronics and a couple of weapons. After that, the two men followed 5 to the coast and swung down into San Diego. It got off the freeway in downtown and quickly made its way to the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway. It's total travel time from the border to downtown San Diego was just over an hour. It was running close to schedule. It was about 11:30 in the morning.

The truck pulled over and parked along North Harbor drive and the technician took out some binoculars and scanned the harbor beyond the Navy Region Southwest Complex whose entrance was less than 100 yards away. Intelligence was correct. The USS Ronald Reagan was in its home port and riding comfortably at anchor.

The technician opened his case and took a wire that ran from the back of the truck along the floorboards. He plugged it into a jack in the simple switching device in the case. He looked at the driver and smiled. The driver smiled back. They both began to recite a prayer in Arabic while looking over the San Diego harbor. At some point in the prayer, without really thinking about it, the technician threw the switch. In the next instant, at the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway in San Diego, California on a warm August morning, a miniature version of the Sun appeared on the surface of the Earth.


Chilling. But if you aren't already used to the idea that this is someone else's wet dream for you and your country, you'd need to get used to it. Reading this essay would be a good start.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

For Those Who Need Convincing

That the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were neither unnecessarily nor thoughtlessly used, a number of excellent pieces have been written lately for the 60th anniversary of those events. First, an excellent Weekly Standard column by Richard B. Frank details the recently released info that Truman had but never explained:

The diplomatic intercepts included, for example, those of neutral diplomats or attach├ęs stationed in Japan. Critics highlighted a few nuggets from this trove in the 1978 releases, but with the complete release, we learned that there were only 3 or 4 messages suggesting the possibility of a compromise peace, while no fewer than 13 affirmed that Japan fully intended to fight to the bitter end. Another page in the critics' canon emphasized a squad of Japanese diplomats in Europe, from Sweden to the Vatican, who attempted to become peace entrepreneurs in their contacts with American officials. As the editors of the "Magic" Diplomatic Summary correctly made clear to American policymakers during the war, however, not a single one of these men (save one we will address shortly) possessed actual authority to act for the Japanese government.

An inner cabinet in Tokyo authorized Japan's only officially sanctioned diplomatic initiative. The Japanese dubbed this inner cabinet the Big Six because it comprised just six men: Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, Army Minister Korechika Anami, Navy Minister Mitsumasa Yonai, and the chiefs of staff of the Imperial Army (General Yoshijiro Umezu) and Imperial Navy (Admiral Soemu Toyoda). In complete secrecy, the Big Six agreed on an approach to the Soviet Union in June 1945. This was not to ask the Soviets to deliver a "We surrender" note; rather, it aimed to enlist the Soviets as mediators to negotiate an end to the war satisfactory to the Big Six--in other words, a peace on terms satisfactory to the dominant militarists. Their minimal goal was not confined to guaranteed retention of the Imperial Institution; they also insisted on preservation of the old militaristic order in Japan, the one in which they ruled.


There's much more here, well worth the time. Next is a post from Clive Davis (no, not the music executive) that includes links to the WS piece and a fantastic essay from 1988 by Paul Fussel, literary critic and WWII vet who wrote Wartime, an essential book about WWII. Fussell was badly wounded in Europe but was being prepped for the invasion of Japan, and points out one of the major problems with atomic bomb critics, addressing someone who called the bombings "terrorism":

[T]hose who deplore the dropping of the bomb absolutely turn out to be largely too young to have been killed if it hadn't been used. I don't want to be needlessly offensive, nor to insist that no person whose life was not saved by the A-bomb can come to a clear - by which I mean a complicated - understanding of the moral balance-sheet. But I note that in 1945 Michael Walzer, for all the emotional warmth of his current argument, was ten years old.


Finally, Mark Steyn lends his wit and wisdom to the argument:

The Japs fought a filthy war, but a mere six decades later and America, Britain and Japan sit side by side at G7 meetings, the US and Canada apologize unceasingly for the wartime internment of Japanese civilians, and an historically authentic vernacular expression such as "the Japs fought a filthy war" is now so distasteful that use of it inevitably attracts noisy complaints about offensively racist characterizations. The old militarist culture - of kamikaze fanatics and occupation regimes that routinely tortured and beheaded and even ate their prisoners - is dead as dead can be.

Would that have happened without Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the earlier non-nuclear raids? In one night of "conventional" bombing - March 9th - 100,000 Japanese died in Tokyo. Taking a surrender from the enemy is one thing; ensuring that he's completely, totally, utterly beaten is another. A peace without Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been a different kind of peace; the surrender would have been, in every sense, more "conditional:" Japanese militarism would not have been so thoroughly vanquished, nor so obviously responsible for the nation's humiliation and devastation, and therefore not so irredeemably consigned to history. A greater affection and respect for the old regime could well have persisted, and lingered to hobble the new modern, democratic Japan devised by the Americans.


And that's the best argument for the bombs: you must utterly crush an enemy like Japan was if you don't want to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder for his return. We could have spent time, money and American lives killing many more Japanese civilians than we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or we could have dropped two horrible weapons that stopped the nightmare that was WWII. Truman and the men who delivered those weapons did the right thing by all of us, and those who deny that truth are either ignorant of history or unable to see the event in its real context, or both.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What Baseball's All About

Peter Gammmons' Cooperstown induction speech is good stuff:

And to stand here in front of the Hall of Fame players is like standing in front of the baseball deities, and yet I feel so fortunate to have known so many of them as humans. I think of Carlton Fisk and I think of 8 to 10 hours a day of rehab in the winter of '73-'74, mostly in the Manchester YMCA, to come back from a knee injury that very few humans could have recovered from. Eddie Murray, I think of the hours he took, watching him take BP which allowed him to know all of those thousands of clutch hits which were only by design, not chance. I think of Robin Yount and the fastest he ever got timed to first was 3.9 seconds, the slowest 4.0. And I remember that George Brett always used to say he wanted his career to end on a ground ball to second base on which he busted his hump down the line. I think of Mike Schmidt mowing and lining the field in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida so he can coach his son's high school team. Then there's Sandy Koufax telling me that I lived in LA the way he lived in Stonington, Maine. I think of Bob Gibson's handshake, of Tony Perez, Petuka Perez, I think he lived a quarter of mile from where I lived in Brookline, Massachusetts, and to this day not two weeks to by when someone doesn't say, you know, how are Tony and Petuka Perez? They are the greatest people who lived in this neighborhood.

I think of the hours and I thank Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver for discussing pitching with me. I will never forget the day that Orlando Cepeda hit four doubles in one game in Fenway Park and could barely walk. I think of Reggie Jackson and the two of us wandering around Kenmore Square in Boston after the Angels had lost the 1986 ALCS outraged because Reggie Jackson's team had lost. I think of Dennis Eckersley and I think of his start in the 1978 Boston Massacre when seeing nearly 100 writers surrounded Frank Duffy because he made an error. He (Eck) started pulling him off. He shouted, "he didn't load the bases. He didn't hang a O-2 slider. Get to the locker and talk to the guy who has an L next to his name". Dennis Eckersley defines teammate. I think of Kirby Puckett, my favorite days in baseball while the lights were still off in the Metrodome at two o'clock in the afternoon, Game Six, the night he won the World Series, probably the only guy in the world that called me Petey, says, "Petey get up in your Sports Center and tell everyone that Puck is going to jack the Twins up in his back today". Well, four hits, a game saving catch, and a 10th inning home run later, Puck took us to the greatest seventh game, World Series game. I will never experience ten innings, 1-0, Jack Morris. These players are great players whose success is measured in overcoming adversity, but no one had to be a great person, no one had to be a great player to be a great person stored in my memory bank. So I think from John Curtis to Bill Campbell to Jerry Remy, Buckethead Schmidt to Bruce Hurst, Ellis Hurst to George Lombard, I've been lucky to know thousands of people who loved the game as much as I do. In 1985 the Globe sent me to Meridien, Mississippi to do a story on Dennis Oil Can Boyd's background. I had dinner with his father Willie James, who was once a Negro league pitcher and maintained the field and team in Meridien. He was telling me how he financed his life in baseball by being a landscaper.


Of the big four American sports, baseball is the richest in human interest stories. Gammons has probably heard most of them. Read the whole thing. From Gorilla Mask

Well That Sucks

I sure hope this isn't true, but if there's anyone I trust to know, it's Charlie Murphy. Dammmit Dave, I was really looking forward to more seasons of the Chappelle Show. Even one more would be enough. Can't they just finish the current season?

Infuriating to the Point of Aneurysm

Double Viking links to a list of the "100 Greatest Rock Guitar Solos." As with most such music lists, it's completely f#cked up. "I'm the One" is the best Van Halen solo, Jeff Beck has 20 better solos than "Cause we've ended as Lovers," there's no mention of Skunk Baxter, and putting Allan Holdsworth's "Devil Take the Hindmost" at 74 is a joke, he could fill the top 50 by himself. Neil Young shouldn't be allowed within 100 miles of a list like this, and neither should anyone in Pearl Jam. But hey, at least Rolling Stone wasn't involved. If they had been, Jack White would have been all over the list, and I'd have to vomit.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I Did NOT See That Coming

Apparently marrying someone you barely know isn't that great of an idea.

Brutal

Saw the latest Six Feet Under and was emotionally disturbed by it, which I'm starting to think is the sign of good TV. Kind of like the Nip/Tuck finale last season, I kept hearing the final song and seeing the final scene in my head for a week or so afterward. TV shows are really starting to tap into life's brutality and while that kind of creeps me I'm very drawn to it, like when I saw Vanilla Sky and I was so freaked out that I had to watch it a couple more times just to get past how disturbed I was. Same with Blackhawk Down but in a different way.

Now HBO has Rome coming up in a month or so, and I'm sure it will be as ghastly and gut-wrenching as anything they've aired before. Maybe more so. I'm kind of excited about it but dreading it as well.

Then again, with a baby due around Thanksgiving I may not see television for decades, other than the Teletubbies and such. Maybe that's best . . .