Media Idiocy Hits Bottom; Digs
But I can't seem to decide. About who wins the prize for absolute idiocy during today's coverage of the Columbia accident. My top picks, in no particular order of disgust: 1) The puny-brain journo that initially raised the 'terrorism' angle, which took off like wildfire with the big outlets. Also in this column are the legions of producers that did pick up the thread, and continued tossing the 'no apparent terrorism involved' crap. They might as well be announcing, with confidence, that there is 'no apparent strawberry ice cream involved'. The bozos with the 6th century mindset would probably have a hard time conjuring up a masturbatory fantasy about taking out a space mission, much less actually doing it. Little more involved than buying a box cutter, a first class ticket, wrapping their peckers in gauze, or cinching on a belt of C-4. 2) The Ameri-centric hand wringing over the 'plight' of the crew onboard the International Space Station. You'd think they were drooling over the prospect of continuous 'space castaways' coverage or something. The first clue indication here is the name of the damned thing. International. Hello, what about Russia? Although it's been more than 15 seconds now, you do remember them, right? Lets try something else...Lance Bass, yeah, yeah, those guys that were going to sell a ride on one of their rockets to guess where? See how it all falls into line when you start from a point of reference they can relate to? 3) Again, the Ameri-centric recounting of 'all' the deaths from the Space effort. Wait a second. They only mention Apollo 1 and Challenger. What about the Russians? I mean its not like they have to include Laika the dog and get PETA in a tizzy or anything. 4) The research rodent that first cobbled together the irrelevancy of Palestine, Texas (locals pronounce it STEEN, btw), Col Ramon, Texas in general, and George Bush, and pronounced it to be the great aligning of tealeaves that means (fill in your answer here). Jeebus, is the tin foil hat division going to be putting in some overtime on that one. 5) The CBC bottom feeder that asked a guest if 'American Arrogance' was a contributing factor, the people that hired him, and those same people again if they haven't already issued dufus a pink slip. Yeah, well * him and the moose he rode in on. Sideways. I remember a conversation I had with my Uncle, who worked at the KSC. During the course of the discussion, I mentioned Jules Bergman, the ABC talking head for Space News during the 60's and early 70s. Before I'd finished the sentence, my Uncle stated in no uncertain terms that Jules Bergman was an idiot. At the time, I wondered why my Uncle was so forceful in his pronouncement. I know longer wonder, unfortunately.
Had very little news access today - only managed to hear audio of the President's speech, and one of the NASA press briefings. This line will stay with me for a long time. A NASA official, trying to maintain his composure and recount the details of the initial telemetry analysis during the last few moments before the data feed ceased, stopped, and paused.
We've had a bad day here.
As have we all.
Rick D. Husband William C. McCool Michael P. Anderson David M. Brown Kalpana Chawla Laurel Clark Ilan Ramon
May the lord bless them and keep them. May the lord make his face to shine upon them. May the peace of the lord, which passeth all understanding, be with their families.
..THAT WHICH WE ARE, WE ARE... Taken from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses", via NZ Pundit.

Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. It may be that the gulfs may wash us down: It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

THE POD PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN OVER KURT VONNEGUT What have they done with his body?

"I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka 'Christians,' and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or 'PPs.'"

A DISTURBING THOUGHT EXPERIMENT The Chief Rabbi, Johnathan Sacks (all rise) wants to know at what point you can use the term "anti-semitism", and brings it all disturbingly close to home. This post brought to you by David Bisman.

Suppose someone were to claim that there is a form of prejudice called anti-kiwism, an irrational hatred of New Zealanders. What might convince us he was right? Criticism of the New Zealand government? No. A denial of New Zealand's right to exist? Maybe. Seven thousand terrorist attacks on New Zealand citizens in the past year? Possibly. A series of claims at the UN Conference against Racism in Durban that New Zealand, because of its treatment of the Maori, is uniquely guilty of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, accompanied by grotesque Nazi-style posters? Perhaps. A call to murder all those with New Zealand loyalties even though they were born and live elsewhere? A suggestion that New Zealanders control the world's economy? That they are responsible for Aids and poisoning water supplies? That they arranged the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre? That they are a satanic force of evil against whom a holy war must be fought? By now we have moved from criticism to hatred to evil fantasy. But delete "New Zealand" and insert "Israel" and "Jews", and all these things have happened in the past year. What more has to happen before an impartial observer concludes that anti-semitism is alive and well and dangerous?


Ok sports fans, I know you've been hanging out for the first round scores of the World Rugby 7's and I suspect your local stations might not be carrying it so.. NZ 43 - USA 0 Not looking good for an NZ/US final... sorry bout that.
Why 'they' hate us
Selflessly Working Overtime to Keep our Country Safe
90,000 pages of backlogged documents. Genius contract INS employee Dawn Randall's apparent solution? Five night shift workers and a shredder. Good plan. Keeps all the bad people from getting into the country, because it keeps everyone that sent their application paperwork to her processing center from getting into the country. Slight problem. Because there is no way of telling what the hell she had her people destroy -
After the shredding was discovered, the immigration service opened a hotline for people who suspected their paperwork had been destroyed. Agency officials helped petitioners reconstruct their files and gave applicants the benefit of the doubt if they could not replace the documents they had submitted, said Lori Haley, a spokeswoman for the I.N.S.'s western regional office.
I believe the call used to go something like "Ollie, Ollie, outs in free! Thanks, ya blockheaded bimbo.
Carter: Iraq threat does not justify war Wind Rider: A Nobel prize doesn't justify we suffer the idiotic opinions of Anti-Semetic Peanut Farmers. Jimmy didn't get it when he lived at 1600. Swinging a hammer for Habitat over the years hasn't helped him build a clue either. What Hyman Rickover ever saw in the young James Carter may have been good enough for taking orders as a junior officer on a Nuclear Sub at the entry level, but it turns out not much else. Carter never met a thuggish dictator he couldn't warm up to and apoligize for, or a foriegn policy position he couldn't endorse if it was detrimental to the United States prestige, safety, or security in the world. The man that sold control of a major trade artery to local thugs, and allowed the entire nation to be held hostage by the radicals that overran our Embassy in Teheran. The man that could only counter the wholesale invasion of a country by the Soviet Union by refusing to allow the Olympic Team to show up. Yeah, that slowed the Red juggernaught, and taught them a lesson they won't soon forget! Trouble is, most of the sterling achievments of Carter's horrendous stint as Chief Executive did turn out to be lessons that the world never forgot. He taught the world about an America that equivocates, vacilates, and backs down. He taught the world about an America of self doubt, uncertainty, and weakness of will. He taught the world an incomplete, inaccurate lesson of America, a lesson more applicable to America not in the hands of a leader. This lesson should have been dispelled by Reagan, and Bush Sr, but some re-learned the lesson again, during the William Jefferson's eight years of wagging the dog and chasing the polls. Jimmy should head home to Plains. Pretty soon the weather will warm back up, and he can head down to the pond for some fishing, and resume his most useful role - target for the attack bunnies.
Take that, Kirsten! So, Dennis Miller supports the war. Well, so what? Who is he, anyway? Just because he has been fooling around on TV for a while means that anyone should care what he thinks? Oh, what the hell...Way to go, Dennis!!! And, he says Holywood should just shut up. I am in love! I wonder where Paul Hogan is on war.
No kidding. IBA radio reports that 170 members (more than a quarter) of the European parliament have signed a letter, demanding an investigation into the use the PA has been making of the European aid money. The signees are from different political parties. A French representative, who is a socialist, says that the PA has used the money to fund suicide bombings in Israel, and the bombers' families. Welcome to reality.
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE "WHAT HE SAID" POSTS Every now and then, the words speak for themselves, and require no embellishments or commentary. This is what Judge William Young said to Richard, Reid, the shoe-bomber, as he was led away to serve a life sentence without hope of parole. No Hollywood scriptwriter whould have dared to pen something so trite, so cliched, so corny...and absolutely true.

"We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. ... You're big, but you're not that big. You are no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist." "You hate our freedom -- our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, and to believe or not believe as we individually choose. ... See that flag, Mr. Reid? That is the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is forgotten. And it still stands for freedom."

What he said...
FIRST BLOGGER MARRIAGE? Sasha and Andrew are getting hitched in Maine! Congratulations to the happy couple, and here's hoping you can avoid any bureaucratic entanglements when you go through Heathrow immigration control again. If they give you any grief, the Blogosphere can unleash quite a shitrain. Let's hope it won't come to that.
MANDELA ISN'T TAKING HIS MEDICATION Apparently he used to be a great man, but lately he's become a useless, drooling, idiocy-spewing waste of space.

Mandela accused the United States of committing what he called "unspeakable atrocities" around the globe. "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care." "What I'm condemning is that one power with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust," he continued.

Mr Mandela, I know what a holocaust is. I go to shul with people who lived through a holocaust. If you think the liberation of a country from a sadistic madman and his mutant offspring, and the lifting of the threat of weapons of mass destruction is a holocaust, then you sir, have no idea what a holocaust is. Now take your bloody pills like the nurse said and stop bothering us you stupid old fart. Someone had to say it.
VIRGINIA HEINLEIN (1917 - 2003) I only discovered today that Ginny had died earlier this month. At least she got to see the end of communism and the collapse of the Soviet system, which she hated with all the passion she could muster. By all accounts she was a formidable woman, taught herself Russian in middle age, and could argue Marxist theory with a Commissar until they were both black in the face. Anf Bob loved her passionately.

"She is red headed and quite much of an athlete--four letters in college--and could probably lick me in a fair fight, but I never fight fair, so it doesn't matter. She outranks me on the Navy rolls, which seems to give her quite a bit of satisfaction." The Boston Globe reported that "she became the model for many of the red-haired and seemingly improbably talented women in Mr. Heinlein's stories."

Mind you, if Ginny had anything to do with that arsehole Verhoeven getting his grubbly little paws on "Starship Troopers", then when she gets Upstairs, or wherever we go, or don't go, she's got some 'splainin' to do! I'm still waiting for someone to do a film of the book. Good god, I mean, "Starship Troopers" without History and Moral Philosophy? No power-armour? Next up, a remake of Hamlet, only without that annoying little Prince who can't seem to make up his mind. Sheesh...
CHIRAC - "L'EUROPE C'EST MOI" Or as James Burke might say, "Or...is it?" Joe Katzman quite reasonably urges a little rhetorical restraint on the Blogosphere when it comes to dumping our little buckets of merde over "the Europeans". It's all very well to oppose cowardice, idiocy, selective morality and appeasement, but it's probably not a good idea to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Within living memory it cost the lives of millions, and a considerable part of the United States vast wealth to liberate Europe from tyrrany, and set it back on its feet. I don't think anyone wants to undo the incredibly effective work of Generals Eisenhower and Marshall by simply consiging the lot of them to the dustbin or history. America has invested too much in the freedom and prosperity of Europe to allow a temporary rush of blood to the head to undo all that work.

Emotional satisfaction is no substitute for a tough, wise, winning policy. The peace of Europe was not easily won. Their armies may be weak, but they are steeped in the Western Way of War and its technologies – what Victor Davis Hanson correctly refers to as "the most lethal practice of arms conceivable." To even consider setting in motion forces that could lead to irreconcilable division on the European continent is to toy with the gravest of risks. The signatories of this letter understand that. So, too, should those of us in the blogosphere. This does not mean we must become quietist or morally defenseless. It does mean we have an obligation to think before we speak. To issue ringing and reasoned condemnation of cowardice and moral turpitude is a sign of moral health. To fire "the jibe heard round the world" from one's home computer is exemplary. To lapse into ethnic caricatures, or engage in blanket condemnation of entire societies, or to engage in loose talk that calls out a genuine European democracy as "evil," is not. To know one's history is to recall where such careless talk has led Europe before. We did not enjoy the view. Yes, Europe is spiritually sick. "When people accept futility and the absurd as normal," wrote Frenchman Jacques Barzun, "the culture is decadent. The term is not a slur; it is a technical label." That said, sick is not yet evil. France's action may be amoral, or venal, or even supportive of evil people. But it is not an evil country with death camps like North Korea, or organized rape and torture like Iraq. To suggest that France and Iraq occupy the same moral plane is to indulge in grave errors of proportion and perspective.

Now I, as the descendant of generations of beef-eating English archery specialists, have no particular love for the French. The two-fingered salute still employed as a gesture of derision and contempt originated among the longbowmen who slaughtered the cream of French chivalry at Agincourt, to show that we were uncaptured and had not had our two bow-pulling fingers cut off. Oh sure, they tend to be untrustworthy allies, they're as arrogant as hell without having actually won any wars to speak of, their avante-garde philosophers give me the shits, they're the only country to have attacked New Zealand in peacetime...actually those are all pretty good arguments. No, no, I'm lifting the blood-red mist from my eyes today, trying to be Mr Reasonable. Part of the problem may be that we are seeing nations as monolithic single actors. When Bill Clinton was busy shooting two million dollar cruise missiles into ten dollar tents and hitting a camel in the arse, did you feel he was representing you> I mean, my country's Prime Minister right now is Helen Clark, and if you think I feel responsible for the things she says, then you've slipped your moorings entirely. The problem may be the elites who rule Europe at the moment. Democracy has an imperfect record on the continent, to say the least, and the old aristocratic habits have not entirely died out. I mean, how many of the top EU decision makers are actually elected by the people they claim to represent? How many votes did Chris Patten get when he was made a European Commissioner? Oh yeah, that's right - he wasn't elected at all, he was just appointed! The tide of freedom and representative government is sweeping the world, and as President Bush noted the other day, it is free people who will determine the course of history. Europe will not be immune. Perhaps some of the resistance to American leadership were are seeing is more a reaction from the ultra-liberal bureaucratic/academic/media elite which rules the continent to what they see as a threat to their class position. In a sense, it's a pale reflection of the panic felt by Arab autocrats at the prospect to Iraq becoming an outpost of liberty in their midst. Europe has been though period of malaise before, as has the United States. But it has been around a long time, and it's values and institutions are not that far removed from those of the English speaking peoples. The gap can be bridged, and I suggest the thing to do is to imitate what we're about to do in the Arab/Muslim world. Forget the ruling class, and reach out direct to the people. After all, it's they who will determine the future, not unelected officials in Brussels. And if any Americans still have any residual sense of debt to the French because of their intervention on the Rebel side of the American Revolution, it's worthwhile bearing in mind that it was the ancien' regime, not Revolutionary France, that came to your aid. And they did it for extremely cynical reasons of realpolitik. Being able to keep the British occupied with a rebellion right in the middle of a war against France was an extremely good strategy. And although it wasn't all about oil back then, it had an awful lot to do with sugar. I kid you not, read Barbara Tuchman's book on the importance of naval strategy in the American Revolution, "The First Salute". Oh, and something you might not be aware of - the huge significance of Dutch involvement in the Revolution. Europe has never been out of the picture - it would be wise not to write her off now either.


Denial. Absolute Denial
This very pointed article by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard points up the level of what can only be described as denial by Tom Daschle, and probably a lot of others, too.
After a press conference this afternoon Daschle took questions from reporters. He continued his criticism of President Bush on Iraq, saying, "I don't think the administration has presented adequate, convincing evidence to say that [Iraq] can produce weapons to share with terrorist," he said. Confused, I asked Daschle to clarify. "You don't think Saddam disarmed unilaterally, do you?" "We don't have any concrete evidence that he has not," Daschle replied. "And that's the issue."
By now it's clear, to the point of being painfully obvious, that they're either lying to us, to themselves, or both. That, or they suffer from a form of Turets, but they have an uncontrollable penchant to utter extreme stupidity, instead of random curses. And speaking of Unilateral Action. Yep, looks like we are going it alone, folks. Cowboy bastages, we be. Yippee Ki-ya...well, you know the rest of that saying. Just took a look at the lunar cycle. Not quite optimal, but a completely new moon is not an absolute pre-requisite. I think it could all be over but for the scurrying of the harbingers of doom by the time the moon is full. Of course, the moon does enter last quarter, headed for complete darkness, by the 23d. Not sure if the kickoff will drag out to quite that long, though.
That flushing sound was 100 Billion, folks
Wall St. Wonders How AOL Time Warner Will Right Itself. One quick tip would be to stop spending so much to supply everyone with free coasters in individual metal storage cases...
CAN'T BLOG...SICK... Meryl Yourish is so totally on my case these days. She's all like "Write more", and I'm like, "No way", and she gets all "You're slacking" and so I go "I'm like, sick" and then she goes...she goes...well, she just GOES!

Then there's that other Australian blog, run by the Kiwis, Americans, and—hey, Alisa, where are you from, anyway? And Wind Rider, who is not only 100% American but who lives about two hours west of me, seems to be doing most of the writing these days. What's up with Tom? Is he that busy, or did you have someone break his fingers so you could take over his blog?

My excuse is that I'm really not feeling well at the moment. I have a doctors appointment this afternoon, and I'm anticipating some drugs will be prescribed, so if I start blogging about what happens if you look at your hand, I mean really look at your hand for three hours, and start predicting that the war against Iraq will take seven years, and is likely to result in a victory for the accursed Venetians and their allies in the Holy League, then please cut me some slack, it'll be the drugs talking. It's a good thing I'm a clean-living and law-abiding chap, because after my last experience with nitrus oxide at the dentists, I can tell you it's a damn good thing that stuff isn't legal outside a medical context. I huffed that stuff right up and begged for more! It's just wonderful! My Dad, who picked me up afterwards, said I was babbling incoherently for a couple of hours. Yeah, yeah, how could he tell the difference from the normal me, and the one on nitrus oxide, I'm ahead of you there. Well, although I'm temporarily hors de combat, Mery posted today, so I don't have to. She's not just a good writer, she's also as funny as a fit. Someone offer her an obscene amount of money, she deserves it just for this, to the tune of "If You're Happy And You Know It"...

If Osama is your hero, call jihad If your GDP's near zero, call jihad If your nation has no future and your wife won't let you smooch her If your women have no rights then call jihad If your ruler's not elected, call jihad If your nukes are not perfected, call jihad If your leader's a dictator and the people's hopes are faded If your ruler is a Ba'ath, call jihad If you sit on top of oil, call jihad If your Wahabs are a-boil, call jihad If your folks came from the sand dunes and their progeny are all loons If your state religion's Wahab, call jihad If you want elections later, call jihad If you're really a jew-hater, call jihad If your name is Abu Amar and your children are all bombers If you want no Israel state, then call jihad


Living to serve as a warning to others
That would be Bill Cimino
For you people with sense who have never tried this, it's easy. Pour some Cuervo (or Liquid Drain-o, it's feels the same) into a tablespoon, put it under your nose and snort away. Almost instantly, pain shoots through your head. If you want to experience this pain, jam a knitting needle up your nose. The burning begins - first in your nose, then it creeps down your throat. Your eyes begin to water and then you go blind for about 4 minutes. Right before you lose your hearing, you become retarded. You start twitching and crying and choking. It takes about 20 minutes to regain your sight, speech and hearing. Trust me on this. Don't ever, ever snort Tequila.
Ok Bill, I'm convinced to never try it. Thanks for the 'craniums elevate'. Bill is the resident lunatic running the asylum at Bloviating Inanities.
SMACKED UP BY MY BITCH Teenagers can be idiots can't they? I know I was, but I plead that it was the 70's, so idiocy was in the atmosphere. I mean, Jimmy Carter was elected President, for gods sake! Well, here's a lovely vignette about what it's like to be a teenager living in the belly of the fascist beast that is W's Amerikka.

I feel ashamed to be an American, I honestly do. Bush is the American equivalent of Saddam, which is patheticly sad. If I could, I would move to Sweden or Finland, but my goddamn parents are too 'patriotic' to do such a thing. America IS full of ignorant cretins, IMO. On 12.09.01, I mentioned that the terrorists were not 'cowardly' as Bush said, and that they had intentions that they thought were honorable. I immediately received two punches to the face, and a kick to the groin from a girl, and I was forever branded a 'bastard commie' by my peers. God I hate America...

Yeah, I'm 16, I'm angry at my father, I can't have a car, Mom won't let me fuck my girlfriend at home at the weekend, I HATE YOU, IT'S SO UNFAIR! NZPundit comments:

Isn't it fantastic to see the great progress being made by today's women? Did she go off and play smoochy with some hulking quarter-back to get him to do her dirty work? Hell no! Two to the face and one in the groin, all on her lonesome. Feminism; is there anything it hasn't accomplished?

CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES Number 19 is up at Ipse Dixit. Do you realise there's more great stuff in that one post than in any three issues of your favourite magazine? And for the bargain-basement prize of zippidy doo-dah? Isn't modern life grand?
An American in Cairo A reader sends this e-mail: "...just wanted to bring to your attention a ridiculous screed by a compatriot (sigh), which is published in today's issue of Alexander Cockburn's rag Counterpunch. The author, an Emily Zitter-Smith, is spending time in the hospitable elitist confines of the American University in Cairo, where she finds it fitting to rail about the outcome of Israeli democracy and, for good measure, in the article she disavows both her American citizenship and her Judaism. Just as Hosni Mubarak announces his intent to meet with Sharon, his American guest recounts her desire to dance on Sharon's grave (Yigal Amir, anyone?). Ms. Zitter-Smith deserves a good fisking. I'll do my part, but I hope you can spread the word so that by the end of the day the contents of her inbox overwhelm her with shame or, indeed, convince her to return her passport to the US Embassy and permanently adorn the chador (which she seems on track to do here)." Go read, if you have the stomach.
The campaign begins
In the race for idiotic statements from Democrats following the State of the Union. The contenders:
  • Ted Kennedy - Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said he would introduce a resolution requiring Bush to present "convincing evidence of an imminent threat" before sending troops to fight Iraq.
    Thats what you get for sleeping through the speech, Ted. Shoulda eased off the shooters at the pre-speech tailgate party.
  • Nancy Pelosi - The House Democratic leader said Bush "did not make a convincing case that the use of force now is the only way to disarm Iraq, or that removing Saddam from power would guarantee that a new regime would not pursue the same policies." She added, "The clear and present danger that our country faces is terrorism, and the president did not explain how a war with Iraq would not compromise our efforts against terrorists."
    Obviously in a panic thinking about how she was going to deal with the whipping Bush dealt the Dems in the first half of the speech, she must have totally zoned out for the second half.
  • Sen. John Kerry - a presidential hopeful (yeah, keep hoping), said the administration has failed to make a case to its allies or the American people and has a "unilateral, overbearing, high-handed way of interaction."
    well, pretty weak offering; not so much idiotic as completely divorced from reality
A fine start. We should see the moronathon hit full stride in the next couple of days.


Observations on a Speech by a Leader
The son learned the lessons of the father well. Focusing the initial wave of the speech solely on domestic matters was a shrewd move. The way he laid out his plan for economic stimulus and growth, while throwing in the impact statements in hard numbers using a family with a $40K income level, I got the impression he was sawing the legs off the Democrats with a broken bottle. The reaction shots from that side of the aisle looks like that's what it felt like from their perspective. Good. Its too bad the bottle wasn't still dripping isopropyl alcohol while he did it. Putting hard, actual numbers in the perspective of those that probably comprise a large part of the Dim 'base' will makes 'we have a plan, really' and 'he's giving it away to the 1%' crap seem even more shrill than before. Going to be tough for them to beat the tax bill going from over a grand to under a hundred bucks with smarmy gloom and doom about the national deficit to folks more concerned about their own Visa deficit. Pointing out that the elimination of the double tax on dividend monies will benefit 10 million Seniors that receive dividend income does a pretty good job of kicking the AARP leg out from under the Dims' rant stool. Setting the budget growth target in terms of the growth rate of an average household income was pretty good, too. Lots and lots of fidgeting going on on the Dim side of the Chamber. The health care portion was another poke on the Dims eyes with two fingers. I watched on C-SPAN, but the head angle when he delivered the line ditching socialized medicine as an option seemed to be pointed towards the general area of Ms. Hillary. Excellent selling point on the prescription drug coverage - basically, you guys and everyone that works for you has it, why shouldn't our old folks? While I think he's right on the direction of turning the decision making of health care away from paper pushers and accountants and back to doctors and patients is right on the mark, still think he's only addressing a portion of the basic causes for the out of control spiral that is medical economics in America today. Out of control tort actions is definitely a contributing factor, and should definitely be reigned in. I'd also advocate looking at the other variables involved as well - the rates and structuring of the insurance companies, and the oversight and quality controls on those practicing medicine. The medical community has contributed to the situation by failure to censure, sanction, or decertify incompetent and or dangerous doctors. This practice provides grist for the tort mill, and the hospitals, doctors themselves, and the insurance companies all inflate the numbers accordingly so everyone (except the public) maintains that positive cash flow. Basically, its a systemic issue, and only addressing one variable will not solve the problem. He even tosses a bone to the greenies (although the wailing is probably already cranking up that its either a trick, or 'all wrong', or 'not enough'). 70% reduction in power plant emissions. Save the forests. GWB a tree hugger? Who knew? The real stroke of genius was the fuel cell research initiative. Puts a really big stick, sideways, up the rear end of the 'all about oil' whiners, plus is enviro-friendly and less dependant on those dang pheriners for energy all in one fell swoop. Here's the guy described as the 'front man' for the oilitburo - proposing a plan to severely reduce sales of their primary product! Beauty! Of course the established energy concerns will figure out how to make a buck or two off the hydrogen's production, distribution, et al, but that's beside the point. Stephen Green can cluck cluck about Jetson-mobiles all he wants - this is, imho, a very, very good long term move. No partial birth abortion (basically killing a viable fetus), no cloning. No surprise. Aids in Africa. Whoa. Anyone see where that came from? Anyone? Think that portion is the closest thing to a service ace this speech had. The only way the Democrats can even begin to make up any ground whatsoever on this one is to outdo the program that Bush proposes. The outline of the plan itself is ambitious. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and the execution of this one will either win huge praise from history if done even moderately well, but be a magnet for condemnation if it turns into another conduit for funding to the kleptocrats tending the basket cases that are the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa. Best wishes for this one to actually pan out - those people need help from someone, and it certainly isn't coming from the limo liberals and the World Conference Buffet Busters, Incorporated. Then into the scary shit. Yes. The scary shit. Excellent transition from the plague of nature into the man-made evil... Good rundown on the progress against Al Qaeda - my favorite line "And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies" in reference to those on the AQ mort list. Nice segue into the generalism of terrorism, and a very, very deft turn of describing what has happened in Korea, and using it as the example for what must not be allowed to happen in Iraq. He wasted absolutely no time bandying about the niceties in regards to North Korea. Bottom line, 'we will not be blackmailed'. This line, translated into Korean, Northern dialect, then re-translated into English, actually comes out as 'go piss up a rope'. No threats, just a fact. Take a hike (piss ant). NZ Bear noted the extensive use of the UN's own data to restate the case, point by point, that the onus lay with Saddam to demonstrate cooperation and disarmament. Nice use of the term 'not on a scavenger hunt' describing the mission of the inspectors. Nice use of specific numbers to indicate the level of actual deceptions taking place - we know he had them, he produces no proof they were destroyed, so where are they? All this, folded into the building train of logic keeping to the basics of the argument. Stating that there are links between Saddam and Al Qaeda - no details given, but if he says they're there, he's read something pretty concrete to give him cause to include the remarks. Look for specifics when Powell presents to the UNSC on the 5th of February. The sheer volume of chem/bio, the attempted acquisition of uranium and the tools to build a bomb, while the inspectors were in the country - plus the linkage to Al Qaeda, excellent setup to present the image of a hand off of such devices to those that could and would use them in a strike on a US target. 'We cannot let that day come'. The other money quotes -
"America's purpose is more than to follow a process. It is to achieve a result" "Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others. Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people" "Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option." "And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation." "If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."
Yes, we will be at War before the end of February. And though this post is about this year's State of the Union, its good to keep in mind one of the points from last year's address - at a time and place of our choosing. Other observations. A notable lack of gratuitous introductions of various set-piece special invited guests. None, with the only reference used to illustrate a point being to a faith based drug rehab program in Louisiana. Hoping that Laurence watched it on CSPAN also, because there was a lot less 'reaction shot' coverage than in years past. A lot of them were wide angle, giving you the general idea of who supported, and who sat on their hands (or looked distracted and bored) at the appropriate times during the key points. The Democratic "response". One of the few smart move I've seen the Dims make of late. Bringing in a complete out of Towner to get up and spew pre-canned bilge ramblings immediately after the President took the steam out of all the talking points they anticipated he'd hit. Guess they've caught on to the 'set em up, feed em rope, and let em swing' style. Keeps the 'heavyweights' from stepping up and making ninnies out of themselves immediately. But there's plenty of time for that, and so far, they've yet to disappoint on that score.
Today is election day. I am getting tired of Haaretz. Their Hebrew edition's readership is the lowest among the 3 major Hebrew dailies. But they are selling their left-wing propaganda through their English edition on the web as Israeli mainstream. Consider this headline: "Expert: low voter turnout favors smaller parties; Likud said concerned". It is quite misleading, since the reality is that Labor is "said" to be just as concerned. In fact, IBA radio reported today that both Likud and Labor asked judge Cheshin to permit them to publicly call on Israelis to get out and vote, while there still was time. Then there is this:
Turnout has often spelled the difference between victory and defeat in Israeli elections. In 1996, for example, many Labor Party supporters refrained from voting, assuming that favored incumbent Shimon Peres would win re-election against underdog Likud challenger Benjamin Netanyahu. In a nail-biting result, Netanyahu edged then-prime minister Peres by just 27,000 votes out of more than four million.
I would not know - I was not following Israeli politics at that time. So, let's say, so far so good. Then it goes:
Turnout has also been strongly affected by "sectarian" factors, with voter percentages in such sectors as Israeli Arabs, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and the ultra-Orthodox, having a potentially crucial impact on the outcome of elections... ...The ultra-Orthodox have exhibited particular success in mobilizing high voter turnouts - at times flying in chartered planes full of voters registered in Israel but residing in New York
Hmmm...Except for the ultra-Orthodox super-enthusiasm, what do "sectarian factors" have to do with elections? Aren't members of these "sects" equally Israeli, and their votes are equally valid? Apparently, Haaretz thinks not:
In 2001, Israeli Arabs, angry with incumbent Ehud Barak over the handling of October, 2000 riots in which Israeli police fire killed 13 Arabs, boycotted the prime ministerial elections, which Ariel Sharon - buoyed by strong support from immigrants - won in a landslide.
Now I get it: Sharon won last time not because the majority of Israelis wanted to kick Barak out of office for his willingness to reward terrorism with concessions, and even not because many Israelis hoped, at least secretly, that Sharon will "clean up" the hornet's nests in the territories once and for all. He won because Israeli Arabs did not show up, and new immigrants from Russia showed up in droves. But what do those stupid "Russians" know? They don't really count, mind you. Well, there is really no contradiction here. The truth is that people vote with their feet, not just their ballots. When one stays home and does not vote, he/she still casts a ballot of sorts. Problem is, I don't think that is what Haaretz had in mind. I think what they are doing here is preparing their English-speaking readers to Sharon's next win, which everyone, including Haaretz, thinks is inevitable. BTW, judge Cheshin wants to have a law passed, apparently adopted by several countries, including Australia and Italy, according to which people who don't get out and vote are subject to a fine. Sounds like one of those well-intentioned solutions that create more problems than they solve, but I might be wrong. And is it even true about Australia? As a side note, and speaking of voting with one's feet: on the radio today they interviewed Nativa Ben-Yehuda, the daughter of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who is considered the father of the modern Hebrew language. She was boasting that she had voted in all of the 16 Israeli elections, since the establishment of Israel. She mentioned, however, that several times she placed a blank ballot in her envelope. After she went off the air, some of the guys went wise-cracking about that last detail: "Nativa, darling, you know that placing a blank ballot is the same as not voting at all, don't you?" Well, guys, better shut up, and listen to the old lady. Maybe it is the same as being undecided. But it is definitely the opposite of being lazy, or indifferent, or spiteful. I wish I could vote in these elections, but I cannot. In Israel we don't have absentee ballots, except for diplomats and such, and I think this is the way it should be. When I lived in Israel, I voted in all elections since I was old enough to do so, and I was never undecided. I hope I get to vote in many more Israeli elections in the future, and if there is no one I can consciously vote for (which I hope will never happen), I will vote with my blank ballot. Update: Ooops...it turns out Mrs. Ben-yehuda is not Eliezer's daughter, but she is a celebrity, and is about 75 years old - long story. (Thanks to Imshin for the correction).
Just a thought in passing
But it seems quite probable that the administration never intended to release the full depth of its evidence against Saddam until the inspections period was completed. What better time to reveal what Saddam has been hiding, than right after an inspection team armed with a modicum of clues and 'unfettered access' only turned up some chemical traces, some empty warheads, and some incriminating research documents at a scientists house. By allowing the inspections to go ahead, without shouting directions from the sidelines, the administration set the stage perfectly for Saddam to continue his old tricks of dodge and deceive, all while smiling for the camera. It would not at all be surprising if the rug gets pulled out from under the entire bunch - Blix, the Security Council, Chirac, Schroeder, and most importantly Saddam, sometime shortly after 9pm Eastern time. It fits the President's modus operandi to date, at any rate. Now that is what I call "TV worth watching", to shamelessly use a phrase.


Where are my manners?
One last item for the evening. I agree with DenBeste -
Thank you, John Howard

For this
Now, can someone tell me why the Socialist Mourning Herald suddenly lost the references to these statements? And what happened to the "Bush has a green light" Headline? That was rather cool, while it lasted.
Jebus, Mervin, and Jeehosephat
What the hell did Dave Barry do to piss Ken Layne off? Make fun of his snowman? Odd how, for Imshin, it works beautifully...but, for Dave, its, just, well, WRONG. At so many levels.
Lets go to IHOP
ScrappleFace does, and is hilarious as always.
Thank goodness...
That the Greenies are around to let us in on what's really going on
"Prometheus is a mythical project to divert attention from what's really going on," said Greenpeace's Australian nuclear campaigner, James Courtney. "The US Government is developing surveillance and weapons delivery systems in space."
Whew, and just when I'd been suckered in to buying the more efficient engine so we can get to Mars quicker malarky. Thanks Jimbo! I thought they developed the surveillance and weapons delivery systems on the ground and only deployed them in space. Glad we've got that straight now. Now, Get your ass to Mars!
If you haven't already...
Bill Whittle. Yeah. What he says.
Suspicious Timing
Meryl does an "Outie" in her commentary on the wrap up of the conference of Palestinian thugs, murderers, and psychos meeting in Egypt to discuss stopping the terror campaign against Israelis. Due to a bungled presentation by the Egyptians of their proposed 12 step program, the addicts refused to even test drive the wagon they'd be falling off of. The timing of the whole thing, and the very public pronouncements by some of the groups to continue blowing things up and shooting people, just a couple of days before the Israeli elections makes me somewhat suspicious. Its almost like the catering tab or the hotel bill is being picked up by a shadow company run by the Committee to re-elect Sharon or something. Either that, or these guys are just really, really stupid. My bet is these guys are really just that stupid.
(stomping feet) But there isn't any evidence of WMD!
Well then baby, check your smoking gun at the door.

Oh please. The absolute lack of evidence in itself should set the alarm bells to ringing folks. On its face, the claim is accurate - Iraq has provided no evidence of the presence of chem/bio/nuke weapons. It begs the question - what the hell happened to the ones they admitted to having? If they're truly gone, what happened to them? Seems they haven't come up with any explanation on that minor point. I'm frankly surprised that Saddam's spin machine couldn't at least have bothered to pile up a bunch of something, call in the international media (since batteries for the Sony handycam, and probably the handycam itself, were banned under sanctions, boo hoo) and put out a hand painted sign saying 'chemical weapons dump' before torching the whole damned thing. Or maybe even come up with an Iraqi version of Ed Norton claiming that he took care of it by pouring Clorox bleach all over it, himself, personally? But wait...could there really be a smoking gun* that nobody is really paying any attention to because its buried in the technical jargon and requires not only the recognition of same, but the connection to the lengthy wording that specifically prohibits it? Seems so. Paul Miller has the particulars. Suggest your wind your stopwatches to measure the amount of time it will take for big media (aside from Intantman) to pick this up, unless of course someone rubs their faces in it. (*Found via Instapundit) UPDATE: M3 has a few words about the article on Ms. Garafelo, and lo and behold, a self righteous equivalist shows up and provides a realllly long list of nasty bio crap that was shipped to the Iraqis in the 80's. More stuff that isn't accounted for anywhere. Yep, time we went in and did some cleanup. Seems the local housekeeping staff has just been letting that stuff grow everywhere.
The propaganda is getting slicker, laddies
Just worked my way through a technically fantastic feature on the MSNBC site: MSNBC -- The Big Picture. The focus of the feature is the Conflict with Iraq. It is a multimedia-rich, interactive presentation, as I mentioned, very well done, from a technical perspective. Warning, you'll need both a broadband connection (and a strong stomach) access it. As for the content - after navigating the entire feature, there's no doubt whatsoever about the opinion that the producers are hoping that you'll form - basically an anti-war one. It sets the stage with timelines and information on the background of the situation, such as Saddam's aggression and wanton use of chemical and biologic agents, and the debacle that was the inspections regime up until 1998. Once the background is done, the presentation quickly raises the primo anti-war rally points. Its about the oil. Although they present a talking head saying that the oil is certainly a variable in the equation, but not the driver, this is juxtaposed with a prediction of $60 a barrel oil, signaling the death knell for vulnerable US industries dependant upon it (airlines used as an example). There were also textual blurbs popping up with one liners such as 'be real, its all about the oil' labeled as a 'reader comment'. US Soldiers will come home in body bags. Lots and lots of body bags. The centerpiece of this segment was an 'interactive' interview with a former Army Ranger Mogadishu vet. He somewhat lost me when he referenced all the Russians that died re-taking Stalingrad in World War II, at the same time the pop-up text at the bottom of the screen was citing the 5:1 loss ratio planning factor against well defended urban objectives. Stalingrad didn't fall; the German 6th Army broke like a wave upon it, but it held, and the high number of Russian casualties had more to do with the Russian tactic of massed human wave assaults than 'well dug in German defenders'. This whole thing will spin out of control, and the Israelis will launch a nuke! By this point of the presentations excursion into nightmare scenario fantasy land, they'd pretty much lost me. They highlight the Arrow anti-missile system, noting it can engage five separate targets simultaneously, but then ask 'but what if Saddam launches 30 or 40 Scuds at Israel? Excuse me? At once? Also, with the specter of chemical or biological warheads. 'If just one of them makes it through to Tel Aviv, the Israelis will retaliate, and could deliver a nuclear strike with an American made aircraft"...oh the horror. Take it down a thousand, Frances. At several points during the presentation there were poll questions, which are likely to be paraded around and quoted after this thing has been running a while. Now, I always hated word problems, particularly with a prominently displayed clock feature counting down attached. The final question was very, very skillfully worded - Do the risks of going to war outweigh the risks of doing nothing. Choices - Yes, No, No opinion (or I don't know). After the fact, detached from the interactive click fest, the answer is obvious - the risk of doing nothing outweighs the risks of going to war. So, NO. But the damned thing is so weasel worded...its little wonder that the 'results' had about 80% for the YES response, indicating an overwhelming opposition to military action. Wonder why such results aren't showing up all over the place, when the question is asked in a straightforward manner. MSNBC gets a big 'wow, that's cool' on the format and packaging - but the contents are rotten, as is usual, from the folks that provide Donahue a forum, and graced us all with the scene of Chris Matthews breaking down in tears at Al Gore's concession speech. Leave it to big media to realize the hightened potential of a medium to inform, entertain, or educate - and then using it to shovel manure like this.
I am afraid both Andrew and James, as well as many others, are missing an important point. The point is, while there is no difference in the consequences of the Nazi and the Communist regimes, as far as the number of lives lost (and these are the only consequences that matter), there is a big difference in original intentions of their underlying ideologies. The whole idea of Nazism was to kill, or at least enslave as many non-Arians as possible. The whole idea of Communism was to make as many people as possible happier. No, I am not talking about the difference between the intentions of Hitler, and those of Stalin/Mao. I am talking about the difference between the intentions of Hitler, and Marx/Engels. OK, OK, I don’t really know about Marx/Engels. I sure am not going to discuss Lenin’s true intentions. But I know about my grandparents. My grandfather joined the Communist party, like many other young Jewish men and women, out of sincere conviction that they were building a better world for everyone. For the factory workers/farm laborers who worked and lived in inhumane conditions, without any of the basic rights that today anyone in the developed world takes for granted. For women, who will finally be truly equal to men. For intellectuals, who finally will be able to speak their minds without fear of imprisonment. For Jews, who will finally be equal to everyone else. And even for blacks, who were being linched daily in the South of the far away America. These ideas were noble, and they still are. The means by which they were to be realized, and the people who took it upon themselves to realize them, were anything but. In fact, although I have not studied the subject, I seriously doubt that people like Stalin or Beria really cared about any ideas at all, other than concentrating as much power as they could in their own hands. But that does not make those ideas any less noble. My grandfather was associated with Kirov in the Leningrad branch of the Party. He was a career communist. My grandmother used to tell me that his salary was barely enough to pay the housekeeper she had to hire, because she had to work to provide for the family. He was not in it for the money, or anything else. He was in it for the noble ideas. She was never active in the party, but she, too, had high hopes for the brave new world her husband was helping to build. After Kirov’s murder the purges began, and my grandfather, like many of his colleagues, ended up in jail. When WWII reached the Soviet Union, he was drafted directly from jail. He was never heard from ever since. I find the Mao berets and line of clothes with hammer-and-sickle on them idiotic. But excuse me if I don’t find them nearly as offensive as swastikas. Stalin killed more people than Hitler did. There is a good chance that my grandfather was one of those people. Or it may have been Hitler. It really makes no big difference. The important point that many people are missing, is while Hitler and the idea of Nazism were the same thing, Stalin really had little to do with the idea of Communism. He was just another megalomaniac, who high jacked an ideology, instead of inventing one, like Hitler did. It makes no difference between these two monsters, but it does underline the difference between the two ideologies. Anyway, I really wish that people would think twice before lumping together people like my grandfather, and the SS officers. Consequences matter a great deal, but intentions should at least count for something. Update here.
Now THIS is influence...
Glenn Reynolds is hailing Scott Ott's 'Axis of Weasel' post and its influence. Thats nothin'. Here at SR, we're so influential, we have gotten some very important Israelis to referring to Sharon as "The Guy on the LEFT"
A fresh round of dictionaries for all my friends
Blix and ElBaradei have just finished up their presentation to the Security Council. Now the haggling over the true meaning and intent of the phrase 'material breach' will certainly become the desired center for rhetorical exchange over what to do next. As has been pointed out, and is the bottom line, 1441 was the final opportunity for Iraq to come clean, and they have not done so. Blix said so in his remarks, and his suggestion of 'more time' for the inspectors to carry out their mission was desired. This is an overreach of their authority, and departure from their mission. The inspectors are not present to play hide and seek. They are not playing a big game of Scavenger Hunt. They were to be present for the revelation, by the Iraqis, of what materials and equipment they had on hand that constitute Weapons of Mass Destruction, and/or to audit the Iraqi evidence that such material has been dismantled and/or destroyed, witness the destruction of WMDs they still possess, and verify that the attendant programs have been terminated. The Iraqis have produced misleading, incomplete, and obviously doctored documentation. They have failed to produce any supporting evidence of destruction of materials they previously admitted to having (biologics). They have actively hidden materials that indicate the attendant research and development efforts for WMDs have not been terminated, but are in fact ongoing. The inspection process was given an 80 day time period to accomplish its mission. That mission is now complete, so any discussion or suggestion of 'more time' for the inspectors to 'do their jobs' is therefore moot. The inspection activities and process clearly show Iraqi subterfuge, defiance and avoidance of the terms of 1441, despite the PR show of 'cooperation' to the contrary. Gauging the true nature of this 'willingness to cooperate', and disarm, was one of the major points of 1441. By the letter of the resolution, Iraq is currently in material breach, on a number of items. The Security Council, The French, The Germans, and anyone else demanding to have a say in what happens next need to acknowledge that fact, or forever forfeit the benefit of our consideration for their opinions on the best interests of the United States. A consideration we have doled out much, much too generously in the past.


Sept 11 MONUMENT ATTACKED This link comes from a leftie news provider so it plays it down and doesn't carry a picture, however the monument to firefighters that died on Sept 11 which was unveiled at the World Firefighter Games last year was the target of an anti-American attack. The monument itself, made from several girders from the WTC was heavily pray painted with anti-American grafitti, as was the surrounding area. A defaced US flag was also attached to the monument. Christchurch firefighters are reported to be "upset" by the attack. Important safety tip kids, if you set fire to a US flag in Chrischurch, don't plan on on of the local firefighters helping out when you discover you splashed lighter fluid on your self. Arseholes. And if you're not pissed off enough yet listen to the audio. It cures constipation too.
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MIX RED AND GREEN? BROWN! There will be further comment once my adrenaline and blood pressure drops to a medically acceptable level. As Bill Murray might say, "Don't blog angry!" You know that rule that says as soon as someone mentions Hitler or Nazis, they've lost the debate? I think we have a case for breaking it today. Everyone has picked up on this. Meryl, Glenn, Andrew, Damian, Charles....just everyone. I'm sick beyond words. So I'll calm down before talking about this. May take a while...
French win more friends through appeasment
The 'Peace through Surrender' approach sparks riots and anti-French backlash in the Ivory Coast, at any rate. Not being up on the background of the mess, no idea who the local bad guys or the local worse guys are in this instance, but the French seem to have made sure that whatever the answer is, they all get to keep their fingers in the pie. And the 2000 French troops? Helping to quell the violence? Sure, if its violence directed at the French...
Dragon Lady gets mean with dance partner
The U-2 is a thing of wonder. Conceived almost 50 years ago, by a small group of extremely talented men using pencils and slide rules, it remains an indispensible tool for the foreseeable future. The plane carries the nickname 'Dragon Lady', in part because of its unforgiving nature. When the Lady doesn't feel like dancing, the results can get ugly, really fast. Glad that this temper tantrum didn't take out her dance partner, or anyone on the ground.