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...
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.
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!
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.
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?
"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."
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 wolf is inside me all the time, and I don't know where that line is anymore between me and it.
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.
...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."
Get your game face on.
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!
(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!
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.
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?
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 - 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.
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.
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.
SYDNEY POLICE SEXUALLY ASSAULT AUSTRALIA'S MUFTI, SHEIKH TAJ EL-DIN AL HILALY
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.
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.
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.
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."
There's a particularly interesting article on Muslim humour. It's not all Mullah Nasruddin jokes any more!
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.
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".
"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."
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'.
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.
"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.
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)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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."
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...
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".
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.
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.
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.
Misha's joint. Absolutely incredible, and I have no words. Go and see for yourselves.
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....