Tuesday, May 30, 2006

three days, man

i really ought to post something interesting...

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and for those of you not interested in ellipses (ellipsises?), go read about grimzore - parts one, two, and three.

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due to vacation (of sorts), blogging may be light for the rest of the week. so in the meantime...

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Friday, May 26, 2006

conservative rock?

NRO assembled a list of songs that are about conservative ideas, or at least have a couple of conservative(-ish) lyrics. Some are great, but at least half of them are taken waaaay out of context. Some of the better examples are:
  • “Taxman” by The Beatles
  • “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica
  • “The Trees” by Rush
  • “Obvious Song” by Joe Jackson
  • “Government Cheese” by The Rainmakers
  • “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar
Plus, they forgot about "Bound And Gagged" by Ted Nugent, which summed up what many Americans thought about the Iranian hostage crisis.

Hawapartheiid

Congress needs to "just say no" to race-based government in any form.

crushing of dissent, yet again

This time in downtown DemoKKKratic ACLUmerica...

There is no purer example of hypocrisy than this.

campaign finance reform

Captain Ed has an idea:
"If the FBI planned to apply more resources in pursuit of that kind of corruption, that would be a tremendous boost for public integrity. According to The Hill's report, however, the additional agents will focus on the felonies and misdemeanors created by the BCRA (McCain-Feingold). This demonstrates the problem of creating an overwhelming regulatory regime in any process; it creates crime where little or no intent to harm is involved. By forcing contributors and politicians to create ever more fanciful corporations with ever more barriers to accountability, the transition and use of the funds becomes so opaque that practically any use appears criminal, and all of it requires forensic accountants to ensure compliance within a labyrinth of laws.

The best solution is the elimination of the regulatory regime altogether and its replacement with instant-disclosure laws. In the age of the Internet, political candidates and their parties have the ability to quickly reveal their donors and the extent of their contributions. That would make those whom the voters select the most accountable for their fundraising and the message their funds produce. We can then eliminate the 501(c)s, the 527s, the PACs, and all of the other artificial creations that obfuscate responsibility and create criminals where they would otherwise not exist. Once that happens, then the FBI can concentrate on real corruption in government instead of becoming the executive branch's version of Price Waterhouse Cooper."
But, but, but, if the FBI did that, what would happen to our preciousss bureaucracy?

what does muy sabroso mean?

yours truly, of course!

scenes we'd like to see

"Saddam, Bin Laden Concede Missteps in War" - from Scrappleface

third party?

As much as we might wish for a third party, Pseudo-Polymath explains why it may no longer be possible.

Intelligent Discrimination

Here's an angle I hadn't thought of:
1) The Dover vs Kitzmiller trial demonstrated, to the satisfaction of many opponents of Intelligent Design, that ID is religious, not scientific.

2) There are people (such as P.Z.Myers) who are prepared to veto tenure appointments simply on the grounds that somebody believes in ID - they don't even need to teach it.

3) Given 1 above, this represents religious discrimination, which is not constitutionally permissible.

Duh Vinci 3

Even The New Yorker doesn't like it:
There has been much debate over Dan Brown’s novel ever since it was published, in 2003, but no question has been more contentious than this: if a person of sound mind begins reading the book at ten o’clock in the morning, at what time will he or she come to the realization that it is unmitigated junk? The answer, in my case, was 10:00.03, shortly after I read the opening sentence...

The trouble with Howard’s film is that it is far too dense and talkative to function efficiently as a thriller, while also being too credulous and childish to bear more than a second’s scrutiny as an exploration of religious history or spiritual strife. There is plenty going on here, from gunfights to masked orgiastic rituals and mini-scenes of knights besieging Jerusalem, yet the outcome feels at once ponderous and vacant...

Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, except at Columbia Pictures, where the power lunches won’t even be half-started. The Catholic Church has nothing to fear from this film. It is not just tripe. It is self-evident, spirit-lowering tripe that could not conceivably cause a single member of the flock to turn aside from the faith. Meanwhile, art historians can sleep easy once more, while fans of the book, which has finally been exposed for the pompous fraud that it is, will be shaken from their trance. In fact, the sole beneficiaries of the entire fiasco will be members of Opus Dei, some of whom practice mortification of the flesh. From now on, such penance will be simple—no lashings, no spiked cuff around the thigh. Just the price of a movie ticket, and two and a half hours of pain...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

the home front

don't like to use the term "must-read" too much, but i just ran across three.

This post at MilBlogs references this post at Belmont Club about the home front in the war on terror. And this post at TexasSparkle discusses the ongoing battle against the decline of society.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

space

Varifrank makes two interesting points about space exploration:
  • Voyager II will finally reach the edge of our solar system this year.
  • If we were to place the SETI radio telescope dish on Pluto, it would not be able to detect life on earth.

the pot calling the kettle inconvenient

TCS Daily notes some inconvenient truths about Algore's bore-a-thon "An Inconvenient Truth".

...and flattery is the sincerest form of imitation, or something like that...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

alligators down in the sewer lines

Opinion Journal debunks other - more malignant - urban legends.

the best defense is a good offense

"The First Amendment does not guarantee the right to publish all forms of classified information that can jeopardize national security when it enters the public realm."

cold numbers

The Futurist presents an interesting analysis that as "more nations achieve prosperity and democracy, the costs of war outweigh the benefits."

Monday, May 22, 2006

school reform

Why don't liberals demand removal of religion from Saudi classrooms?

Didacts and Narpets

"Listen!"

Captain's Quarters discusses what happens when American conservatives are ignored.

Duh Vinci Too

Lone Star Times says:
Judging from early reviews, it seems likely to me that the film The Da Vinci Code is going to do about as much damage to worldwide Christianity as some of the senior student drama productions I suffered through back at hippie college (i.e, "none").

Nevertheless, you might get stuck on an elevator next week with some doofus who either wants to urge you to go see the film "to learn the truth", or has had their faith shaken to the core by a former Bosom Buddy under the direction of Opie – so here are some "talking points" for response.

balance imbalance

it's not all bad

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hit and Miss

I ran (no pun intended) across this article by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad. He's one of the most sensible imams I've heard recently - i.e. the only one.

He reaches some good conclusions, but it takes a while:
Phobias, according to the American Psychiatric Association are mental disorders characterized by persistent and irrational fear of a particular thing, situation, or animal.
However, since the self-stated goal of Islam is to destroy infidels, any fear that the "infidel" feels would be quite rational.
You can almost picture a young Muslim mother sending her child off to public school; “Now son, remember to drink your milk, look both ways when you cross the street, don’t forget to say your prayers on time, and be sure to watch out for any islamophobia!
Yes, I can almost picture it. What I can picture much more easily is a cowardly Muslim father sending his child laden with explosives to kill "infidels" - mainly because there are so many, you know, actual pictures of it - or at least the bloody aftermath.
We’ve used the term with such frequency and with such self serving overtones that it has started to lose it effectiveness if it even had any.
1) It never had any.
2) Islam's actions speak louder than its words.
As Muslims, accurate and responsible use of categorical verbiage is a moral obligation, and in this case, a vital tactical adjunct for Muslims in America. This is why it is critical that before we wage jihad against islamophobia, we accurately define the terminology. Perhaps, we can avoid misdirecting our energies in what may very well be another fruitless pursuit, frocked in Islamic trappings that fails to address the root of our problems as Muslims. Sure there is discrimination against Muslims and yes, it should be addressed, but not manipulated. I don’t see crowds of rednecks chasing down Muslims in the streets.
Finally some sense. The imam doesn't immediately blame the JOOOOOOOOS! for Islam's problems.
Let’s set aside American foreign policy for a moment, that’s a separate issue. I’m talking about everyday life, living in America. Are there Americans who fear Muslims? Absolutely, and there are some that fear bald headed bikers clad in leather, there are some that fear Latinos, Italians whose last name ends in a vowel, and Christian Fundamentalists. There are people in America who fear African Americans, especially those less than 25 years of age who parenthetically, may be the most feared minority in the country. There are people in America who fear skinheads, the sound of fire trucks, the din of crowded subways, men with bushy mustaches, Caucasians, the police, Catholic priests, the homeless, and there are even people in America believe it or not who are mortified by toothless old ladies. I’m terrified of dentist visits and a contentious divorce could make a person afraid of the opposite sex. Welcome to the club. Fear is an industry in America and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Okay...
Accepting that there are Americans who fear Muslims, is such fear completely irrational? Well, knowing that a surgically worded fatwa can turn an unsuspecting young Muslim into a societal menace overnight, and the capricious way in which a Muslim can be suddenly labeled a non-Muslim, a deviant, or infidel does cause concern.
Yeah, that and the hundreds of bombings, thousands of deaths, and the perpetual threats of annihilation.
Is there fanaticism in the name of Islam? Yes. Is it widespread? Yes. Are we doing much to combat it? I don’t think so.
Obviously
I’d never expect that anyone could find any moral imperative to suicide bomb a Mawlid celebration.
...and I’d never expect that anyone could find any moral imperative to suicide bomb diners, dancers, and schoolchildren, yet somehow they do.
We can blame the media until we are blue in the face for negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims; Even as of this writing, graphic imagery of Muslim on Muslim violence, Muslim rage, Muslim turmoil, dominate network and print media. However, these images fuel policy; they help pass massive budgets appropriations, and provide the justification for the mega industry that is known as the war on terror.
So then can we blame AlJazeera (east and west) for the horrid portrayals of Jews, which fuel terrorist policy, help garner ill-gotten UN dollars, and provide the justification for the cottage (er, cave?) industry that is known as the war on infidels?
Preparing ourselves for the so-called Muslim threat has created completely new industries in America as well as bolstering others. Police departments are spending billions dollars on preventive arsenal and technology to prepare for the Muslim threat. Kevlar fitted canines which ten years ago might have been the butt of a Jay Leno opening monologue, is now a lucrative commercial venue.
Imagine! People defending themselves...
There is such abundance and variety of Muslim media footage, that politicians, policy makers, businessmen, non-profits and industrialists can literally pick out what suits their purpose.
Perhaps you can convince your followers to stop producing so much of it?
Want to do missionary work in Iraq? Grab some hungry children footage. Want to get funding to buy new jail doors from your brother in-law’s Company? Get some terrorist cell simulation footage. Want to retrofit that county bridge to withstand a terrorist attack? Of course, no one could imagine what a so-called terrorist would want with a bridge in the middle of nowhere, but you simply pull out the appropriate news footage and motion passed. The press is only doing their job, selling news entertainment.
I'm in full agreement here.
The question is, what are we going to do? Continue complaining? Ignore our own ills? Only take on agendas that have fundraising potential? The only thing stopping the Muslims from changing their condition is our own arrogance, religious sectarianism, injustices to own selves, and refusal to address serious social Islamic issues. It is nonsense to assume that the media is the only culprit.
True.
Or to assume we can somehow eradicate unwarranted fear or distrust of Muslims through the rhetoric of public relations, or references to the glorious history of Islam. America is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ kind of country. Which by the way is not an unislamic viewpoint. The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Verily deeds are tallied according to those that are last” (innamaa al-a’maalu bil khawaa’teem).
Who's this prophet Saws anyway? Is he the guy who those horror movies were about? Just kidding, don't go all fatwa on me...
Years of town halls, demonstrations, accountability sessions, sensitivity training and boycotts hasn’t removed graphic negative Muslim media imagery from top billing on headline news.
Similarly, centuries of charitable works such as feeding the poor and founding hospitals hasn’t removed graphic negative Christian media imagery from top billing at movie theaters.
Money can’t buy you love. Yeah I know the Beatles said it 1964, but Allah said it 1400 years prior; “And if you spent everything in the world you could not have joined between their hearts, but it is Allah who joined between them” 8:63.
If you like that, you should read the Koran in the original Klingon. ;)
Americans do not necessarily fear Islam and Muslims. What Americans do not want is to see suicide bombers in New York City. As an American Muslim who knows no other homeland, I have no problem in protecting our borders or legitimately defending my country. Does that make me a bad Muslim? I live here, why would I want to see America go down in flames? I have issues with the phrase “death to America”. Our way of life here may not be all good but it definitely is not all bad. We need to stop making politics part of theology or if we insist on doing so, we should accept that no one group or ethnicity can speak for all American Muslims. You have scholars who have never experienced the family bonding that takes place at Thanksgiving dinner, or understand the true nature of the holiday, making fatwas using triangulated logic, telling me that to sit down with my Muslim and non-Muslim family to eat roasted turkey, macaroni and cheese, hug my aunties whom I haven’t seen all year and watch a football game with my cousins is a faith deficiency! My response to that fatwa is posted elsewhere. However the point I’m making is that there is a distinct, irrational, extremist tendency in our application of Islam that needs to be extricated.
I agree totally.
Americans are more confused about Islam and Muslims than anything else. I don’t think that the media is entirely to blame for that. Heck, even Muslims are confused about Islam. Every year there are millions of Muslims in America who are confused about the start of Ramadan. “Should I fast or should I eat? Can I do both? Taraaweeh prayer; is it 20 rakáat or 8? Am I wrong if I do 8? Am I an innovator if I do twenty? Do I give salaams to all Muslims or just some of them? Do I boycott American products even though I live in America? I still can’t figure that one out. There are so many conflicting fatwas flying around that a person spirals into bewilderment just trying to keep track of them, let alone making sense of some of them.
Ah, the joys of legalism.
Domestically, the American people have accommodated, and accepted the Muslim presence in too many ways for anyone to suggest that there is a pandemic of islamophobia. It has been and still is a struggle. However, the doors have already been opened in large part by African American Muslims.
Uh, do you really want to be associated with Farrakhan and the "any means necessary" Black Panthers?
Statistically speaking, incidents of anti Muslim hate, violence, discrimination in America are relatively low. If we divide the 1500 or so anti Muslim, and anti-Arab (what about anti African, or anti Asian?) incidents reported by one of the largest and loudest civil rights groups in America, into the 6 million Muslims who legally reside in America, that comes up to 2/10ths of a percent. If we multiply the number by five to take into consideration unreported incidents, we arrive at the grand total of 1% of the general Muslim population, hardly enough to qualify fighting islamophobia as a top priority!
Agreed.
With respect to the religion of Islam, the only ones who can taint its image are its designated practitioners; i.e., the Muslims. This is why the Prophet (SAWS) opted not to dispose of some of the treasonous hypocrites in Medina. It also explains why he reprimanded Mu’aath ibn Jabal for leading the congregational prayer beyond reasonable length. Both actions are potential repellents. Extremism, although it may seem, depending upon the interpreter, to have a textual basis (Quran and Sunna), usually results in other than the desired outcome. Our failure to realize this point will leave us in disappointment. We have many examples of such. Our recent overreaction to the cartoon portrayal of the Prophet (SAWS) is just one. None of our protests altered the Prophets status (SAWS) in any way. His place with Allah is still secure, and in the same degree, he is still the honored last Prophet of God (SAWS). All the ranting did not endear the masses to Islam, it exposed our lack of rectitude, it cost us lives, money, time, moral capital and lacked definitive textual basis.
Also agreed.
Human beings cannot invalidate the quality or value of Islam; on the contrary, Islam is a divinely pre-validated faith and way of life according to orthodox Islamic creed (aqeeeda). “Verily the religion of Allah is Islam” 3:19. Adherence to Islam or lack of it determines humanistic value, balances societies, and by the way, supports stable, healthy civilizations.
Actually, no, but we'll let that slide for now.
Anti Islamic sentiment in the United States has particular causes such as providential disbelief or what is known is theological jargon as (kufr). Nothing we can do about that. “And it is no different whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe” 36:10. Other causes are misunderstanding, misrepresentation of Islam by Muslims or non-Muslim, injustice, the absence of Islamic standards of civility, (yes there is such a thing) and the conspicuous scarcity of Muslim social service institutions in America.
Just a matter of priorities, right? Funny how the practice of stoning women for showing their face can sway public opinion...
Placing responsibility for Islam’s image on other than ourselves is a flawed and unstable paradigm that siphons away valuable time, energy, and spiritual as well as temporal benefit. It distracts us away from individual and collective responsibility and sets in motion as’baab (causative factors) that could deprive us at this critical juncture in our history, of what we need most; divine intervention and support.
Also also agreed.
This can only come from Allah. “Allah is the Friend of those who believe; He takes them out of the darkness’s into the (one) light”. 2:257.
Again, we'll let that slide...
Faith, is more than rhetoric action is required. If we for a moment think that success or improvement in our condition can ever occur without it, we are engaging in a fantasy, existing only in the quilt of our minds, wove together with the threads of wishful thinking. Want to prove people in the west wrong about Muslims? Be charitable, help others, feed the hungry, assist the orphan, teach people to read, build a hospital, pave a road, or clean a park. Charitable work does wonders for the soul and it doesn’t hurt public image either if that’s what we care about. The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Prayer is light and charity is proof”. When a people address their own ills and acknowledge their individual and collective faults, and their need to change wrongful ways, and embrace fairness, righteousness, civility, adab, humility, brotherhood, honesty, patience and the qualities that ultimately define our character, change becomes imminent. Divine assistance is set in motion.

We hardly see Islamic ideals and principles manifested institutionally in United States. Oh, pardon me, that’s not entirely true. Islamic ideals and principles do exist in many American institutions. Let’s see, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, free and reduced fee clinics, food stamps, homeless shelters, the SPCA, Fire Departments, traffic lights, free libraries, trash collection, the ability to disagree publicly oh and we have tawheed (monotheism) here too. Maybe we have forgotten what Islam is all about. It just may be possible that we have some closet islamophobia in us! Let us all, myself included, get our act together and leave dog and pony shows for the circus.
That's more like it.

applecare

This site, made by a former AppleCare Tech Support agent, has already had tons of traffic, but I did find a strangely relevant quote:
I saw how things worked there and wasn't very happy about it. It's politics-driven and the men (are) emotional, petty, and they only promote those that sit next to them and tell jokes. It's part frat-house and part nail salon, and I don't play that game very well. I'll grant that I worked for a manager or two that didn't fit that bill, but I've seen some fakes fly up the chain while I was there that no one was happy with except for the other idiot managers they conned.

Friday, May 19, 2006

hmm...

maybe schools could use additional morals more than additional money

Duh Vinci

Dave, via Ace of Spades, has discovered the Da Vinci Infringement:
Here's a plot-- about an ancient document, written way back in 1983, which has the exact same plot as the Da Vinci Code. An intrepid author recognizes his work has been ripped off, and seeks to expose the truth, but is thwarted at every turn by evil agents working for a large publishing house.

And it may even be true.

Now, even discounting the fact that formula thrillers are, get this, written according to a formula, and that this basic notion has been floating out there among the conspiracy goofballs for decades, The Da Vinci Code does seem to follow an awful lot of the specific plot points of 1983's The Da Vinci Legacy.

Sample:

1. A scholar is killed.
2. He is the fourth of his type to be killed.
3. Before he dies, he leaves a last message,
4. written in his own blood,
5. on his own body.
6. This occurs on page 35.

It occurs on page 35 in both.

Okay, again-- formula. In every thriller, there is an inciting incident of some kind that sets the ball rolling; in a James Bond film, yet another double-o agent has been killed, for example. (These Double-O's don't seem as tough as you might first think.) And so, yes, the gory, mysterious, numinous murder has to occur early in the book.

But... a message in his own blood on his own body? On page 35 in both?

And the similarities continue.

And I want to make the sequel:

The DiGiorno Conspiracy

The pizza cartel has spent millions of dollars on ad campaigns to cover up the fact that DiGiorno pizza is actually delivered! The story begins with an intrepid investigator being murdered by Domino-can monks when he finds 15th-century pizza boxes handcrafted by Michaelangelo himself.

pop quiz

1) Where have we seen this before?

2) What happened to the 'people' who tried this before?

3) When will we put a stop to it?

the code

Scrappleface is on the case:
“Even many faithful church attenders have not yet unlocked the secret,” said the unnamed Vatican source. “Although it lies in plain sight, to understand it you must have the ability to decode a sequence of ancient letters, arranged in phonetic patterns that follow a specific grammatical template.”

When asked how an outsider with no expertise in cryptology could break the code and comprehend the secret, the Pope’s spokesman said, “To reveal the mystery, first lift the cover of the Bible. Then carefully examine all the text on the first page. Slowly turn the page. Repeat the process until the mystery becomes plain.”

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy Crack

Due to a Pittsburgh elementary school's zero-tolerance policies, fourteen students have been suspended for bringing "happy crack" (a mixture of kool-aid and sugar) to school.

...and in related news, the school is rumored to start enforcing their zero-tolerance much more strictly, including:
  • removing all grass from the playground

  • disallowing snow days

  • eliminating field trips

  • expelling children named Barbie, Benny, Bud, Mary Jane, and Mickey

  • removing all pots from the cafeteria kitchen

  • replacing all windows and sidewalks that have cracks

  • removing the letter "X" from the alphabet

  • eliminating the term "acid" from chemistry class

  • reducing the speed limit to zero in school zones

Tolerance

One important concept in engineering is the idea of tolerance. According to Wikipedia:
Tolerance in engineering is the permissible limit of variation in a dimension or value of a parameter of a manufactured object. Dimensions and parameters may vary within certain limits without significantly affecting functioning of equipment; tolerances are specified to allow leeway for imperfections in manufacturing parts and components without compromising performance...

It is good engineering practice to specify the largest possible tolerance while maintaining proper functionality. Closer or tighter tolerances are more difficult, and hence costly, to achieve. Conversely, larger or looser tolerances may significantly affect the operation of the device.
Probably applies to societies, too...

all in all...

it's just another drip in the war.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

drips

water torture is a deliberate process:
Think back to September 12, 2001. Imagine that an omniscient seer had told you then that four-and-a-half years later, the U.K. and Spain would have experienced al Qaeda attacks in their own countries; France's appeasement-oriented government would have been rocked by Islamic riots in Paris and other cities, Denmark would have had its citizens and embassies targeted for Islamic terror attacks on account of political cartoons portraying Muhammed; Russia would have endured a deadly hostage siege by Islamic terrorists at a school full of children; and in all that time, the United States would not have experienced a single additional terror attack on its own soil. Imagine the seer had told you further that the United States would, in the same period of time, wage and win two wars in the middle east, overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan and midwifing the formation of a parliamentary democracy there, then driving Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and bringing that destitute country to the verge of its first parliamentary government, elected by nation-wide vote and backed by a western-trained police force and a non-Baathist army, while Saddam himself sat in the dock awaiting the verdict of his trial for crimes against humanity. Imagine he had told you that American combat deaths in these two wars over three years time would not have exceeded 5,000. Imagine that he also told you the American economy would have fully recovered from the 9/11 attack in this timeframe, returning to employment, interest, inflation, and growth rates rivalling if not exceeding those of the Clinton years, despite wartime budget deficits and huge increases in gasoline prices caused by the inevitable uncertainties in the middle east, while the socialist economies of Europe stagnated or shrank.

Then imagine that he told you George W. Bush's approval rating just six months after his reelection would stand at 29 percent. Would you have believed him?

Would you have believed that the predicted accomplishments could be achieved so speedily, if at all, in the post-9/11 world? And would you have believed that a man who led such bold endeavors would be the least popular president in modern history save for Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter?

Yet that is the case...

The MSM ocean was harnessing its entire immensity on just one story, told an infinite number of times, in every possible inflection, from every direction, and with the deadly persistent accuracy of a dripping tap: George W. Bush is no good.

It doesn't have to be true, it doesn't have to be fair, it doesn't have to be consistent in its terms. All that matters is that it is repeated with uniform constancy: drip, drip, drip. "George W. Bush is no good."
So the next time you hear some inside-the-beltway talking head reciting DNC talking points, you'll know they're just another drip.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

almost

I was beginning to like this article...
When you look back at all these leaders' job ratings in office, you find an interesting thing. The transformational Thatcher and Reagan had negative to neutral job ratings during most of their longer years in power... Their divisiveness, the stark alternative they presented with the policies and conventional wisdom of the past -- all these held down their job ratings.

In contrast, Blair and Clinton for most of their years in office had quite high job ratings. Blair's ratings for his first eight years were probably the highest in British history. Clinton, after he got over his lurch to the left in 1993-94, also enjoyed high job ratings, especially when he was threatened with impeachment.

Thus, the crunchy, confrontational right was in its years in power not so widely popular as the soggy, consensus-minded center-left. Yet surely history will regard Thatcher and Reagan as more consequential leaders than Blair and Clinton.

It is in this context that we should consider George W. Bush's current poor job ratings. For all the high ratings for center-left leaders, it remains true in America and Britain that the policies of the right are more acceptable than the policies of the left -- and are capable of beating the center-left, too.

It is in the nature of things that the right, while sharply defining the issues and winning most serious arguments, should also stir more bitter opposition than the soothing, consensus-minded center-left. All the more so because Old Media in this country, more than in Britain, is dominated by a left that incessantly peppers the right with ridicule and criticism, while it lavishes the center-left with celebration and praise.
...until it mentioned FDR, the closest thing to a communist dictator America has ever suffered.

Monday, May 15, 2006

global warming benefits

Sure it's a hoax, but even if it were true, global warming might not be so bad.
From around 800 A.D. to 1200 or 1300, the globe warmed again considerably and civilization prospered. This warm era displays, although less distinctly, many of the same characteristics as the earlier period of clement weather. Virtually all of northern Europe, the British Isles, Scandinavia, Greenland, and Iceland were considerably warmer than at present. The Mediterranean, the Near East, and North Africa, including the Sahara, received more rainfall than they do today. During this period of the High Middle Ages, most of North America also enjoyed better weather. In the early centuries of the epoch, China experienced higher temperatures and a more clement climate. From Western Europe to China, East Asia, India, and the Americas, mankind flourished as never before.

This prosperous period collapsed at the end of the thirteenth century with the advent of the "Mini Ice Age" which, at its most frigid, produced temperatures in central England for January about 4.5deg.F colder than today. Although the climate fluctuated, periods of cold damp weather lasted until the early part of the nineteenth century. During the chilliest decades, 5 to 15 percent less rain fell in Europe than does normally today; but, due to less evaporation because of the low temperatures, swampy conditions were more prevalent. As a result, in the fourteenth century the population explosion came to an abrupt halt; economic activity slowed; lives shortened as disease spread and diets deteriorated.

Although the influence of climate on human activities has declined with the growth in wealth and resources, climate still has a significant effect on disease and health. A cold wet climate can confine people to close quarters, abetting contagion. In the past, a shift towards a poorer climate has led to hunger and famine, making disease more virulent. Before the industrial revolution and improved technology, a series of bad years could be devastating. If transportation were costly and slow, as was typical until very recently, even a regionalized drought or an excess of rain might lead to disaster, even though crops might be plentiful a short distance away.
via wuzzadem

Stop the Invasion

Joatmoaf restates some facts and deflates some myths.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

slavery

like the energizer bunny, it just keeps going and going and going...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

random thought

The greatest generation stunk at parenting.

Friday, May 12, 2006

random thought

If pork is forbidden in Islam, why didn't Mo-HAM-mad change his name?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

random thought

Nature abhors a vacuum. She also dislikes brooms.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

sequel

a coworker came up with an idea for a movie sequel based on recent news stories:

Illegal Aliens vs. Internet Predators

couldn't be worse than most modern movies...

vids

first rule of fight club: do not videotape fight club.

Note to management

Your efforts to keep employees informed are most welcome. They are a refreshing change from the secrecy and obfuscation found in other companies.

However, they fall far short of your stated goal of "communication", and appear more like a "barrage of monologues" to most of the rank-and-file. Your employees can easily tell the difference.

An increase of outgoing messages will not remedy the situation; listening will.

third party time?

Despite the fact that George Bush has done a wonderful job defending the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, Instapundit does have a point. (like he needs the linkage...)
I think we're seeing a general meltdown in support for the entire governing class as the result of a perception (which is largely true) that it lacks the seriousness and self-restraint necessary to run a major nation.
See related here and here.

My suggestion:
  • Form a new political party which would reduce the bloated federal government back to its proper constitutionally-granted powers and return states' rights.
  • The current Republican Party would fill the role of the pre-1968 Democratic Party, and welcome back the blue dogs.
  • The remaining anti-American Democrats would be allowed flee to Canada (as they keep promising to do) or be returned to their respective planets, alternate universes and/or mental institutions.

mock the kasbah

Scrappleface does it.

Lileks does it.

Scrappleface follows up.

this is a song of hope

Symptoms
    Of Cultural
       Suicide
          In The
             Headlines

             the sound
          of trees falling
       is always louder
    than the sound
of grass growing

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

WoW

Rumor is that a World of Warcraft movie is in the works.

I give it a 33.3% chance of success, 3 repeating of course...

Gas Pains

Lileks snark-o-meter is approaching Coulteresque levels in this article about the nonsense surrounding gas prices:
If the economy continues to percolate nicely, it will be due to increased drywall sales: Experts predict a continued increase in the number of Republican voters banging their heads into walls, trying to wake from this nightmare. It's not the president's poll numbers -- that could be fixed by impeachment. (Worked for Clinton.) It's not the staff shake-up -- new blood's fine, but nobody in Peoria is switching parties because Scott McClellan got the gentle boot. It's not even the Iraq war, the prospect of war with Iran, or the prospect of no war with Iran. It's Congress.

In short, the Republican base wants to know: Where's all this partisan extremism we were promised?

Nothing better exemplifies the world-turned-upside-down madness than the response to the gas "crisis." If the GOP was intent on educating the public, it would explain obscure concepts like "supply" and "demand" and how this big country called "Chi-na" has been sopping up more liquefied dinosaurs than usual. Also, we don't build enough refineries, and thanks to the greenies we can't drill anywhere Steven Spielberg might see the rig from his house. And he has houses everywhere. But who cares? Man up, ya crybabies! We're Americans. Let's go poke holes in Mother Nature's noggin and hoover up some light sweet crude so we don't have to rehash this drivel next year.

The actual GOP response? Hundred-dollar rebates. Cash money, friend, just for drivin'. We feel your pain: Here, have some money we borrowed from someone else. How's your Starbucks bill looking this week? Caramel mocha lattes add up, we know, and perhaps we can spot you a twenty (as long as you'll agree you're addicted to caffeine) and let Congress mandate 25 percent ethanol in your morning cup.
...and the second half gets even better.

Monday, May 08, 2006

UN Scum

Are these thugs "aid workers" or "AIDS workers"?

AlQaeda Blues

Terrorists acknowledge the superior position of American and free Iraqi forces and their ability to quickly adapt to new tactics.

C.O.S.

Lileks has discovered the basic canine operating system. I've translated it from basic to java-esque-two:
if (intruder != alpha dog);
{
    bark
}
else
{
    while (food > 0);
    {
       eat
    }
}
endif
Of course, the basic feline operating system would be slightly more complex:
if (time == day);
{
    if (rand >.1);
    {
       nap;
    }
    else if (attention > 0);
    {
       ignore(all);
    }
    else
    {
       get (in way);
    }
else
{
    find (mischief);
}

Saturday, May 06, 2006

DWK

on the latest of the kennedy antics:

Driving While Kennedy

Culture of Car Crash Coverups

"Don't Leave Massachusetts Without It!"

before & after

VDH at NRO:
First, the United States was not cynical in its efforts: no oil was stolen; no hegemony was established; and democrats, not dictators, were promoted...

...the Middle East is a struggle of a different sort; it is an existential one in which defeat means more attacks on the United States homeland, while victory in changing the landscape of the region presages an end to the nexus of Islamic terror. In that regard, so far we have been fortunate, four-and-a-half years later, in avoiding the level of costs incurred on the first day of the war that took 3,000 American lives and resulted in a trillion dollars in economic damage.

...As we approach year five, there has been no subsequent attack on the United States. An entire intellectual industry has emerged to educate the West about radical Islamic fascism, something mostly lacking prior to September 11. Our enemies in al Qaeda are either dead, arrested, in hiding, or losing in Iraq, and the embrace of radical Islam through the Middle East at least now carries the consequence of fear of an unpredictable reaction on the part of the United States.
As always, read the rest.

turnabout is fair play

"Not All See Mockery of Zarqawi as Good Strategy"
An effort by the American military to discredit the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by showing video outtakes of him fumbling with a machine gun — suggesting that he lacks real fighting skill — was questioned yesterday by retired and active American military officers.
...and in related news, "Not All See Mockery of America and President Bush as Good Strategy"
An effort by the leftist media to discredit the President by mercilessly mocking him at every opportunity — suggesting that he lacks leadership — was questioned yesterday by millions of sensible Americans.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thursday, May 04, 2006

May 4

Imagine what China could be today if America hadn't listened to utopians, liberals, and frenchmen.

Maybe someday Tianamen Square will be a cradle of liberty.

got milk?

with government interference, you won't.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

the sentence

Varifrank on a fate worse than death:
Today Zacarias Moussaoui was denied the prize of martyrdom for his crimes. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Moussaoui will be treated to life as slow death. He will die, 60 odd years from now, not as a "brave martyr to his cause", but as a toothless, babbling shell of a man.

During the next 60 years the decrepit religious order to which he belongs will be brought down and "radical islam" will be swept into the dustbin of history alongside the Nazis and the Communists. Civilization will go on but Moussaoui and his perverted order will play no role in it. He will die alone, unknown and quite insane not as a great "sacrifice to his cause" but as a footnote to history as the Islamic Rudolph Hess.
Get the picture?

reforma de la inmigración ahora

Captain Ed watches the pendulum swing:
"...prior to the series of protests, with their demands and rejection of American sovereignty, the immigration hardliners did not have the momentum to get their program passed. President Bush had enough juice left to get a moderate reform program passed, one which granted earned citizenship and only superficially addressed border security. Now that the protestors have rammed their strident demands down the throats of Americans, the hardliners have won new support from a broadening group of voters. When they remained "in the shadows", they had a cachet of victimhood that lent sympathy to their plight. With them teaming up with the last and largest group of communist apologists and demanding that America stop enforcing its borders altogether, they no longer have the patina of waifs but as ungrateful and separatist activists."
update: Common Sense America does too:
"It seems our politicians have, once again, misjudged bipartisanship. While they think that they can divide Americans on issues for their own advantage, there are some issues that are bigger than politics. There are some issues that deal with what is best for America. In those issues, Americans from all walks of life and political stripes will always stand united."

leftists lynched limbaugh

Read the whole sordid story of the slander of Rush Limbaugh.
Rather than quietly dropping this embarrassment of an investigation, the state attorney, Barry Krischer — a politically active liberal Democrat — has insisted on filing a charge which he well knows will never be tried. Insisting, that is, on further media churning of an allegation of doctor-shopping that he’ll never prove.

Krischer ought to be ashamed of himself, and the people of Palm Beach County ought to be frightened by what passes for law enforcement in their neck of the woods.

Real prosecutors do not engage in selective enforcement... The truth is that Krischer never had a case. In November 2005, the assistant state attorney handling the investigation stood up in open court and made the mind-blowing admission that he had “no idea” whether Rush had committed a crime — after pursuing Rush, and crawling through every aspect of his private life, for over two years. He claimed he needed the court to authorize the evisceration of Rush’s doctor-patient privilege so he could interview physicians. Why? Because after months and months of poring over Rush’s actual medical records the prosecutor had no proof that Rush had done anything wrong.

rational

good tagline:
Who is more irrational? A man who believes in a God he doesn't see, or a man who's offended by a God he doesn't believe in?- Brad Stine

re-re-conquista

andale pronto! arriba arriba! epa epa eeeee-haaaa!

newsfilters

forewarned is forearmed.

see also: doomfilters.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oy Vey Mohammad!

After reading this, I'm all ferklept.

Gary Granart Got It

Via Rightwingsparkle:
Imagine a president of a film company turning out popular films like "Scary Movie" and the "Scream" franchise and choosing to stop making those types of films because his conscience was bothering him.

That is exactly what happened to Gary Granart. As "Entertainment Weekly" tells it, it all started in 1997 when Granart walked into his living room and saw his 2 yr old daughter watching some dailies from "Scream 2." She was terrified.

"In that moment, he considered the prospect of his little girl growing up steeped in the kind of culture he was producing. And he realized that something - or someone - needed to make that major change."

Granart told entertainment weekly that his conscience had been bothering him with the centric pop that he had been making and that the movie industry's images and music were "molding a generation of cynics and narcissists."
It's a start...

Of course, even these movie ideas would be a welcome improvement. ;)

gas prices, oil profits, etc.

More details at GM's Corner.

Monday, May 01, 2006

religion of peace, continued

From Aujord'hui in Casablanca:
Six-year-old Nihad Afroun was beaten by Imam Moustafa Lazrak at the Sidi Ahmed El Bekkal school in Tétouan Morocco for accidentally stepping on his prayer rug.
Somehow I doubt this story will get very much coverage, since there's so many Islamofascist bombings, beheadings, mutilations, and genocide to be report... er, ignored...

¿qué parodiar?

Varifrank:
In cities across America, expatriate citizens of the corrupt socialist regime of Mexico protested for the inclusion of Mexico into the United States. Exiled from their country due to centuries of repression at the hands of tyrants, Mexicans revel in the freedom and prosperity they have found within the worlds oldest and most successful Democracy. "In America, we can protest even though we are not citizens. In Mexico, we would be shot for this even though we are citizens there. We are more free as illegals in the US than citizens of Mexico! This is truly a great country!" said one protester...

"Look at Arizona and California, (under Mexican rule) they were a total wasteland and today they are a paradise! Imagine if Sonora or Baja California were to become part of the United States. The wealth they could generate would be staggering".
Translation: What parody?

interesting...

OrangeMedia reports "Strange Booms Heard in Key US Cities":
I've lived in S. OC Beach Cities for 17 years. Seems every time I hear "booms" we mix it up with national enemies.
  • Booms prior to Panama; 1989
  • Booms prior to Gulf War; 1991.
  • Booms prior to Bosnia; 1998.
  • Booms prior to Desert Fox; 1998.
  • Booms prior to Enduring Freedom; 2001.
  • Booms prior to Iraqi Freedom; 2003.
Booms now; (strange ones) Heard near Camp Pendleton, CA and in Jackson County, Missouri. Close to Whiteman B-2 Base.

Hmmmmm.
That post is a couple of days old, but doesn't say how much time elapses after the sounds until hostilities break out.

Maybe we'll soon see the headline "Osama/Zarqawi Summit Turns Into A Real Blast."

update: In comments, I asked RussInSoCal/OrangeMedia "How much time elapsed between the "booms" and the start of hostilities". The answer is "Time varied between 4-8 weeks as best I can remember". The original post was on April 26. We'll see...

A Day Without Ingrates

Jack Culberson is thinking outside the p.c. box:
"You should send all of the 13 million aliens home, then you take all of the welfare recipients who are taking a free check and make them do those jobs."
With the addition of the word "illegal" before the word "aliens", I would agree.

To reiterate: LEGAL immigrants welcome; ILLEGAL immigrants not welcome.

update: Here's a good idea for a counterprotest - Boycott Cinco De Mayo.

update 2: It's relevAnt today more than ever.

chain of non-fools

(filed under utterly random)

Everything you ever wanted to know about mechanical chains, but were afraid to ask.

connect the dots

Does the big picture look more like sedition or treason?

too funny

Hatless in Hattiesburg is ranked #10 of about 53,200 on a Google search for "where to find cheap wainscoting"!

I'm tempted to change the site's tagline, but afraid that could be offensive to the residents of Wainscotia and the Wainscotian-American community...