Saturday, December 16, 2006
Not Dead Yet
Sorry to be stale, but i can be read here and at this subblog here at Aqoul.
The title of this entry will be hilariously ironic if I am actually dead when you read it. Too bad I'll be missing the laugh.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Warbloggers Can Go Home Now, and Take Ann Coulter too.
Quote of the day:
We had consensus [on Afghanistan]. Both sides of the aisle in Congress and the entire nation agreed that al-Qaeda had to be kept from continuing its attacks.
Sadly . . . we have squandered our opportunity to face terrorism with unified and coherent action. The right's neocons orchestrated a war with Iraq that has destroyed national consensus and they are culpable for politicizing the individual soldier by repeatedly sending the message that to criticize policy equates attacking the soldier. . . .
-- Geoffrey Lambert, Maj Gen.-Ret., U.S. Army; Commander, Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), 2001 to 2003.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Kate Michelman, the longtime leader of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), the main voice of "pro-choice" advocacy on abortion, is feted with these words from Madeleine Albright in a Washington Post tribute:
[Albright] and others testified to Michelman's energy and focus.... Albright told everyone that Michelman had provided "a voice for those who didn't have a voice and a brain for those who didn't have a brain."
I suspect alot of likeminded folks of theirs still won't pick up on the irony, even if it's directly pointed out.
UPDATE: I should have checked...I am, it appears, not the only one to notice.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Nation-Building, the Bureaucracy
Justin Logan and Chris Preble of the CATO Institute take on the idea of the new State Deparment Colonial Office, excuse me Nation-Building office, here. A bit long and wonkish as are think-tank pieces, but full of gems.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
This is a serious law school-type hypothetical.
A journalist in a foreign, but not officially hostile, Middle Eastern country (not Iraq, Syria, Iran), (e.g. Egypt, Jordan), writes an article vociferously attacking the President and US foreign policy. The President decides the journalist should be killed as it may harm alliances or the war on terror.
A) He authorizes private friends to make the hit.
B) He orders the military to do the hit.
Lawful or no? Write on only one side of page in your bluebook.
Assume no other persons or parties will be injured in the assassination strike by either of the above means.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
This decision sort of blows. The one just handed down overturning the Dover, Pennsylvania school board requirement for teaching "intelligent design" (ID) as an alternative to the theory of evolution.
The decision focuses too much on the Establishment clause and on the motives and history of the ID movement (a dangerous area) as a fundamentalist movement. It is not, as it should be, centrally about the scientific merit of the theory.
Frankly, if the plaintiffs could have done it, they should have had the School Board's order litigated according to the science evidence standard of federal courts - the Daubert case. (Perhaps they could have challenged each ID expert's admissibility.) That would have required it to be shown that ID was a theory with widespread peer review support, acceptance in the scientific community, with demonstrated testing etc.
In a way, the judge did apply that reasoning in determining ID not to be science, but he did so without citing Daubert which he should have.
And he should have started and stopped with that.
The School Board would have lost in a slam-dunk with Daubert applied alone....
Instead the court is probing motives behind legislation and political movements, a very very dangerous area for a free and democratic society, but one that pleases the reflexive anti-fundamentalists.
Don't overturn this, but distinguish, narrow, and modify it.
Stumbling Democratization Efforts in Yemen
A nice commentary and original story link on the stumbling efforts of foreign aid democratization in Yemen.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
What about the algebra teachers?
Alot of buzz about taking Christ out of Christmas, but I believe there are a few furious algebra teachers mad about the taking of the X out of Xmas.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
. . . imagines some of the world, not quite living as one.
Some less-remembered lyrics from Lennon's "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", recorded a year or so after "Imagine" and not too long after "Give Peace A Chance". (And no, he didn't mean these words ironically):
They've got a lot to learn
-- John Lennon, "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"
Perhaps he and Yoko were undergoing tribal scream therapy.
Anyway, what else to expect from a guy who turned the Communist Manifesto into a piano sing-a-long ("Imagine")?
Nevertheless, he could still consistently manage some rather good tunes and memorable lyrics. So Rest in Peace, John Lennon, even if you were not quite the Man of Peace the fans like to celebrate.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Attention libertarians. It wasn't just Hobbes or the Bible. The Leviathan has been found. No word on its social programs or military policy, though.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Rosa Parks RIP
I may have personally elicited the last tribute to Rosa Parks before her death in the Washington Post. The online link there lacks the hardcopy version's large photo of Ms. Parks in jail.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
March, My Words
It turns out I was wrong (see two posts down) in specifics but not wholly wrong in general about the anti-Iraq war march in Washington last Saturday. The noxious pro-Palestinian signs were not there, thank goodness. There was a hackneyed "X dies/Y lies" rhyme but that's to be expected. And the new "Make levees not war" is clever. And not too much pro-Chavez stuff. On the other hand, openly pro-Communist stuff (explicitly so) floated about; a non-ANSWER type organizer later bemoaned to me that every type had to show up.
I was a fellow-traveler (of the march not Communism). For a few minutes downtown I walked alongside the demonstrators, in agreement with their goals on Iraq but not their world view. I walked past the counterprotesters who were too busy baiting the marchers for a serious discussion. A person or two among the counterprotestors was painted and decked out in red white and blue in a way that would be as offensive as flag-burning when done by the other side.
But here's what struck me. The counterprotestors, the mostly normal-looking ones (which were most of them), had American flags, while precious few American flags were in the anti-war march. For those of us who may have non-conformist opinions but conventional political esthetics, and even an old-fashioned patriotism, stuff like that is very noticeable.
More important was the fact that ultimately this was not an anti-Iraq rally or even an anti-war rally. It was just an anti-Bush rally, with Iraq as the accusation du jour. One cannot help but think that for many demonstrators their real problem with the war is not the American life, limb or resources lost, or the Iraqi lives destroyed and disrupted, or the falsehoods advanced to justify it, but simply that all that carnage was initiated by the loathed personage of George W Bush. And looking at the demonstrators one could feel that, for at least a great many, they hate Bush primarily because he simply reminds them of some jock/religious-devotee/fratboy/whiteguy/rich-kid who made them feel like rejects for being a hippie/woman/gay/minority/nerd/working-class-person, etc. And that's a dumb reason and way to fight a dumb war.
UPDATE, SORT OF:
Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, in a column I have only in hard copy, shows what I mean in a way. He harangues the White House for not taking note of the import of the antiwar movement, and compares the current administration to the White House of Johnson failing in Vietnam to notice the protest songs. Then Robinson adds "did everybody in this administration spend the whole Vietnam era listening to Pat Boone or whatever it was they grooved to in the frat houses?"
And did Mr. Robinson spend the '60s in an Afro listening to James Brown in the 'hood?
Maybe there could be a stereotype competition. Sheesh.
Friday, September 23, 2005
This is just supercool.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
On Saturday, large numbers of protestors will show up in D.C. and around the country to protest the Iraq War. (A few among them will throw in other wars to protest as well.) As to Iraq, my sympathies are there to the extent that I consider the Iraq Attack one our Greatest National Boo-Boos Ever. And some of the folks involved and participating in Saturday's events are those I know, respect, like, or love.
Still, with groups like ANSWER involved you know it’s going to get really silly. And fast. It’ll quickly devolve into an assemblage of largely militant secular leftists convinced with all their hearts that while there is no God, George W. Bush is nevertheless the Antichrist.
The way to tell the silliness is the slogans. I predict the need-to-be-retired-yesterday themes laid out below will be out and about. They will appear and be notable as chants, signs, and speech themes. (Can anyone suggest others to add? But I don’t want to hear from the pro-war folks for whom everything about the demonstration is bad.)
Silly slogans and themes:
No blood for oil. Retire this one please. Sure oil’s a central consideration in Mideast geopolitics (as it should be) but the stale Leninist/degraded Marxist view – rich people start wars to steal foreign wealth -- is sooooooooo early 20th Century. Discretionary wars actually serve to satiate popular revenge sentiment, economically serve to meet more immediate needs of a military-industrial complex and mass news media, and also help implement ideological visions of superiority. Greed is often central but the greed will be for the gainful employment of the glib political class and professional military suppliers, and may not be for local resources primarily. To assume so is actually bad Marxism, even. (As if it mattered.)
And sometimes a war can be necessary and forced upon one too, even if profitable to some. (Iraq isn’t necessary or forced on us, however).
X lied, Y died. Ok they rhyme. On aesthetic grounds this has to go.
Hey hey, ho ho, occupation’s got to go. Same thing: aesthetic grounds.
Anything with “corporate” in it. “Corporate” has become the softer progressive left’s euphemized garble for the old socialist-Communist epithet “capitalist” (which, folks, is actually kind of a good thing, capitalism). Yes evil “corporate” interests help drive wars, but guess what? Evil doesn’t become better if done by a limited liability partnership, or a sole proprietorship. Most important, it takes a government, not a capitalist, to make wars happen. And a thought: what or who is it that people bring up when they rave about “corporate” pro-war media? Well, Rupert Murdoch, mainly. But he as far as I can tell, is not a corporation but an individual. And who often brings up this corporate evil? Well, groups like Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center, to which ANSWER is associated, and which is apparently funded by a … corporation (and a tax deductible one too!)
Sharon = Hitler OR [Star of David] = [Swastika]. From the pro-Palestinian crowd. I recall an earlier antiwar demonstration in DC in 2003 where there were chants of “death to Sharon” in the middle of this antiwar(!) rally, not to mention Arabic chants about bombing Tel Aviv (few knew this if they weren't Arabic speakers or, in my case, around an Arabic speaker). Now, while I think the Israeli record is far worse than Israel’s knee-jerk fan club will concede, and worse than conventional wisdom appreciates, such noxious and counterproductive sloganeering is basically pro-Palestinians just getting their rhetorical rocks off by offensively and inarticulately trying to say “F.U. Jews and pro-Israelis for bringing up the Holocaust when we state our case.”
Free Mumia. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the apparent cop-killer who got convicted on possibly less-than-reasonable doubt evidence will be lionized. Good Lord, why?
NEW! A Chavez slogan. Something obscenely nice may be said about the Venezuelan generalissimo and Castro-to-be Hugo Chavez.
NEW! Something about Katrina being a sign of racism. I’m kind of sympathetic to the charge of government and Administration serious blundering in regard to the Katrina plans and even to how Iraq detracted from the resources of responsible protection. But the spirit of Kayne West will probably prevail and the whole mess will be blamed on a fantasy regarding George W. Bush’s alleged racism.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Ways Government Can Suck
Please get it, non-libertarian people.
The reason we libertarians don't want uninhibited government is that we fear unshackled power. Being a government agent is no immunity to human nature, it just allows the worst aspects to be practiced with impunity. It doesn't matter if it's George Bush or John Kerry or Hillary Clinton.
From Yahoo news (via Radley Balko):
A group of female hurricane survivors were told to show their breasts if they wanted to be rescued, a British holidaymaker has revealed.Ged Scott watched as American rescuers turned their boat around and sped off when the the women refused.
(Second Amendment sidelight: That's the dis-armers talking to the dis-armees, by the way.)
OTOH, the reports of volunteer rescue workers being given sexual harrassment training at FEMA look less looney now.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Dept. of Closing the Barn Door After....
Good news, two weeks too late; and bad news, never timely . . . .
Friday, September 02, 2005
Lileks explains the wrong error
James Lileks writes to explain why he wrongly slammed the French for not doing anything in regard to the Katrina hurricane damage in New Orleans. Lileks reports that he had acted . . .
"without doing any research, since I was in a black mood and disinclined to back anything up."
Wait a minute, isn't that more likely a superb explanation of the politics of the entire recent invasion of Iraq?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Talking New Orleans and Hurricanes in 2002
Check this out, the full text is even more detailed and prescient --
From Bill Moyers show in 2002
DANIEL ZWERDLING: We've tried to find scientists who'd say that these predictions of doom could never really come true and we haven't been able to find them. The main debate seems to be, when the country is facing different kinds of threats, which ones should get the most attention? The federal government has been cutting money from hurricane protection projects. Partly to pay for the war against terrorists.
DANIEL ZWERDLING:Do you think that the President of the United States and Congress understand that people like you and the scientists studying this think the city of New Orleans could very possibly disappear?
WALTER MAESTRI:I think they know that, I think that they've been told that. I don't know that anybody, though, psychologically, you know has come to grips with that as-- as a-- a potential real situation. Just like none of us could possibly come to grips with the loss of the World Trade Center. And it's still hard for me to envision that it's gone. You know and it's impossible for someone like me to think that the French Quarter of New Orleans could be gone.
. . .
JAY COMBE: I think of a terrible disaster. I think of 100,000, and that's just my guess. I think that there's a terrible lack of perception. The last serious hurricane we had here was in 1965. That's close to 40 years ago.
So, we've dodged bullets three times since Betsy and I'm not sure we can keep counting on the hurricane changing its mind and going someplace else.
DANIEL ZWERDLING: Stories about disasters in America usually end on an optimistic note. People rebound. The nation rebuilds. Life gradually gets back to normal. But officials in Louisiana are facing another possibility: If a monster storm strikes New Orleans, this city might never come back.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition (CC) seems to be calling for the assassination of Venezuela's lefty-strong man Hugo Chavez. But could this be a desperate bid for publicity in response to other problems, i.e. financial, evidenced by the CC organization's slipping in its bill payments, at least according to a deadwood note in today's Washington Post about a lawsuit by Pitney Bowes against the CC for non-payment?
UPDATE: Thanks to a correspondent the lawsuit story is here. And another here.