1/11/2003

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE... Look here chaps, this Afghan business is going to get deuced messy if history is anything to go by. He's a slippery cove, your Johhny Afghan, and he's hardly likely to treat you Americans any less damnably than anyone else. 'Taint my indaba I'm sure, we gave up on that whole galivanting around the exotic and mysterious East shooting badmashes and rescusing wily Ameers from their own people deacdes ago. Cost too damn much for one thing, and for another, we never got the slightest thanks for it. Indeed I do seem to recall a lot of whining about "imperialism" emanating from America towards the end of the Second World War, and enormous pressure for us to go around the globe hauling down the Union flag, which we duly did, in fact we made something of a career out of it. And now some of those places are run by thoroughgoing despotic Bad Hats and you've subsequently discovered that Being Nice doesn't always work. WHAT a surprise! But if our cousins across the Atlantic want to take up the white man's burden, then by all means feel free. But do try to learn from previous experience. Case in point, take a shufti at this report from the Times, datelined Calcutta, September 7th, 1878.

Attack on the British Embassy at Cabul Latest Intelligence (From our correspondents) (By Indo-European Telegraph, via Tehran) ...without being over-sanguine, we may fairly hope that quiet will be restored in Afghanistan before the end of the year. The fact that the insurgents did not wait till winter snows had blocked the passes, or even till our troops had evacuated Candahar and the Ameer had started for Badakshan, coupled with the further fact that Yakoob Khan himself seems to have been taken by surprise, points to the inference that the rising was wholly unpremeditated, and originated in a sudden outburst of discontent on the part of the regiments, maddened by long delay in the settlement of their arrears of pay. That they should hold the English somehow responsible and should direct their first attack on the Residency will not appear strange to any one acquainted with Asiatics; nor is it strange that the city mob, stimulated by the hope of plunder and the exhortations of fanatical Mollahs, should join the mutineers. We are now in Ramazan, the Mahomedan Lent fast, which is observed with the utmost strictness at Cabul. At such a time the mob would be peculiarly open to religious impressions, and fanaticism would be likely, on any provocation, to burst into sudden flame, to expire as soon as it spent itself on the nearest object of hatred. It is, however, hardly probable that the British troops will on this occasion stop short of Cabul. The safety of our ally the Ameer, no less than that of our future envoys, demands that England should show the people of the capital her strength and teach them that her recent moderation was not due to want of power. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

If any of you American chaps would like to drop by Bootles, White's or the Reform Club, I have no doubt you'll be able to draw on collective centuries of practical hands-on (and indeed sabres, maxim guns and fists-on) experience in such matters. But do try to keep the conversation quiet, there are members trying to sleep under all those copies of the Times...

1/10/2003

THIS BLOG WELCOMES MERYL YOURISH READERS Isn't Meryl a honey? She linked my vampire-face post below, and didn't even succumb to the temptation of including any of the Buffy material in it. And I know how big a Buffy...er...buff she is. She talks about how he friends tried to buy her a personals ad in New York Magazine as a present, and the problem of putting her personality, hopes, dreams, desires and personality into as few words as possible. And then they tell her she can't put "No wimps or blimps"! But Meryl didn't really want the sort of guys who read the personal ads in that pretentious rag anyway.

I'm thinking those guys probably wouldn't get shopping at Wal-Mart at 11 p.m. a few days before Christmas. Or my love of Popeye's chicken and biscuits.

Mmmmm....Popeyes....aaauuugggghhhh.... For god's sake, someone offer me a job in the USA so I can eat at Popeyes one more time before I die!
MUSLIM RAP I shit you not. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you (take them, please!) Native Deen!

"Ramadan is here / The Blessed month of the year / Fasting and not eating food / Acting nice and not rude / Instead of watching movies today / Let's go to the Masjid and pray."

And of course who could forget their totally in-your-face, confrontational "Clean Up the Dirty Masjid", which as we all remember played such a key role in the recent East Coast/West Coast conflict over styles of ritual ablution? In terms of sheer musical innovation and lyrical inventiveness, this is right up there with such classics of religious music as "Be True To Your Shul" by Little Stevie Weingold and "Walk on the Kosher Side" from Gefilte Joe and the Fish. You know, in a bizzare kind of way I'd almost prefer it if they had lyrics about slaughtering Jews and global Islamic domination? Or is this some nefarious plan to get all Pat Boone on our arses? Altmuslim comments, and quite rightly: They are, as we'd recommend, keeping their day jobs. These people have day jobs?
'I'M BACK! AND I'M A BLOODY ANIMAL!" On "Buffy", the vamps are two-faced. Literally. When they attack a human, in preparation to feed, their faces suddenly change, developing ugly ridges, and their teeth growing long and sharp. The transition from normal-looking human to blood-sucking creature of the night can be pretty shocking to the victim, as it's intended to be. It's been suggested that that's their true face, and their normal human face is just a mask they can slip off when their true evil nature asserts itself. One key character, Oz, is a werewolf who eventually feels he has to leave Sunnydale because he believes he will always be a potential danger to his friends, in particular his girlfriend, Willow.

The wolf is inside me all the time, and I don't know where that line is anymore between me and it.

Well, we're all under a bit of pressure these days, and inner nasties are bursting out all over the place. I don't know about you, but the re-emergence of 1930s-style anti semitism, rampant appeasement of an implacable and genocidal enemy of civilisation , and a combination of stupidity and outright evil breaking out around the planet has led to me undergoing a change not unlike a vamp putting his "game face" one. Plenty of people have jumped the fence from Left to whatever it is we are now (neo-conservative will do, I still hate Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan), and some of us have friends who can't work out how or why we did it. Another blogger recently asked about those who switched teams what was involved in their conversion. For me it was simple - suddenly I realised that a whole bunch of people were going to kill me unless they were killed first. So I went out and found those who also realised this. They were almost all conservatives. And suddenly their message made complete sense. It took me around three weeks to complete the process. It was, like, a ton of paperwork. So here I am now with my inner beast on full public display. Well, not some of the people around me of course. Their inner wolf is more like an incontinent pekinese, or bad-tempered poodle. Actually that's not fair, I've known some quite vicious poodles in my day. Thing is, I think they realise at some level how naff they look, and as descendants of ancient packs of red-fanged killers, they resent it bitterly. Are we humans who have turned into this...thing...temporarily while the full moon of war shines down on us? Or is this our true face, the beast always lurking inside us, waiting for the ancient impulses to stir so it can reassert itself? Is a red mist going to descend, so that in three or four years we will awake and find the Middle East littered with bodies, and our arms drenched with blood, with no memory of what happened between 8:46am on September 11th 2001 and then? The impulse to savagery lies deep inside us. Although the West's advantage lies in our command of technology, our free and open societies, and ability to question everything, our biological urges can still rise up and defeat these traits if we let them. Trouble is, while our heads are working out calmly and rationally what our objectives and methods should be, our feelings are urging us to find a club and smash the enemy into a red pulp. Case in point - Steven Den Beste.

...the Palestinian runaway train will continue to barrel down the track towards oblivion, with no one at the controls but a lot of people falling under the wheels. The Palestinians and the Israelis will continue to bleed for perhaps another two years. That's what I think. But increasingly I'm finding myself feeling as if the world would be better off if someone went in and shot every damned one of them and piled the lot in an unmarked grave. After reading about yet another Palestinian atrocity, I find myself thinking, "Fuck it. Nuke Ramallah. Then nuke Nablus. And if that doesn't help, bulldoze Gaza. And once that's done, put all fifty surviving Palestinians on a freighter, tow it out to sea, and let them become someone else's problem."

Now Steven is most assuredly NOT advocating genocide. He's talking about his feelings. You have no control over them. Your brain, yes. The rational mind is under your control. But the heart wants what it wants, and it's mysteries are often impenetrable. I know what Steven is saying. But I would say, as he himself does, that feelings are no substitute for a properly thought-out policy. The West, or at least the part of it Winston Churchill would call the English-speaking peoples, has been pretty unaggressive for a long time now. We've been retreating from Empire, addressing racism, decolonising, sending aid to developing countries, funding the World Bank and all sorts of extremely worthy undertakings. We have been reforming our civilisation, adjusting some of its abuses. They are all important and neccessary devekopments. But our enemies have been emboldened by this, sensing (wrongly) that we have lost our belief in ourselves. They think we've become weak, and will be easy prey. That our morale will collapse. We've been behaving like Spike in Series Four of Buffy when he gets a chip in his head that prevents him from harming a human being, and this emboldened our enemies. They think we've got a chip in our heads that prevents us fighting. But they forget. Spike can't harm human beings, but he discovers that he can hurt and kill demons. And so have we.

What's this? Sittin' around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Let's find her! She is the chosen one, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them, for justice, and for... the safety of puppies... and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! Oh, come on!

Get your game face on.
Ok People, Lets Get Some Rounds Down Range! Ever had one of the days when the news just makes you want to go out and shoot someone? Well do it. As we all know there are some people out there that are in desperate need of the 5 cent solution. So blow off a little steam with this toy from the nice people at Shoot It. You'll need your own targets, but your uncle Murray has kindly organised a few starters for you. My own little interactive dead pool if you will. There's even a special one just for Alisa. Go on, do it! You know you want to.

1/09/2003

China has blocked Blogspot
(Via Dissecting Leftism -- By John Ray) An email from his buddy Alf Croucher, of the China Hand blog -
China bloggers are in withdrawal - I can no longer access the Rays of Wisdom which shine like beacons in a dark world of liberalism. Any xxx.blogspot.com site is blocked. I am getting emails from desperate bloggers here resentful of the fact that they only said good things about China and are being punished for it. As my good friend Jean Guy says - no good deed shall go unpunished!
What? The CHICOMS are scared of little ol us???? Hey guys, the Western Media doesn't even take us seriously! Thanks for the indorsement, ya Mao jacket wearin schmucks!
Showdown
So, the self righteous are once again girding for battle, over the re-nomination of one Charles Pickering, for a federal judgeship. Fresh from not quite getting in on the fight, but eager to catch a ride on the anti-racism train that ran all over Trent Lott with mostly conservatives at the throttle, the Left is primed to denounce another southerner, from (ohmigosh) Mississippi over the age of 50. Mississippi? Over 50? White guy? Got to be a racist! So far, however, the evidence consists of guilt by association (that he knew people that used the 'N' word), as a State Senator he asked to be kept informed about the activities of an out of state union organizer close to the center of a strike that affected one of the largest industries of the state, and he declined to rubber stamp a really screwed up sentencing recommendation from Clinton Justice Department Attorneys for the guy they chose to throw the book at and make an example of in a cross burning episode, after they'd basically passed on the other two guys involved. As a matter of record, these were his remarks while sentencing the young man involved
"You're going to the penitentiary because of what you did. And it's an area that we've got to stamp out; that we've got to learn to live, races among each other. And the type of conduct that you exhibited cannot and will not be tolerated....You did that which does hinder good race relations and was a despicable act....I would suggest to you that during the time you're in the prison that you do some reading on race relations and maintaining good race relations and how that can be done."
His efforts to 'reduce the sentence', which was his to assign, consisted of questioning the Justice Department's radically different recommendations for the three individuals involved - one of whom, not the defendant, had earlier taken a potshot into the house where the three went to burn the cross, but was given a no jail time plea bargain for the incident. There's a growing sense that this may be another example of GW making Lemonade out of a Lott of Lemons. Consider. The Dims made a lot of hay while they controlled the Senate Judicial Committee under the rule of Baron Patrick of Leahy. And Charles was one of their whipping posts. The same drivel was peddled last time, but it didn't really matter, because no matter how right, wrong, or sideways the rhetoric went, it was a done party-line deal. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Only this time, aside from getting a judicial appointment that he wanted all along, it goads the liberals into setting the stage with RACIST! histrionics. This is quite probable, judging from the carping of Feinstein, given free reign to swing away with the half truths and innuendo by Chris "I cried when Al conceded" Matthews, to the blustering coming from Schumer and Daschle about a filibuster they probably can't sustain, and would look like buffoons staging, as opposed by the quiet approach to the matter offered by the White House. Setting them up, to let them kick themselves in the shins, again. The only question remaining is whether or not we'll be treated to a spittle flecked floor speech to top the one offered by Daschle when he went off half cocked several months ago. Can hardly wait. GW has picked this battle, probably for several reasons, and its possible that one of them is to push the Dims over the edge in the race-baiting jalopy they've constructed for themselves. Happy Landings.
So nobody thought to try this sooner?
Seems seriously geek botanical types in the UK are overjoyed that a rare form of moss is 'flowering' for the first time in 130 years. They speculate that there may have been no flowering previously, because the various colonies were spread to far apart, and either all male or all female, hence, no flowers. So, in all that time, no one thought to try taking a bit from over here, and a bit from over there, throwing in a margarita or a Corona or two, and playing the moss some Barry White music?
Murray goes swimming...
...and some new found friends try and follow him home.
There he goes, again
One of Ronald Reagan's classic sound bites came in the midst of one of his campaign debates. The line was
"There you go again"
He was using the line to focus on blabberage by his opponent, but the line could be flipped to apply to what Bush has done to the Dims, and others, one more time. Andrew Sullivan pointed this out yesterday in regards to the President's economic stimulus package. There he goes again. There goes what, exactly? There he goes playing the pundits, the Dims, and just about any other nattering nabob with an agenda, tossing in two cents about what he 'has' to do, condemning in advance what they expect him to do, and leaving the entire bunch looking pretty out of touch by not obediently following their version the script. Its a formula now. Playing off their professed (and possibly truly believed) analysis that the current 1600 resident is just a boob that got where he is by accident, and can't possibly know what he's doing. Floating tidbits to bait the Dims (or whoever) into working themselves into a corner. Allow them to crank up the old rhetoric, 'comfortable' positions, and 'feel good' pie in the sky solutions, then pulling the rug out from under them completely. The Dims are in good company. He did the same thing to Yasser (and the Euro crowd) with the Rose Garden speech announcing that in fact, no, he wasn't going to follow Br'er Rabbit into that there briar patch. He's used the same style in the handling of the situation with Iraq. Leading. Pointing a direction, then building a consensus to head in that direction. Quite a contrast from the previous eight years, when the first concern seemed to be 'which way are we headed now, cause I want to be sure to get out in front for the photo-op'. Setting priorities, and sticking to the assessment of those priorities, making adjustments carefully, based on achieving the goals decided upon, versus in response to wailings about the relative ranking of pet agendas in the larger scheme during the current news or polling cycle. And certainly not based upon inane questions from ijit reporters that don't seem to spend too much time on this little place we call planet Earth (see below).
HELEN THOMAS IS INSANE Allow me to just concur with Dr Andrea Harris's diagnosis of complete fricking lunacy in the case of White House UPI correspondent Helen Thomas. Why Ari Fleischer doesn't just whip out an elephant gun and blast the bitch's head clean off is a mystery to me. Mind you, having seen a few clips of her in action, I'd reccomend he make sure of killing her with the first bullet - you wouldn't want to just wound her.

At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up. MR. FLEISCHER: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel. Q My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis? MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends -- Q They're not attacking you. MR. FLEISCHER: -- from a country -- Q Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years? MR. FLEISCHER: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then. Q Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge? MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war. Q Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives? MR. FLEISCHER: The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost. Q And he thinks they are a threat to us? MR. FLEISCHER: There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States. Q The Iraqi people? MR. FLEISCHER: The Iraqi people are represented by their government. If there was regime change, the Iraqi -- Q So they will be vulnerable? MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has not dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There is no question the people of Iraq -- Q That's a decision for them to make, isn't it? It's their country. MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that has been what history has shown. Q I think many countries don't have -- people don't have the decision -- including us.

Helen - are you running for office? No? Then sit down and shut the hell up. Helen Thomas is a joyless, Jew-hating harpy, and every day she remains alive is a testament to Ari Fleischer's self-restraint.
I KNEW I WAS GOING TO REGRET THIS... ...but sometimes you just have to hold your nose and dive into the shit-filled swamp that is Sydney Indymedia. I wondered what the batshit freakazoid tinfoil-hat brigade were making of the arrest of Sheik Hilaly the other day. Oh boy, I just HAD to ask, didn't I?

SYDNEY POLICE SEXUALLY ASSAULT AUSTRALIA'S MUFTI, SHEIKH TAJ EL-DIN AL HILALY

The article goes on to say no such thing in fact, but you have to admit it's a lovely mental picture, a muscular young copper grabbing a feel off a blind 62 year old Egyptian. Magnificent headline. Pity it's a ridiculous lie.
Western Sydney Muslim youth worker Mohamad Saeed said the mufti's arrest would stir anger and a desire for retribution among some young Muslims. "If someone spits in their (police) face, I wouldn't be surprised," Mr Saeed said. Police "showing their authority" over such a respected Muslim leader would "drive youth to anger", he said.

Perhaps the police were exercising their authority because, well, it's their job? And is youth worker (whatever sort of job that might be when it's at home) Mohamad Saeed seriously suggesting that the head of the Muslim community is immune from the legal process? I think he might be, I really do. Hmmm...WRONG! Meanwhile, the Australian says the cops descended en masse because they thought the "respected Muslim leader" might have been packing heat.

Police suspected Australian Islamic leader Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali might have been carrying a gun when they pulled him over for traffic infringements this week. [ ... ] Campsie area's commanding officer, Superintendent John Richardson, back[s] his officers' claims they were assaulted. One had skin taken from his knuckles, he said. Mr Richardson claimed both men started struggling with police after officers conducted a search of Mr al-Hilali's car, which police say was unregistered and uninsured. "This is an isolated incident that has occurred," he said. "We can't stop it, we can't do anything other than let natural justice take its course." However, at a press conference yesterday Mr Richardson refused to repeat his earlier claims on ABC radio that police had been searching for a gun. Police commanders want to establish whether the presence of 11 officers at the incident was caused by a message from a police dispatcher as a result of Mr al-Hilali's details being processed, or a call for assistance from an officer concerned about the number of bystanders at the scene. [ ... ] NSW Premier Bob Carr today denied knowledge of any intelligence files on Australia's leading Muslim cleric, searched by police for weapons on a Sydney street this week. News reports yesterday suggested police were acting on information the Mufti may have been carrying a gun when they searched him. Mr Carr today said the Mufti had not been unfairly targeted by police, and urged people not to get "hyped up" by the case. "I know of no intelligence files," Mr Carr said. He denied NSW Police Minister Michael Costa had confirmed the existence of intelligence files in news reports yesterday.

And just how did this charming, mild-mannderd cleric manage to get permanent residency in Australia? Apparently, that's a question which has occured to a few other people.

Eleven years ago, as opposition spokesman on immigration, Ruddock pursued questions, never answered, on the detail of how and why the Hawke Labor government eventually granted Hilaly permanent residency in 1990. Eight years earlier, in February 1982, the sheikh had arrived in Sydney from Egypt, under the sponsorship of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, on a three-month visa. He and his family never left. Over the next seven years the Hilaly family stayed here on a succession of visa renewals, despite moves by Labor's immigration minister, Chris Hurford, to expel the sheikh in June 1986 after a series of incidents involving statements condemned as "incitement to racial hatred". Hilaly, supported by strong NSW and federal ALP lobbying, survived Hurford's decision. Two years later, in October 1988, the Coalition demanded his visa be withdrawn after a series of "virulent" anti-Semitic comments were attributed to a speech he made at a University of Sydney seminar of Muslim students. Among these comments, subsequently published in a Jewish newspaper, was a reference to Jews as "the underlying cause of all wars" who "use sex and abominable acts of buggery to control the world". The Liberals' Alan Cadman, at the time immigration spokesman, called on Robert Ray, Hurford's Labor successor in 1987 as immigration minister, to "terminate" the sheikh's visa "as soon as possible". Cadman commented: "Many commitments have been made that political statements [by the sheikh] likely to engender hostility would not be made. Those commitments have not been observed." Cadman claimed Hurford's 1986 deportation order had been revoked only to placate Sydney's Islamic community in the run-up to the July 1987 election. "Frankly, I think the Labor Party has jeopardised the national wellbeing for short-term political gain."

MODERATE ISLAM DETECTED Yes Virginia, there IS a Moderate Islam. And you can find it here. Like a delicate flower poking through the snow on the first day of spring, it would be wise if we all just left it alone and didn't crowd around and turn it into a freak show. There's some good content, some I disagree with, and quite a bit of "Boo hoo what did I do to deserve this?" self-pity, but I guess you can see why they might come to feel that way. I've said it before and I'll say it again. My problem lies with the Muslims who want to kill me. I intend to make them as dead as possible as soon as possible. Islam as a whole has a choice of supporting those who want to kill me, or opposing them. I don't for one moment believe there is any sort of official campaign against Islam, quite the reverse in fact. Governments, officials and the media in Western nations have gone noticeably out of their way to ensure that the current unpleasantness is not directed at ordinary Muslims. There have been, I will be the first to admit, individual acts of stupidity, cowardice and bigotry. But they have been committed by pond scum who represent only themselves. Any Muslim who is attacked in a Western country can be absolutely secure in the knowledge that the police will come to his or her aid, and that the perpetrator will be dealt with firmly according to law. And if I were feeling mischevious, I could suggest that if some Muslims are feeling put-upon these days they might care to ponder the root causes of Western rage, and ask themselves "Why do they hate us?" But that would be just too cheeky. They have a good article on Muslim blogging, which I commend to your attention.

On the Net, the so-called "warbloggers" - people on the Internet using their weblogs to angrily push for war in Iraq and castigate the Muslim community, have been asking, "Where are the voices of the Muslims? We hear nothing but silence!" Well, not anymore. Muslims all over the world are taking to the blogging phenomenon with a renewed sense of urgency since 9/11. From individual Muslims speaking out, to group weblogs that let provide a more interactive voice, wired Muslims are taking back the image of Islam. The picture you get is very different than most are used to. For example, many Muslim bloggers show much more sympathy for Americans after 9/11, as opposed to the pictures of flag-burning mobs. In Iran, hundreds of bloggers, a good percentage of them women, are taking advantage of the Web's anonymity to provide a more coloful snapshot of life in the Muslim world. Also, Muslims like Aziz Poonawalla of Shi'aPundit and Adnan Arif of adnan.org are using weblogs to respond to the warbloggers and turn the monologue into a dialogue.

There's a particularly interesting article on Muslim humour. It's not all Mullah Nasruddin jokes any more!

"The lady behind the (airport check-in) counter asked if I packed my bags myself," quipped comic Ahmed Ahmed at LA's Comedy Store. "I said yes, so they arrested me."

Go on, admit it, that was funny. Actually, some of those old Mullah Nasruddin stories are still pretty good. My favourite is the one about how Mullah Nasruddin lived in a village right next to a border between two countries. Every morning he would ride a donkey to the border post where the customs agents and border guards would search him and the donkey. Finding nothing, he would proceed to a nearby town on the other side of the border. One border guard who had the job of commanding the morning shift did this job for seven years, and he never found Nasruddin smuggling anything, although he was sure the Mullah was up to something. He searched as hard as he could ever morning when Nasruddin would ride up, but all he ever found in the saddlebags was straw. The one day, Nasruddin announced he was going to Damascus to live, and he said goodbye to everyone he knew. He even said goodbye to the border guard commander. The commander couldn't stand it anymore, and said "Look, I won't do anything about it, but I've just got to find out something. I know you were smuggling something across the border, and I'll just die if I never find out what it was. For my own peace of mind, just tell me what it was!" Nasruddin leaned forward and whispered, "Donkeys".

1/08/2003

Slow down, step back, take a breather
And take the opportunity to examine things on a more 'local' scale. Local, yes, but still political, of course. The creation of a candidate. Pointed out by Terry Oglseby. I think I may know who got that R/T. Did it have a Daytona wing on the back?
What the hell?
Was today designated "airline crash" day and nobody mentioned it?
Bread
What the heck is up with this? Cornbread doesn't count? Take a swipe at Laurence and his bread machine if you will, he's quite capable of defending himself. Taking a swat at cornbread, biscuits, and hush puppies is just so wrong, since you simply can't have an opinion, unless you've actually had cracklin cornbread, or biscuits with homemade sausage gravy. Its like a blind man describing the color of the sunset, or a profoundly deaf person describing the sound of a hummingbird's wings. I'd only really consider having a truly animated discussion on the subject of cornbread and biscuits with someone like Terry, a true southern gourmet. And there is absolutely no way you'd even associate with a statement as ridiculous as 'cornbread doesn't count' if you'd ever actually had some of this. There might be room for discussion if you can name which exit on the Turnpike has restaraunts where the waitresses reply to a request for iced tea with "sweet or un-sweet", but it would still be iffy. To borrow a phrase - Indeed. Update: A slight amount of sugar in the cornbread batter is NOT heresy. Now, sugar in grits, well that there IS cause for a round of gravel dancin'.
TEN-HUT! Stand easy. Okay listen up, former US Air Force General Dick Hawley will now address you miserable apes so try to look like you're paying attention. And somebody wake up Hicks!

"Violence only leads to more violence." This one is so stupid you usually have to be the president of an Ivy League university to say it. Here's the truth, which you know in your heads and hearts already: Ineffective, unfocused violence leads to more violence. Limp, panicky, half-measures lead to more violence. However, complete, fully-thought-through, professional, well-executed violence never leads to more violence because, you see, afterwards, the other guys are all dead. That's right, dead. Not "on trial," not "reeducated," not "nurtured back into the bosom of love." Dead. D-E-Well, you get the idea. "The CIA and the rest of our intelligence community has failed us." For 25 years we have chained our spies like dogs to a stake in the ground, and now that the house has been robbed, we yell at them for not protecting us. Starting in the late seventies, under Carter appointee Stansfield Turner, the giant brains who get these giant ideas decided that the best way to gather international intelligence was to use spy satellites. "After all," they reasoned, "you can see a license plate from 200 miles away." This is very helpful if you've been attacked by a license plate.

There's more, it's all available here, the base commander strongly reccomends you read all of it before shipping out. That is all. Dismissed. URGENT CORRECTION TO THE ABOVE Nope, sorry, the attribution for this article is wrong. It was actually written by Larry Miller. General Hawley put his own views on record at the Urban Myths page, and I get the impression that even if he didn't write Larry Miller's words, he kinda wishes he had. It's still a kick-arse piece of writing but.

1/07/2003

Hutt, Upper Hutt...Jaba the Hutt?
Note for Bruce: Road trip definately in order. Need to head out to WA to check this place out and report back anything of relevance, which hopefully will be more than an out of focus picture of large gray things you claim are boats. Where is the one of the Cole? By the way, where are the BUFF pictures? Planes on sticks? Query for Murray: Relevance of Hutt, Upper Hutt, the Hutt River, and Jabba the Hutt. Staff at SR North American Division HQ standing by ready to lend any and all assistance deemed necessary. DIRLAUTH ALCON (direct liason authorized, all concerned)
Good luck on those exams, Gil
Gil Shterzer is taking a break from blogging. He promises to come back to us refreshed and we hope elated by his success with his upcoming exams. If you get called up Gil, our prayers will be for your continued safety, so we can all be blogging about 'remember when' many, many years from now.
Take that, ya jerks
A norwegian court has found Jon Johansen not guilty of piracy. This is the 15 year old Norwegian kid that stiched together some routines that crack the encoding on DVDs so you can watch them, well, just about anywhere, on just about anything. He did it so he could watch them on his Linux box. Following the nature of the Linux free for all community ethos, he shared his work with anyone that wanted it. So, the major studios, wailing of lost profits screaming in horror that some nickels and dimes might actually slip through their grubby fingers - instead of going after wholesale piraters, people making a quick buck actually pirating copies and selling them illegally, etc, etc, - they tried instead to go and skewer some 15 year old geeky kid from Norway that noticed that the big studios weren't supporting the format he liked, and took it upon himself to come up with a workaround. Don't get me wrong, it is absolutley hideous that the major studios will be taking such a loss from this that they may be able to only offer 10 Million for a leading star to sign instead of the 20 to 25 million they planned to offer. Way to go kid.
Hey, Aren't you listening?
We said "kick our asses, PLEASE!". Maybe later.
A fake? Nooooooo
The crack investigative journalist hired by the ray-lee-uns to 'verify' the claims of a cloned baby has apparently figured out this may all be a publicity stunt. Ya think?
SO LONG WOY As it happens, I was reading his biography of Churchill when I learned of the death of Roy Jenkins today. I'm sorry I never had the chance to meet him. He seems by all accounts to have been a most affable chap, and he has a wonderful turn of phrase if this Churchill book is anything to go by. And any man who couldn't stand Bennite Labour to the extent of walking out and starting his own party gets my vote any day. He can be Home Secretary in my dream cabinet. The novelist Robert Harris has a wonderful memorial in the Telegraph.

He did have a couple of betes noires, of course. Norman Lamont, for some reason, was one. David Owen, more understandably, was another. At lunch at East Hendred, my wife once announced that she had almost reversed her car over Lord Owen in Hungerford High Street. "Almost!" exclaimed Roy. "Don't you ever come to this house and say that you almost ran over David Owen."

In his book, Roy Jenkins picks out a quote from an election speech Churchill gave while standing for Dundee in 1908, to illustrate his attitude towards socialism. I fancy these same sentiments are shared by both the subject and the biographer.

Socialist society is a set of disagreeable individuals who obtained a majority for their caucus at some recent elections, and whose officials now look upon humanity through innumerable grills and pigeon holes and over innumberable counters, and say to them "tickets please".

He may have been a Europe man, but good old Woy will still get into heaven despite that. I'm sure he'll wind up there, I understand God provides a more than passable luncheon table, and the cellar contains some quite excellent clarets. He's up there now probably, arguing with Churchill over the royalties from the biography...
"I AM ABOVE THE LAW!" Is it a record company executive caricitured on South Park, or the leader of Australia's Muslim community, Sheik Taj El Din Al Hilaly? Hmmm. Hang on everyone, it's gonna be a bumpy ride... The spiritual chief of Australia's Islamic community was arrested and handcuffed in a heated clash on a Sydney street yesterday. In a dramatic stand-off involving 20 police and as many onlookers, Sheik Taj El Din Al Hilaly was seized -- then sparked another emergency by claiming he felt ill. I think he stole that one from Bashir the Duck's playbook. You can't arrest me - I don't feel very well! [cough, cough]. It didn't woth for the Jihad Islamiya head, and I doubt it'll work on the NSW police. He was rushed to Canterbury Hospital -- where last night he was told he would be charged on five counts. See? The incident threatened to boil over into a potentially explosive clash of cultures between Sydney's Islamic community and the mostly Caucasian police force. Ok, hold it right there. Of course the Sydney police are "mostly" white. Sydney is mostly white. Australia is mostly white. Is there some suggestion that white cops can't enforce the law if non-white people are involved? In that case, good luck waiting until the police despatch room can rustle up a Lebanese constable if you get your bag snatched in Lakemba. And what's this "caucasian" shit anyway? Are we Chechens now? It began when the Sheik, aged 62, was pulled over while driving his 1991 white Ford LTD along King Georges Rd in Wiley Park. A highway patrol officer stopped him when he noticed white metal sheeting protruding from one of the windows of his car. It began as these things always do, with a routine traffic stop. It may end with a celebrity trial, saturation media coverage, inflammatory language, threats, lucrative book deals and possibly a race riot. It's all part of Australia's steady progress towards eventually joining the United States. Sydney always wanted to be LA when it grew up... When the Sheik emerged in his full robes the officer demanded that his car -- and later the Mufti -- be searched. At this point, a local resident intervened, a 23-year-old from nearby apartments, began to argue with police, allegedly telling the officer he had no right to treat the Mufti in this fashion. I'm guessing the Sheik failed the all-important attitude test with the cop, and started huffing and puffing about his status, leading to a more thorough proceedure being employed. Having a local guy screaming at him about what he could and couldn't do probably didn't improve the constable's mood any. When Sheik Hilaly refused to be strip-searched on the spot, the officer suggested they ask local residents if he could be searched in their homes. Again the Sheik refused. The officer called for back-up, and police converged on the scene. Ok, I've been Mr Reasonable long enough, there's a crowd gathering, clearly this guy has has some local supporters, things are getting out of hand. it's time I kicked responsibility for this shit-fight upstairs. After a discussion, the officers then handcuffed the Islamic leader and the other man with the intention of taking them both to Burwood Police Station. Oh boy, I wish someone had recorded the scene. I'm betting the Sheik was attempting to throw his (imaginary) importance around, thinking that Australia works in the same way that his native Egypt does, and all he had to do to make the problem go away was to scream at these lesser beings until the realised that he was a Very Important Person Indeed. That may turn out to have been a miscalculation. It was then that the Mufti, who underwent a triple bypass heart operation 18 months ago, reported to police that he was sweating profusely and feeling unwell. He was taken by police to Canterbury Hospital where he is undergoing tests. He was also treated for a sprained hand and bruising from the handcuffs. Tight enough for you sir? Let's just make ABSOLUTELY sure they don't slip off, eh? All haoppy now? No? That's just so sad, I think my little heart will break. Now get in the van. He was later told he would be charged by summons with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, carrying a protruding load from his vehicle and driving while unregistered and uninsured. The other man was released and will be charged with a number of offences including assaulting police. Summonses all round. Next time, do what the nice man in blue says, smile politely and answer his questions. Attacking the cops is not quite the done thing in these parts old fruity. The Sheik's lawyer, Stephen Hopper, said Sheik Hilaly would "vigorously defend" the charges of police assault and resisting arrest. Mr Hopper said the incident was a case of "over-zealous policing". Oh here we go. Cops are in trouble for having the arrogance to actually do their job. "If the cuffs didn't fit, you must acquit!" Someone shoot me now... Sheik Hilaly's spokesman Keysar Trad condemned the police treatment of the Mufti but urged the Muslim community not to react to the incident. "We don't want to allow this to undermine our great relationship with the police. I hope the community will remain calm." Is that a threat? IS THAT A FUCKING THREAT? "Oh I certainly hope that no hotheads take into upon themselves to avenge this insult to Muslim honour by attacking the cops. It would be regrettable, but perhaps understandable, if that happened. We would of course say we condemned such actions, but they do need to be placed in the correct context". Look, the cops are not following Australia's top Muslim leader around hoping to bust him for having a broken tail-light, or pulling him over on suspicion so they can find something wrong with his car registration. What clearly happened was that he was stopped for a traffic violation, developed a bit of 'tude, and things got a tad pointed. If John Howard got pulled over for the same thing, he'd do what the rest of us do, look a bit sheepish, apologise, say he didn't realise it was such a problem. fix it, and probably get let off with a warning. OBLIGATORY INSANE KEYSAR TRAD QUOTE: "This is like the Governor-General being arrested," he said. "You wouldn't see the Governor-General being treated like this." Er, is Keysar Trad now claiming the Mufti has some sort of Vice-regal immunity from prosecution? That he has the same status as a Head of State? And actually, if Peter Hollingworth was driving along with some metal sticking out of his car, yes we WOULD see theGovernor-General treated like that. It's called neutral rule of law, and it's the way we do things around here. Get used to it, or get out.

1/06/2003

Economics, Schneconomics
And so the wrangling will begin in earnest. A friend of mine, also an Alabama expatriate, had a saying about leading young troops, which is applicable. You can convince the most stalwart, hard working and dedicated airman, living in the finest digs, with the best chow, and a really important task to keep him occupied that the world is shit, and life in general, and his particular situation in particular, sucks canal water through a dirty straw. Likewise, you can get skeptical, rather screw off than show up, mediocre troops in marginal accommodations, getting virtually no acknowledgement for their esoteric contributions believing that they are the lynchpins of democracy, have the most important jobs on the planet, and are damned glad to be right there, right then. Its all in how you package it, and all about your attitude and the way you communicate your perceptions about the situation. So what the hell does that have to do with anything? Probably nothing, but it often pops to mind when observing the hype, hyperbole, and histrionics that often surround 'opposing' plans in Washington. Oh, look, one is just heating up just now. Economic stimulus. While a number of analysts, whose agendas I really don't feel like researching, appear to be shrugging their shoulders and mentioning that an 'economic stimulus' package is either a) not necessary, or b) won't really provide too much 'stimulus' at all, even if you perceive that something is called for, the Dims and the 'publicans are getting ready to lock horns in rhetorical combat. Why? Perception. Say something enough times, and people will begin to wonder if it isn't maybe partly so, particularly those not paying attention too closely. If what is being hawked is basically dressed up bitching, there's always a few willing to chime in to get a piece of the 'yeah, hey, that sucks' action. So, why are we getting all settled back to watch the latest round of legislative Jell-O wrestling, over a 'stimulus package'? Maybe because some folks couldn't get any traction with the 'no war, no where, no how' rant, so they tried to re-direct everyone's attention to how bad the economy sucked. May have backfired on them, but we're still having to deal with the chunks. Hmm, 6% unemployment (does that mean 94% employment?). Big companies tossing out workers left and right. Gloom. Doom. Ohmigosh, Think of The Children™. Yeah, whatever. On the other hand, there is a lot of references floating around about how the US economy is about the only boat around rising, instead of settling in the water. Are those negative growth numbers from Europe? Oooo. Sucks to be them! Plus double digit unemployment? Double whammy dag nab it! And isn't that hyperinflation underway (again) in South America, Brazil this time? And isn't that Japanese power house economy still just kind of floundering along not really doing...much...of...anything? But hey, what's this? Economic growth of approximately 3% in the United States? Hey, may not be a barn burner, but sounds pretty darn good considering anything besides the spewage of a bunch of weaseling politicos trying to energize their voter base. I've given the Pres fairly high marks for totally rejecting the weather-vane mentality of position and policy driven by overnight polling numbers, in that he's stated his agendas and directions, and stuck to the plans he's announced fairly well. Agree or disagree, its a lot more re-assuring than watching, with disgusted fascination, the leadership style of his predecessor, which could at times be easily confused with a headless chicken dance. The run up to this latest pending loggerheads, however, is somewhat in the 'reactionary' column. In that the administration is reacting to the spewage from the Dims, the sayers of Doom. Not that they can be ignored completely (oh, and how many of us wish they truly could be). But, it is pre-emptive in nature, in that it will deflate and or derail the type of smear that Clintoon so effectively used on the father, deserved or not. Which is the better plan? According to some of the pros, neither, because they're either unneeded, or too insignificant to produce the kinds of dramatic effects the verbiage and realllllly biiiiig nuuummmmbbbbeeeers (that is a textual rendering of an echoic effect in a large cavern or auditorium). On balance though, I'd have to lean in favor or the President's plan, not because I really think it will do all that, and leave a clean, fresh scent; it the combination auto-attack response of the Dims, with the distortions and fear mongering that is used to do it, combined with the re-distribution of wealth pig with new lipstick. The dividend tax cut will only help the wealthy! Give the tax refund break to the poor, the ones that don't pay taxes anyway! Hmm, last I checked, more folks than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have investments, and a lot of those same folks would appreciate keeping more of the money generated from their investment decisions, and their faith in the future. And a 'tax refund' to folks that qualify to get all their payroll deduction withholdings back already isn't a refund - its a frikking handout. As in handing out the money of the folks that don't get all their money refunded to someone else, and not even getting a pork barrel bridge named after some old loon bat Senator, linking two places no one ever really wanted to go anyway in return. Since this has rambled on plenty already, I'll wrap it up, with one final annoyance. Will someone remind the buffoons that keep talking about how much a tax reduction is going to 'cost' the government that government is not a 'for profit' operation? Either way it goes, just the sideshow geek act until the main attraction in the center ring invokes 24 hour wall to wall live on-the-scorched-earth-and-destroyed-baby-milk-factory-scene coverage. For the entire week and a half that will last, anyway.
The Pit
Now, when you start talking about BBQ, its almost as hard to stop, for me at any rate, as it was for the Instantman to step back from the Trent Lott thing. I guess I'm just being egged on by my lookabout in the other blogs of the Axis of Weevil. Heck, at one of my first stops, Compleat Redneck, and what the heck is the latest post about? BBQ. I'm with him on the whole hog concept, it definately makes things easier than messing with small pieces and parts. He pulls up short before launching into a discussion of the fire and the pit, a subject rich enough to generate enough prose to make your average classical Russian novelist appear to be a short story hack. Lots of confusion to the un-initiated, those terms 'fire' and 'pit'. Most people take them way too literally and quickly run into major problems. But I think I'll let Billy Joe Bob run the gauntlet of trying to explain those concepts so best experienced in the first person in mere words. Still, in closing, I will say that in the journey to go pick out a whole hog for your BBQ, it is much easier to fetch it from a Panamanian Orphanage with a Humvee than it is to get it from a Georgia Pig Farm without benefit of paving in a Jaguar. And one other cautionary note - never, ever leave the hog or the pit to be tended overnight by a bunch of non-southerners playing cards and drinking tequila.
Now that, my friends, is hospitality
Terry Oglesby, a fine Southern Gentleman, has single handedly sponsored my induction into the 'Axis of Weevil'. I am humbled to be in such company, sir. The offer of the Pecan logs and Dale's Sauce is also most fortuitous, as I have been somewhat remiss in assembling my Holiday Cheer package to my fellow blog-mates unfortunate enough to live in distant lands so far away that they can be duped with such nonsense as "authentic" baked 'fried chicken' (with parsley, no less - eeech). The Priester's Pecan logs will be especially cherished, as the Virginians seem to have ceased creative thinking about their use beyond toll house cookies. I'm already preparing variations of basic Grits recipes to head off any complaints of attempts to have them eat school paste, which could happen with Grits in the hands of a novice possesing no ideas what can be done with this wonderful basic foodstuff. One small adjustment, if I may. Instead of the Dreamland Ribs, if you would be so kind as to substitute two pounds of Andrew's, outside slices please, with a quart of sauce. Much obliged to ya!
How to locate a Dead Body
One of the books not on the DC Police Departments required reading list. With Chandra Levy, the line was 'gee, the Park is really big and overgrown'. This time, the excuse is 'it was dark'. Note to DC Metro training section - include concept of 'light switch' in recurring professional development series. Found via the Orbital Mind Control Laser. Lots of other good things over there too. Have a look.

1/05/2003

Addition on the sidebar
Spotted this over at Misha's joint. Absolutely incredible, and I have no words. Go and see for yourselves.
Yeah, they love us on the Big Island, but we are just starting to catch on around Oahu. Been a quiet favorite on Molokai for years now.
So, I'm looking through the refferrer logs, and I spot this - www.honoluluweekly.com. Huh? Seems they have a feature story on blogging, and waaaaaaaaaay down in the stack-o-links they have a ref to War Now! Cool. Guess its time to start hitting the refresh to watch the counter whirl from that HonoluluWeekly-lanche....