31 August 2006

Remote reader

If my reader in what appears to be close to what I'm sure is the booming metropolis of Nunalla, on the border of Manitoba and the Nunavut Territory (at least, according to the map on the GeoVisitors link), would post a comment with their info, I'd sure like to credit you as definitely the most remote point on the planet that's yet read my stuff. (Remote from what passes for civilization, not from me. There's someone in New Zealand who already has that distinction.)

On more than one day, too, by the look of it.
And it's probably not even snowing up there, yet...

Good night and good luck

What is the last thing those excitable people in Iran will see if they actually try to destroy Israel? (See above for details. Maybe we can think of it as the Mogen Schmuck, depending on your grasp of Yiddish.)

(The excitable people is my phrase for countries where large groups of people tend to gather in the streets, shout in unison, and wave their arms in the air about current events. In this country, we tend to limit that behavior to music concerts of the loud persuasion and major sporting events...)
If the originator of this image runs across this post, please let me know in the comments and I'll gladly credit you; I couldn't find any listing on the web for the photographer or Photoshop geek...

NOLA ain't the only one

In case you thought that New Orleans was the only center of urban planning stupidity in the US, check out this expose, done last year, of the effects of a lahar coming off Mount Rainier in Washington.

Estimates are that even a medium-sized lahar could kill over 250,000 people, yet they're still building new suburbs on top of existing mudplains left by earlier lahars.

Now that is madness.
I wonder if you can even get lahar insurance. Of course! What am I thinking? Federal lahar insurance...

A little perspective, please

As of 10 August 2006, after four years of fighting the Thousand Year War, there were 2,819 dead among the coalition forces in Iraq. Of these, 2,592 were Americans, 115 were British, 31 were Italians, 18 were Ukrainians, 17 were Poles, 13 were Bulgarians, 11 were Spaniards (who've gone home now, after the Madrid train bombings; they're getting as bad as the French), 4 were Salvadorans, 3 were Danes, 3 were Slovaks, 2 were Australians, 2 were Dutch, 2 were Estonians, 2 were Romanians, 2 were Thais, and 1 each of the Fijian and Kazakh contingents.

So many dead, we must pull out, unilaterally if necessary (like the Salvadorans and Fijians will stay long after we go), but immediately!

Not to say that any of those nearly three thousand lives was not important (especially to their families), but a little fucking perspective here, please...

First of all, we're in a war. I call it the Thousand Year War, but you can call it the War Against Terrorism or the War Against Islamofascism or the War Against Ragheads, your choice.
In a war, you take casualties. Civilian (anyone remember that little incident at the World Trade Center? no, not the big one in 2001, try 1993, when they just used the wrong tools for the job) as well as military.
We can all (well, almost all) agree that the first War Against Fascism (or World War Two, as it's commonly referred to by historians and veterans alike) was a Good War.
Okay, then let's look at some comparative losses:
As of 10 August 1945, after five years (four if you're American) of fighting, there were 61 million dead among all the forces involved (Germans, Russians, and Chinese included). Of these (using the same list order as above), 295,000 were Americans, 388,00 were British, 410,000 were Italians, millions were Ukranians, 6,850,00 were Poles, 21,000 were Bulgarians, 22,000 were Spaniards, not many were Salvadorans, 4,000 were Danes, 400,00 were Czechs, 29,000 were Australians, 250,000 were Dutch, hundreds of thousands were Estonians (and Litvaks and Lithuanians and Finns), 985,000 were Romanians, a number were Thais, many were Fijian (fighting in British Commonwealth units), and an untold number were Kazakhs (fighting in Russian units). Along with 810,000 French, 750,000 Hungarian, 525,000 Austrian, 520,000 Greek, 1,700,000 Yugoslav, 85,000 Belgian, 42,000 Canadian, 35,000 Indian, 12,000 New Zealand, 9,000 South African, and 5,000 Norwegian dead, along with others too numerous to mention. (These casualty figures include civilians; outside the continental participants in Europe and Asia, few other combatants had significant civilian casualties.)

As they say, now that is a war. (Everybody played, hell, there were even Brazilians involved, and everybody got their uniform dirty.)

So, let us remember, in a Good War, the loss of 2,592 American dead is a good day.
As a matter of fact, that's almost exactly the number of the Greatest Generation that we lost on one particular day: 6 June 1944.
(That's D-Day, for those of you who might not have even watched Saving Private Ryan, let alone The Longest Day...)
To say nothing of the losses on bad days in earlier wars: 7,600 at Antietam on 17 September 1862 and 3,512 at Gettysburg over the 4th of July weekend in 1863 and 1,811 at Belleau Wood in a month of fighting that included 6 June 1918 (an odd coincidence of dates; it was also the largest loss of Marines in one day until Tarawa) and 1,000 at Tarawa over three days in November 1943.

So far, in the Thousand Year War, we've lost about a half a man (or woman, in the New Military) per day for the last four years.
Not trivial, especially to those directly affected, but not quite like the 202 per day we lost in the four years of World War Two, or even the 9 per day in our eighteen year involvement in Vietnam.
If this really is a Thousand Year War, as I fear it will be, we better get used to numbers like that...

Why proofreading is important

In researching Michael Eric Dyson for the post below, I ran across this mini-review of his book Why I Love Black Women:

"Michael displayed courage and fortitude when he so eloquently wrote this book. I believe that every black person, women and especially men, should read this book, and I am certain you will gain a foot-hole into your destiny." Cassandra Young (emphasis added)

While a piquant image, given the subject, I'm quite sure that's not what she meant. But imagine the reaction if the author of this book had been, say, a white guy like Robert DeNiro instead of a black professor from the University of Pennsylvania...

Katrina's aftermath

University of Pennsylvania professor Michael Eric Dyson has written a scathing analysis of Katrina, Come Hell or High Water (great title; wish I'd written it), concentrating on the issues of race revealed by the aftermath of the hurricane, especially the total loss of the Lower Ninth Ward and many of its inhabitants.

While the professor's views on racism in America are learned and cogent, there are issues of class at work in New Orleans as well, as expressed so clearly by my embedded reporter from New Orleans, commenting about television interviews with Professor Dyson:
"The most egregious of the sound bite providers was Mr. Dyson, a renowned professor of black studies at PYU (Prestigious Yankee University). He spoke about a culture lost, the rhythms, music, and patois of the fine folk of the Lower Ninth Ward. He went on and on about the class distinction between the Lower Ninth and the rest of New Orleans. He has obviously never been there and, if he had gone there before the storm, he would have been mugged faster than a frog snatches a fly by the gangstas who 'owned' the Lower Ninth. Even though black, he would have been seen as 'white' (and thus a target), due to his higher social standing and Yankee education..."

What's next? The Lincoln Memorial?

It seems the KKK (or at least some organization out of Sharpsburg, Maryland calling itself the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, though they seem to have the typically Nazi thing going on besides the standard satin sheet gear) has applied for and been granted a permit by the National Park Service for a "rally against the Iraqi War and for white unity between the North and the South" in, of all places, Gettysburg. (Pennsylvania. Battle of. Lincoln gave a short little speech there. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, call the school district where you went to elementary school and tell them your parents want their tax money back.)
The rally will take place on September 2nd, if you're interested. There are a number of folks coming to counter-protest, including members of the 37th Texas Cavalry, a multi-racial Confederate reenactor unit; I'm most proud of them, because Confederate reenactors are always getting tarred with the KKK brush for carrying that X-flag.

Now, I'm usually all for free speech but, in this case, fuck free speech. Fuck the First Amendment. Fuck their 'rights'. My forefathers didn't wear the uniform and fight and die from 1861 to 1865 (and 1918 and 1941 to 1945) in order for brain-dead scum like this to act out their racist fantasies on the 'hallowed ground' of Gettysburg.
What's next? Will they grant a permit for a pro-al-Qaeda rally to be held at the World Trade Center site? (Only if the FDNY and NYPD get to bulldoze the weasels into the hole afterwards...)

Lloyd Williams, an attorney, has expressed his "fervent hope that all the ghetto gangstas will declare a ceasefire in terms of black-on-black crime in order to descend in droves on Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on September 2nd in order to teach the creepy Klansmen an overdue lesson in tolerance. Or else."

I couldn't agree more. I'd love to see that on the nightly news...

Quotes for the day

Since many of you will not root around in the earlier posts by one of my newly-favorite blogs, The LawDog Files, here's some righteous Texas wisdom for you:

You might be a rural Texas Peace Officer:
If your hat, belt, and boots cost more than your sidearm.
If you know what a 'court gun' is.
If you have a 'court gun'.
If directions to a location involve livestock, property descriptions, or the words When you get off the pavement.
If the winner of the last three bar-room brawls was last year's Homecoming Queen.
If dressing up for court involves pressed Wranglers and a Brushpopper shirt.
If anyone on the Department is named 'Bubba'.
If you don't know Bubba's real name.
If Bubba is his real name.
If you've ever gotten a confession from a critter by threatening him with either his Mama or God.
If your interview for the job involved the question Can you take a whuppin'?
If you have more weapons and ammunition in your cruiser than most small nations have in their armies.
If you've ever had an Officer Involved Shooting where the victim was a feral hog or other four-pawed critter with an appetite.
If the caliber of your sidearm is classified as an artillery round in Europe.
If you've ever had to mediate a dispute concerning the paternity of a litter of puppies.
If you have the impression that the Feds regard your department as being only marginally more civilized than the Vikings.
If you think all backup is 30 miles away and asleep in bed.
If you've ever gone to an emergency wearing only your hat, pajamas, gun, and boots.
If spurs are a department-issued item.
Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Now that's (as John Wesley Hardin said when Ranger John Armstrong came through the door) Texas, by God!

30 August 2006

Clueless in Gaza

According to an American University webpage, the original (pre-1948) population of the arid little chunk of beachfront now known as the Gaza Strip was approximately 80,000, or 225 people per square kilometer. (To put it into perspective, that's about half the density of New Jersey, a little more than the density of Maryland, ten times the density of Mississippi, and a hundred times the density of Montana.)

Given its current (estimated) population of over one million, there are now more than 2,700 people/km2 in Gaza, putting it up there with Third World cities like Shanghai, Bangalore, Karachi, Saigon, Lima, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Baltimore (though well behind the world record holders, Mumbai at 29,000 and Manila at 41,000 per square kilometer, it's now a thousand times the density of Montana), and giving it excellent position on my places I'm glad I don't have to live list.
There are any number of cities in Europe with higher population densities (Paris is 25,000/km2, after all, though London is less than 5,000/km2), but I suspect they have a little better infrastructure (and taller buildings) to deal with it.
I'd guess that the population growth rate of 5.50%, along with not much of an economy, contributes to the stress level for young, unemployed males in Gaza. Is it any wonder that they look at suicide bombing as a life improvement scheme?

Actually, I consider the decision not to wipe Gaza (as a stateless entity) off the map in either 1948 or 1967 as one of the Israeli's major geopolitical mistakes. Even if they'd deported all the Gazans to the West Bank, or into Egypt, we'd have mostly forgotten about it by now. (Not the Palestinians, of course. But they conveniently forget that they were told to 'get out of the way' in both 1948 and 1967 in order for the Arab armies to have a clear field of fire against the Israelis. Now that really worked, didn't it...

Not just those Islamic wackos...

The Nevada State Police accidentally stumbled across one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted today in a traditional bad-license-plate traffic stop.
A murderer? A bank robber? A terrorist? Nope, a Mormon child molester.
To be fair, he runs an 'offshoot' of the Church of Latter Day Saints called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in that quaint little alternate reality nexus that lies along the Arizona-Utah state line, with some 10,000 followers. The big Mormon boys in Salt Lake City, while probably wishing they could have seventy wives like him, technically disown him and his ilk.
How much like the Taliban is this guy?
This, from the New York Times: "The community, closed to outsiders, is one in which civil government and religious authority are one and the same..."

I watched a news report tonight where a correspondent from a major network was threatened with arrest by an erstwhile county sheriff for 'loitering' outside the town's only United States Post Office, merely for trying to ask the close-mouthed townspeople what they thought of the arrest of their Dear Leader. (It looked like the postmaster was in on the deal, too.)
If not carpet bombing, a couple of Special Forces A-teams and some artillery ought to do the trick. It worked on the Taliban; think of it as a trial run for the next war in Afghanistan...

29 August 2006

Hee, hee, hee...

A sharp-eyed blogger found this pastoral image (top) on the Microsoft Security page (don't bother looking, it's down already).
They then found the original image (middle) on a stock photo site.
Enlarged (bottom), it's revealed as (gasp) a Macintosh!

I suspect that's why it's no longer on the Microsoft site...

Putin for President. No, our president...

Seems that Vladimir Putin has had it with Iraqis who kill Russians: "President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's special services to hunt down the killers of four Russian hostages in Iraq, the Kremlin said. The president has ordered the special forces to take all necessary measures to find and destroy the criminals who killed Russian diplomats in Iraq."

Imagine the fuss if George Bush decided the same thing...

28 August 2006

God bless Texas

One of our long-term critters, part-time dope dealer, occasional thug and full-time poster child for retroactive abortions, has now become an object lesson. Apparently, Mister Critter developed a decidedly one-sided romantic fixation upon the teacher of one of his legion of offspring. The object of his affections, not appreciating what a singular honour becoming Mr. Critter's Baby Mama #134 would be, nor desiring such, turned him down.
Mr. Critter seems to have missed the subtle hint contained in the phrase Stay the hell away from me!, because early on the morning in question Mr. Critter decided to pay a visit to the home of said Object Of His Affections.
Finding no one home after repeatedly hammering on the door and screaming, Mr. Critter departed the premises, only to return shortly.
As he began to resume his obnoxious activities, the neighbor of the schoolteacher, a middle-aged gentleman whose wife occasionally babysits the infant daughter of the schoolteacher, walked next door to inform Critter that the schoolteacher was out of town on vacation and to kindly desist from raising Cain on her front porch.
Mr. Critter promptly whipped a large silver-coloured revolver from his waistband, struck the man across the face with the barrel, knocking the neighbor down to one knee. Critter then proceeded to advance on the neighbor, pointing the gun at him and loudly screaming: You want a piece of me, motherfucker?! Huh?! You want a piece of me?! I'll fuck you up, you ho-ass motherfucker! You want a piece of me?!
Down on one knee and unable to retreat, the CCW-equipped neighbor skinned his Glock 23 and neatly whomped two .40-caliber slugs through Mr. Critter's brisket. (The detective taking the statement said guess that'd be a 'Yes'...)
Mr. Critter had the good manners to drop the unloaded Daisy BB pistol, with which he had armed himself, and expire.
The officers handed the neighbor a receipt for his Glock and told him to come down to the station and pick it up when the Grand Jury was done.
I love Texas.
Ladies and gentlemen, while the First Rule of Gunfights is to have a gun, there are two corollaries to that rule:
1) It should be loaded and 2) BB guns don't count
From the LawDog Files blog
I, too, love Texas, and many Texans. Glad to see there's one with the presence of mind, the right equipment, and the cojones to handle the situation...
There were a few comments to the original posting deriding the Glock 23 in .40 caliber. If I ever have to shoot another person, they will likely 'expire', as did that clown in Texas, from an excess of forty-caliber drain holes in them, said holes produced in rapid succession by any of several Glock products. (Okay, okay, of course I'd rather have them in forty-five, but for the moment forty will have to do.)

Back to blaming the Ramseys...

According to a post just now on MSNBC, the Boulder County district attorney has dropped the case against John Mark Karr. (And why do evildoers these days, from John Wayne Gacy to Hillary Rodham Clinton to Osama bin Laden, all have three names?) What a fucking surprise. This investigation has been creaking and threatening to come apart since it started. If the schmuck hadn't already fled to Thailand, they probably wouldn't have taken it to this extreme before getting the DNA evidence to eliminate him as a suspect.
Now let's see if they ship him back to California to face charges there, or back to Bangkok so he can rot in a Thai jail.
You know which one I vote for.

(I retract my earlier apology to the Ramsey's. I still think there's more there than they let on.)

And not to toot my own horn too loudly (it didn't take a rocket scientist, though I am the son of one, to figure it out), but I did say the case was "coming apart in midair" just a little over an hour ago...

It would be tragic if it weren't so funny

Russia has now paid off the last of its Soviet debt to the 19 member countries of the Club of Paris.
It's only fitting, given that the Soviets paid off the bonds issued by the imperial government before it.
That leaves Russia with a $56 billion budget surplus, versus the over-$400 billion US budget deficit.
Seems having too much oil at $70+ a barrel is a good thing...

JonBenet in Sin City

"An old man dies. A young girl lives. Fair trade."
Bruce Willis as Hartigan in Sin City
Unfortunately, in the case of John Mark Karr (assuming he is JonBenet's killer, an assumption that's coming apart in midair above the Boulder County DA's office), that's not an equation you can run backwards. However, given all he's purported to have done with young girls in general, it's not too late to complete the first half of the premise...

Quote for the day

"To the youth of America, as to the youth of all the Britains, I say, 'You cannot stop. It must be world anarchy or world order. You will find in the British Commonwealth good comrades to whom you are united by other ties besides those of State policy and public need. Law, language, literature... common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice, and above all the love of personal freedom. These are common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-Speaking Peoples."
from a speech by Winston Churchill at Harvard, 6 September 1943
Okay, so I'm on a Churchill run. So sue me. But given the marches in support of Hezbollah in both DC and London recently, we don't have all the "youth of America", much less "the youth of all the Britains", on our side. Dhimmis, or worse, the lot of them...

27 August 2006

Quote for the day

"I do not believe that any people can be held in thrall for ever. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehoods and deny them truth for many generations of time, but the soul of man thus held entranced or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where and, in a moment, the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life."
There may be hope yet for those fighting the Thousand Year War, if the Muslims ever awaken from Mohammed's delusional structure...

26 August 2006

Nah, terrorists would never do that...

From the Exit 4 blog: "The Texas Sheriff's Border Coalition has taken note of a rising trend... The pseudo-immigrants have been known to leave behind tell-tale signs, like Iranian currency and Arabic military badges... The smugglers are well aware that these are not your every day border crossers, and jack their fees up accordingly. The going rate to smuggle across non-Latinos these days is pushing $50,000."

But I'm sure they're only paying fifty grand to get one of those minimum-wage gardening and crop-picking jobs Americans won't do...

Another suicide bomber, one you never heard of

It seems that the mysterious 'bombing' in Oklahoma back in 2005 may have been another dhimmi trying to blow up Americans, this time in the stadium of the University of Oklahoma at Norman. A blog reported that the bomber lived with "three or four Arab guys. The neighbor said he rarely saw him or his roommates, except when they appeared to be going to and from classes. The neighbor said all of the residents of the university apartment complex where they lived are from Nigeria, China, and various Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries."

Funny, I don't remember any mention of the guy's Muslim roommates or his interest in Islamic fundamentalism...

Breasts not bombs? Who could argue with such a premise?

Having lived there, once upon a time, I'm sorry I missed the Breasts Not Bombs march in the glorious People's Republic of Berkeley back in July. In spite of an almost total lack of spectacular breasts (though a plethora of underarm hair, traditional in the PRB), and far too many nude men sporting Death Not Dicks banners for this retrosexual guy, I'm sure a good time was had by all.

These well-intentioned if misguided peaceniks (or dhimminiks) should try pulling a stunt like this in Teheran or Jiddah (let alone Mecca) sometime; they might be surprised by the 'thanks' (as in beatings, jailings, executions) they get from their Muslim brethren...

Dhimmi Of The Year candidates

It seems that Billy Zane and Gary Busey (and what else have you seen either of them in recently?) acted (if you want to call it that), presumably for money, in a newly-released Turkish movie called Valley of the Wolves: Iraq.
In case it didn't appear at your local theatre (what a surprise), here's an in-depth review: "Imagine someone randomly editing together all the discarded scenes left on the cutting room floor from a second-rate Chuck Norris action movie, and then dubbing it into Turkish. Voila! You've got Valley of the Wolves Iraq."

Another telling quote from the review: "But there's another aspect of the film that will ensure it will never be a hit anywhere outside Turkey and certain Turkish neighborhoods in Germany: it is very specifically pro-Turkish, and anti-everyone else. Even other Muslims groups are shown in a bad light. In the Valley of the Wolves universe, the Kurds are second only to the Americans in their villainy. The Arabs are shown as buffoons easily tricked by the Americans. Because of the film's Turkocentric outlook, the audience was notably unenthused about Valley of the Wolves, and gave it very brief polite applause at the end, and nothing more. No one jumped out of their seats. No one cheered the heroes or booed the villains. And if it can't generate any enthusiasm at the Muslim Film Festival, there's no way Valley of the Wolves will ever become a hit in the general population.
"Much of the dialogue revolves around the ethno-politics of northern Iraq and southern Turkey: Turks are always the good guys; next on the scale of heroism are the Turkomans, ethnically Turkish people who live in northern Iraq; below them is a Turkish Kurd who has abandoned his Kurdish identity to become a Turkish nationalist; then there are the foolish Arabs, who strangely play a very peripheral role in the script; lower still are the separatist Kurds, who want to steal part of Turkey for their homeland; then the brutish American soldiers, who act like Neanderthals; then the scheming Jewish doctor, and finally, at the bottom, the born-again Christian devil played by Billy Zane. "

Given the popular sentiment in Hollywood, I guess we should look forward to Academy Award nominations for Busey and Zane this year...

What Mohammed really looked like

In spite of the Muslim hissy-fit over the portral of Mohammed in those infamous Danish cartoons, it turns out there are tons of Islamic illustrations (most better drawn than the Danish ones, but some not) of the Prophet himself.

Let's see who puts out a fatwa against all these museums for daring to show the face of the Prophet...

The first casualty of war...

Check out this in-depth refutation of one of the most egregiously misreported mainstream media events (along with the buffoon-like mishandling of the probably-hoaxed Q'ana 'incident') of the Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon: the Red Cross Ambulance 'massacre' hoax.
You'll never see coverage like this on a major television network, or even in The New Yorker. Too bad, too, because if the situation were reversed and it was the Israelis scamming the media (or the US military in Iraq) you would get a Pulitzer for doing investigative work like this.

The MSM is 'smoking it's own dope', in the words of an Irish friend of mine...

(If you don't recognize the title of this post, see this for an extended explanation)

Ryan's private savings

For amazing airfares (intraEurope only, alas) check out these prices at RyanAir: 99 pence.

That's right, 99p (or about a buck eighty US) for a flight from the UK to places as far away as Riga, Berlin, Linz, and Granada.

Makes Southwest look like a high-price airline...

A writer's hell

Gunter Grass' first novel was never published (like mine, alas) because after the first chapter all the characters were dead. Bummer of a plot twist. (Would've made it hard to write the sequel, too.)
Grass has also come out of the German 'closet' and revealed that he was a member of the Waffen SS during World War Two. (He was in the 10th SS Panzer Division- Frundberg, a unit that "saw action on both the Eastern and Western fronts in 1944-45, notably during the Allied airborne landings at Arnhem; under orders to rescue Adolf Hitler from the bunker in Berlin".) There goes his credibility.

Maybe we should ask him to give back his Nobel Prize...

A voice in the wilderness

No, not Winston Churchill (and where, like the Twelfth Imam, is he when we need him?), but a Briton as clear thinking and almost as literate: Melanie Phillips.

Check out her cogent view on the Suicide of the West.

Why, oh, why don't we have writers like her (and Ann Coulter is specifically excluded) on this side of the pond...

Your cheating heart

According to a survey among my heterosexual male friends (nearly all of whom are in relationships, and most are married), the answer to the question how long after getting up from a moment of great sex with your dearly beloved would you be willing to have sex with (insert your Angelina Jolie equivalent here)? displayed a broad range:

"Never" (from a committed husband) to "minus sixty minutes" (from someone who thereby hoped Angelina would have a three-some with he and his dearly beloved, as if).

The majority seemed to cluster in the "34 seconds" (overly cocky) to "an hour" (more realistic) range.

Responses from women (based on a George Clooney equivalent), when they would give one at all, ranged from "never" to "just as soon as I could get the knife out of that cheating bastard's heart"...

Pinocchio's wetdream

This strange and wonderful video shows the most amazing puppetry I've ever seen. The fact that they did it all with antique hardware (rope, block & tackle, wood) makes it all the better. (Apparently a bunch of Frenchmen, performing in London; go figure.)

This is something Leonardo da Vinci would have designed if he'd been a pedophile (especially that popsicle-licking thing) instead of (so they say) being gay...

We'll always have Paris, unfortunately

Speaking of Paris (see mention in post below), I lamented at a party recently that I hoped I lived to see the day when I spoke the name of the celebutante Paris Hilton and someone would answer "Who?"
No, no, no, said Nick (a good-old-boy who was only half drunk and all funny), someday you'll mention Paris Hilton and someone will answer: "Great hotel. Stayed there."

I should live so long...

Capitalist pig castrated by commies

It seems that Wal-Mart, a disgusting excuse for a family-run business, has finally caved on the issue of unions.
Not here in the good old USofA, of course, where Sam's kin have long avoided paying real wages and providing health insurance to their workers. (That's how you get to be five of the top ten on Forbes' list of the 400 wealthiest people in America.)
The company has opened stores in China, a country that really knows about oppressing workers. In order to continue to do so, however, Wal-Mart has been forced to bargain with the state-run labor federation (undoubtedly packed with bribeable bureaucrats) over unionization of its 30,000 workers.

Too bad we can't turn the screws like the Chinese can. Someone should redo The Waltons, this time as a reality show about people even more self-centered and greedy than Paris Hilton...

Imagine the uproar...

...if this restaurant had opened in New York rather than in Mumbai (a city formerly known as Bombay), India. It seems the owner, Puneet Sablok, was 'unaware' of how upset the 4,500 Jewish residents of Bombay would get at the name and logo of his place, that serves " pizza, salad, and pastries". (He's probably serving pork sausage on the pizza, shrimp on the salad, and milk with the pastries...) [AP photo by Gautam Singh]

I wonder how the Hindus here would react if we started up a chain of Sacred Cow Hamburger stands...
(Great logo, though. Wish I'd designed it.)

Quote for the day

As if you needed more evidence of Mohammed's delusional structure (that is, Islam):

"If Islam were to grant permission for Muslims to change religion at will, it would imply it has no dignity, no self-esteem, and people may then question its completeness, truthfulness and perfection."
Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, senior fellow at Malaysia's Institute of Islamic Understanding, quoted in The Scotsman

And who the fuck are we 'infidels' to question its "completeness, truthfulness and perfection", right?
And you wonder why the Thousand Year War won't be won any time soon...

25 August 2006

Funny and sexy, a great combination

Anyone else watching the Chelsea Handler Show on the E! channel?
(Hey, I only put the word 'channel' in that sentence so I wouldn't have to type a question mark following an exclamation mark; blame the idiots at E! for excessive grammar.)
Great smile, big tits, bleached blonde (what is it with women who don't get how good brunettes look?), smart mouth (in several meanings of the phrase), wise ass (again, multiple meanings), what's not to like?
I've watched the show several times, and her outrageous sexual humor has made me choke on my iced tea more than once. (Like tonight's rendition of One-Night-Stand Etiquette: Wipe out, put out, get out.)
And, yes, even if half her self-defined sexual history is true, I'd still do her...
(Plus, it appears, she's written a funny book. Damn, a funny sexy writer. I could fall in love...)

Quote for the day

"...there is no evil worse than submitting to wrong and violence for fear of war. Once you take the position of not being able, in any circumstance, to defend your rights against the aggression of some particular set of people, there is no end to the demands that will be made upon you or to the humiliations that must be accepted."

One of my moral, literary, and historical heroes, Churchill would have been at the forefront of the Thousand Year War...

His biographer also notes in the same post that "some sixteen years before he wrote these words, Churchill advocated the establishment of a National Home for the Kurdish people in Northern Iraq. In a Cabinet minute, which I quote in the book, he wrote that his fear was that a future ruler of Iraq will ignore Kurdish sentiment and oppress the Kurdish minority. The experts rejected this, insisting that Britain would always be able to exercise a moderating influence on Baghdad."

The British, for all their experience, were so clueless about the 'wogs'. Unfortunately, we listen to the same 'experts'...

24 August 2006


"Another sign of impending sartorial meltdown is the astounding fact that Burberry is expanding into fly-over country. For years, only really posh people wore Burberry. But now, in Europe and metrosexual America, the brand is trash-wear; gone from grouse moor to trailer park in a single generation. Which is probably why they're going to sell the crap out in deepest Dumbfuckistan. I dream of vast armies of incredibly fat fundamentalist fuckwits clad entirely in ketchup-stained beige plaid; the uniform of choice for those who are ready to Rapture."
from a column by Steven Wells in Philadelphia Weekly

Fat fundamentalist fuckwits; I wish I'd written that...

Quote for the day

"Bad haircuts, well-trimmed fingernails, and cunnilingus? Intrinsic aspects of lesbianism. Fucking over your whole family? Not so much."
from Dan Savage's column, Savage Love

23 August 2006

And now for some poetry...

As leavening for all this testosterone-laden ranting, a woman's words (and fully equal to the satirical voice of Mark Twain's magnificent War Prayer):

How magnificent the war is!
How eager
and efficient!
Early in the morning
it wakes up the sirens
and dispatches ambulances
to various places
swings corpses through the air
rolls stretchers to the wounded
summons rain
from the eyes of mothers
digs into the earth
dislodging many things
from under the ruins.
Some are lifeless and glistening
others are pale and still throbbing.
It produces the most questions
in the minds of children
entertains the gods
by shooting fireworks and missiles
into the sky
sows mines in the fields
and reaps punctures and blisters
urges families to emigrate
stands beside the clergymen
as they curse the devil
(poor devil, he remains
with one hand in the searing fire).
The war continues working, day and night.
It inspires tyrants
to deliver long speeches
awards medals to generals
and themes to poets
it contributes to the industry
of artificial limbs
provides food for flies
adds pages to the history books
achieves equality
between killer and killed
teaches lovers to write letters
accustoms young women to waiting
fills the newspapers
with articles and pictures
builds new houses
for the orphans
invigorates the coffin makers
gives grave diggers
a pat on the back
and paints a smile on the leader's face.
It works with unparalleled diligence!
Yet no one gives it
a word of praise.

It's not just me

More about 'native customs' from that Englishman trapped in Saudia Arabia (he's a boater in his home country, thus the rant about the state of the English canals):

"This is the third time I have had occasion to mention the practice of discarding the ashes of the deceased in our rivers. This is a Church of England country. It is not, to my knowledge, a common or cultural practice to dispose of our dead in the rivers.
"It's not enough that parts of the Soar have already been given over to this non-Anglican practice. Now the Sikh community want to have another river to scatter the ashes of family members. They want part of the Ribble reserved solely for them, too, as place where they can toss their dearly departed away. Hindus in Bradford are also seeking permission to do the same in the River Aire. It has been mentioned that eventually they want all rivers to be designated as places to cast away the ashes of their dead. I don't think so.
"One Hindu complained that he had the inconvenience of taking the ashes of his recently departed to India. I am sorry that their nearest and dearest are causing them the hassle of going all the way to India, but why is that our problem? Surely the Ganges is in their homeland and is the place any good Hindu would want their ashes scattered anyway.
"I very much doubt if their government would change their laws to suit us. No, this is not about our tolerance of other ways of life. It's about their acceptance of our way of life, which is sadly lacking. We don't do that here! If we relent and allow this to happen, then what's next?
"I know, we can close all the churches down because we don't want to offend people from other religions. We can stop cattle farming because some don't like that either, oh, and don’t forget the pigs, we don’t want to offend our Muslim friends, do we? We have already banned Christmas in some parts of the country so why don't we just give it all up!
"Where do we draw the line? Right here, right now. This has to stop!
"If it is your religion to scatter ashes of your dearly departed in a river, then may I respectfully suggest that you go somewhere that is allowed. We shouldn’t have to change our laws to accommodate you; it is you who have to fit in with us.
"Me being a person who can only see the idea of God as a reason to promote wars and repress the poor, I refuse to accept that your indoctrination should affect my country. If your customs are so important to you, why did you come here?
"We have here the freedom of choice, you are free to choose to leave if you don't like the way we do things. I will of course stand by your side and defend your right to make that choice.
"Earlier this year it was reported in our local press that Hindus in India were complaining that Western festivals were diluting their culture. So much so, that bands of Hindus were going around forcibly breaking up gatherings of people celebrating St Valentines Day. Please don't expect us to make changes to our laws when, in your country, you have no intention of reciprocating."

The Big Not-So-Easy

For a local reaction to Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke, this from a friend and long-time resident of New Orleans:
"Have you seen Spike Lee's documentary? I was surprised that it wasn't more biased, even though it did focus mainly on the black population and neglects that it was an equal-opportunity storm. I was disappointed that there was no mention of the problems at the hospitals with 'gangstas' shooting at rescue helicopters, no mention of Lower Plaquemines that bore the brunt of landfall and was flattened (black and Croatian), no mention of Lakeview (upper middle class), very little mention of St Bernard Parish (Islenos), which was totally wiped out, and no mention of the vandalism that caused unnecessary damage to business establishments and went beyond simple looting (google "The Big Dump"). However, there is footage here that wasn't shown on network news and it's worth seeing it for that."

The more things change...

I ran across this really cogent interpretation of US military intervention in an on-going civil war:

"Destroying infrastructures and breaking the backbone of a state, not rebuilding a country and training cadres, were the missions US soldiers had traditionally been equipped and trained for, so peacekeeping would have called for radically new thinking. It was not needed. Given the ambiguity of the orders they received, US commanders decided to do little, a mission that they could easily, and did, carry out. They made force protection the most important, or even the only, objective of what remained, nominally at least, an operation to restore democracy. This meant delegating all dangerous tasks, including policing duties, to (the locals)...
"Orders were strict. Despite the tropical heat, soldiers had to wear full body armor at all times. The military hierarchy reacted strongly whenever it spotted a soldier with sleeves rolled up on CNN. It was not uncommon for senior officers on an inspection tour to personally implement the dress code, rather than delegating such tasks to lower-ranking servicemen. Green Berets were particularly targeted...
"Gen. David C. Meade... insisted that his troops stay inside heavily protected barracks, and that they not talk or give food to anyone outside. Peacekeeping limited itself to a few mobile patrols, conducted by troops with orders not to stop, step off their vehicle, or establish roadblocks... FM 41-10, the standard field manual on civil-military affairs, encourages "direct involvement with the civilian populace" and lists among an occupying force's main duties the protection of law and order and the prevention of human rights abuses.
"An attempt to reduce the availability of weapons among the local populace also met with limited success for lack of proactive policies. The multinational force raided some (local) compounds, but stopped short of attacking every weapons cache and conducting widespread body searches. All too frequently, (locals) accused their personal enemies of owning weapons, further diminishing the US desire to carry out such raids, and forceful seizures eventually gave way to a mere weapons buy-back program. Twenty thousand weapons were seized during the first three months of the occupation, but an estimated 200,000 guns remained in circulation.
"The force's extreme caution was less marked in rural areas, where Special Forces, not light infantry troops, were deployed. Displaying the braggadocio associated with their esprit de corps, Green Berets often refused to wear body armor, showed little respect for the dress code, and sneered at the troops barricaded in (the capital), who did little and feared everybody. Far away from the scrutiny of their superiors, obliged to control thousands of square kilometers with small 12-man A-teams, they did not hesitate to mingle with the local population and to take sides -- often against local tyrants. They prided themselves on being unconventional, resenting that someone from headquarters would criticize them for violating the dress code or alcohol policy. One A-team leader narrowly avoided court-martial for overstepping orders. An intelligence officer received a dishonorable discharge for insisting that the US Army should investigate human rights violations in (local) prisons despite orders not to do so.
"Law enforcement was the thorniest issue. Asking US troops to patrol the streets and to arrest criminals would most certainly have put US lives at risk... On the other hand, a complete breakdown of law and order would have been even more likely to undermine the goal of force protection, so one needed to find someone, preferably not American, willing to police (the country) until a new police force could be trained. Luckily for US soldiers, there was already a force present in (the country) willing to, and experienced in, quelling demonstrations and arresting troublemakers. Unfortunately for (local) civilians, this force was the very Army that had spent the previous (many) years harassing (the locals).
"Despite (local) soldiers' poor human rights record, US troops proceeded to rely on their services for day-to-day law enforcement... "We are not in the business of doing the day-to-day law and order," explained the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a White House briefing.
"The long-term goals (the president) and the UN set were twofold: democratize the country, and develop it economically. Success would be measured by social indicators, not by how many armored divisions were crushed, so it was heavily dependent on the political environment that Operation Restore Democracy operated in. Short-lived, superficial foreign support might doom it, as might an uninspired local political elite.
"In the beginning, democratization seemingly proceeded apace, as (locals) were regularly called to the ballot box. But the international community essentially equated the restoration of democracy with holding regular and clean elections, at the expense of a more comprehensive definition of democracy that would have included civic education, the rule of law, accountability, and viable opposition parties. A commission investigated human rights violations during the (previous) regime, but years passed before a few perpetrators were prosecuted; deputies passed laws reforming courts and prisons, but lack of funds hindered their implementation.
"(Local) politics, complete with betrayals, murders, and plot twists, were as captivating as a particularly brutal soap opera, but the protracted political crisis was nothing to laugh about. Consumed by petty political squabbles, the political class failed to oversee the basic missions of the state. As the number of foreign troops declined, the deficiencies of the quickly-trained, poorly-funded (local) police became more evident. Young and inexperienced, or veterans of the murderous (previous) Army, and aware that sending criminals to the judicial system would not result in a rapid and fair judgment, policemen took to shooting first and asking questions later.
"There are three main lessons to be taken from Operation Restore Democracy, each of which can be applied to other peacekeeping operations. First, shallow motives do not make for a successful intervention. Extensive, long-term international involvement is essential to solve the immense challenges faced by conflict-torn nations, but feel-good operations, as in Somalia, or look-strong operations, as in Haiti, are unlikely to invest the time, and human and financial sacrifices necessary to secure substantive achievements. For this reason, interventions motivated by short-term political interests, even when its promoters drape themselves in an idealistic mantle, are unlikely to succeed, unless these poor, divided nations also present a real strategic value... Where key security interests were at stake, as in former Yugoslavia (1995) and Afghanistan (2001), popular willingness to endure casualties, remain involved for years, and spend billions of dollars made US policy makers' task easier.
"There are three main lessons to be taken from Operation Restore Democracy, each of which can be applied to other peacekeeping operations. First, shallow motives do not make for a successful intervention. Extensive, long-term international involvement is essential to solve the immense challenges faced by conflict-torn nations, but feel-good operations, as in Somalia, or look-strong operations, as in Haiti, are unlikely to invest the time, and human and financial sacrifices necessary to secure substantive achievements. For this reason, interventions motivated by short-term political interests, even when its promoters drape themselves in an idealistic mantle, are unlikely to succeed, unless these poor, divided nations also present a real strategic value, as was not the case in Haiti. Where key security interests were at stake, as in former Yugoslavia (1995) and Afghanistan (2001), popular willingness to endure casualties, remain involved for years, and spend billions of dollars made US policy makers' task easier."

Did you guess the country?
Nope, not Iraq.
It was the Haitian Occupation, under the presidency of Bill Clinton, in 1994.

Some things have changed (besides the party in the White House) in ten years, some things haven't.
One thing that hasn't changed is our inability, as a military, as an administration, and as a people, to learn from the past...

A city, but one with water on top

I sat through Acts III and IV of Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke.
He did, just as the reviews had said, edit in the interviews with people who actually believed that someone (white people, rich people, the government, George Bush, the Man, the System, depending) deliberately let the levees break in order to force black people to leave so that Donald Trump and unnamed others could "buy up all the land" and gentrify New Orleans, replacing its black citizens with white citizens.
(I'm not sure where all these white people would come from, bringing big money for the 'opportunity' to live below sea level, but conspiracy theory doesn't have to be rational...)

The part that really galled me, however, was watching a series of interviews with people protesting the media's use of the word 'refugee' to describe those fleeing the destruction of their city. One even said "when did the hurricane erase my citizenship"?
Why does this foolish diatribe make me mad? Because the media bought into it, and stopped calling them refugees. They stumbled around for awhile, but most ended up choosing 'evacuees' as an acceptable alternative. (Even that didn't satisfy some of their critics, thought I'm not sure what would have.)

Why is it foolish? Because anyone who can read a dictionary can easily ascertain that 'refugees' was exactly what they were: people seeking refuge.

Unfortunately, many people focused on the political definition of refugee: "A refugee is defined as a person outside of his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." But there's also a broader definition: "Refugees are a subgroup of the broader category of displaced persons. Environmental refugees (people displaced because of environmental problems such as drought) are not included in the definition of "refugee" under international law, as well as internally displaced people."
They could also have gone with an even less restricted definition: "A refugee is a person who has left, or has been forced to leave, his state and move to another state because of a well-founded fear for his/her safety."

So, environmental refugee, displaced person, or Katrina 'victim'? Does it really matter?

Hundreds of thousands of people are now living, some with jobs but many on public assistance, outside Louisiana. Many of them will never return. Many of them would like to.
The Corps of Engineers has now spent a billion dollars trying to make New Orleans as 'safe' as it was before Katrina.
Experts disagree, but it's probable it's not safe enough to survive another Katrina-sized hurricane, much less the direct hit from a Category Five hurricane she was supposed to be.

We've been lucky, so far, this hurricane season. Not a single hurricane has yet formed, and only perhaps one may still make landfall in the US this year.
We won't be that lucky forever.
New Orleans won't be that lucky forever.
If history repeats itself (and why shouldn't it?), sometime in the next few decades a Big One will roar out of the Gulf of Mexico and overtop or undermine the levees of the Crescent City yet again.
How many times can we afford to rebuild a city under water?

Quote for the day

If you let a dog loose he'll sleep all day on the porch, but if you tie him up he will look out to the horizon and dream of running past it.

Guess I'm stuck on dogs this week, for no apparent reason...

22 August 2006

Whoa, whoa, whoa, NOLA

Having seen Act I and Act II of Spike Lee's whine-fest When the Levees Broke about the destruction of New Orleans, my immediate reaction was: what the fuck did they expect?
Did no one remember the Flood of 1927, or even the mini-flood of 1995?
When the National Weather Service said "bad storm coming, get out", did they all shrug and say "we'll ride it out"? If they decided on that foolish course, did they also hear the "no help for 72 hours" warning?

None of this is to excuse the feeble response by the local, state, and federal authorities (especially that old-boy-network-appointee chump Mike Brown at FEMA). It was negligent, bordering on criminal. (My only hero in the whole thing was Russel Honoré, though I still think Mayor Nagin got a bum rap for what was truly an overwhelming situation.) The Third World conditions that the survivors had to endure for nearly a week was unAmerican. We had the capability to do better, we just didn't have either the smarts or the will. (As I understand it, the delay was mostly classic bureaucracy in action. "I can't approve that because..." is the war cry of the bureaucrat, whether in Washington or Baton Rouge.)

It is absolute madness for a city of more than half a million people to exist below sea level.
It is totally obscene that we have funded the Corps of Engineers, to the tune of billions of dollars, for nearly a century to maintain its existence.
It is totally obscene madness that we are considering spending billions more to return the city to its condition prior to Katrina.
Unless everyone in the United States contributes a cubic meter of dirt from their backyards to fill in the whole city to above sea level (I've done the calculations, and it'll take even less than that), New Orleans as it was should not be rebuilt.
Whatever doesn't flood naturally, stays. Past that, let it return to the floodplain it was before we started playing God with the Mississippi. It will eventually silt in and, perhaps a century from now, people can build on it.

Later we'll talk about the madness of letting people build on top of the San Andreas Fault...

Quote for the day

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers
Given the Muslim view of dogs (and the fact that the three dogs in my life have predeceased me), I think I'll go with Will...

18 August 2006

Laughing until it hurts

Because if it wasn't so true it wouldn't be so funny:

800 is the new area code for Mumbai

And if you don't know the location of Mumbai (formerly called Bombay, before we got blindsided by politically correct geographers), then you obviously haven't called any tech or customer support numbers lately...

Quotes for the day

It wasn’t broken, but I fixed it anyway.

I started pulling things out of my jeans and arranging them on the table to dry.
“I don’t know how you fit all that stuff in there,” said Deborah. “Your pockets are like a clown car.”

Earlier in the night, while eating dinner, Deborah saw something on the television behind the bar about Jimmy Buffet’s upcoming concert at Madison Square Garden being sold out. “I can’t believe Jimmy Buffet sold out,” she said.
“Jimmy Buffet sold out a long time ago,” I said.

“Why do guys have to be such pervs? I mean, he was just a normal looking guy, but what a creep. You never hear of women doing that kind of thing. Even crazy ladies on the street…I mean, whenever you see a crazy guy, forget about it, it’s like, as soon as their mind goes, out it comes. But you never see women masturbating in public.”
“You’re obviously not going to the right websites.”
What can I tell you, the guy (and his straight-man girlfriend) cracks me up... (check out his great photos, too)

17 August 2006

The thousand-year war

We in the West are, and have been for some time, engaged in a life-or-death struggle with Islam. Not entirely by choice, but rather by force of circumstances.

Henceforth, I shall refer to it as the Thousand Year War. Not merely because I think it will last another thousand years (although I do), but because it has already lasted a thousand years.

The Quran states (you can look it up) that infidels (meaning all non-believers in Mohammed's delusional structure, excuse me, Islam) are to be fought and, if necessary, destroyed until the entire world is Islamic. (Islam, by the way means 'submission' in Arabic. To be Islamic is to submit to the will of Allah and abide by the rules as stated in the Quran; see Mohammed's delusional structure, above.) That means they're in this for the long haul, as in forever, like diamonds. If we fail to grasp that, we will fall even farther behind...

Don't believe that it has been (and will be) a thousand years? Then check this partial list of events (the boldface listings had actual or potential American casualties) in the War Between Islam & the West:

Capture of Jerusalem by Islamic forces, 638
Capture of Jerusalem by Turks (the first time), 1077
First Crusade, 1095
Capture of Jerusalem by the West (the first time), 1099
Second Crusade, 1145
Capture of Jerusalem by Islamic forces (the second time), 1187
Third Crusade, 1190
Fourth Crusade, 1201
Fifth Crusade, 1217
Sixth Crusade, 1228
Seventh Crusade, 1250
Capture of Jerusalem by Mamluks, 1260
Eighth Crusade, 1270
Ninth Crusade, 1271
Battle of Nicopolis, 1396
Siege of Vienna, 1529
Battle of Vienna, 1683
Napoleon invades Egypt, 1798
First Barbary War, 1805
Second Barbary War, 1815

Capture of Jerusalem by Egyptian forces, 1831
Capture of Jerusalem by Turks (the second time), 1840
Capture of Jerusalem by the West (the second time), 1917
Capture of Jerusalem (partial) by Israeli forces, 1948
Algerian War, 1954
Suez Crisis, 1956
Sinking of MV Dara by Omani terrorists, 1961
Six-Day War, including capture of Jerusalem by Israeli forces, 1967
Assassination of RFK by Palestinian, 1968
El Al attack by Palestinians, 1968
TWA hijacking by PFLP, 1969
Swissair attack by PFLP, 1970
School bus massacre in Israel by PLO, 1970
Airline hijackings, 1970
Lod Airport massacre, 1972
Sabena Airlines hijacking, 1972
Massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, 1972
Embassy attack in Sudan by Black September, 1973
PanAm attack in Rome by Fatah, 1973
Yom Kippur War, 1973
Embassy seizure by PFLP, 1974
Kiryat Shmona massacre by PFLP, 1974
Ma'alot massacre by PFLP, 1974
TWA bombing by Abu Nidal Organization, 1974
Savoy Hotel hostage attack in Tel Aviv by PLO, 1975
OPEC hostage attack in Vienna, 1975
Air France hijacking (Entebbe rescue operation), 1976
Schleyer kidnapping by Red Army Faction, 1977
Lufthansa hijacking (Mogadishu rescue operation); 1977
Haifa bus massacre by Fatah, 1978
Embassy seizure in Tehran, 1979
Bus attack in Antwerp by Abu Nidal Organization, 1980
Synagogue bomb attack in Paris, 1980
Sadat assassination by Islamic Jihad, 1981
Synagogue attack in Antwerp, 1981
Train bombing in Paris, 1982
Restaurant bombing in Paris, 1982
Lebanese-Israeli War (the first time), 1982
Gulf Air bombing by Abu Nidal Organization, 1983
Embassy and Marine Barracks bombings in Lebanon, 1983
Train bombing in Paris, 1983
Embassy bombing in Lebanon, 1984
Store bombing in Paris by Hezbollah, 1985
Cinema bombing in Paris by Hezbollah, 1985
TWA hijacking, 1985
Achille Lauro ship hijacking by PLF, 1985

EgyptAir hijacking by Abu Nidal Organization, 1985
Store bombings in Paris by Hezbollah, 1985
Rome airport attack by Fatah, 1985
Vienna airport attack by Fatah, 1985
Store bombings in Paris, 1986
Train bombing in Paris, 1986
TWA in-flight bombing by Abu Nidal Organization, 1986
Disco bombing in Berlin by Libya, 1986
PanAm hijacking by Abu Nidal Organization, 1986

Bombings in Paris, 1986
Iraqi Airways hijacking by Islamic Jihad, 1986
PanAm in-flight bombing by Libya, 1988
UTA in-flight bombing by Libya, 1989
Beach attack in Israel by PLF, 1990
US embassy in Israel attack by PLO, 1990
Iraq War (the first time), 1990
Israeli embassy bombing in Buenos Aires by Islamic Jihad, 1992
CIA employees shot by Pakistani, 1993
Bombay bombings, 1993
WTC attack (the first time) by Islamic Jihad, 1993
NYC bomb plot, 1993
Somalia War, 1993

Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires by Hezbollah, 1994
Panamanian airline in-flight bombing by Hezbollah, 1994
Israeli embassy bombing in London by Hezbollah, 1994
Phillipine Airline in-flight bombing by al-Qaeda, 1994
Air France hijacking by GIA, 1994
US airliner bomb plot in Phillipines by al-Qaeda, 1995
Hospital attack in Russia by Chechens, 1995
Bombings in France by GIA, 1995
Bombing in Riyadh, 1995
Egyptian embassy bombing in Pakistan, 1995
Hospital attack in Russia by Chechens, 1996
Suicide bombings in Israel, 1996
Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia by Hezbollah, 1996
Shooting atop Empire State building by Palestinian, 1997
Luxor tourist massacre in Eqypt, 1997

Bombings in India by Islamic Jihad, 1998
Embassy bombings in East Africa, 1998
Bombings in Russia by Chechens, 1999
Jordanian tourist bomb plot, 1999
Millenium bomb plot, 1999

Indian Airlines hijacking by Taliban, 1999
Cathedral bomb plot in Germany by al-Qaeda, 2000
USS Cole attack, 2000
Dolphinarium massacre in Tel Aviv by Hamas suicide bomber, 2001
Restaurant bombing in Jerusalem by Hamas suicide bomber, 2001
WTC attack (the second time) by al-Qaeda, 2001
US embassy attack plot in Paris by al-Qaeda, 2001

Israeli minister assassinated in Jerusalem by PFLP, 2001
American Airlines in-flight bombing plot, 2001
Embassy attack in Singapore plot by al-Qaeda, 2002
Daniel Pearl kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan, 2002

Massacre in Netanya, Israel by Palestinian suicide bomber, 2002
Restaurant massacre in Haifa, Israel by Hamas suicide bomber, 2002
Synagogue bombing in Tunisia by al-Qaeda suicide bomber, 2002
Bus attack in Karachi, Pakistan, 2002
Train attack in Jaunpur, India, 2002
US consulate bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, 2002
Bus massacre in Jerusalem by Hamas suicide bomber, 2002
LAX shooting by Eqyptian, 2002
Tourist bombing attack in Bali, 2002

Theatre hostage attack in Moscow, 2002
Bus massacre in Jerusalem by Hamas suicide bomber, 2002
Hotel bombing in Mombasa, Kenya by al-Qaeda suicide bombers, 2002
Train crash in India, 2002
Bus massacre in Haifa, Israel by Hamas suicide bomber, 2003
US Army fratricide by Islamic convert, 2003
Housing bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by al-Qaeda, 2003

Tourist bombings in Casablanca, Morocco by al-Qaeda, 2003
Hotel bombing in Baghdad, 2003
Bus massacre in Jerusalem by Hamas suicide bomber, 2003
Iraq War (the second time), 2003
Taxi bombings in Bombay, 2003
Restaurant massacre in Haifa by Palestinian suicide bomber, 2003
US diplomatic bombing in Gaza Strip, 2003
Synagogue bombing in Istanbul, 2003
British consulate bombing in Istanbul, 2003
Train bombing in Russia, 2003
Bus massacre in Jerusalem by Hamas suicide bomber, 2004
Train bombing in Moscow, 2004
Restaurant attack in Istanbul, 2004
Train bombings in Madrid, 2004
Shooting in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, 2004
Shooting in Israel by Islamic Jihad, 2004
Al-Khobar massacres in Saudi Arabia, 2004
Russian airline in-flight bombings by Chechen suicide bombers, 2004
School massacre in Beslan, Russia by Chechens, 2004
Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta, Indonesia, 2004
US consulate attack in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2004
Theatre bombing in Doha, Qatar, 2005
Tourist bombing in Cairo, 2005
London bombings (the first time), 2005
Shopping mall bombing in Netanya, Israel, 2005
London bombings (the second time), 2005
Tourist bombings in Eqypt, 2005
Tourist bombings in Bali, 2005
Massacre in Hadera, Israel by Palestinian suicide bomber, 2005
Tourist bombings in Amman, Jordan, 2005
Diplomatic bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, 2006
Car attack in North Carolina, 2006
Bombing in Tel Aviv by Islamic Jihad suicide bomber, 2006
Train bombings in Bombay, 2006
Lebanese-Israeli War (the second time), 2006
Airline bombing plot in London, 2006

This list does not begin to include all attacks on the West by Islamofascist terrorists, and will undoubtedly be out of date by the time the sun comes up. If you think they're not out to get us by now, I suggest you spraypaint the word dhimmi in big letters on the front of your house so we'll know who won't be helping us in the future...

Eating crow

Up until yesterday, I would have bet a considerable amount of money that one of the Ramsey family had killed poor little JonBenet.
If, as it would seem, they have captured the man who did the deed, I owe a huge apology to John Ramsey and his late wife Patsy. They have lived for ten years under an "umbrella of suspicion", and been publicly condemned by many, including me.
Many troubling details of the crime (how did he get into the house? how did he do so much without anyone waking up? why did the handwriting on the mysterious 'ransom note' seem to match Patsy's? how did he get away?) have yet to be explained, and this may yet blow up into a false confession situation, so I will hold my final apology until all that gets sorted out.
But, if it's true, we have all done a terrible thing to the Ramsey family, perhaps just as terrible as the original crime.

Quote for the day

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives should be the name of a convenience store, not a government agency.
Now that's funny...

10 August 2006

You scream, I scream...

What could be more innocent than a young girl eating an ice cream cone, right?

09 August 2006

What is nationality?

"Listen,” I interrupted, “what nationality are you?”
“I’m English,” she replied. “That is, I was born in Poland, but my father is Irish."
“That makes you English?”
“Yes,” she said...
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

I am, by descent, English, Welsh, Scots-Irish, Dutch, German, and (if you go back far enough) French.
I am, by birth, an American. (Lucky me, and don't I know it.)
I am, by choice (my mother offered to pay my way to Canada during the Vietnam War, but I declined), an American.

Anyone who chooses to be an American, rather than merely chosing to reap the benefits of being in America, stands with me.
I don't care where you come from, what language you speak at home, even what foolish religion (don't feel bad, I lump them all into the 'delusional' category) you practice.

But if you insist on trying to make this country "just like the old country", complete with anti-science teachings, child marriage (even if you do live in certain Southern states), clitorectomies, honor killings, religious and racial intolerance, and similar foreign bullshit, well, then, you can stand right over there, just on the other side of the line that says "Welcome to the United States, You Ignorant Fuck, Now Go Home"...

08 August 2006

Starter castle

What does the house on the left have that the one on the right does not?

Well, other than style and grace and a million dollar mortgage, anyway.
It looks like a house, for one thing. The construction (I hesitate to call it a building, much less a house) on the right looks like the box a house comes in, rather than a house.
You can't even tell where the damn front door is, for one thing.

If you need academic reasoning to back up any gut reaction, look no further than the excellent book The American Porch by Michael Dolan.
It's full of references to traditional housing critics and architects, and splendid quotes like these:
"Veranda, piazzas, bay windows, balconies, etc., ar the most valuable general truths in Domestic Architecture."
"There is nothing more common in some parts of the country than to see the cockneyism of three-story town houses violating the beauty and simplicity of country life."

I drove by both of these dwellings for months on my way to work.
One made me smile.
One made me gag.
One guess which was which...

The law, such as it is

While we're on the criminal justice system, we've been using the wrong terms for adjudicating crimes. The end of a trial currently gets you two or (rarely) three outcomes: not guilty, guilty, and (sometimes, like Andrea Yates) not guilty by reason of insanity.

The common viewer of a trial assumes, and all defense lawyers assert, that not guilty is the same as innocent.

The O.J. Simpson and Enron trials should have proven that nothing could be further from the truth.

Innocent should be equivalent to "I was an astronaut and everybody saw the live video of me standing on Mars at the time the crime occurred". Or, perhaps, "the perpetrator was seven feet tall, weighed three hundred pounds, and was, as proven by DNA samples from beneath the victim's fingernails, a woman, while I am four foot eight, weigh ninety three pounds, and am a man".

So, we should have five outcomes of a trial:
Innocent, as above
Not Proven, a long-used and very useful Scottish verdict, "an acquittal used when the judge or jury does not have enough evidence to convict but still thinks the defendant probably committed the crime". (While O.J. Simpson might well have gotten this, the guilty bastard, from that stacked jury, why, oh why didn't they try the case where it happened, the sumbitch might've actually been gassed by now...)
Guilty, with the usual consequences
Guilty But Not Responsible, if the criminal is crazy, a child under the age of comprehension, whatever; this area of the law has its own difficulties, but it evolves
and a new verdict:
Responsible But Not Guilty, which allows for self-defense, the victim needed killing (a traditional Southern defense), and similar pleas; the perpetrator might still be liable for civil damages, but that's a subject for another rant

As for punishment, well, see the post below for my thoughts on that...

Death is too good for some people

According to an article in today's Philadelphia Daily News, a 24-year-old woman in the city's River Park section went to answer her ringing front doorbell and was attacked (apparently by an employee of the apartment complex, who'd previously been convicted of rape).

Now, at 5.30 on Monday morning, my best advice is not to answer the door. But, who knows, maybe she thought it was the date coming back for some innocuous reason. Whatever she was thinking, and whether or not she actually opened the door (there is apparently some evidence that her attacker had already gained access to the house and used the doorbell to get her out of her bedroom), she was viciously attacked. (The initial police report is quoted below.)
She was stabbed "numerous times".
She was beaten until her skull was fractured.
She was tied up.
She was raped "for almost an hour".
Then her attacker "poured Drano on his victim's vagina to remove any evidence of the rape".

I hope that last sentence made you shudder and your skin crawl and your stomach heave, as it did me. (If not, go to the kitchen, pour Drano down your throat, and get back to me with how it made you feel...)

This incident proves, to this observer, several things:
Women are too trusting. (Some, anyway.)
Men are animals. (Some, anyway.)
More women should possess firearms, be trained in their use, and be willing to use them. (Learning to turn the lights on, or carry a flashlight, would certainly help in this kind of situation.)
Far too many people are watching forensic crime shows on television. (I bet the Drano bit was either on CSI New York last week, or will be next week...)
The cruel and unusual punishment clause should be amended out of the Constitution. Whoever did this should not be executed by any of the accepted practices of the State of Pennsylvania. When they catch him, we should go medieval on his ass.

If you don't think a couple of hours of "cruel and unusual", preferably on live television, is appropriate for the perpetrator of this hideous crime (yes, yes, properly convicted and his trial reviewed by the ACLU and the Innocence Project), drop by my place some night for a little stabbing, some bust-mouth, a touch of rough sex, and a Drano enema, and then we'll debate it...

Quotes for the day

“There are things that go bump in the night... make no mistake about that. And we are the ones who bump back.”
Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt) to FBI Agent John Myers (Rupert Evans) in Hellboy

There are things that go bump in the night (and the daytime) in the real world, too. Fortunately, we have people who bump back:

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us."
George Orwell

IXXI... Never forget.

07 August 2006

The other Fourth Estate

Having had to look it up myself, here's an even more interesting version of the phrase:

"None of our political writers... take notice of any more than three estates, namely, Kings, Lords, and Commons... passing by in silence that very large and powerful body which form the fourth estate in this community... The Mob."
Henry Fielding in Covent Garden Journal (1752)

I don't think he was talking about the Sopranos...

60 Minutes, among others, buys some fiction as fact

If you believe in the Fourth Estate (hey, look it up), you must watch them getting their asses handed to them by the Palestinian independent media moguls.
Why no MSM has done an expose on this yet is unconscionable...

Others know, I just find them

Another great quote, from an Englishman currently trapped in Saudia Arabia:
"There is a general malaise in the Saudi Air Force, they want a real air force but are not prepared to put in anywhere near enough money. And the calibre of the 'technicians' is, to say the least, zero. At best it is a circus, at worst a scathing indictment of the Arabs' failure to be a part of the modern world. The many Mohammeds and Abdullahs I have worked with are in essence really nice people but, unfortunately, most will never be technicians as long as they have a 1500-year-old ideology as their life support system. They are really not technical people. I have tried to impress on them that the prime purpose of our job is the generation of aeroplanes to meet the flying task, but breakfast comes first, even if there is an aeroplane waiting for a part with engines running. Saudis have no concept of urgency; Insh'allah, which means 'if God wills it', is used by them to say 'If I can be bothered'. If you ask them to do something that is quite within their limits and they fail to complete, it is not their fault, Allah did not will it."

"A 1500-year-old ideology as their life support system."
No worse, time-wise, than the 2000-year-old ideology the Christian nations espouse, or the 3000-year-old ideology of the Jews. Wonder what the difference is? "God doesn't help those who don't help themselves"?

Photoshop reality

The original showed sufficient smoke in downtown Beirut from an Israeli airstrike to piss off anyone but an Israeli air force general, so why did they change it? Got me.
But the Reuters retraction notice had the best headline of the whole affair.
They're right, pictures do kill. And Photoshop'd pictures kill most of all...

Simpler Times

The Delaware County Daily Times (formerly the Chester Times) runs, like most papers, a "Years Ago" section, where they reprise old articles of local interest. In a recent issue, they recounted a story from a 1906 edition (quoted here at length):
"Chester is at present enjoying the visit of a unique guest in the form of a young Italian boy. The little fellow was an assistant to the steward of the Austrian schooner La Clare that had finished unloading at the Fayette Brick Works in Chester. The boy is now at City Hall under the care of Police Chief Williams, who is in a quandry as to what to do with the youngster.
"While Police Officer Stewart was standing at Fourth & Market Streets, he saw a boy, apparently a foreigner, who seemed to be lost. The officer took the lad to City Hall, where he was cared for duing the night. In the morning the boy, who does not speak a word of English, was brought to the hearing room and efforts were made by Chief Williams and Magistrate Smith to ascertain something about him.
"The Fayette Brick Works sent one of their men, who speaks several languages, to the Hall, but his efforts to understand the lad were futile. Finally it was discovered he was Italian, although he looks more like a Hungarian. Louis Gullo, the peanut vendor, was sent for and had no difficulty speaking to the boy. The youth said he was born in Austra although both of his parents were Italian. His father is dead and the brave little fellow shipped on board the steamer La Clare. Before the ship left the lad was sent ashore to make some purchases. He got confused in the strange city of Chester and became lost. The schooner left without the boy and Chief Williams notified the Italian Council of Philadelphia."

How quaint all that sounds now.
No call to the INS, no transferring him to Youth Services, no radio message by the Coast Guard to the La Clare ordering her to return and pick up her illegal immigrant. Just take the kid down to City Hall, get the peanut vendor to ask him some questions, and fob him off on the Italian Council up in Philadelphia. Amazing...
While I was unable to find any further information about the "little Italian boy", the La Clare, or even much about the Fayette Brick Works (the plant was built in 1902 at the foot of Welsh Street in Chester), I did discover, via the Old Chester website, that William H. Williams was chief of police of Chester, Pennsylvania from 1905 to 1908, and officer Roy Stewart (pictured below; photo courtesy Tom Bulger) served from 1902 to 1922.

But stopping "a boy, apparently a foreigner"? Profiling at its finest. These days Officer Stewart would, at the least, have been written up for that, if not sued by the ACLU...

06 August 2006

Another fine mess you've gotten us into, Ollie

Okay, who the fuck allowed this to happen?
This, in case you missed it, was about two thousand Christians from South Korea descending on Afghanistan for a "peace festival and educational and entertainment programs".
Really? A peace festival? With Christians lying down with the Pathans? I don't think so.
Educational and entertainment programs? What, they were doing Korean folk dances for the Taliban? I don't think so.
According to the Washington Post, "Hundreds of Islamic clerics rallied in an ancient mosque in a northern city on Wednesday to demand the Koreans' expulsion after accusing them of trying to spread Christianity."
Why do I not, for once, doubt the Islamic view of things?
And just who was it that paid for a trip of this magnitude? The Washington Post used to employ people who understood the notion of 'follow the money', from which we got Watergate; why they are ignoring that adage this time?
But the real question is who the fuck in the American chain of command allowed these people entry? Some rabid "let's bring on Armageddon so I can do that Rapture thing" general?
And what was Karzai thinking? Or was he conveniently 'out of the loop'?
This could have started a major religious war in an already-unstable Afghanistan, or even a worldwide fundamentalist conflagration on the order of that mindless flapdoodle over those Danish cartoons.
How does this end up being a little AP squib with no follow up? Where's the blogosphere when you need them? Let the rant begin here...

04 August 2006

Even those who remember the past...

...are sometimes fated to repeat it.

From Remembering Hypatia comes the story of the Great Library of Alexandria, final repository of all Greek and Roman knowledge. Seems its last Librarian, Hypatia, was killed in 414 AD by fundamentalist Christians; the library itself was subsequently ransacked and torched. The last of its books were burned to heat bathwater by invading Islamic troops in 646 AD.

Don't say "it can't happen here". That's what the Good Germans said in the 30s...

It's over

According to a piece in the Arizona Daily Star, a "41-year-old Tucson soccer mom" is going off to boot camp, following in the footsteps of her 19-year-old son, now a soldier serving in Iraq.
It seems she's not the only one, either: "In Alabama, a grandmother of two recently enlisted and is training as an explosives expert after her soldier daughter was injured by a homemade bomb in Iraq... and in Texas, a 41-year-old woman and her daughter are due to leave around the same time for boot camps in different states."
That's it. Play Taps. End of story. Game over. The terrorists are done.
When women (especially older women) gang up on you, you're toast.

Quote for the day

"In a civilized world, mad dogs are euthanized, not canonized."
A splendid quote pulled from a post by the Grand Moff Texan on the Daily Kos blog about the dangerous antics of Pastor John Hagee, a Christofascist out of San Antonio.

Very scary, these people.
If anyone wonders why I believe so fervently in the Second Amendment, it's because I want to survive their attempts to subvert the rest of the Constitution...

Casino Deposit Bonus