Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Friday, October 31, 2003

What Bloggers Are Wearing This Halloween

Who's that with Joshua Claybourn?

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Sasha Castel

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Andrew Ian Dodge, Paul Jané

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Samizdata's David Carr and Perry de Havilland act out one of their favorite James Bond scenes.

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The Four Horsemen of the Arcturcalypse: (from left) William Sjostrom, Jay Manifold, Alan Henderson (before LASIK surgery), "Vinteuil"

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Looks like they done fisked a Redcoat.

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Josh feels a disturbance in the force - it's Darth Lileks!

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After successfully infiltrating the Federation and stealing the formula for Romulan ale, Andrew Ian Dodge makes a costume change and reports back to Babylon 5 with his findings.

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Update: The head was a bit out of proportion in the original Sasha pic. That has been fixed.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

A Tale Of Two Extremes

Clayton Cramer summarizes the aftermath of the Sexual Revolution:

[P]ornography raises expectations of perfect bodies, of casual, almost anonymous sex being spectacular, and most important of all, decoupling sex from emotion. Guys have always done this, although in my generation, at least among the guys that I knew, this was recognized as an poor substitute for the ideal. For girls, this was much less acceptable.

It appears, from what I learn from talking to a younger generation, this notion that sex and love were an ideal worth waiting for has been abandoned. (Waiting for marriage, which has for generations been an ideal that many young people aimed for, but didn't accomplish, seems to have been completely abandoned.) "Friends, with benefits" is a widely used phrase among my daughter's generation to refer to people with whom one has sex for mutual pleasure, but with no deep emotional attachment, and no expectation of it.

And at the opposite end of the spectrum:

(Courtesy of Chris Muir)

What catches my eye is how different - and how similar - are the perceptions of female beauty within these two camps. One places sexual beauty on so high a pedestal that non-sexual beauty receives far less notice and appreciation as sexual beauty. The other perceives all or most aspects of female beauty to be erotic in nature, thus calling for a legalistic code of modesty that conceals even that which does not necessarily incite prurient interest.

So at one extreme women have to be super-sexy to be noticed, and at the other women have to be unnoticed to avoid the appearance of unseemliness. In either world, "mere" cuteness just doesn't pay.

Update: The original post has since been edited for clumsy grammar.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Hot From The Cuban Presses!

Granma staff writers Joaquin Rivery Tur and Aldo Madruga report Noam Chomsky's condemnation of the "world domination strategy" of the United States:

Noam Chomsky, the distinguished U.S. political scientist and professor at the Massachusetts Technological Institute, exposed the reactionary policy of George W. Bush’s government during a master conference entitled "Dilemmas of domination" at the 25th Assembly of the Latin American Social Science Council (CLACSO).

Chomsky, in the presence of President Fidel Castro, made reference to the U.S. government’s manipulation of the population so as to be able to unleash the aggression on and subsequent occupation of Iraq, on the basis that an oft-repeated lie becomes a truth.

Chomsky chastized the Yanqui government for "preemptive aggressions arbitrarily directed anywhere within the Third World" (except Cuba, unfortunately), and for rejecting the Kyoto and biological weapons ban treaties. Yeah, as if weapons ban treaties actually worked.

The article doesn't say where CLACSO was convened.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

FrontPage Magazine contributor David Bedein reports that US Aid For International Development is funding the Palestine Academic Society For the Study of Academic Affairs (PASSIA). What is this outfit doing with the money? Answer: lobbying the United States government:

David Nassar, former field director of the Arab-American Institute of Washington, D.C. (AAI), now directs the PASSIA "Civil Society Empowerment" project. He also authored and collated the corresponding booklets. Nassar says that the USAID-PASSIA program was designed specifically "to meet the specific needs of Palestinian society."

And what are those "specific needs"? On page seven of the booklet entitled "Advocacy and Lobbying," published in January 2002, David Nassar asks, "What are the large groups that your audience in Palestine are to fall into?" Answer: "Everyone from the Chairman on down. PIC members and the press." He states flatly that the average reporter "often does not respond but write(s) what they are told to write." Readers of this American taxpayer-funded exercise are instructed to, "hit their targets as we (AAI) do in the U.S. all the time", where, "the goal does not necessarily have to be identified."

One such "target" is on page 13: The United States Congress, which "cut aid to the Palestinians for not improving the way in which the PA deals with suicide bombers (italics mine)." The objective was, "To do whatever we needed to stop this resolution," sponsored by Senators Diane Feinstein, D-CA, and Mitch McConnell, R-KY.

On page 16, we learn that the last thing Mr. Nassar did before leaving the United States "was to organize four press conferences in the State of Ohio. Because the Members of Congress from that State have contributed to violence in the Middle East by rejecting the Palestinians' calls for freedom, one of the words we really wanted to make sure was in there." Only afterwards did they determine "who should be a source and look for a credible messenger. Because it is important (if the Palestinians) are to win to provide the idea that everybody wins."

Nobody Here But Us Hypocrites

Over at NewsMax, Francis X. Murphy has some words for Rush Limbaugh:

Hypocrisy is a favorite liberal smear.

Hypocrisy and the murder of abortionists seem to be the only unforgivable sins in the liberal Bible. Rush is guilty of the first.

In short, he spoke in favor of a strong moral system and then failed to live up to that system. That makes Rush a hypocrite, they say.

But the truth is that anyone who subscribes to a moral system [is] a hypocrite.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Today's Astronomy Pic

Here's a cool photo of Mars and its two moons Phobos (left) and Deimos (right).

Monday, October 27, 2003

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

A Volokh Conspiracy post inspired some musings over the popularity of Star Trek.

Update: Randy Barnett responds!

Friday, October 24, 2003

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Yer bloghost goes to bat for Ronald McDonald.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Congratulations, Dave!

Jay Manifold had the honor of attending the wedding of blogger Daveid Trowbridge last weekend. He links to this wedding pic at Random Jottings, and has some commentary on the State of California:

California is Matthew 13:24-30 on crystal meth. Drop 34 million people into the most variegated topography on the planet. Make half of them xenophobes, and the other half xenophiles. Divide the economy between frenzied entrepreneurs and enervating bureaucracies. Send the cost of living into the stratosphere. See what survives. If you're smart, watch all this from a safe distance (like the Breadbasket or Dixie, ref the map linked above [link is here]).

Hooray for Texas.

Another Anniversary

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Today marks the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. It began with student protests in Budapest and escalated into widespread revolt, suppressed several days later by invading Soviet forces. Radio Free Europe/radio Liberty has a special report on the historic events. The BBC reprints its reporting on the events of that day. David Irving's book Uprising! The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 is available for free download (2.4MB PDF file).

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Twenty Years Ago Today

On October 23, 1983, Beirut was rocked by truck bombings at the US Marines headquarters and a French military base. The New York Times has an image of its front page from that day and reprints Thomas Friedman's article on the attack.

At FrontPage Magazine, professor of Middle East Studies and an MSNBC terrorism analyst Walid Phares identifies the culprits:

The perpetrators of the October terror attacks were under Imad Mughniya, Hizbollah's chief terrorist. And he was under the dual sponsorship of the Syrian and Iranian intelligence services. Baathists and Khumanists [Khomeni supporters] were in a joint venture, not just to eject US influence from the Eastern Mediterranean, but to pre-empt the stabilization of Lebanon, and of the establishment of a democratic, multiethnic and terrorist-free Republic in that little country.

Hizbollah (also spelled Hezbollah) declared war on the United States twenty years ago. It is supported by Syria and Iran. We must inflict on Hizbollah the same fate we are inflicting on al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the Iraqi Baathist regime - complete annihilation. The criminal governments of Syria and Iran must be brought to justice. Fortunately, citizens of the latter country may very well do that job for us. But there's no democratic movement threatening to topple Bashar Assad. I suggest that after we achieve some stability in Iraq, we proceed to clean house in Damascus.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Keanu Reeves, Call Your Office

Baltic Blog blogs on popular baby names in Estonia. In the list of rare boys' names is Matrix.

Just In Time For Early Christmas Shopping

Ann Coulter action figure!

(Link via NZ Pundit)

Maybe should consider a line of blogger dolls. Hey Saudis, if y'all think Barbie is decadent now, wait'll Charles Johnson and Pejman Yousefzadeh start hanging out at the Dream House!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

They Say There Is Strangeness Too Dangerous

FrontPage reports an ongoing witch hunt at Roger Williams University. Campus conservatives are not pleased that college funds pay for speakers who denigrate religion in the name of diversity. Student senator Jason Mattera "co-sponsored a Student Senate bill...that would require politically divisive lectures sponsored by well-funded, non-partisan organizations to represent views inclusive to liberal and conservative students alike." As Mattera reports, the university rose to save the students from themselves:

The day after I introduced the Student Senate bill, I was fired from my job at the Department of Campus Programs.

I was suddenly accused of breaking and entering the programming office to flip through personnel and payroll files in order to see budget figures for the Department of Campus Programs. The charge was ludicrous, not least because these figures are a matter of public record which can be obtained openly by any member of the university, according to the President.

It got worse. The university administration proceeded to attack The Hawk's Right Eye, the only conservative publication on campus. Three days after The Hawk's Right Eye was distributed, RWU's president Roy J. Nirschel sent an e-mail letter to the entire student body accusing our paper of flirting with racism and "cross[ing] seriously over the lines of propriety." "The university will not condone publications that create a hostile environment for our students and community," Nirschel wrote. The university is "too busy for hate," he told the student body. We have since offered $25 to the first reader to find racist rhetoric in The Hawk's Right Eye; no one to date has been able to do so.

Then came the death-blow. The administration cut off all funding to The Hawk's Right Eye. This act is totally in violation of the Roger Williams University student handbook which says, "Roger Williams does not discriminate on the basis of…political affiliation." According to RWU, "such discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972."

The administration did so abruptly and in the middle of a semester, in contradiction of standard procedures which require funding decisions to go through the student senate.

So the university doesn't want to create a hostile environment for students and community, eh? Then explain its choice of campus-funded speakers. The mother of Mathew Shepard says, "Churches are damaging us as a society. They don’t allow us to grow." Ousted scout leader James Dale denigrates the president for not supporting gay marriage and the Boy Scouts for being "anti-gay."

Campus leftists reacted with the predictable ignorance, prejudice, and fear. To them, the only alternative to the ideology of the self-appointed gay leadership is an ethic of hatred of and violence directed toward gays. It doesn't occur to them that people don't have to hate in order to hold differing opinions on what is psychologically normal and how psychological issues effect policy. Does Judy Shepard have to hate churchgoers in order to criticize them? Does the university believe that some hatred is virtuous?

(And it doesn't occur to Dale that putting gay dudes in charge of Boy Scouts is a bad idea for the same reason that it's a bad idea to put straight dudes in charge of Camp Fire Girls. Is CFG anti-male?)

The administration of Roger Williams University refuses to allow intellectual diversity and open debate. I don't like government funding of education in the first place, but while it exists it must be denied to universities that employ totalitarian policies.

Brownie points if you can spot the Rush lyrics.

Health Tip

Last week, Paul Harvey remarked that of two certain countries (I forget which ones), the common diet was high-fat in one and low-fat in the other - but heart problems were relatively low in both. Harvey's conclusion: "It's speaking English that'll kill you."

Monday, October 20, 2003

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

I weigh in on the recent controversy surrounding Catholic officials' statements on the efficacy of condoms in preventing HIV transmission.


Writing for Granma, Cuba's official press agency, Patricio Montecinos chastizes the European press for censorship.

FrontPage Magazine Roundup

Jason Maoz, senior editor of The Jewish Press, explores the history of Jewish voting patterns in America. This passage explains the roots of their overwhelming support for Democratic candidates:

Many of the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe came to America with a passionate belief in one form or another of socialism, and those Jews tended to vote for third party left-wing candidates when offered the choice. Though their candidates were, with the exception of some local races in immigrant neighborhoods, roundly unsuccessful, Jewish socialists and communists left a seemingly indelible stamp on the collective political identity of American Jews.

Larry Elder says there's no "if" as to whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction - and he quotes Sandy Berger, Nancy Pelosi, Madeline Albright, Jay Rockefeller, and Bob Graham, all of whom had stated with certaintiy that the Iraqi WMD program did indeed exist.

Jamie Glazov hosted a symposium on our friends the Pakistanis. Glazov questions whether the Musharraf government is doing enough to address the presence of al-Qaeda and Taliban factions operating in that country.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Funny Money

blogs4God is challenging everyone to come up with their own designs for the new twenty dollar bill. Okay, I'll bite. Let's start with the obvious choice:

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Imperial currency for the Rottweiler! (Yes, the Emp is wearing King Arthur's crown from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

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Somebody at b4G knows how to pick an appropriate Bible verse for the day. Image below is taken from an actual screenshot:

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Take heed of b4G's disclaimer: "remember to place the word "specimen" in red, conspicuously on your art work."


Friday, October 17, 2003

Today's Economic Lesson At Sasha's

My guest blog explores job migration - both real and perceived.

Is Rush A Hypocrite, Part Deux

Jay Manifold takes issue with Jim Quinn's NewsMax column cited in this post:

The depths to which some people will descend in their frantic attempts to distinguish Rush Limbaugh from the hundreds of thousands of other Americans who run afoul of narcotics Prohibition every year are nicely pointed out by Alan Henderson; some right-winger over on NewsMax extruded this:

In Rush's case the drugs were legal and prescribed for the management of pain. He had no reason to question his doctor about the propriety of their use. There was no need for him to wrestle with any moral question in the beginning. By the time morality became an issue, the drugs had pinned him to the mat.

Apparently junkies and alcoholics aren't experiencing pain, just having fun. Yeah, sure thing. No pain in their lives at all. And that's some fun, pal. Especially when you haven't eaten for a week or bathed for a month.

Rush's situation involved two episodes. First, he sought legal medical treatment for back problems. Whether the physician committed malpractice or the patient improperly followed directions (or both), Rush became addicted. Second, he continued to obtain OxyContin for a long period of time - allegedly (but not yet proven) through illegal means. Rush's defenders are swayed by the fact that his addiction came about due to no apparent violations of laws or moral edicts. They understand (at least intellectually) that chemical addiction (plus chronic back pain) drives one to an incredible point of desperation, and are willing to cut him at least some slack for his desperate measures. They believe that the charges that he obtained OxyContin illegally after the onset of addiction are either completely untrue or exaggerated. Those believing the latter accept Rush's "I am no role model" statement as a pledge of good faith that he will face the legal system honestly.

It's not too difficult to sympathize with people who properly acquire prescription medication to arrest whatever malady ails them and wind up becoming addicted to the medication. Addiction to controlled prohibited drugs does not attract the same degree of sympathy. The main reason for the differing attitudes is legal: OxyContin is legal (if prescribed), heroin is not. The second reason is that prescription drug use is not sometimes irresponsible, but (except in one rare case) illicit drug use is always irresponsible.

(The rare case is when an illegal drug is the only practical curative or palliative life-extending treatment for an illness and the government is too pig-headed to recognize that fact. )

People often think of illicit drug use in the truly recreational "just for fun" sense. Some may recall that in the '60s some delusional hippies thought that drugs - particularly hallucinogens - were gateways to heightened spiritual experience (Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head, feed your head).

But many often fail to grasp another factor behind drug use. What is overlooked is not so much the pain of an ongoing addiction, to which Jay refers, but that which precedes many addictions. Many enter drug habits out of desperation to escape the pain of psychological trauma. Such pain comes in many forms: abusive relationships, guilt, loneliness, chronic failures of some sort. Peer pressure can also be quite severe, at that young age when the ego has the tensile strength of cotton. Those fleeing pain are just as irresponsible as the pleasure-seeker and mind-expander types. But there's a difference between irresponsible response to trauma and irresponsible adventurousness.

The distinction between narco-desperation and narco-idiotarianism implies two distinct approaches in treating addiction. No addiction can be overcome without addressing the motivation behind the addiction. One type of addict faces trauma, the other faces gross immaturity.

Jay wonders if Rush's situation will bring his fans (those who are Drug War hawks, anyway) to "learn the lesson of Prohibition." Not quite. Some prohibitionist dittoheads might consider gravitating toward Nixon's treatment-centered approach to the Drug War. Some might even consider a policy that goes light on buyers but heavy on traffickers, perceiving that addicts are already being punished by their own habits - sentenced to (usually nonlethal) injection, consumption, or inhalation.

But the central issue of the Drug Warriors is whether the greater cost to society is imposed by drug criminalization or drug decriminalization. The Rush story doesn't cast any light on this matter - although a few dittoheads might approach the issue with a bit more open-mindedness. If they ever want to sway the public, anti-prohibitionists must do a better job of presenting the balance sheets of prohibition and decriminalization. On top of that, they must offer a sound "exit strategy" - a plan for privatizing the Drug War with minimal damage.

Update: Note that I replaced "palliative" with "life-extending." Civil disobedience is a radical measure for defending civil rights and must be reserved for the most serious issues - including the right to pursue health treatment. Palliative care is the control of the destructive effects and/or pain of a serious illness. I believe that only that subset of palliative care which extends the patient's lifespan is serious enough to warrant civil disobedience.

The FDA is slower than the Senate Judiciary Committee when it comes to testing and approving life-saving drugs for market. Bigotry blinds many to the benefits of medicinal marijuana for extending the lives of AIDS patients; many fail to grasp that support for the War on Drugs does not necessitate opposition to palliative prescription marijuana any more than it necessitates opposition to palliative prescription anything. It's not like there aren't any prescription medications with wackier side effects or greater addictiveness than THC.

The government is not supposed to get in the way of us when we protect our own lives. We need a speedier, paranoia-free process for bringing life-saving and life-extending drugs to the marketplace.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Nothing To See Here, Move Right Along

The economy is improving. The Democrat leadership will probably deny the 2003 recovery the way it denied the 1992 recovery.

Muslims vs. Christians

FrontPage Magazine records an excellent symposium on the overseas Muslim persecution of Christians. Paul Marshall summarizes the issues:

First, there are direct, violent attacks by extremists on Christian communities...Second, there is civil war and communal violence where the Christian community has resisted the spread of radical varieties of Islam...Third, there is widespread [legal] discrimination against Christians in Muslim countries...Fourthly, blasphemy and apostasy laws disproportionately target minorities. [This should be treated as a subset of the third example - AKH]

This essentially defines persecution - or persecutions plural - in general.

There's much more - read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

This Could Be A Future Ted Rall Book

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Idiotarian cartoonist Ted Rall is planning to write a book about the Bush administration, and Tim Blair wants your suggestions for titles/subtitles. Damian Penny put in a entry, and reports that Rall has a blog. He links to Jim Treacher's discovery that Rall is quite disenchanted with the tone of the blogosphere. He cites these remarks from Rall's archives:

I'm still studying the blog phenomenon so my opinions are still in a state of flux. But they are worrisome. While they're obviously a function of free speech in and of themselves, the right-wing bloggers (seems to be most of them for some reason) often use their Borg-like structure to stifle free speech.

Specifically, they link up to an article or cartoon or whatever that they disagree with. That link spreads like wildfire, and soon they're all asking their readers to deluge the relevant creator or writer's publications with hate mail.

To the non-initiated editor the sudden deluge of hundreds or thousands of e-mails might seem like a spontaneous outburst of rage from his readers; in reality, it's an orchestrated Internet lynch mob.

When he's done (or maybe even before) writing about Bush and company, he can write a book about us - and give us enough material for months of orchestrated Internet lynchings.

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I Have A Solution: Cancel The School Lunch Program

Obesity is on the rise among Americans.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Is Rush A Hypocrite?

In a NewsMax column, Pittsburgh radio talk show host Jim Quinn Newsmax says no:

From the moment a recreational drug user puts the first straw to his nose, the first joint to his lips or the first needle in his arm he KNOWS that what he is doing is illegal.

For whatever reason, he has made a moral choice that his "normal" state is insufficient and needs to be augmented – so much so that he is willing to assume the risk of arrest and/or incarceration. And his resulting addiction should come as no surprise. He knowingly operates outside the law from the get-go. This is vastly different from Limbaugh's scenario.

In Rush's case the drugs were legal and prescribed for the management of pain. He had no reason to question his doctor about the propriety of their use. There was no need for him to wrestle with any moral question in the beginning. By the time morality became an issue, the drugs had pinned him to the mat.

Still, he managed twice at least to try to break the hold. What happened to Limbaugh could happen to your grandmother. It HAS happened to grandmothers – and grandfathers and aunts and uncles.

Limbaugh took a dim view of recreational drug use. He preached against the importers and the dealers and the users. Because of this he is now gleefully proclaimed to be a hypocrite by his perennial detractors and by some fans acting like jilted lovers.

What Happened To Those Supercomputers Sold To China With Bill Clinton's Approval?

NewsMax columnist Charles R. Smith reports that they're serving as the backbone of the space program:

The Chinese army runs all space activities from its brand new mission control facility located 30 miles northwest of Beijing. The control center is packed with U.S.-made computers supplied during the Clinton administration.

In fact, the Chinese military space effort owes much to the former U.S. president. The Chinese army succeeded in obtaining a wide range of U.S. missile technology from the Clinton administration, including satellite control facilities, satellite image processing facilities, missile nose cone design, multiple warhead delivery systems, guidance systems, kick-motor designs and computer systems for ground and space control.

In addition, documents show that the Chinese military obtained radiation-hardened chip technology, including space-based encrypted control systems, with the personal approval of President Clinton. Radiation-hardened computer chip technology is considered to be a key element of atomic warfare because it gives the Chinese army the ability to fight and control its forces during nuclear combat.

By 2008, China plans to launch a "space station...designed to be used as a military reconnaissance platform with larger optical systems and better ground resolutions." Some people aren't too happy:

"A nasty new slave labor tyrant that pays his mortgage from slave labor just moved into the space neighborhood and he didn't move in for the view," stated a senior Canadian intelligence source.

"Its time for a neighborhood watch program."

Also At FrontPage Magazine

Allan J. Favish explores Bill Clinton's failure to act on Operation Bojinka. In 1995, Philippine investigators uncovered a plot hatched by al-Qaeda operatives in Manila, led by Ramzi Yousef (who was later convicted f the 1993 WTC bombing), to hijack American airliners and crash them into several locations, including the Pentagon and CIA headquarters. Philippine authorities informed the FBI, and the agency did nothing. As reported by former White House aide Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert Patterson in his book Dereliction of Duty, Bill Clinton received a Presidential Daily Brief on the matter, and he did nothing.

Columbus Day Roundup At FrontPage Magazine

Check out the columns by David Yeagley, Joseph J. Sabia, and Lowell Ponte.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

I have a unique take on today's announcement from Rush Limbaugh on his battle with prescription drug addiction.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

California Dreaming (Not)

Former NYC mayor Ed Koch opines on California politics:

The voters of California who handed Gray Davis a tremendous defeat and Arnold Schwarzenegger a spectacular victory threw all cautionary instincts to the wind. They held Gray Davis responsible for every misfortune suffered by California in the last five years. Most of these misfortunes, such as a declining economy and job losses, are national phenomena not within the control of the governor.

Koch fails to consider that California's economic woes are startlingly worse than that of many other states - and that much of the difference an be found in state government policy. California is among those states with the highest levels of taxation and the most suffocating business regulatory policy. Its politics - and those of Koch's native New York - are dominated by those who cherish the utopian delusions that redistributionist policies can achieve perfect economic balance and that micromanagement of everything we do can wipe physical risk off the face of the map.

Jay Manifold blogged on how America compares economically with Europe, Canada, and Australia. His closing remarks suggest a travel venue that would broaden Koch's horizons:

To return to point 3 [that Australia's and Western Europe's per capita GDP is roughly 70% of America's], most Americans have no idea how much better off they are than, say, most Canadians or Europeans; and I suspect that few Americans living on or near the Atlantic or Pacific Coasts realize how much less expensive the cost of living is in the middle three-fifths of the country.

If California is suffering from nation-wide economic woes, then why isn't Florida? A NewsMax column explains:

In his five years in office, the California budget grew from $74 billion to $110 billion. He inherited a $10 billion budget surplus; now the state faces a $38 billion deficit – the largest ocean of red ink in the history of the states. The state payroll swelled by 25,000 employees during just his first three years in office, a larger increase than the next three biggest states combined. The bond rating service Moody's has downgraded California bond ratings twice.

Florida has a Republican governor and both houses of the legislature have Republican majorities. With no tax-and-spend Democrats in power to Just Say Yes, fiscal responsibility is in vogue.

Cato gave Gov. Jeb Bush one of just two As and stated that he "is the real tax-cutting fiscal conservative in the family. Property taxes were cut by $1 billion, the business intangible tax by $600 million and he took the unusual step of walking the halls of the Capitol himself asking members of both parties to oppose a sales tax hike sponsored by members of his own party."

But wait, there's more!

An analysis by the American Legislative Exchange Council of state tax policy during the past decade found that the 10 states that cut taxes the most created twice as many new jobs as the 10 states that raised their taxes the most. Ironically, states that cut taxes enjoyed much better economic growth and subsequently collected more taxes. It should be noted that virtually all states enjoyed huge gross tax revenue increases in the past 10 years, but the crunch came as a result of even higher rates of spending.

Alec Baldwin doesn't need to move to France. We have acceptable substitutes at home.

Pele, Call Your Office reports the scientific theory that the universe is shaped like a football hockey puck badminton shuttlecock Wrigley Field soccer ball.

Shoot Me Baby One More Time

Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Gov. Robert Ehrlich, jokes about wanting to shoot Britney Spears:

"As a working mother raising a 4-year-old son, the first lady has concerns about the negative influences that the entertainment industry can have on young children and teen-agers," spokeswoman Meghann Siwinski said. "During a public appearance, she inadvertently used a figure of speech to express those concerns."

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Terminator 4: Demise Of The Davis Machine

Precincts reporting: 96.1%

Recall Gray Davis?





Candidates to replace Davis

Arnold Schwarzenegger


Cruz Bustamante


Tom McClintock


Peter Miguel Camejo


Arianna Huffington


Peter Ueberroth


Larry Flynt


Gary Coleman


George Schwartzman


Mary Cook


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Saddam's gulag

PETA Blames Roy For Mauling

An official with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals faxed a letter to the hospital room of Roy Horn, who was mauled by a white Bengal tiger during a recent Siegfried & Roy performance.

"Perhaps Friday's frightening incident will make you realize that a brightly lit stage with pounding music and a screaming audience is not the natural habitat for tigers, lions, or any other exotic animals," PETA Vice President Dan Mathews wrote.

"The only natural thing that happened on that stage was that this majestic animal lashed out against a captor who was beating him with a microphone because he wouldn't do a trick," Mathews continued. "No matter how much you say that you love the wild animals whom you have confined continents away from their natural homes, you are still the men who have subjugated their wills and natures to further your own careers."

The LA Times Stories On Schwarzenegger Result In Backlash...

...against the LA Times, as NewsMax reports:

According to the Times, as of Saturday evening, about 1,000 readers had canceled their subscriptions to protest the handling of the Schwarzenegger story. In addition, the Times admitted getting as many as 400 phone calls critical of its coverage - many angry, some profane.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Advice for Arnold Schwarzenegger

Dude, you're running for governor in a heavily Democratic state. If you want those crossover votes, you've got to start emulating Democrats more. Re-hire Warren Buffet. Tell people you admire Fidel Castro because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power, and for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. Grope Kathleen Willey. Do some fundraising at Buddhist temples. Demonize corporations. Demand that hurricanes be given obvious Austrian names. Accuse Bush of engineering the 9/11 attacks. Accuse talk radio of inspiring hate crime. Disable your Hummers so they can't be driven, give them to some homeless people to live in, and buy a Geo Metro. Do a fraudulent documentary. Write some disingenuous columns for the New York Times. Appease a terrorist. Demand higher taxes from everybody.

Look, Up In The Sky

Last night I went to the Texas Astronomical Society's Public Telescope Observing at Richland College, which is about as centrally located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as Washington, DC is centrally located in the lower 48 states. (I hate driving in Dallas!) Saw Mars in a 10" Dobsonian scope; I could make out the south polar ice cap. Not much else to see with all those city lights.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Giant Plastic Eyeballs For Sale?

In an email with the same title as this post, Jay Manifold sent me the text of an ad he found on an Internet website:

Buy Sauron Action Figures
Hard to find Sauron figure in stock Act quick,
quantities are limited.

I just had a flashback to those Saturday Night Live sketches in featuring a Joan Face (Jane Curtin) interview of Erwin Mainway (Dan Aykroyd), an entrepreneur with a penchant for marketing extraordinarily hazardous goods and services. "And what about this Sauron action figure? It's nothing but a giant plastic eyeball with lighter fluid and a match!"

Update: A true aficionado of the early SNL years will recognize the similarity to the product description of Mainway's "Johnny Human Torch" children's Halloween costume.

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Arnold Scwarzenegger is no Bill Clinton

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Who Did He Grope, And When Did He Grope Her?

A Los Angeles Times story reports that Juanita Broaddrick Kathleen Willey Paula Jones six women - four of them unnamed - have accused Arnold Schwarzenegger of sexual harassment. This isn't news; the Hollywood gossip has been circulating such stories for years. Schwarzenegger apologized:

"Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right, which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I offended people," Schwarzenegger told a crowd of supports in San Diego.

"Those people that I have offended, I want to say to them I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because that's not what I'm trying to do," he added.

No one is pursuing any legal action against the Terminator, or accusing him or sending thugs to threaten them into silence.

Since Valerie Plame's Cover Has Been Blown...

...can I have her job?

Naturally, I will be unable to confirm or deny any employment with the CIA resulting from this solicitation. My readers will have to just keep guessing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Who's Who In The CIA

Bob Novak starts off the month summing up the basic facts behind the Valerie Plame controversy. Her CIA employment was well known in Washington. Sources within the CIA conflict over whether she is a covert operative or a non-covert analyst. The current investigation is a routine matter; the CIA investigates alleged leaks all the time, "averaging one a week." The reason her name came up in the first place is explained here:

During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: ''Oh, you know about it.'' The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue.

At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause ''difficulties'' if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.

In the column Novak names another CIA employee: some dude named George Tenet.

A Marine Writes From Iraq

FrontPage Magazine features a letter written by an anonymous marine stationed in Baghdad, submitted by retired U.S. Naval Intelligence captain Carl Sundstrom. What does he have to say about the press?

My brief love affair with the press guys who had the courage to be embedded with the troops during the fighting is probably over, especially since we are back being criticized by the same Roland Headly types [referring to the clueless Doonesbury reporter] that used to hang around the Palestine Hotel drinking Baghdad Bob's whiskey and parroting his ridiculous B.S...

The only reason the GIs are upset (not demoralized) is that they cannot touch those taunting bags of gas that scream in their faces and riot on cue when they spot a camera man from ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN or NBC. Then they know the next nightly news will be about how chaotic things are and how much the Iraqi people hate us.

He recalls one reporter in particular:

The MSNBC reported on the air that "dozens of GIs" were badly burned when two RPGs hit a truck belonging to an Engineer Battalion that was parked by a construction site. The truck was hit and burned, three GIs received minor injuries (including the driver who burnt his hand) and three warriors of Allah were promptly sent to enjoy their 72 slave girls in Paradise.

A mosque in Fallujah blew up this morning while the local imam, a creep named Fahlil (who was one of the biggest local loudmouths that frequently appeared on CNN) was helping a Syrian Hamas member teach eight teenagers how to make belt bombs. Right away the local Feyhadeen propaganda group started wailing that the Americans hit it with a TOW missile (If they had there wouldn't have been any mosque left!) and the usual suspects took to the streets for CNN and BBC. One fool was dragging around a bloody piece of tin, claiming it was part of the missile.

The cameras rolled and the idiot started repeating his story, then one of my guys asked him in Arabic where he had left the rag he usually wore around his face that made him look like a girl. He was a local leader of the Feyhadeen. We took the clown in custody and were asked rather indignantly by the twit from BBC if we were trying to shut up "the poor man who had seen his mosque and friends blown up."

I told the airy-fairy who the raghead was and if he knew Arabic (which he obviously didn't) he'd know he was a Palestinian. I suggested we take him down to the local jail and we'd lock him and his cameraman in a cell with the "poor man" and they could interview him until we took him to headquarters. They declined the invitation. Guess what played on the British Broadcasting System that evening? Did the Americans blow up a mosque? See the poor man who is still in a state of shock over losing his mosque and relatives? Yep. The Palestinian.

There's more. Read the whole thing.

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