Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stingy Americans vs Thieving Europeans

"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."

"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."

Three Observations:

1. He said Christmastime. Get out the soap; I, for one, am offended.

Wow. This feels great. I mean, being offended and all. It’s so empowering; being offended just gives me this warm fuzzy righteousness and the will to fight the power. The power fought being Christmas. Maybe we should try offending minorities more often, so as to impart some of this drive into them, to help them get a leg up in gaining employment and such.

2. He called America stingy! Okay, this is not exactly an original observation. Conservative pundits are all atwitter at the temerity of this upstart UN bureaucrat talking smack on the US.

Well duh. That’s what the UN does. I’m pretty sure it’s in the charter somewhere, just after "tacitly aid genocide" but before "blame the Jews." This closely parallels the AID’s issue. The US is the largest ATM for AID's related causes worldwide, but, of course, is also the target of any protestor capable of wielding a crudely drawn sign and walking back and forth. The amazing thing is that the US hasn’t yet been blamed for actually causing the quakes that led to the tsunami. But we might be safe here, because, you know, Jews.

I just can’t summon up much outrage for this. In a certain way, this UN hack has a point. Judging by the proportion of the amount given in relation to GDP, the US’s initial donation of 15 million was pretty pathetic when the much smaller Australia has pledged 10 million. The US has since pledged more, with Colin Powell saying the final amount will reach the billions, but still, if you’re a socialist Eurocrat and view all the world’s problem’s as solvable through the magical powers of taxation and powerful government, then, yes, the US does look stingy. Which brings me to the part of the above statement that does irk me.

3. This UN bureaucrat says that the taxpayers “want to give more.” This, in the paternalistic mindset of a client society bureaucrat means that the state should step in and take the money. But if people want to give more, why bother with state-sponsored theft, i.e. taxation? If people want to give more, and there are means by which they can give more, then taxation is a superfluous violation of human rights.

Plus, high levels of taxation tend to absolve any feelings of guilt over not donating, and so lead to lower levels of private donations. Couple this with the natural inefficiency of government as a top-down mechanism, and taxation should be the route of last resort when sorting out the aftermath of a tragedy, not the knee jerk reaction.

When all is said and done, and the contributions of each nation are measured, I bet you the private donations of Americans will blow away the private donations of any other country. Amazon is collecting donations for the Red Cross, and has already raised $820,000 in a couple of days (and it is quickly rising—it went up $6000 in the past couple of minutes).

This amount was raised through the goodwill and, more importantly, freewill of Americans. When an American wants to give, we don't need a UN hack telling us that the state should come in and take this money away from people. The UN has been trying to gain some powers of taxation over sovereign countries, a debate which this tsunami is likely to bring up again, so let this be a warning: UN officials acknowledge that even when people would freely give money away, it is best to have the state come in and forcibly extract it from the population.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Limited Tradition-Nonspecific Holiday blogging

Just read this. Speechless.

Friday, December 17, 2004

A Retrospective

Things I'm surprised I didn't hear following the election:

"Democracy? More like dumbasscracy, if you ask me. Which, were you asking me? What? Oh. Well, you just keep your fascist fries then, I want no part of them."

"Move to Canada? Hell no. Iraq, here I come, inshallah. Solidarity, kufr."

"I mean, Bush isn't really Jesus is he? I'll admit, I don't know much about Christianity and such, but like, Jesus had a beard didn't he? Or maybe it was more of a soul patch. Either way, Bush looks like a Chimp."

"How depressing. Sure, John Kerry was an enormous tool... but he was our enormous tool.

"Did I vote? No way, man, that's for the proles, to throw off the chains of the capitalist oppressor and such. And did they ever screw things up. Thanks Marx."

"So, is it legal to test animal products on animals? Or is that like an ethical gray area? Oh, and screw Bush. Frickin' nazihitler."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

ACLU: Imperialist Hegemon

This graf from a New York Times article about investigations into Abu Ghraib touches on something that has always seemed weird to me:

The documents are the latest batch to be released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained them as part of a lawsuit intended to determine whether prisoners were abused by the United States military in Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [emphasis added]
So it’s the American Civil Liberties Union, right? Why are they helping Gitmo inmates and Iraqi insurgents?

According to the ACLU’s website, their mission statement says, in part:

The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. [emphasis added]
Last I read, for’ners (being, as they are, foreign, and thus NOT Americans) aren’t from this country, and so also aren't protected by America’s Bill of Rights or Constitution.

I'm not saying that investigative work shouldn't be done into what happened to prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other locations, I just question if it fits into the ACLU's "jurisdiction."

The ACLU mission statement also says:
If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled.

Maybe the ACLU figures America is such a great country that our most vulnerable members actually live in other countries. The ACLU is slowly enveloping other countries into its sphere of influence. I actually am quite sympathetic to this view. In fact, I welcome the ACLU to the neo-con fold. Let's celebrate; a round of hegemony and imperialism, on the house. Everyone go wild!

update: Whoa, Nadine, put your shirt back on! And what's that your holding? Dear lord! I meant conservative wild, not ACLU wild. You just wait here and I'll go get the scrabble boards and Fruitopia, for the night is still youn--holy cats, its 6:30, already! Well, I'm going to be a grouchy Gus tomorrow, I can already tell you that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Zomblogging! Morbid Post of the Day, #2

"Zombies," I've heard it said, are the new "monkey," which in turn was the new "pirate." A pop culture phenomenom embodied in one intrinsically humorous word. Toss it around a few times; interject it into everyday conversation. Zombie. I'm telling you, it works.

At the beginning of the semester, I made a resolution to throw more random zombie references into my columns, but, alas, I never got to it. I pledge it again for next semester, and hopefully I can cut my teeth on Zombies right here on my blog. (Incidentally, Oompa Loompas constituted another pledge, and, with the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory coming out, I think they're gonna make a comeback. And I'm gonna ride the wave to stardom, baby).

Michele at ASV writes on Obsessive compulsive zombie disorder (a disorder, which, if you have younger brothers, you are already familiar with):

Most kids learn the value of having patience through the anticipation the arrival of Santa Claus or the countdown to a long awaited family vacation. Not my son. He met his patience challenge with zombies.

The Dawn of the Dead DVD finally arrived on the shelves of our local Best Buy yesterday. I, like any good mother would, used my lunch hour yesterday to go buy my eleven year old son the unedited, unrated version of a zombie movie.

But, if you buy impressionable kids this kind of material, you're going to have to have "the talk" with them, however uncomfortable it may be:

Mom, if I got bit by a zombie would you kill me before or after I turned into one?

I gave him a blank stare. He turned to his stepfather.

Ok, Justin. What about you?

Justin didn't even blink. "I'd shoot you as soon as you got bit. Right between the eyes."I blanched in horror. "You would not do any such thing. How could you kill my son while he was still....him?" I imagined the scenario in my mind. DJ writhing on the floor, blood pouring from his zombie infected wound, the undead hovering around him, waiting for dinner. My motherly instincts kicked in. "I would wait. I would wait until I saw that you were no longer my son, but some hideous creature. Then I would kill you. Maybe."

I looked expectantly at him. He stared hard at me.

"Bzzzz. Wrong answer! Justin is right!" DJ shook his head disapprovingly and Justin sat there all smug, laughing.

"I would expect you to kill me, mom. You don't take chances with the undead. Duh."

Which, he's right you know. Turn you're back for one second, take your hand of the trigger, and BAM! Zombie's gonna be on your jugular, like that.

You really can't put off conversations like this for too long. Kids in our culture are growing up a lot faster. Why, I was probably 15 or so before I saw my first zombie flick. Anymore, young'uns are playing Resident Evil before they hit elementary school.

If you're nervous about talking to a youngster about zombies (don't worry, they would shoot you if you were a zombie), here are some educational materials:

"28 Day's Later" Zombie apocolypse is started by militant animal rights activists--a lesson that EVERY child should learn, and learn early. To bring home the apocolyptic nature of Environmental activism, follow up with a viewing of "12 Monkeys." Not a zombie movie, but hey, monkeys, and you can be sure that your kid will never be a member of Greenpeace (who are just begging for a zombie apocolypse). 28 Day's Later is somewhat artsy (it was shot with digital cameras), and is a zombie movie with a point. The point: don't. get. bitten. Warning: extremely graphic British accents.

"Dawn of the Dead" Remake of the classic Romero flick. Not for the faint of heart; perfect for 11 year-olds [or not--although Grant doesn't care about the corruption of the youth, this being a family blog, I should warn you that this flick, while the apotheosis of the zombie genre, is EXTREMELY graphic-ed. Wussy -Grant]. On the extended DVD: "Attack of the Living Dead - a look at the most memorable zombie kills" and "Splitting Headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads." The Rolls-Royce of Zombie flicks: instant classic.

"Resident Evil" The bottom feeder of zombie movies, but probably also the most popular with the kids due to its cross-pollination in video games (although its exclusive appearance on the dead-end GameCube doesn't bode well for it's future.) Your kids, brothers, young male aquaintances (and I mean that in the non-weird way) deserve better than this. The ditchweed of zombie movies.

"Shaun of the Dead" Makes light of the impending zombie apocolypse. Is this the kind of impression you want to leave with young children, that everything's hunky-dory? Do humanity a favor and steer young'uns away from this.

"The Serpent and the Rainbow" Ostensibly based on a real story, this is a slightly more grounded look at zombies. A witch-doctor's potion causes people to fall into a deathlike coma. Gratuitous live burials ensue. Warning: Some scrotal spiking, which, be advised, will cause acute empathic pain in male viewers. After viewing, children will be impressed with the eminent sensibility and importance of writing "I Am Not Dead" on their chest in felt tip pen before they go to bed each night.

"Land of the Dead" Coming soon, from George Romero, maker of the original "Dawn of the Dead." Plot: "The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation." Just, you know, practical type stuff, that every responsible young adult should know. Predicted highlight: John Leguizamo zombie takes shotgun blast to head; audience cheers.

Finals week/moonbat update

Sorry about the thin-gruel posting lately, but its finals week, so BACK OFF. Oops, sorry about that. Here let me just wipe that off your shirt. Oh yeah, the stain will come right out. And you might want to see a doctor. I’m not saying that I do have tuberculosis, but I’m also not saying that I don’t. Because I do. Curse you Burger King, and your rancid, yet irresistibly appetizing, dollar menu.

Finals won’t be too tough, though, because I just learned today that I won’t even have to take my Oceanography final. In that class you get to drop one test score, and, I don’t want to brag here, [now, having prefaced his remarks with that, let the bragging commence –ed], but I have a 104% in Oceanography right now, so I’m, as Oceanographers say, “as giddy as an isopycnal straight out of thermohaline circulation.” Oceanographers don’t have many friends.

I’m still decrypting the moonbat artifact that was mailed to me. This is not your typical moonbat dropping of anti-Bush screed-ery, and tortured howls of "Zionazi!"

Would that it had that much cogency.

The person that wrote this, I get the feeling, had a beautiful mind. And by a beautiful mind, I mean, “A Beautiful Mind.” And by “A Beautiful Mind,” I mean I’m putting back-up locks on my doors and sleeping with a loaded handgun under my pillow. Another one, that is.

Here’s one quote from the letter, to tantalize. It was hard to excerpt because the two pages of writing is basically just one long sentence, but here goes:
“Ace” We’ve but One God of 3 person (alities) 2 Genders Fundamentally .... so that today’s transgender proclivity ([illegible] homosexuality) exhibits that “Bi-Guy”-“Gal” Evolution and Assimilation – symbiotically one oneness of being "King" God The Father-Image-Satan-Santa wicked vs/good wizard [...]
Yeah, I took it out of context, but to be completely honest with you, it actually makes less sense when read in context. That is, if the stream of consciousness logorrheic insanity before and after it can truly be called context. The really scary part, is that this the part of the letter that actually makes sense.

Joke of the day

Q: What did the mentally-retarded rape victim get for Christmas?
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A: The Death Penalty.

A teenage girl with a mental age of eight is facing the death penalty for prostitution in Iran. The trial comes only four months after the hanging of another mentally ill girl for sex before marriage in a case that has prompted a human rights lawyer to prepare a charge of wrongful execution against the presiding judge.

The girl, known as Leyla M, is in prison while the Supreme Court decides on her "acts contrary to chastity", among the most serious charges under Iranian law. Under the penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be executed.

In an interview on a Persian-language website, the 19-year-old says she was forced into prostitution by her mother at the age of eight. Amnesty International refers to reports that say she was repeatedly raped, bore her first child aged nine and was passed from pimp to pimp before having another three children.

Gotta love that shariah law. But, you know, whatever you do, don’t say anything bad about Islam, at least if you’re British (of which, my condolences, but hey, Jesus loves everyone):

Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, has been released on bail after his arrest in connection with an investigation into inciting racial hatred.

It follows a television documentary exposing the extent of alleged racism in the organisation.

[…]

The documentary, screened in July, featured covertly-filmed footage showing BNP activists allegedly confessing to race-hate crimes and party leader Mr Griffin condemning Islam as a "vicious, wicked faith".

So now Islam is a “race”? I don’t agree that Islam is an intrinsically “vicious, wicked faith” (although I do believe that it has some intrinsic flaws), but it’s obvious this man has some ground to stand on with his accusations when Iran, governed as it is by an Islamic theocracy, commits such horrendous deed.

I usually avoid criticizing Islam directly, simply because I'm way out of my depth in that area[and not being informed has stopped you from commenting... when else? -ed], but, obviously, someone should be free to criticize a belief (which I'm quite sure Islam is) as long as they stay away from arbitrary characteristics like race (which I'm quite sure Islam isn't). Yeah, even if they're British, because, Gawdon Bennet, that is just da Isle ov Wight way ter do it, innit?

Monday, December 13, 2004

World's Smallest Violin

From my Environmental Geography book (which, if you're ever chained inside of a white walled room for years on end, possibly by a jilted former lover, or a charismatic, but psychotic, cult leader known only as "The Illustrious," I would highly recommend it for reading):
In the monsoon forest of southern Asia, the teakwood tree was once abundant and was widely exported to the Western world to make furniture, paneling, and decking. Now this great tree is logged out, and the Indian elephant, once trained to carry out this work, is unemployed.
How can an Indian elephant be unemployed? That's just ridiculous. I mean, they literally work for peanuts. You think they could, I don't know, get jobs in the fast food business or something. For example, the McRib is back. If this thing doesn't contain Indian Elephant, evenin small amounts, I'll eat my hat (another common McRib ingredient).

update: Q: How do you stop an elephant from charging?
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A: Shoot it between the eyes with a high caliber rifle. They drop like a sack of soggy McRibs, I tell you.

update 2 (Now with gratuitous drug references!):

Take away his credit card? Are you serious? Are you on crack? You are on crack aren’t you? Dude, the redness is a dead giveaway. Use some eye-drops or something. And pants, man, those are vital.

Really, have you ever seen an elephant that looks like it could use, or would even in the first place possess, a credit card? Babar? Yeah, but he was more of a freaky manephant or something. And Dumbo? I mean, have you seen his credit rating? Fast and loose with money, that one. And flying with his ears? Whoa, pass the crackpipe.

Revenge of the Soccer moms

Okay, why don’t we just surrender already?

For decades, the American military's war-fighting paradigm has been provided by football: the massing and coordinated movement of overwhelming force, replete with a playbook of long bombs, end runs, blitzes and, most explicitly, the ''Hail Mary'' maneuver that sealed General Schwarzkopf's victory against Iraq in 1991. But this year, American defense experts debated the heretical possibility that the United States armed forces could learn more from soccer than from the Super Bowl.

Late last year, The Armed Forces Journal published ''Football vs. Soccer: American Warfare in an Era of Unconventional Threats,'' an article by Joel Cassman, a career Foreign Service officer, and David Lai, a professor at the United States Air War College. Soccer, they wrote, is the model for unconventional forces like terrorist organizations and guerrilla insurgencies: like a soccer team, they use finesse, patience, surprise attack, improvisation and low technology and make a virtue out of decentralized control and execution. ''Contemporary U.S. adversaries who use soccer strategies tend to look at the entire world as their playing field, taking action at openings where the United States and its allies are vulnerable,'' Cassman and Lai wrote, citing as examples the Sept. 11 attacks, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Or, according to our resident British scholar:

Awright geeezzaa! Because, yew see, soccer is a Hall ov Fame ov strategy an' subtle maneuverings! While extremely boring, i' does relieve, albei' momun'arily, da crushin' realizashun what we're just a bunch ov Brits. Sorted mate.
Uh... yeah. I wholeheartedly agree with... what was just said. By him.

Yeah, it's just that, in soccer, you can’t even touch the ball with your hands. Opposable digits are what set us apart from the animals (except for the monkey or NASCAR fans). Is that how we want to fight wars? Sort of kick the bullets toward our enemy?

That would be real intimidating. We'd be all like, "Eh, guv’nuh, howja like ‘at? ‘ers mo’ were ‘at come from!" And they'd be like "Insha'allah, I think the kufrs are trying to speak to us, Khalid! But they sound like a poorly written parody of British cockney. What should we do?"

update:

Khalid: Oh, I know what we should do! I saw this on British infidel TV when I was doing... er... research. Ask them what their favorite color is!

Muhammed: KUFR! KUFR! What is your favorite color!

American Soldier I: Hey, what did he say?

American Soldier II: I dunno dude, I think he just called you a f----er.

American Soldier I: Oh man, I am so going to kick a bullet, like, straight at his head.

Sergeant: Lor' luv a duck! Soldier, make Bobby Moawer yew speak Isle ov Wight. Know what I mean?

American Soldier I: Yes sir. *clears throat* Gawdon Bennet! I'm goin' ter branch an' stick a bullet, like, straight at 'is 'ead. . innit?

Khalid: I can't see, what are they doing?

Muhammed: I... I don't know. One of them -- I don't know their names, so I'll just call him "American Soldier I"-- is kind of like kicking a bullet around on the ground. What should we do, Khalid?

Khalid: Well, according to our Islamic terrorist manual, we should 1) Insanely scream Quranic verses, and 2) blow ourselves up.

Muhammed: That's what it says for everything. Americans are outflanking us: scream and blow ourselves up. America has a decadent culture: scream and blow ourselves up. Lucy Ricardo gets into a hilarious situation causing me to explode into infidel laughter: scream and blow ourselves up. I tell you Khalid, I'm sick of it. You know what I'm going to do?

Khalid: Scream and blow yourself up?

Muhammed: Incidentally, yes. You got a light?

update II: I got this story from this weeks edition of the NY Times magazine, of which you should check out the whole thing. It's "The Year in Ideas: A to Z" and contains fascinating looks at the random directions that technology and society are developing, from the amazing (water that isn't wet) to the asinine (anti-concept concept stores).

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Freedom of Expression, exposed

Today’s clothing optional news story is brought to you by Bennington College, where the slogan “real beauty is on the inside” is daily disproved:

Students have long enjoyed an informal policy allowing them to go naked on campus. Whether it was as a topless sunbather lounging on the lawn or students running naked at an annual bonfire party, college officials turned a blind eye.

But when a student strolled around campus naked this summer during an orientation session when parents were visiting campus, the new dean reprimanded him.

The students reaction: “First, you can’t tell me what to do, man, because the emancipation proclamation, like, ended slavery. Second, I’m naked? That last tab of acid must’ve been a wee bit more powerful than I suspected. Live and learn, dude. That's what college is all about. That and nudity.”

More than 200 students, a few of them naked, marched across campus in October to protest against what they saw as a crackdown [shouldn’t it be a “crackup” or a “crackconcealment”?] by the administration on freedom of expression.
Freedom of expression? What exactly are they trying to say by being naked, besides “I’m naked!” or “Yeah, It’s that cold out here?" I shouldn’t bash the students, though. If they truly believe that nudity is a form of expression, then “I’m naked” is likely to be the most profound statement they will ever make, with the possible exception of “Would you like fries with that, dude? I mean, really, like, deep down in your essence, man. Fries?”

While the impending onset of the New England winter has put a temporary pause to the dispute, students are preparing for a springtime assault.
Thank the Lord for winter. It has always been natures way of thinning out the weak and mentally deficient. Without its seasonal culling of the moonbat flocks, we would surely be overrun.

The article continues later:

But Graves has drawn the line at being naked.

"Bennington College is not a clothing-optional campus and we don't live in a clothing-optional society," Graves told Reuters, adding he realized he had "ruffled some feathers" by going after unclothed campus denizens.

"There is not a nudity policy and we don't condone this behavior. We are a public campus," he said. "There has to be a level of respect here."

Respect has nothing to do with it, countered sophomore Allison Zoll. As someone who has taken part in events with the college's nude activities club, which hosts clothing-optional picnics and outdoor games, Zoll was adamant that there was nothing wrong with going bare.

"It's not hurting anyone," she said.

Oh, but Allison, it does hurt. It hurts our eyes. Makes them burn and itch and leak this yellow, viscous pus profusely.

I mean, Allison, you really brought a lot of cottage cheese to the last picnic, you know, if you get my drift. Real beauty is on the inside, Allison, so keep it on the inside.

But really, what is wrong with nudity? After all, freedom of expression is vital for a vibrant campus life, no? Now matter how much might you disagree with someone else’s views, you have to tolerate them. Okay, I think that’s enough set-up. Bring on the irony:

Universities may bar military recruiters from their campuses without risking the loss of federal money, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled today.

The suit was brought by an association of law schools and a group representing hundreds of legal scholars seeking to help universities and colleges that want to keep military recruiters off their campuses because they object to the Defense Department's policy of excluding gay men and lesbians from military service.

Cue Bart Simpson: the ironing is delicious!

A summary of freedom of expression, as seen from an Ivory Tower:

Nudity? Kosher. It’s freedom of expression, man, so back off with your fascist boxers and those patriarchal tools of oppression known as “socks.” The body, it’s a beautiful thing, man. Except for the computer science majors. I mean, geez, sunlight is your friend, dude. Or dudette. I really can’t tell, with them.

Military recruiting? How dare you even mention that here! The GLBTQSGH5L community won’t even be able to attend classes for the next week, at least. They’re going to go into the Chrismahanakwanzika break all distraught and such. Just because you have freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can say stuff that might hurt someone’s feelings. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words, man, they cut deep.

"Now every academic institution in the country is free to follow their consciences and their nondiscrimination policies," Mr. Rosenkranz said. "Enlightened institutions have a First Amendment right to exclude bigots. In a free society, the government cannot co-opt private institutions to issue the government's message."
Okay, that one's a doozy. Let’s run that through the TP machine. It cleans off all the BS, and sends out a euphemism-free product. Here we go; here’s the same quote, de-BSed:






Okay, just wow. That pretty much took out that quote. Here, let me just hand polish the quote a little bit. Here’s the same quote, slightly de-BSed.
"Now every academic institution in the country is free to restrict the speech that they don’t like,” Mr. Rosenkranz said. “Enlightened institutions have a First Amendment right to smear certain people we disagree with as bigots, and then violate their First Amendment rights accordingly. In a free society, private institutions should be able to suck freely off the government teat without having to worry about bothersome free speech from groups within the government. Especially the army, those fascist Nazihitlers. Why, if it weren't for them, we'd be ruled by the Germans today, not the fourth Reich of Fuhrer Smirky McBushitler.”
update: Hmm... maybe if the Military recruiters were to go "commando" they could infiltrate into College campuses, disguised with their own nakedness. And universities can't just stop military people from celebrating their nakedness. Freedom of expression and such. It would be discrimation to pick on the naked in the military, just because of their occupation. Discrimination.

Murdering time

If you're bored (and, dude, your on my blog, so don't even try to lie to me) check out this little webgame, "What's that Song?" (hat tip: ASV).

Type in a band name in the right hand corner, and see if you can identify the song.

I batted 10/10 with Sublime.

On the other hand, m'lady Britney Spears and I did not fare so well, forsooth. Hit me one more time, indeed.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Meme Disposal -- Fried Chickenhawk

One of the more childish arguments of the anti-war left (and, trust me, there's lots of competition) has been the “chickenhawk” argument.

I purposefully say “argument,” even though “insult” might seem more appropriate, because however malicious the phrase might be, it does have some meaning and reasoning behind it, even if this reasoning is egregiously flawed.

First, a definition would be useful. Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg, in his shamefully puerile speech in front of the Senate, said of Chickenhawks, “We know who the chicken hawks are. They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others, but when it was their turn to serve, they were AWOL from courage." (As a side note, anytime that a Democrat laments the coarsening of the national debate by conservative talk radio or somesuch, show them this disgraceful picture, presented on the Senate floor by Lautenberg, an actual Senator. Or just gesture vaguely toward Ted Kennedy. Whatever). In this iteration, “cast aspersions on others” was a reference to the furor created over Sen. Kerry’s war record and post-war activities, a portion of the Chickenhawk definition that is not vital.

In the broadest sense of the term, and the definition that I think most people attach to it, Chickenhawks are those people that support the war in Iraq but have never served in combat. President Bush, who had a cushy position in the National Guard, and Vice President Dick Cheney, who received various deferments, are the foremost recipients of the slur, although even your humble blogger has recieved a Chickenhawk-type smear (Fourum: Ok, Grant Reichert, when are you going to be enlisting in the army?).

The line of reasoning behind such an argument is that it is hypocritical for those that have not served in combat to support the sending of others into combat. Those that have not served lack the gravitas and credibility to send other people, who are serving, into war, or even to support sending others into war.

This argument is flawed in many ways. One of the most pernicious flaws, is that the Chickenhawk slur is, at its heart, anti-republican (with a small “r”). America is a republic, or more specifically a representative democracy. We elect people to make decisions that affect us, even though we realize that these people are different from us in many ways. We trust that even though a person might not have directly served as a policeman or a fireman, they can still be trusted to make good policies in these areas. While direct experience in a field can be seen as a positive in the electoral process when voters choose a candidate, it is not seen as a prerequisite.

Through the Chickenhawk slur, leftists smash this notion of representation. Ironically, the type of government that would seem ideally suited for war in the Chickenhawk universe, would be a military junta comprised of ex-Generals… which is generally perceived as a poor form of governance. By making military status such a prerequisite for credible authority in military matters, anti-war types also hurt the chances of a prospective female president, as females are much less likely to have served in the military (and, besides, following the Chickenhawk argument, a female would never be subjected to the draft, so what authority would a female have to guide the country into an arena that could provoke the draft? The Chickenhawk argument nearly precludes the election of any females, or even of a handicapped person, to a position that could bear on military matters).

Leftists also use a cousin of the Chickenhawk argument, an even more malignant version, in the abortion debate, where they imply, or even say, that only women should be able to decide on the abortion issue (as if the men the abortion-advocates decry weren’t voted for by a significant number of women). In this way, they assign an arbitrary physical characteristic, sex in this case, a prominent place in policy making, which is obviously entirely antithetical to the makeup of our democracy, and a dangerous thing to do in general in a liberal society.

But I digress. Suffice to say that it doesn’t take a doctor to make medical policy (although their advice is helpful) nor does it take a military man to declare war.

The Chickenhawk argument also has a populist element, but one that is misplaced 180-degrees. Anti-war types think that by maligning people through the Chickenhawk slur they are looking out for the troops. But, when you solicit the actual opinions of the troops, you find overwhelming support for the war and for the president. USA Today reported the findings of an unscientific poll taken before the election:

In the survey of more than 4,000 full-time and part-time troops, 73% said they would vote for Bush if the election were held today; 18% said they would vote for Kerry. Of the respondents, 59% identified themselves as Republicans, 20% as independents and 13% as Democrats.

These are overwhelming numbers, and numbers that, according to the article, are even greater than the margin that Bush won the troop vote by in 2000.

The article continues later:

"You can't dismiss" the results, said Peter Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who for years has studied the political leanings of the U.S. military. Feaver said it's unlikely that Bush will receive 70% of votes cast by military personnel. But the results suggest it will be difficult for Kerry to make substantial gains among a group that has strongly supported Republican presidential candidates in the post-Vietnam era.

Feaver said he suspects Kerry is losing support among those in uniform because he seems less committed than Bush to prosecuting the war in Iraq.

If this last portion is true, and I think that it obviously is (who wants to fight in a war that painted as a “mistake” and as the next Vietnam?), then the anti-war types can’t be said to be looking out for the troops when they hurl the Chickenhawk slur.

Ironically, the Chickenhawk slur could more appropriately be applied not to those that haven't served but do support the war (which has been shown to be in line with the expressed interests of the troops, who are pro-war), but rather it should be applied to those that haven’t served, yet say that we shouldn’t be at war (why should they have any say in military matter’s if they have never served, and their views are in direct contrast to those that are currently serving? As per the rules of the Chickenhawk argument, shouldn't the opinions of those serving, in this case the pro-war troops, outweigh the opinions of these that haven't served, as in the anti-war hippy?).

These are not the only two reasons why the Chickenhawk phrase is a deleterious and uncalled for slur. Indiscriminately hurling the phrase "Chickenhawk" serves as a way for anti-war types to cut-off debate (“your opinion doesn’t matter, because you didn’t serve in the military. Me? I didn’t serve either, but I’m against the people that are currently serving, so I’m gold, baby. Logic? Puh, why should I listen to it, what war did it serve in?”) The chickenhawk smear also implicitly questions the patriotism of those on the receiving end; yet another irony from the party that interprets every Republican critique as a smear against their own patriotism.

A last flaw in the Chickenhawk argument is that it assumes draft-like conditions are occuring. We are "sending" people to war, against their will. "Against their will" has been shown to be incorrect for the large majority of troops in the poll above, and the nature of our 100% voluntary army should dispose of the notion that anyone is being forced to fight against their will. If you would like one last irony, consider that the left is traditionally the side of the political spectrum that is keen on re-instituting the draft as a way to make everyone bear equally the burden of war, as well as to kill support for the war. The right, with it's mile-wide libertarian streak and large presence of Barry Goldwater-type conservatives, sees the voluntary army as the proper and best way to fight wars, barring a national emergency.

The Chickenhawk “argument” (as I have so generously been treating it) is against the nature of our representative democracy, a fascistic* gag on debate, an implicit slur on other's patriotism, and a rhetorical device that attempts to allow anti-war hippies to speak for largely pro-war soldiers, while quieting those that actually support the actions of the troops.


*I use “fascistic” here in the leftist meaning of the word, as in, “everyone and everything I vaguely dislike. That guy at Barnes and Noble that wouldn’t accept my coupon? Fascist. Jennifer Aniston ignoring my letters? Fascist. Long lines at the Disney World? Oh yeah, definitely fascist."

Friday, December 10, 2004

Telemuhvision

Before I go to sleep (yay! That's the place where I'm a viking!), here's some links to some must see vids:

Blackfive has got some awesome footage from the BBC of our troops in Fallujah. You can feel the tension just watching it. I'm awed by what our troops do, day in and day out. And one thing that's surprising to me, is just how much like a movie it actually is (or, rather, how much the movies are like it). Kudos to Hollywood, I guess.

LGF has a clip from Holland TV about the tolerance of the Dutch in the face of Islamic fundamentalism. It's in Hollish with subtitles (some English interviews), and is an interesting view into what is happening in Europe, that you won't see if you just read the newspapers. They're getting real over there, and I don't mean this in the teenage hipster way. Welcome to Sept. 12.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Global Warming

This sounds sensible:

Downing Street last night confirmed that the Prime Minister had held “lengthy discussions” with Mr Bush about a fresh initiative that would bypass Washington’s steadfast opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

The deal, described by one source as “Kyoto-lite”, would involve scientific agreement on the scale and nature of the threat, as well as an international programme to develop the technology needed for renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions.

The first of the points is the most important: "scientific agreement on the scale and nature of the the threat." There's no denying, human influenced global warming is happening. The question is one of magnitude, and to what degree this should bother us in the present.

The apocolyptic holocaust of global warming is predicted to increase temperatures globally by... you ready for this?... 3.6 degrees fahrenheit by 2100. That's right, 3.6 degrees fahrenheit ... by 2100.

You might say "2100? Alright, I'll be dead by then! Rock on! Let's go light a pile of tires on fire!" But this doesn't comfort me. I find being comforted by my own death to cross the fine line between acceptable morbidity and an episode of Nip/Tuck.

Rather, the proper way to view this is "2100? We'll have flying cars, nanotechnology and robot wives by then! They can fix the problem."

Thing is, technology increases exponentially. Look at America in 1800 compared to America in 1900. Then compare America in 1900 to America in 2000. Technological advances happen quicker and knowledge is accumulated faster and more efficiently as time goes on. Advance builds on advance.

By 2050, I'd say we should have the tools to enact global climate change from a lab in NASA, with the push of a button. We are on the cusp of startling breakthroughs in nanotechnology, I think, and the ability to manipulate our world at the molecular level will allow for unprecendented control of... er... everything. Changing the composition of the atmosphere, to eliminate Greenhouse gases or whatnot, will be a minor application of what our scientific community will be capable of.

Now, I'm majoring in political SCIENCE, so I know what I'm talking about here. We can either impose damaging restrictions on our economy and make people suffer now to marginally slow down the rate of global warming, or we can have George Jetson send Rosy the Robot to inhale greenhouse gases and excrete it in the form of a tasty Italian dish. I know which one I'd prefer, but then again I've always had a thing for cavitini, especially cavitini crapped out by robot maids.

Everyone needs to just stop hyperventilating about the piddling nuisance of Global Warming. Our plan should be to do nussing, absolutely NUSSING!, about Global warming. We need to get inaction in action. We can't put off proscratination any longer. Or, as Carbon the Bear would say, "Only you can't prevent global warming."

Heed his warning. Or don't. Either way, whatever. Apathy is your friend, so, yunno, whatever.

Moonbats, ahoy!

Have you ever found yourself wondering what a moonbat is? And you can be honest; this is a multicultural-diversity-tolerance fun zone here. Nobodies gonna judge. What is a moonbat?

Preeminent moonbat zoologist Bill at INDC Journal has released another of his famous scholarly photoessays on these beautiful, yet dangerous creatures. The educational value contained within is boundless.

INDC Presents: Dances with Moonbats - Moonbat Xtreme

Part 1

Part 2



And, speaking of moonbats, I recieved an interesting piece of hate mail, whose author can rightly be deemed a winged creature of lunar origin.

Well, not exactly hate mail... like any primitive piece of moonbat art the letter exhibits a muddled, yet brilliant, complexity, an impossibly unironic irony, and a beautiful language all its own. Whether it is hate, or just some postmodern metanarrative, I have yet to glean.

I have raided the library for books on Moonbatology, and am hitting them pretty hard. Once I have the letter properly studied, interpreted and transcribed, I will publish my findings for peer review.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

New Poll finds 51 Percent of Germans are Retarded

And the other 49 percent are just vaguely "special." From "The Country Formerly Known as Nazi Germany" we get this disturbing poll:

51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld.
The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement.

And this poll was only of the non-immigrant population, so it excluded the more radical views of the large, Muslim minority. Also, as this article notes, "Due in part to its blighted history, Germany is generally considered to be one of the more supportive countries of Israel in Europe."

When the views of Europeans are so fundamentally flawed as to see the only democracy in the Middle East (wait... scratch that!) as Nazi Germany and to interpret the trickle of casualties out of Palestine as a "war for extermination," or genocide (not a word to be used lightly) it's hard to see as how a fruitful transatlantic dialogue can take place.

This particular poll is from Germany, where the Germany National Party (which "wants to do away with democracy and envisions a larger Germany that would include parts of Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic, incorporated in what was once the "German Reich"") gained a surprising number of votes in the last election.

It's probably just not generally all around wise to call Israel a Nazi state when members of your own government would proudly wear the swastika. Heck, maybe some of the Germans were complimenting Israel when they attached the Nazi label to it.

If a party can gain a seat in government when one of its planks is to conquer Poland, I'd think its a safe bet to say that there's some latent Nazi tendencies around some areas of Germany.

I mean, really, how does "Conquer Poland" get added to the platform anyways?

Leader: So what should we promise the people this year?

Skinhead:
More taxes, sir?

Leader:
No, we stretched that last year with our 50% tax on taxes.

Skinhead:
Free healthcare, sir?

Leader:
Dude, we already provide that. In fact, we have a program now were we inject people with random viruses and then send them to the doctor for unrelated elective surgeries. We call it Injeranvirunrelelsur. The name needs work. Any other ideas?

Skinhead: Poland, sir?

Leader:
Poland?!? Are you on crack? Remind me again why I hired you?

Skinhead: I have embarrasing pictures of you wearing a miniskirt with matching Louis Vitton handbag. And the rest of the boys tend to get all mad and stabby when they see pictures like that, sir.

Leader: Poland it is. What's with "kielbasa" anyways? I mean, its just sausage right? And then these Poles give it this funky name, "Kielbasa." Really, just say it a few times.


Bog: man's best friend

Not only is irony dead, but satire is in critical condition. It just can’t compete with reality.

A dozen empty houses in a new Maryland subdivision that is the focus of a long-running environmental dispute were destroyed and numerous others were damaged yesterday in what officials said were more than 20 coordinated, methodically planned arsons.

[...]

Environmentalists assert that the houses will damage Araby Bog, a 6.5-acre wetlands area that is home to endangered insects and such rare plants as the halberd-leaved greenbrier and red milkweed.

Yep, these ecoterrorists burned down people’s houses to save the... wait for it... wait for it... Araby Bog. Can you think of a name for a location that sounds less inhospitable? Araby, as in Arab, as in deserts and heat and such. And Bog, as in bog, with attendant bogginess.

But, nevertheless, the Araby Bog must be saved to preserve its scintillating denizens, the halbed-leaved greenbrier and red milkweed, natures two most exciting weeds. And I don't mean to be knocking the dandelion here its just that, really, how can you compete with a halberd-leaved greenbrier?

update: answer: you can't.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cosmic Balance Restored

I have the internet hooked back into my vein--er, my computer, so I should be back to blogging either late tonight or tomorrow. Got to catch up on all the news I missed, first.

Of which, George Bush won the election! Far out!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Liblogging -- 2

Okay, I've been sitting in the library for four hours, staring blankly at the computer screen, trying to write my column for this week, unable to form a cogent thought. In those four hours I came up with three frickin' paragraphs... and I already had the idea for them before I came here.

And now, 15 minutes before the library is set to close, the floodgate on ideas has just opened. So what do I do? Write a blog post, natch.

And, dude, Quentin Tarantino is SO checking out a book.

Liblogging

Best. Idea. Ever. (besides shrimp flavored ice cream. Of which, COPYRIGHT, so don’t even THINK about it).

Memo to NAACP: Draft Bill Cosby

If the NAACP has any hope of really advancing the prospects and the welfare of the black community, it has to stop blaming white America and start facing the problem of kids growing up without the love and guidance of a father in their homes. And they need to have a leader who has both the credibility and the courage to tackle that issue head-on, one who won’t blame whitey. One who will tell black America to look in the mirror and ask what they can do to help their own people. One who will be honest about the issue of fatherless homes much in the way as Bill Cosby has been honest with his fellow African-Americans.

Cosby chastises the African-American community for its rates of juvenile delinquency, its parenting, the coarse language of its youth. You can do better, he tells his fellow blacks. Don't let yourself be victims, and especially don't let the poorest in the community let themselves be victims.

Colin Powell is also mentioned as an ideal replacement. What’s the odds of one of them being chosen? A snowballs chance in hell, I'd say. And I mean, like, a really pathetic snowball, with no friends, a history of drug abuse, and a severe case of ringworm. It’s just not gonna happen. So we can probably expect some more years of reactionary black leadership from the NAACP.

Feeling depressed? Nothing a pint of ice cream won’t cure.

Unless your allergic to shellfish.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

*Insert Random Simpson's Quote Here* (Updated)

Tomorrow, I should be back to regular blogging. My brother is going to destroy the cowardly downloader trojan that has taken up residence on my hard drive. So, in what is definitely not a corrupt, quid pro quo exchange, I am going to shamelessly plug my brother's new blog. If you want, go over there, take a look around, and, I don't know, leave vague, cryptic death threats in his comments section. I mean, if you want to is all. I'm definitely not saying you should GO DO IT NOW.

Oh, and if you haven't seen it already, go check out this documentary over at Brain Terminal. It details the militant, and often frightening, political correctness that pervades the campus environment. Plus, keep your eyes open for a guest appearance by supahstah blogfather Glenn Reynolds, the inimitable Instapundit.

update: this Simpsons quote will have to do for the title.

Milhouse to Bart about his dog, Santa's Little Helper: Remember the time he ate my goldfish, and you told me I never had any goldfish? Then why did I have the bowl, Bart? Why did I have the bowl?

update the second: Okay, no blogging until at least Monday, probably Tuesday. My computer has been ridded of the evil virus, but, in the process, everything in my computer had to be scrubbed clean. And by scrubbed clean, I mean deleted. To get rid of the virus my brother had to do the equivalent of cleaning a bathroom with a hydrogen bomb.

So, short story long, God created the world, and then created Adam who then used a Macintosh, and so was rightly banished from the Garden of Eden. Man then spread throughout the world, some other stuff happened (you know, wars, plagues, famine, John Travolta, etc), and I loaded windows on my computer and contracted a virus. Hydrogen bomb, bathroom, etc. And so I don't have an internet connection, and won't be able to get one until at least Monday or Tuesday. (I'm in the library now. No sign of Busey.)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Another Ivory Coast massacre

Little Green Footballs has video of another French massacre (yawn) that occurred three days before the shooting at the Hotel Ivoire I've blogged about earlier. This video is much shorter, and less clear, but is backed up by investigative reporting by the Swiss.

Yeah, that’s right the Swiss. France fires unprovoked on civilians at least twice and the only media outlet they have to contend with is Swiss TV.

France has committed two atrocities each exponentially more heinous than the deeds of Abu Ghraib or the shooting of the Iraqi opossum. Despite this, Media interest level is low-to-“What did you just say about Abu Ghraib? No, just now, when you were talking. You were like blah blah blah Abu Ghraib blah poor wounded freedom fighter blah.”

Al Franken, racist?

David Horowitz, in Frontpage Magazine:

Although neither Sean nor I had said anything about the legality issue this was Franken’s attack: "The fact that Osama isn't actually a foreign head of state and that Clinton issued his presidential directive to assassinate him didn't stop Hannity from writing in his book about a February 2001 episode of Hannity & Colmes on the topic. Guest racist David Horowitz is quoted as saying: ‘We can protect ourselves from terrorist threats like Osama bin Laden. It would be nice if the CIA were able to assassinate him.’”

The “guest racist” bit, of course, was entirely gratuitous, It was casually interjected as though it referred to an obvious and widely recognized fact. This is typical fairness for Franken.

As it happens I marched in my first civil rights protest in 1948 before Al Franken was born. For more than fifty years I have supported minorities and defended their civil rights in public word and deed, and raised millions of dollars to help inner city minorities whom racism has scarred. In fact there is no single cause – except America’s wars against totalitarian foes – to which I have devoted myself more consistently that than that of racial equality. Not a shred of evidence exists to the contrary. I have written more than a million words on racial and political matters -- all of them public record. There is not a single sentence, or phrase, or comment of mine that could be cited to justify Franken’s attack.

Horowitz isn’t just going to lie down and take this like a Spaniard:
My answer to Al Franken is this: I am going to post your photograph on FrontPageMag.com, which is viewed by a million visitors monthly. The photo will be identified with these words: “Al Franken,: Racist.” The photo will be prominently posted until you apologize to me publicly for this attack. When you have made an apology, I will disclose my evidence for characterizing you as a racist or withdraw the charge.
And he did post the picture. And all was well.

update: Okay, all is not well. Frankens debasing of the word racist by tossing it around like a common epithet is despicable, especially when applied to Horowitz, a civil rights defender. I thought Al Franken was mildly amusing when he came to K-State, but the "guest racist" bit, even as just a throwaway line, is devoid of any humor and insulting to the reader, not to mention Horowitz.