1/18/2003

ITS FARGEN WAR!!!!!!! Well not quite yet but I wanted to be the first. The peaceniks were out in semi force today claiming they could stop the war "just like they did during Nam". I thought this odd for a couple of reasons, the first that if the multi peierced tie-dyed weirdos had attended any anti-war rallys during Nam it would have been as sperm. Secondly, I don't want to rain on anyones parade... oh screw it, yes I do. No anti-war movement brought about an end to allied involvment in Viet Nam. Not being in a winable postion is what happened. No doubt those of you that "know" about Viet Nam from your teachers will know better but I'm going to stick with the opinion that I evolved from growing up with it. I didn't watch file footage to see the tank driving through the gates, it was current news. And the refugee regatta we observed in Singapore was like wise just a little bit less academic than having some overgrown school kid sell me his drug induced take on events. Likewise, NO amount of protesting will make the slightest bit of difference this time, no one lets protesters stop a war when you're winning. The tank will be crashing through the palace gates again. And then there's THIS!!! Well bugger, looks like Saddam hasn't read your manifesto guys, he's going with the nukes. You might care about Iraqi civilians but he doesn't and he cares about you even less. And I would just like to publicly thank the IDF for telling the world at large, the UN in general & Kurt Waldhiem in particular to get fucked (tm) when they bombed Iraq's reactor. Just another case a few people covering everyone elses arse for them.

1/17/2003

Good News, Bad News
Terry has inducted Meryl and MommaBear into the Axis of Weevil. Although pleased to learn that Meryl is, after all, truly a redneck, I must say that I was highly, highly suspicious because she related the entire tumble on the library steps epsiode without using the phrase 'tailbone' a single time, and was previously disparaging about cornbread and biscuits. This is possibly due to her being kidnapped as a small child, and spirited away to New Jersey, where she was undoubtedly brainwashed, although this is pure speculation at this time. We shall have to re-double our efforts to help Meryl re-connect with this unrealized portion of her cultural roots. Still, good news, indeed. The bad news often comes with the good though. While Terry has brightened the day welcoming Meryl into the fold, the announced changes to the Axis of Weevil gift pack caused a strange tightness in the chest, and odd shooting pains in the left arm. What? Take out the Dale's? Good heavens man, add the Buffalo Rock, sweet nectar that it is, but please, don't deprive us of the Dale's! This horrendous turn of events was further compounded by the mention of Browdy's Deli. Responsible for many a set of hiccups on a Sunday drive - stopping there after a trip to the Botanical Gardens or the Zoo, to get the fresh rye and pumpernickel, so good as to cause small children to eat it wolfishly without washing it down with anything. Shame on you Terry. Shame.
Humor, British humor, dry, and shaken, not stirred
What a bunch of fucking bureaucratic twits. After giving Ian a rash of shit because of 'irregularities' with his visa application, holding him at Heathrow, then apparently refusing him entry and booking him onto a return flight to the US, they do basically the same thing to Sasha after they'd already said she was cleared to enter the country. Seems they found cards referencing sashacastel.com, and went online to check the site.
(specifically the entry of January 13th, London Here We Come, currently second on the page) and asked Andrew all sorts of questions about it
Lets take a look, shall we...ohmifriggingosh! Quick lads - spirit away the Queen and the Corgis to the panic room, and don't spare the knee! Hide Tony, hide Tony! Alert the SAS! Have a look at THIS
Really, honestly, no fooling, this time it's for real. We are flying out to Heathrow tomorrow evening from Logan. Next time this blog is updated I will be a Londoner!
Hello, what's this? Well, there you have it! Its all quite obvious, really, says it all it does. Clear enough to establish pre-meditation, and all that. Have none of that around here, we won't, such tomfoolery may play well with the colonials, but not here abouts. Off with you then, and be quick about it. Right. This episode does absolutely nothing to dispel my suspicions that average Englishmen put in positions complete with the power of arbitrarism and/or pomposity will display same at any given opportunity. Put plainly, if they can be dickheads, they will be dickheads. A few years back, I had the great fortune of running into several examples, all within the space of less than 24 hours, on my one and only trip to London. These included, but were not limited to, the dickhead in the 'information' booth at Victoria Station that glibly told me he only gave out train information, and didn't know a thing about buses, the dickhead in the Bobby outfit that condescendingly corrected me, explaining that the buses run in London proper, and the coaches run in the greater countryside (at which point I resisted the urge to rephrase my question to "ok, where's the coach station at, asshole?). This was followed by the clerk (dickhead) at the coach station ticket lobby, that spent five minutes explaining the concept of one at a time to my friend and me, for having the gall to walk up to the window together to get two tickets to the same place, then watch him enter many, many keystrokes into a computer terminal, to cause the printer to spit out a blank airline style ticket, upon which he handwrote our passage information after consulting and cross referencing in no less than three telephone sized routing and scheduling books. The day was rounded out with a semi drunken encounter with the British gentleman (dickhead) staffing the billeting office at RAF Mildenhall at 2AM, whilst he explained to me the reason for assigning another individual to my single person billeting room, in quite succinct and proper Queen's English as basically "because we could". The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 30 years behind, and working diligent half-days to catch up. The mental picture of this is John Cleese playing the immigration mid-level flunky supervisory role, with an exceptional amount of detachment from reality. UPDATE: Observation from Murray that deserves front page listing-
In the case of Britains colonies, it wasn’t so much a case of how far the apples fell from the tree as how far they could fling themselves. Any clues why now? This is a race that would crucify their own mothers if the paperwork was in order but wouldn’t pass out ammunition during a battle if it wasn’t. You thought Monty Python was comedy, it’s actually documentary. “Look mate I told ya, you need an MD601 ammunition request signed by your company quartermaster and approved by battalion headqua.... (URK)
THIS IS TO BE ENCOURAGED... BOOM! Glug, glug, glug...

Hamas said it had carried out a failed attack with a booby-trapped raft against an Israeli naval gunship on Friday. The gunship fired on the raft, causing an explosion, it said, adding that there had been an attacker on the raft. The Israeli army said no one had been on board.

Well, no one they could find any bits of, anyway.
How much?

About this much.
The top of the railing is made of 2x4, with an actual thickness of 1.5 inches or so. Looks to be around 5-6 inches or thereabouts. Bottom line - SNOW DAY FOR ME! nyah nyah. Have fun at work, everybody else!
FARGING HELL, IT'S A BLOGGER ROUT! Not only has Ian Murray been sacked for blogging, which would be bad enough, but now Frank Sensenbrenner tells us that Andrew Ian Dodge is currently banged up in the cells beneath London Heathrow thanks to HM Customs and Immigration for having faulty paperwork of some description!

Andrew Dodge, late of Blogspot, has been detained by HM Immigration and probably will be refused entry to the UK due to, from what I can discern, minor errors in his paperwork for a work visa. While that decision is HM Immigration's, it's rather sick that a hatemongering fundamentalist can stay in the country claiming both 'asylum' and unemployment benefits, while a bonafide worker may be banned from entry into the UK (I've heard an outright ban is being considered, not just refusal of entry) for shoddy paperwork. Nice guys certainly are finishing last today.

Fantastic use of resources chaps, I suppose if he were Achmed Bin Doolally from Algiers, with mad, staring eyes, spittle-flecked beard and bandoliers of ammunition draped over his shoulders, a lazzeiz-passer issued by the North Korean consulate in Yemen, and under "purpose of entering UK" he'd written "Establishment of Islamic Caliphate of Britain and/or halal chip shop in Bradford", you'd have waved him through without any problems! May I remind you that there are actual terrorists wandering about the place at the moment, with actual chemical weapons, and actual kitchen knives, presently engaged in slaughtering members of the constabularly? And you stop Andrew for a minor paperwork infingement? What the hell is WRONG with the UK? I do want one urgent question answered though, and that is - what is happening to Sasha Castel in the meantime? She and Andrew were supposed to be travelling to London together, having just got engaged. If he's been detained, what's happened to her? Does she have anywhere to stay in London if her fiance is in a cell? Is anyone taking care of her? Really, I would like to know, anyone with any information on Sasha's whereabouts and current situation should e-mail me. Please! This is the couple in question. If you see this woman wandering the icy streets of London with a lost expression, take pity on her and find her a place to stay.

1/16/2003

Cold as the Winter Night outside may be
Somehow, Imshin always manages to let in the warmth. Nice, how she does that. Thank you, Imshin.
New Link
Laurence points out a wonderful spot, Gedankenpundit. Seems the reason for Laurence's link is a bothersome twit, but it looks like Solly is handling him (her?) (it?) just fine. Good read, getting a spot on the blog roll.
Winter Wonderland
While Murray and Tom take advantage of the full swing of summer, folks closer to the SRNAD* Home Office are having a grand time in the embrace of Old Man Winter. Outside the palatial corporate digs here in Tidewater Virginia, snow began falling about an two and a half hours ago, with accumulations of approximately four inches so far. The forecast calls for this to continue until sometime late into Friday Morning. Since one inch is the approximate 'panic amount' for local government, business and educational officials, just about everything should be closed tomorrow. The effect should be pretty much like what Billy Joe Bob describes when it snows around his place. This is actually a good thing, since if things weren't closed, Bill Cimino would probably spend more than an hour and a half on I-264, with the automotive operationally challenged Virginia Drivers™. In addition to their other shortcomings, VD™ fail to grasp two very important concepts: 1) Four wheel drive means four wheels spinning on the ice instead of just two, and 2) the laws of physics, as described by Mr. Newton, do apply to them despite the fact that Newton was English and some of their ancestors told England to bugger off a couple of centuries ago. Perfect example. On the way in to work on Wednesday, following a trial run of a quarter inch of snow, while sitting in the line of cars creeping along Wythe Creek Road, just about where I showed Tom and Meryl the large structure I call the 'NASA Jungle Gym', I got the treat of seeing a woman traveling in the opposite direction in a Jeep Cherokee. What made it such a treat was that while she and the Jeep were moving at approximately 25mph, none of the tires were rotating. At all. The front tires, however were swinging back and forth, in perfect coordination with the movements of her hands back and forth, with the steering wheel attached. Previously, I'd thought that eyes that large and wide open were only drawn by cartoon illustrators. I was somewhat negligent in that I didn't watch in the rear view mirrors to see which way exactly she had the front wheels pointed when she hit the upcoming dry spot. Must have been either fairly straight ahead or to the right, as I don't recall hearing the crunch of metal that would've ensued otherwise. Then again, I did have the radio turned up fairly loud, all the better to get irritated with NPR. But the horrors of the roads is more than offset by the chance to actually get out and about in the wintry wonder of the snow, as Instantman relates. Not that that can't be treacherous and a problem in practical physics. As Meryl can now fully attest, yes, Mr. Newton was correct - gravity works. And the actual snow itself, while it falls and creates a muffled quiet, does a lot to offset the other conditions, namely the cold and the pre-emptive salting responsible for Meryl's downfall. The first few hours after a snowfall are simply wonderful if you don't have anywhere to be, and can simply enjoy the sight of what was a few hours before brown and drab winter colors, now all covered with a pristine white blanket. Yep without the snow, its just cold. And miserable. While its good to hear of friends all toasty and warm at home, one wonders. What's up with Rufus? Oh...never mind! * Silent Running, North American Division
Welcome to Murray’s new award, to be known as the "Full of Shit Award", it will be awarded at random whenever someone earns it... or a Green MP speaks. Same thing. Lets all give a big single digit salute to the inaugural winner, Green MP (shit there's a surprise) Sue "I'm not anti-American" Bradford, latte slurping denial monkey, full time waste of space and organiser of the so-called "march on the US Embassy". The "millions of Americans opposed to war with Iraq" will be pleased to have the support of Sue and her rent-a-rabble, now numbering 200. I'd ask what she's on but we already know. Worth noting is that she actually 1. gets accused of being anti-American & 2. feels the need to deny it. Until not too long ago round here being anti-US was all the rage. Yes kiddies, the times they are a changing.
Not for its adevertised use?
Sometimes DenBeste can be such a cynic. Exactly why wouldn't this product be used exactly as advertised? And he's usually much more specific. Wonder which other point on the body he could be alluding to.
EVERYONE SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NADENE. Because I said so thats why. My platoon commander always said the only thing I lacked as a natural born leader was a bunch of natural born followers. Anyway little Nads turns twenty today or tomorrow or yesterday depending on when/where you are, so just get all random and leave her a message in the comments section. I'm not giving out her email address, I'm fond of my testies in their current location. No stalkers please, her quota is full.
KIWIS AGAINST WAR!!!!!! Or are they? Well according to the news item on the leftist state sponsored media (this crapfest funded by New Zealand on Air) the "mass march" on the US Emabasy in Wellington tonight is yet more evidence of the growing oposition blah blah... sorry tuned you out there. You lost me at whinge whinge whinge. Hey is it just me or should this so called "growing tide of oposition to war" now be roughly the size of the solar system. It keeps growing yet.... doesn't. Yes boy's and girls, Joe (or Trev) sixpack is so moved in horror at the thought of nasty Uncle Sam getting it on with that nice Mr Saddam that they got together and headed for the Embasy...all 150 of them. Hey, did I mention I went to the World Jousting Champs hosted right here in Upper Hutt this year? There was lots of really cool slashing, hacking, guys on horses charging full tilt (literally) at each other, and the crowd loved it. Did I say crowd? Oh yes there were a few thousand people there. It didn't make the news, not sure why but working on TVNZ numbers/conclusion/tell em what to think method then all I can say is it is clear that KIWIS WANT ANOTHER CRUSADE! Think that can be sorted for us? Ta.
IT'S NOT JUST ME AND IAN MURRAY EITHER Here's an example of someone else with a choice between a job and blogging. This chap , Franciso Toro, has given up being a stringer for the New York Times in Venezuela, largely because he can't accept their mealy-mouthed approach to covering dictatorial lunatic Hugo Chavez. In his case the move was voluntary, but reading between the lines it sound to me that he jumped rather than be pushed.

Dear Pat, After much careful consideration, I’ve decided I can’t continue reporting for the New York Times. As I examine the problem, I realize it would take much more than just pulling down my blog to address your conflict of interests concerns. Too much of my lifestyle is bound up with opposition activism at the moment, from participating in several NGOs, to organizing events and attending protest marches. But even if I gave all of that up, I don’t think I could muster the level of emotional detachment from the story that the New York Times demands. For better or for worse, my country’s democracy is in peril now, and I can’t possibly be neutral about that.

Tonight I think I'll play a game of Tropico in honour of that nut Chavez. I wonder what settings you should use when drawing up a character for him? Hmmm... BACKGROUND - Man of the People. Relations with Communist faction +20%. Relations with Religious faction 5%. RISE TO POWER - Elected as Socialist. Democracy expectations - High. Liberty +20%. Relations with Communist faction +10%. Relations with Russia +5%. QUALITIES Charismatic Overall Respect +5% Radio and TV Dogma +50% Sociable Relations with Communist faction +5% Tourism Rating +10% Crime Rate +10% Attracts more spring break tourists FLAWS Moronic Education -50% Colleges prohibited The Great Schmoozola Relations with Intellectuals faction -20% Relations with Russia -10% Relations with USA -10% Respect of the least intelligent +10%
IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN Poor Ian Murray. Sacked for blogging. When I read "Edge of England's Sword" today, I felt a familiar sinking sensation in my stomach. Of course, what happened to him is much worse than my fate, at least I managed to cling to my job and can still blog, albeit under a semi-assumed name and under certain restrictions in what I can talk about. And this blog, "Silent Running", is itself a creation of that awful experience. My brother Murray did a very unselfish thing in starting and organising this blog, and then Brad put all these great design elements together, and Mike Hackmeister, Alisa and David Bisman have made important contributions...it was a very heartwarming thing, and I'm very grateful to them. And to the many people who wrote and expressed their support I still can't thank you enough. It made me realise that there were actual people out there who read what I wrote, and cared enough to make contact. Today it's Ian Murray's turn to see the Blogosphere rally round to his support and, if neccessary, his defence. Besides, as a Murray, he's mishpocha. He and I are possibly both descended from Lord George Murray, the only man at the Battle of Cullodden with a workable plan. It consisted of two words. Run away. But we're not running away from THIS fight.

1/15/2003

Here we go, again
Although this time, the circumstances are a wee bit different. Seems that Iain Murray has been sacked for blogging. According to linked materials, Iain was employed in the DC area by Statistical Assessments Service. According to the entry, this is an activity that Iain's previous boss knew about, and apparently encouraged. There is also the hint that normal organizational policy for termination was not followed. At least this time it isn't a government-subsidized behemoth of a slug-like entity in a country without benefit of the First Amendment. Whew. To remark that the boss doing the firing appears to have acted like a pinheaded moron runs the severe risk of denigrating pinheaded morons everywhere, so it would probably be best not to refer to him as such. Also, to opine as to the judgment of the managerial or executive decision making abilities of the SAS are roughly that of excessively inbred reptile feeder rats would probably highly annoy my daughter's pet Dell, so that just won't do, either. Look forward to hearing about the -rest of the story-, which hopefully will resemble, if only figuratively, an Aztec sacrificial ritual, with Iain's attorney cast in the role of the guy with the sharp object, and SAS the ones strapped to the stone slab. As a service, for those wishing to take notes should Iain mention that expressions of general displeasure won't make the situation worse, contact information for the outfit that buffoonishly just deprived themselves of his talents is at the bottom of the page, here. If you aren't properly outraged by all this, just keep in mind that on at least one previous occaision that someone got sacked for blogging, the result was that everyone was soon subjected to a hideous dose of red background and top banner. Yecch. No telling what sort of consequence may flow from the wrong done today...
Wonder if Russell is upset?
Apparently, the temper tantrum noises coming from North Korea have begun to bother Mean Mr. Mustard.
Just be grateful that I'm not allowed anywhere near the big red button marked "North Korea: stone-age," because I would have long ago jumped on that motherfucker.
Wow. An understandable reaction, if you take the spittle flecked ranting from Pyongyang with any seriousness or attempt to fit them into a literally logical framework whatsoever. First thing to do when considering North Korea, is to keep in mind that these people live in their own version of reality, which is a lot more twisted than anything Rod Serling trotted out and served up as an episode for the Twilight Zone. Second, realize that historically, their approach to and opening gambit to 'negotiations' is to be so completely bellicose that even a seasoned New Yorker would blanche at their rudeness. Thirdly, to keep in mind that they are dealing from a position of extreme weakness - even if their hole card of possible nukes does fill the inside straight. Taking all that together, it adds up to basically this - it isn't a crisis, unless we play along and let it become one. So far, I'd say we've done a pretty good job not playing along. Sure, responses to frenzied questions in true chicken little style from the press have been fielded. Yes, a lot of chattering has been stirred up discussing the issues involved. Certainly, some of the dimmer bulbs in the box have taken parts and pieces of the Korean spewage and combined it with latent anti-Americanism and 'voiced concerns'. What have we actually done? Not much, but a great deal. For starters, by giving them the basic brush off right out of the gate and letting the 'internationals' hand out the warnings that they were screwing up, we deprived them of considerable fuel. Since then, we've more or less let them flail around and make asses of themselves, which they already do with great abandon. Then, to head off any cluck clucking about our intransigence, we are more than willing to let them send an official delegation to talk with uber-importante US officials about the 'crises'. Uber-importante officials? Oh, yeah, right. Its just Bill Richardson. I'm sure he's the man to go to for a great N.M Trout 'working dinner', but really, and no offense intended to the New Mexicans that elected him Governor, who the fuck is Bill Richardson in the grand scheme of things? Really? He's a familiar face in a suit and tie with a nice official 'government' title that's willing to sit and listen to the North Koreans rant and rave from a prepared text, and save a little international 'face'. Very little. Brilliant move, throw them a bone that has so little meat on it that it might as well be off a dinosaur in a museum. We've offered to resume supplying them the oil and food they need to keep from basically freezing and or starving to death - which may have caught them off guard, coming so early in the parley, as they knee jerked and condemned the offer. Aside from giving them an offer that would keep the Korean people from starving any faster than they already are, basically the position is about the same as you'd take towards an ill tempered Chihuahua or Pomeranian. Ignore the snippy snarling and bared teeth, but if it goes to take a bite, punt it for the uprights. Let them know, privately, that if they want to play in the bigs, the rules for the bigs apply, and aren't subject to negotiation. Everyone holds their cards, without waving them around, and be sure that any use at all, gets lots in return, no questions asked. By all accounts, the North Koreans want to stick around, in power. There aren't any indications of dreams of martyrdom involved Knowing that, we already know the ultimate answer to how it will turn out when it boils down to the naked, ultimate question - You assholes wanna live, or what? The noise level should begin to dissipate, although not as quickly as some would like.
HELP CHEER AN OLAH CHADASHA UP Rinat (formerly Renatinha from Brazil) is a new immigrant to Israel, and like a lot of such folk, she's been finding it tough sledding. Jobs, apartments, money hassles - all the things that can go wrong and which usually do when you change your life dramatically. Her blog, Balagan, has followed her to Israel, and it's been fascinating to read about all the ups and (mostly) downs of her life. She's just switched apartments and has a bathroom ALL TOO HERSELF! And even a job possibility! I reckon she sounds like she needs cheering up, so I'd count it as a personal favour if you headed on over to her blog and left her a cheerful message. Consider it your mitzvah for the day.
THE TRUE POWER OF THE BLOGOSPHERE Michele at A Small Victory was having a problem with her child, DJ. Or rather, DJ was having a problem. Seems there was this bully at school, and when Michele tried to address the problem, all the school could do was try to look out for the rights of the bully. In frustration and anger, she wrote a post about her less-than-confidence-engendering experience with the school authorities. Then the Blogosphere took over, and hi-jinks ensued...

About a week after I posted about DJ's bully problem, Joanne Jacobs put the story in a column that appeared on both the Fox News website and Jewish World Review. After my original post, I received an email from LaVonne, who put me in touch with an author who wrote a book that dealt with bullying. After the Fox column appeared, I received an email from an attorney who sent me the exact wording I should use in a letter to the school. After the JWR column appeared, I received an email from Dawn Pennington of Ribbons of Promise National Campaign to End School Violence. She then had the director of the program email me a brochure the group uses. From that, I used their suggested wording of a letter to send to the school administrators.

I think this is insanely cool. It may be a globalised electronic brave new world out there, but folks will always try to help out someone with a problem. The Internet isn't going to depersonalise us - it's a vast world-wide back fence we can use to chat to our neighbours and swap advice. And porn...

1/14/2003

DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM AND CAPITALISM...WHY THEY SUCK Yup, the Left are still tying to pollute our precious bodily fluids by trying to convince everyone that our system is flawed. The latest through-the-back-door method is apparently to convince us that our way of life is unexportable. All that pesky freedom and voting rights and letting girls get an education is apparently jolly fine for us, but dash it all Carruthers, do you really think those brown-skinned native chappies are really ready for the modern world? Salon brings us a review of "World On Fire" by Amy Chua, who argues that when Third World countries embrace democracy and free markets too quickly, ethnic hatred and even genocide can result.

"In the numerous countries around the world that have pervasive poverty and a market-dominant minority, democracy and markets -- at least in the form in which they are currently being promoted -- can proceed only in deep tension with each other. In such conditions, the combined pursuit of free markets and democratization has repeatedly catalyzed ethnic conflict in highly predictable ways. This has been the sobering lesson of globalization in the last twenty years." [ ... ] "World On Fire" is about a phenomenon Chua calls "market-dominant minorities," groups like the Chinese in Southeast Asia, Jews in Russia, whites in Zimbabwe and Indians in East Africa and Fiji. Market-dominant minorities control hugely disproportionate percentages of their countries' resources. Filipino Chinese comprise just 1 to 2 percent of the Philippines' population, but control all of the country's major supermarkets, fast-food restaurants and large department stores, and all but one of the nation's banks. A similar situation obtains in Indonesia. Jews make up a similarly tiny proportion of Russia's population, but of the seven "oligarchs" who control virtually all of the country's business, six are Jewish.

The argument apprently seems to be that if you level the playing field, some groups will get richer and others won't, and that's just not fair. Could it be that some groups fit their members out for the modern world better than others, and the answer might be to educate everyone with the skills they need to be competitive in the global economy? Well...no.

Chua argues for sweeping reforms that would give disenfranchised populations a stake in their nation's resources, as well as massive affirmative-action policies of the kind being undertaken in South Africa and, with notable success, in Malaysia.

The news that Malaysia's overtly a crudely racist bumiputra policy of excluding Chinese and Indians from political power, while allowing them to run the business sector so ethnic Malays can award themselves comfortable government jobs paid for by taxes on the earnings of other races, has been a noteable success will probably come as a notable surprise to any Chinese or Indian living in Malaysia. I know for a fact it is bitterly resented. I flatted with some guys from Singapore and Malaysia while I was at university, and lived in Singapore when I was a kid, and I know full well the anger of the non-Malays. Their children are denied places at university because of racist quotas, so their parents pay enormous amounts of money to send them the Australia, New Zealand and the UK for tertiary education. And them Malays sneer about "wealthy Chinese" sending their offspring to better overseas universities. Many of those Chinese and Indian families sacrifice EVERYTHING so their kids can get a shot at life they're denied by their own government, solely on the basis of race. If Amy Chua is under the impression that kowtowing to racist bullies and not promoting democracy will help anyone, she is delusional. The global economy is coming. People who wish to be successful will adapt to it. Those who do not adapt will not be successful. The West helps no-one in the Third World by ignoring the need to have representative government and free markets. She is quite correct that this may be accompanied by turmoil, as those at the bottom of the heap employ violence out of envy of those who are more successful. But you can't just pluck prosperity out of thin air. It has to be worked for. Those who work should be rewarded. Those who want to steal the fruits of someone else's work should be punished. Those who want to learn how to be successful should be encouraged and educated. Her fear that democracy and capitalism are not suited to the developing world, for fear of mob violence, although dressed up in 20th century academic language, is actually a modern mutation of a much earlier notion - that the natives are such children that they cannot be trusted to govern themselves, and a firm hand is needed so they don't get out of hand. The Left, ladies and gentlemen, is now appropriating 19th century racial paternalism. I say again - when did the Left and the Right apparently switch playbooks?
WHY THINGS ARE SO SCREWED UP, SINCE YOU ASKED What the hell happened to liberalism? When was that word hijacked by maniacs? These days it's the Left who want to forbid you from doing what you want, ban things they don't approve of, put up fences and "Keep Out" signs, and exercise state control over our bodies and minds. Meanwhile, over here on the Right, which I had always previously assumed was a place of darkness, fear and madness, it's a 24/7 freedom party! Also, a prosperity, equality and opportunity party. Woo hoo! I don't know this was where the fun was. Anyway, here's an example of why "liberalism" as currently malpracticed is a hopeless failure. This is an excerpt from an article by a guy who decided to Do Some Good by teaching at an inner-city school, and wound up getting sued for 20 million dollars. Read the whole thing, and then tell me if you're still an unquestioning liberal.

This lack of consequences encouraged a level of violence I never could have imagined among any students, let alone second-graders. Fights broke out daily—not just during recess or bathroom breaks but also in the middle of lessons. And this wasn’t just playful shoving: we’re talking fists flying, hair yanked, heads slammed against lockers. When I asked other teachers to come help me stop a fight, they shook their heads and reminded me that D.C. Public Schools banned teachers from laying hands on students for any reason, even to protect other children. When a fight brewed, I was faced with a Catch-22. I could call the office and wait ten minutes for the security guard to arrive, by which point blood could have been shed and students injured. Or I could intervene physically, in violation of school policy. Believe me, you have to be made of iron, or something other than flesh and blood, to stand by passively while some enraged child is trying to inflict real harm on another eight-year-old. I couldn’t do it. And each time I let normal human instinct get the best of me and broke up a fight, one of the combatants would go home and fabricate a story about how I had hurt him or her. The parent, already suspicious of me, would report this accusation to Ms. Savoy, who would in turn call in a private investigative firm employed by D.C. Public Schools. Investigators would come to Emery and interview me, as well as several students whom the security guard thought might tell the truth about the alleged incident of corporal punishment.

LOOKS LIKE WE GOT ANOTHER AUSSIE TERRORIST This one is a taxi driver from Melbourne. I'm hardly surprised, it seems like every time I use a cab here, the driver is named Hassan, or Ahmed or Mohammed something.

A Melbourne taxi-driver suspected of training with al-Qa'ida was catching a plane home when he was detained by Pakistani police earlier this month, authorities believe. [ ... ] Mr Thomas, who converted to Islam in the mid-1990s at the Newport Mosque outside Melbourne, worked as a taxi driver in Williamstown, as well as teaching at an Islamic school. Islamic Council of Victoria spokesman Yasser Soliman said Mr Thomas should be brought back to Australia to be either charged or freed. "All Australians would like to know what he is charged with and to see justice done," Mr Soliman said.

Incorrect. This is a war, and he's a P.O.W. Off to Gitmo with him. Oh, and if anyone thinks he's a wide-eyed innocent abroad, unjustly caught up in the demonic Bush's satantic so-called "War on Terror", kindly be advised that Mr Jack Terrence Thomas has been proudly sporting a new name since converting to Islam. Jihad.
WHAT HE SAID... Another stone tablet has been handed down from Mt Sinai by Victor Davis Hanson (all rise).

The anti-Americans often invoke Rome as a warning and as a model, both of our imperialism and of our foreordained collapse. But the threats to Rome's predominance were more dreadful in 220 B.C. than in A.D. 400. The difference over six centuries, the dissimilarity that led to the end, was a result not of imperial overstretch on the outside but of something happening within that was not unlike what we ourselves are now witnessing. Earlier Romans knew what it was to be Roman, why it was at least better than the alternative, and why their culture had to be defended. Later in ignorance they forgot what they knew, in pride mocked who they were, and in consequence disappeared.

1/13/2003

Reports of my death are at the very least slightly premature. In spite of the emails I have recieved, be assured I am not currently feeding the fishes in the Hutt River after ignoring posted warnings not to attempt to raft in the current weather. There are several reasons I'm not this person, at the top of the list... I'm not a fucking moron. I'm only midly surprised that when there there is a news report saying "asshole lost on rafting trip in Hutt River" should result in people assuming its me, on the few occasions when some nutter snaps and goes nuts with a gun the phone runs hot as well. At least I'm not a boring person. I'll get you the link later, in the mean time. Not dead, nyah nyah! I guess now would be a bad time to advertise my one man rafts for sale... bugger.
ruh rho rhaggy....
Seems that everyone is starting to backpedal with a a vengence (or more likely, to avoid vengance) on the subject of Bobby Mugabe's potential early retirement plan. Seems that somebody has been arranging something, as it appears Malaysia has extended an offer to let Mugabe settle there if he goes into exile. The 'into exile' part sounds good. A better idea for a location would be a wood box under about 6 feet of dirt. But then, those are better accomodations than some of his victims have received.

1/12/2003

Bobby M to go on extended holiday?
Bobby Mugabe, of late absent on holiday for two weeks from his pet basket case of a country, Zimbabwe, may be getting the heave-ho. Seems that while Bobby was out of town, folks got together (all on condition of anonyimity, mind you, because they might get their peckers whacked, or lopped off, if Bobby found out about this too soon) and decided that he was 'the problem'. Can the crowd give me a "DOH!" and an Amen? Apparently, the concensus appears to be not to call for Mugabe to go into exile, and they're making noises about 'immunity from prosecution'. All the right noises to make to get him to stick around so it will be easier to get their hands on him and string him up after he's been removed from office. And who says there isn't any good news out there any more?