Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The Sometimes Usefullness of Drug Laws

Like most former prosecutors, I hate the drug laws. No matter what the cost to society in general for some of our citizens' addiction, on the personal level, one of the least helpful things to the individual addict is to put him or her in jail for a while with a felony conviction. Also I have enough small 'l' libertarian in me to despise the nanny state and the prohibition of self ingestion which harms no one but the user. I have solutions but not the time to go into it now.

On the other hand, sometimes the drug laws are helpful, as in this case.

Robert Chambers, the so-called "Preppie Killer'' who served 15 years in prison for strangling a woman in Central Park during what he said was rough sex, could be back behind bars for the rest of his life following his arrest on charges of selling cocaine out of his 17th floor Manhattan apartment.

Karma, she is a black hearted one, sometimes.



This Day in the History of American Executive Actions Gone Bad

On this day in 1803, the USS Philadelphia, a newer but smaller version of the big late 18th Century frigates, such as the still extant USS Constitution, grounded off Tripoli and was captured by the Barbary pirates. President Thomas Jefferson, who I believe still has a good reputation as a founding father, had sent the big frigates and marines, without congressional approval, to battle Muslim illegal combatants who had harmed our commercial enterprises and kidnapped, killed and enslaved American citizens.

Le Plus Ça Change…



Thought of the Day

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.

Jane Wagner


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Celebrity Halloween Visages

Maxim is not known for its kind words for the people it chooses to dismiss and disparage. Few things could make that more clear than this little horror slide show. The least helped by cosmetic surgery award used to go perennially to Joan Rivers. We might have a new champion now. The men in the slideshow come off even worse than former hottie Priscilla Presley, left.



This Day in the History of Really Big Thermonuclear Weapons

On this day in 1961, the Soviet Union exploded, as a test in the air over Novaya Zemlya, a hydrogen bomb with an estimated force of 58-megatons, the largest man made explosion ever.

The Soviets were going for 100 megatons and thought they got half that, our estimate is 58. That's it to the left, prior to the explosion, of course.



Thought of the Day

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde


Monday, October 29, 2007


World Party 'Private Revolution'

I could swear that's Sinead O'Connor singing back-up.


How About Them Rockies

Despite being swept by the clearly better Boston Red Socks in the World Series, I'm proud of the Rockies and their dramatic win streaks to get to the playoffs and the sweeps of their opponents for the NL pennant. Our bats went pretty silent in the World Series, probably because Boston's pitching was really good.

Wait 'til next year, as the Cubs fans always say.



This Day in the History of Lotteries No One Wants to Win

On this day in 1940, U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson drew the first number (158) in America's first peacetime military draft. They had a series of draft lotteries in the 70s as well. I received number 360 in my classes' one. Victor Charlie would have had to have been in St. Louis before I would have been called up.



Thought of the Day

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.

William Blake


Friday, October 26, 2007


The New Republic Speaks But The Crickets Keep Chirping

The New Republic has put on line an update about the three stories by the Baghdad Diarist, Scott Beauchamp, which have been criticized by many and investigated by the Army (who declared them almost completely false). The editors at TNR say they are standing by the stories as they continue to investigate them. It is the Army which is the bad guy here, for leaking true information (and misinformation), according to TNR.

I'm confused; if Beauchamp can and did talk to them (without his squad leader present) and they have talked to other soldiers (whom they claim backed up Beauchamp's unlikely accounts) what are they waiting on the Army for? Tell us who said the stories were true and let the press and bloggers (mainly bloggers) investigate what those guys said. Silence for nearly seven weeks has seemed like an ashamed unwillingness to face that fact that TNR has, yet again, published fiction as fact.

Here are links to some of the recent stuff from the people who have written often and well about this story for the three months it has been festering: Malkin; Bryan Preston; Ace; Bob Owens (from yesterday); and Confederate Yankee. No one seems too impressed with TNR's current stance.

Here is what I can add: In his second piece for TNR titled "Dead of Night" Beauchamp wrote:

Someone reached down and picked a shell casing up off the ground. It was 9mm with a square back. Everything suddenly became clear. The only shell casings that look like that belong to Glocks. And the only people who use Glocks are the Iraqi police.

Square backed shell casing? The Glock pistols in 9mm have round shell casings, just like all firearms now in use on the Earth.

Only the Iraqi police use Glocks? Glock pistols have been on the commercial market for decades, and there are literally dozens of stories of Glock pistols being recovered from the insurgents, in weapons caches or other raids, and on the black market for the past four years. This claim simply isn't supported by reality... (last paragraph here). (Also I posted a photo of an American soldier in Iraq with a Glock here).

If you're wrong about some things, it is difficult for others to have confidence that you're right about other things.



Cruel and Unusual

The Georgia young man, Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to 10 years for consensually going down on receiving fellatio from his 15 year old girlfriend (when he was just 17) has been released in a 4-3 decision by the Georgia Supreme Court, which you can read in pdf form here. Largely because the legislator had reduced the penalty for the 'crime' to a misdemeanor, such a sentence was unconstitutional in that it ran afoul of the 8th Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Still kind of a legal stretch for me, but the result is just.

Much more at Volokh here.

I commented on this before here and perhaps revealed too much of my sexual history and preferences.

UPDATE: I was mistaken about the details of the sex act. I've corrected it now.



Robot Pictures

Not of robots but by them, specifically by the Cassini-Huygens space probe which has been orbiting Saturn since July, 2004. Stunning.



Rhandi Rhoades, The Devestating Fires, and Blackwater..

This would be fuuny were it not something she actually said.....

Pass me another Bloody Mary .....somebody......anybody ?

Randi Rhodes Suggests Blackwater Started California Fires

Fresh off her recent assault in which many suspect the culprit to have been 14 Bloody Marys, Air America radio talk host Randi Rhodes has now wandered into Moonbat conspiracy territory with her suggestion that Blackwater was the the cause of the current wildfires in California. Here is a partial transcript (audio available here) of what Randi said on the air on Wednesday:

"I started just doing Google searches to try and figure out. You know, arson, arson, it was like crazy trying to figure out why is that being downplayed? Why is that, you know, just a small part of the story? And you know, every time I look for it what comes up, believe it or not, is that Blackwater wants to move to San Diego and build this giant complex in San Diego right where most of the evacuations are taking place and you know.
You just know wherever there is fire, this administration will be out there doing what it does best and that is fanning the flames, you know. It just spooks me, I can’t explain to you how creepy this whole thing is that you know, you’ve got these fires. Some of them are thought to be the work of arsonists and in the same breath you’ve got a community that’s on fire that just recently protested Blackwater West. Just recently said no to Blackwater and apparently you don’t do that.
I mean, I don’t even know what to think. You know, nobody is saying Blackwater set the fires, that is nobody that doesn’t want their house burned down. Nobody is saying that, but it is all so bizarre that this is America and you have to sort of sit there and wonder … arson, same place Blackwater West wants to be, people protesting. And then you find out that some of the guys that used to work for Blackwater are now in Schwarzenegger’s administration.
It’s all so creepy."
Congratulations seemingly don't even need to smoke pot anymore, to experience pervasive paranoia.
From one of the posters at Newsbusters....
How in heck do you "google"October 26, 2007 - 06:59 ET by Gary P Jackson
How in heck do you "google" California wildfires and get Blackwater to come up? Do libs have some kind of password?
She needs to lay off what ever she's on, it's makin' her null, and void!
LOL !!!


This Day in the History of Little Remembered Martyrdom

On this day in 1920, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Ireland, Terence McSwiney, demanding independence for Ireland, died after a two-and-one-half-month hunger strike in Brixton prison in England, where he was serving a two year sentence for possession of seditious materials, et al.



Thought of the Day

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

G. K. Chesterton


Thursday, October 25, 2007


Why We Fight

So that closet anti-Semite Halle Berry doesn't have to put that body under a burkha.
(h/t The Superficial, who notes that her child will probably not go hungry).
Too bad Things We Lost in the Fire wasn't very good. It at least misuses the extreme close-up Bergman used effectively in some of his films. Kind of short on action too.



Sanity in Italian Law Courts

Communist Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena probably engineered her kidnapping (or so I believe) and then was 'rescued' by Italian intelligence agents including Nicola Calipari. Unfortunately, they were so full of adrenaline and themselves as they drove with Sgrena from Baghdad to the airport, that they neglected to slow down for an American checkpoint and, per well established rules of engagement, shots were fired after appropriate warning, first into the dirt, then into the engine and then into the car itself, wounding some and killing hero Nicola Calipari in March, 2005.

Recently, the soldier who may have fired the shots, Spec. Mario Lozano, (above) who was then with the 69th Division, was put on trial in absentia for murder and attempted murder; and today, the Italian judge dismissed the case, properly ruling that he had no jurisdiction in the matter.

Wow, sometimes justice is done.

(h/t Jawa and Michelle Malkin)



The Length of the War

A lot of Americans think that WWII started on December 7, 1941 when Japanese naval forces conducted a very successful carrier aircraft raid on our naval forces at anchor in Pearl Harbor. Those with a better grasp of history know that it at least started two years earlier on September 1, 1939, when German forces began a very successful and brief invasion of Poland. Those with even greater historical knowledge put it back to September 18, 1931 when Japanese forces began to wage war against Manchuria after what we call the Mukden incident. (I'm happier to put it on September 7, 1937, with the Marco Polo Bridge incident because, after that, Japan fought China without a break until the surrender on September 7, 1945). However, the Mukden incident certainly was the start of hostilities between China and the Empire of Japan which waged hot and cold for the next 14 years.

Likewise, most people think that WWII ended in May and September, 1945 when German and Japanese representatives, respectively, signed formal surrender papers. Ah, but surrender is not the end; there is a traditional period of occupation following and then a formal treaty ending all hostilities and restoring the belligerents to a formal state of peace. It takes a real history savant to know that WWII ended in this way with the Treaty of San Francisco signed on September 8, 1951. That makes WWII just about 20 years long with shorter periods of combat operations for some nations involved.

Gulf War II, the current war in Iraq, has been going on since April, 2003, so about 4 and a half years. That's about a quarter of the formal length of WWII and just as our combat operations in WWII only lasted just over 4 years, our combat operations in Iraq 4 years ago lasted about 3 weeks. Apparently, the Germans and Japanese are better at war than the Iraqis.

The real difference between Gulf War II and WWII is the deaths the wars caused, 75,000 versus 72 million. For us, 4,000 versus 405,000. To free 50 million from the murderous Taliban and the tyrant Saddam, twice that seems like a bargain.

UPDATE: The Treaty of San Francisco ended the war with Japan. It's tougher to peg the end of our war with Nazi Germany. The best bet is the the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany signed by all parties involved (but Poland) on September 12, 1990. That makes WWII just about fifty-nine years long. Wow, who knew?



Sounds Reasonable to Me

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israel's government has approved modest sanctions against Hamas governed Gaza for each handmade 'Kassam' rocket fired into Israel. The sanctions may be a 15 minute interruption of the power Israel provides Gaza for each rocket fired, along with a modest decrease in the gasoline supply.

We need to show the residents of Gaza that life does not carry on freely when Kassam rockets land in Israel," a senior defense official said. "If rockets are fired, then the Palestinians will pay a price."

Defense officials said the cuts in gasoline supply would be enough to "slightly disrupt" Palestinians' daily lives and cause them to think twice before driving their car.

During Tuesday's meeting, Vilna'i decided to allow the continued supply of diesel fuel, which is used by ambulances and sanitation vehicles.

"We do not want to cause a humanitarian crisis," a defense official said. "But we do want to send a clear message to the Palestinians that the rocket fire will not be tolerated."



Hunter's Moon

Tonight, beginning about 5:30 Mountain Time, if you have a cloudless horizon, you will see the Hunter's Moon, the full moon after the late summer Harvest Moon, rise at near perigee, as close as it gets to the Earth, so it will appear about as large as the moon ever seems, 33.89, or so, arc minutes in the sky. Could be beautiful.
It will set tomorrow morning around 8:oo am, in case you're awake then.



The New Republic Doubles Down Again

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

William Blake

Apparently, Franklin Foer is a Blake fan. Yesterday, Drudge showed and then withdrew links to two transcripts of conversations various editors at The New Republic had with the Baghdad Fabulist, Scott Beauchamp and the Army report of its investigation into his writings, which slightly dissed his fellow troops. The withdrawal caused some headscratching. Were they fakes? Had Drudge been had?

No. Here is what editor Franklin Foer told unprepared Howard Kurtz: [Beauchamp] didn’t stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn’t recant his stories...He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him.

While the discussion “was extremely frustrating and engendered doubts,” Foer said, Beauchamp defended his story in a subsequent conversation that was conducted with no superiors present.

That's not saying the transcripts are fake. Indeed Foer is saying they are real and accurate.

However, the editors are sticking with the stories, based on that second telephone call they had with Beauchamp when we wasn't so intimidated, and on the unnamed other corroborating soldiers: Foer continued to defend the article days later. He did so again yesterday, reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations.

Please show us the transcript of that second conversation. Please identify the soldiers who told you what Beauchamp wrote was true. Please conclude the investigation and tell us ALL you found. Some time during this year would be nice.

Although I'm not a pilot, I'm told that there is a time when an airplane stall becomes an unrecoverable dive. That time for the TNR appears to be about now.



Thought of the Day

Vulgare amici nomen, sed rara est fides.


The word friend is common, but the fact of a friend is rare.



This Day in the History of Heroic British Blunders

On this day in 1854, during the Crimean War, Lord Cardigan led 670 British cavalrymen on the "Charge of the Light Brigade" against heavily fortified Russian cannon emplacements at Balaclava, south of Sevastopol. With unclear orders, Cardigan led them off down the wrong valley, and the one person who knew, Captain Nolan, who could have redirected the charge down the right valley, to prevent Russian troops from taking away British cannons, was about the first casualty. C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre. Indeed.

These fellows above are the survivors of the charge.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


What's Going On?

The Baghdad Diarist at The New Republic, Scott Beauchamp, published at least three stories in TNR which milbloggers and fellow traveler chickenhawks, like me, doubted. They were incredibly tame as far as accusations of soldier war crimes go (no cutting off ears, etc. or even waging war in the fashion of Jen-ghis Khan) and at worst even the most egregious of Beauchamp's fables would be, if true, merely a war faux pas. But they weren't true as reported by blogger the Confederate Yankee's source in the military in Iraq. Then about three months went by with the TNR doing an 'investigation.' Crickets chirped.

Today, Drudge posted a story that the Beauchamp fables have collapsed and included links to transcripts of the phone call TNR editors had with Beauchamp in early September and a copy of the army report. It seemed just as we suspected. Then the links disappeared and now I can't find the story. TNR's site is still in cricket filled summer but the guys who have been all over the story are still all over it and wondering, like I am, where the Drudge story went, and why even now TNR is still stonewalling.

It's a mystery which will probably not last too much longer.



This Day in the History of Early Ceasefires

After 19 days of battle, in 1973, the Yom Kippur War ended with Israeli Defense Forces only 65 miles from Cairo and 26 from Damascus. Imagine the differences in World history had they kept going, at least to Damascus.
Above is a column of Israeli tanks on the road to Damascus north and west of the Golan.



Thought of the Day

Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This Day in the History of Muslim Suicide Bombing

On this day in 1983, a truck filled with explosives, driven by a Muslim extremist, crashed into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, and exploded, killing 237 Marines and injuring 80. Almost simultaneously, a similar incident occurred at French military headquarters, where 58 died and 15 were injured. We withdrew from Lebanon shortly thereafter and did nothing notable in retaliation, thus inviting further such attacks. The lack of retaliation was one of President Reagan's greatest mistakes.



Thought of the Day

Over the last hundred years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.

Colin Powell (attributed)


Monday, October 22, 2007


Steyn on the Real War on Children

Mark Steyn writes another world class column on the real problem with the government's redistribution of wealth. His best work on a micro level:

A couple of weeks ago, the Democrats put up a 12-year-old SCHIP beneficiary from Baltimore, Graeme Frost, to deliver their official response to the President's Saturday-morning radio address. And immediately afterwards Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and I jumped the sick kid in a dark alley and beat him to a pulp. Or so you'd have thought from the press coverage: The Washington Post called us "meanies." Well, no doubt it's true we hard-hearted conservatives can't muster the civilized level of discourse of Pete Stark. But we were trying to make a point – not about the kid, but about the family, and their relevance as a poster child for expanded government health care.

The President tries to expand free coverage to more poor children without health care, the Democrats go way too far in the expansion and somehow the Republicans are, according to Pete Stark, waging a war against children. Fiscal responsibility and not making the mistakes of Europe is a fight for our children's future. It is unbelievable that so few of our citizens see it.



Thought of the Day

We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands upon himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.

Jose Ortega y Gasset


Sunday, October 21, 2007


Friday Movie Review (early)

Went with Kit and her sister and bro-in-law, Amy and Mark respectively, to Michael Clayton, the new George Clooney vehicle, and a rather slow moving vehicle at that, especially the first half hour; it was like the old bottom of the line Mercedes diesels, slow, slow, slow. Then it picked up a bit. But there were stupid things as well, discussed below. Not that satisfying. But Clooney was really good (as was Tom Wilkerson, but he's always good, as is fellow Brit, Tilda Swinton, being here the banality of evil, chief corporate council for the evil big chemical corporation). Clooney, who here plays a good fixer, hasn't been this good since Out of Sight, his previous high point.

OK there is this evil corporation, u north, which makes this carcinogenic weed killer and is fighting a 3 billion class action by the farmer families in northern states who have suffered the effects the corporation would have preferred for the weeds. Rather than recall the chemical, even though they know its properties, they put profits over lives and are evil in that respect. Yeah, that's the liberal view of evil corporations, but fortunately it is a rare event, especially in the big ones. Then the corporation is even more evil to have on coded retainer, two evil, evil fixers who will break and enter and surveil illegally and even kill you (a very, very chilling scene) and plant a bomb in your Mercedes 550. Let's talk about the two, who look like they could be brothers. One played the hapless geek Kent in Real Genius back in the 80s and the other is the drunken attorney on Rescue Me. They are fairly efficient but not that good. If only u north had hired seriously good assassins.

You see there is a smoking gun memo which details that u north continued to sell the weed killer with malice and reckless indifference to the consequences it caused some of the families who used it. That knowledge sends top defense litigator Tom Wilkerson over the edge and he strips down to just his socks at a videotaped depo and chases a young female complainant into a parking lot telling her he loves her. Maybe he does.

Almost all of the good stuff comes in the mini-flashback (4 days ago) and you wonder at the end why there was the first 30 minutes. Now let's get to the other mistakes. If the evil fixers are listening to everything Wilkerson is saying, they know he has seduced the young farm weed killer cancer survivor to come to New York so he can give her the smoking gun and other details which make her and the other 449 litigants' case (and he has Dom Perignon on ice with two glasses--celebration or further seduction?). Isn't that planning for the future which would cause anyone to doubt that he killed himself before he picked her up? Would the evil fixers blow the bomb without it being in sight and knowing Clooney and only Clooney is aboard? Unless the fire gets really hot and lasts a long time, a body inside it leaves identifiable remains, at least some bone fragments. The fire departments around the country don't say they have recovered and identified a body in a fire unless they actually do pull out the charred remains of a body. Unbelievable. Finally, Tilda leaves the stockholder's meeting and walks through two sets of doors. Clooney accosts her, in a very good scene, after the second. How did he know she would come out the second set of doors?

Lawyers will defend people they know are guilty (and that has a price as the odd (but certainly not crazy) behavior of Wilkerson shows), but few actually aid and abet murder and other crimes. As Clooney points out, they buy off people, they don't kill them. What the freak is Tilda thinking? Oh yeah, its the corruption of power. Oh yeah, all big chemical (or oil or tobacco) corporations are evil. I keep forgetting the lefty mindset. The case would have been settled as soon as the smoking gun memo was brought to the attention of the defense team. To think that any real corporation would risk the bad publicity of the discovery of such a smoking gun is laughable. It is this series of serious structural flaws to the plot (and the director, first time here in the chair, is a renowned Hollywood writer, primarily of the Bourne series) which makes this movie too hard to swallow to be satisfying. Still, Clooney is really good, and when it's cooking with intrigue, it's pretty darn tight.


Friday, October 19, 2007


The 100 Essential DVDs

Amazon has a list of the 100 best movies it has on DVD here.

I disagree with a few and have better replacements.

Pulp Fiction--OK but True Romance is much better.

When Harry Met Sally--OK but both The Tao of Steve and Love and Sex are much funnier.

La Cage Aux Folles--OK but Pardon Mon Affaire is much funnier.

Chicago has two good songs but The Commitments has 15 good songs.

4 Weddings and a Funeral--OK but Love, Actually is both funny and heartwarming.

Ordinary People is forgettable at best but if you want to see a dysfunctional family see the brilliant and moving documentary Crumb.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is good John Wayne but The Searchers is his best movie.

Cinema Paradiso is over hyped schmaltz, but The Conformist has lasting emotional impact.

Vertigo is good for mood, stupid for plot and The 39 Steps is much better.

Modern Times is OK funny, but The Kid is funny and heartwarming.

Raging Bull is a painful boor except for the fight scenes but Body and Soul, They Harder They Fall and Cinderella Man are all great fight movies.

All the President's Men--OK but the original The Manchurian Candidate is better for political intrigue.

Sophie's Choice--OK but depiction of Birkenau in The Grey Zone will change your life.

City Lights--OK but The Circus has more laughs.

Titanic has its moments, but for realism The Last Voyage actually has a sinking ship.

Forrest Gump--OK but The Music Lovers and Mahler are better biographies

The Grapes of Wrath--OK but Sullivan's Travels is better

Life is Beautiful was just awful in about every way that counts, but for a funny, nostalgic Italian movie, you can't do better than Amarcord.



Rep. Diane Watson commits to support Impeachment

Rep. Diane Watson (D-LaLaLand) answers an extraordinarily long question about where is the impeachment legislation by saying that they have "substantive evidence" of impeachable offenses. Unfortunately, she does not elaborate. Yeah sure she does. However, the real idiocy follows. She says Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a plan: After they take the White House and have 60 Democratic Senators, then they can impeach President Bush. Let that sink in for a second or two. Her plan is to wait until President Bush is no longer the president and then impeach him. All of her "magic numbers" are hooey, too. Everyone who has voted for this woman, should go home and hang their heads in shame for the rest of their lives.


Friday Movie Review

Went with Kit to the Mayan to see Into the Wild, a long and very sad movie about the years of a strange but likable young man's life after graduation from Emory University through his trip to Alaska, which looked pretty beautiful, in the early 90s. The lead, who renames himself Alexander Supertramp, was played by Emile Hirsch, a new face for me, but only because he looked a lot different in his earlier work, including the well done The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys. He was great, but I left feeling I didn't get the real, whole deal about Alex.

The movie was directed by disappointing actor and political pundit Sean Penn. He did fine as a director. It is based on yet another Jon Krakauer book (Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven), and I believe I read a few chapters or a shortened version many years ago in Rolling Stone or somewhere. So I knew the end. I think it's better if you don't.

I recall bumming around with little money, a backpack and the youthful ability to sleep nearly anywhere, but I did it in Europe. Not the same. We really do live in a big and beautiful country.
That's what Alex wants to do rather than go to Harvard Law School. He thinks being a back pack bum is authentic and he's serving the Truth. I can't tell if he's suffering from some sort of mental illness which prevents him from making lasting human connections (but he is a hit with a lot of people, so it's clearly a difficult question). He ends with the journal entry: Happiness is only real when it's shared. Hmmm? Odd entry for a dedicated loner.

I'm impressed that the real Alex brought down a moose with a Remington nylon semi-automatic .22 (Model 66?). Must have put one through the eye. I'm disappointed in the real Alex that he didn't do more to get fish for his larder, such as it was. There had to have been a ton of fish all in waking distance. He speared a small one, once. Note to survivalists in Alaska--fish weirs. Look it up.

We're left with the waste of it all, rash youth, full of zest and an apparent infinite capability to stoically take anything, well, almost anything life has to offer and it all goes horribly wrong. He couldn't get past his hatred of his parents and the 'insight' he has about some people not feeling worthy of love, which he tells the large hippy on the Oregon beach, is clearly about himself. Stoics were indifferent to love and happiness as well as privation, after all.

The movie sticks with you. That's not necessarily a good thing. Did I tell you it was sad already?



This Day is Unlucky for Carthage

On this day in 202 BC, the Romans, unable to beat Hannibal in Italy, struck at Carthage and under Publius Cornelius Scipio (later given the agnomen Africanus) defeated the Carthaginians at the Battle of Zama in present day Tunisia. More than 600 years later, in 439, the Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, conquered Carthage and lived up to the modern meaning of the tribe's name. Rough day indeed.



Thought of the Day

Nihil tam munitum quod non expugnari pecunia possit.


Nothing is so well fortified that money cannot capture it.



So, Rhandi WAS at an Irish Pub.......

........There is a telling passage in this...

Speaking on her radio show today, Air America Radio's Randi Rhodes spoke about her supposed mugging. She said she was watching football in an Irish pub and went outside for a smoke. The next thing she knew she was on the ground, having fallen or been pushed into a metal grate. She also said she hadn't eaten all day, and she's been to a series of doctors and dentists to fix her injuries and they've also been unable to determine a medical reason for the incident. She also says she sent a two sentence email to AAR's management telling them that she had been mugged;

So she lied.......

when right-wingers were blamed for the incident she decided not to speak out because she had doctor's appointments.

which is also, very dishonest.

Here's an edited recording of the start of her show. Bear in mind that about five minutes of the beginning was edited out for brevity. In the raw version she complains about the "paparazzi" staking out her building, including one who asked if there was a "secret lift" to Rhode's apartment.

Link to the audio video

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This Day in the History of Overreactions

On this day in 1969, the United States government banned cyclamates, a non-caloric sweetener discovered in 1937. It was often used in combination with saccharin. I liked it. The ban was based on concern raised by one experiment showing bladder tumors appeared in laboratory rats fed large doses of cyclamate. Following new experiments, in June 1985, the National Academy of Sciences affirmed the FDA's Cancer Assessment Committee's latest conclusion: "the totality of the evidence from studies in animals does not indicate that cyclamate or its major metabolite cyclohexylamine is carcinogenic by itself." Cyclamate is now considered safe for use in more than 50 countries.

One of the most banal things you could say in the early 70s was that the rats in the cyclamate experiments were fed more cyclamates than one could ever ingest. No freakin' kidding. On the other hand, Gatorade never tasted very good after they took out the cyclamates.



Thought of the Day

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hope You Die Before I Get Old

The first baby boomer retired and started on SSI. What is now a trickle will become a flood. Very little doubt there will be little to nothing left for you youngsters in the Government's Ponzi scheme known as social security, so I thought the Who's seminal lyric needed updating.



All The Stock That's Fit To Dump

Morgan Stanley Sells Entire New York Times Stake

By Leon Lazaroff
Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest shareholder in New York Times Co., sold its entire stake today, according to a person briefed on the transaction, sending the stock to its lowest in more than 10 years.
The person declined to be identified because Morgan Stanley hasn't made the sale public yet. Traders with knowledge of the transaction said Merrill Lynch & Co. sold New York Times stock worth $183 million in a block trade.
Hassan Elmasry, managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, has unsuccessfully challenged the Sulzberger family's control of New York Times Co. through super- voting shares that give them control over the board. Shareholders owning 42 percent of the company, parent of the namesake newspaper and Boston Globe, withheld support from directors at the publisher's April annual meeting.
``This guy has been speaking for a lot of people who are too discreet to speak up and challenge management,'' said Porter Bibb, a managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners LLC in New York and a former New York Times Co. executive.
New York Times shares slid 48 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $18.43 at 12:44 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading and fell as low as $18.28, a level not seen since January 1997.
Next Step
If Elmasry has sold the stock, ``it's almost a dead certainty there would be a bailout of other institutional holders,'' Bibb said in an interview. ``If that happens and there is a sharp drop in the share price, the Sulzbergers have to sit down and decide whether now is not a good time to take the company private.''
A spokesman for Elmasry declined to comment. Catherine Mathis, a New York Times spokeswoman, also declined to comment.
Morgan Stanley held 10.5 million New York Times, or a 7.3 percent stake, as of June 30, making the company the second- largest institutional investor behind T. Rowe Price Group Inc., with a 14 percent stake.
Family members led by New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. control the company through their ownership of Class B shares that allow them to appoint nine of the company's 13 directors.

Money talks.


The Right Wing Hate Machine

This story keeps evolving. After Air America host Jon Elliot jumped to the conclusion that Randi Rhodes was assaulted and immediately blamed "the right wing hate machine" it was revealed that Ms. Rhodes merely fell down and was not assaulted at all. So Mr. Elliot apologized but used the same words.

I shouldn't have speculated based on hearsay that Randi Rhodes had been mugged and that it may have been an attack from a right wing hate machine. I apologize for jumping to conclusions based on an emotional reaction. (Emphasis added).

If it was an assault, wouldn't it have had to have been a person? I mean does Mr. Elliot think that the Republicans have robots which obey their every evil wish?

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this report at Ace of Spades but it gives off a strong whiff of plausibility.

Randi Rhodes was no more assaulted by a right-wing fanatic on Monday than Dick Cheney was. She, in fact, fell down and injured her teeth outside of a Midtown Irish bar at around 6 o'clock Sunday evening after downing about fourteen Ketel One Bloody Marys. She was abusive to the barstaff and generally gross, crass, loud, and pretentious. I genuinely hope she has a speedy recovery. I never would've disclosed this (I believe that anyone should feel free to hang out at Irish pubs at any time and not be concerned about someone publishing their behavior) if Air America hadn't grossly interpreted a drunken indiscretion and allowed it to be morphed into some bullish rhetoric on air. Whatever journalistic integrity the station may have ever had is now completely compromised. The manipulation of the public diminishes any cause, whether just or fabricated.

The T-shirt is at Michelle Malkin's excellent site.

When the left accuses the right of hate, all I can think of is projection. Beam in your eye, bro.



This Day

On this day in In 1885, Sir Harry Bessemer, a British metallurgist, received a patent for a new method of making steel by blasting compressed air through molten iron to remove impurities and excess carbon. By using the Bessemer process, steel became relatively cheap to produce and the wonderful and widespread modern architecture of the 20th Century became possible.



Thought of the Day

If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.

Arthur C. Clarke


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


What's the Cause of This?

I don't know for sure what's the cause of these bits of good news. I'll guess marginal tax rate reductions, for the rich. My smarter friend in Chicago says there is about an 18 month delay in economics between the action taken and first results. Let's see, what occurred about a year and a half before the start date of these two charts? That would be about March of '02. Hmm.

Remember all the bad press the marginal tax rate cuts got years ago? Man, were those guys morons.

It would be best if there was no deficit spending and better if the reduction in our deficit spending was because we were spending less rather than taking in more, but it's not. We're spending just as fast as we ever were. Still, I'd rather be heading towards a balanced budget rather than away. Too bad we've overspent to the tune of about 10 trillion dollars. That's a pretty hefty national debt. Are we making the interest payments OK?



Schadenfreude is Overrated

My desire to keep up with what's going on with the left in America does not extend to listening to Air America, the corrupt, bankrupt, failed, zombie liberal talk radio network. Hardly anyone can stand to listen to that stuff. However, when the rest of the media was doing their best to make Air America successful a few years ago, I did watch the HBO infomercial/documentary on the network's start-up, Left of the Dial. One of the few things I really remember about it is Randi Rhodes giving it to Ralph Nader for running for President and providing George Bush with his sheer margin of victory in Florida in 2000. At least she said what she felt and she actually seemed to know what she was doing in front of a radio microphone. (I believe she is one of the few original hosts still on the air). She also seemed a little miffed throughout the thing that she was never given the build up her talent and experience deserved, while untried Janeane Garofolo and Al Franken were constantly overpraised. I can still see her trying to blank out her face and that's always fun to watch.

So it was a little shocking to read that she had been assaulted, beaten (mugged?) in NYC this past Sunday. Of course, the left immediately blamed the right--[Fellow lefty broadcaster Jon]Elliott was extremely agitated when he reported on the incident.
He opened his show by saying "it is with sadness that tonight I inform you that my Air America colleague Randi Rhodes was assaulted last night while walking her dog near her New York City home."
Pointing out that Rhodes was wearing a jogging suit and displayed no purse or jewelry, Elliott speculated that "this does not appear to me to be a standard grab the money and run mugging."
"Is this an attempt by the right wing hate machine to silence one of our own," he asked. "Are we threatening them. Are they afraid that we're winning. Are they trying to silence intimidate us."
Some of blog posters also expressed concerns that the attack on Rhodes was hate crime. (Emphasis added).

Now Air America is backing off that calumny but it's hard to tell what they are saying happened. They just say it was an unfortunate incident. OK. Like most of the right wing bloggers who have noticed this episode, I wish Ms. Rhodes a speedy and complete recovery and swift, harsh justice for her assaulter.

UPDATE: Now the report is that she wasn't assaulted at all, she fell down. Oh...well, I guess there's no right wing conspiracy to silence her after all.

UPDATE II: Local first tier blogger Stephen Green at Vodkapundit has the best last Onion like word:

CORRECTION: It has come to our attention that had Rhodes been mugged, the savage act would have been committed by a pack of drooling reactionaries. So while the original story was fake, it remains, and shall remain, accurate. We regret the error.



Rollin' on the Juice

One of the worst things about committing a crime with other criminals is that they are criminals, not stand-up guys, and often the endgame of a crime caught is the race to the plea bargain. Orenthal James Simpson is learning that lesson in a big way.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He did better, in one sense, to be the lone, knife wielding double murderer, in there was no one there to snitch on the Juice.

You have to wonder about the 'no snitchin'' campaign being waged in the black community? What, actually, is that about?



This Day in the History of Reckless Mercy

On this day in 1953, the Fulgencio Batista regime sentenced Fidel Castro to 15-years in prison for his part in the failed first rebellion. Castro would be taking over Batista's government less than 8 years later. Note to dictators everywhere, execute those who lead a rebellion against you. It really is safer, especially when the rebel says he's never going to give up his activities, as Castro did.



Thought of the Day

Ann [Coulter] has a knack for offending the ignorant.

Kevin McCullough


Monday, October 15, 2007


The Beauty of the Universe

Here are three photos which I find both interesting and incredibly beautiful. I've always been a sucker for close ups of Jupiter's cloud formations.

This is a NASA photo from the New Horizons space probe.

These are ice geysers on the Saturn moon Enceladus. How a frozen moon can have violent eruptions of ice is somewhat of a mystery, but I guess if the ice is, of course, 0 degrees and the rest of the moon is minus 200 degrees, the ice might be relatively hot. At least that's what the scientists are telling us. The image is in false color which is usually much more beautiful than real color.

The last is the Eight Burst Nebula (a planetary nebula, NGC 3132}. The squished shape of the nebula and the relatively straight lines of gas and dust clouds across the face are "not well understood." So mysterious and beautiful, like a women I know.



Nagging Doubts Rewarded

I wrote an ironic post on Ann Coulter yesterday and included, again ironically, a photo popular on the web for portraying Ann as a Nazi. I've reproduced it here. I picked the photo to show the tolerant left in an accurate light and for the irony that the Nazis were socialists, lefty totalitarians, and right wing Ann Coulter has nothing to do with that madness. It is, trust me, a very difficult thing to convince modern liberals that the vile regime, to which they like to compare conservatives with whom they disagree, was in fact much more aligned politically with them than with Republicans. It just doesn't compute with their world view.

But the uniform they had Ms. Coulter in didn't look like any Nazi uniform I had ever seen. It took a while, but I think I found it. It's a Bulgarian uniform from WWII when Bulgaria was allied with Greater Germany. Close. But I don't see any swastika on the real thing.

The photos around her, for those of you too young or ignorant to recognize them, are, starting at her right shoulder and going clockwise--a mask of President Nixon, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Adolf Hitler, Nazi flag, Mary Vecchio mourning a death at Kent State, the My Lai massacre, and the summary execution of a VC spy during the Tet offensive. Since, using any of her dates of birth, Ms. Coulter was in grade school during the Viet Nam War, I'm not sure why those three photos are included, as they are about as far away from Nazis or Ms. Coulter as is possible. The liberal mind indeed works in mysterious ways.



Separated at Birth?

It's Cher in case you didn't recognize her. She sure did get her money's worth of plastic surgery. Oh and the other one, on the left, is Ozzy Osborn. Great talents both. As James Brown once said, "Money won't change you, but time will take you on!"



This Day in the History of Successful Western Stands

On this day in 1529, the troops of Sulieman the Magnificent abandoned the siege of Vienna. There were two good results--the Muslim religion didn't conquer its way into Western Europe, and coffee was introduced to Viennese drinking establishments and spread like wildfire across Europe, which was, I think, a very, very good thing. Thank you Turks. The depiction of the raising of the siege in Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver is very vivid. Haven't read a good history of it.



Thought of the Day

When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway.

Clyde B. Aster


Sunday, October 14, 2007


You Know You're an Idiot

If you're a Democrat and the Washington Post says you were "simply--wrong." Which is just what the Post said about Hillary Clinton and the other legislators who called into question Gen. Petraeus's credibility and figures last month. As I've said, mere troop casualty numbers don't tell you whether the troops are having success or failing. But this bit is a good detail:

During the first 12 days of October the death rates of Iraqis and Americans fell still further. So far during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which began Sept. 13 and ends this weekend, 36 U.S. soldiers have been reported as killed in hostile actions. That is remarkable given that the surge has deployed more American troops in more dangerous places and that in the past al-Qaeda has staged major offensives during Ramadan. Last year, at least 97 American troops died in combat during Ramadan. Al-Qaeda tried to step up attacks this year, U.S. commanders say -- so far, with stunningly little success.

The evidence of a drop in violence in Iraq is becoming hard to dispute. Indeed. But who would want to?



Ann Coulter--Lying Hound

I quoted Ann Coulter about a week ago and got a comment from a faithful and brilliant reader who accused Coulter of making things up. That's not been my experience reading her, so I asked for support. He referred me to Al Franken's serious and sober book of criticism of the right--Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. I happen to own that, a gift from my eldest. So finally I dragged it out and read the chapters on Coulter.

Let's start with the proposition that Coulter is, next to the President himself, one of the most polarizing of conservative figures. A lot of people who barely have read anything she's written, hate her. They hate everything about her. They criticize her looks, which for me is a dead giveaway of hate overcoming judgement. No photo truly does her justice, she is in person a very pretty, indeed beautiful woman. They say she is a former (or current) man. Right, there is no surgeon that gifted. They say she says untrue or stupid stuff, which brings us back to the lies of Ann Coulter as presented by the scion of generations of truth tellers, Al Franken. Here we go then.

1) In what must be the most important detail of the decade, Franken notes that Coulter accused the NYT of not having a front page story about the death of Dale Earnhardt the day after his death and indeed only had one two days later which started with a sentence about silence in the Walmart. Franken then shows a page of the late edition of the NYT the day after Earnhardt's death with a story about his death but not with the silence in Walmart first sentence. That lying bitch! Was there an earlier edition Coulter or her fact checkers saw that did not have the story Franken shows? Alas, my poor powers of research cannot answer that question, but in any event, Coulter was clearly talking about another story (Franken acknowledges a Rick Bragg story appeared when Coulter says a story on Earnhardt's death appeared). So at worst she's wilfully accused the NYT of not running a story she knew they did, or it was her mistake. Sometimes mistakes are lies, but the usual definition is of a deliberate falsehood said when the speaker knows it is not the truth. I try to distinguish lies from mistakes because we all make mistakes while lying, especially about serious events with real consequences, is a 10 Commandments prohibition, real sin, certain malum in se. So Coulter could have lied or could have been mistaken, probably was merely mistaken. Not good support for calling her a liar or for she makes up stuff all the time statement.

2) She appears to have shaved two years off her age, by stating she was born in 1963 not 1961. Wait, an attractive woman over 40 has lied about her age? Oh, the humanity. That lying bitch! I'm never going to believe a single thing she says again.

3) She said editor Evan Thomas was the son of Norman Thomas when he was actually the grandson of Norman Thomas. That lying bitch! She had to know the seriousness of getting that detail right, I mean, if he's merely the grandson of a perennial socialist candidate for president and not the son, then the whole point of mentioning the ancestor is...well, exactly the same. Wow, another palpable hit from Fanken on the thin facade of the reliability of Ms. Coulter. But wait, this was probably a mistake as well. Other than the age thing, is there a real lie Coulter has told? Only five more to go, let's see.

4) This is a particularly rank one. Coulter correctly quotes the NYT on Justice Thomas, and then correctly quotes a number of other people saying dreadful things about Justice Thomas and she puts endnotes (not footnotes, the lying bitch) for the dreadful things and they are all accurate. But...these things are close together in Coulter's paragraph about Justice Thomas so, if you didn't read the endnotes, you could think all those things were in the NYT. That lying bitch! To think that she would accurately quote people and accurately endnote her quotes but then lie by putting them in reasonable proximity to a quote from the New York Times. Oh, wait, that's not lying at all. Oh well, surely the next one is.

5) A) Franken accuses her of misquoting Frank Rich (even though she didn't quote him and it was indeed a reasonable paraphrase) That lying bitch!

B) Franken accuses her of misquoting the results of the newspaper recounts of some Florida county ballots after the 2000 election by saying the President won in all these recounts. Franken says that if the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court had actually been other than what was ordered then Nobel Peace prize laureate Al Gore might have won, under certain standards. Coulter, talking about actual history, was correct; Franken accuses her of lying because she was not talking about alternate history. That lying bitch! If in talking about the Battle of Gettysburg, I don't mention how Lee would have done with some quad .50s supporting Pickett's charge, then I guess I'm lying about history too in Frankenworld. Sheesh. Neither of these was a lie either. Not even inaccurate. Certainly he's merely saving the best for last.

6) In her book Coulter had taken the NYT to task for publishing some quotes. The NYT did publish them and they were actual quotes, but Franken, defender of accuracy in the media, points out that they weren't originally from NYT writers. So if I'm following Franken--if, for example, I quoted from the Ku Klux Klan period of the current Democratic President pro tempore of the Senate, and Ann Coulter accused me of supporting racists thoughts by publishing them, she would be lying. Even though I did say them, I actually didn't say them, Robert Byrd did. Oh, so that's clear. That lying bitch! No, actually, not a lie, and not even inaccurate to say what was in the NYT was in the NYT. Whether, in those two examples, the NYT deserved criticism is a different issue.

7) I don't have Lexis Nexis but apparently some people do and if you type in a search, on a given day and at a given time, it will tell you how many publications you can search on line have by then used the terms of your search. Apparently, if you use a different search or even the same search terms on a different day, the results will often vary. Franken accuses Coulter of lying because his different searches produced different results. You know, this is getting kind of sad for Franken, but here's the big finish.

8) Franken says the poll in the Christian Science Monitor on January 7, 1987 showed an approval rating fall for President Reagan (according to Gallup) from 63 to 44%. Ann Coulter had said Reagan had suffered a fall from 80 to 75%. Those are wildly and significantly different numbers. My non Lexis Nexis search engine won't produce the CSM from that long ago or all the numbers in the poll, so I can't tell who's right here. Certainly was a big, big finish. Ann Coulter said Reagan lost popularity and her figures were off, by a lot. I mean that changes everything.

A dispassionate reader of the ever witty Al Franken would say that few of his 8 blatant 'lies' and making up things left and right were in fact lies and most were not even inaccurate. Given all of Coulter's best selling books, her years of weekly columns, and her numerous appearances on TV talking head shows, one would think that there would be too many lies and/or mistakes (same thing to Franken) to mention--just tons and tons of them, if she's just making things up all the time. But there are not; there are indeed very few mistakes even. Franken didn't lay a glove on her and that's a stone fact despite his self delusion that he destroyed her credibility or my learned and good friend's reliance on Franken as his ace in the hole regarding that lying bitch.

Whether she's wise or helpful to call a spade a freakin' shovel--different issue.



10 Impossible Things

Don Feder's list of the 10 impossible things Liberals believe is not precisely my list, but it's pretty good and it's hard to believe there are many better blog postings out there, given the quotes from Lewis Carroll. Here's a taste:

Health Care is a human right - This is the foundation of Hillary's presidential campaign - that we all have a right to affordable, quality health care.

But why do we have a right to affordable, quality health care and not affordable, quality transportation - a Mercedes in every garage, with zero percent down, and low monthly payments stretched out over the next 20 years?

To say that I'm entitled to quality health care means someone else is obligated to provide me with same. Who? My doctor? The local hospital? The shareholders of companies that offer medical insurance? A taxpayer who earns more than me? One who earns less than me?

My beautiful and smart girlfriend said last night at the mini-blogger bash at the Irish Snug that she believes free medical insurance is a human right for children. I couldn't talk her out of it. Heart over head is a difficult thing to tackle.



This Day in the History of Offers You Can't Refuse

On this day in 1944, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was visited by a couple of Nazi officials who told him that, because he had been part of the failed conspiracy to blow up Hitler during the summer, he had two choices: 1) Commit suicide with cyanide and receive a military burial with the cover story that he died of wounds; or 2) Be executed, along with his family. You know the rest. Rommel was a hero of WWI and a very able general who was not given the men and materiel to get the job done in North Africa until it was much too late. On the other hand, he was fighting on behalf of the completely evil Nazi regime. You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.



Thought of the Day

I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants.

A. Whitney Brown


Saturday, October 13, 2007


This Day in the History of Big Time Flip Flopping

On this day in 1943, Italy declared war on Germany, its former Axis partner. In fact, Italy changed sides in both the 1st and 2nd World Wars. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. In my humble opinion, after clearing the German troops out of Sicily and gaining a foot-hold around Salerno, they should have made an amphibious landing, led by Patton, on the Adriatic coast near Ravenna and trapped the German forces fighting in the shin area of the Italian boot. Had Mark Clark been a Soviet general, he would have been shot.



Thought of the Day

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

Immanuel Kant


Friday, October 12, 2007


Rock Concert Review

Went with Kit to Jethro Tull at the Temple Buell Theater downtown in an 'arts' complex. This is about the 6th or 7th time I've been to Tull who has over the years been awful to great. Usually the quality of the concert depended on Ian Anderson's voice. It still does. Indeed, except possibly for guitarist Martin Barre, Ian Anderson (on the left) who turned 60 in August is Jethro Tull. So the two sets with no opening act started just a few minutes late with the great blues number from the first album. Anderson is playing good blues harmonica and singing OK with just Martin Barre on guitar next to him. And then the whole band shows up and they start into a very tight and lovely sounding Living in the Past, and I'm thinking OK until Anderson sings again and his voice is just gone--every third word is a phantom. Aw, man. How can he have such a great speaking voice and a singing voice with all the power of a hamster wheel? On the upside, he's in shape and can do all the stupid leg lifts and things he does when he plays the flute in his unconventional manner.

Still, there were a few songs where they were cooking and the lack of a powerful voice didn't take away a thing. One highlight was My God, which is still powerful and another was Nothing is Easy from the great second album Stand Up. Fat Man is still fun even though Anderson admitted that if they wrote it now it would have to be "Don't Want to be a Clinically Obese Person." They did a great Velvet Green, and even did a creditable Reader's Digest version of Thick as a Brick. Then the night went seriously downhill with an awful (full of flute solo) version of Aqualung and they finished the set, pre-single-song-encore, with the execrable (Hot Night in) Budapest (at least they didn't do the equally awful Farm on the Freeway). The encore was a spirited but ultimately empty Locomotive Breath. That may have been the end of my Tull groupiness. On the whole, it's been a pretty good multi decade run; but all good things must come to an end.



This Day in the History of Important Awards

On this day in 1945, Corporal Desmond T. Doss of Lynchburg, Virginia, was presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman for outstanding bravery as a medic, during the conquest of Okinawa earlier that year. Doss was a pacifist based on his religion, 7th Day Adventist, and refused therefore to kill or carry a weapon, but he served as a medic and was brave, brave, brave. He saved at least a dozen lives at the extreme risk of his own, and despite multiple wounds, including a compound fracture of his arm he bound to the broken stock of a rifle. Doss was the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor. I can't find out if he was the last as well.
I know a lot of divisional patches from WWII but I haven't a clue what Division he was in, although Wikipedia says he was in the 77th. If they insist. The shape and colors are right, but I can't see a statue of liberty. Doss died in 2006 in Alabama.



Thought of the Day

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein


Thursday, October 11, 2007


Sauce For the Gander

There are a few proverbs and sayings which used to baffle me. Because they are figurative flies trapped in amber, the words stay the same while the language evolves. The worst one is: That's the exception which proves the rule. Don't exceptions disprove the rule? Why yes they do and the original speakers of that saying knew that. The word 'prove' at that time meant 'put to the test' not 'establish as a fact.' Another one is: What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. What?

I know a gander is a male goose, but is a goose a female? And what's all this sauce business?

Anyway, what is good for one party is good for another party is a 20th Century bland version.

Here's why I brought the goose/gander sauce thing up.

When the administration of George Washington University thought these fliers were actually produced by a campus conservative group, Young Americans for Freedom, the penalty discussed was expulsion Now that a group of seven GW students - Adam Kokesh, freshman Yong Kwon, senior Brian Tierney, freshman Ned Goodwin, Maxine Nwigwe, Lara Masri and Amal Rammah - have confessed to making the fliers and falsely attributing them to the conservative group (much worse than just making the fliers, which ordinarily would have to have had at least some first amendment protection) the position of the administration is: Well, let's not be too hasty here.

Do they think we don't notice this stuff?

UPDATE: The small conservative paper, The Washington Times, makes the very same point.

UPDATE II: Reader Mike reminds me that the saying is sometimes: What's good for the goose is sauce for the gander. That version is even more incomprehensible. For it to make any sense, you have to know if sauce is good. I think it is, but would a goose think so? How about a gander? Do they regularly get sauce? I love old saying, but some are better than others. Still no word on what will happen to the real perpetrators of the above hate 'crime'. Nothing is my best guess.



Rachel Corrie Photos

Not to drive this topic into the dirt, but I ran across these a while back. I had always thought she went under the treads, but it was just the blade that went over her, apparently twice. Unfortunately for her, the blade weighs a ton or more.

That's Ms. Corrie in the bright red jacket with the megaphone. You're probably wondering where is the Palestinian house she was supposedly trying to keep from being leveled. Well it turns out that part of the popular account was exaggerated a bit.

In the second picture, only her head and arm are visible behind her cohorts who have come to her aid; but she's toast at that point with a fatal skull fracture as well as a probably fatal crush injury to her chest.

Having seen these photos, it is difficult for me to imagine that the operator didn't know she was around. The question is should he have suspended his brush clearing actions merely because she was trying to get him to stop? I think the answer to that question will largely depend on your political affiliation.

UPDATE: The first photo, as you can tell from the sky and the lighting, was taken hours before the fatal crushing and with a different Caterpillar bulldozer, not seconds before the fatal accident as many lefties have alleged. The second one shows that Ms. Corrie was, much later in the day, down before the Cat D-9. It is very unclear whether the operator saw her at that time, but clear that it was a near suicidal action to duck down in front of that high a blade and hope the operator would see you and stop. Here's her hagiogic website, with the following account: Rachel Corrie, 23, was killed on 16 March when she was run over by an Israeli bulldozer #949-623. Rachel was trying to stop the bulldozer from demolishing the home of a Palestinian physician in the Gaza Strip.

Here's what one of the cohorts says:

"I couldn't believe it. I was sure the bulldozer would stop," said Tom Dale, 18, a member of Rachel Corrie's group.

In a Mother Jones interview Dale said that Corrie was sitting in the bulldozer's path, then...

The bulldozer built up earth in front of it. Its blade was slightly dug into the earth. She began to stand up. The earth was pushed over her feet. She tried to climb on top of the earth, to avoid being overwhelmed. She climbed to the point where her shoulders were above the top lip of the blade. She was standing on this pile of earth. As the bulldozer continued, she lost her footing, and she turned and fell down this pile of earth. Then it seemed like she got her foot caught under the blade. She was helpless, pushed prostrate, and looked absolutely panicked, with her arms out, and the earth was piling itself over her. The bulldozer continued so that the place where she fell down was directly beneath the cockpit. I think she would have been between the treads. The whole [incident] took place in about six or seven seconds.

Here's the other side:

a) The bulldozer was NOT demolishing houses b) The bulldozer was excavating tunnels dug to smuggle arms and explosives to murder innocent people. c) The pictures and the story shown by Reuters ( and regurgitated by The Australian and the SMH) are a scam, they were taken elsewhere, not at the Rafa site, and not before the accident. d) The issue of Rachel Corrie being a hate-filled antisemite is relevant to the incident e) Israel and the IDF have been unfairly and maliciously maligned, and I have both a duty of care, and a right to challenge injustice and present the facts.

You can't help but feel bad for the waste of this young girl's life, but the sympathy I feel for her is about on par with the damage she did the D-9, that is, none at all.



This Day Day in the History of Ironic Awards

On this day in 1521, Pope Leo X awarded King Henry VIII of England the title "Defender of the Faith" following the publication of his well reasoned book regarding the problems with the teachings of Martin Luther.



Thought of the Day

You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty.

Sacha Guitry


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Is Hugo Chavez the New Chairman Mao ?

Via Boortz

Hugo Chavez is toughening the stance of his 'revolution' by forcibly changing
the culture of Venezuelans to be less "American."
Here are some of the vices that Hugo will curb in his efforts
to encourage Venezuelans to be the "New Man."
Venezuela is one of the largest
whisky importers in the world ... but not any more once Hugo curbs those pesky
imports. A 50% tax increase will be placed on alcoholic beverages as of next
week. Along with that, beer trucks will be forbidden and will be seized by the
Cigarette taxes will soar to 72% and new taxes will be placed on
luxury items like fancy cars and artwork.
He also has other requests: Don't
put too much hot sauce on your food, exercise regularly, eat low-cholesterol
foods, and respect the speed limit. Oh and when it comes to parents: stop buying
Barbie dolls and breast jobs for your daughters.
Stop buying breast jobs? OK
.. now he's gone entirely too far!

My thoughts ?......Right........Bush is the Fascist......not Chavez.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


My Day

Got up at 4:30 to drive my father to the hospital for a knee replacement; watched the series of humiliations he had to undergo to get ready for the surgery. Left the hospital at 7:30 as they wheeled him into the surgery. Drove over to work and did some, like probably kissing off a settlement I guess I only thought I made.

Then we walked over to the Capitol to meet with the State Senate Majority Leader, Ken Gordon, my state senator, to try to get some much needed but minor changes in the law; and he was helpful but we felt we may be butting our heads against the figurative wall. Received a call from the surgeon saying it went well and my father was in the recovery room. Then went to a settlement conference where my client, faced with a low settlement or most likely nothing, chose nothing. I'm nothing if not client control.

Then I visited my dad in the hospital and he seems great, glad it's over, in no pain. Sounds good to me. Of course the hard part is coming. As I left I spotted and waived to the Governor, ex DA friend Bill Ritter, who waived back and called out my name. Good to be on good terms with the Governor.

When I got home I read the paper including a very unfair article about law school buddy Carol Chambers, who is married to ex DA friend Nate, and is the current DA of Arapahoe County, et al. The article quoted the Public Defender and another guy opposed to the death penalty as the only support for the stories lead that Carol is seeking the death penalty for political reasons (a very scurrilous charge and false, absolutely false) and not because the guys deserve the death penalty. Below are the thumbnail sketches from the article of the alleged murders for which she's seeking the death penalty. Tell me if you think she's being too harsh.

• Sir Mario Owens and Robert Keith Ray: Charged with killing Javad Marshall-Fields and Vivian Wolfe in June 2005. Marshall-Fields was set to testify against Owens and Ray in the murder of Gregory Vann.

• David Bueno and Alejandro Perez: Charged with the stabbing death of fellow inmate Jeffrey Heird at the Limon Correctional Facility.

• Edward Montour: Sentenced to death in 2002 for killing prison guard Eric Autobee while serving a life sentence for the murder of his daughter. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the district court this year for a new sentencing hearing, saying a jury - not the judge - should have sentenced him to death.

• Jose Luis Rubi-Nava: Charged with the 2006 dragging death of his girlfriend, 49-year-old Luz Maria Franco Fierros.

Carol is doing 6 of the 7 curently pending death penalty cases. Sounds to me like she's doing her job. You go, woman.



This Day in the History of Difficult to Follow Noble Peace Prize Choices

On this day in 1975, the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov, called the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb (for convenience, just as we do the same for Edward Teller). Of course, the Prize was not awarded for his developing weapons; but it was Sakharov's somewhat mild criticism of the USSR (and the Western nuclear nations) for the building of thousand of bombs and support for human rights which netted him the prize (which he was unable to pick up because his government rightly feared his defection). It makes sense if you think about it long enough.



Thought of the Day

It cannot be stated often enough that our universities generally are run by fools who are breeding a generation of fools. There are, of course, many exceptions, but these exceptions have little impact on the deconstruction of civilization and the breeding of anti-intellectuals taking place at our universities.

Dennis Praeger


Monday, October 08, 2007


This Day in the History of Slow but Sure Karma

On this day in 1967, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, prominent face on many a T-shirt today, was captured and the next day shot to death, slowly, in Bolivia. Here's what I'm currently reading, The Black Book of Communism, said about liberal icon Che: by the mid-sixties, 14,000 men and boys had been executed in Cuba. That was the year, December 1964, when Che Guevara … addressed the General Assembly, and he said: “Executions? Certainly we execute. And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary!” So, in other words, he still claimed the system. It was still his system at work.

I personally think that Che was a latent psychopath who discovered by accident that he derived sexual pleasure from shooting people in the head. This puts the people who wear his image on par with those who wear the image of Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy, that is, empty hipster wannabes not to be taken seriously.

(h/t Sister Toldjah)
UPDATE: I jumped the gun on the date of execution, which is 10/9. Sorry. Post fixed now.



Thought of the Day

...Media Matters is more like the opposition- research team of left-wing activists than a media watchdog

Jonah Goldberg


Sunday, October 07, 2007


The Continuing Shame of the New York Times

Read this article at the excellent Gateway Pundit showing the evolution of New York Times coverage of the Haditha battle in November, 2005. Here is a taste:

The New York Times October 6, 2007

Last year, when accounts of the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha by a group
of marines came to light, it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining
atrocity, just as the conflict in Vietnam had spawned the My Lai massacre a
generation ago.

But on Thursday, a senior military investigator recommended dropping murder
charges against the ranking enlisted marine accused in the 2005 killings, just
as he had done earlier in the cases of two other marines charged in the case.
The recommendation may well have ended prosecutors’ chances of winning any
murder convictions in the killings of the apparently unarmed men, women and

That's The New York Times special way of saying "I'm sorry" for condemning the Haditha Marines to hell for the "apparent" cold-blooded murder of innocents before their trial even started.

And, isn't it interesting how The New York Times is still searching for an atrocity to define the War in Iraq?

An Al-Qaeda atrocity like the Yazidi bombings, the murder of a brave young Sunni Sheik, torture chamber drawings, or dismembering and booby-trapping dead soldier's bodies just won't do.

It must be an American atrocity.
Sometimes it's hard to figure out just who they are rooting for.

Then read John Hinderaker's further takedown of the yesterday's NYT article on the subject. Additional taste:

In addition, the Times criticizes Lt. Col. Paul Ware, who recommended the dismissals:

The cases also reflect the particular views of Lt. Col. Paul J. Ware, who
presided over the hearings and concluded that all three cases lacked sufficient
evidence. He made clear in his recommendations to the commander who ultimately
decides the cases that he felt that the killings should be considered in context
— that of a war zone where the enemy ruthlessly employed civilians as cover.
Well, that's a "particular" view, I guess, but isn't it obviously a correct one? In some respects, the Times' critique of Col. Ware's work is almost humorous:

[Gary D. Solis, a former Marine judge] added: “He’s aggressive, and he seems to
make his judgments without regard for anything but the law. He must know that
people — civilians, primarily — are going to howl about this, but that doesn’t
seem to be a concern.”
This can only have been intended as a compliment, but it is far from clear that the Times sees it that way. On the contrary:

Other military law experts also noted that in his two reports on the charges
against Lance Corporals Sharratt and Tatum, Colonel Ware revealed a willingness
to give the men the benefit of the doubt, and to consider the impact of the
prosecutions on the morale of troops still fighting in Iraq.
"Giving the men the benefit of the doubt" is also known as the presumption of innocence, a bedrock principle of our system of justice which the Times selectively supports.

Then tell me the New York Times is a force for good in America.


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